The day the Mark went dark

Last night, as we set out to relocate this site at its new home in the upper atmosphere, I told you that you could take 48 hours off. I had been told, by our technical team, that the migration would likely take that long, and, during that time, the site would be completely dead. As it turns out, it didn’t take anywhere near that long. I think the site was down for about 10 hours altogether. I attribute the incredible speed to the fact that our technical team isn’t paid by the hour. In fact, in truly modern American fashion, they aren’t paid at all. And, to be honest, it’s not really a “they” so much as it is one guy. His name is Andre, and, up until he was selected to head the technical team here at, he was just a reader, like you. It’s an incredible story, really. Some day, if I ever get the money together, I think I’d like to make it into an after school special about Andre. I think it’s important for kids to know that, if they apply themselves, someday they might be selected to enable the online musings of a sad, middle-aged man well into the process of becoming one with his couch… Kids, it’s my belief, need to have hope. Like the song says, “without hope, life is meaningless,” right?

As for this young Horatio Anger protagonist come-to-life, who I know simple as Andre (He still refuses to give me his last name), I plan to buy him a beer tomorrow night. Without him, this site would have collapsed under the weight of my ineptitude long ago. Anyway, I just thought that I should mention it here. Sorry if, by doing so, I ruin the illusion you have of this operation being a one-man-show. The truth is, we’ve now got about half a dozen people on the team. Most of them, it’s true, are worthless animatronic alcoholics purchased from the estate of Anton LeVey, but, together, we’re more than the sum of our pulsating, booze-sticky parts. (I had to purchase LeVey’s robots, as my other robot, Patrick Elkins, which I’d created years ago by hot gluing a found beard onto the beloved electronic daughter of my mentor, Ted Lawson, had become terribly lonely and despondent since the breakup of Manhole.)

As for migrating this site to the cloud, I’m not really sure what that means. I just kept getting emails from the company that hosts this site, telling me that, if I didn’t get my ass on the cloud soon, everything would start to fall apart. I, of course, ignored them, choosing instead to focus my attention on the nipples of Nancy Grace, and the like. Fortunately for us all, though, Andre was there, just waiting for an opportunity to embrace his destiny.

There are a million things that I should be writing about tonight, but, for some reason, I’d rather just ramble on and on about nonsense… Oh, speaking of which, how did you like the way I kind of wove together the fact that the site went dark, our migration to the cloud, and Lord Voldermort’s “dark mark” in the image at the top of the post? Pretty clever, right?

Speaking of clever… and this is isn’t really related to anything… I saw a brilliant video a few days ago of a group in San Francisco that does guerilla grafting. (They graft the limbs of fruit-bearing trees onto the trunks of public, non-fruit-bearing trees, so that those without food might be able to eat.) Here it is.

I’ve tried grafting on a few occasions, and I’ve never been successful at it. Maybe, one of these days, we could have a community workshop on grafting or something. It’s been a long time since I’ve talked with Lisa Bashert about it, but, as I recall, when we served on Ypsi’s 2020 Task Force together, she advocated for the planting of fruit and nut trees all over the City, with the same objective in mind. I’m not sure if she’s yet had an opportunity to act on it, but I still think it’s a great idea. And, judging from sites like Neighborhood Fruit, which set out to map all the fruit and nut trees on public land, the idea is catching on…

OK, I know I said that you’d have tonight off, but I really would appreciate it if you could leave some kind of comment today, on any subject that interests you. It just feels right to me today to ramble and make obscure connections, and I’d love to have you join me in that process.

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  1. Edward
    Posted January 4, 2012 at 11:43 pm | Permalink

    What’s going on with Transition Ypsilanti these days? Does anyone know the status?

  2. Posted January 5, 2012 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    I’m glad that you moved to the cloud. I think that there are surveillance cameras in places outside the cloud.

  3. x
    Posted January 5, 2012 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    I watched a snail crawl along the edge of a straight razor. That’s my dream. It’s my nightmare. Crawling, slithering, along the edge of a straight razor … and surviving.

  4. Gene
    Posted January 5, 2012 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    Rows and flows of angel hair
    And ice cream castles in the air
    And feather canyons everywhere
    I’ve looked at clouds that way

    But now they only block the sun
    They rain and snow on everyone
    So many things I would have done
    But clouds got in my way

    I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now
    From up and down, and still somehow
    It’s cloud illusions I recall
    I really don’t know clouds at all

    congrats, Mark, on being a cloud. i didn’t know clouds at all, but now i know at least one.

  5. Eel
    Posted January 5, 2012 at 9:03 am | Permalink

    Thanks for giving us the two days off

    …..and then immediately calling us back into the office.

  6. K2
    Posted January 5, 2012 at 9:14 am | Permalink

    I’m pissed that Obama used a recess appointment to get Cordray in as director of the Consumer Financial Protection Agency, as it makes me start to like him again. I know that’s part of the strategy, and I feel like a sap for falling for it. The administration feels as though they they can win us back with a few moves like this, where they try to position Obama as the hero of the little guy. I want it not to work. I want to remain pissed at him for not prosecuting the Wall Street swindlers and his refusal to veto the NDAA, but I find myself softening up. Please, someone, step in and talk me out of it.

  7. K2
    Posted January 5, 2012 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    Also, for what it’s worth, I heard that the only demographic that Romney won outright in Iowa was individuals who made over $100,000 a year.

  8. Meta
    Posted January 5, 2012 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    Ezra Klein on the recess appointments:

    Obama made four recess appointments on Wednesday. One of them lifted Richard Cordray to head of the Consumer Financial protection Bureau. Another added three members to the National Labor Relations Board. But despite having hundreds of nominees outstanding — including for important positions like the Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors and the FDIC — Obama didn’t pull a Teddy Roosevelt and make 160 appointments on the same day. Why? What makes these four nominees different from all other nominees?

    The answer is that, without them, the institutions they’re intended to lead will fail. Obama’s maneuver was about the agencies, not the appointees. In the absence of a director, the CFPB can’t exercise its powers. The expiration of Craig Becker’s term on the NLRB, meanwhile, means the board is about to fall from three members to two members — a number that the Supreme Court has ruled is less than a legal quorum, and so a number that means the NLRB cannot make binding rulings.

  9. Andre
    Posted January 5, 2012 at 9:34 am | Permalink

    Thanks, Mark. I will gladly accept Nancy Grace nipple footage in lieu of payment. Or in lieu of anything, really.

  10. Posted January 5, 2012 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    Mr. K2:

    Do you honestly believe that Obama could ever veto the NDAA? It’s an authorization bill. If he doesn’t sign it, the military doesn’t get paid.

    I think that the blame needs to be laid on the sponsors of the particular section of the bill that have brought so much controversy, specifically Sens McCain and Graham.

    Perhaps, you should read the signing statement that the Obama admin attached to the bill.

    Personally, the conversation on these sections has become so simplified as to be out of step with reality.

    Clearly, I am also disappointed that the Obama admin continued to interpret relevant sections of the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Terrorists resolution of 2001 in the same manner that the Bush administration did.

    However, to believe that the Obama admin could ever veto the latest NDAA is purely preposterous.

    The Obama admin did not ask for these provisions. It’s lost in this conversation as to why the Senate would feel it necessary to grant them, particularly in the context of such a normally boring affair as an NDAA, a bill which the Senate knew the Obama admin would have no choice but to sign.

    Maybe I’m full of shit. I’ve been confused by this very complex issue from the beginning.

    The signing statement:

  11. anonymous
    Posted January 5, 2012 at 9:44 am | Permalink

    Scumbag Maynard Meme (executed poorly)

  12. Edward
    Posted January 5, 2012 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    Peter, the NDAA could have been vetoed without cutting funding for the troops. The following comes from retired four-star Generals Charles C. Krulak and Joseph P. Hoar, whose op-ed in the NYT was posted here a week or so ago.

    “This budget bill — which can be vetoed without cutting financing for our troops — is both misguided and unnecessary: the president already has the power and flexibility to effectively fight terrorism.”

    No offense, but I suspect, as the former Commandant of the Marine Corps, Krulak understands a little more about how our troops are funded than you.

  13. Posted January 5, 2012 at 10:15 am | Permalink

    I’m sure he does, but this doesn’t mean that there wouldn’t be political fallout.

    The Republicans would have had a field day.

  14. Posted January 5, 2012 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    As for this: “the president already has the power and flexibility to effectively fight terrorism”

    the Obama administration agreed with this statement and said as much, even putting it into writing in the signing statement to the recent NDAA.

  15. Posted January 5, 2012 at 10:18 am | Permalink

    The likely truth is that I’m just a sellout asshole.

    I’ve found this entire issue massively confusing from the start. Maybe I’m just dumb.

  16. Robert
    Posted January 5, 2012 at 11:38 am | Permalink

    Why do you say that you are a sellout, Peter? Where did that come from?

  17. Posted January 5, 2012 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

    I’ve struggled with this issue for quite sometime, more than I’ve struggled with any political topic in a while. I feel that my opinions on it vastly diverge from anyone I know, though, not being an expert on military policy, that could be due a high level of ignorance on my part.

    Whenever I’ve brought it up, I get a significant amount of angry push back.

    I realize that was entirely out of place.

  18. Edward
    Posted January 5, 2012 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

    I didn’t mean for it to sound as though I were pissed at you, Peter, when I said that the General probably knows more about such things that you do. I didn’t mean to to imply that you aren’t entitled to your opinion. It came out sounding more harsh than I’d intended. With that said, though, I do think that Obama could have vetoed the legislation, and encouraged Congress to come back with a version that didn’t include the language in question. And, given the opinions of these Generals and others, I think that political blowback would have been minimal. The trouble is, I don’t think he wanted to do that. Let’s remember, this President has already sanctioned the murder of one American citizen without trial. This is a power that he’s used. Granted, he hasn’t had anyone murdered on the streets of America yet, but who knows what the future holds. We’ve got a whole new year in front of us.

  19. Posted January 5, 2012 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

    I just simply disagree that there would have been minimal political blowback. Really, picture it.

    Also, given the executive’s strong statement regarding the controversial sections, I don’t agree that the executive didn’t take the sections seriously.

    The executive’s main issue with the sections was that it tied their hands and prevented local law enforcement from dealing with terror issues. This, and the fact that the executive did not request these sections are more indicative of the Obama administration’s intentions than the killing of al-Awlaki. That’s a connection I just can’t logically make.

    I really think that the true culprits here are on the Senate Defense Committee, I even believe that this is a calculated political move.

  20. susan bea & the knee
    Posted January 5, 2012 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

    You nailed this one Peter. The bill would not have been reworked. The veto would have simply been overridden, the votes were there. And yes, the President would have looked weak and the media would have been non-stop on how Obama doesn’t support the troops.
    Also, too there is nothing ‘new’ in this bill. All it says is that the existing powers and capability are still in force. It should have been called the status quo bill. But then what would the poutrage over-reactors have had to whine about.

  21. Mr. X
    Posted January 5, 2012 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

    If random is what you want, I stumbled across a great Reddit thread a few days ago, in which people were sharing their thoughts on what they’d do if they were suddenly transported by to 1985. The responses were pretty cool. Of particular interest for me was the 12-part response from a guy called Hornswaggle.

    The initial thread:

    The Hornswaggle “1985 Sweet 1985” sub-Reddit:

  22. Mr. X
    Posted January 5, 2012 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

    I think, sadly, the NDAA thing will work to Obama’s advantage. Now that it’s in place, he can point to it and say, “I know this bill has got some scarey stuff in it. I didn’t want to sign it. Just read my signing statement. It gives the Executive the right to imprison Americans indefinitely, without due process. Fortunately, though, I don’t intend to use that power. I can’t say, however, that Mr. Santorum shares this belief. He may very well choose to exercise these newly codified rights. That’s why you need to vote for me….. the guy who signed the law into being in the first place.”

  23. Posted January 5, 2012 at 10:55 pm | Permalink

    None of you wanted to talk about the grafting?

  24. Posted January 5, 2012 at 11:18 pm | Permalink

    This may be the best movie about grafting ever made (from the amazing Charley Bowers):

  25. Grape Ape
    Posted January 5, 2012 at 11:37 pm | Permalink

    There is edible fruit falling trampled all over Ypsi. Apples, truckloads of mulberries and walnuts, wild grapes (&leaves) and raspberries … the real money is in tapping our maples.

    Grafting seems like a solution trying to anticipate a problem. But tree fruit is probably the easiest dietary supplement to supply. My grandfolk proved one healthy apple tree can provide a household with pretty near a year’s worth of sauce. Maybe we can graft edible arugula into edible dandelion leaves?

    Until someone figures out how to graft processed wheat into crabgrass and bacon into my skin-tags, it just reads as a publicity statement.

    Truth is, right now more fruit trees doesn’t equal less hunger, but more people running to Walgreen’s for rat-traps, sting ointment and sale priced Chef Boyardee (99 cents a can!).

    That doesn’t make the video less cool or prophetic … just less real.

    If anyone would like to graft, talk to me. I promise to supply you with the addresses of more locally neglected fruit and leaves than you can can and digest in a year.

    Grafting is a great picture of what we can do. But, if I’d shot the video, I would’ve asked the grafters where they got their food.

  26. Edward
    Posted January 6, 2012 at 9:38 am | Permalink

    Doug, this is terrific. I can’t believe I’d never sen it before. The grafting segment (5:36) in particular was incredible. Thank you for sharing this.

  27. K2
    Posted January 6, 2012 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    Of all the disgusting stuff I’ve read on this site over the years, I think “grafting bacon into my skin-tags” has to be the worst. I seriously want to vomit. It’s worse than the Human Centipede.

  28. Posted January 6, 2012 at 10:21 am | Permalink

    Charley Bowers was forgotten for a long time, and only recently rediscovered. He’s amazing!

  29. Kim
    Posted January 6, 2012 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

    Today I learned that sexual by-product known as santorum was not named after Presidential hopeful Rick Santorum, but his father, Aldo Sentorum, who had made his fortune running a Chicago bathhouse called Man‘s Country.

  30. Arf
    Posted January 6, 2012 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

    I like the way Gob Bluth says “club sauce”.

  31. Chef Boyardee
    Posted January 7, 2012 at 2:31 am | Permalink

    Can you graft crystal meth or crack cocaine onto trees?

  32. Eel
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    You want random?

    David Bowie, fuelled by an “astronomic” cocaine habit and subsisting on a diet of peppers and milk, spent much of 1975–76 in a state of psychic terror…seeing bodies fall past his window, having his semen stolen by witches, receiving secret messages from The Rolling Stones, and living in morbid fear of Jimmy Page.

  33. EOS
    Posted January 11, 2012 at 8:54 am | Permalink

  34. Mr. X
    Posted January 11, 2012 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

    EOS, are you suggesting that Judge Napolitano, like David Bowie in the 1970’s, is paranoid due to out-of-control drug use.

    And, isn’t that how all babies are conceived – with witches extracting semen from men?

  35. Robert
    Posted January 11, 2012 at 8:35 pm | Permalink


    Bob Seger told ‘RAW RAQK NUUZ RU’ on 2011-10-20 that a song like “Mainstreet,” which is featured on ‘Ultimate Hits: Rock And Roll Never Forgets’ digitally remastered double disc collection [November 21st, 2011 A.D.] and is an early highpoint during his nightly set, holds a memory for him of a specific time and place: “‘Mainstreet’ was written probably about my first girlfriend — as was ‘Night Moves’ — but she didn’t dance in a bar (laughs) or anything like that. A lot of its, she probably had the influence on it, but I made up the scenario. Although I did to walk on Ann Street – which is just off Main Street in Ann Arbor, and there would be a kind of smoky atmosphere in there, and it actually was a black blues club. And there was a guy who used to play there called Washboard Willie — and I loved his band. And I would try to stand outside and listen to the band as long as I could before they shooed me away (laughs)!”

2 Trackbacks

  1. […] A few days ago, I posted something here about a group in San Francisco that has made it their mission to convert non-fruit-bearing trees on public land into ones that bear edible fruit. They call themselves guerilla grafters. I think it’s a great idea, but, some, it would seem, don’t share my enthusiasm for giving people the ability to feed themselves. Following is a comment left here on the site by someone calling herself Grape Ape. There is edible fruit falling trampled all over Ypsi. Apples, truckloads of mulberries and walnuts, wild grapes (&leaves) and raspberries… the real money is in tapping our maples. […]

  2. By Chris Elliott: A Television Miracle on January 21, 2012 at 10:07 am

    […] few days ago, when I let it slip on this site that my dapper young companion, the accomplished local puppeteer Patrick Elkins, was […]

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