The Post-Postmodernist

Monday, August 27, 2007

Mythbusters: The Case of the Bull in a China Shop

That's Not a Screensaver. THIS is a screensaver.

Click image to enlarge, and then save as a screensaver. Just a suggestion.

The Love Song of J. Alfred Portishead

Press the play button at the link to hear TSE himself reading his poem over a sample of Portishead's hypnotic ambient riff.

In the room the women come and go
Talking of Michelangelo.

And indeed there will be time
To wonder, 'Do I dare?' and, 'Do I dare?
Time to turn back and descend the stair,
With a bald spot in the middle of my hair --
[They will say: 'How his hair is growing thin!]
My morning coat, my collar mounting firmly to the chin,
My necktie rich and modest, but asserted by a simple pin --
[They will say: 'But how his arms and legs are thin!]
Do I dare
Disturb the universe?
In a minute there is time
For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse.

For I have known them all already, known them all:
Have known the evenings, mornings, afternoons,
I have measured out my life with coffee spoons;
I know the voices dying with a dying fall
Beneath the music from a farther room.
So how should I presume?

And I have known the eyes already, known them all--
The eyes that fix you in a formulated phrase,
And when I am formulated, sprawling on a pin,
When I am pinned and wriggling on the wall,
Then how should I begin
To spit out all the butt-ends of my days and ways?
And how should I presume?

And I have known the arms already, known them all--
Arms that are braceleted and white and bare
[But in the lamplight, downed with light brown hair!]
It is perfume from a dress
That makes me so digress?
Arms that lie along a table, or wrap about a shawl.
And should I then presume?
And how should I begin?
. . . . .
Shall I say, I have gone at dusk through narrow streets
And watched the smoke that rises from the pipes
Of lonely men in shirt-sleeves, leaning out of windows?...

I should have been a pair of ragged claws
Scuttling across the floors of silent seas.

And the afternoon, the evening, sleeps so peacefully! 75
Smoothed by long fingers,
Asleep ... tired ... or it malingers,
Stretched on the floor, here beside you and me.
Should I, after tea and cakes and ices,
Have the strength to force the moment to its crisis? 80
But though I have wept and fasted, wept and prayed,
Though I have seen my head [grown slightly bald] brought in upon a platter,
I am no prophet--and here's no great matter;
I have seen the moment of my greatness flicker,
And I have seen the eternal Footman hold my coat, and snicker, 85
And in short, I was afraid.

And would it have been worth it, after all,
After the cups, the marmalade, the tea,
Among the porcelain, among some talk of you and me,
Would it have been worth while, 90
To have bitten off the matter with a smile,
To have squeezed the universe into a ball
To roll it toward some overwhelming question,
To say: 'I am Lazarus, come from the dead,
Come back to tell you all, I shall tell you all'-- 95
If one, settling a pillow by her head,
Should say: 'That is not what I meant at all.
That is not it, at all.'

And would it have been worth it, after all,
Would it have been worth while, 100
After the sunsets and the dooryards and the sprinkled streets,
After the novels, after the teacups, after the skirts that trail along the floor--
And this, and so much more?--
It is impossible to say just what I mean!
But as if a magic lantern threw the nerves in patterns on a screen: 105
Would it have been worth while
If one, settling a pillow or throwing off a shawl,
And turning toward the window, should say:
'That is not it at all,
That is not what I meant, at all.'

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Lasse Gjertson Does it Again

You remember Lasse. He did these two brilliant vids, with no prior knowledge of how to play either intrument prior to shooting.... thus forever codifiying the expression, "We'll fix it in post."

Piano and Drums

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The Real State of the Union Address

Pure moonbattery, but hilariously great editing.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Touchy, Touchy, Touchy: BBC Changes Plot "To Avoid Offending Muslims"

The BBC has dropped plans to show a fictional terror attack in an episode of Casualty to avoid offending Muslims.

The first show of the hospital drama's new series was to have featured a storyline about an explosion caused by Islamic extremists.

The stars of Casualty won't be dealing with an explosion caused by Islamic extremists in case it offends Muslims

Now the bomb will be set off by animal rights campaigners instead.

A BBC spokesman said: "With any storyline there are lots of ideas that get put forward but don't make the series."

Usually when they do this, the terrorist becomes a neo-Nazi and/or a rich, white, male, Christian from the South. The big switcheroo this time is that the villain becomes an animal rights activist. This is not going over well, and we know this because the grievance mechanism is firmly in place.

Just out of curiousity, I decided to google the phrase, "to avoid offending [insert religion here], and see who the touchiest religion was, and who the least touchy religion was. I would brag that the home team won the latter title, though to do so would cease to make me a member of that hometeam. Ah, paradox.

Results 1 - 10 of about 18,700 for +"to avoid offending Muslims". (0.17 seconds)
Results 1 - 10 of about 200 for +"to avoid offending Christians". (0.11 seconds)
Results 1 - 10 of about 56 for +"to avoid offending Catholics". (0.39 seconds)
Results 1 - 10 of about 52 for +"to avoid offending atheists". (0.36 seconds)
Results 1 - 10 of about 29 for +"to avoid offending Hindus". (0.32 seconds)
Results 1 - 1 of 1 for +"to avoid offending Buddhists". (0.53 seconds)
Your search - +"to avoid offending Taoists" - did not match any documents.

UPDATE: I know, I know, I somehow left someone off the list. I don't know how, but I did. I guess I got so excited by the Taoist return that I lost my sense of greater purpose. Here ya go, cruisin' in at very distant number #3...

Results 1 - 10 of about 133 for +"to avoid offending Jews". (0.36 seconds)

The Cadaver Calculator

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An Essay by Phillip K. Dick

How to Build a Universe That Doesn't Fall Apart Two Days Later

...My first story had to do with a dog who imagined that the garbagemen who came every Friday morning were stealing valuable food which the family had carefully stored away in a safe metal container. Every day, members of the family carried out paper sacks of nice ripe food, stuffed them into the metal container, shut the lid tightly — and when the container was full, these dreadful-looking creatures came and stole everything but the can.

Finally, in the story, the dog begins to imagine that someday the garbagemen will eat the people in the house, as well as stealing their food. Of course, the dog is wrong about this. We all know that garbagemen do not eat people. But the dog's extrapolation was in a sense logical — given the facts at his disposal. The story was about a real dog, and I used to watch him and try to get inside his head and imagine how he saw the world. Certainly, I decided, that dog sees the world quite differently than I do, or any humans do. And then I began to think, Maybe each human being lives in a unique world, a private world, a world different from those inhabited and experienced by all other humans. And that led me wonder, If reality differs from person to person, can we speak of reality singular, or shouldn't we really be talking about plural realities? And if there are plural realities, are some more true (more real) than others? What about the world of a schizophrenic? Maybe, it's as real as our world. Maybe we cannot say that we are in touch with reality and he is not, but should instead say, His reality is so different from ours that he can't explain his to us, and we can't explain ours to him. The problem, then, is that if subjective worlds are experienced too differently, there occurs a breakdown of communication... and there is the real illness.

I once wrote a story about a man who was injured and taken to a hospital. When they began surgery on him, they discovered that he was an android, not a human, but that he did not know it. They had to break the news to him. Almost at once, Mr. Garson Poole discovered that his reality consisted of punched tape passing from reel to reel in his chest. Fascinated, he began to fill in some of the punched holes and add new ones. Immediately, his world changed. A flock of ducks flew through the room when he punched one new hole in the tape. Finally he cut the tape entirely, whereupon the world disappeared. However, it also disappeared for the other characters in the story... which makes no sense, if you think about it. Unless the other characters were figments of his punched- tape fantasy. Which I guess is what they were.

It was always my hope, in writing novels and stories which asked the question "What is reality?", to someday get an answer. This was the hope of most of my readers, too. Years passed. I wrote over thirty novels and over a hundred stories, and still I could not figure out what was real. One day a girl college student in Canada asked me to define reality for her, for a paper she was writing for her philosophy class. She wanted a one-sentence answer. I thought about it and finally said, "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." That's all I could come up with. That was back in 1972. Since then I haven't been able to define reality any more lucidly.

Great stuff from the master. Read the whole thing.

Laurel and Hardy Go Digital

This represents the sole time I haven't resented having my browser resized. Also features a different angle (and more, uh, capable performance) of the ol' Man Getting Stuck Inside Giant Balloon trick.

Saving the Best for Last

Like it or not, reality programming is here to stay, because you never know when you're going to get something like this.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Paying the Verizon Bill

CLICK TO ENLARGE: A most excellent lesson in turnabout-as-fair-play.

Johnny Cash's Rusty Cage

I'd never heard this song before tonight. What a great song.

The First McDonald's Commercial

With an extra creepy Ronald McDonald version 1.0, whose magic serving tray magically replenishes itself of hamburgers, fries, and shakes and doubles as a fetching hat.

Judging from this first ad, you would never guess just how hot his daughter turned out to be.

The Most Important Ham in Spain

Talk about pigging out:

World's costliest ham triggers pork envy

By AMANDA RIVKIN, Associated Press Writer Sat Aug 18, 2:20 PM ET

...Hard-core foodies are drooling over the prospect of something truly superlative from Spain, at least in price: a salt-cured ham costing about $2,100 per leg, or a cruel $160 per pound. It's a price believed to make it the most expensive ham in the world.

Don't grab your wallet just yet. And forget about asking for just a slice.

The 2006 Alba Quercus Reserve (as this pricey pork will be known) won't be available until late 2008 and you must buy the whole ham or nothing at all. But that hasn't dissuaded gastronomic Web sites and blogs from buzzing with talk of the farm where it is being produced, likening it to a Mount Olympus of pork.

"It is the most important ham in Spain," adds Pedro Soley, a Barcelona connoisseur who is among the lucky few lining up to buy one. Indeed, this is a limited edition piece: Maldonado will produce just 80 to 100 legs.

...Maldonado has yet to set a price for customers who buy the 13-pound hams directly from him, but the food site has a dozen for sale at $2,100 each, and is accepting $250 deposits.

Is it ridiculous to pay that for a piece of pig?

No, says Maldonado. A ham like this can be shared among 20 people, he notes, whereas a bottle of the finest wine going for the same amount goes down quickly among just a few.

For four generations, Maldonado's family has been making ham from high-quality hogs in this town of 5,000 in Spain's southwest Extremadura region.

Their herds of black Iberian beauties are kept on a handful of acorn-rich farms in the surrounding meadowlands, walking freely up to 6 miles daily without any swineherds to look after them.

After the pigs are butchered, they are cured in high-grade sea salts and refrigerated at 39 degrees. The salt is wiped off after about 12 days. Over the course of the next three months, the temperature is gradually raised to 68 degrees.

The hams then are brought into one of Maldonado's two warehouse-size cellars where they cure for two years, hanging on a series of interconnected hooks from floor to ceiling, like curtains.

Maldonado will only give a ham the top-grade seal if it passes his olfactory test after the curing process. He drives a small rod through the outer layer of fat and into the meat to see if he considers it up to snuff.

In his cellar, Maldonado drew one of the hams close and rubbed his thumbs gently against the smooth roundness of the ham's firm base.

"Ham provides us with life," he said with a smile.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Bitterroot Fire

That's a photograph. Definitely click to enlarge. Background:

"This awesome picture was taken in Bitterroot National Forest in Montana on August 6, 2000.The photographer, John McColgan, is a fire behavior analyst from Fairbanks, Alaska. He took the picture with a digital camera. Because he was working at the time he took the picture he cannot profit from it; however, we feel the picture is a once-in-a-lifetime shot and should be shared."

The Civil War in Four Minutes

I think I may have shown this before, but it's worth a second look. Beautiful and tragic.

Michael Vick's Confession on Video

Rated PG-13 for strong language and simulated violence perpetrated by McGruff, the Crime Dog.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

The Genius of Roger Federer

Amazing FEDERER Tennis Shot - Click here for more amazing videos

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Jimmy Kimmel's Roast of Flavor Flav

Update: Youtube link is dead. Milk and Cookies has the whole routine.

"Flavor Flav is responsible for more homeless black children thane Hurricane Katrina... When I first saw you sitting up there, I thought it was an open casket funeral for James Brown."

Great stuff.

The Philosophy of Alan Watts, as told by the South Park Guys

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The Hauntening

an amusing diversion brought to my attention by the willowy Willow at Small Planet Partners.

On Chef Kaz Yamamoto, Xtreme Cuisine and Allegations that Sen. John Kyl Eats Mexican Babies


From a publication begging to be sued out of existence comes the story of extreme cuisine Chef Yamamoto -- whose fans allegedly include Alice Cooper, Angelina Jolie, and Ted Turner -- and whose dishes include Emperor Penguin, Mountain Gorilla, Bichon Frise, and various organ-meats of something called "Mexcan" that is allegedly especially favored by Arizona's Senator, John Kyl.

Yamamoto hails from a country surrounded by water, and nothing in the sea is off limits to the Japanese, including sea urchin, whale meat, and dolphin. I myself ordered whale meat in Tokyo once, and though I didn't think it terribly appetizing, I was intrigued by how easy it was to find in the bustling Japanese capital. As mentioned, Yamamoto is half-Korean, and Koreans continue to delight in the taste of canines, often served in a hearty soup. Dog meat is also popular in China, but then the Chinese really do eat just about everything under the sun, from bird's nest and snake bile to monkey brains and the bronchial tubes of cows.

But Yamamoto is going beyond the pale, traversing boundaries at which even his fellow Asians would surely balk. Everyone's heard about Tom Cruise joking (supposedly) about noshing his newborn baby's placenta and umbilical cord. But placentophagy is nothing new, nor is it illegal to chow down on some umbilical carne asada, as long as it's postpartum, of course. Placenta pâté has long been a part of Yamamoto's repertoire, but it's not the only human flesh he's willing to prepare for customers eager to experiment with cannibalism.

"There many Mexcan immigrant need money," confides Yamamoto during my inspection of his Anthem residence. "Sometime they sell me kidney, arm or leg, or just slice of liver. Very, very expenseeve. These Mexcan never have to work for year, I tell you. And Mexcan liver with onion? Is sooo deleeshus. You must try."

How could I resist? Actually, at another of his clandestine spreads, Yamamoto presented me with three plates, one with a slice of human liver sautéed with onions, another with a hunk of muscle torn from a human leg that had been deep fried, and a third of a side of poached hufu, a faux human flesh product that bills itself as the "Healthy Human Flesh Alternative" (available online at

"I give the hufu to people who don't wanna eat Mexcan," claims Yamamoto. "Hufu not bad, but nothing like real Mexcan."

I sample a bit of each, and I must admit that Yamamoto is correct. Mexican liver is exquisite, a thousand times tastier than its bovine counterpart. The leg muscle was a little chewy, sort of like gnawing on a fried chicken gizzard, but not bad. ("Marlon Brando and Phil Gordon only person who really love leg muscle; they like on bone and then rip off with teeth. Moan in pleasure, then spit out gristle. I serve Brando many time at Hollywood home. Mayor Phil very good customer here. Say Mexcan better than osso buco.") As for the hufu, it was awfully gelatinous in places, and blubbery. I don't think broiling was the best way to go, but Yamamoto says hufu is too fatty to fry, though sometimes he does this, and ends up with bits of meat similar to lardons, which he will then add to a salad.

The whole thing seems so Sweeney Todd-ish to me. Like something out of that 1973 sci-fi cannibal flick Soylent Green. But apparently, there have been precedents in real life as well. Why, New Times' own Paul Rubin, recent winner of the Arizona Press Club's Virg Hill Journalist of the Year Award, wrote a series of articles beginning in April 2003 ("Rent a Patient," April 24, 2003) exposing a health-insurance scam involving Mexican immigrants receiving unnecessary surgeries for cold, hard cash. The only difference here is that the desired organs are refrigerated for later consumption.

As if these revelations were not bizarre enough, I'm a bit grossed out by Yamamoto's admission that he has an unsavory agreement with some local mortuaries to harvest kidneys and other internal organs for him from children and teenagers who have died in car accidents. But Yamamoto's ultimate desire to prepare the most unthinkable of dinners is what really sends shivers down my spine.

"One day I hope I can cook whole Mexcan," sighs Yamamoto. "Maybe baby Mexcan that mother sell to me. Then I make for my good friend Jon Kyl. I know Senator will like to eat Mexcan. He only like Mexcan when on his dinner plate."

I at first hoped he was joking, but Yamamoto was not smiling.

Despite the patronage of Senator Kyl, I suspect the days of Le Menu are numbered, but until Yamamoto flees for Europe, one step ahead of Sheriff Arpaio or the feds, his black-market banquets will continue unabated for those with the bankroll and gall to consume endangered species and even human flesh with all the aplomb of swells sipping rare vintages at the Pointe Hilton or The Phoenician. As Yamamoto knows, when it comes to pleasing adventurous palates, pretty much anything goes.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

I See a Full Moon A-Risin'

Sacre Bleu!

What's the French word for vertigo?

Spare Me My Life!

How the Japanese learn English. This seems to be real. Who knew violent assault could be so funny?

Patches the Wonder Horse

This is years old, but I just ran across it again, which was a pleasure.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Confessions of a BBC Liberal

BBC legend Sir Antony Jay, John Cleese's partner in the brilliant Media Arts company, reflects on the effect of media on changing British views about authoritarianism from when he was a pre-WW2 child, to now:

We saw ourselves as part of the intellectual elite, full of ideas about how the country should be run. Being naive in the way institutions actually work, we were convinced that Britain’s problems were the result of the stupidity of the people in charge of the country.

This ignorance of the realities of government and management enabled us to occupy the moral high ground. We saw ourselves as clever people in a stupid world, upright people in a corrupt world, compassionate people in a brutal world, libertarian people in an authoritarian world.

We were not Marxists but accepted a lot of Marxist social analysis. We also had an almost complete ignorance of market economics. That ignorance is still there. Say “Tesco” to a media liberal and the patellar reflex says, “Exploiting African farmers and driving out small shopkeepers.” The achievement of providing the range of goods, the competitive prices, the food quality, the speed of service and the ease of parking that attract millions of shoppers does not register on their radar.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Happy Frank Zappa Day!

Frank Zappa Day Declared
(PR) Thursday, August 9th is Frank Zappa Day in Baltimore, MD, as proclaimed by Mayor Sheila Dixon. Frank Zappa was born in Baltimore in 1940 and, coincidentally, wrote and recorded a song entitled “What's New In Baltimore?” Dweezil Zappa, his son, is bringing the ongoing Zappa Plays Zappa/“Tour de Frank” to the Ram’s Head Tavern there on the day designated to honor his late father. Far from a “tribute band,” Zappa Plays Zappa underscores the compositional genius of Frank Zappa much as a symphony orchestra would perform pieces by a master composer.

The Mayor’s proclamation, to be presented at the concert reads, in part, “The City of Baltimore is proud of its rich musical heritage, and is honored to claim the prolific composer, musician, author, and film director Frank Zappa as a native of our fair city; and

WHEREAS, Frank Zappa’s artistry involved many musical genres, including rock, jazz, electronic, and symphonic music, and his lasting impact has left an indelible mark on the art and all those who attempt to follow in his footsteps; and

WHEREAS, Frank Zappa has received world-wide recognition for his talents and innovation and defense of the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights of the Constitution of the United States of America; and

WHEREAS, representing the Zappa Family, Dweezil Zappa is here today to embody his father’s music and legacy on stage for the first time in Baltimore, making this an appropriate day to honor Frank Zappa’s memory and his many great accomplishments.”

Dweezil’s self-imposed mission is to bring Frank Zappa’s music back to the live concert stage, explaining, “I think my Dad's music deserves to be heard by a wider audience. I really think he's been misunderstood for far too long, which brings me back to why I'm doing this: I'm so in awe of his accomplishments and want more and more people to know about him, and I think the best way for people to first discover his music is on a visceral level in a live situation. I think you have to be confronted with the complexity and the beautiful subtlety of all of it to fully appreciate the artistry of it."

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Kevin Mitnick's Business Card

The world's most famous ex-hacker/computer genius is also either a marketing genius or has hired one.

Or, he had a LOT of time to think of what his next business card would look like while he was inside.

That's a lock-picking set, for those terminally uninformed in the ways and means of criminals.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Singing Tesla Coil

via youtube:

This is a solid-state Tesla coil. The primary runs at its resonant frequency in the 41 KHz range, and is modulated from the control unit in order to generate the tones you hear.

So just to explain a little further, yes, it is the actual high voltage sparks that are making the noise. Every cycle of the music is a burst of sparks at 41 KHz, triggered by digital circuitry at the end of a "long" piece of fiber optics.

What's not immediately obvious in this video is how loud this is. Many people were covering their ears, dogs were barking. In the sections where the crowd is cheering and the coils is starting and stopping, you can hear the the crowd is drowned out by the coil when it's firing.

This Tesla coil was built and is owned by Steve Ward. Steve is a EE student at U of I Urbana-Champaign. He and Jeff have been going to Teslathons, which is where they met.

It's been suggested that a good name for this coil would be the "Zeusaphone". "Thoremin" has also been mentioned, though personally I think we need Theramin type inputs for that.

To answer a few questions I've received, YES, someone did yell "Play Freebird!" after the first round of music.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

The Minnesota Bridge... Before

Which would you rather drive over? I guess that question has now been answered. Also, there is something disturbingly French-looking about the failed bridge, but maybe that is just my own prejudices.