Wednesday, June 30, 2004

The Tour de France begins this Saturday. In this New Criterion article, Robert Messenger discusses the history of the Tour and looks ahead to this year's race.

This year Lance Armstrong will attempt to win his sixth Tour. Messenger seems to like Armstrong's chances: "The very fine British racer David Miller tells the story of ringing Armstrong on his cell phone on Christmas Day a few years back. Miller was tipsy in a bar with his mates. His call finds Armstrong riding his bike up a steep mountain. Miller’s friends wonder why he is swearing a blue streak into his phone at a close friend. Miller’s response: “I’ve just lost the Tour de France.”

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Secret Fun Spot provides links to several retro-culture galleries. These galleries of "forgotten American culture" include everything from Star Wars Knockoffs to Memories of the 1970s.

Be sure to look at the Marvin Glass gallery. Glass designed toys and games like Operation, Rock'em Sock'em Robots, the Evel Knievel Stunt Cycle, Lite Brite, and Gnip Gnop.

Monday, June 28, 2004

According to this Washington Post column by Paul Roberts, the Gulf War and the War in Iraq were just the beginning. Roberts' writes, "We are on the cusp of a new kind of war -- between those who have enough energy and those who do not but are increasingly willing to go out and get it. While nations have always competed for oil, it seems more and more likely that the race for a piece of the last big reserves of oil and natural gas will be the dominant geopolitical theme of the 21st century.

Already we can see the outlines. China and Japan are scrapping over Siberia. In the Caspian Sea region, European, Russian, Chinese and American governments and oil companies are battling for a stake in the big oil fields of Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan. In Africa, the United States is building a network of military bases and diplomatic missions whose main goal is to protect American access to oilfields in volatile places such as Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad and tiny Sao Tome -- and, as important, to deny that access to China and other thirsty superpowers."

Sunday, June 27, 2004

In this Washington Post column, E. J. Dionne introduces Barack Obama, candidate for the U.S. Senate from Illinois and a future star of the Democratic Party.

Thursday, June 24, 2004

According to this Associated Press article, "Somewhere in Germany is a baby Superman, born in Berlin with bulging arm and leg muscles. Not yet 5, he can hold seven-pound weights with arms extended, something many adults cannot do. He has muscles twice the size of other kids his age and half their body fat.

DNA testing showed why: The boy has a genetic mutation that boosts muscle growth."

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

According to this Salon article, "On March 23, the Dirksen Senate Office Building was the scene of a coronation ceremony for Rev. Sun Myung Moon, owner of the conservative Washington Times newspaper and UPI wire service, who was given a bejeweled crown by Rep. Danny K. Davis, D-Ill. Afterward, Moon told his bipartisan audience of Washington power players he would save everyone on Earth as he had saved the souls of Hitler and Stalin -- the murderous dictators had been born again through him, he said."

The Washington Post reports the coronation story here.

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

In this New Yorker article, Seymour Hersh discusses how the destabilization of Iraq has changed the regional politics of the Middle East. According to Hersh, "Israeli intelligence and military operatives are now quietly at work in Kurdistan, providing training for Kurdish commando units and, most important in Israel’s view, running covert operations inside Kurdish areas of Iran and Syria." These Israeli operations with the Kurds have "provoked bitter statements from Turkish politicians and, in a major regional shift, a new alliance among Iran, Syria, and Turkey, all of which have significant Kurdish minorities."

Monday, June 21, 2004

The publication of Bill Clinton's new memoir, "My Life," has given the New York Times the opportunity to take another shot at the former President with this front page negative review. The Times' negative coverage of Clinton is nothing new. As Eric Boehlert explains in this Salon article, for the last 10 years the Times "has harbored a hostility toward the Clintons unmatched by any other mainstream media outlet."

Sunday, June 20, 2004

Ben Yagoda discusses the American media's recent adoption of British idioms in this article from the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Thursday, June 17, 2004

Belter is an updated version of the old arcade game Asteroids.

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

This Denver Post article discusses an attempt to change the current winner-take-all electoral vote distribution in Colorado. The referendum seeks "to award Colorado's Electoral College votes proportionally as a percentage of the statewide popular vote.

For example, a candidate who wins 60 percent at the polls could snag five of the state's nine electoral votes, leaving the remaining four to a candidate who wins 40 percent on Election Day."

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Merriam-Webster Online collected thousands of submissions to select the Top 10 Favorite Words of 2004.

Monday, June 14, 2004

In this Salon article, intelligence expert Thomas Powers "charges that the Bush administration is responsible for what is perhaps the greatest disaster in the history of U.S. intelligence. From failing to anticipate 9/11 to pressuring the CIA to produce bogus justifications for war, from abusing Iraqi prisoners to misrepresenting the nature of Iraqi insurgents, the Bush White House, the Pentagon and the intelligence agencies they corrupted, coerced or ignored have made extraordinarily grave errors which could threaten our national security for years."

Powers is not alone. According to this AP article, "Angered by Bush administration policies they contend endanger national security, 26 retired U.S. diplomats and military officers are urging Americans to vote President Bush out of office in November."

Sunday, June 13, 2004

According to The Two Things, "For every subject, there are really only two things you really need to know. Everything else is the application of those two things, or just not important.”

Here are some examples,

The Two Things about Boxing:
1. Hit.
2. Don't get hit.

The Two Things about World Conquest:
1. Divide and Conquer.
2. Never invade Russia in the winter.

For many more Two Things, click here.

Friday, June 11, 2004

My friends Cassie, Braden, and Brianna were interested in the origins of coffee and aspirin. With the help of their Grandpa, they did some research on the internet and found this information on the origins of coffee and aspirin.

Thursday, June 10, 2004

Follow this link to watch a very funny clip of the Daily Show story on John Ashcroft's recent testimony before a Senate Committee.

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Here is The Wave Magazine's list of the 10 Best Internet Fads.

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

In this Washington Post column James Jordan and James R. Powell discuss the ideas of geologist M. King Hubbert, who argued that "at a certain point oil production peaks, and thereafter it steadily declines regardless of demand." According to Jordan and Powell, "It now appears that world oil production, about 80 million barrels a day, will soon peak. In fact, conventional oil production has already peaked and is declining."

Monday, June 07, 2004

Michael Quinion discusses the etymology of phrases like "head over heels," "dressed to the nines," and "the bees knees" in this Daily Telegraph article.

Thursday, June 03, 2004

Here are two unusual sightings. First, Russian playwright Anton Chekhov (1860-1904) appears at a Barnes and Noble "Meet the Writers" forum and then signs copies of his classic play, "The Cherry Orchard." (Thanks, Mark!)

Second, a strange creature appears in a North Carolina backyard. Scientists are unable to identify the animal.

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

This map of names for soft drinks shows the most popular generic name for a soft drink (pop, soda, coke, or other) for the United States by county. Click on each state to see the raw data.

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

E. J. Dionne explains why President Bush's approval ratings are falling so quickly in this Washington Post article.

"By failing to embrace his opportunity to be a president of national unity, Bush has endangered the great project of his presidency: remaking Iraq. And he has offered Kerry the chance to be as tough as Howard Dean was -- but in the name of uniting Americans at a moment when solidarity is desperately needed."