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September 23, 2005

it's not a death ray, senator

Sometimes a photo captures a moment that is much more a "moment in history" than a "moment in time".  Kind of like zeitgeist jumping the bukkake shark, or like all of the threads of cultural nonsense colliding in shower of sparks and aphorisms, or like, "Hey now."

It is this photograph, and it is a heartwarming snap of someone's grampa about to accidentally open the automatic garage door.

Posted by mrbrent at 11:23 AM

September 22, 2005

i will not identify my situation

Real quick.  It's not the best photo ever, nor is it the worst.  But the caption is as fine as the finest newsroom could hope for.

For the click-averse, I reproduce a portion of said caption:

A man that did not want to be identified nor explain his situation sits down after police checked on him in the French Quarter of New Orleans, Thursday, Sept. 22, 2005.

I hope you'll join in wishing this man every good thing God's Green Earth can offer him.

And kudos to the AP caption-writer, for the anonymous excellent job.

Sometimes we mock; sometimes we weep -- but that's kind of the whole deal these days, yes?

Posted by mrbrent at 10:58 PM

forestall the singularity

I actually stumbled across something useful on the internets!  Well, "stumbled" as in "read about it on the always-pertinent Boing Boing".

If you're like me (and if you're not like me, then you just Googled "pervert 081805", yes?), you find the telephonic service center robot-labryinth of your bank/credit card/bookie to be both creepy and time-devouring.  And you've probably tried to menu your way through to a warm-blooded human, to no avail, because the robots are smarter than you.

In the future, please consult the Find-a-Human Database, which lists, by corporate superpower, the secret code/magic word to wash those robots right out of your hair.

[Via Cory Doctorow, via Making Light.]

Posted by mrbrent at 12:42 PM

more weather whining (rita-free)

Hello, people of the world.  May we have some rain, please?

I understand that in many corners of the world, a shortfall in precious rainwater can cause serious dehydration problems in both people and lawns.  But here, in New York, it's different.

You see, New York City is a city that "makes its own gravy".  After a moderate precipitation New Yorkers delight in a mysterious soup of things too digusting to list, plus also a lot of "I hope that's water".  Now, of course, if there is no rain, then this exotic and toxic paste lining our dangerous sidewalks and our streets paved with broken glass just accumulates.  And after about six weeks without water falling from the sky, NYC smells as bad as I've ever smelled it.

And I live in a neighborhood with all the waste transfer stations.

So, please, rest of the world, just a day or two of rain, before we have to start keeping our young and our elderly indoors, lest they be felled by the stench.

Thank you.

[Note: I realize that synchronicitous deluges in other parts of the world may deem this post in poor taste, but I also say that we're all grown-ups, etc., etc.]

Posted by mrbrent at 10:37 AM

September 21, 2005

place holder

I can say from experience that cargo shorts will absorb the ink from an uncapped pilot ball pen like, yes, I dare say, a sponge.

I can also say that one can derive serenity from standing pantless in the workplace restroom, wringing the ink from said cargo shorts.


Surely you, too, must have days when nothing particular novel strikes you?

Posted by mrbrent at 1:16 PM

September 20, 2005

today's forecast: partly weird

The workday walk to the subway is a good time for synchronicity in all its guises.  For example, this morning a box truck passed me with the name "Five Brothers Fat Ent., Inc." painted on the side, along with Chinese characters.

"Five Brothers Fat" may be worth the price of admission alone, but the weird thing is that my loose association of friends is more familiar with "Five Brothers Fat" as a macro that we tossed around in the mid- to late-90s.  I don't even remember the context in which we would use it, but it was one of the three primary macros that colored the time.

(The other two, IYI, were "Doosh, doosh, doosh" [The sound a gun makes while being fired repeatedly as the shooter falls backwards in slow motion in a John Woo film] and "Chapter Seven: I Am Eaten Alive By Sharks".)

One of two things is happening: (i) a long-lost friend has started his own Chinese restaurant supply company; of (ii) time is leaking.

I'm going to opt for the second possibility, as I am a firm believer that we should keep America weird at all costs.

Posted by mrbrent at 9:19 AM

September 19, 2005

all my pirates have been cowboys

If you take a quick spin around the internets, you will discover that today is "Talk Like A Pirate Day".

The sad thing is that I used to love the pirates, oh yes I did.  I once blathered on about my one-time obsession with the piratical.

So, yeah.  Today is "Talk Like A Pirate Day".  I'm sure there's a tie-in book in the works, or already on sale.  And then comes the merchandising, and the TV deal and all the rest of that.

Talk like a pirate, then.


Posted by mrbrent at 12:47 PM

president, english language struggle

The President weighs in on the repatriation of New Orleans:

We're cautious about encouraging people to return at this moment of history.

Um.  Popular usage of the phrase "moment of history" refers to an almost tangible unit of time during which something historical happens.  Like the shopping bag guy and the tanks at Tiananmen Square.  That was a moment in history.

Unless the President was planning to punctuate his answer to the question by pulling out a gun and opening fire on the press corps, he probably should've said, "this moment in history," or, "at this moment in time", or even clearer, "now."

It's like the English Language is one big video game to the President, and metaphor is the pit boss of level three that he tries over and over again to get past.  To no avail.

Please note this post does not concern itself with whether Mayor Nagin is right to sound the all-clear, or Vice Adm. Allen is right to put on the brakes.  I'm thrilled there's even a dialogue.  It's like we have a program to guard us in times of disaster or something.

Posted by mrbrent at 11:56 AM

seriously voodoo economics

The economics of the Katrina recovery effort are fascinating.  And not just because they are the embodiment of the poor-hatin' greedhead compassionate conservative fiscal policy.  Most fascinating is that the economics are violating the laws of time and space, and will surely cause a wormhole or other rift in the fabric of reality.  And this will be the final failure of the Bush administration: unwittingly inviting the invasion of our planet by evil alt-dimensional "time wolves", or something equally as ridiculous/horrifying.

The recovery economics are a very specific kind of time/space violation, one that made me look up the word "uroboros", and make sure that it meant what I thought it meant.  Basically, and I'm not sure how one can initiate something like this, the Katrina recovery is completely self-regenerating, so much so that it's becoming difficult to figure out which, of the services failure and the response, caused the other, or maybe both, or maybe neither.

I might be stretching by stressing the alarming threat to the integrity of time.

Let's look at this way: metaphor!  As in, the irony of this situation is that, in the wake of the biggest services failure in the history of America, caused largely by elimination/reprioritization of federal funds (and also by a "drown government in the bathtub" regime), enormous sums of money will be required from the federal budget for humanitarian aid and rebuilding.  Which spending of billions will then be used as the reason for further slashing of funding for "expendable" programs, like social services and infrastructure.  Which kind of budgetary serial killing is the proximate cause of the services failure that resulted in all the dead people whose last thoughts were something like, "Geez, I just survived a hurricane a day or two ago."  Is this irony, coincidence or just novelty -- a question I am often begging/raising.

And this vicious cycle, this snake that ends where it begins, will continue.  The Norquistian types that largely control budgetary oversight see the post-recovery Katrina less as a lesson learned and more as opportunity -- opportunity to drink from the spigot of billions of dollars of aid, opportunity to further cripple workers with behind-the-curtain maneuvers like the Gulf Coast Wage Cut and opportunity to further shrink government in order to offset the expense.  And even the next natural/manmade disaster whose deadliness is magnified by a federal Keystone Kops response will not convince the feckless bastards that their ideology does a little more than redistribute wealth upwards -- it also redistributes risk downwards.

Maybe it's not fair to say that the administration has learned no lesson.  Such lesson is illustrated in this sentence: "Tell us the lesson you think we should have learned and then we will say it out loud to you almost like we believe it."  The administration has about the same capacity for introspection and self-correction as does your average five year old.  "You wanted us to feel your pain.  Now we're saying that we feel your pain.  This means you will vote for us, yes?"

Greg Saunders has written a little post on the same topic that is much more prescient , insightful and entertaining than this post.  You can find it here.

Also don't forget, Bush hates black Sabbath.

Posted by mrbrent at 10:00 AM