Comments or suggestions: Gerard Van der Leun
Arab Like Me?

Razib at the invaluable Gene Expression** takes an up-close and very personal look at "Arab looks" in White or not?


Posted by Vanderleun Jan 31, 2005 10:34 AM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Next Month, Mars

Well, helloooo sailor! Sign me up and pack the picnic basket. Solar super-sail could reach Mars in a month - Technology

[Click to expand]

A LICK of paint could help a spacecraft powered by a solar sail get from Earth to Mars in just one month, seven times faster than the craft that took the rovers Spirit and Opportunity to the Red Planet.

Gregory Benford of the University of California, Irvine, and his brother James, who runs aerospace research firm Microwave Sciences in Lafayette, California, envisage beaming microwave energy up from Earth to boil off volatile molecules from a specially formulated paint applied to the sail. The recoil of the molecules as they streamed off the sail would give it a significant kick that would help the craft on its way. "It's a different way of thinking about propulsion," Gregory Benford says. "We leave the engine on the ground."

Posted by Vanderleun Jan 31, 2005 10:23 AM | Comments (6)  | QuickLink: Permalink
"This Makes Any Civilized Person Absolutely Sick"

I've long held a poor opinion of Geraldo Rivera, but this brief video redeems him in my eyes.

See if you don't agree. Watch Geraldo Rivera reports on a civilian casualty.

This is the result of the insurgent action.

A young woman, a civilian, ...just torn to pieces by an insurgent shell.

What's the point of this insurgency?

What are they fighting for?

To kill an innocent woman who wants to go vote?

What's the point of this?

What are these "heroes" after?

This makes any civilized person absolutely sick.

This... God rest her soul... this is deplorable.

Courtesy of: johnny dollar's place

[HT: Trey Jackson / Olbermann Watch ]

Posted by Vanderleun Jan 30, 2005 11:22 PM | Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
PSSST! PASS IT ON! : Here's Something You Can Put Your Finger On

A new Internet speed record for geting a catch-phrase to a concept has been set with GIVE TERROR THE FINGER -- JANUARY 31, 2005


Posted by Vanderleun Jan 30, 2005 9:09 PM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
A Great American Bleats from the Oldsmobile

Senator Edward M. Kennedy is now speaking at iowahawk. Since this freedom and democracy business is getting out of hand around the world, his liquid words of warning come not a minute too soon:


Posted by Vanderleun Jan 30, 2005 12:31 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
"That All Should Have an Equal Chance"


"I have never had a feeling politically that did not spring from the sentiments embodied in the Declaration of Independence. . . . I have often inquired of myself what great principle or idea it was that kept the United States so long together. It was not the mere matter of the separation of the colonies from the mother land, but that something in the Declaration giving liberty, not alone to the people of this country, but hope to the world for all future time. It was that which gave promise that in due time the weights should be lifted from the shoulders of all men, and that all should have an equal chance." -- Abraham Lincoln, First Inaugural


Posted by Vanderleun Jan 29, 2005 10:38 PM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Origin and Spite of the Word-Using Species

Rev. Donald Sensing at One Hand Clapping points to a paper regarding "Intelligent Design," and does not buy in:Failure to explain the origin of species through natural causes exclusively does not mean that the cause is supernatural.

That's certainly correct as far as it goes. I'm not at all clear about "Intelligent Design," but I'm not sure that it requires that the cause be "supernatural." I understand that the proponents of ID assume or would prefer if the cause were supernatural, but I remain agnostic on that issue. It could be the workings of the hand of God, or it could be something as yet supraliminal to beings with the current set of firmware and wetware that we possess.


Posted by Vanderleun Jan 29, 2005 8:16 AM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Super Bowl XXXIX: Take the 18 Canoli

by CHRIS LYNCH , American Digest Sports Editor

Let me say this right up front just so I don't bury the lede - the Patriots win this game by 18. Yup, you heard me - 18 points.

I'm tempted to end this post right here. What else is there to say after you just predicted a 18 point victory? I'm tempted but I figure I owe you an explanation of how I came to that 18 point figure.

The first and most basic question is "who wins the game?" As soon as we knew the match-up everyone said the Patriots would win. Now people are starting to talk themselves into the Eagles. People are talking about Andy Reid never losing a game which he had an extra week to prepare for and things like that. However, this is a situation where the first impression was the right one. The Patriots will win. And they'll win big!


Posted by Vanderleun Jan 29, 2005 7:36 AM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Love Gone Missing

Previously Published Sunday Reading from the Archives

ABSENT BEING IN A COMA IN A CAVE somewhere on a high mountain in the middle of a cypress swamp, you cannot escape "The Runaway Bride." She is the plat du jour of our blighted age and the story of the decade so far this week. Now that she's back she'll be parsed and probed, drawn, quartered and eviscerated by the rapacious media until she's little more than a damp spot on some surgical sponge.

I hated The Runaway Bride from the first moment it was revealed she was safe and had simply freaked out and taken the geographic cure by getting gone to Vegas. Sane people have to hate Las Vegas too -- a place that advertises that when you do freak out, it is the psycho's vacation destination of choice. A pathetic reason for a town to exist, but cheap and low places need to work with what they have. After all, nobody would mistake Vegas for Vatican City until, of course, they build a 1/3rd scale model of Saint Peters and slam six thousand slots into the basilica -- something I am sure is in the planning stage.

Still Vegas is the perfect place for The Runaway Bride to select as the terminus of her bus ticket. Once you go psycho in America it seems you have to pass through at least a Vegas of the mind and soul even if your final destination is someplace much more mundane like.... Albuquerque.

Let her go.Let her go. God bless her,
Wherever she may be.
She can search, search this whole world wide over....

-- St. James Infirmary

Let's look instead at what lies far below the personalities of this pathetic drama to the deeper principles which illumine why this little tale has had such a large impact.

Father forgive the media, they know not what they do. But sometimes they do things right in spite of themselves. This is one of those stories. And no matter how many in the media beat up their peers for paying so much attention to this tawdry tale, it goes in the end to a deeper truth about ourselves and our lives.

What we are really seeing here is something that has a deep and abiding interest to humans because it is something that happens -- in their secret hearts and deeper souls -- to millions of human beings every single day. This latest passage is merely some modern passion play in which people act out on the stage of the nation our daily common tragedy entitled: Love Gone Missing.

It seems to me that if we knew the secrets of all our hearts, we'd know that love goes missing in our country thousands of times an hour. It doesn't usually go for a run, take a taxi, and grab a bus for destinations thousands of miles away, but that can often be the end of it.

Love goes missing in a moment of fear, of spite, of words spoken or left unspoken, in blink of an eye or a sentence only half-heard or remember wrongly. Love untempered by fire or by ice is a skittish thing in our lives. We think we know what it is, but we really only know what we've been told it is -- at least at the beginning.

We've been told Love is the white-hot passion that comes at the beginning of romance and is supposed to sustain itself at that level of heat across the decades. When that expectation burns through the weak vessels that we are, love goes missing -- off on a
quest to find the next pile of fuel on which to burn. Go to a Family Courthouse in any county in this country on any day of the week and you'll see, scattered about the corridors, the scorched waste, sodden ash and family rubble left by this fools' fire.

We've been told that Love is seen in the increasingly lavish weddings whose example is the 14 bridesmaids, 600 guests bash that our current poster child for Love Gone Missing fled from. With such a monstrous beginning, what love could not go missing either before or soon after. No real love can measure up to such grandiose beginnings. After all, Princess Diana had only 5 bridesmaids at her wedding and we all know about the bloody tunnel in which that love gone missing ended in a Paris night.

Wise people and scriptures all tell us that Love, if it is not to go missing, should be built carefully and slowly until what lies inside Love is seen and grasped. But our Love we are told should not be centered on the soul but on things. We are told that Love needs to be seen in the world through things -- the place setting from Tiffany's, the endless objects from the multiple registries, the proof positive of the house becoming the ever larger house as we flip our homes every three years to get our nice appreciation rise. And so we seek to buttress and shore up Love by meeting the expectations of others in the material realm. God forbid you fail those expectations, for then, in an instant of selfish decision that always opts for better and not for worse, Love Goes Missing.

I've seen love go missing in a single, secret, brief and enraged glance on Christmas Day. I've heard love go missing months before the front door slammed. I've seen it go missing in me in a hundred silent moments where I did not speak my heart and in a hundred other moments when I spoke my heart falsely and far too quick. And the only thing I think I've learned about love gone missing is to let it go -- and I'm not even sure about that no matter how often it is repeated to me. Your milage, of course, may vary.

For most of us, when Love Goes Missing it is not easily found again. When it goes missing it goes -- near or far in space -- a long, long way away and we don't have the town turn out to walk search grids for our family, or issue nationwide alerts, or offer $100,000 rewards. It just goes and once it goes we may struggle to find it for a time, but by that time it is far out of reach and beyond our puny power to locate.

But even if one could locate it, what good would that do? Love gone missing can't be compelled to return like some runaway bride taken through the airports with a cloak over its head -- an apprehended perpetrator of the non-crime of going missing. Love's a wild force in our too domesticated and ordered frantic lives. Once gone missing,for whatever reason, it can't be just taken back as it was even if it is found. For if love gone missing is found and returns, it always remains a shattered vessel.

Yes, I know that in the endless bromides of our modern Therapeutic State Religion one is supposed to find the heart, the mercy and the compassion and the patience to pick up every little shard of what has been shattered and, with our ample supplies of theraputic superglue, painfully and tediously put it all back together as it was. Except, of course, it can never be what it was.

Love gone missing takes with it the hostages of trust and truth but they don't come back with it if it returns. They've been buried somewhere en route and their locations long forgotten, far off the map. Even if you could accept it without them, you'd still see the fine hairline cracks in the vase you put back together together. You'd both handle the love like a rare museum object, always looking for the next soft place to store it so that it could not break or escape again. Love under constant guard will never be entirely free from the craving to go missing once again. At any time and for any reason. Sometimes for no reason of love at all.

So, like some many other things that ring deep in the changes of our hearts, we look for what to do; for how we can fix what cannot be fixed by us. If we find love gone missing and if it seems to have been returned to us we look to repair the rare and delicate thing. But it is, we find, like trying to repair a Swiss Watch with sledgehammer. Nobody human has that delicate a touch.

Perhaps it is better, in the end, to learn to let it be. Nobody says you can have only one love with one person. If there can be, and there is, room for more than one love in one life, perhaps there can be more than one love in one love. Maybe the answer, if answer there be, is not the easy answer of repair, but the harder answer of starting all over from the gross and shapeless clay of love.

Maybe you worked too fast at the first pass of love and threw on the wheel of your days a lopsided and thin pot, something that had, deep inside it, some emptiness, some pockets of thin air that you could not see from outside, but that caused it to crack inside under the long heat of our lives of days and hands. Not everything that's pretty is strong.

Perhaps the best thing to do with love gone missing is, as said before, to just let it go and get it gone. It seems cold to say that no search will find it again as it was, but that's probably the truth. At the same time, and in the always inscrutable nature of love, to know that love has gone missing is not the same as knowing that love itself is gone. That's the thing that we always seem to miss and that we need to remember.

Maybe, if you take the time to improve your skills on the wheel of life, you will be able at some point to take up the clay of that love and, kneading more patiently, centering more carefully, and shaping with care and constant hands a better, stronger vessel. It might not be as fine and pretty as the first more delicate one, but it could be good and serviceable and steady. Not at all as likely to shatter on a glance or a word or a silence or a shadow and just go missing. Like all things made here on the great wheel, it could in time just be coming around again.

Posted by Vanderleun Jan 29, 2005 1:30 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
Pulsing Piggies Must Go

I can't be alone in thinking that the single most obscene and disgusting ad-spams infesting the Web today are the pulsing phalloid come-ons served up by LowerMyBills.


These ads go right to the top of my "Don't point. Don't click" list.

I don't know about anybody else, but if making money off of blogs involves dropping this sort of soul-sucking link into the page, include me out.

Posted by Vanderleun Jan 28, 2005 11:21 AM | Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Science Made Stupid Online

Long ago, when I was an editor of books, one of my best moments was finding and publishing Science Made Stupid by Tom Weller. The book was profoundly insane and insanely funny and rightfully won a Hugo when it was published all the way back in 1986.

Tom Weller was, and I presume is, one of my oldest friends. We go all the way back to Encina High School in 1960. Later we would be roomates for a brief period at the University of California at Berkeley. My first, but not my last, experience with LSD took place with Tom and a couple of other friends and had something to do with a yellow Porsche. I'm not sure exactly what, but it was very important, man.

Later, Tom would become, with David Goines, a graphic designer in Berkeley for a number of groups such as Country Joe and the Fish. Always a strange duck, Tom was both of that era at Berkeley and outside it. He remains there and in much the same state today.


Posted by Vanderleun Jan 27, 2005 7:08 PM | Comments (20)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Cobb Gets It, but Cobb Always Gets It

Cobb: Piling On Joel Whatshisname

Look at that Malcolm X video again. What you will hear is straight talk. We owe it to ourselves and our nation to bring about the change that will bring straight talk back to the center of our communications with each other. Until then, this is not America and we are not men and women.

Posted by Vanderleun Jan 27, 2005 5:55 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
Rush Limbaugh Reading from American Digest

YOU WILL ALL, I HOPE, pardon me if I take a moment out to preen. I promise it won't become a habit. For those that missed this small page's moment in the sun when Rush Limbaugh read and extended excerpt from my essay, "The Voice of the Neuter is Heard Throughout the Land," I have made and placed on the site that particular excerpt from this morning's radio show. To listen to the "Voce del Oro" read just click the link below:

Play Rush

Posted by Vanderleun Jan 27, 2005 3:30 PM | Comments (15)  | QuickLink: Permalink
New to the Site? The American Digest Reader: A Short Selection

IF YOU ARE INTERESTED in reading some essays posted here over the years, I've got a little list here just for you. Just click ....


Posted by Vanderleun Jan 27, 2005 11:01 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
The Most Innovative Novel by a Best-Selling American Author Is Not Available in English

Click to Enlarge

Robert Fulghum's All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten came out of left field in the late 1980s to dominate bestseller lists around the world like no other non-ficton book in memory. It was so successful that, at one point, it was number one on the Times' bestseller list in hardcover and in paperback with his second book, It Was On Fire When I Lay Down On It occupying the second slot on the hardcover list. A perfect publishing trifecta.

Over the years, Fulghum came out with many more books -- all in the vein of plain-spoken stories from life that held deeper and universal meanings; a philosophy of Everyman, if you will. Their appeal reached across linguistic and cultural boundaries and sold tens of millions of copies in dozens of languages. They continue to sell to this day.

For reasons that I won't go into here, -- but may tell another time -- I've watched this publishing phenomenon from a unique, somewhat inside, perspective. Suffice it to say that for Fulghum and everyone else involved it was, for ten years, a wild ride. A ride that might have continued, as these publishing things do, for many more years except for one wild card in the equation, Robert Fulghum.

Fulghum is one of those rare individuals that you meet in life that are best described as: "A man who is himself." There's nothing in him that is derivative of others. Besides being a writer, Fulghum is also a painter, a sculptor, a Unitarian minister, a man who knows his whiskey and cigars, and his way around a poker table. He also plays a mean mandocello. For ten years he was in great demand as a speaker, and he still is. But there was a point at which he decided, against all advice to the contrary from the traditional publishing types in his karass, that he was tired of being "Captain Kindergarten," and he just folded up the tent and walked away.

He walked away and did the one thing a successful best-selling author of short inspiring essays about life should never, ever do: he wrote a novel.

But he did not write a novel that looked like or felt like or read like any novel you have ever read. It was a "Novel-In-A-Box." Take a look. Take a long look.Take a very long look at the photographs of this work. And then come back. I'll wait here.

Robert Fulghum New Novel - Introduction

My novel, Third Wish, began as a what-if? adventure. More than anything else, I'm a storyteller by trade. But my stories have always been short. Could I write a really long story? Why not? Commercial publication was not my original goal. I wanted to write a book I would want to read - one I would want to keep and read again - one that was a product of a life I would have to live to write it. A keepsake. If there was only one copy, so be it.

They say that the novel is a mature art form. They say that, aside from tone and subject, nothing new can be done with it. But here's a novel that incorporates artifacts, music, color journals, illustrations, and even more. A novel that comes with a selection of objects that have meaning in the warp and the woof of the story, that operate as talismans. This is clearly something new in the realm of the novel. Something so startling that it takes your breath away to see it.

You would think that American book-publishing, given a chance to innovate, and working with an author who has tens of millions of readers around the world, would jump at the chance to publish this in some form or another. And you would be dead wrong.

You'd be wrong because you fail to comprehend just how deep into American publishing the creative brain rot goes. When this book was "offered" to American publishers not one could even begin to imagine how it could be done, and not one could even bring themselves to take a flyer on finding out how it could be done. Every single one of them, as well as an agent or two, passed. Were they right?


Posted by Vanderleun Jan 27, 2005 9:18 AM | Comments (8)  | QuickLink: Permalink
A Mac is Born

The Macintosh turned 21 this week, but what was it like on the day it was born? Now you can see it in

The Lost 1984 Mac Video

hosted at

"Never seen video footage of the introduction of the Macintosh in January 1984 was published for the first time on the Internet today. Renowned Mac user Scott Knaster kept that Betamax video tape for 21 years, and German media agency TextLab has unearthed this only surviving video tape of the launch."

Posted by Vanderleun Jan 26, 2005 7:31 PM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
I've Seen a Lot of Weird Things Over the Years

but one thing I've never seen,and for some unknown reason would really like to see, is

1) A Cow

2) On a pole

3) With antlers.

Is that too much to ask?


Posted by Vanderleun Jan 26, 2005 4:45 PM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Assault on Precinct 13: Same Film, Bigger Guns

BY JEREMIAH LEWIS, American Digest Film Editor

(2005) Rated R -- 3 stars out of 5

When you stand in line for a ticket to Assault on Precinct 13, hand your money over with a smile, and gleefully stroll down that long dark hallway to Theatre 7, odds are you aren't there for

  • David Mametesque dialogue
  • Scintillating drama
  • The pathos of a humanity-laden, emotionally charged period piece
  • A high-caliber comedy in the style of Some Like It Hot or His Girl Friday. (After all, Brian Dennehy never came close to convincing me he was worth his weight in anything other than, well, his weight.)

Nevertheless, should you find yourself in that line, paying that money, and wearing that smile of contented brainlessness, you can do worse than to watch the remake of John Carpenter's 1976 Assault on Precinct 13. This modern day retelling has been updated with a few twists, a different cast of characters, and a John Carpenter-less score, but otherwise it is the same picture.


Posted by Vanderleun Jan 26, 2005 12:53 PM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Baby, It's Cold Outside: Sheryl's Virtual Circle Line Tour of New York City

Having lived in New York City on and off across three decades, I'm often asked by potential visitors to suggest something that they simply have to do when visiting. One thing that invariably goes to the top of the list is, "Take the Circle Line."

Sophisticated people just as invariably look askance and say,"But isn't that the most cheesy touristy thing you can do?" To which the answer is, "No. It is the second most cheesy touristy thing you can do. First cheese log is riding a double-decker bus through Soho on Saturday looking at the Bridge-And-Tunnel crowd as if they were hipsters on their way to Andy Warhol's loft."

The Circle Line is, believe it or not, the single best orientation tool for a first, second, or N-time visitor to New York. I gets you a bit off the island and then, in good weather, takes you all the way around it in a, well, circle. Along the way, you get an informed, if at times laconic, lecture from your guide on the past and present of Manhattan. (Why are there no large skyscraper developments between Wall Street and Midtown? The bedrock slopes down under loose fill after Wall Street and doesn't rise up again until midtown making foundations in between an expensive and risky business. It's called "Canal Street" for a reason. )

When you're done with the Circle Line what you're left with, besides factoids and a wonderfully cheesy photograph of you in front of a life preserver, is an invaluable sense of context when you're roaming Manhattan. Getting off the island places you on the island like no other experience.

So when my wife, Sheryl, went to New York on business last week and she asked me for some suggestions I said, of course, "Circle Line." (She's been to the city numerous times before, but this time was meeting with a colleague who'd never been.) A few days later, with a huge blizzard bearing down on the city, she escaped a day early and avoided being pent up on the 41st floor of the Marriott Marquis on Times Square with only 30 theaters and unlimited room service to dull the suffering. (Whew, a close one.)

But before she left she did get a chance to take the Circle Line -- in 14 degree weather with ice floes on the Hudson knocking on the hull. Still it was a great cruise around a great city at twilight. She brought back a lot of stunning photographs and has arranged them with essential commentary. Now you can take The Circle Line too at Snow strands travelers in New York. But luckily, I was not among them.

Dress warm.

Posted by Vanderleun Jan 26, 2005 10:30 AM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Fulghum, Griffin, Sabine, and Winnie the Pooh

In a great riff of Brain Jazz , Joy McCann at Dean's World picks up my essay on Robert Fulghum's Novel-In-A-Box, Third Wish, and kicks it up a notch by looking at other innovators in the novel.

The second-most physically adventurous publishing venture has to be the Griffin and Sabine books, which tell the story of a romantic correspondence betweeen two artists. The postcards are made by one of the characters, and are pasted into the sheets of the books. The letters are in envelopes that are glued into the books' pages. It is truly like reading hand-written letters. When Professor Purkinje turned me on to these books, he pronounced them "the best thing in the world." Fact is, they were pretty damned conceptually hot. I ought to read them all the way through; it's good stuff. And they are physically stunning.

But innovation in publishing doesn't just involve putting books into boxes with trinkets, or making the reader fish a letter out of an envelope. Sometimes it means going to the mat with one's agent:

What follows is an illuminating essay on elements of the career of Winnie the Pooh creator A. A. Milne. Much of which you didn't know, but will be glad to learn.

Posted by Vanderleun Jan 26, 2005 9:38 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
Give an Oscar to Michael Moore, Take a Big B.O. Bath

There's a lot of talk and a little bit of surprise snapping about the blogs today over the fact that Michael Moore's 911 failed to be nominated for an Oscar. No mystery to me. I just "follow the money."

Hollywood dodged an big Internet bullet by passing on 911. It had occurred to me months ago, and I am willing to bet that it occurred to others as well, that if 911 got an Oscar, the response from the net and the Blogosphere would have been, "Let's make April the Nobody-Goes-To-The-Movies Month."

And we could have made it happen. And it would have hurt. Big time.

Again, consciously or unconsciously, twisted ideals are fine but in the end Hollywood always votes its pocketbook.

Posted by Vanderleun Jan 25, 2005 4:37 PM | Comments (8)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Godwin's Law On Wikipedia

In the post below I pointed to Mike Godwin's new weblog Godwin's Law as much for its wonderfully retro design as for its content. Pointing makes you click and when I did I came across this wonderfully Godwinesque series of postings on the Wikipedia kerfuffle. If you'd like to get caught up on this debate with the aid of a good guide, here are some excerpts:

Godwin's Law - Thoughts on Wikipedia, Part I

The question ought not to be whether you should trust Wikipedia (for whatever value of "trust" you want to use), but why you should give your trust to traditional publications (where errors and distortions persist, when they occur, for decades and even centuries).
Godwin's Law - Thoughts on Wikipedia, Part II
My reaction when someone complains about an inaccuracy in Wikipedia is always this: Why didn't you fix it? Because, you know, you had the power to do so.
Godwin's Law - Interlude: the Larger Wikipedia Debate
Clay Shirky: "It's not that it doesn't matter what academics think of the Wikipedia -- it would obviously be better to have as many smart people using it as possible. The problem is that the only thing that would make the academics happy would be to shoehorn it into the kind of filter, then publish model that is broken, and would make the Wikipedia broken as well."
Godwin's Law - Thoughts on Wikipedia, Part III
Wikipedia, with all its flaws, is an amazing accomplishment, and it stands for the proposition that, whatever its vulnerabilities, most of us want to promote the truth, to share knowledge, to make it available for everybody else, and to make the world better.
Godwin's Law - Picky About Wikipedia
Most of us who have long been interested in the Cargo Cults will already have noted that hardly anyone ever tries to stir up fear, uncertainty, and doubt about them, because they're not perceived as any kind of threat. By contrast, various corporations (and the occasional affiliated foundation) sure keep beating the tribal drum about the general badness of open-source software, the free-culture movement, and entities like Creative Commons. Surely if the latter were really all that Cargo-Cultish they'd be so irrelevant that no one would propagandize against them.

Posted by Vanderleun Jan 25, 2005 12:07 PM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
More of a Habit Than Using: The Beautiful Obsession of Paper Frigate

"I needed a book .... and for my sins they gave me one ..... when it was over I'd always want another."

One of the continuing pleasures of publishing on the web, is that you can, if you are lucky, encounter people who share your obsessions to a greater degree than you ever thought possible. It is always a relief to know that, no matter how obsessed with an area of life you may be, there is always somebody higher up the ladder. In that way, you can hope for a little warning when they start rolling up the network.

Like many who write for a living and for their own satisfaction, I've been a lifelong "constant reader." At times my credit card bill seems to confirm that the entire staff of Amazon must be on my personal payroll. Long Sunday shopping trips with my wife? No problem as long as the mall has a bookstore. Going somewhere where I might have to wait for more than 30 seconds? I've got two books in the backseat and a case of books in the trunk of my car.

I pour over the latest Levenger catalog like other men consume Sports Illustrated, Popular Science, and Outdoor Life. (I thirst for the Luxe Laplander, but it far too expensive an indulgence. I own two Flag Wallets [with refills] and I am manfully resisting The Annotation Station ), but I can feel my resolve fading.)

I compulsively check the "Where's My Stuff" page at Amazon, even though I've selected "Free Shipping" and I know the order won't even leave until next week. ( "Why? Why did you do that, when for just a few dollars more...." ) When the shipment does leave, I like to get the tracking number and watch it move towards my front door. I have done this so compulsively that one morning I refreshed the tracking page and saw "Delivered" just as my doorbell rang and there they were. Impressive or insane? You decide.


Posted by Vanderleun Jan 25, 2005 11:01 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
Passport Control

Scrutiny with No Profiling. It's a wonderful thing.
Via reader "forebob1." [1.1 megabytes. Windows Media Player.]

Posted by Vanderleun Jan 25, 2005 9:50 AM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Fever Dreams: The Calcutta Chromosome

by PAT CUMMINGS American Digest Book Editor

Amatav Ghosh: The Calcutta Chromosome: A Novel of Fevers, Delirium & Discovery

In The Calcutta Chromosome, author Amitav Ghosh has written a fever-bright mystery story about an historic event.

In 1898 in Calcutta, Sir Ronald Ross* solved a riddle: how is malaria transmitted?

"Malaria was the cold fusion of his day, the Sunday papers were scrambling to get it on the covers. And it figures: malaria's probably the all-time killer among diseases. Next to the common cold it's just about the most prevalent disease on the planet..."
Into the historical tale that traces the intense competition between Pasteur in Paris, Ambrose Laveran in Algeria, and Ronald Ross in India, Ghosh introduces the mystery: a LifeWatch worker named L. Murugan investigating (in 1995) how Ross came up with his idea.


Posted by Vanderleun Jan 25, 2005 8:57 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
Quitting Time at Penn Station

T hey seek a dedication
No passion prints on stone,
Their reveries -- of clouds.
Their benedictions -- moans.
Not one can name their masters,
Nor indenture's date reveal.
Doomed to ride the animal
That runs within the wheel.

Posted by Vanderleun Jan 24, 2005 11:34 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
Noted in Passing

ROBERT'S RULES OF SURVIVAL: "10. Anything that is not managed will deteriorate. If you want to uncover problems you don't know about, take a few moments and look closely at the areas you haven't examined for a while. I guarantee you problems will be there."

BECAUSE YOU. ARE. SPECIAL. The Apple iProduct: "Your life. In a small, plastic case."

BLOGDAMNED IF YOU DO, BLOGDAMNED IF YOU DON'T -- A concerned emailer asks why I am not getting back to work after posting the item below that begins "I'M GETTING RIGHT BACK TO WORK." As I said last night to my blogdamned wife, "Right now, for better or worse, blogging is my work, and yes dear, I promise to work the phrase 'my blogdamned wife' into a post just as soon as possible. No, not just because you thought of it."

KOTTKE CHATS WITH "CALL PAUL TO HAUL." HAS EPIPHANY:Craigslist and cottage industries

I'd never really thought about it before, but in some ways, CL helps lots of people build businesses cheaper and more effectively than more "robust", complex, and expensive enterprise software solutions. Movers are just one example. CL can help you find employees for your business. If you've got a van, you can pick up free furniture and electronics around the city, fix or refurbish, and sell it. You can start a business doing computer troubleshooting, piano lessons, buying and fixing up old motorcycles, or escort and sensual massage services.
Following which a commenter expresses a wish and discloses an opportunity: "Wish CL was more "robust" in smaller cities, e.g. Tucson. Guess that's just the way it goes, but seems like bad luck since small cities have a lot of cottage industry potential."

CLUELESS USERS IS WHAT THE Pew Internet & American Life Project: Search Engine Users sees:

Only 38% of users are aware of the distinction between paid or "sponsored" results and unpaid results. And only one in six say they can always tell which results are paid or sponsored and which are not. This finding is ironic, since nearly half of all users say they would stop using search engines if they thought engines were not being clear about how they presented paid results.

I'M GETTING RIGHT BACK TO WORK right after I post this pointer to the ever-popular Getting Back To Work: A Personal Productivity Toolkit.

WHEN ARCHITECTS ATTACK:Will Alsop's Supercity promises more terror and despair for England.

Imagine a future in which the vast M62 corridor is a singular entity, a huge coast to coast 'SuperCity', 80 miles long and 15 miles wide. Here city limits are blurred, its inhabitants live in Liverpool, shop in Leeds and go clubbing in Manchester. Using the latest forms of advanced transportation, SuperCity residents could wake up by the Mersey and commute to an office overlooking the Humber. Air travel from a central hub puts the world on our doorstep. What impact will this have on the traditional definition of a city and the people who work, rest and play in this radical new landscape?
You'd think decades of social rot and other disasters of urban "planning" in the council flats would have taught them the answers to that. Imagine.

AS ROBERT REDFORD DECLARES SUNDANCE to be an island of Freedom in a vast sea of Repression -- "I like to think of this festival as a festival of dissent, and I'd like to celebrate that" (AP) -- Jason at LIBERTAS thinks Redford does not go far enough:

Sundance should be a kind of permanent 'festival of dissent.' After all, Mr. Redford has never really been given the chance by Hollywood to express himself fully. EVEN THOUGH MR. REDFORD CONTROLS A FILM FESTIVAL, A FILM INSTITUTE, A PRODUCTION COMPANY, HIS OWN CABLE CHANNEL, A SKI RESORT AND A POPULAR CLOTHING CATALOGUE, CAN WE REALLY SAY HE'S EVER HAD THE OPPORTUNITIES HE DESERVED? Sadly we cannot, because Mr. Redford deserves ALL of these things... and more.

APPLE'S ON TRACK TO SELL A BILLION SONGS BY THE END OF 2005: Apple iTunes sales tally hits 250m -- The Register

"More than 250m songs have been paid for and downloaded from Apple's iTunes Music Store, the Mac maker boasted today."

GLENN REYNOLDS notes this morning that he has been nominated for a Wired Magazine Rave Award.

Reynolds denies the nomination has anything to do with last Fall's spate of wireless blogging from the dark backrooms at The Tire Shop surrounded by empty water bottles and glow-sticks, but insists he still feels very warm and loving towards the nominating committee.

Posted by Vanderleun Jan 24, 2005 8:56 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
Vera Drake: The Abortionist Downstairs

by JEREMIAH LEWIS, American Digest Film Editor

Caught between two worlds, Vera Drake floats along an ephemeral plane of the unconscious. It is both a tale of good intentions (and you know where those lead), and a veiled (and vague) social drama that plays out like yesterday's politics.

Writer/director Mike Leigh doesn't put a whole lot of spin on what could have been a tightly wound spool of leftist rhetoric. And he places the story at a comfortable distance--England in the 1950's--so that its controversial subject can be digested with as little burping as possible. Leigh barely engages these issues to the audience though, settling for a dark cinematic expression of objectivity.

Instead of a pro- or anti-abortion film, Vera Drake is an intimate portrait of lower class life in the 1950's Britain. Character performances overcome the limitations inherent in the stereotypes, though not enough to make Vera Drake the highlight of Leigh's career.


Posted by Vanderleun Jan 24, 2005 8:51 AM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Philosophy for Those With ADD

Squashed Philosophers- Condensed Plato Aristotle Augustine Descartes Hume Marx Freud Copernicus Hobbes Sartre Ayer Sade Wittgenstein Einstein

Glyn Hughes' Squashed Philosophers: The books which defined the way The West thinks now. Condensed and abridged to keep the substance, the style and the quotes, but ditching all that irritating verbiage.

Posted by Vanderleun Jan 23, 2005 8:39 PM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
You Might Be A High-Tech Redneck...

* You post squirrel recipes on a website. * You've ever bought beer online. * You write to Hewlett-Packard to sponsor a NASCAR team. * You've modeled your new 'Daisy Dukes' for a webcam. * You have a celphone headset for your fishing boat. * Your robot dog is named 'Bubba'. * You paid more for your computer than you did for your house. * You subscribe to the chewing tobacco newsgroup. * Your windows wallpaper is the confederate flag. * You make John Wayne MP3s. * Your IM lists are "Hunting buddies" and "Mama'n them". * Your ringtone is a Hank Williams song. * You changed beauty shops because they didn't offer websurfing under the hair driers. * You modified your gunrack to hold a rifle AND your laptop. * You help install a wireless hotspot zone in your favorite Honky Tonk. * You've ever called Graceland to tell them their webcam was down. * You have your monster truck magazine collection on CD-ROM. * You've ever been to a computer show wearing a Lynyrd Skynyrd T-shirt. * You've used your shoe's spike heel to pry out a DVD that was stuck in the player. * Your ISP's office is on a gravel road. * You sent your husband an Ecard of Dolly Parton on the first day of deer season. * You have Harley Davidson stickers on your mouse. * Your Windows sound files are all steel guitar. * You wrote a really cool flash animation that involves Jack Daniels. * You've ever emailed a digital photo of your new tattoo. * You know the GPS coordinates of your deer stand and duck blind. * You've used a photo editor to see what you'd look like in Tammy Faye makeup. * You've used a locking CD case to close a bag of salsa chips. * You've ever gotten Kripsy Kreme icing INSIDE your PDA. * You've ever spilled moonshine on your Blackberry. * You wired your grandma's outhouse with broadband just for giggles. * You have a satellite photo of the Dallas Cowboys' Cheerleaders on your wall. * You've ever painted a URL on an overpass.

Email, we get email, we get stacks and stacks of email....

Posted by Vanderleun Jan 23, 2005 4:07 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
Different War, Same Student Scum

"But of course we support our troops! How can you possibly think of us as bad Americans?"


"Sgt. 1st Class Jeff Due, right, a U.S. Army recruiter, is surrounded by protesters at Seattle Central Community College, Thursday, Jan. 20, 2005, in Seattle. After about a 10-minute standoff during which protesters tore up U.S Army literature, the protesters were successful in getting Due and another recruiter to leave their table under escort by campus security officers. Several hundred students walked out of classes at several Seattle colleges and universities to protest the inauguration of President Bush." -- AP

[HT -- Pool of Thought via Smash @ The Indepundit and Mudville Gazette .]

Posted by Vanderleun Jan 23, 2005 1:07 PM | Comments (9)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Johnny Carson We Hardly Knew Ye


And the answer is....

There are about to be several million words written and published about Johnny Carson but Will Collier at Vodkapundit pretty much says it all in 97 words:

I really feel sorry for people who weren't old enough to see and appreciate Carson while he was still on the air. He was just So. Damn. Good. His successors, on every network, are decidedly pale reflections, and I doubt any of them would seriously argue that Carson was head and shoulders above anybody else who's ever hosted a talk show, anywhere. His blend of great good humor, high taste, low comedy, and refusal to condescend to anybody, regardless of who they were or where they came from, almost certainly can't be duplicated in today's mass media.

Posted by Vanderleun Jan 23, 2005 12:30 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
On Dogs and Mainstream Media

My father-in-law, Bob, sometimes forwards jokes. Always a pleasure. This morning one popped in that I hadn't seen before and, like many jokes, it struck me that there's a larger truth hidden in the humor. Don't stop me if you've heard it before.

A young boy, about eight years old, was at the store picking out a large box of laundry detergent. The grocer walked over and, trying to be friendly, asked the boy if he had a lot of laundry to do.

"Oh, no laundry," the boy said. "I'm going to wash my dog."

"But you shouldn't use this to wash your dog. It's very powerful and if you wash your dog in this, he'll get sick. In fact, it might even kill him."

But the boy was not stopped by this and carried the detergent to the counter and paid for it, even as the grocer still tried to talk him out of washing his dog.

About a week later the boy was back in the store doing some shopping. The grocer asked the boy how his dog was doing.

"Oh, he died," the boy said.

The grocer said, "I tried to tell you not to use that detergent on your dog."

"Well," the boy replied, "I don't think it was the detergent that killed him."

"Oh I'm sorry. How did he die?"


Posted by Vanderleun Jan 23, 2005 8:48 AM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Of Bozos and Buttinskys

Michael B of takes a Parthian shot at the auto-da-fé of Harvard's Larry Summers currently being played out in the smallest brains of academia, and helps my evolving theory of The Buttinsky Party.

As far as I can tell, Regular People, bless 'em, never disbelieved that gals and guys differ somewhat, and on deep levels. Regular People know this from experience, and aren't about to let theory-spinners tell them otherwise. But I'd have guessed that even our academic elites -- however self-regarding, self-deceiving, self-important, and naive we know them to be -- had abandoned their attachment to the ideology of "everyone is alike in every possible way and the only thing that explains differences in outcomes is Pure Evil, except when it has to do with academic elites being smarter than everyone else."

I'm surprised to discover that so many are still in such high-minded denial of basic facts of life, aren't you? God knows I wouldn't ever have expected Elite People to say, "We made a mistake. Sorry. We'll try to do better now." No, they're too puffed-up proud and full of grandstanding moral fury ever to eat humble pie, however much good that might do them, and however much good it might do the world. But I was under the impression that they'd moved on a bit -- that they'd let go of their Blank Slate insanity, if only to embrace some other kind of fashionable nonsense.

I wonder if my cluelessness about these people has to do with the fact that I've given up having anything but passing interactions with them. Blank Slaters have nothing to tell me I haven't heard a zillion times before. And what's the point of dealing with fanatics more than is necessary? I don't know about you, but I find that trying to hash out (or even joke about) intellectual/artistic /political matters with Blank-Slate maniacs saps energy that I need for more important matters, like programming the Tivo and taking naps.

Hilarity ensures in the comments as some defenders of The Buttinskys take the position of "hold your tongue about truth and lie for the greater good."

Posted by Vanderleun Jan 23, 2005 8:31 AM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Stealth Warship

The difference in detection range between an ordinary vessel and Visby creates a considerable zone where the Visby can see but not be seen.

Just the thing for those boating runs from Jamaica to the Florida Keys:The barely visible Visby

The Visby Class corvette is the first vessel in the world to have fully developed stealth technology, combined with high operational versatility. The outstanding stealth properties fundamentally change the ship's survivability and improve its mission effectiveness.

Visby is a flexible surface combatant, designed for a wide range of roles: anti-surface warfare (ASuW), anti-submarine warfare (ASW), mine countermeasures (MCM), patrol and much more.

Much more might be signaled if the Columbian Navy orders up one or two dozen.

Posted by Vanderleun Jan 22, 2005 4:44 PM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Dirty Screen? Make It Squeaky Clean with a Kitten

Free Screen Cleaning [Be patient. It is, after all, free.]

Posted by Vanderleun Jan 22, 2005 11:59 AM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Not-So-Pretty EBay Penny

Out of pocket a penny? The market will take a pound of flesh:

EBay, one of the world's largest e-commerce companies, also came in one penny under Wall Street's expectations for the fourth quarter, with a profit of $205.4 million, or 30 cents a share. That compares with $142.5 million (21 cents) in the same period of 2003. -- EBay Shares Plunge
In this case it was about $19 billion worth of flesh as the pump-and-dump specialists on Wall Street dumped off that much in market capitalization. Reasons were many and excuses more if you listened to the word and the rumors coming out of the online giant, but it may well be that, at last, the endlessly complicated EBay home page has hit the limit of what buyers and sellers can comprehend.

Oh, yes, raising prices up to 50% on all your customers doesn't help matters either.

[Matin Tobias has the gruesome details of this fleecing at Deep Green Crystals: E-Bay drops a bombshell!]

This is the kind of monopolistic move that sets both buyers and sellers against you, but then it has been many a year since EBay management cared about that, hasn't it? Whitman's EBay has always been, like the CEO herself, as ethically sketchy as the unbundled software it sells. No reason to straighten out now. Unless, of course, an awakened Justice Department decides to get all Microsoft on them. [Right. Sure. And the latest of Porcine aviation is? -- Ed.]

If you don't believe it, ask yourself how unclued a company has to be to help cheat the Girl Scouts. [HT/ Om Malik]

Posted by Vanderleun Jan 22, 2005 10:35 AM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Very Large Display Array

From an interview with Mary Czerwinski, enior Researcher and Group Manager of VIBE [Visualization and Interaction Research Group] in at Microsoft Research.ACM: Ubiquity

UBIQUITY: What are we talking about when we say "large displays"?

CZERWINSKI: Let's just imagine in the future that you have your walls around your office as your displays, or at least as additional display surfaces. So instead of actually having piles of papers on your desk, you might actually have — literally might have a visual design of piles of windows on your displays around you. And you may have a very large display like let's say a 42-inch or a 50-inch screen in front of you that you're working on, you know, as more of a personal workspace. But then you'll use your walls as additional display space so you can lay everything out, keeping it visible, so you can monitor what's going on in those separate tasks if you will. In contrast, you'll be working very closely and personally with information on your desktop.

Posted by Vanderleun Jan 22, 2005 9:34 AM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Of Snow Flurries, Ted Kennedy, Teased Unders and the Final Four

by CHRIS LYNCH , American Digest Sports Editor

It's down to the final four. Just two more games until we have a Super Bowl Champion.
I'm so excited
and I just can't hide it.
I'm about to lose control
and I think I like it.

Atlanta at Philadelphia

The line opened with the Eagles giving 5 points. It went to 5.5 mid-week and it is now at Eagles giving 6.

When I first saw the line I thought the Falcons were the pick. I'm a big believer in sticking with first impressions but here I'm going to make an exception. Let me explain my thinking.

Both teams have excellent defenses. They're about equal as far as I'm concerned.

Both teams have MVP-caliber quarterbacks but here I was giving the edge to Atlanta. Face it -- if the draft was tomorrow Michael Vick gets picked ahead of Donovan McNabb.

My last impression of Vick was of him looking great against the Rams. But that was against the Rams and it was inside at the Georgia Dome. Tomorrow's game is outside against the much tougher Iggle defense. Being against the Eagle D is key but playing outside is keyer (Hey - just trying to add a word to the lexicon).

It will be cold. The ground will be frozen and slick and there may even be some snow flurries remaining from today's big storm. At the very least the wind will whip snow from the stands and sidelines onto the field. These kinds of conditions do not favor the quick-muscle twitch QB's. These conditions are perfect for bottling up the lightning in a bottle Michael Vick. These conditions are much better for the home town Donovan McNabb.

With Vick neutralized - what do the Falcons have left? Nothing. Thus the change of heart.

Take the Eagles and give the six points.

New England at Pittsburgh


Posted by Vanderleun Jan 22, 2005 8:18 AM | Comments (8)  | QuickLink: Permalink
How to Tell If the Internet is Supplanting Legacy Media in Your Life

For one week, keep careful track on a 3x5 card of how many times the following things happen:

1) Times you say "You effing idiot!" to your television and punch at the remote while asking your spouse, "Okay, I get that Alan Colmes is Laurel but does that mean...?"

2) Times you say "You effing idiot!" when reading the Op-Ed page in your newspaper, roll it up and hit the dog.

3) Times you say "You effing idiot!" to your car radio, hit scan and settle on Dr. Laura.

4) Times you say "You effing idiot!" while scanning cover lines of magazines at the news stand, and take the change out of the blind newsie's cup as a "fine."

5) Times you say "You effing idiot!" during the final 5 minutes of the 40 minute infomercial before the $9.00 movie starts at your local multiplex and set a fire in the men's room's paper towel bin.

6) Times you say "You effing idiot!" when passing a person sporting a blue wrist band on the street in such a way that you have to explain yourself to the officer with the camera crew from COPS standing behind him.

7) Times you say "You effing idiot!" to monitor, hit the comment button and log-in under

If, at the end of the week, the number of "7" is greater than the total of items 1 through 6, you have left legacy media behind. Congratulations.

Posted by Vanderleun Jan 21, 2005 7:39 PM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Minim of the Moment

He who would achieve great things must first be born.

[MINIM 44 From: MINIMS by Tom Weller]

Posted by Vanderleun Jan 21, 2005 10:27 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
ZX11's Email of the Day

CNN Reporter, during a question and answer session with a USMC sniper:

Reporter: "What do you feel when you shoot a terrorist?"

Marine: Looks up, shrugs, replies: "Recoil."

Posted by Vanderleun Jan 20, 2005 1:09 PM | Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Job Opportunies for Bluepers In Iraq

Lance Frizzell, a 2nd Lt Medical Platoon Leader with the Tennessee National Guard 278th Regimental Combat Team, currently serving in Northern Iraq posts an employment ad at:

Lance in Iraq: Wanted: Human Shields

Back in January '03, you may remember a group of Western liberals who volunteered to go to Iraq as human shields in case the US enforced UN resolutions that Saddam violated. Key graf:

"...they are willing to put themselves in the firing line should US and British forces bomb Iraq. They plan to identify potential bombing targets such as power stations and bridges and act as human shields to protect them."

Well, I think I have just the job for these globe-travelers: Iraq Election Poll Worker. They are familiar with the terrain and people, they have a self-professed desire to help and they seem very articulate. However, their biggest asset is bravery. If they are willing to hunker down between Coalition Forces and a bridge, standing between a foreign terrorist and a polling precinct should be no big deal. Any takers?

I've sort of lost track of the much-reported-on 'human shields.' I suppose they're off somewhere resting between gigs with the 'grief counselors.' Can somebody dig these people up and toss them on a plane?

Posted by Vanderleun Jan 20, 2005 8:47 AM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Locked and Loaded

Twenty-one subjects so tedious that the mere mention of them makes me want to unwind with a small shooting spree.

1) Barbara Boxer shorts. No more soundbites out of this doughnut. Preaching to the Damned, hoping to be Hillary. Let Satan take her... and her little dog John too.
2) Abu Gharib gotchas. We really, really need some fresh atrocities, folks. Wake me when Americans start attaching explosives to people's chests and setting them off.
3) "There's no mandate for George Bush." Yes. There. Is. Now. Shut. Up.
4) JibJab. Once was funny. The second sponsored-round is just puerile.
5) Careerist Feminists who can't stand a whiff of criticism without an attack of "I had to leave the room" hysteria. I thought we were supposed to be beyond the era of girlish feelings getting hurt, but I guess not.
6) The cost, the ungodly cost!, of the Inauguration. Hey, I'm not carping about the stupefying cost and utter waste of hundreds of millions on that loser-going-in John Kerry, am I? Telling others when and how to reach for their wallets is just odious, so stop it.
7) The Satanic FCC. Over-rated, over-bloated, and just plain over. The Brussels of D.C. They might care about Howard Stern, but why should you?
8) Why PCs are still a better deal than Macs. I'll admit, here and now that they are... if you like being mired in disease daily and self-inoculations that don't seem to take. Enjoy.
9) M______ J______
10) The Future of CNN. It has none. Get off the stage before the lights dim.
11) Dan Rather's denials, deals, dentures. or diapers. Let an old man turn to the wall and die in peace, why don't you?
12) How the Democrats can "win" in 2008. They can't. They won't. Game over. Why? They are drenched with the smell of fear.
13) Guantanamo and the terrible conditions thereof. If it was really that miserable you wouldn't see all the ACLU lawyers lathered up to spend a two days there, followed by two weeks in Havana in the midst of winter.
14) French anything -- including ticklers.
15) Social security is doomed, DOOMED! I tell you.
16) John Kerry vs. Howard Dean vs. Hillary Clinton vs. Barbara Boxer. Sort of like watching Dwarf wrestling in the ICU.
17) The United Nations and its plans to take $195 billion from you over the next few years. I'd pay $1,000 for a front row seat to watch the building blown into the East River. $2,000 if occupied. Above that, I'm out.
18) Any and all award shows involving television, film, or music celebrities. I will make an exception for "The Buffy Awards" in which a golden spike is driven into the hearts of the winners. Runner-ups to be nail-gunned onto "The Walk of Fame."
19) Bill O'Reilly. Unless it is a televised three-way suicide pact involving Geraldo and Barbara Walters.
20) The ticking time-bomb of Muslim demographics in Europe. Their problem. Light fuse and get away.
21) "Citizen-Journalists:" I'll grant you that a lot of our journalists aren't really citizens, but why would a decent person of a clear mind and a pure heart want to lower himself to such a level? Besides, being a "good citizen" and being a journalist seem to be so mutually exclusive these days, don't they?

Posted by Vanderleun Jan 19, 2005 5:28 PM | Comments (14)  | QuickLink: Permalink
"One Does Not Simply Walk Into Mortor..."

No. One do not.

[Note: Link repaired and replaced.]

Posted by Vanderleun Jan 19, 2005 1:37 PM | Comments (9)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Inagural Leak: Iraq Exit Strategy Unveiled

Barbara Boxer: And you have not laid out an exit strategy. You've not set up a timetable.
Condi Rice: Well, if you insist.


Posted by Vanderleun Jan 19, 2005 1:30 PM | Comments (14)  | QuickLink: Permalink
It's All Roumanian NumaNuma Japanese To Me

The unstoppable NumaNumania continues as the Japanese get into the game with, as usual, kittens and a profound misunderstanding of the language (Or maybe not. Who really knows? ) with Maiyahi.

[Original NumaNuma is Here! But take care. It is toxic.]

Posted by Vanderleun Jan 19, 2005 11:30 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
Inaugural Shocker! Rumsfeld Out, Coulter In at DOD

Posted by Vanderleun Jan 19, 2005 11:12 AM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
If It Had Been Kerry, His Wife Could Have Picked Up the Check

Amy Ridenour has the first, last and middle wordon the Inaugural Costs.

Though I am oversimplifying in the service of brevity, there is more truth than fiction in the notion that money spent on inaugural festivities represents a transfer of wealth from big corporations and individuals of decent income to men and women who work for caterers, restaurants, hotels, the D.C. convention center, security firms, limousine services and printers, or who are taxi drivers or police officers on overtime.

Posted by Vanderleun Jan 19, 2005 10:45 AM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Inside the Sausage Factory: How the News Is Made @ CBS

From deep within the Romenesko letters page , [Scroll down, pilgrim, scroll down. ] comes this fascinating inside look at how things are supposed to work at CBS News. KRISTINA BORJESSON, a producer, is not -- to say the least -- feeling too sanguine about any real reform in the future. Having worked for years at a magazine where the lawsuit du jour was a constant cost of doing business, I can attest to the elements she lists as just about the minimum necessary to take any story into print or onto the screen. How the players in the Rathergate Self-Fornication Festival were able to subvert these procedures remains the great untold story of the whole debacle. The "Why" is known if not acknowledged. The "How" remains to be seen -- at least by the public.

As an afterthought to her map of the CBS vetting procedures, BORJESSON also puts paid to the notion that Mary Mapes "broke" the Abu Ghraib.


Posted by Vanderleun Jan 19, 2005 9:32 AM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Spoiled Teenage Nations of the West

I would like to direct your attention to a new member of the "stealth diplomat" blogs with the debut of New Sisyphus. The page has a lot of promise as shown in this brief excerpt from ": E.U. Dependence Theory: Blame Canada:

"Let's face it, the reason we do so much to maintain open shipping lanes in Asian waters and so forth is that it is most assuredly in the interests of the US to do so. We benefit directly from global peace and free commerce, so we do lotsa stuff that doesn't seem, on the surface, to be our responsibility. Dare we trust, oh, um, I'll say completely at random, THE FRENCH, with any serious responsibilities? What happens to us during the time that it takes the rest of the world to learn to be responsible adults once more? I shudder at the prospect. And there it is. That is how the left (Euro and otherwise) knows that they can continue to carp and gloat as they do. They rightly foresee an endless source of ridicule for their self-righteous moral exhibitionism because they know the US will always be around to clean up the spilled cookies and milk and restock the fridge."
That is actually a quote within the post, but the argument up to and away from it will, I promise, be quite informative. New Sisyphus it placing a lot of hopes on Condi Rice. As are we all.

Posted by Vanderleun Jan 18, 2005 10:03 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
For those Annoying Traffic Jams


Okay, you've got every other vehicle in creation, right? Well, now its time for a JL421 Badonkadonk Land Cruiser/Tank for a mere $19, 999.95.

  • Carries cargo or a crew of up to five internally or on the roof.
  • Piloted from within the armored shell or from an exposed standing position through the hatch.
  • 6hp Tecumseh gasoline engine, top speed 40 mph.
  • Includes head/tail and turn signal lights, trim and underbody lighting.
  • 400 watt premium sound with PA system, plush interior, and external camera.

Item Weight: 1100.00 pounds.
Shipping Weight: 1300.00 pounds.
Dimensions: 114.00 inches x 53.00 inches x 55.00 inches

Posted by Vanderleun Jan 18, 2005 7:35 PM | Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Twilight Link Zone

Presented, without conclusions, for your pointing and clicking pleasure:

  • Unusual articles from Wikipedia:Year Zero - Was there a year between 1BC and 1AD?; Bat bomb - World War II plan to bomb Japan with bats carrying tiny Incendiary bombs; Boston Molasses Disaster - Twenty-one people die when a confectionary factory explodes, sending a wave of molasses down .
  • Matt Groening's Apple Ad: This is an ad for the Macintosh around 1989, with slideshow.
  • Disturbing Auctions: Cranky Clown Lava Lamp, Nude Liquor Jug, Drunken Smoker Ash Tray, Troll Bottle.... The sky's the limit on that last one.
  • PostSecret: An art project that elicited secrets from the mundane to the trivial to the frightening.
  • Oracle finds an extra penny to boost 2005 | The Register: Remember that penny that EBay lost last week? Oracle found it. It doesn't say if it picked up the $19 billion in market value that EBay lost.
  • Chirac to Tax the World for AIDS: "I propose today moving forward through the creation, in an experimental way, of a levy to finance the fight against AIDS," Chirac told delegates in Davos in a speech delivered by video link-up. Chirac said the levy could be imposed on a fraction of all financial transactions without hampering markets, but it could also be raised by taxing fuel for air and sea transport, or by levying $1 on every airline ticket sold in the world. Ah, ze crazy French person, he is so tres, tres amusant when picking the pockets of the whole world, no?
  • Web Typography Style Guide : A brilliant guide that covers the basics of good typography on the web, explaining theory behind font choices, and the details of providing accessible and good looking text.
  • HP focuses on paparazzi-proof cameras :U.S. patent application 20040202382, filed in April 2003 and published in October 2004, describes a system in which an image captured by a camera could be automatically modified based on commands sent by a remote device. [Translation:Will blur digital cameras without rapid shaking of the celebrity]

  • Posted by Vanderleun Jan 18, 2005 2:26 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
    Shameless Scribblers of the New York Times: An Endless Series

    Sarah Boxer, 2001
    Attitude: Check.
    Trendy Hair: Check.
    Transgressive; Check.
    Good to go.

    Jeff Jarvis takes hard look at the latest clueless twit of The New York Times, one Sarah Boxer, for endangering the lives of the Iraqi brothers who run Iraq The Model:

    So here is a reporter from The New York Times -- let's repeat that, The New York Times -- speculating in print on whether an Iraqi citizen, whose only apparent weirdness and sin in her eyes is (a) publishing and (b) supporting America, is a CIA or Defense Department plant or an American.

    Ms. Boxer, don't you think you could be putting the life of that person at risk with that kind of speculation? In your own story, you quote Ali -- one of the three blogging brothers who started IraqTheModel -- saying that "here some people would kill you for just writing to an American." And yet you go so much farther -- blithely, glibly speculating about this same man working for the CIA or the DoD -- to sex up your lead and get your story atop the front of the Arts section (I'm in the biz, Boxer, I know how the game is played).

    How dare you? Have you no sense of responsibility? Have you no shame?
    -- Jarvis

    The answer is, of course, that Ms. Boxer has neither shame nor a sense of responsibility. Not only does the ham-handed manner in which she approaches this story attest to that, but her entire body of work -- such as it is. Shame is something that, if taught to her in her childhood, has been ruthlessly expunged by her education and "career." Instead of being shamed by having risked the lives of people she has never met, I'd bet real folding money that Boxer will spend the next few weeks preening in the attention her article brings her. Pats on the back and free lunches at Michaels will be her reward.

    Jarvis rightly takes Boxer to task for her abysmal lack of basic Googling skills ( Something that seems to afflict The New York Times en masse. ):


    Posted by Vanderleun Jan 18, 2005 1:05 PM | Comments (15)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Not Guns, Nor Lead, But Men's Vices

    by PAT CUMMINGS American Digest Book Editor

    Georg Bauer's De re Metallica

    I have omitted all those things which I have not myself seen, or have not read or heard of from persons upon whom I can rely. That which I have neither seen, nor carefully considered after reading or hearing of, I have not written about. The same rule must be understood with regard to all my instruction, whether I enjoin things which ought to be done, or describe things which are usual, or condemn things which are done. -- Agricola, Preface to De Re Metallica, 1556

    The first illustrated "how-to" book for mining and metallurgy was written by the German Georg Bauer in the mid-16th century. The book has been in print and used from then to now with only minor changes were needed to accommodate modern materials. ("Bauer" was Latinized to "Agricola", probably by his teachers at the University of Leipzig.) Agricola was a teacher, philosopher and doctor as well as the world's first industrial publicist, and the opening of De re Metallica ("Concerning Metals") reflects his philosophical bent.

    While re-reading it recently, I was struck by this passage in Chapter One. In the midst of a dissertation on the economics and politics of mining and the monetization of metals, Agricola diverts to make several points about the "evil" of metal weapons. It does not take much editing to apply his thoughts directly to today's debate on the "evil" of gun ownership.

    The curses which are uttered against iron, copper and lead have no weight with prudent and sensible men, because if these metals were done away with, men, as their anger swelled and their fury became unbridled, would assuredly fight like wild beasts, with fists, heels, nails and teeth. They would strike each other with sticks, hit one another with stones, or dash their foes to the ground. Moreover, a man does not kill another with iron alone, but slays by means of poison, starvation or thirst. He may seize him by the throat and strangle him; he may bury him alive in the ground; he may immerse him in the water and suffocate him; he may burn or hang him; so that he can make every element a participant in the death of men... From these examples we see that it is not metals which are to be condemned, but our vices, such as anger, cruelty, discord, passion for power, avarice and lust.
    -- Georgius Agricola, De Re Metallica
    It is not explosives that carry evil, it is the suicide bomber who carries the explosives. It is not the knife in the hand of the chef that stabs a man, but the one in the hand of the murderer. And it is not guns that kill. In all these examples, it is the murderer's desire to kill which is at fault, not the instruments used to act on those desires.
    Pat Cummings, constant reader, also reviews books at his site Paper Frigate, and at Blogcritics as well. He can be emailed here.]

    Posted by Vanderleun Jan 18, 2005 9:42 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
    The Transplendent Ray

    by JEREMIAH LEWIS, American Digest Film Editor


    One of the reasons I avoided Ray when it opened was the trailer that limited itself to only showcasing Jamie Foxx's impersonation of Ray Charles. Not being particularly interested in Ray Charles as a film subject, I just wasn't pulled in.

    Between Ray's first and second run, I had time to let the trailer dissolve from my brain and began to think about the film objectively. Given the critical praise, I grew intrigued, paid my four dollars and waited with no expectations.

    What I saw transcended normal biopic limitations. Ray is not a film about a legend sailing smoothly through life and career. It concerns a man who pursued his passion for music brilliantly, and yet struggled with the most personal aspects of his life. Ray is not a self-congratulating film about a pop-culture icon, but a work of art by a consummate filmmaker.


    Posted by Vanderleun Jan 18, 2005 9:12 AM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Then Again, Maybe Western Civilization Really Isn't Worth Saving After All

    Models take the catwalk during the Vivienne Westwood Fall/Winter 2005/2006 men's collection, presented in Milan, Italy, Sunday, Jan. 16, 2005. --AP

    Posted by Vanderleun Jan 17, 2005 7:50 AM | Comments (11)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    The Ultimate Brain Map

    Lion Kimbro helps you get your head together with How to Make a Complete Map of Every Thought you Think

    From the introduction:

    This book is about how to make a complete map of everything you think for as long as you like.

    Whether that's good or not, I don't know- keeping a map of all your thoughts has a freezing effect on the mind. It takes a lot of (albeit pleasurable) work, but produces nothing but SIGHT.

    If you do the things described in this book, you will be IMMOBILIZED for the duration of your commitment.The immobilization will come on gradually, but steadily. In the end, you will be incapable of going somewhere without your cache of notes, and will always want a pen and paper w/ you. When you do not have pen and paper, you will rely on complex memory pegging devices, described in "The Memory Book". You will NEVER BE WITHOUT RECORD, and you will ALWAYS RECORD.


    Posted by Vanderleun Jan 17, 2005 12:18 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
    The iPods of the Ancients

    upod.jpg  Tik_tefilim.jpg

    Today, the iPod -- the portable MP3 player that can store thousands of downloaded songs -- is our modern musical phylactery. Like those little boxes containing scripture, which Orthodox Jewish men wear on the left arm and forehead during prayers, the iPod has become a nearly sacred symbol of status in certain communities. Introduced only three years ago by Apple computer, the iPod is marketed as the technology of the disconnected individual, rocking out to his headphones, lost in his own world. In certain cities, however, the distinctive white iPod headphones have become so common that one disgusted blogger called them oppressive. "White headphone wearers on the streets of Manhattan nod at each other in solidarity, like members of a tribe or a secret society."
    -- From the fascinating Age of Egocasting by Christine Rosen @ The New Atlantis.

    Posted by Vanderleun Jan 17, 2005 12:10 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
    ZZZZzzzzzzzz... Huh?

    Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Sleep (But Were Too Afraid To Ask)

    What are you doing up so late, staring at the computer screen reading this? For that matter, what am I doing up late writing this at 11pm? Are we all nuts?
    I don't know about you but I'm posting this at 11:54 PM. I'd go to sleep, but I have to finish reading this exceptional study in larks vs. owls so I can understand why I can't go to sleep.

    Posted by Vanderleun Jan 16, 2005 11:51 PM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Freedom Among the Asteroids

    by PAT CUMMINGS American Digest Book Editor

    L. Neil Smith's Pallas

    L. Neil Smith's original fiction shows the influence of Ayn Rand, as well as his own long involvement with the Libertarian Party; and none of his novels reflect this so clearly as Pallas.

    This story of finding freedom is set on the commercially-developed asteroid, Pallas. It opens in a collectivist compound on that planetoid, the Greeley Union Memorial Project. Emerson Ngu (pr. "New") is a thorn in the sides of the project overlord, Senator Altman, and his UN goons. Ngu was enrolled in the project as an infant, when his parents signed their rights, his rights,and those of his children over to the project in exchange for passage to "the opportunity of a lifetime" on Pallas.


    Posted by Vanderleun Jan 16, 2005 10:01 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
    NumaNuma Mania: Stop the Insanity!

    NumaNuma Invades the Lego Universe!

    Hurts. Make it stop.

    Posted by Vanderleun Jan 16, 2005 3:21 PM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Is It Just Me or....

    Does the whole Judge Alito kerfuffle already seem so last week?

    Posted by Vanderleun Jan 16, 2005 10:06 AM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Sunday Reflection

    The Beasts That We Keep

    If we held the intent of the beasts which we keep
    In far fields and dark valleys, in the pale light of sleep,
    In marked shards of clay, in papyrus and parchment,
    Beneath the brick hearth, in the marks on old bones,
    In the marrow of bones, hitched to the plow of stones
    Parting the furrows where our dreams are pale sparks
    In the roots of our nerves, sprouting to thoughts,
    To the tee-shirt philosophies of cheap magazines,
    From the afternoon shows of electronic dreams,
    That reveal our blank selves dredged up from sleep.

    If we knew the intent of the beasts that we keep,
    We would surely sit senseless, and hide from the sun,
    And turn on ourselves the unregistered gun.
    If we held the intent of the beasts that we keep.

    If we knew the intent of the beasts that we feed
    From couches confessional, in the stone barns of God
    Where the soul's soundings echo the light in the sod
    To our penitent minds; which illumines our stark
    Hearts from within, that dazzles our dark
    With His fierce pyrotechnics, with His animate spark
    That glows in that womb where all yearning starts,
    And yearns for the flare at the top of the arc,
    But burns like dead screams flung down in the dark,
    Like torches cast deep where drowned Incas decay.

    We would know then this life takes place in one day,
    That the beasts which we keep are the beasts of our deeds,
    Created from dust in the long dusk of God,
    That we know the intent of the beasts which we feed.

    Posted by Vanderleun Jan 16, 2005 9:51 AM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    The Buttinsky Party

    "Hi, I'm from your government and I'm here to help.
    You do have a permit to collect the rain, don't you?"

    I hereby move that the 12-Step group formerly known as "The Democratic Party," in order to comply with Federal "Truth in Advertising" regulations, formally change its name to "The Buttinsky Party."

    Any doubts I had that The Buttinsky Party may have still have a modicum of self-control when it comes to just leaving people alone were washed away today. Here's a bit legislation seeking to become law in Washington State. Small? Perhaps. But it illuminates the rabid compulsiveness of The Buttinsky Party better than larger issues.

    "(4) The department may permit by rule, under conditions appropriate to the water resources inventory area, the use of rain barrels and cisterns to collect rainwater intended to be put to a beneficial use on the same property where the rainwater is captured."
    --Senate Bill 5113
    Now I knew, without looking, that any law that made you get a permit to collect rainwater had to have been sponsored by a Democrat Buttinsky. But just to be certain I tracked this Buttinsky down and sure enough, Paull Shin a life-long Buttinsky.

    Posted by Vanderleun Jan 16, 2005 9:31 AM | Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Frankly, My Dear Bluepers, We Don't Give A Damn

    Berns Rothchild displays several of her "Count Me Blue," political bracelets, Thursday, Jan. 13, 2005, in Miami. Rothchild is selling the bracelets on the Web in packages of 10 for $20, and plans to give part of her profits to UNICEF.
    [Translation: Don't buy them to give me money, buy them for the children!]

    Proving again, if more proof be needed, that their little blue choo-choos have gone round the bend, the blue bracelet crazlet continues to underwhelm an America indifferent to their manias:

    Anti-Bush bracelets say, 'Count me blue'

    Thousands of miles away, two women in Idaho had the same idea. So did a woman in Kansas. The result? At least three separate bracelet ventures targeting left-leaning citizens who want to wear their political affiliation on their wrists - and at least one competitor bearing the opposite message.

    Rothchild, 35, is selling blue bracelets that say "COUNT ME BLUE," while Laura Adams, of Fairway, Kan., offers blue bracelets that say "HOPE." The McKnight family, of Moscow, Idaho, is even more direct; their black bracelets proclaim: "I DID NOT VOTE 4 BUSH."

    "It's kind of like saying, 'This is my tribe,'" said Adams, 43, a Kerry supporter, who was inspired by her 14-year-old stepson's yellow Lance Armstrong band.

    Yes, it says "Hi, I'm so incoherent that I need to wear something that looks like I've just escaped from a locked ward."

    Posted by Vanderleun Jan 15, 2005 7:03 PM | Comments (8)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    All I Need to Know About Rathergate I Learned from Peggy Noonan

    And I share a bit of it with you:

    Let me repeat that: The MSM rose because it had a monopoly on information. The networks, newspapers and magazines were a Liberal Monolith. In one of his "Making of the President" books the liberal but ingenuous Teddy White famously said of 57th Street in Manhattan that when he stood there he was within a stone's throw of all the offices in which all of American media was busily churning out its vision of The News. Churning it out were a relatively small group of a few hundred liberals who worked and mostly lived on an island off the continent; they told that continent not only what it should be thinking about but how it should be thinking of it. (I think the New York Times unconsciously echoes this old assumption in their television commercials in which an earnest, graying, upscale dunderhead says the New York Times surrounds a story and gives him new ways to think about it. Doesn't it just?)....

    All this has been said before but this can't be said enough: The biggest improvement in the flow of information in America in our lifetimes is that no single group controls the news anymore.
    -- MSM Requiem - Peggy Noonan

    Posted by Vanderleun Jan 15, 2005 11:26 AM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    C'mon, You Knew It Was Only a Matter of Time

    As the Top of the World Turns reports this new email coming to an inbox near you:

    Dear Friend,

    This mail may not be surprising to you if you have been following current events in the international media with reference to the Middle East and Palestine in particular.

    I am Mrs. SUHA ARAFAT, the wife of YASSER ARAFAT, the Palestinian leader who died recently in Paris. Since his death and even prior to the announcement, I have been thrown into a state of antagonism, confusion, humiliation, frustration and hopelessness by the present leadership of thePalestinian Liberation Organization and the new Prime Minister. I have even been subjected to physical and psychological torture. As a widow that is so traumatized, I have lost confidence with everybody in the country at the moment.

    You must have heard over the media reports and the Internet on the discovery of some fund in my husband secret bank account and companies and the allegations of some huge sums of money deposited by my husband in my name of which I have refuses to disclose or give up to the corrupt Palestine Government. In fact the total sum allegedly discovered by the Government so far is in the tune of about $6.5 Billion Dollars....

    Complete text at As the Top of the World Turns

    Posted by Vanderleun Jan 15, 2005 10:47 AM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    The American Digest Digest: We Link So You Don't Scroll

    If someone ever has the bad taste to parody "Rawhide" with "Rawblog," (Humm...) we're sure the refrain will begin with "Scrolling, scrolling, scrolling...." But why scroll, when you can click? To eliminate that carpal tunnel stress for our readers, here are a few of the posts for the last week or so that would be worth a click if you missed them.

    We considered the institutionalization of 43% of American voters in It's Happydale for the Democrats, but the blogsphere as a whole decided to go with a fat kid and Roumanian pop songs -- Numa Numa Original Discovered and Decoded. Go figure.

    On a more serious note, it might be time to take a look at: RULES? IN A KNIFE FIGHT?: Redrafting the Rules of Engagement in the First Terrorist War, but if sampling the variety of the web suits your mood we suggest: Blogs of Wonder and Delight. If you've got the time after that, please consider our suggestion for a safer and saner America: Why Someone Doesn't Sue the ACLU on General Principles is Beyond Me.

    Our film critic, Jeremiah Lewis swam through the latest Bill Murray mistranslation. Verdict? The Life Aquatic: A Beached Whale of a Movie **

    In the long March of Apple to conquer the world with the iPod, we noticed that the President has been assimilated -- Here's to the Crazy Ones: Verbatim from -- but the holy war of Mac vs. PC continues: And the Reason You Still Use a Windows Machine Is?

    Pat Cummings, our book editor and constant reader, found a lot to like paging through Steven Pinker: Words and Rules -- Not the How, But the Why, while our old friend, Tom Parker, came up with a way to make near-Earth space more interesting -- Racing Rovers on the Moon? Yes! No word yet from JPL or NASA.

    We confessed to compassion fatigue with The Deluge. Seeing the rest of the nation, or at least the media, pivot from the Tsunami disaster to Brad and Jen, it was sadly prescient.

    A vast chasm opened in the American Digest staff when Jeremiah Lewis pronounced Sideways: Not Just a Good Vintage, A Great Vintage, but I found it to be, well, slight with Getting Sideways on "Sideways" -- Less Here Than Meets the Critical Eye

    While the rest of the blogsphere was taking a slow victory lap around Rathergate, we glanced instead at the leading "What Me Liberal?" news outlet in the nation and didn't find a lot of good news: The Moose is Back at the New York Times.

    In the realm of helpful hints to our readers we pointed to a dynamic use of Flickr with Organizing Complex Projects.

    And finally, for sports fans everwhere, Chris Lynch pulled out a page from his X-Files with The Curse of the Simpsons and Big League Baseball. He also had some NFL picks, but we won't go there, okay. Maybe this week.

    Posted by Vanderleun Jan 15, 2005 10:38 AM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Lynch's NFL Picks: Struggling Back from 1 for 5

    by CHRIS LYNCH , American Digest Sports Editor

    Last week I went 1 for 5 so I'm duty bound to try and prove I'm not an idiot by offering more picks and hopefully doing much, much better this week. (It should also be noted that professional NFL analyst Ron Jaworski went 1 for 4 last week - so I got that going for me... which is nice.)

    Jets at Steelers

    The Steelers are giving 9 points and the over is a ridiculously low 35 points.

    Back in December these two teams met in Pittsburgh with the Steelers coming away with a 17-6 victory. That day the QB's for both teams were awful. Chad Pennington threw 3 interceptions and Ben Roethlisberger threw 2. The only passing TD that day came from Jerome Bettis.


    Posted by Vanderleun Jan 15, 2005 9:09 AM | Comments (6)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Shifty Red Shifts

    A couple of days ago, I pointed to SciScoop || Exploring Tomorrow as one of the best sites for keeping up with the cutting edge of the sciences. That site's co-founder, Ricky James, has just come through again with one of the finest roundups of a controversy in astronomy that I can recall. In "Quasar Queer, Quasar Near?" James lays out the latest in research into quasars, long among the most mysterious objects in the universe. Here's an excerpt, but the entire article is worth your time.

    For over twenty years, a band of underdogs has been trying to say the question astronomers should be asking isn't the first one, but instead the second.  Chip Arp published the so-called Arp Catalog of peculiar nearby galaxies that seemed to have quasars improbably in their centers instead of at the edge of the visible universe.  His student Jack Sulentic in my adopted home of Alabama has been pushing for years his explanation of a spectacular example of galaxy NGC4319 that appears to be spitting out a quasar at the end of a tail of luminous gas.  Further examples of the night sky objects Chip Arp highlighted in his day have continued to be churned out by the husband and wife team of Geoffrey and Margaret Burbidge.  Their latest press release, worth checking out for the pictures of their new discovery, is reproduced below as the second part follow-on to this SciScoop story.

    Just maybe the question to be asked about quasars is What incredible, previously undiscovered new property about light and spacetime are the contradictory characteristics of (some? all?) quasars trying to tell the dumb humans?  Ummm, the telltale visible sign of a starship warp field, perhaps?

    Posted by Vanderleun Jan 14, 2005 11:59 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
    A Weighty Analogy

    The ancien regime of "Bush Lied" is back again.But then again they will always be back since, having been denied real power, they are -- for at least four years -- card-carrying members of the hard-core unemployed. Whether they are actually employable in the America that is now unfolding we will leave for another time. At present, however, we will be unable -- since so many of them are on the welfare rolls of MSM -- to avoid their fantasy reality.

    Suffice it to say that we will be bombarded for the duration with a very limited stockpile of arguments. So limited that they become tedious. This week's stock of arguments past their shelf date include "Abu Ghraib, Man, Abu Ghraibi!" and the ever-popular "No WMD!" These gears will grind on until the last ding-dong of doom. But fortunately there is, every so often, a breath of sanity. In this case one Dr. Sanity, who disposes of the contemporary stains of American intellectual insanity with notable aplomb. As an example, here's something he baked up to work with the WMD delusionals.

    Let's say that people in my neighborhood got together and voted (in the interests of neighborhood health) that I couldn't bake my "Death by Chocolate" cakes anymore (these cakes have been known to be lethally caloric). I reluctantly agree, and say I am complying with this order, but refuse to let anyone check by looking in my pantry.

    Finally, tired of being manipulated by me, and concerned that I might go ahead and bake one of those destructively high calorie cake things, my neighbors force their way into the house and find THAT I HAVE NO CAKE SITTING ON THE COUNTER WAITING TO BE EATEN! How foolish they were to doubt my word! How stupid they were to imagine I might be up to my old chocolate baking tendencies!

    On the other hand, they discover while carefully going through my pantry that there are 2 boxes of devil's food cake mix; chocolate bars, cake pans, pudding mix, flour and sugar, mixing bowls and a number of other questionable items. They even find a recipe book which includes several variants on the "Death by Chocolate" Cake theme--muffins, breakfast loaf, etc. And, on top of that, they have a video showing me carrying a cake-like item out of the house the day before they barged in to verify my compliance with their silly order. They suspect that I took one of the cakes to work to share with my co-workers. I calmly refuse to tell them anything.

    So what is the conclusion? That I had no pre-existing cake, waiting to be eaten? Or, that I had all the ingredients to make that cake at a moment's notice, despite my having said I wouldn't; and that I even made one just before they came to check, but had taken it somewhere else to eat?

    I don't know about you, but I think if you conclude that I haven't been making my famous "Death by Chocolate" cake because one isn't sitting out on the counter for you to find, then you are more foolish than even I could possibly have imagined.

    Dr. Sanity: WMD and Death By Chocolate Cake

    Should you feel that the swirling intellectual insanity all about you is becoming a bit too much, I suggest a session with the good doctor.

    UPDATE: A reader in the comments protests, "That crazy chef did let people look in his pantry. That's why we know there were no ingredients for "Death by Chocolate" cake. The problem was the lunatic trying to lead the neighbors in a witch hunt when he realised Pantry Inspectors weren't finding anything."

    To which we would reply that in the full post to which we linked, this objection -- oft repeated and repeated -- is false. Many many "ingrediants" were found and are listed at: AlphaPatriot: UN Admits Saddam Had WMD

    Posted by Vanderleun Jan 14, 2005 10:08 PM | Comments (10)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Contact: The Moon, Then Mars, Now Titan

    First images from Titan

    This raw image was returned by the ESA Huygens DISR camera after the probe descended through the atmosphere of Titan. It shows the surface of Titan with ice blocks strewn around. The size and distance of the blocks will be determined when the image is properly processed.

    [Note: The Cassini-Huygens site has high-resolution images of this historic moment in the history of the world, but the servers are, predictably, pinned. Keep trying.]

    Posted by Vanderleun Jan 14, 2005 3:00 PM | Comments (6)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Numa Numa Original Discovered and Decoded

    [FEBRUARY 15: Greetings Numa Numa searchers. You complete, up-to-date Numa Numa links are now at Numa Numa Virus Breakout @ AMERICAN DIGEST ]


    UPDATE: The origin of the dreaded and dreadful, yet profoundly hypnotic, NUMANUMA has been located. And it is avaiable at this link Now with SUBTITLES! (If you want them.)

    We don't think that the addition of the translation improves the item, but then again improvement is not what this item seeks, is it?

    SECURITY ALERT: The Numa Numa seems to be spreading and is now infecting the youth of America.

    ANDREW SULLIVAN ALERT!: Numa Numa has now reached THE HISPANIC VILLAGE PEOPLE. "Marica Quien? Marica Tu!"

    At the same time, the straight world was not slow in coming back with somewhat less colorful Numa Numa as an Office Olympics event.

    Then, in a universe far, far away, a bizarre life form in the throes of gender confusion makes a solid case for why webcams need to be outlawed. [NSFS: Not safe for sanity.]


    [Extra reporting and legwork from Desperately Wandering who is, as they say, "all over this."]

    Posted by Vanderleun Jan 14, 2005 12:06 PM | Comments (43)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Jimmy-John Carter-Kerry Reveals Cornerstone of 2008 Campaign

    "I was in the Catholic church before I went to Vietnam"

    Posted by Vanderleun Jan 14, 2005 11:25 AM | Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Burl Ives. In Grave. Revolves.

    And who better to give the Michael the tip than our favorite fashionista, Manolo


    "Here is the fashion tip for the day. If you do not have the chin, the goatee she will not give you one. She will only make you look like the sinister Burl Ives."

    [For more on bad chins that the compulsion to disguise them see our meditation on the chin of Josh Marshall at Marshalling the Spin with Chin Music Yes, it is a small obsession. What's it to you?]

    Posted by Vanderleun Jan 14, 2005 11:11 AM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    RULES? IN A KNIFE FIGHT?: Redrafting the Rules of Engagement in the First Terrorist War

    It is ritualistic for most Americans to assert that they "Support our troops," but the truth of the matter is that far too many Americans are becoming far too interested in making sure our troops are behaving correctly than actually supporting and sustaining them. Knowing well that nice guys finish last, it is past time for Americans to ask themselves how 'nice' they want to be in fighting the Terrorist War.

    How frustrating to be an American soldier in Iraq and know that strategy, tactics, and the rules of engagement seem to always be subordinate to politics. But because the American people must always support America's wars, this frustration must be accepted. Victory in a democratic society emerges from the people's will to pursue it.

    At the moment, our political and moral considerations hamper the battle to expunge Islamic Totalitarianism, and victory is a word not often heard from our leadership. Instead, one gets the impression that the President and his core group would prefer it if Americans and the world began to think of the Iraq stage of the Terrorist War as a kind of Tsunami relief effort with guns. This is not a condition that can be sustained for an indefinite period.

    We need to stop pretending. The goal of the Terrorist War must shift from the oft-trumpeted plan of "implanting democracy and bringing freedom" to one of unconditional victory over Islamic Totalitarianism. While "giving the gift of democracy" is a comforting and warm notion on which to run for re-election, it does nothing to achieve victory, since it denies that victory is a goal. Instead, according to the prevailing message being repeated ad nauseum from the administration, "democracy and freedom" are the goals of this war. This is sheer propaganda.


    Posted by Vanderleun Jan 13, 2005 9:06 PM | Comments (14)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Quoting Myself: Religious Wars and Warrentless Wiretaps

    REVIEWING MY RESPONSES TO my analysts @ Sigmund, Carl and Alfred: In The Garage: American Digest On The Couch With SC&A , two not unconnected points seem to bear repeating:

    1. Religions at War


    Posted by Vanderleun Jan 13, 2005 12:13 PM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Idols of the "Hip:" Then and Now


    Posted by Vanderleun Jan 12, 2005 7:50 PM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Numanuma: Deeply Disturbing and Yet...

    [FEBRUARY 15: Greetings Numa Numa searchers. Your complete, up-to-date Numa Numa links are now at Numa Numa Virus Breakout @ AMERICAN DIGEST ]

    ... for some moments, even though you know it is wrong, you cannot look away.

    I'm very sorry I saw it and it is only with a sense of deep unease that I pass this display of deeply troubled youth along to you. I'm already ashamed.

    UPDATE: Now with SUBTITLES! (If you want them.)

    [FEBRUARY 15: Greetings Numa Numa searchers. You complete, up-to-date Numa Numa links are now at Numa Numa Virus Breakout @ AMERICAN DIGEST ]

    Posted by Vanderleun Jan 12, 2005 6:50 PM | Comments (12)  | QuickLink: Permalink

    This item, in toto, gives me pause, yet again, over the intellectual heft of Kevin Drum at The Washington Monthly

    JOAN OF ARK....From an LA Times op-ed about religious ignorance in America:

    According to a 1997 poll, only one out of three U.S. citizens is able to name the most basic of Christian texts, the four Gospels, and 12% think Noah's wife was Joan of Arc.

    It took me a minute to get the Joan of Arc thing, but I was definitely giggling when I figured it out.

    • A. He's digging into the L.A. Times op-ed for an item that suits his slam-of-the-moment yen.
    • B. He's lifting a "joke" from a "poll" that's at least seven years old. What's a joke doing in a poll in the first place? Drum doesn't even think to ask.
    • C. The joke, it turns out, isn't from a poll but from Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure -- as a random commenter is quick to point out. Ergo, old joke.
    • D. Takes Kevin a minute to 'figure out' old joke. Visions of Drum reading slowly and moving lips assail my inner eye.
    • E. Confession of "giggling." Visions of Drum confirmed.

    Posted by Vanderleun Jan 12, 2005 4:21 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
    Blogs of Wonder and Delight

    From growabrain

    There is so much to be aggravated at around the Web, I have to remind myself, from time to time, that surfing should also be a good time, a pleasure. To do this, I make sure to keep a selection of great sites that always deliver something of value and/or entertainment in my toolbar.

    Here's five "Toolbar Favorites" that, if you don't know about them already, you should.

    43 Folders is an outgrowth -- and now perhaps the leading site -- of the GTD cult.

    If you don't know what that is, you should. At any rate the site is supposedly "all about productivity" and contains numerous pointers and aids in that regard. But it is also delightfully idiosyncratic and its host has an engaging voice and an admirable intensity about his subject.

    43 Folders is rather Mac-centric, but not to the exclusion of the PC realm thanks to the commenters. Suffice it to say, I click to this site every day and am disappointed when there's nothing new. Always a good sign. Go there and get your "Hipster PDA" on. I did. Now, if I could only remember to carry it and use it.

    Hanan Levin's growabrain is one of those amazing "How does he do it?" pages that not only has one new thing a day, but many things. growabrain is a vast potpourri of subjects, objects and predicates. Funny, serious, thought-provoking and, at times, jaw-dropping links.All stack up in nice little crispy Napoleons of links.

    Levin's email sig reads:

    Hanan Levin ""The Champion Company" Real estate and Blogging . Tel. 951-682-6826 "Over 400 properties Sold since 2/11/00" "Over 700,000 visitors on since 4/19/03 "
    Which tells you everything you need to know about his priorities. When housing prices come down in SoCal, I'm visiting his office. If they don't come down I'll continue to visit growabrain.


    Posted by Vanderleun Jan 12, 2005 2:45 PM | Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Why Someone Doesn't Sue the ACLU on General Principles is Beyond Me

    Three little dots mark the hole in the American Civil Liberties Union's head.

    You can find this statement at the top of the ACLU's web page:

    It is probably no accident that freedom of speech is the first freedom mentioned in the First Amendment: "Congress shall make no law ... abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." The Constitution's framers believed that freedom of inquiry and liberty of expression were the hallmarks of a democratic society. [Emphasis added]
    Now I... love... a ... good ... elision... as much as the next writer. Those three little dots ... make it easy to leave out things that don't really buttress the case you are trying to make. But to try and slip a fast one over on people when it comes to the First Amendment is so low and craven and stupid you might think you were dealing with an organization like... well... the ACLU.

    For the record, the actual text reads, in toto:

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
    So, using the ACLU's own metric the accurate statement would be: "It is probably no accident that freedom of religion is the first freedom mentioned in the First Amendment...." Then again, that might run against the ACLU's current message. Yes, just a tad.

    One would hope that with the huge volumes of money siphoned from the credulous this year to try and put the right Democrat, with more money incinerated to try and make the wrong Democrat win, that there would not be a lot of sucker money left over for pumping into this long-running scam of an organization. But evidently they are still making enough of a payroll to continue in their disgusting little efforts to make life that much less free for anyone whose opinions they don't like. Well... okay.

    But it occurs to me that a standard ACLU tactic is to both threaten and commence litigation that threatens to bankrupt organizations and communities and thus gain compliance with their demands through the kind of legal extortion that has become all too common a blight on our society. Indeed, you could say with some accuracy that the ACLU pioneered legal extortion in the United States.

    That being the case, I occurs to me that somewhere there must be a group of lawyers with enough resources and time to start taking the ACLU to court. Yes, a full-court press on the ACLU. At the best, they could be denied resources they would otherwise use to advance their odious agenda. At the very least we would see how good their defense is. I think it is long past the time of trying to reason with these spiritually bankrupt bozos. Let's just bankrupt them ... period.

    [HT: OpinionJournal - Best of the Web Today]

    Posted by Vanderleun Jan 12, 2005 2:34 PM | Comments (10)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    The Life Aquatic: A Beached Whale of a Movie **

    by JEREMIAH LEWIS, American Digest Film Editor
    2 stars out of 5

    "Hold on, we're going down, way down."

    When Bill Murray looks and acts more depressed than he did in Lost in Translation, you know there's trouble on the wind. In this case, he's signed on as Steve Zissou, low-rent Cousteau type deep sea documentarian (the Michael Moore, if you will, of oceanography), and leader of Team Zissou, which is basically a "home away at sea" for loners, drifters, and losers--the sort that populate all of Wes Anderson's films and in a way, make up his stock in trade.

    What writer/director Anderson did for the Father Figure Makes Up For Years of Bad Parenting genre in Rushmore and The Royal Tennebaums has all but been washed away in this virtually soulless entry. Where once was at least the substance of character has become cliche and caricature; the merest hint of story peeks out behind a curtain so overstitched and sewn with the quirky and the absurd, one questions whether Anderson is even aware of what's lacking.

    Clearly, Anderson has a gift. Not everyone can write 36 unrelated items on a whiteboard and then stitch them together into a screenplay that has, at the very least an entirely unique voice. But that's the problem. Anderson is so intent on the selling of each new strange addition to the story that he forgets


    Posted by Vanderleun Jan 12, 2005 8:52 AM | Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Bush Administration Plan for New Western Whitehouse Draws Criticism from Environmental Groups

    Sierra Club: "Okay, this means war."

    Posted by Vanderleun Jan 11, 2005 8:43 PM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    People in the Google World are known for....

    The Prejudice Map

    Posted by Vanderleun Jan 11, 2005 7:07 PM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Here's to the Crazy Ones: Verbatim from

    Think different.

     Here's to the crazy ones.
       The misfits.
        The rebels.
         The troublemakers.
          The round pegs in the square holes.
    The ones who see things differently.

    They're not fond of rules.
       And they have no respect for the status quo.

    You can praise them, disagree with them, quote them,
      disbelieve them, glorify or vilify them.
    About the only thing you can't do is ignore them.
        Because they change things.

    They invent.    They imagine.     They heal.

     They explore.     They create.    They inspire.
          They push the human race forward.

    Maybe they have to be crazy.

    How else can you stare at an empty canvas and see a work of art?
    Or sit in silence and hear a song that's never been written?
    Or gaze at a red planet and see a laboratory on wheels?

    We make tools for these kinds of people.

    While some see them as the crazy ones,
        we see genius.

    Because the people who are crazy enough to think
        they can change the world, are the ones who do.


    Posted by Vanderleun Jan 11, 2005 4:15 PM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    And the Reason You Still Use a Windows Machine Is?

    Apple machines just cost too much!

    For $499 you get the Apple - Mac mini

    The modular design of Mac mini lets you upgrade your current system to the elegance, simplicity and reliability of Macintosh. If you already own a monitor, keyboard and mouse, you can get up and running in minutes. Or choose any combination of new devices to meet your individual situation. And yes, Mac mini will take advantage of your two-button USB mouse with scroll-wheel and your favorite USB keyboard. Just plug them in.
    Over the years, I've developed a gigantic aversion to the use of the word "cool" to describe things, but I must admit that this is one time when no other word will do.

    What's Apple up to with this, aside from making computers beautiful? Always hard to say what the workings of the devious Jobs mindmeld might be, but Cringely might have more than just a small clue:
    Apple will take a big risk in 2005. This could be in the form of a major acquisition. With almost $6 billion in cash, Steve Jobs hinted to a group of employees not long ago that he might want to buy something big, though I am at a loss right now for what that might be. Or Apple might decide to throw some of that cash into the box along with new computers by deliberately losing some money on each unit in order to buy market share.

    We might see that as early as next week with the rumored introduction of an el-cheapo Mac without a display. The price for that box is supposed to be $499, which would give customers a box with processor, disk, memory, and OS into which you plug your current display, keyboard, and mouse. Given that this sounds a lot like AMD's new Personal Internet Communicator, which will sell for $185, there is probably plenty of profit left for Apple in a $499 price. But what if they priced it at $399 or even $349? Now make it $249, where I calculate they'd be losing $100 per unit. At $100 per unit, how many little Macs could they sell if Jobs is willing to spend $1 billion? TEN MILLION and Apple suddenly becomes the world's number one PC company. Think of it as a non-mobile iPod with computing capability. Think of the music sales it could spawn. Think of the iPod sales it would hurt (zero, because of the lack of mobility). Think of the more expensive Mac sales it would hurt (zero, because a Mac loyalist would only be interested in using this box as an EXTRA computer they would otherwise not have bought). Think of the extra application sales it would generate and especially the OS upgrade sales, which alone could pay back that $100. Think of the impact it would have on Windows sales (minus 10 million units). And if it doesn't work, Steve will still have $5 billion in cash with no measurable negative impact on the company. I think he'll do it.

    UPDATE: We're having a small, polite religious skirmish of MAC vs. PC in the comments, but if you really want to get your geek on, try the comments at The Apple Mac Mini - Engadget -

    Posted by Vanderleun Jan 11, 2005 3:35 PM | Comments (25)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    On the Consumption of Scarce Resources in the Democratic Party

    "The problem with having Kerry lingering around the party like an old rejected boy friend who still thinks he has a chance is the effort it takes to shoo him away. ... Why even worry about Kerry, I asked a Democratic friend yesterday. "He takes up oxygen," was the answer. "
    -- Mickey Kaus

    And besides, just how much room is there in a political oxygen tent in the ICU?

    Posted by Vanderleun Jan 11, 2005 12:21 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
    The Dummies Guide to Crash Dummies, Chapter 2

    FROM THE COUNTRY THAT BROUGHT THE WORLD HARD-CORE PORN comes the natural extension of that social policy --
    Sweden develops first female crash test dummy : "STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - The first uniquely female dummy for use in car safety tests is being developed in Sweden, researchers said on Wednesday.

    All current crash test dummies are based on how men's bodies react in collisions and other accidents.

    Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg and the National Road and Transport Research Institute are researching how a female body moves as a first step in building the dummy.

    'For neck injuries from rear-end collisions, whiplash, the risk for women is twice as high as for men,' the road institute said in a statement."

    Posted by Vanderleun Jan 11, 2005 11:50 AM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Steven Pinker: Words and Rules -- Not the How, But the Why

    by PAT CUMMINGS American Digest Book Editor

    Language comes so naturally that it is easy to forget what a strange and miraculous gift it is... We humans are fitted with a means of sharing our ideas, in all their unfathomable vastness... Yet to me the first and deepest challenge in understanding language is accounting for its boundless expressive power. What is the trick behind our ability to fill one another's heads with so many different ideas?
    Steven Pinker has a strong claim to the niche his books occupy: He explains in language accessible to the layman how our brains work. In Words and Rules, Pinker expands on the language-development concepts he introduced in The Language Instinct and How We Think, to give us a clearer picture of why* this language "trick" works.

    Pinker tosses out ideas like popcorn pouring from the movie-theatre machine:

    • Language acquisition is hard-wired, but the exact sounds we will use requires a software installation.
    • Thus languages are culturally acquired, and children who miss the "acquisition window" are condemned to learn their own "native language" as a foreign tongue.
    • It's hard for adults to learn languages unless they have been exposed to multiple tongues during the acquisition window, in which case the "multi-lingual" switch turns on.
    • Sounds used in language seem onomatopoeic because they are.
    • English is terse because of syncretism and allomorphy.
    • Adding human vocal chords to a chimpanzee would not be sufficient to give it an oral language, because the brain structures aren't there.
    Whoa, too much popcorn! Pinker makes these concepts easy enough to acquire, because he provides a structure to fit them into. And that is precisely his premise. Our brains are structured to acquire language. This is a fascinating book, and gives a fair voice to competing theories of language development.

    *If you're interested more in the How, I recommend the light-hearted "zero-tolerance approach" of Eats Shoots and Leaves by Lynne Truss for punctuation. See How Languages Are Learned by Patsy Lightbown and Nina Spada, for a different look at the "how" of language acquisition.

    Pat Cummings, constant reader, also reviews books at his site Paper Frigate, and at Blogcritics as well. He can be emailed here.]

    Posted by Vanderleun Jan 11, 2005 11:12 AM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink


    "This game was invented because it seems like when you know someone well enough, 75-80% of any Rock-Paper-Scissors games you play with that person end up in a tie. " -- Whipped up by Sam Kass

    HT: The Accordion Guy

    Posted by Vanderleun Jan 11, 2005 8:12 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
    Brother's Grimm Need Not Apply: The Politically Perfect World According to Children's Book Editors

    Want to write for children? Want to create the next Harry Potter, Lemnony Snicket, Huck Finn? (Whoops, forget about that last one.) If you do, you'd better know THE RULES before you set pen to paper. Otherwise, you are out before you are even in.

    Heres my annotated selection of quotes taken from a "helpful" book "advising" authors on "the limits." The original from Writing for Children and Teenagers was found and typed up by Cameron Wood from Way Off Bass

    1) Don't waste our time with traditional values:

    If you have a story in which Mom is in the kitchen while Dad is repairing the car, and Betsy has just returned from her ballet lessons at the same time Rob has come home from a rough and tumble game of football - you can be certain that the story will be rejected.
    2) Don't forget, and even elevate, the fringe kids:
    Every woman does not spend all her time in the kitchen, nor does every man have facility with mechanical problems. Girls are not necessarily interested in gentle activities or boys eager to participate in contact sports.
    3) We need to see our brains in your book:
    Let at least one of the characters reflect today's thinking.
    4) Ye olde gandma and grandpa are extinct:
    Gone are the white-haired grandmothers who always wear aprons and cook turkeys on Thanksgiving while Grandpa sits in the living room, smoking a pipe and showering his family with a supreme knowledge of how to live one's life.
    5) Grandpa, being male and probably white, is a drooling, ranting, incontinent embarrassment:
    Grandpa might be shuttled off to a nursing home because his presence is making life difficult in the home.
    6) Grandma, being female, never slows down or loses her mind:

    Grandma has no time to bake because every Monday she takes her disco dancing lessons.


    Posted by Vanderleun Jan 11, 2005 5:10 AM | Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Underemployed Seattle Liberals Take City Crisis Into Their Own Hands

    Jehovah, Bush, at this point what's the difference really?

    THEY TOLD ME THAT SEATTLE could get a bit wet, but....

    Seattle Nearing Record for Rainy Days

    Tuesday was the 23rd consecutive day of measurable rain as Seattle nears a record notable even in this city famous for its wet, gray weather.

    The ground is so saturated that mudslides on Tuesday halted Amtrak service, blocked part of a major highway and chased residents out of a University of Washington fraternity annex in Seattle. No injuries were reported.

    With more rain forecast over the next several days, Seattle could break a record set in 1953. The city saw 33 days in a row of measurable precipitation then...

    I don't know about you, but I've booked a flight to Maui.

    Posted by Vanderleun Jan 10, 2005 2:50 PM | Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Racing Rovers on the Moon? Yes!

    The golf ball on the moon. See link for details

    My old friend, Tom Parker, is what you might call an "idea hamster." Good ones keep popping out all the time and, every so often, one escapes the wheel and goes all the way to the big world.

    Case in point this recent letter from Parker to Professor Steve Squyres, head of the Mars Rover team.

    Dear Dr. Squyres,

    Given the astonishing success of the Mars Rovers and the craving for daily updates this has caused in some of us poor cubicle-bound slobs, how about lobbing a handful of rovers at the moon?

    Oh come on. Please?

    As the remarkable Rovers struggle onward, beyond all expectations, I'm starting to fret over the lag-time between Mars missions, and, staring at the beautiful nearby moon last night, it occurred to me that, hey, doing the same thing on the moon would be like racing slot cars for you guys.

    Throw us a bone Doc. Let's go check up on Tranquility Base. We can start a pool, using PayPal, and your fine team can hone their RC-vehicle skills playing Capture the Flag with, say, two sets of three machines chasing Alan Shepard Jr's Lunar Golfball in Plato Crater.

    Many thanks to you and your incredible team for the trip of a lifetime!

    Tom Parker

    You know, if they can't do it, maybe some kind of pay-per-view or live lunar cable channel. This could be a job for the private sector.

    Posted by Vanderleun Jan 10, 2005 1:41 PM | Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    These Just In

    BURNING LOVE: A WOMAN who allegedly stabbed her partner six times because he repeatedly played an Elvis Presley song will face a West Australian court today. Continued...

    Posted by Vanderleun Jan 10, 2005 12:49 PM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Ambitious Home Workshops of the Past

    I'D LIKE TO SEE Norm's Yankee Workshop whip out something like this:

    From Popular Science on Flickr!

    Posted by Vanderleun Jan 10, 2005 12:33 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
    100 iPods Per Minute

    STEVE JOBS ON IPOD SALES RATE: 12:12 PM - "How many [iPods] did we sell last quarter? Some of the estimates were getting astronomical - 8 million, 9 million. I'm really pleased to announce that last quarter we sold 14 million iPods .. that is over a hundred every minute, 24/7 throughout the quarter. And it still wasn't enough. We've now sold over 42 million iPods -- as you can see the curve is going up again." -- Steve Jobs keynote live from Macworld 2006

    And what's playing on all those iPods? "We have sold on iTunes over 850 million songs. We are well on our way to hitting a billion in the next weeks. That is over a billion songs a year run rate. Our market share continues to be very strong - 83 percent."

    Posted by Vanderleun Jan 10, 2005 12:13 PM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    It's Happydale for the Democrats

    Dream Team, 2008

    Since the election, I've been waiting for my once beloved Democratic Party to get its act together. Well, it has, but the act seems to be Arsenic and Old Abu Gharib complete with the Teddy Roosevelt character played by Ted Kennedy, and the loony Aunts ably acted by Barbara Boxer and Cynthia McKinney.

    Having played Mortimer Brewster in my high school senior play, I remember well that sending the lovable uncle and aunts off to the bughouse was the only way to stop them from burying the bodies of nice liberal gentlemen (from New England) in their basement.

    I love the Democrats deeply -- even if I felt I finally had to break ranks with them over the silly little issue of "The Future of America." Mortimer loves his batty aunts and I still love the batty Democrats. Alas, I have to confess that I'm ready to do the paperwork that will send them all off to Happydale for the duration. Let's face it, the Democrats have just gone to their own private banana


    Posted by Vanderleun Jan 10, 2005 11:49 AM | Comments (8)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Stardust "Older Than the Sun" Inbound This Sunday

    FILE UNDER "Age of Miracles and Wonders." Samples from deep space are coming in "faster than any man-made object has ever come in before."

    For seven years now, the little ship has wandered the inner solar system, working flawlessly despite the extremes of outer space. Its makers have called it Stardust....

    What can get overlooked amid the drama of the return is the reason Stardust was sent into space in the first place.


    Posted by Vanderleun Jan 10, 2005 11:23 AM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    When ALL.ALL Was All

    Boggling the mind once again, Google now offers access to 800 million Usenet messages:20 Year Archive on Google Groups.

    "Google has fully integrated the past 20 years of Usenet archives into Google Groups, which now offers access to more than 800 million messages dating back to 1981. This is by far the most complete collection of Usenet articles ever assembled and a fascinating first-hand historical account. "

    They also provide a fascinating timeline of the rise and renaming and rise and flaming spamout of Usenet. The oldest message asks,

    is ALL an acceptable newsgroup on the left side of the dot such that ALL.ALL will catch everything?
    -- Oldest Usenet Message Mon May 11 09:00:58 1981

    Eight... Hundred... Million... Usenet... Messages? I'm sure future scholarship will reveal that half of them were signed by Kibo and the other half written by mnemonic.

    Posted by Vanderleun Jan 10, 2005 12:09 AM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Hosting Matters Under DOS Attack

    Offline for several hours. Back up at 9:12 Pacific Time.

    Posted by Vanderleun Jan 9, 2005 9:11 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
    Publishing Nostaligia: How Many Still Live?

    AN INTERESTING MORSEL from the deepest sectors of my hard drive. Interesting in that not all the great publishing powers named still exist, even in name only.



    Posted by Vanderleun Jan 9, 2005 12:51 PM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Dems, Print Out And Carry In Wallet and/or Purse

    Mark Steyn's little election tutorial for demented Democrats: Election protest shows why Dems don't count

    What happens on Election Day is that the Democrats lose and then decide it was because of ''unusually long lines'' in ''minority neighborhoods.'' What ''minority neighborhoods'' means is electoral districts run by Democrats. In Ohio in 2004 as in Florida in 2000, the ''problems'' all occur in counties where the Dems run the system. Sometimes, as in King County in Washington, they get lucky and find sufficient votes from the ''disenfranchised'' accidentally filed in the icebox at Democratic headquarters. But in Ohio, Bush managed to win not just beyond the margin of error but beyond the margin of lawyer. If there'd been anything to sue and resue and re-resue over, you can bet those 5,000 shysters the Kerry campaign flew in would be doing it. Instead, Boxer and Conyers & Co. are using a kind of parliamentary privilege to taint Bush's victory without even the flimsiest pretext.
    Please read often and memorize. It becomes tedious to go over this every two years.
    HT As the Top of the World Turns

    Posted by Vanderleun Jan 9, 2005 11:49 AM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Charity Begins Abroad

    Every day, in every way, The Diplomad gets better and better. Could it be that it employs a very simple technique? The truth.

    In Jakarta, aside from flags at half-staff, we have seen no signs of mourning for the victims: while employees and dependents of the American embassy spent their holiday loading trucks and putting together medicine kits, the city's inhabitants went ahead with New Year's parties; nightclubs and shopping centers are full; and regular television programming continues. At least 120,000 of their fellow countrymen are dead, and Indonesians hardly talk about it, much less engage in massive charitable efforts. The exceptionally wealthy businessmen of the capital -- and the country boasts several billionaires -- haven't made large donations to the cause of Sumatran relief; a few scattered NGOs have done a bit, but there are no well-organized drives to raise funds and supplies. We have seen nothing akin to what happened in the USA following the 9/11 atrocity, or the hurricanes in Florida of this past year.

    The Sri Lankan's words echo in my mind every day, ""Why do we want to bother with this? We all know you Americans will do everything." With the exception of handful of Western countries, most of the world would appear inhabited by the sort of Eloi-type creatures depicted in that old sci-fi flick based on H.G. Wells' The Time Machine, passively watching as flood waters or Morlocks drag their fellows away.

    Begging the pardon of the cultural relativists, but might we not be allowed to raise -- ever so gently, of course -- the possibility that these differing reactions to human suffering, show Western civilization as the best we have on the planet? Maybe, just maybe Western civilization is morally superior.

    Posted by Vanderleun Jan 9, 2005 11:26 AM | Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Sideways: Not Just a Good Vintage, A Great Vintage

    by JEREMIAH LEWIS, American Digest Film Editor
    Jack and Stephanie and Miles and Maya

    The Romans had a saying: In Vino est veritas, which means "In Wine is truth." Perfection is hard to come by, but Sideways comes very close to achieving it, unwrapping a prized bottle of veritas and allowing us to revel in its aroma. Jim Taylor and co-writer/director Alexander Payne have popped the cork off one of the last unopened bottles of unique film material and poured a perfect glass for us to savour and taste in all its exquisite nuance.

    It is too tempting to forego the metaphors Sideways provides; like a thick cluster of the finest Pinot grapes, it relishes each comparative note and sensation, and sheds a full-bodied warmth on the lightly cultivated corner of relationships known as heterosexual male friendship. It is no less insightful in addressing issues like self-esteem (not the namby-pamby PC stuff, but the true essence of evaluative self-worth), commitment, and honesty.

    Working from Rex Pickett's unpublished novel, Payne and Taylor invoke a male bonding experience that exposes, for better and worse, the insecurities of middle-age men. In exploring the common


    Posted by Vanderleun Jan 8, 2005 4:57 PM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    "Blog:" The Early Years


    *We'd be pleased to know the source of this if any comics scholars happen to pass this way.*

    *Mystery email attachment solved: The panel comes from The Adventures of Accordion Guy in the 21st Century :: Joey deVilla's Weblog :: Quite Possibly the First Time the Word "Blog" was Used in Comics

    "In honour of "blog" being Merriam-Webster's "Word of the Year" for 2004, here's what I believe is the first occurrence of the word in a comic 1959."

    Most likely routed through Treacher, and reported by Way Off Bass

    Posted by Vanderleun Jan 8, 2005 3:17 PM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Freeze-Dried Images. Just Add Fresh Clicks.




    Posted by Vanderleun Jan 8, 2005 2:44 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
    When Bad Things Happen to Dictators' Ferraris

    "Daddy, does this mean we can't play any more?"

    Well, not even pschopathic criminals like Uday Hussain can expect the best in valet parking once they're dead.

    I just need someone to host them for me. I have 7 pics of Uday's Ferrari including a close up of the VIN

    I just took them last week, at one of his former palaces

    One of the guys here thought it was a corvette, but from a distance I said no it's not,.. it has over-head cams, then closer inspection revealed ir was a V-12, DEF' NOT a corvette. -- The Car Lounge Forums: FROM IRAQ Digi Pics of Uday's Ferrari! FROM IRAQ

    Pointer from the amazing growabrain

    Posted by Vanderleun Jan 8, 2005 12:55 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
    The Moose is Back at the New York Times

    Publisher Sulzberger looks for a lift in the numbers.

    Executive Editor Keller looks for more readers just like him.

    Readers in short supply.

    Red ink not.

    "You may say to yourself, 'Where does that highway lead to?' "

    Stock in the tank. Revenue down, down, down. Circulation gains "infinitesimal." Costs of growth skyrocketing. Ad pages declining. Core market deserting the product. Spending to increase. Sound like a healthy business to you? Business Week agrees.

    The current cover story of Business Week concerns a struggling business and the people that run it. Chock full of information hard to find in one place "The Future Of The New York Times" sets out the decline in the Gray Lady's fortunes in some detail.

    While the article is exhaustive, the single thing that doesn't really come up in the piece, or in the sidebar where "The Times Top Scribes Speak," is a discussion of why the New York Times might be having these problems. Yes, there are a lot of explanations given concerning tough markets and tough times. There is a nod to the costs of becoming a national newspaper. All this and more, but you will search in vain for any self-searching on the part of the Times concerning the real problem, the "Moose in the Room."

    The "Moose Meme" first came to light during the slow defenestration of Howell Raines from top editorial slot at the times. "The Moose" was, and I suppose is, an actual stuffed plushy moose owned and operated by Times publisher and overlord Arthur Sulzberger. He reportedly trots it out at meetings whenever he senses that the obvious problem is not being acknowledged as a problem. For whatever reason, the Moose was not around when BW did the story. [ For more about "The Moose" see our story from July, 2003,: Raines may be gone, but ... the Moose remains: Praise the New York Times but Pass the Ammunition.]

    The Moose is, of course, the cold fact that, in ever increasing numbers, people do not trust and do not like the editorial tone and slant that the New York Times is peddling. If this has not penetrated the Publishers office or the newsroom, it has certainly not


    Posted by Vanderleun Jan 8, 2005 8:57 AM | Comments (6)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Lynch's NFL Picks

    by CHRIS LYNCH , American Digest Sports Editor

    OK the NFL playoffs are upon us. That means I am almost obligated to share my picks for this weekend's games:

    St. Louis vs. Seattle

    Seattle is favored by 4 points. Hmmmm....

    The last time they played in Seattle, the Rams were able to pull off a miracle victory. Not this time. Everybody in the NFL hates Rams coach Mike Martz and Saturday Martz and the Rams get their comeuppances.

    Michael Martz and comeuppances both have 12 letters. Coincidence? I think not. (I know I'm stretching it with "comeuppances" but "son of a motherless goat" was way too many letters.)

    Take Seattle and give the points.

    New York at San Diego

    The Chargers are favored by 7 and the over/under is a relatively low


    Posted by Vanderleun Jan 7, 2005 11:28 PM | Comments (7)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    The Two Americas

    If you are a member of US Armed forces, and "If you spend a single qualifying day in the combat zone, your pay for the entire month is excluded from taxable income, and you receive $225 in combat pay for that month."

    If you are a 'presenter' at the Golden Globes Awards, you

    "will receive a wicker ottoman stuffed with gifts that total out at $38,390. That is if you count the full $16,000 value for the wine tasting trip to Australia."


    Posted by Vanderleun Jan 7, 2005 6:50 PM | Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Hotel Des Idiots Opens to the Applause of Cool Fools

    In the never-ending stream of bad news about bad art and worse design comes this little peek into modern hotel hell from - Hot Trends, Cool Things, a site which approves of ugliness in the name of trend.
    "The hot art market is behind the art hotel phenomenon. Here San Francisco artist Tim Gaskin shows off his Hotel Des Arts room."

    Bad logoesque supergraphics from the 70s? A giant stencil of Madonna? A very small and cheap room with a lot of trashy walls slapped with primary colors to get it to seem even smaller? Cost-Plus wooden blinds? Cheap little bedside reading lamps? A cheaper little bud vase? The only thing worse than being drugged into unconsciousness and then waking up in this room would be to wake up in this room with Gaskin still in it.

    Posted by Vanderleun Jan 7, 2005 5:28 PM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink

    For the designer in your soul or for the not-so-designer in your soul, Essential Fonts For Designers | 300 Free Truetype Fonts You Should Have is performing a fine service for all.

    Nicely organized. Mac and PC.

    Posted by Vanderleun Jan 7, 2005 5:19 PM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Working with Lesser Life Forms

    Peeling the Times' most loathesome life-form down to his shabby and stained foundation garments is, alas, a task that simply has to be done from time to time. It's a pleasure to see it done by a master. A salute to Stephen Green for Vodkapundit - A Fisking

    Posted by Vanderleun Jan 7, 2005 4:02 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
    Getting Sideways on "Sideways" -- Less Here Than Meets the Critical Eye

    Schlub, nebbish, or heart throb?

    Having been under house arrest via a nasty cold, I've had some time to think about "Sideways," the 'serious' movie that is being pushed on America from a distressingly increasing number of movie screens. My problem is that the more I think about "Sideways" the more I discover how little there is in it to think about.

    Not that we'd stop others from praising this movie. In fact, our own film critic, Jeremiah Lewis is already proclaiming it a sure thing for the best picture Oscar: ".... this year it's Alexander Payne with Sideways, there's no doubt in my mind." Sigh.

    Having seen "Sideways," I agree that he may well prove to be depressingly right. After all, the last time we've seen critical opinion as united on a film was "Gigli." And we all know how that turned out.

    The only thing our critics like more than a universal bomb with big


    Posted by Vanderleun Jan 7, 2005 2:48 PM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Bujold on the Essence of Engineering Evil

    by PAT CUMMINGS American Digest Book Editor


    I recently watched the National Geographic Channel's documentary about the Eschede train derailment on June 3, 1998.

    More than 100 people died when Germany's high-speed Inter-City Express (ICE) train went off its rails and crashed at 125 mph into a bridge abutment. An episode in the "Seconds from Disaster" series, the


    Posted by Vanderleun Jan 7, 2005 1:35 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
    Strange Daze
    SCIENCE FICTION AUTHOR AND FUTURIST BRUCE STERLING ON PRIVATE SPACE FLIGHT : "Most of the privatized space-travel efforts seem to be made by ultra-rich cybergeeks. I rather suspect this is more their ditzy attempt to recapture the dreams of lost youth than the nuts-and-bolts construction of a private spaceflight industry. It makes me wonder if the moguls of tomorrow won't try to build themselves cool little cyberspaces. Maybe they'll drop their loose change on personal, souped-up, two-man personal search engines, or private super World of Warcraft personal Xanadus. Because, you know, that's what impressed them when they were nine and ten."


    Posted by Vanderleun Jan 7, 2005 12:52 PM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Safety Notice for the Soul

    With the net-wide advent, yesterday, of "certain documents" concerning "certain revolting crimes" of which a "certain pop-star" has been accused, it is clear the world's soul is about to be assaulted by the our news media for what will not only be a very long time, but seem like eternity cubed on a daily basis.

    All those involved in exposing us to this disease of the soul know full well what they are about to do, but they cannot control themselves. Dog meet Vomit.

    All the honor and credibillity the media garnered from the coverage of the Tsunami disaster will be flushed from the buffers of history within 24 hours after this "certain trial" begins. Grown men and women will consume weeks of their and our lives by discussing the nature of adolescent jockey shorts. Odious practices and disgusting fluids will be repeatedly reported on with the chortles barely concealed.

    It will be mainstream media at its worst. It will find a new bottom below the previous bottom that was well below all bottoms known to humanity less than ten years ago. In fact, the word "bottom" will gain a whole new meaning and inflection.

    It will also be a time in which the blogsphere finds a new bottom since it is, like it or not, attached to the dying white whale of mainsteam media like a remora with mad-cow disease. The blogsphere will bleat and fume, but it will still follow MSM down into the depths.

    Except for this and other small refuges here and there, the deluge of disgusting reports and comments on this "trial" will rise until all are consumed.

    In the coming months and years of the looming disgraceful episode, this site and others like it will hold the line for whatever shreds of decency and civilization are left to us.

    It shall be the policy and the promise of this site that this brief "Soul Safety Notice" will be the last allusion to and report about the debased and meaningless "trial of the century, so far."

    Posted by Vanderleun Jan 7, 2005 12:05 PM | Comments (6)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    HPVES: A Life Form That Cries Out for Extinction

    To live in Manhattan for any length of time is to know just how disgusting the people that make up the United Nations really are. You are reminded, not by the large issues such as corruption and bribery, but by the small ones. The constant little motorcades of insignificant functionaries of irrelevant countries scurrying to or from an unessential meeting or cocktail reception. The "Diplomatic" plates given to the cars of the seventh son of the second wife of the "Honorable" and Abominable No-man. The palatial luxury seen at townhouses purchased with a poor country's money for the chief diplomat's first son's mistress. You see it all. You attend the receptions. You listen to the chatter. And, if you are not so inclined at the beginning, you become -- over time -- revolted by the whole vile charade of treating a tower of kleptocrats to the best views, housing and restuarants in Manhattan for the sake of "continuing the dialogue." Indeed, you come to understand that they are, all, root and branch, the lifeforms so ably described in Diplomad in The "Turd" World And The High Priest Vulture Elite:


    Posted by Vanderleun Jan 7, 2005 11:22 AM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    "A Consummation Devoutly to Be Wished?"

    CHUNKS OF Barbara Boxer's,new novel "A Time to Run" have been floating about the web of late. What I find disturbing is that when I read....

    "Ellen had never tasted such pent-up, aggressive determination and desire. She bit at his lips, heard her own gasping breath -- and she knew she really must stop this. She felt his competent hands undressing her, and they fell together through the darkness onto his bed. Greg's naked body was long and elegant, and they meshed with ease and grace."

    ... my mind just compulsively deletes "Ellen" and inserts "Barbara." Then it deletes "Greg" and inserts "George." And then I see how this present logjam in our politics has got to end.

    Yes, Barbara and George meshed at last with ease and grace.... and then....

    And if everyone lit

    Just one little candle,

    What a bright world





    Posted by Vanderleun Jan 6, 2005 11:48 PM | Comments (6)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    That'll Be $1 for the Coffee plus $2.95 for the Frou-Frou

    One more cup of coffee for the road,
    One more cup of coffee 'fore I go
    To the valley below.

    The handy chart of Starbucks Drinks Simplified (kinda) will enlighten you as to just what goes into the magic brew that blew the lid off of coffee prices around America.

    And a deadly brew it is too. In Corona Del Mar today, we pulled into a Seattle's Coffee parking lot only to note upon getting out that the shop was dead. Coffee gone. Signs gone. Tables gone. Windows painted over. Staff off to the next service job. The very model of an ex-shop.

    Right across the street... a thriving Starbucks. Capitalist nature red in tooth and claw.

    Posted by Vanderleun Jan 6, 2005 8:33 PM | Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Organizing Complex Projects

    A great use of Flickr to demonstrate concepts:Getting Things Done with Index Cards - a photoset on Flickr: "No batteries, no text files. This is how I do it."

    I think this is how I'm going to do it from now on as well. The problem with large complex projects organized on computers is that, as I am finding, to file it is to forget it. It also cuts down on the need to see the big picture. Computers may facilitate multi-tasking, but they inhibit omni-tasking.

    Indeed, I recall a long profile of the writer John McPhee that described a similar system he used to produce those books where each paragraph would seem like a perfect gem.

    Posted by Vanderleun Jan 6, 2005 7:32 PM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    James Taranto, Idiotarian Maker

    The Taranto Effect at LGF

    JAMES TARANTO writes the excellent Best of the Web Today @ OpinionJournal. Although influential, Taranto seldom abuses his power or raises a personal kerfuffle. But today, the raw power of a Taranto ideological tarantella was on naked display as he thrust Cindy Sheehan from a distant third to the top spot at Little Green Footballs Annual Idiotarian Award.


    Posted by Vanderleun Jan 6, 2005 7:21 PM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    The Whovel vs. The Widowmaker

    After the first two "magical" winters of my time in New England, snow got old. Once it sent my sled into a tree and me to the emergency room on New Year's Eve. Another time it sent my car into a ditch where it remained "parked" for a week. And every year, without fail, it sent me either to the poorhouse by paying the outrageous "plow-out " charges or to the chiropractor for a "seasonal adjustment." And I was one of the "lucky" men.

    In New England, the first large snowfall of the winter is also known as "The Widowmaker" since the first determined mass suburban snow-shoveling of the season never fails to reveal which husbands have been hiding heart disease from themselves. Those are the "unlucky" men.

    Now, however, American innovation has come forward and invented a gadget which, it seems, will go a long way towards enabling husbands to survive that otherwise fatal aftermath of the first snow -- The Whovel. Here's a picture of this modern marvel, this slap up the side of the head that says "Why didn't I think of that?"


    But to really understand the brilliance of this invention, the sheer humanity of it, you have to know two things.

    1) You have to have shoveled enough snow to know what an immense pain in the butt it really is.
    2) You have to see it in action. Which you can: The Whovel Demo.

    If you live in the snow-shoveling region, and you want to go on living, you have to get a Whovel. If not, you have to do what I did. Move.

    Posted by Vanderleun Jan 6, 2005 6:34 PM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    It Would Have Been Okay If It Was Ken

    [Click to enlarge]
    "This was just an innocent oversight," says Lauren Bruksch, a spokeswoman for Mattel.


    Posted by Vanderleun Jan 6, 2005 12:11 PM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Site Note: Get the Fox and Win a Gmail Account

    Get Firefox!

    Chances are about three out of five that you are reading this site with Internet Explorer.

    Well, stop it. Get and install Firefox immediately via the button above. It will change your browsing world for the better. And. It. Is. Free.

    The benefits to switching to Firefox and dumping Explorer are myriad. Add an extension and bye-bye popup ads, for instance. If you are using IE now and you think about the time you are going to spend in the next week just clicking pop-ups closed, the time spent downloading and installing Firefox is a huge savings in effort and aggravation.

    A month ago, the percentage of readers of AD using Firefox was 12%. Today is is over 23%. What do these savvy readers know that you've been putting off?

    No more excuses.
    Get Firefox!
    "Just do it."

    Note: A free gmail account to the first six commenters who swear they've downloaded and installed Firefox. If you've got a Gmail account, do it anyway.

    Posted by Vanderleun Jan 5, 2005 11:12 AM | Comments (22)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    On Essays: The Art of the Ego

    by PAT CUMMINGS American Digest Book Editor

    Alan Lightman, Dance for Two

    Essays are an esoteric art form, and as E. B. White remarked, the most egotistic. Partaking of poetry, prose and process, essays often capture only the fringe audience for each. Alan Lightman is one of the art's most graceful modern performers, bringing literary and scientific concepts into harmony; in Dance for Two, twenty-four of his best essays are collected.

    A Day in December chronicles an otherwise ordinary day in 1979 when Alan Guth, a 32-year-old physicist, discovered mathematical proof of the Big Bang. Time for the Stars uses Halley's Comet, Newton and Galileo,


    Posted by Vanderleun Jan 5, 2005 10:41 AM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    The Aviator: Into the Air Billionaire Birdman!

    by JEREMIAH LEWIS, American Digest Film Editor

    Howard Hughes : You feel like a little adventure?
    Katharine Hepburn : Do your worst, Mr. Hughes.

    The Aviator is one of those rare films that is almost spectacularly good, yet seems to carry with it the inevitability of a short life. Despite Aviator being everything Gangs of New York wasn't (ie. good), it is likely that Martin Scorsese is destined for another near-miss at the Oscars. He'll lose because he isn't good enough to beat the best (this year it's Alexander Payne with Sideways, there's no doubt in my mind).

    There, I've said it, and I know I'm likely to cause waves of anger and panicked reactions; don't worry, I'll watch my back.

    Martin Scorsese isn't a bad director. In fact, he's a great director, who has made a career of showcasing the self-destruction of icons of


    Posted by Vanderleun Jan 5, 2005 10:17 AM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    The Curse of the Simpsons and Big League Baseball

    by CHRIS LYNCH , American Digest Sports Editor

    The 1992 Springfield Nukers: Dream Team or Satan's Slaves?

    Hello, my name is Bob Ley and welcome to ESPN's Outside the Lines. Tonight we look at "the Curse of the Simpsons."

    First Broadcast in February of 1992, the Simpsons' episode "Homer at the Bat" featured some of baseball's brightest stars.... but now... questions: "What did Baseball's best have to do to be on the show? What terrible price did they pay for that fleeting flash of fame?"

    According to the Official Simpsons Website Homer at the Bat's plot was:


    Posted by Vanderleun Jan 5, 2005 8:41 AM | Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    The Only Sudoko You'll Ever Need

    SUDOKO A CHALLENGE? Not for RobotJohnny -- Sudoku: crosswords for boring people: "Sudoku books are licenses to print money. If publishers can rake


    Posted by Vanderleun Jan 5, 2005 7:23 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
    "BLOG -- BIG LOG"

    If you pay even a smidgen of attention to the ever-expanding "Literature" of the blogsphere you've had to notice this week's unremitting flogging of Hugh Hewitt's "Blog --The Book." Currently this item has more links to it on blogs than The Flaming Pants of George Bush and Michael Moore: Pig or Swine? combined.

    Alas Hewitt's hope of achieving Earth Station Amazon 1 deflated today when the most unrelenting and insightful literary critic in America today, Gnat Lileks, picked up the tome and slammed it hard. The video of this scathing review can be found here at "Big Log."

    Devastating. Just devastating. It will make your day.

    Posted by Vanderleun Jan 5, 2005 2:34 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
    How to Build a Global Internet Tsunami Warning System in a Month

    Connecting the data: Robert Cringely @ KCET's Pulpit looks at the real possibilities.


    Here's the problem with big multi-government warning systems. First, we have a disaster. Then, we have a conference on the disaster, then plans are proposed, money is appropriated, and three to five years later, a test system is ready. It isn't the final system, of course, but it still involves vast sensor arrays both above and below the surface of the ocean, satellite communication, and a big honking computer down in the bowels of the Department of Commerce or maybe at NASA. That's just the detection part. The warning part involves multilateral discussions with a dozen nations, a treaty, more satellite communication, several computer networks, several television and radio networks, and possibly a system of emergency transmitters...[snip]....

    You don't need an international consortium to build such a local tsunami warning system. You don't even need broadband. The data is available, processing power is abundant and cheap. With local effort, there is no reason why every populated beach on earth can't have a practical tsunami warning system up and running a month from now. That's Internet time for you, but in this case, its application can protect friends everywhere from senseless and easily avoidable death.

    As we lean from Lawrence of Arabia, "We are here. Akaba is there. It is only a matter of going."

    Pointer via WorldChanging

    Posted by Vanderleun Jan 5, 2005 2:18 AM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    One Day. Three Voices

    For the most likely cause of genocide today is frustration: if we cannot move the Arab/Muslim societies towards tolerance faster than the most intolerant among them can obtain nuclear weapons, we will have to destroy the Arab world, utterly, because the simple fact is that once Iran or the jihadis or similarly fanatical and nihilistic parts of the Muslim world obtain the power to destroy the Jews, or the Americans, they will do so -- Caerdroia: "The Darkness, Whispering" 01/04/06

    Posted by Vanderleun Jan 4, 2005 10:20 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
    In the Grip


    From Peter Flach's gripping first-person account at the Belmont Lounge, a secondary site by Wretchard @ Belmont Club

    At that moment I saw large amounts of water coming again and, no longer calm, I screamed "Run!" Lal was still engrossed in his mobile and I screamed, "Forget the mobile -- Run!" But when I looked ahead I could see water cascading over the track as far as the eye could see. "Hang on," I shouted and stopped to grip the rail in both hands. Lal was doing the same about 5 metres to my left. I watched the water swiftly rise up my arms, and let the bag go, with some regret, as it had all my valuables in it, but I wasn't going to jeopardise my safety for the sake of a bag. I looked across at Lal, but he had gone, and then I went.

    A wall of water picked me up and flung me backwards into the edge of the jungle. I was rolled about underwater like a rag doll. You read about kittens going round in washing machines and that is what it felt like. I then broke surface and saw the jungle moving past at 30-40 mph. It was dense with a lot of trees and other vegetation. I stupidly tried to grab a palm frond but I was going far too fast and couldn't hold on.


    Posted by Vanderleun Jan 4, 2005 4:54 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
    Zeitgeist Bait

    [In which we work all the top search terms from the last two weeks of the Google Zeitgeist into one inane and mind-numbing sentence. We apologize in advance.]


    Posted by Vanderleun Jan 4, 2005 1:02 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
    Sharon's Condition: Updates from the Hebrew

    CAN BE FOUND @ Mere Rhetoric

    Posted by Vanderleun Jan 4, 2005 10:10 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
    His 'Crime'? He Taught Girls to Read.

    ALLAH AKBAR!Taliban is blamed for beheading teacher: "Armed men decapitated Malim Abdul Habib in his home in the town of Qalat late Tuesday and forced his wife and children to watch, said Ali Khail, a provincial government spokesman. The assailant did not harm the other relatives, he said."

    What exactly does this show tell you?

    Posted by Vanderleun Jan 4, 2005 10:07 AM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    The Great Wave


    The Breaking Wave Off Kanagawa. Also called The Great Wave. Woodblock print from Hokusai's series Thirty-six Views of Fuji, which are the high point of Japanese prints. The original is at the Hakone Museum in Japan.


    Posted by Vanderleun Jan 4, 2005 8:20 AM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    A Bittersweet Neverland

    by JEREMIAH LEWIS, American Digest Film Editor


    How do you criticize a film as family friendly and gosh-darned sentimental as Finding Neverland? It's feel-good enough to feel good about it and yourself when you walk out of the theatre, yet there's enough conflict and sadness that it makes you water up while watching. It's got Johnny Depp with a charming Scottish brogue, and Kate Winslet in a suprising low-key role that makes ample use of her wayfarer good looks and British smile to convince us she's a harried but loving mother with fantasy on the brain and tuberculosis on the lungs. And the kids--oh, the kids! They're all lovable runts and swags and adventurers themselves, except for Peter of course, whose oh-so-serious demeanor instantly endears us to him. He's taken his father's death quite seriously, and it seems there's no room for make-believe in his world now.


    Posted by Vanderleun Jan 4, 2005 2:42 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
    Building the Great Steel Road

    by PAT CUMMINGS American Digest Book Editor

    Stephen Ambrose's Nothing Like It in the World—Rail's Manifest Destiny

    The recent death of Stephen Ambrose at 66 was a tragedy for unborn popular histories. Ambrose was noted for his novelistic approach to history writing, primarily in dealing with war: WWII and its generals and privates, the internal struggles of the Civil and Indian wars, the American Revolution. Exceptions have focused on individuals: President Nixon, Lewis and Clark.

    In one book, however, Ambrose writes of the host of personalities and historical motives impelling a single great enterprise. Nothing Like It in the World is the story of the building of the Transcontinental Railroad linking the east and west coasts of the United States. The story details the political and financial battles that culminated in the driving of the golden spike, and explains the need that drove the construction, and the consequences of its completion.


    Posted by Vanderleun Jan 4, 2005 2:04 AM | QuickLink: Permalink's 800 Numbers

    A RECURRING PUBLIC SERVICE OF AMERICAN DIGEST especially now that the Christmas Return Everything Season is now upon us and you can sneak them out using your company's mail room.

    Clip this, print this, PDA this, memorize this.Sooner or later you're going to need it.

    1.800.201.7575 (Toll free, US and Canada)
    1.206.346.2992 or (Outside US and Canada)
    1.877.586.3230 (Canada only)

    Last year, an old friend called wrapped in a tsunami of rage and frustration. He is a heavy Amazon abuser and gotten himself into some sort of high-impact Amazon email ground loop. He needed a human with a voice. But of course Amazon doesn't really believe in this. He had searched for hours on the web site and informed me that he was sitting in his tub, had poured gasoline on himself, and was going to light his last votive candle if I couldn't give him the number. Luckily for him and his neighbors, I did.

    Not everyone will be so fortunate. So, don't call me. Use the numbers above. At least until the volume of calls increases and Amazon changes the number to something unlisted.

    Posted by Vanderleun Jan 3, 2005 3:58 PM | Comments (6)  | QuickLink: Permalink


    A REASONABLE, BUT NOT OFTEN SEEN, GOAL OF ANALYSIS: "Since the goal of analysis is to enlarge the sphere of responsible behavior by the patient (that is, for the patient to understand and accept responsibility for their actions) giving advice is antithetical to such work.  Just as important, it is the patient who has to live with the results, intended and unintended, of their actions, not the analyst or therapist. " -- ShrinkWrapped

    SCOTT SHIELDS, FIGHTING FOR HIS OWN TIN DROOL CUP WITH EVERY BREATH: How Bush Failed the Sago 13 "I haven't seen much discussion of it in the blogosphere, but there are 13 coal miners trapped under 260 feet of dirt right now in West Virginia."

    Didn't take our ideologically driven vermin long to chime in on the West Virginia mining disaster as caused by that evil genius, George Bush. You can tell this Shields insect is warming up to a longer push on this with the coining of "The Sago 13."

    I suppose at some point this kind of diseased thinking will be cured, but "How long, oh Lord, how long?"

    DAVID BRIN ON GOD 2.O " A craftsman of mind-boggling subtlety, who formulated Maxwell’s Equations and all the other staggeringly beautiful innovations of math and geometrodynamics and quantum subtlety that translate into let there be light! "

    WIRETAPPING? FERGEDDABOUTIT. IT'S THE DATAMINING, STUPID: "Data-mining, for those unfamiliar with it, simply put, collecting every available bit of information about you, public and that which comes up via investigation of others, accurate or inaccurate, putting it all in a massive file about you updated on a constant real-time basis, and then integrating that into a massive data-matrix that shows all perceived links between you and other people and enterprises, and then analyzes that, and then washes, rinses, and repeats, non-stop."

    THE EVILS OF EATING ORGANIC: "Every organic mouthful makes it more difficult to feed the most vulnerable. As the distinguished Indian plant biologist CS Prakash put it: 'The only thing sustainable about organic farming in the developing world is that it sustains poverty and malnutrition.' "

    Posted by Vanderleun Jan 3, 2005 8:29 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
    Epiphany at Hurcott

    Van der Leun, Crater Lake, 1973

    By Geoffrey Hill

    Profoundly silent January shows up
    clamant with colour, greening in fine rain,
    luminous malachite of twig-thicket and bole
    brightest at sundown.

    On hedge-banks and small rubbed bluffs the red earth,
    dampened to umber, tints the valley sides.
    Holly cliffs glitter like cut anthracite.
    The lake, reflective, floats, brimfull, its tawny sky.

    The New Criterion

    Posted by Vanderleun Jan 2, 2005 10:30 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
    First Tin Drool Cup Award of 2006

    AT THE OLD NEW REPUBLIC Franklin Foer has actually jumped into the shark. This time so deeply that he can be seen emerging from the shark's anal pore. His "big idea" is that the reason the New York Times has zero credibility is because MSB "Mainstream Blogdom" has been picking on it.

    Thanks to the MSB's sweeping, reckless criticisms, the Times has lost much of the credibility and authority that it needs to mount a robust defense. For this, the bloggers deserve some credit. Well done, guys.
    You know, even in a free speech utopia, some people are far too dumb to ever be given access to an internet connection and a keyboard. Back to the mailroom, Frank.

    Posted by Vanderleun Jan 2, 2005 5:47 PM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    My Toolbar Times Headlines

    WALKING IN FROST'S FOOTSTEPS neo comes to where "Two roads diverged in a yellow wood."
    THINGS, among other things, is taking a look at "The History of the TV Remote."
    DEFENSE TECH, unlike the current poster child for media alzheimers, knows that NSA Eavesdropping is Old Hat
    ANOTHER ONE LINE REVIEW OF BROKEBACK from an emailer to BrothersJudd: "Even if it featured a regular couple, wouldn't you have to be gay to want to see this chick flick?"
    I WOULD LIKE TO THINK OF MY SITE AS THE 11TH OF The Top 10 Free Time Wasting Sites on the Net, but then I remember Andrew Sullivan.
    GET YOURSELF A BLANK CANVAS for your next art car.
    THE ECONOMIST pays " tribute to this strange little grass that has done so much for the human race. Strange is the word, for wheat is a genetic monster."
    THE ANCHORESS has a personal choice for Most annoying phrase of 2005 "It is some say…. Used continually by Katie Couric, David Gregory and oh, basically anyone in the press who wanted to advance their own personal opinion." Gets my vote too.
    PORRETTO casts a cold eye at Daphne Merkin's [sic] vagina ... and passes by.
    VICTOR HANSON illuminates what is missing is "Munich" (besides Spielberg's sense of what it means to be a Jew ): "Lost in this pop moralizing is the reality of 1972, when none of Israel's neighbors were willing to accept the existence of the Jewish state within even its original borders."
    GUY KAWASAKI has obviously spent far too much of his life deep inside a corporation: "Who among us has not had the horrible experience of an corporate offsite to build teamwork and to craft a mission statement?" Don't everybody raise their hands at once, please.
    BOGUS SCIENCE REPORT: When We Get to the Bottom We Go Back to the Top of the Stem Cell "Currently, we cannot find stem cells that have identical DNA fingerprint traces with patients and Hwang's team does not have scientific data to prove they did harvest patient-specific stem cells," said Jung-Hye Roe, director of research at SNU.
    POT KETTLE MEDIA: "The media — amplifying our general cultural assumptions — have come to expect knowledge to be coupled with arrogance."

    Posted by Vanderleun Jan 2, 2005 5:00 PM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Home Town Boy Makes Good

    SEATTLE RESIDENTS WERE PROUD, DAMN PROUD when a now ex-resident made the finals of The: 2005 Darwin Awards today.

    (31 May 2005, Seattle, Washington) Strength and endurance are two of the most important characteristics that can be passed on to improve the species, so physical challenges between males are frequent. In this case, two drinking buddies found themselves on an overpass 40 feet above a busy freeway in downtown Seattle at 2:45 a.m. It turned out to be the perfect place to determine who had more strength and endurance. Whoever could dangle from the overpass the longest would win!

    Unfortunately, the winner was too tired from his victory to climb back up, despite help from his 31-year-old friend. The unidentified champion fell smack into the front of a semi-truck barreling down the highway at 60 mph and bounced onto the pavement, where he was hit by a car. The car did not stop. Authorities did not identify the winner of the competition.

    Ah, yes, Seattle home of industrial-strength drunks.

    Posted by Vanderleun Jan 2, 2005 4:35 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
    Just When You Thought It Was Safe to Open Newsweek

    Say, kids, what time is it?


    Posted by Vanderleun Jan 2, 2005 4:25 PM | Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Of Whales and Moore

    It could be that our long national nightmare is coming to a close, and that the media's love affair with Michael ("Mr. Peepers") Moore is on the wane.

    Witness this story by the AP via Yahoo: Yahoo! News - Drug Firms Issue Memos on Michael Moore

    While the story concerns the next target of Moore's mendacity, the illustrations pair him with a beached whale. Check it out...


    Posted by Vanderleun Jan 2, 2005 3:02 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
    Something New to Do When You're Driving

    PHILONEIST NOTES what will no doubt become the must-have nerd accessory of the year.

    eMagin Corp .... has adapted its expertise to create a first of its kind headset accessory for the 5G iPod which displays video in front of one eye. Due to the EyeBud's propinquity to one's field of vision, it can purportedly produce a video watching experience comparable to viewing a 105-inch display from a distance of 12 feet. Priced at $599, the EyeBud is $200 more than the most expensive iPod available and is projected to be released by July 2006.

    Posted by Vanderleun Jan 2, 2005 2:16 PM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    The Porpoise Driven Life

    Woman marries dolphin

    A woman has married a dolphin in Israel.

    Sharon Tendler from Redbridge, East London, wore a white silk dress and a pink tiara for the ceremony in Eliat, Israel.

    The dolphin, Cindy, swam to the side of his enclosure for the ceremony.

    Sharon kissed Cindy and whispered "I love you" in his blow hole....

    "I'm the happiest girl on earth," the bride said as she chocked back tears of emotion. "I made a dream come true, and I am not a pervert," she stressed.

    Tendler said she and her newly wed husband will probably spend their wedding night bowling.

    It was a first marriage for Cindy, Sharon's third.

    In other breaking dolphin-sex news: "Japan's first dolphin conceived from frozen sperm died at an aquarium outside Tokyo, keepers said."

    Posted by Vanderleun Jan 2, 2005 1:10 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
    Poochie Puffs

    MORE PROOF, if proof were needed, that we have way too much food in this country.

    Pointer from Synthstuff

    Posted by Vanderleun Jan 2, 2005 11:16 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
    Nixonian Echoes

    WHILE MANY MAY THINK that the major malfunction of the New York Times is that it is stuck on stupid, I've come to believe that it is merely stuck on Nixon. Case in point is current Executive editor Bill Keller's statement in Behind the Eavesdropping Story, a Loud Silence. Keller claims he can't reveal, not his sources but his thinking by stating: "There is really no way to have a full discussion of the back story without talking about when and how we knew what we knew, and we can't do that."

    Am I the only one in the world that hears echoing within that statement the question "What did the President know and when did he know it?" No? I didn't think so. And do we all remember what the answer to that question wrought? Keller should.

    Posted by Vanderleun Jan 2, 2005 10:11 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
    A Refusal To Mourn The Death, By Fire, Of A Child In London

    Never until the mankind making
    Bird beast and flower
    Fathering and all humbling darkness
    Tells with silence the last light breaking
    And the still hour
    Is come of the sea tumbling in harness

    And I must enter again the round
    Zion of the water bead
    And the synagogue of the ear of corn
    Shall I let pray the shadow of a sound
    Or sow my salt seed
    In the least valley of sackcloth to mourn

    The majesty and burning of the child's death.
    I shall not murder
    The mankind of her going with a grave truth
    Nor blaspheme down the stations of the breath
    With any further
    Elegy of innocence and youth.

    Deep with the first dead lies London's daughter,
    Robed in the long friends,
    The grains beyond age, the dark veins of her mother,
    Secret by the unmourning water
    Of the riding Thames.
    After the first death, there is no other.

             -- Dylan Thomas

    Posted by Vanderleun Jan 1, 2005 11:34 PM | Comments (6)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    The Toll

    Here, courtesy of Todd Binder, is a graphic representation of 1,000 bodies.

    Only the beginning. What do 135,0000 150,000 bodies look like all stacked up? Click here and find out.

    [H/T via Steel]

    Posted by Vanderleun Jan 1, 2005 11:24 PM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    It Could Have Been Worse By Alan E Brain

    It Could Have Been Worse: " Cross-posted from AEBrain, the blog.

    The Indian Ocean Tsunami could have been worse. A lot worse. That's a particularly cold-blooded thing to say about an event that's caused at least half a million casualties (injured and killed), with 70,000 confirmed dead at the moment. Nonetheless it's true. Just have a look at a graphic of the event.

    Indian Ocean Tsunami
    Click on graphic to show animation

    As you can see from this simulation (Animation provided by Kenji Satake, National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, Japan, via ITSU), the Tsunami was focussed mainly to the West, with a slightly lesser wave to the East, and relatively little North and South. especially North. Continued...

    Posted by Vanderleun Jan 1, 2005 2:12 PM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    G2E Media GmbH