Preference Personnelle
Friday, January 31
Joe Millionaire contestant did bondage videos. No, not Zora. Mefi, a little embarrassed to be discussing it, has some details. Also--many of 'the world's sexiest female celebrities' have tattoos. Yeah, no shit. And what a crappy site. The Atlantic, which I never liked in print but kinda dig online, offers 'The Real State of the Union.' Is Shrub the new Reagan? Terrifying thought, and not just because of what RWR did to Mondale in the '84 elections. And some guy from the New Yorker, which I always loathed in print, offers 'Brainteasers: The Aftermath.' And PBS and Edward Gorey? Even after adding Flash to the equation, it's hard to go far wrong. Though, that said, PBS won't let you view their local listings if your browser doesn't accept cookies. It seems to me like the sensible choice would be to let people see the listings, and just require them to enter their information every time. But no--no cookies, no local listings. Asinine. More mefi stuff--Andrew Antone, Kill Andrew Antone, Arbitron.
Wednesday, January 29 I found it while looking for... dammit, now I don't remember what. the first page I arrived at on the juked site, however, was an analysis of a Safeway ad.
Tuesday, January 28
The Disney links in this mefi thread are great. Especially this one--a good argument that Mickey, like Jesus, was black. This essay, about touring an English nuclear power plant, is even better. Musings about scale, antiquated design, modern safety concerns. And here's Found magazine. Like Allen Wrench, it's named for what it is. I need tungsten to live! Tungsten!
I've listened to 'Clothes Line Saga' hundreds of times without ever realizing it was written as an answer record to 'Ode to Billy Joe.' And the mefi thread I gathered this information from mentions that the Tallahatchee bridge, of 'Ode' fame, was also where Emmitt Till was murdered. Bob Dylan sang a song about that, too.

Wow, are these beetle photos cool. Have I linked to this site, an amazing presentation of T.S. Eliot's 'The Waste Land,' before? It bears repeating. And as long as I'm going mefi crazy, here's today's front pages, from the Newseum, and a thread about museum security that ventures into Art Crimes and the now-cancelled art-theft video game Picassio.

Monday, January 27
This is a fairly interesting article, about the stark differences between funk and rap (in Brazil).
Saturday, January 25
You run a giant corporation. Your pc division will lose sales if people can't use your products to copy cd's and dvd's. Your cd and dvd divisions will lose sales if people can copy cd's and dvd's. Uh-oh. Here's a page comparing p2p to libraries. Ha.

In his autobiography, On the Outside Looking In, Michael Reagan, the adopted son from Reagan�s first marriage to Jane Wyman, tells this story: "It�s a beautiful day in June 1964, Reagan is the commencement speaker at an exclusive prep school outside Scottsdale, Arizona. Reagan is standing with several of the seniors, who have been invited to pose for pictures with him. He turns to one of the boys and says, �My name is Ronald Reagan. What�s yours?� The boy says, �I�m your son Mike.� �Oh,� says Reagan. �I didn�t recognize you.�"

Friday, January 24
"If I was in a back alley at midnight and wearing a get-up like that, I could see, yes, that's a little bit hookerish."--Christina Aguilera in Rolling Stone. Ooh, and join the Avrilution. A close reading of these documents reveals that Aguilera and Lavigne both enjoy Skimpiez-brand underwear.
Thursday, January 23
I like metafilter: This guy is a lunatic. What an ugly page he designed. It's conceivable this blog (from a special-ed teacher with a pseudonym) is fake. Like so many. 2001: A Space Odyssey. Now, that's Flash. Have I linked to this 'Infinite Jest' index before? Maybe. MIT cryptologist discovers a way to make master keys with a key from the building, a file and some key blanks. Wow. I'm glad I'm not living in a dorm any more.
Conversational Terrorism.
Wednesday, January 22
As the best-selling author and screenwriter Michael Crichton has said, "The smart move is to release the bowdlerized versions yourself and make the money. The dumb move is to fight it."

Someone on a library listserv sent a link to this slate story, about companies releasing bowdlerized versions of movies--the nekkid-Winslet-free Titanic, the I-missed-the-beginning Saving Private Ryan, etc. This story has been around for a while, but it's nice to see it receiving some mainstream attention.

That said, this author is a fool. He suggests that a censored version of a movie is less like a derivative work and more like excerpts taken for, say, a review. This is a ridiculous position. Reviews appear in The New York Review of Books, not on the shelves of video stores in Mormon country. He pooh-poohs the argument that someone might inadvertantly select a bowdlerized version. He notes that studios already release different versions of movies, oblivious to the fact that this is only somethimes that case, and the way that, for example, the TV version of 'Dune' was directed by Allan Smithee, and that, more generally, studios use creative control as a carrot with which to lure auteur directors. And, perhaps most egregiously, he completely ignores the idea of 'the effect of the use on the market for or value of the copyrighted work' (from this glossary) Much like that Suicide Girls article--if you don't know much about movies, and you don't know much about copyright law, what would possess you to write an article like this one?
The Chicago Sun-Times' literary critic offers a sort-of 2002 wrapup. Horrifying tidbit: someone was kept from boarding a plane after officials noticed his copy of Edward Abbey's 'Hayduke Lives!'


Tuesday, January 21
101 Dumbest Moments in e-Business History, 2001 and 2002.
That gap ad contest? Why don't they just hire 'em all?

This guy recreated a '60s boy's bedroom in 1/12 scale. Whoa. Did I post a link to the people who plan to drop SUVs out of planes? Here's a /. article, anyway. I believe they're the same ones behind Along similar lines, here are and Arianna Huffington's Detroit Project. And here's David 'Bobos in Paradise' Brooks in the WSJ. He likes SUVs. It's also probably the first Wall Street Journal article in a while to talk about jocks and geeks. Hmm. I'm not sure what to say about these folks, except to provide a link to these folks, and these folks, while i'm at it. And, what the heck, these scathing critiques, and an article: Why Gen X Doesn't Care that it Doesn't Care about the War.

And a long article about celebrity. ESPN ranked sports franchises, on the basis of how well they reward their fans. Number one, not shockingly, was the Green Bay Packers.

Grace: I know, I'll do what I did in college.
Will: Oh, Grace, I got rid of my bong years ago.

W&G (or is it 'and'?) is, like, the new 'Fresh Prince of Bel Air' for me. It gets rerun a lot, despite being, like, unspeakably lowbrow, arguably-offensive and terrible. Wait, maybe 'despite' wasn't the right word choice there. Those W&G characters are about as finely drawn as--oh, I don't really have a punchline, I just wanted a nice seque into noting that Al Hirschfield died.

Monday, January 20
Christopher Hitchens, writing for The Stranger, lends a.. let's call it a 'cautious endorsement'... to 'regime change' in Iraq.

An old chestnut from Wired: The Long Boom. Wow, Harrison Ford just read the title of that new Spike Jonze movie as 'Adaption.' Doesn't matter, though, as 'Gangs of New York' won anyway. Bono called it a 'masterpiece.' I wonder just how disappointing the box office is.

And, to continue my habit of posting when my local PBS station is airing things, Two Towns of Jasper airs Wednesday at 9 p.m., then Thursday night (technically Friday, I suppose) at 1 a.m.

Sunday, January 19
"It�s a near-constant flow of admiration and approval--something that many punk and goth girls have never heard before."

"The irony is that punk and goth subcultures have traditionally been welcoming places for the social misfit; now there�s a whole new level of weeding out the (un)desirables."

Here's a Bitch magazine article about Suicide Girls. It's not terrible, but it is predictable. The author notes that SG models don't make much money, and that they don't run the site as much as SG claims. Well, the reason they don't make much money is supply and demand--when they choose one out of 350 applicants, every week, they probably don't have to pay 'em at all. And, let's face it, people love that 'we're-in-control' conceit--it's at least partially to blaim for the popularity of things like Kids Incorporated and my beloved Muppet Show. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain, yadda yadda.

The author comes off a mite too credulous. She quotes the story of the site's birth almost verbatim, talking about how the creators were tired of mainstream pornography and couldn't find any web pr0n with goths and punks. It's halfway between entrepreneurial skill and community service--they saw a need and filled it, giving people porn that looks like them, etc. And, clearly, it's bullshit.

She contrasts interests like 'long walks on the beach,' which, apparently, no one really believes Miss September enjoys, with SG profiles, which list favorite bands and talk about dead relatives and whatnot. The thing is, though, it never seems to occur to her that these young ladies might be lying.

Those painful recollections could as easily belong to Rae from 'My So-Called Life,' and those favorite bands could be checked off a pre-approved list, like when you see Korn on MTV presenting their favorite videos. Here's how I always figured it worked at Playboy--soandso asks the naked lady what she likes, and she says, y'know, 'oh, i like cuddling and Wheel of Fortune.' And soandso writes down 'dp's, fisting (wait, no, this is Playboy--make that, um, something with a bearskin rug in it.) and the Spice Channel.' This process can be conducted by one person rather than two. Maybe that's closer to how they do it on SG.

The author also observes that indie porn sites are 'designed better' than their more vanilla sisters, and I can't help but think that the people behind mainstream porn sites would beg to differ. As Krusty the Klown once said, 'Hey! This ain't art--it's business.'

Another problem, from a research perspective, is not enough sources--one would like to see her talking to SG models, and people from other porn sites. Someone more familiar with both subcultures and pornography could've written a better article. Ooh, and thanks to one of Rachel's pals for the link.

JEERS to scaling back. MTV recently announced a plan to air fewer videos. The channel hopes to increase ratings by picking 10 hit clips each week and playing them more than 30 times each. Hasn't the network gotten too far from its musical roots as it is? Much of its schedule is already devoted to reruns of shows like The Real World, Cribs and Tough Enough. Now in the time allotted to videos, MTV will show the same ones over and over again? How much Justin Timberlake can one nation endure?--from a recent TV Guide. This isn't the first time I've seen this gentle mocking of JT. He even kinda encourages it, at least occasionally. Eat your heart out, Eminem, this kid from the Mickey Mouse Club is the new Ice Cube.

More MTV crap: article about Suchin Pak, RWRR challenge, MuchMusic vs MTV.

I have a major thing for poorly-chosen cover songs, like this awful Marilyn Manson version of 'Suicide is Painless' that I'm listening to, from the even-more-awful Blair Witch sequel. For some reason, though, I suspect that the Blair Witch sequel is, like, entertainingly awful. Like one of my favorite movies, Cannonball Run II. My pal Aretha and I have meant to rent it for a while. I seem to recall reading somewhere that, among the many indignities heaped upon the people who were hired to work on Blair Witch 2, the guy who did the music (it wasn't Steve Albini, was it? No, I don't think it was.) originally selected Frank Sinatra's version of 'Witchcraft' for the opening credits, only to be overruled by, y'know, whoever it is that occasionally makes sure that utterly forgettable movies' soundtracks aren't quite as much so. I think they also worked on 'Judgment Night' and, what was it, 'Blade?' 'Spawn?' Something with lots of, like, electronica/neo-metal collaborations. The one where Manson worked with the Sneaker Pimps and they, like, publicly dissed one another afterward (it was 'Spawn'). That was back when Manson had those public feuds with people. The 'Judgment Night' soundtrack has De La Soul/Teenage Fanclub's 'Fallin',' which, until 'What's Up Fatlip' was recorded, was the best song about falling off ever written, and a collaboration between Sir Mix-A-Lot and Mudhoney. Mix's later work with the Presidents of the United States of America, and Real World cast members, never measured up.
Friday, January 17
I'm kinda looking for links about Eldred v. Ashcroft. Here are the opinions--majority by Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and dissenting ones from Stevens and Breyer. Here are the ALA and ARL pages on the topic. As for news articles, here are some from /. and google news, something anyway. It's really not getting a lot of coverage, though. It's a shame. I did learn, however, that a hockey player named Eldred retired recently. Anyway, here's Eldred v. Ashcroft news and perspectives from Billboard, the Washington Post (here, here and interview here), the NYT (here, here, here and here), Wired News, the San Jose Mercury News, the WSJ, the Chronicle of Higher Education, Reason magazine (here and here), the LA Times,, Lawrence Lessig's blog, First Amendment lawyer Jack Balkin's blog, Siva Vaidhyanathan in Salon, the Freedom Forum, a release from the Software & Information Industry Association, one from ,, The Inquirer (not, alas, The Enquirer, which doesn't seem to be covering this story) and the State Department. Hmm. Maybe that is kind of a lot of links. I'm very much in the middle of reading all this stuff myself, but my tentative recommendations include the Vaidhyanathan article, as I always enjoy his work, and Lessig's blog and Breyer's dissent, both of which come recommended from others. Ooh, and that Bill Moyers show (transcript) airs tonight, though not where I live. People who live near me may be interested to know that the local PBS network airs NOW at 3 and 11 p.m. on Sundays.

And, not-quite-related articles: Wired News on libraries and the Patriot Act, and Jenny Toomey in The Nation on artists' rights.

Thursday, January 16 it's a hoax, but... well, maybe not. Also, I just recently found out that one can bring brass knuckles on a plane, provided they're in the checked luggage.
Tuesday, January 14
Some guy wonders why Snood gets no respect. Because it's not story-based, he suggests, and because gamer people don't think of shareware puzzle games the same way they think of, like, RPGs and Sid Meier and Rockstar games and whatnot. I always thought it was because Snood's a blatant Bust-A-Move ripoff. No respect? Please. I'm surprised the creators of Snood haven't gotten sued.
Monday, January 13
This guy scammed some reasonably bright people with... something that this article just comes out and calls a 'magic box.' The article itself isn't bad, but why was this graphic included? My best guess is: because somebody in Jacksonville just got Flash. More flim-flam stuff here--another bandwidth guy, from Wired, and the story of Pixelon, from Wired and The Standard. And, from some /. poster, I had no idea.
Sunday, January 12
Is it the Final Fantasy movie that I want to see, or the Resident Evil one? The former's the animated one, and the latter the one with Milla Jovovich, if memory serves me.
Friday, January 10
I want to post about the corporate training films that Jim Henson did for IBM, but the best links I can find are these articles (and others), which mention them in passing (nice image in the first one, though), and this faq about Raymond Scott, who worked w/Jim Henson on an IBM film . By the way, Jim Henson's Creature Shop is using Linux now, The Muppet Show's using Divx and Kermit, well, he has Windows. Ooh, wait, holy shit, here's a clip.
Entertainment Weekly has a capsule item about Animal Crossing trading. This is fascinating to me because, for one thing, this is a story with no sources. They claim that AC Ebayers are making $150/wk, but no evidence is cited to support that claim. And, as is so often the case with mainstream media coverage, the author is unclear on the differences between data and physical objects, and for that matter the difference between E-reader cards and GC memory cards. Incidentally, the AC Universal Codes (to say nothing of Project Hyrule codes) are widely available, it's illegal to sell E-Reader codes, and the people from the biggest universal codes forum are ticked that somebody's profiting from their work.
Thursday, January 9
We recently started getting the 'Fine Living Channel.' Whoa. They have this show 'Deconstructed.' Now, it's hard to me to imagine a television show called 'Deconstructed' that I wouldn't like, but the FLC managed to create one. Imagine a series of PowerPoint presentations. Now add a lot of stock footage. Now remove all content that doesn't fit into the category of 'common sense.' Lastly, slooow the narration way down. This program is like Vacuousness for Dummies on audiobook: The Animated Series.
Friday, January 3
Laura and I were watching a Seinfeld rerun, and I noticed that Jerry had a 20th-Anniversary Macintosh. It goes great with that Klein bike he never uses either (well, he had a Cannondale for one season). Bastard. Also, Elaine had one of those Bose Wave Radios. It seemed very much in character. J. Peterman.
Thursday, January 2
I was looking for a high-quality mp3 of 'Five Minutes,' by Bonzo Goes to Washington (an ad hoc group which included Bill Laswell collaborator Bernie Worrell, Dee-Lite collaborator Bootsy Collins and Tom Tom Clubber Jerry Harrison (and incidentally, The Heads, in terms of physical attractiveness, make 'Maria'-era Blondie look like Destiny's Child), whose one single involved extensive sampling of Ronald Reagan's 'I've signed legislation which will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes.' slip-up. He didn't know the mic was on. Oops.), and I came upon this list of 80s protest songs. It is, like, hilarious. I was unaware that 'Hip to be Square' and 'I Can't Drive 55' were originally written by Woody Guthrie. 'Bring the Noise'? 'Don't Believe the Hype'? Is that the best they could do for Public Enemy? My favorite part is at the end, when someone calls the Dead Kennedys 'anti-everything.' Ah, those were the days.
Consider, if you will, a technocrat (evolutionist) and a theocrat (creationist). I believe that they are living in each other's worlds! Consider the technocrat; what are his values? Reason, order, efficiency, control. His methods are mechanistic, and his central concern is mankind: a rationalist. Now consider the theocrat. His values are centered on God--a mysterious entity, characterized by infinite power, glory, and subtlety: a mystic. Now consider the technocrat's world. By his own account, the technocrat lives in a vast, mysterious, powerful, beautiful, terrible and wonderful cosmos that dwarfs all human endeavor. Whereas the theocrat's cosmos is tight, little, well-mapped, and human-centered; just the sort of world that you or I would design, if we were on a budget. The evolutionist lives in a mystical cosmos, the creationist lives in a rationalist cosmos. It is as if each had designed the world that the other shall inhabit!
--From a page (fairly typical of this kind of thing) of arguments against creationism. This text was written by Nathaniel Hallerstein, a mathemetician at Berkeley. He's into Klein bottles.
A lagniappe of cultural kitsch and B-movie claptrap

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