Tastes Like Chicken

Friday, February 02, 2001
_Special Effects: the History and Technique
An enthusiastic review of a honking-big coffee table book covering the complete history of motion picture special effects. This review has several expandable thumbnails of arresting and revealing images found in the book. For some extra-geeky goodness be sure to check out the one detailing the various sound encoding formats found on the actual film prints.

_Ouchy The Clown! Nice to beat you!
You have to see the pictures to get the full effect of an S&M clown:

"I am a trained and certified meeting facilitator. Oh, and I am a clown. Did ya miss that part? I specialize in:

Brainstorming sessions
Conflict resolution
Organizational development

Sure, it's weird to have a clown facilitator, but you've seen stranger things, I'm sure."

_Not safe for work: Gorgeous and fascinating bodypainted female nude
Make a point of checking this one from home if you can't do it where you are now. It's really beautiful.

_Could the Scientists Be Wrong on Madcow Disease?
One guy who says, with some inconclusive evidence to support him, that mad cow disease is not transmitted through the consumption of tainted beef.

_U.K. "Ex-Gay" Group Gives Up
"None of the people we've counseled have converted no matter how much effort and prayer they've put into it. There is much more benefit to the honest view."

_Art imitates life -- or the lack thereof -- of Amazon.com worker
An article about the guy that made this movie.

"I would stand in my shower and think about having $3 million, it was always in the back of my mind. I thought, I will work these insane hours. I don't have a life now, but I will."


_Pure Arnold
The only reason this got 'blogged is because I am completely incapable of reading a word of Ahnuld's 22 KB of text in this interview without thinking of each word coming out with his accent, and I defy you to do any better!

_Rave reviews for the "Beastie Boys Video Anthology"
Not one but two fantastic evaluations of the new DVD, the "Beastie Boys Video Anthology":

"Sooner than later someone was bound to produce a DVD that is essentially nothing but extras. The "Beastie Boys Video Anthology" is as close as you can get. The collection features 18 videos of roughly three minutes each -- less than an hour of back-to-back content. But there's so much additional stuff -- commentaries, alternate takes, storyboards, remixes -- that the "Anthology" takes up two discs. The accumulation is a fan's delight and an example of just how far you can go with DVD technology. It's also, hands down, the best, most obsessive rock 'n' roll video set ever produced."


"This is, without a frickin' doubt, the absolute best DVD treatment a compilation of music videos has ever received. It's a benchmark that I don't think can be topped, actually."

_Game developer explains hundreds of hardcore porn links in latest release
Too funny. Their file management software made images of all the space allotted to the project, without overwriting the remains of deleted files in the "empty" part of the project space. EHP!

_Court rejects O.J. Simpson appeal
"A state appeals court has rejected O.J. Simpson’s appeal of the $33.5 million civil court judgment against him for the killings of his ex-wife and her friend."

_Everything you wanted to know about racy snapshots but were afraid to ask
"Dupre sees virtually every picture developed at Ben Ness, a staggering 4,000 to 6,000 images a day. 'At least a few times a week I see something interesting, if you know what I mean,' Dupre says with a lilting French accent and a lopsided grin. 'Sexual pictures. S&M mostly, but a lot of nudity. Self-portraits. Couples. Everything.'

_Mission Invisible
Lots of neat stuff about the B2 bomber from the Discovery Channel. Sure, it's got no mission; sure, it costs enough to give Bill Gates second thoughts; sure, cell phones might make them obsolete next year--but they are pretty cool.

A program I saw on the development of the F-117 stealth fighter had three interesting stories: that the CIA A-12/Air Force SR-71 project was so secret that when the rest of the Air Force decided to solicit proposals for a reduced radar visibility fighter, they didn't even know that that Lockheed had already produced a stealth jet and therefore didn't originally invite them to the competition. Eventually, Lockheed got involved, and their entry was so completely invisible that the program, which had up to that point been totally open with published reports and all, was instantly made as black anything the government had ever done. Also, the early stages of the body shape design effort were dictated almost entirely by stealth concerns, with relatively little attention to whether or not it could actually fly, prompting one skeptical engineer to ask another if it was really as invisible as was claimed. The radar guys said yes, so the previously skeptical engineer rubbed his jaw and said "Well, then we'll teach it to fly."

Another source told me that the F-117's coarsely faceted shape derives from the fact the early simulation software used to design it was limited to making calulations for a small number of flat surfaces.

Also, don't confuse the CIA A-12 with the Navy A-12 Flying Dorito:

Any one remember the GI Joe plane based on the SR-71 that had the little piggy back ship it could launch? That was based on historical reality.

_After Meritocracy
This is a long article that, frankly, I didn't read much of. I 'blogged it because of my trip to the grocery store.

Last Saturday I parked my car and was walking into the the grocery store. The first sign of trouble were the two giant black Chevy Suburbans with cherries (police lights) on top and the black stretch limo with DC tags parked right in the damn fire lane. Keeping the cars company were some Secret Service mooks and some old Army guy. Sitting on the side walk nearby, not particularly close to any of the mooks, was a small piece of luggage.

In through the door. Immediately inside is the big mook, at least 6'4". And the entire rest of the large supermarket is crawling with these dudes, too (though one couldn't have been more than 5'5"). They must pack Secret Service agents into those SUV's like circus clowns into a car.

I'm ready pretty quickly, having come for a single item, and I'm checking out at the first lane, the express lane. I pay, then turn and look down the line at the other dozen or so checkouts. 4 rows down, exactly one week after being installed by the Supreme Court "justice" that took it upon himself to appoint a new president, is America's "chief executive" Dick Cheney, buying Cheez-Whiz or whatever.

Believe me, he doesn't need it. He's really porked up. My country is run by a fat Dick.

And why the hell is that pudgy little butterball doing his shopping on this side of the river? I know he used to live over here when he wasn't pretending to not live in Texas*, but he had already been elected (or, more accurately, appointed) vice president and is now supposed to be living at the official vice president's residence at the Naval Observatory in DC.

Oh, my bad, I forgot that rules don't apply to Republicans.

*Yes, I split that infinitive on purpose.

_Wrestling Restaurant
The thoroughly surreal story of a birthday party for grade schoolers thrown by a movie star at an apparently real World Wrestling Federation theme restaurant in New York. Mind bending.

_Searching for speed in Silicon Valley
"For many years Milpitas boasted a legal drag-racing track. But that was shut down three years ago; since then the streets of San Jose have been hosting a game of cat and mouse, except that the mice drive faster cars."

Heh. The article makes several mentions of RX-7's, proclaiming that they can easily shoot to over 115 miles per hour. Buddy, pull up a chair... I've been a passenger in an RX-7 going 147 miles per hour on DC's beltway, in the evening rush hour. The car had not topped out, not even close. So why "only" 147? BECAUSE WE RAN OUT OF ON-RAMP. I swear to God.

Makes you appreciate the 5 point seatbelt harnesses. Well, the fifth point is still kind of tough to love.

That car is nothing like a stock RX-7. Last I heard (and I know it's been upgraded since then), it was pulling horsepower numbers in the mid 400's, from an engine that displaces well UNDER two liters. Crazy. I still remember when the flaming exhaust burned the paint off part of the bumper because the fuel/air mix was "a little rich."

And here's the kicker: the owner pays less to insure it than I do for my early '90s 4-door BMW. Why? Because RX-7's have Wankel rotary engines, which show up as "zero cylinders" on the insurance tables. Unfuckingbelievable.

And Howard will probably be jealous if I don't mention that his car can go that fast too, though no one argues that it is a match for that RX-7's top end. Yet.

Wednesday, January 31, 2001
_Exactly how sick are you?
"It is so simple to fake an illness," explains the company Utech enticingly and points out that five weeks' holiday a year "is simply not enough."

I first encountered this "five weeks" deal just recently when talking on the phone with a representative of an English company recruiting to staff an American office. Is that five weeks of discretionary vacation? In the US, ten days of government/bank holidays is pretty normal, plus two or three weeks of discretionary vacation, which totals four or five weeks a year. Or does the European standard include the typical slate of holidays PLUS five additional weeks?

I think I'm starting to understand why nothing gets done in Europe in August.

_In Dot-Com Crash, Parachutes Are Scarce
An article on walking the plank, dot com style. Focuses on the DC area.

Tuesday, January 30, 2001
_Beef: It's what's for candy
Heads up--animal parts find their way into Lucky Charms cereal, Frosted Pop-Tarts and marshmellows, too.

_Banning pornography endangers women
Oh, come on, like there could possibly be a more women-friendly place than Utah?

_Things my girlfriend and I have argued about
87) She's got this thing about the words 'Shut up'. Whenever I say, 'Shut up.' or, a little further down the road, 'Shut. Up.' she becomes foamingly incoherent and aggressive. Now, that's OK - my shoulders are broad enough to bear this cross - but recently she jumped to a whole new level. "Every time you say 'Shut up' to me" she said, "you have to pay me a pound." This, you understand, wasn't the culmination of some discussion or negotiation, she just makes up the deal on the spot, unilaterally. Basically, then, it's nothing but a cold-blooded, money-making scheme. Worse still, worse still, is the fact that the intention isn't even: I say 'Shut up', she gets paid a whole pound... and then she shuts up. Oh no. Oh, no no no. I say 'Shut up', she stuffs the money in her pocket, and then on she goes. That's what she has in mind. I mean, what the...? The Mafia cut better deals than that. She might as well just suddenly decide I have to give her money every time I fantasize about Natalie Imbruglia, and then where the hell would we be?

88) She really over-reacts whenever she catches me wearing her underwear.

_3-Ton Elephant Tiptoes Into Mexico
"[T]he biggest wetback in the history of the Mexico-U.S. border."

_Damn cool photo

Definitely a worthy companion to this photo.

_He's not really bad role model, porn star Ron Jeremy says Jeremy rattles off a list of credentials that includes cameos in 15 rock 'n' roll videos and parts in dozens of mainstream movies. He was technical adviser on the hit movie "Boogie Nights." There is a line of Ron Jeremy T-shirts that sells well in skateboard shops, he says, and a brand of Ron Jeremy cigars. The biggest shocker, however, comes when Jeremy tells me that he holds a master's degree and taught special education before romping around in front of a camera sans clothing."

I met Ron Jeremy at a wedding, presided over by Microsoft's second least favorite judge, Stanley Sporkin. Jeremy is his middle name, by the way. You'd recognize his last name, believe me.

_It's Official: Utah Gets a Full-Time Anti-Porn Warrior
Yeah!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And she's a SMOKIN' HOTTIE with her picture on that there interweb.

_Scrap metal workers find and return $34,180.00 during disposal of an ATM
Uh, hmm, I can't say that would've been the approach I would have taken.

_Paralympics suspends intellectually (not) disabled competition
What exactly is the motivation to be a ringer on a team competing against the retarded and crippled?

_Youths pick chic Paris mall for gang rumble
Gang war Euro style--meaning half-assed and and unimpressive. 400 youths, more than two hours, and a single significant injury. But I bet they look REALLY tough on their scooters...

_At Least I Got to See the Officer Squirm
Someone suffering from the misconception that courts are interested in truth or justice (holding out hope for the American Way).

_Rear Entry
A bit of neo gonzo documentary film making from a former Amazon.com employee returning to the scene of the unhappy event. Quicktime and big.

Monday, January 29, 2001

_We Just Have a Plethora of Drugs to Try
Clearly there's something wrong with me where if I've got a stash of something lovely like percoset, that smoking it never enters my thought process... This article gets weirder and weirder as you read it.

_KFC Says Note Couple Found Isn't Colonel's Secret Recipe
But, you know, it still tastes like chicken.

_Kremlin Wages War of Nerves
"Kritchevsky is the news director at NTV, the only major independent television channel in Russia and the subject of a relentless Kremlin campaign to prosecute, appropriate or even liquidate it. Authorities have searched its offices 28 times. The network's co-founder is under house arrest in Spain, its president in exile in London, its finance director in prison in Moscow. And a state-controlled company headed by a top aide to President Vladimir Putin recently claimed it now owns NTV. At stake is the fate of one of the few distinctive national institutions to arise from the chaos of Russia's decade-long experiment in democracy. Of Russia's three national networks, NTV is the only one not owned or controlled by the Kremlin."

"[W]ere it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter." Thomas Jefferson

_Study: Rodents' Higher IQ May Come at Painful Price
Genetic engineering experiments that increased some aspects of rats' mental performance also lengthened their responses to persistent sources of pain.

_Zoos raided as German food scares grow
"It is bad news for most Germans, who would rather die than become vegetarian." Well, then just keep eating beef.

Beef is out: mad cow. Veal: the same. Venison is out: subject to the same BSE disease. Lamb is to be avoided, scientists warn, because of scrapie, another BSE-type disease. Chicken is out: German sources are contaminated with salmonella and dioxin. And finally pork is out, due to a scandal continuing back for years in which German pork has been contaminated with anabolic steroids.

"Everyone else must get used to elk, reindeer, ostrich, crocodile and other exotic meats which have recently turned up at the shops, or go hunting. In this frenzy, the sheep in Kreuzberg are probably safe for the moment, but the rabbits had better watch out."

Looks like Howard was right.