Tuesday, April 30, 2002

Despite my concern about being a link farm, this is worth reading - Pop Stand: Insta-pundit! My brief, harrowing television career From the piece: O'Reilly calls himself a newsman, but he's being too modest. In reality, he's America's favorite carnival barker, with guests who disagree with him as his sideshow.
Booze Cruise features lots of homemade recordings by some guy singning badly as he twists Nick Jr. visuals into his own twisted journey through a tall stiff one. I particularly like this page, where he sings about getting a letter from the Nick Jr. lawyers.

Since the audio plays automatically, this a perfect link to forward to others in hopes that they open it in their office with the volume of their computers turned way up. Enjoy.

Monday, April 29, 2002

Yahoo! Search Results for quark express port fuck
Yahoo! Search Results for i want to be a middle aged gay male porn star

Thanks to B in NYC for this chunk o' yuks.
With Natalie at work this past weekend, I loaded Jake and Tesla into the car and drove down to the folks in lovely Naples. Despite some trepidation that I'd somehow screw up a weekend alone with Jake and the dog miles away from home, all went well. Tesla even got some time on a dog run (an invention that somehow hasn't hit O-Town). Of course, Naples being very South Florida (and the temp hovering in the low 90s), there wasn't much running at "Rover Run." Mostly, a small herd of dogs sniffed each, then headed for shade, where they'd flop down, panting and trying hard to avoid sand spurs. Before figuring this out, Tesla walked across a stretch of scortching, sun-burnt sand and began hopping about like she'd gotten thorns in every paw.

Jake and I found a little nine-hole golf course surrounded by condos where we played a round late Saturday afternoon. We slipped on just before a foursome of old men who were smoking cigars and snickering at us. In addition to a large TABASCO baseball hat, Jake was wearing lime-green sunglasses in the shape of hearts. The first tee headed straight across water and as I set up, Jake gave a loud running commentary. Are you gonna hit it in the water? Grandpa said we'll be in trouble here! We can't get it out from there. The old guys were very amused. Needless to say, I sliced my first shot right into the water (it bounced onto the rock edge). My second shot slammed into the second floor of the condos with a sickening THWACK! Having lived on a golf course, I can say the only good thing about that sound is it wasn't breaking glass. A solid thwack means you probably don't owe anybody money for damages. That ball bounced fair so we moved on, Jake chattering non-stop. When I told him he was about to boogie the last hole, he started crying. He's watched enough golf to know a boogie is bad for the pros. I tried to explain, but gave up and told him if he sank the putt, it would be a birdie. He sank it.

This afternoon, while swimming, Jake said Stop tickling me or I'm gonna pick your nose I hadn't heard that before. I proceeded to get vicious, nasty sunburn which aches as I type.

My folks were their normal weird and wonderful selves. My Mother repeatedly asked Jake Do you want to stay here with Nunny after Daddy leaves? Eventually, Jake answered Yes and that made her very happy. My father, in addition to teaching Jake how to count to 100, taught him the phrase That's my story and I'm sticking to it. and the word Pussy (as in Phil Mickelson is a pussy for missing that putt). No word yet if Jake (who slept for 13 hours last night) will recall any of that.

Friday, April 26, 2002

Jake and I went golfing again today on the nine-hole, par 27 course near Home Depot. Jake shot a legit 68, which included one par. Okay, he took two mulligans, but other than that, it was pretty clean.
I've had this thought for the past few days - blogging is a lot like the DJ culture. By DJ culture, I mean the club music scene which consists of DJs playing and manipulating records (and CDs) for the evening's musical entertainment.

To be up upfront, I've never rated DJs as musicians. Yes, they deal with music and yes, the good ones certainly know about entertainment and how to work a crowd. But the job really doesn't demand musical skills. Face it, they basically pick and spin records. It is amazing to me that some DJs put out CDs of other people's music spun together in a collection and promote it as an original CD. The only thing original there is the packaging. Valuable? Yes, certainly, especially if I'm having a party. But I think it should be filed a lot closer to K-Tel Collections than original dance or electronic music. The DJs that I liked a lot (The Chemical Brothers, DJ Spooky or Orlando's own Q-Burns Abstract Message come to mind) are usually much more than record spinners. DJing is only one part of their act.

So what's the connection between DJing and blogging? Both rely heavily on the reuse of materials created by others. Many blogs are just lists of links, sometimes with a witty comment, sometimes not. We see something interesting or funny and think, Oooo, I should share this with the world. Similarly, a DJ picks songs, perhaps tweaks it a bit, adding reverb or sound effects, speeds it up or down to blend with the next song, and shares that with the dance floor. Bloggers are like the DJs of the internet, although most of us don't dress as sharply as DJs do (yes, we've got bodies built for blogging, just like FM DJs have faces built for radio).

I bring this up because I'm wondering about the value of link-oriented blogging. What's the point? Okay, if you use the link as a stepping stone and take off from there, adding lots of original thought and spin, fine. But too many times - and I'm guilty of this too - bloggers take the easy way out. Like a bad DJ who shows up at gig after gig with the same 50 records, bloggers surf the same news sites for weird stories, throw links back to the blog and go to bed satisfied that we done our part for the web's self-publishing revolution. Why bother? Does anybody really need us to point out general news stories or oddball items from Yahoo? I think not.

What does it mean? I don't know. If nothing else, I think it means I want to push myself harder to come up with original and interesting blog entries. The value of linking to general news seems just about nil to me, although pointing out a good feature here or there still holds some cred. Hopefully, by stating this on the blog here and now, I'll box myself into a corner and be too embarassed to add pointless links to items everybody knows.

Thursday, April 25, 2002

It looks like I'm not the only one busy 'round the start of May. Many of my regular reads have signed off for a while or announced they'll be in blog-lite mode until work slows down. Hey, it could be worse.

BTW - the always interesting Kiwichick (a blogger from New Zealand!!!), sent this email in search of collectable currency. Perhaps you can help?

I heard on some newscast (BBC World perhaps in the wee hours when I couldn't sleep last night) that there is some sort of debarkle with some Afgan money that was printed in Russia that didn't make it to their central bank, but was given to some of the old leaders. Now it's flooded the market and they are making futile attempts at saving the currency. Have you heard anything about this? I've been trying to find something on the net about it, but I haven't had any luck yet.

Let me know if you run into anything, and vice versa if your interested.

There you go, a mission for the weekend. Kiwigirl's blog is pretty cool -- unabashedly personal with witty thoughts such as this - Doesn't it seem strange that abortion clinics are being bombed, but tobacco companies aren't? If you're going to do one, shouldn't you go bomb the other?

Oooo...good point.

Tuesday, April 23, 2002

Last day of school yesterday and I'm swamped doing end of the year stuff (like listening to students request Incompletes when they haven't done shit all year) and writing film fest blurbs. Also, I picked up my car from the shop today. After signing over $500+ and getting another $1,000 in warranty work done, the first thing I see when I turn the key is a dashboard read out saying the coolant level is low. They corrected the problem immediately, but what burns me is the car was driven out from the shop's parking lot to me by a Saab employee. Doesn't he even bother to look at the dashboard when he drives a car? Doesn't a warning of LOW COOLANT LEVEL trigger any type of alarm in his sunburned head?


BTW - blogspot has been painfully slow lately, making it painfully slow to log onto this (and many other) blogs. I'm sorry to say there's nothing I can do, although I'm looking into turning a Blogger Pro account, which should offer better access. We'll see.

More later, I promise.

Monday, April 22, 2002

Last week, I exchanged homemade mixed CDs with Katie of Badpoetry.net. A good deal all around. One of my favorite cuts on her impressive disc was Gin and Juice, a audacious take on a Snoop Doggie song done in a jacked-up bluegrass stylee by The Gourds (photo). This cover is perfect for two reasons. First, it kicks ass and is way funny. Second, it recontextualizes the song so listeners hear it as something else. Instead of Snoop’s lightly ominous West Coast Gangsta rap, we get yearning redneck harmonies crooning tales of the bitches and ‘hoes out in the living room (they keep the original lyrics, as far as I can tell). Why does that sound right? Because the most likely place to hear rap in the Orlando ‘burbs is pumping from the bass bins of some cracker’s pickup truck. Racism might not be dead, but plenty of music’s racial boundaries are.

So away way, a few days ago, I’m blasting that song in the car on my way home to pick up Jake and his sitter (Charon) for Jake's swim lessons. Charon’s a fairly cool, if mainstream 24-year-old, and we often talk about music. She’s a bit too into the whole ‘N Sync thing for me (I think she went to high school with one of them), but it’s always good to hear a different perspective. A few weeks ago, I tried to turn her on to They Might Be Giants. She liked a few cuts, but most of it was a bit out there for her. But any time I hear a great song like Gin and Juice, I want to share it. So I’m wondering, Will this be too much for Charon? I mean, the lyrics are pretty raw - lines about having a pocketful full of rubbers and wanting to bust a nut and with plenty of drug and booze references, etc. I have a little political correctness argument with myself - Will Charon be offended? Will she think I’m coming on to her? Might I scare away a very good sitter?

I’m still pondering my options and liabilities as I load them into the car and back out the driveway. The CD starts playing automatically and Charon’s looking at the sleeve (which has all the titles). I start explaining how I got the CD, how there’s this one cover song I really love, but...

Gin and Juice starts playing and Charon shouts “Oh I LOVE this song!” She’s instantly singing along. She not only knows the song, she knows this version of it, cranks up the volume and starts singing It’s two in the morning and the party’s still jumpin’ cause my Mama ain’t home / I got bitches in the livin’ room gettin’ it on-on and they ain’t leavin’ ‘till six in the morin’!

So that was my perfect moment for the day, you know? I think I’m Mr. Music - into the hip stuff - and it turns out my kid’s babysitter’s been singing along to this CD for weeks. Damn. Give the kids a chance and they will impress you...and then make you feel really old and out of touch in the process.

If you want to check out the Gourds doing Gin and Juice, head over here, to their Yahoo Group. While there, you can also download a little Quicktime file of Snoop himself hearing the Gourds’ groove on his work.

Saturday, April 20, 2002

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) - The fragile nature of Afghanistan's peace was evident Saturday, as French peacekeepers were shot at, a plot to assassinate the returned king was uncovered and parents were threatened with death for educating their children.. Yahoo! News - Plot Against Ex-Afghan King Revealed

Friday, April 19, 2002

Isn't is weird how little press the Robert Blake arrest is generating? Does nobody have sympathy for his wife or are we just OJ'ed out? A friend from LA (who is impressively in touch with this stuff), added this perspective.

Since the unfortunate demise of his wife, Robert Blake has lived (near) me with his adult daughter -- gated communities are good places to avoid the press. Blake is creepy -- he wanders aimlessly around the front yard a lot with his baby daughter. He also showed up and said a few words at a community candlelight service after 9-11. Always good to get the murderer perspective on things.

I predict calls of racism if cable TV doesn't do the full court press on Blake's trial. That's what they get for setting the standards so high.

Here are a few weekend links to keep you humming with crucial information for all those cocktail parties.

It appears Whitesnake video babe and accused man-basher Tawny Kitaen has a history of substance abuse and other nasty skeletons in her closet, or so says her soon-to-be-ex husband in these divorce papers republished at The Smoking Gun.com. Perhaps a sagging boob job is making Tawny depressed? Or maybe a name that only seems fit for those 24 and under?

While you're at Smoking Gun, do read out this little wonder - Nirvana Wants To Check if Courtney's Crazy. In their never-ending legal proceedings, the remaining 2/3's of Nivanva want Courtney to undergo psych evaluation to see if she's insane, based on previous (and often self-documented) acts of rage, lunacy and drug use. I guess they're too embarassed to ask if Auntie Flo is visiting.

For those wondering How can the shinny new USA Patriot Act effect me if I'm not a terrorist? read the Electronic Frontier Foundation's Analysis of the USA PATRIOT Act (Oct. 31, 2001). Paranoid leftist ramblings or the future of your email and web interactions? You decide.

While you're at it, here's another link worth clicking - In the Name of Homeland Security, Telecom Firms Are Deluged With Subpoenas. It seems the men in black are already busy seeking records from Telcos and ISPs. From the story:

"The amount of subpoenas that carriers receive today is roughly doubling every month -- we're talking about hundreds of thousands of subpoenas for customer records -- stuff that used to require a judge's approval," said Albert Gidari, a Seattle-based expert in privacy and security law who represents numerous technology companies.

Just in case the Feds are checking blogs, I'd like to add God Bless America.
I was speaking to Lindy, my friend and managing editor of the Orlando Weekly this morning. I noted that it was strange no other Arab country had attacked Israel in light of their actions in the West Bank. I figured that might mean leaders of those nations have realized economic stability and peace within their borders is worth more than fighting (and possibly losing) another Israeli War.

Lindy mentioned this - Sharon and Arafat are old men. Both over 70. They're not looking toward the future of their countries, they're looking to settle a score before they die. I think that's an interesting point, although the younger guys on Arafat's side tend to be more extreme than Arafat himself (at least publically). Perhaps a Mideast peace will only come with totally new leadership on both sides?

Also, Warren from LA forwarded this interesting email. He wrote It is being circulated through the Jewish community here in LA, and I have no idea whether or not it is valid, though it certainly rings true enough to me.

Open letter to the world by Ariel Ben Attar, an Israeli

Dear World,

Indeed, it appears that you are quite upset, even angry. (Outraged?) Indeed, every few years you seem to become upset by us.

Today, it is the "brutal repression of the Palestinians"; yesterday it was Lebanon;

Before that it was the bombing of the nuclear reactor in Baghdad and the Yom Kippur War and the Sinai campaign. It appears that Jews who triumph and who, therefore, live, upset you most extraordinarily.

Of course, dear world, long before there was an Israel, we - the Jewish people - upset you.

We upset a German people who elected Hitler and upset an Austrian people who cheered his entry into Vienna and we upset a whole slew of Slavic nations - Poles, Slovaks, Lithuanians, Ukrainians, Russians, Hungarians and Romanians.

And we go back a long, long way in the history of world upset.

We upset the Cossacks of Chmielnicki who massacred tens of thousands of us in 1648-49; we upset the Crusaders who, on their way to liberate the Holy Land, were so upset at Jews that they
slaughtered untold numbers of us.

For centuries, we upset a Roman Catholic Church that did its best to define our relationship through inquisitions, and we upset the archenemy of the church, Martin Luther, who, in his call to burn the synagogues and the Jews within them, showed an admirable Christian ecumenical spirit.

And it is because we became so upset over upsetting you, dear world, that we decided to leave you - in a manner of speaking - and establish a Jewish state.

The reasoning was that living in close contact with you, as resident-strangers in the various countries that comprise you, we upset you, irritate you and disturb you. What better notion, then, than to leave you and thus love you - and have you love us? And so we decided to come home - to the same homeland from which we were driven out 1,900 years earlier by a Roman world that, apparently, we also upset.

Alas, dear world, it appears that you are hard to please. Having left you and your pogroms and inquisitions and crusades and holocausts, having taken our leave of the general world to live alone in our own little state, we continue to upset you. You are upset that we repress the poor Palestinians.

You are deeply angered over the fact that we do not give up the lands of 1967, which are clearly the obstacle to peace in the Middle East. Moscow is upset and Washington is upset. The "radical" Arabs are upset and the gentle Egyptian moderates are upset.

Well, dear world, consider the reaction of a normal Jew from Israel. In 1920 and 1921 and 1929, there were no territories of 1967 to impede peace between Jews and Arabs. Indeed, there was no Jewish State to upset anybody.

Nevertheless, the same oppressed and repressed Palestinian slaughtered tens of Jews in Jerusalem, Jaffa, Safed and Hebron. Indeed, 67 Jews were slaughtered one day in Hebron in 1929.

Dear world, why did the Arabs - the Palestinians - massacre 67 Jews in one day in 1929?

Could it have been their anger over Israeli aggression in 1967? And why were 510 Jewish men, women and children slaughtered in Arab riots between 1936-39? Was it because Arabs were upset over 1967?

And when you, world, proposed a UN Partition Plan in 1947 that would have created a "Palestinian State" alongside a tiny Israel and the Arabs cried "no" and went to war and killed 6,000 Jews - was that "upset" caused by the aggression of 1967?

And, by the way, dear world, why did we not hear your cry of "upset" then?

The poor Palestinians who today kill Jews with explosives and firebombs and stones are part of the same people who - when they had all the territories they now demand be given to them for their state -attempted to drive the Jewish state into the sea. The same twisted faces, the same hate, the same cry of "itbach-al-yahud" (Massacre the Jew!) that we hear and see today, were seen and heard then. The same people, the same dream - destroy Israel.

What they failed to do yesterday, they dream of today, but we should not "repress" them.

Dear world, you stood by during the holocaust and you stood by in 1948 as seven states launched a war that the Arab League proudly compared to the Mongol massacres. You stood by in 1967 as Nasser, wildly cheered by wild mobs in every Arab capital in the world, vowed to drive the Jews into the sea. And you would stand by tomorrow if Israel were facing extinction.

And since we know that the Arabs-Palestinians dream daily of that extinction, we will do everything possible to remain alive in our own land. If that bothers you, dear world, well - think of how many times in the past you bothered us.

In any event, dear world, if you are bothered by us, here is one Jew in Israel who could not care less.

Ariel Ben Attar
Remember a few days ago I wrote about a videotape of me playing with a band at Tramps in NYC which I totally didn't remember? The mighty Otis Ball (who compiled and sent the tape) filled me in on the details. I've added some additional facts so this makes sense to all.

Otis sez: Here's the quick version. Barn One put me in their New Music Seminar (showcase). Last. Like 2 AM on a Tuesday (last night of the Seminar, after everyone had already flown home). On top of that, (drummer Chris) Butler injured his back on The Cyclone (the rollercoaster at Coney Island) a few weeks before the show. So I figured if I was gonna do this thing, I was gonna have fun. I got everyone I could find - some of them were asked to perform earlier that same night - and wrote out a chart for Lust For Life on poster board. Some of the players were Ira (Kaplin, from Yo La Tengo), Jim DeRoggatis, Lyle from Damen, Artie from Pier Platters and Earth Pig and a friend of mine who was up from Virginia. I think that's everybody.

I was mostly trying to piss off the Barn One clowns, but they liked it.

For everyone's amusement, I've added a picture of Otis Ball and the Chains playing on tour somewhere in the midwest (circa 1989). We were probably in the middle of the song Charles Manson's Birthday , which usually descended into a Silly String incident. For Otis MP3s, check the link to the left.
After viewing about 450 short films in the last three months, we finally finished the selections process for most of the shorts programs of the 2002 Florida Film Festival tonight (I'm on the selections committee, as I have been for about six years). Tonight, we selected three live action shorts programs and an animation program. On Sunday, we finish the job by selecting International Shorts and Midnight Shorts programs.

It's a tiring job, but somebody's got to do it. And despite the big, stupid fun involved, I will enjoy getting back my Thursday nights.

In the meantime, excuse me for not blogging much tonight. I'd like to get to sleep before 3:00 am. Tomorrow I'll have something tasty for you. In the meantime, enjoy the news that Robert Blake has been arrested for his wife's murder Yahoo! News - Blake Charged with Wife's Murder. Can you hear the shouts of joy coming from the staff of Court TV? Even OJ Simpson is happy. He says he's going to look for the murderer of Blake's wife right after he gets Ron and Nicole's killer.

Thursday, April 18, 2002

Thanks to Tom Tomorrow for pointing this out - XQUZYPHYR & Overboard Online. He rants real good.

Despite a massive number of tips, rumors and other intelligence, the U.S. military has never had good enough information on Osama bin Laden's whereabouts to mount a mission to go after him, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said Wednesday.

As Carlin says, I'd like to repeat that because it sounds vaguely important.

The Defense Secretary of the United States - the man who pretty much answers only to the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the President himself over the military actions of the country, announced today, without immediately resigning afterwards, that although we bombed an entire country, killed thousands of people, and intervened in specific governmental regime changes because it might have hosted a man from a different country, we didn?t really have enough information to merit doing it.

I can't even attempt to feign some mellow rational tone of voice. I just can't do it. It's psychotic nutcase liberal hippie commie tree-hugger go-back-to-Russia screaming time.
Los Angeles Times: Iraq War: The Coming Disaster
George W. Bush is a geopolitical incompetent. He has allowed a clique of hawks to induce him to take a position on invading Iraq from which he cannot extract himself, one which will have nothing but negative consequences for the United States--and the rest of the world. He will find himself badly hurt politically, perhaps fatally. And he will rapidly diminish the already declining power of the United States in the world.

Note When I first posted this, I described the LA Times as a conservative paper. Warren from LA assures me this is is not true and in fact, the paper is consider fairly left on the left coast. I stand corrected. I will note that the former publisher of the fairly conservative Orlando Sentinel now runs the LA Times. But I guess he hasn't made all the changes for which he was hired. Or maybe he was pretending for all those years down here. We'll see...

About 91% of Suburban Limbo visitors are using Internet Explorer. I guess I don't have to worry much if something doesn't work in the Omniweb browser, huh?

Wednesday, April 17, 2002

Warren from LA. says We have a winner. Let's face it, this one's going to be tough to beat. Try searching on Google for:

The Red Lobster mini-blimp attacks Warren and Rich.

(I thought complete sentences would make the game more fun.)

Personal, weird, accurate...I like it!
I asked for comments on this site's new look and I got plenty. Not surprisingly, they were all over the map. I'm still tweeking things (I brought back the grey link bar and got rid of the READING LIST title). Here's a sample o the comments:

From Zach ("Just Another F--ing Blogger") @ www.hash.com/users/zachbg/
Like the new layout, love the new font on the title (beautiful! what's it called?), hate the colors. There, how's that for a terse comment from a stranger?

From David @ http://thelavaflow0.tripod.com
By the way: I like the new layout. The old one was also cool, but a periodic change is good.

From Chris in PA
well, the beauty of the old template was that it didn't look like all the other ass-clown blogs out there. it was you: silvery, sleek, original. much like your kitchen and home furnishings.

From Chas in Maitland, a hardcore Mac Head
Since you're soliciting opinions on the redesign, I'll just say that given a choice between the current one and the old one, I like the old one better. But that's not to say you couldn't do something still better. Maybe you should Aqua-fy it up a notch! :)

From Jared @ www.palmerhaas.blogspot.com
Saw your page and the new layout - I always prefer to let things set in for a while. I'm not so hip on the orange background, and the retro brady bunch font for your homepage title is kitchy , but hey I'm just being honest. Who knows, I might get used to it and even like it.

From Rachael @ http://progoddess.blogspot.com
i like the new layout...i love the lettering.

From Rob @ http://getdonkey.com
BTW, I like the new layout.  Especially the logo.  Since you are soliciting suggestions, my only one would be to pull more orange into the site.  Perhaps in the sidebar?  Or perhaps put an orange filter on your son's picture.  Orange is one of "those colors", however.  Web developers love it and it's trendy, but wives usually do not, hence my blue site.

Keep those comments coming and thanks to everyone who wrote in thus far. It you want to recall the old site, check my demo/work site (you'll have to ignore the ad). I'm not 100% on the new look, but I think the old site looks pretty damn ugly. It's not even minimalist...it's just sorta barely there. If I didn't have to wrestle with the blog template, this might be easier. But on we go...
Oh this is just too funny. Remember that silly, voting, electorial process thing that democratic countries always get buried in? Turns out democratically elected just doesn't carry the weight it used to. As least not as far as the Bush team views any South American leader who might support Castro.

Asked whether the administration now recognizes Mr. Chavez as Venezuela's legitimate president, one administration official replied, "He was democratically elected," then added, "Legitimacy is something that is conferred not just by a majority of the voters, however." Bush Officials Met With Venezuelans Who Ousted Leader
I was getting tired of all the grey in my world, so I spent most of yesterday revising the Suburban Limbo template. I don't know if I'm done or happy yet. This might be a bit garish (some guy just posted about how he liked the layout of my last template!). Oh well, if you have any thoughts about the new look, drop me an email. I will add many more links as soon as I gather the info.

Katie from Bad Poetry sent me a rocking mixed CD offering many songs I haven't heard, which spells happy in my book. Meeting With Remarkable Men by Harvey Danger considers face to face encounters with God, an Avatar and Kip Winger, of the hair metal band which bore his name. More rock weirdness - I once went on tour with Winger when I was a writer for Guitar World magazine (1989?). We spent two days in Erie, PA, possibly this planet's dreariest town. I recall being fascinating that the guys in Winger had to wash their own laundry in the coin-operated hotel washing machines. I kept taking pictures of that and later, they made me promise not to publish them in Guitar World them. If I ever find one, I'll post it here.

(big layered hair) played the unattainable rock star. He was always too busy to speak. The nicest guy in the band (to me) was the keyboardist/guitarist Paul Taylor (inflated reddish hair). We drove my rental car to the mall and got ice cream. Dressed head to toe in black denim and leather, every kid in town spotted Paul and he was happy to sign whatever was stuck in front of him. Guitarist Reb Beach (carefully poofed hair) was cool too, but he was very young and delighted in telling folks how Jimi Hendrix would have been okay if he just tuned his damned guitar. I'll bet he regrets those quotes now. Rod (thick black hair), the drummer, was older and a serious pro. He drank quarts of home-squeezed carrot juice, went jogging every morning and called his wife a lot. More than anyone except maybe Paul (who was also a hardcore pro), Rod knew Winger was a gig and it would probably end one day.

When I finally got a face to face with Kip, it was backstage before their set between openers the Bullet Boys and headliners Cinderella. In the locker room of the Erie hockey rink, Kip did vocal exercises and I asked dumb questions. He immediately took offense when I inquired how he played bass with one hand while waving to the crowd all night. Yes, I'm actually playing the bass he sneered. I knew that, I was asking about equipment. My favorite moment came when he got dressed. He stuck his hand into a box of concert t-shirts and pulled out a pre-torn one from some obscure death metal group (Sacred Reich?). As he put it on, I pointed to the shirt and asked You listen to Sacred Reich?

Never heard of 'em he replied. Hey, if nothing else, give the guy points for honesty.

BTW - I think Winger is reforming to cash in on 80s nostalgia. And Kip Winger has some kind of new solo project that sounds like moody, new age rock (CUBICLE WARNING - HIS SITE PLAYS MOODY MUSIC INSTANTLY). Kip's also having a yard sale of music gear via eBay. Check here if you're like to buy a bass with Kip sweat on it.
MTV's The Osbourne Family is fast becoming the most watched show on cable television. Ozzy's Family Weighs Second Season And what's not to enjoy? It's a dyfunctional family lovefest led by the dottering Oz Man himself, who wanders around his home like a Alzheimer patient, muttering incoherently, hands shaking with palsey. I used to think Ozzy's stage performance was lame - an ocassional hop and some shouting about partying like motherfuckers. Now I know what a huge effort it must be for him to muster up the energy and word skills for even that.

Oooh! And Ozzy hates his reputation with bats! He's sick of them! Oh, this show is too funny. Thanks Osbourne family for sharing that side of your world. I hope you make buttloads of coin for a second season.

Tuesday, April 16, 2002


Props to Joe and Reggie in LA for their new daughter, Isabella.

I used to be a musician. I guess I still am, but I used to be active, playing either in bands or as a cranky, solo folkie dude, often in tandem with a few friends in a devious marketing concept we called Camp Hoboken. It was all great fun, trying to disrupt the usually sedate folk world in a variety of ways. Above is a picture of us at the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival. Though we were absolute nobodys, we convinced some power that be to let us sing backup behind Dar Williams, who was headlining on a very cold Saturday night. That's me, with the hat, right behind Dar, crooning the mic. I have no clue what song we sang. I didn't know the song then either. Maybe something about Angels. I distinctly remember laying back until everyone started singing the choruses, then stepping up to Oooo.. along a bit.

God bless Dar for not turning around and throwing my ass off the stage.

I've been thinking about stuff like this lately because I've been hearing about my musical past in a number of weird ways and I remember virtually none of it. Chris from PA reminded me of the time he, I and Gregg Cagno decided to drop in on Gene Shay, a legendary folk DJ formerly of Philadelphia's WHYY. I thought we had been asked to appear. Not true. As Chris recalls his recent conversation with Gregg:

anyway, drive home conversation turned toward the large, swinging balls that used to be carried by camp hoboken, beginning with our uninvited arrival at the WHYY studios for an evening with a sleepy, unwashed and confused gene shay.

in the way of men, gg and i recreated that evening's conversations last night, making them much better than they had been originally.

gregg capped it, i think, with his impression of you :

"gene, tune this for me, will you?"

Did I say that? Yeah, probably. I don't remember saying that, but it sounds like me. More oddness came in the form of a videotape from Otis in NJ. I used to play bass with Otis in his combo, Otis Ball and The Chains (imagine NRBQ as a Replacements-style rock band - and we held onstage limbo contests a lot). This tape is like four hours long, most of it is taken up with a gig from the basement of a frat house in Hoboken NJ. We played a lot of cover songs we didn't know and Freedy Johnson joined us for a set or so (we played a lot of covers he didn't know either - Otis was King at this shit).

The weirdest thing about this tape is a segment I didn't see until last week. Natalie and I had just watched the new They Might be Giants documentary and we decided to watch the rest of the Otis tape. On it, I found black and white footage of Otis and I performing a 15 minute melt-down of Lust For Life at Tramps in NYC. I can pick out Ira Kaplan of Yo La Tengo on feedback guitar and some drummer I kind of knew from Hoboken, but otherwise, I have no memory of that gig whatsoever. And I didn't play at Tramps all that much. I usually remember everything, but that footage is a complete blank spot. It's me on bass, I'm sure. But when or why I have no idea.

And I like it that way. It's nice that life is taking a turn and I'm forgetting things. It makes it so much more fun to rediscover those bits later. This is the joy of growing up, kids. You get to enjoy your youth a second time. I hope this blog thing doesn't ruin that for me.

BTW - if you're in or around Hoboken, NJ at the end of May, I think Otis Ball and The Chains are reuniting. I'll probably be the guy on bass.

Monday, April 15, 2002

Yahoo! Search Results for moving anime President Bush game dancing
Natalie and I took Jake to see the Orlando Magic play on Sunday afternoon. They lost to the 76'ers (note to the Magic - might rebounding be a good idea?). Sitting in the third row of the upper deck, I looked around the O-Rena. From my vantage, I counted about 45 advertisments or corporate signage mentions. That didn't include the sponsored crap going on on the floor (ie: the Subway Halftime Dunking Contest), the video commercials played on the jumbotron (and blasted at ear-bleed levels) or the occasional things like the signs that flip over, the Red Lobster clacker I was handed on the way in or the coupon-dropping mini-blimp sent out by The Orlando Sentinel.

Considering how many ways the Magic resells my eyeballs to advertisers, they should pay me to attend the games. Assuming they charge advertisers $1 per commercial per person in the O-Rena , figure the Magic makes $75 on selling me to their advertisers. At the very least, they should figure out a way to charge less than $46 per ticket for the Upper Bowl.

Sunday, April 14, 2002

Did anyone happen to catch author and professional crank Michael Moore on the Lou Dobbs show this weekend? Although he's a windbag, I like Moore. His book Stupid White Men is an excellent antidote to the Zombie-like pro-Republican slant of the current US mindset. Yeah, I know, Moore's accused of making mistakes in it. I'll let Moore and other websites battle over those points.

What I want to talk about was this interview with Dobbs. You want bias in action? Check this out. At one point during the conversation, Dobbs asked Why are you going after President Bush so much? (as if that's a crime in and of itself, huh?). Moore got long winded about his rights to be critical of the government, and then popped out with a conspiracy riff tying Bush with Enron, the Taliban visiting Texas, a pipeline deal, Cheney and Haliburton, on and on. Dobbs looked at Moore like he was speaking Farsi, so Moore said something like Don't take my word for it, go read about it on the BBC site.

At that point, Dobbs chuckled one of those You don't know fuck-all about news and added I'm not going to read the BBC, Michael. Moore waltzed past this, but it was amazing. Here was Dobbs, a guy who thinks he's God's gift to white men reading the news, and when presented with possibilites beyond his current beliefs, he shut down to the point of saying I'm not interested in what another news organization says.

So there's a bit of interesting bias for you. A fairly left interview subject gets on air and offers speculation along with some substance, and the news guy acts as if he's being asked to believe Iraqi News Radio. Interesting, no? Perhaps Dobbs should stick to reading the numbers from Wall Street.


Lou Dobbs' inability to consider anything outside the words on his teleprompter got me thinking about another conspiracy rumor I've heard about for months - that American Jews working in and around the World Trade Center had advance warning about the 9-11 attack. Mostly this rumor has been circulated by Arab interview subjects as evidence that Israelis and not Arabs were behind the attacks.

Based on what I've read in US media, I assumed that rumor was just that - a rumor. So imagine my shock when I did a little net research and found this Instant Messages To Israel Warned Of WTC Attack. Newsbytes, a Washington Post Company, reported on September 27 that an instant messaging company called Odigo got a warning at it's Israeli offices about the attack two hours before it occured.

How did this get lost in the shuffle? Well, it turns out there's good reason. On Sept 28, Newsbytes got more info - Odigo Clarifies Attack Messages - and explained that the company received a vague threat two hours before the WTC attack which did not identify the World Trade Center as the target of an attack. Considering how many threats are circulated around the world, that's a little different, no? It kind of makes sense that they wouldn't call the Israeli Police right away, since they probably saw the message as an idle bomb threat.

What's fascinating is how this story (or at least the first part of it) takes on a life of it's own once published on the web (and re-published and re-published...). It appears Arab media all over the world accept the fact that Israelis were warned two before the WTC was hit. Some then extrapolate that 4,000 Israelis were not at their desk in the WTC as a result of this warning. One can find this "fact" referenced on Oct. 1, 2002 by Pakistannation.com - Evidence, History Say Otherwise - the Arab Bookstore online - In The Name Of Allah - and as late as Feb. 2002 - How Americans are blackmailed by Israel.

None of these pieces mention that Odigo clarified their statements within a day of the original story. All of them distort a quote and a bit of old news to present slanted articles which satisfies their political leanings. And surprise! Their readers believe it all. Could it be true? Well, maybe. But as Truthorfiction.com points, out - right now, at best, this rumor is unproven.
Online logs put life back into 'Net Here's a decent overview of blogging for non-bloggers, published in the business section of the San Antonio Express News. Suburban Limbo got a nice mention along with the always fine Jeffrey Zeldman, Jason Shellen from Blogger.com and others. The interesting fact for me in the article was this - Blogger.com, a site where almost 480,000 people have posted more than 10.5 million diary entries during the past couple of years.

Wow. That's a lot of blogging.
The always inquisitive Warren from Hollywood added a bit of Googlewacking to our Search engine theme. FYI - Googlewacking is a game where you enter odd combinations of words in to the Google search engine in an attempt to get only one result. As Warren wrote:

I refined the game so that the goal is to search for something that returns only the Suburban Limbo as a result.

My first winner on Google:

Jesus Vortex Ironic Hasselhoff Porn

Kudos to Warren for showing impressive initiation and computer skills. If anyone else comes up with a Googlewacking variation that only yields Suburban Limbo, send it in!
Google-Suche: palestinian music mp3 fight

Saturday, April 13, 2002

There was an interesting Frank Rich editorial in the Saturday NY Times - The Bush Doctrine, R.I.P. - that addressed a pet peeve of mine, namely the inflexibility of some leaders (in this case GWB) to rethink their views in the face of new information.

Rich wrote If there's a consistent pattern to the administration's arrogance, it's that when the president has an idea of almost any sort on any subject - from the Bush Doctrine on down - it remains fixed in perpetuity, not open to question, even as a world as complex and fast-changing as ours calls out for rethinking.

Never mind that Sept. 11 was the most graphic demonstration imaginable that a missile shield may not be the most useful vessel for our ever more precious defense dollars; it's still full speed ahead. Nor has the bursting of the stock-market bubble dampened Mr. Bush's conviction that Americans should entrust their Social Security savings to his campaign contributors from Wall Street's investment houses. Drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, once pitched as a quick fix to the (fleeting) California energy crisis, is now being sold as an antidote to our Middle Eastern woes (because some 10 years from now it may reduce our oil imports by 4 or 5 percent). The Bush tax cut, conceived at a time of endless surpluses and peace, is still touted as the perfect economic plan even now that the surpluses are shot and we are at war. In this administration, one size idea, however slender or dubious, fits all.

I find all this particularly interesting in light of Bush's about face on the Middle East. I wonder if he would care in the slightest about the Middle East if he wasn't trying to get Arab backing for a war with Iraq (a proposition that - regardless how necessary, in light of Saddam's actions - is likely doomed to failure). If nothing else, I guess it shows that even GWB is willing to change is mind if given sufficent bait.
EarthLink Search Results for "selling tee shirt art on other peoples website"

Friday, April 12, 2002

Google Search: Audio Gene Simmons Fresh Air
This one caught my misspelling of Zeppelin! Google Search: led zepplin and tolkin
Google Search: nigella lawson jewish
A new game at Suburban Limbo where we check to see which group of words searched at Google.com led surfers to The Suburban Limbo. Google Search: styx sucks
At lunch today someone brought up the fact of how mean it is that the word "lisp" has an 's' in it.

More interesting tidbits like this can be found at Chefgrrl - the disgruntled ramblings of a 20ish female. I particularly like her attempts at conversing with those online porn asshole bots that interupt IM sessions.
I got a slight variation on this eMail a few months ago and posted it then. But this guy obviously still needs assistance, so if you feel the urge to be helpful and pretend, why not write him back?

One warning...don't tell him too much about yourself. I don't think you need this guy showing up on your doorstep.

eMail received 4/19/2002:
If you are a time traveler or alien and or in procession of alien or government technology I need your help! My case is truly genuine! I seek to work with someone who is of a good nature, someone I can call my savior as well as a friend.

My life has been severely tampered with and cursed!! I have suffered tremendously and am now dying!

I need to be able to:

Travel back in time.

Rewind my life including my age back to 4.

I am in great danger and need this immediately! I want to work with you in any way possible.

I am aware of two types of time travel one in physical form and the other in energy form where a snapshot of your brain is taken using either the dimensional warp or the brain snapshot device and then sends your consciousness back through time to part with your younger self. I'm almost certain the dimensional warp would be the safest and best solution. Please explain how safe and what your method involves.

I have a time machine now, but it has limited abilities and is useless without a vortex. If you can provide information on how to create vortex generator or where I can get some of the blue glowing moon crystals this would also be helpful. I am however concerned with the high level of radiation these crystals give off, if you could provide a shielding this would be helpful. I believe the vortex would have to be east-west polarized, North-south polarized vortexes are used for cross-dimensional time travel only.

If you have this technology and can help me please send me a (SEPARATE) email to: jimer013@shrimer.com


Thursday, April 11, 2002


Does it get any better than Inspirational Sport Statues? The next time I get a job with a desk, I'm gonna buy the whole set of these and decorate my cubicle with them. That'll be a conversation starter, huh?

From the Catholicshopper.com... Handpainted resin statues on a solid wood base are the perfect gift for every young Catholic athlete. These statues portray Jesus actively participating with boys and girls in a variety of sports. A wonderful way to reinforce Jesus "as friend" in everyday activities. Sizes vary from 4 3/4 to 6 1/2 inches.

Many customers have requested these statues depicting children other than Caucasian and playing other sports; we have expressed these requests to manufacturers and importers. When and if other statues are available, CatholicShopper.com will carry them.

Priced at just $19.95 each. Props to JK at The Trash Heap for pointing out this little slice of ceramic heaven.
Everyone needs a little more David Hasselhoff, no? So press play on this video puppy and thrill to the Baywatch man-meat strutting around like a gay porn star. Cubicle alert! - Beware of volume and giddy feelings of joy!

Wednesday, April 10, 2002

37 Record-Store Clerks Feared Dead In Yo La Tengo Concert Disaster. From The Onion... "We're trying our best to rescue these clerks, but, realistically, there's not a lot of hope," said emergency worker Len Guzman, standing outside the 40 Watt Club, where the tragedy occurred. "These people are simply not in the physical condition to survive this sort of trauma. It's just a twisted mass of black-frame glasses and ironic Girl Scouts T-shirts in there."

The sad part is that I would probably know 20 of them.
Sorry to all for not generating the typical flood of Suburban Limbo for you this week. Natalie and I got the sad news that a friend passed away last Friday. He was the brother of a couple we know well and his death was quite unexpected. Though he'd been living a somewhat unhealthy and Belushi-inspired lifestyle the past few years, it was thought that he had pulled it together and was on the right course. He was 35 and apparently had a heart attack or something in his sleep.

We attended the service at Temple on Sunday along with 200 other folks and last night, I sat Shivah with family while Natalie pulled a 24-hour work shift. It was quite a gathering. Despite my agnostic leanings, I'm impressed with the beautiful and practical ways the Jewish faith dictates the process of grieving. There is a preset amount of time, a course of actions, roles for all involved. It seems so much more supportive and less mystical than Christian funerals I've attended. From my POV, the Jewish faith accepts the reality and pain of the situation then seeks to help the living heal and move on.

Last night, the Rabbi started the service by announcing he doesn't believe the doctrine "The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away." That's not my God , he said. Instead, when there's a tragic and unexpected death such as this, he said, My God weeps. And when the community comes together to support the mourning family, my God smiles.

I liked that. And when the service was over, we had cake.
Chris from PA alerted us to this intriguing tale of politcal hijinx. It seems the current Bush administration is trying to nix the Presidential Records Act (PRA), passed in 1978 by Congress, which legally established that the papers of an outgoing president were public property. The idea was to prevent Presidents (like say...Richard Nixon) from hiding Executive Branch actions from archivists and historians.

For our conservative readers, note that this story is from that accused bastion of Liberal media, Salon.com (they dare to be critical of our President!). You might want to reject these claims now and save yourself a few seconds of bile and angst.

From the Salon.com story: Critics denounce the Bush move as another example of the administration's obsession with secrecy, following other attempts to curtail records such as an Oct. 12, 2001, memorandum by Attorney General John Ashcroft urging government agencies to legally resist FOIA requests whenever possible. Not only that, but President Bush is already embroiled in another case involving his own papers from when he was governor of Texas; after his term he deposited those papers in his father's presidential library, where under federal law they will be harder to access than if they were deposited in a state-run institution. The Texas attorney general is currently working on an opinion of the matter.

The Bush order was also attacked as an act of political expediency, to protect the former writing of current administration officials who served in the Reagan administration, including Bush's own father, Reagan's former vice president. The papers contain memos and writings by current administration officials who served under Reagan, such as Secretary of State Colin Powell, chief of staff Andrew Card, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and a host of others.
This is a weakness on my part, granted, but women who love food and cooking are way hot in my book. I don't mean women who are forced to grill burgers while guys swill beer and watch the game. I'm talking about someone who understands the sensuality of food. Years ago, I was a cater chef and food sensuality was always a big subject (of course, I was mostly working with gay male waiters, so maybe we were talking about different things). Nigella Lawson (right), that recently imported British hottie seen on Nigella Bites, totally gets it. She's always whipping something tasty meant to be shared with friends and eaten with your fingers. I love that fact that she's no Kate Moss. She's carrying a few extra pounds and couldn't care less because if that's the price one pays for indulging in great food, so be it.


Tuesday, April 09, 2002

Panasonic's HiHo ad campaign is sweeping the web like a Windows virus. If you prefer to own rather than rent, I suggest you right-click or option-click these Flash animation treats and download a pile of the Hi Ho magic for your desktop amusement. Files range in size from 160k to 400k and they start playing with sound when you open them, so be careful if you're in a cubicle.

Daddy's Too Generous Donation
Slay The Dragon!
Drowning For Love
eMail, Starlet, Poop
Mice Are Nice!
Autumnal Love Triangle
Santa Is Watching

Hi Ho
Chris from NJ alerted us to this bit of interesting news published By PublishersWeekly.com. It seems the Colorado Supreme Court doesn't see eye to eye with Mr. Ashcroft on the scope and reach of the Patriot Act. Since I can't find the page to link to, I'm going to reprint the entire story from their email newsletter here.

Tattered Cover Cuts Piece of Victory Cloth

The Colorado Supreme Court today handed Tattered Cover a First Amendment victory by reversing a trial court judgment requiring the Denver bookstore to turn over records about a customer's book purchases. All six justices participating in the case sided with
the bookstore.

The court also ruled that in the future any law enforcement requests for such information from an "innocent third-party bookstore" would require a hearing and couldn't be carried out merely with a search warrant.

Tattered Cover owner Joyce Meskis says she was ìincredibly relieved," by the ruling. She praised the decision as "more than we asked for but not more than we hoped for" and thanked the many groups that helped the store during its two-year battle. These have included the American Foundation for Free Expression, which provided financial support and filed two amicus briefs on the store's behalf, other industry groups, booksellers, publishers and authors.

Calling the court's opinion "a primer on the First Amendment," Tattered Cover lawyer Daniel Recht says that the ruling has "huge national significance" because this is the first of the 50 state supreme courts to address the issue.

ABFFE president Chris Finan emphasizes that the "remarkable" ruling came at a particularly difficult time in the national debate about balancing law enforcement and free speech. While not addressing the matter directly, he said the ruling "underlines our concerns" about the Patriot Act, last fall's anti-terrorist federal law that increased police powers to examine bookstore records.

Speaking on behalf of the publishing community AAP president Pat Schroder cheered the ruling and praised Meskisí decision to fight the search warrant because of the possible chilling effect such a search would have on consumersí First Amendment rights.

In its ruling, the court stated that "both the United States and Colorado constitutions protect the rights of the general public to purchase books anonymously, without governmental interference," adding that the police must "show a need for the specific customer purchase record sought that is sufficiently compelling to outweigh the harm likely caused to constitutional interests by execution of the search." In this case, there was no compelling need - in part because the police had significant evidence about who committed the crime.

The local police and a Drug Enforcement Agency officer had sought the records to aid in an investigation of the owner of a methamphetamine laboratory. (In a March 2000 search of the lab, police had found apparently new copies of Advanced Techniques of Clandestine Psychedelic and Amphetamine Manufacture by Uncle Fester and The Construction and Operation of Clandestine Drug Laboratories by Jack B. Nimble as well as, in the garbage, an empty, possibly tattered, package from the Tattered Cover.)

The search warrant at the heart of the case asked Tattered Cover for information about what books had been shipped in the package as well as information about all other book orders placed by the main suspect during the 30 days before the police searched the lab. The trial court had declined to approve the general book search, but had supported the request for specific information about the package.

--John Mutter

I think I got interviewed or quoted or something for an article about to appear in the San Antonio Express-News. The writer (Laura Lortek) was very nice and she has an excellent background in technology, so it'll probably be an interesting read. I'll post a link when I see it, even if I get completely cut from the piece.

From Chew's News - Nice Blog - Suburban Limbo - I must say, that I thoroughly enjoyed reading through the posts on this blog site. Its definitely one of the more interesting blogs that I've linked to from blogger.com. Check it out - the content and commentary are great, as well as the personal thoughts added by the author.

Also, over at Edge Forums, a weblogging forum, Sambolc described Suburban Limbo as middle-age blogging. For some reason, deeply interesting

Soon after, GazfromBrum responded Why would u read about boring peoples boring lives? Now teenage lesbians journals i would read, but not middle aged men.

I feel love and ignored all at once. As always, thanks for stopping to read a bit of The Suburban Limbo.
In case you hadn't noticed, Matt and Trey of SOUTHPARK killed off the unfortunate Kenny once and for all at the end of last year -Oh My God! Kenny Dead for Good

Let us mourn dear Kenny. His tombstone now adorns the Comedy Central Website with the inscription, "Sleep well, little child, the Lord holds thee now."

Monday, April 08, 2002

President Bush Unveils Bold New Blueprint for Peace and Happiness in the Middle East Those funsters at Whitehouse.org claim that President Bush said I am pleased to announce plans for the prompt construction of Disney World Jerusalem, into whose welcoming arms all Israeloids and Palestiniacs will be herded by well-armed Texas Rangers, who have plenty of experience convincing brown people to behave. Once inside, all formerly warring parties will be paid handsomely to put aside their differences and revel in the warm light of American high culture while acquiring all manner of quality merchandize produced by nimble-fingered armies of pre-teen Chinese laborers.

Insert patriotic music here.
Being a Mac fan, I enjoy any story that involves the messy destruction of a Gateway PC as in this tale -Crashed computer boots local man into jail. After five store visits and a home repair failed to fix his daughter's Gateway Copmputer, this guy finished off the box with a sledgehammer in the foyer of the store. Good for him.

Having said that, I must also mention that Harry's iMac suffered a logic board failure and is being repair. Ah well, such is journalism in the interest of fairness.

BTW - Look in the left column of the story linked above and you'll find a Memories of McCarthy button. Follow it for a fascinating glimpse of historical revisionism. Hey, Senator McCarthy wasn't so bad! He didn't like Communists! Neither do we! Everything writen about him isn't true! In a perverse attempt at "fair and balanced", the reporter of one story gets quotes from both the John Birch Society and the Wisconsin Communist Party. Ooooo, there's a pile of truth, huh? That appears to follow the cable talk show format of "get crazies from both ends and let them scream."

I guess the concept of interviewing a political scholar who studied the guy is just to East Coast for that Wisconsin paper. Too bad.

Sunday, April 07, 2002

Here's a cool new online clock to suck space from your broadband connection. INDUSTORIOUS CLOCK If nothing else, this is a nice art project.

Saturday, April 06, 2002

This online gamer got too obsessed for his own good - Death of a game addict. One would think he'd develop carpel tunnel syndrome quicker than he'd go nuts.

Friday, April 05, 2002


Noooo..not Santa...Jesus! Yes, Jesus is everywhere and Jesus is with you always. That's the theme behind this incredible site by self-taught artist Larry Van Pelt. He conceived a series of Jesus - Always With You images that places the divine one right over the shoulder of working folks in every day life. No religious mysteries for Larry! He likes his diety close at hand.

According to a Larry-scribed history posted at the site, The enclosed images are from 11x14 pencil drawings that are the result of an undertaking that began on Thanksgiving Day, 1987. I was awakened in the middle of the night with a clear, vivid impression that the Lord wanted me to do some special drawings -- drawings depicting ordinary people in their everyday environment . . . . with one important addition: the presence of Jesus Christ and His involvement in those routine activities.

It was also clear that the task would be allotted ten years to produce results -- an important consideration, considering the fact that I had never drawn anything before, had no training in drawing, and had never really been interested in drawing.

Beat that Wesley Willis! This is amazing, must see stuff. Folk art has never been quite so...folky. In fact, Jesus looks like a generic shaggy, early-70s folksinger, all beard, robe and stoned smile as he watches over a dental assistant (above), carpet layer, farmer, insurance agent, executive, french horn player, bank teller, artist, welder, organist and many others. There's an unnatural lumpiness in many of the faces, but the achievement is quite impressive nonetheless.

We are all blessed, each and every one. Thank you Larry. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Now...can I get that Jesus watching over a Barber-Stylist on a t-shirt?

BTW -props to the witty blog TRASH HEAP for turning me on to this.

Thursday, April 04, 2002

Some High School kids started a blog-like site and got busted by the administration for their various attempts at free speech. A local alternative rag did a story on them and now South High Sucks.com is getting national attention. Jump on the bangwagon and find what's on the minds of the anti 'N Sync generation.
Harry in Winter Park got a new iMac and was so proud, he called me over to check it out. I told him Lovely and installed a few key shareware items. The next morning, I got a call from him saying the machine had crashed and crashed badly. I figured No problem , a few minutes and I'll have it working like new.

Oh man...his machine fucked.

I got it a bit better, but it was crashing right and left. Eventually, it got worse and worse and finally won't start up from disc or UNIX . Ugly. There are some bad B-Tree errors and catalog problems and maybe a hardware issue. I spent all afternoon trying to nurse it back to health, all to no avail. On the plus side, it's all under warranty and we found somebody locally who can save the necessary data before reinstalling the software.

This is all slightly funnier when you consider that just three hours before the machine crashed, I was blabbing about how stable OSX is. Well...it has been for me, what can I say?

Wednesday, April 03, 2002

You MUST check this out. Hi Ho!

I'm not sure, but I think Panasonic Japan has an advertising campaign that features naked children wearing helmets, bursting into flames and dropping turds on their pets.

Wow. After that, check this and learn Japanese via Flash animation!

For hours more surfing fun, check this page here. It appears to be the HQ of all this Panasonic Japan-a-weirdness. Click the mystery links and you'll find Flash games, kid's TV from Tokyo and music vids.

Jesus Votes Republican Merch For Sale
Here's the perfect gift for everyone, as users can embrace either the ironic or literal interpretation. What could be better?

This fine bag and a similarly-themed assortment of t-shirts, mugs and hats brought to you by Whitehouse.org
From a blog calling itself Yay for Potholes!

Go read Suburban Limbo. The guy has some weird hangups about Israel and conservatives, but his kid's cute and there's cool links sometimes.

Hey, thanks!

Jake and I hit the links last week. I took him out to play nine holes at a real golf course. It was the first time he hit a golfball anywhere besides a driving range. The course is really more of a pitch and putt - I don't think any fairway is longer than 175 yards and most everything is a three-par, some as short as 60 yards. Also, as you can see from the photo, there is a disconcerting lack of trees or any vegetation higher than a blade of grass. But the location - especially at 9 am - was perfect for us. We were alone for all nine holes, giving Jake plenty of room to hit two balls, tee up every shot and such.

I seriously thought Jake would burn out within 3 holes or the vast open spaces would act like a bowl of jellybeans and turn him goofy, running and falling all over the course. Instead, he was totally immersed in the game and learning the rules - who hits first, which tee does he swing from, does the flag stay in or out of the hole. He didn't run amuck as I expected and instead held it together, shooting about a 60 until the final hole, when he got buried in a deep bunker and never got out.

I thought it was pretty cool, because I enjoyed playing with him and he enjoys it too. That's been my point encouraging his interest in golf. I don't showed him anything technical. It's just here's your club, there's the flag, swing. For years, I've played with my Father whenever I visit. I'd like to be able to do that with Jake we get older.

Not surprisingly, everyone who sees him swing a club comments on the weathly future I can look forward to as I manage the next Tiger Woods, That means big money in the bank for Natalie and me. Big, big bucks for which we should start planning now.

Yeah right.

I know people mean well saying this - and I probably swell with pride whenever I hear it - but can't kids just enjoy playing for the sake of play? Does everything need to have a potential dollar-value tied to it? I spent years listening to my father tell me how I was going to be a great baseball player and that continued long, long after I gave up the game (two years ago, he greeted spring by announcing, Well, you'd be signing you final multi-million deal this year if you'd a stuck with baseball).

Here's my plan...I hope to keep Jake interesed in golf and not teach him anything too technical about the game for at least a few more years. That way, I'll be able to beat him well into his high school years. After that, we'll see. If there's a big PGA payout, great. But I ain't counting on it.

Tuesday, April 02, 2002

Some of you might recall a guy named Marty Thau, a producer and scenester from the early days of NYC punk. It turns out he's blogging now, along with two other producers at a site called Tres Producers. It offers lots of good and varied stuff, ranging from the Middle East to music biz stories.

This amazing item from Friday, March 29, details Marty's battle with a beer company over the name of record company. I love that Marty can state his case in a blog and let the world know he's pissed. It's our job to spread the word. When you're done reading here, check Marty's blog to get the latest update.


Here's a little story about how hypocritical a major corporation can be. In 1977 I founded Red Star Records, an indie label designed to present new rock 'n' roll music, and released my first two records -- Suicide's classic debut and Boston's Real Kids LP. Both were well received and set the stage for further releases by groups like the Fleshtones, the New York Dolls, Martin Rev, Richard Hell & The Voidoids plus a number of compilations that included performances by the Ramones, Blondie and Brian Setzer. Over the years I reissued these same LPs internationally many times and still do to this day because they're always in demand.

In other words, my name "Red Star Records" has been in continuous use since 1977.

This past October (2001) the Heineken USA Company struck up a deal with Epic Records to release a record on their own Red Star Records label called "Red Star Sounds Volume 1: Soul Searchin'." It's a very good record indeed -- neo-r 'n' b songs by artists like Eryka Badu, Jill Scott, Macy Gray, Nellie Fertado and India.Arie, among others.

However Heineken is using my company name as their own without consideration or compensation.

I contacted my lawyer and sent Epic and Heineken a cease-and-desist notice claiming they were violating my rights. Heineken's highly-paid Washington Trademark attorney informed us they had conducted a search of the trademark files to see if Red Star Records was available for usage, and did not maliciously intend to wrongfully violate my rights, but since I hadn't trademarked Red Star Records back in '77 they assumed it was free and clear.

Okay, so here's where it gets down and dirty. Months passed. Silence. When I continued to object to Heineken's usage of my trade name, they informed me that their intention regarding the release of "Red Star" records was to benefit urban musicians, and therefore, I should respect their noble gesture and go along with the program. (Translation: "let's sell more beer to blacks").

I have what is called Common Law Rights and knew I could (and will) overturn their Trademark Application and be a total nuisance, but instead I wanted to settle this issue amicably. I proposed they use the name "Heineken's Red Sounds" instead, and only release one or two urban CDs per year with the proper acknowledgment on all CD packages that their Heineken Red Star entity was a nonprofit organization.

This did not suit them because their music marketing plans include a 60-city tour of alternative rock artists this coming summer under the Red Star name that has nothing to do with benefiting "urban" musicians and everything to do with selling beer. Clever marketers trying to look righteous. As Yogi once said ... "it ain't over 'til it's over."

Bottom line: in the end they basically told me what to do with myself - of course, in much more polite terms as they accused me of being impolite and presumptuous for pursuing my rights. I guess I'm just a little guy and don't deserve consideration, and since they're a major corporation they can step all over me and rewrite history at the same time. All to sell more beer.

DISCLAIMER: So as to avoid prosecution under the USA Patriot Act, I hereby advise all interested parties that my announced intention to be a nuisance to Heineken USA should be interpreted as verbal criticism only, and not as a personal threat against any of its employees - although I can think of a few lawyers who deserve, and would probably love, to be spanked.

Did you ever try Samuel Adams beer? It's a very tasty drink.

Marty Thau

Monday, April 01, 2002

Many of you are coming here from a link at blogger.com. Perhaps you're wondering what kind of traffic a link like that means to a blog such as Suburban Limbo. For your knowledge and entertainment, I've included the graphic below from Site Meter. It charts a month of traffic at my site in terms of daily visits. The low, nearly flat line represents my previous daily visits (usually 50 and below). The spike and mountains to the right indicate my traffic since being spotlighted by blogger.com and linked to from a variety of other blogs. The peak day was nearly 1,000 visits and we've had a steady weekday flow of 600+ since then (traffic always drops off on weekends. I guess many folks use their office computers to read blogs). Yes, I fully expect traffic to drop from the recent highs.

Anyway, I found this interesting and thought I'd share it with you. I'm always fascinated by the numbers behind the media and business.

Chris from PA read the Slate link What Black Hawk Down Leaves Out - That Somalia raid really was more a debacle than a victory and wanted to put n his two cents. Keep in mind, Chris actually served in Somalia in the US Army. He has a book about his experiences coming out this year (it's called The Ice Beneath You). He writes:

Interesting article on Black Hawk Down and the Battle of Mogadishu. True enough, many many soldiers were very upset afterward, about the portrayal of what had gone down as a failure.

Indeed, in tactical terms, it was hardly a failure. They achieved the mission goals, and the dead rate was 18 Americans to a low-ball estimate of 700 Somalis.

You need to look at it in context of a war. Had this happened during Vietnam or WWII, it would barely have registered on the American public's radar screen. Either that, or it would have actually been trumpeted as a great success. After all, 700 dead vs. 18, plus mission success, sure smells like a great victory, doesn't it? It's just that, out of the context of a "great war," the American public doesn't like to hear about 18 American dead. Truth is, though, it is absolutely astounding there weren't triple that number killed that day. (And, had there been, we still would have come out on top, tactically.)

So, the ground troops were justifiably pissed off for a long time to have this mission called a "failure."

Now, it WAS a failure in other arenas, but this had nothing to do with the job done by the guys on the ground. The high-level planning of it, for
instance, was fucked. Remember, it resulted in the resignation of Les Aspin shortly after as SecDef. A few generals and colonels should have gone with him.

But, from the time the orders were put in the hands of the grunts on the ground, they did an amazing job with the tools they had.

Not much different from Operation Anaconda, just passed. By the book, the acceptable loss of of our troops was higher, I'm sure, than the number of guys who actually died. No matter what the media and/or public thinks, you just can't plan an action like that and not plan on severe casualties (yes, there is an actual formula). I'm sure the Pentagon expected more dead on Anaconda than we got.

cb, he of Somalia 12/92-04/93
Here's an excellent article on blogging and its impact on journalism from Microcontent News - Borg Journalism - We are the Blogs. Journalism will be Assimilated.

It states: Blogs relentlessly track down every scrap of news, assimilating it into the Blog Collective hive-mind with stunning efficiency. It doesn't stop there: individual blogs each add a small insight to the story, drawing on their personal experience and contributing to the conversation. Then the conversation takes over, exploring every possible implication and insight with a ferocity that astounds.
Though the mainstream media is providing lots of Middle East coverage, here's a worthy point of view from Asparagirl. I like her comparisons of the situation to a bad marriage, though I think she should place the couple involved on an island from which neither came physically leave.

Asparagirl writes And why do we have to keep talking about a peace process? What fucking peace? I don't see a peace here, do you? I see Israelis getting blown up day after day after day while they're supposed to give Arafat one more chance. This time he really means it, this time he'll try harder, this time he'll change. It's like an abusive marriage; Israel gets her teeth knocked in, but stick with it honey, and maybe you and your man can work things out! He was just upset, you see, had a hard day at the office and all. And you were probably askin' for it anyway. And if you really don't like it, then why do you stay with the guy anyhow?
Looking for an internet-only CD from They Might Be Giants, I stumbled upon eMusic, a site which I thought vanished last year in the dot bomb melt-down many of us called their careers. I decided to sign up for a trial membership (50 downloads for free) and within 30 minutes of using the site, I was completely and totally hooked.

I might be a few years late with this fact, but I have seen the future of music retailing and it is downloadable.

Understand, I'm late with that fact because when I last checked out such an operation, I was using a 56K modem. Speedy though I thought it was back then, that modem was only useful for words and a few graphics. A single mp3 would take 3 or 4 minuutes to download via 56K modem. Twice as long or more with a 28.8K modem. With my cable modem, I'm able to scoop up entire CDs worth of mp3s in about 5 minutes.

Simply put, broadband access is the ingredient that makes downloadable music worthwhile.

If you haven't checked it out, here's how eMusic works. After the 50 free downloads, you opt for one of two subscription plans. The first is $9.99 a month for 12 months. The second is $14.99 for three months. In either case, you're looking at spending the cost of one CD or less for the right to download unlimited numbers of mp3s. Quite a deal, I think. In two days, I've already yanked CDs from They Might Be Giants, Laura Cantrell, Nightmares on Wax, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, The Stratford 4 and Wake Ooloo. And becuase they offer samples of every available song, I was able to check out a bunch of other goodies.

One thing that's held back eMusic is the lack of high-profile artists like Britney or Limp Bizkit. Record labels can't figure out how to make a buck off this system without endangering the monopoly they hold over signed artists. As a result, they hold back their artist's material.

Personally, I think that's great. Instead of offering the big players, eMusic has developed a library of over 200,000 mp3s from small, high-quality independent record labels of every stripe and genre. The scope of available music is breathtaking (if somewhat erratic). I don't miss the popular stuff at all and the lack of such material probably keeps the server load managable. If you dig weird, indie music and enjoy browsing artists you've never heard of, this is the place for you.

Mind you, not everything is perfect. They usually don't offer CD art, so you have to scam that elsewhere if you want to build a proper-looking packages from your downloads. Also, they don't offer a way for Mac users to download entire albums with one click (that feature is available for Windows users with a special program). Mac users have to download each song individually.

But on the good side, eMusic claims to pay artists a 50% split of monies received. That might not sound like much, but those in the business know that's an gloriously high payment rate. To make 50% of a sale and not print or press anything or deal with record stores and promoters... that's quite worth it.

In case you're wondering, I don't get a dime from eMusic, even if you sign up via the link above. I'm just letting you know because I think it's a great deal and a good way to explore the world of independent music. I had written off the idea of paying for downloaded music, but now I see how it can work. Once you get into the habit of downloading completely legal mp3s without the hassel of finding them in stores, ordering them online or paying for each and every one, you'll see the genius of this operation. Like the best web ideas (blogging included) users need to participate to understand and enjoy the full benefits.

Having said all that, eMusic probably go out of business tomorrow. I hope not. I've got a lot of stuff I want to download.