Friday, August 30, 2002

Prove it

President Kennedy did a wise thing during the Cuban missile crisis. He made public the U2 spy photographs that proved conclusively that the Soviets were installing nuclear missiles in Cuba. And many countries around the world supported the US in that conflict (at least rhetorically, I think). We need something similar now, I believe. Before we go to war with Iraq, I want to see evidence--photographs or some other kind of hard proof--that Sadam Hussein is truly building "weapons of mass destruction" that he can soon use against other countries. I want to see proof that this isn't just a Bush family vendetta against the biggest thorn in Bush Senior's side. Otherwise, it seems that the US would have to go into this war alone, with no support from allies in the Arab world or even in Europe. And I don't think the US can win that way.

Nice work (for exhibitionists) if you can get it

Couple Bed Down in Shop Window. The John and Yoko of the new millennium? Nah.

Thursday, August 29, 2002

Such a beautiful disease . . .

A picture of a virus, blown up to wall size, can be pretty, as illustrated in this Wired article: Behold: 'Ebola Is Beautiful'. But are we really seeing what we think we're seeing? This isn't just another gee-whiz puff piece, but rather a thought-provoking meditation on the relationships between art, truth, illusion and reality.

Wednesday, August 28, 2002

Some Like It Hot

Yesterday was "beach day." My wife and son and I piled into the car and drove down to Sandy Hook, which has several nice beaches. My wife wanted to try Gunnison Beach, which sounded vaguely familiar to us, but we couldn't remember why. After parking the car, we walked for what seemed a mile across a short boardwalk and lots and lots of hot sand to reach the ocean, only to discover that this was a nude beach. Yes, New Jersey actually has a legal nude beach, part of the Gateway National Recreation Area, complete with life guards (who wear bathing suits). Your tax dollars at work! Rather than turn back--or doff our swimsuits--we decided to use the "clothed" part of the beach. Oddly, our 11-year-old son never seemed to notice that the other half of the beach was nude (although many people on that side actually did have their suits on--maybe they were voyeurs?). He was entirely focused on the waves and having fun. Just as well. We left after a while and drove to North Beach (a "prude" beach, you might say--no nudity), had lunch there and frolicked some more in the waves.

It was all quite the eye-opening experience. Believe me, though, most of the people on Gunnison Beach you would not care to see naked.

Tuesday, August 27, 2002

Remember September

My essay about my September 11 experience and my "relationship" with the Twin Towers has been published by Biff's Online. Check it out at:

The Towers

There are several other essays, poems and stories about "that day" there, too.

Monday, August 26, 2002

Quote of the Day

"It's a shame the French don't have a word for 'entrepreneur.' "
--George W. Bush

Sunday, August 25, 2002

More Poetry Outtakes

Falling Asleep in the Sun

Soft sirens
From another era
Call to you in your sleep.
They pretend to recognize you,
Each offering a sweet, narcotic kiss.

A cloud of mosquitoes hovers above your head.
And in the end, it seems
Your life was always theirs.

Friday, August 23, 2002

Microsoft Outlook Distress

Once again, Microsoft discloses 'critical' security flaws. I'm getting tired of all these warnings about security holes in Internet Explorer, Outlook Express, etc. Can't Cousin Bill protect his code a little better? Maybe devote one of his many billions to that? Of course, when you think about it, a significant reason why Microsoft's wares are so vulnerable to attack is that they dominate the browser and software market--so it's their products that the hackers and virus creators aim their insidious efforts at. (If Netscape was the dominant web browser/e-mail client, you can bet that most of the viruses would be designed for that product.) The price of monopolizing the software biz is constant vigilence, it seems.

Wednesday, August 21, 2002

Dog Days

God, I hate August. Summer camp is over, school hasn't started yet, and while I attempt to get some work done, my 11-year-old wants to use the computer every five minutes. For some reason, I always seem to have a tremendous work load this month, too--people are on vacation and need freelancers to cover for them, and everybody is trying to ready their projects for the fall. I even had to take the laptop with me so I could keep up while we visited my parents in upstate New York last weekend. I shouldn't complain, though--I love working at home, and having a lot of work is a blessing. It's just hard to juggle it all, sometimes, especially when the temperature is 105 outside and I feel like a soggy towel every time I step out of my home/office. Bitch, bitch, bitch . . . . Time for a lemonade.

Thursday, August 15, 2002

English: The World Tour

1. In a Tokyo Hotel:
Is forbidden to steal hotel towels please. If you are not a person to
do such thing is please not to read notis.

2. In a Bucharest hotel lobby:
The lift is being fixed for the next day. During that time we regret
that you will be unbearable.

3. In a Leipzig elevator:
Do not enter the lift backwards, and only when lit up.

4. In a Belgrade hotel elevator:
To move the cabin, push button for wishing floor. If the cabin should
enter more persons, each one should press a number of wishing floor.
Driving is then going alphabetically by national order.

5. In a Paris hotel elevator:
Please leave your values at the front desk.

6. In a hotel in Athens:
Visitors are expected to complain at the office between the hours of
9 and 11 A.M. daily.

7. In a Yugoslavian hotel:
The flattening of underwear with pleasure is the job of the

8. In a Japanese hotel:
You are invited to take advantage of the chambermaid.

9. In an Austrian hotel catering to skiers:
Not to perambulate the corridors in the hours of repose in the boots
of ascension.

10. On the menu of a Swiss restaurant:
Our wines leave you nothing to hope for.

11. On the menu of a Polish hotel:
Salad a firm's own make; limpid red beet soup with cheesy dumplings
in the form of a finger; roasted duck let loose; beef rashers beaten
up in the country people's fashion.

12. Outside a Hong Kong tailor shop:
Ladies may have a fit upstairs.

13. Outside a Paris dress shop:
Dresses for street walking.

14. In a Rhodes tailor shop:
Order your summers suit. Because is big rush we will execute
customers in strict rotation.

15. Similarly, from the Soviet Weekly:
There will be a Moscow Exhibition of Arts by 15,000 Soviet Republic
painters and sculptors. These were executed over the past two years.

16. A sign posted in Germany's Black forest:
It is strictly forbidden on our black forest camping site that people
of different sex, for instance, men and women, live together in one
tent unless they are married with each other for that purpose.

17. In a Zurich hotel:
Because of the impropriety of entertaining guests of the opposite sex
in the bedroom, it is suggested that the lobby be used for this

18. In a Rome laundry:
Ladies, leave your clothes here and spend the afternoon having a good

19. In a Swiss mountain inn:
Special today -- no ice cream.

20. In a Tokyo bar:
Special cocktails for the ladies with nuts.

21. In a Copenhagen airline ticket office:
We take your bags and send them in all directions.

22. On the door of a Moscow hotel room:
If this is your first visit to the USSR, you are welcome to it.

23. In a Norwegian cocktail lounge:
Ladies are requested not to have children in the bar.

24. In a Budapest zoo:
Please do not feed the animals. If you have any suitable food, give
it to the guard on duty.

25. In the office of a Roman doctor:
Specialist in women and other diseases.

26. In an Acapulco hotel:
The manager has personally passed all the water served here.

27. From a Japanese information booklet about using a hotel air
Cooles and Heates: If you want just condition of warm in your room,
please control yourself.

28. From a brochure of a car rental firm in Tokyo:
When passenger of foot heave in sight, tootle the horn. Trumpet him
melodiously at first, but if he still obstacles your passage then
tootle him with vigor.

29. Two signs from a Majorcan shop entrance:
- English well talking.
- Here speeching American.

Wednesday, August 14, 2002

Quote of the Day

Some people live in a continual state of skepticism and annoyance that they cultivate as a kind of worldly wisdom and are always recruiting for. Let the sun come up and they will roll their eyes, Wouldn't you know it? Profess to be content and they will be disappointed that you have sold your soul for trifles. They wait, hurt and righteous, for the world to prove it really loves them.
--James Richardson

Monday, August 12, 2002

A true horror show

And like most true horror stories, it's as sad as it is scary . . . .

The history of Michael Jackson's face

(thanks to The Presurfer)

Sunday, August 11, 2002

From white collar to orange collar

A lot of "white collar" criminals will soon be on their way to prison, it seems. Think they'll end up in country-club-style lock-ups? Think again: Packing Lightly for Prison [requires registration, but it's free].

Friday, August 09, 2002


I recently got an mp3 recording program, and I've been having fun making music files. My latest project has been to create my own version of the Beatles' Let It Be/Get Back mess. For those of you who aren't Beatle fanatics, the fab four's Let It Be album has long been considered their worst, though some of the individual tracks--culled from their abortive Get Back "live" album project in 1969--are among their best. The commercially available album was produced by Phil Spector, who imposed his "wall of sound" production style on some of the songs, with distasteful results (many feel). Anyway, using various sources, including mp3s I downloaded from the web and some of my own Beatle CDs, I put together what I think is the ultimate Get Back, which I call Get Back--Expanded. Here's the track list, with some explanatory notes:

[Tracks without explanatory notes are the Let It Be versions.]

Get Back (the single version, from the "1" album)

One After 909

Save The Last Dance For Me (a bootleg mp3, found on the web. It make's a good intro to "Don't Let Me Down," because it includes a bit of that song at the end.)

Don't Let Me Down (one of Lennon's best songs. Why this one was left off the official Let It Be album, I can't fathom.)

Dig A Pony (from the Beatles' Anthology 3 album. Better than the official version, I think.)

I've Got A Feeling (ditto)

Medley: Rip It Up/Shake, Rattle and Roll/Blue Suede Shoes (from Anthology 3)

She Came in Through the Bathroom Window (ditto. Although this song eventually showed up on Abbey Road, this longer, slower version was recorded during the Get Back sessions.)

Mean Mr. Mustard (from Anthology 3. This is actually Lennon's demo version from the "White Album" period, but it fits right in, I think, because it has that "unplugged" sound. And the Beatles's actually did work on it during the Get Back sessions.)

Polythene Pam (ditto)

Dig It

Let It Be (the non-Spectorized single version, from "1")

For You Blue

Two Of Us

Maggie Mae

Across The Universe (from Anthology 2. I like this simple version better than the Spectorized track.)

I Me Mine (from Anthology 3)

The Long And Winding Road (ditto. Again, I like it much better without Spector's strings-and-choir glop.)

Get Back (reprise)

Teddy Boy (from Anthology 3. This makes a nice "bonus track" coda, I think, sort of like "Her Majesty" on Abbey Road).

Now I just need to burn this onto a CD . . . . Maybe I'll start my own Rotten Apple label (just kidding, lawyers).

Thursday, August 08, 2002

More Poetry Outtakes

Dream 27

Crazy ladies
Whirl overhead in the form of seagulls.
They want you, want you, want you,
But drift away on the wind.

The scent of money here is overpowering,
And there's no real chance of escape.
Wake me when it’s over.

Tuesday, August 06, 2002

Modern Jeanetics

While wandering through a department store the other day, I paused to look at what appeared to be a rack of used, bell-bottom jeans. The pants were badly frayed and torn at the bottom, and they had the type of fade patterns you might expect to see if someone had worn them out in the sun every day for years. Are department stores now selling used clothing, I wondered? Did some ancient hippie con the store into buying his glad rags? No, these were new jeans--pre-faded, pre-stressed or whatever they call it, but not "pre-worn." They were made that way. On purpose. And they weren't cheap.

All of which lead me to wonder about the factory workers in China who make nearly all "American" jeans. What must be going through their minds as they deliberately discolor and tear up these garments?

They must think that we are utterly insane.

Monday, August 05, 2002

Great Movie Quotes

"To be afraid of the people. To waste time on the people....Won't you understand? Kings are not elected! Gods are not elected!"
Elizabeth Taylor in Cleopatra

I wonder if that's what Laura whispers to George at night.

"How do you shave in there?"
Audrey Hepburn in Charade, upon regarding Cary Grant's cleft chin.

Very carefully, mah deeer.

GI Joe tries to foil airport security

Just when you thought the security situation at airports couldn't get any sillier:

Soldier toy disarmed at airport

When will we have real security at airports? They still aren't screening checked baggage and cargo, but they are confiscating miniature plastic replicas of guns . . . .

Sunday, August 04, 2002

What hath PayPal wrought?

I have no comment on this one! I'm "speechless."

Buy Me A

Saturday, August 03, 2002

Dude . . .

I can't decide if the Dell TV commercials starring slacker dude "Steve" are incredibly annoying or extremely entertaining--it all depends on my mood at the time. I have to admit that the actor who plays Steve, Ben Curtis, is pretty funny, though. Either he really is Steve or he's incredibly good at mimicing teenage/slacker mannerisms and speech patterns. I wouldn't be surprised if someone in Hollyweird is planning a "Steve" movie right now (complete with Dell product placements). Here's a website I stumbled across devoted to the commercials and Curtis: Hey it's him.

Thursday, August 01, 2002


Beyond the old wall
The wind bends the ragged weeds.
A moment of truth.