Hey, wanna smoke some Muggles?

Marijuana, of all illegal drugs, has inspired by far the greatest number of street terms, according to the database.  Perhaps that’s because the laughing weed is the most commonly used recreational drug.  Or maybe it’s because regular users have impaired short-term memories and have to keep making up new terms for their drug of choice.

What were we talking about?

Let's Do This Again In 60,000 Years

Between now and August, Mars will brighten until it “blazes forth against the dark background of space with a splendor that outshines Sirius and rivals the giant Jupiter himself.” Astronomer Percival Lowell, who famously mapped the canals of Mars, wrote those words to describe the planet during a similar close encounter in the 19th century.

This Wednesday it will be the closest.  Me, I’m just going to go on Friday (yeah, I’ll miss the closest by a couple of days) to 7,000 feet at The Mountain and avoid the LA area light pollution.

Lazy Hell

Surely eternal damnation deserves more thought than this, but I was more interesting in seeing what they did with it than thinking about who to put in it.

General asshats
Circle I Limbo

Militant Vegans
Circle II Whirling in a Dark & Stormy Wind

Slow Drivers in the Fast Lane
Circle III Mud, Rain, Cold, Hail & Snow

The Pope
Circle IV Rolling Weights

Circle V Stuck in Mud, Mangled

River Styx

George Bush
Circle VI Buried for Eternity

River Phlegyas

Osama bin Laden
Circle VII Burning Sands

Saddam Hussein
Circle IIX Immersed in Excrement

John Ashcroft
Circle IX Frozen in Ice

Design your own hell

Never Trust A Photo

Check out the before and after images of this model.  When you’re done, check out the rest of Greg’s Digital Retouching Portfolio.

I’ll never believe a picture again.  We all knew they can be easily manipulated but this really shows the degree of changes that can be made where even in close-up you can’t tell that it was done.

Worm Filter

I don’t remember where I copied this from, but it’s a new interesting twist on spam filters and worms:

The Internet epidemic du jour is the Blaster Worm. I’m not writing about it because it isn’t very interesting; it’s just more of the same thing we’ve been seeing for years. But there’s one new idea. One variant of the worm downloads a file whose name contains an anatomical term that many spam filters block. I wonder how many emails about the worm never reach their recipient because the filename is given? VERY clever.

Very Active Stock Market Today

This just in from Briefing.com:

10:21 am PT Floor Talk : In speaking with institutional traders, the lack of enthusiasm for being at work today seems to be the prevalent theme given the total lack of direction or volume. Given the confluence of the power outage issues and a typical slow summer Friday, some individuals have called it a week and gone home early. In addition, some of our contacts did not even make it to work today given the power issues still being ironed out in the city. However, traders point to the possibility of some action at end of day related to expiration. As a point of interest, one desk is passing the time making book on a cheeseburger eating contest. The undersized trader was able to ingest 9 burgers before being forced to make a trip to the closest garbage can. The first pay out was at 12 burgers, so the only upside was that the trader managed a free lunch. Lucky for him.


You Can't Say That Anymore

Fox News Channel has filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against Al Franken (of SNL fame) over the title of his upcoming book, “Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right.”  Fox News registered “Fair & Balanced” as a trademark in 1995, so the suit seeks to force Penguin to rename the book.

I’m shocked and awed.  Wait, that’s owned by Sony.  No, they backed down after the bad press.  So who does own it?  According to the US Patent and Trademark Office, 27 out of the 28 original requests for the trademark are still active.  (Just search for “Shock and Awe”.)

Rhetorically Speaking

Over 5,000 speeches and sermons are indexed on American Rhetoric.  On the list of the top 100 American speeches, Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” is followed by well-known classics from John F. Kennedy and Franklin Delano Roosevelt.  The Online Speech Bank offers a wealth of oration, from Malcolm X’s “The Ballot or the Bullet” to Cher’s eulogy for Sonny Bono.  The Movie Speeches section includes the “greed is good” pitch from Wall Street and Jack Nicholson’s famous utterance, “You can’t handle the truth!” in A Few Good Men.

Current Poll Results

PollingReport.com has polls organized by category from a wide variety of organizations.  It’s a one-stop-shop to see the latest thoughts, instead of trying to find out with organization did the most recent poll.

Howard Dean has really moved up in the Democratic Primary.  Here’s how the percentages turned up for the top 4 candidates to the question, “which of those candidates you would be most likely to support”.

  Aug. ’03 Apr. ’03
Joe Lieberman 18 22
Dick Gephardt 15 16
Howard Dean 15 6
John Kerry 12 18

Church of the SubGenius

Way back when I started this site in early 1996, it had a link to the Church of the SubGenius.  (Their slogans include “Pull The Wool Over Your Own Eyes and Relax In The Safety Of Your Own Delusions,” and “I Don�t Practice What I Preach, Because I�m Not The Kind Of Person I�m Preaching To.”)  The church didn’t even have it’s own site back then; it was hosted at http://sunsite.unc.edu/subgenius/.

The site (SubGenius, not this one) was put together very convincingly as the rantings of a lunatic (or a pack of them) with a sense of humor; even the web design showed it with its giant fonts, centered text and excessive exclamation points!  There’s too much odd stuff there to ever finish it, but it was worth an occasionally visit to try to figure out both it and the many related sites that it spawned.  I never did learn much about what was behind the site, probably because I was searching the wrong way.

A recent article explains a little about one of the church’s main contributors, Hal Robins.  Reading that of course led me to another article and another, and I soon realized how vast the conspiracy was. 

It turns out that Robins was the the fellow that did Weirdo comics in the ’80s.  The very long but interesting look at this guy in the SF Weekly article led me to the next SubGenii contributor: Paul Mavrides.  He is one of the three people that worked on The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers, and semi-recently did the pencil-in-the-ear cover for the Butthole Surfers album Electriclarryland.  In an interview, he says Ivan Stang (aka Doug Smith) was the main “spiritual funnel” for SubGenius.

Probably the best descriptions of SubGenius are in one of Stang’s interviews here or here.  Along with Stang, the other founder is Dr. Philo Drummond — I’m guessing he’s not out of the closet yet because there isn’t any info available on him.

Here’s an interview excerpt showing some of who’s behind the curtain:

GA: Who are some of the more prestigious SubGenius Members?

IS: Our idea of prestige, or Theirs? … Mark Mothersbaugh of DEVO is probably the most famous frequent SubGenius collaborator. One of my partners and practically a co-founder, Paul Mavrides, has lately been starting to get the recognition he deserves. He designs our books, does some of the best art, co-writes, and generally polices my tendency to get all sappy and sentimental. He�s best known for comics like The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers and Anarchy, but his paintings and “serious” art are getting more and more attention. Other artists and weirdos who are famous and happen to also be SubGenius ministers include the painters Robert Williams and Gary Panter; cartoonists R. Crumb, Gilbert Shelton, the late Rick Griffin, and many more; movie directors Jonathan Demme and Mike “Wizard of Speed and Time” Jittlov; counterculture heroes Ken Kesey, Pee Wee Herman and Timothy Leary; philosopher Robert Anton Wilson, and “cyberpunk” writers like Rudy Rucker, John Shirley, and Lewis Shiner; David Ossman of The Firesign Theater… A lot of the SubGenius “celebs” are secretly famous � that is, they�re worshipped in their odd field: Michael Peppe the performance artist, for instance, or Winston Smith the collage guy.

But not everyone likes SubGenius.  While trying to find info on one of the early artists, John Hagen-Brenner, I discovered a feud.  Did Hagen-Brenner really try to bomb Bob Black?  Or is this just more of the joke?  That rant did show me that a lot of the early creative stuff I saw on the Web was by people that knew each other.

Income Distribution in the USA

Imagine the population of the United States stretched across a football field in order of income, from poorest to richest with the median income at the 50-yard line. Now put a stack of $100 bills representing each person’s income on the field, where a 1-inch stack of $100 bills is $25,000.

The stack gets gradually higher, from 0 to about 2 inches ($39,000) at the 50-yard line. It’s about 4-inches high, representing $132,000 at the 95-yard line, which means that 95% of population’s income is shown in less than 4 inches. Well past the 99-yard line that you hit the million mark: a stack of $100 bills 40-inches high. At the far, far end is a tiny sliver of width that is the richest people. Although this information is dated, Bill Gates in his largest income year would be represented by a stack of bills over 7890 miles high ( $50 billion). So lets bring things back to earth: According to Forbes, Larry Ellison, CEO of Oracle, made more than $706 million in 2002 – that would be a stack of bills about 111.5 miles high.

The L-Curve has a graph that better illustrates this.

Right-Wing Ideology in a Nutshell

A nice, simple thought from Conceptual Guerilla:

“Cheap labor”.  That’s their whole philosophy in a nutshell � which gives you a short and pithy “catch phrase” that describes them perfectly.  You’ve heard of “big-government liberals”.  Well they’re “cheap-labor conservatives”.

Army of One

The previous link (although you’re probably reading this one first because it’s above the earlier one) popped up because I was trying to find out who was responsible for a Flash animation called Army of One.  It’s a little too long, but well put together.  It’s sort of an anti-Bush message for the people that support him for his military policies.

500 Channels But Nothing To Watch

Could it be because they’re mostly owned by five companies, with the remains spread out between three more?  Here is a simple chart that shows who owns what.

And here is a graph that shows how the number of companies owning 90% of the media dropped from 50 to 6 between 1982 and 2000.  The webpage also has links to lots of other background information — even too much for me.

Time for Space Jiggle

Jim Gasperini first takes pictures using a stereo camera.  Then he makes an animation by alternating the two images.  The result is a picture in a sort of 3D without special glasses.

What a cool idea:  representing space by using time.  There are a few images at the jiggly site.