Cartographer? But I don't even know her latitude!

This is wicked fun.


I had a nice, long post about the continuing ails of the D.C. Metro system, and then this POS froze up. All you get now is a link to an article about a recent fiasco -- a mere cog in my great critique of a system I once loved. I'll talk more about SmarTrip later, if you're lucky.

Meanwhile, in regards to web browsers, someone (Mozilla perhaps?) should make a browser that recognizes when the user is on a page with a large field full of text (e.g., a blog interface, a web-based email composition, etc.) and auto-saves whatever the user is typing. Similarly, on a long form with many fields (e.g., any kind of retail site) the browser would recall your entries. Then, if the browser locks up or the computer crashes, you are just fine. Sure, it would take up some space in the cache, or somewhere else, but it would encourage people to use your software. The browser could even go back to the page it abandoned and auto-complete the form.

Which reminds me of an article I read in the Atlantic a couple years ago. It was by a security expert who had a rather simple yet insightful commentary about security systems -- not like the nitty-gritty, but the aggregate method for preventing x (terrorism in this case). Security systems are designed to succeed, but they also need to be designed to fail. Your success shouldn't be measured in terms of how well you do when things go well (they're supposed to); your success should be measured in how well you do when things go wrong.

This Just In...

I was scoping the weather for upstate New York and I found this flood statement. Among many normal and not-funny things, it wrote (caps original, sorry):
That's some good advice, weather.gov.


Lance Armstrong = Bad Mofo

So Lance is gonna win. Just better than anyone else.
I was reading today's "USA Today" (shaddup!) at lunch today, and unfortunately I can't find the article online. There was a great passage that described yesterday's time trial, where Armstrong started a minute or so behind Ivan Basso (that's how time trials work - the leader starts last, etc.), and then after pumping real hard up what is apparently the toughest mountain in Europe, he sat down, finished his water and passed a "struggling" Basso, "inadvertantly" tossing the empty water bottle behind him.
Inadvertant my foot. When you're the best, and you know it, and some punk kid pretends for a little while like he can hang with you, you're gonna rub it in damn hard just how wrong he was. By, for instance, sitting down and tossing your water bottle to the ground as you pass a guy on the toughest climb of the race. Sitting down.
He did a similar thing a couple years ago with a Spanish rival of his, and that evening his rival conceded that at that momen, he "knew he was beat." Mind you, the race was still officially going on.
Lance Armstrong is ridiculous.
And no, I don't think he's doping. Just everyone else in the sport. I'm being serious, on both counts.

YAHOTA! (Yet Another Horseman of the Apocalypse)

Tom Green and Jerry Springer are getting a show together:

The show's producer, Lions Gate Television, began shopping the project to cable outlets earlier this week, according to studio president Kevin Beggs.

"We've conceived this as a weekly series that reviews current events and pop culture in a populist way from the off-center perspective of two larger-than-life, outrageous, irreverent and endearing personalities, who don't always agree," Beggs said. "It will be informative yet entertaining. Just the thought of these two guys together makes you laugh."

Actually, he's right. IAGL. Especially at the two characterizations of Tom Green:

Green's status as a Canadian also will add some spark to his observations on the U.S. political landscape, Beggs said.

Green first made his mark in the late 1990s as the host of MTV's "The Tom Green Show," which featured Green engaging in outrageous stunts and pranks.

His "status" as a Canadian?


Now I can't drink Molson anymore. I kinda liked Molson, but not MolsonCoors.


I'm sorry

But Jenna Bush sticking her tongue out at the press is not news.


It's All How You Look at It

The NYT actual lead:
It is a lobbying dream team that calls itself The Big Four: a Hollywood star turned politician, a formidable East Coast fund-raiser, a close friend of the president and the president's little brother.
Versus what it might have been if the governors had been, say, Democrats:
...a man accused of numerous sexual assaults, a pro-abortion Catholic, a recent divorcee and the father of a drug addict.
Lobbying dream team, indeed.

Gene Weingarten strikes again

Today's chat was really quite funny. You should read it regularly, but especially today. Here are two links I got from it that are excellent: a street-corner bathroom in Switzerland whose walls are two-way mirrors and this extremely cool clock.



"The O'Reilly Factor" this evening focused on Jadakiss, both for his getting arrested and for his latest song, "Why?", which, well...I'll leave it to ABC News to describe in the out-of touch way only a major news network could:
NEW YORK July 16, 2004 — Over the years, the rapper Jadakiss has depicted a world of drug dealing, murder and other assorted mayhem without raising many eyebrows. But seven words in his new song "Why" "Why did Bush knock down the towers?" has gotten Jadakiss the most mainstream attention, and criticism, of his career.

"It caught the ear of white America," he said proudly during a phone interview with The Associated Press. "It's a good thing. No matter what you do, somebody's not going to like it, but for the most part, most people love the song."

Ha-ha! That proud rapper! He should really get back to rapping about things he knows about, like the street life!

On the show to discuss a rapper's political statement and legal troubles was...well, duh, Victoria Murphy, a reporter who covers technology for Forbes. Her credentials appear to be...well, I'm not sure, but she has a couple articles on Forbes.com, and is apparently, according to Newsbios.com, one of the 30 Rising Stars Under 30. At any rate, she's cute, and that appears to be enough to get her guest spots pretty regularly on various Fox News shows. Hunh.

So, needless to say, between her and O'Reilly the dialogue was working at a really high level. A sample:
Victoria Murphy: That's what rappers do, they get arrested.
Then O'Reilly, as he loves to do - well, apart from calling rappers and black people thugs, lunatics and criminals - started talking about how since Jadakiss is somehow involved with Xbox - it's not entirely clear how, and a quick internet search only turns up opportunities to play Xbox against Jadakiss, in some weird cross-marketing scheme - Microsoft is complicit in killing babies in the ghetto and selling crack. Or something.

So they started talking about video games, O'Reilly talking about how this was setting such a terrible example for the poor, helpless children who play Xbox, and Murphy decides it's time to play Expert:
VM: It's not just kids, it's 20 and 30 year old...guys.

BO: And do you think they're gonna be outraged that they're abetting this kind of defamation? I don't think so.
Bill...Bill...then what are you getting at? Who are you trying to insult with this one? Are you making some bizarre uber-paternalistic argument about how the good Daddies at Microsoft need to be responsible so that the Children (i.e., anyone under 40) don't have to worry about thinking about anything, 'cause they can't be trusted? This is kind of mystifying.

Wait, though. It gets better:
...Ludacris is a thug. He's just a hop-head, and by that I mean someone who glorifies the street life.
Yes! He manages to bring it around - despite there being no linkage at all, whatsoever - to taking another cheap shot at that great Enemy of Western Civilization, Ludacris.

Finally, O'Reilly gets around to actually addressing the topic at hand:
We called Microsoft four days ago, and they haven't responded. They're hiding under their desks, and this is not a good thing for the country.
And that, my friends, was the end of the segment. But why Microsoft wouldn't want to get mixed up with O'Reilly...you got me.

Oh, Snap!

Via Atrios (well, Holden, actually), an hilarious Shouts and Murmurs listing from the New Yorker. Yes, that's right.

Why Don't You Come to Your Senses?

Headline: Vegas casino boots Linda Ronstadt for praising Michael Moore. Pretty amazing. The story:

Before singing "Desperado" for an encore Saturday night, the 58-year-old rocker called Moore a "great American patriot" and "someone who is spreading the truth." She also encouraged everybody to see the documentary about President Bush.

Ronstadt's comments drew loud boos and some of the 4,500 people in attendance stormed out of the theater. People also tore down concert posters and tossed cocktails into the air.

According to the president of the Aladdin (where the concert was),

Ronstadt's antics "spoiled a wonderful evening for our guests and we had to do something about it," Timmins said.
Yes. Linda Ronstadt spoiled a wonderful evening of a Linda Ronstadt concert. That would be possible if she gave a crappy show, in which case it would not be a wonderful evening for the guests. Perhaps they'd've been happier just sitting at home listening to a CD.

Seriously folks, if you go to a live concert, that's kind of part of the deal: the person performing actually gets to be there, too.

And if the story weren't good enough, the AP gets a chance to show just how low-brow and chuckly it's become, and really takes the opportunity for all it's worth:

In an interview with the Las Vegas Review-Journal before the show, Ronstadt said "I keep hoping that if I'm annoying enough to them, they won't hire me back."

Looks like she got her wish.

AYFKM? Someone please tell me, with the Pickler on the loose, why anyone bothers to take the AP seriously anymore.

Monday Dog-Blogging

Hmmm...a little thought from Dr. Thinky, perhaps?

Ahhnold Does the Obvious

I hope everyone has seen this story by now, but on Saturday the Governator called the California legislature a bunch of "girlie men." Anyone who doesn't find this funny needs to be taken out back and ... dealt with.



Apparently, lol isn't hip any more. Or that's what I decided. I mean, when's the last time you used it and thought it was a good idea? I know, I know ... sophomore year. JKD proposes using haha but then what do you write when you're being ironic, or when you respond to a pun. Clearly haha is good for those situations. Relief is here! There's a new sheriff in town and it's IAGL: I am genuinely laughing. Or iagl if you're into the lower case/e.e. cummings/lazy hipster thing.

Go forth and multiply.


I guess Lance Armstrong is in pretty good shape. Decent shape, anyway.

YAY! More physics that I have only the faintest chance of ever understanding!

Stephen Hawking has changed his mind about black holes, apparently. The consequence is that he loses a bet. I find this very funny; he and another physicist made a bet with yet another physicist, and now Hawking has to admit the other guy was right.
Except that only by Hawking being such a complete frickin' genius did he ever prove himself wrong - all the other guy had to do was be contrary.
This would be kind of like one of the smart socialists from my labour seminars in college admitting that I was right about something. Which would be pretty sweet.

The Search is Over

The eccentric and anti-semitic Bobby Fischer has been found.

If, in honor of this historic event, you decide to rent the movie, watch out for Laura Linney, Tony Shaloub and William H. Macy, in the pivotal role of Tunafish Father. Also in a breakthrough role is Josh Mostel, son of the numerically named Zero.


The Amazing Thing...

...is that I didn't even know that there was new news RE: the German cannibal. That really did lift my spirits. At least that erotic cannibalism was consensual.

In any event, my bloviations can also now be found over at the Run Against Bush Blog, from time to time, and I actually get paid for it. Cra-cra.

Cuter than cannibals

And, now, something for those for whom cannibalism is somewhat less than spirit-lifting (JKD, feel free to skip this post).

I'm hoping, by now, you've all heard about seeing-eye ponies? Miniature horses trained as guide animals for the vision impaired? Among the ponies’ strong suits, apparently, are their long lifespan, calm nature, great memory, excellent vision, focused demeanor, safety consciousness, high stamina and good manners. Additionally, being seeing-eye ponies "help[s] the tiny horses by providing them with a higher-purpose in life."

Also, they wear sneakers to protect their delicate pony feet. Which is just supercute. Seriously. A miniature pony, trotting down the street, wearing Stride Rite sneakers?

If that doesn't warm your heart, even a little, then you're a terrible person.

JKD's wish is my command

Per Mr. K-D's request, an update on the German cannibal Armin Meiwes.

Apparently,he's getting a movie which will "show Meiwes in his prison cell, talking to his victim's head. The head apparently asks Meiwes to eat him again."

That creeps me out.


So, via Atrios and several others, Ed Cone has a transcript of Sy Hersh's interview with the ACLU. Among other things:
Seymour Hersh says the US government has videotapes of boys being sodomized at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

"The worst is the soundtrack of the boys shrieking," the reporter told an ACLU convention last week. Hersh says there was "a massive amount of criminal wrongdoing that was covered up at the highest command out there, and higher."


Hersh describes a Pentagon in crisis. The defense department budget is “in incredible chaos,” he says, with large sums of cash missing, including something like $1 billion that was supposed to be in Iraq.

"The disaffecion inside the Pentagon is extremeley accute," Hersh says. He tells the story of an officer telling Rumsfeld how bad things are, and Rummy turning to a ranking general yes-man who reassured him that things are just fine. Says Hersh, "The Secretary of Defense is simply incapable of hearing what he doesn’t want to hear."
Seriously guys? This is absolutely amazing. I mean, you think they've topped themselves to the greatest extent possible, and now they go and do this. It's enougb to make you want to take a nap or something.

Please someone send me a link about the latest development in the German cannibal affair, anything to lift my spirits here.


Fox News: Guess

Wonkette has a series of 30 memos by Fox news chief John Moody released by the producers of Outfoxed, a documentary piecing together Fox News footage and memos. It was a completely guerrilla project - being sold over the internet, direct to video, to avoid being prosecuted by Fox. Quite frankly, it seems that the makers of the film probably went way past fair use in their extensive taping and un-authorized rebroadcast of Fox News clips - not to mention how in the hell they might've gotten those memos - but quite frankly, I don't give a damn.

Oh, right: and those memos are riDICulous. A sample:
2003-06-02, John Moody

From: John Moody
Date: 6/2/2003

Heads of state don't leave G-8 meetings early unless they have good reasons. President Bush has two: he has to get to Egypt, and he doesn't like the French. Let's explain to viewers that despite the tepid handshake, Bush and Chirac are far from reconciled, as are the US and Germany. The early departure from Evian should take the sparkle out of the bottled water spa.

We have good perp walk video of Eric Rudolph which we should use. We should NOT assume that anyone who supported or helped Eric Rudolph is a racist. No one's in favor of murder or bombing of public places. But feelings in North Carolina may just be more complicated than the NY Times can conceive. Two style notes: Rudolph is charged with bombing an abortion clinic, not a "health clinic." and

We have FCC Chairman Michael Powell on Cavuto today (hosted by Brenda). Let's do a few hits on the commission's vote about media ownership rules.
Look, being nakedly partisan regarding political issues, and lying about it, is one thing - but in this guy's clarification, "an abortion clinic, not a "health clinic."" he is saying that it's okay to kill people if you disagree with them. Um...um...yeah. Why does Fox News hate America?


"A Uniter, Not a Divider"

Great post at dKos on exactly how divisive C-Plus Augustus is:
The NAACP said Bush is the first president since Warren G. Harding not to meet with the group while in office.
Jeebus, man. That's some shit. First since Harding?

What's also remarkable about that is that, if you think about all the presidents since Harding - save Reagan, and Bush the Elder - is how many pushed forward civil rights, against strong opposition and contrary to their background (Truman; Johnson; etc.).

When Adolph Coors, Jr. - the patriarch of the Coors family, big-time supporters of Republicans and screeching far-right politics - died a few years back, I heard an interview with an historian on NPR. The historian said that Coors basically thought the 20th century was a bad idea. You know - outlawing child labor, giving women the vote, civil rights, all that shit.

That is where this administration's ideas come from.


That motherfucker.

Salon has two good articles taking Mr. Formerly-Unsafe-at-any-Speed-now-just-wants-to-destroy-American-democracy to town - one by Eric Boehlert on how, bizarrely, Nader's latest book is published by HarperCollins...which is, of course, owned by NewsCorp. The other upside-the-head smack comes courtesy Mary Jacoby, RE: M'Boy Howard Dean ripping Nader to shreds in their debate Friday.


Hiatus, Shmiatus

Blah, blah, blah, houseguests new job whatever. JKD formally apologizes for his laziness.

-The last week has been great in the NYT b/c Tom Friedman is on vacation. Until October, apparently, though I'd suggest "forever" as a slightly better vacation term for Tommy. No, not that he should die, just that I never have to read one of his columns again.
The reason his vacation is especially sweet is that his replacement - for July at least, though I'd love to see her stay until October or, alternately, permanently - is Barbara Ehrenreich. Her columns thus far have had a humour and vigour that's been sadly missing from the NYT editorial page for a long time, Maureen Dowd having long ago ceased to be anything but a mediocre gossip columnist.

Today's column has her smacking down Bill Cosby for his recent comments on lower-class blacks. I agreed with a lot of what Cosby said, and I also agree with a lot of what Ehrenreich says.
But even better than today's was Sunday's column; and even better than THAT was her July 1 column, wherein she defended Michael Moore and went on to smash the myth of the elitist Democrat vs. salt-of-the-earth Republican.

What's so refreshing about Ehrenreich is her refusal to mince words. She's a fantastic writer, and doesn't blunt her passion for issues by pussyfooting around them - she plows straight ahead, tells the truth, and doesn't come off 'strident' but simply passionate. This is good.

Wired can be funny

While browsing BoingBoing today I ran across this post about Wired's review of high-tech oven mitts. I followed the Wired link and started scrolling down to the oven mitts part, but before I got there I came across a review of online music stores. Here is the hilarious list of cons for the Wal-Mart Music Download page:
Downloads play only on Windows PCs and Microsoft-licensed portable players. Tracks are edited to remove dirty words, such as pants. [Italics in original.]
It's surfing like this that really makes me enjoy ye olde internet.


Bil Clinton & ABC D'oh

In a recent email I made a joke about Google's ability to spot misspelled words when you search, with Bil Clinton as an example. Lo, what did I find when I actually performed this search? Check out the third page listed on the search: an ABC story about Clinton giving speeches for money. Look at the caption (broken photo link, btw).

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