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January 2003 Archives

January 2, 2003

Cowboys, Giant Ants, and Stormtroopers

What do the above have in common?

Exposure to any of them may lead to hearing the Wilhelm Scream, a specific cry of pain re-used by film sound editors for the last fifty years. Watch a highlight reel, (27MB Quicktime) and check out a list of Wilhelm appearances (I think we all could have guessed the Elves at Helm's Deep would scream school girls.)

Quimby Cometh

acme16_small.jpg So I've known about this for a couple of months now, but -- as the release date is finally drawing near, I thought I'd trumpet the forthcoming arrival of Chris Ware's Quimby the Mouse.

Most trustworthy Gib at The Laughing Ogre sez that it should collect all the Acme Novelty Library stuff, with hopefully a couple other tasty morsels as well. I was gearing myself up to start shopping for all the Library back-issues (large and small format! I only have #15 so far, by the good graces of a gifting friend.) Gib gave me the red light -- wisely cautioning me that the upcoming Quimby (plus the hardcover Jimmy Corrigan) should complete my collection, with no need to search high and low for the elusive rest of the set. Here's hoping...

In other corners of the Web, there's some good Chris Ware stuff happening:
(1) Niem Tran is an Illustrator and student in San Jose who has actually assembled several of Ware's Acme Novelty Toys! I've thought about doing the Movie Viewer (from the afore-mentioned ANL #15) but just couldn't bring myself to deface that beautiful large-format volume.

(2) At Fantagraphics' Ware Subsite, you can now order a great Jimmy Corrigan vinyl doll. The price is a little steep, but it makes me smile to think of the poor pitiable Jimmy becoming a doll-worthy idol to millions. (Okay, thousands... maybe hundreds.)

Blog Speculation

Evan Williams speculates about blogs coming to AOL.

Uma Thurman Will Kill Bill

That is all I am saying.

January 5, 2003

Back the Attack

From Micah Wright:

My upcoming book, "Back The Attack: Remixed War Propaganda" is available for pre-ordering at Amazon.com

The book comes out in May from 7 Stories Press, the publisher of such luminaries as Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn and Kurt Vonnegut.

The book is to have 42 full-color posters by Me, an introduction by Kurt Vonnegut and a forward by Howard Zinn. Each poster will have commentary by Center for Constitutional Rights, the premiere legal institution of the progressive movement.

Won't you go pre-order my book? Please? Clickety-Click the picture to get to the Amazon listing.

More Micah Wright Here.

A Small Step in the New Year

A small, temporary Metal Daisy webpage is online. (As soon as the DNS information propogates, metaldaisy.com will work, too...

January 6, 2003

Paging Ringo Starr

Was early African Homo erectus a scavenger, rather than the proud hunter we've imagined him to be?

What would Jesus doob?

Did annointing oils, that figured heavily in early Judaism, contain a potent cannabis extract?

January 7, 2003

An emerging pattern

Has Soldier Ant become a staccato series of breathless rhetorical questions?

January 8, 2003

Smile-inducing Whimsy

flyguy.gifFly Guy really made me smile for the ~3 minutes that it held my attention (and -- backhanded though it sounds, that's really a compliment -- most things hold my attention for hours and never make me smile.) Give it a chance and be sure to explore around.

Massive's Digital Doves

Popular Science offers up a nice overview of Massive, the Two Tower's enormously impressive battle-generation software.

This is a highly recommended read, that touches on orc-hummers, Jackie Chan grunting, and -- of all things -- a group of emergent pacifists in Jackson's digital world:

"In another early simulation, Jackson and Regelous watched as several thousand characters fought like hell while, in the background, a small contingent of combatants seemed to think better of it and run away. They weren't programmed to do this. It just happened."

Hindustan Times

This looks promising. In the past year, I've gotten a lot of satisfaction (and, of course, information) out of monitoring news sources on the Web outside the mainstream pablum. Here's an English-language site for the Hindustan Times - the name India trusts for news. (Their description.)

January 11, 2003

Kitty TV

Now this squirrel is bold! Cute picture. (Site found via Robot Wisdom.)

January 12, 2003

The Death of Bigfoot

Or, at least the prankster who may have created him. This Seattle Times obit for Ray L. Wallace casts doubt on every shred of evidence collected about Bigfoot, including the infamous Patterson film. No word on whether Lee Majors or Lindsay Wagner attended the funeral.

January 13, 2003

Fate Unknown

I'll have to dig a little more to find a better resource, but here's what Google turned up about the Mandeans (it's from a longer tract about John the Baptist.)

"Today in southern Iraq and in Iran there is a small sect of 20 to 30 thousand members known as the Mandaeans (Man-DE-uns) who claim to be followers of John the Baptist. They seem to have been an offshoot of second century Christianity. They were apparently influenced by Persian ideas and departed from orthodox Christianity. Their allegiance is more to John the Baptist than to Jesus."

The Mandeans were on my mind this morning. The last I heard, the ethnographers who had lived among them have not been in touch with them since the last Gulf War, in the early 90s, and their fate remains uncertain.

More on the Mandeans:
Their beliefs
Their gnostic, heretical leanings

January 14, 2003

Cold case warmed over

After 10 years, a DNA sample taken in Florida has linked a Cuban native with the murder of Mia Zapata. Zapata was the singer for the Gits, a Seattle punk band.

Hell-bent for Leather

Marvel's Rawhide Kid is being reincarnated as their first openly gay hero (an openly gay cowboy, no less):

"Whenever a straight guy makes fun of him, the next panel is the Rawhide Kid just smashing into the guy's face. But he does it all with great humor and panache, and he's always gracious and well-mannered."

(Link via Robot Wisdom.)

January 15, 2003

Eco-friendly, Butt-ugly

Ford's upcoming Model U (think Model T++) sounds interesting:

"The canvas roof is made from corn, the seat foam is made of soybeans and when you check the oil, it's made from sunflower seeds."

Why does it have to be so damn ugly. I think it actually gives the Pontiac Aztek a run for its money.

Deadly Safari

Other problems with Safari aside, this sounds serious:

"I option clicked on a link in Safari to test a download. The download changed to the name of my home directory as it was downloading. It saved into my User folder. In the blink of an eye, it removed, destroyed, evaporated, my entire Home directory, including the desktop which disappeared along with days of work projects that were on it! Safari itself disappeared because it was on the desktop. My multi-gig directory was suddenly only 32k"

January 19, 2003

Back in Business

After a brief hiatus (I somehow bungled a Movable Type upgrade -- that's what I get for rushing through it at 2 in the morning, and only partially skimming the documentation while doing so) Soldier Ant is back in business!

Lost Cosmonauts

In the months leading up to Yuri Gagarin's single-orbit flight around the Earth, there may (or may not) have been a number of less succesful Russian space-shots. This site chronicles the losses, and even offers audio samples, purported to be the dying exhalations of an unknown cosmonaut.

Commodore Flavius Pompidou


January 20, 2003

SF Kite Photography

Some great, albeit hard-to-read panoramic photos taken by kite. They were done in 1906 immediately following the great quake in San Francisco.

(Link via Elegant Hack.)

One bad-ass engineer

Burning Mirrors tells the tale of Archimedes, one of antiquity's greatest engineers and mathematicians. According to legend, Archimedes repelled the Roman fleet at Syracuse by harnessing the energy of the sun:

"Afterwards, when the beams were reflected in the mirror, a fearful kindling of fire was raised in the ships, and at the distance of a bow-shot he turned them into ashes. In this way did the old man prevail over Marcellus with his weapons."
The veracity of the tale has been disputed throughout history, but in 1973 a Greek scientist tried (with resounding success!) to replicate the event.

And check out these cool speculative animations of another of his inventions. Archimedes claw was used to defend the harbor at Syracuse -- to overturn the siege-ships of the city's enemies.

January 21, 2003

Huggy Bear

Someone's actually making a Starsky & Hutch video game. This is not a joke.

Need a compelling reason to buy? According to the site, this is 'the only game that truly captures the action and excitement of the hugely successful TV series "Starksy & Hutch."'

I want to live in a world where this idea makes good market sense. Especially for 15-25 year old gamers. And where David Soul enjoys some kind of Tiger Beat resurgence.

January 22, 2003

Feds beating at my door

It appears that the RIAA has succeeded in getting Verizon to cough up the name of a notorious song-swapper (well, notorious for one day at least - supposedly this person downloaded more than 600 songs in a single day.)

It's getting increasingly hard for me to ignore stuff like this. The digital domain and song-swapping had always seemed like remote issues to me (I don't indulge in file-swapping much, and never on a scale that would draw the RIAA's ire - at least, until they start coming after the small-time 'criminals'.)

I have a feeling the EFF will soon start seeing some checks with my name on them...

It looks like Maurice Sendak had a bad acid trip

Now this is one effed-dup dinosaur.

Editable Maps

This is great - downloadable geographic maps, in Illustrator and Photoshop formats.

It's kind of striking how serene and green one might expect Baghdad to be after looking at this preview.

(link via kottke.)

January 23, 2003

The World's Major Religions

This Table of the World's Major Religions looks ready-made for a tasty info-graphic. Mmm... pie-chart...

Kung-Log Rocks

It took me a couple of attempts to get it up and running (I didn't have the SOAP::Lite library installed) but I can now post to Soldier Ant using the (so-far) excellent Kung-Log weblogging app. This post itself is coming from Kung-Log, of course.

And now, I'm off to bed.

iTunes is now playing Canada Geese from the album "Coke Machine Glow" by Gordon Downie

January 24, 2003


The good kids over at Done Waiting have launched their brand-spankin' new site design. It looks great (I hear their designer is taking a hard-earned week in Park City to unwind) and there are a couple great new columns. New look, new voices. Cool.

Lo and Behold

Lo and behold, my old friend William St. Anthony (Guillaume St. Antoine when on the Continent) is back in the blogging business. William is a much-storied man of letters, and I love the way he can see the sublime in the mundane. (And vice-versa.)

Check out his jornal-de-guerra and enjoy his weekly wanderings.

January 26, 2003

Yahoo moving to PHP

Making the Case for PHP at Yahoo! is a quick read. It provides the rationale for Yahoo!'s move to more open-source technologies. There are some nice PHP-vs-Y!-Proprietary performance comparison graphs. And I was touched to see training overhead for designers listed as one of the Costs of Proprietary Languages - it looks like the engineering/design relationship at Yahoo! might be a healthy one. (Link courtesy XBlog.)

The Big Book of British Smiles

File under 'Things that make me glad the Internet exists': Dean and Nigel blend in. Two English smart-asses take to the streets with a bag full of wigs, hats, glasses and scarves, and 'blend in.' That is, they imitate the (seemingly teeming) hordes of old-age pensioners that they come across. Stick with the confusing interface, 'coz the laughs'll be worth it.

Salon's New Deal

Salon's latest pricing model seems fair:

"Starting today, you can gain access to Salon in either of two ways: You can pay our low subscription price (as little as 5 cents a day) or you can click through a multiple-screen advertisement. "

I must admit I haven't been reading Salon for awhile. A friend just recommended them for the job they've been doing on Iraq/Middle-East coverage. (While Jorn Barger is apparently pissed cause they're going to make him pay for cartoons.) I'm going to try to drop in on Salon more frequently in coming weeks...

Snowy day, Closet-rummaging

Making like Marshall Mathers, we found this old tie loosely coiled in pocket of an old woolen overcoat. Dozer obliged us on the mannequin tip.


January 27, 2003

Turnspit Dogs

Do dogs have a history?

"In the nineteenth century, dogs were used in restaurant kitchens to run in large wheels that turned the spits for roasting meat over a fire. One story has it that, during a church service in Bath, the Bishop of Gloucester, who was giving the sermon, uttered the line 'It was then that Ezekiel saw the wheel,' and at the mention of the word 'wheel' several turnspit dogs, who had been brought to church as foot warmers, ran for the door."

January 28, 2003

Naked Jim, You Magnificent Bastard

I'm staring at the ass end of a blustery, worn-out-welcome, fat-abusive-uncle of a winter's January. And I'm admiring our next-door neighbor, Naked Jim. Jim is, like us, an Ohio native who recently moved back after living in California. Unlike us, Jim refuses to let his California citizenship expire. Ohio-born, but Left Coast through and through. The most obvious proof of this is his license plate. More than a year in the Buckeye State and his Jeep proudly flies his CA tags.

We held out for a while (more laziness than stubborn pride, really) but when our insurance company threatened us -- register in-state, or be dropped -- we demurred. Long morning at the DMV, traded in my coffee-soaked (don't ask) Georgia title for a brand-spankin' new Ohio one. And the plates. God, so patriotic. So boldly colorful. So native Ohioan.

I have this mental image of Jim, naked, sitting in his living room with a mounting pile of threatening letters from Allstate or Progressive (lower down, the tone is 'Don't Forget!'. High in the stack, it's all 'FINAL NOTICE!!'.) And he's laughing and flipping them the bird. Good for you, Jim.

January 29, 2003

Ripping Streams

File under 'Could be handy': StreamRipperX for OS X lets you save Internet radio streams, song by song as MP3 files.

About January 2003

This page contains all entries posted to Soldier Ant in January 2003. They are listed from oldest to newest.

December 2002 is the previous archive.

February 2003 is the next archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.


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