Archive for March, 2002

Pneumatic Murder Victim

Sunday, March 31st, 2002

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.

US Seeks Death Penalty for Thoughtcrime

Friday, March 29th, 2002

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.”

Carleton U. Students Cheat on Ethics Test

Thursday, March 28th, 2002

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.

Dutch Court Sides with KaZaA

Thursday, March 28th, 2002

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.

Naomi Campbell Lies Under Oath, Wins Case Anyway

Thursday, March 28th, 2002

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.

Real-Life Harold and Maude

Thursday, March 28th, 2002

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.”

Earthlink Co-Founder to Plead Guilty to Fraud

Thursday, March 28th, 2002

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.

Johnny Rico Does Homeland Security

Wednesday, March 27th, 2002

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.

Britney and Justin Breaking Up??!!

Wednesday, March 27th, 2002

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.

dubya’s reversals on free trade

Wednesday, March 27th, 2002

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.

REM’s Buck Denies Lying About Sleeping Pill

Tuesday, March 26th, 2002

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.

Hoagland on Government Lies

Tuesday, March 26th, 2002

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.

White House Withholds Energy Documents

Tuesday, March 26th, 2002

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.

Deep Pokey

Tuesday, March 26th, 2002

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.

Botox Your Pits

Sunday, March 24th, 2002

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.

The iBong

Sunday, March 24th, 2002

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.

Russian Roulette for Kids

Friday, March 22nd, 2002

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.

Ken Starr to Lead Attack on Campaign Finance Reform

Friday, March 22nd, 2002

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.

Miranda Otto as Eowyn

Friday, March 22nd, 2002

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.

Original Mac Box Brings $536

Thursday, March 21st, 2002

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.