Thursday, September 12, 2002

Customs Lets 15 Pounds of Depleted Uranium, Sent from Turkey, No Less, Sail Right Into New York

This is just too scary - I'm watching an ABC news show earlier tonight and well, you hear a lot of talk about how tight security is these days, which makes this that much harder to swallow. ABC reporters took fifteen pounds of depleted uranium, shielded in a container resembling a pipe-bomb and packed in a crate, then shipped it from Turkey to New York. This crate and it's ultra-suspcious-looking and mildly radioactive cargo - exactly the kind of thing that should have raised eyebrows - passed right through customs without anyone batting an eye, however. In fact, throughout it's journey, nobody even so much as opened it to have a peek inside or got close enough with a geiger counter to find there was cause for alarm. In short, had it been actual fissionable uranium and the person recieving it had not been a reporter, we'd have had a terrorist happily strolling the streets of NY, carrying an ominous, hardshell suitcase with a small nuke inside.

The uranium - although depleted, shielded and more or less innocuous - was giving off the same signature geiger reaction that would have alerted officials to the possibility of there being a bomb inside, had anyone at the port authority or customs bothered to take a closer look at it - which they damn well should have, considering Turkey is right at the top of the list of places nuclear material would be smuggled from by terrorist attackers. Sleep tight, kids.

Wednesday, September 11, 2002

9/11 Replayed on Fark

This is the most fascinating thing I've seen in some time...Drew Curtis has posted an archived copy of his site, Fark, from Sept. 11th of last year. The hundreds of users' comments and incoming news posts as it they happened in real-time are recorded in the comments section beside each post and it was amazing to see everyone's reactions as the story was still breaking and new facts and rumors were pouring in by the ton. This is why the first thing I do when I turn on my computer each day is log onto Fark - boobies, jokes and humor aside, if there's something really big going down, you know it'll be there as soon as it happens.

I was amazed at the relative tact with which most everyone seemed to handle the situation in a place where, normally, there's so much irreverance. I was also a little taken back by looking at the previous headlines before the planes started crashing - ten minutes before our whole world-view was changed by those horrible attacks one of the biggest questions on everyone's mind was whether Jordan should or shouldn't return to the NBA.

One Year Later...Sept. 11, 2002, in a Nutshell

Well, I'm sitting here at 5:13 in the morning, it's September 11, the first anniversary of the attacks and I suppose I should say something, but I don't know exactly what. I think as it is the media is going to soak us in so much 9/11 coverage there's not much point in my echoing it.

Still though, it's definitely an important day and a day for reflection and for tributes. Meanwhile, amidst the ceremony and remembrance, there's tension in the air, as the government has put us on alert for new attacks as we commemorate the old ones. There are pleas for war and cries of "give peace a chance" and amidst all the craziness and fighting, doctors and Supermen are quietly making miracles happen.

When I think of the times we're in now I'm constantly reminded of a song Paul Simon wrote back in the 80's, called The Boy in the Bubble. Here's an excerpt of the lyrics, they're nearly two decades old now, but I think they sum up our current world as well as anything else I could think of:

It was a slow day
And the sun was beating
On the soldiers by the side of the road
There was a bright light
A shattering of shop windows
The bomb in the baby carriage
Was wired to the radio

These are the days of miracle and wonder
This is the long distance call
The way the camera follows us in slo-mo
The way we look to us all
The way we look to a distant constellation
That’s dying in a corner of the sky
These are the days of miracle and wonder
And don’t cry baby don’t cry
Don’t cry

© 1986 Paul Simon

I guess that sums up how I feel about our times. There's a lot of bad going on but a lot of wonderful and amazing things, as well. It's just a damn crying shame everyone can't put aside their hatred, step back, take a look at how incredibly far mankind has come and really put their noses to the grindstone to make even greater, bolder leaps. There's so much potential for greatness right now and too many dollars spent on crap. Crap like tanks, bombs, fighter-jets, poisons and nuclear missiles - all of which we could live without if people could appreciate the smallness of the world we live in and the immediate need for us to get it together spend less time worrying about our individual and national beefs with one another and think about all the problems we face as human beings on the whole.

Maybe we'll make it, somehow. Here's hoping everyone's safe and well on this day historic date and I hope everyone takes a moment out of it to think about how lucky we are to have our friends, our family and our health and to think about the people we've lost in the year that's passed since 9/11 and how we can come together to makes things better in the years ahead.

Doh! Where's Homer Gonna Live?

Barbara Howard, of Richmond, KY has won the Simpsons House in Springfield, Nevada - the story, pics and a Quicktime tour of the home can be found here.

Tuesday, September 10, 2002

Triumph Poops on the VMAs

God bless Triumph, the Insult Comic Dog, I love that mutt. In case you missed it, he attended the Video Music's the *ahem* scoop, as well as video clips of him hassling the celebs in attendance. The stuff of him hassling Star Wars nerds waiting in line at the opening of Episode II was some of the funniest stuff I've ever seen. Also, who could forget his mocking of Bon Jovi?

I know sooner or later they're going to do this bit to death, he's going to get his own show and a year from now we'll probably all be sick of him, but as of now, he's my favorite canine (apologies to my dog, Janis).

Only 107 Days 'Til Christmas

So why not beat the rush and snap up this tasteful mouse for the pervert brother-in-law or friend who just flat-out doesn't care if everyone knows he's just in it for the porn-surfing?

Monday, September 09, 2002

This Has Been Posted All Over, But...

If you haven't seen this Quicktime film of a little girl showing off her skills in the competitive sport of "cup stacking", it's pretty darned amazing - think The Flash stacking and restacking plastic cups in various formations. Bit of a download, but it's not a very long clip and worth it.

Fun With Numbers

Now...think of a number...
How Long Can You Hold the Button?

Another classically pointless page.

Disney's Dirt

I was reading some stuff on a website earlier tonight about Disney and some of the claims made were so strange I decided to go looking around and see if they were true. A couple checked out on Urban Legends' site...for instance: when making the Disney movie White Wilderness, released in 1958, Disney's nature photographers - who, incidentally, were filming in Alberta, Canada, which is neither a native habitat for lemmings or possesses an outlet to the sea - staged a bogus "lemmings marching to their death into the sea" sequence by placing the rodents on a snow-covered turntable for a migration sequence and then transported them to a cliff overlooking a river, where they were herded off the edge and into the water. Apparently lemmings don't actually kill themselves, this is either a myth started by or at least enforced by the movie.

Other interesting tidbits: the film Song of the South has never been released on home video in the United States, ostensibly due to the laughably wonderful depictions of slaves' lives in the movie and in a related note, the film's star, Uncle Remus - played by James Baskett, who was a black man and the very first live-action actor hired by the studio and won a special Oscar for his efforts - was unable to attend the premiere of the movie, as he was unable to find a hotel in Atlanta that would put him up.

Now all this was a long time ago, obviously and although it's kind of messed up, it's kid's stuff compared to some of the stuff alleged on the site that got me started on this little tangent. Urban Legends has always seemed pretty reputable, though and they backed up his claims about the lemming story, which was the thing that got me started on this, as I'd never heard of it before. However, I can't vouch for the rest of the claims made here, which include deaths, perverts running wild at the Magic Kingdom while management looked the other way and other mind-blowing atrocities, so I'll let you do your own investigation on the matter. I say this, of course, because I'm afraid of Disney's behometh legal dept. and don't want to be sued, unlike the site's author, who says:

This is a preface to the section accusing the entertainment company of engaging in child labor practices:If I may, I'd like to preface this little page by telling the Nice Lawyer who sent me letters threatening to "pursue legal action" if I put this up that he can kiss my lilly white ass for two reasons : 1} this is all documented in the public domain and 2} I basically own a 12 year old car, a computer and a semi-respectable collection of Plasticware from Boston Market.


Big Things celebrates unusually large statues of everyday things like pineapples, oranges, bulls and other odd works that dot the Australian countryside, like the gigantic trout above.