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  xFriday, April 23, 2004

new at dam

My review of the shoujo manga Zodiac P.I. is now posted at Destroy All Monsters.


happy birthday, bard

william shakespeare

Today, April 23, is believed to be the birthday of William Shakespeare. In celebration, here's Sonnet XCIX, which celebrates both love and spring.

THE FORWARD violet thus did I chide
Sweet thief, whence didst thou steal thy sweet that smells,
If not from my love’s breath? The purple pride
Which on thy soft cheek for complexion dwells
In my love’s veins thou hast too grossly dy’d.
The lily I condemned for thy hand,
And buds of marjoram had stol’n thy hair;
The roses fearfully on thorns did stand,
One blushing shame, another white despair;
A third, nor red nor white, had stol’n of both,
And to his robbery had annex’d thy breath;
But, for his theft, in pride of all his growth
A vengeful canker eat him up to death.
More flowers I noted, yet I none could see
But sweet or colour it had stol’n from thee.

And here's an online edition (and another) of Shakespeare's works.

  xThursday, April 22, 2004


My lovely wife was picking up some necessities at Target -- including yet another 50-pack of blank CD-ROMs -- when she spied a copy of Silent Hill 3 (official Japanese site) for the PS2 on sale for a mere fifteen bucks. She bought it for me -- isn't she a sweetheart? Now, of course, i'll have to get down to brass tacks and finish the second installment of Konami's awesomely atmospheric survival horror game. (As a surprise bonus, the third game comes with the soundtrack CD -- very cool!)

I also received a copy of the Japanese horror/comedy High School Ghsothustlers, which I ordered last week. The DVD seems to be quite rare -- bupkus on Amazon and eBay, and even the publisher appears to be out of them -- so when I found a copy online I went ahead and bought it. I'll probably review it in October as part of Destroy All Monsters' annual Asian horror festival, but in the meantime, check out Cold Fusion Video's take.

There's also a batch of review materials to add to the pile of things I'm way behind on reviewing. One thing I'll be writing about soon is an advance copy of the first season of Samurai Jack. Although I've caught a bit of the series, I'd never sat down to watch it. The worse for me -- it's thunderously awesome. I'll have a review up soon at Destroy All Monsters, and of course I'll link it here.


your tax dollars at work

Compare and contrast: From this U.S. Treasury press release:
America has a choice: It can continue to grow the economy and create new jobs as the President's policies are doing; or it can raise taxes on American families and small businesses, hurting economic recovery and future job creation.

and this RNC memo:
America has a choice: It can continue to grow the economy and create new jobs as the President's polices are doing; or it can raise taxes on American families and small businesses, hurting economic recovery and future job creation.

Incontrovertible evidence that our tax doallrs are being used for cut-and-pasted GOP propaganda. It's a shame and a crime.

(via BoingBoing)
Meanwhile, Brad DeLong points out more political shenanigans at Treasury:
To me, the most interesting thing is the phrase "hardworking individuals and married couples." It is clear from the rest of the document that the draft that emerged from Treasury OTA [Office of Tax Analysis] and was sent to Treasury Public Affairs had a different phrase in those five places: "individuals and married couples with taxable incomes exceeding $200,000." (And note that if your taxable income exceeds $200,000, your AGI [Adjusted Gross Income] is in all likelihood on the order of $250,000 and your FEI [Family Economic Income] somewhere near $280,000.) Treasury Public Affairs took a look at the document and decided that the phrase "individuals and married couples with taxable incomes exceeding $200,000" could not stand--so few journalists covering the Treasury have taxable incomes over $200,000 that the piece would backfire. So they decided to change it to "hardworking individuals and married couples."

Speaking if the IRS, check out this article on how Republican-driven tax policy makes it easier for corporations and the wealthy patrons to get away with cheating, even as enforcement falls heavier on the lower classes. I've said it before: The label "Class warfare" belongs to those perpetrating it, not criticizing it.


that's shelf-ish of him

Jaquandor provides a glimpse of some of his bookshelves. He's also obliged his demanding readership by adding a mug shot to his blog.

Speaking of self-portraiture, Jaquandor links to some lovely photos by the lovely and talented Icelandic blogger Bara.


happy earth day

Today is Earth Day, so while Bush is off doing photo-ops designed to construct a media image appealing to the majority of voters who are concerned about the environment, it's well to take a moment and review his record. This quote (via Kevin Drum at the Washington Monthly) pretty much sums it up:
Phillips: “What's the biggest enforcement challenge right now when it comes to air pollution?”

Buckheit: “The Bush Administration. An opportunity to reduce pollution just as we saw in Tampa is being foregone.”

Phillips: “Are you saying this administration just doesn't care about air pollution?”

Buckheit: “Yes. I'm saying this administration has decided to put the economic interests of the coal fired power plants ahead of the public interests in reducing air pollution.”

Phillips: “That's a pretty serious allegation.”

Buckheit: “Well, I was the head of the air enforcement division up until a couple weeks ago and I watched it happen.”

The Democratic Party sums things up with this Flash animation.

  xWednesday, April 21, 2004

bush administration mendacity watch

Mark Kleiman sums up recent revelations from Bob Woodward's new book about Bush's march to war as "Two dynamite political issues and one impeachable offense."
1. The President told the Saudi Ambassador about our war plans two days before he told his Secretary of State. [link]

2. The Saudi Ambassador promised to knock down oil prices in time to help the President get re-elected. [link]

3. Money appropriated for Afghan reconstruction was instead used, without Congressional approval, for preparations for the war in Iraq. [link]

Atrios, meanwhile, is annoyed that the liberal lazy and incomeptent media can't get the story right on #2:
If Woodward's allegations about the Saudi Prince and oil prices are true, and given Scotty's non-denials today they clearly are, then the issue is not WOW BUSH STRUCK A DEAL TO LOWER OIL PRICES.

The deal is...


Personally, I'm most outraged about #3. There's no longer any doubt that Bush gave short shrift to the real fight against terrorism in order to get his war on in Iraq. I wonder if even the Republican-controlled Congress will sit still for having Bush pre-empt is funding prerogatives in such a deceptive and cynical way.



Planet Swank extends its deepest condolences to the families of victims of the horrible bombings today in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and in Basra, Iraq, where more than a dozen school children were among the fatalities. The horror inflicted by these odious acts of violence is absolutely unacceptable.

That said, there's been a lot of yap in the last year about how this terrorist bombing or that insurgent attack doesn't mean things are going badly in Iraq. Baloney! As the occupying power, it's the responsibility of the United States to provide security and ensure that such atrocities are not allowed to occur -- or at the very least, that their perpetrators are swiftly brought to justice. The fact that insurgents act with impugnity like this signals yet another failure of Administration policy.

A memo by a member of the US occupation administration recently cited in the Village Voice is a fascinating inside look at a situation that even its author -- a committed supporter of Bush Administration policy -- recognizes seems to be spiraling totally out of control.

Of course, these developments can't come as a surprise to anyone familiar with the reservations expressed during the first Gulf War -- including by several members of the current Administration (Colin Powell, I'm looking at you), and the plainly unrealistic expectations and lack of planning by this bunch during the runup to war.

The current grim situation is not surprise at all. It could have been predicted; it was predicted by experts within this very Administration. Of course, cautionary voices were hardly compatible with Bush's march to war, so they were shut out. Thus it's Bush who bears the responsibility for the mess in Iraq. Rejection at the polls come November is the absolute least he deserves.




Last Friday, my lovely wife and I got to go out on a rare outing. We joined our friends John and Angela at Bynum's Steakhouse on the south side of Indianapolis. Conversation and the meal were pleasant indeed, but the truly outstanding feature of the evening was that the New York Strip steak I enjoyed was truly the best steak I've ever had in my life. It was generously sized, yet tender and juicy, and cooked genuinely rare, with a red, cool center. It practially melted in my mouth.

It's funny, as I recalled the meal, that there isn't much room to make the trimmings on a steak dinner truly memorable. The baked potato and salad were both excellent, but those are fairly low bars. The salad had a pleasing variety of greens and a good dressing, and the potato was neither over- nor undercooked and was served with lots of yummy, fattening sour cream. Actually, Bynum's onion soup was excellent -- it was rich with beef broth, just salty enough, and not weighed down too heavily with cheese. And the chocolate cake for dessert was rich and delicious. But the simplicity of a steak dinner's traditional accompaniments focuses much of the attention, deservingly, on the main course.

Still, that steak was absolutely fabulous. I look forward to checking out another local steak house -- St. Elmo's downtown -- around my birthday. Until then, last Friday's New York Strip stands as the best steak I've ever had.

  xTuesday, April 20, 2004

reason #30,454,752 to love the internet

Khaaaaaan!!! Awesome!

(via MeFi)


zombie post of the day

Zombie Island is a Web-published serial novel by David Wellington of a zombie outbreak in New York. The story begins here.


asian food post of the day

Musashi tips us off that the Japanese restaurant chain Benihana posts its recipes on its Web site, including its yummy sauces. c00L!

I have some boneless chicken breast in the fridge that I've been pondering how to cook, and I may just try one of these recipes out. I doubt I'll do all the super fancy slicing and knife-juggling, though.

  xMonday, April 19, 2004

back from hiatus

I'd like to welcome Jaquandor of Byzantium's Shores back from a week-long hiatus.

I still hope to return from this minimally blogging semi-hiatus soon. I've collected tons of links and left comments on various blogs, but blogging from work is still a no-no, of course, and frankly, blogging from home -- while still a relatively high priority -- nevertheless tends to be the thing I cut when it gets late. Obviously, I just need to drink more coffee.


film technology post of the day

Three words: A $14 Steadi-Cam. c00L!

(via BoingBoing)


new at dam

My review of Greeting, the debut CD by jpop singer Nami Tamaki, is up at Destroy All Monsters.


it seems...

You are GODFREY UGO. You are the Chairman of the Contract Debt Investigation and Payment Commission for  the government of Nigeria.  You have $200 Million that you wish to give away 25%. Your business is 100% risk free.
Which Nigerian spammer are You?


(via Wirehed Magazine)

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