Extremely Strange ad

of the day: Microsoft's web based XP Media Version flash ad, which claims, among other things, that "It will make your teeth whiter."

's True.


I'm sure the transcript

will be available somewhere online, but I had to get this down before it left my head.

In a report on ABC News, Bob Woodruf is exploring the parts of North Korea that North Korea wants him to see. In the capital of Pyongyang there is a large school for young children which lavishes them with money and attention, what few fruits of Kim Jong-Il's retarded economy can be directed their way.

The kids put on a remarkable music and dance performance for visiting dignitaries, and Woodruf ends his broadcast with something along the lines of, "It's remarkable what children can learn when the state is willing to teach them."

This has some interesting implications, and they cut both ways. On the one hand, there is clear evidence that a well-funded state standardised educational system benefits children, adults, and society. If every citizen were able to read and write coherently, and were fluent in not only the language of math and science but of art and music as well, is there any doubt that all of America would be richer in ways money cannot count? On the other, only the most careful monitoring by it's populace can keep the government from teaching it's own revised history, as the abuses of the governmental monopoly on telecommunications that North Korea so adeptly demonstrates.

Fascinating bits like this are mainly found on ABC, although their coverage of Jesus is second only to the Cornerstone Network and tends to irritate me. I particularly liked the bit about hand-fishing being made legal again in rednecked bits of the nation if only for Charlie Gibson's deadpan one-word response after the peice ended: "Okay."


I find myself

pining for the end of our world. Particularly after a bad day on the bus, full of smelly noisy freaks who yell into their cell phones then yell at strangers about what they were yelling about before. The GODDAMN ENDLESS MINDLESS THUMPING of the downstair's neighboor's stereo. My German teacher asked us why we enjoy camping. "Nich so viele leben" was my reply- "Not so many people."

My inner Destroyer longs for a semi-lawless wasteland of abandoned cars and looted store fronts. I'm even fine with being lost to the Die Off that some have posited will by necessity come with the end of cheap fuel. Being aware of both the remarkable damage we're doing to our planet and the near-total apathy we feel towards it, my mind is peirced by a constant ache, and perhaps the only cure for such pain is for the cause - what we so pompusly call Western Civilisation - to be removed.

Right now that part of me is ascendant. Every day that passes I long intensely to stand amongst the rubble of America. Tyler Durden leaps to mind;
In the future I see, you're stalking elk through the deep forest canyon that surrounds the ruins of Rockefeller Center.


I feel a little

used now. The Fam and I had gone to see Star Bores Episode 3: Revenge of the Pith (-y Dialogue). It's the least sucky suck of the three sucks, but that still implies an unfortunate degree of suckage. Basicaly, mum fell asleep twice and we all laughed and cringed whenever a character talked. Every time they started talking, in fact, I found myself waiting for them to stop. And I kept hoping, against all evidence and past experience, that it wouldn't turn out to be a complete disaster.

It is. But the worst moment came when I caught a commercial for Burger King that featured new Star Wars merchandise in the kiddie meals. I realised then, as I suspected all along, that the new movies weren't really about the story - you could sum up the plot of all three in a fortune cookie - but about the Merch. The bulk of Lucas's profits won't come from theater tickets, but from cross promotions and plastic figurine sales, from an epic sort of exploitation. And I gave my money to the machine responsible, believing that I had to participate in this cultural phenomenon. It is a culture of Blind Consumption, and now I feel used.


I'm only through the

first installment, but this series in Harpers is fabulous for many reasons. Having grown up in Colorado Springs, and having many direct tussels with the Fundamental folk, I delight in reading that they've forsaken the center of the city - which is highly walkable and bikable - for the "exurbs" of the north and east. If NASCAR is the perfect sport for christianity (making simple and endless philisophical circles until The End of The Race) then their weird desire to make the exurbs the center of their revolution is also perfectly appropriate. Suburban development is by definition soulless, with every house and street mind-numbingly identical, across states and countries. Any calling to faith that demands unquestioning obiedience to one line of ideology seems to me as horribly conformist as those off-white Lego brick family boxes.