Umm, okay – I can understand that Saddam’s executioners would not exactly want to broadcast their identities, but ski masks??? Am I the only one who thinks this looks more like a terrorist action than a lawful execution? They might as well have just beheaded him instead…
4 commentsDecember 30th, 2006 at 07:31pmPosted by Eli
Well, the wireless network I had been using at my sister’s has pulled the plug on me, so I’m limited to the Treo, which means no catblogging until I get back to my Dad’s in Joisey.
Apart from that, yesterday was quite a lovely day. I took a bunch of pictures along the river between 10th and 30th (the riverside has been very good to me, photographically speaking), including Sanitation Headquarters (huzzah!), then tried to find Bobby St. Chomsky’s favorite pizza place on 30th & 8th. There were actually two pizza places there, and I’m pretty sure I picked the oldest (they had an old-fashioned mechanical cash register and everything). Their eggplant pizza was pretty good, but their pepperoni was disappointing.
Then I headed over to Flushing Meadows to meet Thers and Molly Ivors and their 723 children/demolitionists at the Queens Museum Of Art, right near Shea Stadium and that giant metal globe from the World’s Fair. The Museum’s feature attraction is an enormous diorama of NYC’s five boroughs, which takes up a full art-gallery-sized room. My inability to locate even the approximate whereabouts of my old apartment was pretty pathetic.
Finally, to cap off the day, my sister and I had a lovely time at the Atriots’ Festivus Dinner which res ipsa loquitur was kind enough to organize. Also in attendance were Thers and Molly Ivors, The Kenosha Kid,karmic jay and his friend Dan, watertiger, brooklyn girl, HoneyBearKelly, and a couple of lurkers whose names I unfortunately did not quite catch.
I’ll be back home for good Saturday night, so hopefully blogging will resume as normal, after I watch the Giants finish choking away a playoff spot.
5 commentsDecember 29th, 2006 at 09:28amPosted by Eli
Yeah, everyone on the planet is probably getting the same spams as I am, and wondering why the hell I keep posting the damn things on my blog, but just in case you’re not… I give you “round range”, by Bryan Graham:
Furthermore, a mortician hesitates, and a grain of sand is a big fan of the bartender toward the senator.
Another fried football team graduates from the load bearing mortician.
Suddenly I want to be a mortician.
Possibly even a load-bearing one.
4 commentsDecember 29th, 2006 at 12:05amPosted by Eli
1. Pick ten celebrities who you think will die in from 1/1/07 to 1/1/08
2. You aren’t allowed to murder the celebrity.
2.5 Saddam Hussein doesn’t count.
3. The point system works like this: you get one point for every year UNDER the age of 90 that the celebrity dies at. Anyone over 90 gets negative points.
4. Whoever gets the most points, wins.
It’ll frankly be a miracle if I get any points at all, but I’ll take a stab at it. In no particular order:
1. Courtney Love
2. Larry Flynt
3. Andy Dick
4. Pete Doherty (sorry, Jenny)
5. Whitey Ford
6. Fats Domino
7. Henry Kissinger
8. Bob Feller
9. Mickey Rooney
10. Fidel Castro
Just a small excerpt from today’s spam, entitled “upholstery”:
It’ s really hard to say as Herpes dosen’t always “act” the same! It proved a serious step forward in using hydrogen as a potential energy source for cars, while showing defects that make the concept a clear work in progress.
Who knew herpes could be so useful?
4 commentsDecember 27th, 2006 at 01:01pmPosted by Eli
BIENNE, Switzerland — Here in the world’s watchmaking capital, five o’clock shadow appears on men’s faces at precisely five o’clock, according to a new study by the Swiss Health Council.
“It’s nothing new in this country,” said Dr. Pascal Schmid, who has reviewed centuries of Swiss medical literature.
Dr. Schmid traces the timely stubble to Geneva in the 1500s, when the unfamiliar din of clocktower bells literally scared the hair out of men’s faces during working hours.
In more recent years, the depilatory effects of glow-in-the-dark radium dial paint spread for miles around timepiece factories.
“At closing time, workers sealed the paint away in sturdy cabinets, and facial hair was free to grow again,” Dr. Schmid explained.
Nowadays, exposure to the pulsing electric fields from Switzerland’s countless modern watches affects the release of human epidermal growth factor — a protein controlling hair length.
“Until recently, none of this was thought to cause any wider genetic mutations,” Schmid said. “However, we’re looking at evidence that quartz and radium exposure may have affected the Swiss gene pool.”
“We’re seeing a lot of babies born with asymmetrical limbs in this country–usually a little hand and a big hand,” he said.
Behind every cliche, there is always some very solid and reputable science.
4 commentsDecember 27th, 2006 at 11:41amPosted by Eli
If you happen across a pond full of croaking green frogs, listen carefully. Some of them may be lying.
A croak is how male green frogs tell other frogs how big they are. The bigger the male, the deeper the croak. The sound of a big male is enough to scare off other males from challenging him for his territory.
While most croaks are honest, some are not. Some small males lower their voices to make themselves sound bigger. Their big-bodied croaks intimidate frogs that would beat them in a fair fight.
…[B]iologists have long puzzled over deception. Dishonesty should undermine trust between animals. Why, for example, do green frogs keep believing that a big croak means a big male? New research is offering some answers: Natural selection can favor a mix of truth and lies, particularly when an animal has a big audience. From one listener to the next, honesty may not be the best policy.
By the mid-1900s, scientists had documented deception in cases where one species fooled another. Some nonpoisonous butterflies, for example, evolved the same wing patterns that poisonous species used to warn off birds. Within a species, however, honesty usually prevailed. Animals gave each other alarm calls to warn of predators; males signaled their prowess in fighting; babies let their parents know they were hungry. Honesty benefited both the sender and the receiver.
“The point of signaling was to get information across,” Dr. Nowicki said. “Deception was almost not an issue.”
There was just one hole in this happy arrangement: it presented a great opportunity for liars. Shrikes, for example, regularly use alarm calls to warn one another of predators. But sometimes the birds will use false alarm calls to scare other shrikes away from food.
Imagine that a shrike fools other shrikes with a false alarm. It eats more, and therefore may hatch more babies. Meanwhile, the gullible, less-nourished shrikes hatch fewer babies. If false alarms become common, natural selection should favor shrikes that are not fooled by them.
When scientists created mathematical models of this theory, they found that dishonesty could undermine many vital kinds of communication. The challenge, then, was to find out how honesty countered the advantage of deception. “The liars ought to be able to take advantage of the system, so that you’d have selection on the listeners to ignore the signals,” said Jonathan Rowell, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Tennessee.
I found this last point particularly interesting: Does natural selection weed out gullibility, or just breed better and better liars? And does intraspecies deception take a toll on the entire species (i.e., favoring the less fit, undermining the integrity and trustworthiness of vital signals)?
Of course, it’s very tempting to extrapolate to the human world, where deception is practically a way of life. There is certainly ample evidence that deception has severely damaged the well-being of the United States, but I’m not sure there’s as much evidence that gullibility is being selected out. Yes, the Republicans got spanked in November, but only after the mess their lies created had grown to such epic proportions that it could no longer be concealed or spun. Unfortunately, I think we still have a long ways to go, and probably not a lot of time to get there.
In conclusion, I leave you with this tasty little morsel:
Dr. Ellner’s rough translation of their call: “I’m looking for female frogs, and if you come on my lily pad, I’ll show you a good time.”
7 commentsDecember 26th, 2006 at 01:26pmPosted by Eli
No specific point to make here, but the NYT’s medicine writer-doctor has a nice roundup of all the progress we’ve made in the last fifty years since Eisenhower’s physician advised Mamie to snuggle with him in bed to keep him warm after his heart attack. (I would think you’d have to be very careful about who you gave advice like that to. “Don’t panic, Ms. Jolie; just calm down and do exactly as I say and I promise everything will be fine…”)
1 commentDecember 26th, 2006 at 01:14pmPosted by Eli
Old-fashioned sort that I am, I’m a sucker for the traditional Christmas spam. This year’s is from Woodruff, and is entitled “bewilderment deft”:
ex-pat salon look, complete with gold samovars, red leather banquettes, and . The interior is superb, a digitally remastered version of the RL luxury sedan interior with fine-stippled aluminum trim, rich leather and dark polished faux .
Strangely, however, the video does not mention the product at all. Whether you’re new to litigation support software or a veteran TrialDirector user, you’ll find something to like in Ted’s comprehensive review. As a dedicated appliance for business file transfers, SFTA requires minimal IT administration and support.
Crushers had taken the outdoor season off and with the appearance of a few new faces in the Crusher’s line-up there was no telling what talent they had picked up.
Luckily, we have technology at our fingertips. about expressing one’s individuality, culture, or religion through clothing, even as The new version also has enhanced tools for splitting, combining, and reordering PDF files.
Fulchester handed competitive debut’s to Steve Barss, Rory Moncur, Matt Rohachuk, Scott Brown and Kim Vander Linden.
Carrie demonstrated that she had lost none of her patience and control during her break and easily shut down many of the Crusher’s advances. Drury had gone scoreless for the first time all season in Friday’s 5-4 victory over Carolina. If you are the system administrator, please click here. Somebody has to pay for all of those styrofoam peanuts.
What does matter is creativity and talent.
From the poor quality of reffing to an injury that resulted, there was a lot that should have been different about the game. Outdoor division 5 champions Eclipse, came in to the game boasting the divisions leading scorer from outdoor Debra Zilkowsky up-front. Luckily, we have technology at our fingertips. Young people nowadays wear metal-studded leather clothes or dye their hair .
Interact with hoopla.
The special effects budget needed a lot more money. Free file transfer sites can handle large files, but also lack sufficient security.
Increasingly, they seem to choose online repositories.
We think it will once again reign supreme as the leading technology gift this year
It’s just what I always wanted – this is the best Christmas ever!
The words echo in the ears of Ludmila and Oleg Protopopov: “Your train is gone, you’re too old.”
That was a half-century ago. They were in their early 20s and had recently begun their partnership on and off the ice, but Soviet Union sports officials tried to stop perhaps the greatest pair in figure skating history before their career even began.
It has been more than four decades since the Protopopovs brought unparalleled artistry to pairs figure skating, winning the first of two Olympic gold medals. He is 74 now, she is 71. But time has barely infringed on their artistry, if it has at all.
“I learn something every time I see them skate, even now, said Dick Button, the gold medalist in men’s singles in 1948 and 1952 and a longtime television commentator on the sport. “The basic movements and basic positions are all there. They take and break down every single element that they do, and follow through on the classical style that they’ve been so good at, to their ultimate destination.”
Four hours a day nearly every day, Oleg effortlessly lifts Ludmila off her feet and sets her down gracefully as they practice and practice and practice.
“We dedicate our life for skating,” said Ludmila, who weighs about 100 pounds and can still do the splits. “Everything revolves around skating.”
Oleg, whose mother was a ballerina, said: “There is no limit to how old you can be. Figure skating is a long-lasting sport, it prolongs life. Now, I feel young. I don’t feel old. We are like seagulls. While we can move our wings, we will fly.”
And fly they do. For five months a year, the Protopopovs train on the ice in Lake Placid, N.Y., that Coach Herb Brooks and the United States Olympic hockey team made famous in 1980. They also spend five weeks windsurfing and in-line skating in Hawaii, and live the rest of the time in their adopted home, Switzerland.
“They are in the most wonderful physical condition I’ve seen,” said Barbara Kelly, who has provided the Protopopovs with an apartment in Lake Placid for five years. “People who come to watch them skate are amazed. They don’t believe it. They have a style that’s never been matched.”
After settling in Switzerland, the Protopopovs joined the Ice Capades and competed in the world professional figure skating championships. They won their final gold medal in 1985, tying the Americans Tai Babilonia and Randy Gardner, a couple half their age.
In 2003, at the invitation of Viacheslav Fetisov, the Russian minister of sport and a former N.H.L. star, the Protopopovs returned to their homeland for the first time since they defected. They received a tumultuous ovation from a crowd of 15,000 in St. Petersburg.
“We try to bring the gladness to people if they watch us,” Oleg said. “There is no limit to how old you can be. They get pleasure from this, so why do we have to stop?”
Hell, I’ll be happy just to be walking in my 70s…
3 commentsDecember 23rd, 2006 at 10:05pmPosted by Eli
The shadowy and mysterious Codename V. was kind enough to indulge me on a photo hike so I could attempt to hone my near-nonexistent nature photography skills. Needless to say, I dawdled for a while in the parking lot, which was a lot closer to my natural element…
The back of a scoreboard, I think.
Biiiiig tire. I liked the shadows from the fence on it.
Is it… supposed to be sticking up from the ground like that, or has there been an awful lot of erosion here?
8 commentsDecember 23rd, 2006 at 11:19amPosted by Eli
VINCENT Gallo is no pal of PayPal. The online payment service abruptly cut ties with the actor-director because it didn’t want to be associated with him selling his sexual services and sperm through his Web site. “They are really fascists. They should breathe some death gas or something,” the star of X-rated flick “Brown Bunny” told Page Six. For years, Gallo had used PayPal as an intermediary to collect payments from people ordering merchandise over vincentgallo.com, including clothing, posters, artwork and jewelry. But he says PayPal got squeamish at him offering himself to single women and lesbian couples for prices of $50,000-$200,000, and sperm samples for women who want to have his baby for $1 million. “For them to say they have some sort of moral regard for their clients is incredible – they’re a penny-pinching, conniving company,” he fumed. Gallo says he’s switching to American Express, Visa and MasterCard, “just like all the good escort services use.” A PayPal rep defended cutting off Gallo, saying he violated its “policy against facilitating meetings for sexually oriented activities.”
Last February, the outrageous actor-director offered to “fulfill the wish, dream, or fantasy of any naturally born female” for a “modest fee of $50,000 plus expenses.” But “bargains” don’t last forever, and Gallo just upped his price to $100,000 – even though no one has apparently yet taken him up on the lower price.
But, “Female couples of the lesbian persuasion” can still “enjoy a Vincent Gallo evening together” for the old price of $100,000 for two – or just $200,000 for an entire weekend, Gallo says on his Web site. He adds, sensitively: “Heavy-set, older red-heads and even black chicks can have me if they can pay the bill. No real female will be refused. However, I highly frown upon any male having even the slightest momentary thought or wish that they could ever become my client. No way, Jose.”
Gallo advises women considering his offer to check out his sex scene with Chloe Sevigny in “Brown Bunny,” “to be sure for themselves that they can fully accommodate all of me.”
Gallo has offered to sell his sperm for $1 million – although in a racially insensitive diatribe, he reserved the right to pick and choose who gets it.
“Mr. Gallo maintains the right to refuse sale of his sperm to those of extremely dark complexions,” he wrote on his Web site. “Though a fan of Franco Harris, Derek Jeter, Lenny Kravitz and Lena Horne, Mr. Gallo does not want to be part of that type of integration.”
Gallo wrote that a Jewish mother would be an asset because, if their child got into movies or music, “this connection to the Jewish faith would guarantee his offspring a better chance at good reviews and maybe even a prize at the Sundance Festival or an Oscar.”
Un-frickin’-believable. Sorry, Mel, you’re not even in the same league.
A Republican congressman (Virgil Goode) has told constituents that unless immigration is tightened, “many more Muslims” will be elected and follow the lead of a recently elected lawmaker who plans to use the Quran at his ceremonial swearing-in…
Goode added: “I fear that in the next century we will have many more Muslims in the United States if we do not adopt the strict immigration policies that I believe are necessary to preserve the values and beliefs traditional to the United States of America and to prevent our resources from being swamped.”
Oookay. Obviously, the xenophobia is pretty naked, and there’s not a whole lot I can say about it.
But what I find almost as striking as unapologetic racism from an elected official is: There are 300 million people in this country. Just how many Muslim immigrants is Goode expecting to come over here? Does he know about some upcoming cataclysmic event which will turn a huge chunk of the Muslim world into refugees? It sure as hell ain’t gonna be Operation Temporary 21% Increase In Troop Strength Surge™.
3 commentsDecember 21st, 2006 at 04:33pmPosted by Eli
a) I did myself, and either got in trouble or commended. (I had a Major shake my hand for the piss bottle thing, for instance.)
b) I witnessed another soldier do it. (Like the Sergeant we had, that basically went insane, and crucified some dead mice.)
c) Was spontaneously informed I was not allowed to do. (Like start a porn studio.)
d) Was the result of a clarification of the above. (“What about especially patriotic porn?”)
e) I was just minding my own business, when something happened. (“Schwarz…what is *that*?” said the Sgt, as he pointed to the back of my car? “Um….a rubber sheep…I can explain why that’s there….”)
To explain how I’ve stayed out of jail/alive/not beaten up too badly….. I’m funny, so they let me live.
Some of my personal favorites:
7. Not allowed to add “In accordance with the prophesy” to the end of answers I give to a question an officer asks me.
10. Not allowed to purchase anyone’s soul on government time.
31. Not allowed to let sock puppets take responsibility for any of my actions.
32. Not allowed to let sock puppets take command of my post.
48. I may not use public masturbation as a tool to demonstrate a flaw in a command decision.
49. Not allowed to trade military equipment for “magic beans”.
58. The following words and phrases may not be used in a cadence- Budding sexuality, necrophilia, I hate everyone in this formation and wish they were dead, sexual lubrication, black earth mother, all Marines are latent homosexuals, Tantric yoga, Gotterdammerung, Korean hooker, Eskimo Nell, we’ve all got jackboots now, slut puppy, or any references to squid.
60. “The Giant Space Ants” are not at the top of my chain of command.
72. May not wear gimp mask while on duty.
75. May not conduct psychological experiments on my chain of command.
79. I am neither the king nor queen of cheese.
83. Must not start any SITREP (Situation Report) with “I recently had an experience I just had to write you about….”
87. If the thought of something makes me giggle for longer than 15 seconds, I am to assume that I am not allowed to do it.
94. Crucifixes do not ward off officers, and I should not test that.
95. I am not in need of a more suitable host body.
96. “Redneck Zombies” is not a military training aid.
97. Gozer does not dwell in my refrigerator.
100. Claymore mines are not filled with yummy candy, and it is wrong to tell new soldiers that they are.
118. Burn pits for classified material are not revel fires – therefore it is wrong to dance naked around them.
128. “Shpadoinkle” is not a real word.
129. The Microsoft “Dancing Paperclip” is not authorized to countermand any orders.
132. The loudspeaker system is not a forum to voice my ideas.
133. The loudspeaker system is not to be used to replace the radio.
134. The loudspeaker system is not to be used to broadcast the soundtrack to a porno movie.
145. I should not drink three quarts of blue food coloring before a urine test.
146. Nor should I drink three quarts of red food coloring, and scream during the same.
156. I will no longer perform “lap-dances” while in uniform.
157. If I take the uniform off, in the course of the lap-dance, it still counts.
160. No part of the military uniform is edible.
163. Take that hat off.
164. There is no such thing as a were-virgin.
167. Not allowed to operate a business out of the barracks.
168. Especially not a pornographic movie studio.
169. Not even if they *are* “especially patriotic films”.
174. Furby is not allowed into classified areas. (I swear to the gods, I did not make that up, it’s actually DOD policy).
176. Any device that can crawl across the table on medium, does not need to be brought into the office.
183. My chain of command has neither the time, nor the inclination to hear about what I did with six boxes of Fruit Roll-Ups.
185. My name is not a killing word.
191. Our Humvees cannot be assembled into a giant battle-robot.
200. My chain of command is not interested in why I “just happen” to have a kilt, an inflatable sheep, and a box of rubber bands in the back of my car.
203. “To conquer the earth with an army of flying monkeys” is a bad long term goal to give the re-enlistment NCO.
205. Don’t write up false gigs on a HMMWV PMCS. (“Broken clutch pedal”, “Number three turbine has frequent flame-outs”, “flux capacitor emits loud whine when engaged”)
207. The Chicken and Rice MRE is *not* a personal lubricant. (Skippy wanted this noted for the record that this is not something he has ever attempted or considered! It was something we heard at dinner on 22 September 2001 and it was just so obscene it had to go here.)
213. Do not convince NCO’s that their razorbumps are the result of microscopic parasites.
Yes, I know this has been around for a good long while, but I didn’t have a blog the first time I saw it, so…
4 commentsDecember 21st, 2006 at 02:16pmPosted by Eli
In September Discovery Films, along with Animal Planet, Oxford Scientific Films and the sales company Southern Star, began shooting an untitled documentary featuring some of the “Whiskers” meerkat family of the “Meerkat Manor” television series at home in their Kalahari colony.
Not to be outdone, the Weinstein Company in New York, along with BBC Films and the BBC Natural History Unit, got busy in November with “The Meerkats,” a documentary with its own take on the little diggers.
“Animals in a documentary go a long way with audiences,” Jack Foley, president of distribution for Focus Features, said in a telephone interview. Mr. Foley pointed out that “March of the Penguins” was not simply an outsize success in its own right, but also helped pave the way for “Happy Feet,” an animated penguin story that has been a major hit for Warner Brothers this season.
If meerkats are indeed the new penguins, that may owe something to the animals’ inherent charisma. Pam Bennett-Wallberg, a meerkat expert and executive director of Fellow Earthlings’ Wildlife Center in Morongo Valley, Calif., cast that appeal in the very grandest terms.
“I think people have become interested in meerkats,” she said, “because they are reminiscent of what is best in our own society and what is worst in our own society. They are incredibly courageous in defending family and friends, and they have the ultimate Napoleon complex. They’re small but mighty.”
The Whiskers family of “Meerkat Manor” has been under observation at a remote resort owned by Cambridge University in the Northern Cape of South Africa for about 3,000 hours over three years. That family has already worked its way into pop culture through the Animal Planet television show. The feature documentary in which those and other meerkats will star “will be, at times,” said Billy Campbell, president of Discovery Networks, “a little bit of ‘Desperate Housewives’ meets ‘Father Knows Best.’ ”
By contrast, James Honeyborne, director of the Weinstein/BBC project, appears focused on the animals’ wilder side, which he said would be easier to capture outside of a colony. “This is the opportunity for us to make a stand-alone, blue-chip wildlife film from the ground up,” he said. “It will be immersive. There will be a huge sense of place on a massive scale. You will really see real wild animals.”
While here in South Carolina, I saw both a dead cat and a dead dog on the side of the road (not at the same time). It’s a sad sight to begin with, and then I think about how that that cat and that dog were probably someone’s pets, and some unfortunate family is just devastated because their four-legged family member got hit by a car, and that makes it even sadder.
Now imagine that it’s someone’s mom or dad or grandma or brother or son, and they got shot or blown up for no good reason other than that they were in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Now imagine that there’s hundreds of thousands of them.