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December 6, 2006

The Dark Comes On In Blocks, In Cubes — by Thomas Lux

The dark comes on in blocks, in cubes,
in cubics of black measured
perfectly, perfectly
filled. It's subtle and it's not,
depending on your point of view.
You can measure it best in a forest,
or in a grassy lowland, or in any place
where your lamp is the only lamp and you can turn it off.
To describe it the usual adjectives
of the gray/black genre will not do. It's not light,
nor is it the absence of light, but
oh, it's sweet, sweet like ink
dropped in sugar, necessary and invisible
like drafts of oxygen. Absolutely,
in squares, in its containers of space,
the darkness arrives — as daily
as bread, as sad as a haymow
going over and over a stubble field,
as routine as guards
climbing to gun towers
along penitentiary walls, clicking
on their searchlights
against it.

December 6, 2006 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Snoop Dogg Pet Fur Coat


I saw this on Amazon just now.

Perfect brand extension.

From the website:

    Snoop Dogg Pet Fur Coat

    Snoop Dogg apparel is high quality, durable and comfortable attire that your dog can wear in any weather.

    This officially licensed apparel is both stylish and functional.

    Items are available in 3 sizes — Small, Medium and Large.

    These totally authentic, premium quality clothes are perfect for all the doggs in your family.


The "officially-approved doggfather" fur coat pictured up top comes out next month and runs $24.99.

There's tons of other stuff in the new Snoop Dogg line for pets, including Hoodies, Basketball Jerseys, T-Shirts, Plush Headphone Toys, Vinyl Hand Cuffs with Rope (!) and a Boom Box with Sound Chip.

fo' shhizzlle.

[via Caroline Anne]

December 6, 2006 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

'Only underdeveloped nations can... afford to use... [nuclear] weapons... because the lives of their citizens seem to be expendable' — William Langewiesche


His article, "How to Get a Nuclear Bomb," appears in the current (December, 2006) issue of the Atlantic magazine.

I just finished reading it and don't really know what to say.

Except that it's compelling, frightening and the best thing I've read about the most dangerous aspect of life in the early 21st century: the chance that a small group will obtain and explode such a weapon.

As the title page of the article notes: "It wouldn't be easy. But it wouldn't be impossible."

The first 400 words of the 10,000 word article appear here.

To read the whole thing you have several options:

1) The easiest — and by far most expensive — is to subscribe online for $24.50.

2) The cheapest way to gain access is to visit your local library and read it there.

3) Equally inexpensive — as in free — would be to find a store that sells the Atlantic, take one off the shelf and (if you happen to have chosen a bookstore) go relax in a comfortable chair while you read it.

4) Finally, you can find a compromise between convenience, cost and comfort by buying a copy and taking it home.

The choice is yours.

Sure — I could access it online, then copy and paste it in here, but you know what?

I'm just not that into doing that at the moment.

But you never know.

In the meantime, here's the all-access 400 word segment that begins the piece.

    How to Get a Nuclear Bomb

    It wouldn’t be easy. But it wouldn’t be impossible. A reporter travels the world to find the weaknesses a terrorist could exploit

    Hiroshima was destroyed in a flash by a bomb dropped from a propeller-driven B-29 of the U.S. Army Air Force, on the warm morning of Monday, August 6, 1945. The bomb was not chemical, as bombs until then had been, but rather atomic, designed to release the energies Einstein described. It was a simple cannon-type device of the sort that today any number of people could build in a garage. It fell nose-down for forty-three seconds, and for maximum effect never hit the ground. One thousand nine hundred feet above the city the bomb fired a lump of highly enriched uranium down a steel tube into a receiving lump of the same refined material, creating a combined uranium mass of 133 pounds. In relation to its surface area, that mass was more than enough to achieve “criticality” and allow for an uncontrollable chain of fission reactions, during which neutrons collided with uranium nuclei, releasing further neutrons in a blossoming process of self-destruction. The reactions could be sustained for just a millisecond, and they fully exploited less than two pounds of the uranium before the resulting heat forced a halt to the process through expansion. Uranium is the heaviest element on earth, almost twice as heavy as lead, and two pounds of it amounts to only about three tablespoonfuls. Nonetheless, the explosion over Hiroshima yielded a force equivalent to 15,000 tons (fifteen kilotons) of TNT, achieved temperatures higher than the sun’s, and emitted light-speed pulses of dangerous radiation. More than 150,000 people died.

    Three days later, the city of Nagasaki was hit by an even more powerful device — a sophisticated implosion-type bomb built around a softball-sized sphere of plutonium, which crossed the mass-to-surface-area threshold of criticality when it was symmetrically compressed by carefully arrayed explosives. A twenty-two-kiloton blast resulted. Though much of the city was shielded by hills, about 70,000 people died. Quibblers claim that a demonstration offshore, or even above Tokyo harbor, might have induced the Japanese to surrender — and if not, there was another bomb at the ready. But the idea was to terrorize a nation to the maximum extent, and there is nothing like nuking civilians to achieve that effect.


Langewiesche's biography is here.

He appeared on NPR's "Fresh Air" on May 27, 2004; that interview is here.

December 6, 2006 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack



What were you thinking?

From the website:

    Little Hotties™ Hand Warmers

    All-natural glove/pocket warmers last up to 8 hours!

    These tiny hot-packs for your gloves or pockets work like magic, delivering a full day of safe, digit-thawing heat for your hands — with no batteries, fumes or messy fuel.

    Non-toxic, non-combustible and environmentally friendly, too.

    Air-activated: just open, shake and go!

    They can also provide soothing relief of minor aches and pains.

    And they're odor-free.

    Each multi-pak includes six pairs of warmers — a total of 12 hot packs!


December 6, 2006 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Mascot Beans — 'Eat your school colors'


That's different.

I always thought you were supposed to show them.


Lisa Crutchfield wrote about the latest in a line of brand extensions of the old alma mater, this one involving jelly beans, in a story which appeared in the November 27, 2006 Richmond Times-Dispatch.

Long story short: Existing flavors of Jelly Belly-brand jelly beans are simply sorted according to school colors, packaged into individual 6-oz. servings with a customized header card, then shipped to university bookstores, gourmet candy shops and boutiques across the country.


They currently come in over 40 school flavors, with new schools being added "all the time."

More on the company's website.


$5.95 a bag.

December 6, 2006 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Door Wedge of Swiss


Food appears ever so slowly to be entering the doorstop space.

I mean intentionally — not the stuff that falls off the table and rolls over there.

But I digress.

Last year's banana peel iteration got people out back in their skunk works to thinking, and they've now brought forth the cheesy piece pictured up top and below.

From the website:

"Swiss" Door Wedge

This amusing door stop takes the phrase a “wedge of cheese” to a whole new level.

Easily grips both carpeted and bare floors.

Molded from flexible plastic.

Made in the UK.



[via Anne McDonough and Andrea Sachs and the Washington Post]

December 6, 2006 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

'Micro Nations' by John Ryan — 'Start your own country'


Lots of tips in this new book, featured by Jerry V. Haines in this past Sunday's (December 3, 2006) Washington Post Travel section; his review follows.

    Road Reads: "Micro Nations," by John Ryan et al.

    Target audience: Tongue-in-cheek rebels and patriots

    It sounds like an idea hatched late Saturday night in the freshman dorm by perpetually dateless guys: "Let's start our own country, man, with our own flag and postage stamps...." But some really have done it (with varying degrees of seriousness).

    Like when the feds blocked U.S. 1 in Florida City, causing citizens of the Keys to secede and declare themselves the Conch Republic. The Maritime Republic of Eastport was an Annapolis neighborhood until a bridge closure threatened local businesses. (Its Declaration of Independence states: "All men and women are created equal, as evidenced by the fact that... they all wear the same beat-up deck shoes.") Segway scooter inventor Dean Kamen simply bought his country, an island off Connecticut, and called it the Kingdom of North Dumpling Island (official currency: the dumpling).

    There are dozens of such stories here, wryly presented in a guidebook format. (Incidentally, as a revenue venture, issuing postage stamps rarely works.)


The book lists for $14.99 and costs $10.19 at Amazon.

Want more?

No problem.

Visit micronations.net.

George Pendle wrote an entertaining and very informative article about micronations which appeared in the Summer 2005 issue of Cabinet magazine.

December 6, 2006 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

LP-to-MP3 Converter


That's different.

From the website:

    LP-to-MP3 Converter

    The first of its kind, this belt-driven turntable plugs into your computer via USB.

    It plays, converts and saves your prized vinyl LPs to MP3 format for playback on an iPod or other MP3 device, allowing you to take your favorite out-of-print music, comedy, and spoken-word recordings anywhere you go without risk.

    In addition to providing high-speed vinyl audio conversion to MP3, the turntable plays LPs at 33-1/3 and 45 rpm speeds (adapter included), and its adjustable anti-skating control provides increased stereo balancing.

    Includes 1/8" RCA output and cable for connection to a stereo system equipped with either a CD or AUX input.

    The system includes recording and cleaning software (PC/Mac) for the removal of scratches, hisses and pops, but will operate with any software that supports USB audio input sound cards.

    20-1/4"W x 17"D x 3"H.



December 6, 2006 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

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