the world is a very strange (and hungry) place

Gazelle On The Menu At Chez Saddam

The Tikrit South airfield, where Marine Wing Support Squadron 271 set up base in this week's campaign to take the city, is on the edge of a preserve where Saddam and favored guests once hunted gazelle. [...] The marines are using 9mm pistols to hunt after initially being forbidden to use firearms for fear that gunshots in the woods might be mistaken for enemy fire.

"We hunted them with rocks, as Stone Age as that sounds," Wicksell said. "We gutted them and skinned them and pretty much carried them over our shoulders barbarian-style." The preparation is almost as primitive: a fire pit dug in the ground, covered by a radiator grill from one of the Marines' trucks.

When the Food Workers Union stages an impromptu walkout at the U.N., the diplomats start looting for lunch and booze

At noon on Friday, food workers at the U.N. headquarters walked off their jobs, calling a wildcat strike. The result: none of the U.N.'s five restaurants and bars was staffed. [...] But as tensions grew and stomachs growled, a high-ranking U.N. official boldly ordered that all the cafeterias open their doors for business even without staff. The restaurants had been locked shut by security until about 1:00 pm when the doors flung open.

The decision to make the cafeterias into "no pay zones" spread through the 40-acre complex like wildfire. Soon, the hungry patrons came running. "It was chaos, wild, something out of a war scene," said one Aramark executive who was present. "They took everything, even the silverware," she said. [...] The takers included some well-known diplomats who finished off the raid with free drinks at the lounge for delegates. When asked how much liquor was lifted from the U.N. bar, one U.S. diplomat responded: "I stopped counting the bottles."

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Current Music: Pram -- Eels ♬

apparently I'm the scab you can't stop picking at

I'm always amazed at how many people read the crap I post here.

And it seems like any time I write something technical (as opposed to the usual stream of links to monkey and poop gags) the hate mail starts flowing right away. I don't get it: there seems to be this large set of people whom I pretty much universally piss off, and yet, they seem unable to change the channel. What the hell? I don't even read the blogs of people I think are idiots! (Also, none of them spell my name right when they whine about me, despite this amazing technology we have called cut-and-paste. "It's not that hard: Nayee-Nanajar. Nayeenanajar.")

Dear ______, who is a True Believer in the _______ software and/or technology. Yes, I just called your baby ugly. Yes I did. I'm a bad, bad person who certainly doesn't know what he's talking about. I understand. Thank you, drive through.

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Current Music: Boss Hog -- Jaguar ♬

Drinking beer won't prevent SARS, Singaporeans told

Deputy Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong used a May Day union gathering to shoot down SARS myths.

"Let me try to kill off three more rumours. Abstaining from pork will not increase your immunity. Although alcohol kills viruses, drinking alcohol will not prevent SARS. And I hear that some people think smoking wards off SARS!"

"The lesson is simple: do not spread rumours, and do not believe rumours. Those caught spreading false information can be fined up to 10,000 Singapore dollars (5,650 US) and jailed up to three years under the Telecommunications Act," Lee said.


still, I blame Canada

With pot and porn outstripping corn, America's black economy is flying high

Marijuana, pornography and illegal labour have created a hidden market in the United States which now accounts for as much as 10% of the American economy, according to a study. As a cash crop, marijuana is believed to have outstripped maize, and hardcore porn revenue is equal to Hollywood's domestic box office takings. [...]

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While the nation's largest legal cash crop, maize, produces about $19bn in revenue, "plausible" estimates for the value of marijuana crops reach $25bn. Steve White, a former coordinator for the US drug enforcement administration's cannabis eradication programme, estimates that the drug is now the country's largest cash crop. [...] Some estimates suggest 3 million Americans grow marijuana, although mostly for their own or their friends' use, but between 100,000 and 200,000 are believed to do so for a living. [...]

The annual number of hardcore video rentals in the US has risen from 79m in 1985 to 759m in 2001. Hardcore pornography in the shape of videos, the internet, live sex acts and cable television is now estimated to generate around $10bn, roughly the same amount as Hollywood's US box office receipts. [...]

More than a million illegal farmworkers are estimated to be employed in the US, with the average worker being a 29-year-old from Mexico. The total number of illegal immigrants is estimated at about 8 million and many are being paid cash in a shadow economy. Many live in primitive conditions: a survey in Soledad, in the heart of California's agricultural territory, found that 1,500 of them, one-eighth of the town's official population, were living in garages. There are mutual economic benefits.

"Migrant work in California has long absorbed Mexican surplus labour, while Mexico has in effect paid for the education, health care and retirement of California's farmworkers," writes Schlosser. "Maintaining the current level of poverty among migrant farmworkers saves the average American household around $50 a year."

The advantages to the employer are clear, most notably in LA county, where an estimated 28% of workers are paid in cash.