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Things I've Found 10 (Putting the Little Green Things in the Fruitcake of Life)—12/14/2001

by Mark Rose

Cool: Blinkenlights is a special art installation created by Chaos Computer Club and sponsored by the City of Berlin. They have taken the Haus des Lehrers office building and arranged lamps in an 18x8 grid of the building’s windows. These lamps are controlled by computer relay via a written script. As the lamps turn on and off in quick succession, short animations can be created and played. Even more remarkably, you can call the system on a phone and play Pong, either against the computer or with another caller, all by using the lights in the windows. They have a contest (which ends at the end of the year) for you to create your own movies and have them displayed. Truly amazing.

http://www.blinkenlights.de/index.en.html

You can do something similar at this site:

http://marnix2001.bbl.be/project_synopsis.asp

Food: One of our subscribers lives in New York City. In an effort to help her find something good to eat, I visited this site:

http://www.nyc.gov/html/doh/html/rii/index.html

which is an amazing list of all health inspections done on New York City restaurants. She apparently lives in Restaurant Central because there were 299 listings. But you should probably stay away from Country Cafe (unapproved shellfish), Lupa and Massimo al Ponte Vecchio (warm food too cold), Omen Japanese Cuisine (cold food too warm), Porto Bello (vermin) and the big loser, La Margarita (food from an unknown source, expired milk and vermin). Okey-dokey places to eat include Alyss, Denizens, Famous Ben’s Pizza of Soho, Poy Laung Thai and Harry’s Burritos. It’s also ok to eat at Cookies & Couscous but just the name made me sick. Oh, and the Starbucks on 665 Broadway is also riddled with vermin. Have a nice day.

Would you eat at a place called the By-Pass Diner?

http://cgi.ebay.com/aw-cgi/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=1046547266 [Well of course, eBay listings don’t last. Sorry ‘bout that.]

Games: Here’s a quote from Ross Allen of Nintendo from the year 1989. “Computer games don’t affect kids; I mean if Pac-Man affected us as kids, we’d all be running around in darkened rooms, munching magic pills and listening to repetitive electronic music.” OK, now it makes sense. It just takes a couple of decades for games to affect us this way.

Crime: The Green River Killer may have been caught, but we can’t afford to prosecute him. http://seattlep-i.nwsource.com/local/49996_tax10.shtml The plan is to increase the property tax in order to reopen 45 cases and pin some additional charges on him. Of course, if we give him the death penalty for the 4 cases we’re accusing him of, can we give him the death penalty some more for the additional unsolved cases? The tax might be minimal but it’s a very bad precedent. Sometimes you wish for the days of vigilantism, or at least a just God who would give him a heart attack while he’s in the holding cell. (Of course, a just god would have killed him long before victim #1.) A letter to the Seattle P-I online suggests just that: http://seattlep-i.nwsource.com/opinion/50185_ltrs12.shtml

Entertainment: Winona Ryder? Say it isn’t so! http://www.reuters.com/news_article.jhtml?type=entertainmentnews&StoryID=453268 [Winona’s case is of no interest now; unfortunately, she has also passed beyond the pale along with Margot Kidder and just about everyone from That 70s Show.]

Welcome: Welcome to our first international unintentional subscriber. As far as I know, this e-zine conforms to all current EU restrictions. Except for the one about unpasteurized cheese.

Sports: College football and the BCS is an absolute joke. I can’t think of a sport that’s more ethically bankrupt, except maybe boxing. Seventh-placed teams from tapped-out conferences like the SEC get to go to a bowl game, and a team like Hawaii (9-3) with the most exciting QB in the land get to stay home and play the ukulele. Until college gets a playoff system, I’m not watching it. There, that’ll fix it.

No Cleveland Browns were arrested for felonies this week . . .yet. Hooray!

Oh, but a Dallas Cowboy was. Long-time readers of this e-zine will remember our Ganja Hero, Nate Newton! Nate is a 6-time All-Pro player, a man who has won 3 (!) Super Bowl rings, and one who has just left the league only about two years ago. It took him exactly 23 months to be caught on a super-major felony carrying 217 pounds (yes, I said pounds) of marijuana in his truck. Released on bail, he lasted a mere six weeks (!) before being caught on Wednesday with another 175 pounds (yes, I said pounds) of marijuana in a different car. http://espn.go.com/nfl/news/2001/1212/1294899.HTML.

For you football fans, comedian Jay Mohr who moonlights as an NFL pre-game commentator has gotten under the skin of the Indianapolis Colts. Look, I’m a Colts fan. I love Edgerrin James and Peyton Manning and Jim Mora. But Bill Polian has lost all his credibility and the entire Irsay family should be under lock and key in a padded room. To find out more, read this: http://www.starnews.com/article.php?TXTE2334AE5.html,sports [The sentiments might still be true, but you won’t be able to ascertain that from reading the story because it’s no longer up. And I can’t even remember what the issue was. But if I could remember, I would tell you about it just like this site does: http://specials.tribstar.com/ColtsSeason2001/December13A.html].

Parting Shot: This one’s old but it’s still pretty funny. If Abraham Lincoln had delivered the Gettysburg Address using Microsoft’s Power Point software:

http://www.norvig.com/Gettysburg/index.htm

Speaking of Power Point presentations, how about this one made by two travelers from Seattle, WA who got screwed at a Double Tree in Houston. Very elegant use of presentation software:

http://www.craphound.com/misc/doubletree.htm [This requires a comment. First, click on the provided link. Cory Doctorow explains why he took the whole presentation down. Note that Joseph Crosby of the DoubleTree Club Hotel Houston is still being a first-class dickhead about the whole thing. Note to self and to all others to boycott the DoubleTree Club Hotel in Houston at all costs. What I love about this is that snopes.com, your first source for potential urban legends, has the whole story and the PowerPoint presentation converted to Web pages at: http://www.snopes.com/business/consumer/badhotel.asp and http://www.snopes.com/business/info/badhotel/frame.htm, respectively.]