the gumbo pages
me   |    email

weblog,   n.    1. A collection of links with accompanying writing and commentary that reflects the personality and interests of its author.   2. An evolved "hotlist" that's fun to read.   3. A microportal.

looka,   v.   (Yatspeak)  
1. The imperative form of the verb "to look", in the spoken vernacular of New Orleans; usually employed when the speaker wishes to call one's attention to something.  
2. My weblog - news, movies, food, music, books, sf, media and culture, Macs, politics, humor, reviews, rants, my opinions and whatever else tickles my fancy. Please feel free to contribute.

Chuck Taggart
icq: 8591604

Looka! Archive

August 1999
July 1999

Weblogs I like:

Bifurcated Rivets
The BradLands
Bring the Rock
Have Browser, Will Travel
the nubbin
Robot Wisdom


Hosted by WebCom
Made with Macintosh
  Stuff worth reading
   Updated (almost) daily | last tweak @ 8:13am PDT, 9/30/99

    My opinions are contained herein.
    If you don't want to read 'em, feel free to go elsewhere.

  Thursday, September 30, 1999
Bruuuuuuuuce!   Looka! contributor Tom Krueger reviews Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band's recent show in Chicago:

Last night I saw Bruce Springsteen for the first time since the start of the Born in the USA tour. While the show didn't recapture all the magic of those frenetic 70s and 80s shows, it was an excellent show in large part because it wasn't trying to do that. [ more... ]
And he played a married guy!   I'm probably dating myself horribly by admitting this, but I used to love "The Paul Lynde Show", which was on in 1972-1973 (I was ten, okay!) and featured most of the writing staff of the newly-cancelled "Bewitched". Lynde, 70s television's favorite, um, "confirmed bachelor", was always a favorite of mine, and never failed to be wickedly funny and risqué, even on game show dopefests like "The Hollywood Squares" (he was the only reason to watch that show).

The aforementioned link for the show is part of a whole Paul Lynde fan site as well. And if you didn't think there was a fan site for everyone, well ... check out the Pamelyn Ferdin site. ('Member her?)

I hate advertising.   I don't want to see it. I don't watch TV commercials, I hardly listen to any commercial radio (and if I do, I change the station instantly when the ads come on) and I filter it out of my web browsing (Mac users, use WebFree ... it's great!)

Now apparently we're going to be faced with huge banners across the Golden Gate Bridge toll plaza, and floating billboards in the Bay along the 101 freeway. Such a thing as that oughta be shot down. I may love "Blade Runner", and it might be one of my favorite films, but I don't want to live in its ad-ubiquitous world (I wouldn't mind driving a Spinner, though).

  Wednesday, September 29, 1999 responds.   I got a very speedy reply from after I emailed them to bitch about being denied permission by their filtering software to post the French culinary term "pissaladière":

Hi Chuck,

Thank you for your email.

Thank you for reporting the problem with our profanity 
checker.  We want to keep our site free from profanity, 
but we recognize that in some cases a potentially 
offense (sic) word is harmless.  We will be relaxing 
our profanity checker to allow piss when it is part of 
a word and should have this completed by the end of the 

I apologize for the inconvenience.


C. S.
Customer Service Manager
All in all, a very satisfying reply. I'm glad they're responsive to problems like this and willing to work with their users. I'll continue to participate. In fact ...

I wrote two more epinions today. Looks like I'll be getting a jump on being one of the first to do New Orleans restaurant reviews, so I've contributed expanded versions of some I'd already written (it was fun rewriting them, actually). Check out my reviews of Emeril's and Bayona, and visit my epinions page to see everything I've written there. And while you're at it, sign up to write your own epinions. You can make money when registered members read 'em (3 cents a pop, so it's not like you're gonna break the bank or anything). So become a member (it's free) and then read mine. Hey, those little stacks of three pennies can add up, ya know.

There are two things I hate about public radio.   (Well, at least two.) One is "Car Talk". When are those two obnoxious Bostonians going to realize that they're just not funny? How many times can they do that stupid "Dewey, Cheatham and Howe" line and still think it's funny? ("HAW HAW HAW HAW HAW HAW!"). Feh.

The other is The Capitol Steps. Yes, Joe Frank, I hate The Capitol Steps just as much as you do. (Joe Frank, incidentally, is one of the things I love about public radio. I've been a fan for many years.)

  Tuesday, September 28, 1999 needs work.   Yesterday I tried to write and post my first "epinion", after signing up with It didn't go as well as I had planned.

I was writing a review of the San Francisco restaurant Absinthe, based on my earlier weblog entry, and it included a mention of one of the dishes I sampled, a wonderful pizza-like tart that comes from the south of France, called "pissaladière". After clicking the button to post my opinion,'s built-in censorware kicked in. The first four letters of pissaladière were highlighted, and I was advised that my post contained "objectionable language" that would have to be removed before I could post my opinion. I was not given the "post this opinion" button until I spelled the word out as "p-i-s-s-a-l-a-d-i-è-r-e", which fooled the filter.

If I were to have actually written the word "piss" in an epinion, and it was reviewed for content and rejected by a human, that would have been one thing (and bad enough), or if the filter had "caught" the word free-standing. But to have my writing pre-screened and censored by a machine which took four letters of a twelve-letter French culinary term and throw it back at me as being "objectionable" is absolutely ridiculous.

The FAQ at the epinions site says this:

Do you filter epinion submissions?

We filter submissions only for potentially offensive content, not for the epinions expressed.

Do you edit or delete submissions?

When you preview an epinion, we will highlight misspelled words and profanities, but you will be asked to make your own changes. Once you submit the epinion, it will be posted on as-is. We reserve the right to reject or remove an epinion containing potentially offensive content.

This FAQ implies that their filter discourages "offensive" content, but will allow you to post what you want, subject to possible future removal. I was not even given the option to post the word "pissaladière", because they reserve the right to reject "potentially" offensive content and will reject parts of longer words with no regard for content or context. Sheesh.

I realize that they're still new and in preview mode, but ... their filtering system definitely needs work.

Such a deal...   Well, they didn't let the kidkey or pot auctions go through, and now that eBay's gotten auctioned off on its own site, they probably won't let that one go through either. Pity. It wasn't a bad price.

  Monday, September 27, 1999
I saw "American Beauty" last night.   This is a great movie - smart script, terrific performances, and even though you think you know what's going to happen, you don't. Kevin Spacey is fantastic, and never ceases to amaze and delight. Go see it.

It's a terrible thing to lose one's candidacy ... or not to have a candidacy at all is such a waste. How true that is.   Dan Quayle, who never had a snowball's chance in hell of being elected president, quits the race for the GOP nomination. HA-ha!

L'oignon belge?   Amusing, but needs bigger fonts.

  Friday, September 24, 1999
Big surprise...   Everything you think you know about Columbine is wrong.

The "Internet capital" is ... where?   Virginia? Would that be in Fancy Gap or Galax? And if you actually try to pronounce the state's dopey new license plates, they're really the Internet "catpital". Lots of cats lurking around, I suppose.

Idiot box? No!   Dontcha just love to watch TV?

  Thursday, September 23, 1999
Ranchero Brothers rule!   I saw a fabulous show at Largo last night -- The Ranchero Brothers, who consist of Rhett and Murry from The Old 97s, playing as an acoustic duo. They were joined on guitar by Andrew Williams, the producer of their most recent album "Fight Songs". Janeane Garofalo was sitting right at the next table, too. (Woo!)

"Letters, we get letters, we get stacks and stacks of letters..."   My my, I do love my hate mail.

A very obnoxious person wrote yesterday, in reference to my Paradise Tropical Tea rant, shrilly shrieking:

Hey, calm down, buddy! I, for one, LOVE Paradise Tropical Iced Tea! I don't know how you choke down regular, nasty, bitter, unflavored tea. But how about lightening up for the rest of us, who actually PREFER Paradise! If you don't like LA, then get out! You remind me of someone complaining about all of the coffee choices in Los Angeles. Great. Then go move to Oregon or Ohio or Indiana where the only coffee is black and the tea is bitter and gross, with no choice! But stop complaining. Some of us actually LIKE the stuff!!
De gustibus non disputandum est, sweetie darling.

What's with these people who simply won't allow others to have opinions that are contrary to their own? Besides, if she had actually read what I wrote and comprehended it, she would have understood that my complaint is neither about the product itself nor the people who enjoy it, but about restaurants which serve that as their SOLE choice for iced tea, assuming that everyone likes it (which, believe me, not everyone does).

I also love the "if you don't like LA, get out" part. Jeezus, where do these people get off? When did I say that I don't like LA? (I like it a lot, actually.) So, for the lady telling me to "get out" of the city where I have lived for 17 years ... I have a better idea. Why don't you take some advice from Father Jack? Feh.

Bil Keane's syndicate gets pissy.   Dang. King Features Syndicate has finally issued a cease-and-desist order to the beloved parody site, "The Dysfunctional Family Circus". It's a shame, although not terribly surprising. The funniest thing about this that King's web site says that "Family Circus fans consider Daddy, Mommy, Billy, Dolly, Jeffy, and PJ to be a 'truly believable cartoon family.'" Please. The only thing that "The Family Circus" is good for is as fodder for parody.

Holy Linux, Batman!   Heh. Makes me wonder if one of these guys is behind this alleged "new Linux distribution" -- a Linux without abort(3), kill(1), and references to "daemons". Hey, just cast it out!

  Monday, September 20, 1999
Tubs o' chili and steaks cooked in 2 pounds of butter? Oy.   The other day I saw a fascinating but somewhat depressing documentary entitled "Off the Menu: The Last Days of Chasen's", about the legendary, star-studded Beverly Hills restaurant. The documentary was star-studded too, but the real stars were its staff - the maître'd, the legendary waiter's captain who called Sinatra "Frank", the bartender to the stars, and one guy who's the most amazing bitchy-queen character I've seen in a movie all year (and he's real). You went there to eat, but you really went there to see and be seen. As the "Seeing Stars" web site said on its page about Chasen's, "The food isn't particularly good, but that's part of the tradition - Chasen's was never really about the food..."

The chili, which wasn't on the menu, was also supposedly legendary, and Elizabeth Taylor had it flown all over the world to accommodate her cravings. I found a recipe purporting to be that of Chasen's chili, but it didn't really seem all that special; I'm sure the real one's proprietary. You can, of course, order the real thing online now, and dine like Liz (get some violet contacts if you want the full effect).

NPR did a story about the film a while back, which you can hear from their archives.

Yes, but did she inhale?   I'm trying to picture this rather surreal image, with some difficulty. I wonder if she sang along with "Casey Jones", too ... "Ridin' that train / high on cocaine / Casey Jones you'd better watch your speed ..."

  Sunday, September 19, 1999
More live music from Lafayette.   Tonight at the Grant Street Dance Hall in Lafayette, LA is "The Louisiana Stomp", featuring live performances from Geno Delafose and French Rockin' Boogie, Cory McCauley and his Evangeline Aces, and The Traiteurs. The show starts at 6:30pm CST (0030 UTC on 9/20), so tune in for some great Cajun and zydeco music. Proceeds from ticket sales benefit the Dr. Tommy Comeaux Endowed Fund for Traditional Music at the University of Southwestern Louisiana; if you listen online, think about making a donation. It's a great cause in memory of a great man and a great musician.

"Jesus of the Week"   by Peter Gilstrap.

  Saturday, September 18, 1999
ATTENTION, MUSICIANS! Beware of signing with Sony.   CNET reports:

Sony Music has added language to its standard contracts that gives the company ownership over an artist's name -- as well as any variation of it -- for use as a domain name. Moreover, the clause is written as a lifetime provision that would apply even if the artist and Sony part ways.
Y'know, it's crap like this that makes me have zero sympathy for the big conglomerate record industry when they whine about MP3s killing them off. Sounds like they deserve it. If they can really figure out a way for musicians to sell their recordings over the net and get most if not all of the money, I'm all for it.

Don't diss accordions in front of me, bub.   Flaco Jiménez rocks.

The new Apple G4 - screaming power at a great price, and oh that aroma!   Apparently there's a little side-effect of turning on your new PowerMac G4 - the delightful perfume of burning plastic. But apparently it's only the G4 equivalent of new car smell, and all you gotta do is leave the machine running for a few days and stink up the place, and it'll go away. Hey, a small price to pay for the fastest desktop processor in the world, eh, what what?

  Friday, September 17, 1999
Live music from Festivals Acadiens!   Lafayette, Louisiana's premier Cajun music and cultural event of the year kicks off tomorrow morning. Scheduled performers are Beausoleil, Walter Mouton and the Scott Playboys, Balfa Toujours, File, Jo-El Sonnier, Richard LeBouef and Two-Step, Zydeco Joe, Geno Delafose and French Rockin' Boogie, D.L. Menard, Blackie Fruge, Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys, The Magnolia Sisters, and more. Listen in to the simulcast from KRVS, Lafayette's public radio station, on

I dunno about the rest of y'all, guys, but...   I think Comedy Central's "The Man Show" is an embarrassment to our gender. Fortunately, I don't know anyone who likes this show or espouses its world view. Yes yes yes, someone (a fan of the show, for instance) will say "Oh, lighten up - it's just a joke." Maybe, but I think there's real chauvinism behind it.

Real men are not like that. Real men are like this (except perhaps for the one about responding to all demands with "Yes, Milady.").

But fortunately...   Comedy Central's "Win Ben Stein's Money" is the best game show on television, Jimmy "Man Show" Kimmel's presence notwithstanding. It's often so difficult that it makes "Jeopardy!" look like "It Pays to Be Ignorant" (the radio show was way before my time, but I remember the Joe Flynn-hosted TV show with Charles Nelson Reilly and Jo Anne Worley on the "panel" ... but I digress).

Unfortunately, I'm ineligible to become a contestant because I work for the same parent company that's affiliated with the show. My friend Chad was a contestant recently, though, and offers some advice - be FAST on that buzzer. He knew almost all of the answers and might have won, but Ben Stein is very very fast at buzzing in. If you go on the show, practice.

  Thursday, September 16, 1999
The World Is Bound With Secret Knots: The Life and Works of Athanasius Kircher (1602-1680), a new exhibit, opens today at The Museum of Jurassic Technology in Culver City, CA. If you're in the Los Angeles area and you've never been to this museum, you must go. It's a wonderland.

Ahh, Louisiana politics...   Rick Tonry is running for judge. 'Member him, New Orleanians? I do; it was a big deal back when I was a junior in high school. In 1976 he was elected to Congress, and we were all shocked by an immediate Election Night accusation of voter fraud from his opponent, to whom the local TV stations had just cut to get his concession speech. Tonry only lasted four months, and became the first Congressman to go to prison for breaking federal campaing finance laws. (We used to say that Tonry's biggest constituency was among dead people ... "He sure carried the dead vote!") His opponents in the race don't seem to be too bothered about his past and aren't bringing it up, probably because he doesn't have a snowball's chance in hell of getting elected. (Then again, you never know what the electorate is capable of, Jesse Ventura being a good example.)

Then there was this from a week ago, a report on what happened when a gaggle of apparent loonies showed up to get on the ballot for the Oct. 23 election. Sheesh. Looks like the incumbent Governor has nothing to worry about.

  Wednesday, September 15, 1999
The return of Bill and Gregory!   Bill Forsyth, the director "Local Hero" (#1 on my favorite films list), has a new one out - "Gregory's Two Girls", a sequel of sorts to his 1981 film "Gregory's Girl". I'm really looking forward to this; there's a very favorable review from its recent screening at the Toronto Film Festival.

Life as a loser.   Will Leitch of Ironminds on phollowing Phish.

Long live Rube Goldberg!   Yesterday at work I described a new convoluted procedure as being "like a Rube Goldberg contraption". The thirtyish person to whom I said this looked at me blankly and said, "Like a what?" I'm only 37 and I know who Rube Goldberg was; it's not an old people thing! If you don't know, find out!

  Tuesday, September 14, 1999
A meal that made my heart grow fonder.   On Saturday of Labor Day weekend, we had dinner at a fabulous San Francisco French restaurant called Absinthe. (Okay, stop groaning at the pun.)

There was a vintage bottle of actual absinthe on display behind glass and under lock and key; in honor of the venerable and now-outlawed beverage, I had one of its modern-day descendents, a pastis drink from New Orleans called Herbsaint; it was delicious and packed quite a kick from the alcohol alone (I can hardly imagine it containing a narcotic as well, like in the old days). Here was my meal:

Appetizer:  Black Mission figs with fresh goat cheese, shaved fennel and walnuts. (This was marvelous. Other appetizers we shared were a wonderful pissaladière covered with caramelized onions, and ricotta dumplings drizzled with pesto.)

Entrée:  Grilled albacore tuna steak with sauce rouille, confit'd artichoke, marinated green peppers and brandade toast points.

I had a lovely Drouhin Oregon Pinot Noir with with the entrée.

Cheese course:  Bleu d'Auvergne with fresh sliced pear.

Dessert:  Oven-baked Black Mission figs alternately layered with lemon crème and butter cookies, served with fig-honey reduction sauce. (I was the only one who got this. Everyone else got the dessert that my friend James had been raving about for weeks, a Scharffen Berger chocolate pot de crème which was, as promised, fabulous -- I got a few tastes. But I thought it'd be cool to begin and end my meal with those wonderful figs.)

With my dessert I had a really nice 1996 Bonny Doon Muscat Vin de Glacière dessert wine.

This meal was luxurious, and finer than what I'd expect from a brasserie. We spent three hours at the table, and weren't rushed along (which happens in many restaurants, and which I despise). The service was impeccable and very attentive - when I was passing a bite of fig and goat cheese to someone across the table, I dropped it into my wine glass (luckily empty at the time). As I started looking for the waiter to get his attention for another glass, he was already on his way over with one. We had a fabulous time and tipped extravagantly. On your next visit to San Francisco, go there and enjoy.

  Monday, September 13, 1999
Secret spamming advice?   If you go to Yahoo Store's "Build Traffic With Incentives" page at, you'll see the following advice as to how you can find people to spam -- but only if you view the page's source, because it's commented out:

<!-- To find the sites you want links from, put yourself in your customer's place. If you were your customer, where would you be? For example, if you are selling products related to show dogs, search for "show dog" in all the search engines. Add those sites to your list, then follow the links within them to find others. Then contact the webmasters of the sites you like (most sites have a "Contact Us" button or link), saying something like:

We liked your show dog (or whatever) site. We run an online store selling products for show dogs. If you add a link to our site, we will pay you (or give you credit for) x% of any sales that come through that link during the next year. We'll give you a unique code to use in links to our site, and also a special URL at Yahoo! Store where you can check the number of visits and sales you have sent to us. Since Yahoo! Store is a neutral party, you'll know you can trust the numbers. Let us know if you're interested. Thanks for your time.

Note: Don't use your Yahoo! Mail account to do this, because all unsolicited commercial email is forbidden by the Yahoo! Mail terms of service. Even though it's not a mass mailing, it is unsolicited, and your account could be canceled for it. The same probably goes for most other free email services. -->
The fact that this was even considered for inclusion on this page is appalling. (Heads up from NTK)

Emmy Awards now as useless as Grammys?   While "The Sopranos" did win four Emmy awards, for writing, casting, editing and best actress for Edie Falco, it was criminal that it did not win more, including the one it most richly deserved: best drama series. When the Television Academy seemingly ignores what is, for once, clearly the best show on the vast wasteland of television, it's clear that they're almost as out of touch as Grammy voters.

Another reason to quit smoking, besides that it makes you die:   James Manos Jr., who last night shared an Emmy award with "Sopranos" series creator David Chase for best writing in a drama series, missed the opportunity to accept his award on camera, because he had stepped outside the auditorium to have a cigarette.

Almost déjà vu.   This poisoning incident bears a creepy resemblance to another "Internet-mediated" poisoning that was mistakenly attributed to me a while back. My inadvertent and unwanted wormwood notoriety continues with near-daily emails, most of them unwanted.

Bye-bye, Moon.   Today a massive explosion triggered by nuclear waste blew the Moon out of its orbit and sent it careening off to have adventures. At least that's how it happened on one of the best-looking but stupidest science fiction television series of all time, "Space: 1999". Terrific effects, ridiculous science, dopey scripts ... oh hell, I was 13 and I watched it anyway (often with the sound off). My sister Melissa, who was between 3 and 5 during the series' run, used to call it "Spaceteen Nineynine" and made fun of me for watching it. When a toddler taunts a teenager over a show, you know it must be pretty bad. A whole bunch of geeks have been convening in Los Angeles to commemorate this "event" for the past three days. I'm a lifelong sf fan, but all I can say about this is "get a life!" :^)

  Sunday, September 12, 1999
"Jesus of the Week"   by Peter Gilstrap. Hey, his mailbag is pretty interesting too.

I knew it.   After promising a release by Christmas, Gateway drops plans to release a new Amiga machine.

But when Clinton did it, he was a draft dodger...   President Clinton allegedly used his student deferment and ROTC enrollment to avoid military service during the Vietnam War and was vilified by the right as a "draft dodger". Now the AP is reporting that George Dubya's family wealth and political connections allegedly secured him a safe and cushy spot in the Texas National Guard 30 years ago. What will the right say about this?

  Saturday, September 11, 1999
Beau Jocque No!   :^(   I was just notified via email last night that Andrus Espre, a.k.a. Beau Jocque, one of our greatest zydeco musicians and a national treasure, passed away suddenly yesterday morning of a heart attack, not long after giving what was to be his final performance at Mid City Lanes Rock 'n Bowl in New Orleans. Beau Jocque was the best of the 90s generation of zydeco musicians whose style descended from Boozoo Chavis, and with his blend of Creole music and contemporary black music he created an astonishing groove that couldn't be beat. He was way too young, only 43. I'm numb.

Photograph by Philip Gould.

The happiest most expensive place on Earth.   I enjoyed this article from Salon entitled "The Dark Side of Disney":

Five minutes later, when we stepped off the monorail and pushed through the turnstiles into the Magic Kingdom, the first thing I noticed was an automatic-teller machine. Beyond it, before reaching a single ride, we were funneled up "Main Street, U.S.A." Despite the turn-of-the-century architecture and quaint signs for "Emporium" and "Confectionary," this byway peddled nothing but Disney products, especially those tied to the new Disney film at the time, "A Bug's Life."
And speaking of Disney...   The very idea of living in a place like this is terrifying. They might as well have named it Stepford.

Why Americans should care about East Timor.   A commentary by Noam Chomsky.  Mother Jones magazine has excellent coverage of the story.

Happy New Year.   Today is Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. The Los Angeles Times reports:

Southern Baptists in Fort Worth are asking members to pray that Jews will convert to Christianity this month during Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year, and Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement. Rosh Hashanah is Saturday and Yom Kippur is Sept. 20, with both celebrations beginning at sundown the day before. The guide urges Baptists to "to pray for Jewish individuals you know by name.
I have a better idea. Let's pray that this particular group of Southern Baptists learns some humility, tolerance, acceptance and respect. Perhaps we need another commandment: "Thou shalt mindeth thine own friggin' business!"

Update, 10:24am: more on this story from the Washington Post. At first I thought it was just the work of one Texas congregation, but apparently it is a denominational effort.

  Friday, September 10, 1999
The Queen is Dead.   Katie Webster, "The Swamp Boogie Queen", died on Sunday.

I'll have spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, Hotmail, spam, spam, spam and spam!   An article in the Seattle Weekly contains items of interest to any of you who might be Hotmail users:

According to various Hotmail-using sources, since late spring there has been an astonishing increase in spam volume to Hotmail recipients, many going from spam-free bliss to a flood of ads for weight-loss herbs, mortgage scams, pyramid schemes, and pictures of the unclothed. Most of us suffer under the same undeserved burden, but Mike Cantelon decided to do something about it: He tracked a spammer down and "gave them unholy hell." Then, according to Cantelon, the spammer informed him that he'd purchased the list from Microsoft and if he didn't want to be spammed he shouldn't be on Hotmail.
Microsoft, of course, denies the allegations.

Don't throw those VCRs away!   If you have a non-Y2K-compliant VCR and still want to use the timer to record programs, don't panic -- just set the calendar to 1972. The calendar is the same for 2000 as for 1972. Gee, maybe if you do that you'll magically be able to tape "Bridget Loves Bernie" too ... I liked that show.

Frowns of a Summer Night.   Ingmar Bergman reveals his Nazi sympathies.

Oh dear.   I work on the 43rd floor of a 44 story building in Los Angeles. The LA Weekly recently featured a cover story about how most if not all of the 1,500 steel-frame high-rise buildings in Los Angeles are built with welds that could become brittle and break during the strain of a 7.0 or stronger earthquake, shearing off the tops of tall buildings and causing them to collapse. To make things worse, nobody seems to be planning to do a damn thing about it.

I don't care when The Big One happens, as long as it doesn't happen while I'm at work.

19 degrees of separation.   The SFGate Morning Fix reports that researchers "with far, far too much time on their hands figured out that many Web pages are fairly interconnected." Quelle surprise.

  Thursday, September 9, 1999
"Hope They Die Before I Get Old"   Chicago rock critic Jim DeRogatis takes a swipe at other rock critics who he thinks are past their prime. (From Ironminds; heads up from Tom Krueger)

Brooooooooooooce!   In the midst of my own recent Springsteen nostalgia comes a view from a member of the 20something generation who just doesn't get the Bruce thing.

Uh oh.   As long as this woman has nothing to do with COBOL, she probably survived the day today.

  Wednesday, September 8, 1999
Stop the world!   Tryin' to catch up a little on all the reading I missed when I was in San Francisco last weekend. I find myself yearning for one of those time-stopping watches like in that old Clark Ashton Smith story, except with a happier ending.

Why doesn't anybody call him on this?   If you thought that Pat Buchanan was just a loudmouth on CNN, try to think about the fact that he's running for President now, and read some of the things he's said, from an excellent Salon article, "Who's Afraid of Pat Buchanan?"  If he becomes a viable candidate, this could get worrisome.

Pat Buchanan is back in the presidential campaign saddle again, leaving a trail of racist, xenophobic and anti-Semitic rhetorical dung behind him wherever he goes.

But unlike in his two previous runs, this time around virtually no one seems willing to call him on it. Not the press, not the commentators and, most significantly, not his fellow Republicans. This week, as rumors intensify that Buchanan may bolt for the Reform Party, thereby becoming a significant factor in the presidential race, the silence has become deafening.

Ohhh ... I dunno, Crow ...   The Sunday Times reports that Steven Spielberg is being tapped to direct Stanley Kubrick's proposed "AI" film. While I wouldn't go so far as to say "You're no Stanley Kubrick" as if he were Dan Quayle claiming to be like JFK, and I think that Spielberg is often a fine filmmaker, these filmmakers are on far different intellectual levels. I'm not so sure I like this idea. I don't want to see "AI" become another manipulative, heartwarmingly nauseating "ET".

Nice lookin', Jason.   "Bring the Rock" has gotten a redesign, and it's lookin' mighty fine. If you're into the indie-rock/punk/hardcore/ambient/trance/altcountry/etc. scenes or anything related to them, you'll like this weblog.

9999-- NO CARRIER &'#))fg#(@$   Some megaworrywarts predict a "mini-Y2K" situation for tomorrow, because the date string 9/9/99 closely resembles the COBOL code for "shut down", 9999. I think anything still running on COBOL deserves to shut down. :^)

  Tuesday, September 7, 1999
McFoieGras?   This partially redeems the French for that Jerry Lewis thing.

An apple a day not only keeps the doctor away, but is tasty as all heck. Learn about the different kinds of apples available at your local market, and what their particular uses are.

Meat and Romance.   James Lileks takes us back in time on a journey of knowledge for those of us who are not meat-savvy.

  Saturday, September 4 - Monday, September 6, 1999
Gone for the weekend.   No entries until Tuesday - we're off to San Francisco for the holiday weekend. Visiting lots of friends, eating lots of great food (I'll have a review of a restaurant called Absinthe next week), and enjoying one of my favorite cities. See y'all next week.

  Friday, September 3, 1999
Because they're there.   A "14er" is what mountaineers call a mountain that's over 14,000 feet tall, and there are 55 of them in Colorado. Some guy's attempting to break a record by climbing all of them within 14 days. He's covering a lot of miles, both horizontally and vertically. So far he's found one dead guy, been stranded on one mountain all night, and has had a hideous craving for huevos rancheros. Some of his friends are keeping a log of his progress, 6 days now into his 14, and it's pretty interesting. (Heads up from Jeff Marsh.)

Landmark Supreme Court ruling handed down.   It is wrong to throw things. Majority opinion by Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist. (The Onion)

Where was I when they discovered buckyballs?   I was hanging out with my friend Chun last night; don't ask me how, but the subject of fullerenes came up, or as he put it initially, "buckyballs". "What?" says I. I was informed that it's a newly discovered carbon molecule consisting of 60 carbon atoms (or 70, or as few as 28 or as many as 240, it's postulated) forming a sphere of interlocking hexagons. This substance is harder than diamond (!) and has some amazing properties, from supercondictivity to potential in medical research. Physics textbooks were instantly rendered out-of-date, the scientific world rejoiced, the molecule's discoverers won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1996 ... and I heard not one whit about it. Undoubtedly you're saying, "Jeez, buckyballs ... where the hell has this guy been?" (I must've been busy in 1996.) I ended up staying up half the night doing web searches, looking at cool renderings and models and reading about fullerenes. It's fascinating. I need to start paying more attention to things.

  Thursday, September 2, 1999
Oh my.   I've been to many fabulous restaurants in my day. I've dined at Emeril's. I've dined at The French Laundry. On October 14 I'll be dining at Charlie Trotter's. But when I go to New York, I wanna go to Le Cirque.

Just don't say "sherbert".   Do you know the difference between sherbet and sorbet? Well, find out! But don't mispronounce it. My friend Chris' mom is a teacher and will never fail to correct someone who says "sherbert", a mispronunciation which sets her teeth on edge. I've heard the story from Chris enough times that hearing someone say "sherbert" sets my teeth on edge too.

And don't forget to burp it.   Y'know, this just ain't as much fun as throwing a party. There's a book coming out too! Remember, the Cool Whip container just won't do.

Oops.   On the eve of the re-launch of the Amiga platform by Gateway, its president bails. Hmmm.

Coffee, tea or rodent?   You know, I'd put up with this for a free flight voucher, as long as it isn't carrying plague or hantavirus.

  Wednesday, September 1, 1999
Ooh!  Ooh!   Apple's PowerMac G4 is out. I want a G4 Macintosh, Daddy ... and I want it NOOOWWWWWWW! There's more from Wired News.

Bitchy witches.   My friend Steve Kelley reports that "as I predicted, real-life witches would start griping about the negative stereotyping in 'The Blair Witch Project'." Gimme a break.

A web what?   I keep seeing people who do web sites referring to themselves as a "web wonk". What the hell is a wonk, anyway? Where did this word come from?

My good deed for the day.   I got a very nice email from someone who said that she bought and enjoyed Richard Thompson's new album "Mock Tudor" based on my Looka! recommendation. Looka! != evil, Looka! = good. (Mostly.) If you haven't gotten the record yet, get it. You can also read a new interview with RT in Salon.

A not-so-guilty pleasure.   I've been reading Stephen King for years. Sometimes he's great, sometimes he's exactly what his self-deprecating self-description says: "the literary equivalent of a Quarter Pounder and fries." I've actually been a bit disappointed with his recent work (I hated Desperation), but apparently we've got a good 'un coming. CNN opines that his new book, Hearts in Atlantis, consisting of two novellas and three short stories, is "a book of heart, wit, intelligence, and moral reflection ... one of Stephen King's very best." Well.

Read or listen to an excerpt from the new book, and check out a recent lengthy interview with King from the Bangor Daily News.

Moo.   There are cows in Chicago.

All Looka! entries for August   have been archived.

Thanks to regular Looka! contributors Wesly Moore, Steve Kelley, Barry Kelley, Tom Krueger, Michael Pemberton and Steve Gardner.
chuq's links | the gumbo pages
creole and cajun recipe page | search this site
Chuck Taggart   <>