Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Redd Volkaert

When I was in Austin recently for Ethan and Amy's wedding, I had the great privilege of seeing a band play at the Continental Club. Can't remember the name of the band itself, but it was pointed out to me that the guitarist, a kinda chubby guy with the big beard, active eyes, and a cud-chewing constant scan back and forth of the audience, was some famous guy.

I was smitten.

His name is Redd Volkaert, and I don't know a lot jack shit about country music, really, but I fkcuing loved it. Unbelieveable. As Ethan put it, his "familiarity with the instrument" was astonishing, although he would be the first to say that just those words wouldn't convey anything about it.

Have a look at his site - you can find a few samples there - but if you EVER have a chance to hear him play ANYwhere, do so. One of the best live performers I've ever seen.

Monday, December 19, 2005


Skorpion, originally uploaded by Axel_.

This is a real sharp one. Have a look at the high res on the flickr page to really see the textures.

Sunday, December 18, 2005


Doo-de-doo...wandering around Amazon, like a good little brother, searching for maybe something yoda-ish, and - whoa!

Shiver. That's fkcd.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Murtha:"What has he said that would give him credibility?"

These words were said by John Murtha, in response to comments about whether his suggestions to work on bringing the troops home might not endanger Bush's credibility.

Fuck yeah, John.

(image AP)


This was the word that appeared above a crossword puzzle on someone's Russian newspaper I saw in the train this morning.

I do not know its meaning.

I've been to the internet. I've seen your Babelfish. I've Launched your Apple Translation Widgets.

But not this time. This time I am going to let KpoccBopg exist on its own, and remain a mystery in my life.


Tuesday, December 06, 2005

John Gibson Wins By An Asshole!

John Gibson from FOX News may actually have receive the Asshole Comment of the Year award:
"Minorities ought to have the same sense of tolerance about the majority religion - Christianity - that they've been granted about their religions over the years."
Go visit the Poor Man for more of this transcript - where I found it myself!

This Is the Face of the Administration

This is why this Administration is creating hatred and world turmoil that will not be fixed for generations to come.

Appalling. Where are our leaders?

Just Keep Moving

What the hell is wrong with these people? I heard this on NY1 this morning, and felt all icky inside:
"Physical exercise and moving your body is a great way to lose weight," says Samantha Heller, Contributor, Health Magazine. "So, my suggestion is when you go to the mall, go early. Do your mall walk exercise which means go really quickly among all the levels. Check out the sales what you want to buy. Then you can go shopping."
When you're not power-walking at the mall, you could be power-dancing at the office holiday party. They say that half an hour's worth can help burn about 150 calories.

"When you go to a party even if you're not comfortable with dancing– try it. First of all, it's really fun, the time flies, and it's great exercise," says Heller "If you really don't want to dance, maybe you're in stilettos or something, standing burns a few more calories than sitting and it's certainly better."

So the main goal this holiday season, whether you're hitting the stores, the party circuit, or the gym, just keep moving.
Yup, that, and, um, Kong looks corny.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

"patch of face, chilled"

Comma Chilled. This story has been like Christmas for writers the world over. Consider the language...

From Friday's NY Times:
The swollen nose, lips and chin she saw there were not her own - those had been ripped from her head by her pet Labrador retriever in May - but they were a blessing for a woman whose face had become a lipless grimace.
They dismissed assertions that they were bent on glory at the patient's expense.
According to Dr. Dubernard, the woman had quarreled with her daughter that evening in May and the daughter had left to spend the night at her grandmother's home. The woman was agitated, he said, and took "one pill" to help herself sleep. At some point during the night, he said, she arose and stumbled through the house, encountering the dog.

Local press reports have suggested that the woman fell unconscious and that the dog chewed and clawed her face in an attempt to revive her, but Dr. Dubernard said the dog had been adopted from the local pound and was known to be aggressive.
And the grand champion paragraph:
Harvesting of the face was complicated by the convergence of several teams to remove other organs from the donor, but the operation was complete by 5 a.m. and Dr. Devauchelle rushed with the patch of face, chilled, to Amiens to begin the transplant...
The writing seems more like a cult novel than journalism.
One of the nurses asked if they might applaud and when one of the doctors nodded, they began to clap.
Finally, the provides a bit of scientific grounding:
As with all transplants, the doctors said, there was about a 33 percent risk of death, a 33 percent risk that the body would reject the graft and only a 33 percent chance that the transplant would prove successful.
"As with all transplants?" 1/3, 1/3 and 1/3? Whaddya know. What a coincidence.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Face Transplant Is Freakin Me Out

This story just became even fuckin weirder. Suicide?:
"The world's first face transplant recipient suffered her injuries after trying to commit suicide, her family claimed last night.

Isabelle Dinoir, 38, was disfigured when her dog tried to wake her after she took an overdose of sleeping pills, said her 17-year-old daughter. She added: 'We don't know whether it bit or clawed her, but it managed to pull her awake. In a way, it was lucky for her that the dog was there.'

The revelation fuelled the ethical debate around the operation, which involved grafting the nose, lips and chin from a dead woman. But it infuriated the medical team who carried it out in Amiens, northern France. Leading transplant surgeon Jean-Michel Dubernard insisted: "There was no suicide attempt."

He said Mme Dinoir had taken a pill to try to sleep after a family argument and was bitten by her labrador during the night.

Dr Dubernard said several psychiatrists had examined her before the 15-hour operation and all had said she was mentally fit for it. Facial surgeon Bernard Devauchelle said his patient regained consciousness 24 hours after the surgery on Sunday. Her first words were 'Thank you.'

She has since been able to drink coffee and fruit juice, and eat strawberries and chocolate. Mme Dinoir comes from Valenciennes, in northern France. The donor was a brain-dead woman from Lille.
Um. So, "brain dead" or dead? What does the brain dead woman's family say? Did they leave her alive, with an open skeleton for a face? Finally:
"It was an accident. She loved her dog," Dr Testelin said.

Friday, December 02, 2005

The Calamari Wrestler

PZ Myers (not pictured above) is a professor of biology at University of Minnesota, Morris (UMM), and maintains a most excellent blog called Pharyngula, about his research and about teaching science in general (including some excellent anti-ID work).

His main research focus is on squid, so today he writes a bit about a Japanese movie called The Calamari Wrestler, including some very nice screengrabs like the one at the top of this post.

Take it away, PZ!

Bill O'Reilly Earns a Laugh Track

There's little more that really needs to be said about Bill O'Reilly. You can go visit Media Matters any day of the week - or, to be fair, just turn on his show for 5 minutes - and, if you treat Bill like a human being with opinions that are of a like "kind" to opinions that other human beings have, you'll get worked up, exasperated, astonished, pissed, etc. Part of me feels like he's just playing us all into constantly TALKing about him, about what he said recently, how awful he is - and part of me feels like he WINs if we do.

So, with all due respect to the thousands of websites out there that effectively point out the infinite fallacies of his arguments and inexcusable turds he spits, I direct your attention to this fabulous little MP3 file, submitted by a reader of Eschaton. Originally an OFF THE FUCKING WALL rant from O'Reilly, this version includes some fine added chuckles. A real hoot.

It's already in MY iTunes. Maybe you'd like it, too?

Go here, and then click the link he offers.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

NYTimes Editoral: "Plan: We Win"

The New York Times calls bullshit on Bush's speech yesterday and the release of the inane Strategy For Victory document:
It has been obvious for months that Americans don't believe the war is going just fine, and they needed to hear that President Bush gets that. They wanted to see that he had learned from his mistakes and adjusted his course, and that he had a measurable and realistic plan for making Iraq safe enough to withdraw United States troops. Americans didn't need to be convinced of Mr. Bush's commitment to his idealized version of the war. They needed to be reassured that he recognized the reality of the war.
Good stuff in here. And great title. Read it.

Also, if you like "strategies" like "Winning," you'll LOVE the great and glorious Fafblog as he discussed the War on Losing. Or, if you're really bold, view his Q & A on Bush's new plan here:
A. This course is the same course as the previous course but is now served on a bed of fresh leafy green victory along with a side of pasta salad and your choice of vegetable.
Q. Mmmm, sounds delicious! How come the old plan didn't have this much victory in it?
A. It did! We just didn't tell you about it. This is newly declassified top secret victory.
Q. Does that mean the new plan is really the old plan?
A. Every day is a new day for the plan! Today is the first day of the rest of the plan's life.