"Ned [Flanders] does not allow the kids to use dice when playing board games because dice are wicked. He is hesitant to buy the children Red Hots candies because there is a lascivious caricature of the devil on the package. The kids' favorite games are Good Samaritan and Clothe the Leper."
In reading this article about Ned Flanders, as characterized in Christianity Today, I was first surprised at the great detail they went into about the life of a fictionalized cartoon character (someone at CT must be a real Simpsons fan), and secondly, I thought that this article would have fit better someplace else. 10:28:48 AM
Two recent findings:
Whenever I add more water to the tank, Basho and Issa get a little riled up and spend most of the rest of the day walking around the tank and timidly feeling out the water again. 7:08:50 PM
1. Those candy hearts with sayings on them are made out of the same stuff as Necco Wafers.
2. Only the yellow ones taste good (candy banana flavor). 9:48:26 PM
My photo and about pages haven't quite come along as quickly as I expected. I keep writing different things on the about page, and they generally are either self-serving, boring, or worse. I can't figure out what information I want to share, and what people would find interesting, I have several (as in > 2) incidents with butter knives that have resulted in scars, I really like skateboarding but haven't done it in almost 2 weeks (damn the wet/cold DC weather), photography is quickly becoming something I want to spend a lot of my time doing, and one of my newts is sitting on top of the other while biting her leg. I think I should keep working on this... 8:37:51 AM
This is a great story. After reading it, you can check out the video. 9:49:25 PM
This is silly-fun (flash required). 6:04:10 PM
As consumers, we are the most important aspect of any company, the ones who bring in money. Because of this power, most companies will do their best to ensure we continue buying their products.
Case in point: Sometime last year, I was making some Lapsang Souchong tea, which is an amazing, smoky tea that kicks my butt every morning. As I was measuring the loose tea into the tea ball, I noticed a strange colored object in the tea. Closer inspection revealed it to be a small, brown stone. Clearly, a small, brown stone isn't something that belongs in anyone's tea, and I included this point in a letter that I quickly wrote to The Republic of Tea, the company that made this tea.
About three weeks after sending the letter, a small box appeared in the mail with my name on it. Inside was a letter of apology from the company and a new tin of the tea, all free of charge (except for the cost of a $0.33 stamp). Now, not only did I get their attention because of this stone I found, but I got some free tea. Somehow, I think Ralph Nader would be proud. 4:50:44 PM
"Ultimately, if change comes to America, it won't come through the voting booth. Change will come through tumultuous movements around the country, movements that are so strong that whatever party is holding power has to respond. Both major parties carried on the Vietnam War, and the Republicans finally ended the war because of the pressure on the party. The fate of the country won't be determined by who wins the election. The future will be determined by whether citizens organize and mobilize and create such a commotion about issues that whatever party is in power has to respond. We need to scare the hell out of them; that's what we need to do." -Howard Zinn, Rolling Stone Interview 10/17/96 8:31:13 AM
Woah, Nancy! 12:19:08 PM
I'm certainly no fan of Clinton, but I was happy to see his efforts to protect land and introduce positive environmental regulations into the lawbooks during his last weeks of office. While I realize his motivations had a lot to do with establishing a Clinton environmental legacy, I still think what he got done was admirable; a lot of land will be preserved because of his actions.
Unfortunately, it looks like GWB is wasting no time in prostituting himself out to the interests of Big Business™. 10:54:28 AM
dc.indymedia.org has a lot of good info/pictures on protests yesterday. I especially liked this picture which shows GWB's attempt to ignore the masses of protesters. I heard several people say that these were the largest inaugural protests ever. 7:48:40 AM
So, Bush got sworn in, people were herded around like cattle, protesters had their way with the police, we all got wet and cold, and Bush stayed in his uber-limo during the parade so all people saw was his pale, white hand appearing faintly behind the tainted (or tinted, but both really work) window. We also saw various heated exchanges between people of differing political parties, with most of the Republican dissenters looking like Rush Limbaugh (really). 1:36:15 PM
A digital museum well worth wandering around in (alliteration unintentional). 3:16:05 PM
From my esteemed university:
Students, Faculty, and Staff who will be on campus for classes or
official business should carry their GWorld identification card at all
It's nice to know that the university is looking out for the civil rights of its students. 12:29:25 PM
Very sad news. Read one of Corso's more famous and musical and beautiful poems. 3:12:18 PM
Some well thought-out answers regarding J20 from a local activist. 2:20:23 PM
A Eulogy for My Fish
I initially bought the tiny minnow to feed to my newts. I discovered pretty quickly that the fish (or "Fishy" as he came to be known) easily eluded my newts' predatory tactics and would swim around quite happily with little worry that he would be eaten.
Due to my newt's lack of success in eating him, I decided that Fishy would get his own home, and as I searched my apartment for a suitable tank for him, I came across a bowl that was round, clear glass, and of ample size.
The bowl was perfect, especially since I had stopped drinking coffee almost a year ago.
So, Fishy made his new home in the coffee pot (filled to the top with water that would yield 12 cups of coffee in other circumstances), being fed the same as my newts and generally doing pretty well. He got through two roundtrip car rides from Washington to New Jersey in a large yogurt container.
It was only a few days ago that I saw Fishy was struggling a little. His tail seemed to be sort of beat up, and it was obvious that it had trouble swimming around.
I did my best to make Fishy better, hand-feeding him, and adding antibiotics to the water to cure the infection it looked like he had. But this morning, when I woke up, I saw that Fishy was gone, floating peacefully at the top of the bowl.
I don't think Fishy was particularly well-developed emotionally, but I think he made out pretty well compared to the tank of minnows (labeled "Feeder Fish") he came from. He was fed well, and generally taken care of, and with this, I say goodbye to him. 12:44:53 PM
I just got back from a teach-in regarding the upcoming inauguration protests here in Washington. A lot of different groups (including the College Democrats!) talked about issues ranging from RNC jail experiences to the history of the World Bank.
On a concurrent thought, I've been reading Daniel Quinn's My Ishmael, which I find to be as powerful of a book as the original Ishmael was. Listening to some divergent political views tonight (including a member of a local libertarian group who claimed, "The difference between Ralph Nader and Pat Buchanan has little to do with what they're saying, it's largely just a cultural issue") got me thinking about where Daniel Quinn's writing fit into all of this. I first tried to put him somewhere between socialism and anarchism, but I think he might not fit into a political framework, and be more of a tribalist than anything else. At the same time, that is just the primitive view he is representing, the one that existed before people began making food a commodity and when schools didn't exist as institutions but as inherent and seamless pieces of society. So, maybe rather than him specifically touting a certain view, I think he is just presenting the world as he perceived it before our culture developed and assimilated all other cultures.
Some of his impact comes from him questioning what is of true worth in society, and what should be of worth, and he examines the effect our culture has on us in the way we perceive what is right and wrong with how one should live, and more importantly, how one deals with those who are thought to not live "correctly."
If anyone isn't familiar with is writing, I urge you to give Ishmael or My Ishmael a try, it will change your world view. An excellent resource is here, and another good perspective of what Daniel Quinn is trying to say can be found here. 9:14:35 PM
"If you are bored with a thing, do it again. If you are still bored with it, do it again... and again, until you are not bored with it." -John Cage 12:57:02 PM
If you've ever visited the monuments in Washington, you've probably seen those small wooden shacks selling all sorts of POW/MIA merchandise. The City Paper takes a hard look at these places in an attempt to figure out if they're just money-making fronts, or true believers that prisoners of war remain in various south east Asian countries. 11:08:59 AM
New photo up of a barn from a roll I shot at my family's farm on a snowy, cloudy day (working now to integrate photo section into new site design format). 7:20:55 PM
The one thing that's getting me about having my car broken into is that there was a CD in the cd player that was stolen, and I can't figure which CD it was. 6:57:22 PM
Today was generally a good day.
We found an amazing new (and cheap) camera store that's close, so I bought some fixer and will be doing darkroom stuff tonight.
We loaded up on yummy food at Fresh Fields (both buying and sampling).
My car was broken into and the cd player was stolen.
It's that last point that made today not as good. Part of the rear passenger window was broken, and there were all these scratch marks around where my stereo used to be. What's just as interesting is what was not stolen:
A large bag of change to pay tolls
All my skateboard gear (helmet and lots of pads)
The car mascot, "Ghosty" (a small stuffed ghost that fits in my steering wheel and is a source of endless entertainment)
I called the police department's non-emergency number and they had an officer call me back who took down all my information and promised a follow-up call in a few days to let me know if anything turns up (I'm not holding my breath).
So I'm left with this broken window that I'm going to hopefully going to get fixed tomorrow, and a pile of broken glass on the interior of the car (see above picture). Charlene remarked that while we were walking around (after this had happened) she found herself looking at people we passed, wondering if they had been the one. I realize now that I'd been doing the same thing, and while this situation doesn't make me more fearful of the city, it does certainly make me a little more wary of everything around me. 4:05:03 PM
Got the .cgi scripts running (note rotating image in upper left (actually I mean right, thanks phil... the vast wdc community comes through to help me again)), more big updates coming soon. 7:25:40 PM
Nothing like a healthy dose of beef and sexism (link fixed, thanks Char).. 10:19:13 PM
A J20 call to action, meeting a block from my apartment! 7:25:55 PM
Slow updates as I pack up to go down to DC for one last semester of school. Things will be up and kicking again tomorrow night. 6:52:19 PM
"...learning can be like looking up the meaning of a word. That's learning, for sure, sort of like planting a blade of grass in a lawn. But then there's learning that is like dynamiting the whole lawn and starting over..." -Daniel Quinn, "My Ishmael" 1:53:51 PM
So, when I did this interview, I was excited about it and all, but that excitement was nothing compared to when I found out that the guy who started the company is goddamned Jamie from the Real World New Orleans!
Well, not really. 9:38:19 AM
Building, building.... 8:11:38 PM
If you live in a city, you might have seen the recent and amusing phenomena of middle-aged businessmen riding these little metal scooters. The company Razor seems to be at the forefront of this silly trend, and recently I saw a whole lot of them behind the counter at CVS with a sign that said, "Do Not Sell, Product Recall". Anyways, as a skateboarder, I don't have much to do with these things, but if I did, I'd definitely want a Ghetto Scooter. 3:31:44 PM
Automobiles==>Highways==>Suburbs 2:25:08 PM
Interesting conversation with Ian MacKaye. 2:02:29 PM
Just finished a fantastic book by Russell Miller about the legendary Magnum photo agency. The book tracks the progression of the agency from an idea among friends in 1947, to the publication of a 50th anniversary photo book a few years ago. The organization of Magnum is frequently described as anarchistic- the photographers run the agency and make all the business decisions, there is no administration and decisions are made by majority rule. Because of this, the agency almost always seemed to be just about to fall apart, with crises happening daily.
Still, Magnum does employ the greatest photographers, and while they argue endlessly about their role as artists (which some vehemently deny), or photojournalists (which one of the founders, Henri Cartier-Bresson disapproves of), they have taken some of the most enduring pictures of the last half century. A large chunk of the first chapter can (surprisingly) be read here.
The book tells incredible stories of the photographers covering war, portraying humanity in the worst of conditions, and the sad sacrifices made for their profession (Robert Capa, a founding member of Magnum, died after stepping on a landmine in Indochina, during the conflict that was to become to Vietnam War).
A wonderful gallery of Cartier-Bresson is here at the Post. I was thumbing through the 50th anniversary book, and am thinking of putting out the $70 for it. 8:56:43 AM
After 106 letters, openletters.net has stopped posting new writing. The site had been in my /daily folder in netscape for awhile now, and I'm going to miss the richly personal new writing I found there each day.
I think, when it's all said and done, sites like openletters are where the web really shines, for both the frequently updated content and the personal nature of the text that allow for connections to be made in a medium that is conducive to such connections, but rarely used to make them. 8:27:59 AM
Well, I've seen a few movies recently, and the one that really stands out is Traffic. Briefly, the movie shows in its small stories how the Drug War doesn't work. It's a beautiful movie, shot with color filters that tone each story and set them apart as well as bring them together. I'm not sure that the movie really suggests a solution to the failure of preventing people from taking drugs, maybe it needs to be dealt with on a person to person level, and that governments and programs won't ever make a difference. More information on the Drug War can be found on the extensive November.org. 10:50:39 PM
This is the picture. This is the story of the man who took it. 3:36:26 PM
"The profession of photography is anti-elitist. These are very few professions where even when you are at the top, a household name, you might still be standing on a draughty street corner with your feet getting wet and cold, waiting for something to happen. At that moment you are on the same level as a homeless person, standing on a street corner, begging. In most professions, the higher up you go, the more likely you are to go around in a chauffeur-driven car." -Philip Jones Griffiths 2:01:06 PM
Beautiful pictures of rundown buildings are here and here. 11:36:21 AM
It's finally been figured out, Bush is a robot (note: this isn't a silly link, it's the goddamned Washington Post, and it's pretty freaky). 3:27:16 PM
Incredible. The US Government paid television networks millions of dollars to include anti-drug messages in certain dumb sitcoms. The last paragraph is the most telling. The deal initially had the networks matching the dollar figure given by the government to run public service ads. But, after the economy got all happy, the networks made a compromise and decided that instead of them having to run public service announcements, it'd be okay for them to just include the messages in their shows. The line between commercials and sitcom filler gets even grayer. 3:04:25 PM
Happiness is backyard snowboard jumps and new camera lenses. 10:45:20 PM
A postcard art project depicting the internment of Japanese families during WWII. 5:25:16 PM
"As a race, the Japanese have made for themselves a record for conscienceless treachery unsurpassed in history." -Los Angeles Times, 1944.
This is rad. I think most art becomes much more interesting when its origins are unknown, and especially when you can touch it. In DC, there's a massive statue of a man rising out of the ground called the Awakening. I can't seem to find pictures of it, except for one at the bottom of this page (which doesn't show the feet). On a sunny day, one can find hoards of kids using the statue's bent knee as a slide and clambering over his face. 4:42:06 PM
"Every year at this time
I'd look over at some friend of mine
I'd realize and say
Hey, have you seen the skies
They've been clear for days
I think we have survived
Another Year" -Jeff Ott 11:08:14 AM