"To perceive Christmas through its
wrapping becomes more difficult every year."
--- E.B. White
Talk: Why must people insist on speaking to you
in the bathroom?
A personal version of hell: conversations with
strangers in public bathrooms, specifically, his
being forced into conversation while urinating.
"[T]o not reply would only make me appear as
though I were a little too involved in my own act.
I am bound by the forces of human social dynamics
and nudity to weakly appear at ease with the hell
I am in." From IronMinds
It is a British Christmas tradition that a
wish made while mixing the Christmas pudding
will come true only if the ingredients are
stirred in a clockwise direction.
Someone help me, please:
Am I a Dot.com guy?
Python and the Great British Invasion that almost
What makes something funny? It is a question even
the revered British comedy troupe Monty Python
had to struggle with early on, according to
Gadfly magazine. Chronicling the troupe's early
flops with American audiences and then great
triumph, the article illustrates the all-important
cardinal rule of laughs: know your audience. From
|Dear Stik Mann,
Someone has sent you a voodoo curse
through PinStruck.com. To view your personalized
curse, click the link at the bottom of
this e-mail. Before you do, make sure to
read the following warning: If you are
sensitive, paranoid or superstitious in
nature, viewing your voodoo curse may be
upsetting to you. http://www.pinstruck.com/box.php3?HEX=146649543886
Lottery: a tax
on people who are bad at math.
Zapatistas lose out to President Fox in war of
"On the surface, it would seem that Mexico
is on the road to peace in Chiapas," writes
Martin Espinoza. While the July election of peace-seeking
President Vincente Fox ended the institutional
ruling party's 71-year-old autocracy, Fox's
ideological differences with his constituents may
create a new, more insidious rift. From Jinn
Open Letter to President Vincente
Fox from EZLN's Subcomandante Marcos
"When you're swimmin' in the creek
And an eel bites your cheek That's a moray"
--- Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers
world cartoonists saw our electoral circus
When distributing gifts in Holland, St.
Nicholas is accompanied by his servant, Black
Peter; who is responsible for actually
dropping the presents down the chimneys. However,
legend claims that Peter also punishes bad
children by putting them in a bag and carrying
them away to Spain.
Blaine and Blue Man Group: Extreme Performance
The latest incarnation of Houdini-style
performance art. He recently subjected himself to
three days encased in ice, receiving $1 million
for his artistic effort. From Village Voice
Someone just pointed out to me that the
following Emily Dickinson poem...
"Hope" is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul
And sings the tune without the words
And never stops at all
...can be sung to "Gilligan's Island"
or "The Yellow Rose of Texas."
Through Inner Space
Despite the negative take encouraged by the
"war on drugs" on psychoactive
substances, the last decade has seen a small
renaissance in psychedelic research,
both above and underground. Feed explores
the growing subculture of "psychonauts."
One word: Caravaggio
"There is a theory which states that
if ever anyone discovers exactly what the
Universe is for and why it is here, it will
instantly disappear and be replaced by something
even more bizarre and inexplicable. There is
another theory which states that this has already
--- Douglas Adams
A complete printout of Windows 2000's
29 million lines of source code would form a
stack of pages 193 feet high (59 meters), about
as tall as a 19-story building. More than 4,000
people worked together for several years,
exchanging an average of 90,000 email messages
every day. Writing the code itself was only a
small part of the task; testing and
debugging consumed more than 90% of the
up to Snuff. The skinny on Snuff
films from San
Francisco Bay Guardian.
Fifties' sitcoms like "Father Knows Best,"
heavy with status symbols radiating the perfect
middle class sheen, also pushed subtle
themes of control. 2wice
digs to discover the symbolism of the
history of ping-pong.
"You mean to tell me that those old
ladies in Palm Beach can play 15 Bingo Cards
simultaneously, but can't punch a ballot?"
--- Sierra Times
priest inflicts holy headlocks and
saintly slams. Sergio Gutierrez of Nuevo
Laredo, Mexico, has spent 25 years in the ring,
wearing a costume that includes a clerical collar.
One of his opponents is Damian, a taunting,
mocking wrestler who has the number 666 on his
forehead and flames painted around his eyes.
Had the constants of physics been different
even by a hair from what they are, the universe
would have been a lifeless dud. Does
this mean there is a God? From LinguaFranca
Can't get that "Gilligan's Island"
theme out of your head, huh?
Researchers at Stanford University are
flying machines that use helicopter rotors to
stay in the air. These miniature helicopters are
not quite microscopic, so they are called
mesicopters (mesi- means "in the middle").
A mesicopter is about the size of a
postage stamp with four or more tiny
rotors that spin at around 50,000 rpm. Powered by
tiny lithium batteries, a mesicopter could fly
for up to 30 minutes without running down. Smart
mesicopters with on-board brains could be
used to explore Mars or other planets with
atmosphere, or they could be used to study
tornadoes, hurricanes, or other weather phenomena.
gallery of mesicopter images, real and
Gutenberg Bible now online.
A former truckdriver, a webmaster, and a sinner
have teamed up to create a new online
religious magazine dedicated to "people
made anxious by churches, people embarrassed to
be caught in the 'spirituality' section of a
bookstore, people both hostile and drawn to talk
"Wagner's music is not as bad as it
--- George Bernard Shaw
A simple metod for rating potenially
revolutionary contributions to physics.
Such as: 2 points for every
statement that is clearly vacuous;
10 points for pointing out that you have gone to
school; 30 points for suggesting that Einstein,
in his later years, was groping his way towards
the ideas you now advocate; 40
points for claiming that when your theory is finally
appreciated, present-day science will be
seen for the sham it truly is.
(install and actualize)
went wrong for Ralph?
Did Ralph Nader's campaign drift too far left?
Was Winona LaDuke the right running mate? Did the
Green party affiliation help or hurt him? Micah
Sifry looks at why Nader fell short
of his goal of 5 percent of the national vote.
"Every game ever invented by mankind
is a way of making things hard for the fun of it."
--- John Anthony Ciardi, American poet, critic
The concept of "instant runoff voting"
probably hasn't settled as deeply into your
consciousness as the "chad," but this
election reform--which allows you to rank
candidates in order of preference--is
quickly garnering attention throughout the United
States. From FairVote.org
Two Guys Talking: William
S. Burroughs and Timothy Leary
habits of our ancestors are as much a part of
their faded oddity as their strange hats and the
strictures of their underwear. From Indedendent
TLA - Three Letter Acronym
TINA - This Is Not an Acronym
Hundreds of word/terms listed.
Crash Course on Incommunications
From raucous circus-like talk shows to news
reports shaped by military propagandists, the
celebrated Uruguayan author and historian Eduardo
Galeano says the global media increasingly "accustom
us to the inevitability of violence
and train us for it from childhood." From The Media
With a good-looking
black person and a little Photoshop derring-do,
almost any American college or political campaign
can look as diverse as a Benetton ad. Dexter
Roundtree, America's most-photographed token, is
getting rich as a result. From MotherJones
"It is necessary for me to establish
a winner image. Therefore, I have to beat
--- Richard M. Nixon
When a rooster finds some food, he sometimes
makes a "took took took"
sound -- moreso when there is a hen nearby.
Hearing the call, the hen usually strolls over to
the male, who may offer her choice morsels from
his own beak. But sometimes a rooster will say "took
took" when there's no food just to
get the female to come over. Smart
experiments on mass and energy.
Mac, Big Trouble
Ten years ago, McDonald's opened its first branch
in Moscow, hoping to start a "beautiful
McFriendship" between the East and
West. But something went wrong. Now, angry
employees are organizing to demand higher pay and
better working conditions.
Um, on average, in natural, uh, conversation,
people use, well, filler words, such as um,
well, or you know,
every seven or eight words.
storms and their human impacts.
The difference between genius and
stupidity is that genius has its limits.
--- Albert Einstein
demand drug war cease-fire
Government has largely ignored the one issue on
which voters have given a clear mandate. Give
the people a cease-fire in the war on
drugs. From AlterNet
The author Edgar Rice Burroughs
owned a ranch near Hollywood in southern
California, where he wrote his famous stories
about Tarzan of the Apes. (Tarzan's official
web site.) In 1928, the town surrounding his
ranch was officially incorporated and chose for
itself the name Burroughs had given his ranch:
"Maybe, just once, someone will call
me 'sir' without adding, "you're making a
--- Homer Simpson
Shelters, Dinosaurs, and Sweet Rolls
What better place to build restaurants, bakeries,
and community youth centers than in old bomb
shelters? At least that's how many
Russians in the Pacific port city of Vladivostok
view the dungeon-like spaces
tucked away under apartment buildings and into
the sides of mountains. From Transitions Online
Something in the heavens is growing brighter
and it will soon become one of the most eye-catching
stars in the night sky. No it's not a supernova.
It's the International
"It's difficult to work in a group
when you're omnipotent."
--- Q, "Deja Q", Star Trek:TNG
crystal growth is a fascinating and poorly
understood process, in which remarkably complex
and beautifully symmetric structures appear,
quite literally, out of thin air. The many facets
of snow crystals are described
here, along with our attempts to understand
In support of layabouts and doddlers
everywhere, former Utne Reader staffer Joshua
Glenn in his zine Hermenaut,
redefines a vocabulary of idler-specific terms--i.e.
saunter, absentminded, nap--that he hopes will
help reclaim slacking as an honorable activity.
Coin-flipping page. Click here
to flip a coin.
I know I provided this link last month, but,
c'mon, double or nothing.
Cool Word: apotropaic [adj.
An apotropaic object is one that is
meant to ward off evil. Examples include good
luck charms and talismans. In the sixth century B.C.,
the Greeks used to paint apotropaic
eyes on the cups that they drank from, so to
prevent dangerous spirits from entering a person's
mouth. Apotropaic entered the English
language in the 1880s. It is from the Greek
apotropai (to turn away, avert evil), from the
roots apo- (off) and trope (to turn).
Time is what prevents everything from
happening at once.
--- John Archibald Wheeler
Sex in Fiction Award
''It is time, time... Now. Yes. She is so small
and compact and yet she has all the necessary
features... Shall I compare thee to a Sony
Walkman, thou art more compact and more - She is
his own Toshiba, his dinky little JVC, his sweet
Aiwa... Aiwa, aiwa aiwa aiwa aiwa aiwa aiwa aiwa
aiwa aiwa aiwaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhh.''
Every day, about 30 trillion gallons of water
falls on land (136 trillion liters). At that rate,
a volume of water the same size as all the world's
through the atmosphere every three thousand
Brewing a Future: Zero
Emissions Factory Bolsters Community
In nature, organisms depend on the byproducts of
other ones. Using natural systems as a model, a
southern African brewery generated a chicken farm,
a fish farm, a mushroom plantation, a Spirulina
plantation, and an earthworm farm to make use of
its "waste." From FutureNet
A civil ruler dabbling in religion is as
reprehensible as a clergyman dabbling in politics.
Both render themselves odious as well as
--- James Cardinal Gibbons
in space is a daring adventure, but somebody
still has to cook dinner and take out the trash.
Two astronauts are asked about the thrill and
routine of daily life in orbit. From NASA
At this distance they couldn't hit the broad
side of a ba
"A conclusion is the place where you
got tired of thinking."
--- Arthur Block