Archive for October, 2005


I’m probably way late to the party with these, but I have a few quick observations from WaPo’s article about the Democrats demanding Rove’s head:

1) The intriguing inference (if I’m reading it correctly) that Fitzgerald let Libby off the hook about the actual leakage as the result of a plea agreement, and not because he didn’t think he could prove it. Or perhaps he’s leaving the “big” charge out there to hold over Libby’s head as additional incentive to testify against Rove or Cheney. As if a max of 30 years isn’t enough. On the other hand, “traitor” is a hard word to live down.

2) How weird is it that Trent (Vote For Strom!) Lott is trying to be the conscience of the Republican party? When Trent Lott is your party’s moral compass, it’s a pretty safe bet that you’re deep in the wilderness and very, very lost.

3) The longer and tighter Bush clings to Rove’s rotting political corpse, the better. Let the stink of corruption & death get rubbed all over him real real good.

October 31st, 2005 at 08:45pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Cheney,Libby/Plame,Politics,Republicans,Rove

The Story I Look Forward To Reading

That would be the one where all the Republican congressional candidates facing tight races in 2006 tell President Bush “Thanks, but no thanks” and ask him not to campaign for them.


1 comment October 31st, 2005 at 08:03pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Elections,Politics,Republicans

Monday MP3 Blogging

Today’s selection is another one of those bizarre homemade things someone found in a thrift store.

On one level it’s kind of poignant, as you can imagine the dad making this tape to comfort his kid whose dog just ran away (“It’s okay, son, we’ll make this tape, and maybe Ben will hear it and come back to us!”), but I have to say that capping it off by actually singing the theme from Willard just puts it over the top and into The Land Of The Weirdos. Did I mention that the discoverer of the tape describes the dad as “an outer space version of Jim Nabors”?

Once again, all credit and wonderment to

October 31st, 2005 at 07:13pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Monday Media Blogging

I Really Need Control Of The Remote Now…

Egad, this is creepy…

Prepare to be remotely controlled. I was.

Just imagine being rendered the rough equivalent of a radio-controlled toy car.


A special headset was placed on my cranium by my hosts during a recent demonstration at an NTT research center. It sent a very low voltage electric current from the back of my ears through my head _ either from left to right or right to left, depending on which way the joystick on a remote-control was moved.

I found the experience unnerving and exhausting: I sought to step straight ahead but kept careening from side to side. Those alternating currents literally threw me off.

The technology is called galvanic vestibular stimulation — essentially, electricity messes with the delicate nerves inside the ear that help maintain balance.

I felt a mysterious, irresistible urge to start walking to the right whenever the researcher turned the switch to the right. I was convinced — mistakenly — that this was the only way to maintain my balance.

The phenomenon is painless but dramatic. Your feet start to move before you know it. I could even remote-control myself by taking the switch into my own hands.

There’s no proven-beyond-a-doubt explanation yet as to why people start veering when electricity hits their ear. But NTT researchers say they were able to make a person walk along a route in the shape of a giant pretzel using this technique.

It’s a mesmerizing sensation similar to being drunk or melting into sleep under the influence of anesthesia. But it’s more definitive, as though an invisible hand were reaching inside your brain.

The article also talks about potential non-lethal military applications:

Timothy Hullar, assistant professor at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Mo., believes finding the right way to deliver an electromagnetic field to the ear at a distance could turn the technology into a weapon for situations where “killing isn’t the best solution.”

“This would be the most logical situation for a nonlethal weapon that presumably would make your opponent dizzy,” he said via e-mail. “If you find just the right frequency, energy, duration of application, you would hope to find something that doesn’t permanently injure someone but would allow you to make someone temporarily off-balance.”

Indeed, a small defense contractor in Texas, Invocon Inc., is exploring whether precisely tuned electromagnetic pulses could be safely fired into people’s ears to temporarily subdue them.

I’m not really sure what to make of any of this, other than that it weirds me right the hell out. And as for it being “non-lethal,” that could depend on timing and context – imagine using it on a fighter pilot, or to assassinate someone lounging on a high-rise balcony.

5 comments October 29th, 2005 at 02:07pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Coolness,Technology,Weirdness

Google Search Update

Here are just a few of the Google searches that have led to my blog recently (generally in the top 3-5 of search results):

“Everybody have fun tonight”

full beards popular in fashion 2005 (Google New Zealand only, for some reason)

applying makeup to resemble Lily Munster

That is all.

October 28th, 2005 at 08:23pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Eli's Obsession With The Google

Friday Quote & Cat Blogging

This week’s quote:

And who butts in, only Joe Purcell, his head full of amazin’ facts like the boilin’ point of water and the number of eyes in a fly head.

(I may have the name in the quote wrong, for reasons not worth getting into here)

From The Butcher Boy, a very peculiar Neil Jordan movie about a demented young Irish kid. Definitely worth a look if you like that sort of thing.

And of course, there’ll be other people’s cats…

The tummyrub-lovin’ stray kitty my coworker was looking for a home for. She finally placed it with her sister, so y’all can just eat your hearts out now… Posted by Picasa

October 28th, 2005 at 07:01pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Friday Quote & Cat Blogging

Scooter Scoots! SCOTUS?

Well, I mean, he’s available, and there’s an opening Bush is
looking to fill. What’s a little indictment between cronies?

October 28th, 2005 at 02:01pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Judiciary,Libby/Plame

Hugh Hewitt, Comic Genius!

It has to be some kind of parody – no-one could possibly spout such absurdity with a straight face:

OVER the last two elections, the Republican Party regained control of the United States Senate by electing new senators in Florida, Georgia, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, South Dakota and Texas. These victories were attributable in large measure to the central demand made by Republican candidates, and heard and embraced by voters, that President Bush’s nominees deserved an up-or-down decision on the floor of the Senate.

Ah yes, I remember it well. The Republicans’ Rock The Up-Or-Down Vote ad campaign was legendary in its devastating ruthlessness.

The right’s embrace in the Miers nomination of tactics previously exclusive to the left – exaggeration, invective, anonymous sources, an unbroken stream of new charges, television advertisements paid for by secret sources – will make it immeasurably harder to denounce and deflect such assaults when the Democrats make them the next time around.

Oh. My. God. This guy is brilliant. I couldn’t come up with stuff this good in a million years hopped up on goofballs.

(I can’t help thinking of that “From you, Dad! I learned it from you!” anti-drug commercial…)

Those are the highlights, but he does go on to refer to Circuit Judge Michael Luttig as a “superstar”, and the National Review’s Cornerites as “sharp-tongued, witty and relentless writers” that potentially pro-Miers senators cowered in fear of.

Me like Bizarro World! Me want live on Bizarro World all the time! Me super good-looking and clever on Bizarro World!

October 28th, 2005 at 11:36am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Judiciary,Republicans,Wankers


I haven’t blogged much or at all on the upcoming Fitzgerald indictments, because I haven’t really had anything blogworthy to add to the discussion, but this juicy tidbit from the Wall Street Journal (by way of WaPo’s White House Briefing) just jumped out at me, and I had to point it out:

It is expected that any indictments will be very detailed and discuss the involvement of other White House officials who aren’t being charged.


*reaches for popcorn*

4 comments October 27th, 2005 at 02:39pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Cheney,Libby/Plame

Clean Hands & Dry Powder

Now that I’m over the initial “Woohoo!” reaction to Harriet Miers withdrawing her Supreme Court nomination, I find I am having another, somewhat milder “Woohoo!” reaction to it. Not only did President Bush suffer yet another embarrassing political defeat, but it came at the hands of his own party, and not the Democrats.

Yes, I know they’re spinning it as being the result of those mean old Dems demanding that Bush violate executive privilege by sharing some kind of paper trail of her past activities, but really her nomination failed because she got barely any support at all from Congressional Republicans.

This to me is by far the best case outcome – Bush does not get to saddle the Supreme Court with an unqualified crony, and it didn’t require any concerted resistance from the Democrats at all, which means that they are free to oppose a wingnut nominee without looking like unreasonable obstructionists out to blindly sabotage anyone the President trots out there.

Better yet, Bush has to name his next nominee in the wake of the Plame indictments, and a Rove/Cheney braintrust that will be distracted and off their game (or even out of the picture entirely). I could see him going either way, either tapping a qualified centrist to avoid a fight with the Dems, or a raving whackaloon to avoid a fight with his base.

All other things being equal, I would expect Bush to attack the Democrats, who have a long history of folding ignominiously, but I can’t imagine a worse climate than right now (by which I mean “next week”) to try to shove a right-wing ideologue down the Democrats’ throats. Worse yet for Bush, as 2006 approaches, more and more Republicans will be trying to distance themselves from his sinking presidency, so he will have a much harder time convincing moderate Republicans to hold their noses and stand with him on a controversial nominee.

I suppose he could threaten to campaign for them…

In all seriousness, what I think Bush should do is get a list of impeccably qualified judges with brilliant legal minds, and use that as the starting point for whatever ideological calculation he chooses to make. What I think he will do, given that he may have no political savvy or expertise outside his own to rely on, is to fall back on what his gut is comfortable with. Which means yet another trusted crony. Which means… Abu Gonzales, your time has come at last! Get out there and help Big-Time Dick stump for torture!

3 comments October 27th, 2005 at 01:29pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Cheney,Corruption/Cronyism,Judiciary,Libby/Plame,Republicans,Rove

Miers Retreats!


Harriet Miers withdrew her nomination to be a Supreme Court justice Thursday in the face of stiff opposition and mounting criticism about her qualifications.

President Bush said he reluctantly accepted her decision to withdraw, after weeks of insisting that he did not want her to step down. He blamed her withdrawal on calls in the Senate for the release of internal White House documents that the administration has insisted were protected by executive privilege.


[Miers] noted that members of the Senate had indicated their intention to seek documents about her service in the White House in order to judge whether to support her nomination to the Supreme Court. “I have been informed repeatedly that in lieu of records, I would be expected to testify about my service in the White House to demonstrate my experience and judicial philosophy,” she wrote.

“While I believe that my lengthy career provides sufficient evidence for consideration of my nomination, I am convinced the efforts to obtain Executive Branch materials and information will continue.”


Now, let Operation Rightwing Nutjob proceed as planned!

October 27th, 2005 at 09:21am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Judiciary,Republicans

The Perfect Gift For The Hot Liberal New York Babe In Your Life

From the NY Daily News’s Rush & Molloy gossip column (which leads with a very unfortunate Omar Sharif-related incident – no, not that one…):

Who says mayoral candidate Freddy Ferrer doesn’t have any sizzle? One ardent supporter is doing her best to sex up his campaign by designing a ladies thong emblazoned with the slogan “Vote Por Fernando.”

“He’s Latino and he’s a Latin lover,” designer Liza Sabater tells us. “Why not have him on your panties, if not in them?” Ferrer’s wife, Aramina, would probably prefer the former. Sabater, whose Ferrer lingerie is available at, says no one has actually bought a pair yet.

The Ferrer campaign declined to comment on the undergarments for their underdog.

Sounds like the mayoral race is, ah, heating up.

1 comment October 26th, 2005 at 05:58pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Elections,Politics,Weirdness

Teh Awesome Sexy Photoblogging!!! Sort Of.

Guess what comes up first if you Google sexy photoblogging (or, better yet, photoblogging sexy).

Admittedly, I sorta owe NTodd an assist, but still. RAWK!!!

Yes, okay, fine. I am excessively fascinated by what Google searches bring people to my blog. Someone also got here today by Googling “Mwahahahaha,” but you have to go five pages deep into the results. There must be some kind of story there…

And how is it possible to be the #1 search result for both “sexy photoblogging” and Gadzooky (yes, the link says I’m #2, but I’m #1 now…) at the same time? That’s gotta violate all kinds of laws of physics.

6 comments October 26th, 2005 at 05:30pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Eli's Obsession With The Google

Vacation Photoblogging

Some random (as always) photos from wandering the South Side with my visiting girlfriend…

Groovy headlamp reflections.

Kind of a weird double-valve thingy.

Loading dock…

Now that is one cherry dumpster! Posted by Picasa

4 comments October 25th, 2005 at 04:14pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Photoblogging,Pittsburgh

Can A Magazine Be Wanker Of The Day?


The people who rate the nation’s best colleges and hospitals have come up with a brand-new category – America’s best leaders.

The new U.S. News & World Report list comes not a moment too soon because the vast majority of Americans believe the nation is suffering from a leadership deficit, according to a survey commissioned by the magazine.


The magazine and Harvard’s Center of Public Leadership also convened 35 leading members of public and private sectors to draw up a list of the country’s prime leaders.


Secretary of State Rice and TV queen Oprah Winfrey made the list….


There are notable New Yorkers on the list such as former Secretary of State Colin Powell, Fox News honcho Roger Ailes, Harlem Children’s Zone founder Geoffrey Canada and New York Times pundit Thomas Friedman.

Presumably, the only reason Dubya and McCain aren’t on the list is because they excluded presidents and potential presidential candidates. Feh.

October 25th, 2005 at 09:36am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Media,Wankers

Saturday Low-Budget-Horror-Movie-Genius Blogging

Well, crap. Such a busy day yesterday, I completely forgot about Catblogging, but I’m kind running low on cat pics anyway. As a bit of a Cat PSA, let me mention that one of my coworkers has taken in a stray that she can’t keep (she has birds & a dog, so a new kitty doesn’t really fit into her ecosystem). It’s a year-old tiger-striped kitty that’s very friendly and loves tummy rubs. So if anyone in the Pittsburgh area or is willing to come to the Pittsburgh area to pick up a kitty, please drop me a line.

Anyway, back to my topic. Charles Band, the mastermind behind Full Moon Entertainment, responsible for all manner of great and often puppet-intensive low-budget horror movies (Ghoulies, Re-Animator, Head Of The Family, Blood Dolls, and the Puppetmaster & Subspecies series) came to Mr. Small’s Theater here in Pittsburgh to talk about his experiences, and to pimp Full Moon and his latest movie, The Gingerdead Man, with Gary Busey as the voice of a homicidal cookie of revenge. He (Band, not Busey) also did some other stuff, which is documented below.

Also, in addition to a drawing for one audience member to win a chance to get killed in a future Full Moon/Charles Band production (I didn’t win, alas), he also promised to make anyone who bought $100 or more of Full Moon merchandise an executive producer on one of his next films, with an IMDb entry and everything. Needless to say, I could not resist that, so now I have 3 figurines, 3 DVDs, and 3 autographs (two of his and one of his starlet fiancee) and will be watching the IMDb very closely.

This was also my first real attempt to use my new “spare” camera, which is a 3.2-megapixel Canon Powershot A410 for occasions when the Nikon D70 is just too cumbersome and I want something I can just stick in my pocket. The picture quality is pretty good when there’s enough light, or when it’s close enough for the flash to be effective (you’ll see what I mean below).

We had some unpleasantness involving the dodginess and unreliability of Pittsburgh Yellow Cab, but the theater staff were all very kind and helpful – we borrowed at least three different cellphones, and one of them even called Yellow Cab on our behalf, because they give them a lot of business.

So, to sum up: Yellow Cab: Dodgy! Charles Band and Mr. Small’s staff: Way Cool. Seeing Henry Rollins and Charles Band in the same week?


Charles Band and his lovely fiancee, Debra Mayer.

Charles Band showed off various samples of his innovative Halloweenwear concept, the Monsterbra. I really liked the eyeballs one, but I was having issues with the new camera.

He also directed some volunteers from the audience in a little scene, which was pretty funny. Especially when he fell through the trapdoor in the stage that he kept warning everyone about… Posted by Picasa

6 comments October 22nd, 2005 at 02:32am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Coolness,Movies,People,Photoblogging

Getaway Skyblogging

Well, I’m off to pick up my girlfriend at the airport, so I probably won’t be around much. So I’ll leave you with some beauty sky photos to meditate over while we wander around in search of some more… terrestrial material to work with.

I don’t go “Ooo” at my own photos very often (usually more like “Eh”), but this one kinda snuck up on me.

Okay, how about a little black & white action?

The first two were from the morning. This one is… not.Posted by Picasa

October 20th, 2005 at 12:26pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Photoblogging,Pittsburgh

Symbolism & Resonance

Last night, one of the Eschaton commenters asked why the Republicans aren’t making a huge, triumphant, we-were-proved-fucking-right deal about Saddam Hussein’s trial. My initial thoughts were:

A) If removing Saddam is one of their few remaining rationales for invading Iraq, and Saddam ends up looking like a pitiful old man, then it reinforces the idea that the Republicans are bloodthirsty bullies who sacrificed 2,000 American lives and tens of thousands of Iraqi lives to remove… a non-threat. And…

B) They reeeeaaaallllly don’t want people thinking about Iraq. At. All.

But as the trial gets underway, and given some other headlines that are floating around at the moment, I’m thinking that there is perhaps another reason the Republicans don’t want to make a big deal about Saddam being on trial. Namely that, very shortly, it will give him something in common with Bush & Cheney’s entire inner circle, if not Little George and Big Dick themselves. I’m guessing it’s really not a connection they want people to make.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some cleaning and laundry and maniacal cackling to attend to.

UPDATE: Eschaton commenter jdw has reminded me of another reason (which I think I mentioned in the comments last night and promptly forgot again) – they’re afraid he might say something embarrassing about the good old days when Saddam was our best buddy and we helped him grow his military, maybe even the WMD stockpile he used to have…

7 comments October 19th, 2005 at 08:14pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Cheney,Iraq,Republicans,Wankers,War

This Month’s When-Life-Hands-You-Lemons Award Winner

Some people – whiny pessimistic doomsayers with no vision – look at global warming and see flooding and climatic catastrophes, but not Scott Borgerson. Mr. Borgerson sees OPPORTUNITY!

A quarter of the world’s oil and natural gas resources lie in the Arctic, but until recently polar ice rendered many of these deposits inaccessible.

Now, with each passing year the warmest on record in the polar regions, the ice is melting, and more and more of these deposits are being tapped to feed the world’s ravenous appetite for energy. With the price of oil soaring, wildcatters race to hoist derricks in waters where the ice has retreated. Miners, loggers and fishermen are also chasing newly exploitable natural resources.

Yet perhaps the most significant consequence of the melt is the rising potential for Arctic navigation. The polar thaw may lead to what would be the most transformational maritime project since the Panama Canal: an Arctic Bridge.

The holy grail of a shortcut from the North Atlantic to the North Pacific has lured explorers to extreme latitudes for centuries. Those explorers’ dream could become a reality in our lifetime. An Arctic marine highway made possible by the dwindling of sea ice would cut existing oceanic transit times by days, saving shipping companies… thousands of miles in travel.


A continued reduction in Arctic sea ice, supported by a growing network of ports, roads and railways, could radically transform trade patterns. Those able to adjust their mental maps and capitalize on this new seaway would surely benefit.

Admittedly, even going by the most optimistic projection, a fully navigable Arctic is unlikely to emerge for a decade or more, and depending on whose climate change model you accept, it could take much longer. But unless warming trends come to an abrupt halt, the Arctic region will surely witness increased activity in the foreseeable future and could, in time, become a hub of global activity.

Interesting use of the word “optimistic,” neh? Yes, Mr. Borgerson’s biggest concern about global warming is that it may not be happening fast enough. Oh well, I suppose the world can put that Arctic shortcut to good use ferrying supplies to flood and hurricane victims…

4 comments October 19th, 2005 at 11:33am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Environment,Wankers

Coulda Been Worse…

The Kenosha Kid’s link to The Aspen Institute by reference to Scooter Libby’s letter to Judy Miller about the aspens turning in clusters made me consider that at least he didn’t say “larches”…

3 comments October 18th, 2005 at 11:37pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Wankers,Weirdness

American-Style Democracy Comes To Ohiraq

I guess this is just what happens when you put Republicans in charge of democracy…

Iraqi election officials said Monday that they were investigating “unusually high” vote totals in 12 Shiite and Kurdish provinces, where as many as 99 percent of the voters were reported to have cast ballots in favor of Iraq’s new constitution. The investigation raised the possibility that the results of the referendum could be called into question.

In a statement on Monday evening, the Independent Election Commission of Iraq said the results of the referendum on Saturday would have to be delayed “a few days” because the apparently high number of “yes” votes required election workers to “recheck, compare and audit” the results.

The statement made no mention of the possibility of fraud, but said results were being re-examined to comply with internationally accepted standards. Election officials say that under those standards, voting procedures should be re-examined anytime a candidate or a ballot question got more than 90 percent of the vote.

Members of the commission declined to give any details. But one official with knowledge of the balloting said the 12 provinces where the “yes” votes exceeded 90 percent all had populations that were majority Shiite or Kurdish. Leaders from those communities strongly endorsed the proposed constitution.


“When you find consistently very, very high numbers, then that is cause for further checking,” said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “Anything over 90 percent either way usually leads to further investigation.”


Some Sunni leaders said the lopsided votes suggested fraud. Mishaan al-Jubouri, a National Assembly member and Sunni leader, said he favored a thorough investigation.

The Shiite and Kurdish political parties in power “were filling out forms and stuffing them into boxes,” he said in an interview. “They were also voting in the names of those who hadn’t come to vote.”

Mr. Jubouri said that monitors in several southern provinces, for example, reported modest voter turnout in their polling centers, but that after the polls closed, officials released overall turnout figures there that appeared to be extraordinarily high. They included results from the predominantly Shiite provinces of Najaf, Karbala and Wasit, he said.

Some centers did not even have 20 or 30 percent voter turnout, he said.

“This gives an impression that the process wasn’t transparent,” he added.

Iraqi Secretary of State Khalid al-Blaqwell could not be reached for comment.

If they’re committing election fraud to secure 33% of the vote, that’s pretty damn pathetic, although maybe they’re just trying to make it look more like a mandate…

I also suspect that I am not the only who thinks 33% is an awfully low bar for ratifying the entire foundation of a government. How can you have a “democratic” government based on a constitution that 65% of the electorate voted against? My gut feeling is that the 33% threshold was based on calculations of attainability rather than legitimacy.

October 18th, 2005 at 09:26am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Elections,Iraq,Wankers

This Isn’t Surreal At All…

Citizen Wookiee!

Best known as the furry Chewbacca in the “Star Wars” films, 7-foot-3 British actor Peter Mayhew is now a U.S. citizen. Mayhew softly recited the oath to become a naturalized American Monday, with his raised right hand trembling slightly.


The former English hospital worker said he decided to seek American citizenship when he got married “to a Texan lady.” Mayhew and his wife wed six years ago. His wife, Angelique, was beside him, with a drawing depicting Chewbacca, a background of the American flag and Union Jack and the words “Citizen Wookiee.”

“Well it was a natural thing being married to a Texan,” said Mayhew… “I wanted to become an American because Texas is an integral part of America, its lifestyle.”


His film career was launched in 1977 when he played the role of the Minotaur in “Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger.” He had been working as an orderly at London’s King’s College Hospital when he was featured in a newspaper article about men with large feet, which caught the eye of the movie’s producers.

Well. I can’t really add anything to that…

(If Wookiees live in Texas, you must acquit!)

October 18th, 2005 at 08:42am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Movies,Weirdness

More Spam Poetry

I think I’m getting addicted to this stuff…

Today’s offering is entitled:

Are you struggling with finances?
We will have you out of debt fast.

salmon hides under rock floats to sea grinds
sand dust broom pan pot lid on bowl put in
cereal for morning kid eats lucky charms has
marshmellow center like a twinky cup cakes.

paint red on doghouse put number for fido
in front mail man carries envelope dog bone
for pooch happy skittles in tummy can put two
in bowl hilary pretty girl texas toast syrup pancake.

*snaps fingers appreciatively*

1 comment October 18th, 2005 at 01:14am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Spamoptikon

Monday MP3 Blogging

I’m just going to come right out and say it: Louis Farrakhan singing a novelty calypso song about a transsexual.

Don’t believe me? Check it out.

Righto, I’m off to go see Rollins – feel free to listen to this over and over while I’m gone. Amaze your friends!

Thanks again to for compiling and hosting all of this weirdness.

October 17th, 2005 at 06:13pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Favorites,Monday Media Blogging


Not sure how many people know who he is, but Charlie Rocket was a pretty damn funny guy, especially as Pat’s obsessed next-door neighbor in the otherwise godawful It’s Pat, and as a deranged general in Wagons East. He was also one of the castmembers who replaced the original Not Ready For Primetime Players on SNL in the early 80s, and was notoriously fired for swearing on the air.

Rocket, 56, whose real name was Charles Claverie, was found dead in a field near his home in Canterbury on October 7. His throat had been cut, the medical examiner said.

“An investigation determined there was no criminal aspect to this case,” State Police Sgt. J. Paul Vance said Monday.


His movie credits included “Earth Girls are Easy,” “Dumb and Dumber” and “Dances With Wolves,” according to the Internet Movie Database.

Cutting your own throat seems like kind of an odd way to commit suicide, but hey, they’re the experts…

5 comments October 17th, 2005 at 02:13pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Movies,Weirdness

All I Needed To Hear…

If anyone has any doubts about just how compromised and awful the NY Times is, this letter to the editor should dispel them all:

I really dislike your newspaper. I think that too many times you are blatantly biased. Your thinly veiled pro-liberal viewpoints actually harm your cause, since those of us who are Republicans learn to disregard your opinions as being predictable and, frankly, useless in any constructive debate about an issue.

Nonetheless, you deserve credit for your article about Judith Miller. Its criticisms of your paper and Ms. Miller were forthright and, by all appearances, sincere. It is about time.

Perhaps there are reasons for us conservatives to read your newspaper after all. Keep up the honesty. It becomes you.

Attaboys from the wingnuts. Mission accomplished, NYT. Well done.

*slow clap*

They also got this gem:

As a former journalist and current college teacher, I think The Times did the right thing in defending Judith Miller and her decision to protect her sources. Clearly the publisher’s support meant a lot to Ms. Miller.

I think that it’s of little consequence that The Times was scooped on aspects of this story. That The Times does not follow the scoop mentality of many other national news media is among the reasons The Times remains The Times.

Those of us old enough to remember publication of the Pentagon Papers know that The Times is willing to take the lead when appropriate. The paper’s handling of coverage of the Miller case illustrates that The Times is also willing be to patient when circumstances demand.

I am sure that all who value the principles that support a free press are relieved that Ms. Miller is out of jail, and grateful to Ms. Miller and The Times for having taken this courageous and patient stand.

Yes, kudos to the NYT for rising above that insidious scoop mentality that afflicts so many other, lesser papers. It just makes them look like overeager, grasping little strivers, and that’s sooooo unattractive. Why, it’s almost as bad as that “seeking the objective truth” mentality, but fortunately that was stamped out several years ago, like polio.

Where do they FIND these people???

1 comment October 17th, 2005 at 10:58am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Libby/Plame,Media,Politics,Republicans,Wankers

Is Art Dying?

Interesting op-ed piece in today’s NYT by presidential biographer Edmund Morris, wherein he argues that art and the creative process are becoming sterile and impersonal because artists and art are becoming increasingly “hands-off.”

He waxes poetic about the violent physicality of Beethoven and Bernard Dufour’s creative process and the way they literally attack the paper or canvas, as compared to “video recording, performance art and installations farmed out to contractors….”

I’m not entirely sure how to feel about this as a photographer who can’t draw a straight line to save his life. And not just any kind of photographer, but a digital photographer, so my idea of photo “processing” no longer involves chemicals or film or timers or darkrooms. My only interaction with the physical (apart from the actual picture-taking) is when I print the photos out, which is still a far cry from the film-based print-making experience.

To me, this is simply a time and expense saver. There may be some value added by using film, as some of my old-school photog friends insist, but they have always couched their arguments in terms of the quality of the media itself, never in terms of the process of spending hours in the darkroom, personally developing their own negatives and prints and coming out smelling like chemicals.

On the other hand, my girlfriend is a genuine drawing-things-on-paper kind of artist who would never dream of creating her art electronically. Scanning the finished product for display on the web, sure, but to my knowledge she’s never used an electronic app for anything artistic beyong doodling or graphic design. Is it quick or convenient? No. But it’s the only way she can achieve the quality she requires. Digital is simply not an option for her, and I believe it is likewise not an option for a large number of artists who create images from scratch.

As I ponder the validity of Morris’s two basic premises, that A) “Physical” art is dying out, and B) That this will suck all the life out of our cultural discourse, I find that my conclusion is that my disbelief in Premise A almost validates Premise B. I can’t imagine the demand for physical art ever drying up, because people in the market for art want something tangible, something created by the artist’s own hand. There’s a uniqueness and a prestige to that which electronic, infinitely reproducible and essentially virtual works of art can never equal. And this is why no-one will ever pay thousands of dollars for any of my photos.

I admit, I don’t really have a profound point or insight to make, but I’m intrigued by the questions that it stirs up, and the whiff of traditionalist snobbery evinced by Mr. Morris.

3 comments October 16th, 2005 at 10:52pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Art/Architecture

Everybody Have Fun Tonight, Everybody Wangchuck Tonight

Why can’t we be more like Bhutan?

It may be time to think about a trade-in. Goodbye bigger-is-better, happiness-is-a-Hummer, excess-is-best American Dream, hello Bhutan Bliss.

Yep, Bhutan. Little country somewhere in the Himalayas. It’s attracting a lot of attention – even envy – these days, because instead of pursuing the old dream of a red-hot economy, it is pursuing an even older dream: The pursuit of happiness. Bhutan’s 49-year-old king, Jigme Singye Wangchuck, has made it his goal to increase his country’s GNH – Gross National Happiness.

This may sound about as sensible as basing an economy on lollipop exports, but the king is serious. In his 30-odd years at the helm, he has made preserving the environment a priority and decreed that 60% of Bhutan’s land must remain wooded. He opened schools throughout the country, where there had been no public education before 1960. Teachers get rotated from city schools to rural ones to ensure all kids get the same quality of education…. Anyone sick can choose between Western and traditional medicine, because both are respected. And from 1984 to 1998, life expectancy increased a whopping 19 years, to 66.


“America’s priorities are out of whack,” states [Betsy] Taylor, president of The New American Dream, an organization with 83,000 members dedicated to “Less stuff, more fun.”

“I think people would welcome a debate about Bhutan vs. the U.S.,” says Taylor. “Who’s really living life to the fullest? Is it the people who can take a long afternoon stroll in the forest? Or is it the people who eat lunch at their desk, shop at lunchtime, rush home exhausted and then continue to work at home?”

If they have wireless internet, I’m so there.

2 comments October 16th, 2005 at 08:56pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Coolness,Weirdness

Sportswriters Against Bush

Ouch. The NY Daily News #1 sports columnist, Mike Lupica, is pretty clearly not a big Bush fan…

After watching our President interview those soldiers in Iraq the other day, I think we can pretty much rule out a talk show for him once he leaves office.

Geena Davis is doing a better job as Commander-in-Chief than W these days.


By the way, four appearances for Karl Rove in front of a grand jury has to be some kind of modern record for a White House chief of staff.

He’s got almost as many grand jury appearances as Dick Cheney had draft deferments, which is kind of neat.

Okay, so maybe it’s not exactly A-list material, but it’s pretty harsh for a sports column. And if I was a president, especially a manly, resolute, joe-sixpack president, I’d really want to have the sportswriters on my side, ya know?

3 comments October 16th, 2005 at 08:32pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Cheney,Media,Politics,Rove,Sports

A Modest Proposal

Here is my recommendation for cutting down on all but the most necessary wars:

With the exception of response to an unprovoked military (i.e., non-terrorist) attack, any president who initiates, and any congresscritter who approves, an attack on a sovereign nation must be forced to choose between:

A) Making all of his/her age-eligible children or grandchildren available for a special draft; or

B) Spending a week in the target country 3 years after the invasion, walking the streets and talking to the people, sans bodyguards or body armor.

My expectation is that most would choose Option B (depending on how they felt about their kids, I suppose), and be very focused on the follow-through and reconstruction.

2 comments October 16th, 2005 at 11:01am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Iraq,Politics,War

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