3 May 2004
[copyright] Real Dialogue: The Tech interviews Jack Valenti — head of the RIAA interviewed by MIT’s The Tech … [via Boing Boing]

[Winstein shows Valenti his six-line “qrpff” DVD descrambler.]
TT: If you type that in, it’ll let you watch movies.
JV: You designed this?
TT: Yes.
JV: Un-fucking-believable.

4 May 2004
[blogs] Will RSS Readers Clog the Web? — it isn’t so much that the web can’t handle RSS traffic more that webloggers can’t afford the bandwidth bill … ‘Some think a solution to the problem might be found by integrating desktop applications into a peer-to-peer network, which would distribute the load among hundreds of clients. A central server would coordinate various readers, allowing some to check the original source of the information and passing on new information. Instead of 100,000 aggregators tapping CNN’s website hourly, only a handful would, passing headlines to other aggregators.’
5 May 2004
[spam] Spam with quotes — not exactly surrealist spam but perfectly targeted …

From: Callie.Riggs
Sent: 29 April 2004 11:13
To: linkmachinego
Subject: release the man in you tannin neuropsychiatric hellbender

To sit alone with my conscience will be judgment enough for me. – Charles William Stubbs
Glory is fleeting; but obscurity is forever. – Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821)

6 May 2004
[comics] Wonder Con’s Vertigo Panel — including some details about Morrison & Quitely’s We3. ‘…it’s a view of The Incredible Journey as only Grant Morrison could imagine it – three ultimate cyborg assassins: a dog named Bandit, a cat named Tinker, and a rabbit named Pirate, armed with missiles, poison gas, state-of-the-art computer technology, rapid fire chain guns and unbreakable exo-skeletons.’
[humour] Ugandan Discussions — the covers of Private Eye … [via]

7 May 2004
[film] Complex Persecution — some background details about Capturing the Friedmans‘I also told director Jarecki about the family’s home movies, some of which he ended up using in his documentary. Amazingly, the Friedmans’ shock, shame, internecine warfare, and indignation—like their childhood skits and cheerful family holidays—are captured on videotape, which David recorded for many months, up to and including his father’s and brother’s convictions.’ [via Sashinka]
8 May 2004
[iraq] Donald Rumsfeld: ‘We’re functioning with peacetime constraints, with legal requirements, in a wartime situation in the Information Age, where people are running around with digital cameras and taking these unbelievable photographs and then passing them off, against the law, to the media, to our surprise.’ [via The Obvious]
9 May 2004
[crime] David Peace’s Top 10 British True-Crime Books‘Crimes happen in actual, specific places at actual, specific times to actual, specific people. Crimes, their victims and their perpetrators, sadly define the times in which we live. There is no puzzle, only pain. No humour, only horror. The following 10 books seek to understand the crimes they document through the context and circumstances of the places and the times in which they occurred.’
10 May 2004
[comics] Grant Morrison Talks Seaguy — Newsarama interview with GM regarding Seaguy … ‘My work’s always been sweet and gentle – it’s about animals and losers and hapless dreamers. I dedicated twenty years of my life to the welfare of six abandoned cats and I give my money to numerous charities and causes. I’m from Glasgow; land of the sentimental hardman. I can nurture to Olympic standard.’
11 May 2004
[blog] Boriswatch — a weblog which tracks Tory MP Boris Johnson. On becoming Shadow Arts Minister: ‘…look the point is… er, what is the point? It is a tough job but somebody has got to do it.’ [via Green Fairy]
[comics] Four Page Preview of Seaguy — from Grant Morrison and Cameron Stewart‘Set in a world where all the major battles have been won, Seaguy is a wistful, would-be hero who, with his pal Chubby Da Choona, embarks on a fantastical, picaresque voyage through a post-Utopian world filled with bizarre adventure and terrible sacrifice.’ [via Barbelith]
12 May 2004
[tv] An Open letter to Sir Jimmy Saville‘I’d like to personally thank you for your contribution to broadcasting over the last few decades. You are after all the quintessential Top of the Pops presenter, and no child of my generation went without feeling a certain sense of awe while watching Jim’ll fix it (however fleeting that sensation may have been). My problem is this: you scare the living crap out of me.’ [via Bifurcated Rivets]
13 May 2004
[books] Masquerade And The Mysteries of Kit Williams — All about the puzzle book Masquerade, Golden Rabbits and Kit Williams. From the Faq: ‘It’s true in that the person who won didn’t actually solve the book’s master riddle, but instead used ancillary clues and personal information about Kit to determine the burial place.’
14 May 2004
[comics] The Problem with Superman — Time Magazine looks at Superman … ‘He’s a metaphor for America, but an outdated, obsolete America: invulnerable to attack, always on the side of right, always ready to save the rest of the world from its villainy whether or not it wants to be saved.’ [via Neilalien]
15 May 2004
[politics] Brown’s Britain [Part 1 | Part 2] — long profile of Gordon Brown concentrating on what kind of Prime Minister he would be …

‘Over the decade and a half that Brown has endured as a publicly recognised prime minister-in-waiting, he has been variously portrayed by the restless British press as dour, witty; passionate, nerdy; impatient; a long-term strategist, a lover of short-term crises; good on detail, bad on detail; a delegator, a control freak; a bully, an inspiring boss; a bearer of grudges; tough, cowardly; content, “psychologically flawed”; a secret socialist, an ultra-capitalist; a Europhile, a Eurosceptic; an idealiser of America, an unofficial Scottish nationalist; a political genius, a political liability; an instinctive politician, a machine politician; an intellectual; anti-establishment, socially conservative; pro-feminist and laddish. Most long-serving politicians acquire complicated reputations, but Brown’s is one of the knottiest.’

17 May 2004
[comics] Chaykin On New Flagg For American Flagg Collection — interview with Howard Chaykin on the new reprint of American Flagg … ‘Though it’s been discussed before, it still should be touched on again — though few realized it in the early ’80s, reading American Flagg! was the comic book equivalent of reading H.G. Wells or Jules Verne in the 19th century. With a helluva lot more sex and violence, though. Case in point – commonplace elements in Flagg!: reality television, CGI actors (synthesbians), the collapse of the USSR with resultant Islamic militant groups controlling large portions of the former country, mass epidemics, German reunification, radical militant groups using children as soldiers, and the fractionalization of America into more and more factions.’
18 May 2004
[blogs] a good place for a cup of tea and a think and eggbaconchipsandbeans — two photoblogs covering the classic British Greasy Spoon Cafe… ‘Top nosh. Big fat chips. Flavourful bacon. Piping beans. A strange but compelling egg.’ [via Bowblog]
19 May 2004
[comics] Keith Giffen: “Comics need to be four-colour crack.” [via Warren Ellis]
20 May 2004
[life] 714 Things to Be Cynical About — only 714? [via Green Fairy] …

» Frank Sinatra after 1970.
» pop music after 1970.
» life after 1970.

[blog] — I have a linklog… [RSS Feed]
[politics] Purple Cloud Colours A Perfect Metaphor — Simon Hoggart on yesterday’s events in Parliement …

‘Yes, I was there when the cloud of death swirled round the prime minister. Heavens, we were scared. One or two of us actually left the Chamber, humming loudly to ourselves so as to sound relaxed. If it had been anthrax, or ricin, or sarin, or even blackcurrant flavoured sherbet dabs, it could have been a disaster for hundreds. But only a minority wanted to leave. I thought, this is daft, so I walked straight back into the press gallery. I was proud of my colleagues. As attendants yelled at us to get out, we stood milling around trying see it all. These people were risking their lives to bring news to their readers, or at least a jokey paragraph.’

21 May 2004
[comics] New Age of Morrison — another interview with Grant Morrison… ‘The real problem is this: in spite of all our attempts to insist that one exists, there is actually NO mass market for traditional superhero comic books – why would there be? It’s such an esoteric and old-fashioned branch of popular culture and seems to have more in common with collecting stamps or 60s retro kitsch. You can imagine Bryan Hitch drawing Steve Buscemi playing the sort of guy most people think is into these kinds of comics. After all the recent superhero movies and cartoons, at a time when Robin and Beast Boy and Spider-Man have their faces all over buses, comics sales have not improved significantly at all – it’s never going to happen unless we change the pricing, the format, the content and many other things about traditional U.S. superhero books. Kids like manga because manga comes across as modern and cool and exotic; I fear that trying to make Golden and Silver Age superhero characters appeal to a young audience is like trying to sell wax cylinder recordings of Al Jolson to consumers who listen to Outkast MP3s. As I say, comics could use some new ideas, new characters and competitive formats but change comes slowly.’
23 May 2004
[iraq] The Sexual Sadism of our Culture, in Peace and in War — interesting commentary on the links between pornography and the photos of torture in Iraq … ‘The pornographic culture has clearly influenced the soldiers; at the very least, in their exhibitionism, their enthusiasm to photograph their handiwork. And the victims in both don’t have feelings: to the abusers, they didn’t in Abu Ghraib; to the punter they don’t in pornography. Both point to just how degraded sex has become in western culture. Porn hasn’t even pretended to show loving sex for decades; in films and TV most sex is violent, joyless. The Abu Ghraib torturers are merely acting out their culture: the sexual humiliation of the weak’
24 May 2004
[iraq] The Reporter Who’s The Talk Of The Town — a profile of Seymour Hersh … ‘Thanks to Hersh, what amounts to an alternative history of the “war on terror” has unfolded. He has reported, inter alia, on the bungled efforts to catch Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan, on the flaws in the legal case against Zacarias Moussaoui (the alleged “20th hijacker” of 11 September) and on the business dealings of the neo-conservative super-hawk Richard Perle. That report led to Perle’s resignation as chairman of the Pentagon’s influential Defence Policy Board, and to angry mutterings from Perle that he would sue. Nothing happened.’
25 May 2004
[comics] Dennis ♥ Minnie — What happened when Dennis the Menace and Minnie the Minx grew up?
26 May 2004
[wifi] Nearly Two-thirds of Wi-Fi Users Confess to Browsing the Internet in Their Unmentionables‘In an online poll of 478 consumers in April 2004, 64% of the respondents admitted to connecting to the Internet when just wearing their undergarments, showing the growing popularity of the wireless lifestyle.’ [via Wi-Fi Networking News]
[mobiles] Monthly Spend on Mobiles Rises‘People are spending more on their mobiles than they are on their gas and electricity bills. Customers are paying up to £45 a month for voice, text and other phone services…’
27 May 2004
[books] Notes from a Talk by Malcolm Gladwell — comments from the author of the Tipping Point. ‘…he says that the bias should be in editing information, not in adding more information.’
[potus] Kissinger tells of Drunk Nixon‘When I talked to the President he was loaded.’

'...[a] transcript of an October 1973 telephone conversation during which Henry Kissinger told an aide that President Richard Nixon was too drunk to take a call from the British prime minister.'

28 May 2004
[iraq] Doonesbury at War — the Guardian takes a look at Doonesbury’s coverage of the War in Iraq along with a brief profile of Garry Trudeau. ‘…the syndication arrangement under which Trudeau operates gives him almost unprecedented reach and influence. With little or no editorial control, he talks to millions of readers worldwide. And even though Bush and Donald Rumsfeld profess not to read the newspapers, even they must be wary of the potential influence of such an untrammelled mind.’