looka, <'lu-k&> dialect (New Orleans) v.
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. --n. My weblog, focusing on food and drink, music, New Orleans and Louisiana culture, news, movies, books, sf, media and culture, Macs, politics, humor, reviews, rants, my life, my opinions, witty and/or smart-arsed comments and whatever else tickles my fancy.
Please feel free to contribute a link. If you don't want to read my opinions, feel free to go elsewhere.
Page last tweaked @ 2:27am PDT, 6/30/2001
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Chuck Taggart (who?)
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In vino veritas.
A Star Called Henry, by Roddy Doyle.
The Torturer's Apprentice: Stories, by John Biguenet.
Listen to music!
La Bottine Souriante
New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival
San Francisco Celtic Music & Arts Festival
Appalachian String Band Music Festival - Clifftop, WV
Long Beach Bayou Festival
Strawberry Music Festival - Yosemite, CA
A Gallery for Fine Photography, New Orleans (Joshua Mann Pailet)
Paul F. R. Hamilton
Clarence John Laughlin
J. T. Seaton
Lookin' at da TV:
Weblogs I read:
Eat, Link and Be Merry
Ethel the Blog
Follow Me Here
Ghost in the Machine
Hit or Miss
Jonno (if you must know)
The Leaky Cauldron
Neil Gaiman's Journal
Q Daily News
The Tao of Upndown
The Other Side
Whim and Vinegar
Matthew's GLB blog portal
<< web loggers >>
AlterNet.org (Progressive politics & news)
The Complete Bushisms (Quotationable)
The Deduct Box (Louisiana politics)
The Fray (stories)
Landover Baptist (better Christians than YOU!)
The Onion (news 'n laffs)
The Final Frontier:
1. John O'Groats: Home cooking, better than home
2. Bombay Sapphire: Gin haters, repent!
3. The Cajun Bistro, WeHo: Skip it
4. Absolut Kurant: I'd sooner drink Robitussin
5. Sanamluang: Best Thai food in L.A.
6. Volkswagen New Beetle: Fun fun fun!
What's in Chuq's Visor? (My favorite Palm OS applications)
(* = superfavorite)
Number of votes by which George W. Bush lost the national popular vote on November 7, 2000
Number of votes to which Bush's lead had dwindled in Florida when the hand recount was stopped
(Just what do you think you're doing, Chuck?)
hosted by pair NetworksDéanta: This page is coded by hand, with BBEdit on a wheezing old Power Computing Powerbase 200 running MacOS 8.6 if I'm at home; with telnet and Pico on a FreeBSD Unix host running tcsh if I'm updating from work.
"There ought to be limits to freedom."
-- George W. Bush, May 21, 1999
Saturday, June 30, 2001
Accordions galore! Today "Down Home" will be participating in RootsWorld's 4th Annual Free Reed Festival, which celebrates the music of accordions, melodeons, concertinas, bandoneons and all the worldwide variety of squeezeboxen. Tune in via KCSN's website with your Windows Media Player at the ready, from 3 to 5pm Pacific time.
We'll be hearing squeezeboxen from Quéebec to Louisiana to Texas, Mexico and further south, from Ireland to Finland to Lesotho. Should be fun. And remember ... FEAR NO ACCORDIONS!
Speaking of Harlan Ellison... Last Tuesday I had one of those "only in L.A." experiences.
In mid-afternoon my friend Andy emailed me asking, "Do you know anything about a Harlan Ellison reading and signing tonight? Apparently it's at Pink's, of all places." Pink's is not a bookstore. It's a hot dog stand.
A very venerable one at that, founded by Paul Pink in 1939 and family-owned and -run ever since. Real dogs with a skin that crackles when you bite into it. Spicy chili make of ... some kind of meat, pulverized until it's practically spreadable, swimming in orange grease. Available in dozens of variations and permutations of toppings, they're basically works of art. (Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, my body will only tolerate one or two of these per annum.)
Harlan's got a new book out, The Essential Ellison: A 50-Year Retrospective, revised and expanded, and figured that Pink's might have been a little more fun than a bookstore for this event. And after all, it was the setting of his fabulous story, "Prince Myshkin, and Hold the Relish". What's more, if you bought a hardback copy of the book at the event, you'd get $10 worth of free Pink's food. How could I pass it up? On three hours' notice, we agreed to meet there at the appointed hour.
I didn't bother trying to call Wes; I knew he wouldn't be able to make it by 7, and by that time I was conspiring to give him the signed book as a gift (he got it last night, which is why I'm writing about this today instead of the day after it happened). There was a moderate crowd at Pink's, waiting in an interminable line to buy books. Interesting crowd, as is usual at such an event, which included the inevitable putz who brought a suitcase full of what was apparently his entire Harlan Ellison library for the man to sign. (I have a special appellation for such a person -- "greedy, inconsiderate bastard." There are lots of other people who'd like to get books signed, and Harlan doesn't need to stay there all night just to sign all 47 volumes you brought.)
The Man Himself finally arrived, greeted one and all, tried to make sure that everyone had gotten a hot dog and was happy, spent what seemed like an eternity assembling his special podium, signed a few books, then led an assault on the garage door of a house across the alley from Pink's back patio. He thought they were playing their music too loud, and recruited four or five people from the crowd to pound on the door. "HEY!" he shouted. "THE COPS ARE OUT HERE!" Nobody came out, but the music did go down. I can imagine them cowering inside, trembling in fear as one of America's most celebrated writers, seemingly insane, was pounding on their garage door, screaming like a madman.
I never dreamed it would get this entertaining.
He read a little, he signed a little, and I went to stand in an even longer line to get my bacon cheese chili dog with tomatoes (oh my GOD, it was good), seasoned fries (y'know, I remember when you couldn't get fries at Pink's, when the venerable counterman named Johnny would scowl at you if you ordered them; "You want french fries, go to McDonald's!") and a Peach Nehi (y'know, I remember when all the soda you could get at Pink's was a kosher brand called Mitz, which was quite good; their slogan was "Don't schvitz, drink Mitz!"). While I was waiting in line I have a very nice chat with a gentleman I instantly recognized, a man by the name of Walter Koenig, who as you may remember portrayed Mr. Chekov on "Star Trek". I wasn't surprised to see him there, as he's an old friend of Ellison's, and as we chatted I thought, "If, when I was a 12-year-old 'Star Trek' fanatic, I knew that one day I'd be having a friendly chat in a hot dog line with Mr. Chekhov, not all that long after having sat in front of Mr. Sulu at the movies, I'd probably have passed out." Or something like that.
I really like living here.
You go, Arianna. I never thought I'd hear myself saying this, but yesterday's column by Arianna Huffington is terrific.
Oddly enough, it's not archived on the L. A. Times website, so the link is to her own site. It's so full of quotable quotes that I hardly know where to begin. Perhaps just at the beginning, then...
As the dog days of summer approach, it's becoming clear that George W. Bush's presidential "To Do" list is even shorter than his attention span: Tax rates down? Check. Energy prices up? Check. T-ball given its rightful place in the national spotlight? Check. Checks in the mail? Check.Read it. It's just delicious.
But it isn't just W's anemic agenda that has sputtered and keeled over, it's the very model of leadership that has dominated our democracy since the nation s founding. Bush's ever-diminishing stature is diminishing the presidency itself. In fact, it s the death knell for the "Great Man" theory of leadership, the military model of a single father figure to guide, protect us and set the national agenda.
With Dubya's dubious victory in November and his managerial innovations, like the CEO-in-chief approach and the Cheney prime ministership, it is now abundantly clear that you can be president and not be a leader -- that you can have power but no authority.
There was our sophomoric president, for example, earlier this week turning an Oval Office photo op with Ariel Sharon into an embarrassing display of presidential petulance. In the "Am not!" "Are too!" verbal jousting, Bush kept insisting, despite Sharon's unambiguous disagreement, that "progress" is being made in the Mideast. He used the term 13 times in 11 minutes.
Someone with more maturity -- say your average kindergartner -- would have taken Sharon's hint and dropped the subject after, oh, the fifth repetition. But not W, who insisted on lecturing the Israeli Prime Minister: "Progress is in inches, not in miles. But nevertheless, an inch is better than nothing." No word on whether he added: "I'm rubber, you're glue ..."
Such a deal. The U. S. government spent $13.8 million on the McVeigh case. Also, at the behest of George W. Bush, the government wasted $20 million on a mass mailing, sending a letter to every American taxpayer for no other reason than for Dubya to take credit for the big-whoop $300 everyone's going to get.
Methinks he needs to start asking someone for permission to invoke his franking privileges. Children need proper supervision.
Hand me a gobstopper! "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory", a longtime favorite of mine, is finally coming out on DVD in August. It'll feature commentary from the director, as well as from all the now-grown kids who were in the film, which should be a hoot. I hope they get the boy who played Charlie. It'll be interesting to get his perspective. He never did another movie after this one, and went on to become a dentist.
Friday, June 29, 2001
Short stories to go. Y'know, I'm kinda likin' Fictionwise.
You can download short stories and novels in Palm format .doc files, .pdf files, what have you, for prices ranging from about six bucks down to about 39¢. In fact, among many other things, you can get two of Harlan Ellison's finest stories to carry around in your Palm or Visor wherever you go for a measly $1.88.
"Repent, Harlequin!" said the Ticktockman.They specialize is science fiction, and you can usually get the current year's Hugo and Nebula nominees (the short stories, at least) for free. As far as Ellison's stuff goes ... sure, I'm paying for stories I've already bought copies of on paper. But this is like buying another copy, and let's face it, 89¢ is almost free, and it's right there in my Visor.
"Get stuffed!" the Harlequin replied, sneering.
Don't get me wrong, I still love books: paper, flipping pages, smelling them (I love the smell of new books). Maybe this is just a novelty, but I do get a little bit of satisfaction putting a little money in Harlan's pocket, especially when some people seem hell-bent on pirating his work.
A bit late, no? Looks like Tom Dula might be getting a pardon, 133 years after he was hanged for the murder of his pregnant girlfriend.
You probably know a bit about the case already. His story was a turned into well-known murder ballad around Beech Mountain, North Carolina. One day a traditional singer named Frank Proffitt sang the song, which local dialect had folks pronounce as "Tom Dooley", to Anne and Frank Warner; through the Warners, a group called The Kingston Trio heard it, recorded it in 1958, and the rest is folk music history.
Supporters say that Dula wouldn't have been convicted today, based on the evidence presented at his trial. Dula was quoted from the Afterlife as having said, "Gee, thanks, you bastards. Fat lot o' good it does me now."
Jackson blew it. From Wired News: "The Department of Justice could have had its biggest victory in years were in not for the rampant running of the mouth by Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson."
Comic strip of the day. From June 16, Aaron McGruder's "The Boondocks, which I frequently enjoy (a funny daily comic page strip that pisses people off as well is a joy to behold).
Quote of the day. "Why do people keep insisting that I join the 21st Century? I LIVE in the 21st Century! I just don't want to be bothered by the shitheads on the Internet!"
-- Harlan Ellison, who still does all his writing on an Olympic manual typewriter (two fingers, if you please)
Parenthetical anecdote. Last night Wes went to Vroman's for a reading and book signing by Neil Gaiman (I had to work late ... *growl*); apparently Gaiman writes all of his first drafts longhand. With a fountain pen. Wow.
Thursday, June 28, 2001
Wow ... justice finally prevails. Former Yugoslav president and past and current war criminal Slobodan Milosevic was extradited by the government of Serbia to face charges of genocide and crimes against humanity, and is now in custody in the Hague. Yugoslav President Vojislav Kostunica, an enemy of Milosevic, dutifully decried the extradition as being unconstitutional but was unable to prevent it, and in fact learned about the extradition via media reports.
In a delicious bit of irony, a provision of the 1990 Serbian Constitution, which was written by Milosevic, was used to justify his extradition. It stated that Serbia will not accept federal decisions if they are against its interests.
Stay tuned to independent news source B92 in Belgrade for further updates, including streaming audio.
I hope the bastard never sees the outside of a jail cell again for the rest of his life.
Justice Dept. 0, Evil Incarnate 1. Microsoft and all their Borg drones are no doubt rejoicing over the appeals court ruling overturning Judge Jackson's breakup order and returning the case to the lower court, under the jurisdiction of another judge. However, remember that the bulk of the ruling dealt with Judge Jackson's alleged judicial misconduct, and that the appeals court still found that Microsoft used illegal means and anti-competetive conduct to maintain an operating system monopoly. It ain't over yet, folks.
Smart Tags 86'ed. The "Smart Tags" feature, scheduled to be included in Microsoft's forthcoming Windows XP, has been dropped from the OS and will be dropped from non-beta versions of IE6. They're saying that they "just don't believe it's going to be ready", but I'll bet that it was primarily due to the overwhelmingly negative reaction to the idea of Microsoft essentially altering your content without your knowledge or permission adding new links in your pages to sites they have chosen. I was going to be really pissed if I had to add "opt-out" META tags to the more than 1,000 pages on my site, 'cause even if they were implementing this it should have been an opt-in kind of thing only.
Mmmm, "fresh" month-old meatloaf. Yep, modern food processing techniques allow such a thing to be labeled "fresh" ... which makes me even more inclined to avoid processed food.
Quote of the day. "I'd rather be remembered as a songwriter, than a singer with big tits and hair."
-- Dolly Parton (whose last two albums, The Grass is Blue and Little Sparrow, as well as her song on the "Songcatcher" soundtrack, are all brilliant)
Wednesday, June 27, 2001
Hair of the three-headed, fire-breathing dog. Somebody wrote me recently asking about cocktails containing Chartreuse. It's a powerful concoction, intensely herbal and 110 proof strong, not for everyone. I've been developing a taste for it, though, and I'm working up the courage to try the Tailspin, a current DrinkBoy favorite.
TailspinYowza. Oddly enough, the only thing holding me back is the vermouth. I'm still not much of a vermouth fan.
3/4 ounce Gin
3/4 ounce Sweet Vermouth
3/4 ounce Green Chartreuse
1 dash Campari
Shake with cracked ice. Strain into chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with lemon twist and cherry.
Activities there make it obvious that all-too-soon 16 very spoiled and utterly obnoxious Americans will be flown in to film the new "Survivor" episode, all healthy strong mostly white contestants vying for a $1 million cash price while the average Kenyan living nearby lives in a mud shack and makes an average of $1 a day. "We welcome the Americans and all the tourist dollars that will hopefully result from this show," said one Kenyan shopowner, smiling broadly and trying to make the best of it, while secretly hoping the Survivor cast members get eaten alive by rabid tigers.Microsoft's really hidden files. I came across this link yesterday, although I forgot where. It's the first of two M$-related links that made my hair stand on end, and it's regarding hidden files that apparently build up on Windows users' hard drives:
Apparently a name, address, and zip code aren't enough for the boys in Redmond. A cat we know by the name of The Riddler writes: "There are folders on your computer that Microsoft has tried hard to keep secret. Within these folders you will find . . . [a log of all] the sites you have ever visited . . . [and] ALL of your e-mail correspondence -- even after you've erased them from your trashbin." Sure, it's tempting to dismiss this as foolish paranoia -- until you realize that this article provides explicit, step-by-step instructions for uncovering these "really hidden files."While you can't exactly expect unbiased reporting from a site called "fuckmicrosoft.com", apparently this is true, whether you're paranoid or not. This definitely tends to give one pause, and makes me even happier that I use MacOS.
Microsoft-bot: I'm shutting you down, Jack! The second eyebrow-raiser comes from David Coursey at ZDnet. He was working on his laptop while on an airplane, when his copy of Microsoft office suddenly popped up a box that said it had smelled something funny, and that he had to immediately insert his original Office installation CD or his copy of Office would be automatically disabled:
"If you don't perform the reactivation steps, Microsoft Office will go into Reduced Functionality Mode. In that mode you will not be able to save modifications to documents, or create a new document, and additional functionality may be reduced," said the "help" screen attached to the error message.This was while he was at 35,000 feet, over 2,000 miles away from his original Office CD, and while on his way to a reporting gig at PC Expo. This is an example of software "functionality" that I never need and would never buy.
What's so bad about Microsoft? you may ask. Given the two other M$-related links that popped up today, I couldn't resist this one too, cribbed from Cam. It offers an interesting analysis on what is wrong with Microsoft, from a user's perspective (bloat, backward incompatibility, perpetual upgrading, vaporware, predatory practices, bundling of inferior products, bugs bugs and more bugs, and insecurity), from a technical perspective (closed "standards", mutilation of existing standards, and lack of innovation) and from the perspective of everyone else (attempts at taking over appliance markets, attempts at buying the public's trust, and outright deception). Interesting reading.
The hard life of the spaghetti farmer. It's tough indeed, but we're glad they do it. We're particularly glad for good years, when a bumper crop of spaghetti comes in, like back in 1957. Don't miss the video of the BBC report on the 1957 spaghetti crop.
Quote of the day. "Attaining success in Hollywood is like climbing a gigantic mountain of cow flop, in order to pluck one perfect rose from the summit. And you find when you've made that hideous climb... you've lost the sense of smell."
-- Charles Beaumont, writer
Tuesday, June 26, 2001
$100 fine? Is that all? I want caning! The New York State Legislature has just passed a bill, which is expected to be signed by the governor, banning the use of cell phones while driving.
Given the number of times that I've nearly been creamed by some idiot who's blathering on the cell phone instead of paying attention to where he or she is going (and the fact that they have a red light, for instance), I'm all for it. I just think the penalty is too light. It should be at least $500, and preferably should include some jail time and a public flogging. In fact, I'd love an amendment to be tacked to this bill that'd allow me to fire my hood-mounted bazooka at any such driver. That'll show 'em.
Quote of the day. "The difference between N'Sync, the Backstreets, and 98 Degrees is the exact same as that between the various marshmallow "surprises" in a box of Lucky Charms. They're all chalky toxic food-colored chemical byproducts; it's simply which shape you find prettiest."
-- Mark Morford, SF Gate "Morning Fix"
Monday, June 25, 2001
*cry* I can't stand it.
From: MacZoneWhat patience? I'm tearing my hair out. To make matters worse, when I phoned for followup I was told that it was "actually probably" going to be July 6th. I may go insane.
Date: Mon, 25 Jun 2001 09:53:17 -0700
Subject: Apple iBook G3/500MHz (CD-RW/DVD-ROM)
FYI... a revised ETA for availability of the above item is now 6/30. Apple is apparently having difficulties fulfilling their backorders. Thank you for your patience.
Apparently this one's backlogged because Apple didn't anticipate how wildly popular this model would be. In fact, there's such relative disinterest in the CD-RW-only model compared to this one that the CD-RW-only model is on its way to being discontinued as a regular stock order, and available only as a custom order.
Apple, you need to hire some more people in your Anticipation Department.
Saturday, June 23, 2001
Allons danser! Okay, southern California ... time to dance.
Today is the first day of this weekend's Long Beach Bayou Festival, featuring music from Geno Delafose & French Rockin' Boogie, Chris Ardoin & Double Clutchin', Rosie Ledet & the Zydeco Playboys, Sheryl Cormier & Cajun Sound, Walter Mouton & the Scott Playboys, and in what may be their first performance for the general public, The Savoy Family Cajun and, featuring Marc Savoy on accordion and vocals, Ann Savoy on guitar and vocals, and their sons Joël Savoy on fiddle and bass, and Wilson Savoy on accordion and keyboards. It's down by the Queen Mary, 11am to 7pm. Put on some sunscreen and come on down.
Today on "Down Home". Guest-hosting will be the lovely and talented Mia Karnatz, who by day is development director at KPCC in Pasadena. She used to do a great music show at 'PCC, and always does a dynamite job over at KCSN filling in. Tune in from 3 to 5pm PDT via your Windows Media Player!
Friday, June 22, 2001
Stifled. Okay ... everybody sing:
Boy the way Glenn Miller played,Carroll O'Connor died yesterday of a heart attack at the age of 76. Among many roles in his long and distinguished career, he'll be best remembered for portraying the "loveable bigot" Archie Bunker, a guy I grew up with. Thanks for all the laughs.
Songs that made the hit parade,
Guys like us we had it made,
Those were the days.
And you knew where you WEEERE THEEEEEENNNN!
Girls were girls and men were men,
Mister we could use a man like Herbert Hoover again.
Didn't need no welfare state,
Everybody pulled his weight,
Gee, our old LaSalle ran great,
Those were the days!
(by Lee Adams and Charles Strouse)
If you remember "Remembering You", the stride piano piece that was the closing theme to "All in the Family", you may remember seeing the piece credited to Roger Kellaway and Carroll O'Connor. O'Connor in fact wrote the lyrics, which weren't used on the program. It seems fitting to quote them now:
Remembering You, by Roger Kellaway and Carroll O'ConnorBoom boom no more. More passings ... blues great John Lee Hooker, who had recorded over 100 albums and was still touring, died yesterday in San Francisco at age 83.
Got a feelin' it's all over now
All over now, we're through.
And tomorrow I'll be lonesome, Remembering You.
Got a feelin' the sun will be gone
The day will be long and blue.
And tomorrow I'll be cryin', Remembering You.
There'a a far away look in your eye when you try to pretend to me,
That everything is the same as it used to be.
I see it's all over now
All over now, we're through.
And tomorrow I'll be startin'
Last time I was John Lee was at the Guinness Fleadh in San Francisco a couple of years ago. A friend of mine was working on the festival and got me backstage passes, so I got to see all the goings-on behind the scenes. I remember that John Lee was in the company of a couple of, um, buxom young ladies, and kept sending his grandson to the office trailer to report that their complimentary beer supply kept "getting stolen", and they needed more.
Thursday, June 21, 2001
Dude! Language is fun! Amazingly enough, one can still learn things from Usenet postings (at least the ones in newsgroups that aren't choked with spam). A discussion on soc.motss makes me wonder if all those guys who go around calling each other "Dude!" knew the origins of the word:
Century Dictionary, 1895:Extremely weird search request of the day. Okay ... someone who speaks German found the January 2001 issue of Looka! by searching for the phrase "in my socks supermarket", but specifically excluding the words "dog", "cat", "fox" and "sex", as well as the term "xxx".
dude, n. A fop or exquisite, characterized by affected refinements of dress, speech, manners and gait, and a serious mien; hence, by an easy extension, and with less of contempt, a man given to excessive refinement of fashion in dress.
[A slang term said to have originated in London, England. It first became known in general colloquial and newspaper use at the time of the so-called "esthetic" movement in dress and manners, in 1882-3. The term has no antecedent record, and is prob. merely one of the spontaneous products of popular slang. There is no known way, even in slang etymology, of "deriving" the term, in the sense used, from duds (formerly sometimes spelled dudes, see dud), clothes, in the sense of 'fine clothes'; and the connection, though apparently natural, is highly improbable.]
"There was one young man from the West, who would have been flattered with the appellation of dude, so attractive in the fit of his clothes, the manner in which he walked and used his cane and eyeglass, that Mr. King wanted very much to get him and bring him away to a cage." -- C. D. Warner, Their Pilgrimage, p. 180.Webster, 1913:
"The elderly club dude may lament the decay of the good old code of honor." -- Harper's Mag., LXVII, 632.
"The social dude who affects English dress and the English drawl." -- The American, VII. 151.
dude, n. A kind of dandy; especially, one characterized by an ultrafashionable style of dress and other affectations. [Recent]
Possible etymology: New Oxford, who attribute it as late 19th century but probably from German dialect Dude, 'fool'.
Care to hazard a guess as to what this wacky Deutscher was looking for? Ich weiß nicht!
Wednesday, June 20, 2001
ARRRRRGHHHHH! I hate backorders!
I want my iBook! I want my iBook, Daddy, and I want it NOOOWWWWWWWWWWW!
(Whew, that felt good. Sometimes we all have to let out our inner Veruca.)
"We have some very poor driving habits in New Orleans." Yeah, no shit, bra. :-)
The Crescent City is home to some of the worst drivers I've ever seen. Cops can stake out the worst intersections in the city At the corner of Claiborne and Martin Luther King, which I had to navigate every day when driving to Loyola, "reporters at the scene saw four cars run red lights" within five minutes. It's a miracle I never got creamed there.
As bad as they are in New Orleans, though, I don't think the home folks hold a candle to the lunatics who drive in Los Angeles. I only had one accident in New Orleans (my fault, when I was 16, 11 days after I got my license; I got it over with quickly, I guess), but every other accident I've ever had has been someone else smashing into me, all since I moved to L.A.
I've had two cars completely destroyed, thanks to careless Stephen L. (who crossed two double yellow lines to smash into me) and Karen Lee H. (who, while stinking drunk, slammed into the back of my parked car at 65mph, two weeks after I had finished making 5 years of payments on it, and about 2 minutes before I was about to go get into it). The latest -- finding a big dent in the driver's side door of my car on Saturday, while it was parked in front of my house. Fortunately, the guy who did it left a note and is going to pay for it, but sheesh ... LEAVE ME ALONE, YOU BASTARDS!
(Whew, that felt good.)
Oh yeah, that. You were wondering what that Amazon thing over there on the right is, eh? Well, I've decided to try their "Honor System" to collect any potential donations that anyone might want to make for their enjoyment of the 1,007 pages this website has to offer.
Since the Swag Shop has gone over like a lead balloon (I've only sold anything to one person that I do not already know personally, and to nobody since April), I had this silly idea that folks who enjoyed this site in some way -- found a link or had a laugh on Looka!, got a recipe and made a fabulous meal, found some cool music, located a great streaming radio station, etc. -- might just feel like voluntarily coughing up a buck or two.
My lofty goal is to come up with enough to pay my monthly server bills. Sure, we can do that! Y'all go! Woohoo!
Every man has his price. As someone who's been giving his stuff away for free, I applaud David Sedaris for asking someone to cough up:
Just because David Sedaris can do a killer Billie Holiday impression doesn't mean he's going to trot it out just for the asking. But for $50? Well, OK. Last Wednesday, June 13, at his noontime Stacey's reading, Sedaris -- who is promoting the already best-selling paperback version of Me Talk Pretty One Day -- busted out a tip jar to be passed around the audience. If anyone wanted "books by other authors or towels" signed, they could feel free to pony up.Ah, gives me fond memories of my own encounter with David Sedaris.
After reading his account of taking the Mensa IQ test and a work-in-progress about being stuck at the Boston airport with a woman who begins challenging the airline's "act of God" defense, an author Q&A session ensued. When asked for the Billie impersonation, he named his price. Only a few seconds passed before a woman dug into her handbag, pulled out three twenties, helped herself to $10 change from the tip jar and Sedaris began singing -- and the Oscar Meyer theme song to boot.
Feebly abusive email of the day. C'mon, pal ... can't you do any better than this?
From: tobias mcconchie <firstname.lastname@example.org>Um, sounds like da pot callin' da kettle black dere, bra. (And for the record, my mum doesn't. 'Bout half a glass of wine is her limit, then it's off to sleep.)
Date: Tue, 19 Jun 2001 21:11:39 +1000
Subject: The dating of absinth!
Your mum smokes crack!!!!
Monday, June 18, 2001
All the news Microsoft sees fit to print. MSNBC have been caught doctoring copy originating from the Wall Street Journal to make it more favorable to the news channel's co-owner Microsoft.
The original WSJ report gave a harsh analysis of Microsoft' offensive against open source software and the GNU General Public License, initiated six weeks ago by Craig Mundie. The WSJ cited Microsoft's own dependence on open source software, and cited lawyers who were critical of its interpretation of the General Public License.Has it gotten to the point where we will only be able to trust news that comes from completely independent sources?
[Among several examples of the alterations was:]
"Microsoft said that since last summer, Hotmail has been running on both Windows 2000 and the Solaris operating system from Sun Microsystems Inc.," noted the original copy from the WSJ.
MSNBC amended this to:
"Microsoft said Hotmail has been running on Windows since last summer."
Into the Olympics by 2012! Finally, a sport that I think I can get behind. Moreover, it can be both a summer and winter sport! Take a deep breath, and get ready for ... extreme ironing.
Not just for Easter anymore. Finally, a strategy wargame that I think I can get behind. You finally get to devour your enemy. Take adeep breath, and get ready for ... Peep War.
Saturday, June 16, 2001
Happy Bloomsday! So what're you going to do today? Dublin pub crawl? Retracing the steps of the characters? Just drinking? Or are you actually going to attempt to read Ulysses again, this time to the end? (I gave up quite a while ago.)
Friday, June 15, 2001
McPhrases. The McDonald's Corporation has trademarked (among many others) the following phrases:
Black History Makers of TomorrowCocktail of the day. Though I think this is still going to be too "ginny" for me ("You're just a wimp," my friend Louise's voice says inside my head), it may be of interest to some of you. It was the drink of choice for Travis McGee, grizzled hero of 21 John D. MacDonald pulp detective novels (and specifically referred to in Pale Grey for Guilt). Thanks once again to Chris Viljoen for the contribution.
Changing the Face of the World
(like bringing artery-clogging fast food to the Third World?)
Did Somebody Say...
Good Jobs for Good People
(ahh, living the life of Riley on minimum wage)
(y'know, when I think gospel, I think McDonald's)
Grönteburger (hmm, wonder what this is)
Hey, It Could Happen!
Immunize for Healthy Lives
(do they immunize against obesity and atherosclerosis?)
Lifting Kids to a Better Tomorrow
(as obese McDonald's consumers who won't know fresh vegetables, no doubt!)
We Love to See You Smile
(I hope Randy Newman gets royalties for this one)
...and about a million words with "Mc" affixed to the front.
The McGeeI drink gin, dammit! Gin and tonic, Preview, Clover Club, Gin and Sin! But I guess I'll forever be a wimp if I don't drink gin martinis. Oh well. Some of us are doomed to wimpdom, I guess.
An old-fashioned glass 2/3 full of ice cubes.
Add a good splash of Dry Sack sherry and strain it out.
Fill to the ice level with gin (he used Plymouth).
Rub a piece of lemon peel around the edge of the glass and
squeeze a few drops of oil from the peel over the ice.
Love the sinner ... hate their clothes! Mrs. Betty Bowers (who is a better Christian than YOU!) presents Laura Bush's Guide to Republican Glamour!
Quotes of the day. My my ... where shall I begin?
"We spent a lot of time talking about Africa, as we should. Africa is a nation that suffers from incredible disease."
-- George W. Bush, Goteborg, Sweden, June 14, 2001. (Africa is in fact a continent, consisting of over 50 nations.)
"Europe ought not to fear -- I mean Russia ought not to fear a Europe -- Russia ought to welcome an expanded Europe on her border."
-- George W. Bush, Goteborg, Sweden, June 14, 2001. Resassuring Putin, was he?
"[Bush is] an uneducated, fumbling politician with views dangerous for the world."
-- Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet, June 14, 2001.
Thursday, June 14, 2001
So much for a Democratically-controlled Senate. The United States Senate passed an amendment written by the vile Jesse Helms withholding federeal funds from school districts that deny use of their facilities to the Boy Scouts because of the organization's anti-gay policies.
This is despicable and wrong on so many levels, but let's start with how the Republicans, who decry government interference in local matters, are now federally dictating whom local schools may and may not allow to use their own facilities.
My loathing for the Republican Party in general and Jesse Helms in particular seems to get a recharge almost daily.
America's finest news source. The Onion is in rare form today, first with a headline article proving that the death penalty works like a charm:
Everything Better Now In Oklahoma CityThe other top headline reveals more raging religious uproar over a painting -- Miguel Nunez, a Brooklyn-based artist, has sparked protest and outrage in the art community with his "Jesus Rising #4", a non-controversial, non-feces-smeared painting that in no way defiles or blasphemes Jesus Christ.
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK-- Timothy McVeigh's death by lethal injection Monday has made everything perfect in Oklahoma City, his 168 victims' loved ones describing themselves as feeling "100 percent better." "I just know my baby girl is up there in heaven, smiling down on this execution, happy as can be," said a beaming George Browne, whose 7-year-old daughter Brianna died in the 1995 federal-building blast. "Her death is avenged, and everything's great." Said Oklahoma City schoolteacher Sherrie Olsacher, 37, who was blinded in the bombing: "You can't imagine how healing this is. My eyesight's even returned." Moments after McVeigh was pronounced dead, 168 white doves were seen soaring over the city, racing toward a suddenly cloudless horizon that beckoned the dawn of a glorious new day.
Starvin' For Justice. Steve Earle, one of my favorite musicians and songwriters, has long been an opponent of the death penalty. Here's some music from a benefit concert Steve gave in June of 2000 in front of the U. S. Supreme Court (MP3 format), plus an interview with Steve about his work against the death penalty.
Terrible tax cut. Molly Ivins, one of my favorite columnists, rings in:
Boy, does this have a familiar ring. George W. Bush comes up with a terrible idea, and by the time it becomes law it's such a hopeless hash you can't even tell what it was supposed to do in the first place. That's the governor I know -- ask us in Texas about charter schools, ending social promotion and other dandy Bush schemes.
The Bush tax cut, centerpiece of his presidential campaign and signature issue, is so bad Jane Bryant Quinn, the business columnist who is not normally given to overexcitement, calls it "a contemptible piece of consumer fraud." Time magazine's headline is "Stupid Tax Tricks." And the best the people who voted for it can say is, "Don't worry, we'll take it all back."
Congress is getting most of the blame for this mish-mash, but it has the unmistakable Bush hallmark -- loyal legislative minions try to carry out one of Bush's unworkable ideas and in the process create a disaster. The problem with Bush's tax cut, in addition to its basic unfairness, is simply that it was disingenuous and dishonest to begin with. By back-loading a 10-year plan -- i.e., phasing it in so that most of the actual tax relief doesn't appear for years -- Bush was able to hide the true cost of the thing, which is now estimated at $4 trillion when it takes full effect.
That is, frankly, nuts.
Wednesday, June 13, 2001
Email of the day. A while back, I had a run-in with one of those censorware programs. I discovered that I was listed in their "blocked sites" database as being a sexually explicit (!) web site. Finally, one of them wrote me back to "reassure" me that I was in fact only in their database of "entertainment" sites that employers can filter out to keep their wastrel loser employees from goofing off all day at work.
The horrible taint of my initial accusation lingers, however; my name sullied, my reputation besmirched! Slutmeister! Pornmonger! And it's all my own damned fault too, according to today's missive from a Nun of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence:
Obviously, Chuck, the problem on your page is that you refer to "chicken breasts". This is clearly something that would ravage the innocence of young people likely to be interested in cooking. I suggest you refer to them in future as:No doubt my recipe for "boudin balls" is suspect as well. No matter. I'll sanitize the entire site so that nary a nun would come close to being offended. From now every reference to "chicken breasts" will be changed to "chicken bazooms", and all will be well.
1. chicken chestsOr better yet, cut out the filth! Stick with prawn balls in future!
2. chicken bosoms
3. chicken mammary glands
4. chicken boobies
5. chicken jugs
6. chicken hooters
7. chicken knockers
8. chicken titties
Sister Maria Theresa de Carmelita, Nun of the Order of Perpetual Indulgence
(Can I just squeal for a moment? I got mail from one of the Sisters! Yay!)
Don't ever takes sides with anyone against the Family again. Ever. Wonder of wonders, miracle of miracles ... October 9, 2001 is The Big day. Paramount Home Video will be releasing a five-DVD boxed set of "The Godfather" trilogy, with a commentary by Francis Coppola on every movie and including an extra disc with three hours of extras.
I ... can't ... WAIT!!!!
Unfortunately, a lot of little whiny bastards are bitching about it already, for a lot of really stupid reasons. Me, I'll get it in a SECOND. As for the whiners, I'll make them an offer they can't refuse: shut up, or you'll sleep with the fishes.
Twit-like wit and malapropian fluency. Mark Crispin Miller has written a new book about our beloved (*hack up hairball*) President-select entitled The Bush Dyslexicon: The Sayings of President Dubya. A few excerpts from an interview with the author:
It may sound grandiose, but my purpose was to help inspire the scattered and demoralized opposition to the Bush cabal, which was un-democratically installed and whose aims are wholly, dangerously anti-democratic. I try to do this mainly by reminding readers of George W. Bush's absolute unfitness for the presidency -- a fact that television always made quite clear to most of us (including many Bush supporters), even as "the liberal media" worked hard to play it down.Eat lead, Ratboy. Some people have way, way too much time on their hands.
Q: What's the biggest misperception the public has of Dubya?
That he's a moron -- and a benign moron at that. Although Bush is indeed illiterate, bone-ignorant and generally illogical, he's not a cretin. At the nastier kind of politics, he is extraordinarily shrewd. In this he is a lot like Richard Nixon, who, as I argue, is his spiritual father. Bush only benefits from his wide comic reputation as a genial idiot (he's neither genial nor an idiot). So we "misunderestimate" him at our peril.
Tuesday, June 12, 2001
Warning! Warning! Virus alert! Emails warning of a horrible new computer virus are circulating everywhere! The virus appears on your hard drive as a file called "AOL.exe". If you have this file on your computer, you must delete it immediately! Otherwise your computer will be infected with non-standards compliant email, filtered content and worse!
(By the way, never ever forward me a virus warning or a joke. I'm afraid I'd be forced to remove your head.)
Why am I only finding about this now? And why has this seemingly been underreported? The Bush administration have given $43 million to the Taliban, because they have declared that opium growing is "against the will of God", and are therefore "partners" in the War on Drugs.
Enslave your girls and women, harbor anti-U.S. terrorists and destroy every vestige of civilization in your homeland, and the Bush administration will embrace you. All that matters is that you line up as an ally in the drug war, the only international cause that this nation still takes seriously.My Bug is, once again, my friend. I'm just a little annoyed with its Makers.
Never mind that Osama bin Laden still operates the leading anti-American terror operation from his base in Afghanistan, from which, among other crimes, he launched two bloody attacks on American embassies in Africa in 1998.
At no point in modern history have women and girls been more systematically abused than in Afghanistan, where in the name of madness masquerading as Islam, the government in Kabul obliterates their fundamental human rights. Women may not appear in public without being covered from head to toe with the oppressive shroud called the burkha, and they may not leave the house without being accompanied by a male family member. They've not been permitted to attend school or be treated by male doctors, yet women have been banned from practicing medicine or any profession for that matter.
The lot of males is better if they blindly accept the laws of an extreme religious theocracy that prescribes strict rules governing all behavior, from a ban on shaving to what crops may be grown. It is this last power that has captured the enthusiasm of the Bush White House.
I used my new battery to jump-start the car last Saturday morning, drove to the VW dealership, whereupon the very nice man said it'd cost me $40 worth of his mechanic's time to swap the new battery for the old one. He also kindly informed me that if it had only gone on the fritz before March 3 (when my 2-year bumper-to-bumper warranty expired), he'd have given me a new battery plus labor for free. Sigh.
I watched the guy work. It took him almost exactly a half-hour to get it all done. I dread having any major engine work done on this thing. So far so good; the only trouble it's given me has been with the battery, and my new one is powerful and maintenance-free. *cross fingers*
Monday, June 11, 2001
Peas in a pod. America Online have inked a deal with a company in the People's Republic of China to replicate the online service in that country.
Given the online service's Draconian "Terms of Service" and history of censorship, it sounds like they're the perfect service for the current Chinese regime.
Friday, June 8, 2001
Bug? Insect. After almost two and a half years of pure enjoyment, I've finally found something to annoy me about my VW New Beetle.
In attempting to swap out a dead battery, I found that it was next to impossible to get the old battery out. Even after maneuvering my hands in the too-tight confines of the engine compartment to disconnect it, the battery wouldn't even budge. I called the service department of my nearest VW dealer, and Earl the Mechanic told me that in order to get the battery out I'd need a special tool, a 13mm socket wrench or screwdriver with a long (at least 12") extension. Even then, I might have to drain the power steering fluid and remove the fluid reservoir to get it out. "Actually, that engine compartment is so small and tightly packed that it takes an experienced mechanic at least a half an hour to change a battery," he said.
Ghouls, the lot of them! Since I saw a direct link to it via NTK and didn't actually see it in context somewhere, I can't really tell if this 250x250 pixel banner ad is for real, or if it's something from HBO's "Six Feet Under".
Speaking of ghouls, under no circumstances will I ever let a mortician lay a finger on my after I shuffle off this mortal coil. Take all of my usable organs, put them in other people, and burn the rest up immediately. Fertilize a garden with me.
Wednesday, June 6, 2001
Go to jail, go directly to jail. That means you, Jeb and Kathy. It'll probably never happen, given that this is not the best of all possible worlds. Wouldn't it be nice, though?
If ever I wanted to see a smoking gun, it'd be for this. Greg Palast reports from mediachannel.org:
Here's how the president of the United States was elected: In the months leading up to the November balloting, Florida Governor Jeb Bush and his Secretary of State, Katherine Harris, ordered local elections supervisors to purge 64,000 voters from voter lists on the grounds that they were felons who were not entitled to vote in Florida. As it turns out, these voters weren't felons, or at least, only a very few were. However, the voters on this "scrub list" were, notably, African-American (about 54 percent), while most of the others wrongly barred from voting were white and Hispanic Democrats.It gets worse. Read it. Be angry. And under no circumstances listen to anyone who rolls his or eyes at you and tells you to "just give up and move on".
Beginning in November, this extraordinary news ran, as it should, on Page 1 of the country's leading paper. Unfortunately, it was in the wrong country: Britain. In the United States, it ran on page zero -- that is, the story was not covered on the news pages. The theft of the presidential race in Florida also was given big television network coverage. But again, it was on the wrong continent: on BBC television, London.
WWJD? Betty Bowers (who's a better Christian than YOU!) offers, "What Would Jenna Drink? -- Laura Bush's Guide to Raising Christian Ladies. How to raise Christian, Republican Young Ladies -- when you only have 20 minutes and two shot-glasses!"
"Oh please" quote of the day. "... When I sat in the screening, and there was a big laugh at some line where I said, 'Don't trust the government. I know those people'. It was a shock to me."
-- David Duchovny, on his new film "Evolution", in today's Los Angeles Times
Tuesday, June 5, 2001
So long, John. Fiddler, banjo player, singer John Hartford passed away last night. It was a big loss not only to his family but to American music -- old-time, traditional and bluegrass. If you'd like an introduction to his music, you probably couldn't do any better than last year's wonderful release, "Live from Mountain Stage". If you have any interest in American music at all, go get it.
Feed me, Seymour! At the University of Wisconsin, they're growing something that's interestingly named Amorphophallus titanum, which is the world's largest flower, which as of today is up to 97 inches. The page has a webcam that refreshes the view every 45 seconds, so keep an eye out for when it blooms. If it suddenly starts to sing and demands food, have fun watching all the people around it start hauling ass.
Actually, when it does bloom, it'll emit a staggering stench not unlike that of rotting meat, so the crowd might well back off anyway.
There's another site with more information and some amazing pictures, including an animated gif of one coming into full bloom as a fully erect amorphophallus, and then becoming flaccid afterward.
Monday, June 4, 2001
A slice of ice. It's lookin' really, really good.
I eat veal. In fact, I love veal. If you don't wish to eat veal for whatever reason, that's fine (just don't give me any crap about it). However, if you're going on animal rights activist propaganda showing those same two or three pictures of some abused baby cow, you might want to learn a little bit about how it's really done.
Today's New Orleans Menu Daily features an article about veal (beloved by New Orleanian diners), and includes two links about today's veal-producing standards, considerably higher than when the propaganda videos were made 20 years ago.
Mmmmm, veal saltimbocca, veal chop Tchoupitoulas ...
From today's Menu Daily, here's a simple but great recipe for veal. It's easy to cook at home, so don't be daunted.
THE SIMPLEST VEAL, and going from there.The critic as unperson. No, Big Brother didn't have anything to do with a certain film critic being an unperson. He just never existed to begin with. Turns out that film critic "David Manning", who issued bubbling blurbs for several really crappy Sony movies, was fabricated by the studio.
More than a few chefs say the best way to handle white veal medallions is the simplest: quickly sauteed with butter, with a sauce built from the pan juices and a little white wine and lemon juice.
This dish is so easy that I wonder why more people don't try it. The only trick is to be sure that the veal you buy is very pale pink in color, and is cut across the grain. (Veal cut with the grain appears to have fibrous streaks and will be very tough.)
Once the sauce is cooked down, you can add mushrooms and artichokes to give a vert different and delightful dish.
1 cup flour
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. white pepper
1 lb. baby veal medallions, cut into 2-oz. scallops
1/2 stick butter
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 Tbs. lemon juice, strained
Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1. Blend the flour, salt and pepper. Dust (don't dredge) the veal scallops with the seasoned flour.
2. Heat 2 Tbs. of the butter in a heavy skillet until it bubbles. In two or three batches (depending on the size of your skillet' don't overlap the veal), saute the veal scallops on both sides until lightly browned. This takes less than a minute. Add butter to the pan, 1 Tbs. at a time, if necessary.
3. Remove the veal scallops and keep warm. When all are cooked, add the wine and the lemon juice to the pan and bring to a boil. Whisk the bottom of the pan to dislodge browned bits and dissolve pan juices. Optional: At this point, you can add sliced fresh mushrooms and artichoke hearts for a tangier dish.
4. Reduce the liquid in the pan by about half. Remove from the heat and whisk in the remaining butter a little at a time, to make a creamy- looking sauce.
5. Serve two or three pieces of veal per person, and nap with some of the sauce, capers, and chopped parsley. The best side dish for this in my opinion is rice, especially if cooked in a bit of stock with herbs.
Serves four to six.
Makes me wonder if Kevin Thomas at the Los Angeles Times is a real person, too. He's effusively praised some of the worst movies I've ever seen.
XI. Thou shalt not have fun. Two self-described "Christian guerrillas" (who were described by the SF Gate's Morning Fix as "a couple of terrified sexless homophobic white people on Zoloft possessing hidden videocameras and far too much free time") secretly infiltrated Gay Days at Walt Disney World and, with the stealthiness and determination of moles for MI5, videotaped thousands of gay men doing horrible, anti-family things like riding Space Mountain, eating hot dogs, laughing, generally enjoying themselves and (gasp) dancing.
The justifiably bewildered founder of the event, which has been nothing more than a bunch of guys' annual fun during at Disney World for the last 11 years, said,
"I really just want to know why they're so intent on doing this that they would go to extremes to ruin someone else's vacation."
Friday, June 1, 2001
Oil spill? Dump some Olestra on it! Apparently Procter and Gamble are disappointed with sales of their icky no-fat fat substitute Olestra (seems that people just can't get around those "abdominal cramping", "loose stools" and "anal leakage" issues). They're now considering re-tooling their Olestra plant to make a product that can be used for environmental cleanups.
That's a far better use, if you ask me. Ever tried any of those "Wow!" potato chips? Out of curiosity I bought a little bag of them a while back, and they left the roof of my mouth coated with Olestra residue, as if I had eaten a bag of shortening. Ick ick ick.
"I think that I shall never see / a head of state as dumb as thee." (Okay, so I'm no Joyce Kilmer!)
Who knew that the Acting President was such a poet? Well, maybe with a little help. This is a poem made up entirely of actual quotations from George W. Bush, which have been arranged, only for aesthetic purposes, by Washington Post writer Richard Thompson in honor of National Poetry Month. Thanks to my pal Dave Teal for sending it along.
MAKE THE PIE HIGHERThat's ... *sniff* ... beautiful, just beautiful. *dab eyes* ... Oh Gawd, I'm all verklempt ...
by George W. Bush
I think we all agree, the past is over.
This is still a dangerous world.
It's a world of madmen and uncertainty
And potential mental losses.
Rarely is the question asked
Is our children learning?
Will the highways of the internet
Become more few?
How many hands have I shaked?
They misunderestimate me.
I am a pitbull on the pantleg of opportunity.
I know that the human being
And the fish can coexist.
Families is where our nation finds hope,
Where our wings take dream.
Put food on your family!
Knock down the tollbooth!
Make the pie higher! Make the pie higher!
May Looka! entries have been permanently archived.
Several of my friends and loved ones (and a few kind strangers) contribute regularly to this weblog. Thanks to Wesly Moore, Mike Luquet, Steve Gardner, Steve Kelley, Barry Kelley, Tom Krueger, Eric Labow, Michael Pemberton, Greg Beron and Andy Senasac.
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