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September 21, 2002
Soothing Image:
A snap from a recent trip up north, to Lake Tahoe. (click to zoom)

Weird News:
Mexico City police will fight crime while wearing sombreros.
(login with annoying/annoying)

September 18, 2002
Many are aware that when Williard Scott was merely local on-air talent Inside the Beltway, he was the first Ronald McDonald, in the 1960s. Did you know he also did Saturday morning television, as an emcee named Commander Retro ? Although the cheesy images are good for yucks, this news doesn't much interest me; but a half-Williard link at the bottom is fascinating -- there's an on-line shrine to the Joy Boys! (They were a team on DC radio in the 1950s & MOR 60s.)

Pooh-san is now the most popular char in Japan -- bigger than Mickey Mouse.

More spherical-crafts how-to: Build a Tensegrity Dodecahedron -- with soda straws, paper clips and rubber bands.

September 16, 2002
I've just posted a temari how-to page, really just a sequence of photos illustrating the progress of a pattern I'm calling the Amsterdam. (Recently, theGirl snapped this photo of el Temari displayng all his balls, or at least those I haven't given away.)

September 12, 2002
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Moon is a faked-Apollo film and website, by that Tennessee yahoo Buzz Aldrin punched out.

Americans are badly served by semi-official media propaganda is a column by Mark Hertsgaard, an American journalist. His latest book is The Eagle's Shadow: Why America Fascinates and Infuriates the World.

But the world doesn't hate us, the American people. It is our government, our military, and our corporations that are resented. To anyone living outside the US, this may seem an obvious point. But we Americans are not used to drawing the distinction most outsiders do between Americans and America.
More excellent ranting against our media: In the Wake of 9-11, the American Press Has Embraced a 'Demented Caesarism' (by Mark Crispin Miller, author of The Bush Dyslexicon).


Progressive Irrelevance? by Anis Shivani

The left thinks of Bush as an idiot. He is, but only in the sense of not being intellectual. He is the smartest fascist to come down the pike in a long while, and has completely outwitted the opposition. As long as progressives continue to grant the basic premises of the "war on terrorism" -- that it is a "war" and that we're fighting "terror" -- it will wage a losing struggle.

Stepford Citizen Syndrome: Top 10 Signs Your Neighbor is Brainwashed by Maureen Farrell. Also, Ten Reasons Why Many Gulf War Veterans Oppose Re-Invading Iraq, by an anonymous veteran of that conflict.

September 10, 2002
Yahoo!News report --
Researchers have inserted a green fluorescent protein (GFP) gene from jellyfish into mice' hair: humans next?

The musical hefalumps of Thailand (with MP3s). (They're kinda slow.)

The latest from Noam, suggests draining the swamps.

Incredibly detailed 9-11 Timeline, at UnansweredQuestions.org -- lots of stuff here ya don't hear about in the mainstream.

A term I only recently learned, for something I invoke frequently: the 5-Second Rule (.pdf file, link via The Gus.)

September 5, 2002
Ever heard of Tranzis? I guess I'm one -- that's short for Transnational Progressive... those disdainful of "one-worlders" have created the label (with its implied Nazi-"z" put-down). This article by Richard Poe explains more, and a set of three in Foreign Policy (by Kofi, Noam and Ruth Wedgewood) wonder, What Is the International Community? I'd say it's what we humans must evolve into, if we're ever to achieve the Star Trek dream. This means transcending the age of the nation-state, and according to The Soverign Individual (a book I've mentioned previously, which I think everyone should read) we entered the closing phase of that era when the Berlin wall came down.

The Troubling New Face of America -- excellent column from today's Washington Post by former President Carter.
Hmmm... we've seen recent linkage here about Mick, Jimmy and Slate... can there be some convergence? Yes! From Seth's travels in Kashmir (last week in Slate):

Stan [Armington] once took Jimmy Carter on a trek to Everest base camp in the mid-1980s. He says the ex-president (and ex-nuclear-engineer) could read a topographic map like nobody's business. There were 35 Secret Service agents on the trek taking shifts, and they all got altitude sickness. (Stan also once took Mick Jagger on a trek, but Mick gave up after two days.)

From the Onion: Who Will Bring Closure to a Grieving Nation? Also, MS-NBC asks, Why do cell phones make us stupid?

September 4, 2002
Forgot to mention the audiophile angle relating to the Stones' catalog re-release: although they'll be playable as normal CDs, these are also SACDs -- there's a format war ongoing between Mick Sony / Philip’s SACD media, and DVD-Audio, which is supported by AOL/Time-Warner. (Slate column, all about these Super Audio Compact Disks.) For a view into the world of Sir Mick & the lads today, check this New Yorker article (its focus is Jagger's fashions).

September 2, 2002
The Rolling Stones ABKCO catalog was re-released last week -- this is the material I call 'Blue Label Stones' because it was originally on London records (as opposed to their own label, which was yellow, beginning with "Sticky Fingers" in 1971.) This era could also be characterized as the Brian Jones Rolling Stones, and it's far superior to what came after, IMO. Everything's been remixed, and included are stereo versions of several songs generally available only in mono or that bogus 'reprocessed' stereo (treble on one side, bass on the other). No bonus tracks, however; there wasn't much chance that Cocksucker Blues would be included.

The Chitty Experience is a public record of the kinds of things you think about when you have to listen to the soundtrack of "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" every day, sometimes twice a day.

Also from last week, a Zompist rant about Mac vs. Windows (which, unlike most such, comes out in favor of the latter).

August 28, 2002
Shop Till Eggs, Diapers, Toothpaste Drop is the NY Times report about an automated kombini, or C-Store, called Shop2000. One of the first was unveiled yesterday in Adams-Morgan. Do they realize that rather than futuristic, the 2K now signifies a naïve, happier age? (Remember: use annoying/annoying to get in -- this also works at the Nando Times, a news site which just yesterday started insisting on registration.)

Comics by Derek Kirk (or Gim Ji-Hoon), a Korean-American. Lots of good stuff there.

Slate slide show about the designs on the new quarters. (This is a deep link; there's a lead-in story, easy enough to locate). For all the latest data concerning these curiously intriguing coins, see Coin World's statequarters.com .

Last Thursday, the shrub held a fundraiser in downtown Portland. The magnitude of the demonstration outside surprised his handlers, according to Salon. (Another report about the fracas from a more biased source.) Don Joughin took his kids, expecting a peaceful protest (?) -- here's his story, with photos and message board, about how he and his were pepper-sprayed by the police.

August 26, 2002
Over the course of a few days last week, I spent several hours sitting on Tower Record's floor (since they've removed all their comfortable chairs, to thwart shoppers like me, who've come to perceive today's extremely well-stocked bookstores as the library). My mission was inspecting each page of the two new All-American Ads volumes from Taschen -- they're the size of phone books, and quite fascinating. One's for the 1940s and the other, the 1950s. To see samples of the sort I was absorbing, check this Ephemera Now page -- it's a matrix of cleverly-cropped thumbnails.

Don't Canadians call those inflatable "Moon-Bounce" chambers people rent for kids' parties "bouncy castles"? In England, they have a bouncy cathedral.

August 22, 2002
In the words of Chuck Taggart,
(To be sung to the tune of the "Hallelujah Chorus".)
The odious Georgian Bob Barr has been ousted from the US Congress. Unfortunately, the other Republican who defeated him in the primary doesn't sound much better. Despite that, though, it's nice to see the Karma Kops catch up with Barr.

Some Canadian's Open Letter to America everybody's linking to, and Wil Wheaton's response. Speaking of Wesley: tonight, up in the City, at the DNA Lounge, he'll climb into the ring for a celebrity boxing match against Barney, the Purple Dinosaur -- an EFF benefit. Sounds like fun, but I won't be there.

My dictionary says "nostalgia" is "a bittersweet longing for things, persons, or situations of the past," or being homesick -- it seems many interpret the word as meaning 'longing for their own past' and would like a different word to characterize the yearning for ages before they were born. Andy thought a term for this was 'minivercheevy' but John clarifies: it's a poem called Miniver Cheevy by Edwin Arlington Robinson. (On Minver Cheevy has various reactions -- literary commentary.) Craig Lambert discusses the history and two different different types of nostalgia in Same As It Never Was: reflective and restorative.

August 20, 2002
The Radioactive Rambos page is part of Paul Brians' Nuke Pop, a more somber, linear brother to CONELRAD -- cultural artifacts documenting Cold War hysteria of the Atomic Age.

Aerospace News from the Fringe:
US Defense Department airships? Big Black Deltas: Investigation Casts Light on the Mysterious Flying Black Triangle. Also, a few days back the Washington Times reported how NASA plans to read terrorist's minds at airports --
Space technology would be adapted to receive and analyze brain-wave and heartbeat patterns, then feed that data into computerized programs "to detect passengers who potentially might pose a threat."
NASA Watch has posted some better information about this story.

August 16, 2002
Man Conquers Space -- what if the 1950s Colliers articles had come true? A film is being made; not finished yet, but you can get an idea of what they're up to.

Global warmth for US after 9/11 turns to frost, even among the British -- USA Today article says that
many Europeans have started using the phrase "that's American" [as] shorthand for "not taking anyone else into consideration."

August 14, 2002
Amazing photo (with explanation) of a space shuttle launch plume, illuminated by the setting sun, with the moon.

August 11, 2002
Worried about suitcase nukes? A site by Russ Kirk called the Memory Hole lists suppressed news stories -- it says that according to JFK and a recent Time magazine article, the Soviets assembled one inside their DC embassy, for doomsday, from components smuggled in via the diplomatic pouch. If this is true, it's probably still there.

August 9, 2002
According to nausicaa.net, Miyazaki will attend the "Spirited Away" premiere on September 10th at el Capitan, Disney's flagship cinema on Hollywood Blvd.

In the Washington Monthly: Confidence Men -- "Why the myth of Republican competence persists, despite all the evidence to the contrary", by Joshua Micah Marshall.

Laurent Murawiec is this week's Name in The News. The analyst from Rand (which disavows all knowledge) and GW faculty member (who has no classes) gave a briefing at the Pentagon advocating the overthrow of the royal house of Saud. Tuesday's Washington Post article about the briefing, with Saudi reaction; Wednesday's more direct Slate article reprinted the content of his Powerpoint slides, and has more background, including the LaRouche connection. (Slate labels Murawiec a 'nutbag'. "Egypt the Prize.")

August 7, 2002
Illustrated LA Weekly article about riding the rails: The Hobohemians -- On the rails with the new freedom riders:
The grizzled old hobos may be dying off, but they're being replaced in boxcars and on the porches of grain cars by street kids, gutter punks, dreamy anarchists and eco-warriors, train-obsessed professionals, all held loosely together by a vision of freedom as old as the nation itself, an America of movement and self-reliance, of mythic vastness and silence, of discovery, escape, rebellion. It's an America that was offered long ago and never delivered, that we're all supposed to love but not allowed to look for, that's just around the corner and always out of reach.
Hallelujah, I'm a Bum -- summary of Smithsonian magazine's article from four years ago, about the old days, during the Depression.

Weekly Standard article: Patio Man and the Sprawl People, by David Brooks:
Cutting through the landscape are broad commercial thoroughfares with two-tier, big-box malls on either side. In the front tier is a line of highly themed chain restaurants that all fuse into the same Macaroni Grill Olive Outback Cantina Charlie Chiang's Dave & Buster's Cheesecake Factory mélange of peppy servers, superfluous ceiling fans, free bread with olive oil, and taco salad entrees.


Cat and Girl -- comics by Dorothy Gambrell.

  Free Online Barcode Generator.

August 5, 2002
Way back when I was a daily cyclist, pre-automotive, I'd heard about how Davis, California was the most pro-bike place in the country -- incentives, bike paths everywhere, etc. I've yet to visit the place (it's somewhere out beyond the East Bay), but Geoff has a friend up there, and confirms it -- says the local police cars sport this logo, oddly familiar to fans of "The Prisoner."

On August 1st, the interplanetary magnetic field near Earth suddenly turned south -- a condition that renders Earth's magnetosphere vulnerable to solar wind gusts. A G2-class geomagnetic storm began soon after. Sky watchers in Canada and parts of the United States saw colorful auroras on August 2nd. The storm continued fitfully until August 4th.
See snapshots of those recent skies at the Aurora Gallery.

Feel the Heat -- a premonition from the year 2007?

August 2, 2002
This week, the source of Slate's diary entries is Seth, writing from Thailand -- fascinating! Start at the beginning -- his description of Bangkok traffic is the same as I observed in Kuala Lumpur, just down the peninsula:
At red lights, all the motorbikes filter through the cars up to the front, making every change to green look like the start of a motocross race.

August 1, 2002
This brief weblog entry concerns HavenCo, and has a photo, the first I've ever seen of that WWII platform off the coast of England, also known as the independent state of Sealand.

Always enjoy reading James Fallows. He just completed a three-part dialogue with Kevin Phillips, author of the new Wealth and Democracy: A Political History of the American Rich. ("Make your blood boil? Well I should say..." Begin with part one.) The Atlantic also dredged up a piece he wrote for them in 1982, Living With a Computer, where he described how life changed after he acquired a $4000 multi-component system he used as a word processor, running a program called "The Electric Pencil."

July 31, 2002
John Stossel of ABC News: US Government’s War on Drugs Fails.

Quoted verbatim, from Memepool:
Does it seem like there's a lot of crop circles this year? Disney Pictures is now being accused of creating numerous fakes for its upcoming movie, "Signs." There's certainly a lot of interest. So why hasn't it been in the news more?

In Britain, station wagons are refered to as "Estate Cars" or Shooting Brakes? (Lots of photos of tasty customs, if you follow that link.) Or, those terms may just be what they call Woodies -- it's not too clear.

July 30, 2002
This to That is a simple, informative page where you use pulldowns to specify two types of surfaces, and hit the "Let's Glue!" button to get the best adhesives to stick 'em together.

Exit Here features photos of Route 66 and other nostalgia: Motel signs, old cars, even some guys's snapshots of his CCC experience.

July 28, 2002
A new fixture in these parts, visible while driving 'round, is some poor minimal-wage shmoe standing at the curb, waving a sign -- their usual employer, an over-priced, nearby apartment complex, now desperate to fill vacancies -- I've also spotted someone hired by a Subway franchise, wearing a happy-sandwich outfit; and just today I saw someone with a sign reading "Golf Liquidation," a going-out-of-business phrase which has also become a common sight here.

July 26, 2002
According to guest BoingBoing blogger Xeni Jardin,
Since i-mode was first introduced in Japan, mobile phone users there have used text emoticons called emoji to send dense messages in fewer bytes. Top providers DoCoMo, J-Phone and AU/KDDI have begun offering proprietary sets of emoji characters enabling two users on the same service to send messages to one another on the go without conventional text. Thanks to recent introductions of new colorful, cool, animated emoji sets, speed-obsessed keitai (mobile phone users) are evolving a rich, all-pictographic, shorthand language.
These are just some I like; she put up a couple strings, and decodes the message they convey. They're specified with four-digit key sequences, shown in the following tables: DoCoMo (boring selection, but with English text); J-phone, and a J-Sky supplement (click pages 4, 5, & 6).

Tick Tock Toys, Archives and Galleries has scans of a multitude of archaic products -- for example, a whole section on Pillsbury "Funny Face" packets, organized by years-of-issue series. They're cross-referenced on this Drinks page, which also shows the "Fizzies" and "Flav-r Straws" I remember fondly from my childhood. Where else can you see a Shake-a-Pudd'n image? Dan Goodsell's apparently been stashing away this stuff for decades; now the Internet gives him the opportunity to display his collection.

July 24, 2002
More political ranting...
From an excellent interview with Mark Crispin Miller, author of The Bush Dyslexicon, contrasting with the media's treatment of Clinton:
The double standard is mind-boggling. On the one hand, the media went to town on Whitewater, which was a petty matter to begin with and turned out to be entirely legal -- just like "Filegate," "Travelgate," "Troopergate," and all the other so-called "scandals" that had actually been fabricated by the right.

On Bush's actual transgressions, on the other hand, the media have kept politely mum: his theft of the election; his team's excessive closeness to Big Oil, the weapons manufacturers and the Saudis; his lax response to the repeated warnings of a terrorist attack; his flight into the Heartland on 9/11; his team's many links to Enron; and his own bald-faced lies about his tight relationship with Kenneth Lay. Only now, finally, has the press begun to press him on his history of shady business dealings, because the economic mess is undeniable -- but even here they pull their punches.

For whatever reasons, they were always quick to lambaste Clinton over trivial things, where nothing was at stake. In this case, everything's at stake. The dangers are enormous.

The lie about Monica was trivial. It affected no one. It was unimportant. It was a private matter, period. The lie about Ken Lay pertained to a momentous issue. It had to do with the thousands of Enron employees who had lost their pensions. It had to do with the systematic fleecing of a multitude of shareholders. It had to do with corporate chicanery on a gigantic scale, and, as we would soon find out, it was by no means an anomaly, but just one symptom of a corporate epidemic.

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