[HUMOR] - Unsightly justice - A humorous Ashcroft cartoon.
[HUMOR] - RTFM? - Someone cleverly found out how to spoof this Microsoft HOWTO page which details what to do when someone tells you to "Read The F***ing Manual": Q209354 - HOWTO. It looks like it is using some kind of redirect, which makes it look quite convincing.


[REFERENCE] - Great Tolkien Reference - For those of you who have any question at all related to Tolkien, there is an excellent reference online. The Encyclopedia of Arda has sections on every imaginable subject in pretty much all of the books as far as I can tell. Not only that, but it is heavily cross-referenced. Worth a visit.
[NEWS] - A presidential pattern emerging - Some will blame the press and its imagined liberal stance (ignoring that the major media are large corporations and therefore the people who pay the bills and call the shots are decidedly corporatist, not liberal). In any case, here is the cycle:

  1. Bush makes speech. Includes some out of bounds comment, terminology or characterization.
  2. Press questions the basis for that characterization the next day.
  3. The next day or some subsequent day Bush tries to give some reason the statement makes sense, or explain it away.

The latest such term is "Axis of Evil": Yahoo! News Full Coverage-Bush Aides Say 'Axis of Evil' Comments Meant to Put Foes on Notice
[FACTOIDS] - Harper's Index is always fun to read, and often disturbing. Take the one for Jan of 2002, for example :Harper’s Index: January 2002. Get a load of these numbers:

Percentage of Americans who believe that the theory of human evolution is "probably" or "definitely" not true : 47

Percentage who believe that the tenets of astrology "probably" or "definitely" have some scientific truth : 48

Here, take this shot of scotch and go sit down for a while until you get your legs back.
[PERSONAL] - Woo-hoo! I entered my first real poker tournament last night. A 7-stud no-rebuy $35 tourney at Foxwoods. Long story short (and I'll probably write the whole thing up later) but I came in SECOND!!!. The prize money for second was $581 because there were around 95 or so people who entered. I beat all but one of them. And, in the end, I was mainly tired. It was getting close to midnight by the time I was done and enough was enough.


[NEWS] - More on Ashcroft - sign of the devil! - Are calico cats a sign of the devil? Ask John Ashcroft. Maureen Dowd says that Ashcroft's advance team checks for the presence of calico cats, which Ashcroft believes to be some sort of minion of Satan. A Blue Burka for Justice

I am so happy to have such people in charge of our justice system. I guess we should be thankful that he at least still allows people to own calico cats... for now. I almost felt bad about that "boob" comment yesterday, but now I'm thinking I went easy on the guy.

(P.S. - Here's the Andrew Tobias article to which Maureen Dowd refers in her piece. And !bonus! a followup article that is also about Ashcroft. That follow up has yet another link to a Washington Post article about domestic partners being denied 9/11 victims benefits.)
[NEWS] Bizarre ritual murder investigated in London - A boy's torso found in the Thames is being treated as a ritual homicide. Later, some candles wrapped in a sheet washed up on the southern shore of the Thames with the name "Adekoye Jo Fola Adeoye" repeatedly inscribed. This sounds like the beginning of a P.D. James mystery. BBC News | ENGLAND | Ritual killing link to dead boy
[TECH] The Internet Archive Wayback Machine is a huge archive of past web pages, going back to 1996. Is there an old website you long to see again, but which is no longer available? Search The Internet Archive for versions of the page that may have been crawled and stored. look for your first webpage!
[UPDATE] - On the NTY Book Review and Tolkien - More on this story. Patti got a response from an editor at the NYT Book Review. The long-story-short of it is that they don't put certain books on the bestseller lists (books considered classics or which never go out of print, like Tolkien, Catcher in the Rye, books which are routinely assigned fro summer reading, etc) because the list would quickly stagnate, since those books are always bestsellers, or recurring bestsellers. That part I understand.

The other argument was that they get their information from stores which volunteer to report the numbers. The task is described as complicated, taking 8 hours or so a week. I'm told that if they were to make the task more complicated by asking for information beyond just the newest books, they fear they might lose volunteers. That's the semi-official word. Link to NYT Book Review


[WEIRD] - Satan Outlawed - If you're Satan (and I know a few of you are) you are now officially no longer welcome in Inglis, FL. CNN.com - Florida town casts out Satan - January 29, 2002
The mayor of this small fishing village in Florida has declared the Prince of Darkness persona non grata -- in essence, telling him to go to the devil.

"Satan, ruler of darkness, giver of evil, destroyer of what is good and just, is not now, nor ever again will be, a part of this town of Inglis," Mayor Carolyn Risher says in a proclamation, which was issued on official town stationery.

Don't say I didn't warn you.
[PARANORMAL] - Prayer as alternative medicine - Government funded TIME.com: -- Investigating the Power of Prayer discusses Dr. Elizabeth Targ's study on the effect of prayer on illness. If the name "Targ" doesn't ring a bell, her father is Russel Targ. Don't remember Russel Targ? His name pops up when you read about the folks who studied famed Israeli psychic Uri Geller. But are we really spending millions (billions?) on alternative theories as shaky as these? Please tell me it ain't so.
[IRONY] - Ashcroft vs. Mammaries Yes, it's true. John Ashcroft spent $8K to cover up the exposed breast of an art deco statue in the Justice Department building. Apparently he got sick of looking at it and objected to photographers framing him in pictures with it. Here are some articles about it (links may go stale after a week): ABCNEWS.com : Beverley Lumpkin: Halls of Justice | Is Ashcroft Behind Cover-up

Quick visual quiz of the day: How many boobs are exposed in this picture?:

Attorney General John Ashcroft - boob in background or foreground?

Challenge of the day: Come up with a caption for this picture and post it to the forum.


[REPORTING] - Tolkein dissed by NYT? If you check out Boston.com's bestseller paperback fiction, you'll notice that Tolkein's works are among the top sellers. See: Boston.com / A&E / Books. Since that list will change, I'll repeat it here: LotR is #6. Fellowship is #8. There are a couple of Harry Potter books in there, too.

However, check out NYT Books and you'll find that Tolkein is nowhere to be found. Why the discrepancy? Are Tolkein's works currently bestsellers, or aren't they? Thanks to Patti Maguire for pointing this out, and also mentioning that Publisher's Weekly also lists Tolkein as in the bestseller list.
[VIRUS] - myparty worm: Today's new virus. Read about it.
[WEIRD] - Lego Cthulhu? - There's really not much to say. Someone has made a Cthulhu out of Legos. For the uninitiated, here is your Introduction to Cthulhu - the FAQ.

Almost weirder than the Legos, I found the name Cthulu appearing in a list of baby name analysis. Who in the name of Abdul Alhazred would name their kid "Cthulu?"
[SCIENCE] - Beautiful new images of the Horsehead Nebula - This is a really breathtaking shot. Check it out. Imagine the size of that thing.


[NONSENSE] - Q: What's missing from the random kitten generator?
A: A little electric shock administered to you every time you push the button to get a new picture.
C'mon, try it then tell me I'm wrong. I dare you.
[?] - What really happened to Flight 93? - We've been led to believe that a group of heroes stormed the hijackers and forced the plane down rather than have it crash into a target.

It could have happened that way. But there are a number of unanswered questions. For example - the eyewitness reports of another unidentified jet in the area, an air traffic controller claiming there was an F-16 shadowing the jet, large chunks of the jet landing far away from the main debris field implying that the jet had some serious in-flight distress before the crash, and why the cockpit recordings will not be released.

The United Flight 93 Crash Theory Home Page is not your typical conspiracy theory page. It's not set up to railroad you into a foregone conclusion. Instead it raises what appear to be reasonable questions and backs them up with references to stories reported int he news. If you're interested in these questions, this site appears to be the one-stop place to go.