Wednesday, August 29, 2007

if you build it....

better be prepared to fix it.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

beating the summer heat

Does the Man have his foot upon your neck? Would you rather be Burning the Man? Now you watch all the Burning Man action from the comfort of your own home, or your work desk.

You can see images of the premature ejaculation of the Man, induced by Hunter S. Thompson impersonator, Paul Addis, whose idea of radical self-expression and breaking conventions included a dose of arson.

You can also see video of the work "Crude Erection" which is as astonishing in its scope as it is myopic in its vision. While appearing to comment on our dependence upon crude oil, it somehow ignores the vast amount of energy needed to plop 59 tons of "art"in the dessert for 2 weeks.

camp stupidity

If your Washington world is awash with bad news then how do you go about deflecting some of that negative criticism to others? Of course, you find a fallout boy in the form of an uptight, homophobe gay Republican Senator - from Idaho! Why is it that the most ardent gay bashers alway turn out to be the most deeply closeted queers?

If Senator Craig hadn't pleaded guilty then it might be possible to believe that what he was really trying to say to the undercover policeman in the bathroom stall next to him at the Minneapolis airport was, "I would like to wash your sock", instead of what he must of said that got him arrested for pandering. It's so hard to be understood when you're talking out of both sides of your mouth.

Maybe the Senator isn't gay*, and who cares if he is, but voters in Idaho may look cautiously over their shoulder the next time they enter the voting booth.

*“I am not gay, I never have been gay,” Mr. Craig declared with his wife at his side. (Didn't Pastor Ted exclaim these same words after he was outed and wasn't his wife at his side?)

method acting

Owen Wilson was rescued from the Crandall Canyon mine earlier today and is reported in stable condition. It was not clear exactly why Mr. Wilson was in the mine, but sources close to the actor said that despite his upbeat attitude, he frequently descended into dark pits, perhaps in search of artisitic inspiration.

Crandall Canyon mine owner, Robert Murray, indicated that rescue attempts to recover additional miners who have been trapped inside the mine for over 3 weeks, would soon cease despite this news.

Neither Mr. Owen's publicist nor Mr. Murray (who acts as his own publicist) would comment on the swirling rumor that in return for the rescue, Mr. Wilson has agreed to portray the embattled actor in an upcoming movie "Mountain Man battles the Seismologists "

Monday, August 27, 2007

drilling for air

"Public service is honorable and noble..." Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez, letter of resignation, August, 27th, 2007.

To this we agree.

Hearing pundits recite some of Mr. Gonalez's life history during the evening drive time, and then cracking open the online version of the NYTimes, I was reminded again of how just disparate America can be. A reading last week of The Great Deluge - a history of one week that surrounded Hurricane Katrina - now 2 years past may have also keyed me to the vastness of the American experience. The Great Deluge is full of personal stories about how people respond to a massive crisis in their lives. Some people rise up, swim to safety, and bring others to the shore. Others fall down, drown, and take others under in the process. I suspect that it's never that simple, the swim or drown part and that most folks do a little of both, but there are some who seem to be able to intuitively help others through the really tough times. The names of people (and there were many) who rose up and became heroes are not those being bandied about as the next U.S. Attorney General. H.S. Secretary Michael Chertioff may have passed the bar, but he failed the Hurricane Test.

On Sunday there was an article in the NY Times about the social life that surrounds pools in Las Vegas and how much buy-in is required to be A-playa. Doesn't matter if the the dollar is falling, or your home value is plumetting, or if your dog trainer is going to jail, ante-up for the private poolside cabanana (as much as $15,000 per day) and the eye candy and bottle service are complimentary. Feels good, don't it?

Well aparently not enough for some Silicon valley millionaires (net worth 3.5 million) who feel middle class when compared to their other Silicon valley muli-millionaires. The horror, the horror of the middle class.

Tell that to the more than half a million people who live in 1,5000 colonias scattered along the U.S.-Mexico border (more than 90 percent are in Texas). These properties were sold to migrant farm families under the auspices of the "American Dream". However, unscrupulous developers viewed the American Dream differently than you or I. Since the lands were outside city boundaries, they were never properly platted and developers never saw to it to provide the basic human services that should be part of any home ownership. Running water, no. Electricity, no. Adequate plumbing and proper sanitation, no. Roads. Schools. No. No. Proper legal title to the land. No.

But's it not all negative. Rampant infectious diseases, yes. Lack of access to adequate health care, yes. Flooding, yes. Over-crowded living conditions, yes. Povery. High unemployment. Lack of educational opportunities. Yes. Yes. And yes.

Most residents of colonias are legal U.S. Citizens.


The Forgotten America, a 2000 documentary by Hector Galán.

If you want to see how people who live in a colonias view themselves check out photos taken by 8th and 9th graders who live in them.

A Home in Colinas, NY Times multimedia.
Photo: Apologies to Damon Winter, NY Times.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

look! up in the sky, is that a plane?

This weekend there's an airshow in Kansas City and since the World Wide Anthill Headquarters of Warrior Ant Press are just a few miles from the downtown airport where the airshow is located, there are many historic planes that fly over the neighborhood. Planes such as these Japanese Zeros which are the same type of aircraft used by the Imperial Japanese Navy Airforce to invoke the Day of Infamy and usher the recalcitrant U.S. into the Second World War. I like airplanes and I like old airplanes. I like the sound that they make when they fly low overhead. I also like jet planes and they sound that they make even when they fly low but it's better when they fly a little higher in the sky. But I do think it's weird that there is an organized recreation of the Japanese bombing of Wheeler Air Field complete with massive explosives and fireballs, for this and other airshows. The attack, code named Tora!Tora!Tora! is the grand finale, after the precision paratroupers, and the race between the 300-mph, jet powered, tractor trailer-truck and the bi-plane, and sky-writing, and well, you can see for yourself with all those explosions, it would have to be the finale. Short of actually crashing a jet on the infield, or lighting a paratrooper on fire I don't know how it could be anything but the end of the show.

Ok, yes, full disclosure and although I did grow up blowing stuff up whenever I got the chance (this wasn't very often and mostly involved legal fireworks) and have even been known to concoct a homemade version of napalm and strafe little plastic army men with it just to see if they would burn like humans and yes, for the record napalm is very easy to make and very difficult to extinguish so don't try it at home. That said, once grown, I've never once had the desire to re-enact a battle, such as Gettysburg, or Antietam, or even Pearl Harbor. Also, I've never had the desire to go see others re-enact these battles but then again I also don't read the number selling magazine* or watch the number one rated tv show* in the country either so what do I know?

But it does raise the spector of just how long will it be before we can witness simulations of planes being driven into very large skyscrapers and then watch as the the upper floors (and shortly thereafter the world) erupt into a fireball and many, many people leap, or are pushed, or or are blown to their death? How long should we wait for this happen and would you pay money to see it?

Or will driving a banana into the side of a building have to suffice for now?
*note: I don't know what the number one selling magazine nor the top-rated tv show is in the US so maybe I have read or watched!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Grand Ole Party embraces contemporary art

In an unprecedented move, leading members of the Republican Party, heartily endorsed one of Kansas City’s Avenue of the Arts projects. Speaking in town this week at the Veteran’s of Foreign Wars annual convention, President Bush, Senator John McCain, and Former Senator-turned-actor-turned-acting presidential candidate, Fred Thompson all endorsed “Stay the Course.” “Stay the Course” is an oversized paper mache banana by the artist team of Deb Pettid and a. bitterman and is unserendiptiously planted into the side of the Historic Folly Theater, literally across the street from the site of the convention.

Said Bush, “The greatest weapon in the arsenal of democracy is the desire for liberty written into the human heart by our Creator. We're still in the early hours of the current ideological struggle, but we do know how the others ended -- and that knowledge helps guide our efforts today.”

Senator McCain was cautiously optimistic during the keynote speech. He asked critics of the work to be patience until September. (The public art project is scheduled to remain installed through September.)

Said Thompson, “You are the tools by which this nation fulfills its obligation. Ultimately, it’s all about freedom. AND sacrifice. Our defense of freedom is right. The causes of freedom will prevail.”

Mr. Thompson was also quoted as saying “Thank you” 47 times over the course of his 30-minute speech. Here! Here!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

the 2-mile high club

You can read the latest trials and tribulations of Flance in this week's edition of PLAY magazine (an insert in the Sunday NYTimes).

Flance, who was a world champion mountain biker before he sold his soul to the devil, recently finished 2nd the the Leadville Race Across the Sky - a 100-mile mountain bike race in the upper peaks of the Colorado Rockies. Leadville, a town that practically invented the endurance event, hosts 5 separate ultramarathons all of which take place at an altitude of over 10,000 feet. Just to give you an idea of how difficult these races are, the 100-mile mountain bike race has over 14,000 feet of gain - which also means that it has over 14,000 miles of descent! Whao Nelly, hang onto those bars.

If you think you're a real badass, then you might want to try for the Leadman or Leadwoman award. To be eligible, first you'll have to pony up the $500 entry fee just for the priviledge of trying and then, you will have to complete all five of the following events in one season AND you will have to complete then within a restricted time limit.

*26.2 mile Marathon.

*100 mile Trail run.

*100 Mountain Bike Race.

*50 mile Mountain Bike Race.

*10K Trail Run.

Oh, and if you get bored and want some more ultramarathon action above 10,000 feet then come back for the 20-mile snow shoe race in January or 21-mile pack burro race in August.

Photo: apologies to Larry Sultan

m.o.i.: the 2-mile high club
m.o.i.: white hat, black hat, yellow jersey
m.o.i.: maillot jaune
m.o.i.: corporate money
m.o.i.: flance to wear zero for prologue
m.o.i.: you've lost that lovin' feeling
m.o.i.: give it up

strange summer fruit

For Immediate Release:

Due to circumstances beyond control, the maiden voyage of Bitterman Airlines was forced off course, and crash landed into the side of the Historic Folly Theater in downtown Kansas City. Miraculously, there were no serious injuries, although a number of summer vacation plans were ruined in the process.

Ralph Pennywhistle, a spokesperson from V.F.W. Chapter 201 (Des Moines, IA), in Kansas City for the annual Freedom Isn’t Free convention, and who witnessed the event exclaimed, "I’ve been in 3 wars, buried countless friends in defense of freedom, but now I’ve seen everything - a banana smashed into the side of a building. They don’t let you do stuff like that in Iraq, or China, or even France for that matter. No-Sir-E-Bob, THEY DO NOT."

Upon viewing the wreckage, A. Bitterman, CEO of the now defunct B.A. had this to say, "it's the most work I've ever done for something so meaningless."

Thursday, August 16, 2007

the drum beat of majors

Max Roach, jazz drummer extraordinaire, passed away yesterday. This photo was taken shortly after moi came to Kansas City in the early seventies when Max Roach was in town for a jazz seminar with the likes of The Count, Ella, and Jo Jones. This was back in the day (pre-HS BS) when throwing more than one Nikon SLR around your neck and taking lengthy strides immediately got you pegged as someone with enough cred to march up to the front of the crowd. This trick worked until I encountered a Jimmy Carter Presidential News Conference. But at least then the clean shaven SS boys just saw me for the overzealous amateur photographer that I was and sent me to the news room to watch the action on the tv monitors. Such bravuro today might land me in jail under some little known law "whereby it's illegal to imitate anyone with an imagination." Must keep all linear thinkers in line.

Moi's first digs in KC was a one-bedroom apartment that was only a couple of stone throw's away from the Charle Parker Memorial Foundation. The Foundation was housed in the basement of an A&P Grocery store and served as the defacto Mutual Musicians Foundation for awhile. Jazz greats, such as Count Basie, Mary Lou Williams, Big Joe Turner, Charile Mingus, and Max Roach would occassionally rumble through Kansas City and it wasn't uncommon for late nite free gigs to surface - which was awesome because it was such a short walk. And those were the days when staying up 'till 5 am didn't seem to have the same repercussions as it does today.

Photo montage: Collection of Warrior Ant Press. Acquired, Sept. 1977.
Left to right. Jo Jones, Max Roach, Ella Fitzgerald, Count Basie, Harry "Sweets" Edison
Check out the hi-tech blackboard with the list of artists in the upper right.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

da da dat da, dat dat dat da....

Surely I can't be the only person who finds overweight middle-aged white guys wearing fezs and driving very tiny cars in endless loops at high rates of speed around small children frightening. Hell, I'm not even a small child and they scare the wits out of me. And it's not a clown thing; I don't suffer from FEAR OF CLOWNS. My favorite prank of all time is the one where all the clowns pile out of the tiny car - 16, 17, 18, 19, 20......clowns. Amazes me every time. How do they do it? Clowns, they are special people.

But overweight middle-aged white guys wearing fezs in a car are a different breed than clowns.

You get behind these overweight middle-aged white guys (fez locked safely in the trunk in special feziwig box) going to work, they're driving 20 mph in a 35 mph zone because the only thing they have to do today is go to the post office and then after that, maybe stop by McD's for a 3-hour coffee break and then OH my!, it's nearly 2 pm, how will we ever make it to Denny's in time for the super, super, super early bird special (and what's the hurry?) and they're driving all over the road. Look, honey, Walgreens is having a sale, should we stop? Sure why not, we're down to our last 6 rolls of toilet paper. No blinker, no brakes needed when there's a 50% off sale.

So, just like an episode of the Simpson's, or an upset Lizzie Grubman vacating in the Hamptons, things go awry at some Shriner parade and kids and balloons and popcorn are flying all over the place and people end up in the hosipital.

Do you need a permit to drive one of those tiny cars? If you do need a permit, can you get it at clown school, maybe during the requisite annual requirement for training to maintain you First Class Clown rating? If we don't let people wearing fezs get pilot licenses, then why do we let them drive like the mujahadeen in little towns all across America? What's the bigger, more realistic threat? Shouldn't a little common sense come into play here?

Let's make our parades safe for children again.

Monday, August 13, 2007

geppetto ends long run @ woodshop

The puppet-master, Karl Rove, will resign at the end of the month. Inside sources say Mr. Rove will use his time to write a book about the history of ventriloquism and to buy a suit that fits.

Friday, August 10, 2007

it's all about the money

A brief history of recent U.S. Pro Cycling teams.

Discovery Channel. Defunct.

U.S. Postal Service. Defunct.

Team Motorola. Defunct.

Team 7-11. Defunct.

There's no money in it. Or at least not enough money in it. Dicovery Channel is the latest U.S. sponsor to walk away from the sport, despite having just placed 2 riders on the podium in the '07 Le Tour, and despite being owned in part by 7-time Maillot Jaune winner, Lance Armstrong.

Why? dope scandals? fear of a black eye? a flat tire? Corporate, while all the time playing up the hero, is quick to bash them, especially when the finicky public and the media are festering with scandals.

It will get worse before it gets better. Next up, Flance, will finally lose his hip (and his yellow jersey) to the devil unless he can somehow convince Phil Spector to pay the World Anti-Doping Agency a visit after the bars close.

And then maybe it will get better as a world-class cycling event is slated to premier this September in of all places, Missouri. Go figure. I hope they aren't planning on making money on this venture but it should be fun to watch.
m.o.i.: maillot jaune
the minister of information: white hat, black hat, yellow jersey
the minister of information: flance to wear zero for prologue

Thursday, August 9, 2007

can't touch this*

How good is Barry Bonds?

*Arguably the best hitter in the history of the game. Here's how.

Seven time MVP and 13-time All-Star.

All-time home-run leader @ 757 (and counting).

All-time walks leader @ 2541 (and counting).

All-time intentional walk leader @ 645 (and counting).

Single season MLB records set in 2004. Walks (232), intentional walks (120), on-base pct. (.609), and Home run percent (12.06).

Single season MLB records set in 2001. Home-runs (73), slugging percentage (.863), and home run ratio (6.52).

Only player to ever steal 500 bases and hit 500 home runs.

1,398 extra-base hits , 2nd all-time.

Lifetime .298 batting average.

Lifetime .608 slugging percentage. 6th all-time.

1983 RBI's (and counting). 5th all-time.

2916 hits (and counting).

599 doubles (and counting). all-time.

77 triples (and counting, very, very slowly).

And one of only 7 players to reach base more than 5,000 times. These 7 are:
Pete Rose (5,929 times), Ty Cobb (5,532), Barry Bonds (5,370 - and counting), Rickey Henderson (5,343), Carl Yastrzemski (5,304), Stan Musial (5,282) and Aaron (5,205).

Ok, so you don't like him. He's arrogant, moody, and an asshole. So are some of your friends. Bonds is a ballplayer. A good one. He's probably a better ballplayer than your friends, but it's likely there's things they can do better than anyone else. Being a good ballplayer qualifies you to be, well, a ballplayer. After that you're on your own. Make the most of it.
stats source:

Baseball. Marked 757 and signed Barry Bonds, "Catch me now sucka". Not for sale.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

name your price

Baseball. Marked 756 and signed Barry Bonds, "Top this chump!"
Not for sale.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

subject to fcc approval

The White House has agreed to sell former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to Rupert G. Murdock for an undisclosed sum of cash and a fall boy to be named later.

now you must decide


Just northwest of Hunnington Utah, were a portion of the Crandall Canyon mine collapsed on Monday and where 6 miners remain trapped 1500 feet below ground, mine-owner and Murray Energy Corp. chairman, Robert E. Murry, stood before families, reporters, and fellow miners and stated the following. "The Lord has already decided whether they're alive or dead."

Mr. Murray may believe that this was an act of God, but I do not. It's not an accident, it's an incident.

Mine Safety and Health Administration inspectors have issued 325 citations against the mine since January 2004. More than a third of those violations were considered severe enough to likely cause injury. At that rate, that's about a violation every 4 days, and violations considered severe enough to cause injury were issued approximately every 11 days, or at about the rate that Barry Bonds hits a home run.

It gets more strange. According to former head of the Mine Safety and Health Administration, J. Davitt McAteer, this number of violations isn't considered abnormal. To quote J. Davitt McAteer, "It's not perfect but it's certainly not bad." [Somewhere in the background, George Bush can be heard saying, "you're doing a fine job Davitt Crockett!"]

Or to paraphrase both Mr. Murray and Mr. McAteer, "God isn't perfect when causing a collapse on English-as-second-language-miners that may result in their untimely death, but God isn't really that bad either." Or as Bush might say, "You're doing a good job Lord."

Pray Mercy.

Sources: Mine Safety and Health Administration on-line data base*, AP via the Helena Independent Record, and the Lord Almighty.

*They make this database almost impossible to use. You need the secret mine id. 4201715, which is the number for the Crandall Mine to access the violations.

Photo from Dickinson County, Michigan Library, c. 1900. Photograph of eleven of the twelve men who were entombed while working on the fourth level of the Pewabic Mine, when a room above them collapsed in 1894. These eleven were rescued after over 40 hours; the twelfth man was crushed to death under the falling mass.

the edge of reason

The recent collapse of the I-35 bridge in Minneapolis underscores again how much of the country totters on an aging infrastructure, although one would have to wonder why we can't build bridges or sports stadiums to last for more than 30 years. The collasped bridge was constructed in 1967 and by the mid-70's was being listed as being in disrepair- which sounds more like a definition of shoddy workmanship.

The Bob Graham Sunshine Skyway bridge over Tampa Bay, is an example of some newer bridge designs that stretch the boundaries of the open span by incorporating higher strength steel into the construction. The length of the open span, like the height of buildings, is an architectural boundary that gets constantly pushed in an effort to explore the edge of reason.

An interesting note on Bob Graham, former Florida Govenor, former U.S. Senator, and one-time presidential candidate. While campaigning in his first gubernatorial campaign, the then State Senator, untook the task of working for 100 days in a series of jobs that regular Floridians might do. These ''workdays'' as he called them, found Graham picking up horse poop and trash, cutting hair, picking tomatoes, waiting tables, and playing Santa Claus and propelled the relatively unknown Graham into the governor's office. Graham continued to perform workdays during his tenure as a politician. During his 25-year politcal career, Mr. Graham 'worked' a total of 365 days. During that same time frame, the average American will have logged 50,000 work days.

Photo: Thomas Bender/Sarasota Herald-Tribune via the NY Times

Saturday, August 4, 2007

serious inquiries only

For sale.

Commemorative one-of-a-kind baseball. Marked 755 and signed "with love, Barry Bonds"

Bids to begin @ $25,000 and proceed in increments of $5,000.

All proceeds to benefit WADA.

it's ok, it's only art

Sometimes all you need is permit to get yourself in business. This handy "official permit" when prominently displayed can assauge any fears that others might have when it comes to whether or not you should be doing what you're doing.

Perhaps if artist, Duke Riley, would have displayed one of these permits on his rogue submarine, The Acorn, modeled after the Revolutionary War sub The Turtle, and looking remarkably like a harbor mine, instead of a wielding a Budweiser tallboy when he emerged in front of the Queen Mary II, then the New York City Police Department, the U.S. Coast Guard, and the Dept. of H.S. would have reacted differently rather than arresting Mr. Riley under the guise of 'marine mischief.'

Remember though, unless your permit is signed by the Minister of Information, it's not official. So apply for yours today. Only $99 postage paid. And guaranteed official.

Photos: Upper, courtesy of m.o.i.
Lower, Damon Winter for the New York Times.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

bush endorses electric cars

President Bush today called for lessening our dependency on foreign oil by suggesting that America could achieve energy independence, make the world a safer place, and lessen global warming, by becoming more frugal with the car, limiting day trips, carpooling, taking mass transit, and switching to hybrid, or all-electric vehicles. Here Bush drives British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, to a meeting on Capitol Hill using the most recent fuel-efficient addition to the Presidental fleet.

us currency falls again

The dollar fell again against the euro, this time to an alltime low. Although recovery is expected to be slow, especially since the many of our resources continue to be directed half-way across the world while we prop up a government that serves few interests other than our own, we are still strutting our stuff on the world stage.

knows what he knows when he knows it

Looks like another of the great communicators, Donald Rumsfield, knows what he knows what he doesn't know, but can't remember some of the stuff that he should remember, but if he could, he would, but he's certain that he doesn't remember it, because he was part of an administration that you can trust, since they always tell the truth, when they remember to tell the truth, otherwise they just don't say anything, because to say anything would be to lie, and they don't lie, they just make it up as they go.

Photos: Above, Pat (left) and Kevin Tillman in Saudi Arabia 2003, courtesy of the Tillman family.

Below: Pat Tillman's brother, Kevin, who both served in Army Rangers in Afghanistan and Iraq. Only Kevin lives to tell about the administration lies. AP photo.