Saturday, January 21, 2006

Yesterday the value of Google stock dropped by a full 8%. I don’t think it was my fault, but, even if it was, what the fuck? It's the weekend. Let’s just kick back and relax.


HCB as sent over this nice picture of the 1930s pioneer stripper and fan dancer Sally Rand, who also happens to be his aunt.


So if you need to read page after page of mindless babble as Paris Hilton gives a court deposition, here’s the link. Be my guest. It's sorta weird art. If you know what I mean. And maybe a reason to bring back the guillotine.


The secret word is Lazy

"Talk to the hand."

Doc40 All-Time Icon # 6 – Harry Dean Stanton

(Yes, a virtual baseball card.)

Friday, January 20, 2006

BUT -- IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN IT ALREADY -- READ THE TOP ITEM FROM YESTERDAY! With Google, as some girl points out, now being simultaneously cast as both the Defender of Freedom and the Faceless Phantom Menace, cyberspace and paranoia both become highly complicated. But that’s the way of it in the New American Century. Just keep the government away from my search records. Okay?

But if you don’t remember Richard Nixon (think what a fucking monster Bush would be with a functioning brain, and you pretty much have Nixon) here are some observations...

"Nixonland is a land of slander and scare, of lay innuendo, of a poison pen and the anonymous telephone call, and hustling, pushing, and shoving - the land of smash and grab and anything to win." – Adlai E. Stevenson, 1952

"Nixon is a shifty-eyed goddamn liar, and people know it. He's one of the few in the history of this country to run for high office talking out of both sides of his mouth at the same time and lying out of both sides." – Harry S. Truman, 1961

"The great division in retrospective appraisal of Nixon will be between those who regard this as the most inept of presidential performances, and those who will regard it as the most vicious." – Richard E. Neustadt

"The President is the Government" – John Ehrlichman

The secret word is Dick

"Je pense donc je suis."

Doc40 All-Time Icon # 5 – Brigitte Bardot

(Another virtual baseball card.)

Thursday, January 19, 2006

"Ann Coulter said fascism would be fun."

After my earlier Googlephobia post, the shit hit the fan – maybe by the synchronicity of the damned – as the White House moved yet again to get its dubious fingers on what amounts to our collective stream of consciousness as expressed by our use of search engines...

By Howard Mintz, Mercury News
The Bush administration on Wednesday asked a federal judge to order Google to turn over a broad range of material from its closely guarded databases.
The move is part of a government effort to revive an Internet child protection law struck down two years ago by the U.S. Supreme Court. The law was meant to punish online pornography sites that make their content accessible to minors. The government contends it needs the Google data to determine how often pornography shows up in online searches.
In court papers filed in U.S. District Court in San Jose, Justice Department lawyers revealed that Google has refused to comply with a subpoena issued last year for the records, which include a request for 1 million random Web addresses and records of all Google searches from any one-week period.
The Mountain View-based search and advertising giant opposes releasing the information on a variety of grounds, saying it would violate the privacy rights of its users and reveal company trade secrets, according to court documents.
Nicole Wong, an associate general counsel for Google, said the company will fight the government's effort ``vigorously.''
``Google is not a party to this lawsuit, and the demand for the information is overreaching,'' Wong said.
The case worries privacy advocates, given the vast amount of information Google and other search engines know about their users.
``This is exactly the kind of case that privacy advocates have long feared,'' said Ray Everett-Church, a South Bay privacy consultant. ``The idea that these massive databases are being thrown open to anyone with a court document is the worst-case scenario. If they lose this fight, consumers will think twice about letting Google deep into their lives.''
Everett-Church, who has consulted with Internet companies facing subpoenas, said Google could argue that releasing the information causes undue harm to its users' privacy.
``The government can't even claim that it's for national security,'' Everett-Church said. ``They're just using it to get the search engines to do their research for them in a way that compromises the civil liberties of other people.''
The government argues that it needs the information as it prepares to once again defend the constitutionality of the Child Online Protection Act in a federal court in Pennsylvania. The law was struck down in 2004 because it was too broad and could prevent adults from accessing legal porn sites.
However, the Supreme Court invited the government to either come up with a less drastic version of the law or go to trial to prove that the statute does not violate the First Amendment and is the only viable way to combat child porn.
As a result, government lawyers said in court papers they are developing a defense of the 1998 law based on the argument that it is far more effective than software filters in protecting children from porn. To back that claim, the government has subpoenaed search engines to develop a factual record of how often Web users encounter online porn and how Web searches turn up material they say is ``harmful to minors.''
The government indicated that other, unspecified search engines have agreed to release the information, but not Google.
``The production of those materials would be of significant assistance to the government's preparation of its defense of the constitutionality of this important statute,'' government lawyers wrote, noting that Google is the largest search engine.
Google has the largest share of U.S. Web searches with 46 percent, according to November 2005 figures from Nielsen//NetRatings. Yahoo is second with 23 percent, and MSN third with 11 percent.

Our pal lever posted a comment below with a link to a chilling little moviette. Read the comment, but here’s an easier link.

The secret word is Stop

Wilson Pickett -- RIP

"Are you still looking at me?"

Doc40 All-Time Icon # 4 – Travis Bickle

(Yes, this is turning into a set of virtual baseball cards.)

In recent issues of LA CityBeat, I’ve written two pieces that at least touched on the sometimes uncomfortable interface between man and machine. One was about Ray Kurzweil and The Singularity ( ) and the other was a cover story on contemporary media that touched on the role of Google in the world. ( )
It now emerges that there are people out there who are extremely nervous of the growing power of Google and are weaving what could be the biggest conspiracy fest since the shots from the Grassy Knoll, encompassing everything from AI to mind control to aliens. And me? Where do I stand in all this? Well, I guess I’m firmly on the fence. We’ve been nervous about the mechanism since at least the days of Ned Ludd, and, so far, I’ve managed to just about keep up with the modern world. In fact, on any given Thursday, I may well trust machines more than I trust humans. Also self-interest tells me that I use Google many times daily and definitely don’t want to piss it off. On the other hand, I do love a good conspiracy. So go check this out for a whole lotta fun...

The secret word is Algorithm


Wednesday, January 18, 2006

"It’s not easy being green (while conquering the known universe.)"

Doc40 All-Time Icon #3 – The Mekon

(I think this is turning into something akin to a set of virtual baseball cards – or unconscious self-revelation.)

Check this, precioussssss....

Funtopia Rich sent over the following link ( ) to "Ministry of the Child Care Action Project (CAP): Christian Analysis of American Culture Ministry", a complicated website – with graphs, flashing lights and constant appeals for donations – that grades all the movies that it can get its hands on, to help parents spot the ungodly evil that lurks in the output of Hollywood. And, man, is there some dire and ungodly evil on the silver screen.

Take, for instance, a snippet of CAP on ROTK.– which one might consider family fare..
"How can I call The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King a work of art? Because of the skill and talents that went into a beautifully choreographed and orchestrated symphony of visual and audio excellence in a story of contrapositioned good and evil. Then how can I find issue with it if it is so magnificent? Because, in nutshell, art does not equal sin and sin does not equal art. Art becomes sin when art uses sin. The inference drawn from the beauty of the manner used to contraposition good and evil may lead some viewers to believe more of evil than evil is due. Whether intentional, such presentation of sensory and spiritual food can be trickery.

The listed offences to God include – "unholy transformation by evil power; talking trees; unholy healing; evil control; unholy possession; threat by wizardry/sorcery; prophesying; evil beasts/demons; repeatedly enlisting tens of thousands of "walking dead" to do good by assisting the "good guys" in battle; frequent and repeated graphic views of many unholy creatures (Orcs) many times in close-up; use of evil (sorcery/witchcraft/wizardry) to do good by assisting the "good guys" in battle; grant of immortality. Plus moral problems like – sparse dress on male character; repeatedly excessive cleavage; open face kiss; smoking; drinking; drunkenness. "

Or CAP on the Star Wars saga...
"While violence was a saturating presence in each of the Star Wars movies, the violence presented was described by one of our subscribers as "clean violence." I may not agree entirely with that description, but the point is made. Subjectively speaking, the kind and scope of violence in the Star Wars movies was akin to that with which we as parents today grew up with: cowboy, military, and cops & robbers violence -- the kind that does not typically drive itself so deeply into the behavior choice warehouse of the adolescent who is aflame with prepubescent or pubescent fire as does the popular style of steely cold violence inflicted with orgasmic satisfaction. Except for that expressed by the emperor in The Return of the Jedi as he tried to kill Luke and in the face of Darth Maul in The Phantom Menace, there was no lust for or joy in inflicting violence noted in the Star Wars movies. The more graphic invasive elements of ignominy included in the Star Wars movies should be relatively re-directable by caring and participative parents, but it is especially important that you share with children the possibly dangerous common invisible or translucent sub-theme of discarding the Sovereignty of God and His Word."

I really have no right to argue with those who subscribe to this nonsense. Hey, it’s a free planet (supposedly). But for once in my life I can only echo the cry of Helen Lovejoy. "Will someone please think of the children?" What kind of dangerous emotional cripples is this mindset raising? (I also wonder what CAP would make of Sting of Death – see last Sunday.)

The secret word is No

Chris Taylor, a 30-year-old British computer programmer, grew suspicious of his live-in girlfriend when his pet parrot began to imitate her saying, "I love you, Gary." Ziggy, an 8-year-old African gray parrot, named for Ziggy Stardust, would also make kissing noises whenever the name Gary was mentioned on TV and would mimic Suzy Collins saying, "Hiya, Gary," every time she answered her mobile phone. Confronted with the evidence, Collins admitted to a month-long affair with a coworker named Gary and moved out of their shared Leeds apartment that same night.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

"My dear Doc, a whip can speak volumes."

(Doc40 All-Time Icon #2 – Bettie Page)

(And mainly because they don’t like Al Gore)
Buried in yesterday’s NY Times oped page was a story that made my blood boil (and I use the metaphor very deliberately.) Here’s an excerpt...

"In science, nature is the sole arbiter. Disputes are resolved only by better experiments. The better experiment when it comes to global warming was to be the climate observatory, situated in space at the neutral-gravity point between the Sun and Earth. Called Lagrange 1, or L1, this point is about one million miles from Earth. At L1, with a view of the full disk of the Sun in one direction, and a full sunlit Earth in the opposite, the observatory could continuously monitor Earth's energy balance. It was given a poetic name, Triana, after Rodrigo de Triana, the sailor aboard Christopher Columbus's ship who first sighted the New World. Development began in November 1998 and it was ready for launching three years later. The cost was only about $100 million. For comparison, that is only one-thousandth the cost of the International Space Station, which serves no useful purpose. Before Triana could be launched, however, there was a presidential election. Many of the industries favored by the new Bush White House were not anxious to have the cause of global warming pinned down. The launching was put on hold."

And let’s face it, $100 million is fucking chump change. I actually know someone with that kinda scratch. For the full story...
And also

I’ve posted Clive Thompson’s link before, but his blog of science/pop-culture tales is so neat, here it is again...

The secret word is Fried

Monday, January 16, 2006

"I have the audacity to believe that peoples everywhere can have three meals a day for their bodies, education and culture for their minds, and dignity, equality and freedom for their spirits. I believe that what self-centered men have torn down, men other-centered can build up. I still believe that one day mankind will bow before the altars of God and be crowned triumphant over war and bloodshed, and nonviolent redemptive goodwill will proclaim the rule of the land."

(Thanks to Miss Templeton for the text – )


That slightly dubious award show The Golden Gobles happens today. (And on MLK Day which seems kinda cheesy.) To further complicate the event, highly unnatural winds are buffeting LA and all the hairspray in Hollywood is being used up to keep stars and celebs coiffed on the red carpet. For more on award shows...

The secret word is Fluorocarbon

And if you wanna see a can of hairspray explode...

Bumper Sticker Of The MillenniumJESUS LOVES YOU – but everyone else thinks you’re an asshole.

And my ego just compels me to post this link...

CRYPTIQUEIt’s so big it has its own weather system.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

HCB has sent what has to be one of the most bizarre movie synopses that I’ve ever encountered...

STING OF DEATH 1966 U.S. film.
It's the timeless story of boy meets girl, girl is loved by another guy who is ugly, girl doesn’t love ugly guy so he becomes a huge killer Jelly Fish. Actually there's more—including some wild butt-shaking rock n roll dancing and two songs by early 60s pop icon Mr. Neil Sedaka who sings the Ska-flavored teen dance hit "Do The Jellyfish" and "Don't Be Stingy Baby." Lots of 60s butt close-ups, wild youth, beer drinking and a very high body count. Joe Morrison, Valerie Hawkins, John Vella, Jack Nagle, Sandy Lee Kane, Deanna Lund, Lois Etelman, Blanche Devereaux, Doug Hobart, Neil Sedaka. Note: Here's a sampling of the deep and meaningful lyrics to "Do The Jellyfish:" Monkey. Don't be a donkey. It's nothing like the Monkey. It isn't funky or anything that's junky. It's something swella! The jilla-jalla-jellyfish!

And it seems as good a time as any to provide a link to the semi-related blog of Dr Mysterian.

The secret word is Squiddy

"There’s a fly trapped in my gun barrel."

(Doc40 All-Time Icon #1 – Jack Elam)

A theme seems to be emerging this week. We celebrated Albert Hofmann’s 100th birthday, we discovered that America is back on the booze, and now I come across a delightful observation on absinthe by Oscar Wilde. Oh to be able to "see things as you wish they were."

"Absinthe has a wonderful color, green. A glass of absinthe is as poetical as anything in the world. What difference is there between a glass of absinthe and a sunset? After the first glass, you see things as you wish they were. After the second, you see things as they are not. Finally, you see things as they really are, and that is the most horrible thing in the world." – Oscar Wilde

The secret word is Aesthetic