"If you understood everything I said, you'd be me" - Miles Davis
"There is much pleasure to be gained from useless knowledge." - Bertrand Russell
"Take away the right to say fuck and you take away the right to say fuck the government." - Lenny Bruce
"Facts are meaningless. You could use facts to prove anything that's even remotely true!" - Homer Simpson

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Best Headline This Week

"Seventh Seal Finally Opened: Tom Cruise Makes Katie Holmes His Love Slave"

Link


Old School Shout Out
A short history of yelling "Freebird!" at concerts.
For the record, I've always gone for the contrarian "Whipping Post!".

Hot Glue Guns At 10 Paces
Finally, something to take the place of the late, lamented "Junkyard Wars":"Craft Corner Deathmatch!"

Good To Know
I'm glad to find that "Liverpool" came from the Old English for "Pool with Muddy Water" because the obvious alternative is unsettling.

Ha Ha
"Before a Senate commission revealed that the Bush administration's claim that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction was "dead wrong," the public preferred to give President Bush the benefit of the doubt. According to a Gallup poll released today, that's no longer the case: Fully 50 percent of Americans now believe the Bush administration deliberately misled them on the issue of Iraqi WMDs.

If Americans had any further questions about the WMD threat used to justify the war, the government's Iraq Survey Group put them to rest today with an announcement that its hunt for Iraq's elusive WMDs has ended empty-handed. Last week, another Gallup poll found that a majority of Americans, 53 percent, now believe the Iraq war was "not worth it."

"
Link

I Can't Even Think Of A Word That Rhymes
I got a e-mail invitation to go to a dinner with Dan Gillmor. I don't know which is more eyebrow-raising; that the Seattle Times is even vaguely aware of my blog, or being referred to (along with about 40 others) as a "great local blog". Whew

Tasty
Spam subject of the week: "Marmalade Norphradine". Because everybody likes prescription drugs on a toasted english muffin.

Darth Vader Has A Blog
"You know what I hate? Idiots.

What I do not understand is why they do not understand that the only way for lower men to maintain any kind of dignity at all is to respect their own limitations. Humility is a virtue, if you are low.

In my meditations I have found myself drawn toward a remote sector, one not yet scheduled for probe deployment. Something speaks to me out of the velvet between the stars, and I cannot ignore it. "Redesign for the Themoth Sector," I commanded. "Make ready the jump to hyperspace."

"But Lord Vader," whinnied Admiral Ozzel, "the armada is already moving along a prescribed route..."

I withered him with a stare, my hands on my belt.

He ordered the helm to replot our course, and notified the fleet commanders. Then he turned and asked as contritely as he could manage, "May I at least know what leads you to suspect Themoth will yield results, my Lord?"

"You may ask," I told him, turning away to the glass. "As an ant may ask the sun why it shines. It is beyond you, Admiral. See to your duty."

Ozzel hesitated. "Sir," he said crisply and turned on heel.

Do you want to know what the worst part is? My left leg is still on the fritz. Whose trachea do you have to crush with your mind to get a little service around here?""
Link
Via Linkfilter

Spooky
Yet another referral from Unqualified Offerings :Start reading this blog at this post and see if you get as creeped out (in a good way) as I did. Reading it at 3AM probably didn't help. If you're new to blogs note that the order of the entries is bottom up.

No Aston Martins
What is The Sandbaggers?
It's the best damned show most people never saw.

The Sandbaggers is a supremely entertaining and intelligent British TV series about the Cold War. Its central character is a ruthless, duplicitous, acid-tongued, lovelorn but often funny spy master named Neil Burnside. He is one of the most fascinating and complex antiheroes ever to have graced the small screen.

He is the Director of Operations (D-Ops) of Britain's Secret Intelligence Service. Among his other duties, Burnside oversees a small group of officers who are to be are sent abroad on politically sensitive or dangerous missions: escorting defectors to the West, retrieving secret papers and photographs, or anything too hazardous for the officers the UK has posted to that locale. Burnside's greatest opposition, however, often comes from the bureaucrats and politicians in his own country, not from the Soviets.

The Sandbaggers is remarkable for the many ways in which it inverts espionage genre conventions: Burnside doesn't drink and is about as far from charming as you can get, his top Sandbagger hates violence, no one has any flashy cars or gadgets or sexual liaisons, and the whole series features very few action scenes. A typical 50-minute episode consists of men and women having intelligent conversations and heated arguments in government offices, in London parks, and in the Ops Room, where missions are planned and controlled.

Praised for its unflinching honesty, passionate acting, witty dialogue and shocking plot twists, The Sandbaggers has a worldwide fan following. The 20 episodes were first broadcast in 1978 and 1980 on Britain's ITV network (not the BBC). Canada's CBC, Australia's ABC and many American PBS stations aired the series in the late 1980s and the early 1990s.

You'll probably like The Sandbaggers if you like John Le Carré's spy novels, or anything acknowledging its audience's intelligence.
Unqualified Offerings clues me on to The Sandbaggers. And lo and behold, Scarecrow Video has all three seasons on DVD. I loves me that there dark bleak spy stuff.

P.S. I think "The Hairy Palmers" would be a great band name. They could all wear black-rimmed glasses.

P.P.S. Charles Stross mixes the bureaucratic spy story with Lovecraftian horror in "The Concrete Jungle". Good Stuff

Habeas Corpus
The Talking Dog Blog has an interview with Jose Padilla's court-appointed attorney Donna Newman.
"Talking Dog: Do you think that, by and large, the American people actually care about this case, and care about what happens in it?

Donna Newman: I'm afraid the answer is no. Most people think that at least they're taking a terrorist off the street- they're making ME safer. But they're not, of course. This makes us less secure-- not more secure. What's that famous statement...

Talking Dog: Ben Franklin's quip that "they who would trade their precious liberty for a little temporary security deserve neither"?

Donna Newman: Exactly. What we have here is a decision not made by the people-- but by their government. In this country, the Congress makes the laws, and the President executes them. The President MUST follow the laws of Congress. Congress passed a law [18 U.S.C. § 4001(a) (2000) (the "Non-Detention Act")] expressly prohibiting the President from detaining citizens on U.S. soil without CONGRESSIONAL authorization to do so, and the President had, and has, no such authorization. The President didn't ask Congress to pass a law to give him such authorization. And even if he did, such a law would probably be unconstitutional. Not because anyone condones terrorism, or anything like that. But there are reasons we do things. In Germany-- and I hate to use that as an example, but it's true-- in Germany people turned their backs on the first few infringements and it just kept going. For another thing, we need to protect our soldiers over in Iraq and elsewhere fighting for us. That's why we're strong. It's our laws and that we follow them that make us strong. Without them, how are we different from other countries? I believe in our Constitution. You just can't take someone on the street, lock them up, and say that the rules don't apply to them. You just can't."
More information on the "Non-Detention Act" and it's use in contesting detention of "enemy combatants".
Link
Via Unqualified Offerings

Yikes
ultimate beer bong
I for one bow down to our new ultimate beer bong overlords

Link
Via Linkfilter

Nightmare Fodder
Eight-foot-long millipedes roamed New Mexico 300 million years ago.
giant millipede
"Kitchee Kitchee Koo"

Link
Via Incoming Signals

Interesting Career Choice
I got spam from "Jamal - Sperm Manager".

24
Jeez, this Marwan character is like a comic book super villian. He crashes a train, then he kidnaps the Secretary of Defense to cover up his attempt to meltdown all our nuclear power plants. Then he steals a stealth fighter to shoot down Air Force One so he can retrieve the nuclear command "football" so he can hijack a nuclear weapon. And those are just the high points. I wouldn't be surprised if next he tries to melt the North Pole and knock the Earth off it's axis. Plus he seems to have an inexhaustible supply of minions. All he lacks is a hidden fortress of doom and a harem.

Comcast Follies
" Comcast, the top U.S. cable TV network operator, is being sued by a Seattle-area woman for disclosing her name and contact information, court records showed Thursday.

In a lawsuit filed in King County, Wash., Dawnell Leadbetter said that she was contacted by a debt collection agency in January and told to pay a $4,500 for downloading copyright-protected music or face a lawsuit for hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Leadbetter, a mother of two teenage children, was a customer of Comcast's high-speed Internet access service.

The company, Settlement Support Center, based in Washington state, was using information that the Recording Industry of Association of America had obtained in a Philadelphia lawsuit over the illegal sharing of digital music files, said Lory Lybeck, the lawyer representing Leadbetter.

But no court authorized Comcast to release names and addresses of its customers, or notified his client that her information had been given to an outside party, Lybeck said.

"Comcast should respect the rights of privacy who pay them monthly bills," Lybeck said."
I'm no fan of the phone company, but I think I'll be choosing DSL when circumstances allow me to get broadband.
Link
Via Boing Boing

Mmmmmm, Pudding
panda flavored pudding
From The Adventures of Accordion Guy in the 21st Century

Spiky Goodness
ice spikes
Sister #2 has kindly informed us of the wonderfulness of ice spikes.
Link


IT Dept. Discovers The Arch
monitor arch

Via Gizmodo

Clueless
I went to the Seattle Public Library Book Sale today (books, acres of books!) and I actually heard a little semi-old lady ask a volunteer "are these alphabetized at all?".

Of Course, Now You're Marked For Death
Google's satellite photos of Area 51.
Via Warren Ellis

Bad UI, Sit!
I like Comcast's "On Demand" service-who wouldn't like being able to watch disturbing anime any time you want? What I don't like is the way they've set up the controls. Let's say you want to watch music videos. It takes 14 key presses to get to /Home/Music/Music Choice/Rock/ and anywhere from 5 to 20 presses to get to a video you want, so let's just call it 30 key presses. Now you watch the video, and then everything goes horribly wrong. Instead of leaving you in Home/Music/Music Choice/Rock/ where you might be expected to watch another video, they kick you into Home/Saved Programs/ (where you can't do shit) from whence all you can do is hit the "Last" button to get to Home and then go through the whole 30 key presses again to get back to where you were. It's not so bad with something long like a movie, but all that unnecesary button pushing every 3 minutes is a pain.

Chool
Joe Strummer has a train named after him.
Via Linkfilter

Nonconstant
Are universal constants really constant?
More seriously, our results have the potential to revolutionise the way we understand the universe on all scales, from the subatomic to the universal. All of modern physical theory is based on the assumption that the laws of physics remain the same no matter where or when you happen to be. Physicists have what is called a "standard model" of the universe which allows them to explain all observed phenomena. This standard model cannot explain variations in the constants and so, if our results are correct, the standard model would need a complete overhaul: we will have discovered the first hint of a completely new set of physical laws, hitherto unseen and not to be understood for some time.
Link
Via Linkfilter

Another Brush W/Celebrity
I met J.P. Patches today. I moved about 600 pounds of stuff into his garage and he gave me a t-shirt. Nice guy, the Patchster is.

Happy Happy
happy face spider
The HappyFace Spider
Via Monkeyfilter

Oh Puleeeze
So I'm watching "24" and I just had a "what the hell?" moment. Our hero Jack has been sent to retrieve the presidential nuclear command "football". What is he armed with when he gets out of the helicopter? Answer: One basic semi-automatic handgun. He just left headquarters; he could easily have armed himself to the teeth, but all he has is a pistol. Stupid, Jack, real Stupid.

Urgh
Graphical responces to the creepy BK commercials:

Found on the web
creepy burger king 1


My own creations
creepy burger king 2

creepy burger king 3

creepy burger king 4

Pods For Industry
Firesign Theater Podcasts

Via Follow Me Here

Science!
Why Rats Can't Vomit

Via Follow Me Here

I Just Wonder
" leave no property behind me of which it is necessary to dispose. As for the everyday objects that were of use to me, I ask they be distributed as seems appropriate. My personal notes are to be burned. I ask that this be attended to by Father Stanislaw (Eds: his personal secretary, Archbishop Stanislaw Dziwisz), whom I thank for his collaboration and help, so prolonged over the years and so understanding. As for all other thanks, I leave them in my heart before God Himself, because it is difficult to express them."
Why did John Paul II want his personal notes destroyed? It just seems odd to me, especially since I suppose he could easily have had them locked away for say, 100 years or so. I also find it interesting that throughout all of NPR's painfully extensive coverage I've heard no one comment on the Pope's request.
Complete Text Of Will

Mencken's Creed
"I believe that religion, generally speaking, has been a curse to mankind - that its modest and greatly overestimated services on the ethical side have been more than overcome by the damage it has done to clear and honest thinking.

I believe that no discovery of fact, however trivial, can be wholly useless to the race, and that no trumpeting of falsehood, however virtuous in intent, can be anything but vicious.

I believe that all government is evil, in that all government must necessarily make war upon liberty...

I believe that the evidence for immortality is no better than the evidence of witches, and deserves no more respect.

I believe in the complete freedom of thought and speech...

I believe in the capacity of man to conquer his world, and to find out what it is made of, and how it is run.

I believe in the reality of progress.

I - But the whole thing, after all, may be put very simply. I believe that it is better to tell the truth than to lie. I believe that it is better to be free than to be a slave. And I believe that it is better to know than be ignorant. "
Link
Via Metafilter

Ok, Now My Life Is Beyond Complete
utility fog in biscuits
Biscuit Name Generator
Via The Generator Blog

My Life Is Complete
The Steven Seagal Movie Generator
Via The Generator Blog

Lurky
The Nameless Dread
Link
Via Eyebeam Reblog

Spooky
Castor
The art of Ray Caesar
Via Drawn!

Tragic Accident?
"This case has been written off by US officials as a "horrific accident" that occurred on what we are told is "the most dangerous road in Iraq," where insurgents are constantly waiting in the bushes to attack. The Pentagon further contends that the Italians failed to slow down at a checkpoint and only after repeated attempts to stop the car did soldiers fire on the Italians. The problem is, according to Sgrena, this shooting didn't happen on that road. What's more, Sgrena says that there was no US checkpoint for which to slow down.

"This is treated as a fairly common and understandable incident that there would be a shooting like this on that road," Klein says. "I was on that road myself, and it is a really treacherous place with explosions going off all the time and a lot of checkpoints. What Giuliana told me that I had not realized before is that she wasn't on that road at all."

According to Klein, when Calipari was killed and Sgrena wounded, they were on a secured road that can only be accessed through the heavily-fortified Green Zone and is reserved exclusively for top foreign embassy and US officials. "It's a completely separate road, actually a Saddam-era road, it would seem, that allowed his vehicles to pass directly from the airport to his palace," says Klein. "And now that is the secured route between the U.S. military base at the airport and the U.S. controlled Green Zone and the U.S. embassy."

"It was a VIP road, for embassy people, not for normal people," Sgrena told Klein. "I was only able to be on that road because I was with people from the Italian embassy." "
Link
Via Metafilter

Perjury
"During sworn testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee on May 19, 2004, Senator Jack Reed asked General Sanchez, who commanded the Combined Joint Task Force Seven (CJTF-7) in Iraq, whether he "ordered or approved the use of sleep deprivation, intimidation by guard dogs, excessive noise and inducing fear as an interrogation method for a prisoner in Abu Ghraib prison." General Sanchez testified in response that he "never approved any of those measures to be used in CJTF-7 at any time in the last year" and that he "never approved the use of any of those methods within CJTF-7 in the 12.5 months that I?ve been in Iraq."

However, a document that the Defense Department released to us late in the afternoon of Friday, March 25, 2005 specifically contradicts General Sanchez?s testimony. In a memorandum signed by General Sanchez and dated September 14, 2003, General Sanchez ordered the immediate implementation of a policy signed by him, entitled "CJTF-7 Interrogation and Counter-Resistance Policy." The policy approved by him for interrogation of "detainees, security internees and enemy prisoners of war under the control of CJTF-7" specifically approves "significantly increasing the fear level in a detainee," "adjusting the sleep times of the detainee (e.g., reversing sleep cycles from night to day)," "sleep management: detainee provided minimum 4 hours of sleep per 24 hour period, not to exceed 72 continuous hours." The policy also approves for detainees who are not prisoners of war (and sets up an individualized approval process for prisoners of war) additional techniques, including "yelling, loud music, and light control: used to create fear, disorient detainee, and prolong capture shock. Volume controlled to prevent injury," and "presence of military working dogs: exploits Arab fear of dogs while maintaining security during interrogation. Dogs will be muzzled and under control of MWD handler at all times to prevent contact with detainee.""
Link
Via Metafilter

Cartoon Cartoon
Dialogue from Spongebob Squarepants:
Strangler: "Get your feet out of my eye sockets!
Spongebob: "I'm trying, but my cleats are stuck in your corneas!"
And I spotted the gang from "The Big Lebowski" on "Foster's Home For Imaginary Friends"

I watch a lot of cartoons. That and the ever growing genre of motorcycle-building reality shows. I'm waiting for "Los Alamos Chopper", where 2 theoretical physicists create a bike out of dark matter powered by zero-point energy.

So Now You Know
How To Count Your Freckles

Adspeak
There's this commercial running on AM radio that begins with the announcer saying "Summer is coming, and that can only mean one thing: boat season is coming". This is the kind of thing that drives me crazy, because it's just plain wrong. Summer might mean different things to different people, including boat season, but I am absolutely certain that Summer never, ever means just one thing. And to add insult to injury some chucklehead actually got paid good money to write this.

All Hat And No Cattle
reagan & bush are cowboys
I saw this bumpersticker the other day and I had to laugh. Not because it's funny, but from the sheer absurdity of the idea that Reagan and Bush could ever be considered cowboys. It's all smoke and mirrors, and it's scares me that millions of people buy into this bullshit. A little googling brought to light the fact that Bush's Crawford ranch has only existed since 2000, and that the 200 or so cattle on it belong to someone else. At the website of the company selling the sticker you can see the kind of reaction these fauxboys get from other people.