Surprise! McDonald's is not good for you.

Super Size Me

Morgan Spurlock decided to become a gastronomical guinea pig. His mission: To eat three meals a day for 30 days at McDonald's and document the impact on his health. [...] Within a few days of beginning his drive-through diet, Spurlock, 33, was vomiting out the window of his car, and doctors who examined him were shocked at how rapidly Spurlock's entire body deteriorated.

"It was really crazy - my body basically fell apart over the course of 30 days," Spurlock told The Post.

"Consumers can achieve balance in their daily dining decisions by choosing from our array of quality offerings and range of portion sizes to meet their taste and nutrition goals," McDonald's said in a statement.

Official movie site: supersizeme.com.

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are black people in england called african-americans too?

Student Caught In Racial Controversy:

OMAHA, Neb. -- Four Westside High School students are suspended for promoting a white student for an African-American award. Flyers featured junior Trevor Richards, a South African native who moved to the United States in 1997.

Trevor said he is as African as anyone else.

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Current Music: Curve -- Arms Out ♬

DNA Lounge: Wherein MC No-ID spoils it for everyone.

We did this hiphop event the other night: a bunch of DJs and MCs. One of the things that happens just before doors is that security goes around and checks the IDs of everyone who's already inside, to make sure they're all 21. Well, one of the MCs didn't have his ID. He had some long sob story, as they always do. Security decided to let it slide, since the guy was obviously in his 30s.

Now, this almost never happens: usually what happens if a performer doesn't have their ID is, we either make them go get it (which makes them hate us a lot) or we treat them like they're an 18-year-old performer, which means they can only be in the club when they're on stage; for the rest of the time, they get to wait on the bus.

So you'd think the sane thing to do would be to be lenient in these cases, right? Except we almost never do, because here's how the conversation usually goes:

Security: Can I see your ID, please?
Performer: This is fucking bullshit, man, I don't have to show you shit. Don't you know who I am?

So at that point, they're no longer merely guilty of not having their ID: now they're also guilty of being an asshole, which tends to eliminate any possibility of leniency.

Also, experience has shown that performers who show up without ID tend to be primadonna dipshits: the kind of person where we're actually better off having them in the building for the shortest amount of time possible, because that way they make less trouble.

But, moving right along (and I think you know where this story is going...)

A couple of hours later, one of the security guys caught MC No-ID smoking pot in the back room, and told him to knock it off. The response? "Hey, I'm the artist. That means you work for me."

Yes, he still has his teeth. That's how restrained our security guys are here.

So then he was on stage doing his little MC routine, and he was talking so much shit to the audience that by the end, the whole place was actually booing him. I haven't heard that before, even back when MC WhinyPants did her thing a few months back.

Oh, but it gets better. Apparently he pissed off the DJ so much that the DJ threw a record at him and hit him in the face! So immediately, MC No-ID was on the mic calling "Security! Security!" (Yeah, suddenly security's his best friend.)

This joker wasn't even the headliner. After MC No-ID was boo'ed off stage, the headliner did his thing, went off stage, and was planning on coming back to do an encore. He wasn't even down the stairs yet when MC No-ID grabbed the mic and said, "That's it, the club's shuttin' us down! Party's over!" Nice one. It was after 2 already, so we didn't really care, but it did leave a packed room full of people thinking that we had pulled the plug when we didn't.

After the event, of course, he was loitering around outside, wanting to fight with the DJ who nailed him in the face, so security walked that DJ to his car. The whole time, MC No-ID was following behind them saying, "yo, yo, I just want to talk to him."
"Well he doesn't want to talk to you. Go home."
"Hey man, he works for me!"

Apparently everyone works for this guy.


Though I dislike the music more at house events, hiphop events are a way bigger pain in the ass. When we've done hiphop events here, we've been pretty careful about what kinds of events we do, and so we haven't suffered the usual fate of people who host hiphop (i.e., having customers kill each other), but we do always suffer extensive property damage from all the fucking taggers. This time, the door staff were doing airport-level pat-downs, and we've collected more thick-tipped magic markers than we could ever need. Despite that, they still fucked up a few of our stools.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: taggers are scum. They are mental deficients. They have grown-up bodies and ten-year-old brains. The only behavioral difference is that instead of carving "fuck" in their school desk, or pulling the legs off spiders, they scribble their little pirate "gangsta names" onto other peoples' furniture and walls.

Here's a clue, buttercup: if your instrument is a magic marker and your subject matter is your name, you're no artist, you're just a fucking vandal. Grow the hell up.

Also: Devon, who is one of the folks who gets to clean up this mess, checks in with the tagging tally from the hiphop event:

  • 3 stools;
  • 2 tables;
  • 5 places in the men's room;
  • 2 places in the upstairs bathrooms;
  • 1 balcony railing.

The one on the balcony railing is probably never going to look right again, because now there's going to be a "clean spot" where the strategically-applied rust that we spent so much time working on before we opened will be uneven.

This place looked way nicer before we started letting customers in.

Also, last night (different event) some girl came up to coat check, yelled that she had lost her ticket and wanted her "fucking jacket" anyway. When she was denied, the girl reached into the tip jar, tore up a bunch of money, and threw cash-confetti at Suzanne.

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trunk monkey

Trunk Monkey: I saw the first Trunk Monkey clip long ago, but there are two more that I hadn't seen! (Clips 2 and 3 appear to be the same.)
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I, for one, welcome our new belly-dancing lamprey robot masters

Robot belly-dancer:

Jimmy Or has created a squat, shimmying robot with a flexible spine called Waseda Belly Dancer No. 1. It has so far mastered a particularly difficult belly-dancing move, the Camel, which involves sending waves rippling along the torso. [...]

To generate the robot's undulations, Or borrowed a computer program built by Swedish researchers that simulates a network of nerves in the lamprey called a central pattern generator (CPG). The CPG directs the lamprey's movements without the help of the brain or sensory feedback. [...]

Or maintains that robots with a flexible spine have a future. "A robot that can bow is very important in Japanese society."

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2003 music wrap-up

Last year I wrote a year-end musical wrap-up, so I figured I might as well continue the tradition, even though I'm almost three weeks late. Last year's review snidely began,

"Here are the albums I've bought this year that I actually gave a shit about. Of the 130+ albums I bought last year, these are the ones that rose above the level of `utterly forgettable.'"

In 2003, I bought somewhere in the neighborhood of 110 albums (down from last year!) However, there are more than twice as many albums on the list this time, and there were even a few so-so albums that I left off the list, in order to limit this to the releases that I loved.

So I'm not feeling so negative this year: in fact, things appear to be looking up! I would not have expected this without having made this list to compare, and I guess that in itself makes it a worthwhile exercise.

It's also extremely gratifying that so many of these bands played at my club last year, and that, in fact, that's how I learned about several of them. Being exposed to new music was part of my motivation for opening the club in the first place, after all...

As last year, a few of these were released earlier than 2003, but that is when I discovered them, so I'm allowing a little slack. In only approximate order of favoriteness, here is my year-end wrap-up.

Barry Andrews - "Haunted Box of Switches"
Stic Basin - "Stic Basin"
Shriekback - "Having a Moment"

    Barry Andrews is the lead singer of Shriekback, one of my favorite bands of all time. Shriekback released a new EP this year, and Andrews released two solo albums: "Haunted Box of Switches" is Barry singing and playing (primarily) acoustic piano, and it's my favorite of the three. This surprised me, because acoustic music is generally not my thing -- but it's just fantastic. It's mostly original material, but he also does a couple of Shriekback covers ("Faded Flowers" and "This Big Hush.")

    Stic Basin is another Andrews solo project, but this one is electronic, and about 2/3rds instrumental. It is very much in the Shriekback vein. In fact, I'd say it sounds more "Shrieky" than the Shriekback EP does -- but both are excellent.

    I got to see Andrews perform some of this material live last year, and it was a fantastic show. I wore a Shriekback t-shirt to the show that I had picked up at the only Shriekback show I've seen, in 1986. Yes, that shirt is old enough to drive.

DJ? Acucrack - "Sorted"
DJ? Acucrack - "The Dope King"

    "Dope King" is from 2003 but "Sorted" is from 2000; that's a big distance, but it makes the list because I love it so much. "So To Speak", the song he did with Toni Halliday from Curve, is incredible. The rest of it is good, too: very fast, noisy, energetic electronic music (Is it drum+bass? Is it acid techno? Whatever.)

Front 242 - "Still & Raw"
Front 242 - "Pulse"
Male Or Female - "Recalled Moments"

    This year saw the first new Front 242 releases in ten years. The EP, "Still & Raw" is fantastic: very powerful without being very loud. They are still so good at making this incredibly dense, layered music that doesn't turn into mush. "7Rain" is my favorite song of the bunch.

    The "Pulse" album doesn't grab me quite as much as the EP did. It's good, don't get me wrong, but I think the EP is better. Pulse starts off rather slowly, and quite a lot of it is very mellow instrumental music: it's very much an "album" rather than a collection of songs. It really takes a few listens to "get it", and that's rare.

    I think my expectations were probably too high for this one, since every previous F242 release (going back to when Official Version came out in 1987) was immediately my Favorite Album Ever, for at least a little while. When "Off" came out, it was my new favorite album before track 2 was half over.

    Male or Female is a Front 242 side project (Daniel B. and Patrick C.) The "Recalled Moments" album is, unsurprisingly, a lot like "Pulse": mellow, heavily layered, and mostly instrumental, though it doesn't have the same "whole album" flow to it.

    Male or Female performed at DNA Lounge in October, and it was a great show: especially in that they are such a very electronic band, and yet, they were actually playing. They even had live guitar, without ever turning into a "rock" band.

Sunshine Blind - "I Carry U"

    Their first new album in seven years! They are, at last count, tied with Halou for the title of "band who has played at DNA most often." This album starts off more mellow than their previous releases, but rocks out more on the second half. Good stuff. I don't know what else to say here because it's really awkward writing a review of your friends' album.

Halou - "Wholeness E.P."

    Six new tracks from locals Halou (tied for first place in DNA shows, as I mentioned.) Their music is drum+bass-ish electronics with ethereal female vocals, in the vein of Cocteau Twins and Portishead. In their live show, they have a lot of live instrumentation: cello, bass, drums, etc. It's really great seeing music that you might expect to be mostly sequenced being played live.

Interpol - "Turn on the Bright Lights"

    Andy Kellman began his review of this band like this:

    "One might go into a review like this one wondering how many words will pass before Joy Division is brought up. In this case, the answer is 16."

    Yes, they are reminiscent of Joy Division, but in a good way. Let's say, Interpol is to Joy Division as Black Rebel Motorcycle Club are to The Jesus and Mary Chain. Anyway, it's a great album.

Ministry - "Animositisomina"

    Until this one, the last Ministry album I liked was "Psalm 69" in 1992 (though I must admit, I didn't pay much attention to their releases after "Filth Pig", because I hated that album so much.) But "Animositisomina" is a really good album: much more in the vein of "Land of Rape and Honey" and "The Mind is a Terrible Thing to Taste" than their later stuff.

Pigface - "Easy Listening... For Difficult Fuckheads"

    This is a great album not only because most of the songs are really good, but also because there's so much variety. Pigface contains members of most of the bands on the Invisible label, and they manage to combine the best aspects under the Pigface banner. "Insect Suspect" is probably my favorite track, since I can't get enough of Chris Connelly when he's in full-on "rock" mode. (Thankfully, Pigface also played DNA Lounge in April!)

Hanzel und Gretyl - "Über Alles"

    Ah, Hanzel und Gretyl, everyone's favorite sci-fi-nazi-parody band. This is an ass-kicking album: much more metal-oriented than their previous releases, and extremely melodramatic. They played at DNA in July and November, and have a very theatrical and entertaining live show.

Liars - "They Threw Us All in a Trench and Stuck a Monument On Top"

    I read someone describe this type of music as "garage rock", and I don't think they were joking. Doesn't all rock come from garages? Anyway, these guys are the bastard children of Gang of Four and The Fall. We used to call that "post-punk", which was also arguably a pretty stupid name. This is good stuff regardless.

Railer - "Frame of Mind"

    I really like these guys: they're an energetic rock band, leaning perhaps a bit in the "electroclash" direction (though they're not overly electronic, their sound reminds me a bit of Adult.) They put on a great show at DNA in November: their singer is totally manic.

Rasputina - "The Lost & Found"

    Rasputina's 2003 release is an album of covers of 70s rock songs, and it works really well, because they're good at taking a song and really making it their own. Being a "ladies' cello society" does make that a bit easier for them than most bands, granted.

St. Vitus Dance - "The Feeling of Absence"
St. Vitus Dance - "Hope"

    "Absence" is from 2001 and "Hope" is from 2003. Hard, stompy, metal-influenced industrial (which has, of course been sorely lacking in the world of late.) The singer mostly whispers his vocals, and the effect is good. Both albums are good, though I think I prefer the earlier one. They played at DNA in September.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs - "Fever To Tell"

    I could have sworn this came out more than a year ago, but apparently not! This album is a big old frenetic, punked-out rockabilly album. You've probably heard "Date With The Night", and the rest of the album is also in that vein. Though they don't have a lot of range, it's a good old fashioned booze-soaked kick to the head, and we need more of that.

High Blue Star - "High Blue Star"

    A gothy/triphoppy band with a girl singer and a combo of electronics and guitars. Mostly dark and spooky, and quite good. They opened for Railer at DNA in November.

CEOXiME - "Vibrant Grey"

    Another electronic band with ethereal female vocals, though with more traditionally "industrial" or EBM rhythms than High Blue Star.

Collide - "Some Kind of Strange"

My Scarlet Life - "Buzzbomb"

Luxt - "American Beast"

    Luxt are very much a metal band now. Though I preferred their older industrial stuff, this is a pretty decent album too.
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undemonizing is never pretty

Exorcism Suspected After Girl Found Dead

ATLANTA (AP) -- A 6-year-old girl was found dead in a motel room with a broken back Monday after what police said may have been an exorcism. Two adults were arrested after they and two children were spotted on the street naked in the freezing cold.

The adults, who had been staying in the motel room, were charged with cruelty to children, public indecency and obstruction of police and were taken to a psychiatric ward.

Police said the girl had been brutalized and suffered a broken back and other broken bones. An autopsy was planned.

Based on what the adults told authorities, investigators believe "they were involved possibly in a ritual of some sort," police spokesman John Quigley said. "It may have had something to do with undemonizing the child in some manner."

Police learned of the death around 12:30 a.m. when the unidentified man and woman were seen walking naked down a city street with two children, ages 2 and 7, Quigley said.

The 7-year-old provided investigators with information that led them to the motel, where they found the girl's body.

The two adults had apparently been living there for some time, possibly through assistance from a church, Quigley said.

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Oxford Tire Pile

Lots of good industrial horror by Edward Burtynsky

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some quicktime dumbness

I'm sure I'm well behind the curve on this one, but anyway:

Scene missing! A video that used to be embedded in this post has disappeared. If you know of a copy of this video that is still accessible, please mail me so that I can update the link.
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bigger toys than Dr. Megavolt has

Want to see an electrical arc as tall as a three story building? I thought so. MPEG video; explanation.
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