Archive for April, 2002

Five Aussies Arrested for 4/20 Irreverence

Sunday, April 21st, 2002

from the don’t-bogart-that…-whatever-that-is dept.

From Reuters (via Yahoo News) comes the story of five Australian drug activists arrested for publicly smoking what appeared to be a 36-inch joint. Except it actually wasn’t; a spokesman explained that the item was simply a prop made with tobacco and “legal herbs”. Police were unimpressed, saying the protesters would be charged anyway, for resisting arrest, disorderly conduct, and, especially, for making them look stupid.

Love Competence Questioned by Nirvana Survivors

Sunday, April 21st, 2002

from the here-we-are-now.-entertain-us. dept.

Bassist Krist Novoselic and drummer David Grohl have charged Courtney Love (widow of dead Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain) with incompetence. They want a psychiatric evaluation performed to determine if Love’s alleged craziness is responsible for the trouble they have been having in wringing enough cash from the corpse of Nirvana for them to live a life of ease. My take? No, they just suck.

The Telegraph’s Version of Jenin

Sunday, April 21st, 2002

from the inching-closer-to-truth dept.

From news.telegraph.co.uk comes yet another version of the Israeli Defense Forces’ behavior in Jenin. This one, like the earlier one I posted from the Jerusalem Post, is very much from the Israeli point of view, being based mainly on interviews with soldiers and officers who were on the scene, and taking pains to defend their actions, but unlike that one, it acknowledges many of the less-savory realities that other accounts have described: buildings bulldozed with innocents inside, Palestinian civilians used as human shields by IDF soldiers, and wounded Palestinians bleeding to death while Israeli gunfire kept emergency medical personnel from reaching them.

Steve Bing Questions Hurley Baby’s Paternity

Sunday, April 21st, 2002

from the how-does-it-feel-to-be…-one-of-the-beautiful…-people dept.

Old news to you celebrity watchers, of course, but I guess it’s time to acknowledge the ongoing sniping taking place over the paternity of actress Elizabeth Hurley’s new baby. The Independent has the latest info, describing how movie producer Steve Bing is going to court in an effort to establish the paternity of the baby, Damian, born last month. This seems odd, since, at least according to the Hurley camp, she’s never objected to having the baby’s paternity established. My own prediction: yeah, Bing’s probably the father – unfortunately for the child, who gets to look forward to having a real wanker for a dad.

Tonya Harding Arrested for Drunk Driving

Sunday, April 21st, 2002

from the if-it-ain’t-one-thing-it’s-another dept.

Fresh from the ass-whupping she gave Paula Jones as part of Fox’s Celebrity Boxing event, Tonya Harding is back in the news today for having lost control of her pickup, crashed into a ditch, and failed the subsequent breathalyzer test. Some people have the worst luck.

The Real Story on 420

Saturday, April 20th, 2002

from the posted-at-4:20-(UT)-on-4/20,-no-less dept.

From the LA Times comes an article describing the cultural phenomenon of “420″ (or 4:20, or 4/20) as a reference to pot smoking. No, it turns out not to be a police code, or a reference to Hitler’s birthday. The real story of where the term came from is a pretty cool example, though, of how weird associations like this come into being. Something to think about at 4:20 today…

Video Proves Moon Landings a Fake!

Saturday, April 20th, 2002

from the NOW-how-much-would-you-pay? dept.

Courtesy Google’s AdWords program comes this site purporting to sell a video showing the Apollo 11 astronauts faking their flight to the moon. Only $19.95, and it comes with a 30-day money back guarantee. Pretty cool, huh? While you’re there, don’t miss the Top 10 Reasons Why No Man Has Ever Set Foot on the Moon.

Military Seeks Exemption from Environmental Rules

Saturday, April 20th, 2002

versicherungsvergleich und private krankenversicherung

Kissinger’s Lies on Angola

Saturday, April 20th, 2002

from the falsehood-is-the-ultimate-aphrodesiac dept.

An historian from Johns Hopkins named Piero Gleijeses, working with newly obtained documents, has exposed an official U.S. lie from the 1970s: that South African troops invaded Angola on their own, without our help, and only in response to a prior, Soviet-backed invasion by Cuba. Actually, according to the evidence turned up by Gleijeses, and published in his new book Conflicting Missions: Havana, Washington, and Africa, 1959-1976, the truth was exactly the opposite: the U.S. helped plan and carry out the South African incursion, and the Cuban troops arrived only afterward, and without prior Soviet knowledge or assistance (though the Soviets did help later on). Kissinger, as Gerald Ford’s Secretary of State at the time, was the Administration’s point man on spreading the official version of reality, a lie to which he has never admitted, and probably won’t have to now. Which is pretty much the way these big lies work: you don’t have to keep the truth secret forever, just long enough (25 years, in this case) so that the only people who still care about it are stuffy academics and conspiracy junkies.

The American Standard Type R

Friday, April 19th, 2002

from the on-the-net,-everyone-knows-your-car-is-a-toilet dept.

Mark Leinhos would be just another sad, twisted example of car-obsessed American youth, except he apparently also has a sense of humor, which led him to create a web-based tribute to his toilet (along with all the obligatory glamour photos of his extensively modified Mazda Miata). Follow the pics of me on my ride link at your own risk, however.

Dubya’s Lying in Context

Friday, April 19th, 2002

from the they-don’t-tell-’em-like-they-used-to dept.

Michael Kinsley has a column in the Washington Post today that talks about the various lying styles of our past three Presidents. The sad conclusion is that, for the most part, dubya so far has failed to live up to the standard of his predecessors in this all-important area of national leadership. He just trots out Ari Fleischer and has him mouth, deadpan, some ridiculous assertion that no one could possibly believe. Where’s the fun in that? Where’s the sense of style that gave us “read my lips: no new taxes” and “that woman, Miss Lewinsky”? Sigh. Those were the days.

The Cats Landing on Feet Google Answer

Friday, April 19th, 2002

from the I-(heart)-google dept.

Yet another use for everyone’s favorite search engine: asking (and receiving expert answers to) obscure questions about animals. Like, at what height will a cat NOT land on its feet?. My favorite part of this answer is the bit about the rumored “buttered-toast-cat antigravity device”: “Buttered toast always lands buttered side down; cats always land feet first; tie a piece of buttered toast onto the back of a cat and it can never hit the floor!”

Powell Fails, World Notices

Thursday, April 18th, 2002

from the downhill-from-here dept.

So, Colin Powell has come, seen, and fled, prompting a chorus of bitching from just about everyone. As reported in news.com.au, Arab news accounts are being way scathing, painting the U.S. as an accomplice to massacre, and saying the Administration’s only purpose in sending Powell was to give Sharon political cover in order to sew up the Jewish vote in the upcoming U.S. midterm elections. In Britain’s Guardian Unlimited, Simon Tisdall says Sharon knew full well that Powell lacked his boss’s backing, and therefore could ignore him with impunity. Meanwhile, the Boston Globe pursues the “what next?” angle, anticipating a fierce debate as dubya’s handlers try to herd his tiny mind in one direction or another.

The Jerusalem Post on Jenin

Thursday, April 18th, 2002

from the same-rubble,-different-spin dept.

Margot Dudkevitch, writing for the Jerusalem Post, has a different take on what happened in Jenin. I especially like the part about how the soldiers gave the women and children candy and escorted them to safety inside a building, only to be ambushed by terrorists hiding inside. I hate it when that happens.

The Economist on Jenin

Thursday, April 18th, 2002

from the rubble-and-corpses dept.

Now that journalists are being allowed back into the Jenin refugee camp, more stories are coming out. While most focus on the horrific conditions reporters are able to see firsthand, a consistent undercurrent is the question of just what took place there over the past two weeks, in particular the treatment of civilian noncombatants by Israeli troops pursuing Palestinian fighters. While the consensus is that we’ll never really know for sure, the facts that are emerging, such as they are, aren’t pretty. The Economist has a good story on it: What Happened at Jenin: Under the Rubble of the Refugee Camp.

French Prime Minister Squirted with Ketchup

Thursday, April 18th, 2002

from the would-you-like-fries-with-that? dept.

From Ananova comes this cool photo+story showing what kids do for fun in France these days: they squirt ketchup on the prime minister. After the attack the PM apparently escorted the kids outside and gave them a stern talking-to, after which they reportedly were “very sheepish”. This contrasts with the likely aftermath if a pair of U.S. teens tried that on dubya; in our current hyper-vigilant climate I doubt there’d be enough of them left for their parents to identify.

Mother Claims Acne Drug Drove Son to Suicide Flight

Wednesday, April 17th, 2002

from the where-to-start? dept.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution is one of several sites carrying the story of a lawsuit filed by Julia Bishop, the mother of the 15-year-old boy who last January wrote a note praising Osama bin Laden, then flew a private plane into a Tampa office building. In her suit, which targets drug company Hoffmann-La Roche, Bishop claims that her son, an otherwise happy, well-adjusted child, was made psychotic by use of the company’s Accutane acne medication. Although Accutane has been associated with suicide, and carries a warning label to that effect, the company’s position is that teenage acne sufferers are simply more prone to suicide than the general population. “We continue, as do the experts, to believe there is no link,” said company spokeswoman Carolyn Glynn.

ABC News on 9/11 Conspiracy Theories

Wednesday, April 17th, 2002

from the beware-the-alien-dubya-menace dept.

ABC News is running a pretty interesting article that looks at the wave of conspiracy theories that have sprung up around the 9/11 attacks, including that of a French author who claims the Pentagon was not actually hit by a plane, but was instead bombed, and even nuttier stuff about aliens, dubya conspiring with bin Laden, and so on and so forth. The article quotes experts who say conspiracy theories are an essential part of the American character, and points out how the Internet makes it so any wacko with some HTML skillz (/me waves cheerfully to the folks at home) can come off as being just as credible as, say, the New York Times, causing people to become even more unstuck than they otherwise would be.

AMD Chief Admits Being Ignorant Stooge

Wednesday, April 17th, 2002

from the hey,-you-write-the-headlines,-then dept.

Under cross-examination as part of the ongoing antitrust proceedings between Microsoft and the nine holdout states, Advanced Micro Devices CEO W.J. “Jerry” Sanders III admitted yesterday that he had not actually read either of the proposed settlements (either the original wrist-slap from dubya’s emasculated Justice Department, or the ensuing tougher one from the nine states) before trashing the latter in court. Instead, his testimony was based solely on a phone call he had with Bill Gates, in which the Microsoft chairman told him the states’ plan was “crazy”. Sanders explained that during the same call Gates had agreed to announce Microsoft support for AMD’s next-generation microchip, which, Sanders testified, “really gave me a hard-on. I mean, this is Microsoft we’re talking about. I’d sell my soul for less than that. Already have, actually.”

Lurie: Osama bin Laden Is Dead

Wednesday, April 17th, 2002

from the news-of-the-world dept.

Ranan Lurie has an opinion piece in today’s L.A. Times where he speculates that Osama bin Laden is dead. He reasons that, given the imperatives of Middle Eastern leadership, which place a premium on developing and maintaining a cult of personality, bin Laden surely would have demonstrated that he is still alive in the latest round of released videotapes, had that been possible. That he is shown only in what appear to be old scenes pre-dating the 9/11 attacks says, to Lurie, that he is either horribly disfigured, deathly ill, or dead, with the last option being the most likely.