Tuesday, October 31, 2006


Def Power

The ouster of the incoming president of Gallaudet University, the nation's leading college for the deaf, has exposed a debate over the future of "deaf culture" and who is an authentic deaf person...After the campus protests started, Fernandes said that some people did not consider her "deaf enough" to be president — a claim students have denied — and that she had become a lightning rod for those frustrated about changes in deaf culture.

I did date a student from GU and it is true what they sign: Once you have deaf you never turn your back.

Monday, October 30, 2006

To lazy to hunt but love taxidermy?

Just swing by your local pet store! From NextNature:
Nowadays, young children are so used to the omnipresence of disposable toys. When their parents buy them a living pet animal they are unable to take care of it. Hamsters tend to get toasted, or just ignored. Tinkebell (already notorious for her cat bag) argues it is better to give these children babybunnie toys [note the radio controlled hamster and music box cat], made out of stuffed animals.
and in related news, here's a step-by-step guide to making a zombie LED throwie rat (will stick to fridge).

A PoF Litmus Test

There's something about pushing a bad idea so far that it goes from being tasteless and offensive into the realm of hilarious. Whether its racism, sexism, some other 'ism, or gallows humor, there always seems to be a way to make everything funny eventually. Take this little old ad from Van Heusen:

If you're giggling, then you clearly belong on this blog. You should also rent The Aristocrats while you're at it (though I would never suggest such a thing to decent people).

Once a Game, Now a Contest

As time ticks down to the song entry deadline, I recommend a good game for inspiration, Zombies!!! Fun for all ages and just when it gets tedious, someone wins (or doesn't, it could go on for hours, but the glow-in-dark pieces are cool).


Union Products Inc. stopped producing flamingos and other lawn ornaments in June, and is going out of business November 1st:

The bird also became a target of pranksters, some of whom swiped the ornaments from front yards, took them on the road, and then sent photos to their owners showing the kidnapped birds in front of sights like Paris' Eiffel Tower.
An end of an era, just as Irish pubs have become the new McDonald's, what will become the new pink flamingo?

Maybe zombies...

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Cruel and Unusual Punishment

Some selected pet costumes from Amazon:

Star Wars: Princess Leia, Darth Vader, Yoda
Superheroes: Superman, Batman, Spiderman,
and in its own category: Nascar Dog.

They should really incorporate this into the Westminster show.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

MBAs Are Liars, But At Least They Aren't Foreign

Well, we know that economists are the cheapest, but recently it was reported that MBAs are the biggest liars (or maybe MBAs are just more honest about not being honest):

More than half (56%) of M.B.A. candidates say they cheated in the past year...54% of graduate engineering students, 50% of students in the physical sciences, 49% of medical and other health-care students, 45% of law students, 43% of graduate students in the arts and 39% of graduate students in the social sciences and humanities readily admitting to cheating...
The article calls for honor codes, but I think a form of modified honor killings would be more effective.

In any case, it probably has more to do with those dirty foreigners going to our grad schools. Never should have trusted those shifty Canucks:

In Sacramento, California, 75,000 Ukrainian immigrants crowd public facilities. [And they all line up Soviet-style--sideways!]
At U.C.L.A. and the University of California (Berkeley), Arab Moslem students are being taught molecular biology. Why? So they can construct anthrax, smallpox and other bioterror weapons for use against us, their benefactors? They are also majoring in nuclear physics and engineering. These Moslems will thus be able to make nuclear bombs and kill millions of Christian Americans. [Although, last I checked we used German professors to kill Japanese, so, you know, think globally, act locally.]
Nations like Israel, Czechoslovakia,* and many others have joined the bandwagon. They're telling their people to live in America and prosper financially while becoming dual citizens. In Israel, the despicable authorities will allow any Jew-even murderers and rapists-to immigrate. Now, such criminals are coming here to the U.S.A.-and the INS is letting them in. [This is where I had to stop reading as everyone knows that when it comes to homicide, American natives are still on top, we kill more of our own every day before most foreigners go to bed after working their night shift at the Kwiky Mart. It's that DIY ethic that keeps us strong.]
*What an ultra-maroon, doesn't he know that Czechistan broke apart and is now comprised of the independent states of West Korea and New Mexico?

I Do Like Techno

In an AFP article about the challenges of daylight savings time for the Polish proprietors of the Cuckooland Museum, the last third of the article makes an almost complete non sequitur to:

Meanwhile, those who suffer from the winter blues as British Summer Time ends and darkness sets in during the mornings and evenings are being given something to cheer them up.

A telephone helpline of "inspiring" sounds from the mountains and shorelines of the tranquil Lake District in northwest England has been set up to help those feeling depressed as the number of daylight hours dwindles.

It includes a reading of William Wordsworth's poem "Daffodils", the sound of Lake Windermere lapping against a jetty, the crisp crunch of leaves on a country walk, and Cumberland sausage sizzling in a pan.

Is it just a cuckoo-ncidence that:

The ancient Greeks used the narcissus as a symbol of death, because they (daffodils) gave off an evil emanation, producing dullness, madness, and death.

Jobbie Job: AEI

Clearly a money laundering scheme:
American Enterprise Institute (publishing opportunity)
In November, AEI is launching a new national magazine of business and economics. It will be called The American, and will be targeted at top-level corporate executives. It will be printed six times a year, and its web site will feature new writing every day. They are looking for great writers of all ages and career levels to write for the web about trends and ideas in the business world. You can learn more at www.tamagazine.com. They will pay $100 for articles of 600 to 1200 words, depending on the topic. To pitch a story idea, email david.robinson@tamagazine.com.

"Gee golly, at $100 an article you just know the financial advice aimed at top-level execs will be spot-on!"

Credit: Meredith


Yahoo! had a fun little clip the other day:

The whole project began out of spite. I had just purchased a digital camera...My girlfriend asked me why I bought it and what I was going to do with it. I explained. She asked me if I was "going to use it every day", with sarcastic inflection. I told her yes, and resolved to do so. The project began there.
And for eight years he's been taking his own picture every day--except for when he was in Antarctica.

Didn't Kubrick try to do something like this with Haley Joel Osment?


Time to catch the Korean Wave:
The Korean Wave refers to the popularity of South Korean popular culture in other Asian countries and is otherwise known as "Hallyu"; it has been likened to the British Invasion.
Entertainment industry leaders in Seoul credit the phenomenon to good marketing coupled with an uncanny response throughout Asia to the expressive nature of the South Koreans--long dubbed the Italians of Asia. A hearty diet and two years of forced military duty, industry leaders and fans insist, have also made young South Korean men among the buffest in Asia. Most important, however, has been the South Korean entertainment industry's perfection of the strong, silent type on screen -- typically rich, kind men with coincidentally striking looks and a tendency to shower women with unconditional love.
Maybe the boom was cause by Kim Jong Il’s On the Art of Cinema which the Huffington Post reviewed recently. If Asia's trends track with those of the Ice People, I predict the emaciated and boney physique offset by the maniacal expression of hopelessness and desperation will be the next look popularized by the DPRK.

Credit: Misty & Jason

Georgia and Ukraine Sitting in a Tree…


From Toronto’s Globe and Mail (August 15, 2005):

Ukraine, Georgia fuming over planned Russian sex film

Alexei Mitrofanov, deputy leader of Russia's [misnamed] Liberal Democratic Party [(aka Zhironovsky’s crazy fascists)], says he cannot understand the ruckus over his dirty movie.

What's so wrong, he asks, about writing a film script that imagines a steamy rendezvous between a buxom woman named Yulia and a darkly handsome gentleman named Mikhail?

What does it matter if the porn star selected for the role of Yulia wears the same braided hairstyle as Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko? Or that she climbs into a Russian attack helicopter, zooms over the mountains along Georgia's northern border and makes love to someone who resembles Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili?

"How can they react like this when they haven't even seen the film?" said Mr. Mitrofanov, a senior member of the State Duma, or lower parliament, better-known for his extreme nationalist politics than his prowess as an author of sex films.

Rumours are circulating about possible retaliation by Ukrainian filmmakers, who are reportedly trying to cast a male porn star who resembles Russian President Vladimir Putin for a gay film.

Despite the recent history, Mr. Mitrofanov seems hopeful that his 26-minute sex film, titled Yulia, will take foreign relations to new heights -- literally and figuratively.

"Political erotics are a new genre that I have discovered," he said. "The film is about politics. It makes a political statement, they don't just [have sex]."

Mr. Mitrofanov rejected the idea that he's creating propaganda.

"Is the film The Interpreter propaganda or big cinema?" he said. "Is the film JFK propaganda or big cinema? Why is it that in America these films are considered big cinema but films like this in Russia are considered propaganda? This is big cinema and I am a great master [baiter]."

Credit: Charlie

Paris Hilton is Talented...

...Compared to Aaron Carter

The worst teen movie ever award has to go to Popstar (followed closely by But I'm a Cheerleader--which at least attempted to have a message, if not a moral).

While I have always been anti-Carter--Jimmy, Nick, Aaron, Mrs. Carter (my 8th grade evolution teacher)--I am amazed at how he can go from Liberty's Kids (with a fantastic theme song that cannot be found anywhere--help me!) to this completely inane movie that veers from after school special to Stand and Deliver.

Aaron Carter's ancient Egyptian feminity continually distracts from the barrage of porno-esque elocution by the cavalcade of cookie-cutter, fat-ankled girls that litter this flick like femurs around Angkor Watt.

After an impassioned plea to the teacher, "I'm fired up for tests, he freezes," the climax comes when the young popstar is allowed to take his final math test on the school stage where he lapses into performance delusions and the differential equations pour forth from his pencil.

More inexplicably, a scorned suitoress berates him after he chooses the good girl and becomes so overheated that her water balloon breast implants pop. (I know, it makes no sense even in context.)

Possessing that perpetual puberty gene, Aaron Carter's career can still depend on the mighty pedophile dollar that is no doubt funding his 15 minutes too many career. Unfortunately, this is Tom Bosley's worst career move ever! (How could David the Gnome stoop so low?) He should have just moved to Canada to get free meds instead of whoring himself out for the few dollars he made from this twaddle.

In summation, "testaphobia" will not be the new "fetch".

Friday, October 27, 2006

Blue Velvet remake in the works

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"A friend of mine loaned me his copy of the film Blue Velvet the other day. While we were watching it my girlfriend commented that one of the characters, Dorothy Vallens, looked like Dave Foley, of 'Kids in the Hall' fame, in drag. I realized immediately that she was completely right. I began casting the other Kids; Mark, Kevin, Scott, Bruce, and their friend Paul, into the roles in the rest of the movie. It turns out there are few enough principle characters in the original film that, I believe, a really amazing remake could be made. Of course some of the Kids will have to play female characters and others will play more than one part. I think we should title the new film It's a Strange World, after a repeated line from the original. Seems to me most everything else coming out of Hollywood these days is a sequel or a remake so this movie should fit right it. Post comments to let me know what you think as I add a post for each character and then we can plan together how to get this film made. Thanks for your support!"

Experience K-Fed

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Attempting to prove the axiom that nothing is ever truly free, AOL offers Kevin Federline's new album, "Playing with Fire," to all willing to listen:

"Curious to hear what lyrical arrows he slings at his haters? Listen to the entire album for free as K-Fed gives you an exclusive guided tour of each track."

Marc and Matt Movie Review: The Myth of Fingerprints

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Thanksgiving will soon be upon us, with all of the family obligations, food and maudlin sentimentality that holidays bring. Sure, it’s great to see relatives, but there is always a nagging feeling that home is a nice place to visit, but you wouldn’t want to live there. For those of you familiar with this experience, we recommend the fine film The Myth of Fingerprints – director Bart Freundlich’s 1997 tribute to dysfunctional families.


This is a small independent film that does what small independent films at their best do – discuss issues and situations in a way that encourages reflection among the viewers. The movie deals with a family that coming together for Thanksgiving, and all of the problems that bubble forth from beneath the surface as they do. A very strong cast includes Julianne Moore, Noah Wyle, Roy Schneider and Blythe Danner.

It is Schneider, though, who gives the strongest performance in his role as a strong-willed father who doesn’t particularly care for his kids but does appreciate the girlfriends they bring home. His character could easily have been written as an after-school special caricature who goes around pawing at young women. But instead, he is portrayed as little more than a bored old man long ago drained of vitality who clumsily tries to act on his otherwise repressed fantasies only when drunk, and even then only half-heartedly.

Noah Wyle’s character, Warren, is the focus of the film, and Wyle shows that his critically-acclaimed acting on "ER" can translate to the big screen. His nuanced relationship with his father and siblings is carefully explored, but the script thankfully avoids offering neat solutions to his problems by the end of the film.

This, indeed, is the strength of The Myth of Fingerprints. Unlike other directors who try to unfold and then tidy up complex problems in 90 minutes or so, Freundlich recognizes the depth of the issues facing these characters – issues that have been developing since birth. The film, then, rightly only hints at any sort of change.

The ambiguity of the family members toward one another is refreshing. There are no cardboard cutouts filling stock characters to round out the storyline. And, there is no grand purpose to their actions. Each, in their own way, evokes apathy toward institutions of family, church and local community.

Like David Lynch’s Blue Velvet, this film suggests a dichotomy between bright surface appearances and a darker core reality underneath. The family should be happy – the parents are not divorced, there was no physical abuse, the children and parents all have healthy sex lives (as demonstrated repeatedly throughout the movie). The Norman Rockwell set-up of a family gathered for thanksgiving at idyllic house set against glorious a landscape contrasts with the dysfunction that characterizes their interactions (it is interesting to note that Rockwell’s paintings are themselves being re-examined as depicting such tensions).

While less visually disturbing than Lynch’s tour de force, this movie is in a sense more disturbing for being less over-the-top. While we may unlikely to run into someone like Ben from Blue Velvet, Myth’s Warren seems like a distinct possibility. Freundlich brings forth something fundamental about American families, something many of us might prefer were left unearthed.

While it is true that The Myth of Fingerprints is probably too short and too empty for consideration as a masterpiece, it does illuminate the niche filled by independent films in America. It also serves the useful function of allowing viewers to explore the sadness lurking beneath the surface of many families with the safety and distance the screen provides.

Hellboy animated premiere this weekend

Via Newsarama: "Hellboy: Sword of Storms, the first of the animated Hellboy movies, debuts Saturday at 9:30 p.m. ET/PT on Cartoon Network.

"In Sword of Storms, 'a professor of folklore opens a forbidden scroll and becomes possessed by the ancient Japanese demons of Thunder and Lightning, who seek to return and dominate our world. The Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense sends Hellboy and a team of agents to investigate, but when Hellboy picks up a samurai sword, he literally disappears into a weird wonderland of Japanese legends, ghosts and monsters.'

"The movie will be available on DVD beginning Feb. 6."

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Zombie Song-Off Reminder

(I actually carved this... /pats self on back.... /awards self a prize...)

Just a reminder.. only a few more days to enter the 2006 Pieces of Flair Zombie Song-off! Voting will begin once the deadline for entries has passed. We'll set some arbitrary deadline for when voting ends. The person to receive the most votes for their individual song will receive a zombie prize pack courtesy of John, loyal PoF reader and proud sponsor of the 2006 PoF Zombie Song-off.


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Via WSJ: "Do you know how to take a shower? VideoJug.com is betting you don't -- at least not as well as you think you do.

"The new service, devoted to instructional videos, offers a five-minute, 21-second exposition, 'How to Use the Shower,' that delivers tips on curtain placement (tuck it inside the tub to prevent splashing) and toweling (dry between the toes). The clip has been viewed thousands of times, as have similar ones on onion chopping, beer pouring and how to tie a half-Windsor knot.

"It's the next iteration of the burgeoning self-help industry: teaching people the obvious. In many cases, the obvious is proving popular. On VideoJug, a lesson in 'How to Brush Your Teeth' ranks well above 'How to Make Chicken Jalfrezi' on the site's 'Most Viewed' list. The site's video on 'How to Fold a T-Shirt in Two Seconds' has been viewed nearly 40,000 times."

It's for the children

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"Nothing holds a child's attention quite like a skull." So say the fine folks at Skulls Unlimited, who are currently running a $99.00 Veterinary Special - "1 Dog Skull + 1 Cat Skull for one low price!" Also, be sure to check out their t-shirt contest.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Target Won't Take Blind People's Money...

...But Blind People Will Take Target's

Watching blind.

AP reports:
Last month a federal judge in California allowed the [National Federation of the Blind]'s case to proceed, rejecting Target's argument that its Web site wasn't subject to the Americans With Disabilities Act, a 1990 law that requires retailers and other public places to make accommodations for people with disabilities. Target argued that the law only covered physical spaces....For an electronic retailer such as Amazon.com, which has no physical store, the law is unclear, [the f---ing lawyer] said. "There is no well defined policy in this area at all."
But the problem is solved already, no?
Danielsen showed that many links on Target's side were unintelligible to the Jaws software, and that the final purchase required the use of a mouse, something even the most sophisticated blind Web surfer would have trouble with. However, he was able to navigate other sites and purchased a CD from Amazon.
Maybe we don't need lawyers, Meredith.

Bedbugs: "the pest of the 21st century"

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"The National Association of Pest Management [sic] reports that calls to its members about bedbugs increased 71 percent from 2000 to 2005. The nocturnal parasite's resurgence has caused one entomologist to label bedbugs 'the pest of the 21st century.'

"But what's causing the increase? The exterminators and entomologists are scratching their heads. Brian Cabrera, an assistant professor of entomology at the University of Florida at Fort Lauderdale, is among the entomologists collecting data on bedbug infestations to figure out why they're back. He spoke with Salon by phone from his office, where he keeps some bedbug specimens, in glass vials, that have not eaten in five months but are still alive. 'When I bring them out they get really active,' he says, 'because they can detect my breath, and they're very hungry.'"


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"'Dustbunnies' is a small colony of digital dust balls that scan the space in search of crumbs of lost thoughts, emotions and dreams.

"They have three main states of behavior, but several random generators in their code have to make them more unpredictable. The first state is their daily life ignoring humans. This is their true nature. While collecting dust, they murmur to each other in a language we don't understand. Imperturbable it seems, but if you walk into their territory, they all become quiet and pretend dead. However, if they get used to your presence they will continue their routine.

"So the only way to observe them in that first state is by becoming motionless yourself...touching a dustbunny will cause a furious screaming by all members of the colony. The whole group will show their dislike."

Living the Dream

Reuters reports that students are making politics a fantasy game--instead of just a game:

Politics has become a game for a group of California college students who have launched an online video game, "Fantasy Congress," in the lead-up to next month's U.S. congressional elections.
[Co-founder] Lee said he hoped the game would inspire people to pay as much attention to politics as they do to sports.
A recent study found that fantasy football costs employers as much as $1.1 billion a week in lost productivity during the National Football League regular season, when nearly 37 million people spent an average of 50 minutes per week at work managing their fantasy teams.
[Lee] does hope that the game will inspire more young people to become lawmakers [or sex offenders].
Do people really need to be encouraged to run for office? Does the POTUS really need to receive a salary? My fantasy is that everyone would be in the same social security system as a U.S. Senator...

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Uncle Fucker (JAPANESE!)

Who knew this would get funnier in Japanese....

Charity Is Selfish

From a recent article about the economic case against philanthropy:

Professor Frank and co-authors decided to find out whether economists are stingier than noneconomists. Frank's team mailed questionnaires to university professors and discovered that the economists were more than twice as likely as the rest to say they give nothing at all to charity.

So maybe Al Gore should have joined Columbia's econ department.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Start the presses!

If you're anything like me, you've often wondered, "Will my favorite root vegetables have a place in the revolution?" Thanks to the folks at Radical Graphics, all our fears can be put to rest. Yes, Virginia, there is a revolutionary turnip.

"The purpose of this website is to provide activists, radicals, revolutionaries, and otherwise left-leaning individuals, who are working to put together flyers, pamphlets, zines, propaganda etc., with high resolution graphics."

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General Carbuncle on eBay

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Planning a trip to London in the near future? Might as well pick up an engineless Ford Capri covered in matchbox cars while you're there:

"James R Ford is a multi-media artist currently based in London, England. For this project, initiated in 2003, he aimed to transform a second-hand Ford Capri into the General Lee, from Dukes of Hazzard, by covering it in little toy cars in the appropriate colours (mainly red and orange).

"The sculpture was finally finished in October 2006. Final toy car total = 4,342."

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Lords of Logistics

Nick: You should try to work all of these images into your next grant proposal. via Presurfer.

2006 Pieces of Flair Zombie Song-Off

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Will eat away at your free will, or are they more likely to increase our farming productivity? Who cares - what everyone really wants to know is who has the best song about these walking corpses.

Therefore, PoF is hosting its first ever Zombie Song-Off just in time for Halloween. Readers can listen and vote to determine who will walk away Winner of the Pieces of Flair 2006 Zombie Song-Off (and proud owner of a fabulous zombie prize pack).

If in the process the PoF Zombie Song-Off raises some awareness for the Allen Institute for Brain Science, well, all the better.



Entry #1: "Deadly Friend" by Victor Lams
Victor says his song is "about a girl who is beaten to death by her father, re-animated by her geeky boyfriend, and then (after her zombified corpse kills her dad) finally stuffed inside a robot body (predictably comic antics ensue)."

Entry #2: "Zombie Blues" by Tom Smith
This is the elusive live version of "Zombie Blues," apparently recorded by Tim Ryan at PenguiCon 2006.

Entry #3: "Zombi" by Ixox
Ixox explains that "the story is about a zombi who leaves his grave for a vengeance... The zombi was a man who was burned by the holy Inquisition... he has to eat a priest.."

Entry #4: "You humans are delicious" by The Living Dead
The songwriter is open to comments regarding the appropriate level of triangle use for the song.

Entry #5: "PLOT" by The Exhibits
One of The Exhibits says that PLOT is "one of the songs we composed for Chance Shirley's HIDE AND CREEP, available on DVD everywhere. It's like a love song for zombies everywhere. Or something."

Entries #6-8: "Zomby Gurl" by The Shitty Wizards
"Zombie Gurl Reprise" by Sucker-Punchin' Retard
"Zombie Girl" by Ten For Tea
Josh Hotchkin has all three songs posted on his Shitty Wizards MySpace site, but explains that "they are technically all by different bands within the same family of fine music. It's like this contest was made for me. Zombie songs are my passion."

Entry #9: "I Heart Zombies" by The Rigormorticians
One of the Rigormorticians comments that "we can't help but place something zombified" in the song-off.

Entry #10: "Zombies on the Rise" by HeXXXagram
Filmmaker Craig Macnaughton shares that this is the "end credit song for the short film The Secret of Zombie Mountain (Mise-en-Chien Productions)."

Entry #11: "Zomboni" by Markleford
Markleford explains that this is a beach-blanket atomic-zombie soundtrack.

Entry #12: "Zombie garden" by Niko
Niko says that "Zombie garden" is "a bit on the trashy side and a bit short too," but assures us that he "had fun doing it."

Entry #13: "Dawn Chorus of the Dead" by Knockman
Knockman tells us that this song is "one third scott walker, one third gilbert and sullivan and one third something else..."


Spontaneous Order

A memorable moment for Meredith n'me in Budapest.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Marc and Matt Movie Review: Deranged

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Have you ever wanted to know what it really means to be deranged? Well, after a quick stop to Hillsdale College’s famed Mossey Library, you too can find the answer to this age-old question. Some enlightened soul ordered the “long-awaited, most requested, totally digitally restored and mastered, letter-boxed presentation” of this 1974 cult classic for the institution’s fine shelves, and now it can be found tucked in along with the lost papers of Ludwig von Mises and Russell Kirk’s collection.

We’re sure old Russ is looking down from heaven with a big smile on his face, knowing that this movie shares a space with his favorite texts. Obviously, the school’s administration intends such a film to augment the liberal arts education of students, so we decided to watch and see just what a movie subtitled “Confessions of a Necrophile” has to do with Hillsdale’s cherished values.


Deranged was directed by Jeff Gillen and stars Roberts Blossom (Home Alone) as Ezra Cobb, a maladjusted man who cannot quite function normally following the death of his mother, played by Cosette Lee (Doin’ It). Rather than give away the rest of the plot, we’ll just let the promotional blurb on the cover speak for itself: “Pretty Sally Mae died a very unnatural death! …But the worst hasn’t happened yet!”

Most horror flicks aren’t very good, and Deranged is no exception. The movie does, however, have a number of redeeming qualities. For one, it is important to place the film in its historical context. What we now regard as standard fare in the genre was revolutionary at the time of this movie’s release. That envelope-pushing effort alone is generally sufficient for us to applaud any release.

In addition, though, this film has the benefit of being based on a true story. In fact, the special edition of the movie carried by Mossey contains a special bonus – a fine documentary on the life of Ed Gein, the man who serves as the inspiration behind Ezra’s character. So, unlike the Nightmare on Elm Street or Friday the 13th movies, Deranged has a more horrifying edge because it is inspired by actual events.

The movie also raises a few issues pertinent in today’s world. For instance, like many Hillsdale students, Ezra is a Midwestern child whose mother instructs him in the Christian faith and shelters him from the harsh realities of the world. After that, however, the similarities to Hillsdale students end, of course.

The lasting historical significance of this film cannot be underestimated. By watching Deranged, one can easily see how its content is both similar to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and inspired later films such as The Silence of the Lambs. Its marketing can also be seen as influential, given the current glut of spurious “based on actual events” horror flicks such as Hostel and Wolf Creek.

All in all, Deranged is worth a screening just for the sake of viewing a classic horror film and to better understand the full breadth of America’s cultural legacy. As any history professor will tell you, “Those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it.”

Maine calls for paradigm shift in sneezing etiquette

Really small, really bad art

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"Willard Wigan was born in Birmingham, England in 1957 and is the creator of the smallest works of art on earth. His work has been described as 'The eight wonder of the world' and 'Truly a gift from God.' Even he is sometimes at a loss for an explanation as to exactly how he is able to create such treasures."

Finally, the Neutral Zone Will Be Ours!

The Duke football team will be unstoppable now!

"We have built an artificial mirage that can hide something from would-be observers in any direction," said cloak designer David Schurig, a research associate in Duke University's electrical and computer engineering department.


Cloaking uses special materials to deflect radar or light or other waves around an object, like water flowing around a smooth rock in a stream. It differs from stealth technology, which does not make an aircraft invisible but reduces the cross-section available to radar, making it hard to track.

Thursday, October 19, 2006


"Pirates," says Kevin Pohle, owner of the Colorado-based costume, toys and games shop, the Wizard's Chest. "Pirates, pirates and more pirates."...Costume retailers expect pirate costumes to be the big sellers this year with kids and adults alike...Cats and dogs can also join the buccaneer craze -- some shops carry bandannas and headpieces for furry mateys.

Themed exits not just for bikers anymore

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If the owners of Eagle Custom Caskets thought they could corner the market on encasing corpses in kitsch, they were dead wrong:

"Starting next season, fans of the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Detroit Tigers, Philadelphia Phillies, Chicago Cubs and Los Angeles Dodgers will be able to have their ashes put in an urn or head six feet under in a casket emblazoned with their team colors and insignia.

"MLB has entered a licensing agreement with Eternal Image, which hopes to eventually make urns and caskets for all 30 teams. The company also hopes to have similar agreements with NASCAR, the NHL and the NFL, but baseball was the first to sign on."

Eternal Image also has licensing agreements with The Vatican, The American Kennel Club, and Precious Moments.

Credit: DoL.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006


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Why wait for a publisher to contact you about your scintillating book on "the ethical theory of Friedrich Nietzsche in light of recent work done in philosophy of mind," only to end up feeling that "it is a lot like taking a huge crap, in reverse, for a whole year, and then occasionally you see your book in the Humor section at Waldenbooks"?

Thanks to Blurb BookSmart, you can not make any money and carry out a completely ineffective distribution plan all on your own:

"There’s no point in false modesty: BookSmart is the only start-to-finish publishing service simple and smart enough to make anyone an author. (This means you.) Better yet, the software is free. So download and play all you like – you pay only when you publish your bookstore-quality book. How sweet is that?"


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"'Researchers at Stanford University School of Medicine in Silicon Valley said their telephone survey indicated more than one of every eight US residents showed at least one sign of 'problematic Internet use.'

"Most disturbing was the discovery that some people hid their Internet surfing, or went online to cure foul moods in ways that mirrored alcoholics using booze, according to the study's lead author, Elias Aboujaoude.

"According to preliminary research, the typical Internet addict was a single, college-educated, white male in his 30s, who spends approximately 30 hours a week on non-essential computer use."

What are single, college-educated, white males in their 30s (including, apparently, a fair share of evangelical Christians) spending approximately 30 hours a week doing online? Ace reporter Glenn Beck uncovers the shocking truth everyone else failed to consider: All together now, The internet is for porn!!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006


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Via Newsarama: "With social networking (MySpace, Facebook, etc.) all the rage, it wasn’t long before someone combined some of the features that make them popular with something related to fandom — specifically, collecting stuff. Kristina Dahl and some of her friends have launched a site called Squirl, where collectors can catalog their collections and meet other collectors."

Fans of carved "hobo" nickels, for instance, can now meet up and swap carved "hobo" nickel stories online.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Everything All the Time

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"Sure, the music is insanely derivative of Neil Young’s finest moments, and the vocals sound as if Jim James put a gun to Benjamin Bridwell’s head and threatened, “Sing like me or else!” But that’s all pish-posh in the long run. It’s more important to focus on how exactly they pull off music of this caliber, and make this style their own – no matter how derivative it tends to be on the surface. And upon pressing play, focus is all you can do, as life gives way to the inescapable sounds of the Band of Horses".

Check out "The Funeral" and "The Bass Song" if the above commentary describes something you'd be into.

Thanks for the heads up, Mr. Mudd.

Cooking with feminists

Stephen Colbert interviews Gloria Steinem and Jane Fonda about the new radio network for women, GreenStone Media, while cooking apple pie.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Album Cover War

via Cynical C

Film Shorts

Here are some clever short films, a few of which are from the Thank You For Smoking guy: Tate Films. (credit to John)

Saturday, October 14, 2006


What did you learn in class today?

"It's harder to hit a moving target than a target that is standing still," said 14-year-old Jessica Justice.


"We want them to know if Miss Valley says to run out of the room screaming, that is exactly what they need to do."

Friday, October 13, 2006

The 7 Worst Fonts

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Not too long ago, the internets told us that Georgia is the most popular online font (for good or ill). In an effort to expand such font knowledge, LMNOP now has available a list of the seven worst fonts and their most common abusers.

Link via The Presurfer.

Marc and Matt Movie Review: GoodFellas

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Organized crime has been the subject of many Hollywood films, but few have explored the topic so thoroughly and realistically as Martin Scorsese's 1990 masterpiece GoodFellas.


The script is based on Nick Pillegi’s book Wiseguy (Pillegi, incidentally, also wrote Casino, the basis for another Scorsese film). The book tells the true story of the life of Henry Hill, an associate of the Lucchese crime family in New York City who later turns and rats out his mob buddies. The movie faithfully illustrates many episodes of the critically-acclaimed book, thanks in part to Pillegi’s role as co-author of the script with Scorsese.

GoodFellas traces Hill’s rise and fall from his youthful infatuation with streetcorner hoodlums to full-fledged middle-aged coke fiend. Ray Liotta plays Hill in a career-best performance. Tommy DeVito (Joe Pesci) and Jimmy Conway (Robert DeNiro) are his two friends in crime – scheming, stealing and killing in order to make a living. It is worth noting that GoodFellas marks Scorcese’s sixth collaboration with DeNiro, and the ease with which the two masters of their crafts feel produces an excellent performance.

The film features a strong cast in addition to these three powerful actors. Lorraine Bracco ("The Sopranos") and Paul Sorvino (Romeo + Juliet) are two standouts. Also present, as in most Scorcese movies, are brief cameos by his parents, Catherine and Charles Scorsese.

This film, along with Casino, signaled the end of an era for Scorcese. He took a hiatus from the portrayal of gangsters, the genre with which he is most often associated, after completing these epics. The under-appreciated Kundun (1997) and the questionable Bringing Out the Dead (1999) followed. Only recently has he returned to his first love, re-imagining the gangster milieu in 2002's Gangs of New York and this year's The Departed.

As with these later pictures, some reviewers took issue with GoodFellas for its uncompromising vision of the violence and amorality inherent in the gangster lifestyle – a lifestyle the movie pointedly refuses to condemn. In fact, when viewers see Henry as a “regular Joe” at the end of the movie, he complains that he gets to live the rest of his life “like a schnook.” In other words, just like you and me. But Scorsese chose to not yield in depicting the realism of the world he creates in GoodFellas by telling a story that differs from what Pillegi wrote about in Wiseguy, and the film is better for avoiding the temptation to sanitize.

Scorsese prefers to work with certain writers, and his collaboration with Pillegi provides a contrast to his work with Paul Schrader. Schrader had a deep Calvinist sense, one that shows through in pictures such as Taxi Driver, where actions have much more clearly defined consequences than in GoodFellas, and viewers are meant to struggle with the moral issues at play on screen.

Some critics also criticize the movie for far smaller details. We are thinking here of the conservative right’s favorite movie critic, Michael Medved. Since this is a truly great film, we wouldn’t expect Medved to appreciate or understand it, and he does not fail us in our expectations. According to his view, cinematic violence is part of a pop culture "war on traditional values." As usual, then, he goes one step beyond mere criticism of style or plot, instead nitpicking by counting all of the swear words in the film. As the characters in the movie might say, “[Screw] you.” Cleaning up the language of these figures would distort the reality of their portrayal beyond recognition.

GoodFellas is truly a masterpiece of the nineties. One of Scorsese’s best efforts, it deserves repeated viewings, cuss words and all.

Combatting phallocentric sink design

Perhaps I've been thinking too much about Freud lately, but while washing up recently I couldn't help but notice the impression standard sink design leaves upon the user. I've created the following diagram to help illustrate the point (although this new-fangled sink unfortunately lacks the typical knobs):

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In an effort to counter current patriarchal influences, I propose another alternative.

1) Significantly shorten the faucet, possibly moving the location to the upper portion of the sink basin.

2) Instead of knobs, design two vertical dials to be mounted below the faucet by which the user can manipulate the stream of hot and cold water.

3) Finally, for an aesthetic flourish, consumers could consider the optional two retractable covers that serve to shield the mechanisms within until ready for use.

4) The "drain" can be left as is.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Nietzsche Family Circus

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Apparently the world was not satisfied with Cthulhu Circus:

"The Nietzsche Family Circus pairs a randomized Family Circus cartoon with a randomized Friedrich Nietzsche quote."

Link thanks to Julie, who claims to be vaguely pacifist with progressive and probably postmodern tendencies.

Smile Helmet

Via Boing Boing: "A helmet for people in jobs which demand an unusual amount of smiling, such as air-stewards, receptionists and politicians. A sensor in the front of the helmet detects anybody within a 2 metre range, at which point the mouth is pulled into a broad grin by a small servo motor and some concealed fishing wire."

Don't even think about it...

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Via Cruel: "Bloggers are going to hell one entry at a time, according to Kevin D. Denee of the Restored Church of God's Ambassador Youth magazine:

"'Should teenagers and others in the Church express themselves to the world through blogs? Because of the obvious dangers; the clear biblical principles that apply; the fact that it gives one a voice; that it is almost always idle words; that teens often do not think before they do; that it is acting out of boredom; and it is filled with appearances of evil -- blogging is simply not to be done in the Church. It should be clear that it is unnecessary and in fact dangerous on many levels.

"'Let me emphasize that no one -- including adults -- should have a blog or personal website (unless it is for legitimate business purposes).'"

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Northern European climate fosters unusual pastimes

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Via The Sneeze: "According to the 24timer report, Germans, Dutchmen, Swedes and Norwegians visit the Danish bordellos, and a web site devoted to bestiality claimed that many of Denmark's animal sex clients stem from Norway.

"A farmer who sells animal sex said he is extremely surprised that foreigners are ready to travel so far for it."

This of course raises an important question: What slogan should the Danish government adopt to promote tourism?

Raw vision in Finland

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"The sculpture park of Veijo Rönkkönen (b.1944) in remote eastern Finland is perhaps the most important ensemble of contemporary folk art in the country. The first work of sculpture by this paper mill worker was completed in 1961; today his yard is filled with over 450 statues in cement, including over 200 self-portraits in yoga positions (representing all the positions the near-hermit has tried). The garden itself is part of the artwork, with exotic plants and sound effects, produced by loudspeakers hidden inside the sculptures. The artist has never allowed his works to be exhibited, much less sold. On the few occasions he has been asked to show his work, Rönkkönen has always insisted on discussing the matter with the statues first but they have never wanted to travel."

From Raw Vision, "the world's only international journal of the art of the 'unknown geniuses' who are the creators of Outsider Art."

Hemorrhaging Kansas

From the Christian Science Monitor:

When historian Frederick Jackson Turner declared the American frontier "closed" in 1893, he was using the Census Bureau definition of "frontier" as areas having no more than six people per square mile. By that same density definition, the number of such counties actually has been increasing: from 388 in 1980 to 397 in 1990 to 402 in 2000. Kansas has more "frontier" land now than it did in 1890.
Last month, for example, the Chinese government released its first "green" gross domestic product report. It measures economic growth while also factoring in the environmental consequences of that growth. Other governments and financial intuitions now are being pushed in the same direction. US portfolio managers in charge of $30 trillion in assets now demand carbon disclosures of all the companies in their portfolios, says [futurist Hazel] Henderson.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

I Smell Toast

But don't worry, that's not a heart attack yer smellin', it's love...or the Virgin Mary...or a moose...

This conceptual toaster printer burns black and white pictures onto pieces of toast.

I predict in the near future, now that tattoos are so "played out", this little gadget will come in handy for do-it-yourself branding. It's the final frontier in defiling your own temple.


While I still have "Tea Party" in heavy rotation, "White & Nerdy" has its moments--Seth Green does a cameo as does Donny Osman (who I thought was Q at first--now that'd be cool!) Go, go, go, go!

Respectfully submitted,

Nick Slepko
Chess Club Officer Alternate, 1994-95

Credit: Marshall


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There's juggling for jocks, and then there's juggling for nerds: "Siteswap (also called Cambridge notation in the United Kingdom) is a notation used to describe juggling patterns. It encodes the number of beats of each throw, which is related to their height, and the hand to which the throw is to be made. It is an invaluable tool in determining which combinations of throws yield valid juggling patterns for a given number of objects."

Even if you can't juggle yourself, you can still pretend thanks to Siteswap.net's JsJuggle.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Baldwin blames Bio-Dome on God

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"'God wanted me to make it,' Baldwin writes. 'One of the reasons kids will listen to me today is because they recognize me from the movies. But not just any movie. One movie: Bio-Dome.'"

More fun with FEMA

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Via DoL: "At the Pinitos Learning Center in Boca Raton, disaster workers dressed as 'Windy Biggie' and 'Sunny' teach 30 preschoolers a song about how the wind is good, even during a hurricane.

"Windy Biggie is our friend.

"Windy Biggie is strong wind.

"She turns, turns, turns, turns around.

"She's knocking things to the ground.

"This is FEMA tax money at work. It's also paying for Hurricane Bingo, puppet shows, 'salsa for seniors,' and yoga on the beach."

Watch the video report here.

Lebowski everywhere

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Joe Morgenstern wrote a column in this weekend's Wall Street Journal about his experiences at the "Lebowski Cult roundtable, one of more than a dozen events in the Lebowski Cult academic symposium that was organized, in Louisville, Ky., by scholars from the University of Louisville and Indiana University."

USA Today's Whitney Matheson has a podcast available in which she interviews the founders of Lebowski Fest among others.

Want even more Lebowski? Read the Marc and Matt Movie Review.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Mechanical Steampunk Lion

via BoingBoing

Help Out the IRS

and Rat Out A Church.

The AP reports that:
According to the IRS, the only church ever to be stripped of its tax-exempt status for partisan political activity was a church near Binghamton, N.Y., that was penalized in 1995 after running newspaper ads against Bill Clinton in 1992.
Maybe all churches should forego their exempt status...

Inbox Dump

My inbox is overflowing with random links folks have sent me over the past month or so. I'm just going to post them all in no particular order and let you folks sort through 'em.

300 Trailer
Princess Leia Sings in the Star Wars Christmas Special
Pet Shop Boys on the Cold War on which Todd comments: "I think the message of this impressive Pet Shop Boys video from a decade ago is the following familiar and timeless political axiom: If a song by an American disco group (the Village People) gets covered by a British New Wave group (the Pet Shop Boys), a computer-animated sci-fi future will result in which the Soviet Union (despite having ceased to exist a few years earlier) and the U.S. will merge and humanity will ascend to Gay Heaven (precisely as conservatives always warned)"
(All credit to Todd)

A bunch of web-comics for your perusal:

E-merl: Brain Fist (credit to John)
The Perry Bible Fellowship
Angry Flower (credit to John)

And some meta-commentary on print strip comics:

Marmaduke Explained
The Marmaduke Project
Marmaduke, Sexual Predator

Mary Worth - Comics Curmudgeon Archive
ZeroTV reenacts a month of Mary Worth strips (via Victor)

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Furnishing Your Wiggle Room

The Wiggle Chair is 60 layers of corrugated cardboard held together by hidden screws and fibreboard edging.
And to think, it's only $850. Oh, Gehry, what would we do without you? (Maybe buy 30 of these and build my own fantasy world to live in--just like Gehry!)

Friday, October 06, 2006

Marc and Matt Movie Review: 8mm

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When a movie-reviewing duo is labeled “smut addicts” (as happened at one point in the pages of The Collegian), certain expectations arise that require living up to. Sure, we have tried to do our part by covering such films as Hardcore, Boogie Nights, Wild Things, Lolita and The People vs. Larry Flynt. But when a movie like 8mm hits the theaters, we must break from our usual format of reviewing videos and head to the multiplex to help propagate the message that sleaze can sometimes be good (and good for you).


8mm is directed by Joel Schumacher, a fellow with as many misses on his resume (Batman & Robin, Batman Forever) as hits (Falling Down, Tigerland). Nicolas Cage and Joaquin Phoenix star, although there is a delightful performance by Peter Stormare, who is as good here as he was in The Big Lebowski and Fargo.

The plot concerns a private detective, Cage, who must determine whether or not a snuff film is the real deal (for those of you not familiar with porn lingo, snuff films generally depict a sexual act climaxing in the death of someone-though the term can also be used simply for a film in which a person is killed). During the course of his investigation, Cage traverses the pornographic underground gathering evidence. Ultimately he finds the answers he’s looking for, but at the cost of infecting his character in the process.

While 8mm is for the most part well-made, it is definitely not without numerous problems. The theme of traveling through the depravity of the pornographic counterculture is of course an appealing one, but it could have been handled more effectively (see the excellent film Hardcore for a good example). This film suffers too much from a Hollywood test screening mindset that kept it from being as true to its material as it ought to have been. The obligatory action sequence where Cage sets everything right seemed tacked on at the last minute, and therefore significantly detracts from the film’s power.

Another major problem with 8mm is Nicolas Cage. His acting in this film ranges from wooden to, well, wooden. In fact, he acts the same here as in a wide variety of backdrops, from the feel good comedy It Could Happen to You to the mindless action-adventure flick The Rock to the somber drama Leaving Las Vegas. Simply put, Al Gore has more dramatic range than Cage. The latter’s occasional efforts to display emotion more often provoke laughter than empathy. This drawback may not hinder films such as Con Air, where viewers are not expected to think, but in 8mm the zombie approach to acting definitely distracts from the on-screen action. This movie wanted the audience to somehow sense that this depravity had changed the character at some deep level, but one would never know it from Cage’s performance.

Many critics – with the exception of Roger Ebert – have condemned this film, saying it is simply “depravity for depravity’s sake.” This is far from true, as the debauchery in the movie does serve a purpose: it is intended to illustrate the effects of corruption upon a “normal.” It is similar to Seven in that it takes a person from the Hillsdale ideal of “family, church and local community” and introduces him to the sickness that exists beyond the borders of his bubble.

Once again, however, these reviewers failed to be shocked at what many proclaimed as “over the top” (though the scene from an erotic enema movie was admittedly a bit sickening). Perhaps it was that the depravity on display here was too “Hollywoodized” for mass consumption, or maybe we are just too jaded from a steady diet of sickness and corruption fed to us from our television screens and InterVarsity meetings.

So, we would recommend this movie with serious reservations. It is a good Hollywood flick with a moderately effective moral message to boot. If you are truly looking to be disturbed, though, Seven is a better choice. On the other hand, if you are in the mood for a gritty exploration of the sleazy underworld of the adult entertainment industry, check out Hardcore. If you aren’t interested in either, go rent Hoosiers.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Sesame Streets

Beauty or border security?

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Thanks to Wausau Tile, you don't have to sacrifice one for the other:

"The need to control unwanted access to our buildings has become an ever-present part of our lives. The need to do this without deterring from the design or accessibility of our guests is just as important.

"As evolution continues the architectural community is plying their talents to integrating perimeter security with the beauty and elegance of one of our most common building media’s – precast concrete."

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Flying Spaghetti Monster pumpkin carving contest

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"Last year, dozens of pastafarians around the world helped Spread the Word of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, by carving his likeness into pumpkins. This year we expect even more pumpkin-propaganda, not only because of exponential growth of the world's most logical religion, but because I'm offering a cash prize of $500 for the best FSM pumpkin."