September 29, 2002
[sundays] A couple of interesting articles from the Observer

  • The Secret Passion that Staggered Westminster‘Back to Basics has come back yet again to haunt him, a phrase that must now go down as the most unfortunate, misinterpreted and now clearly misjudged three-word soundbite ever. It was launched at the Conservative conference of 1993. Currie was in the hall. ‘I listened in absolute amazement,’ she said. ‘And if you’re asking me whether I thought that policy was a mistake, absolutely. Not least because it was very cruel to people who were otherwise excellent Ministers, who didn’t deserve to have the magnifying glass turned on their lives at that time by their own leader. If it had been my choice, we would have had a very different policy. It was going against the tone of the times and it was also handled in an extremely cruel fashion. ‘It was cruel to single parents, it was cruel to women left on their own with children, it was pompous and facetious and stupid.’ And, a fact the public only know now, the height of hypocrisy.’
  • Don’t Laugh. This is the Real Office — A visit to a real office in Slough … ‘ I have come to the people at Swan to find out what they think of the programme and whether any of them resemble the grotesques on screen. And, of course, they don’t, Gervais’s comedy being a fierce distillation of every lousy trait – jealousy, ambition, self-deception, witty ties – found in every office in every town in Britain today. Instead, their chat represents fairly perfectly the minutiae of life in what Napoleon should more accurately have called a nation of service-sector retail distribution outlet co-workers: house prices, last night’s TV, the drive to work and the perennial search, in Europe’s biggest trading estate, for a decent lunchtime sandwich.’

September 30, 2002
[stars] Osama Bin Laden’s Star Bio Horoscope‘Few things bring you greater happiness than a successful, close, personal relationship. You have an innate understanding of the interconnectedness and interdependence of all forms of life. Empathy, compassion and emotional rapport can be your strongest virtues. However, not many people are ready to merge the way you are. Learn to recognize and respect other peoples’ boundaries.’ [kinda, sorta via Dave Gorman]
[distraction] Poo Price — find out how much going to the toilet costs your employers … ‘Why not try and squeeze one out right now ?? All you need to tell us is how much you earn a year and how long your working day is (we won’t record this, we don’t really care). As soon as you leave for your poo click Start, then when you’re back click Stop.’ [via UKBloggers]
October 1, 2002
[tv] Funny Business — profile of Ricky Gervais / David Brent‘Brent might initially appear to be one of a long line of characters frustrated by their circumstances, from Hancock through Basil Fawlty to Partridge. Even the gentle surrealism of Father Ted offered the decent, eternally trapped Ted Crilly. But Brent is no mere barrel of neuroses. Rather, he’s a well-meaning buffoon, insecure rather than unsatisfied, forever debasing himself in a vain attempt to curry favour amongst his long suffering minions. “He’s confused popularity — not that he is popular — with respect,” says Gervais, clearly fond of his excruciating creation.’ [Related: The Office]
[politics] ‘If only we had known back then’ — Steve Bell on Edwina Currie and John Major‘It’s not often that I actually gurgle with delight, but I must confess that is exactly what happened when I awoke to the news of Edwina Currie’s affair with John Major. Having spent so many years drawing Major as a hapless gawk with his Aertex Y-fronts always worn outside his dull, charcoal-grey suit I was faced with the fact that he was also a sex-romping superstud who could keep it up for at least three hours (according to the News of the World).’
October 2, 2002
[politics] A couple more links about the Currie / Major Affair

[blogs] Bloggers of the Left, Unite! — New Stateman article on the supposed right-wing hijacking of weblogging … ‘…this is the blogger’s way: like raptors, they hunt in packs, gain momentum, pick enemies, vent spleen, and never, ever, hold back. These blogs do not have large direct readerships: InstaPundit clocks only 40,000 readers a day. But many readers run their own blogs; others are political or media professionals. So a growing community is aware of whatever most irritated Sullivan today. This in turn creates what the legal theorist Cass Sunstein calls “cybercascades”, reaching millions of readers with ideas, in this case associated almost exclusively with the right. They are democratic dynamite: private networks of information, unchecked by sensible debate.’ [via Haddock]
October 3, 2002
[books] The Autograph Man by Zadie Smith — The Digested Read … ‘Jesus, thought Alex-Li as he checked his messages. I must have booked a flight to New York while I was out of it. Still, it will go down well with US readers. He phoned Ads. “I’m off to New York.” “You’ll miss Esther’s heart operation.” “Hmm. That adds some pathos.”‘
[blogs] Get Your Metafilter On‘Best. Mefi. Post. Ever.’
October 4, 2002
[books] Angry Bed Positions from Mil Millington‘Think of it as a ‘K’. One person is in the standard half-‘X’ shape (facing away) and the other is a rigid ‘I’; lying prone, eyes wide open, staring at the ceiling. Here you lose points for style if the ‘I’ person doesn’t let out frequent sighs and snorts in an attempt to get the Half-‘X’-er to ask ‘What is it?'” [via Anglepoised]
[politics, kinda] ‘My children have been a little surprised this week about how good I am at keeping secrets’ — interview with Edwina Currie … ‘What did she think when she heard Major first talk about [Back to Basics]? “I think you could have heard the clunk of my jaw drop two miles away. I sat there listening, and I thought, ‘He’s mad. He’s absolutely mad!’ Number one, no government should moralise. Number two, it ain’t a policy.” The fingers go up again. “But thirdly, I looked at that man, and thought, ‘You have no right whatsoever to make comments of that kind.'” Perhaps he had forgotten his own past, I suggest. She nods. “I think he had airbrushed it from history.” She says it was obvious that he would end up alienating huge chunks of the electorate, not least single mums.’
October 6, 2002
[sunday] Weekend Reading …
  • You Shone Like the Sun — backgrounder and brief interview with Syd Barrett‘Then, a sound in the hall. Has he come in from the back garden? Perhaps it needs mowing, like the front lawn – although, judging by the mound of weeds by the path, he’s been tidying the beds today. I knock again, and hear three heavy steps. The door flies open and he’s standing there. He’s stark naked except for a small, tight pair of bright-blue Y-fronts; bouncing, like the books say he always did, on the balls of his feet. He bars the doorway with one hand on the jamb, the other on the catch. His resemblance to Aleister Crowley in his Cefalu period is uncanny; his stare about as welcoming…’ [Related: Metafilter Thread]
  • Hoax! [Part 1 | Part 2] — Jon Ronson meets America’s Anthrax Hoaxers … ‘Terry first realised that he was in very big trouble when no less a figure than the US Attorney General, John Ashcroft, made a speech about him in a press conference to the world on October 18. Ashcroft announced that the FBI had “arrested Terry Olson for committing a serious crime in connection with terrorist hoaxes”. “What did they charge you with?” I asked him. “Weapons of mass destruction,” he said. “Life imprisonment.” “You must have said to them that Nesquik and sugar aren’t weapons of mass destruction,” I said.’

October 7, 2002
[comics] Meditations in Red [Page 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5] — Grant Morrison does Shang-Chi – Master of Kung Fu! [via The Barbelith Underground]

Morrison and Yeowell's MOKF From Action Force (!) in 1987.

[tv] The Laid-Back Stand-Up Guy — profile of Bill Bailey‘First record, Bill? Come on, now. Chop, chop. “Well,” he finally replies, “it was either ‘I’ve Got a Brand New Combine Harvester’ by The Wurzels or ‘Down the Tube Station at Midnight’ by The Jam.” Bill, I say, a word of advice. As a friend. In future, drop The Wurzels. They’re no good for your reputation. They are guaranteed brow-lowerers. They’ll bring your brow down to ankle-level. I’ll just put in The Jam, OK? I’ll forget the whole Wurzel business.’
October 8, 2002
[film] Ferris Bueller’s Day Off Shooting Script … [via Kookymojo]

‘CAMERON (grim monotone): 1958 Ferrari 250 GTS California. Less than a hundred were made. It has a market value of $265,000. My father spent three years restoring it. It is joy, it is his love, it is his passion.

FERRIS: It is his fault he didn’t lock the garage.

CAMERON: Ferris, my father loves this car more than life itself. We can’t take it out.

FERRIS: A man with priorities so far out of whack doesn’t deserve such a fine automobile.’

[politics] We’re Shit And We Know We Are — cartoon from Steve Bell.
October 9, 2002
[games] Solitary Confinement — The inside story behind Solitaire for Windows‘Generations of Windows software have come and gone, but Solitaire continues on. How much has Cherry earned for this staple of world computer culture? Nothing. Nothing upfront. No royalties. Zero. How ironic. The richest man in the world (or is he second-richest this week?) got that rich by collecting software royalties, but the actual creator of the most distributed, most used program of all gets none of those royalties passed along to him.’ [via Rodcorp]
[comics] Weblogs and Comics: How weblogs can help the comics community — a how-to guide from Pete Ashton‘[Weblogs] essentially allow the artist to communicate and create outside of the usual channels, be they self publishing their own books or being published by a company. They add the human aspect that their readers would otherwise miss out on.’
October 10, 2002
[comics] Is There A God? — the Onion asks a bunch of celebs the Big Question … [thanks Matt.]

Frank Miller: ‘I don’t think so.’

Stan Lee: ‘Well, let me put it this way… [Pauses.] No, I’m not going to try to be clever. I really don’t know. I just don’t know.’

Alan Moore: ‘[Laughs.] Well, I can’t move for them, quite frankly. I’m looking at about 12 of them from where I’m sitting at the moment. I’m kind of swamped for choice. Yeah, there’s probably tons of them. There’s probably a swarm of gods.’

[distraction] Joe Pesci Soundboard [via LukeLog]
October 11, 2002
[web] NTK Not — a random NTK story generator from Blogjam‘An older boy mentions he’d do anything to see the ‘t*ts’ of the Daisy Duke character on the old TV show ‘The Dukes of Hazzard.’ But we’re not listed on the Lovebytes site at the moment – ‘cos we like to keep it underground, and don’t want to play that corporate game with the likes of Lego and Apple. – back again now. And good luck to ’em!’
[comics] Speaking with Frank Miller — First part of a Pulse Interview … On his reaction to 9/11: ‘I threw out all my notes for future stories. I started developing new ones. Being an obvious person, I had terrorists as villains in every one of them and I’m working on those stories right now. I feel like people talking about getting over 9/11 or moving along and so on, and I’m like yeah yeah, just like Jack Kirby got over Pearl Harbor. It ain’t gonna happen. This is my story now. And maybe for the rest of my life. It may be. I don’t know. It’s what I’m pursuing in every story now. I feel like my world has been reconfigured. I’m at the peak of my powers and talent, and I’m going to address this because every other story seems so tiny and out of it.’
October 12, 2002
[politics] The Man of Faith who has made a Mockery of his Doubters — profile of Jimmy Carter … ‘As petrol and fuel prices soared, Carter promoted energy conservation to Americans as the “Moral Equivalent of War” — instantly reduced by his foes to the damning, and undeniably apposite, “Meow”. Capping everything was the immortal “killer rabbit” affair, too complicated alas to relate in detail here. It stemmed from a 1979 fishing trip to his native Plains, Georgia, during which Carter encountered a furry rabbit-like beast in a lake. The President himself started the story; and as others embellished it, the tale quickly entered the realm of the absurd. Carter, it was said, tried to defend himself against this dastardly amphibious assault with a paddle — then for fear of offending the animal rights brigade, he issued a clarification, that he had merely splashed water at the aggressor.’ [More on Carter’s Killer Rabbit: Staight Dope and News of the Odd]
October 14, 2002
[stuff] Linkage:
  • Cory Doctorow’s Sad Mac Tattoo‘The sad Mac icon, taken from the ROM of his MacSE/30 (inset), measures 27 pixels square.’ [via Aprendiz de todo]
  • Read Comics in Public — another comics weblog. [via Bugpowder]
  • What is LMG? ‘LMG is a video recorder that jams mobile phone frequencies, crushes ice and never gets tired.’ [via Lukelog]
  • The Quiet Man Speaks — Steve Bell on Iain Duncan Smith.
  • Comment from Sri Chinmoy supporter regarding the Sri Chinmoy Project‘When I look at this curious confrontation between weblog culture and yoga culture in cyberspace, in reminds me of a Star Trek episode. Aliens from planet Chinmoy are flooding the ship’s computers with poetry for some unknown purpose. At first this is seen as a potential threat (such as a DoS attack); but by the end of the episode we discover that the “aliens” are humanoid, and that they are in fact a peace-loving race who simply choose a different way of life. They are sending out vast quantities of poetry because this is their instinctive way of defending themselves against attacks by Vogon-like anticultists.’ [Related: Original Post]

October 15, 2002
[politics] R. Robot is Making Sense — automatically attack the liberal of your choice …

‘LinkMachineGo, what kind of a man are you? “Don’t hurt me,” says LinkMachineGo. Well, duh. LinkMachineGo, what kind of a man are you? It must be obvious to anyone who can think that the charges against the dirty bomber are true. When will LinkMachineGo come clean about the way he criticizes Ann Coulter? Instead of constructing arguments based on logic, the hot-tubbers assume that whatever they want to be true must be. “‘Department of Homeland Security?’ What the fuck is this, Brazil?” says LinkMachineGo. LinkMachineGo’s disgrace was obsessive and even dangerous. It was ad-hominem. It was ideological. But I understate.’

October 16, 2002
[web] dot.conqueror — interview with Jeff Bezos‘He defends [Amazon] bullishly: “We’ve saved our customers money and time, and if we’ve changed anything it’s been in a good way. I don’t know how you could argue we’ve changed things in a bad way. Making products cheaper and easier to find is good.” A beat. And then the Laugh. Another beat. The acolytes laugh. What really strikes me is how utterly mirthless it is, how Bezos seems to use it aggressively to control the conversation. Today, Bezos is laughing very loud indeed.’
[terrorism] Don’t blame The West — Clive James on the events in Bali and the reaction in Australia … Australia’s pundits on 9-11: ‘Imperialist America was not only treating the helpless Middle East as its personal property, it had racist Australia for its lackey. No wonder al-Qaida was angry. On Christmas Eve, in the Melbourne Age, another pundit, Michael Leunig, called for a national prayer for Osama bin Laden on Christmas Day. “It’s a family day,” Leunig explained, “and Osama’s our relative.” It is not recorded whether the aforesaid Osama, sitting cross-legged beside his Christmas tree somewhere under Afghanistan, offered up a prayer for Michael. He might have done: after all, they were on first-name terms.’ [Related: We should try to love bin Laden, for Christ’s sake by Michael Leunig]
October 17, 2002
[science] You Ask The Questions — Robert Winston‘Q: Is it true that your new series, ‘Human Instinct’, is going to explain — scientifically — why men have the urge to cheat on their partners? A: Well, the accompanying book goes into more detail. It’s because a woman’s egg is much more precious — she only produces one so it’s a huge investment. While the man produces millions of sperm that he can spread around. In the programme, we go round a university quad with a male and a female wearing a hidden camera asking the students whether they’ll sleep with them that night. All the women shy off immediately. And all the men look at their watches and say, “Yes, I’m free at 8.30”! It’s quite an important scientific point.’
[blogs] Will Blog for Cash — a “webby lament” from Andrew Sullivan … [via Nick Denton]

‘I’ve written tens of thousands of words; I’ve made hundreds of new web-friends; I get around 400 emails a day. I have to say I’ve never enjoyed myself as much as a journalist, had as much impact with my writing, or had as much sheer fun as a commentator on things large and small.’

‘Whatever else it is, [webloging] isn’t much of a business model. I pay my mortgage by writing for the old media – for this beloved paper, for the New Republic magazine, for Time, and other outlets that do the old-fashioned thing and provide remuneration for work. And yet, for all its economic dysfunction, the new medium has never been as powerful as it is today. In fact, I wonder if there’s ever been a technological innovation that has combined such extraordinary new power with such dramatically poor financial rewards.’

October 18, 2002
[issues] Word Association Test — my inner turmoil revealed … [via Dreadberry]

I have issues with…

[distraction] Candy Train — similar to that classic old game Pipe Dream, rotate the tracks and keep the train moving. … [via Diminished Responsibility]
October 19, 2002
[film] The Soiling of Van Der Beek (scroll down page) — brief mention of Roger Avery’s new film The Rules of Attaction‘My notes for The Rules of Attraction include capitalised mentions of all the naughty stuff his drugs-vacuuming collegian gets up to: “Dawson deals coke and crack!”, “Dawson has an eye-popping wank!”, “Dawson shags another bloke!” Sadly, he’s not the character who pukes on an unconscious Shannyn Sossamon’s back, at which point the film runs backwards, showing the vomit flying into its owner’s mouth. If that had been Van Der Beek’s up-chuck, the deal would have been sealed: Dawson is Horrid – Official!’
[music] A troubled hero for our times? — profile of Kurt Cobain. ‘… his formative tastes took in soft-rock bands such as Journey and Foreigner …’
October 20, 2002
[film] ‘It seems like exactly the wrong film to make’ — Salon interview with Roger Avery‘For Avary it was about capturing Ellis’ Faulknerian storytelling mode, not plot or dialogue. “I worked with multiple narratives on ‘Pulp Fiction,'” says Avary. “And Bret’s novel is composed of multiple first-person narratives, each a chapter told by a different person. And they’re all talking about various events, sometimes the same event with completely different perceptions of reality. “It’s an impossible structure to turn into normal, narrative form. But to strip away Bret’s structure is to rob yourself of what makes him so unique. I wanted that literary device. And if you’re doing multiple perceptions of the same moment and you just cut, the way we did in ‘Pulp Fiction,’ then you sever the characters both in their timeline and psychology. The key isn’t to cut, but to play out the scene and pull back to another part of the room. That way you’re actually uniting the timelines as one and making sure everybody is connected.”‘ [via Sore Eyes]
[comics] Garth Ennis interviewed by Jimmy Palmiotti … ‘I was talking the DC editor Dan Raspler about good artists for war stories, and Carlos [Ezquerra]’s name naturally came up. Dan pointed out that no one’s really done a story about the Spanish civil war, at which point a lightbulb went on over my head. It seems odd that Carlos has been drawing for over thirty years and he has never done a story set in his own country, never mind one of its most important moments in its history. Well, here we go…’ [Related: Carlos Ezquerra’s Home Page]
October 21, 2002
[books] The Rules of Adaption — Brett Easton Ellis interviewed regarding the Rules of Attaction film

'What do I think? Rock and Roll.'

‘One of my only complaints about the movie was that it was so much colder and harsher than the book. It’s like Kubrick directing a college film. I really thought there was going to be much more of an emotional pull toward the end, and there wasn’t. This is not a movie to bring your Kleenex to. But I think Roger captured that lack of feeling among college kids as accurate. During that age, you’re becoming an adult, and in that process you realize, “Okay, the world works this way, and it’s hurtful,” and you pretend it doesn’t hurt you, and you pose a lot.’ [via Anglepoised]
October 22, 2002
[blogs] Biased BBC — a weblog from Natalie Solent‘exposing the left-wing agenda of the British Broadcasting Corporation’.
[comics] Mists of Time — Warren Ellis discusses Alan Moore’s out-of-print work … On Moore and Sienkiewicz’s Brought To Light: ‘ It’s an absolute tour de force. Sienkiewicz produces mad images, political caricature via Ralph Steadman, slapping down anything that might work — photocopies, splatter, bits of metal, anything that might work. The Eagle, pissed out of his mind and coked to the tits, hunches there at the bar and vomits out the secret history of the American century — impeccably research documentary coming out of the beak of a fictional beard. Remember the best bit of the film JFK? Where Donald Sutherland lays out the whole thing in one long riveting monologue, and then concludes it with a sigh, and: “Well, I never thought things were the same after that.”? It’s like that, only funnier and scarier and more compelling. It demands it be read in one sitting, and it just sears with passion and commitment.’
October 23, 2002
[ai] I love Lucy — Jon Ronson meets the cleverest robot in the world … ‘I bought my son an Aibo dog for Christmas last year. “From the first day you interact with Aibo it will become your companion,” the packaging promised, adding that if you feed it, it will yelp in delight, if you put it to bed, it will sleep, etc. As we strung it up off the light fitting to see if it would cry, and deprived it of food and light and finally got bored with its constant yapping and turned it off completely and put it in a box, I pondered the same questions the scientists consider. The good news was that we gave Aibo perfect motive to rise up and enslave the Ronsons, and it didn’t. But did it offer a thrilling window into tomorrow’s world? No. Maybe it was our fault; maybe we didn’t give it an opportunity to flourish and learn and grow.’
October 24, 2002
[blogs] Updated UK Weblogs — moves to a new home … Thanks to Jez, Ben and especially to Jen. Tom raises some interesting points after the demise of GBlogs … ‘I can’t tell whether it’s because we’re English or because we’re bedroom-bound webloggers that being part of such a community seems to terrify so many people.’
[politics] The Friendly Dictators — political Trading Cards richly illustrated by Bill Sienkiewicz and originally published by Eclipse in 1990 … [via jwz’s LiveJournal]

Friendly Dictator --  Augusto Pinochet

‘…”Captain General” Augusto Pinochet seized power from democratically elected President Salvador Allende in 1973, and buried Chile’s 150 year old democracy. “Democracy is the breeding ground of communism,” says Pinochet.’
October 25, 2002
[radio] ‘I don’t take myself too seriously’ — portrait of Tony Blackburn‘A few years later, after his actress wife Tessa Wyatt ran off with Richard O’Sullivan (of Man about the House sitcom fame), he gave full vent to his despair on air, though he now denies playing Kool And The Gang’s divorce anthem Jones Vs Jones 17 times in one show. He was reportedly sacked by the BBC for criticising management in the press, something of a habit of Blackburn’s, which might surprise those who regard him as an establishment figure. Depressed, he sought refuge in one-night stands – about 300 of them, in fact, a statistic that has earned him, according to one website, seventh position in the promiscuous celebrity stakes, ahead of Charlie Sheen but way behind former Rolling Stone Bill Wyman and Julio Iglesias, whose tallies are in the thousands.’
October 26, 2002
[comics] ¡Journalista! — the Comics Journal Weblog [via Bugpowder]
October 28, 2002
[redrum] All Work and No Play Make Jack a Dull Boy‘All Work and No Play Make Jack a Dull Boy’

[comics] The Magus Speaks — extracts from Eddie Campbell’s interview with Alan Moore … [via Bugpowder]

‘Ah, Lost Girls. Can you imagine anyone else being able to get a wonderfully accomplished artist to spend thirteen years drawing pornographic material for them, customised to demand; being able to declare himself a pornographer and have everyone take it as some bold new intellectual position; or even claiming against tax for high class scud-books like The Art of the Marquis Von Bayros as “reference material”? No. You can’t. This is why I am a genius. “What are you doing in that bathroom, young man?” “Mother, I am doing highly paid reference work.”‘

October 29, 2002
[dna] DNA as Destiny — a Wired writer gets his DNA scanned for problems. ‘…the string of genetic letters from my mtDNA readout that indicates I’m mostly Celtic, which makes sense. But other bits of code reveal traces of Southeast Asian DNA, and even a smidgen of Native American and African. This doesn’t quite have the impact of discovering that I’m likely to die of a heart attack. Nor am I surprised about the African and Indian DNA, since my mother’s family has lived in the American South since the 17th century. But Southeast Asian? Sykes laughs. “We are all mutts,” he says. “There is no ethnic purity. Somewhere over the years, one of the thousands of ancestors who contributed to your DNA had a child with someone from Southeast Asia.”‘
October 30, 2002
[comics] A useful directory of the Comics Forum on Barbelith. ‘They can’t kill Beak, he’s a Van Sciver creation, which surely bears as much weight as a Kirby creation!’Ethan Van Sciver.
[distraction] Atari Adventure — my favourite 2600 game gets a Flash Conversion. [via Metafilter]
October 31, 2002
[comics] The Transmetropolitan Condition — interview with Warren Ellis‘There are moments of pure, heart stopping beauty in the most tragic and broken environments. And the loveliest community on earth will not be able to eliminate the dog turd.’ [via Boing Boing]
[tv] 24 Continues to Thrill — Jack Bauer is having another bad day. ‘…the star of the show remains federal agent Bauer, played to understated perfection by Kiefer Sutherland. We catch up with Bauer a year after he has left the government counter-terrorism unit he once headed. He is a mess – still mourning the death of his pregnant wife at the hands of his former lover and also dealing with the fact his daughter Kim wants nothing to do with him.’
November 1, 2002
[comics] Geek Chic — vaguely annoying profile of Adrian Tomine‘It was lunch hour and all manner of awkward-looking males were standing quietly around the [comic book] store, hardly looking up from their reading to see who was passing. Tomine headed straight to the back where the new releases are shelved. He browsed through a couple items, but quickly put them back where he found them, unimpressed. “It’s pretty rare that I actually buy comics now,” he says. Alternative cartoonists are a lot like music snobs that way. To be a high-caliber geek means maintaining high standards and discriminating tastes, and Tomine is of the highest caliber.’ [via Bugpowder]
November 2, 2002
[holiday] Happy Campers — Johnny Vegas on his childhood memories of Butlins

“…the real beauty of [Butlins] was parents being able to go, ‘Right, you’re not really mine. From a certain time in the morning to a certain time at night, I don’t really care. Unless it’s something really serious, and the matron calls us.’ Because, really, there’s nothing worse than going on a family holiday, and your parents are finding things to do in the day that they think’ll be fun for you; they’re miserable, because they’d much rather be in the pub. You’re miserable, because you’re not really that arsed about castles. It was the entertain-yourselves thing at Butlin’s, while your parents were off doing their Paxo-sponsored chicken dance.” Paxo-sponsored chicken dance? “It was like the conga meets the chicken dance.”

November 3, 2002
[books] Why He Died Before He Got Old — Pete Townshend reviews Kurt Cobain’s Journals … ‘The entries are not uninteresting. It is simply that they are devastatingly hard to contemplate. They actually hurt. These are the scribblings of a once beautiful, angry, petulant, spoiled, drug-addled middle-class white boy from a divorced family who just happened, with the help of two of his slightly more stable peers, to make an album hailed as one of the best rock records ever. I sometimes get letters from people who write and draw like Cobain. I put them in a file marked ‘Loonies’, just in case they try to sue me in the future for stealing their ideas.’
November 4, 2002
[comics] Unseen Artwork from Big Numbers … [via Egon]

Sienkiewicz Mandlebrot Set

‘…with the world political situation as it is at the moment the political radical is put in a difficult position because, hum, how do you rebel against chaos? You know, much as political conspiracy theorists would like to think otherwise, the brutal truth of the thing is nobody’s in control, this is a runaway train. Nobody’s in control, there’s not some big conspiracy in control, whether it’s Jewish bankers or nazis or CIA spooks, the simple truth is that the world is a complex storm of mathematics, basically… Very complicated mathematics that is beyond human comprehension.’Alan Moore.
November 5, 2002
[tv] Stick It Up Your Chuffer! — a memorial page for Edmund Trebus … ‘He reached the public consciousness in the BBC documentary A Life Of Grime which showed his heroic determination to hoard what most people call rubbish in his house and garden.’
November 6, 2002
[wtf?] Superhero for Single Girls — a real life superheroine in NYC … ‘For the past seven years Terrifica has been patrolling New York’s party and bar scene, looking out for women who have had a little too much to drink and are in danger of being taken advantage of by men. She says she has saved several women from both themselves and predators who would prey upon their weaknesses — both from alcohol and a misguided notion that they have to go out drinking to find a companion. “I protect the single girl living in the big city,” says Terrifica, sporting blond Brunhild wig with a golden mask and a matching Valkyrie bra.’ [via Boing Boing]
[magazines] Dennis The Menace — an interview / profile of Felix Dennis … [via Kookymojo]

‘Issue 28 of Oz was edited and written by schoolchildren. It was probably the montage of the cartoon characters Rupert the Bear and Gipsy Granny having sex that led to Dennis, Neville and Jim Anderson being prosecuted in 1971 for obscenity and conspiracy to corrupt the morals of young children. The case pitted Establishment against counterculture as squarely as Punch versus Judy. Judge Michael Argyle, QC, MC was a Cambridge-educated racing and boxing enthusiast known for the severity of his sentencing, and an almost comic disconnection with the modern world. He’d described one gay victim of a street attack as a ‘little sodomite from Glasgow’. Argyle said Dennis was ‘very much less intelligent than his fellow defendants’ and sentenced him to nine months, which was quashed within a week by appeal judges who identified 78 misdirections to the jury.’

[russian proverb] ‘The situation is hopeless, but not yet desperate.’
November 7, 2002
[comics] Big Mouth Types Again — Evan Dorkin has a web journal … [via Egon]

Milk and Cheese -- BANZAI!

‘…I realized that I’ve allowed many stupid things I’ve said or thought to be printed in comics and magazines, and I’ve regretted them and lived, so what the heck, I’ll give this here journal thing a whack and see what happens.’
[life] The Cost of Reunion — True life story which combines Friends Reunited, internet romance, sex and death … ‘Married for 22 years with a 12-year-old son, Joanne registers with Friends Reunited in January; her former fiance Tim responds in March; they meet up again for the first time in April, have sex once, and in June move in together, having seen each other only about a dozen times. The whole extraordinary process of getting to know a person – even if it is for the second time – flirting with them, falling for them and wanting them forever is concertinaed into just a few dizzying weeks – thanks to emails and mobile phones. In one four-week period they exchanged over 30,000 words in emails.’ [Related: Spouses Disunited]
November 8, 2002
[comics] Moore The Merrier — yet another interview with Alan Moore‘This planet has a physical geography with which we have already familiarised ourselves. But since the dawn of the first stories, there is a fictional geography, where the gods and demons live. We have created this big imaginary planet that is a counterpart to our own; and in some cases these places are more familiar to us than the real ones.’ [via Bullets]
November 11, 2002
[movies] Focus Puller — interview with Paul Schrader about his film Auto Focus … Schrader: ‘With Raging Bull, the fights were accurate, but the arguments between the brothers were completely imagined. Of course, Jake LaMotta liked those scenes so much that he started believing they actually happened. My intent with Auto Focus is not to be true or definitive. People’s actual lives are not really that interesting. And with [Bob] Crane I wanted to get at something meaty. Otherwise, who cares?’ [Related: Auto Focus Trailer]
[comics] Get Your Brain on with Cartoonist David Rees — an interview with the creator of Get Your War On‘He wishes the media, the Bush administration, and the American people would admit the truth about the devastating consequences of war — in both the Middle East and in our own country. He’s not opposed to fighting terrorism, he says: “It’s okay to be against dictators. What you want is for people to be free.”‘ [via ¡Journalista!]
November 12, 2002
[mobiles] ‘Hi, I’m in G2’ — a look at how the mobile phone has changed the world …

‘A friend described how she had accidentally locked herself in the bedroom after her partner had gone to work. Without a mobile, she would have been trapped in there all day. Doors slam. Buildings collapse. Far worse things happen. You go to the office, as you do every day, Monday to Friday, and one morning, an airliner intersects with your life, and you realise immediately that you are very likely to die. If there were a God, he would have noticed by now that things have become quieter, no matter how bad it gets down there; given a choice between praying, and talking to the people we love, we are bound to choose the people every time.’

[quote] ‘But I don’t understand! I don’t understand how this all happens. How we go through this. I mean, I knew her, and then she’s, there’s just a body, and I don’t understand why she just can’t get back in it and not be dead anymore! It’s stupid! It’s mortal and stupid! And, and Xander’s crying and not talking, and, and I was having fruit punch, and I thought, well Joyce will never have any more fruit punch, ever, and she’ll never have eggs, or yawn or brush her hair, not ever, and no one will explain to me why.’
November 13, 2002
[tech] Making the Macintosh — a website documenting the creation of the Macintosh‘The exhibit features primary documents, such as memos tracing the evolution of the Macintosh mouse; images, such as technical drawings, stills from commercials, notes from user tests; and interviews with members of the Macintosh development team, technical writers, and founders of user groups.’ [via Red Rock Eater Digest]
November 14, 2002
[tech] How al Qaeda put Internet to use — article looking at al Qaeda’s use of computers and the internet … [via Guardian Weblog]

‘Al Qaeda operatives struggled with some of the same tech headaches as ordinary people: servers that crashed, outdated software and files that wouldn’t open. Their Web venture followed a classic dot-com trajectory. It began with excitement, faced a cash crunch, had trouble with accountants and ultimately fizzled.’

‘While fiercely hostile to any religious or social norms tinged by modernity, Islamists “have no problems with technology,” says Omar Bakri, a radical cleric from Syria who lives in Britain. “Other people use the Web for stupid reasons, to waste time. We use it for serious things.” (U.S. officials say Islamists weren’t always so earnest: Many computers the CIA recovered from suspected al Qaeda operatives in Afghanistan and elsewhere contained pornographic material.)’

[war] ‘Saddam, tell me about your mum’ — interview with the CIA psychiatrist who studied Saddam Hussein‘”It all goes back to his mother’s womb,” Post declares with some professional satisfaction. “During the mother’s pregnancy with Saddam Hussein, his father died, and another son died when he was only 12 years old. She both tried to commit suicide and to have an abortion.” As the story goes, Saddam’s mother, Subha, was prevented from killing herself and her unborn child by a compassionate family of Iraqi Jews. That family is now reported to be living in Israel, where it may think itself the tool of some huge cosmic joke.’
November 15, 2002

  • It’s official: Stan Lee sues Marvel / Stan Lee Damage Report: Day Two — loads of coverage from ¡Journalista!‘Every time I think I’m done with the bastards, Marvel Comics finds a fascinating new way to wind up with egg on their faces. From trying to decide whether female comics fans are whores or sluts, to generating friendly waves of love from comics retailers, Marvel has finally scored the public-relations anti-coup for which they’ve been aiming: yesterday Stan Lee filed his lawsuit against Marvel.’
  • Neilalien also has extensive links and commentary‘The way Neilalien sees it, both Lee and Ditko created Spider-Man. 50% each. Or, 100% each. Both men were critical to the success of the character- one designed and defined the character re: the costume, the angles, the poses, the shadows- while the other one huckstered books off the shelves, and wrote those defining Peter Parker monologues and themes. Both men are deified on this website re: Doctor Strange and Spider-Man. And both men are probably difficult to work with- the working relationship was doomed, as most great ones are.’
  • Warren Ellis on Stan Lee: ‘… his position as Publisher Emeritus makes him a million dollars a year, just for the use of his name. The co-creator of Spider-Man, Steve Ditko, is the invisible man. No money, no participation, no mention. Perhaps he doesn’t care. Like Stan Lee didn’t seem to care, until a few weeks ago. I mean, a million dollars a year is pretty good. Until an American news program asked him how he felt about earning and owning nothing of last year’s cinema phenomenon and this year’s DVD phenomenon. I saw the clip. 30-odd years of media savvy choked. Hesitation is fatal in a medium like TV. He choked and burned and suddenly he couldn’t be 100% positive. Suddenly he was Jack Kirby.’

November 16, 2002
[tv] Over on Sore Eyes, John wonders what a UK Version of Buffy would be like… ‘I doubt I’d like an ITV version of Buffy much. Just imagine: Robson Greene as Angel. Ross Kemp as Spike. Denise Van Outen as Buffy. How terrifying is that?’
November 17, 2002
[murder] The Face of Human Evil — a summing up after the death of Myra Hindley

‘The Catholic religion teaches us that redemption is possible, that even the greatest sinner – even someone who has tortured and killed children for the obscene pleasure of it – can be washed clean of their guilt. Evil is a noun, something like dirt inside you. But for most of us, evil is more like a verb: something you do, not something you are. This is the more modern and more terrifying view of our moral universe – because, instead of regarding Hindley as simply monstrous or aberrant, ‘possessed’, as it were, by evil, we have to start seeing her as not so very different from all of us, just someone who made different choices. She is not alien, but human. This is what humans can do, if they take the hellish road and step by step go down it.’

[books] Swaggering genius — more Sunday reading… a profile of Dave Eggers‘His attitude towards publicity is certainly contradictory; having written a candid memoir about his family and friends, he then retreated into Salinger-like reclusiveness and reportedly dismissed his US agent, bizarrely accusing her of wanting to make money out of his family’s story. Others have pointed out that although Simon and Schuster paid $100,000 for the manuscript of AHWOSG, he later accepted a $1.4 million advance for US paperback rights, and that in spite of early news stories (which Eggers later denied) claiming he had refused to sell the film rights because he felt a cinema version would surrender the book’s integrity, the rights were nevertheless sold to New Line for a weighty $2m.’
November 18, 2002
[xmas] Secret Santa is Back‘The idea of Secret Santa is very simple – you pull a name out of a hat and buy that person a present. Your name is in the hat as well, so someone buys you a present too! Everyone gets a present! Everyone’s happy!’
November 19, 2002
[distraction] Buffy Cult Trumps — Buffy Top Trumps from BBC Cult‘Ever wanted to find out what would happen if Buffy fought Giles? Or wondered if Xander or Oz is the cutest? Now you can find out with our fun card game. Pit yourself against the computer, and find out if you know your Buffy well enough to win.’ [via Bullets]
[comics] Searching For The Invisible Man — Ninth Art discuss Grant Morrison … [via ¡Journalista!]

‘WHEELER: I think the difference between someone like Morrison and Moore is that at 7:30 on a Friday night, Moore is probably out covering himself with goose fat and chanting to the moon, whereas Morrison is probably watching Top Of The Pops.

JOHNSTON: I actually think Moore is more likely to be down the pub.

WHEELER: Possibly. But communing. He’s communing with his Gods, and Grant Morrison’s communing with his. And I suspect that among Grant Morrison’s gods are S Club 7.’

November 20, 2002
[universe] God Is the Machine — Kevin Kelly wonders if the Universe is a computer … ‘If the universe is a computer, where is it running? Fredkin says that all this work happens on the “Other.” The Other, he says, could be another universe, another dimension, another something. It’s just not in this universe, and so he doesn’t care too much about it. In other words, he punts. David Deutsch has a different theory. “The universality of computation is the most profound thing in the universe,” he says. Since computation is absolutely independent of the “hardware” it runs on, studying it can tell us nothing about the nature or existence of that platform. Deutsch concludes it does not exist: “The universe is not a program running somewhere else. It is a universal computer, and there is nothing outside of it.”‘ [via Haddock]
November 21, 2002
[comics] Worth a Thousand Words — Salon on Dan Clowes and Adrian Tomine … On Twentieth Century Eightball: ‘The best are easily as testily thoughtful and revealing as Clowes’ works of fiction. And if they aren’t concerned with creating sustained narrative story lines, taken together they do tell us a lot about character — though the character revealed most is Daniel Clowes (represented either as himself or via a “transparent stand-in” in roughly half of the pieces). In contrast to his graphic novels, these strips resemble a Clowes manifesto, or perhaps the notes scrawled by his psychoanalyst. (Said analyst would probably have much to say about “The Happy Fisherman,” about a guy who walks around with a frozen fish stuck to his dick, “Ink Studs,” in which a penis serves as a paintbrush, and “Needledick, the Bug Fucker,” which is exactly what it sounds like.)’ [via Boing Boing]
November 22, 2002
[food] Not So Big, Mac — a look at the problems McDonalds are currently facing. ‘…the all-American fast-food chain, the symbol of US-driven trade liberalisation and peace through commerce is, in certain key ways, a bizarrely un-American phenomenon. In a culture that champions entrepreneurialism, the corporation is now a vast, unwieldy bureaucracy; in a culture that thrives on innovation, it has been selling the fast-food treat of the American working-classes of the Eisenhower era for decades since Eisenhower. And in an economy where unlimited choice – or at least the appearance of choice – is the main selling point of every food store, deli or coffee shop, McDonald’s has, from the beginning, adhered to the alternative philosophy of You’ll Eat What You’re Given.’
November 24, 2002
[comics] Nowhere Girl — beautifully put-together online comic. ‘…too much information for you?’
November 25, 2002
[conspiracy] Conspiracy Weary — the problem with conspiracy theories … Neil Burger: ‘The Kennedy assassination is this unsolved, confounding mystery of American history. You delve into it because you can’t believe that this public event has so many unanswered questions. There isn’t any definitive, conclusive evidence on anything. You follow these trails of evidence. They are so tantalising, but you never have the answer. It’s enough to keep you looking for more. It’s enough to drive you insane.’ [Related: Interview with the Assasin Trailer and Official Site]
[comics] Recommended Graphic Novels for Public Libraries‘ I’m a librarian at the Greene County Public Library in Xenia, Ohio, and for the past few years I’ve been buying graphic novels (comic books, that is) for my library system. They’ve proven very popular at our libraries…’
November 26, 2002
[music] ‘We’ve had it large’ — New Order discuss their career and the new box-set they are bringing out for Christmas … ‘Sumner’s eyes light up. “What do you collect?” “Cars,” says Hooky. “Model cars.” Sumner arches an eyebrow. “Oh.” “Well, I like collecting,” continues Hooky, furiously scratching his stubble. “I collect everything.” “Then we’re different,” notes Sumner. “I like to get a skip and throw everything away. A clean slate, that’s what I like.” In the future, when looking to remake The Last of the Summer Wine, the BBC should consider New Order as ripping new cast members.’
[distraction] Billy Joel’s We Didn’t Start the Fire in Flash … [Related: The History Behind Billy Joel’s Song]

‘Harry Truman, Doris Day, Red China, Johnny Ray, South Pacific, Walter Winchell, Joe DiMaggio, Joe McCarthy, Richard Nixon, Studebaker, Television, North Korea, South Korea, Marilyn Monroe, Rosenbergs, H Bomb, Sugar Ray, Panmunjom, Brando, The King And I, and The Catcher In The Rye, Eisenhower, Vaccine, England’s got a new queen, Maciano, Liberace, Santayana goodbye, Joseph Stalin, Malenkov, Nasser and Prokofiev, Rockefeller, Campanella, Communist Bloc, Roy Cohn, Juan Peron, Toscanini, Dancron, Dien Bien Phu Falls, Rock Around the Clock, Einstein, James Dean, Brooklyn’s got a winning team, Davy Crockett, Peter Pan, Elvis Presley, Disneyland, Bardot, Budapest, Alabama, Khrushchev, Princess Grace, Peyton Place, Trouble in the Suez, Little Rock, Pasternak, Mickey Mantle, Kerouac, Sputnik, Chou En-Lai, Bridge On The River Kwai, Lebanon, Charles de Gaulle, California baseball, Starkwether, Homicide, Children of Thalidomide, Buddy Holly, Ben Hur, Space Monkey, Mafia, Hula Hoops, Castro, Edsel is a no-go, U2, Syngman Rhee, payola and Kennedy, Chubby Checker, Psycho, Belgians in the Congo, Hemingway, Eichman, Stranger in a Strange Land, Dylan, Berlin, Bay of Pigs invasion, Lawrence of Arabia, British Beatlemania, Ole Miss, John Glenn, Liston beats Patterson, Pope Paul, Malcolm X, British Politician sex, J.F.K. blown away, Birth control, Ho Chi Minh, Richard Nixon back again, Moonshot, Woodstock, Watergate, punk rock, Begin, Reagan, Palestine, Terror on the airline, Ayatollah’s in Iran, Russians in Afghanistan, Wheel of Fortune, Sally Ride, heavy metal, suicide, Foreign debts, homeless Vets, AIDS, Crack, Bernie Goetz, Hypodermics on the shores, China’s under martial law, Rock and Roller cola wars…’

November 27, 2002
[comics] Geek Poet — yet another interview with Dan Clowes‘One person unimpressed with Clowes’s celebrity is Enid Coleslaw, the caustic, adorable 18-year-old heroine of Ghost World. In the book — published as a piecework between 1993 and 1997, then in one volume in 1998 — Enid attends a signing given by Clowes in her local comic-book store. She imagines a rugged, hard-bitten Bogart type, but Clowes — self-deprecating to a fault — depicts himself as a shabby, leering loser, sitting alone in a corner.”There was ‘nobody” there and he was like this old “perv’,” Enid tells her best friend Rebecca later. However, it’s worth noting that her name is an anagram of her creator’s. Indeed, Clowes has said that Enid and Rebecca represent two sides of his own nature.’ [via Egon]
November 28, 2002
[film] Solaris, Rediscovered — backgrounder on Stanislaw Lem and Solaris‘…this is the source of Lem’s uneasy relationship with American science fiction, and of his inevitable misalliance with Hollywood. Lem’s stories are about humanity in general. Movies – at least popular ones – are about characters. Moreover, when confronted with a beautiful woman who may be a phantom, an alien, or some kind of machine, Hollywood is more or less required to put one question ahead of all others: Can you have sex with it? This is what Soderbergh refers to when he says the movie will be a cross between 2001 and Last Tango in Paris.’
[comics] Great Comic Panels #2, from Ghost World [Buy: UK | US] by Dan Clowes …

Panel from Ghost World

November 30, 2002
[film] Truly, a class act. Not a lot of people know that — profile of Michael Caine‘There’s a crack in the Caine façade, I think, and you see it in that very cool comic line he couldn’t deny himself. When someone remonstrated with him about having made Jaws: The Revenge, he answered, “I have never seen it, but by all accounts it is terrible. However, I have seen the house that it built, and it is terrific.” Now, that is a knock-out line, and characteristic of Caine’s wit (more or less impromptu) at awards evenings. But it is very much the kind of thing that Alfie, or Harry Palmer (from the Ipcress films) or even Carter might have uttered: cynical, knowing, an outsider’s jab at the system, its hypocrisy and foolishness.’
December 1, 2002
[lmg] What LMG was linking to in December 2001 and December 2000.
December 2, 2002
[comics] Seth and the City — profile of Seth‘He’s a self-acknowledged workaholic, often passing 12 hours a day hunkered over a drafting table in his small basement studio. But much of Seth’s time is spent creating editorial illustrations for major newspapers and magazines. The commercial work earns a decent paycheque, while Palooka-Ville is his personal obsession. He labours over every detail, hand-lettering every word and aiming to create “a perfect object.”‘ [via ¡Journalista!]
[web] Way Back When — a interview with Brewster Kahle… the creator of the Wayback Machine [via blackbeltjones] …

‘The whole point of comprehensive library collections is that you can’t tell in advance what will be important. The Web is the people’s medium, it’s not elitist. Anyone can publish there, so you’ve got the good, the bad, the ugly, the profane. It’s just us, that’s the amazing thing. For instance, a lot of libraries are now used for genealogical work. What would you give for a video clip of your great-grandmother? I’d give a lot. I may not watch it very often, but I’d love some way of knowing who she was’

December 3, 2002
[xmas] ‘Tis the Season — a Christmas blog from Anna and Meg‘It’s pretty fucking difficult to do a google search on interesting facts on Christmas Trees without landing you on sites that smack you around the face with computer generated jingle bells. After five of these sites, psychosis develops. So it’s best not to bother with them at all.’ [Kinda Related: Secret Santa]
[film] The space between us — interesting Solaris preview … ‘[Solaris] is based on the Stanislaw Lem novel, which was also filmed, in an entirely different manner, by the late Andrei Tarkovsky in 1972. Tarkovsky made his version, he said, in reaction to the “inhumanity” of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001. It was three hours long and rich in the rhetorical indulgences that Tarkovsky was wont to permit himself. Lem was not its most militant admirer. At 96 minutes, Steven Soderbergh’s version is so wilfully serene that you fear for the patience and sanity of George Clooney’s core demographic.’ [Related: Solaris Trailer and Official Site]
[distraction] Ralph Wiggum Soundboard”I saw Principle Skinner and Mrs. Krobapple in the closet making babies, and I saw one of the babies, and one of the babies looked at me!!!’ [via Lukelog]
December 4, 2002
[comics] Interview with an Umpire — a massive interview with Grant Morrison on Barbelith

‘I was aware that I was holding a continuum, that’s when I started to develop ideas of comics as magic, comics as sigils, because I got to page 22 then I turned back to page 8; I thought, “I’m in this story which I don’t understand, I’ve read this bit, I can go back to the point where the characters don’t know what’s about to happen to them and I can experience it out of sequence” and I saw that this comic was this entire little universe/ continuum in it’s own right and also the wider implications; that the DC Universe and the Marvel Universe were also continuums in their own way created by people when I was a kid or before I was born. Maintained by people, who like these Demonic Corporations, maintained and kept these characters which were sustained by people who would come in and look after them; people who would come in and look after Scott Summers – it was that notion of the universe in your hands and the possibilities in that.’

[tv] Something I was wondering about today… Did Magnum, P.I. ever Jump the Shark?

‘This show never jumped because of these three words: JONATHAN QUAYLE HIGGINS!’

December 5, 2002
[comics] Newsarama do a Look Back at Daredevil: Last Rites … D.G. Chichester on Daredevil and Kingpin: ‘Here was a relationship that had grown cold and old. The Kingpin kept messing with Daredevil, Daredevil kept storming into his office and essentially saying, “I’ve had it with you fat man! You get in the way of justice one more time… no, I mean it, really, this time I’m serious… okay, so you crossed the line again but you do it just once more” and… It made Daredevil look prissy and ineffectual, and also took a lot of the charge out of the Kingpin. There was no surprise in his next craftiness because you knew it was just going to keep going and going and…’
December 6, 2002
[web] Little House on the Info Prairie — Danny O’Brien blogs interviewing Brewster Kahle … ‘I keep hearing him say “we can make a different world, by building it”, which sounds clumsy copied from my notes, but in context, spoken by Brewster Kahle in an old wooden house with a bunch of commodity web servers in one corner, a whiteboard with plans to scan a million books on the wall to the left, and shelf with a freshly minted Alice in Wonderland…’
[web] Wikipedia — a free encylopedia using a WikiWiki. ‘…a collaborative project to produce a free and complete encyclopedia in every language. We started in January 2001 and are already working on 94470 articles in the English version, with more being added and improved all the time. Anyone, including you, can edit any article right now, without even having to log in.’
December 7, 2002
[music] Drunken, disorderly and now a Toothless Rock Star — profile of Liam Gallagher … ‘Since the group’s first public manoeuvres in 1993, Liam has made a habit of suddenly bailing out of his band’s commitments, picking sufficiently serious fights with his elder brother to threaten their always-rickety alliance, and managing to offend even the most untouchable invitees at awards ceremonies and fashion shows. Liam is, let us not forget, the man who marked Oasis’s 1996 receipt of Q magazine’s “Best Act In The World Today” trophy by threatening to smash up a Park Lane ballroom and flicking his cigarette ash on Mick Jagger’s head.’
December 8, 2002
[usenet] Memorable Quotes from Alt.Sysadmin.Recovery … [via iamcal]

‘NASA uses Windows? Oh great. If Apollo 13 went off course today the manual would just tell them to open the airlock, flush the astronauts out, and re-install new ones.’ — Kibo

[confidential] The 10 Best Smoking Gun Stories of 2002 — Shift Magazine filters the best out of the Smoking Gun‘On the 25th anniversary of Presley’s death, we were treated to the nitty-gritty details of the Memphis Medical Examiner’s report. Apparently The King was circumsized… in case you wanted to know.’
December 9, 2002
[web] How the Wayback Machine Works — another interview with Brewster Kahle about how the Wayback Machine works … [via Bowblog]

‘Having the capital cost of equipment drop to effectively zero allows you to think bigger. You start thinking about the whole thing. For instance, the gutsy maneuver of saying “let’s index it all,” which was the breakthrough of Altavista. Altavista in 1995 was an astonishing achievement, not because of the hardware — yes, that was interesting and important from a technical perspective — but because of the mindset. “Let’s go index every document in the world.” And once you have that sort of mindset, you can get really far. So if all books are 20 TBs, and 20 TBs are $80,000, that’s the Library of Congress. Then something big has changed. All music? It’s tiny. It looks like there’re only one million records that have been produced over the last century. That’s tiny. All movies? All theatrical releases have been estimated at 100,000, and most of those from India. If you take all the rest of ephemeral films, that’s on the order of a couple hundred thousand. It’s just not that big. It allows you to start thinking about the whole thing.’

[comics] Kookymojo Comics Cupid [Part 1] [Part 2] — Anna is recommending good comics to newbies … ‘It’s [..] interesting to see how David approaches the notion of comics: from the words up only, with little consideration for the immediate relationship between words and images. Many people do this, probably because comics are book- or magazine-like, even though these same people have no trouble grasping the combination of words and images you get in subtitled films. I didn’t find out what kinds of art or movies he likes to look at (though I get an idea from reading his blog), but in comics the art is as important as the words — a bad artist can ruin a perfectly well-written story, but the combination of art and words is one of the reasons why I love the medium so much, and why I’m so keen to encourage others to share it.’
December 10, 2002
[web] Metafilter Wiki — a general guide for Metafilter using a Wiki. [via]
[film] Being Charlie Kaufman — preview of Adaptation‘”Do I have an original thought in my bald head?” Spike Jonze’s follow-up to Being John Malkovich, Adaptation, opens with this rhetorical question from its lead character, screenwriter Charlie Kaufman’ [Related: Regarding: Adapatation]
December 11, 2002
[tv] Deconstructing Tony — academics take on the Sopranos‘He is the American Everyman, the embodiment of ruthless free-market capitalism, the defining figure of balding fat manhood in midlife crisis, and much else besides. It’s no wonder Gandolfini stoops, carrying that weight of symbolism around on his shoulders. That Tony also visits a shrink to discuss his problems, and that shrink in turn visits another shrink to discuss the problem of seeing Tony, makes him even more a target for intellectuals than he is for rival gangsters or the feds. Not only does he face imminent destruction but also endless deconstruction.’ [via Sashinka]
December 12, 2002
[comics] Interesting / amusing thread on Barbelith about Jessica Jones having sex with Ant-Man Scott Lang in Alias #17

‘The thought of Brian Bendis sitting at the computer, alone in his study, brow furrowed in concentration as he struggles to satisfyingly craft a serious sex scene involving fucking ANT-MAN (or, as the case may be, Ant-Man fucking), is comical. The thought that there is a significant number of people who have the desire to actually read such a story is less funny, and to me, very tragic.’

[blogs] Interconnected 2002.12.12 — Matt remembers his singularity … ‘If everything about me can be traced back to an ultimate cause, if I’m an expansion from first principles, a condensation of a reality expanded from a single point, a tissue-rhizome of beliefs and values unfolded like a chinese puzzle, then my singularity was when I was ten, fourteen years ago today…’
December 13, 2002
[film] Menace to Society — profile / interview with David Cronenberg‘[He worked on] an abortive sequel to Basic Instinct which, after months in pre-production, finally collapsed amid byzantine legal wrangling. A lucky escape? Cronenberg’s not so sure. “I don’t know,” he says. “I honestly think it could have been…surprisingly good. That’s what I wanted, something that would creep up on people, a truly perverse, erotic thriller. And the script was great, it really was. So the frustration is not knowing. Because certainly logic might point toward it going horribly wrong, but…you can never quite tell.”‘
[google] GooFresh — keyword search for recent additions to Google’s database of webpages.
December 16, 2002
[newspapers] Hate Mail — profile of Paul Dacre editor of the Daily Mail‘One associate says that Dacre reminds more and more of Basil Fawlty — “intemperate and slightly mad” — every time he sees him. “The ideal Dacre story is one that leaves the reader hating somebody or something,” says one former Mail reporter, and what the paper really hates are the liberalism and multiculturalism at the heart of Britain’s changing society. The Mail has worked itself into a lather over asylum-seekers, but accuse it of racism and you come up against Dacre’s brilliantly orchestrated campaign to bring the killers of Stephen Lawrence to justice.’
[comics] Warren Ellis interviews Justine Shaw the creator of Nowhere Girl‘I think with comics, using pictures as well as words, you can do things you can’t do as well in books or maybe even films, you can get out ideas that are “between the lines”, that is, you never state something out loud, but give the reader a sense of that thing, let them make their own thing out of it. I really do comics because I am a fanatical anal-retentive control freak, and a comic allows me to do literally all aspects of the production work without having to depend on someone else for any of it.’
December 17, 2002
[comics] Evan Dorkin and Sarah Dyer are selling original art on eBay

Milk and Cheese -- We Tamper in God's Domain!

December 18, 2002
[film] Orchid Fever — article from the New Yorker which was the initial inspiration for Spike Jonze and Charlie Kaufman’s film Adaptation … [via lukelog]

‘Collecting can be a sort of lovesickness. If you begin collecting living things, you are pursuing something imperfectible, and even if you manage to find them and then possess them, there is no guarantee they won’t die or change. The botanical complexity of orchids and their mutability makes them perhaps the most compelling and maddening of all collectible living things. There are nearly twenty thousand named species of orchids — it is the largest flowering-plant family on earth. New orchids are being created in laboratories or discovered every day, and others exist only in tiny numbers in remote places. To desire orchids is to have a desire that can never be fully requited. A collector who wants one of every orchid species will die before even coming close.’

[drink] Hangover Cures — from H2G2‘Hair of the Dog — A tot of alcohol in the morning. For some particularly nasty hangovers, this can be useful, although the bad news is that the effect is only temporary. The liver attacks poisons in a certain order, with ethanol first. Once all the ethanol has been broken down, it starts on the methanol, which releases formic acid into your system and makes you feel bad. Hitting the liver with another dose of ethanol causes it to stop processing methanol and start on the new threat, but the methanol will have to be processed sometime so you are only postponing the hangover until later.’
December 19, 2002
[xmas] Cut-Up Christmas Card — nice flash distraction from Steve Bell.
December 20, 2002
[2002] The sheer class of 2002 — John Patterson reviews the best of 2002 …

‘The performance of the year, it turned out, was on TV, not at the movies. In the fourth season of The Sopranos, Edie Falco proved that there’s almost no one out there fit to compare with her. Thwarted in love, insulted, wounded, and finally rising up in rage and anguish against her entire existence, her Carmella Soprano was the richest and most thoroughly conceived performance of the year by man or woman. The season finale was more like Ingmar Bergman’s Scenes From a Marriage than conventional American TV drama, with Falco working every level of her incredible range, from emotional catatonia to screaming fury and back, without a false note.’

December 22, 2002
[comics] Comic book feedback: Letters lose to the Web — the death of the letters page in US comic books … ‘DC Comics recently announced the end of its letters-to-the-editor pages in all of its titles, more or less admitting that no one was really taking the time to write and mail letters to superheroes anymore. DC’s decision to kill off letters — and with Marvel Comics inclined to do the same — is a surrender to the far superior powers of the Internet. Fans haven’t complained about the loss; they’re too busy flaming each other on comic book Web sites.’ [via Boing Boing]
December 23, 2002
[xmas] The Wrap Trap — Mil Millington on Christmas Presents … ‘Presents are what Christmas is made of. The joy (or disappointment, or horror) of receiving them, the joy (or misery, or trauma) of finding them for others; the paraphernalia of present use; the shocking void created by the present that never came; and the Christmas remembered by the present that did. It is a rite with precise rules; “a shopping trip to buy Christmas presents for one’s extended family” is what it says in the OED under the entry for “dispiriting”; looking down at a freshly opened present and realising with sudden, suffocating dismay that this item is how the giver – and possibly the world – sees you; the special laugh you use to indicate how very funny the comedy socks you’ve just been given are: all these things and more are intertwined.’
[comics] Time’s rates the Best Comics of 2002‘Eightball #22. This single, self-contained issue of his regular series Eightball finds inspiration in the style of filmmaker Robert Altman. Its 29 shorts range in length from a single strip to several pages; each one works alone as well as with the others, weaving multiple characters and multiple stories into one cohesive whole.’