Tastes Like Chicken

Saturday, July 06, 2002
_How to cut in line at theme parks
No, it's not Ratbastard.org, it's Slate spilling the beans on how to piss off hundreds of hot sweaty people in a confined space at one time. American efficiency, nothing like it in the world. Almost as good as hearing "Sorry folks, park's closed. Moose out front shoulda told ya."

Friday, July 05, 2002

_I still kiss you
The New York Times on the surprisingly long-lived net.fame of Mahir Cagri.

_"If you put seven Jews in a Winnebago, that's trouble to begin with."
A filmaker's exploration of Elvis Aaron Presley's Judiasm (you read that right) becomes a unique cinematic experience, a "dorkumentary," according to the Washington Post. The humorus result, Schmelvis: Searching for the King's Jewish Roots, is winning praise as it makes appearances at various film festivals around the country.

The film has been submitted to the Washington Jewish Film Festival and if accepted will screen this December. I'm there, dude.

_Bitter much?
Carolyn Hax, The Washington Post's recently-divorced advice columnist weighs in with a crushingly bleak relationship Q&A session.
You thought marriage would help, you thought kids would help, you thought counseling would help, now you're hoping time will help. See a pattern? Nothing will help... always expect the worst. All you can do is make peace with yourself.

There's a difference between underage drinking and drinking to the point where you're counting on the kindness of strangers to keep you from getting raped.

When did the word "no" become a hollow-point bullet? Just ask. Expect him to say no.
Okay, Carolyn... enjoy that vacation.

Tuesday, July 02, 2002
_The Secrets and History of Bourbon
The Washington Post explores "the art and science of distilling the only ardent spirit native to the United States."
They shipped up and down the Ohio and Mississippi rivers from Louisville, but didn't get the idea that their drink had a real future until consumers in New Orleans and St. Louis reported that the taste improved if the whiskey had aged in the wood long enough to acquire a little color.

People started calling it bourbon, after the Kentucky county where most of it was made, and the early distillers became the patriarchs of families who have dominated the business since it began: Jacob Beam, Robert Samuels (Maker's Mark), Basil Hayden (Old Grand-Dad) and William Brown (Old Forester).

Bourbon-making, however, was still a risky business (drink at your own risk) until the 1820s, when immigrant Scot James Crow, a chemist of sorts, began studying whether he might actually control how the whiskey tasted. He invented the sour mash process, using residue from one batch of bourbon to make the next. For this innovation, Crow (of Old Crow, and you thought it was named for a bird) is said to be the inventor of bourbon.
And a little bonus gift from me to you, the history of a soft drink with a name that's a euphamism for moonshine, Mountain Dew.


Click through for a much bigger version of that picture.

_American Ground: Unbuilding the World Trade Center
The only writer to get unlimited access to every aspect of the World Trade Center cleanup delivers, and delivers big. William Langewiesche, who has two other stellar and insightful Atlantic articles online, was on the scene for 16-hour days from beginning to end and the result is a mammoth piece in The Atlantic Monthly.

He has two WTC pieces online. The first, also linked above, contains long excerpts from the full piece that appears in the print edition.
Lombardi descended the stairwells of the North Tower to the plaza level, where he looked out and saw body parts scattered across the concrete. He went down another level, where all around him crowds were evacuating into West Street. But he was the chief engineer, and he felt a duty to respond—though how and to what he still had no idea. Prompted by memories of 1993, when a command post had been established in the complex's hotel (World Trade Center Three), he joined a few other Port Authority men and headed there through a passageway. They had assembled for a talk in the hotel bar along with some firemen when the place erupted in a tremendous roar. A pressure wave shattered glass, picked up the men, and threw them to the side. Lombardi thought that terrorists like those of 1993 had bombed the hotel and were maybe coming in through the doors, and he considered the irony that he had survived then only to die now, not 200 feet from where terrorists had hit before. The truth was stranger still: the South Tower had just collapsed over his head, and he had been saved by a few unusually heavy beams used in the structural splinting and patching up that he himself had directed after the earlier bombing. But he knew none of this at the time.

To his surprise, he felt nothing broken and no pain except for a burning in his eyes. That was widely the pattern of the day—survival as an all-or-nothing proposition. The room was dark, and so dusty that he could not breathe. He put a handkerchief to his mouth. Someone yelled to a fireman, "Could you please put on your flashlight?" The fireman did, to little avail. People stood up, saying, "Where are we? What's going on?" They lifted a steel roll-up door, thinking to get out, and found a group on the other side thinking to get in. The two groups frightened each other. A fireman went out to explore, and with visibility limited to about two feet, he nearly fell into a crater. He found a way across it and returned, saying, "Come on, I see a streetlight." They went out in single file. Lombardi found himself on a sidewalk, but otherwise noticed no change from the conditions that had existed inside. He lost track of his companions and walked down the street in confusion. He remembered the roar, and again thought of the bombing in 1993: had something gone off in the underground? He passed the south pedestrian bridge, which he recognized, and headed south on West Street. He had a scratch on his forehead that was bleeding. People came up to him offering help, and someone gave him some water. Finally he got far enough away to look back. He saw the North Tower standing, but not the South. He thought, "Wait a minute. The North Tower is there. I know the North Tower is there. But what happened to the South?" It was confounding, and he could not conceive of an answer. He was an engineer, but human, too. He walked on for a while, until for the second time that day he heard a roar. He stopped and turned and watched in disbelief as the North Tower fell.
The other piece online is an interview with the author about how he got access, his methods of reporting, and what impacted him most strongly and personally.
The strongest impressions are probably related to the kindergarten rooms at P.S. 89 where the recovery effort was headquartered—this strange, chaotic atmosphere, this urgent all-American creation going on in this highly egalitarian environment. The high and the low were rubbing shoulders, and all were having to define themselves anew in life. Good solutions were being rewarded. But maybe more importantly, stupidities, mistakes, and bad ideas were being acknowledged as such, but people were not being punished for them. It was quite surprising to see the level of intellectual maturity that was emerging spontaneously in this fantastic environment, with people sitting around at kids' desks and chairs.

When we replace them, we're not going to build the same type of twin-tower monolith—and not just because we don't want to get hit again. I think it's because American culture no longer really wants that. It was very much of a '50s/'60s/'70s kind of thing. The United States is less totalitarian now than it was before. Not that we were ever totalitarian, but the strains of totalitarianism that exist within all cultures, and that led to the building of those towers, have been damped down since then. What we saw in the cleanup and recovery effort was a more authentic slice of American life. And it was very encouraging. It was amazing, actually. I found that we were looking at a very, very healthy culture, an expression of cultural and political genius.
I found out about the articles in a Washington Post review that heaped praise on Atlantic's July/August double issuse.
Amazingly, Langewiesche's piece is just one of many delights in this 196-page double issue:

David Garrow, the civil rights historian, reveals new information on the FBI's wiretapping of Martin Luther King Jr. Michael Benson writes about the amazing photos of outer space on NASA's webcam. Humorist Ian Frazier takes a laconic look at Minnesota's Mall of America. Kenneth Brower praises landscape photographer Ansel Adams and lambastes Adams's Eastern critics as small-minded Puritans afraid of his grand, operatic vision. And veteran political biographer Ronald Steel reviews Robert Caro's latest book on Lyndon Johnson and denounces Caro as "the kind of moralist who is more concerned with the purity of a politician's heart than with the effectiveness of his actions."

For people who actually like to read -- admittedly a small minority of magazine buyers -- this issue of the Atlantic is probably the best issue of any magazine published in America this year.
I just ordered myself a subscription. If you sign up before the Fourth you're gaurranteed to get the July/August issue containing part one of this multipart article. Go order!

Sunday, June 30, 2002

I've been reading online comic MegaTokyo for over a year now, and I still think I don't really understand it all. I know I like it, but I don't think I understand it. Weird.

A head start: the main focus falls upon two American gamers stranded in Japan trying to earn enough money to get home to America. Explaining the PS2 robot girl, the zombies, and the Faustian companions is way beyond my ability at the moment.

Embrace the uncertainty and dive in.

_Order your Kiss Kondoms here!

Two more versions are already in the works -- a studded condom dubbed the "Studded Paul" and adorned with a photo of Kiss guitarist Paul Stanley, and "Love Gun Protection," an extra strength version with the entire band on the packaging.

If Kiss Kondoms do as well as Glickman expects, he said he would like to explore using other popular musicians on his products. He envisions a possible Ozzy condom, featuring bad boy rocker turned reality TV star Ozzy Osborne, and a P. Diddy (the former Puff Daddy) version for the hip hop crowd.
They don't mention it here, but I'm guessing the Ozzy version vibrates.

_Two convicted of having sex outside of marriage, girl sent to boot camp
Two 16-year-olds, over the local age of consent, convicted solely of have sex outside of marriage. "Conviction carries a sentence of up to a year in prison and a $1,000 fine." Gotta love Georgia. From afar. And with a marriage license.

_Why are there are no firefighter first person 3D games?

_I pity the socks!

For those playing along with the home game, yes, that is the third time Gary Coleman has popped up here recently.

_Beating it into the ground
Mike: Got anal on friday. HEH
Me: I wondered why you were walking funny.
Robbie: Things are well. I'm hoping not to need another colonoscopy for quite a while! I'm seeing the doctor on July 10th to discuss the results of the tests he ran during the procedure, and I'm also supposed to be setting up an appointment with a surgeon to discuss cutting the faulty parts of my colon out. I'm not real jazzed about the thought of surgery though.
Me: I wondered why you were walking funny. Thank you very much. I'm here all week...
Mike: (after reading the story on hormones in semen boosting women's moods) See! That confirms just what I always said! A Dose of the Dick keeps the blues away!
Me: I wondered why you were walking funny.