Monday, September 29, 2003

Personal stuff

There's a new Issue of Haypenny up today. On Wednesday, Haypenny will celebrate its two year anniversary. Or birthday. Whichever it is that websites celebrate. The point is that we've been kicking for two years, and that's pretty amazing. We've posted over 500 Dailies and over 270 Features. I did a site summary yesterday and found out that we have over 1,000 pages in our web, over 20,000 hyperlinks in our web, over 700 images - just staggering numbers if you ask me. Haypenny kicks maximum ass. It's too bad that I absolutely despise doing the updates on Sunday nights.

Anyway, here's to two more. (raises glass)

On Friday, my band Havilland will be rocking Jimmy's Sports Rock over on Detroit's upper east side. You should go.

Next week I'll be guest blogging for Neal Pollack. (October 6-10. Don't forget.)

And then later on this month, my band Havilland will be opening up for Neal Pollack and Jim Roll at the Blind Pig in Ann Arbor. Check out Neal's tour info here.

Dan Kennedy is also on tour. Go see him.

My good friend Jeremy (of La Beta Corpo fame) is in town before he moves to Brazil. We got to hang out on Saturday night and we had a pretty alright time, though he left his jacket over here. Anyway, we're glad to have him.

Finally, I saw Lost in Translation Friday (official site) and I have a few things to say about it.

First of all, it's a fine movie. I'm sure that's not news to any of you who've read reviews of it. That Sofia Coppola is something else. If you haven't seen this yet, I'm not sure what you're waiting for, but I want to talk to you about it, so you should go see it soon.

But what I really want to say is this: I thought Scarlett Johansson was hot way back in the Horse Whisperer. Actually, she was in a YM or Seventeen magazine for promotion just after the film had come out and she was hot in those pictures. Anyway, I called it. I win. I'm the winner.

I'm a winner.

Wednesday, September 24, 2003

we believe in very little

Apparently, Elton John is a minimalist.

"Singer" Elton John has decided to sell all of the contents of his London home according to a Yahoo! News piece. It seems that the Great Pink Knight wants to experiment with minimalism after living a life of opulence and excess. I thank God everyday that I haven't been burdened with "possessions" and "fame" - that I have the opportunity to live a simple, thankless, terrible existence, and that I will be forgotten almost instantly after I die.

The contents of the estate will go up for auction (handled by Sotheby's) on September 30, and they estimate that the whole lot should bring in about £800,000 ($1.2 million). Nothing says "minimalism" like going liquid for over $1 million on a Tuesday morning by selling all of your assets at prices that I can only imagine are fairly low.

So why is Sir Elton John, Knight of the Upside-Down Triangular Table, doing this? Good question. Here's another good question: is there even a slight chance that he's not somehow bankrupt?

In other "music" news, Jeremy at La Beta Corpo (blog) links to this neat piece in the East Bay Express, which is some sort of periodical. Here's the experiment: take a classroom full of fifth graders and make them draw while they listen to Radiohead. What do you get? Strange shit.

A couple (like the one to the left) depict "hell" scenarios. (The booth in the center reads "Free Suicides" - that's right: free. This kid is clearly a communist. He needs to be stopped immediately.) Others seemed to react to the melancholy and sometimes somber tone of the music. One girl says the music is about "bummed out dolphins," which means she either

    A) totally got it,
    B) thought she was listening to Live (whose songs really are just about bummed out dolphins), or
    C) was going to draw dolphins no matter what music was on.

Regardless, the experiment is interesting and some of these children require, I think, immediate psychological attention. So do all the Radiohead fans that don't realize that elementary school teachers are Radiohead fans now. Pretty alternative, eh?

Lastly, Jeremy from La Beta Corpo (blog) also gave me a link to an article on Salon that does a much better job of saying what I was trying to say yesterday. Jeremy didn't phrase it that way, but I will. It's a great piece. I don't read Salon enough, because I hate having to do that day pass thing. Just like how I don't visit because I hate logging in.

Anyway, from that Salon piece, I found Iraq Today, which is calling itself the "Independent Voice of Iraq." I read this article: Basrah Moves Towards Religious Stability.

Tuesday, September 23, 2003

We are nihilists, We believe in nothing

The other day, I was surfing the web, as I am wont to do, and I discovered some fairly interesting (if by interesting I mean either actually interesting or easy to make fun of) sites that I thought I'd share with you, my loyal following.

My adventures started over at left pedal, run with grace and cunning by the keen Donnie Boman. While reading Donnie's witicisms, I glanced over at his links list to make sure that WWKAD? was properly represented. It was. So I looked around a bit and saw a link that read "The Situation Room" and decided to click on it.

I really didn't read a whole lot of the site, but I did a lot of clicking. Some of it pleased me and some of it did not. This is nobody's fault but my own, and I understand this completely. This should be considered neither praise for nor an indictment of this website, but rather a collection of web oddities that I happened to find all at the same place. Understood? Great.

Classic rock music videos in ASCII. Pretty cool.
I'd like to see some contemporary videos.

A collection of subversive posters that almost all miss the point from Wake The World.

I would never try to suggest that I am currently or that I ever was completely satisfied with the administration's argument for/handling of the war in Iraq, but I have to admit that I'm very, very far away from getting illogically angry about non-issues. Look, for better or worse, I'm glad to be rid of Saddam Hussein, and I believe (if Christopher Hitchens is worth his salt, which I'd bet he is) that many people in Iraq - and in the Muslim community - are glad to be rid of him. Does the end justify the means? No, of course not, which is exactly why we'll elect someone else in November of 2004 and hurriedly purge ourselves of the Patriot Act and all the other filth this administration will have left behind. That said, who gives this much of a shit? Not me.

The first poster reminds me too much of the WW2 propaganda posters, coffee table books about which probably exist in most of our homes. Why is it that we can look at these old propaganda posters and laugh at their naivety, but the dillweed who designed this "Fashion 2003" (which by the way is a terribly lame title) poster thinks he's just written the next Doonesbury?

And the second poster: Nothing says "I... uh... I'm not really sure... uh... what I believe... in..." like this poorly-kerned (and, as far as I'm concerned, therefore poorly designed) nonsense palindrome!

    If this one doesn't tickle your fancy, try our "Rise To Vote, Sir!" poster where the word "Sir" looks like it's made out of ice cream!

And to ignore the ambiguous pronoun answer the question of the third poster (which thoughtfully asks "Why isn't it called Terrorism when it's committed by the United States?"): because they're different things. They have different purposes and are carried out in different ways. Let's not forget that the United States didn't invent war. We're not the ones who codified it.

The only good poster of the whole bunch (that I saw, that is; I stopped looking after I'd found enough to make fun of) was the one that The Situation Room had displayed (I should have just stayed there).

It looks good. It's funny. It's not decidedly idealistic, but it's smart enough to know that. In fact, if you added breasts to this poster, I'd marry it.

Monday, September 22, 2003

So Much For The Protestant Work Ethic

Without internet access at home (including no phone line for dial up--it was supposed to have been installed yesterday) and an ever increasing feeling among my boss and my coworkers that I ought to be getting stuff done, it's become very hard for me to blog a lot lately, and I super apologize.

And I know we're all shook up over the David Kelly suicide thing, and the realization that Laci Peterson probably killed herself too and that one woman probably raped herself, but I have no choice but to post fewer posts this week. So sorry.

In the meantime, check out:

City of Floating Blogs
Life and Times of Deckie Holmes
Jesse Popp
I Am The Stallion
Left Pedal
Utter Wonder

...and all of the other sites I've linked so far.


Wednesday, September 17, 2003

So, Wait... This Thing Answers Questions, Right?

Having just moved, I still don't have much access to the internet, and, unfortunately, the net is very slow at Western International High School in Detroit today, so this post will be short. Hopefully a longer one will go up later.

There are two things I wanted to mention:

Two Interesting Stories On Autism [Not Funny]
I'm not sure whether they're connected or not, or whether doctors are studying how these two breakthroughs might complement each other, but here they are:

    1. This article from The Journal of the American Medical Association talks about brain overgrowth in the first year of life being related to autism.

    2. This report on 60 Minutes II tells the remarkable story of Tito Mukhopadhyay and his mother Soma's Rapid Prompting Method, whereby children suffering autism are becoming increasingly able to communicate with writing or typing or by slowly spelling words by pointing at letters. It's pretty amazing.

For more info, also check out Cure Autism Now.

Two Actual Web Searches [Kinda Funny]
These are two actual, I-swear-to-God real searches that users have used to find WWKAD?.

    One person actually searched Google Netherlands for 'blowjob kerry fox' and found WWKAD? on the third page of results. Wow.

    Another person searched Yahoo! for 'if white people that try to act like black people are called wiggers then what are black people...'. The actual search string was too long and got cut off in the middle of the word "people". You'll be happy to know that somehow WWKAD? is result number five. The passage that caused this was in an this entry where I reprinted some lines from a Ben Stein-penned rap I found at E!Online. Their page doesn't even show up in the results. Lucky me.

Sunday, September 14, 2003

I Knew That George Tenet Was Keyser Soze The Whole Time; I Swear!

As many of us already know, CIA Director George Tenet claimed that he was responsible for President Bush’s inclusion in his State of the Union address this January of bogus information regarding Iraq’s planned purchase of uranium from uranium powerhouse Niger. The CIA is the last line of defense against warmongering psychos who try to include made-up intelligence into otherwise overly-emotional and underly-logical speeches of national importance.

Because of this statement by Tenet, many Americans are learning for the first time about this seemingly-complicated system of checks. In essence, however, the system is quite simple:

    1) Speechwriters make up facts.
    2) Someone pretends to present those facts to the CIA.
    3) The CIA pretends to check their accuracy.
    4) Condaleeza Rice goes on TV and dodges the real issue—which is whether the President knowingly included unreliable “intelligence” in a speech whose purpose was to pump up the American people and make a case for war against Iraq—by claiming that the veracity of one particular comment would have neither made nor broken the need for war.

But what many Americans aren’t hearing is that, in the same statement, George Tenet also took responsibility for a host of other Presidential gaffes, most of it not even related to the State of the Union speech. Here are just a few examples:

“I told him to pronounce it nuke-ya-lur.”

In one of the most surprising revelations made by the former Russian spy, Tenet has taken full responsibility for the President’s chronic mispronunciation of nuclear. Tenet said that he was motivated by jealousy, stupidity, disrespect for the president, and a complete lack of concern for the American people.

“I taught President Bush to smirk.”

Tenet continues: “Specifically, I forced him, through blackmail and threats of violence, to make light of the prospect of war and to smirk as much as possible at the conference in the Azores with British Prime Minister Tony Blair, making it appear to the discerning viewer that the thought of sending young men and women off to die in a war did not bother—or even delighted—the President.”

“I’m the one who fell off of that Segway.”

Aha! It was George Tenet who fell off of that Segway last month. Tenet explains: “The Segway is a wonderfully designed machine, and it is nearly impossible to fall of a Segway, but I, with my persistent inner-ear problems, clumsiness, foolishness, and disdain for any form of transportation that doesn’t guzzle gasoline and make oil tycoons richer, managed to lose my balance and fall like a moron to the ground. I hate America.”

“I lied to the American people about a lot of other stuff too.”

George Tenet, it turns out, “willfully and purposefully made statements that [he] knew to be false to rally support for a war against Iraq and, in bad faith, manipulated American public opinion for [his] own personal, political and financial benefit and to draw attention away from more important domestic problems, like a sluggish economy and low consumer confidence, which [he is] completely incapable of handling.” Tenet went on to say that he “should never have been elected,” and that he “should be impeached immediately.”

Wednesday, September 10, 2003

Matthew Tobey

Matthew Tobey, Neal Pollack's guest-blogger for the past two weeks and golden god from City of Floating Blogs, has been mentioning What Would Kofi Annan Do? left and right. It just goes to show that Matthew Tobey is a genius.

Also, J. Daniel Janzen has a great article about Euchre up over at Flak. As a Michigander, I've played my share of Euchre, and Janzen's article makes me want to play more. Janzen also has a Feature in the current Issue of Haypenny, which you should have already read by now.

Colleen Haskell is a Flower: A Flower Who'd Better Have Some Good Bodyguards

I'm sure we all remember Colleen Haskell from the first season of CBS's Survivor program. But how many of us are stalking her? More than you'd think.

Just for fun this morning I decided to do a little web work and find out just what's become of America's summer camp girlfriend from Summer 2000. It turns out that she's not up to a whole lot, but, while searching, I did find a couple of funny/creepy/cause-for-alarm-on-the-part-of-Haskell things that I think are worth mentioning.

The first is the following dedication from that asserts that Colleen Haskell is, well, a flower. I think Yoda registered the domain, though.

        This site is dedicated to the lovely former
        Survivor castaway, Colleen Haskell. She is
        a beautiful woman, yes. But she is much
        more than just that; she has the most joyful,
        genuine, charming personality that I have
        ever seen anyone have. She is simply
        entrancing to watch. Her glowing smile is
        brighter than the clearest diamond. Just the
        sound of her voice can make me smile.
        Colleen is as elegant and graceful as...
        a flower.

Notice the effective use of ellipses there. "Colleen's a what? She's a what? Tell me!!" Now I'm not saying that Colleen ain't easy on the eyes, but this guy is very, very--and very hilariously--sad.

And then there's this, from this nameless fan site:

This floor plan is from Colleen Haskell's high school. I repeat: Colleen Haskell should be moved immediately to a safe place.

Two Other Quick Things:

1. This article asserts that male scientists and criminals both do their best work before their mid-30s and that it's probably to attract women. Satoshi Kanazawa, of the University of Canterbury in New Zealand, says: "They do whatever they do in order to get laid."

The unanswered question: Does it work?

2. Sorry these posts have been kind of short and disjointed and inconsistent. I started a new assignment this week and so I've been writing and posting from a computer lab in a high school in Detroit Public Schools, while trying, at the same time, to ignore the students. I'm sorry: " ignore my students."

Friday, September 5, 2003

If jesus were alive today, he'd hang out at the yo-yo store

Tuesday, when I arrived on campus, I was greeted outside the parking structure by an old gentleman passing out free copies of the New Testament. This is, I'm sure, a fairly common scene on most college/high school campuses. I just waved my hand and said "no thanks" before he got a word out. I would have explained to him that I don't want one primarily because I already have more Bibles than I can read and that if his goal is to reach the unsaved, he could spend his Bibles more wisely on people who aren't already Christians, but I decided that I preferred to make him think I was some self-righteous atheist.

Anyhow, later on the same day, I happened upon a most interesting scene: in one of the "commons" types areas on campus - you know, with the benches and the fountain and so on - I saw a gentleman yo-yoing in front of about four PA speakers that were blasting Christian pop music. I could tell instantly that it was Christian pop because the vox were mixed right out in front and the message was uplifting. The guitars were distorted, but not in a caution-to-the-wind kind of way, but in a very boring, very sterile Good Charlotte kind of way. Also, I became instantly aware that, outside of the context of some sort of Christian "ministry", there would be absolutely no cause for anyone to ever perform solo yo-yo tricks in front of giant PA speakers while several other people "warmed up" behind him. I recalled my days on my church's mime troupe. We would do mime skits to present the gospel. That's right. Mime.

Now, I did some searching on the web and by process of elimination (or whatever it's called when there's only one of something so that thing must be the one you're looking for) I concluded that it must've been The King's Yomen.

"Holy shit! Watch out - he's got a yo-yo!"

I certainly don't want to make fun of these folks - no, strike that: I do, but I won't - because I can't fault somebody for using their talents to try to spread a positive message, particularly in a world so bleak. In fact, maybe it's folks like the King's Yomen, who seem totally misguided and naive to folks on the outside, who have everything figured out. "War? Recession? Pestilence? Whatever. I'm just going to yo-yo and think about Jesus." What could be better?

Due to my extensive Christian mime background, I'm totally aware of how far-fetched and cheesy some of the "skits" or "messages" can be. In that spirit, I've decided to take a stab at writing some yo-yo-is-like-[some aspect of Christianity]-type one-liners that I'm sure you'll love.

    * Walking with Christ is like walking the dog...

    * God's love comes with no strings attached, unlike my yo-yo which has one string attached.

    * Jesus is like a Duncan Cold Fusion Yo-Yo and Satan is like a Green Duncan Imperial. I mean, seriously... okay?

    * Remember when I tried that Hoopla earlier but I flubbed the dismount? That's like when we sin.

    * In the Bible, Jesus says, "no man cometh unto the Father except by me." Now I'm going to Rock the Baby.

By the way, I'm not sure if "King's Yomen" is some bible pun that I should get, but I don't get it. Does anyone?

Either way, I need to read the Bible more and brush up on my Yo-Yo tricks.