Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Best New Joke I've Heard In Years

(thanks to Todd for passing this one along)

Golf's Worst Foursome:

1) Monica Lewinski
2) O. J. Simpson
3) Ted Kennedy
4) Bill Clinton


Monica is a Hooker
O. J. is a Slicer
Ted can't drive over water
and Bill can't remember which hole he played last!

Maybe Lysol Can Help You Lose Weight

Since the CDC is obviously slacking, I nobly take it upon myself to issue the following bacterial warning:

Fat people may be contagious.

Yes indeed, true believers; that craving you have for that 3rd or 4th Big Mac? It's got nothing to do with a lack of self-control, or over-indulgent behavior. It's a virus.

I shit you not! There is "mounting evidence" that obesity is contagious, and viral related. A human pathogen called the adenovirus Ad-37 has been found to cause obesity in chickens, according to a new study led by Leah Whigham of the departments of Medicine and Nutritional Sciences at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

"We still need to more definitively establish the link with these adenoviruses and human obesity," Whigham told LiveScience. "We also have no idea how the virus interacts with other factors such as diet and exercise."

The new findings are detailed in the January issue of the American Journal of Physiology-Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology published by the American Physiological Society.

I can see the lawsuits now. Don't sue McDonalds, sue that fat bastard who stood behind you in line! "Hey, I originally went in there for a yogurt parfait...but then, suddenly, I had a craving for a super-sized double quarter pounder with cheese meal! I couldn't control myself!"

Can you imagine the wave of viral compulsion that must happen if you get a bunch of overweight people in a room together? It's like having Darth Vader in a room with you, forcing your will. "Join us, and together we will fatten the galaxy!"

Come to think of it, I've stood next to some of these, shall we say, weight-challenged individuals on a summer day with them breathing down my neck.

"Hssssh. Hsshoooooo. Hssssh. Hssshoooo."

Maybe that Darth Vader analogy isn't so far off after all.

Monday, January 30, 2006

A Record Label vs. the RIAA?

Hold on to your flash drives, boys and girls. Armageddon has come, it's the end of the world as we know it - except in this case, all I'm feeling is euphoria about it!

Yes, the title says it all. A major Canadian record label, Nettwerk (Avril Lavigne, Sarah Mclaughlin, Dido, Barenaked Ladies) is standing up against the lawsuits brought by the RIAA, in SUPPORT of a defendant. Wowzers.

"Suing music fans is not the solution; it's the problem," Terry McBride, chief executive of Nettwork, said in a statement this week.

“Litigation is not ‘artist development,’" McBride said. "Litigation is a deterrent to creativity and passion and it is hurting the business I love. The current actions of the RIAA are not in my artists’ best interests.”

Nettwerk has hired Chicago-based Mudd Law Offices to represent (the defendant). Attorney Charles Lee Mudd Jr. has represented individuals subpoenaed and sued by the RIAA since 2003. The record company said it would also pay any fines should the family lose the case.

Mudd declined Friday to discuss his legal strategy against the RIAA, until he files his response to the complaint, which is due Feb. 24. In general, however, Mudd said the RIAA has "misused" U.S. copyright law, and said the people he has represented against the industry trade group are average Joes who get caught in litigation for doing something they didn't realize was illegal.

Fucking awesome, isn't it? It's about time somebody spoke up in defense of this. My argument has always been this: if file sharing is illegal, why was the technology made available? Why aren't they going after the people who created the technology, rather than the people who used it AS ADVERTISED?

Because the ones who build it have the money to defend themselves, so the RIAA figures they'll go after the user base and get the companies from the "back door", so to speak.


Here's hoping Nettwerk wins, because baby if they do it's a whole new ballgame.

Friday, January 27, 2006

It's About Time!

Add this to my list of "must have" silly tech toys.

Talus is putting out a series of watches that...well, defy time. In a sense.

It's based on a premise that "time is not uniform, but flows from moment to moment". Instead of giving you an exact time you get: "A bit past 6", "Going on 6 fifteen"...I LOVE it!

Really, I haven't worn a watch in years except as ornamentation. I figure what's the point - I know what time it was when I left, I know roughly how long it takes to get where I'm going. If I'm running late, is knowing the time going to change that fact? No, it's just going to make me feel worse because I'll know exactly how late I am.

This way I get a watch that has the same nonchalant attitude I do. "Ehh...it's almost 2."

Now all it needs to do is talk. "So...whaddyoo wanna do?" "Dunno...whaddyoo wanna do?"

Fucking nirvana, man.

Ask the Trickster

There's a certain advice columnist in a certain paper in a certain city that I happen to live in who I, in the interest of attempting to be tactful, will only say that I think is an idiot. Or tries to be too politically correct. Which isn't really helpful in the long run, IS IT HARRIET?!?!

Ahem. Anyway. Let's face it, secretly we all think we can give better advice to the people who write in to these columns. "Are you kidding me?" we say, our faces turned up in righteous indignation. "This is what you should have told that numbnut..."

Well. In the interest of feeding my own ego, I've decided to pilfer this certain columnist's pilgrims and offer up a Trickster brand of advice. Which may not exactly be delivered in the friendliest manner, but I guarantee you this much:

It'll make me feel better.

So with little more fanfare...

Ask the Trickster

My father is gaining more and more weight, and I am concerned for his health. Whenever I gently bring up the topic of weight loss, he accuses me of not accepting him, and will not continue the conversation. I am legitimately worried, especially since high blood pressure runs in my family. Are there any steps I can take to make him more active, and less hostile?
--- Damian, Philadelphia, Pa.

Dear Damian,

Sieg Heil! Back off you hellspawn, and quit being a little Adolph. Did you ever stop to think that maybe you're just fixated on your own anorexia, and you're secretly ashamed of the buffalo you have to admit to your friends is your father? Why do I suspect your use of the word "gently" is a metaphor for "constantly"? Quit haranguing your pops; if he wants to veg on the couch sucking the meat off beef ribs and munching on doritos, so be it. You can't force him off his ass, so quit already - he's got to WANT to do it, and it's pretty obvious the fat fuck has no intention of buying a bowflex anytime soon. If I were you, I'd pay more attention to his life insurance policy, know what I'm saying?

Harri...um, Henrietta says:
I have a few ideas for you. Invite your father on outings with you. Start with a short walk in the neighborhood. Give him a workout outfit complete with athletic shoes - maybe a matching set to yours. Sure, it may seem corny, but it will show your interest and devotion to him and to yourself.

Make a lunch date at a healthy restaurant. Recommend a dish that you enjoy...

Oh shut up with this hippie shit! "Give him a workout outfit"!? With a matching set to yours?! Oh my god, kill me now. I can already hear "Jesus Loves me this I know..." playing in the background. God, do you believe the crap you actually dish out? If my adult kid EVER came to me with a matching workout gear I'd bitch slap him and send him out for pizza. Extra cheese, bizzatch!

Dear Harri...Trickster:
I can't stand my boyfriend's friends. I believe that they are a bad influence on him, and I really would rather he stop interacting with them. I know that him leaving his group of friends to please me does not sound like a realistic desire, but I know his friends are involved in troubling things, and I would hate to see my boyfriend get blamed because what they do.
--- Nancy, Baltimore, Md.

Dear Nancy,
Funny that your name is Nancy, because you obviously want your boyfriend to be a little nancy-boy! "I believe they are a bad influence on him" translates to my testosterone-saturated mind as "that's time he should be spending with ME, not them!" You little shrew you. Here's the deal - you may not be ASKING him to leave his friends for you, but you're obviously THINKING it and probably even hinted at it. What "troubling things" are his friends involved in, other than trashing your skanky over-controlling high-maintenance ass every chance they get? Let me guess, I bet you call him every half hour when he's out with the boys, "just to make sure he's okay and when is he coming home?" Here's my advice. Leave him, because otherwise he's going to leave you - and he'll do it once he's found some other chick to bang, cuz let's face it as long as you're dishing out the coochie he's still thinking it's worth listening to your nagging ass if it'll get him some. Once he's found a new honey pot, babe, you're out the door - so you may as well cut the chains you're forging now and move on. Find yourself a meek little sub to dominate and you'll live a happpier life, trust me.

Well. I certainly feel better, don't you?

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Power At the Flick of a Wrist

Cheesy-but-cool factor alert.

The United Nations, along with MIT, have developed a $100 hand-cranked laptop, which they hope to distribute among the world's poor schoolchildren.

Hand. Cranked. Laptop. For $100.

Intel, not surprisingly, is somewhat against this project. They believe "the world's poor would not want the $100 "gadget", since it will have a limited range of programs and capabilities."

Lemme tell you something, Intel. *I* want this gadget. It's cheap. It's tacky looking. But fuck man, it's a crankable computer!!!

I want to take this baby, dressed in my bohemian finest, down to the Astor Place Starbucks in the East Village. I want to order my mocha, plop down and start cranking away. And you know what?

I bet - BET - I'll be the most popular guy in the place. Because everyone will want one, just for the novelty of seeing what it can do.

Hell, often all I'm doing is going to sit and write. If this thing has USB capability and a long power life - and depending on just how much cranking I have to do - I'd gladly get this puppy! I'd trick out the casing with paint and decals, and be the belle of the ball, man!

Admit it. You know you want one too.

Chips Ahoy!

What is it with you Brooklynites and chocolate all of a sudden?

Earlier this month, a freighter hauling 800,000lbs of cocoa beans tipped over (!), dunking the raw chocolate into the East River.

Now...we all know the East River isn't exactly the cleanest in the country. To say the least. But you have to wonder how a freighter manages to capsize just within sight of the pier in a major harbor, and - most importantly - what became of the chocolate?

I know there are strange people who actually fish off the East River. Which, if you're that hungry for mutagenic fish, should make for some interesting dinner table displays. Who needs candles when your fish glows in the dark, right? But now I'm wondering...did the fish that week have a distinctive cocoa flavor? Was there, by chance, a freight container of marshmellos on that ship? Cuz that would have really enhanced the water's flavor.

Going with the chocolate theme, just last week the Port Authority has refused to allow another chocolate freighter to dock. The pier operator, American Stevedoring, has - according to the Port Authority - overbooked themselves, and are asking the PA to allow the ship to dock at another port. Which they're saying no to.

I personally think they're hoping this boat will capsize too, raising the chocolate content of the East River. Then the Port Authority can start selling off bottled East River water ("it glows!") with new Choco-Power flavor, adding some mainstream appeal.

I can already see those little Ooompa Loompas in wetsuits, doing a water ballet in the chocolate river.

Oompa, Loompa, doom-pa-dee-do
I have a perfect puzzle for you
Oompa, Loompa, doom-pa-dee-dee
If you are wise, you'll listen to me

What do you get when the water is sweet?
When fish-on-a-stick is a chocolaty treat?
Maybe this is all just a terrorist act
Using chocolate in the water so we'll be lazy and fat?

Okay that might have been...

...wait for it...

...in slightly poor taste. Hah!

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Underworld: Confusion

Spoiler alert. You've been warned.

This second installment of what I'm now hoping to be a two-part series is, by my reckoning, a more story-driven continuation of the first vampire vs. lycan movie. Which you'd think would be an improvement.

Don't get me wrong, the movie didn't suck - but why did I walk away with my brain hurting from trying to understand the convoluted logic?

Here's about the most sense I could make of it. Apparently, the now-dead vampire (dead? he's already dead, what is he now?) Victor was not the first vampire. I'm guessing he was the second.

The first is Marcus, who was buried in the monogrammed sewer grate that the vampire guard conveniently spilled his lifeblood into, effectively giving the now-awakened Marcus the 411 on what's been happening with his coven.

Incidently, folks - a coven is for witches. Not vampires. But I guess they wanted to steer clear of the word "clan", lest the lawyers at White Wolf gear up for Round 2.

Okay whatever. Marcus wakes up, blah blah we find out that he's numero uno, the Alpha, the Big Bang. And his brother William is the first werewolf, the lycans.

Now believe it or not, I'm okay with this. It has a very Romulus/Remus, Cain/Abel kind of feel to it. I can groove on this.

But there's where the logic ends. How did they become lycan and vamp?

They got bitten by a bat, and a wolf, respectively.

This is what we call a What The Fuck moment. Or a WTF.

Not a magic bat, or a magic wolf. No. We don't even get an explanation.

You see, their daddy-o - Alexander (not the Great) - was an Immortal.

What kind of immortal? WE DON'T KNOW! How did he become an immortal? WE DON'T KNOW!

I'm making a leap of faith and assuming he got in with some bad mojo, and the heebie-jeebies passed down to his little rugrats. Somehow. Assuming they were born after. Which makes you wonder what the mamma was. But I digress.

So. Papa was a rolling...immortal. And his kiddies picked up the X-gene, and were bitten by a radioactive bat and a radioactive wolf, and became Batman and Wolverine.

Then Wolverine went off and started biting everything that moved. I guess because he was teething, and couldn't find his favorite chew toy. Bad William! Bad!

Okay so Marcus sits back for...who knows how long. Let boys be boys, I guess he figured; little brother wasn't his responsibility. Not like Daddy was doing anything about it. But then he gets a guilty conscience.

So Marcus goes and finds Victor, who's like 105 years old and on his deathbed. Except he was like some king, or warlord, or vegas casino owner - cuz he's a transylvanian version of a capo, and has an entire army outside his castle waiting around doing nothing. Kind of like Homeland Security.

Anyways. Marcus tells Victor "hey...I'll bite you, make you a really, really old-ass immortal...and you bite your entire army, turn them into slaves who'll follow you into death (hah!), and then you can hunt down my brother and his pups for me."

"But don't hurt him."

Surrrrrree, Marcus. Whatever you say buddy. Now make with the fangs already, cuz I'm seeing that white light thing and I ain't goin' out like that!

Explain this to me, would you folks? Why did he need Victor? Why not just go bite the army himself? I mean, it's what I woulda done. Cut out the middle man. Sheesh. Some people just don't know how to shop.

Okay, jump ahead a billion years or so. Victor kills Selene's family, bites the girl (wouldn't you?), she's part of the family now, blah blah. Marcus is out, William is sealed up like King Tut.

What about Daddy Alexander? He's off playing Captain Nemo. Or Sky Captain in the World of Tomorrow, I couldn't really tell.

Yes Virginia, Daddy's alive. Cuz he IS an immortal. And he's been roaming around with a really high-tech team of uber-ninjas who I shall name the Pooper Scoopers. Cuz that's all they really do.


Needless to say, kids are too much for Daddy. In his dying breath, he has Selene drink of his blood, eat of his flesh, and the way to the kingdom of heaven...

Sorry. She drinks, cuz he's the oldest living immortal. Which, if you think about it, is kind of a dumb statement - cuz is there a dead immortal who's older? And does it matter, even if they are?

She drinks. She becomes...what? Ummm...we don't know. Cuz we don't know what Daddy Alexander is. Except she's stronger, we know that much. Just enough to beat up on Marcus, nice and easy if you pleasy.

Who writes this shit anyway?

I have a theory. Alexander is really a Highlander. And Selene will now have to go around killing all the other vampires and lycans. Why?

Because there can be only one.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Lights, Camera, Action!

It looks like I'm about to take that plunge into the world of cinema magic.

I just need to learn how to actually film. And produce. Maybe direct, too.

At least I've got a camera.

I won't get into the hows of the acquisition of this camera; it's enough for me to say that there, but for the grace of the gods, go I. I'm always in search of a new medium to tell stories with; writing, programming, art. Now video. And occasionally, just occasionally, the gods see fit to provide me with the tools I need to explore these new mediums.

I know diddly about film, except to know what I like and what I don't. I've watched enough Project Greenlight to know that film production isn't anywhere as easy as every Joe with a vidcam may believe it is, and I want to take this seriously. So, I've started looking into film classes. Just enough to give me an idea of what I need to know, and go from there.

The Learning Annex has a class that interests me (and I may take), but I'm a little apprehensive. The person teaching the class, one Dov S-S Simens (that's how it's spelled, folks), seems to be one of those "them that can't do...teach" types, so I'm concerned. His film credits on IMDB include a "thanks" in the credits on a 1998 film "17 and Under", and a cameo as himself in an industry movie "Fever Pitch" in 2001.

Oh, and if you pass the class you get a "Producer's Diploma", whatever the hell that means. I'm sure it'll open a whole lotta Hollywood doors.

But perhaps I don't give this guy enough credit. He does seem to be a "name" in the film industry, right up there with Michael Moore. Except Michael Moore actually made a few films.

I'm way too cynical NOT to be in this industry.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

You Call Yourself A Guy?

So. I was leaving the building at work a while ago, getting my starbucks fix. We've got the big revolving doors in the entranceway, you know the type. There are three of us; the one up front is an associate at my firm, I think a 4th year.

He gets into the revolving door...and stops. I see his hand go up to - I shit you not - TOUCH the door, but he's very obviously not pushing it. He's waiting for the person behind him - not me, lucky for him - to push it for him.


I get annoyed when I see women do this. I'm happy to push the door for you, but for gods' sake women - make the attempt at least. The door has to get around to where I can push it first; it doesn't move on it's own.

But for a guy to do it? Pathetic.

Last time I saw someone try that crap with me, I made an abrupt turn and went through the regular doors to the side. The look on his face was priceless; he was actually annoyed at ME for not pushing the door behind him.

Dumb asses.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

My Card, Sir

What is it about a business card that makes you seem official? Even when you're not?

I got my business cards in the mail today, which is a pretty funny development considering I have absolutely no product to promote. Yet.

But it looks good, doesn't it? Forgive the poor image quality; trust me when I say the card itself looks much better.

Being an old man and far too well read for my own good (and modest, too!), I decided on a "title" for myself, within my non-existant company, that reflected the idea that I do pretty much everything. Since it's only me, you understand. There's an old book/movie, very pre-Grisham, about espionage in British Intelligence: Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. Good story.

Anyway, I figured that simple sing-song phrase pretty much summed up the idea that I do everything. And it sounded much more interesting than "Creative Director", "Owner", or "Big Chief Mucky Mucky".

Sadly, no one has a clue what it means. You neophytes, you.

So now: I have a business card. I'm rebuilding the web site, and thanks to the discovery of mouseover/image swapping (one day I'll actually take a class on this java/dhtml stuff), it's looking pretty damned good if I say so myself.

And I just did. So there.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

I Thought You Knew Me

My conversation, ordering for lunch today:

her: Thank you for coming to McDonalds, what would you like?

me: I'll take a #9 (10pc nugget)

her: Coke?

me: No, Hi-C Orange

her: Super size?

me: No, medium

her: BBQ Sauce?

me: Only if you have Chipotle.

She didn't bother asking me if I wanted an apple pie with my meal. I guess she figured she just didn't know me as well as she thought she did.

Monday, January 16, 2006

We Have Nada III

I don't know what it is about that Gamefly commercial that cracks me up every single time, but it strikes something in me and I can't help but laugh each time I see it.

If you don't know what I mean, it's the commercial for the rent-by-mail videogame company, a la Netflix. Two people walk into a video store, there are only a few games on the rack. "Watching Paint Dry", names like that. Boring. So the guy goes up to the counter, upset. "You guys never have anything! You've got zip, zilch, nada!"

The sales clerk - off camera, reaches out with a game cartridge and says, very enthusiastically:

"We have Nada 3!"

Funny stuff.

Which sort of reminds me of my local hardware store. It has to be the only store I've been in with shelves full of nothing. I mean, this place is stuffed full in every single nook and cranny; old boxes, cartons, shelves, trays, racks full of stuff. It's a total mom and pop operation.

But every single time I go in there looking for something, they're either out of it, never had it or don't know what I'm talking about.

They're locksmiths, and - I shit you not - I went in there to have copies of my keys made. Know what they told me?

"We have Nada 3!"

Close enough. "Oh, we don't have that kind of key. Or that one."


That's some valuable real estate they're taking up. I could have a Starbucks in walking distance, but no - I'm stuck with Zilch. Zip. Nada.

Thursday, January 12, 2006


Slight rant here.

Had an ex call me up, and I'm somewhat notorious for still being friends with ex's. It's all good. But this one recently pissed me off, I'd cut her off for my own good - realized I was partially mad for different reasons so eventually let her know I'm not hatin', but just don't see us staying close. No problem. This was...maybe about 2 months ago.

I just got a phone call from her. She's looking for a new job, and wanted me to know she's using me as a reference. In and of itself, this isn't really a problem.

But I haven't heard from this chick since our conversation. Which means: no Thanksgiving, no Christmas, no New Years. No birthday, which was just last week.

So my immediate response was, "You're using me as a reference, and you actually WANT the job?!"

Chuckle chuckle. Wink wink nudge.

A little more chit-chat as she gets my work address for her records, which is fine - because I have no intention of answering the phone when they call. But then, after considerable silence and grunts on my part, she goes:

"So...how was your birthday?"

Why ask? Really? Because it's not like you said "hey, happy belated birthday by the way...how was it?" Don't ask me how it was if you can't even wish me one! At least have the common decency to do it BEFORE you ask me for a favor!

Yeah. Good luck with the job interview. Hope you've got some other references handy.

I Would Not Eat Them With a Fox

Now here's something to be proud of. Apparently, Taiwan has announced their success at breeding FLOURESCENT GREEN PIGS, which they hope will aid them in development of stem cell research.

Day-glo pigs, people.

"There are partially fluorescent green pigs elsewhere, but ours are the only ones in the world that are green from inside out. Even their hearts and internal organs are green," professor Wu Shinn-Chih of the National Taiwan University's Institute and Department of Animal Science and Technology said on Thursday.

Glowing, green pigs. Why am I the only one who has a problem with this concept?

Now I'm just waiting for the matching chickens.

I do not like Green Eggs and Ham. I do not like them, Sam I Am.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

My Stars Say:

Daily singles love (by Astrology.com)
It's tough to find someone to share your life with and still keep sight of who you are and your goals. It's not that you're impossible to please, it's just that you know what you're looking for.

Yeah. What they said.

The Grim Reader

Now, I've heard a few strange and odd things in my time, but the news article a friend forwarded to me tops them all.

Apparently a number of this country's finest institutions - Brown University and Harvard among them - have in their possession books. Books, that are bound in human skin.

Hu. Man. Skinnnnnnn.

Ya'll think I'm shitting you, don't you? I know you do. This is classic "get the fuck out of here" response moment. Go ahead, have yours. I had mine.

Get this. Centuries past (which sounds oddly like "Once upon a time"), the best libraries belonged to private collectors. Some were doctors who had access to skin from amputated parts and patients whose bodies had gone unclaimed. In other cases, wealthy bibliophiles acquired skin from executed criminals, medical school cadavers and people who died in the poor house.

I need to explain something first, because I KNOW you're thinking: sick occult would-be witch mofo's! Evil! Evvillllll!

Wrong. These weren't copies of the Necronomicron, or the Satanic Bible, or the Republican Charter and Bylaws. No, these were medical books. Dr. Frankenstein, eat your heart out! (just, you know, not literally!)

The College of Physicians of Philadelphia has some books bound by Dr. John Stockton Hough, who diagnosed the city's first case of trichinosis. He used that patient's skin to bind three of the volumes.


Brown's John Hay Library has three books bound in human skin — the 1568 anatomy text by the Belgian surgeon Andreas Vesalius, and two 19th-century editions of "The Dance of Death," a medieval morality tale.

One copy of "The Dance of Death" was rebound in 1893 by Joseph Zaehnsdorf, a master binder in London. A note to his client reports that he did not have enough skin and had to split it. The front cover, bound in the outer layer of skin, has a slightly bumpy texture, like soft sandpaper. The spine and back cover, made from the inner layer, feel like suede.

"The Dance of Death" is about how death prevails over all, rich or poor. As with many other skin-bound volumes, "there was some tie-in with the content of the book," said Sam Streit, director of the John Hay Library.

This is some serious Michael Jackson level of sick shit, ain't it? But I gotta tell ya...it gives me some ideas!

No hear me out - what better way to have my remains, umm, interred, than in a book? Get this: before I die, I write up my own memoirs. Who cares, I'll make shit up and make myself sound good. It'll be a fictional autobiography; I mean, who wants people reading about boring crap I did when I'm dead? I mean to entertain folks!

So I write up my own memoirs, and have copies of the book BOUND IN MY OWN SKIN!!! How fuckingly awesome is that?

Wait, there's more!

Then, at my funeral, I'll have copies of my autobiography given out to all my special friends! That would be so cool! I mean, there you are, curled up in bed at night, reading a book about myself that I wrote...and every time you touch the book cover, it'll be as if I'm there in the room with you! What stronger declaration of friendship is there, then to be there with you even after I'm dead?

And...this is so great, there's precedent for this! hahah! The Boston Athenaeum, a private library, has an 1837 copy of George Walton's memoirs bound in his own skin. Walton was a highwayman — a robber who specialized in ambushing travelers — and left the volume to one of his victims.

So the next time you're in an old bookstore and start admiring the soft, supple feel of the leather-bound volume in your hands...think about this.

It might just be touching you back.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Secrets of the Universe Finally Revealed!

Yes that's right folks, you heard it here - the mysteries of the cosmos, the thread that binds the very fabric of our reality is finally decoded!

Have we deciphered the human genome? Feh, such trivialities! Incontrovertible proof of the existance of God? Hah! Novice research!

No, my friends; what scientists have discovered will have repercussions far into the future, long after you and I have passed on from this world. What mystery, you ask, could be so monumental?

We've finally figured out how bees fly! Stop the presses!

Can you believe this little bugger (pun intended) has stymied the scientific world for AGES, as we've struggled in vain to analyze and mimic the flight of the bumblebee?

The bee, people.

Someone...please, please tell me why we don't get to choose where our tax dollars go? Wait, don't answer, I know why - because if I got to choose, I'd damn well make sure not a single penny of my money went towards extensive research into how bees fly!!


This was in the news article on it, as one of the justifications why this can be important: "The scientists said the findings could lead to a model for designing aircraft that could hover in place and carry loads for many purposes such as diaster surveillance after earthquakes and tsunamis."

Bull. Shit.

Hey, um...don't we call those aircraft HELICOPTERS?! Or how about the VTOL aircraft we ALREADY FRIGGIN HAVE!?!? Arrrghhh!

Cuz, you know, a flap-wing aircraft is gonna make ME feel a lot safer; nothing like a large aircraft, bobbing up and down like a bumblebee, with those wings vibrating up and down beating at me, to make me feel secure.

Welcome to 2006, folks.

Monday, January 09, 2006

And You're Paying An Extra $.02 For This

Now I know exactly why it takes so long for me to get my movies from Netflix. Damn postal workers.
Netflix thefts may involve ex-postal workers
by Associated Press
January 7, 2006

LYONS - Postal investigators are looking into the theft of 503 movie DVDS from Netflix, the California-based internet company that delivers rental movies by mail.

The company mails about 1.2 million DVDS to its subscribers daily in bright red envelopes that make them easy to spot. Still, thefts are rare, said company spokesman Steve Swasey. "It is rare, very rare. We have good security procedures and an excellent relationship with the U.S. Postal Service," said Swasey.

Gloria Flores, a former employee of the Lyons post office, admitted stealing movies and was sentenced to three years probation and 100 hours of public service. She could not be reached for comment.

Karen Durante, who formerly worked as a delivery driver, is under investigation, the Longmont Times-Call reported, citing a Post Office official. She also could not be reached for comment.

Neither Flores nor Durante has a listed phone number.

The Post Office said Flores was caught stealing DVDs in March. After her arrest the thefts continued, leading investigators to suspect Karen Durante this summer. Investigators declined to say whether Durante had been arrested, citing an ongoing investigation.

Court documents said 503 movies mailed to subscribers in Lyons were missing.

U.S. Postal Inspector Andrew Rivas said a "significant amount of complaints" from Netflix customers in Lyons and the company itself prompted their investigation.

"It was a little shocking to me," said Lyons Mayor Tim Kyer.

Copyright 2006, Rocky Mountain News. All Rights Reserved.

Friday, January 06, 2006

God isn't dead, he never existed!

Holy unholy thoughts, Batman!

This is like my own little Miracle on 34th Street moment. I keep expecting someone to show up in the Italian courtroom at the last minute, carrying in bags and bags filled with loaves and fishes.

Did Jesus exist?

Italian court to decide
By Phil Stewart
Wed Jan 4, 10:28 PM ET

Forget the U.S. debate over intelligent design versus evolution.

An Italian court is tackling Jesus -- and whether the Roman Catholic Church may be breaking the law by teaching that he existed 2,000 years ago.

The case pits against each other two men in their 70s, who are from the same central Italian town and even went to the same seminary school in their teenage years.

The defendant, Enrico Righi, went on to become a priest writing for the parish newspaper. The plaintiff, Luigi Cascioli, became a vocal atheist who, after years of legal wrangling, is set to get his day in court later this month.

"I started this lawsuit because I wanted to deal the final blow against the Church, the bearer of obscurantism and regression," Cascioli told Reuters.

Cascioli says Righi, and by extension the whole Church, broke two Italian laws. The first is "Abuso di Credulita Popolare" (Abuse of Popular Belief) meant to protect people against being swindled or conned. The second crime, he says, is "Sostituzione di Persona", or impersonation.

"The Church constructed Christ upon the personality of John of Gamala," Cascioli claimed, referring to the 1st century Jew who fought against the Roman army.

A court in Viterbo will hear from Righi, who has yet to be indicted, at a January 27 preliminary hearing meant to determine whether the case has enough merit to go forward.

"In my book, The Fable of Christ, I present proof Jesus did not exist as a historic figure. He must now refute this by showing proof of Christ's existence," Cascioli said.

Speaking to Reuters, Righi, 76, sounded frustrated by the case and baffled as to why Cascioli -- who, like him, came from the town of Bagnoregio -- singled him out in his crusade against the Church.

"We're both from Bagnoregio, both of us. We were in seminary together. Then he took a different path and we didn't see each other anymore," Righi said.

"Since I'm a priest, and I write in the parish newspaper, he is now suing me because I 'trick' the people."

Righi claims there is plenty of evidence to support the existence of Jesus, including historical texts.

He also claims that justice is on his side. The judge presiding over the hearing has tried, repeatedly, to dismiss the case -- prompting appeals from Cascioli.

"Cascioli says he didn't exist. And I said that he did," he said. "The judge will to decide if Christ exists or not."

Even Cascioli admits that the odds are against him, especially in Roman Catholic Italy.

"It would take a miracle to win," he joked.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Another Year Older

Happy birthday to me, happy birthday to me...

37. Geez. There was a time when I just couldn't imagine myself being, quote, "this old". Hitting the big Three-Oh was like crossing some existential border, as if you found yourself moving off a major highway onto this dirt-paved backwater desert road with a sign on the side that says "You Are Leaving Your Youth Behind, Have A Nice Day".

Passing 30 just seems to bring with it all these odd requirements, doesn't it? As if you're now supposed to have the House, the Kid(s), the Marriage. You should be Settled, you know? And there's no real explanation as to why that's the case, or even that it has to be.

So here I am at 37, and I realize "holy crap, I'm 3 years from the Bigger Four-Oh!" Wow. 40, me. And you know what? All those requirements?

Screw 'em. Screw the cosmos and it's plan for the human race. In the words of a once-great sailor: "I yam what I yam and that's all that I yam." Hyuck-hyuck-hyuck-hyuck.

Not married. Don't want to own a house. My master plan? Don't have one. I'm winging it, and loving every minute of it. I'm probably tagged with the label "confirmed bachelor" by most of my friends, and it doesn't bother me a bit. Do I want to get married? It isn't a goal, no, but if/when it happens it'll happen because I want it to - not because "the time is right", or "I don't want to wait too long", or some other silly reason. I don't exist to own material goods or to co-exist in holy/municipal matrimony; I exist, period.

I was playing volleyball, and some random girl in the gym was complaining because she feels so old. She's 33. I laughed, which I find myself doing a lot more lately when I hear things like that - because if she's old at 33, what the hell am I at 37? I remember someone once before saying that, calling someone a few years younger than me "ancient". I think I laughed then too, asking if that made me "prehistoric" by definition?

We got into a conversation, and what came out of it is the old adage - you're only as old as you feel. I told her sure, I find myself thinking "oh god, I really am getting old". That happens a lot, and it's almost natural, especially when I look around at work and on the volleyball courts and see these law students working for me, getting their law degrees and these 20-somethings on the court next to me.

Then I realize - yeah, they're on the court next to me. And I'm more than holding my own. I'm here playing with people 10, 15 years younger than I am and they don't know how old I am. I'm not the old man struggling on the court, I'm the guy they're setting the ball to because they know I can put it down.

Here's the one goal I do admit to having. I want to be 70, 80 years old, standing on some mountain slope with a snowboard in hand. I'm there with my grandkid, showing him how to ride out a mogul. I'm feeling the sun beating down on my head, feeling the crispness of the winter air, and smiling.

Not just because I'm alive. But because I'm living.

Monday, January 02, 2006


I seem to be incredibly tech-heavy with these posts, but hey - this is the mode I'm in, so let's go with the flow. Happy New Year, first off, to one and all.

I was looking around for a new tech toy, something to kick off the new year with an oooh and an aaah. With the Consumer Electronic Show launched, there was a lot of competition for the coveted Trickster award, let me tell you!

It's hard to say "this is the winner", but in the realm of something new - I had to talk about this little doohicky I found on Philips' website:

They've given it the unwieldy name of the "Entertaible"(shudder!) The concept is a tabletop gaming platform that marries traditional multi-player board and computer games in a uniquely simple and intuitive way. Entertaible comprises a 30-inch horizontal LCD, sophisticated touch screen-based multi-object position detection, and all supporting control electronics. It allows the players to engage in a new class of electronic games which combines the features of computer gaming, such as dynamic playing fields and gaming levels, with the social interaction and tangible playing pieces, such as pawns and dies, of traditional board games.

I'm seeing all kinds of potential for this. See, me - I'm a tabletop gamer. Scrabble, Monopoly; even the old-skoool Dungeons and Dragons stuff. I still occasionally get together with the boys for a round of Heroclix. It's fun, it's retro, it's simplistic.

With this...it's like those frosted mini-wheat commercial. The kid in me just wants to play with the little tokens, making fun of my friends while chasing them around the board. The tech-head in me likes bells, whistles, colored lights and - yes indeed - touch screens.

Now imagine a D&D session with this baby instead of a hex-map. Or, better yet, if they come out with a Neverwinter-style setup where you can program your own modules and maps! Oh the fun!

Plus, as someone looking to delve deeper into the worlds of tabletop and video game design...this is like getting to have my cake and eat it too!

2006 is looking like a fun year so far :)