June 17th, 2004


Asked whether he was disappointed that Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld had improperly held an Iraqi prisoner in secret for more than seven months in violation of the Geneva Conventions, Bush replied: “The secretary and I discussed that for the first time this morning. … I’m never disappointed in my secretary of defense. He’s doing a fabulous job and America’s lucky to have him in the position he’s in.”

Actually, I’m being unfair. He did answer the question. He’s not disappointed that Rumsfeld improperly held an Iraqi prisoner in secret for more than seven months in violation of the Geneva Conventions, Rumsfeld is doing a fabulous job improperly holding an Iraqi prisoner in secret for more than seven months in violation of the Geneva Conventions, and America is lucky to have him improperly hold an Iraqi prisoner in secret for more than seven months in violation of the Geneva Conventions.

June 16th, 2004

a compendium of LOTR pastiches with divers learned additions:

the ring being Brand
-new;and you

know consequently a
little big i was
careful of it and(having

thoroughly shined the elvish
script checked my pocket felt of
its chain made sure it was around my neck O.

K.)i went right to it jammed-it-on my finger straight …

from III C 2, Whether Balrogs have Wings:

I assert that Balrogs do not have wings. For, it is a natural impulse to act to preserve one’s life, and in doing so, to make full use of one’s capabilities. If the Balrog did have wings, it would not allow itself to fall to its death in the mines of Moria, but save itself by the use of its wings. …

Reply to Objection ii. Dragons and Balrogs are alike in that they are both servants of evil and of flame, but they differ in their accidental traits. Because two things are alike in one way, it is not proper to argue that they are alike in other ways.

“If one finds a ring in a dark cave, or an enchanted blade in a grave-barrow, these he is allowed to keep.”

If one finds a ring in a dark cave — what is the reason for this? Thus said R. Yitzchak: It is because the owner of the ring would have been checking it at all times, and thus, he would have noticed when he lost it, and surely he would have said, “woe is me, for I have lost my preciousss,” and as R. Zvid said in the name of Rabha, if one says, “woe it me, for I have lost my preciousss,” he does not expect to recover it.

And of which rings are we talking? Rabha bar R. Chana says, “even the nine”. Ullah says, “even the seven.” Reish Lakish says, “even the three.” R. Nachman says in the name of Shmuel, “This is only true of the One Ring, and that only because the One Ring is never truly lost by chance.”

June 16th, 2004

NEASDEN CONTROL CENTRE has updated their site with more juicy goodness. The Shop is still closed, and navigation & layout is cleaner than ever. Please note that in this case, that is not a compliment but a complaint. Since their first web iteration (well, the first one I saw, two years ago), their site has gotten more and more straight-forward. And has contained less. :::sigh:::

June 16th, 2004

Google's Bloomsday logo

June 16th, 2004

New York Times: Bloomsday, 1904

Sixteenth today it is,” thinks Leopold Bloom, and the 16th it was, in June 1904. James Joyce, age 22, would walk out that very night in Dublin with Nora Barnacle, whom he later wedded. “Ulysses” is set on that day ? Bloomsday, as it has come to be called ? in honor of Joyce’s meeting Miss Barnacle. Many Joyceans have made of Bloomsday a literary Mardi Gras, an odyssey through Dublin using the points of Joyce’s compass, a day to celebrate Irishness and the peculiar verbal fecundity of that nation. In a novel full of celebrated talkers, it is Bloom, Jew and Irishman, who hovers, voice and thought, over the proceedings. As one barroom patron in the novel says, show Bloom a straw on the floor and “he’d talk about it for an hour so he would and talk steady.”

All these years later, one somehow thinks of “Ulysses” as being of that day, June 16, 1904, though it was published in February 1922. It is still as defiant a comedy as ever, as fictional as a gazetteer, willing to make a hash of the genres its author inherited. Now and then, a critic feels the need to tilt against “Ulysses,” to complain of a byzantine difficulty in certain passages, to lament Joyce’s leaps of logic and illogic, his utter sacrifice of plot. But by destroying plot ? reducing it to a kind of geography ? Joyce succeeds in reinventing time. Bloomsday is the most capacious day in literature. Only the hours of Lear’s suffering last longer, and there time passes in a stage direction. Language has almost never had a surer substance ? a stronger temporal beat ? than Joyce gives it in the thoughts of Leopold Bloom and his wife, Molly, along with Stephen Dedalus and Dublin’s assembled hordes.

“Ulysses” has come to stand as the apogee of “elitist” literature, a novel that carries a kind of foreboding in its very title, the prospect of a hard road ahead. But there is really no less elitist novel in the English language. Its stuff is the common life of man, woman and child. You take what you can, loping over the smooth spots and pulling up short when you need to. Dedalus may indulge in Latinate fancy, and Joyce may revel in literary mimicry. But the real sound of this novel is the sound of the street a century ago: the noise of centuries of streets echoing over the stones.

Each of the last three years I have organized a 24-hour marathon reading of Ulysses; this year, I am taking a break.

June 15th, 2004

NY Newsday: Reagan should be on a $3 bill

The great American news industry, the Pekinese of the Press with so much room and time and nothing to say, compared Reagan to Lincoln and Hamilton, they really did. This is like claiming that the maintenance man wrote the Bill of Rights. And almost all the reporters agreed that Reagan was the man who brought down Russia in the Cold War.

Just saying this is absolutely sinful. The Cold War was won by a long memo written by George Kennan, who worked in the State Department and sent the memo by telegram about the need for a “Policy of Containment” on Russia. Kennan said the contradictions in their system would ruin them. Keep them where they are and they will tear themselves apart. We followed Kennan’s policy for over 40 years. The Soviets made it worse on themselves by building a wall in East Berlin. When they had to tear it down and give up their system, Kennan was in Princeton and he sat down to dinner.

I thought that children were taught this. Instead, all week, reporters told us that Ronald Reagan won the Cold War. Beautiful.

June 15th, 2004

Could I ask you a favor? I’ve been playing more and more with my cheap digital cameras and tweaking the output (snapshot gallery 2 thru gallery 6). I’m not sure if what I’m doing is “good” in an external sense (ie, others might say so), or just good as in “I like to do it.” One of my doubts has to do with my focus (so to speak) on faces. I’ve never been drawn to faces in my art before, so I don’t know if these are good pictures, or that part of the brain that responds to faces is responding. Does that make sense?

Anyway, I’m looking at converting some of these to slides for some show submission. So before I pop to money on slides and submission fees, I’d like to have some opinions. Any that strike your fancy in an “externally good” sort of way?

You may also consider work from art wroks 1 and 2, as well as the poorly-named digital collages. I gotta revise all of this layout, don’t I…. Anyway, let me know what you think.

That is, if you’ve got the time to take a gander…

June 15th, 2004 5,000-year-old necropolis under Cairo – Jun 14, 2004

CAIRO, Egypt (AP) — Archaeologists have unearthed a 5,000-year-old necropolis with 20 well-preserved tombs in a poor neighborhood just outside Cairo, Egyptian authorities announced Sunday.

The site in the suburb of Helwan is a mixture of small, plain tombs with larger ones meant for the middle and upper classes, with containing alabaster, limestone, clay and copper pots and pans, the statement said.

The necropolis also contains a limestone relief with early uses of hieroglyphic texts, according to Christian Kohler, head of the Australian team of archaeologists.

“It is a duty to protect this magnificent archaeological site from the urban expansion which represent a major threat to (Helwan’s) monuments,” she said, quoted in a statement from Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities.

Two large limestone tombs found at the site date to the Old Kingdom, 2575-2134 B.C. and contain a collection of small chapels and niches.

Helwan, some 15 miles south of Cairo, is a heavily populated industrial area located across the Nile river from the pyramids of Saqqara, also a cemetery site.

June 15th, 2004

Uninvited Artist Posts Work at 4 Museums

Wed Jun 9, 2:54 PM ET

By ULA ILNYTZKY, Associated Press Writer

NEW YORK – Paintings of President Bush (news – web sites) and former President Clinton (news – web sites), accompanied by messages referring to the artist’s bodily fluids, mysteriously appeared last week on the walls of two major city museums and reportedly at two other museums in Philadelphia and Washington.

Harold Holzer, a spokesman for the Metropolitan Museum of Art, said Wednesday that a cartoon-type painting of Bush against a background of shredded dollar bills was found hanging Saturday on the wall near an exit in the museum’s modern art galleries.

“The Metropolitan is a repository for the greatest works of human creativity over the last 5,000 years,” Holzer said. “It is not a bulletin board. For us, it is clearly an unwelcome demonstration of

The 9-by-15-inch work, done on a frameless canvas, was affixed to the wall with double-sided tape. A label taped next to the painting said it was made with “acrylic, legal tender and the artist’s semen.”

Apparently no one saw it being put up.

Similar paintings of Bush and Clinton were left Saturday at the Guggenheim Museum. Police and FBI agents determined there was no threat to the public, authorities said.

Also targeted were the National Gallery of Art in Washington and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the New York Post reported Wednesday.

Representatives of those three museums declined to comment or were not immediately available when contacted by The Associated Press.

Citing an unidentified source, the Post said the intruder left typewritten notes at all four locations that read: “I mixed my semen in some acrylic gel medium and I painted it in the right hand corner of this piece of art. It is an artistic reference to the silent power of the biological

Although the museum screens visitors’ bags, Holzer said the small painting would not have raised any alarms and would not have been confiscated, because many museum visitors go to the Met to sketch.


Associated Press Writer Tom Hays contributed to this report.

June 15th, 2004

Everything isn’t Under Control

Daily Show Clip of Ashcroft stonewalling.

June 15th, 2004

The New York Times: Reaganite by Association? His Family Won’t Allow It

[Ron] Reagan was not quite so pointed on Friday night. “Dad was also a deeply, unabashedly religious man,” he told mourners gathered at sunset at the Reagan presidential library. “But he never made the fatal mistake of so many politicians – wearing his faith on his sleeve to gain political advantage. True, after he was shot and nearly killed early in his presidency he came to believe that God had spared him in order that he might do good. But he accepted that as a responsibility, not a mandate. And there is a profound difference.”

June 14th, 2004


June 14th, 2004

This toy really blows.

June 11th, 2004

Today, Friday June 11, 2004, is a National Day of Mourning. Having come of age during his presidency, I was never the biggest fan of Ronald Reagan. Nevertheless, I join the rest of my nation in mourning the loss of a President.

June 10th, 2004

from NYT

Reagan: Media Myth and Reality

“Ronald Reagan was the most popular president ever to leave office,” explained ABC anchor Elizabeth Vargas (6/6/04). “His approval ratings were higher than any other at the end of his second term.” Though the claim was repeated by many news outlets, it is not true; Bill Clinton’s approval ratings when he left office were actually higher than Reagan’s, at 66 percent versus Reagan’s 63 percent (Gallup, 1/10-14-01). Franklin Delano Roosevelt also topped Reagan with a 66 percent approval rating at the time of his death in office after three and a half terms.

In general, Reagan’s popularity during his two terms tends to be overstated. The Washington Post’s lead article on June 6 began by declaring him “one of the most popular presidents of the 20th Century,” while ABC’s Sam Donaldson announced, “Through travesty, triumph and tragedy, the president enjoyed unprecedented popularity.” The Chicago Tribune (6/6/04) wrote that “his popularity with the electorate was deep and personal… rarely did his popularity dip below 50 percent; it often exceeded 70 percent, an extraordinarily high mark.”

But a look at Gallup polling data brings a different perspective. Through most of his presidency, Reagan did not rate much higher than other post-World War II presidents. And during his first two years, Reagan’s approval ratings were quite low. His 52 percent average approval rating for his presidency places him sixth out of the past ten presidents, behind Kennedy (70 percent), Eisenhower (66 percent), George H.W. Bush (61 percent), Clinton (55 percent), and Johnson (55 percent). His popularity frequently dipped below 50 percent during his first term, plummeted to 46 percent during the Iran-Contra scandal, and never exceeded 68 percent. (By contrast, Clinton’s maximum approval rating hit 71 percent.)

Which reminds me of my vague memories (we didn’t have cable, so I seldome saw it) of Spitting Image.

June 10th, 2004

Life Sucks

Ice Cream Prices on the Rise
Wednesday, June 9, 4:20 p.m. By Megan Dardanell

These are hard times for Mister Softee. Higher prices at the pump and the dairy are forcing prices up at the ice cream truck. That means customers in Scranton are paying more for their frozen treats.

When the weather’s nice Mister Gary’s Mister Softee shows up on the courthouse square in Scranton like clock work and ice creams fans quench their craving. But customers are noticing something different. Black tape covers the price list and a notice hangs in the window. The prices are up here by 25 cents across the board.

“The way the price of milk is and ice cream and gas, to get it right to your door, diesel to keep it cold, we had to raise it a quarter,” said Steve King of Mister Softee. Some people haven’t noticed the change. They said a small price increase won’t keep them from their ice cream. But they wouldn’t pay more than $2 for their treats.

Others don’t want to spend the extra money. Some customers have walked away because of the 25 cent price increase. Mr. Softee hopes it’s a temporary increase.

“Hopefully by the middle of the summer prices go down and we take these stickers down and go back to old prices,” said King.

For now, customers will have to get used to the new prices if they want their old favorite.

June 9th, 2004

A Flock of Segers
is subtitled “Music and Movie Wordplay.”

It’s hard to argue with that.

June 9th, 2004

June 9th, 2004

Wikiepedia: List of cocktails

God, I love self-organizing group effort! Now, I need me a drink. A Shandy Gaff, mayhap.

June 8th, 2004 ‘Vote Liberal and I’ll Strip’

BUDAPEST (Reuters) – “Boys, if you vote for the liberals, I’ll strip,” a girl in jeans and a revealing shirt teases Hungarian voters in a mock advert for the European elections.

It was filmed for a joke during the shooting of the liberal Free Democrats official broadcast, in which the girl features, campaign coordinator Gabor Horn told Hungarian news portal

The Web site has posted the seven-second clip.

The short ad is a lighter moment in an increasingly bitter campaign for the June 13 elections in which the ruling party Socialists and opposition Fidesz sling mud at each other.

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