October 31, 2004

Doggerel from Phil Thibodeau, set in my old house in Port Matilda, PA

Collector of Genius

You left your changepurse on the stagecoach
The search for its beauty spread far and wide
The preacher who claimed he had E. S. and P.
Said, ‘If she’s got i.d., you can make her your bride.’

I am a collector of genius
My electric museum still shines
I keep my cool labelled in transparent boxes
And I can, if I want, use your name for this rhyme.

When the moon named her lover, the sun pulled a gun
Yelled ‘Take all your phases, and move it.’
The subsequent fight left the earth in the dark
And I’ve got the clips that can prove it.

A king who I know burned his fingers and toes
>From a fire in his red lucite kitchen
To keep off his blues and to find him new shoes
All my anarchist friends had to pitch in.

I am a collector of genius
My acoustic museum still shines
I keep my cool labelled in transparent boxes
But I know when to have a good time.

Imagine a custom ice house
Where the ceilings are fans of the walls
Where a map of the carpet
Has never been finished
And guides cross paths in the halls.

My chef makes his soup with panache, and cheese
Whenever we celebrate small victories
On the nights of the whirlwind, when God mows his lawn,
The lights may go out, but the feast will go on.

I am a collector of genius
My Shaker museum still shines
I keep my cool labelled in transparent boxes
But I wouldn’t mind having a sign.

- Phil Thibodeau

Posted by duver001 at 8:27 PM

Sing along to the animated elements

Tom Lehrer, twice the genius of the Beatles, even now.

Posted by duver001 at 8:01 PM

Albini & Genesis

After a meeting on Fleet Street in London, a group of us go to have dinner, as a guest of our sponsor, at the Wig and Pen Club, before seeing Skullflower.

A stone's throw from the Old Bailey, the Wig and Pen Club is housed in a building that was built in 1625, one of the few in the area to survived the Great Fire of 1666. The walls are covered with about a century's worth of caricatures of noted jurists and journalists, newspaper clippings of articles describing great deeds of various club members, their Times obituaries, and memorial dinner menus. A letter from the newly-reelected President Nixon proclaims his gratitude to the members of the club for their support, and foretells great achievements in his second administration.

We enter the bar to await our table. One of our hosts asks me what I'd like to drink.

"I'll have what he's having," I said, pointing to our sponsor, Genesis P. Orridge. I figure this is the best way to ensure a properly English libation to start off an evening of English dining.

After a few moments, I'm handed a bottle of beer. "Have you ever had one of these before?"

It's a Rolling Rock.

-Steve Albini

Posted by duver001 at 7:57 PM

Happy Halloween (All Hallows Eve)

Thanks to Catharine for these links...related to the torture and execution of "witches" in medieval Europe. Spent most of the day doing Halloween things with the twins...Orchestra Hall, swim class, lunch, costume trials, and trick-or-treating.

Court Records Vs. Individual Experience: A Trial at Bamberg

The Damnable Life and Death of Stubbe Peeter

Medieval Sourcebook: Witchcraft Documents [15th Century]

Posted by duver001 at 7:42 PM

October 30, 2004

Scottish court pardons witches

It might be a little late, but the execuated witches and their cats are being pardoned. To me, part of the oddity is thinking about 1735 law which only made it a crime to pretend to be a witch. Hmmmm...

Also, try the following "advertisement." WARNING: Not necessarily work safe. I'd adjust the volume down.

Posted by duver001 at 11:11 AM

October 29, 2004

Psychick TV (3rd iteration)

And Genesis is, well, a bit different these days. He and Lady Jaye are using cosmetic surgery to androgynize to the same final state. That is, to each remove their genders and arrive at a common median. Okay, it's a bit weird, but it's Gen.

PTV3 seems to have a web presence only via the Genesis central pages. Knitting Factory next week, DNA Lounge, Sabala's, and Empty Bottle...

Well, otherwise we can go back to playing the 24 hours of Throbbing Gristle.

Posted by duver001 at 8:13 PM

More Peel slowly and see

It's gratifying to see that there are a whole lot of people out there who agree that John Peel was one of the most influencial people in music over the last few decades. In the 1980s, buying a Peel Session slab of vinyl was generally a good way of discovering a new band or renewing an old friendship. Catching Peel on the BBC World Service was a reason to own a shortwave. Image the Sex Pistols, or the Jesus and Mary Chain, or the Cure without John Peel? Nearly impossible.

There's an excellent discussion going on on Plastic. I wanted to highlight the observation that Peel never got linked to a musical genre, here was an older family man who genuinely appreciated punk, reggae, hip-hop, and electronica. And long before most "cool" people did. And he let everyone know what music was crap with his dry wit.

Scotsman coverage of Peel's death in light of his new BBC schedule.

BBC Radio 1: Peel Show home.

"Perhaps it's possible that John can form some kind of nightmarish career out of his enthusiasm for unlistenable records and his delight in writing long and facetious essays." - from a school report

"I can't listen to it now without getting all dewy-eyed. And if I play it on the radio, I have to segue it into the front of another record because I can't speak after I've heard it." — John Peel on "Teenage Kicks," The Undertones

With a record collection estimated in the hundreds of thousands of albums (!!!), here's hoping that someone will digitalize them and make them available online. (Yeah, right.)

Another great story was Billy Bragg showing up at the studio with food and a demo after hearing John Peel announce on the air that he was hungry. Online sources name it as a "mushroom biryani." I couldn't make that up.

"I'm not looking for a new England..." - Billy Bragg

Posted by duver001 at 11:43 AM

More Dubya quotes!!!

"They want the federal government controlling Social Security like it's some sort of federal program." - St. Charles, Missouri, 11/2/2000

"This is an impressive crowd---the haves and the have-mores. Some people call you the elites; I call you my base." - NYC, 10/19/2000

"Recession means that people's incomes, at the employer level, are going down, basically, relative to costs, people are getting laid off." - DC, 2/19/2004

"There's only one person who hugs the mothers and the widows, the wives and the kids upon the death of their loved one. Others hug, but having committed the troops, I've got an additional responsibility to hug and that's me and I know what it's like." - DC, 12/11/2002

"See, we love---we love freedom. That's what they don't understand. They hate things; we love things. They act out of hatred; we don't seek revenge; we seek justice out of love." - OKC, 8/29/2002

"God told me to strike at al Qaeda and I struck them, and then he instructed me to strike at Saddam, which I did, and now I am determined to solve the problem in the Middle East." - GWB to Mahmoud Abbas (Palestinian PM), 6/23/2003

"We have had triumphs, we have made mistakes, we have had sex." - George H. W. Bush, 1988, describing his special relationship with Ronnie Reagan

I give up now...

Posted by duver001 at 8:25 AM

October 28, 2004

The Crying of Lot 49 re-re-re-visited

The shortest and easiest of Pynchon's books gets reread on occasion when I'm not feeling too well. This afternoon was a vividly ordinary rereading of the book: not feeling well, made coffee that was a bit too weak, pouring rain outside, and little impulse to tackle to the big problems of the world.

R.I.P. John Peel.

I also found one of the original reviews from 1966 of the book, though almost as much verbage was devoted to V. as to the CoL49 (hmmm...that makes for an odd abbreviation). Yotodyne and the impossibility of getting to the true truth seems like as good of a metaphor as I'm likely to find a week before this presidential election. But of what? WASTE and a parallel postal service? I remember getting strange items in the mail. Postal art in the 1980s. Real postage always on it. Flags upside down perhaps, but valid postage. Probably stolen from some office, pilferage rather than subversion of any paradigm.

Fiat Lux, fictitious stamps?

The reviewer was somewhat unhappy with the idea that the books might be naught but practical jokes and tried hard to connect V. with Vietnam. Trying too hard to be responsible and serious I think.

KCUF, signing off.

Posted by duver001 at 9:15 PM

The continuing crisis...

Seems that the Department of Homeland Security is right on top of the Rubik Cube knockoffs being sold in small shops. It appears that they've cracked down on all of the terrorists out there, arresting Cheney and Osama bin Laden, and are now valiantly defending America from knock-off Rubik Cubes. Though the patent protection had expired... Slashdot has picked up on it also.

I'm allergic to most cats, except for some short-haired, outdoor-dwelling felines, and in some cases QUITE allergic to them. On the other hand, I won't be one of the first to order Allerca the Hypo-Allergenic Cat. A mere $3500 will buy one of the first available transgenic pets. I'm guessing that the animals will be sold sterilized. Would the hypoallergenic gene supression breed true? Not sure about that.

And former detainees at Gitmo have been turning up back in Afghanistan, something that wouldn't have happened had they been treated in accordance with the Geneva Convention. They would be held until the end of hostilities and a negotiated settlement in Afghanistan. What a mess...

Posted by duver001 at 8:49 PM

Couldn't resist a little more politics...

A Florida man imprisons his girlfriend. To prevent her from voting for Kerry. A lock on the vote?

Bush's ghostwriter alleges that Bush was planning the Iraq invasion in 1999, before being selected president. This and other accusation appear on GNN. Would be nice to see if this leads anywhere, but with less than a week left before the election, all sort of oddities slide out of closets and out from under doors.

Posted by duver001 at 6:29 PM

Iraq death rate study: Perhaps 100,000 civilian deaths since the war began

Been sick again today, but this sort of news item seems important.

There's a lot of coverage out there, but I'll go with my basic AP News on Yahoo. As a physical scientist, the procedure for coming up with these numbers has obvious flaws, but it seems to have a history of working relatively well. Doubling the national death rate of a country is far from a humanitarian success. Hard to figure out what else to say other than noting the 57 deaths per 1000 live births child death rate! Ouch.

Another link.

Link to the Lancet article, registration required.

Posted by duver001 at 3:56 PM

October 27, 2004

Semipolitical news of the day

Well, I'm feeling a bit under the weather, so I'll keep it short. Just two links for your amusement today...

Our first is an warning, a gentle reminder that running over Katherine Harris is not protected political speech. Even trying to run her over could get you into a fair amount of trouble. Though the number of Death Race 2000 points you'd earn...

And in further Florida news, Diebold doesn't have to go it alone. Okay, that was too cynical, let's try again... 58,000 absentee ballots have disappeared. They were destined for a county that went Gore by a landslide. Question, who benefits from this loss of absentee ballots? Hmmmm...

Seeming less like humor is the Onion's coverage of the "Get out and vote on November 3rd" campaign for minorities.

Posted by duver001 at 7:32 PM

October 26, 2004

U2 and Negativland

It's been a while since the U2 vs. Negativland controversy (See here or look below at the extended entry for an ultraquick recap), and I hadn't followed much of what either band has done since 1994 or so.

Looking briefly, I find that there is a U2 special edition ipod available. (BTW, am I the only person who is consistently impressed with the simplicity and clarity of both Apple's web pages and Apple's web page naming?) Looks stylish.

Negativland's webpages show the availability of their long-anticipated movie (available via P2P and Bit Torrent) Mashin of the Christ and extensive pages on copyright and related subjects.

Okay, Negativland is a sample-based band. They made a parody of U2's music and released it with a record cover showing the U2 spy plane. Lawyers got involved and almost all copies were destroyed. Band and label then fought over money. Hijink all around. An interview with the Edge of U2 from Mondo 2000.

Posted by duver001 at 4:08 PM

Automobile technologies not for US consumption

The New York Times has a piece on automobile technologies not likely to be coming to the states anytime soon. It's a short article and focuses largely on the legal environment of the US as the technology limiter---mentioning only things like TV in cars, web & email, and self-parallel-parking modes.

Seeing this article made me think about the actual important technologies that haven't made it to cars in the US...fuel-efficient diesels, fuel-efficient anything, gasoline direct-injection engines, the common European rain-sensing wipers and roadway hazard radio modes, navigation systems that work, heck, even lots of good car models fail to make it to the states. Check out a copy of Car magazine (British general sort of car magazine, available at Barnes & Noble and the like) or Evo (for the higher performance crowd, similar availability) and see some of the examples. I think there's more at work than just lawsuits. Are the profit margins on cars very different here and in Europe? Japan? I'm not sure.

Posted by duver001 at 3:54 PM

Today's entries, by popular demand!

The final pie-fight scene in Kubrick's Doctor Strangelove was filmed, but cut from the release of the movie. On the other hand, those wild and crazy Taiwan politicos let it fly, live on TV (and in print coverage here) while discussing the military budget. Though the (fantasy) thought of our congress-slugs with lunchboxes does have a certain appeal. (Clash of the Titans lunchbox in Once Upon a Time in Mexico?)

Probably not as a result, Colin Powell strongly stated The One China Policy(TM) in unusually blunt terms. Could it be that after Putin's endorsement of Bush, they're also looking for a Jintao boost?

British experts have found that tea can prevent symptoms of something or other, I forget what. On the more serious side of brewing tea, there seems to be a problem in California. A horrible drug problem sure to create a new genre of warning films. Kava Abuse!!! The highway patrol is cracking down on those driving under the influence of Kava. "Drunk" on herbal tea. They said that they would even arrest those under the influence of a "good merlot." Egalitarian to the end.

Posted by duver001 at 3:16 PM

October 25, 2004

A short list of some of the presidential candidates

You probably know something about the first three, but probably not much about the others... Google away...

George W. Bush (Republican)
John F. Kerry (Democrat)
Ralph Nader (Reform Party)
Stanford E. "Andy" Andress (Independent)
Lawson M. Bone (Write-In)
David C. Byrne (Write-In)
John Joseph Kennedy (Write-In)
James Alexander Pace (Write-In)
Tom Trancredo (Write-In)
Thomas J. Harens (Christian Freedom Party)
Deborah Elaine Allen (Write-In)
Andrew J. Falk (Write-In)
Gene Amondson (Prohibition Party)
Michael Badnarik (Libertarian Party)
Walter F. "Walt" Brown (Socialist Party)
Roger Calero (Socialist Workers Party)
David Keith Cobb (Green Party)
Earl F. Dodge (Prohibition Party)
Charles Jay (Personal Choice Party)
John Parker (Workers World Party)
Leonard J. Peltier (Peace & Freedom Party)
Michael A. "Mike" Peroutka (Constitution Party)
Bill Van Auken (Socialist Equality Party)

And I've probably missed a bunch of others. Sorry!

Posted by duver001 at 6:22 PM

Newspaper endorsements

I'm not sure I've ever completely understood the newspaper endorsement of presidential candidates game. It seems strange to me that these endorsements, from normally staid, middle-of-the-road papers which attempt to be nominally apolitical, are important and, furthermore, eagerly awaited.

The current tally of newspapers has some real oddities, I think. Chicago Tribune and Harford Courant for Dubya? The Trib must have a lot of suburban readers? Connecticut needs to support the Shrub for what reason exactly? Another promised Seawolf sub? Hadn't heard about that. Rich voters? Darned if I know.

Another surprise is the Idaho Statesman endoresement of Kerry. To be true, a lukewarm endorsement, but I can understand that. This is in a state which is likely to go Bushie by perhaps as much as 20 percentage points.

Speaking of the Chicago Tribune, they have an excellent article on the Turkish state control of Islam within the country. A fascinating read on how a fundamentally undemocratic agency helps maintain the secular, and indeed democratic, aspects of Turkish society.

And the New Yorker broke with tradition and made an endorsement of Kerry, or more accurately, an anti-endorsement of the current regime.

Posted by duver001 at 4:32 PM

Human abduct alien, in Roswell

The UFO museums, yes plural, in Roswell, New Mexico are quite a sight, a must visit if you happen to be in the area for some unknown reason. The drive between Roswell and Lubbock has a special place in my thoughts about the abuses of police powers, but that's really another subject entirely. As I haven't been following the local Roswell paper well enough, I had missed the news from July when an alien was abducted right off the street by people in a pickup truck. Shocking! Oh, an alien mannequin. In a wheelchair. I guess cow-tipping has gotten to be old and dull.

Posted by duver001 at 2:39 PM

October 24, 2004

Continuing the children's clothes theme with Halloween

Well, the Britney thing continues with Popstar Costumes down to sizes 2 and 4 in some designs. Some of the teen costumes are a bit further over the top, but the sizes are, well, headed into teen territory and that's a little something. With no sense of irony, the Harem costumes also extend down to the preschool harem wannabe. How sweet!

And, in talking about influences on children, and truly weird stories...the lavatory in which Martin Luther spent many hours contemplating the sacred (and presumably the profane) has been unearthed by archeologists. If you can answer the question raised in the article, I'd be happy to hear about it.

Posted by duver001 at 7:02 PM

Bush quotes

"You know, I could run for governor but I'm basically a media creation. I've never done anything. I've worked for my dad. I worked in the oil business. But that's not the kind of profile you have to have to get elected to public office." - George W. Bush, 1989

"Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we." - George W. Bush, August 5, 2004

Posted by duver001 at 5:28 PM

Final pre-election report from the Minneapolis Committee on Political Links

With just over a week before the November 2nd elections, it's difficult to imagine that there are any undecided voters, so listing the evils of the Bushites (PDF version here) may not be all that useful. Want to make some predictions? Well, try any of the electoral college map websites. I like this one in addition to the Boston Globe site mentioned earlier.

Lest we think November 2nd is our only goal, we're reminded of what we lose regardless of the election outcome and the importance of rededicating our efforts come November 3rd. So, finding little humor in the presidential election, we dare to ask the question, Is New York City's water supply kosher? A vexing problem.

Posted by duver001 at 4:31 PM

October 23, 2004

Further intentions

"It's unheard of, an adventure like this in the midst of the 20th century..." - G. Debord

When I first posted that on the web, it was indeed still the 20th century and the term Y2K hadn't entered the consciousness of even the most forward-looking swindler. Guy Debord is dead now, by his own hand, and within the integrated spectacle that isn't likely to fall to any known force. But is the web something different? A candle held up to the spectacle? Or spectacles held to the spectacle? Darned if I know, but it's fun to post up here my own little sound effects directed at the universe. Hey universe, listen up.

"Whatever represses pleasure will be destroyed by it." - R. Vaneigem

Paris in 1968 is not Minneapolis in 2004. Surely true. People are asleep, dreaming? The rain falls on empty sidewalks lit by the glow of televisions in the windows. Late capitalism has perfected the dreamy idle of clerks without customers, lovers waiting in vain, and the McDonalds monopoly game. Running in the streets proclaiming the end of history (herstory?) would be just absurd.

"Our aim is wakefulness, our enemy is dreamless sleep." - ToPY

But online, no one knows if you're serious. Why not? Why not let a thousand foolish ideas bloom? Declare the end of profane time, but go to work plenty early to get those memos finished. Ponder the politics of reductionism, but send your $20 to the ACLU.

Posted by duver001 at 9:07 AM

October 22, 2004

Newly discovered Plath commentary

"In Xanadu did Kubla Klown, a stately pleasure dome decree, where ALF the sacred fnord animal protectors ran to caverns measureless to mathematicians, down to the moonless sea...a young maid (making less than minimum wage because of NAFTA) played a hammer dulcimer to a crowd of people wearing black, except for the occasional refugee from a Renaissance Festival." - Sylvia Plath's commentary on Samuel Coleridge's "Kubla Khan"

Posted by duver001 at 7:14 PM

Ventura endorses Kerry?

Hmmm...well, maybe he's endorsing Kerry, but he's not talking. For the full odd details, turn to the AP newswire. Maybe they were afraid Jesse was going to say something about being reincarnated as a bra.

As an addendum, Jesse now speaks out against Bush.

Posted by duver001 at 5:55 PM

How would Hunter S. Thompson vote?

Well, why don't you take a look at his latest article in Rolling Stone? Can you picture Duke voting for Ralph Nader in 2000? It's a difficult mental image to bring up in my head. Of course seeing Kerry going duck hunting was also somewhat surreal. Not to mention almost anything Cheney does. Or Rumsfeld says. Heck, the whole theater of cruelty lot of them.

Posted by duver001 at 11:11 AM

More LA Times coverage of the Israel-Iran nuclear confrontation


Posted by duver001 at 10:51 AM

When universities act like corporations

Got a letter in email (along with everyone else at the UMN as far as I know) pointing me to this website for a "Strategic Positioning" statement, whatever that is. As L. said when asked whether this was still a university or a corporation, "Yes - an intellectual community run by corporate bastards. If they have 'Town Hall' sessions, then everyone has a chance to be 'heard,' and no one gets to complain that their ideas weren't taken into account when the university/corporation does something that makes monetary but not intellectual sense." Oh yeah, that's right. That's how it all works.

The notion that this Strategic Positioning (a university needs to position? what about teaching and research) is essentially copied directly from the Enron and Halliburton mission statements is hardly reassuring. That was a deliberate, ironic ploy, right? Has to be!

Posted by duver001 at 10:49 AM

Corbett interview

Speaking of John Corbett, there's an interview in Jazz Weekly. New book coming soon.

O for a voice like thunder, and a tongue
To drown the throat of war! -- When the senses
Are shaken, and the soul is driven to madness,
Who can stand? When the souls of the oppressed
Fight in the troubled air that rages, who can stand?
-- William Blake, "Enoch: The first city of angels"

Posted by duver001 at 1:36 AM

October 21, 2004

Diatribe against sexualized clothing for children

Teen stripper outfits, preteen stripper outfits, and highly sexualized girls clothing aimed at toddlers and elementary school children. I'm annoyed. Heck, disgusted in fact. Recently I had noticed a couple of repellent outfits (a size 7/8 (that's for seven or eight year olds, but what fit my daughters who are less than 6) skirt with the words "sweet meat" printed on the butt, for example) and been discussing this with D. who has noted many such clothing mistakes. Thongs for children as young as seven. See-through skirts and tops. PVC dresses for preteens.

I am not usually accused of being either a prude or socially conservative (hey, back me up here, would you folks?), and am not opposed to these clothing items on people who understand them. Anyway, I might be worsed to rant again about this at a later date.

Christian Science Monitor, on preteen clothing.

LA Times on "tween" marketing.

Madonna designed clothing for ages 2-16.

Thongs for the 7-14 year old crowd.

Posted by duver001 at 9:06 PM

Some interesting books in my office, and why...

Although most of my office books are physics or math, I'm going to take a broad tour of covering mostly non-technical books and ones that are maybe a little out of the ordinary. I'll leave links out of this, all of the books are available new or used on amazon.com and amazon UK (Sheppard).

Engineering in Emergencies, Davis and Lambert
This is an engineering and logistics guidebook for humanitarian workers. Though focused mostly on 3rd world, non-hazardous duty, humanitarian efforts, there is quite a bit which is relevant to general expedition planning, scientific expeditions, and directed 3rd world work such as photojournalism or documentary film-making.

Vehicle-dependent Expedition Guide, Sheppard
The final word, until the next edition, on getting around to interesting and odd places using a vehicle, well, a 4x4 truck anyway. The book is more than just a tad bit British, but it covers all of the bases and is the book used by Land Rover for their classes. Some equipment availability is different in the US, and the high-tech items move from cutting-edge to obsolescent much quicker than a book could document them, but otherwise we have a beautiful piece of work here.

Traveler's Handbook, Globe-Pequot
This is an interesting and unexpected little volume. The book consists of two sections, the first is a series of essays covering most any imaginable type of travel, dealing with customs, photography, traveling solo, etc. and the second part is a series of facts, recommended readings, and so on. The former are brilliant, with some essays (such as the traveling artist and overland through asia) that are inspirations. The second part of the book is mostly worthless with the internet available. Who would guess that what looks like the most general possible travel book would actually be excellent?

Wiley Encyclopedia of Energy and the Environment, Bisio and Boots
Two volumes covering the hugely important area of Energy (generation and consumption) and the Environment (effects and mitigations). Obtained this back when I was teaching an Energy and the Environment class, this continues to be a useful reference.

Jane's Mines and Mine Clearance & Brassey's Essential Guide to Anti-Personnel Landmines
Here they are being used as more than military gear porn. I have been interested for a long time in humanitarian demining, especially using modern sensor technology (ground-penetrating radar and neutron-backscatter in particular). A worldwide health crisis that largely kills below the TV horizon.

The Topos of Music, Mazzola
Truly a strange book that I have not spent enough time with. Subtitled, Geometric Logic of Concepts, Theory, and Performance. 1300+ pages and a CD-ROM.

Cosmic Rays at Earth, Grieder
A massive compilation of cosmic ray observational data, but NO CD!!! No website with the data collected, just pages and pages of graphs. Useful, but limited by a lack of electronically available data.

Short Speeches & Born Again & Fly & A New Species etc., Lawson
Alfred Lawson. An interesting character. Invented, in the real world or his own mind, major league baseball, the airline, the airliner, regularly scheduled airplane flights, the great novel of the 20th century (Born Again), a morally acceptable alternative to the banking system, a new religion (Lawsonomy), the only university needed (of Lawsonomy), and organic gardening. Wow! Lots of life and history, albeit almost all of a terminally weird nature, in there. Also worth looking at is the biography of Lawson and his ideas, Zig-zag-and-swirl by Lyell Henry.

Posted by duver001 at 6:20 PM

A good article on the Iranian nuclear program

From the LA Times, comes this longish newspaper story on the Iranian nuclear weapons program. The emphasis is a bit different that the "November is the decision time" sort of stories I had previously linked, but still makes the case that time is short. One of the great unwritten (since I think a lot of it isn't understood fully at this point) stories of the 20th century must be the Pakistani, North Korean, Libyan, Iranian, and others (???) underground nuclear deals. A very odd business which has gotten buried in the "Pakistan is war on terror ally" propaganda.

Posted by duver001 at 2:14 PM

Our ethics lesson for today, Thursday the 21st of October, 2004CE

Consider the following case: On Twin Earth, a brain in a vat is at the wheel of a runaway tolley. There are only two options that the brain can take: the right side of the fork in the track or the left side of the fork. There is no way in sight of derailing or stopping the trolley and the brain is aware of this, for the brain knows trolleys. The brain is causally hooked up to the trolley such that the brain can determine the course which the trolley will take. On the right side of the track there is a single railroad worker, Jones, who will definitely be killed if the brain steers the trolley to the right. If the railman on the right lives, he will go on to kill five men for the sake of killing them, but in doing so will inadvertently save the lives of thirty orphans (one of the five men he will kill is planning to destroy a bridge that the orphans' bus will be crossing later that night). One of the orphans that will be killed would have grown up to become a tyrant who would make good utilitarian men do bad things. Another of the orphans would grow up to become G.E.M. Anscombe, while a third would invent the pop-top can. If the brain in the vat chooses the left side of the track, the trolley will definitely hit and kill a railman on the left side of the track, "Leftie," and will hit and destroy ten beating hearts on the track tht could (and would) have been transplanted into ten patients in the local hospital that will die without donor hearts. These are the only hearts available, and the brain is aware of this, for the brain knows hearts. If the railman on the left side of the track lives, he too will kill five men, in fact the same five that the railman on the right would kill. However, "Leftie" will kill the five as an unintended consequence of saving ten men: he will inadvertently kill the five men rushing the ten hearts to the local hospital for transplantation. A further result of "Leftie's" act would be that the busload of orphans will be spared. Among the five men killed by "Leftie" are both the man responsible for putting the brain at the controls of the trolley, and the author of this example. If the ten hearts and "Leftie" are killed by the trolley, the ten prospective heart transplant patients will die and their kidneys will be used to save the lives of twenty kidney-transplant patients, one of whom will grow up to cure cancer, and one of whom will grow up to be Hitler. There are other kidneys and dialysis machines available, however the brain does not know kidnys, and this is not a factor. Assume that the brains choice, whatever it turns out to be, will serve as an example to other brains-in-vats and so the effects of his decision will be amplified. Also assume that if the brain chooses the right side of the fork, an unjust war free of war crimes will ensue, while if the brain chooses the left fork, a just war fraught with war crimes will result. Furthermore, there is an intermittently active Cartesian demon deceiving the brain in such a manner that the brain is never sure if it is being deceived.

Question: What should the brain do?

Alternative Example: Same as above, except the brain has had a commisurotomy, and the left of the brain is a consequentialist and the right side is an absolutist.

"Can Bad Men Make Good Brains Do Bad Things?" by Michael F. Patton, Jr.

Just noticed that the author of this also has the Cliff Notes for the essay also available online.

Posted by duver001 at 12:14 PM

Old quotes for the grey day

School Prayer is a sort of a code word. It doesn't mean anything really. I think it would be a step in the right direction possibly. What matters is a return to basic discipline or morality. --Pat Robertson, Baptist Press, 6/7/86

Do as you're told: Vote Conservative. --Tory campaign button, London, 1987

There is no place left where people can discuss the realities which concern them, because they can never lastingly free themselves from the crushing presense of media discourse and of the various forces organized to relay it... When the spectacle stops talking about something for three days, it is as if it did not exist. --Guy Debord, Comments on the Society of the Spectacle

Never before has censorship been so perfect... The spectator is simply supposed to know nothing, and serve nothing. Those who are always watching to see what happens next will never act: such must be the spectator's condition. --Guy Debord, ibid.

Posted by duver001 at 12:10 PM

John Corbett, from the depths of past reading

If we modify those aspects of Mulvey's [ed note -- Laura Mulvey, feminist film theorist] analysis that are specific to film, in particular the way that compulsive sadistic response to threat is rationalized via narrative, it becomes clear that a similar mechanism propels the commodification of music objects. Consumerist compulsion is rationalized in a narrative of trends and styles, the object's story of becoming obsolete. Through an intricate interweaving of disavowal and fascination, the music industry has succeeded in seizing a medium that optimizes both. Voyeuristic fascination is concentrated into issues of fidelity; 'unfaithful' music objects (scratched records, obsolete technology) are diagnosed and controlled. Fetishistic pleasure is organized around the reconstitution of the visual and the substitution of musical objects for the impending loss that they trigger. Thus, in fetishistic audiophilia the scramble to negotiate the menacing void manifests itself in one of three ways: (1) the attempt to reconstitute the image of the disembodied voice; (2) the assertion of the autonomy of sound and the fetishization of audio equipment; and (3) the attempt to fill the void with recorded music objects.

Free, Single, and Disengaged: Listening Pleasure and the Popular Music Object, by John Corbett, from Extended Play: Sounding Off from John Cage to Dr. Funkenstein, (a collection of essays, profiles, and interviews by Corbett).

Posted by duver001 at 12:02 PM

October 20, 2004

Pat Robertson clarifies...

...something or other about the war and George Bush's upcoming victory. So, did Bush really think there would be NO casualties in Iraq? Anytime we need to invoke Pat's name, we know it's going to be a weird tale.

Posted by duver001 at 5:38 PM

TV off button remote control

The kindly folks at Cornfield Electronics have made a little device that cycles through all know IR "TV off" command sequences. One of these should be able to turn televisions off (regardless of manufacturer) in public locations. They got written up in Wired magazine and their web hosting hasn't been too happy, but it does look like a good device to remove televisions from our environment. Then I will pay attention to the person across from me at dinner and not the CNN screen. I promise!

Also in the news recently have been the Israeli-made cell phone jammers being used in Mexican churches, French trains, and Italian movie theaters. Or GPS jammers...

Posted by duver001 at 12:40 PM

Fugu a go-go

There was some news in Japan over the last week or so of a couple of Fugu-related deaths. If you didn't know, the poisonous blowfish is used for at least two interesting different purposes. In Haiti, it's used to make the Zombie Dust (I'll leave you to your own searches about the truth and fictions of Zombification, Voudon, and the dust, but if you want only one reference then you should take a look at Wade Davis's classic The Serpent and the Rainbow of ethnopsychopharmacology) and eaten in Japan after being prepared by specially-trained, authorized chefs.

Here are some spots for you to start your reading...

Japanese food site.

Travel link.

And Japanese pop culture link.

Of course, you're really here to hear the story of what it tastes like. (What's the purpose of talking about the stuff if you don't try it? I take offense at the ridiculous travel and dining articles "but we didn't have any." If you review the Louvre, you do go inside, look around, dodge the American Dan Brown fans, and see the Mona Lisa while you're at it. If you review Fugu, you eat it. Sashimi, sushi, and fondued.) So, at the cosmic ray conference in Tskuba, Japan back in 2003 part of the Pierre Auger Collaboration got together for Fugu.

If things went wrong, there would be additional job openings in Particle Astrophysics.

Nothing went wrong. Very tasty. Slight numbing of the tongue and lips which indicated that just enough of the toxin was in there to remind you that the edge was relatively closeby. I can cross that one off of my list. Would I go again? Sure, it's tasty, different, and the connections you build cheating death...

Posted by duver001 at 11:49 AM

October 19, 2004

Google usage

What google is used for in other parts of the world. Thinking about this web log, I might be in a world of trouble if I were 'napped.

Posted by duver001 at 5:25 PM

Letter from the Raelians

Dear science colleagues,

Thank you to those of you who took an interest in this important matter and replied to our original letter regarding super collider's risk to life.

Some of you asked for evidence to support our views. We would like to ask you to consider the three notions that we brought up as tentative, yet coherent scientific hypotheses to be explored and examined further. Even ad hoc hypotheses have their place in the development of new scientific theories. The three notions we express are, 1) universe is fractal in nature and is infinite in time and space with an infinite number of fractal levels of life and existence in the infinitely large and in the infinitely small matter, 2) All life on earth is the result of an intelligent design and did not come to existence by chance, and 3) life exits at all levels of the fractal universe and thus super colliders which may be using technologies that destroy life in the infinitely small worlds should not be used (as life must be protected at every level of existence in the universe). As intelligent and capable human beings we must be the guardians of life as we are the only beings capable of doing so.

These three theories that some of you described as beliefs are as coherent and as reasonable as some of the current leading theories. Big bang and evolution are still lacking strong evidence and scientists may be biased in trying to have their results fit with their theories. By opening the door to alternative theories, new insight and understanding of basic mechanisms may be obtained. This is now what is happening for example in biology where numerous geneticists and biologists no longer consider DNA molecule as 80% junk but as a masterpiece of code and biological instruction where every element plays a role in defining life. This also helps in the recognition of intelligent design as an alternative theory of life. By introducing the fractal theory of universe (described also by Carl Sagan), we believe it could open the door to an alternative and more accurate view and vision of our world.

Some of you raised the point that fission break up of matter and high energy cosmic ray flux occur naturally and can be worse in their effect in destroying infinitely small universes than super colliders. First, we can speculate that since high energy cosmic ray is very rare, and anti-matter does not exist in our nature, the kind of collision that physicists create in super colliders do not occur in nature. Furthermore, we also beg you to consider that we human beings are not unconscious matter resigned to laws and accidents of nature. If earth quakes destroy our cities and kill populations of humanity, we surely do not wish to detonate the earth from beneath the feet of our fellow human beings using explosive technology in the hope of some discovery.

We raelian scientists do not claim to be able to explain everything. We however feel it is important to describe our views to the world scientists as the consequences of the misuse of technology can be critically significant. If the notions we espouse here will eventually help develop new theories worthy of scientist's attention, we consider our efforts in contacting you well and worthwhile.

We believe our scientific creators, the Elohim of the Hebrew Bible who are our biological and intellectual parents do not wish to see us destroy life and ourselves. We don't argue about their existence at this point, but we believe we all agree on the aim of this debate, the desire to protect life at all levels.

Thank you for taking the time to share your views with us.

The Raelian Scientists Association


A riotous group of folks and their attempts to save all life on earth. I'd have to admit that it's an admirable goal. Their methods? Not so sure about those. See what physicists have to deal with for junk mail every day? Funny stuff, crazy stuff, and the occasional gem.

Posted by duver001 at 10:08 AM

October 18, 2004

...of the day

I know the human being and fish can coexist peacefully --G. W. Bush

See also the Bush Calendar site.

Posted by duver001 at 2:48 PM

October 17, 2004

Six things you didn't know about Minnesota

Located here. See also several other states. Contribute your own favorite.

Posted by duver001 at 10:46 PM

The next little war

Scheduled for sometime after the US elections, there seems to be little doubt that Israel (plus the US behind the scenes) is going to be forced to strike at Iran's nuclear weapons program. Diplomatic efforts are continuing, but Iran appears fixed on their "nuclear power generation" mechanisms. (Don't they have some oil?) The Israeli's have announced a drop dead date in November. Since it appears unlikely that the US is interested in spreading its troops out even further, the Israelis are going to be the active party. After all, they are the only country which has prevented another nation from becoming a nuclear power through air strikes (Iraq in 1981). Well, take a look at the following articles and see what you think...

Iran's most recent statements.

Some analysis

JWR analysis of the issue. Holbrook's take on the matter.

Iran's nuclear arms plus missile program.

The arms to do the damage.

Details of the BLU-109. Though I would have worked out its penetration and built enough concrete over my reactor. Did the Iranians?

Posted by duver001 at 10:28 PM

Political thought of the day

"To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile...but is morally treasonable to the American people." - Theodore Roosevelt

Posted by duver001 at 4:27 PM

October 16, 2004

Pierre Salinger

Pierre Salinger, JFK White House staffer and long-time news correspondant passed away. The obit does mention his work with the TWA flight 800 business. A strange business indeed. Early indications of the cause of the crash centered on a missile impact to the 747. The ultimate NTSB verdict was an explosion of fuel vapors in one of the fuel tanks. This explanation was widely criticized and most of the weblinks out there remain focused, as Pierre Salinger was, on the role of a missile. Quite possibly a US naval practice missile. A quick starting point for looking at this is the TWA800.com site or here.

I reserve judgement on this as it seems difficult to believe that any such coverup could be successful for long. We'll see if eventually it becomes common knowledge that a missile was responsible.

Posted by duver001 at 10:07 PM

October 15, 2004

Malaria medications

Probably not exactly in keeping with the wine (and future coffee) focus of this category, but what the heck... If you've traveled in malarial zones, you probably remember chloroquine and the nightmare of mefloquine, and also the sight of small kids suffering from malaria. It's been discussed many times how malaria is the most serious worldwide epidemic that doesn't have much PR or news profile. The drug companies have traditionally spent very little on malaria medications or a malaria vaccine as the financial rewards are viewed as slight (compared to western lifestyle meds). Some good news on the vaccine front though in today's news. Good to see this!

Posted by duver001 at 8:57 AM

October 14, 2004

Physics professor goes nuts in class

Screaming obsenities, claiming to be god, and writing 911 on the board. Police have been interviewing him and he's been banned from campus. Hard to imagine something like this happening, isn't it?

Posted by duver001 at 9:01 PM

Albion Lawrence's Physics Quotes

In a bizarre set of connections involving Ed Witten and a shaggy dog story, I've found quite a few odd quotations from my grad school classmate and current Brandeis University professor Albion Lawrence. Quotations from physics notes...

"When your dog tells you he will bring an elephant home for dinner, he is deceiving you."

"...unfortunately he was savaged by a cow, and died." - on the relationship between Lie Groups and Lie Algebras

"I wouldn't want you to think I had to do show business for a living. Why, I could make $3,000 a year just teaching!" - Tom Lehrer

"Do not baptise a person while they are unconscious." - From jesussave.us
"Customers must be conscious upon entering the premises." - Chicago Tattoo Parlors

"What is the holy spirit? And what is it doing in my eggplant?" - Pentecoast & apologizes to my eggplant messiah

Posted by duver001 at 1:37 PM

Links for the day

Direct brain to computer interfaces being tested. Right out of a cyberpunk novel.

An interesting study on the quasi-military pseudo-government "private security firms" that have played such a large role in the Iraq debacle.

If you don't get The Nation you may have missed the latest scandal. What, it hasn't been topping the news, at Fox or GE?

One last one, in full bitterness mode. Don't forget to look at The Onion's Darfur coverage.

Posted by duver001 at 12:40 PM

Phil Roth, The Plot Against America

I'm not the world's biggest Roth fan, but his latest caught my eye in the library. It's an alternate history "what if" Lindberg won the 1940 election against FDR and fascism came to America 60 years earlier. The Jews are deported, but not to camps, but rather to be spread out family by family across the states. Is this a book about Sharon? About the Patriot Act? Does the artists' intentions matter?

Still, it's tied in to a dream I've been having lately (yeah, yeah, a non-Jewish persecution dream) of running through the fresh snow pursued by the faceless enemy. It ends, as it obviously would, with some leaving and some staying.

Posted by duver001 at 12:12 PM

October 13, 2004

Amazing landscape

Storm over Alaskan mountains.

Also check out this photo winner from the same site. 80 layers in photoshop!

Thanks to CG for these links.

Posted by duver001 at 12:48 PM

Good car pictures (special for today)

Hmmmm...Jaguars are warm weather animals. Which reminds me of a great story about how I tracked on foot a mountain lion across the hills in Argentina while it hunted sheep. It's a good one, I promise.

I should put a picture of my car up on the web at some point, but this is the same model and year. (Here's one in Japan.) 1998 Volvo V70R AWD. Good geek-mobile. Plus the twins like it when when cornering fast. What do the Aussies call it? Scoring on the curves I think it was.

And the car that I would build if I had the time. That's right, build. You buy the Caterham as a kit and assemble it in your garage. How's that for geeky? There's a book called roadster about the author's construction of a Caterham Super 7. Links here and here (amazon). Oh yeah, there's also the cost. These things are affordable in the Uk, but really pricey in the states. Maybe that would be a good excuse to take a couple month car-construction-holiday in Leeds (or Hull).

Posted by duver001 at 12:27 PM

October 12, 2004

Funny slashdot poll


Or we can just quote Douglas Adams and move on...

I've come up with a set of rules that describe our reactions to technologies. Anything that is in the world when you're born is normal and ordinary and is just part of the way the world works. Anything that's invented between when you're fifteen and thirty five is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it. Anything invented after you're after thirty-five is against the natural order of things.

Posted by duver001 at 8:49 PM

4th of July Invites

First invites are going out for the 10th anniversary Mike 4th of July party. As always, George Clinton will be invited. Will keep everyone (whoever it might be who reads this) informed of what's happening with the party on this page. Thanks much and cheers...Mike

Posted by duver001 at 1:21 PM

October 11, 2004

Until the End of the World

"All things turn to junk. Do our images also turn to junk?" - Wim Wenders

Had loaned this film to a friend of mine and I was trying to explain why it is my favorite movie and realized that it's not the easiest thing/process to describe. As a fan of road movies (Highway 61 anyone?), this score high, perhaps it's the ultimate road movie as we cross four continents with impressive cinematography and a vaguely noir aesthetic.

1999 was the year the Indian Nuclear Satellite went out of control. No one knew where it might land. It soared above the ozone layer like a lethal bird of prey. The whole world was alarmed... Claire couldn't care less. At the time, she was living her own nightmare. The same dream arrived each night. She was gliding over an unknown land, pleasantly at first, but then the gliding would turn into falling, the falling into panic, and then she'd wake up.

The videotape version is about 2.5 hours, about half of Wender's planned length. DVD releases have been delayed repeatedly. There are rumors now of some sort of Italian release DVD. Anyway, another way of looking at this film, starting from the science-fiction aspects (which are relatively few) is as a fully-realized P. K. Dick novel on the big screen. Dreams, love, nightmares, the tyranny of images.

I said: Thank you, girl; thank you, girl I'll love you till the end of the world with your eyes black as coal and your long, dark curls and with the horses prancing through the fields, with my knife in my jeans and the rain on the shield; I sang a song for the glory of the beauty of you waiting for me in your dress of blue. - Nick Cave

If you have patience with it, this movie rewards you. The epic scale looms over small characters existing in the shadows of right and wrong. Family loyalty and addiction. Hey, it's a good film that seems to either click or not (see the Amazon reviews for the range of opinions).

The Strange Case of Until the End of the World.
Wim Wender's site.


Posted by duver001 at 10:34 PM

Today's links of truth, happiness, and the Homo Sapien way

Kenyan ecologist Wangari Maathai who just won the Nobel Peace Prize, turns out ot have some eccentric ideas on AIDS. Deliberately created in the lab. To wipe out Africans.

Was chatting with some colleagues today about the great Sokal Hoax, and decided that you, kind reader, needed some links in case you didn't catch it the first time around. The Science Wars. Wikipedia---Sokal Affair.

There's a domain dedicated to the eternal (well, hopefully just dealt with in November) question Is Bush Wired? See also Plastic's coverage entitled What's the frequency, Dubya? While on the subject, you might as well look back and read about Dan Rather's Kenneth incident. I'll let you do the relevant searches. Cheers...

Posted by duver001 at 5:57 PM

Global warming/CO2 in the news

A recent article in the Guardian (UK) noted a large increase in atmospheric CO2 in the last year. This has led to some fears that a large CO2 sink (or resevoir) has filled up and is accepting more more of the greenhouse gas. There is a discussion underway on Slashdot at the moment of this. There's a surprising number of, "nope, no such thing as global warming/anthrogenic warming" posts. I think it raises the additional issue of how the media requires two points of view (no more, no less) even if there is no genuine debate or if there are more than two points of view. "Is the Earth round" would have to be balanced with a Flat Earther. And forget those who think we're on the inside surface of a sphere...

The best primer that I know of for global warming, addressing the science and the connection of people to the warming is the book "The Discovery of Global Warming" by Weart. If you want more information, or don't feel like buying the book, an expanded version of the book with all of the backing materials are found online at the Americal Institute of Physics history of climate and global warming pages. I reviewed both the book and the website in Physics and Society 33(3):16 (July 2004), the newsletter of the American Physical Society’s Forum on Physics and Society.

Posted by duver001 at 10:20 AM

Additional wine recommendations (low prices too)

Here are a few other good wines from recent experience. No tasting notes, just "that's good" for a report.

George Deboeuf, Moulin-a-Vent Domaine des Rosiers 2003 $11 (yeah, the beaujolais folks)
Covey Run Merlot 2001 $8
Tortoise Creek Syrah Vin de Pays d'Oc les Amoureax 2003 $7 (great name!)
Aia della Macina, Morellino di Scansono Poggio Roggettone 2003 $10
Jean Leon, Syrah-Carlnena 2002 $11
Chateau Routas, Coteaux Rose Rouviere 2003 $8 (such good names!)
Lindemans, Shiraz South Australia Reserve 2002 $8
Smoking Loon, Syrah 2001 $7 (another good Syrah buy)
Aleph, Malbec Mendoza 2002 20ARP (purchased in Argentina, but I understand it is imported, 20ARP is about $7 US)
Michele Castellani, Amarone della Valpolicella Classica 1999 $60 (a definite splurge, but I'll do that sometimes for an amarone, this was 6 months or so ago, made an impression...)
Bogle, Zinfindel Old Vine 2002 $9
Castle Rock, Zin 2002 $9
Concha y Toro, Cabernet Sauvignon (the really long winded one, can't find the label at the moment) $12

That'll do it for the moment, lest I look like some sort of wine fanatic.

Posted by duver001 at 12:15 AM

October 10, 2004

Cutup for M&S aged 5.5

My blowing in how I taken a two. Long the wind, short hair hand. Dare ruffled by the Dada the moonlight? Should school bus Now you you twob ath before going back morning, we'll and shave to little gals, hair Momma's place evaluation our lunches get up jar, the classroom. In the, brush for room 107 teeth and breakfasts. I tickle you in tomorrow? Your love the two of you. hair, dress and eat our legos are there are some more in the Make early, shower and meet the sleep promptly at 7:05. so peacefully my love you Mrs. Campbell have dears. How I nicely packed away and.

Posted by duver001 at 7:21 PM

Links de jour

Proof that one can sell anything, even nothing. It's not on my holiday wish list, thank you very much. Of course, George Dubya isn't on my list either and we may yet end up with him as first paperweight. My gals were excited when they saw this comic parody of Curious George. They realized it wasn't "their George" from the first panel though. "Drinking from a glass?"

There's an interesting discussion of the difficulties that Russia is facing (declining population, AIDS crisis, brain drain, alcoholism, declining lifespan, quality of life, etc.) on Plastic which is typically a good read. The discussion comes out of a recent New Yorker article "The Devestation." A sad business all around. There are some links in the articles to the grim business of Russian Mail-Order Brides as well.

Posted by duver001 at 3:24 PM

Wine Tasting Notes (Minneapolis-St. Paul Fall Wine Tasting)

Big hits (but costlier)... I'm using $13+ as the dividing line.

Alvaro Palacios Bierzo "Corullon" 2001, $27
- wine-maker is "bright young thang" of spanish wine
- less complex than a fine bordeaux, but headed into the same territory

Rex Hill Pinot Noir 2001, $22
- Willamette Valley, Oregon
- a bit expensive for what you get, but it's as pure a Pinot experience as I know

Ferrari-Carano Tresor 1999/2000, $25
- Formula One money?
- bordeaux five grapes in a wonderful, rich, deep blend---long after taste of vanilla and berries
- #3 overall

Aia Vecchia Lagone 2002, $15
- super-tuscan, not a type of wine I know much about
- wonderfully complex a la French wine rather than Italian

Rosemount Hill of Gold Shiraz 2002, $15
- see below for my comments on a parallel aussie shiraz tasting

Chateau Haut de Boussan Medoc 2001, $19
- #2 choice from the tasting, really headed into my range of preferences
- very complex, full, rich experience
- beaten by a cheaper yank? hmmm...
- put some in a cool spot in your house and impress the neighbors for the next decade or two

Palazzo Brunello de Montalcino 1998, $33
- little walled town south of Siena
- pricey, but seemed to me to be the perfect stereotyped wine of Italy (earthy and fruity)

Dry Creek Vineyards Meritage 2000, $20
- another quite good California attempt at claret

Justin Paso Robles Cabernet 2002, $23
- a near perfect cab
- wonderfully in your face

Champalou Vouvray 2002, $13
- I didn't taste many whites, next time need to do a round of whites before demolishing my taste buds on cab after cab
- the vouvray flavors were strong enough to register, silky smooth wine

Hahn Meritage 2002, $13
- my personal favorite from the tasting, #1
- maybe not quite the Medoc, but cheaper and maybe a touch rougher (in a positive way)
- five grapes used a la bordeaux

Less expensive. More bang for the buck. Less than $13.

Buckeleys Shiraz 2002, $8
- need to do a head-to-head comparison of a bunch of shirazes at some point
- anyone want to join me?

Cetemura Chianti DOCG 2001, $11
- seemed like the best of the many chiantis being poured
- very much the type of wine that got me interested in wines in the first place

Masseria del Pilone Primitivo 2001, $7
- this was my best find on the lower price end
- southern italian wine (I wasn't a huge fan of sicilian wines when traveling there, but this primitivo comes across as a brash, bright red that I'd serve with most any pasta or maybe a sea bass)

Osborne Solaz Tempranillo-Cabernet Sauvignon 2002, $8
- this was my other find on the lower priced wines
- cheap spanish wines never did much for me, but this one has character---strong flavors, aftertaste maybe of leather and earth

Charriot Sangiovese 2002, $12
- US sangiovese, seemed like a perfect match for food
- also contrasted nicely in style with...

Fonterutoli Badiola Sangiovese 2002, $10
- old world sangiovese, probably what I would stock heavily if I ran a restaurant
- could charge $24 in the restaurant and no one would mind much
- plus it's a great name

Posted by duver001 at 2:44 AM

The Great God Pan is Dead

Success will write apocalypse across the sky. There's a particular thrill in understanding, appreciating, and reaching an understaning with the darkness. Who were burned alive in their innocent flannel suits. It needn't be a friendship, indeed, it had best not be. Lonely here and I think you knew and I'm waiting; And I wait in vain. A terrible logic is difficult to deny though and probably most of us thought up some large fraction of it ourselves---only later to find it had a name, a book, and a graffiti mark on the wall. Our contention is rather that it has been created, will be created, and is being created. This world or the make-believe one, and without a doubt ours is a lot more interesting. You are in a maze of twisty little passages, all alike. On the other hand, there is entertainment and routes between the worlds. Choose the darkest colour you can find as the cardboard must be opaque to the light of a 100 watts bulb.

Posted by duver001 at 1:11 AM

October 9, 2004

Derrida R.I.P.

Jacques Chirac announced that Jacques Derrida had passed away at age 74. I'll pass on the possible jokes, and instead run with a Gysin-style cut-up. Not sure what Derrida thought, if anything, of Gysin, but what the heck...

Derrida Obit

Cut-up, hommage a Derrida

When I thought first Leni. The sarcasm bought Derrida for wasn't there, about Jacques, I words was the a hero hard to knew that he was a What, in the end, I found far out of difficulty. was treated. had their war. They had their And what It's tell interpretations, popular treatments,with translations, A march of insects breaking down, the doors. I once harder than his Beginners for not in the words, not in the acts, or. Truth did he truly say? is postmodern, high "difficult" read. holy nature of how he cult-figure status, and teachers. Pupils even the movements. Making and on with delicate we have to know this as Americans. Europeans colonies. The world moves prose.

Posted by duver001 at 11:53 AM

Wine tasting

I'll upload my tasting notes from last night's wine tasting when I get a chance. I think a good time was had by all. It's some benefit for the Humane Society (for Companion Animals, kinda a bit too PC sounding for my taste) but some good wines. A mix of representatives from the wineries and from the distributors and retailers. The Hahn Meritage was my surprise find of the evening (wine-wise). It's a California attempt at blending the five Bordeaux grapes---honestly would not have been able to distinguish it from a decent second cru. Probably the freedom in the minimum and maximum fractions of each variety of grapes enhances its year to year success. The 2002 is Merlot dominated while the 1999 was more Cab-centered.

Posted by duver001 at 11:39 AM

October 8, 2004

Commercial space flight

There's a decent discussion on plastic.com of the possibilities of space tourism, etc. after Dick Rutan's success with the X-Prize flights. The discussion seems to be a bit too much on money since this country, when the leaders feel like it, can borrow $1.1 billion dollars per day (true figure) and spends $20,000 per second in Iraq (also a true figure).

On a tangential subject, the Canadians might sue the Brits over the condition of the (former) Upholder subs they bought. Check out the story for some details. "Bought under warranty." Sorry, this weapon of destruction did not meet my requirements?

Posted by duver001 at 1:17 PM

So, more background material

Clearly the unasked and unanswerable question about blogs relate to who extracts utility from them other than the writer? Well, I'm not going to address that here. since my llack of understanding of psychology is exceeded only by a lack of understanding of psychology terminology. Okay, no more flailing about on that issue.

Instead, more intro in the form of what this blog is not about:
1. A few of the blogs I have glanced at in the past had to do with cancer experiences---blogs while in chemo, surgery recovery, or in radiation therapy. None of them really grabbed my attention much I have to admit. (To each their own and all.) I've been dealing with an inoperable brain tumor over the course of the last year and a half or so, but there just isn't much to say. Chemo sucks. It's pretty nasty feeling sick and low energy most of the time. Likely I'll live long enough to see my twins grow up some. End of story.

2. Though I like to think of myself as a good filter of internet oddity, google does in fact exist and nothing odd that I'm finding is all that buried. I do work for a living after all!

3. Journals. I've keep journals a few times in my life, but never really had a lot of interest in sharing them. Writing journals and personal journals. My little five year old gals keep journals at home (they dictate) and at school (they write) and those I do have a tendancy to share. When I was a-courting my (ex-) wife, I found we essentially kept running journals to share with each other by writing long emails, paper mail, and collecting interesting items to send to each other. On the other hand, romancing the world sounds bizarre, sappy, painful, and way off.

4. Learning to type better. Nope, had a chance in high-school to learn to type correctly. Have survived with two fingers on each hand and a thumb. To type with, that is, the rest of my digits are just hanging around while typing.

On the other hand (as it were) I'd like to address music, politics, science, books, and movies at various times.

"When you read this I am alive. I am here on this page. I am here. I am HERE!" - Brion Gysin

My webpages (first coded in 1993 (how many geek points does that get?) but not updated much since 2001 (I missed the commercial space flights, Hilton in orbit, and the whole first contact)) should be linked here as well.

My linkage for the presidential race coverage...

Who the heck are all these people who are switching their votes? Everyone I know has been planning to vote for Kerry or Nader, except for this one person who thinks global warming is good and is fixed on Bush.

Finally, the obvious humor in our presidents is getting some coverage

And an interesting observation from the first pres debate...


Posted by duver001 at 1:05 PM

October 7, 2004

Recent links of joyous interest

Betting on the Novel peace prize...
Dubya is 26:1. Milosevic is 501:1. As is Willie Nelson. WTF!

(Wangari Maathai seems to be a better choice overall.)

The best pictures of Mount Saint Helens current, hmmm..., troubles
wish I were flying into PDX soon. (Thanks to for this link.)

Coke's problems in England

US Elections...looks like here in Minnesota the suicide bomber threat is finally being appreciated as election officials will be checking you as you vote. Is that bulging waist due to Busch, pregnancy, or C4? That belt? Is it made in the West Bank? (A subject that always crosses my mind when I see the UMN exits...East Bank, West Bank.)

How scripted are the debates?

If you can't find a bandname you like in here, you're pretty much going to have to play the laptop by yourself.

Posted by duver001 at 2:15 PM


Ignoring the road to hell, what I'm going to try to do here is post some of the thoughts and links that cross my computer screen, desk, and brain. Anyway, first I'll need to set the stage...

I haven't really updated my web pages in a few years which sort of makes a mockery of the whole "instant and real-time" nature of the web. Though I suspect that blogs will ultimately be viewed as the pet-rocks or chia-pets of the naughts (2000-2010, aughts?, zilches?) I, for one, am unafraid of being less than hip in this regard. Let me burn some karma for having seen Patti Smith at CBGBs and Liz Phair in a friend's living room.

Copying information directly from the Department of Homeland Security index, here are my official specifications...

Employer: University of Minnesota
Occupation: Professor
Research area: Small, fast moving things that come from space
TSA alert level: RED (most of my colleagues won't go through security near me)
Quest: Holy Grail
Height: 6'6"
Hometown: Newington, CT
Last seen: Drinking coffee
Known or suspected hobbies: cooking, dining, vino, roasting coffee, reading, writing, traveling, flying kites in Antarctica
Most incriminating work-related book in office: Jane's Manual of Mines and Mine Clearance
Most incriminating book at home: The Temporary Autonomous Zone (TAZ)
Music playing on the stereo: Dead Can Dance
Thoughts on Cat Stevens: "Well, since the government deported him, I feel so much safer from terrorism."
Biggest spider I've ever seen (outside of a museum): This huge, nasty wolf spider walking on my dorm-room desk when I was in college---dropped a copy of the CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics (weighs about 8 lbs for the non-science geeks out there) and the spider walked away.

Is that enough background for the moment?

Posted by duver001 at 11:46 AM