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December 20, 2002
Man And His World is an official Canadian archive documenting the Montreal fair. Contrast with the personal recollections at Jeffrey Stanton's Expo 67 site.

Here's something new in my "miscellaneous" section, a small group of photo pages featuring old buildings familiar from neighborhood walkabouts: Mountain View Views.

The Green Fairy has arrived! All about absinthe, its history and New Orleans, and how chemist Ted Breaux is working to bring the real beverage back -- he's reverse-engineered the original, and its smuggling is apparently of a very low priority, to US Customs. Says the louche effect (which occurs when the water's mixed with the absinthe) was heightened in the old days by the antimony trichloride additive, which doesn't sound good -- it's interesting, that word "louche" -- my dictionaruy says it means "Of questionable taste or morality." For more info and links see Chuck Taggart's What is Absinthe? page.

Another question: What is the "Big Dig"? Sure, I've heard of it, biggest construction undertaking ever, so forth; but since Boston is way beyond my usual orbit, I've never really had a grasp of what they're doing up there, until now. Basically, they're burying a couple of freeways; finally, a 'virtual tour' site offers a map, the first I've ever encountered in years of reading about this thing -- the usual illustration accompanying such is like that at the top of this John Pike article which reports that incredibly, the project already is more than 40 years old.

December 19, 2002
Norman Mailer holds forth on 'flag' vs. 'values' conservatives, among other things, in I Am Not For World Empire":
Flag conservatives are not Christians. They are, at best, militant Christians, which is, of course, a fatal contradiction in terms. They are a very special piece of work, but they are not Christians. The fundament of Christianity is compassion, and it is usually observed by the silence attendant on its absence. Well, the same anomaly is true of the Muslims. Islam, in theory, is an immensely egalitarian religion. It believes everyone is absolutely equal before God. But the reality, no surprise, is something else. A host of Arab leaders, who do not look upon their poor people in any way as equals, make up a perfect counterpart to the way we live with Christianity. We violate Christianity with every breath we take. So do the Muslims violate Islam. We are speaking of war between two essentially unbalanced inauthentic theologies. So, it may prove to be an immense war. A vast conflict of powers is at the core and the motives of both sides are inauthentic which, I expect, makes it worse.

December 18, 2002
Meet Tissue-San, and all his friends! (Then scroll down, hit "home" and explore more -- lots of Japanesey kawaii goodness here!)

End of the year, so it's time for lists: The 50 Most Loathsome People in America, 2002; by the Beast.

December 15, 2002
Ten hopeful cracks in the Bush façade by Bernard Weiner. Plus: one of this season's hottest gifts -- the shrub action figure! It even talks!

From whence came "Choo-Choo Cherry"? Offensive Snacks of Yore explains.

December 13, 2002
At the Sunnyvale Borders on my lunch break: a little holiday shopping, actually found an empty chair & was engrossed in The Big Book of the Unexplained (reading about the Crystal Skull), when a distracting male voice came on the loudspeaker, announcing that, available for book signings up by the front register: Kenneth Starr! I stood up, looked over, and there he was, sitting at a little table, all alone, surrounded by stacks of his new book on the Supreme Court. I analyzed my feelings about this media figure, who'd so enraged me just a few years past, and now he was just a footnote, yesterday's news, ignored. After a while, drifting around close by, I decided that (at a minimum) I had to do something, maybe ask why he didn't take that job at Pepperdine, do us all a favor; but he'd attracted an adoring sycophant who kept on hovering about, so eventually I just left.

December 12, 2002
Are you an IT worker, leaving town for the holidays? In Unix shops like mine, people use the "vacation" command, which causes the creation of automated "I'm gone" replies to any emails they receive, advising when I'll return... perhaps this is not such a bright idea? Burglars using 'out of office' auto-reply emails to find empty homes.
"You wouldn't go on holiday with a note pinned to your door saying who you were, how long you were away for and when you were coming back, so why would you put this in an email?"

The AgoraPhone -- call 617-253-6237 and anything you say is audible in a public part of the MIT campus, piped out of a horn-sculpture which reminds me of the voice of authority's apparatus on the "Teletubbies."

dubyadubyadubya.com has a great Flash message about America's having technical difficulties, Please Stand By.

December 8, 2002
The Duct Tape wallet is complete how-to instructions, from 3M Canada. Sounds like a good idea, but this would never work for me -- my wallet rides in my hip pocket, I realize how easy an aging ductape repair sags, exposing that icky-sticky adhesive -- yucko.

More fun from our Canadian chums to the north: The Human Powered Move -- very heart-warming. It's about changing somebody's address by a couple miles, strictly with pedal power. Night falls and it begins to snow, but after five trips -- well, see for yourself. (It's a slow-loader, but a good design, I thought.)

The evolution of bizarre machines that walk when powered by gusts of wind is kinetic art by Theo Jansen, as reported in Popular Science -- three amazing photos.

December 6, 2002
Hmmm... I see the juggernaut of Amazon has assimilated CD Now, but CD Universe still seems to be independent. The latter got my business early on, just 'cause it seemed like the underdog, but then they lost a bunch of credit card numbers in their database to theives who allegedly sold them, so I changed my number and never ordered from them again. Instead, now, of late I've used (ahem) Amazon.

December 5, 2002
Salon's Joe Conason details how someone successfully put Rush down, on his own show, in reaction to his mocking John Kerry, in Squawk Radio.

Press release:
Radio Shack Ends Long-Standing Tradition of Asking for Names, Addresses at Checkout

Yahoo photos:
The Naked Cowboy in Times Square (in the snow -- brrr, shivery!) (from another angle)

December 3, 2002
Bush Anything But Moronic, According to Author Mark Miller, NYU professor of culture and communications -- "I call him the feel bad president, because he's all about punishment and death."

Robert Redford's LA Times lead editorial: The Highest Patriotism Lies in Weaning US From Fossil Fuels.

Jethro's hoping to strike gold with "Beverly Hillbillies" penny slots -- check this article, if only for the weird photo of Max Baer in repose.

November 30, 2002
30 science gifts for under $100 from Scientific American (coal from the Titanic?!) and 15 Dangerous Toys That The World Needs Back.

The Mainichi Daily News has a Japanese Ice Cream slide show -- it's the container lids of unusual flavors, with commentary in English.

November 27, 2002
"I will not sell the chocolates."
This review of The Chocolate Wars: Inside the Secret Worlds of Mars and Hershey has interesting details concerning both houses, and their product.
Mars does not make chocolate bars with peanut butter. Why? [Follow the link, or read the book.] It is one reason why Hershey is winning the chocolate war.

That "Cloaca" art-machine described in the previous post, just below... does it belch, and fart? I wonder if it converts its food input into actual red blood cells -- I read somewhere that most of what we poop is dead red blood cells. (Also -- another old Straight Dope column explains anal retentive, a term which came up recently in a discussion I had with my parents.)

November 23, 2002
Cloaca (named after the sewer in ancient Rome) is a working digestive system made of glass tanks, tubes, and pumps, created by artist Wim Delvoye. Each day, a full meal is poured in its "mouth" (a funnel), and as the food works its way through the system, it's subject to the same chemicals and digestive processes found in the body. At the end of the 27-hour process, the resulting feces is ejected onto a conveyor belt. (At some galleries they were selling the stools at $1000 a pop).

Justin's published a speculative new article, From Weblog to Moblog, about new trends like mobile blogging. This "Invisible Shoebox" comic grapples with the Big Question: Just what exactly is a weblog? In one variation, instead of people posting written blurbs, they're putting up a bunch of photos to document their days... an excellent example is Ziboy in Beijing -- he catches lots of faces amid urban views.

Groceteria.net is an in-depth web-shrine to American supermarket architecture and history.

November 21, 2002
More about the Traser GlowRing -- USA import is forbidden because they contain radioactive tritium gas. Products containing this heavy water vapor don't seem to be illegal here, however -- check this example of a tritium gunsight, an item I first heard of in survivalist James Wesley, Rawles' Triple Ought a few years ago, pre-Y2K -- said those come with a little thumbscrew which changes the scope's cross-hairs' color from red to green to yellow. Seems fantastic...

What Would Jesus Drive?
This article describes the new crusade, and Yahoo!News shows their Prius caravan in downtown Detroit. (For an unrelated, very different interpretation of the Lord's Will, see this Ampersand cartoon.)

November 20, 2002
According to Pravda, Sergey Korolev (the Soviet space program's 'Chief Integral' in The Right Stuff) studied a UFO which supposedly crashed near Kiev -- it was an ancient silver rocket which had inscriptions inside, in Sanskrit.

More on Ranger Hal: the reason I'm familiar with his show was The Space Explorers serial -- somebody's finally put up a page about it.

November 19, 2002
The maps at the Dialect Survey are fascinating -- here's my reactions to a sample:
  • #15: merry/Mary/marry -- I'm red on this one -- was surprised to learn (in one of my teaching-English classes that people say these words differently... when those who can discriminate are hearing a difference, I perceive no difference -- it's too subtle.
  • #72 -- I call them dust 'woofies' (which was not a choice offered)
  • #77, doing donuts -- I've actually met somebody from Nebraska who uses the "cookies" term, but... "whipping shitties"?
  • #80 -- "The devil is beating his wife"? (Strange -- I didn't know he was married)
  • #111 - last and first slice of a loaf of bread: "boot" is not a valid choice, but "nose" is -- the Nose? (I like the noses, for toast)


The dcmemories.com URL now bounces one into kidshow.dcboomer.com -- the last page of the Ranger Hal section has color photos.

William Shatner, techno-idiot -- a review of his latest book, Star Trek: I'm Working on That.

November 17, 2002
This rebuttal to that appalling Newsweek cover story, "Why TV Is Good For Kids," points out how the Washington Post, which owns Newsweek, also owns six television broadcast stations, as well as Cable ONE.

How to Break the American Trance is a speech given by 92-year-old "Granny D" Haddock, who walked across the US in 1999-2000 for campaign finance reform.
We Americans are split into two meaningful camps, [but] it is not conservative versus liberal. The two camps are these: the politically awake and the hypnotized -- hypnotized by television and other mass media, whose overpaid Svengalis dangle the swinging medallions of packaged candidates and oft-told lies. It is all done to politically prolong the open season on us -- open season indeed, as the billionaire takeover artists bag their catch for the day. And in their bags are our freedoms, our leisure, our health care futures, our old age security, our family time, our village life, our family-owned businesses on Main Street, the middle class itself, and our position of honor and peaceful leadership in the world.
Update on Joe Frank -- now he has his own site at joefrank.com -- it's a dark place, hard to read; enter it here to retain complete control of your browser. His catalog of streaming audio is available in there, too. Plus: Joe interview with Douglas Mcgowan, dated 1994.

November 14, 2002
While bopping around Concourse "B" of the Pittsburgh aerodrome yesterday, I came across a discarded Food section of the NY Times. The story on peculiar Rhode Island cuisine and its nomenclature was weird ('New York System' weenies? Cabinet = milk shake? Clam cake "stuffies"!?) but the real eye-opener was the Carbs in My Soup article about the ubiquity in NYC restaurants of the latest weight loss philosophy, which ideally induces ketosis -- the theory that a low-carb diet forces the body to burn stored fat.
"And the bad breath doesn't help either," said Ms. Hochwald, the health writer, referring to the "ketosis breath" many dieters experience. (Dr. Atkins recommends chewing parsley sprigs.)
I first encountered these ideas while reading about The Zone a few years back, and although I found that method way too regimented, I did retain some useful ideas concerning serving size, the needs to increase consumption of fresh produce and to cut back on the bread, rice and pasta -- but these Atkins people sound like they've gone off the deep end. I can't believe increasing fat intake is healthy; rather, one needs more sweat production to lose weight, as well as developing that anorexic ability of getting used to being hungry. It's what worked for me.

He's fed up with the red state mentality -- Will Durst wants California to C-Seed -- me too. That's why, rather than the stars&stripes, my vehicle's been sporting a California flag for several months now. And don't think we'd stop at mere secession: might as well liberate and annex Baja at the same time.

The word of the day is "Electroclash" -- came across it whilst spreading around some newsprint from an old Metro, for easy cleanup after some mundane chore. The term was coined by New York dj Larry Tee to characterize a retro sound... Can't understand the reaction of hostility some have towards "80s music" -- I thought it was and still is great. Tune out the negative tone of the great Electroclash swindle, to come to some understanding of what it is.

All about construction of the Military Tribute to Bob Hope in San Diego (with illustrations). Although they won't get one from me, they'd like a donation from you, to build this monument and its set of audio-animatronic Bobs.

Insect-obsessed artist Jan Fabre has tiled 1.4 million beetles onto a Belgian palace ceiling -- unveiled tomorrow, public display for one day only, Guardian story here (no illustrations, perhaps in tomorrow's news).

Some creepy photos of 'detainees' inside a C-130 military transport (on Art Bell's site), and a crisp Astro-Pic of a sunspot close-up snapped with the Swedish Solar Telescope last July.

November 7, 2002
Sam Smith on the losers:
For the [Democratic] party to recover, it must divorce itself from the con men who have done it so much damage. It must find its way back to the gutbucket, pragmatic populism that gave this country Social Security, a minimum wage, veterans' programs, the FHA, civil rights, and the war on poverty. It must jettison its self-defeating snobbism towards Americans who go to church or own a gun. It needs to be as useful to the voter in the cubicle as it once was to the voter on the assembly line. It must find a soul, a passion, and a sense of itself. Most of all, it must get rid of those false prophets and phony friends who have not only done it so much damage but have left the country fully in the hands of the cruel, the selfish, the violent, the dumb, and the anti-democratic.
That's the concluding paragraph of The Party's Over, just published in his Progressive Review -- well worth reading, today and any day.

The Joe Frank web page at KCRW was updated recently: now all it says is "www.kcrw.com no longer houses Joe Frank's shows on its website." But the crafty Internaut, peering into this page's HTML, can see all their old RealAudio links, commented out -- and they still work! No need to go to so much trouble, however -- this site mirrors the original page. And if you're not into streaming audio, Bob Lee's site has MP3 files for almost everything, with more submissions (via FTP) encouraged. (I'm currently in the process of harvesting that data, for to burn my first CD using the marvelous Mac machine.) But -- what happened to Joe? The following is from an indirect posting of last Sunday to the message board of the Joe Frank Network:
Hello, everyone. I want to express my appreciation for your continued interest in my work--in spite of the fact that I've produced no new programs for over a year. I'm in the process of writing a piece--you might even call it a "full disclosure"--of what happened between me and KCRW. The story is alternately funny, emotionally wrenching and ludicrous (among other things) and none of the principles involved escapes scathing scrutiny, including myself. When I think about a central theme, it's about betrayal and the lies people tell themselves and others in order to justify their behavior.


From the Color of Cool in Business 2.0, about the more desirable instrument illuminations:

... an association between blue and high-end audio dates back to 1923. In that year, product inspectors at German radiomaker Ideal began to daub a blue dot on earphones that met their standards. The mark became so identified with quality that in 1938 the company changed its name to Blaupunkt -- literally, blue dot.


About the new Hitchcock movie mosaics at the Leytonstone tube station, in London.

November 5, 2002
Six sushi essays by Chef Chip -- the even numbers are Tuna Tuna Tuna (which mentions albacore, or binnaga -- this is what's canned... if you're ever offered this "white tuna" at a sushi place, give it a go: can be better than yellowtail); California Roll (which identifies its source); and Salmon Sushi. Quite informative.

While idly surfing I came across this lengthy post to the Making Light weblog about fraud, how there's only about a half-dozen actual confidence games.

These scams take the forms they do because they're parodies--no, a better way to put it: they're cargo-cult effigies--of the deals the ruling class cut for themselves. If you're an insider, if you have the secret, you can have a job where you make heaps of money for very little work. Of course people believe it. After all, they vaguely know this sort of thing happens. It just doesn't happen to them. But why shouldn't they be the lucky ones, this time around?

Speaking of fraud this election day, The Election is a weblog devoted to cataloging incidents of dirty tricks involving the voting process.

November 3, 2002
Pete Townsend reacts to the recently-published journals of Kurt Cobain, musing on "stinking thinking," Nirvana, and death in the rock industry.

Sally and Johnny have a web-site:
Black People Love Us!

October 31, 2002    
Global Public Announcement! A mystery site whose URL is March 8, 2003 says to "Be patient and all will be revealed." Photographs are involved.

The Traser GlowRing is
A small hollow glass tube, which has been internally coated with a phosphorous material, injected with a special gas and then sealed by a laser. The gas inside the tube excites the phosphor, which creates a cold light that will glow for ten years without any external power source.
Sorry, but "due to international regulations regarding this product" they won't ship it out of the UK. So what makes it a ring?

October 30, 2002
To commemorate the anniversary of the Cuban Missle Crisis, the Washington Post has posted PDFs of the complete daily editions for that last October week of 1962 -- very interesting. (Of course, all I've read so far is the comics -- refreshing, seeing Moon Mullins again... and Penny!)

From Jim Knipfel's review of a new coffee-table book edited by Diane Keaton called Clown Paintings, which has thrift-shop illustrations as well as essays by various celebrities --
Coulrophobia is the official psychological term given to the irrational fear of clowns.
Yeah, but what about loathing? That's the word to know.

October 28, 2002
Went camping in a Big Sur redwood grove this weekend -- very pleasant. Being privately-owned, the campground allows campfires, contained within wide, ten-inch-high metal rings, although you must supply your own wood. Gazing at a fire can be one of the most relaxing things there is.

Astro-pic: the Richat Structure is a round, geological feature of the Sahara, visible from space.

The Carter Hummingbird aerobatic aircraft seems close to reality -- a radical design.

According to someone at Slate,
"President Bush" is, of course, a metaphor. Much Washington political commentary and analysis is basically a discussion of what or whom the term "President Bush" is a metaphor for. Is it Karl Rove? Is it still Karen Hughes, although she has decamped? Even more than most presidents, Bush is regarded as the sum total of his advisers.

October 25, 2002
Experienced an interesting little exhibit over on the Stanford campus, Enter the Dragon, which sounds like a 'king fu' movie... rather, China in the 20th Century. It provoked some vexillological research into pre-modern Chinese flags, triggered by the sight of a striking non-Communist red banner in some of the pictures. Two decades ago, while watching "Chariots of Fire," I spotted an unfamiliar, striped flag in the 1924 Olympics scenes, similar to today's "fruit salad" banner denoting gay pride. This was China's flag at that time (and it represented the Manchurian, Han Chinese, Tibetan, Mongol, and Muslim peoples). The ever-wonderful "Flags of the World" site has a History of the Chinese Republic pages explaining all, if one probes around a bit. (The dragon flag is dynastic, pre-Republic -- it went away with "The Last Emperor." Also -- the black or white stripe represented Islam?! This should've been green!)

Two unrelated travelogues:
An extended business trip out of Silicon Valley is by Raymond "Bo" of Northern Virginia (I've linked to one of his cruise reports, previously) and Journey into Kimland, from an American guy in North Korea, who speaks the local language -- fascinating!

I keep hearing the phrase "targeted by President Bush" in the stories about Paul Wellstone, but nowhere (yet) any suspicion of foul play, in the plane crash...

October 24, 2002
The American Republic Is Dead. Hail The American Empire. Or Else by John Perry Barlow of the EFF, who places some of the blame for creeping American fascism on the Internet:
Cyberspace has become an infinite set of street corners, each with its lonely pamphleteer, howling his rage to a multitude all too busy howling their own to listen.
He's encouraging people of a progressive bent to come together this weekend, smart-mobs-style. More John Perry Barlow: Liberty and LSD.

Oblivion awaits is "a scathing column about the music industry's foolishness" by Jack Kapica -- 10 rules of e-business failure, a list inspired by the recording industry's 'imaginative' approach, addressed to their management, and pointing out what's really going on:

When you count the songs being swapped on peer-to-peer networks, do not notice that most are moldy oldies. It's still theft, you argue, even if you yourself stopped paying royalties for those songs in 1961. Blame piracy, not taste, for your inability to sell new songs that no radio station will play. Go on KaZaa, count the MP3 versions of songs you produced, old and new, and multiply that number by the current retail price of a CD; howl that you are losing a fortune. Forget that a Buddy Holly album sold for $2.95 in 1958; you sell records for much more now, and that's the price you use when calculating your losses.
Another viewpoint on file-sharing, contrary to the usual irate reactions of copyright abuse, comes from Janis Ian:
On the first day I posted downloadable music, my merchandise sales tripled, and they have stayed that way ever since. I'm not about to become a zillionaire as a result, but I am making more money.

Two Japan links:
Blair's Trip to Japan briefly mentions a visit to the Temari Museum; and Justin is settling in nearby there, with his Japanese girlfriend, On the suburban frontier west of Tokyo.

October 21, 2002
The Fillmore Collection is an online repository of late-60s psychedelic concert posters.

A couple new products (since the holiday gift-giving season is upon us): Magnetic Paint (not actually magnetic, but ferrous -- magnets stick to surfaces coated with it) and, the most unappetizing kitchen tool EVER separates yolks from egg whites. Must be seen to be believed -- the perfect present for pre-teen boys, to give their mothers.

Things about NYC is very good, but the info about transport from (& then to) the JFK aerodrome is incomplete -- the best method is the $13 Carey Express bus, which drops you at Grand Central Station. (They also serve the Port Authority bus station on the West Side.) Incredibly, the company doesn't seem to have a web site, but their phone number is 718-632-0500.

October 19, 2002
I can certainly relate to the sentiment behind Read Comics in Public although personally, I don't have the nerve. (Something about comics naturally triggers the sneaky in me.) He speaks of the practice creating opportunities to actively engage "lapsed" readers of comic books, a demographic I was part of between 1967-71, and again around 1978-85.

October 14, 2002
A difficult-to-obtain recording I crave is currently available on Ebay -- the Eno Vocal box set. Actually, I just wanna tape it, or better yet, transcribe a few key tracks to a MiniDisc. Anybody out there got a copy they'd lend, or perhaps make a dubb or, for me? Pur-reese?? Wished I'da known how the remixed tunes sounded better, back when it was released, the ignorant, pre-Internet early 90s. I figured, I already have this stuff, and the original packaging's much nicer.
UPDATEIt went for $80, and I'm familiar enough now to know that I hate eBay.

Robert Jenson submits The American Political Paradox: More Freedom, Less Democracy to Counterpunch -- excellent.

October 13, 2002
If you missed the new-perspective video (from the camera mounted atop the external tank, looking aft) of the Atlantis launch last Thursday, access a Quicktime or something at this online archive. The lunch-break timing was such that I caught it live, on a monitor in the visitor center... just like old times. The feed was supposed to go on for several minutes, but it stopped at only ninety seconds, so ya don't get to see the right solid burn out and eject at T+0:02:00.

The president's real goal in Iraq, according to Jay Bookman, is -- dare I say it -- empire.

Coming next year: 'subtle background colors' in US paper money.

October 10-11, 2002
Oh no! My trusty Monorail's floppy drive is suddenly kaputt, making a distressing new & different noise whenever it tries to read a disk. After 5.5 years as my main Internet Console it seems I'll be transferring control to the squirrely auxillary Tecra laptop, at least temporarily... a serious hitch in my info-gathering getalong, the floppy-in-the-shirt-pocket interface; I suppose it's time to step up to a more modern machine.

Update (the next afternoon):
False alarm, works fine today.

October 8 -- Tuesday
Everybody's linking to Using Lasers to Temporarily Neutralize Camera Sensors
Laser pointers represent a case study of what happens when technological advancement and high volume production reduce costs so much that a product simply happens, regardless of need or utility. Laser and other light-based pointing devices were originally made to help a lecturer highlight something on an accompanying projection screen. So in theory, there need not be more pointers in the world than lecterns or projection screens (or lecturers). But because laser pointers could be made and sold for a few dollars, they found a market as a novelty item.
Great page with lots of good links embedded, like to the Surveillance Camera Players. Information about the troubles people have gotten into with laser pointers (apparently nobody's on record, ever, for permanent eye damage from a pointer) and the latest military & law enforcement capabilities.

Comprehensive online reference on sodium dropping -- he does it into his pond.

I've witnessed quite a few miscarriages of American justice, but none as severe and just plain sad as this one. You realize he arrived in Afghanistan on Septembr 6, 2001; a 21-year-old kid -- what could John Walker Lindh have possibly done over there to deserve twenty years?

October 6, 2002
The latest Ted Rall:
Our campaign in Afghanistan, lest we forget, continues even as thousands more troops pack for Iraq. "Operation Enduring Failure" : : : we blew it. U.S. taxpayers are spending between $500 million and $1 billion a month to occupy Afghanistan and fight its Islamist guerrillas, yet we haven't caught any of the people we blame for Sept 11. Al Qaeda remains operational. One might ask why our Generalissimo is going after Saddam Hussein's Iraq when the war in Afghanistan has worked out so poorly, but one would be missing the point: Trotsky's theory of permanent revolution is at work. It is precisely because we botched Afghanistan that we're moving on to Iraq.
He goes into detail, describing the real Afghanistan, today. Those who might scoff at this source should be aware that the 'stan's have long been Ted Rall's interest zone -- in 1999, he led a tour group through them. I remember reading about this opportunity, that one could visit Uzbekistan , with he as guide -- for more info about this trip, including checkpoint tips and a photo of Rall on-site, see the Comics Journal interview.

September 29, 2002
Work, and class (both in, and teaching) will probably pre-empt any activity here for a couple weeks...

September 26, 2002
Exploring the mysteries of hand-written recipes includes a sample: Jeannie’s Black Chocolate Cake. (Certainly not Velveeta Fudge.) The Chuckwagon has recipes and some handy historic kitchen definitions, just in case you can't quite recall how much "butter the size of an egg" is.

September 25, 2002
Excellent article by Harvard teacher Elaine Scarry: Failsafe. It contrasts the government's impotence on 9/11 with the effective action by the citizens aboard Flight 93 (and the subsequent 'shoebomber' flight).

Interview with Philip Jenkins, author of The Next Christianity -- says most Americans and Europeans are blind to Christianity's real future (which is developing in the Southern hemisphere). He describes how their flavor of Christianity is different:
It's similar to the type of Christianity that the media in the US don't like to pay attention to -- the John Ashcroft brand.

The sociologist Peter Berger has this famous quote about Indians and Swedes -- he says Indians are the most religious people in the world, Swedes are the least religious, and Americans are a nation of Indians governed by Swedes. I wish I'd invented that quote -- it's very accurate.
Not sure if I agree... Also in The Atlantic, James Fallows muses on the aftermath of our coming War of Iraqi Conquest in The Fifty-First State?

I first heard of 'Travellers' in conjunction with Andy&Kristin's honeymoon tour of the UK -- seems their Stonehenge visit was nearly thwarted by what local law enforcement might characterize as a 'Traveller infestation.' These were probably New Age Travellers, engaged in something similar to our stateside Rainbow gatherings; but this week's news brings to light a different variant, closer to the source, more authentic -- according to Slate,
Madelyne Toogood, the woman accused of beating her 4-year-old daughter in an Indiana parking lot, is an "Irish Traveler." What's an Irish Traveler? Irish Travelers, also known as "White Gypsies," are members of a nomadic ethnic group of uncertain origin.
More info: Irish Travellers in the USA.

Made haste to see "Spirited Away" and loved it. Unlike "Princess Mononoke", but like every other Miyazaki film I've experenced, I'd see this one again. The title in the original Japanese is "Sen to Chihiro no kamikakushi" which is often literally (but not quire correctly) translated as "Sen and the Mysterious Disappearance of Chihiro" (Sen and Chihiro both being names for the story's protagonist). A more accurate translation would be "The Mysterious Disappearance of Sen and Chihiro" -- and that's how you arrive at the title's pun: "Sen to" = "Sen and", but a "sento" is also a public bath. Hence, an alternate meaning is "The Spiriting Away of bath-house Chihoro. To find out how Chihiro became Sen in the spirit world, where she worked in the sento, you'll just have to see the picture, or read any in-depth review.

Sept 24th - Tuesday.
Tasteful anniversary poster for this Friday's Critical Mass, by Mona Caron.

You never heard much about Frank is a spoof of the Nigerian 419 scam, the Third to Fifth largest industry in Nigeria.

September 23, 2002
Visitors -- sardonic 9/11 editorial cartoon by Ward Sutton. (One big file, 252K)

Stray dogs used as mobile billboards in Russian city

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