The blog incarnation of the Desperado mailing list, the voice of the apocryphalypse since 1978.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Every line screams "I was drawn by Jack Davis" 

Number Two Son (Parmenator-X) writes:
This belongs in the Louvre.
For the culturally impaired, it is a portrait of Ernie Kovacs as Poet Percy Dovetonsils masterfully rendered by Jack Davis, my fellow alumnus of North Fulton High in Atlanta.
posted by Tom  # 2/23/2005 12:06:00 PM

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Social? Security? 

The Republican plan for Social Security?
A tip of the Desperado tan galan to Brother Dave for another good one.
posted by Tom  # 2/22/2005 11:52:00 AM

Monday, February 21, 2005

Computer Program Matches Intelligence of Mankind, At Least in California 

From The Watley News, as believable as any other newspaper:
IBM says it has developed a computer program capable of passing the Turing test, which is generally regarded as the definitive determination of whether a machine can effectively simulate human behavior.
Ed's note: Lifted off one of those top-secret mailing lists.
posted by Tom  # 2/21/2005 01:37:00 PM

Conceptual art: once explained, it need not be experienced 

I misquoted (stupidly). Here is Terry Teachout's paraphrase of Hugh Kenner in its true and correct form:
It rather reminds me of Hugh Kenner's definition of conceptual art: that which, once explained, need not be experienced.
And here's a link to a Teachout essay that includes the quotation and ponders the transition from post-modernism ("po-mo") to post-post-modernism ("po-po-mo").

Ed's note
: I fixed it down below, but I thought the quotation deserved better.
posted by Tom  # 2/21/2005 01:05:00 PM

Wooza wooza: People care more about Social Security than they do about Bill Gates 

Your goto spot for the attempted destruction of Social Security (also known as my income) is Joshua Micah Marshall's Talking Points Memo. Today's edition includes an eyewitness report of an attempt by Rep. Jim Kolbe to convince his Arizona constituents that the plan was just dandy. The crowd of Q-tips and cottontops (also known as my crowd) thought otherwise:

I'd estimate that 200 people turned out - it was standing room only. The great majority of attendees appeared to be well over fifty years old. There was a strong, perhaps even vehement, bias against both Kolbe and Lockhart. Several times Kolbe called for people to allow Mr. Lockhart to continue his presentation, at one point testily exclaiming, "Folks, come on!" One of Mr. Lockhart's slides, a quote from President Bush's recent State of the Union speech, drew loud boo's and even raspberries from the crowd.

Once, the floor was given over to the audience, all but one of the speakers came out against private accounts. At one point, Mr. Kolbe requested a show of hands for several different "solutions." Elimination of the salary cap while simultaneously limiting benefits to current (indexed) levels received well over 50%, perhaps as much as 75%. Mr. Kolbe tried to suggest that this would be unfair to people such as Bill Gates and received: "Who cares?" and "So what?" in response.
"Lockhart" is Deputy Commissioner of Social Security for Political Propaganda, who came along for the roasting. Marshall points out that town meetings held by President George W. "W" Bush and real town meetings are two different things.
posted by Tom  # 2/21/2005 12:48:00 PM

Christo crackers 

"The Gates" rendered in cheese crackers.

The artists:
Chris et Jane were born in the same country [the U.S.of A.], nearly eleven years apart. Note: His hair and goatee are an almost unnatural shade of red that matches the crackers; hers is gray. This is their third collaborative effort – the first two, Henry and Eli, are now in Kindergarten and Pre-school.
The site also has some charming pictures of the "real" (by some value of "real") gates with their boys.

Via boing-boing
posted by Tom  # 2/21/2005 11:47:00 AM

Friday, February 18, 2005

Two toppers from Terry Teachout 

Terry Teachout is drama critic for the Wall Street Journal. Today's review of a production of Samuel Beckett's Happy Days includes a couple of brisk ones:Presented here as supplement to the discussion of "Mr. Christo".
posted by Tom  # 2/18/2005 12:33:00 PM

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Christo Club alert! 

Don't miss the Somerville Gates.
Often Hargo's "The Somerville Gates" has been compared with Christo's "The Gates", Central Park, New York City. These comparisons have been unfair; sometimes the media has exaggerated -- even lied -- about the similarities. Differences abound . . .
Also, the Brian Gates.
posted by Tom  # 2/17/2005 02:09:00 PM

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

I'm no Noël coward 

From Isoisä, more Christmas news:
A former history professor of mine wrote this handy background piece to show us how far Christmas has come in this land: The Battle for Christmas by Stephen Nissenbaum
A quote from the Powell's blurb:
In this intriguing and innovative work of social history, Stephen Nissenbaum rediscovers Christmas's carnival origins and shows how it was transformed, during the nineteenth century, into a festival of domesticity and consumerism.
I repeat, I love Christmas, but then, like Isoisä I am a Farfar.
posted by Tom  # 2/16/2005 03:34:00 PM

Monday, February 14, 2005

Running fence, running mouth, it's all Art when you're the Great Christo 

Per the crystalline consciousness of JO, "Who knew a Bulgarian could be so thoroughly annoying?"

Everything you think you know about Christo and Jeanne-Claude is wrong, stupid, and offensive.

There were more umbrellas in California because there were supposed to be more umbrellas there. Anybody says different, they die . . . of withering Bulgarian irony.

He tarted up Central Park this week-end. Where's that guy with the room full of dirt and the blinking light when you need him?
posted by Tom  # 2/14/2005 04:38:00 PM

Heh heh - he said "sponge" 

Few sponges are gay, apparently. As you can see here, the sex life of the sponge (not counting the vaginal sponge) is a pretty uninspiring affair, involving either aimless hermaphroditic spewing or the development of bumps on the back:
Sponges reproduce by both asexual and sexual means. Most poriferans that reproduce by sexual means are hermaphroditic and produce eggs and sperm at different times. Sperm are frequently "broadcast" into the water column. That is, sperm are created, concentrated and sent out the excurrent openings, sometimes in masses so dense that the sponges appear to be smoking. These sperm are subsequently captured by female sponges of the same species. Inside the female, the sperm are transported to eggs by special cells called archaeocytes. Fertilization occurs in the mesenchyme and the zygotes develop into ciliated larvae. Some sponges release their larvae, where others retain them for some time. Once the larvae are in the water column they settle and develop into juvenile sponges. Sponges that reproduce asexually produce buds or, more often, gemmules, which are packets of several cells of various types inside a protective covering. Fresh water sponges of the Spongillidae often produce gemmules prior to winter. These then develop into adult sponges beginning the following spring.
SpongeBob SquarePants, as hinted by his eponymic choice of apparel, is not only asexual, but probably made of DuPont® plastic, so he is likely to have even less fun than the average poriferan.

But, if he does, he's being watched closely and will be reported to the authorities.
posted by Tom  # 2/14/2005 01:18:00 PM

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Schadenfreude per headline 

From the New York Daily News (a devotedly Republican newspaper):
Bush press pal quits
over gay prostie link

posted by Tom  # 2/10/2005 01:50:00 PM

A solution to the "Christmas problem" 

I love Christmas. Not everybody does. I'm good at Christmas. Not everybody is. I see nothing wrong with kicking back in the dismal middle of winter and sharing whatever bounty I have with people I love and care about. Some people fear the religious implications; others fear the warmth and sentimentality; a bunch just don't know what to do with it.

I see nothing wrong with superimposing a religious holiday on a secular holiday. The next little one, Lupercalia, the Roman feast of lust, coming on Saint Valentine's Day. Next big one, the bright promise of spring, Ishtar's Day, commemorating the day rabbits first laid eggs.

I won't bore you with all the anti-Christmas arguments. That's taken care of every year. All that trumped-up crabbiness is double-trumped this year with the publication of The Krampus Postcards. These European postcards from 125 years ago display Krampus, "St. Nikolaus's dark servent: a hairy, horned, supernatural beast whose pointed ears and long slithering tongue gave misbehavers the creeps!"

In other words, when Santa Claus brings sugarplums to good kiddies, Krampus tags along bringing switches and lumps of coal, and far worse, to bad kiddies. If all the Christmas haters lined up behind Krampus it could become a commercial bonanza matching Christmas itself.

Ed's note: An extra orange in the stocking next year for Number Two Son (Parmenator-X) for the tip.

posted by Tom  # 2/10/2005 01:04:00 PM

Can't anybody here play this game? 

The backdrop at www.redsox.com is decorated with blue socks.

I was registering for the ticket lottery.

posted by Tom  # 2/10/2005 01:00:00 PM

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

May I have your inattention please? 

President George W. "W" Bush explains his plans for Social Security:
Because the -- all which is on the table begins to address the big cost drivers. For example, how benefits are calculate, for example, is on the table; whether or not benefits rise based upon wage increases or price increases. There's a series of parts of the formula that are being considered. And when you couple that, those different cost drivers, affecting those -- changing those with personal accounts, the idea is to get what has been promised more likely to be -- or closer delivered to what has been promised.

Does that make any sense to you? It's kind of muddled. Look, there's a series of things that cause the -- like, for example, benefits are calculated based upon the increase of wages, as opposed to the increase of prices. Some have suggested that we calculate -- the benefits will rise based upon inflation, as opposed to wage increases. There is a reform that would help solve the red if that were put into effect. In other words, how fast benefits grow, how fast the promised benefits grow, if those -- if that growth is affected, it will help on the red.

Okay, better? I'll keep working on it.'

posted by Tom  # 2/09/2005 01:14:00 PM

AmGov channels EngSoc 

We have always been at war with Iran.

posted by Tom  # 2/09/2005 01:12:00 PM


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