ryan is hungry

Following a short trail that started at Calibog, I just stumbled onto a relatively new site called Ryan is Hungry, which, if I understand correctly, is the project of two ex-television producers from the east coast who recently relocated to the Bay Area, where they’re working to bring videoblogging to the masses. I’ve just been poking around for a few minutes and I’ve already watched three very interesting video pieces; one a behind the scenes look at Technorati, one a look at the Josh Wolf case, and the other an exploration of the Hat Factory, the collaborative workspace the Ryan is Hungry folks share with a number of other likeminded geeks. (The Hat Factory model is an interesting one. They charge $200 a month for access to shared facilities. Single-day access is $10.) Anyway, it seems pretty cool and look forward to visiting often. Hopefully, they can keep up the energy. (I’ve even added a link in the right-hand column.)

Posted in Media | 4 Comments

altoids survivalism

Would anyone out there be interested in getting together at a bar some Saturday afternoon to make survival kits in Altoids tins? I’m thinking that it might be pretty easy to do if we got a few people together, did a bit of advanced planning and each brought multiples of a few items. (This link to “Field & Stream” comes by way of BoingBoing.)

And here’s a question… How might we consider altering these survival kits so that they’re “optimized for Ypsi?”

Posted in Ypsilanti | 9 Comments

the yes men weigh in on post-katrina efforts to bleach new orleans

I’d been waiting anxiously to see how our friends the Yes Men would respond to the Bush administration’s handling of New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, and, I’m happy to announce, the wait is over. Yesterday, on the eve of the first anniversary of the hurricane, Yes Men operative Andy Bichlbaum, posing as Housing and Urban Development (HUD) spokesperson Rene Oswin, took the stage alongside New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin and Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco, to announce:

“Our charter here at HUD is to ensure access to affordable housing for those who need it the most. This past year in New Orleans, I am ashamed to say that we have clearly failed to do this.”

Bichlbaum, in the character of the apologetic Oswin, then went on say that HUD would, among other things, scrap plans to tear down 5,000 low-income housing units which had been slated for demolition despite the fact that they’d been undamaged by the hurricane.

Video of the event seems to be down right now, but it should be available again in the near future.

(According to the “LA Times,” they used the alias Rene Oswin because “Rene” means rebirth in French and “Oswin” is the Catholic patron saint of victims of betrayal.)

True to form, the Yes Men then went one step further and issued a false response from HUD on the subject of the agency’s forced “Identity Correction” at the hands of the Yes Men. It included the following points. (Unfortunately, I can’t link to the whole thing as I received it from the Yes Men in the form of an email.)

“We are destroying those homes for good reason. It is terribly sad that some people can’t understand that. That lack of understanding speaks for the low level of government education in this country.”

…HUD is NOT encouraging Wal-Mart to withdraw from low-income neighborhoods in order to “stanch” the flow of money out of these neighborhoods, nor does it prefer “local” businesses…

…A national tax base for public schools is NOT on the horizon of HUD or the Department of Education. U.S. public schools will continue to be funded from local taxes, which will continue to mean commensurate and proportionate levels of funding for schools in rich and poor neighborhoods. HUD does NOT believe equality of opportunity must begin in grade one, but believes it is a far more flexible concept…

…Also, Exxon has asked HUD to make clear that it will NOT pay $8.6 billion from its $35 billion in profits this year to close down the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet and otherwise repair the damage caused by the oil industry to the natural protections surrounding New Orleans…

Will it change anything? Maybe not. But at least it has people talking, even if temporarily, about the forced takeover of former black communities instead of about stupid shit like the man who drove from New Orleans to DC to tell the President face-to-face that he was doing a “great” job. Hopefully, thanks to the efforts of Spike Lee, the Yes Men and others, the administration won’t be successful in hiding the truth of what really happened, and continues to happen, in New Orleans, behind staged photo-ops and phrases that have tested well with focus groups.

Posted in Art and Culture | 4 Comments

pander watch: florida

As Congresswoman Katherine Harris falls further and further behind in her Senate race (after news of her dealings with corrupt defense contractor MZM Inc. broke), it looks as though she’s being forced further and further toward the extreme right. A few days ago, Harris had the gall to tell the “Florida Baptist Witness” newspaper that the separation of church and state is “a lie”, and that God and our founding fathers never intended for America to be a country governed by “secular laws.” She then went on to further enflame her paranoid and xenophobic neoconservative base by stating unequivocally that electing non-Christians is a “legislative sin”… And this, my friends, is what desperation smells like. (It should be noted that the Bush brothers, having gotten what they wanted out of Harris, have cast her aside like an easy frathouse conquest.)

Posted in Politics | 3 Comments

skeksis found in russia

After several days of tedius research, I feel confident when I say that the mystery carcass which recently washed up on the Russian coastline is that of a full-grown, male Skeskis… The pride I feel at having cracked this puzzle is, of course, somewhat tempered by the realization that I, and everyone I love, will soon be enslaved by these vile creatures. (And, suddenly, the Bush administration isn’t looking all that bad.)

Posted in Observations | 8 Comments


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