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WFMU’s Beware the Blog:

When I was in college, a friend gave me a cassette containing the frustrated rantings of a guy named Bruce.   Bruce is a dad from suburban Jersey.  He tries to fix things around the house, like the family piano.  He does his own taxes.  And he uses very colorful language, some of which was caught on tape by his son.

Here.

Texas Polygamy blog:

I moved to CC after our house got built in 1999. I was working for Guy Allred at Allco because I had just had back surgery and I was not able to do construction with my brothers at the time. Anyway, the lifestyle down there was totally different than what I was used to in Salt Lake. I had never talked to a girl before, and when Ruby started flirting and paying attention to me, I thought it was pretty cool. So I sent it right back, never dreaming of what I was getting myself into. We just flirted for a little while, and then she started calling me. I thought that was even cooler although I was pretty scared that I would get in trouble. You have to realize that I had been taught all my life that even to talk to a girl was a huge sin. I really was scared. Anyway, it progressed to where I snuck out one night and went and met her. We talked and, yes I kissed her. It was almost intoxicating. I had never felt anything like it in my life. But at the same time, my guilt was killing me. Then someone told me that they were monitoring the phone calls that the girls were making from their rooms. That really got me scared, so I went to Uncle Warren and told him what was going on. He asked me if I had told her I loved her or touched her or kissed her. I told him no. So he cussed me out and told me if I wasn’t careful then he was going to kick me out of Priesthood meeting.

Here.

  • Misc

The Moscow Times:

The distributor, 20th Century Fox in Russia, can appeal the agency’s decision in court, Vasyuchkov said, adding that he had never heard of a non-pornographic movie being banned. Hundreds of hard-core pornographic movies are currently licensed by the agency for distribution.

“We got the news today,” said Nikolai Vorunkov, deputy general director of Gemini Marketing, the movie’s distributor in Russia and a subsidiary of 20th Century Fox. Vorunkov said he remained hopeful that a solution could be found.

“There was some kind of explanation that the movie might create tension between races and nationalities because of its far-from-simple humor,” said Vorunkov, adding that the movie was now unlikely to open before the New Year — if ever.

The film can be downloaded illegally on the Internet, however.

Here.

The Onion:

WASHINGTON, DC—After nearly six years of much-publicized service as Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld announced his resignation Wednesday afternoon, saying that he had “proudly accomplished everything [he’d] set out to bungle.” “Years ago, I decided to bog this great nation down in an extended, grueling foreign occupation, and I’m happy to say that’s exactly what I’ve done,” said Rumsfeld in a farewell address at the White House, during which he urged Americans to continue waging the ill-conceived, mismanaged, and evidently unwelcome fight for democracy in the Middle East. “Each of my actions—from undersupplying troops with body armor to focusing on capturing Saddam Hussein while Osama bin Laden remained free—has led America inexorably toward our current state of extreme crisis. Well, anyway, goodbye!” President Bush expressed confidence that Robert Gates, his new nominee for Secretary of Defense, will be able to “f*ck everything up the rest of the way.”

Here.

Boing Boing:

ARTY, SHOW AND SPECTACLE: Due to the “illegal” nature of Pranks, key speakers from the Billboard Liberation Front, etc, may be in disguise! Ex-hacker Marc Powell, Babalou and Karen Marcelo from SRL, Cacophony Society’s Chris Radcliffe, and Prankster-Godfather MAL SHARPE will show their real faces (we think). Rare and inspiring pranks video clips will be narrated live, and questions from the audience will be taken. Cyclecide will bring a demo-cycle. Event is still being planned; other guests/events TBA.

Videos will include Mal Sharpe’s new prank DVD release (excerpt), a special Billboard Liberation Front clip, Jihad Jerry and the Evildoers’ “Army Girls Gone Wild,” Reverend Al’s “Art of Bleeding Safety Film,” and excerpts from Ron English’s “Popaganda,” the wild & crazy “Yes Men” Film, the Cyclecide film, and Scott Beale’s “You’d Better Watch Out” documenting the Cacophony Society’s wild “Santarchy” escapade in Portland. (For the past ten years, groups of folks dressed up as Santa Claus have invaded department stores, hotel parties and other events, causing ideological havoc and consumer confusion–anarchic fun! Over the years, the Santas have spread to major cities over the planet.)

Here.

RetroBlast! Retrogaming News:

Having recognized the success of Namco Networks in the mobile content arena, Aruze, the license holder for Mr. Do!, Mr. Do’s Castle and other titles originally published by Universal, selected Namco Networks to localize mobile game titles for the North American market.

“Partnering with Aruze further expands our popular catalog of arcade classics, meeting the ever-increasing consumer demand for fun, casual content,” said Kenji Hisatsune, president and CEO of Namco Networks. “Mr. Do! and other Aruze games were very popular in the 80s arcades and we believe this popularity will continue on the mobile platform.”

Here.

Featuring Yana Payusova, Andrew Faulkner, Ken Davidson, Ashley Franscell, Aldo Martinez, Gerry Melendez, Cristie Dunavan, Scott Bort, Rick Egan

Check it out here.

Susan Bowen Photography:

I use a $20 plastic camera called the Holga. The long overlapping images are created by only partially advancing the film between exposures – the overlapping occurs in the film itself. It delights me how well these mostly unplanned juxtapositions capture my experience of a particular time and place and at the same time have an identity all their own.
Here.

New Yorker:

The photographer Samantha Appleton talks to Matt Dellinger about making pictures in Nigeria, Iraq, and Lebanon.

Here.

NYT:

Some of the snubs are blunt. “Everyone gets their due,” a former client writes of an embezzling accountant. Or, “I sincerely hope the Lord has more mercy on him than he had on me during my years reporting to him at the Welfare Department.”

Others are subtler: “She never took the time to meet me, but I understand she was a wonderful grandmother to her other grandchildren.”

“Reading the obit, he sounds like he was a great father,” says another, which is signed, “His son Peter.”

Hayes Ferguson, the company’s chief operating officer, said, “Most often it’s cases of Sue posting that he was the love of my life and then we check and the wife’s name is Mary.” The company said none of these snubs made it online.

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LA Weekly:

At some point, I noticed a row of photo albums haphazardly stacked against the wall, and I began to look through them. What I found were thousands of images composing a visual history of West Coast punk culture, starting with Jennifer Finch’s teenage Hollywood years and proceeding through her time in Seattle for the birth of grunge, and then on tour with L7 for Lollapalooza and later on several Warped Tours with both L7 and the Shocker.

But what captured my attention beyond all the history and rock stars were her earlier pictures, from our teen years in the Los Angeles punk scene of the late ’70s and early ’80s. There was admittedly a wave of bittersweet nostalgia, seeing so many old friends looking young and unscathed, if not particularly innocent. But when I managed to step back, what resonated far more was the undeniably troubled quality of the subjects in her images. I had seen the energy and defiance captured by other photographers, but while many have been able to render the rebelliousness, none seemed to grasp the underlying discontent like Finch. And the truth is, as provocative and exciting as those years were, what attracted such a disparate cross section of kids to both the music and one another was that, more than anything, the scene gave purpose to the pain. Perhaps because Finch was a part of it, one of us, it’s there on display in her photos — the uncertainty, deep friendships, youthful sexuality and eyes-closed comfort of the heroin that would eventually destroy the scene and so many of us.

Here.

Tim Goodman’s The Bastard Machine:

So let’s off some more “Lost” characters. In this order:

1. Claire. She’s pointless. Let Desmond raise that baby. He’d at least save it.
2. Sawyer. Enough already. The accent and the nicknames are more annoying now than ever. Too much screen time. Shoot him in the eye, Freckles.
3. The Others. Boooooo-ring.
4. The Tailies. I think one of them is left. Hey, thanks for stealing Season 2. You owe me 22 hours.
5. The “Lost” writers. So, wait, according to evil Ben/Henry, what the Others really want is help from our beloved castaways. They just want to get along? And perform spinal surgery? This was all an elaborate ruse to evoke sympathy, friendship and empathy? With friends like these…Oh, and will one of the writers fess up that the Jurassic Big Bad that ate the dude from Felicity/Alias/Heroes ain’t coming back? Don’t lie to me like I’m Montel Williams.

Here.

Daily Sun, Nigeria’s King of the Tabloids:

Please understand that Allaah sends trials upon people so as to distinguish between them, so that it will be known who will bear it with patience and the hope of reward from Allaah, and who will be filled with despair and will resent the decree of Allaah. So those who are patient will be rewarded with Paradise and those who despair will be punished with torment, grief and pain in this world, before the Hereafter.
The plane crash which you mentioned is of this nature.

The people on board were either committed Muslims, so this disaster is an expiation for their sins and will raise their status, as it is a kind of martyrdom (shahaadah) for which they will be rewarded, and their families will be rewarded if they bear their loss with patience; or they were kuffaar and evildoers who did not obey their Lord, so the accident was a punishment from Allaah and vengeance from Him.

Here.

NYT:

Once the helicopter lifted away, he ran back to his vehicle, ready to treat anyone else. He was thinking about the marine he had already treated.

“If I had gone with him,” he said, and glanced to where the helicopter had flown away, over the line of date palms at the end of a field. His voice softened. “But I’m not with him,” he said.

He turned, faced a reporter and spoke loudly again. “In situations and times like this, I am bound to start yelling and shouting furiously,” he said. “Don’t think I am losing my mind.”

He held his bloody hands before his face, to examine them. They were shaking. He made fists so tight his veins bulged. His forearms started to bounce.

“His name was Lance Cpl. Colin Smith,” he said. “He said a prayer today right before we came out, too.”

Here.

NYT:

The slide includes a color-coded bar chart that is used to illustrate an “Index of Civil Conflict.” It shows a sharp escalation in sectarian violence since the bombing of a Shiite shrine in Samarra in February, and tracks a further worsening this month despite a concerted American push to tamp down the violence in Baghdad.

In fashioning the index, the military is weighing factors like the ineffectual Iraqi police and the dwindling influence of moderate religious and political figures, rather than more traditional military measures such as the enemy’s fighting strength and the control of territory.

The conclusions the Central Command has drawn from these trends are not encouraging, according to a copy of the slide that was obtained by The New York Times. The slide shows Iraq as moving sharply away from “peace,” an ideal on the far left side of the chart, to a point much closer to the right side of the spectrum, a red zone marked “chaos.” As depicted in the command’s chart, the needle has been moving steadily toward the far right of the chart.

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NYT:

On a recent sunny afternoon, the ramp’s owner, Bob Burnquist, a renowned 30-year-old professional skateboarder from Brazil, peered over the side to treetops below and said: “I’m not afraid of falling. I’m afraid I might jump.”

That mind-set helps on the Mega Ramp, where skaters reach speeds of up to 55 miles an hour and soar like stuntmen.

Approximately 360 feet long, the ramp is 75 feet high at its apex. That is where riders begin their run, speeding down a 180-foot-long roll-in to a ramp that launches them across a 70-foot gap with trapeze netting below. Landing on a 27-foot sloped section, they then boost up to 50 feet above the ground from a 30-foot quarterpipe. A shorter route begins with a 55-foot-tall platform leading to a 50-foot gap, and the 30-foot quarterpipe.

Here.

Wired:

Baker forwarded me this pic, and I’m all, “what?” Why on earth would there be a need for a Guitar Hero controller with ten buttons? Even if it’s in the coveted Flying-V shape that the kids keep asking for?

Well, as it turns out, the extra buttons are there for showoffs who want to “pull in tight to the base of the guitar for a rocking solo,” says The Ant Commandos, maker of the Double Range controllers. Wired and wireless versions are available starting today from their website at $60 and $50 respectively.

Here.

The New Yorker:

At a certain point in the performance, the crazy ambition of Spore became clear: Wright was proposing to simulate the limitless possibility of life itself. The simulation falls between Darwinism and intelligent design, into new conceptual territory. Wright had worked out the algorithm for life, as described by the philosopher Daniel C. Dennett, in “Darwin’s Dangerous Idea.” Dennett writes, “Here, then, is Darwin’s dangerous idea: the algorithmic level is the level that best accounts for the speed of the antelope, the wing of the eagle, the shape of the orchid, the diversity of species, and all the other occasions for wonder in the world of nature. . . . Can it really be the outcome of nothing but a cascade of algorithmic processes feeding on chance?” The old dream of the M.I.T. hackers who came up with Spacewar—to re-create life on a computer—was coming true forty years later, right here in the Spore Hut, in the form of a spindly, striped creature that looked a little like Will Wright himself.
After Wright’s encounter with the other planet, he pulled back to reveal a vast galaxy of other worlds, some computer generated, some created by other players in the game who had reached the status of intergalactic gods—“more worlds than any player could visit in his lifetime,” he said. As people in the audience gasped at the vastness of the possibility space, Wright’s spaceship zoomed into the interstellar sandbox, looking for an uninhabited planet to colonize, just as young Will had promised his father he would.

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NYT Magazine:

As we rambled back down under the noonday sun, exhausted and thirsty, plucking apricots, almonds and mulberries off the trees, I remembered the Afghans I’d met complaining about Americans pillaging their harvest. It wasn’t hard to see how a few apricots could transmute into theft or how speaking to a woman after you have rounded up all the men could transmute into “Americans are abusing our women.” One afternoon, I had a car accident in Zabul. Within minutes, some 100 men pulled over and began heaving the wreck out of the ditch. As I crouched in the dirt wrapped in a tentlike Kuchi shawl, not a single man glanced my way. Rather, they asked my wounded translator if his wife was O.K. Someone must have sensed a foreigner, however, because 10 minutes after we left for the hospital, the Taliban showed up. They pummeled the driver, demanding to know what happened to the foreigner. He lied and saved his life. But that moment, when not one person glanced my way, offered a window into how seriously they abide by rules that are utterly alien to a 19-year-old American soldier. Sturek constantly struggled with pushing “cultural sensitivity” down the chain of command. It was nearly impossible.

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Ed Vulliamy, in The Observer:

Within 17 days, another six people had been killed across the city, some murders so savage as to defy the imagination. A 23-year-old woman was strangled to death in a church by the sacristan, from Sri Lanka, while trying to light a candle to the Madonna – her corpse hidden behind a pulpit while Mass continued over two days. Next day, a renowned Lombard painter was stabbed to death by a youth from Morocco, whom he had admitted into his home. A Pakistani man was knifed to death in the street and an entire family – father, mother and son – was ritually tortured and executed, the woman and child having their throats cut in front of the father who was left to die slowly from a slash to his own throat.

Brescia was cast into, and remains in, a state of stupefaction; a vortex swirls around the charged themes of immigration, racism and organised crime; political leaders turn up the volume while demonstrators take to the streets. But the alarm bells ring beyond the ancient walls of Brescia.

The themes of immigration and integration – or lack of integration – are coming to dominate the lexicon of electoral politics across Europe, along with the advance of organised crime, and Brescia’s bloody summer is a distillation of that debate – both on the right, which has seized on the violence to try to connect immigration with crime, and on the left, as Brescia’s mayor endeavours to usher in a new approach to immigration and identity.

Here.

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