Sounds better than a junkie dolphin

William Gibson stands up for the Johnny Mnemonic that could have been:

I’ll tell you something you may not believe: Dolph Lungren can actually do *comedy*. I mean, like, who knew? But he can, and did, with great gusto. The nature of his character was anchored in a scene in his church (he’s the local Panawave-equivalent) in which he preaches, buck nekkid and skin-studded with creepy nano-gizmos, to a congragation of adoring female NAS victims. He delivers a bombastic, faux-Sterlingesque, literally balls-out *sermon* on the virtues of posthumanity. It came off sort of like Fabio as the Jesus you wouldn’t want to meet in a dark alley. It *rocked*. Hilarious. So Sony cut.

Sony told Gibson that they were afraid of offending the religious right (who do indeed strive to be scary-ass mutherfuckers). But it sounds like they had more justification to fear getting the extropians into a blood frenzy. Which means it’s really too bad there doesn’t seem to be a chance for getting this scene released. Extropians in a blood frenzy are almost as wacky as a naked aryan Jesus.


Hard America

Michael Barone writes in US News about Hard America and Soft America, suggesting that the squishy helpless 18 year olds oozing out of the gentle womb of public schools are trained to be the greatest fighting machine the world has ever seen due to the powerful forces of boot camp and McDonalds. No really. According to Barone, America was in danger of losing its hard, threatening to “go soft” but then (thank god) “In the 1980s and 1990s Hard America fought back.”

Right. Fought back. Well at least America got hard again, right?

As Matthew Yglesias points out, Barone has absolutely nothing to back up his “down with softie” argument except what I assume must be a very dog-earred copy of Lord of the Flies which he’s been cuddling since adolescence. The least he could do is be a little more honest about his zero-sum perversions. Especially now that America has openly declared a diplomatic policy of “there can be only one” (a statement of political philosophy which–not coincidentally–comes from the 80’s movie Highlander)

So it’s left to NWA to sum up Barone’s vague ideas and offer a more succinct example of “Hard America” fighting back:

With a right left, right left you’re toothless
And then you say goddamn they ruthless!
Everwhere we go they say [damn!]
N W A’s fuckin’ up tha program
And then you realize we don’t care
We don’t just say no, we to busy sayin’ yeah!
To drinkin’ straight out the eight bottle
Do I look like a mutha fuckin role model?
To a kid lookin’ up ta me
Life ain’t nothin but bitches and money.
Cause I’m tha type o’ nigga that’s built ta last
If ya fuck wit me I’ll put a foot in ya ass
See I don’t give a fuck ’cause I keep bailin
Yo, what the fuck are they yellin

Gangsta, Gangsta! That’s what they’re yellin
“It’s not about a salary, it’s all about reality”
Gangsta, Gangsta! That’s what they’re yellin
“Hopin you sophisticated motherfuckers hear what I have to say”


No, look at the floor

Charles Eicher at Disinfotainment has a wonderful story about and the fauna of LA’s Chinatown.

As we approached, I saw about 30 cats standing around the back of the store, yowling, scrambling around by a fence, keeping them from the dumpster which was overflowing with waste. I’d never seen anything like it. We tried to avoid that scene, I told my friend to peek in the front window. He looked through the grimy window and started screaming and freaking out. He asked me if it was always like this. I said, “what? It’s just some chickens in cages.”…

It ends in a scene of medieval warfare. Yeah, I know that feeling. But this sort of thing is more well-hidden these days. Hopefully, Yee Mee Loo’s is also just very well-hidden, but I fear that a bar this good must have met same fate as those poor chickens yearning to be free.


Marketing as Narrative

There’s an old conspiracy theory/secret history/urban legend narrativized in the form of a book catalog.

(Oh yeah, it’s true — disinfo has all the dirt on Ong’s Hat , if you’re sure you want to know. But that’s a whole other story. )

Using epiphenomenal commercial structures to create an ambient narrative through accretion. That was the genre used by Henry Raddick, star Amazon Reviewer, who became a famous [123] for being tangental in review comments. For example his take on the book God, Why Did Dad Lose His Job?

A truly wonderful guide which has enabled me to explain my recent sacking for vandalising company property to my children in terms of a minor act of redemption. First rate.

Stories told through marketing ephemera and graffiti. Stories told in the background through an accretion of evidence and seemingly random misdirection….


Statistics of a Drinky City

With renowned Bay Area modesty, the San Francisco Chronicle proclaims: “There are more well-read drinkers in San Francisco than anywhere else in the land.” [via boing boing]

They base this on Bureau of Labor Statistics data which ranks San Francisco highest in per capita spending on alcohol and books. Each resident there spent an average of:

$744 on booze and $266 on books, out of an annual income of $70,237. The average resident of Los Angeles, by comparison, spent only $412 and $148 for the same items, out of an annual income of $53,514.

That means a San Franciscan spent 1.1 percent of his money on booze. An Angeleno spent only 0.77 percent.

Bar owner Ed Moose of the bar North Beach bar “Moose’s” had these thoughts on the alcohol issue:

“All through history San Franciscans have been drinkers,” he said. “The Gold Rush, the lack of women, the boom and bust times, the devil-may-care attitude, all of that is here.”

Los Angeles is a more sober and a more sobering place, Moose said.

“Nobody drinks in public down there, nobody stays out after about 8 o’clock, ” he said. “Everyone pretends he has to get up early in the morning.”

(Obviously just a little projection going on in terms of people pretending to have a reason to get up in the morning….)

LA may be more sobering — in the 2000 census, 22.1% of the population were below the poverty line compared to 11.3% in SF. But sober seems like a strange accusation.

So then what valid facts might lie behind this statistical ranking? Several of the high spending booze cities do have good daytime drinking weather (SF, Portland, Seattle, New York) but Honolulu is number 3, so that interpretation gets skewed. The top five cities in per capita alcohol spending also have populations less than a million people, which seems odd. Citoes like Chicago, New York, and LA surely spill more liquor than the sleepy village by the Bay. All in all, these statistics seem to just indicate that things are kind of expensive in San Francisco. In which case Moose can be forgiven his irrational bias — you gotta keep your spirits up while dealing with such a tiny concentration of the wealthy-yet-unemployed.

So all this got me looking at demographic data on drinking, which the Feds have also helpfully supplied. The consumer expediture survey java-based public data querey generated the following charts of drinking expenditure based on education. The vertical axis is the average number of dollars spent on alcoholic beverages per year by a person with the corresponding degree.

high school diploma

bachelor’s degree

masters, PhD or professional degree

What does it all mean? The obvious data points:

  • Book lernin’ aside, in 1999 everybody partied like it was 1999.
  • More school = more money spent on drinks.

One interpretation is that people who go to college learn to drink more. Which is of course true. But these charts could also indicate that more college means more expensive drinks. Lacking solid empirical data on the cost-per-sippy of the expensively degreed, this loose end remains naggingly untied.

We also need to factor in the new New Economy and the massive layoffs that began around 2000-2001: people with a high school education and a presumably crappy job had a one year drop in drinking expenditures of about 10%. People with a graduate degree, presumably with a mediocre job which they abruptly lost along with their entire savings, had a major drop in booze expense — almost 25%.

This drop might be single-handedly accounted for by the patrons of Moose’s, one quarter of whom moved to Los Angeles en masse when they all lost their information architect gigs in SoMa, in spite of their master’s degrees. Most of these people are now stuffed into the once comfortable bars of LA, loudly complaining about how much this so-called city sucks and how hard it is to land a good commercial. What’s especially irritating is that they always take up an extra bar stool with their carpetbags, which are inevitably filled with copies of their sexy yet theoretically deep action-adventure-romance screenplays, “cause that’s what you do in LA.”

Call to them, Moose. Howl to them through the foggy night! Cause if they ever stop yelling into their cell phones about how cool the Mission used to be, maybe they’ll hear you and come home. And I’ll be able to get a bar stool again.

Meanwhile, people with just a bachelor’s degree appear to have spent a little more on alcohol over the 2000-2001 period. They are the Honolulu or the Portland of this data set? In either case, kudos!

Opening a souvenir can of fog whilst awaiting further testing…

Statistics of a Drinky City

With renowned Bay Area modesty, the San Francisco Chronicle proclaims: “There are more well-read drinkers in San Francisco than anywhere else in the land.” [via boing boing]

They base this on Bureau of Labor Statistics data which ranks San Francisco highest in per capita spending on alcohol and books. Each resident there spent an average of:

$744 on booze and $266 on books, out of an annual income of $70,237. The average resident of Los Angeles, by comparison, spent only $412 and $148 for the same items, out of an annual income of $53,514.

That means a San Franciscan spent 1.1 percent of his money on booze. An Angeleno spent only 0.77 percent.

Bar owner Ed Moose of the bar North Beach bar “Moose’s” had these thoughts on the alcohol issue:

“All through history San Franciscans have been drinkers,” he said. “The Gold Rush, the lack of women, the boom and bust times, the devil-may-care attitude, all of that is here.”

Los Angeles is a more sober and a more sobering place, Moose said.

“Nobody drinks in public down there, nobody stays out after about 8 o’clock, ” he said. “Everyone pretends he has to get up early in the morning.”

(Obviously just a little projection going on in terms of people pretending to have a reason to get up in the morning….)

LA may be more sobering — in the 2000 census, 22.1% of the population were below the poverty line compared to 11.3% in SF. But sober seems like a strange accusation.

So then what valid facts might lie behind this statistical ranking? Several of the high spending booze cities do have good daytime drinking weather (SF, Portland, Seattle, New York) but Honolulu is number 3, so that interpretation gets skewed. The top five cities in per capita alcohol spending also have populations less than a million people, which seems odd. Citoes like Chicago, New York, and LA surely spill more liquor than the sleepy village by the Bay. All in all, these statistics seem to just indicate that things are kind of expensive in San Francisco. In which case Moose can be forgiven his irrational bias — you gotta keep your spirits up while dealing with such a tiny concentration of the wealthy-yet-unemployed.

So all this got me looking at demographic data on drinking, which the Feds have also helpfully supplied. The consumer expediture survey java-based public data querey generated the following charts of drinking expenditure based on education. The vertical axis is the average number of dollars spent on alcoholic beverages per year by a person with the corresponding degree.

high school diploma

bachelor’s degree

masters, PhD or professional degree

What does it all mean? The obvious data points:

  • Book lernin’ aside, in 1999 everybody partied like it was 1999.
  • More school = more money spent on drinks.

One interpretation is that people who go to college learn to drink more. Which is of course true. But these charts could also indicate that more college means more expensive drinks. Lacking solid empirical data on the cost-per-sippy of the expensively degreed, this loose end remains naggingly untied.

We also need to factor in the new New Economy and the massive layoffs that began around 2000-2001: people with a high school education and a presumably crappy job had a one year drop in drinking expenditures of about 10%. People with a graduate degree, presumably with a mediocre job which they abruptly lost along with their entire savings, had a major drop in booze expense — almost 25%.

This drop might be single-handedly accounted for by the patrons of Moose’s, one quarter of whom moved to Los Angeles en masse when they all lost their information architect gigs in SoMa, in spite of their master’s degrees. Most of these people are now stuffed into the once comfortable bars of LA, loudly complaining about how much this so-called city sucks and how hard it is to land a good commercial. What’s especially irritating is that they always take up an extra bar stool with their carpetbags, which are inevitably filled with copies of their sexy yet theoretically deep action-adventure-romance screenplays, “cause that’s what you do in LA.”

Call to them, Moose. Howl to them through the foggy night! Cause if they ever stop yelling into their cell phones about how cool the Mission used to be, maybe they’ll hear you and come home. And I’ll be able to get a bar stool again.

Meanwhile, people with just a bachelor’s degree appear to have spent a little more on alcohol over the 2000-2001 period. They are the Honolulu or the Portland of this data set? In either case, kudos!

Opening a souvenir can of fog whilst awaiting further testing…

Boba

hey, you know what I only just realized?
Boba the Fett and boba the tasty tapioca-ball beverage.
Surely just one of those things…

Here’s an MP3 about the former.

Say my name is boba fett I know my shit is tight
Start not acting in right, you’re frozen in carbonite
Got telescopic sight, flame throwers on my wrist
You still don’t get the jist, spiked boots are made to kick
Targets are made to hit, you think I give a shit
Yer mama is a bitch, I see you in the sarlaac pit
You just flipped my switch integrity been dissed


Hot Pants

e-paper is almost here. Video screen clothing is apparently only a matter of refresh rate, so it won’t be long until clothes go live. [possible job description: fashion videographer?]

Bright abstracts will probably be in for a while, crawling anime slimemolds and the like. Nude scenes, obviously. Lots of nasty close ups. Maybe some animal skin? Plucked chicken. Lizard belly… And combined with tiny cameras, there’s always the old hole-in-the-body effect. Combine that with someone in the same get-up, and there’d be the seizure-inducing joys of video feedback dancing.

Already I can feel my gums start to bleed.


You’re In Control

MIT wizz kids have finally replaced the a pink soap cake with a urinal video game.

Sensors in the back of a urinal detect the position of a stream of urine, enabling people to play interactive games on a screen mounted above the urinal.

[via memepool]


Euro bitch slaps the Nuevo Roman dollar

Europe begs America to quit making the dollar so goddamn worthless.

‘The dollar is structurally sick. Global capital has nowhere but to go to the euro. The euro will keep rallying but that will put Europe into trouble,’ said Stephen Jen, chief currency economist at Morgan Stanley in London.

But in a bold move, America “just says no” to jobs and tells the surrender monkeys of Germany and France to eat our poverty dust.


Insect Drugs…

There’s just not enough of them.

Although “spanish fly” is made from the emerald green blister beetle, irritation of the urinary tract is just not enough.

In 1839, Augustin de Saint-Hilaire found the Brazilian Malalis natives using a grub called bicho de tacuara (bamboo-worm) which was used to induce an visionary stupor:

one of these worms dried, without the head but with the intestinal tube; and then they fall into a kind of ecstatic sleep, which often lasts more than a day, and similar to that experienced by the Orientals when they take opium in excess. They tell, on awakening, of marvellous dreams…

Is this really the only intoxicating insect? Why are we allowing these freeloaders to take up so much biomass without even getting us high?

Genetic engineering of mutant roaches with hallucinogenic properties you say? A fine idea! But would it work? Control both insect pests and the drug fiend pests with one twist of a gene? If you were to feed roaches only moldy rye bread and they eventually begin to speak to you in a strange angelic language, should you eat them? Maybe better to just make art

In any case, there’s always a party over at the Arachnidae house:

After the customer pays a fee of 150 to 200 rupees (about $A5-7) the scorpion is produced and placed on the body of the thrill-seeker, who is then viciously stung.

Users say after the initial pain the venom produces an illusionary, floating feeling.

Be-Bop!! Cola!! Good!!


Scientia est Polentia

The Information Awareness Office removed it’s masonic overlord logo in the face of worldwide confusion at how fucking obvious they were being. The IAO Total Information FAQ [pdf] was bold enough to claim that the all-seeing eye in the pyramid with it’s globe spanning death beam was actually just a clever rebus (“the eye stands for the letter I…”). As befits any earth-bound godling worth their lightning-bolt spear, they have no shame.

Sadly, all that remains of this striking work of jubulant cynicism are freedom thongs (profits to the ACLU courtesy of Richard Gingras). Which means Dr. Weird never did get around to explaining the occult roots of “IAO” itself…

John Zorn links IAO to Satan. Or it could be the Great Work, as expressed in the Union of the 5 and 6 which equals 11 = Abrahadabra = IAO = 203 = 23. Of course there is an etymological identity between Tetragrammaton and “I A O”, but the magical formulae are entirely different, as the descriptions here given have schewn.

Knowledge is Power” ?