Compare and contrast the following book overs (if they show up right):

Player's Handbook (Dungeons & Dragons)
What's the Deal with Wicca?
Protecting Your Teen from Today's Witchcraft
Dungeon Master's Guide (Dungeons & Dragons)

The Sep 5, 2005 cover story on New York Times Upfront magazine for kids (formerly Senior Scholastic magazine):
"Meet Your Competition. Millions of young people in places like China and India are going after the same jobs you are: What globalization means to you." It shows four young adults with little captions near them that read "designing the smallest handheld ever," "working for a U.S. company -- in Shanghai," "thinking up the next Google" (ha! they have vaporware in Asia too!) and "Willing to work for one fifth of what you make." Has Thomas Friedman been driving editorial direction here too?


Alternate headlines:
Mexico Opens Fire On U.S.!
Mexican Suicide-bomber Blasts Himself Across Border!

Think of all the wasted potential for bold, new areas of war-embracing anti-immigrant rhetoric that Michael Savage could have used to describe that story.
Human Cannonball Soars Across U.S. Border


I thought it was weird how people spike ledges to keep pigeons from landing there, but anti-sit spikes for people? Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?
"'The American Legion will stand against anyone and any group that would demoralize our troops, or worse, endanger their lives by encouraging terrorists to continue their cowardly attacks against freedom-loving peoples,' Thomas Cadmus, national commander, told delegates at the group's national convention in Honolulu."

So if the troops feel demoralized because the Bush Administration makes idiotic tactical moves, or fails to provide adequate armor or ammo or materiel, or because representatives of our closest ally confirm that intelligence was fixed around the policy, then the American Legion will stand against the Bush Administration?

If Nutria or Asperia or whatever RJR tobacco calls themselves these days hikes the price of cigarettes by 25¢ a pack, and the troops become demoralized by that, does the American Legion stand against RJR Euphemismia Tobacco?

If a study in JAMA finds that fried foods are dangerous to your health and the troops get demoralized because they prefer fried foods, does the American Legion stand against Journal of the American Medical Association, or against fried foods, or what?

If launching illegal invasions encourages "terrorists" (lumping together the usual terrorists as well as anyone who fights back against illegal US invasions), then does the American Legion stand against the Bush Administration for launching illegal invasions?

If launching the invasion of Iraq with tactics like "Shock and Awe" fulfills the standard definition of terrorism in U.S. Code and army manuals, then does the American Legion stand against the terrorists who launch illegal invasions?

This is why it's not a clear cut issue like this guy wants it to be. Depending on how you interpret the Constitution, US law, international law and/or recent events, it might not be the peaceniks who are endangering troops and "encouraging terrorists to continue their cowardly attacks". It might be the Bush and his supporters. Peaceniks might be the truly "freedom-loving peoples."
The funny thing isn't that another person got a bill or junk mail sent to an insulting name like "Palestinian Bomber." The funny part is that "when Sami Habbas, the Palestinian-American man who received the unsolicited letter from the credit card arm of JPMorgan Chase, telephoned the company to complain, two operators who took his call referred to him as 'Mr Bomber'." -----[via]


In answer to that newly classic sarcastic question "Who Would Jesus Bomb?", Pat Robertson gives an unexpected answer: Venezuelan prez Hugo Chavez.


Why play tabletop rpgs run by friends or acquaintances when your travel agent can hook you up with Otherworld Excursions? -- walking tours guided by gaming pros, after which your tour guide serves as game master. Kenneth Hite leads an Occult Architecture Day Trip through Chicago, Stefan Pokorny gives a tour of his miniature sculpting studio, and John Tynes leads an Abandoned Military Base Getaway Weekend in Port Townsend, Washington.


The Dread Pirate Bin Laden
An article from Legal Affairs magazine on "How thinking of terrorists as pirates can help win the war on terror."

'INTERNATIONAL LAW LACKS A DEFINITION FOR TERRORISM as a crime. According to Secretary General Kofi Annan, this lack has hampered "the moral authority of the United Nations and its strength in condemning" the scourge.'
Democracy Now! | Headlines for August 19, 2005: "Next month, the US military is expected to complete a new detention center called Fort Suse to hold 2000 prisoners in northern Iraq."

Fort Seuss???

"I do not like Green Eggs and Car Batteries attached to my Genitals!
I do not like Car Batteries attached to my Genitals in general!"


I've heard of tech companies turning to lawsuits as a business strategy (presumably after they recognize that all possibility of profitable innovation is in their past). And when I saw Korn Greatest Hits cds, I knew that other bands of that era were on the way out. But I wouldn't have thought that Slipknot was so far gone they were reduced to lawsuits to preserve their so-last-year image. Burger King developed a joke band called "Coq Roq" to market their new chicken fries to the Slipknot generation, using chicken-beaked masks that look a little like the masks of Slipknot, and earning BK a lawsuit by Slipknot's humorless legal team.

Is this a case of infringement, or another example of Al Franken's observation that "Satire is protected speech, even if the object of the satire doesn't get it"?

The lawsuit doesn't have a ghost of a chance. I just wish they'd start giving out COQ ROQ merch in Big Kids meals. The music isn't exactly Slipknot, but it's not bad. Go download some mp3s. I like "Bob Your Head" but you have to love "NICE BOX."

Another thing I'd like to know: if the designs of all those clown and wrestler masks with nails punched through them are copyrighted or patented or TMed or whatever you call it, did they mention in the official legal registration with the patent office that the inside of the masks should be crusted with puke like the band always jokes about?


A Political Economy of Junk Cars on Blocks in Back Yards
an h2g2 entry by yours truly

In the United States, one aspect of the redneck or hillbilly stereotype is that these unfashionable people hoard their old, broke down cars instead of hauling them to a scrapyard as fashionable middle-class Yanks do. Junk cars usually end up on blocks or otherwise tireless and propped up in side yards or backyards, because intact tires are soon switched to the redneck's running vehicle or sold off.

Middle-class Americans generally have enough money to pay for towing cars to a junk yard when the time seems right, and enough money to buy another working vehicle so they won't need parts very soon after. What they do not have, however, is enough sense to recognize that it may be an economic decision for some people to hang on to junked cars. When you can barely afford to sustain a vehicle, when you have to devote weekends and time off to fixing vehicles, and when you can't afford the exorbitant prices for new auto parts, it makes sense to keep an assortment of free used spare parts in your backyard....


National Ledger - Cindy Sheehan's Husband Files for Divorce
Analysts believe this startling new development proves Cindy Sheehan is quite possibly human. (Not "news" technically per se, since they've been separated since June.) Stay tuned for more information as soon as anything smear-worthy can be dug up!
BBC NEWS: Sean 'Diddy' Combs drops the P
How many years did it take Prince to winnow his name down to ?

Looking forward to the day when Puff Daddy, I mean P Diddy, I mean Diddy, you know, finally puffs down to zero letters and zero airtime like TAFKAP.


Buried Headlines Whose idea was it to use headlines at the starts of paragraphs with no punctuation or clear visual way of separating it from the body text? They do it on metafilter and I hope this doesn't catch on. It's annoying. It's not a big deal when they omit headlines like memepool or or lots of other blogs, but to throw them up at the start of a paragraph and expect readers to take it as a headline just because it's a link simply doesn't work.

I suppose people complained the same way about words and titles and taglines that run together without spaces, like Now omitting spaces pervades advertising and graphic design. But you can adjust to that fairly quickly, especially when you get a daily barage of it for a few years. I hope this new bloggy style of poorly differentiated headlines will not have to grow on us. It doesn't look like a cute, stylish new way of doing headlines. It looks like a failure to understand visual design and the ingrained habits of readers.
Another reason why I subscribe to the Makezine blog:
How to make a set of highland pipes from PVC pipe
...Plus the site is CMICH (mad props to my homies from the Winter Wonderland) and he lays out instructions for dozens of other homebrew intruments and modifications. Thumb-piano made from bobby-pins and 30 or 40 others.


Family members say protesting mom Cindy Sheehan consistently returns videos two to three days after they're due, incurring late fees and sometimes neglecting to rewind.
“Feeding poor people is useful tech, but it’s not very sexy and it won’t get you on the cover of Wired. Talk about it too much and you sound like an earnest hippie. So nobody wants to do that.

“They want to make cell phones that can scan your personal measurements and send them real-time to potential sex partners. ...

“The upshot of all of this is that the Future gets divided; the cute, insulated future that Joi Ito and Cory Doctorow and you and I inhabit, and the grim meathook future that most of the world is facing, in which they watch their squats and under-developed fields get turned into a giant game of Counterstrike between crazy faith-ridden jihadist motherfuckers and crazy faith-ridden American redneck motherfuckers, each doing their best to turn the entire world into one type of fascist nightmare or another.

“Of course, nobody really wants to talk about that future, because it’s depressing and not fun and doesn’t have Fischerspooner doing the soundtrack. So everybody pretends they don’t know what the future holds, when the unfortunate fact is that — unless we start paying very serious attention — it holds what the past holds: a great deal of extreme boredom punctuated by occasional horror and the odd moment of grace.”

- Joshua Ellis, quoted on
I wish I could find this guy's blog, but it looks like he might have taken it down. All I get on are links to an mp3 and a t-shirt shop.
Here's the webpage to register for the Freedom Walk.
"The America Supports You Freedom Walk is an event on September 11 [2005] that allows citizens the opportunity to remember the victims of September 11, honor our veterans past and present, and celebrate our freedom." It "begins near the Pentagon crash site, crossing Arlington National Cemetery, passing several National memorials, and concluding adjacent to the National Mall and Reflecting Pool with an America Supports You concert by country superstar singer and songwriter Clint Black."

Members of the public who wish to walk through those public places past public monuments at that time must register. People who fail to register will apparently not be free to participate in the Freedom Walk. Bringing you new ways in which "freedom isn't free"???


Tim Wise: Indian Mascots and White Rage
Normally I would say that FSU and other NCAA teams ought to join us in the Twenty-first century, but they're 14 years behind my alma mater. Maybe you could cut out the whooping and the "tomahawk chop" and join us in the early 1990s?


Now this is my idea of a self-help book. Unleash...

The Pirate Inside : Building a Challenger Brand Culture Within Yourself and Your Organization


Air Pirates Funnies
1971 Underground Mickey Mouse parody comic, sued out of existence because it was too close to the original look of Mickey & friends.
Signing For Dummies
Somebody missed a memo.

And don't miss Public Speaking for Dummies, 2nd Edition.

Next: "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Microcephaly".


"Today's transient global economic relations are a product of very special transient circumstances, namely relative world peace and absolutely reliable supplies of cheap energy. Subtract either of these elements from the equation and you will see globalisation evaporate so quickly it will suck the air out of your lungs."

... "The American public has enjoyed the fiesta, but the blue-light special orgy of easy motoring, limitless air-conditioning, and super-cheap products made by factory slaves far far away is about to close down."

James Howard Kunstler says Globalisation is an Anomaly and Its Time is Running Out.
"Dear Rob,
"This weekend the GOP is kicking off its 2006 campaign cycle at the party's annual summer meeting in Pittsburgh, with Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum playing host. What does it say about the Republican leadership that they're putting a right-wing extremist at the center of their effort to keep control of the Senate?..."

I'm still signed up from the John Kerry email list, and he still sends messages to solicit contributions for whatever reasons. The one that came to my inbox today had the subject line: "The Fight Starts Now."

Fucking priceless. Maybe the fight should have started around 2004? Ya think?


Recently defeated Iraq War Vet Congressional candidate Paul Hackett on Democracy Now. Too bad we can't get a real anti-war activist like Stan Goff to run instead of a half-assed Kerry or Dean shlub like Hackett.
MacVooty Radio
The wacky college radio station near the town where I grew up used to have a show called "You've Got To Be Modernistic" hosted by Professor Arwulf Arwulf. The radio commercial for his show was sounded like a shortwave or AM signal slowly tuning in to a 1930s jazz show. "From high atop the Student Activities Hotel in downtown treetown, it's You've Got To Be Modernistic", describes the show and the time and the station, then fades out again as if you're losing the signal.

Somewhere in there, you hear the voice of maybe a bandleader saying, "Are we ready? To the left a vouty. Ready? Rooty. Arooty rooty."

After some light research the last few days using keywords "vouty" and "voutie" and "vout", I was able to track down info about an hepster named Slim Gaillard. A specialist in scat, Kerouac drops his name in "On The Road", and you may have even heard his more popular wacky song "Cement Mixer, Puti Puti." He was talented and his slow songs are really good straight jazz, although it sounds like he uses them mostly to set up for funny transitions into fast scatting bebop.

In the course of scatting all the time, he settled on a few made-up words that held his interest, and used them in normal spoken intros before playing songs, or in between songs. Especially "vouty" or "vout" or "oroonie" or "oreeny". From various bios I read, he peaked in the 40s, performed through the 50s and maybe a little of the 60s, then ran a hotel and didn't have much of a musical career for a while.

He's funny. I looked him up on Amazon and listened to a bunch of his clips. Today I found "MacVooty Radio", a live365 station set up with Gaillard round the clock. I've been listening ten minutes now. I know that people have made careers out of Scat. But how many decades can one expect to sustain a singing career adding "oreety oroonie" and introducing every song as the third movement in Opera Vouty Oreeny voot voot?


Audio Book, computer-generated - Project Gutenberg
the...horror. the...horror. the...motherlode.

Edgar Rice Burroughs, Cervantes, Dickens, Conrad, Robert Sheckley, even Captain Blood!
Bush has said something along these lines, and John Bolton said it after his appointment too. "I am humbled..."

Is that significantly different from saying, "I have something to be humble about"? As in, I am not the kind of person who will brag about something, but I don't mind pointing out that I have something worth bragging about.

Humility is another one of those things that you have to show, not tell.
ConwayGo: Rules
ConwayGo, also called philosophers' football, is a simple board game for two players, which is played on a Go board, but hasn't got anything to do with the famous game Go. The goal is to move a ball to the base line of the enemy. It was invented by the english mathematician John Conway, the creator of the 'Game of Life'.


"Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has named Caleb McCarry to fill a new post called the Cuba Transition Coordinator. According to Rice, McCarry's job duty will be to 'accelerate the demise' of Castro's government." [via dn!]

When I heard that euphemism "Cuba Transition Coordinator," I laughed until The Part of My Body From Which Waste Transitions to the Toilet fell off.