Comments or suggestions: Gerard Van der Leun

Obsessed & Confused

"April Fools has come and passed, / And we're the biggest fools at last."


This is how Jeff Koons explains his work of art, above:

This painting has a sexualized sense of nature. There's reference to nineteenth-century French painting, and Courbet, and to Louis Elishemius, a twentieth-century American who has absolutely influenced me over the last couple of years. There's also a reflective silver line drawing that's what I think would be Cy Twombley's take on Courbet's Origin of the World-- but a little more primal. The image itself comes from a close-up of a couple in the act of making love. It's a penetration. Laid on top of that, with the exact same cropping, is an image of a waterfall. So you have the greens and the nature colors and then in the center of the waterfall, you have white and the flesh of the couple. It makes reference to Marcel Duchamp's Etant Donnes. Sexuality is something that overtakes you. The gesture that you end up making in the world happens through instinct and all these desires for procreation. The most beautiful aesthetics, the greatest beauty, is the acceptance of nature and of how things function. When I say beauty, I mean just true reality and openness to everything.ILLUSTRATION ART: APRIL FOOL'S DAY

Posted by gerardvanderleun at Apr 1, 2015 10:35 AM |  Comments (6)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Zimbabwe to Obama: "Piker, we'll see your $12 Trillion and raise you $100 Trillion"

Zimbabwe is introducing a $100 trillion note, currently worth about US$30.

What a laff-riot it has to be to work in the Zimbabwe version of the Federal Reserve these days. You just come in, have some coffee, and go to the Monday morning meeting:

"What shall we print today?"

"Well, we did the $20Trillion bill last Monday."

"And we did the very spiffy $50Trillion on Friday."

"Super. What'dya say we roll out the $100Trillion today?"

"Agreed. But what do we have left to put on it for a pretty picture?"

"Humm, that's a tough one. But the $100Trillion is such a strong and manly number I suggest..... rocks."


"Of course. What is more solid than a rock? Rock of Gibralter. Rock of Ages. Rock my soul in the bosom of Abraham..."

"Rock On!"

"Precisely. $100Trillion. So let it be printed. So let it be done."

"This will stimulate the Americans to catch up. We shall show them that all you need is one hundred trillion dollars and a dream."

Too much of this and you'll become nostalgic for the times of Inflation in the Weimar Republic when you could get a postage stamp for a mere 500 Million:
Ah, those were the days, my friend. We thought they'd never end.

From Word Around the Net: PICTURE OF THE DAY who notes, "What leftist fiscal policy results in."

Posted by Vanderleun at Jan 25, 2010 11:16 AM |  Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Untying the Knot

You gotta see it because The Anchoress says it is wonderful, and The Anchoress does not lie.

Posted by Vanderleun at Jul 31, 2009 8:00 PM |  Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The OWay: Synergy for Our Two Biggest Transportation Failures


They call it P.U.M.A. (Personal Urban Mobility and Accessibility). I call it the OWay and I say "Shoot on sight!"

GM, Segway to Make Vehicle

General Motors Corp. is teaming with Segway Inc., maker of the upright, self-balancing scooters, to build a new type of two-wheeled vehicle designed to move easily through congested urban streets.
Ah yes, General Motors and Segway (that paragon of technorati BS) will be slammed together at last, courtesy of the Government. It's the new math (Failure + Failure X Government = Success).

Posted by Vanderleun at Apr 8, 2009 3:14 PM |  Comments (16)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Smile that tripe off your face!


Not at all like the gold teeth extractions in the Nazi death camps, this time it's "volunteerism":

There's a new Gold Teeth Rush sweeping the nation! As people struggle to pay bills and put food on the table in this economic downturn, pawn shops and estate jewelry dealers are seeing an influx of those looking to cash in their gold caps, fillings and grills.... There are people like Cash Money Records CEO/CO-Founder Bryan "Baby" Williams, aka Birdman that had a $250,000 platinum with white gold-plated and diamond-encrusted crowns replaced with a $500,000 set of 18-karat white gold with some platinum crowns set with ascher-cut diamonds.

Posted by Vanderleun at Mar 30, 2009 6:41 AM |  Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Geekerlude: "Proficiency in Excel Required"

Okay, it's deep-geek, but it impresses.

Posted by Vanderleun at Oct 28, 2008 11:41 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
Will I Blend?

Let's review. Perfect Saturday Summer afternoon..... but, well, there's loads of laundry to do, and the gardening is really backed up, and the car needs a waxing..... What to do?

This needs careful planning. I know, I shall get out my foremost planning tool, the blender.

Posted by Vanderleun at Jun 2, 2007 5:02 PM |  Comments (6)  | QuickLink: Permalink
No Stinking Badges


Tim O'Reilly is a perfectly nice, bright guy, who has had a great deal of success with an ever expanding line of Geek and Nerd books and associated products. I like them all and admire his well-deserved success. But Tim O'Reilly has, as seemingly all good GeekNerds must, become infected by the most insidious virus of the new high-tech rich in our culture. He has gotten the inner conviction that he just has "to give back."

Posted by Vanderleun at Apr 9, 2007 4:30 PM |  Comments (16)  | QuickLink: Permalink
"Alley, alley, oxen free!"-- Osama Tosses Turban into the Ring for 2006 American Elections

AFTER A RECENT SERIES OF HIGH LEVEL MEETINGS with ranking Democrats at the Kennedy compound in Hyannisport, Massachusetts, ranking honorary Democrat Osama Bin Laden of Rat Hole, Pakistan, emerged from seclusion with some of the International Democratic Party talking points for the 2006 US election.

Posted by Vanderleun at Jun 9, 2006 11:47 AM |  Comments (26)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Porpoise Driven Life

Woman marries dolphin

A woman has married a dolphin in Israel.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted by Vanderleun at Jan 2, 2005 1:10 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
Fixing a Hole Where the Rain Gets In...

"...relaxed but clearly wearing his game face."

Included in Jann Wenner's strikingly bland Rolling Stone interview with John Kerry: > Iraq, Iraq, Bush, Vietnam, Iraq, Environment, Vietnam, Iraq, Bruce Springsteen, Favorite Beatles and Stones songs, Apocalypse Now, Iraq ....

Mysteriously not making an appearance in the interview: Gay rights and gay marriage. You'd think Jann would want to know.

Posted by Vanderleun at Oct 20, 2004 5:31 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
When Pets Blog

Dedicated to Dinker and Bacchus

Posted by Vanderleun at Oct 7, 2004 5:43 PM |  Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Tragedy of Omlet, Prince of Massachusetts

Omlet | Act 3, Scene 1

SCENE I. A cabin in the Gulfsteam, 40,000 feet over New Jersey.

To be or not to be President: that is my platform:
Whether 'tis more nuanced to vote for before against
The 87 billion of outrageous appropriation,
Or to make my case upon the seas of health care,
And by raising taxes get it fully funded? To windsurf: to trap-shoot:
To say "I cannot bring a gun to the debate." Oh end
The heart-ache and the thousand polling shocks
This campaign is heir to, tis a consomme
Devoutly to be reheated. To be elected, to rule;
To rule: perchance to decide: ay, there's the belly rub;
For in decision what results may come
When we have pulled out and hugged Chirac
Must give us all pause: I can't get no respect
That makes worthwhile of so long campaign.
For who would bear the whips and scorns of November;
The Limbaugh laugh, the Clintonian contumely,
The wrath of despising wife, the landslide votes of scorn,
The insolence of Begala, and the spurns
Of all my ambitions to be an aging JFK,
When I myself might my quietus make
With a pump-action? Who would Carville bear,
His grunts and sweating items of "To-Do,"
But that the dread of always junior senator,
That obscurity where I shall sink, from which
No non-Kennedy emerges, freezes me like headlighted deer,
And makes me bear John Edwards' southern drawl,
Than fly off to Nantucket or Gstaad to sport until December.
Thus candidacy doth make mincemeat of my myth;
And thus my native shape of waffle
Is amplified by my pale cast of speech
And my life's enterprise of "It's my ambition, stupid!,"
With view of my face their votes turn awry,
And lose the name of Winner. -- Soft me now!
The fair Teresa! Nymph, in thy checkbook
Be all my ambitions, stubs.

SOOTH! The Tragedy of Omlet, Prince of Massachusetts, doth continue at Protein Wisdom

Omlet | Act 5, Scene 1
SCENE I. A field in Red Bank, New Jersey. Prince Omlet examines the skull of a famous news anchor....

SOOTH! SCENE III. A lavish hotel room in Cleveland Enter OMLET and JOHN EDWARDS as described by Blogfonte.

Sooth, fair Instapunditeers, who, upon this plain of Mars
Hath joined good Sir Jeff and I, old Gerard of Gaunt,
To ponder demons from the Democratic depths
That rise with juice of cursed hebenon in a vial,
And in the porches of our ears do pour
Their leperous distilment. Abide in this abode,
And with keyboards brave and full of wit
Inscribe your scenes in comments that will fit.

Posted by Vanderleun at Sep 14, 2004 8:48 AM |  Comments (31)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Doesn't Everyone in Detroit Drive A Rolls?


As noted by I'm John Kerry and I Approve This Message


Image and text from : The American Mind

"For example, this past week Kerry went to Detroit, the heart of America's auto industry, to speak before the Urban League. Workers are very loyal to their employer's cars and to American products in general. The press badge for the trip proudly displayed a product of German construction, a Rolls-Royce 100EX. It could have been any car in the world, but it had to be 1.) a German automobile (imagine if it had been a Pugeot?); 2.) something complete out of reach to most Americans. He could have gotten away with a Chrysler Crossfire, an American coupe that look and performs like it's Mercedes-Benz cousins."
Update: Life Imitates the Onion.

Democratic frontrunner Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) began a seven-day, eight-state whistle-stop tour Monday, addressing a group of Frigidaire factory workers from the all-teak deck of his 60-foot luxury motor cruiser.
-- The Onion | Kerry Makes Whistle-Stop Tour From Deck Of Yacht

Posted by Vanderleun at Jul 24, 2004 11:13 PM |  Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
A Quarter Century ...ur... 15 Years of Growth!

[Mistaeks were made]

Posted by Vanderleun at Jul 24, 2004 1:19 AM |  Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Teach Your Children Well


You who are on the road
Must have a code that you can live by
And so become yourself
Because the past is just a good-bye.
Teach your children well,
Their father's hell did slowly go by,
And feed them on your dreams
The one they picks, the one you'll know by.

-- Crosby, Stills, Nash

Tip: Apropos of Something

Posted by Vanderleun at May 31, 2004 9:49 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
Teach Your Children Well


You who are on the road
Must have a code that you can live by
And so become yourself
Because the past is just a good-bye.
Teach your children well,
Their father's hell did slowly go by,
And feed them on your dreams
The one they picks, the one you'll know by.

-- Crosby, Stills, Nash

Tip: Apropos of Something

Posted by Vanderleun at May 31, 2004 9:49 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
Behold Barbara Boxer -- Healer of Worlds!

WHILE MOST OF HER FELLOW DEMOCRATS are trying their worst to save the country from Republicans, it is nice to know that Barbara Boxer has decided to Heal the Entire Planet if re-elected. Some things defy parody. Here is the complete text of a begging email sent by to the more deeply addled members of her constituency. At $1000 - $2000 a pop you might say it lacks the common touch -- except of course if your sole purpose in life is perfecting your asanas next to the pool in Tiburon. Ah, the Party of the Little People.

Give Your Support to
Senator Barbara Boxer
in her fight to Heal the World

Varda and Irving Rabin
and Friends of Barbara Boxer
cordially invite you to attend
a day of healing activity to celebrate
the joy of healthy practice

Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen
author of Kitchen Table Wisdom and My Grandfather�s Wisdom

Classes with Master Teachers will be offeredin the following disciplines:
Iyengar Yoga
Jin Shin Jyutsu
Qi Gong
The Art of Tai Chi
Chinese Herbal Medicine

Host Committee:
Janie and Don Friend ~Nancy Goldberg~Maribelle and Steve Leavitt~Joyce Linker~Lisa Stone Pritzker~ Carol Traeger~ Howard and Diane Zack

Partial Practitioner list:
Teja Bell~Elliot Blackman~Annpurna Broffman~Michael Broffman~Issac Eliaz~Jacqueline Gerson~Iris Gold~ Jill Holden~Lonner Holden~Steve Katz~Michael McCulloch~ Scott Phillips

Saturday, June 12, 2004
9:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.
An organic vegetarian lunch will be served in the garden at 12:30
$1,000 guest
$2,000 sponsor

At the home of Varda and Irving Rabin
3825 Paradise Drive
Tiburon, CA
For more information and to RSVP, please contact:

Ah, yes, veggie burgers and Barbara Boxer in a leotard perfecting her plow and down dog while the mantra "Bush Lied" leads all assembled to higher chakras. There's an exciting afternoon.

If they offered to take you off this mailing list for $3000, they'd stand to make a lot more money.

Posted by Vanderleun at May 26, 2004 5:57 PM |  Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Behold Barbara Boxer -- Healer of Worlds!

WHILE MOST OF HER FELLOW DEMOCRATS are trying their worst to save the country from Republicans, it is nice to know that Barbara Boxer has decided to Heal the Entire Planet if re-elected. Some things defy parody. Here is the complete text of a begging email sent by to the more deeply addled members of her constituency. At $1000 - $2000 a pop you might say it lacks the common touch -- except of course if your sole purpose in life is perfecting your asanas next to the pool in Tiburon. Ah, the Party of the Little People.

Give Your Support to
Senator Barbara Boxer
in her fight to Heal the World

Varda and Irving Rabin
and Friends of Barbara Boxer
cordially invite you to attend
a day of healing activity to celebrate
the joy of healthy practice

Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen
author of Kitchen Table Wisdom and My Grandfather�s Wisdom

Classes with Master Teachers will be offeredin the following disciplines:
Iyengar Yoga
Jin Shin Jyutsu
Qi Gong
The Art of Tai Chi
Chinese Herbal Medicine

Host Committee:
Janie and Don Friend ~Nancy Goldberg~Maribelle and Steve Leavitt~Joyce Linker~Lisa Stone Pritzker~ Carol Traeger~ Howard and Diane Zack

Partial Practitioner list:
Teja Bell~Elliot Blackman~Annpurna Broffman~Michael Broffman~Issac Eliaz~Jacqueline Gerson~Iris Gold~ Jill Holden~Lonner Holden~Steve Katz~Michael McCulloch~ Scott Phillips

Saturday, June 12, 2004
9:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.
An organic vegetarian lunch will be served in the garden at 12:30
$1,000 guest
$2,000 sponsor

At the home of Varda and Irving Rabin
3825 Paradise Drive
Tiburon, CA
For more information and to RSVP, please contact:

Ah, yes, veggie burgers and Barbara Boxer in a leotard perfecting her plow and down dog while the mantra "Bush Lied" leads all assembled to higher chakras. There's an exciting afternoon.

If they offered to take you off this mailing list for $3000, they'd stand to make a lot more money.

Posted by Vanderleun at May 26, 2004 5:57 PM |  Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
We Bought It to Help with Your Homework


"The games you get today,
They might be very flash,
But they will never beat the thrill
of getting through Jetpac.

Just click: Hey Hey 16k

Posted by Vanderleun at May 25, 2004 11:12 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
We Bought It to Help with Your Homework


"The games you get today,
They might be very flash,
But they will never beat the thrill
of getting through Jetpac.

Just click: Hey Hey 16k

Posted by Vanderleun at May 25, 2004 11:12 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
Most Unfortunate URL of the Month
Easy, convenient, right at your fingertips. Compare odds with wherever and whenever you want! --

Plus, from the same source, Trouble in Primitive Piercing Paradise

Posted by Vanderleun at May 25, 2004 10:56 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
Most Unfortunate URL of the Month
Easy, convenient, right at your fingertips. Compare odds with wherever and whenever you want! --

Plus, from the same source, Trouble in Primitive Piercing Paradise

Posted by Vanderleun at May 25, 2004 10:56 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
You see what my song really means is...


Hi. This is the new record, "I'm Good Now." Some people might think that that refers to me like kinda finally getting it together finally... but it actually refers to being dead, the whole idea behind it is, "Life sucks but now that I'm dead I'm good now. I wasn't doing so good, but now that I'm dead its all gravy..."

Attitude and message aside, it's not that bad a record.

Great looking site doesn't hurt either.

Posted by Vanderleun at May 24, 2004 1:54 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
When You're a Diversity Hammer Everything Looks Like a Minority Nail

A "Correction" from the New York Times.

An article last Wednesday about South Africa's wine industry referred incorrectly to Thabani Cellars, a winery there. It is not minority-owned. (As a black man, the owner, Jabulani Ntshangase, belongs to the country's majority.)

-- Spotted by raelity bytes

Posted by Vanderleun at May 22, 2004 10:38 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
A Pitiful and Weak Nation Yearns for Peace



Now you can take the hassle of opening jars out of your hands with the all-new Black & Decker Lids Off Automatic Jar Opener! It's the easy new way to open jars fast!

With the touch of a button, the new Lids Off Automatic Jar Opener loosens lids in seconds. No more hitting. No more prying. Opening jars doesn't get any easier.

Phantic despairs that "They're strapping belts of Semtex around their waists, and we're spending 40 bucks on a device to uncap jars. "

If this wasn't the perfect gift for a newly married lesbian couple, we'd agree.

Posted by Vanderleun at May 19, 2004 2:20 PM |  Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Least Shocking Headline of the Year

Powell Unable to Make Headway in Mideast

Posted by Vanderleun at May 16, 2004 9:04 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
MacAholics Only!

The 99 cent Powerbook: "He wanted a Powerbook. We gave him a p-p-p-powerbook"

Highly clickworthy, but place all hot beverages far away. Scamming the Scammer

Posted by Vanderleun at May 16, 2004 12:51 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
When Good Writers Go to Seed

ALAS, THE ONCE WONDERFUL WRITER KURT VONNEGUT has forgotten to get off the stage after the lights dim. His incoherent rant Cold Turkey -- In These Times is rife with gems such as:

"And do you know why I think he is so pissed off at Arabs? They invented algebra. Arabs also invented the numbers we use, including a symbol for nothing, which nobody else had ever had before. You think Arabs are dumb? Try doing long division with Roman numerals."
We will forget for the moment that the Roman numerals joke isn't even close to original. You'd think that loving and caring editors would have stopped their author from making a fool of himself, but perhaps they were lunching at the time and could not be bothered to look up from the expense account trough.

Vonnegut's "He" is, of course, the President. I wonder if there is an editor anywhere within telephone range of Kurt that could call him up and inform him that it is highly unlikely the President is upset over algebra. The hole at the tip of Manhattan should clear that up. Somebody should drive Kurt downtown and let him have a look around.
UPDATE: As mentioned in the comments, the joke is not only old and unoriginal, the facts are wrong:" Zero -- Its existence in the West is probably due to the Arabs, who, having obtained it from the Hindus, passed it on to European mathematicians in the latter part of the Middle Ages. The Maya of Central America and probably the Babylonians also invented zero." zero. The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. 2001

Posted by Vanderleun at May 15, 2004 4:11 PM |  Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
KISS Principle Continues to Fail Movable Type Crew

YESTERDAY THE "COMPANY" BEHIND MOVABLE TYPE removed all the radiation inhibitors in their single product with one single announcement of a fantastically complicated and extortionate pricing scheme. The result: a meltdown of their core ... market that is. Now, in the tradition of Three Mile Island, they are attempting to put the genie back in the bottle by -- making things even more complicated in the minds of their core customers: Six Log: Movable Type 3.0 Developer Edition

The question of what a "weblog" is is somewhat muddy, but the basic answer to the first question is that, if you're using multiple "Weblogs" in Movable Type in order to build 1 site, that only counts as 1 weblog towards the license limits.

In our licenses, we now address this with this language: "Weblog" means a single Web site viewable at a single URL (Uniform Resource Locator), consisting of one or more weblogs as generated by the Software via the "Create New Weblog" function of the Software.

To be clear, sub-weblogs that make up weblog sites shouldn't be counted toward your weblog total."

Well, that's clear enough, but really when wasn't it? The real muddy question all this raises is "Who do these people think they are?" There are a lot more "explanations" and sidestepping going on in this posting, but really, the damage has been done.

SixApart, probably steeping in a hot cup of "How Cool Are We," forgot the first principle of dealing with a userbase and indeed a customer base of any kind: KISS, or "Keep It Simple, Stupid." Instead of thinking through their business long term -- that's the thing called 'Let's keep these customers who are actually bringing us new customers, who are in fact the only thing that is bringing us new customers, happy, satisfied and unconfused" -- they looked at the Sum Cell on their spreadsheets that said "X thousand users @ X hundreds of dollars = Bonanza" and completely lost their minds. To do that they announced an utterly unrealistic pricing scheme in a complicated structure that only said to most people "You will now pay and you will pay a lot. No matter what you pay, you will pay more in the future once you are really locked into the app." This may have worked for Oracle but Six Apart ain't Oracle. They have zero market lock and now they have less market share. The rot will continue.

The "clarification" released today will not stop the rot. Once you have alerted your core base to the fact that they will need alternatives to keep from being gouged, it comes as no surprise they will start the search for alternatives. Many will find them and competitors in the field will not be slow to welcome them.

Case in point: The Expression Engine is now offering free apps to the first 1,000 people that affirm they are moving from "another application." Their inbox runneth over.

The last few days of 'communication' coming out of Six Apart to alienate its user and developer base is not an isolated incident. The company has always been aloof and uncommunicative. This is their way. Regardless of the "clairifications" all the user base can now be sure of is that in some way, on some day, Six Apart will screw them. It didn't completley work this time, but there's alway tomorrow.

There are two good things to come out of this. The first is that elegant and workmanlike substitutes such as Dean Allen's elegant Textpattern and the solid group hack WordPress will get the attention they deserve. The second is that those VC's foolish enough to back an app whose founders are hopeless sunk in the "aren't we cool" culture, will probably lose a lot of money.

Posted by Vanderleun at May 15, 2004 11:38 AM |  Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Kottke Catches Winer Stupidity Virus

THE USUALLY SANE AND ASTUTE JASON KOTTKE has been bitten in the brain by the Dave Winer web virus today with his note titled The end of free (

The bottom line, as Dave suggests, is that MT 3.0 is worth charging money for. Period. The fact that it was free up until now is largely irrelevant...except that for 2 1/2 years Six Apart has provided people with a very powerful, flexible piece of software for free and will continue to do so in the future. Those bastards!
Sigh. That's the problem with reading Dave Winer without your surge protector duct-taped to your forehead. You might think, for a nanosecond, that Winer is making sense, but that's only because your are forgetting that everything in Middle Earth is but a prop in Dave's Neverending Epic Backstory starring Dave. In this case, you've forgotten the massive Userland meltdown when pricing began and, surprise, GOT IT WRONG. Like the Web's rutheless attack on Dave over RSS, his remorseless strangulation of his cat, his ascension into the realms of Harvard, his self-canonization as the inventor of blogging, his compulsion to inform you that today is his 3,746th day of not-smoking, and his decision to "move to a swing state in November so my vote counts!" (announced yesterday)... yes, you have forgotten that you cannot separate a Davism from Dave. The Dave endures.

Kottke then recovers some semblance of sanity when he goes on to say:

The one thing I do think 6A got wrong is the pricing structure for personal users.
HELLO! Earth to Jason. That is exactly what all this is about. It is not, as Dave so dumbly decrees, about getting something for nothing. It is about the price of that something. Few MT users have been moaning about the end of free, but a lot have been, as you note, made very nervous by the
Tiered pricing of software based on the number of users was designed to make sure large companies paid more for software than did small that a company like Wal-Mart pays $3 million for a database application for 20,000 users and a smaller company like Nantucket Nectars pays $30,000 for the same software with 250 users. The same pricing structure doesn't make sense for personal users. I know they priced it that way so that someone can't install MT and then host weblogs for 50 of their friends. I can understand that...that seems like an abuse of the "personal" license to me.
Jason then goes on to state that if he jumped on this pricing model under his current configuration he'd be shelling out $700. That's only for starters.

What's clear to me is that, as they have in the past, Six Apart got stupid with the way it handles its core users. It also got stupid with the way they used beta testers and then tried to upsell them. It was stupid again with the way they announced their move, and stupid before that with the way they set their pricing. Indeed, they state they are 'trying to get their pricing right.' What does that mean? Are they beta-testing their pricing? Will it go up if the market will bear it? Will it come down if it will not? If it comes down, will early adopters get a refund?

Seems to me that 6A has depended on "the kindness of strangers" in plugin development and software support since day one. Seems to me that they've more than once revealed themselves to be stumblebums at doing what their software is supposed to enable -- communicate clearly and effectively. For this small flaw they will also join the group of people invested in Movabletype -- yes, they too will pay.


Side note to Kottke: When Dave Winer thinks something, take a hint from Apple and think different.

Posted by Vanderleun at May 14, 2004 10:45 AM |  Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Movable Type to Users: Bend Over and Cough It Up

So long, suckers.
Thanks for the fish.

SMILING MENA TROTT'S little note about their new "engulf and devour" pricing scheme -- and "scheme" is the right word for it -- has caused no little consternation in the blogsphere. Well, 'consternation' is a little soft -- 'rage' and 'betrayal' and 'greed' are also mentioned in some of the 450+ trackbacks.

Indeed, Mena's little note has probably set a new trackback record for a single post in all of the blogs that use Movable Type. Written in the sweet, dulcet tones that we have come to know as "pure Mena" this little note is not the first time SixApart has proved to be hamhanded in dealing with its large userbase.

Mena's Corner: It's About Time
Ben and I are incredibly proud to see that Movable Type, the product that we first developed in our spare bedroom, has now enabled us to become a company that not only allows good people to have jobs that they (hopefully) enjoy but also a company that remembers those who got us here.
Translation: "We'd like to thank all the little people." Yes, indeed, they remember by walking straight up to a lot of them and picking their pocket. They seem to forget that it really isn't MovableType and SixApart that made the app dominant in their little world, but the endless work of people creating plugins that give the app the functionality that it should have had in the first place. Plugins that really patched up the shaky software that MovableType was at its inception and continued to be right up through the last release. Oh yes, and all that free advice freely given over the years from one blogger to the other on their forums.

While nobody doubts the right of SixApart to profit from their work, many rightfully doubt the business sense of this fledgling company in the current fantasy pricing structure. Indeed, with price tags for various configurations going to the north of $700, their "strategy" seems to be to give as many members of their sophisticated user base away to their competitors as fast as possible.

It would be hard to find an example of a dumber idea passed off in such a breezy and Scarlet O'Hara manner than we see here. I guess that the SixApart couple just jumped back into that "back bedroom" for some warm pillow talk and came out with a business plan they think will buy them the Gulfstream soonest.

Sigh. If this decision was any dumber I'd have to say that Joi Ito had a hand in it. Oh, wait, he does, doesn't he?

Posted by Vanderleun at May 14, 2004 9:20 AM |  Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
What's Just-So-Wrong With This Picture?


A backhoe, a sledge hammer, a thin steel rod, and a trusted co-worker. What could possibly go wrong?

Posted by Vanderleun at May 9, 2004 7:30 PM |  Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
File Next to "The End of the Internet"

MATT HAUGHEY has clearly been spending far too much time in his head. Where he once may have had issues, he's now gone into full blown episodes:

The greatest photoblog image of all time | Ten Years of My Life

Today while walking through the meat packing district of New York, we stumbled upon a garden center where I captured what could quite possibly be the most quintessential photoblog image ever recorded on compactflash.

In the background, you can see The High Line. In the foreground, you'll see a photo of some blooming flowers. The sunglasses are there to act as a mirror. The fingers holding the glasses are Jason Kottke's. The photo is also kind of blurry. The only thing missing from this photo is my cat, who unfortunately didn't come to New York with me, or a baby, which I don't have yet.

Did I mention that TEN YEARS OF MY LIFE is a fascinating project. It is. But I'm distressed that it is clearly going to be all downhill from here.
Posted by Vanderleun at May 3, 2004 7:38 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
Don't Ask, Don't YARRRRR!
"We get asked a lot of questions about how to choose the right RAM for your system - and generally we like to say that the most important factor to consider is whether or not your RAM is named after pirates. As everyone knows, pirates are utterly excellent, perhaps being only slightly less cool than astronauts from the early 70's and spies. Like Billy Connolly before he started wearing mad trousers and bombing around Australia on a fruity tricycle, they sport exotic facial hair and pay excitingly scant regard to basic maritime health and safety regulations. So naturally, when you're trying to build the gnarliest gaming rig your puny human brain can comprehend, you'd be madder than a barrel of doorframes not to choose the stuff that has gently homoerotic nautical overtones!

"There's a wealth of information about Corsair memory at a new site here - either go for the brazenly fast XMS2, using memory so new and spangly it's technically illegal, or - my personal favourite - try out the overclocker's favourite stick, and go with the Pro. Like any true pirate, the Pro sticks come with an array of LEDs on top, which allow you to see how much of his brain he's using. Also, they have lots of tiny fins on - in the pirates' case this was to make sure his sleek, coconut-oiled torso slipped through the azure Caribbean seas like a freshly buttered otter. I presume they fulfil the same sort of function on the RAM.

"So, ask us what kind of RAM you should put in your new killer system, and we'll simply reply "YARRRR!" - before leaping from the top floor of our warehouse shelving with a network card between our teeth, swinging to the ground from 20m of CAT6 network cable, and finally leaping out of the window and making good our escape with 6 doubloon's worth of external hard-drives. YAAARRRRRR!"


Posted by Vanderleun at Apr 24, 2004 10:34 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
Mourner Do's and Don'ts

What do these damp grief counselors do between disasters? Why they write books, of course. Such as this instant downer from Publishers Marketplace Offerings

GOD KNOWS: I'M GRIEVING! is co-authored by Marilyn Stolzman, Ph.D., L.M.F.T, a practicing psychotherapist specializing in grief counseling, a popular lecturer, and the Director of H.O.P.E. Unit Foundation for Bereavement and Transition, a Los Angeles-based, ongoing bereavement support organization and book buyer, and widow, seasoned PR-savvy, published author Gloria Lintermans. GOD KNOWS: I'M GRIEVING! The Journey from Loss of Love, to Life and Laughter speaks to that widow/widower/partner -- over 15 million people in America - who have lost a spouse, and, the additional millions of surviving partners from non-traditional relationships (gay, lesbian and life-partners).

GOD KNOWS: I'M GRIEVING!, a 75,000-word cutting edge, prescriptive approach to healthy, healing grief, is a practical guidebook for the bereaved and their support network -- not psychobabble, but workable steps to moving through the important and necessary Stages and Time Sequences of Grief in order to realize a healed, gratifying new life. Unlike any book currently available on grieving the loss of a spouse or partner, it is unique to this important marketplace, because: GOD KNOWS: I'M GRIEVING!, while providing insights into the five Stages of Grief, also explores the previously ignored five Time Sequences of Grief while keeping in mind the mourners' temporary inability to concentrate by presenting each chapter in an easy-to-navigate format of four sections. They are: (1) Lintermans' firsthand experience to which mourners will comfortingly relate; (2) questions about day-to-day life common to mourners; (3) Dr. Stolzman's reassuring explanation of what the mourner is feeling; and, (4) a roadmap of practical Do's and Don'ts to guide the mourner on the path to recovery.

We certainly can't wait to "comfortingly relate," we're shipping off an "offering" this afternoon to our agent titled: GOD KNOWS: I'M HEAVING!

Posted by Vanderleun at Apr 21, 2004 1:38 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
Pawning the Force


Bidding stands at $1,125 (Reserve met) and going up.

SWG Star Wars Galaxies Sunrunner Jedi Account Loaded

Jedi Character: Jedi is 4-3-2-3 in the Jedi Padawan tree and has a 4th Gen Crystal saber as well as 2 Single Crystals and 2 Twins. Jedi has No visibility, is Not listed on the Bounty Hunter terminals, and has never died. You can either continue down the current Jedi's path or start your very own personalized Jedi.

Main Character: The main character is a Master Pistoleer with some Bounty Hunter which will allow you to engage in PvP, easily run missions, raid dungeons, participate in taking down factional bases, and also hunt down other Jedi for quick, easy cash.

You will also receive over 2 million credits, Several sets of 70% Kinetic Composite Armor, Several million Credits worth in Krayt Enhanced and Geonosian weaponry, 3 houses, 25 crates of food and drugs, and much more.

I will be accepting Paypal only. Within 24 hours after the funds are verified you will be given all account information. The account still has 1 full month paid for, after that it is the winner's responsibility to update the billing information to keep this account active.

This is the third time this account has been up for auction. Due to failure toreceive paymentblah blah blah. I will contact you if you are the high bidder, if you fail to respond I will drop your bid.

What? No honor among those who would be Jedi?

Posted by Vanderleun at Apr 16, 2004 4:17 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
Googles All the Way Down

A man, a plan, a keyboard ....Stupidus!

Posted 4/5/2004 09:25:13 AM by Stupidus Rex
"Wah": 1,220,000 Google hits
"Waah": 30,500 Google hits
"Waaah": 21,700 Google hits
"Waaaah": 13,200 Google hits
"Waaaaah": 7,330 Google hits
"Waaaaaah": 14,200 Google hits
"Waaaaaaah": 2,910 Google hits
"Waaaaaaaah": 2,190 Google hits
"Waaaaaaaaah": 1,740 Google hits
"Waaaaaaaaaah": 858 Google hits
"Waaaaaaaaaaah": 777 Google hits
"Waaaaaaaaaaaah": 602 Google hits
"Waaaaaaaaaaaaah": 1160 Google hits
"Waaaaaaaaaaaaaah": 1100 Google hits
"Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaah": 800 Google hits
"Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah": 568 Google hits
"Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah": 441 Google hits
"Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah": 456 Google hits
"Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah": 788 Google hits
"Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah": 307 Google hits
"Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah": 495 Google hits
"Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah": 199 Google hits
"Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah": 175 Google hits
"Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah": 344 Google hits
"Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah": 137 Google hits
"Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah": 113 Google hits
"Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah": 136 Google hits
"Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah": 106 Google hits
"Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah": 94 Google hits
"Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah": 70 Google hits

Posted by Vanderleun at Apr 13, 2004 10:45 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
A Web Page In the Pot for Everybody from John Kerry!

The ever-alert Kevin has spotted the good Senator's offer of a web page to all inWizbang: Show Your Support!

Show Your Support!

John Kerry is graciously offering you your very own web page on his campaign site. Shouldn't you take him up on it?

We did our job HERE. Why not give him a minute and pitch in for THE HOLY CAUSE!

Remember to save a screen capture of your work, because as Allah notes, "This won't last long."

Posted by Vanderleun at Apr 10, 2004 2:41 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
Homer Simpson's Stifled Dissent

Declan McCullagh has a short note on the Politechbot list: Politech this week where he brings us up to date on the level of "creative thinking" that's driving 'The Simpson's' today:

Tim Long, for instance, is the co-executive producer of The Simpsons and spoke yesterday .... (Long said, BTW, that the reason President Bush has not been satirized as much as Clinton on the show is that an appearance on the Simpsons is a kind of "homage" to a person, and Bush is enough of a joke as-is.)
Of course, the enunciation of a speaker doesn't travel on a mailing list, but I wonder if Long thought to give "homage" that infra-dig French pronounciation of "Omage" in order to increase the chortles in the room. Seeing that Long is Canadian, he certainly has the background. Cheap laughs in protected and vetted speaking environments is really what it's all about, isn't it, Tim?

I have to observe that Bill Clinton was much more likely to be a bubba-buddy of Homer and his creators than George Bush. Ah, those were the days, weren't they? Beer and bubbas as far as the eye could see. Then again, The Simpsons are so 20th century these days, aren't they? George Bush could probably do without the 'honor.' John Kerry, however, would probably pursue it in order to establish his "man of the people" image.

On the other hand, there's reason to believe that Long is, essentially, lying about this whole thing. Given his background as a writer for Politically Correct, the idea that he's never pitched a 'get Bush' scenerio doesn't pass the smell test. Nor is it unlikely wiser heads shot the pitch out of the air as it was leaving his mouth. It is not difficult to imagine that, in today's cut-throat TV ratings wars, there's more downside for Fox's The Simpsons' taking on Bush than upside. And with an aging cash-cow like The Simpsons, you don't want to take the show anywhere that would cause millions to take it off their Tivos with one click, do you?

Posted by Vanderleun at Apr 8, 2004 10:56 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
80 Extra Reasons to Despair Over Marc Andreessen

Ex-Netscape-Loud-Cloud "visionary" Marc Andreessen has, ah, with words a way (i.e. "The valley is going to save the valley" ), but his choice of stored video is more dubious:

Q FCC Chairman Michael Powell calls TiVo ``God's machine.'' What's your equivalent?

Andreessen: I have four Replay machines. Each has 360 hours of storage and they are plugged into my home LAN (local area network). I have 1,400 hours of video storage. What's on it? All kinds of stuff, like the last 80 episodes of Charlie Rose.

Well, we were thinking about going long on a lot of open source companies, but now we might just short the whole segment.

Posted by Vanderleun at Mar 27, 2004 12:38 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
BBC to Hamas: Please Don't Hurt Us

"Scores of Palestinians were inspired by his message to give
up their lives, and became suicide bombers."

From a smarm drenched 'homage' to the late "spiritual leader" of the Palestinians by the BBC at: Sheikh Yassin: Life in pictures. This little slide show has to be seen to be believed. And even then, it helps to believe that somewhere in the captions there is some small grain of irony. Then again it may be pure mindlessness.

Pointer via lgf: A Life in Pictures which showcases reader Ed Moran's take on how the BBC today would have handled the death of Hitler:

Adolf Hitler, A Life in Pictures

1 of 8
Adolf Hitler was beloved by the German people for restoring pride in their Aryan heritage

2 of 8
Young Hitler had a deep fascination with the arts.

3 of 8
Corporal Hitler was wounded in a gas attack while bravely defending the Fatherland

4 of 8
Hitler’s magnetic personality allowed him to galvanize his supporters during the darkest periods of the Depression. Hitler is seen here addressing his followers in a Munich beer hall

5 of 8
Adolf Hitler modernized the German highway system.

6 of 8
Hitler modernized the German Air Force

7 of 8
His dislike of the Jews was well known

8 of 8
Nazi support was boosted by its charitable activities and support for Aryans suffering economic hardship

Posted by Vanderleun at Mar 22, 2004 12:35 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
The Irish Virus Mutation

Current page on Symantec:

Symantec Security Response - Irish Virus hoax

Irish Virus hoax

Symantec Security Response encourages you to ignore any messages regarding this hoax. It is harmless and is intended only to cause unwarranted concern.

Type: Hoax

The Irish Virus is a hoax and it should be ignored. The following is a sample of the hoax message:
Greetings, You have just received the "IRISH VIRUS". As we don't have any programming experience, this Virus works on the honour system. Please delete all the files on your hard drive manually and forward this Virus to everyone on your mailing list. Thank you for your cooperation.

Actually, Symantec has this wrong. What you just read was the Irish-Polish Virus. The Irish Virus, before mutation, instructed you to first send the virus to everyone on your mailing list and then delete all the files from your hard drive. A subtle difference, but a crucial one, if you want to be a successful virus.

Got it? Okay, get cracking.

Posted by Vanderleun at Mar 11, 2004 7:11 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
Today, the Web. Tomorrow, Howard the Duck

Unable to nail Howard Dean, John Kerry today settled for
the endorsement of the Webmaster,
Chuckles. Asked to support the Senator, Chuckles promised
that s/he would be tireless in working to put the meat
back in meetup.

After returning to Washington, Kerry embraced Dean as they met in the hallways of Kerry's new downtown Washington headquarters. Aides said the meeting was cordial and productive, with a formal endorsement expected to come within the next few weeks. -- Reuters

Posted by Vanderleun at Mar 10, 2004 4:15 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
What's Just-So-Wrong With This Picture?

Early prototypes in the R&D phase of the Hula Hoop.

Posted by Vanderleun at Mar 8, 2004 11:18 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
What's Just-So-Wrong With This Picture?

"Think it over. You'd be perfect for my Vice-President."

Posted by Vanderleun at Mar 6, 2004 5:37 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
What's Just-So-Wrong With This Picture?

At the end of the exercise, Private Smitters was reduced in rank
and sent to sleep with the fishes by the rest of his unit.

Posted by Vanderleun at Feb 18, 2004 10:21 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
The Poets of Popular Science

In todays wild, wild world of new age magazine design, it is always difficult to tell whether or not a known and trusted magazine is trying to become cutting edge, or is merely sinking into functional illiteracy. So it is this month with the venerable Popular Science.

A two page Buy Things from Our Advertisers plea called The Goods endeavors to bring a little learning to a terrible feature. It attempts to blend what is cunningly called a service feature with the ancient Japanese art of Haiku. This is like trying to mate a sea lion with a butterfly. You know the outcome, but you still need to watch the instant replay in slo-mo.

As I know from brutal experience, the service feature is one most editors with a shred of integrity loathe. The essence of the feature is to hide the scurvy little deals of the advertising department under the white bridal gown of the editorial department. It is, in the fullest sense of the term, a servicing of the reader since it hides those items the ad salesmen promised their clients inside of a host of other items the editor probably feels are worthy of some note or comment.

In magazines that still pretend to have editorial integrity this is done with a nod and a wink. In the other 99.9% of magazine this is done up close and personal with no foreplay whatsoever. An editors only recourse, other than quitting, is to find some way to salvage their self-esteem.

Hence, in this case, haiku to the rescue.

Within The Goods ( A motley collection that might be wisely subtitled -- More crap you really dont need) the editors need for creativity is gratified by a need to inflict the dreaded haiku on the reader. How many of PopScis readers know haiku from seppuku is probably in the low triple digits, but that never stopped an editor with a high concept for a low job.

Some of the gems from this effort include:

First, the inevitable way new version of the computer --
A full computer
In your hand. Pen-based, hidden
Keyboard, Windows. Wow

Second, the pitch for a Wurlitzer jukebox that only idiots can love--
A classic reborn
For the digital age. Malt
Shop not included.

Third, working in the word cool without which no service feature would be complete --
Unlock your front door
Secret-agent-style with just
One fingertip. Cool.

Fourth, the obligatory nod to stuff that really matters with the sardonic zinger --

Our best and brightest
Design folding shoes. World peace
Will just have to wait.

There are sixteen more examples, but I will spare you, as will the Popular Science website since it has not put this bit of poetry up for perusal.

As to the merit of these as haiku, we shall leave that for the ages. For now, it is nice to know that at Popular Science, when they send an editor out to do a service feature, they supply him with literary kneepads.

Posted by Vanderleun at Feb 17, 2004 11:35 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
In the Right Place at the Right Time


Posted by Vanderleun at Feb 11, 2004 8:08 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
Signs of Political Desperation

"Neither Snow, Nor Sleet, Nor Numbing Repeated Defeat...."

:As you are watching the Washington and Michigan caucuses, keep reporting back on your visibility day (read the visibility day thread below if you want to be inspired about the Dean roots)..." -- Blog for America
We think the sign makes his roots pretty clear, thank you.
Posted by Vanderleun at Feb 7, 2004 7:16 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
A Relgion of Peace,Love and Underfoot

We note this tragic headline from that garden spot of the globe, Mina, Saudi Arabia :244 Muslims killed in Saudi' stoning the devil' stampede

MINA, Saudi Arabia -- At least 244 persons were trampled to death and hundreds were hurt yesterday under a crush of worshippers in one of the deadliest disasters during the annual Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia.
The stampede occurred during the stoning of the devil, an emotional and notoriously perilous hajj ritual. Pilgrims frantically throw rocks, shout insults or hurl their shoes at three stone pillars -- acts that are supposed to demonstrate deep disdain for Satan.
Someone not completely convinced that what we are dealing with here is "A Religion of Peace and Compassion" might point out that, in general, when the faithful keep to this sort of stoning only one person dies.

Perhaps the deeper meaning in this tragic event is: "One woman, okay, but don't mess with Satan's stones."

Posted by Vanderleun at Feb 5, 2004 1:44 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
Objects on Train Tracks Are Closer Than They Appear...

...and faster too.

Each year, approximately 400 people die trying to beat an oncoming train at railroad crossings. More than 1,000 others are injured. Why is it that so many people misjudge the speed of an oncoming train? That's the question Theodore E. Cohn, a Berkeley professor of vision science and bioengineering, hopes to answer. Understanding why people think they can win the race at railways, Cohn says, may lead to better signals that prevent drivers from thinking they're faster than a locomotive.

From:Lab Notes:

Four hundred dead sounds like a lot, until one reflects that each year approximately 4,000 university professors are given grants to find out why stupid is as stupid does.

Posted by Vanderleun at Jan 25, 2004 2:15 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
Repub Eye for the Second Guy


The Kerry for President makeover committee today announced a new look for their candidate.

"Nobody can any longer deny," said Kyan Douglas , the campaign's grooming guru, " that John Kerry is a man of the people, by the people, and for the people."

Posted by Vanderleun at Jan 15, 2004 2:59 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
Directions for Liberals

As our shared history unfolds it is easy to see that the crippling affliction infecting contemporary American Liberalism is that liberals, quite frankly, don't know where to go.

Why is this? Simplicity itself.

Because liberals think that they know everything, they never ask for directions. As a result, they have become lost in America.

Now it is the winter of their deancontent. They are at a fork in the road. Two paths lie before them. Down one is the path to a brighter day on the high headlands. Down the other path is the pit and the boneyard of political obscurity. At the end of one path, they gain the Whitehouse. At the end of the other, they sit home on Saturday nights for decades watching The West Wing reruns on Bravo while sending out frantic emails for a Queer Eye makeover.

No matter which path they choose we are here to help them. These are the directions to Recovery or Damnation.

RECOVERY -- How to go from:

Liberal to Okay

Liberal to Strong

Liberal to War

Liberal to Security

Liberal to Carefree

DAMNATION -- How to go from:

Liberal to Idiot

Liberal to Frankenstein

Liberal to Defeated

Liberal to Lost Nation

Liberal to No Name

Posted by Vanderleun at Jan 7, 2004 10:48 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
When Journalists Mate

"Hed Nexisd me! I was really impressed." -- Cheryl Tan

Michael Hale and Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan

Met: August 2001
Engaged: October 2002
Projected Wedding Date: Feb. 14, 2004

Michael Hale, 43, the floppy-haired assistant editor of The New York Times Sunday Arts and Leisure section, is engaged to Cheryl Tan, 28, a senior fashion writer at InStyle....

The bride plans to wear a halter-topped Narciso Rodriguez gownthe same design that Meg Ryan wore on last Aprils cover of InStyle. To secure the frock, Ms. Tan went on a waiting list at Bergdorf Goodman like anyone else. "It was the first dress I tried on and I said to my sister, Oh my God! Am I going to feel like I married the first guy I slept with?...."

The couple [met at] an Asian-American Journalists Association event at the Hyatt Regency San Francisco. "This is going to sound a bit dorky," Mr. Hale said, "but you know, were both journalists, and we take that very seriously." Ms. Tan, a streak-haired, full-cheeked looker who was born in Singapore and attended Northwesterns Medill School of Journalism, was working as a fashion writer for The Baltimore Sun at the time....

They bumped into each other the next day at a cutting-edge panel on how to cover transsexual and transgender communities. Mr. Hale had apparently done a little extracurricular research overnight. "He said Oh, I liked this story, and I liked your treatment of that," Ms. Tan said. "And Im like, Huh? No one reads The Baltimore Sun. But then I realized it: Hed Nexisd me! I was really impressed."

She arrived in New York for Fashion Week in fall 2001 and suddenly found herself covering Ground Zero stories. She was constantly calling Mr. Hale at The Times headquarters, and their romance was rapidly expedited. They began commuting between Manhattan and D.C., playing lots of board games ("Never play Trivial Pursuit with this man," she said darkly), watching The X-Files over the phone when they couldnt be together in the flesh.


Posted by Vanderleun at Nov 15, 2003 8:33 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
Book Deal of the Day... So Far

As reported in Publisher's Lunch Weekly:

Deputy Commissioning Editor at Britain's Channel Four Sarfraz Manzoor's GREETINGS FROM BURY PARK, about how this second generation immigrant from Pakistan escaped the humdrum tedium of life in the English suburbs and the restrictions of his culture by becoming obsessed by Bruce Springsteen ending up with how he reconciles his love of Springsteen and all things American with his religion and the post 9/11 situation, to Mike Jones at Bloomsbury, in a pre-empt, by Kate Jones at ICM.

Posted by Vanderleun at Nov 11, 2003 9:28 AM |  Comments (10)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Busting Greg Easterbrook

All right, everybody, lets just take a deep breath and ask ourselves one question: Why did Gregg Easterbrook receive a hot, steaming cup of STFU! from ESPN as he was shown the door, and who, really, did the deed?

There have been a lot of garment-rending posts from here and there that it was that Darth Vader of Disney, Michael Eisner, that sent Gregg to sleep with the fishes.

Indeed, my reliable sources have it that Gregg himself has been whining and moaning in this wise all week. Not a hint from him that, for all that he is hip to the ways of the online world, he just forgot that The Send Button Is Forever. This is similar to the Pryoresque plea; You Honor, I forgot armed robbery is illegal!

Nope, it is all a rank injustice because, wait for it, he apologized for calling a couple of the most powerful people in the media money-grubbing Jews. This is the But I took it back! explanation that you last used in the schoolyard just before a peer planted you flat on your back with one punch.

Of course, the fact that Disney silenced this great sports writer [and repentant Jew-baiter], quickly became a corporate attack on free speech, an example of the crass vindictiveness of Michael Eisner, and a shining example of the continuing evil kingdom that is Disney.

This is, of course, all complete and utter hogwash.

It is hogwash composed of two all-too-human emotional fluids: shame and envy. Shame because many online commentators thought they may have had a hand in breaking one of Easterbrooks multiple rice bowls. Envy in that many people online and off just cannot stand the fact that Michael Eisner is very rich and very powerful. Hence, Eisner just has to be sitting up at the top of his massive empire, sending down ukases demanding this or that head. Hogwash, as noted above.

Men like Eisner may have more money and power than the rest of us, but they have just as many minutes as all of us and they dont spend their time reading blogs or bothering about the anklebiters below. They have empires to run and it takes a lot of time. What really goes on is this.

Deep within the corporate realms that folks like Eisner rule there is a widespread executive survival environment. This econiche is finely tuned and so sensitive that someone of Eisners rank doesnt have to know about anti-Semitic insults such as Easterbrooks, and, what is more, he never, ever, has to make any calls about these petty irritations.

Why? Because nobody, and I mean NOBODY, working under executives like Eisner wants to ever get The Call. And if they do get The Call, what they want to be able to say is: Oh, that Easterbrook guy? He was history last week, Mike. Scrubbed all his blather off our boards before he could read the termination email. Yes, great. Well do that the next time Im out. Hows the family?

So who did see to it that Easterbrook was retroactively never at ESPN Online? Companies never comment on this, but my moneys on Mr. John Skipper, Senior Vice President and General Manager of and ESPN, the Magazine. He probably got an email from an underling, meditated on what to do between two sips of coffee, typed out something like Erase this Bozo . And hit Send.

And The Send Button Is Forever.

Anticipating the happiness of the CEO is the key to upward movement in the world. Always has been and always will be.

But in the final analysis, who exactly did fire Easterbrook from ESPN Online?

Easterbrook. Autopsy Report: Self-Inflicted Death by Send.

Posted by Vanderleun at Oct 23, 2003 11:54 AM |  Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Niagara Falls Superbowl Ad

Today Kirk Jones’ story is that the "Vodka and Coke" made him do it. And he's sticking to it in order to get a little slack from - Judge to Niagara Falls Survivor: Get Out

A judge has released the Michigan man who survived a plunge over Niagara Falls and ordered him to stay out of Canada except for court appearances....

Prosecutors told the court that Jones and a friend consumed an unknown amount of vodka and Coke before heading to the falls where Jones climbed a protective railing into the Niagara River and floated feet first over the falls.

Makes sense since anyone would agree that even one vodka and Coke cocktail would make you want to kill yourself. But in a report yesterday we learn:
Surviving a leap from Niagara Falls had intrigued Jones for years, said his mother, who had spoken to him only briefly since the jump.

"He said he always thought there was a spot you could jump and survive," Doris Jones, 77, told The Associated Press from her sister's home in Keizer, Ore. "We never agreed to it. We thought it was risky."

No vodka and Coke swirling about in mom. Other details from this story include a person that made a video tape and:" Eric Fronek, 21, also of Canton, said his friend had been talking about possibly going over the falls for weeks. "No one believed he would actually do it," Fronek said Tuesday. "He said, `If I go over and I live, I am going to make some money."'

So was it the vodka and Coke or was it the money? As always, it is probably a little of both. Jones doesn't look like the kind of guy who's good for a book deal, but we can easily see the Coke Ad at next year's Superbowl:

Niagara Falling

Pan shot of Niagara Falls

Voice Over: "150,000 gallons a second of pure bone-pulverizing, flesh-shredding thrills.... And one jackass with a cash-flow crisis."

Close Up on Jones at the edge chugging from a Smirnoff fifth.

Jones: "Goodbye cruel world!" Leaps in with only the fifth for flotation.

Long shot of Jones being swept to his doom!

Pan to below the falls.

Zoom to Jones climbing out on shore.

Coca-Cola corporate helicopter swoops in from above.

Lands and Catherine Zeta-Jones in tight black leather bustier pops out while Arrowsmith sets up in the background. Zeta hands Jones a frosty bottle of Coke.

Jones quaffs Coke.

Tight close-up of Jones as Zeta-Jones nibbles his ear.

Jones: Coke! Adds Life!"

Off-camera voice through bullhorn: “Nice, Kirk. But let’s do a retake with a little more conviction this time. Places, people!”

Posted by Vanderleun at Oct 23, 2003 8:37 AM |  Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
"A Taxonomy of Art Students"

Anyone who has served time in an art school will recognize the types showcased in2blowhards' continuing series of John Leavitt's True Art School Tales. Here's a sample, by major:

Ad Design:
Smug. Greedy. Dumb. Dress embarassingly up-to-date. Can't draw.

Graphic Design: Jerks. Undeservedly big egos. Neophiles (in love with everything new). Overly cozy with Ad Design. Can't draw.

Fine Arts:
Drug-addicted. Lazy. Talentless. Dress like hobos despite trust funds. Can't draw.

There are, of course, many more art majors than you ever knew existed.

Posted by Van der Leun at Oct 7, 2003 8:40 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
RUSH: The Instant Replay

Brandon Stahl's got the play-by-play action over at
LostBrain Entertainment with "The Rush Limbaugh Timeline:"

All news and sports media: We are continuing minute 12 of our round-the-clock coverage of the Rush Limbaugh scandal. We have camped outside Donovan McNabb's home, waiting word to see if he has yet committed suicide over the crushing blow that was Limbaugh's comments. We have presidential candidate and general Wesley Clark here to help us answer some questions. General Clark, tell me, if you were the target of a viscous racial attack like this, how close to suicide does it bring you?
Clark: Let me tell you, very close. Especially with remarks as insensitive as these.
News: Uh huh. And tell me, if you were going to commit suicide from these remarks, how would you do it?
Clark: I'd probably want it to be quick and painless, so I'd likely put a gun to my mouth. But we can't rule out Donovan wanting to walk into a school cafeteria, and taking out 35 children before he turns the gun on himself.

News: Frightening world we live in.

National Enquirer: We feel this is the perfect
time to announce that Rush Limbaugh is a pill-popping drug

Posted by Vanderleun at Oct 6, 2003 9:37 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
Proof Positive That Too Much Money Can Make You Intellectually INSANE!

"Thar he blows!"

"If I had to predict, the way things are going, I'd say the chances are about 50-50 that humanity will be extinct or nearly extinct within 50 years. Weapons of mass destruction, disease, I mean this global warming is scaring the living daylights out of me."
-- Ted Turner World's Biggest Buffalo Rancher.

It is always interesting to us that predictions of the end of "the world as we know it" often come about long after the predictor assumes he will be dead and buried. Nobody likes to see the end of the world in their lifetime.

You know, Ted, if you'd just cut back on the Buffalo and the Bull greenhouse gasses would fall by around 80% in the next quarter alone.

Posted by Van der Leun at Sep 29, 2003 2:43 PM |  Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Animal White House: How Clark Decided to Run

Our far flung correspondents have finished reviewing the set of tapes made by the Committee to ReElect the President, 2003 (aka Creep, the Return) and have supplied American Digest with the following transcript. We take no position on its credibility.

August 15, 2003 Little Rock:

Bill Clinton and Wesley Clark are knocking back a few while pouring over Clinton's collection of Oval Office Polaroids at the Clinton Library.

Clinton: this one's name was Amanda. They never even got a whiff of her. Worked in the kitchen. Man, she could put quite a froth on your latte.

Clark: C. U. T. E. ! Bill. You old hush puppy.

Hillary enters unannounced.

Clark: Urrr... Good evening, Senator.

Clinton:(Slipping polaroids out of sight quickly): What's new, pussycat?

Hillary: Election's over, Bill. G.W. is going to drop the big one. My inside source at the White House, Amanda, tells me he's going to run with Condi Rice as his VP. We're toast. It's all over.

Clinton: Over? Did you say "over"?

Nothing is over in this country until I decide it is!

Was it over when the Ken Starr suponeaned the vid caps from my Oval Office web cam? Hell no!

Hillary: Webcam?

Clark: Forget it, he's rolling.

Clinton: And it ain't over now. 'Cause when the goin' gets tough...

[thinks hard]

Clinton: the tough get goin'! Who's with me? Let's Roll!

[runs out, alone; then returns]

Clinton: What the Great-JFK's-Ghost has happened to the Clinton/Democratic Party I used to know? Where's the spirit? Where's the guts, huh? Where's the need to feel other's pain?

"Ooh, we're afraid to go with you Bill, we might tank at the ballot box." Well, just kiss my grits from now on!

Not me! I'm not gonna take this.

Dean, he's a dead man!

Kerry, dead!

Liebermann... dead.

Gore.... oh, okay, dead in 1994...

Braun... well, she's a girl....and sorta cute too...

Sharpton... victim... but I can't stand the man's hair so....--

Clark: Dead!

Hillary, Bill's right. Psychotic, but absolutely right.

We gotta take on these Republicrat bastards like the great Democrans we are.

Now we could do it with conventional candidates but that could take years and bore millions of voters senseless. No, I think we have to go all out.

I think that this situation absolutely requires a really futile and stupid candidate to be put forward.

Someone that has looks of a winner and absolutely no clue on how to win.

Someone who can make sure that none of these nine clowns has a candle's chance in Hell of getting elected and queering the pitch for Hillary in 2008.

Someone so out to lunch that the press will embrace their candidacy for at least three months before waking up to find they are in the midst of another hysterical pregnancy.

Somebody impossible.... somebody like...

Hillary: You! Yes, you! General, you're just the hunky, commanding, independent guy to do it.

Clinton: Hill's right. Let's do it.

Clark: Sir, yes, sir! LET'S DO IT!!

Posted by Vanderleun at Sep 26, 2003 7:12 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
Activities of the Hard-Core Unemployed

How many CDs can be labelled with one sharpie?

In an experiment aimed at determining qualitatively how much ink is inside a sharpie, the How Much is Inside people spent two days labelling CDRs with a single Sharpie. The answer:

The total was 968 CDs labeled with one Sharpie marker. You can view tiny images of the CDs on the gallery page.

I estimate the total distance marked to be 1,800 feet.

(via Ambiguous) [Boing Boing]
Posted by Vanderleun at Sep 19, 2003 11:38 AM |  Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Dead Boy Walking

Every so often you see something so disturbing that you despair of the future of the human race. This pear-shaped youth's web page, the aptly named jwag's thingee is a case in point.

Setting out to prove, once and for all, that this country has entirely way too much food, the hapless master jwag decided to devour, at one sitting, a 20x20 Cheeseburger at "In-and-Out Burger." For the uninitiated, this means a cheese burger consisting of a bun and 20 beef patties glued together with 20 Slices of American Cheese.

The callow jwag's site states that he is 18 and, hence, the idea of parental supervision is out of the question. No, he is now of the age in which he is entirely responsible for his quest to become a human speed bump. God speed say I.

However, as he heads off on his quest of a coronary event the size of Manhattan, he leaves behind a photographic record (linked above) of one young man's unremitting love for his gullet. This is a service, possibly his last, to the rest of humanity since one look at his photojournal will be enough to turn the most dedicated carnivore into a raging vegetarian. Here are some "choice' excerpts:

Warning: Do not click for larger view on a full stomach.

Via Kottke

Posted by Vanderleun at Aug 28, 2003 5:03 PM |  Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Taking Tree Hugging to New Heights

From "Conversations with Trees" as published in the latest edition of "Gatherings: Seeking Ecopsychology."

Hey Folks: I think I just wanted to tell you about Tree. Does anyone else on the list talk to trees?
I do, I must admit.

I don't remember what first attracted me to Tree (as I imaginatively called her). I think I was just biking along, on my way home from somewhere, taking the scenic route through the park, when I saw Tree and felt like she was calling to me. So I went. I introduced myself, in the way an elf (or a "crazy" person) might.

I talked to Tree, and in response I felt the calm, rooted presence of one who silently observes much. From that day on, I would visit Tree every now and then. Sometimes I would just send a hello from the path as I whizzed by. Often I would stop, just to touch her trunk, to smell her treeness, even (I admit with some self-consciousness) to taste her bark with my tongue.

Posted by Vanderleun at Aug 28, 2003 2:56 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
Yes, People Will Do Anything to Be President

Howard Dean plays a harmonica
for a supporter and a group of friends l
istening by cell phone on a bus
in New Braunfels, Tex.

When this great white hope gets to my town, I'm going to meet him with a tuba, a baby and a web cam. Stay tuned.

Posted by Vanderleun at Aug 26, 2003 3:05 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
Amazon Reader Reviews We Didn't Finish Reading, XVII

This one snuck by the censors at Amazon attached to Richard Pryor's Is It Something I Said?

"this is what happened. this is what happened. did u get it now???? we were always all walking around and learning from one another in search for a proponderance that made some kinda cents. then we discovered that there is no write or ron...."
We don't know about Ron, what we want to know is where is the Bozofilter when you really need it?

Posted by Vanderleun at Aug 24, 2003 3:40 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
Boy Heaven

"... still under the staircase, two CD storage units ... PlayStation games ... two shelving units with boxed NES games... most of the Sega Master System boxed games... Sega Saturn games ... stacked up to the right." ....Aieeeeeeeee!

A brilliant nine-year-old boy of my acquaintance would like nothing better than to spend the next ten years of his life in The ULTIMATE Game Room. Yes, there would be the need to resupply him with food and drink. Yes, he would have to, at widely scattered moments, dash to and from the bathroom. Yes, his studies and his opportunities for higher education and a comfortable life would vanish like the highland mist. None of this would matter. He'd grow to manhood within the confines of these walls happy as a cow in clover. Indeed, I don't think I'll show him this site for fear it will drive him to emulate "The Room of Doom." Even in this permissive day and age, you do have to protect children from some things.

Found via Muxway and just digging out from having been ruthlessly slashdotted a few days ago, The Ultimate Game Room (aka "The Room of Doom") is a shining example of what one man's unfettered obsession with video games can produce:

North wall: when you open the closet behind the hanging marquees, this is what you see. Game Gear, Arcadia, Vectrex,, books, and miscellaneous peripherals are kept in here. Note the "gun rack" on the door.

South Wall: packed in under the staircase are a PC-FX, Video Brain and some oddball peripherals. Also my Sega 32X and Atari 7800 games. under the Pac-man pillow is an Odyssey frisbee and a CD storage cabinet with PlayStation games.

West Wall: the rest of the Genesis collection is here. The monitor is dedicated to a MAME-dedicated PC with a HotRod SE arcade quality joystick. Behind the table is a complete TurboGrafx-16 HuCard collection and a portion of a complete Sega CD collection.

And so on... really something amazing to see and frightening to contemplate.

A subset of Digital Press whose purpose is summed up on the home page by:

Digital Press Online is dedicated to the "Pac-rats" among video gamers... short attention spans, library-sized collections, consoles precariously wired in spider-web fashion... Sound like you?
Well, no. But it certainly sounds like a lot of other people I know. Still, I have to confess that if I was teleported into the middle of "The Room of Doom" with a case of Jolt and a couple of roast chickens, it might be a week or two before I could find the door.

Posted by Vanderleun at Aug 24, 2003 9:15 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
Make that "Goofy's Quarterly"


Always looking to keep his place as first witht the hot and steaming publishing dish, Matt DRUDGE has been fed this tasty item about the new and debased "Gentlemen's Quarterly" -- or "GQ," as the monthly is known in the rag trade. Item:

A coming edition of GQ magazine turns President Bush in to Jesus Christ -- in a full-page photo illustration!

The controversial photo is set to run with an accompanied essay titled "George W's Personal Jesus," publishing sources tell the DRUDGE REPORT. "In the beginning, there was the call...," writer Guy Lawson opens in his essay on the president's religious convictions. The photo marks a dramatic entrance for new GQ editor Jim Nelson.

We'd say it marks the panic-stricken entrance of Nelson as he feels his publisher's hot breath on his backside.

Ah, "controversy!" Where would magazines be without the carefully contrived controversy of taking two emblems of middle-America, the President and Jesus, and melding them into one image that can shock and horrify everyone living west of the Hudson River? We can hear the fevered editorial conference right now: "I need something, ANYTHING, that can convince the owners I'm cutting edge!"

"How about slamming the President and Jesus?"

"I don't know. Any Republicans or Christians working for us here at GQ?"

"Only the Dominicans in the mail room and that illegal who empties our trashcans at night."

"Screw them, they don't read. Let's get something cobbled up that we can use in an issue this Fall. I need those American Magazine Awards."

"I thought you needed the circulation of Maxim?"

"Hey, if I can think up enough whack stuff like this and shovel it into the issue, what's to stop me?"


"You're fired."

"That's okay, Bonnie Fuller just offered me the chance to stay up night after night closing her new rag in Florida. Besides, if you really had guts you'd put it on the cover."

Posted by Van der Leun at Aug 19, 2003 5:05 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
Rolling Stone: The Jailbait Cover

Those Airbrushed Olsens:
Twins without a navel between them

In the key of "Buy this magazine or we'll shoot the dog," Rolling Stone slams its way onto the newstands this issue with a hymn to the lust for underage girls in America. Jann Wenner's long-running love for alternate lifestyles (Plaster Casters, Replaced Septums, Gay Boyfriends) continues this week with the barely-legal article:The Sisters of Perpetual Abstinence

From the lead:

As the two enter the cafe, a pair of college-age guys give them the up-and-down. "God, they are hot," one breathes. "I'll take the one on the left, you take the other," says his pal.
The cover leaves no doubt about the theme of teenage lust with the coverline, "America's Favorite Fantasy." A bold claim to be sure, but no doubt the favorite fantasy of the editors, art directors and photographer that put together this unabashed goiter of an article.

Least bashed is the author, one Jancee Dunn, whose open fascination for these fresh youths oozes from every sentence:

The Edge! The Irony!
"The big-goggled vulnerability of children..."

In person, they have the big-goggled vulnerability of children in a Margaret Keane painting, which may in part describe their incredible appeal. They do not seem hardened by the world. They show no angry edge, no indefinable hurt. In fact, what is striking is how blessedly ordinary they seem.
We wonder if that's the sort of prose the FBI finds when it examines email between pedophiles. If not, it should inspire some.
Posted by Vanderleun at Aug 14, 2003 11:02 AM |  Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Action Alert: Web Still Not a Tina Brown Safe Zone

Brown's future magazine

One of life's smaller pleasures in the first decade of the 21st Century is that Tina Brown is no longer in charge of a magazine. One of the smaller irritations is that the web world has not yet become a Tina-free zone.

An appalling truth about being a sacked and disgraced magazine editor is that you can always come back as an obsessed scribe for an obsessed and bankrupt website like Salon. Tina Brown proves the point today in her ongoing report on "What I did during the years in which I spent more time with my family than they could stand."

Snappishly titled Arnold and the boys, Brown's maundering hops on the "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" commentator mania of the moment before hopping off to give Arnold and the over-the-hill mob some ragged pieces of Tina's mind:

It's great for Arnold that he has solved the problem of his third act. Now that it's clear you don't have to put years into building political credibility like role model Ronald Reagan, other rusting blockbuster stars are sure to follow. Wouldn't a run for the Senate be a better way for Kevin Costner to rinse off his murky career since the 1995 "Waterworld" disaster than hitting the road to promote his embarrassingly modest new movie? Wouldn't secretary of education be a more dignified route for Demi Moore to express her interest in the young?
Sigh. We note for the record that Brown's husband of choice, Harry Evans, slapped her into bed and matrimony when she was barely out of training bras. Or did she slap him into bed for reasons other than his boiled British charm? The record is unclear. What is known is Tina -- a dowdy cross between Princess Di and Hillary Clinton only shorter -- is nobody to start lecturing Demi Moore on mate choices.

As far as her hectoring on career choices, she's also out of her depth advising anyone with more to do with their days than her buddy Arianna Huffington.

Were I a pencil-packing editor at a staggering online dinosaur like Salon, I'd ask: "Are we really paying for this stuff? If so, get me rewrite!" and alter the copy above to something like:

It's disappointing that Tina has not solved the problem of her second act. Perhaps she should put years into building political credibility like her role model Princess Di, if she did other rusting editorial stars such as her erstwhile husband are sure to follow. Wouldn't a run for the House of Commons be a better way for Tina to rinse off her murky career since the TALK magazine disaster than uploading drivel onto to promote her embarrassingly modest writing skills? Wouldn't sucking up to Steven Den Beste be a more dignified route for Tina to express her interest in Al Gore's Internet?

Posted by Vanderleun at Aug 14, 2003 8:25 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
Calling Andrew Sullivan!

"So, they kiss and... then what happens?"

Democratic Presidential Candidate Unclear on Gay Sex

Asked about gay marriages, Moseley Braun recalled an aunt in an interracial marriage decades ago and brought applause when she said, "I don't see any difference between interracial marriages and same sex marriages."

We're wondering about the audience as well.

[Pointer via Best of the Web

Posted by Vanderleun at Aug 13, 2003 5:54 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
Springline for Hitler

"We don't want to upset anybody. We were a bit
politically insensitive. We don't wish to make
any race unhappy about it,"

-- Deborah Cheng, marketing manager

Nazi look out of fashion in Hong Kong

12 August 2003

A Hong Kong fashion chain Tuesday withdrew a line of clothes printed with swastikas and Nazi slogans following complaints from customers and from the German and Israeli consulates.

The clothes, including a tee shirt emblazoned with a picture of Adolf Hitler, were removed from 14 branches of the fashion chain Izzue after the stores were bombarded with complaints.

Just another moment in which one understands that there really is no bottom to popular culture, no end to a global ignorance of the meaning of history, and the fact that those who cannot remember it are condemned to repeat it. Except here it would seem that they enjoyed repeating it until reality stepped in.

The only possible explanation for this vile line is that I.T., Ltd. of Hong Kong thought up, designed, manufactured and installed this "fashion statement" assuming that nobody could possibly object. After all, this is just more of the edgy, toying with history, infradig and insouciant attitude we have come to expect from the fashion industry. Isn't it?

Yes, as long as they could garner sales and attention, nothing else really trumped their 'creative expression.' One would like to think that much of this sort of thing just "happens" due to various failures of this or that educational system, but the truth is darker. It happens because, for some reason, there is a set of human beings living on the planet with no affiliation to a nation, or a shared history, or any set of values one would recognize as 'decent.' They live in the ever-transmogrifying present -- a whirl of clubs and clothes and the latest infinitely small gadgets. They are the eternal children who see no difference in last year's 'Hello Kitty" backpack and this year's T-Shirt celebrating Hitler.

The aging but "always-looking-for-the-next-young-thing" Howard Rhinegold is currently selling these groups as 'smart mobs.' As usual, he's out there on a smile and a shoeshine gilding a lump of excrement in hopes of a continuing ride on the rubber tofu conference circuit. These aren't "smart mobs" that worship whirl and symbol chaff. They're just dumb kids. They're the profoundly vapid momentmongers of our age. Since they have no sense or knowledge of the past, and since they are too intellectually lazy to create anything new, they exist only to parrot and recycle a jumble of icons in hopes that everyone will be so sotted with irony they will overlook the meaning. In the end, having no past, they will not be able to alter the future beyond what is merely fashionable.

I don't know about you, but I'm looking forward for these titans of taste to whip up some sweeping microfiber winter coats emblazoned with shots of the ovens as Belsen. That would be the edgy smart mob thing to do, wouldn't it?

Posted by Vanderleun at Aug 12, 2003 1:15 PM |  Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Al Gore: Overcompensating American

At the MoveOn Gore fornication festival in New York last week, handlers were so unsure about people's perception of Al that they flanked him with no less than 12, count 'em 12, American flags.

Okay, we get it, we get it.

Posted by Vanderleun at Aug 11, 2003 5:10 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
The Value of Not Being Seen



Voice Over: Mr. Saddam Hussein of Presidential Palatial Bunker, Torture Chamber, and Children’s Mass Grave of Baghdad, Iraq, chose a very cunning way of not being seen. When we sent our army in to conquer Iraq, we found that he had gone away on a five year holiday underground somewhere in the Middle East. He had not left any forwarding address, and he had bolted and barred the entire country to prevent us from getting in. However a neighbour told us where he was.

The camera pans around and stops on a obvious looking hut, which blows up. Cut to a palace with a Iraqui Information Minister standing out front

Voice Over: And here is the Minister of Information (he blows up, leaving just his boots. Cut to a shack in the desert) Here is where he once lived (shack blows up - cut to a building) And this is where the government of Syria lived who refused to speak to us (it blows up). so did Hamas who lived here....(shot of a house - it blows up) and Osama here.....(another building blows up) and of course here.....(a series of various atom and hydrogen bombs at the moment of impact)

Posted by Van der Leun at Jul 22, 2003 7:02 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
Prozac Nation Star Ricci Type Cast


Addams Family Values took a shot in the jaw this month when Esquire revealed that Christina Ricci lives in fear of house plants

Christina Ricci says she suffers from a number of phobias, including an irrational fear of house plants.The actress, who is starring in the forthcoming film of Prozac Nation, told Esquire: "They are dirrrty."

"If I have to touch one, after already being repulsed by the fact that there is a plant indoors, then it just freaks me out."

Bodies of water frighten her, too: "I won't swim in a pool by myself because I think that somehow a little magic door is going to open up and let the shark out."

Perhaps she's just method acting for the "Prozac Nation" role. Either way she needs to review her current medications.

Posted by Vanderleun at Jul 16, 2003 5:31 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
Eat Tofu and Grow Dumb

Now it can be told! - The Trouble With Tofu: Soy and the Brain

Tofu Shrinks Brain! Not a science fiction scenario, this sobering soybean revelation is for real. But how did the "poster bean" of the '90s go wrong? Apparently, in many ways -- none of which bode well for the brain.

In a major ongoing study involving 3,734 elderly Japanese-American men, those who ate the most tofu during midlife had up to 2.4 times the risk of later developing Alzheimer's disease. As part of the three-decade long Honolulu-Asia Aging Study, 27 foods and drinks were correlated with participants' health. Men who consumed tofu at least twice weekly had more cognitive impairment, compared with those who rarely or never ate the soybean curd.

"The test results were about equivalent to what they would have been if they were five years older," said lead researcher Dr. Lon R. White from the Hawaii Center for Health Research. For the guys who ate no tofu, however, they tested as though they were five years younger.What's more, higher midlife tofu consumption was also associated with low brain weight. Brain atrophy was assessed in 574 men using MRI results and in 290 men using autopsy information. Shrinkage occurs naturally with age, but for the men who had consumed more tofu, White said "their brains seemed to be showing an exaggeration of the usual patterns we see in aging."

Posted by Vanderleun at Jul 5, 2003 7:08 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
French Tourism: Gun, Foot, Bang!

Giving the world yet one more reason not to go to France this summer, the French obsession with striking has today yielded: Performers threaten to halt 650 French festivals in support of unemployed

All France's 650 summer cultural festivals face cancellation because of a protest by performers, musicians, dancers, stage managers and technicians that is likely to halt next week's Avignon festival.

Yesterday, Avignon's artistic director, Bernard Faivre d'Arcier, who backed the demonstrators, described the protest as "a forest fire which no one knew how to put out" and forecast bankruptcies.

Theatres, films and television have also been hit by moves to bring the show business industry to a halt in a dispute over the reduction of unemployment pay for "resting" performing artists and technicians.

I love that part about "resting" performers and technicians. When I lived in New York City, we always called resting performers "waiters."

Posted by Vanderleun at Jul 1, 2003 8:50 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
MovableType Slips, Stumbles, and Pratfalls

"Why must there always be fightn' and killin'? Why can't there be peace in the blogsphere?"

In a move all too typical of "organisations in transistion," Six Apart, creators of the excellent blog publishing system Movable Type, has taken its first tumble on the long slope towards being a successful company.

Flush with cash and with what looks to be the killer app of blogware MovableType, Six Apart last week sought to enforce the clumsy terms of its license agreement against one Kathy Kinsley. Bad idea. Very bad idea.

As Stephen Den Beste at USS Clueless puts it:

Posted by Vanderleun at Jun 23, 2003 2:40 PM |  Comments (22)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Do You Want Fries with That?

This week's special at The Sizzler is an extra helping of attention from your waitperson for the evening:

CORONA, Calif. - A family who angered a waiter at a Norco Sizzler restaurant later was served a few dishes they didn't order: a gallon of maple syrup, raw eggs, and rolls of toilet paper across their lawn and shrubs.

Wayne Keller, 37, wife Darlene, 40, and their two children, had their home and mailbox saturated Saturday with smashed eggs and maple syrup. Their yard was decorated with toilet paper, duct tape and plastic wrap.

Police arrested several people in an SUV parked nearby, and grabbed someone darting out of the bushes.

Officers presented the alleged culprits to the Kellers.

"I can't explain how I felt," said Darlene Keller. "I just said, 'Oh, my God. It's the waiter from the restaurant.'"

Corona police arrested the waiter, his girlfriend and his two younger brothers. Police withheld their names.

Posted by Van der Leun at Jun 9, 2003 1:54 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
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