November 22, 2002

Hack

Cough....cough...

Time to open the checkbook and increase my giving to the Sierra Club.

Ellen Feiss Talks To The Press

Okay, so we've talked about the Ellen Feiss deal before. We don't have to go into her strange internet fame again, blah blah. Feiss has now done an interview with a Brown University newspaper which is pretty interesting.

Here's something I didn't know. Errol Morris, a noted documentarian, directed the Apple switch commercials. And Hamilton Morris, Mr. Burton's favorite Switch guy, is his son...and Ellen Feiss is Hamilton's friend.

Aaaah...it all makes sense now. I can once again slip back into my coma. Sleep...sleep.

November 21, 2002

Coming Soon

So the new site is up. It's far from being what it will eventually be...but there is an address and Movable Type is installed. I'm quite excited about it. Movable Type seems sweet. I don't think that people who have posted before will find it difficult. It's pretty self-explanatory and you can kind of alter it to your liking. Check out the new site here. The new You Know It's True will logically be located at www.youknowitstrue.com. No more blogspot to trip you up. The template is extremely basic at this point. A default one actually. But that will soon change. Nothing's going on with it now, but I will be putting together a lot on there. I think the layout will undergo a big change, but at some point I may start just moving stuff in. I will let you all know when the new site is ready for public consumption and then we'll all walk single file over there.

This is progress though. I mean, right now, the commenting system is down here. Again. No longer will that be true.

Oh yeah...if you want to take a test spin through the Movable Type interface the login area is here. Probably want to bookmark that. I'll set up user names for the regulars and email you about it. It's just slightly more difficult to remember than Blogger.com. But we'll work that all out later.

The Truth About Film

While I was strolling through metafilter today, I saw this pretty funny fake-documentary film about the filmmaking process. It's got a bunch of great lines in it. Really quite funny.

November 20, 2002

Some Scary-Ass Shit

The Field Mouse has a knitting hobby. A knitting fascination actually. She's knit (knitted?) two hats and two bags. Or something like that. The knitting habit wigs me out. I feel like I'm dating this old lady. Of course, I'm giving knitting a bad rap. I've heard that knitting is hip now to some extent. To some extent. I doubt Corin Tucker knits. Hmmm...no she probably knits. Anyways, those long knitting needles reminded me of this scary-ass shit that has remained with me for over 10 years.

Have any of you ever seen the movie Signs? It was kind of lame...I think that all M. Night Shyamalan films are kind of lame. Decent premises...lame execution. Anyways, there's a debate in the movie regarding a dying woman's last words. Did her words make any sense or were they a thrown together result of misfiring neurons in her brain?

My memories are the direct result of misfiring neurons. I forget important names, events and words. I remember all useless information. Like this:

I grew up in an Irish Catholic household. Although we communicated more openly than other families I knew, we were still pretty tight-lipped. Like many Catholic households, the topic of sex was kind of taboo. When I started to become the robust young man I am today, the talk loomed. The sex talk. At some point my father would amble over to me, sigh, and say "Little Huffer, we need to talk about something...you're getting older..and..." Or at least get me a prostitute or a sky-high stack of nudie mags. That would have been cool.

Little Huffer, this is...What's your name again?...this is Sugar...I'm giving you 10 minutes. Make me proud son.

One day I was watching TV in the basement and my Dad came down. Oh shit...here it is. Then my Dad gave me a book. What?

I didn't get a talk, I didn't get a pro named Sugar, I got zero copies of Swank. As far as I can remember, I got a book called What's Happening To My Body? In fact I think this is the book here, albeit in a different edition. (Mine didn't have these two gaylords on the front. Remember gaylord? What a great child-level slur. I'd like to bring that back. I mean...gaylord. It conjures up images of a regal homosexual man with a slightly tipped crown. Here me now!!! I am the Lord of Gays!!! In actuality, it's just a name. Like Gaylord Perry, he's in the Hall of Fame) The cover had some kids in bellbottoms playing kickball on the front or something. Fuck this. Young boys playing kickball learning about their dicks.

My dad told me to read the book and come to him if I had any questions. Great. Thanks. I'll get back to you.

I didn't touch the book for a while. Apparently I wasn't really wondering "what is happening to my body?" I accepted the fact that I had a coal miner's beard, a voice like Barry White, and a magical charm which made all the ladies faint. Ahem.

I can't remember much about the book. I remember they went through numerous pages detailing all the slang words for the cock n' balls. I was shocked at how extensive the list was. Who are these people who call their dick David? Where do they live? David? So it was pages and pages of dick slang....just in case you were one of the stupid kids who wouldn't understand if the right word wasn't used.

What's the penis??? Don't they have anything in here on my wang??

The appendix had this chart on which you could measure your testicles. I have no idea what that was all about. I can only imagine some mom busting into some kid's room with his pants down and his boys awkwardly spread all over the back pages of a paperback. Who was interested in this stuff? Who wants to measure their balls? For what purpose? I don't think it would have added to any teenage boys middle school swagger to realize that he had gigantic testicles. Man..check out this circumference. They're huge.

But the one thing that sticks with me from this book is downright disturbing. Shocking. Like make the kids leave the room, the adults need to talk shocking.

There was this section about masturbation. Similar to the slang section of the book, there were pages and pages of different words for masturbation. Once again...I wondered who these kids were. Flogging the bishop??? What?? Where do they say that? Tacoma, WA?

The masturbation section told us young brothers that it was okay to masturbate. It was a healthy way of expressing yourself sexually. Sure, some cultures, religious and otherwise, frowned upon it but it was no health concern.

You wouldn't get hairy palms or nothing.

So it started detailing all the ways guys masturbated. So how did guys do it?

Okay...yup...ohhh..interesting..never thought of that...okay...kind of weird...

OH MY GOD. DEAR GOD. WHY?!?!?

Some guys were getting down by inserting needles into their urethras. What? What kind of needles? Why? WHY?!?

This is one of the few real memories I have from my youth...that and this joke from some book called Dirty Jokes.

Man and woman are in bed naked together. For some reason they decide to play this game called Fart Football. The husband would lay a fart and his wife would have to follow it up. Each fart was a touchdown. So it went back and forth and the score was tied. It was the wife's turn to fart and she had nothing. She tried and tried and tried. Nothing. She pushed real hard and ended up shitting all over her side of the bed. She looked at her husband and said:

Halftime!! Time to change sides!!

Aw yeah.

Harsh Realization

I have just come to the h.r. that someone STOLE my cd walkman from my office. With my Neko Case cd in it. BOOOOO. I'm so mad/poor.

I accidentally stumbled onto this other blog on some site I thought was called world of blogs, but must be called something else. It was where you look up a birthday and then you can read all the blogs started by people with that birthday. This person's bday was the same as my high school best friend's, and was one of the only people not born the '80s. It's an emotionally honest diary-ish blog about real life working in an office/12-step programs/new york city/having gym/office/bus boyfriends.

PETA article

This is an interesting article. PETA is donating fur coats to homeless people and hoping that those donations will help end the continuing fashion trend... Funny how a product symbolizing status can be reversed by making it accessible to people who actually need it.

Some Fur Now Flies in Unlikely Directions
By MICHAEL JANOFSKY

DENVER, Nov. 16 ˜ Patty, Becky and Susan looked absolutely fabulous in their new fur coats.

Well, the coats were not exactly new. Truth told, they were a little tatty. Some had small tears. Susan's was missing a button or two. All three coats had bands of paint sprayed on one arm to discourage resale.

Not that the women seemed to mind, modeling them on a chilly day when fur felt a lot warmer against the wind than anything else in their closets, which is not much at all.

"It's beautiful," said Patty, pulling the fluffy collar of her white fox coat up around her neck. "I'm going to be ringing a bell for the Salvation Army starting next week. I'm sure I'm going to get a lot of compliments."

All three women ˜ Patricia Barnes, 48; Becky Bruce, 52; and Susan Pew, 42 ˜ live at Samaritan House, a shelter in downtown Denver run by Catholic Charities. The fur coats came early this week as donations from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, which has collected thousands of used fur coats in recent years and given them to homeless people. This week was Denver's turn, after similar giveaways in New York, Atlantic City, Baltimore, Cleveland, Chicago and other cities.

"It's a way to make a positive thing out of a negative," said Lisa Franzetta, a spokeswoman for the animal rights group. "The animals cannot be given their lives back, and we've been flooded with donations from people who no longer want to be associated with the suffering of animals."

For more than a decade, animal welfare protesters have made life uncomfortable for the fur-wearing public, screaming at those in mink, fox and ermine with equal gusto. Occasionally, protesters have made their point by hurling paint. As recently as Thursday night, four members of PETA crashed a Victoria's Secret lingerie fashion show in New York as Gisele Bundchen, who also models for the mink coat company Blackglama, walked the runway. They held up signs that said "Gisele: Fur Scum," before security guards led them away.

Despite improving sales of fur products ˜ $1.53 billion last year, compared with $1.1 billion in 1991, according to the Fur Information Council of America ˜ Ms. Franzetta said her group was making an impact, turning fur lovers to other forms of clothing.

"What used to be a status symbol for the well-heeled is now a symbol of social liability," she said. She then acknowledged the irony of it all, that giveaways are putting the not-so-well-heeled in the same position, even if they are warmer. Ms. Franzetta said PETA also sent fur coats to refugees in Afghanistan last year.

The new owners of old fur here did not seem much concerned over any issues of animal welfare. Ms. Barnes said she had a brother who liked to hunt. Ms. Bruce stroked her full-length raccoon coat and said: "I never had a fur coat before. People are saying I look good."

Ms. Pew was somewhat less enthusiastic, saying rips in the lining made her fur less appealing. "But the coat has to go somewhere," she said. "It's like the meat in front of you ˜ the animal's already dead."

PETA plans to continue the giveaways as long as fur wearers continue to become racked with guilt. But donations could taper off, said Keith Kaplan, a spokesman for the Fur Information Council.

"Six or seven years ago there was sort of a reference to political correctness, not wearing fur," Mr. Kaplan said. "But it's not considered politically correct to dictate what other people should eat or wear, especially after 9/11. People don't want to be told, and they don't respect those tactics anymore."


Was This In The Onion?

Hi. We're from North Carolina...and we're stupid.

Everything Costs More At Harvard, Including Possibly Speech.

An article in today's Boston Globe describes the ongoing controversy involving the creation of a speech code at Harvard Law School.

I'd like to say these attempts are misguided. Usually, however, I just say that they're asinine. I have never understood how anybody who considers themselves a liberal on the political spectrum could support speech codes. Granted, I'm not somebody who would probably be a victim of gender or racial epithets.

Hmmm...it's kind of funny how I just wrote that last line down without really thinking about it. I was going to change parts of it...and then I realized that the statement could almost be considered untrue. Who decides when someone has been a victim of a gender or racial epithet? That's part of the problem with controlling speech. Obviously, sometimes it will be clear. Other times, I fear (and like I think has been exemplified in the article) targets will be people expressing unpopular political statements. A code could really seek to prevent people from ever truthfully and honestly discussing any issues of race or gender.

I'm usually ambivalent about Alan Dershowitz, but I loved his battles on this issue. Can it exemplify any bigger problem in our current academic system when students get enraged when they're asked to clarify and justify their views? I mean, wtf? Case in point:

Yet Dershowitz incited even more fury after he challenged a member of the Black Law Students Association to be more specific after the student read a statement reiterating her group's support for a ''discrimination harassment policy'' that includes penalties.

''With all due respect, what you stated is extraordinarily abstract,'' Dershowitz said. After the student was not able to cite an example of offensive language that could be censured in a speech code, Dershowitz said of the proposal: ''That's like asking someone to first vote for censorship, and then figure out later what is censored. With all due respect, I find that statement unhelpful.''[...]

[Harvard Law professor Randall] Kennedy reprimanded Dershowitz for purportedly using the sort of insensitive language and tone that upset many students last spring.

''I don't think students should feel embarrassed to have to come back with a response,'' Kennedy told Dershowitz.

''When they come to ask for a speech code, they should be better prepared,'' Dershowitz said of the black students' association. ''Don't try to silence me, Randy.''

Philip B. Heymann, another faculty member on the committee, defended Dershowitz, saying that one part of teaching at an elite law school was challenging students to defend their opinions. ''Making someone uncomfortable should not be prohibited,'' he said.

Shit...I've felt uncomfortable in an academic and working context my entire life. What do you know if you've never ever considered the possibility that you may be wrong??? I'd like to think that Harvard Law School wants to prepare attorneys who are able to debate. I mean, unless you're a trust and estates lawyer you're going to end up debating some point with some adverse party. You can't then yell out "He's/She's not playing fair!!!"

If this speech code goes into effect, would anybody at Harvard Law School be able to discuss Prof. Kennedy's new book? Or is that also out of bounds?

November 19, 2002

Jacko Dangles Child

Earlier, Michael Jackson dangled his six-month old child out a fourth-story window of a Berlin hotel to satiate his adoring fans below. That's normal, right?

IPod and the Guilt of Ownership

I bought an Ipod yesterday. I guess it's actually an iPod. I keep writing it like Izod.

I'm-a rapping to the beat.

Thank you.

Anyway, I felt tremendously guilty after buying one. It's so extravagant. Maybe that's why I've stepped up a bunch of my contributions to charities over the past week. Trying to correct some potential loss of karma. I remember a picture of this guy playing with his iPod in The Onion with the caption "iPod Flaunted." I don't want to project that.

The website for www.youknowitstrue.com has been reserved. When I have a chance the transferral process will begin. I hope to make some changes to the layout so it's more enticing visually and functionally. I also want to add in some polling functions. I want to waste away my free time writing HTML code.

I think at some point a switch to the blogging program known as Movable Type will also be made. Blogger Pro has paid off well, but now it's bored and old. Same goes for enetation, the commenting system. As I'm sure you've noticed, the commenting system seems to be down more than up these days. It's making me angry. Although there are changes being made over there, I don't think I want to wait. I'd rather have more control over the process. Movable Type would allow for that.

The end of November is hitting me hard. I'd like to look at the fall and the winter as an end which necessarily brings a new start known as spring. I think the metaphor would help me deal with the weather and some other things going on. Unfortunately, I don't seem to be able to muster that ability. The world is a pretty scary place these days. Between giant oil spills in Spain, secret courts and extensive wiretapping, an alive and well Osama Bin Laden...well I've had enough of all that.

I need a fireplace, a cup of hot chocolate, a log cabin, some giant trees, a lake, and a good book. For a couple of months.

Anybody have any news of anything positive? I'm all ears.

November 18, 2002

Best Website on Earth

Man, I just love stuff like this. Why don't you go ahead and throw down a bid on Ebay for The Best Website on Earth?

Slashed Tires, Broken Windows, McDonald's Weeps.

An interesting article about the ELF in the New York Times today caught my attention. The ELF (ELF!!! uh-huh uh-huh ELF!!! boop-beep-boop...the ELF is gonna rock you!!!), or Earth Liberation Front is a loose-knit group of radical environmentalists who have ratcheted up environmental protests to a whole new level.

The Times article describes the ELF as a "domestic terrorist group." At first I wondered whether that was a correct usage of the term and then I guess I agreed. For the most part, (although I'm not sure of this) I don't think the ELF has attacked any person...yet. Usually they attempt to damage things like car dealerships, corporate headquarters, SUVs. The focus seems to be on violence against property rather than people. I guess some of the larger scale property damage undertaken by the ELF could qualify them as a terrorist group. Especially when there exists a decent possibility of danger to people in such actions. Hell, that term "terrorism" is so thrown around these days without meaning...maybe I don't agree with the term describing the ELF. (Hmmm...I just realized that by linking to said supposed "domestic terrorist group" that I might have just earned You Know It's True our own special federal government monitor. Great.) Anyways, that's not my point.

So supposedly people acting either as the ELF or on behalf of the ELF have surfaced in Richmond, Virginia. They've damaged SUVs and the windows of fast-food restaurants. The last paragraph of the story made me chuckle though.

The group's actions do not always succeed. In an October 2001 firebombing at a Federal Bureau of Land Management corral near Susanville, Calif., vandals caused about $80,000 in damage but failed to free the 160 horses. The group has set minks free from mink farms, only to see them run over by cars. After one such raid in Sweden, when group members painted minks' fur so that they would be useless to profiteers, the minks died of exposure.

Good job guys.

Aaaahhh...Brazil

Brazil...the land of libertines...everybody poses topless there...Even the new president. Nice pair, pal.

That's Even Better Than Crack...

I was on my way to pick up a Nestea Iced Tea from the poorly stocked "convenience store" in my building when I spied this article in the Financial Times. I mean it's not like I read the Financial Times. I wanted to point that out. Who wants to read pink newspapers? Or maybe that color is salmon.

Anyway the story notes that Microsoft is currently getting an 85% profit margin on sales of Windows.

Greed is good, I suppose.

[vomit]

November 17, 2002

Downtown 02

Today, on this terrible, all-green with rain on the weather radar day, I watched the dvd for "Downtown 81." It was kind of interesting to see what life was like here on the Lower East Side when I was 6. Not really as cool as it seems from hearing people talk about the good old days. The film is basically a documentary of Basquiat when he was 19 trying to sell a painting to pay his rent. He goes to see a bunch of bands, but it's not as interesting or authentic as you might want, because I guess all the sound was done after the fact.

The additional dvd interviews were more interesting. Something the director said really struck me -- Back in the early 80's, you could live in downtown NYC while only working 1-2 days a week! And the rest of the time you could spend on your art or music or just going out. No wonder life was cool! Think if you could even begin to do that today. Crazy -- since I've lived here, I've worked fifty hour weeks almost every week and saved like fifty bucks.

But downtown was rubble. There were no windows or doors on the buildings and people were snoozing on the front steps, passed out in November. So I guess you could get a rubble-home for about three days' work. Meanwhile, Field Mouse wakes up every morning to the pounding and sawing of new restaurant construction. Maybe Dewey Dufresne is right -- hip has changed to spending money at the newest, most expensive places.

A Very Untropical Depression

What a shitty weekend here in Gotham. It rained and rained and rained. Not only that, it was windy as hell. Just a miserable weekend. I want a refund. I guess it was worse north of here in New England. Well it sucked enough here.

This just in:

I believe that You Know It's True will be moving to a new location on the web...not really too new. We'll probably be moving into www.youknowitstrue.com. I've been thinking for a while that the move makes sense. I think I'm a fast mover in this Internet game. Maybe too fast, because I obviously don't know what the hell I'm doing. The progression has probably already lapped my actual knowledge. I do want to to move off blogspot though. For a variety of reasons. One, I've never liked the inclusion of the blogspot in the web address. There has also been a bunch of problems with the site being down or slow or whatever. Sure, there's no guarantee that this won't continue, but I'd like to think it could be more reliable. Two, you can't run CGI scripts on blogspot. For those of you who don't speak computer dork, basically it's a limitation that does have an effect on what you can run on your site. Three, I am also considering moving to Movable Type from Blogger Pro. I think that Movable Type is probably a better blogging program and would allow me to get rid of a lot of the problems with vanishing comments. It's kind of a step up on the scale. You can't use Movable Type on blogspot...so if we're looking towards the future, a move makes sense on that front as well. Finally, moving to another site would allow more features on You Know It's True. More pages, more pictures, more inane rants about Bill O'Reilly that nobody finds entertaining but myself. More space for all that jazz.

So for all of you contributors (and long time listeners, never callers) to You Know It's True, what do you think? Good idea? Bad? Totally ambivalent? Can we hear from the Lurkers?

Has anyone seen this recent television ad for Paxil where people confront other people about their lack of joie de vivre and the fact that they're not as productive as they used to be? It's so fucked up. It's entirely like the Dylan McKay intervention episode on 90210. Maybe you should take a test to see if you have generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, panic disorder or even posttraumatic stress disorder. Let's all join the rest of the overmedicated society. Hell, it's not like Paxil wants to convince us we're all crazy so they can sell more drugs, right? Does that sound crazy?

In other news, I'm also in negotiations to get myself an Ipod. I've struggled with this purchase for a long time. I think it's a bit much in a way. It's expensive as fuck. For a music aficionado such as myself, it makes a lot of sense. However, I'm discovering that in a lot of ways I'm really a cheap bastard. A lot of the things I buy just give me tremendous guilt after purchasing them. When I first bought Campers a few years ago I hardly wore them because they were so damn expensive. I then went and sold a bunch of CDs on Amazon.com so I could feel as though I had subtracted some personal goods in order to make space for them.

It's not as though I'm off on an anti-consumerist rant. Consumption and I are okay. We could make small talk at a party and things would be cool. Sometimes though I think we buy too much. Well, hell, I don't know what you buy...so that last sentence is better phrased as I think I buy too much.. Especially in such shaky economic times like this. You never know when you might need to have a bunch of money saved up. And canned food and a source of potable water...and a bomb shelter, perhaps?

Then again this is the same type of logic which allowed The Huffer's parents to own the same malfunctioning washer and dryer set for 25 years. I used to watch my mom have to violently push the dryer back and forth, almost throwing her back out, so the damn thing would work. I would always say to myself that I wasn't going to be like that. I'd buy a fucking new dryer.

I guess I lied.