robotnik2004: (Default)
Just breaking radio silence to say:

Mooninites? Aaaaah ha ha ha ha ha. I miss Boston.

Elected officials said there is no room for battery-powered contraptions in a post Sept. 11 world.

Though I've always liked the other two ATHF aliens better than the Mooninites. Emery and whatsisname. "What do you know of fire? You prance around like you have laser eyes. You don't!"
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So the author of this blog I sometimes read had a poll as to what she should write about next. And I was amused to see that "remembering 9/11" got exactly zero votes - it was trounced by "why I'm afraid of research," "why I hate Katie Couric" (that one got my vote), and even "how to get better technical support." I suspect that lack of interest in one more 9/11 reminiscence is fairly widespread. So I'll spare you my ruminations on that 9/11 picture from yesterday, except to kinda sorta answer [ profile] that_cad and [ profile] freeparking:

Well, the picture wasn't faked. And I know I didn't really say anything about why I thought the picture was remarkable. But I didn't think it was an interesting picture because I couldn't believe that people would be so callous as to smile on 9/11/2001, omg the dirty unpatriotic sobs why do they hate America? Almost the opposite, in fact. The picture's not unbelievable to me, it's the most believable representation of 9-11 I think I've seen. I also think it was interesting that the photographer suppressed this picture for four years because he thought it was too disturbing: not because it's graphic, but because it doesn't look anything like An Official 9-11 PhotoTM is supposed to look like. There's no firefighter in silhouette, no backlit flag to get choked up about, no George W Bush doing his gimlet-eyed grimly-determined monkey look. And finally, I think it's interesting because (this is the gist of the Frank Rich column) it suggests a path not taken, one where Americans exercised their formidable national powers of Getting Over It, where 9-11 was a horrible, tragic crime but not a Defining Moment that deranged and derailed an entire nation, plunging us all forever and irrevocably into The War on Terror and The Post 9-11 World.
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You've probably seen all the 9-11 images you need to today. This is one of the few I hadn't seen before. (It was mentioed in a Frank Rich column in this Sunday's NYT - the column is behind the Times' pay-subscriber wall, but I find the picture more interesting than the image anyway. I just wish it was a higher resolution.) The photo is not at all graphic, yet the photographer was so disturbed by the image that he chose not to publish it for four years after the attacks. Can you see why?

Maybe I'll come back and write something about this, maybe not. Feel free to talk amongst yourselves.


Aug. 11th, 2006 11:00 am
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Speaking of airports, we just booked tickets for a trip to Boston! [ profile] papersource, [ profile] polka_roo, and I will be in town the week after Labor Day, from Wednesday Sept. 6 to Sunday Sept. 10. Our socializing abilities may be curtailed a little bit by You Know Who but we hope to see a bunch of you and introduce you to our little friend.
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Chris Bray is a PhD student in history at UCLA and a sergeant in the U.S. Army currently stationed in Kuwait. He blogs at both Cliopatria and Histori-blogography about history and also about the weird limbo of his tour of duty. All of Chris' posts are worth reading, but this is the story that I currently can't get out of my head:

Training for war, I spent an afternoon in an army classroom listening to presentations on improvised explosive devices and the insurgents who plant them. Droning through one of the inevitable PowerPoint presentations, a sergeant first class read directly from the slide in front of us: The insurgency, he read, will probably die down after we capture Saddam Hussein. Except that the class was taught this October, a couple of years after that former dictator had been dragged out of his spider hole. The sergeant stopped for the briefest moment, mumbled that the slides were a little out of date, and went right on reading.

Here's the rest of that post if you're interested. Here's hoping Chris' war remains uneventful and banal.
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It's hard to soar with the eagles...

Kind of cries out for a caption, doesn't it?

Happy Thanksgiving to my American friends. Travel safe, and wish us luck traveling to DC. Be thankful and well.
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I usually turn to Cliopatria to keep up to date on campus speech controversies. So I’m surprised that I beat my colleagues there to the following scoop: This past Tuesday, the College Republicans at the University of Connecticut invited Jim Hellwig, better known as face-painted pro wrestler “The Ultimate Warrior” to speak at their school. But students in attendance were shocked, shocked when, instead of comporting himself like a proper professional wrestler, the Ultimate Warrior launched into an angry, incoherent tirade.

Students started heckling Hellwig when his remarks turned (allegedly) racist and homophobic. The Ultimate Warrior (who, you may recall, bested Ravishing Rick Rude in a steel cage match at Summer Slam ’89) only got angrier, and eventually campus security had to shut the event down.

The UConn College Republicans have apologized for the incident, but Warrior (my Chicago Manual tells me it is correct to drop “the Ultimate” after second reference) appears unrepentant. In a memo “from the desk of Warrior,” he dubs the UConn Republicans “spineless,” and calls his critics the “World Class Crew of Crybabies.” (Which is ironic, because I’m pretty sure the WC3 took on the Hart Foundation in Wrestlemania 4.)

(Crossposted to Cliopatria.)

(Edit: David Noon’s Axis of Evel Knievel has the story in more chair-throwing, turnbuckle-smashing, pile-driving detail.)

Cross-posted from Old is the New New. Comments welcome.
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[cross-posted to Rob, which you would know if you were subscribed to the [ profile] robotnikblog RSS feed, so why aren't you?]

[Canada Guy image stolen from the great and terrible [ profile] calamityjon. Visit his site!]

Canada Guy by Calamity Jon Morris

I just got back from Upper Canada, where it was -30° C in the daytime, and the following bit of video from the time of George Bush's Ottawa visit was making the rounds. It's Ann Coulter and Tucker Carlson taking a few cheap shots at Canadians while some gormless backbencher clucks feebly in the Dominion's defense. I must warn you, the clip does neither country any credit. And it's not nearly as satisfying as the justly famous video of Jon Stewart schooling Tucker on Crossfire. But you can go watch it now, in Quicktime or Windows Media. I'll wait.

Are you back? OK. Yes. I know. Well, don't say I didn't warn you.

Read more... )

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Nov. 4th, 2004 07:45 am
robotnik2004: (Disbelieve)
With apologies to [ profile] bryant.

That is all.
robotnik2004: (Default)
I'm sorry, Mike, but everybody gets at least one dejected post-election post.

I am not surprised by the outcome. This is pretty much exactly what I've been expecting since Howard Dean screamed in Iowa, if not before. Which is not to say "I told you so", because a) who needs that shit? and b) I tried to make a point of not telling anyone so. But no, I'm not surprised by the outcome.

I am surprised by how much it hurt. At some point in the last four years, without really realizing it, I must have started thinking of the United States as my country too. At some point, American politics became my own deal, and not just a zany Hollywood blockbuster action spectacle mounted for my wry amusement. "To the thinking man, life is a comedy; to the feeling man, life is a tragedy." I envy my fellow Canadians back home that cozy Hudson's Bay blanket of ironic detachment I misplaced somewhere along the way.

Yesterday was our weekly luncheon with various fellows of the Academy. Of course, we talked about the election. I note in retrospect that all the Academy postdocs (who are smart liberal 30-year-olds) were, at noon yesterday, pretty optimistic for a Kerry victory, thanks to exit polls and Zogby and "[ profile] bryant promised!" But all the Academy fellows (who are smart liberal 80-year-olds) were decidedly not. There's something to be learned there.

Ah, well. We find solace where we can: The long view (a historian's best friend), silly role-playing games, and John Harvard's tonight at 6pm. Be there!

Edit: God bless Jim Carroll, who just made me feel a little better. And I changed the wording above because it sounded like I wasn't Canadian any more. I still am. More than ever.
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I'm experiencing considerable election-related angst today, verging on existential. Where's that pile of coats for me to hide under? I wonder if I’d feel any different if I could vote. I did give some money to the good guys, which made me feel better about my place in the world for a few seconds, par for the course for most consumer transactions. If Jaffe and Jaffe only existed, I’d be calling for an appointment as we speak.

(I really liked that movie, btw. [ profile] bryant, I hear your criticism, but I didn’t think the movie was laughing at the philosophies expressed so much as laughing with them.) (Also: yes, like all good movies, it did give me an idea for a game.)

Here’s the New Yorker’s endorsement of Kerry. (The New Yorker endorsed Kerry? Shocking, I know.) Riddle me this, Batman: can you stand reading one more article recapping the last four years? Is there really any reason to read it, or will it just make you feel anxious like I do?

Read more... )

Edit: Bryant and Al Giordano and a little kid on the steps of Memorial Church did manage to cheer me up a little.
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Belated Fourth of July post, courtesy of [ profile] jadasc and Henry Louis Kick Ass Mencken:

WHEN THINGS get so balled up that the people of a country got to cut loose from some other country, and go it on their own hook, without asking no permission from nobody, excepting maybe God Almighty, then they ought to let everybody know why they done it, so that everybody can see they are not trying to put nothing over on nobody.

All we got to say on this proposition is this: first, me and you is as good as anybody else, and maybe a damn sight better; second, nobody ain't got no right to take away none of our rights; third, every man has got a right to live, to come and go as he pleases, and to have a good time whichever way he likes, so long as he don't interfere with nobody else.
The Declaration of Independence in American, H.L. Mencken, 1921
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OK. Imagine you're in a movie theater, sometime between one and five years from now. You're munching your popcorn, sipping your humongo-sized Sierra Mist. Lights go down, a string of ads play, then the trailers come on. The screen is filled with a clear blue sky. Cut to office workers doing their morning routine. A cop directing traffic. Mundane it-was-like-any-other-morning stuff. Movie trailer voice over guy intones, "In a world..." Now. Cut to a passenger jet coming in slow over New York City. Cut to the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center, pristine, perfect, filling the screen, glinting in that perfect September morning sun. Then the money shot. Not the TV footage we've all seen a hundred times, but a slick Bruckheimer CGI special, a zooming we-are-the-nose-of-the-plane shot like the we-are-the-bomb shot in the Pearl Harbor trailer that takes us right through the glass in the side of the building. Then the mother of all Hollywood fireballs. Bigger, louder, better than the real thing.

Yes, I know, it's a horrible, reprehensible idea. It doesn't matter what the movie that follows is. But I have this idea that someone, somewhere, is pitching it. Right now. Coming soon to a theatre near you. I'll be happy to be proven wrong. But I don't think I will.
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Today's Boston Phoenix has an article about a Harvard biological anthropologist (aka chimp-studying guy) who reports that, in the last two or three years, the chimpanzees in Uganda's Kibale Forest have made what he says is a wholly unprecedented technological advancement: they have learned to bludgeon one another with sticks.

"This is the first time any animal other than humans has been seen to pick up clubs as weapons and use them against others of their own species," explains Richard Wrangham, a 54-year-old professor of biological anthropology and world-renowned authority on chimpanzees. "This is the first repeated hitting. This is picking up a stick and wham-wham-wham-wham!"

In 1999, a male chimp named Imoso was seen using a stick to beat a female chimp named Outamba. Since then, Wrangham and his researchers have observed several incidents of weapons use by chimps. The pound-and-pound-on-your-neighbor-with-a-stick meme is spreading. If all this is true—and when it comes to biological anthropology I can only assume the Phoenix is an unimpeachable source—it's a technological leap worthy of black monoliths and Also Sprach Zarathustra.

The article (which contains a helpful photo of "a stick") continues with some yabber jabber about biological predispositions to violence and tries incoherently to tie it all in to September 11th and war with Iraq, but I think the real message here is grim, and the danger is all too clear:

The Chimps have the Stick. I repeat, the Chimpanzees have The Stick.


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