October 31, 2006

Enough Republican Thuggery!

I've seen two videos just today where Republicans deal with questions they don't like with physical violence and threats. Video for the incident pictured on the left here. Another here.

I've had it with these clowns and their goons.

(By the bye: why didn't this guy run for president in 2004?)

I want to strongly caution us from counting our congress seats before the election. If we miss the tide on Tuesday, we will blow this opportunity. There's going to be a squeaker in the Washington Senate race, and we've got a 1st-rate fucktard in the East Bay who needs lose his congressional district (to this man), but it's going down to the wire.

"So it's every hand to his rope or gun, quick's the word and sharp's the action."

Hey GOP - The Sea is Receding. Go Out to the Beach and Watch.

Charlie Cook's National Overview

Charlie Cook's National Overview
There Is No Ebb In The Wave
October 30, 2006

With the election just eight days away, there are no signs that this wave is abating. Barring a dramatic event, we are looking at the prospect of GOP losses in the House of at least 20 to 35 seats, possibly more, and at least four in the Senate, with five or six most likely.

If independents vote in fairly low numbers, as is customary in midterm elections, losses in the House will be on the lower end of that range. But if they turn out at a higher than normal level, their strong preference for Democrats in most races would likely push the GOP House losses to or above the upper levels.

The dynamics we are seeing this year are eerily similar to those in 1994. The President and party are different, so are the issues, but the dynamics are comparable.

In 1994, Democrats were in trouble because of tax increases, a failed health plan, and the crime bill (read, guns). There were also a myriad of scandals that started in the late 1980s that moved voters, including many Democrats, to reject the party's candidates, including some once-popular incumbents.

This year, it is the war in Iraq and scandals. For conservatives, the list also includes the Mark Foley affair, immigration, high government spending and high deficits. For Democrats and independents, stem cell research and Terri Schiavo round out the list. Finally, it would seem that voters of all ideological stripes feel that the GOP-lead Congress has become dysfunctional.

October 30, 2006

A Hamster Faces Rigorous Criticism

There is a high degree of certitude that Chewbacca has abrogated virtually all notions of social consciousness, indulged himself in consistent patterns of what might be generously described as reflexively Social Darwinist behavior, and has demonstrated dangerously weak self-awareness, leading to untold potential damage to any larger group which had the misfortune or bad judgment to include him among their number.

While Chewbacca's demeanor would appear to be timid, fuzzy and endearing, hard data derived from countless man-hours of exhaustive observation by the team of visiting scholars and graduate students do not bear out this conclusion.

While the article has not yet been published, and the abstract is still in the editing stage, a simple application of data clustering to study his social interaction, where

the cluster of social contacts,

combined with substantive sociological and zoological analysis of the nature of the behaviors themselves (as observed in other animals, as well as among human patients diagnosed with borderline personality disorder) reveals several inescapable conclusions regarding Chewbacca's behavior and presumably wanting inner-character:

1. Chewbacca avoids constructive communication.
2. Chewbacca does not model any noteworthy form of socially responsible behavior.
3. Chewbacca is motivated primarily by hunger and fear of being eaten.

The early hypothesis of Asperger's syndrome was not supported. For one thing, Asperger's has a strong association with high achievement. Even for a hamster, the slight numerical evidence of positive contributions by Chewbacca to society is not significant, and can be explained more convincingly as statistical noise. Peer studies at the University of Maine and Technische Universität Berlin are expected to confirm these results.

(A full statistical analysis may be requested at Chewbaccathehamsterstudy@umich.edu)


Dr. X posts this from the Mean Regression Archives at Stanford (0-8) University:

"Had enough of (Yakima's own) Damon Huard yet? With an IAYPA of 7.6 The Ageless Wonder has just ONE interception YTD, and continues to defy Dr. X's predictions that he would sink back to the level of lesser lights such as Tom Brady (5.7), Eli Manning (5.5), and Bret Favre (5.4). Huard is tied for first with Peyton Manning (7.6) and Bulger (7.6), just ahead of McNabb (7.4). Next man up is the San Diego rookie Rivers (6.6) who is making a large statement for himself.

"And that's basically it. Everyone else is either bunched around the middle, or benched. And more than any other season ever in the entire history of the world, careers are ending with car-wreck suddenness. Culpepper, Bledsoe, and Warner, are done. McNair (3.8) is not long for this world, and Jake Plummer (4.3) is hearing footsteps.

"The saddest case of all is Roethlisberger, who once stood athwart these ratings like...like someone that stands athwart something. 4 INTs pull him down to a bottom quartile 4.4 IAYPA. What were the Steelers thinking, starting a man who'd just had a serious concussion? Head injuries don't heal fast guys. When his brain is working right, Roethlisberger can be the most efficient quarterback in the NFL. Why are you risking his career, and the future of your franchise by exposing him to additional harm?

"I had hoped to say some kind words about Joey Harrington (3.8), who has, on several occasions, led drives this year, but nothing comes to mind."

October 28, 2006

A Puppy Faces Rigorous Criticism

One responds as one responds to a small, helpless mammal. There are no surprises in the almost reflexive desire to scootch Mr. Wuggums under the chin, or fluffle up his ears in a rapid, repetitive hand motions.

But here Mr. Wuggums additionally, and I believe disingenuously, presents us with a juxtaposition of cuteness and an emasculated ferocity, with the irony redirected towards cheap humor rather than towards dialectical clarity; an ennervating attack on class consciousness typical of hegemonic mass culture.

Mr. Wuggums appears to transcend his weakness with "attitude," to adopt the imprecise vernacular, meaning that Mr. Wuggums, despite a contradictory, fully inhabited adorable and harmless physicality, has internalized aggressive, even lethal precognition. Mr. Wuggums, to put it bluntly, is prepared to murder. The potential external critique of culturally-sanctioned violence as normative is voided precisely by the appearance of a creature apparently least capable of this violence, yet who also adopts this posture of subsumed destruction, thus normalizing it.

Of course, puppydom itself is an uncritical cultural entry point into the whole distorted praxis of the reified socialization of dogs, who, by their immutable nature as hierarchical pack animals, reinforce by their ubiquitous metaphor the dominant/subservient social relations the dog pack models for human beings. Mr. Wuggums, for all his potential, offers nothing to our culture but trite counter-democratic propaganda.

It is not too grand a stretch to suggest that Mr. Wuggums is not only co-opted by proto-fascistic social modeling forces, but by the visual evidence here, is also a willing participant.

Summer of Love Over, Looting Begins

Dr. X posts this from the dental hygienist temporary help agency located in the old offices of Napster:

"The Summer of Love always ends. Youtube is going, well, down the tubes, as Comedy Central has pulled all their content.

"All your Daily Show links are belong to us!

"You probably only have a few weeks left to watch:

"Every episode of Whose Line is It Anyway?...

1,658 Mystery Science Theater clips...

"Groucho's last interview - with Cosby...

"That time in '62 when Basie got Joe Williams and Jimmy Rushing onstage together...

"Hendrix playing the national anthem at Woodstock, as an intro to Purple Haze...

"David Byrne on Letterman...

"See it now, there may not be a later."

Now is the Time on Eisengeiste Where We Dance

For no reason, we honor Sprockets, with some choice quotes from Wikipedia.
  • "I am filled with remorse, and it is most delicious."
  • "His agony was gorgeous. I need to be slapped."
  • "Rühren mein Affe. Lieben meine Affe-monkey!"
  • "It was Twyla Tharp, or was it Vic Tayback, who once said of him: 'He is dance'."
  • "It had a good beat and was easy to dance to; I give it a fourteen."
  • "Sadly, Klaus is limited. But he is beautiful, is he not?"
  • "Your story has become tiresome."
  • "I appreciate a warm hand on my opening."
  • "Karl-Heinz, you are beautiful and angular; and if you were a gas, you'd be inert."
  • "Gregor Voss, your presence intimidates me to the point of humiliation. Would you care to strike me?"
  • "Textures intrigue me."
  • "Why is it that the truly brilliant are doomed to a life of obscurity, surrounded by a sea of mediocrity, only to end up covered by sores in a pool of their own filth? Oh well, the beat goes on."
  • "You have disturbed me almost to the point of insanity...There. I am insane now."
  • "Whore. Nun. Whorenun."
  • "Your anger is delicious."
  • "I feel spent, like a man who is forced to wear his genitals around his neck like a pendant."
  • "That poem pulls down my pants and taunts me. But not in a mean-spirited way."
  • "You will leggo my Eggo. Now."
  • "In your film, Irritant #4, the only two images were a baby's head and a toilet. Did you mean for me to scream?"
  • "That book looks at me when I'm naked and calls its friends."
  • "You are a master of exposing tedium."
  • "I love going to Oktoberfest, because they drink a lot there, and afterward you can skate home in other people's sick."

In Which Kittens Face Rigorous Criticism

Sir Duke's unctuous albeit hirsute self-pity act is frankly becoming stale. Here he relies yet again on a misplaced faith that we will find the expression of his slight anxiety, with worried blue eyes accentuated with frowny-face whiskers, eternally and somehow inexhaustibly endearing, and his quiescent cradling in anonymous denimed legs an admirable resignation to the wise, pseudo-maternal care of his owner.

The subtext, besides the unconscious yet crude entendre of a kitten situated between the legs, is of course the passive affirmation of the class dominance of our own species.

This hollow mask is, of course, nothing less than a betrayal. And it is a betrayal of his own identity and culture. He cannot expect to trade on his youth and his emotive if superficially entertaining neuroses forever, internalizing a contradictory persona as a cheesy, kittenish nebbish, expecting to be stoked and bottle-fed simply because he delights the dominant species with shopworn yarn and bouncy-ball antics. It is not unfair to demand of Sir Duke a little more productive discipline and a little less self-aware bathos.

In my country, we say, "This is funny."

I am almost ashamed of how much I am looking forward to Borat's movie...

October 27, 2006

Questions Surface Over Bush Treasury Appointee


(visual artist at your service. )

They're Ba-aack

Dr. X posts this from a psionic battlefield in Irkutsk:

"Remember X-Com: UFO Defense? Well, look at what's available on Sourceforge. My review based on one hour of play: it rocks."

October 26, 2006

"No You Don't, Sunshine"

Dr. X posts this from the Kickboxing class at the Sunnyvale Senior Center:

"You know all that hype about how tough SAS guys are? It isn't hype."


You can say one thing for psycho-tropic 60's sexploitation zombie film trailers.

They were not boring.

Partei an, Raum-Babys

The Eisengeiste Hit Parade, 1973: Can Germans rock?*

Cindy and Bert: Der Hund Von Baskerville.

October 25, 2006

McNabb Leaves It All Out on the Field

Dr. X posts this from a seminar in homeopathic anti-nausea medications:

I have one word for this: courage, guts, puke, vomit, barf...ew. He threw two touchdowns after that, by the way.

October 24, 2006

Hands Off, Republiperv!

Another Successful Liberal Conspiracy

Dr. X posts this from a Starbucks on Paradise Road:

"GOP (grope-or-paw) Rep from Nevada will so not be governor. Tell the operatives in Zone 14 that we are pleased with their work."

Time to Vote!

Dr. X posts this from the Ohio Board of Ballot Equalization (Florida Liaison Office):

"I sent out my absentee ballot tonight. It was remarkably easy - you see, the ballot clearly identifies which political party the candidates belong to. So you can tell at a glance if you are voting for some crank (Libertarian), oddball (Peace and Freedom), or dictatorial lie-spouting hypocritical murdering asswipe fuckwad (Republican). I chose to vote for vaguely competent people who appear less-inclined to totalitarianism (Democrats). I suggest you do the same.

"I did so reluctantly, however. Certainly there are times when it makes a lot of sense to just vote for the 'best person' for each office. It makes sense, for example, when you live in a free Republic where both parties are equally committed to the survival of human rights and civil society. This is not one of those times, however. It's time to take down The Man.

"A kind word for Arnold, however - I could not find fault with his judical appointments."

An Enjoyable Diversion

Dr. X posts this from the wreckage of the Caiger Mall:

"If you enjoy walking desolate streets in your lonely quest to vanquish the hordes of the undead, you may enjoy Urban Dead. It is pleasant and undemanding, as all quests to vanquish the undead should be."

October 23, 2006

The Anvil of Crom

SEAHAWKS fans, take heart. We are no longer the favorite, but were we ever comfortable with that distinction? We're beaten, not broken. They're coming back -- Shaun, Matt, Bobby, and Jeremy, in more than enough time to make the run to the playoffs. If we start the second season healthy, we will challenge for a repeat, and perhaps it all.

Bow Cracking Time

Archery Update:

I had just raised the bow and taken a fantastic shot, the cedar, yellow and black arrow scoring a perfect arc 60 yards through the woods to hit the paper bear dead in the heart on the first shot.


But there was a second shot to let fly. I drew back the old flatbow with just enough presence of mind to notice that the pull seemed slightly easier than usual, and in a delusion of victorious circumstance, I attributed this to the special directness of my will.

Hubris, as you know, is always rewarded, and Diana - Goddess of the Hunt, even for paper rabbits, was unusually swift that day.

Crack! A sickening snap and the air about my head was filled with bowstring and bits of fast moving wood and arrow, as, bolo-like, the suddenly free limb tip flung around on the string and wrapped itself around my head, poking me, very slightly, in the eyelid.

If paper deer can laugh, they did so then...a sound I encourage you to contemplate.

So ends my first bow, elegant shards of lemonwood in one piece more than is normally required.

I regret nothing.

After much, even excessive searching, I've decided out of sheer historical obstinacy to commission a new English D-style longbow - I found a bowyer in the hinterlands who will make one out of mulberry with a hickory back, and it will feature the traditional Buffalo horn tips.

There are plenty of more efficient bow designs, but like I say, archery hasn't been about efficiency in a long while. If that's your standard, why not use a cruise missle? The aesthetic of a real hardwood longbow is hard to beat.

The mulberry is a close relative of osage orange, which is the ideal and almost unattainable bow wood, and it has a warm yellow-orange color. If you're not backing with modern materials, hickory is a very tough choice. If the bow is excellent, it's a fantastic deal, and if it's okay, it's still a good deal, but will take a few weeks. I'm finishing it myself, so the costs are way down (it's less than $150 - for good hardwood, hornocks, and commissioned size (55# at 28"). The plan is to stain the hickory backing very dark and create another yellow tone-black tone bow, which I may say, will look very sharp.

One further note: the English, strangely enough, are much better at this than us, with a few exceptions (selfbow.com); they have excellent traditional bows available, and cheaper (the secret is ebay.co.uk) but shipping is absolute murder, about the cost of the bow for one 2 kg item. There must be a solution....last I looked, they wanted $300 - it doesn't cost $300 to ship ME to england.

Finally, in Kodiak two months ago, I noticed some Russian era paintings of the Alutiiq hunters, using bows from their baidarkas. The bows were short, of course, but the hunters were holding them in an unsual way, gripped entirely with the fingers, no palm - a style requiring huge strength which was necessitated by having to hold the bow horizontally while trying to shoot a sea lion from the bobbing skinboat. I asked an expert, who said that some of the old Alutiiq guys still make and hold bows this way.


October 22, 2006

Happy Anniversary

Dr. X posts this from the Literalist Scriptural Interpretation archives at Stanford (0-8) University:

"On this day in 4004 BC, the universe was created by God. It is also the anniversary of Agincourt, the Charge of Light Brigade, and the defeat of a depleted Seahawks squad by the Minnesota Vikings.

"We'll let Mr. Tennyson sing us out:


Half a league half a league
  Half a league onward
All in the valley of Death
  Rode the six hundred:
'Forward, the Light Brigade
Charge for the guns' he said
Into the valley of Death
  Rode the six hundred.

'Forward, the Light Brigade!'
Was there a man dismay'd?
Not tho' the soldiers knew
  Some one had blunder'd:
Theirs not to make reply,
Theirs not to reason why,
Theirs but to do & die,
Into the valley of Death
  Rode the six hundred.

Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon in front of them
  Volley'd and thunder'd;
Storm'd at with shot & shell,
Boldly they rode & well,
Into the jaws of Death,
Into the mouth of Hell
  Rode the six hundred.

Flash'd all their sabres bare,
Flash'd as they turned in air,
Sabring the gunners there,
Charging an army while
  All the world wonder'd:
Plunged in the battery-smoke
Right thro' the line they broke;
Cossack & Russian
Reel'd from the sabre-stroke
Shatter'd & sunder'd.
Then they rode back, but not
Not the six hundred.

Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon behind them
  Volley'd & thunder'd;
Storm'd at with shot & shell,
While horse & hero fell,
They that had fought so well
Came thro' the jaws of Death
Back from the mouth of Hell,
All that was left of them
  Left of six hundred.

When can their glory fade?
O the wild charge they made!
  All the world wonder'd.
Honour the charge they made!
Honour the Light Brigade,
  Noble six hundred!


The New Cuomo?

Dr. X posts this from spending time with his family:

"Another promising moderate Democrat governor (the only kind of Democratic presidential candidate that wins elections, by the way) decides he just doesn't want to go through a presidential campaign. Mark Warner, along with Dr. X's contribution to the office presidential pool, is hors de combat.

"The readers of Wonkette suspect 'gay adultery', well ahead of 'actually wants to spend time with his family'. But others think it was just good old intern-diddling that did the trick.

"Looks like McCain and a Democratic Congress. Could be worse I guess."

Things You Didn't Know About Kim Jong il

Dr. X posts this from the Korean Friendship Association Friendship Association:

"Here is the U.S. News & World Report list of things you didn't know about Kim Jong Il, and the inevitably more interesting Fark thread of additional things you didn't know.

"Here are a top ten from the Fark list (with some imagined Lettermanesque counterpoint):

"10. He was briefly married to Larry King. (Well, who wasn't...)
"9. He was banned for life from all Applebees restaurants. (But that could happen to anyone.)
"8. He was the first choice to play Urkel on 'Family Matters'.
"7. He drives an ice cream truck covered in human skulls.
"6. One time, he ate seventy paper clips and shiat out a Playstation. (And I think we all know just how painful that can be.)
"5. He can enrich uranium with his balls.
"4. When he tells a joke, EVERYONE laughs.
"3. He is not a big fan of the "buddy system." (No, I guess he wouldn't be...)
"2. From TFA: His name as a child was "Yura." His last name was Nasshole.

"...and the #1 thing you didn't know about Kim Jong Il:

"1. Every year at Thanksgiving, he pardons a dog."

The image “http://www.strk3.com/webimages/kimjongil.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

October 21, 2006

"I've Been Crooked For 20 Years...and it Comes Out Now?"

Dr. X posts this from the Clinton Library:

"Jon Stewart points out the convenient timing of the latest revelations about GOP shenanigans. Notice they are coming out now: 'after they've done them!' "

The Hobbit Movie

I am constrained and pleased to report the following item:

In a remarkably glacial no-brainer, MGM has finally approached Peter Jackson to direct the Hobbit.

There are considerable complications, residuals and other movies he is committed to make. Jackson's other projects look quite good - particularly the remake of Dambusters, (as my mathematics teacher in Britain was the son of Wallis, the inventor of the Bouncing Bomb), and I'm in no rush. I'll enjoy looking foward to it.

The Atomic Merit Badge

If you haven't read the Radioactive boy scout story from Harper's in 1998, about the boy scout who began gathering radioactive material, try it now.

As Auito's wife and troop treasurer, Barbara, recalls: "The typical kid [working on the merit badge] would have gone to a doctor's office and asked about the X-ray machine. Dave had to go out and try to build a reactor."

Goodbye, Silent Library

Google Pulls Japanese Vids From YouTube - Yahoo! News

And, I don't think it's terribly premature to bid Farewell to YouTube. I believe this is the first Don't Be Evil, Inc acquisition intended to destroy a competitor, and I expect to see this trend continue.

Speaking of IP...

Boy Scouts in LA can now earn merit badges for learning about the evils of violating copyrights.

Be Loyal, Kind and Don't Steal Movies - washingtonpost.com

I found out about this yesterday on my company's internal IRC channel. I responded, "Soon you'll be able to get a 'narc' merit badge."

To which our resident Eagle Scout curtly replied, "citizenship."

When, oh when will IP law jump the shark and die back?

I hope Dr. X is out in front on this.

True, none of our contributors is a tax lawyer, so we need say nothing. But soon they will come for investment strategies.

Cool Italian Sci-Fi Covers

Dr. X posts this from the Academia della Stella Flotta:

"BoingBoing alerts us to thousands of cool Italian sci-fi magazine covers."

October 20, 2006

The Non-Nazi General, the Gentle Historian, and the Significance of Miracle-Gro

Dr X. posts this from Seelow, a quiet place overlooking a nice river:

"It is in the nature of defeats that competence and heroism are overlooked. In the final days of the Third Reich, if you look at where the Germans were able to mount effective resistance, you see one guy appearing again and again - Gotthard Heinrici.

"In late 1944 his First Panzer Army fights an effective mobile defense in Hungary and Czechoslovokia. In April 1945 he's directing the defense at the Seelow Heights, surviving an attack by a force 10x his size, inflicting huge casualties (Russian+German casualties in this 4-day battle were about the same as U.S. deaths in Vietnam), and getting out alive (a blow-by-blow account is here). A week later he's getting units linked up and moving them west so they can surrender to the Western Allies.

"Like Guderian, he had a bad habit of telling Hitler to fuck off - he ignored 'scorched earth' orders, refusing to burn Smolensk - and, at the very end of the war, requested permission to move his headquarters to a town west of Berlin. Thus ends his career. He surrended to the good guys and lived until 1971.

"He was married to a half-Jewish woman, but got a certificate from Hitler certifying her racial purity.

"So here's to you, Mister Religious Non-Nazi Married to a Half-Jewish Woman Effective Last-Ditch Defensive Strategist Guy.

"How could I ever get my head around his world view? I think I'd have a better shot at channeling Nagel's Bat. And don't get me started on Rogge.

"There is a new book out that might, somehow, help bridge that gap. It is called Five Germanies I Have Known, by the respected liberal historian Fritz Stern. A decent NYT review is here, and a recent article by Stern is here.

"Or maybe it just confuses things further. The New York Times reviewer says 'the Stern family is lucky. Even when their cousin Otto is arrested during the Kristallnacht pogrom, which occurs just a month after Fritz and his parents get out, and Otto’s 'Aryan' wife leaves him, he manages to emigrate to the United States ... where he invents the plant fertilizer Miracle-Gro and becomes a millionaire.'

"What the hell. I don't think Odets would have written it that way."

Shopping List

Krazy Glue

Fresh Ennui Berries

Centered Roast


Sociobath Beads

Post-Postum Depression

Borderline-Personality Disorder Steak-Ums

For the Discriminating Palate

Dr. X posts this from the Global Blog Links Control Center:

"I'd just like to give a shoutout to our friend at Grand Mental Station, who has, on her homepage, posted a permanent link to this blog. I am wiping away tears as I write this. I am...what is it the politicians say?...humbled."

GOP Asshead in Orange Puts CAL Govenorship in Play

Offices of Republican congressional candidate in Orange County raided by the cops.

Law enforcement agents raided the headquarters and home of a Republican congressional candidate Friday, as well as the home of a campaign worker, in a widening investigation of who mailed thousands of menacing letters to Hispanic immigrant voters.

The candidate, Tan D. Nguyen, had promised to explain everything but instead disappeared from public view before uniformed agents from the state Department of Justice fanned out across Orange County.

One of today's polls puts the formerly moribund Angelides within 7 points of Ahnold. With hispanic support of Republicans shrinking fast over the recent immigration crackdowns, this won't help Schwartzenegger. Not at all. Start with 14,000 pissed off new Orange County voters.

Ask an Uptight Seattlelite

New Column in the Seattle Weekly:

Dear Uptight Seattleite,

I just moved to Seattle, and I'm wondering, why do you all drive Subarus?


Dear Curious,

I'm guessing you have some sort of animosity toward Japanese people and their cars. I'm not patting myself on the back here, but I do try to be open-minded about different cultures. If I go to an Asian restaurant, for example, I always use chopsticks. At Shilla, when I am eating my bi bim bop with chopsticks, I sometimes notice that some of my fellow diners are eating their bi bim bop with spoons. I smile at them and their spoons. My smile says, "Hey, great for you! Because you're branching out and trying something new, even if that might be a little uncomfortable for you. You might find that your experience of other cultures might be even more enriching if you try the chopsticks. Just a thought! Enjoy your meal!"

October 19, 2006

Regarding Tekenika J. Buttons

The Undersecretary forwards one of those rare things that we originally supposed was the high purpose of the Internet :

Charles Darwin online, tens of thousands of pages, field notes to major works, and the gold standard of Science Illustration of the 19th century.

From The Beagle Field Notes, 1833

W of Ponsonby Sound
after (last night) after quiet delightful pull through the channel smooth water surrounded by peaked mountains between 2 & 300 feet high - the upper parts of which are brilliant with snow & lower dark with green wood
found a snug cove: large fire. naked savages around it starlight

[page 30a]

larger fire: chorus of singers: savages perspired
Tekenika J. Buttons
quiet people:
after breakfast a large body came over the hill
they had run so fast that their noses were bleeding. When we started to go J. Buttons place within Ponsonby Sound - 12 canoes accompanied & from the bright sun & hot day the scene resembled the drawing amongst Pacific Isles:

[page 31a]

we out sailed them & fond Jemmy guided us: none of Jemmy's immediate friends were there but doubtless the news widespread:

Riposte to Madden

Dr. X post this from the Electronic Arts Department of Reputational Destruction:

"Ethan Albright, long snapper for the Redskins, is disrespected by Madden Football.

"That inspired this amusing bit of satire.

"That inspired this Fark thread, which I admit made me laugh.

"And helped me remember what it was like being 14 again."

Today's Tomorrows Headlines XTRA


Mark Foley: "Kim Jong Il Made Me Gay"

Indiana Boy, Just Turned 6, Held by Federal Investigators As Instigator of A Complex Chain of Events which Resulted in Iraq Debacle


Adorable Kitten Adopts Abandoned Spider Baby Shortly Before Eating It

All Vegetable-Powered Robots Tiring Easily

Sight-Impaired Casino Owner Elbows Hole in $135 Million Picasso During Sale (TRUE!)

The flick of Mr Wynn's elbow left a two-inch hole on Marie-Thérèse's left forearm, with two three-inch rips spreading away from the point of impact. Mr Wynn, possibly in shock, inserted his little finger into the hole to check the damage, a procedure not recommended by art experts.

Onion Writer Struck By Curious Juxtaposition of Possible Meanings

The 5 stages

Of a republican scandal:

1. "I don't know of any investigation"
2. "The whole thing is a political ploy by the Democrats"
3. "I'm SHOCKED, SHOCKED, to find mistakes made by my subordinates"
4. "I am an alcoholic. I will be entering rehab immediately, so I have no
time for questions. I'm deeply sorry for my friends and family - the real
victims in this partisan witchunt."
5. "Can I please serve my time at Eglin Federal Penitentiary?"

And as a follow-up, the ten worst congressmen.

More Popular Than The Macarena

Congress. 16% approval.

October 18, 2006

Sartor Resartus

Dr. X posts this from the Poindexter Hall of Fame:

"Here is an entertaining Daily Show compilation of all their presidential mentions. And I am almost impossibly pleased with myself that I correctly guessed the ONE president they did not name. Whoo hoo!"

"They Are Who We Thought They Were"

Dr. X posts this from a coming-to-terms-with-your-grief seminar at Esalen:

"Coach, your team just lost in the most embarrassing way possible. Your thoughts?"

The Alaska State Flag Song


And here's to Benny Benson, the kid who designed the flag. It's a really good flag. About which, the state song, is about.

The Poison Pill Bowl

Dr. X posts this from the Mean Regression Archives at Stanford (0-7) University:

"I had wondered how the Seahawks let Hutch get away - such a vital cog to the team. All is explained in this Poison Pill Bowl preview. Football outsiders has Seattle just a couple of ticks above Minnesota in their power ratings, with both teams close to the dead center of the league.

"Let me also recommend a football website I had not seen before, but which meet Dr. X's exacting standards for rigorous football analysis - coldhardfootballfacts.com. One admires their confidence ("only our YPA is correct"), their chutzpah ("we're fairly certain [our all-star team] will crush your puny, insignificant 11"), and their repertoire of thoughtful and innovative statistics. The one that caught my eye was their "Quality Wins" metric, which only counts games played against opponents with winning records. Before we consign the Seahawks to mediocrity, let us note that they lead their division (2-1) on this important measure."

Who knew?

Apparently today is Alaska Day.

I had no idea.

So happy Alaska Day to all my Hailing-From-Alaska Isengard virtua-friends!

Be warned, however, wikipedia has this to say about Alaska Day:

It should not be confused with Seward's Day, which marks the signing of the treaty finalizing the purchase.

Any other Alaskan holidays I should be aware of? It also makes me fear that California has falling victim to some sort of state holiday "gap" (apparently we have only one) and makes me wonder what we can do to remedy the situation.

Beyond César Chávez day on March 31, I offer the following suggestions:

Dot com day (March 15, 1985. Date the first .com domain was registered)?

Silicon valley day (January 11, 1971. Date the term was first coined)?

Emperor Norton Day (Since that date of his birth is unknown, we'll go with his death on January 8th)

And not to neglect Southern California...

Breast Augmentation Day (While the exact day of the first breast augmentation surgery is unknown, in the same year, 1895, volleyball was invented on February 9. Close enough)

Any others?

October 17, 2006

Element 118 Created, Named In Honor of President

Science discovers Assholium.

(Look, I'll be the first to admit it was a weak setup. But I stand by the punchline. )

October 16, 2006

First Sea Lord Directs All Honors Be Rendered

CBGBs dies.

Ms. Smith was ignoring one of Mr. Kristal's early conditions for CBGB bands--that they only perform their own songs--but forgivably...
"Kids, they'll find some other club," Ms. (Patti) Smith insisted during her set. "You just got a place, just some crappy place, that nobody wants, and you got one guy who believes in you, and you just do your thing. And anybody can do that, anywhere in the world, any time."
These are critical principles of creativity: the availability of benign neglect, a place to work, total freedom of practice and the necessary crash and burn of failure, and a simple rule or two that doesn't constrain you, but nudges you off the beaten path of the obvious.

That is, by the way, why excessive institutionalization tends to kill living art. And why it was probably time for CBGBS to go. And for the love of Joey, don't rebuild it's corpse in Vegas.

A brief reminder- why punk rock was necessary.

October 15, 2006


October 14, 2006

Re: No Laughing Matter

[Note: I'm on the mailing list of my parent's friend, Jim, who live in Dallas, is a very nice fellow, but sometimes passes along stuff that I can only call Red State drivel. Here is my response to one I received today. The first part was the transcript of a commentary by Ben Stein on CBS Sunday Morning Commentary, the second part related paricularly horrid comments by Anne Graham on the occassion of Huricane Katrina (read: God deserted the victims because we weren't religious enough), and the third party was self-congratulatory screed on how much God will like you if you send this email to all your friends, even if they will be offended, and this is no laughing matter. ("Are you laughing?")]


Sorry, but I can't let this pass without comment.

If they know of him at all, many folks think Ben Stein is just a quirky actor/comedian who talks in a monotone. He's also a very intelligent attorney who knows how to put ideas and words together in such a way as to sway juries and make people think clearly.

I wonder why the author didn't point out that he wasn't just an attorney, but an attorney and speechwriter for the Nixon White House, a long-time Nixon appologist that said of Mark Felt ("Deep Throat," whose existence Stein denied vehemently until the day Felt revealed himself), "If there is such a thing as justice in this life or the next, Mark Felt has bought himself the worst future of any man on this earth." He's also a vocal supporter of the Republican Party and an anti-abortion activist.

By the way, I've always admired how attorney's can use their abilities to "put ideas and words together in such a way as to sway juries and make people think clearly." Somewhat less admirable is their ability to distort facts and use logical fallacies and rhetoric to deceive people -- skills that no doubt come in handy when you're writing speeches for Richard Nixon.

Or this garbage.

"I have no freaking clue who Nick and Jessica are."

Just for starters, I would bet you anything that this is an outright lie. Ben Stein lives in Malibu, works in show business, and, gosh shucks, just has no idea who all these celebrities are.

"Next confession: I'm a Jew."

Wow, what a shocker. Who, exactly, is supposed to take saying you're Jewish as a confession? (Well, apart from Nixon, who was an over-the-top anti-semite.)

So Ben Stein thinks we will be surprised by the fact that he likes Christmas trees, and likes it when people say "Merry Christmas" to him, even though he's Jewish. Well, I believe he's telling the truth this time. Most Jewish people I know personally feel the same way. Heck, I'm an atheist, and I like those things, too.

Be that as it may, there are many people in this country that believe that public funding and public lands shouldn't be used to promote secular holidays, symbols, and beliefs. I don't really care all that much myself, but I have to admit that they have a point.

Ben Stein knows the law, so he knows they have a point, too. But he's clearly motivated to blur the destinction between them and his straw man: a liberal-athiest conspiracy to wage what Bill O'Reilly calls a War on Christmas. (Bill O'Reilly wages his war on the war on Christmas with fabricated anecdotes.)

"I have no idea where the concept came from that America is an explicitly atheist country."

I have no idea, either. I also have no idea where he got the idea that anyone is promoting this concept. It's obviously a straw man.

"I can't find it in the Constitution, and I don't like it being shoved down my throat."

"Or maybe I can put it another way: where did the idea come from that we should worship Nick and Jessica and we aren't allowed to worship God as we understand Him?"

The reasoning here is that unless we allow secular displays on publics land, atheism is being shoved down his throat, because, apparently, Ben Stein can't be a Jew unless they can have nativity scenes on intersections in Malibu. Further, someone (unclear who this is, but I'm guessing it's the same straw man from the previous paragraph's logical fallacy) is promoting the idea "that we should worship Nick and Jessica and we aren't allowed to worship God as we understand Him."

Let me get this straight: the Christmas-tree haters want you to worship Nick and Jessica and won't allow you to worship God. Well, even though I'm an atheist, I have to agree that this is an unacceptable state of affairs, not the least of which because, as an atheist, I have no desire to worship Nick and Jessica, and I do believe that you should be allowed to worship God as you understand Him. (Or Her. Or Them. Or It.) But I'm not really very worried about that, primarily because it's pure paranoid fantasy fabricated to make Christians see themselves as victims and that's what really offends me.

About 3% of Americans are atheists. Are these 3% disproportionally powerful? If so, it's not reflected in the makeup of U.S. House of Representatives, where only 4 out of 435 members (less than 1%) have left their religion unspecified. Non-religious U.S. Senators: 0. Supreme Court Justices: 0.

Okay, so how many of those four congressman are just concealing the fact that they are, in fact, Christians, but are afraid to have it be known because Christians are discriminated against in this country? Do you think that any of the 431 other congressman might actually be atheists who are afraid to have it known because atheists actually are discriminated against?

According to a recent study conducted at the University of Minnesota, atheists are the most distrusted minority in America. More distrusted than Muslims, recent immigrants, and homosexuals. Atheists are also the minority group most Americans are least willing to allow their children to marry.

So my message to Christians who believe they "aren't allowed to worship God as they understand them" is: stop being such a cry-baby. You want to know what it's like to actually be alienated from the body-politic and subjected to discrimination? Try being a Muslim. Or an atheist.

As for the screed on how God didn't protect the victims of Hurricane Katrina because we don't have prayer in public schools: this is the World's Oldest, Biggest Pile of Horse Manure, and it would be funny if it weren't so pathetic. Anne Graham should be ashamed of herself, and her father should be ashamed of her (and probably is).

("And being the gentleman He is..." has she ever actually read any of the Old Testament?)

Funny how you can send 'jokes' through e-mail and they spread like wildfire but when you start sending messages regarding the Lord, people think twice about sharing.

I agree: Do not think twice about sending messages regarding the Lord. That's why, Jim, I want you to send my response back to whomever sent you this pompous, inane, self-righteous, hateful rant:

God told me to tell you to shut the fuck up.

Are you laughing, now?


I Can See How that Might be Misinterpreted

Dr. X posts this from the #8 party school in the U.S.:

"Yup, that's a great program they've got up there at Wisconsin. I'm not sure what I like best about this press release - the evenhanded 'reports of inappropriate conduct', the Chancellor's characterization of apparent felonies as an 'embarassment', the fact that the punishment is 'probation', or the fact that the sexuaholoic hazing and bullying was perpetrated by the band.

"I also like the Dean's comment that 'this type of behavior will not be tolerated', since it's obviously been going on there since Cary Grant forced Jeanne Crain to do jello shots and suck a dildo in 'People Will Talk'.

"The topper - this is after prior incidents led to creation of a written code of conduct for the band in 2000. I guess that learned 'em."

It's a Schaudenfreudefestival

As the other shoe dropping becomes more like the sound of Fibber McGee opening Imelda Marcos' hall closet, another GOP congressman is about to get buried for doing special favors for buddies of Slobodan Milosovic.

October 13, 2006


Dr. X post this from a sale at Macy's:

"More gay hijinks with pages, from the part that put underage gay sex back in government, where it belongs."

More on Education

Dr. X posts this from the School of Upward Mobility for Affluent Youth at You Can't Afford It University:

"The Sea Lord's note on tuition brought to mind some factoids that have been banging about the old cerebrum lately:

"1) According to a recent Economist book review, "when the University of California, Berkeley briefly considered introducing means-based affirmative action, it rejected the idea on the ground that 'using poverty yields a lot of poor white kids and poor Asian kids'". The SAT score advantage an Asian needs to compete on even terms with other applicants at elite universities stands at 50 points. Jocks and rich kids get about 1/2 the places now. (Don't worry about the 'New Jews' - they'll do the same things the 'Old Jews' did - find universities that will take them and excel in their studies, earn their place in the professions (note the Asian kid in the picture!), and build their own affluent neighborhoods and country clubs. They're well on their way in Milpitas and Cupertino.)

"2) That bastion of leftist thinking, Forbes, comments that "the main problem...is that college tuition has risen much faster than family income, and financial aid hasn’t gone up enough to fill that gap." Economists say this makes sense because the returns to education are higher than they used to be. This is bullshit. The returns to education are higher because the system artificially limits the number of qualified candidates for high-paying jobs by making appropriate training impossibly expensive for many otherwise qualified people."

"3) Are you mad yet? Don't worry, it's not really a problem for Harvard, Yale, or Stanford. They're loaded. The current value of those three endowments alone is $52.5 bn. I did a little spreadsheet work and found that this sum could support around 160,000 students paying $25,000 each in tuition for 20 years before it ran out (I assumed 4% tuition inflation and 8% investment returns - and it would never run out because I didn't count future contributions from alumnae). But that money's not going to be used to pay tuition for needy kids. There are stadiums to build to showcase their pathetically inept football teams, and malls to develop.

"4) Oh yes, the investment returns. The returns to these portfolios over the past ten years have been incredible, staggering, stupefying. They seem to have some intrinsic investment advantage no one can explain. The men who run them are now viewed as investment gurus.

"5) Here's my solution. On my math you could pay for a good private school education for every poor college student in the country (the bottom 1/3) for around $100 bn a year. You could finance it with a luxury tax. But that would be irresponsible government spending you say? Tell me about it."

Watch Out It's a...

Dr. X posts this from the Mean Regression Archives at Stanford (hasn't been 0-6 in 42 years) University:

"Defending conference champion, coming off a bye week, goes on the road to play a team that got nothing done last year, it's a...


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The Shapes of Suffering

"The Triangle of Death"
"The Sunni Crescent"
"The Circle of Life Insurance Pitches"
"The Deltoid of Strained Muscles"
"The Trapezoid of Depression"
"The Hexagon of Sprained Ankles"
"Square of Social Anxiety"
"The Rhomboid of Paper Cuts"
"The Shocking Octagon of A Devastating Cascade of Lighting Fast Karate Chops"
"A Polydrafter of The Sniffles"
"The Quadrilateral of Lack of Exercise"
"The Salinon of Al-Anon"
"Parallelogram of Ennui"
"The Ellipse of Knock-Off Hello Kitty Items"
"The Star of Eric"
"The Dodecahedron of Lackluster Barbeques"
"A Polygon of Missing Parrots"

Obituarial Yin Yang

Two notable obits posted in the SF Chronicle today:

1. An accomplished 99 year old Interior Decorator, who left his mark on many buildings in the Bay Area.
2. A downtown tavern owner, who spent his last night mixing martinis for the regulars, notable for his decorating the interior every surface of his bar, with owls, every kind of owl painting, figurine, or other assorted owlery.

It is, what is it?, it is, somehow, perfectly balanced. The tavern owner required his patrons to have conversational skills. I imagine a brief conversation, as the interior decorator sits down for a maritini, in 1963, at C. Bobby's Owl Tree.

"So, what can I get you?"
"A martini straight up, and a 7 and 7 for the wife."
"Sure. So, what line are you in?"
" Interior decorator, designing building interiors, banks, UC Berkeley..."
"Say, Lot of owls you have here."

Awkward silence. Both men look around at all the owls.

"Lot of owls."

October 12, 2006

Latest Poll: Polls?

Many Egyptians haven't heard of opinion polls -poll

CAIRO - An opinion poll conducted by an Egyptian government body showed that 61 percent of those surveyed had never heard of opinion polls before, the official Middle East News Agency MENA reported on Thursday.

The poll, conducted by the Cabinet's Information and Decision Support Centre, also showed that only 10 percent of those surveyed had taken part in opinion polls before, MENA reported. The report did not mention how many people were surveyed, or why the poll was conducted.

Rah for the old' Alma Mater

There are certain moments when I am right proud of Washington State - here is one: the University of Washington, somewhere between the 15th and 22nd best university in the world, depending on who you talk to, is offering free tuiton - FREE - to lower income state residents- about 5000 every year.

Rewarding hard work with opportunity, regardless of social class: Crazy. Crazy wicked good.

Props to Univ. of North Carolina, which pioneered a similiar program two years ago.

Of course, what's about to happen is that tuition will go up - the play is that the U would be allowed raise tuition for those who can afford it closer to the prevailing rate, which is, um, rather a bit more. But if the idea is that the UW undercharged parents who really could afford it, and this is an excellent tradeoff that results in greatly expanded opportunities.

Why am I a Democrat? This stuff - powerful, competitive public education, rivaling the best universities in the world, making a state better, more prosperous, more equal, and more generous. Why not everywhere in America? Why not everywhere in the world?

Robert Hughes and What You Might Call Your Art There

Explain your bad art to this face.

Robert Hughes serious, hilarious and readable Time art critic for many years, has a new autobiography. (NYT) The Washington Post review is more to the point.

Comparing the careers of J. Seward Johnson Jr. and Jeff Koons, he once said, was like debating the merits of dog excrement versus cat excrement — although Mr. Hughes would never use a word as flat and unevocative as excrement.

Hughes wrote the definitive, argumentative, popularizing work on the rise of modernism, Shock of the New, with it's famous attacks on Brasila,( a critique I share) and Picasso's Guernica (as a triumph of style over substance, even of a Nazi air raid, an understandable critique I don't share) He has long been a welcome antidote to ever-higher piles of ideological garbage in art, a rejection of the primacy of the word.

But he is far more than a contrarian:

"Art, I now realized, was the symbolic discourse that truly reached into me -- though the art I had seen and come to know in Australia had only done this intermittently and weakly. It wasn't a question of confusing art with religion, or trying to make a religion out of art. As some people are tone-deaf, I was religion-deaf, and in fact I would have thought it a misuse, even a debasement, of a work of art to turn it into a mere ancillary, a signpost to some imagined, hoped-for, but illusory experience of God. But I was beginning, at last, to derive from art, from architecture, and even from the beauty of organized landscape a sense of transcendence that organized religion had offered me -- but that I had never received."

Fine Hughes quotes:

The greater the artist, the greater the doubt. Perfect confidence is granted to the less talented as a consolation prize.

October 10, 2006

Tuesday Evening Corrections

Dr. X again posts this from the Mean Regression Archives at Stanford (0-5, 1-4 against the spread) University:

"TMQ is confused. Lacking a reliable metric for rating quarterbacks, he falls back on hearsay and anecdote.

"He opines that 'soon novice Green Bay head coach Mike McCarthy will face a dilemma he surely dreads: whether to bench his famed quarterback...a case can be made for handing the ball to Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay's quarterback of the future, and letting Rodgers get some experience so that 2007 might be a winning season for the Packers.'

"Ha! I say. There is no dilemma. There is nothing to dread. Favre is an average NFL quarterback, with a middle-of-the-pack 5.0 IAYPA. That's better than 1/2 the men who take the field every Sunday. He is the player who gives the Packers the best chance to win the game. Surely Mr. Easterbrook would never recommend a team deliberately make itself worse? Yet that is exactly what this ill-informed 'play Aaron Rodgers' policy would do.

"Then, denouncing McNabb, he says 'throwing little dinky-dunk passes when the length of the football is needed is going to come back to haunt this team, you mark my words.'

"Now you mark my words mister - the ball moves forward an average of twenty-seven feet every time Donovan McNabb puts the ball in the air. That's not a dinky-dunk, chump, it's the best YPA and IAYPA in the NFL. Get your facts straight man! Or did Rush Limbaugh start working for the Brookings Institution?

"The argument is so bad, it is wrong even if it is right. Let's say Philadelphia is living off dinky-dunk passes...so did the 49ers in their heyday, and I didn't notice too much punishment from the football gods.

"Alas, Easterbrook makes a valid, but unpleasant point when he notes that 'Seattle has a winning record despite being outscored.' The mean regression vultures are circling patiently, Mr. Holmgren..."

October 09, 2006

The First Third

Dr. X posts this from the Mean Regression Archives at Stanford (0-5, 1-4 against the spread) University:

"Football season is now a third over, give or take a game.

"And, after two years of relative stability at the top of the IAYPA rankings, a changing of the guard is underway.

"At the top we find a new old face, Donovan McNabb, whose IAYPA of 8.8 is two standard deviations above the league average. The chance that this a fluke result and McNabb is just an average quarterback who got lucky for a few games is roughly the same as the chance of being hit by lightning while wearing a rubber suit in your basement. (Not that there's anything wrong with that.)

"McNabb's awesome this year. He has about the same number of attempts as Brad Johnson, but almost 500 more yards. He has about the same number of attempts as Cleveland's Charlie Frye, but instead of nine interceptions, he has one. One. Yes, I know the right of free travel, but I'm saying...ONE. That's how good he is. And oh yes, 11 TDs.

"Kudos to #2 Mark Bulger (7.45), who has about the same number of attempts as McNabb and zero interceptions, but is averaging 7.5 yards per completion (a very good number) compared to McNabb's somewhat mind-boggling 9.1.

"The rest of the best:
  • "#3: Yakima's own Damon Huard (7.39), come on down! Fewer attempts than McNabb and Bulger, but 5 TDs and no INTs. With 10 years in the league he now qualifies as a wily veteran. Candidate for mean regression since a lot of the damage was against the 49ers.
  • "#4: Rex 'The Truth' Grossman (7.2). A confident, mobile quarterback with a strong arm who doesn't make many mistakes. I've seen enough - Rex can play.
  • #5: David Carr, Peyton Manning, and Mark Brunnell (6.9). Hats off to Carr - sacked 15 times, he still has delivered the goods.
"Sad tales:
  • "Andrew Walter (1.6). You know, Brett Favre is not having a good year. He leads the league in attempts (203) but has thrown five interceptions, giving him a below-average IAYPA of 5.1. That mediocre. But Walter has six interceptions in 78 attempts - that's bad. Remember how I used to say Randy Moss would help Oakland's new quarterback post good numbers? I don't say that anymore...
  • "Vince Young (2.0).
  • "Ben Roethlisberger (2.2). No, really. The man who threw only seven interceptions all of last year has thrown seven in his first four games. Arrogance? Brain damage? I don't know, but wear those helmets, kids.
  • "Kerry Collins (2.8). I don't like Randy Moss, but the people who throw to him get a lot worse after he leaves. Collins looked ok last season, starting well and finishing with an average IAYPA. This year he's terrible. The same thing happened to Culpepper last year - his performance collapsed after he and Moss left the Vikings. Mike Tice is onto something: Randy would like to be traded, and unlike Owens, he could help a good team without destroying it. He is still capable of delivering on the field.
"Other notes:
  • "Culpepper's play is not as bad as people say. He's in the top 15 on IAYPA (6.9) despite being sacked a league-leading 21 times.
  • "Some old guys are looking in the rearview mirror. Bledsoe (4.2) and Plummer (4.3) are both vulnerable, as their backups had excellent IAYPAs in preseason. Despite the hype, McNair (4.6) hasn't played well, and neither has Michael Vick (4.7).
  • "You know who else sucks right now? Matt Hasselbeck (4.0). Seven INTs, same as Roethlisberger. Of course I'd rather have his 6 TDs than Roethlisberger's zero... Last year Hasselbeck started off ok and got better as the year went on. Let's hope the pattern repeats itself.
"One other thing - Alex Smith (6.7) is for real."

October 08, 2006

Eminence in Town

Dr. X posts this from McSweeney's Bar & Grill in Foster City:

"John Hodgman, who is the man who is taking down The Man, is coming to your home town.

"Seattle, 10/11, Elliott Bay.
"San Francisco, 10/12, Cody's."

October 07, 2006


Speaker for the moment
Dennis Hastert is about to fall, and like one of the best sounds I've ever heard, the sound of a drunk teenager at a punk rock party on Hillside in Anchorage bursting through a door, stumbling, and falling into an enormous rhubarb patch, the reverberations will be... hilarious.

Enter The Departed

Dr. X posts this from a graveyard in Hong Kong:

"Always ahead of the trends, this blog noted the excellent Hong Kong film Infernal Affairs back in 2004 (see the Laird's review here).

"Now The Departed, Scorcese's remake for the American market, has arrived. Reviews are good - reading between the lines it may be so good some critics don't quite get it yet. The Chronicle critic gives it a good-ish review, then says "when I walked out of 'The Departed' and left the San Francisco Centre, Mission Street looked like a very evil place. In fact, everything looked evil and dangerous, until I went home and had a drink."

"That doesn't sound good-ish to me, that sounds great-ish.

"I'm too scared to go see it, so I'll see what you all say first."

October 06, 2006

You Go, Josh!

Talking Points Memo: by Joshua Micah Marshall October 6, 2006 05:24 PM

Late Update: Number of Democratic strategists who think Denny Hastert should remain Speaker through November 7th. 100%. That's my poll, not SurveyUSA. My methodology was to think about it for about 3 seconds. But I believe the margin of error is extremely low.

A Few Miscellaneous Thoughts

Dr. X posts this from the Miscellany Library at the Quentin Crisp Center for Advanced Raconteurship:

"This Foley thing has me all up in arms. This is a lot of gayness, even for the GOP.

"Here is the problem with Democracy, and it has been a problem since the Spartans took down the walls of Athens. (And you know about the Spartans.)

"A democracy needs a strong military. If you don't have a strong military other countries push you around, kick sand in your face, call you names. If you're not careful you start to enjoy it. And then you're not a democracy, you're just a naughty little bitch.

"So we need a strong military. And a strong military needs a strong military elite. And, from the time of Achilles, strong military elites have attracted gays the way a hot Ducati draws gawkers.

"What can you do? You've gotta clean house, early and often. You have to purge and purge or you're up to your ass in sweaty muscular men brandishing Barbara Streisand posters. What the hell do you think The Night of the Long Knives was about? Anyway, that taught them a lesson, and Hitler hardly had any further problems with gays after that.

"Then there was that little incident (the inspiration for the Monty Python cannibalism sketch) when they discovered about half the Royal Navy was

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"You never get rid of them completely. Society subconsciously needs its gay friends. So we create little roles for them to play, inconspicuous places in our ecosystem that accomodate strong, distant men of ambiguous sexual preference.

"Look, I'm not judging here, just observing. A few salient facts, that's all. And I know nothing about the man, but I know what I think of Tommy Franks' name.

"So let's gay up, folks. Its the only way to assure our freedom."

October 05, 2006

I Made That Mistake Once, Too

Dr. X posts this from Lake Wasapamanni:

"I remember thinking, as a teenager, that the only liberation from the suffering of life was in the oblivion of human effort. Maybe work makes you free, I thought. I never said this out loud, and a year or so later I learned they put it up on the gates of Auschwitz.

"This guy wasn't so lucky.

"The history of the phrase is interesting, though - I did not know it came out of Weimar."

October 04, 2006

Just to Be Clear

Dr. X posts this from the Center for Conservative Legal Hairsplitting:

"In Texas you may have a gun.

"You may have a cigarette.

"You may not have dildo.

"Because that would be harmful.

"I hope this clarifies things for you."

The Geometry of Beauty and the Corruption of California

There is in San Francisco a store I go to when I am sick for home and want to look at things that are good. It has not only toys of Tintin and Babar, but also books and music CDs. Today there is something new: the books of the Modernist architecture!

I ask there the man why a store of toy can have these things. “I like it just,” he says, “as far as I'm concerned, Tintin is just another example of good design. ”

Thus I gave him the money. I bought the Geometry of Design: Studies in Proportion and Composition, to show texts (purportingly!) fundamental forms of the essential geometry in nature, architecture, and furnishing at the house.

One year ago I would say, this book is refutation of Mr. Lord! All things - chairs, seashells, automatic manufacturers of coffee - are reducible in this test with the constellations of geometrical forms simple. The modernism is not manufacture simply of a house in the shape of a cube - triangles, and the circles are allowed too!

Even there is an analysis of a print of Jules Cheret showing his composition is based on a pentagram, the result of a pentagon reversed incribed in another pentagon. In America it is perhaps a problem, but since majority of the French are Satanists already it is without concern with us.

I always believe the centrality of geometry in all vision experience. It is natural to think of the first master, Corbusier, in this context. Corbusier is both the avatar and destruction of the movement - his powers too great for his control. Now they burn the buildings of his vision, and it is true he made prisons and served dictators. Perhaps he was trying to free Stalin's mind. Hhis design for the Palace of the Soviets is here - now you see he can understand: curves are not so bad. There are not only squares, but circles and spirals, too.

Maybe this is heresy, and I will be burned too. It is the corruption of this place California. Brecht said “The LA” was a place where “you can rot without feeling it. ” When I came to this place a man said to me that San Francisco purifies you completely or corrupts completely. Perhaps I was here too long. When I now look at a house I sometimes see just a house, when I look at a coffee maker maybe I want a coffee drink, when I look at a shell sometimes I see just a shell…

The Guardian offers more analysis of Modernism (I cannot have enough!) here.

October 03, 2006

"Welcome to Violence™, You Degraded Turd"

Back in 1999, Greg Costikyan, author of the roleplaying games Paranoia and Toon (as well as memorable game titles all the way back to the SPI era), published the most vicious satire of roleplaying game rules, roleplaying gamers, and the roleplaying game business:

Violence: the Roleplaying Game of Egregious and Repulsive Bloodshed

It's now available for free online. PDF here.

You will need some pencils. At some future time, you
will need Violence™ pencils, and no substitutes will be
permissible, but we haven’t found a licensee for the
pencil rights yet.

October 02, 2006

Great Moments in Journalism

Dr. X posts this from the offices of the Santa Monica Journalism Review:

"In modern journalistic practice it is considered good form, when illustrating an article about a hard-drinking Republican (Scientologist?) pedophile congressman, to use a picture of him, and not some other guy with the same last name."

October 01, 2006

A Minute of Centering

Dr. X posts this from the West Coast Offense Ashram in Santa Cruz:

"So often in our daily lives we transitory events upset us. It is important to constantly return to our breath, to our awareness, to be here now.

"So here is a video of Ken Hamlin smashing into people that perhaps will help you achieve this."

All Hail and Praise the Sum of All Monkeys!

Last night, at the house of the Sum of All Monkeys, I choked on something. At first I just coughed a bit, then something happened and I couldn't breathe. I started gasping and wheezing. A very small friend tried to help me, but I started getting tunnel vision and seeing stars.

Then I felt these strong arms around me and a few tugs and squeezes and heaves and I was fine.

The Sum of All Monkeys saved me! Or at least saved a large chunk of my brain cells, for I really fear I was about a minute away from passing out. Falling asleep, I (weirdly enough) heard Elton John singing to me: someone saved my life tonight.

Thanks SoAM! I am so lucky to have such smart and brave friends!

Next week, Dr. X and the emergency tracheotomy?

Anyone Want Some Battle-Hardened Wisdom?

Dr. X posts this from the Goodwill Store in Mountain View:

"Before I give my books away I like to troll on Amazon, on the threadbare hope that someone will want to buy something I have read. As there is not much market for Dutch treatises on the development of Techno in Namibia, I am usually disappointed.

"Here are the lowest current asking prices for some of the books I have for sale:
  • Dark Star Safari (hardcover), by Paul Theroux, $7.99
  • Amish Society, by John Hostetler, $5.89
  • In An Uncertain World (hardcover), by Robert Rubin: $1.86
  • The Rumsfeld Way: The Leadership Wisdom of a Battle-Hardened Maverick (hardcover), by Jeffrey Krames: $0.01
"Draw your own conclusions..."

A Pugacheva Miscellany

Dr. X posts this from the 8-track machine at the San Antonio Soviet Pop Music Appreciation Library:

"For the defense (see previous post), I present an apologist for Pugacheva. Certainly it is impressive to have a Finnish ocean liner (?!) named after you, and she was the last Peoples Honor Singer of the Soviet Union.

"For the prosecution, alas, the music (Realplayer clips at the bottom of the page). 'What can't be done by atom' does not live up to its promising title, and I found 'Our father bought a car' a bit disappointing. 'Applying all resources' has some admirable qualities, but I am not sure the singer is among them.

"When time permits I'm afraid a direct comparison of every relevant attribute will be necessary to determine whether she outshines Madonna. I pray I have the strength to live that long."