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Exit ArchiveArchive for the "Self-Referential" Category

Thanks to some satellite pictures of housing developments—many of them unfinished—in Florida and a coincidental link at Daring Fireball, I have re-visited a post from 2006 about Walt’s film pitch for EPCOT.

I have to say, the mixed-use phenomenon has grown out of control in the last 4½ years. Since The Grove, an incredible number of mixed-use projects have been finished. The Americana in Glendale, by the same folks who did The Grove, is truly mixed-use, with living space above the actual mall, overlooking it.

Then there’s City Center in Vegas, which I just visited last week. It’s a sprawling mix of hotels, condos, office buildings, shops, galleries, and, of course, casinos.

The problem with every single one of these developments is their lack of integration into the surrounding environment. I don’t mean visually, but practically. In L.A., these large developments have not properly taken into account the impact of their presence on the rest of the city around them. Traffic is worse, parking is impossible (unless you want to shell out cash, which is like being robbed), crowds get unbearable. Part of EPCOT’s purpose was an attempt to harmonize the mess of traffic and congestion that is a city. Some people love the cacophony of a messy, crowded, traffic-jammed city. I’m thinking New York, Chicago… I don’t know a single person who likes the congestion and traffic of Los Angeles. Maybe because the city’s soul seems to spring from this source. L.A. is defined by it’s clogged arteries. How tragic.

Again, a 100% planned city is a bit creepy and strange, but maybe that’s because no one’s yet done it correctly. I’m not a fan of any of these mixed-use monstrosities that have sprouted lately, and I’d rather sleep under my office desk every night than go home to a condo over a Lululemon. Such places are built solely for commercial reasons, with no thought to, as Walt said, “the public need.” No one needs The Americana or City Center. They solve no problems. But EPCOT, had it grown into something like Walt pitched in that movie, might have drawn my interest. Maybe it would have succeeded, and been an inspiring mix of technology, progress, and design.

Maybe. Who knows? But the thought of it is still exciting to ponder.

I really do love WordPress, and it’s amazing how much it’s grown since I’ve been using it. Unfortunately, since I’ve been using it awhile, fancy WordPress upgrades sometimes cause mild havoc with my posts.

I see the current upgrade has placed a bunch of random Âs in my posts. Why? Only Jesus knows (he’s good with SQL). This kind of thing popped up during a previous upgrade, too, but I disabled some code to prevent it. I decided disabling the code was no longer a very good idea, and now I can just imagine how much more than a bunch of Âs WordPress is now placing in my older posts.

Consider this a warning that, were you to visit older posts, you may find odd symbols now and again. I acknowledge they exist, and I am, currently, powerless to re-edit all 800 something posts to clean them all up. J’apologize.

UPDATE: I was wrong. Jesus had no idea what was going on. But at least he returned my call in a timely manner.

No, it seems this is what’s going on. A database character conversion. Sigh. I’ll be good god-damned if I go through all that. Manually correcting all my entries seems less tedious. Though I have run into old posts where the characters are so crazy, I do not remember what I had originally put there.

Sigh.

Hello! I’m just testing posting from the iPhone. With a picture. How will it work?

photo

Ah, it works pretty damn well. As does editing after the fact. Sweet deal! Totally rad!

That picture, by the way, was taken yesterday on the way to Togo’s. It was a kinda nasty rear-ending accident, though you can’t see the cars from this vantage point. I wonder if I can post another picture?

photo

I can indeed! That one is of a few cars from The Haunted Mansion, taken “backstage” at Disneyland last week. They looked like they were in for repairs.

Here’s another shot from behind Disneyland:

photo

That is one ofnthe Mounties from It’s a Small World. The ride is currently under renovation.

Click any of those pics to see them larger.

I have not posted in a while, for which I apologize. I have been tweeting, and I have been writing a post every week over at the LFTI blog and not linking to them here, and for all that, again, I apologize. You see, I have been obsessed.

With what?

With the sitcom, for one. We are shooting our next “episode” this weekend, and we’ve been working very, very hard. I put episode in quotes because it’s not really an episode, it’s a series of shorts introducing our new character. But this is sort of secret, so don’t let anyone know. We’re keeping this new character and shorts series a surprise for our fans. If any of them make it here, then, by golly, they deserve to know this secret! Yeah, not many people read the LFTI blog, but by golly, they should. It is chock full of interesting info about our show, and it’s typically quite the funny read. This is not tooting my own horn, but… Well, yes, it is. It is tooting my own horn. But I am tooting it in tandem with the horns of Robb and Tanya, who also post regularly. They deserve the toots just as well as I, maybe even more so.

So, the sitcom. Yes. It is a beautiful, wonderful time suck. I feel my life is gaining meaning again by working on it. I sat on the floor two nights ago, for instance, cutting and shaping foam rubber to create a cowboy hat. It has to look like the Arby’s hat, you see. Why? That is one secret I shall not divulge here. That secret I will make you wait to discover in good time.

I feel so creative with the sitcom, so rewarded and so proud. These are results that both grow from and grow into obsession.

My second obsession, at least for the past few weeks, has been the iPhone. I have loved my iPhone somehow even before I owned it. I waited in line for hours to get one on June 29th last year. I have used it and, despite its few shortcomings, loved it for over a year now.

Then the 2.0 upgrade was announced, along with the new 3G version of the iPhone. It would be a month-long wait between the announcement at the having. Well, that day of having was last Friday, July 11. Since that day, my happy iPhone has been a completely new device. It’s like the tiny but sunny window you’ve been looking out of for a year was been suddenly replaced with a wall-sized picture window. Really. Just like that. But my old phone did not have three important new features: 3G, GPS, and 16GB of storage. Upgrading was not a necessity, it would be a luxury. I checked up on three stores over the weekend, all with huge lines that scared me away. I went back and forth in my head, knowing that my original iPhone was excellent, fine, perfectly great.

Today, on the way back to the office from a work show at Disneyland, I called the Glendale Apple Store. They had 16GB black iPhone 3Gs in stock, and the line was short. I made a detour, waited maybe 45 minutes in line, then after ten in the store, I had a new iPhone.

There was one thing, one incredibly geeky, ridiculous, silly thing that pushed me over the edge to get a phone now instead of waiting for the next version. I want to keep the original iPhone. I want to be able to pull it out years from now and show it off or even just touch it because it will be a device long-remembered for changing a small tidbit of the world. I much prefer the original iPhone feel and look to the new one. It has a much nicer heft, and the aluminum is so wonderful to hold. I would use it until I ran it into the ground. But that was just it! I did not want it to end up like my Newton, shattered and useless. I wanted a relatively cosmetically excellent specimen to enjoy for much longer. The only way to do that was to sacrifice my everyday enjoyment of it.

I am writing this now because the new phone is loading the backup from my old phone. I will love using the new phone, I will love it’s faster wireless speed and its GPS and its extra space. But it will not be an original iPhone.

I have yet another obsession, which is more long-lived, and that is dealing with rude people. Selfish people, people who do not have any consideration for others, and whose world extends beyond them only so much as it does to support and coddle them.

It was a great posting by a guy named Lance Arthur that, combining this topic of selfishness with an iPhone 3G line, that started me writing this post in the first place. Please go read it now.

I sympathize with this fellow for a few reasons, one being that he waited in a long, long line to upgrade his phone, like I did, and another being that he had a run-in with a schmuck that turned out for him as it would have for me (namely, with an illogical confrontation ending in lingering anger). It also seems he’s gay, which adds a sprig of parsley to the dish.

I have posted before about run-ins with inconsiderate neighbors, and the continuing saga of a majority number of drivers believing themselves to be the only ones on the road has got me flummoxed at record-high levels. New examples arrive in greater numbers every day of people who are so turned inward that I can’t imagine why we’re not all standing about, horrified at having to stare at their glistening innards. My own recent attempts to exact justice on these types only leave me flustered and angry, like Lance. Even the possibility of encountering idiocy and potential intervention create a dull but palpable stress. The very real potential of being kept awake at night by a dolthead next door who thinks talking loudly on their cell phone at three in the morning is acceptable social etiquette is enough to keep me from falling asleep in the first place.

Did I mention that drivers are even more insanely self-absorbed now than they were when I first moved out here? There’s the lady yesterday who, talking illegally on her phone and half-blocking a lane of traffic at a parking garage exit, gave me a look of “fuck you!” when I dared to honk and crowd her back into the garage. There’s the guy who darted from behind me into the lane on my right, which was ending in 100 feet, then shouted mean names at me through my window when I refused to slow down so that he could merge in front of me. Plus numerous other, similar examples. Somehow, these people become indignant when they are at all inconvenienced by having to work with others in their society.

You see how I obsess. Sure, no surprise there to anyone who frequents the Forum. But you see how the past couple weeks have been a double-whammy of obsession for me. I feel fairly overwhelmed with all this, yet I know, really, since my obsessions have kept me from getting sleep (see: right now), it’s less me being overwhelmed than being exhausted. I could use my obsession with the iPhone App Store to find a productivity app to keep me task-oriented and hyper-scheduled, allowing me to get more sleep… but oh so much more fun to download the daylight app that shows day, night, dusk, and dawn times and use that for our shoot this weekend…

Oh, this is fun! It hits all the points I’ve been making about Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Blah Blah Blah. Lovely.

Reminds me of what I used to do, back in the day. (Plus other fun, non-review-like formats!)

For some reason, I just poked into an e-mail folder I have called “Classics and Keepers.” There are not many items in there, and not much I’d label as “classic.” Except maybe the one I’m reprinting below.

But first, some explanation so that you know what the hell prompted me to write such a long (and often historically accurate) “essay.”

In April, 2004, a month before The Wren Forum opened for business, I had sent an e-mail to friends asking them which L.A. Phil concerts they wanted to choose for the second season of Disney Hall. I listed several concerts in detail, but snuck some pieces by a little-known composer named Lekowicz into the list. (They were: Symphony No. 1 “Cake and Cookies”; Symphony No. 3 “Not Too Early in the Morning”; and Hungarian Suite in G “Tchotchke.”) Sven noticed this, and asked for some background on the composer Lekowicz before he could make a decision.

My friends got the following on April 12. Good luck!

* * * * * *

Stephen James Lekowicz was born in 1769 in Englewood, Poland, to the renowned artist and philosopher couple Sletvanya Polisnika Harrison and Trevor Singh. (It is interesting to note that Polish surnames are not passed from parent to child, a practice which was seen as pompous and cruel.) From an early age, it was determined Stephen had a keen musical sense, and was soon encouraged by his parents to develop his musical talents by banging on tins of potted meat product with wooden spoons.

By the age of 5, Stephen had already composed two waltzes, a collection of pond songs, and the now-famous Pirogy Mazurka in F. His parents farmed young Stephen’s talents out for pay, having themselves hit upon hard times during Russia’s Smashing of the Poles into Submission campaign in 1774. Through this public exposure, Stephen’s most well-to-do fan was Glinka Hurdy, who, upon hearing the Danse Macaroni i Ser Stephen composed when he was 7, finally felt the composer had entered into his own. Hurdy and his partner, Spears Britney Gurdy, signed the young prodigy to compose works for their music publishing company, Muzyka Hurdy Gurdy.

During the Hurdy Gurdy years of 1777 to late 1777, Lekowicz’s pieces for intimate royal ballroom extravaganzas, such as “King’s Triptych Danse,” and his more extravagant compositions for intimate social settings, such as “The Lily Pixie and the Butter Bun,” became such gargantuan hits that Hurdy Gurdy could not cope with demand. Their shop and press warehouse were mobbed by enraged music enthusiasts, and Hurdy and Gurdy themselves were killed in the tumult.

Sadly, with the passing of his employers, Stephen and his parents were left to the mercy of poverty, and from 1777 to 1782 they roamed the Polish countryside, dodging Austrian, Prussian, and Russian “liberators” and hoping Stephen would soon be accepted into the Stanislaw August “Augie” Poniatowski National School for Poor But Gifted Musicians and Their Parents and/or Immediate Relatives. Their hope was shown light when, in August of 1782, Poniatowski, recognizing Lekowicz as the composer of his favorite dining hall background piece, “Ham and Polonaise on Bread,” welcomed the emaciated but fiercely passionate Stephen and his family into the school.

This period proved to be one of unstoppable musical growth and enlightenment for Lekowicz, who composed no less than 149 pieces under the tutelage of the well-meaning but mediocre masters of the Augie school. Some of the pieces from this era include the Scherzande in B Minor, Sarabande for Flute and Tuba, “Samba dla Idiotów,” and the now ubiquitous Symphony No. 1 “Cake and Cookies.” This latter work has been hailed since its creation as nothing short of light and fluffy. Taking no more than 12 minutes to play and with nothing more challenging in its theme than that of pure gastrointestinal pleasure, this symphony is a model of the period and a delight to the ear.

While Poland was experiencing a slight resurgence of culture, it was still difficult for musicians to make a living plying their trade. It was for this reason that Lekowicz, at the age of 29 in 1788, became a spy for King Poniatowski. From this time to 1792, Lekowicz composed fewer works, but gained a maturity that was not present in his earlier works. Of these newer style pieces are the Scherzo in A, G, and E, the Ecossaise and Requiem in C Minor, Symphony No. 2 “Shaken Not Stirred,” and the Hungarian Suite in G “Tchotchke.” This last work was composed while Stephen traveled clandestinely in Hungary, collecting information for the Commonwealth and sampling the local cuisine. It is considered one of the most accurate portrayals of Hungarian Gypsy music ever captured by someone disguised as a gypsy while under the command of a puppet regime. The ironic title comes from the early 1800s, when the Spanish composer Falla de Guerno Hispola Fernando Hacienda was heard at a post-concert party in Seville to comment that such a “souvenir” of the Hungarian Gypsies was genius, as the gypsies themselves carried nothing more than they needed to live.

In 1792, Lekowicz was caught up in the confusion surrounding the formation of the Confederation of Targowica. When Russia and Prussia came to the aid of the revolt they started within Poland’s borders, The Commonwealth fell, and Lekowicz was one of the four million citizens annexed by Russia. This embittered Lekowicz, and his works became even more sparse in frequency and more revolutionary in tone. It was then no surprise that he moved his way to Warsaw to join the Uprising of the Soon to Be Defeated in early 1794. This uprising was soon defeated, however, and by 1795, Russia forced the abdication of the King and absorbed the rest of Poland.

Now without a homeland, Lekowicz took to writing more furiously. Pieces from this era include The Abdication Waltz in F Flat Minor, “Mass for Sausage and Cabbage,” Piccolo Concerto No. 4, and Symphony No. 3 “Not TOO Early in the Morning.” While only his third symphony, and this while aged 36, this last remains his masterpiece, a symbol of rebellion and refusal to work within a system that included too many countries ending with the syllables “ussia.” Most notable is the symphony’s lack of a fourth movement. Lekowicz claimed in a letter to his sister, Lara, a figure who was so important in his life that it has been decided to ignore her almost entirely in this essay, that his not writing a fourth movement was, besides being a protest against the dismantling of the country he loved, a wonderful way to save time. “This symphony would have taken me nine more months to write,” he wrote. “Audiences of future regimes will thank me, dear sister, for abolishing the necessity for them to stay seated in the hall an extra 20 minutes.”

Stephen Lekowicz soon after met Jaye Davidson Plotknywscz, with whom he fell madly in love. The couple planned to marry in the spring of 1799, but died in January of that year of Walesa’s Disease, a rare deformity of the facial hair. Jaye’s contraction of this disease, known to only afflict men, was confusing to the doctors of the era. Instead of fighting to get the couple well, the doctors spent their time in conference over the odd case, and Lekowicz and Plotknywscz died, covered entirely in beard, in a hospital in Vancouver, Canada.

It only took me forever, but I figured out the new code to use to bring back Wren Peeps (now cleverly called Wren Fwrends) and Linky Link Links (both in the sidebar)! Now maybe I’ll update them with new and exciting content. Or maybe I’ll wait a year or two do do that.

I also replaced my old RSS logos with the new, approved feed icon. The official icon color is orange, but it seems to glare out with so many of them on one page. How about blue? Which do you think is better?

Orange or Blue?

Well, now, this is a little strange. Not too terribly surprising, but strange.

In reading that Google changed their indexing algorithm, I decided to see what pops up now when my last name is Googled. The fifth main result down was this strange link.

Adult Entertainment Industry, Holt Gardiner, and me? Together in one link? Is Holt wary of this association? He is, after all, an important, interviewable investment banker.

How did Wired find Censored Naked Man? Considering he’s all over the place, they might have just nabbed him. But I doubt it, for, as you saw, they did kindly credit me for my picture and did link to my homepage. Maybe they found it via… a Google search? Hmm. Could be. There it is on the second page of the image search results for “censored.”

Egad. Not only am I associated with the adult entertainment industry and (GULP!) investment banking, but I’m a top hit if anyone decides to look for an image of something censored!

The Web. Is there anything it can’t make bizarre?

I know, I know… I have not been writing much lately. This can be blamed on several factors:

1. Heavy work on the sitcom. Yes, that’s the first time I’ve linked to it on The Wren Forum. Yes, I intend to add it to my home page. No, I don’t know when.

2. The CCPT benefit, in which I got to play a sneezer, a doctor, and a 19-year-old boy who does not know anything about sex. I am so horribly typecast…

3. Yet another sales meeting, this time with me being more “in charge,” whatever that means.

4. A new boyfriend. Er… man friend. (Thanks for that one, Chuck.) Yes, I’m talkin’ ’bout Fuz, whom some of you have met. He’s great. I have not gushed about him here because I don’t want to jinx anything. I mean, we’re both Piscean actor wannabes. With that pedigree, who can blame me?

So why am I writing today? Well, to provide yet another amusing video for you to watch. Jim Coughlin, with whom I’ve done improv and who was in Food Code, is regarded as one of L.A.’s leading standup comedians. That’s according to a J. D. Powers and Associates poll on the distribution and execution of disaster relief funds in non-hurricane-ready, earthquake-prone southern-Californian states.

See him do a funny bit about feng shui and cockroach birth control. And if you’re following this link far in the future, it will no doubt lead to a page containing more than just one funny snippet for you to enjoy. Or to a 404 page.

It used to be, back in the day, that you had to keep graphics on the Web as tiny as possible—in dimensions, to some extent, but more in data size. Well, screw all that! It’s almost 8 years later, and it’s time to throw all that moth-eaten caution to the wind!

Yes, I have a gallery. A high-bandwidth monstrosity of a gallery.

Steve's Snapshots

Click the link, the banner pic above, or on the Photo Wren wherever you see him on my site (such as the top of this page).

So far, I only have pictures up from Thanksgiving, but I intend to use the gallery to post more pictures than I have in recent years. As much as I love creating “guided experiential photo essays” like Lake Powell ’05, they take a lot of time and work, and I seem to not have as much of that as I used to. So now I intend to toss any ol’ collection of pictures up and let you sort through them all. I feel audiences appreciate their entertainment more when they work for it.

I say that in jest. In fact, I hope the gallery will be an interesting place to go. Maybe I can’t create a story as much in that format, but I can post full-size (or, at least, larger-size) pictures, and you, as a visitor, can browse them at your own pace, and even select pics to download or print via ShutterFly or other online print services. Isn’t that simply the bee’s knees?

Of course, Steve’s Snapshots has RSS feeds galore, so you can keep abreast of any additions in the coming eons.

Now, I just have to work out some final design issues (like getting rid of those ugly little icons that were too poorly designed to even work on dark backgrounds), but overall, I’m very happy with the results.

I will not divulge how much longer it took to prep Steve’s Snapshots than it would have taken to create a page for Lake Powell ’06, which is still on my invisible to do list. In fact, it took me until… what is it now, 3:12am? It took me many hours tonight to get the entire rest of my site ready for this new section. It’s quite a chore to make sure icons get added, the Library gets revamped, the old main page gets archived, and a new main page gets created. I had to create a whole new page for Shü und Belt since that’s important enough to keep around for good. Even the Peeps got moved! Well, not technically moved, but the link to them—

YAWN! Geez. It’s bad enough to be boring during the day, but at 3:19 in the morning? I seem to have cascaded into mundanity. Off to bed with me, and off to the gallery with you! Shoo!

I received some comments today that prove just how ignorant and mean some people are. And how bad they are at spelling and grammar. Or constructing a cohesive or persuasive argument.

Instead of just letting the comments languish back under the original posts, here they are, at the front of the Forum, for everyone to read. Please feel free to go defend me, either there or here!

Regarding my first Mallard Fillmore is Unfunny post, this:

headonhigh@yahoo.com

this is the most obsurd thing i have ever hear.
bruce tinsley could quite possibly be one of the funniest men to ever write a comic strip.
it might be because you are a liberal and you can’t get real humor, but rather wait for liberal newscasters and celebrities to tell you what is funny.
and as for your flawed logic, that is what is really funny. if someone takes a baby hostage, that is their fault if the baby is killed, bottom line.
you are a bleeding heart liberal and you treat terrorists as poor souls who have been wronged and need special treatment.
in case you didn’t know terrorists are called terrorists because the create fear and terrorize innocent people.
i can only imagine if someone like you ran this country.
you would probably take all the money from people who earned it and give it to people who sit on their asses all day.

Then, regarding my second Mallard Fillmore is Unfunny post, this:

headonhigh@yahoo.com

gays should be treated well as all other people, yes.
but that doesn’t mean that they should be able to “marry” if you want to call it that.
if someone told me i wouldn’t be able to marry a woman i wouldn’t freak out and call it a huge deal. i would just be with that person for the rest of my life as if i were married.
gays just like to over react.
and as for the abortion thing.
calling killing a human a CHOICE is stupid.
your mom should have CHOSEN to have aborted you.
and mallard fillmore is still hilarious.

What’s so funny about this person’s comments is that they reinforce my arguments. I don’t have to say anything else! But I will.

Notice how the comments have no subtlety, no examination of facts or details. I often concede a point or two in my original posts, because nothing is black and white. But this person can’t even grasp black and white. Only white. And then he or she doesn’t even understand white. It’s pretty sad.

When one’s arguments rest on phrases such as, “your mom should have CHOSEN to have aborted you,” one should realize one’s an idiot. And to give me a definition of terrorist when I already talk about that in the post is, needless to say, stupid. All I can do is smack my hand to my forehead and think to myself, “This is the kind of ignoramus that thinks our government is doing a good job, even though our government is, by this own commenter’s standards, itself a terrorist organization.”

Oh, what fun. Anyone else who can’t string two words together want to comment?

Since yesterday’s post was so annoying, I thought I’d collect some good news for today! I wrote this whole post out once already, but lost it when the RealPlayer installer closed my browser. Oops. No, it was my fault. It asked me first, but I just wasn’t thinking. As punishment, I’m going to stay here at work instead of going home to watch The Tick so I can re-write the entire post. So here goes…

To start with, you are not alone! Nope. According to this article, most theater patrons are in favor of jamming cell phones in theaters. I myself would also be in favor of a slapping law. If you text message or talk on your cell phone during a play or movie, each other patron would be allowed to slap you, briskly, four times across the face. It may not be very Ghandi, but it sure would be fun!

Speaking of laws and the governments who can ignore them, hooray for Federal Judge Garr M. King for allowing another lawsuit against the NSA to move forward. Can we throw these activist judges a thank-you party? What do activist judges drink? Do they enjoy party games? Twister? Naked? In butterscotch pudding? I’ll bet they do, those wicked, wicked activist judges!

Speaking of activism, what’s not to like about saving the environment? What’s not to like about rechargeable batteries that work like alkalines? Nothing! Nothing, I tell you! Ah, finally… no more guilt using the nose hair trimmer!

Speaking of nose hair, it’s the 40th anniversary of that Tribble-riffic show, Star Trek. Lore Sjöberg, formerly of The Brunching Shuttlecocks and now, it seems, creating new Flash animations at Bad Gods, got to have a lovely chat with William Shatner on this very special occasion.

Speaking of the Heimlich maneuver, since I did close yesterday’s post with a funny tidbit, I’m going to close this happy post with a potentially annoying tidbit. But, hey, come on, when Georgie Bush gets handed his own bullshit back to him on a platter, it’s damn happy reading in my mind. You can actually hear GB flounder and sizzle with anger, thanks, once again, to Democracy Now. Click here for the audio file (it’s a RealAudio stream, unfortunately), and start listening at 15:10. It’s worth it. If you simply aren’t a lover of audio-visual stimulus, here’s the transcript in boring ol’ text format (I added back in all his uhs and stutters and the note on his anger):

AMY GOODMAN (DEMOCRACY NOW HOST): On Monday, he [President Bush] admitted the Iraq war is straining the psyche of our country, but vowed to stay the course. A reporter questioned him about why he opposed withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq.

REPORTER: A lot of the consequences you mentioned for pulling out seem like maybe they never would have been there if we hadn’t gone in. How do you square all of that?

PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: I square it, because, uh— imagine a world in which you had Saddam Hussein who had the capacity to make a weapon of mass destruction, who was, uh— uh— paying suiciders— uh, to kill innocent life, uh who would, uh— who had relations with Zarqawi. Imagine what the world would be like with him in power. The idea is to try to help change the Middle East.

Now, look, I di— part of the reason we went into Iraq— uh, was, uh— the main reason we went into Iraq at the time was we thought he had weapons of mass destruction. Turns out he didn’t, but he had the capacity to make weapons of mass destruction. But I also talked about the human suffering in Iraq, and I also talked the need to advance a freedom agenda. And so my question— my answer to your question is, is that— imagine a world in which Saddam Hussein was there, stirring up even more trouble in a part of the world that, uh, ha— uh, had so much resentment and so much hatred that three— that people came and killed 3,000 of our citizens.

You know, I-I’ve heard this theory about, you know, everything was just fine until we arrived, and then, you know, kind of that we’re going to stir up the hornet’s nest theory. I-i-it just doesn’t hold water, as far as I’m concerned. [Suddenly vitriolic] The terrorists attacked us and killed 3,000 of our citizens before we started the freedom agenda in the Middle East. They were—

REPORTER: What did Iraq have to do with that?

PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: What did Iraq have to do with what?

REPORTER: The attack on the World Trade Center?

PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: Nothing, except for it’s part of— and nobody has ever suggested in this administration that Saddam Hussein ordered the attack. Iraq was a— uh, Iraq— the-the-the lesson of September the 11th is, take threats before they fully materialize, Ken. Nobody’s ever suggested that the attacks of September the 11th, uh, were ordered by Iraq.

Speaking of idiots draping themselves in the flag, Tanya was right: Pictures are more fun! I hope she enjoys this one of a God-damned, America-hating, activist flag-desecrator naked guy (sans butterscotch pudding).

American Flag with Firm Ass

Keen readers of this ether-bound discourse will be aware that I was away at Lake Powell over the recent Labor Day holiday. While I am not yet back in L.A., I was keen to post something tonight, as I had two spare “keen”s to use up before they got confiscated by the TSA.

SSneaky (who also goes by the name of SSneaky) said in a comment to the relevant post that good ol’ L.A. was hot, hot, hot over the holiday. Well, while Lake Powell was also, by any standard of measurement, hot, hot, hot, it was not as hot as you’d think it might be in the middle of the desert. (I almost typed “dessert.” Yum!) No, the sun was hot, but the air had a wonderful breeze that made it perfectly fine. Though my sister might have something to say about me calling it “perfectly fine.” But she can start her own blog!

Here, then, is a sneak peek pic. (Click on it for a larger version.)

Coyote as Seen through Binoculars

This was me experimenting with taking pictures through a pair of vintage (according to my dad) WWII binoculars. Within the cartoony circle, do please note a coyote, which creature made an appearance across the water from our campsite two days in a row. My parents said they had never seen coyotes in all their years camping on the shores of mighty, mighty Lake Powell. But late one night, the cry of the coyotes in Ultra-Proximity SupraSurround 360° sent a chill down all of our spines. (It also sent two of our party scampering for the boat in fear, but we won’t mention that.)

I promise to put a Lake Powell page up soon. I wager it will rival last year’s. And by “wager” I mean “no bets, please.”

To all three of my readers:

I will be away until next Wednesday, so it will be silent here for a while. Now that John’s busy on his own blogging endeavors, I guess that means the Forum will be dead until then.

The good news is that I’m going to Lake Powell again, so I may have another photo page up sometime after I get back. Boo-yeah!

You may have noticed a new clump of little icons at the bottom of each post. These, in case you are unaware, are links to various social bookmarking and content websites. What the hell is that? Let me tell you, in as brief a way as possible.

Digg and reddit are sites that accept links to content on the Web. As you browse Digg or reddit, you vote on which articles you like. The more votes, the higher up the list it goes. Many items have gained a new Net-based notoriety this way, especially on Digg.

del.icio.us and Furl are public bookmark sites. Here, you add bookmarks from any website to your account and share them with the universe. Then you can see how many other people like the same sites you do.

Technorati is like blog central. You can keep track of your favorite blogs, who’s linking to what, which topics are most popular, and any number of other interesting things.

Because it’s not in very good taste to promote your own work on these sites, I’m providing the links so that readers can more easily share the humor, passion, and drama of The Wren Forum. It’s a kind of passive–aggressive self-promotion, you see. Because there are too many of these new social sharing websites, I had to choose the ones I thought were most used. If you feel I should add one, let me know and I’ll check into it.

Enough of that, then. Since I seem to have preempted my previous post, which was much more amusing and worthwhile, I shall send you there now. Go! Go to my previous post!

I simply have not had the time or taken the time to post recent thoughts up here, which is a shame. So today, I have some tidbits.

1) Israel is wrong and, like the U.S. invading Iraq, is making their own situation worse by killing, maiming, and destroying the lives of thousands of innocent people. (Okay, the civilian death toll so far is over 1,000, but trust me, it’s only going to get worse. As if 1,000 is some kind of acceptable number.)

2) Dog owners should be aware that after taking their dog for a walk and picking up the mess in a plastic bag, some people might not be so keen to have you touch them or anything until that hand has been washed. Though plastic is a wonderful barrier, the thought that that hand just grabbed some poop is enough to require a washing. And you never know if a tiny hole is present! You never know!

3) I want to see Little Miss Sunshine again. Were I still doing movie reviews, I would have complimented its originality, cleverness, and charmingality. The fact that Little Miss Sunshine is the only summer movie I’ve seen so far that I will be making an effort to see again says something about the quality of said summer movies.

4) Also, please wash your hands after major dog playing/petting if you want to then use those hands for an amorous human encounter.

5) I added new navigation buttons to The Wren Forum. For some reason, they suddenly worked, whereas before, I could not get them to. Hmm. The ones at the top ruin the design slightly, but are convenient. I do not know if anyone cares.

6) Joe Lieberman lost the Democratic primary in Connecticut yesterday. Hooray. He’s nasty. For someone who says he’s progressive, he’s sure done a lot of extremely non-progressive things in his time. He’s now running as an independent, and I hope he loses bad.

7) I found a mushroom growing out of my bathroom ceiling today, right where a new water leak has materialized. Great. I have to call my landlord again about that leak. So I’m done with this post.

Believe it or not, I have updated my home page. I figured it was time, and the things I had to put up deserved to be there more so than here. I have posted the Los Angeles Times review and picture from last week, the oft-requested links to Shü und Belt shorts, and a revisitation of Food Code.

Click the Wren above to see it all, or use this boring text link.

Sorry, Robb and other mathematically-challenged individuals. The addition field is back in the comments posting section. The new spam filters were excellent at catching spam. However, I was getting hundreds a day, which means my database was filling with crap. Though the spam eventually gets deleted, I did not like all that sputum gumming up the works.

We’ll see if the addition field will slow the flow. I’d hate to bring back that ugly captcha (“enter the number shown”) as well.

A reminder: If you log in, you can skip all of those extra fields when commenting! But logging in may be just as annoying…

Apple Glass Cube Tech Mecca

You knew I HAD to come here…

(I also discovered my posts weren’t posting, so I’m fixing them on one of the black MacBooks in the store. Weee. Couldn’t you just wriggle with excitement?)

So typing in that annoying code before posting a comment was a pain in the ass part of the body. In fact, it was not enough to stop spam, so not long ago I added a vaguely fun (or not, for some people) math entry plug-in as well. Both of those, together, were enough to stop all the spam I was getting.

But I love convenience and ease of use, so I will be trying a few new services to automagically capture spam and do away with it. I do not know how well these supposedly transparent items will work, so if you notice anything strange or confusing or if comments don’t seem to be getting through, let me know. (I will still be able to see your comments if they are caught as spam, so do try.)

If the plug-ins don’t work, I will, sadly, have to bring the numbers back into play.

Thank you for your patience, understanding, and love of fine cheeses.