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Agenda Bender
Friday, September 10, 2004  

The Camera Never Thinks

Jesus Bloody Sunday! CBS has unearthed some coked-up Karaoke tapes from Bush's lost decade. Dan Rather is going public with them tomorrow, but you get first listen.

(via the Daily Recycler)

9:42 PM


Johnny Hit and Run Pearlette

The County of Los Angeles is attempting to eliminate overt Christian symbology from its official seal in an effort to forestall legal challenges. The overt Christian symbology of the county's name makes this story especially rich.

Poor Pomona (or maybe just Po' Mona) got ditched, too. The forgotten gods must also suffer. I do admire the "county artist" with the perfectly improbable name who devised a perspective trick to solve the big problem:

The latest version depicts an angled view of the San Gabriel Mission (so that the cross out front cannot be seen).

I offer this stirring image as a compromise. It says L.A. to me like nothing else ever could, and exhibits as well distinct cruciform characteristics while eschewing the litigious verticality of an upright cross.

Please rise for the new county anthem.

Can't we all just get it on?

2:37 PM

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

No Exit: U.N. Proposes International Blister Pack Regs for Guns, Gas, Rope and Razor Blades

Alarmed by the lagging stats for murder perpetrated by its member states and desperate to keep any human being from leaving the planet without a hall pass*, the UN recognizes its incompetence in alleviating causes and champions instead a prohibition of means.

GENEVA (AFP) - Almost one million people kill themselves each year and the number, which exceeds the death toll from murder and war, may hit 1.5 million by 2020, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said.

But suicide is largely preventable, through better surveillance of favourite methods -- namely pesticides, guns and painkillers -- and a greater focus on support groups, the UN's health agency said.

...In general, the main triggers for suicide are poverty, unemployment, the loss of a loved one, arguments and legal or work-related problems.

"A family history of suicide, as well as alcohol and drug abuse, and childhood abuse, social isolation and some mental disorders including depression and schizophrenia, also play a central role in a large number of suicides," according to the global health body

WHO, which held a special seminar in Geneva on Wednesday to discuss suicide prevention, noted that a recent decision by pharmaceutical companies to package painkillers in blister packs rather than easy-to-access bottles had a significant impact on their use as a death tool.

Attention is now focused on tightening access to pesticides -- a favoured technique in rural China -- and firearms, it said

...It also urged the media to take care when reporting a suicide to avoid imitation deaths by others.

*Hereby denominated the Passmort.

4:06 PM

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Kill Her Again

Ted Turner may be a sunken-faced philistine, but his Turner Classic Movies is more important to the culture than the last ninety-seven thousand NEA grant recipients combined. And trust me, they already are combined.

I saw Vampyr, the final part of TCM's Sunday night Carl Th. Dreyer triathlon, many years ago (on a double bill with Nosferatu, I think--good times). I fooled myself into believing I was too busy to pay much attention to the first part, the documentary of his life and work called My Metier. I got pulled in completely by the middle section, though, Dreyer's 1928 film, The Passion of Joan of Arc. Some ferocious undertow on that flick. I wonder how many people were able to channel surf by it. I can't imagine seeing a few seconds of it and not getting wiped out and sucked in. Oh my black and white and silent blood-red sister rose, at least you got all the good lines (or you dialogue cards did). Your recant of the recant was the best:

Everything I said was for fear of the stake.

Stakes are so much more frightening than snakes. And smiters so much more terrifying than spiders, too.

Carl Th. Dreyer is Th. Agenda Bender Dude of Th. Year for 1928, th. year he re-crucified Joan.

10:58 PM

Sunday, September 05, 2004

A Lifelong Southerner (Except for Summers)

There are many funny moments in Mr. Robert McCrum's self-awareless and ramshackle Brit-take on the vacational rage gripping America's wording class:

...It might be easy to dismiss Auster, Baker or Mailer for what they are: New York liberal intellectuals. Far more telling, perhaps, is the verdict of lifelong Southerner Richard Ford, author of The Sportswriter, Independence Day and Rock Springs. Ford watched Bush's response to the first hostilities on American soil since the war of independence with frank dismay. Ford is a maverick, an instinctive independent who rides a Harley Davidson, loves to shoot and fish, and to roam at will.

...Standing by the ocean in front of his summer house in Maine, Ford reflects that 'this is the most important election that's occurred in my life...

(Via Andrew Stuttaford at the Corner, who deserves much better company than he keeps there.)

10:52 PM