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Saturday 6 October 2001, 21:05 BST
Michele has now moved her excellent a fire inside weblog to a new URL: www.asmallvictory.net. Please update your bookmarks, and go and pay her a visit at her new home.
Wanna shag? [Via Haddock.org]
Flame-grilled employees! I'll remember this story next time I visit my local Burger King. [Via MetaFilter]
Justice Department: Break Up the Red Cross. Rapidly Growing Charity Behemoth Stifling Competition, Says DOJ.
Steven Vaughan-Nichols says corporations should ban Microsoft Outlook from their desktops now, before it plays a part in spreading yet another email worm. He's right, of course. [Via CamWorld]
Why not just give David Beckham his knighthood now, rather than bother with the formality of waiting until he's retired?
Friday 5 October 2001, 21:40 BST
Tim Hunkin's The Rudiments of Wisdom is now available to browse online. Why didn't anyone tell me about this? I used to love Hunkin's cartoon explanations of science and technology when they ran in the Observer when I was a youngster. Simply wonderful. [Via SeeThru Weblog]
The 2001 Ig Nobel Prize winners picked up their awards yesterday. My favourite was the Economics prize-winning entry:
Joel Slemrod, of the University of Michigan Business School, and Wojciech Kopczuk, of University of British Columbia, for their conclusion that people find a way to postpone their deaths if that that would qualify them for a lower rate on the inheritance tax.
[Via the null device]
Over at More a way of life...., a passing glance causes Jon to remember very different times.
Another round in the online advertising arms race is about to begin. [Via Krisalis]
Thursday 4 October 2001, 23:00 BST
After yesterday's film quotation-fest, today it's the turn of footballers:
'I definitely want Brooklyn to be christened, but I don't know into what religion yet.' - David Beckham

'I was surprised, but I always say nothing surprises me in football.' - Les Ferdinand
[Via Ponderous Ponderings]
Michele sums up the lasting impact of the Current Situation on herself and her family:
"I am not just sad. I am angry. I am terrifed. I am outcast. I have spoken my mind one too many times. I have displayed my thoughts instead of my flag and I have been lambasted for it. "They attacked our freedom," people say, and yes, they have. Because no longer do I feel free to say what I want, to voice dissent, to not cave in to mass patriotism. I'm sorry, but I cannot wrap myself in the comfort of a flag. Blind loyalty does not make me sleep any better at night. Kids coming home from public school singing "God Bless America" frightens me. Weren't we arguing about separation of church and state just a few months ago? Why is god welcome in your school now? Hypocrisy abounds. Revisionist patriotism rears its flag-studded head. My kids come home from school these days not asking me about science or spelling, but why kids in Afganhastan are raised with guns and why we haven't "bombed the hell out of Bin Laden" yet. That, dear friends, makes me cry. That this is the world my kids know. That they fear smallpox and anthrax and nuclear bombs."
Yahoo! versus Yahoo. I wondered what had happened to him. [Via web-goddess.co.uk]
Wednesday 3 October 2001, 22:00 BST
Wheeeeeeee! That looks like fun.
Colin's Movie Monologue Page. Lots of good stuff here, including this wonderful exchange from Planes, Trains and Automobiles between Steve Martin's tired, frustrated, downright furious Neal and a Car Rental Agent:
Car Rental Agent: Welcome to Marathon, may I help you?
Neal Page: Yes.
Car Rental Agent: How may I help you?
Neal: You can start by wiping that fucking dumbass smile off your rosy fucking cheeks. Then you can give me a fucking automobile. A fucking Datsun, a fucking Toyota, a fucking Mustang, a fucking Buick. Four fucking wheels and a seat!
Car Rental Agent: I really don't care for the way you're speaking to me.
Neal: And I REALLY don't care for the way your company left me in the middle of fucking nowhere with fucking keys to a fucking car that isn't fucking there. And I really didn't care to fucking walk down a fucking highway and across a fucking...runway to get back here to have you smile at my fucking face. I want a fucking car right...fucking...now!
Car Rental Agent: May I see your rental agreement?
Neal: (through gritted teeth) I threw it away.
Car Rental Agent: Oh boy.
Neal Page: Oh boy what?
Car Rental Agent: You're fucked.
Then again, this Michael Keaton piece from Tim Burton's Beetlejuice always tickles me (though admittedly some of the impact is in the delivery and the outlandish visuals):
Adam: What are your qualifications?
Betelgeuse: Ah. Well... I attended Juilliard... I'm a graduate of the Harvard business school. I travel quite extensively. I lived through the Black Plague and had a pretty good time during that. I've seen the (screaming at the top of his voice) EXORCIST ABOUT A HUNDRED AND SIXTY-SEVEN TIMES, AND IT KEEPS GETTING FUNNIER EVERY SINGLE TIME I SEE IT... NOT TO MENTION THE FACT THAT YOU'RE TALKING TO A DEAD GUY... NOW WHAT DO YOU THINK?!? You think I'm qualified?
On a more serious note, Alec Baldwin (who played "Adam" in Beetlejuice) has a memorable rant of his own in Malice:
Jed: No, no. Let them address me. It's about time I got to answer some questions here. The question is, "Do I have a God complex?" Which makes me wonder if this...lawyer, has any idea as to the kind of grades one must receive in college, to be accepted to a top medical school? Or if you have the vaguest clue about how talented someone must be to lead a surgical team? I have an M.D. from Harvard. I am board certified in cardiothoracic medicine and trauma surgery. I have been awarded citations from seven different medical boards in New England and I am never, ever sick at sea. So I ask you; when someone goes into that chapel and they fall on their knees and they pray to God that their wife doesn't miscarry or that their daughter doesn't bleed to death or that their mother doesn't suffer acute neural trauma from postoperative shock, who do you think they're praying to? Now you go ahead and read your bible Dennis -- and you go to your church and with any luck you might even win the annual raffle. But if you're looking for God, he was in operating room number two, on November 17, and he doesn't like being second guessed. You want to know if I have a God complex? Let me tell you something--I AM GOD, and this sideshow is over.
Anyway, I think you get the idea. [Via haddock.org]
A really, really good short article by Salman Rushdie on the Current Situation:
The fundamentalist believes that we believe in nothing. In his world-view, he has his absolute certainties, while we are sunk in sybaritic indulgences. To prove him wrong, we must first know that he is wrong. We must agree on what matters: kissing in public places, bacon sandwiches, disagreement, cutting-edge fashion, literature, generosity, water, a more equitable distribution of the world's resources, movies, music, freedom of thought, beauty, love. These will be our weapons. Not by making war but by the unafraid way we choose to live shall we defeat them.

How to defeat terrorism? Don't be terrorized. Don't let fear rule your life. Even if you are scared.
[Via lgf]
Take a look at the picture linked to in this posting. That's not something you see every day, is it? [Via blogjam]
Tuesday 2 October 2001, 22:25 BST
Which member of the Scooby Gang are you? It turns out I'm Willow, which was a bit of a surprise. I was sure I'd be Giles. [Via 13 Days From Monday]
Email was 30 years old yesterday.
Polish film posters. Check out the distinctly different interpretations of films like Capricorn One and After Hours. I quite like the posters for M.A.S.H. and The China Syndrome though.

I can't help noticing that a lot of these are for quite old films. I have a sneaking suspicion that in the post-Soviet, globalised era the posters deployed in Eastern Europe will be more generic and westernised. [Via I Love Everything]
Remember that I linked to some black humour about the WTC attack the other week? It looks as if that same guy gets around a bit. [Via a fire inside]
Monday 1 October 2001, 23:05 BST
Pupil sues school because she got a poor grade at A-Level in Latin.

Grant for the moment that there may be something to her (or rather, her parents') contention that there were mix-ups over the number of exams to be sat. Grant also that since this was a public school (note to US readers: that's what you'd call a "private" school, ie an educatonal institution attended by fee-paying pupils) the teaching staff aren't required to have the same teaching qualifications as their counterparts in the state sector, which may have led to the teacher being inexperienced and out of his depth. Even so, the idea that the school should cough up damages based in part on a highly speculative figure for loss of earnings is ludicrous. Claiming for loss of earnings is one thing if you're in a job and lose working time to injuries or illness, but speculating on the level of earnings lost had you got on the right course, then been invited to the right job interviews, then passed the assessment centres and then been employed at least four years down the line is justa tad much.

If the student is now reading for a degree then how she does in that course will count for far more than her A-Level results. Heck, she could have taken the time to re-sit the A-Level and deferred entry to her university course (or applied again a year later if the course she's now on isn't the one she'd have hoped for originally) if it was that big a deal.

Have the school refund at least a portion of the school fees if they admit that they made mistakes. Just don't ask me to believe that the figure of £150,000 the parents are seeking is anything more than a wild guess. [Via MetaFilter]
I knew the Hindenburg was a large airship, but I hadn't quite realised how big until I saw the illustration on this page. That's amazing. [Via 3 Bruces]
Ever wondered how flies and ants can crawl up vertical surfaces? Wonder no more. [Via Honeyguide]
The SexyMouse. Apparently the voluptuous shape was inspired by "Venus D'Milo" (sic). [Via my 2p]
Sunday 30 September 2001, 23:10 BST
David Grenier sees signs of hope in the reaction to the events of 11 September:
"[...]we all need to think about two images from September 11th. The first is the image of firefighters heroically putting themselves at risk to save the lives of their fellow human beings. The second is the image of Starbucks charging rescue workers (who paid out of their own pocket) $130 for bottled water to treat the victims of the attacks. We are a world at a crossroads. Which would you rather live in, a society of heroic firefighters, or a society of greedy Starbucks execs and their hapless employees?"
Passengers 10, Bus Driver 0. [Via plasticbag.org]
Man finds human penis in bottle of fruit punch. No comment necessary, I think. Except, perhaps, "Ewwwww!" [Via Davezilla]
The Top 10 Ugliest Couches in America. I dunno - some of these aren't so bad... [Via CamWorld]

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