Friday, February 24, 2006

Favorite media byte of the day

Regarding Ricky Williams: "Dispelling his reputation as an aloof, selfish pothead..."

(is "media byte" correct?)

not captured

the decay of a civilization; organic shapes of sun dapples on urban grime Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

"the Web site." Is that like "the internets"?

"You can get as accurate a story as possible from somebody who knew and understood hunting and then it would immediately go up to the wires and be posted on the Web site, which is the way it went out and I thought that was the right call," Mr. Cheney said.

from the New York Times

Cheney's history of bad decisions, drunken and otherwise

There is an excellent story at the Nation (also picked up by Yahoo) regarding the possibility that alcohol was consumed before the shooting, the history of the consequences of Cheney's drinking (leaving Yale, two drunk driving arrests), and the appearance that the Secret Service prevented the local sheriff's office from assessing Cheney's condition at the time of the shooting.

In other news (from the New York Times):
Ari Fleischer, [former white house press secretary], said Tuesday that he suspected the reason Mr. Cheney failed to say anything publicly was because he viewed the hunting trip and the accident as part of his private life, not his public one.
White House press secretary, Scott McClellan, suggested he was wearing an orange tie to avoid a stray shot from Vice President Dick Cheney
but unfortunately, possibly due to reasons Fleischer describes above, the Cheney staff hadn't told McClellan that Whittington, the victim of the shooting
was about to undergo a medical procedure on his heart because his injuries were more serious than earlier believed.
The victim also suffered a mild heart attack and was moved back into the ICU. So McClellan and the White House staff looked like insensitive morons. They would have tried to avoid that appearance if they had the information about Whittington's condition. Presumable they would have had that info if Cheney didn't act like he ran his own private country.

I might assume from an honorable person that something called an accident was an accident, even if carelessness and bad judgment contributed. However, I call this a shooting and not an accident. This is the man who lied to me, Congress and the country about the reasons for going to war. At the time I thought it was reasonable that there was intelligence that couldn't be shared with the public. Now, I do not accept any assertions of his for which the evidence is not fully disclosed and verified.

Mexican Wrestling

"lucha va voom" included trapeze dancing, masked wrestling, sharp-dressed comedian hosts, awesome male stripper in minimal drag hula-hooping while suspended by his hands, male stripper on a pogo horse, “the stripper whose ass goes pop” (her outfit was largely composed of bunches of balloons), wrestlers crashing into chairs in the first rows around the ring and throwing themselves out of the ring or off the stage in huge aerial moves. it was not especially smooth, there were many instances where the kayfabe (credibility of the story, suspension of belief) was broken. there was no midget throwing, in fact no midgets at all.

Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

vice-presidential firearms mishap analyst

Sounds like the Jon Stewart Show killed last night. The following was reported in the NYTimes.
On Monday night one of the show's correspondents, Rob Corddry, introduced as a "vice-presidential firearms mishap analyst," said that "according to the best intelligence available, there were quail hidden in the brush," and "everyone believed there were quail in the brush," and "while the quail turned out to be a 78-year-old man, even knowing that today, Mr. Cheney insists he would still have shot Mr. Whittington in the face."

Monday, February 13, 2006

Protocol for presidential shootings

Is there one? Has a president or vice-president shot someone before? Are you supposed to hand in your gun like cops do on TV? Is there any obligation to report it to the public?Is there an mandatory review? Did they ever call the cops? Is there a law in Texas requiring police involvement when one person shoots another?

I heard this morning that there is now controversy about whether police officers names will be released in the future by LA when there is a police-involved shooting.

In other news I feel like I've been drugged with some stimulant. I'm exceptionally grouchy and sensitive, some of my more lovely qualities.

A few answers (from the New York Times):

The local sheriff, Ramon Salinas III of Kenedy County, said the Secret Service called him shortly after the shooting occurred.

Sheriff Salinas said he sent his chief deputy, Gilbert Sanmiguel, to the Arm

strong Ranch that night. He said Mr. Sanmiguel interviewed Mr. Cheney and reported that the shooting was an accident.

The sheriff said Sunday that they had yet to speak to "the victim." "But you could say it's closed," Mr. Salinas said of the case...

There is no requirement to report nonfatal hunting accidents in Texas, said Lydia Saldana, the communications director for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

And more answers from another NYT article:
On July 11, 1804, Vice President Burr shot Alexander Hamilton in a duel in Weehawken, N.J. Hamilton died of his wounds the next day.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Fresh Dave Barry

I've been missing Dave Barry's weekly column terribly. Here is a newly written piece on the Turino Olympics. He also did a wonderful series on the Athens Olympics.

Paris, baby

I don't know why, but when I am asked for my city on an online form, Firefox suggests my real locale and Paris. It cheers me.

caltech women's basketball

i watched a quarter of a caltech women's basketball game yesterday. they were playing university of redlands. in case you're not familiar with caltech's athletics program, here is an article on men's b-ball to get you started.
  1. i did not see any black players on the court or on the bench. caltech's white problem is not news to me, but redlands' is.
  2. there was a guy in the caltech stands behind me (one of maybe 40 caltech family and friends) yelling at the referee. if you're a sports parent at caltech, a) it can only be frustrating and b) sports parents everywhere suck.
  3. for nine minutes, caltech didn't get one rebound, defensively or offensively. redlands got to shoot until they made a basket, and once caltech shot (and usually missed), redlands got the ball back. the redlands players were taller, faster, stronger.
  4. i cheered for every rebound made after that.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Nikki Giovanni

After a pathetically inactive day yesterday, I went to see Nikki Giovanni speak. She mostly talked about things on her mind: science, Coretta Scott King's funeral, books she's written recently, her mother and sister dying last year. But she also read a few of her poems. She was wonderful, incredibly inspiring for living out loud. One of the questions from the audience at the end of her talk was about her relationship with her son. She said she doesn't get along with him. She was unapologetic, and I found that remarkable because she talked a lot about our responsibility to our children and about the place of the church in the black community. Speaking of her son, she said she gave him the tools he needed to take care of himself. I admired the complexity of her thought. Of course, she may have been more hypocritical than complicated. Either way, I appreciated her candor.

There were more black people on campus than I had ever seen before. It was fantastic. There were probably 400 people there for the talk. I ran into P and we sat together. After the talk, we made plans to try to see some things from the Pan African film festival.

One of the things Dr. Giovanni said was that when she first met Martin Luther King Jr., in the mid 1950s, he was 26 years old. I found that surprising. He had so much gravitas. He was only 39 when he was killed.

Dr. Giovanni also read from her children's book on Rosa Parks. Being read to is one of the things I love, and this was no exception. Dr. Giovanni remarked that children's literature is folk literature. It is important to her because it helps give us a sense of our history.

She also talked for a while about the slave trade and the Middle Passage. She said that the majority of people enslaved in Africa were adolescents; older people were killed, in part because they would be able to carry the history and culture of their origins and therefore increase resistance to enslavement. It made me want to read more about that time.

Something else I loved about the talk was that it was filled with digressions. The digressions had digressions. Sometimes she spoke colloqually, and sometimes carefully, but always eloquently.Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Disco di Petri

That's the Italian translation of Petri Dish, according to the packaging.

Here's a link to Italian-to-English translations of "disco."


i wrote a sudoku solver. it took much more time than solving a number of sudoku puzzles, and i'm not even that interested in sudoku. but i've been meaning to bone up on python, and it was a fun exercise.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

ashes. snow. beauty. sentimentality

this is an exhibit of photographs and movies, shown in a structure built from cargo containers and (nice, white) tarps. the photographs are luscious and sepia-toned, printed on a muslin-like fabric. the lighting in the picture is wonderful. they have high contrast, often to the point of pixelating some parts of the picture. the pictures are of animals (e.g. elephants, leopards ) and people, artistically arranged. i loved the display environment. rough wooden walkways were built as if over a swamp, and the rest of the floor was covered with smooth rocks. the pictures exploited my favorite characteristics of black and white photography, the emphasis on light and shape. there was a picture of a young girl in profile with her head tiled up to the sky and elephants (as i tentatively recall) behind her. the orientation of her head gave an oddness to the lines in her ear which made her seem just as mysterious and foreign as the animals behind her.

at the end of the first section of photographs was a movie, which showed many of the same scenes as the photographs. it was here that the exhibit crossed into pretentious sentimentality. the movie featured women with various unusual animals in boats and standing in water. the animals climbed over the women, everyone moving languorously.

still, there were some images of stunning beauty. the images of raindrops causing concentric ripples on the river made a beautiful pattern, more so because of how the black and white film emphasized the contrast of the ripples in the water. i allowed my eyes to unfocus slightly and watched the geometric pattern fill the screen.

there were two more movies (one way too long) and another aisle of pictures. i reliably will watch elephants do nearly anything, and i enjoyed the elephant parts of the movies. at this point though, words were introduced, dragging the whole effort down with sonorous tone and patronizing perspective.

i contrast this work to andrew goldsworthy's. andrew goldsworthy’s subject is also beauty in the natural world, but in his case the aesthetic is the message. if the colbert show had included only the first 50 photographs, it would have been wonderful. instead, it seemed as if the artist felt the need to explain and embellish. i yearned for humor or self-awareness. Posted by Picasa