arcana imperii :: the book of j


harry potter iii

«the magic of harry potter cast a spell on london last night as the stars turned out for the european premiere of the prisoner of azkaban»

read the report at ic wales, the national website of wales. and over at the beeb, potter casts new spell over uk and wild about harry at uk premiere.

«chaos in venezuela»

if a picture is worth a thousand words...

on 12 march 2004 andy posted the following entry in his blog, andymatic:

«Javier emails me: This are images that my young friends in Venezuela send me, they constantly ask me to distribute them internationally, Chavez does not want to step down and the young people from Venezuela are suffering because the international companies does not want to invest in the country. The Venezuelan population is young and there millions of professional with out jobs, the number keeps increasing because each year more and more graduate with out hope of finding jobs. Please let me know if you are having problems opening the images.If you know of a particular internet site where my friends could send images, please let me know.»

andy vowed to post as many as his bandwith would allow and it ocurred to me to design and develop a photo blog as a joint project which could showcase the photographs and raise international awareness about the situation in venezuela. only eleven images had been received and they are jewels each and every one.

please visit chaos in venezuela, sponsored by andymatic, jayjdc (my personal phlog) and arcana imperii.

note that you may also send photographs and thoughts documenting the chaos in venezuela directly to the phlog, via email or mms to: chaosinvenezuela.andymatic@phlog.net.

venezuelan president says he will accept referendum

«venezuelan president hugo chavez told international observers yesterday that he will accept a recall referendum on his rule, as his foes completed three days of final checks that will decide whether he faces a vote this year. speaking after meeting with former US president jimmy carter, mr chavez said he was ready to go to the polls if the opposition manages to reach the verified 2,4 million signatures needed to trigger a referendum. opponents say they fear mr chavez has manipulated key authorities to block the referendum challenge and expect him to reject any ruling to allow a vote on his mandate.»

source: reuters, via globe and mail.

note: for analysis and context, i urge you to read «US has few options against venezuela's chavez».

quotation of the week

«it is easy - terribly easy - to shake a man's faith in himself. to take advantage of that to break a man's spirit is devil's work.»
~george bernard shaw




«i can be an asshole of the grandest kind
i can withhold like it's going out of style
i can be the moodiest baby and you've never met anyone
who is as negative as i am sometimes

i am the wisest woman you've ever met
i am the kindest soul with whom you've connected
i have the bravest heart that you've ever seen and you've never met anyone
who is as positive as i am sometimes

you see everything you see every part
you see all my light and you love my dark
you dig everything of which i'm ashamed
there's not anything to which you can't relate
and you're still here

i blame everyone else & not my own partaking
my passive aggressive-ness can be devastating
i'm terrified and mistrusting and you've never met anyone
who is as closed down as i am sometimes

you see everything you see every part
you see all my light and you love my dark
you dig everything of which i'm ashamed
there's not anything to which you can't relate
and you're still here

what i resist persists and speaks louder than i know
what i resist you love no matter how low or high i go

i am the funniest woman that you've ever known
i am the dullest woman that you've ever known
i'm the most gorgeous woman that you've ever known and you've never met anyone
who is as everything as i am sometimes

you see everything you see every part
you see all my light and you love my dark
you dig everything of which i'm ashamed
there's not anything to which you can't relate
and you're still here»

~alanis morisette, so called chaos

discipline breakdown at the white house

never appearing to contradict one another in public is a commandment at the white house and some credit «extraordinary discipline and message control». but c'mon, how long could we expect the house of cards to stand! i know some of these people don't seem it, but in the end they're only human and can only hold out so long! ;-)


capitol hill candour

in a rare moment of candour, washington, dc insiders discuss how hung they are...


the new york times criticises its iraq coverage

americans, despite all solid evidence to the contrary, live convinced that their media is a bastion of "liberal, leftist" thought and is hence biased against "the right". and while the shameful and reprehensible lack of fact-checking since the bush administration set up shop in dc, the serious lapses in ethics, lose grip on truth and absence of constant critical thinking may point to more serious problems than negligence, laziness and conservative bias, the fact remains that the white house managed to exercise immense influence if not control over the news cycle, the media published accordingly and american gullibility and dislike of controversy only fuelled.

from the editors: the times and iraq or correction: the new york times on iraq coverage.

new york times criticises its iraq coverage.


eleven most endangered places 2004

the national trust for historic preservation has released its 2004 list of the most endangered historic places in the united states of america and it includes the "rare and regrettable" repeat inclusion of the entire state of vermont, once again "besieged by the onslaught of big-box retail development". the national trust said the threat is worse than ever, with wal-mart planning several new superstores that could spur sprawl, declining investment in downtowns, the loss of locally-owned businesses and the erosion of the state's unique sense of place.

also listed is 2 columbus circle, new york, new york, ridgewood ranch, willits, california, the bethlehem steel plant, bethlehem, pennsylvania, the elkmont historic district, the great smoky mountains national park in tennesee, the gullah/geechee coast in south carolina and georgia, the madison-lenox hotel in detroit, the historic cook county hospital in chicago, the george kraigher house in brownsville, texas, nine mile canyon, carbon and duchesne counties in utah and closer to home, the tobacco barns of southern maryland, currently being abandonment or demolished as a result of state-sponsored buyouts to farmers.

quotation of the week

«expecting the world to treat you fairly because you are a good person is a little like expecting the bull not to attack you because you are a vegetarian.» ~dennis wholey

«aerodynamically the bumblebee shouldn't be able to fly, but the bumblebee doesn't know that so it goes on flying anyway.» ~mary kay ash

«expect nothing, live frugally on surprise.» ~alice walker



cannes film festival: michael moore wins!

michael moore's fahrenheit 9/11 has won the coveted palme d'or, the jury's prize at the 57th cannes international film festival. this is the first time a documentary wins top honours in forty-eight years. the film, critical of bush's arrival at the white house, the administration and its launching of the attack, invasion and occupation of iraq which also details ties between the bush family and saudi arabia's ruling upper class, including the bin laden family has been involved in controversy as disney emphasised just weeks ago that it would not distribute the film. note that disney receives millions in tax cuts granted by the governor of florida, jeb bush, brother of the current us president. disney officials have said that the nature of the film could offend some viewers... as if! the film remains without american representation a day after winning the prestigious award.

film director quentin tarantino, president of this year's cannes jury said that the politics of the film had nothing to do with the jury's decision. moore was given the award because «he made a great film».

strong anti-bush sentiments were on display during the 22 may awards ceremony. belgian filmmaker jonas giernaert urged americans to vote against bush in november. british actor tim roth later told the audience before presenting an award that giernaert was «extraordinarily brave» and repeated that americans should not elect bush... i hear that!


caviar smuggling plot busted

twenty-nine-year-old mariusz chomicz has been sentenced to two-and-a-half years in federal prison after pleading guilty to a conspiracy charge for supplying nearly us$2,000,000-worth of black-market caviar to couriers hired by co-conspirators. the caviar was then sold to a miami, florida company using a forged import licence.

«caspian sea sturgeon are a species of pre-historic origin which are likely to be wiped out by the greed of smugglers and those willing to buy from them,» said federal prosecutor tom sansonetti.

now, where did you say you got that beluga we ate last night?


time to decide, america!

half the population of this country presumably accepted bush as its president in 2001 and went on to blindly approve of him and support every extremist, foolish, misguided and reprehensible goal and action he had the effrontery to advance. the mediawhores in this country followed suit, as if becoming so very yellow during the lewinsky farce and unable to cover the war in the balkans nor the attack on democracy suffered by this country in the 2000 election had turned them into the puppets and mouthpiece of the administration. what do i mean, as if?!

most of these supporters in their idiosyncratically american disdain for complexity and analysis ate up the fabricated image of the president fed them by a media who wasn't even fact-checking the government and accepted everything the government proposed before and after the 11 september 2001 attacks. americans refused to look in the mirror and accept part of the responsibility they share for said attacks and gave in to terror and its perpetrators by accepting to be stripped of some of the very rights which define our democracy and citizenship. and so with gullibility on the one side and demagoguery on the other most of america supported pre-emptive attack, invasion and occupation of a sovereign nation regardless of the reasoned, correct and vociferous opposition of half of this country and almost the entire world.

americans, jobless and busy with their reality television and voting for their favourite american idol contestant, have discovered they've been lied to and told how and when yet refuse to believe, to demand accountability, to think and to act. some have expressed disapproval yet reprehensibly and shamefully continue to tell pollsters they'd still vote for bush in november! it has been explained to americans how the policies of the administration make us targets of hatred and terror, more now than ever, yet some continue "feeling secure" with bush in the white house. the blind leading the deaf...

the red cross reported to the military in january the abuse being carried out by the armed forces in iraq; americans were kept in the dark and nothing was done to end the abuse and investigate and prosecute the perpetrators and their superiors all the way to the oval office. without knowledge of the report, the media obtained evidence of the abuse (only after suing the government under the freedom of information act) told the pentagon and accepted a request (demand?) for silence... yet competition and the possibility of losing ratings forced revelation. neither the commander-in-chief nor his secretary of defence have accepted responsibility. they have denied knowledge of the criminal abuse, tried to sweep the scandal under the carpet with apologies and americans showed little concern since the prisoners are supposed to be "nothing but savages anyway". americans seem deaf to the fact that seventy to ninety percent of the persons deprived of their liberty in iraq have been arrested by mistake. «if only they were christian...»

and while all this is taking place, americans refuse to understand why the iraqis don't just welcome us with flowers, why there's a rebellion, why iraq refused to accept as leader one mr chalabi, the corrupt american-backed exiled fraud, and why iraqis think we are evil incarnate.

and now, as a further blow, the american government has had no recourse but to investigate chalabi for possibly betraying intelligence secrets to foreign governments, including iran (according to american intelligence officials) and, in a raid of chalabi's home and offices, seek the arrest of employees believed to have been involved in kidnapping, torture, embezzlement and the theft of government property. this is the man bush and his administration chose in the name of americans to replace saddam hussein (is it democratic for a foreign nation to pre-select the future president of a democratic country?) and lead iraq into democracy.

so, without even considering domestic issues of greater relevance, will half of eligible americans remain at home watching telly and eating crisps, stay at work or do whatever instead of voting on election day to remove bush from office and frog-march his administration out of washington? will republicans, independents, nader and his followers along with the undecided shamefully and reprehensibly betray america by voting for bush&co? by continuing to support him while in office?

enough is enough. america, make us proud: show what you're really made of!

further news: standing of key US ally in iraq falls to new low.

rare cello recovered!

how could an instrument - one of sixty cellos made 320 years ago by master instrumentmaker antonio stradivari - be left like a forgotten sack of groceries? in january, violinist gidon kremer forgot his US$3 million guarneri del gesu instrument on a train. in 1999, yo-yo ma left his own US$2,5 million stradivarius cello in a new york city taxi.

the los angeles philharmonic was reunited tuesday with its priceless stradivarius cello three weeks after a clumsy thief stole it from the porch of the orchestra's principal cellist. the cello, slightly damaged, narrowly escaped being turned into a case for compact discs. it is now undergoing repairs and is expected to return to the stage of the walt disney concert hall in october.

does the story add up?


lycos offers 1gb email service

lycos has increased the storage limit of its email service to 1gb in a bid to usurp its rivals google and yahoo.

lycos mail personal 1gb is ad free, offers anti-spam and anti-virus software and a free sms service for £3·49 per month. according to the company, the service will not be using spyware and users' privacy is promised as it «will not be building up user profiles or storing deleted emails»

more details here.


state of mind

«we do not so much need the assistance of our friends as we do the confidence of their assistance in need.»
~from the vatican sayings, epicurus et.al.

my confidence wavers and i am scared.

baghdad blast kills head of iraq governing council

the current head of iraq's US-appointed governing council has been killed in a car bomb blast near the headquarters of the US-led coalition in baghdad.

terrible news. shame on the enemies of progress and democracy. my thoughts are with those risking their lives to enable and defend them.

here's the most recent bbc report as of this posting. and here you may find the bbc news world edition homepage. updated every minute of every day.

magister mundi sum!

i am the master of the universe!

magister mundi sum!
«i am the master of the universe!»

you are full of yourself, but you're so cool you
probably deserve to be. rock on!

which weird latin phrase are you?

brought to you by quizilla


your absence has gone through me
like thread through a needle.
everything i do is stitched with its color.

~«separation,» the moving target by w.s. merwin / copyright © 1963.

via poetry in motion.

state of mind

«necessity is an evil; but there is no necessity for continuing to live with necessity.» ~from the vatican sayings, epicurus et.al.

quotation of the week

«if i could wish for my life to be perfect, it would be tempting but i would have to decline, for life would no longer teach me anything.» ~allyson jones



16 may 1929

seventy-five years ago today the academy of motion picture arts and sciences presented its first awards, at the roosevelt hotel in hollywood. go figure!

eligible films premiered between 01 august 1927 and 31 july 1928. the best picture award went to wings, starring clara bow and gary cooper. emil jannings won the best actor award for the last command and the way of all flesh.

note: this seems best left for oscar night proper, but since i refrained from watching them this year in protest against the "censorship delay"... «there is no agreement as to why the awards came to be called the oscars. allegedly, margaret herrick, a librarian (and eventual executive director) for the ampas commented that the statuette looked like her uncle oscar. there is also an anecdote about bette davis remarking that the statuette's buttocks resembled those of one of her husbands, harmon oscar nelson. but credit for the first documented use (1934) of the nickname belongs to syndicated gossip columnist sidney skolsky, who claimed he called it "oscar" to minimise any attendant pretension.»

via the history channel and history television canada.


why use one word when you can use ten?

i just heard an otherwise very well-spoken american young man say: «excavate out»...

must read: «cold turkey» by kurt vonnegut

you are hereby commanded to read cold turkey by kurt vonnegut. yeah, i know, it's lots of words and you probably have a date with american idol or reality television... don't make me despair of you more than i already do...

«many years ago, i was so innocent i still considered it possible that we could become the humane and reasonable america so many members of my generation used to dream of. we dreamed of such an america during the great depression, when there were no jobs. and then we fought and often died for that dream during the second world war, when there was no peace.

but i know now that there is not a chance in hell of america’s becoming humane and reasonable. because power corrupts us, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. human beings are chimpanzees who get crazy drunk on power. by saying that our leaders are power-drunk chimpanzees, am i in danger of wrecking the morale of our soldiers fighting and dying in the middle east? their morale, like so many bodies, is already shot to pieces. they are being treated, as i never was, like toys a rich kid got for christmas.»

«my government’s got a war on drugs. but get this: the two most widely abused and addictive and destructive of all substances are both perfectly legal.

one, of course, is ethyl alcohol. and president george w bush, no less, and by his own admission, was smashed or tiddley-poo or four sheets to the wind a good deal of the time from when he was 16 until he was 41. when he was 41, he says, jesus appeared to him and made him knock off the sauce, stop gargling nose paint.»

«for some reason, the most vocal christians among us never mention the beatitudes. but, often with tears in their eyes, they demand that the ten commandments be posted in public buildings. and of course that’s moses, not jesus. i haven’t heard one of them demand that the sermon on the mount, the beatitudes, be posted anywhere. "blessed are the merciful" in a courtroom? "blessed are the peacemakers" in the pentagon? give me a break!»

sickening humour

recently heard on spike-tv: «... i didn't know france was contagious... spain has announced it will pull its troops from iraq. both of them. so who will serve our troops lunch?» funny, eh? NOT! shamefully and reprehensibly, that's exactly how some feel. worst, they feel that the country's guilty of appeasement instead of realising that the kingdom would still be in the coalition if the US knew what it was doing, had a plan other than looking for the quickest way out and allowed the UN the control it should have.

brazil and the US: not quite a carnival...

other than the recent story of the impending expulsion from brazil of new york times bureau chief in rio de janeiro larry rohter for reporting in a story published last sunday that president lula da silva has a drinking problem i haven't been following the brazilian headlines too closely. any strain in diplomatic relations is usually only noticeable upon examining each country's travel/visa requirements... i hadn't been unaware of brazilian feeling regarding the US and british attack, invasion and continued occupation of iraq, but a drawing i viewed recently in a new phlog on the internet provides sad and worrisome commentary on how we've been unable to improve how we are perceived by some overseas.

have a look at the drawing here.

note: president lula da silva said monday this week that the nyt article represented «a malicious assault on the institution of the presidency» and ordered tuesday that mr rohter's visa be revoked (which i consider absolutely unacceptable and an infringement upon freedom). this provoked a strong reaction led by press associations, legal and judicial groups and opposition politicians. an editorial in brazil's leading newspaper, o estado de são paulo, called the president's action a «monumental stupidity». while rohter stated he had not meant any harm and was sorry for any embarrassment he did not apologise (as reported by wire services and media around the world) not did the nyt retract the article. nonetheless the government of brazil has dropped its threat to expel mr rohter.


what about the road map?

it seems many still don't understand what exactly bush and fellow troglodyte sharon have done to the road map for peace in the middle east. perhaps this illustration will help...


«thou hast committed--
fornication: but that was in another country,
and besides, the wench is dead.»

~christopher marlowe, the jew of malta.

«ain't no stoppin' us now»

american r&b singer john whitehead, best known for the 1979 hit song «ain't no stoppin' us now», has been shot dead in philadelphia's west oak lane neighbourhood, while he and another man, also wounded, were mending his car in the street.

i'd never heard of whitehead, his singing partner gene mcfadden nor the hit that that made them famous. but whitehead's pointless death caught my attention and so did the lyrics of his hit song, which seem as meaningful today as they would any time in history.

there've been so many things that have held us down
but now it looks like things are finally comin' around,
i know we've got a long long way to go,
and where we'll end up, i don't know
but we won't let nothing hold us back
we gonna get ourselves together
we gonna polish up our act,
and if you've ever been held down before
i know that you refuse to be held down any more,
don't you let nothing stand in your way
i want you to listen to every word i say about it

ain't no stoppin' us now
we're on the move
ain't no stoppin' us now
we've got the groove
ain't no stoppin' us now [...]
look, lemme tell you this
i know you know someone who's got a negative vibe
and if you only help it will only keep it alive
they really don't have nowhere to go
ask 'em where they're going
they don't know
but we won't let nothing hold us back
we gonna get ourselves together, come on
we gonna polish up our act,
and if you've ever been held down before
i know that you refuse to be held down any more

don't you let nothing
(i won't do it) stand in your way
and all we gonna do
i want you to listen
to every word i say about it

pm blair urged to loosen ties with the US

ministers in the united kingdom call for the end of the coalition and for public disengagement from the bush administration and its increasingly myopic, irresponsible and dangerous pursuits.

«senior figures across the labour party are intensifying pressure on tony blair to publicly detach himself from the bush administration, calling on him to spell out an independent british position on the middle east, peacekeeping in iraq and the US presidential election.»

read more at the guardian unlimited.

«fahrenheit 9/11» rescued by miramax heads

according to reuters, brothers bob and harvey weinstein plan to buy back the bowling for columbine director's new film from miramax parent company walt disney co. and seek a third-party company to handle distribution. a miramax spokesperson confirmed to reuters that the weinstein brothers were looking forward to completing this transaction.


domestic terror forecast / security status / safety tips

it is the duty of every american citizen to remain alert and informed regarding the protection of the homeland. please review the current terror forecast and the nation's alert status posted here and begin implementing the security protocols outlined here. thank you.


the classic definition: «it means an outlook favouring a free-market economy and a vision of citizenship based on individual rights with minimal state interference in most aspects of life.»

and suddenly, ignorant republicans/conservatives/extremists/reactionaries/fascists just don't know what to say...

«who's a fascist?»

«fascism: no word has been used more freely by people who have so little idea what it means -- and that includes "postmodernism." "fascist!" was for years the preferred epithet hurled at anyone engaged in authoritarian behaviour, racial stereotyping or even certain kinds of design. then, for a while, the insult, suffering from a kind of rhetorical inflation, lost its bite; if used at all, it made the person using it seem like a hysteric, and it was exiled to the shadowy edges of extremism, where conspiracy theorists and other cassandras shriek their prophecies and tote up their lists of correspondences too terrifying to be ignored.»

robert o paxton, author of the anatomy of fascism defines it as «a form of political behaviour marked by obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation or victimhood and by compensatory cults of unity, energy and purity, in which a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants, working in uneasy but effective collaboration with traditional elites, abandons democratic liberties and pursues with redemptive violence and without ethical or legal restraints goals of internal cleansing and external expansion.»

«using paxton's definition, is george w bush a fascist? nah. america in the early 2000s doesn't resemble germany in the 1930s much at all, really. but that doesn't mean this administration's encroachments on civil liberties, cheap appeals to patriotism in launching an ill-conceived and ineptly executed war in iraq, or efforts to conduct government business in excessive secrecy aren't extremely disturbing. the comparisons of bush to hitler don't shed much light on his policies, but they do show just how much fury he's provoked. usually, when americans call a politician they don't like a "fascist" it's not because we know he's got an extra-governmental squad of jackbooted thugs ready to sic on his enemies. it's because it's the worst thing we can think of to call anyone.»

via salon.com/laura miller's: who's a fascist?


national poll shows support for impeachment

berkeley - 11 may - reporting from an ongoing survey of public knowledge and opinion, berkeley based NGO Retro Poll released startling results suggesting that 39% of americans favour impeachment of president bush. the poll, taken between 19 April and 05 May asked whether people believe that misleading congress and the public on weapons of mass destruction to take the country to war is grounds to impeach the president (39% said yes, 40% said no). on whether the US should have invaded iraq the poll results are consistent with findings of gallup and other major polls (48% said yes).

other surprising findings were that almost half of respondents (46%) favour an independent investigation of the US role in the overthrow of haiti's democratically elected president, jean bertrand aristide, and 57% favour a national moratorium on the death penalty because of the procedural problems that have put many innocent people on death row (112 released so far). four out of five americans also repudiate the use of torture.

as in earlier retro polls most support for the war in iraq and the war on terrorism was found among people who still think that saddam hussein worked with al qaeda (though no evidence has been published) and among the 32% of people who believe the war on terrorism is preventing terrorism. however, 24% of Americans believe that the war on terrorism is actually creating terrorists. in addition, 56 % of people who gave an opinion say the war on terrorism is removing important democratic rights in the US and large percentages (50-80%) oppose various intrusive provisions of the usa patriot act.

the poll reached 513 random americans and has a margin of error of +/- 3.5% full results are available at retro poll.

via cd's progressive newswire.

any harm done?

«an american friend who works in saudi arabia recently emailed me to say "it's all over with those pro-american arabs who until now have credited washington with good intentions in iraq. photographs of american women soldiers sexually taunting and abusing naked and bound arab men says to them that the united states is a totally depraved society".»

excerpt from who ordered "shock and awe"?

trying to understand

in an article by william pfaff published today by the international herald tribune, the author asks «to what extent have the policies of the bush administration - and the values and attitudes that have characterised the conduct of the so-called war against terror - contributed to a state of mind and morale in the american military that opened the way to the torture, abuse and, in some cases, apparent murder of prisoners in iraq?»

the answer is a must read.

the google blog

the google has landed... haha, actually, the news is that the official google blog has launched and less than three months since google's acquisition of pyra labs, blogger blog tool maker firm. now let's hope blogger programme manager evan williams makes some time to also work on the site's design...

the blog's byline is: «insight into the news, technology, and culture of google. get the latest word direct from the googleplex about new technology, hot issues, and the wide world of search».


statement of principle

«to announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the american public.» ~theodore roosevelt

opinion: «a president beyond the law»

the nyt's anthony lewis shares his opinion on the pervasive disregard for the truth and the law within the bush administration.

«the question tears at all of us, regardless of party or ideology: how could american men and women treat Iraqi prisoners with such cruelty — and laugh at their humiliation? we are told that there was a failure of military leadership. officers in the field were lax. pentagon officials didn't care. so the worst in human nature was allowed to flourish.

but something much more profound underlies this terrible episode. it is a culture of low regard for the law, of respecting the law only when it is convenient.

again and again, over these last years, bush has made clear his view that law must bend to what he regards as necessity. national security as he defines it trumps our commitments to international law. the constitution must yield to novel infringements on american freedom...

...instead of a country committed to law, the united states is now seen as a country that proclaims high legal ideals and then says that they should apply to all others but not to itself.»

link alert via the brilliant ultimate insult.

Labels: ,

must read: «outside the law»

guardian unlimited published today a special report on the iraqi prisoners scandal, outside the law, which i urge all to read. i've had enough of lies, abuse and apologies. what it is going to take for us americans to say ENOUGH! and demand these arrogant, self-righteous pseudo-leaders of ours accept responsibility for every atrocity and horror they continue to cause and allow with the most reprehensible confidence in their impunity? since when is a commander-in-chief and his deputies not responsible for the behaviour of the troops under their command? since when is an insincere apology bloody enough? is everything permissible unless it has to do with sex in the oval office? republicans and supporters impeached a president for committing perjury regarding a personal relationship in what was nothing less than an attempted coup d'état but we don't even scream bloody murder and overwhelmingly demand at least a presidential censure and rumfsfeld's immediate resignation? the man complains that the revelations of abuse comprise a breach of national security instead ofcondemningg and accepting responsibility for the atrocities committed? unarmed, defenceless detainees are shot and killed in a prison courtyard as reported by the red cross and the government is to get away with an "oh but we are so very sorry"?!

where's the anger and indignation? where are the protests? too busy with reality telly and voting for the next american idol and symbol of musical mediocrity?

shame on you! shame on us all!

link alert via the brilliant ultimate insult.

quotation of the week

«the more you know the less you need to say.» ~ jim rohn



«read and weep»

«here's sy hersh's latest account of what went wrong at abu ghraib. the truly horrifying thing is that the worst is yet to come. apparently, the photos we have seen are benign compared to what we have not yet seen. nothing the enemy could dream up could have done us more harm in the eyes of the world than what some in US uniform have done to the United States' credibility and honour. we have no option but to withstand it and carry on. we owe that to the iraqi people, to the world and to ourselves and our own security. but the damage is immeasurable; and, ultimately, the president must take responsibility. you could feel the psychological barometric pressure drop this weekend in DC. maybe the rest of the country won't react the same way. or maybe there will be a time-lag in which the country as a whole realises it has lost confidence in this administration as profoundly as washington now has. but every time i try to think of a way in which this is not catastrophic to the cause of democracy and peace in the middle east, i come undone.»

via andrew sullivan.


got teeth?

«[a] pioneering technology will allow the patient to grow his own natural replacement teeth instead of having a synthetic implant. as well as the benefit of not experiencing surgical trauma, there is also the psychological boost of "having one's own teeth".»

«... stem cells are taken from the patient, treated and cultured in a laboratory, then re-implanted in the patient's jaw under the gum at the site of the missing or extracted tooth. this then grows into a fully-formed, live tooth in the same way that teeth develop naturally.»

provided human trials are successful, the public may benefit from this technology in about five years at a cost of round three thousand dollars per tooth.


«chef's best»

i received an email (sent through food & friends by an unidentified friend) regarding this year's chef's best, and thought it deserved more than just a link, so after some research and code tweaking i managed to recreate what i liked and post it at arcana imperii 2. please do have a look and consider participating in this extraordinarily tasteful experience!

skeptical inquirer magazine

dear reader, please note a most interesting new link i've added today: skeptical inquirer: the magazine for science and reason.

«for a fast-growing number of discriminating persons, the skeptical inquirer is a welcome breath of fresh air, separating fact from myth in the flood of occultism and pseudoscience on the scene today. this dynamic magazine, published by the committee for the scientific investigation of claims of the paranormal, tells you what the scientific community knows about claims of the paranormal, as opposed to the sensationalism often presented by the media, television, and films.»

«... a massive broadside attack on ... the new irrationalism: antiscience and pseudoscience ... a devastating exercise in debunking ...»
~the washington post (on the skeptical inquirer)


in michael moore's own words... [UPDATE]

«wednesday, 05 may 2004
disney has blocked the distribution of my new film... by michael moore


i would have hoped by now that i would be able to put my work out to the public without having to experience the profound censorship obstacles i often seem to encounter.

yesterday i was told that disney, the studio that owns miramax, has officially decided to prohibit our producer, miramax, from distributing my new film, «fahrenheit 9/11». the reason? according to today's (05 may) new york times, it might "endanger" millions of dollars of tax breaks disney receives from the state of florida because the film will "anger" the governor of florida, jeb bush. the story is on page one of the times and you can read it here (disney forbidding distribution of film that criticises bush).

the whole story behind this (and other attempts) to kill our movie will be told in more detail as the days and weeks go on. for nearly a year, this struggle has been a lesson in just how difficult it is in this country to create a piece of art that might upset those in charge (well, ok, sorry -- it WiLL upset them...big time. did i mention it's a comedy?). all i can say is, thank god for harvey weinstein and miramax who have stood by me during the entire production of this movie.

there is much more to tell, but right now i am in the lab working on the print to take to the cannes film festival next week (we have been chosen as one of the eighteen films in competition). i will tell you this: some people may be afraid of this movie because of what it will show. but there's nothing they can do about it now because it's done, it's awesome, and if i have anything to say about it, you'll see it this summer -- because, after all, it is a free country.»

read more.

update - 07 may 2004: michael moore's motives and the accuracy of his statements concerning disney/miramax and the distribution of his film, «fahrenheit 9/11» have come into question as he is accused of distorting facts in a publicity stunt. [link alert via secular blasphemy]

cinco de mayo celebrations? it's ridiculous!

here we are again making fools of ourselves and i for one can't stand it.

what and why oh why are americans "celebrating" today? so in 1862, at the battle of puebla, the mexican army defeats the french... it's NOT even a holiday in mexico, so what is it to you? some businesses allow workers to take time off to participate in office parties and american children are celebrating in schools... this is so ridiculous! bastille day on fourteen july is a better known and perhaps more significant holiday as is our fourth of july, but i don't see bars featuring french martini specials nor kids running about dressed as roosters anywhere, do you? and don't even think about defending this farce with a celebration of mexican-american anything argument, because that'd be even more offensive. and while at it, should i remind us all about the fact that mexico usually votes against america at the UN, they oppose us at international fora, actively attempts and even succeeds in subverting our immigration laws and even threaten to negotiate with our enemies?

when was the last time a mexican celebrated the fourth of july or a mexican president celebrated said holiday at los pinos (the mexican presidential residence)?

as if we needed a holiday to enjoy splendid tequila or any of the superb dishes in the regional culinary canon of our neighbours south of the border (hint: these are NOT to be found on the taco bell menu)...


«discourse with care»

a man may make a remark –
in itself – a quiet thing
that may furnish the fuse unto a spark
in dormant nature – lain –
let us divide – with skill –
let us discourse – with care –
powder exists in charcoal –
before it exists in fire –

~emily dickinson, #913
a word dropped careless on a page
may stimulate an eye
when folded in perpetual seam
the wrinkled maker lie
infection in the sentence breeds
we may inhale despair
at distances of centuries
from the malaria -

~emily dickinson, #1261

via languagehat via the eudæmonist.

1959 - first grammys announced / audrey hepburn's bday - 1929

on this day back in 1959 the national academy of recording arts and sciences announced the winners of the first grammy awards . henry mancini won the best album award for the music from peter gunn; perry como was voted best male vocalist and ella fitzgerald best female vocalist. «volare» by domenico modugno, won best record.

today is also audrey hepburn's birthday. audrey hepburn-ruston was born on this day in 1929 near brussels. hepburn's father, an english banker, left hepburn and her mother, a dutch Baroness, when hepburn was six. hepburn attended school in england, but was brought to holland by her mother at the outset of wwII. the nazis did occupy holland yet audrey continued to attend school and study ballet-while reportedly smuggling messages to the resistance in her ballet shoes!

after the war, hepburn studied ballet in amsterdam and london, and went on to study acting. she played bit parts on stage and screen until 1951, when she met the french writer colette who insisted hepburn be cast in the title role of the broadway version of her novel gigi. hepburn's broadway debut in 1951 brought her enormous attention, and was cast as the lead in roman holiday (1953), co-starring gregory peck. she won the academy award for best actress for her performance. she continued to win lead roles in strong films, including sabrina (1951), opposite humphrey bogart, funny face (1957), the nun's story (1959), breakfast at tiffany's (1961), and my fair lady (1964).

hepburn married actor and director mel ferrer in 1954, and he produced her oscar-nominated 1967 film, wait until dark. the couple divorced in 1968, and she married an italian psychiatrist in 1969. they moved to europe, and hepburn largely retired from hollywood, devoting her time to charitable causes and her post as special ambassador for UNICEF during the 1970s.

in 1976, after a nine-year hiatus, hepburn appeared as a rather mature maid marian in robin and marian, opposite sir sean connery. she continued to appear in a handful of film in the 1970s and 1980s, including one as an angel in always (1989), her final film project. hepburn continued to work for charitable causes until her death in 1993.


if microsoft made cars...

as i complained about the time and effort it was taking me to resolve a particular microsoft windows nightmare a friend suggested we should feel lucky we aren't forced to drive cars made by microsoft... we'd see stalled vehicles all along the emergency lanes with catatonic drivers inside silently wondering how come their car had inexplicably died stranding them indefinitely... then we thought we'd try to imagine other aspects of a world in which microsoft did make cars...

  1. a particular model year of car wouldn't be available until after that year - instead of before it.

  2. every time they repainted the lines on the road, you'd have to buy a new car.

  3. occasionally your car would just die for no reason, and you'd have to restart it. for some strange reason, you'd just accept this.

    1. occasionally, executing a maneuver would cause your car to stop and fail to restart and you'd have to re-install the engine. for some strange reason, you'd just accept this, too.

    2. but that wouldn't work, you'd have to take the engine out, do nothing to it, then put it back in.

  4. you could only have one person in the car at a time, unless you bought a 'car 95' or a 'car NT'. but then you'd have to buy more seats.

  5. sun motor systems would make a car that was powered by the sun, twice as reliable, and five times as fast - but it would only run on five percent of the roads.

  6. the oil, engine, fuel and alternator warning lights would be replaced with a single general car fault warning light.

  7. people would get excited about the "new" features in microsoft cars, forgetting completely that they had been available in other cars for many years.

  8. we'd all have to switch to microsoft fuel.

  9. the US government would be getting subsidies from an auto maker instead of giving them.

  10. new seats would force everyone to have the same size butt.

  11. the air bag system would say 'are you sure?' before going off.

  12. the steering wheel would be replaced with a mouse and you'd need to memorise the keyboard short-cut for «brake».

  13. for some reason the engine controller would need a 1G hard disk and would take five minutes to boot up.

  14. they wouldn't build their own engines but form a cartel with their engine.

  15. your car would refuse to start with a message «abort, retry, fail or cancel?»

  16. you would have to have a full service every 500 miles.

  17. the speedometer would read 70 even though you are only doing 50.

  18. they would make a flashy convertible model, where if you raised the top the engine would overheat.

  19. the entire engine wouldn't be in the bay at once, and the car would have to keep stopping and starting to load in the relevant parts.

  20. every time you carried a new passenger you would have to alter the cars configuration settings. when the passenger alights these configurations would remain in place.

via beeker.com

computer acronyms

some funny and some not-too-clever computer acronyms defined...

People Can't Memorise Computer Industry Acronyms
It Still Does Nothing
Arrogance Produces Profit-Losing Entity
System Can't See It
Defective Operating System
Bill's Attempt to Seize Industry Control
I Blame Microsoft
Do Expect Cuts
Consumer Device, Rendered Obsolete in Months
Obsolete Soon, Too.
World Wide Wait
Most Applications Crash; If Not, The Operating System Hangs
Produces Erroneous Numbers Through Incorrect Understanding of Mathematics
Completely Obsolete Business Oriented Language
A Merely Insignificant Game Addiction
Lots of Infuriating & Silly Parenthesis
Meaningless Indication of Processor Speed
Will Install Needless Data On Whole System
Garbage In Rubbish Out
Most Intelligent Customers Realise Our Software Only Fools Teenagers
Users are Normally Irritating Xenophobes

i'm not sure MACINTOSH is accurately defined... i'd imagine the contrary!

via tech humour.

quoatation of the week: «like a patient etherised upon a table...»

i don't know why, but sometimes my life, my city, my plans, my hopes, my dreams, my loves, my breakfast are all, really, it turns out, simply spread out against the sky like a patient etherised upon a table.» ~t.s. eliot