Comments or suggestions: Gerard Van der Leun
Dubai Ports World: Don't Worry. Be Happy.

Click on image to enlarge. A large file, but you won't be disappointed.

The landlord says your rent is late
He may have to litigate
Don't worry....... be happy
Don't worry, be happy now!

-- FILE UNDER: Just brilliant from Point Five " Dubai Ports World -- They're Just Like Us

Posted by Vanderleun Feb 28, 2005 8:11 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
The Good News Is You Won an Oscar for Best Picture, the Bad News is That to Get It....

clintleft.jpg  clintright.jpg

Posted by Vanderleun Feb 28, 2005 7:45 AM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Best Movie Award Acceptance Speech Ever

HALLE BERRY WAS NAMED WORST ACTRESS OF 2004 by the Golden Raspberry Award Foundation for her performance in "Catwoman" and she showed up to accept her "Razzie" carrying the Oscar she won in 2002 for "Monster's Ball."

"They can't take this away from me, it's got my name on it!" she quipped. A raucous crowd cheered her on as she gave a stirring recreation of her Academy Award acceptance speech, including tears.

She thanked everyone involved in "Catwoman," a film she said took her from the top of her profession to the bottom.

"I want to thank Warner Brothers for casting me in this piece of shit," she said as she dragged her agent on stage and warned him "next time read the script first."
-- Reuters


Posted by Vanderleun Feb 28, 2005 7:20 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
Lewis' Oscars

[Morning After Score: Nine out of 18 for Lewis-- Ed]

by JEREMIAH LEWIS, American Digest Film Editor

TWO WEEKS AGO I COULDN'T STOP THINKING ABOUT what I was going to wear to the Oscars. At first I was thinking I could go with the casual chic that has so marked Michael Moore's career: trucker hat emblazoned with a Gothic 'B', large button-up number, brown, extra-wide pockets, XXXXL blue jeans (slightly worn at the thighs), tennis shoes from Payless, and a trademark leather airman's jacket.

But since he and his lamentable Fahrenheit 9/11 got burned by the Academy, Hollywood, all of Flint Michigan, and Clint Eastwood, Moore has shaved, got himself a ocean liner sized tuxedo, and even styled his hair. My counterculture hero has gone mainstream. I mourn the loss.

Then it came to me. A large, white, linen robe, a sash, sandals (made with real camel leather), and the coup de grace, a wooden cross around my neck, signifying my allegiance to Mel Gibson. I could call it "Fashion of the Christ". But then I remembered that The Passion only got three technical nods, barely worth tuning to, much less attending in person. What kind of Jesus movie can't at least get a Best Picture nomination? Especially in this golden age of tolerance.

So I decided to watch from home (actually a friend's home, since I don't get cable). In lieu hearing Hilary Swank give yet another Oscar acceptance speech wherein she forgets her husband, that she's a woman, and even an actress, I've decided to provide you, the non-homogenized milk of Oscar prognostication.


Posted by Vanderleun Feb 27, 2005 11:55 PM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Jefferson, Get Me Rewrite!

ISN'T IT REMARKABLE that one of our national political parties is out of power and yet strives daily to exercise it, while the other, which is in power, strives daily to avoid using it?

And it is even more remarkable that our third national party, unelected and self-selected, is our only political entity that has no problem at all with the exercise of its power.

If the Constitution is ever put up for revision, maybe we should take a long hard look at "Amendment, the First." Not to get the government into the business of the press, but just to acknowledge that the press is now in the business of government. That being the case, we'll want to revisit the parts about checks and balances.

I don't know about you, but I stand ready to sharpen my blue pencil.

Posted by Vanderleun Feb 27, 2005 10:32 AM | Comments (8)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Murder and Mystery in 18th-Century London

by PAT CUMMINGS American Digest Book Editor

DAVID LISS' FIRST NOVEL, A Conspiracy of Paper , has won an Edgar Award for Best First Novel, a Barry Award and the Macavity Award. His ex-boxer detective, Benjamin Weaver, is a Jew in London in the early 1700s, estranged from his family and unwilling to re-enter that world. He has found a comfortable niche in London's newly-developing (and somewhat seamy) stock trade, serving as a liaison between lower-class thugs and thieves and their upper-class counterparts.

Weaver begins his memoir with the day a gentleman comes to him with a tale of murder to investigate—the victim, his own father. Despite his cool feelings for his late sire, Weaver is intrigued enough, and sufficiently in need of the money, to follow the clues. Slowly the ex-pugilist is drawn back into the shadowy corners of the stock trade, as he pursues the conspiracy that ended his father's life.


Posted by Vanderleun Feb 27, 2005 10:20 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
A Very Long Engagement

by JEREMIAH LEWIS, American Digest Film Editor

FRENCH DIRECTOR Jean-Pierre Jeunet infuses his latest picture, A Very Long Engagement, with the same fairy-tale sentimentality of 2001's Amelie, though with slightly more plodding and a little less success. Even if his vision and cinematic realization of the story of love and war, based on the novel of the same name by Sébastien Japrisot, are perfect, the whole of the film is somehow less than its parts, and the ending is, quite frankly, a dirty trick to play on an audience whose expectations have been dragged along for two hours and fourteen minutes.

Told through a series of flashbacks, the tale encompasses the indomitable love between Mathilde (Audrey Tautou) and Manech (Gaspard Ulliel), whose childhood friendship blossoms and becomes an engagement broken by the onset of World War I. Manech is sent to the Somme trenches, but Mathilde knows in her heart that Manech will return alive.


Posted by Vanderleun Feb 27, 2005 10:01 AM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Nothing-But-Net Results of the Antoine Walker Deals

by CHRIS LYNCH , American Digest Sports Editor

THE RECENT NBA TRADING DEADLINE saw a rash of deals but none were as interesting as Danny Ainge and the Boston Celtics trading for the guy they so publicly traded away last year - Antoine Walker.

I'm not so much interested in whether this was a good move or a bad move by the Celtics. I am interested in the simple math this trade represents and what that math says about Danny Ainge as a General Manager.

Since taking over as Celtics General Manager, Danny Ainge has had three major trades and one minor trade that I want to examine.

First he traded Walker and Tony Delk to the Mavericks for Raef LaFrentz, Jiri Welsh and Chris Mills plus a first round draft pick in 2004.


Posted by Vanderleun Feb 27, 2005 9:53 AM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Numa Numa Hits the Big Screen


Tire no more. Try the Big Screen Version!

Warning: Before clicking wrap four feet of tinfoil securely around skull to prevent earworm infestation.

Posted by Vanderleun Feb 27, 2005 7:57 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
This Just In


There are days when I have absolutely no patience with our coddled, neurasthenic, infantile society, and this is one of them. I am tired of people complaining that the administration isn't acting in perfect concord with the thoughts of ten thousand people writing on the internet. I am getting tired of people complaining that the administration isn't "doing enough" for the troops, for the people, for our safety, to "explain" the war to "the people" who are apparently all deaf, dumb, and blind, and then when someone in our hapless, human government comes up with something, yells in horror: "Oh no, not that way!" And doing this all on their own personal blog which let me tell you right now is not read by Donald Rumsfeld or Condi Rice or George W. Bush because quite frankly they are too goddamn busy trying to keep a future administration several years down the line from turning half the planet into radioactive glass because our lazy asses thought that fighting a smaller, more difficult war with conventional methods like soldiers and guns was "too hard" and "our kids over there kept getting killed" and "it made us uncomfortable."
HT via bitter sanity

Posted by Vanderleun Feb 26, 2005 5:58 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
Why Scrappleface Should Write for Bush

SCOTT OTT, AKA ScrappleFace, is a very funny man. Day after day, his satire on current events brings a whiparound to the brain and a wry nod of acknowledgement. But he's not always funny, and his recent entry Leak: Draft of Bush Answer to Cindy Sheehan brings to mind what George Bush woulda, coulda, shouda said if he had people around him with more than half a brain, and less than a 100% dedication to always miss an opportunity. Full Text:

Dear Mrs. Sheehan,
You have asked me to identify the noble cause for which your son died. I have not answered you personally out of respect for the nobility of your son's sacrifice.


Posted by Vanderleun Feb 26, 2005 9:35 AM | Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Anchoress (with Flamethrower)

OUCH! That's gonna leave a mark: Well, they’ve got their 1971

It took a while, but the left, the Democrats and the press, who have been pining away to relive the glory days of their Vietnam protests have finally managed, after two years of relentlessly negative press about the war, two years of relentlessly negative press about the President, two years of daily tabulations of dead soldiers, provided without context two years of nonsensical “we support the troops, but not the war,” gibberish and now, the Summer of Mrs. Sheehan (complete with hippies) they have finally reached the “taunting returning soldiers” point. Next we’ll hear that they are spitting on soldiers and calling them “babykillers” and then the template will be complete.

Except these people don’t even have the decency to taunt healthy soldiers. They’re going after the wounded.

Much more (with links) at the link.

Posted by Vanderleun Feb 25, 2005 10:38 AM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Metrosexual Motorcyle

Can we please have a sensible discussion about the continued shallowing of the gene pool in America before it is too late?

Posted by Vanderleun Feb 24, 2005 1:31 PM | Comments (10)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Third World Bomb Squad

[POST AND LINK pulled by reader request. See comments. He's right.]

Posted by Vanderleun Feb 24, 2005 12:35 PM | Comments (6)  | QuickLink: Permalink
What Is To Be Done

DONALD SENSING states the obvious but unexecuted strategy for moving forward in

Bush failing to keep the public in the loop: "The Bush administration has allowed the information status quo of the war to be maintained too long in the public eye. The information agenda has been set by the mainstream media (MSM), attenuated to a significant but not large degree by bloggers. I think the administration should begin immediately a vigorous domestic-information program to do these things:


Posted by Vanderleun Feb 24, 2005 11:54 AM | Comments (7)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Meetings Between Remarkable Men

Soldier's family to meet with president


Posted by Vanderleun Feb 24, 2005 9:53 AM | Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
If You Squint Your Can See the Face of the Prophet in the Smoke

Posted by Vanderleun Feb 24, 2005 7:11 AM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
At One of America's Edges

WE RAN OUT ON THE TORRENTIAL RAINS OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA, and have taken refuge up along the Canadian border at Sandpoint, Idaho about 45 minutes south of the Canadian Border.

I'd like to report that waves of Democratic Refugees from the evil empire are clogging the roads and assaulting the border outposts of the Canadian People's Republic, but I see nary a soul moving that way with anything other than bagging a moose on the mind.

More later except to note this is a VERY HEAVILY ARMED section of the country.

Posted by Vanderleun Feb 23, 2005 11:23 AM | Comments (11)  | QuickLink: Permalink
"Oh, and by the way, try not to kill anyone."

Robert Pool's Beyond Engineering: How Society Shapes Technology
by PAT CUMMINGS American Digest Book Editor

This is a very different book from the one I began writing four years ago... In 1991, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation provided grants to some two dozen writers to create a series of books on technology. Because technology has shaped the modern world so profoundly, Sloan wanted to give the general, non-technical reader some place to go in order to learn about the invention of television or X-rays or the development of birth control pills. This would be it. Sloan asked that each book in the series... be accessible to readers with no background in science or engineering... I took nuclear power...
—Introduction to Beyond Engineering [emphasis mine]
Robert Pool, author of the controversial look at the biological basis of gender, Eve's Rib, and longtime contributor to several distinguished science and technical journals, did not realize what a complex topic he had chosen. Originally, he intended to write "a straight-forward treatment of the commercial nuclear industry—its history, its problems, and its potential for the future." Instead, he discovered a Byzantine maze of inter-connected choices, society shaping technology, rather than the opposite. Beyond Engineering completes the circle, reflecting what he discovered back to the general, non-technical public in very accessible terms.

History and Momentum begins this journey into complexity with a look at how society has shaped the choices made in providing electricity to the user. Edison, Westinghouse, and Tesla; Szilard, Einstein and Rickover—choices made by these men before 1950 determined the economy of future decisions in the power industry. Pool then looks at The Power of Ideas, giving us a background on the concept of paradigm shift in molding scientific inquiry, before exploring how the "endless power source" paradigm shifted irretrievably to an "evil destructive nuclear polluter" view of nuclear power.


Posted by Vanderleun Feb 23, 2005 1:13 AM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
What's Just So Wrong with This Picture?


Posted by Vanderleun Feb 22, 2005 9:27 PM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Stealth Ticket: Elect Clinton-Clinton in 08?


Two-thirds of Americans believe Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton will run for president, but only one-third believe she can win, according to a national poll released Wednesday.
The first is no surprise, but the mere 33% of people who even "believe" she can win has to be chilling for Mrs. Clinton's ambitions. To have come so far and yet fallen so low. How can she possibly recover? How can she have a candle's chance of grabbing the gold ring, of cashing in her big chip, of getting what is rightfully hers, of glomming on to the big one for which she has endured so much humiliation?

There is, my friends, only one way. Only one ticket will work for her and the Democrats: CLINTON-CLINTON in 08!

That's right. Hillary for President. Bill for Veep. After all, the XXII amendent doesn't say anything about the office of the Vice-President, does it? And Bill's never held that office even once. As far as Bill becoming the President again should anything happen to Mrs. Clinton, well the XXII amendment only forbids being "elected" to the office.

Say what you will, you've got to admit its a pretty slick ticket.

Many have taken and will take this theory as pure satire or, at best, a poor joke. Still others will note the Constitutional flaw, but deep within the heart of the Democratic Party you can be sure some solons will hear of it and go, "Really? Hummmmm... Well, all we'd have to do is repeal the 12th Amendment. They'd never see that coming."

[Ed. Note: American Digest would like to apologize in advance for any gastrointestinal upsets that this item may cause among its readers.]

Posted by Vanderleun Feb 22, 2005 9:00 PM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Three and a Half Kinds of Love for Our Era

1) THE LOVE THAT DARE NOT BAAAAA! IT'S NAME: Homeless Man Tries to Steal Sheep "LITTLE ROCK, Ark. Feb 22, 2006 (AP) A homeless man who police say tried to take a sheep from the Little Rock Zoo has been arrested on numerous charges. A security guard at the zoo called police Tuesday evening after spotting a man carrying a trash can with a sheep in it, a police report said." Honest, officer, it just jumped into my garbage can when I was trying to sleep.

2) AND THE LOVE THAT IS COMPELLED TO SPEAK IT'S NAME: Sulu's Gay "LOS ANGELES (AP) -Oct. 28, 2005 - George Takei, who as helmsman Sulu steered the Starship Enterprise through three television seasons and six movies, has come out as a homosexual in the current issue of Frontiers, a biweekly Los Angeles magazine covering the gay and lesbian community." That clever Sulu. Fooled everybody for years.

3) AND THE LOVE YOU NEVER KNEW EVEN HAD A NAME Autogynephilia ".... (from Greek auto (self), gyno (woman) and philia (love) ( "love of oneself as a woman") is a behavioral model proposed in 1989 by Ray Blanchard, who defines it as "a man's paraphilic tendency to be sexually aroused by the thought or image of himself as a woman."

A more common way of putting this might be, "It takes a man like me to make a woman like me." Right? Right. The reverse condition would be "autopeniphilia," but nobody knows any women like that. Right? Right.

3.5) THEN AGAIN THERE'S ALWAYS Normal Love. Right? Right.

Posted by Vanderleun Feb 22, 2005 8:12 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
Rumor Control

CAN ANYONE send me the link that confirms that while Dick Cheney was hiding from the press in an undisclosed locaton last week that he took the time to get Maureen Dowd with child?

I'd like to get ahead of the rest of the blogosphere on this breaking story. Seems to me it is either grounds for aduletry or grounds for impeachement or grounds for being fired or all three.

Posted by Vanderleun Feb 22, 2005 7:26 PM | Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Replacing Jesus with "Earth" for Pre-Schoolers

I WAS GOBSMACKED BY THE "Mommy is a Democrat" kids book yesterday (The Poster Child for Pap ). I'm gobsmacked again when a Google search brought me to the Preschool Education Music & Songs : Holiday > Earth Day page. This is a list of songs set to the tunes that "everybody" knows that seek to implant a healthy respect for the earth. Not that there's anything wrong with that. Still, if you scan the page, you'll see more than one tune that will make the hair on the back of your neck stand up. It really is starting to look like "Brave New World" in the kinder classrooms.

The one that induced nausea in me was the follwing "revision" of "Jesus Loves Me." Keep in mind that this is not a parody site, but a source of "lesson material" for teachers across America to draw from. How deeply they draw, I don't know.

God's Good Earth
added 4-17-01
Original Author Unknown

Sung to: "Jesus Loves Me"

Let's take care of God's good earth,
water, forest, air, and soil
Don't toss out that used time foil
Ride your bike and don't burn oil.
Love one another
Share with each other
Save God's good earth
And learn to do with less
Only buy the things you need
Enjoy the simple things in life
Do a hobby, play some game...
Eat at home, invite some friends

Another of these deathless ditties has the lyrics:
We will walk instead of riding, you all come.
We will walk instead of riding, you all come.
We will walk instead of riding,
We'll save gas 'cause no one's driving
To the happy Earth Day party, you all come.
Jesus wept.

Posted by Vanderleun Feb 22, 2005 7:10 PM | Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Tire Education

WITH THE INCREASING SHRINKAGE OF ACADEMIA INTO ARMED HAMLETS OF PAP and circumstantial evidence, and with the coming removal of Harvard's President Summers to a Red Guard-style re-education camp, it makes Top of the World's suggestion, Send Your Kids to Trucking School, seem not just reasonable, but smart:

Some parents in my home town start to worry about college admissions when their kids turn 11.

For years, I've thought it makes more economic sense to send your kids to trucking school when they turn 18. It takes a few weeks. Then co-sign for a Peterbilt tractor. It's all a matter of opportunity cost.

The tads can start earning right away. So if college costs $50K a year, the college-bound will cost $200K in four years (and it often takes longer). Meanwhile, the truckers will be earning, say $50K a year. At the end of four years, your trucker kids will be $400K ahead. And at the end of four years, most college kids will either be (a) going into occupations with mediocre pay, like teaching; (b) going to graduate school; or (c) going into rehab.

He amplifies this at his page, but more and more I think the basic concept is sound. True, his daughters point out that it would take you away from home to much, but so what? If that's a problem, air-conditioning repair in the sunbelt would keep your kids in high clover all their working lives. Or, if that's too airy a task, fall back on the old standby, plumbing.

Last month, a faucet in my yard began leaking at high speed from behind the shut-off valve. Water flowing everywhere including down under the foundation. It was seven in the evening when I discovered this and there was no recourse but to call a plumber up from town. First plumber, out on a job. Second plumber, on a job with another stacked up but could come by at around midnight. Third


Posted by Vanderleun Feb 22, 2005 12:01 AM | Comments (9)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Devil or Angel? I Can't Make Up My Mind.

by JEREMIAH LEWIS, American Digest Film Editor

DESPERATELY SEEKING TWO HOURS OF AMUSEMENT, I watched Constantine over the weekend. A gravelly, chainsmoking anti-hero epic, Constantine is a reworked American version of the original British Vendetta/DC Comics' Hellblazer series by Alan Moore, whose previous beloved works, From Hell and League of Extraordinary Gentlemen have received less than extraordinary screen translations. Constantine has a few things going for it.

1). Keanu Reeves. Say what you want about the Lebanese actor's onscreen chops, he's a fun guy to watch. This one's no exception, as he plays the supernatural detective with a "What the hell is your problem?" attitude that seems so very endearing for some reason.

2). A decent script. It isn't perfect, but it shares a similar love for the material as the Spiderman scripts, whilst not needing to get hung up on every single detail from the original comics. It's dark and witty, but plays the basic plot straight.

3). Director Francis Lawrence. Constantine is Lawrence's feature debut, and he's got some sequences that are pretty interesting. Overall, the look of the film is comicbookish, with the right amount of fun to give it a face.

The story is a bit convoluted, and sometimes sacrifices depth for skin-deep plot tanglings. Los


Posted by Vanderleun Feb 21, 2005 11:55 PM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Last Words of Hunter S. Thompson

IN A TAPE MADE SECRETLY YESTERDAY AFTERNOON BY DOUG WEED , ONE OF HUNTER THOMPSON'S "BEST FRIENDS," the tortured genius of American Journalism 1972-1973 can be heard saying quite distinctly, "What? What?! You're telling me that that chimp Bush smoked dope? That's it! I'm outta here!"

Posted by Vanderleun Feb 21, 2005 5:16 PM | Comments (9)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Hunter Thompson: What A Man! Yeah, Right.


I USED TO RUN A MAGAZINE IN SAN FRANCISCO BACK IN THE 70s. I ran it out of the basement of a firehouse in North Beach under the offices of Scanlan's magazine. Scanlan's was the scam magazine of Warren Hinckle, a man whose record of conning money out of Bay Area millionaires stood unbroken for decades until the arrival of David Talbot and Salon.

Warren liked to drink and spend other people's money on himself and writers. Naturally such a honey pot was going to attract Hunter. He liked to drink and spend other people's money on articles he might or might not write. Sometimes the small staff working with me and the larger staff working the con with Warren would decide to drink together. We liked to drink at our bar of choice up at the end of the alley, Andre's. And so one night, when Hunter was in town, we all went up to Andre's for a non-stop night of drinking.

Andre was an elegant French-Canadian who ran an elegant bar. He was old-school and could mix any drink anyone could name and it was always perfect. He was polished, polite, and a good listener. But he was a pro and usually knew when you'd had enough. Then he politely asked you to leave. If you ignored him, he had a very large mallet with a three foot handle behind the bar and you didn't ignore that.

So there we were, eight or ten of us I think, hanging around and drinking with "Hunter S. Thompson, man!" And, as they would, Warren and Hunter got into a drinking contest -- sort of like watching a match between Ali and Frazier in their prime.

It went on and on long past the point where I could or would keep up. It was getting late and Andre announced to the assembled cross-eyed drunks, that he was giving us our last round. The regulars took him at his word, but Hunter had to push the envelope. Except with Andre there was no envelope. Just a polite, "Non."

The next thing I know there's a gun in Hunter's hand and three rounds into the ceiling of the bar. (Did I mention that there were apartments where people were sleeping above the bar?)

Then I think there was a blur of Andre, in suit and tie, coming over the bar with the mallet. Then more blurs and everybody is out on the street dragging a semi-conscious Hunter back down the alley mumbling something about getting his gun back. After that I don't remember much and, frankly, haven't thought all that much about Thompson in the three decades that have intervened.

This morning I think even less of him. Yesterday, it would seem, he left in the same way that he lived -- gun-crazy, thoughtless, self-obsessed and selfish to the last second. A gunshot suicide at home, leaving his wife and son to discover and deal with his ruined corpse and clean up the room. What a man.

Posted by Vanderleun Feb 21, 2005 10:13 AM | Comments (62)  | QuickLink: Permalink
They Shoot Pirates, Don't They?

IN THIS POST-PATRIOT ACT ERA, perhaps the Feds are getting just a bit too enthusiastic about intellectual property thieves, what?

Federal effort to dead off TV piracy challenged | CNET

Well, if you're gonna be that snippy about it, I'll re-up my Netflix suscription.

Posted by Vanderleun Feb 21, 2005 9:41 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
Fallujah: The Rock Video



Nerts to Harrison Ford and his movie. Here's the REAL deal on Fallujah. U.S. ARMY's TF2-2IN created it. Combat Engineer - SPC Ronald Camp edited it. S2 blessed off on it. Jonathan Hanson is hosting it. Thanks.

SPC Camp of 82nd Engineers. Helluva job with the music, footage and timing. Oh and good job fighting in Fallujah too, Soldier.

Soundtrack: Sepultera
Crystal Method: Trip Like I Do, Name of the Game
Fatboy Slim/Steppenwolfe: Magic Carpet Ride

Torrent connections and other downloads can be found @ RedSix's Downloads

I'm also hosting a 50 Megabyte Quicktime download at THIS LOCATION. It's a looong download so place it in the background and posses yourself of patience.

While you wait you could do worse that read Prakash's stunning descriptions for a tanker's fighting life in Iraq at ARMOR GEDDON

It is, quite simply, the best first-hand writing available on what it's like inside a 21st century battle.

Posted by Vanderleun Feb 20, 2005 11:55 AM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The NBA All-Snores

by CHRIS LYNCH , American Digest Sports Editor

TODAY IS THE NBA ALL-STARS GAME. The game has special meaning for my wife and me. Our first date was to watch the NBA All-Star game so today marks our unofficial anniversary.

Back in college I met my future wife at a dance. We hit it off and found we had similar interests. Among those interests was basketball and specifically the Boston Celtics. This was the mid-80's and the Celtics were riding high with Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, Dennis Johnson, Robert Parish and Danny Ainge. That night at the dance we agreed to go out on a date. The date was to meet at my dorm room the next day to watch the NBA All-Star Game.

Many things have changed in our lives since that first date. We've been married for close to fifteen years and we have four kids. Many things have also changed in the NBA but those changes don't seem to be as positive.

Nothing shows the changes to the NBA better than the All-Star game. The action today will be all dunks and three pointers. The focus on those two things at the expense of all else has all but rendered the NBA unwatchable.

Back in the 80's the slogan was "the NBA - its FANtastic." Today's slogan should be "the NBA - its not FUNdamental." Somehow along the way NBA players have forgotten how to throw a bounce pass or shoot a bank shot. The fundamentals are missing from today's game and that makes the NBA difficult to watch. A game of nothing but dunks and three-pointers gets boring quick.

There is no better percentage shot in basketball than a bank shot but yet the only players who seem to use a bank shot today are Tim Duncan and some European players. It is the lack of an accurate mid-range shot by the players today that has depressed scoring in the NBA. Games with final scores in the mid-80's are the norm today and those games are boring.

My wife is representative of the fans the NBA has lost. She used to be able to name every player on the Celtics and she knew the name of each member of the All-Star team from both the East and West. Today she'd be lucky to name two players for the Celtics. The NBA no longer holds her interest because its boring.

I just hope that she still finds life with me interesting.

AMERICAN DIGEST SPORTS EDITOR Chris Lynch serves his own brew daily at A Large Regular, and contributes to Lynch can be reached at

Posted by Vanderleun Feb 20, 2005 8:06 AM | Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
All You Really Need to Know About the LefTogs' Jeff Gannon Scalp Hunt in One Headline


Isn't it amazing that the most ideologically purile LefTogs such as Kos and Atrios, in their thirst to have a scalp of their own to balance those of Rather and Jordan, would choose to out a gay man with a shaved head and a chest wax?

Speaking of which, where's Andrew Sullivan on this issue?

Posted by Vanderleun Feb 19, 2005 10:54 PM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Who Says Headline Writers Have No Sense of Irony?

Heavily Armed USS Jimmy Carter in Fleet

Posted by Vanderleun Feb 19, 2005 12:11 PM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Storytelling and the Innocence of Eason

" Eason Jordan does not believe the U.S. military is trying to kill journalists. Mr. Jordan simply pointed out the facts..." -- Original CNN "clarification"

Submitted for your approval:
1. Journalism is the assembling and telling of stories.
2. At bottom, journalists are story tellers.
3. Better journalists are better story tellers.

"Call me Karnog."

JOURNALISM MAY WELL be the real "oldest profession." Eons ago in the dawn time, the first news reports were stories told about the hunt when the hunters returned to camp. Some hunters were better at telling stories than others. They put in facts, they named names, they had sources, they knew when to drop in human interest and local color.

After a time, the tribe shut the other hunters up. "Just let Karnog tell it." And Karnog's stature rose in the tribe. He was valued. He got better cuts of the meat. He got the plumper women. He started to have 'visions' about the world as it really was behind the curtain of the senses. He gave the tribe "all the news that was fit to chant;" he brought them "the word."

As their tribal memory, Karnog was protected by the other hunters. After all, he had the power to make them look either good or bad; to make the tribe like or despise them. In some cases, Karnog could assemble un-named sources ('The Gods') and have chiefs run out of tribal office. Karnog became the gatekeeper. Many in the tribe wanted to be a Karnog but, if they couldn't, they'd be a great audience.

Karnog kept and expanded his power by "improving" his stories. If a hunt was a little boring, no problem. Karnog would embroider it. Just a little. Just a very little bit. Perhaps he'd add a fact from here and another fact from there, a source on this and a source on that. After several iterations of this, the story Karnog told about the hunt had a lot of facts in it from other stories. That really didn't matter because everything in the story was a fact. The story had become false, but all the facts were true.

And the crowd Karnog was preaching too, since they were of his tribe, loved his new slightly embroidered story even more. They'd ask him to tell it again the next time they were all together and he would, embroidering it just a little more, just a very little more. And so it went down through the centuries until you had, well, the first collection of war stories in the history of journalism, The Illiad, from the 8th century BC.

Fast forward 2,800 years. Eason Jordan is telling his Iraq war stories for the Nth time to a meeting of his Transnational Tribe in Davos, Switzerland. He's got a lot of these stories and his Tribe loves to hear him tell them because he can tell them their way. He is of them and he knows what they want to hear. He's told these stories before, a few times in public, but probably many more times over drinks and dinner around the world. And as usual, he adds just a stitch or two of extra embroidery.


Posted by Vanderleun Feb 19, 2005 9:41 AM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Men's Room Attendent at the Times Square McDonalds


YOU SAY 'BUT.. BUT... THERE'S NO SUCH THING.' WE SAY, 'THERE IS NOW.' -- Mission: McDonald's Bathroom Attendant [Illustrated with a movie too.]

Evelyn, the female employee, must have alerted the management. A gentleman wearing a tie entered just as Simmons was explaining the McDonalds philosophy to a customer, "We don't want to be a part of the same fast food culture as everyone else. McDonalds is the biggest, the best, and this is Broadway!"

The manager enters

The manager didn't know how to respond. He stuttered for a moment and finally burst out with "Y-Y-You don't have any authorization to do this."

"Yes, I do," Simmons responded. "I'm Todd. I'm from the corporate office."

The Manager shook his head and gave his name, Ted. "This is part of a special promotion. They didn't send you a memo or a fax?"

Manager: "I'll call. They didn't tell me anything about this. Lemme call."
Agent Simmons: "We started in Akron, Ohio and the Los Angeles and Portland, Oregon."
Manager: "You're sure you're in the right McDonalds?"
Agent Simmons: "I hope so. I sure hope so!"
Manager: "No problem."

Posted by Vanderleun Feb 18, 2005 7:53 PM | Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Numa Numa Virus Outbreak


[Note: If the global rush to Numa Numa is clogging bandwidth at the irritating Newpics, try this one at eBaum's World numanuma - Crazy dancer weird techno - O-Zone-Dragostea Din Tei ]

[UPDATE: ANDREW SULLIVAN ALERT!: Numa Numa has now reached THE HISPANIC VILLAGE PEOPLE. [Video] with "Marica Quien? Marica Tu!" -- AKA Pluma Pluma Gay [lyrics]. This is the definitive Queer Eye Numa Numa Makeover. This version centers around a closet and coming out from said closet. It takes awhile to load, but it is worth it. ]

I have one friend who was deeply infected by this idworm in January when it first surged across the web from an obscure teenager's bedroom in New Jersey. He presented with a nearly lethal level of NumaNuma Tourette's syndrome, and it looked like he was sinking fast. But with the intervention of high levels of Lithium, electroshock therapy, and the talking cure, he's been doing better of late.

In the last few days he seems to be less likely to gyrate wildly about his house thrusting his arms into the air and numanumaing in a most arresting fashion. The unfortunate calls of his neighbors to the police following his nightly raving on the sidewalk have become almost a thing of the past. All his friends were relieved when it became apparant that this particular crisis had passed. The nature of these episodes becomes more disturbing still when you reflect that he looks like an older and less sedate version of the kid in the video.

Alas, all this came to an end today when he innocently tuned into the Today Show between the Jello course and the lithium served to him by the day nurse. There, utterly unprepared, he was exposed to Matt Laurer presenting the video and the story behind it. His day nurse, recognizing it instantly, fought uselessly with him for the remote and was forced to run to the garage and cut the power to the house. It was too late.

Late this afternoon, after climbing to the roof of his home in an upscale neighborhood in South Florida and NumaNumaing through a bull horn for three hours, the Fort Lauderdale SWAT team ended the stand-off, and he was carted off to the cheers of the neighbors and the approving howls of their pets. It was the end of yet another sad story concerning this dreaded mental virus that has afflicted millions of Americans.


Posted by Vanderleun Feb 17, 2005 9:07 PM | Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
My DNA Made Me Do It

On Jonathan Weiner's Time, Love, Memory : A Great Biologist and His Quest for the Origins of Behavior

by PAT CUMMINGS American Digest Book Editor

Not since the Age of Enlightenment had the world seen such a crew of intellectual cutthroats, divinely assured of their rights of succession and their place in history. The philosophes of the Enlightenment also had their share of tall, thin, prognathous young men, and many of their contemporaries found them (in the words of Horace Walpole) "solemn, arrogant, dictatorial coxcombs—I need not say superlatively disagreeable."
Time, Love, Memory by Jonathan Weiner is the tale of these "intellectual cutthroats" who tracked down the mechanism of Mendelian inheritance, DNA. From Watson and Crick (whose names are famous) to Brooklyn-born Seymour Benzer (whose name is virtually unknown, even in scientific circles outside DNA research), Weiner has put together a brilliant presentation of the unfolding of a new science.
So after the eureka of Watson and Crick, one of the challenges for the new science (which did not yet call itself molecular biology) was to connect these classical maps of the gene with the new model of the double helix. It was Benzer who thought of a way to do it. Not long after Watson and Crick announced their discovery, Benzer hit on a plan that might unite the old revolution and the new revolution: classical genetics and molecular biology.
Weiner's "cast of characters" reads like a Who's Who of 20th century iconoclastic science: Richard Feynman, Max Delbrück, E.O. Wilson, geneticists Watson and Crick and Ronald Konopka, and the "Fly Room" scientists T.H. Morgan (whose name was given to the chromosome map unit "centimorgan"), Alfred Sturtevant and Ed Lewis. At the center of the tale, though, is Seymour Benzer, an innovative thinker who took the inheritance paradigm one step further, asking, can behavior be inherited?
With the discovery of the clock gene, the sense of time, mysterious for so many centuries, was no longer a mystery that could be observed only from the outside. Now it could be explored as a mechanism from the inside. The discovery implied that behavior itself could now be charted and mapped as precisely as any other aspect of inheritance. Qualities that people had always thought of... as if they were supernatural, might be mapped right alongside qualities as mundane as eye pigment.
Benzer's band of "cutthroat intellectuals" would have to battle for the new paradigm, with both the scientific community and outside it. Weiner's book is, therefore a war story; but one in which the victories are celebrated by all combatants, and coups are bloodless. For those interested in behavioral science, genetics, or the concept of paradigm change, it is a fascinating read.
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 Feb 17, 2005 8:11 PM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Miracle Memory Up-Close and Very Personal

FRANCIS PORRETTO @ Eternity Road applies his prodigious hammer to an unstruck nail in the discussion of the New Infonauts versus the Ancient Ones:

[W]hat is the nature of the Internet's power? Is it the ability to shout past the "gatekeepers" of print and broadcast journalism? Has the Commentariat tapped into sources of information that had previously been kept under lock and key? Or is "distributed intelligence" proving itself superior to the more concentrated forms that prevail in the offices of executive directors and editors-in-chief?

There's some substance to all of those. However, insufficient attention is being given to a practice that should be familiar to any reporter: note-taking.

The Internet's communications capacity is prodigious, but its memory -- its ability to retain facts and statements, and to retrieve them at need -- is near to miraculous. When millions of avid note-takers are on the case, all of them proficient with Google and many also armed with LexisNexis, it becomes all but impossible to slip cleanly away from one's past words and deeds. Someone will remember -- and given the powers of the search engines and the retentiveness of the Internet, he'll find the citations he needs to call his target to account.

This point about note-taking is well taken. Indeed, it is probably the blogworld's single techno trick that MSM has yet to catch onto, and has no hope of ever being able to emulate.

And it is not merely the "note-taking" of being able to run Google faster than a speeding bullet. Google is still at the stone ax level of information tools since it must do so much for so many. I'd be willing to bet that a lot of MSM researchers just come up on the plain vanilla Google, enter the search term, hit "I'm feeling lucky" and work the first ten results that come up. They don't set their home page to "Advanced Search," and running Boolean operations on the most fundamental level eludes them. The ones sitting in offices and seeking to impress their non-typing bosses may run Nexis-Lexis but have no idea how to weed it. Result: way too much information of a superficial sort.

Google (Advanced Search) is amazing, but more powerful still is a slowly acquired personal note-base. Since my interests are, to say the least, broad I am more interested in note-taking software than any other kind. As far as Macs go, I've pretty much tried them all. The one that suits me down to the ground is an application called NoteTaker from AquaMinds. I could write thousands of words of praise for this brilliant software but I'll save that for another time. Suffice it to say that, over time, NoteTaker has become my own personal and local Google.

The most valuable part of NoteTaker is its ability to create clipping services. Dozens of times a day when I see something that catches my interest, I'll select it on the screen and send it to NoteTaker in the background. At the end of the day, I'll take a look at it and dispatch various items to one or several other NoteTaker notebooks I've created. Each item will have the title and the URL of the page it was clipped from. Right now I have about 36 "notebooks" with up to 50 different subject pages each. They run from about 100K up to 12 megabytes in size. And they are all indexed -- automatically in the background. I use NoteTaker for everything from notes on financial matters to exceedingly complex novels and non-fiction projects I'm working on. I literally would be lost without it.

But what this means, to return to Poretto's point is that my little corner of the web has come to possess its own clippings morgue, research library, and fact-checking bureau all inside the G4 on my desk. This is more raw news analysis power than mid-level newspapers enjoyed twenty years ago. In addition, I have my own minor life experience and fields of semi-expertise to draw on as well. Include web-rings, email loops, URL managers, groupblogs, and link orgies. Then add in the deeper linking that comes from personal affiliations and distant distributed friendships across the infinite strands of the web. Make it global. Now multiply all this by many millions of people -- each of whom knows and is something unique -- and, oh yes, tack on Google. Then factor in a blog growth rate that is becoming exponential by the month. Not only should Mainstream Media be very afraid, everybody should be very afraid. Which, of course, is no reason not to run towards this brave new world at full speed. Is it?


Posted by Vanderleun Feb 17, 2005 2:03 AM | Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Robert's Rules of Survival

BOB PARSONS, THE BIG DADDY OF GODADDY, gives us a fascinating pocket biography of his life and what he's learned in “Robert, they can’t eat you!” My rules for survival. An ex-marine, his is not your standard dotcom success model, but, come to think of it, few are. Especially interesting are his rules to live by. My favorite three are grouped together:

8. Be quick to decide. Remember what the Union Civil War general, Tecumseh Sherman said: “A good plan violently executed today is far and away better than a perfect plan tomorrow.”

9. Measure everything of significance. I swear this is true. Anything that is measured and watched, improves.

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.

You could do worse than taking this quick course at the Parson's School of Business.

Posted by Vanderleun Feb 17, 2005 1:46 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
Affirmative Action Bottom Feeding

LIBERAL ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS COLUMNIST PAUL CAMPOS continues his masterful takedown of Ward Churchill with Freedom Unused is Abused

Churchill thus represents the reductio ad absurdum of the contemporary university's willingness to subordinate all other values to affirmative action. When such a grotesque fraud - a white man pretending to be an Indian, an intellectual charlatan spewing polemical garbage festooned with phony footnotes, a shameless demagogue fabricating imaginary historical incidents to justify his pathological hatreds, an apparent plagiarist who steals and distorts the work of real scholars - manages to scam his way into a full professorship at what is still a serious research university, we know the practice of affirmative action has hit rock bottom.
If you haven't been following Campos' continuing expose of every element of this fraud's life and career, this is a good place to start. But don't miss last week's look into Churchill's real ancestral line.

Posted by Vanderleun Feb 17, 2005 12:39 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
Journalism and Academia: Why Do Legwork When You Can Climb a Ladder?

WHEATON COLLEGE ENGLISH PROFESSOR MICHAEL DROUT ASKS: "What do the the Wall Street Journal's snippy reaction to the Eason Jordan affair and the Journal's regular defense of CEO pay, the Ward Churchill affair and Churchill's defenders, and
some of the more common critiques of tenure, teaching and the humanities at universities
have in common with a a fairly lame Michael J. Fox movie from 1987?"

Quite a lot it seems. Among Drout's many salient observations in The Secret of Their Succe$s (an article well worth reading completely, is this spot-on observation concerning the upper reaches of the media:

The problem is, that at the highest levels of journalism, the journalists aren't actually journalists, they are opinion columnists, politicians, managers and pundits. To some degree they still have the source advantage--Dan Rather can get a phone call returned by Colin Powell; the Power Line guys can't--but most of their energy goes not into reporting, but into other endeavours. And at these endeavours they have no particular edge over bloggers. In fact, because bloggers can write as many words as they need for a story, writers like Wretchard at Belmont Club or the much-missed Stephen den Beste can write argument cum research cum speculation essays that are more interesting and challenging than a predictable column by Thomas Friedman or George Will or Charles Krauthammer (when columnists go out and use their access to sources and do actual reporting, it's a different story). In short, I think the metro beat writers at most papers are probably better journalists (both as reporters and writers) than most bloggers. But the famous journalists are, perhaps surprisingly, another story. When they demonstrate that they don't use good judgment, that they can't avoid blatant and stupid bias, and when they try to argue that they deserve special privileges that other citizens don't deserve, people start to think--rightfully--that they are better ladder-climbers than perch performers.
Drout then proceeds to run the Petrified Forests in our Groves of Academe through the same ruthless alembic. He blames it all on sleep-deprivation brought on by young children.

They should keep him up more often.

Posted by Vanderleun Feb 17, 2005 12:10 AM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
You Know, I've Come to Expect Andrew Sullivan to Be on Top of These Issues

Frank Lynch, @ Really not worth archiving. Really. is, like so many others, confused about the Jeff Gannon gay witch hunt currently being pursued by left bloggers with empty scalp belts. He asks, "why the White House would latch on to "Jeff Gannon" as a vehicle for its political message."

My call to a senior White House Official who spoke off the record on this issue revealed the dark intent of the Neocon Satanist Cabal: "Why Gannon? Well, we were going to use Helen Thomas, but an FBI backgrounder revealed that she was not only a bottom but dead to boot."

Posted by Vanderleun Feb 16, 2005 4:18 PM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Blogs Are No Threat to Mainstream Media. Teenagers Are Another Story

"A recent survey in America showed that 36% of high school students think newspapers should get government approval of stories before being allowed to publish."

Kids today. What are you going to do?

Posted by Vanderleun Feb 16, 2005 4:02 PM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Why the Smart Money Isn't Selling Nuclear Power Plants

AS CONGRESS SEEKS TO HAMMER THE OIL COMPANIES (sort of, but not toohard), and the rutting patterns of the Caribou trump any small inch of progress towards energy independence, and the Greens blow off enough hot air to keep ten wind farms cracking if they could all blow in the same direction nobody, but nobody, has their nuclear power plants on the block. Why?
PSEG, Exelon have a reason to keep nuclear plants: Money

Owning a nuclear power plant these days is sort of like having your own money tree. The plant pumps out cheap power, runs practically all the time, and rakes in big bucks in a time of skyrocketing electricity bills.

But can we build new ones? Nope. That would be far too sane for this culture of, by, and for the Hybrid Buttinsky Caribou Love Party. After all, surely every single American can come up with $21,000 for a new Prius.

Posted by Vanderleun Feb 16, 2005 3:23 PM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Google News Family Values

I KNOW THAT GOOGLE NEWS IS SUPPOSED TO BE RUN BY A ROBOT, but am I alone in suspecting it is a really, really stupid robot?
Let's see. From this I am supposed to think that the Hockey Season That Wasn't is more important than the India-Pakistan War That Wasn't?

Given that Google is famous for hiring very bright people, maybe it could assign an entry level janitor to empty the drool cup of its news robot from time to time.

Posted by Vanderleun Feb 16, 2005 11:06 AM | Comments (7)  | QuickLink: Permalink


"Your iPod's glaring whiteness is relaying signals back to the humans. Protect yourself from harmful rays in style with this hand-crafted hip cozy made of (possibly) organic felt.
...and don't forget to dress it up with a Welcome Squid Overlords shirt." Ur.... Okay, anything you say.

How to Make a Cheap Portable Espresso Machine:
"A caulk gun? Hey, if it's good enough for Taco Bell guacamole and sour cream, it's good enough for a fine and delicate espresso, right?" Right.

Ska for the Skeptical:
"Unlike Bollywood for the Skeptical, this mix will probably not make you twice as cool as you are now. lord knows there's a limited quotient of cool left on this good earth and much of it can be found keepin' it real in coltrane's tomb."

IE7 is on the way. Be very afraid:
The MicroGuy in charge says: We heard a clear message: "Yes, XP SP2 makes the situation better. We want more, sooner. We want security on top of the compatibility and extensibility IE gives us, and we want it on XP. Microsoft, show us your commitment.”" Translation: Show us the MONEY! You guys are hosed for another decade, suckers.
New Home Of Me and My Monkey:
Coil guns, the Flyback Transformer, tesla coils made from garbage, dumpser diving tips from the pros, spud guns and other things you should never try at home but probably will.

Five fast email productivity tips:
Five "no-brainers" from 43 Folders' Merlin Mann help you break your bad email habits.

Design Rules of Thumb:
How designers get things done in terms of audience, layout, typography, image and color.

Posted by Vanderleun Feb 16, 2005 2:58 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, SpammerX: "Baldly Written?" Nope, Just Badly Written

On SpammerX's Inside the SPAM Cartel

by PAT CUMMINGS American Digest Book Editor

I was eager to get into the book Inside the Spam Cartel, written by "SpammerX". That eagerness persisted only into the second chapter—the self-professed spammer is coy in his presentation of examples, leaves out more information than he gives, and (by far the worst sin) seems unable to mate subject and verb number, use apostophes or adverbs rationally, or spot abject incoherence in his own writing.

Aside from that, the book is intriguing in a creepy way.

The topic is one every Internet user will find interesting, and SpammerX delivers a lot of detail about the process, purpose and payback of spamming. He has been somewhat careful about removing actual IP and eMail addresses and user names, although this, like all his proof-reading, is not thorough. He includes a number of examples of using HTML tags to encode spam messages that will slide through spam filters, while telling us his philosophy of spam. This philosophy boils down to: "I can do it, and you can't stop me, so it's all right. Besides, I get paid to do it."


Posted by Vanderleun Feb 16, 2005 12:25 AM | Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
"The Law of the Blogger:" A Signed and Numbered Edition

THE PERFECT GIFT FOR THE BLOGGER IN YOUR LIFE, or, if you are a blogger, the perfect gift for yourself (And you know you deserve it.)

As regular readers know, I never ask for money on American Digest. (I might, but in the two years this site has been active, I haven't.) Don't ask me why, because I don't know, and it drives people near me crazy. Here's your chance to help return them to sanity.

I will create the first signed and numbered edition of "THE LAW OF THE BLOGGER" in two variations and limited to 150 copies of each. [See below for examples.]

Each copy will be personally printed to order in high-resolution on a Canon 9000 ink-jet. The paper will be archival, acid-free, cold-pressed Fabriano 72 pound stock -- highly suitable for framing. Each print will be numbered, approved and signed by the artist -- which would be, well, me.

The two variations you may order are:
Keep Mum. The World Has Blogs and The Law of the Blogger as a pure type treatment.

Click to enlarge

Don't be put off by the quality of the Jpegs. Here's a sample of the level of resolution in the finished print:

Click to enlarge

Cost, including shipping, will be $20.00 per print. Shipping will be via Priority Mail in a strong tube. Satisfaction guaranteed or your money back on return of the print. [Shipping included within the US only, write for details on shipping to other parts of the world.]

To order, please make a payment to my PayPal account. [No credit cards. This ain't Amazon.] If Paypal is a problem, please send me email at and we'll work something out.

When ordering, be sure to include your mailing address which I won't disclose to anyone and probably won't remember anyway. If it is a gift, please tell me the address of the person you're sending it to if different from your own.

Here's the button, hit it. Think of it as DonationWare where you actually get something.

Posted by Vanderleun Feb 15, 2005 4:33 PM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
It's in the Cards

I KEEP NOTES. I keep notes on everything. Lately I've upgraded my note-keeping with the compulsive use of the the Hipster PDA -- a device that will change your life.

As a result, I've got a growing file of random notes which, at the time I took them, I felt would come in handy for something. And many have. But others just wait in card file looking for someplace to live. So, here's a few in no order other than the time they were taken. Why here and why now? Because I can.


Posted by Vanderleun Feb 15, 2005 12:25 PM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
MSM vs. Blogs: A Terminal Case of Writers' Envy?

Colossus the Forbin Project.jpg


" Let me ask you something, serious question, Will: Is the point to have a dialogue with the MSM or cause its destruction?"

Much is then heard from those of us in "Commentariat." My own response was, in essence, "Quite frankly, my dear Rosen, many bloggers don't give a damn one way or the other. Dialogue or destruction aren't the only possible points.":

The point could also be to merge with [MSM] or supplant [MSM].

Of course,[professional media] people could be getting upset because what used to a a single closed network of affiliations, social connections, professional associations, and a lot of nudge, nudge, wink, wink, now finds itself confronted with a much more open network of looser affiliations, social-network connections, and associations, that finds prating about professionalism without accountability noxious, with a lot of email, email, link link.

Another, perhaps deeper, source of unease among journalists collecting a check from a media company is the simultaneous revelation and discovery that there are a great many people who collect no check from any media company that are simply much better writers, editors, and checkers.

It was once the case that to assume the mantle of "writer" you had to get a job writing "for" something. Now all you need is a modem and a motive. And while I'll grant you that this means there is a lot of very bad writing swirling about, all that gets filtered out pretty quickly. What is astonishing to me is that, regardless of what subject you care to name, I can quickly discover a substantial number of people with a great deal of expertise in that area who are also quite good at expressing themselves.

And don't even get me started on the generalists....

Add to that the inescapable envy that must be felt by the "pros" as they note the vast number of online writers with solid skill sets who are also unconstrained by the "needs" and "policies" and "stylebooks" and all the other junk that media companies throw up around themselves to distinguish one apple from the next apple in the bin. Plus there's the freedom of telling it like you see it without worrying how this might affect promotion within or without the organization. On the one hand, yes, they do it for free, but on the other they are free to do it as they please. That's gotta grind like grit on the molars.

Put it all together and I don't think there's a drive to have a "dialogue" with MSM, because frankly dear Scarlett, most don't give a damn. I do think there's a yen to help MSM along to destruction but that's a fantasy ideology. MSM isn't going to any destruction that it isn't fashioning for itself. These little jabs may help it along a bit, but they aren't the determining factor.

What you've got is not some sort of battle to the death in a Hobbesian world, but simply a new species that is thriving in the online environment to an extent that MSM cannot possibly grasp, if for no other reason than that the people who still drive and direct the MSM from atop the corporations cannot, for the most part, type.

If you've ever seen the movie "The Forbin Project," you'll recall that it only got interesting when the rulers of the United States looked up and saw the message board above them begin to flash "THERE IS ANOTHER SYSTEM."

UPDATE: Roger L. Simon has some parallel thoughts about writing and money at : Anonymous Grub Street

Posted by Vanderleun Feb 15, 2005 9:38 AM | Comments (9)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Continuing Tragedy of Our Glacial Legal System

Dream Duo Not to Be

IRATE FANS OF PROGRESSIVE COOKING AND POLITICS were depressed early Tuesday when it was confirmed that, due to routine procedural matters, hopes were growing dim that Lynne Stewart and Martha Stewart would become cellmates.

"Given the time it takes to get a convicted felon like Stewart (Lynne) into the system," said Stewart (Martha)'s personal spokeswoman, Nada Pluckit, "we just don't see how we can make it happen before Martha is due to be released and start her television career."

Stewart (Lynne)'s personal spokesaman, Ahmad Akbar Finkelstein, was equally despondent: "It is an outrage against Allah, that our helpmate of many years has been denied the right to share up-close incarceration with the doyen of doilies. We were told that a collaboration between the two on book projects, Plastique for Dummies and Mullah Makeovers was a done deal in the high six figures. Again, the Jews of New York crush innocent Muslimites with no outcry from the world. We demand that Lynne Stewart be slammed into Martha Stewart's slammer this instant."

In related news, the spokestotem for "The Apprentice" confirmed rumors regarding Stewart (Lynne): "Yes, we have been in discussions with her and have signed a letter of intent to let her star in The Apprentice for the 2035 season."

Posted by Vanderleun Feb 15, 2005 8:53 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
Blog Road

BEYOND MUSLIM CARTOON REALITY: The Jawa Report: Exclusive: Prisoner Abuse Photos from Iraq that MSM Won't Show You Warning: Very Graphic and Very Real.

LIGHT FUSE. THROW IN TOILET. Yet Another Democratic Scandal for the Ages Goes "Hsssst!" The Senate Intelligence Committee decided today not to investigate President Bush's domestic surveillance program, at least for the time being. Oh well, I guess its back to "All Abu Ghraib All the Time," with a side of Dick Cheney's Lawyer Slaw. Continued...

Posted by Vanderleun Feb 15, 2005 7:21 AM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Scarborough's Rome: Disturbingly Candid, Depressingly Detailed

On Joe Scarborough's Rome Wasn't Burnt in a Day: The Real Deal on How Politicians, Bureaucrats, and Other Washington Barbarians are Bankrupting America

by PAT CUMMINGS American Digest Book Editor

IT'S AN AMERICAN ICON: Jimmy Stewart, freshly appointed Senator, ready to take on the machine, in Mr Smith Goes to Washington.

In the 1937 classic an idealistic Jefferson Smith... barnstorms Washington, hoping to make a difference. But the young senator is soon confronted by the awesome might of Washington's political machine... they unleash the political attack dogs, hoping to destroy the reputation of the young reformer. But our Mr. Smith fights back, defeats the political bigwigs, and watches his leaders confess their errors. He even wins the girl.
Throw out that image, "Congressman Joe" Scarborough tells us. It's not how Washington really works.


Posted by Vanderleun Feb 14, 2005 11:57 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
Time for a New Rice Bowl


2/14/2005 1:52:48 PM

From GERARD VAN DER LEUN: Corey Pein [letter below] ,alas, needs to take either a blogging refresher course at Columbia, or a break. He also needs to start living where the news is made, in the now. What may have been a "non-scandal" last week at this time when a Google News search on "Eason Jordan" brought up 8 sources of which 7 were blogs, now delivers over 200 sources -- mostly mainstream newspapers. And if the story means anything in terms of inside baseball at all, it means that "Yes, Corey, you do need to pay more attention, not to certain blogs, but to many." Technote to Corey: News aggregators make this a snap. Get one.

But should journalists "pander to reactionary sentiment"? Heaven forfend. Indeed, Mr. Pein tars decent journalists everywhere by thinking that they would ever pander to any sort of political sentiment. I certainly don't think the Columbia School of Journalism teaches pandering, does it? It seems to me that journalists on the media beat need to have a reportorial mind-set that is pre-judges nothing.

Mr. Pein can begin the healing by putting himself through a re-education process that does not cause his keyboard to jerk from Fox News to Pravada in less than 120 characters. Journalists who maintain this sort of mind-set are not good candidates for the media beat in today's WayNew world. I am sure that not even Mr. Pein or others at "America's Premiere Media Monitor" would argue that assigning a journalist to "report" on a subject who is on record as hating and despising the subject is the way to go here.

In short, although it seems to have eluded Pein, paying more attention to blogs in the wake of the Eason Affair has nothing of the weasel about it. Blogs should have been a staple of the media beat long ago. Reporting on them from the perspective that some are Pravda and others are pure is something that should never have been imported into the beat to begin with.

Blogs rise in value not because "a majority of Americans, journalists included, no longer accept the idea that there is a reality beyond themselves," but because a majority of Americans (journalists included?) no longer accept the version of reality dished up to them by those institutions and organizations that fund operations such as, well, The Columbia Journalism Review.

It seems to me that when somebody breaks your rice bowl you can either 1) get mad at them and try to get even; 2) weep and gnash teeth and rend garments over broken rice bowl; or 3) get a new rice bowl.


EXCERPT FROM LETTER BY COREY PEIN (Assistant Editor, Columbia Journalism Review): "Arguing that we need to pay more attention to certain blogs and get on top of non-scandals like "Easongate" is a weasely way of saying that journalists should pander to reactionary sentiment. But more time spent in front of computers will not save journalism. Nor will looking to Fox News as a model of integrity and audience relations.

What journalists do need to understand is why so many people prefer Pravda...."

Posted by Vanderleun Feb 14, 2005 12:38 PM | Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
While I Was Sleeping I Missed Three Things

1) The meeting and the memo from Venus that decreed that a tattoo just above the butt cleavage was no longer an optional fashion accessory for females under 30, but was now mandatory.

2) The meeting and the memo from Mars that decreed that any and all hairstyles for men under 30 and costing more than $8.00 would, by law, be indistinguishable from the hairstyle all men get by sleeping on it for eight hours.

3) The meeting and the memo from The Democratic Party Headquarters on the dark side of the moon proclaiming proudly that, after many decades of pandering to and absorbing any and all minority groups (no matter how small and harebrained), the Party would at last become what it beheld and morph into a minority itself.

Filed under "You Snooze, You Lose Track."

Posted by Vanderleun Feb 14, 2005 12:31 PM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Cojoined and in Need of the Operation

FROM: Journalism: Power without responsibility by Kenneth Minogue

A pseudo-philosophical commitment to evade partisanship turns at this level into a partisanship of its own. And not the least of the paradoxes we find in examining journalism is that this most Western of all practices should embrace so anti-Western a stance. The logical problem journalists face parallels that of liberals who embrace all lawful forms of freedom, only to be told that this apparent openness is itself a form of concealed partisanship. Liberalism and journalism, we might say, are virtually Siamese twins among the commitments of our civilization, and their fates are bound up together.

Posted by Vanderleun Feb 14, 2005 11:58 AM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Guantanamo Shut Down. Prisoners Moved to Neverland.

IN A HASTILY CONVENED NEWS CONFERENCE this morning, President George W. Bush announced that the Prisoner of War Camp at Guantanamo, Cuba, had been closed last night and all its prisoners transferred by Executive Order via the private Gulfstream fleets of George Soros and Amnesty International to Neverland Ranch in California.


Posted by Vanderleun Feb 14, 2005 7:58 AM | Comments (7)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Small Fires on the Deep

Bioluminescent bacteria occur nearly everywhere, and probably most spectacularly as the rare "milky sea" phenomenon, particularly in the Indian Ocean where mariners report steaming for hours through a sea glowing with a soft white light as far as the eye can see. -- The Bioluminescence Page

There is another world above this one; or outside of this one; the way to it is thru the smoke of this one, & the hole that smoke goes through. The ladder is the way through the smoke hole; the ladder holds up, some say, the world above; it might have been a tree or pole; I think it is merely a way. -- Gary Snyder- Through the Smoke Hole

These days my wife Sheryl wakes before dawn. The sound of the automatic coffee grinder and its aroma is her alarm. Before first light today, out on the deck overlooking the Pacific, she was gazing at the sea and saw, across the flat miles of ocean stretching out to Catalina, bright flashes come and go like wet fireworks exploding under the waves. Binoculars brought the flashes closer but didn't explain them. They were scattered all across the wide water except where the full moon sliding down the sky towards the western horizon smoothed a bright white band across the slate sea.

Later, when I woke, she brought me out on the deck to see the place where she'd witnessed this strange antediluvian light show. After a few more minutes I noticed that, in the rising light, large patches of the sea were dark, as if secret islands had risen just beneath the surface. Secret until my 'compulsion to explain the mysterious' arose.

"It's most likely a large algae bloom," I claimed. "When it was dark and the algae was stirred up by waves, breaking combers probably excited and concentrated the algae. What you saw was bioluminescence."

"Bioluminescence," she said. "That's such a fine, soft word."

We watched the dark islands under the surface of the sea for awhile longer and I wished I'd seen the flashes in the pre-dawn dark.

Toward the end of his life, Carl Sagan wrote a book about how most of humanity still lives in a "demon-haunted world;" and how science drives us relentlessly out of the dark oceans of our ignorance until, like some stump-legged fish, we scramble gasping onto the thin, dry strands of our knowledge about the truth of this world.

One of those strands in my mind was 'knowing' that the miracle of rush lights within the ocean was caused by the phenomenon we label "bioluminescence."

Mystery seen, mystery solved. Wonder summed by science, our youngest and most robust religion. A religion whose prime attraction is to transubstantiate the miraculous with the dependable; whose creed reverses the Eucharist by rendering the body and blood of God into bland bread and indifferent wine.

I've long been a lay member of this fresh, muscular faith whose liturgies are written in arcane symbols of mathematics rather than arcane phrases of Latin. As a lay member and mere acolyte my understanding is as shallow as my faith is adamantine. I have worshiped the Saints Einstein, Darwin, Newton, and Bohr. I have believed that in time all will be known and, when all is known, all will be explained and all mystery resolved. I have not yet read The Testament of the Unified Field, but I hope to before I die. Some of our current priests growing old in the quest assure me that I will.

Yet still I wonder.

When we explain what we experience in life in the steel language of science, do we drive the mystery out or merely mix more mystery in?

Perhaps neither. Perhaps what we do, through our relentless human need to explain, is to simply dive, as blindly as fish born deep below the light, ever deeper into the miracle. Perhaps we dive deep in the hope that the light from our minds and souls will, on some immensely distant day, grow large enough and bright enough to illuminate one crest of one wave rising once only out of the darkness. And that something, somewhere else in the immense darkness in which we dwell, will see our small fire and answer.

Posted by Vanderleun Feb 13, 2005 9:54 PM | Comments (8)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Democratic Days of Future Past

Howard Dean Announces His One-Point Program
for Party Renewal, February 12,2005

EXCERPT FROM 2010's MOST DOWNLOADED BOOK, "THE PARTY'S OVER: How Howard Dean Drove Old Demos Down" by Chief Justice Colin Powell (Random House, A Karl Rove Book, New York, 2009) -- Dean's Rise to Power

In the November 2004 elections the Democrats again failed to get a majority of seats in the congress and the presidency eluded them again as well. As in 2002, their share of the vote fell.   Dean had contemplated running a small maple syrup and roadside pancake franchise in Vermont. But then he was rescued by George Soros disguised as the Democratic National Committee.

Terry McAuliffe (an employee of Soros) was Chairman, but he could not get enough support in the DNC to keep his socks up. Soros and were having to govern by remote control via Hillary Clinton and their batteries were running low. Bill Clinton was, frankly, just shagged out and no use at all. SorosMoveon first offered Dean the post of sergeant-at-arms if he promised to scream first and take questions afterward.

Dean refused -- he demanded to be made the Chairman of the Democratic Party or he would take his computers and his 50,000 young and buff voters and go home. So Soros, the Clintons, and Kennedy took a risk. On 12 February 2005 the DNC made Dean the Chairman of the Democratic Party. They thought they could control Dean -- how wrong they were.

In the end, Dean did not TAKE power at all -- he was given it.

Posted by Vanderleun Feb 13, 2005 8:09 AM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Scariest Thing About The Boogeyman Is That It Got Made

by JEREMIAH LEWIS, American Digest Film Editor

Boogeyman -- 0 out of 5 stars

I'VE NEVER HAD A HIGH COLONIC, but I hear they're quite good for clearing out your system. The experience, I'm told, is not entirely pleasant, involving an invasion of your nether regions and a spreading sensation not unlike a street sewer overflow. That said, I'd still rather undergo multiple, massive high colonics than sit through another screening of The Boogeyman.

Peeping out of every plot hole in existence, the Boogeyman terrorizes troubled Tim "Timmy" Jensen (Barry Watson), a twenty-something with a history of mental illness and the ability to look like a has-been from the WB; his first encounter with the Boogeyman occurred when he was seven, in which his father was sucked into his bedroom closet and taken to...well, know one really knows for sure.

Flash forward fifteen years to a going away party for one of Tim's colleagues, where we meet his girlfriend Jessica (Tory Mussett), whose acting made me wish the Boogeyman would break his cover just to take her away from poor Timmy. Alas, it was not to be.


Posted by Vanderleun Feb 13, 2005 12:20 AM | QuickLink: Permalink

by CHRIS LYNCH , American Digest Sports Editor

WITH THE NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE FINALLY READY to finally pull the plug on the season, I thought this would be a good time to discuss one of my long held beliefs. I believe that Vince McMahon and the WWF made a big mistake trying to take on the National Football League with their Xtreme Football League four years ago, but I think McMahon would have been very successful if instead of the NFL he went after the NHL.

The NHL has three main problems:

1. All the clutching grabbing, trap defenses and elimination of fighting have made the sport boring to watch for the average fan.

2. Owners spend way too much on player contracts. Some owners give out contracts similar to baseball or basketball even though the hockey revenues are not close to those other sports. This makes it tough to compete for owners who are trying to be fiscally responsible.

3. The NHL has done a terrible job of marketing their product. Gary Bettman was brought in specifically to market the sport (he admittedly knew nothing about hockey when he took the job). The fact that last year's All-Star game got the same TV ratings as the first game of the season for the Arena Football League is exhibit A in the failure of Bettman to do the job he was hired to do.

An Xtreme Hockey League (The XHL) could have both addressed these problems and fixed them.

When your biggest stars, in this case Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemeiux, both publicly state that all the clutching and grabbing is killing the sport and you do nothing about it you are bound to fail. Even the best players don't care for the current NHL product. The XHL could solve this with just a few rule changes such as:


Posted by Vanderleun Feb 13, 2005 12:11 AM | Comments (7)  | QuickLink: Permalink
My DNA Made Me Do It

On Jonathan Weiner's Time, Love, Memory : A Great Biologist and His Quest for the Origins of Behavior

by PAT CUMMINGS American Digest Book Editor

Not since the Age of Enlightenment had the world seen such a crew of intellectual cutthroats, divinely assured of their rights of succession and their place in history. The philosophes of the Enlightenment also had their share of tall, thin, prognathous young men, and many of their contemporaries found them (in the words of Horace Walpole) "solemn, arrogant, dictatorial coxcombs—I need not say superlatively disagreeable."
Time, Love, Memory by Jonathan Weiner is the tale of these "intellectual cutthroats" who tracked down the mechanism of Mendelian inheritance, DNA. From Watson and Crick (whose names are famous) to Brooklyn-born Seymour Benzer (whose name is virtually unknown, even in scientific circles outside DNA research), Weiner has put together a brilliant presentation of the unfolding of a new science.
So after the eureka of Watson and Crick, one of the challenges for the new science (which did not yet call itself molecular biology) was to connect these classical maps of the gene with the new model of the double helix. It was Benzer who thought of a way to do it. Not long after Watson and Crick announced their discovery, Benzer hit on a plan that might unite the old revolution and the new revolution: classical genetics and molecular biology.
Weiner's "cast of characters" reads like a Who's Who of 20th century iconoclastic science: Richard Feynman, Max Delbrück, E.O. Wilson, geneticists Watson and Crick and Ronald Konopka, and the "Fly Room" scientists T.H. Morgan (whose name was given to the chromosome map unit "centimorgan"), Alfred Sturtevant and Ed Lewis. At the center of the tale, though, is Seymour Benzer, an innovative thinker who took the inheritance paradigm one step further, asking, can behavior be inherited?
With the discovery of the clock gene, the sense of time, mysterious for so many centuries, was no longer a mystery that could be observed only from the outside. Now it could be explored as a mechanism from the inside. The discovery implied that behavior itself could now be charted and mapped as precisely as any other aspect of inheritance. Qualities that people had always thought of... as if they were supernatural, might be mapped right alongside qualities as mundane as eye pigment.
Benzer's band of "cutthroat intellectuals" would have to battle for the new paradigm, with both the scientific community and outside it. Weiner's book is, therefore a war story; but one in which the victories are celebrated by all combatants, and coups are bloodless. For those interested in behavioral science, genetics, or the concept of paradigm change, it is a fascinating read.
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 Feb 12, 2005 12:34 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
Eason Jordan Resigns

From Jay Rosen : PressThink: Eason Jordan Resigns

Just got off the phone with Howard Kurtz. It's confirmed. Eason Jordan resigned today about an hour ago.

This is the statement CNN put out:

After 23 years at CNN, I have decided to resign in an effort to prevent CNN from being unfairly tarnished by the controversy over conflicting accounts of my recent remarks regarding the alarming number of journalists killed in Iraq.

I have devoted my professional life to helping make CNN the most trusted and respected news outlet in the world, and I would never do anything to compromise my work or that of the thousands of talented people it is my honor to work alongside.

While my CNN colleagues and my friends in the U.S. military know me well enough to know I have never stated, believed, or suspected that U.S. military forces intended to kill people they knew to be journalists, my comments on this subject in a World Economic Forum panel discussion were not as clear as they should have been.

I never meant to imply U.S. forces acted with ill intent when U.S. forces accidentally killed journalists, and I apologize to anyone who thought I said or believed otherwise. I have great admiration and respect for the men and women of the U.S. armed forces, with whom I have worked closely and been embedded in Baghdad, Tikrit, and Mosul, in addition to my time with American soldiers, sailors, Marines, and airmen in Afghanistan, former Yugoslavia, Somalia, Kuwait, Bahrain, and the Arabian Gulf.

As for my colleagues at CNN, I am enormously proud to have worked with you, risking my life in the trenches with you, and making CNN great with you. For that experience, and for your friendship and support these many years, I thank you.

"We'll always have Davos."

UPDATE: Crow Eating Carification -- I was WRONG, WRONG, WRONG! and must now steel myself to eating Roger Simon's hat.

Call for recipes.
UPDATE II: Just guesstimating here, but with 23 years in on CNN and what with taking one for the team, this has got to be worth between 1.5 and 2.5 million to Jordan as he goes out the door. Plus continuing benefits of course.

Posted by Vanderleun Feb 11, 2005 4:30 PM | Comments (6)  | QuickLink: Permalink
CNN CLARIFIES CLARIFICATION: We Cannot Support the Troops.

(Atlanta 2005-02-11) 6:35 EST -- Bowing to the blogstorms of the insidious right to become transparent, CNN this afternoon issued a clarification of their previous clarification via CNN's official spokeswoman, Christa Robinson.

"At a meeting between Eason Jordan and CNN executives this afternoon," Robinson stated, "it was agreed that this unfortunate incident was a learning opportunity for CNN on many levels. Accordingly, it was the consensus of all those at this high-level meeting that CNN immediately adopt the high-principles of journalistic professionalism, consistency, and transparency demanded by the blogosphere.

"It is, then, the official position of CNN News that, since we do not and cannot support the imperialistic American war in Iraq, we do not and cannot support the American troops in Iraq, either as units of the occupying and oppressive fascist forces of Bushism, or as individual Americans.

"We fully realize that by making our previously opaque position perfectly transparent, we are putting our journalists in danger of being assassinated by the stormtroopers of Amerikkka at an even greater rate than that divulged by Chairman Jordan to his friends in Switzerland last month, but that is an acceptable risk.

"Accordingly, we give fair warning to the goose-stepping minions of the Uber-Fascists in the White House, that all our reporters will be armed to the teeth with RPGs, trained to kill on command, and have their SUVs fully armored.

"Chairman Jordan fully endorses this new position and, although he will not make himself available for comment, may be quoted as saying, 'Bring 'em on!'

"Thank you. There's a backgrounder available at Easongate

Posted by Vanderleun Feb 11, 2005 3:36 PM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Roger Simon Gets Stoned

I am hereby calling for a web-wide [non-denominational, gnostic or ag] prayer circle for Roger Simon without regard to race, color, creed or URL origin.

On the advice of my doctor, I headed over to Cedars-Sinai Emergency, trying to tell myself I wasn't having a heart attack. I wasn't.

I had gallstones. I am now sitting in the hospital, waiting to have my gall bladder taken out -- a relatively routine operation. See y'all next week, when I'll do some stoneblogging, hopefully with jokes.

Or, as we learn from the Supreme Being in Time Bandits: "Dead? No excuse for laying off work. "

Posted by Vanderleun Feb 11, 2005 12:59 PM | Comments (6)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The New Line of Choice: "Saying it's wrong makes it right."

"The last temptation is the greatest treason.
To do the right thing, for the wrong reason."

--Eliot, Murder in the Cathedral

The execrable Salon outs the pro-choice movement's latest gambit to make aborton eternal, the "Admit it is wrong but do it anyway" defense.

Rebecca Traister, writing just about as badly as she can states it Life | Morality play

After years of intermittent jostling from the inside, a December essay by Catholics for a Free Choice president Frances Kissling on the value of the fetus seems to have cracked the hard ideological shell of the pro-choice community, exposing its messy theological, moral and emotional innards. The resulting scramble may not be the end of a movement, but rather a chance at rebirth before what could be the fight of its life.
We'll leave the immediate firing of the editor that allowed "jostling from the inside," "cracked the... shell," "messy... innards," "chance at rebirth," and "fight of its life" to the last remaining sane individual at Salon with any power over the amateurs it pays to scribble a scramble like that. Suffice it to say that, after you sit through an ad displaying a dewy rose, the rest of the article is even less pretty.

What you have is the picture of a "movement" constructed around something that no longer lends itself to what is thought of as a 'movement to improve the world,' but as something that is seen, ever more clearly, as a movement that cheapens the world in moral terms and even, taken to extremes, threatens the survival of nations, as Europe is beginning to learn to its regret.

Like other once clear causes now sunk in what Austin Bey has termed 'bitter decadence,' the Choiceites now inhabit a dark and fitful realm where the fragments of their movement alarm more than edify.

Exhibit A: "Now many in the pro-choice community are looking to reclaim that language, to warm up what has come to be regarded as an absolutist, clinical, chilly movement with language that is emotional, conciliatory, moralistic and even religious. In short, what the wildly different pro-choice projects launched in recent months have in common is a risky mission to put the heart back into the fight for abortion rights."


Posted by Vanderleun Feb 11, 2005 9:34 AM | Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
It's A Smaller World After All... It's a Smaller, Smaller....

James Lileks mentions in passing in today's Bleat

Got a call from Gerald, too: small world. You read a guy’s blog, you find his work in a Time magazine you have in your personal archives, you talk to him in California while you’re sitting in a Hilton ballroom, with the rest of the nation listening in as they shave in Hawaii or yawn in Maine. Cool world.
But he doesn't know the half of it.

Here's the back story and the finish, as seen from the other end of the cell connection in California.

This afternoon, done with some business in Los Angeles (A city that I was born in but rarely find myself in), I decide to spend some time checking out the Heritage Book Store on Melrose in the trendy-deco section of Los Angeles. I'm at this store in this district at this time because an artisan who is making a hand-bound notebook for me in Portland told me about it this morning on the phone. (That's another tale for another time.)

At any rate, her chance recommendation is the only reason I'm at the store. And it is an amazing store. Talked with a member of the staff named James about their stunning collection of first editions, got shown into the locked room where the very special first editions are kept. Talked publishing past and future, authors we knew, etc. Then I left.

I was due to meet a man whose extremely astute and funny satirical novel I published back in the 80s and whom I have not seen since. He's a novelist and filmmaker in Santa Monica and we've arranged to meet at 5 at the Casa del Mar on the beach.

Since I have time, I decide to take the slow surface route down Santa Monica Boulevard. It is, as things often are in LA, very slow. No problem, I've got time.

So there I am on a street I'm never on in a town I'm seldom in and sort of stuck in traffic. I turn on the radio and hit scan and bring in a station that I can't receive in Laguna Beach just in time to hear Hugh Hewitt say he's passing the mike to "The Northern Alliance."


Posted by Vanderleun Feb 10, 2005 10:09 PM | Comments (11)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Stop the Presses! Salon to Break Even in 31 Years!

Salon, the Ramparts Magazine of the Web, is not losing an editor at the same time it claws out a profit, it's gaining a messiah. This comes to light in a report on Salon in the NYT (The Founder of Salon Is Passing the Mouse) where we meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

"I think that when we went to a subscription model, we lost a lot of casual readers," Ms. Walsh said. "My job is to get people's awareness up and let them know that you can read Salon for free."
Translation: "You know those 88,000 'loyal' readers who give us $30 a year to subscribe? I want to let them know one thing.... 'Suckers!' "

Salon claims to have 3.4 million readers who visit the site every month, but it is not the buzz bomb of journalism it was when it was free. Slate, which was sold last year to the Washington Post Company, gave the subscription model a go a few years ago and threw up its hands. Now that advertising dollars are rushing toward the Web, it will be interesting to see whether Salon continues to charge at the door or will fling open the gates in pursuit of big audience numbers to sell to advertisers. Ms. Hambrecht said she and Ms. Walsh were being handed a stable, going concern that needed a bit of work.

"Salon has been a success from a journalistic and artistic point of view," she said. "We have been and will continue to focus on making this a business."

Well, I think that spending about $50 million of other people's money to make $400,000 last quarter is certainly a sign that you need to focus on business.
Ad sales have more than doubled in the last year, and revenues were up 69 percent, from $1.3 million in the quarter that ended in December 2003, to $2.2 million in the same quarter this year. And Salon's marginal profit of $400,000 is a marked improvement from last year's loss of $1.2 million. In addition, subscriptions grew over the past year by 16,000. Clearly, Salon - give or take the $50 million to get there - has found some business traction.
That's the good news for Salon and about as much as it is likely to get going forward. The bad news is that Talbot, even though he's gone, is probably still going to hang around.

Talbot will still be "Chairman of the company" and no doubt still collect a check while he spends his time writing a book about... wait for it... Robert F. Kennedy, an obscure American historical figure about whom little is known or has been written. Rumors that Mr. Talbott's access to the Kennedy papers and the Kennedy family has been greased by years of fawning interviews with and articles on Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. are utterly without foundation.[More]

And just because he is stepping down as the editor in chief and chief executive, Mr. Talbot is not relinquishing his pompoms.

"I still feel this whole messianic vision," he said. "At its best, Salon is not only progressive and crusading, but also running stories about sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll. A lot of that joyful spirit has been trashed by recent events, and I think Salon will play a role in reviving it."

Sigh, poor David, he'll never get over not being Jann Wenner in 1968. Even Wenner has moved beyond that sort of thing. You won't catch him running a magazine any longer with a groupie on his lap, a line on a mirror, and the iPod cranked up to 11. I guess that for the messiah of Salon it will always be 1968? No. For Talbot it will always be 1999 when you could party like you were burning up $50 million of other people's money.

Posted by Vanderleun Feb 10, 2005 9:55 AM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
All House, No Furniture

by JEREMIAH LEWIS, American Digest Film Editor

House of Flying Daggers:2 stars out of 5

The colour spectrum should put out a cease and desist order against Director Yimou Zhang. While his abilities to produce amazingly varied colour shots seem endless, his artlessness in storytelling is beginning to show. What Hero did at least with panache, House of Flying Daggers does with the barest hint of competence, trading wire-fu sweetness with a droll, uninteresting love story and a war story that falls off the map halfway through. Even the colour scheme, so celebrated by Zhang as a means to conveying emotions and plot development, is gimmicky here, with unintended comedic effect. You know the film's in trouble when you snicker, despite your best attempts not to, during a crucial death scene.


Posted by Vanderleun Feb 10, 2005 8:42 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
New Orleans Odyssey: A Man, A Plan, and a Deuce and a Half

Texas to New Orleans and Back: The Truck That Could

HE DECIDED TO NOT JUST SIT AROUND: Lone Star MVPA - ('05 Hurricane Katrina Experience). One Man's Account from "The Lone Star Military Vehicle Preservation Association"



Posted by Vanderleun Feb 10, 2005 8:11 AM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
One More Easongate Eye-Witness Weighs In

Wall Street Journal editor Brett Stephens was in the audience at the infamous Davos meeting. Here's what he saw and heard:

By chance, I was in the audience of the World Economic Forum's panel discussion where Mr. Jordan spoke. What happened was this: Mr. Jordan observed that of the 60-odd journalists killed in Iraq, 12 had been targeted and killed by coalition forces. He then offered a story of an unnamed Al-Jazeera journalist who had been "tortured for weeks" at Abu Ghraib, made to eat his shoes, and called "Al-Jazeera boy" by his American captors.

Here Rep. Barney Frank, also a member of the panel, interjected: Had American troops actually targeted journalists? And had CNN done a story about it? Well no, Mr. Jordan replied, CNN hadn't done a story on this, specifically. And no, he didn't believe the Bush administration had a policy of targeting journalists. Besides, he said, "the [American] generals and colonels have their heart in the right place."

By this point, one could almost see the wheels of Mr. Jordan's mind spinning, slowly: "How am I going to get out of this one?" But Mr. Frank and others kept demanding specifics. Mr. Jordan replied that "there are people who believe there are people in the military" who have it out for journalists. He also recounted a story of a reporter who'd been sent to the back of the line at a checkpoint outside of Baghdad's Green Zone, apparently because the soldier had been unhappy with the reporter's dispatches.

And that was it--the discussion moved on. I'll leave it others to draw their own verdicts, but here's mine: Whether with malice aforethought or not, Mr. Jordan made a defamatory innuendo. Defamatory innuendo--rather than outright allegation--is the vehicle of mainstream media bias. Had Mr. Jordan's innuendo gone unchallenged, it would have served as further proof to the Davos elite of the depths of American perfidy. Mr. Jordan deserves some credit for retracting the substance of his remark, and some forgiveness for trying to weasel his way out of a bad situation of his own making. Whether CNN wants its news division led by a man who can't be trusted to sit on a panel and field softball questions is another matter.

Sad times when a ranking member of the media elite can't trust a room full of the global elite to keep their mouths shut.

Meanwhile, back in Iraq, via soxblog

1) Although it hasn’t been the biggest story on the blogosphere today, perhaps it should be. A few months back the United States created an Iraqi television station of its own, the better to counteract the dubious reporting that sometimes emanates from Al Jazeera and Al –Aribaya. This morning, one of the U.S. station’s on-air Iraqi correspondents was gunned down along with his three year son as they left their home. No one denies that they were “targeted” by the “insurgents.”
Seems to me that videotape of Mr. Jordan at Davos would have a lot of impact if run back to back with the report of this "incident."

[HT: Roger Simon]

Posted by Vanderleun Feb 10, 2005 12:29 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
Michael Yon's New Forum

Yon on the Job

IT'S BEEN SOME DAYS SINCE MICHAEL YON POSTED, but his blog has undergone a redesign and has an improved look and feel. Added to the page is a forum for general remarks @ Open Forum: Michael Yon in Iraq with Yon's note:


Posted by Vanderleun Feb 9, 2005 12:53 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
MSNBC TO CNN: Sack Jordan


Mark down Joe Scarborough as one man who is not afraid of "the unwritten blacklist."

"There's a cancer growing at CNN and it's time to cut it out.... One of the top newsmakers in American spent his time in front of the world's most influential people telling them that American men and women in uniform were deliberately targeting journalists for assassination.... One fact is not in dispute, this CNN leader has defamed the honor and integrity of our brave men and women.... It's CNN's Jordan who is the real assassin blowing away the reputations of 150,000 troops some of who don't know tonight if they'll live to see another sunrise... Eason Jordan should be fired."

Trey Jackson's captured the whole segment for viewing at Jackson's Junction: "Eason Jordan should be fired" If you haven't seen it yet, see it now.

And pass it on.

Posted by Vanderleun Feb 8, 2005 9:53 PM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Game and Set to Mr. Jordan and CNN


The dog has barked and, without the videotape, the caravan has moved on.

The Eason Jordan vs The Bloggers match ended its first set today with a high lob set-up from Howard Kurtz at the Washington Post put away by an overhand smash by Mr. Adams of Davos who announced that the videotape of the Davos meeting, in which Jordan claimed the US Military was deliberatly killing journalists in Iraq, would not be released to the public.

Jordan's office also released a yet another "clarifying" statement which was picked up and noted in passing by the Boston Globe.

Yes, the New York Sun and the Washington Times have both covered the story and amplified the reports and the reporting by the blogosphere, with Michelle Malkin being especially distinguished in this regard.

But, for the time being, that's all folks.

As I remarked yesterday, the videotape is the key. But just knowing there is a videotape is not enough. At a bare minimum, the videotape must be seen, and widely seen, for it to make a difference. The Jordan/Davos videotape is the McGuffin here in the same way that the Rathergate CBS PDF documents were in that case. If the Jordan videotape is not seen at all, not all the sworn affidavits and interviews with eye-witnesses nor all the "outrage" of career politicians will matter one whit. And we now know that there will be no videotape released. Videotape, as I have said before, is Mr. Jordan's game. You don't think he'd be stupid enough to let it see the light of day if there were any way in which it could be prevented, do you? As William Burroughs is fond of asking, "Wouldn't you?"


Posted by Vanderleun Feb 8, 2005 9:54 AM | Comments (13)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Red Like Ward = Black Like Me

America has long been the kingdom of the bunco artist. One of the great American archetypes is the "man behind the curtain" in the wizard of Oz. In many ways, the late 19th and early 20th centuries were the Golden Age of American Buncombe. Since then, we've been afflicted with only pale reflections of the greats. Still, this is a great country and it can, from time to time, deliver genius long after you have stopped expecting it.

Every so often an American phony rises above our common run of grifters, hucksters and hustlers to become a stunningly notable fraud. Notable because, no matter how big a buffoon or transparent a fake he, he never seems to fall from the graces of the credulous, but simply continue to rise no matter how often they are punctured by the truth. And in no other realm is this more readily seen than in the great contemporary American sport of Race-Hustling. This is the sport where an individual uses the real or imagined historic or present day oppressions of an American minority solely for personal enrichment and advancement.

The current Heavyweight Champion of American Race-Hustling has to be Al Sharpton, a huckster so shameless that he was actually able to run for President of the United States based solely on the color of his skin with no serious examination of the content of his character. So brilliant has Sharpton become that he was taken absolutely seriously by otherwise sane pundits as well as by the Democratic Party and its supporters to the tune of untold millions in donations, grafts and grants.

It was once a matter of holy writ that when it came to playing the race card in America nobody could out-Jesse Jesse. With last year's amble for the Whitehouse by Sharpton, it was clear there's a new contender for the tiara on the scene. For Sharpton, through the mud that covered Tawana Brawley, saw clearly, probably from the master Jackson himself, that a series of lies and buffoonish claims repeated often enough and loudly enough no longer have to have within them a germ of the truth (as did Jackson's early affiliation with Martin Luther King). Sharpton's innovation in Race-Hustling was to craft lies so bold that they did not need to become true. Sharpton's lies were so beyond the pale that they became a complete and utter substitute for the truth; a zone in which the truth could find no life support whatsoever; an environment favorable only to falsehood. With that, it was believed that Sharpton had pretty much locked down the Race-Hustling game for himself; that it was, like the Ponzi scheme, a fully mature con. No other variations or improvements on The Sharpton Shuck were thought possible.

But America is nothing if it is not the land of innovation and sure enough, just when you think you've got all the possible variations of Race-Hustling down pat, someone comes along and takes you places previously impossible to go.

Yes, there's a new player in the Race-Hustling game who is showing a lot of promise -- Ward ("Of course I'm an Cherokee") Churchill.


Posted by Vanderleun Feb 7, 2005 1:37 PM | Comments (10)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Life Amidst the Ruins

FROM THE AMAZING PHOTOPAGES @ "Outpost Crystal" by Sigmund Solares-- Katrina Aftermath - Stench, Stragglers, and Stagnant Water.


Posted by Vanderleun Feb 7, 2005 12:08 PM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
CNN's Not Just In Kansas Any Longer

Of Eason Jordan, Global Reach, the Rumsfeld Defense, and Going to the Videotape.

No matter where you travel in the world, you can always find three utterly American products. Coca-cola in the bars, stores, and restaurants, McDonalds hamburger palaces on the streets, and a local flavor of CNN on the television in your hotel room.

CNN is one America's dominant exports to the world because it always has local spin implanted. The brilliance of Eason Jordan's CNN is the melding of the concept of the American radio industry's "All News All the Time" with the equally American concept of Baskin & Robbins' "31 Flavors."

The CNN you watch in Amsterdam is not the same CNN you see in Los Angeles. The same is true for England and France and Italy and all points global. Local CNN reporters, editors, anchors and commentators take the feeds they receive and put them in play according to what they think their markets will like. This makes good business sense since an all-American CNN (If you can imagine such a thing.) is not likely to score high-ratings in Europe, Asia, or the Middle-East. Indeed, the only hard and accurate American news that viewers need in these areas need from CNN is carried in the NYSE stock-ticker crawl.

It's wise to bear this in mind when watching how the Eason Jordan incident plays out over the next few weeks. This isn't an All-American Bloggers Vs. MSM playoff for the Presidency. This is a Global Reach Super-Bowl.

At stake is not whether CNN has the power to influence American elections and foreign policy. That has, to some extent, been settled last November. The issue now is whether or not Eason Jordan's CNN will continue to have the power to influence the foreign policy of other nations, and their reactions to the policies of the United States and the shape of the operations of the United States military. This power CNN clearly possesses and wishes to hang onto. This "global reach" is, as Eason Jordan understands, the real CNN powerbase and revenue stream. This is the cohort that Jordan, characterized elsewhere as a "diplomat" as much as businessman, needs to soothe and placate and play to. And, if the reports of the reaction to his Davos talk last week are to be credited, he is being very successful. As a result, his position as head of CNN must be maintained by CNN at all costs. There's going to be no resignation here. It would simply be too costly to CNN in terms of Jordan's connections and standing with CNN countries outside the US proper.


Posted by Vanderleun Feb 7, 2005 9:39 AM | Comments (10)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Toughest Love: Million Dollar Baby

by JEREMIAH LEWIS, American Digest Film Editor

5 stars out of 5

I almost wish I could say the critics are wrong about this one. Every so often, a film come along that is so well-received by everyone and their mothers, it almost becomes annoying to have to write one more hymn of praise for it. Yet when the gold is weighed and measured, what really does count at the end is how pure it is.

What has come out of the dross of the Hollywood studio system is a film crafted in subtlety, grace, and style. Clint Eastwood, who helmed, produced, stars in, and even composed music for Million Dollar Baby, is to be credited (as he is by other critics) for the rich pacing, the muted palette of blues and greens that bathe each shot, and tweaking mesmerizing performances out of Hilary Swank and Morgan Freeman. Paul Haggis' script, based on a collection of short boxing stories entitled "Rope Burns" by F.X. Toole, is a marvelous creation in its own right, weaving characters who live and die a reality few films ever achieve. Eastwood himself turns in a performance of grizzled perfection, providing the film's moral and conflicted center.


Posted by Vanderleun Feb 7, 2005 8:40 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
The Book They Love to Hate

BLOGGER MICHAEL HYATT IS "... the President and Chief Executive Officer of Thomas Nelson Publishers, the largest Christian publishing company in the world and the ninth largest publishing company of any kind."

On his page today, he announced that Thomas Nelson would match its employees contributions to New Orleans up to $50,000, making for a $100,000, and also donate 100,000 Bibles to any refugees who want one. This was posted in Working Smart: Thomas Nelson's Disaster Relief Efforts.

You can guess the rest. The comments section to this post immediately began seeing the kind of hateful spew all to common to those among us with no faith, no insight, and no appreciation of simple human generosity. One example:


Posted by Vanderleun Feb 6, 2005 5:49 PM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink

As usual, the game drags on. Then it is half-time. Overhead shot. Paul McCartney. Baby You Can Drive My Car. Okay. Warm-up. Second song. Warmed-up. Get to the piano. Then, hit the switch. Rev it up. Run up to the moment... "Live and let..... DIE!"

Wham! Whoosh! Ka-POW!

Gouts of flame. Skyrockets in flight. Huge crescendos of sound. Thousands of flares held in the hands waving in tempo. Cheers. More flames. Higher. Great cascades of fireworks blazing up into the night sky.....

And somewhere across the world, in a cafe or the back room of some souk, or even in a tent far out on the sands with only a generator and a satellite dish, some people are watching all this and thinking, "You know, if this democracy thing works out around here, maybe we can have a party like that."

Posted by Vanderleun Feb 6, 2005 5:45 PM | Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Eason Jordon and the Unwritten Blacklist

The Eason Jordan / American Soldiers Assassinate Reporters story has been running outside of the mainstream media for well over a week. There is a videotape, as yet in an undisclosed location, and there could be a transcript of that tape.

Major media hasn't touched this one at all, as a brief search under Eason Jordan on Google News will reveal.

Frustration is mounting in the blogsphere as the point man on this story, Hugh Hewitt , states:

You can't blast heroes as killers and walk off the field to a cocktail parties in Davos and pretend nothing happened.
Sigh. Sorry, Hugh, but as a matter of fact you can. Especially if you occupy a position like that of Eason Jordan.


Posted by Vanderleun Feb 6, 2005 8:56 AM | Comments (19)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Super Bowl Proposition Bet

by CHRIS LYNCH , American Digest Sports Editor

Last week I picked the Patriots to win by 18 points and earlier this week I reaffirmed that position. Picking the winner of a game is something you can do on any game though. What really makes the Super Bowl special are the proposition bets (whenever I hear or read those words I always think, "Hey bet - you going out? You're not a cop are ya?").

Coin Flip: there is a statistical advantage that says a coin tends to land with the same side up as what was up when it was tossed. Now since the Eagles are the visiting team and since they will most likely call heads and since heads will be probably up when the ref tosses the coin - take the Eagles to win the coin flip. This bet is literally a toss up.


Posted by Vanderleun Feb 5, 2005 9:21 PM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Choice: Victory or Depravity

Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty.

This much we pledge -- and more.-- John F. Kennedy: Inaugural Address

Last Sunday, while Iraq joined the Free World, Democratic Minority Leader Harry Reid proclaimed "We need an exit strategy so that we know what victory is and how we can get there. ... Iraq is clearly important, but there are so many bigger threats to our national security..."

Last Sunday, around the time Reid was speaking, a mortar was aimed at a polling station in Iraq. It went astray, fell into the village, and killed a young woman on her way to vote. The men who fired the shell were pleased. If they did not kill a voting station, they at least killed a voter. One shell, one voter -- the unashamed arithmetic of terrorism. Indeed, the killers were just voting too. In their way. In Iraq they get to vote like this every day. If there were nobody around to stop them, they would vote like this house to house, person to person, day after day, with the gun and the grenade, with the knife and the axe. Many of them label themselves "The Party of Return" -- that is of return to the rape-rooms, the shredders, the mass graves, and the absolute power to anything to anyone at anytime.

Last Sunday, American reporter Geraldo Rivera gazed at the young woman's shattered body under a filthy cloth in the back of a pick-up truck and asked: "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" -- *

Does it?

Last Sunday, Harry Reid proclaimed "We need an exit strategy so that we know what victory is and how we can get there..."

Last Sunday Reid's friend and fellow Democrat John Kerry proclaimed, "It's hard to say that something is legitimate when a whole portion of the country can't and doesn't vote."

Last Sunday,the self-appointed representatives of the "whole portion of the country that can't and doesn't vote" voted in their daily manner of voting with a new, innovative form of their depravity, they used a boy with Down Syndrome and the mind of a four year old to deliver their "vote:"

Amar Ahmed Mohammed was 19 years old. But the fact that he had the mind of a four-year-old did not stop the insurgency's hard men as they strapped explosives to his chest and guided him to a voting centre in suburban Al-Askan.

Before dawn yesterday in Baghdad, his parents strapped his broken remains to the roof of a taxi to lead a sorrowful procession to the holy city of Najaf. There, they gave him a ceremonial wash and shrouded him in white cotton before burying him in the shadow of the shrine of Imam Ali, the sainted founder of their Shiite creed.

Unlike the hundreds of others in the region who knowingly volunteered for an explosive death, Amar died because he did not know. He had Down syndrome.

Last Sunday, Teddy Kennedy proclaimed "The best way to demonstrate to the Iraqi people that we have no long-term designs on their country is for the Administration to withdraw some troops now..."

Last Sunday, as Iraq became a member of the Free World, the man who bears the name "Kennedy" in the Senate looked for the means to cut the price, drop the burden, ease the hardship, betray the friend, reward the foe, and assure the survival and success of tyranny. This much he pledged and more.


Posted by Vanderleun Feb 4, 2005 8:45 AM | Comments (14)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Cherokee Wannabe: ".... clues about not only what, but who Ward Churchill Is"

[Click for full image]

Found on the AIM Council on Security and Intelligence web page is this 1994 letter from Susan Shawn Harjo of the Morning Star Institute regarding the ethnic identity of Ward Churchill, once a member of one tribe or another, and now fairly exposed as a fake, a phony and a fraud. (This of course will result in his speaking fees increasing faster than his bookings at colleges around the country and in France.)


Posted by Vanderleun Feb 3, 2005 4:22 PM | Comments (25)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Tagging Up: Buzzmeme of the Moment This Month

Cluetrainer David Weinberger of Joho the Blog asked for some help on a presentation he gave last night. It concerned the Web's Next-Big-Thing-Right-Now, tags. Yup, tags. Social software. Folksonomies. Tag this, tag that. Be Get Furled. Tag for Technorati. The Tag is the piping hot buzzmeme of the moment. Tag, you're it.

Weinberger asks: "....then I go into tags. And it all falls apart exactly where it needs to get interesting: Beyond making things easier to find, what are the likely/possible social effects of tags?"

I found this request too late to help, but it set me to thinking. Here are some random thoughts on the life-cycle of tags.

Given the speed at which tags are catchng on, there's a chance they will just burn themselves out in a reasonably shot time, or at the least fade into the deeper armature of the web. Jumble Tag Sales are a distinct possibility.

As for tag spam, I've already seen spam just last night, so this will probably proliferate until tag spam killers come along. The overwhelming of with porn tags will tell you when this happens. Tag Spammers (Excuse me, "Tag Optimizers") vs. BlackTagListers, coming right up.

As to the overarching online effect of tags, that's already clear: Beyond the use as a kind of online anywhere bookmarks function, the greater social function of tags is as attention aggregators. Tagging attracts tags, and tags attract tagging. After a certain point a critical mass is reached and the page pointed to assumes a kind of stasis on the popular page. Its scroll rate becomes vastly slower than the main page's scroll rate. That's why the "recently" element on is so important. is already the main GoTo page for seeing what's hot on the web. css Zen Garden: The Beauty in CSS Design, 43 Folders, and Flickr! have been living there for months.

I look for a zeitgiest page or tool any time now. In fact, the sheer fact that I expect one means there probably already is one. One enterprising soul has written a bookmarklet that pops open tagging pages for, Furl, Frassle, Connotea, and Bag of Urls. [ Delicious Furled Tea Bookmarklet Maker ]. I guess that's for people who just can't have enough backups.

The other distinct possibility is that pages on become so popular that they inhabit that zone for extremely long periods of time. There will probably be a need for some kind of timer so that they will spool off.

Of course, a flashmob could, it seems to me, spoof the popular page for a long, long time.

"Flashmobs?" Weren't they the hot buzzmeme of the moment just a moment ago?

Posted by Vanderleun Feb 2, 2005 9:39 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
Killing the Messengers?

For those that have been following the story that evolved out of CNN's Eason Jordon's remarks at Davos the swirl of opinion and comment can be daunting. There is, by now, little doubt over what was said -- confirmed by at least two sources present -- and no little parsing of what it could mean to CNN, Jordon, and the media around the globe. But for all the numerous people who have written about this, the single most compelling voice is still that of Rony Abovitz, the man who first reported on what he saw and heard at Davos. It is often the case that when going to a particular blog you already know the tone and the take of the writer, but Abovitz is both fresh, informative, and fair. If you want a clear look at the what is at stake, see

Journalists Killed in Iraq - The Core Issues

Here are the issues as I see them:

(1) What really did happen in Iraq to both the U.S. and foreign journalists killed while trying to cover the war? The posts by the readers, in particular a few from soldiers themselves, make this question even more compelling. And what is going to happen to journalists covering Iraq going forward? How does the truth ever become fully revealed and made public? Does the U.N. need to investigate what happened? Is there a major media organization reputable enough to present accurate information on a question which by definition here involves the major media?

(2) What is the responsibility of the media, and of media chiefs in particular (such as Eason) when it comes to how the news is shaped (or not shaped) to meet the needs of their audience?  Is the news a business that needs to market to their customers what they want to hear and see, or is there a higher set of ethical and moral responsibilities that come along with the business of news? What is interesting in this case is that I do believe that the exact, objective facts are available with respect to what was said. This particular discussion at the WEF 2005 was videotaped (hopefully it is in a complete and unedited form). The debate about exactly what was said is easily resolved if an accurate transcript of the tape, or the tape itself, can be produced and made public. This kind of transparency lends itself well to global issues where subjectivity can taint any side of a topic like this. It is possible in this case that the subjectivity on one part of this issue can be removed entirely (with the complete videotape and transcript of the discussion).

If this is important to you, and it should be, you need to read his entire essay.

Posted by Vanderleun Feb 2, 2005 6:21 PM | QuickLink: Permalink

It's a disgrace that some of the nation's law schools, objecting to the Pentagon's "discrimination policies," refuse to permit military recruiters to make their pitch on campus, relegating them instead to unofficial off-campus venues. Law students pondering their first career move can be wined and dined by fancy firms that set up recruitment tables at campus job fairs, but they have to stroll over to the local Day's Inn to seek out the lonely military recruiter.

To put it another way, the same liberals who object that the military includes too many lower-class kids won't let military recruiters near the schools that contain students who will soon join the upper-class elite. It's almost enough to make us contemplate restoring the draft, starting with law school students. -- The Wall Street Journal


Posted by Vanderleun Feb 2, 2005 8:56 AM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
There's More in 2.5 Billion Pixels Than Meets the Eye

Yesterday's AMERICAN DIGEST item "Find License Plate HN-HG-41" has clearly found readers with way too much time on their hands and access to extemely powerful computers.

Odd details not limited to license plates discovered in the image have been hitting all day, but the one that really gave me pause was this one:

[Click to enlarge at your own risk]
Litigation for pain and suffering may be lodged with Mr. Tom Parker of Ithaca, New York.

Posted by Vanderleun Feb 1, 2005 10:27 PM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Secrets of the Mainstream Media

Herewith some exclusive American Digest late night photographs of The Associated Press' Fact Checking Offices


Posted by Vanderleun Feb 1, 2005 9:14 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
No Dolls for Oil! -- The Moron Brigade of Mainstream Media Marches On
This image of what appears to be a captured US soldier was posted on an Iraqi militant website, Tuesday Feb. 1, 2005. According to the website, the militants threatened to behead the hostage in 72 hours unless the Americans release Iraqi prisoners. The claim could not be verified.(AP Photo) --My Way News Photo - IRAQ SOLDIER
It "could not be verified" because the stringers, reporters, editors, and other extinct lifeforms that work for the Associated Press, didn't take the time to trot on down to TOYS R' US, or run a search under Dragon action figure Cody .

Somebody really needs to PayPal the AP ten bucks to pay for "Searching, Internet."


Posted by Vanderleun Feb 1, 2005 2:59 PM | Comments (9)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Question of the Moment

PORETTO @ ETERNITY ROAD has just about had it up to here with the whiners and the wimps in We The Carping,


Posted by Vanderleun Feb 1, 2005 12:03 PM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Snapshots from The Abandoned City:"Everybody is in need. Everybody has just been wiped out."

What has happened down here is the winds have changed,
Clouds roll in from the north and it started to rain.
Rained real hard and rained for a real long time.
Six feet of water in the streets of Evangeline.


Posted by Vanderleun Feb 1, 2005 8:25 AM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Find License Plate HN-HG-41

The largest digital photo in the world contains this:


inside of this:


Find it. I did.

To try your skills at looking for 21,465 pixels in a pile of 2,500,000,000 pixels, go here:TNO TPD - GigaPix UK

TNO has produced the largest digital panoramic photo in the world. So, what do we mean by large? After all, modern consumer cameras can easily take a picture with 5 million pixels. Well, we are talking about a photo of completely different dimensions. One with 2.5 billion pixels - that's 500 times more pixels. If this photo were printed, it would measure 6.67 m by 2.67 m (300 dpi). The photograph shows Delft and its surroundings in the autumn of 2004. It was taken from the top of the Electrical Engineering faculty of Delft University, at a height of about 100 m, by TNO.
Found at Optical Illusions Etc... via THE STEEL DEAL

Posted by Vanderleun Feb 1, 2005 12:41 AM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
G2E Media GmbH