"I'm against picketing, but I don't know how to show it." - Mitch Hedberg, 1968-2005

(obituary at Pioneer Press.)


Answers to Your Questions
I think I could do better if you let me invest the Social Security I pay into an Individual Retirement Plan (IRA) or some other investment plan. What do you think?
Maybe you could, but then again, maybe your investments wouldn't work out. Remember these facts:
-Your Social Security taxes pay for potential disability and survivors benefits as well as for retirement benefits;
-Social Security incorporates social goals - such as giving more protection to families and to low income workers - that are not part of private pension plans; and
-Social Security benefits are adjusted yearly for increases in the cost-of-living - a feature not present in many private plans.

- From the Social Security Administration's Help Pages.


Something I've Always Wanted to Do

Brilliant guerilla artist Banksy surreptitiously installed his own works in four museums in New York City.

Banksy in Wikipedia


More Freebird

"But did 'Freebird' truly start with the KevHeads? Longtime Chicago Tribune music writer Greg Kot says he remembers the cry from the early 1980s. He suggests it originated as an in-joke among indie-rock fans 'having their sneer at mainstream classic rock.'

Other music veterans think it dates back to 1970s audiences' shouts for it and other guitar sagas, such as 'Whipping Post,' by the Allman Brothers Band, and 'Smoke on the Water,' by Deep Purple.

They may all be right: It's possible 'Freebird' began as a rallying cry for Skynyrd Nation and a sincere request from guitar lovers, was made famous by the live cut, taken up by ironic clubgoers, given new life by Mr. Matthews, and eventually lost all meaning and became something people holler when there's a band onstage.

But as with many mysteries, the true origin may be unknowable -- cold comfort for bands still to be confronted with the inevitable cry from the darkness. For them, here's a strategy tried by a brave few: Call the audience's bluff. Phish liked to sing it a cappella. The Dandy Warhols play a slowed-down take singer Courtney Taylor-Taylor describes as sung 'like T. Rex would if he were on a lot of pills.' And Dash Rip Rock has performed the real song in order to surprise fans expecting the parody. For his part, Mr. Doughty suggests that musicians make a pact: Whenever anyone calls for 'Freebird,' play it in its entirety -- and if someone calls for it again, play it again.

'That would put a stop to 'Freebird,' I think,' he says. 'It would be a bad couple of years, but it might be worth it.'

So what do the members of Skynyrd think of the tradition? Johnny Van Zant, Ronnie's brother and the band's singer since 1987, says 'it's not an insult at all -- I think it's kind of cool. It's fun, and people are doing it in a fun way. That's what music's supposed to be about.'

Besides, Mr. Van Zant has a confession: His wife persuaded him to see Cher in Jacksonville a couple of years ago, and he couldn't resist yelling 'Freebird!' himself. 'My wife is going, 'Stop! Stop!' he recalls, laughing. 'I embarrassed the hell out of her.'"

- Jason Fry, WSJ article, via Waxy.


evil genius

Toby is the cutest little bunny on the planet. I found him under my porch, soaking wet, injured from what appeared to be an attack from an alley cat. I took him in, thinking he had no chance to live from his injuries, but miraculously, he recovered. I have since spent several months nursing him to health. Unfortunately, he will DIE on June 30th, 2005 if you don’t help.

[...]I am going to eat him. I have several recipes under consideration, which can be seen, with some pretty graphic images, under the recipe section. God as my witness, I will devour this little guy unless I receive $50,000 into my account from donations or purchase of merchandise.

[...]Here is the current status of donations for Toby, as of March 10th, 2005. ---- $18,462.12

- http://savetoby.com

(UPDATE) Detective Todd has kindly informed me that this is a hoax. In a cruel sort of way, that really disappoints me.

See also: Save Fluffy!, and Save Bernd!. (The latter reportedly launches a bunch of pop-ups.)


So, You've Written a Romance Novel

How much can you expect as an advance from the publisher? Brenda Hiatt has spent four years surveying authors. Here are the results so far. (Hint, if you have a friend at Harper Collins, you might make out ok.)

- via Karen Fox via Galleycat via Foreward.

I've been writing Wikipedia articles. Here are some that are mostly my work. (For the time being):

Doris Burn
Eames House
2005 in Architecture
Kelly Ingram Park
Sedlec Ossuary
William Christenberry
Hale County, AL
Rickwood Field
Red Mountain
Ensley, Alabama
Marcel Broodthaers


How Can I Help Stop Infringement?

"The best way to stop infringement is to tell the authorities and the owners so that they can follow up and arrange for a license and for royalties to be paid. Licenses for Happy Birthday are controlled by ASCAP. While monetary royalties will be negligible for a single restaurant performance, it is the principle that is at stake.

If you have seen someone singing Happy Birthday in a restaurant, a park, or at a school, you should tell ASCAP so that they can arrange for a license. If you are an offender, you should apologize and offer to pay whatever is due %u2014 a nickel, a quarter, a dollar %u2014 whatever ASCAP demands.

There is an overwhelming amount of copyright infringement of Happy Birthday. Let's right the balance and tell ASCAP about every one of these violations!"