Red Cross

"As a former volunteer for the Red Cross and as someone who has read over their tax filings more carefully than most members of the public, I'd like to scribble down a few of the ways in which the organization is dysfunctional."

The stuff I've been reading about the Red Cross lately makes me regret having given them money just after Katrina hit; but at the time (and even now) I didn't really hear any better (non-vague) suggestions.

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I, for one, welcome our new Sexually Dis-Oriented Hubbard Mark Super VII Quantum Electropsychometer

Tom Cruise to speak on mental health issues
Continuing his vigorous advocacy for Scientology's solutions to mental health problems, Tom Cruise will deliver a series of four lectures on topics related to "The Modern Science of Mental Health" beginning next month. Co-sponsored by the Citizens Commission on Human Rights, the lectures will be held at Scientology's Celebrity Centre International in Los Angeles. All lectures will be free to the public. Due to limited seating at the Celebrity Centre, tickets will be available only to Scientology parishioners and selected members of the press, but the lectures will be simulcast on the web, and a live video feed will be available for broadcasters who wish to cover these highly informative presentations.

The first lecture, set for October 15, is titled "How Psychiatry Invented Schizophrenia, and What Scientologists Can Do About It".

The second lecture, tentatively scheduled for October 22, is on "Handling Sexual Dis-Orientation: Out of the Closet and Into the Auditing Room".

The topic of the third lecture, in early November, will be "Diagnosis and Treatment of So-Called Clinical Depression with the Hubbard Mark Super VII Quantum Electropsychometer".

The fourth lecture is "Neuroanatomical Changes Resulting from Chronic Methamphetamine Abuse: Can Narconon's Sauna and Niacin Treatment Program Help?"

(Maybe this is a prank, but it's so hard to tell with these people... The Celebrity Centre's online calendar hasn't been updated since July...)

Update: Yeah, prank. (Or IS IT?)

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Today in Heywood Jablome news...

Dr. Richard (Dick) Chopp is well known in the Austin community for performing Vasectomies.

Piss Prague

David Cerny: Two bronze sculptures pee into their oddly-shaped enclosure. While they are peeing, the two figures move realistically. An electric mechanism driven by a couple of microproccesors swivels the upper part of the body, while the penis goes up and down. The stream of water writes quotes from famous Prague residents.

Visitor can interupt them by sending SMS message from mobile phone to a number, displayed next to the sculptures. The living statue then `writes' the text of the message, before carrying on as before.

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coming up next: sports!

"Tyra Banks underwent a televised sonogram on her new talk show to prove that her breasts aren't fake."
Previously: Outraged Dutch actress.
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hearts and minds.

War Pornography:
For almost a year, American soldiers stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan have been taking photographs of dead bodies, many of them horribly mutilated or blown to pieces, and sending them to Web site administrator Chris Wilson. In return for letting him post these images, Wilson gives the soldiers free access to his site. American soldiers have been using the pictures of disfigured Iraqi corpses as currency to buy pornography. [...]

The captions that accompany these images, which were apparently written by the soldiers who posted them, laugh and gloat over the bodies. The soldier who posted a picture of a corpse lying in a pool of his own brains and entrails wrote, "What every Iraqi should look like." The soldiers take pride, even joy, in displaying the dead. [...]

The legal fight over whether to release the remaining photographs of atrocities at Abu Ghraib has dragged on for months, with no less a figure than Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Richard Meyers arguing that the release of such images will inflame the Muslim world and drive untold numbers to join al-Qaeda. But none of these can compare to the prospect of American troops casually bartering pictures of suffering and death for porn.

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a bottomless bucket of feel-good news

Project Censored:

"an annual list of 25 news stories of social significance that have been overlooked, under-reported or self-censored by the country's major national news media."

Especially No Paper Trail Left Behind: "In order to believe that George Bush won the November 2, 2004 presidential election, you must also believe all of the following extremely improbable or outright impossible things: ..."

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I, for one, welcome our new autonomous cephalopod beak overlords.

Pharyngula::Cephalopod gnashers
"The beak can be swiveled about at various angles, can protrude and retract, and the whole mass can be dissected out and still function surprisingly well. In at least some species, the isolated buccal mass will continue to chomp away for up to two hours after it's removed. It's like an autonomous set of choppers."


    My excuse is that defenestr8r had free passes to this. While waiting in line, I got my first look at the poster and said, "do you think the designer felt any guilt at using that font?" You know the font: the one that says "I AM A VAMPIRE MOVIE." Well, it went down hill from there. This was basically a softcore Cinemax movie of the type that I didn't think ever got theatrical release any more. Elizabeth Bathory is still alive and killing lesbians, and this cop whose wife got eaten is trying to track her down while fucking everything that moves. Oh, and all his friends and neighbors are 18 year old kinky bisexual supermodels. Then at some point it turns into Eyes Wide Shut. Avoid.
Corpse Bride:
    I have looked into the future, and seen the next five years of the Hot Topic toy section.

    The movie starts off well enough, in that I enjoyed Nightmare Before Christmas, and it's largely the same. It turns out that Hell is an Oingo Boingo version of the the Muppet Show, which is kind of awesome. But I'm afraid to say that I dozed off in the middle. I think I was just tired, and this was not an editorial nap. It seemed better than James and the Giant Peach, and I'll probably watch it again when it's on TV.

Man on Fire:
    I enjoyed this more than I expected to; Denzel Washington plays an alcoholic ex-CIA assassin working as a bodyguard in Mexico; things go badly, and he does the Revenge Thing. There aren't a lot of surprises in this movie, but it's very well done. It's really good looking, the sound design is cool, and there are a number of hallucinatory bits reminiscent of the title sequence of Se7en.
The Butterfly Effect:
    I only started watching this while flipping channels one night (I mean, come on, Ashton Kutcher?) but it hooked me. It's actually a pretty decent time-travel/three-wishes kind of movie (in the ballpark of Groundhog Day and Retroactive). The main character finds a way to do over certain bad events in his life, and each time, things get worse. "This time for sure." It's got that great Twilight Zone "end up in hell" feel about it, with almost no comedy. I enjoyed it a lot.
Red Eye:
    You may recall that after seeing that piece of trash Cursed, I swore I'd never see another Wes Craven movie again. Well, I didn't know this was his until I saw his name came up on the credits, and I went "FUCK!"

    But, it turns out, this was actually pretty good. Girl meets boy in airport bar, they end up sitting next to each other on the plane, and then oops, turns out he's a hitman and she's the target. It's a little hokey, but it bounces right along and never takes itself too seriously. This is what always used to be good about Craven's movies: he could do a really simple plot and make it work without getting bogged down in clichés. It also helped that the hitman is the guy who played Scarecrow in Batman Begins, and I was still residually creeped out from that, so that made him seem more menacing.

    This movie sucked ass. From the preview, it looked like it was going to suck ass, but Jodie Foster's in it, and she's not generally in movies that suck, so I gave it a chance.

    Do not make this mistake. Avoid.

    It starts out as a re-tread of The Forgotten (starring Jodie Foster stand-in Julianne Moore) The Forgotten was basically a B- to C+ episode of the X Files, and hey, I liked the X Files, so I could accept that. But this was worse. The first half of Flightplan is basically Jodie Foster just totally freaking out for an hour, but then it takes a left turn into Mission Impossible-land, then there's a terrorist, then there's a really amazingly stupid ransom plot, and at the end everything is sweetness and light and even she and the Arab guy she accused of stealing her daughter make up. It is to gag.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind:
    This movie is amazingly, incredibly good. Please note that I normally can't stand Jim Carrey, but he's not playing "Jim Carrey" in this one at all. The plot is that there is a company who can erase your bad memories, and he's having his recently-ex girlfriend deleted. The story mostly plays out in reverse, as he's watching the memories being deleted, and realizing that he's made a mistake. It's not as gimicky as Memento, though, because the story is really moving in both directions at once. This is one of the best movies I've seen in a long time.
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hang your backup on the wall

DNA11: Spit in a tube, and they print out your DNA sequence on canvas.

Previously: Discovery DNA Explorer Kit.

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