Sunday, December 9, 2007

Things we like: Low’s Christmas album.

, those indy-rawk sweethearts from Duluth, put out a Christmas album some years back, called — subtly — Christmas. I’m just discovering and digging it. An alternative to all the over-department-store-ised seasonal musix for all you alterna-kids out there. I got it from eMusic, where I get most of my music from the Interweb these days, but it’s certainly widely available.

Not available at—or affiliated with—Lowe’s.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Fuzzy horsey math.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

NASA Probes Smoky Smell in Spacesuit

[[OK, so maybe it’s tres juvenile of me, but I found this funny...]]]

HOUSTON - NASA is investigating a smoky smell in a spacesuit worn during a test on the ground, and officials said Tuesday they won’t hold any spacewalks until engineers can pinpoint the source of the odor.

Monday, November 5, 2007


Saturday, November 3, 2007

Heeeeeeeere’s Johnny!

Have always had a warm spot for Johnny Carson, he being THE talk show host of my childhood, before there was so much competition.

I saw a piece for his birthday on the Writer’s Almanac site a bit back. I remembered he was Midwestern, but he was “born in Corning, Iowa (1925), (he) grew up an extremely shy boy until he started doing magic tricks. He later said that it was the discovery of magic that helped him relate to people...”

Of course he took over the Tonight Show from Jack Paar in the early 60s, and the rest as they say is history.

BUT...the most astonishing trick Johnny ever did in my mind, was disappearing from public view altogether after being on air almost every night in front of millions of people for 30 years! He just went away as gracefully as he always stayed.

No mean feat in a time when America seems forever equally repulsed and attracted to Britney’s lack of underpants and dignity.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

“Bush Tells Dems War Denial Is Dangerous”

[[Perhaps someone should tell Il Duce that what’s really dangerous here is a man with this tenuous a grip on history pretending to be the “Decide-i-nator” of the Free World...]]

I can’t even begin to understand what this is supposed to mean...

WASHINGTON - President Bush compared Congress’ Democratic leaders Thursday to people who ignored the rise of Lenin and Hitler early in the last century, saying “the world paid a terrible price” then and risks similar consequences for inaction today.

Friday, October 26, 2007

To stop you.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

What’s with all this noose s***?

[[This thing in Louisiana, then a teacher in New York, now this. Do people not really remember what black people have been through in this country?? And we’re ALWAYS CENTIMETERS away from insensitivity.]]

Hanging Dummy Removed After Complaints—By DINESH RAMDE (Associated Press Writer)
From Associated Press—October 16, 2007 6:10 PM EDT

GREENFIELD, Wis. - A dark mannequin hung from a noose as part of a homeowner’s Halloween display drew complaints from members of the local black community, prompting the homeowner to remove it.

The clothed dummy had black gloves and a black head, prompting some to complain it was an affront to black residents. Nooses are racially charged symbols of lynchings in the Old South and have appeared in a number of recent incidents around the country.

Lenard Wells, the director of adult education at Concordia University South Center and a prominent member of the local black community, said a number of people complained to him last week about the display and that he was shocked when he went to see it.

“Sometimes we may forget we may be only a few blocks away from insensitivity,” he said. “The question becomes, why couldn’t they see the insensitivity of this Halloween display?”

A woman who lives at the home refused to identify herself Tuesday.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Rice worried by Putin’s broad powers.

MOSCOW - The Russian government under Vladimir Putin has amassed so much central authority that the power-grab may undermine Moscow’s commitment to democracy, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Saturday.

Just substitute “American,” “George W. Bush,” and “Washington’s” in the obvious places here...maybe Condi’s seen the light about how much damage they’ve done...but I doubt it.

Ivana new hairstyle.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Go Little Blue Planet.

[[Hit ’em where it the moneybags!]]

WASHINGTON—A $4.6 billion settlement Tuesday by one of the last holdouts among polluting power companies signals the end of a long legal debate over acid rain—and a tougher battle ahead over carbon dioxide and the use of fossil fuels.

The agreement with American Electric Power Co., struck just as the company was to defend itself in court, ends an eight-year battle over reducing smokestack pollution that drifted across Northeast and mid-Atlantic states and chewed away on mountain ranges, bays and national landmarks.

Government officials praised the deal as the largest environmental settlement in the nation’s history.

“Plans change,” said acting Assistant Attorney General Ron Tenpas, announcing the settlement filed in U.S. District Court in Columbus. “And obviously there is a big difference between a company saying it has plans to do something in the future and a company being bound by an order of the court to take those steps.”

Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat, said the deal shows “clean air enforcement is alive and well despite Bush administration efforts to gut the Clean Air Act.”

Monday, October 8, 2007

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Will there still be sugar?

[[Been re-reading Animal Farm after many years]]

The stupidest questions of all were asked by Mollie, the white mare. The very first question she asked Snowball was: “Will there still be sugar after the revolution?”

“NO,” said Snowball firmly. “We have no means of making sugar on this farm. Besides, you do not need sugar. You will have all the oats and hay you want”

“And shall I still be allowed to wear ribbons in my mane?” asked Mollie

“Comrade,” said Snowball, “those ribbons are that you are so devoted to are the badge of slavery. Can you not understand that liberty is worth more than ribbons?”

Mollie agreed, but she did not sound very convinced.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Small bird template.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Oh...that old thing.

Shopper Gets Leg Up at Carolina Auction
From Associated Press—September 25, 2007 8:22 PM EDT

MAIDEN, N.C. - A man who bought a smoker Tuesday at an auction of abandoned items might have thought twice had he looked inside first. Maiden police said the man opened up the smoker and saw what he thought was a piece of driftwood wrapped in paper. When he unwrapped it, he found a human leg, cut off 2 to 3 inches above the knee.

The smoker had been sold at an auction of items left behind at a storage facility, so investigators contacted the mother and son who had rented the space where the smoker was found.

The mother explained her son had his leg amputated after a plane crash and kept the leg following the surgery. The mother said her son plans to drive to Maiden, about 35 miles northwest of Charlotte, to reclaim his amputated leg, police said.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

The apples of my eyes.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Wotta maroon.

[[Maybe somebody should explain to this doofus that here on the “mainland” we don’t wear something that LOOKS like a bomb to an airport...and the security people—dumb and dumber? “OH, you wanted to stand out on career day! OK! Well move on along then, you little scamp!”]]

MIT Coed With Fake Bomb “Art” Arrested
By GLEN JOHNSON (Associated Press Writer)
From Associated Press
September 21, 2007 12:29 PM EDT

BOSTON - An MIT student wearing what turned out to be a fake bomb was arrested at gunpoint Friday at Logan International Airport and later claimed it was artwork, officials said.

Star Simpson, 19, had a computer circuit board and wiring in plain view over a black hooded sweat shirt she was wearing, said State Police Maj. Scott Pare, the commanding officer at the airport.

“She said that it was a piece of art and she wanted to stand out on career day,” Pare said at a news conference. “She claims that it was just art, and that she was proud of the art and she wanted to display it.”

Simpson was charged with disturbing the peace and possessing a hoax device. A not guilty plea was entered for her at her arraignment Friday and she was released on $750 bail.

“I’m shocked and appalled that somebody would wear this type of device to an airport,” Pare said.

Simpson was “extremely lucky she followed the instructions or deadly force would have been used,” Pare said. “She’s lucky to be in a cell as opposed to the morgue.”

Simpson is a Massachusetts Institute of Technology sophomore from Hawaii, officials said.

The battery-powered rectangular device had nine flashing lights, Pare said. Simpson also had Play-Doh in her hands, he said.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Wing-ed Babydoggy.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Belgium 4 Sale.

Someone Tries to Sell Belgium on eBay
By PAUL AMES (Associated Press Writer)
From Associated Press
September 18, 2007 11:57 AM EDT

BRUSSELS, Belgium—Hidden among the porcelain fox hounds and Burberry tablecloths on sale at this week was an unusual item: “For Sale: Belgium, a Kingdom in three parts ... free premium: the king and his court (costs not included).”

The odd ad was posted by one disgruntled Belgian in protest at his country’s political crisis which reached a 100-day landmark Tuesday with no end in sight to the squabbling between Flemish and Walloon politicians.

“I wanted to attract attention,” said Gerrit Six, the teacher and former journalist who posted the ad. “You almost have to throw rock through a window to get attention for Belgium.”


Sunday, September 16, 2007

Whaddya mean, health care ain’t workin’?

[[Read the whole article here]]

Cancer Society Ads Push Health Reform (?????)
By MIKE STOBBE (AP Medical Writer)
From Associated Press—September 16, 2007 12:51 PM EDT

ATLANTA - The American Cancer Society this week will take its biggest step ever into the politics of health care reform, spending $15 million in advertising on behalf of Americans with too little health insurance or none at all.

The cancer society—the nation’s richest health charity, in both donations and volunteers— traditionally focuses its advertising on encouraging Americans to quit smoking or get a screening test.

But this year’s campaign will feature television commercials that portray the challenges of uninsured and underinsured cancer patients, accompanied by a call for people to do something about it.

The change comes after cancer society officials concluded that insurance-related problems have emerged as one of the one of the largest obstacles in their goal to cut cancer death rates by 50 percent and incidence rates by 25 percent from 1990 to 2015.

“We’re not going to meet our goals if the health care system remains unfixed,” said John Seffrin, the cancer society’s chief executive.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Kate Mossback.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Woody ’n’ me.

“It’s not that I’m afraid to die, I just don’t want to be there when it happens.”
—Woody Allen

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


Saturday, September 8, 2007

Griffin Gets the Hook for Using N-Word.

[[ wasn’t’s just always strange to see your own name in such an attention-grabbing headline. Who would suspect this sort of bidness from such a classy discerning actor!!??]]

Griffin Gets the Hook for Using N-Word
JEFF CHRISTENSEN—From Associated Press
September 05, 2007 6:43 PM EDT

MIAMI - A standup routine by black comedian Eddie Griffin was stopped after he repeatedly used the N-word, a magazine’s spokesman said Wednesday.

Griffin, who has appeared in movies such as “Undercover Brother” and “Date Movie” and the TV show “Malcolm & Eddie,” was performing at a Black Enterprise magazine event in the Miami suburb of Doral on Friday when he was cut off after using profanities and the N-word, said Andrew Wadium, a spokesman for the publication.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007


Tuesday, September 4, 2007


Archaeologists Discover Ancient Beehives
By MATTI FRIEDMAN (Associated Press Writer)
From Associated Press
September 04, 2007 10:03 PM EDT

JERUSALEM - Archaeologists digging in northern Israel have discovered evidence of a 3,000-year-old beekeeping industry, including remnants of ancient honeycombs, beeswax and what they believe are the oldest intact beehives ever found.

The beehives, made of straw and unbaked clay, have a hole at one end to allow the bees in and out and a lid on the other end to allow beekeepers access to the honeycombs inside. They were found in orderly rows, three high, in a room that could have accommodated around 100 hives, Mazar said.

“We have seen depictions of beekeeping in texts and ancient art from the Near East, but this is the first time we've been able to actually feel and see the industry,” Marcus said.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Shoppin’ with the girls.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Better late than never?

[[What does 3 life terms mean when you’re 72? Evil old bastard... “reputed...klansman” what’s he gonna be doing? flashing his membership card?]]

Seale Gets 3 Life Terms for '64 Killings By EMILY WAGSTER PETTUS (Associated Press Writer) From Associated Press—August 24, 2007 1:42 PM EDT

JACKSON, Miss. - James Ford Seale, a reputed Ku Klux Klansman, was sentenced Friday to three life terms for his role in the 1964 abduction and murder of two black teenagers in southwest Mississippi.

Seale, 72, was convicted in June on federal charges of kidnapping and conspiracy in the deaths of Charles Eddie Moore and Henry Hezekiah Dee, two 19-year-olds who disappeared from Franklin County on May 2, 1964.

The young men's bodies were found more than two months later in a backwater of the Mississippi River.

Seale showed no emotion as U.S. District Judge Henry T. Wingate read his sentence.

Wingate told Seale the crimes committed 43 years ago were "horrific" and "justice itself is ageless." Wingate denied a defense motion to allow Seale to be free on bond while his case is appealed.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Orange you lovely.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Max Roach R.I.P.

[[From Jess Harvell on only obit i could find that had a little soul. Basin Street cover photo one of my favorite pix of Max, by my friend Chuck Stewart. Max actually died on Thursday, but I just found out today.]]

In the first music death that's truly punched me in the gut in quite a while, drummer Max Roach, who left his rhythmic stamp on so much post-war jazz, passed on today. Over a career that stretched some 60-plus years, from young bebop turk to universally respected elder statesmen, political firebrand and restless intellectual, Roach recorded numerous classic dates as a leader, worked as a sideman with enough giants to fill up a jazz textbook, and managed to swing with a heartstopping funkiness or a fingertip-tender caress whatever the mood of the date he was playing on or the musicians he found himself playing with. I’m planning on celebrating Mr. Roach tonight by cranking Money Jungle, his indelible trio record with Duke Ellington and Charles Mingus. If you’ve never heard it, I suggest you hit iTunes or the record shop on the way home from work and do the same. Roach was 83, and the cause of death has still yet to be announced.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Redeye to New York.

Monday, August 13, 2007

On not giving up (Pt. 4)

He [Raymond Chandler] started out writing second-rate poetry and essays, but couldn't get much published, so he gave up and took a bookkeeping class, got a job at a bank, and went on to become a wealthy oil company executive.

He lost his job when the stock market crashed in 1929. So at the age of 45 he began writing for pulp fiction magazines, which paid about a penny a word.

Chandler was one of the first detective novelists to become known for the quality of his prose, and he became famous for his metaphors. In one novel he wrote, “She smelled the way the Taj Mahal looked by moonlight.” In another he wrote, “She gave me a smile I could feel in my hip pocket.”

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Rudy, Rudy, Rudy...

[[While I was proud of Giuliani for a while for being the standup Mayuh during a terrible time that was unlike any in my lifetime, AND I was really proud of him for finally snipping that horrible comb-over...he has unashamedly made a freakin’ fortune off of the tragedy that was 9-11, as a “security expert” selling his services at top dollar all over the globe. And now he’s a good idea for President? And what is this “mis-spoke” something just jumped out of your mouth unbidden? It sounds like a “re-gifted” Politics...]]

Giuliani: I Misspoke About Ground Zero
By LIBBY QUAID (Associated Press Writer)
From Associated Press—August 10, 2007 7:58 PM EDT

WASHINGTON - Republican presidential hopeful Rudy Giuliani said Friday that he misspoke when he said he spent as much time, if not more, at ground zero exposed to the same health risks as workers combing the site after the Sept. 11 attacks.

“I think I could have said it better,” he told nationally syndicated radio host Mike Gallagher. “You know, what I was saying was, ‘I’m there with you.’”

The former New York mayor upset some firefighters and police officers when he said Thursday in Cincinnati that he was at ground zero “as often, if not more, than most of the workers.”

“I was there working with them. I was exposed to exactly the same things they were exposed to. So in that sense, I’m one of them,” he told reporters at a Los Angeles Dodgers–Cincinnati Reds baseball game.

Fire and police officials responded angrily, saying Giuliani did not do the same work as those involved in the rescue, recovery and cleanup from the 2001 terrorist attacks, which left many workers sick and injured.

On Friday, Giuliani said he was trying to show his concern for the workers' health.

“What I was trying to say yesterday is that I empathize with them, because I feel like I have that same risk,” he said.

“There were people there less than me, people on my staff, who already have had serious health consequences, and they weren’t there as often as I was,” Giuliani said, “but I wasn't trying to suggest a competition of any kind, which is the way it come across.”

Giuliani’s explanation further angered his ground zero critics, prompting several to issue a statement demanding an apology.

“He is such a liar, because the only time he was down there was for photo ops with celebrities, with politicians, with diplomats,” said deputy fire chief Jimmy Riches, who spent months digging for his firefighter son.

“On 9/11 all he did was run. He got that soot on him, and I don't think he’s taken a shower since.”

Harold Schaitberger, president of the International Association of Fire Fighters, a union that fiercely opposes Giuliani, said he doubted Giuliani misspoke.

“I think he was simply showing what his true character is—a self-absorbed, self-deluded promoter who got caught and is now just simply trying to backtrack,” Schaitberger said.

Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards offered his own criticism of the former mayor. “That's all we need is another person trying to exploit the tragedy of 9/11,” Edwards said while campaigning in Las Vegas. “What he ought to be talking about instead is trying to explain why the firefighters and the first responders didn’t have the equipment to get the job done.”

A former deputy mayor, Joe Lhota, said the critics are politically motivated and wrong.

“They're taking their anger out in the wrong direction,” Lhota said. “He was literally there four and five times a day; he did anything but run away.

“They're losing sight of the fact that this country, and this city, was attacked on that day by terrorists; it’s their fault. Rudy Giuliani coordinated efforts in this city like no one had ever seen before.”

Also Friday, Giuliani named another former deputy mayor, Rudy Washington, chairman of his campaign in New York City. Washington played a role in ground zero operations for weeks after Sept. 11 and received medical coverage for debilitating asthma and other health complications.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Lil’ Baby Rhino.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Run Grandma, it’s them bugs again!

[[This is not actually from today, but from sometime in the last few weeks from Writers Almanac. We can’t recognise a good pestilence these days even when it’s thick around 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue]]

It was on this day in 1875 that the largest recorded swarm of locusts in American history descended upon the Great Plains. It was a swarm about 1,800 miles long, 110 miles wide, from Canada down to Texas. North America was home to the most numerous species of locust on earth, the Rocky Mountain locust. At the height of their population, their total mass was equivalent to the 60 million bison that had inhabited the West. The Rocky Mountain locust is believed to have been the most common macroscopic creature of any kind ever to inhabit the planet. Swarms would occur once every seven to twelve years, emerging from river valleys in the Rockies, sweeping east across the country. The size of the swarms tended to grow when there was less rain—and the West had been going through a drought since 1873. Farmers just east of the Rockies began to see a cloud approaching from the west. It was glinting around the edges where the locust wings caught the light of the sun. People said the locusts descended like a driving snow in winter. They covered everything in their path. They sounded like thunder or a train and blanketed the ground, nearly a foot deep. Trees bent over with the weight of them. They ate nearly every living piece of vegetation in their path. They ate harnesses off horses and the bark of trees, curtains, clothing that was hung out on laundry lines. They chewed on the handles of farm tools and fence posts and railings. Some farmers tried to scare away the locusts by running into the swarm, and they had their clothes eaten right off their bodies. Similar swarms occurred in the following years. The farmers became desperate. But by the mid 1880s, the rains had returned, and the swarms died down. Within a few decades, the Rocky Mountain locusts were believed to be extinct. The last two live specimens were collected in 1902, and they're now stored at the Smithsonian.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Smoke gets in yr eyes.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Nuke schmuke...

[[This is a pretty lengthy watch for the web, but the 30 min. of initial presentation is worth the struggle. With this administration trying to make us afraid that doom is coming because somebody’s grandma has managed to slip onto a plane with a pair of nail clippers or a bottle of Evian, it’s interesting that they’re also encouraging nuclear energy, which I’m convinced we’re not ready for. “Every recent acquisition of nuclear weapons has been tied to civilian nuclear power”]]

“We have met the enemy,
and he is us.”—Pogo

On October 27, 2006, a debate on the future of nuclear power and its role in climate took place in Burlington, VT before the Society for Environmental Journalists, between Moore, former NRC Commissioner Peter Bradford and Greenpeace US nuclear safety analyst Jim Riccio.

To see the video of that debate and an accompanying slide show that provides additional commentary, click here.


Peter Bradford is a former Commissioner of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission and former chair of the New York State Public Service Commission and the Maine Public Utilities Commission.

Patrick Moore is chair of Greenspirit Strategies, Ltd and co-chair of the Clean and Safe Energy Coalition, funded by the Nuclear Energy Institute. You can read more about Moore’s position on nuclear power here:

Jim Riccio is nuclear safety analyst for Greenpeace US and formerly worked with Public Citizen and Nuclear Information and Resource Service.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Oh, HEPPY Birthday, Don Marquis.

Today in 1878 newspaper columnist, playwright, and short-story writer Don Marquis was born in Walnut, Illinois.

[[I discovered Marquis’ Archy and Mehitabel because of my love of Krazy Kat creator George Herrriman, who did lovely illustrations for several of the books—text is by peter campbell—]]

While Krazy Kat is certainly Herriman’s great work, he is also noted for his wonderfully appropriate renderings of “Archy & Mehitabel.” archy was a talking cockroach and Mehitabel was an alley cat. Due to a tragic mishap of destiny, archy, once a great poet, was reincarnated as a roach, but maintained the poet’s soul, which he poured out in verse each night by hopping from key to key on Mr. Don Marquis’ rusty old typewriter. Archy told stories about Mehitabel the cat, Freddy the Rat, and other denizens of the garage he lived in. Since he couldn't manage the shift key, his verse was relatively unadorned by punctuation.

Don Marquis, the man fortunate enough to have archy living in his garage, was born Donald Robert Perry Marquis. He lived from 1878 until 1937 in the small town of Walnut, Illinois. He was an author and a playwright, and he published archy’s poems in a column he wrote for such distinguished newspapers as the New York Sun and the New York Tribune. All told, three volumes of archy’s poetry were published, one posthumously (for Mr. Marquis, that is—archy, apparently, lives on).

Friday, July 27, 2007


Thursday, July 26, 2007

Giant Squid!! Hide yer fish sticks!

[[I think after years of dealing with voracious predators like entertainment lawyers, theatrical agents, and cosmetic surgeons, California can survive this—I’m just worried about poor Mrs. Paul and her fish stick supply!]]

Voracious Jumbo Squid Invade California
From Associated Press—July 24, 2007 8:46 PM EDT

MONTEREY, Calif. - Jumbo squid that can grow up to 7 feet long and weigh more than 110 pounds is invading central California waters and preying on local anchovy, hake and other commercial fish populations, according to a study published Tuesday.

An aggressive predator, the Humboldt squid—or Dosidicus gigas—can change its eating habits to consume the food supply favored by tuna and sharks, its closest competitors, according to an article published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal.

“Having a new, voracious predator set up shop here in California may be yet another thing for fishermen to compete with,” said the study's co-author, Stanford University researcher Louis Zeidberg. “That said, if a squid saw a human they would jet the other way.”

The jumbo squid used to be found only in the Pacific Ocean’s warmest stretches near the equator. In the last 16 years, it has expanded its territory throughout California waters, and squid have even been found in the icy waters off Alaska, Zeidberg said.

Zeidberg’s co-author, Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute senior scientist Bruce Robison, first spotted the jumbo squid here in 1997, when one swam past the lens of a camera mounted on a submersible thousands of feet below the ocean’s surface.

More were observed through 1999, but the squid weren't seen again locally until the fall of 2002. Since their return, scientists have noted a corresponding drop in the population of Pacific hake, a whitefish the squid feeds on that is often used in fish sticks, Zeidberg said.

“As they’ve come and gone, the hake have dropped off,” Zeidberg said. “We’re just beginning to figure out how the pieces fit together, but this is most likely going to shake things up.”

Before the 1970s, the giant squid were typically found in the Eastern Pacific, and in coastal waters spanning from Peru to Costa Rica. But as the populations of its natural predators—like large tuna, sharks and swordfish—declined because of fishing, the squids moved northward and started eating different species that thrive in colder waters.

Local marine mammals needn’t worry about the squid’s arrival since they’re higher up on the food chain, but lanternfish, krill, anchovies and rockfish are all fair game, Zeidberg said.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Master Yoda as a Boy.

Monday, July 23, 2007

On sticking to one’s guns, Pt. 1

[[I’ve always admired those who’ve stuck to guns and got out whilst ahead...the English version of The Office and Rowan Atkinson’s lovely Blackadder series spring to mind. Found this piece about Calvin and Hobbes creator Bill Watterson on The Writers Almanac. Who knows whether it’s the whole story, but I find it inspiring nonetheless.]]

He studied political science in college, and originally planned to become a political cartoonist. He got a job at the Cincinnati Post, but his editor insisted that he focus on local politics, and Watterson couldn’t get a handle on the Cincinnati political scene. He lost his job after a few months and began drawing up plans for possible comic strips, including a strip about a 6-year-old boy and his stuffed tiger. This idea caught the attention of the United Features Syndicate, but they told Watterson they would only run the strip if he would insert a “Robotman” character that could be sold as a toy.

Watterson didn't want to turn down his first possible syndication deal, but he also didn't want to give up control over his own characters. So he rejected the offer. But his strip was eventually picked up by Universal Press Syndicate.

Once the strip became wildly popular, Watterson began to get offers to license the characters for toys, T-shirts, greeting cards, and movies. He could have made millions from all the merchandising opportunities, but he decided to refuse all the offers. He said, “My strip is about private realities, the magic of imagination, and the specialness of certain friendships. [No one] would believe in the innocence of a little kid and his tiger if they cashed in on their popularity to sell overpriced knickknacks that nobody needs.”

Watterson worked on the strip for 10 years, and then decided to retire and devote his time to painting. He has declined any interviews or photographs since his retirement, and hasn't shown any signs of returning to cartooning.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Machine That Turns.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Sekou Sundiata

[[Sekou was a beautiful man, whom I was fortunate enough to meet and spend a little time around when he was in town three years ago or so performing as part of Vanderbilt’s performing arts series. I caught the tail end of a Fresh Air interview with him today, and realised they were re-broadcasting it because he died of heart failure yesterday at 58. Looking for something to include here, found an amazing dearth of stuff when I Googled his name. Prompted me to write the fine folks at The Writer’s Almanac]]

why, dear writer’s almanac, is there nothing in the writer’s almanac archives or on of the work of sekou sundiata? he was wonderful poet, a gifted gentle man, whom i was fortunate enough to meet three years ago. he died yesterday, and apparently nobody has much to say about his living. regarding this i am curious and a little sad.

Kitty Brown.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Torturing Tortoise.

[[My God...I go to Indiana for four days, don’t pay any attention to the news, and I come home to this! Why do people got to be so damn mean? And to a freakin’ turtle! (OK...yes, I know the difference between a turtle and a tortoise...) You go, Bob!!]]

Police Arrest Man for Torturing Tortoise
From Associated Press
July 19, 2007 6:30 PM EDT

VENTURA, Calif.—An arrest was made Thursday in the vicious attack on Bob, a 42-pound pet tortoise who was slashed and stabbed after being stolen from the home of an autistic boy.

Police said the attacker tried to cut Bob out of his shell. His hind legs were badly cut, a toe was cut off, his neck was slashed and his shell was punctured with a sharp object. The animal also was thrown against a wall, police said.

Jose “Tony” Mosqueda, 18, of Ventura, was booked at the county jail for investigation of cruelty to animals and grand theft.

It is believed he acted alone, police said.

“It’s a good feeling. It's kind of neat,” Sgt. Jack Richards said. “It just really pulled at some heartstrings and it’s good to have someone in custody.”

Witnesses to the torture provided information that helped lead to the arrest, Richards said.

Two rewards totaling $3,500 had been offered for help with an arrest and missing tortoise fliers were posted throughout the area, but Richards said he didn't know if that contributed to the arrest.

The 25-year-old African spurred tortoise belongs to Dorothy and Bill Sullivan and is a special friend to their 6-year-old autistic son, who rarely spoke to people but chattered to the animal.

The tortoise was snatched from their yard on July 7, brutalized and dumped in brush behind an apartment complex.

An anonymous caller told the family where to find Bob.

Police declined to discuss a motive, but Richards said it didn’t appear the attacker wanted to eat Bob.

Dorothy Sullivan said Thursday that she and her son danced with happiness when they heard of the arrest.

“This is wonderful news,” she said.

The boy had not been sleeping well since the attack, she explained.

“His security fell apart,” she said. “He was afraid that somebody was going to come and steal him and take him away and hurt him.”

“Now he feels safe. Now he can go out and play,” she said.

The family has installed security cameras and an alarm on the backyard fence so that Bob will be safer when he returns.

The tortoise was being treated at Turtle Dreams, a Montecito rehabilitation center. He remained in guarded condition and was being fed through a tube in his neck.

“He’s getting more relaxed and coming out of his shell” more often, said Jeanie Vaughan, the center's owner. “If he continues without any infection, I think he’s going to be fine.”

Dorothy Sullivan said Bob did an amazing thing when she visited the center earlier in the week.

“He took his first steps,” she said. “He brought his head completely out of his shell...and then he struggled to his feet.”

The tortoise collapsed but then managed to take eight steps.

“When he finished, he had a tear in his did the rest of us,” Sullivan said. “It was an excellent, great sign.”

Bob’s plight made headlines across the country and prompted a flood of calls from people wanting to help. Sullivan said she had created a huge display of cards and letters, including one from schoolchildren who sold lemonade to raise money to help pay Bob’s vet bills.

“I’m still getting 25 calls a day from people all over the nation: New Jersey, Montana, Arizona. I can name almost every state,” Richards said.

Hot tramp...I love you so.

Monday, July 16, 2007

The finger that points...and the finger that gives you the finger.

A brief finger-themed series, it seems.


Sunday, July 15, 2007

I’m with stoopid...

Nev. Couple Blame Internet for Neglect
From Associated Press
July 15, 2007 6:11 AM EDT

RENO, Nev. - A couple who authorities say were so obsessed with the Internet and video games that they left their babies starving and suffering other health problems have pleaded guilty to child neglect.

The children of Michael and Iana Straw, a boy age 22 months and a girl age 11 months, were severely malnourished and near death last month when doctors saw them after social workers took them to a hospital, authorities said. Both children are doing well and gaining weight in foster care, prosecutor Kelli Ann Viloria told the Reno Gazette-Journal.

Michael Straw, 25, and Iana Straw, 23, pleaded guilty Friday to two counts each of child neglect. Each faces a maximum 12-year prison sentence.

Viloria said the Reno couple were too distracted by online video games, mainly the fantasy role-playing "Dungeons & Dragons" series, to give their children proper care.

"They had food; they just chose not to give it to their kids because they were too busy playing video games," Viloria told the Reno Gazette-Journal.

Police said hospital staff had to shave the head of the girl because her hair was matted with cat urine. The 10-pound girl also had a mouth infection, dry skin and severe dehydration.

Her brother had to be treated for starvation and a genital infection. His lack of muscle development caused him difficulty in walking, investigators said.

Michael Straw is an unemployed cashier, and his wife worked for a temporary staffing agency doing warehouse work, according to court records. He received a $50,000 inheritance that he spent on computer equipment and a large plasma television, authorities said.

While child abuse because of drug addiction is common, abuse rooted in video game addiction is rare, Viloria said.

Last month, experts at an American Medical Association meeting backed away from a proposal to designate video game addiction as a mental disorder, saying it had to be studied further. Some said the issue is like alcoholism, while others said there was no concrete evidence it's a psychological disease.

Friday, July 13, 2007

RU feelin’ lucky, punk?

Thursday, July 12, 2007


[[“The Calf-Path” by Sam Walter Foss. Public Domain]]

One day through the primeval wood
A calf walked home as good calves should;
But made a trail all bent askew,
A crooked trail as all calves do.
Since then three hundred years have fled,
And I infer the calf is dead.
But still he left behind his trail,
And thereby hangs my moral tale.
The trail was taken up next day
By a lone dog that passed that way;
And then a wise bell-wether sheep
Pursued the trail o’er vale and steep,
And drew the flock behind him, too,
As good bell-wethers always do.
And from that day, o’er hill and glade,
Through those old woods a path was made.
And many men wound in and out,
And dodged and turned and bent about,
And uttered words of righteous wrath
Because ’twas such a crooked path;
But still they followed—do not laugh—
The first migrations of that calf,
And through this winding wood-way stalked
Because he wobbled when he walked.
This forest path became a lane
That bent and turned and turned again;
This crooked lane became a road,
Where many a poor horse with his load
Toiled on beneath the burning sun,
And traveled some three miles in one.
And thus a century and a half
They trod the footsteps of that calf.
The years passed on in swiftness fleet,
The road became a village street;
And this, before men were aware,
A city’s crowded thoroughfare.
And soon the central street was this
Of a renowned metropolis;
And men two centuries and a half
Trod in the footsteps of that calf.
Each day a hundred thousand rout
Followed this zigzag calf about
And o’er his crooked journey went
The traffic of a continent.
A hundred thousand men were led
By one calf near three centuries dead.
They followed still his crooked way.
And lost one hundred years a day,
For thus such reverence is lent
To well-established precedent.
A moral lesson this might teach
Were I ordained and called to preach;
For men are prone to go it blind
Along the calf-paths of the mind,
And work away from sun to sun
To do what other men have done.
They follow in the beaten track,
And out and in, and forth and back,
And still their devious course pursue,
To keep the path that others do.
They keep the path a sacred groove,
Along which all their lives they move;
But how the wise old wood-gods laugh,
Who saw the first primeval calf.
Ah, many things this tale might teach —
But I am not ordained to preach.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Points for originality?

[[Despite the corny writing, this is from a legit news source, not just a bad night on Letterman]]

Robber Disguised As Tree Hits N.H. Bank
From Associated Press—July 09, 2007 8:22 AM EDT

MANCHESTER, N.H.—Leaf it to New Hampshire, where a bank branch was held up by a man disguised as a tree.

Just as the Citizen Bank branch opened Saturday morning,
a man walked in with leafy boughs duct-taped to his head and torso, and robbed the place.

“He really went out on a limb,” police Sgt. Ernie Goodno said Sunday.

Police said the leafy man didn’t saying anything about having a weapon, just demanded cash, and was given an undisclosed amount.

Although the branches and leaves obscured much of the man’s face, someone who saw images from the bank’s security camera recognized the robber and called police.

Officers said James Coldwell, 49, was arrested early Sunday at his Manchester home and charged with robbery. Arraignment was not expected until Monday.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Ah, the support of Family.

His father wasn’t happy that [Saul] Bellow wanted to be a writer.

He said, “You write and then you erase. You call that a profession?”

His brothers went into more conventional careers and Bellow once said, “All I started out to do was to show up my brothers.”

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

W.M.D. (Weapons of Miss Doe-eyes)

Friday, June 29, 2007

Frau Doktor Dobermann

Thursday, June 28, 2007

The “C” Word.

I think you know what I’m talking about. One of the few words polite-ish Americans don’t use in front of each other. Scotland’s another story altogether...

I think for me the “C” word is going to become “Coulter”—at least you can use it in polite company. God, what a nasty woman.

If you haven’t yet, check out this footage (don’t bother with the 1000 comments that follow, they’re all pretty predictable) —

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Panties make nice hats, Pt. 3

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Viking weathermen, etcetera.

[[An excerpt from the new book Fair and Balanced, My Ass, about—OK, you guessed it—Fox News. I’m not sure I’m going to read it, but like what I’ve read so far. Hard to keep up with all the bashing and counter-bashing... By the fine folks who brought you the nicely-named website]]

If your local weatherman dressed up as a Viking every day, called himself Hjørt Bjornsen, and told you there was a 60 percent chance of snow flurries and a 30 percent chance that Thor would rain fire and canned hummus from the sky during midmorning rush hour—all the while claiming he absolutely was not dressed as a Viking—eventually it would stop being cute. That's essentially what it feels like to be sane and reasonably intelligent and tuned in to Fox News. It's hard to look away, because there's a guy on TV making a complete ass of himself while saying obviously untrue things. But it would be nice to get the forecast every once in a while.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

On not giving up (Pt 3).

Leaves of Grass came out on July 4th 1855. Whitman paid for its publication himself and arranged for it to be sold in different formats, at different prices, to reach as wide an audience as possible. He anonymously wrote wildly enthusiastic reviews of the book himself.

He said: “The public is a thick-skinned beast and you have to keep whacking away at its hide to let it know you're there.”

But despite all of his efforts, he sold only 10 copies of the first edition, and gave away the rest.

Do you suffer from seasonal elegies?

[[From Writers Almanac May 30th “Falling Asleep in a Garden” by David Wagoner from Traveling Light: Collected and New Poems. © University of Illinois Press, 1999]]

Falling Asleep in the Garden

All day the bees have come to the garden.
They hover, swivel in arcs and, whirling, light
On stamens heavy with pollen, probe and revel
Inside the yellow and red starbursts of dahlias
Or cling to lobelia's blue-white mouths
Or climb the speckled trumpets of foxgloves.

My restless eyes follow their restlessness
As they plunge bodily headfirst into treasure,
Gold-fevered among these horns of plenty.
They circle me, a flowerless patch
With nothing to offer in the way of sweetness
Or light against the first omens of evening.

Some, even now, are dying at the end
Of their few weeks, some being born in the dark,
Some simply waiting for life, but some are dancing
Deep in their hives, telling the hungry
The sun will be that way, the garden this far:
This is the way to the garden. They hum at my ear.

And I wake up, startled, seeing the early
Stars beginning to bud in constellations.
The bees have gathered somewhere like petals closing
For the coming of the cold. The silhouette
Of a sphinx moth swerves to drink at a flowerhead.
The night-blooming moon opens its pale corolla.

Monday, June 18, 2007


Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Puerto Rico Aims to Trap Roaming Monkeys.

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico - Authorities in Puerto Rico are using cages and mangoes to try to trap hundreds of marauding monkeys—descendants of escaped research animals—and hope to send them off to sanctuaries or labs, or to kill them

“When animals are released into the wild, we end up in a situation like this,” [a scientist being interviewed] said. “Now it’s too late. There’s not going to be a happy ending to this story.”

Grace Jonesin’

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Moley, moley, moley.

Band-Aid Bandit Ordered to Give Up Booty.

With a headline like that, who even needs a story. Story about some bank robber, so called because he would put a band-aid over a distinctive mole on his face as a “disguise.” Not a very good story, actually. But a heckuvah headline, huh?

Monday, June 11, 2007

Pablo Picasso.

For J. Richman (and his modern lovers).
Back to the collage.

Saturday, June 9, 2007


[[Liked this from Writers Almanac May 17, by Traci Dant]]

A Twice Named Family

I come
from a family
that twice names

its own.
One name
for the world.

One name
for home.
Lydi, Joely, Door,

Bud, Bobby, Bea,
Puddin, Cluster, Lindy,
Money, Duddy, Vess.

we are
a two-named family

cause somebody
way back knew
you needed a name

to cook chitlins in.
A name
to put your feet up in.

A name
that couldn't be

A name
that couldn't be
denied a loan.

A name
that couldn't be

to go
through anyone's
back door.

Somebody way back
knew we needed names
to be loved in.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

A box is a box is a box.

Tonight had the interesting feeling of driving past West End Discount Liquors and seeing a fabulous cache of empty liquor boxes, and seeing them for the first time in ages just as empty boxes, not as some crazy golden house-moving asset that had to be scrambled for before being snatched up by other like-minded vultures.

Cardboard boxes in that context are one of the most perfectly self-recycling (dare I say sustainable?) objects that I know of anywhere. No sooner are they thrown outside their liquor-vending premises than some frantic house-moving person snaps them up, then either keeps them for another move or two (I actually still have some that I’ve kept since college), or likely passes them on to another house-moving friend.


Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Taking sanity to the cleaners.

[[This is an excerpt from an actual “news” item I saw today. This was not in The Onion or something, this is honestly an ongoing suit. I was fresh from opening the national wound that was Katrina by watching the first part of Spike Lee’s documentary When the Levees Broke, which only that served to further highlight the truly awesome stupidity of this.]]

Roy L. Pearson, a District of Columbia administrative law judge, first sued Custom Cleaners over a pair of pants that went missing two years ago. He was seeking about $65 million under the D.C. consumer protection act and almost $2 million in common law claims.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Notes from a spasmodic Hercules.

[[From Writer’s Almanac, April 24—about the writer Anthony Trollope]]

For most of his writing life, he continued to work for the British postal service and even helped invent the street-corner mailbox. To turn out his novels, he woke up every morning at 4:00 a.m. and wrote for three hours, producing about a thousand words an hour. In less than 40 years, he published 47 novels, as well as many other books of essays and sketches. He said, “A small daily task, if it be really daily, will beat the labors of a spasmodic Hercules.”

Fahrenheit 451 backfires.

[[Empathize, but not sure this is the way...]]

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Tom Wayne has amassed thousands of books in a warehouse during the 10 years he has run his used book store, Prospero’s Books.

His collection ranges from best sellers, such as Tom Clancy’s The Hunt for Red October and Tom Wolfe’s Bonfire of the Vanities, to obscure titles, like a bound report from the Fourth Pan-American Conference held in Buenos Aires in 1910. But when he wanted to thin out the collection, he found he couldn't even give away books to libraries or thrift shops; they said they were full.

So on Sunday, Wayne began burning his books in protest of what he sees as society’s diminishing support for the printed word.

“This is the funeral pyre for thought in America today,” Wayne told spectators outside his bookstore as he lit the first batch of books.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007


Sitting outside at the Brawner’s, my new pretend-home. Drinking some nice tea that my mom brought me from a hotel called The Empress she stayed at in Victoria, BC, out of one of Becky’s beautiful Frankoma cups. Just me and my dog friend, Guinness, and the busy-ness of the birds.

Ah...simple pleasures.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Busted flat in Baton Rouge.

Last Monday we loaded a truck with Lexie’s remaining Nashville belongings. Tuesday helped Erin load a truck a little and then drove to Baton Rouge. Wednesday was truck unloading and distribution day.

No more moving for a while, OK? Anybody...I mean it...

Mike the Tiger the Fifth, beloved LSU mascot, died of renal failure while we were there. Same day or maybe next, Jerry Falwell, beloved mascot of the insane, teletubby slandering religious right, also died.

Would’ve been a neat trick if maybe Mike had swallowed Falwell whole...then died, so he could’ve been remembered for doing something useful in his last moments.

Saturday, May 12, 2007


Went to a really lovely performance tonight by Alias at the Judy Turner Recital Hall at Blair.

Unfortunately, their final performance of this season! Check them out next season if you are unfamiliar. A rotating cast, mostly players with the Nashville Symphony, they do great smaller ensemble pieces of all descriptions.

They’ve been doing a series of second performances of the works of living composers—Double Take—which has been fabulous. There were two pieces tonight from that series by Michael Daugherty and Kevin Puts, the latter’s reminiscent of a happy love child of Philip Glass and Aaron Copland (and that is meant as a compliment). As a big fan of Gavin Bryars, I’m a little hard on pieces like Daugherty’s that loop audio components. The musical part was smashing however. The audio was Paul Robeson declaring his brotherhood with Communist Youth or Russian...hmm...

In addition to the Double Take pieces, there was an excellent Bach Cantata “Mein Herze schwimmt in blut” (My heart swims in blood) with soprano Barbi McCulloch, and an early 20th c. piano quintet by Amy Beach.

Alias performances are always incredibly satisfying, often stellar. They aways benefit a chosen charity partner, tonight Big Brothers Big Sisters of Middle Tennessee.

One of the truly great things going on in this city...Bravo!

Friday, May 11, 2007

Well, whaddya nose?

MERRILL, Wis. - Mark Krombholz had to look twice at his new calf, Lucy—one time for each nose. “I didn't notice anything too different about her until I got her in the barn,” Krombholz said, “and all of a sudden I went to feed her a bottle of milk, and I thought maybe she'd been kicked in the nose and there were two noses there.”

The second, smaller nose sits on top of the first.

“It’s a functioning nose because the middle of her second nose, the flap would go in and out when she drank out of the bottle like that,” Krombholz said. “It was kind of funny.”

Breeder Scott Grund said Lucy’s noses seem to be working fine.

“It looked like she was comfortable laying there in her bedding and breathing and spunky just like you want to see,” Grund said. “It’s just that she’s got two noses.”