Wednesday, April 13, 2005

A Blog Dies Every Sixty Seconds

And another picks up where it left off: my new blog, Pirate Curse

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Talk Like a Pirate Day

Arrr! Ye scurvy dogs! September 19th, a date that will live in piracy: the 3rd annual talk-like-a-pirate day. While at it, why not blog like a pirate?

Friday, September 10, 2004

Say Ellis…

A quote that combines your interests in Travels With Charley and epidemiology:

    The Morgan Library has a very fine eleventh-century Lancelot in perfect condition. I was going over it one day and turned to the rubric of the first known owner dated 1221, the rubric a squiggle of very thick ink. I put a glass on it and there imbedded deep in the ink was the finest crab louse, pfiththira pulus, I ever saw. He was perfectly preserved even to his little claws. I knew I would find him sooner or later because people of that period were deeply troubled with lice and other little beasties - hence the plague. I called the curator over and showed him my find and he let out a cry of sorrow. "I've looked at that rubric a thousand times," he said. "Why couldn't I have found him?"

A plaintive archivist, innit. Of course, Steinbeck intends Pthirus pubis, pubic lice. Judging from the photo, they're quite the acrobats. Anyway, I'm off to comb my local library....

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Arrrh, 'Tis A Remorseless Eating Machine

Well, it jolly well is.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Come on all you big strong men...

...Uncle Sam needs your help again. Fiction-writer George Saunders responds to The War On Tara, or whatever we're calling it.

Sunday, August 22, 2004

Black Widow Strikes

Good God: Sonya Thomas eats 38 lobsters (9.76 lbs. of lobster meat) in 12 minutes, in a Kennebunkport contest. The above link shows a photo from Associated Press.

Odds, Ends

Some web, er, resources I'm clearing from my bookmarks & which are worth a moment:

Infectious diseases – collect them all! The Centers for Disease Control have put out a series of collectible trading cards for various diseases. (Reagan had the AIDS 1981 rookie card, but he just put it in the spokes of his Huffy.)

Being a Condensed Treatment of the New Moving Picture King Arthur, in Hopes that 115 or More Minutes of Your Life might be Devoted to More Fruitful Purfuits.

If you're a drunk & nerdy grad student in the humanities like me (and yes, those first two qualifiers are superfluous), you'll love the MLA interactive map of the U.S., based on 2000 census data on languages spoken in American households:

    If you want to graphically display the concentration of French speakers in Louisiana by county (centered, for the most part, on Lafayette and the immediately surrounding counties), you can.

    If you want to find out the zip codes with the most Chinese speakers in the Bay Area, you could show that they’re 94539 (north of Milpitas), 95014 (south of Mountain View), as well as a handful in San Francisco itself (94112, 94116, 94121, 94122, 94133, 94134).

    And if Ellis wants to speak the language of his putative ancestor, Johann Johannson, he could go to the Bay Area (!), but also the Everett/SeaTac corridor in Washington, Hennepin Co. in Minnesota, and Cook Co. in Illinois (i.e., Chicago).
Eventually, tho’, it’ll devolve into questions like: What’re the Navajo-est zip codes in the DC area? (Hint: 22206 – Arlington/Shirlington Ave., 20002 – NE D.C., and 20815 – downtown Bethesda.) At that point you really need to sober up and do some real work.

(Just saw "The Fog of War" on DVD. Still grinding mental gears, but look for a post on it soon).

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Too Racist for the Tennessee GOP?

Have we learned nothing from Governor George Wallace?

From the Washington Post:

Southern Discomfort

An unabashed racist won the Republican nomination for a House district in Tennessee earlier this month. James Hart, who contends that whites should not mix with "less favored races," thumped a Republican write-in candidate -- 7,865 to 2,061 -- to win the party's nomination for the state's 8th Congressional District.

"The poverty genes of less 'favored races', which are spread by welfare and immigration, are destroying our cities no less than if they were hit by a nuclear bomb," Hart said on his campaign Web site. "Unless we stop dysgenic welfare and immigration policies, the U.S. will look like one big Detroit."

The state GOP, which was unable to find another candidate in time for the election's filing deadline, has disowned Hart's campaign, calling his views "outrageous." The district, which is represented by Rep. John S. Tanner (D-Tenn.), is considered Democratic country. But Hart's candidacy will nevertheless give him a platform for his views and the Republican Party a headache.

My roommate Mike is from Hart's future district (Martin, Tenn., in NW Tenn.). Both of Mike's parents voted for him. Says Mike: "they were shocked that a Republican would say such things." Shocked, shmocked. He also mentioned that Hart wears a bulletproof vest whenever he leaves the house, so apparently we have learned something from Wallace.

Monday, August 02, 2004

a feast fantastic

hello boyos... great to see everyone except our dear monsegnieur at this weekend's feast. i think we should all be proud of impressing a waiter of 8 year's service.

so, chris suggested that next year we rent a van/bus/vw megabus to shuttle everyone from the dc area up to the glorious metropolis of OC. makes a lot of sense, given that a lot of the feasting time is spent in the car, which we could be spending all together.

this led to another discussion of extending the idea of an annual reunion to something longer, like a week long vacation together. possible dates suggested were the week of matt/chris' 30th birthdays, or in fact any week that ellis would come.

whaddya think

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

extensive research

of parsley's alleged hometown of tuvalu reveals some somewhat eclectic list of major industries

my hero

Friday, July 23, 2004

Next Year In Jerusalem, Maybe

But this year in Maryland

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Island Pics

Just made my first attempt at a home page.

I want to reserve a future FEAST (official or otherwise) for Shaw's lobster pound in New Harbor.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Reading The Riot, Act I

It has not escaped the notice of the Retro Punk Central Committee that posts have reached a height off which they have trailed, like streamers or strained metaphors. Perhaps Alhambra is not living up to its Xanadu-esque billing? But surely the blog could be worse. How, you ask? Herewith, examples of how it could be worse. Much worse:

Mungowitz End: Sed Victa Catoni.
Sed Victa Catoni. Roughly, "Smug Casserole."

You'll need:
various computer components, a guinness, a french coffee press, the sacrifice of your dignity.

Can a blog be worse than an overheard cellphone conversation? So glad you asked. A woman's reflections on God, divorce, and her weight; Mo describes herself as "fairly empty and waiting to be filled."

Was that self-flagellating fun? If so, check out Ter's blog, who had a "special relationship" with Mo (see the comments for the posts - precious). It also includes the ultimate way to break up with a born-again chick: In order to deepen my relationship with God, I need to go on a fast - from you!

Finally! The great taste of worcestershire - in a peripheral! The George Foreman USB iGrill provides a sophisticated web-based cooking interface. And since it runs directly off your computer's USB port, it can cover your monitor in a slippery layer of beef grease. Ah... Steakie!

The author is dead? I hope so. I hope fucking so. G.A.R.L.I.C. S.A.L.T. ~ Gents And Real Ladies In Cahoots with Short And Long Tales. Don't you see it's an anagram? Don't you?

By the way - Matt's "Let America" & my "Not the America" posts were used as the inspiration for an interesting Mark Liberman post on "snowclones". (proof here.) Hey! He used them without acknowledgment! Matt, is this what Hollywood feels like?

Help the blog. The blog would help you.

Friday, July 16, 2004

Searching For Bobby Fischer

While we're still making efforts toward the high-value targets (HVTs) like bin Laden, our government always has time to go after people who play chess without permission. I don't recall Fischer in a collectible military deck of cards. ("Do you have any Karpovs?" "Go fish. Do you have any Deep Blues?").

Thursday, July 15, 2004

jad's long lost brother

Saturday, July 10, 2004

11 July Revolution

"After 7/11, the world changed." How is it possible I have never heard about this before?

No. 1 Convenience Retailer To Serve Free Slurpee® Drinks, Beverages, Snacks on 7-11 Day

Friday, July 09, 2004

Boyos, do note

I'd like, in the future, to note blogs of various sorts on our blog. Here, then, is a blog that addresses nothing, except things found (in the dirt), along Jefferson Park Avenue, Charlottesville, VA:

Brian's blog

Thursday, July 08, 2004

Say Hello to my Little Friend

It's no dog, but I now have a pet

She's a scarab, but I love her. I've put some old banana in her container, but I suspect she's holding out for rotten cantaloupe. Bitch.
The Eastern Hercules Beetle

New Link on the Moore Film

To pick up on the Parsley link:

Hitchens can be, at his best, both felicitous and penetratrating, but this:

    "Fahrenheit 9/11 makes the following points ... 6) The American lives lost in Afghanistan have been wasted. (This I divine from the fact that this supposedly "antiwar" film is dedicated ruefully to all those killed there, as well as in Iraq.)"
Thus a gesture of inclusiveness is smacked away by Hitchens's highly personal (and hostile) interpretation.

Weird that Hitchens goes on to say Moore's movie is based on "a big lie," but doesn't bring the same level of analysis to the war against Iraq, which was based on a series of big, backpedaling lies (WMDs, or not, Nuclear secrets from Niger, or not, Connection with Al Qaeda, or not, Rape rooms, or turns out that's okay if done by Americans"). When official sources lie, what is the common citizen to do?

Hitchens chides Moore's quotation of 1984, a seminal text for those troubled by the controlling power of nation-states. Hitchens says:
    In general, it's highly unwise to quote Orwell if you are already way out of your depth on the question of moral equivalence.
Okay, majarajah of moral equivalence: is a lie to launch a movie the equivalent of a lie to launch a war?

Strangely, Hitchens does know this problem. He is a man who wrote an excellent book on George Orwell. Orwell warned about the threatening limits of journalistic truth and accuracy (in the Spanish Civil War):
    This kind of thing is frightening to me, because it often gives me the feeling that the very concept of objective truth is fading out of the world.... The implied objective of this line of thought is a nightmare world in which the Leader, or some ruling clique, controls not only the future but the past. If the Leader says of such and such an event, 'It never happened' - well it never happened." [pp. 69-70, Hitchens, Orwell].
When the Leader says it did happen, how to escape from the nightmare?

Moore's answer is not to accept the Leader's lies, but to try to balance them with emotional arguments. If you must, call them emotional stories. But that doesn't make them lies - it makes them something higher - a class of fiction. Orwell would have recognized the difference.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Have Toilet, Will Travel

Sometimes the title just writes itself:
President Bush In Turkey

via wonkette

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

The Office Menace

A charming bit of zen fluff:

new computer

I actually bought a new computer! For real. I did not find it on t he desk of a co-worker. It is not tasty with cream cheese and lox. It is a G4 powerbook and I am very excited about Wi-fi, bluetooth, burning CDs, etc. JAD, as tempting as it is, I plan to steer clear of Civ III at all costs. OS X "panther" is amazing. I am looking forward to the new OS "Tiger" in the spring, most likely followed by Ocelot and Mircat.

Sunday, July 04, 2004

if he be not a god...

he must at least be some minor deity....

Friday, July 02, 2004

Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?

So here's the exchange between Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) and VP Richard "Dick" Cheney (R-Hothead). Trust me, the "dick" is not a nickname, it's an honorific.

The exchange went something like this:

Cheney (R-HH): I don't appreciate all this about Halliburton.

[Leahy has been calling for investigation into no-bid military contracts for Halliburton, for which Cheney's office was "in-the-loop," and by which company Cheney is still receiving deferred compensation]

Leahy (D-VT): I don't appreciate you calling me a bad Catholic.
[The administration has accused members of Congress opposing the appointment of far-right Judge William Pryor of being anti-Catholics]

Cheney (R-HH): Go fuck yourself, Leahy!

Now, I'd react just like Cheney ("You people are bad Catholics! Oh yeah, you're all Protestants. Except Parsley, who's a fish-worshipper, or some such.") But you'd think the weight of office - about 255, judging from the chins - would make some difference.

Cheney explained himself later: "I expressed myself rather forcefully. I felt better after I did it."


There's an interesting & brief note on the grammar of the above title (Joseph Welch, accusing Joe McCarthy of having gone too far)

Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Not the America I know!

Not a question as such, but a bit of question-begging in the following (recurring) rhetorical statement: "That's not the America I know."

This phrase is on its way to becoming the new "...or the terrorists have won." It's just as useful, too, in the snappy-answers-to-stupid-questions department (a department which retails a lot of goods).

Started, obviously, with the little torture scandal that could (the thumbs-up sends the message: "My name is Pfc. Lynndie England, and I approved this torture").

We saw stage two with Republican congressional hopeful Jack Ryan (Ill.); Ryan’s friends in the party bailed on him when his interest in gentlemen’s clubs became public, saying: “that’s not the Illinois I know” (perhaps with a trace of regret…).

In stage three, the meme goes live:
“Seven bucks to park here? That’s not the Bethesda I know!”
“A movie that isn’t cheaply manipulative? That’s not the Tom Hanks I know!”
& one day soon: “That’s not the chapati I know!”

Strange that a phrase that disclaims knowledge begins with the Republican Party….

Monday, June 28, 2004

All Hail the Bearded Lady!

My colleague actually met this person.

Saving America and so forth

So for my inaugural post, I'm going to ask anyone who truly cares about the future of our nation for Kerry slogan submissions. Nick O'Rette's input is also welcome.

The crux of the issue, gents, is this. Kerry's current official slogan is:


Which, upon cursory inspection, means nothing, but upon closer inspection...means nothing. So it comes from a celebrated Langston Hughes poem. I ask you: (1) Who celebrated Langston Hughes? I didn't. I'm sure I'm going to literary hell for this, but I find the guy a blowhard, a disenfranchised echo of Whitman with no faith in his readership. Like Steinbeck, he's the guy at the end of the bar who just won't shut up. For an African American voice appropriate to a campaign, try Gwendolyn Brooks, W.E.B. DuBois, Sterling Brown, Frederick Douglass, Ralph Ellison, hell, Huey Newton! If you're going to go socially extreme in a nationally broadcast campaign slogan, get angular, dammit. Put some hair on those balls. (2) Kerry really is "trying to go socially extreme" here, and the Republicans are going to smack this line around like a gin-soaked Koosh. Two counterpoints include: (a) Placed in context ("America never was America to me") the poem debunks American liberty and fairness; (b) Hughes was a black gay socialist atheist* - which is fine, Dems will retort, nothing wrong with that, but Kerry won't have swept swingvoting Ohio moderates off their feet.

And (3) -- more compelling than the first two -- it reinforces the kind of candidate that folks suspect Kerry may be: pompous, patrician, and vaguely circumlocutory. So let's get some better ones. My boss is on a bunch of writers' committees that are trying to do just this, and I bet we can come up with some sweet stuff. Three ideas:
2. KERRY US BACK (Populist, "US" in red).
3. JUST FOR KERRY (Old School Dem (each word on top of the next, playing on JFK)).

+++ My first blog. Whew.

*Also, isn't this a carefully blanched form of pet primitivism?

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Wobbling, Falling Down

Badger, Badger, Badger, Badger, Euro, Euro!

Norway? More like Snoreway!

The Singing Directive

Film as loop, or the soundtrack to a permanent break with reality. The cheery bloody bounce of these things is either resoluteness or mindlessness, or resoluteness in the face of mindlessness. Mindlessnessless. Hee. Badger.

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

this almost sounds like it comes from the onion...

Monday, June 21, 2004

is this matt?

answers to rhetorical questions

q: who's afraid of virginia woolf?
a: i am

q: ooh lawdy lawdy who likes to party?
a: my friend fred likes to party. one time, he got so drunk, he tried to make sweet love to a spatula.

q: shall i compare the to a summer's day?
a: no.

q: where's the beef?
a: the newest beef is between goerge bush and kofi anan; the previous beef between biggie smalls and tupac shakur has been resolved.

q: can i supersize that for you?
a: no, supersizing is no longer an option at your place of repast. you should make yourself aware of your company's most recent policies, and adjust your closing questions accordingly.

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

this is exactly the kind of thing my mom might do...

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

wouldn't a much more logical

way to lay out this website be that whenever you add a comment to one of the blogs, it automatically jumps to the top of the post list? that way it's easier to keep track of what's new, as opposed to constantly scrolling through old posts?

and why doesn't 'sake' rhyme with 'clambake?'

i bought a new computer on saturday...

well, ok, if you want to be exactly '''''accurate''''' you'd have to replace 'bought' with 'stole.' and i suppose you'd want to go ahead and sub out 'new computer' with 'bagel' and replace 'saturday' with 'this morning,' but that's only if you really want to grasp this elusive notion we call ''truth.'' the situation is that my colleague left a bagel on his desk, and i, being hungry, ate it when he went to go buy coffee. my reasoning is that if he were really hungry, he would have bought TWO bagels, instead of one, in which case he almost definitely would have shared one with me. since he didn't, i can only assume he wasn't hungry, and didn't want the bagel anyways. i detailed this untrammeled train of thought while he was making little aggressive motions with his recently cream-cheased knife, and let me tell you, bridge over the river kwai he ain't.

so how exactly does this work? i see ellis asked this question earlier, but does someone start a thread, and then we basically keep free associating on that topic until it somehow ends up with jad vommiting somewhere gross?

Monday, June 14, 2004

No Moles Were....

Whack-a-Mole, now divorced from its boardwalk roots.

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Funeral bragging rites

    "In the most general sense, taking care of a president in death is not unlike caring for an average deceased person...."

Sure. Sewing up the anus of a president would probably go pretty much the same as any other.

From the San Francisco Chronicle, via Wonkette.

Seely Shoulder Straps, Planters Peanuts, Miss Weber Millinery

Here's a nice collection of those turn-of-the-century, fading ads you see painted on buildings (NYC).

Fading Ad Campaign