For the past several years I’ve been actively auditing podcasts while in my car. I’ve tried all kinds of stuff – one time talks, home-made riffs, occasional raves by brilliant geniuses, and regular fragments of broadcast material. I have two criteria: I want to be surprised, and I want to learn.

Lemonade and lies

In a Dashiell Hammett story, the Continental Op looks at a sign in a bar — “ONLY GENUINE PRE-WAR BRITISH AND AMERICAN WHISKEYS SERVED HERE” — and begins to count the lies. I thought of that moment when examining a bottle in the supermarket today. The beverage inside is distributed by Supervalu Inc. The label reads:

ORIGINAL
LEMONADE
FLAVORED BEVERAGE WITH OTHER NATURAL FLAVORS
Old Fashioned Recipe

The old-fashioned recipe?

INGREDIENTS: FILTERED WATER,
CITRIC ACID, POTASSIUM CITRATE,
SODIUM HEXAMETAPHOSPHATE,
ASPARTAME, POTASSIUM SORBATE
AND POTASSIUM BENZOATE
(PRESERVATIVES), GUM ACACIA,
SUCROSE ACETATE ISOBUTYRATE,
NATURAL FLAVOR, ACESULFAME
POTASSIUM, CALCIUM DISODIUM EDTA
(TO PROTECT FLAVOR), YELLOW 5.

How many lies do you see?

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Lemonade and lies

Visuals of the World

“Scroll through yards of inspirational images. Share and contribute, see what you can do. Add a personal link to your submission or just engage anonymous. Be part of the longest visual website in the world!” (Note: Could have NSFW images…)


Visuals of the World

Homer then and now

The Nation has an extensive report on the experiences of American veterans of the war in Iraq. An excerpt:

We heard a few reports, in one case corroborated by photographs, that some soldiers had so lost their moral compass that they’d mocked or desecrated Iraqi corpses. One photo, among dozens turned over to The Nation during the investigation, shows an American soldier acting as if he is about to eat the spilled brains of a dead Iraqi man with his brown plastic Army-issue spoon… .

The scene, Sergeant [Camilo] Mejía said, was witnessed by the dead man’s brothers and cousins.

A reader of Homer’s Iliad will find nothing surprising in such accounts. Achilles’ character is undone in the course of the Iliad; the warrior who once displayed the greatest concern for his comrades and the greatest compassion toward the enemy descends into self-absorbed brutality. Here is Achilles speaking to the Trojan warrior Hector, before killing him and dragging his body behind a chariot:

               "I wish my stomach would let me
Cut off your flesh in strips and eat it raw
For what you’ve done to me. There is no one
And no way to keep the dogs off your head.“

(Iliad 22, translated by Stanley Lombardo)

Standing on Troy’s wall, Hector’s father and mother witness Achilles’ treatment of their son’s body, groaning and screaming as they watch.

And here we are, twenty-seven centuries later, in the same story.

The Other War: Iraq Vets Bear Witness (The Nation, via Boing Boing)
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Homer then and now

Fighting overextension; First look at Numbers; “Linkable” notebooks; Doing v. tracking; Better 404s

Start Here - Notebooks


Fighting overextension; First look at Numbers; “Linkable” notebooks; Doing v. tracking; Better 404s

Things I learned on my summer vacation (2007)

Solvent cups are great for packing vitamins, meds, and other small items.



Ashland, Ohio, claims to be “the world headquarters of nice people.”



Jesse’s Café (139 Brighton Ave, Long Branch, New Jersey) is a wonderful mostly-vegan restaurant. The baba ghanoush is spectacular.



Ratatouille is a noun made from two verbs: ratouiller (to disturb, shake) and tatouiller (to stir).




Manhattan Special is an espresso soda from Brooklyn, New York, bottled since 1895. It is everything Coke Black wants (and fails) to be.



Older wine — a 1989 Bordeaux, almost brown in color, earthy in taste — is very different from the 2005, 2006 stuff I buy.



Fuller’s earth is a special-effects material used in simulating explosions. When you see the dirt flying up in a big plume, that’s Fuller’s earth.



Desert Spring is a house-brand imitation of Poland Spring.



“Oprah and her friends are just a call away.” (Slogan on a cell-service kiosk in a New Jersey mall.)



Rob Zseleczky can play a note-perfect guitar part for “Scarborough Fair.”



My sister-in-law Susie can draw manga characters.



Most events in one’s life happened “fifteen or twenty years ago.”



KARL BUSH EATS HOAGIES. (Painted on an overpass in Pennsylvania.)



Singing along with Pete Seeger while driving lightens and brightens all moods.



Coming back is so much nicer when the house is decluttered.

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Things I learned on my summer vacation (2006)
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Things I learned on my summer vacation (2007)