Monday, October 31, 2005

My first "mature" rated quiz

I think this is hilarious!

grassroots activist
You are a Grassroots Activist. Anti-capitalist,
anti-patrist, anti-authoritarian, whatever,
you're just fuckin' anti. You probably tell
people you hate postmodernism, but that
assertion elides the complex interdependencies
among academic poststructuralism and
street-level activism. You don't bathe
regularly, and know at least one person who has

What kind of postmodernist are you!?
brought to you by Quizilla

Mr. Angry and Mrs. Calm

Check out this interesting image.

If you are near to this picture, Mr Angry is on the left and Mrs Calm is on the right. If you view it from a distance, they switch places!

found via Presurfer

Thursday, October 27, 2005

800 attend vigil in Twin Cities

The top two photos are from the Minnesota Daily. The third photo is from the Minneapolis StarTribune.

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Article from the Minnesota Daily

October 27, 2005

Vigil honors lives lost in Iraq

By JP Leider


Armed with signs, candlelight and feelings of outrage and sorrow, hundreds gathered at the Lake Street Bridge on Wednesday to protest the Iraq war and recognize the war's 2,000 American military deaths.

Attendees gathered to mourn both American and Iraqi casualties, said Marie Braun, the event's organizer.

"This is a vigil you never want to have," she said. "But it's important for people to have an opportunity to grieve publicly."

"You mark certain events by a special protest, and this is one of them," Braun said.

At last count, 2,001 members of the American military have died in the Iraq war. More than 70 percent of those were younger than 30.

In addition to the Lake Street Bridge vigil, opponents to the Iraq war have had other vigils and protests.

This week marks the anniversary of a report released by the British medical journal The Lancet that estimated at least 100,000 Iraqi citizens had died since the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

This week, in 100 cities around the United States, protesters are ringing bells and calling the names of the Iraqi dead to bring attention to the "terrible toll" Iraqi citizens are paying, said Sarah Standefer, a member of the anti-war group Women Against Military Madness.

One of the last in this series of protests, titled "For Whom the Bells Toll," will be at noon Friday at the military recruiting office on Washington Avenue, she said.

A small group of citizens demonstrate at the center every Friday, she said, to discourage military recruiting.

"Recruiting is down, but we want to make sure it goes down even further," Standefer said.

Earlier in the week, U.S. Army Lt. Col. Steve Boylan, a military spokesman in Iraq, called on major newspapers not to sensationalize the 2,000th military death, which he described not as a milestone, but "an artificial mark on the wall set by individuals or groups with specific agendas and ulterior motives."

Nathan Paulsen, political science senior and officer in the student Anti-War Organizing League, said he wasn't surprised that the Pentagon wanted to downplay the incident.

"The Pentagon learned lessons from the Vietnam experience," he said. "It has done everything in its power to keep the American public in the dark about what's actually happening in Iraq."

Paulsen said it is "outrageous" that so many young Americans have been killed in Iraq since the war began.

"To me the outrage is that Americans are dying in Iraq every single day in an unjust and illegal war," he said. "That's what's sensational."

Karen Poortvliet, an organizer of a smaller, sister vigil Wednesday evening, said that 2,000 fatalities are worth recognizing because people can identify with the number.

"It's an intentional marking of a milestone," she said. "If we had time to do this in our lives every night, we probably should."

The 2,000 deaths in the Iraq war might increase turnout in the college and high school walkout that's planned for Nov. 2, said league officer Chris Basset.

High school and college students plan to walk out of school at noon Wednesday and meet at Coffman Union, where they'll hear speeches on military policy and the Iraq war, he said.

Basset said one of the major components of the walkout is protesting military recruiting in high school.

After students hear speakers, protesters will march to the military recruitment office on Washington Avenue Southeast.

Basset said the event will end with protesters joining the College Democrats and College Republicans and signing posters supporting the troops abroad.

University students interested in participating in the walkout Nov. 2 should talk with their professors first, said Craig Swan, vice provost for Undergraduate Education.

The University endorses the right of students and faculty to express political views, but recognizes both have obligations, Swan said.

If a student walks out and misses a test, the student doesn't have any automatic recourse, he said.

First-year student Kaisa Kerrigan said she thinks the walkout is important enough to miss one class.

"I don't like Bush and don't think he should have been elected," she said.

At the same time, Kerrigan said, she doesn't think teachers should be obligated to accommodate students who skip class for the event.

History junior Grant Grays said he's not going to participate because he said a "bunch of kids leaving class is not going to sway political decisions."

"Am I against the war? Yes. But they're putting their energies to waste."

Matt Graham and Nina Petersen-Perlman contributed to this article.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005


It is official. 2000 Americans have died in the War against Iraq. Of course, many more human beings have died, including Iraqis, Americans and others who have died as a direct result of the war, but they don't count in the official (i.e. trumped up) reports from the Pentagon.

Please take the time to join in one of the 400 plus demonstrations being held to demand an end to the killing:

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The American Friends Services Committee website allows you to enter your zip code to find the event near you.

From the website:

There are currently 420 events planned in 49 states and counting...

On Wednesday, October 26, people will gather in communities across the U.S. to mark the death of the 2,000th reported U.S. military death in Iraq and to say that the country's pro-peace majority wants Congress to stop the deaths by stopping the dollars that are funding the war.

About "Not One More Death. Not One More Dollar."

We have now reached yet another horrific milestone in the war in Iraq--the death of the 2,000th U.S. service member. AFSC, Military Families Speak Out, Gold Star Families for Peace, and Iraq Veterans Against the War are calling for people across the U.S. to stand up on Wednesday, October 26 and say that the needless killing of U.S. troops and Iraqis must stop and that the resources funding this war are needed for other things.

Events to mark the 2,000th reported U.S. military death will range from candlelight vigils to public actions that illustrate the size of the death toll. Here in our "Not One More Death. Not One More Dollar." campaign center, you will find supporting materials and suggestions for designing an event that meets the needs of your community.

The Iraq War has already committed us to aiding a generation of veterans and their families and to rebuilding Iraq.

We need to meet these just obligations and stop the funding for further destruction so that our resources can be used to strengthen our communities and help those in need.

We’re asking that you think along these two lines:

Public actions at congressional offices, federal buildings and other appropriate spaces with 2,000 representations of the lives lost.

This could be 2,000 candles, 2,000 gold stars, or 2,000 placards with the name, rank, age and home state of each casualty with a photo of a pair of boots. We also ask that you find ways to recognize the tens of thousands Iraqi deaths. (Boot placards, star patterns, signs, and other materials are available in the resources section.)

Sign the call to Congress to end funding for the war and work with other organizers in your state to carry the message to your legislators in the month after the 2,000th reported death of a U.S. servicemember. (Further legislative information will be forthcoming.)


The American Friends Service Committee believes that there is no military solution to the Iraq war. Continued fighting and occupation promises only further deaths and injuries, more widows and orphans, more separated families.

The U.S. is spending over $5.6 billion a month to fight this war—over $200 billion total to date.  The devastation of Hurricane Katrina and the hard truths it brought home about who does and doesn’t have access to the American Dream tells us all how desperately these resources are needed in other areas.

The U.S. Constitution gives the Congress financial oversight.  The time has come for our elected representatives to listen to the country’s pro-peace majority and end funding for this war. 

The Iraq War has already committed us to aiding a generation of veterans and their families and to rebuilding Iraq.  We need to meet these just obligations and stop the funding for further destruction so that our resources can be used to strengthen our communities and help those in need.

Working solutions for Iraq will be political solutions.  Diplomacy and dialogue in close cooperation with the Iraqi government and broad sectors of Iraqi society are the way forward to peace and to rebuilding the U.S.’s strained relationship with the international community.

Working together, we will end this war.

Monday, October 24, 2005

I'll never be a good capitalist this way

Link via Pinko Feminist Hellcat

Antiwar Signs

I just set up a new account with antiwar signs. These signs are free to all to download and can be used in the upcoming protests against the 2000th official American death in Iraq. See American Friends Service Committee (the Quakers) for more information about these events. In the Twin Cities, check out the Antiwar Committee website for the date. Here's the info from their site:

Candlelight Vigil: Not One More Death. Not One More Dollar.

When U.S. Death Toll in Iraq Reaches 2,000 @ 7pm @ Lake Street/Marshall Avenue Bridge between Mpls and St. Paul - Date to be Announced

Soon we will be reaching another horrific milestone in the war in Iraq — the death of the 2000th U.S. service member. On the day after the 2,000th reported U.S. military casualty, people will gather in communities across the U.S. to show that the country's pro-peace/anti-war majority wants Congress to stop the killing in Iraq by cutting off funding for the war. Since we won't know the exact date that the 2000th casualty will occur, this will be an emergency call, representatives of local groups, including the AWC, will set the actual date for the vigil, depending on casualty reports from Iraq. Click here for flyer to help get the word out.

For the signs, I followed the advice of Eli from Left i on the news (scroll down to the entry titled "2,000 American Dead". I made the signs big, bold and easy to read for those fast-paced pedestrians, bikers and drivers going past your demo!

Here are the signs, set up for 11x14 signs at full size:

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These signs are all for use in anti-war actions. Originally created for the Iraq Peace Action Coalition in Minneapolis, Minnesota. This image is available free to anyone who can use it! If you do use it, I’d love to hear about how it was used. A picture with the sign in use ato fruitbatmn (at) yahoo (dot) com would be greatly appreciated! It’s fun to see how far these signs travel!

Friday, October 21, 2005

Take the What Fruit Are You? test by Ellen!

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Straight up

Almost 20 years ago, Ravenhub worked in the office of a small political group concerned with the situation in Central America. In the morning mail, he got a letter typed on the letterhead of a local organization that viciously attacked the group he worked for. The man who "signed" the letter happened by that very day and Ravenhub asked him if he wanted to talk about the letter and his concerns.

Turns out, of course, that the letter was a fake. Someone had gotten hold of the organization's letterhead and decided to stir up a little trouble. The strategy fell through for one simple reason: the person being attacked decided to talk directly to the person who was doing the attacking. Whoever perpetrated the hoax hoped that wouldn't happen. He/she had hoped that Ravenhub would get pissed and refuse to speak to the "source" of the letter from that point on.

Which brings me to today's post. Today I found out that an e-mail I sent was misinterpreted in a way that was detrimental to me. But instead of talking to me, the people who were bothered by my e-mail acted behind my back to address their concerns. Fortunately, for me, one of the people involved decided to talk to me directly. Which is the only way I learned about the discussions about an e-mail that I wrote.

This is just one of the many ways in which the capitalist system ends up screwing itself. I recognize the corporate protocol in this situation and I'm relatively sure everything will turn out all right for me in the end. But the fact is that the system as it is set up greatly discourages people from reaching an honest and effective solution to everyday problems. It encourages people to talk behind the backs of other people who sit only a few feet away from them. It is a sad, sad commentary on our way of life and a damn silly waste of time.

In my particular line of work, these games mean nothing at all. No lives were deeply impacted by this misunderstanding. Nobody's livelihood is threatened; not even mine. But what a moronic way to interact in this day and age.

I do hope that people have the good sense to rise above this kind of behavior. When they don't, I am not surprised. Just sad at all the waste....

Saturday, October 15, 2005

All about books

Today I have been immersed in books in one way or the other.

At 10 a.m., Ravenhub dropped me off at the local Community College to attend the Rain Taxi Twin Cities Book Festival. I was there from 10 am through 2 pm visiting booths set up by any number of organizations and enterprises concerned with books. I again met Hans from Micawber's Books in St. Paul. We first met at a reading at Macalester College.

I purchased a new book from the University of Minnesota Press about railroads in Minneapolis for Ravenhub.

I listened to several letterpress printers talk about their art and picked up a book of poetry that was about typesetting from Paulette Myers-Rich that is delightful.

I heard Ana Castillo read from her new book.

After that, I did my regular Saturday shift at the bookstore and sold a few books to the few customers that showed up.

All in all, a delightful book-filled day.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

In lieu of flowers....

Obituary posted at the Chicago Tribune:

Theodore Roosevelt Heller

Theodore Roosevelt Heller, 88, loving father of Charles (Joann) Heller; dear brother of the late Sonya (the late Jack) Steinberg. Ted was discharged from the U.S. Army during WWII due to service related injuries, and then forced his way back into the Illinois National Guard insisting no one tells him when to serve his country. Graveside services Tuesday 11 a.m. at Waldheim Jewish Cemetery (Ziditshover section), 1700 S. Harlem Ave., Chicago. In lieu of flowers, please send acerbic letters to Republicans. Arrangements by Chicago Jewish Funerals, Douglas MacIsaac, funeral director.....

Published in the Chicago Tribune on 10/10/2005.

Found via Metafilter

Thursday, October 06, 2005

All your translations are belong to us

Today at Megacorporation, there was a fitness fair, which involved various health clubs providing materials, representatives and discounts for employees at local health clubs. One of the health clubs gave out a tiny plastic pedometer with these delightful instructions:

Stepping Meter

Product Characteristic

Counting the Step

Wearing Instruction
1) When Starting to count the meter, the display show "00000"

2) Using the clip that behind the unint to fix the stepping meter horizontally.

Operational Manual
1) This stepping meter can only count currectly under the flat plant.

2) Under the following condition, the stepping meter can't count correctly:

(i) Moon Walking, Wearing Sandal

(ii) When walking in the tricky condition.

(iii) Vibration without walking.

3) The stepping meter can be rest by pressing "Reset" Button


This reminds me of a lovely product one of my co-workers at Former Employer Who Stole Our 401K funds. It was a "Mr. Microphone" sort of product that was bought in Japan. The package was in Engrish (Japanese translated badly). One phrase became a favorite around the shop and we would use it to explain the unexplainable. The product had this special feature:

"The drama speech on the stage as real as possible!"

Try it out. Say it enough times it it feels like it's the answer to everything!

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Intelligent Designer

A wonderful post in the New Yorker explaining creation as the work of intelligent Designer Gods. Think Fab Five!

Intelligent Design by Paul Rudnick

Day No. 1

And the Lord God said, "Let there be light," and lo, there was light. But then the Lord God said, "Wait, what if I make it a sort of rosy, sunset-at-the-beach, filtered half-light, so that everything else I design will look younger?"

"I'm loving that," said Buddha. “It’s new."

"You should design a restaurant," added Allah.

Day No. 2:

"Today," the Lord God said, "let's do land." And lo, there was land.

"Well, it's really not just land," noted Vishnu. "You've got mountains and valleys and—is that lava?"

"It's not a single statement," said the Lord God. "I want it to say, 'Yes, this is land, but it's not afraid to ooze.' "

"It’s really a backdrop, a sort of blank canvas,” put in Apollo. “It’s, like, minimalism, only with scale.”

“But—brown?” Buddha asked.

“Brown with infinite variations,” said the Lord God. “Taupe, ochre, burnt umber—they’re called earth tones.”

“I wasn’t criticizing,” said Buddha. “I was just noticing.”

Day No. 3:

“Just to make everyone happy,” said the Lord God, “today I’m thinking oceans, for contrast.”

“It’s wet, it’s deep, yet it’s frothy; it’s design without dogma,” said Buddha, approvingly.

“Now, there’s movement,” agreed Allah. “It’s not just ‘Hi, I’m a planet—no splashing.’ ”

“But are those ice caps?” inquired Thor. “Is this a coherent vision, or a highball?”

“I can do ice caps if I want to,” sniffed the Lord God.

“It’s about a mood,” said the Angel Moroni, supportively.

“Thank you,” said the Lord God.

Day No. 4:

“One word,” said the Lord God. “Landscaping. But I want it to look natural, as if it all somehow just happened.”

“Do rain forests,” suggested a primitive tribal god, who was known only as a clicking noise.

“Rain forests here,” decreed the Lord God. “And deserts there. For a spa feeling.”

“Which is fresh, but let’s give it glow,” said Buddha. “Polished stones and bamboo, with a soothing trickle of something.”

“I know where you’re going,” said the Lord God. “But why am I seeing scented candles and a signature body wash?”

“Shut up,” said Buddha.

“You shut up,” said the Lord God.

“It’s all about the mix,” Allah declared in a calming voice. “Now let’s look at some swatches.”

Day No. 5:

“I’d like to design some creatures of the sea,” the Lord God said. “Sleek but not slick.”

“Yes, yes, and more yes—it’s a total gills moment,” said Apollo. “But what if you added wings?”

“Fussy,” whispered Buddha to Zeus. “Why not epaulets and a sash?”

“Legs,” said Allah. “Now let’s do legs.”

“Are we already doing dining-room tables?” asked the Lord God, confused.

“No, design some creatures with legs,” said Allah. So the Lord God, nodding, designed an ostrich.

“First draft,” everyone agreed, and so the Lord God designed an alligator.

“There’s gonna be a waiting list,” Zeus murmured appreciatively.

“Now do puppies!” pleaded Vishnu. “And kitties!”

“Ooooo!” all the gods cooed. Then, feeling a bit embarrassed, Zeus ventured, “Design something more practical, like a horse or a mule.”

“What about a koala?” asked the Lord God.

“Much better,” Zeus declared, cuddling the furry little animal. “I’m going to call him Buttons.”

Day No. 6:

“Today I’m really going out there,” said the Lord God. “And I know it won’t be popular at first, and you’re all gonna be saying, ‘Earth to Lord God,’ but in a few million years it’s going to be timeless. I’m going to design a man.”

And everyone looked upon the man that the Lord God designed.

“It has your eyes,” Zeus told the Lord God.

“Does it stack?” inquired Allah.

“It has a naïve, folk-artsy, I-made-it-myself vibe,” said Buddha. The Inca sun god, however, only scoffed. “Been there. Evolution,” he said. “It’s called a shaved monkey.”

“I like it,” protested Buddha. “But it can’t work a strapless dress.” Everyone agreed on this point, so the Lord God announced, “Well, what if I give it nice round breasts and lose the penis?”

“Yes,” the gods said immediately.

“Now it’s intelligent,” said Aphrodite.

“But what if I made it blond?” giggled the Lord God.

“And what if I made you a booming offscreen voice in a lot of bad movies?” asked Aphrodite.

Day No. 7:

“You know, I’m really feeling good about this whole intelligent-design deal,” said the Lord God. “But do you think that I could redo it, keeping the quality but making it at a price point we could all live with?”

“I’m not sure,” said Buddha. “You mean, what if you designed a really basic, no-frills planet? Like, do the man and the woman really need all those toes?”

"Hello!" said the Lord God. "Clean lines, no moving parts, functional but fun. Three bright, happy, wash 'n' go colors."

"Swedish meets Japanese, with maybe a Platinum Collector's Edition for the geeks," Buddha decided.

"Done," said the Lord God. "Now let's start thinking about Pluto. What if everything on Pluto was brushed aluminum?"

"You mean, let's do Neptune again?" said Buddha.

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