January 30, 2008

Reisswolf is German for "rip wolf...."

...which is how they say "paper shredder."

Not a huge post, and I just did one yesterday, but this was too interesting not to share: reconstructing the agency that generated "more paperwork than perhaps any bureaucracy in history."

(And the accompanying multimedia).

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January 29, 2008

Presidential Fonts

Apparently, presidential candidates really do care about fonts. At least, their campaign managers do...

And, I just found this album cover blog.

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January 28, 2008


Multitasking ruins the brain.

Also: the world's largest swimming pool and LEGO's 50th birthday.

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January 26, 2008

Wendy Peffercorn

If you thought Alicia Silverstone played Wendy Peffercorn in The Sandlot, you're wrong. It was Marley Shelton, and apparently she's come a long, long way since dropping Squints' jaw in 1993. Shelton, a former #98 on Stuff Magazine's "102 Sexiest Women in the World," appears as Dr. Dakota Black in Planet Terror. She also appeared in Sin City.

Director Robert Rodriguez was 25 when The Sandlot came out. Theory: it was then that he saved a spot in his films for Shelton, and then bestowed the best Planet Terror line to her:
I want you to to take this gun, and if anyone comes to the door who's not me, I want you to shoot them. Shoot them in the head - just like in your video games.
Shelton may have been in some duds, but nothing can ever take back the profound effect she had on every pre-teen boy who memorized The Sandlot.

(Don't be fooled by this girl's MySpace page, or that she has c-u-n-t written on her foot in her profile photo.)

And if we want to get sexy, let's go to the tapes: 1, 2.

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Comedy Central writers

+ Comedy Central writers disturb Congress; Shout 'Ron Paul for President!'

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January 25, 2008

Sub-Aqua Ice Hockey

There's not that much else one can to to describe this:

Also, I've just discovered that the year-old Califone record ("Roots and Crowns") is excellent (like if Tom Waits hadn't smoked for 35 years, took some crazy sedatives, and liked jamming with Sonic Youth and Wilco). And the new Black Mountain one ("In The Future", which came out Thursday and I have yet to hear) has awesomely prog-alicious cover art.

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January 23, 2008

The Interstate System is Fucking Damn Big

Despite the mild fever, sneezing, wheezing, cough and body aches, I'm officially consumed. This, this, this, this and this have all been driving me crazy. The recent drive to Madison, WI cleared my head.

Child Bankrupts Make-A-Wish Foundation With Wish For Unlimited Wishes

Junebug is excellent. Check it out.

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January 22, 2008

He stood there like the house by the side of the road and watched it go by....another Ti-guh strikeout!"

Ernie Harwell, the classic (he retired in 2002) voice of the Tigers, turns 90 today. I checked the Freep site tonight and saw the his picture on the front page and freaked out, thinking maybe he had died. But no. It's just his birthday. If there's one reason to read the Free Press instead of the News, I'd say his every-two-weekly-ish columns are it. I can't find any archived on the web so you'll just have to take my word for it and wait until baseball season (or read the collection of them my dad gave me for Christmas)

To tell a semi-personal story, the same guy that essentially screwed my dad's old college to the ground, (Tom Monaghan, a.k.a. Mr. Domino's Pizza) also tried to fire Ernie Harwell in the early 90s when he owned the Tigers. Actually, more like did fire him. For two years.

This just confirms his status as high up there on the douchebag list.

PS I spent the entire evening, from about 7 - 12, watching You Tube videos of classic Pistons - Bulls games. While this probably wasn't the wisest of moves, I did find this. Notice how the Pistons used "The Final Countdown" as their intro music when it was brand motherfucking new - in other words, un-ironically (Christ almighty, I didn't think that was possible...). Also notice how much of a nerd Bill Laimbeer looks next to Isiah, Rodman, and Joe D. Finally, notice how the warm-up jerseys have the players' first names on them. Sort of a neat little ode to the whole "Detroit-working-class-average-Joe" thing. The point here is to say that, man, the NBA was so sweet back in the day...

Well, now...I'm starting feel a bit like Evan Moran and should probably take a shower to atone for the night's sin of wasting away on YouTube.

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January 18, 2008

Church discipline at Allen Baptist

This summer I read an account in the Hillsdale Daily News of a senior citizen arrested for trespassing during a church service in Allen, Mich.

Today another article in my feeds got my attention: “Banned From Church”. Having forgotten about this summer's incident, it wasn't until a few paragraphs in that I realized the Wall Street Journal was leading its feature with the same saga of Karolyn Caskey, the 71-year-old dissident arrested this June (and again in July) during services at Allen Baptist Church.

The charge was trespassing, but Mrs. Caskey's real offense, in her pastor's view, was spiritual. Several months earlier, when she had questioned his authority, he'd charged her with spreading “a spirit of cancer and discord” and expelled her from the congregation. “I've been shunned,” she says.

Local novelty aside, the Journal article is worth a read.

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Origami, rodents, flags, and chess

Japanese scientists will launch a paper airplane from the International Space Station.

Two million years ago, bull-sized, hippo-headed rodents roamed South America.

New Zealand philosophy lecturer Josh Parsons ranks the world's flags.

Chess master Bobby Fischer died in Reykjavik Thursday. Obits: 1, 2.

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January 17, 2008

Hemming in Athens

Here's the test before the beginning of a new multimedia reporting endeavor:

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January 12, 2008

The Paw Print UFO

Taunt from youngest brother: "I saw four of those the other night walking the dog."

Rebuttal from middle brother (paraphrased): "If you can show me four of these, in an hour, than I'll believe the one in my video isn't a UFO or a secret government aircraft."

Father, dog, and three brothers move to the backyard after dinner and watch the clouded pinkish skies for 30 minutes.

Those clouds: a problem. But they saw, not four, but one of what middle brother filmmed in clearer skies earlier this month, now on YouTube, upon which experts will surely comment:

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January 11, 2008

"You are astronomical friends of alcohol, so welcome in..."

The new British Sea Power video evokes the same strange patriotic nostalgia as does watching a British-made documentary about World War One. They're playing "God Save the Queen" in the background (or English drinking songs, or something) as they show grainy black-and-white (almost tan-and-beige) footage of tattered and filthy Englishmen drinking tea with their units and kicking around soccer balls in the muddy trenches.
No, you know you aren't British, but by damn, that's the most fucking noble thing I've ever viewed.
I'm sure that's what British Sea Power were going for when they came up with their name. And when they came upn with this song, which is entitled, appropriatley enough, "Waving Flags" (from the forthcoming LP Do You Like Rock Music?...I'm kind of shitting myself about it. Although I was reading somewhere that they were going to name one of their albums Bring Me the Head of....British Sea Power, which I think might have been the coolest album title ever. Carrying on...)
'Yes,' you think as you hear the opening guitar chords. 'This is why I'm proud to like this band.'
It's no "God Save the Queen," but it comes close, what with images of battleships and sea life. I want to be inside this video right now. Don't ask me why, but I do.
Bonus awesomeness: notice how he pronounces "astronomical" in the first line. Gotta love it.


January 10, 2008

Beige Medical Beldames

Hospitals are a drag. Like the color beige.
Everything is beige. Including the personalities of the plethora of workers pretending to be spontaneous and forcing their scrubs over monumental... anyway, beige is the most suspect of all mute colors. So perversely safe.
A nurse passes the door. "Can I have the red thing?" She sounds like... well, like the possibility of literally dying of heartbreak. In other words, her mood is actually impossible in a hospital, but like beige, she adobts it, as if it's actually covering the fact that her tulip-pattern scrubs look silly. The beldame! Did I mention she asked for the "red thing"? I'm in good hands.
"What hurts?"
"Oh, just my swallowy-thing."
When's my urine test? I have to go. And I'm stealing gloves this time. I swear.
Enter the doctor. Mr. M.D., asking nothing that the nurse didn't. He's not the curious variety. Just the pudgy variety. Like a yam.
"Are you having trouble swallowing?"
"Yes, I yam." At least he's got the gurneys to wear a white coat.
Nurse #3 enters. Her job is to ask if I would like anything to drink while I'm here. Has anyone ever gotten thirsty in a hospital? "Take off my clothes? Wear a dress? Sure, whatever, but can I have a Gatorade first?" I decline, because she's a beldame.
The first nurse (you get bored in that little beige room and come up with rhymes like that) merrily trips in. Taking my blood, she comments on my good veins. Is she flirting? I'll get her number. And gloves. I'm really stealing gloves this time. And maybe a cotton swab. No, just gloves. The beldame.
"Nurse! Nurse! Stop that boy! He's stolen the latex-free off-white things!"

Goners and keepers

In the video which voters chose as the best of The Wall Street Journal, Randy Pausch makes a beautiful request: parents, if your children want to paint their walls, let them.

But should we let children collect things?

After three days in the closet-turned-storeroom (for my old bedroom), I'm sitting on collections of MAD Magazines, origami, footbags, keychains, and die cast airplanes. And rocks.

I bought those rocks at the rock and gem expo, where other children just like me (including Katie) got duped into buying pebbles on a field trip. Some of us (including myself and Katie) even returned the next day with our parents to buy more.

My birth rock is ameythst. I spelled that on the first try.

So the rocks and bouncy balls and MAD magazines and origami are goners. Metal Tapping, with its cardboard frames and stegosaurus pattern, is just about gone too. I can't wait to present it at Half Price Books: Yeah, that's a 3-D puzzle of the White House, but this, this is Metal Tapping.

My mom balks at throwing stuff away. I call down that some of our board games really should be thrown away.

"I though you were going through your stuff," she calls back.

My dad just tells me to forge a signature on the 3-D puzzles so Half Price will think some famous puzzle solver had a hand in completing them. I tell him I'm already going to try to sell them a book stolen from my former high school, stamped with that school's name, and numbered "71" across the pages. I slashed a black line across the school stamp on the inside cover and jotted "sold."

The origami leaf shirt that Katie wore for Halloween, so I could carry her on my shoulders so we could be a tree: goner. All the origami is gone, even the small box with lid that's made out of a magazine clipping of Rage Against the Machine's "Evil Empire."


The kippah I once wore to oblige a crowd for a juggling gig: goner. The moth wing enclosed in Scotch tape, my first glasses, a 10-year old Twix bar, the pipe I used as an "odd juggling item," and a whole slew of plastic football helmets: goners.


My middle school ID cards, and the flannel smiley face shorts I made in Home Ec are gone. (The shorts lasted longer than the locker caddy). My headgear score card, which probably still stands as the greatest motivator of my life, is in the garbage.


I'll sell the MAD magazines, but I tossed my Movielines and Rolling Stones, even the ones with Britney Spears and Angelina Jolie on the covers. If I hadn't sliced the hell out of them, some would be worth as much as $20 now. (I kept two special edition photography issues, and the Aug. 22, 1996 Hot Issue with Cameron Diaz.)

I won't forget earning the Presidential Fitness Award in every middle school semester, but I no longer have a shirt to commemorate doing so.

Token Hawaiian shirt: donate. Magic manipulation card deck: trash. All things bought in threes for juggling (plungers, mini hockey stick, stuffed gorillas (actually won at skee ball), eye ball balls, Christmas tree ornaments): give to younger jugglers.

I'll move away for good soon, and I need my two old trunks for better things than old, horded Victoria's Secret catalogs.

The Alf hand puppet (this one, sans bow, more ragged), has survived, along with the '92 US Bobsled Team pin:


And I'm keeping the flip book, but I'm not sure I drew it.

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January 9, 2008

justice for Justice

Katie just informed me: her letterpress instructor at UGA made a point to e-mail all her students the Justice "D.A.N.C.E." video, because it shows the importance of type.

Because we've all seen the music video, but not letterpress, here it is:

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At fear of being redunant, I will say only this: last night I sat behind Drew Sharp coming back from Houston. I couldn't tell if it was him until when we were getting off the plane (or, as those goddamn flight attendants insist, "deplaning the aircraft") and I saw that his carryon was a BSC Championship game with little dueling Ohio State-LSU helmets menacingly facing each other (like so). Alas, I did not get to talk sports with him as he was in first class and I didn't want to make an ass out of myself by asking him a dumb question about college football. Such is life.

Oh, and I finally made a post on the new blog. Check it: jackhitts.blogspot.com

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Back to school

Back-to-school links:

  • (First things first:) U.S. gov't lifts 1912 absinthe ban. (1), (2), (3).
  • “eBay-style” lending/borrowing: Prosper, LendingClub.
  • Check the electrical consumption of your devices with the Kill-a-Watt monitor.
  • Manage finances between housemates/friends, free: Buxfer.

Cool, but not back-to-school-related:

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Warm on the tarmac

At this point, the only thing to do about male fanny packs is shake your head.

There it goes now, cutting through the land of unlimited amusement - the airport. In my mind, I've filled books with airport observations.

Like the man with the long stride. That's his wife, there. She has tight, worried, marching band steps.

And the woman over there, the one with the pink face and baby in her arms, she thinks the baby is getting heavy but doesn't know who just stole the luggage cart she waited so long to get. (I saw the old lady take it.)

And some guys don't belong in the airport. One wears a beard, a winter coat and a fishing hat. Another has a brown suit. They don't belong, because they're not carrying a thing.

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January 8, 2008

Click it.

Here are some things I ran into today that you all might be interested with. They range from funky alphabets to winter cycling.
+ The Crumpler ABCs

+ The Minneapolis Star Tribune had a nice little video feature of local people who choose to cycle to and from work each day. You can check it out here.

+ The Australian Centre for Visual Technologies has come out with this really awesome video editing software that allows you to take objects found in videos, and create realistic looking models of those objects by video tracing.

+ Found a cool article in the New York Times.
"Mrs. Steers’s phobia was so severe that she was virtually trapped on Staten Island for 13 years. She missed her brother’s wedding in Brooklyn. She sent her husband and two children off on family vacations without her. She had never seen her sister’s house at the Jersey Shore."
About Gephyrophobiacs

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January 6, 2008

Whirling Dervish

I have a lot of ideas in my head. Most sprout in the black of the early morning hours, products of an ill-fated sleeping pattern. An urge to preserve much of what has passed is only puddle-deep; and nearly quenched. Step hop. Step hop. Some memories should live in action alone; or maybe eyes.

A packed suitcase defines a tone; a wrinkled reporter's notebook tucked into a torn rear pocket re-enforces it. Armed with music, bandannas, memories, ideas, and a healthy attraction to cloud, asphalt, and green -- departure climbs the back of a strong brick home.

Five to-do lists march between me and a whirling dervish of wheels.

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January 3, 2008


Here's a little something of interest to our residing font snob.

I'm watching Orange Bowl right now (yeah, I've been watching waaaay to much football lately...but I'm making up for watching like 3 total games during the semester), and I've noticed that Kansas' uniforms have become inexplicably dull. Not so much the uniforms, per say, but that font. Christ, could there be a more boring font to use on a football uniform?

I did a little reserch and remembered reading on my daily UniWatch update a little while ago that the university is mandating that each of their athletic teams change their uniform fonts to Trajan, the new font that they're trying to impliment across the board at the school.

I know nothing about the viability of Trajan for normal use, but mandate is disturbing. Back in elementary school I used to like Kansas basketball (my mom went there for grad school so I had a strange attraction to them) and the uniform font looked like this. It wasn't very clean, it certainly didn't look very modern, but I liked it. It gave Kansas a unique, classic look that made them stand out from other college teams - most of whom now seem to go for stupidly sleek and futuristic. (Two of the worst offenders: Oregon and Miami.

This Trajan crap isn't as bad as all that, but it sucks the life out of football uniforms (the garish red alternates don't help that much either). Plus it's basically taken away Kansas' identity - If I didn't know any better, I might mistake them for Saginaw Valley State.

Fortunatley it looks like Kansas fans are wigging out to reinstate the old "circus font" back on the uniforms.

A quote from one of the website's creators, from The Kansan:

“It is a well constructed font, speaking as a designer myself,” Kirkland said of Trajan. “But it is overused. It doesn’t mean anything; it doesn’t stand for anything. Certainly not our University. It doesn’t say Kansas Athletics.”

The site, created last week, offers a forum for fans to discuss the font issue.

It asks for a return to the “curling, arc-serifed typeface” (hehe...design nerds) that “subtly evolved into a unique symbol of Jayhawk pride.”

Just compare this shit. What were those ass clowns even thinking?

At least they got an Orange Bowl win out of it.

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Reason, Jan. 2008

Snippet lessons from this month's Reason:

+ Andrew Keen's new book is a work of "spectacular elitism." David Harsanyi's review of it is worth the read.
"Keen’s depressing book...laments techno-utopianism, free content, and the rise of citizen journalists, filmmakers, musicians, and critics as cultural arbiters...he ignores an otherwise promising tale of job creation, mass creativity, and the democratization of the media."

+ Guest workers need to be able to move fluidly. (Guests in the Machine)
+ Journalist Amity Shales is informed by Austrian economics.
+ Big Box music stores get trounced by Boston's indie hang-outs. The big boys don't get the local thing. (Big Box Panic)
"The inability to adapt to local tastes and the failure to anticipate technological market shifts have been the Achilles heel of many big box retailers. When Wal-Mart was forced to shutter its vast network of German stores, a mystified company spokesman told a reporter: “We thought everyone around the world loved Wal-Mart.” (The International Herald Tribune quoted a baffled Wal-Mart shopper in South Korea, where the company has also abandoned operations, wondering, “Why would you buy a box of shampoo bottles?”) The chain had made the mistake of assuming that full-spectrum retail dominance is achieved by virtue of size alone, without regard to cultural and regional difference."

+ Thomas Doherty can write with pizazz about Hollywood censorship. (A Code is Born)
+ Two new books recommend keeping government out of the "obseity epidemic."

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January 2, 2008

Navigating in an Indie World

"Who buys these patterns?" she asked in the car between Goodwill and a Jo-Ann Fabrics.

Riding her most recent craft wave, this time atop the indie energy of Lotta Jansdotter's Simple Sewing book, we'd spent the past two days thumbing through calico prints (pictured) in every fabric store, vintage store, and thrift store in Athens, Georgia.

"People need pillows," I said.

"I think they produced too much fabric in the 80s and they're still trying to get rid of the leftovers," she answered herself.

But while Fashion Trends for Quilters magazine wasn't much help in answering who buys the fabrics, shops like AGORA also did little to burgeon our piddily pattern pickings - mostly from Goodwill.

Where could we go to land us sewing materials between edge-to-edge owls (pictured) and Karen O?

Etsy, perhaps, or indieshopping.com. Maybe this documentary, Handmade Nation, could serve as guide. Or we could score an indie T-shirt by chance, like this one Katie and I tracked down at the Detroit Urban Craft Fair.

But after two days of scoffing at symmetry, facing down omnipresent bird art, and steering past Lomography products that help you look like this, I realize being original isn't easy, even if you're indie!

katie cloth

Edit x2:
Katie and I completed two projects: a set of four placemats (with silverware pockets!) and matching tree-friendly napkins!


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January 1, 2008


I forgot how much it sucked to be in the Central Time Zone.

I'm used to turning on Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve and seeing the appropriate countdown complete with ball drop and lame celebrity interviews, usually talking about how fucking great New York is at New Years. This annoys me, considering how there are tons of other large cities in the Eastern Time Zone that have their own unique celebrations, but whatever. Detroit and New York have the same New Year no matter what. I take this in stride, because I know that News Years' Eve is sort of a bullshit holiday anyway and I really only want New Years Day to be here so I can watch the Rose Bowl.

(Side note: how the hell did Illinois get into the goddamn Rose Bowl? I didn't even know about that until I saw an ad today. Which was funny in itself, trying to market a USC-Illinois game. I mean, really. Is anyone going to watch this because they expect to see a good game? Michigan-USC this ain't. Oh wait. That game sucked laast year too..

This year, though, was different. Apparently there's an entire half of the country that doesn't celebrate New Year, because this yeah I turned on Dick Clark and some music was droning and they didn't even have a countdown thingy on the bottom. Then I changed to the other two network channels and they were playing...a REPLAY of the ball drop.

What the hell?

Are we to assume that places in between New York and Los Angeles do not celebrate the New Year? Or that everyone stays inside and watches the people of New York party two (or three, if you're in the Mountain Time Zone) times? Considering that two of America's four largest cities fall within this area, that's hard to imagine.

I'm just pissed that they feel the need to recycle the previous countdown. I mean, how in the hell do they syncronize it anyway? How do I know from watching Carson Daily (with special guest Alex Rodriguez!) do the exact same thing he did an hour ago (act like a preening asshole) that I just rang in the new year? Maybe I opened the bottle a few seconds too late? Then where would I be?

I suppose I'd still be sitting on the couch watching the exact same Twilight Zone marathon on the SciFi channel, so it wouldn't be that different, would it?

(PS: I resurrected my blog. I'll probably post more consciously literary and musical things on there. Which is why I posted this here.)

(PPS Clinic has toured with the Flaming Lips and appeared on David Letterman. They use a variety of crazy vintage organ sounds and dress up in doctors uniforms and/ or Sgt. Pepper costumes for live shows and photo shoots. They sound a combination of Wolf Parade and British Sea Power if they were both jamming together inside a well and then jolted the well with a few thoudand volts of electricity. Now someone tell me: why don't know of them already?

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