Saturday, April 30, 2005

shock & awe

"His remarks often stun audiences as they reveal his utter ignorance."

... says a spokesman from Pyongyang's Foreign Ministry, referring to President Bush. He also called Bush "half-baked," a "philistine," and a "cowboy." Sorry 'bout that, real cowboys....

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

mockingbirds v. raven, squirrel

Half a dozen outraged mockingbirds dive-bomb a huge raven who perches on the decapitated fir tree in the widow lady's yard across the street. The raven puffs out its chest and talks back to the mockingbirds who continue to scream as they swoop perilously close to the predator's hooked black beak. The raven takes wing, dives south on Downey, mocks in hot pursuit. Seems to be a nest they're protecting in that fir tree, as there is in the tree out at the curb, visible from my office window here, whose name I, lamentably, do not know, bursting this week into hot pink blossom. (The same, I assume, raven and mockingbirds did the same thing in the same tree yesterday.)

A couple of days ago, I watched a similar group of mockingbirds dive-bombing a squirrel as it bounded across Wilson Way headed downhill on Downey, fluffy tail flying like a flag as the birds squawked and flitted agressively, first one then another and another and another, tag-team aerial combat.

If that's one of the squirrels who raid the birdfeeder whenever I put out seed, I say give him hell, mockingbirds!

Monday, April 25, 2005

the empire strikes back, too


Sunday, April 24, 2005

high school classmate

can I get an amen?


South Anchorage Doug can't understand why his mobile home has been burglarized 18 times in the past few years. $2,500 motion-detecting security system didn't help.

[cross-posted from, where "every Doug has his day"]

he was just after Dolly's weapons of mass destruction

"As members of the U.S. military watched on television via satellite from Iraq, Dolly Parton invited their boss, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, onstage at the Grand Ole Opry on Saturday...."

Unholy Matrimony

Sounds like more fun on this stage last week:
Busty model Anna Nicole Smith left onlookers open-mouthed at Nashville, Tennessee's Grand Ole Opry when she flashed her breasts and underpants at the audience....

"She was on stage dancing with some cloggers when she broke loose from her partner and did her own thing," an eye witness said.

"She was shimmying around, shaking her breasts, and lifted up her skirt in a sort of square-dance-can-can move and gave the audience a view of her panties.

"And then she did some sort of crazy dance where turned around and stuck her butt out at the audience and lifted her skirt.

"At one point, her boob popped out."


....too much.

What's happening with her cheek? Looks like she's going to blow a gasket.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

cell death

Friday, April 22, 2005

tilting at windmills?

From the BBC:
The Venezuelan government has printed one million free copies of Don Quixote to mark the book's 400th anniversary.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez urged everyone to read Miguel de Cervantes' Spanish classic.

He called on everyone to "feed ourselves once again with that spirit of a fighter who went out to undo injustices and fix the world".

"To some extent, we are followers of Quixote," he told viewers of his Hello President TV show.

The Venezuelan edition contains a prologue written by Portuguese Nobel literature laureate Jose Saramago.

The free copies will be handed out in public squares this weekend, said Mr Chavez.

Don Quixote of La Mancha
is the second most published book in the world, after the Bible.

It tells of the adventures of a mad knight and his faithful sidekick, Sancho Panza, with the original running to 1,000 pages in archaic Spanish.

Don Quixote
recently beat the likes of Shakespeare and Tolstoy to be named the best work of fiction in a survey of leading writers from across the world.

Spain has been leading the celebrations of one of its most famous books, with new editions printed along with readings and seminars.

Earlier this year I re-read Don Quixote, in the new translation by Edith Grossman, and thoroughly enjoyed it, a book of generous heart and much laughter. Jose Saramago's novels are fine, too, at least the ones I've read and enjoyed: Blindness, The History of the Siege of Lisbon, and The Gospel According to Jesus Christ.


Thunder booms - a rare event - as a rain storm blows in gauzy and wet. The sound reminds me of my Louisiana youth.

falconspace: under construction

I'm undertaking a thorough revision of falconspace, making changes based on the way the experiment is going so far, setting the stage for new story developments, retooling the structure to integrate more smoothly the "fiction" and "non-fiction" elements, and, in general, trying to present the story in a web log format. I'll start republishing it again soon, assuming it turns into something worth reading.

cheap Afghanistan Holidays

[UPDATE: Gone now. It made me think of my brother's recent trip to Afghanistan.]

Awesome ad on this page, lower left:
Afghanistan Holidays
Find cheap Afghanistan Holidays Save up to 70% at Yahoo! Travel!

Tuesday, April 19, 2005


Science fair Doug hopes to win big with his venus fly trap.

[cross-posted from, where "every Doug has his day"]

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Brother Dan in the news again

Daulatabad gas reserves enough for 30 years, says Jadoon

by Khalid Mustafa
ISLAMABAD: Daulatabad gas fields in Turkmenistan have sufficient reserves to supply gas to the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan (TAP) pipeline for up to 30 years, but this will be verified by a detailed verification report to be submitted by Turkmenistan after a month, Petroleum Minister Amanullah Jadoon told journalists on Wednesday after a two-day meeting of a steering committee consisting of ministers from the three countries.

Earlier, in a meeting with oil ministers from Turkmenistan and Afghanistan and an energy specialist from the Asian Development Bank, Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz said the TAP gas pipeline would be a tremendous initiative to promote economic, diplomatic and political coordination between Turkmenistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Jadoon said Turkmenistan had presented a preliminary report about the gas reserves in Daulatabad fields, according to which Pakistan and Afghanistan could use the reserves for 30 years under the $3.3 billion TAP project. Turkmen Minister for Oil, Industry and Mineral Resources Amangeldy Pudakov said a US consultant firm was finalising its detailed audit report on the reserves and would submit it in the next meeting of the steering committee in Ashkabad (Turkmenistan) in July.

Ahmad Waqar, petroleum and natural resources secretary, said that around three billion cubic feet of gas would be supplied through the pipeline every day. He said that issues such as the revenue to be earned by the pipeline and the rate at which Pakistan would be buying the gas were yet to be finalised and would be answered in the next committee meeting. He said the ADB had presented its feasibility study for the gas pipeline at the meeting according to which the project was economically viable under the prevailing circumstances.

Waqar said that in the ADB study, the pipeline would run from Daulatabad in Turkmenistan to Kandahar in Afghanistan to Loralai in Pakistan and then on to Multan. He said the route had not been finalised because it was up to investors to decide the route.

About security concerns for the pipeline, Afghan Minister for Mines and Industries Mir Mohammad Sediq said his country “would provide complete security to the pipeline”. He said main roads were being built in Afghanistan and they had provided foolproof security to international donor agencies working in Afghanistan. He said Afghanistan had a 60,000 strong army, besides the police force, which was “effectively providing security throughout the country”. He added the Afghan government was also recruiting people to various security agencies.

On whether Afghanistan could provide security to the pipeline after the United States and NATO forces had left the country, the Afghan minister said: “We have developed our capacity to provide security to the pipeline without the US and NATO forces.” About the transit fee for the pipeline, he said the issue had not been resolved yet.

Jadoon said: “We will hopefully initiate the project by the end of this year.” He said Pakistan was simultaneously working on projects to import gas from Iran and Qatar through pipelines and in the form of liquefied petroleum gas in order to meet Pakistan’s increasing demand.

APP reported that Jadoon said Pakistan would not object to India joining the TAP pipeline project. “We have no reservation in this respect. They will be welcomed in the project as well as from Iran,” the minister told BBC Radio. “If they have their problem, we do not know about it but we have no objection,” he added.

The three oil ministers also called on President General Pervez Musharraf who expressed Pakistan’s support for the TAP gas pipeline project, saying the country was open to all options with regard to its finalisation. “We will import gas to fulfill energy requirements for our fast-growing economy in both agricultural and industrial sectors,” he said. The president said the project would benefit the three countries. Asian Development Bank’s representative Dan Millison was also present.

Gravity's Rainbow pix online

Zak Smith:
My entire set of Gravity's Rainbow pictures is now up at this site:

it is, i believe, the largest piece of art on the web--in terms of the raw amount of visual information available--each of the 755 pictures is more than life size.

[cross-posted from, "juxtaposing contemporary texts with passages from the works of Thomas Pynchon"]

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Happy Birthday, Watson!


Monday, April 11, 2005

"the loudest yelps for liberty"

Re: Samuel Johnson, this from the Times:
Slavery repelled him. He took a freed slave, Francis Barber, into his house, and bequeathed him the bulk of his estate. His opinion of Americans ("I am willing to love all mankind," he confessed, "except an American") stemmed partly from the colonists' doublethink about freedom and slavery: "How is it that we hear the loudest yelps for liberty among the drivers of Negroes?"

From Mason & Dixon, p. 696:
The Driver's Whip is an evil thing, an expression of ill feeling worse than any between Master and Slave,- the contempt of the monger of perishable goods for his Merchandise,-- in its tatter'd braiding, darken'd to its Lash-Tips with the sweat and blood of Drove after Drove of human targets, the metal Wires work'd in to each Lash, its purpose purely to express hate with, and Hate's Corollary,-- to beg for the same
denial of Mercy, should, one day, the roles be revers'd. Gambling that they may not be, Or, that they may."

[cross-posted from, "juxtaposing contemporary texts with passages from the works of Thomas Pynchon"]

Saturday, April 09, 2005

"clogged with belated thought"

Dave Monroe quoting the Guardian re the late, great Saul Bellow, @ pynchon-l:
And he was always concerned with the modern self, the American self. It is usual to give writers like DeLillo and Pynchon credit for what seems the essentially postmodern insight that we are colonised, mediated, and finally oppressed by modern forms of knowledge - by television, film, advertising, the newspapers - and that this mediation has the effect of making our own mental activity somewhat self-conscious. But Bellow believed that public life drives out private life, and that this pressure on the private was a unique contemporary invention. His modern heroes are clogged with belated thought - they arrive so late in history, when there is too much too know, too much to bear, and no one speaks the same language....

[cross-posted from, "juxtaposing contemporary texts with the works of Thomas Pynchon"]

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

violent prose

via Heikki @pynchon-l:
"[...] Four years and a series of catastrophic world events later, the new production, Saturday, is here. It begins with its hero, the successful neurosurgeon Henry Perowne, gazing through the window of his house at what might well be another major calamity: A plane is flying over London, on fire. Thomas Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow also famously opens with a burning projectile over London, and whether or not McEwan is alluding to it, the comparison is instructive. Pynchon: "A screaming comes across the sky." McEwan: "Above the usual deep and airy roar is a straining, choking, banshee sound growing in volume-both a scream and a sustained shout, an impure, dirty noise that suggests unsustainable mechanical effort," etc., etc. Pynchon's sentence contains no adjectives; McEwan's two clauses contain ten. The desired effect is vividness, proximity; the result is the opposite, with the adjectives muffling the screaming, so that it is no longer screaming but only screaming-that-is-being-written-about. Few contemporary writers are as fixated as McEwan on physical violence; yet no one's prose is less violent than his. [...]."

[cross-posted from, "juxtaposing contemporary texts with passages from the works of Thomas Pynchon"]

Sunday, April 03, 2005



[cross-posted from, where "every Doug has his day"]

Friday, April 01, 2005

photo of the day

Wang Qinsong “Requesting Buddha 1”, photograph, 1999