Monday, December 29, 2008

Holiday Love

Comments required:
I notice that I have received zero comments on any of my 46 previous Blogs, how could that be as I know that they're widely read?

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Joyous Tidings

Santa Claus is in the red:
It'll take some time to get ahead.
All the elves have bid adieu
So Santa just brings reindeer stew.


The tree’s knocked flat,
The bulbs are smashed.
Up on the roof
Some thing has crashed.

The stocking’s full
Of fleshy bits,
And gore and goo
are where dad sits.

Gone’s the plate of
Blood and brain:
Zombie Santa’s
Come again.

Monday, December 22, 2008

The Beam

Pope puts stress on 'gay threat'
Pope Benedict XVI has said that saving humanity from homosexual or transsexual behaviour is just as important as saving the rainforest from destruction.
I believe that groups of men who avoid sexual contact with women should therefore face the utmost scrutiny.



Pope issues Christmas plea for end to child abuse

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Crazy Dumbass Who Rules the World and His Sycophants

I shit you not:
MR. DeMUTH: Another book that you famously read was Eliot Cohen's "Supreme Command." And he later went to work for you.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, he did.

MR. DeMUTH: Do you think he got it right in that book?

THE PRESIDENT: I can't even remember the book. (Laughter.) I remember reading it, but give me a synopsis. (Laughter.)

MR. DeMUTH: That --

THE PRESIDENT: You can't remember it either. (Laughter.)

MR. DeMUTH: No. (Laughter.)

THE PRESIDENT: Just teasing. Did he work for you at AEI? Is that why you're --

MR. DeMUTH: He was on our Council of Academic Advisers.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, okay. I did read it.

MR. DeMUTH: The essential point is that in history, in wartime, Presidents do well not leaving the war to the military, but being the supreme commander themselves.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Joke for Six-Year-Old

Q. What's green and salty and brings presents.

A. St. Pickleus.

Commence laughter.

RSS and Filtering

I'd like my RSS feed to look nice and simple like this, existing within Firefox, displaying the full feed, yet with filters.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Killing Time

I am bored. Stealing an idea via Snag. I own - or have owned - all of the following.

1. Title track: Any song that is also the title of the album from whence it came, such as “Piano Man” from the album Piano Man.

2. I Command You A song title which is a command in the grammatical sense, such as “Don’t Stop” or “Please Please Me.”

3. Human Anatomy 101 A song about a part of the body, whether it’s the eyes, the heart, or the toe. Any part of the body at all.

4. Song about waiting Self-explanatory, surely.

5. Novelty song:

6. Great song on a shit album Again, that’s obvious enough. A song you like from an album you don’t.

7. Song from 2008 Yes, it’s time for you people to get current again. Any song that was released this year.

8. Song about school:

9. This & That A song with a title using the conjunction “and” . . .

10. Dedication: dedicate a song on your mix to someone!

Dedicated to my lovely six-year-old daughter who likes angry music in Spanish.

11. Favorite song from the year you graduated high school.

12. Song you are most surprised to discover in your CD/MP3 collection. Alternate category name: “That’s not mine, officer.”

I have no musical guilty pleasures. Should someone else want to be embarrassed on my behalf, here:

13. Kick-ass cover The old favorite.

14. Song with your name in the title You can use your middle name if you can’t find anything for your first name.

Let's pretend my name is Vincent.

15. Smoking song—a song about smoking, what else?

16. Song about magic

17. Next song Heidi should learn on the guitar (a.k.a. While Stennie’s guitar gently weeps)?

18. Introductory song: Song you would like to have played by Paul Schaeffer and the CBS Orchestra if you were a guest on Letterman.

19. Amnesia: a song about forgetting

20. Amnesty song As always, a song that you would have liked to use in this (or any other) mix, but couldn’t seem to find room for.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Sadism is Funny

Things to Read When Your Life Seems Unfulfilling

Michael M. Bates:
[...] A small highlight of youth — at least my youth — was staying up late enough to see test patterns right before TV stations shut down. Often, an announcer would mellifluously advise viewers that the channel was about to conclude its broadcast day. Sometimes viewers were assured that the station subscribed to the standards of the National Association of Broadcasters.

The National Anthem was usually played, occasionally accompanied by film of jets streaking across the sky. Other times, pictures of the Founding Fathers or other significant American figures or monuments were presented. The test pattern would then be displayed for a while, followed by a squealing sound, and finally several hours of static before the station's next broadcast day began.

The good part is you didn't have to stay up most of the night to catch a test pattern. [...]
More at the link for those who are, um, interested.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Things I Wonder

What's the homeopathic opinion on space-station astronauts recycling their pee?

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Prince Caspian Sucks

A current ad campaign suggests that the second Narnia thingamajig is a giggly romp through a forest of short jokes.

It is actually a near-mirthless drag featuring dull military campaigns and a large dose of genocide, the latter understandable given the charmless forest inhabitants.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Drag and Drop Post




Tuesday, December 2, 2008


Here are some kids doing what kids do best: burning stuff in the street. They were out front of my hotel in Luxor all the time (The Happyland Hotel sign is visible down the street a little) looking for stuff to burn and achieving quite a bit of success. Here they've found some plastic pipe, which both burns AND MELTS. Tough to beat. Nobody really minded because most buildings are made of hideous non-burning mud-brick, and kids tend to do what they like anyway. Four-year-olds go shopping and so on. The banners across the buildings are for Ramadan. There's a cheapo plastic lamp up there too, sort of a christmas-light equivalent. Many of those beep out awful tunes: anti-Israeli marching anthems, and, strangely enough, christmas carols.

The view from the bar at The Venus Hotel, which has some issues involving ants, roaches, bedbugs, and other insects. I figure it was a plague sent from the Lord, that being the area for it. The Venus Hotel was on the market street. Canny sellers would move their carts into the middle of the street to obstruct traffic and extort their way to profits. The little van down there goes from town to town. Cheap transport if you know how to negotiate.

This is easily the most impressive piece of technology on display in the streets of Egypt. Pour some goop into the hopper and it streams out of a series of little holes onto a rotating grill, then it gets scoured off by a blade. The result tastes like shredded wheat.

Coming over another hill to Deir El Medina, the ruins of a Christian monastery that surround an Egyptian temple. This is in the area near the Valley of the Kings, another good area for hiking that nobody takes advantage of. Up the mountain to the right is the aforementioned Valley. Sissies take donkeys, and I don't even want to discuss the rubes in the buses.

Hatshepsut's mortuary temple. A wide-angle lens makes this way smaller than it looks...the scale is insane, and a lot of it is carved right out of the mountainside. Also near the Valley of the Kings; just a hop over that mountain there.

Down there is the Valley of the Kings.

Down there to the left is the Valley of the Artisans. That white path is concrete stairs, a fairly punishing climb. Farmland in the distance.

Karnak is a huge temple that was once at the end of a three km road of sphinxes that connected it to the temple in Luxor. The scale is ridiculous. Those high pillars just visible at the vanishing point of the photo originally held up piers for a second floor.

The lotus was the symbol of Egypt; the stem is the Nile, the flower is the Delta. They're washed out in this photo, but the tops of these lotus pillars are painted red and blue.

More bits and pieces of Karnak.

Karnak doesn't end.

Luxor Temple. The locals were so bored with the ruins in the sand that they built a mosque on top of 'em. Now the mosque's too important to be moved. Christians and Moslems both spent a lot of time vandalizing the most amazing things.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Mark Noonan

Image and video hosting by TinyPic
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Still have the wonky graphics cards so I can't actually figure out details in my photoshoppery. Oh well.

Next project: eyebrows orbit head. Getting somewhat distracted...

UPDATE: Thanks to a javascript freebie you can drag Noonan down to the post below and sit him on that hideous mink woman. Also give him eight more sets of eyebrows.

Where would we be without the internet?


Susan Phalen is senior adviser for Iraq Communications at the U.S. Department of State. She has been deployed to Iraq nine times and once to Afghanistan, and is currently writing a book of her experiences. Phalen is wearing a three-quarter length black sheared mink coat with silver fox trim from Miller's Furs.
(Courtesy 2008 Clare Boothe Luce Policy Institute/Photography by KochFoto)

Sunday, November 23, 2008

More Names

Now that the Joe the Plumber fad is hopefully dispensed with, why not add animals to the stupid names? A sample random 20:

Nonprogrammable Yoos
Sayj Mefhidplozoysh
State Senator Leann-Marc Unknowingly-Role
Utopianize Shattering-Involved the Tasty Ray
Wichalica Onita
Juserokejplaqu Sparsely
Duke Neon
Seaman Jeffrey the Peachy Dingo
Shachutsheequyeewo Breakthrough the Electrical Engineer
Mister Lanora
Al Aftereffect-Tins the Controller
Poe Charmers the Smoky Hair Stylist
Haleyjom Tyrants the Velvet Catfish
WoyxEloise Regression-Devises the Cab Driver
Affirmations Nancie the Fading Diplomat
Choopromoters Kliquzagmopo
Vice Admiral Kacy Rogers-Wordsworth the Milkman
Muxlemxayyya Davis the Mushy Pricklefish
Nubterrifies Impersonating the Velvet-Belly Shark
Alvaro Eliana the Poor Astronaut
Allie Vincenzo

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Eerie Parallels

Via Curly Howard yet another crazy person:
The Left sees in Palin eerie parallels to Ronald Reagan. A common-sense, plain talking former sportscaster who is shattering the near Biblical certainty that their time had come to control America. A woman whose very stage presence is more powerful than a speeding bullet and has given Americans the chance to jump over the Left’s control of the media and communicate their approval with wild applause and chanting, which no manner of media tricks can edit away.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

North Side Represent

Monday, November 17, 2008


This isn't really in Aswan, but the only way for tourists to get to it is a little flight from Aswan's airport. This is the temple at Abu Simbel, a monument to Ramses, who was something of an egomaniac. Those are four of him in front, and most of the temple's reliefs are devoted to him slaughtering and enslaving all comers, Nubians especially. The mountain is artificial and hollow...the whole temple would have been underwater if it hadn't been moved. That guy in the black shirt between the rightmost two Ramseses is a tour guide, and his T-shirt says "Abdul" on the front and "Follow Abdul Please" on the back.

The temple of Hathor at Abu Simbel. It's supposed to be dedicated to Hathor and Ramses's wife, but, surprise, it's all about Ramses slaughtering and enslaving.

This is a large chunk of Aswan as seen from the roof of my hotel, the Nubian Oasis. Elephantine Island is in the middle of the Nile, a lush place with a Nubian village that's fun to walk through: the village is small enough to have no need for vehicles, so the streets are wide enough for a couple of Egyptians to pass down, which translates into about one and a half of us titanic North Americans. The houses also have a more celebratory form of decoration, but once again I missed taking decent pictures. Aswan was warm, relaxed and the people were kind. I spent way too much time there, from the perspective of someone who wanted to see lotsa sights; aside from Philae and Abu Simbel, there's nothing eye-popping around. Just a good place to relax. I ate an orange up on the roof and in a little while the peel crunched under my foot: no humidity at all. That little peak on the hill is a mausoleum, which is a nice starting point for a walk across the dunes to the decaying monastery of St Simeon. Dig under the rocks there and you can steal a certain camel driver's drug stash, which I think is adequate recompense for his being rather forward with me. The rule appears to be that all foreigners are whores.

After a few days in my hotel room in Aswan, Ramadan struck, which meant no meals, liquids, medicine, or smokes during the day for the devout, but an orgy of gorging before dawn and after dusk. That made dusk a nice time for a nap, because the streets would empty out while everyone ran home and stuffed themselves. Soon enough though, they'd come back out. The guys extending the hovels into this dumping ground outside my window were no fools: they only worked at night, so they could eat, drink, and smoke while doing it. Bastards, hammering away at all hours, taking valuable nesting space away from the flea-bitten felines and garbage-eating chickens...hey, I guess those chickens are free-range, huh?

Most of the sand in Egypt is actually a deathly gray, but it's heavier than the yellow sand which blows around and hides it. This is the monastery of St. Simeon, and the walk to it is a good one for Indiana Jones fantasies. Not many tourists seem to walk in the desert...can't think why. It's silent and desolate in a really inspiring way. Deserts in Arizona seem like fertile pastures in comparison.

Philae's another temple that would have been lost under the waters of Lake Nasser, the lake formed by the High Dam at Aswan, had it not been moved from one island to another with the help of huge infusions of foreign cash. So you get to it via little motorboats. It's a spectacle. Not to be missed.

Philae. Roman addition in the background.

More Philae.

Heck, I think it's more Philae, this time with people for scale, although I recall trying my damndest to eliminate them. [Editor's note - Although "elimination" brings colourful images to mind, rest assured that our naive traveler was simply wishing people were not in the picture he was taking because he hates people with a passion.]

This is probably a temple at Kalabsha, another island temple rescued from hydroelectric might. My memory's fuzzy on this one, but when I look at it I hear a security guard bragging about just having acquired his second wife and fantasizing about a further two. Yup, gotta be Kalabsha. Then the guy wanted baksheesh (palm-greasing money) for having subjected me to his company. Through all the temples, tombs, and whatnot, guys were hanging around trying to point something out to you so they'd have an excuse to ask you for baksheesh. Sadness, pity, could feel all these plus a triumphant cruelty when you thought of slick ways to brush them off or put columns between them and yourself. A lot of the time they have little to offer but things like "Ramses. Snake. Sun." Thanks professor.