Wednesday, September 29, 2010

hump day punk rock

A couple of punk rock news links:

- Steal this street sign: New York City is practically daring you to steal the "Joey Ramone Place" street sign at the corner of East 2nd Street and the Bowery in the East Village. $100 cash money to anyone who can secure one for me.

- Citizens Re-United: Ted Leo, straight off of a totally unremarkable album with the Pharmacists, is set to reunite with his former hardcore band, Citizens United.

- Marketing opportunity: It may be old news to some, but the 100 Club in London, early home to The Class and the Sex Pistols, is slated to close at the end of 2010. Maybe they can license their name to Urban Outfitters.

Thursday, September 23, 2010


Since 2004, the Houston Police Department alone has used its Tasers 2,500 times. In California, there have been 55 reported deaths from Tasers; in Florida, 52.
CBS investigates the rise of taser use (and deaths) across the country.  It's astounding that taser manufacturers still refuse to acknowledge the lethal nature of the weapons they produce.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Settling old scores

I was always told as a kid that you could send anything--ANYTHING--through the mail as long as you had sufficient postage. Is it true? Well, kind of. The folks at Improbable Research made an experiment of it.

Here's the set up:
Having long been genuine admirers of the United States Postal Service (USPS), which gives amazingly reliable service especially compared with many other countries, our team of investigators decided to test the delivery limits of this immense system. We knew that an item, say, a saucepan, normally would be in a package because of USPS concerns of entanglement in their automated machinery. But what if the item were not wrapped? How patient are postal employees? How honest? How sentimental? In short, how eccentric a behavior on the part of the sender would still result in successful mail delivery?
They sent a long list of odd items through the mail, and they're all worth reading, but here are my favorites:
Ski. A large amount of postage was affixed to a card that was attached to the ski. The ski was slipped into a bin of postage that was being loaded into a truck behind a station (a collaborating staff member created a verbal disturbance up the street to momentarily distract postal workers' attention). Notice of postage due received, 11 days. Upon pickup at the station, the clerk and supervisor consulted a book of postage regulations together for 2 minutes and 40 seconds before deciding on additional postage fee to assess. Clerk asked if mailing specialist knew how this had been mailed; our recipient said she did not know. Clerk also noted that mail must be wrapped.

Never-opened small bottle of spring water. We observed the street corner box surreptitiously the following day upon mail collection. After puzzling briefly over this item, the postal carrier removed the mailing label and drank the contents of the bottle over the course of a few blocks as he worked his route.

Deer tibia. Our mailing specialist received many strange looks from both postal clerks and members of the public in line when he picked it up at the station, 9 days. The clerk put on rubber gloves before handling the bone, inquired if our researcher were a "cultist," and commented that mail must be wrapped.
The results: 64% of the unwieldy, disgusting, valuable and suspicious items they sent were delivered. My own experiments to commence next week.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


Nina Simone makes every day better. That's a fact.


Heads up: high fructose corn syrup has a new name, "corn sugar." It's still terrible for you.

Be Professional

Tasty treat of the day: a new video and song from my pals, the ACBs.

Do yourself a favor and download the track for free here:

Friday, September 10, 2010

As much as statistical analyses of American political attitudes (and there's nothing more depressing than the graphs in this story), I take solace in knowing that Americans actually aren't as confused about wealth as I sometimes imagine:

A new Gallup poll shows the majority of Americans favor letting the Bush era tax cuts to expire for the wealthy. While 37% support keeping the tax cuts for all Americans, 44% want them extended only for those making less than $250,000 and 15% think they should expire for all taxpayers.
Here's the take away from Gallup:
Gallup has typically found Americans unsympathetic to the argument that upper-income Americans are overtaxed. They generally believe upper-income Americans pay too little in taxes and favor higher taxes on wealthy Americans as a means to fund government programs, such as Social Security.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Word of the Day

A perfectly self-conscious word: floccinaucinihilipilification.

Definition: the act of considering something to be worthless.

Here's the pronunciation. It's a tricky one.

Good luck using it in a sentence.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Filthy Lucre

I'm hoping this will be everything that Capitalism: A Love Story wasn't. And judging by Charles Ferguson's last, No End in Sight, it will. Opens in NYC October 8.

Rahms away

After the election in November, Obama is going to need to shake up his administration by bringing in some new blood. Apart from replacing Gibbs, who I have always felt was a bad press secretary, Obama might think about changing more substantial positions within his staff. Today's announcement by Chicago mayor Richard Daley that he will not seek reelection, might be a good thing. Would anybody on the left really miss Rahm? Replacing a chief of staff constitutes a major change that can revitalize an administration, and it is something that happens regularly. Bush had two chiefs of staff, and Clinton had two in each of his two terms. Maybe it's time for Rahm to pull the trigger on his long desired mayoral bid.

Friday, September 3, 2010

The Lorax

Laugh, Kookaburra, laugh!

Kookaburra has had a rough year. First, the beloved bird's name was dragged through the dirt in the trial against Men at Work. Now, they're trying to un-gay him. Poor Kookaburra.