Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Spam Poetry

I received this odd paragraph at the end of a junk email. I love it. I wonder what purpose it serves? Who wrote it?
Of course, it probably contains secret hacker code that is violating my hard drive as we speak. But it's my work computer so who cares?

Jugglers pity policemen. There is a rumor that the creationists like to torture caribou. Barbeque lovers are better looking than mothers. Housewives donate their bodies to perverts. T.V. doctors are better than swashbucklers. It is said that the
flatworms live with Macintosh users. Hippies surprise boys. Cyborgs say that the psychoanalysts warn their children about old-timers.

Monday, August 29, 2005

New Music

Just some thoughts on a few really good CDs I just picked up........

Camera Obscura, Underachievers Please Try Harder
Breezy late-summer pop. Belle & Sebastian comparisons are apt. Their charm lies in the familiarity of the execution - you know exactly what chords are coming next, making each song sound like an old favorite from the first listen. Gently sarcastic lyrics and breathy girl vocals = let's take a walk in the park and watch the leaves change.

Junior Boys, Last Exit
Elegant, melancholy electro-pop from Ontario induces swooning head bobbing. Twitchy, multi-layered beats and icey atmospherics. Makes me want to take some painkillers and ride around in a taxi aimlessly in the middle of the night.

Sons & Daughters, The Repulsion Box
So good it hurts. Manic, twangy rockabilly-dance-punk from Scotland. With mandolins! Violent and sexy. They put on one of the best live shows I've ever seen. And they're playing Mercury Lounge on Friday. I'm going, anyone want in??

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Assassination! (because it's cheaper than starting a war)

I love starting my workday to the sound of Christians sharpening their knives. I'm sure Jesus would take the razor wire and hatchet to that oil-hording Marxist, wouldn't he? Amen.

Court TV: The Hallucination Files

Late last year I discovered CSI on DVD. I began watching two or three episodes a day, to distract from my clinical depression in the face of prolonged unemployment. In addition to my naughty fantasies about Warrick, I began dreaming of entirely new episodes of the show. That is, I would invent fully casted and scripted credit-to-credit dramas during my sleep, complete with the trademark gore and science. I thought these were fascinating, and often thought about writing them down and honing them into scripts. Unfortunately, I couldn't write anything during this time, and resolved instead to watch more sitcoms, or maybe try harder to get a job.

I watched Sin City on DVD last night and it was fantastic. Fantastic in the manner of Kill Bill, where the viewer is transported to an alternate reality for a few hours. The viewer can truly escape into the new world. Delightful as it was, I was pretty sure that it would give me nightmares, and it did. But my nightmares have taken on this permanent narrative form. Last night, I dreamt an episode in the manner of CourtTV, of a murder mystery being resolved at my sister's house in Upstate NY, while I was there visiting. How funny that my subconscious enjoys a violent mystery which slowly reveals itself bit by bloody bit. How funny that my subconscious follows all the rules of good TV writing, keeping me engaged until the very end, when Aha! I bolt awake with that last gruesome image in my mind.

I raise this topic because, before my procedural crime fabrications, I never gave dreams much thought. They were a brief respite at most. I realize my recent Hollywood nocturnal excursions are mostly apery of an established form, but the way they are fashioned with original components is no less unique than any story I've seen or read. How many legends, songs, or works of art have begun this way?

Am I merely the last to discover nature's most creative fountainhead of fiction? What is going on that causes me to come up with better stories asleep than I can compose while I am awake?

Monday, August 22, 2005

I Hate Intelligent Design

I'm so sick of this.
And the fact that The Times feels compelled to address this non-issue. Bill Maher put it best on Saturday night: you don't have to show both sides of a debate when one side is full of shit.
There are some humorous quotes to be found however. I like Walter Paley: if you see a rock you can tell it was formed by wind and rain, but if you see a pocket watch, it's obviously been designed. What?? Clods.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Re: Viva la Science and Beers!

AK to AG 8/19/2005:

Sweetie, how are you? A lot of drinking last night? Did you drink yourself to a conclusion? Do you not want to tell me your conclusions because you are embarrassed that they keep changing? Don't be, my love. A conclusion is the point at which one gets tired of thinking.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Harry Potter and the recessive allele

Nature.com has posted a fascinating article which explains how children as young as five can learn the concepts of mendelian genetics by using the idea of Muggle-born, pure- and half-blood in the Harry Potter world.

Wizards or witches can be of any race, and may be the offspring of a wizard and a witch, the offspring of two muggles ('muggle-born'), or of mixed ancestry ('half-blood').

This suggests that wizarding ability is inherited in a mendelian fashion, with the wizard allele (W) being recessive to the muggle allele (M). According to this hypothesis, all wizards and witches therefore have two copies of the wizard allele (WW). Harry's friends Ron Weasley and Neville Longbottom and his arch-enemy Draco Malfoy are 'pure-blood' wizards: WW with WW ancestors for generations back. Harry's friend Hermione is a powerful muggle-born witch (WW with WM parents). Their classmate Seamus is a half-blood wizard, the son of a witch and a muggle (WW with one WW and one WM parent). Harry (WW with WW parents) is not considered a pure-blood, as his mother was muggle-born.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Escape Velocity

Ever been approached by someone while walking alone on a dark street late at night?
There's an instant of unease where, on the cusp of fight-or-flight, the body makes a split, subliminal decision on whether this figure before it is friend or foe. More often than not, the stranger passes or just asks for change or a cigarette, and the net result of the encounter is a residually fluttering heartbeat.

I've been wondering what it must have felt like to be on the space shuttle Discovery approaching the atmosphere, not entirely sure if your battered vessel would make it through to the ground.

A friend of mine was robbed the other day.

Three times in the last two weeks have strange, unintelligible men come rapping on my front door, or my window. I, like a fool, open up.

They're searching bags on the subways these days, though we all know it won't do any good.

Nagasaki remembered the atom bomb today.

If you were sucked into a black hole and looking outward, chances are things wouldn't look so different - after all, light can still get in even if it can't get out. You might not notice much had changed until the gravitational force tore you apart.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

On Water Between the Ears

Roughly five hours after swimming in the ocean, your head is bent over forward when ten to fifteen drops of salt water pour from your nose. It's surprising because they had long-since reached body temperature and you don't know what's happening until you see the drops falling. You can't tell when it will stop, either. Maybe death will be that way- you see it come out but you can't feel a thing.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005


The Associated Press

BROOK PARK, Ohio -- The 14 Marines killed in Iraq by a roadside bomb on Wednesday were all members of the same Ohio-based battalion that lost six Marines two days earlier, a Marine Corps spokesman said.)

Let's hypothesize that after a week of frustrated funerals Division headquarters sends units from this battalion into a village with orders to suppress any resistance. Resistance! You blind cigar-choking brass-wearing pigs! The only resistance is already with our troops in the form of a useless policy that leaves them tactically defenseless, militarily useless and politically dangerous- reduced to body parts on the side of a dirt road with no enemies in sight. Now let's hypothesize that there's a massacre- alleys and gutters littered with bodies- old people, women, men and children. When word gets to the rest of the world, all the protest kids will ask for justice and "bring our troops home" and court-martials for the soldiers responsible. But most protest kids are stupid- mention My Lai and you might as well be talking to an Inuit. I wouldn't blame soldiers in these situations- war breaks men mentally, not just physically. With no enemy to shoot back at after a bomb goes off, how many pounds of your friends' brains and guts are you prepared to wipe from your clothes before you go homicidal?
The fight to keep Iraq from turning into something much worse is a worthy cause. However, if this war goes on as it has these past 2 years, the kind of large-scale atrocity I described here is inevitable! I blame the administration in advance- in advance for the horrors that we'll eventually see broadcast on NBC Nightly News, CBS Evening News, ABC- results of a war policy that has Americans surrounded by men we cannot fight against in any consistent or serious way. I love my friends in Iraq- our soldiers. I blame our leaders.

CNN stands for Clearly Not News

Twenty-four hour news is great in theory. If we had twenty-four or even one hour of actual in-depth world coverage and explanations of current events, then we could make rational, well-informed decisions about how to run our lives and pick our leaders. But we don't. All we have is hours upon hours of sensational coverage. Yesterday I was watching CNN cover the Air France crash for about 2 hours and there was absolutely NO information--just an image of a burning plane. One astute reporter said, "If the pilot is alive, it could be really helpful to the situation." Well, no shit! It would be really helpful to the situation if everyone was alive. Today we found out that everyone is okay. What would be even more helpful is if CNN actually gave us any sort of facts. Why not wait an hour until you know what's going on? Why all the speculation? Who needs 2 hours of a random retired pilot's and a dopey reporter's opinion as to what happened. Isn't news supposed to be about getting facts first and then reporting them? Give us the facts!!

In light of this idiocy, I have some recommended reading for us, and any other person for that matter, who still remembers how to pick up a book and set their eyes upon it. Please pick up a copy of Neil Postman's "Amusing Ourselves to Death." It's a quick, yet enlightening read (about 184 pages) on the destruction of literacy and public discourse as an effect of the television age. You'll be surprised to find out that people used to sit through 8 hours or more of the Lincoln-Douglas debates without ever getting angry for lack of breaks every 8 minutes. This book is marvelous and even relevant to the internet age which is surprising since it was written in 1986.

Buy it today!!