Born in a moment of Chicago chaos (see Kevin's link below), May Day is a good moment to release your inner provocateur. Do a little just-saying-no. You may have heard of Rtmark, but perhaps you didn't know they're looking for workers to staff some troublemaking initiatives. My personal favorites are the "pret-a-revolter" clothing line and the suggestion that you replace airline welcome tapes with personal favorites.
Shake it up, baby.
because itīs raining, and I want out of that, among other things. Itīs May Day, which didnīt know started in April, and which you may not know started in America, the only simpsons-watching country that doesnīt celebrate it.
Posters have been emerging the last few days, lots of antifa (anti-fascist) and lots of anticapitalismus. Only the Germans have a regularly scheduled riot. Well, not only the Germans, ok. Iīve sort of been looking forward to it, the idea of any expressive and passionate ideology is so welcome, speaking as an American.
But I just went out for a walk and kind of stumbled into the thing as it shapes up this evening. Skinheads, punks, even goths, all the contemporary tribes are represented, even mullets, which are called vokuhilas. And they are drunk, but not really upset about anything except the rain.
Except some of them. I photographed a bunch of blackflagged anarchists, standing by the biggest damn police Iīve ever seen, they are wearing some kind of body armor, both sides are. It makes the cops look like the troops in the movie Brazil; the anarchists look like they were paratrooped in from Avenue C with a time warp.
About a minute after I photographed them, one of the anarchists came over to me, and in deep street-german asked if I had photographed any faces. I wasnīt scared, because of all the police, but I wanted to keep it on my turf, so I played like I only spoke English. He parsed photograph and face, and asked to see what was on my camera.
I showed him, one shot of anarchists, two of the police. No face, he explained. No faces. I said, ok, Iīll delete it, and did. He didnīt trust me, and I donīt blame him, so he asked to see the other pictures. As I scrolled back, I got to the pictures from Jaredīs party last night. The party was kind of poorly lit and everyone was rowdy and drunk, so it was not clearly distinguishable from May Day. He pointed to someone in the party and said, my face, there.
I said, no, thatīs Jared. Jared. Jared, I said, and then launched into details from Jaredīs monologue for the piece. When he was seven, I explaned, his brother came at him with a butchers knife? Actually, his half-brother, being raised in california by his fatherīs first lesbian wife? And so on. Really, quite so on, because Iīve been working with Jared on this monologue for a week. The anarchist said, wait, and brought over a translator.
I launched into other stories from Jaredīs monologue, explaining he was 9 when he dropped acid for the first time and so on. All of this with a stadiumīs worth of riot cops staring at me, waiting to do something about something. Thatīs Jared, I went on. He sings Shot Through The Heart, wore Converse All-Stars all through high school?
In the end, I kept my pictures of the party, and the guy kept whatever it is heīs keeping. But bottles broke over by the antifa trailer, blasting propaganda, and the crowd swelled and the cops moved through it, and they looked like firemen wading through a kindergarden assembly.
But in fact, nothing political about it, and the kindergarden assembly is not far away from the reality of the thing. Because really, all of it reminds me of nothing so much as what school is like on a substitute-teacher day. Yes, there are Nazis marching tomorrow, and yes, the cops are serious, but overall itīs much more Quadrophenia than it is Battleship Potemkin. Much more October 31st than 18 Oktober.
Basically, itīs like any other holiday, with its origins played out as pure ritual and mythology. Next to the anticapitalismus soapbox is an acapella boy band, and itīs unclear whatīs the signal and whatīs the noise.
Scientists -- well one guy at Urology Conference in Chicago named Dr. Melman -- have proven that circumsized penises are not any *less* sensitive than uncircumsized penises. 43 uncircumcised men and 36 circumcised men were give "vibration," "pressure" "spacial perception" and "cold, warm thermal theshold" tests. Spacial perception? Is that like seeing if your dong can find its way out of a maze?
thought of this on the way to l.a. yesterday: last summer was waiting to get on a 747 at heathrow and a pushy person cut in front of me in line; I looked to see who had the nerve, and saw this on the ticket in her hand: Seat 1K; name: Jagger/Bianca. (Though it was actually her handler, escorting her tender and well-appointed charge.) And I was wondering, yesterday, are the rich gullible enough to believe that *everyone* can be in Row One, even though "1K" is essentially an impossible seat?
Or is that in fact the promise of the lottery of capitalist culture? Row One, for everyone. Now matter how big Row One has to be.
Today I drove around Torrance in a $60,000 car. It's got good pick-up, and tells you when you're close to other objects.
Here we go. Apple enters the file-swapping biz, but really, it entered it through the backdoor with the pretty excellent iPod. Now, they're taking the next step. One can argue whether it's a logical next step, but really, logic never really held sway in this debate. It's an interesting snapshot of how the market thinks, though, or how it divides.
1. Goody-two-shoes who are legit about everything, software, music, etc. either because they can't figure out how to pirate or don't believe in it.
2. Conscientious consumers who pirate because it's so durn easy or they are cash poor or just plain lazy, but also don't mind supporting the arts once in awhile
3. Freeloaders who pay only for hardware, if that.
I wonder how musicians will respond to their unit of work being priced at a flat rate ($1 a song). Will songs just get shorter and shorter? Can this arbitrary pricing model hold? Personally, I don't think so.
Just a knock on the door, from an internet cafe on Danziger Straße, neé Dimitroff Straße. Germany sure does have a lot of borders, but very few of them open onto the internet. The trains are pretty fast, though.
50 cents a minute,
10 years in NYC (today, as a matter of fact) and I've seen maybe 3 or 4 of these bits of crime and pain; this fotologger has seen dozens. Good, hard work.
the galleries and the NYTimes discover jodi.org -- old news to some saturation hands. It ain't online, but a Mr. Slavin co-wrote a brilliant piece on jodi many years ago, an event that changed several lives. Or at least his and mine.
Perhaps this Los Angeles Times article about the "revolution of the remote" goes a little overboard in some parts, it does make one go "hmm.."
The little "clicker" that no longer clicks (mine dabs) has wrought a series of changes on the way television programs are made (and as a result, the rest of our lives), from (if we are to believe the article) raising the excellence of tv commercials (!) to the recent made-for-tv-remote war. I wonder if TiVo is next...
How couldn't I point to this meditation on the trimming of Rem Koolhaas's sails? Favorite understatement: "a giant, fist-shaped addition would have cantilevered over the museum's existing Marcel Breuer building, was bound to be controversial." Favorite snipe: "But in New York, his projects ... have been interior renovations."
I thought this stuff had gone out of style, but maybe it's all turned to blogs, mostly. Herewith, a daily travel diary by a Japanese auto guy. It is beautiful, in English. Very simple and straightforward. "At a shop on the west side of Wakamiya avenue, I bought a crepe and coroquette of violet colored potatoes from Kagoshima. They were very tasty.... My pedometer recorded 7,500 steps today." Dive in.
Dutch artist, S.M. Lust (yes, that's his real name..I think), creates the darker side of the Sims. Thank god. (Unfortunately, this interview degenerates into Maxis-bashing session.)
Who among us hasn't had the urge to accidentally squash one of those too-small-to-be-genetically-feasible dogs you see on the streets, treated like little emperors by their Prada-wearing owners? This Pulitzer Prize winner wants dogs exiled.
Caveat Lector: features cruelty to animals, rabid hate-language, and disturbingly tenuous grasp on reality. Witness: "The subways are by far the cleanest places in the city."
(Alas: excuse this post. i had put an article up for a group edit, but i just got a call from my editor -- that is against the policies of the mag. yipes. so it's gone.)
Usually hate-crimes are heavy-handed affairs involving spray-paint or baseball bats or some combustible, utterly devoid of the kind of depraved and twisted mentality exhibited by the perpetrator of this desecration.
Investigators searching for a link between the bodies of a woman and an infant boy that washed ashore separately on the Richmond waterfront may find clues in an unusual medical phenomenon called "coffin birth."
"Two cultural advisers to the Bush administration have resigned in protest over the failure of U.S. forces to prevent the wholesale looting of priceless treasures from Baghdad's antiquities museum."
24 Arabic and Korean linguists have been pushed out of the military since the fall, kinda right when we need them most. Why? Because they are butt sluts. (See RIP below.) Well, not just that, but clearly softball and women's basketball fans as well. OK: so it's nothing particularly interesting that the military is after gays. Something like 1,000 service members were booted in 2000, sez the SLDN. But it's tragic to be smoking out the Linguistic department, since they're not in the front ranks, and can't spook all the guys defecating in milk cartons in Saddam's Palace with a come-on. I bet gay service members are good at translation, blending and code. They figured out how to let women into the fighting ranks. What's so scary about friends of Dorothy in the back office?
If you like to gamble, I tell you I'm your man,
You win some, lose some, all the same to me,
The pleasure is to play, makes no difference what you say,
I don't share your greed, the only card I need is
The Ace Of Spades
Last we saw him, J. Jovan Philyaw had sprung the CueCat on the Wired world. Thank you. Now, the Dallas Observer reports, JJP has become J. Hutton Pulitzer and is peddling crystals touched by God 70 million years ago. "The Pulitzer Collection represents Gods devine communication of Himself and beauty to humanity." To quote the Observor, double sic.
Harper's is running the IRC (IRQ?) log of a young man/boy who od'd live on webcam/chat. The story made the mefi rounds, though I missed it then. It's fucking heart-rending. Places to go: Kuro5hin's wrap-up, with the chat log (link on kuro5shin don't work), the mefi thread, and the obit.
Democracy. Untidy? Yes. Unmasked? Never.
In a wrongful death lawsuit filed just before the close of business on Friday in Los Angeles Superior Court, Ysais's mother, Carolyn Stinson, claimed that Singleton's record label had provided him with drugs "to encourage (him) to act out in an extreme violent manner so as to make him more marketable as a 'Gansta Rap' artist."
"Part of what makes a Gansta Rap artist marketable is the fact that the artist is a current ongoing participant in violent gang activities," the lawsuit said.
"Singleton met this criteria and was even more marketable because his songs were as violent as his lifestyle and included rape, murder and ended with him eating his victim's body organs."
Forget about the Death of Irony. What about the Death of Metaphor?
I wonder how the coalition obtained samples of Saddam's DNA? Moustache hair? Anyways, quoth Franks, "He'll simply be alive until I can confirm he's dead."
>"Who's manufacturing the liquid?" Ms. Sierra asked. "What kind of chemicals are in this liquid?"
Mothers who have already hidden the airplane glue and dumped the oxycontin must now isolate and identify the mystery fluid of the Water Yo-Yo Meteoric Balls.
Some yo-yos are filled, the article notes, with glitter, others with a creamy substance. It is kind of unsettling, if you think about it. It's like when processed food ingredients say "may contain one of the following."
Still, there's offshore and then there's overboard, and some mothers seem to be very much the latter: "Ms. Taylor... considers herself a careful mother and doesn't even let her children play with rubber balloons, which she calls dangerous." This is the same country that brought you cluster bombs, if our foreign viewers are watching.
Court Orders Brothel to Refund Sex Bill
Fri Apr 11,10:59 AM ET
BERLIN (Reuters) - A German court has ordered a brothel to reimburse a man charged for sex he could not remember having, after the establishment failed to provide an itemized receipt for services rendered.
"The brothel failed to provide concrete documentation of the prices and services provided," said court spokesman Vera Huth in the western town of Duesseldorf on Friday.
"They should have, for example, listed two sexual intercourse sessions at 600 euros, oral sex at 300 euros or anal sex at 400 euros a go," she told Reuters.
The man told the court he had been too drunk to remember what sexual services he may have ordered at the brothel in Kaarst. The establishment charged him 9,000 euros (dollars) on his credit card. The brothel owner testified he had ordered the "full program."
Kevin, your mission as our operative in Berlin (if you choose to accept) is to determine what exactly this "full program" consists of. And get a receipt.
A good wrap-up from the UPI of the CIA's involvement in setting and propping up Saddam.
spied in the carroll street station this a.m., graffito: "I Love Saddam."
"Much has already been made of the thumbs-up gesture that British and American soldiers have received from 'welcoming' Iraqis. Unlike in many western cultures, in the Middle East the thumbs-up can be an insult, roughly translating as 'up yours'. But the US Army's Defense Language Institute says that after the first Gulf War, the gesture was adopted by some Iraqis, along with the ok sign, as a 'symbol of co-operation and freedom'."
Coming from the "US Army's Defense Language Institute", I'm inclined to wonder if we're getting the finger after all.
Because everyone on the street keeps fucking asking me whether I'm Jewish.
Back in the spaceship with you guys! The messianic era is clearly already here!
from an AP story about Arab reaction to Baghdad's fall: "Most Egyptians, for instance, do not believe that Saddam had terrorist connections or weapons of mass destruction."
"A group of computer savvy researchers at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) have developed a new software protocol capable of transporting an entire DVD's worth of data in about five seconds. (Think of that as a two-hour movie, including the added features.)"
Here's my favorite line:
"The most obvious use for FAST, according to researchers, is in the science community, where there is an inherent need to reliably push data and results from experiment to researcher and back again. "
Uh, shouldn't that be: "The most obvious use for FAST, according to people who know better, is at home (or work or school), where there is an inherent need to reliably download pron, mp3s, and warez at high velocities."
>>The Portuguese word "saudade", loosely translated,denotes "longing", "melancholy", or "nostalgia." In the context of Portuguese, however, the term connotes a meaning that is irrevocably lost in translation. In his book In Portugal of 1912, A.F.G Bell makes a few disquisitional remarks on the meaning of "saudade" given its intended context:
"The famous saudade of the Portuguese is a vague and constant desire for something that does not and probably cannot exist, for something other than the present, a turning towards the past or towards the future; not an active discontent or poignant sadness but an indolent dreaming wistfulness."
Whereas a decontextualized reading of the "saudade" insinuates a rather dreary and destitute nostalgia for an impossible object, Bell's recontextualization posits saudade's meaning as a nostalgic yearning for an impossible object, only slightly tinged with the hues of melancholia.
From Cole Aker's review of Murakami, via MeFi.
From the woman who brought you a bunch of other words, here are some choice ones on the 50 states we're using at the moment.
It was really Gulf War I that gave CNN a raison d'etre (that's a freedom freedom, in modern geolinguistics); it was just the first time it felt like CNN really found their voice.
And so it is that Operation Iraqi Liberation has escalated and amplified a new media property, providing really horrifying grist for a really funny mill. This stuff was never funny to me, until it really started to sound like the real world.
1. Comfort will never be comfortable enough for those who seek what is not on the market, what in fact the market specifically eliminates. The level attained by the technology of the most privileged becomes an insult, and one more easily grasped and resented than is that most fundamental insult: reification. The Los Angeles rebellion is the first in history to justify itself with the argument that there was no air conditioning during a heat wave.
2. The looting of the Watts district was the most direct realization of the distorted principle: To each according to their false needs needs determined and produced by the economic system which the very act of looting rejects. But once the vaunted abundance is taken at face value and directly seized, instead of being eternally pursued in the rat-race of alienated labor and increasing unmet social needs, real desires begin to be expressed in festive celebration, in playful self-assertion, in the potlatch of destruction. People who destroy commodities show their human superiority over commodities. They stop submitting to the arbitrary forms that distortedly reflect their real needs. The flames of Watts consummated the system of consumption. The theft of large refrigerators by people with no electricity, or with their electricity cut off, is the best image of the lie of affluence transformed into a truth in play.
Elephant unlatches gate to save South African antelopes.
The only philosophy game I know (insofar as any game is not a game of philosophy) is Battleground God, which forced me to deal with this little chestnut:
Bite the bullet and say that it is possible that God wants what is sinful (to reiterate the argument here - she must want to reduce suffering; she could make the reduction of suffering a sin; but if she did so, what she wanted (reducing suffering) would be sinful).
I think I lost interest somewhere around the nested parenthetical, but see how you do.
Higher functioning indeed. Takoma speaks.
Takoma: I was under real pressure. Eat the fish, find the mine, go, go, go. No time to think, and then when I do think, its: What am I doing? Why am I doing this? Am I hurting the world or helping it? No Iraqi ever called me Flipper.
Officially, the crime is classified as theft of Transit Authority property. But among transit police officers it is more accurately and less delicately known as token sucking. Unfortunately for everyone involved, it is exactly what it sounds like.
We had a San Fran client last week who couldn't get to work because of the protests there; I had no idea.
This list of every informercial product proves something about evolution. I'm just not sure what, exactly. And it seems so close to useful. I'm sure some novelists will want to use it, for instance; I don't know that you can make up "Oxycise!: Zero impact aerobic breathing program" or "Healthguard Sleepcare System: Mattress and pillow protectors for dustmites." I heart my dustmites.
Stomp had to have had some cultural fallout. Here it is, "the percussion ensemble begins to play Noises On..." Short-term link, I fear.
Bloomberg appoints New York's first chief marketing officer, Joseph M. Perello, whose suggestions for generating revenue by leveraging the city's brand include: eBay Ridge, Bic Penn Station, Circuit City Hall; Eveready Battery Park, "Bill the dead" ("He urged the new marketing chief to chase down the descendants of people whose names already grace city infrastructure and who have, in Mr. Rohrlich's words, 'been taking the city for a free publicity ride for years.'"), require royalties to be paid on all shout-outs to any of the five boroughs of the city in rap lyrics.
And no, this is not from The Onion.
from the new Wm. Gibson: "...A mountainside of Tommy coming down in her head. My God, don't they know? This stuff is simulacra of simulacra of simulacra. A diluted tincture of Ralph Lauren, who had himself diluted the glory days of Brooks Brothers.... But Tommy surely is the null point, the black hole. There must be some Tommy Hilfiger event horizon, beyond which it is impossible to be more derivative, more removed from the source, more devoid of soul."
After several thousand years of doing it, it seems that we're finally getting close to seeing how we speak. Some prefer to look at how we form our vowels; others are more interested in the shapes of said vowels.
Michael Kelly, brilliant writer and until recently the editor of the Atlantic, died in Iraq today or yesterday.
I don't know quite what to make of our machine yet, but it made me stop thinking about the Amiga in the referrer log. Turn your sound on. In general.
It's unsettling because it's from March 30th in Australia, which must surely be April Fools here, or somewhere. Right? It's a joke, right?
Because it sure looks like progress, if you just pull back wide enough. That's kind of beautiful, my book, more awe than shock. But evidently, like all things that are bright and shiny, all this alternating current has a price, in this case the natural beauty of the night sky.
Damn naysayers. This is good, this is bad, like we need to save the whole universe now and not just Iraq. And these guys are all over the place. I mean, what are we doing grabbing all those natural resources in the mideast peninsula, if we can't light that fucker up like a christmas tree?
It's just this: do we spend more time staring at the night sky itself, or at satellite images taken from it? Maybe it's just me. But maybe if we're making the world beautiful for satellite optics, we're making it, uh, easier to use?
Has anyone done a better job than Robert Fisk at reporting from Iraq. I think maybe no. His latest, a dispatch about Baghdad's defenses, which should sober some minds in CentCom, though those minds have proven to be soberproof.
Finally, proof that Word 5.1 is the best word processor ever: Microsoft Word 5.1 for Mac OS X should be out in early May.
We sort of knew this already and we sort of didn't. It turns out Hizbullah and the 7th Cav and the white power motherfuckers got something in common: using games as a recruiting strategy.
The first kill is always free, baby.
He identified a photograph of a white typewritten letter on a blue background as "a beach scene," pointing to the blue background as "the ocean," the stationery as "the beach," and the small typewriter print as "people seen on the beach from an airplane."
Apperceptive Agnosia, patient "Mr. S," suffered carbon monoxide poisoning, cited Benson and Greenberg 1969. From "Visual Agnosia," rich with poetry.
Rotterdam-based photographer Ari Versluis and stylist Ellie Uyttenbroek have worked together since October 1994. Inspired by a shared interest in the striking dress codes of various social groups, they have systematically documented numerous identities over the last 8 years. Rotterdam's heterogeneous, multicultural street scene remains a major source of inspiration for Ari Versluis and Ellie Uyttenbroek, although since 1998 they have also worked in cities abroad.
They call their series Exactitudes: a contraction of exact and attitude. By registering their subjects in an identical framework, with similar poses and a strictly observed dress code, Versluis and Uyttenbroek provide an almost scientific, anthropological record of people's attempts to distinguish themselves from others by assuming a group identity. The apparent contradiction between individuality and uniformity is, however, taken to such extremes in their arresting objective-looking photographic viewpoint and stylistic analysis that the artistic aspect clearly dominates the purely documentary element.
(stolen from warren ellis' great weblog who stole it from Michael McAvella)
[O]peration [I]raqi [L]iberation, a visual aid.
The Dog Island is a place to send your dog. Forever.
If you're worried about your dog getting killed, don't be. "Every now and then some dogs gang up and kill and then eat another dog, but this is just natural, and it's okay for it to happen now and then, but normally this is not the case."
If you'd like to vacation with your dog, don't be poor. "We apologize to not offer this to poor people but it takes an enormous amount of money to afford this type of beauty."
Evidently it's April 1st in, like, 24 time zones.
"At the present time we will not honor bids from Canada, Mexico, France, Germany or any other country that does not support the United States in our efforts to rid the world of Saddam Hussein."
If you haven't seen it before (I hadn't), www.whitehouse.org has seemed to hit its stride, or has been hitting it for some time now, I just hadn't been aware.
The Reader Mail section is especially hilarious/disturbing since most are deranged "you are sick" ramblings of people who thought they were on the actual White House site. And then there are the ones who didn't quite get it:
SUBJECT = Proposal for Mr. President Bush
NAME = Dr. Hans Peter Wibbing
MESSAGE = Dear Mr. President Bush,
I have a proposal for killing the burning oilwells without charging much money. If you give me an answer with your eMail adress, Iīll send a sketch.
The idea is, to bring a big and fireresistent tarpaulin with four or five Helicopters above the burning well. Then the tarpaulin must be lowered by the helis - synchronized of course. Fire needs oxygen. If the tarpaulin is lowered to ground, the fire will be extinguished immediately, because there is no oxygen enaugh left, to keep the fire burning on.
Mr. Christo, the great artist, knows where to get such big tarpaulins, cause he needs them to wrap big buildings or even complete bridges, as you surely know.
I would be pleased to hear from you
Dr. Hans Peter Wibbing
Our Man Hirmes is too modest I think to post this here himself so I'm doing it for him, even as it lights up metafilter and the whole damn blogosphere. In case the web's not enough of a compliment, I offer my own, cause I'm grateful to him for adding something beautiful to the world, which is asking a lot.