February 21, 2008
Now that Kosovo has declared independence, will Abkhazia follow? The Abkhazian "autonomy" within Georgia already has its own president and parliament, as well as an independent army that has managed to expel Georgian presence by 1993. They've even got their own flag. The only thing missing? Official recognition from the UN. [more inside]
Inside the world of war profiteers: From prostitutes to Super bowl tickets, a federal probe reveals how contractors in Iraq cheated the U.S.
It's a cause célèbre jamboree, starting with Mumia Abu-Jamal: Guilty! Innocent! Guilty! Innocent! [more inside]
"The vision (pdf)I have developed on gardening (pdf)and especially in my work with perennials (pdf)is based not only out of respect for nature(pdf) but also the power, energy(pdf), emotions, beauty and aesthetics(pdf) it gives." - Piet Oudolf [more inside]
Affairs of the Lips. "We kiss furtively, lasciviously, gently, shyly, hungrily and exuberantly. We kiss in broad daylight and in the dead of night. We give ceremonial kisses, affectionate kisses, Hollywood air kisses, kisses of death and, at least in fairytales, pecks that revive princesses." But, why do we kiss?
Bob Geldof in Rwanda gives Bush his props.. Bob Geldof, who has worked tirelessly to ease the suffering in Africa, has praised President Bush on his policies and efforts in that country. The singer was annoyed that the press had mostly ignored the exuberant reception that Mr. Bush has consistently received during his five-nation tour this week
Kid Bailey was a Mississippi Delta bluesman blessed with the kind of slightly gravel-tinged voice that emanates authority. His recording career was a very short one, however, consisting of precisely one day, and yielding precisely two songs. Very little is known about Bailey himself, and the identity of the 2nd accompanying guitarist on his only known recording remains a mystery, though there has been some some speculation. I've been doing a little speculating myself, regarding some of Bailey's lyrics, and any of you blues linguists who might want to help fill in the blanks, please see the [more inside]. [more inside]
The Synchronicity Project Since 2005, Japanese art director Jun Tsuzuki has been running a project he calls Synchronicity, where he asks people all over the world to take a picture of what they are doing at a pre-determined moment in time. [via]
Members of the Montana legislature (out of session) appear to be attempting to force the Supreme Court's hand in a fairly landmark gun-control case, Heller v. DC. Through an extra-session resolution, they are invoking contract law, by stating that the contract between the Montana people, through our Constitution, and the Federal Government will be ... ? ... if the Heller case is decided 'incorrectly'. What is at issue is one of the SCOTUS' seminal opportunities to rule concerning collective rights versus individual rights for firearm possession. [more inside]
Borders and Lulu.com have teamed up to create Border's Lifestyle, a new service allowing anyone to design and publish their own book and have it distributed through Borders stores, even including your own book tour and in-store readings. Is it, according to Ben Vershbow of if:book, "bringing vanity publishing to a whole new level of fantasy role-playing,"1 or a real innovation in book distribution, bypassing the professional gatekeepers? [more inside]
The '...is your new bicycle' meme is your new bicycle. I like bikes.
The sequel to Repo Man will finally arrive next month - in graphic novel form. The script was originally floated by Alex Cox in 1994, but an attempt at filming it was unsuccessful. Now, the comic version, illustrated by Chris Bones, is on its way from Gestalt Comics. [more inside]
Like hockey fights ? Like the movie Slapshot? Want to see the real Chiefs? Les Chiefs is a documentary on the toughest team in the Quebec Semi-Pro Hockey League. There can be 10 fights in a single period. Goalies fight. Coaches fight. Some fans fight in the stands with the players who live just yards away, in a ramshackle apartment in the stadium (formerly a ramshackle storage closet). Other fans lovingly craft belts in the belief that hockey is a religion and The Chiefs are its avatars. And players players question, even as they sign up for underground boxing matches and run up 100 to 1 penalty minute to goal ratios, whether they’re hockey players or circus side shows. (some links may be NSFW for violence) [more inside]
Perhaps most famous luchador of all time is El Santo (aka Samson), who starred in, amongst many other things, the MST'd Samson Vs. The Vampire Women (Google Video). He even had his own photo comic and bag figure. However, even El Santo himself would gasp at the phenomenal athleticism of today's luchadores. Skeptical? Well check out some highlights here, here and here (YT + Warning: obnoxiously rawkin' music) and then decide.
The International Crusade For Holy Relics has been fighting (pdf) to have things like the nails used to attach J.C. to the cross removed from Ebay.
This past Monday, the US recognized Kosovo as an independent state. Today, Serbs appear a little upset. [more inside]
Implants and transplants can be used to create a particularly exquisite type of horror, being so intimately connected to our own bodies. They can overwhelm us, assimilate us, drive us mad, piss us off, or consume us. [more inside]
Soukous Radio is an online radio station that plays/streams this energizing, joyous, African fusion music, known for its bright guitar sound and rumba/salsa beat. The name, Soukous, is derived from the French word secouer, to shake. A popular, recent Soukous video by two Ivory Coast singers, DJ Eloh and DJ Mix, The Bobaraba (which means “big bottom” in the local Djoula language), celebrates booty shaking. [more inside]
It's never a happy occasion when a 130 year old brick building goes up in flames. But when the fire crews have to spray down the building (and the surrounding city block) in sub-zero temperatures, the end result looks stunning. [more inside]
A video has been posted showing the shooting down of satellite USA193 high over the Pacific! [more inside]
Iceland, Norway, New Zealand and Costa Rica and four cities in other countries have made the pledge to aim for being carbon neutral. New Zealand and Costa Rica had earlier decleared this ambitious goal, but now Iceland and Norway have joined in. Way to go! Of the 192 nations on this planet, there are now only 188 to go.
Light Reflection: a brilliant fan of cryogenics venting from a relief valve on STS-122 Atlantis' ET (external tank) post-separation. Also see this handheld video of the ET, with money shots at 2:15 and 3:55. [more inside]
During the Philippine-American War at the turn of the 20th century, American soldiers used a torture method called "the water cure" to extract information from Filipino fighters. [via brijit]
The 41st Annual Holy Angels/Santa Anita Jockeys Charity Basketball Game takes place tonight. The 7th/8th grade basketball team for Holy Angels Catholic School will be facing against jockeys [scroll down for details] from Santa Anita Park. The charity game [youtub vid from last year's game] raises money for Holy Angels Athletic department. The jockeys are currently 11 point underdogs for tonight's game.
Are people reading less? Government survey says: yes. Declines in how much and how well people read “are adversely affecting this country's culture, economy, and civic life as well as our children's educational achievement.” Also the cause of poor test scores. Steve Jobs agrees: Kindle DOA because nobody reads books anymore. WaPo says 1 in 4 persons read no books in 2006. And children didn't keep reading after they got through Harry Potter, either. So literacy's in a long slow decline.
But wait. [more inside]
But wait. [more inside]
This little news story might be slightly damaging to John McCain's campaign. You know how the press lets stuff like this slide. uno dos tres cuatro cinco sex?