Archive for August, 2003

Krugman: What Caused the Blackout?

Tuesday, August 19th, 2003

Paul Krugman cuts through the bullshit currently being peddled and lays it out simply and clearly: The road to ruin.

Alexia Myronenko: World’s (un)luckiest little girl

Monday, August 18th, 2003

This story is just hard core weird: Little Alexia Myronenko was spending the night with her family in a tent outside her grandmothers house in Oregon, when a tree near the tent was struck by lightning. The juice went into the tree, and then through the tree’s roots, which were close enough to the surface of the ground that she was electrocuted — straight through her pillow, in her ear and out her thigh. She’s alive, and appears to be doing ok. Aparently the rest of her family was unharmed because of the insulation provided by their air mattresses — Alexia had rolled off of hers in her sleep.

Public Defender Dude on the Presumption of Guilt

Sunday, August 17th, 2003

Public Defender Dude seems to have slightly pooched his Blogspot templates; at least, the permalinks don’t actually correspond to anchors on the page. Sigh. I’ll link to the anchor anyway, but be forewarned: you might have to scroll past some stuff to find the post in question A bird in hand is better than 2 in the bush. It’s a great piece on how some police, having settled on a suspect whom they believe to be guilty, will actively resist further investigation that might serve to raise questions about that guilt.

Thanks to Kynn at Shock & Awe, yet again, for the link.

The Chess Geek and the Hottie

Sunday, August 17th, 2003

Not to be missed: Wells’ account of going up against a hot blonde in the State Individuals chess tournament when he was a freshman in high school: Swindled. His description of the geek-crammed gymnasium so reminded me of my time on the math team.

Thanks to Kynn at Shock & Awe for the link.

In Defense of Michael Moore

Saturday, August 16th, 2003

User Eloquence at Kuro5hin has a really nice rebuttal of a David Hardy piece I previously linked to: A defense of Michael Moore and “Bowling for Columbine”.

Bush Lies About His Track-Record on Grid Upgrades

Saturday, August 16th, 2003

Nice piece from Buzzflash on how Bush’s statement yesterday (“We’ll have time to look at it and determine whether or not our grid needs to be modernized. I happen to think it does, and have said so all along.”) flies in the face of his actual actions since taking office: If Bush really wants to investigate the cause of the largest blackout in American history, he should start with the vice-president, Tom DeLay and himself.

People who think Bush is a shoe-in for (re-)election overlook that he has an actual track-record this time. And it sucks. With someone like Dean running against him, Bush is going to have people pointing out his failures, and demanding explanations. Bush isn’t particularly good at dealing with criticism. True, he’s got more money than God, and can run TV commercials of himself striding across the deck of the Abraham Lincoln until the cows come home, and maybe that will be enough.

But maybe it won’t.

Fakes on Friendster

Friday, August 15th, 2003

Interesting SF Weekly article on the identity wars currently ranging at Friendster: Attack of the Smartasses. Thanks to for the link.

Kynn on the Ten Commandments

Thursday, August 14th, 2003

The new-and-improved Shock and Awe has a nice piece on the wacky judge in Alabama who’s refusing to give up his Ten Commandments statue: The Ten Commandments.

Pat Paulsen for California Governor

Thursday, August 14th, 2003

The first record album I ever bought was a Pat Paulsen record (Live at the Ice House, I think). So I’ve always had a soft spot for the guy. Anyway, someone active in his campaign for California governor sent me an email mentioning it, so here you go: Pat Paulsen for governor.

It’s sad that Pat’s not here to participate in the campaign more directly. In a very real sense, he pioneered the notion of running for high office as a piece of comedic shtick. He would have loved this. And I would have loved hearing what he had to say about it.’s Undercover Car Salesman

Thursday, August 14th, 2003

It’s a few years old, but I hadn’t seen it before: Confessions of a car salesman. Interesting.

Why People Cry

Wednesday, August 13th, 2003

Interesting article from the Financial Times, concerning when and why adults shed tears: The crying game.

Ted, you deserve better

Tuesday, August 12th, 2003

Sports Illustrated has not one, but two stories about the current conditions of Ted Williams’s cryogenically frozen remains. The New York TImes seems to have followed up the story, and has some more details.
What a wild, wacky, and sad sad state of affairs.

Steve Burns: Concerning Dust Mites and Children’s Programming

Tuesday, August 12th, 2003

So I came across that link, and that led me to Some words on cognitive dissonance from Steve Burns, and I couldn’t resist linking to it.

Yes, that Steve Burns. Well, maybe you lack young children, or you’re better than I am at resisting the urge to park them in front of a television, in which case you’re saying, “What Steve Burns?” So follow the link, and come back when you know.

There was always something hypnotic about Steve. You couldn’t (well, I couldn’t) not watch the guy. And the Quicktime videos from his new album, Songs for Dust Mites, are pretty engaging. Though I’m not sure how much of that is their inherent engaging-ness, and how much is just my brain going, whoa, that really is Steve from Blues Clues.


NYC Food Fight

Tuesday, August 12th, 2003

Lots of places can lay claim to being the earthly manifestation of Dreams Made Real: L.A., Las Vegas… But the dreams New Yorkers bring forth have their own, special quality. Like this one, from, via Paul Ford’s The condiment war. Be sure to scroll down for the photos.

Washington Post-Mortem on WMD Lies

Tuesday, August 12th, 2003

Here’s a nice, detailed account of just who lied about what during the run-up to war: Depiction of threat outgrew supporting evidence.

Hm. Interesting syncronicity with the previously posted item. Maybe the Bush administration should convert whatever it is they’ve been ingesting into pill form, and sell it to all those guys who want their Johnsons to be just a skosh larger. With the revenue from sales of Dubya’s Own WMD-Threat Englargement Pills, we could probably save Social Security, pay down the national debt, and still have plenty left over for additional tax cuts.

Penis Enlargement Experiment

Tuesday, August 12th, 2003

The wacky flavor of the day: Do penis enlargement pills work? Well, let’s just find out, shall we? Favorite quote: “I’m using millimeters for accuracy.” Riiiiiight. Actually, I suspect he’s using millimeters because “Erect length: 140mm” just sounds a whole hell of a lot more impressive than the English-unit alternative.

WMD Update

Monday, August 11th, 2003

So, it’s mid-August. Do you know where your weapons of mass destruction are? Experts review, poke holes in case for war.

You Don’t Want to Live Here

Sunday, August 10th, 2003

Heralding in a new era of negative marketting, the Ottawa County Planning Commission in Michigan has harnessed the power of “scratch-N-sniff” to educate would be home buyers about the wonders of living in farm country: New brochure really stinks.
The best part of this story is the quote from another article that mentions working with the Chattanooga company “Print-A-Scent ” to create the brochure: “They told us it was the first time in their company’s history they had to evacuate the building when they finally got the formula right.
If you’d like a copy of the brochure, you can request it from plan @

Bikini Model Airbrushing

Saturday, August 9th, 2003

Digital artist Greg Apodaca gives a dramatic example of the little Photoshop manipulations that go into creating high-quality cheesecake: Greg’s digital archive.

Thanks to for the link.

Bush As Sociopath

Friday, August 8th, 2003

I’ve never actually read Mark Crispin Miller’s The Bush Dyslexicon; I guess I just assumed it was another one of those “Bushisms” books that pokes fun at our adorable C-student-in-chief’s struggles with expressing himself verbally. But it turns out that Miller goes beyond that. In cataloging Bush’s funny misstatements, he discovered something remarkable: Bush has no problem expressing himself when he’s using the language of anger, and retribution, and hostility. It’s only when he tries to express things like compassion, contrition, and self-effacement that he starts tripping over his tongue. Miller’s conclusion? Bush is a Very Bad Man. In fact, a sociopath, akin to Richard Nixon.

Anyway, here are a couple of interviews with Miller that go into that: one from the Toronto Star, and one from Hustler (yeah, I know).

Thanks to Glen & Pilar for the link suggestion.

Update: Some excellent commentary from Miller on the anti-intellectual online reaction to his book: Brain drain. And some more on the book: Alternet interview, BuzzFlash interview, and stopsleeping’s Mark Crispin Miller page.