Sunday, July 31, 2005

The Art of Retouching

click image to enlarge


Greg Apodaca has worked as a digital retoucher since 1995. He is talented (and plays rock and roll to boot).

Apodaca could make Ernest Borgnine look like George Clooney or Rosie O'Donnell look like Catherine Zeta-Jones. He has some interesting examples on his website (click on the title of this post). It also makes me wonder about the examples he can't show us!!! This is the guy you go to if you need to look scrumptious.
---o0o---

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Color Perception & Optical Illusions

click image to enlarge

Square A and Square B are indeed the same color (I checked in Photoshop tm).

Go to this site to see some of their other illusions, and even buy a printed copy if you'd like... (click on the title to link there).
---o0o---



Friday, July 29, 2005

Helen Thomas Vows To Commit Suicide If Dick Cheney Runs For The Presidency


Veteran wire reporter/longtime White House Press Corps member (and one of my favorite reporters) Helen Thomas, is vowing to 'kill herself' if Dick Cheney announces he is running for president.

The newspaper HILL first reported per promise Thursday. "The day Dick Cheney is going to run for president, I'll kill myself," she told the HILL. "All we need is one more liar."Thomas added.

"I think he'd like to run, but it would be a sad day for the country if he does."
---o0o---

Follow-up: The Sasquatch Turns Out To Be A Buffalo


Following up my earlier post on the DNA testing of some alleged Sasquatch hair. . .

David Coltman, a University of Alberta geneticist who performed a DNA test on a hair sample, confirmed that it was 100-per-cent bison (Bisons are quite tasty, by the way). '

The sample was found in a bush in Teslin, Yukon, near the British Columbia border where people reported hearing and seeing a large, hairy creature crash through their backyards.
---o0o---

Gamebox 1.0 - The Movie You've Been Waiting For

Gamebox 1.0 is an apparently unintentionally funny movie about a videogame tester who ends up trapped in a game. It's a thriller diller, with an even flimsier premise than the usual B Movie. Bonus: Topanga from "Boy Meets World" appears briefly in the trailer... Click on the title to see the trailer (you'll need to have the dreaded QuickTime tm installed).
---o0o---

There He Goes Again: POTUS Gives The Finger To The Press

This is a video of The President appearing to give a pack of reporters the fnger when he thinks he is out of their sight. The video appears to be the live feed from MS NBC. Click on the title of this post to look at the footage.
---o0o---

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Poem: [A flight of swallows]


A flight of swallows
Spins outside the window.

One by one,
The stars turn on

And the yellow sun
Transmogrifies to dusty rose

As it sinks
In its ebbing light.

The moon's in tune,
Stars turn on

And clouds drape
Across the sky.

Snared in the web
Of the Milky Way, we careen

Through space, twirling on earth's axis,
Around the sun, and into the black.
---o0o---

Updated Index To Original Poems In All This Is That

Poem: A Flight Of Swallows
Audioblog - Poem: The Prevaricator
Poem: Weather Report
Poem: Your Wooden Leg
Poem: The Revelations Sermon At The First Church Of The Mojo Apocalypse
Poem: Dosvidaniya, Ivan Ivanovitch
Poem: The Late Excavation (Text And Audio)
Poem: Jack Kerouac, Meet John Barleycorn
Poem: The Gideon Bible In My Nightstand
Poem: At The Acropolis
Poem: When Aliens Land, Or, The Return Of The King
Painting & A Poem In The Painting [detail from I Read The News Today]
Poem: The sous-chef is a sociopath]
Poem: James Wright

Poem: Falling
Poem: [Life Is Not A Hardy Novel]
Poem: Seven
Poem: Coyote Comes Home Like A Salmon
Poem: Shorts For Jerry Melin ca. about 1988
Poem: Bird Poem: Monism
Poem: The Golden Rule Poem: The Countdown
Poem: When Aliens Land, Or, The Return Of The King
Poem: AT HILLCREST CEMETARY IN KENT, WASHINGTON, I WALK BY THE GRAVE OF SAM THE GRASSEATER
Poem: Notes On Flying
Poem: Daybreak
Poem: Explosions
poem: Not Past Tense Yet
poem: the glass is not half-full
Poem: It's Getting Crowded Here
Poem: Li Po In Disgrace
Poem: The Clock
A Poem: Love Song
Poem: Bad Timing
Poem: The Killer
Poem: The Absence of Footprints
Poem: Growing Up
Poem: Gone Fishing
Poem: The M.D.s
A Poem - Acrylic
poem: The Marriage
Poem: Driving Home To Seattle, We Watch Deer Drinking from the Skookumchuck River

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

The Tussle With Terror


According to The Drudge Report and other news sites today, highly placed sources in the Bush Administration says it is retooling the slogan for the fight against Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups. The White House began promulgating the idea that the long-term struggle is both an ideological and a military skirmish.

Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, and the country's top military officer have recently spoken of "a global struggle against violent extremism." The global war on terror is about to become a thing of the past.
---o0o---

The Line of Presidential Succession


The Senate yesterday slightly altered the rules of Presidential succession. Instead of being dead last, the Homeland Security Secretary is moved up to 8th place. The House will likely approve a parallel bill. Does President Hastert or President Rumsfeld sound a little spooky? I still like this succession better than when former A.G. Ashcroft or Security Czar Ridge were in the lineup.

If the House bill passes, here is the lineup, in order:

_Vice President Dick Cheney
_House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill.
_Senate President Pro Tem Ted Stevens, R-Alaska
_Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice
_Treasury Secretary John Snow
_Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld
_Attorney General Alberto Gonzales
_Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff
_Interior Secretary Gale A. Norton
_Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns
_Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez
_Labor Secretary Elaine Chao
_Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt
_Housing and Urban Development Secretary Alphonso Jackson
_Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta
_Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman
_Education Secretary Margaret Spellings
_Veterans Affairs Secretary Jim Nicholson

Commerce Secretary Gutierrez and Labor Secretary Chao would be skipped, of course, because they were born in Cuba, and Taiwan respectively.
---o0o---

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Sasquatch DNA Testing


click image to enlarge


The debate over the existence of sasquatch, aka Bigfoot, an ape-like creature said to haunt the wilderness of western Canada [Jack note, and the U.S. Northwest as well] has entered the world of modern DNA testing. A laboratory will test hair samples that several residents of Teslin, Yukon, say were left when the large, but so-far mythological creature made a late-night run through their community in early July.

University of Alberta wildlife geneticist David Coltman, who agreed to do the tests as a favor to a colleague, said on Monday that scientists have cataloged the DNA of nearly all large animals in the Yukon such as bears and bison. "So we'll compare it to all of that, and if it doesn't match anything, then it's potentially interesting. . ."

Click on the title of this posting to link to the Reuters article. . .
---o0o---

Painting: Self-Portrait No. 7

Click image to enlarge

Monday, July 25, 2005

Walibri Men Ask May I Shake Your Penis?



WhenWalibri tribesmen of central Australia meet each other, they shake their penises instead of hands (I don't know how you greet their women. . .but I'd like to find out!).

I know what you're thinking--this is just the kind of blowhard confabulation I'm always trying to sell under the guise of some sort of arcane gus scholarship or claim of special knowledge. Click on the title of this post to Googletm a list of references. Obviously, people on the internet at least, have one interest in the Walibri.

I'm pretty sure I saw guys shaking like this the time my friends Fuzzy and Richie [1] took me to The Anvil in the meat-packing district of lower Manhattan..

[1] Characters in My Worst Job No. 6, my long delayed story of working at Carl Fischer, Inc. in NYC.
---o0o---

Terragen Rocks!

Click image to enlarge

Terragen, by Planetside Software in Great Britain, is good software. It reminds me of some of the great fractal programs, with which it must share most, or all, of its logic.

I cranked this one out in a few minutes with mountains and a formidable shadow of another mountain looming over the landscape...

I'm hooked. . .
----o0o---



Sunday, July 24, 2005

Your favorite movie love scene?

It's not easy to think of great love scenes in the movies (for me at least). It's easier to come up with bad ones (try, for instance, any love scene in a George Lucas movie). I'm pretty sure I've seen hundreds, but other than, say, the scenes with Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman in Notorious, they just don't seem to stick. There were some hot scenes in Basic Instinct, and the closet scene in Frida; Body Heat; Mulholland Drive; Brad Pitt and Geena Davis in Thelma and Louise; The Two Towers' scene with Viggo and Liv Tyler; and I vaguely remember many scenes from black and white film from the 30's. There was a good one with With Al Pacino and Ellen Barkin in Sea Of Love.

It's the weird ones we remember. . .like the scenes in Blue Velvet, a movie I have always found disturbing. The "butter scene" from Last Tango In Paris? Maybe the Judge Reinhold /Phobe Cates auto-sex scene in Fast Times At Ridgemont High? Or even that scene on the riverbank in Deliverance with the hillbilly and Ned Beatty?
---o0o---

Painting: The Wheel Of Progress

<-- Click the painting to enlarge -->
---o0o---

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Another Smack In The Head By The Modern World, Or, How My Beetle Broke My Heart


I'd been waiting for this for weeks. The odometer in my Bug was just about to roll over and I wanted to see those fantastic goose eggs. I'd driven nearly every one of those miles to arrive at this milestone.


99,999.1
99,999.2
99,999.3
99,999.4
99,999.5
99,999.6
99,999.7
99,999.8
99,999.9


Yes! This was it...here it comes! And then::::::::::::

100,000

What??! A hundred thousand?!! What happened to the zeros?? Then I noticed there was even one more spot for another number. The odometer would go up to nine million miles.

Gypped again by the modern world.
---o0o---

Friday, July 22, 2005

Another Shocking Revelation In The Enumclaw Beastiality Case


Not only are there problems with the stallions, but apparently people have been attempting to teach the fillies at the Enunclaw stable the missionary position.
---o0o---

Julian Beever's Virtual Reality Street Art

British artist, Julian Beever, is known for his sidewalk art in in the U.S. and throughout Europe. This is fascinating stuff. The drawings have "an anamorphosis view," that is, they are drawn so that appear 3D when viewed from certain angles.

Click on the title of this post to check out some examples of this fascinating art...

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Painting: Chief Justices of The Supreme Court Of The United States: No. 2, John Rutledge

Click image to enlarge


John Rutledge (1739-1800), American jurist and statesman, was Revolutionary War governor of South Carolina. He exemplified the conservative views of the mercantile and planter aristocracy. He served one year as as Associate Justice, followed by five years (1790-95) as the Chief Justice.
---o0o---

Police to Check Bags on NYC Subways


The Associated Press reported today that:

"Police will begin random searches of bags and packages carried by people entering city subways, officials announced Thursday after a new series of bomb attacks in London. Passengers carrying bags will be selected at random before they pass through turnstiles, and those who refuse to be searched won't be allowed to ride, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said.

'We just live in a world where, sadly, these kinds of security measures are necessary," Mayor Michael Bloomberg said. "Are they intrusive? Yes, a little bit. But we are trying to find that right balance.' "



As a five year subway rider, from 77-82, this makes me really sad. Eventually, we will all become as sanguine about this as we are about getting frisked at the airport! With my stainless steel hip, I'm pretty used to getting raked over the coals; the bells begin going off the second I step through the metal detecting archway. /jack

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Ann Coulter Says POTUS Picked The Wrong Guy


From Ann Coulter's Website:


We don’t know much about John Roberts. Stealth nominees have never turned out to be a pleasant surprise for conservatives. Never. Not ever... Oh, yeah...we know he's argued cases before the supreme court. big deal; so has Larry Flynt's attorney.

And it makes no difference that conservatives in the White House are assuring us Roberts can be trusted. We got the exact same assurances from officials working for the last president Bush about David Hackett Souter. I believe their exact words were, "Read our lips; Souter's a reliable conservative."

Finally, lets ponder the fact that Roberts has gone through 50 years on this planet without ever saying anything controversial. That’s just unnatural.

---o0o---

Photograph: Claire & Colin, University of Victoria Students

<-- Click to enlarge-->

Photo by Del Brummet or Jack Brummet

The Photos Judge Roberts & His Handlers Do Not Want You To See

Within minutes of The President's press conference this evening, various blogs and independent web sites tonight began publishing controversial photographs of President Bush's Supreme Court Nominee, Judge John Roberts, Jr.

The photos were allegedly taken at Bangkok Massage And Baths in Fairfax County, Virginia. Other photos reportedly show the nominee engaged in various lewd acts with a "masseuse," as well as with a number of other partners, male and female. Neither the White House or The 4th Circuit of Appeals would comment on the photographs.
---o0o---

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

John Roberts Selected As President Bush's New Boy On The SCOTUS

Tonight President Bush ended the last few weeks' pointless jawboning, speculation, and hot air by naming John G. Roberts Jr., 50, as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.

Roberts seems to be one of President Bush's least controversial picks for the bench. He hasn't been a judge long enough to have accumulated much of a paper trail. That's a small consolation. It appeared for a time that he would name a woman to the bench. But when he got enough mileage out of that, or the trial balloon hit the ground, he decided to bring in one of the fellas.

And, hey, if you're going to bring in one of the fellas, bring in one that did some good stuff for Dad, and if he was your lawyer before the Supreme Court in the 2000 election contest, well, all the better. . .
---o0o---

Justice Edith Clement - Nope!


According to the Associated Press this morning, President Bush is about to name his first nomination to the Supreme Court. The frontrunner now appears to be the 57 year old Judge Edith Clement of the U.S. Court of Appeals in New Orleans. This will be something of a relief to the Democrats, and others. She has stated that the "the right to privacy. . .includes the right to have an abortion."

The Associated Press, however, indicated this afternoon that she is not the chosen one...
---o0o---

Street Art (Literally) In Victoria, B.C.

Click photo to enlarge

This artist recreates classical easel art in chalk drawings on the street. The drawings remain until it rains. In this case, he drew a couple of paintings by Rembrandt Harmenszoon Van Rijn.
---o0o---

Monday, July 18, 2005

Bestiality In Southeast King County - A Horse Is A Horse Of Course Of Course

In my continuing quest to add to my hillbilly credentials, I want to point out that Enumclaw, Washington is located very near the town where I spent my first 20 years. No names have been named yet, so I don't know if any of my old schoolmates are involved.

Working on a sex farm
Trying to raise some hard love
Getting out my pitch fork
And poking your hay

[from Sex Farm by Spinal Tap]

From The Seattle Times 7-15-2005 [click on this link to read the complete article]

King County sheriff's detectives are investigating the owners of an Enumclaw-area farm after a Seattle man died from injuries [jb note: 'internal trauma' is the phrase used on the radio] sustained while having sex with a horse boarded on the property. Investigators first learned of the farm after the man died at Enumclaw Community Hospital July 2. The county Medical Examiner's Office ruled that the death was accidental and the result of having sex with a horse.

A surveillance camera picked up the license plate of the car that dropped the man off at the hospital, which led detectives to the farm and other people involved, said Sheriff's Sgt. John Urquhart. Deputies don't believe a crime occurred because bestiality is not illegal in Washington state and the horse was uninjured, said Urquhart. But because investigators found chickens, goats and sheep on the property, they are looking into whether animal cruelty — which is a crime — was committed by having sex with these smaller, weaker animals, he said.

This weekend's radio news mentioned numerous beastiality web sites that treat the Enumclaw farm like a mecca. Video shot at the farm is available online (ewwww). The news story also said investigators turned up Web sites and chat rooms where people were invited to the farm to witness or participate. The authorities seized "hundreds of hours of videotapes" from the rural Enumclaw-area farm. I hope you have a lot of popcorn on hand, detectives.

Bestiality is illegal in 33 states. But not this one.

---o0o---

And So It Begins - The New Associate Justice


White House sources have "signaled allies over the weekend to be prepared for a nomination this week, according to the strategists, who asked not to be named because the process remains officially confidential. "We've been told to be ready," one strategist said."

The White House had earlier indicated they would make an announcement at the end of July. I think Rehnquist's anouncement last week changed their plans a bit. Rehnquist was clearly throwing cold water on the jubilation over two potential nominations.

The President has to rethink his strategy based on having only one vacancy to fill. Does that mean he will choose a rightist or a centrist? I'm not sure. He is also obviously under pressure to nominate a woman as well. Will Karl Rove be around to help shepherd the nomination? We'll see...
---o0o---

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Karl Rove Quietly Arrested At The White House

[All This Is That Wire Service] 7-16-05 Wash. D.C.

In a stunning turn of events, White House Deputy Chief of Staff and Political Strategist Karl V. Rove was arrested last night by Capitol Police and taken to an undisclosed location.

A senior official at the White House spoke off the record, saying The President "was fed up with that lying, duplicitous piece of dogs***." Another White House staffer speculated that Mr. Rove would be incarcerated in Guantanamo Bay or the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq for an extended period of "debriefing." The White House official could not say with any certainty whether the debriefing would include dog collars, electrodes, or naked human pyramids.
---o0o---

Painting: Chief Justices of The Supreme Court Of The United States: No. 1, John Jay

Click painting to enlarge
---o0o---

Saturday, July 16, 2005

The Godfather Part III Chapter Titles: The Rest Of The Story


El Snoozo commented today that my Godfather chapter titles left out the third movie. It's true. When I first saw Godfather 3, I disliked it. Over the years, I have begrudgingly come to like it more and more. It is almost Shakespearean. . .more so than the other two films. It is a apt end to the saga and contains some of Al Pacino's best acting. Unlike many people, I also liked Andy Garcia. Joe Mantegna was good. Talia Shire is just right. George Hamilton is perfect in his role. Sofia Coppola, not so much. And I doubt if she would disagree either. Her direction is another story (I really like both of her films so far).

One problem is that these titles are neither so evocative nor slyly humorous as the previous ones. How can you ever top "how's the Italian food in this restaurant?" spoken by the crooked Lieutenant played by Sterling Hayden. . .moments before Michael Corleone assassinates him? Or "I'm Moe Green," or the chapter with the touching scene between Michael and the Don "I never wanted this for you"?

What about "You can have my answer now," to The Senator in Part II, or "I know it was you Fredo..."? "You can kill anyone," one of the last scenes in Part II, spoken by Michael as they try to find a way to assassinate Hyman Roth, who is in federal custody.

In Part III, Coppola lost all sense of humor or the DVD titling job was relegated to a studio functionary with no imagination all:

1. Michael's Letter
2. Party at Michael's Apartment
3. Anthony's Decision
4. The Trouble Between Vincent and Joey Zasa
5. Who Sent You?
6. The Archbishop asks for Michael's Help
7. Shareholder's Meeting
8. The Vatican Bank, Rome
9. Atlantic City Massacre
10. Just When I Thought I Was Out
11. Mary Visits Vincent at the Club
12. Street Fair
13. Michael at the Hospital
14. Returns to Sicicly
15. Michael Tells Vincent His Plan
16. Confession
17. Michael Shows Kay Sicily
18. Pope John Paul I
19. Give Me A Chance to Redeem Myself
20. Teatro Massimo
21. Cavalleria Rusticana
22. Revenge
23. Finale on the Steps
24. The Death of Michael Corleone
25. End Credits
---o0o---

Friday, July 15, 2005

The Godfather Chapter Titles


My family gave me The Godfather box set for father's day. I have probably seen the movies fifty times since they came out, and it's great to actually own them now. I am utterly fascinated by the chapter titles Coppola gave the scenes.

If you know these movies, the chapter titles are totally evocative of the movie, and just four words can bring the entire scene flooding back into your mind. This must be one of the most fun parts of creating DVDs for movies.

The Godfather:

1. I Believe in America
2. The Wedding
3. Johnny Fontane
4. Tom Hagen Goes to Hollywood
5. Meeting With Sollozzo
6. Shooting of Don Corleone
7. Luca Brasi Sleeps With the Fishes
8. Michael at the Hospital

9. It's Strictly Business
10. How's the Italian Food in This Restaurant?
11. The Don Returns Home
12. The Thunderbolt
13. Sonny Gives Carlo a Warning
14. Michael Marries Apollonia
15. I Don't Want His Mother to See Him This Way
16. Apollonia's Murder
17. We Are All Reasonable Men Here
18. The Don Puts Michael in Charge
19. I'm Moe Green
20. I Never Wanted This for You
21. Baptism and Murder
22. Don't Ask Me About My Business, Kay
23. End Credits

Godfather Part II (DVD 1):

1. Funeral in Sicily
2. It's Not His Words I'm Afraid Of
3. Ellis Island, 1901
4. Party at Lake Tahoe
5. You Can Have My Answer Now
6. Frankie Pentangeli's Complaint
7. Bedroom Shooting
8. New York City, 1917
9. Vito Meets Clemenza
10. Keep Your Friends Close, But Your Enemies Closer
11. I Remember She Was Laughing
12. Welcome to Havana
13. I Know it Was You, Fredo
14. Was it a Boy?
15. Fanucci Wants to Wet His Beak
16. Murder of Fanucci

Godfather Part II (DVD 2):

1. You Can Never Lose Your Family
2. The Dog Stays
3. Senate Hearing
4. You're Nothing to Me Now
5. Pentangeli Sees His Brother
6. Michael, You Are Blind
7. My Father's Name Was...Antonio Andolini
8. Mama Corleone's Funeral
9. You Can Kill Anyone
10. Like the Roman Empire
11. Kay With Her Children
12. Hail Mary, Full of Grace
13. Surprise Party
14. End Credits

---o0o---

Chief Justice Rehnquist Says He'll Stay On SCOTUS

Bursting the media bubble, and stilling all the hot air coming from the blogs and web sites, including All This Is That, Chief Justice Rehnquist announced last night that he is not going anywhere!

Jul 14, 9:21 PM (ET)
By RON FOURNIER and GINA HOLLAND

WASHINGTON (AP) - Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, denying rumors of his retirement, said Thursday he will continue heading the court as long his health permits. "I'm not about to announce my retirement," he said in a statement obtained by The Associated Press.

"I want to put to rest the speculation and unfounded rumors of my imminent retirement," said Rehnquist, 80, and ailing with thyroid cancer. "I am not about to announce my retirement. I will continue to perform my duties as chief justice as long as my health permits."

Rehnquist released the statement hours after being released from an Arlington, Va., hospital after being treated for two days with a fever. [click on the title to link up with My Way and the full Associated Press story].

Thursday, July 14, 2005

In Support Of Karl Rove



Whitehouse.org, that fascinating site with a web address oh-so-close to the White House's, today put up this letter you can email to Karl Rove in his time of trouble... go there if you'd like to let poor beleagured Karl Rove that you're behind him 1001%.





-----Original Message-----
From: [YOU]
Sent: [NOW]
To: Karl C. Rove [karl_c._rove@who.eop.gov]

Subject: AMERICA SUPPORTS YOU KARL!

Dear Karl Rove: I just wanted to tell you that no matter how much indisputable evidence those fact-obsessed intellectual reporters release about you betraying America, I join the President in not caring diddly-squat about so-called national security when the only war that matters is the one we're waging against Democrats. So that makes you TOPS in my book!

Anyway, however it happened, that bimbo Valerie Plame got what she deserved for marrying a moron who spouted crazy talk about Saddam bin Laden not having all those Nukepox Laser Deathrays you made President Bush promise we'd find. Heck, she should be happy that you only assassinated his CHARACTER!

Well, I would say don't let this 'Plame Game' get you down, but I'm sure you're already orchestrating your greatest-yet Machiavellian stratagem (replete with Clintonesque legalistic parsings) to slither out of doing any prison time - especially since you were polite enough not to use Mrs. Wilson's first name.

So good luck with the indictments and likely cover-up conspiracy investigation, and next time you're whispering him sweet nothings, please tell Bob Novak I think his waxy tufts of silver ear hair are massively SEXY - in a totally non-homosexual way, of course!

Sincerely,

[YOU]

The Alien Resistance Movement




While the rest of us are sucked into The Hive, the The Spread the Word Alien Resistance Movement has fought against "abuses toward humanity demonstrated by so-called alien entities."

One of their tools in this fight, besides education, is the dissemination of free stickers. Send them a couple dollars and they'll send you a roll of 1,000 stickers. Maybe you will sleep better?

Painting: The Battle For Rohan

* Click painting to enlarge *

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

News Flash From Italy: Men Like Seeing Naked Women!

ROME (Reuters) Mon Jul 11, 9:15 AM ET - Most Italians think nude sunbathing is perfectly natural and don't mind crossing paths with bottomless beach-goers -- even when those bottoms are unsightly, survey results released Sunday said.

While topless sunbathing is widely practiced in Italy, bottoms are usually required and nudists can face fines of more than 500 euros ($595) on some beaches, the Italian Naturalist Federation said.

But the federation said a poll it commissioned from a mainstream media outlet found nearly 70 percent of those surveyed said they would sunbath nude if everyone else did it. More than 80 percent said nudism was not erotic, but natural.

Women were more frequently bothered by nude sunbathing than men. Just over 40 percent of women said they did not like seeing other naked females on the beach, while just 5 percent of men shared their opinion about nude women.

The survey found nearly two-thirds of men said they weren't bothered by nude male sunbathers.

When it came to unattractive or "brutto" sunbathers, most of those surveyed in the country that champions physical beauty said they didn't object to seeing them naked either.

Only about 16 percent said they were vexed by unattractive women nudists and 9.7 percent objected to unsightly men.

The Federation said the survey would bolster their hopes of getting more beaches set aside for nude sunbathing.
---o0o---

Pope Benedict XVI Does Not Like Harry Potter And The Book's Ability To Warp Formative Young Catholic Minds

It seems that Pope Benedict is no fan of the Harry Potter series of books. He apparently wrote a series of letters in response to reports that Pope John Paul II was a fan of the books...



















Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger
Vatican City March 7, 2003

Esteemed and dear Ms. Kuby!

Many thanks for your kind letter of February 20th and the informative book which you sent me in the same mail. It is good, that you enlighten people about Harry Potter, because those are subtle seductions, which act unnoticed and by this deeply distort Christianity in the soul, before it can grow properly.

I would like to suggest that you write to Mr. Peter Fleedwood, (Pontifical Council of Culture, Piazza S. Calisto 16, I00153 Rome) directly and to send him your book.

Sincere Greetings and Blessings,

Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Photo: Claire And Del In Victoria


click photo to enlarge

The Coast Guard Escorted Me Home This Weekend

Keelin and I spent this weekend on Vancouver Island in British Columbia. We sailed on the Washington State ferry from Anacortes to Sidney, B.C. and drove up the island coast to Point No Point, near where the Pacific meets the Strait of Juan de Fuca. In Seattle, I live a couple of blocks from Puget Sound, which feels like a bay, but at Point No Point you get actual waves, rocky shores, and waves more like the ocean. It is an amazing, pristine spot. The next two days we spent in Victoria. . .a town which impresses me more every time I am there. . .mainly because I associate it with seeing my daughter Claire, but also because it is a really nice city and I like Canadians. We ate outside at a restaurant, walked all over town, and stopped to watch a Zydeco show at the folk festival.

On the way home, moments after The Elwha pulled out, the Captain announced we would have an escort on the ride home. No, not Orcas or Grey whales, but the United States Coast Guard. The escort was due to "the heightened security conditions" following the London Tube and bus bombings.

The ferry was escorted all the way from Vancouver Island, B.C., Canada to Anacortes, WA, USA by two boats, one on our port side, and one starboard. One boat said U.S. Coast Guard; the other, U.S. Border Patrol.

They were nimble, fast boats and stayed very close. Whenever we passed another boat, whether a cabin cruiser or sailboat or yacht or barge, the Coast Guard moved between us and the boat. The Coast Guard boats spent a lot of time doing circles/doughtnuts and looked like they were having a grand old time. In retrospect, those doughnuts were a sort of Maginot Line.

Everyone was a little baffled as to what they could do to save us if a plane ran into us, or if someone on board had a bomb. It seemed a little silly. We seemed to have been briefly profiled as our cars pulled in, but compared to air travel, the security was meager.

We later realized they must have been armed with rockets or some kind of heavy artillery in case a boat tried to ram or bomb us. Needless to say, we made it back in one piece. I wonder if they are escorting the Superferries to Bainbridge Island that carry four times more people, and twice as many cars?
---o0o---

White House Stonewalling Leak Questions

The White House is changing their story, and swinging from full discslosure about the leak of the CIA operatives's name. Yesterday, White House Spokesman Scott McClellan stonewalled all questions, backing off from his (and The President's) previous defense of Karl V. Rove. And backing off from POTUS's earlier statements to reporters, like this one he made on Sept. 30, 2003, to reporters at the University of Chicago [1].


Q. Do you think that the Justice Department can conduct an impartial investigation, considering the political ramifications of the C.I.A. leak, and why wouldn't a special counsel be better?

A. Yes. Let me just say something about leaks in Washington. There are too many leaks of classified information in Washington. There's leaks at the executive branch; there's leaks in the legislative branch. There's just too many leaks. And if there is a leak out of my administration, I want to know who it is. And if the person has violated law, the person will be taken care of.

And so I welcome the investigation. I - I'm absolutely confident that the Justice Department will do a very good job. There's a special division of career Justice Department officials who are tasked with doing this kind of work; they have done this kind of work before in Washington this year. I have told our administration, people in my administration to be fully cooperative.

I want to know the truth. If anybody has got any information inside our administration or outside our administration, it would be helpful if they came forward with the information so we can find out whether or not these allegations are true and get on about the business.

Q. Have you talked to Karl and do you have confidence in him …

A. Listen, I know of nobody - I don't know of anybody in my administration who leaked classified information. If somebody did leak classified information, I'd like to know it, and we'll take the appropriate action. And this investigation is a good thing.
[1] Source: Federal News Service

Monday, July 11, 2005

Senator Clinton Compares POTUS To Alfred E. Neuman

click image to enlarge

The Aspen Times/Associated Press today reported that Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton ripped into President Bush in a speech Sunday, saying he has damaged the economy by heaping tax cuts onto the rich. Click on the link above to read the full article.

"I sometimes feel that Alfred E. Neuman is in charge in Washington," Clinton said, referring to the Mad magazine character with his catch-phrase "What, me worry?"
---o0o---

The "Indian Head" Test Pattern

<--Click image to enlarge-->
Do you remember falling asleep in front of the television, and maybe being awakened by that loud tone? You may think there is nothing to watch on those five hundred channels now, but in the 50's and 60's, you received only one to four stations, all of which stopped broad-casting sometime around midnight. When stations "signed off," or, quit broadcasting actual programs in the old days, that is, in my youth, they would air a five minute program, called Sermonette, or Moment Of Faith, followed by the National Anthem and that obnoxious hearing test tone, playing over the famous Indian Head test pattern.
---o0o---

President George W. Bush Speaks About Universal Values

"The relations with, uhh — Europe are important relations, and they've, uhh — because, we do share values. And, they're universal values, they're not American values or, you know — European values, they're universal values. And those values — uhh — being universal, ought to be applied everywhere."

— POTUS George W. Bush, at a press conference with European Union members, June 20, 2005, in Washington
---o0o---

More Supreme Court Positioning By Sen. Specter

The New York Times reported this morning that Senate Judiciary Committee chair Senator Arlen Specter has speculated that President Bush should name Justice O'Connor as Chief Justice. That doesn't seem all that likely, since O'Connor was well-aware of an incipient movement to pressure the White House to draft her should Rehnquist leave the court. She retired anyway.

Sen. Specter's statement indicate that he is clearly not taking directions from the White House--which should lead to an interesting confirmation hearing or two. Republicans don't seem to be able to keep Specter on the reservation any longer.
---o0o---

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Top Ten Internet Downloads 1995-2005

CNET, one of the biggest application download sites on the internet recently listed its top ten downloads of the last ten years:

ICQ
Winamp
Firefox

Napster
WinZip
iTunes
Ad-aware
Skype
RealPlayer
Adobe Acrobat Reader

---o0o---

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Poem: Optimism

click image to enlarge



In our tarpaper shacks,
We build crystal dream palaces
To colonize
When our ships come in.

---o0o---

Friday, July 08, 2005

Oh S**t! - Rehnquist To Retire? - Selecting The Next Chief Justice And Associate Of SCOTUS

Maybe the craziest part of this whole SCOTUS drama is that The President may actually nominate Attorney General Alberto Gonzales despite the massive, and apparently deep opposition from his own right-wing political base. And maybe the next weirdest part is how the Democrats have claimed Justice O'Connor as one of our own. How far we have sunk!


Robert Novak today speculated that

"Conservatives who have spent more than a decade planning for this moment to change the balance of power on the Supreme Court are reeling from blows delivered by two dissimilar political leaders: Edward M. Kennedy and George W. Bush. Sen. Kennedy has succeeded with the news media in establishing a new standard of 'mainstream conservatism' for a justice. President Bush has put forth ''friendship'' as a qualification for being named to the high court.

In the same article, he writes

"Adding to the tension is word from court sources that ailing Chief Justice William Rehnquist also will announce his retirement before the week is over. That would enable Bush to play this game: Name one justice no less conservative than Rehnquist, and name Gonzales, whose past record suggests he would replicate retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor on abortion and possibly other social issues. Thus, the present ideological orientation of the court would be unchanged, which would suit the left just fine."

Who knows how all this will play out? Will it help moderate POTUS's choices? Will he buckle on Gonzales? Will he select an old centrist and a young redneck?
---o0o---

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Painting of Caligula

Ut enim ad minima veniam, quis nostrum exercitationem ullam corporis suscipit laboriosam, nisi ut aliquid ex ea commodi consequatur?

Sed ut perspiciatis unde omnis iste natus error sit voluptatem accusantium doloremque laudantium, totam rem aperiam, eaque ipsa quae ab illo inventore veritatis et quasi architecto beatae vitae dicta sunt explicabo. Nemo enim ipsam voluptatem quia voluptas sit aspernatur aut odit aut fugit, sed quia consequuntur magni dolores eos qui ratione voluptatem sequi nesciunt. Neque porro quisquam est, qui dolorem ipsum quia dolor sit amet, consectetur, adipisci velit, sed quia non numquam eius modi tempora incidunt ut labore et dolore magnam aliquam quaerat voluptatem. Ut enim ad minima veniam, quis nostrum exercitationem ullam corporis suscipit laboriosam, nisi ut aliquid ex ea commodi consequatur? Quis autem vel eum iure reprehenderit qui in ea voluptate velit esse quam nihil molestiae consequatur, vel illum qui dolorem eum fugiat quo voluptas nulla pariatur.

Ut enim ad minima veniam, quis nostrum exercitationem ullam corporis suscipit laboriosam, nisi ut aliquid ex ea commodi consequatur? Nemo enim ipsam voluptatem quia voluptas sit aspernatur aut odit aut fugit, sed quia consequuntur magni dolores eos qui ratione voluptatem sequi nesciunt. Sed ut perspiciatis unde omnis iste natus error sit voluptatem accusantium doloremque laudantium, totam rem aperiam, eaque ipsa quae ab illo inventore veritatis et quasi architecto beatae vitae dicta sunt explicabo. Neque porro quisquam est, qui dolorem ipsum. . .

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Painting: Grey Alien No. 7

Click image to enlarge...

Another Missing Kid (From The 19th Century)

Click Poster To Enlarge.

This child, abducted in 1894, is said to "have been abducted by an organ grinder[1] and may be touring the country with and collecting pennies for one of this class."


[1]
A musician who plays a hurdy-gurdy[2] and usually performs on the street. In popular images and accounts, the organ grinder is often accompanied by a trained monkey. The kidnapped child appears to have been snatched to perform the monkey's traditional duties.

[2] A musical instrument that makes music by rotation of a cylinder studded with pegs (like the music boxes you may have had when you were a child).