Friday, May 30, 2008
Do they serve bran muffins instead of communion wafers? Is the priest Fabio?
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Fron CNN: classy, very classy.
Friday, May 23, 2008Gobbler Motel and Restaurant Fans have an exciting date to mark on the calendar - the Gobbler Gala is coming to the one-of-a-kind former restaurant on June 6th! Wisconsin State Journal's Doug Moe give us the details:
...On June 6, The Frank Lloyd Wright Wisconsin Tourism Program will host "The Gobbler Gala," a dinner and discussion at the building in Johnson Creek, just off Interstate 94, that was once the Gobbler Supper Club.You can read more about the Gobbler's Motel's history and 2001 demise at our sister site, Requiem for the Gobbler Motel.
There will be a catered gourmet turkey dinner and speakers will include Jefferson architect Helmut Ajango, who designed the Gobbler, and Wright historian Sidney Robinson, formerly of the University of Illinois-Chicago, now with the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture. As one who rarely missed an opportunity during a Madison-to-Milwaukee run to duck off the highway and seek refreshment at the Gobbler, I am both amused and pleased by this development.
The idea came from Jack Holzhueter, retired after many years with the Wisconsin Historical Society, and a Wright Tourism board member. He enlisted another board member, Margo Melli, a Madison attorney and law professor, and together they persuaded the current owner of the Gobbler property, Jefferson attorney Raymond Krek, to go along. Though the restaurant has been closed for several years, much of the interior is still in place and Holzhueter said there's even a chance they'll get the revolving bar operating.
The only real problem is explaining the uniqueness of the Gobbler, which for most of its years had a motel adjacent to the restaurant, to those who never experienced it... [read the full article at the Wisconsin State Journal]
Thursday, May 22, 2008Perhaps the most surprising thing about this news story from the UK is how unsurprising it seems today, in 2008:
A government database holding details of every phone call made, email sent and minute spent on the internet by the public could be created as part of a centralised fight against crime and terrorism, it emerged [May 20th]. News of the proposal prompted alarm about the country's growing surveillance culture and raised fears of "data profiling" of citizens. It follows on from plans for databases for ID cards and NHS electronic patient records.Which brings me to my main point. I've noticed an unsettling trend in the comment sections of blogs and websites reporting on intrusive government proposals like the one above.
Telecoms companies and internet service providers would be compelled to hand over their records to the Home Office under proposals that could find their way into the new data communications bill. The information would be stored for at least 12 months and police, security services and other agencies across Europe would be able to access the database with court permission. [Read full article in Guardian UK, and others, via Schneier on Security]
I see fewer expressions of outrage at the idea that our private communications could be intercepted, monitored, shared and stored by government agencies - and more "what, are you paranoid?" joking, more "what's the big deal, everyone's doing it, get used to it" dismissals. Why should this be the case? Do we actually value our electronic privacy less today than we once did?
What I suspect is happening is a gradual downward shift of privacy expectations in this less-than-a-decade since 9/11, and public acclimation to pervasive surveillance. Being watched is no longer the exception: it's the norm.
Corporations routinely buy and sell our private personal and financial information amongst themselves, public spaces and private establishments surveil and record activity as a matter of course. Any time we enter a store, a bank, a sports arena, or an airport we expect to have our actions and movements electronically observed and recorded. When we dial a customer service number, the canned preamble more often than not warns us "this call may be recorded."
A friend whom I normally held to be an advocate of individual privacy rights recently offered the apologist's trope, that those who are guilty of nothing have nothing to fear by being watched. I found this surprising and a bit disturbing - after all, if our calls and emails are recorded, then yesterday's innocent act could become tomorrow's documented transgression. It also occurred to me that these days even I rarely notice the increasing number of dark, shiny watchful hemispheres on the ceilings and walls of nearly every store and public place I go. They're just there, like light bulbs and fire sprinklers.
Outside of our homes, we have virtually no expectation of privacy of action to speak of, but this broad proposal is different: it hits us where we communicate, emote, express, think. It's not just surveillance of behavior; it's the closest thing we have today to surveillance of thought.
You know, I think those commenters are right. We're starting to care less and less that we're being watched because we're all being watched.
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Very tasty Mediterranean eats (in the restaurant, of course), and a fascinating "pilgrimage" bathroom, to boot. On North Avenue, in Chicago.
Friday, May 16, 2008
- Crazy Rasberry ants [Paratrechina sp. near pubens] have invaded Houston, and they're eating the electronics. "Crazy" refers to their erratic swarming movements, unlike many species' neat linear lockstep; and "Rasberry" comes from Tom Rasberry, the Texas exterminator first credited with noticing them on a job:
"I think they go into everything, and they don't follow any kind of structured line. If you open a computer, you would find a cluster of ants on the motherboard and all over. You'd get 3,000 or 4,000 ants inside, and they create arcs. They'll wipe out any computer." [Rasberry in Computerworld, via iTWire]Patsy Morphew of Pearland, Texas told the Houston Chronicle,
"They crawl through the eaves of the house and go into the bathroom. You know what it's like to sit down on the commode with crazy ants running everywhere?"They're also chewing up wiring at NASA's Johnson Space Center, they're poison-resistant, and they eat fire ants for lunch. [Image from Super Toy Archive Collectible Store, "Blue Army Ants"]
- "Cupcakes" made of meatloaf, with mashed potato icing. Mmm. [via Slashfood]
- Ancient Geeks [like moi] can get detailed pinout schemata for thousands of obsolete audio, video and computer connectors at Pinouts.ru.
- Want to improve the subtle flavors of Two, Three, Four Buck Chuck? You may not have to splurge on plonk, just your MP3 collection: according to a Heriot Watt University study, the type of music played to accompany wine can influence taste perceptions by almost 60% [BBC]:
The researchers said cabernet sauvignon was most affected by "powerful and heavy" music, and chardonnay by "zingy and refreshing" sounds. ...According to the story, Montes Wines recommends you listen to Blondie's "Atomic" when sipping Chardonnay, Vangelis' "Chariots of Fire" alongside Syrah, and "Sitting On The Dock of the Bay" by Otis Redding to put some soul in your Merlot. [via Clusterflock]
The white wine was rated 40% more zingy and refreshing when that music was played, but only 26% more mellow and soft when music in that category was heard. The red was altered 25% by mellow and fresh music, yet 60% by powerful and heavy music. The results were put down to "cognitive priming theory", where the music sets up the brain to respond to the wine in a certain way.
...[Previously] Prof. North [of Heriot Watt] conducted supermarket research which suggested people were five times more likely to buy French wine than German wine if accordion music was played in the background. If an oompah band was played, the German product outsold the French by two to one [Emphasis mine - LR].
- Smithsonian Magazine's Joan Acocella contemplates why New Yorkers are perceived as being so rude:
In my experience, many people believe that New Yorkers are smarter than other Americans, and this may actually be true. The majority of people who live in New York City were not born here. Indeed, more than a third were not born in the United States. New Yorkers, then, are people who left another place and came here, looking for something, which suggests that the population is preselected for higher energy and ambition. ...Full disclosure: I myself am a former New Yorker.
But I think it's also possible that New Yorkers just appear smarter, because they make less separation between private and public life. That is, they act on the street as they do in private. In the United States today, public behavior is ruled by a kind of compulsory cheer that people probably picked up from television and advertising and that coats their transactions in a smooth, shiny glaze, making them seem empty-headed. New Yorkers have not yet gotten the knack of this. That may be because so many of them grew up outside the United States, and also because they live so much of their lives in public, eating their lunches in parks, riding to work in subways. It's hard to keep up the smiley face for that many hours a day.
It is said that New Yorkers are rude, but I think what people mean by that is that New Yorkers are more familiar. [read full article]
Labels: links du jour
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
On Route 264 near Manassas, Virginia, during a pounding rainstorm that eventually flooded highways in the region last weekend. Click to view the full-resolution image, which reveals some interesting things about traffic lighting viewed over time. The 2-second exposure of road lighting was taken while rotating the camera's body clockwise.
Friday, May 09, 2008
[Why, yes, I am a fan of Georgia O'Keeffe's work - why do you ask? ;) - L]
Tuesday, May 06, 2008This guy's taken the gas-price blues to a whole new level:
VALPARAISO, Ind. -- A Valparaiso man climbed atop a convenience store with a guitar and megaphone Monday night to sing a song protesting high gasoline prices. Police halted the impromptu 15-minute concert at a Family Express store and took singer Jay Weinberg to jail.[With apologies to the creator of the above cartoon; I've seen it several times before but this version lacks a signature. Anyone who knows the name of the artist that should be credited, feel free to leave a comment]
Weinberg's song, called "Price Gouge'n," resonated as he sang from above pumps dispensing fuel at $3.78 per gallon. Dozens of supporters chanted: "I can't afford it. I'm banging on my dashboard. I can't believe they think I'm a fool." Eventually, three Valparaiso police officers arrived and arrested Weinberg on charges of criminal trespassing and disorderly conduct.
Some of the listeners, including his wife, Danielle, drove to Porter County Jail to bail him out. Weinberg left the building around 7:30 p.m. and was greeted with cheers. [via AP/Google]
Monday, May 05, 2008
A treasure from the golden age of the Illinois Central Railroad, seen along the Jane Addams Trail in Lena, IL. From a perfect sunny Sunday hike in the swampy, froggy Pecatonica River basin, accompanied by the loves of my life; camera in hand.