Monday, July 31, 2006

Beginning of the End

[] [] [] []

Tony Bourdain may be an ass (I think he plays it up as his 'bit') but the man can write. Check out his story on the ground in Beirut where he went to film a TV show about the rebirth of the city but instead watched it all disappear (again).

July 28, 2006 From where I'm sitting, poolside, I can see the airport burning -- the last of the jet fuel cooking off like a dying can of sterno. There's a large, black plume of smoke coming from the south of the city -- just over the rise, where the most recent airstrikes have been targeting the Shiite neighborhoods and what are, presumably, Hezbollah-associated structures. My camera crew and I missed it the first time they hit the airport. Slept right through it. Woke up in our snug hotel sheets to the news that we wouldn't be making television in Beirut (not the show we came to do anyway), and that we wouldn't be getting out of here anytime soon.
The news clip of President Bush, chawing open-mouthed on a buttered roll, then grabbing at another while Tony Blair tries to get him to focus on Lebanon -- plays over and over on the TV, crushing our spirits and dampening all hope with every glassy-eyed mouthful. He seems intent on enjoying his food; Lebanon a tiny, annoying blip on an otherwise blank screen. I can't tell you how depressing that innocuous bit of footage is to watch. That one, innocent, momentary preoccupation with a roll has a devastating effect on us that is out of all proportion. We're looking for signs. And this, sadly, is all we have.
In the end we are among the lucky ones. The privileged, the fortunate, the relatively untouched. Unlike the Lebanese Americans who make it out, we don't leave homes and loved ones behind, we will get out and return to business as usual. To unbroken homes, intact families, friends and jobs. After a hideously disorganized cluster fuck at the eventual "assembly point" -- a barely under control mob scene of fainting old people, crying babies, desperate families waving pink and white slips of paper, trying to get the attention of a few understaffed, underprepared and seemingly annoyed embassy personnel in baseball caps and casual clothes -- we are put in the charge of the sailors and Marines of the USS Nashville who've hauled ass from Jordan on short notice to undertake a mission for which they are unrehearsed and inexperienced. Yet they perform brilliantly. The moment we pass through the last checkpoint into their control, all are treated with a kindness and humanity we can scarcely believe.

Je Me Souviens

[] [] []

"I Remember"

I always liked the slogan on the Quebec license plates (I think they still use this) even if nobody I knew had any idea just what they were supposed to remember.

What does this have to do with casino chips? Nothing.

Silver and Gold

[vacation, hotel, anniversary]

Finally got to stay (and swim!) at the famous CalNeva Hotel (and resort). Used to go here for the Sunday buffet with the family and always thought the idea of a 2-state room and pool was the greatest thing ever.

Pool was much smaller than I remembered but I guess all-you-can-eat places (plus time) will do that to a fellow.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

FEMA Looks Out For You!

[FEMA, media]

FEMA enforces policy restricting media access to residents living in
FEMA-managed trailer parks in Louisiana – it’s not allowing media
easy access to its trailer parks is to “protect the privacy” of the

“If a resident invites the media to the trailer, they have to be
escorted by a FEMA representative who sits in on the interview,” said
Rachel Rodi, a FEMA spokeswoman. “That’s just policy.”

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Web 2.0 Logos

ge.png, originally uploaded by arwcheek1.

[www, logo, web2.0]

Now that Payless Shoe Source and Mastercard have new 'modern' logos everybody is gonna want one. Check out some great Web 2.0 treatments of some classics.


How I Spent My Monday

savs, originally uploaded by jess_is_a_savage.

[Harry Potter, Harry and the Potters, music]

What a lucky coinsidence – The New Yorker runs a profile of Harry and the Potters and mere days later they are scheduled to do a free concert behind the Milpitas Library (along with Draco & the Malfoys and with local Roonil Wazlib kick-starting the whole show on her acoustic guitar.)

So much talent on 'stage,' and for a great cause ("reading is awesome!") or two (artwithaheart - helping kids in Darfur).

Check out Britta's description ( and her great pictures.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Hot in Here

[film, Inconvenient Truth]

I can't decide if this ad is a blatant attempt to cash in on people's fears of the current heat-wave in the states or a justified tool in the war on those who would fight trying to reverse of global climate change.

Maybe this is the 'left' playing by Rove's rule-book. ('Bout time!) Or maybe I am cross because it's over 100º in San Jose.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Star Trek TOS - Knights of the Round Table

[python, trek]

Kirk and Co. perform to Monty Python's 'Camelot'. Someone spent quite some time in the editing bay on this one but the results are worth it!

How long must we wait to see "Star Trek, the Musical"?

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Harry and the Potters Wizard Chess

[Harry and the Potters, Wizard Chess, music]

How rad!

Step Away From the Chicken (& Put Down That Drink)

[travel, security]

From the web edition of the International Herald Tribune comes the
news of a British company having introduced a line of stainless steel
"anti-terror" cutlery Wednesday for use on airlines. (I can just
imagine Wallace and Grommit coming up with this sort of discovery!)

"The company, Arthur Price, said it was the first to design such a
set, intended for use by business-class customers, replacing plastic
cutlery. The knives, forks and spoons have been created to
specifications based on new British Department for Transport
guidelines that have their origin in security concerns.

"The knives have a rounded rather than a sharp end and measure no
longer than 2.36 inches, or 6 centimeters, while the forks have
prongs no longer than half that.

"Air India and Jet Airways have placed orders and the Emirates and
the British Airports Authority are also considering the products, the
company said."

IHT also reports of a China Airlines flight from Ho Chi Minh City to
Taipei that was diverted Wednesday to southern Taiwan after a
passenger broke a window on the aircraft.

A China Airlines spokesman, Bruce Chen, said the passenger broke the
window with his hand after he had too much to drink.

My question is: what kind of drinks are they serving on China
Airlines and/or what are they making their windows out of? Either way
I don't think you'll see me on one of their planes any time soon!

What On Earth! (Kaj Pindal - Les Drew, 1966)

[animation, cars]

Long before Pixar hit Route 66 comes the 1966 classic "What On Earth" from the National Film Board of Canada.

I have seen only parts of this off and on over the years and once again YouTube comes through. Now if only I could find, Dylan McNeil's 'NY, The Lost Civilization'!


Wednesday, July 19, 2006

No fee to flee Lebanon

[politics, Lebanon]

CNN reports the Bush administration is waiving the requirement that
Americans have to pay or reimburse the government for being evacuated
from Lebanon, quoting aides to two senators.

The announcement came after stranded Americans, along with
politicians and their families back home, expressed anger with the

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi criticized the billing policy,
accusing the government of "quibbling over payment" rather than
finding the most expeditious means of getting Americans out of harm's

"A nation that can provide more than $300 billion for a war in Iraq
can provide the money to get its people out of Lebanon," the
California Democrat said in a statement earlier Tuesday.

Fellow Democrat, Sen. Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, said: "We must not
abandon American citizens in a war zone. Our government should be
focusing on the fastest, safest way to get Americans home, not how
much to bill them once they get there." She had said she would
introduce legislation to get the fees waived.

But on Tuesday night Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice addressed
the billing issue, telling Sen. John Sununu that she was waiving the
requirement, Sununu's office said. The New Hampshire Republican is of
Lebanese descent and had joined Pelosi and Stabenow in lambasting the

Frankly I am shocked that Halliburton didn't get a no-bid contract
for this.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Summer Reading and Rocking Tour 2006

[free, concert, Harry and the Potters]

Harry and the Potters
For lovers of books. For lovers of music

on tour at a library near you!

Jul 16 | Bellevue, WA | Crossroads Bellevue | 2pm
Jul 16 | Seattle, WA | 826 Seattle | 8pm
Jul 17 | Olympia, WA | Hall of the Woods | 7pm
Jul 18 | Tacoma, WA | Tacoma Public Library | 8pm
Jul 19 | Portland, OR | ACME | 7pm
Jul 20 | Portland, OR | In Other Words Bookstore | 7pm
Jul 22 | San Francisco, CA | San Francisco Public Library | 2pm
Jul 23 | Sacramento, CA | Sacramento Public Library | 2pm
Jul 24 | Milpitas, CA | Milpitas Public Library | 7pm
Jul 25 | Pleasanton, CA | Amador Theater | 5pm
Jul 26 | Las Vegas, NV | Clark County Library | 6:30pm
Jul 27 | Las Vegas, NV | LUMOS 2006 | 8pm
Jul 28 | Riverside, CA | Glen Avon Public Library | 6pm
Jul 29 | Los Angeles Public Library - Central Library | 2pm
Jul 30 | Aliso Viejo, CA | Aliso Viejo Library | 2pm
Jul 31 | Poway, CA | San Diego County Library - Poway Branch | 1pm
Jul 31 | El Cajon, CA | San Diego County Library - El Cajon Branch | 7pm
Aug 1 | Anaheim, CA | Haskett Library | 6pm
Aug 3 | Provo, UT | Velour Live Music Gallery| 8pm
Aug 4 | Salt Lake City, UT | Kilby Court | 7:30pm
Aug 5 | Denver, CO | Denver Public Library | 4pm
Aug 6 | Boulder, CO | Boulder Public Library | 2pm and 5pm
Aug 7 | Kansas City, MO | Theis Park | 6pm
Aug 8 | Norman, OK |Sooner Theater| 7pm
Aug 9 | Garland, TX | Nicholson Memorial Library System | 6:30pm
Aug 10 | Austin, TX | Wooldridge Square Park| 6pm
Aug 11 | Houston, TX | Kicks Indoor Soccer | 7pm
Aug 12 | Dallas, TX | Dallas Public Library | 2pm
Aug 12 | Ft. Worth | Metrognome Collective | 8pm
Aug 13 | Fayetteville, AR | Fayetteville Public Library | 7pm
Aug 14 | St. Louis, MO | Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis | 6pm
Aug 15 | Lexington, KY| Southside Church | 6pm
Aug 16 | Lakewood, OH| Lakewood Park| 6pm
Aug 17 | Philadelphia, PA | First Unitarian Church | 7pm

Friday, July 14, 2006

Star Wars on Earth

[Star Wars]

French Photographer places Star Wars characters into Parisian scenes.
Are they toys, models or is this some photoshop trickery? Whatever it
is, it's well done!

Mirrored at:

Ear Protection Required

[mp3, pop, Paris Hilton]
[gk?] [slight sea] Paris.jpgAs ashamed as I am to admit it, I rather liked the first (?) Paris Hilton track, "Stars Are Blind," usually with the caveat, "this new Gwen Steffani song sure is catchy!" A good test of the song is to play it blind for someone who hasn't heard it and get their opinion.

Nothing like this can be said for the next song of hers to hit the 'net - 'Turn It Up,' which is just plain bad. Not even good in a kitschy, let's make fun of this, sort of way. Not even the Bush administration torture advocates will be picking up this single.

Don't believe me? Slide over to and hear for

Search For a Cause

[www, search, charity]

GoodSearch logo

Yesterday I started using to search the Internet and they say every time I do, money goes to the Humane Society Silicon Valley (you probably can find your favorite charity or school). Give it a try and support the cause that you care most about.

The site is powered by Yahoo!, so you'll get the same quality search results that you're used to. What's unique is that they have developed a way to direct money to your charity or school with every click. It's about one cent per click but I bet if you add up the number of searches you do a day you'd be amazed.

The search results look a little different than Google or (regular) Yahoo! (I haven't done any side by side tests) but if you don't like the results flip to another search engine and try again – you'd be out five seconds of your life but helped make a difference in the world (all at no cost to you).

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Sphere Droids Delivered

[Star Wars, NASA, ISS, droids]

"Cue the John Williams theme and roll the vanishing intro - Obi-Wan
Kenobi's Jedi-training droids have arrived on the International Space
Station (ISS).

"Or at least David Miller's versions have arrived. The free-floating
spheres are set to test new concepts for "smart" satellites. Able to
fly in precision formation, the robots may one day hold the key to
building everything from huge space telescopes that can peer deeply
into the universe to constellations of small, cheap satellites that
can monitor changes on Earth."


Anna Nicole is still awaiting *her* call from NASA.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Fwd: End of a Strange Week

[gk, Paris, dolphin]

With the US Independence Day falling on a Tuesday this year is combined with various half-days this week, all I can say is "Hooray for Friday!"

[gk?][slight sea]Paris.jpg
this picture about sums it up for me

Podcasting on iTunes Turns 1

[Apple, podcast, mp3]

Where does the time go? iTunes music store celebrates the one year anniversary of PodCasting, well PodCasting via iTMS anyway.

Apple may not always be the first but somehow they manage to change the world by doing it – keep up the good work!

Other good PodCasting news: two of my favourite Public Radio features are now available:

♫ Garrison Keillor's The Writer's Almanac (American Public Media).

Robert Reich's Commentaries from Marketplace.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Ding Dong Ditch Extreme

[doorbell, pizza]

Please tell me this is not a real ad campaign as I sure would be inclined to never call these guys for a pizza ever again if I had this stuck to my door....

Now If Only I Was Headed There

[tiki, United, Trader Vic's]

Not to spam my own blog but I just saw this over at

Get in the mood for your trip to paradise while still in the air!
We're pleased to announce that Trader Vic's world-famous cocktails
and award-winning food will be served on all flights between the
U.S. mainland and Hawaii beginning this August.*

Passengers in United First® can start their trip by sampling a
Trader Vic's original Mai Tai and fresh garden salad with the
Trader's own Javanese dressing. The main course will include
tantalizing restaurant favorites like Macadamia Nut-Crusted Mahi
Mahi, Trader Vic's barbecue-glazed short ribs and pan-seared
chicken with miso-sake sauce. Dessert features an ice cream sundae
smothered in Trader Vic's praline sauce.

Passengers in United Economy® will also enjoy menus designed by
Trader Vic's, so bring your appetite and savor island flavors on
board your next flight to or from Hawaii.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Alliteration Services

[CarTalk, NPR, humour]

Every gastronomic adventure Car Talk's 'technical, spiritual, and menu
advisor', John "Bugsy" Lawlor's ever taken:

idogcow. Get yours at

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