April 8, 2004
[bbc] The Reith Lectures 2004 — the BBC is releasing the 2004 Reith Lectures as DRM-Less MP3 Files. This year’s lecturer is Wole Soyinka discussing “The Climate of Fear”. [via]

» The Changing Mask of Fear — download the first lecture as an MP3 file.

» BBC releases Reith Lectures online as MP3s(es) — Tom Coates on the release of the MP3’s … ‘Hopefully it’s the first open distribution of many programmes of this kind – enlightening, significant and weighty pieces of work that actually have the potential to make the world a better place – available for free from the BBC.’

April 10, 2004
[quote] Robert X. Cringely on the Personal Computer: ‘…PC’s killed the office typewriter, made most secretaries obsolete, and made it possible for a 27 year-old MBA with a PC, a spreadsheet program and three pieces of questionable data to talk his bosses into looting the company pension plan and doing a leveraged buy-out.’
April 12, 2004
[ipod] Rejected iPod Engravings‘I last 8 hrs. You last 2 minutes. Who’s the man?’ [via I Love Everything]
April 13, 2004
[blog] The Diary of a Nobody — George and Weedon Grossmith’s fictional diary of Charles Pooter converted into a blog … ‘Why should I not publish my diary? I have often seen reminiscences of people I have never even heard of, and I fail to see — because I do not happen to be a ‘Somebody’ — why my diary should not be interesting.’ [via As Above]
April 14, 2004
[happy] On The Happy Trail — The Observer looks at the study of Happiness … ‘The important point to grasp, says Diener, is that although happiness has a large genetic component, none of us are prisoners of evolution. By identifying the sources of happiness in our lives and making a conscious effort to optimise them, most of us should be able to raise our average satisfaction levels. Or as Norman Vincent Peale succinctly puts it: “Who decides whether you shall be happy or unhappy? The answer – you do.”‘
April 15, 2004
[comics] Cartoonists CD Cover Art — great collection of Cartoonists art from CD Covers …

April 16, 2004
[books] Clearing Up The Confusion — Neal Stephenson on his new book The Confusion. On Isaac Newton: ‘…the gist of it seems to be that Newton was trying to achieve some specific goals with alchemy. Some of those goals might have been religious, but many were clearly scientific. As a scientist, he knew that he could only explain so much with the tools that he was using, and that to advance beyond that point he was going to need a different toolbox. He recognized that a lot of alchemy was nonsense, but he thought that by going about it in a systematic and rational way he’d be able to solve some scientific problems. He would have rejected the label of magician because it might have had dark connotations to him.’ [via yoz]
April 18, 2004
[comics] Readers Of The Last Aardvark — the Village Voice looks back on 300 issues of Cerebus … ‘Despite Sim’s anti-feminist crusade, Cerebus stands on its own as a ferocious critique of power. Sim believes that freedom is an absolute, and to this end he has self-published Cerebus, advocated for artists’ rights, and bucked intellectual-property laws wherever possible (after his and Gerhard’s deaths, Cerebus will become public domain). In an era when selling out is considered synonymous with success, Sim’s resistance is bracing.’
April 19, 2004
[book] Page 23, Sentence 5 Meme … [via Feeling Listless]

1. Grab the nearest book.
2. Open the book to page 23.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the text of the sentence in your journal along with these instructions.

‘THE MOST IMPORTANT REASON for accepting that Satan exists is that Jesus clearly believed in him.’ — Satan Unmasked (Overcoming the Jezebel Spirit) by Colin Dye.
[blogs] Blog All About It — roundtable discussion from the Guardian’s G2 Section wondering if blogging is just vanity publishing? … Salam Pax: ‘A tip on how to make your blog popular: position yourself in a place where a bomb might fall on you. Tickles everybody and makes your hits-counter happy. Possibility of death is a downside, but hey! You get linked by A-list bloggers.’
April 20, 2004
[film] Plumbing Stanley Kubrick— Iain Watson reminiscences about working with Stanley Kubrick

‘”Do you know what the essence of movie-making is?” Stanley asked me. “It’s buying lots of things.” The Labour Party was responsible for the fact that nothing bought in Britain worked properly, so he preferred to buy from a distance such as Düsseldorf or California. When Full Metal Jacket was being filmed in England a whole plastic replica Vietnamese jungle was air-freighted in from California, so I was assured. Next morning Stanley walked on set, took one look at it, and said, “I don’t like it. Get rid of it.” The technicians shared out the trees, giving a new look to gardens in North London, and a real jungle was delivered instead, palm trees uprooted from Spain.’

[linky] Just the Links:

» Trailer: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
» Magneto Was Right [via]
» Ping-O-Matic! … useful… especially if you’re still using Blogger [via yoz]
» Like The Wind — Tips and Tweaks for Winamp 5.
» Windows Software Compendium — summary of useful Windows software for the iPod.
» Winamp 5.0 iPod Plugin … Works for Me – YMMV.

April 21, 2004
[film] ‘I thought I was really watching her’ — Nick Broomfield on Aileen Wuornos and the film Monster‘At the time of her execution, Wuornos was definitely psychotic. She was convinced her mind was controlled by radio waves and believed she was going to be taken off in a space ship to join Jesus Christ. She never showed any remorse; she firmly believed she was ridding the streets of evil men. When a priest came to take her confession just before the execution she sent him packing and knelt down and prayed for her victims, believing they were evil and that God should accept them into heaven. When Jeb Bush cynically produced three psychiatrists to assess Wuornos’s mental state and then pronounced her mentally competent, there was a complete disrespect for what the law really intends, which is that people of unsound mind should not be executed.’
April 22, 2004
[comics] Mini Gerhard Interview — Dave Sim’s collaborator on Cerebus is occasionally posting to the Cerebus Yahoo Group. ‘…it occurred to me that maybe the pressure of doing a monthly comic all by himself caused Dave’s personality to split and he invented this background artist personality to help him cope with the enormity of it all and that his psychosis was so deep that I think that I actually exist and that I’m going to just *poit* out of existence as soon as I finish drawing issue 300. Fortunately I’m still here. I think.’ [via Meowwcat’s Cerebus Links]
April 23, 2004
[comics] B.D. loses his leg in Doonesbury

» Doonesbury the soap opera (scroll down for article): ‘A four-box daily comic strip it may be, but Doonesbury is also a soap, probably the only one in the world to blend current affairs with a regular cast of characters, ageing, marrying, splitting up, starting dotcoms, doing performance art, having kids, running for office, fighting in America’s wars, going to prison and occasionally dying. For afficionados of Doonesbury, the sight of that bandaged stump on a stretcher and that never-before-seen hair was powerful and affecting.’

April 25, 2004
[comics] Dave Sim, The Onion, and Jeopardy — behind-the-scenes at Dave Sim’s Onion Inteview … Who is Dave Sim?: ‘Having had — for 26 years and three months — virtually unlimited space in the back of his comic book to write 100,000 and 200,000-word serialized essays on what he considered the most pressing subjects of the day — some examples being “how feminism usurped the Civil Rights movement from black men” in “Tangent,” “How the Western democracies became so feminized that they failed to support the United States in the war on terrorism” in “Why Canada Slept,” and “Why he chose a combination of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam as his personal system of belief” in “Islam, My Islam,” this controversial self-published comic-book artist — who is now being asked by many media outlets (whose formats don’t allow any article longer than 4,000 words) to explain his life and work over the last quarter century in postage-stamp-sized spaces — recently published the 300th issue of his groundbreaking alternative series which began in December of 1977.’ [Related: Earlier Post]
April 26, 2004
[politics] Bill and Monica — interesting article which proposes that America’s worst political crisis since Watergate was caused by Bill Clinton being on a diet … ‘The photographic record is clear: between mid-1994 and early 1996, Bill Clinton lost somewhere in the neighbourhood of 25-30lb. One evening toward the end of this time, a White House intern named Monica Lewinsky took a couple of slices of vegetarian pizza into the Oval Office…’
[internet] Creative Commons in a Connected World — Lawrence Lessig is giving a lecture in London … [via The Obvious?]
April 27, 2004
[google] What can’t you find on Google? Vital statistics — John Naughton wonders why Google is so reticent to talk about the technology behind it’s website. ‘…what it all comes down to is this: Google has far more computing power at its disposal than it is letting on. In fact, there have been rumours in the business for months that the Google cluster actually has 100,000 servers – which if true means that the company’s technical competence beggars belief.’
[comics] Wedding Bells for Morrison? — according to Barbelith Grant Morrison and Kristan are getting married. Congratulations! ‘They’re the John and Yoko of comics!!’
April 28, 2004
[blogs] Blog-Tracking May Gain Ground Among U.S. Intelligence Officials — report that US Intelligence and Law Enforcement are tracking blogs. ‘…some analysts say U.S. intelligence and law enforcement officials might be starting to track blogs for important bits of information. This interest is a sign of how far Web media such as blogs have come in reshaping the data-collection habits of intelligence professionals and others, even with the knowledge that the accuracy of what’s reported in some blogs is questionable.’ [via Die Puny Humans]
April 29, 2004
[comics] My Marvel Years — Jonathan Lethem on growing up in the 1970’s with Marvel Comics and Jack Kirby … ‘Kirby hadn’t been inactive in the interlude between his classic 1960s work for Marvel and his mid-1970s return. He’d been in exile at DC, Marvel’s older, more august and squarer rival. In his DC work and the return to Marvel, where he unveiled two new venues, The Eternals and 2001, Kirby gradually turned into an autistic primitivist genius, disdained as incompetent by much of his audience, but revered by a cult of aficionados in the manner of an ‘outsider artist’. As his work spun off into abstraction, his human bodies becoming more and more machine-like, his machines more and more molecular and atomic (when they didn’t resemble vast sculptures of mouse-gnawed cheese), Kirby became great/awful, a kind of disastrous genius uncontainable in the form he himself had innovated. It’s as though Picasso had, after 1950, become Adolf Adolf Wölfli, or John Ford had ended up as John Cassavetes. Or if Robert Crumb had turned into his obsessive mad-genius brother, Charles Crumb.’ [via Pete Ashton]
April 30, 2004
[film] Forgetfulness Of Things Past — Steven Rose on the possibility of erasing memories. ‘…an animal was taught a particular task, and then days later was reminded of it by being put in the same context, the memory became labile once more – that means it could be disrupted by protein synthesis inhibitors. It was as if the reminder not only reactivated the old memory, but resulted in an entirely new memory being formed on top of it. Of course, we can intuitively recognise this; when we recall a past event, we are not recalling the event per se, but our memory of it from the last time we recalled it. This is why our autobiographical memories are being reshaped as we go through life.’ [Related: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind]
May 3, 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.

May 4, 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.’
May 5, 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)

May 6, 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]

May 7, 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]
May 8, 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]
May 9, 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.’
May 10, 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.’
May 11, 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]
May 12, 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]
May 13, 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.’
May 14, 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]
May 15, 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.’

May 17, 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.’
May 18, 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]
May 19, 2004
[comics] Keith Giffen: “Comics need to be four-colour crack.” [via Warren Ellis]
May 20, 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.’

May 21, 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.’
May 23, 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’
May 24, 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.’
May 25, 2004
[comics] Dennis ♥ Minnie — What happened when Dennis the Menace and Minnie the Minx grew up?
May 26, 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…’
May 27, 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.'

May 28, 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.’
June 1, 2004
[london] Silver Jubilee — every Jubilee Line Underground Station got visited by Diamond Geezer last month … ‘St John’s Wood is the only station on the Underground network that shares no letters with the word ‘mackerel’. The station was nearly called Acacia Road but the name was changed just before opening (which is just as well otherwise there’d be no mackerel-free tube stations).’
June 2, 2004
[nostalgia] Classic Kia-ora Advert from the 80s … ”I’ll be your dog! Wuff, wuff, wuff. It’s too orangey for crows, it’s just for me and my dog. We all adore Kia-ora!’ [via]
June 3, 2004
[blogs] How Can I Sex Up This Blog Business? — Steven Levy profiles Nick Denton and Gawker Media…

‘How much money really is in this blogging business? Those who have looked at the model conclude that there’s no pot of gold here. In other words, they don’t call it nanopublishing for nothing. “These are not large-scale journalistic efforts,” says Martin Nisenholtz, CEO of New York Times Digital. “I agree with Nick’s characterization of them as like independent films – really small independent films.” Do the math: Denton pays a writer something like $2,000 a month and maybe a thousand more in overhead. Gawker Media, with a one-person sales staff, has lured advertisers like Absolut Vodka, British Airways, Jose Cuervo, and the John Kerry campaign. (Microsoft had been poised to advertise on Gizmodo, but then came that bicycle seat-dildo. No sense of humor.) Denton won’t say how much he takes in, but he points to press accounts estimating that ad-based blogs might gross about $5,000 a month. Calacanis agrees that’s in the ballpark. And if all the ads for Gawker are sold for the prices on its rate card, the total could be well over $10,000 a month. At the high end, that’s $80K or so net per blog per year – nice pocket change but not yet the stuff of moguls.’

[blogs] No 2,477: Jessica Cutler — Pass Notes covers Washingtonienne‘So what now for Ms Cutler? Infamy, book deals, television appearances, being labelled a “DC slut” by the Philadelphia Daily News and “the American Belle de Jour” by British papers. What more could a lady wish for?’
[conspiracy] Bilderberg: The Ultimate Conspiracy Theory — BBC News Magazine covers the 50 year aniversary of the Bilderberg Group‘Shouldn’t we expect that the rich and powerful organise things in their own interests. It’s called capitalism.’
June 5, 2004
[chris morris] Second Class Male and Time To Go — Hoax columns by Chris Morris (published in The Observer in 1999) … ‘Not for publication: You have made me too depressed to write. Unlike the great melancholics – Baudelaire, Beethoven – I have no genius from which to draw consolation. I am at best a Brian Wilson, but a Brian Wilson who went to bed before making Pet Sounds. Fuck you all.’
June 7, 2004
[war] Sixty years on, D-day veterans pass torch into hands of history — Jonathan Freedland on the 60th Aniversary of D-Day … ‘The end of the cold war allowed another new guest. For decades Russia was the forgotten ally but, now free of communism, it was allowed back in yesterday. Vladimir Putin rode in on the world leaders’ charabanc along with the rest of them (only the Queen and Bush were too grand to use the coach, preferring their own cars). When the Polish armed forces’ band formed part of the warm-up entertainment – doing a medley of Abba tunes, including a goose-stepping version of Dancing Queen that seemed to be a straight lift from Mel Brooks’ Springtime for Hitler – the picture of a united Europe was complete.’
June 8, 2004
[fgi] Fucking Google It‘Google Is Your Friend. All Smart People Use Google. You Appear To Not Be One Of Them’
[web] Cracking the Code to Romance — brief profiles of hackers using the web for dating… the googler, the blogger, the sniffer and the stalker …

‘Moore has written several Unix shell scripts that run on-the-fly background checks on people who use wireless networks in his neighborhood. With the help of the popular network-traffic analysis utility Netcat, his script “sniffs all the traffic on the Wi-Fi network, greps for email addresses, and looks them up on Friendster.” Then the script sends Moore an email that includes a link to the users’ Friendster profiles, along with their pictures and login IDs. At a time when it seems that nearly everyone has a Friendster account, Moore says, “You can do really creepy stuff. You can get the profiles on everyone in your local café, then see who their friends are, and just walk up to them and ask, ‘Aren’t you Tom’s friend?'” More disturbing, Moore’s toolkit allows him to get zip codes and last names, making it easier to track down the real-world addresses of his targets, thus opening up a whole new universe of creepiness. “You could do all sorts of mean things,” he says.’

June 9, 2004
[comics] 5 Questions for… Seth — the writer/artist is interviewed by Alan David Doane at Newsarama … ‘If you were to take the first part of Clyde Fans and change the electric fan, like all references to electric fans, to comic books, it would kind of explain who the character of Abraham is, because being a cartoonist in the 20th century has that same kind of feeling of, say, being an electric fan salesman, it’s a kind of an antiquated occupation that’s sort of fallen by the wayside as technological progress has moved us into such totally different media. In many ways, like working as a cartoonist, just drawing little things on pieces of paper seems like such an old fashioned method compared to all of the technological computer science that has come along.’
[venus] A piece of History Passes By and 350 years on the Sun Shines for Jeremiah the Genius — Simon Hoggart spent yesterday up a Hill in Lancashire with 92 astronomers as the Transit of Venus happened …

‘…it is the unity between our own past and the immensity of the universe which is skin-tingling. Just after the last transit, in 1882, Robert Ball wrote: “The next time people will see it is when the flowers are in bloom, in June 2004.” It was good to be there with the flowers.’

June 10, 2004
[film] Let’s Not Get It On — a guide to the least erotic moments in recent films … ‘All it takes for Eminem to bed (or, in this case, stack of metal) Murphy is an awkward request for a date, which she parlays into some immediate workplace action: Looking for all the world like a crack whore, Murphy soaks her palm in her own saliva and heads down south. A moment of mostly silent sex – broken up by clanking factory noises – ends with Eminem, in a rare moment of vulnerability, gasping “Oh, God.” His savage beast isn’t soothed for long, though: After two seconds of postcoital bliss, he’s already shouting, “Your friends don’t even know me!”‘ [via I Love Everything]
June 11, 2004
[monologue] West Wing – Two CathedralsPresident Bartlet talks to God:

‘You’re a son of a bitch you know that? She bought her first new car and you hit her with a drunk driver. What, is that supposed to be funny? “You can’t conceive nor can I the strangeness of the mercy of God,” says Graham Green. I think I know who’s ass he was kissing there, ’cause I think your’re just vindictive. What was Josh Lyman, the warning shot? That was my son, what did I ever do to yours but praise his glory and praise his name? There’s a tropical storm that’s gaining speed and power. They say we haven’t had a storm this bad since you took out that Tender ship of mine in the North Atlantic last year, sixty-eight crew. You know what a Tender ship does? It fixes the other ships, and, delivers the mail, that’s all it can do. Gracias Tibiago Domine. Yes, I lied. It was a sin, I’ve committed many sins. Have I displeased you, you feckless thug? Three point eight billion new jobs that wasn’t good? Bailed out Mexico, Increased foreign trade, 30 million new acres of land for conservation, put Mendoza on the bench, we’re not fighting a war, I’ve raised 3 children. That’s not enough to buy me out of the doghouse? Am I really to believe that these are the acts of a loving God? A just God? A wise God? To hell with your punishments. I was your servant here on Earth. And I spread your word and I did your work. To hell with your punishments. To hell with you.’

June 12, 2004
[mp3] We’re Stuck with MP3 — why the standard music compression format isn’t going to be replaced anytime soon… ‘The newer audio formats, including Ogg Vorbis, seem to have at least two things going for them compared with MP3: smaller files and less expense. But because any change would require conversion of billions of files – a royal pain in the butt – it just won’t happen.’ [via 2lmc]
June 14, 2004
[bdj] Some Belle de Jour links I missed …

» … BDJ has a domain name.

» I am not Belle de Jour … somebody should sell this to Sarah Champion.

» Who is Belle de Jour? — the Daily Mail “investigated” the identity of BDJ back in April. ‘…we know rather a lot about Belle. Except, of course, her true identity, which has been the subject of frenzied speculation in publishing circles. Rumours abound. There are even those who even insist Belle is a he, not a she.’

June 15, 2004
[knowledge] The Two Things — apparently, for any subject there are only two things you need to know — the rest isn’t important or an application of the original two things … ‘World Conquest: 1. Divide and Conquer. 2. Never invade Russia in the winter.’ [via]
June 16, 2004
[comics] Bat Out of Hell — preview of Batman Begins. ‘…the comic-book franchise does have a checkered past. The new chapter, which will hit theaters in June 2005, is called “Batman Begins” — presumably because “Batman Sucked the Last Time So We’re Starting Over” was too clunky.’
June 17, 2004
[politics] You Ask The Questions — Boris Johnson‘Q: Admit it: you want to become prime minister, don’t you? A: There is no use in having politicians who are not ambitious. You might as well have racehorses who want to eat the grass by the verge. On the other hand, my chances of being PM are about as good as the chances of finding Elvis on Mars, or my being reincarnated as an olive.’
June 18, 2004
[comics] A Farewell to Aardvarks — another summing up of Cerebus … “If Dave Sim recorded an album, it would be called Genius, Asshole or Madman.” [via Meowwcat’s Cerebus Links]
June 20, 2004
[film] ‘9/11’: Just the facts? — Roger Ebert on Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11‘That’s where you’re wrong. Most documentaries, especially the best ones, have an opinion and argue for it. Even those that pretend to be objective reflect the filmmaker’s point of view. Moviegoers should observe the bias, take it into account and decide if the film supports it or not. Michael Moore is a liberal activist. He is the first to say so. He is alarmed by the prospect of a second term for George W. Bush, and made “Fahrenheit 9/11” for the purpose of persuading people to vote against him.’ [Related: Fahrenheit 9/11 Trailer]
June 21, 2004
[tv] Big Brother Gets Therapeutic — interesting essay on Big Brother’s approach to last Thursday’s events … ‘To anyone who has ever been involved in a drinking session that went a bit too far, nothing especially outrageous happened in the house on Thursday morning. The reports say there were ‘death threats’ – well, Jason (the bodybuilding Scot) did threaten to ‘rip the head’ off Marco (the gay one), but I don’t think he was literally going to do it. Yes there were ‘violent confrontations’, if you think that throwing a plastic tray at someone counts as violence. There was also ‘verbal abuse’, some of which was quite funny – especially when Jason told the strange, wiry, helium-voiced Marco, ‘Don’t fucking disrespect me, gimp boy Gollum’. Yet reading today’s reports you’d be forgiven for thinking that all hell broke loose…’
[web] The Craigslist Phenomenon — profile of Craig Newmark – creator of craigslist‘While he was at his first job, as a software programmer for IBM, he enrolled in ballet and jazz dance classes to meet women. He ended up in the hospital with a hernia.’
June 23, 2004
[film] Unfairenheit 9/11 – The lies of Michael Moore — Chris Hitchens on Fahrenheit 9/11‘I have already said that Moore’s film has the staunch courage to mock Bush for his verbal infelicity. Yet it’s much, much braver than that. From Fahrenheit 9/11 you can glean even more astounding and hidden disclosures, such as the capitalist nature of American society, the existence of Eisenhower’s “military-industrial complex,” and the use of “spin” in the presentation of our politicians. It’s high time someone had the nerve to point this out.’
June 24, 2004
[books] The Condensed Bill Clinton — Slate reads Clinton’s autobio ‘My Life’ so we don’t have to… ‘Page 197: “I was so exhausted I fell asleep while the stripper was dancing and the goat head was looking up at me.” Look it up for yourself.’
June 25, 2004
[comics] Remixed Spiderman Strips — amusing, nasty, probably NSFW … [via Die Puny Humans]

June 27, 2004
[comics] Batman on Film — latest news and rumors about the Batman films … ‘BATMAN ON FILM is the voice of the Bat-fan as we lobby for the production of the ultimate BATMAN movie. We’ve been doing this since June of 1998…’
June 28, 2004
[web] ‘Nerd Values’ Help Propel Tiny Craigslist Into Classifieds Threat — more on Craigslist and Craig Newmark … Peter Krasilovsky: ‘One thing about Craigslist — it is real thin. That makes it easy and fun to read, easy to maintain. While newspapers have been adding feature after feature to keep up with (job site)’s own feature creep, there is Craig with these little text postings, and they do the trick.’
June 29, 2004
[mp3] Winamp Unlimited — the weblog for Winamp has a new home … ‘Winamp Unlimited is your #1 source for Winamp news, rumors, forum highlights, and general propoganda. Awesome!’
[politics] Another Interview with Boris Johnson — from the Independent … ‘Asked the inevitable question, Mr Johnson dismissed his own chances of becoming the Leader of the Conservative as “about as good as the chances of finding Elvis on Mars”. However, there remain “fans of Boris” who believe that alongside all the bland hopefuls joining the Tory ranks from banks, public relations firms and the media, he would be the people’s choice for leader of the Conservative Party after Michael Howard steps down.’
June 30, 2004
[politics] NO-ONE! EVER! TELLS ME! WHAT TO! FUCKING! DO!‘And then I’m sitting up last night, sucking cherry menthol throat drops and watching the coverage of the European Election, and gazing at the permatanned face of the vile Robert Kilroy Silk as the UKIP see their tally of votes mounting across the country. And I realise that his entire campaign is based on “No-one tells us what to do.” And I realise that it’s people like Billy for whom that message resonates very deeply.’ [via Mo Morgan]
July 1, 2004
[virus] News from the Lab — a weblog written by the F-Secure Antivirus Research Team … ‘I think we’ve seen more virus writers caught during year 2004 than during last five years combined.’
July 2, 2004
[comics] Women in Refrigerators — a list of female characters in comics who have been “killed, raped, depowered, crippled, turned evil, maimed, tortured, contracted a disease or had other life-derailing tragedies befall her.”
July 4, 2004
[web] Ghosts in the Machines — “What happens to your online self when you die?” – a question most bloggers have probably asked themselves occasionally … ‘The multitudes of LiveJournal communities and Web pages devoted to deceased young people are a testament to how real some of the relationships between online friends can be, and also how persistent online culture has become, even in the way we approach mortality. Pieces of people’s lives become nonphysical totems to their memory and exist indefinitely until the next hard drive wipe or crash.’ [via]
July 5, 2004
[web] Group Hug continues to pull me back … Kissing the Stripper and Grandma: ‘…while I was with a stripper, I kissed her a few times. And after showering and brushing, of course, the next person I kissed on the lips was my grandmother, on mothers day.’
July 6, 2004
[blogs] Random Reality Bites — the Guardian interviews UK Ambulanceman blogger Tom Reynolds‘The Londoner’s blog, Random Acts of Reality, charts the ups and downs of his life as an emergency medical technician, or EMT, for the ambulance service. Since he started blogging a year ago, Reynolds has built up a dedicated audience who have been absorbed by his accounts of dealing with knife fights, spurious call-outs and little old ladies grabbing his testicles.’
July 7, 2004
[royalty] Remembrance Di — Diamond Geezer visits the Princess Diana Memorial Fountain and Kensington Palace and spots a fantastic placard and poem to the dead Princess … ‘Today you would have been 43, You were so lovely, Why did you have to die, Why, why, why, why?’
July 8, 2004
[comics] Grant Morrison: Master & Commander — a huge Popimage interview with Grant Morrison‘What people often forget, of course, is that Magneto, unlike the lovely Sir Ian McKellen, is a mad old terrorist twat. No matter how he justifies his stupid, brutal behaviour, or how anyone else tries to justify it, in the end he’s just an old bastard with daft, old ideas based on violence and coercion. I really wanted to make that clear at this time.’
[tv] Northmoor — well done Edge of Darkness fan-site … ‘Edge of Darkness is the product of the years 1982 to 1985. These were the days before détente, when born-again Christians and cold-war warriors seemed to be running the United States.’ [via Haddock]
July 9, 2004
[comics] Interview with Craig McGill – Grant Morrison’s Biographer … ‘As I mentioned, the book is now about everything in his life – school years, when he dressed as a woman, the drugs, the friends, the fallouts, magic. Everything. Doing it chronologically will make it easier for the incoming reader who is not au fait with Grant’s work and the book will probably run in a very linear sense. I think if I had to sum up one core part of it, it would be honesty. It covers all of his life, but he’s being very blunt with himself and about others. There’s an emotional core to the book, I don’t know if there’s a focus on one part of him, more than any other though.’
July 12, 2004
[blog] Belle De Jour: Intimate Adventures of a London Call Girl — BDJ’s novel has aquired a synopsis over at Amazon: ‘Belle de Jour is the diary of a London call-girl. The author will remain anonymous, but she’s from a nice middle-class family, in her late twenties, writing a phD who writes about her rather unusual job with humour, affection and honesty. This isn’t a salacious catalogue of sexual encounters, rather it’s the unfolding story of her life: the difficulties in juggling her very understanding boyfriend with her profession; the question of what to wear to work; the problems associated with managing pubic topiary and the often hilarious hypocrisies she bears witness to every day. And of course, there’s the odd sexual encounter thrown in for good measure… It’s witty, compelling, educative and oddly moving. Belle is a twenty-first century Moll Flanders who will appeal to women because of her honesty and guts, and to men because she lifts the lid on what call girls are really thinking…’
[comics] Not Funnies — long NYT article on Graphic Novels … ‘In certain ways, graphic novels are an almost primitive medium and require a huge amount of manual labor: drawing, inking, coloring and lettering, most of it done by hand (though a few artists have begun to experiment with computer drawing). It’s as if a traditional novelist took his printout and then had to copy it over, word by word, like a quill-wielding monk in a medieval monastery. For some graphic novelists, just four or five panels is a good day’s work, and even a modest-size book can take years to complete.’ [thanks Kabir]
July 13, 2004
[blog] The Guardian’s New Media Top 10 includes Belle De Jour … ‘And sneaking in at number 10, anonymous call girl blogger Belle de Jour, who sparked a ludicrous media guessing game over her identity that led to a book deal for the author, makes the list as a representative of the millions of online bloggers and the year that blogging went overground.’
July 14, 2004
[quotes] Sally Emerson’s top 10 books of quotations‘One test of excellence when judging a collection of quotations is finding something intriguing every time you open a page. For instance: “Everything goes wrong for a government which is going wrong” – Richard Crossman, Diaries, Dec 1 1986.’
[cartoons] Useful — All Steve Bell’s recent Editorial Cartoons as an RSS Feed.
July 15, 2004
[comics] Collector Amasses Complete DC Collection‘A private collector in the northeastern United States has accomplished the astounding and unprecedented feat of assembling a complete collection of every comic book ever published by DC Comics. For those of you who have trouble visualizing the enormity of the task, that’s over 30,000 individual comic books!’
July 16, 2004
[bittorrents] UK Nova — BitTorrents for UK TV. [via Haddock]
July 17, 2004
[kook] Bobby Fischer’s Pathetic Endgame — 2002 profile on Bobby Fischer’s long downfall‘The old Bobby Fischer was back, and more bizarre than ever. This was made eminently clear when Fischer informed tournament officials that he wanted the toilet in his bathroom to rise higher in the air than anyone else’s.’
July 19, 2004
[comics] Every Generation’s Favourite Superhero — profile of Spiderman… ‘For each new generation of teen inadequates, he is the hero-as-nerd, the shy, tongue-tied, non-jock ninny who nevertheless wastes the bad guys and gets into the bra of the top cheerleader. He is always stuck somewhere between 17 and 22. He is the Immortal Teen who, for brief periods, turns into the Urban Übermensch. For the mag-loving kid in the omniplex stalls, he could so easily be one of them. That’s why fans, anoraks and commentators discuss his exploits as if he’s a friend and call him by the matey diminutive “Spidey”. No Batman fan ever dreamt of calling his hero “Batty”.’
July 20, 2004
[comics] The Fink Brothers – Mutants in Mega City One — a MP3 curiosity from the 80’s – Suggs and Carl from Madness perform a song about Judge Dredd and Mega City One as “The Fink Brothers”. Probably of interest to aging fans of 2000AD only … ‘From Justice Hall to Zappa Block, We patrol the streets around the clock! Judge, Judge, Judge, Judge, Judge, Judge, Judge, Judge Dredd! My God, my brain’s exploding!’
July 21, 2004
[apollo] July 21st 1969: Neil Armstrong – The Awful Truth

‘TRANQUILITY: I abso-fucking-lutely am standing on the surface of the fucking moon. I am talking to you from the goddammed fucking moon. Jesus H. Christ in a chicken basket.

HOUSTON: Holy Shit.

TRANQUILITY: Holy mother of fuck. The fucking moon. Over. ‘

July 22, 2004
[politics] Kilroy, the Apricot Jam in the Tapioca Party — nice sketch by David Aaronovitch on Kilroy and UKIP’s first day at the European Parliment in Strasbourg … ‘Kilroy slumped low in his seat, emaciated, well-preserved, brown and scowling, listening to the proceedings through headphones pushed back towards his neck. It was as though Pharaoh Senwosret III had been teleported by mistake from the mummy room at the Cairo Antiquities museum to the dock at the Nuremberg trial.’
July 23, 2004
[comics] Dave Sim’s Follow-Up to Cerebus‘The Collected Dave Sim Letters: Just when you though The Last Day would end it all, scheduled for Spring 2005, is a compilation of Dave’s responses to EVERY letter that he received since 2001 (when Carol West quit). 691 pages (at least in Word). Dave’s been working on these responses, at a rate of 3-4 letters per day, since his post 300 “vacation” ended on January 23, 2004. He’s now working on an INDEX for the volume, using Word’s INDEX function. It took him 4 hours to get through the first 19 pages (of the 691).’ [via Meowwcat’s Cerebus Links]
[windows] Lookout V1.2 — If you use Outlook you need this – fast Google-esque searching of your emails … ”An addin to Outlook to quickly search all of your email, contacts, calendar, and filesystem.’ [via Joel on Software]
July 25, 2004
[comics] ‘Watchmen’ unmasked for Par, Aronofsky — details from … ‘”Watchmen,” the seminal DC Comics limited series, has landed at Paramount Pictures. Darren Aronofsky will develop and direct the project, which is being written by David Hayter.’
July 26, 2004
[comics] State of the Art — Charlie Higson reviews McSweeney’s 13: The Comics Issue … ‘Why does the novel maintain its exalted status as the pinacle of human achievement? Any idiot can write one: you just need patience and a massive ego. It seems extraordinary, when we are surrounded by so much visual information, when we rely on the visual to tell us so much, and the lines between comics, films, advertising, TV and computers are becoming so blurred, that comics should still be considered trivial in some quarters.’
July 28, 2004
[blogs] This Isn’t London — lots of amusing made up facts about London… ‘All of London’s dogs are owned by the same company. Amalgamated Canine Industries was founded when the dog population of the city was nationalised under the Attlee government in 1948, and its holdings were leased back to the pooches’ former owners. Since then, this company has, in various forms, regulated all dog activity in the capital.’
July 29, 2004
[comics] Morrison’s Big-Time Return To The DCU — Newsarama interview with Morrison regarding two new DC Projects. Morrison On JLA: Classified: ‘Aquaman has no beard and John Stewart is Green Lantern so it’s pretty much set in some kind of current continuity but I’m afraid it’s not the gloomy ‘adult’ world of Sue Dibny’s shredded lycra pants so keep well away if it’s attempted rape you crave. Cannibalism, yes, rape, no. My DCU is a day-glo, non-stop funhouse, where the world is threatened every five minutes and godlike beings clash in the skies like fireworks.’
[comics] Superhero Costume Boots — for the well dressed crime-fighter … ‘Ever see a superhero wearing shabby boots? Not if he’s serious about keeping the world a safe and villain-free place. Our superhero boots are top notch, one piece constructed, Lex Luthor stompers!’
July 30, 2004
[blogs] The Guardian uses Blogging to Tap into Niche Publishing — Simon Waldman on the Guardian’s plans for blogs. ‘…offering blogs from columnists such as Simon Hoggart or Gary Younge was also one of the things under consideration.’
[reading] How Many Words-Per-Minute Do You Read?‘You read between 350 – 400 words per minute. Well above average reading level. (The average rate is between 200 – 250 words per minute.) It is assumed that you did not skim the words nor fail to understand the meaning of what was read’ [via]
August 1, 2004
[blogs] The Daily Mail Watch — they read the Daily Mail so we don’t have to … ‘Jon & I have realised that we might have to actually shell out some more dosh to the Filthy Rag as some of their webcontent is subscription only.’
August 2, 2004
[london] Odderection Man — mental health problems or performance art? You decide…

Odd Erection Man, Oxford Street, London
Odd Erection Man, Oxford Street, London

August 4, 2004
[lists] List of the Top 10 Fictional Detectives — from Mark Billingham … ‘I first encountered [Sherlock Holmes] through an eccentric maths teacher who would read The Speckled Band and other Conan Doyle adventures to us instead of teaching fractions. He also used to balance chairs on his chin, but that’s another story. I’m still fond of Holmes to this day, especially now that I can see him as the crazed, controlling junkie that he clearly was.’
August 5, 2004
[blogs] Spyware Warrior — useful blog ‘Waging the war against spyware’.
[comics] V for Vendetta Annotations — includes an interesting list of pop culture influences which Alan Moore and David Lloyd drew on whilst creating V for Vendetta [Related: More Moore Annotations]…

‘Orwell. Huxley. Thomas Disch. Judge Dredd. Harlan Ellison’s “Repent Harlequin! Said the Ticktockman.”, “Catman” and “Prowler in the City at the Edge of the World” by the same author. Vincent Price’s Dr. Phibes and Theatre of Blood. David Bowie. The Shadow. Nightraven. Batman. Farenheit 451. The writings of the New Worlds school of science fiction. Max Ernst’s painting “Europe After the Rains.” Thomas Pynchon. The atmosphere of British Second World War films. The Prisoner. Robin Hood. Dick Turpin…’

August 6, 2004
[comics] Doonesbury Goes to War — interview with Garry Trudeau from Rolling Stone Magazine. ‘…I was overwhelmed by some of the letters that came in about B.D. It was so emotional. People wrote that it made them feel they had a personal stake in the war — like someone they knew had been harmed. People were even more astonished when B.D.’s helmet came off. It signified his vulnerability and made it all the more difficult for them to accept. I was talking to a soldier in the hospital, and I said, “I draw this comic strip, and I have this character named B.D. who lost his leg.” The soldier’s eyes widened: “B.D. lost his leg?!” Here’s this mangled, broken hero lying in his bed, and he’s concerned that this character he knows had such a terrible thing happen to him. It was very moving.’
August 9, 2004
[comics] Michael Chabon’s Keynote Speech at the 2004 Eisner Awards‘Children did not abandon comics; comics, in their drive to attain respect and artistic accomplishment, abandoned children. And for a long time we as lovers and partisans of comics were afraid, after so many long years of struggle and hard work and incremental gains, to pick up that old jar of greasy kid stuff again, and risk undoing it all. Comics have always been an arriviste art form, and all upstarts are to some degree ashamed of their beginnings. But frankly, I don’t think that’s what’s going on in comics anymore. Now, I think, we have simply lost the habit of telling stories to children. And how sad is that?’