Various bits of flotsam that washed up on our computers, before we moved to a better blog system in November 2004. Now a repository for YouTube videos and testing new tools. Go to for more recent content.

Wednesday, June 30, 2004

image test

route 66 octopad purple
Originally uploaded by swanksalot.

Taken somewhere in Ontario, but being posted with flickr

Girthy weiners

Seth Stevenson: Ads That Make You Go Ew - Who buys hot dogs because they're "girthy":
"The spot: An obese man is tending a barbecue grill. He's cooking some Ball Park Franks. He says he likes his hot dogs "girthy." He keeps repeating that word—claiming he likes "the way it rolls off my tongue"—as he holds the frank up to his mouth; issues a guttural moan; and wraps his lips around the big, swinging dog. In all, he says "girthy" a full seven times. "


Especially when it gets put in a hot dog commercial. Repeated over and over, in a lascivious tone. Followed by satisfied grunting. We have to face it: Hot dogs—sometimes called "wieners"—are a little bit phallic. So, wouldn't you try to avoid using words that bring this to the fore?

I've no doubt that many hot dog consumers also perform fellatio. And more power to them. But do they really wish to contemplate this act while noshing on a frank at a barbecue? Also, are they Ball Park's target demographic? In a corporate press release, spokesman "Frank" is described as a "straight-talking, All-American" guy who "believes in red meat, cold beer, [and] spectator sports …" I hate labels, but this sounds like your classic straight dude. Not so much a fellatiator.

In the end, we're left with two possibilities. The first is that Ball Park, and their ad agency, were unaware of the connotation. I can imagine how this might happen. Were I at the planning meeting where this ad was first pitched, as, like, a junior executive or something, I would not want to be the guy who brought up penises. So, maybe no one brought it up.

The other possibility is that Ball Park knows exactly what it's doing. That somehow consumer research has proven that folks like the hot dog/penis connection. It must have been a doozy of a focus group.

Dashboard v. Konfabulator

John Gruber has the definitive answer to this whole manufactured controversy, at Daring Fireball

Daring Fireball: Dashboard vs. Konfabulator:
The post-WWDC peanut gallery is atwitter with the idea that Tiger’s Dashboard is a blatant rip-off of Konfabulator. You can’t read anything about Dashboard without hearing that it’s a Konfabulator rip-off.

Bullshit. Dashboard is not a rip-off of Konfabulator. Yes, they are doing very much the same thing. But what it is that they’re doing was not an original idea to Konfabulator. The scope of a “widget” is very much the modern-day equivalent of a desk accessory

It’s not hard to speculate on the reasons why Dashboard is based on WebCore technology. First, it’s already there — the JavaScript engine and HTML/CSS renderer are built-in components in Mac OS X. Second, basing Dashboard development on industry standard web technologies means that anyone who knows how to design a web page knows how to design a Dashboard gadget.

In terms of attracting hobbyist-level developers, Dashboard is going to be an order of magnitude more approachable than Cocoa application development. If you know HTML and CSS, you can design a gadget layout. If you know JavaScript, you can program a gadget.

read the rest here
Dashboard vs. Konfabulator

Bush, deserter

Paul Lukasiak has examined, in great detail, George Bush's service record, with scans of relevant documents. Quite interesting reading. How Bush Failed to Fulfill his Duty:


An examination of the Bush military files within the context of US Statutory Law, Department of Defense regulations, and Air Force policies and procedures of that era lead to a single conclusion: George W. Bush was considered a deserter by the United States Air Force.

After Bush quit TXANG, he still had nine months of his six-year military commitment left to serve. As a result, Bush became a member of the Air Force Reserves and was transferred to the authority of the Air Reserve Personnel Center (ARPC) in Denver, Colorado. Because this was supposed to be a temporary assignment, ARPC had to review Bush’s records to determine where he should ultimately be assigned. That examination would have led to three conclusions: That Bush had “failed to satisfactorily participate” as defined by United States law and Air Force policy, that TXANG could not account for Bush’s actions for an entire year, and that Bush’s medical records were not up to date. Regardless of what actions ARPC contemplated when reviewing Bush’s records, all options required that Bush be certified as physically fit to serve, or as unfit to serve. ARPC thus had to order Bush to get a physical examination, for which Bush did not show up. ARPC then designated Bush as AWOL and a “non-locatee” (i.e. a deserter) who had failed to satisfactorily participate in TXANG, and certified him for immediate induction through his local draft board. Once the Houston draft board got wind of the situation, strings were pulled; and documents were generated which directly contradict Air Force policy, and which were inconsistent with the rest of the records released by the White House."

For the eighteen months prior to his quitting the Texas Air National Guard (TXANG), George W. Bush had ignored his obligations to the US Military, statutory and regulatory US Law, and Air Force regulations and policies. And for as long as he was being “supervised” by TXANG, he got away with it.

Very little attention has been paid to the period of Bush’s “service” after he left Texas and was assigned to the Air Reserve Personnel Center (ARPC) in Denver, Colorado. But it is during this period that Bush’s dereliction of duty—including his failure to participate in mandatory training, and his failure to maintain his flight status—came home to roost.

Unlike TXANG, ARPC took America’s national security—and the role played by Guardsmen and Reservists in maintaining US security—quite seriously.

The proof of this is the “ARF Retirement Credit Summary” dated January 30, 1974, which shows that Bush was placed in an “Inactive Status” effective September 15th, 1973. This document is the proverbial “smoking gun” which proves that the Air Force considered George W. Bush to have been a deserter.

Open letter to Sharlot

Hey, Matt
Two things, I don't have your new address to mail your wedding present/discs; and your photo of Swanky Franks is posted here (although livejournal seems to be really, really slow right now, they claim to know what the problem is, but haven't been able to fix it yet).

Now playing in iTunes: Arabia, from the album Jerry Garcia & David Grisman by Jerry Garcia & David Grisman (released 1991)

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Dylan thomas

In reference to this New Yorker review of Dylan Thomas,

Dylan Thomas I
poetic vomit, permanently staining
the floor of the White Horse
the poet speared his screams with gin
spilled his thoughts convulsively
reflexively upon the barren
wood floor scars
of yuppie tourists conspicuous shuffle to come
press the load of those words
upon your floor
bruised monuments in desperate need of some bleach

Dylan Thomas II

 White Horse
the breath stale of a poets mouth
lingers, mopping resistant

 why even make effort
We too can drink enough
fierce liquor to render
our hearts impotent

Thursday, June 24, 2004

Interesting Chicago project

Picturing Chicago:
"Picturing Chicago

If you want to read about the sociological theory behind the project, read the project plan.

If you want to read about the basics of the project, read the FAQ.

All the photographs on this site are taken with a Pentax ZX-50 using Kodak Film and then scanned using a Minolta film scanner. The digitized images are stored in an image database called IMATCH ."

I had been telling D for the last several months that I wanted to do something like this, and someone has beat me to it. Oh well, I can make my own I suppose. I am specifically interested in the store fronts of Chicago, so many are cool in a funky, dated way.

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Ryan leer

Top GOP officials said Tuesday they felt misled by Republican U.S. Senate candidate Jack Ryan when he assured them in recent days and weeks that his sealed divorce records would not embarrass him or a political party still struggling to regain its credibility.

Don't know how long this thumbnail will be around before the dreaded linkrot occurs, but imagine it splashed above the fold on today's front page. Hysterical....


Walgreens, Dominick's To Offer Blue Bags To Help Chicago's Recycling:
The city of Chicago has reached an agreement with Dominick’s grocery stores and Walgreens drug stores to pack customers’ purchases in blue bags that the customers can later use to place recyclables in. The city is hoping the move will spur participation in its recycling program, which encourages residents to separate recyclables from their garbage by placing them in blue bags

Of course, this has nothing to do with the report in todays Trib that compliance in the Chicago recycling program is the lowest ever.....

In testimony before a City Council committee, Al Sanchez confirmed that 22 percent of the city's paper, cans, glass and other trash were diverted from landfills to be reused for the one-year period ending June 2003.

It was the blue-bag program's worst performance since 1998. The city met its target residential recycling rate of 25 percent within three years of introducing the blue-bag program in 1995, but the numbers have declined in recent years.

The newest figure represented a one-year drop of 5 percentage points, according to the "State of Recyling Report" released Tuesday at a meeting of the council's Committee on Energy, Environmental Protection and Recycling.

Sanchez blamed changes in the program's management.

Allied Waste Transportation Inc. replaced Waste Management Inc. as operator of the city's sorting and recycling centers last year. The Department of Streets and Sanitation, meanwhile, took over responsibility for overseeing the blue-bag program from the city's Environment Department about 18 months ago.

Davis Moon WaPo

Danny Davis, my soon-to-be impeached Congressman, has still not responded to my written inquiry about these events. However, the national media has begun to pay attention:

The Washington Post on the Moon coronation
The Rev. Moon Honored at Hill Reception (
At the March 23 ceremony in the Dirksen Senate Office Building, Rep. Danny K. Davis (D-Ill.) wore white gloves and carried a pillow holding an ornate crown that was placed on Moon's head. The Korean-born businessman and religious leader then delivered a long speech saying he was "sent to Earth . . . to save the world's six billion people. . . . Emperors, kings and presidents . . . have declared to all Heaven and Earth that Reverend Sun Myung Moon is none other than humanity's Savior, Messiah, Returning Lord and True Parent."

Details of the ceremony -- first reported by writer John Gorenfeld -- have prompted several lawmakers to say they were misled or duped by organizers. Their complaints prompted a Moon-affiliated Web site to remove a video of the "Crown of Peace" ceremony two days ago, but other Web sites have preserved details and photos.

Moon, 85, has been controversial for years. Renowned for officiating at mass weddings, he received an 18-month prison sentence in 1982 for tax fraud and conspiracy to obstruct justice. In a 1997 sermon, he likened homosexuals to "dirty dung-eating dogs."

But a key organizer -- Archbishop George A. Stallings Jr., pastor of the Imani Temple, an independent African American Catholic congregation in Northeast Washington -- said Moon's prominent role should have surprised no one. He said a March 8 invitation faxed to all lawmakers stated that the "primary program sponsor" would be the "Interreligious and International Federation for World Peace (IIFWP), founded by Rev. Dr. and Mrs. Sun Myung Moon, who will also be recognized that evening for their lifelong work to promote interfaith cooperation and reconciliation." The invitation was signed by Davis and the Rev. Michael Jenkins, as co-chairmen of the IIFWP (USA).

The event's co-sponsors were the Washington Times Foundation, the United Press International Foundation, the American Family Coalition, the American Clergy Leadership Conference and the Women's Federation for World Peace, according to the invitation. Stallings, a former Roman Catholic priest who was married in Moon's church, said Moon's association with those organizations is well known.

"You'd have to be deaf, dumb and blind to not know that any event that is sponsored by the Washington Times . . . could involve the influence, or the potential presence, of the Reverend Moon," he said.

Use of the Dirksen building requires a senator's approval. Dayton said he gave no such permission, and Stallings said the question of who did so is "shrouded in mystery."

Moon has claimed to have spoken in "the spirit world" with all deceased U.S. presidents, Jesus, Moses, Mohammed and others. At the March 23 event, he said: "The founders of five great religions and many other leaders in the spirit world, including even Communist leaders such as Marx and Lenin . . . and dictators such as Hitler and Stalin, have found strength in my teachings, mended their ways and been reborn as new persons."

[Danny] Davis said in an interview that he is a lifelong Methodist who does not agree with many of Moon's religious teachings. But he praised Moon's efforts to promote world peace. Davis said that some Moon associates have donated money to his congressional campaigns, but that that has nothing to do with his support for Moon's organization.

The prominent role played by Davis, Fauntroy and Stallings, among others, reflects Moon's efforts to reach out to the black community. Jenkins said many African American clergy members "have become strong allies" of Moon because they sympathize with the "mistreatment and labeling" he has faced.

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

The Jack and Jeri show

Ya know, just for the record, I emphatically do not have an issue with Jack & Jeri and their kinky sex life. However, if Ryan wasn't such a smug Repug, he might have thought twice before running for political office in the U.S.: the stakes are just too high, and salacious stories are what our smutty national media covers best.

Anyway, as a follow up to my previous post, the Smoking Gun has 6 pages of the heavily redacted court documents posted.

Senate Race Sex Scandal - June 22, 2004:
"In what may prove a crippling blow to his U.S. Senate campaign, divorce records reveal that Illinois Republican Jack Ryan was accused by his former wife, actress Jeri Ryan, of pressuring her to have sex at swinger's clubs in New York, Paris, and New Orleans while other patrons watched. The bombshell allegation is contained amidst nearly 400 pages of records ordered released yesterday by a Los Angeles Superior Court judge who ruled on media requests to unseal documents from the Ryan case"

Ryan seemed to more interested in power and control than just getting off. Some people who know Jack Ryan from his Goldman Sachs years consider him to be a bit of an asshole, but since I've never had the pleasure, I'll leave that judgement for posterity.

Eric Zorn of the ChiTrib has more on Jack Ryan's veracity, or lack therof

But I can and do blame him for this grotesque and ongoing attempt to hide his own alleged peccadilloes behind his little boy.

His invocation to me of his son's health problems and his incessant references Monday night to his son's need to be sheltered from these unpleasant allegations is an obscene misuse of his status as a father.

"The first job of a dad, of any parent is to protect your children," he told reporters Monday. He referred several times to that interest as his "highest priority."

But he said it in the context of trying to protect his political future.

Sure, the words and actions of parents can bring embarrassment upon their children down the line. Many times when society exposes or prosecutes an individual, innocent relatives are hurt; it's one reason, out of many, to behave well. We can't and shouldn't change the rules to protect third parties from rebounding mortification or shame.

Ryan charged repeatedly during his news conference that news of these allegations would be damaging to his son, which is regrettable, but besides the point.

He gambled his son's innocence on the notion that he could have it both ways--as Jack Ryan private citizen whose alleged kinks nobody cares about, and as Jack Ryan candidate for high public office whose life automatically becomes an open book--and he lost. The safe bet, of course, would have been to remain an investment-banker-turned-schoolteacher and not run for Senate.

The measure of Jack Ryan's character is not that he had a rough divorce, or that he may have or may at one time have had unconventional sexual interests. It's not even that he didn't spill every juicy detail when reporters came nosing around.

Few will fault him for not being perfect or heedlessly forthcoming.

The measure of Jack Ryan's character is that he continues to invoke his child to advance the increasingly flimsy idea that he has higher priorities than his own ambition.

More on McGrady to Rockets

NBA news courtesy of Peter Vescey....

New York Post
Come July 1, Tracy McGrady will be the newest Rocket Launcher to look off Yao Ming down low more times than not.

The Clippers have separated themselves from the NBA pack as the most ardent suitor for Shaquille O'Neal's slighted services.

And all that's standing between Rudy Tomjanovich from being hired as Lakers head coach is an interview with Kobe Bryant.

Steve Francis was named in the exchange program prophecy. In less than two weeks when Francis' base year salary status all but evaporates, he'll officially join the Magic along with Cutino Mobley and throw-in Bostjan Nachbar. Juwan Howard and Tyronn Lue will join McGrady in Houston. McGrady earns $13.3 million in '04-05, while Howard pockets $5.4M and Lue $1.65M. Francis is on the books for $12.3M, Mobley $5.88M and Nachbar $1.49M.

From what I'm told, McGrady only had eyes for the Rockets from the git-go. Phoenix interjected itself into the conversation early because it quickly offered to swap Shawn Marion.

The Pacers got consideration late from the Magic (but not McGrady, not really, despite a long, tight relationship with Jermaine O'Neal) when they proposed a deal involving Jeff Foster, Jonathan Bender and Al Harrington, who asked to be traded in his final meeting with CEO Donnie Walsh (no promises were made) regardless of whether Ron Artest is kept or dealt.

Both players blew off the team's last meeting and were fined 5G apiece; Artest has been dangled to the Grizzlies for Muncie, Indiana's Bonzi Wells and a No. 1 pick Memphis doesn't have but is trying to obtain. When the Rockets-Magic arrangement is completed it'll be the most important relocation of an NBA scoring star that doesn't implicate the Birmingham Barons.

Ha, Shaq to the Clippers, now that would change the balance of power in the NBA! Only trade rumor more surprising is Shaq to the Sacramento Kings (Webber, Divac and some change). This seems pretty implausible, however, Shaq's disparaging remarks about the Sac Queens, notwithstanding. Shaq might be wherever he lands (if he goes anywhere) for one year, and that would mean a lot of talent giveaway for just one season. I wouldn't really be surprised if both Shaq & Kobe stay, but Shaq comes up with some phantom injury and misses most of the season.

Best NBA draft steals

Interesting analysis of the history of NBA draft picks

Sports Articles off the web: Art of the steal:
First, some ground rules. I'm focusing on star players here, not ninth-round picks who managed to stay on a roster for five years. While it's certainly impressive if a team can locate depth that late in the draft, the star players have always been the difference-makers at the pro level.

Second, there's what I call the Bill Laimbeer Exception. There's no doubt that the Cleveland Cavaliers stole Laimbeer, taking him in the third round of the 1979 draft. But they undid all the good karma from that pick when they traded him a year later for Phil Hubbard, Paul Mokeski and the draft pick that became John Bagley. It's tough to credit Cleveland with a "steal" when the Cavaliers had no idea what they had and never benefited from the selection. Thus, I left guys like Laimbeer, Mark Eaton (a third-round pick by Phoenix) and Ron Boone (an eighth-rounder by the ABA's Dallas Chaparrals) off the list.

So with that in mind, here's one man's list of the 10 greatest draft steals in NBA history:

More here Sports Articles off the web: Art of the steal, naming these players as "steals":

Arvydas Sabonis and Drazen Petrovic
Kobe Bryant
Alex English
Michael Jordan
Willis Reed
Nate Archibald
(No. 19 [second round] by Cincinnati, 1970): The Royals/Kings didn't have a proud history in their pre-Sacramento days, but one player they could point to with pride was Tiny. They stole Archibald in Round 2 of 1970, and three years later had the only player in history to lead the league in scoring and assists in the same season. Of course, by then the team was in a different city (actually two, if you count Omaha --- and whose idea was that Kansas City-Omaha Kings business, anyway? Didn't the owners look at a map first? I mean, Omaha and Kansas City are 185 miles apart -- the same distance between New York and Baltimore. Can you imagine having the New York-Baltimore Knicks? No wonder the league almost went bankrupt.)

Hal Greer
John Stockton
Larry Bird
Karl Malone

and others

Monday, June 21, 2004

Buh bye Jack Ryan

CBS 2 Chicago:
CHICAGO (AP) Republican Senate candidate Jack Ryan pressured his wife, actress Jeri Lynn Ryan, to have sex in clubs while others watched, she charged in divorce documents released Monday.

The ``Boston Public'' and ``Star Trek: Voyager'' actress said she angered Ryan by refusing. She did acknowledge infidelity on her part, which she said took place after their marriage was irretrievably broken.

uhh, I think, if these allegations are verified, Jack Ryan should just save everyone's money, and concede to the better candidate, Barack Obama.

However, being a Republican, means following the examples set by leaders of the Republican party, which means Ryan will never admit an error.

Ray LaHood, R-Peoria, said Ryan needs to quit the campaign for the good of himself, his family and his party.

``There's no way the people of Illinois are going to countenance this behavior from a Senate candidate from the Republican Party,'' LaHood said.

Ryan said he had no plans to withdraw.

``My intention is to stay in the race,'' he said.

Jeri Lynn Ryan charged during a custody hearing that Ryan took her on surprise trips to New Orleans, New York and Paris in 1998, and that he insisted she go to sex clubs with him on each trip.

She said that after going out to dinner with Ryan in New York, he demanded that she go to a club with him.

``It was a bizarre club with cages, whips and other apparatus hanging from the ceiling,'' she said. She said Ryan asked her to perform a sexual act while others watched, and she refused.

She said they left and Ryan apologized to her and said it was out of his system. But then, she said, he took her to Paris and again took her to a sex club.

She said she cried and became physically ill at the club, and her husband got angry with her. She said she could never get over that incident.

Buh Bye, Jack Ryan. This is your life.....

McGrady to Rockets?

NBA - Sources: Magic-Rockets have deal for McGrady:
"ESPNreports that the Rockets and Magic have finalized a deal to send Tracy McGrady to Houston -- provided none of the other principal names in the multi-player trade are selected in Tuesday's expansion draft.

The trade also includes Juwan Howard to Houston, while Orlando will get Steve Francis, Cuttino Mobley and Kelvin Cato in return. Of those five players, McGrady and Francis are protected and cannot be drafted by the Bobcats. If Charlotte passes on Howard, Mobley and Cato, then the deal is done, Gray reports.

To make the trade work financially under the salary-cap rules, it's believed the Magic also will send Tyronn Lue and Andrew DeClercq to Houston.

Jeff Fried, Francis' agent, told the Houston Chronicle on Monday that Rockets general manager Carroll Dawson told him the trade was not complete but was close.

"I spoke to Carroll and it was not a done deal," Fried told the paper. "It's close. It's subject to a few contingencies."

Whoa. Looks like an interesting summer. I wonder if Shaq still wants to leave the Lakers for Orlando now?

Davis shoots the Moon, redux

More on Sun Myung Moon and my soon-to-be ex congressman, Rep Danny Davis, from John Gorenfeld of Salon Hail to the Moon king
"You probably imagine your congressman hard at work in the Capitol debating legislation, making laws -- you know, governing. But your newspaper probably didn't tell you that one night in March, members of Congress hosted a crowning ritual for an ex-convict and multibillionaire who dressed up in maroon robes and declared himself the Second Coming.

On March 23, the Dirksen Senate Office Building was the scene of a coronation ceremony for Rev. Sun Myung Moon, owner of the conservative Washington Times newspaper and UPI wire service, who was given a bejeweled crown by Rep. Danny K. Davis, D-Ill. Afterward, Moon told his bipartisan audience of Washington power players he would save everyone on Earth as he had saved the souls of Hitler and Stalin -- the murderous dictators had been born again through him, he said. In a vision, Moon said the reformed Hitler and Stalin vouched for him, calling him "none other than humanity's Savior, Messiah, Returning Lord and True Parent."

To many observers, this bizarre scene would have looked like the apocalypse as depicted in "Left Behind" novels. Moon, 84, the benefactor of conservative foundations like the American Family Coalition -- who served time in the 1980s for tax fraud and conspiracy to obstruct justice -- has views somewhere to the right of the Taliban's Mullah Omar. Moon preaches that gays are "dung-eating dogs," Jews brought on the Holocaust by betraying Jesus, and the U.S. Constitution should be scrapped in favor of a system he calls "Godism" -- with him in charge. The man crowned "King of Peace" by congressmen once said, according to sermons reprinted in his church's Unification News: "Suppose I were to hit you with the baseball bat to stop you, bloodying your ear and breaking a bone or two, yet still you insisted on doing more work for Father."

Over a week now, with no response from Danny Davis' office explaining why he is involved with coronation procedures with this nutjob, Moon. It's like he hopes by ignoring the issue, nobody will notice.

And then there was Rep. Danny K. Davis, D-Ill., the only congressman who has publicly expressed pride in the crowning ceremony, who praised Moon for bringing religious leaders together in his Ambassadors for Peace tours to Jerusalem and beyond. Davis, it was revealed this week in the Chicago Reader, took money from Moon-organized fundraisers, who also gave to a charity of his choice. Davis told an Anglican magazine that Moon's remarks were "similar to a baseball team owner telling team members that 'we are the greatest team on earth'" to get them fired up.

Read more at Salon (watch a brief ad if you aren't a subscriber)

Sunday, June 20, 2004

Archbishop wants to join Simpson's alumn

From the Beeb:

Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams would look "very seriously" at an invitation to appear on animated comedy The Simpsons.

The Sunday Times reported the show's producers were poised to invite the head of the Church of England on to the animated show.

Dr Williams has previously publicly announced his support for the show, and its accident-prone star, Homer Simpson.

The Simpsons producer Al Jean reportedly said they had been flattered by Dr Williams' support and "we'd love to have him on the show".

The archbishop's spokesman told BBC News Online on Sunday that no invitation had yet been made, but Dr Williams "had said a lot of positive things about the show, and it has a lot of merit.

"It would be a very interesting proposal," he said.

The hit animated show, which has run for 15 years, has become famous for having stars voice their animated likenesses.

Pop Idol judge Simon Cowell recently appeared on the show.

Prime Minister Tony Blair also made an appearance in the animated show last year.

Other household names to have appeared as themselves in the show include U2, the Rolling Stones, Sir Paul McCartney, Leonard Nimoy, Mel Gibson and Sting.

Saturday, June 19, 2004

Safari 'favicons'' delete trick

from "Nugget"macosxhints - Cached 'favicons' in Safari can cause slowdowns:

You can easily purge the unused icons from the cache with the following command from (just cut and paste)

find $HOME/Library/Safari/Icons -type f -atime +30 -name "*.cache" -delete

This might get around the problem that Safari slows down over time. Or not.....


Brad Delong states what needs to said more than once...

Linkrot!: Archive Entry From Brad DeLong's Webjournal:
"this is the reason why you need to preserve a reasonable amount of context internally if you want your words to be comprehensible to anyone in five years.

For linkrot happens."


large excerpts quoted from the Chigao Reader:Chicaga Reader: Rick Garcia meets the SCLM:By Michael Miner

AIDS came in and the cold war went out with the 80s. How you remember Ronald Reagan, who was president for most of that decade, could depend on which of those two great historic events touched you more profoundly.

Rick Garcia, political director of the gay rights group Equality Illinois, hasn't joined in the national mourning. He happened to be in Springfield last Friday when a display of Reagan memorabilia was being dedicated in the capitol's rotunda.

The ceremony was over, and the crowd had dispersed. Garcia got in line behind a man and his two sons who were signing the memory book. When his turn came he wrote: "My memory of President Ronald Reagan: Thousands of American men, women and children were dying from HIV and AIDS during his administration. The president did nothing. The president said nothing. Not until the very end of his second term was he even able to utter the word 'AIDS.' Reagan's silence and his administration's policies contributed to the suffering and dying of thousands of men, women and children."

Two other people in the nearly empty rotunda had also decided to write in the book -- Julie Staley, a reporter for WICS TV in Springfield, and Curt Claycomb, her cameraman. Having covered Blagojevich, they were headed to lunch, but before taking off they wanted to pay their respects. Staley says, "So I walked up there and waited for this guy taking an immensely long time. And I thought, 'He must really love Ronald Reagan.'"

Garcia continued writing: "I mourn the president the way he mourned these men, women and children -- with silence. May God forgive him, I can't. Rick Garcia." Then he went on his way.

Julie Staley says, "... It was very cruel. It was inappropriate, and it made no sense whatsoever that he would do that. I was very incensed. I loved Ronald Reagan!"

... "I turned the page," she says. "I said, 'I'm not signing on that page.' I wrote my thing, and the photographer wrote his thing. As we were getting ready to leave we saw a security guard walking up, and the photographer mentioned it to him. He said, 'Some guy wrote something defamatory.' You know, you don't write hate messages in a public book."

Just then, Garcia happened to walk back into the rotunda. He saw a guard, a TV reporter, and a cameraman gathered at the memory book. He heard the guard say, "Was it the guy with two kids?" and the reporter respond, "No. It's signed 'Rick Garcia.'" He headed toward them.


Garcia e-mailed me his version of their confrontation. "She walked toward me and screeched 'That is just tasteless and classless.' She repeated 'You are tasteless!' I told her 'Speaking the truth is not classless.' The cop said 'Why don't you show some respect.' 'Why didn't President Reagan show some respect?' I replied and walked away. As I walked away the reporter shouted at me 'You are classless, totally tasteless. You are a big loser.' She repeated that a couple of times."

"I don't deny that I said that," says Staley.

Garcia writes, "I called the station to complain. I was told that someone would call me back. No one did. I called again and said that I wanted to submit a formal complaint and indeed I told the woman that I would not go away silently that I would pursue this. No one from the station has called. . . . In my thirty years of activism I have had many many occasions to have interaction with reporters. Never have I encountered such unprofessional behavior. I want to lodge an official complaint."

Friday, June 18, 2004

Free Wine!

of course, since the Pistons stomped on the Losers Lakers, the King Gropenator may have already broken the laws.....Free the Grapes: To Ensure Consumer Choice in Fine Wine:
"As the Detroit Pistons square off tonight against the Los Angeles Lakers with a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven NBA championship series, Free the Grapes! warns California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm that their friendly wager over the outcome may break wine direct shipping laws.

As reported elsewhere, the winner will send the loser a cornucopia of food and beverages popular in their state, which the loser must consume while wearing the winning team’s jersey. Governor Schwarzenegger’s offer includes California wine.

"The bet is made in good fun, but if the Lakers win the championship, then Governor Schwarzenegger's shipment of California wine to Granholm would be illegal under Michigan's antiquated law that bans interstate, direct-to-consumer wine shipments," said Jeremy Benson, executive director of Free the Grapes!, a national consumer coalition seeking to ensure consumer access to wine.

At Granholm's urging, Michigan has aggressively sought to ban direct-to-consumer wine shipments from all out-of-state wineries, denying its citizens access to a wide range of American wines. When Granholm was Attorney General for Michigan, consumers and wineries successfully sued the state over its shipping ban. In 2003, the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed, ruling Michigan's shipping ban unconstitutional. But wine lovers in Michigan continue to be cut-off from purchasing wines directly from out-of-state wineries because Granholm's successor, AG Mike Cox, petitioned the shipping case to the U.S. Supreme Court. The ban remains in effect during the appeal process."

can we spell "Irony"?

Intellectual stamina

One of the great things about books is sometimes there are some fantastic pictures
George Bush, U.S. News & World Report: January 3, 2000

Now playing in iTunes: Oh, My Pregnant Head, from the album Transmissions From The Satellite Heart by Flaming Lips (released 1993)

10 pin

From the Trib:
10pin (which is open from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily, to 3 a.m. on Saturday) fancies itself like Lucky Strike--an upscale lounge with bowling. And we knew right away this wasn't a typical alley. After ascending the stairs to the front desk, we noticed all the funky bowling shoes in the glass case: black-and-white wingtips for the guys and trendy Dexters for the women.

As Prince belted out "Musicology" from the top-notch nightclub stereo system, his image graced eight massive video screens (more on those later). Before we even made it to our lane, we passed a circular bar area, where three women, each dressed casually hip in varying styles of those Britney Spears-type jeans, sat on a velour high-back couch sipping martinis.


"You almost feel like you're underdressed," said Steve Griger, 30, hanging out with a group of friends who were there strictly for the bowling.

No, this isn't your father's bowling alley. The clientele at 10pin is a little more fashion-conscious (check out the choices of bowling shoes, $3.95 for regular, $4.95 for the cool ones), an urban professional crowd--not necessarily into bowling but into having a sophisticated alternative to the sometimes tiring weekend bar-hopping scene.

Yes, bowling has gone sophisticated, at least at the downtown area's only alley (open play rates are $4.95 per game before 5 p.m., $6.95 after). If it wasn't for the occasional sound of rolling balls and clattering pins, you might forget where you are. The sound system alone is more suited for a night of dancing than a night of pin-knocking. And above the 24 lanes rests a 128-foot wall of eight high-definition video screens that show non-stop music videos (or Cubs or Sox games, depending on the time of day).

hmmm, mixed feelings about this, could be fun, or could just be another Cro-bar wannabe.

Where: 330 N. State St.; 312-644-0300

What's cool: You don't have to bowl; just hang out at the martini bar with friends.

What's not: Parking in the River North area, especially if the House of Blues is having a show next door, can be a pain. Terry's tip: Sample the menu--especially the macaroni and cheese. Also, 10pin does not take American Express as of yet, though they do accept Visa and MasterCard.

Thursday, June 17, 2004

Gadget envy

so, now I have to buy a BMW too???
iPod plans turn car owners green | CNET
Steve Jobs often compares the Mac's market share to that of BMW. Now it appears the luxury car maker may be more than just a point of comparison for the Apple Computer chief.

Rumor has it the two companies are teaming up to create a gadget that will allow some BMW owners to play their iPod through their car's stereo. MacMinute posted a photo of what appears to be a magazine ad for the new product, while Gadget site Gizmodo offered more details.

Mexican food

being from Austex, I think there is a dearth of good Mexican Restaurants in Chicago (including the option to have brown rice, black beans, etc.)
Anyway, De Cero is opening soon, right down the street....

Chicago Magazine:
Randolph’s Newest Tenant
“You know how a typical taquería in the Mexican neighborhoods makes tortillas fresh on the griddle? We are going to do the same,” says Angela Hepler, co-owner of the new De Cero (814 W. Randolph St.; 312-455-8114).

Opening July 1st in the old Mar Y Sol spot, De Cero (“from scratch”) is the brainchild of Hepler and Susan Thompson—proprietors of Sushi Wabi up the street—and SW’s chef, Jill Rosenthal. The modern taquería will offer 15 different tacos (think grilled tuna with mango) and interesting drinks such as chamomile margaritas. “We’re taking the awesome things about Mexican food,” says Hepler, “and throwing away the goo—that glob of sour cream and cheese on every plate.”

In celebration of Cunt

Words, words, words. Anyway, the President of the University of Colorado is currently furiously backpedaling because, in court testimony, she claimed that the word cunt used to describe Katie Hnida is a term of endearment.
She almost has a point, but only if you ignore modern usage of the word....

Destructive Word Bombs:
"Cunt, however, doesn't even sound like a swear word - it's far too full and luscious sounding, like 'succulent' or 'fecund'.

The origins of the word are in 'cunnus' a Latin word from which comes - coneus (wedge shaped; canabulum (cradle, being place, place where something was nurtured); cunctus (all); cuniculus (rabbit hole or underground passage); and also from the Old Norse words 'kunta' and 'kunte'.

From 'cuniculus' come the words 'coney' and 'cunny' that were used in England from about the 1100's for - a rabbit and for the vulva. The New Shorter Oxford Dictionary tells us that coney was originally a term of endearment for a woman and that the pronunciation was as in 'honey', until the 19th century when it became coney as in 'phoney'. The dictionary proposed that the pronunciation may have changed because of its association with the female genitals.

'Cunte' was used as a slang word, but not a 'bad' word, in England up until the 1600's, but by the 1700's it had become an obscene word and it was illegal to print it. In a dictionary of 1785 compiled by one Frances Grose it was euphemistically called the 'monosyllable' and printed as 'c__t'. Grose's definition - "a nasty word for a nasty thing". Obviously this is the mind-set from which our current usage of 'cunt' comes.

Other words that have the same origins are country, kin (which also meant a cleft or crevice) cunning, ken (knowledge or insight) and the rarely used cunctipotent (all powerful). There was a Roman goddess called Cunina, who protected babies in their cradles, and in India children conceived out of wedlock were called 'kundas' and regarded as blessed gifts from the goddess Kunda. Obviously the older perceptions of the word cunt were far from insulting or shameful.

To continue using the word cunt as a 'dirty' word, when in the past it was so far from that definition, means we continue to support those cultural beliefs that first distorted the meaning from endearment to insult. If we go along with the belief that 'cunt' is the 'worst swear word', shameful, embarrassing, disgusting, then we are going along with the bigots who tell us that women's genitals are dirty, smelly, impure, ugly, revolting and all the rest of the subtle and not so subtle messages that pervade our western society.

And a big hello to Vaginarts vistors! Welcome, stay, browse around.

Marv Albert, journalist

NYT: Forget Salary, Albert's Honesty Cost Him the Job:
Dolan embraced the belief that MSG announcers should call games with a more positive, upbeat approach than those who have national assignments. In this case, two industry executives said, Albert angered Dolan by providing the same type of objective, somewhat critical call on MSG that he did for his National Basketball Association assignments on TNT and used to do on NBC.

"Jim felt all broadcasters had to be cheerleaders and sell tickets," said one of the executives, who also said that Dolan was also unhappy with Walt Frazier, Albert's former MSG partner, and John Davidson, the Rangers' longtime MSG analyst.

Last season, according to a confidant of Albert's, his superiors conveyed their belief that he was too negative and sought to have him minimize remarks about the Knicks' losses, turnovers and subpar shooting. He was told not to build up opponents and to refrain from speaking extensively about the firings of Don Chaney as coach and Scott Layden as general manager. There was even joking by the Knicks' production crew about not giving the final score if the team lost, the confidant said.

The confidant also said that Dolan reprimanded Albert for saying that management had "tortured and embarrassed" Chaney by dragging out his dismissal.

Albert was also reprimanded for suggesting during a game that a bad call ended up giving Stephon Marbury an extra free throw, the confidant said.

Albert, who declined to discuss the specifics yesterday from Los Angeles, said: "I felt at times like I was in the theater of the absurd, not the MSG Network. I felt like, what's going on here? This is a chapter in journalism about how a broadcast should not be handled."

James Dolan, what a schmegma.

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Fucking Great

Ananova - Fucking villagers vote against name change :
"Residents of an Austrian village called Fucking, have voted against changing the name.

The 150 or so people who live in the village debated the issue after roadsigns kept being stolen - many by British tourists.

Spokesman Siegfried Hoeppl, said: "Everyone here knows what it means in English, but for us Fucking is Fucking - and it's going to stay Fucking - even though the signs keep getting stolen."

He said the name came from Mr Fuck and his family who settled in the area 100 years ago, and added "ing", meaning village or settlement.

The villagers didn't find out about the English meaning of the word until Allied soldiers stationed in the region in 1945 pointed out the alternative meaning.

Local newspaper editor Menhardt Buzasa said there had been an increase in the number of signs being stolen, and said British tourists were usually blamed.

"I do not agree it is just the British. Fucking is universal. Germans use it as much now as the British, and it also means the same to the Americans, Australians and anyone in the English speaking world," he said.

Similar votes on a name change have taken place recently in neighbouring Austrian towns Wank am see and Petting, as well as in Vomitville and Windpassing.

Ralph Wiley, prescient

apologies to PKD...
and really, I'll eventually stop writing about the NBA, right about the time that the season starts again. Kidding. No, the question I want an answer to is, who'll be traded, Chris Webber or Peja Stojakovic? What? you thought I'd talk about who is traded on the Lakers? not in your life. The Sacramento Kings aren't dead yet, they're just stunned, just tired and shagged out. Page 2 - The Lakers' armor is tarnishing:
"Personal Aside Alert No. 2: I often thought of myself as the Larry Bird of Sports Illustrated during the 10 years I wrote articles there -- a statement that might at this very moment be causing anguished screams from my colleague, Mr. Bill Simmons, and why-black-people-tend-to shouts from my friend and occasional collaborator, Mr. Spike Lee, although for different reasons.

But, not counting public sentiment, I know the comparison to be apt. I lived it. I know very well what it was like to be good in an occupation where nearly all the good guys were of the other so-called "race," and assumed by divine right deep down that this was the way it was. That made you not a colleague but a threat.

I'd heard the equivalent of "If Larry Bird was black, he'd be just another player!" about myself. I'd gotten the equivalent of a literary choke-out. People want you to be good at the things that make them comfortable, and bad at the things that they are good at; that makes them most comfortable. Some people buy into other peoples' evaluations, and never get the best out of themselves. I give you Detlef Schrempf. But some guys, like Larry Bird, don't care. Later, for some conversation, they think. Let's play and talk; but either way, let's play. I always felt the same way. Let's just play and see. In my case, let's put it in black and white. Let's put it in black and white and see. One thing I did learn: I always could tell when I was writing well, because I would come in and nobody would speak to me.

This probably ticks off everybody from Simba the Sports Guy to Spike, not to mention you, pilgrims. But if that's the way you want to take it, hey. Complain to the eds. Talk to God, not to me. I was there. It happened ...

... so I was glad, glad I tell you, when Wally World bumped Fisher off his spot with a pick."

Of course he is referring to this incident, and Karl Malone's play.

I'll miss Ralph Wiley, I always got happy whenever he posted an article because the articles were well written, in a jazzy, literary manner. Too many sports writers get stuck in the AP mode of reporting just the facts.

Now playing in iTunes: Sister Ray, from the album White Light-White Heat by Velvet Underground


I didn't even know that WebTV still existed, but apparently it does because 1% of my b12 traffic comes from WebTV browsers (which is 3 times the number of Netscape 4 users, which is probably Sharlot). And 81% of you suckers use Windows, in some incarnation, 16% use Mac, and the rest something else (unix, linux). Seems like there should be more mac hits, but then I don't really post much in the way of Apple news, there are too many other sources for that
for instance

This solipsistic post is the the universal cry for 'nothing really to post', and is only feasible because I only get about 15 hits a day. If I truly had anything to say, and/or I only had one blog, I could easily get 23 hits a day! ahem.

Thanks to Re_invigorate

Now playing in iTunes: Senor (Tales Of Yankee Power), from the album Street Legal by Dylan, Bob (released 1978)

Doug Christie and Faux Fox

Speaking of the NBA, I found these snapshots of the Sacramento Kings' Doug Christie vs. Los Angeles Fakers Lakers' Ricky Fox fight at a Chris Webber fan site (via a mostly-dormant Livejournal LakerHaters site).
Doug Christie takes out Fox:

is the last, but check em out for the full sequence. Fox had both of his hands in Christie's face before Christie retaliated with a left upper-cut.

My only regret of the recent NBA playoffs was that someone on the Detroit Pistons didn't break Foxie-boys jaw (preferably someone like Darko!). Fox averaged 2.7 points, 1 rebound, 1 assist in the series. Yeesh. Slava Medvedenko averaged better than that.

And I wish in the linked sequence, I wish Christie had followed with a right cross. Anyway, maybe Fox will get signed by the Atlanta Hawks! other than just going into forced retirement, could there be worse punishment?

update, I wish I had saved my own copies of these photos, as this site seems to be down. Doh! Especially since Christie is now with the Orlando Magic, and Fox 'retired', which is another way of saying, "talentless hack".

The Man in the Red Suit

honoriartist - The man in the red suit:
One day in the year 5029, on New Year's Eve, a man in a red suit rode into town on a 1988 Toyota. Everyone gasped, "How can you ride that thing? You know that the government banished all cars made before 23951!" But the man in the red suit said nothing. He went to a Scalamitee (SKAL-A-MIT-E) (it means motel, but the government banished motels, so the people made Scalamitees). The genpato (GEM-PA-TO) (which means robot, but the government banished robots, so the people made gempatos) at the front desk told him to go to falico (FOL-IK-O) (which means room, but the government banished rooms, so the people made falicos) #9275. Every day the man rode around town 97257925 times. One day the man was on his 97257924th time, when his car broke down. The man tried to run the rest of the way, but he didn't quite make it. He died. The mystery about the man in the red suit was never solved. THE END"

Thanks, honoria (and Andrew). Highlight of my day

Department of Bogus Alarms

Feds: VoIP a potential haven for terrorists | CNET

The U.S. Department of Justice on Wednesday lashed out at phone calls carried across the Internet, saying the fast-growing technology could foster "drug trafficking, organized crime and terrorism."

Laura Parsky, a deputy assistant attorney general in the Justice Department, told a Senate panel that law enforcement bodies are deeply worried about their ability to wiretap conversations that use voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services.

"I am here to underscore how very important it is that this type of telephone service not become a haven for criminals, terrorists, and spies," Parsky said. "Access to telephone service, regardless of how it is transmitted, is a highly valuable law enforcement tool."

Yes, more wire taps, thats the answer. Thank godz we don't live in a police state or anything.

James Dolan, thin skinned dorkweed

No more Marv on the Knicks
"Yes!" It's true. Marv Albert will no longer be doing NBA New York Knicks games on the MSG Network.

No. James L. Dolan, chairman of Madison Square Garden and president of Cablevision, did not like Albert's on-air criticism of substandard play by the Knicks, according to reports in New York newspapers. So, yes, Dolan decided to do something about it.

Thus, after more than three decades as the voice of the Knicks on radio and television, Albert, 63, is leaving. He'll continue calling NBA games on TNT television and Monday Night Football games on Westwood One radio, but he's also looking for something to replace the Knicks.

Ya know, I wouldn't be sad if the Chicago Bulls hired Marv. The Bulls have poor chemistry in their current team, notwithstanding the history Johnny "Red" Kerr has with the team. Hyper partisan announcers get tiresome, the better announcers, like Marv Albert, or Jerry Reynolds of the Sacramento Kings instead concentrate on the game itself, critiquing play sometimes, praising the other team sometimes, etc. I guess James Dolan, he the architect of the over-capped and under-talented Knicks, only likes yesmen in the booth. Screw you Dolan!

Five As One

NBA news, Detroit Pistons stomp on the Los Angeles Losers Fakers Lakers, and Detroit should have won the series 4-0, except for one miracle shot by Kobe Bryant at the end of game 2.

One of the more interesting post-game comments was by Rip Hamilton aka Man without a Face. Paraphrased from memory, Hamilton commented that Detroit had the best team game in the league this year, and that they played 5 as one. Five As One, that's a good phrase. My Sacramento Kings, when they play their motion, flowing game also play Five As One, passing the ball, with lots of player and ball movement, and are hard to beat. Detroit also played 5 as 1 on defense, which the Kings didn't do as well this year as last.

I suppose having Shaq or Kobe on ones team somewhat precludes playing 5 as 1, much easier to give the ball to Kobe and run away (as Larry Brown said about his Allen Iverson teams)
Different, for sure, from Brown's 2001 Finals team in Philadelphia, which revolved good and bad around scoring guard Allen Iverson. "There wasn't a time we didn't have a timeout that somebody on the team wasn't mumbling about what Allen had just done," Brown said, "but really, when the clock was running down, they threw him the ball and ran away."

and for an unrelated NBA news tidbit, memory is an odd thing, quite unreliable. I had a conversation with the creator of ecto a few weeks ago, and I was insistent that the New York Knicks' Allan Houston threw up the miracle shot against the Indiana Pacers a few years ago that resulted in a game winning 4 point play. However, a few days afterward, NBA TV showed the highlights of that 1999 playoff game, and lo and behold, it was actually Larry Johnson. Doh! Sorry Adriaan.

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Danny Davis, Moon struck

Follow up on the Danny Davis attending Sun Moon 'coronation' ceremony. Congressman Davis still has not responded to my letter, but it's only been a few days. I still am a little skeptical of his intentions, how anyone could put a freakin' crown on such a loony as Sun Myung Moon is beyond my comprehension. And I also don't buy the argument that the ceremony was like a local Elks Lodge, puhlease!

Congressman Davis, reached yesterday at his Washington, DC office, distanced himself from Rev. Moon's declaration that he was the new Messiah. "There are things that ministers sometimes will say and characterize, but I'm not necessarily in agreement with everything that they said," Davis explained.

It's one thing to quibble over biblical interpretations. Isn't it another to ignore it when a guy announces that he has converted Hitler and Stalin and then declares himself to be the "Returning Lord" right before you bring him a crown?

Davis wouldn't budge, comparing the elaborate ceremony to a "fraternity or sorority meeting," or rituals performed by the local Elks lodge. "That's kind of the way I regard these ceremonies."

"I don't know if he was comparing himself to Jesus the Christ or anything like that," Davis said, adding, "and if he was, then that was his conceptualization of himself." But, he stressed that Moon was not his messiah. "Jesus the Christ is my guy."

Davis said he "probably" met people associated with Moon "at some black church event or something with ministers and the relationship has probably grown over the years." (Moon's organization has run an outreach program to African-American activists and churches since the mid-1990s.)

"Generally, whenever I'm around them, they're talking two things, peace and family values. Both are things that I have a great deal of interest in, although I probably disagree with many of their social positions."

Moon's "social positions" include a strong anti-gay agenda. Rev. Moon referred to gays as "dung eating dogs," during a 1997 speech. The day after the March "coronation," Moon said homosexuality is "worse than an animal lifestyle."

"I'm totally pro-gay," Davis insisted yesterday. "That's obviously a position that we disagree on." Davis pointed out that many black churches are also very anti-gay, but said that wouldn't stop him from going to church.

"I'm a live and let live kind of person," Davis said. "I go to their banquets and we talk peace. They've never asked me to do anything, other than give a speech, anything that I find offensive."



Fuck O Reilly

or by his other name, O Lie-ly

Hillary and Condi's Split Second of Grafted-On Fame (
On his show the other day, Fox News host Bill O'Reilly apologized to Texas columnist Molly Ivins for calling her a socialist. Now liberal author Eric Alterman wants a retraction from O'Reilly, who recently labeled him a fellow traveler of Cuban dictator Fidel Castro.

Alterman's Miami-based attorney, Sarah Clasby Engel, sent a demand letter to O'Reilly last week, saying, "We would like to take this opportunity to identify a lie you recently broadcast." On his show in early May, the conservative yakker called Alterman "another Fidel Castro confidant."

Threatening a defamation suit unless O'Reilly makes a retraction, Engel states: "We are certain that you will be unable to point us to any proof whatever of a personal relationship between Alterman, a proud anti-Communist liberal, and Fidel Castro." The letter notes that in mid-May, Alterman signed a public rebuke of Castro, assailing the "brute repression" of his dictatorship.

The lawyer gave O'Reilly five business days to respond. A Fox News spokesman told us the missive arrived only yesterday and "our legal department is reviewing it."

Ralph Wiley, RIP

I just read that Ralph Wiley died. Sad news indeed. One of the best NBA journalists, by far. I'll miss his erudite ruminations on sports, race and especially hoops.

Monday, June 14, 2004

Jorge Ben

And I post this only because I am on a Jorge Ben kick for some reason.

Guardian Unlimited | Arts features | A joyful, brassy Balkan album:
"As with all the best pop music, Jorge Ben's tunes have a way of digging deep into your brain and staying there - as Rod Stewart found to his cost. The Brazilian's song Taj Mahal has a chorus melody that is identical to (and predates by six years) the title riff of Do Ya Think I'm Sexy?, Stewart's hoary closing-time anthem from 1978. Ben won huge credibility, not to mention royalties, by taking Stewart to court and winning."

or, asked that Stewart turn over all royalties to UNICEF, as written elsewhere. I don't know the details, just know that when I first heard the Jorge Ben song, several years (decades? yeesh) without knowledge of this lawsuit, I thought that this is almost exactly like Do Ya think I'm Sexy. I should write Mr. Ben

More than one web article compared Ben to Paul McCartney. Not sure exactly of the parameters that produced this comparison, but I'd rather listen to an hour of Jorge Ben than a minute of Paul McCartney's Wings......

Now playing in iTunes: Fio Maravilha, from the album Beleza Tropical - Brazil Classics 1 by Jorge Ben (released 1989)

[Posted with ecto]

Odd snapfish snafu

I ordered a couple of digital prints and enlargements from Snapfish, which I used to use before I purchased a digital camera. The prints came back slightly cropped, and worse, two (of six) of the prints were of people I do not know. I emailed customer service, and they quickly gave me a credit and free shipping for a replacement print. However, this print was wrong too! I wrote a slightly more cranky email, and received this response....

"I'm very sorry, but it does indeed look like there is some problem with the hi-res version of your photos. Even though the pictures that you see in your online account look exactly correct, they seem to be "mapping" to an entirely different hi-res file.

I asked our engineers and they tell me that this problem most likely occurred at the time that you were uploading the pictures. Do you still have the original digital photo files? If so, can you please upload those photos again and place a new order for those prints? Our engineers are convinced that if you re-upload those photos, it will solve the problem.

I have refunded your charges for those incorrect prints. We apologize for the inconvenience!


Snapfish Customer Care"

here are the pictures, guess which one is mine....


"What's this all about then? was created as a mechanism to quickly bypass the login of web sites that require compulsory registration and/or the collection of personal/demographic information (such as the New York Times).

Why not just register?

It's a breach of privacy.

Sites don't have a great track record with the whole spam thing.

It's contrary to the fundamental spirit of the net. Just ask Google.

It's pointless due to the significant percentage of users who enter fake demographic details anyway.

It's a waste of time.

It's annoying as hell.

Imagine if every site required registration to access content."

Excellent. Check it

Mossberg and Jobs

Interesting interview with Steve Jobs in todays WSJ, including this - The Music Man - Steve Jobs:
"What's your favorite thing you've not done?- Walt Mossberg

A PDA. We got enormous pressure to do a PDA and we looked at it and we said, "Wait a minute, 90% of the people that use these things just want to get information out of them, they don't necessarily want to put information into them on a regular basis and cellphones are going to do that." So getting into the PDA market means getting into the cellphone market. And you know, we're not so good at selling to the enterprise where you've got, in the Fortune 500, five hundred orifices called CIOs. In the cellphone market you've got five. And so we figured we're not going to be very good at that."
- Jobs

Heh, I call myself a CIO, but don't really stylize myself as just an orifice.

another good point, one I tried to articulate a few months ago
The interesting thing about movies though is that movies are in a very different place than music was. When we introduced the iTunes Music Store there were only two ways to listen to music: One was the radio station and the other was you go out and buy the CD.

Let's look at how many ways are there to watch movies. I can go to the theater and pay my 10 bucks. I can buy my DVD for 20 bucks. I can get Netflix to rent my DVD to me for a buck or two and deliver it to my doorstep. I can go to Blockbuster and rent my DVD. I can watch my DVD on pay-per-view. I can wait a little longer and watch it on cable. I can wait a little longer and watch it on free TV. I can maybe watch it on an airplane. There are a lot of ways to watch movies, some for as cheap as a buck or two.

And I don't want to watch my favorite movie a thousand times in my life; I want to watch it five times in my life. But I do want to listen to my favorite song a thousand times in my life.
- Jobs

Now playing in iTunes: Stride of the Mind, from the album Trampin' by Smith, Patti (released 2004)

[Posted with ecto]

Sunday, June 13, 2004

email down

Oh, just lovely....

B12 email server maintenance
will be taking place on Sunday Jun 13, 2004 from 3:00pm to
7:00pm Pacific Time. Email server hardware will be upgraded
at this time.

Please be awared that during this period, your access to
email services via POP email client or Webmail will be
unavailable. Any email being delivered to you at this time
should be re-delivered to your accounts if the sending
email server has been configured to retry email delivery.

We apologize in advance for any inconvenience caused.

Rational Drug policy

From the Sun
ENGLAND fans will be allowed to smoke dope before Sunday’s crunch clash with France — to keep them calm.

Cops in Lisbon plan to crack down on drunk supporters while turning a blind eye to those spotted puffing on a spliff.

Pot-smoking fans have been assured they will not be arrested, cautioned — or even have their drugs confiscated.

Last night experts said the Portuguese police’s “Here We Blow” policy would reduce chances of a punch-up between rival fans.

Alan Buffry of the Legalise Cannabis Alliance said: “If people are drinking they lose control, if they smoke cannabis they don’t.

“Alcohol makes fans fight. But cannabis smokers will be shaking hands and singing along together.”

Dutch police used a similar policy in Euro 2000 and England’s hooligan element were too stoned to fight.

A Lisbon police spokeswoman said: “If people cause a problem through drugs and become a menace then police will take action. But when this doesn’t happen why should the police be the ones making the fuss?”

thanks to Talkleft for the link.

What a joyous game this will be!

And thank godz for some rational drug policy, even if it is on a different continent. I can't even count the number of times I've been threatened or attacked by drunkards, and I can't recall ever being harassed, physically at least, by someone who had smoked a bowl.

Water News from All over, volume 3455

NYT; Spain's Sunny Coasts Look for Water From the North

"a circle of men in dark robes gathers at the main door to perform an ancient ritual. One holding a halberd calls out that the water tribunal is in session and complaints may be put to the judges.

It looks quaint, but it is serious. Water is the stuff of social conflict here. The 1,000-year-old Tribunal de las Aguas in Valencia, one of the oldest courts in Europe, settles irrigation disputes from the orchards and fields along the nearby Turia River that spills into the Mediterranean.

The judges, farmers themselves, may order a citrus grower to unclog his channel or repair his leaks, or they may fine an artichoke farmer for siphoning off more water than is his due. The traditional Thursday ritual, local historians say, has averted many a battle among families and communities.

It might seem a perfect model for a country in the throes of a sweeping fight over water, but if so, it is being ignored. Instead, with few mediators in sight, chronic water shortages are pitting dry southern Spain against the lush and moist north, and scientists and environmentalists against politicians and developers.

The conflict became an urgent focus of Spain's new prime minister, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, on his first day in office in April, when he suspended an elaborate $15 billion national water plan, the first step of which would have involved sending water south by diverting part of the Ebro, Spain's longest river. Mr. Zapatero said the entire concept, which had been criticized as a giveaway to contractors and which various regions complained was inequitable, had to be rethought.

The water war, which has been building for a decade, has raised more fundamental problems about the deteriorating lands along the Mediterranean where the climate is turning measurably hotter and drier. Coastal zones stretching all the way from Portugal and Spain to Italy and Greece, have been transformed by huge tourist resorts, apartment complexes and golf courses demanding more and more water in a region that is already chronically short."

Read more, here

And unfortunately, water is obviously going to become more scarce (until the polar ice caps melt, I suppose). So, that's why I'm staying by Lake Michigan, part of the largest fresh water reservoirs on Earth. There aren't even water meters in Chicago.

[Posted with ecto]

Saturday, June 12, 2004

Start local DNS in OS X

Interesting little unix cook-book, borrowed from MacMegasite, on how to run your own DNS server if you have Mac OS X (or linux perhaps, but your specifics might be slightly different). I only know enough unix to be dangerous, but as long as you are able to follow instructions carefully, you won't muck anything up.

MacMegasite - Speed up web browsing with a local name server:
Instead of using your ISP's name server, you can run a caching name server on your own computer. By handling DNS lookups locally and caching results, it will make opening pages quite a bit faster. Here's how to do it:

1. Using your favorite text editor, edit /etc/named.conf and uncomment the following line:
// query-source address * port 53;
It should become:
query-source address * port 53;

2. Edit /etc/hostconfig and change the following line:
This will cause the local name server to start automatically.

3. Run the following command in the terminal:
sudo /usr/sbin/named
This will start the name server without rebooting.

4. Finally, go to network preferences and in the TCP/IP settings for Ethernet or Airport enter as the DNS server address.

Try opening a page in the web browser and enjoy the speedup!

If you have an Apple discussions login (and you should if you use Panther or Jaguar), here is more details details.

I hope you read all of this posting before jumping in, because these next steps are important too. Make a backup of your files before you change them (sudo cp hostconfig hostconfig.backup) and (sudo cp named.conf named.conf.backup).

I used 'sudo pico' to edit the files, textedit didn't have root access. I think there is a way around that, but always wanted to try using pico. I had never used pico before, and while it is was a little awkward, I figured out how to open the correct file. There is undoubtedly an easier way, but I managed. Also, when changing the TCP/IP settings, leave the ones already entered, and just move to the first DNS address.

If you use little snitch (which keeps track of outgoing traffic, nice little utility, worth the money), you will see a message that /usr/bin/host wants to make a UDP connection to port 53. This means you didn't fuck anything up, and that you are running your own DNS server. Whoo hooo!

Who woulda thunk it

NYT: SBC Switch Rule Found Unlawful:
"A policy of SBC Communications that prevents its customers from switching their local phone service while keeping their SBC high-speed Internet connection has been ruled unlawful by a state regulatory judge.

The ruling on Wednesday stemmed from a complaint made by Telscape Communications, which contended that SBC would not process requests to switch its customers to Telscape if they subscribed to SBC's digital subscriber line service, which gives them access to the Internet."

Oily oil

An Oil Enigma: Production Falls Even as Reserves Rise

As economists wonder if oil supplies can keep pace with rising demand, production trends at the industry's publicly traded companies are not promising.

ChevronTexaco's wells have produced less oil and gas than the year before. Even as reserves have risen, the company's annual output has fallen by almost 15 percent, and the declines have continued recently despite a company promise to increase production in 2002.

ChevronTexaco is not the only big oil company whose production is falling despite rising reserves, though it has the largest gap. As consumers, economists and governments around the world wonder if oil supplies can keep pace with rising demand, production trends at the industry's publicly traded companies are not promising.

Collectively, they paint a picture of an industry that has depleted nearly all of the world's easily exploited reserves outside the Middle East and that is now struggling to sustain production, much less increase it. Fears about supply shortfalls and rising demand have already caused prices to climb about 20 percent this year, hovering around $40 a barrel. The four biggest companies own only about 4 percent of the world's reserves, which are mostly government-held, but they offer a unique glimpse of supply trends because they must disclose their reserves and production each year.

So in other words, that ole War in Iraq thing sure worked out to lower everyones gas prices, and cure inflationary pressures, yep, it shure' did.

[Posted with ecto]

Friday, June 11, 2004

Chicago tourist Plan

Looking forward to Marty, Lucas and Andrew visiting later this month, came up with this top of the mind suggestions for tourists coming to Chicago including, in no particular order:

Top o' the 'Cock
Oak Park Beach
Haymarket Riot Plaque
Wicker Park and Bucktown pub crawl
Cubs or White Sox
Fireworks at Navy Pier
2nd City or Second City etc
Grant Park & Museum Campus, including Art Institute of Chicago, Buckingham Fountain
Miniature Golf at Diversey Harbor or East Monroe
Water Taxi and Architecture Tour
Canoe or Kayak Chicago River
Wells St. / River City pedal boats or gondola
Chicago Botanic Garden
Rogers Park Beach
Japonais Lounge in the early morning
Rush Street
Thursday's Farmers Market outside of Marche on Randolph
Garfield Conservatory
Bowling at Southport Lanes
Devon Avenue
Mr. Beef or Wieners Circle on Clark St.
Jazz at the Aquarium
Eastbank for a workout
Twisted Spoke
Wishbone for brunch
Joy Yee on Halsted or in Evanston
Tour of the North Shore, including Highland Park, along Sheridan Road
Greek Town

Feel free to include more in comments. I'll probably add more later, but this would occupy a few days of your time. Most of these things are year round attractions, but some only are fun/available in the summer. If you have unlimited funds, there would be several additions to this list, but the ones linked here are all reasonably priced.

Environmentalists win one for the Gipper

Environmentalists Win Ruling in a Suit Against Developers
A federal judge temporarily halted the government's practice of assuring private landowners that they will not face unanticipated requirements for protecting endangered species after a development project is approved.

A federal judge on Thursday temporarily halted the government's practice of assuring private landowners that they will not face unanticipated requirements for protecting endangered species after a development project is approved.

The ruling, by Judge Emmet G. Sullivan of Federal District Court for the District of Columbia, was hailed by environmentalists as a breakthrough and criticized by home builders as a threat to private development.

At least for the next six months, the ruling bars federal agencies from providing blanket assurances under the Clinton-era "no surprises" rule. The rule, adopted in 1998, has given home builders, timber and mining companies and other developers some immunity against unforeseen twists in providing protection for species.

Judge Sullivan said that as a result of the rule the "public has consistently been denied the opportunity'' to weigh in on decisions "likely to have significant effects on public resources."

His ruling came in a case brought by six organizations led by the Spirit of the Sage Council, a California group that represents American Indians and environmentalists. They challenged regulations of the Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service, which protect endangered species.

Now playing in iTunes: Fever Dream, from the album Our Endless Numbered Days by Iron & Wine (released 2004)

Thursday, June 10, 2004

Jim Gray, asshole

Some NBA news, since even though my Sacramento Kings, as currently constructed, will not win a championship, I still am a fan of the whole hoop thing. Page 2 - White Magic in the NBA:
"...It seems the only one who cares that Larry Bird is white, is Larry.

No. 3, and somehow most disquieting: A couple of days before, in the run-up to Game 2 in L.A., Iceberg Jim Gray, who is a colleague of mine, a long-time acquaintance, was asking Shaquille O'Neal questions about the Finals and the Laker season, questions that don't get nearly as much media mileage as "Does the NBA lack enough white superstars, in your opinion?" Near the conclusion of Gray's interview with O'Neal, Gray asked O'Neal to characterize the Laker season; and O'Neal did, with the last word he used being "enigmatic."

Good word. O'Neal seemed to try to humorize his use of it by smiling and saying Jim might not feel the use of such a word was appropriate -- if, in fact, he knew what it meant. O'Neal was sort of diffusing his own use of the word, as if Jim would take it as inappropriate, not as a word -- it was exactly the proper word -- but inappropriate for Shaq to use.

The word seemed to throw Jim Gray, who said to Shaq, "Spell that."

I was stunned. Almost as stunned as when O'Neal almost defiantly spelled it perfectly. He's lucky Shaq responded. Responded? He's lucky Shaq didn't drill him. Luckily for Iceberg Jim, Shaq's not that type. Spell that? What is that supposed to prove?

Wait. Don't answer that. Somehow I think it's going to lead to a question about race. Iceberg Jim is not so innocent here; but then again, few of us are. I do wish we'd stop infecting others, though. The moral here, if we can find one under the pile of horsecrap: Don't ask people if they think there should be more white superstar ballers (when they are right under your nose) without asking if there should be more black superstar lawyers, doctors, and sports interviewers who can spell "enigmatic."

Good freaking word, Shaq. Thank you"

I'm with you Wiley, what an inflammatory fucking question to ask. Shaq may be an athlete, and a black one too, but this doesn't mean that he is ignorant. I would have cheered if Shaq had slapped Jim Gray in his smug face, or more appropriately for Shaq, if he walked off the set right then. Read the rest of article here for more about Larry Bird's comments about white players vs. black players, and the serendipitous 'arrival' of Luke Walton. I am a long time "Laker hater", but even I was impressed by young Luke.

Ray Charles RIP

The legendary R&B musician Ray Charles has died aged 73, in Los Angeles, his publicist has said.

AMG listing

also NYT obit here

And, I almost was going to title this post, Ray Charles Hits the Road, but I thought that was a little New York Post-esqe.

Morrisey gets political

From the Manchester Evening News

MANCHESTER music legend Morrissey sparked controversy when he announced Ronald Reagan's death live on stage during a concert - and then declared he wished it was George Bush who had died instead.

Thousands of fans at Dublin Castle, in Ireland, cheered when the ex-Smiths frontman made the announcement that the former American president, who had battled with Alzheimer's Disease, had passed away.

And an even bigger cheer followed when Morrissey - who is no stranger to controversy - then said he wished it had been the current President, George W Bush, who had died.

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Dishwasher tips


It cost us a $110 service call from Abt, but now at least we know the following tip: run a dishwasher cycle with about a half-cup of vegetable oil every year to remove soap buildup which can constrict water pressure and lead to a non-functioning dishwasher. Also, this apparently helps various gaskets and valves have a longer life.

Dishwashers also like to have a yearly dose of vinegar to clean out and sanitize various food traps.

Thanks, Adam (our Abt guy).

Also, no thanks to you Whirpool, for making soap dispensers larger than they need to be, so that everyone overfills the dish soap, inevitably leading to soap buildup, and cruddy dishes, and service calls....

Danny Davis - Moony?

This is a very disturbing article
The Gadflyer: Moon Over Washington:

"So no one covered this American coronation, except Moon's own Times, which skipped the Messiah part. It wasn't in other newspapers, which only wink at the influence of Moon's far-right movement in Washington, when they cover it at all.

In fact, the only place you could read about the new king, unless you bookmarked Moon's Korean-language website, was in the blog world. There, dozens of the most CSPAN2-hardened cynics reacted to the screenshots with a resounding "WTF," the sound of dismay and confusion at a scene that news coverage hadn't prepared them for. The images might as well have come from Star Trek's Mirror Universe.

First, we're shown a rabbi blowing a ram's horn. Most Jews would hold off on this until the High Holy Days, but it probably counts if the Moshiach shows up in a federal office building at taxpayer expense. Then we see the man of the hour, Moon, chilling at a table at the Dirksen in a tuxedo, soaking all this up. He claps. He's having a ball.

Cut to the ritual. Eyes downcast, a man identified as Congressman Danny K. Davis (D-Ill.) is bringing a crown, atop a velvety purple cushion, to a figure who stands waiting austerely with his wife. Now Moon is wearing robes that Louis XIV would have appreciated. All of this has quickly been spliced into a promo reel by Moon's movement, which implies to its followers that the U.S. Congress itself has crowned the Washington Times owner.

But Section 9 of the Constitution forbids giving out titles of nobility, setting a certain tone that might have made the Congressional hosts shy about celebrating the coronation on their websites. They included conservatives, the traditional fans of Moon's newspaper: Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Rep. Curt Weldon (R-PA.), Rep. Chris Cannon (R-Utah), Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R-Md.) and Republican strategy god Charlie Black, whose PR firm represents Ahmed Chalabi’s Iraqi National Congress. But there were also liberal House Democrats like Sanford Bishop (D-Ga.) and Davis. Rep. Harold Ford (D-Tenn.) later told the Memphis Flyer that he'd been erroneously listed on the program, but had never heard of the event, which was sponsored by the Washington Times Foundation.

Rep. Curt Weldon's office tenaciously denied that the Congressman was there, before being provided by The Gadflyer with a photo depicting Weldon at the event, found on Moon's website. "Apparently he was there, but we really had nothing to do with it," press secretary Angela Sowa finally conceded. "I don't think it's quite accurate that the Washington Times said that we hosted the event. We may have been a Congressional co-host, but we have nothing to do with the agenda, the organization, the scheduling, and our role would be limited explicitly to the attendance of the Congressman.""

yee gods! Danny Davis is my Congressman, and I've even gotten a few letters from him, over the years, sounded like a reasonable chap.

Read the rest here....

iTunes 4.6

iTunes 4.6 released today, whoo hoo!
I'm pretty interested in the streaming brick thingy, aka Airport express, since I have a large digital library, and a stereo on another floor.

Dylan news from all over

NYT; Dylan, Master Poet?

"Christopher Ricks, the newly elected professor of poetry at Oxford, is also the Warren Professor of Humanities at Boston University, where he has a large and elegantly furnished office overlooking Storrow Drive, and he bikes to it every day from his house in Cambridge. The bookshelves contain a complete vellum-bound set of Johnson's "Lives of the Poets" and copies of the many books Mr. Ricks has himself written or edited — books about Keats, Milton, Beckett and T. S. Eliot; editions of Tennyson, Housman and Eliot's early poems; anthologies of Victorian verse and of English poetry from the anonymous author of "Sumer is icumen in" to Seamus Heaney. In a corner by the desk there is also a boom box. Mr. Ricks brings this to lectures when he wants to talk about another of his favorite poets: Bob Dylan."


Certain passages of "Dylan's Visions of Sin" may strike some readers as over the top, as when Mr. Ricks devotes four pages (and four footnotes) to the lyrics of "All the Tired Horses," a song that is only two lines long — or maybe three, if you count the long "Hmmmm" at the end.

Other chapters, though, draw insightful and persuasive parallels between, say, "Lay Lady Lay" and John Donne's poem "To His Mistress Going to Bed," between "Not Dark Yet" and Keats's "Ode to a Nightingale," and between "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall" and the Scottish ballad "Lord Randal." And throughout the book Mr. Ricks is particularly perceptive about the way Mr. Dylan, whom he calls "one of the great rhymesters of all time," punctuates his songs with brilliant and surprising line endings. (Mr. Ricks's favorite is the rhyme in "Sign on the Window" that pairs the line "Build me a cabin in Utah" with "Have a bunch of kids who call me `Pa.' ")

funny stuff. Good gag gift for my pa, perhaps....

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Hey, Daley!

This would be a most excellent idea to initiate in Chicago as well.

Bloomberg Seeks to Toughen Code for Noise in City:
"The legislation contains 45 pages of painstaking detail about sound and its resulting fury, with many areas singled out for enforcement, including these:

¶ Barking dogs would have 5 minutes to cease yapping at night, and 10 minutes during the day. (Currently there is no time limit.)

¶ Roaring air conditioning units, now mostly exempt from noise laws when in clusters, would be subject to stricter standards.

¶ Construction projects would most likely be curtailed on weekends and at night, and the industry would be asked to use equipment to reduce sound, like noise jackets for jackhammers.

¶ Ice cream trucks, accustomed to inching down city streets bleating out-of-tune childhood ditties, would have to lose their soundtracks by 2006, replacing them with the little bells of yore. (Taco trucks would meet the same fate.)"

extremely interesting, especially since there are several construction projects within 3 blocks of me, plus the Haymarket Riot memorial/alley reconstruction about to begin, and a tuckpointing project on our building almost ready to start. I was thinking of renting office space because it is going to be freakin' loud here soon.

I'd ad another idea: fine trucks for sitting and idling for more than 5 minutes (including City buses)! Not only are they loud, but the diesel fumes are noxious.

Ok, you can go back to your Millennium Park/Casino plans now.....

From the Dept. of Probably useless Facts

Economic History Resources - What is its Relative Value in U.S. Dollars?:
"Presented here are five series for making such comparisons in US dollars between any two years from 1789 to 2003. They are the CPI, the GDP Deflator, the unskilled wage rate, the GDP per capita, and the GDP.

One or more of the series may be most appropriate for you depending on the nature of your query. See below for the definitions of the series and some examples.

You can make this computation among all the years between 1789 and the present."

roll your own, here


NYT; Lawyers Decided Bans on Torture Didn't Bind Bush:
"Lawyers Decided Bans on Torture Didn't Bind Bush

Administration lawyers concluded in March 2003 that the president was not bound by a treaty prohibiting torture."

A team of administration lawyers concluded in a March 2003 legal memorandum that President Bush was not bound by either an international treaty prohibiting torture or by a federal antitorture law because he had the authority as commander in chief to approve any technique needed to protect the nation's security.

The memo, prepared for Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, also said that any executive branch officials, including those in the military, could be immune from domestic and international prohibitions against torture for a variety of reasons.

One reason, the lawyers said, would be if military personnel believed that they were acting on orders from superiors "except where the conduct goes so far as to be patently unlawful."

"In order to respect the president's inherent constitutional authority to manage a military campaign," the lawyers wrote in the 56-page confidential memorandum, the prohibition against torture "must be construed as inapplicable to interrogation undertaken pursuant to his commander-in-chief authority."

Nice to be reminded that we are a nation of laws!

Monday, June 07, 2004

Chicago reaction to Patriot Act

Bill of Rights Defense Committee:
"On October 1, 2003, Chicago, the third largest city in the U.S., passed a resolution affirming the rights and liberties of its residents and calling on the delegation representing Chicago in the federal government to work for the repeal of those sections of the Patriot Act which violate rights and liberties guaranteed by the Bill of Rights. The resolution passed 37-7. See the Chicagoland Coalition for Civil Liberties and Rights website."

Patriot Act, not in my town, biatch

Cities Say No to the Patriot Act
As Bush launches a campaign to promote the Patriot Act and convince Congress to renew sections set to expire next year, hundreds of cities across the United States say enough is enough. By Kim Zetter, Wired.

Forget drug-free and nuclear-free zones. A growing grassroots movement seeks to make the United States a Patriot Act-free zone, one city at a time.

Or, at the very least, the people behind the movement hope to make their cities constitutional safe zones.

In the past two years, more than 300 cities and four states have passed resolutions calling on Congress to repeal or change parts of the USA Patriot Act that, activists say, violate constitutional rights such as free speech and freedom from unreasonable search and seizure.

Barring that, the resolutions declare that their communities will uphold the constitutional rights of their residents should federal law enforcement agents come knocking on the door of local authorities for assistance in tracking residents. This means local authorities will insist on complying with federal orders only in ways that do not violate constitutional rights.

List of towns, including Austin & Evanston (natch) and even Chicago....

beginning of the end of blogging

The beginning of the end of blogging as a freely expressed mediumNYT: Nike Tries a New Medium for Advertising: The Blog:
"Gawker Media, a small company that operates snarky Web logs on culture and politics, like Gawker and Wonkette, has begun blogging on behalf of major advertisers.

The company's first paid blog is for Nike. Called Art of Speed, the blog will spend about a month showcasing a series of 15 short films on the theme of speed, all commissioned by Nike. Gawker Media Contract Productions, a new division of Gawker Media, will supply layout, commentary, links and other features. Terms were not disclosed.

"A lot of marketers are interested in Web logs as a medium," said Nick Denton, publisher at Gawker Media in New York. "One thing to do is to run advertising campaigns on the sites. Some marketers are moving one step beyond that and looking at other ways they can engage this new form of independent media.""

Probably not the first, and undoubtedly not the last instance of corporate usurpation of new forms of expression, I expect to see more instances soon.

Now playing in iTunes: Nobody's Fault But Mine, from the album Presence by Led Zeppelin (released 1977)

Saturday, June 05, 2004

Brandon Mayfield

NYT: Spain and U.S. at Odds on Mistaken Terror Arrest
" in interviews this week, Spanish officials vehemently denied ever backing up that assessment, saying they had told American law enforcement officials from the start, after their own tests, that the match was negative. The Spanish officials said their American counterparts relentlessly pressed their case anyway, explaining away stark proof of a flawed link — including what the Spanish described as tell-tale forensic signs — and seemingly refusing to accept the notion that they were mistaken.

"They had a justification for everything," said Pedro Luis Melida Lledo, head of the fingerprint unit for the Spanish National Police, whose team analyzed the prints in question and met with the Americans on April 21. "But I just couldn't see it."

The Spaniards, who continued to examine the fingerprints, eventually made their own match, to an Algerian citizen, whom they then arrested.

Carlos Corrales, a commissioner of the Spanish National Police's science division, said he was also struck by the F.B.I.'s intense focus on Mr. Mayfield. "It seemed as though they had something against him," Mr. Corrales said, "and they wanted to involve us.""

This is a significant problem, the FBI is so sure of their conclusions that the actual facts seem to get in the way. Unfortunately, the Brandon Mayfield case is not an aberration. Look no further than Abu Ghraib, Jose Padilla, Death Row, and even Richard Jewel..

The bizarre tale began days after the attack, when the F.B.I., after receiving several fingerprint images from Spain, said it had found a match to the digital image of a print from the blue bag, which held seven copper detonators like those used on the train bombs. Mr. Mayfield's prints were in the F.B.I.'s central database of more than 44 million prints because they had been taken when he joined the military, where he served for eight years before being honorably discharged as a second lieutenant.

The F.B.I. officials concluded around March 20 that it was a "100 percent match," to Mr. Mayfield, according to court records and prosecutors in Portland. They informed their Spanish counterparts on April 2 and included Mr. Mayfield's prints in a letter to them.

But after conducting their own tests, Spanish law enforcement officials said they reported back to the F.B.I. in an April 13 memo that the match was "conclusively negative." Yet for for five weeks, F.B.I. officials insisted their analysis was correct.

Building their case for his arrest on a material witness warrant, the [FBI] came up with a list of Mr. Mayfield's potential ties to Muslim terrorists, which they included in the affidavit they presented to the federal judge who ordered his arrest and detention.

They included that Mr. Mayfield had represented a Portland terrorism defendant in a custody case; that records showed a "telephonic contact" on Sept. 11, 2002, between his home and a phone number assigned to Pete Seda, the director of a local Islamic charity, who is on a federal terrorism watch list; that his law firm was advertised in a "Muslim yellow page directory," which was produced by a man who had business dealings with Osama bin Laden's former personal secretary; and that he was seen driving from his home to the Bilal mosque, his regular place of worship.

The document also said while no travel records were found for Mr. Mayfield, "It is believed that Mayfield may have traveled under a false or fictitious name."

Mr. Mayfield had never been to Spain, he said, and the last time he was out of the country was more than 10 years ago, when he was posted in Germany with the Army and, separately, visited Egypt, his wife's native country. He said he had left Portland only twice in the last few years, once to take his children to a theme park in Las Vegas and once to see brother, who was dying of leukemia, in Kansas.

"Being a sole practitioner, it's hard to stay afloat and it's not like I had time to be traipsing around the world," he said in an interview. "If they only knew."

So, once the FBI decides that you are guilty, no contradictory fact won't be explained away. You may have no record of ever flying to Spain using your name, but that just means you used another identity. This other identity isn't even known, much less proven, but it still goes in the indictment against you. Scary.

The court records show that the agents confiscated a large number of items from the office, including computer disks, bank statements, yellow Post-it Notes and confidential client files. Meanwhile, agents were confiscating things from the Mayfield's home, including a .22-caliber handgun and .22-caliber rifle, his Koran, and what was described in the search warrant return report as "miscellaneous Spanish documents," which turned out to be Spanish homework belonging to Mr. Mayfield's children, family members said.

yes, Spanish homework: the new tell-tale signs of terrorism.

Friday, June 04, 2004


I don't know where exactly I got this recipe, or even if it is a real mix, but regardless, I mixed:
1 part Tequila (Patron Silver)
1 part Cointreau
2 parts Pomegranate juice
1 juice orange, squeezed vigorously.

Mixed and imbibed. MMMMMMM......


Yahoo! News - Legal Glitch Snarls Bush's Spot on Illinois Ballot
"CHICAGO (Reuters) - For want of a small change to the Illinois election law, President Bush (news - web sites)'s name is not supposed to be on the state's November ballot, but officials said one way or another, it will be there.

The glitch arose because the Illinois legislature adjourned earlier this week without extending the Aug. 30 deadline for presidential candidates to be certified by the state elections board and qualify for the Nov. 2 ballot.

The relatively late dates of this year's Republican Party convention, running Aug. 30 to Sept. 2, mean that Bush will not be the official nominee until after the deadline set in state law. Eight other states had the same problem but fixed the date. As a result Illinois, is the only state where Bush could be left off the ballot."

Of course, the late-scheduled convention has nothing to do with the sacrilege/desecration of the 9/11 memorial, right?

Thursday, June 03, 2004

Drug War propaganda

Ads in favor of legalizing drugs OKd / Judge strikes down ban as breach of free speech:
"A federal law cutting off funds to any public transit agency that runs ads calling for legalization or medical use of an illegal drug was declared unconstitutional Wednesday by a federal judge.

U.S. District Judge Paul Friedman of Washington, D.C., said the amendment attached to a $3.1 billion transportation measure, signed in January by President Bush, violated freedom of speech by banning messages based on their viewpoint.

"The government has articulated no legitimate state interest in the suppression of this particular speech other than the fact that it disapproves of the message, an illegitimate and constitutionally impermissible reason,'' Friedman said. He prohibited the government from enforcing the funding restriction.

BART spokesman Mike Healy was unavailable for comment Wednesday, but denounced the federal ad restrictions as "blackmail of the transit industry'' when the suit was filed in February.

The amendment was sponsored by Rep. Ernest Istook, R-Okla., who took offense at pro-marijuana ads in the D.C. subway system. One ad was headlined, "Enjoy better sex!'' and called for legalizing and taxing marijuana."

Istook mistook "enjoy better sex" as a critique of his micro-penis. His wife said this about Istook, "It may be short, but it is thin".

Link courtesy of TalkLeft


Los Angeles Times: Battle over organic standards continues
"A federal battle is brewing over the definition of organic food, pitting the stalwarts in the industry, who insist that consumer confidence rests on organic purity, against government officials advocating compromise. For a $13-billion organic food industry experiencing explosive growth, the stakes are high.

Neither side is ready to give much ground.

Last week, Round 1 in the battle ended in a black eye for the United States Department of Agriculture. Under pressure from Congress and a cohesive organic food industry, USDA Secretary Ann M. Veneman rescinded four directives recently issued by her staff that would have allowed certain exceptions to the current organic food standards, established in 2002.

The idea was to clarify some gray areas in the regulations. Specifically, the directives would have added pesticides of questionable toxicity to the list of approved treatments for organic crops, allowed the treatment of organic dairy cows with antibiotics and permitted the use of fish meal, which may contain mercury, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) or both, as food for organic dairy cows. Most troubling to the organic food industry, the USDA sidestepped federally mandated reviews.

The USDA staff is not dropping the matter there.


Read more
standards for organic foods. The USDA is being brought into conflict with consumer groups like the Consumers Union and Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt) who authored the 1990 bill that led to the standards and who is against weakening or cutting any of the regulations.

story link courtesy of Too Many Chefs

Bush Lawyers Up

Bush Consults Lawyer About CIA Name Leak (
"This is a criminal matter," Bush said. "It's a serious matter. I met with an attorney to determine whether or not I need his advice, and if I deem I need his advice I'll probably hire him."

Earlier, White House spokesman Scott McClellan confirmed that Bush had contacted Jim Sharp, a Washington lawyer and former assistant U.S. attorney who heads his own firm. Bush took the step in case prosecutors or FBI agents want to interview him about the Valerie Plame case, or in the event he is called by a federal grand jury investigating the matter.

Plame's undercover status was revealed when her name appeared in a newspaper column by Robert D. Novak last July 14 that attributed the information to "two senior administration officials." In February 2002, the CIA sent Plame's husband, former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson, to investigate assertions that Iraq had attempted to buy nuclear material in Niger, claims that Wilson discredited. Wilson later became a leading critic of the White House's case for invading Iraq and has suggested that his wife's identity was leaked to discourage others from questioning the administration.

McClellan said Bush "has had discussions" with Sharp about representing him in connection with the case.

"In the event he needs his advice, the president would probably retain him," McClellan said. "The president has been very clear in saying that he wants the White House to cooperate fully, and that would include himself.""

This leads to some serious consideration as to why the Resident feels that a lawyer would be necessary. Of course, oral sex in the White House is a much more serious offense, no wonder Clinton was investigated within an inch of his sanity....

Wednesday, June 02, 2004


Published: June 1 2004 5:00
Where would Latin American summits be without Hugo Chávez?

Back in Mexico last week for a summit with European Union leaders in Guadalajara, Venezuela's president found an intense diplomatic debate over the strength of the language they should use in the final communiqué to criticise US behaviour in Iraq.

Asked about George W. Bush in a press conference, he replied that the US president was a pendejo, translated literally as a "pubic hair" and colloquially as a "coward". Funnily enough, Chávez's word failed to make its way into the final communiqué.

Now playing in iTunes: Heckler Spray, from the album Westing (By Musket And Sextant) by Pavement

Drunk official?

From the ToStar, we read....

Ahmad Chalabi, the former Iraqi exile once regarded as a friend of the U.S. administration, revealed to Iran that the United States had broken the code of its intelligence service, according to broadcast and published reports.

CBS News reported yesterday that Chalabi had told an Iranian intelligence official that the United States had cracked its codes, allowing U.S. agents to read Iran's secret communications. By revealing such information, Chalabi would have exposed one of the United States' most important sources of information about Iran.

The New York Times, quoting anonymous U.S. intelligence officials, reported on its Web site Tuesday that Chalabi told the Baghdad chief of the Iranian spy service that the United States was reading its communications. The Iranian spy described the conversation in a message to Tehran, which was intercepted by U.S. intelligence.

A CIA official declined to comment on the reports Tuesday night.

The American officials quoted by the Times said the Iranian spy, in the message to Tehran, reported that Chalabi had said he had gotten the information from an American who had been drunk.


Fahrenheit 9/11 finds coalition of willing distributors
Film: Michael Moore's award-winning documentary Fahrenheit 9/11 will hit American cinemas on June 25. [Guardian Unlimited]

After being famously dropped by Disney, Michael Moore's award-winning documentary Fahrenheit 9/11 has finally secured US distribution and will hit American cinemas on June 25.

The film is to be released by a partnership of Lions Gate Films, IFC Films and the Fellowship Adventure Group, which was formed by Miramax's Harvey and Bob Weinstein specifically to market Moore's film.

"I am grateful to them now that everyone who wants to see it will now have the chance to do so," Moore said in a statement. "On behalf of my stellar cast - GW, Dick, Rummy, Condi and Wolfie - we thank this incredible coalition of the willing for bringing Fahrenheit 9/11 to the people."

Bring it on. Nothing like a polemic for summer entertainment

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

From the Department of Damn, that's odd

HBO Filming Helps Free Accused L.A. Man

""Curb Your Enthusiasm," an HBO show known for its acerbic wit, accidentally helped deliver a happy ending to a man who had been charged with murder.

Juan Catalan spent 5 1/2 months in jail on murder charges before his attorney found video footage taken by the show at Dodger Stadium that backs up his client's claims of innocence."

Kosher water

Orthodox Jews Worry Water Isn't Kosher (AP)
AP - A glassful of cold New York City tap water not kosher? It may be true, and just in case, restaurants and bakeries operated under Orthodox Jewish law were advised Tuesday to use filters that can ensure water purity.

The problem: tiny harmless creatures called copepods. The little organisms are crustaceans and therefore not considered kosher.

As stores in heavily orthodox Brooklyn reported a run on water filters and rabbis considered whether additional measures were necessary, the Central Rabbinical Council issued its edict for businesses.

"We have given out a ruling that they should filter their water," said the council's Rabbi Yitzchok Glick. "We are still in the middle of deliberations about exactly the issues and the Jewish law."

Under Jewish law, the eating of crustaceans — aquatic animals with skeletons outside their bodies, including shrimp, crabs and lobsters — is barred.

Rabbi Abraham Zimmerman, of the Orthodox Satmar sect, said the recent discovery of the copepods was a small hardship, but he called on the city to help in making its water kosher.

"We hope the city will do something to purify and filter the water to accommodate a few hundred thousand Orthodox, observant Jews," Zimmerman said.

But the Department of Environmental Protection, which runs the reservoirs, said that the copepods are impossible to do away with and that they deliver health benefits to the reservoir.

"When it comes to delivery, if there is a spike and you are not comfortable with what you see in your water, all we can recommend is a commercial filter, which will effectively filter them out," DEP spokesman Charles Sturcken said.

Another Brooklyn rabbi, of the Lubavitcher group, said many religious leaders were advising their Orthodox followers to buy water filters if they can.

For those who can't afford filters, the water can be run through a double cloth to remove the copepods, Zimmerman said.

Evanston artifact

Spent Memorial day in Evanston, including at the beach. Found this artifact along the waterfront. Actual size is perhaps 10 feet long. Not sure if it is a petrified Spectacle from an alien race, or a discarded art project from one of the nearby universities.

Lets Roll, Biatch

CBC News:Marijuana Party gets campaign rolling with seed money:
"The federal Marijuana Party began its election campaign on Tuesday with a campaign slogan of "Let's roll."

Party leader Marc-Boris St-Maurice plans to run against Liberal Leader Paul Martin in the Montreal riding of LaSalle-Émard.

St-Maurice said he hopes to have candidates in 100 ridings in Canada.

About 40 Marijuana Party candidates are running in Quebec. Another 25 are expected to run in Ontario, with seven other candidates campaigning in Manitoba.

St-Maurice says the only issue for his party is the legalization of marijuana.

The party is raising money for its election campaign by selling marijuana seeds."

41 full of it

from New York Daily News:
"The 41st President of the United States has stepped up to defend his son, the 43rd President of the United States, against "slimeball" filmmaker Michael Moore.

"I have total disdain for Moore," George H.W. Bush told us when we saw him at the T.J. Martell Foundation Awards gala, where he was honored along with Stevie Wonder and Dr. Daniel Vasella the other night.

"41" has heard enough about "Fahrenheit 9/11," Moore's documentary indictment of President Bush, to know "it's a vicious attack on our son.

"It's a free country, so he's free to say whatever he wants," the former Oval Officer went on. "But I don't appreciate it. I don't like it.

"[My son] served with honor, and to get knocked down by this guy, " he huffed. "But you got to put up with it. That's what I'd say to [my son]."

We asked what he thought of Moore's use of the comment Barbara Bush made at the start of the Iraq war: "Why should we hear about body bags, and deaths? ... Why should I waste my beautiful mind on something like that? And watch [my son] suffer."

Said her furious husband: "For him to take on Barbara is just beyond the pale. She's a decent, wonderful person, and to have to answer anything about what that slimeball says is just too much."

Informed of Bush's tirade, Moore told us he had "fond memories" of "41" asking for a print of his movie "Roger & Me" to show at Camp David in the winter of 1990.

Moore, whose film explores the financial ties between the Bush family and the Saudis, said, "I appreciate all reviews of my films from the Bush family. And if they love the film this much, without having seen it, I can't wait for the reviews when they actually see it. I'd be more than happy to set up a White House screening."

Recalling the Bushes' nickname for Saudi Ambassador to the U.S. Prince Bandar, he added, "I hope they invite Bandar Bush!""

Now, that's a screening I'd like to get an invite to....

Now playing in iTunes: Billie's Blues #3, from the album Billie Holiday - Complete Commodore Recordings (Disc 2) by Holiday, Billie (released 1997)


The Diebold Variations:
"Diebold Variations: I came into possession of the image of Stalin casting a vote, and wondered what the ghastly old fellow might have made of the new touchscreen voting technology. A magazine ad suggested itself, and then another, and another... They're arranged here in the order conceived; after two days inspiration has flagged, and these 18 are likely all."

Funny stuff