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Series

Posted by Becks
on 10.27.07

Only because people reopening old threads bothers me more than baseball bothers my co-bloggers.


 

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Conquered

Posted by Ogged
on 10.27.07

Joan Baez tells a funny story that Dylan wrote When The Ship Comes In in an hour in a fit of anger about how much trouble they'd had getting their hotel room that night. In that case, it's one hell of an I'll-show-them song; you wonder what Dylan imagines doing to people who really wrong him. Have we considered that what great artists have in common isn't their deep, brooding, manic possession by mysterious forces, but rather the inability to ever forget a slight?

Whole song here.


 

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One Voter

Posted by Becks
on 10.27.07

My grandfather asked me my opinion on the presidential candidates. I told him I am supporting Obama and asked him what he thought about them. He said that he liked That Mormon the best but that he intended to vote Democratic for the first time in over 20 years because the Republicans have screwed everything up so much. He said that the only thing that could make him reconsider was if Hillary Clinton won the nomination because the most important thing going on right now was the situation in the Middle East with all of those Arabs and they'd never listen to a female U.S. president because of how they treat their own women. (My grandmother was in the corner through all of this tsking and muttering "Well, I'm voting for her.)

And then he shook his head and said that his opinion didn't really matter all that much because he was old and wouldn't have to live with the consequences of the election like my generation would so I should call him up right before the election and tell him who I'm supporting then and that's who he'll vote for.


 

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Turning Out

Posted by Ogged
on 10.26.07

I just logged into my dummy Facebook account to see if I could find any info on someone, and by some koinkydink, right after the login screen Facebook offered some high school networks to browse, and happened to include my high school. Who can resist that? A lot of the people I didn't remember, but there were a few that I did. One, who had Chet written all over him in high-school--pretty smart, good-looking guy with a deep voice and easy social manner--had indeed gone on to be a management consultant (not quite Chet, but close enough), but! ditched that to write and illustrate children's books and teach high school. Another, a very small, mousy, perpetually cheerful Irish kid, owns a venture capital firm, an online insurance brokerage, is CEO of a new airline, and teaches at a business school. Man, did I not see these coming.


 

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Party In A Tube

Posted by Ogged
on 10.26.07

I remember reading about Virgin America's very wired planes, but it hadn't sunk in that they have a full keyboard at every seat and a chat room for passengers. Forgive me my geekiness, but that is so very awesome.

24A: Hallo, 34B. U r v. good-looking to me, and I see you in lav in 5 min, inshallah.


 

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The Call Of Conscience

Posted by Ogged
on 10.26.07

A recent search that brought someone to Unfogged, from a .mil internet address.

is it illegal to kill an enemy combatant while they're asleep?

You know, I'll bet the answer is "not always."


 

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Bad Cop

Posted by Ogged
on 10.25.07

Anmik points me to this very good post at the Phil Nugent Experience on the differences between Bush and Giuliani. You should read the whole thing, but here's one good bit.

[Giuliani] has a real bad cop's mindset, the mentality of a lawgiver who has not only blinded himself to any failings by his brothers in arms but has ceased to see the civilian population he's supposed to be serving as anything but a bunch of potential arrests to be made; if there are a few out there who haven't actually done anything wrong, they probably don't hate the evildoers as much as they ought to, so as far as he's concerned, they're just as bad. They're soft ingrates who don't understand the pain of the man holding the billy club. Giuliani decides who the good guys and the bad guys are not on the basis of who's done good things and who's done bad things but on the basis of who's in his tight little circle and who's left over. Again, the difference between him and Bush shows in their taste in cronies. Both are mindlessly devoted to cronyism, but Bush picks out genial, no-talent losers like himself--folks like Michael Brown and Harriet Miers and Alberto Gonzalez--and sticks them in high-profile positions of power where they're fated to humiliate themselves. Basically, he's been Dan Quayling us to death. Giuliani likes scumbags, real, one hundred-proof pieces of shit, like Bernard Kerik and Alan Placa, who've been with him forever; he wound up abandoning Kerik, but that's a testament to how thoroughly squalid everything about Kerik was; it's Giuliani's original determination to put Kerik at the head of Homeland Security that's the true indicator of his character, that and his not having any problem with carrying that particular barnacle around with him for so many years.


 

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Division Of Labor

Posted by Becks
on 10.25.07

My grandmother worked on and off outside the home in a number of part time jobs during her life but she was always the sole person in charge of the house. That's the way it was with that generation of my family - she did all of the cooking, shopping, cleaning, and laundry and my grandfather never lifted a finger to help. The last six months or so her health has declined so that she can't do these chores anymore and my grandfather is having to do them for the first time. The following scene, in different variations, is repeated at least five times per day:

Grandfather: [proudly, strutting around, fishing for compliments] I went to the grocery store!

Grandmother: [With a look on her face that reads "What? You want a cookie for that? Do it 10,000 more times and we'll be even.] Oh! That's wonderful! Thank you.


 

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Ah, Memories

Posted by Ogged
on 10.25.07

This picture captures perfectly the two moods of male adolescence: contented reverie and bitter longing. Click it for context.


 

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Day 2

Posted by Ogged
on 10.25.07

Charles Krauthammer: still paralyzed, still his own damn fault.


 

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People To See

Posted by Ogged
on 10.25.07

Seven-fold in one year? Sounds like cult activity to me.

A surge in naked sleepwalking among guests has led one of Britain's largest budget hotel groups to re-train staff to handle late-night nudity.

Travelodge, which runs more than 300 business hotels in Britain, says sleepwalking rose seven-fold in the past year, and 95 percent of the somnambulants are scantily clad men.

That's from the boring Reuters report. The Sun naturally has a (SFW) picture. Do they have people waiting around to be photographed, or do they just grab Jane and Donny from the copy desk?


 

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Hate the sin, lube the sinner

Posted by Fontana Labs
on 10.25.07

Andrew Sullivan gets an email from an evangelical with a newly-out friend:

We evangelical Christians are in a similar position. Every time we condemn homosexual behavior, liberal elites accuse us of desecrating the spirit of the very one to whom we claim fealty. Christ was loving, tolerant and open! They would say. Yes, but Christ also said he came to bring division and that he would pit brother against brother. Christ was both loving and firm in conviction, and as followers of Christ we're to imitate his example.
That is why it's difficult for me to know how to respond to my friend who outed himself. I want to love him purely without compromising my moral imperative to speak the truth. And in a media climate that is increasingly equating tolerance with promotion, it has become very difficult for evangelical Christians to tolerate without appearing hateful....
I don't know if you realize how terrifically murky the waters are for well-meaning Christians these days--how to speak the truth in love, when the media increasingly defines our truth as hate. I'm sure I'll be confronted with many more outings in the future, and I'm sure some will respect my beliefs and others will brand me a bigot. But if "bigotry" is the price to pay, then I will have to pay it, because the cost of abandoning my principles is incalculable.

Woe unto us! So hard to be a Christian in America today. You know, I find people like this completely insufferable, but I manage to hold my tongue. Maybe they could extend the favor.

Fine, fine, I posted this only because I like the title, which, remarkably, had been a google orphan.


 

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There's A Screenplay In There, I'm Sure

Posted by Becks
on 10.24.07

I may have blogged something like this once before a while ago but I can't remember and it's such a powerful image for me that I'll repeat myself: I spent the last few days in a small town in the Midwest that used to have a thriving downtown but has been decimated over the last few years by the arrival of Wal-Mart and the departure of industry. I sometimes wonder what would happen if a major city like New York or D.C. or L.A. became uninhabitable because of a disaster or rising sea levels for something and we had to figure out how to absorb all of those displaced people across the country. Would they move en masse to an abandoned city like Detroit? Or would groups of 20 and 30 move to small towns across the heartland? It's probably elitist of me but when I see abandoned downtowns like that going to waste, I sometimes imagine little stories about the arrival of urban refugees into a small town with a dying Main Street, the inevitable culture clashes that would occur, and then an eventual community emerging that combines the best of urban and rural life.


 

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Ouch

Posted by Ogged
on 10.24.07

Saddest google searching ever.


 

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Bet She Broke A Nail

Posted by Ogged
on 10.24.07

So deliberate, so matter-of-fact.

Explanation, of a kind, here.


 

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The Angry Ape Test

Posted by Ogged
on 10.24.07

Marginal Revolution gets enough traffic that I don't feel bad stealing an entire post from them. But you'll have to click through to get pictures of all the candidates mimicking angry apes.

At this point it is ridiculous to claim that Hillary cannot win, but her chances are overestimated. I apply what I call The Angry Ape Test to the candidates. Imagine each mimicking an angry ape, and ask how pretty or appealing the resulting picture is. Most swing voters perceive America as being at war and so they demand toughness. They demand An Angry Ape, if not at every moment in time, at least in principle. Most Americans don't find an angry Hillary to be a pleasant Hillary, whereas an angry, raging Giuliana fits his basic image. Americans claim not to be biased, but at their core they don't much like angry women; being female remains Hillary's biggest barrier, even when explicit prejudice is absent. Related prejudicial forces will keep Barack Obama from the presidency. Being black, he is supposed to sound reasonable and intelligent all the time. He is not allowed to mimic An Angry Ape. Americans want their first women President to be like Margaret Thatcher -- firm, no-nonsense schoolmarmish strength without much radiation of anger -- and they want their first black President to be like Colin Powell. We will allow "Magisterial" -- I'm too strong to need to throw a tantrum -- to trump Angry Ape, but Hillary can't play that card. Barack is too young, too inexperienced, and doesn't have the military record.

Mitt Romney also can't do The Angry Ape. This same hypothesis suggests McCain still has some chance, though obviously his path to the top is no longer clear, given his limited resources. He can at least do The Ape. This is the main reason why I still think Giuliani will win.
Under this theory foreign policy disasters, no matter who caused them, will help the Republican candidate. We will demand An Angrier Ape.

I'm not sure if this is right, but I think it's analyzing the factors that are most important.


 

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Confronted

Posted by Ogged
on 10.24.07

I'm not sure how to read Condoleezza Rice's expressions while she's being yelled at by a protester who's a foot away from her face, but I prefer to think that they mean "I know I've long since taken my place among history's villains, but do you really have to yell?"


 

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Ipod: when you touch me (I can't stand myself)

Posted by Fontana Labs
on 10.24.07

So I got my Touch in the mail the other day. Fun to play with, the interface is groovy, and I like the big screen for looking at pictures, but it won't be the go-to ipod, I think. It's got only 16g of storage, which isn't that big given its size. What's more, I have to look at the thing to use the controls-- unlike my old ipod, where I can do things by feel. On the other hand I love having the PDA-ish features. On the third hand I can't input to the date book, though I can add contacts. Weird.


 

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Express Yourself

Posted by Becks
on 10.23.07

A tale of clicking around the internets gone wrong:

I read a cartoon!

I read a funny blog post!

I guess there's a chance that some of you reading this might not have pets with leaky butts. I do, and let me tell you it's no fun. Every time we take our cat to get her butt squeezed the doctor tells me she can show me how to do it at home. She suggests it would save me some money. There are certain things I am willing to do at home to save money. For example, I ask my wife to cut my hair. Something I won't do is reach into my cats asshole and wring out its butt juice. I'm willing to pay a professional for that.

I somehow end up watching this video!


 

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Fuck Karma!

Posted by Ogged
on 10.23.07

I know Charles Krauthammer is paralyzed because of "a diving accident," but I can't find any details about it, and you know what? I hope he did something stupid.


 

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Boston World Series Meetup Thread

Posted by Ogged
on 10.23.07

Knock yourselves out.


 

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Book Recommendation Bleg, With A Twist!

Posted by Ogged
on 10.23.07

In addition to becoming steadily older, dumber, and more forgetful, my regular reading of blogs and news has led to some serious vocabulary atrophy: a lot of good words that I "know" aren't floating in the air around me for me to pluck and use when I need them. I'm not talking about jargon or "ten dollar words," but words like "brusque," "purloin," and "meretricious."

So I'm asking you for reading recommendations of things written at a high level of English vocabulary. I don't care if the thing hangs together or is any good on its own terms--in fact, bonus points if you don't say that you like it, or that you think I'll like it--I'm more apt to take my medicine if no one tells me I have to enjoy it. I'd prefer modern stuff (1900 and later, say), and I don't mean things that are baroque or have complex structure; just those that use a lot of good words. And no, little bitches, the dictionary doesn't count.


 

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Submitted without comment.

Posted by Apostropher
on 10.23.07

Just thought this was worth noting.

In Shirley MacLaine's new book, the actress and longtime friend of Dennis Kucinich makes an interesting claim: During a visit to her home in Washington state, Kucinich said he saw a UFO and heard messages from it.

"Dennis found his encounter extremely moving," MacLaine writes. "The smell of roses drew him out to my balcony where, when he looked up, he saw a gigantic triangular craft, silent, and observing him.

"It hovered, soundless, for 10 minutes or so, and sped away with a speed he couldn't comprehend. He said he felt a connection in his heart and heard directions in his mind."


 

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Stop the madness!

Posted by Fontana Labs
on 10.23.07

Via Yglesias, an interesting point from Kevin Carey about the insidious effects of the US News college rankings on (among other things) tuition:


If a university were able to figure out how to reduce its costs by, say, 10 percent, while holding quality constant, and it chose to pass those savings along to its customers in the form of a tuition decrease, its U.S. News rankings would go down. If, on the other hand, it became 10 percent less efficient and passed the cost onto customers in the form a tuition increase (not a hard thing to do if you're a selective college), its ranking would go up. All of this stems from a deficit of reliable, comparable, institution-level measures of quality. Thus we have this crazy higher education market with no value proposition, one where cost and quality are assumed to be the same thing -- and in the sense that high-end higher education is a luxury good that primarily serves to signal your exclusive ability to acquire and pay for it, they are the same thing.

I think it's easy for people outside higher ed to overlook how important those rankings are. There are people whose jobs depend on moving an institution up in the rankings by whatever system-gaming moves they can dream up, and this really does affect institutional decisionmaking in all sorts of weird ways. Alums of the greek system are happier (thus more likely to give and to increase alum donation rate) if the fraternities and sororities are officially recognized instead of being in institutional limbo; this comes out in conversations about what to do with the Greeks. Rankings are affected by the percentage of the student body living in institution-affiliated housing; that's one reason to (totally hypothetical example not related in any way to real life) require students to live in this sort of housing, which is more expensive than private rentals.

It's a dirty game, but it's the only one The Man left us to play, and that's the stone cold truth. In classic prisoner's dilemma fashion, individual institutions are loathe to ignore these considerations for fear of losing relative position, which means we're stuck with it .


 

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Bitter Pill

Posted by Becks
on 10.23.07

This is probably going to be an unpopular opinion but I'm opposed to the plan for Maine schools to give young girls access to birth control pills. I've known too many people (myself included) who have had strong physical or psychological side-effects from being on the pill to think that's a good idea. The latest anecdote to add to the pile is a friend who recently confessed that she changed formulations of pills when she switched insurances and the new ones made her suicidal.

Birth control pills are great for many women but I would strongly discourage a teenager from going on the pill or another type of hormonal birth control because she doesn't know her body well enough. I think that before you take any medicine that screws with your body chemistry like that, you need to have a firm understanding of where your "baseline" is so you can evaluate the side effects.

I hate to say this, as I'm afraid it will add fuel to the fundamentalist fire, but I do think there are health issues that need to be considered apart from any political agenda. So Maine: go ahead and hand out all of the condoms you want. Knock yourself out. Condoms for everyone! Just maybe reconsider that birth control pill thing, please.


 

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Hidden In Translation

Posted by Ogged
on 10.23.07

This California fire is no joke, with 500,000 having been told to evacuate, but there's a joke, in this story about a guy who is refusing to leave his home.

His mother, Ferechteh Nikrafter, called, worried about them. She started the conversation in English: "Why are you still there?" Then she switched to their native Persian; Ashtari was born in Iran and moved to the United States as a boy. "Dahaiti," she told him. It's an expression, he said later, that essentially means "Don't be foolish."

First, I'm sure her name is Fereshteh and the word is "dahati," with one "i." It doesn't just mean "foolish." "Dahat" is the mostly neutral word for rural areas (and in Iran rural can still be very rural), but "dahati" isn't neutral and means something like "country bumpkin" or "dumb hick." The image of a guy proudly sitting in his house while it burns is exactly the kind of thing Iranians would call "dahati."


 

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The Stupidest Thing I've Read All Week

Posted by Becks
on 10.22.07

This is the type of shit that gives liberals a bad name as out of touch goody-goodies:

Experts tell us that teenagers often begin smoking to copy their peers and others whom they see smoking. As adults, however, they continue smoking largely because of the addictive qualities of nicotine....This means that in the absence of addictive levels of nicotine in their cigarettes, most young smokers would ultimately quit.
A two-cigarette strategy would prohibit young smokers from buying addictive cigarettes. The tobacco industry is capable of producing cigarettes that are virtually free of nicotine...The age to purchase addictive cigarettes might be set at 21. Better yet, sales of addictive cigarettes could be restricted to individuals born 19 or more years before the two-cigarette strategy was put into effect. Under this approach, 18-year-olds who start smoking non-addictive cigarettes would be prohibited from switching to addictive cigarettes even after they turned 21.

Yeah, this is going to work out great. It's just like all of those high school kids I know that try to fit in by drinking O'Doul's.

OH WAIT.


 

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McCullagh's Law, Pass It On

Posted by Ogged
on 10.22.07

This is very good.

This leads me to propose McCullagh's Law of Politics:

As the certainty that legislation violates the U.S. Constitution increases, so does the probability of predictions that severe harm or death will come to Americans if the proposal is not swiftly enacted.

 

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Larry Craig On The Brain

Posted by Ogged
on 10.22.07

Jake Gyllenhaal said (reportedly),

Daily Mail: Who would you like to be stuck in an elevator with?
Gyllenhaal: I know this isn't quite the same, but I was stuck in a woman's bathroom once with Susan Sarandon. She was interviewing me for a magazine and we couldn't find a battery for our recording device so we ended up in a woman's bathroom. I discovered two things that day: that the floor in a woman's bathroom is colder than the floor in the men's. And, believe me, I've spent a lot of time on the floor of a men's bathroom so I should know!

WWTDD seems to take this as Gyllenhaal outing himself, but one can only conclude (with dolorous shock) that Tyler Durden isn't the party animal one might have thought, because it is goddamn 110% heterosexual to drink oneself insensate and pass out on the bathroom floor.


 

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Ask The Mineshaft: Pitiful Young Cripple Edition

Posted by Ogged
on 10.22.07

Help a youngster out if you can:

I've been working professionally on PCs for about 2.5 years since I got out of college, and have been an enthusiast for the 13 years prior. I had occasional minor pain in my hands before my professional work, and have seen a dramatic increase in pain as my longtime passion and hobby became my full time job. While I have been in pain for the last 2.3 years I finally reached to point of being unable to deal with it this week, and am out on vacation + sick days at the moment having notified my employer of this.

From everything I've read, and consultation with my physical therapist, my condition is 95% fixable as the problem lies in years of bad posture. I need time to heal, and build up strength in my upper body to fix my posture. The actual doctors I've discussed this with don't really have anything to say about it but "You're in pain, take stuff to mask it."

My physical therapist has also told me that worker's comp gets noted in some employer accessible database and flags you as a big trouble for any future employers, which would be a disaster for me since I'm 23 and don't plan on working at the company I'm at for all eternity. I've looked around online to see whether going on workers comp is as bad as I've been told but have found nothing, just advice for people already on it or already convinced of going on it. I'm spending this week frantically gathering as much information and diagnosis on myself as possible and am coming up short on this critical issue. Does anyone out there in the unfogged universe have an wisdom they could impart on this topic, or know competent attorneys in Los Angeles with whom I could discuss this?


 

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Not What It Looks Like

Posted by Becks
on 10.22.07

As I unpacked my bag this morning, I realized how lucky I was that my checked bag wasn't picked for a random luggage search. I can just picture me trying to explain to the TSA guy why my bag contains little girls' panties, a pillowcase with blood smudged on it, and a camera.


 

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Too delicious

Posted by Fontana Labs
on 10.22.07

Via Scott Lemieux I learn that Richard Mellon Scaife is going through a nasty, expensive, and embarrassing divorce. Poetic justice, eh? I also see that Derek Jeter may have given Jessica Alba herpes. Yikes.


 

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Some People Are Merely Bending

Posted by Ogged
on 10.22.07

From Devics in the comments, a very cool set of photographs of people paired with their breakfast. Who knew there could be so much breakfast variety? My own breakfast, now half-consumed, is here. Post 'em if you got 'em.


 

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The bullhorn crackles and the captain tackles.

Posted by Apostropher
on 10.22.07

It's Monday, and I need something to get the week started a bit more smoothly. Like, for example, fresh, steaming music specially selected to make long stretches in a cloth-covered cube bearable. I couldn't pare it down to CD length, so have a double-CD mix on me. It's almost all instrumental; track listing and officially approved album art behind the cut. Feel free to do whatever you deem appropriate in the comments.

Don't Bogart that Groove, Disc 1 (77 min, 110.9 MB)
The Herbaliser - Who's the Realest
The Meters - Hang 'Em High
Bill Frisell - White Fang
Amon Tobin - Keep Your Distance
Corporal Blossom - Opportunist Dub
Medeski Scofield Martin and Wood - Little Walter Rides Again
Marcus Miller - So What
Grant Green - Let the Music Take Your Mind
Frank Zappa - Been to Kansas City in A Minor
Memphis Horns - Soul Bowl
John Zorn & Albert Collins - Two-Lane Highway: Preacher Man...
Denise LaSalle - Long Dong Silver

bogart.jpg


Don't Bogart that Groove, Disc 2 (79 min, 125.5 MB)
The Lounge Lizards - Where Were You?
Buckethead - Unrestrained Growth
Polvo - Snake Fist Fighter
I Hear Sirens - This Is the Last Time I'll Say Goodbye
Dirty Three - Sad Sexy
Bill Frisell - Outlaws
10 Ft. Ganja Plant - Why Can't They Tell Us the Good News?
Aphrodelics - Rollin' on Chrome (Wild Motherfucker Dub)
Keith Jarrett - Things Ain't What They Used to Be
Soil & Pimp Sessions - Red Clay
David Murray Latin Big Band - Mambo Dominica
Don Ellis - Samba Bajada
Bettye LaVette - Take Me Like I Am


 

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Scarred

Posted by Becks
on 10.21.07

Ogged mentioned in comments a little bit ago that he'd considered doing a thread where everyone could tell the story of their most awesome or notable scar and could upload a picture of it to the Flickr pool if they wished but decided not to because thought people would find it too icky. Whatever. I don't. This is that thread.


 

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Innocence Lost

Posted by Ogged
on 10.21.07

Whole Foods is the new pickup spot. In NY. In Austin. What's next, hipsters at the pool?


 

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