Monday, October 31, 2005

Trick or Treat!

After Shandy introduced us to Gubbins, we have grown into fans. And Gubbins has the downlow on these new Mocha Almond Hershey bars. We haven't seen them at the neighborhood CVS (the closest thing we have to a candy store here in God-forsaken DC), but they sound so good we might dawn a pumpkin-head and go trick-or-treating tonight just to score some.

The Amateur Gourmet also has instructions on making your own candy today. Make us some and bring it over after the game, would you?

UPDATE: And now a new flavor of Hershey's Kiss. What a time to be alive!

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Happy Halloween!

via Screenhead.

Google Print: Authors vs. Publishers

This "news" is two weeks old, but we're going somewhere with this...

To recap: Google Print is starting to scan the archives of libraries, which will provide the libraries with a digital back-up and provide Google users with searchable excerpts of the books. The publishing industry is pissed, because they think this will cause people to read books one snippet at a time at Google instead of buying copies, so they are suing Google. As Lawrence Lessig at Wired put it, "No one would have thought a library needed permission to create a card catalog."

Meghann Marco wants her book indexed in the hope that Google Print will drum up new readers for her work. Simon & Schuster told her no; they seem to think that they are doing her some kind of favor by keeping her book scarce. And besides, what would book publicists do for a living if Google drummed up new readers for free?

Of course, most of us flip through a book, whether physically in a store or with the help of Amazon's Look Inside/Search Inside feature, before buying it. Search Inside, btw, increases sales of books by 9%, according to Jeff Bezos. commenters make some great points beyond this, including an author who says she wouldn't dare to demand that her publisher put her book on Google, because she is certain that if she pisses off her publisher, she'll never get a book deal again. This reveals political savvy enough to survive in the real world, which we are glad to see in an author.

So what can be done if authors cannot win any ground against the publishers?

Saturday, October 29, 2005


Wired mag writes about Ted Breaux, a chemistry dork from New Orleans who has reverse engineered several anqitue bottles of absinthe to re-create 19th century recipes for the famous bohemian hootch, which he now distills, bottles, and sells at an old-school distillery in France. This stuff is apparently worlds different from the wormwood-laced mouthwash that parades as absinthe in Prague these days (for the price, it better be).

But wait--isn't the stuff illegal? Turns out the EU does not mention absinthe in its liquor regulatory statutes, so, by oversight of omission, the stuff is treated the same as every other 140-proof liquor in EU countries. That being said, it is illegal to sell absinthe in the USA. However, you may import a bottle and drink it without restriction, as long as you don't get caught by customs.

And from what we're reading, despite hundred-year old accounts of absinthism complete with epilepsy and "criminal dementia," the wormwood at this concentration seems to merely provide an herbal kick not unlike Red Bull.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Requisite Fitzmas Post

We'd be remiss if we let the first indictment of a White House official in 130 years go by without at least a dishonorable mention.

Remarkably, within minutes of the announcement on CNN, Fox announced that the newly indicted Libby was resigning. This tells us that he knew he was guilty but would only resign if caught--that's pretty obvious. So how many other guilty parties are staying at the White House because, so far, they haven't been caught?

From the Wires

A hanging-suicide along the side of a Delaware highway was thought to be a Halloween decoration for nearly a day before anyone went over for a closer look. Apparently, the body "looked like something somebody would have rigged up," according to the Mayor's wife.

Question: Was the deceased wearing a witch's hat? Or did she have a pumpkin for a head? Then maybe ya'll should have walked across the street to check this out a little sooner, huh?

Drinking Liberally

Discovered just today: Drinking Liberally. This sounds like the Dean Meet-ups, but with no pretense of doing anything more than drinking with liberals in a conservative-free zone. We're going next Monday. (via Eschaton)

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Miers Withdraws

The Right successfully obstructs the GOP agenda.

At least Miers can still play the lottery.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

The Long Tail

Chris Anderson, editor in chief of Wired mag, has a blog-about-to-become-a-book about what he calls the Long Tail phenomenon. If you haven't heard of this concept, the idea is that the web, unlike brick-and-mortar stores cobbled by expensive storage space, makes such a wide range of products available that even if only a few people are ever interested enough to buy them, the seller can still turn a profit. Examples include the DVDs that NetFlix has but Hollywood Video won't stock ("We're sorry, sir, but we don't have the unrated version of Bad Santa because we are a family video store") and the thousands of niche market Lego kits only available online.

Gramophone Awards

This month Gramophone mag named the best classical CDs of the year, along with gratuitous "artist of the year" and the like.

We endorse their choice for CD of the year, the long-awaited first volume in a series of the Bach cantatas that John Eliot Gardiner began way back in 2000 on the 250th anniversary of Bach's death. It was an ambitious project: Gardiner and the Monteverdi choir wanted to record all of the sacred cantatas in big, old churches Bach would have known during the course of a year, playing the cantatas appropriate to the liturgical calendar each week. A subset of those recordings were released as the Bach Cantata Pilgrimage, but Deutsche Grammophon was luke-warm on the project and only released about 10 CDs of what was to be an enormous set.

Gardiner put up his own money to produce and release the remainder of the recordings, and this first volume, released on his home-grown Soli Deo Gloria label, is absolutely incredible. (Take that, Deutsche Grammophon!)

Support Our Troops...

...Bring them home alive.

Bush has sent 2000 of them to their deaths, more than died anywhere since Vietnam.

How many times can a man turn his head and pretend he just doesn't see? How many deaths will it take before he knows too many people have died? The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

So are you going to raise this woman's baby?

A woman in Tuscon, AZ, was raped. She then demonstrated remarkable composure, we think, by setting out to prevent herself from getting pregnant, a task that, in Tuscon, AZ, requires a rape victim to visit every pharmacy in town in a vain search for Plan-B or similar "morning after pills." After visiting dozens of pharmacies, she found one that stocks Plan-B. The only pharmacist on duty refused to dispense it.

So, if she becomes pregnant, is this pharmacist going to adopt the child and rear the cute little bundle of rapist joy?

Some people have said this is a matter of women's rights or, even more degrading to everyone, that it is a matter of commerce. We think it is a matter of public health. When a patient takes a doctor's order to a pharmacist, the pharmacist should fulfill that order so that the patient can be healed. Now, in many circumstances, fertility is not a disease, and treatments to prevent it are silly in those instances. In some circumstances, it is not a desirabled condition, and if, after discussing it with her doctor, a woman does not desire to be fertile--and safe medicines are available for this purpose, as well all know--the pharmacist should hand over the pills.

This is not merely a matter of reproductive health. What if pharmacists want to withhold morphine from cancer patients, because people on death's doorstep should have every opportunity to share in Christ's suffering at the time of death? What if pharmacists withhold HIV drugs, because, as Jerry Falwell once said, HIV is the tool of God sent down to rid the earth of homosexuals?

We mention the raped woman in Tuscon for another reason: All those conservatives who say that abortions in cases of rape and incest are tolerable to them but all other abortions must be stopped are full of shit. They have no compunctions about endeavoring to make abortion so scarce that even in cases they say they would tolerate, abortions are not available, as Plan-B was not in this case.

So, if pharmacists refuse for non-health reasons to release on a doctor's order the medicines they keep under lock and key, we should take the medicines out from under lock and key.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

A Movie To Tell Us What is Wrong With TV

We watched Good Night, and Good Luck this weekend and gladly report that it was enjoyed by all. George Clooney's work has been hit or miss, so we were naturally skeptical. What's more, we were reluctant to shell out $10 for a civics lesson from Ed Murrow.

It is a civics lesson, of course: Murrow's reporting was responsible for reigning in Sen. Joe McCarthy's communist witch hunt, and we should all remember that an aggressive, adversarial news media is one of democracy's few protections against demagoguery. That being said, most people likely to see the movie are liberals who feel this way already, so Murrow's ghost will preach to the choir. The movie seems to know this; when the CBS team is cutting together clips of McCarthy's grandstanding, they remark that by reporting on him with only his own words, they will only further endear him to everyone who loves him and further disgust everyone who hates him.

As an aside, compare Ann Coulter's keynote, at the Ronald Reagan Black Tie and Blue Jeans barbeque, that she "was never a big fan of the First Amendment," which met with applause and prompted Republicans to describe her speech as "hard hitting, but sometimes the truth hurts." Not only does this make our point beautifully, but also demonstrates that not a damn thing has changed in 50 years.

David Strathairn obviously enjoyed playing Murrow, and who wouldn't? He gets to repeat Murrow's brilliant if obvious editorial: "...dissent is not disloyalty; accusation is not proof; conviction depends on evidence and due process of law; and finally, as defenders of freedom abroad, the United States cannot desert it at home." Last week, Jack Schafer at Slate wondered what the New York Times could do to save itself. There is your answer.

Movie web site
/ Trailer from Apple

The Worst "Best" List

Yeah, yeah, yeah, so TIME pulled 100 talked about novels off the shelf and called them the best. This has already been done over at Random House/Modern Library, and, we think, well enough that any second attempt--especially any attempt by TIME--would just be a hack job. And it is.

Matthew Baldwin over at The Morning News went through TIME's 100 best and looked to see what reviewers at had to say about these "best" novels to create a Worst of the Best list. A Clockwork Orange "really pissed me off," said one Amazon citizen. Even better, the worst reviewer of Lord of the Flies introduces himself as a Survivor fan, 'cause that makes him totally qualified as a literary critic. (For the record, he was disturbed by the book, as "anyone with a conscience would agree.")

PS After linking TIME, we're going to need to shower over and over to wash off the filth. At least our technorati rankings will rise...

Tina Fey, Our Goddess, Returns

Tina Fey, the last good thing SNL has going for it, was back last night, and God, did we enjoy basking in the glow of her new MILF status. She made jokes about SpongeBob the TV show finally being aired in China, so that the sweatshop workers will now know what the hell they are making, and some other crap... we were too busy drooling over her to listen much. BTW, thanks to Shandy for the shout-out.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Johnny Cash in the Remainder Pile

The other day, we sighted All I Did Was Ask, a collection of Terry Gross interviews from her NPR show, in the remainder pile at the local bookstore staffed by stereotypically bookish lesbians in their coke-bottle lens glasses. "We'll wait for the audio book version," we thought to ourselves.

On closer inspection, though, Terry Gross interviewed Johnny Cash in 1997, at the height of his Rick Rubin Renaissance, which IS worth a listen. So go listen.

Friday, October 21, 2005

The Unsung Heroes of Powerball

Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH) won nearly a million bucks in this week's lottery. According to the WaPo interview:

"I'm truly deserving," declared the New Hampshire Republican, who was one of 49 people across the country to win second place in a drawing Wednesday night. He collected his winnings yesterday at D.C.'s lottery claims center. "I feel this is the result of my ability and talent." He said this over the phone so it could not be determined whether his tongue was in his cheek.
We suspect it wasn't, as the good Senator gloated that he will be using the "majority of the money personally."

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Stormy Weather

In anticipation of another dark, stormy, generally disgusting weekend, we'd like to suggest everyone join us for one of these, courtesy of Slashfood.

While we're on the subject of alcohol, here's an oldie worth re-linking: The Esquire Drinks Database. Follow the rules, but mostly just drink the drinks.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Tater Tomater

Okay, this is a WEIRD one. A moronic girl working in some backwoods diner in what appears to be the Carolinas stands over the steam table all day, offering "tater? tomater?" to customers. Moronic to start with, the rhyme seems to be rotting her brain. The film is only about 15 minutes long (although after you watch it you'll think it was much longer), but the complete weirdness of it along with the plight of a girl driven crazy by the hell of a mind-numbing job make it, well, endearing. That, and the portrayal of the Southerners in the diner is spot on: "Any employee what's got har has to war a har net." Unfortunately, we do not know where to find the video outside of the cult-like website.

Scopes Trial 2005: Update

To follow-up earlier posts on creationism and the tree of life, we'd like to direct your attention to Kitzmiller, et al v. Dover School District, et al, which we prefer to think of as the latest attempt by Christian right wingers to undermine what is left of American superiority in the sciences by replacing high school biology classes with pseudoscience.

How would you like it if you went to the doctor and he told you that you have cancer. "A lot of work has been done directed at a cure in animals," he goes on. "But I don't believe any of that atheist 'science'. In fact, I know in my heart that anyone who thinks animals and humans share anything other than the air we breathe is going to hell, so I am sure you wouldn't want any part of that. I'll pray for you, though, and if your heart is pure, God will miraculously heal you."


The Elements of Style Illustrated? (via NYTimes)

UPDATE: The Institute for the Future of the Book, if:book, who are more enthusiastic about an illustrate Elements than we, have info on operatic music based on Prof. Strunk's admonishments.

The Tree of Life

No, not that Qabbalah crap.

We're reading, with pleasure, Richard Dawkin's Ancestor's Tale, which describes what would happen if we walked back in time to meet our evolutionary ancestors: the great-grandparent who would become ancestor to both Homo sapiens (Homo insipiens?) and the Neanderthals, then further back to meet the ape who became ancestor to both us (all Homo species) and the chimpanzees, back to the creature that became ancestor to both apes and monkeys, and so on, back to the pond scum that became ancestor to all life on Earth.

This Chaucerian pilgrimage is a neat little way to survey evolutionary theory, and Dawkins tells enough tales along the road that it is no where near as dry as it sounds. That, and he has cautionary (almost threatening) footnotes to creationists who would misquote him and he includes biting criticism for American conservatives who wield nukuler power while having the IQ of a chimpanzee.

Anyway, we didn't set out to review the thing. We set out to find illustrations, because Dawkins's fragments of the ancestral family tree make it hard to see the structure of the whole. So here it is, the Tree of Life on the web.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Katrina and Guns

America loves her guns. Taking up arms, which is to say, empowering yourself to take another's life for the simple reason that they make you uncomfortable, is a great aphrodisiac. And there is nothing as addictive as sex, right?

So Instapundit figures that with the reports of armed gangs that roved over New Orleans after Katrina, many will arm themselves "to be prepared next time." Coming from a family of mentally unstable hunting gun owners, we know that a large segment of middle America agrees: Because guns caused so much additional misery during the disaster, we need more guns for when the next disaster comes a-knocking.

We'd like to quote Dr. Berggren of the now-defunct Charity Hospital, New Orleans, who wrote in this week's New England Journal of Medicine:

The real Katrina disaster was not created by the elements but by a society whose fabric had been torn asunder by inequality, lack of education, and the inexplicable conviction that we should all have access to weapons that kill.

That's right: hurricanes and earthquakes are not real problems in our society. Our racism, our ignorance, and our guns are real problems in our society.

IMDb Turns 15

We did not realize IMDb has been around so long... but it has been. 15 years, to be exact.

To celebrate, they have--what else--put together top 15 lists of their favorite movies since 1990. We're glad to see The Shawshank Redemption, LA Confidential, and Memento receiving props. But Tremors? And The Passion of the Christ? And we wish Pixar had never Found Nemo. Batman Begins deserves any one of those spots and there is simply no excuse for leaving out O Brother, Where Art Thou?

Monday, October 17, 2005

Best Magazine Covers Ever

The best 40 magazine covers of the last 40 years, or so they say.

Question: Is this pic of two camels going at it really the best we can do?

Book Nerd Moment

We'd like to introduce The Little Professor (no, not that one), who has a wonderfully bookish blog going on. It is going to take us weeks to surf through her nerdy collection of links, but we got a good start with LibraryThing, which can now be seen at right. Well, what you see to the right is just the tip of the iceberg; LibraryThing now contains most of our books and will link you to a random sampling. We smell the potential for something more interesting things to come of it...

Anyway, Little Professor shares our short patience with those who cannot write in English to save their lives. (The Elements of Style should be required reading, and any one breaking its rules should be shot on sight.) Of course, as a teacher of reading and writing, she is a better person that we are, since we tend to mock anyone who can't write articulately and leave it at that.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Free Piglet!

In the past coupla weeks, rumors that Britain plans to all pig-related cultural icons from Animal Farm's fascists through Charlotte's "Some Pig," and yes Piglet, too, have grown to meme-status. While we're skeptical that all this porcine paraphernalia will actually be sent to the slaughter, we're interested to see what becomes of this.

Christian Exodus (The Words of Christ in Red Version) wants to concentrate evangelical 'Christians' in South Carolina so that they can enact all sorts of quack laws in the name of the Lord. "So what?" you say, "I don't live in South Carolina, cradle of the Confederacy."

Consider this: The organizers, in addition to encouraging armed resistance if the government should ever plan to confiscate firearms (If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other one also [Mt 5:39]), diverting public money to 'Christian' schools on the grounds that public schools have done nothing but teach "generations of school children to hate America," and, in a move to return to the heyday of Christendom, requiring property ownership as a prerequisite for the privilege of voting (Amen I say to you, it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of God [Mt 19:24]) within the South Carolina, they promise that once they amass a 'Christian' majority in the State, they will pursue similar national legislation.

As outlined at their convention, they have a handful of national reforms in mind, specifically the removal of certain amendments from that once-pure-but-now-sullied document, the US Constitution. They suspect the 14th, 16th, and 17th amendments to the U.S. Constitution were not legally ratified, so they plan to suspend them until a genuine 'Christian' accounting can be made and the amendments either truly ratified or permanently discarded. We slept through most of US History 101, so we looked up the amendments in question for you, dear reader...

Amendment 14 promises citizenship, the right to vote, and basic civil rights to freed slaves. Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me. [Mt 25:40]

Amendment 16 allows the federal government to collect income taxes. Render unto Caesar what belongs to Caesar and unto God what belongs to God. [Lk 20:25]

Amendment 17 provides for popular election of Senators, which is just a pain when you are trying to artificially assemble create a ruling majority.
In other words, these folks, as our born-again President would call them, want the exact opposite of everything Christ taught them. Bless them.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Holy Shit!

Dear Harriet,

Thank you for the card and a happy 52nd to you. I appreciate your friendship and candor- never hold back your sage advice-

All my best
George W.

P.S. No more public scatology

Life Inside a Water Bottle

On the whole, bottled water is pretty stupid: A dollar a quart for something that normally sells for a fraction of a penny a gallon. What's more, the number one reason your grandparents wear dentures and you don't is that your teeth grew in with the benefit of fluorinated municipal water; rear up your children on bottled water, and they'll end up smiling like your grandparents.

All that aside, this guy shot VR-style film of his house from "inside" a water bottle, which is, we have to admit, pretty fkn cool.

A Brief History of Cronyism

TNR has excerpts of the illustrious history of presidential suck-ups. Most are more subtle than Harriet Miers's assertions that G W Bush is "cool" and "the greatest," but that leaves a lot of room to practice the art of ass-kissing. (Via Shandy.)

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

More on the Cruise-Holmes Shotgun Wedding

Rat-faced bastard Tom Cruise and talentless fiance Katie Holmes, who recently got knocked up out of wedlock, were taken down a notch by Katie's Dad. Martin Holmes, a devout Catholic (that would be a real religion, Tom), stated the obvious to Cruise: "You're no good."

Cruise has pledged to marry Holmes in time to make an honest woman of her before she becomes a mother, but her family says "Katie is being controlled by the Scientologists." Can somebody rent her a copy of Rosemary's Baby?

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

King Kong!!!

When Peter Jackson saw King Kong at the impressionable age of 9, he knew right away that he wanted to be a filmmaker. We don't think the movie is much to write home about, but it does pretty much capture Hollywood life: Desperate hottie is exploited by movie producers, then hooks up with possessive monster who is even older than her daddy until his recklessness does him in, and finally ends it all after being spit out the bottom end of the porn industry. Okay, so that last part isn't actually in the script, but we know that is how it turns out.

Riding the success of the Lord of the Rings, Jackson is about to release his own remake of the mother of all monster movies. Universal is paying him $20 million up-front for his trouble, so you can imagine he is enjoying himself. Along the way, he has the webmasters of the fansite keeping track of production with a series of video diaries, basically the kind of behind the scenes stuff that Special Edition DVDs are for. Go check out Naomi Watts in Kong's hand as he runs through the streets of NY. It's enough to make us want to be exploitive movie producers, too.

Monday, October 10, 2005

George Bush Wants To Blow Up The Smurfs

UNICEF is running ads in Europe that depict the bombing of the Smurf Village as part of a fundraiser to benefit the children of wartorn areas.

We would like to thank George Bush for blowing these lovable, child-like cartoons to hell. After all, if we weren't fighting the blue kiddos abroad, we'd be fighting them here.

UPDATE: The conservative blogosphere, always eager to back up their "compassionate" president, is accusing the Smurfs of being communists. Followers of Jerry Falwell are reportedly praying right now, thanking God every time one of the little bastards burns alive.

Great Silliness in the Name of Fiction

As we've alluded to before, we are great Rushdie fans. Even so, we are disappointed by Shalimar the Clown.

First, the book is too thin to support episodes in LA, Kashmir, and Austria, let alone visits to France, London, and San Quentin. Midnight's Children was The Novel of 600 Pages Maximum; The Moor's Last Sigh was The More Modest Novel of 400 Pages Minimum, and both stayed in India. Shalimar barely makes 400 pages, leaving us with the feeling that we were only allowed one trip to the buffet with a pitifully small plate. A polyglot should not run out of words so quickly.

Then there is the problem of the plot. We can allow that Rushdie, who is the literary world's greatest target of terrorism, wants to write about the fantasies that swim around in the terrorist mind, which he does beautifully, including an astute portrayal of the scorned lover feigning religious fervor so as to become a jihadist who can kill with both passion and God's blessing. His terrorist also gives him a springboard for a discussion about the differences between a society whose creation myth obsesses on transgression and redemption and a society without original sin that must instead obsess over honor and shame. More generally, we agree that any story about the beauties of Kashmir must mention the uglies of Kashmir.

The reality of Kashmir's devils combined with the magic of a circus clown and tightrope walker who can truly walk on air is not magic realism, though. It is silliness in the name of fiction.

UPDATE: The NYTimes has finally reviewed Shalimar, two months after its release, which just reinforces how silly the thing is. Salman, get your act together before you go the way of George Lucas.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Red Light District

As anyone who has ever parked in Washington, DC, knows, the District relies on parking tickets for its primary source of income. Lately, they have expanded their business into the traffic violation racket: they have installed 75 cameras atop stop lights, ostensibly to catch people running red lights. We have seen the tell-tale flash of pictures being taken several times, usually on the yellow light.

WaPo reports that the intersections with cameras have seen an INCREASE in the number of accidents at those red-lights since the cameras went up. And in many cases, the increase is greater than the increase in accidents over the same period at nearby, unmonitored red-lights. Well done, DC.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Soy Nuts

We're on a bit of a food run, today. Be that as it may, the "soy nuts" in question are the nutjobs who try to substitute soy for everything. Tofurkey, for example.

But this crosses some sort of line into the absolutely, incredibly, unbelievably ridiculous: Roasted soy beans for brewing soy "coffee." They advertise it as having "a magnificent bouquet with no acidity or caffeine."

We'll just have a cup of luke warm water, thanks, and delude ourselves into thinking it is a hot chai.

The Taste of Stars

Some guy found a way to carbonate fruit. Carbonate, as in "loading a beverage with carbonic acid to create bubbles." Apparently, the technique involves little more than putting dry ice and fresh fruit in a sealed container and keeping it in the fridge until the dry ice turns to CO2; the pressure in the container drives the gas into the fruit. According to taste-testers, the fruit comes out bursting with soda-water--laced juice and tastes like, well, fruit with a sprinkling of soda water.

Judging by the looks of the product website, they plan to market this to kids, who will have their parents (and their school systems) paying exorbitant prices for fruit with gas. Forget that. We want some of this stuff, and now! After paying $5 for a handful of grapes, the novelty will wear off real quick, but this fruit with bubbles is something we've got to try.

What's more, this seems to be the beginning of a new food fad: Wired also reports on dairy with fizz, starting with milk and yogurt.

Making Atomic Fireballs

When we were in third grade, the teacher we had a crush on would hold "atomic fireball contests" for the whole class, which basically consisted of nothing more than everyone trying to keep the fireball in their mouth longer than the rest of the class. (We cannot remember what the prize was.) Okay, so the Georgia public schools need work.

But get this: It takes two weeks to make a batch of atomic fireballs!

Monday, October 03, 2005

Conservatives to Filibuster Miers?

Rumor has it that some conservatives in the Senate, irritated that Bush passed up their lackey, Alberto Gonzales, for the Sandra Day O'Connor SCOTUS seat, are considering a filibuster of Harriet Miers.

Of course that would never happen, but the irony would be so very rich.

"The Mother of All Cuckoldry Stories" interviews Salman Rushdie on his latest, Shalimar the Clown.

Joaquin Phoenix is Johnny Cash

As we've mentioned before, we are huge Johnny Cash fans. So naturally we are hugely excited about the upcoming Walk the Line. We have to admit that our hearts were pounding when we saw the trailer in the theater the other weekend. And suprising as it is, Joaquin Phoenix can be painted to look like a decent JC look a-like. Vanity Fair has some outtake photos to whet your whistle.

While movies are all fine and good, what we really want is confirmation of various rumors of another American album that Rick Rubin had been planning to release posthumously. We assume the Master's final album is caught up in estate law headaches, but man, we just wish we could download a copy, you know?

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Wolfram for Your Cell

Wolfram Research, home of Mathematica and math nerd Stephen Wolfram, is hoping to cash in on the 2-bucks-for-a-ringtone market with WolframTones. However, their ringtones are cool.

The site uses algorithms from some of Wolfram's work to generate, at the click of a mouse, a wholly unique ringtone. You tell it to make something that sounds vaguely like a piano, or something roughly hip-hoppish, or whatever, and it spits out 30 secs of new music with 4 variations. If you like what you hear, pony up 2 bucks. If not, click again. Surprisingly, the results sound better than a lot of electronic musicians we know. We clicked and clicked for an hour this morning and encourage you to do the same.

Things Creationists Hate

The creationist campaign against science is, we think, rooted in a deep hatred of something or someone, perhaps Darwin. Skeptic Report has gone us one better and compiled an extensive list of all things that creationists hate, from pi ("used to be 3, representing the Trinity, back in Solomon's time; now it is 3.14... oh, who the hell can remember the rest nowadays") to St. Paul (who wrote in 1 Timothy [that's in the Bible, for those who haven't read it], "ignore fables and endless genealogies") in addition to Darwin (the instigator of all evolutionary thinking, which destroys faith in God and therefore all morality and honesty, was an Episcopalian preacher!?).

Seems the creationist even loathes humility:

I have determined, after extensive surveying, tabulation, and data analysis, that the average creationist in the US earns $21,387.29 in family income; owns 1.2 cars, 1.8 TVs, and 2.3 kids; and has, at some point in his life, answered to the name "Bubba." He has less than one year of college. Yet he knows more about paleontology than Bakker or Horner or Currie (or he thinks that what they know is wrong--same thing). He knows more about the definition of evolution than Gould or Dawkins. He knows more about biology than Dobzhansky or Mayr. He knows more about cosmology than Hawking, Smoot, or Witten, and more about human fossils than Johanson or the Leakeys. He knows more "true" geology than geologists, more physics than physicists, more astronomy than astronomers--and more about everything than atheists like Asimov or Sagan.

And yes, we are aware that the current crop of creationists prefer the term "intelligent design." We prefer to call fossils fossils. And besides, if they truly believe things do not change over time due to pressures in the environment, why did they change their name and their story?