A really amazing book- it’s supposedly for “young adults,” but there are enough elements for an adult discussion.

In the future, everyone in America has Feed- a wireless connection directly into your brain, which is like TV, radio, WWW, email, and instant messaging all in one. It also has incresingly-intrusive advertising.

Titus, the main character, falls in love with Violet, someone who isn’t rich like him. Unlike him, she knows that US consumerism is destroying the world.

Pollution is so bad in the future that normal childbirth is no longer possible. When pop stars start getting the mysterious lesions everyone has been getting, giant gaping open sores, the lesion fad sweeps American teens. Affulent high-school students get lesions surgically installed, because “seeing what’s inside you, all your guts, is just so sexy.”

All too realistic.

Feed isn’t all a complete bummer though. The products in the future are really funny- the privatized school system is called School(tm), there is a reality show called America’s Unlikeliest Allergy Attacks, a soap opera called Oh? Wow! Thing!, and a store in the mall called Bun in a Barrow which sells you an entire wheelbarrow full of hot crossed bun.



An eBay counter-scam – someone tried to buy this guy’s powerbook, but was pretty sketchy and provided a fake escrow account. So the would-be seller sent a binder with pen drawings all over it as a “p-p-p-powerbook” and shipped it express to London, with an estimated customs cost of $2000. Yikes!
Web link of note: P-P-P-Powerbook
(At http://p-p-p-powerbook.com/)


Clothing and designer bags made from human skin! Sign me up!

Strangely, this is an idea my friends and I have been talking about since high school… 1993.
Web link of note: SkinBag
(At http://www.skinbag.net/skinbag-gb/index.html)

The Assassin’s Guild

I was talking with ShaColby this morning about an obscure aspect of Grosse Point Blank

I was remarking that one of the funniest parts was Alan Arkin as the therapist- sort of humoring his patient the hit man, trying to not get killed.

Dan Aykroyd‘s character was very interesting for a conceptual reason: he’s trying to put together a syndicate of assassins, like a union.

Early in the movie John Cusack is on the phone while about to complete the contract on a client (how unprofessional! Hang up and drive! er shoot!). He kills an assassin who is about to kill someone who he is apparently protecting… but then Dan Aykroyd swoops in and kills the person anyway.

As a quick aside- remember those infuriatingly difficult gun games, where the gun or crossbow or what have you was mounted on the arcade cabinet, and you had to shoot all this stuff that was about to kill some random dude walking through the scene? Like a cowboy wandering into the deadliest saloon that has ever existed, filled with flying broken bottles and Can Can Dancers O Death. Damn those games are impossible.

Anyway, since John Cusack has screwed that up, he is pretty much forced to take another job to make good with whoever it is who is getting him these jobs… coincidentally the next gig is in his home town of Grosse Pointe, and his high school reuinion is coming up!

While in town, Dan Aykroyd shows up and tries to get him to join his fledgling syndicate… He tells him that it would be a way to avoid “embarassments” like the hit in the beginning of the movie, or another (unseen) episode where Cusack accidentally blew up a dog.

So – is Akroyd saying that members of the guild would all know about each others’ assignments? But that would mean it would be harder to set up jobs like the one we saw, where the client wants the assassin to kill another assassin. If there was a Guild, this would be completely impossible, since presumably the members of the Guild would be trying to kill or recruit the non-members anyway.

Maybe there would be some elaborate protocols for that exact case. But how would the Guild know you are making payments on a “secret” job, and not just sheltering money from them, like the way Cheney shelters money from the IRS?

For that matter, how would the Guild “audit” its members? How would members trust the administration of the Guild to not extort them in the first place, since they are all assassins?

Hmm… Since they had Assassin’s Guilds in Dungeons & Dragons, I’m sure someone has thought this through before!

Sleeping Giant Comics

David Yurkovich’s company- he did “Less Than Heroes” which is some of the funniest stuff I have read in a long time.

It’s kind of a less mainstream and more “slacker” version of Mystery Men, with more work on the details: superheroes with some pretty ridiculous powers form Superhero Syndicates which basically hold city governments for ransom with their contract negotiations prior to fighting supervillains.

The main characters are in an also-ran team called Threshold, led by Mr Malevolence.

There is a FBI character, Agent Swete, who through a freak accident is made of living chocolate.

In one of the story arcs, everyone in Philadelphia is about to be killed by a serial killer called The Stamp Collector, who changes people into stamps, and mumbles about his album “Its pages will be filled by humanity!”
Web link of note: Sleeping Giant Comics
(At http://www.sleepinggiantcomics.com/)

Free the West Memphis Three

Shortly after three eight-year-old boys were found mutilated and murdered in West Memphis, Arkansas, local newspapers stated the killers had been caught. The police assured the public that the three teenagers in custody were definitely responsible for these horrible crimes. Evidence?

The same police officers coerced an error-filled “confession” from Jessie Misskelley Jr., who is mentally handicapped. They subjected him to 12 hours of questioning without counsel or parental consent, audio-taping only two fragments totaling 46 minutes. Jessie recanted it that evening, but it was too late— Misskelley, Jason Baldwin and Damien Echols were all arrested on June 3, 1993, and convicted of murder in early 1994.

Although there was no physical evidence, murder weapon, motive, or connection to the victims, the prosecution pathetically resorted to presenting black hair and clothing, heavy metal t-shirts, and Stephen King novels as proof that the boys were sacrificed in a satanic cult ritual. Unfathomably, Echols was sentenced to death, Baldwin received life without parole, and Misskelley got life plus 40.

For over 11 years, The West Memphis Three have been imprisoned for crimes they didn’t commit. Echols waits in solitary confinement for the lethal injection our tax dollars will pay for. They were all condemned by their poverty, incompetent defense, satanic panic and a rush to judgment.

But there’s still hope for them, and you can help.

Web link of note: Free the West Memphis Three
(At http://wm3.org/)


My friend Primrose is in the PEace Corps in Togo, yet still somehow manages to have a blog!

Send her mail at:

PCV Primrose Boynton
Corps de la Paix
BP 168
Dapaong, Togo
West Africa

Web link of note: Primrose
(At http://www.livejournal.com/users/tlaad/)