Thursday, March 31, 2005

This Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article discusses Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold's recent trip to Alabama. According to the article, "Wisconsin's junior senator spent Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday driving around this politically forbidding "red state," meeting with liberal and conservative Democrats, Bush voters, local dignitaries and a curious Alabama media, enjoying the improbability of it all.

"When was the last time some Democrat from another part of the country went into Greenville, Alabama, and just said, 'What's the deal here?' " Feingold said before his trip.

You could look at Feingold's Alabama adventure as an extended conversation between North and South over the current woes and future direction of the Democratic Party.

Or you could view it as a guy who might run for president taking his style and message out for an early road test."

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

I blogged about the World Beard and Moustache Championships back in 2003, when it was held in Carson City, Nevada. This National Geographic article discusses the history of the event and the competitors as they prepare for the 2005 championships in Berlin, Germany. The article also includes this gallery of Beard and Moustache Champions.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

This New Yorker article discusses the question, "How much money should a doctor make?"

Sunday, March 27, 2005

In this Foreign Affairs article Historian Niall Ferguson examines the current world political and economic situation and wonders, "Could globalization collapse? It may seem unlikely today. Yet despite many warnings, people were shocked the last time globalization crumbled, with the onslaught of World War I. Like today, that period was marked by imperial overstretch, great-power rivalry, unstable alliances, rogue regimes, and terrorist organizations. And the world is no better prepared for calamity now."

Thursday, March 24, 2005

According to this article, "Two tiny species of tropical octopus have demonstrated a remarkable disappearing trick. They adopt a two-armed 'walk' that frees up their remaining six limbs to camouflage them as they slink away from trouble. . . . Instead of its usual sprawling crawl, O. marginatus fled from divers by striding on two arms, with the rest of its arms wrapped around its body, giving it the appearance of a walking coconut."

The article includes video of the walking octopus.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

From the placebo effect to tetraneutrons to the Kuiper cliff, New Scientist lists 13 things that do not make sense.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

David Brooks is a columnist who never met a conservative he didn't like. Surprisingly, Brooks uses this recent New York Times column to describe a group of conservative Republicans he calls the Masters of Sleaze. As Brooks' explains:

"Back in 1995, when Republicans took over Congress, a new cadre of daring and original thinkers arose. These bold innovators had a key insight: that you no longer had to choose between being an activist and a lobbyist. You could be both. You could harness the power of K Street to promote the goals of Goldwater, Reagan and Gingrich. And best of all, you could get rich while doing it!"

Monday, March 21, 2005

In this Los Angeles Times article Joe Robinson explains why paid time-off (PTO) banks are another way risk is being shifted from the employers to the employed:

"Paid time-off banks combine sick leave and vacation days, creating what at first looks like a jackpot — extra vacation days and more flexibility. But the winnings are subject to the vagaries of chance — your health — and corporate sleight of hand. Once your sick days are used up, further absences not covered by short-term disability come out of your holiday hide . . . American workers who have used up their puny sick-day allotment will have to decide whether to stumble to work sick or stay home and burn up vacation days. Or worry that if they roll the dice and take time off, it could jeopardize a paycheck if a health emergency hits. It adds another layer of guilt to gobs already there in taking a vacation, making it seem selfish to squander days that might be needed if you or a family member get sick."

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Everyone gets spam, but only's Rob Cockerham understood that his spam was telling him "An Unsolicited Commercial Love Story."

Thursday, March 17, 2005

David Edelstein picks the 20 movies with the most absurd twist endings in this Slate article.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

You can download video of a 1981 Replacements concert in the 7th Street Entry from this page on the Twin/Tone Records site.

"During the first week of September 1981, Twin/Tone took the mobile recording unit and rented a bunch of video gear and recorded 15 bands live (five nights) at the 7th Street Entry in Minneapolis... These QuickTime movies are from the show on September 5th.

The band had released "Sorry Ma..." earlier in the year and were already working on future projects. These clips are presented as they were recorded live... in set order and very much with the tuning that troubled the night. The Replacements were the middle band of three (Husker Du closed the show) and played two 25 minute sets."

Monday, March 14, 2005

Batman: New Times is an animated movie made with Legos featuring the voices of Adam West, Mark Hamill, Courtney Thorne-Smith, and Dick Van Dyke.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

In 1964, a young Jim Morrison acted in a promotional film produced by Florida State that the people of IFILM have renamed Jim Morrison: College Dork.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Today William Gibson is best known as the author of novels like Neuromancer and Pattern Recognition, and as the man who coined the term “cyberspace.” But in 1967 he was a draft-dodging hippie living in Toronto's Yorkville neighbourhood. In this video clip, a 19-year-old Gibson takes CBC TV on a tour of the village where Beatle-haired kids, drugs, and free love ran rampant.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

This Columbia Journalism Review article makes the case for comics journalism:

"Since the renaissance of the mid-eighties, more and more writers and artists have been producing serious nonfiction comics about current events, from war crimes to hip-hop. In the mid-1990s, Joe Sacco’s two books on Palestine were hailed as groundbreaking works and made Sacco the best known of the new graphic journalists. Now comics, or graphic, journalism is turning up in daily newspapers, where its inherent subjectivity contrasts sharply with the newsroom’s dispassionate prose — another round in the debate over what journalism should be in the twenty-first century."

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

In this Slushfactory column, Dwayne McDuffie explains his "Grand Unification Theory" of television: "The last five minutes of St. Elsewhere is the only television show, ever. Everything else is a daydream."

Monday, March 07, 2005

This Portland Mercury article tells the story of Warren Hill, who paid 75 cents at a yard sale for a Velvet Underground acetate that may be the most expensive record ever sold. While this New York Times article discusses "Chinese Democracy," the most expensive record never made.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

While visiting my parents last weekend, I learned of plans to build a wind farm of 133 wind turbines on hilltops near my hometown. As this Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article explains, these plans have divided local residents between those who see wind power as a clean energy source, and those who think its a bad idea to build 400 foot windmills next to the state's largest bird refuge. As my old high school science teacher says, "I can see 10,000 birds flying through a meat grinder."

Thursday, March 03, 2005

This page contains links to a three-part Los Angeles Times series examining the U.S. economy.

"Los Angeles Times reporter Peter G. Gosselin has spent the last year examining an American paradox: Why so many families report being financially less secure even as the nation has grown more prosperous. The answer lies in a quarter-century-long shift of economic risks from the broad shoulders of business and government to the backs of working families. Safety nets that once protected Americans from economic turbulence — safeguards like unemployment compensation and employer loyalty — have eroded or vanished. Familes are more vulnerable to sudden shifts in the economy than any time since the Great Depression. The result is a daunting "New Deal" for many working Americans — one that compels them to cope, largely on their own, with financial forces far beyond their control."

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

In this Washington Post column, E. J. Dionne Jr. discusses the racial bait and switch technique conservatives have been using lately.

"Conservatives profess to be horrified by political correctness . . . But increasingly, it is conservatives who are using political correctness to sidestep hard issues. Consider the bait-and-switch in the Gonzales case: Democrats thought it appropriate to use Gonzales's nomination to launch a debate about torture policy. Gonzales is Latino. Therefore, Republicans insisted, Democrats who wanted to debate torture policy were anti-Latino."