Monthly Archive for December, 2008

Ol’ George, still counting eggs

Three eggs.

Heavy rain in the night. Today cold & cloudy, with heavy showers & violent wind.

When George Orwell was writing his diaries 70 years ago, I bet he didn’t think his eggs would be so fascinating. He’s averaging about 2 a day so far. If he waits 3 days for 6 eggs he could make a decent Spanish tortilla for 2.

Is it just me …

… or does Barack Obama in this photo look an awful lot like Jimi Hendrix:

I have just the song for the 44th president’s inauguration.

(Young Obama photo from Time’s Person of the Year 2008 special)

Hero or Criminal?

Tom from thebadrash kind of gave me the idea to do a Hero or Criminal series, but I don’t know how long it will last. I couldn’t help doing this one, though. Muntazer al-Zaidi is the Iraqi journalist who threw his shoes at president Bush in a fit of enraged passion, shouting, “You dog .. you think you are superior to us. This is what we think!”

HERO. He couldn’t help what he was doing in his irrational state of Dionysian rage, and he was expressing his anger in an essentially harmless way. Had he written an op-ed column it would have been drowned in the sea of information.

Now the poor guy is probably being waterboarded or subjected to eardrum-splitting renditions of Barney’s I Love You. Oh, the legacy of our beloved neocons!

The Birth of Tragedy

Having been a casual reader of Nietzsche for the last few years, I was already acquainted with the basic tenets of his philosophy when I picked up The Birth of Tragedy — and I had already unlearned everything Bertrand Russell said about him in his vastly overrated History of Western Philosophy. I started to understand Nietzsche when I started to read his philosophy as an artist’s philosophy.* And, in order to understand his polemical opinions on what is good art and what is bad art, you have to be acquainted with Arthur Schopenhauer’s aesthetics. In fact, I would recommend reading Kant and Schopenhauer before reading Nietzsche.

Continue reading ‘The Birth of Tragedy’

Hero or Criminal?

Thomas Tamm, the Fed who blew the whistle on the Bush administration’s warrantless wiretaps.

In the spring of 2004, Tamm had just finished a yearlong stint at a Justice Department unit handling wiretaps of suspected terrorists and spies—a unit so sensitive that employees are required to put their hands through a biometric scanner to check their fingerprints upon entering. While there, Tamm stumbled upon the existence of a highly classified National Security Agency program that seemed to be eavesdropping on U.S. citizens. The unit had special rules that appeared to be hiding the NSA activities from a panel of federal judges who are required to approve such surveillance. When Tamm started asking questions, his supervisors told him to drop the subject. He says one volunteered that “the program” (as it was commonly called within the office) was “probably illegal.”

Tamm agonized over what to do. He tried to raise the issue with a former colleague working for the Senate Judiciary Committee. But the friend, wary of discussing what sounded like government secrets, shut down their conversation. For weeks, Tamm couldn’t sleep. The idea of lawlessness at the Justice Department angered him. Finally, one day during his lunch hour, Tamm ducked into a subway station near the U.S. District Courthouse on Pennsylvania Avenue. He headed for a pair of adjoining pay phones partially concealed by large, illuminated Metro maps. Tamm had been eyeing the phone booths on his way to work in the morning. Now, as he slipped through the parade of midday subway riders, his heart was pounding, his body trembling. Tamm felt like a spy. After looking around to make sure nobody was watching, he picked up a phone and called The New York Times.

HERO. We need more Americans like Tamm.

Give this scammer a book deal!

So I’m looking for a short term sublet in Paris on craigslist, and of the many seemingly legitimate responses I get, comes the following (the end is the best part):

It is a great pleasure that to you are interested in my Place.Thanks for your email and it is my gladness to hearing you I am a Single Christain Father, With no kid, My Wife, Pass by Last 4 Month (got dead). Due to the Fatal Accident we Had she got Dead, and I got Dislocation on my Legs and Hand, My name is Pastor Rev Wilson Long The Owner of the 2 bedroom home and its Continue reading ‘Give this scammer a book deal!’

Hoax phone call almost sparks war

A hoax telephone call almost sparked another war between nuclear-armed India and Pakistan at the height of last month’s terror attacks on Mumbai, officials and Western diplomats on both sides of the border said on Sunday.

Asif Ali Zardari, the Pakistani President, took a telephone call from a man pretending to be Pranab Mukherjee, India’s Foreign Minister, on Friday, November 28, apparently without following the usual verification procedures, they said.

The hoax caller threatened to take military action against Pakistan in response to the then ongoing Mumbai attacks, which India has since blamed on the Pakistan-based militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), they said.

The episode – reminiscent of Stanley Kubrick’s 1964 film Dr Strangelove – dramatically illustrates how easy it would be for another war to break out between India and Pakistan, even accidentally, following the Mumbai attacks.

From The Times.