Monday, November 27, 2006

American Ozymandias

Our President wants to build a half-billion dollar monument to himself in the form of a library. I say "form" because... what could a George W. Bush Library possibly have in it? The things he should have read but didn't would make a more substantial collection.

"Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S." would be a good one. Or any of the numerous intelligence assessments saying Iraq posed no threat, or the ones saying that occupying it would take half a million troops, or maybe his own father's book that warned Iraq was a powder keg of insane sectarian hatred waiting to be lit.

But the planners have already conceded the lack of positive W content. According to this New York Daily News article they intend to create it from scratch:

The legacy-polishing centerpiece is an institute, which several Bush insiders called the Institute for Democracy. Patterned after Stanford University's Hoover Institution, Bush's institute will hire conservative scholars and "give them money to write papers and books favorable to the President's policies," one Bush insider said.

Can you imagine George Washington or Abraham Lincoln or Teddy Roosevelt paying people to write good things about them?

But Saddam Hussein used to do that.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Florence Foster Jenkins sings!

"People may say I can't sing, but no one can ever say I didn't sing."

Florence Foster Jenkins a was wealthy socialite of the early 20th century with a talent for operatic singing comparable to Ed Wood's talent for movie directing or say, George W. Bush's talent for extemporaneous speaking.

And like them, she could not be deterred from her passion.

She gave annual recitals for her friends and acquaintances that became such draws that her final one at Carnegie Hall was sold-out, standing room only, hundreds turned away at the door, and scalpers getting ten times the face value for tickets.

Descriptions of her always seem cruel... until you actually hear her. Listen to Florence perform Mozart's "Queen of the Night" in the YouTube Clip above.

An appreciation of Florence by "Dr. Laura".

A revealing interview with her frequent accompanist "Cosmé McMoon".

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Third World 2.0

Looks like someone voted down that bridge and road improvement bond issue.

I have to presume that a yak took out a whole bunch of wooden slats in one swoop. They wouldn't just let the boards fall out one by one over several months and not make a move to replace them... would they?

More pics of people making do with less than usual: Lords of the Logistic.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Thanking the Outcumbent

Today begins the 2008 Presidential race. Whoever wins has a serious problem on their hands.

That's because since Jimmy Carter's inauguration at least, it's been traditional for the incoming President to make some gesture of thanking the outgoing President for his service. But what will anyone find to thank George W. Bush for? Every act and policy of his has been a thorough disaster. There is absolutely nothing to warmly look back on.

Here's how he could handle it:

44th President: Before I address the many challenges we face, I want to take a moment to thank George W. Bush for his, uh ... uh... hey, did you get that fish tie at Wal-mart? Ha ha ha! My nephew gave me one for Christmas. Those are great!

Let's see, where was I... Oh yes.. My fellow Americans, we face many challenges ahead...

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

It was 20 years ago today...

Behold, the juggler!

Twenty years ago this month Eric Graham created the first 3D character animation ever rendered on a personal computer. It was such a surprising leap that Commodore, the manufacturer of the AMIGA 1000 he used, intially didn't believe he had rendered it with one of their machines.

But he did, and when you first saw this demo running on your own AMIGA it was one of those "OMG" moments that made you believe anything was now possible.

Actual ray-traced character animation on a 7MHz computer with only half a meg of memory and not even a hard drive. No multi-million dollar mainframe needed!

Read more about Eric Graham and The Juggler