Monday, February 27, 2006


you'll finally have a chance to test your knowledge on bird skull anatomy...
or just look at rotating chicken skeletons...

Friday, February 24, 2006

Descartes said it

"I entirely abandoned the study of letter. Resolving to seek no knowledge other than that which could be found in myself, I spent the rest of my life traveling, mixing with people of diverse temperaments and at all times reflecting upon whatever came my way so as to derive some profit from it."


The Voice cover story on the 9/11 Truth Movement is really disappointing, focusing only on the members of the movement, their tactics and publications, rather than on any detailed investigation of the facts.

I've read a fair amount into this thing, and there are some really interesting discrepancies and outright mysteries at the center of the affair. It'd be nice for a popular, supposedly progressive paper like the Voice to at least list them, or give a point-counterpoint, or something.

Personally, I don't have a theory about 9/11 other than that the "truth" (or whatever is closest to it) has been hampered by misinformation and confusion. Whether this was by simple beauracratic bungling or devious intent I'm not sure, but it's certainly to be expected with an event of such magnitude and media attention - things always get confused and blurred right off the bat. When people feel so close to a disaster, whether because they live nearby or experience it through television, it tends to hinder any objective analysis.

I will say that it doesn't strain the imagination too much to conceive that a government capable of selling arms for hostages, assassinating democratically elected foreign leaders and extraditing prisoners to enemy nations for interrogation could be capable of far worse. These are the games of power. That people still want to trust in their leaders and act shocked, shocked! when each new scandal is revealed, well, it just blows my mind.

Again, My Love for Alliteration

"All I saw was gray. A sump of a city slushed with sunken souls."

Dance, Dance, Dance

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Goat has four babies

Just when you think you can't take another article about Birdshot Cheney. Just when you think you couldn't be more clueless about whateverthehell is going on with those cartoons of Boss Hog or the messiah or Marmaduke. Just when you think the universe of the meta-media couldn't be more self-congratulatory, or convoluted, or irrelevant. Just when you think you've had enough, along comes a truly important story:

The couple bought the already-pregnant goat in October, he said. They had expected twins — maybe triplets.

When Butkiewicus saw what was going on, he left to get a bottle to feed the newborns.

Gibson started cleaning the first three when the fourth came out, she said. "I was shocked, but excited," she said.

It does my heart good.

Friday, February 17, 2006

We Fight These Wars Any Way We Can

I got drunk on my lunch break today. And I'm not ashamed by it. Not in the least. Any pangs of guilt that may have fluttered through my heart were quickly replaced by a contented defiance, because, to quote one wonderful movie: "It's not that I'm lazy, it's that I just don't care."

So I figure, if the Vice President can have "a beer" at lunch and then go shoot one of his friends in the face, than I'm perfectly within my rights to have three beers (and, truth be told, a shot of whiskey) at lunch and then come back to the office and do absolutely nothing. I'm sure that No-Fault Insurance Law will suffer greatly from my inactivity.

To be perfectly serious, I think it is our duty and obligation to slow the entire machinery of white collar production down as much as possible, if only in the interest of throwing a cog in the works. At least just to strike a blow against that which we do not, and indeed cannot, care about. After all, we all know where the money ends up anyway.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

This is a Bad Feeling

It was the baby that got me. The new Abu Ghraib photos made me feel how Americans must’ve felt when they saw images of Vietnamese men, women and children in My Lai, slaughtered by U.S. soldiers. I pulled up some pictures, and immediately saw the shot of bodies in the dirt road- one of the most infamous pictures from 1968. Very clearly one of the bodies is just a baby. And it got me- writing this, I can’t get it from my head.
The latest torture photos from two years ago and their new insight into the hellishly sadistic behavior of our own troops at Abu Ghraib struck the exact same fucking chord. Real torture- the kind one readily finds in a third world zoo- or an omnipotent police state is now clearly on our hands. We paid for it- we worked for it- I consider my W-2 as the receipt. And it’s one more piece of twisted justification for the twisted mind of every backpack bomber with our faces in his crosshairs (oh wait- I almost forgot, they feel justified no matter what because they're psychos). Regardless, our enemies love it when we sink to their level- it helps crystallize the hate- makes it easier to fight us. Deep down I bet most people want an absolute bad guy- a boogieman so there’s no shred of doubt in their rage- real “dark side” shit. When I see these new pictures I can say with complete honesty that I’m ashamed to be American. And actually if our president would get out right now and say likewise, it would make me feel a little better. But he won’t because our leaders are just monkeys in three-piece suits.

Rivers Cuomo At Harvard

This is just strange. The unabashed oddness of it all. The ten years taken to earn a Bachelor's degree. In English. Dude, there are mail order classes. Call Sally Struthers or something.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

God It Hurts. It Hurts SO Bad.

So it's every young, single person's favorite time of the year again: Tax Time! The one season we and all our friends become momentarily flush with that forgotten thousand dollars we've already paid to Uncle Sam. So today, rather than working, I decided to do my e-file taxes.

I tried one site, and they tried to (pardon my racism) gyp me into accepting a $43 dollar refund. No thank you sir, I said. I tried another site, recommended by a friend. Again, $43??? I'm insulted, all those taxes paid and you will only return this pittance? So I cruise the IRS site itself, to figure out what the chilies is going on here.

There is no mistake. My federal tax refund this year will not even cover my phone bill. Damn. For a moment there, I actually wished that I had paid more taxes, so that I could have enjoyed this windfall. And then I stopped myself: What!?! My dad is right: we allow money to be taken from our own paychecks every two weeks, to be held INTEREST FREE by the government for up to a year. And then our W2s roll in and we all clap our hands like little monkeys, waiting for our "free money."

Not only is this money not free, it's probably depreciating as it sits there idly. The practice of employers deducting taxes from our paychecks probably started as a professional courtesy to both employees (stop doing math! enjoy your new Ford!) and the IRS (take the money before these deadbeats have a chance to spend it!), but it has since grown into the norm. So much so that I don't know what to claim on what form to get it to stop.

At my next job, I want ALL my money. I want ALL of my money in my hands, so that I can then put a third of it in my own 5% interest-bearing ING account. Then I will pay my taxes by myself, like a real-live adult. Yes, it will hurt to pay thousands and thousands of dollars in one blow...but at least all that money won't be growing moldy in Fort Knox all year long. At least I can make it work for me while I have it.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

V-Day - From the horse's mouth

"Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul. Lo-lee-ta: the tip of the tongue taking a trip of three steps down the palate to tap, at three, on the teeth. Lo. Lee. Ta.

She was Lo, plain Lo, in the morning, standing four feet ten in one sock. She was Lola in slacks. She was Dolly at school. She was Dolores on the dotted line. But in my arms she was always Lolita.

Did she have a precursor? She did, indeed she did. In point of fact, there might have been no Lolita at all had I not loved, one summer, a certain initial girl-child. In a princedom by the sea. Oh when? About as many years before Lolita was born as my age was that summer. You can always count on a murderer for a fancy prose style.

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, exhibit number one is what the seraphs, the misinformed, simple, noble-winged seraphs, envied. Look at this tangle of thorns. "

Monday, February 13, 2006

Particle of the Week

The tachyon travels at speeds faster than light. This, of course, is not possible without reversing the direction of the time flow. As a consequence tachyons travel backwards in time. In doing so they violate the rules of cause and effect - the only rules I thought I could trust.
Wrath of Khan is so much better than Search for Spock...

Cheney Shoots Fellow Hunter in Face

I'd just like to point out that these are the people who run our country.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Flaubert, 1859

"I am convinced that the most furious material appetites are expressed unknowingly by flights of idealism, just as the most sordidly extravagant sexual acts are engendered by a pure desire for the impossible, an ethereal aspiration after sovereign joy."

Friday, February 10, 2006

Best News of the Week

"About eight dollars in there," Mr. Morrison said. "They weren't thieves, whoever they were."

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Wouldn’t it be Cool?

Wouldn’t it be cool if violent people were at our beck and call to riot and protest whenever something happens around the world that offends our sense of right and wrong? This country has a shamefully disproportionate amount of men over women in positions of power… Riot!!!!! This country funds the coffers of violently oppressive regimes around the world… Protest, burn a few buildings!!!!! Final Destination part 3…. Blow up a movie studio!!!!!! Feel free to comment- what do you think is offensive enough to torch an embassy? Pop music? Genocide in The Sudan? Reality TV? The US Congress? NY Mets? Britney Spears? Swanson HungryMan TV dinners? Badly trained pet cats?
"We believe freedom of the press entails responsibility and discretion, and should respect the beliefs and tenets of all religions.”
- Statement by Kofi Annan concerning the
international uproar over those pesky Danish

No. Wrong. Exactly wrong. It is no one's duty to respect any religion except those who practice a particular religion. Sorry, all you wannabe theocrats. We're better off with a press that doesn't respect religion (at least the press is nominally based in reality and not some arcane mythology).
I'd also direct you to Christopher Hitchens' take on this mess. As usual Hitchens is at his best when committing unapologetic sacrilege.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

A Forest

"Happiness is a new idea in Europe."
- Saint-Just


In and Against Blogging

Blogging is like mental illness.

An increasing number of people are depressed and anxious and it is ever more in vogue to treat these people with psychoactive medications, despite the obscure chemical functions of these drugs and their unnerving personal and social side effects. Likewise, another serious affliction of our time is the stranglehold exerted upon information by the powerful and the elite. As a supposed remedy to this, blogging ostensibly creates openings for marginalized perspectives to be heard. But a quick glance at a typical blog proves that it just makes you an idiot as much as any selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor.

Blogging mostly contributes to the fractionalization of discussion, in forums ripe with the stench of “identity politics,” where people are more concerned with shouting loud enough to gain a mediocre level of celebrity rather than taking any time to compose a unified perspective. And anyway the organization of most internet information is still a top-down affair. Witness the proliferation of political blogs, which usually take their subject matter from national papers anyway. The same filtration mechanisms are still in place, just once removed, and with an even greater degradation of content.

However, I propose that all is not lost. New media is always going to be servicing power first and foremost, but it is also never a cut and dried affair. Blogs may be an insidious servant in the control and manipulation of information, but after all so is television, as was the cinema and print media before it – and even a half-century of infantilism has not yet completely dulled their progressive edges. They remain, hidden under layers of rust. It is the duty, of anyone who cares, to be diligent in their medium, continually pressing for incisive discourse and avoiding the trap of narcissism. That is if anyone cares.

Monday, February 06, 2006

outlawing weapons

The French, Chinese, American, Pakistani, etc. do not want to give up their nuclear weapons but they do not want other countries to have them (for obvious reasons). Well, it won't work.

In the early 11th century somebody invented the crossbow. This was probably the most important step in making killing more efficient, because now you did not have to actually fight and risk your own life to kill somebody. You could just sit in a tree and kill everybody walking by.

So, the Catholic Church outlawed the use of the crossbow. It lasted till the English king, Richard I, used it to slaughter the Franks (my people). After that nobody went anywhere without a crossbow anymore.

Friday, February 03, 2006


Experts who conducted tests on 40 songbirds found dead in Vienna last month say they did not die of avian influenza, as feared, but slammed into windows after becoming intoxicated from eating berries that had fermented. The birds all died of broken necks, a spokeswoman for Vienna's veterinary authority said, and had livers so diseased "they looked like they were chronic alcoholics." (AP)

Of Note

8% of the parliamentary seats won by Hamas in Palestine went to women. The percentage of women in the US Congress is about 14 for each house. I just found that interesting.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006


At least there is Flaubert.

"She loved the sea only for its storms, and greenery only when it was scattered among ruins. She needed to derive immediate gratification from things and rejected as useless everything that did not supply this satisfaction. Her temperament was more sentimental than artistic. She sought emotions not landscapes."