Sunday, January 30, 2005

2004's 50 most loathsome

list of the world's 50 shittiest for 2004:

50. Ann Coulter

Crimes: Coulter plummets down the list as she slips into irrelevance. As her columns degenerate further into absurd, incoherent attacks against her own personal paranoid fantasy of fanged, drooling, Saddam-loving liberals who hate America and childish France-bashing, we find our outrage slowly giving way to a baffled “I can’t believe I used to go out with you” feeling.

41. Everyone who got together to watch the final episode of “Friends”

Crimes: Allowing a trivial sitcom about living in New York, made for people who’ve never been anywhere near New York, to become a focal point in their shallow, meaningless lives. Watching TV together is not a bonding experience; it is a distancing experience, a way in which people can cohabit a room without actually having to engage each other or connect personally. Whoever’s ultimately responsible for the “watch ‘Friends’ or the terrorists win” meme should have a special room reserved for him in the bad section of hell.

7. Donald Trump

Crimes: Hopelessly addicted to narcissism. Shares Saddam Hussein’s compulsion to have gaudy structures named after himself. Is to dignified wealth what Michael Jackson is to competent childcare.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

this is the hottest thing i've seen since reading about that indian girl who likes henry miller

jesus fucking christ...via ben hammersly in a post entitled 'Wherein a writer attempts to justify the enormity of her porn collection':
I found an email in my inbox yesterday morning from Susannah Breslin. This is rather like waking up to find Anaïs Nin making coffee in your pyjamas. If Anaïs Nin was six foot two and dressed in a black leather cat suit, and, well, you know, rawrrrrrrr.

It was all rather disconcerting.

Anyway, it turns out that Susannah is writing this novel, Porn Happy (and you can read the first chapters here too), and blogging about the process here on this blog.

check out the picture of her in the original post...she really is wearing a cat suit. and in case you were wondering: yes. yes, it is so necessary.

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Wednesday, January 26, 2005

we make money not art: The alarm clock that physically drags you out of bed book

we make money not art: The alarm clock that physically drags you out of bed:
"In the evening, after you've set the alarm, the glowing Sfera gradually dims and the music fades as you drift off to sleep. When the alarm chimes in the morning, you must reach up and tap the Sfera to silence it. Which triggers the snooze function and makes the alarm rise higher. As it slowly rises away from your reach, you must stretch higher each time to gain another ten minutes of snooze."

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Today while reading up on some Boing Boing, i came across this: a photo blog filled with pictures from Las Vegas. I realized that i had seen them before in the yoyoyo video by plus/minus. Coincidence or conspiracy? You decide!

Monday, January 24, 2005

Fuck the patriots

It gets worse

As if yesterday weren't the worst day of my life, now Bettis and Plex might leave the Steelers. Now, I was never a huge Plex fan, but the loss of Bettis before he got his chance at a ring, is just shit. And this also brings up another question, what's going to happen to cower now that his AFC championship record is 1-4. There was already talk of firing him, so now that he's probably gone too, who is going to take his place?

Fuck, what kind of team causes Bettis to retire? I haven't hated a team this much since the cowboy's in the 90's. Fuck the patriots. Go die already, nobody likes you anyways except for idiots with stupid accents.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

today, sadness blackens my door

the steelers lost.

my world has been plunged into darkness.

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Friday, January 21, 2005

43 Folders: Mark Taw on Procrastination

perhaps not coincidentally, i haven't gotten around to reading 43 Folders: Mark Taw on Procrastination, but i definitely will this weekend (which translates to next weekend.....or later)

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Thursday, January 20, 2005


Since JHC hasn't posted today, i think i will. This is my favorite song from Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind*, which also happens to be one of my favorite movies. The song bellow is by Jon Brion, a brilliant brilliant producer. Whatever he touches i seem to love. All the music in the actual movie, minus the beck, is by Mr. Brion. He's brilliant when it comes to composing and production, though i can't say I'm the biggest fan of his singing. He also did the soundtrack to I heart Huckabees, Punch Drunk Love, and Magnolia. He has a way of making the music sound nostalgic, sad, and comforting all at the same time. It fit perfectly with the movie. His melodies are always so simply and so memorable while his production allows the music to take on another dimension. Like Jim Carey in the end of the movie, the end of the song will make you beg for more.

Jon Brion - Peer Pressure

*If you, for some reason, find yourself attracted to the song in the latter half of the trailer it's by recognize the song in the trailer it's by the Polyphonic Spree, who I despise. Can't seem to figure out why DJ IHNF hates them so? Visit the website and watch 3 movies, I DARE YOU. For a group that is essentially a catholic choir, you think they would have read the commandment that stated: THOU SHALL NOT SING SAPPY MUSIC WHILE SMOKING LSD AND SINGING TO JESUS.

Monday, January 17, 2005

steelers v. jets commentary

the nytimes has an article about the steelers victory over the jets:

"Football isn't really something to pray for," Ed Haberman said after the noon Mass. "Everyone should be praying for the victims of the tsunami. But I think most of us in this city yesterday were saying some kind of prayer. When we woke up today, the feeling was just relief. Pure relief."
As Brien lined up for his winning attempt with four seconds left, Roethlisberger and Hines Ward, his favorite receiver, prayed for him to miss it. The Habermans, season-ticket holders from Johnstown, Pa., who sit directly behind the uprights Brien was aiming to split, joined along. Cornerback Willie Williams said, "Miss, miss, miss." Center Jeff Hartings said, "It sounds a little corny, but God's in control."
Murphy said he flew to Pittsburgh with his wife last week from his home in Orange County, Calif., bought two tickets for the game - second-row tickets on the 50-yard-line - then had to leave the game at halftime because his wife, who is pregnant, had a cold. He watched the second half in his hotel room.

He said that if the Steelers had not won, he feared that he might never have forgiven his wife and unborn child.

Instead, a marriage was saved, a season was continued and a city found religion.

what a game...

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Wednesday, January 12, 2005

amon tobin - the lighthouse

grab amon tobin's track 'the lighthouse' off of ninjatune's website.

(the song is part of tobin's soundtrack for ubisoft's 'splinter cell chaos theory'.)

pbs frontline: the persuaders

just finished watching 'the persuaders', a pbs frontline documentary on advertising.

basically, i have never been more terrified
in my life.
i nearly shat my pants
and i am beginning to have ig farben-esque paranoid delusions that would make thomas pynchon proud.

Monday, January 10, 2005

wgbh lecture archives

blogarithms points to the archives of the wgbh boston forum lectures. they are kicking my ass.

Friday, January 07, 2005

social entrepreneurship; aside on transcribing podcasts

another interesting talk from pop!tech 2004 via itconversations.

this one is by david bornstein, author of 'how to change the world' and 'the price of a dream' (neither of which i have read).

the talk is kinda on refactoring our notions of social chage -- how it is best achieved, who are the appropriate drivers & participants of such change, etc. he uses a few different examples, but one of the most interesting is childline, a service for street kids in india.

so how did [childline] come about? well jeroo [billimoria], when she wanted to spread [childline] around the country, she didn't know how to do that...[the] government didn't know how to create a national franchise -- she went to ogilvy & mather! they were the ones who knew how to create a national franchise. and so they taught her how to do branding, and what a brand is, and how you do this, and uniformity, and franchising, and so-forth.

and then when she wanted to create her computer systems, she went to the tata consultancy group and said, "can you show us how to make a system that will log all these calls?" so they created a wonderful system that the street kids has pictures because many of them can't read; it has software that identifies problems: boy, you have a lot of children in goa who are sexually assulted because of tourists, or it turns out that children in varanasi are often abducted because of their nimble fingers (they are needed in the sari industry)...that software reveals these problems...lot of tuberculosis in this train station.

and since childline is a governemnt program, this information is now used to fuel the governemnt's child protection policy -- so you got calls from street kids changing governemnt child protection policy! and all of that has been built up in the last eight years, and i would be surprised if one person in this room has ever heard of it, beacuse as ethan was saying, "we don't cover this stuff," and it's very very important. it's also very news-worthy.
historically, when we think of how social change happens, and if we think about the history of sociology, we have tended to focus very much on 'ideas'. you know, there's that addage by victor hugo, "there is one thing that is more powerful than all the armies of the world, and that is an idea whose time has come." the idea is that really true? isn't environmentalism an idea whose time has come? why are we driving cars that are worse than 1978 gas guzzlers? you know?

what's the power of an idea? and i don't actually think that the relationship of ideas to people should be like that, i think it should be like this. because -- in fact --, ideas do not break through resistence, and they don't...people's behaviors and attitudes and thinking don't actually change through ideas. ideas are passive. it takes idea champions...idea marketers -- and i use 'marketing' in the sense of not putting an ad on tv, but persuading people...figuring out how to get an idea through a system, how to really change the way systems work over time. that's how social change happens.

(btw: a dvd box set of the pop!tech 2004 sessions is now being offered. i just put in an order...)

as an aside:
here's another data point in the growing body of evidence suggesting that the blogsphere moves in mysterious ways: udell discusses podcast transcription with kruszewski just 2 days before i transcribe this segment of bornstein's podcast. while udell points to some interesting technological solutions -- most notably a phonetic indexing system by nexidia --, i think that a social solution could work as a stopgap.

perhaps itconversations (if they ever move to a premium content model) should offer premium perks for those who transcribe. perhaps someone should start a wiki of some sort where the deaf (or others) could request transcripts for given podcasts and the most highly requested would garner community action. maybe instead of acting as transcriptionists, the people participating in such systems could act as editors akin to project gutenberg's proofreaders: dragon dictate can transcribe it and then humans would proof the expectedly crappy output -- which would probably be much easier to do while listening to a podcast. all these efforts can of course be distributed across many people so that the work units are manageable.

with all that being said, i will leave you with this quotation from marshall mcluhan, uttered during his playboy interview (via

PLAYBOY: What do you mean by "acoustic space"?

McLUHAN: I mean space that has no center and no margin, unlike strictly visual space, which is an extension and intensification of the eye. Acoustic space is organic and integral, perceived through the simultaneous interplay of all the senses; whereas "rational" or pictorial space is uniform, sequential and continuous and creates a closed world with none of the rich resonance of the tribal echoland. Our own Western time-space concepts derive from the environment created by the discovery of phonetic writing, as does our entire concept of Western civilization. The man of the tribal world led a complex, kaleidoscopic life precisely because the ear, unlike the eye, cannot be focused and is synaesthetic rather than analytical and linear. Speech is an utterance, or more precisely, an outering, of all our senses at once; the auditory field is simultaneous, the visual successive. The models of life of nonliterate people were implicit, simultaneous and discontinuous, and also far richer than those of literate man. By their dependence on the spoken word for information, people were drawn together into a tribal mesh; and since the spoken word is more emotionally laden than the written -- conveying by intonation such rich emotions as anger, joy, sorrow, fear -- tribal man was more spontaneous and passionately volatile. Audile-tactile tribal man partook of the collective unconscious, lived in a magical integral world patterned by myth and ritual, its values divine and unchallenged, whereas literate or visual man creates an environment that is strongly fragmented, individualistic, explicit, logical, specialized and detached.

lil john interview

lil john interview in playboy, via gabba:

5. What makes you go "Yeah!" in the bedroom?

LJ: Head, man. Head.


Thursday, January 06, 2005

global rebalancing?

a couple of interesting posts hinting at the growing capabilities of the developing nations:

the first is from the csm, and talks about the rebalancing of world power vis-a-vis post-tsunami relief aid (its an interesting article, check it out if you have the time):

The traditional symmetry of aid that once matched rich, developed donors with poor Third World recipients is now skewing. Victims like India are helping other victims; beneficiaries of foreign aid like China are handing out money and sending doctors to Indonesia; and badly hit Thailand is turning down Europe's offers of debt relief for fear it could hurt its credit rating.
India, for example, where nearly 10,000 people are reported dead, has raised eyebrows by turning down international offers of help. As the Indian military launched its biggest-ever peacetime disaster relief operation, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said that he had told President Bush and other world leaders that "as of now we feel we have adequate resources to meet the challenge." He added, "If and when we need their help, we will inform them."

the second article is just a blurb that i saw on john robb's website gleaned from a wsj article that i don't have access too (avenge me!!!):

Saudi Arabia invites Indian companies to bid on exploration and refinery projects. The center of gravity is shifting (Russia, the world's #2 producer, recently invited China to invest in Yukos).

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Green Hat Journal: Race Pay Gap

Green Hat Journal: Race Pay Gap:
"According to this Census Bureau report, Blacks earn 62%, Hispanics earn 70%, and Whites earn 94% of what Asians do. Am I now The Man?!?!?!"

The Superficial - Jessica Alba White Bikini

prepare to lose it