Sophont
Monday, September 27, 2004
 
Man dies after pet hamster bites him
Mainichi Interactive:
SAITAMA -- A middle-aged man died here earlier this year from asthma after he was bitten by his pet hamster, a local hospital said.

In February, the man suffered from an allergic disease called anaphylaxis after the hamster's saliva entered his body when he was bitten by the pet, triggering asthma symptoms, according to the Saitama Red Cross Hospital that treated him.

Anaphylaxis is an allergic disease that occurs when protein or other foreign substances enter one's body multiple times and the immunity system becomes oversensitive, according to experts. The disease quickly paralyzes circulatory organs or respiratory organs.

The man in his 40s, whose name was not disclosed, had been bitten by his pet hamster many times, Kazuya Kiyota, a doctor at the hospital, said.

In February this year, he had a fit of coughing and collapsed after being bitten on the finger by the animal. By the time he was admitted to hospital, his heart and lungs had stopped functioning. He died shortly afterwards.

Doctors conducted an autopsy on the man's body and found that he had a sharp allergic reaction to protein contained in the hamster's saliva.

Even though 17 cases of anaphylaxis caused by pets have been reported across the country since 1995, it is quite rare that such an allergic disease causes death, Kiyota said. (Mainichi Shimbun, Japan, Sept. 28, 2004)"

 
Increase your breast measurements by this ringtone
Mobile phone news:Posted Friday, September 24, 2004
Some of the silly tunes Japanese pay to download to use as the ring tone for their mobile phones sure have their knockers, but it's for precisely that reason that a well-known counselor is raking it in at the moment, according to Shukan Gendai (10/2).

Hideto Tomabechi -- who first made headlines in Japan almost a decade ago after he cured brainwashed members of the AUM Shinrikyo doomsday cult that unleashed deadly sarin gas on the Tokyo subway system -- claims to have developed a tune for ring tones that promises to increase the breast measurements of those who listen to it.

And Tomabechi's brainchild for better busts has boomed, with chest challenged chicks swarming to transfer data to their own phones.

'I listened to the tune for a week expecting all the time that I was being duped,' says Chieri Nakayama, a 19-year-old pin-up model, tells Shukan Gendai. 'But, incredibly, my 87-centimeter bust grew to 89 centimeters! It was awesome!'"

Saturday, September 25, 2004
 
Overheard On LiveJournal's Journal:
"Cat Stevens can't set foot in the United States, but Yanni is allowed to walk around free?

Man, talk about the terrorists winning.."

Friday, September 24, 2004
 
Presidential Mask Election Predictor
PresidentialMask: "What is the Presidential Mask Election Predictor? In 2000, due to the popularity of political masks, BuyCostumes.com began publishing statistics on each Presidential Candidate's mask sales. It was soon apparent that the mask sales were as good a resource as the polls being published by major national media groups. Seeing the similarities, BuyCostumes.com then looked into some data on political mask sales in election years. Not only did they ask five different mask manufacturers, they also spoke with 12 national stores about their sales history all the way back to 1980. Their findings were astounding and right every time...."

Sale Stats as of : 9/24/2004
George W. Bush 56%
John Kerry 44%

Sunday, September 19, 2004
 
Couple in hospital after oral sex accident
Ananova : "A couple have reportedly ended up in hospital after painfully finding out that oral sex and cooking don't mix.

The woman is said to have bitten the man's penis after he spilt hot oil on her back as she performed the sex act while he made pancakes.

It is the second similar accident in Romania in two years. In November 2000, Ananova reported how the same thing happened to a couple in Bucharest as a man was frying chips.

The embarrassed young couple in the latest episode have asked doctors in Craiova not to reveal their identities.

The man came to hospital with his penis severely bitten, while his girlfriend had burns on her back and an injury in her head.

A paramedic says the surprised man hit her on the head with the pan after his penis was bitten, reports Romania's Editie de Oltenia newspaper. They were both allowed home after treatment."

 
Disney (The Three Little Molesters)
Urban Legends Reference Pages: "In 2004, a Disney cast member was actually prosecuted on criminal charges. Michael C. Chartrand, a Walt Disney World employee who worked inside a Tigger costume, was the subject of a police investigation after a 13-year-old girl complained that he had fondled her breast while she posed for a photo with him and her mother in WDW's Magic Kingdom park on 21 February 2004. (The girl's mother maintained that she had been similarly fondled, but her allegation was not an element of the criminal case.) Mr. Chartrand was arrested in April 2004 and charged with lewd and lascivious molestation of a child and simple battery; by the following week 24 more complaints about him had been lodged with authorities. (All of the other complainants either lacked sufficient evidence to press charges or were unwilling to do so, however.)

Mr. Chartrand declined a plea bargain and took his case to trial, and in August 2004 a jury deliberated for less than an hour before returning a verdict of 'not guilty' on the charge of lewd and lascivious molestation. As part of his closing argument, Mr. Chartrand's attorney, Jeffrey Kaufman (who himself worked for Disney as a costumed character), donned the Tigger costume to demonstrate to jurors the difficulty of maneuvering and seeing while inside in the outfit. "

 
Enola Gay History Lithographs
"LITTLE BOY": Atomic Bomb Model



We originally produced these models for displays at various Air Museums across the country, Including the National Atomic Museum, Pima Air & Space Museum & the National D-Day Museum. First time offered to the public! 1/12 scale model is apx. 10 inches long, base is 16 1/2 long Hand crafted of solid Mahogany. Exacting detail (taken from original drawings) Data plate individually hand signed by BGen. Paul Tibbets $250.00 includes shipping & insurance.

 
W Ketchup™
W Ketchup™: "You don’t support Democrats. Why should your ketchup?
W Ketchup™ is made in America, from ingredients grown in the USA.
In side-by-side taste tests of five leading brands, we found that W Ketchup is second to none. You'll never go back to Heinz again! W Ketchup is America’s Ketchup™"



 
Inventing the Suicide Bomber
The American Spectator: "Steve Englehart has no clear recollection of inventing the suicide bomber.

'Two factors come into play to limit what I can give you here,' he writes in response to my e-mail. 'The story's over 30 year[s] old, and, it was, as noted, not one of the AVENGERS stories that's garnered a lot of attention in those 30 years, so whatever memories I may have have not been jogged much in the interim.'

The story in question appeared in Avengers 113, dated July 1973 and titled 'And Your Young Men Shall Slay Visions,' during Englehart's lengthy stint as scripter on what was then Marvel Comics' flagship superhero team. (The now-wildly popular X-Men were then obscure.) Given Englehart's workload in those days, it's not in itself surprising that a single issue of a single title should slip his mind."

 
Blood on Their Hands
independent.co.uk The things Smither has seen in the course of his work have not led him to a positive view of humanity. "I hate people more than I ever have," he says. "I'm pretty cynical. About 80 per cent of everyone we deal with is a borderline scumbag. You know - you let grandma die on the floor and rot for 60 days, then the janitors are cleaning, and you get to the house and start fighting over her belongings? That classifies you in my opinion as a scumbag."

Does that happen a lot?

"Oh, all the time. All the time. Or just the way they live, you know? It's very common for us to go into a house that's three-, four-, five- feet deep in trash. Little canals everywhere. They're shitting in buckets on the floor. They live like animals. It's very common. We've done thousands of 'em."

From his desk drawer, he pulls a sheaf of Polaroids taken inside garbage houses, and hands me one.

"Here's a good example - that's a bathroom. That brown stuff ain't mud."

The scene in the picture is so disgusting, I gag.

"Yeah," says Clark, "that was extreme. We literally had to use shovels."

Later, Smither and I will have lunch together, at a cheesesteak-sandwich shop in nearby Walnut Creek. From his pocket, he produces a small bottle filled with transparent gel: it's an alcohol-based hand sanitiser, which he rubs over his palms before the food arrives. He's been using it for a while now - "Religiously for the past year." He prefers it to washing his hands in sinks used by other people: "You just don't know, man," he says. "I tell you - this job'll do it to you." These days, he won't even wear shoes inside his own house. "All the things you walk in without realising it," he shudders, "Ugh!"

When I leave him that afternoon, Smither still hasn't had any more work come in; he does not say goodbye. Instead, he leans from the window of his truck and shouts, "Pray for death!". And then he gives me a cheerful wave.

Smither's winning new business idea did not take off immediately. In fact, after his first job, his phone rang again only twice in a year: "I was desperate: going broke." The first call was to scrub blood off the street after a road accident in San Jose. In increasingly litigious California, police and fire departments often refuse to hose bloodstains off the road and into the drains - because the blood will wash, untreated, straight into the Bay. "And the environmentalists all go crazy," Smither explains.

 
Spaceman meets the stars
MSNBC - Alan Boyle: Cosmic Log: June 23, 2004 | 4:30 a.m. ET

A day after Mike Melvill took his first ride into outer space, he took his first ride in a limousine — for a late-night chat with Jay Leno on the 'Tonight' show.

The SpaceShipOne test pilot, along with designer Burt Rutan, sat beside 'Spider-Man' star Tobey Maguire on NBC's set in Burbank, Calif., on Tuesday night and recapped Monday's first-ever spaceflight by a privately developed rocket ship. (NBC is a partner in the MSNBC joint venture.)

Melvill said the 5-G descent from a height of 62 miles (100 kilometers) ranked among the scariest parts of the flight:

'Tou hear this hurricane sound of wind roaring through the tailbooms of the airplane, and it's just a terrifying sound,' he told Leno. 'And you think, 'Oh my God, please hold together.' And I think, 'Well, Burt designed it — the damn thing better hold together.''

The 'Tonight' show also played the video of Melvill throwing up a handful of M&M candy in zero-gravity. 'If you do that as a NASA employee, you probably get fired,' Rutan cracked.

Rutan shed further light on why Melvill was chosen from among the pilots who have been trained to fly SpaceShipOne: 'He's the best stick-and-rudder pilot I know,' he said.

In response to Leno's questions about software billionaire Paul Allen's support for the project, Rutan launched into his rationale for private spaceflight — a speech that drew the biggest round of applause:

'Cost is the only reason we did this program,' he said. 'There have been manned space flights for a long time, but the problem is cost. For decades, the American taxpayers have spent hundreds of billions of dollars and sent it to their government. And most of those taxpayers, I think, were happy to do that, because they had the hope of flying in space.

'But right now, I don't care if you're a billionaire, you cannot buy a ticket in America. A billionaire can go to Russia and pay $20 million to get one ride. But Paul Allen, he didn't go over there and get a ride, he took that money and he sent it to Mojave, where we work, and we developed the first entire [private] manned space program for that amount of money.

'And because he did that, because he spent it that way instead of on one ride, we — all of us — are a lot closer to being able to buy that ticket. And we're damn close.'"

 
Air America: The Corporate Law Aspects
ProfessorBainbridge.com: "As reported in today's WSJ (available free here), Air America is in deep financial trouble:
Many of Air America's investors and executives say they thought the network had raised more than $30 million, based on assurances from its owners, Guam-based entrepreneurs Evan M. Cohen and Rex Sorensen. In fact, Air America had raised only $6 million, Mr. Cohen concedes. Within six weeks of the launch, those funds had been spent and the company owed creditors more than $2 million.
When the problems came to light, 'we realized that we had all been duped,' says David Goodfriend, the company's acting chief operating officer.Indeed, if the facts turn out to be as the article reports, there is a very high probability that investors will be able to sue Cohen and Sorensen for securities "

 
COFFEEBREAK CAR
Velox 2Cup BERTONE Design
Espresso Brewer
: "Enjoy a great cup of espresso in your car, truck, motor-home or boat with COFFEEBREAK CAR. You just have to plug it into the cigarette lighter and in a few minutes you'll have your coffee anywhere you want !! It is works with both 12V or 24V. The Car model is completed with an elegant travelling case that has been also designed by Bertone."



 
1.3kg meteorite
STUFF: "American collectors with open chequebooks are expected in New Zealand within days to bid for the 1.3kg meteorite which exploded through the roof of an Auckland house yesterday.



The hit is a billions-to-one event which adds thousands to the value of the grapefruit-sized rock which plummeted through the tiled roof of Phil and Brenda Archer's Ellerslie home at 9.30am.

Collectors are also expected to begin combing the suburb for other pieces which may have survived the molten descent.

It is only the ninth meteorite ever found here and the first to hit a home. The last one was found in 1976 but it is not known when it landed. Worldwide, such strikes happen only once every three or four years.

'I was in the kitchen doing breakfast and there was this almighty explosion,' said Brenda Archer. 'It was like a bomb had gone off. I couldn't see anything, there was just dust. I thought something had exploded in the ceiling. Phil saw a stone under the computer and it was hot to touch.'

The rock hit her leather couch and bounced back up to the ceiling before rolling under the computer. The Archers' one-year-old grandson Luca was playing nearby just minutes before the impact. 'He must have a guardian angel,' she said."

 
Kevin Kelly -- Cool Tools
A Framework for Understanding Poverty
Understanding the culture of poverty
Paperback: 205 pages
Publisher: Aha Process Inc; Revised edition (2001)
ISBN: 1929229143

Poverty is not just a condition of not having enough money. It is a realm of particular rules, emotions, and knowledge that override all other ways of building relationships and making a life. This book was written as a guide and exercise book for middle-class teachers, who often don't connect with their impoverished students--largely because they don't understand the hidden rules of poverty. In the same way, poor children misconnect with school because they don't understand the hidden rules of middle-class life. Ruby Payne, a former teacher and principal who has been a member of all three of the economic cultures of our time (poor, middle-class, and wealthy) compassionately and dispassionately describes the hidden rules and knowledge of each. I think it's useful not just for educators, but for anyone who has to deal with people of different backgrounds. Having read it, I feel a lot more confident about dealing with people as people, not as representatives of their social class.

Every class assumes that their knowledge is known by everyone, which is one reason they assume that people in other classes don't 'get it.' It's possible for anyone to shift classes, but only at the price of leaving behind your existing personal relationships.
-- Art Kleiner

About the Author
Dr. Ruby Payne, speaker, author and CEO of aha! Process, a training/publishing company, has more than 30 years of experience in public education and staff development. Payne is best known for her work on "hidden rules of economic class" and their affect on learning. She says, "I never want to hear again, that poor children can't learn!"

Product Description:
A Framework for Understanding Poverty teaches the hidden rules of economic class and spreads the message that, despite the obstacles poverty can create in all types of interaction, there are specific strategies for overcoming them. Through case studies, personal stories and observations that produce some aha! moments, Payne clearly strikes a chord in her readers., and provides a hopeful message.

 
Thieves Steal Computers at Hong Kong Fair
baltimoresun.com : "Thieves snatched two computers from a Hong Kong trade fair, a particularly brazen act considering that the victims were security companies showing off the latest crime-stopping technology.

The thieves stole two laptop computers worth $2,500 from the Asia Securitex 2004 trade show on Wednesday, police spokeswoman Carrie So said.

'If you can't expect good security here, where can you expect it?' exhibitor Shinah Lunty was quoted as saying in the South China Morning Post newspaper. Lunty told the newspaper that her mobile phone, worth $260, was also stolen.

Hong Kong police inspector Bob White said he suspected a mainland China gang targeted the exhibition because it was seen as a place for 'easy pickings,' the newspaper reported. "

 
Burning Questions: When Good Discs Go Bad
PCWorld.com: "Ever wonder what makes a disc bad? Here's why they vary in quality, and why you should worry about the discs you've entrusted with your data.

Melissa J. Perenson, PC World, Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Burning CDs and DVDs is the easy part.

Knowing your data will be there when you go back to it days, months, or even years later--well, that's a bit harder. Not all discs are created equal, as Fred Byers, information technology specialist at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, can attest.

Byers is part of a team heading up an independent study of DVD media quality. Based on the first wave of testing results, the situation is murky at best."

 
Linux in Government
Federal Contracts, a New Era of Competition: "Peter Gallagher, of DevIS worked diligently for several months to have the first federally funded GPL project released. When he finally saw light at the end of the tunnel, he realized he achieved his goal but not without a high degree of difficulty. It took nine months of negotiations, extensive legal fees and many sleepless nights--a high cost for a small business. He still wonders if he created a model agencies can follow in the future. Peter explains:

Our experience working with the Dept. of Labor to have our work released under an OSS license was telling. Here we are talking about software development that was funded by the government as opposed to buying a license in an existing product. The Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR) have something called 'Rights in Data' that are part of any Federal contract. The basic clause says authors generally have the right to their copyright--this applies to a research paper as well as software although it does get complicated.

To release under the OSS license you need to have a copyrighted work, and the government generally does not create copyrighted works. So in the case of the DoL, DevIS transferred our copyright to the DoL who released the work. I think it would have been easier to just have us release the code directly as a small business. Developing the copyright transfer document cost us over $20,000 in legal fees but in this case our customer, the DoL, wanted the responsibility. The important thing for us was that a product we developed, primarily with federal funds, was now released on a .GOV site as OSS."

 
Shoulder Surgery
I am Jack's inflamed rotator cuff. This is your life, and it's being recorded, one second at a time. Okay, so I had to work a Fight Club reference somewhere.
About 9 years ago my dad was needing some relief from persistent shoulder pain. After the fun and joys of X-rays and MRI's he elected to have surgery to correct a bone spur that had literally torn the innards of his rotator cuff apart.
And now for your viewing pleasure, Punkin Eater's shoulder surgery.
(go to link for the video)

 
Driving Mr. Albert
A Trip across America with Einstein's Brain
ISBN: 0641585330
Format: Paperback, Non-fiction
Pub. Date: May 2004

Albert Einstein's brain floats in formaldehyde in a Tupperware bowl in a gray duffel bag in the trunk of a Buick Skylark barreling across America. Driving the car is Michael Paterniti, a young journalist from Maine. Sitting next to him is an 84-year-old pathologist named Thomas Harvey who performed the autopsy on Einstein in 1955 -- and simply removed the brain and took it home. And kept it for over forty years.

Paterniti is driving Harvey and the brain from New Jersey to California, where Harvey will show it to Einstein's granddaughter, Evelyn, and also display it to a group of high school students. Driving Mr. Albert is a map of their ten day adventure. With the brain as both cargo and talisman, Paterniti perceives every hotel, truckstop diner, and casino as a weigh station for the American dream in the wake of the scientist's mind-blowing legacy.

Billboards, T-shirts, self-appointed Einstein fanatics all become the grist for this dazzling young writer's assessments of Einstein's life and work, as well as the nature of celebrity, relics, and America itself. Finally, inspired by the man who gave a skeptical world a glimpse of its cosmic origins, Paterniti weaves his own unified field theory of time, love, and the power to believe, once again, in eternity.

 
New York Brain Bank at Columbia University
NYBB -- Shipping Information: "These instructions (PDF-Version) outline the procedures of packing a fresh brain for shipment to the NYBB. Click on figures to enlarge them. Upon request, we provide packing material. For further assistance call (212) 305-2299."



 
Kerry's Daughter Wins Fellowship
Wizbang: "You're never too rich to suck a little money off the federally funded tit...

KETCHUM, Idaho -- Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry has announced that his daughter Vanessa has won a Fulbright scholarship to study medicine in London.

Vanessa Kerry is a 27-year-old Harvard medical student who frequently travels with her father's campaign.

According to the Fulbright Web site, about 1,000 U.S. students are awarded the federally funded fellowships each year of about 4,500 who apply. Kerry told reporters traveling with him to a long weekend vacation in Idaho on Saturday that Vanessa Kerry recently learned she was one of this year's winners.
Her stepmother is worth over $1.5 billion dollars, and there's her father bragging how she's taking money for a fellowship she doesn't need. I'm sure she earned the fellowship, but there are probably lots of applicants that didn't get accepted that could use the money.

In contrast her step brother, H. John Heinz IV, seems to is noticeably absent from his stepfather's campaign.

Update: Apparently others can't read my words, or I'm not being clear. I am not arguing that Vanessa Kerry doesn't deserve the fellowship, nor am I arguing that she shouldn't accept it. All I'm saying is that she doesn't need the monetary portion of the award.

Update 2: Steven Taylor get's the final word. If a former Fulbright winner sees no issue, who am I to argue."

David and Jess are essentially correct.

Not only is it a matter of being based on merit, but also on the possibility of linkages with the receiving institution. I've seen many applications that were superb, but no one in the receiving country was ready to work on that particular project at the moment, so the applicant lost out.

Financial issues are frequently a problem, too. Just recently, I had a single-parent applicant with twin teenage daughters. The grant was insufficient to pay for her daughters' in-country education. Her options were to a) try to get the grant increased, b) find another source of funding, c) drop the grant.

A) was out of the question, because the budget is fixed. If she got more, then somebody else would lose a grant.

C) was always an option.

B) is what she did. She talked her own institution to upping her sabbatical pay.

The Fulbright program can be very competitive, but the competition depends on the subject matter and the country involved. Not suprisingly, competition for the UK is high; that for Saudi Arabia comparatively lower.

The competition starts in two places. One is the foreign country where the bilateral Fulbright Commission (if there is one, the Embassy if there's not) approaches local academic institutions to see what opportunities exist. Alternatively, an academic can come up with a project and see if it will fly in his target country.

In either case, the proposals go before boards comprised of both US government officials and private citizens.

Then the Cultural Affairs staffs at Embassies work to create the linkages.

The form for the applications are standardized and--as with most gov't forms--ask as little identification information as possible. Kerry's form would give her basic data (place & date of birth, contact information, etc.). The rest would be a brief CV, an academic history, a comprehensive description of the project, and a statement about why the applicant and the project should get the grant. Forms that even hint of playing a connections card get dropped pretty quickly.

And there are all sorts of programs. Some are for grad students only. Others are for faculty. Others, for administrators. Some are for undergrads to live abroad for a year to develop skills in languages. And, as I noted earlier, some are for high school teacher exchanges. There's even one to bring French teachers to Louisiana from Tunisia.

The program in Third World countries gets a larger proportion of US money than those in First World countries. Germany's program, for instance, is paid for with 100% German money. Even India pays about 50% of the freight.

Kerry's daughter is not "depriving" anyone of anything. She put up a unique proposal that was of interest to the receiving institution. The application didn't ask her net worth, nor who her parents were. That, I think, is exactly how merit awards are supposed to work.

Posted by: John at August 16, 2004 05:01 PM

 
DOGTOY or MARITAL AID
You decide.: funny online test

Saturday, September 18, 2004
 
Doggie Cell Phone
((O)) Pet's Mobility: "The patent pending PetsMobility™ PetsCell TM will be compatible with existing cellular and satellite GPS technology. The PetsCell™ will allow pet owners to talk to their pets as well as allowing owners to request assistance should they become incapacitated and require help. In addition, and perhaps more valuable, pet owners will have a piece of mind that if their pet is lost and someone finds their pet wandering the streets, with a simple press of a button on the PetsCell™, the auto dial function will dial the owners home alerting the owner to retrieve their pet.

While on vacation, at work, or on the road, pets can be contacted by that friendly recognizable voice of their owners.

The PetsCell™, 2-way communication device will also be available with an optional GPS tracking chip and a fibre optic camera for search and rescue applications."

 
Daily Kos
Political Analysis and other daily rants on the state of the nation.: "Its about time that I sat down and told you this. I was hoping it wouldn't have to be me, but someone needed to finally do it. For quite some time now, you have been going off about what we 'need' to do in Iraq. You have been telling us how 'things are going' over there, and making suggestions and proclamations about what 'we need to do' based on what you seem to believe is a wealth of knowledge about the situation.

Well, I'm here to finally tell you what you what no one else seems willing to say: you don't know shit about Iraq. In fact, you don't even know how much shit there is about Iraq that you don't know."

jaynote: good rant covers 17 points about what you probably don't know

 
Children's Books for Geek Parents?
Slashdot: Write your own ... (Score:5, Funny)
by Breakerofthings (321914) on 01:21 AM -- Saturday September 18 2004 (#10283229)

Be sure to write it in perl, basic, or maybe logo ... at least pseudocode :)

#!/usr/bin/perl
my $jane = Girl->new(age => 7);
my $spot = Doggie::JackRusselTerrier->new();
$jane->see($s pot);
$jane->see($spot->run);

Wow. I can't believe I just wrote that ... must get out more...

The possible titles amuse me ...
Junie B. Jones Determines that Cleaning Her Room is NP-Complete
The Little Finite State Automaton That Could
Goldilocks and the Three SysAdmins
The Monsters in My Code

OK, it's late. My apologies for subjecting you all to my incoherent rambling ... mods, please mod me '-1 lame'

BTW, I tell my daughter that I write video games (I am a developer, but not a game developer) because, at 8, that is the only software that she can relate to.

Friday, September 17, 2004
 
National Association of Record Industry Professionals
[narip.com]: "National Association of Record Industry Professionals’ (NARIP) 'Incredible Shrinking Profit Margin' program, a look into how major labels are providing fewer services while attempting to grab a piece of artists' publishing, merchandising, touring and more.

....The session was funny, lively, controversial, cynical, hopeful and exciting. Before the session, it seemed that this topic would lead to a gloomy recitation of low sales figures. But the three panelists mixed facts and a fantastic amount of passion into their presentations – so much, in fact, that they would have goosed an audience even if they’d been discussing the phone book.

Who's Who on the NARIP Panel:
Participating in the discussion were Darryl Franklin (Business & Legal Affairs for Interscope, A&M, Geffen and DreamWorks Records), entertainment attorney Dina LaPolt (LaPolt Law) and Carol Peters (Peters Management Syndicate). Each has an excellent track record (see bios at the end of this story) and each brought a unique perspective to the evening's presentation.

Negotiating a Record Deal:
A prime attraction for this event was a mock negotiation of a major label contract for an up-and- coming band."

 
Teacher Arrested After Bookmark Called Concealed Weapon
local6.com: POSTED: 10:17 am EDT September 17, 2004
TAMPA, Fla. -- A weight may soon be lifted off a Maryland woman charged with carrying a concealed weapon in an airport.

It wasn't a gun or a knife. It was a weighted bookmark.

Kathryn Harrington was flying home from vacation last month when screeners at the Tampa, Fla., airport found her bookmark. It's an 8.5-inch leather strip with small lead weights at each end.

Airport police said it resembled a weighted weapon that could be used to knock people unconscious. So the 52-year-old special education teacher was handcuffed, put into a police car, and charged with carrying a concealed weapon.

She faced a possible criminal trial and a $10,000 fine. But the state declined to prosecute, and the Transportation Security Administration said it probably won't impose a fine.

Harrington said she'll never again carry her bookmark into an airport."

Thursday, September 16, 2004
 
Thai doctors blame penis hacking craze on lingering polygamy
PJI: "They have been boiled, fed to ducks, even attached to hot air balloons and cast into the night sky -- when it comes to permanently depriving a cheating lover of a recently severed penis, the imagination of the wronged Thai woman knows few bounds.

Thailand has become the world centre of penis reattachment surgery, but then it has been forced to be. While not unique to the kingdom, penis severing has been honed here to its most devastating effect through a heady mixture of routine infidelity, assertive womanhood and a national cuisine that lends itself to a kitchen full of sharp knives.

....According to the surgeon there are no solid numbers on how many Thai victims there have been because embarrassed patients, including some public figures, always seek discreet doctors, or disappear immediately after treatment.

He said it was now possible to make replacement penises from arteries and skin taken from other parts of the body that could be inflated with pumps, but warned men who insist on being unfaithful to follow a few golden rules.

"If you have a mistress they (wives) will get mad and cut it any time, so make her very happy, always carry a thermos to put it in and keep the name of a good doctor close by," he said.

 
Democrats More Likely To Steal Hotel Towels Than Republicans
NCBuy: We all know Democrats are more likely to vote for John Kerry, but did you know that members of the left-leaning party are also more likely to steal towels from hotels?

According to research by the advertising firm Margeotes Fertitta and Partners, 35 percent of people who admit to heisting linens from hotels are Democrats, compared to only 26 percent who are Republicans.

Other differences between the parties...

-- Democrats say they enjoy their sex lives more than Republicans, 33 percent to 24 percent.

-- Republicans are less likely to cheat on their significant other. Only 19 percent of perennial cheaters are Republicans, compared to 38 percent who are Democrats.

-- Finally, 58 percent of people who never speak to their parents are Democrats, while only 16 percent are Republicans."

 
Sinister form of flattery
mainetoday.com: " 'The Copycat Effect: How the Media and Popular Culture Trigger the Mayhem in Tomorrow's Headlines' (Paraview Pocket Books, $14).

Coleman, 57, lives in Portland and has been working in the mental health field for more than 35 years. He's a former senior researcher at the University of Southern Maine's Muskie School of Public Policy and has written or edited more than 20 books, including 'Suicide Clusters' in 1987.

Q: Besides the sheer number of violent acts that are similar, what is the most persuasive evidence you found that media coverage triggers violence?

A: What I did was take the research studies, done from the 1960s through the 1990s, in which people tracked reports in the media and then tracked what kind of causal effect they had in three days, one week, one month. I decided to take this very dry research and put it together with actual cases.

Kurt Cobain's suicide, for instance. There were 70 or 80 other (suicides) modeled after it. People picking the same day, or leaving notes saying they 'did it for Kurt.'

There's much more coverage of these things, on cable news, Fox and MSNBC. With coverage of the school shootings, they (the shooters) might have done something more quietly, killed themselves. But they've seen so much coverage, and that's become the model for school shootings.

We know that in the year after 9/11, with much less coverage of domestic (instances of) violence, there were no workplace rampages and no school shootings.

In Vienna, they had a rash of subway suicides. They did a newspaper blackout (no reporting on the suicides) and they decreased an enormous amount.

I'm not out for censorship, but the wall-to-wall coverage and graphic depictions (of violence) can really get to vulnerable people.

Q: What sorts of violence are the most copied?

A: The ones the media report on most. There's not a lot of (reporting) on elder suicides, or quiet terminal illness suicides. Bank robberies are pretty much ignored now.

There were shootings at schools before Columbine, but they were people who weren't part of the school community. And there had been urban crime, urban African-Americans killing each other.

But the media didn't really catch on until you had white boys in rural or suburban areas killing girls and teachers. Why are white boys more exciting for the media? To appeal to a a larger audience?

I'm not at all kind to the media in the book. I basically say they are using death to sell soap and SUVs.

Saturday, September 11, 2004
 
georgelazenby: Rusomaniacal batshittery
Яџѕѕіаиѕ. Yes, I know that spells Ytdzdziais, don't bother me with details. If Тетяіѕ can do it, I can too.

"We went up a short incline. This brought us to an ordinary glass door. We knocked. We waited. We waited. We noticed the doorbell. We rang. We waited. Eventually we grew bold and entered. This brought us into a narrow hallway that had all the indications of being nothing more than drywall, veneer and ceiling tile. We said 'Hello....?' No one answered our question. We proceeded down the hallway flanked by doors, unsure as to whether the desire not to surprise someone for the sake of politeness overrode the rudeness of opening a closed door. At an impasse, we kept walking down the hallway, not opening any doors. But, we rapidly became trapped, when we realized that the only way out of this hallway was to open a door. Because it seemed the least likely to be the entrance to an office, bathroom or weird eastern European slave dungeon, we chose the last door the hallway had to offer. I turned the knob as if it had been made by Faberge, and swung the cheap door open to reveal three batshit insane Russians, one quiet Russian and 27,500 ft2 of factory floor.

'Hellough!' said Anton Pachinko, leaping down the steep stairs of the electron beam furnace. 'Hellough.' said Svetlana Pachinko, as she teetered over to us on high heeled sandals. 'Hellough.' said Trofim Pachinko as he strode over from standing next to Yegvenii Arkedeivitch. Yegvenii neither moved nor spoke.

And so we were introduced to Rusomaniacal batshittery.

After the pleasantries were brought out and marched around, the business cards exchanged and the subtle warnings about revealing technical secrets impressed upon us, the Iridium was produced. Everybody hefted the currant jam jar, and agreed that it was a very dense currant jam jar.Antonopened the jar with calculated indifference, and poured the Iridium out onto a steel worktable. The beauty of those silver drops falling through the air was quickly dashed by the deafening noise they made as they struck the tabletop. Each button bounced to an unnatural height, both surfaces having near perfect inelasticity. The buttons were put on a scale, which read out, oddly, in pounds. 1.82 lbs; we were to expect anywhere from 2 to 10% evaporation during the melting. Antonscooped up the Iridium and clambered up the steep furnace platform stairs. He tossed the buttons into one of the moulds in the black copper crucible. He did it with inattention to the Iridium's value that was so obvious that I suspected it was intentional. "

Thursday, September 09, 2004
 
Kinder painting sold for $75,000
Herald Sun: [06jul04]: "A KINDERGARTEN painting fetched a staggering $75,000 after a bidding war between two rich parents erupted at a school fundraising event.

The colourful abstract of children and animals - painted by a preschool class at St Catherine's school, in Toorak - became an object of fierce competition when the rivals decided they both wanted it.

Crazy John's mobile phone millionaire John Ilhan, who had two daughters at the school, confirmed the outlandish price was paid - but not by him. He pulled out when things 'got seriously out of hand'.
Mr Ilhan said his eldest daughter, whose classmates all contributed to the painting, had her heart set on taking it home.
Mr Ilhan described the work - 100cm by 70cm acrylic on canvas - as colourful and typical of infant art.
'There were a couple of children on it, a couple of animals and a flower, at least I think that's what they were,' Mr Ilhan said. 'Lots of blues and other colours.'
Mr Ilhan said he was as surprised as anyone when the painting started generating interest worthy of masterpieces.
Experts say $75,000 would buy a classic by renowned artists Arthur Boyd, Norman Lindsay or Brett Whiteley"

Wednesday, September 08, 2004
 
An October surprise -- from the bank
Political Puzzle -- The Front Page: "I know you've done it -- we all have done it. Write a check that you didn't have the funds at the moment to cover, but were intending to deposit the next day. We were taking advantage of what is known as the bank 'float.'

Well, that is coming to a rapid end. On October 25th, the 'Check Clearing for the 21st Century Act' otherwise known as the 'Check 21' law comes into effect.

The current system relies on couriers to transport the actual paper check from bank to clearinghouse to bank before the funds are transfered. For a local check, this process could take up to three days, and up to ten days for an out of state check. People have been taking advantage of this 'float' system for a long time -- essentially giving themselves a 'loan' of money that they didn't actually have.

Under Check 21, this system will be replaced with electronic means. The bank, upon receiving the instrument for payment, will create a 'substitute' check that can be beamed to the payor bank for instant payment, thus erasing this 'float'. That check you write this afternoon will be almost immediately deducted from your account within hours instead of days.


This is liable to cause a lot of insuffient check problems for many consummers who have been giving themselves 'loans' on their money. It is also going to effect a lot of companies also, who take advantage of this float by collecting the interest on their payroll accounts for an extra few days.

My company pays me out of New York. They have a weekly payroll of roughly a million dollars. They purposely have resisted automatic payroll deposits because they know that it takes ten days for a check to clear their account even though the employee gets their money immediately. That is ten additional days that they can collect the interest on a million dollars.

Well, that is going away, and because this windfall 'profit' is going away as well, then it is likely that there will be some kind of belt tightening to compensate for it.

Oh well, I guess that is progress..."

 
Student brings his hunting hawk to college
mainetoday.com: "When Andrew Fleming packed for college, he needed two cars: One for his clothes, computer and mini refrigerator, and the other for his red-tailed hawk Belle and all her gear.

Hawks don´t always travel light. In Belle´s case, she needed her perch, food freezer and water tub, among other things.

Fleming is not only a student at Unity College, but he´s also a student of falconry, the hunting of wild quarry using birds of prey. So when the freshman showed up at the central Maine campus, Belle was in tow.

........Falconers must have federal as well as state licenses. Maine has 20 licensed falconers, said Mark Stadley of the state Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Department. Maine also requires a hunting license is the bird hunts, Stadley said.

Novice falconers, who must be at least 16 in Maine, must pass an exam, have a mentor and maintain their apprentice´s status for two years. The next stage, general falconer, covers a minimum of five years. After seven years, a falconer can become a master.

 
Mutually Assured Deconstruction
The New York Times :
"Mr. Kerry stepped boldly into the verbal minefield early, arriving at a front-porch session with supporters in Canonsburg, Pa., near Pittsburgh. As he likes to do, he brandished a bit of local color to show he wasn't just any interloping politician blowing through town.

...'Everybody told me, 'God, if you're coming to Canonsburg, you've got to find time to go to Toy's, and he'll take care of you,'' Mr. Kerry said, dropping the name of a restaurant his motorcade had passed on the way in. 'I understand it's my kind of place, because you don't have to - you know, when they give you the menu, I'm always struggling: Ah, what do you want?

'He just gives you what he's got, right?' Mr. Kerry added, continuing steadily off a gangplank of his own making: 'And you don't have to worry, it's whatever he's cooked up that day. And I think that's the way it ought to work, for confused people like me who can't make up our minds.'"

 
Eyetrack III - About the Research
poynterextra.org: "The Poynter Institute, the Estlow Center for Journalism and New Media, and Eyetools Inc. in late 2003 took 46 Internet users and looked through their eyes -- utilizing sophisticated and non-intrusive 'eyetracking' equipment -- as they each spent an hour reading news websites and multimedia news content. We used the Eyetools Analysis Solution Suite to capture and process the data and looked to the company's experts to help us compile the initial findings. What we learned is the subject of this website."

Tuesday, September 07, 2004
 
Critics warn of post-election problems if no paper trail exists
Touch-screen voting: "In many ways, politics in the United States are unlike those in Venezuela. The South American nation last month held a recall election for President Hugo Chavez, who survived an attempted coup in 2002.

But in another sense, that election may foreshadow the upcoming election in this country. The Venezuelan vote was conducted using electronic voting machines that generate a voter-verified paper trail. Chavez's opposition claimed that the victory, in which 59 percent voted to keep Chavez in power, was rigged. But international election monitors were able to conduct an audit by comparing the paper record to the electronic vote tallies.

'Without a paper trail to audit, there would have been no way to reach any closure on this situation,' said one American observer on the scene in Caracas, Venezuela's capital. 'There would be no paper trail, and you would be left with the assertion that some kind of manipulation happened. You have a safe bet that something like that is going to happen in November' in the United States."

Monday, September 06, 2004
 
Secretary Of State Bans Electronic Voting
TheKCRAChannel.com: "With harsh criticism, California Secretary of State Kevin Shelley ordered the plug pulled on all touch-screen voting machines in the state because of concerns over security.

A total of 14 counties and millions of voters were planning to use touch-screens on Election Day in November.

The decision goes beyond the recommendations that an advisory panel made earlier this week. It means four California counties that use a specific model of touch-screen machine will definitely have to find another voting system, and 10 other counties that use similar systems will have to do the same, unless the makers of the machines take steps to guarantee every vote gets counted.

'I came about this close to banning outright and decertifying outright with no possibility of reprieve in those 10 counties, as well,' Shelley said.

Shelley was upset because touch-screens, and specifically those made by a company called Diebold, have been accused of being vulnerable to computer hackers, who might change votes.

Last month in San Diego, elections officials had trouble just starting the machines and told some voters to come back later.

'While we are disappointed that the Secretary of State did not go all the way on this recommendation, he did make a historic step today in the decision he announced,' said California Voter Foundation spokeswoman Kim Alexander.

To get back their certification by November, the touch-screen makers will have to do one of two things: come up with a way to create a paper trail so that votes can be checked and recounted if necessary, or put in place a list of 23 security rules with which to prevent the machines from being tampered.

'I have taken the additional step, and I have the letter here just signed upstairs of asking the Attorney General to pursue criminal and civil actions against Diebold in this matter,' Shelley said."

 
The UN's Oil-for-Fraud Programme
FrontPage magazine.com - by Mark Steyn: "The scale of the UN Oil-for-Fraud programme is way beyond any of the corporate scandals that so excite the progressive mind. Oil-for-Food was designed to let the Iraqi government sell a limited amount of oil in return for food and other necessities for its people. Between 1996 and 2003, Saddam did more than $100 billion of business, all of it approved by Kofi Annan's Secretariat.

In return, by their own official figures, $15 billion of food and health supplies was sent to Iraq. What proportion of this reached the sick and malnourished Iraqi children is anybody's guess. Coalition troops discovered stockpiles of UN food far from starving moppets. But let us assume there is an innocent explanation. Even so, by the UN's own account, Oil-for-Food seemed to involve an awful lot of oil for not much food.

Where did all the other billions go? According to Kofi Annan himself, some $31 billion went on other 'humanitarian' spending for Iraq. Such as? Well, in 2002, the Secretary-General expanded the programme to cover other 'humanitarian' categories such as 'sport', 'information', 'justice' and 'labour and social affairs'"

 
world's oldest mouse
UMHS Press Release: "UPDATE: On April 22, Yoda died peacefully in his cage at the U-M Medical School. He was four years and 12 days old.



ANN ARBOR, MI -Yoda, the world's oldest mouse, celebrated his fourth birthday on Saturday, April 10, 2004 . A dwarf mouse, Yoda lives in quiet seclusion with his cage mate, Princess Leia, in a pathogen-free rest home for geriatric mice belonging to Richard A. Miller, M.D., Ph.D., a professor of pathology in the Geriatrics Center of the University of Michigan Medical School.
Yoda sniffing his cage mate, Princess Leia. Dwarf mice always are housed with larger females to provide body warmth needed to protect smaller dwarf mice from freezing to death.

Photo credit: Richard Miller, U-M Medical School

Yoda was born on April 10, 2000 at the U-M Medical School . At 1,462-days-old, Yoda is now the equivalent of about 136 in human-years. The life span of the average laboratory mouse is slightly over two years."

“Yoda is only the second mouse I know to have made it to his fourth birthday without the rigors of a severe calorie-restricted diet,” Miller says. “He's the oldest mouse we've seen in 14 years of research on aged mice at U-M. The previous record-holder in our colony died nine days short of his fourth birthday. 100-year-old people are much more common than four-year-old mice.”

 
Teen's sketches attract Secret Service scrutiny
The Seattle Times: Secret Service agents questioned a high-school student here about anti-war drawings he turned in to his art teacher.

One of them depicted President Bush's head on a stick.

Another pencil-and-ink drawing depicted Bush as a devil launching a missile, with a caption reading 'End the war"

....The artwork was apparently part of an assignment to keep a notebook of drawings, according to Kevin Cravens of Richland, who said he was a family friend of the boy who was investigated.

The drawing that drew the most attention showed a man in what appeared to be Middle Eastern-style clothing, holding a rifle. He also was holding a stick with the oversize head of President Bush on it. The student said the head was enlarged because it was intended to be an effigy, Cravens said. The caption called for an end to the war in Iraq.

 
Take One for the Country
OTOFTC Article: "'So you want to know how Take One for the Country started?'. McDonough leans back in her chair, 'It was back in February of 2003, when a lot of troops were leaving Ft. Benning. My girlfriends and I were partying at a bar frequented by soldiers. At some point one my friend leaves with a young soldier. The next day we questioned her and commented that the soldier didn't seem her 'type'. My friend just shrugged and said, 'Hey, his unit was going to ship out in a few days, so I decided to take one for the country', I knew right then and there that this was an incredible idea, so I started Operation Take One for the Country'.

McDonough energetically describes exactly what Operation Take One for the Country does, 'First, a military operation would not be a military operation unless we used an acronym, in this case, Op T.O.F.T.C., or as we say 'To-FutK'. Essentially we organize, discreetly, single girls to frequent bars and restaurants near military bases and, well, Take One for the Country, with members of the military, especially those about to go overseas'. As McDonough describes it, TOFTC volunteers work in secrecy, 'We're not out there with signs or badges. We are completely covert, you could not tell a TOFTC member from anyone else in the bar, and that is essential to the success of the Op'."

 
A Pyrogon Postmortem
bookofhook.com: "When you've invested a lot of effort and made a huge gamble, only to see minimal payoff, it's hard to sit back and objectively analyze why things didn't work out the way you had planned and hoped for. But in order to learn and grow then writing a postmortem helps.

With Pyrogon ceasing further development of new titles (but continuing to sell and support existing products for the indefinite future), I thought it would be a good time to sit back and reflect on what went right and what went wrong.

The Beginning
Pyrogon was started in 2001 as a co-venture between myself (Brian Hook), and Rosie Cosgrove, a fellow coworker from Sony On-line Entertainment. We had sufficient funds of our own to do our own thing for maybe six months, which we felt was plenty of time (oh, the naivete...) to get funding and start a new new game development house."

 
Duchess's poison dell will lure visitors
The Guardian : "Provided that a duchess can see eye-to-eye with the Home Office on growing cannabis, strychnine and cocaine, Britain is about to get the most venomous and hallucinogenic garden it has ever seen.

Harking back to medieval times, but with a toxic arsenal that a witch or apothecary could only dream of, the project includes shrubs and creepers so potentially nasty that the designers have suggested growing some of them in cages.

Visitors will be kept at a distance from the flowerbeds, with marked boundaries and supervisors enforcing a no-touching policy.

The dell at Alnwick Castle in Northumberland will lie under a perpetual miasma of 'deliberately spooky' mist, enlivened by a copper snake rearing from a grotto and hissing vapour, triggered by sensors as visitors creep past.

'It should be quite an experience,' said Caroline Holmes, the garden's poison plant consultant, who takes a gleeful relish in her subject.

'The plants will be fascinating. Henbane, for instance, has the most evil-looking flowers, and mandrake grows in a distinctly sinister fashion.'

Due to open in August, the Poison Garden is the latest part of Alnwick Gardens, a �42m extravaganza on the estate of the Duke and Duchess of Northumberland."

 
Life in the Fast Lane
Scientific American: "The supermarket is a great place to study human behavior, Trinkaus says. In a 1993 report, he described 75 visits in which he watched the same checkout lane for 15-minute stints. He stood off to the side, holding a shopping cart so as not to attract attention, discreetly keeping records with a handheld counter. He discovered that only 15 percent of the shoppers obeyed the 10-item limit; most exceeded the limit by two items. In a follow-up report in 2002, just 7 percent of the buyers obeyed the limit, and the violators purchased 14 items, on average. People also split large orders in half to meet the posted limit. Shoppers were no better behaved in the bakery department; 90 percent of the shoppers used their hands rather than tongs to select items. The availability of tissue paper helped, but not by much: 60 percent still used their hands.

Trinkaus claims that 'all my studies point in the same direction - that things are changing for the worse" in terms of courtesy and civility. "We’re seeing more selfish behavior, more people looking out for themselves," he notes. He suspects that Americans’ infatuation with technology—cell phones, MP3 players and the Internet—has led to a lack of communication. "People interact less with one another these days and more with machines. That can be isolating, possibly contributing to antisocial behavior."

 
I don't know, but . . .
The Indian Ten Commandments:

I see posters with 'The Indian Ten Commandments:'

1. Remain close to the great spirit.
2. Show great respect for your fellow beings.
3. Be truthful and honest at all times.
4. Do what you know to be right.
5. Look after the well being of mind and body.
6. Treat the Earth and all that dwells there on with respect.
7. Take full responsibility for your actions.
8. Dedicate a share of your efforts to the greater good.
9. Work together for the benefit of all mankind.
10. Give assistance and kindness whenever needed.

These sound cute. But unless these are a brand-new collection developed especially for modern cosmopolitan American Indians, they are also spectacularly ignorant.

Don't people remember that the American Indians come from many different tribes, with wildly different cultures and religions? If you want to list religious commands, you should specify which tribe they came from. For example:

1. Rip out living human hearts on Huitzilopochtli's temple to keep the sun rising. (Aztec)
2. In February and March, sacrifice children to Tlaloc. (Aztec) [ref Krickeberg]
3. When the Great Sun dies, strangle his wives and offer your own children under 3 as sacrificial companions. (Natchez) [ref Stirling]
4. Torture your enemies to death for the honor of your clan. (Iroquois)
5. Pray to toads to obtain good weather. Treat them carefully, unless the weather is bad--in which case, whip them. (Oronoka river tribes) [ref Depons]
6. You may not marry unless you can stand being bitten by poisonous ants without making any noise. (Arawak) [ref Pitou]
7. If a man dies for any reason, you must find the witch who killed him. (Cherokee)
8. Decapitate anyone who blasphemously reveals the secrets of a Katcina. (Zuni)
9. Second-hand tobacco smoke purifies you and connects you with the gods. (numerous tribes)
10. Use a a buffalo skull stuffed with grass as an altar during the summer solstice Sun Dance ceremonies. Young men should rip skewers through their flesh. (Sioux) [ref Schwatka]

I grant you that my selection is invidious. And the first collection is an anacronistic whitewash. And if you want to find out about American Indians, go look up real tribes first. Learn a little of their histories. Then read about the modern pan-Indian movement. Then laugh uncontrollably at the fake Indian-spirituality peddled these days.
posted by james at 9:55 AM"

 
Art of fine coffee is in your face [17apr04]
Herald Sun: "Cafe owner Chris Phillips chose an unusual medium to create art - the cafe lattes he serves by the trayful at his Richmond cafe.



'When you pour the milk in and the cream hits, it's just like a blank canvas on which to paint,' the 36-year old said.

Mr Phillips and fiancee Bernadette Farrugia started Flavors of Lakhoum in Swan St five years ago and he dabbled with the idea while pouring coffee.

'Sometimes you see swirls and patterns when you're pouring the coffee in, and one day I was pouring it and I saw an eye appear,' he said.

'From there I just drew in a mouth and ears. I've been slowly practising since then, but have got pretty good in the last few months - every month I find ways to add more detail.'

The pictures usually only take about 30 seconds, meaning your coffee doesn't suffer for the sake of art."

 
always mount a scratch mare
jwz: "Robert Lefkowitz looked at the old question of whether software is a product or a service by turning to an even older field: horse studs. In days of yore, if you had a mare that you wanted bred with a high-quality horse, you paid for the 'service' of the stallion's owner bringing it over and performing the deed.

Nowadays, it's all about artificial insemination. So instead you browse through, ahem, a seed catalog, and purchase however many milliliters of semen from whichever stallion strikes your fancy. Now of course, if you had sufficiently small tweezers (and modern technology does), you could make millions of horse babies from even a tiny sample of semen.

But, according to the law and to the terms that you purchase the semen under, you are buying not a product (the semen itself) but... a service. You own the physical material, but you do not own the rights to it. You license the genetic material of the stallion. You perform your own artificial insemination with the material you purchased, but (this is true) you are allowed to make only two copies.

Lefkowitz's point was that the subtle product-service distinction is not unique to software, but I found myself wondering if, somewhere, there is a Jack Valenti of the horse-stud cartel, lamenting backup foals."

 
THE MAD ADVENTURES OF RABBI JACOB
THE MAD ADVENTURES OF RABBI JACOB is a comic masterpiece that BOX OFFICE called 'one of the funniest movies from any country' upon its initial theatrical release in 1973. THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER described the performance of French comedy superstar Louis de Fun�s as 'reminiscent of Jerry Lewis!' Now a new generation of movie lovers can finally discover this lost comic treasure that the L.A. HERALD EXAMINER called 'a truly entertaining film.'



PREORDER: March 23, 2004 - STREET: April 13, 2004
THE INTERNATIONAL SMASH HIT BEAUTIFULLY RESTORED

Victor Pivert is a very tolerant man - provided you are white, Catholic, and French. To everyone else, he is a shameless racist, who believes foreigners should go back where they came from. On his way to his daughter's wedding, Victor uncovers a group of scheming Arab revolutionaries. After Victor is discovered, he hides himself by dressing up as a rabbi, leading to one madcap scene after another. THE MAD ADVENTURES OF RABBI JACOB is an extremely entertaining film - fresh, funny, and powerfully poignant."

jaynote: I saw this film when I was very young, and I loved it. Other friends remember it, and they loved it. Highly recommended.

 
WIZMARK
Discover Wizmark, the interactive urinal communicator, its advertising you can't help, but look at. An idea so original it has everyone talking. Wizmark is based on one unwritten rule; when using a urinal, never stare at the person next to you. Every male knows that when he is using a urinal, he can look anyway he wants, except left or right. realizing this unwritten code, the appeal of the concept is that it's assures your ad will effectively reach the elusive male audience. Wizmark is undoubtedly the perfect advertising medium for men of all ages.



One-of-a-kind, fully functional interactive devices, Wizmark can talk, sing, or even flash promotional messages. The large anti-glare, water-proof viewing screens are strategically located just above the drain to ensure guaranteed viewing without interruptions. Using the elements of surprise and humor in a truly unique location, Wizmark, and your ad, will make a lasting impression on every male that sees it."

Friday, September 03, 2004
 
awake wondering if there's a dog... *
Current ViewThere is a cross wiring difficulty in something like 3% of kids which causes them to confuse p and q and b and d. You might call this "true neurological dyslexia." The right kind of neurological cross training takes care of most of that. Roberta taught in schools for the gifted as well as regular schools, but eventually became the reading teacher of last resort for the Los Angeles County Juvenile Justice System. Because my wife got illiterate kids, many were diagnosed as "dyslexic" which really meant "It isn't MY fault I couldn't teach this poor protoplasm to read! Pass the problem to someone else or I call the CTA shop steward oops professional representative." So the kids were moved elsewhere, unable to read; some were lucky enough to become criminals sent to Kirby Center where they fell into Roberta's capable hands.

Of the ones Roberta got, 6,000, she taught all but one to read. It took about 6 months on average although I gather some caught on faster. These ranged in age from about 10 to 15 or 16. They mostly insisted they didn't want to learn (translation: "I can't do it so I will no longer try") and all did learn: the learning itself is rewarding once the kid realizes it is possible. Some of them went on to junior college. These were not particularly bright kids, but they were not stupid, either. We see some of them to this day. One is an usher at the Music Center; reads tickets and finds seats for people....

jaynote: read the rest, it's worthwhile. And Roberta has a software program that teaches reading using her methods.
btw, if you were confused by the title, it was part of the joke "did you hear about the dyslexic insomniac who stayed awake all night wondering if there really is a dog..."

Wednesday, September 01, 2004
 
Dogging the goat
Diana West: "'John Kerry is not the type who will sit and read 'My Pet Goat' to a group of second-graders while America is under attack,' Kerry campaign spokeswoman Stephanie Cutter declared last week, by all accounts with a straight face. Ms. Cutter, Ted Kennedy's former press secretary, was referring to the kiddie book Mr. Bush continued reading with schoolchildren for several minutes after learning that the second tower of the World Trade Center had been attacked.

Them may be fightin' words in a 'more sensitive' war on terror, but I'm guessing that Thomas E. Dewey, FDR's fourth and final presidential opponent, never even thought to hit Roosevelt for 18 minutes of inaction at the onset of World War II. Let's just say that John Kerry is no Tom Dewey. 'Had I been reading to children and had my top aide whisper in my ear that America is under attack,' Mr. Kerry intoned this month, 'I would have told those kids very nicely and politely that the president of the United States has something that he needed to attend to. And I would have attended to it.'

Really? As an article in The Washington Times points out, Mr. Kerry's reaction to the attacks of Sept. 11 wasn't exactly the stuff of the Minutemen. Mr. Kerry told 'Larry King Live' that on the morning of Sept. 11 nearly three years ago, he 'sat stunned and unable to think for more than 30 minutes in the Capitol until he and other senators were whisked out of the building to safety,' the Times reports. 'By that time, Mr. Bush already had addressed the nation, vowed to capture those responsible and begun discussions with Vice President Dick Cheney and other top aides about whether to shoot down any civilian aircraft violating the administration's order that all planes be grounded.' And finished reading 'My Pet Goat.'"


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