Thursday, April 29, 2004

Meet the new boss... Add disgrace to the list of wrongdoings in the U.S's illegal Iraqi occupation.
According to the U.S. Army, one Iraqi prisoner was told to stand on a box with his head covered, wires attached to his hands. He was told that if he fell off the box, he would be electrocuted.

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Oldster rock outfit Marillion beats recording industry at its own game by scoring a top 10 single with no label backing.
"Instead of gigging round toilets for ten years trying to get a record deal, gig around toilets for ten years and ask people for their email addresses. If what you’re doing strikes a chord, you’ll be financially better off while remaining pure and free to do what you want."

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Purveyors of fine BubbleGum: The Kama Sutra/Buddah Records Story. Here's another great page dedicated to 60's Bubblegum music. Check out the not-quite-60's but definitely pre-Futurama Bender rocking out with his band, Pink Filth. Or the sweet soul of The Sugar Bears.
In Search of Common Ground: a short Mother Jones piece on a nation more politically, culturally, and economically divided than ever.
All questions—especially "Where's the jobs?"—have the same answer: Cut taxes on the rich. And so we've cut taxes on the rich with a vengeance, even though no economist has come forward to defend that as sound strategy either for boosting short-term demand or for paying for investments in things like education that might let us stay abreast of the world. Instead, it's led directly to the next potentially unmanageable situation—the almost inconceivable budget deficit, half a trillion dollars a year, stretching deep off into the distance.
No evidence of a safe level: Exhaust harms drivers hearts (Nature)
It looks like is back in action, but really tiny. I wonder how long it will take this crew to delete 1.7 million songs once they realize the business model isn't there?
Bush Reich: Washington teen's antiwar drawings get him investigated
I'm always amazed that school officials seem to spinelessly go along with this kind of harrassment against students.

The boy's mother declined to talk with The Seattle Times last night. The Secret Service did not return the Herald's calls for comment, and a message left by The Associated Press with an after-hours duty officer in Washington, D.C., was not immediately returned yesterday.
"If this 15-year-old kid in Prosser is perceived as a threat to the president, then we are living in '1984.' " Cravens said.

Monday, April 26, 2004

The BBC's definitive guide to The Office.
Also check out the nice fanpage that has a section dedicated to the theme song, "Handbags and Gladrags" with downloadable mp3s. OnionAVClub interview with Ricky Gervais
Know your formal logic: The Fallacy Index

Friday, April 23, 2004

Whoa! The Pod Caravan!
Looks like a Danelectro guitar pedal, but you sleep in it. This is the Airstream for the Mini Cooper set.
[History] [of] [Bakelite]
If you have about 7 hours of free listening time on your hands, I recommend A Monstrous Work of
Computer-Generated Minimalism
, which, after hour 4 starts to really work in a profound way. Get to know randomness, and laugh in the face of absurdity. Listen to the whole thing.
Strange instruments: the springboard
A really nice DIY TRON costume, encasing a decidedly un-Jeff-Bridges-like program/guy.
Oh yeah, he's into it: "I debated whether to leave the el-wire in place (or, more correctly, to re-add it after repainting the armor). I finally decided that the coolness factor outweighed the consistency considerations."

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

"I havn't suffered doubt" (MSNBC)
Bush wanted to invade Iraq. What's striking, Bob Woodward's new book reports, is how little he discussed it with anyone.
Kerry accuses Bush of secret deal with Saudis for lower oil prices tied to November election. (NYTimes)

Monday, April 19, 2004

Build a washtub bass
You should be able to track down the parts and completely assemble them in one day. Actual assembly should take about an hour, depending on how long you take to cut the notch the bottom of your staff. That's the hardest part of the whole deal!
The Mummies: Kings of Budget Rock
If you havn't heard "You Must Fight To Live (on the Planet of the Apes)" get a copy by any means necessary.
A great article alleging corporate collusion among regional Bell Operating Companies (RBOCs). This is occurring with full complicity from the Republicans, who apparently see no problem with monopolistic threats to the free market when it affects their cronies in the industry.

"It's not like some seeds fell on the rocks, and there were patches where no grass grew. No grass grew, period, and that means only one thing: that the ground was poison," Berninger says.
Berninger is not the only observer who sees a problem with how local competition is developing, although other critics aren't quite as vehement.
U.S. Reps. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.) and Zoe Lofgren (D-San Jose) recently urged Attorney General John Ashcroft in Dec. 2002 to initiate an antitrust review of RBOC out-of- region competition because having an arrangement to carve up markets would be a violation of antitrust laws. The letter apparently has elicited no follow-up.

Sunday, April 18, 2004

Insultingly stupid movie physics
So you're gonna be on cribs.
28. When the MTV crew is leaving, be as rude as possible. Ex: "Now you've seen the crib, you best get to steppin."
North American Freshwater Fishes Index. Big.
Another index of Incredibly Strange Albums 1 2 3 4
(all from The galleries page is a trove.
Index of Sea Shanties. If you're in a hurry, stick to the Short-Haul Shanties

Friday, April 16, 2004

Wilco: A Ghost is Born Streaming from the wilcoworld website!

Thursday, April 15, 2004

"Treat your car to Super-Par" The Gallery of Gas Station signs (via Coudal)
Subservient Chicken: He fooled me for a minute...

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

Sharpeworld is back. I've always liked this site. Glad to see it back after a long hiatus.
Large Canadian Roadside Attractions.
Lots here, but I'm partial to the giant disposable paper cup.
Mini tree trunk homes (?)
"We get attacked day and night": (NYTimes) Civilian Americans in Iraq on the constant dangers of their jobs, while the current administration stretches long to blame Clinton for the event that led to our failing occupation.

Monday, April 12, 2004

The 78 rpm record label gallery
How the Zippo was made 50 years ago
Man bets everthing, wins.
A crowd, including his mother and father, watched as the roulette wheel was spun. The ball bobbled into various slots before landing on Red 7.
His winnings were paid at the table, Rose said. The cash is now in a safety deposit box at the hotel. Messages left for Revell by The Associated Press were not immediately returned. Rose said Revell claimed he came to the hotel "with nothing but the clothes on his back."
Cheap-to-Free audiobooks at Telltale Weekly

Friday, April 09, 2004

More hand-biting from the music industry, who is demanding an end to $.99 songs, because they're "too cheap".
20 minute stories @ McSweeneys
Say what you will about the luxury of having time to write, but give me a deadline. Deadlines take some of the fear out of writing. Sure, give all those monkeys laptops and a Starbucks card and they'll eventually come up with the works of Shakespeare. But what if you give them twenty minutes and then see what they've got?
Those gun-lovin', pro-death neo-Christians have added another charming funtime antic to their ever-growing stash: beating the tar out of the Easter Bunny. The truly Ashcroftian display of pseudofaith was staged for the benefit of children. Not sure if the bunny was turning the other cheek.
People who attended Saturday's show at Glassport's memorial stadium quoted performers as saying, "There is no Easter bunny," and described the show as being a demonstration of how Jesus was crucified. Melissa Salzmann, who brought her 4-year-old son J.T., said the program was inappropriate for young children. "He was crying and asking me why the bunny was being whipped," Salzmann said.

When do activities like this cease being "observance" and start being "sickness"?

Thursday, April 08, 2004

Good article on the Wrecking Crew: When the music was fast, and the players anonymous.
Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore on Kurt Cobain (NYTimes)
Tell the President and Congress to renew the Assault Weapons Ban
The NRA wants to put illegal military style rapid-fire assault weapons, including AK-47s and Uzis, back on our streets. Tell President Bush no way is this going to happen. The Assault Weapons Ban must be renewed. In this day and age, why would anyone want to put these killing machines back on our streets?

Wednesday, April 07, 2004

An analysis of Ringo's playing on every Beatles album
While exercising his creativity, Ringo never lets the rhythm slip. "Drive My Car" finds him doing his best Al Jackson impersonation, with the four-to-the-bar kick drum and funky syncopation in the refrain. There's a great sense of compression here - he sticks to the backbeat all the way through until ripping out a tiny little snare fill at the fade; it's one of the moments I look forward to most on this album.
The rightmost fringe of the lunatic mysticist camp: A long, but fascinating article on John Ashcroft (reprinted from Vanity Fair on, whose grabbag of ignorance-fueled oddities makes Michael Jackson look like a pretty calm, reasonable fellow.

This guy inhabits a strange universe in which not only song and dance are satanic, female breasts are evil, but, get this, calico cats are "instruments of the devil".
New spring additions at coudal's Museum of Online Museums, like the Gallery of Amish Buggy Plates.
Installing Linux on a dead badger (via /.)
Art be damned- In sync with our prudish, church-lady times, a new neopuritanical dvd player automatically skips cursing, nudity.
"In the guise of making films 'family-friendly,' ClearPlay seeks to make whatever 'edits' they see fit to any material they don't like," the group said in a prepared statement. "By not seeking the consent of the director, whose name on the movie reflects the fact that the film comprises his or her work, or of the studio as copyright holder, they can and do change the very meaning and intent of films."
The Bush administration's assault on health and the environment continues as they attempt to downplay the toxic effects of mercury in favor of granting favor to cronies in fossil-fuel burning energy corporations.
In some cases, White House staff members suggested phrasing that minimized the links between power plants and elevated levels of mercury in fish, the primary source from which Americans accumulate mercury in their bodies, in a form known as methylmercury.
Small amounts of mercury occur naturally in the environment. In December 2000, however, the environmental agency concluded that mercury from power plants should be classified as a hazardous air pollutant to be strictly regulated under the Clean Air Act. In December 2003, the Bush administration reversed that finding.

Tuesday, April 06, 2004

An insanely analytical examination of Netflix's dvd rental practices, with a good dose of the obligatory compulsive "what you guys really should do is..." content.
The Coconut Weblog is a blog for people who are really into the coconut and the islands that spawn them.
Every year for literally 50 years, Ed Clinch received a mysterious coconut in the mail, "always wearing a blond wig, googly eyes and lipstick." He died in 1997, and one of the same coconuts appeared on his grave that year. He died without ever learning who was sending him the coconuts.
Exactly 600,426,974,379,824,381,952 possible spellings of Viagra, and my inbox has only seen about half of them. (from cockeyed - the 'bad things' guys)
The sliding rocks of Racetrack playa.
Trails created by the rocks vary in length and direction. Some trails show gradual (curving) or abrupt (angular) changes in direction; most trails indicate a general south/southwest to north/northeast motion
They Might Be Giants: Phoneless Dial-A-Song
The Murals of Diego Rivera from his eponymous web museum. Zoomable panels from his San Fransisco mural. At the Detroit Ford plant
ACLU to sue the government over No-Fly list as a violation to passenger rights.

Monday, April 05, 2004

A Heretical View of File Sharing (NYTimes) that really isn't so heretical. Downloads don't hurt sales. Even more galling is the industry's subversion of legislative process. In the past 4 years, they've been allowed to criminalize an issue because of the influence of one very wealthy group, even harming the beneficial intentions of copyright law in the process. Getting rid of these terrible laws is going to be near-impossible.

Sunday, April 04, 2004

Digital Needle - A virtual gramophone
This guy flatbed scans LPs, and deduces the extracts of the grooves from the images.

Friday, April 02, 2004

Ohhhh... so this is the job creation strategy he's talking about.
"I would like to have the largest, most professional private army in the world." (NYTimes)

Hey... wouldn't we all? But Gary Jackson, president of Blackwater USA, might actually get it with his bankrolled backing by the Bush administration.

Business is booming at Blackwater, and the company is hardly alone. Private contractors are an invisible but growing part of how war is now fought. Some 10,000 of them are serving in Iraq — one private worker for every 10 soldiers — more than the number of soldiers from Britain, America's largest coalition partner. Some are supplied by well-known corporations like Halliburton. But for the most part, the private military industry is dominated by more obscure businesses with names that seem designed to tell as little as possible about what the company does.
So it looks like the pigs and the farmers are sharing the dinner table.
"This agreement launches a new relationship between Sun and Microsoft - a significant step forward that allows for cooperation while preserving customer choice," said Scott McNealy, chairman and chief executive officer, Sun Microsystems, Inc. "This agreement will be of significant benefit to both Sun and Microsoft customers. It will stimulate new products, delivering great new choices for customers who want to combine server products from multiple vendors and achieve seamless computing in a heterogeneous computing environment. We look forward to this opportunity - it provides a framework for cooperation between Sun and Microsoft going forward."

Register link to same
Privacy under fire yet again.
In the Opinion Journal, Heather MacDonald attempts to demonize anyone who would dare question the Administration's intrusion into private personal data, even referring to the privacy movement as a "Jihad" - with all of its terroristic implications.

Let's look at why people might be concerned that their private data is being mined and analyzed for telltale signs that they might be worthy of further investigation:

We have a court-appointed administration that holds prisoners without access to legal counsel; that arbitrarily assigns risk to situations without having to answer to the reasons behind such assignments; that has overstepped its bounds of power by appointing radicals like John Ashcroft - a man whose popular support is so miniscule that he was trounced by a corpse in the last elections in his own state - to positions of immense power; that has declared war and continues to occupy a sovereign state without proving cause, or for that matter, any reasonable guarantee of success in its stated mission, and that tirelessly combats free speech (monitoring libraries!) at every opportunity. Furthermore, airlines have failed miserably at even the most simple operational procedures that were put in place to "ensure" safety. The administration, through CAPS, CAPSII, and TIA have asked for even more intrusive access without having to justify the reasons for its searches, while real, concrete methods for ensuring safety (procedures as simple as making it more difficult to obtain assault weapons) are fought tooth and nail by the ultra-right administration. This administration isn't interested in its citizens' safety or welfare - it is a conflicted, opportunistic special interest hive trying to push a radicalized fringe-minority ideology into the mainstream by sheer beaurocratic force.

A huge number of people see this transparent power-grab for what it is and are reacting with justified debate.
This is precisely what angers Ms. MacDonald and her administration cohorts.

Given these facts, that Ms. MacDonald finds cause for alarm at the citizens distrust in its own government is astounding. The Bush administration's actions have made the case for defending their intrusions an impossible task. Find a new platform Ms. MacDonald. Bush is a liar, a war profiteer, and a hapless failure as a leader. Privacy advocates shouldn't and won't back down to his continued assaults on democracy.

Thursday, April 01, 2004

Rap Snacks: The official snack of hip-hop
A really nice history site dedicated to Stax Records. This guy even has posted scans of old recording session paychecks that he dug up. Mitch Ryder: 25 bucks? Damn.

This is the first of a series of pages about Stax Records, Memphis, and many of the people I met and worked with. I hope to keep adding to them as time allows, and include many more people, details, and little stories. As I wrote this, I did my best to provide clear, accurate details. Almost everything in this article took place well over 30 years ago.
My memory happens to be excellent - especially in regard to my days at Stax - the best, most powerful, and most influential musical period in my life.
In some areas, I've stated my own opinions about certain events and people. I realize not everyone will necessarily agree with my thoughts. In other areas, I've refrained from personal opinions, and tried to write simple facts as I remember them.
Early 80's Atari Age magazine scans!
Read Action Comics #1 (first Superman) online (memepool).
Lying Jerk Action Figure! via mefi
The top 100 April Fools day jokes of all time
April Fools? British chicken nukes