Wednesday, June 30, 2004
I've found a new high. To achieve it, you'll need:
RadioPrank has Flash movies now. Most of them suck, but this one is kinda funky.
Today I'm listening to: Wu-Tang Clan! (Didn't those guys used to make music?)
Tuesday, June 29, 2004
So I called MicroNet (from whom you should never buy hardware) to find out when my hard drive is going to get here, and this is the brilliant conversation we had:
MicroNet Tech: Hello, tech support.He eventually gave me all the shipping info and thanked me for calling.
I can't stand people saying things that aren't funny, and thinking that they are funny. Shut UP, you moronic shlub! Grr! And while we're on the topic of People Who Should Shut Up -- the next person who simply reads back a t-shirt to me will get attacked with a weed whacker.
I have a shirt that says "Hey, I Ordered a Cheeseburger!" It comes from an old Far Side cartoon wherein four people are looking at partially-filled glasses of water. The first one says "It's half full!" The second one says "It's half empty." The third one says "Half full -- no wait, half empty. Wait, what's the question?" And the fourth one says "Hey, I ordered a cheeseburger!" So when Garrett and I were at the shop late one night and he asked me what I wanted on my shirt, that's what I told him.
Yeah, it's a strange shirt. You wanna ask me about it? Fine. You wanna give me a weird look? Okay, no problem. You wanna light up and say "Far Side!" like that one guy (the only one to ever recognize it) in the burrito shop in Austin Texas, excellent. But what is the freaking purpose of reading it to me?
Possible thoughts going through this person's addlebrained head:
I, Robot is Going to SUCK!
If you haven't seen the trailer for I, Robot, the new movie starring Will Smith and "suggested by" Isaac Asimov's classic book of the same name, prepare yourself to vomit in terror. That they have the nerve to keep the name shows the utter contempt they have for both Asimov and the viewing public. Fortunately, I'm not the only one who feels this way.
Burn, Hollywood, Burn!
The Picture of Everything doesn't really have everything (for instance, I don't see Snake 'n' Bacon), but it's pretty cool.
Today I'm listening to: RadioPrank, which is funny. ("Batman?")
Sunday, June 27, 2004
Yes it is. It's worse than Star Wars: Episode One. Why on Earth did I waste another two hours of my life by watching this atrocious turd of a movie again? I haven't seen Robocop 3 yet, but I rented it today, too. So I'm bracing myself for the possibility that it might be worse. But I doubt it.
Why is Robocop 2 the worst sequel ever made? (This list has spoilers, but insofar as they might keep you from somehow watching the movie, they should be called "preservers.")
Redeeming things about Robocop 2:
Hello Kitty Has No Mouth.
Today I'm listening to: The Avalanches! ("That boy needs therapy.")
Saturday, June 26, 2004
Go see Farenheit 9/11. We saw it last night and it's quite an excellent film. Both Diane and I tried to view it through the eyes of someone who didn't already agree with the main points (and/or know most of the details explored), and we agreed that the movie does a great job of letting the facts speak for themselves. The IMDb notes that "After its official showing at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival the movie was given what has been called 'the longest standing ovation in the history of the festival.'"
I was going to just use that as a springboard for a discussion of the election (see "Kerry, Nader and Clinton" below), but then I stumbled onto Michael Moore Hates America, a new movie that uses the style and format of Roger & Me (ie, trying to get an interview with Moore) to show how hypcritical and deceptive Moore is, as well as how wonderful the country is. (I think I saw Dinesh D'Souza in the preview.)
In the interest of listening calmly to all sides of a discussion, I want to see this movie. I think everyone has something valid to say (whether or not they ever get around to saying it), and I like to give everyone a chance. I've made it clear in this space that I don't like some of Mike Moore's sleights of hand, even if I think they're relatively minor in light of the larger points he's making.
Then in the MMHA site's Links & FAQ section, I came across Bowling for Truth, Moore Lies, and MooreWatch, all very detailed and constantly-updated websites designed to refute Moore's work and deconstruct him as a person. (For instance, there's a new book called Michael Moore is a Big Fat Stupid White Man.) I also found farenheit fact.
Again, being someone supremely interested in fairness (and a proponent, after all, of sites like O'Reilly Watch), I took a good, long look. Most of the criticism is of the "Moore hates America" type, especially a quote Mike made about the insurgency:
The Iraqis who have risen up against the occupation are not "insurgents" or "terrorists" or "The Enemy." They are the REVOLUTION, the Minutemen, and their numbers will grow -- and they will win.While I don't agree with this statement (although it has a bit of merit), I think the larger issue is being ignored. Namely, Iraqi insurgents are not going to give up just because US-installed local government take over. They believe they're fighting for their sovereignty and self-determination (not to mention control over the resources under their soil), and this mess isn't going to get solved with airstrikes or assassinations, any more than the Palestinian/Israeli intifada will go away with massive military force.
Meanwhile, MooreWatch featured a review from a pro-Bush viewer who, after agreeing with the movie while it played and applauding when it finished, declares: "I was brainwashed for about four hours and then reality set in again. Other truths start to filter in. I remember who Michael Moore is: A stupid fat white man who has his head up his $%# and is full of &*%$."
There are some valid points on these sites. (The plaque under the bomber in Littleton, for instance, is more complex than Moore indicates in Columbine.) But whereas Mike's movies tend to be 10% shady with 90% excellent info and commentary, these sites are the exact opposite. I hate to dismiss anything like this outright, but I understand why most people don't bother even to listen to criticism -- it's so much easier to ignore those who disagree (especially when most of what they say is bollocks).
I think part of it has to do with the economy of language. I once heard (although now of course I can't find the quote) that when asked why he didn't say much at the Constitutional Convention, George Washington said: "When I spoke, I wanted to make sure it was something worth saying."
I try to make this the cornerstone of everything I say or write. I often spend hours researching and editing my blog posts, for instance, to guarantee that there's nothing on this page that might deserve the axe. Most writers, on the other hand, seem to think that the more that is said, the better for their argument.
In a way, this makes some limited sense. When confronted with an overwhelmingly long list of refutations to something you believe, it's tempting to think "Boy, I must have been mistaken." Or, the flipside, "This is all a big load," allows the critic to say (correctly) that you are unwilling to face the charge of dishonesty. So writing a whole lot stacks the deck in your favor. Those who call for absolute honesty as well as editorial brevity are, after all, in the minority.
Kerry, Nader and Clinton
The movie, obviously, sparked a conversation on the way home about the "Anyone But Bush" mentality felt by so many Americans. I posted the following comments this morning to a listserv, and figured they were worth posting here.
I voted for Nader in Florida in 2000, and I don't apologize for doing so. As I told my friends at the time, the percentage of voting-age population that didn't bother to show up on election day (in Florida, 49.4%) deserve the blame, not the 4% nationwide who voted Nader because they weren't satisfied with Gore's pathetic backpedaling, wobbliness, and mealy-mouthed QuasiRepublicanism.
I'm going to vote for Kerry this year, because I've seen just how evil and treacherous Bush can be. But I will not go along with the constant third-party-bashing that has been going on nonstop, especially here in Wisconsin -- a swing state.
Bush is evil and must go -- but let's not kid ourselves. I expect Kerry to be a lukewarmed version of Clinton. And although he fought (meekly) for some liberal social issues, what were the major achievements of the Clinton presidency?
Kerry is a step in the direction we need to go. A baby step, one only barely worth taking.
Sacco & Vanzetti
Including this in the post title is actually a reference to an old George Carlin routine where he played a fictional radio DJ. Sacco & Vanzetti were Italian activists who were executed on August 23, 1927, for murders they didn't commit.
The police trap they had fallen into had been set for a comrade of theirs, suspected primarily because he was a foreign-born radical. While neither Sacco nor Vanzetti had any previous criminal record, they were long recognized by the authorities and their communities as anarchist militants who had been extensively involved in labor strikes, political agitation, and antiwar propaganda and who had had several serious confrontations with the law.So now you know.
Man, this is nuts. Who spends a day off researching and writing something like this? I thought I was going to work on La'o Hamutuk stuff and play video games.
Avatar High is a Flash version of The Sims. It might be interesting if you stuck with it. (Alas, I only played for a very short time.)
Today I'm listening to: Groove Salad! Hey, I just realized that they're (woop woop) listener supported.
Friday, June 25, 2004
Thanks to Garrett for linking us to TROGDOR, the original StrongBad email. I can't remember when I've laughed so hard at something online.
Pic swiped from ZeroSubSpace.
This list of movie cliches is kinda funny. Not as funny as TROGDOR, tho.
Also interesting is the East Coast Greenway, an "urban alternative to the highly popular Appalachian Trail." But if you travel it, beware any village that has thatch-roofed cottages!
New Blog Alert
Tim Wise, the too-cool-for-words antiracism activist, has a new blog called Word from the Wise. Pretty clever name! He's got some stuff worth saying.
Play the TROGDOR Game!
Today I'm listening to: Delerium!
Thursday, June 24, 2004
We're back, y'all! Check out the cool pics from the trip.
America At Its Best
Every time I fly, I leap immediately for the SkyMall™, America's most complete collection of overpriced useless crap. Some of my favorite new entries this time around are:
The John Lennon Imagine 24k Gold Record. "This John Lennon Gold Record features "Imagine" lyrics and the likeness of his face in 24k gold. Also included is a piece of the Tittenhurst studio door where the album was recorded. This limited edition has a Certificate of Authenticity." $225.00.There is no possible way anything satirical can ever be said about this item. If you think that there could ever possibly be a valid reason to purchase this item, then you need to read the lyrics to Imagine right freaking now.
Pan Dances! 18.6 MB QuickTime.
Today I'm listening to: Sorten Muld! It's okay, their lyrics are all in Danish too.
Friday, June 18, 2004
Time to clear out the ol' bookmark file!
Everyone wave at the adorable baby wombat, who appears to be waving to us.
I did an ego search last week and found a link to my treatise on the business model of education, A Profit Without Honors on a page of apparently random links owned by Celebrex, an arthritis drug. (Cue Twilight Zone music.) TPCQ: "I didn't consent for them to put this on TV!"
From the same ego search: The best review I ever got.
This should really go under the TimeWaster™ heading: An In-Depth Anaylsis of the Cultural Ramifications Evidenced in the Powerpuff Girls. Fascinatingly pointless!
methylenedioxymethamphetamine . . . is obviously the "chemical X" refered to in the show. This tells us that one can be "created", and by extension, re-created by drugs. Obviously a statement on karma and the reincarnation evidenced in many belief systems. Note also, the symobolism in the technology used to create the powerpuff girls. It is indeed, (as shown in the intro of every show) a large pot (note also the pun), into which are mixed all the ingredients needed. This tells us that the technology itself is not so important as the outcome, in short, an example of the ends justifying the means. Does this mean that the powerpuff girls would be in favor of, say, human cloning? I realize this is a hot button issue, but the fact remains that they indeed, quite possibly would be.For commentary, see the title of yesterday's post.
Hey look -- it's a pig riding a skateboard! (TPCQ: "Whatsamatter, Homer? You ain't never seen a naked chick riding a clam before?")
Whatsamatter, you never heard of flying portable toilets crashing into automobiles?
You should definitely check out this online draft registration form. I wanna know how they got the URL.
Peep the test patterns from TV stations around the world. Singapore has to be my fave.
Also very fun -- kids draw their interpretations of common idioms. My fave? Penny for your Thoughts.
Speaking of art, check the Infinite Art. Fractals and then some. I don't care for the ones that are just simple Photoshop filters, but some of the images are quite striking.
Most of you have probably seen that video with Bush and Blair singing to each other. Well, that's Atmo, and they've done some other cool stuff too. Make sure you see "The Voice" on this page.
Thanks to Diane for linking us to Freeway Blogger. Temporary high-exposure roadside political messaging. Sweet.
Great political cartoonists think alike. (Now imagine it in slow motion.)
You want more? Yeesh! Okay, check out this virtual tour of Pere Lachaise cemetery. (C'est en francais, mais tu ne lirais jamias le texte, n'est-ce pas? Regardes vite les photos, et puis envahe un autre nation souveraine. Americains imperialistes!)
Today I'm listening to: Gift of Gab!
Thursday, June 17, 2004
See, the reason I believe that wombats are in fact grasshoppers is because science has proven that wombat animals are the same thing as grasshoppers. Is it me?
US President George W. Bush continued to insist that ousted former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein had links with Al-Qaeda despite an official report that found no credible evidence of operational ties between them.So you see, kids -- the reason your foot is a garden gnome is because it is. Now shut up and get in the SUV.
Oil prices climbed in trading on Thursday amid the violence in Iraq, which is a major oil producer.Woo hoo! Suicide bomber kills 41 = Exxon stock up 65!
Pic swiped from Active Opposition.
The game itself is kinda slow, but I think Diane will enjoy the Wrapped Up In Books game.
Monday, June 14, 2004
Do not buy any hardware from MicroNet. Do not buy any hardware from MicroNet. Do not buy any hardware from MicroNet. Do not buy any hardware from MicroNet. Do not buy any hardware from MicroNet. Do not buy any hardware from MicroNet. Do not buy any hardware from MicroNet. Do not buy any hardware from MicroNet. Do not buy any hardware from MicroNet. Do not buy any hardware from MicroNet. Do not buy any hardware from MicroNet.
You wanna waste your time? Talk to the people at MicroNet "support".
Today I'm listening to: The sound of my teeth gnashing!
Wednesday, June 09, 2004
To the prospective students walking around the UW Memorial Union tonight: Run! It's all lies! They just want your money -- your soul will be swallowed by the vortex of sin and mind-altering chemicals! (Actually, we used to shout this one at prospectives at New College all the time.)
To cars marked STUDENT DRIVER, as I speed toward them: AAA! Look out -- my brakes aren't working! I hope you've got an airbag! Bleah! Lookout!
To my insane neighbor lady: My dog is a [expletive deleted] female! No y-chromosomes, dammit! FEMALE!
To Snake 'n' Bacon: You're real bacon! Sssss!
To Colin Quinn: You are NOT funny and you never have been! You definitely do not deserve a show on Comedy Central!
To the essays I've been grading for weeks: Ha ha! I'm DONE! So boo-ya-ka on you, [expletive deleted]es!
To people who don't use their turn signals: What the [expletive deleted] is wrong with you!? If I truly hated anyone, I would hate you!
To people who read my blog but never post comments: What do you think the comments box is there for!? What the [expletive deleted] is wrong with you!?
Here, look -- all sorts of backwards messages in popular music. Really.
Today I'm listening to: Mad Professor, the perfect hot-weather music!
Tuesday, June 08, 2004
No more! Please don't make me grade any more! Not until tomorrow anyway. But this is it! The last stack -- the home stretch. The final crescendo. The grand tamale. The big Kahuna. The alpha and omega. Et cetera and so forth. Yadda yadda yadda. Ad infinitum.
Go look at the new pictures at imagenary.
Pandalf Golf is fun.
Today I'm listening to: Groove Salad!
Sunday, June 06, 2004
But I will not abide distortions of the historical record.
Have some fun with Bowman. Via ABS. Kinda tricky, but fun once you get the hang of it. To return to the main menu, you'll need to right-click the game (or control-click on the Mac) and choose "rewind".
Today I'm listening to: Mad Professor!
Saturday, June 05, 2004
Last night at a dinner party, a friend related the horrid tale of someone infested by the larvae of the botfly, which lays its eggs in the flesh of mammals. I didn't believe her until I looked it up for myself -- and it's true. They struck a three-year-old in the neck and back ("The neck lesion continued to enlarge, and by this time a small hole was visible at its center.") They struck one man in the scrotum ("One lady Doc picked up Marks chart & said 'I'm not touching that'!"). The larvae has even shown up in the human eye. (Warning: very nasty picture!)
The moral of the story: When you go to South America, make sure to bring lots of Off! (Alas, I can't find an online version of one of my favorite Far Side cartoons: Two explorers are being attacked by bugs in the jungle; one of them holds a can of "On!" and says angrily: "You idiot! This isn't what I told you to bring!")
The pen really is mightier than the sword. Especially when it fires .22 bullets!
Is Google the new Big Brother? Some of the points made here are intriguing and important: "Matt Cutts, a key Google engineer, used to work for the National Security Agency. Google wants to hire more people with security clearances, so that they can peddle their corporate assets to the spooks in Washington." Meanwhile, some are just silly: "Anytime you land on a Google page, you get a Google cookie if you don't already have one. If you have one, they read and record your unique ID number." That would be like if you had to give your name and address when you order something from a catalogue. Insidious!
Check out the video of toad botfly parasitization. (Fourth, fifth and sixth videos on the list.) Nasty!
Today I'm listening to: Blue Room Released!
Friday, June 04, 2004
Sometimes I love doing dishes; other times I wish I had a robot to do them for me. Of course, a robot would probably be electrocuted as soon as it touched the water, causing its immediate death -- but maybe I could get it some waterproof gloves or something.
We got our yearbooks at school today -- one of my students wrote "Bush 04" in it, and I can smell sulfur on that page now. The yearbook has this cool heat-response panel on the front so that when you hold your hand on it, the Sun Prairie High Cardinal appears. Cool!
Dude, George Bush got dissed by the Pope. Cool. That John Paul -- he wheezes and gurgles it like it is. (Except when it comes to homosexual marriage and abortion and a dozen other issues.)
Tontie is cool.
Today I'm listening to: Orbital!
Thursday, June 03, 2004
I ripped my pants at school today. I bent down to pick up some trash in front of my classroom and I heard something rip. Trying to be smooth, I raced to the restroom, and sure enough -- there was a big rip in my pants. Fortunately, it was on the exact bottom of the pants, so no one seemed to notice. (Or at least, no one said anything for the rest of the day.)
Now I have to sew up my pants and hope I can get some more mileage out of them.
Feed a cold! It works, consarn it.
The trailer for Farenheit 9/11 is out. He's got a distributor, too; June 25 is the date, yo. I'm so stoked.
Today I'm listening to: Ultraviolence! (Sorry, I can't find any clips of the album I'm actually listening to, Life of Destructor.)
Wednesday, June 02, 2004
Whatever, who cares? None of it makes any sense. What freaking ever. My head is filled with molasses and concrete (head colds will do that). The "War on Terror" is just like World War II. Don't try to think about it -- all you'll get is a headache. (Which I've got.) Indonesia can't take criticism. Whatever -- at least Megawati doesn't fall asleep. Aceh? Who cares? Will your kid graduate? Lemme flip a coin. Hey, why wouldn't Iraqis support our new appointed government? Whatever, just tell me how many people died today. What does history have to do with anything? Why are you bringing up old stuff?
Finding the truth takes too much work.
Come Together. I've never been too crazy about the Beatles (except for their historic importance), but this is really well done.
Today I'm listening to: The silent sounds of absurdity.
MadWomen for Peace (incl. Diane)