Tuesday, September 30, 2003

A Texas high school has apologized after the school band waved a Nazi flag during a performance on Friday, the start of the Jewish New Year holiday of Rosh Hashana. “We had an error in judgment,” band director Charles Grissom told the Dallas Morning News.

Error in judgement.


Okay, first we burn the machines, then we just break up Texas and toss it into the Gulf of Mexico. Same plan, Jiffy Lube in fifteen, but bring like shovels and pickaxes and shit along with the molotovs.

Somebody remind me: why did we fight a war over that place?

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Here's a way to really target a consumer.

Next summer, Coca-Cola plans to use satellites to find U.S. buyers who happen to purchase special cans of Coke products.

They will be winners in a giveaway that will feature Hummer H2 sport-utility vehicles. The giant vehicles will be presented in person, using satellites to locate the recipients. And in a promotion tied to the Summer Olympics, Coke's prize is likely to be $1 million in gold, again awarded on the spot.

The promotions, described in a proposal that has been circulated within the Coke system, are a twist for the beverage maker, because of both the technology involved and the splashy prizes.

Coke spokesman Mart Martin declined to provide details about the promotions, which remain months away. "We are still in the process of finalizing our plans," he said.

But U.S. Coke bottlers have learned quite a bit about them. Last week in Australia, Coke unveiled a similar plan. Dubbed Thrill Seeker, it is tied to the Rugby World Cup finals, scheduled for October and November.

Thrill Seeker uses satellite tracking to locate winners. The prizes are Peugeot cars and $10,000.

Kids, swear to Christ, we're all gonna be wearing fucking transponder collars in the next couple of years. BMW gonna's beam their webmovies straight into your cerebral cortex, RJ Reynolds nicotine-injectors will send a jolt right to your brain from a pump in your ass and your TIME subscription will be superimposed on the retina of your dominant eye. Not to sound too Luddite, but it well may be the time to smash the machines.

Okay, just like last time: get all your flammables, bottles, wicks and lighters and we saddle up behind the Jiffy Lube in fifteen.

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Motorists traveling through this community along U.S. Highway 395 sometimes stop at an attractive-looking office building and inquire about the nature of the business.

A sign outside denotes this as the "Lunar Embassy."

"They ask if it is a real estate office," owner Dennis Hope says. "It is. It is just not for properties on Earth."

Hope, 55, is the celestial executive officer and self-described "head cheese" of the Lunar Embassy.

He has claimed ownership of the moon and all planets other than Earth since 1980.

Over the past 23 years, Hope estimates he has made $6.25 million selling land on the moon and the planets, primarily Mars and Venus.

For $19.99, along with a $1.51 lunar tax, you, too, can buy an acre on the moon or Mars. Hope even will send you a deed. If you don't like it, he gives a 30-day, money-back guarantee.

You can track the guy down here. He actually doesn't sound like a nut. There's a story in here, somewhere.

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Me now big manager-man. Me wear rust-colored buttondown and khakis. Me make small talk with small employees while me silently judge them and assess their weaknesses. Me look at longhair deathmetal Scientologist and think he addict. Me look at pudgy Elvishead Evangelic with sterling silver crucifix and think he weak and unreliable. Me look at crazy Scientologist owner and think he talking out of butt-hole. Me read through old personnel files and think this place run by idiots. Me try to clean and me find more messes wherever me clean up old messes. Me get keys and me get pointed out circuit breakers and me get shown how to seal building against marauders. Me get gladhanded and shown old ways of doing things and think they archaic and me think that me have to think of new ways of doing things. Me work and work and eat lunch and smoke cigarettes and work and ride bus home and make chili-mac with Buttons and eat too much and now me tired and full.

So now me go.

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Oh, fer fuck's sake...

Wizards, warriors and witches are nothing new in the online gaming world, but have they been joined by real life criminals stealing virtual goods worth hard cash? South Korea's police are already on the case.
It might seem strange to talk about real crimes being committed in computer games that revolve around slaughter.

But for people who invest hours of every day in the character they control in multi-player games such as EverQuest, Ultima Online, Star Wars: Galaxies and others these virtual crimes are just as painful to deal with as the real world version.

Players in some online games have had their virtual homes invaded by gangs who kick them out of the house and steal all their virtual goods.

Others have been conned out of powerful magic items that, in some cases, took months of work to obtain.

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Monday, September 29, 2003

Heya kids-

Not a long one tonight. Started the new gig today and, man, I've forgotten just how goddamned taxing it is to spend eight hours doing just the one thing.


Had a nice weekend, though. Dinner and drinks last night w/Buttons & The Young & Pal A, and later their pals James & Michelle. Apparently, after proving my worth as James' steed in front of The People's Pub while he screamed "Who run Bartertown? Me run Bartertown!", I'm going on payroll as James' thug. James is a psychopath. A really, really good guy, but a psycho. What does being a thug for a psycho make me? I will mention that at one point in the evening we were all in Pal A & The Young's living room discussing the Afro wigs and leisure suits we'd wear while chasing down criminals, and how we'd use our gold-plated shotguns and pistols to threaten them, at which Pal A suggested that we should not only truly threaten by placing our firearms squarely against one testicle, but that we should make the criminal himself hold out that testicle for us.

Y'know, as much as I knew she had that in her, I'm still shocked.

I'm out. Futurama's one in five and I need a smoke.

Sleep good, babies.

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Friday, September 26, 2003

After 21 years of ownership, owner selling due to health, complete town and entire contents except personal items. You are bidding on the actual town of Cornudas, Texas located in the FAR west Texas region. This town is complete with four residences and five businesses which are: Residences (each house is fully self contained and furnished) -One bedroom home -Two bedroom home -Three bedroom home -Four bedroom (4 yr. old home) with over 2400 square feet and a partially covered patio retreat which includes fountain/pond with fish, landscaping, and walkway lighting Businesses -Cornudas Cafe with entire contents (including kitchen), seats 36, home of the world famous Cornudas Burger, as featured on PBS "Hot on the Trail with Sunny Conley," and soon to be featured on Texas Four Country...

If you loved me, you'd buy this for me...

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A Congressional Research Service report released yesterday concluded that federal ethics laws treat Vice President Cheney's annual deferred compensation checks and unexercised stock options as continuing financial interests in the Halliburton Co.

Democrats have aggressively challenged Cheney's claim that he has no financial ties to Halliburton, despite those arrangements.

The Houston-based energy conglomerate has been awarded more than $2 billion in contracts for rebuilding Iraq, including one worth $1.22 billion that was awarded on a noncompetitive basis.

The report, from the law division of the congressional research arm of the Library of Congress, said deferred salary or compensation received from a private corporation -- as well as unexercised stock options -- may represent a continuing financial interest as defined by federal ethics laws.

The seven-page report, dated Monday, did not name Cheney or Halliburton, but addressed the general legal question. It was prepared at the request of Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), who said Cheney should "stop dodging the issue with legalese, and acknowledge his continued financial ties with Halliburton to the American people."

Cheney, who was Halliburton's chairman and chief executive, has disclosed the payments and the 433,333 options. The report suggests no illegality.

Catherine Martin, Cheney's public affairs director, said: "The vice president has no financial interest in Halliburton. He has no stake in the company. He will in no way benefit from the rise or fall of Halliburton's stock price or the success or failure of the company."

Cheney said on NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sept. 14 that he has "no financial interest in Halliburton of any kind and haven't had now for over three years." His assertion came during a discussion of Halliburton's contracts in Iraq. Cheney said he had "severed all my ties with the company, gotten rid of all my financial interests."

Democrats disputed that because Cheney received deferred compensation of $147,579 in 2001 and $162,392 in 2002, with payments scheduled to continue for three more years.

You see, Mr. VP, lying about your money to the American people makes you an asshole. Handing out government contracts to a company in which you have a personal stake makes you a penis. Denying everything and hiding away behind the walls of government makes you a pussy. In short, Mr. VP, you are nothing but a portal for feces and urine. Does that make you feel good?

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An Urbana couple has been sentenced to prison after they admitted tricking their seven-year-old daughter into thinking she had cancer to gain thousands of dollars in donations.

A Champaign County Common Pleas judge sentenced Teresa Milbrandt to 6 ½ years in prison. Her husband, Robert Milbrandt, was sentenced to four years and eleven months.

Police say Teresa Milbrandt shaved her daughter's hair, gave her sleeping pills to make it appear she was receiving chemotherapy and put her in counseling to prepare for her own death.

I don't have a fucking thing to say about this. Holy shit.

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Dead guy day:

Writer George Plimpton, the self-deprecating author of "Paper Lion" and a patron to such writers as Philip Roth and Jack Kerouac, has died. He was 76.

Plimpton died Thursday night at his Manhattan apartment, his longtime friend, restaurateur Elaine Kaufman, said Friday.

"I saw him the other day. He was full of energy," said Kaufman, who said she had known Plimpton for 40 years. "He was talking about a trip he took with his family to the tip of South America."

Praised as a "central figure in American letters" when inducted in 2002 to the American Academy of Arts and Letters, Plimpton also enjoyed a lifetime of making literature out of nonliterary pursuits.


LONDON, England -- Rock singer Robert Palmer has died in Paris of a heart attack at the age of 54, his manager said.

The British star, whose chart hits in the 1980s included "Addicted to Love," suffered the attack in the early hours of Friday morning, Mick Cater said.

Palmer, who had lived in Switzerland for 16 years, was staying in the French capital with his partner, Mary Ambrose, after traveling from the United Kingdom where he had been recording a TV show.

"I can't say anything else at this point, I'm just in shock," Cater told CNN.


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Thursday, September 25, 2003

Yeah, so finally got to talk to my boy Richie after a couple weeks of phone tag and busy signals (thanks, MCI! 21 biz days my fat white ass), and that was a nice'n. I miss my kids like mad. I'm digging it here, but, shit, y'know. You miss the people you love.

Apparently the CBGB's show went off well. Kudos to all, but especially to Al, who learned and played a full set with just one full band practice under his belt. The boy's a rock. 'Course, hell, he's a bass player, and bass players are always rocks, right? Back me up, fellas. 'specially you, MikE. You know that's the straight shit.

Oh, Christ. Just now looking at the first ad for MATRIX REVOLUTIONS. Oy. I wish there wasn't that piece of me that was just salivating at the thought of seeing it. Ah, well.

Right, the show. Yeah, so you can get a stream of it here, at some point. Right now they haven't got anything up past August, but I'm sure The Deacons'll get a slot. Bookmark the fucker and check back often. I'm buggin' for a tape, which Richie's telling me he's got, so I'll probably get my dub...when I go back east for the holidays and slap him around for a while and then stand behind him with a hammer or a big rock and threaten to crush in his little bald skull if he tries to put me off by showing me marbles or pointing out just how cute Sandy Mittens is.

And the album's just about ready. Jen (Al's Jen, not Buttons) has the artwork done (and it's looking fucking good, according to Richie), the thank you list is on the way and the boys have lined up a joint in Boston to press it. So, cool. Keep an eye out for Brooklyntown , all three of you reading this who aren't Deacons or friends of Deacons. Chances are that you guys from England & Germany could get freebies just 'cause you're English and German. Drop me a mail and I'll do what I can.

Yeah, so went riding just around sunset down in Magnuson park, down around the corner, and I was watching these guys fly these massive kites and people were walking their dogs and it was just all pretty and I hear this chirping behind me and turn around and there's a family of partridges, mom and dad and a whole fuckload of little'n's , crossing the path and then taking wing across a field of waist-high weeds. Sometimes things are so right and perfect and beautiful that I just want to cry. I may love this town.

Out. Sweet dreams, y'all.

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DENVER (Reuters) - A second federal judge on Thursday blocked the popular "do not call" program that would declare 50 million telephone numbers off limits for telemarketers, saying it violated constitutional protections for free speech.

News of the judge's decision came less than an hour after Congress overrode another legal hurdle to the Federal Trade Commission-run list thrown up by a federal judge in Oklahoma City early this week.


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PARIS (Reuters) - The biggest and most expensive cruise ship ever -- Queen Mary II -- has set out to sea, just days after a deal between France and the European Union saved its makers from immediate bankruptcy.

Thousands watched as the giant 500 million pound cruise liner, which stretches the length of four football fields, left Saint Nazaire in western France on Thursday for a three-day test run.

Six tugboats pulled the Queen Mary II to sea, with the ship standing as high as a 23-storey building.

I need a ticket to France, a drill, about six hours and the cover of darkness.

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WASHINGTON (CNN) - The House voted Thursday to grant the Federal Trade Commission explicit authority to create a national "do not call" list for telemarketers, and Senate action was expected later in the day.

The vote was 412-8. A vote in the Senate was expected Thursday afternoon.

The quick action comes a day after a federal judge ruled the FTC overstepped its congressional mandate to create the wildly popular list.

"Fifty million Americans can't be wrong," Rep. Billy Tauzin, R-La., declared Wednesday, referring to the number of phone numbers that people have signed up to block the unwanted solicitations.

Y'know, I mentioned to someone the other day (it might've been Pal A) that I was digging Congress lately for moving fast and well and acting (at least in part) on the actual behalf of us little folk, and whoever I was talking to negged out my comments by implying that everyone's simply stumping for for their '04 campaigns. Which might be true, but it's still working out for us pretty well, huh?

Now, if they'd only turn down the DOD's $87 billion request. Man, wouldn't that be nice?

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JAKARTA (AFP) - A monkey is the loose inside a building housing Indonesia's parliamentary leaders.

Dozens of workers, including security officers, had been unable to catch the primate, which was inside a medical clinic on the eighth-floor of a parliamentary office tower, the state Antara news agency reported.

The building is home to Amien Rais, speaker of the People's Consultative Assembly who has a fifth-floor office, and Akbar Tanjung, speaker of the House of Representatives who is on the third floor.

It is unknown how the monkey got into the legislative offices.

Why? 'cause, A.) The monkey pic looks nice with the big-eared dog down below &, B.) Buttons digs the primates.

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The coffinmaker was hard at work when the accident happened. His circular saw suddenly got caught up in his trousers, and the man and the five bits of himself he'd just cut off were soon speeding their way to the hospital to be stitched back together again.

Luckily for the coffinmaker, he was taken to hospital No. 50 and the specialized department, Muzhskaya Skoraya Pomoshch, or Emergency Care for Men, headed by urologist Professor Pyotr Shcheplev.

For what was chopped up was no ordinary limb.

Day three of stories about people who chopped off their cocks, courtesy (today, anyway) of fark. I still think six days is doable, and I'm still taking bets, for all of you out there with a pair and a bankroll.

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Wednesday, September 24, 2003

And to close out the evening, a dog with damned big ears.

Good night.

p.s. Oh, yeah. Go see BUBBA HO-TEP. Bruce Campbell as an aging Elvis with a pustulent boil on his dick and an ancient evil to combat with the help of JFK. Quite the flick, and funny as all motherfuckin' hell.

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Sept. 24 — He contacted me to brag, this e-mailer named Kenneth. Said he had seen a story I’d done called “True confessions of an eBay criminal,” about a 15-year old who managed to steal a few thousand dollars online. And Kenneth was offended. “He’s an insult to each and every one of us scam artists,” Kenneth wrote. “I could tell you stories.” And so he did. Kenneth claims he’s spent the past two years as one of eBay’s most notorious scammers. Here’s how he does it.

This is kinda scary, and it hits upon a couple of thoughts I've been mulling about the online age. How the hell do you actually know anything about anyone? Seriously, how much of a personal contact do you need before there's some level of useful trust in a relationship?

Old thought. Moving on.

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WASHINGTON (AP) - Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld told Congress Wednesday that President Bush's $87 billion request for Iraq and Afghanistan was an affordable and needed investment in international security.

But a top Democrat questioned whether the American people have ever blessed the U.S.-led Iraqi reconstruction effort now under way.

``Is $87 billion a great deal of money?'' Rumsfeld said before the Senate Appropriations Committee. ``Yes. But can our country afford it? The answer is also yes. Because it is necessary for the security of our nation and the stability of the world.''

Rumsfeld cited progress in reopening Iraqi schools and hospitals and training a new Iraqi army.

All right, never mind that America's economy is completely in the toilet these days and that Bush & Friends are handing out crazy tax cuts to anybody that doesn't actually need 'em and never mind that we don't know, still, what's happening in Afghanistan on a daily basis except that the U.S. Army is making deals with warlords and that none of the money Junior promised to rebuild those guys has been made available, and never mind that we've got the BIGGEST DEFICEIT EVER that our motherfucking grandkids will be paying off, and never mind that everybody in the world is pretty much just laughing at requests to help foot this $87 billion bill, but Jesus effing Christ, we're gonna pay to give 'em a new army?

Y'know, I'm sympathetic to that fact that Iraq is smack-dab in the middle of one of the most hostile joints in the universe, but so was Japan, back in the '40's, and they weren't allowed any real army to speak of, and it seems to have worked out okay.

Honestly, it's cheaper to leave American forces in place than it's gonna be build up an Iraqi infrastructure at Mach speed. That $87 billion is not gonna be the whole bill. We all know that. Right now $50-some-odd billion is earmarked to pay for the troops and the rest is for rebuilding the country. That latter number will grow by leaps and bounds, because the oil revenue that the Bush admin keeps talking about is A.) not going to amount to much (maybe $3 billion or so the first few years, which is a lot for a person or a company, but not for a country) & B.) OPEC is going to do everything they can to keep Iraq out of the market. I don't know the fuck how (if I did, I'd be a biz guy, not some sci-fi kid plugging away at this shit), but OPEC's proven any number of times in the past that it can fuck over the oil-poor countries pretty much on a whim.

So, really, are you cool with all this?

Whatcha gonna do?

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The CIA paid Mullahs and created fake Islamic religious leaders to preach a moderate message and counter anti-American sentiment in the Arab world after the September 11 attacks, a new book said today.

The CIA at War - written by Ronald Kessler, an investigative reporter and author of several books about the CIA and the FBI, also detailed espionage activity in Iraq that supported the March invasion that toppled President Saddam Hussein.

For the book, made available to Reuters in advance of its October publication, Kessler interviewed CIA Director George Tenet in May and other senior CIA officials. The agency supplied most of the photographs in the book.

"In Islam, as in many other religions, anyone can call himself a religious leader," he said in the book.

"So, besides paying Mullahs, the CIA created fake Mullahs - recruited agents who would proclaim themselves clerics and take a more moderate position about nonbelievers."

Quite honestly, a part of me wants to be impressed with this smart a plan on the part of the CIA. The rest of me, however, is pretty revolted with the CIA playing legos with other people's cultures. Is it any wonder that G. H. W. Bush got his start running those fuckers?

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So, yeah, went to see Neal Stephenson read last night at U of W and it was pretty all right. The new book sounds good and the man himself was interesting (although pretty beat; he really looked like he could use a few days worth of sleep).

The good part, thought, was the nerd-watching to be done at the reading. Yeah, I know, I was there, Pal A was there, The Young was there, so aren't we nerds?

Well, there's nerds, and then there's nerds.

I think I was able to differentiate 'tween programmer nerds and engineer nerds: programmer nerds wear Dockers or jeans (I guess so long as they're Levi's, everything's cool), and might, maybe, have a phone worn obviously (usually in a courier bag, though). Engineer nerds wear shorts (usually Old Navy-style cargo shorts which, yes, I own a pair of) and have copious gear clipped to their belts. The king of last night had a phone, pager, mini-maglight, PDA and a set of keys on a retracting reel, all lined up on his left side in black nylon carrying pouches.

The common ground, however, is the hair. Jesus, God. Big 'ol to-the-ass ponytails left and right, with the level of seniority based, apparently, on length and volume. Which is to say that the guys with seriously long hair were shouting orders to the ones with just a little bit of shag going on. It seemed to work out pretty well inside the circle, but once real people got involved (me & Pal A & The Young, f'rinstance), the lack of social grace began to show. Pal A was blocked by a gaggle of giggling nerdettes for a good minute, as the term "Pardon me," doesn't translate to "Get yer ass outta my way" in nerd culture.

Ah, well.

Off to the store for brown sugar so Buttons can make cookies. MMMMMMMM cookies...

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A Kenyan villager has cut off his penis and testicles with a kitchen knife "to teach his wife a lesson."

Police say Alfonse Mumbo, of Kajulu Wath Orego, near Kisumu, severed his genitalia after accusing his wife, Penina of unfaithfulness.

Officers say the 38-year-old former barber said he wanted "to give her a free hand to go after other men." He told police he loved her so much, he could make the sacrifice.

Okay, two consecutive days of stories about idiots lopping off their own cocks. How long do you think the streak will last? I'm putting my money on 6 days. Any takers?

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A U.S. court in Oklahoma has blocked the national "do not call" list that would allow consumers to stop most unwanted telephone sales calls, the Direct Marketing Association said on Wednesday.

Goddammit. I knew that was too easy.

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Tuesday, September 23, 2003

ALBANY, Ore. -- An Albany family has filed suit against the city's school district, alleging that a middle school substitute teacher told their daughter that Jesus would miraculously cure her.

In the lawsuit filed this month by Robert and Tina George, the family seeks $750,000 for each of three complaints: violation of their daughter's civil rights, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and negligent infliction of emotional distress.

Named in the suit are substitute teacher Linda Woldeit and Memorial Middle School, as well as the school district. Woldeit said she wasn't aware of the lawsuit and wasn't prepared to comment.

Court papers say that when Woldeit learned the girl suffered from a rare disease that affects her hair follicles, leaving her bald, Woldeit wrote a note to her that said Jesus would perform a miracle that night while she showered, causing her to grow "the most beautiful blond hair anyone has ever seen."

If not, Woldeit said, she would shave off her own hair. The girl's hair wasn't restored, and Woldeit did shave her head.

Think the jury'll cut her any slack fer shaving her head?

I'm starting to love the Northwest. Everybody's just so fucking whacked.

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A student cut off his penis and tongue with garden shears while tripping on an hallucinogenic drug.

The 18-year-old German went into his garden and set about severing his organs after downing a tea made with the plant Angels' Trumpet.

The plant is a powerful and dangerous hallucinogen.

Doctors were unable to re-attach either his penis or tongue.

Y'know, I wasn't even gonna blog tonight. Really. I went with Pal A and The Young and saw Neal Stephenson read from Quicksilver and they got a signed copy and afterwards we got ice cream and it was a nice night and we all just walked around and shit and it was just damned pleasant and then I get back here and this jumps out at me.

What the fuck'm I supposed to do?

Heya Sparky. Go check yer mail. How was the show?

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Monday, September 22, 2003

Got my dates fucked up. The Deacons are playing CBGB's TOMORROW night, the 23rd, I'm an old man with no fucking memory. Go, now you've got a heads up, go, go, go, godammit. 8:00 p.m., here's the schedule. $10, motherfucker, go, 'cause I'm wishin' I could.

And just for the fuck of it, here's Al's Pist page, 'cause he'll do better at tracking shows than me, most likely.

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A joke about setting off explosives in his semi leads to a complete shutdown of Interstate 29 near Salix, Iowa today.

While parked at a weigh station, officers say 34-year-old Alexey Artemenko of Forriston, Minnesota told them he had a truck full of explosives he could detonate at any time. Officers evacuated the area and closed both lanes of I-29. At about three a Hazmat team and bomb sniffing dogs were brought in and the truck was opened.






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Just realized that it's a little late to be advertising this, but my old band The Deacons, is (are?) playing tonight @ CBGB's with The Vibrators. If you're in NYC, CT or (God help you) NJ, go, now. Quickly. Buy beer, buy the new Brooklyntown CD, tell Al he's as good as he was in P.O.E., but that the fat guy can't be beat.

But nice try anyway.

Man, I'm missing music & my kids. Fuck.

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Btw, got the electronics gig. Me and Buttons won't have to sleep on the street, which is probably a good thing, as the rainy season is gearing up.


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Passengers have rushed to snap up tickets for the final flights on Concorde before it is retired from service.

A third of the 450 tickets available were snapped up within 90 minutes of going on sale at 0900 BST.

Flights between London and New York are sold out for 22 and 23 October despite a price tag of £4,350 one-way and up to £8,292 for a return trip.

This makes me a little sad. Some of the sci-fi just went out of the future and we're all stuck in subsonic planes. When I was a kid we got promised flights from NYC to London in twenty minutes; LA to Instanbul in an hour and change, the flights going suborbital, glancing the top of the atmosphere and rolling over to give the well-belted passengers a gasping glance of the hard white stars of near-Earth space.

I miss my naivete.

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Sunday, September 21, 2003

"I know not too many of you have had the pleasure of watching this video, but time seems to stop when Simon mouths that word. It comes off more like "maaaaarrrraaaajuuuuaaaannaaah," and everything else in the world seems to temporarily fade to gray. From here on out, the drug references don't stop. You've got Alf talking about heroin, you've got Miss Piggy talking about cocaine. It's really, really strange to watch. We're talking strange on the same level as watching Mrs. Cleaver give Wally a rimjob. Sorry, I'm not usually this crass. It's just that hearing Papa Smurf yell 'LAY OFF THE DOPE, MICHAEL" tends to shake one's foundations of reality. I'm sure it'll pass."

Matt's being funny and brilliant over at X-E again. Go, read. You're an idiot if you don't, and yes, I mean specifically you.

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Oh. Here they are. Never mind.

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ROBOT soldiers manufactured to kill enemy troops have been designed for the Pentagon by a tiny Glasgow computer company which is set to make millions from the deal.

Essential Viewing says the technology comes straight from the world of science fiction. Chief executive Simon Hardy said the technology had its nearest equivalent in the Star Wars movie Attack Of The Clones.

The article's light on the details of the tech, focusing more on the idea of soldiers just kinda sitting around and essentially playing video games during combat operations. Their website links to a white paper that probably makes sense to people with more of an engineering degree than me, but it essentially seems to say that they're really, really good at compressing video.


So, where's the wristwatch videophones?

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The criticisms of President Bush aren't surprising: He's bungling the war in Iraq; his budget deficits are disastrous; he's trampling civil liberties; his spending plans are misguided.

But the source of those criticisms is: They're increasingly coming from conservatives.

Think tank studies, op-ed columns, talk radio callers and opinion polls show conservatives' disenchantment with Bush's policies and priorities has been climbing, although nowhere near as much as it has among liberals. And although those dismayed conservatives might rally round him in next year's presidential election, his campaign aides are keeping a close eye on the trend.

Which is to say, the pack might, finally, be turning on an alpha male who was always noticeably lacking in the balls to do the job. If a man's got no scars, how dangerous can he be?

Also, conservatives: Bully for you for showing some loyalty, but fuck, fuck, FUCK you for backing a weasel with no greater ambition than an American colony in the Middle East and schoolkids reciting the lord's prayer before lunch. First Reagan, now Junior. Do you guys have something against smart people?

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PASADENA, Calif. (AP) -- NASA's aging Galileo spacecraft deliberately plunged into Jupiter's turbulent atmosphere Sunday, bringing a fiery conclusion to a 14-year, $1.5 billion exploration of the solar system's largest planet and its moons.

The unmanned spacecraft, traveling at nearly 108,000 mph, was torn apart and vaporized by the heat and friction of its fall through the clouds after it dove into the atmosphere at 2:57 p.m. EDT as planned.

Godspeed, lil' doodle.

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Eat my fuck you little bastard.

Michael K. Powell, the embattled chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, appears to be setting the stage for an exit with a candid interview pipelined for Monday runs of the NEW YORK TIMES.

Newsroom sources tell DRUDGE that Powell has gone on-the-record with NYT's Steve Labaton for a wide-ranging explanation of current affairs.

"I have a tired family, tired children and a tired spouse. Candidly, I once said I would be in this job for three years and then leave," Powell explains. "That was three years ago."

The sad part is that he'll leave public (HA!) service and get a tit job in the private sector worth big $, probably with one of the media companies he just tried to cozy up to. Note to billyhank: Watch him in the next few months and see where the fucker shows up.

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Saturday, September 20, 2003

...But some people think that NASA had more plans for Galileo. They claim that NASA's nefarious scheme was to drop Galileo into Jupiter and use it to ignite Jupiter like a fusion bomb, either turning it into a star like the Sun, or simply blowing it to smithereens.

Can this be true? Could NASA accomplish such a dastardly plot?

As always, the short answer to this is to look at the title bar of your browser and read the name of this website. To save you time, I'll just say it here: no, Galileo will not do anything to Jupiter. Like a meteor, it'll burn up in the dense atmosphere, and become a part of the solar system's largest planet.

Eight years ago, nanometer-sized features resembling bacteria were discovered in the Martian meteorite ALH84001. New evidence suggests this is proof of life on Mars.

Astrobio Magazine -- Nanobacteria are not alive, but instead are the result of enzymes that break down organic material, according to a new study published in the journal Geology.

Eight years ago, features resembling bacteria and measuring 20 to 100 nanometers across were discovered in the Martian meteorite ALH84001. NASA scientists interpreted these features to be the fossilized remnants of ancient life, but many scientists rejected that conclusion.

No commentary. Just reminding myself to read these. See you Monday.

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A botched home castration in McKeesport has led to criminal charges against a Westmoreland County man.

Doug Lenhart, 48, of Lower Burrell, was arraigned this morning in Night Court on charges of aggravated assault, reckless endangerment and unauthorized practice of medicine and surgery.

Lenhart is being held in the Allegheny County Jail on $25,000 straight bond.

McKeesport police Chief Ron Willard said Lenhart was discovered over the Internet and hired by a 43-year-old transgender female to perform a castration last Friday at the victim's McKeesport home.

I know it's sick, but I continue to be fascinated by the self-nullification thing. Sorry.

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Friday, September 19, 2003

(CNN) -- A resilient robot ship that has explored Jupiter and its moons for eight years will dive into the crushing atmosphere of the giant planet Sunday, a spectacular finale to one of the most productive deep-space missions ever.

Galileo, its propellant running low and its electrical systems on the blink, will nonetheless keep a handful of its 10 instruments on during the final hours, giving scientists a chance to squeeze some final data from the $1.4 billion mission.

NASA charted the collision course to prevent Galileo, a heap of metal, plutonium and gadgets the size of a sport utility vehicle, from striking Jupiter's largest moons, considered some of the most promising sites to search for life beyond Earth.

"Galileo is one of the most successful outer worlds missions that the Earth has ever launched," said Colleen Hartman, NASA's director of solar system exploration. "This spacecraft has given us some unbelievable discoveries."

Since its launch in 1989, the droid has managed to do quite a bit with a computer brain comparable to that of an Apple II.

Both cool and sad. Sad that something so successful is coming to an end, and cool that it gets to end with a mach-whatever explosion in Jupiter's upper atmosphere. Few mechanical critters get a chance to go out with such a bang.

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Sorry, nothing today but a news dump, really. Getting ready to head out to Buttons' dad's place for the weekend. Her mom's visiting the old hometown, and my baby ain't seen her mama in a dog's age, so we'll be gone for a few days. If anybody's freaking out (c'mon, pretend, I need the egostroke), you can cruise the archives or just check out diepunyhumans.com or FARK.com. S'where I get most of my stuff anyway.

Talk to you Monday. Have some fun, kidlins.

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The UK has made spam a criminal offence to try to stop the flood of unsolicited messages.
Under the new law, spammers could be fined £5,000 in a magistrates court or an unlimited penalty from a jury.

But they would not be sent to jail, according to the new measures introduced by Communications Minister Stephen Timms

Nice try, but I can't imagine that a $7,500 fine will mean much to a spammer making hundreds of thousands of dollars doing what he does. Especially since he's probably hosting his site overseas, making it difficult, if not impossible, to prosecute him. Jail time and maybe knee-capping might be more effective. Also, and this is just idiotic, it'll still be legal to send spam to biz email addys. How in the world does that make any sense? Are there pro-spam lobbyists in Parliment?


Italy does better with a fine of 90,000 Euros (which is just over $100,000) and a maximum of three years in jail. Spending time with someone who successfully used one of their penis enlargement programs might change a spammer's mind about their chosen vocation.

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Artist's rendition of a gamma-ray burst. Credit: NASA - click to enlarge.

European Space Agency -- For a few seconds every day, Earth is bombarded by gamma rays created by cataclysmic explosions in distant galaxies. Such explosions, similar to supernovae, are known as ‘gamma-ray bursts’ or GRBs.

Astronomers using ESA’s X-ray observatory, XMM-Newton, are trying to understand the cause of these extraordinary explosions from the X-rays given out for a day or two after the initial burst.

However, the violence of the process begs the question, what happens to the space surrounding a GRB? A few years ago, some astronomers thought that a GRB might wipe out all life in its host galaxy.

That now seems to be a pessimistic view because the latest evidence shows that GRBs focus their energy along two narrow beams, like a lighthouse might do on Earth, rather than exploding in all directions like a bomb.

That does not mean that GRBs are not dangerous. Some theories suggest that anything caught in the beam, out to a distance of around 200 light years, will be vaporised.

Which should take care of all the rich people. And the rest of us. Ah, well. Maybe the roaches will do a better job.

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Up from the ashes.

After two years of declining values, the rich finally got richer. On this, FORBES' 21st annual edition of The Forbes 400, the aggregate net worth of the nation's wealthiest 400 citizens leapt 10% in the past year, to $955 billion--just one Bill Gates away from $1 trillion. Leading the charge: Internet stocks. Jeff Bezos added more than $3 billion to his net worth with a tripling of Amazon's share price. Chief Yahoos David Filo and Jerry Yang nearly tripled their wealth, while the fortunes of Ebay's Pierre Omidyar and Meg Whitman rose almost 50%. With help from a fin-challenged clown fish named Nemo, Steve Jobs moved up 44 places in our rankings to 78th.

Y'know, this might not be quite so sickening if the reporters who compiled the info weren't so fucking gleeful about the amount of money these people control. There're more idiotically wealthy people named in the article, so if you're getting together your checklist of who's going up against the wall when the revolution comes, you might wanna click on over.

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Some folks buy quick picks to hit the jackpot.

Nine current or former law enforcement officers from the Chicago area found another way: stealing from people they believed were drug dealers, the feds alleged Thursday.

"We done hit the lottery," one Cook County Forest Preserve District cop, James L. Turner, allegedly said after he and two other men swiped $12,000 from under the driver's seat of a Mercury Cougar.

Yeah, this one's a shocker, right?

Sorry, MikE.

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Brazil's northern Amazon region, once thought to have been pristine until modern development began encroaching, actually hosted sophisticated networks of towns and villages hundreds of years ago, researchers said on Thursday.

Archeological evidence and satellite images show the area was densely settled long before Columbus and European settlers arrived, with towns featuring plazas, roads up to 150 feet wide, deep moats and bridges, the researchers found.

The report, published in the journal Science, suggests a society that was advanced and complex, and that found alternative ways to use the Amazon forest without destroying it.

Nineteen evenly spaced villages were linked by straight roads, and the cluster could have supported between 2,500 and 5,000 people, said the researchers, led by Michael Heckenberger of the University of Florida.

Very cool shit. The highways they built were on the order of 150' wide, which definately throws them into the catagory of superhighways. What's making me smile about this one is that no matter how much we think we know about our planet and its social evolution, it still manages to surprise. Nice job, ancient Amazonians.

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Thursday, September 18, 2003

A leading museum has added a bawdy 16th century work of art to its collection, depicting a human head made up of small images of penises.

The work - affectionately known as "dickhead" - was bought for almost a quarter of a million pounds for the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford.

This smacks of complete bullshit, but it's very funny bullshit, so it made the cut. Congratulations, penis plate of Nottingham.

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At medical conferences in the mid-1980s across the nation and abroad, doctors and spinal-injury patients marveled as he performed what most considered impossible: Rising from a wheelchair and, using a walker for balance and support, he took step after step across the stage.

The miracle is no more.

Now living with a maze of broken, corroding, electrical wires embedded in his paralyzed legs, suffering infections and needing operations every few months, Winter is wheeling today through the halls of Congress in search of relief.

Ah, this poor fucker. Crippled (moreso, anyway) by science in what sounds like the Victor Von Frankenstein kinda way. The prose is yanking for heartstrings, but somewhere in there is a guy who got a couple years of legs and then nothing but pain, denials and multiple surgery.

Probably a story in here somewhere, too.

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WASHINGTON (AP) - President Bush said Wednesday there was no evidence that Saddam Hussein was involved in the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 - disputing an idea held by many Americans.

``There's no question that Saddam Hussein had al-Qaida ties,'' the president said. But he also said, ``We have no evidence that Saddam Hussein was involved with the Sept. 11'' attacks.

And where was this little admission a year ago? Goddammit I'm tired of these people, and quite honestly I'm sick of all of us, pathetic whining American folk, just accepting this crap. Bush and Rumsfeld both, on the same day fer Christ's sake, make an admission that those of us with any amount of brains were aware of a couple of motherfucking years ago. Seriously, why hasn't this bastard been impeached?

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LOGAN — A widespread belief among physicists nowadays is that modern science requires squadrons of scientists and wildly expensive equipment.

Craig Wallace and Philo T. Farnsworth are putting the lie to all that.

Wallace, a baby-faced tennis player fresh out of Spanish Fork High School, had almost the entire physics faculty of Utah State University hovering (and arguing) over an apparatus he had cobbled together from parts salvaged from junk yards and charity drops.

The apparatus is nothing less than the sine qua non of modern science: a nuclear fusion reactor, based on the plans of Utah's own Philo Farnsworth, the inventor of television.

The reactor sat on a table with an attached vacuum pump wheezing away. A television monitor showed what was inside: a glowing ball of gas surrounded by a metal helix.

The ball is, literally, a small sun, where an electric field forces deuteron ions (a form of hydrogen) to gather, bang together and occasionally fuse, spitting out a neutron each time fusion occurs.

"Here I am with this thing here," Wallace mused, looking at his surroundings. "Who'da thought?"

Y'know, if I had any cash, this is the kind of person I'd be funding. Good man, Wallace. Try not to lose track of that thing, okay?

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Wednesday, September 17, 2003

WASHINGTON - Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said Tuesday he had no reason to believe that Iraq's Saddam Hussein had a hand in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States.

At a Pentagon news conference, Rumsfeld was asked about a poll that indicated nearly 70 percent of respondents believed the Iraqi leader probably was personally involved.

"I've not seen any indication that would lead me to believe that I could say that," Rumsfeld said.

Rumsfeld you BITCH. Where the fuck where you when Junior was arguing for the war? You cowardly little motherfucker. GET THE FUCK OUT OF MY COUNTRY.


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Media conglomerate AOL Time Warner plans to drop "AOL" from its corporate name on Thursday, according to reports.

Citing people close to the board, The Washington Post reported Wednesday that the corporation's board of directors is scheduled to approve the name change at a meeting in New York on Thursday. The name AOL Time Warner was adopted after the merger of America Online and Time Warner in 2001.


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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. House voted Wednesday to make a ban on Internet use taxes permanent and require nine states to repeal existing taxes on access fees.

Lawmakers passed a bill by voice vote that would cement a ban on Internet access and traffic taxes currently due to expire in November, and remove a grandfather clause that allows a handful of states to levy taxes that were in place before the ban was first passed in 1998.

The tax moratorium applies to all methods of Internet access, including pricier high-speed links taxed by some states.

However, the ban does not apply to online sales taxes, which are already prohibited under a Supreme Court decision unless the retailer has a substantial in-state presence.

Well, hey, that's good news. I'm starting to really dig Congress. Never thought I'd see the day.

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Watching Microsoft be sued - by the federal government, states, class-action plaintiffs and aggrieved rivals - has become a common pastime in the computer industry. The enjoyment of the industry spectators is usually all the greater if the world's largest software company loses, and loses big, in court.

Last month, Microsoft suffered a stinging setback in a patent-infringement case when a federal jury awarded $521 million to a former University of California researcher. But this time, the rest of the industry is not smiling.

To comply with the court ruling, Microsoft has informed a handful of software companies and the World Wide Web Consortium, the leading Web standards organization, that soon it will probably make changes in its Internet browser, the on-ramp to the Web for 90 percent of computer users. The impact, according to industry executives and Web experts, could be disruptive and costly for other Internet software companies and big commercial Web sites.

Interesting article, mostly because we're really starting to see the Net get parcelled up like the old West was. Lawsuits like this one, the KaZaa/Morpheus/etc. vs. the RIAA shit, domain squatters, virus writers, black-hat cracks, all this shit is just speeding up the day the government (mebbe just the US or maybe everybody working somewhat together or something in between) comes slamming in, regulates the living fuck out of the Web and takes away what freedom is left intact in it.

Things like the Web (which, admittedly, is pretty singular) scares the living hell out of governments, simply because there's very little control over it. Warren Ellis has been saying it lately: The Internet is People. It's this weird dichotomy that the most technologically advanced communications network on the planet is also the simplest forum for human beings to make their voices heard. The Internet is, absolutely, people. The hardware just gives them voice and the software just makes it pretty.

All right, that was a ramble. Sorry. I'm out. Enjoy your day.

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Michael Powell: One sweatin' bitch.

WASHINGTON, Sept. 16 - The Senate approved a resolution today to repeal all of the new regulations that would make it easier for the nation's largest media companies to grow bigger.

By a vote of 55 to 40, the Republican-controlled Senate defied the White House and issued a stinging political rebuke of Michael K. Powell, the Republican chairman of the Federal Communications Commission and architect of the rules.

...the Senate vote demonstrated broad bipartisan hostility to the new rules and, as one lawmaker said today, a symbolically important vote of no confidence in Mr. Powell. Twelve Republicans and one independent joined 42 Democrats in voting for the resolution. It was opposed by 38 Republicans and 2 Democrats, Zell Miller of Georgia and John Breaux ofLouisianaa.

Speaking of Mr. Powell, Senator Byron L. Dorgan, the North Dakota Democrat and chief sponsor of the resolution, said: "I think he has made a horrible mistake. His leadership at the commission has led the commission to cave in to the special interests as quickly and as thoroughly as I've ever seen."

The vote was only the second time in history that the Senate has used a parlimentary procedure known as a resolution of disapproval to, in effect, veto an action by a regulator. It also had broader support than the final tally — four of the five senators absent from the chamber, including three presidential candidates, have said they would have voted for it.

What continues to astound and bother me about this is A.) that Michael Powell is beginning to fight fucking CONGRESS about the rules that he's obviously planning on making some money off of (remember, Colin Powell was with AOL/Time Warner before losing his mind and throwing in with Bush; can you say stock options?). The littlest Powell needs to recognize that he's nothing but a glorified public servant and to shut his fucking ass when the people speak. & B.) That Junior is threatening a presidential veto if Congress votes down the new rules. Why? Can he point to any gains for the country? Or can he only point to protecting and bribing special interest groups that are absolutely pivotal to his '04 presidential campaign?

The whole thing stinks, goddammit. How long are we going to take it?

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LOS ANGELES -- A Los Angeles jury has awarded more than $2 million to a Muslim courier who was fired after missing three days of work for the birth of his child and a religious holiday.

Mehmood Darjee, 38, sued Laboratory Corporation of America, alleging religious discrimination and violation of the state's Family Rights Act.

For those of you who've been following BCS for a while, Laboratory Corporation of America is the company I did my daily Long Island run for back when I was a courier in CT. Everybody I met who worked for Labcorp seemed pretty miserable, so this isn't so much a surprise, y'know?

Ah, me.

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Monday, September 15, 2003

And for Buttons, a whole assload of sassy monkeys...

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ST. PETERSBURG - Industrial rock band, Hell On Earth will feature a “live suicide” at their State Theatre performance in St. Petersburg, FL on Saturday, October 4th. A Euthanasia Society member will carry out the suicide to raise awareness for dying with dignity. The Euthanasia member, who suffers from a terminal illness, is using the event as a platform to help make back-street suicides a thing of the past.

Though his identity is being withheld until the day of the event, he did have this to say, “I thank the lord that Hell On Earth is giving me this opportunity to end my suffering. I just want to say as my last will and testament that this is my god given choice to end my life. I’d prefer to have a physician-assisted suicide but until the laws are changed, those who are in pain like me will either have to continue to suffer or do it themselves.”

Ah, Florida.

The...funny(?)...part of this is that the press release was found on a commercial site advertising hot sauce, as well as the band's cd's and tees and suchlike shit. Why am I picturing a bunch of giggling longhairs who smoke just as much crappy weed as their landscaping jobs provide for? *Sigh* I wish I was a rock star too...

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Matthews state park, a beach a mile or two from the apartment, five minutes shy of noon and the lappy’s screen is almost entirely washed out by the sunlight. Dunno if that’s ‘cause it’s an old guy or if it’s ‘cause it’s running on battery power and isn’t putting as much juice to the display or if it’s always been this weak, and I’ve just never had it outside enough to tell.

This is Washington so everything is sideways from what I think it should be so there’s geese on the beach, on the sand, standing goose-knee deep in the tiny little breakers that crash on the shore every second and a half. The gulls that I keep thinking should be on the sand are in the parking lot, over the treeline to my right, scavenging for Milky Way wrappers and hotdog-bun halves left by the well-coifed crowds that were here over the weekend. Nobody here today but a little white-haired boy slung over a swing while a man, presumably his father, spins him in circles, wrapping the chains of the swing around each other until they build up tension and spin the little boy belly-down around and around. The little boy isn’t going wheeeeee like he should, so I’m thinking that perhaps father and son are here in an effort to dispel some kind of tragedy, a firing or a death, that’s got both generations of the family in a funk. Or, maybe, the kid would rather be playing Gamecube.

I’ve got a cigarette going, which is just stupid ‘cause I rode Joe’s Diamondback over here and I’m gonna have to ride it back and I get out of breath as it is. Ah, well. Bridges to cross later.

Seven minutes after twelve and the park’s starting to fill up a little. A blond with her right arm in a sling walking slowly along the path that runs through the trees, keeping an eye on me, the beach, the water and, it seems, the sky. Whatever busted that arm must’ve come out of the sheerest blue. There’s a biker of the skintight black latex, no-suspension black road bike, super-skinny/ultra-fit/5% bodyfat type sitting at a table twenty yards away, eating a sandwich and pretending to look at the water while she glances over at me. Dunno why she’s looking over here. I’m just not that interesting. Two young mothers (or perhaps nannies, my Fairfield County sensibilities insist) have shown up with a child each in tow. They’re strolling along the lawn on the other side of the park and from here it appears that the children are one boy and one girl. The girl is a toddler, stumbling along at the end of one young mother’s arm. The boy is older, three or four, and is amusing himself by running through the crowds of geese who're resting on the lawn. Interestingly enough, the geese are fleeing at his approach. My experience with geese has taught me that approaching such a resting gaggle will elicit angry hissing from the birds and little other movement. Apparently a lumbering thirty-something does not provoke flight in waterfowl the same way a headlong preschooler will. Smart birds.

There are crows out here too, big glossy angry looking critters who stamp along just waiting for someone to fuck with them. I have to guess that they’re involved in some kind of migration study or mating habit research as all the birds that I can see up close have ankle tags, white on one ankle and red & blue on the other. I’m no pansy, but it would take a braver man than I to reach out and grab one of these birds and hold them long enough to band them.

It’s getting cold out here, the sun fading out behind the clouds, a quick wind coming in over the water. I’ve worn shorts for my afternoon ride and I’m feeling it. Brr.

Yeah, I’m done. Nice day in Jet City. Time for movement.

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BOERNE — The car crash that killed Air Force Col. Philip M. Shue was the final enigma in a life whose brutal end belied outward appearances of success and contentment.
Strands of duct tape hung from Shue's wrist and ankles, and his nipples had been cut off.

Head injuries suffered when his car hit two trees in Kendall County on April 16 caused Shue's death, according an autopsy report that labeled it a suicide — a label his widow vehemently disputes.

No commentary. Just posting this up here 'cause there's a story in here somewhere.

Fucking Texas.

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Sunday, September 14, 2003

Okay, that's pretty much it for the day. Just watched Adaptation which, like everyone said a couple years ago when it came out, started out strong and then got kinda silly in the second half. Which just kinda proves that while it's not so tough to come up with a new and clever way of telling a story, you've still gotta pull off the actual storytelling.

Whatever. Being John Malkovitch was clever and still told a story we wanted to see. Adaptation, I think, tried so hard to make fun of stories that we don't really want to see that it became a story we didn't really want to see.

Awfully nice, however, to see Nicky Cage not all cut and walking into a wind machine with his hair blowing out behind him. That shit was getting damned old.

G'night, kidlins. Billy's got a long day of justifying his existence tomorrow, so I'm toddling off. Sweet dreams.

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In the two years since law enforcement agencies gained fresh powers to help them track down and punish terrorists, police and prosecutors have increasingly turned the force of the new laws not on al-Qaida cells but on people charged with common crimes.

The Justice Department said it has used authority given to it by the USA Patriot Act to crack down on currency smugglers and seize money hidden overseas by alleged bookies, con artists and drug dealers.

Like I've been saying, right? Watch what you say on the phone or in your emails, kids. Equal opportunity governmental ass-fucking is on the prowl.

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Just finished Geek Love. Jesus motherfucking Christ. Nicely done, Ms. Dunn. My nuts have taken off and are squirming around up near my lungs.

Pal A gave me another one called Freakshow that she figures is a companion piece. I may never see my testicles again.

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WASHINGTON, Sept. 13 — For months, President Bush's advisers have assured a skittish public that law-abiding Americans have no reason to fear the long reach of the antiterrorism law known as the Patriot Act because its most intrusive measures would require a judge's sign-off.

But in a plan announced this week to expand counterterrorism powers, President Bush adopted a very different tack. In a three-point presidential plan that critics are already dubbing Patriot Act II, Mr. Bush is seeking broad new authority to allow federal agents — without the approval of a judge or even a federal prosecutor — to demand private records and compel testimony.

Read this article (you may have to register with NYTIMES.com, but it's free). It's damned frightening. The FBI, backed by the Dept. of Homeland Security, is on the fast track to becoming the new Gestapo. Mark me here; there will be a "terrorist attack" on American soil sometime between now and the '04 elections. Something small, or at least something that doesn't really hurt anyone. Chances are it will be defused before anything actually happens, but it will occur Sept./Oct. '04, be highly publicized and no known terrorist group will actually take credit, although Al-Queda or Islamic Jihad will be blamed. This attack will be engineered by the American Gov't in an attempt to lock in the '04 elections. I'm telling y'all, it's beginning to be like living in a bad novel. It astounds me, still, that the bastard is getting away with all this shit.

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Saturday, September 13, 2003

Oh, yeah. Callback for that electronics gig. Tuesday @ 1:00. Apparently I have to jump through some hoops. We'll see.

Cross yer whatevers.

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Next week, Ohio will take a long-overdue step forward into the 21st century -- by momentarily stepping back into the 19th century.
To set the historical record straight after 135 years, Ohio is about to complete re-ratification of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, the measure that initially gave freed slaves citizenship and later would be used by courts to extend virtually every personal liberty and right granted in the Bill of Rights.

Fer Christ's sake, Ohio. First Kent State and now this. If you pinheads hadn't produced DEVO (and, truly, you need a social waste dump like Akron to force the evolution of something like DEVO), there really would be no reason for a bumper state between Indiana and Pennsylvania.

This deal with the 14th is apparently less trivial than it might sound. It seems that hate groups and racial separationists have been sheltering themselves beneath Ohio's lack of equal protection under the law, and that putting segregation (for example) back into effect would have been perfectly legal. And while it's easy to shake your head and think, "Nah, c'mon, who'd pull a move like that in this day and age?" keep in mind that Junior is hip on giving government money to churches, taking money away from the poorest families in the land and laying the groundwork for legislation that would outlaw homosexuality. Welcome to 1984, kids. Big Brother is feeding you a line of "traditional values" & "national security", and you're swallowing it down whole.

Eh, you already know. If you don't, then you're probably either not smart enough to think about it or you're part of the machine that wants to chew up the little people. If that sounds like you, then fuck off and go read Pat Robertson's blog. The rest of you: get together all your booze, empty bottles, wicks, matches and lighters and meet me behind the Jiffy Lube in fifteen.

When they kick at your front door
How you gonna come?
With your hands on your head
Or on the trigger of your gun?

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Friday, September 12, 2003

Also, if you're ever in the position to pin down Buttons' legs, you can make her react as though she's being tickled by simply threatening to tickle her. It's astounding. I thought the poor girl was going to wet herself.

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Also, just finished up The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Klay. Nice nice good good book. I suggest, especially if you've got any interest in the golden age of comic books. Michael Chabon is a bit overwrought, but in a non-annoying way.

Just started Geek Love, which is one of those things that I've been meaning to read for years. Thus far, it's making my testicles crawl.

Occasionally, that's a good thing.

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WASHINGTON (AFP) - US government contracts for Iraqi reconstruction given to oil giant Halliburton Co. are now worth some two billion dollars and could go higher, the army said.

This one pretty much speaks for itself, although it's worth pointing out that the article mentions a separate $1 billion 10-year contract for troop support, and that Halliburton (Kellogg, Brown & Root, actually, the original company from which much of Halliburton's wealth has sprung) has already received $247 million from the American government. Ironically, much of this has been spent on diesel fuel and LP gas which, despite Iraq's tremendous oil and natural gas fields, is currently being imported. This is your government at work, kids. 'less you're the guys from Denmark or Singapore or Saudi Arabia that've been checking in, in which case, this is the government that will probably be invading your country soon.

You might wanna think about how you feel about that.

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Wednesday, September 10, 2003

Alrighty, then. Did some work. Email link is now clickable 'cause I lifted code from somebody else's blog. Never underestimate the speed and efficiency of the lazy. Also cleaned things up a bit. Relax. Someday I'll let Buttons loose in here and it'll just fucking sparkle. Until then, you're stuck with me, motherfuckers.

Sweet dreams, y'all.

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Tuesday, September 09, 2003

That's it. I'm back to reading Kavalier & Klay out on the deck. Just killed the last Killian's, so I'm hitting Buttons' cider and hoping that she stops at the supermarket on the way home from school.

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CLEVELAND -- Mystery "tiles" with a strange message are being noticed all over the world, including two embedded into the streets of Cleveland.

Here's a list someone made up of tile locations all over the U.S.

My boy Richie had an idea similar to this a few years ago, which was to use letterpunches to imprint lines of poetry, or whatever, into thin metal plates, which would then be superglued to buildings in unobtrusive but still observable spots. It was a great idea, but we never worked out the logistics of it (although I did rifle the pages of my McMaster-Carr looking for adhesive that would grab metal on one side and masonry on the other). This reminds me, also, of one of the best pieces of stealth graffiti I ever spotted: stickers in the NYC subways that replaced the black & white "AIR-CONDITIONED CAR - Keep Windows Closed" stickers with ones that were graphically identical but read something like "KARMA-CONDITIONED CAR - Watch What You Do." That was a fine bit of cleverness on somebody's part. If that happened to be you, drop me a line. I'll send you some cookies or something.

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The Hubble Space Telescope has taken some of the best pictures ever of Saturn. The images show the planet's rings at full tilt during a setup that won't be repeated for many years.

Goddamn & goddamn & goddamn. Y'know, shit like this makes it tough to believe this whole universe deal is just random.

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SEATTLE - A new action figure of a frumpy-looking librarian who moves her index finger to her lips with "amazing push-button shushing action!" is prompting librarians around the world to raise their voices in protest.

This is a funnyass town. Archie McPhee almost makes up for this crap between the PI and the Times.


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By the by, thanks for whatever good thoughts have been floating around. The first interview, with Washpirg, was pretty much a blowoff (they're looking exclusively for cavassers, and your boy Billyhank isn't the type to interrupt dinner and beg for money if it's not from my own family), but the second one, managing a small board-stuffing shop, went pretty well. Should hear by the end of the week. Very familiar, like going back to the days of soldering power supplies at AEP.

Which, yes, is both good and bad. Made me miss Jack a little, too.


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Documents made public yesterday indicate the Blethen family, the principal owner of The Seattle Times Co., has had the demise of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer as a goal since 1985.

Godammit. This is supposed to be a sweet little city where all is sunshine and light and lattes. Why the FUCK was I not informed into nefarious bullshit like this before I moved? Chief, Shieldsy, if you're there, pay attention to this one. Make sure that your students know that EVERYONE is a bastard, even the people who're supposed to be the good guys.


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Wrote this last night, found it in my documents file whilst working on my goddamned motherfucking resume. Had it filed as "Rain on one side, sun on the other":

There is the gentlest possible rain and sunlight to one side of the deck, and nothing but trees and wind to the other. Fucking Seattle. Is the kind of shit I can expect?

Pretty, though.

Ah, me.

It's making me laugh this morning, and it made Buttons smile, and if I can make Buttons smile at 9:30 a.m., then I can do any motherfucking thing on the planet.

Wish me luck.

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Buttons, by the way, smells like tea. I dunno how that sounds to you, but it's nice. She smells like tea steeping in a cup, warm and rich and subtle. It's a nice smell to curl up with, to fall asleep next to.

Just figured I'd mention it.

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Midnight blogging time. That silly Unwrapped show is on behind me, talking apple pie. Tell me, how can a show about candy, fast food and Poppin' Fresh collectibles, hosted by the guy from Double Dare be this compelling? The narration is both asinine AND bland, the subjects are fluff at best and there's something about minimum-wage workers in hairnets stirring corn syrup into giant rotating steel vats that makes me want to retch at the mere sight of a Milky Way bar. I have to admit, though, that it cracks me up whenever some front office stooge poses in front of a display of marshmallow fluff or Cracker Jacks and talks about production volumes of "the food product." Dunno why the hell that cracks me up, but it does.

Two job interviews tomorrow, one with Washpirg, the other with some electronics assembly house. *sigh* I know I need to do it, but dammit, I was hoping for something fun to come along, something I could ride for a while. C'est la vie, I suppose. Baby needs her steaks, Billyhank needs his beer, we both need a roof over our heads. Still, if anyone out there needs a writer (and there's some far-flung folk, according to Webstat...somebody from Denmark was reading this thing the other day), use the brasscity email addy and give me hope for better days.


I miss my youth. I wasn't doing anything good with it, but I liked having all those options.

Night, y'all.

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Monday, September 08, 2003

Great pic from rednova of Fabian preparing to eat Bermuda. I'm feeling pretty bad for the Bermudans, but man, wouldja lookit that?

God's just pissed, I'm thinking.

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This crazyass japanese page will fuck up your brain in a big old way. Unless your brain is already all fucked up, in which case this will probably cause a religious experience. Go, now. *GAH* Bad for perceiving reality, though.

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It's late. Not Billy late, but the new kinda Jet City late where the witching hour isn't so commonly seen and two o'clock in the morning is foreign ground. Buttons is all crashed out, sleep-innocent, wrapped around a pillow, dead center in the bed, leaving me just enough room to lay down when I decide enough is enough and toddle off to slumberland.

Just watched Rushmore again for the nth time and I'm still reeling a bit. The flick just flattens me. Dunno why. I laugh when I'm supposed to laugh and cry when I'm supposed to cry, but there's something else in it that just sneaks out and wraps around me, makes me wish for more. Not more of this world, really, but more inside myself, makes me wish for strength and sureity of action, of deliberate forward motion. I still feel like that belongs to someone else, that my movements are randomized, driven by base emotion more than rationale, that acceleration towards a goal is too deliberate for me, that I need something of earth-shattering nonsequitur to move to the next level.

Old idea hitting me fresh tonight. Travellers hitting the spacelanes, gathering the human story that's lost in the shuffle of the corporate and political. A thousand thousand smart, driven, curious people moving through the background and listening to barroom stories, to knitting circle anecdotes, to pulpit-thumping preachers screaming brimstone on agricultural planets, to stuttering junkies lost in the grime of metropolitan back alleys. I dunno that it's any kinda new story, but I find it comforting. A thousand thousand smart, curious people seeking a common thread that can be used to tie together the whole mess. Decent background. Now I just need a plot that could possibly matter.

Heh. Yeah, I'm sucha fucking writer.

I miss my kids a bit today. Talked to D this afternoon and I'm feeling detached. I can't say that the East Coast has ceased to matter, but I just don't have the verve on it anymore. It's there and I'm...well, shit, I dunno where the fuck I am. Not here, yet. I will be at some point, when there's a job and places to hang with and a slightly larger circle of pals, but right now I'm a still a traveller. I'm gathering info, hitting the high points. The reality of the place isn't here yet. I'm just floating.

No consequence, but I rode from 65th Street to the top of the Burke Gilman yesterday. Many miles, from here to Bothell. A beautiful day and I saw many folk on my ride, including a few idiots on recumbant bicycles. I don't suppose that it's right for me to dismiss folk just because of their bikes (the one Joe's lent me is green and black and stickered up like something for a teenager, which I haven't been in a decade and change), but it seems like the recumbant guys are always twice as geared up as anyone else. Special shoes, helmets, shorts, socks, shirts, etc. I rode in my ripped up Forced Reality tee and a pair of Old Navy painters shorts and I hit the pedals with my old blue Chuck Taylors. My pack is a UN rucksack that I don't even remember buying. I've got a fit-anyone helmet that Joe & A gave me and gel gloves that were the cheapest I could find that fit. I like the idea of bottom-feeder gear, so long as it does the job. The trappings take away from the honesty.

I'm rambling and out. Sorry it's been sporadic lately. Too much to do and too little to write about. Hang in, brothers and sisters. It'll get better.

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Thursday, September 04, 2003

Goddamn motherfucking sonuvabitch. Buttons lost her gig, thanks to a tiny little loser of a man who figured that it was easier to fire her than listen to her. Hatred, anger, frustration, etc. Hafta ride, soon. Who's in?

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Wednesday, September 03, 2003

For the six of you who've been checking in, there is now a contact address. Eyes left, spud. Sometime when I've sussed HTML a little bit, I'll make it clickable. For now, I'd be interested in finding out just who you few fine folk are.

Danke & out. Must meet Buttons for grocery shopping. We're out of eggs, fresh fish, veggie corn dogs and cookies of any stripe.


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Tuesday, September 02, 2003

*BAH* Lookin' fer jobs. Such a hateful deal, really. Nintendo's hiring testers, which might be a hoot. Ain't nobody looking for kids writin' 'bout nothin', which is kind of a shame, 'cause sometime's I think I do that real fine.

Y'know, I been around fer a while now. You'd think I'd have some kinda marketable skill, right?


Buttons is in the crap at work. I may have to go vengeance trailing soon. Who's in?

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