Wallpapers

Jimmac has some useful tips for creating wallpapers (you know, those things on your computer desktop?).

The coolest cigarette brand

Click here!

Holiday destination: the North Pole

I stumbled upon a blog that claims you can now book holidays to the North Pole as easily as to, say, Mallorca. The reason they give is post-Soviet Union ice breakers; no longer on the state’s pay-roll, they had to find other means of making money, and one of those means was taking tourists to the arctic.

Blogging from New Orleans

Outpost Crystal is the blog from an employee of an internet hosting provider that decided to ride the hurricane. If this were Slashdot, I’d have marked it “+6 Insightful”.

Update: Interdictor quite sensibly says that he does not want to talk politics, and then equally sensibly launches into a long political rant. :-) Basically he says that politics by its very nature is incapable of solving the problems in New Orleans.

I have been wondering about this disconnect with reality, because it is so obviously not true. As Frank Tiggelaar notes, in 1995 half a million Dutch people and two million animals were evacuated without casualty when the Rhine and Meuse rivers flooded (via Reinder).

And Nelson Valdes and the BBC note how Cuba responds to a devastating hurricane: by getting out 1.7 million people, on time, and without casualty (via BoingBoing).

It has to be noted here that it is always hard to compare these things: Katarina was a combination of extremely powerful winds and flooding, which must have made any rescue operations during the first day difficult. But we’re no longer in the first day, and floodings with calm waters can be compared.

Leaving the reasons for Interdictor’s cognitive dissonance asside for a bit, there lurks a danger in his words. The past few days a lot of commentators have noted that now is not the time for the blame game; first, New Orleans must be helped. Although in principle I would agree with this sentiment, in the specific case of Hurricane Katrina the sentiment is wrong. The first morning after Katrina it was clear that aid was failing. On the second morning, it was clear that this was clear; only a very few pig-headed folks were claiming by then that things were going all-right. And of course by that time the blame game was being played.

We’re now in the fifth morning, and there are still people desperately in need of help in New Orleans. I think it is safe to assume that if they did not get that help three days ago, chances that they will get it today are slim. It is time to play the blame game; the blame game is the only way to confront a failing chain of command with its failures. It is the only way to offer the leaders of DHS/FEMA, of the National Guard, and of the municipality of New Orleans a chance to redeem themselves a little, so that the prison time they are facing for criminal neglect will be limited to a couple of years.

Happy Palace

Natasha’s reports that photo blog One Man Safari is now called Happy Palace.

Speaking of happy palaces, if you’ve never looked at the candy architecture and pinhole photography of Bethany de Forest, you should.

Christian Soldier

“Mr. Tierney, a former military intelligence officer in Iraq who works as a translator and investigator for private companies, cried as he talked about watching the Schiavo spectacle on television and feeling the utter need to be at the hospice.”
(New York Times)

“[Bill Tierney . . . had just returned from eight months working as an interrogator for US forces in Baghdad] You are the interrogators, you are the ones who have to get the information from the Iraqis. What do you do? That word ‘torture’. You immediately think, ‘That’s not me.’ But are we litigating this war or fighting it?”
(Boston Globe)

(From Whiskey Bar, through Joho the Blog.)

Bagpipes, the Tartan Menace

Hello, I’m Roland Trotsky. I’m forty-eight, I live in St Ives and I’ve got a pet hamster called Nigel – but that’s enough of the biographical chit-chat. Let’s talk about bagpipes – more specifically, let’s talk about how we’re going to get them off our streets.

This lad seems to have a wee dislike of bagpipes. (Through Sivacracy.)

Ellen Feiss

Whatever happened to everybody’s favourite high-school stoner chick, Ellen Feiss?

Bruce Eisner doesn’t have the answer, but he did recently discover a second Switch ad featuring Ellen Feiss that he nor I had ever seen before.

Is it the make-up talking?

Mrs. Ronald McDonald doing the laundry I have barely gotten over the idea that Alyson Hannigan has married somebody other than me. Then I find out that she has a look-alike. But before I find that out, I learn that the look-alike is shacking up with a real clown. Life’s unfair.

(Via BoingBoing.)

What the blogroll has been up to

Ini draws attention to a piece of furniture that will change things for ever. Next time you bump your knee into a chair that’s in the way, you will not be a able to curse that fucking chair without creating uncertainty as to what you were talking about. Remember, there’s no SFW or NSFW, only shades of grey.

Larry came back from a holiday, pardon, working holiday in Brasil and finally started blogging again. The important entry, though, is the one in which he draws attention to a plea from the US Copyright Office, which would like suggestions from all interested parties on how to deal with orphaned works. Us Yirrapeans can repay the North-Americans that helped us earlier.

Merel points out the National Day of Poetry. I am of two minds about that. On the one hand, you can never have too much poetry. And on the other, such a special day is an invitation for a trite parade of the few poems my people manage to remember. (I wish I were two dogs / So we could play together.)

David lets on that the Elizabeth Taylor movie “The Last Time I saw Paris”, loosely based on the F. Scott Fitzgerald story “Babylon Revisited”, is now apparently in the public domain. Looks like somebody forgot to renew their copyrights! Ladies and gentlemen, start you burners! Or … perhaps not, as imdb viewers rate it 5.9 out of ten. Still, it’s got the first credited appearance of a young Roger Moore, as a gigolo no less.

Finally, Reinder foams at the mouth about Justice Minister Donner wanting to ban swastikas. I was going to say something sage and contemplatative about that–no, wait, something daft and stupid; but it is time to be off to bed.