Icer Air Ski Jump

Well, the snow fell out of trucks–200 tons worth–and onto the streets of Pacific Heights. The hotly debated and twice cancelled Icer Air 2005 event is happening today. The event is a promotional ski-jump competition happening on a two-block man-made run of snow down the hill on Fillmore street between Broadway and Green streets. Ten top snowboarders and ten top skiers will compete in the event for over $100,000 in cash and prizes. Marin County native and Olympic Gold Medalist Jonny Moseley will be the host of the event. I wish I were in The City today to check out the event for myself, but I’ll have to settle for some video on the evening news. Be sure to check out the rest of the pictures from the story.

I am not really sure how I missed this bit of news from a few weeks ago, here’s the excerpt:

Petronela Brandus, 24, has become the latest “body cavity phone blagger” to have her collar felt after police stopped the suspected thief as she got off a bus in Iasi. Passengers had apparently seen the 24-year-old lift the device, but cops could find no trace of it.

In the time-honoured fashion, they then rang the number and heard the tell-tale sound of internal phone action. In this case, however, Brandus had not gone for the relatively-simple vaginal option, but rather the less convenient back passage route.

Why not turn off the phone? Well, apparently almost everyone in Europe uses PINs to lock their phones on power-up. If the thief had turned the phone off she wouldn’t have been able to use it. Surely putting it on vibrate should have been an option for her.

Either way though, the cops would have probably “felt” the vibration. However, the most impressive part of the story is that the phone’s owner accepted the phone back after it was “sprayed with disinfectant.” No way! After being in someone’s “back passage” they can keep it.

iPod Minis and TR-1s

The Regency TR-1 transistor radio, made in 1954, was the world’s first commercially sold transistor pocket radio. The similarities to the iPod Mini in form are striking, it even came in a variety of colors! The TR-1’s triple-action marketing slogan, “See it! Hear it! Get it!”, is also remarkably similar to Apple’s “Rip, Mix, Burn.” Did Apple get the look and slogan for the iPod Mini from the TR-1 or is it simply coincidence? You decide.

iPod nano

The iPod nano has an amazing design aesthetic that makes everyone want one. Add to that Steve Jobs and Company’s ubiquitous marketing machine and you have a product that transcends pop culture itself. iPod has changed pop culture, and iPod nano may have the ability to redefine it. Do you have nano fever yet?.

I just bought an iPod Photo that has over 60GB of storage and know that I don’t need the nano, but I still want one. And I am not alone. I saw a man in his fifties at the gym proudly showing off his new nano, while holding a full-size iPod in his other hand, to another man who was about the same age. I must admit, I was a little jealous. When you see a grandfather with a nano and you still think it’s cool that says something–either I am brainwashed or this device is truly the coolest thing on Earth.

I think I’ll be able to resist the temptation to get one, at least until larger ones come out. In a few years this will probably be the size and form factor of the 100GB model.

Mark Fiore has created a flash cartoon poking fun at America’s true religion: Petrotheism. It’s pure genius. Please watch this cartoon or lest the wrath of the gods be unleashed upon us all. Oh, and for goodness’ sake, please be sure to practice “that of which we shall not speak.”

Mama got an iPod earlier this year and has been telling me to get one, so I finally did. My new 60GB iPod Photo arrived yesterday and I must say that I am tired as hell. I was up late last night messing with it and fostering my new obsession: properly cataloging (including artist, album, composer, genre, and year) and collecting the artwork for all of the MP3s that we have downloaded from the Internet over the years. This is a daunting task as we have over 10GB of assorted MP3s.

After I finish with the assorted MP3s, I’ll start the same process for all of our ripped music, which is about another 50GB of songs. Mama was a rock music journalist and has ripped the majority of her music CDs, which total in the thousands. Yes, thousands of CDs. Needless to say there is a lot of music to catalog and collect artwork for so wish me luck. This is a long term project.

At the U.N. World Summit security council meeting today, George Bush wrote a note to Condoleezzzza Rice (the extra two z’s are for the nap she was taking) asking if it was possible to go to the bathroom. The photo of the note has the following caption:


U.S. President George W. Bush writes a note to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice during a Security Council meeting at the 2005 World Summit and 60th General Assembly of the United Nations in New York September 14, 2005. World leaders are exploring ways to revitalize the United Nations at a summit on Wednesday but their blueprint falls short of Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s vision of freedom from want, persecution and war.

Seems official enough, right? However, upon closer inspection of the note it reads, “I think I may need a bathroom break? Is it possible?” The President also appeared to be writing another sentence, but it was unclear what that may be. Okay, as the leader of the most powerful nation on Earth shouldn’t you plan ahead so you don’t have to go to the crapper in the middle of the most important meeting in the U.N. World Summit? He’s not even paying attention at this point!

Also, let’s say that Rice says it is not possible, does he just pee or crap his pants right there, where he sits. It’s unfortunate that he had to go, but to literally ask someone else is asinine. Bottom line, do you want the leader of the free world to ask someone else for permission to use the bathroom? He should have just stood up and gone, but then again it isn’t the first time that he should have just stood and gone. Remember the long arduous minutes after the 9/11 attacks? Loser.

Microsoft produced a spoof video in which Bill Gates and Napoleon Dynamite. go toe to toe. In the video, Napoleon Dynamite beats Bill Gates in a slapping match to become the head of the software giant. The video was shown at the Professional Developers Conference which is currently taking place in Los Angeles. I really would like to get my hands on a copy of this video. Hopefully someone will drop it on the net in the next few hours. Until then, I’ll end this post with my favorite scene in Napoleon Dynamite, where Napoleon goes to work at the chicken farm down the street from his house to make some extra cash:

Napoleon Dynamite: Do the chickens have large talons?
Farmer: Do they have what?
Napoleon Dynamite: Large talons.
Farmer: I don’t understand a word you just said.

Although the volume of sales has slowed, in the nine Bay Area counties the median home price continues to climb. Last month the median price for a home rose to $651,000, which is a 19 percent increase in the the median home price this time last year. Still, I’d like to quote the most poignant paragraph in the story:


If the market dynamics are changing, they may not be reflected in DataQuick’s monthly reports, which are based on filings with county recorders’ offices and include sales initiated 30 to 60 days prior.

The 4 percent slowdown is not a good sign, particularly if the data is from one to two months ago. As more people are inclined to sell due to the high prices, the supply will increase past the tipping point and prices are bound to fall, regardless as to the spin the realtors would have you believe. The party may be coming to an end–stay tuned.

A blackout in the city of Los Angeles that affected 2 million people today was caused by a utility worker’s error. Apparently a utility worker cut the wrong wire causing power surges and outages throughout the city. This happened just one day after video taped threat to Los Angeles from a Pakistani terrorist made the press so a lot of people were freaked out by the incident. I think it’s safe to say that the wire cutter is fired.

The world needs a Hello Kitty Fire Extinguisher, it’s for those “cute” fires. When you follow the link, read the comments on the page. One reader stated, “you’d die laughing if someone ran at you with [this], even if you were on fire…”

Security Checkpoing Toy

It’s fun to prentend to be an airport security tard, er, guard! Teach ’em to be afraid while they’re still young with this wonderful toy. Your tot will have hours upon hours of enjoyment in running plastic luggage through an x-ray machine that doesn’t even work, just like the real thing! And a hand scanner is also included to add an element of romance! What are you waiting for? Go on Amazon.com and buy one today!

I can’t believe that this toy actually exists, but it does and it really is available on Amazon.com. The Amazon page gives this safety information: “WARNING: Choking Hazard – Small parts. Not for children under 3 years.” I think what it should say is “WARNING: Children may experience temporary mental impairment while impersonating airport security. Long term emotional damage to children from the use of the product is not yet known.” Big ups to BoingBoing.net for the link.

Song Album Cover

The Legendary K.O. just put out a song called George Bush Don’t Care About Black People over the beat of Kanye West’s Goldigger track off the new Late Registration album. According to the FWMJ site, The song was supposedly produced by Kanye West and the words were written by Big Mon and Damien a/k/a Dem Knock-Out Boyz. Here’s the link to the MP3 (Windows Audio, 8.69MB).

In related news, the University of San Francisco African American Studies Program is doing a forum on Race, Class, and Hurricane Katrina this Monday night, September 12th, between 4:00PM and 6:00PM in the Atrium of Gleeson Library. The two contrasting quotes that will be analyzed during the event are Kanye West’s quote, which is the song’s namesake, and Condoleeza Rice’s quote, “I don’t believe for a minute anybody allowed people to suffer because they are African-Americans. I just don’t believe it for a minute.” Belie’e dat, bitch!

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Richard Hatch, the winner of the first Survivor, was indicted today on federal tax evasion and fraud charges today and could face up to 75 years in prison should he be found guilty of all charges. Hatch faces 10 charges, including tax evasion, filing a false tax return, wire fraud, bank fraud and mail fraud. the U.S. Attorney claims that Hatch did not pay taxes on his “Survivor” prize money, income from a radio show and rental income. The Newport resident also allegedly used donations to his charity, Horizon Bound, to cover personal expenses.

Only an idiot would not file taxes on the winnings of a nationally televised game show whose finale was watched by over 50 million people, including the IRS. Did he think that he would simply get away with it? CBS surely reported the pay out to the IRS, and granted, it took them a couple of years to catch up with him, but they weren’t going to forget this guy. The IRS wasn’t laughing after the negotiations for settlement fell through either. Now it’s payback time.

Mike Myers and Kanye West

You’ve probably already heard about this. During a Katrina benefit concert which aired on September 2nd, Mike Myers and Kanye West went on the air to talk about the fact that many in New Orleans were homeless and in need of help. Myers starts by reading off the script then passes it to West. As Kanye West starts talking it is clear that he is nervous and not as calm and collected as he normally is and a few moments later you realize he’s not reading from the script. West eventually ends his rant with “they’ve given them permission to go down and shoot us.”

Myers is a little shaken, but goes back to reading from the script, he then passes it back to West a second time. Immediately Kanye West looks deadpan into the camera and states, “George Bush doesn’t care about black people.” Mike Myers then looks at West with a look of dread and then calmly looks into the camera and says, “Please call…” Oh the comedy! One because Kanye West said what many people were thinking. After all, it took five days before federal resources even reached New Orleans. And two because Mike Myers had no idea that the shit was going to hit the fan while he was on the air.

The Washington Post has a full transcript of the event, and here’s the video. If you haven’t seen it already, you have to check it out.

“What I’m hearing which is sort of scary is they all want to stay in Texas. Everyone is so overwhelmed by the hospitality. And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this–this (chuckles slightly) is working very well for them.”
— Barbara Bush referring to the evacuees in the Astrodome, Labor Day 2005

Wow, she definitely is the source of Dubya’s “compassionate conservatism.” Barbara Bush basically said that the conditions in a large shelter are better than where the poor black people were before the storm. Oh, okay, the people that have lost everything they own, barely escaped the disaster with their lives, lost a few loved ones, and are now hundreds of miles away from everything they knew are now better off trying to sleep on a cot in the middle of the Astrodome. She even audibly chuckles during the interview as she lauds about how good they have it. Nice.

With this crazy woman as his mother, is it any wonder that the President behaves like Alfred E. Newman. He is totally detached from his emotions because of her. His “what me worry?” attitude towards the disaster is indicative of the beatdown he suffered under the hands of this woman as a child. Mind you, this doesn’t excuse his incompetence, it simply explains it.

Last weekend, while the Gulf Coast was being pounded by Hurricane Katrina, Mama and I were in Lake Tahoe for a little rest and relaxation. With all the news regarding Katrina I almost forgot that I had taken these pictures.

Electric Dreams Poster

Electric Dreams was released in 1984, when the general public had not even seen a personal computer, let alone know exactly what a computer could do. This film could not have been filmed and released at any other time. So in that respect, the film is not timeless, but it reflects the culture and the fantastic perception of personal computers brought on by Apple’s legendary 1984 ads which ran literally months before this film was released.

Electric Dreams was produced and written by Rusty Lemorande, who would later produce Michael Jackson’s Captain Eo, a full length video that ran at Disneyland for many years during the 1980’s. Also it was directed by Steven Barron, the director for Michael Jackson’s Billie Jean video. It should be of no surprise then that music is a primary character in the film. The film has many musical montages, small video segments, without which it would only be about a half hour in length.

The film score was done by Giorgio Moroder and included songs by 1984 pop attractions like Culture Club, Heaven 17 and Jeff Lynne. Add a mixture of rock and classical music by Tchaikovsky and Bach and you have a unique score that represents the New Wave music of the early eighties.

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Jerry Rice announced his retirement from the NFL after 20 amazing seasons. He will be leaving the field with 38 NFL records, including the most career receptions (1,549), yards receiving (22,895) and touchdowns receiving (197). Rice says the he looks forward to the next phase of his life, which will surely include many rounds of golf. He also said, “There are opportunities out there. I’ll approach them like I did football, with determination and pride.”

Many of the dead in New Orleans will never be identified because they have decomposed too much to allow for visual identification and they may have lived alone. Additionally, many elderly couples died together, making identifying them difficult even by their next of kin. It’s sad to think that you could just vanish from the face of the Earth and not be remembered or identified by anyone, but for many that is their fate.

The mayor of New Orleans, Ray Nagin, described what is going on in his city late Thursday night on Air America Radio. The gripping interview has the mayor chastising all politicians and their inability to understand the magnitude of the disaster facing his city. He explained that the majority of the people in the city are just looking to survive and are not looters or gang members, as portrayed in newscasts. He said that there are a few “knuckleheads” looting and the rest are drug addicts looking for a fix to “take the edge off.” At the end of the interview, the mayor and the reporter both simply break down into tears.

Hurricane Victim Crying for Help

Disturbing images of thousands of Americans dehydrated, hungry and unable to escape New Orleans make me wonder whether the United Stated is doing everything it can to respond to New Orleans’ disaster. I mean, we can afford to spend $1 billion airlifting supplies to tsunami victims in southern Asia and tens, scratch that, hundreds of billions of dollars ferrying military supplies to Iraq to wage war, but we can’t supply water, food and medical supplies to tens of thousands of our own needy residents here.

Damn, is it because the most affected are poor black people? I wonder. I have seen the images on television and the large minority of people that need help are the ones that couldn’t afford to leave the city, and they are predominantly black. They must feel abandoned by the system and a government that could not, or chose not to, respond as quickly as possible. I am not supporting the anarchy, looting (except for food, water, and other necessities), the rapes and violence, and the gangs with guns that have taken over the city. However, I can understand how the victims may feel abandoned and dismissed by the little, or no help, they’ve received.

Think about what it must be like to be sitting on top of a roof or to be sitting in a shelter where it’s hot; where you’re worried about when you’re going to be picked up; you’re thirsty; you’re hungry; you’re not sleeping; you’re not showering; you’re homeless; you’re afraid for yourself, you’re afraid for members of your family. Hell, you may not even find some members of your family. The water that has you trapped there grows increasingly dirtier, smellier, deadlier–there are dead bodies, bacteria, and toxic chemicals in it. It’s been days since the catastrophe and everyone is desperate for help.

Please donate to the American Red Cross, every little bit helps. For more photos of the tragedy, goto Nola.com.

Everyone has seen the footage. Makes me feel a little helpless. Very hopeless. I did the little I could. I hope you do the same.

Donate to the American Red Cross.