Friday, June 30, 2006

Net Neutrality update

photo of Ron Wyden at Oregon State.

the fight over net neutrality appears to be on the Senate back burner, at least for now, as Oregon Democrat Ron Wyden has written Frist about his intent to filibuster the current bill, which made it out of the commerce committee without the pro-NN amendment tacked on, which in the short term is definitely a setback for the pro-NN forces. So they'll tackle it later on after they come back from their break or put it off till just after the election, which wouldn't surprise me in the least. More here, and in the Houston Chronicle's blog(?), here.

Napoleon's David

Napoleon Crossing the Alps by Jacques-Louis David (1748-1825), oil on canvas,
(8' 6" x 7' 3"), 1801, Musée national du château de Malmaison.

Should I trust my eyes? I have never seen this painting and this isn't it. I discuss this question below. Just the other day I discussed my impressions of the colors on my (relatively)new flat-screen monitor with young Don Bintz of Fiat Blog!, of how the colors seemed washed out, quite literally flattened. I'd really like to see this painting someday, in person.

Anyway: how are we supposed to perceive the skies? Are they dark or sunny, or both? Is the horse fierce or terrified? And what about the backward tricolor at the bottom right. Doesn't it look like it's trying to leave the scene? Note Hannibal's name on the rocks, below Bonaparte. Does the subject transform the artist? I dunno.

Napoleon in Liverpool

Paul Delaroche's Napoleon Crossing the Alps, circa 1848.

from the Walker Gallery's notes:

Perhaps surprisingly, there were many admirers of Napoleon in Britain, associating his memory either with enlightened progress in opposition to reactionary monarchy or alternatively with military genius. His brutal suppression of nations, huge military losses and genocidal colonial policy were somehow glossed over.
This painting was commissioned by Arthur George, 3rd Earl of Onslow, who was a passionate collector of Napoleonic material. Queen Victoria also owned one of the several versions of this picture .The story of the picture's genesis is curious. The Earl of Onslow was walking with Delaroche in the Louvre one day in 1848. Standing in front of David's famous painting of Napoleon Crossing the Alps he commented on how implausibly theatrical it was and requested Delaroche to do the same subject in a more accurate way.

Napoleon on Google

At first, I was going to just post images of Napoleon Crossing the Alps, the iconic one by Jean-Louis David(1801), and of the less well-known Paul Delaroche painting of the same name from the late 1840s, without comment, the juxtaposition being sufficient as a sort of Gestalt/implied comment.

In addition to being less well-known, the Delaroche is decidely less heroic in its style, and was in fact commisioned by an Englishman(hmmm...). But when I looked at my image search results for the David, I decided that reflecting on the search was more interesting. It's clearly impossible to duplicate a work of art on the internet. I'm enrolled in a couple of internet courses right now, as it so happens, and for the most part I prefer that method, possibly because I spent so much time over the years in classrooms, and didn't really start to learn about computers until I was 35. Nevertheless some aspects of experiential learning simply can't be duplicated, "essentially" or otherwise, on the computer.

Look at all the 'versions' of David's Napoleon are on this reproduction of my second page of image searching. In some the sky looks somber and threatening, in others it's sunny. Some images de-emphasize the ordinary foot-soldiers unheroically slogging in the background, the ones who made Napoleon a hero, while in others they are clearer, and obviously David didn't just put them in there out of a desire to stay busy(keep in mind, the actual painting is a massive eight and a half feet high.)

Napoleon Crossing the Alps painted by Jacques-Louis David (1748-1825), oil on canvas, 259 x 221 cm (8' 6" x 7' 3"), 1801, Musée national du château de Malmaison.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

sundry items

1.from mighty Skimble: Impeachment would be a buy signal.
Funny thing that Bush's record-breaking stock market failed to materialize, in direct contrast to his predecessor who oversaw a broad 350% expansion of wealth in the US in his eight-year administration...
2.the other day I told myself I was so clever for inventing the phrase scorched-earth capitalism, but predictably enough I was wrong.

3.from Dutch cosmopolitician Frans Groenendijk:

Kind of a shame, killing the people you're trying to democratize, but after awhile, says the same lieutenant, "It gets to the point where you can't wait to see guys with guns, so you start shooting everybody..."

"There's a Peter Cook-Dudley Moore routine, one of their woolgathering dialogues, where Dud asks Pete, "So would you say you've learned from your mistakes?" and Pete replies: "Oh yes, I'm certain I could repeat them exactly."
That seems to have been the Bush administration's approach to Iraq. Take the mistakes of Vietnam and repeat them exactly. And at that you can't say they haven't succeeded. "

[James Wolcott commented on an article in The Economist]
(FG only links to the homepages, and I couldn’t find the specific url(s))

4. a shaggy dog story from Haroon Moghul:
don't watch porn, especially if you're a terrorist

5.Chinese firepower at fire-sale prices(from the BBC):
China may have lost its reputation for making low-cost goods, but when it comes to weapons, there is no doubt which end of the market its sights are still set on. Some of the poorest and most unsavoury regimes on earth, which either cannot afford or are not allowed to buy sophisticated Western arms, are turning to the world's newest superpower to buy guns, leg-irons, anti-riot equipment and armoured vehicles.

Military specialists contacted by the BBC News website have confirmed the main findings of a report issued this week by Amnesty International, which said Chinese arms sales were fuelling conflicts and human rights abuses in countries such as Sudan and Burma.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Net neutrality


You may have seen web sites with one or both of these images. There's also a really atrocious TV ad called "Meet the phoneys" in which you don't even see a person or any discussion of specifics, just an image of a close-up of pair of men's shoes, walking, and a voice over saying that the phone companies want "sweetheart deals" from congress, then in small print, the tag of the association of butt-munchers, or whoever the hell they are. Actually, the butt-munchers are right, the phone companies do want a sweetheart deal from congress, but what the hell is the ad actually about?* I imagine most people tune it out. Have you seen the ad? (QT,and Windows MP )It's not always the fault of ordinary people when they are disengaged by political appeals. The butt-munchers don't even take advantage of their confusing mess of a message by telling you what their url is, which might pique your interest and turn the badness of the ad around into a mystery you might solve by clicking. They just show their association name so briefly it barely registers, if it even does.

*Ok, I'll tell you. They're the National Cable and Telecommunications Association, and the numbskulls do have a website, even if they can't be bothered to show it in their shoe ad. Like many other groups, they've been lobbying to prevent the passage of The Communications Opportunity, Promotion and Enhancement (COPE) Act, which would allow telcos to charge extra for broadband net service in a variety of ways, such as charging customers substantially more based on throughput or charging outside vendors to access their networks. (For example, if Comcast or Verizon wants you to use their in-house search engines instead of Google. Or Dogpile, or Yahoo, Lycos, etc.

then, they could charge Google or whoever to maintain access to their customers, or charge the customers who want to maintain that access, as if it was premium cable so to speak. (Or both. Or make access to outside vendors much slower.) In addition to the NCTA,, Google(of course),Microsoft, Common Cause and MoveOn and even the NRA and the Christian Coalition oppose COPE and have supported legislation designed to protect the principle of net neutrality, which is also explained pretty succinctly in this E&P article, and in a New Republic editorial (favoring neutrality). The house already voted in favor of COPE, but the Senate commerce committee takes it up today, and their site has info on how to contact your senator to express your view on the vote. Supposedly it will be close. (Here in Texas, Kaye Bailey Hutchison of said committee has not said how she intends to vote.) If you favor preserving net neutrality you would want your senator to vote in favor of the Snow-Dorgan amendment to the larger telecom bill, without any changes, rather than against COPE per se, because the Senate legislation is a bit different. They are discussing it today.

6.29: Ok, I originally wrote Hutchinson. Th' Bride of Acheron kindly corrected me, and since I've been living here thirty plus years I really should know, right?

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

One vote shy, again

from th' Library o' Congress

Remember Herblock? Sure you do. He was the Washington Post's cartoonist for something like 170 years, back when they still published a newspaper.(Ok, ok. Just from 1946 till 2001, when he died.That's still pretty impressive longevity.) Supposedly Nixon canceled his subscription to the Post after Herblock drew him crawling out of a sewer. Isn't it interesting how the flag amendment keeps rearing its insert description here head, and gets repelled, albeit by the barest whisker of the chiny-chin-chin of the two party system?

Monday, June 26, 2006

minimum wage

just went up in part of Australia,

and for the US congress(or just scroll below to the coin tray.),

from The Tennesean: "Congress stiffs workers"

The Senate needed 60 votes under an arrangement to approve the wage increase, but the vote was only 52-46 in favor, with eight Republicans and one independent joining Democrats in the effort. The House Appropriations Committee had recently voted for the increase, but its prospects for a full House approval look bleak. House Majority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, has said the proposal probably won't make it to the House floor.

That's what Americans get from this Congress, controlled by Republicans and beholden at every turn to the wishes of businesses and special interests. Hollow arguments that raising the minimum wage would somehow damage the U.S. economy have never held up, and with each rejection of raising the wage the $5.15 standard buys less and less when adjusted for inflation. The wage hasn't been raised since 1997.

An increase in the minimum wage would be a step based on principle — a principle that American workers are valued as important. But principle has been overlooked, while at the same time Congress finds time to discuss a gay-marriage amendment, a flag-burning amendment and argue over who's more patriotic, all in the name of values. What values can members of Congress claim when they point to hard-working American people and say the value of their work bottoms out at $5.15 per hour?

and here's the senate link that explains that a 3/5 vote was needed in the house and senate(but not why.). The map is from the Department of Labor's minimum wage page, which says that for certain categories of workers, 2.65/hr is the minimum rate in Kansas, and that O.T. is onlypaid after the 46th hour there(!). What's the matter with Kansas indeed.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

punk rock girl, or travel is so broadening

from the Dead Milkmen, circa 1988:

"Punk Rock Girl"
One Saturday I took a walk to Zipperhead
I met a girl there and she almost knocked me dead

Punk rock girl
Please look at me
Punk rock girl
What do you see?
Let's travel round the world
Just you and me punk rock girl

I tapped her on the shoulder
And said do you have a beau?
She looked at me and smiled and said she did not know

Punk rock girl
Give me a chance
Punk rock girl
Let's go slam dance
We'll dress like Minnie Pearl
Just you and me punk rock girl

We went to the Philly Pizza Company
And ordered some hot tea
The waitress said well no, we only have it iced
So we jumped up on the table and shouted anarchy
And someone played a Beach Boys song on the jukebox
It it was "California Dreamin"
So we started screamin
On such a winter's day

She took me to her parents for a Sunday meal
Her father took one look at me and he began to squeal

Punk rock girl
It makes no sense
Punk rock girl
Your dad is vice president
Just like the Duke of Earl
Yeah you're for me punk rock girl

there are 2 or 3 more stanzas, but you get the idea. I was reminded of this song and the Milkmen, whom I hadn't thought of in such a long time, when reading a particularly overwrought and purple-prosed letter at Cary Tennis's online column(here) at Salon[subscription or ad read-thru req'd.]. The letter writer wrote about wanting to reconnect with an old flame, and Tennis obliquely questioned his truthfulness and danced around actually answering the question, while (also obliquely) suggesting to the letter writer that he should be more concerned with examining his own psyche and emotional maturity than trying to hook up with his miss 1987. I left 3 responses, only one of them signed, which is admittedly somewhat squirrelly of me. I signed the one referencing the Dead Milkmen's "You'll Dance to Anything"(I got the title wrong and the lyrics slightly wrong):

"I met Andy Warhol at a really chic party."
Blow it out your hairdo, cause you work at Hardee's!"

Because that is how the letter writer came across to me, as narcissistic and foppish, as well as possibly somewhat obsessive. Many people commenting made fun of him, including me, even though others acknowledged the universality of pining for an ex (or an unrequited would-be ex) from days gone by, and I understand this. Several people suggested the letter reminded them of Wharton's Age of Innocence, and one recommended reading Rebecca West's novella "The Return of the Soldier."

Speaking of memory and associations, the 1st Milkmen song I thought of made me think of "Punk Rock Girl", and the wistful idea of a being with a pretty girl who likes to travel, although I'm somewhat less keen on the dressing like Minnie Pearl part. I did a lot of travelling 1965-1974 when I was a kid, but it was hardly my choosing. Then, apart from a week in Florida in '86, Mexico in 1990 and Connecticut in 2000, I've been pretty much stuck in Texas for 32 years. 32 years, less some 4 weeks.

The photo of the Brasileña attending the world cup is from Ole Blue the Heretic. The 7-11 in Taiwan is from, well, I don't remember, but if it's your photo tell me and I'll credit you if it's really yours.

[note: when you have a very low-traffic blog and have stuff to do you might behave as I have here, and post something only partially, meaning to add more stuff later(like the actual text, as is the case here.) I edited these two images, above, putting them together and approximately the same size and the title above, then left this post alone for about 24 hrs. I'm guessing that wouldn't do if I wrote for
The New Republic or Vanity Fair, even only online.

Actually I wonder about that, generally speaking, because I caught an interesting scrubbing ammendation of something online a few hours ago, but more about that in a subsequent post, later this week.]

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Middle eastern pop star blogging- Haifa Wehbe revisited

from Haifa, I think(the smaller image is meant for a cell phone.).

Friday, June 23, 2006

I blame Hitchcock

1959 Lark magazine advert via

I don't know how to look at this image without idly expecting the lady to suddenly fall into the bay. I guess that sounds anti-social.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

from Sunny Iraq,

the land where you never run out of corners to turn.
Via Bill and Informed Dissent.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Public domain satire for a saturday night

I have grown fond, recently, of American political cartoons from the turn of the (previous) century. Unfortunately I don't know who did this one, entitled "The New York Solar System" which is from Puck magazine, from 1899. Puck started out as an independent political rag in the 1870s but was later gobbled up by the Hearst empire, who continued publishing it for a while until around 1918.

FYI: Pocho hour of power

from Editor and Publisher:

Lou Dobbs Contest From Radio Show Co-hosted By Cartoonist:

NEW YORK "The Pocho Hour of Power" radio show is holding a "Name Your Baby 'Lou Dobbs' Challenge."[link is an audio(mp3)file-JV]

A co-host of the show is Lalo Alcaraz, whose "La Cucaracha" comic strip and editorial cartoons are distributed by Universal Press Syndicate., in a story explaining the contest, said the first undocumented immigrants to name their U.S.-born child "Lou Dobbs" before Sept. 16, 2006, will win $500 worth of baby-nursery items from East Los Angeles merchants. The story noted that the contest is being held "in the interest of racial harmony and assimilation of immigrants into U.S. culture," and added: "Immigrants are not a threat to this great nation. In fact, they are industrious, ambitious, and
at times just as confused, inarticulate, and one-sided on the immigration issue as Lou Dobbs himself." said the CNN commentator "is the largest anti-immigrant critic on the horizon."

KPFK 90.7 in Los Angeles airs "The Pocho Hour of Power" on Fridays at 4 p.m.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Doctor Who redux

If you were unaware of the existence of a new Doctor Who series, which is already filming its 2nd season in the UK and has already replaced their first new Doctor, then you can try to catch up tonight on the SciFi channel when they show the 1st 4 episodes back-to-back, starting at 7pm central(I think). I've seen some of it, off and on, and was surprised how well-written it is. Christopher Eccleston finally began to grow on me as the new Doctor when they replaced him for next year. Billie Piper, the new girl Friday, stays on.

The only thing(s) I've seen of the new show which I found off-putting were the new Daleks, who are just as cheesy and stupid as the Daleks of yore. Interestingly, the show as a whole has a certain obliquely melancholy quality about it that the old ones from the 60s-80s didn't. Some episodes have a (veiled) anti-Blair/anti-Bush undercurrent, which didn't strike me a preachy or creaky. You may disagree, of course. (As a point of reference, I found the animated movie The Iron Giant to be heavy-handedly propagandistic, as well as the later M*A*S*H* episodes from the last two seasons.) Anyway, I thought the anti-police state theme that runs through the new Doctor Who episodes works, in no small part because none of the characters stop to lecture anybody and because you can probably follow the story fine without even noticing it.

assorted images

Chump change

The House voted on Tuesday to give themselves a $3,300 pay raise.
The 2 percent cost-of-living raise would be the seventh straight for members of the House and Senate:

The pay raise would also apply to the vice president — who is president of the Senate — congressional leaders and Supreme Court justices.

This year, Vice President Cheney, House Speaker Dennis Hastert and Chief Justice John Roberts receive $212,100. Associate justices receive $203,000. House and Senate party leaders get $183,500.

Also on Tuesday, a House panel “voted to raise the U.S. minimum wage in increments to $7.25 an hour by Jan. 1, 2009.” It is likely to get killed by Republicans on the House floor. The current minimum wage is $5.15 per hour or $10,712 per year. It has been that since 1997.

via A Newer World.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Search me. No, wait...

image: missing PDF files

It may be nerdy-sounding but it's true: read your EULAs.(Ok:end user license agreements. But you knew that, somewhere in the back of your noggin.) Recently I found myself searching for a book I downloaded whose title I couldn't remember, so instead of using the free version of Copernic desktop search I had previously installed, I used the regular windows search function with a wildcard(*), because I knew it was in PDF format. What I didn't expect to find was that a large number of my PDFs showed up in the search by title but weren't actually there anymore, including the e-book in question(Gangs of America by Ted Nance, which I first heard about via Jonathan Schwarz at Tiny Revolution, and which is still available as a free download.)

Then I searched for Gangs via Copernic, to see what came up, now that my memory of the title was refreshed. Zip. But now I found myself wondering about the "129 deleted" in the parentheses. When I installed Copernic I kept all the default settings and didn't investigate them too much, meaning to eventually, just as I meant to read the EULA more thoroughly. (Unfortunately Copernic doesn't allow you to copy and paste a copy of the EULA when it appears. You're just supposed to check the agree box and proceed.)

Anyway, I haven't reinstalled Copernic to read the EULA, nor have I emailed them to inquire. I feel a mite sheepish complaining about a free product, for one thing, and apparently even with the free version you can set it to disregard PDFs, something I didn't try to do before running it. I just got rid of Copernic-- and no, I haven't figured out what type of files the other 107 files deleted were. I haven't come across any null listings for mp3s(not that I'm suggesting I have any I shouldn't, of course...), nor have I encountered anything else that's absent that is supposed to be there.

Admittedly, I still don't know for sure that Copernic is the miscreant here. My Norton antivirus suite also deletes files, but I've had it for some time now, before adding Copernic and never noticed any problem, and I can't think of any other app that might be the problem. Ok, it might be the Adobe people themselves, policing my PC. I don't know. All this time when Copernic indexed my files and told me it deleted a certain number, I'd assumed it was deleting redundant items of no consequence, and thought no more of it, until I did the above illustrated search.

It's tempting to look at the specific 22 PDFs that got zapped, starting with "EDS Inc and going through "selective_serviceO..." and discern a right-wing big brotherish trend, but I imagine that's fanciful. One of the reasons I chose Copernic, ironically, was because unlike Google and Yahoo and MSNs desktop search suites, Copernic is self-contained(or is supposed to be, at any rate), and doesn't require you to communicate with the "home office" search engine, which could conceivably also look for all sorts of other things on your hard drive besides what you want to find, something that doesn't sit right with me. So now I'm still looking for a free or low-cost, non-invasive desktop search suite. X1 looks pretty impressive, but the last time I checked it was 75 bucks a pop, which is out of my price range.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

USNWR: Alternate realities

Last week the Time cover story was Haditha. Same for Newsweek. But US News and World Report (you know, the one with "world" in the title) had a series of themed cover stories advising its readers about "seven reasons not to retire". When I was in high school I had a government teacher who regarded USNWR as being far more sober than the big two newsmagazines, but that was some time ago. The seven reasons?
1.Retirement? Fuhgeddaboudit. Working longer could be better for you--and your wallet
2.It literally pays to work, and money can buy peace of mind
3.The economy may face a shortage of qualified workers
4.A flexible schedule and no stress
5.Working can boost your health, keeping you active and sharp
6.Staying fresh in mind and body
7.Your marriage may benefit from a little less togetherness
8.One couple's division of labor
9.Without those pesky E-mails, you'd feel a little less connected
10.The clientele is warm and fuzzy
11.You can use this time of your life for a whole new beginning
12.The three-course breakfast
13.Work may add new meaning to your later life
14.A passion for solving problems

When I looked at these I thought of Patrick McGoohan's village on The Prisoner and how psychotically upbeat the announcements on the intercom were. At first, I wanted to rant about how US News was spinning the destruction of the welfare state's safety net as something completely unlike what it is and will be, a schizoid denial of the massive cognitive dissonance imploding in their middlebrow readers' skulls at the thought of the coming post-New Deal age of scorched-earth capitalism in which you work 40 plus years to get a chance to be a Walmart greeter and get a senior's discount at Denny's. But maybe that's too obvious. After all, one of the reasons older people will need to keep working in the future is to pay for the wars we aren't paying for now. So, maybe the USNWR cover is not so much a denial of Haditha and the war as a sort of blissed-out corollary.

Still, I thought I'd try my hand at an alternate series of headlines:

1. Who needs to raise taxes to shore up social security? It's just a liberal plot!
2.Medicare? What's that? Get back to work, your break's over!
3. We need you to keep working because we never properly funded higher education. (Besides, you voted against all those pesky regulations protecting your pension fund, remember?)
4. That ten trillion dollar debt isn't going to pay itself!
5. Socialized medicine? What are you, a commie?
6. Of course we aren't demoting you. We're just changing your job description. Think of it as a fresh beginning.
7. Best of all, I know how to count because I went to private school!

Sunday, June 11, 2006

uh oh

”Jack the cat is possessive about his
territory, his owners say”

according to blogger this is my 666th post at HZ since I started this dubious enterprise in January 2003. Although I'd like to think I'm not a superstitious sort, here's some fluff(just in case).

from the BBC:
Tabby cat terror for black bear

A black bear got more than it bargained for after straying into a family garden in the US state of New Jersey. The unwelcome intruder was forced up a tree - twice - by the family pet, a tabby cat called Jack. The terrified bear was only able to make its escape when owner Donna Dickey called the hissing cat into the house.

Ms Dickey said Jack liked to keep a close watch on his territory and often chased away small animals, but one of this size was a first. "We used to joke, 'Jack's on duty', never knowing he'd go after a bear," Donna Dickey told local newspaper The Star-Ledger. "He doesn't want anybody in his yard," she added.

The bear was first spotted in the tree by neighbours who thought the 15lb (7kg) cat was just looking up at it. They then realised the bear was afraid of the cat. After some 15 minutes, the bear descended, but was chased up another tree, before finally making its escape when Jack was called indoors.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Middle eastern pop-star blogging: Nelli Maqdasi

Tom Delay and the fat kids, etc.

various items via Judicial watch:

Retirement Account of DeLay's Wife Traced - Washington Post (June 7, 2006)

Army has to turn over Halliburton docs - United Press International (June 7, 2006)

Judge orders Army to release KBR records
- The Hill (June 8, 2006)

And authoritative vs. authoritarian: strict parents, fat kids,
from the Xinua Daily:
The report from Boston University School of Medicine also found that the fewest weight problems occur among children whose parents are "authoritative" -- having high expectations for self control but respectful of a child's opinions and who set clear boundaries.

The study also found that children of parents who are permissive, defined as indulgent and without discipline, also have weight problems but not to the degree of the offspring of strict disciplinarians with low levels of sensitivity, the study said.

Researchers also found that children of neglectful mothers and fathers, those who are emotionally uninvolved with no set rules, fared about the same as kids raised by permissive parents.

The study covered 872 children who were part of a group enrolled at birth in 1991 in a U.S. Government study and followed for a number of years.

"Among the four parenting styles, authoritarian parenting was associated with the highest risk of overweight among young children," concluded the study published in the June issue of Pediatrics, the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

"These results provide evidence that a strict environment lacking in emotional responsiveness is associated with an increased risk of childhood overweight," the study said.

It may be that strict parents have defined limits on when and what their children eat that could have a negative impact if not accompanied by warmth and sensitivity, it added.

Friday, June 09, 2006

school bus

photo(of another Iraqi schoolbus) via

David Iqnatius(Wash. Post):
The images from Iraq are of hell on earth: On Sunday[4th June] 12 Iraqi students traveling to Baqubah to take their final exams were dragged from a bus and killed because they practiced the wrong religion. The next day gunmen dressed in police uniforms kidnapped 56 people near the bus station in central Baghdad and hauled them off in pickup trucks.
This is an Iraqi nightmare, and America seems powerless to stop it. What would you think if you were the parent of one of those dead Iraqi children? You would want the United States, the nation that broke the fragile bonds that once held Iraq together, to act more effectively to control this violence. And you would want Iraq's so-called government of national unity to behave like one and stop the killers who are devouring the decent people of Iraq. And if neither the Americans nor the Iraqi government could protect your children, you would turn to the militias.

via “David Ignatius Faces Reality

from Test Patterns( Lunaville’s current iteration)

Sunday, June 04, 2006

a reminder

from the St Petersburg Times(Fla.), fall 2002

"The incestuous relationship between government and big business thrives in the dark."
- Jack Anderson

Saturday, June 03, 2006

academic bias(dot com)

and now, Saturday middle eastern pop star blogging: Grace Deeb

Friday, June 02, 2006

Friday miss something-something pageant winner blogging: Dania Prince

This is the lovely and decimally symetrical Dania Prince, otherwise known as Miss Metric System of 2003. (Note the M in her sash, proving she was the most metric that year.) That's definitely her name, and it was a 2003 contest. The rest of my assertions...I don't know-- they strike me as sufficiently compelling, and close enough for government work.

Incidentally, I'm moving Friday middle eastern pop star blogging to Saturdays, and from now on I will endeavor to post politically pertinent and sober stuff M-Th, and sundry bits of ephemera that amuse me Fri-Sat-Sun. Tell me: would you prefer:

more ephemera,
less ephemera,
about the same amount of ephemera,
more sober long-faced(and often pedantic!) analyses of incedibly important stuff,
less sober long-faced blah blah blah...etc.(???),
posts about specific events,
posts about general trends,
exactly 10 posts a week?

As a bonus, if you leave your answer in the form of a haiku, I'll post a picture of a fancy bottle of something nice just for you. I realize this may strike you as somewhat chintzy, mainly because it is. But: a. my budget is modest, and b. for all I know you might be 12 years old, and ex-president Clinton would object to my buying you a Pepsi, let alone a bottle of Chivas.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

The birth of Scotch; Kentucky, Pete Barbutti...and the metric system.

June 1st,1495 - Friar John Cor records the first known batch of scotch whisky.

June 1st,1792 - Kentucky becomes the 15th state of the United States. (These 2 factoids kinda go together, don’t they? )

years ago when I was a kid, Pete Barbutti[warning:auto sound file] used to appear on Carson from time to time and tell interesting if somewhat meandering stories. I’m not exactly sure who he was(is), but I gather he was one of Johnny’s friends. I remember he was on once and Carson asked him:

“did you have a nice fourth?” [i.e., 4th of July]
and Pete Barbutti replied, “I had a nice fifth too.”

You can’t tell that joke anymore, now that the half-litre bottle has replaced the fifth. That’s the only bad thing about converting to the metric system, I mean, if not being able to tell anyone that joke bothers you. I guess you can try and tell it, and perhaps bewilder some younger person who’s cooler than you. Although I’m guessing some people will be also bothered by being smoked by a car with more kilowatts than they have, and nary an old fashioned horsepower to speak of, but I’m guessing they’ll get over it. Yes, we need to convert to the metric system, because buying expensive gasoline in nice small litres and slowing down to 100 kph may even confuse and and therebye mollify some people. I mean, if Xymphora is right about the average American being dumber than a can of paint. Is that harsh? I don't know. But it is a reflection of my fondness for meandering narratives.