Saturday, April 30, 2005

Please Stop Hurting America

"It's not so much that it's bad, as it's hurting America ... Stop, stop, stop, stop hurting America."
Jon Stewart, referring to CNN programming while on Crossfire
A bride is on the run in America. If you listen closely, you can hear the cable news producers popping open champagne in their control rooms. As of this morning, they know the headline story that is going to eat up hours and hours of programming for the next week.

You might think the American media is completely incapable of adequately covering the world events while a People/Us Weekly-level tabloid drama is unfolding. Sadly, it's a choice. They can cover important domestic and world events even while:

A) A bride is on the loose.
B) A cat is in a tree.
C) A celebrity is kissing another celebrity.

...they just choose not to do so.

Case in point, here are CNN's two flagship sites right now (7:57 am, Pacific).

Source: CNN

Like its cable peer, has gone completely apeshit. Iranian & North Korean nukes? Bombs exploding in Egypt? Don't bother me -- A bride faked her own abduction!

Source: CNN

This is CNN's international site ( Look at this BBC-level of sophistication. They practically look like NPR. I've highlighted the same runner-bride story so you don't miss it. That's about the level of emphasis that the story deserves in America as well.

They can report important news first, they just choose not to. The entities that own these news outlets believe that they must maintain a tabloid angle in order to keep an audience for their advertisers. This strategy works for today...

...but tomorrow is an open question. There is a vacuum today for mass market, serious journalism -- a vacuum that (quite oddly) is being filled by a number of blogs.

Here are some recent viewership numbers concerning cable news popularity, taken directly from that Republican Flack, Matt Drudge. The number next to the show's name reflects 24-hour viewership in millions.
WED, JAN 05, 2005

Now take a look at the number of people who visit one of the more popular progressive blogs, Daily Kos. That's right, more people read Daily Kos than watch Chris Matthew's Hardball yellfest.

If major US news outlets fail to deliver intelligent news and commentary, their audience will learn to find it elsewhere.

Friday, April 29, 2005

Dar! I Swear It Be Buried Treasure!

It's the classic tale, told yet again by hapless modern miscreants.

  1. We found these hundred year-old banknotes buried in our backyard.

  2. Actually, we found these hundred year-old banknotes in someone else's attic while we worked on their roof.

  3. We're in jail.

Source: CNN

Ladies and Gentleman, I present you with the plot of Goonies 2. (Yes, I know there already is a Goonies 2 video game, but no movie by that title has been made.)

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Tom Keeps Getting Older, They Stay the Same Age

Just in case Scientologist Tom Cruise wants the math to be symmetrical, somebody please tell him that actress Keira Knightley was born in 1985.

1967 + 7 = 1974
1974 + 4 = 1978
1978 + 7 = 1985

A guy's gotta plan ahead, y'know?

Source: Wikipedia, IMDb*

Tom Cruise and Actress Katie Holmes Dating (Reuters)


I have been greatly remiss.

I completely forgot that Tom Cruise was married to Mimi Rogers before he wed Nicole Kidman. This has the potential to change everything. Now it looks like an orderly progression could really proceed in 2 different directions:

1956 + 11 = 1967
1967 + 7 = 1974
1974 + 4 = 1978
1978 + 7 = 1985


1956 + 11 = 1967
1967 + 11 - 4 = 1974
1974 + 11 - 4 - 3 = 1978
1978 + 11 - 4 - 3 - 2 = 1980

Therefore, I guess we're looking at a couple options:

and then,

Source: Wikipedia, IMDb*

Please inform Christina Aguilera that she is not out of the woods yet.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Adjoined and Adjacent

You've got to hand it to those cheeky folks at the Dallas Morning News.

The Morning News opted to run the now-famous picture of President Bush holding hands with Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah adjacent to a story about the Texas House of Representatives voting to amend the Texas constitution to ban gay marriage.

Source: Dallas Morning News

Thanks, PinkDome!

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

No Toad Wants to Explode

Even as we sit here, somewhere in Germany toads are exploding.

Source: Wikipedia (GNU Free Documentation License)

Monday, April 25, 2005

Insert Fiendish Laughter Soundtrack Here

Souls... Souls for My Master!

Source: My Way News

Sunday, April 24, 2005

North Korean Construction Projects That Seemed Like Perfectly Good Ideas at the Time

Ryugyong Hotel
In 1987, in an effort to show up their neighbors to the south, North Korea set out to build the world's tallest hotel, The Ryugyong Hotel. At the time of its building, this extravagant 105-story project cost more than 2% of North Korea's GDP.

Source: Wikipedia (GNU Free Documentation License)

Construction on the Ryugyong halted in 1992. Although the hulking main structure is complete (albeit uninhabitable due to deficient, dangerous concrete), it is merely a shell, lacking any windows or inner fixtures.

Here's the lovely Pyongyang skyline with the Ryugyong Hotel lurking in the distance.

Gijeong-dong Flagpole
In 1981, South Korean hamlet of Daeseong-Dong erected a 100-meter flagpole within clear view of the DMZ. Ready to show their southern counterparts a thing or two, the North Koreans decided to build the world's tallest flagpole in Gijeong-dong, proving to the whole world that they were willing to push any Flag-arms race well beyond the dictates of reason. The flag atop this 160-meter pole is reported to weigh more than 600 lbs.


The village of Gijeong-dong itself
You might think it's silly to build a 500-foot flagpole at the entrance of frontier village, but what about at the entrance of a fictional village with no actual inhabitants? That's right. Gijeong-dong (also known as Propaganda Village) was constructed by North Korea within view of its border with South Korea. It consists only of the shells of buildings and has no actual residents. Loudspeakers within Gijeong-dong blare propaganda southward, in hopes that some gullible South Koreans might dare make their way north.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Boosted Booster

Much as I love watching big time college athletics, I find it impossible to look past the morass of serious issues that malign collegiate sport.

Of all the nasty elements clinging parasitically to college athletics, corrupt boosters are easily the most pathetic. Whether or not you think varsity college athletes deserve to be paid (I do), you've gotta admit that it's sad when middle aged men are paying off college athletes so that they might feel more important.

No booster's case is sadder than the tale of Robert Q. Baker. Last week, Ohio State basically broke up with him and got a restraining order. Poor Baker. What will he do to feel accepted now?

Source: The Ohio State University

Friday, April 22, 2005

The Daily News Police Blotter: Fear and Loathing in Atherton

One of the many charms of living in Silicon Valley is the presence of a high-quality, 100% ad-supported (therefore, free) daily newspaper: The Daily News.

For a free newspaper, the quality of this journal is really unbelievable. The local coverage is surprisingly good, national coverage is AP and syndicated content, and it has two (count 'em) crossword puzzles. For anyone less than a news junkie, it really does the trick.

However, the best section of the Daily News is easily the Police Blotter, where they diligently detail the less savory side of Silicon Valley.

Like anywhere, most of the incidents detailed in the police blotter are no laughing matter. Yet, some items in the blotter always bring a smile — if not for the incident itself, than for the tone of the item: an inimitable blend of matter-of-factness, tongue-in-cheek commentary, and the drudgery of dealing with people behaving badly.

Here are a few choice items — unretouched — that graced the Palo Alto Daily News Police Blotter on April 21, 2005.

Some items have the sense of resignation that comes with reporting mindless crime:


900 block of Roosevelt Ave., 8:43 a.m.: Graffiti was found on a school for the second day in a row.

Other pieces are short form stories, drawing me in for 15 words and then leaving me wondering about the rest of the tale:


First block of Atherwood Place, 1:10 p.m.: A woman reported finding a club card membership card with her name and her neighbor's picture on it.


1600 block of Borel Place, 9:34 a.m.: A woman reported receiving 42 harassing messages.

100 block of Ontario St., 10:57 a.m.: A person reported their son borrowed their car on April 1 and has yet to return it.
(If only they provided updates. Did the son bring the car back?)

Finally, there are the police blotter items from the Atherton Police Department. These bits are truly in a class by themselves.

In terms of median home value, Atherton is the richest zip code in America. The average home was worth $2,266,711 at the end of last year. Furthermore, Atherton is about as cloistered and quaint as they come (for an area squat in the middle of a major metropolitan area). The Atherton cops keep copies of people's home keys on file, lest they lock themselves out. Most of Atherton is sidewalk-free, though it is sandwiched betwixt several communities of more than 50,000 people.

Without fail, police blotter items for Atherton are twice as long as items from the surrounding community. Each one is a tale diagramming this strange burg. Each one shows what police are called to do when they become a security force for the rich and nervous:


First block of Walnut, 7:15 a.m.: A resident called police to report that their fence was damaged and construction vehicles were blocking their driveway
Just one battle in the Martha Stewart-esque property wars forever underway beneath Atherton's oaks.


100 block of Selby Lane, 9:38 a.m.: Someone broke into a container at Selby Lane Elementary, spreading the container's contents across the campus. Burglars also tried to break into the ice cream room.
This school has an ice cream room?


500 block of Middlefield Road, 10:28 a.m.: A silver IT70 Nextel cell phone was stolen from a locker at Menlo Atherton High School.
Something tells me that daddy can afford a new one.


First block of Lowery Drive, 1:35 p.m.: A resident reported that cars were illegally parked in front of her property.
If these cars are parked here for 5 more minutes, then the terrorists have already won.


First block of Lilac Drive, 3:06 p.m.: A resident called police because a neighbor had been complaining about the noise level from their son's band practice. The resident asked police to come to the practice at 4 p.m. and take a decibel reading.
Battles 2 & 3 of the day in the Inter-Atherton Resident Wars.


300 block of Walsh Road,11:27 p.m.: A 46-year-old man was taken to the hospital.
I thought this was the police blotter.

The Palo Alto/San Mateo/Redwood City/Burlingame/Los Gatos Daily News Police Blotter. I highly encourage you to check it out.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

DeLay's Political Enemies Forced Him to Work with Jack Abramoff

Google Ad.

...just appeared on my blog.

Prayer can't undo the things that DeLay and Abramoff did together.

Subpoena Novak Now!

(Read the back story.)

Judith Miller of The New York Times and Matthew Cooper of Time magazine are now one step away from jail. A federal appeals court in Washington upheld a lower court decision that found them in contempt for failing to disclose their informant in the Valerie Plame CIA leak case. It's now up to the Supreme Court to determine Miller and Cooper's collective fate.

Still the Justice Department has not subpoenaed Robert Novak, the right-wing columnist who outed Plame as a CIA agent.

It's a miscarriage of justice for Miller and Cooper to risk jail while the linchpin of the entire scandal basks in the light of an apparent immunity.

Subpoena Novak Now!

Source: urban outliers

Friday, April 15, 2005

Sliver in Your Friend’s Eye

As Bill Frist prepares to paint the partisan politics in Congress as a case of the righteous versus the secular, he would be wise to recall a quote attributed to the founder of his party.

Sir, my concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God's side.
- Abraham Lincoln

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Pat Sajak Could Do His Day Job While High

I love the internet.

Without the internet, the only Pat Sajak I would know would be Pat Sajak, host of Wheel of Fortune.

With the internet, I get to meet Pat Sajak, conservative commentator who is fed up with arguing with liberals, who isn't sure about these internet goons, and who wishes people would leave ol' Tom DeLay alone.


To Be a Silly Mid Off or a Backward Short Leg

It pleases me greatly that there are only 10 fielders (including the bowler) per side in cricket, but there are more than 30 named positions that those fielders can occupy.

Source: Wikipedia (GNU Free Documentation License)

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

$auntering $limy $tock Index ($$$) Quarterly Report: Q1 2005

DOWN 47%

Last month, I started the $auntering $limy $tock Index, and I'm proud to present my first quarterly report.

For those of you playing at home, each time I am faxed a junk stock opportunity, I shall pretend to buy $1,000 of that security, tracking this faux portfolio in my Morningstar account. I'll provide a quarterly update regarding the performance of these gems.

Before today, I'd only received one fax in the past month: Cyberads Inc. (CAYD.OB). Thus, Cyberads has had to shoulder the entire $$$ burden for Q1 2005. It sagged a bit under all that pressure, losing 47% of its value since I pretended to purchase it on March 14.

Today, I'm proud to announce the addition of Savi Media Group, Inc. (SVMI.OB) to the $$$. Although I have no idea what service or good Savi Media Group is pitching, they must be awesome. According to the unsolicited fax I just received, they are a HUGE GAIN OPPORTUNITY.

...and I'm a sucker for HUGE GAIN OPPORTUNITIES.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Boy or Girl, It'd Be Great if She Named it Justin

What does the Greatest Living Artist name her baby, now that all the good names have been taken?

If it's a boy, I'm thinking Boutros Boutros-Federline. If it's a girl, how about something sweet, like Epiphinecstasy or Rainbow Federline?

Source: AP

Monday, April 11, 2005

Sending the Wrong First Impression to the World

John Bolton is the Bush Administration's nominee for US ambassador to the United Nations. My favorite John Bolton quotes?

  • There's no such thing as the United Nations.
  • If the U.N. secretary building in New York lost 10 stories, it wouldn't make a bit of difference.
  • If I were redoing the Security Council, I'd have one permanent member: the United States.
However, I'm willing to look past the anti-United Nations, almost jingoistic things he's said in the past. I think he should be rejected because he's disobeyed the cardinal rule of men's grooming: If you're going to use Just For Men on your hair, you simply must use it on your mustache, too.

If you're keeping the 'stache, you just gotta follow the example set by Keith Hernandez and Walt Frazier.

Source: CNN

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Twilight for Tom DeLay

How are the mighty fallen in the midst of the battle! How are the mighty fallen, and the weapons of war perished!
2 Samuel 1:25,27
House Majority Leader Tom DeLay represents Texas Congressional District 22, a gerrymandered district consisting of a few suburban communities south of Houston, Texas.

Source: US Census Bureau

DeLay has served District 22 for more than 20 years. In the process, his agressive modus operandi has earned him the nickname The Hammer from his congressional colleagues.

With the minority Democratic party largely in disarray during the Bush Administrations, DeLay reveled in the Tyranny of the Majority, exerting his will on all legislation within his reach and preaching at the American people from his bully pulpit atop the majority party.

Today, it appears that Mr. DeLay has finally gone too far. As DeLay and his close allies make unseemly comments about the judiciary, as President Bush and Congress's approval ratings continue to slide, and as new and damaging ethics allegations surface regarding DeLay's relationship with lobbyists, Republicans are increasingly viewing Tom DeLay as a liability.

DeLay's days as Majority Leader are clearly numbered -- that much is all but certain. What's decidedly uncertain is how the Democratic and Republican parties will react to this McCarthy-esque example of ambition and power run amok.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Charles Weds Camilla, Small Hedgehog

At what point did this hat seem like a good idea?

Source: CNN

Friday, April 08, 2005

Hanging On By a Virtual Thread

<boring, esoteric whine>
Don't get me wrong. I think blogs are great and I'm pleased to have mine hosted for free by Google's Blogger; however, the technical difficulties that Blogger frequently experiences are almost paralyzing. Often, you just can't publish posts.

I suspect there's more than a little disarray behind the scenes at Blogger. It just feels like they don't have their act together. If you want to peer behind the Blogger curtain, you really need to look no further than this recent post & subsequent updates on the official Blogger blog,

Source: Blogger

That's right. A feature that they released to combat their buggy system is, in fact, itself buggy.

Blogger is quickly becoming the victim of its own success, and I'm confident the numbers of users and hits are growing faster than Google can (or wants to) devote resources to this cost-negative project. Unfortunately for Blogger, its stable of amateur pundits are only going to tolerate so much technical uncertainty before they jump ship and move to a new URL.

For now, I'm committed to Blogger, but I expect more from a service owned by the premier online brand.
</boring, esoteric whine>

Thursday, April 07, 2005

News Flash: Lowest Common Denominator Even Lower Than You Expected

Click on the image to view America, We Stand As One (It's a couple minutes of high-quality video. Be patient during the download, Grasshopper.)


Thanks, Scott!

A Conspiracy of Dry Cleaners

In the past eight days, conservative commentators Bill Kristol, Pat Buchanan, and David Horowitz have each taken their show on the road to colleges in Indiana or Michigan.

For those of you keeping score at home, that's two pies and one container of salad dressing.

Sources:, CNN, Daily Kos

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Fry Me, Squish Me, Nuke Me, Burn Me

Sure, it's no Shizzolator, but it's fun to abuse web pages with Netdisaster.

Thanks, Adam!

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Google Maps Add Keyhole Satellite Images

Not sure how useful this is (especially when compared to Amazon's cool Find It On The Block technology), but it sure adds a lot of WOW.

Source: Google

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Two Regular Segments I'd Like to See on CNN

If you've been watching much CNN or reading Wonkette, you know that this cable news service is utterly obsessed with blogs and their impact on the news. Atrios has some sage advice concerning how CNN could improve the quality of its coverage without running silly programs like the Blog Report:
(The easily offended can stop reading now.)

If I were running CNN, once I fired most of the people that worked there and replaced them with decent TV journalists, I'd get rid of their little daily blog show and replace it with the "Fox News Fuckup of the day." They could just steal it from Media Matters. Then I'd add a "crazy shit people are hearing on talk radio which aren't true" segment.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Source: Reuters

Friday, April 01, 2005

Patxi's Pizza: Soy Cheese Challenge

My friend Scott eats at Patxi's Pizza quite a bit. Born with supernaturally low cholesterol, Scott eats enough Chicago deep dish pizza to fell a lesser man.

Scott's miracle biology aside, the good folks at Patxi's still thought it wise to begin weaning Scott from standard cheese filling to a potentially healthier alternative.

Last week, unbeknownst to Scott, they gave him a Chicago-style pizza filled with soy cheese.

Scott is easily the most finicky eater I know, so I was taken aback to hear that he barely noticed the difference between soy cheese and Patxi's standard issue cow curd. Since a more thorough investigation had to be immediately conducted, four of us descended onto Patxi's last night for a more rigorous scientific evaluation. We ordered one pepperoni with regular cheese and one with soy cheese.

We began dining without knowing which pizza was loaded with cow and which pizza was slathered with beans.

Both pies arrive.

Slice 1: Soy Cheese Slice

Slice 2: Standard Cheese Slice

Judgment. I am the only diner to incorrectly guess which pie had soy cheese instead of standard cheese.

I'll save the detailed comments for my dining companions. I don't have the most refined pizza palate, so I had absolutely no idea which was which. I incorrectly guessed that the regular cheese pizza was the soy cheese pizza on the theory that it tasted just a little bit too much like cheese.

Until soy cheese is proven to be bad for you, I'll be ordering soy cheese from here on out.

Happy April Fools Dayv

What better way to celebrate April Fools Day than by sending false Evites to your friends and neighbors?

Source: Evite