Brainstorm names for two new cats we brought home on vacation, June 6:

Stickers Bruce Wayne Wolverine Zatoichi.
Guess which one is his main name. It's Japanese, pronounced with the O and I separate in the middle, like ZAtoh EEchee. He's gray with white patches on belly and legs and part of his face. The pattern on his face looks a little like Wolverine's classic yellow costume, gray splotches over his eyes but white nose and mouth, then a little gray goatee on his chin.

The mother cat is already technically named "Snow Angel Princess" aka Baby Cat, but we played with names that we like better: Kikujiro, Sonatine, Anh, Mrs Cheng the Pirate Queen, Tampopo.
I suggested "Florida" after the stern but loving mother on Good Times, but Melinda figured everyone would think we like the state of Florida. (She only dislikes Florida the state because everyone in Michigan talks about it like it's the Holy Land.)
Darth Mama.
Finally Melinda suggested Songlian, main character in Raise the Red Lantern played by Gong Li.

... We watched Raise the Red Lantern on June 9th so we would know the proper pronunciation of the name "Songlian" for our new cat. The movie is about the four wives of this rich man in 1930s China, all conspiring against each other to become the most favored wife in the household. The servants all call them "second mistress" or "fourth mistress" and the wives call each other "second sister" and "fourth sister." It focuses on the pov of the fourth wife, Songlian.

[This is leading up to a joke, I swear. It's not huge, but there's a payoff coming...]

I told Melinda it's a bummer that we only have the three female cats, because we could almost call this cat Songlian "fourth mistress" just like her namesake in the movie. Then I laughed and said, wait, she is fourth mistress! Melinda said, no, you can't count the boy cat.

I said, no, and I pointed at Melinda: "FIRST MISTRESS" -- then Lucky is second mistress, Lozie is third mistress and Songlian is fourth mistress.

Works out perfectly. Except Melinda said, "Ewww, that means you sleep with cats!"
What's Wrong With Dating?

"Fact: Our dating system does not biblically prepare young men and women for marriage...."
Good one!

"after watching tom [cruise] on o [oprah]
and then everywhere else
in the free world
i think i may need to up my meds"
-rosie o'donnell's r blog

Wednesday apparently does not encourage drinking your own urine (like this freegan webpage I linked to years ago did).

"Freegans are people who are concerned so deeply with the social and ecological impact of economic over-consumption that they choose to buy and work as little as possible and, instead, to live directly off the massive waste created by our modern society. Freegans avoid contributing labor or wealth to an economy based on materialism, explotation, greed and waste by refusing to participate in it. Instead of producing their own waste, Freegans sustain themselves off the already existing waste thereby curtailing garbage and pollution and lessening the over-all volume in the waste stream."

I try to go to extremes with reducing, reusing and recycling, but the closest I've come to freeganism was taking a battered milk crate and plastic garbage can off the side of the highway.

They give some (more?) good reasons to backlash against vegetarians and vegans, if that sounds like something you want to do:

'We look askance even at those products sold to us as "socially responsible". While others look at a tofu hot dog and view it as "guilt-free" because it does not contain the flesh of animals, we recognize that a product is not made profitable from only one form of oppression. Capitalism NEVER considers the impact of its heavy hand; conservative in the cutting of economic cost, the corporation NEVER seeks to reign in its social and ecological cost -- unless there's money in it.

'And so, the freegan goes further than the vegan, noticing the plastic the tofu hot dogs are wrapped in, and thinking of fish and birds asphyxiating in slicks of oil in seas turned black with spilled crude. The freegan sees the card stock wrapper of the tofu hot dog and things of the serene forest that stood, home to multitudes of living beings, erased from the future through economically efficient "liquidation logging". The freegan looks at the white color of the card stock and thinks of the millions of tons of carcinogenic organochlorides invading waterways, contaminating living flesh after their chlorine component has served its function as bleach. The freegan remembers the deer shot, and the insect poisoned for having the audacity to eat crops growing on lands that used to be their habitat, crops that will be transformed into the product's "natural ingredients"...

'The freegan remembers the fish choking to death in deoxygenated water in a lake where nitrogen fertilizer runoff from the farm has caused an algal bloom. The freegan remembers the farm worker, underpaid and overworked, sending funds home to a country impoverished through imperialism by a government serving the interests of the wealthy corporate elite who guard their earnings as they consider acquiring a mid-sized company making tofu hot dogs...'
The How and the Tao of Old Time Banjo
Patrick Costello has recently released two of his popular old-time banjo books under a Creative Commons license, allowing them to be distributed freely on the Internet. These books are outstanding resources for all beginning banjo players and the online versions are completely FREE.
Early suggestions and discussions on HOWTO make your Mac Y10K compliant
[via] presents Inverse Kinematik Manipulate the bikini puppet lady
Disgusting. I want the backstory. Why is this woman freefalling through a space filled with stationary bubbles or rubberish balls? Are we watching and manipulating a corpse or just a woman passed out? They could rename it "Necrophiliac's Delight".
something positive
Hilarious webcomic with a love/hate relationship for old school rpgs, comics, anime and all things geek. I paged through these for about 3 hours last night and laughed my ass off. Visuals are crisp and cartoony but the language is occasionally NC-17, if that kind of thing troubles you.


Gizmodo reviews several models of "E-Meter" (the Scientologist "pastoral counseling device" that supposedly detects emotional states and thoughts, plus whatever the hell else they want to claim).


What is wrong with the headline on this cover picture?
(Jul/Aug 2005 issue of The American Enterprise)
Am I racist for thinking of the pun?
In what other place has America
used nukes to "nip it"?
Did they intend the pun?
Would you believe them if they claimed
not to have intended the pun?
Oshkosh. Hold the "b'gosh".



"The following letter was received by the postmaster in Jackson [circa Oct 1866]:

“Sir,—Not knowing your name, but thinking that you would do me the favor to try and ascertain whether there is a man living in the city of Jackson, where you live, or any where else, by the name of Willey. I am his son. I was taken by the Indians about thirty years ago. Can you find any of the relatives of this Willey? All that I know about it is that my father's name is Willey, and that I was taken from Michigan. This I was told by an Indian. Please to try and find out for me, and I will thank you whether you find my father or not, as soon as you can make it convenient, as I want to see him or my relations. Your humble servant, WILLIAM WILLEY."

The Lost Jackson Boy (
Just ran across this story looking for info about the Cavalry round-up of Native Americans in Jackson around the mid-1800s. I remember they were supposed to have gathered Indians on a hill on Lansing Street or Ganson street in Jackson, but the details weren't fleshed out much in the illustrated history of Jackson that I read a few years back.

This story comes from Harper's New Monthly Magazine, vol. 35, no. 209, pp. 631-633, October 1867.


Sad convergence of two of my favorite topics:
Oil Tanker Boarded by Pirates Off Basra


Noam Chomsky on "Deep Throat" & COINTELPRO:

"COINTELPRO was a program of the national political police, carried out through four administrations, with a very wide range of targets... ranging in methods up to direct political assassination. It was formally terminated after it was exposed in the courts in the early 70s.

"Someone in [Mark aka "Deep Throat"] Felt's position surely knew about it. I have no idea what he was involved in, and don't see that it matters much. Responsibility went right up to the White House, through four administrations.

"COINTELPRO was vastly more significant than Watergate, which was a tea party in comparison. The difference is that Watergate was annoying to powerful people, who struck back, while COINTELPRO targeted people who were weak, vulnerable, dissident, and in other ways remote from centers of power. Therefore anything done to them passes without concern among those who matter. As we have seen for 30 years, and see right now."


More good stuff from Stan Goff

The United States should not have invaded Iraq, but now that we are there, aren't we responsible to clean it up and ensure that there is no bloodbath when we leave?

Much of the answer to this question begins with a critical look at the premises hidden inside the question.

Premise 1: The "United States" invaded Iraq.
Premise 2: "We" are the United States who did it.
Premise 3: The invasion was a "mistake."
Premise 4: "We" are better suited to "clean up" Iraq than the Iraqis by themselves.
Premise 5: The violence in Iraq is a reflection of divisions existing inside Iraq.
Premise 6: Iraqis cannot be trusted to guide the reconstruction of Iraq without US supervision about HOW to do reconstruction." ...

Lexington Herald-Leader | 06/14/2005 | Mother of dead soldier vilifies Bush over war

Cindy Sheehan ridiculed Bush for saying that it's 'hard work' comforting the widow of a soldier who's been killed in Iraq.

"Hard work is seeing your son's murder on CNN one Sunday evening while you're enjoying the last supper you'll ever truly enjoy again. Hard work is having three military officers come to your house a few hours later to confirm the aforementioned murder of your son, your first-born, your kind and gentle sweet baby. Hard work is burying your child 46 days before his 25th birthday. Hard work is holding your other three children as they lower the body of their big (brother) into the ground. Hard work is not jumping in the grave with him and having the earth cover you both," she said.

..."We're watching you very carefully and we're going to do everything in our power to have you impeached for misleading the American people," she said, quoting a letter she sent to the White House. "Beating a political stake in your black heart will be the fulfillment of my life ... ," she said, as the audience of 200 people cheered.

Lexington Herald-Leader | 06/14/2005 | Mother of dead soldier vilifies Bush over war


Today's example that Democrats are obsolete sell-outs: Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid said there is not a unified Democratic position on setting a timeframe for bringing the troops home. That was his reaction after Senator Russ Feingold introduced a resolution calling for a timetable for reaching [Bush's] military objectives in Iraq and withdrawing American troops.

[Good on Feingold, although pausing to achieve US military objectives is just as illegal and wrong as the whole war. Oh well. It's a step in the right direction. Reid is disgusting and complicit and encourages me to keep voting for third parties.]

Democrats split on setting timetable for pulling US troops from Iraq


Read this brief news story and then see the headline that Melinda attached to it in her email...,,2-10-1462_1721235,00.html

N Koreans are suffering - Rice
14/06/2005 19:22 - (SA)

Washington - United States secretary of state Condoleezza Rice said
people had not prospered under the of North Korean leader, Kim
Jong-Il, but she steered clear of commenting on his mental health.

Asked on Monday about Kim's sanity during an interview on MSNBC's
Hardball, she said: "I don't know. I've never met the man."

She said it was clear that the people of North Korea had not prospered
under Kim's rule. Rice said: "They've suffered under this regime."

She said North Korea "could significantly improve the well-being of
their people" if they took advantage of the opportunity offered by
six-party nuclear disarmament talks.

Rice said if an agreement was reached, the United States and other
parties to the discussions were ready and willing to help North Korea.

In talks earlier this month, North Korean diplomats told US officials
they were willing to return to the discussions after boycotting them
for the past year.

[The above article was sent in an email with the subject line "condoleezza rice is against stigma."]


Capitalism & Other Kids' Stuff
Damn this is good. I'm not getting the visuals for some reason, just listening to the sound while I'm working. It's a 51 minute video, analogy and description of the problems of Capitalism, why it's not the best or only viable system, in simple terms. I wish all quiet and frustrated anti-capitalists could just play this for their gung-ho conservative relatives at Thanksgiving. I suppose it wouldn't convince most of them, but it makes things so simple and clear, as long as they could get past the URL "" and "".


Excerpt from The Fortress of Solitude by Jonathan Lethem:

Now Dylan's friend Linus Millberg appears out of the crowd with a cup of beer and shouts, "Dorothy is John Lennon, the Scarecrow is Paul McCartney, the Tin Woodman is George Harrison, the Lion's Ringo."

"Star Trek," commands Dylan over the lousy twangy country CB's is playing between sets.

"Easy," Linus shouts back. "Kirk's John, Spock's Paul, Bones is George, Scotty is Ringo. Or Chekhov, after the first season. Doesn't matter, it's like a Scotty-Chekov-combination Ringo. Spare parts are always surplus Georges or Ringos."

"But isn't Spock-lacks-a-heart and McCoy-lacks-a-brain like Woodman and Scarecrow? So Dorothy's Kirk?"

"You don't get it. That's just a superficial coincidence. The Beatle thing is an archetype, it's like the basic human formation. Everything naturally forms into a Beatles, people can't help it."

"Say the types again."

"Responsibe-parent genius-parent genius-child clown-child."

"Okay, do Star Wars."

"Luke Paul, Han Solo John, Chewbacca George, the robots Ringo."

"Tonight Show."

"Uh, Johnny Carson Paul, the guest John, Ed McMahon Ringo, whatsisname George."

"Doc Severinson."

"Yeah, right. See, everything revolves around John, even Paul. That's why John's the guest."

"And Severinson's quiet but talented, like a Wookiee."

"You begin to understand."


"Mary John, Lou Paul, Murray George, Ted Baxter Ringo."

..."Good one."

"I didn't make this shit up," says Linus. "It's like some essential human grouping pattern."

"So you're saying that's why [this band] Stately Wayne Manor is doomed--bad Beatle dynamics.

"Oh yeah, it's painfully obvious."

"Andrew thinks he's John, nobody wants to be Paul."

"They all think they're John. They're four wannabe Johns. They're like four Georges. With no Ringo to lighten things up."

"Not one real John?"

"Maybe Giuseppe. Doesn't matter. Without Paul to play peacemaker, John's just as bad as George."

"I thought George wasn't bothering anybody, he just wants to, you know, write one song per album and play his sitar."

"No, no, George is evil, he wants to usurp John, that's his nature."

Chewbacca wants to usurp Han Solo? ...

... [Later] Linus attempts to explain Beatle dynamics to the girls, using his ungainlest example yet. "--the reason they'll never get off the island is Skipper's such a weak Paul and Gilligan's a John who'd rather be a Ringo. He's like, practically fighting Mr. Howell for Ringo status. Plus Professor's such an overbearing George, they're completely screwed up--"

When one of Liza's friends says, "What about the girls?" Linus impatiently replies "The girls don't matter" before he can stop himself.

Dylan decides to step into this breach. "A rock band requires a certain alchemy," he says ominously. "You saw Quadrophenia?"


"Like that, you know--the four faces of the Who."

Liza stares blankly, as if she might have regarded Quadrophenia more along the lines of that movie with Sting in it. Dylan feels despair rising. ... To the ironized, reference-peppered palaver which comprises Dylan's only easy mode of talk former prep-school girls have frequently proved deaf as cats.

"I think I mostly like bands with one strong personality," she says. "Like the Doors."

Dylan's triply whiplashed. Liza's found the gist of Linus's conceit through the smokescreen of the Gilligan's Island example, then just as quickly dismissed it, which is nimble as hell....