Archive for August, 2003

1,000-Word Pictures

Sunday, August 31st, 2003

Jamal A. Wilson took this interesting series of photos, currently running at Electronic Iraq: Photo story: Bombing of Imam Ali Mosque in Najaf.

In a somewhat-thematically-related vein, check out the latest wackiness from jwz: WebCollage.

The Kiss(es)

Sunday, August 31st, 2003

For those of you who aren’t members of the MTV generation, you may not have heard about “The Kiss” (or more appropriately: “The Kisses”) from Thursday nights MTV Video Music Awards. Being the 20th anniversary, Britney Spears & Christina Aguilera got together on stage to do a tribute rendition of Madona’s legendary “Like A Virgin” stage performace from the very first VMA ceremony. They were then joined by the orriginal material girl, who launched into her latest single “Hollywood”, taking breaks between versuses to plant big juicy open mouthed kisses on each of the two pop-princesses.

For those of you who like looking at hot chicks kissing, there are plenty of pictures all over the web, and even some video clips.

There are plenty of people pointing out how contrived the whole thing was, but what I find most ammusing is how much all the coverage has been about “Madona kissing Britney” — with very little mention of the fact that she planted big wet ones on both of them. The clip I saw acctually cut away when Madona turned towards Christina …. which brings me to the second most ammusing part of all this, the way they cut to Justin Timberlake just for a reaction shot. (I have to admit, it was a hilarious reaction shot).

Baghdad Burning on the Economics of Reconstruction

Friday, August 29th, 2003

Here’s an interesting perspective from an Iraqi author who runs the numbers on the costs of rebuilding her country: The promise and the threat.

As with the bogosity of the data that was being offered six months ago to justify the war, the truth about what is going on here is transparently obvious to anyone with an Internet connection and an inquiring mind. This is a get-rich-quick scam, pure and simple, in which the Very Bad Men currently running this country take a whole lot of other people’s money and give it to their friends.

Wacky Assembly Instruction Illustrations

Friday, August 29th, 2003

I’ve never done one of those “100 Fascinating Things You Didn’t Know About Me” pages (probably because my ego couldn’t bear the limitations imposed by the medium — what? only 100 things, you say?), but if I did, one of them would probably be this: I worked for a time in the product development department of a major educational toy company, where I was responsible for writing and editing the user manuals, assembly instructions, and assorted printed whatnot that came along with each item. So I have a soft spot in my heart for such documentation.

Anyway, I really liked this: Hall of technical documentation weirdness. Enjoy.

The Quest for Better Movie Physics

Friday, August 29th, 2003

Fun site you shouldn’t miss: Insultingly stupid movie physics.

Unsafe at Any (Processor) Speed

Friday, August 29th, 2003

John Gruber at Daring Fireball has an excellent screed on something all of us, even the non-Borg-afflicted, are suffering from these days: Good times. His basic argument, which certainly matches my own experience, is that Microsoft products are the standard in the business world mainly because they are so poorly engineered that they require large, status-conferring staffs to maintain them.

Bush’s War Giveth, Bush’s War Taketh Away…

Thursday, August 28th, 2003

Nice piece from the Washington Post: Halliburton’s deals greater than thought. It’s nice to see that the president’s economic stimulus plan is working for someone, at least.

Meanwhile, of course, most of us are taking it in the collective shorts, with the true cost of the Underachiever-in-Chief’s discretionary military spending only slowly, grudgingly, coming to light, as this piece from Mother Jones describes: Blood and treasure.

Bookman on the Busted-Flush War

Thursday, August 28th, 2003

Jay Bookman has a good opinion piece at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution: US must now play the hand it dealt itself. It’s a nice followup to the piece I posted back in March (Powell: War is the scourge of God) on the dangers of going to war for irrational reasons.

Waiter? This president isn’t very good. Can you please bring us another one?

American Gulag

Thursday, August 28th, 2003

Nice piece at Mother Jones rounding up several articles on the extra-legal system of incarceration/interrogation that my country has somehow come to be associated with in the last two years: World behind bars.

This is horribly, horribly wrong. It has to change.

Why you should buy a camera phone

Thursday, August 28th, 2003

A few items have ben pointed out to me recently, all under the guise of people trying to convince themselves that they need to buy camera phones (as if convincing me that something is really funny will justify their techno-whore-ness). Anyway, none of these are worth submitting individually, but taken as a set, they say something about our society, and our need to take pictures of silly things: Why my buddy Heath wants a camera phone, Why my buddy Rand wants a camera phone, Why the rest of my nerdy friends want camera phones.

Grokking Mars

Wednesday, August 27th, 2003

This certainly isn’t news to anyone, but we’ve just passed our closest approach to Mars for the next few hundred years; if any of you haven’t found a local club or friend with a telescope and taken a look at that incredibly bright red dot in the sky, please do in the next week.

I just got back from a Texas Astronomical Society viewing party and it was quite an experience, not just for the sweet view. 2-300 people were milling around the field waiting in line to peer through the more impressive telescopes present. There were the expected geeks (myself included) and stargazing fans, but I really liked seeing those people who had been convinced to come out there just because the event was so rare they thought they should see it with their own eyes.

Through a telescope, the rotation of the the earth is fast enough to pretty quickly move a particular object out of the field of view. The owners of the scopes frequently had to remind people that we’re whirling around through the void, so our view is far from static. It brought an air of poignant transience to the evening, brought to closure as cloud cover ended the event abruptly.

But those present got their fleeting view of our celestial neighbor as it moved past. It’s both a little easier to laugh at the world and a little easier to take it more seriously knowing just where you are and I hope that’s what the people taking a break from the evening news tonight gained. Like I said, go find someplace in your area and have a look. It’s good for you.

John Kusch’s Letter to Kerkman

Wednesday, August 27th, 2003

So, it looks like our society intends to have itself a little discussion about gay marriage. I suppose Karl Rove thinks this is a way to cement his boy’s hold on power, or something. Well, all I can say is, bring it on. John Kusch appears to have a similar attitude, judging by some of the stuff he’s been writing lately. Like this: An Open Letter to Wisconsin State Representative Samantha Kerkman (R-Powers Lake).

Holladay’s Gay Myths

Tuesday, August 26th, 2003

I can’t resist a Top 10 list, so here you go: A queer girl’s top 10 gay myths.

Krugman Cries Foul on NYC Health Risk Assessment

Tuesday, August 26th, 2003

A sad, more-of-the-same commentary on what passes for leadership in the current White House: Dust and deception. Paul Krugman connects the dots on the Bush team’s downplaying of the health risks associated with lower Manhattan suddenly becoming an asbestos- and dioxin-coated hazardous waste site a couple of years back.

Amazing, Spoiler-Laden Dernhelm Image

Sunday, August 24th, 2003

We’re getting closer! Woo!

Ahem. Obsessive fanboy restraints applied. I wanted to share the following image, which apparently is a scan of the packaging for an action figure due to come out with The Return of the King, and which has been posted by the excellent obsessives at Dernhelm.

Warning: I (obviously) don’t know yet how this particular plot element is going to be handled in the movie, but if you haven’t read The Lord of the Rings and want to preserve what is, in the book at least, a major surprise, you shouldn’t view the above-linked image. But if you fall into that particular demographic, you’re tragically flawed already, so it’s hard to muster much sympathy for your predicament. Go read it already, then come back and view the image.


Wesley Willis, Rest in Peace

Sunday, August 24th, 2003

Favorite Chicago “outsider” artist and musician Wesley Willis died last Thursday, and since I was out of touch with civilization at the time I only found out about it this morning. Sigh.

Obituaries available from Alternative Tentacles (Wesley’s label), the Chicago Sun-Times, MTV, and Rolling Stone.

Dubya Doll

Friday, August 22nd, 2003

I keep forgeting to post this: a $40 George W. Bush action figure in Naval Flight suit will go on sale September 15th. The Doll is made by a Hong Kong company, based on his U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln appearence three months ago, and has many people guessing what’s next.

For me, the funniest part of this story was some of the other links I found while searching for this, such as this letter asking for a refund, and a different doll, also coming soon:

Conason’s Big Lies

Tuesday, August 19th, 2003

Joe Conason, Salon columnist and liberal muckraker, has a new book out, and Salon is running excerpts from it. Very much worth watching the Sprint commercial (or whatever) for the one-day pass: Big lies.

Patrick Coy: We Need a WMD Investigation

Tuesday, August 19th, 2003

Patrick G. Coy sums up the high points of the WMD scandal, and calls for open hearings: The truth about intelligence on Iraq: “Bring it on”. The Republicans in Congress may be able to block hearings for now, but if voters are too bamboozled to make Bush a zero-termer in 2004, my money’s on a Democrat-controlled Congress and hearings before the end of 2005.

Kos on the Costs of Iraq’s Reconstruction

Tuesday, August 19th, 2003

So, as our infrastructure crumbles at home, we’re learning that the Iraqi reconstruction is going to cost us much more than the Bush administration orginally maintained, since the Iraqi oil revenue that was going to pay for it was… exaggerated. Heavens; what a surprise.

Anyway, from Daily Kos: Smells like… victory.