More news on high-tech shirts. This one can be "ironed" while you wear it with a blow-dryer and, when it gets warm, it rolls up its own sleeves.


Among the tidbits in the recently passed Foreign Aid Bill: $498 in total aid for each resident of Israel and a lot less for other countries whose needs are actually recognized internationally. Meanwhile various sanctions are approved against Palestine and aid to Peru is being withheld until we investigate the plane that was shot down last April.


20% of American wives are of the jazz or "can-opener type."
15% are of the nagging type.
20% are of the drudge type.
15% are of the "baby doll" type.
30% are of the home-maker or ideal type.

This, coming from a woman, indicating that 70% of American married women, or nearly 17,000,000 wives, are of a kind that is below an admirable standard, is certainly frank and a bit devastating.

This statistic, attributed to a former president of the Illinois Federation of Women's Clubs, is included in Chapter 9, Types and Classifications of Women Consumers of the book Selling Mrs. Consumer, 1929, by Mrs. Christine Frederick, America's foremost expert on Household Engineering.


Robot Wisdom delivers a timely link to this summary of what's wrong with the IMF as world government. The harsh part is the extent to which you and I are complicit in massive injustices. I feel like the "debt relief" bandwagon is probably the right one to push.

And if you doubt that this is really the way the IMF works, look at what they're requiring of Argentina and Turkey, and the debacle of privatization in countless other countries who have been forced to sell off their only assets to Western corporations. Bolivia's water system is probably a good example.


Before I fall into Timothy McVeigh's trap of referring to Thomas Jefferson for all things egalitarian and democratic, I should share with you this quote I found on interact:

Neither Spain nor Britain should be models of the German expansion, but the Nordics of North America, who had ruthlessly pushed aside an inferior race to win for themselves soil and territory for the future.

- Adolf Hitler


As promised, some discoveries from recent travels. The artists name is Willem van de Velde the Elder. He sat in a little boat and sketched a huge naval battle and then went home and drew the whole thing in minute detail with a reed pen on a huge canvas. The canvas now hangs in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam and is very nearly worth a trip. Here's a high-res scan that does it no justice whatsoever.


If you would like for the Navy to pick up your electric bill, first you should make sure that it exceeds your budget, and then make sure that you are, in fact, the vice president.

(found via Pigs and Fishes


This morning, after a full English breakfast, I walked from the Priory station in Dover down to the Hoverport where I caught a shuttle bus to the Superseacat Hovercraft. After an hour I disembarked in Calais and was transported by another shuttle to the passenger terminal. There I boarded a bus to Oostende station where I was able to catch a train to Leuven station. From the adjacent bus station. I took the number 8 bus to the end of Kapucijnenvoer and walked to my studio. A full day.


I have been touring the Netherlands this week with my parents. I'll link some interesting discoveries here when I have time to find them. Right now, I'll just complain about the closing-time procedure at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. If you want to feel what it's like to be rounded up by sheepdogs, then go wander around the decorative arts section about ten minutes before closing. The staff become very impatient and disrespectful - which I guess is typical of people whose job it is to discourage human nature on a daily basis. It's still not as bad as having uniformed (and armed) police officers stationed throughout the museum and squawking to each other by walkie talkie as at the Birmingham Museum of Art.


You won't believe these Remarks by the President During Visit to the Jefferson Memorial which are posted at his official web site. This guy was graduated from Yale? (Thanks to Pigs & Fishes)

From here, this presidency seems to be shaking a lot of things up. World leaders appear to feel a lot freer to criticize and disagree with American policies. A good portion of the US is actively questioning if they live in a democratic nation or not, and I myself have modified my position of gun control. I now believe that the government should be allowed to have guns either. (This goes for you too, Kofi.)


"Now this is made from a space-age fabric specially designed for Elvis. Sweat actually cleans this suit!"
-- Clerk at the Corpulent Cowboy, "The Simpson's" Episode #8F19 (March 26, 1992)

"So if your shirt was impregnated with a strain of E. coli designed to feed on human sweat and the proteins that cause body odours, you'd only have to wear it to jolt the bugs into action. For some other strains, you might have to douse it with additional nutrients occasionally. 'You could end up having to feed your shirt instead of wash it,' says Fowler."
-- from New Scientist magazine (July 5, 2001)


"The 'working poor' as they are approvingly termed, are in fact the major philanthropists of our society. They neglect their own children so that the children of others will be cared for; they live in substandard housing so that other homes will be shiny and perfect; they endure privation so that inflation will be low and stock prices high. To be a member of the working poor is to be an anonymous donor, a nameless benefactor, to everyone else."

- Barbara Ehrenreich, Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By In America

Read the interview at Identity Theory


"America is the wealthiest nation on Earth, but its people are mainly poor, and poor Americans are urged to hate themselves.... It is in fact a crime for an American to be poor, even though America is a nation of poor."

- Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse Five

from wood s lot via William Newell Fields
As a demonstration of my weakness as a human being, I agreed to go see a French film subtitled in Dutch. As it turns out, though, Le Fabuleux destin d'Amélie Poulain is the best movie I've seen this year so far. In fact, I will recommend that you also watch it once without subtitles, if possible. The reason is that if you're reading a translation instead of watching the visual story, you're cheating yourself. Perhaps it's only my impression, but this is really a fairy tale story book movie. Anyway, it's beautiful and funny and hopeful and fantastic and real at the same time. Of course if you understand French, you might find more to like.

The reason to go out was to wish Ingrid "bon voyage". Tomorrow she is going to India for five weeks. Ingrid has more spirit than most people.


And I almost forgot another excellent suggestion from MisterPants. If you're looking for an elegant way to avoid using the word "elected" in the context of our current president, you could subsitute "anointed," which means, among other things, "smeared with oil."
On the subject of commercial messages aimed at children, MisterPants brings us the news that Sesame Street is still brought to you by the letter Z, except that the Z stands for "Zithromax" which is brought to you by the pharmaceuticals firm Pfizer. Are we all happy that learning to read is now effectively joined to the use of pharmaceuticals?

A little bit of research reveals that the letter Z has already led a long life of unauthorized appropriation - from Egyptian beginnings it was adopted by the Hebrews, then the Greeks, who saw it stolen by the Romans (who briefly outlawed it). After that it came into general use in European languages (existing as a complete word in Czech, which holds the z in an unusually high esteem). It is now nicknamed "zed" among the more Anglophilic speakers of English. One hopes that Pfizer and company don't torture the poor z like they have the P and f.

There's an interesting story that was researched by a [dreadlocked] reporter from the Guerilla News Network that begins with an ad agency not returning some designs made by one of their consultants, progresses to the agency's violation of their contract with the consultant, then to copyright infringement by the Coca-Cola Corporation, then suddenly to espionage, tampering with the federal courts, intimidation, and now a potential $4 Billion liability that has been in litigation since 1997 and has now been submitted to the Supreme Court for review of potential collusion in the 7th Circuit of Appeals. The fact that major media outlets are NOT reporting this story, and that even the SEC has never received proper notice of the potential liability from Coca-Cola is a bit worrying. The facts of how the case proceeded through the district court, heard by a judge with a startlingly bad record, are positively repugnant to the idea of equal protection and due process regardless of the actual merit of the charges.


Yesterday was a long, happy day at the Rock Werchter festival just up the Dijle from here. We saw JJ72, Incubus, the Stereophonics, Anouk, Weezer, Sigur-Rós, PJ Harvey, Placebo, Afro-Celt Sound System, Sparklehorse, Zita Swoon and Roxy Music

Of those, I was most excited to see Afro-Celt Sound System. I was prepared for disappointment, but they were magnificent - whipping a very large crowd into a frenzy of really happy, smiling people. Good show. I also recommend checking out Sigur-Rós sometime when you're in the mood for something Icelandic. (i.e. other-worldly). Roxy Music was fun in a "Love Boat cast reunion special" way. Brian Ferris looked like a cross between Austin Powers and Prince Charles doing a Reno show (complete with showgirls). The other band members looked like they all went clothes shopping with Eric Clapton in Beverly Hills. In other words, fine aged cheese.