March 31, 2002

Pneumatic Murder Victim

from the would-you-be-my,-be-my,-be-my-girl dept.

From The Scotsman comes this report of a police raid on the home of a Munich bachelor. His neighbors, it seems, had noticed him furtively carrying what appeared to be the body of a woman into his flat. The annoyed occupant got the cops to leave by showing them his extensive collection of inflatable sex dolls.

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March 29, 2002

US Seeks Death Penalty for Thoughtcrime

from the desperate-times-call-for,-uh,-something dept.

The U.S. Justice Dept. has announced it will seek the death penalty for Zacarias Moussaoui, an alleged accomplice of the 9/11 hijackers and the only person so far to be charged in the attacks. Moussaoui's defense immediately cried foul, pointing out that the French citizen was in jail on a visa violation on 9/11, and that there is no legal precedent for executing someone merely for preparing for a crime, rather than actually committing it. At a press conference, U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft justified the government's position, saying, "Hey, cut us some slack. We just really, really, really need to kill someone here, and unfortunately, all the actual perpetrators are already dead."

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March 28, 2002

Carleton U. Students Cheat on Ethics Test

from the guess-they-failed-the-class-two-different-ways dept.

From Reuters, via Yahoo News, comes this story of no fewer than 31 Carleton University students caught cheating; specifically, submitting essays cribbed from the Internet for an ethics class assignment. Oh, the irony.

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Dutch Court Sides with KaZaA

from the bits-want-to-be-free! dept.

Yahoo News has the story of a Dutch appeals court ruling that says music-swapping service KaZaA is not liable for copyright abuses on the part of its users. Yay.

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Naomi Campbell Lies Under Oath, Wins Case Anyway

from the beutiful-people-can-get-away-with-anything dept.

The Independent News is one of many outlets carrying the story of supermodel Naomi Campbell's legal victory over The Mirror, which she sued for invasion of privacy after the tabloid published a series of articles describing her treatment for cocaine addiction. Interestingly, the British high court sided with Campbell even though, as one judge put it, he was "satisfied that she lied on oath" about the reason for her admission to a hospital. So you see, even liars can win sometimes - as long as they're pretty enough.

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Real-Life Harold and Maude

from the January-December-romance dept.

Salon is carrying the story of Betty Dodson, a 72-year-old sexologist, and Eric Wilkinson, her 25-year-old lover. Lots of juicy details. Reminds me of Steve Martin's line from Roxanne, about the aliens coming to Earth to have sex with older women because "they [the older women] really know what they're doing."

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Earthlink Co-Founder to Plead Guilty to Fraud

from the money-too-cheap-to-meter! dept.

The San Diego Union Tribune is carrying a story that says Reed Slatkin, co-founder of mega-ISP Earthlink, has agreed to plead guilty to charges he operated a fraudulent Ponzi scheme that involved nearly $600 million of investors' money. Prosecutors say he could face 12 to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $3.75 million. Ouch. Makes you wonder what sort of punishment he would be looking at if he didn't cop a plea.

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March 27, 2002

Johnny Rico Does Homeland Security

from the the-future-as-directed-by-Paul-Verhoeven dept.

ymatt introduced this Salon photo of Tom Ridge to me the other day with the comment, "the world continues to look more like Starship Troopers." Eerily true.

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Britney and Justin Breaking Up??!!

from the turn-my-world-upside-down dept.

Salon (among others) is carrying an AP story about a statement Britney Spears made at a recent press conference, denying that she is in "an intense relationship" with anyone. This is apparently fanning the flames of repressed lust in the hearts of many, including reader Anthony Grant, who writes, "Last night while Britney was relaxing in London, The Daily Mirror caught Britney in sex scandal with local boy Anthony Grant, 16." You wish, Anthony.

Posted by jbc at 05:30 AM | view/comment (32) | TrackBack (0)

dubya's reversals on free trade

from the promises-made-while-my-lips-are-moving-don't-count dept.

box writes to point out some of dubya's previous statements on free trade, and contrasts them with his more recent stands on tariffs for steel and
lumber. box continues, "Shortsightedness for the sake of the US timber lobbyists, for the sake of next year's election in Ohio and Indiana [steel industry..], and for a slap in the face of the environmentalists who are part of the Democratic National Coalition. But fuck our timber and steel industries in the long run, right? They don't need to stay competitive, we'll just tariff anyone who builds up a more efficient infrastructure." Easy, big fella.

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March 26, 2002

REM's Buck Denies Lying About Sleeping Pill

from the that's-me-in-the-courtroom dept.

As reported in Independent News, Peter Buck, guitarist for REM, recently denied in a London courtroom that he was lying when he said he'd taken a sleeping pill at the beginning of a transatlantic flight last April. Buck is accused of drinking too much wine and going on a drunken rampage on the British Airways flight; apparently he failed to mention the sleeping pill when he was originally arrested and questioned by police.

Posted by jbc at 05:13 AM | view/comment (11) | TrackBack (0)

Hoagland on Government Lies

from the pay-no-attention-to-that-man-behind-the-curtain,-part-II dept.

Columnist Jim Hoagland wrote a piece called The Limits of Lying that appeared in the Washington Post last week. In it he mentions Solicitor General Ted Olson's recent argument before the Supreme Court that there are any number of situations "where government officials might quite legitimately have reasons to give false information out." That Supreme Court case concerns Jennifer Harbury, who is seeking the right to sue the government for lying to her about the status of her husband, who apparently was tortured and killed by our good friends in the Guatemalan army. An earlier story from the Post has more detail about the case.

Posted by jbc at 03:23 AM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

White House Withholds Energy Documents

from the pay-no-attention-to-that-man-behind-the-curtain dept.

Faced with a court-imposed deadline, the administration has released thousands of pages of documents describing meetings of the President's energy task force - but withheld thousands of pages more. As an article in the LA Times describes, the Energy Department yesterday released about 11,000 pages of (heavily edited) documents, while withholding about 15,000 pages. An article in the Boston Globe refers to Vice President Dick Cheney's insistence that the White House be allowed to conduct its business in private, "in order to let outside experts speak freely and anonymously." Right. And in order to let him and his industry cronies determine our energy future without input from anyone else, while claiming to be conducting a balanced policy review.

Posted by jbc at 02:05 AM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

Deep Pokey

from the cartoons-not-in-your-Sunday-paper dept.

So, maybe you've seen the Pokey the Penguin comic strip before; maybe you haven't. If you haven't, the one currently running is, I think, a particularly good one for you to cut your teeth on. It is, as far as I can tell, completely incomprehensible, with no actual humor detectable by anyone other than the artist who created it, and possibly one or two of his closest friends. In other words, it's classic Pokey.

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March 24, 2002

Botox Your Pits

from the anything-for-fashion dept.

The Mrs. brought this one to my attention: As reported by Reuters (via CBS News): many celebrities preparing for the Oscar ceremonies get botox injections in their armpits. The chicken botulinum toxin apparently paralyzes the sweat glands, minimizing the risk of unsightly wetness for up to six months. A bargain at only $1,000 per treatment. So think about that while watching those acceptance speeches tonight.

Posted by jbc at 05:09 AM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

The iBong

from the 101-uses-for-your-compact-Mac dept.

From Wired comes this story of two enterprising youngsters who have turned their aging Mac SE/30 into a bong. The youth of today are so creative; I couldn't think of anything better to do with my old SE at my last garage cleaning than to toss it into the dumpster.

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March 22, 2002

Russian Roulette for Kids

from the teach-your-children-well dept.

I think this is one of those stories that seems either mildly funny or extremely scary, depending on your relative distance from the child-gun-safety issue. Either way, check out this eBay auction for a Russian Rulette Kids Toy!!!! [sic]. Excellent condition, we're told, for which I'm sure we should be grateful; if only all of them were still MiB.

Posted by jbc at 10:41 AM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

Ken Starr to Lead Attack on Campaign Finance Reform

from the best-government-money-can-buy dept.

So, I'm sure I'm not the only cynic who views the recent passage of campaign finance reform by the U.S. Congress as an event destined to be less than earthshaking in its longterm effects. Like state legislatures passing laws setting pi equal to 3, it just ain't gonna happen. Ken Starr will lead the counterattack, apparently, serving as the legal equivalent of a Presa Canario for Senator Mitch McConnell (R-Ky). "This is a mission to preserve the fundamental constitutional freedom of all Americans to fully participate in our democracy," said the Senator yesterday, of his planned legal challenge to the reforms. Right.

Posted by jbc at 03:43 AM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

Miranda Otto as Eowyn

from the how-long-'till-December? dept.

Recently the folks at TheOneRing.Net posted the first decent photo to come out showing Miranda Otto as Eowyn, from The Two Towers, the upcoming second installment of the Lord of the Rings movie. Not surprisingly, she looks perfect; just the right blend of beauty, sorrow, and vulnerability. Sigh.

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March 21, 2002

Original Mac Box Brings $536

from the no-really,-just-the-BOX dept.

In a recently concluded eBay auction, a set of original Macintosh packing materials, including the cardboard box, styrofoam inserts, and jumbo plastic bag (but no computer), brought more than $500. Gives new meaning to the phrase "mint [in] box" condition, don't you think? The Wired story has more details.

Posted by jbc at 09:17 AM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

The Hall of Marion Barry Quotations

from the open-mouth,-insert-foot dept.

According to someone who goes by the name ironburl, former DC mayor Marion Barry has delivered some really choice sound bites over the years. Check them out at the Hall of Marion Barry Quotes. Personal fave: "I am clearly more popular than Reagan. I am in my third term. Where's Reagan? Gone after two! Defeated by George Bush and Michael Dukakis no less." We need more politicians like that.

Posted by jbc at 07:42 AM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

March 20, 2002

Things Not To Do in the U.S. Army

from the yes-sir,-sir dept.

He doesn't mention it until the bottom of the page, but supposedly nearly all of the 213 Things Skippy Is No Longer Allowed To Do in the U.S. Army are things he was actually commanded by higher-ups not to do. Which makes it fairly, you know, funny. At least to me.

(Update: URL pointed to new home for Skippy's List, thanks to Hiro.)

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March 19, 2002

Telco Powered Vibrator

from the power-too-cheap-to-meter! dept.

With a full line of Telco Powered Products, the folks at Mike Sandman Enterprises seem to be on to something. As they point out, "The Phone Company is a FREE Source of Electric Power!" Allegedly developed by scientists from Russia's "Chernobyl Electrical Institute", the list of products includes my personal favorite, the Telco Powered Vibrator (because "there's a lot of stress when the power goes out!").

Posted by jbc at 06:55 AM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

Miss Cleo unmasked

from the say-it-ain't-so,-Joe dept.

So, everyone's favorite Jamaican psychic, Miss Cleo, turns out to be just another personal-makeover artist from L.A. Like Vinnie says in My Blue Heaven, "Some people steal your money, but these people steal your heart."

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March 18, 2002

LOTR: The Abridged Script

from the is-that-a-ring-in-your-pocket,-or-are-you-happy-to-see-me? dept.

I've been an obsessive Lord of the Rings fan for the last 25 years or so, and can't gush enough about what Peter Jackson & Co. have done with the movie, but I still got a big kick out of Rod Hilton's Lord of the Rings: The Abridged Script.

Posted by jbc at 06:10 AM | view/comment (1) | TrackBack (0)

Jeremy Lott on Lowry's Call to Nuke Mecca

from the that'll-show-'em dept.

In case you missed it last week, Jeremy Lott, writing for The American Prospect Online, had a few choice words for Rich Lowry, editor of the National Review Online, for suggesting that nuking Mecca in retaliation for a hypothetical future terrorist attack might not be such a bad idea. The National Review Online, you'll recall, is the same bastion of insightful analysis that previously gave us Ann Coulter's "invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity" screed. Sheesh.

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March 17, 2002

The Domain Dispute

from the gimme-that,-it's-mine! dept.

Back in the good old days, circa early '97, on a Sunday morning not unlike this one, I got this weird phone call from some clown who claimed that by registering the domain name I had violated his trademark. Hilarity ensued. Read on for the full story, reprinted from the old, pre-Slash version of the site.


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March 16, 2002

Wesley Willis Rocks

from the have-you-heard? dept.

I'm usually among the last to catch cultural phenomena, so the whole Wesley Willis thing may already have come and gone in your neck of the woods. If it hasn't, though, and if the thought of a paranoid schizophrenic who writes in-your-face lyrics sounds interesting, you really should check your preferred song-swapping service for Cut the Mullet, which gets my vote for the best Wesley song ever.

Posted by jbc at 09:36 AM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

The Best Buy Receipt-Check Story

from the when-good-customers-go-bad dept.

It's kind of an oldie, but in case you haven't seen it before, here's my friend Aaron's story of his brush with Best Buy's receipt-check policy. Grrr.

Posted by jbc at 03:29 AM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

March 15, 2002

Server Outage

from the really,-this-doesn't-happen-all-that-often dept.

So, after getting my shiny new Slash site all up and running, random sunspot activity (or something) promptly fried my server's power supply and motherboard. Thanks to the Herculean efforts of the good people at Cyberverse, however, I'm now back in business. Yay.

Posted by jbc at 07:27 AM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)

March 12, 2002

The Seldom-Asked FAQ

from the don't-you-wish dept.

It really chaps my hide when the marketing types take a perfectly good Net term and misuse it. Like the folks at, who use their site's FAQ page to answer burning questions like, "I already check Web search engines frequently, why do I need" Why indeed.

Posted by jbc at 08:58 AM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0) now Slash-i-fied

from the just-when-you-thought-it-was-safe dept.

As you may have noticed, is now running Slash, the software underlying Slashdot. I haven't quite figured out where all the bodies are buried yet, so expect some rough edges for a few days. In the meantime, feel free to sign yourself up for one of those soon-to-be-collector's-items low-number user accounts.

Posted by jbc at 12:19 AM | view/comment (0) | TrackBack (0)