Saturday, November 29, 2003

Sinz and her crew were filming in the Palestine Hotel the morning it was bombed. Her cameraman captured footage of the attack, proof that it was the American military that fired on the hotel.

White was with NBC Correspondent David Bloom when he died of a blood clot on the way to Baghdad with the American army. Only a day later, White was trapped in a fierce battle to take the capital city.

Chater was one of the first journalists to go live when the bombs starting falling in Iraq. He covered the Iraqi side of the war and documented the human toll of the American invasion.

Dubbed the 'most dangerous man in Baghdad' by Iraqi officials, Burns remained in Baghdad to cover the war. Just before the Americans captured the city, five Iraqi officials showed up at his hotel room and accused him of espionage.

Roberts and his crew were towed through the battle for Nasaria by a 7 ton army turck with their Humvee broke down. "It was like a Disney ride through hell."

Graham was sitting in an internet cafe just outside the Ministry of Information in Baghdad when the 'shock and awe' campaign began. He took shelter inside a bathroom with several Iraqi secret service agents.

Curtis photographed one of the first American war causalities, Larry Brown, as he was rushed in from the field. It was a picture that scandalized the military.

Simpson was embedded with the American troops and was one of the first journalists in the race to seize Baghdad. He saw the many Iraqi causalities that were left behind in the countryside.

Ruth Fremson covered the northern front of the war in Iraq. When the city of Kirkuk fell, she photographed both the celebration and the carnage.

As Nakhoul watched the Americans take Baghdad from the 15th floor balcony of the Palestine hotel, a American tank fired a shell that ripped through her hotel room.

Hird covered the front lines of the war, as he traveled with an elite unit of Royal Marines.

William Branigin was nearby when the American military fired on a Land Rover trying to cross a checkpoint. Many innocent Iraqi civilians were killed in error.

Stories from the Iraq war that you probably haven't seen before, and aren't likely to see in the major media. Remember, kids, THE MEDIA LIES TO YOU TO PROTECT THE GOVERNMENT. Not always and not everyone, but most of them, most of the time. Think for yourself. Know what smells like shit and be prepared to sniff it out. Don't trust anyone who's got a vested interest in the status quo. All the old rules.

Okay, out for T-Day @ Buttons' dad's place. Have fun and I'll talk to you sometime tomorrow.

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ORANGE CITY, Fla. - (KRT) - When the siren rang at precisely 6 a.m. Friday to kick off the Wal-Mart Supercenter's five-hour "blitz" sale, Patricia VanLester was first in line to grab a $29 DVD player.

Her sister, 48-year-old Linda Ellzey, waited just four feet away with a shopping cart. But before VanLester, 41, could inch her way through the crowd with the prized Christmas gift for their mother she was knocked to the ground by a frenzy of shoppers.

"She got pushed down, and they walked over her like a herd of elephants," Ellzey said. "I told them: `Stop stepping on my sister! She's on the ground!'"

Before paramedics arrived, Ellzey said, VanLester did not recognize her and did not know where she was, nor did she remember what had happened after being flown to Halifax Medical Center in Daytona Beach.

Sad & pointless. And the really pathetic part is that the $29.00 DVD player she just about died for is normally $39.00. How much pain and damage do you have to withstand for the sake of ten bucks?

This is here 'cause it's Wal-Mart, and I'm blaming their blanket commercial saturation for this one. Wal-Mart likes to claim the highest sales $$ for the past couple Thanksgivings, and probably will this year as well. And people are getting trampled for it.

Yeah, I realize this is just one person in one store, but how many other incidents like this have you heard? Wal-Mart has actually caused a shopping frenzy here, people so mad for cheap consumer goods that they're willing to kick someone half to death. So I guess the question is whether that makes W-M the bad guys for instigating the frenzy, or if they're the bad guys for appealing to the worst in human nature.

'Cause, really, no matter what, they're the bad guys.

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Thursday, November 27, 2003

Just a quickie, 'cause my crab artichoke heart dip is in the oven and I haven't got long.

A.) A big fuck you to FARK for giving the "Bush visits Iraq" story a HERO plug. Drew, smell naked campaigning when it smacks you in the face. Jr. spent millions of your tax dollars to fly in long enough to make some remarks and get a thousand photos taken before hauling ass out of there, exactly as he did when he landed on an aircraft carrier to get pictures of himself in a flight suit. And, really, he snuck in and snuck out, so please don't tell me about him being in personal danger. Tell the 125,000 troops getting shot at every day that Jr. was a hero for taking the "same" risk as them. It's shit, and it surprises me that such an otherwise cynical guy has swallowed it hook & line.

B.) An even bigger fuck you to Congress for passing that travesty of a Medicare bill. It's only "reform" if "reform" can be considered the same thing as "demolition." The really sad part is that the whole fucking country knew about it, yet the legislation still went through.

Please, somebody put a brick through Tom DeLay's abdomen, okay? I'm very goddamned tired of this shit.

Happy motherfucking Thanksgiving.

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Sunday, November 23, 2003

And just so long as he's blowing the US taxpayers $$, why not ask the Brits to toss out a few bucks as well-

THE Queen is furious with President George W. Bush after his state visit caused thousands of pounds of damage to her gardens at Buckingham Palace.

Royal officials are now in touch with the Queen's insurers and Prime Minister Tony Blair to find out who will pick up the massive repair bill. Palace staff said they had never seen the Queen so angry as when she saw how her perfectly-mantained lawns had been churned up after being turned into helipads with three giant H landing markings for the Bush visit.

The rotors of the President's Marine Force One helicopter and two support Black Hawks damaged trees and shrubs that had survived since Queen Victoria's reign.

And Bush's army of clod-hopping security service men trampled more precious and exotic plants.

The Queen's own flock of flamingoes, which security staff insisted should be moved in case they flew into the helicopter rotors, are thought to be so traumatised after being taken to a "place of safety" that they might never return home.

Jr isn't really making any pals overseas, is he?

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It was billed as a quiet pub lunch in the English countryside: a chance for President George Bush to mix with ordinary folk, sample traditional fish and chips and enjoy a kitchen-table chat at the constituency home of his friend and ally, Tony Blair.

The political fiction was always going to be hard to maintain, but even by the standards of the President of the United States of America - and a Texan at that - Friday's visit to Sedgefield was quite a performance.

Two jumbo jets, two liveried presidential helicopters, four more US Navy helicopters, a motorcade of limousines, 200 US secret service agents and 1300 English police were required to unite Mr Bush safely with his fish and mushy peas. Total cost? £1 million ($2.3 million).

Asshole, asshole, asshole. Still the rich kid, not having any real idea of monetary reality, figuring that $2 million is well worth a photo op.

Seriously, does he think that none of us are paying attention?

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Saturday, November 22, 2003

TBILISI (Reuters) - Opposition supporters have broken down the door of Georgia's parliament building and entered the chamber where President Eduard Shevardnadze was giving a speech, according to live television.

Television pictures showed chaotic scenes inside the parliament on Saturday as scores of opposition supporters surged into the chamber, waving red and white flags and taking to the podium with microphones.

Shevardnadze was quickly hustled away by his bodyguards. He had been due to address the inaugural session of the new parliament.

The shit is starting to get very thick in the world. Not that the former Soviet states weren't pretty volitile to begin with, but it doesn't seem to be getting any better, does it?

Maybe they shoulda left the czar alone.

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TACOMA - I'm guessing he was out of plastic wrap.

Police are looking for a man who robbed a Wells Fargo Bank in the 5200 block of Pacific Avenue in Tacoma Wednesday afternoon.

Pierce County Sheriff's Spokesman Ed Troyer says the suspect entered the bank around 3:10 wearing a dish towel around his head and handed a note demanding cash. The man then left on foot and fled in to the south.

Now, most bank robbers try to disguise themselves. It's just that in most cases, they use something that actually covers their face. This one had a small dish towel wrapped around his head that basically concealed his forehead -- and nothing else.

Not posted 'cause of the stupidity, but 'cause it's local flavor, and the local flavor has a...unique taste.

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Friday, November 21, 2003

Hee hee hee...

Okay, The Onion is slightly redeemed.

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Oh, fer fuck's sake...

Okay, so I guess this is how a multinational retailer that suddenly finds itself involved in a front-page debacle with its workers diverts attention...by exploiting more of their workers.

Trust me, W-M's got no problems with some of their inbred cashiers flashing and spreading for Playboy. Seriously, if they did, the lawsuits and corporate killings would have flashed out well before the general public got wind of it. Fuckers. Bastards. Assholes.

Right, okay, I'm not putting up a link, but I grabbed this from the front page of THE ONION, which should have better sense than to accept this kind of crap. ESPECIALLY when the lead story involves DeLay passing a white-collar minimum wage. Goddammit, can't I trust anything these days?

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Just to get yer motor revvin' on a Friday morn. Have a fun one, kids.

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Thursday, November 20, 2003

Tourists or simply curious citizens can soon journey into the bowels of Norway's capital. Oslo's department of water and sanitation are planning an adventure center under Frognerparken in response to insistent demand to tour the city's nether regions.

"We have noted great interest in tours of the sewers. Architecture students and school classes have visited (the sewers). People have arranged their stag parties and other celebrations in our underground areas. We have also had a theater performance here and a request to hold a wedding," the department's function leader Svein Hole said.

Until now events were only held on private initiative, but now the department believes they have a market demand to meet. The plan is to turn the city's largest pump station at Frogner Park into a public attraction - a sewer safari park - in about a year's time.

C'mon, tell me you don't want to take the ride...

And in kinda related news-

Three Oslo teenagers have been on a secret private visit to pop idol Michael Jackson at his pleasure park Neverland Ranch in California. After police raided Neverland Tuesday morning with a warrant for Jackson's arrest on suspicion of sexually assaulting a young boy worries have run high in Oslo, newspaper VG reports.

One of the mothers said she was waiting to hear from her son, and was considering calling Norway's Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Two youths were invited along to California by Jackson's Norwegian-Pakistani friend Omer Bhatti, 19.

Bhatti, from Oslo's Holmlia district, became a celebrity of sorts after Jackson discovered him in 1996. Bhatti was standing outside Jackson's hotel in Tunis dressed like Jackson and bearing a red rose in his hand.

Okay, only sorta related. Both from Oslo.

BUT, seriously, what kind of parents would let their 12-year-old son meet up with The King of Pop bearing a red rose? The kind of parents who've been planning a big, fat civil lawsuit against a very wealthy man, that's what kind.

'Cause, seriously, when there's been a law passed that prevents the wealthy from buying their way out of heinous crimes, and it was passed BECAUSE of The King of Pop, that's really not the kind of man that you want to offer up your child to, is it?

Read on, children-

LOS ANGELES Nov. 20 — The prosecutor in the Michael Jackson case praised a law that can halt civil lawsuits during related criminal cases, saying it would prevent a scenario where the singer's accuser accepted a settlement and then refused to testify in the criminal trial.

The state law was passed because another child backed out of a 1993 molestation case against Jackson after the singer reportedly paid him a multimillion settlement, Santa Barbara District Attorney Tom Sneddon said.

"It is an irony. The history of the law is that the L.A. district attorney's office carried the legislation as a direct result of the civil settlement in the first investigation," Sneddon told The Associated Press in an interview.

Sneddon had baffled legal experts Wednesday when he seemed to imply at a nationally televised news conference that the new law lets prosecutors force minors to testify.

"The law in California at that time provided that a child victim could not be forced to testify in a child molest proceeding without their permission and consent and cooperation," Sneddon had said. "As a result of the (first) Michael Jackson case, the Legislature changed that law, and that is no longer the law in California."

And, of course, here's the latest glam shot of the one-fisted wonder-

Ye Gods & little fishies. He looks like Joan Rivers.

Bah. Out for booze. Talk to you later.

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BERLIN (Reuters) - Almost two weeks ago, 12 young Russians arrived in Berlin, without money, food or any idea where they were. In under three months, one will have won $1,000 dollars a month for the rest of his or her life.

The six men and six women aged between 20 and 28 are competing for the prize in a new Russian TV show called "Golod" or "Hunger" where contestants are deposited in a container in an unknown city and forced to find their own food and money.

After the first three weeks, the audience votes to eliminate one person every week until just the winner remains, having in the words of the show's website -- www.golodtnt.ru -- survived for one hundred days without food or money.

Interesting. I'd kinda like to see this one. Anybody know how to get hold of a tape?

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Wednesday, November 19, 2003

A mobile phone campaign to disrupt photo opportunities set up during the US President's visit to Britain has been set up by protestors.

The organisers, Chasing Bush, have put up thousands of leaflets encouraging people to use camera phones and text messaging to pinpoint Mr Bush's whereabouts during his visit. These will then be posted on the group's website.

The intention is to mobilise people to disrupt publicity shots by gatecrashing photographs and other stage-managed media operations.

"We are trying to spoil the PR, so we are not doing anything directly, but encouraging people to protest by turning their backs in press photos so they can't be used," campaign co-organiser Mr Richard Wild explained.

Remember real protests? Thrown rocks and tear gas and an actual chance at change? I'm glad that people are not just accepting Jr's naked PR campaign, but what happened to having a voice? When did we become so fearful? When did we become so pathetic?

Buncha pansies, really.

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20th Century Fox is considering a plan to resume production of Family Guy, a sometimes crude animated comedy that the Fox network took off the air more than 18 months ago.

As many as 35 new episodes could return in January 2005, marking the first time that a canceled series has been revived based on strong DVD demand and ratings in syndication.

Fox Television Entertainment Group chairman Sandy Grushow said a decision is expected soon and called the series a late-blooming phenomenon that may have aired before its time.

A DVD set of the show's first 28 episodes released in April has sold nearly 1 million copies, making it this year's top-selling TV show and the No. 4 television title ever. A second collection, of 22 episodes, has sold 520,000 copies. And the series is Cartoon Network's most popular among adults.

Gotta admit, I'm pretty happy about the idea of Family Guy coming back. When it first hit, I figured it for a lame, LAME, Simpsons rip, but it's a show that's distinguished itself as a hotbed of the surrealistic and downright disturbing. Imagine Stewie, just a wee matricidal infant, waking up from a nap, finding a nipple in his face and starting to suck, slowly realizing that it's not his mother's nipple, but his father's.

Ye Gods.

Yeah, so, good show, Seth McFarlane should probably be kept far, far away from children and pregnant women, and Fox might have me on the hook for yet one more cartoon.


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Monday, November 17, 2003

CLEVELAND (AP) -- The city's public housing agency is trying to resolve a lengthy dispute by accommodating the needs of a 772-pound tenant immobilized by her weight.

Carmen Bowen, 44, has been involved in a two-year dispute with the Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority over how much work must be done to help her move around her apartment.

The agency is about to provide her with a handicapped-accessible apartment with extra space to allow an oversized wheelchair to turn. Bowen lives with her 19-year-old son and a caregiver.

Still, Bowen filed a discrimination complaint, saying the agency took too long. Housing officials responded that the agency went well beyond what federal disability law requires at a cost of about $15,000.

Dude, to have the sheer chutzpah to file a fucking complaint that the feds aren't moving fast to accomodate your fat ass, your 772 lb fat ass...

Goddamn, man. I don't have words for that. Shoot the pathetic wretch and let her soul start over. Ye gods and little fishies.

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A detective responsible for investigating race-hate crime, who was exposed by the Telegraph as being married to a British National Party member and living in a shrine to Hitler, has resigned from her post.

Dc Linda Daniels, who worked for the community safety unit in Notting Hill, west London, lives in a house in Essex festooned with Nazi regalia and has a dummy in an SS uniform in her hallway.

The couple's dog is named Blondi after Hitler's pet alsatian and they used to keep a bust of the dictator next to a picture of Dc Daniels in police uniform. Her husband of 10 years, Keith Beaumont, is a member of the far-Right BNP and believes that the facts of the Holocaust have been "exaggerated".

Community safety units were set up after the inquiry into the racist murder of Stephen Lawrence to inquire into "hate crimes", including "racist crime, domestic violence, homophobic crime and hate mail". Dc Daniels is understood to have worked for the unit for at least two years.

Well, shit.

But, y'know, perfect character in a story, really. Such an intrigue. Think about it; the perfect position to make sure the crimes, that you see as advancement for your cause, are never really stopped or even seriously investigated.

Fucking Nazis.

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NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - A U.S. government plan to create a market allowing traders to bet on the likelihood of terror attacks and other events in the Middle East has been revived by the private firm that helped develop it.

The market, called the Policy Analysis Market (PAM), will allow traders to buy and sell contracts on political and economic events in the Middle East, including assassinations, the overthrow of regimes and terrorist attacks. The market is scheduled to start trading next spring.

It originally was developed and funded with the assistance of the Defense Department, where officials cited the uncanny ability of other futures markets to predict election results, weather patterns and other complex events.

Heated public criticism forced the Pentagon to end its association with the project, but its Web site, which was idle for several months, now has an announcement saying it will be open for business in March 2004.

Nothing really to say. Nice to see that the military-industrial complex has managed to make the world into just one more video game.

Still waiting for GTA IV, myself.

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Doctors have scanned the spine of a stage contortionist in a bid to work out why she is so flexible.
The results suggest both genes and intensive training enable the unusual body movements of such performers.

The researchers, led by Dr Richard Wiseman, found no evidence of deformed bone structures that might contribute - simply extra-stretchy ligaments.

The findings are being presented to mark the launch of the Dana Centre, a new public venue at London's Science Museum this week.

Contortionist Delia agreed to take part in the study and be scanned performing some impossible-looking manoeuvres whilst inside an MRI scanner.

This allowed doctors a clear view of her spine "in extremis" - allowing them to spot any differences between her and the average human.

Ow, OW, OW!

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HealthDayNews -- Having a sweet tooth precedes alcoholism and may serve as a marker for the genetic risk for developing the disease.

That's the sobering conclusion of a study in the November issue of Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.

"Previous research has established that in mammals such as mice, rats and monkeys, the preference for and consumption of sweet fluids are strongly correlated with voluntary alcohol intake," study author Alexei B. Kampov-Polevoy, an assistant professor of psychiatry at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, says in a prepared statement.

Well, shit. This explains the love of both chocolate & beer. Just motherfucking lovely.

And sorry for the lack of updates lately. All six of you will be happy to know that the apartment is now fully painted (green living room, mustard hallway, red kitchen and terra cotta bedroom), and so less of my time will be taken up by the real & tangible, allowing more time to post the unreal and almost wholly trivial.

Yup. This is my life.

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Thursday, November 13, 2003

Hey kids-

Okay, I promised some real words, so here they are. This thing I was working on the other night, a short excerpt. First draft, no editing, haven't even looked at it yet. Feel free to comment, if you so desire.

Sheik Europa’s sitting on the barstool next to me and watching me write in my little black journal and he keeps feeding me ideas and they all suck.
“Dude,” he says, lifting a glass of something that’s blue and swirls around, even though he’s not shaking his hand, “you need a fight scene here. I can feel it.” He sips from the glass and tilts his head back and the lights that hover around the bar’s ceiling reflect back in the mirrored lenses of his shades. “A fight scene,” the blue whatever gurgling around in the back of his throat, “or a love scene. Just a kiss or a shove would do it.”
“Something subtle like that, huh?”
“Yeah, yeah.” He nods by sawing his chin back and forth through the air, like he’s trying to ring a doorbell with it. His nods use everything from mid-spine to the crown of his head. It’s more like a full-body jerk of exultation than a simple non-verbal affirmation.
There’s no way he’d like that last line.
“A girl. Or a bad guy. Either way, you’ve got desire, right? And desire is what?”
Desire is the meat of the story. Sheik Europa Lesson #1.
If you believe him, the Sheik is the one responsible for Baywatch. Not the heroic-lifeguards-having-drama-on-the-beach part, which could have come from anywhere, but the slow-motion-running, silicone-injected, Playboy-Bunny-meets-Calvin-Klein-model part of Baywatch.
Also, he’s responsible for the American fascination for feng shui. Probably also for the almost complete confusion as to the point of feng shui for most Americans caught up in the fascination.
Also, for one of the asteroid movies that hit a while back, but not the big one with Bruce Willis. The other one, with Morgan Freeman as the President. And he claims that he came up with Die Hard. “Man, I knew that was gonna just kick some ass. Had Bruce in mind the whole time. ‘Yippee-kayo, motherfucker.’ All me, Lar.”
I don’t argue, ‘cause he’s probably telling the truth. Nobody seems to lie around here. What would the point be?
I don’t blame the Sheik for feeding me shitty ideas (“Larry, listen, cyborgs, right? But not just cyborgs, a cyborg love story. They’ll just eat it up.” “What about Blade Runner? That was all cyborgs and love.” “Yeah, but that was like twenty years ago. Who remembers?”), ‘cause that’s what he does.
But I hate it when he feeds ‘em to me while I’m trying to write this down.

Anyway, it is what it is. Enjoy or move on. Roy Moore got bounced from the bench and the Senate hosted a slumber party to argue over Jr's judicial appointees, so there's hellarad more important crap going on in the world today than my little stuff.


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Tuesday, November 11, 2003

New Orleans -- Less than a month after a widely heralded experiment showed how thought-reading implants can work in monkeys, scientists presented new findings Sunday suggesting such machines could work in people, too.

Dr. Miguel A.L. Nicolelis of Duke University said previously unreported human experiments demonstrated success with one type of a so-called brain computer interface, or BCI.

He and others discussed their latest findings Sunday at the annual meeting in New Orleans of the Society for Neuroscience, the world's largest gathering of brain researchers. About 28,000 people are attending the weeklong event.

Much of the attention on Sunday was given to technology designed to overcome paralyzing injuries or illnesses afflicting the nervous system. About 11,000 new cases arise every year, adding to a total estimated at more than 200,000.

Nicolelis said the new study had been done in a few Parkinson's disease patients while they were undergoing open-skull neurosurgery for their disease.

Dudes, I am this close to never having to actually write out another story so long as I live...

Actually, kinda bizzare 'cause me and MikE! were just talking about this kinda thing tonight.

MikE!...you fucking with my head, brother?

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Saturday night at Bonzai in Pioneer Square, a nearly naked woman is laid out on a table. A chef slices sushi behind her, to be arrayed on her torso, bare except for a sheath of plastic wrap and some decorative flower petals.

Chopsticks at the ready, patrons line up.

Hours earlier, across town on the campus of the University of Washington, eight activists, mostly Asian-American women, express outrage at what they call the prostitution of sushi and the exploitation of women. They plot their strategy.

Welcome to a clash of values — Seattle style.

'Course, the west coast has some funky crap going down, too.

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A shoulder-fired missile from Iraq was turned over to police in Brooklyn Monday morning.

A concerned passer-by saw some children playing with the launcher – which did not contain a missile – and took it to the 62nd Precinct station house in Gravesend. The NYPD Bomb Squad was called, and determined the launcher was inoperable and did not present a danger, because once it is used, it cannot be reloaded and used again.

Police say an American soldier brought the weapon back from the war in Iraq and gave it to a friend, who ended up throwing it away. The children found it in the trash, police say.

Y'know all the stuff I keep saying about the east coast having this weird-ass, whacked-out energy?

Yeah, this is the kinda stuff I'm talking about.

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Lawyers filed a class-action suit against Wal-Mart yesterday in New Jersey, saying it violated federal racketeering laws by conspiring with cleaning contractors to cheat immigrant janitors out of wages.

The suit, in Federal District Court in Newark, seeks to represent thousands of workers who washed and waxed floors nightly in Wal-Mart department stores. It says the company and its contractors violated RICO, the Racketeering Influenced Corrupt Organizations Act, by conspiring not to pay the workers overtime. The suit says the cleaners at hundreds of stores generally earned $325 to $500 for working seven nights a week, usually for 56 hours or more each week.

The case was filed 18 days after federal agents raided 60 stores in 21 states to round up 250 janitors described as illegal immigrants. Last week, executives at Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer, acknowledged that federal prosecutors had sent a target letter saying the company faced a grand jury investigation over the immigrants.

"This case is about the most powerful and richest company in the world taking obscene advantage of the poorest and most vulnerable people in the world," said a lawyer filing the suit yesterday, James L. Linsey.

Let's be honest; this isn't the one that takes down the evil empire. They've got too many lawyers and the public has too short a memory for this thing to have legs, despite the best efforts of fine rags like The Times. But I have to admit feeling some small satisfaction that W-M's facade is getting broken down bit by bit. Maybe by the time I'm ready to kick up my heels and scramble into the great beyond, they'll be done with.

Suddenly, I am blessed with the image of my hands locked around the collective neck of Wal-Mart's B of D, tumbling all of us into a nice, deep grave.

It's a bit late. You'll have to excuse me.

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Monday, November 10, 2003

Hey kids. Sorry I've been out of touch. It happens.

Been writing something about being dead. I'll post some of it if it's working out okay. Stay tuned, kidlins.

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Friday, November 07, 2003

Happy birthday to me, happy birthday to me, happy birthday to Billyhank, happy birthday to me.

Welcome to my 33rd, y'all. This'll probably be it for the day, as I'm planning on getting destroyed starting around 6:00. Come on by if you're in the neighborhood.

Barring that, have a fun one, kids.

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Thursday, November 06, 2003

BOSTON -- Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology will present a new invention Monday that helps people improve their memory without doing anything.

Most people wear glasses to see better, but a new pair developed by MIT scientist is a bit more high-tech.

...Whatever you need to remember is programmed into a tiny computer that you wear. The computer sends messages in the form of light to a mini TV screen on the glasses. The messages -- like someone's name, or a word like keys or medicine -- flash before your eyes at 180th of a second. It's too fast for the eyes to notice, but not the brain.

Dude, think about how much you could fuck with someone if you hacked their database? Speaking of which, what about the concept of a getting a virus in your implanted computer? When all the tech gear you've got jumpered into your central nervous system gets all skritchy and you've got to find a doctor who can pump you full of anitbiotics and reboot your onboard OS?


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Gun that shoots around corners. Developed by, who else, the Israelies and the United States. The perfect thing for urban warfare, wouldn't you say? Like, for those times when you're going into someone's home city (say Gaza City or Baghdad) to, y'know, liberate it or peacefully go charging in to look for 'terrorists' and for some reason the locals kick up a fuss about it. Congress is spending $89 million on it.

Honestly, I can think of better ways to spend $89 million. Can you?

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LANGLEY, Virginia - The United States Central Intelligence Agency once built a mechanical dragonfly to carry a listening device but found small gusts of wind knocked it off course so it was never used in a spy operation.

The agency also tested a 600mm-long rubber robot catfish named Charlie capable of swimming inconspicuously among other fish and whose mission remains secret.

Charlie and the dragonfly were among spy gadgets displayed at CIA headquarters in an exhibit to mark the 40th anniversary of the directorate of science and technology. It is not open to the public.

"Charlie's mission is still classified, we can't talk about it," Toni Hiley, curator of the CIA museum, told Reuters on a tour of the exhibit. "All we can say is he's our work on aquatic robotic technologies."

Completely fascinating article that proves, if nothing else, that the CIA is at least partially an excuse for secret government people to make fun toys and play with them all day long.

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Next week sees the launch of the so-called "Miss Digital World" competition - a chance for designers and programmers to win a virtual beauty contest by sending their computer-generated e-Babes down the online catwalk.

Franz Cerami is the man with the plan and the artistic vision: "Every age has its ideal of beauty, and every age produces its visual incarnation of that ideal from the Venus de Milo in ancient Greece to Marilyn Monroe in the 1960s. Miss Digital World is the search for a contemporary ideal of beauty, seen through virtual reality," he expounds.

Yup, typical bloke's flim-flam for what is little more than a chance for hormonally-charged geeks to give flesh to their masturbatory fantasies. Mercifully, the organisers have some moral and ethical framework propping up this nonsense: "They [contestants] should not have taken part - not even as extras or cameos - in pornographic films, shows or plays nor have made statements...in any way out of tune with the moral spirit of the competition."

Okay, as a guy who's spent a ton of time online and can't really claim to be immune to the charms of the unreal, I've gotta say that this is just fucking pathetic. Truly. On par with Star-Wars-Wedding people and forty-year-old virgins who spent their nights learning conversational Klingon. Enough, kids. Go outside once in a while. Look at the sky, talk to a normal human being without the go-between of an IM screen. Have done with this pathetic attempt to live entirely inside your little boxes of silicon and solder. Get over and get out.

*GAH* What a fucking planet.

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Wednesday, November 05, 2003

The FBI used the USA Patriot Act to obtain financial information about key figures in its ongoing political corruption probe centered on strip club magnate Michael Galardi, federal authorities confirmed Monday.

Investigators "used a section of the Patriot Act to get subpoenas for financial documents," said Special Agent Jim Stern, a spokesman for the Las Vegas field office of the FBI. "It was used appropriately by the FBI and was clearly within the legal parameters of the statute."

...The Patriot Act, passed in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, was originally trumpeted by the government as a powerful tool that would assist federal law enforcement officials in combating and preventing terrorism.

But the Bush administration has increasingly attracted criticism from civil libertarians for employing the wide-ranging act to crack down on everything from drug traffickers to child pornographers.

The provision used to obtain the information in the Galardi investigation is Section 314, sources said.

That section allows federal investigators to obtain information from any financial institution regarding the accounts of people suspected of being terrorists or laundering money.

Malone's attorney said it is an outrage that the FBI is using anti-terrorism measures in an effort to gather information on his client.

"The Patriot Act was designed and was sold to the American people as being necessary to combat terrorism. It clearly was not intended for this," Las Vegas attorney Dominic Gentile said. "I'm confident that the citizens of the United States are on my side on this one."

What do you call it when your government gleefully perverts its own laws to go attacking everybody in sight? I could say bullshit or hypocrisy but that seems to avoid the real problem, which is the constant and pervasive perversion of power enacted by the Bush administration and its departments.

I find it interesting that Bush calls himself a Conservative, but is going out of his way to spend more of the U.S.'s cash than pretty much any other president has and is pushing for laws that make it even easier to pin crimes on its citizens. Isn't the whole Conservative deal about less government and more personal responsibility?

This is too obvious to beat on, so I'm moving forward, only to say that anybody who's backing Bush because of blind nationalism or, unbelievably, because of some faith in the man himself, needs to think very carefully about their opinion of democracy, and whether or not they're cool with theirs being dismantled all around them.

BTW, just watched PHONE BOOTH. Don't bother. Bullshit ending and Forrest Whittaker was just fucking awful.

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A JAPANESE company has invented the world's first wristwatch phone which works by transforming the user's finger into an earpiece, New Scientist says in it's next issue, due out on Saturday.

The prototype gadget, Finger Whisper, consists of a wristband that converts digital signals into vibrations that are transmitted into the bones of the hand.

The user puts his finger into his ear for the vibrations to be picked up by the eardrum, which then transcribes them back into sound signals for the brain.

To respond, the user simply speaks into a microphone on the wristband.

By touching forefinger to thumb, the user starts or ends a call, and the device uses voice recognition technology to dial the number. There is no keypad.

Japanese telecommunications giant NTT DoCoMo is developing the idea, which is the brainchild of a research engineer, Masaaki Fukumoto

Which, of course, puts us nicely along the path to having a phone planted directly in your skull. Which means that your pals can call you at three in the morning and ring-a-ding your motherfucking brain.

The future kicks ass.

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If Guy Fawkes had succeeded with his gunpowder plot he would have devastated much of London as well as blowing the palace of Westminster sky-high.

Experts at the University of Wales in Aberystwyth have worked out for the first time the true extent of the damage Guy Fawkes would have caused if his daring deed had not been foiled on November 5, 1605.

Physicists from the university's Centre for Explosion Studies found that the amount of gunpowder Guy Fawkes packed into the cellar beneath the corridors of power would have been enough not only to destroy Westminster Hall and the Abbey but to cause substantial structural damage to many other buildings.

Remember, remember the fifth of November...

Nothin' like an anarchist, right?

You should read V for Vendetta if you haven't already. S'all I got to say.

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FRANKLIN — Police Chief Jackie Moore said Franklin officers should discontinue the practice of issuing citations to people who flash their headlights to warn other motorists about a speed trap.

Moore's decision came yesterday shortly after a Williamson County judge dismissed the city of Franklin's case against a man who flashed a warning and was charged and found guilty of interfering with a police officer's performance of duty. He appealed.

Judge Russ Heldman dismissed the city's ruling that Harlie ''Bill'' Walker, 75, violated a Franklin ordinance Aug. 14, when he flashed his lights at oncoming traffic to let drivers know there was a police car ahead.

''It's my constitutional right to blink my lights, and the city of Franklin overturned that right,'' Walker said. ''I'm overjoyed this (hearing) ended in my favor.''

Two things I love about this: 1.) More revenue-building, speed-trap bullshit (ala Rome, Ohio) has been kiboshed, at least slightly, and 2.) the guy who did it, got ticketed for it and got off is 75 years old. Man, that just gives me some warm fuzzies about growing up, y'know?

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What makes "Revolutions" destructive instead of merely stupid is the way it repeatedly violates the series' internal logic. For instance:

Even though "Revolutions" takes place only in the span of a few hours immediately following "Reloaded," some of our characters have taken, quite suddenly, to using informal nicknames with one another, such as "Merv" and "Trin."

In "The Matrix" we were told that agents must obey the physical laws inherent in the matrix. Morpheus says, "Men have emptied entire clips at them and hit nothing but air, yet their strength and their speed are still based in a world that is built on rules. Because of that, they will never be as strong or as fast as you can be." Not anymore. In "Revolutions," Agent Smith can do everything Neo can.

In "Revolutions" we meet computer programs who feel love and appreciate karma, but later we're assured that machines always keep their word, since betrayal is a human trait.

Neo survives being driven into concrete so forcefully that he creates a 30-foot crater. (The wonderful site Insultingly Stupid Movie Physics will have a field day with "Revolutions.") Yet what finally fells him is a punch to the gut. There may still be some rules in the matrix governing Neo, but they appear and disappear arbitrarily.

When confronted with a single sentinel in "The Matrix," a frightened Trinity tells Neo that the electromagnetic pulse is mankind's only weapon against these devilish devices. In "Revolutions," simple machine guns prove quite effective and all ships seem to be equipped with them. Is this a small inconsistency? Yes, except that it makes the tension of the closing minutes in "The Matrix" a complete contrivance.

The same can be said for the process of jacking in and out of the matrix. In the first movie, much of the drama concerns finding safe lines to jump into and out of the matrix. This process has become such an afterthought in "Revolutions" that jacking in is done smoothly, quickly, and always off-screen.

The Daily Standard's review of the new one. Mostly up here to convince me to not waste my fucking time, especially when there's good movies I haven't bothered to see yet.


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The Voyager 1 spacecraft, the most distant human-made object, has reached the end — or perhaps just the beginning of the end — of our solar system, scientists argue in two new studies.

As of Wednesday, 26 years after its launch, NASA (news - web sites)'s Voyager 1 was 8.4 billion miles from the sun. That's 90 times the distance separating the Earth from our star.

As the robotic spacecraft continues to push far beyond the reach of the nine planets, two teams of scientists disagree whether it passed into the uncharted region of space where the sun's sphere of influence begins to wane.

The sun sends out a stream of highly charged particles, called the solar wind, that carves out a vast bubble around the solar system.

Beyond the bubble's ever-shifting boundary, called the termination shock, lies a region where particles cast off by dying stars begin to hold sway.

That region, called the heliopause, marks the beginning of interstellar space and the end of our solar system. Whether Voyager 1 reached that mark or is still on approach remains unclear, with scientists providing evidence for both claims. Details appear Thursday in the journal Nature.


How soon 'fore the aliens get ahold of it and begin to worship it as some sort of big, blinking diety?

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SEATTLE (Reuters) - A truck painter pleaded guilty on Wednesday to strangling 48 drug addicts and prostitutes to death -- in a killing spree known as the Green River murders -- and said in a confession, "I killed so many women I have a hard time keeping them straight."

Gary Leon Ridgway, 54, said in a confession read by a prosecutor in open court that he murdered the women because he hated prostitutes and knew that they would not be missed. As details of his grisly crimes unfolded, relatives of the victims wept in court and the owlish-looking Ridgway showed no emotion.

Ridgway, who some law enforcement officials believe may have killed more than 100 women, pleaded guilty in return for prosecutors' agreement to spare his life.

Ridgway's confession included details of how he gained his victims' confidence by showing them pictures of his son, had sex with them and then took pleasure in strangling them from behind, often in his house or truck.

Before disposing of the bodies, he had sex with them again, often over several days, according to court documents.

I don't think this one needs a whole hella bunch of commentary, except to ask what the hell is a truck painter?

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Monday, November 03, 2003

Screamin' Al started a DEACONS website here. You should go 'cause there's pics of Richie looking all hairy and tattooed and kinda nerved. Some mp3's and shit, too, but mostly there's those pics of Richie.

Really, that's just about the best reason I can think of to go just about anywhere.

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I've decided that I believe in Jesus, but only because I'm hoping for a fucking explanation or, at the very least, a chance to get some licks in 'fore I get my ass kicked.

I believe in love, because I wouldn't be sitting here right now if it weren't for love, and you have to believe in things that put your ass in one place or another.

I believe in belief, because if we didn't believe in some goddamned thing then we'd end up believing in some other goddamned thing and since you've gotta believe in something, you may as well go straight to the heart of things.

I believe that a picture will never have the strength of words or music, and I believe that I will continue, throughout my life, to find words and music that will make me want to believe in more than I already do.

I believe that there is a master architect of some stripe and that his day is made by fucking with our hearts and our minds. I also tend to believe that this is essentially okay, so long as there's an ultimate point.

I believe that sitting and thinking is as worthy an activity as skiing, kayaking, bowling, drinking, dancing, singing, fucking, laughing, writing, painting, working, sleeping, eating, driving, skydiving, playing piano, reading a good book or making a kickass stew.

I believe that the only justice comes in not fucking with people who're weaker than you just 'cause they're weaker than you. That said, I believe there is some justice in fucking with people who're stronger than you just to keep them on their goddamned toes.

I believe that Buttons' eyes are the truest, deepest, most astounding blue I've ever seen.

I believe that creation divorces you from destruction, and that destruction can't help but make you desire creation.

I believe that riding on the bus can -- with the right music, frame of mind, and time of day -- allow such insight into humanity that it screws up your soul a little bit.

I believe in pals, family and chasing after the tenuous.

I believe there's a purpose, and Christ I hope I figure it out.

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