Showing posts from June, 2007

Pretty Please?

This article destined for the #1 issue of Cashier World Magazine. A man who thought the clerk at a fast-food drive-through was rude for not saying "please" and "thank you" punched her in the face, police said.

New Word of the Day

Ritch - this is the kind of itch you get when you even think about rich people and want to have what they have, or at least everything in your own home suddenly seems pale and drab, you go online and look at fancy things and want to spend a lot of money.

Squatter.com

If you go to squatter.com , you can find "homes for sale". kind of misses the point, don't you think? if i could buy a freakin' house, would i be squatting? well, maybe i would. there are other things to buy - food, clothing, etc ...

Squatter With a Lexus - Preface

Squatter With a Lexus When Katie Parsons received a letter notifying her that she had thirty days to present the key to a strongbox or its contents would revert to the state, she realized that either this was a mistake or else her ship had finally come in. It was a mistake. When she inspected the envelope she discovered that the letter was addressed to a Mr. Pearson Holmes. She had never heard of any Holmes outside of Sherlock. "Oh well", she sighed. "easy come, easy go", and tossed the letter into the kitchen garbage pail. It sat there all day Wednesday, all day Thursday, and most of Friday, until her husband, Keith, finally took out the trash. Then the letter sat in the yard beside the garage for the rest of Friday, and well into Saturday morning. It was retrieved by Freddy the Freegan on Saturday, June 23rd, at 11:47 A.M. That is when our story begins.

Not the News - Perpetual Edition

There's a site for "not the news" items - fark.com - all the crap that isn't news. man, there's a lot of it!

Cashier World

I always wanted to publish a magazine called 'Cashier World'. There seems to be a magazine for everything else, why not one for the millions who work a cash register every day? Of course it would be a spoof of a trade magazine, with all sorts of ridiculous sections: reviews of the latest hi-tech cash registers and their features questions and answers, tips on successful customer interaction strategies secrets of making change best companies to cashier for the art of the void page three cashier girl of the week cash related mp3 song of the week

Freegans

" Freegans are people who employ alternative strategies for living based on limited participation in the conventional economy and minimal consumption of resources". dumpster diving with a philosophy - I think my "squatter with a lexus" might turn out to be a freegan. Not sure where he found the lexus, though, or where he gets the gas for it. some things are harder to find than others. he also legally changed his name to something without capital letters. capitalization is yet another abomination. truly, the system is fucked. he holds some truths to be self-evident. maybe not his father's truths, but thruths nonetheless. he goes native in the summertime. he does a hell of a lot of rationalizing ("Hitchhiking fills up room in a car that would have been unused otherwise and therefore it does not add to the overall consumption of cars and gasoline.") i'm thinking it's easier to be a hippie when you're young

Cutout

So much, people seem to think that a father has to be this, that a man has to be that, that a person must do such and such, go this way in life, not that. Sometimes people will tell you that you can be yourself, think for yourself, but we don't really want to do that. Easier to just go along. Your kids will have a lot of influences but only one father, ever - don't let it be a cardboard cutout of a dad - make it a dad no other kids could ever have, a one and only dad, just you and who you are and who you are with them. All their life they'll carry with them at least one image of one authentic person, if you're lucky. A father must be this or that - forget about it. You, as a father, must be you. That's the only "must" about it.

Cliques in Space

cyberspace that is - about time this manifested: The goodie two shoes, jocks, athletes, or other "good" kids are now going to Facebook. These kids tend to come from families who emphasize education and going to college. They are part of what we'd call hegemonic society. They are primarily white, but not exclusively. They are in honors classes, looking forward to the prom, and live in a world dictated by after school activities. MySpace is still home for Latino/Hispanic teens, immigrant teens, "burnouts," "alternative kids," "art fags," punks, emos, goths, gangstas, queer kids, and other kids who didn't play into the dominant high school popularity paradigm. These are kids whose parents didn't go to college, who are expected to get a job when they finish high school. These are the teens who plan to go into the military immediately after schools. Teens who are really into music or in a band are also on MySpace. MySpace has most of the k

The Magic of Failure

A good friend of mine had his application accepted to run in the New York marathon this year. Apparently, the reason for the acceptance was that he had been denied the previous three times in a row; if he had not failed before, he would not have succeeded this time. Try, try again, in this case, is 'try, try, try, try again' - with results guaranteed.

Education

Not everything you need to know can be learned in kindergarden. For example, from 'Therese Raquin', by Emile Zola: She learned that it was possible to be happy without killing your husband

The Latest in Names

For future reference, this " fun names " site.

Rated

What's up with this? Some online dating service does blog rating. weird Mingle 2 - Blog Rating

Missing Pieces

All over the news these days - stories about missing pieces and random acts of cutting: Man's Nose Partially Bitten Off in Fight Baby Doesn't Belong to Missing Woman Great America shuts ride after Kentucky accident chops off girl's feet Barber Stabs Client With Scissors

Pack Man

Some people like to run with the pack, some with the herd. Noticing that my son loves to run around in a playground with a few other friends, but doesn't like doing things in large groups as much (for example, splashing around in a big pool filled with kids). Just a comfort level thing, I suppose; he's more likely to shy away from team sports for this reason. I didn't mind getting lost in a crowd - it's one of the reasons I spent at least half my life living in big cities and working downtown. I liked the anonymity. But lately I'm also more of a pack man too. I prefer my little family, our circle of friends, our tiny town in the woods. Man domesticated dogs, but it worked the other way around too - dogs found man to their liking, partly because of our shared affinity for pack-ness.

Articulate Enemies

If you must make enemies, choose inarticulate ones. Otherwise you will end up reading erudite posts trashing you in ways you literally cannot understand. Better to have an enemy who says, "you, you, you, you suck, man!".

Cultural Traitors

My reaction to this interesting post on "crack-rap" My reaction to this piece is that this is about cultural treason - these so-called artists who are enabling racists to feel good about their racism are nothing more than traitors. This is not some historically unique phenomenon. It reminds me of Nazi collaborators, including artists who were happy to profit from fascism and claim, 'hey, it's every man for himself'. There will always be such 'running dogs', and on the other hand, there will always be people eager to accuse others of acting against the traditions or best interest of their clan or state or race - this is universal. Googling "cultural traitor" can lead as far afield as this: "Sadly, as a Malay performing and promoting Classical Indian Dance, Ramli has had to battle accusations of being a cultural traitor". As long as people cling to one form of identity or another (and people always will, I believe), they're going to h

Research

Science Discovers Language Exists for a Reason and other astonishing developments. A recent review of Eric Voegelin's work indicates that this historian seemed to think that all of history leads inexorably to the present, hence we can draw conclusions. The reason things are the way they are now is because of the way they were then. From this we may also infer that the way things will be in the future is highly dependent on the way they are now. Thus, as Karl Kraus predicted, history need not actually occur in order for us to know how it will turn out. It will be as it must.

Kinds of Seafood

1. Sea food - food from the sea 2. No-See food - when the lights go out in your restaurant 3. C-food - eating only foods that begin with the letter C (chicken, corn, cucumbers) and introducing the scientifically produced kind: Labster

A Word To The Wise

To the googler who arrived here after searching for "are bionicles good for christians", I can assure you that the answer is, most indubitably, yes. Bionicles are in fact excellent for Christians. There's nothing better for a Christian than a Bionicle. I would recommend Vezon and Fenrak. They're my favorite Bionicle. They have that nice Armageddon feeling about them Bionicles also make good gifts for any occasion. Well, maybe not your Golden Anniversary. or Mother's Day. Never mind.

Pile On

So tempting to just grab a series of headlines - say, everything that catches my eye in one week's time, or even one day - and then try to graft them onto a fiction together. For example, Florida Man Strangles Rabid Bobcat would somehow have to fit in with Lab-Grown Designer Vaginas .

Belief System

A friend reminded me that all of us, as part of the nature of consciousness, have a predisposition to possess a belief system of some kind. Consciousness is a framework for making sense of the world (so we can, like, survive without going crazy?), and a belief system is part of the infrastructure. Religion is one of those belief systems, Atheism is also one, in fact almost any coherent group of concepts can serve the purpose. Your belief system may revolve around a card game, the mating rituals of beetles, or any other metaphor or set of ideas that make you feel OK about the way things are. I would only request two elements of any belief system: 1) tolerance of other belief systems and 2) a sense of humor! Puh-lease. Now I understand why atheists have as little sense of humor (as a group) as any other group - because they ARE like any other group.

Cryomatic

Nothing funny about a blind guy crossing the street and smacking into a parked car, but come on, the guy was jaywalking! wtf? ongoing series of people who assume we are jewish. old lady coming out of mcdonald's looks at my smiling son, looks back at me, grins and says, "what a face! what a schmazzer!" i googled it but came up with nothing. wtf part deux? the boy was introduced to baseball cards at his first day of summer camp today. on the way home he says, "Albert Pujols [poo-jowels]. Do we like him?" Sometimes a boy just needs his dad to be his dad, like picking him up early on his first day at a new place, taking him out to a playground, and just hanging out while he tries to absorb all the new and strange experiences.

Sir Wha?

Of course the British knighthood business is utterly ridiculous, but they out-parody themselves by knighting a crappy novelist (personal opinion) stupidly reviled by billions of people around the world (fact). jolly good show. what the heck. why not just go ahead and knight everyone who ever made a headline? Now, in this article , Britain's interior minister's claim is that the knighting represents a defense of "free speech". "We have a set of values that accords people honors when they contribute to literature even if we don't agree with their point of view" I don't disagree, but we also have limits on free speech, such as shouting "fire" in a crowded theater, and one could argue that that is equivalent to what they've done.

Post-Weekend Drip

Spent around 22 hours this weekend working at our local summer fair, organizing fundraising activities for the local school. some mehmets (memory units): "given enough time, anything will turn into contentious bullshit" (mehmet t) sometimes volunteering is harder than "working" asking 50 people in order to get 20 people to do something for nothing - the amazing thing is that you can even get 20 people! everyone each doing a little bit really adds up to a lot at one point we were watching a guy rocking out on stage, singing and playing guitar and grinning and having a great time. my friend turns to me and tells me, that guy has lung cancer. this is one of his last shows ever ... makes you realize the value of the hippie-ish perspective - to look for the beauty in everything, to enjoy the moment ... on the other hand, there's the problem of the free lunch you don't ever get.

Distance

interesting article on On the vastness of the universe, and why human colonization of other worlds is never going to happen (without a magic wand) (and anyway, wasn't all that sci fi stuff basically just another version of the wild wild west and the american mythology of endless expansionism?)

Scandal Lovers

Anyone who loves a juicy scandal will enjoy this story from Argentina , involving class, sex, adultery, homosexuality, police incompetence, and incest.

More Stupid Questions

From a BlueButterfly on LiveVideo

How Many Stars?

From a letter in Salon , a very nice summation of the question, "how many stars?" try to imagine this: Here are the facts, no faith required: in a universe of 200 Billion Galaxies (200,000,000,000) with most galaxies including our own averaging 200 Billion suns apiece, that works out to around 400 Quintillion stars in the universe (400,000,000,000,000,000,000), not counting all the massive and supermassive black holes at the centers of most of those 200 Billion galaxies. The Milky Way has 150-200 globular clusters, and there is one galaxy Messier 87 that has 11 to 13 thousand globular clusters for a total star population in the tens of trillions. We occupy the third planet of a G-Class Population I star (and there are more than 100 Million G stars in the Milky Way alone) in the Orion or Local Spur arm of the Milky Way Galaxy, one of thirty galaxies in the Local Group, on of the outlying groups which make up thirty of the two thousand galaxies in the Virgo Cluster, which makes

Iffy About God

Atheism gets boost from the comics, in - Opus on Salon.com - he's not quite joining the Atheist Shopping Network , but he is little bit "iffy about God"

touch transmission

in today's "isn't science like woah" category, transmitting data through bones could help disabled people control gadgets

We'll get there when we get there

in today's work adventure, i fill up a server with data, then pull the plug and watch it all drain. it starts out draining rapidly enough, but soon the rate of drainage slows, and keeps slowing, so that everytime i calculate the endtime, it is twenty minutes away. it was twenty minutes from completion two hours ago, one hour ago, twenty minutes ago, and now. very much like zeno's paradox. if you always go halfway, you will never reach the end

Squatter with a Lexus

It's actually a sporty Mazda, but Lexus sounds better. You know that housing prices are out of control when Lexus owners resort to squatting in abandoned ghost homes. When a little dog is kidnapped from his fenced-in yard, and shows up the next day at an animal shelter thirty miles away, it's probably because of a love triangle. Plants recognize their siblings . And steal their toys. "A man's got to know his limitations" (still my all-time favorite movie line, from Dirty Harry in 'Magnum Force'), or "a book is like a mirror. If a monkey's looking in, don't expect to see an apostle looking out" (Georg Christoph Lichtenberg) - Something that is entertaining along the way, but doesn't really make a whole lot of sense, and doesn't have much emotional impact, if any - this is pretty much my genre.

evolution wars rage on

hundreds of comments on this vox populi post rejecting evolution, noting that most Republicans reject evolution while most Democracts accept it, but, oddly, stating that most Republicans are also wealthier and happier than Democrats, which apparently proves something (other than that rich people tend to be Republicans and also that rich people tend to be happier than poor people). But woah, hundreds of comments! The war rages on! Just when you thought it was safe to crawl out of the water! another "only in america"

done and done

after coming across Denzel Washington as a "time traveling federal agent who falls in love with a woman fated to be murdered", I am officially done and done with time travel forever. i am even considering going back in time and unwriting my two time travel fictions and unrecording my "tedious time traveler" videos. didn't know you could go fishing for frogs with a fishing pole and a plastic worm. another lesson from our local 9 year old superman. moths hatching in droves around the live oaks - it's that time of year again.

Robot Toddler

Science strikes again : A group of scientists in Japan have developed a humanoid that acts like a toddler to better understand child development. Which reminds me, I was going to bake some mechanical cookies to find out how cookies taste!

New Standards in Miracles

Forget about the Virgin Mary, now you can see the face of a dead mayor in a tree trunk

History of Kindergarten

Friedrich Froebel, the romantic motherless son who started the first kindergarten in Germany in 1840, would be horrified by what’s called kindergarten today. He conceived the early learning experience as a homage to Jean-Jacques Rousseau, who believed that “reading is the plague of childhood. . . . Books are good only for learning to babble about what one does not know.” Letters and numbers were officially banned from Froebel’s kindergartens from this interesting Times magazine article

Pet Peeve of the Day - Dental Edition

"you can never go to the dentist once" - they always find some reason to make you come again

Halal and Haram

Entertaining article about a Muslim TV Sex Talk Show where doggie-style is verboten and women are different and never need to masturbate and homosexuality is like alcoholism and the Koran commands foreplay. Hey, it's almost the 1950's all over again with Cosmo and a Muslim Helen Gurley Brown (although without the 10-step blow job manual). It's very simple, she says, this is good and that is bad. I remember reading in a Jewish religious text (during a boring bar mitzvah) about God ordering how many blue threads should be woven into the fringe of a scarf, as opposed to how many white threads, and it made me think, woah, that God is pretty neurotic, not to say micro-managing, but who knew He was also so particular about sexual positions and who can fuck who and how!

Headline of the Day

"Bush says Russian won't attack Europe" - Oh, Mr. Know-It-All is at it again! Has he "looked into the heart" of Putin one more time? What a fucking moron. So after they cooked up this whole 'war on terror' to keep the defense industry booming after the end of the cold war, BOOM, the cold war is back! dang. next they'll be telling us that we've always been at war with the commies, and the muslims are our friends. no wait, it's the muslims we're at war with, not the commies. oh it's so confusing! meanwhile, four men in a kitchen plan to blow up new york and the headlines scream NEW YORK BLOWN UP! these guys will turn out to be as dangerous as the guys from buffalo who took a trip to pakistan, or the guys in florida, who wanted to wear uniforms and march, or the guys in lodi, or the so-called american taliban, or the 15-year old in guantanamo. keep the fear coming. if it isn't terrorists it's communists or martians in their freak

One Question

My wife posed the problem, if you could ask a presidential candidate one question, what would it be? Her own question is excellent (i paraphrase) - do you think it's fair that the quality of public schools should depend on the property tax base of their locations, creating such great disparities for our children, and if not, what do you propose to do about it? Our child is in a very small rural school district and compared to some just over the hill (in the very wealthy communities of Portola Valley, Woodside and Palo Alto) our schools seem to have almost nothing, really. No extracurricular activities, no sports, no fancy learning centers; nothing but an incredibly dedicated and brilliant staff, and parent volunteers who all together try to make as much of a difference as they can. And yet, compared to schools just a few more miles down the road, in East Palo Alto, for example, or Oakland, San Leandro, Hayward, our schools seem positively luxurious. We have heaters, we have windows

Must Be Hard

Jim Carroll wrote in a song, "it must be hard to work in a bookstore, constantly surrounded by the memories of your true loves". Different to browse in a cluttered old used bookstore, the kind with piles of teetering paperbacks on the floor and barely organized sections on the shelves. If you have the time, you look at every book in a given area. Many of them you recognize (especially if you are someone who for many years worked in bookstores) and many more you do not. Each and every title was somebody's true love once - the author's. Each of them was a dream, a labor, an achievement, and now they sit there, yellowed, falling apart, available for pennies on the dollar for one more chance at becoming discovered. I picked up a few the other day. One I had read before (Therese Raquin by Zola), one I had long meant to read (A Redous by Huysmans) and one I had never heard of (which shall remain nameless here). This last one was the second novel by a writer who had had a bi

Moving Target

once again, 'golden' has been majorly revised (see the previous post). is there no end? usually when i write a story i write it and it's done. this one just won't stop. and yet, i think it's getting better all the time

Synopsis

We begin in a small bookstore. The bookstore owner (Wolff) is seated behind the counter reading PK Dick's "Ubik" when a man (Ronson) comes in, shows him a picture of another man and asks if he has seen him. In that moment, the two men seem to partially become each other, but the transaction becomes a normal sale as if nothing unusual just happened. The 'customer' (Ronson-Wolff) leaves the store and the 'owner' (Wolff-Ronson) remains where he was. Two men (Jimmy and Riley) come rushing in, looking for their leader, Ronson, but not recogonizing the partial Ronson-now-Wolff as that man. Told he has just left, they rush back out onto the street but see only a family - a father, teenaged son, and young daughter. The two men decide to return to 'the station', as the teenaged son comes into the bookstore, says goodbye to his family. The young man is reporting to work. The young man (Myron) and the bookstore owner (Wolff) later go to lunch together, at a r

Special Mask

Overheard, one kindergartner explaining a game to the other: You put the special mask on, and you're so filled with knowledge, you die.

Carbon Credit Emporium

Here you can trade in those pesky carbon credits your mom got you for Christmas in exchange for tupperware, grillware, and other fine carbon products.

Test Of Faith

Test your faith by answering the following questions, true or false: 1) I believe in the number three 2) I believe that cats like me 3) I believe that heavy cream falls faster than light cream Any combination of answers is correct. After all, faith is a personal matter.

EyeDrag

When browsing through a bookstore, there are authros whose mere presence on the shelves is annoying - they've wasted your eyesight by having to see their names