Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Here's a long but worthwhile read by Bruce Bawer on European anti-Americanism. He reviews a number of books on the subject and injects a lot of fun statistics and anecdotes. There are a lot of great points in Bawer's discussion - too many to include here. Much of it boils down to something a friend once said in reference to an essay by Umberto Eco on American culture: Europeans just don't get it. No matter how well read or well traveled they may be, it's virtually impossible to find a contemporary European who has anything beyond a cartoonish sense of what America is all about. I find this sentiment has a great deal of truth in it. And though I'm nearly as anti-statist as it gets (which is particularly apropos at the moment), I also really have a fierce streak of patriotism born out of a reverence for western civilization. Nothing tends to fuel it more than travelling abroad and being reminded why everything is so much better here. Before returning to my endless "We're number one!" chant, I'll leave you with these bits:

If Europe’s intellectual and political elite was briefly pro-America after 9/11, it was because America was suddenly a victim, and European intellectuals are accustomed to sympathizing reflexively with victims (or, more specifically, with perceived or self-proclaimed victims, such as Arafat). That support began to wane the moment it became clear that Americans had no intention of being victims.
Americans, they argue, are possessed by na├»ve, simplistic ideals, while Europeans are more aware of real-world complexities. Actually the opposite is closer to the truth. Yes, America is built on an idea, namely liberty; but far from being divorced from reality, it is an idea that Americans have realized, developed, and successfully exported for more than two centuries. We have demonstrated the depth of our commitment as a people to this idea by waging a revolution, a civil war, two World Wars, several smaller wars, and the Cold War in its name. It is, in short, an idea that is utterly indissoluble from our own living, breathing, everyday reality. By contrast, much of Western Europe is founded on an idea of itself that is significantly, and dangerously, divorced from reality. That idea, as Robert Kagan explains so adroitly, is that the world has moved beyond the necessity of war. It is a pretty fiction, but a fiction nonetheless. And keeping it alive requires that one ignore dangerous realities—such as the growing problem of militant Islam within Europe’s own borders.
Pruno: Prison Nectar of the Gods

Having a dinner party soon? Here's a handy how-to guide for making your own Pruno. If you can get past the smell and the mold, you'll be in flavor country:

"Pruno, a prison wine created from fruit, sugar and ketchup, is such a vile and despicable beast in the California state penal system that prisoners can't eat fresh fruit at lunch.

"Back in December 2002, the warden at Lancaster prison in Los Angeles County removed fresh fruit from box lunches in the maximum-security lockup, as an effort to reduce violence. Apparently, sober, scurvy-addled felons are much easier to control than drunken, violent convicts.

"By most accounts, pruno isn't something a normal human would want to drink, so potent that two gallons is said to be 'a virtual liquor store,' enough to get a dozen people mindblowingly wasted. And while it tastes so putrid that even hardened prisoners gulp it down while holding their noses, they'll go to incredible lengths to make it, whipping up batches from frosting, yams, raisins and damn near everything.

"In a San Francisco Chronicle article from 1990 called 'The Games Guards Play,' author Dannie Martin describes how prison guards -- or hacks -- would search prison cells for any sign of pruno. But instead of taking it away, the hacks who were really hell-bent on getting even would piss in it. As Martin quips, 'Wine that has been urinated in several times is far too presumptuous, even for a convict's palate.'"

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Emails from subcultures you'd rather not know about

Receiving an email that starts with, "If you have any other access to a fresh corpse I would be interested. I guarantee that it will be more than a fair price," is no way to start your day. Let that be a lesson to those who think that eBay is all fun and games.

"A man who put his body up for auction on eBay as a joke reportedly had a serious reply from someone claiming to be a cannibal.

"Daniel O'Dee from Salford posted the joke advert after a drunken dare, says the Sun, and it was quickly removed by eBay staff.

"But he was then shocked to get an email from someone calling himself 'Donnie, the Hanover cannibal' offering £2,000 for a 'fresh corpse.'

"The emailer even claimed there was a syndicate of eBay users who helped fund the cost of buying corpses.

"Even after Mr O'Dee emailed back explaining that it was a joke, 'Donnie' replied saying he was disappointed.

"'I'm disappointed that is was your own body you were selling as I want one as soon as possible,' the message read.

"When Mr O'Dee did not reply to that email, he then received a death threat.

"He said: 'I'm trying to put it out of my mind. It's safe to say I won't be visiting Germany.'"
Spray one for your country

As long as we're on a Kerry theme...

"Toss a Kerry Cake urinal target into your favorite urinal before you PEE and flush John 'Flipper' Kerry back out to SEA!

"Join the 'movement'! Spring a Kerry Cake urinal target in every bar, restaurant and hotel across America.

"SIZE: 2" Round. Bright colors make it easy to see. Wafer thin, light weight and quiet so they're easy to deploy. Coated with a water resistant laminate. Printed on two sides so you don't have to worry about how they land. Available in packs of (25)."

Monday, June 28, 2004

Apparently, Hugh Grant will one day look like Lurch. If he's lucky.
Telemundo, meet TBS - The Superstation

"A Texas couple who named their son ESPN after the cable sports network will soon get a visit from the toddler's namesake.

"An ESPN film crew is coming to the Panhandle town of Pampa next month to interview the family of 2-year-old ESPN Malachi McCall for a feature on children around the country with the unique name.

"ESPN (pronounced Espen) McCall is one of at least three youngsters in the United States known to be named for the sports network. A couple in Corpus Christi named their son Espn Curiel in 2000, the same year Espen Blondeel was born in Michigan.

"Rebecca and Michael McCall said their son's name started as a joke after they heard on the radio about another couple naming their son 'ESPEN.'

"'He looked at me and said, 'That's a cool name,'' Rebecca McCall said in Saturday's editions of the Amarillo Globe-News."

Friday, June 25, 2004

Pole dancers plan to rock the vote

"A gentlemen’s club is offering a new service — voter registration — and asking other clubs to do the same.

"At Circus in the Flats, servers supply patrons with registration cards, instructions and pens. During breaks, dancers mail letters urging thousands of clubs to help register voters.

"Club co-owner Angelina Spencer said she has signed up about 225 customers and workers.

"Spencer is the executive director of the Association of Club Executives, which which represents about 800 exotic establishments. The group has registered 5,000 voters, she said.

"The Lion’s Den, a chain of adult stores based in Columbus, is participating in the drive.

"'Voter registration is good business,' spokesman Jim Everett said. 'Voter registration is good for the community.'"

Thursday, June 24, 2004

Meet Michael Ray Vanmeter, self-proclaimed Redneck Vampire

Michael Ray Vanmeter claims to have become a vampire in the first part of the 19th century while working on the railroad that was constructed through the Okeefenokee Swamp. Although it's still unclear how the transition from mortal human to vampire actually happened, Michael Ray claims to be at least 211 years old.

Throughout the six weeks we documented Michael Ray, we came up with no conclusive evidence to prove that he was or wasn't a vampire. He spent most of his time playing lotto, drinking beer, and "huffing" at the Ft. Leeds 'Yes Pump Gas'. He has what appears to be fangs like a vampire, he claims to drink blood, but his most outrageous claim is of his immortality.

Rhonda Pitts was born and raised in Ft. Leeds. She is employed at the Merle Hagard Chick-n-Burger in Madison and has been involved with Michael Ray for anywhere between 2 and 71 years. Rhonda has done little to discredit Michael Rays claims that he is a vampire. She claims that his nocturnal activities are no different than anyone elses. "He eats, shits, and fucks like the rest of 'em!". When asked how she thinks this documentary will effect her and the people of Ft. Leeds she reponded, "Go back to Hollywood, Fuck Stick!!"

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Hitchens redeems himself with this vitriolic screed on Moore's Farenheit 9/11:

If Michael Moore had had his way, Slobodan Milosevic would still be the big man in a starved and tyrannical Serbia. Bosnia and Kosovo would have been cleansed and annexed. If Michael Moore had been listened to, Afghanistan would still be under Taliban rule, and Kuwait would have remained part of Iraq. And Iraq itself would still be the personal property of a psychopathic crime family, bargaining covertly with the slave state of North Korea for WMD. You might hope that a retrospective awareness of this kind would induce a little modesty. To the contrary, it is employed to pump air into one of the great sagging blimps of our sorry, mediocre, celeb-rotten culture. Rock the vote, indeed.

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Robots Are Our Friends | '_' | - very Victoresque.
Take that, Hoo Sateow: Man seeking longest hair title also in running for least clean and most bug-infested hair titles

"HANOI, Vietnam - A Vietnamese man who hasn't been to a barber in 31 years is vying to get in the Guinness World Records for having the longest hair, state-controlled media reported Monday. [Thank you, state controlled media!]

"Tran Van Hay's hair is 20 feet long, Thanh Nien (Young People) newspaper said.

"Normally tied up and covered by a scarf, his hair has grown four feet in the past seven years. He last had it washed six years ago, the paper said. [emphasis added]

"Hay, 67, is a traditional medicine practitioner from southern Kien Giang province, some 220 miles southwest of Ho Chi Minh City. He provides free treatment to villagers in the region.

"The Guinness Web site says the current record for long hair, set in 1997, is held by Hoo Sateow of Chiang Mai, Thailand, at 16 feet 11 inches."

Monday, June 21, 2004

Gross. Just gross.
Panda porn pays off

"A female panda named Hua Mei is pregnant after watching hours of videos showing other pandas mating.

"It's the latest use of so-called 'panda porn' by authorities in China.

"In February, Hua Mei was transferred from her birthplace at San Diego Zoo to a reserve in China. But keepers were afraid she hadn't learned enough about mating to do so with her new male friends.

"So Hua Mei, aged 4, was sent to the Wolong Panda Protection Centre in south-western China for several months of sex education lessons, which included watching hours of panda pornography.

"They hoped the sex videos might put her in a lustful mood for one of many 'blind dates' she would encounter in their efforts to get her pregnant - and the videos paid off.

"Chinese newspaper Beijing Chenbao reports Hua Mei is now pregnant."
Against Happiness - more reasons not to be a utilitarian.

Sunday, June 20, 2004

Michael Moore Exposed
Moore Lies
Michael Moore Hates America (the movie)

Saturday, June 19, 2004

"Unless you work in the adult entertainment industry, if you're starting the day with a dose of Viagra, you've got a problem."
Viagraholics Anonymous

Friday, June 18, 2004

Up North, they're worried about smoking...

"RICHMOND, Va. -- The state is posting billboards with messages such as 'Isn't she a little young?' as part of a campaign to dissuade men from having sex with underage girls.

"The campaign is aimed at reducing the number of young girls who have children with older men, the Virginia Department of Health said Monday.

"In 1999 and 2000 in Virginia, men over 18 were responsible for 219 births involving girls who were 13 and 14, the department said.

"Messages such as 'Isn't she a little young?' and 'Sex with a minor, don't go there' also appear on posters, coasters and napkins in bars, restaurants and stores in five cities.

"'We encourage adult men to talk to their peers and discourage them from pursuing teenagers. What they are doing is unhealthy and against the law,' said Robert Franklin, a health department official."

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Todd's site has an interesting post on an upcoming Stossel interview with two McDieters who either lost or maintained their weight on the 30 day "nothing but McDonalds" diet. Although "Supersize Me" was much less preachy than I expected it to be, it does have an anti-corporate strain and is misleading. As with any documentary of this type, it's always good to check your premises.

On a related note, here's one of the better Onion headlines there's been in a while:
Michael Moore Kicking Self For Not Filming Last 600 Trips To McDonald's
If you've got it, insure it

It's comforting to know that the market provides for all kinds of consumer needs...

"It was one of the more unusual requests insurance underwriter Jonathan Thomas had received: Could he please draw up a policy to protect an unnamed star against the loss of his chest hair?

"Ever the professional, Thomas and his team of experts at London's Creechurch Underwriting got down to work, compiling a four-page document which details every possible eventuality.

"A payout would be triggered 'if, in the opinion of two independent medical referees, the insured person has suffered loss of more than 85 percent of his hair covering the front of his torso,' it says.

"The policy is only valid for 'accidental bodily injury' and -- as is the way with insurance -- has a lengthy list of exclusions.

"If the star was to be left with a bald torso through war, revolution, radioactive contamination or terrorism -- sorry, no payout.

"Their lifestyle would also have to be circumscribed, ruling out activities as varied as fire-breathing and -- a measure that sums up the sheer caution inherent to insurance brokers -- pregnancy and child-birth."

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Anybody want a gmail account? I have two invites. Email me if you want one.

Monday, June 14, 2004

Todd Seavey on Pieces of Flair:

“I don't understand where the blog is or how to get to it, whether as a reader or contributor. Not that I'm saying that's a problem or anything.”

“Calling the site FreeMumia does _nothing_ but confuse and alienate…are _any_ of us -- Meredith included -- still laughing at that name?”

“NRO or PoF? Hard to tell the difference sometimes.”

"Looook, nod everyting aboud da Nazis wass grim. Dey hod piezes of flair dey hod da Jews wear, right?"

“It’s the new memepool.”

“A lotta bang for your buck.”

“I read the one news source that matters: PiecesOfFlair. Thank you, PiecesOfFlair.”

If I had a million dollars....

Backers sought for proposed Amish theme park in Elkhart, IN

Having spent a day touring the Amish tourist attractions in Elkhart, I can say with some authority that this is a much needed addition.

Sunday, June 13, 2004

This blog has spent a fair amount of time on the mullet, but we've truly neglected another Flair-worthy hairstyle: the combover. Thankfully, a new documentary promises to remedy this lapse.

As part of our exploration, Chris interviews various hair experts, including physicians, hair practitioners, even a gentleman who obtained a U.S. patent for the combover. Chris and the cameras also chronicle the experience of devotees of the combover. “Finally someone is going to record for posterity the dying art of the combover.” commented Shelly Pike, who has worn a combover for 37 years. “Nowadays people are too quick to get transplants or wear a toupe.”

Saturday, June 12, 2004

Dance Dance Resurrection!

Thursday, June 10, 2004

"In a nod to Fox's wildly popular sun-soaked teen dramedy, The O.C., an Orange County supervisor has suggested that the county's John Wayne Airport be renamed "The O.C. Airport, John Wayne Field."

...Los Angeles may have missed the tourist-attraction boat in the '90s by not rechristening its LAX airport with the sexier title, "LAX: Beverly Hills, 90210."

Nor did Boston leap at the opportunity to change the uninspired moniker of its Logan Airport to the far catchier "Logan Airport-Cheers!"

There has been no word from John Wayne's family on the potential sexing up of the Duke's airfield namesake, which was christened just days after his death in 1979."
Credit to Nick.

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

True to form, the LP has nominated the candidate least likely to have any impact whatsoever: Michael Badnarik.
It's been a year. Woot.

I was going to change the entire site and actually bother to find a real host, but then I remembered: this blog is all about apathy. It just wouldn't be right.

Monday, June 07, 2004

This is just begging for a spot on Countdown to Hermione Granger's 18th birthday. Ewww.
Credit to Derick.

Saturday, June 05, 2004

The Polyphonic Spree has a pretty nifty new site for their latest album.
This story reminded me of Tom. Man, I love this state...

Friday, June 04, 2004

In case you need an excuse to celebrate: Creed has broken up.
I think at one point or another, I've emailed or posted nearly all of these, but just in case you missed 'em: Seanbaby's Top Ten Internet Fads