Friday, June 29, 2007


Via the inimitable ResearchBuzz comes the news that Yahoo image search will now include Flickr images. I heart the Internet; I really do. I love the way it levels authority in some very positive senses. On the Internet we all get our fifteen minutes and then some. And yes, I understand the anxiety about that--the fact that school kids are going to look up "facts" and get some sort of wrong-headed information from bizarre tinfoil-hat wearing conspiracy mongers or something. But hell, maybe folks are just going to have to figure out how to be more judicious and discerning. Is that such a bad thing? As it stands, kids watch CNN and FOX and believe that to be the truth because they are "authoritative," and so in a world where anyone can "broadcast" people have to figure out how to judge what is accurate information.

God I sound like such an air bag. I really just wanted to pass along the news about Flickr/Yahoo and to say it's Friday and I'm quitting this taco stand. I'll finish revising that piece about consensus-based decision making sometime this weekend. I cannot possibly stay here another minute.

P.S. Windbag. That's what I meant to say. I sound like a windbag. Not an airbag. I don't even know what airbags sounds like. (Though I do know they smell like gunpowder.)

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Proofreading--the horror, the horror

Colin is my hero for sending me the link to this clip today. True it made me kind of want to vomit given my anxieties about this current project, but it's funny as shit. All of you English teachers and students and conscientious bloggers must watch it right now. That's an order.


I have wanted nothing more than to blog all day, but I am up to my eyeballs in work. I am in the final stages of what has been a many-year project (anywhere between 3 and 6 depending on how you count it). We are scheduled to publish the final draft of this book in 33 days, and I need to hand it off to our board for input and approval today...

For those of you who are not drowning in report-writing, document formatting, and the like, I pass along Bunnyocalypse, which should help you waste at least 5 or 10 minutes.

More soon...

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The greatest phone on earth

Look I'm not saying it won't be a great phone. I'm sure it will be a fine phone. But people, c'mon--get a grip. It's a phone, for crying out loud. It's not going to have a world peace widget or a speed dial to the Vatican. Though, apparently the Vatican webmistress is eagerly awaiting her own iphone, according to Almost Holy, a fact that shouldn't be too surprising because, as the article goes on to explain:
There's an analogy of faith in this. People want to belong to something that makes greatness manifest in our own time, a movement that can show beauty and achievement as more than just traits of the past. If that weren't true, today's masses wouldn't go to the ends of the earth--or, alternatively, blow thousands of bucks after keeping vigil all night on a strip-mall pavement--to it seek out, bring it home and plug it in.

Call me a sceptic. Regardless of its greatness, iphone won't really help you get closer to god. It won't even help you lose weight or develop a better sense of humor. I tried to point these things out to K last night and his response was, "You should just be glad it can't give blow jobs." Indeed I am.

(Cartoon from Joy of Tech, which has plenty more iphone funnies.)

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Some of my best friends are Spartans

Thanks to Pinko Feminist Hellcat for the chuckle.)

How to argue for nationalized health care

The NYTimes has a short piece today on the affects of cutting employees' drug benefits. Integrated Benefits Institute is releasing a study tomorrow that claims reducing employees' medication benefits actually loses money for companies. And while IBI, a nonprofit I'd not heard of before, has a board of directors that includes Kaiser, Pfizer, and a host of other parties whom I'm sure are pushing for that "objective research" the "about" page says they do, I can believe the results nonetheless. Apparently it takes less than a $30 a month cost burden on an employee before someone with, say, chronic arthritis will just stop getting medication. That unmedicated arthritis-sufferer has a much higher chance of missing work, being less productive, or filing a disability claim.

My first thought on reading the article was "Duh," but then my second thought was--this is the way to push for nationalized health care--make the case that it saves corporations money.

That may constitute the sum of my brilliance for the day. I have to go get a depo shot now and then go to PT--because birth control and bending knees are both pretty high on my priority list.

Pic of the day

I know the event is over, but this just makes me want to go to Basel on principle. (Actually I admit I've been to Basel, and it's not bad for Switzerland.)

Monday, June 25, 2007

Some things aren't worth fighting for

Maybe it's blaming the victim but I'm really pissed at the Bong Hits 4 Jesus guy. (Who by the way, cares so much about free speech, he's now living in China, thank you very much.) Thanks to his dogged pursuit of the right to be an idiot, First Amendment rights of students have been rolled back decades. I mean, dude, if you're going to fight for your right to free speech, try having something less moronic to say. Even I have a hard time getting enthused over your right to hang a "Bong Hits 4 Jesus" banner, and now, as a result of your campaign, we now have "a special First Amendment rule permitting the censorship of any student speech that mentions drugs, at least so long as someone could perceive that speech to contain a latent pro-drug message" (from Stevens' dissent).

Particularly repulsive is the fact that, as Stevens points out, on the same day, the court found in favor of Wisconsin Right to Life, in a decision that weakens campaign finance reforms. Roberts writes, "Where the First Amendment is implicated, the tie goes to the speaker, not the censor." Perhaps a "Bong Hits 4 the Unborn" banner would have had more play with the court.

Something I hate and something I've learned

You know what I hate? I hate when you go weeks with no really enticing show and then there are four in a week (two on the same day). I know, as someone who lived eleven years in a midwestern college town, I should not whine about the embarrassment of riches issue, but shit--Snow Patrol, Psychedelic Furs, Sonic Youth, and Polyphonic Spree are all playing the third week of July. It's so wrong. I couldn't have even managed that schedule when I was 21, and I certainly couldn't have managed the ticket costs, but now I'm 41, which means I can afford it money-wise, but I would end up in intensive care or something if I tried to see four shows in the same week. There must be a moment in a person's life span when the time/money ratio is optimum. (I'm going to say it was 36 for me but I was a late bloomer due to those lost dissertating years which put a person in the red temporally and financially.)

As an aside, my blogging buddy Patrick is drumming for the Furs, so I really need to go to that one if I can because that's pretty damn cool. I've been friends with P for several years now I think but we've never actually met. Why not in Costa Mesa?

And the "something I've learned" which is completely unrelated, but I'm too lazy to start another blog entry for it--is that the only smart people employed at Time Warner/Road Runnerwork at the online chat helpdesk. I still don't have my old RoadRunner email address up and running (deep and heavy sigh) but at least the guy I "talked" to last night understood what the problem is, which puts him way ahead of the average RR bear. If these people were surgeons they would constantly be lopping off the wrong leg or leaving their scalpels in someone's spleen.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

New digs

Well, I guess this is just the season for me to shed my solo-flying ways in all contexts. Coming hot on the heels of my move into a shared apartment, after five and half years of living alone, comes news that I am joining the team at Metroblogging LA. I am super-excited. More as it develops...

Friday, June 22, 2007

Up with eclecticism

I just got one of those emails from Amazon titled "Amazon recommends," and the first two books are Rough Weather Ahead for Walter the Farting Dog and Attitudes Toward Sex in Antebellum America: A Brief History with Documents . I don't think I'll buy either one, but I appreciate the mail nonetheless.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

The longest day

Happy Solstice all my pagan friends!!

Have fun dancing naked. I'll be in a conference room until Saturday night.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Putting Tulsa on the map

Last week, Oklahoma celebrated its fiftieth state-birthday and to celebrate they dug up a 1957 Plymouth Belvedere that some enterprising Oakie buried on the courthouse lawn lo those fifty years ago. AP reports:

Whether the car will start was unknown. The suspense drew Pittsburgh car enthusiast Dave Stragand.

"It's our King Tut's tomb," Stragand said. "It's like a fairy tale."

. . .

Buried with the car were 10 gallons of gasoline--in case internal combustion engines became obsolete by 2007--a case of beer, and the contents of a typical woman's handbag placed in the glove compartment.
Our King Tut's tomb indeed. Hmm...Tut...


I'm just sayin'...

And then there's this:

Back on the day the Belvedere was buried, all Bixby resident Marlene Parker wanted to do was find a photographer for her wedding. Catching a glimpse of the car being lowered into the ground was the last thing on her priority list.

Unfortunately, not for the photographer: He was shooting the burial.

This weekend, the 70-year-old will celebrate 50 years of marriage and may come downtown to see what all the fuss was about back then.

"Probably across the pond people know about it," Parker said. "If nobody knew where Tulsa, Oklahoma was before, they do now."

Regardless, Belvedere and Bud aside, what really earned this story a blog entry was the aforementioned typical purse contents placed in the glove box:
14 bobby pins, a bottle of tranquilizers, a lipstick, a pack of gum, tissues, a pack of cigarettes, matches and $2.43
Love it! Downs, Luckys and Doublemint. What more does a girl need?

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

A tip from Colin

Colin turned me on to LAPD online. I was able to reassure myself that occasional street parking at my new place wouldn't be so bad by checking out their crime maps. (No assaults or rapes reported in the past two months within a mile of my new digs.)

But even more special is the e-police newsletter that you can sign up for from the same page--the site explains that e-policing will "keep you informed via email on issues that concern your community." But really what it does is send you dates and times for LA protests ("First Amendment Events" in Peace Officer nomenclature). Pretty cool. Gotta love a city that sends you email to remind you of the Immigrants Rights protest in H-wood this weekend


"If God wants us to do a thing, he should make his wishes sufficiently clear. Sensible people will wait till he has done this before paying much attention to him."

Samuel Butler via the ever-irreverent Conor:

Monday, June 18, 2007

Mars, Venus, and motorcycles

Yesterday driving on Ventura Boulevard in Sherman Oaks:

K, looking in the rearview mirror: That's a Confederate.
Me: Huh?
K: A Confederate Hellcat. They're really rare motorcycles handmade with all carbon fiber. (Further rearview scrutiny) Hey, that's um...what's his name...Ian Mc...
Me, looking in the sideview mirror: Ewan McGregor??
K: Yeah, Ewan McGregor. Outstanding.

Both of us are quiet for a minute, preoccupied looking in the mirrors.

K: The gas tank is made from two pieces of carbon fiber. Even the seat is carbon fiber.
Me: Babe, I don't care what the hell he's sitting on--that's Ewan McGregor.

And today when he sends me the picture and I admit that's a sick bike, he says: "That is exactly what I was trying to tell you, that the Hellcat is an order of magnitude greater feat of engineering than Ewan McWhatchamacallhim."

Personal update

So, I've moved (two weekends ago), gone on that work trip to San Antonio (one weekend ago), started PT for my knee (last week), and am driving again. It's been a confluence of bad timing--the move, the knee injury, and the last eight weeks of this four-year project--but I'm feisty and I have fantastic friends, so it's all turning out okay.

Nic the cat is settling in to the new digs just fine. He's thinking inside the box, for which we are extremely grateful, and he's stopped growling at Shane (which was pretty absurd to begin with). I only have about a half dozen more boxes to unpack--of course, I am at that point of the unpacking where I really need a room of requirement to fit the rest of the stuff, but I'll figure it out.

This weekend (Thursday, Friday, Saturday) is the last workgroup meeting for this project, a bittersweet kind of thing. On the one hand, as with any book project, I am happy to be finishing this one. There's only so many times you can revisit the same text before you start to crave something new no matter how enthusiastic you were to begin with (it's like working at an ice cream shop). But of course, I will miss the people very much. We are a crew that comes from six countries (four continents) so there's little chance of a real reuninion. But hey, now I have friends in Puerto Rico and Norway and ...

We're all getting together for dinner Friday night after we're done working at Paradise Cove. I'm hoping we'll be able to see the sunset.

Three weeks from that meeting is the board meeting where we should have the whole completed book save proofing and indexing.

So all of that amounts to a sort of elaborated excuse of sorts in a way, but also a genuine update for those of you who are wondering about such things. More anon.

Giving Banksy some competition

London's National Gallery is breaking the fourth wall this season. In a brilliant marketing scheme, over the course of the next few months, the gallery is hanging reproductions of its paintings throughout the West End. Methinks it's tres cool and even smarter that Hewlett Packard is sponsoring it.

There's a photo set on flickr that's worth a visit.

I particularly like this one.

Nice Juxtaposition between the sex shop and Caravaggio's Salome.

Monday, June 11, 2007

A riddle

Q: What do Alabama and Turkey have in common?


(Thanks to Andrea for this scene from the Senate floor in Alabama Thursday.)