Saturday, March 05, 2005

A typo on Feb 20th had the wrong email address. The correct one

Friday, March 04, 2005

Before you read through all the grim data that follows, here’s some fun donated by HCB....

(I also find myself recalling the ice-blonde, beautiful, and sadly deceased Ingrid von Essen with whom I shared a top floor Ladbroke Grove apartment for most of the 1970s, and who was quietly proud that one of her relatives – a great aunt, or something – had an affair with August Strinberg. I would have said a torrid affair, but I don’t think they do torrid, up in those Norse countries.)

The secret word is Fjord

There’s also my squib on Deadwood, plus a nice picture of Ian McShane in this week's LACityBeat...

Sent by Nelson 7, compiled by our old pal Michael Ventura for the Austin Chronicle.

The United States is 49th in the world in literacy (the New York Times, Dec. 12, 2004).

The United States ranked 28th out of 40 countries in mathematical literacy (NYT, Dec. 12, 2004).

Twenty percent of Americans think the sun orbits the earth. Seventeen percent believe the earth revolves around the sun once a day (The Week, Jan. 7, 2005).

"The International Adult Literacy Survey...found that Americans with less than nine years of education 'score worse than virtually all of the other countries'" (Jeremy Rifkin's superbly documented book The European Dream: How Europe's Vision of the Future Is Quietly Eclipsing the American Dream, p.78).

Our workers are so ignorant and lack so many basic skills that American businesses spend $30 billion a year on remedial training (NYT, Dec. 12, 2004). No wonder they relocate elsewhere!

"The European Union leads the U.S. in...the number of science and engineering graduates; public research and development (R&D) expenditures; and new capital raised" (The European Dream, p.70).

"Europe surpassed the United States in the mid-1990s as the largest producer of scientific literature" (The European Dream, p.70).

Nevertheless, Congress cut funds to the National Science Foundation. The agency will issue 1,000 fewer research grants this year (NYT, Dec. 21, 2004).

Foreign applications to U.S. grad schools declined 28 percent last year. Foreign student enrollment on all levels fell for the first time in three decades, but increased greatly in Europe and China. Last year Chinese grad-school graduates in the U.S. dropped 56 percent, Indians 51 percent, South Koreans 28 percent (NYT, Dec. 21, 2004). We're not the place to be anymore.
The World Health Organization "ranked the countries of the world in terms of overall health performance, and the U.S. [was]...37th." In the fairness of health care, we're 54th. "The irony is that the United States spends more per capita for health care than any other nation in the world" (The European Dream, pp.79-80). Pay more, get lots, lots less.

"The U.S. and South Africa are the only two developed countries in the world that do not provide health care for all their citizens" (The European Dream, p.80). Excuse me, but since when is South Africa a "developed" country? Anyway, that's the company we're keeping.

Lack of health insurance coverage causes 18,000 unnecessary American deaths a year. (That's six times the number of people killed on 9/11.) (NYT, Jan. 12, 2005.)

"U.S. childhood poverty now ranks 22nd, or second to last, among the developed nations. Only Mexico scores lower" (The European Dream, p.81). Been to Mexico lately? Does it look "developed" to you? Yet it's the only "developed" country to score lower in childhood poverty.

Twelve million American families--more than 10 percent of all U.S. households--"continue to struggle, and not always successfully, to feed themselves." Families that "had members who actually went hungry at some point last year" numbered 3.9 million (NYT, Nov. 22, 2004).
The United States is 41st in the world in infant mortality. Cuba scores higher (NYT, Jan. 12, 2005).

Women are 70 percent more likely to die in childbirth in America than in Europe (NYT, Jan. 12, 2005). The leading cause of death of pregnant women in this country is murder (CNN, Dec. 14, 2004).

"Of the 20 most developed countries in the world, the U.S. was dead last in the growth rate of total compensation to its workforce in the 1980s.... In the 1990s, the U.S. average compensation growth rate grew only slightly, at an annual rate of about 0.1 percent" (The European Dream, p.39). Yet Americans work longer hours per year than any other industrialized country, and get less vacation time.

"Sixty-one of the 140 biggest companies on the Global Fortune 500 rankings are European, while only 50 are U.S. companies" (The European Dream, p.66). "In a recent survey of the world's 50 best companies, conducted by Global Finance, all but one were European" (The European Dream, p.69).

"Fourteen of the 20 largest commercial banks in the world today are European.... In the chemical industry, the European company BASF is the world's leader, and three of the top six players are European. In engineering and construction, three of the top five companies are European.... The two others are Japanese. Not a single American engineering and construction company is included among the world's top nine competitors. In food and consumer products, Nestlé and Unilever, two European giants, rank first and second, respectively, in the world. In the food and drugstore retail trade, two European companies...are first and second, and European companies make up five of the top ten. Only four U.S. companies are on the list" (The European Dream, p.68).

The United States has lost 1.3 million jobs to China in the last decade (CNN, Jan. 12, 2005).
U.S. employers eliminated 1 million jobs in 2004 (The Week, Jan. 14, 2005).
Three million six hundred thousand Americans ran out of unemployment insurance last year; 1.8 million--one in five--unemployed workers are jobless for more than six months (NYT, Jan. 9, 2005).

Japan, China, Taiwan, and South Korea hold 40 percent of our government debt. (That's why we talk nice to them.) "By helping keep mortgage rates from rising, China has come to play an enormous and little-noticed role in sustaining the American housing boom" (NYT, Dec. 4, 2004). Read that twice. We owe our housing boom to China, because they want us to keep buying all that stuff they manufacture.

Sometime in the next 10 years Brazil will probably pass the U.S. as the world's largest agricultural producer. Brazil is now the world's largest exporter of chickens, orange juice, sugar, coffee, and tobacco. Last year, Brazil passed the U.S. as the world's largest beef producer. (Hear that, you poor deluded cowboys?) As a result, while we bear record trade deficits, Brazil boasts a $30 billion trade surplus (NYT, Dec. 12, 2004).

As of last June, the U.S. imported more food than it exported (NYT, Dec. 12, 2004). Bush: 62,027,582 votes. Kerry: 59,026,003 votes. Number of eligible voters who didn't show up: 79,279,000 (NYT, Dec. 26, 2004). That's more than a third. Way more. If more than a third of Iraqis don't show for their election, no country in the world will think that election legitimate.
One-third of all U.S. children are born out of wedlock. One-half of all U.S. children will live in a one-parent house (CNN, Dec. 10, 2004).

"Americans are now spending more money on gambling than on movies, videos, DVDs, music, and books combined" (The European Dream, p.28).

"Nearly one out of four Americans [believe] that using violence to get what they want is acceptable" (The European Dream, p.32).

Forty-three percent of Americans think torture is sometimes justified, according to a PEW Poll (Associated Press, Aug. 19, 2004).

"Nearly 900,000 children were abused or neglected in 2002, the last year for which such data are available" (USA Today, Dec. 21, 2004).

"The International Association of Chiefs of Police said that cuts by the [Bush] administration in federal aid to local police agencies have left the nation more vulnerable than ever" (USA Today, Nov. 17, 2004).

The USA is "No. 1" in nothing but weaponry, consumer spending, debt, and delusion.

The secret word is Dire

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Yesterday I posted a link to Gummi Roadkill. On further investigation, I discovered that the Gummi world has gone totally berserk. The links below are Gummi Brains, Gummi Hancuffs, Gummi Jet Fighters, Gummi Penguins, and Gummi Killer Sharks. Go figure. I can’t.

The secret word is Mucilage

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Well I seem to be working again. After a whole lot of customer service (black kid, american, kinda knew his stuff but not too innovative, but willing to stay on the phone for over two hours -- also MSN at least ain't outsourced). But we got nowhere, and after hanging then I decided to risk the dread past-time restore launch in which you turn back time until the problem never happened. The concept makes me paranoid, but it worked. So whoopee! Now I simply wait for more trouble racked up in the virtual future. (As in, I went back in time and shot Hitler, but am I now in a parallel where Walt Disney starts WWII.) My theory is that invasive popups are now playing rough when the meet the popup blocker. It is a concept of computer technology that is part Darwin and part On The Waterfront. Also local electronics have been well fucked up since the LA rains. "Close the podbay door, HAL. There’s a goddamned draft."

The secret word is Application

A treat (and probably collectable because PETA and ASPCA want them banned)...

Monday, February 28, 2005




Sunday, February 27, 2005

("Watch out, the world’s behind you...")

Check out...
And for the whole story...

While avoiding work and even delaying rational thought, I happened across one of those Quizilla quizes and found out what kind of goddess I’d make. Can’t say I’m disappointed with the results.
The Goddess of Stars and Hate. You are an
independent leader. Always reflecting and
pondering, you carry an air of mystery and you
are exceptionally vengeful. You are a dazzling

Which gorgeous goddess are you? For girls! (breath taking pics!)
brought to you by Quizilla

("What costume will the poor girl wear...")
And talking of exceptionally vengeful goddesses, there’s an apt rant by some girl over on the Comments Board with which I totally agree. The Washington Post story on La Rice’s threads sucked bigtime for the worst reasons, and is a perfect example how mega-most of the mainstream media fawn and flounder in the Karl Rove Universe, and even when stumbling across a nugget of insight are too chickenshit to follow the logic to it’s damning conclusion or explore the bizarre possibilities. Find a pearl of wisdom? The mainstream response is immediately to seek an ignorant swine before whom to cast it, because fully to examine the pearl from all angles may cause doubts about one’s sanity in corporate communications. (Let’s not forget that the mainstream media were more than willing to buy Bush’s aicraft carrier, "Mission Accomplished" padded-crotch, flight-suit debacle until the howl of derision swept up from the dissenting bowels of the culture.) Which is why I’ve kept quiet up until now about how, a couple of weeks ago, I swear Rice appeared at some media op after her confirmation hearings wearing a pin that, from a distance, looked just like the old Elvis Presley/Capt. Marvel Jr. TCB lightning flash. And then there’s the lingering concern about how the vid-bites of GIs Iraq look so much like Imperial Stormtroopers in Star Wars.
At which point I fully expect someone to interupt, "You’re fucking crazy, Doc."
"You’re fucking crazy, Doc."
Yeah, maybe, but I start worrying when the fascists add the visual power-trappings to the policies of unfettered war-mongering greed. When they break out the boots and the lightning bolts, it means it’s going to another level, as when Travis Bickell shaves in his Mohawk. Ever since I was a small boy I have kept a very close eye on the Emperor’s clothing.

For more on pop-culture imagery in the creation of tyranny and mass psychosis, I totally recommend Menno Meyjes’ 2002 movie, Max – with John Cusack and Noah Taylor

The secret word is Panoply

CRYPTIQUETurn off the fucking cell phone, Kenny