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Saturday, April 3, 2004

Everyone In Silico, licensed for remixing
My friend Jim Munroe is a brilliant sf writer, author of
Angry Young Spaceman (which I reviewed for Wired), Everyone in Silico, and Flyboy Action Figure Comes With Gas Mask. Silico is a particularily interesting novel about the corporatization of public spaces (Jim used to be a managing editor at AdBusters), and among Jim's publicity stunts for the book was a letter-writing campaign to corporations mentioned in the book, shaking them down for money for "product placement."

Jim has decided to release Silico online under the same Creative Commons license that I chose for the re-release of Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom, a license that allows the production of non-commercial derivative works, such as fan-films, sequels, translations, and audio adaptations. He credits me with inspiring this, which is immensely gratifying -- Jim's a talented writer and this is a wonderful book. Link
posted by Cory Doctorow at 11:40:32 AM permanent link to this entry

Guitar virtuoso performs Super Mario Brothers theme
This is an absolutely stellar video of Japanes guitar virtuoso KeiicHi performing a rendition of the theme from Super Mario Brothers, hendrixing power-up and coin-grab sound effects by wringing his axe's neck with long and clever fingers. Tasty.
3.7MB WMV Link (Thanks, guerilla!)
posted by Cory Doctorow at 11:29:28 AM permanent link to this entry

EFF dream gig: technical director
How's this for a dream job? EFF is looking for a Technical Director to run special projects to enhance liberty and screw with The Man (i.e., making kick-ass, user-friendly PVRs; turning white-box PCs into software-defined-radio spectral analyzers, hacking on anonymizing onion-nets, etc).

This person will be responsible for managing four members of EFF's technical staff and their various projects. Technical staff responsibilities include keeping our internal systems running and providing expert support to our attorneys and members. It also includes actively building, and supervising the building of, technologies that advance free speech and privacy. The technical director will be responsible for creating a cogent technology strategy for EFF. The director must be a team player. This person must be a good writer, good speaker and good listener. This person may be called on to be an expert witness, conference speaker, declarant in a court case, or debater against entertainment companies or government attorneys. Comfort with advocating for a position essential.
Link
posted by Cory Doctorow at 09:38:49 AM permanent link to this entry

Happy 25th Birthday, Space Invaders
Space Invaders is 25 years old. Riding a wave of '80s old-school geek chick, the cult Japanese game is experiencing a renaissance. On April 25th, Space Invaders for PS2 launches around the world -- and mobile versions are said to be in the works.

Paris-based online/realspace boutique colette (I heart this store) will sell the remake. They'll also be selling tons of other cool Space Invaders schwag like t-shirts, key holders, books, and more. Tuesday 29th April is evidently Space Invader Day with intergalactic gaming competitions planned in Japan, Paris, and elsewhere.

Link to colette store online (horrible Flash interface -- I love what they sell, but I hatehatehate the website UI), Link to Times UK story, Link to press relelase about Space Invaders remake coming to mobile phones with BREW platform, and Link to Space Invaders 25th anniversary home (also built with Flash, but IMO a rockin' good UI). And finally, I urge you to visit the website for Taito, the Japanese company that created Space Invaders -- if only to read the clumsily translated English copy on this page that invites you, over and over, to "crick here for detail." Sweartagod. Link
posted by Xeni Jardin at 07:16:31 AM permanent link to this entry

Photoblog of Tibetan monks creating a sand mandala
Boingboing reader
Jayvant says:

In my photoblog, I document the construction of a traditional Tibetan Sand Mandala built by two visiting Tibetan Buddhist Monks in my university. This truly fascinating and intricate piece of artwork is built slowly using just a few grains of sand at a time. Once the Mandala is completed it is deconstructed and deposited into a body of water, to symbolize the Buddhist belief of nonattachment.
Link
posted by Xeni Jardin at 06:55:20 AM permanent link to this entry

Tron cosplay
This guy made himself an incredibly faithful reproduction of the costumes from Tron, including the glowing piping around the seams.
Link (Thanks, Julian!)

posted by Cory Doctorow at 05:26:00 AM permanent link to this entry

Friday, April 2, 2004

ODP + RSS
Open Directory Project / DMOZ.org appears to be the first major web directory of its kind to include RSS feeds:
Alongside standard HTML web sites and PDF documents, we're now accepting RSS feeds as listings in the directory. There's no change in the submission process but in future categories will start showing 'XML' sections with links to related RSS feeds.
Link (thanks, Jean-Luc!)
posted by Xeni Jardin at 08:53:06 PM permanent link to this entry

Reuters email-an-article-TOS
BoingBoing reader
Steve Portigal says,

"Reuters offers a link in every story to email the article to someone. After you fill in the usual info, there is a line that says I confirm that I have the recipient's consent to provide their email address for this purpose, followed by Send and Cancel.

This is very strange for a couple of reasons. You aren't actually agreeing to their terms, IMHO, because you are not clicking Agree. And there isn't any language that says by clicking Send you confirm that...., as you sometimes see.

But further - if you follow their TOS, how useful is the feature? Are you expected to send a separate email to the person and ask them if you can send them an article? And then send it to them after that? A workaround would be to send it to yourself, and then forward it manually. But obviously, this is just to cover them from being sued in case you do something wrong. Yuck."

link
posted by Xeni Jardin at 03:26:17 PM permanent link to this entry

Gmail screenshot
Screenshot of the beta version of
GMail -- Google's forthcoming 1G mail service -- here. Link. [We've been had. That one's totally bogus, per Jason Shellen --XJ] Here's another. (Thanks, Jean-Luc!)
posted by Xeni Jardin at 11:52:25 AM permanent link to this entry

Google News (which scrapes) nastygrams Julian Bond (for scraping)
Google News -- which scrapes news-sites and aggregates the results -- has sent a note demanding that Julian Bond stop scraping and aggregating the results.

I figure that using Gnews2rss[1] to feed into a personal aggregator is not going to worry them too much. The problem seems to be posting the results to a public website. If you do use gnews2rss, please host it yourself.
Link Link
posted by Cory Doctorow at 11:48:58 AM permanent link to this entry

WiFi in ballparks: legal question
Responding to
yesterday's post about WiFi coming to the SF Giants' home ballpark, a BoingBoing reader who may or may not want to be anonymous writes: "If I take my Powerbook to the ballpark and plug in my iSight Camera with it pointed towards the game, then isn't that an illegal broadcast of Major League Baseball? I'm a Giants season ticketholder, I'm going to try this."

IANAL, but I'm thinking the fresh part of this question is not so much whether or not our reader points his connected camera at the game, but what happens with the footage once it's captured. To whom it's made available and how. What's the existing policy re: photography in general?

UPDATE: Jason Schultz, Staff Attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, responds:

There's not really a copyright problem, since its not a scripted performance, but there might be two legal problems: (1) trademark and (2) breach of contract. Trademark might be an issue because most people currently expect most broadcasts of baseball games to be sanctioned by MLB. However, if you made enough of a disclaimer to the people watching your broadcast that you are in no way affiliated with MLB and that you are a season ticket holder and this is your show and no one else's (including the Giants'), then I think you may safely avoid that problem.

The bigger problem, however, is contract. I haven't checked my Giants tickets lately, but I assume on the back of them is some kind of contractual prohibition on rebroadcasting the games in any form. If there is such a restriction, then MLB/Giants could assert that by purchasing the tickets, you agreed to be bound by the restrictions listed on the back. This may or may not hold up in Court, though, because just like click-wrap "I Agree" buttons, no one really reads those terms or assumes that they are bound by them. This doesn't make the restrictions void per se, but it does call them into question legally.

Update 2: BoingBoing reader David Newcum says, "Here's a very good summary of where photographs are allowed, by Bert P Krages II, Attorney at law. Snip:
"... The general rule in the United States is that anyone may take photographs of whatever they want when they are in a public place or places where they have permission to take photographs. ... Property owners may legally prohibit photography on their premises but have no right to prohibit others from photographing their property from other locations. ..."
Link, and link (PDF)

And Jeremy Perkins says, "Found this on the Giant's website. It probably pertains to web broadcasting as well." Link

Update 3: ernietheattorney says, "You might want to add a link to Eugene Volokh (UCLA law prof and copyright expert)'s post about a related issue involving the Cubs effort to stop people from charging to watch the games from the rooftop behind Wrigley Field." link.

Oren says, "The link you posted to the policy on the Giants website only prohibits rebroadcast of Giants games for commercial purposes without the written permission... So I'd guess non-commercial rebroadcast would be fine. Until they find it happening..."

And Dan at Lawgorithm says, "I just read the last post you had about photography of a game at Pac Bell, now that they're offering WiFi, and I've posted some more on the legal issue here."Link
posted by Xeni Jardin at 10:23:36 AM permanent link to this entry

World's evilest pop-star
Bruce Sterling calls Svetlana "Ceca" Raznjatovic -- the widow of noted Balkan war criminal "Arkan", the current girlfriend of assassin and military deserter "Legija," and the former girlfriend of murdered gangster "Shaban" -- the "most evil pop star in the world." Here's her fansite.
Link (via Beyond the Beyond)
posted by Cory Doctorow at 10:15:21 AM permanent link to this entry

Wired: Florida court sends RIAA away
A federal judge in Florida ruled yesterday that record labels must file individual lawsuits against suspected file-swappers, rather than lumping them together in a single suit. More in today's Wired News:

The Recording Industry Association of America has sued nearly 2,000 file swappers in jurisdictions around the country. In this lawsuit, the music trade group bundled 25 suspected file swappers who share the same Internet service provider, Bright House Networks, into one legal action. With this ruling, the RIAA must refile the lawsuits individually, marking another setback in its campaign to sue swappers. Judge David Baker of the U.S. District Court in Orlando is the second judge to rule that the RIAA cannot group individuals together. Last month, a Philadelphia judge made a similar ruling.
Link
posted by Xeni Jardin at 10:05:34 AM permanent link to this entry

Craigslist Zen: Army and Arabic-speaker "role-play"
BoingBoing buddy
Choire "Gawker" Sicha redirects our collective cursors to this utterly bizarre entry on Craigslist.

Arabic speakers needed to roleplay for the Army - $4000 in 25 days
Date: 2004-03-31, 8:28AM CST
Arabic speakers only. Participate in a 25 day rotation to help train soldiers in an Army base in Louisiana. You will role play such roles as mayor, mailman, shopkeeper, farmer, etc. You will be instructed on what role to play once you arrive at the base. All meals, housing and transportation will be provided. All Arabic speakers are welcome to apply, men and women of any age and from any part of the country.
Link.

While we're on the subject -- of Choire, and of the bizarre -- check out this gutbustingly hilarious scientific study penned by Mr. Sicha for The Morning News: "An actually accurate mathematical equation [that helps] you decide in which restaurants it's appropriate to breastfeed." Link

Update: BoingBoing reader Blake West says: "This posting really isn't that weird. The Joint Readiness Training Center at Ft. Polk, used mostly by the US army, has been running training scenarios for years with simulated civilians. There are little villages set up in the training area, and military personnel are tasked to play civilians. REAL civilians are also hired to participate in the training because they possess special skills (like speaking Arabic). Here's a power point about being a "Civilian on the Battlefield" or COB. Ft. Polk has really crappy weather. It's basically a big swamp."
posted by Xeni Jardin at 08:15:06 AM permanent link to this entry

Narcocorrido Culture
BoingBoing pal
JP says:

"Los Angeles television news lead tonight with the wake of Adan Sanchez. Tens of thousands of fans swarmed his SUV hearse, throwing flowers and their bodies, images captured by news and police helicopters flying above. The LAPD struggling to maintain control. Adan Sanchez, 19, had recorded nine albums of romantic ballads and tributes to his father, a narco-corrido music legend. By some accounts he nurtured an image as a suave, well-dressed, romantic teen idol.

"I had never heard of narcocorrido music until now. I write that with some embarrassment as I try to keep up and it is apparently quite alive and well in my megalopolis. But now I am intrigued by the narcocorrido subculture. A quick Google search turned up this LA Weekly feature from last week that I missed the first go-around: Los Chalinillos, The next generation. And another link further down the Google finds this:

A Narcocorrido is a type of song or music that often tells a story usually about drugs, alcohol and violence.
Thanks, JP. Another reader points me to this book, which I haven't read. The author's website also includes a bit of background on censorship of narcocorridos, though the timeline sadly seems to be cut off thanks to some wonky html.

Update: An anonymous BoingBoing reader writes in to remind us that while narcocorridos are a recent product of Mexican pop culture, corridos per se are a form of folk art and oral history dating back more than a hundred years. "More importantly, get your hands on that CD. The brass bass lines are so driving and completely original to my ignorant Seattle ear. Track 6 is sung from the perspective of a girl whos Dad got her into the business when she was 15 and now's she's big in Mafia. She calls herself the Jackle-woman. Enjoy." Link

And BoingBoing reader Christopher Filkins points us to this superb NPR segment by Mandalit del Barco about border FM radio censorship of narcocorridos -- the piece includes some audio snips of narcocorrido tunes.Link
posted by Xeni Jardin at 08:07:43 AM permanent link to this entry

web zen: museum zen
(1)
artifacts
(2) forgotten girlie mags
(3) adult movie posters
(4) air sickness bags
(5) temporary art
(6) random art
(7) xerox art
(7) bad art
(8) museum of online museums
web zen home, web zen store, (Thanks, Frank). This vintage magazine cover is living proof that The Dude Abides.
posted by Xeni Jardin at 07:58:08 AM permanent link to this entry

Just when you thought there were no more Robolympics photos
Two more online galleries of photos from the
Robolympics held recently in San Francisco. We've posted about photos from the event before -- but these are too hellarad to pass on.

Boingboing reader callum says, "The photographs were shot & processed by Gavin Cheng who won the Netscape Gold Rush competition for his "Exposure" photography site." Link

And reader Bill Sherman points us to his website with more snapshots of bot-on-bot action, here: Link

posted by Xeni Jardin at 07:49:17 AM permanent link to this entry

Cussword Mapping and Tolerance Levels
For everything, there is a Venn diagram. Boingboing reader Ken Hooper points us to scientific prioritization of pottymouthfulness:

In soccer, spitting and swearing are serious fouls. Swearing is penalized by referees with various degrees of rigor. This site is for the instruction of referees--it's a sort of English Football Profanity Matrix complete with Venn diagrams. My friend Tony Cullen from Liverpool assures me this is not a joke of any sort, but it's hilarious. "Bitch" is worse than "shit" but they are both eclipsed by "bollocks" in terms of being offenses likely to be carded.
Link
posted by Xeni Jardin at 07:35:10 AM permanent link to this entry

Solar iPod charger
This solar-powered iPod charger (¥15,000-20,000, only for sale in Japan) will fully charge its own battery in two days, and then discharge the collected electricity into your iPod.
Link (Thanks, Pete!)

posted by Cory Doctorow at 06:52:04 AM permanent link to this entry

Thursday, April 1, 2004

Artificial human skin as a sculptural medium
According to Engadget, these jellyfish-like sculptures are crafted from artificial human skin. (via
Engadget)

posted by Cory Doctorow at 07:50:50 PM permanent link to this entry

Two new EFF blogs
Donna sez:

EFF today debuts "Deep Links," a new group weblog that answers the burning question: What is EFF talking about today? Deep Links will feature daily pointers to the news articles and weblog posts sparking our interest, as well as provide you with a bit of on-the-fly commentary to help contextualize issues. We're also debuting "miniLinks" - a weblog featuring the shorter, one-or-two-sentence pointers EFFector readers have come to know and love as "Deep Links" (now going by the new name, "miniLinks"). Authored by EFF Activist Ren Bucholz, miniLinks will give you a constant stream of news on EFF issues - and a preview of what you'll see featured in each week's EFFector. Drop by and check them out!
Deep Links, miniLinks (Thanks, Donna!)
posted by Cory Doctorow at 07:22:36 PM permanent link to this entry

Take me out to the Wi-Fi
Boingboing reader Becky says: "According to the AP, the SF Giants' ballpark is now a great big (one might say giant) free wi-fi access point."

Story says the network will be free of charge during the 2004 season, but that providers SBC and Nortel may charge for access in 2005. Link
posted by Xeni Jardin at 02:45:54 PM permanent link to this entry

FCC: No Free Speech Please, We're Americans
The eternally insightful
Ernest Miller says:

Yesterday FCC Chairman Powell and FCC Commissioner Copps met behind closed doors with the National Association of Broadcasters in order to discuss regulation of indecency. According to their speeches, the FCC wants broadcasters to create and enforce a "voluntary" code of conduct, regulate satellite and cable indecency, and put the kibosh on depictions of violence, among other speech stifling measures.
Link
posted by Xeni Jardin at 02:28:21 PM permanent link to this entry

Interactive chatting footwear: Seven Mile Boots
BoingBoing pal
Susannah points us to this:

"Seven mile boots, the magical footwear known from folk tales, enables its owner to travel seven miles with one step. With little effort one can cross the countries, to be present wherever it seems suitable and to become a cosmopolitan flaneur with the world as the street.

The project SEVEN MILE BOOTS is a pair of interactive shoes with audio. One can wear the boots, walk around as a flaneur simultaneousy in the physical world and in the literal world of the internet. By walking in the physical world one may suddenly encounter a group of people chatting in real time in the virtual world. The chats are heard as a spoken text coming from the boots. Wherever you are with the boots, the physical and the virtual worlds will merge together.

Link. What in tarnation's a flaneur? Glad you asked. Link. Oh, and then there's this, too.
posted by Xeni Jardin at 02:19:18 PM permanent link to this entry

Batman vehicle models
batm50-02This guy has gone through Batman comics from the 1940s on up, and has built scale models of the cars and planes Batman has used over the decades. Super cool.
Link (Via The Cartoonist)

posted by Mark Frauenfelder at 12:46:18 PM permanent link to this entry

Senator Daschle's statement on the abuse of government power
On Bruce Sterling's blog - the text of Senator Tom Daschle's March 30 Floor Statement on the Abuse of Government Power.

In recent days leading congressional Republicans are now calling for an investigation into Mr. Clarke. As I mentioned earlier, Secretary O'Neill was also subjected to an investigation. Clarke and O'Neill sought legal and classification review of any information in their books before they were published.

Nonetheless, our colleagues tell us these two should be investigated, at the same time there has been no Senate investigation into the leaking of Valerie Plame's identity as a deep cover CIA agent; no thorough investigation into whether leading Administration officials misrepresented the intelligence regarding threats posed by Iraq; no Senate hearings into the threat the chief Medicare Actuary faced for trying to do his job; and no Senate investigation into the reports of continued overcharging by Halliburton for its work in Iraq.

Link
posted by Mark Frauenfelder at 12:36:18 PM permanent link to this entry

Lucas's Star Wars DVD commentary leaks
Five three-minute clips from George Lucas's commentary for the Star Wars Episode 3 4+ DVD have leaked onto the net.
Link (via /.)
posted by Cory Doctorow at 12:23:56 PM permanent link to this entry

Nice shiny fans
Beautiful shiny fans -- nice mix of mahogany and polished metal and tilt-a-whirl-like orrery action.
Link (Thanks, Thom!)

posted by Cory Doctorow at 12:15:46 PM permanent link to this entry

Spidering Word files for embarrassing metadata
A hacker spidered every English microsoft.com site and sucked down all the Word documents, then used a script to identify interesting erasures left behind by the revision-tracking feature. Some interesting stuff fell out of his investigation.

A pointless idea came to my mind that instant: why not run a gentle web spider against all Microsoft sites in English, specifically looking for other instances of tracking data not removed from documents? I coded a bunch of scripts and let them run through the night, fetching approximately 10,000 unique documents; over 10% was identified as containing change tracking records. I decided to collect only those with deleted text still present, yielding a crop of over 5% of all documents. Quite impressive. Below, you will find a brief (and rest assured, incomplete) list of the most entertaining samples I've run into, along with some speculation (and only speculation) as to the reasons we see them.
Link (Thanks, Eli the Bearded!)
posted by Cory Doctorow at 12:10:37 PM permanent link to this entry

Laxatives targeted at low-carbers
Laxative makers are targetting their advertising at low-carb dieters, who are notoriously irregular:

GlaxoSmithKline's new ad campaign for Citrucel caplets offers a "zero-carb solution to a low-carb problem."

Proctor and Gamble fired back with ads that promise that Metamucil allows users to "Stay regular. The zero net carb way."

Link (via Fark)
posted by Cory Doctorow at 11:25:54 AM permanent link to this entry

cover of Eastern Standard Tribe
My second novel is out, and I've released it online, too (though I won't complain if you buy it!) -Cory

SENT: phonecam art show
Explore the creative potential of phonecams,
and participate in the NPR Phonecam Challenge!


Mark is selling blank notebooks with his cover illustration of a girl feeding some magic pellets to her pet slugs. (click here for a larger image). The notebooks are wire-o bound, measure 5" x 8", and contain 80 sheets of paper. Yours for just $10. More info

Boing Boing Mobile.
The Guestbar!

A tiny, guest-edited blog!

alan Alan Graham
Alan Graham is an author for O'Reilly & Associates, APress, and Wordware. He is also the creator & editor of the Best of Blogs series.


I wrote a blog entry about Kinja over at O'Reilly. I think what they are doing is important, but I have some concerns on how it will work over time.

Which leads me to a few interesting facts about my new book Never Threaten To Eat Your Co-Workers: Best of Blogs.

-Approximately 30,000 entries were read. Of that number, about 170 entries were initially selected to be in the book, while the final count came out to 67 entries total.

-When we initially started collecting the entries, we were using an online forum (not my idea). What's funny is that it had a profanity filter on it. So I think this may be the world's first book edited for profanity in reverse. We had to go back to insert cursing.

-We knew that we'd have to make some cuts due to page count restrictions. So, I assembled a team of three advisors to read and rate the content on a scale of 1-5, five being the highest. Only one entry of the approx. 170 received a perfect rating of five. Will I ever reveal which one? The bidding starts at...

-And the best fact of all is that when I had collected all the material, I did a little calculation and found that over 60% of the material was from women bloggers. What a fantastic surprise. I think it is great to see such diversity in a medium which is typically dominated by men. Another interesting little factoid was that women were far more verbal and descriptive. They rarely made entries about like, uh, you know...Quake and stuff. Their content was richer and more detailed than their male counterparts. I also noticed that quite a few men were reading and linking to blogs written by women. I hope to see this trend continue, because it sets the bar higher for everyone.

I'd also like to see a study done about this...

Here are some entries from some of my favorite women of the web.

Keely St. Claire: Only I Didn't say Fudge

Claire Robertson: This Could Happen To You

Paula Abilheira: The Sanctity of the Bathroom Experience

Melanie Wilson: Walk on the Wild Side

LJC: Election Day (note there are some broken image links, be sure to visit her index page as well)
posted by Alan Graham at 11:31:48 PM | permalink


The genius of Andy Kaufman was that the joke was on us. He was able to blur the line between reality and perception, so he always kept us guessing. I was still a young child during some of his more provocative stunts. Even then I just loved him. I think the innocence of that age allowed me to see something that was masked to the adults around me.

Well if Andy were alive today (and perhaps he is), he'd be behind Landover Baptist Church. This is clearly the absolute best parody site on the web. Hands down. It is so brilliant, that it takes you literally hours to figure out it is a parody. And yet, you are always left wondering.

While the entire site is a parody, the funniest joke of all is the joke on us. You totally see the brilliance of the joke when you open their mailbag and take a peek at what is inside. There are two types of letters. One type is from moderates and non-religious people who are appalled and disgusted because it confirms everything they believe to be true about the religious right. The other is from the right who are offended because Landover makes Jerry Falwell look like Hillary Clinton. The brilliance is that both sides unintentionally write the absolute funniest letters, which really show the true nature and ignorance of humanity.

Go check out the mail for yourself, but here are a few excerpts to whet your whistle.

"Dear Landover, I laugh at your ignorance. I have religious friends and I must say that if Jesus existed today, he would have wanted love. What are you people? You're hateful "Holier than thou" morons."

"Please tell me you are joking. This site -and consiquently your ideas of a spanking- is a blasphamos. Feel free to post this on your cite (though i'm sure you won't)."

"Are you people really serious with this garbage? You encourage parents to beat their kids with a Bible and call them "sissies" and "demons"? Where the hell do you get off with that bullshit? We're all worried about terrorists in the middle east, while we have all these Christian terrorists right here at home. You are sick and full of hate and ignorance. Your scare tactics don't work on me."

This is choice:
"you folks are an the brink of demon posession yourselvers... Nothing but blasphemy is on your crappy website. Turn aside from your evil ways, loved ones. I do know you know Jesus, but pastor, this is for you! Quit building upon yuour weak foundation so as not to be one" barley escaping through the flames." Remember, as ministers especially, the blood of the lost will be on our hands. Reach out in love, not hateful scare tactics. Oh, and by the way, I am NOT a liberal.
Please respond back to mattvan77@yahoo.com
Matthew John Van Vleet
Chicago Outreach Ministries

But this one really takes the cake...oh man is this the best...I mean I'm a geek but this guy...

"Your scathing review of Return of The King was laughably ignorant, and one would think that persons responsible for showing a film to a congregation, and for writing/publishing articles on it would do a little research before risking the destruction of a five-million dollar theatre at the hands of enraged congregants (although, in any case, thier reaction was appalling). Had anyone bothered to Google "return of the king" you would have litany of resources at your fingertips describing exactly what it was - the last installment of a three-part book entitled "The Lord Of The Rings," its three parts being "The Fellowship of the Ring," "The Two Towers," and finally, "The Return of the King." This book was written by renowned author J.R.R. Tolkien as a follow-up to The Hobbit, and was first published in 1956. It has since been republished in countless edition and formats since then, and has become one of the most loved and treasured books of all time, the world over. Tolkien himself was a devout Christian, and ingrained His faith into the story. December of 2001 marked the release of the first film, The Fellowship of the Ring, with The Two Towers following one year later, and as you know, The Return of The King premiering this past December. Had you seen the first two films, you would have known the the Ring was a device created by the Dark Lord Sauron (yes, Dark Lord) to contain his power, and that the King was Aragorn, the heir of Isildor, who was King of Gondor before Sauron began to plunge the world into darkness. Since no heir came forward, Gondor had no king until Aragorn came forward - hence the return of the king. Sauron is NOT the portrayal of God in this story, he is the most powerful of Satan's demons, if not Satan himself. The Hobbits, the Dwarves, the Elves, and the Men were all working together in an epic battle against Sauron and his armies of Orcs and Urukai (demons), to defeat Evil. Destroying the Ring was paramount to the success of this battle, and was not an act against God, but against Satan. The slightest bit of research would have told you all of this, and as you are in a position of leadership and teaching, research is necessary, and it is neglegent on your part not to have done it. Or perhaps you did, but you want your community to believe that anything made outside of it is completely evil. Is that how you maintain control?"

I'm crying I'm laughing so hard.

Andy would be so proud.
posted by Alan Graham at 12:15:28 AM | permalink


Heads up...

The new liberal radio network, Air America, launches today at 12pm EST. I'm personally a big fan of Randi Rhodes who will be handling the late afternoon/early evening slot. She's an intelligent 20 year radio veteran who deserves a national audience. Her time slot is from 3pm to 7pm...a full four hours. She's the perfect antidote to people who use insults instead of arguments.

If you are interested in tuning in, apparently there will be a webcast here.

Quick Update: One step forward for broadcasting...one step back for webcasting. Apparently they have underestimated their expected traffic, and it is almost impossible to keep a constant connection. From bad to worse...it seems they've chosen the insidiously bad Real Player for their audio stream. Sigh...let's hope they take a hint from Car Talk, although I'd prefer a Quicktime stream.

Let's hope they fix it by tomorrow.
posted by Alan Graham at 8:06:36 AM | permalink


I love Ray Bradbury. Favorite writer, hands down. The reason I love his work is that Bradbury knows enough to pull back and let the reader fill in the blanks. He understands that the readers own imagination is the most powerful literary tool there is. If there is a monster in the darkened hall, Bradbury let's you make it your own...allows you to give life to that which lives in the darkest parts of your mind.

Now if you've ever watched one of the CSI programs, you are no doubt aware that they tend to be quite graphic. But there is something about the way the material is presented that numbs us to it's graphic nature. Our minds just absorb what we see, but don't really engage us in the story. Seeing the recreation of a bullet tear through flesh is not engaging drama. The intent is simply to shock you.

Enter Autopsy Report: Log of experiences as a Medical Examiner Intern. Our host, Brian, takes us through his daily experiences in the morgue. Now comes my Bradbury Word of Warning. Although there are no images, this site is very candid and descriptive. And unlike CSI, here we are left to our own mental devices. If you have a good imagination, but a weak consitution, then this site is not for you. But if you want to take a fascinating look into the real world of life and death, then I highly recommend you dig through it. You'll find strong material, presented honestly, and intelligently. You'll also find a good collection of medical and forensic links.

"A man was shot twice, once in the neck and once in the abdomen. How did the doctor know that the neck shot came first?"

Find the answer to this query here.

"...it is the talent of a pathologist and morgue personnel to be able to describe things in terms of food - you will never look at food the same way..."

From a particularly descriptive entry on decomps.

If you learn anything from this site...learn to take care of yourself...and as Mom always said...wear clean underwear.
posted by Alan Graham at 11:14:00 PM | permalink


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