July 31, 2006

I'm Back!

I got back on Friday, but I haven't posted since then due to a combination of jet lag, catching up with family, saying goodbye to Chris, and spending hours on the phone with Indian tech support because Verizon sucks. But I'm back and I'm afraid I've forgotten how to blog.

Many thanks to Victor for doing such a wonderful job holding down the fort! Have a great vacation dude!

I took a bunch of pictures but most of them turned out boring. I'll post some more later. For now, here's a couple I thought turned out nice.

CPH01.jpg

That's a picture from Copenhagen, taken near the Kastellet army barracks. You can see how nice the weather was.

ARH02.jpg

We met these two ladies on our way to my aunt and uncle's farm on Jutland.

STK03.jpg

And we watched a potter make stuff like this by hand at the Skansen theme park in Stockholm.

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July 29, 2006

Later, Grizzly Dudes

This is my last day subbing here at a's j and except for one incident, it's all been fun. annika is due back today, which worked out pretty good because it's my turn to head out on vacation. Unlike annika, I'm staying in the US; heck, I'm staying in the state. I'll let the Slickee Boys* tell you where I am.

more...

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July 28, 2006

Who Wants to be a Super Hero?

I bet I'm the only one here who watched (most of) it. I would have watched all of it, but thunderstorms rolled through the area and I lost the satellite signal for about ten minutes. Despite that, I had more fun last night than you did, unless you got some.

Truly, the show was a lot of fun. So what if it's another unreal reality show? Dress up as a Super Hero, get judged by Stan Lee, and if you win you'll be featured in your own Marvel comic book and SciFi channel movie. Why not? It beats the hell out of eating squid testicles for $10 grand anyday. Had I known about it, I would've given some consideration to trying out for it.

No need to recap the entire show; you can get better detail at the SciFi channel site. But I can discuss winners and losers.

Gonna be Among the First Six Booted
Not counting Levity (booted in the first ten minutes for being greedy not pure of heart), but counting Nitro G (booted at the end for changing into his costume in full view of everyone and not saving the crying girl), my picks for four of the next five to be booted are:
Tyveculus: Boring and forgettable. Cool costume, though.
Monkey Woman: Cries too much. Doesn't look anything like Raquel Welch in her fur bikini.
Creature: Annoying as all hell. Eats only raw food. Failed the purity test.
Lemuria: Boring. Might last a bit longer than I hope she does, because she always looks like she's going to fall out of her costume, if you catch my drift, and Stan Lee looks like a dirty old man. Also, she was one of the four to pass all tests. Such acuity might extend her life.

Most Likely to Make the Final Three
Major Victory: Has the right look. That is, it's embarrasing for normal people, but would look great in a comic book. Passed all tests last night. Has the schtick down pat and is fast with the Super Hero Quip: When the Iron Enforcer announced his weapon could do anything, Major Victory immediately asked, "Will it caulk a bathroom?"
Fat Momma: My personal favorite, and she'd be yours, too, if you watched. I mean, she's fat! She's a momma! She's saving the world one doughnut at a time! Plus, she already has an annoying theme song that's been going thru my head for hours: Fat Momma! Fat Momma! / I'm here to save the day! / Fat Momma! Fat Momma! / I'll take your food away! Like Major Victory, she passed all tests last night. Best Super Hero Line of the night: When saving the little girl, she told her not to worry, because, "Fat Momma's here!"
Cell Phone Girl: The last of the four to pass all tests. Has a great backstory, attitude, and personality. Don't think she'll win, but I think she'll go far. Best Super-Hero Action of the night: When she started helping the girl, she immediately reached for her cell phone. I thought she was going to dial 9-1-1, which would have been absolutely hilarious.

Dark Horse
The Iron Enforcer: Despite failing the Purity Test and the Rescue-The-Little-Girl test, I think he might make a serious run at the end. He looks like a Super Hero (Yes, ladies, he has the bod for it. Tough helmet, though.). He's always posing like a Super Hero. He's always in character. If he gets his act together and stops failing tests, he may well go far.

Who Wants to be a Super Hero? is on Thursdays at 9PM on SciFi. Don't miss it.

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July 27, 2006

C.T.O.T.I.O.T.D.

Tony Joe White is a southern blues/rock singer who is pretty much known for only one song. It's a cool song, and the album it's taken from, Black and White fuckin' rocks and I highly recommend it should you see it somewhere--you won't be disappointed.

The fact the young Tony Joe White resembles a rather young Joe Don Baker doesn't influence me at all. Really. (I should mention that these days, TJW resembles Don Imus, while JDB resembles the Sta-Puft Marshmallow Man, just in case you were wondering.)

In this YouTube video, he and Johnny Cash perform Poke Salad Annie. You won't regret clicking on the PLAY button.


By contrast, I offer one of the Cr.T.O.T.I.O.T.D. (Crappiest Thing on the Internets of the Day) for your viewing--whatever. In this clip from Soul Train, Joe Tex has a bad experience on the dance floor. Enjoy the disco ball, funky dancing, bad lip-synching, and massive amounts of polyester...or don't.

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I'm Still Here

I was in the middle of a long post about Sweden, and after saying something critical, got booted off the machine. And they say Scandinavia is a free society.

So I'll make this short. The internet in our hotel is free but there's like a zillion kids around here and they all want on, so I got to get off.

The funniest thing about Sweden is the opportunity to make up new names for the indecipherable Swedish names.

For instance, many streets are named for simians. There's Smart Orangutan, Western Orangutan, and Stork Orangutan. There's a bank called Foreskin Ring Bank. There's a palace called Cunnilingus Slot. Hahaha! It's right next to Storky Can!

The differences between Denmark and its old rival Sweden were unexpected. Danes are better looking, more homogenous, friendlier and blonder. Sweden has better food, more fat people, more diversity, and much more spectacular architecture.

Swedes are so proud of the fact that they were once a great power. I don't get it. The key word is "once." Sure they had a few great years back in the 1600s, but come on. Get over yourselves, guys. What have you done lately? Okay, IKEA, besides that.

I also noticed that Danish chicks all have perfect skin. I'm totally jealous. Also perfect feet. Not a callous or bunyan in the whole country. My theory is that they must wear thick and comfy socks all winter, while we in the rest of the world jam our feet into tight but fashionable shoes.

While chicks wear flip-flops almost exclusively in Copenhagen, in Stockholm the most common shoe is the mesh front slipper that I hate. In the working class city of Århus, on Jutland, it's a about half and half.

Two things are noticeably absent from both countries. No homeless people and no Starbucks. Not a single one. So they got that going for them. I realize this might explain the way that Scandinavians can afford their heavy taxation. If you consider all the money I needlessly hand over to Starbucks and homeless people on a regular basis, I could probably just send that money to the government. There's how we can fund the safety net!

It's been unseasonably warm here, although not as hot as in SoCal, from what I hear. It's been low 80s all trip long, although it drizzled one morning when we were in Copenhagen. I'm glad I didn't bring the leather jacket.

We've been eating like pigs since we got to Stockholm. We're going to fly out tomorrow, and as soon as we get back it will be time for a strict diet. Chris says it's not as bad as I think, since we've been burning so many calories walking, but the danger is the temptation to go on eating at the same rate after we return.

Well, that's it for now. We're taking it easy today and doing some shopping. Chris and I had a late night at some Irish pub in Old Town, watching Celtic get beat by Man U.

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July 25, 2006

Wednesday is Poetry Day: Phil Liggett and Found Poetry

(I'm going to continue not taking poetry too seriously. Everything should be laughed at sometime.)

Just as Andres Cantor is The Voice of futból to the Spanish-speaking world, Phil Liggett is The Voice of cycling to the English speaking world. If you ever watch a major race on OLN, odds are it wil be called by Phil Liggett (and his partner, Paul-somebody, but who cares about him?).

It's not his accent or his almost-encyclopeadic knowledge of cycling that makes him The Voice, nor is it his interaction with Paul while announcing a race. It's the words he chooses and the cadence at which he speaks, along with the emotion he brings to his commentating. It almost sounds like...well, like poetry.

Probably because it is. Good poetry conveys emotion as well as meaning, and there is emotion in his voice and in his word choice that can relate more to you than just mere words do. And by laying those words out in a form common to poetry, you have Found Poetry.

Sometime last year, Doug Donaldson collected a boatload of Liggett quotes, broke them up from prose into stanzas, broke the stanzas further with some e.e. cummings-like layouts, and collected them into a book entitled Dancing on the Pedals: The Found Poetry of Phil Liggett, The Voice of Cycling. Yeah, found poetry that's a bitch of a lot of fun to read.

(Please note the multiple periods in two of the following poems are not part of the poems as published. They're necessary to simulate the formatting of the poem. Yeah, my HTML skillz are wanting.)

............. Come to Paris
....................... The
....................... Eiffel
...................... Tower
................... didn't throw
..................... a shadow
............. over this .... race for
.......... the man .......... in Yellow
Stage 23, 1986

I love the way the layout of the words bring to mind an image of the Eiffell Tower. Lewis Carroll used a similar format in The Mouse's Tale, setting the words so that they form a picture of the subject. Beautiful.

Room Service
The Yellow Jersey will go to his hotel,
tonight,
his room.
Stage 10, 2000

In three simple lines, using eleven lonely words, Mr. Liggett captures the solitude the leader of the race must feel. It is, indeed, lonely at the top.

Finally, Mr. Liggett gives us his version of a tragic epic poem:

Eck Aced I
No attacks of note all day
And now we're onto the Champs-Elysées and
The attacks have started.
Viatcheslav Ekimov, former world champion of the amateurs
.... and now, of course, the defending world champion
.... very shortly
.... if he rides in the world championship of the pursuit
.... over five thousand meters.
Let's just see how fast he is here.
This is a tremendous race for the line.
The field are boring down on him
he's got a real good chance though.
He winds it up.
.... He won a stage like this last year
.... when he went in the last couple of kilometers.
He keeps looking over his shoulder
that's an elementary mistake
.... when you're out in front
.... you don't look where the rest are
.... because there isn't much you can do about them.
You just go as fast as you can.
Across the Place de Concorde here, now, over the cobble-
stones
he'll flick right very shortly then he'll see the finish here
and he looks good;
he looks really good
Ekimov could be picking off one of the most coveted stages
in any Tour de France
.... to win on the Champs-Elysées.
Stage 21, 1992
Ekimov will lose to teammate
Olaf Ludwig

Oh, the tragedy! Ekimov struggles mightily, but it's all for naught: Not until the poem is over do we learn Ekimov did not win the stage!

UPDATE: annika has posted Found Poetry in the past! I still prefer Phil Liggett's.

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Isn't it ironic?

"BOSTON, Massachusetts (AP) -- The lesbian couple whose lawsuit led to legal same-sex marriage in Massachusetts have announced they have separated."

(Further down the article states the couple has not filed for divorce. But still.)

First of all, I'm not married, and never have been. Second, the thought of same-sex marriages doesn't bother me. Hell, if some neighbor of mine wanted to marry his dog, I'd let him.

Personally, I'm dying to know the reasons for the separation. I bet I know the underlying cause: They married for love.

Now, don't get me wrong--there's nothing wrong with that. But it shouldn't be the only reason. I want to know if they put as much effort into planning their marriage as much as they planned for (or fought for) their wedding.

Pretty snarky of me, I admit. But I know of too many people who've spent tons of hours planning every detail of their wedding, saying it's consuming every spare minute they have. I, for one, believe them, and I wonder how they're planning on merging their bank accounts, or discussing the assets they'll soon be buying in both of their names. I'm sure they talked about kids, sometime after spending several hours picking out the right shade of blue for their napkins, but did they talked about retirement?

Did Julie and Hillary? Yeah, all this speculation is pretty unfair of me, considering all I know about their separation is what I read in a news article on the internet. After all, it's entirely possible they've separated because they can't stand the sight of each other anymore.

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July 24, 2006

I'm sure it seemed like a good idea at the time.

Actions Have Consequences

(Yeah, when ya got nuthin' just throw up some YouTube videos. Note some of these are a bit gory, but man oh Manischewitz, do I ever love watching evolution in action.)

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July 21, 2006

Hello From København!

Hello everybody. As I write this, I'm sitting in an internet cafe on Vesterbrogade in the great city of København. Hey, there's a key for "ø" here! Victor, you might be interested to know that there's a protest going on right outside this place at this very moment. Bunch of dirty white dudes chanting along with an Immam. The same old shit you're seeing over there, I'm sure. The crowd is about 100, I'd guess. Che t-shirts are well represented. Now they're shouting "death to Israel" in arabic. Yes, it's one of the few arabic phrases I recognize. There's also a flag of Hezbollah, and an American flag with skulls instead of stars. Ho-hum.

Anyways, not much to say. Købanhavn is not really that interesting, as my parents warned me. It's hot and sticky, about 80 degrees, although it rained today which was nice. The sun goes down at 10 and gets up at 4. The food is well prepared and tasty, but give me Iberian or Italian food anytime. I still haven't found a good danish.

Yesterday we saw many museums, including the Danish History, The Danish Art, and the Museum of Danish Resistance, which was the best of the three. We saw the Little Mermaid, which I guess is some kind of must see. I'll post pictures when I get back, if my internet is up by then.

Oh the flight over was at least 24 hours long. We thought we'd get DVT for sure. Who knew there'd be a massive lightning storm on the East Coast, which royally fucked up our travel route?

One vignette before I sign off. We went to Louisiana today, which is totally worth the trip. No lie, it may be the best modern art museum I've ever been to. They do modern art right. There's an excellent video art installation, and the Paol K... (can't remember his last name but Strawman digs him) design exhibit was fantastic. And the grounds were gorgeous.

There's a bluff overlooking the Øresund, and you can see Sweden in the distance. And there's also a garden (have) with lots of maze-like trails and a long slide and little wooden forts with tunnels and shit all along the hillside. And a running stream. I thought it was strange that there were no Danish kids running around in that park. If me and my brother had gone there when we were little, we would have tore that place up! We'd have gotten so muddy, they'd never have let us back into the museum. Any American kid would. As it was, me and Chris had a great time playing around that garden like a couple of little kids!

Oh there were plenty of Danish kids at the museum, but they were all inside a white room at a white table drawing pictures of furniture under the tutelage of a stern Danish babysitter. How sad! In microcosm, I guess that says something about the difference between America and Denmark. They'll keep making great furniture, while we'll keep pushing the envelope and bustin' things up, but having fun at the same time.

Well, tomorrow we're off to Jutland to stay for a couple of days with my aunt and uncle. Then we go to Sweden. Hopefully I can check in with you again.

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Friday at the Park **Lunchtime Update**

I stepped out of the Metro at Farragut North, looked at my watch, and saw that I was more than an hour early for work. I'd be about 59 minutes early if I went straight to the office...

Instead, I took advantage of the new Pennsylvania Ave. location of my office and I decided to walk to the White House to see, with mine own eyes, the Code Pink Vigil/Fast. It's not every day I play tourist; this AM I looked the part: backpack w/ water bottle and camera in hand. Were it not for the long pants and leather shoes I think I would've looked like someone from out of town.

But Lafayette Park, across the street from the White House, was practically empty.
whitehouse.jpg

Baron von Steuben was there.
vonsteuben.jpg

As was Andrew Jackson.
jackson.jpg

But no Code Pink, no Cindy Sheehan. It seems I was mistaken; the vigil in Lafayette Park is scheduled for 10 AM to 7 PM. My bad.

However, William Thomas and his dog were out there, as they have been every day since June of 1981 (working in shifts with Concepcion Picciotto), protesting against the proliferation of nuclear weapons.
vigil.jpg

You have to admire the courage of his convictions: Twenty-five years in one place...now, that's a vigil.

Also there was a newcomer, laptop on lap, protesting about Darfur:
darfur.jpg

Sadly, I did not chat with him, as I had to get to work. And I still do.

Reporting from Washington, for annika's journal, I'm Victor.

***Lunchtime Update***
I walked over to the park during my 30-minute (by choice) lunch break to take some pix of the anti-war protestors. It took me awhile to find them.

Falun Gong was there, en masse, protesting China's alleged organ harvesting (NOTE: A Canadian report on these allegations can be found here):
falungong.jpg:
I'll try to post some video later at home.

Iranian protestors were there, about where the Darfur protestor from this morning was:
iran_protest.jpg
Note that was the Iranian flag while under the Shah.

I finally found the anti-war protestors when I turned around, against the White House fence:
anti_war.jpg
I saw no counter-protestors.

Reporting from Washington for annika's journal, I'm Victor.

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July 20, 2006

new Super Hero Stamps

Today, the United States Postal Service is releasing a new set of stamps commemorating ten DC Comics superheroes. The comic geek inside of me is all a-flutter:

Click for bigger

Aren't they pretty? The Comic Book Guy inside says, "Nice mix of Golden Age, Silver Age, and modern covers!" He's right, too.

Trivia time: Which one of these characters appeared previously on a U.S. stamp? The answer is below the fold. more...

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July 19, 2006

Ladies and Gentlemen!

May I introduce you to The Israeli Air Force & Army?

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Wenesday is Poetry Day: Nonsense Poems

(NOTE: This will not be as detailed as I hoped it would be, because lately, as I'm sure regular readers have noticed, mu.nu has been up and down like the bloody Assyrian Empire.)

Nonsense poems are poems as graffiti. While a good one is beautiful, a lot of them are pretty bad and an eysore. A good nonsense poem is fun to read--no serious interpretation is necessary. There are no hidden meanings, no great truths hidden in a true nonsense poem, as a nonsense poem is an exercise in sound and meter.

And because of this, I suspect writing a good nonsense poem would be extremely difficult for an experienced poet. Now, don't get me wrong--the sound and the meter is the easy part. The difficult part is making it read like real poetry, and not just a mish-mash of...well, sounds in a certain beat.

The best and most beautiful of all nonsense poems is, without a doubt, Lewis Carroll's Jabberwocky and there's not much to be said by way of introduction:

'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

'Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!'

He took his vorpal sword in hand:
Long time the manxome foe he sought--
So rested he by the Tumtum tree,
And stood awhile in thought.

And as in uffish thought he stood,
The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
And burbled as it came!

One, two! One, two! And through and through
The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
He went galumphing back.

'And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?
Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!'
He chortled in his joy.

'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.


Jabberwocky flows like a gentle stream, using nonsense words that seem and sound like real words (in fact, some of them may be adaptions of obsolete English words, and others have made it into the vernacular). At the same time, there is a story in there...somewhere. Alice herself has the best comment on this poem: "It seems very pretty," she said when she had finished it, "but it's rather hard to understand!...Somehow it seems to fill my head with ideas—only I don't exactly know what they are!" As well a good nonsense poem should.

By contrast, Ogden Nash (whose poetry was mostly humorous in nature) tried his hand at nonsense and it comes off like a gawd-awful ripoff of Jabberwocky:

Geddondillo

The sharrot scudders nights in the quastron now,
The dorlim slinks undeceded in the grost,
Appetency lights the corb of the guzzard now,
The ancient beveldric is otley lost.

Treduty flees like a darbit along the drace now,
Collody lollops belutedly over the slawn.
The bloodbound bitterlitch bays the ostrous moon now,
For yesterday's bayable majicity is flunky gone.

Make way, make way, the preluge is scarly nonce now,
Make way, I say, the gronderous Demiburge comes,
His blidless veins shall ye joicily rejugulate now,
And gollify him from 'twixt his protecherous gums.

I'm sorry, but this is unreadable. I'm cringing by the fourth word, moaning by the third line, and somewhere in the second stanza my eyes explode and I run away screaming and tearing my hair out. While the meter seems derived from Jabberwocky the beat is off just enough to make me want to scream. The nonsense words are truly nonsense and forced, and they sound too harsh to make this poem even vaguely fun to read. At three stanzas and twelve lines this is waaay too long. There's absolutely no hint of a story in there. It's not very pretty, it's impossible to understand, and my head is not filled with ideas. Man oh Manischewitz, this poem sucks.

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July 18, 2006

27 Across

27 Across: Something to do as you go?

Three letters, starts with a "P" and I'm shocked--shocked!--the answer isn't "pee."

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Basic Rat Facts

Today I'll discuss some basic facts about your common rat, rattus norvegicus. Odds are every rat you've seen, from white lab rats to the brown rat on the streets of DC (or wherever you live), is rattus norvegicus.

1. Average life-span is about 33 months. There is one unsubstantiated (and, quite frankly, unbelievable) report of a rat living 7 years. Personally, my gf and I have had one rat live to about 44 months, but in that calculation we're taking the word of a member of the psych. department of UNC-Wilmington that he was about 30 months old when we adopted him.

2. Average weight in the wild is between 400 and 500 grams. In our house, our well-fed rats frequently top 650 grams, and I had one monster fat rat who was over 1200 grams. Yeah, that's an obese rat.

3. Teeth: Rats have sixteen teeth in total--twelve molars and four incisors. The incisors grow 24/7 and are self-sharpening. The incisors are sharp enough, and rat jaws strong enough, to bite through human fingernails. Rats have no canine teeth to hold their prey; instead, their lower teeth can separate into a V-shape to better hold their prey, or do more damage should the finger prey escape.

4. Rats have five toes on their back feet and four fingers on their front feet. In addition, a small fleshy nub on the hand serves a purpose similar to a thumb, allowing rats to grip food, cage bars, and fingers.

5. Rats are semi-color-blind and cannot see reds; however, they can see into the ultraviolet. Rats also have poor visual acuity--about 20 times worse than a human. Pink-eyed whites--PEWs to rat people, lab rats to the rest of the world--have even worse visual acuity.

6. The sense of smell is more important to a rat than sight. It's been calculated that about 1% of rat DNA is related to the sense of smell.

7. Rats can hear rather high frequencies. Rat laughter is inaudible to humans.

8. Rats are omnivores. Cheese, blueberries, Pop Tarts, dog food, bugs...man, rats'll eat anything, especially if another rat is eating it, which frequently leads to squabbles. Avocado is crack for rats.

9. However, when faced with something new that may or may not be edible, rats will eat only a small bite. If they feel sick afterward, they won't eat it again.

10. Rats are as intelligent as dogs and are very trainable. Rats are excellent mousers, and I believe they've been used to pull cabling (or fish tape for cabling purposes) thru conduit in the construction of aircraft. (I admit I might be wrong on that part--perhaps it was ferrets. But even if it was ferrets, they should have used rats.)

11. Rats are sexually mature at five weeks. Gestation is about three weeks--so, yeah, theoretically, a rat born today could be a grandparent in about two months. Litters average between eight and fifteen pups.

12. Male rats have large testicles. Massive. If a human had testicles in proportion to rat testicles, you'd have cannonballs hanging between your legs. Seriously, these things are fuckin' huge. Bandit likes showing off his balls:
bandit-20dec05-2.jpg
OTOH, rat copulation lasts about two seconds.

(NOTE: I know this stuff by heart, but for most of the numeric details I am indebted to the most excellent Anne's Rat Page at ratbehavior.org.)

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July 17, 2006

C.T.O.T.I.O.T.D.

Once upon a time, Betty Boop and Cab Calloway performed together.

Minnie the Moocher was filmed in 1932, before the Production Code of 1934 forced Betty to give up her short skirt & garter and change into a knee-length dress with a back (and, presumably, a bra). As you might imagine, the Code was Betty's death knell. Sex sold, even in cartoons from the 1930's.

This cartoon opens with the earliest known footage of Cab Calloway and his Orchestra performing a one-minute introduction to Minnie the Moocher. The plot of the cartoon is pretty simple: Betty decides she hates her parents and runs away with a friend, then she gets the bejeebers scared out of her and she returns home. Simple, eh?

Yeah, but one wonders where Max Fleisher got some of his ideas. Calloway appears before Betty and Bimbo in a puff of smoke as a rotoscoped walrus and conjures up visions of ghosts & skeletons while singing about drug use & having a sugar daddy in front of a constantly changing background. The demons & witch that scare Betty home seem almost tame by comparison.

Cab Calloway went on to make two other Betty Boop cartoons: The Old Man of the Mountain in 1933 (which also features a one-minute long live-action introduction by Cab Calloway and his Orchestra performing the title song) and Snow White, also in 1933, four years before the Disney version. Alas, there is no live-action footage of Cab Calloway performing the featured song, St. James Infirmary Blues, although he does appear as a rotoscoped Koko the Clown.

If you have some extra time, check out those two cartoons. In them Max Fleisher comes up with some of the most original and clever visual stunts and situations ever commited to film...and, yeah, the Production Code of 1934 killed those, too.

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July 16, 2006

Hi, folks! How're they hangin'?

I've noticed when guests bloggers come along, the first post is pretty much always the same:
*Puts down bags and looks around* Hi! I'm (somebody) and I can't believe (somebody else) has asked me to house-sit for awhile...

It's a blog, folks, not a house. No matter; I still can't believe annika asked me to guest post for her while she and her Second True Love head off for colder climes. Thanks for trusting me, annika, and I'm sure your readers will be return when you do.

Before leaving, annika, gave me some guidelines: "As you know, all subjects are fair game at annika's journal, so it can be fun. You can do whatever you like, even ratblogging. For all intents and purposes, it's yours for two weeks if you want it."

So, unless I'm told different (at mail4publius-AT-gmail-DOT-com), I expect you to learn more about rats than you ever wanted to know. Pay attention, because there'll be a test afterward.

Posted by: Victor at 06:51 PM | Comments (5) | Add Comment
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July 14, 2006

Mideast Peace Process

One part of me thinks that there's a real opportunity for peace in the middle east if the international community would only do one thing: Nothing.

The reason I've been hearing the phrase "Mid-East Peace Process" all my life is mainly because there has been a Mid-East Peace Process. If the world would just let both sides go at it, winner take all, I think we might see an end to this decades long circle-jerk.

After victory comes peace. So I want to advise Israel: don't bow to international pressure. No cease fires. No negotiations. No more bullshit. Roll up Hezbollah like Stonewall at Chancellorsville. Crush Hamas like Sherman on his way to the sea.

But another part of me senses danger.

The two Palestinian terrorist organizations want to see Israel destroyed. There's no chance in hell that they could accomplish that militarily, so they're trying to provoke this confrontation into a full on Arab Israeli war. Iran wants to see this happen too. They want Israel to attack Syria, so that Iran can jump in. Then, they hope Israel strikes Iran's nuclear research plants, which would be real bad.

For the last few months I've been casually researching whether Israel could successfully attack Iran's nuclear sites. I am now convinced that they have the technical capability to pull it off. They have the right planes, and Iran's air defenses would be no match for the Israeli Air Force. They also have an aerial refueling capability and they recently acquired the BLU-113, which is the most bad-ass of all the bunker buster warheads.

On the downside, Israel really has no good route to Iran. Any way they go would cause political problems that I don't like. The route that makes the most sense would be straight through Iraq, but that would completely fuck up what we're trying to accomplish there by inflaming the Shia. If the Israelis went south through Saudi Arabia, there would be refueling issues, and they could not avoid pissing off the Saudis. Going north might piss off the Turks. I don't like any of those choices, which is why I've always believed that we should be the ones to knock out the Iranian facilities, if it has to be done.

And if we get involved in this thing, well... I don't like to think about it. You all remember where the plains of Armageddon are, don't you? I'm serious, this is scary.

Today Hezbollah's leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah went Scarface on the Israelis: "You want a wahh, you got a wahh." One might wonder how he intends to actually win it. Without an army or air force, he's either an idiot, or he knows something I don't. Maybe he's rolling the dice, or maybe he knows big brother Ahmadi-Nejad is his ace in the hole.

With Korea and India and now the Middle East burning up, I think this is the most dangerous global situation to exist in my lifetime. And of course I picked this time to go travelling. And to Denmark no less!

Posted by: annika at 08:46 PM | Comments (20) | Add Comment
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A Lawyer Joke

A lawyer died and found herself before St. Peter. St. Peter flipped thru his book for several minutes, then turned to the lawyer and smiled. "Sorry to keep you waiting, but there's a small problem with you. I can't decide if you belong in heaven or in hell--so I'll let you decide. I'll send you to hell for 12 hours, then to heaven for 12 hours, and you get to decide where you go. OK?"

"That's fair," the lawyer said. "When do I go?"

"Right now," St. Peter answered and he snapped his fingers.

The lawyer blinked once, twice, three times. She was standing on the porch of a beautiful clubhouse, an immaculate golf course before her. Someone cleared his throat behind her, and she turned to see her favorite law school professor, the senior partner who mentored her, and the partner who recruited her standing behind her! "Welcome to Hell," the partner said and she thrust a golf bag at her. "C'mon. We got just enough time to grab some beer before we tee off."

She wasn't the worlds best golfer when alive, and she wasn't much better while dead, but she still got a hole in one! Afterward, during dinner in the clubhouse, a tall, handsome man in a bespoke suit joined them. "I'm Satan," he said by way of introduction and he started telling dirty jokes.

Too soon, however, Satan suddenly snapped his fingers...

...and she found herself on a cloud, wearing a white robe. Obviously, she was in Heaven, and she was bored. Bored bored bored.

There's no golf in heaven. No food or wine or dirty jokes, and there sure as hell weren't any of her old friends there. Before long, she found herself talking with God about...not much. God had a bit of a holier-than-thou attitude and, quite frankly, He was dull.

Soon enough...or not, as far as the lawyer was concerned...God snapped His fingers, and she found herself facing St. Peter again. "Well, my dear? Made up your mind?"

"I have," she said formally. "I want to go to Hell."

St. Peter looked disappointed. "I'm sorry to hear that, my dear." Snap!

Pain. Pain and fire and brimstone and crows picking at her liver and devils with pitchforks and everything you've imagined hell would be, only worse. After just a few hours of excruciating torment, Satan walked by and the lawyer screamed, "What gives? Yesterday it was parties and golf and my old friends, and today it's....it's hell! What the hell is going on here?"

Satan leered down at her. "Haven't you figured it out, my dear? Yesterday we were recruiting you. Today you're an Associate!"


For the really long version, look beneath the fold more...

Posted by: Victor at 02:15 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
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Technical Difficulty Update

Now they tell us that we need a new modem, which I doubt, but we have to go through the motions. I fully expect that when we exchange our brand new modem for another brand new modem, that we will have to call the ISP back and wait for them to figure out the real reason our internet is down.

I went through this a few years ago with the Sony computer. It proves the rule that computer geeks who know what they're doing are generally not going to be found behind the counter at Frye's or manning the phones in some Indian dungeon. They'll be out making money.

So what does this mean to you? It means you get more Victor sooner!

And we'll pick up with Jeopardy in August upon my return from Scandinavia.

Posted by: annika at 10:30 AM | Comments (4) | Add Comment
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