happy new year

Honestly, this decade couldn't end a fucking moment too soon. As for the next, well, hope springs eternal (or so I've heard).


the pitch

This is exactly what it's like.


the tsa death toll

Clayton Cubitt enages in a thought experiment.

who's this? - the answer

Ok, by popular* demand, here's the answer to this (and, sorta this) post. As usual, highlight the area below for the revelation.

Yes, it's all good. That is indeed Martha Stewart from early in her modeling career. Props/3 to Erin O'Brien for the win.

Here're a couple more from the early days. And a (somewhat non-canonical for the brand) more recent one.
(Original pic via flickr.)

* If you've been reading along for a while, you can probably come up with an even better snarky (but self-deprecating) footnote than I would have. If you feel like giving it a try, comment away.


cheeseburger cupcakes

Baking for the holidays? What could be more festive than cheeseburger cupcakes?

(by KateDW on flickr)
Want to make your own? Step-by-step instructions here.

(I realize this post is a bit out of character for me, but I wasn't originally planning on a post today at all. I just couldn't leave that last post at the top for Christmas. And I'm not even religious.)


fried shrimp!

So, one of the big buzzes in the cult-film fan-boy and girl (but mostly boy) community these past few days has been the release of the "red band" trailer for Matthew Vaughn's upcoming movie based on Mark Millar's comic series, Kick-Ass. (For those not familiar with the taxonomy of film trailers, a red band trailer is one which is not "suitable for all audiences," as opposed to the ubiquitous green band trailers which are, regardless of the rating of the film they preview.)

The arrival of this trailer has been greeted with the predictable chorus of "Best. Trailer. EVER," statements. Judge for yourself (NSFW for language):

In response, I can only observe that anyone who considers this the Best. Trailer. EVER (in that way), has clearly never experienced the pure bug-fuck insanity of the trailer for Noboru Iguchi's RoboGeisha. If the Kick-Ass trailer is not suitable for all audiences, it is entirely possible that the RoboGeisha trailer is not suitable for any audiences. (It may be tempting to assume that I am simply engaging in a bit of ironic hyperbole here. I'm not.) Watch at your own risk.

who's this? - an update

Well, from the guesses in the comments (and some discussion around the citizen household), it appears that many readers (and by "many" I mean "approximately two") assumed that the subject of the "who's this?" question in the previous post was the young woman in the photo. Hell, I have no idea who she is. The question was about the young cow.

Since I obviously messed up by not making that clearer, I'm just going to go ahead and tell you that that's the cow who went on to become Elsie, the symbol of Borden dairy products. Many people assume that Elsie was simply made up by some ad agency, but she was an actual cow, born at the Elmhill Farm in Brookfield, Massachusetts in 1932. Seriously, you can read all about her here.

Nah, I'm just fucking with you.* Of course it's about the young woman. And I will stipulate that the correct answer may be among the three guesses already submitted in the comments by Ms. Erin O'Brien (no doubt from the supportive comfort of her newly acquired Steelcase Sensor desk chair). As such, let's give Ms. O'Brien a day or so to return and select her final one answer. And, of course, everyone else is still encouraged to join in the fun.

* This is what is known as "foreshadowing." Unfortunately, at the time I'm posting this, the post that this foreshadows hasn't been written yet. So check back in a day or so for the big foreshadowed payoff.



person of the year

Over at the NYT, Frank Rich makes a persuasive case for why Tiger Woods (rather than Time's preposterous choice, Ben Bernanke) should be the 2009 person of the year. You should read the whole column, but this quote pretty much sums up his premise:

"If there’s been a consistent narrative to this year and every other in this decade, it’s that most of us, Bernanke included, have been so easily bamboozled. The men who played us for suckers, whether at Citigroup or Fannie Mae, at the White House or Ted Haggard’s megachurch, are the real movers and shakers of this century’s history so far. That’s why the obvious person of the year is Tiger Woods. His sham beatific image, questioned by almost no one until it collapsed, is nothing if not the farcical reductio ad absurdum of the decade’s flimflams, from the cancerous (the subprime mortgage) to the inane (balloon boy)."

(And yes, that's the actual cover of the January, 2010 edition of Golf Digest. Talk about bad timing.)

(And no, this is not the "meta" post alluded to in the last post. Consider this one an unexpected bonus. Meta still to come.)

unearned cred

Stop it.

Just stop it.

(Next: Meta.)



Headed down to the local clinic today with Rocketgirl and one of the junior citizens to get an H1N1 flu shot. Discovered to our delight that they were offering the seasonal flu vaccine as well, so I got them both. (I guess now I'm going to become twice as autistic as I would otherwise have. </sarcasm>*) **

While it would be convenient (from a structural point of view) to be able to tell you that I snapped the phone cam photo below at the clinic today, it actually dates back to a completely different waiting room some months ago. It's been sitting in my phone all this time waiting for me to remember it, and todays' visit provided just that inspiration. So, without further ado, the plushie that only a very specific sort of plushie could love:

Given what's supposed to happen to him, I kind of wonder what he's smiling about. (Actually, I'm pretty sure I don't want to know.)

* Yes, I know that to be technically correct, that sentence should have had an opening "<sarcasm>" tag, but that would have broken whatever lame sarcastic rhythm it might have. So, to any HTML geeks out there, deal with it.

** And yes, I know autism is not in any way a laughing matter. However, the fucking idiots like Jenny McCarthy and all the rest of the anti-vaccination mafia (and, by extension, the egregious fools like Oprah and the crew at the Huffington Post who give them credibility by providing a mainstream platform for their toxic lies) deserve all of the ridicule we can manage to muster. They have the completely unnecessary deaths of children (and others) on their heads.


pre-code: the answer

If you haven't already seen the post in question, go here first.

When you're ready to know the answer, highlight the area below:

It's Lucy!

That's Lucille Ball in her first movie role as a Goldwyn Girl in Roman Scandals of 1933.

(Photo via Retrozone.)


the anigif tarot 2

When I posted the animation from the previous post on one of the tarot forums I frequent, one of the other members replied:
"I would be interested to see the Lust card from the Thoth deck LOL!"
People should be careful what they ask for.

the anigif tarot

Last night I downloaded the rather clever image manipulation app, Puppet Animation, for my iPhone. Developed by Daisuke Nogami, it lets you apply a variety of animated transformations to any drawing or photo (that you can get into the phone). Given its flexibility, it's surprisingly easy (and fun) to use.

In about a half hour of figuring out how it worked, I came up wth this:
The Magician
Maybe I'm just easily amused (actually I know I'm easily amused), but this is really pretty cool. (And the fact that you can do stuff like this entirely on a cell phone is kind of amazing.)


b roll

I'm sure if there's one thing we've all experienced, it's got to be the frustration of discovering that once again, the incompetent location crew didn't get the B roll coverage you need to cut the story. Well, thanks to the folks below, it looks like that frustration is about to become a thing of the past. I mean, now that we've got this, who needs affordable health care?

And oh yeah, fuck Joe Lieberman.


a question

I spend a fair amount of zone-out time looking at the online portfolios of photographers and artists (hence 404). And over the last few years I've noticed an annoying trend. The structures and interfaces of online portfolios seem to be becoming more and more arcane. Many are actually bringing back nostalgic memories of playing Myst back in the early 90s. That feeling of being plopped down in a lovely, but cryptic environment, with no real idea of what you're suppposed to be doing. And then just clicking everything in sight, hoping one thing or another is going to react in a way that makes something happen.

Are budding photographers and illustrators now regularly taught that art directors select freelancers based on the incomprehensibility (and Flash-ladeness) of their site's GUI?

Just curious.

(And I'm sorry, but horizontal scrolling is just wrong.)


silents fiction

Okay, I pretty much posted this to use that title. So sue me.

celebrate diversity

(h/t Marty)


attitude adjustment

(Via Justin Blyth's (hopefully) temporarily shuttered THEM THANGS)


Who's this?
(Answer (and credit) in a few days.)




And oh yes:
Balloon boy, balloon boy balloon boy, balloon boy balloon boy balloon boy, balloon boy, balloon boy balloon boy balloon boy balloon boy balloon boy balloon boy balloon boy. Balloon boy balloon boy balloon boy; balloon boy; balloon boy; balloon boy balloon boy balloon boy.

Balloon boy:
"Balloon boy balloon boy balloon boy, balloon boy balloon boy balloon boy balloon boy balloon boy balloon boy balloon boy balloon boy balloon boy. Balloon boy balloon boy balloon boy balloon boy balloon boy, balloon boy balloon boy balloon boy balloon boy."
Balloon boy!

"bed space is overrated"

When one Tony Alleyne of Hinckley, Leicestershire (UK) had his wife leave him in the late 90s, he responded by taking the opportunity to remodel his 500 square foot apartment. The remodel, which he executed himself, took 5 years to complete. It is described as featuring "voice-activated lighting, LED lighting, running lights, air-conditioning - but no bed." Apparently Mr. Alleyne suffered from sciatica and had been advised by his doctor to try sleeping on the floor. According to Mr. Alleyne, "It cured the sciatica and gave me the opportunity to convert the bed area into the Transporter area. Bed space is overrated"
(Is it my imagination, or is that disco ball seriously non-canonical?)


art appreciation

I've had this picture in a folder on my computer for months now (ever since I stumbled across it on the net somewhere). Every time I've thought about posting it, I've ending up deciding the quality was just too sucky and putting it back in the folder. Somehow, now just seems like the right time.

(Somewhere along the way, I seem to have lost track of the source of this. If anyone involved ever manages to find their way here, let me know. I'll make it right.)



January 22nd of this year marked the 25th anniversary of Apple's introduction of the Macintosh. To mark the occasion, Philip Elmer-DeWitt compiled some choice quotes from the first reviews of the Mac back then. My very favorite is from John C. Dvorak's review in the San Francisco Examiner of February 19, 1984:
The nature of the personal computer is simply not fully understood by companies like Apple (or anyone else for that matter). Apple makes the arrogant assumption of thinking that it knows what you want and need. It, unfortunately, leaves the “why” out of the equation — as in “why would I want this?” The Macintosh uses an experimental pointing device called a ‘mouse’. There is no evidence that people want to use these things. I don't want one of these new fangled devices.
In the Wall St. Journal Market Watch on March 28, 2007, Mr. Dvorak wrote:
Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone... what Apple risks here is its reputation as a hot company that can do no wrong. If it's smart it will call the iPhone a "reference design" and pass it to some suckers to build with someone else's marketing budget. Then it can wash its hands of any marketplace failures... Otherwise I'd advise you to cover your eyes. You're not going to like what you'll see.
Mr. Dvorak has won a number of awards for technology journalism, including the Computer Press Association Best Columnist and Best Column awards, the American Business Editors Association's national gold awards for best online columns of 2003 and 2004, and the Telluride Tech Festival Award of Technology in 2001.

Bonus Link!

Another perspective on those "new fangled devices" is provided by the inimitable Erin O'Brien. And, along those same lines, there's this.


most awesomest video game ever!

I was going to dial back the YouTube posts for a while, but then I discovered this. OMFG.
(But why isn't the polar bear wearing a Speedo like the rest of them?)


semi-oldies night

The Bangles provide a pretty spiffy cover of Simon & Garfunkel's Hazy Shade of Winter in a promo video for the less-than-wonderful 1987 movie, Less Than Zero. (That's semi-old, not semi-night.)


the uncanny rift into the very bowels of hell

There are disturbing humanoid robots and there are profoundly disturbing humanoid robots. And then there is this:

Although it gets repetitive pretty quickly, you absolutely must stick with it to the very last second.

(via Danny Choo)


sam haskins 2

As I wrote yesterday's post, it had been my intention to write today about the sad (and sadly ironic) circumstances leading up to Sam Haskin's death. But on second or third (or at least subsequent) thought, I've decided instead to simply post another Haskins photo, this one an apparently unused shot from the sessions for his 1962 book Five Girls. It just seems like a better thing to do.
(Photos in this and the previous post © Sam Haskins)


sam haskins

I read last night that the photographer Sam Haskins died last week at the age of 83. I discovered his work back when I'd just entered college and was absolutely in awe of it. Sure, it didn't hurt that it was full of naked young women, but his sense of design, his stunning use of high contrast black and white printing and purposeful graininess, and his layouts combining multiple images (a quarter century before the advent of Photoshop), continue to influnce photographers and art directors to this day.

Maybe more tomorrow, but in the meantime, here are a couple of spreads from his hugely influential book Cowboy Kate & Other Stories from 1965.

truth fact™


only you

Video for Porstishead by Chris Cunningham (who you may or may not remember from Rubber Johnny).

If you like (or as in my case, love) Portishead and have not yet watched the DVD of their 1997 concert (with full orchestra) at Roseland in New York, track it down (Netflix has it), and watch it immediately. That's an order.



I haven't actually planned one, but it seems to be what's happening.

Please stand by.



So good, I had to say so on Facebook and Twitter as well. God, technology is wonderful.



This would be a lot more amusing if it weren't so astonishing sad.


godiva chocoiste, harajuku, japan

I don't even particularly like Godiva chocolate, but this is wonderful.

(via Vidafine)


social studies

(Via digby. Click the image for a more readable version.)



(Available as a T-shirt at the Diesel Sweeties Store.)



From Buzzfeed's compendium of 35 amazing science fair projects comes this most amazingest one.

Man, what I would give to be able to read the "Materials" and "Procedure" sheets. (I'm particularly interested in the methodology that resulted in that Man-On-Horse data.)


terri timely #2

And here, as promised, is Terri Timely's video for St. Vincent's Marrow.

And what the heck, their borderline disturbing video for St. Vincent's Actor Out of Work

If you like these as much as I do, you might want to watch the much better quality versions on the Terri Timely web site:

Actor Out of Work


terri timely #1

Terri Timely is the directing team of Ian Kibbey and Corey Creasy. As rather bizarre coincidence would have it, I had been planning to post a particular music video today, but when I encountered the absolutely delightful commercial below over on Notcot, I decided to post it instead. It was only in doing a little research on Terri Timely that I discovered that they were also the directors of the music video I'd planned to post.


Anyway, here's The Office of Eden.

Tomorrow, the music video.



best onion headline ever?

In Focus: Senate Ethics Committee To Meet In New Ethics Committee Mansion

You can read the whole story here. But honestly, the headline says it all.


joss whedon offers to buy the terminator - hilarity ensues

From The Financial Times, we learn that Halcyon, the production company behind Terminator Salvation and the current owner of the rights to future exploitation of the franchise, recently filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and plans to auction the rights later this month. Learning of this, Joss Whedon offered this open letter to Halcyon:
An Open Letter to the Terminator Owners. From a Very Important Hollywood Mogul

Dear Sirs/Ma'ams,

I am Joss Whedon, the mastermind behind Titan A.E., Parenthood (not the movie) (or the new series) (or the one where 'hood' was capitalized 'cause it was a pun), and myriad other legendary tales. I have heard through the 'grapevine' that the Terminator franchise is for sale, and I am prepared to make a pre-emptive bid RIGHT NOW to wrap this dealio up. This is not a joke, this is not a scam, this is not available on TV. I will write a check TODAY for $10,000, and viola! Terminator off your hands.

No, you didn't miscount. That's four — FOUR! — zeroes after that one. That's to show you I mean business. And I mean show business. Nikki Finke says the Terminator concept is played. Well, here's what I have to say to Nikki Finke: you are a fine journalist and please don't ever notice me. The Terminator story is as formative and important in our culture — and my pretend play — as any I can think of. It's far from over. And before you Terminator-Owners (I have trouble remembering names) rush to cash that sweet cheque, let me give you a taste of what I could do with that franchise:

1) Terminator... of the Rings! Yeah, what if he time-travelled TOO far... back to when there was dragons and wizards? (I think it was the Dark Ages.) Hasta La Vista, Boramir! Cool, huh? "Now you gonna be Gandalf the Red!" RRRRIP! But then he totally helps, because he's a cyborg and he doesn't give a s#&% about the ring — it has no power over him! And he can carry it AND Frodo AND Sam AND f@%& up some orcs while he's doing it. This stuff just comes to me. I mean it. (I will also offer $10,000 for the Lord of the Rings franchise).

2) More Glau. Hey. There's a reason they're called "Summer" movies.

3) Can you say... musical? Well don't. Even I know that's an awful idea.

4) Christian Bale's John Connor will get a throat lozenge. This will also help his Batwork (ten grand for that franchise too, btw.)

5) More porn. John Connor never told Kyle Reese this, but his main objective in going to the past was to get some. What if there's a lot of future-babies that have to be made? Cue wah-wah pedal guitar — and dollar signs!

6) The movies will stop getting less cool.

Okay. There's more — this brain don't quit! (though it has occasionally been fired) — but I think you get my drift. I really believe the Terminator franchise has only begun to plumb the depths of questioning the human condition during awesome stunts, and I'd like to shepherd it through the next phase. The money is there, but more importantly, the heart is there. But more importantly, money. Think about it. End this bloody bidding war before it begins, and put the Terminator in the hands of someone who watched the first one more than any other movie in college, including "Song of Norway" (no current franchise offer).

Sincerely, Joss Whedon.
I'm not sure that this would be quite as cool as another season of Firefly (and I'm kind of disappointed about the "no musical" thing), but it's bound to be better than pretty much anything anyone else reported to be in the running would come up with. So, to Halcyon I say, it looks to me like an offer you can't (or, at least, shouldn't) refuse.


who could have ever guessed...

From a McClatchy story headlined, "How Goldman secretly bet on the U.S. housing crash":
WASHINGTON — In 2006 and 2007, Goldman Sachs Group peddled more than $40 billion in securities backed by at least 200,000 risky home mortgages, but never told the buyers it was secretly betting that a sharp drop in U.S. housing prices would send the value of those securities plummeting.

Goldman's sales and its clandestine wagers, completed at the brink of the housing market meltdown, enabled the nation's premier investment bank to pass most of its potential losses to others before a flood of mortgage defaults staggered the U.S. and global economies.
You should read the whole story, but if you just can't quite find the time, this, from later in the article, should serve as an effective summary (emphasis mine):
McClatchy's inquiry found that Goldman Sachs:
  • Bought and converted into high-yield bonds tens of thousands of mortgages from subprime lenders that became the subjects of FBI investigations into whether they'd misled borrowers or exaggerated applicants' incomes to justify making hefty loans.
  • Used offshore tax havens to shuffle its mortgage-backed securities to institutions worldwide, including European and Asian banks, often in secret deals run through the Cayman Islands, a British territory in the Caribbean that companies use to bypass U.S. disclosure requirements.
  • Has dispatched lawyers across the country to repossess homes from bankrupt or financially struggling individuals, many of whom lacked sufficient credit or income but got subprime mortgages anyway because Wall Street made it easy for them to qualify.
  • Was buoyed last fall by key federal bailout decisions, at least two of which involved then-Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, a former Goldman chief executive whose staff at Treasury included several other Goldman alumni.
The firm benefited when Paulson elected not to save rival Lehman Brothers from collapse, and when he organized a massive rescue of tottering global insurer American International Group while in constant telephone contact with Goldman chief Blankfein. With the Federal Reserve Board's blessing, AIG later used $12.9 billion in taxpayers' dollars to pay off every penny it owed Goldman.

These decisions preserved billions of dollars in value for Goldman's executives and shareholders. For example, Blankfein held 1.6 million shares in the company in September 2008, and he could have lost more than $150 million if his firm had gone bankrupt.

With the help of more than $23 billion in direct and indirect federal aid, Goldman appears to have emerged intact from the economic implosion, limiting its subprime losses to $1.5 billion. By repaying $10 billion in direct federal bailout money — a 23 percent taxpayer return that exceeded federal officials' demand — the firm has escaped tough federal limits on 2009 bonuses to executives of firms that received bailout money.

Goldman announced record earnings in July, and the firm is on course to surpass $50 billion in revenue in 2009 and to pay its employees more than $20 billion in year-end bonuses.
That $20 billion in year-end bonuses? You (and I) quite literally helped pay for that. And not symbolically. Actual dollars you paid as taxes are ending up as bonuses for those Goldman execs.

Maybe it would feel better to think of it as part of the holiday season's spirit of giving.

I know it's becoming something of a tiresome mantra here, but these are the people who own our government (and, by extension, our country). It's getting to the point where they're not even bothering to try to hide it. Keep that in mind when we eventually see what health care "reform" will actually consist of.


halloween 2009

(Cover illustration by Chris Ware via The Jailbreak)

there are monsters

Via my friend N, something in the spirit of the day.


were we've been

Via Erin O'Brien, comes this intriguing bit of cultural archeology. It seems that back in 1961, one Chris Kendall broke a fall by grabbing for a hot stove and had to be taken to the hospital for treatment of the resulting burn. Here, in its entirety, is the sum total of all the paperwork generated by this medical encounter:

And oh yeah, fuck Joe Leiberman.


bonus post

Because it's almost Halloween. Or something.

yet another great moment in advertising

There seems to be an almost never-ending supply of stuff like this. It's dispiriting.



This photograph is from Midway - Message from the Gyre, a series of photographs by Chris Jordon of dead albatross chicks on Midway Atoll. To quote from the introduction:
“These photographs of albatross chicks were made just a few weeks ago on Midway Atoll, a tiny stretch of sand and coral near the middle of the North Pacific. The nesting babies are fed bellies-full of plastic by their parents, who soar out over the vast polluted ocean collecting what looks to them like food to bring back to their young. On this diet of human trash, every year tens of thousands of albatross chicks die on Midway from starvation, toxicity, and choking.

To document this phenomenon as faithfully as possible, not a single piece of plastic in any of these photographs was moved, placed, manipulated, arranged, or altered in any way. These images depict the actual stomach contents of baby birds in one of the world’s most remote marine sanctuaries, more than 2000 miles from the nearest continent.”
Follow the link above. Look at the pictures.


paul haggis resigns - very publicly - from scientology

Director Paul Haggis has apparently been a member of the Church of Scientology for something like 35 years. It appears that he has had a recent epiphany and has tendered his resignation from the church in a very blunt letter to national Scientology spokesman Tommy Davis.

His letter has been made public online over a period of days in four parts here (note that it isn't until the third part that readers discover that the writer is Haggis):

As anyone who watched Tom Cruise jump up and down on Oprah's couch knows, Scientology (AKA, The Church of Xenu, alien emperor) actively courts celebrities, having a "Scientology Celebrity Center" in L.A. dedicated to pandering to their egos. They also have a history of aggressively attacking those who dare to speak out against them. While I'm not a big fan of Mr. Haggis as a filmmaker, his heart has always seemed to be in the right place and I respect his going up against them so publicly.

It will be interesting to see how the "church" responds.

Update: The letter can now be found in its entirety here.

an open mind

(via scanners)



Now this is how it's done.


my first computer

Well, not that exact one, obviously, but one just like it.

It's a Commodore Pet. It had a funky calculator-like keyboard and a built in B&W display and a cassette drive (for loading and saving programs). It had a version of Basic in ROM and initially there were no pre-written programs for it at all. You were expected to write your own. I had the expanded memory version with a huge 8 kilobytes of RAM. That's 8192 bytes. (The computer I'm using to write this post has over 4 billion bytes of RAM.)

Back when I bought my Pet, the other popular choice was the Apple II. In retrospect, I probably made the wrong decision.

Wouldn't be the first (or last) time.

(photo via nerviosismo (except for the red marking, of course))


a post in which i simply paste some stuff matt taibbi wrote

From late last week:
Good News on Wall Street Means… What Exactly?

It’s literally amazing to me that our press corps hasn’t yet managed to draw a distinction between good news on Wall Street for companies like Goldman, and good news in reality.
I watched carefully the reporting of the Dow breaking 10,000 the other day and not anywhere did I see a major news organization include a paragraph of the “On the other hand, so fucking what?” sort, one that might point out that unemployment is still at a staggering high, foreclosures are racing along at a terrifying clip, and real people are struggling more than ever. In fact the dichotomy between the economic health of ordinary people and the traditional “market indicators” is not merely a non-story, it is a sort of taboo — unmentionable in major news coverage.
No one mentions here that this is a carrot-and-stick story — the stick being that ordinary people have been robbed of the interest they should be getting in CDs and ordinary bank savings accounts by the various bailout programs and lending guarantees, which have brought the cost of capital down to nothing for the big banks, and punished those people who have been doing the right thing all along by saving. The Fed lends its money to Goldman Sachs and BOFA for free, why does anyone have to pay Grandma a high rate for her CD or her bank savings?
And there's his iconic description of Goldman Sachs from his astonishing Rolling Stone story as a:
“great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money.”
Keep that in mind when thinking about the $23,000,000,000 (yes, that's billions) in bonuses Goldman is on track to be paying its employees this year.

Not Matt Taibbi, but a lot more on the extent to which Goldman essentially runs our economy for its own gain from Glenn Greenwald here.

And okay, as penance, I promise no more political posts for at least a few days. Not only because you're probably tired of them, but because it's just so damn depressing.

balloon boy a hoax?

OMG, who could ever have seen that coming?

birthday again

Hard to believe it's been a year.


is it real or is it the onion?

Headline today:

Neighbors thought dead man's body was part of Halloween display

Answer here.

(Now of course this one is pretty easy, in that if it were actually The Onion, I probably (well, certainly) wouldn't have posted it. But out in the wild, maybe not so easy. Not sure if that says more about The Onion or something else.)


baby baby baby

Oh, those crazy French.
(via fubiz)


balloon boy

Balloon boy, balloon boy balloon boy, balloon boy balloon boy balloon boy, balloon boy, balloon boy balloon boy balloon boy balloon boy balloon boy balloon boy balloon boy. Balloon boy balloon boy balloon boy; balloon boy; balloon boy; balloon boy balloon boy balloon boy.

Balloon boy:
"Balloon boy balloon boy balloon boy, balloon boy balloon boy balloon boy balloon boy balloon boy balloon boy balloon boy balloon boy balloon boy. Balloon boy balloon boy balloon boy balloon boy balloon boy, balloon boy balloon boy balloon boy balloon boy."
Balloon boy!



As a fan of Luis Buñuel, I thought I had put this DVD in my Netflix queue:
It turns out I wasn't paying close attention and had inadvertently put this DVD in the queue:
For the love of all that is holy, do not make the same mistake.

Trust me on this one.

quote of the day

From Wordsmith.org:
Illegal aliens have always been a problem in the United States. Ask any Indian.

- Robert Orben


"don't go easy on them just 'cause they're cute!"

This is a trailer (with subtitles) for the Japanese animated series Cat Shit One.

As one might imagine, it's generated a lot of comments along the lines of "OMG, that's so wrong!" But apart from the characters, it's imagery that is so common in movies and, especially, video games (think Call of Duty or any of the Metal Gear Solid series) that it's otherwise hardly worth mentioning.

So I wonder, how come cute anthropomorphic animals torturing and killing each other is so much more disturbing to so many people than imagery of the same things done by and to actual (or even CGI) human beings?

Just askin'.



There's probably already an entire social anthropology literature dealing with the implications of the internet and the emergence of social media, but once you have the graph below, why bother?

(via m,appeal)


things change (unless they don't)

Late last month, Xeni Jardin at Boing Boing set off something of an internet brouhaha when he blogged the Ralph Loren ad below (with the brilliant title, "Ralph Lauren Opens New Outlet Store in the Uncanny Valley") as an example of a particularly egregious Photoshop disaster. As it made its way across the internets, it also became the latest in a long series of examples of the way that companies that market products to women promote entirely unachievable standards of feminine "beauty."

Ralph Lauren's response? A legal threat, via a DMCA takedown notice to Boing Boing's ISP (which wisely declined, based on the position that this was classic fair use). Cory Doctorow followed up with a post in which he said, in part:
So, to Ralph Lauren, GreenbergTraurig, and PRL Holdings, Inc: sue and be damned. Copyright law doesn't give you the right to threaten your critics for pointing out the problems with your offerings. You should know better. And every time you threaten to sue us over stuff like this, we will:

a) Reproduce the original criticism, making damned sure that all our readers get a good, long look at it, and;

b) Publish your spurious legal threat along with copious mockery, so that it becomes highly ranked in search engines where other people you threaten can find it and take heart; and

c) Offer nourishing soup and sandwiches to your models.
This story was fresh in my mind when I came upon the ad below from sometime around 1969 or so (based on the reference to Hello Dolly).

(Click the image for a more readable version.)

And a detail from another ad for the same product:

Somehow, I'm guessing that in these days of anorexic chic, Wate-On probably isn't exactly flying off the shelves (if it's even still available). How many of today's young (and not so young) women can even conceive of being too skinny to be popular?

So yeah, things change. But the one thing that seems to be a given is that no matter what the standard of beauty du jour, there'll always be big bucks in convincing women that they don't quite measure up - unless of course, they'll just buy this product (whatever it happens to be).

Update 10/14: Oops! From the Comments (even though there's only one comment):
Missy said...

My biggest LOL of an otherwise crappy day came from the subjective personal pronoun in the first line of your post.

Xeni Jardin has spent a LOT of time trying to quash those damn trans rumors... geesh, why'd you have to get all passive-aggressive?

So, sorry Xeni (I guess).



(via expo7000)

"shinji did what to asuka?" said the civil war soldier

one nation under cthulhu

Now this is more like it.

(Click the image to fully appreciate the Great Old Details.)
(via PZ)


one nation under god

If you've been pretty much anywhere on the internet today, you've probably seen reference to the rather astonishing piece of inspirational "art" pictured below. But to truly appreciate the almost unimaginable surreality of it, you have to go check out the original here (it'll open in a new window). Move your mouse over various figures to discover their symbolic meaning. Be sure to check out the folks around Satan in the lower right corner. When you can't read anymore without risk of your brain melting, come back here.

Now go here and repeat the process. I guarantee you'll feel much better.

Update: OMG, be sure to check out the Civil War soldier (at the far left) in the second link (anime fans only).


what have we become?

Digby describes a story she saw today on CNN. There's really nothing I could add to this:
I just saw one of the most disgusting stories on CNN that I have ever seen: they are actually debating whether or not we should let illegal immigrants die now.

They tell the story of a young man who was brought here by his parents at age 14 and has been working ever since then. He has kidney failure and needs dialysis, which he has been getting as a charity case up until recently. Now they are cutting him off and unless he can find a private clinic that will take him he's in big, big trouble.

The reporter asked him why he should get treatment since he isn't a citizen, (at which point I'm screaming "because he is a human being!") and he showed her his pay stubs going back to when he was 15 --- which showed that he's been paying taxes just like the higher orders.

Then the reporter calmly said, "he has about eleven days and then he'll die." Wolf Blitzer asked the reporter to keep us posted on what happens, so that's good.

It appears that it's now perfectly acceptable to debate whether or not people should die for lack of care in the richest country in the world. But I guess I shouldn't be surprised. Once a society accepts torture, it's only a matter of time before it drops this pretense about every person being precious entirely. Now we can get down to the nitty gritty and start talking openly and honestly about which people deserve to live and which ones don't.