Saturday, June 07, 2003

Like Eusthenopteron, I'm crawling out of the muck

Pathetic Earthlings is now at --- it may take a bit to get all the archives up, but I hope you'll switch on over to my new site while I try to work up some decent front legs.
Eat Your (Organically Produced, Free-Range) Young

If I've got to have some fresh tamarind for my jerk chicken dipping sauce, I go to Berkeley Bowl. Despite the political overtones, it's a damned fine store. But there's just about nothing that gives me the giggles more than a progressive business establishment being shaken down by its progressive employees in an effort to unionize.

This isn't quite as much fun as the former CEO of US Repeating Arms, Perry Odak, taking over at Ben & Jerry's, but it's close.

Friday, June 06, 2003

Hosting Matters, meet Moveable Type, Moveable Type... Hosting Matters

Actually, the service desks at both places here are extrodinarily responsive... but I keep having to forward emails between them. I haven't a clue what they're talking about.

Oooooo.... I'm leaving blogspot --- neener neener neeeeener --- although I will keep this place up as a backup.
The new heading needs some smoothing out...

But I think it'll be something like that.
Let It Be

The original, rear-engine VW Beetle will end its 70-year run when the Volkswagen-Mexico produces the last one this summer.
The Pataki-Def Jam Axis of Progress

A great piece over at Joe Conason today about Def-Jam chairman Russell Simmons' work with Governor George Pataki to reform the drug laws in New York State under which "a rapist or a murderer can receive less time than a first offender holding a small amount of cocaine."

As a successful businessman, Mr. Simmons says he regards a political campaign as an exercise in "branding" and "deal-making." The rappers are "the world’s greatest brand-builders," he says, and no politician "wants to be branded as being insensitive." Now he wants to "get a deal, get some people out of jail and give [the political leaders] the credit they deserve"—if they end up deserving it.

I hate Conason's little asides, not so much because they're often tautological: if they deserve it well... yeah... then they deserve it, but not if they don't. Bush's policies would be good.... if they weren't bad. I gave a complete quote from the Chairman of the IAEA... only I didn't. It's because half the time they're so nested in with what his interviewees are saying, I never know whether it's his comment or not.

Anyway, this is a fine article on one of the strongest salients against the drug war. There was a smaller victory on medical marijuana here in California, when yesterday Ed Rosenthal was sentenced to one day in jail (with credit for time served) and although the result was just, I haven't (and won't) spend the time relearning criminal procedure to opine on it.

A note on these sort of mandatory minimums. These are sentences below which judges are not permitted to go for certain (generally drug-related) offenses -- are not only a hideous injustice, but more's the point, generally absurd. Prior to post-September 11 reforms of the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, I worked out a scenario under which a person could get less time for simple possession of an atomic bomb than for simple possession of four ounces of crack. Mind you, you had to figure out a way to avoid the 36-level enhancement that would come if possession had a "substantial likelihood to hurt the United States or help an enemy of the United States" -- perhaps if you got stopped at a border crossing at Point Roberts, Washington sporting a 54-40 or Fight! bumperstrip -- but the law contemplated a situation where cocaine needed a stiffer penalty than weaponized uranium.

Thursday, June 05, 2003

Version 3

Mars needs women... and Glenmorangie.

Starting the Move to Moveable Type

It will be (at least) few days yet before I get things moved over, but I'm going to switch to Moveable Type and non-blogspot hosting --- assuming I can get it all worked out. I'm trying to do the whole page in gray-scale, so it's got a bit of that Atomic Horror feel.

Here's a mock up for the new title.

Wednesday, June 04, 2003

When I commit a crime, I like to use ten thousand dollar rifles and four dollar bullets

Fortunately, California has put a stop to me.
Something very, very cool.

I'd say that this Honda commercial was Rube Goldberg-esque, but it's better than that.

Via Common Sense and Wonder.

Tuesday, June 03, 2003

Marvin the Martian Heads Back Home

The mission patches for the next two Martian rovers show Marvin the Martian and Duck Dodgers from the 24 1/2th Century, respectively.

Via Robert Pearlman's CollectSpace
Spike Lee Claims Trademark Over the Word "Spike"

Spike Lee apparently believes that TNN's rebirth as "Spike TV" is a violation of his trademark and that, as he must maintain (if I recall my trademark law) -- that its use will, among other things, be likely confused and caused a dilution in the value in his own name.

I liked this part:

According to Lee, TNN's president, Albie Hecht, has said the public associates the name 'Spike' with Lee.

"Lee, whose given name is Shelton Jackson Lee, included in court papers affidavits from people including former Sen. Bill Bradley, and actors Ossie Davis and Ed Norton. The affidavits said the signers had thought of Lee when they heard about Spike TV and some said they believed he had become affiliated with the network."

Let's see... Ossie Davis, fine actor, long-time civil rights advocate and friend of Spike Lee. Ed Norton, fine actor, one time employee of Spike Lee and friend of Spike Lee. Bill Bradley, lousy Senator, former basketball star, recipient of Spike Lee's $1,000 donation to his Presidential campaign (type in "Lee, Shelton") and friend of Spike Lee. Yeah, gee, they might think of their friend when someone calls something "Spike TV"

But I thought Spike Lee's beef was that no one in America paid attention to him -- this connection didn't cross my mind -- yet America will, nevertheless, be confused by this.

Perhaps he ought to get an injunction against Charles Schulz while he's at it.
Truth Laid Bare's New Blogger Showcase

I'd checked out The Whiskey Bar even before the Showcase mostly to make sure he wasn't cutting in on my territory (no, seriously -- I'd love to find a Tequila blogger to help me understand higher end Mexican ambrosia, or a beer blogger, or a champagne blogger or anything else). I think Billmon he's completely wrong on... well... lots of stuff, I sure like his blog.

Check him out. I'm giving him a permalink among the Earthling's Loyal Opposition.

Monday, June 02, 2003

Macrobiotic Fascism

Give up beer or give up medical care. God bless socialized medicine.

Zen fascists will control you
100% natural
You will jog for the master race
And always wear the happy face

Close your eyes, can't happen here
Big Bro' on white horse is near
The hippies won't come back you say
Mellow out or you will pay

California Uber Alles
California Uber Alles

-- Dead Kennedys, California Uber Alles

Whiskey: Moonshine and Quality Control

Say Uncle notes an article about impurities in untaxed whiskey. He also has some good advise for checking the quality of the output of your friend's backyard pot still.

Sunday, June 01, 2003

Susan Sontag's Self-Indulgent Travel Agency

Andrew Sullivan awards Susan Sontag the Sontag Award for suggesting to graduates that they should "try to imagine at least once a day that you are not an American." But I think Andrew misses the better part of her rarefied little world:

Try to imagine at least once a day that you are not an American. Go even further: try to imagine at least once a day that you belong to the vast, the overwhelming majority of people on this planet who don't have passports, don't live in dwellings equipped with both refrigerators and telephones, who have never even once flown in a plane.

I'm all for empathy here for those of us not as fortunate as we Americans are to have been born (or moved) to this wonderful country, but her comments belie her own elitism. Being "Not American" I'm sure is an inherently good thing for Ms Sontag. But what's amusing is how readily she equates being an American with having the resources, time and, indeed, inclination to want to hold a passport. I'm sure in her American circles, every single one of her friends has a passport, but only about one American in five actually holds a valid, current passport.

I wonder if she even knows anyone who doesn't hold a passport...or if she could imagine that someone could live life without one.
Just Buttered Beans and Collared Greens and Biscuits on the Table

Over at Joanne Jacobs, I note that the new Montgomery, Alabama minor league team has been dubbed.... the Biscuits. The Montgomery Biscuits.

The only rule about naming a minor league teams is that folks need a team that people can cheer for without being embarrassed. The name can be silly (e.g., Lansing Lugnuts), it can be tough (e.g., the Kane County Cougars), it can be abstract (e.g., Las Vegas 51s, it can be cultural (e.g., the Saltillo Sarape Makers (there's an organized AAA Mexican league now... who knew?), it can imitate the Simpsons (e.g., the Isotopes) but it can't be stupid -- not if you want parents to bring their kids down to the park.

The Stockton, CA single A team tried to get all fancy, by switching their name from the Stockton Ports to the Mudville Nine, on the grounds that Stockton was occasionally referred to as Mudville and that Casey at the Bat was, supposedly, written there. Well, it was a dumb name that was unrootable, to coin a word, ("Go... Nines!") -- people hated it and, after a couple of years, they switched back.

But mostly, I just don't understand what the hell the name means -- I like biscuits as much as the next guy and, given a year in Little Rock, I think I have some sense of how much Southerners like them, but I don't know how one looks at the name "Montgomery" and decides that of all the mascots in all the world, they'd decided they needed to name themselves after part of a not-very-nutricious breakfast.

The official explanation doesn't really help.

(Check out Uncle Bob's near-scoop)