February 28, 2005

A little perspective, please

Guys. Come on. Seriously.

YES, some scientists are expressing concern that they are being ignored or even pressured to change study conclusions that don't support policy positions by the Bush administration, and YES, some claim that Bush stifles any scientific research that doesn't fit his "predetermined, inflexible positions."

And YES, I suppose he's had information removed from the Fish and Game Department's website concluding that drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge will "destroy," "disrupt," "diminish," and "damage" the environment and wildlife in the region.

And YES, I guess the Union of Concerned Scientists HAS charged the Bush administration with widespread and unprecedented "manipulation of the process through which science enters into its decisions."

But... come on! It's not as if he got a blow job! And then lied about it!

Posted by Chris on 02/28/05

:: playing candyland with Gnat, taking pictures of my dog, smiling over a mug of coffee ::

Posted by: friend jessica at March 1, 2005 7:08 AM

If I had the face of a bonobo ape I might also treat scientists with contempt.

It doesn't say anything about protecting vulnerable species from man's greed in the good old book, does it? Nothing about having a soul, custodianship of nature or acting as though our grandchildren are looking over our shoulders, right?

Posted by: isaac at March 1, 2005 7:25 AM

Also add, enlisting Michael Crichton to write a book dismissing global warming by missusing science. Of course he says the book was written to show how others missuse science. If that's not out of the Bush playbook I don't know what is (Clear Skies Act).

And since everyone believes what they read even though it's fiction (Dan Brown), I guess Michael Crichton's book will be taken as fact (hi).

Posted by: Rich at March 1, 2005 7:40 AM

I may be slightly retarded and interpreting young isaac's post wrong but the Bible DOES say we have custodianship over nature, which is a responsibility to protect it since it is our charge.

Where's the friggin' lorax when you need him? Big Oil totally OWNED the lorax, biznitches.

By the way, try translating this page through gizoogle.com. You'll laugh your head off. (just put handeye.net/blog in the gizoogle.com search engine line)

Posted by: friend jessica at March 1, 2005 7:59 AM

Well remind me when I'm writing MY bible to put that part in bold, and maybe closer to the front.

Posted by: Chris at March 1, 2005 8:29 AM

Frankly it can't be any closer to the front. It's in the first couple chapters of the first book (genesis, for all of you bible newbies out there)

God gave us dominion over all the beasts of the field and fish in the sea. Hmmm...no mention of birds. I suppose they are our true masters.

I think the problem is, surprise surprise, that man took that to believe we "own" all the beasts of the field and fish of the sea and we can do with them what we please, including hunting and eating them to extinction and wearing their skin for coats.

I think there's a happy medium. God clearly said that man is the higher life form, (PETA, i'm looking at you), but that doesn't mean we treat them like worthless dirt (hunters I'm looking at you)

Posted by: friend jessica at March 1, 2005 8:43 AM

I'm not very familiar with the bible anymore, thanks friend Jessica for correcting me. I keep hearing Creation bandied about but never in the context that it's something worth conserving.

I only brought the good book up because it's something the president acknowledges as a source of personal wisdom, spiritual comfort, etc. Perhaps he might re-read the section about the wealthy being denied entry into the kingdom of God and then the section on custodianship.

I heard there might be enough oil in the Alaska Wildlife PRESERVE (sounds conservative, eh?) to fuel the U.S. for one day. Or the same amount that we'd have if we forced auto manufacturers to adopt fuel-efficiency standards for a year.

It's inevitable that we'll have to switch over to sustainable (and hopefully clean) fuel sources. Our actions in the Middle East and anywhere we can pump a little more oil are mad efforts to use up something before it becomes worthless. If people and animals die senselessly because of this...well, hey that's the culture of life.

Posted by: isaac at March 1, 2005 8:57 AM

As with all books of religion or philosophy, man 'translates' the word of God into what fits what he's already doing. Just as there are Muslims who rip the holy Islamic texts to pieces in order to fuel their violence and hate, there are Christians, Catholics, Jews, Hindus who twist and 'interpret' their holy books to fit the lifestyle that comforts them.

I am constantly floored by "Christians" who persecute and even MURDER in the name of the Lord. It's in 14 karat black and white to LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF. LOVE LOVE LOVE.

There is nowhere in JESUS' teachings (the NEW testament, the NEW law which he came to write) that says to kill or persecute someone for their sin, rather to love them...to lead by example and simply share your good news. Done. LEAD BY EXAMPLE not by force.

Posted by: friend jessica at March 1, 2005 9:13 AM

Maybe loathing their neighbors as they loathe themselves is the reality. Do you think Rush Limbaugh, deep down, loves himself?

Posted by: isaac at March 1, 2005 9:34 AM

And here we hit the root of the problem. I honestly believe they don't. And I suffer from this too. Very often when I'm snarky and mean to others or make fun of people on the street I realize it's because I'm so unhappy with myself that deep down I think it's unfair that other people should be happy. If I'm miserable, how come that hideous one legged chick is happy? It makes no sense, so I tear people down around me to make the level playing field. (Yes, I'm working on not doing that).

Similarly, I think there are staunch, angry christians whose lives are so empty and bland and joyless that they don't think ANYONE, particularly those who they believe are going to roast in hot hell should be happy.

Posted by: friend jessica at March 1, 2005 9:51 AM

Do Not Underestimate My Power

1. In the thrilling climax to the Couch Incident, I found a phone number in city services for the Bulky Item Removal Squad. It turns out that the power searchwords in this case were "bulky item," two words that have a specific connotation in the waste removal business, unlike "trash removal," which seems to indicate large-scale industrial needs, or "waste removal," which puts certain city employees in mind of a Level III bio-hazard. (At one point in my blue pages odyssey I thought I had inadverdantly put in a work order for sending a Haz-Mat crew over in full astronaut gear to dispose of the couch.) "Garbage" means one thing and one thing only to the city, that you are a property owner who would like to schedule regular pickups - so that was out.

But once I had correctly identified the sodden, mildewy couch as a Bulky Item and not Trash or Garbage or Waste, the squad came over and picked it up, no questions asked. A day late, but - it cost nothing, and I did it, not Landlord.

Perhaps to flex my newfound power to make bulky items disappear at will, I will call in any of the other couches that are laying in our alley. Fear me, inert and abandoned bulky items! For I have the phone number of the Removal Squad on Quick Dial!

2. The newspaper printed my letter about the tiger, and although it did not make the Sunday, is there any doubt that my power and influence grows? It's as if I passed through some shower of cosmic rays, which somehow heightened my senses to the issues of society and gave me the power to remove Bulky Items with one phone call!

Posted by Chris on 02/28/05


Posted by: friend jessica at February 28, 2005 8:30 AM

Aw, hell no!

Posted by: rich at February 28, 2005 8:45 AM

Could you please call your new source, and tell them I have a bulky item ass to be removed and delivered to the gym. Me, not Elwood. Thanks.

Posted by: klugula at February 28, 2005 8:49 AM

I've got a bulky item I need removed from ABC television. Her name is Star Jones.

HEYO! :: soft shoe performance ::


Posted by: friend jessica at February 28, 2005 8:57 AM

Sorry, but her name is now Star Jones Reynolds. Get w/ the times man!

Posted by: klugula at February 28, 2005 9:18 AM

Chris, was there a Fantastic Four reference in there? Cosmic rays?

Posted by: Foley at February 28, 2005 12:01 PM

Thank you for finding that reference. I wanted to go with "lightning hit a cabinet full of chemicals" but that felt too obscure.

Posted by: Chris at February 28, 2005 12:25 PM

you can say that again!

Posted by: friend jessica at February 28, 2005 12:28 PM

Now, with the lightning-charged chemicals, are you referring to Barry Allen or Wally West?

Posted by: Foley at February 28, 2005 12:53 PM

I am sorry, I do speak nerd, but this must be a different dialect.

Posted by: klugula at February 28, 2005 12:56 PM

Man, and here *I* was, thinking you were born on a strange planet in a far distant galaxy, and rocketed to earth as a babe by Marlon Brando and the Guardians to live you life as a super-freak among humankind, never able to show your true identity for fear of the backlash from the masses if they discover the power of your mighty green ring.

Or maybe that was Michael Jackson. I get confused sometimes.

Posted by: Ranger Dekiion at March 1, 2005 11:38 AM

February 25, 2005


I don't know what to say about Keanu Reeves, because it is not obvious to me that he is a "bad actor." He's certainly not an "accents and massive weight gain or loss" sort of actor, and I can see that he's not incredibly expressive. But he's also seemed sort of the appropriate choice for all the roles I've seen him in. What's Tobey McGuire going to do with the "Neo" role, for instance? Too bad Reeves hasn't run into this generation's equivalent of Sergio Leone. Not to draw the comparison out, but Clint Eastwood wasn't being very expressive in those spaghetti Westerns, either.

I went to "Constantine" unburdened by admiration for its source material. My understanding is that those that ARE fans of "Hellblazer" are severely disappointed, but the odds on that being the case no matter what the film delivered were pretty high. This is a movie with some nifty sections but one that has not inspired any discussion or desire for repeat viewings. I left feeling tired of the whole "secular demon-hunter who talks to angels" genre, without being able precisely to say what other movies that would include besides "Constantine."

I am also officially ready to never again see someone Wake From a Dream By Sitting Up In Bed and Screaming. I understand the problem of how to bring a dream sequence to an abrupt, cinematic end, and can offer no alternative, but - please. Second to this is the Brooding Hero Splashes His Face With Cold Water Then Stares At His Own Haunted Reflection In The Bathroom Mirror. No more bathroom brooding.

The filmmakers wisely fill some smaller but key roles with Tilda Swinton and Peter Stormare. The two or three scenes with these actors (as Gabriel and Lucifer) are worth the whole movie, particularly Stormare's one and only scene.

I could be like other movie critics and delight in telling you that this movie is basically the 1980 Peter Strauss TV movie "Angel on My Shoulder" with visual effects, but it amazes me that for all the talk about how some movies are nothing but stupid plots surrounded by visual effects, the ACTUAL visual effects are pretty much ignored. Just because effects are achieved with computers doesn't mean there is a "Hell" button that these guys press and it's all done. This movie's vision of Hell and its soldier demons was detailed and amazingly rendered. It passed the test for me for such things, which is - it made me hope I'm not wrong in my theories about the afterlife.

Posted by Chris on 02/25/05

Oh my lord do I HATE the bathroom brooding. That is the worst. For me it's right next to GIRL METHODICALLY TAKING OFF MAKEUP to show everyone with half a brain that she was obviously using the make up as a mask of her real self.


Posted by: friend jessica at February 25, 2005 12:18 PM

The best bathroom mirror brooding is Sigourney Weaver in Aliens. It was short, to the point, and powerful. She made up her mind to go. Interestingly enough, it was immediately after a waking up from a dream, screaming moment. Huh?

Posted by: klugula at February 25, 2005 12:29 PM

This is definitely a rental for me. I have seen End of Days and Stigmata. They did not do very much for me. This appears to be in the same vein.

Posted by: klugula at February 25, 2005 12:32 PM

I think Clint Eastwood's non-expressive Man With No Name comes more from the detachment of the character than a lack of acting skills. Eastwood had once received the legendary advice: Don't just do something, stand there! He also had charisma, currently out of vogue with the action hero pretty boys and muscle men.

With Keanu Reeves there's a lack of thought behind those eyes. It's as if he doesn't realize the quiet moments are meant to show us inner life. The nonexpressiveness seems to be no more a choice than the dark hair or the single emotion.

I'm puzzled by rich actors who don't care to improve their craft. Clearly they don't need to to keep working but you'd think they'd want to. Otherwise he seems like a nice fellow.

Posted by: isaac at February 25, 2005 12:52 PM

It's a good way of looking at it. I knew the Reeves / Eastwood thing was weak, WHY DID I GO WITH IT?

I agree about the actors continuing to work on their craft. Tim Robbins has a theatre ensemble out here, which I think must be a great way to keep the craft moving. (Assuming you survive the non profit / guest director hurdles inherent in such things)

Posted by: Chris at February 25, 2005 1:05 PM

What kind of a jacked up loser starts a theatre company?

Posted by: friend jessica at February 25, 2005 1:08 PM

I think Jeff Goldblum (I've forgotten my mantra)has a theatre company out there too. Tuh, loser!

I like the rejection of the waking-from-a-nightmare scream and the mirror brooding. You should keep an active list of film cliches (and lines) that have earned their rest. Or something.

One of my votes: lock and loading. It's the action sequence foreplay I know but there's nothing new you can do with it.

Posted by: isaac at February 25, 2005 1:57 PM

to me, lock and load is similar foreplay to the yelling of

"hang on!" before a massive car chase.

Posted by: friend jessica at February 25, 2005 2:01 PM

...or "let's get (the hell) outta here" before they get out of there.

Posted by: isaac at February 25, 2005 2:25 PM

re: Constantine, this was a movie that had an unusually good set of supporting characters. While the 2 main stars neither added nor detracted from the film, the secondary characters really fleshed out the film. Swinton, as Gabriel, was absolutely delightful -- she practically stole the film in just 2 scenes; Papa Midnight was an interesting addition. You're right about Stormare. What a great Satan! A nice change from the urbane, sophisticated euro-Lucifer of the past decade -- as personified by DeNiro, Pacino, Byrne, and Mortensen. In Constantine, he was something much more pasty and squirmy.

Posted by: Jeff at February 26, 2005 7:29 AM

It could be that I was reading too much into Stormare's Lucifer, but it reminded me a little bit of Gary Oldman's Dracula. It was as if he was a monster doing his best to pretend to be a person, and occasionally forgetting a detail or two.

Posted by: Chris at February 26, 2005 10:20 AM

Will Smith should have to retire the line, "Oh, hell no."

Posted by: Rich at February 28, 2005 7:11 AM

I strongly disagree. A Will Smith movie without an Aw Hell No is like a joke without a punchline, a painting without a frame, or a sad clown without a kitten. Until I hear Aw Hell No I don't know how to feel about the movie, the character, the world, anything.

Posted by: Chris at February 28, 2005 7:45 AM

Hitch was originally supposed to be called, Aw Hell No, but weaker minds prevailed.

Posted by: rich at February 28, 2005 8:43 AM

February 24, 2005

Don't kid yourself, Timmy

Here is a letter I've sent to the LA Times regarding this sickening story:

Re: "Tiger Shot and Killed Near Reagan Library," the people who would keep a wild animal as a house pet deserve a heaping share of the blame for this senseless killing, but there's more to go around.

The Department of Fish and Game said repeatedly that their main concern was for the safety of citizens - which is very reasonable. But their job was also to protect this very rare animal. And with well over a week to pull together the resources to secure this tiger safely, they still failed to do it.

It doesn't sound to me like the situation ever got to the point where a choice had to be made between a person and the tiger. Was it absolutely necessary that it be killed?

This is California, not some third-world village, and this tired old cat was not mauling kids down at the river. Please don't tell me in this state of all places that it wasn't possible to have this end with the tiger tranquilized and on its way to a preserve or zoo.

Posted by Chris on 02/24/05

Terrible. Disgusting. And one of the saddest stories I've heard in a long time.

Posted by: friend jessica at February 24, 2005 1:15 PM

"If the cat got out of the area, there's no telling what could have happened," he said. "Using a tranquilizer gun was an option that was available, but the safety of residents and motorists was of great concern."

That's one of the stupidest things I've ever heard. For fuck's sake, the friggin thing was barely AMBLING along.

Posted by: friend jessica at February 24, 2005 1:28 PM

It took all of my powers not to use the phrase "trigger-happy sheriffs." I didn't want to muddy the sentiment by assuming too much. But for God's sake. It makes me sick to my stomach to think of it.

Posted by: Chris at February 24, 2005 1:44 PM

I see you've become a letter-to-the-editor-writing crank, in addition to being generally cranky. Don't say I didn't warn you about L.A. Cause I didn't.

Posted by: john at February 24, 2005 3:47 PM

Didn't we have something similar here @ the Brookfield Zoo? Some kid made his way into the wolf habitat, and was attacked, so they killed the wolf. The stupidity of parents and officials never ceases to amaze me.

Posted by: klugula at February 25, 2005 6:38 AM

...or the stupidity of people in general.

Posted by: klugula at February 25, 2005 6:38 AM

Why don't you just say it Michael: the stupidity of STRAIGHT PEOPLE. RIGHT?

Posted by: friend jessica at February 25, 2005 7:29 AM

No comment...

Posted by: klugula at February 25, 2005 8:31 AM

A big clue on the mindset is Department of Fish and Game. GAME? It's an animal. Someone from a department that reduces life to "game" is probably more interested in the trophy he's bagging than anything else.

I'd suggest it's time evolved man had a discussion about the "sport" of hunting but I don't want to give the rednecks more fuel for the fires of their trendy victimhood.

Posted by: isaac at February 25, 2005 10:16 AM

Wild animals? HELL! I'm more scared of Elwood!!!

Posted by: Brian at February 25, 2005 11:06 AM

I think that one of the most important aspects of this story is that they admitted that they had the option of using tranqs. I think it's rather ignorant to admit you had tranqs, but chose not to use them for fear of people's safety. Wouldn't the tranq disable the tiger as well as a bullet? I understand the panic of seeing a 600 lb. tiger roaming freely in a residential area, but these people are trained to deal with unusual circumstances as such. I think it's really a matter of, no pun intended, overkill, and that it honestly should be looked into by the superiors of the agents that did the shooting.

Posted by: Foley at February 25, 2005 11:51 AM

I too am afraid of Elwood. (please help me, this is not a joke. Someone, call the police. This is not a drill).

Posted by: klugula at February 25, 2005 12:34 PM

Take refuge in the lord, Michael


I can't believe I can't remember any more Amy Grant lyrics.

Posted by: friend jessica at February 25, 2005 1:55 PM

It's true. Elwood eats tigers with his Kelloggs Frosted Flakes.

Posted by: isaac at February 25, 2005 2:28 PM

Crack, now in chewable form

I have to make the sad admission that I am addicted to a video game that is several years old, again - Galactic Battlegrounds. Nothing wrong with a video game diversion every now and then, but my games last about two and a half hours, if I am going to track down all my enemies and really efficiently wipe them off the map.

A sadder admission is that I still play on "medium," because that way my opponents never make really good decisions, are easily outwitted, and grow confused and then complacent when I style myself not as an invading force but a benevolent religious leader.

The scary part is that two and a half hours goes by in what feels like MINUTES, during which I do not move or blink until my eyes begin to hurt.

And the scarier part is that I just discovered a website that tells you how to modify the graphics and labels in the game. I've always thought it would be fun to play not against the Empire, but against lawyers or consultants, for instance, and now I will.

So it's basically like a crack addict discovering that now they're making his favorite drug as a cherry-flavored gum.

Jesus, if I start posting fan fiction, someone call a psychologist.

Posted by Chris on 02/24/05


what's wrong with fan fiction.

Posted by: friend jessica at February 24, 2005 11:13 AM

Funny you mention it, perhaps it's something about the time of year: I've dropped a couple of nights lately on 2 1/2 hour games of Age of Empires (same but with knights, monks and trebuchets).

I always start saying, "just a quick game" and end rubbing a stiff neck or sleeping foot, with bitter self-reproach for not getting a chapter written or something drawn. Or a film watched. That's another film I could've watched!

Posted by: isaac at February 24, 2005 11:25 AM

a "Stiff neck"


Posted by: friend jessica at February 24, 2005 11:27 AM



Posted by: Rich at February 24, 2005 12:02 PM

All right, I'm a sex addict. Never happy with a quick knee-trembler, if I don't get my full 2 1/2 hours of Welsh-style tongular exhaustion or sweaty bouncing each night I'm a wreck. I've been hiding this filthy dirty depravity under the guise of normal and socially acceptable video game addiction and creating homemade sheepskin tunics (12th century, Padua).

Priapus, why didst I swear my soul to thee?

Posted by: isaac at February 24, 2005 12:19 PM

Isaac - I think my game engine is actually based on your game. Please do not think ill of me if I point you to your own corresponding crack dealer:


Posted by: Chris at February 24, 2005 12:30 PM

Well, you know what the makers of C1al!s say:

While rare, an erection lasting more than four hours should be looked at by a doctor.


Posted by: friend jessica at February 24, 2005 12:30 PM

February 22, 2005


Obviously we need to review the denotation and connotation of the word "actually."

As Inigo Montoya says, I do not think it means what you think it means, and you're pissing me off.

Actually, Inigo only said that first part. I'm sure you realize that.

Note that the appearance of 'actually' two sentences ago is correct for the literal usage of the word, the denotation. But, if you read this and say "Actually, it's a good idea to review this word," then the connotation is that you are surprised that I came up with a good idea.

Is that what you were going for? Really? If so, then I will say GOOD DAY TO YOU SIR.

Posted by Chris on 02/22/05

Actually that's a good point.

Posted by: Rich at February 22, 2005 12:41 PM

Good day to you sir.


Posted by: Chris at February 22, 2005 12:58 PM

He said, with a swish of his mighty cape.

I was reading an argument on live journal the other day, a massive train wreck of a man trying to defend himself as a non-geek.

All was going swimmingly until he said, "you know, last year I designed and sewed myself a medieval cape that I use in fencing recreations."

It was sad.

real real sad.

Posted by: friend jessica at February 22, 2005 1:01 PM

So what you are telling me is that sewing your own costumes is geeky? What about if I sew my own swags for my drapes? What about that?

Posted by: klugula at February 22, 2005 1:02 PM

The fact that you have drapes gives us our answer. You are not a geek. Basement windows don't have drapes.

Posted by: Rich at February 22, 2005 1:17 PM

Actually, that is a good point also.

Posted by: klugula at February 22, 2005 1:28 PM

Actually, your MOM is a good point.

Posted by: friend jessica at February 22, 2005 1:42 PM

Really! I never...

Posted by: klugula at February 22, 2005 1:49 PM

What about those Amish geeks? They don't just make their own clothes, they also make their own soap, butter and houses.

Little House on the Prairie Geeks, that's what they are!

Posted by: isaac at February 23, 2005 9:44 AM

MMMMMMMMMM butter houses.

Posted by: Rich at February 23, 2005 9:57 AM

February 21, 2005

Skeptics and Superskeptics

My friend Bill invited me to a lecture hosted by the Skeptic Society this weekend. I'd been to a few others and gladly went again, because of the high probability that I would see not only the most brilliant people in the world but also the most insane.

Before I even got into the lecture hall, there was the man outside (who I hear is a fixture) who had printed his messages to the Skeptics on pieces of posterboard and taped them up on the bricks. He is convinced that the Skeptics are complicit in the cover-ups of the 9/11 hoax and the Moon landing hoax, mainly by not being Skeptical enough. He also had a few posterboards dedicated to how Kinsey was a pervert.

One of the lines he'd printed in block letters said that if the Skeptics had been around during the Middle Ages, they would have been heaping faggots on the stakes to burn the heretics with everyone else. I don't know about that - but I DO know that "Heaping Faggots" would be a great name for a punk band.

The lecture itself was ostensibly about parallel worlds, black holes, string theory stuff, all amusingly tailored for a lay-audience. During the Q&A at the end, a man stood up and asked how the lecturer's book purported to deal with the fabled Theory of Everything. Because he himself had developed such a theory.

A slight ripple moved through the crowd. This was more than alleging that the Moonshot was a hoax; this was a bit like standing up at the church spaghetti dinner and announcing that you'd brought Jesus along with you.

But it was only a SLIGHT ripple. They seem to be used to this kind of thing. The best part is the immediate sense that only at THIS lecture would you hear someone claiming to have found the holy grail of science. And the following realization that, well, this IS CalTech - he may well be right.

Posted by Chris on 02/21/05

Did you have to check your skepticism at the door?

Posted by: isaac at February 22, 2005 10:56 AM

and leave your worries on the doorstep?

Posted by: friend jessica at February 22, 2005 11:44 AM

No, in fact I have been made to feel that my skepticism is not even adequate to be capitalized at these things.

Maybe I should be going to the Cynic Society, a place where I am sure my abilities would quickly be recognized and they would make me their king.

Posted by: Chris at February 22, 2005 12:26 PM

February 18, 2005

ANOTHER way breakfast cereal is bad for kids


BATTLE CREEK, MICHIGAN (AP) - Management of Kelloggs, Inc. said Friday that over the last year they received 1,092 new allegations of sexual abuse against at least 756 employees.

Half of the accused employees of the popular cereal manufacturer over the past year had been previously accused of abuse, said Kathleen McChesney, executive director of the Michigan Office of Child and Youth Protection.

Most of the alleged incidents occurred decades ago: 72 percent of the employees were either dead or fired from the cereal plants before the newest allegations were received, McChesney said.

The information came as Kelloggs CEOs released a new national audit of their U.S. plants to determine how well they've complied with the child protection policy the FBI instituted more than three years ago at the height of the cereal company's molestation crisis. Teams of auditors, comprised mainly of former FBI agents, compiled data in visits to plants across the country.

The auditors found that more than 95 percent of cereal plants have taken the required steps to keep children safe.

But the Survivors Network of those Abused by Kelloggs said the audits were "minimal and misleading," contending Kelloggs management had too much control over who participated in the review.

The report is the latest in a series Kelloggs CEOs commissioned to restore trust in their leadership after the molestation crisis erupted in Battle Creek, Michigan, and spread nationwide.

But hold on, this is the best part!

Last year, Kelloggs CEOs released an unprecedented statistical review that found 4,392 of their employees had been accused of molesting minors in 10,667 cases between 1950 and 2002. (Bold added)

A first series of audits, also released a year ago, found 90 percent of the 195 U.S. plants were fully compliant with the child protection policy the CEOs adopted under intense public pressure in June 2002. But auditors also found shortcomings in the reforms, such as ineffective monitoring of guilty plant foremen.

Kelloggs CEOs have already authorized a third national audit this coming year, however they angered victims' groups by deciding to reduce the number of plants that will receive full onsite reviews.

Every day it becomes more clear to me that I don't understand people.

Tell me: Why is the Kelloggs corporation still in existence? Why have the parents of these kids not burned all their buildings down? Why have the CEOs not been dragged into the streets? Above all, why are people still buying cereal from them?

Let me ask you something before you read on: do you think it's possible that we could maybe get our breakfast foods from some other company, that a cereal company that has undergone an epidemic of raping more than 10,000 kids and covering it up for at least fifty years should be shut down completely?

Take your time.

Right. As you've probably figured out by now, I am, as we say in the blog business, full of beans.

The story above was not about Kelloggs, but in fact about... WAIT FOR IT... WAIT FOR IT... the Catholic Church. Ha! Clever! But I didn't make it up. A few word substitutions and it's verbatim from the CNN story found here.

So we're having a "clergy molestation crisis" in America. They've had to institute a "child protection policy" - in the Church. There is actually a "Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests."

So I'd like to ask my question again, phrased only slightly differently. Do you think it's possible that we could maybe get our Jesus from some other church, that a church that has undergone an epidemic of raping more than 10,000 kids and covering it up for at least fifty years should be shut down completely?

Did your answer change from when it was Kelloggs? If so, why?

Because not ALL priests molest kids. Just like everything in life, there are good priests and bad priests!

I don't understand. When it was Kelloggs you were ready to close their doors for good, and it was just a relative FEW of their employees that were "bad." Why are we holding the Catholic Church to a lower standard than we would any other organization when it comes to the safety of children, for the love of Rice Krispies?

But it's not the CHURCH that's doing this. It's a RELATIVELY FEW BAD PRIESTS.

It's the CHURCH that has been systematically covering it up, which is just as bad. They've been shifting your "bad" priests over to other congregations for years.

What have you done about it? Do you still attend? Are you one of those that still follow the 10% tithing rule? If so, it seems then that by definition, 10,667 is an acceptable number of kids to have been molested or raped in order for you to get your Jesus in the traditional way you were raised.

Maybe 11,000 is the magic outrage number, the one at which the parents will forget the orderly protest groups and lawsuits and the fact that they were raised in this Church! and tear the fucking buildings down.

My thought is that, despite the great deal of family values talk and protecting the kids talk you hear, this issue is basically like everything else: if you claim to be religious, you can do anything - literally anything - you want.

Posted by Chris on 02/18/05

I still go to my Catholic Church because their rice crispies SNAP, CRACKLE and POP louder than the generic brand.

Posted by: isaac at February 18, 2005 1:34 PM

It is my humble opinion, being christian but not Catholic, that the practice of swearing a priest to a life of celebacy (and nuns for that matter) is at the heart of this issue.

It's not just coincidence that the pastors of Methodist churches don't have nearly the abuse rate as celebate priests.

Human beings have a need for physical contact and affection. It's a need that God gave us. And to forcibly deny a man or woman to go without that can only lead to any number of horrid problems, the most horrendous of which is the abuse of children.

I don't blame the religion, as certainly you don't believe that they are leaning on the teachings of God to guide them to rape kids. I blame the human beings who decided how to best disperse this religion to the people.

1 abusive priest is too many.

Posted by: a different jessica at February 18, 2005 1:38 PM

I think your wisdom in this matter is great. I also believe the celibacy thing is at the heart of it. I get the denial of desire thing, I get the suffering thing and the sacrifice, but it also seems like when it backfires in such a spectacular and horrible way, you'd see some institutional changes.

Still, the whole bedrock of their shpiel seems to be, SEX = BAD. How can they reconcile that?

Posted by: Chris at February 18, 2005 2:05 PM

Well, I disagree with that. Their whole shpiel (in my non-denominational church) was that casual sex outside the marriage was bad.

The bible is most critical of sex between family members and with prostitutes. Sex between a husband and a wife is all systems go as far as the lord is concerned. I have never understood the idea put across that sex is only for procreation. There's a verse about spilling your seed wastefully on the stones, but cripes almighty that was one story about one guy AND if you're just masturbating all over the public streets I'm going to have a problem with it too.

But seriously.

I was always taught that sex is a beautiful gift from GOd, and the best way for a committed couple to show their dedication and love for one another.

I think the problem of covering up child abuse is one that has grown as a result of a snowball effect. Let's say there was one guy in 1952. If it came out then in his parish/city whatever...1952, the most conservative time of times...the buildings WOULD have been torn down and people would go bonkers (or at least that's probably what the elders thought). So they said "well, it's just this one guy with this one kid...let's not blow 1,000 years of good work"

Then it became ten guys. And now if you reveal one, they'll ask about others...and now it's getting out of control.

Plus, and this is a hard fact to admit, there's always ALWAYS that 1 or 2% of people who are MAKING THEIR STORIES OF ABUSE UP. It doesn't excuse anyone for anything...but it just muddies up the whole fucking thing even further, because you can't just say "you f up, you're out", because there will always be that grain of doubt, and if that happened, every vengeful kid on the planet would say every teacher they had 'touched them'.

It's all jacked up. I don't know how to clean slate it until the roman catholic church says "woah, we were way off on that celibacy stuff...let's amend it"

They did it for fish on friday, why not something that's really important?

Posted by: a different jessica at February 18, 2005 2:25 PM

Seriously though, Chris, you had me going with Kelloggs. It's a very good way of putting it.

I agree with Jessica about natural need and consequences of denial. A film I saw (it might have been Priest) had one of the priests tell his congregation, "God doesn't care what a man does with his dick". I understand the need of religions to caution against overindulgence in sex and other pleasures, but abstinence under any circumstances should be left to the body's owner and operator.

The outrage should have come from within the Catholic Church to be most effective. Coming from outside only puts Catholics on the defensive and unwilling to take action themselves. They ring their wagons and deny the true depths of the scandal.

I'm wondering why the "liberal media" was so soft. Eighteen months of articles (with nothing new) detailing vividly a president's consensual affair with someone of legal age, but all these kids having their childhood cut short by perverts and the subsequent concealment of those crimes made relatively few headlines. The "few rotten apples" theory is as suspect as it was in the Abu Ghraib dismissal.

And what about the politicians? More interested in retaining Catholic votes than protecting society from an organization that conceals and redistributes pedophiles?

I wonder how this scandal would have played out if there had been a younger pope - fit and in the prime of life - in charge.

Posted by: isaac at February 18, 2005 2:27 PM

I should also add, on a cheerful note, that there are child rapists and abusers everywhere, in every walk of life, but I'm afraid that even if the Catholic Church did their DAMNDEST to clean themselves up and start over and apologize for fifty years, there would still be jagoff assholes who would get into the priesthood to fulfill their gross impulses, and then all of this nightmare would start again. It's like you break the camels back, fix it, but it's now so weak that even if you put one straw on it, it's all busted again.


Posted by: a different jessica at February 18, 2005 2:29 PM

I read all the way through, and was thinking, "Am I this out of touch w/ the news? When was this all reported? Kellogs? What about my Raisin Bran?" Then you stated that it was actually the Catholic church, and I was thinking, "Am I this out of touch w/ the news? When was this all reported? The Catholic Church? What about my Raisin Bran?"

Posted by: klugula at February 18, 2005 2:39 PM

To Isaac - I wondered that about the Pope myself. Poor old guy - he's been too pooped to pope as long as I can remember.

To a Different Jessica - DAMN, girl! You are HELLA prolific today. All with the wisdom and shit! You said it best when you said, THIS SHIT IS ALL JACKED UP. You should start a Street Ministry.

You always have a gentler view of this subject than me, and I'm sure you're right. I don't think there's any way for the C.C. or anyone to make themselves pervert-proof, but I agree with Isaac - it would have been nice for the outrage to have come from within.

To Klug - sorry! Your cereal is safe.

Posted by: Chris at February 18, 2005 3:17 PM

I agree with the different jessica's point about there being perverts and molesters everywhere, in all professions. It doesn't help that some of the most vocal outrage in this case is voiced by folk with an axe to grind against Catholicism, or Christianity in general.

For the Catholic Church it somehow seems more serious an issue than it would at a company less interested in saving souls from mortal sin. Their response was "we'll be sued - let's put him in a different parish," and not "he's a criminal, let's turn him over to the police." Their shuffling around of criminals made it easier for repeat offenders and contributed to a higher number of criminal acts.

In our new paradigm of terrorism = anyone who supports, sponsors or conceals a terrorist as well, shouldn't an organization be careful about supporting and concealing pedophiles?

Posted by: isaac at February 18, 2005 3:54 PM

I wandered over from Illinoise!.net and was utterly drawn in by your writing. I found myself trying to figure out what the heck was up with the cereal company and how the heck did I miss hearing about it, and then I finally caught on that you were using a very effective technique to make a point that I think requires serious consideration. I find "a different jessica" to be a nice voice of reason amidst a topic that springs forth a myriad of emotions and impulses. Very interesting conversations taking place here...

Posted by: Foley at February 18, 2005 7:08 PM

HA! All this time I've been using "A different jessica" which is my handle on lowculture.com.

Can I still be your FRIEND JESSICA?

Posted by: friend jessica at February 19, 2005 8:16 PM


We all know what this is REALLY about. You hate Kelloggs ... always have, always will. You had a "bad experience" with a riced crispy experiment and, too ashamed to admit it, blamed it on the Catholic Church. Get out from under this shadow of lies and free yourself! (Freeing yourself is part of a nutritionally-balanced breakfast.)

And when are we going to get a copy of your movie downstate? And when are you going to listen to my show at Illinoise.net? So many questions. Seacrest, out.

Posted by: Pete at February 20, 2005 1:23 PM

In case anyone is interested in what the Catholic kid thinks.... If not, stop reading here.

I was raised Catholic, and I still am. I may not go to church every week, but I still do every so often (went this weekend in fact).

I was an altar boy growing up and even seriously considered the priesthood at one point. Had dinner with the Bishop of Toledo and all that.

Anyway, this whole situation sickens me. It embarrasses me and saddens me. I was NEVER abused. In fact, I would even consider some of the priests I knew when I was growing up as friends. We had weekend pizza parties with Fr Chas with the other altar boys. We played football and watched movies on the VCR because they had one in the recorty. Never an odd thing happened.

I went to Catholic schools for 12 years and then taught at my old high school after graduating from college. Never a problem.

However, in recent years, I've found out about 2 former priests that I knew that have been brought up on accusations. This absolutely shocked me. I didn't know what to think. And the worst part is that I know the guys that are making these accusations. They were classmates of mine. And the preiests were teachers (later colleagues) of mine. Neither are priests any more. One left voluntarily, and the other was forced out of the priesthood. The second's charges are far worse (he actually has a child of his own from a relationship that he had while a priest... very odd). But the first... I don't understand. Sure... he was an odd one who talked more salty than other priests. He taught our "Family Living" class when I was a sophmore. He taught us how respect was the most important thing in a relationship. We could talk openly in his class (we could even say dirty words if the conversation warranted it). He was a good man and treated us 15 yr-olds as adults, and we appreciated him for it. Anyway, he was accused of mollesting one of my fellow students. Now, I wasn't there. I wasn't around. I can't speak for what happened or what didn't happen. But this kid that made these accusations is not the most respected and reliable person I've ever knows. He was a big attention hound in school. A bit unstable. Anyway, he accused this priest who, in turn, was shamed so badly that he left the priesthood. Old ladies at his church would slap him. People spit on him. Hhis car was totaled sitting in its parking place at his home late one night. He left the priesthood and moved out of state to start a new life. He had to.

One of my other high school friends who know has 3 kids of his own has still gone to this former priest to baptize his children. I wish I knew where he was. I want to give him a hug.

Again, I don't know what happened or what didn't happen in this whole situation. But I know what I know, and I feel sorry for this ex-priest.

My point is that while I don't agree with the cover-up that's happened over these many years in these many situations, i still have a tremendous amount of sympathy for all of those priests who have given up their lives in the service of the church. There are hundreds of great priests out there that have been made to suffer and clean up the mess that has been created. And I feel for them. They are some of the most generous and loving people I've ever met. They get up in the middle of this night to hear confession from little old ladies who accidently saw their own naked image in the mirror and think they have sinned. They rush to hospitals at a moment's notice to administer last rights to teenagers who have been in horrible car accidents. They hold the hands of lonely cancer patients who have nobody to care for them as they finally pass.

Not all priests are bad. And I feel for the good ones. While others do inexcusable acts and take advantage of their authority, others give everything they have to help us learn from our experiences and try to explain a mystery that they don't even understand but for their own faith.

Bottom line... I'm sick of Jay Leno thinking it's funny to make light of this problem.

Posted by: Brian at February 21, 2005 6:25 AM

Oh... you may now return to your regulary scheduled blog.

Posted by: Brian at February 21, 2005 6:25 AM

dammit! i already threw out my Frosted Flakes!

Posted by: mary at February 21, 2005 2:25 PM

It's just as well - they ARE still bad for you in other ways.

Posted by: Chris at February 22, 2005 10:27 AM

I was raised Catholic and I am also sick of Jay Leno.

Posted by: Rich at February 22, 2005 11:11 AM

I was very moved by Brian's story. Seriously. I guess that making light of the situation helps to cope. I am not Catholic, and I have never been abused. If you really stop and think about what happened to some of these kids, it can bog you down. While thinking serious thoughts is bound to happen, I guess I don't like to dwell there for long. So my apologies to Brian for making light of something you are so passionate about. And good for you for standing up for those priests that were clearly never starting their day, thinking about doing something bad. It's just the usual deal, of pondering on the bad, and forgetting about the good. So thank you Brian for giving us a friendly reminder. It ain't all bad.

Posted by: klugula at February 23, 2005 7:56 AM

No need to apologize. No offense taken at all.

Just wanted to share my experiences and awareness of this subject since I've obviously spent some time thinking on it.

But thanks for your kind words, Michael.

Posted by: Brian at February 23, 2005 11:45 AM

Is the abuse of the flesh more appalling than the rape of the mind and soul? Why are we concerned about the subsequent trauma of physical molestation, yet we allow our children's souls to be poisoned by all religious sects including Catholism. Yes there are but a few priests guilty of sexual molestation, but the effects of the lies and misinformation perpetuated by religion are far more lasting.

Posted by: elwood at February 23, 2005 12:26 PM

True, the Cathols should be ashamed. As well as the Visgoths and Gauls.

Posted by: Rich at February 23, 2005 1:37 PM

What's a "Cathol?"

Posted by: Brian at February 23, 2005 1:46 PM


Posted by: elwood at February 23, 2005 2:18 PM

Elwood, I agree with much of what you say. The trouble with religion is people willingly accept it (like alcoholics with alcohol). The more sense you talk, the tighter they grip it.

Be glad there are enough of us shrugging it off, once we realize our minds are our own, that to do so is no longer a crime.

Posted by: isaac at February 23, 2005 2:44 PM

However, to tar all people of any sort of religious faith with the same broad, 'mindwashed' brush is silly and counterproductive.

Certainly you know I am a Christian, but I also feel I'm well educated in the ways of not only other religions, but in athiesm and agnosticism. I also am well versed in politics and diverse cultures. I am open minded and embrace what most Christian faiths shun.

I certainly don't believe that my faith in a higher power is equivalent to 'rape of the mind'.

Posted by: friend jessica at February 23, 2005 2:48 PM

(Having fomented revolution and unrest, the blog owner walks away, whistling innocently, to make some innocuous comment about his pet grammatical peeves)

Posted by: Chris at February 23, 2005 3:34 PM

Suggesting we can eliminate a school of thought (that's what "faith" is) is in itself a form of mind control. You have to accept people do, say and think odd things no matter how harmful you think it.

Friend Jessica, I have to reject the idea that there is such a thing as "atheism" or that it can be studied. I think the term was concocted to name "the other", or those who don't have a belief in a god, to villify them. I don't have a god, but I don't need a label for it anymore than I need a label proclaiming my lack of breast implants. Let those who pick up the extra baggage pick up the labels too.

Posted by: isaac at February 23, 2005 3:47 PM

Duh, the label for not having breast implants is "masteotheism"

I believe that YOU don't need a label, but people like the folks at 'evilbible.com' certainly have formed a group of their own...in an effort to 'undermine christianity'. I see them as different from those who simply have no faith.

Posted by: friend jessica at February 23, 2005 4:59 PM

Geee Elwood. No need to get personal and yell and swear.

Just havin' fun.


Posted by: Brian at February 23, 2005 6:56 PM

Hmmm...masteotheism sounds more like its the worship of breast implants. Maybe amasteostic?

I'm not sure why I brought up the atheism thing, I just finished listening to a radio dramatization of Jude the Obscure today and my mind was hopping on the church/non-church debate. Perhaps some folk on one side of the line feel incomplete if they don't try to change, one way or another, the folk on the other side.

Posted by: isaac at February 23, 2005 7:13 PM

...as if on cue:


The article details some research into faith, its needs and reasons; some feel it's a survival instinct.

Posted by: isaac at February 24, 2005 6:49 AM

To blame religion for human nature or say it is raping our minds and souls is a blanket generalization akin to calling other countries Evildoers. It's a battle cry rather than a way to address a problem. Take religion away and you'll still have all the problems that you believe religion causes. It will just take another form (government).

People willingly accept it because it fulfills a basic need. Until you supply something else that fulfills that need, religion is her to stay. It's better to try to change it from the inside than to throw stones at it from the outside, because as isaac said people will only grip it tighter. Which is actually what's happening in our country right now.

Posted by: Rich at February 24, 2005 7:09 AM

1. Masteotheism I was thinking, was the worship of natural breasts VS. implants.

2. This is a perfect example of why I want to market a t-shirt that says:

Christians: We're Not All Like That!

Just as it's disgusting to see religions label groups as bad or good rather than seeing people individually and judging black or white, it's disgusting to take every member of a certain branch of faith and label them as child rapers or whathaveyou.

To be honest, when I DID think that this story was about Kellogs, my initial reaction was: "you don't have to close down the cereal plant...just change your policies." Seriously.

And I feel the same way about the Catholic church.

Posted by: friend jessica at February 24, 2005 7:23 AM

It's been interesting to watch the evolution of this debate over the past few days. It's reminded me of when I used to stick a few red ants in with the Uncle Milton ants to make it more interesting.

So we started talking about a specific religious institution, and somewhere between basic agreement on the hypocrisy, a testimonial of someone's positive Catholic experience, and angry opposition to the whole idea, we've somehow come to the point where the whole thing is about how you shouldn't tar all religious people with one brush.

I'm all for free-range conversation (It tastes better, it's not as cruel) but I'd like to again bring up what interested me in this subject to start with. And it wasn't the chance to say mean things about religious people, which I don't think I do or the story does.

The point of bringing this up was also not in some hope of stopping all religion, or even a whole denomination, but examining why an institution that claims to be religious is held to a lesser standard than any other.

Whether you'd shut down Kellogg's as a whole or not (poor, beleaguered, hypothetical Kelloggs, who never did nothin' to nobody, except make sugary delicious cereal - sometimes with prizes!), try again to imagine that they had the pedophile problem that the Catholics do. (Don't forget in the hypothetical we were not talking about just one racy plant - we were talking about many, just as in reality there are many Catholic churches with the problem.)

Christ, they would be in bankruptcy! You couldn't find a grocery store in the world to carry Kelloggs products! For all their years of service, in the end they would be remembered for all time as the "cereal of kiddie rapists." Is there any doubt?

And what is interesting to me is that here in reality, with the "clergy molestation crisis," no one is suggesting anything even remotely similar - not even with just the Boston diocese. We have class action lawsuits and we have support groups, but that is it.

So do I seriously entertain the idea or even the hope that the Catholic Church, the OLDEST CHRISTIAN ORGANIZATION IN EXISTENCE, is going to be forced to close its doors? No.

But I'd like to suggest that one reason this problem continues is evident in the way this debate has strayed. Yes, I'm happy if someone lived their whole life as a Catholic and never had a problem. Yes, I know there are thousands and thousands of true, good priests, and yes, I know this must be painful as hell to them.

But do these individual examples invalidate the whole point?

To me, the central point of this whole deal, and so many other deals is that when it comes to religion, or anything that even SMELLS of religion, people always throw their critical thinking out the door. I wasn't kidding when I said you can get away with anything at all if you are religious. I think this is why.

Here are some thoughts I'll throw out there that I doubt will mean much to a lot of people:

It is possible to be critical of something and still love it. It is not evil to have high standards of your Church and demand they uphold them. Or of your country. In fact the people we revere in history did just that. To question why this scandal happened and why it was covered up does not mean you question your belief in the Church and God.

I don't think any of this requires a schizophrenic dividing of your mind, just some active intelligence.

In a slightly different direction: I'm working on the idea that I probably would not describe myself as Christian right now. I would LOVE to see the Christianity: We're Not All That Way! movement take hold, and I might even go to that church (on holidays). But as I have said before, until that vast, silent, supposed majority speaks up to their louder, dumber extremes, who happily wrap their every fascist agenda in the Jesus wrapper, then I feel Christianity in this country is basically just another a political party I want nothing do with.

Posted by: Chris at February 24, 2005 9:40 AM


Stop talking!

Posted by: Brian at February 24, 2005 10:15 AM

DAMN YOU! You've won this one. But I'll be back.


Posted by: Chris at February 24, 2005 10:20 AM

Another reason I liked the Kellogg's story is I think the church (not just Catholic) has undergone a similar change in our competitive market. Kellogg's started out producing cereal as a health food. It was good for you but bland; they weren't the successful giant until they dropped the goodness and added sugar, cartoon characters and fun prizes.

The church (generic) started off with similar goals of spreading goodness and values, which you can still find in many of the individual clergy as Brian mentioned. The Catholic Church's (the organization) reaction to the scandal was more like that of a company interested in maintaining their market share than it was in a company holding true to their original goals.

I like "Christians: We're Not All Like That!" (it reminds me of NAMBLA: We're Not Killers!). Maybe Marco can run off some T-shirts and charge us for them.

Posted by: isaac at February 24, 2005 10:54 AM

We've been taught not to be loud and uppity though, and even if lived our lives exactly according to Jesus' wishes it would never make the headlines.

"Here's a bunch of people who were kind to everyone today."

You don't see stories on the news about feeding the hungry unless it's Christmas at the Soup Kitchen.

Love the sinner, hate the sin literally blows people's minds. "I don't agree with you having an abortion, but you're still my friend and I love you and will be with you."

It's not exciting stuff.

Posted by: friend jessica at February 24, 2005 11:30 AM

I'd say it would be pretty exciting for a Christian group to ask the President if Jesus would approve of his environmental policy.

I think it would be a headline if some Christians told James Dobson and his "Focus on the Family" that his homophobia was not Christlike.

And I'm sure a story like a bunch of Boston Catholics refusing to tithe until their cardinals and bishops were brought up on charges would be considered newsworthy - even by FOX!

Posted by: Chris at February 24, 2005 11:40 AM

That reminds me, did I miss "STARS WITHOUT MAKEUP"? on FOX?

Chris, does it ever bother you that you're working in an office and shows like Stars Without Makeup are being greenlighted?

Yeah, me too.

Posted by: friend jessica at February 24, 2005 12:29 PM

No, because every time I hold the elevator for a Girl Gone Wild, I consider myself in show business, in some small way. And that's good enough for me.

Posted by: Chris at February 24, 2005 12:31 PM

No More Late Fees!

Because now we're calling them "restocking fees!"

Blockbuster sued over late fees

Posted by Chris on 02/18/05

Blockbuster should advertise FREE RENTALS, absolutely NO CHARGE to rent their fine collection of today's hottest DVDs and games.

Then charge a "takehome fee" if you leave the premises with their DVDs or games.

Posted by: isaac at February 18, 2005 11:36 AM

I enjoy the image of the Blockbuster guy being "surprised and disappointed". Like a parent that you lie to or swear in front of.

OH no. Are you suing me? REALLY? Is that REALLY what you want to do? I didn't think you were that sort of person, but I guess I was wrong.

Posted by: friend jessica at February 18, 2005 12:11 PM

February 17, 2005

Divorced from reality, and late on the alimony payments

Finally. The "real world" seems to be taking notice, long after the fake, uncredentialled "internet" world:

  • NY Times (editorial, though, not in the "news" pages) story on Jeff Gannon, Male Prostitute.

  • And a hilarious video clip from the Daily Show (via Crooks and Liars), the show that proves to me I have not just gone insane for the last five years.

    UPDATE: You might wonder, as I do, where Careful Thinkers Lileks and Instapundit are on this. After all, it's been a few weeks, and these are men of the blog world, where this story was born. They know about it. Is it not worthy of comment?

    Well, Mr. Indeed Instapundit has, perhaps not unpredictably, chosen to employ Rovian / Condeleezian Logic, which as you know means not so much answering your question as accusing you of the very thing his side does all the time.

    In other words, Instapundit wants to know, why are you picking on Jeff Gannon because he's gay?

    As for the gay angle being why he was booted -- that's what Howard Kurtz said, and I believe it. And while you can claim that this isn't really about the gay angle, a quick look at the juvenile gay-themed stuff on the lefty blogs suggests otherwise. I should also note that while Moyers did charge that Gannon was a gay male prostitute, I don't think that's been clearly established. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

    Indeed! For him it's all about those liberals treating gay people like shit just like they always do. I mean, doesn't the word "liberal" basically mean gay-bashing these days? Let's be honest here. So, nothing else of interest here. Case closed, move on.

    And as for Lileks, here's what he had to say:

    Yep. Still not on his radar as far as I can tell.

    Posted by Chris on 02/17/05

    You know what Chris? Maybe spending a little time stringing wooden beads on a piece of yarn is more important than rehashing political bruhahas. ::shrug:: :: soft smile:: Maybe that's just me.

    But I don't think I'm alone.

    Now if you'll excuse me, I have a tea party to attend.

    Posted by: friend jessica at February 18, 2005 12:15 PM

    :: silently moving goats to your field ::

    Posted by: Chris at February 18, 2005 2:12 PM
  • Geek Alert: Calvinball Chess

    No, not as random or hilarious as that. It's chess played inside a Klein Bottle:


    The only question is, how did they get that chess set inside the bottle? Was it the same way they get the tiny model ships in there?

    Posted by Chris on 02/17/05

    thank you.

    he's here all week.

    Posted by: friend jessica at February 17, 2005 12:48 PM

    And another thing, what is it with airline food? THANK YOU, BE SURE TO TIP YOUR WAITRESS!

    Posted by: Chris at February 17, 2005 12:52 PM

    Wait a second here buster. You changed your post.

    There was a joke in there about chess pieces sliding off the sides.


    Posted by: friend jessica at February 17, 2005 12:57 PM

    You HAVE TO KEEP CHECKING BACK. I'm revising these things 9, 10 times after I put them up. HONING them for effect.

    I also changed a comment I made below. AND THIS ONE.

    Posted by: Chris at February 17, 2005 12:58 PM

    Review: the sex our neighbors were having

    First of all, well done. Clearly everyone's having a good time.

    But just a thought - I noticed that she seems REALLY INTO IT and then nothing for a long while and then REALLY INTO IT. What's going on during that long nothing for a while? No, I'm not asking you to describe anything, I'm just saying, and I could be way off base, maybe stay with the REALLY INTO IT stuff more, or at least get back to it quicker?

    Just a thought. Otherwise, kudos.

    Posted by Chris on 02/17/05

    maybe they subscribe to that theory of getting RIGHT TO THE EDGE OF EXPLOSION and then backing off...having a sip of water, cracking the knuckles, and then getting back into it?

    Posted by: friend jessica at February 17, 2005 12:38 PM

    Probably, except that it was more like have a sip of water, crack your knuckles, flip through a magazine or check your email, then get back into it.

    Hey, whatever works, and it's always good to catch up on your reading.

    Posted by: Chris at February 17, 2005 12:40 PM

    Since it's all about procreation, perhaps they were trying to make twins.

    Posted by: isaac at February 18, 2005 6:34 AM

    Have you seen what they look like? If not, try to keep it that way. My old apartment had thin walls. (Did I ever tell you this story?) The folks next door sure did like their sex and cigarette smoking. The head of our bed was right next to their apparent "sex and smoking" room. It was a horrible recurring event, and I did not see how it could get any worse. Then one day, I saw them. Suddenly, my world was turned upside down. They were hideous! Now I had to picture them as I heard (and smelled) them. People ask why I gouged my eyes, stuffed my nose with super glue, and pierced my eardrums. Now you know...now you know.

    Posted by: klugula at February 18, 2005 2:45 PM

    I have not seen them, and Lordy I don't want to. You are so right. Because your neighbors having sex is like a box of chocolates. YOU NEVER KNOW WHAT YOU'RE GONNA GET.

    Posted by: Chris at February 18, 2005 3:20 PM

    Sorry I'm very late on this one, but I think she might be rubbing the bean and then he comes into the room. She stops and pretends to be reading or sleeping. He rummages around the room for a while and then she starts up again. Just a thought. Either that or they take breaks to watch season one of Everwood.

    Posted by: Rich at February 22, 2005 10:54 AM

    I give up

    Let's just officially change the pronunciation of the word to "nucular." It'll just be easier.

    They win this one.

    Posted by Chris on 02/17/05

    Yes. And we should also privatize Social Security because...well, let's have the president's explanation in his own words:

    "Because the -- all which is on the table begins to address the big cost drivers. For example, how benefits are calculate, for example, is on the table; whether or not benefits rise based upon wage increases or price increases. There's a series of parts of the formula that are being considered. And when you couple that, those different cost drivers, affecting those -- changing those with personal accounts, the idea is to get what has been promised more likely to be -- or closer delivered to what has been promised. Does that make any sense to you?"

    Posted by: isaac at February 17, 2005 11:56 AM

    great, sherbert people are going to want recognition

    Posted by: friend jessica at February 17, 2005 12:00 PM

    We should probably go ahead and make it "supposebly" and "irregardless" as well, just to save the Webster people time.

    Posted by: Chris at February 17, 2005 12:17 PM

    February 16, 2005

    Party Favors for 4703

    Spotted in the Chinese New Year celebration:

    Firecrackers. An obvious traditional favorite. When I heard the first reports several blocks away I thought a mad triple-time Riverdance had broken out, and then my mind kicked in. I wonder what the ratio of Fingers / Hearing Lost is between Chinese New Year and American Fourth of July? When the parade reached the end of the route where we were they set off 300,000 at once.

    Balloons with Buzzers. They work by attaching a party horn to a balloon and then letting it go. Thankfully these were rare, as the squealing was not pleasant, but the idea is great.

    Party Snaps. Not the clever insults but the tiny explosive paper tadpoles. The undisputed champion. The kids went WILD with them. Some threw them by ones and twos, others preferred the stomp method, and I even saw a few kids dissecting them as I used to. WHAT MAKES THEM DO THAT? Second to Mexican Jumping Bean technology, it may be the biggest mystery of childhood.

    When we sat down next to a family and wondered allowed where we could get some Snaps, it wasn't a hint for their kids to share with us from their stash, but share they did, and generously. And past the point that we wanted them to. We started throwing them in bunches of ten and twenty to go through the bounty. By the end of the parade the little girl had discovered that you didn't even have to take them out of the box to get the SNAP. I'm afraid I may have taught her and her brother that you could squeeze them in your fingers, too, and Dad didn't like that. I wonder if, like all explosives, even modern smart bombs, the explosive yield of a Snap is compared to the equivalent number of sticks of TNT.

    Nunchucks (plastic). Nothing says "I have a sense of fun and irony" more than swinging around a pair of plastic nunchucks in Chinatown at the New Year's parade. All the more so if you're an adult.

    Nunchucks (real). Nothing says "I actually think I'm a bad ass" more than swinging around an actual pair of nunchucks in Chinatown at the New Year's parade. But I suppose any time is a good time to REPRESENT, ya dig.

    Samurai swords (plastic or balloon). All the better if you also have a "helmet" made of balloons.

    Samurai swords (real?) Maybe these were actually wooden Kendo sticks, and these guys were giving a demonstration somewhere. I hope. Either way, none of the kids tried to get them in on the Party Snap fun by throwing them at their feet the way they did us. Wise!

    Goldfish in a transparent plastic lunchbox, carried around by a little girl. I only saw one but what sort of tyrant must you have been in a past life to come back as one of these fish? They'd have to rival one of my ant farms for creatures with the shortest life expectancy.

    Kelly Hu - Parade Marshall. Some effort was spent in convincing Wife Ami that this was not the sole reason why I wanted us to attend. I swear I didn't know she would be there until we got there. I came for the dragons and the food. But Kelly doesn't hurt.

    Smoke bombs. Another perennial favorite. Everyone holds their nose but to me the smell is an instant reminder of childhood. Also fun to see the kids try to dissect them once there were done smoking, just like I used to do.

    Silly string. Not a big hit for some reason. It was a windy day and by the end of the parade there were several goodly-sized silly tumbleweeds made of the String and Party Snap papers rolling around the street.

    Posted by Chris on 02/16/05

    Mysteries of topology

    It's that time of year where I gather up my receipts for the tax man. And as usual, when I look at the breakdown, certain mysteries about my shape and appearance get cleared up.

    2004 restaurant expenses - roughly $19,079
    2004 clothing expenses - around $31, although one receipt for a return is present

    Posted by Chris on 02/16/05

    I hope you're full.

    Posted by: Brian at February 16, 2005 12:38 PM

    To be fair...it IS a durable sweater.

    Posted by: friend jessica at February 16, 2005 1:01 PM

    Become a chef! One outfit and you'll eat free.

    Posted by: isaac at February 16, 2005 1:25 PM

    February 15, 2005

    Christian Coalition and Islamic Fundamentalists Agree: Women and the Future Are Stupid

    Hey, everyone! It turns out that these two movements are really not that different from one another after all! I KNEW we could get together on something! It was just a matter of finding some common ground!

    From 1988 to 1993, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences sponsored an interdisciplinary study known as The Fundamentalism Project, the largest such study ever done. More than 100 scholars from all over the world took part, reporting on every imaginable kind of fundamentalism. And what they discovered was that the agenda of all fundamentalist movements in the world is virtually identical, regardless of religion or culture.

    The five characteristics are

    1) Men rule the roost and make the rules. Women are support staff and for reasons easy to imagine, homosexuality is intolerable.

    2) all rules must apply to all people, no pluralism.

    3) the rules must be precisely communicated to the next generation

    4) "they spurn the modern, and want to return to a nostalgic vision of a golden age that never really existed. (Several of the scholars observed a strong and deep resemblance between fundamentalism and fascism. Both have almost identical agendas. Men are on top, women are subservient, there is one rigid set of rules, with police and military might to enforce them, and education is tightly controlled by the state. One scholar suggested that it's helpful to understand fundamentalism as religious fascism, and fascism as political fundamentalism. The phrase 'overcoming the modern' is a fascist slogan dating back to at least 1941.)"

    5) Fundamentalists deny history in a "radical and idiosyncratic way."

    To this list I would just add that 6) Renters are Infidels, but that may be my personal politics showing through.

    Another Koufax-nominated post from Hullabaloo, by way of Davidson Loehr.

    Posted by Chris on 02/15/05

    So if the God-botherers win, the terrorists truly have won? Delightful!

    I've been debating recently with a fellow who thinks a total rejection (he calls it 'interpretation') of Jesus' teachings is a strong defense of Christianity. He considers 'love thy enemy, turn the other cheek and the golden rule' weakness. In sports jargon I think they call this a spectacular own-goal.

    Fun for da mentals perhaps, but it isn't Christian.

    Posted by: isaac at February 15, 2005 2:21 PM





    Is everyone ignoring my posts on purpose?

    Posted by: friend jessica at February 16, 2005 9:24 AM

    Yes, I am - D'OH!

    Posted by: Chris at February 16, 2005 9:46 AM

    With so much domination of women (I don't want to slide into the overused charge of misogyny, though there's a case to be made) why is it that the strength of religion often rests with women?

    For instance, Christian churches lost much strength during the Womens' Lib days as women chose not to attend (and it's generally women that gather the family for church). And freeing Islamic women from their burkas has more to do with our perception of the tradition than their desire to do so - much of the shame heaped upon these 'liberated' Islamic women comes from the ones still in their burkas.

    Is domination a comfort beyond the tradition?

    Posted by: isaac at February 16, 2005 1:23 PM

    Well, for one, the interpretation of some christians at how to treat women is appalling. While I admit the attitudes of the Old Testament (and some New for that matter) are...antiquated (good god, the book is 3,000 years old or something)...the Lord also says to treat your woman like Jesus treats the church. To hold your woman up like a jewel, to treasure her and love her unconditionally and all this.

    The book of Song of Songs (or song of solomon) is a beautiful, lengthy love poem between a two lovers that shows their love and equality.

    Also, women are cherished and hailed as the leaders of family, the root of all.

    It's just that like many things in the Good Book, people pick out the parts that they believe already and then assume they can just fill in the rest.

    No where in the Bible (as far as I know), does it say to treat women like dogs or property or lesser beings.

    Posted by: friend jessica at February 16, 2005 1:45 PM

    I recently listened to radio documentary on Islamic polygamy. They did their best to present both sides (men and women both in favor and opposed) and there were many points made similar to your own. I was struck by one fellow's justification of 'so-called subjugation' as the man actually becoming a servant to his wife in denying her having to work, or having to go out often, or exposing herself to the gaze of other men.

    I think a lot of this boils down to tradition (which Woody Allen described as the illusion of permanence). I respect and admire traditions but also see a need for each generation to redefine traditions in their own way. Without the freedom to adapt and let traditions grow it's more tempting for new generations to abandon them as no longer relevant or personally meaningful.

    It's the meaning from the bible, not the literal (dated) wording, we should take with us.

    Posted by: isaac at February 17, 2005 10:56 AM

    Isn't there something about being able to hit the wife so long as it's with a stick no thicker than your thumb? Wha-POW!

    Posted by: Chris at February 17, 2005 1:07 PM

    Lobsters Feel No Pain, Says Lobster Industry

    From CNN: Study: Unlikely lobsters feel pain in boiling water, and on the same page are ads for four separate companies selling "Lobster Gift Packages."

    Live lobsters delivered to your door by www.thelobsternet.com! Livelob.com is rated best overall and best value!

    Looks like the lobster industry has taken a cue from those Egg Council bastards.

    Posted by Chris on 02/15/05

    So we could use boling water in abortions, since its painless.

    (I know, I'm wicked, etc.)

    Posted by: isaac at February 15, 2005 2:25 PM

    February 14, 2005

    Drum Circle Etiquette

  • Please do not do back flips inside the drum circle. Please take those out of the circle. We are trying to keep it [hand signal from conductor that looks like "low" but that can't be it] inside the circle.

  • Please go with the flow; please do not create side-rhythms or inadvisable fill-ins. For what constitutes an inadvisable fill-in, please see the conductor.

  • Please do not take the dancing too seriously. You - the German guy with the beret. You dance for a while and then you stop, shaking your head angrily like the rest of us just aren't keeping with your beat. You are creating a harsh vibe. Take that shit outside the circle. Or I will shake my moroccas annoyingly close to your head every time you come by.

  • Let's not be slavish to the flow; let's vary up the tempo every now and then. The rhythm of the drum circle is a living thing created from all of our drumming. It is natural for the synchonicity to ebb and flow as people go in and out of beat. It's the nature of the universe, man! Try some new counterbeats and fill-ins! That's the point! (Note that the conductor will decide on a case by case basis which of these will fit in.)

  • Note that there is no conductor of authority, just the guy with the morrocas that thinks he is. You are free to do as you like at any time.

  • There is no dress code. Come one, come all. But if you are wearing shoes and not sandals, or a knit shirt, or have short hair, and have no tattoos or braids, please stay on that side of the circle as you are disrupting the joint sales.

  • Wildly spinning is fine but it annoys the older drummers when you kick sand up on their bongos. In fact, let's take that spinning outside the drum circle. That's just [hand signal from conductor that again looks like "low" so maybe it's just a catch-all gesture for uncool?]

  • Come on guys, there's no need to let it die out like that. Ebb and flow is one thing but somebody pick the beat up. Seriously uncool.

  • Hey, you tourists over there. It is seriously messed-up to be videoing us. Uncool. That shit may be cool where you're from but this is Venice. Take that shit up to Santa Monica Pier.

  • Who's with this spinning girl? She's about to crash, man - somebody get her out of the circle and get her some water and a vitamin E.

    Posted by Chris on 02/14/05

    Would you rather be deaf and dumb or just a torso?

    For the purposes of this discussion, as a torso you do have genitals and arms.

    Posted by: friend jessica at February 15, 2005 8:36 AM
  • Grammys

    The awards show genre of television is vastly overblown and over-attended, but sadly I find myself just as drawn to watch as everyone else. I make myself feel better about it by keeping something to read in my lap and not directly facing the TV, as if I am only half-interested.

    So I watched the Grammy awards last night, and I hope Gil Cates, perennial Oscar show director, watched as well. The point of the show seemed to be to celebrate all American music for all time. They took every opportunity to have different artists playing together on stage, and my list of music to check out grew by ten names. Let me put the fake reading material down and admit that it was pretty awesome. Not bad for the business.

    Compare that with Oscar ceremonies which seem to be primarily about who's wearing what on the red carpet. I should want to check out a huge list of movies after the movie industry celebrates itself so noisily, instead I feel like I've seen a deluxe People magazine photo spread.

    All right, I'm embarrassed now, I'll stop.

    Posted by Chris on 02/14/05


    but seriously. Today on the radio they played the Loretta Lynn/Jack White collaboration and it was super neato!

    Who would have ever thought I'd hear or enjoy that?

    Posted by: friend jessica at February 14, 2005 12:10 PM

    February 12, 2005

    Southern culture on the skids

    From Hullabaloo, one of the entries nominated for a Koufax award:

    History suggests that the southern culture has always been as defined by it's resentment toward the rest of the country as much as anything else.

    A fascinating post, and a great response to Citizen's United and their billboard, below.

    One thing this little historical trip should show everyone is that it is nonsense to think that this cultural resentment and cultural contempt was created by Hollywood movie stars and limosine liberals from New York City. Indeed, this has been a problem since the dawn of the republic. And it isn't a problem that will be solved by the Red States gaining and maintaining power. They have held power many times throughout our history and they were still filled with resentment toward "the north" (now "the liberal elites.")

    (Sorry - this post has nothing to do with the band.)

    Posted by Chris on 02/12/05

    February 10, 2005

    Note to Hollywood: Shut your cake hole

    A group called Citizen's United has put up some billboards near the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood, "thanking" outspoken actors for giving Bush four more years.

    The message to Ben Affleck from conservative America is clear: we may be obsessed with your private life, but spare us your views.

    Trey Parker and Matt Stone must be elated as well.

    Posted by Chris on 02/10/05

    The term Sore Winner comes to mind. Christ almighty, you eeked out another election, let's not all start sucking each other's dicks quite yet.

    Posted by: friend jessica at February 10, 2005 1:17 PM

    HA! I'd also put it up there with the Citibank billboards for unintended messages.

    Posted by: Chris at February 10, 2005 1:25 PM

    Also, Chevy Chase must want to force feed himself a hatchet every time he drives by and looks at that dorky ass picture of himself.

    Posted by: friend jessica at February 10, 2005 1:38 PM

    What's his liberal crime anyway? I never heard anything out of him. Maybe Citizen's United just didn't like "Cops and Robbersons." Hell, after that I wanted to put up a billboard too.

    Posted by: Chris at February 10, 2005 1:45 PM


    Posted by: friend jessica at February 10, 2005 2:10 PM

    No mention anywhere on this site of Camilla and Charles. I guess someone doesn't know what's important.

    Posted by: Rich at February 10, 2005 2:18 PM

    Scandals in Alternate Universes Pt. 3

    Jeff Gannon has been forced into retirement from his job as Republican media plant by pesky liberal blogging nutjobs like Daily Kos and Media Matters. Can't they leave these guys alone? If a born-again Christian wants to run an escort service at militaryescortsm4m.com, while simultaneously keeping his day job as GOP stooge, well then this is America, land of opportunity! I say let him.

    As you may know Gannon was a "reporter" for "Talon," a Republican advocacy group thinly disguised as a news organization, and was given not only White House Press credentials (where his questions and reports were often taken verbatim from GOP talking points) but apparently access to classified documents.

    Coming so soon after Armstrong Williams - the columnist and TV host paid by the administration to say nice things about the Bush education policy - one could almost detect a disturbing pattern without trying too hard.

    That is, you could detect a pattern if you lived in that ALTERNATIVE universe where a Democrat is president. In that parallel, BIZARRO universe, the political party that has control of all three branches of government conspiring to misinform citizens is a pretty big deal. It's raised questions about government and the media, and the electorate are FURIOUS. The parallel Rush Limbaugh is like a dog with a bone on this story! I wish you could see him! And their Lileks and Instapundit can't get enough of it! It looks like the end of the parallel president's career.

    In our universe, though? Not really a big deal. Our Lileks, for instance, is talking today about Gnat cheating at UNO. And that's about it.

    And the news of the day? I’m sure there’s some. Somewhere. Here, it snowed.

    Yep. Not even on the radar. Seems the only way the president in THIS universe is going to get a dent in his armor would be if someone actually walked in on him doing Cheney from behind. But he'd REALLY have to look like he was enjoying it. And he'd also have to be burning a Bible with his right hand, and signing legislation to ban assault weapons with his left*.

    And even then they'd probably still find a way to link it to Clinton.

    UPDATE: You can read some of Gannon's writing samples at This Modern World. With such complete mastery of the written word, is it any wonder that he was credentialled?

    *Not to create disturbing visuals, but you will also note this means he's not even giving Cheney the courtesy of a reach-around.
    Posted by Chris on 02/10/05

    No props to Casey Hayes for the "reach-around" requirement as being not only prudent, but courteous?

    I'm offended.

    Kinda like the writing credit that I DID NOT GET for "The Goat Song Project."

    (No... I haven't forgotten)

    Posted by: Brian at February 10, 2005 10:02 AM

    I was thinking Lee Ermey as the Sargeant in "Full Metal Jacket." Maybe Casey ought to be giving a shout-out to HIM.


    Posted by: Chris at February 10, 2005 10:08 AM

    Sometimes Lileks reminds me of John Williams scores. Your emotional reaction is no longer at your own command. The words tell you exactly how you are to feel, whether you want to or not.

    In the tales of Gnat we're just all supposed to shake our heads with a sad, soft smile and say "you know, the problems of this world don't mean a hill of beans to this innocent child"...cue John Williams, huge sweeping crane shot...roll credits.

    "The world was overtaken by giant banana slugs today, with venom so poisonous that you're only alive long enough to watch your skin melt like water...but as for me and my child? Well, we went down to the general store and played go fish...I don't know...that's just the sort of people we are."

    Posted by: friend jessica at February 10, 2005 12:25 PM

    It's sad to me how much you hate poor Gnat. Is it her fault that her dad's a loonie?

    Posted by: Chris at February 10, 2005 12:32 PM

    you know me and my aversion to children.

    Posted by: friend jessica at February 10, 2005 12:41 PM

    OH. I see what you're doing here. You're turning my words around on me.

    ALL I was trying to say is that I understand your position, but I also remember a time when you and I scrambled to go to the lileks site every day. REMEMBER FOR GOD'S SAKE?

    Posted by: friend jessica at February 10, 2005 12:42 PM

    February 9, 2005

    Overheard in the Reversi Lobby

    It's not just about Reversi for some people.

    blondie027: asl?
    queenkiss101: 16/f/ny
    hot40k: shag me silly all u hot ppl
    redred4567890: 20/m/aus
    JoeW86: yo yo yo yo y go to table 22
    JoeW86: any 1

    I'm not sure why one needs to know not only the a and s of your Reversi partner, but also the l. Maybe it helps some people put the game in context? Maybe you only bring your A-game if you're playing an M who's over 25? Maybe it's a league thing?

    But that's crap because I played a 14/m/NJ the other day and he handed me my ASS.

    (But I find myself uncomfortable speaking of such things in proximity to the subject of online chat rooms. I don't know how long this Lobby has been up, but like all sites that have chatrooms, I bet it wasn't long before it became a seedy hangout for Teens and Pretend-Teens. I'm just here for the Reversi, man. I SWEAR.)

    Some excerpts:

    GAME 1: Me vs JoeW86

    (The game starts)
    ME: Hey...
    (Silence from JoeW86. Not sure what the etiquette is here - maybe I shouldn't distract.)
    (Ah, screw it.)
    ME: I see you're using the Delusian Gambit
    JoeW86: asl
    ME: Kasparov tried it in 67 at Minsk.
    JoeW86: ??
    (JoeW86 leaves the game before it is over.)
    ME: Yep, Kasparov walked out too.


    eSIMON: Don't play that person, they quit before they acepted the loss
    ME: Accepting loss is a part of life.
    eSIMON: I agree
    ME: Who was it anyway?
    redred4567890: WAT
    ME: If they don't accept it now the grief will eat away at them.
    eSIMON:I doubt it, they are probly dead inside
    ME: It's sad when you put it that way.
    eSIMON:haha yeah cheaters and sore losers are what's wrong with sports.
    ME: Also steroids.

    GAME 2: Me vs GandalF4869

    GandalF486: Yo.
    ME: Yo!
    (Silence for a while.)
    ME: Of course this is unlike Reversi tounaments in Moscow. In old days KGB cut off thumbs of players who fail.
    (No response from GandalF486.)
    ME: Is OK, I play game with only 9 fingers.

    Game result: Forfeit by opponent

    GAME 3: Me vs blondie027

    ME: Of course in olden times Reversi was a bloody game, lasting many days.
    blondie027: asl
    ME: Indeed, my friend. INDEED.
    ME: By the way - are we allowing "en passant?"

    Game result: A loss. (Time ran out)

    GAME 4: Me vs blondie027 again

    (I decided to announce my every move in algebraic notation)
    ME: Black to 8G
    ME: Black to 8F
    ME: Black to A7
    blondie027: due wtf

    Game result: Opponent left game

    Posted by Chris on 02/ 9/05

    seriously. DUE, WTF?

    I miss playing reversi. We used to scare folks away from games WITH A QUICKNESS.

    Posted by: friend jessica at February 9, 2005 2:41 PM

    Note to people I live with, regarding food

    When I say "I'm starving by 10:30 but I'm really trying to cut out the snacks," and you say "How about some raisins?" what you are actually saying is "How about eating something you don't enjoy that won't fill you up, and will actually just make the hunger worse?"

    Man, I don't think I could ever get a raisin to go down. This goes for celery sticks and trail mix too.

    Listen, when I say I need a snack before lunch I'm not saying I want a T-bone, but at the same time it needs to be something more substantial than what I could find foraging under the hedges in front of the building. I'm a man, a pudgy man, not some adorable rabbit.

    And don't even think about offering up those cardboard rice cakes. If I want to send something fragile and I need a packing material that won't bio-degrade for 500 years, I'll use those rice cakes. For eating? No.

    Posted by Chris on 02/ 9/05

    is that an achewood line? Getting a raisin to go down? sounds like something roastbeef would say.

    Snacks I eat that seem substantial and are horrid for me:

    snack paks of cheezits
    two string cheeses
    chex mix
    animal crackers
    snack paks of famous amos chocolate sandwich cookies.

    Posted by: friend jessica at February 9, 2005 8:56 AM

    February 8, 2005

    When Your Doppleganger Is Better Than You

    I see from the credits on the "Collateral" Extras Disc that I shot some DV on the behind-the-scenes featurette. How nice for me! I hope I enjoyed seeing Michael Mann work up close and personal. I certainly got some good shots of him and the actors. Good for me.

    It will be a nice problem to have, but it means if I ever do manage to sell a screenplay or make a movie, I'll probably have to go by some other version of my name than the one I currently use. I've spent a lifetime trying to make "Chris" my regular name and "Christopher" a family-usage-only name (YOU try explaining to the guy at the DMV that when you hear your full name it always feels like your parents calling you down when you were five, and that's why you'd prefer the shorter one on your license - I promise you have never seen what a blank look can be until you try it) but I can see that all might be for naught.

    BOY is my career taking off... in this town. At the end of the day, doing behind-the-scenes work is a great way in.

    Posted by Chris on 02/ 8/05

    Let's see, Topher is taken. How about Risto McCaleb? Stoph McCaleb? Stop McCaleb? Chris Caleb? Chris Mc? MC Chris? Armond Crisp?

    Posted by: Rich at February 9, 2005 8:00 AM

    pippy pippy doe doe?

    Posted by: friend jessica at February 9, 2005 8:01 AM

    What if I just use my rap name and "featuring" whoever I'm working with? A film by Chris Mac, f/ Rich. It's a Chris Mac joint f/ Friend Jess.

    Peace out.

    Posted by: Chris at February 9, 2005 8:37 AM

    Brian's been dealing with this same dilema as there is already several folks with variations of his name.

    I came up with an awesome...AWESOME new last name for him for hollywood and of course now I can't remember it. I think he wrote it down somewhere.

    Why don't you just refer to yourself as THE CUNDY.

    Posted by: friend jessica at February 9, 2005 8:58 AM

    The Cundy, now he was a character.

    If I were a writer my name would be Tempora Ghallager. It's from when I worked at the AMA. It stood for Temporary and the name of the person who's computer I was using.

    Brian should be Mac Brickney.

    Posted by: Rich at February 9, 2005 11:03 AM

    Maybe you could just be McC.

    Tho that MIGHT lead to folks confusing you with McG, and while it might be nice when the Enquirer started pasting your pictures next to Cameron asking "WHO IS THE NEW BOY-TOY ROCKIN' DIAZ WORLD FOR CHARLIES ANGELS 3?!", at the end of the day, in this town... it might not be that great a CAREER move, as it were. You might just be giving the critics more fodder for their MTV-video-short-attention-span-why-can't-you-be-more-like-Lileks-now-HIS-stories-about-Gnat-are-HILARIOUS arguments. Maybe they caught wind that you don't support the troops, and there WAS that unfortunate game cheating incident that, as we know, made Baby Jesus cry.

    Posted by: Ranger Dekiion at February 9, 2005 2:16 PM

    At the end of the day, Ranger appears to hate the troops, and by extension America, but that's what it's like here in this town (read: Chicago). Don't like the political bellweather? Just wait a minute! LOLOLOLOL

    Posted by: friend jessica at February 9, 2005 2:24 PM

    Hate the troops? Welcome to Chicago!

    Making Baby Jesus Cry? Welcome to Chicago!

    (Okay, still not as good as the dog sliced in half one...)

    Posted by: Ranger Dekiion at February 10, 2005 5:01 AM

    Slip Slidin' Away

    A frighteningly clinical look at our current trend towards in this country towards -

    Dare I say it? I mean I don't want Lileks to hurt himself rolling his eyes, because this could never happen here, and only a Liberal with his head FIRMLY up his ass would suggest it, I mean how can I be so STUPID, this is AMERICA not Germany for Christ's sake, I mean it PHYSICALLY COULD NOT HAPPEN HERE, and maybe there are some matchbooks from the forties that can illustrate just how stupid this idea IS, or maybe he could employ one of his elaborate hypothetical scenarios starring a hilariously flimsy straw man to explain to me just how ridiculous this is, please Lileks bring out the straw man, bring him out, bring out the TRUTH-TELLING STRAW MAN-

    ahem, fascism, from the American Conservative:

    Pointing to the justification of torture by conservative legal theorists, widespread support for a militaristic foreign policy, and a retrospective backing of Japanese internment during World War II, Raimondo raised the prospect of “fascism with a democratic face.”

    . . .

    [The mood of the country], Rockwell notes, dwarfs anything that existed during the Cold War. “It celebrates the shedding of blood, and exhibits a maniacal love of the state. The new ideology of the red-state bourgeoisie seems to actually believe that the US is God marching on earth—not just godlike, but really serving as a proxy for God himself.”

    Posted by Chris on 02/ 8/05

    It makes me sad that you can't simultaneously disagree with lileks and still enjoy things like the institute of good cheer.

    Posted by: friend jessica at February 8, 2005 1:51 PM

    I DO enjoy the Institute of Good Cheer. I think he should receive a stipend from the government to maintain it. I think it should be declared a National Historic Site. But the man is so beyond-Dennis-Miller myopic in his Bleat, it's astounding.

    Posted by: Chris at February 8, 2005 1:56 PM

    It's the old hate the sin not the sinner thing, you know? Damn how I love those matchbooks.

    Posted by: friend jessica at February 8, 2005 2:22 PM

    He should stick to the matchbooks. Read his "Bleats." He's an ass.

    Posted by: Chris at February 8, 2005 2:24 PM

    I know this is late in the game, but I couldn't let it go by:

    YOUR MOM should stick to the matchbooks.

    oh man...burn.

    Posted by: friend jessica at February 10, 2005 9:15 AM

    Superbowl Ads

    Just about every comment made in this Slate review of the Superbowl Ads was wrong. I just watched a huge batch of them at iFilm and laughed my head off.

    Why so snarky, Slate? Maybe sometimes you can try too hard not to be amused? But by all means keep using those pithy headlines, they're really entertaining.

    Posted by Chris on 02/ 8/05

    I'm just glad he made the retraction at the bottom of the page. Philly sound indeed!

    Posted by: Rich at February 8, 2005 11:45 AM

    Favorites include: The Ameriquest "Taser" ad and the Frito Lay "MC Hammer" ad.

    Posted by: Chris at February 8, 2005 12:03 PM

    My favorites include the Ameriquest Stabbed Cat and the INITIAL 'working with a bunch of monkeys' ad.

    Posted by: friend jessica at February 8, 2005 12:14 PM

    Democracy Marches East

    I'm going to go ahead and try to guess the ending: It will be IRAN, in EUROPE, with the DIRTY BOMB.

    And by IRAN I mean "IRAN." These things aren't scientific, of course, and who can be bothered with details anyway?

    I give it 6-8 months. We'll be forced to go in and liberate them, God bless their pagan hearts.

    Posted by Chris on 02/ 8/05

    How many times do I have to tell you: IRAN IS NOT ON THE AGENDA.



    Posted by: friend jessica at February 8, 2005 7:57 AM

    My money is on Syria right now. A lot less territory to cover, history of terrorist activity, plus aren't they the ones who are holding Iraq's WMDs?

    And when we don't find them, we'll just say we were spreading Freedom, with a sharp, sharp knife.

    Posted by: rich at February 8, 2005 8:23 AM

    Of course the EUROPE part could be easily changed to AMERICA if people don't stop asking so many annoying questions about Social Security.

    He's GOT to be thinking, can't we get back to the way it was when it was unpatriotic to disagree with me?

    Posted by: Chris at February 8, 2005 8:37 AM

    cripes. Let's not talk about it any more. Looks like I picked the wrong year to go off depression medication.

    Tell me again why I want to have children?

    Posted by: friend jessica at February 8, 2005 9:00 AM

    Because we'll need more troops. Or don't you support the troops? Please answer into the picture frame on your desk.

    Posted by: Rich at February 8, 2005 11:05 AM

    February 7, 2005

    The request you have made includes concepts which are beyond my comprehension

    More in the Adventures of the Man Who Doesn't Make Sense!

    The landlord / tenant honeymoon has ended, as we knew it would, and by honeymoon I mean the period when Landlord is asked to do nothing but cash the checks.

    Let me once again marvel within these pages that all landlords seem cut from the same cloth. Their type cuts across all traditional geographic / socio-economic / religious boundaries; we have had Southern, Mid-Western, Polish, English, and now Iranian landlords, and they have all been... exactly the same.

    I think if there is one commonality the human race has that may pave the way for world peace, it is not that we all love our children or that we just want to live our lives; it's that everyone agrees, tenants are made to be screwed.

    So someone in our neighborhood discarded a couch in our alley. This is rude, because as you may know, no garbage man is going to take that thing away. After it had been left there for a few weeks and through several rains, the person finally moved it themselves. Thirty feet away, to behind OUR building.

    Several months go by. I take a deep breath and call Landlord.

    ME: Someone down the street left a couch out behind our building, and the garbage guys won't take it away. Can you make some calls and take care of it?

    LANDLORD: Who has done this? What is their address?

    ME: I don't know who did it or where they live. I just know that it used to be behind the building one down, and then they moved it behind ours.

    LANDLORD: The regular pickup day is on Thursday.

    ME: Yes I know, but the garbage guys aren't touching this thing.

    LANDLORD: Do you know the apartment number of the person.

    ME: No. The only thing I know for sure is that it did not belong to anyone in our building.

    Note: This is the truth. I really did notice that the couch started out down the alley, and migrated to its current location. I made a special point to put it in my "lead" to Landlord because I knew if he suspected it came from one of us there would be much tribulation as he sought the owner amongst his flock.

    LANDLORD: There will be some cost to have it moved.

    ME: Yes, I imagine so, and I'm sorry. But we do need it moved - it's been rained on, it's mildewy I'm sure, and one day I noticed a homeless guy sleeping under it, right next to our dumpster.

    LANDLORD: Where does the person live who has the couch?

    Something I've noticed with Landlords of all backgrounds is that you can talk to them and ask them questions, but they are like a toy robot that Radio Shack might sell; the package claims it has Voice Recognition™ and can answer back, but there are really only about three responses recorded on their microchips. At this point you've heard everything Landlord will or can say.

    ME: Wha-? I do not know who it belonged to. I just know that now it is behind our apartment, and needs to be moved. Do you know that somebody was here the other day looking at apartments, and when they saw this wet couch lying there, not to mention the demolition across the alley, they weren't interested anymore?

    Note: This is a lie. No one came by looking at the apartments. By mentioning it, though, I was trying to do two things: 1) Tie this into Future Tenants, which a Landlord theoretically cares about, and not make it about Present Tenants, which they don't; and 2) find a way to segue into the next problem I wanted him to deal with, which is the apartment building across the street which has been demolished, but only to a point; the shell of the building still stands, or rather, slumps, into our alley, spilling plaster and wood out into the street, and in general making the alley look like Kosovo.

    LANDLORD: There are no apartments for rent.

    ME: Yes, well, the point is, I don't believe anyone would WANT to rent one when there's so much junk in the alley.

    LANDLORD: We have no availabilities at the moment.

    ME: Whether there are any available right now is ACADEMIC. The POINT is there is so much junk in the alley-

    Here I stopped myself. OK, I tried to lie and it didn't work out. My mistake. Now I'm talking hypotheticals with a Landlord, which is a little like trying to get one of those Radio Shack robots to walk up the stairs. It won't happen no matter what it says on the box.

    ME: OK, well, the point is, can you call someone and have the couch taken away?

    LANDLORD: They should know not to leave these things in the alley.

    ME: I agree.

    LANDLORD: What is the building number of the person?

    ME: Again - I do. Not. Know.

    Note: I try very hard to simplify, simplify, SIMPLIFY the HELL out of the message when talking to Landlords, because one little extraneous piece of information can send them swirling forever in some logical loop.

    To that end I WAS going to just call and say that there was a couch in the alley - origin unknown. But I really felt I had to inform him that it did not come from OUR BUILDING, lest he completely abdicate responsibility.

    LANDLORD: I will call about it. There will be some expense.

    ME: I know.

    LANDLORD: The pickup day is on Thursday.

    ME: I - thank you.

    Not a promising end. It sounds a little bit like either he thinks the garbage guys are going to get it, or that I'm paying for it to be specially hauled away, both of which absolutely will not come to pass. So we'll see.

    I'll report more on what I'm sure will come to be known as The Couch Incident on Friday.

    Previous adventures with Landlord here, and in Operation: Go West.

    Posted by Chris on 02/ 7/05

    This is why you need to keep Jay Leno's address and phone number handy. Leno left the couch there. He pissed on it and left it outside.

    Posted by: isaac at February 7, 2005 1:23 PM

    You've given me an idea - maybe my next call should be to him, impersonating a member of the local news team, doing a story on slumlords.

    Posted by: Chris at February 7, 2005 1:39 PM

    And as we all know, the pissing and the leaving is an excellent way to 'distress' props.

    Posted by: friend jessica at February 7, 2005 2:19 PM

    I might be the only person in the world who has actually won a battle with his landlord without having to take them to court. Tommy and I were moving out and the landlord had already sent guys to paint when we still had one day left on the lease. The painters told us not to clean up because we would get in their way. So we don't. The landlord sends us a letter saying we will only be getting half of our deposit back because we didn't clean the oven and fridge. Through much yelling, apologizing and haggling, I ended up getting the full deposit back. He sent it with a card telling me that I was screwing him over! Tenants: 1 Landlords: 1,000,345.

    Posted by: Rich at February 8, 2005 8:15 AM

    He must not have attended the Landlordification ceremony where they have their sense of guilt removed. What a break!

    Posted by: Chris at February 8, 2005 4:50 PM

    Unsung Heroes, Now Sung

    I see the Today Show's "Unsung Heroes" for Monday are a husband and wife both serving in Iraq at the same time. Katie's getting misty and the producers have showered them with gifts.

    But I feel like I'm missing some information because this couple also has four kids. They're home being raised by the grandmother.

    Hmm. Did anyone in the Army think to suggest to either of these two that they might be needed more at home? Are we stretched that thin? Is this heroic? I must be missing something that explains why they are both needed there.

    Either way, a tip of the hat to "Today" for making the brave choice as usual.

    Posted by Chris on 02/ 7/05

    Note to my local public radio station

    I love your station but this is the longest pledge drive in history. Are you trying to fund your company or pay back the national debt?

    Here in the record third week of your pledge drive I confess I am wondering why someone shouldn't take their donation money and put it into an XM radio subscription instead.

    Please look into some sort of technology that will allow those that HAVE contributed to stop receiving the constant gushings about public radio's offerings. (See similar idea for the Salvation Army bell-ringer.)

    Posted by Chris on 02/ 7/05

    At the very least, shouldnt' there be some sort of checks and balances so when you're sending out the old "we're shippin' out tuesday!" letter you notice that both Jim AND Cindy from 11 Maple Lane are called? And maybe...I don't know, let the children have one parent that isn't ritualistically beheaded? I don't fault both people for being in the military. I fault the army for being stupid as a box of hammers.

    Posted by: friend jessica at February 7, 2005 12:15 PM

    Also, shouldn't I put comments underneath the post they reference instead of a post made earlier in the day? I mean, that's just my opinion.

    Posted by: friend jessica at February 7, 2005 12:51 PM

    You could but I enjoy the game of Match Comment to Post.

    Yes, isn't there some Private Ryan rule in affect about taking too many members from one family? Who's going to stay behind and mind the store?

    If there's a TV movie - I'm LEAVING.

    Posted by: Chris at February 7, 2005 1:23 PM

    Note to Mapquest

    Great service. But I don't need detailed directions from my driveway to the interstate. Similarly, I don't need to know that once on the interstate, I'll be merging in .2 miles. Think of it this way: I'm not feeding your directions into a slot in my car's navi-computer. It's 2005 and I'm still driving manually.

    So really I just need the detailed stuff starting from the last interstate off ramp, on to my destination. I can handle it on the front end.

    Posted by Chris on 02/ 7/05

    February 4, 2005

    What you ask for has never been attempted in history

    Because I have always begged, borrowed and stolen the editing equipment for my movies, they were all mastered on whatever video formats were available at the time: mini-DV, Hi-8, 3/4", Beta-SP, VHS, etc. So I decided that it was time to put the 11 things I'd made, totalling around 5.3 hours, onto 1 or 2 DVDs, and give it some fancy interface - partially as a "reel," but also just to have a nice archive to give to friends and fam.

    I located a video dubbing / transfer / DVD authoring place, and my question to them was something like:

    I'd like to make a single DVD of all these short movies, but I'd like to author it myself. I can capture from mini-DV, but is that the best format to remaster all these sources to for a permanent copy? I'd like to make individual DVDs of them but I don't believe I can capture from a DVD source. What do you recommend?

    But because this is me, what they heard was:

    Is there a WW II-era Messerschmidt available at your branch, because what I'd really like to do is transfer the co-efficient of the bilateral, and also coffee with cream. Also: I'd like to author a pony. Are the giant stone coins of the Yap Islands an acceptable currency for payment, or will we be bartering with captured bivalves? And... Festen?

    Because what I got back was the human equivalent of dial tone.

    Posted by Chris on 02/ 4/05



    Posted by: friend jessica at February 4, 2005 12:00 PM

    Spielberg never had this difficulty because he stole only film cameras and stock.

    I'd like to put my name on your distribution list, I think I've seen less than half your films.

    Also, the kids with freckles - those are the spiteful kids.

    Posted by: isaac at February 4, 2005 12:07 PM

    Believe me - you've seen all / been in / worked on all the good ones.

    Posted by: Chris at February 4, 2005 12:11 PM

    and by 'good ones' he means "not porn"

    Posted by: friend jessica at February 4, 2005 12:17 PM

    What about the one where a couples' lives are changed when they find a french fry the shape of Abraham Lincoln: a penetrating exploration of the great president, his ethics and his lasting impact on the social and political landscape of American History.

    Wait, that's a McDonald's Commercial.

    The porn ones would have been better if you hadn't insisted on operating the camera AND appearing in them. That was selfish.

    Posted by: isaac at February 4, 2005 2:22 PM

    and it gave the viewer a touch of vertigo

    Posted by: friend jessica at February 4, 2005 2:25 PM

    Time Vortex Discovered

    Avoid with all prejudice:


    Posted by Chris on 02/ 4/05

    The best? Table tennis, hands down. A ping-pong game where you can put english on your smash? Forget about it.

    Posted by: Just Pete at April 15, 2005 1:40 PM

    February 3, 2005

    A Rentership Society

    Microsoft has been talking about a subscription model for a music service for a while, and today more news about their "Janus technology" surfaced, a breakthrough which will allow you to pay for your music all the time as opposed to just once.

    I realize that the "rental" model is a bit more flexible than I would have thought. Out here in Los Angeles, for instance, they arbitrarily rent you the refrigerator separately from the apartment. (Not the curtains as well? Not the doorknobs? Not the carpet? Just the fridge?) I understand that in the U.K. you don't buy a television, you rent it, or something like that. Also, it has been said that you don't buy a beer, you only rent it. Fine.

    But renting your music collection? What happens when I lose my job and can't afford to keep subscribing? Does my music go away too?

    You are also required to periodically sync up with the music service online. What happens when my internet connection goes down for an extended period? How long do I have before I have to check in, anyway?

    The technology features a "timer" that makes sure your music is still in subscription. This timer is curiously referred to as a "hacker-resistant clock." Oh boy. In other words, hackers, Microsoft has once again painted a big target on themselves and invited you to take your best shot. Brilliant. Why don't they go ahead and claim "Mission Accomplished" in the battle to take down iTunes right now?

    It's not that I think Apple's pay as-you-go-plan is inviolate. But there are so many other ways to compete with it. The best part of the Janus plan is that the music can be used on a variety of portable MP3 players. Well done - Apple doesn't have that. The iPod may be MY favorite device in the past ten years, but not everyone feels that way. (There are those, for instance, who feel that anyone sporting white earphones must be trying to make a fashion statement more than anything else. Fine! Can someone make an MP3 player for these guys that blue screens occasionally and has to be patched for viruses everyday? So they'll feel more comfortable?)

    How about competing on price? 99 cents is cheap, but 75 cents is cheaper! How about on content? There are no Beatles songs on iTunes yet, for instance. There's a LOT of music I can't get on iTunes. How about this arbitrary number of three* Authorized computers, or the odd one-way connection between iPod and Mac?

    Here's a service they could offer that I think would seriously compete. One fear I have as my music collection slowly transmutes from a stack of actual shiny disks to ephemeral computer files, is that a hard drive crash could wipe everything out. I say forget about this "renting" thing. Let me own the tracks outright, and since I'll have to occasionally sync with the service anyway, make anything I've bought available for re-download at any time. If I have a crash, no problem - just download it all again.

    "No backups required" would be a great tagline.

    *I'm wrong - it's five as of April 2004.
    Posted by Chris on 02/ 3/05

    While I'm not on the Microsoft-is-Evil bandwagon I sometimes wish they'd disappear. They're the bully in the playground looking around to see who's having fun so they can move in and break it up.

    Nintendo and Sony were the console videogame market. Then Microsoft moved in with their X-Box. Did they state they wanted to provide more titles than Sony or better quality titles than Nintendo (both would be a challenge)? No. They just wanted to "dominate the videogame market".

    Same with Google. It's doing well for itself, Google is now part of our language and considered the best search engine. So Microsoft wants in on the action.

    Now iTunes is in their sights. Next the iPod? Then what? Photoshop? Maya? Flash? Calvin Klein?

    I wouldn't mind it if Microsoft produced excellent products, but they don't. They're average to good (with excellent marketing), but far below companies like Macintosh and Nintendo who go for quality rather than competition for competition's sake.

    Microsoft reminds me of the often-forgotten second part of the phrase: Jack of all trades...Master of none.

    Posted by: isaac at February 4, 2005 6:39 AM

    Microsoft being a bully is the most apt comparison. Referring to them as "evil" is the territory of angry college students looking for a cause..and coincidentally, having never actually encountered what could be described as evil.

    What is Microsoft saying is the UPSIDE to this technology. Nothing you've told me in this entry makes me even slightly interested. Or is it that they will take over everything so that I have no choice but to be interested?

    And guess what this will make me do? BUY CDS AGAIN.

    Posted by: friend jessica at February 4, 2005 7:01 AM

    I have been thinking about this WAY too much, and have actually changed my mind a bit.

    Depending on the monthly fee, maybe it's not such a crazy idea. If it's, say $15 a month? I think it WOULD be kind of cool to be able to download any track whatsoever in their library. And then only hold onto it as long as the subscription was active.

    I suppose it would also depend on how comprehensive their music library is, and also on them never having a "premium" service that meant I had to pay more to get certain tracks. It would also be nice to be abe to buy some tracks outright.

    And I agree that they seem to be getting into the online music market for the same reason they do everything - TO DOMINATE IT COMPLETELY. Now, if they had said they want to get into the music business to 1) expose new artists to the world, and 2) maybe do something about how royally rogered an artist can get by the record labels...

    Well, first I would have laughed. And then I would have smirked. And then I would laugh some more. But eventually I would have scratched my chin and looked carefully at what they were doing, and signed up.

    Posted by: Chris at February 4, 2005 8:18 AM

    Once I download the music can I burn it onto a cd? And yes, they'd better have every f-ing band on the planet..or else.

    Posted by: friend jessica at February 4, 2005 8:29 AM

    I am still in the dark ages, and for now, prefer to stay there. I like the idea of having my cd's with the cover art, stacked on my wall. I like being able to "see" my collection, right in front of me. I am sure eventually I will join the ranks of the computer savvy, but for now, call me old fashioned.

    Posted by: klugula at February 4, 2005 9:14 AM

    The Elusive Pixel / Print Size Connection

    For the love of Pete would someone once again explain the relationship between Pixel Size, Print Size, and Resolution in Photoshop to me.

    I spent an hour yesterday trying to print something out to a certain size, and for the first thirty minutes it was either the size of a postage stamp or several sheets big.

    As near as I can tell, the Print Size in inches bears no relationship to Real World inches. What I end up doing is always sizing the art to a certain pixel size, printing it out, measuring it by hand to determine the actual pixel-to-inch ratio, and then resizing to the preferred size.

    In between there is much cursing and searching for a ruler.

    Also: the resolution, which is expressed in DPI or dots per inch, was not the ratio between pixels to inches as I assumed. Oh what a simple world it would be if it were!

    Photoshop is of course the Best of All Possible Programs, so I can't believe I'm intended to use a ruler and a calculator to print to a specific size. What information am I missing? My friend Delilah and then my friend Maggie once explained it to me, and for 15 minutes I basked in the knowledge, but then it faded.


    Posted by Chris on 02/ 3/05

    I've discovered that in my issues with Postage Stamp vs. Bus Poster size I've found there's two little boxes in the top tool bar that are sometimes automatically selected as restraining the final image to a certain size no matter what you do to it. This only happens when I work on certain files from certain locations so I wonder if it's a coding that people can put on their images.

    Also, how do I get the little envelope "01" icon out of the top left hand corner of the image while i"m working on it?


    Posted by: friend jessica at February 3, 2005 9:57 AM

    February 2, 2005

    The Morale Survey Paradox and Other Corporate Truisms

    Although not about any corporation in particular, I swear.

    The Employee Morale Survey Paradox

    My morale is inversely proportional to the number of times I am asked to complete a survey about it.

    Related corollary:

    Point of Diminishing Morale Returns

    When you have reached the stage that even the mention of the word "morale" lowers yours by one point.

    Which leads to:

    Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle (About Employee Morale)

    When you reach the Point of Diminishing Morale Returns, then employee morale is essentially an unknowable entity and we should all stop talking about it.

    And now, an oldie:

    Executive Voltage Limit

    The number of spare laptop AC adaptors in any given I.T. office will decrease by one for each executive present on a given day.

    I know I continue to write about this (Here, and here.) but it is only because it happens without fail.

    Today some execs are in town so I knew that meant one of the rank and file was going to end up runnin' on battery for the day. SO WORK FAST, FELLA!

    Lo and behold, what should be the first request of the day?

    As I stole a laptop power supply from some guy currently away from his desk so I could hand it off to an exec who had left his behind, I struggled not to smile or giggle. Because it happens every time.

    Posted by Chris on 02/ 2/05

    I can't remember the last time I had high morale, unless you count yesterday, when I was perfectly healthy and called in sick to work so I could sleep and go to Chili's.

    My morale was very high yesterday.

    Posted by: friend jessica at February 2, 2005 1:11 PM

    and apparently the daily badgering paid off. morale survey completion numbers are at an all-time high, as are complaints about morale surveys in general. Management does not believe there is a correlation between these two numbers. They do believe, though, that "this will definitely set the participation bar even higher for our future surveys!" Lesson learned: constant, obnoxious nagging produces good results.

    Posted by: Moof the Cow Dog at February 2, 2005 6:37 PM

    My God - was I being manipulated the whole time? Am I being subconsciously conditioned to respond to certain stimuli without my knowledge? Has my behavior been totally predictable, and the whole thing was just a behavioral study, an experience model, if you will?

    Will my theories and truisms come to NOTHING? Am I nothing more than a white rat in some sort of survey MAZE?

    Posted by: Chris at February 2, 2005 10:11 PM

    I used to work in a department where managers, sensing low morale, would cook up a batch of microwave popcorn for their team. It was marvelous: like a weather forecast you could predict low morale fronts by the buttery aroma wafting from certain areas of the floor.

    Posted by: isaac at February 3, 2005 7:06 AM

    I hate to bring down morale but:



    Posted by: friend jessica at February 3, 2005 9:16 AM

    And is that supposed to be vamping?

    It's ri-goddam-diculous!

    Posted by: Chris at February 3, 2005 9:48 AM

    A last note on staff morale: Today our whole company was given bonuses because of last year's performance. Morale went up like a rocket. Many of them will probably blow it this weekend or St Valentine's Day so it's good for the economy too.

    I'm surprised more businesses haven't spotted the connection between money and morale.

    Posted by: isaac at February 4, 2005 12:10 PM

    February 1, 2005

    The mind of a terrorist

    Now the bastards are taking our TOYS hostage?


    How low can they go? These are the most evil people the world has ever seen.


    This time... it's personal.

    Posted by Chris on 02/ 1/05

    Do they make action figures of the evil-doers? They should; whoever bought Rebel Alliance figures without picking up some Stormtroopers?

    We could inflict a little reciprocity with the Abu-Ghraib anal rape and dog mauling playset (action figures sold separately). The Donald Rumsfeld figure could be brought in to downplay the torture while the George W Bush (codpiece carrier landing) figure urges us to focus on a school opening instead.

    Posted by: isaac at February 2, 2005 6:36 AM

    Mattel could make a Weapons of Mass Destruction playset available for order, without actually producing any.

    When kids complain that they never received the playset, Mattel can say everyone knows it's there, it's just a matter of time before it's found.

    Posted by: Chris at February 2, 2005 6:59 AM

    Yes, a WMD Playset would be nice. After the orders haven't arrived for three years Mattel could claim they were whisped away by Iranians, Syrians and other non-pro-USA dictatorships, and call for a mobilization of poorly equipped action figures to invade.

    This time let's not let our action figures take their digital cameras, alright?

    Posted by: isaac at February 2, 2005 8:57 AM

    The more I think about this story...it's just so typical of the liberal media.

    The evil-doers have kidnapped one of our action figures but they don't report on the fine efforts our side is making in finding and rescuing him.

    Posted by: isaac at February 2, 2005 9:12 AM

    Also: When the WMD playset still doesn't materialize in the mail for consumers, Mattel can claim the line was never about that anyway, it was about the "Humanitarian Aid Expansion Set," available now for order.

    And when that one doesn't arrive, they can unveil the "Democratic Elections" Playset. By that time everyone will have forgotten about their earlier order anyway.

    Posted by: Chris at February 2, 2005 9:26 AM

    Other names considered by the terrorists besides John Adam:

    Ted George
    Jesse James
    Frank Bill
    Thom Tom
    Ruth Buzzy

    Posted by: Rich at February 2, 2005 12:51 PM

    NOT RUTH BUZZY. The day they come after a Laugh-In veteran is the day our wrath will come down swift and sure like the Hand of God.

    Posted by: Chris at February 2, 2005 1:06 PM

    In the words of Mark Borchard at the sight of a burned out bar:


    and in a related quote:


    Posted by: friend jessica at February 2, 2005 1:14 PM