I tune in somewhat reluctantly to the feed at the thinly disguised waste of time calling itself lifehacker. How thrilled can a person get about fifty time-saving, life-improving methods a day? A universe of hacky-hack-hackity tech tips and tricks may tickle Cory Doctorow in his secret place, but for the rest of us a consuming tech fetish is mainly an annoying waste of time.

BUT, I'm a big fan of streaming your own audio, which is what this lifehacker post is about.


before I forget

Alice Ottavi at ADT dental does unnecessary work. Go to someone else if you have the choice. Try Thomas Cornelissen at Calhoun dental instead. He won't cheat your ass the way Alice will.


If I find out who had me added to AARP's mailing list, you're in trouble.


inside the mind of cory doctorow

Should I post that?
What words can I combine with -punk today?
Wow, that's incredible.
I wonder what Rudy Rucker has to say right now.

It's 79 and sunny. Nice to be back in the sunshine state. I managed to get on an earlier flight out of Kennedy yesterday and beat my scheduled time home by eight or nine hours. Awesome, especially since the later flights were delayed and delayed and delayed.

Breitling was first-class all the way. It's a work hard, play hard bunch up there in Wilton. We worked on a few movements and cases, hit a few points of theory, had our work evaluated, and got to talk to the employees and so on. If I were the trainer I wouldn't do anything different. It was nice at the end to see how the polishing works. We went through a 988, a 251, a 2896, and a 7754. A 7754 is what makes a watch work that looks like this.

When things are educational that's normal, because in life there is a lot to learn. When things are very educational, there was more to learn than you thought. When something is extremely educational, you were in over your head and you're lucky to be able to fight and/or fake your way through. This was educational, but if I weren't fresh out of school, we could easily have been in the realm of very. I learned a new way to observe hairsprings, how to properly set up the giant date wheels on a 2896:

and many other things. Quotable endorsement: because of Breitling I learned how to do a better job easier, and that's as good as information gets.

They fed us terrifically too. Twice, the places we had lunch or dinner had "as seen on the food network" on the menu, and they were both good and so were all the others. In the case of Bobby Q's in Westport, it was fantastic. I had the ribs and shrimp and tried the barbecue sauces, which were excellent. One of them was heavy on the black pepper, and it was a perfect ten.

Believe it or not, there are places even better than those seen on television. The last night we were in town they took us out to la bonne nuit, whose coq au vin exceeded all but maybe five dishes of my lifetime. The memory of over-eating on Monday night was still fresh enough to keep me away from the creme brulee, so I had a port. They couldn't find the one I ordered, so they substituted a forty year old instead, which surpassed all expectations. Everyone had a good time and drank a lot of wine. I would be delinquent in my duty as a reporter to neglect mentioning the roads leading back to Wilton from New Canaan are fun in an Audi well above the speed limit.

But it's good to be back, too. It's now 81 and sunny and the time's come to go read by the pool.


ass over teakettle

I cobbled this story together from bits and pieces told by several different people. No one wanted to recount the entire event.

Last night a guy who's here for training got drunk before even getting to the restaurant. At one point during the meal he rose from his chair, lost his balance, and fell backward over his chair. He crashed into some other diners at this fine establishment and was belligerent and foolish in the way one might expect from someone who has no idea how to act.

It's bad being drunk and it's bad falling over while you're drunk, but it's got to be extra bad to be drunk and fall over in front of one of the head guys at the company, who today referred to the dinner as "a strange night" and left it at that. Who knows what kind of twisted depravity came out of drinky's mouth before and after the tumble? I bet it was a strange night indeed. How does one try and fail to recover from a spill like that? You miss one dinner and it has to be this one...

He didn't make it to dinner tonight and I doubt we'll have a repeat performance tomorrow with the president, but you just never know.

Why would I enjoy the failings of another? One, it gives me the chance to lay low and look good. Two, this guy never has never missed and often created opportunities to mention that in his sloppy manner of speech, he is "asecongenerationwatchmaker", and who stupidly flaunts his hand-me-down prestige in another way that would require me to name him, which is a step farther than I want to go. His father is actually good and doesn't deserve to be dragged into it.

Al K. Holic wouldn't have had a yard sale in the floor if he'd known the world would be watching and I'm nothing if not fair and inconsistent, so I don't want to nme him by his first name either. As far as I know he's never done anything to offend posterity, so I won't be the one put them at odds.

All in all things are going well. I took the night off last night and missed the social disaster of the year because I wanted to do something familiar, and the only thing that really means is time with the redhead. I talked to her on the phone for an hour and watched a tv show, because we like that show and it's free minutes after seven. We watched house, which is normally great, and I think they made it shitty this week just so she and I could talk the whole time and not miss anything. Thanks, whoever, for screwing it up. Whether you're clowning around like a drunken rag doll or making a bad tv show, your mistakes make my day.


strong men also cry

I miss my little lady.


fun with the TSA agent

K, so my wife's up in our old neighborhood accidentally running into a couple of my best friends at the bar, and I'm sitting in a hotel room on the east coast, waiting for time to pass so I can wake up tomorrow and go to Breitling. She wins, I lose.

My day started with excellent travel plan executed flawlessly, save for a treacherous TSA agent in Fort Myers.

I'd left my cell phone in my pocket by mistake and when I went through the beeper thing it went off. So I stepped back, he asked if I had anything in my pocket and I was like "Oh." when I found my phone, and put it in a basket. Then the guy goes "Place it on the conveyor." I looked over at the conveyor and on it there were bags jammed together and nothing but floppy edges and uneven surfaces. He was asking, no, ordering me (What is up with the army-type shit? You don't order people to do stuff. This is a civil society, right? I feel like the message that we all know, and no one wants to admit is, no, it's all martial and has been for a while.), to put my wallet and cell phone and keys and stuff in that little plastic tray and risk it just tipping over and spilling all over deep in the guts of the crazy bomb detector. I apprised him of this. "Yeah, but it's full of people's stuff, look at it..."

"PLACE IT ON THE CONVEYOR!" I looked at him. This is what people do when other people shout at them. That's one of the main reasons shouting was invented, to get people to look at you. Not an impressive looking man, in any way at all. Shortish, late forties, unhappy. Your typical person.

I don't like being shouted at, especially if I haven't screwed something expensive up several times in a row due to gross negligence or am hurting someone by accident, which I never do, because I pay attention. Fuck being shouted at.

So I did the only thing there was to do, put the tray down at about a forty five degree angle, the only angle available, on top of someone's bag who was just going to get to steal my shit on the other side, and walked back up to the beeper-gate thing with the guy on the other side and looked at him. I looked right in his eyes as deeply as I possibly could, the way I look at myself in the mirror when I practice burning a hole in the universe, and said "Whatever you want" in a calculated voice.

I should tell you that of all the things I am good at, I do none of them even half as well as I piss off people who deserve to be aggravated. If there was a way to measure this ability I'd be dramatically world-class. The look I gave the guy, the unmistakable tone in my voice and the almost imperceptible contempt in my sidle, sent the man into the red.

"Step over there, please." He pointed with his device to an area in the middle, obviously singling me out for punishment. I had been bad and he had said please. I didn't believe that please for a second.

Then he shouted again. "MALE ASSIST!" Until this point I hadn't given a shit about this man at all. Just a guy who would probably rather not have to go to work at three o'clock on a sunday morning. Actually at this point I still didn't. But he couldn't resist shouting one more thing as I passed him: "We got an ATTITUDE PROBLEM!!!"

My jaw dropped and I turned to look at him as I walked into the glassed area. I'd been shouted at by a very stupid, petty man, with poor impulse control. If that's the caliber individual who's supposed to be keeping America safe, we're all fucked.

Then a perfectly helpful guy came over and as much as a "male assist" can be said to be actually assisting in anything, it was. I raised my arms and he patted me down and rolled his eyes with his whole body. He was a stand-up guy. I liked him so much I told him that his coworker had a Napoleonic disorder. He didn't say anything but I could tell he agreed. That other guy, though, ought to be thankful he's so ordinary and forgettable. If I had half the chance I'd do the only honorable thing and run him right off the road if I saw him out driving around. He wanted to ruin my morning. What a piece of shit.

This mean little man would love to have more power in his life, and we've already seen what would happen if he got it. Typical beta male, gotta fuck with me because in a very real way, I own his ass. One of the great things about living in a liberal democracy is that power tends not to over-accumulate, and we avoid having gangs of official thugs cracking skulls, and that's good. There are still plenty of bad eggs, and a lot of them wind up as cops. But for today, I'm just glad there's still enough common sense in the world to keep someone stupid from hitting me. I expect this to change over the next twenty years. Gotta get my licks in while it's still safe.

I'm not sure when it started but I was in my twenties, but I see far more value in dying for a cause than in killing for one. And every time I make idiots taste blood from wanting to hurt me and being restrained by liberalism, by the rules of a civil society, I win. I've won a lot, because I'm not afraid, or at least less afraid of an altercation than the guys who get so pissed off. All told, I'd estimate I've earned being beaten to death twice over in terms of making lots of stupid people very angry, but they all had it coming.

Apology: this story would have been better if I'd been telling it to some friends at the bar.


if it's a watch i can fix it

Ask this guy.


1 medium Spanish onion, diced
1 medium banana pepper, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp capers
5 ripe tomatoes, diced
1 small can tomato paste
1/3 c each wine vinegar, olive oil, soy sauce, brown sugar1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp each Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco, honey, Dijon mustard, horseradish, oregano
2 Tbsp fresh ground pepper
1 tsp cumin
Dash of ground clove
12 ounces amber ale or porter

32 things you can do with beer



At boing boing today I saw a post about an old encyclopedia that someone looked "comic books" up in. Here's a photo of the page.


Also, some comic books do not have pictures that are well drawn or words that are well written, and so they do not help children to learn good taste in art and literature. For this reason, many persons are against all comic strips and comic books.

The author does nothing in the passage that follows to clear up what's not well done.

Forget asking the obvious question of what's it take for anyone to consider a picture well drawn or words well written. The more profligate error is the application of a state of being to the opposition to comic strips and books. It's ridiculous on several levels.

Being against. My fingers are against a keyboard. The broom is against a wall around the corner in the kitchen. Try putting your mind against cars driving down the street and see how well you do. One can't be any more against comic books or a war than they can be against a dodecahedron. (They are entitled to think, though, that the dodecahedron is a fucking disastrous, retarded idea.) And if your mind is set against comic books, what in them is it really against? The paint? The colors? The unapologetically non-Victorian prose? If you are a person who would write this, has this thought even occurred to you? There's a corollary that deserves its own paragraph. Here it is.

What are the requirements for not having to explain yourself?

Do you just have to be the one who seems surest of yourself and then you're placed on a pedestal, unable to be questioned? It sure works for right-wing radio hosts. That makes the listeners a very large group of pitiable subservient beta males, who long to be like the idol behind the golden microphone but will settle for having the same ideas.

Why is the state of mind in this passage so static as to be referred to as a state of being? This publication makes the status quo appear so revoltingly, grimacingly oversimple, I can't believe they'd even read a book at all, intellectually immune and mentally catatonic, forever smiling the palsied smile of Laura Bush.

Even if the author is operating within a vernacular which as a rule aligns individuals with their beliefs in a boorishly totalitarian way there's no excuse for it, on the grounds that you're lecturing on the ethics of communication rather than considering the merits/disadvantages of a medium, all the while ruining the credibility of the one you've chosen to employ to do so.

Anyone making even a half-hearted attempt to exemplify upright conduct with regards to clarity and quality in language could not have constructed these sentences, because on the other end of writing is reading, and it is unfairly incumbent upon the reader to (acrobatically in this case) strip down the meaning, which is mired in a dazzling whorl of murky bullshit. Don't get any on you. To "believe" something necessarily reduces one's ability to separate a potential scenario from a real one, which is how a belief becomes more total, and eventually a faith. (And after that, a holy faith. Look out for that one, kids.)

I was going to turn this post into a story about my father, but I've decided that instead I'd drag out the passive aggression over many painful years. That's what the men in my family traditionally do. The Hank Williams family's sons get fucked up and make increasingly shitty music; my family's sons pretend not to hate their fathers.

Someone posted this poem on their blog and then took it down, so I thought I'd put it up here:

Mr. Vonnegut, Mr. Cho

There is a time when the difference between
a loved one being alive and being dead
is that you haven't heard it yet.

The news leaves the radio or the phone
still just waves in the ocean
gathering force
before it hits the beach
to cause Lilliputians to react
with gymnastics.

During this interim time your loved one,
she is Schrödinger’s Cat.
The great hand of some eternal bureaucrat
is pointing his stamp at the death certificate.
The hand is still in motion.
The missile has gone ballistic.
The pendulum only got one period.

Mr. Vonnegut, Mr. Cho
died in the month of April.
It reminds me of something
Burt Russell once said:
Creation, destruction are equally tonic
unto the hearts of man.
But creation should be preferred
if just for logistical reasons.

But still the sleeve of death looms

Like Michael Jordan frozen, apoplectic,

And in the bleachers lightbulbs, shots
ring out
like fireflies erupting out
into the syrup of space-time.

Nicholas Moore (2007)

my head asplode

Anti-culture is a paradoxical organization, characteristic of disconcerted modern human societies, which is founded on the alienation and consequent denial of the creative togetherness of self and other....


jonestown - a review

I watched the latest PBS Jonestown documentary this morning (thanks bittorrent) and have to say that through the many times they've made this same basic show and brought me nothing new to contemplate, at least the soundtrack continues to improve. This time the sounds of screaming children being murdered in the jungle are audible for longer.

What will it take to discredit religion entirely? It's just so relentlessly stupid.

Obsession pays weird dividends; I'm what you might call an amateur Jonestown scholar, and I can tell you where to go to get the most intense creeps of your life so far. It's the Jonestown audio tapes you want. I've heard these tapes of the broadcasts of Jones's voice --a voice that forces itself brutally through the dark jungle, seriously, you have to hear it to believe it-- enough to know that the documentaries can be aurally improved further still, perhaps by just shutting off the video completely.

It's a well-worn topic of discussion that audio is a much more intimate medium than video, or maybe any other.

Watch the first televised "this american life" episode if you don't believe me. What a piece of shit that idea was. Only in an age where the majesty of independent radio has been annihilated by syndication and corporate mega-mergers could you sell TAL as a tv show. I'm going to let you in on an ugly little fact: used to be, every radio station had a show about half as good as this american life. And there were thousands of them. Now that there's only a handful, of course the tv agents all went chasing after this turkey like it was the world's last bottle of champagne.

Maybe audio has this effect because of the deepness of our sensory deprivation in utero, and that sense of isolated comfort in some small way returns. No one can say for sure but that's a pretty good guess.

I'd say skip the documentary and do your own homework if you want to learn anything interesting about the Jonestown massacre/suicide/whatever. You must hear to believe the sustain and reverb effects on Jones's peerless narcotized insanity. I will not provide a link to that because I don't feel like tracking it down. Because then I would want to listen to it again, and knowing what I was in store for, my expectations would wreck the experience. Anyone wants to drop that link in the comments, go for it.

Y'all see this?
Confessions of an economic hitman


Lots of lectures about everything


lookit! paper airplane museum

Buttocks in the History of Art

oh yeah

the department of justice is pretty much overwith

but cheer up, god loves you

Dinosaur is related to Chicken

Unless you believe differently, in which case the rules of the universe do not apply because of how right you're convinced you are and I'm sorry for suggesting anything different heil hitler.

We've got a gang of clueless bozos steering our ship of state right over a cliff, we've got corporate gangsters stealing us blind, and we can't even clean up after a hurricane much less build a hybrid car. But instead of getting mad, everyone sits around and nods their heads when the politicians say, "Stay the course."

Stay the course? You've got to be kidding. This is America, not the damned Titanic.

Lee Iacocca


Dear Mr. Rove,

I know you're really sad that all your emails got deleted. Some might think it frighteningly totalitarian that they're just -poof- gone, but I'm just bummed out that now the world will never get the chance to see how honest and hardworking you really are. I thought you'd save them all just to prove your lack of complicity in various scandals, but please don't be too upset about it. Man, if we just had those emails we could show the world once and for all that those stupid LIBERALS in "congress" should shut the fuck up and stop crying about the looting I mean saving of the country, but we'll have to just use the same name-calling and intimidation tactics that characterized the beginning of your career, before you saw the light and moved stridently in its direction, whistling onward christian soldiers as you traversed the white house in search of countries to ruin I mean save and people to murder I mean liberate.

There's a reason you rose to the top, Mr. Rove, and a reason you belong there today, which we will never be able to truly appreciate because your emails got deleted. God bless.


so long Kurt

Kurt Vonnegut died. What a guy.

Months before the March 2003 invasion of Iraq, he bemoaned the coming war:

"I myself feel that our country, for whose Constitution I fought in a just war, might as well have been invaded by Martians and body snatchers."

Here's something to click on, blow up and look at.




dollar short day late

Shit! I missed this Jonestown documentary that aired on PBS last night.



So there I was, just enjoying my coffee, thinking about what fun is and how it is best had, and debating whether what I had to say about it would be at all worthwhile. I tilted my head slightly to the right, squinted because that makes me think better, and nodded. Yes, my head moved up and down, because for better or worse, the decision had been made. I have value to add on the subject of fun.

How was that opening paragraph? As gripping and sensational as velcro on your pubic hair? Of course it was. And to think I provide this service for free. Now accepting applications for copy editor. Payment in tough love. I hope a bird craps into your sun roof. See? I can do that all day, baby.

I was reading a post at WFMU about a record entitled "We're Diabetic So What!" that someone found, and it caused me to think about ironic mockery. Rewarding as it may be to dig through the particle board shit bin at the thrift store and find yesteryear's lamest vinyl, it's probably much more fun to make that vinyl. For all we know, there are a few very interesting people planting it there to be ironically mocked, like a Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius land mine, and the first person to make it to the blogosphere wins. That's the only way I can come up with to make the event of mockery actually interesting. The entrapment of surly hipsters is a good cause.

Exhibit B in my deconstruction of mockery is a video of a guy having a good time and trying to sell furniture in Gadsden or someplace. Oh, it's Flea Market Montgomery, a video worthy of some kind of hall of fame, ensconced in alabaster alongside Bubb Rubb, Little Sis, and Jen Terri. My brother explained Flea Market this way: "In the south people do whatever the fuck they want", a sentence whose tone and cadence is worthy of Conrad, and whose timely verity rivals Morford.

So, is it more fun to create things and events that other people mock, or to mock the things other people do? Nothing against WFMU, but once mockery becomes that reflexive, that tiresome and routine, I come down on the side of the diabetics, just for the sake of not boring myself to death.


Ok, the soul church posting below. It takes me a day sometimes to think of what it is that I want to say. Usually I don't wait the day and what you get what comprises this blog. Anyway, what occurs to me is that I just have no patience at all for what necessarily "passes" when religion does, and that's another reason why not only do I not believe in god, but I enjoy telling people about it. Would you like the opportunity to feel deeply empty and pained, seeing what stupid people have to let slide in order to believe that there's such a thing as magic and that some people can help other people be nearer to its source? Consult these youtube results for televangelist. If there's not something here to make you sick, you're on handfuls of expensive medications. I'm not posting any video from that search or ripping any clips out of last year's film "Jesus Camp". Religion sickens me like it's made of chemotherapy, and I hate it like the poison it is.

Changing gears.

Here's something great, something truly, really, sensationally great. Teezar was the name of one of the most important bands of the late twentieth century. Were they any good? You be the judge, especially after listening to "Rokkin Queen" and "Givver of Rokk". In the process I discovered a good blog, on which Teezar's legacy resides. You should read this and listen to some of it. Last days of man on earth explores Teezar.


jesus soul rock



They sell PBR at the Winn Dixie in Golden Gate. High five.



Craigslist didn't consent to post my erotic personals ad:

READY? For MAXIMUM TORTURE!!? Don't email if you're not wanting to get cigarettes put out on your skin and your gums lacerated and your ass torn out and your back whipped with barbed wire! Tonight!! You will DIE DIE DIE!!!


This one has something for everyone (except maybe the guy who wrote it), a truly fascinating essay about the prevailing best guess of what "this" is and where it came from, and how art can help. Or maybe it's a book review. Either way it's better than watching Karl Rove dance.


a flickr project in which artists illustrate posts from Craigslist's Missed Connections