Thursday, December 17, 2009

The universe is big. Really big.

Find yourself seven free minutes, turn the lights off and check this out.



Produced by the American Museum of Natural History as a part of the exhibition “Visions of the Cosmos: From the Milky Ocean to an Evolving Universe”, at the Rubin Museum of Art in Manhattan through May 2010.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Bottled Water Everywhere

The Facts About Bottled Water


This guilt-trip brought to you byOnline Education via Neatorama .

The Pixies and Weird Al

On November 4, indie-music-snob-mega-site (and I use the term most affectionately) Pitchfork reported:

At a December 8 benefit show at the Echoplex in L.A., "Weird Al" Yankovic will sing a Pixies song with members of the Pixies. This will obviously be an incredible thing to see.

Yankovic will sing the Doolittle jam "I Bleed". But maybe if we bug him enough, he'll subject a Pixies song or two to the "Weird Al" treatment. "Here Comes Your Spam"? "This Monkey's Gone to 7-11"? This needs to happen.

The show is one of two benefits, taking place December 8-9 at the Echoplex and the Echo, to raise money for Winston’s Village , which supports the family of Winston Bertrand, a nine-month-old baby born with lymphatic and venous malformations, two rare and life-threatening conditions.

Pixies frontman Black Francis will host the events. He'll perform solo as well as with members of the Pixies (including Flea filling in on bass!) and with the Grand Duchy, his duo with wife Violet Clark. The December 8 show will also feature performances from members of Love and Rockets and She Wants Revenge, as well as Michael Penn and the 88.

The next night, Francis will host an evening of comedy. The bill includes Tim and Eric, Bob Odenkirk, Brian Posehn, and Pixies drummer David Lovering. Francis will perform on both nights, which raises the absolutely intriguing possibility of a Black Francis stand-up comedy set.


Well, it actually happened. Kim Deal wasn’t there (she was in London) but guests included OK Go , Flea, Tenacious D, and Bauhaus's David J.

Here’s the proof…

Weird Al on “I Bleed” (and by the way Bob, is that the same gold, sparkly Les Paul that Joey Santiago is playing??)






Here’s Flea playing on “Where is my Mind?”






And here’s Tenacious D sitting in on “Oh My Golly!”




It’s funny because FOT’s Pat and Bob have been swapping email reminiscences about a Pixies show that we saw in 1988 at The Rat in Boston. Just one more piece of evidence about how shit-kicking cool I used to be.

Oh, and something I just noticed as I re-read this post...the Pitchfork report mentions in passing that among the comedians performing on the second night of the benefit is Pixies drummer David Lovering. Wha?

So I did some research using something called "Google" and discovered that Lovering became a magician sometime after the Pixies broke up in 1993. "I couldn't top the Pixies so I went into magic full-on and became a professional magician."

Even more, he developed a brand of magic he calls "Scientific Phenomenalism" in which he combined magic with a lifelong fascination with science.

I know, right? Me and David Lovering could TOTALLY hang out right? Turns out that he has a degree in electrical engineering and had a job building lasers before joining the Pixies. Right? Why haven't we been hanging out all this time? Anyway, his website is here and while I'm posting videos, here's one of his too...



Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Rewriting History

Just caught this blurb in Fast Company Magazine…

To liven up a standard card-services conference, Bank of America asked two employees to write a song about the merger with MBNA. Although their heartfelt performance – titled “One Bank” and set to the tune of U2’s “One” – was ridiculed when it leaked onto the internet, attendees gave it a standing ovation.

OK. Wait a second. I remember this video. And if the guys at Fast Company are now holding this up as an example of something that works, even (ye gads), something to be emulated, well, it’s time to cancel that subscription.

For a while there, this was a gruesome favorite of mine. In the same way that you might have a favorite car crash.

At one point it was pulled from YouTube (for copyright reasons, not aesthetic reasons…) but it’s back.

I have sat through a lot of sales meetings and conferences and god-bless ‘em for trying to liven things up in between “compliance training”, marketing reviews and break-out meetings but really, are these people blind? Deaf? Please, please tell me that their standing ovation was just group-think. Please let it be that one or two assholes leapt to their feet and the others followed begrudgingly so as not to stand out as sour-pusses.

Because this is the height of lame. The very pinnacle! There is no place to go from here except to less lame.

You be the judge.



And of course, what would the internet be if there weren’t hundreds of mocking parodies for our enjoyment. And who better than David Cross?

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Little Richard on Jimi Hendrix

Did you know that Hendrix played in Little Richard’s band? I didn’t. But Wikipedia says its true so it must be…

On March 1, 1964, he brought a fledgling Jimi Hendrix into his band, Hendrix may have adopted his visual style from Little Richard, dressing and growing a mustache like his. He toured with Little Richard and played on at least a dozen tracks for Vee Jay Records between the spring of 1964 and 1965. Three singles, including a cover of Whole Lotta Shakin' Going On, would again hit the charts with moderate success. In 1966, Hendrix was quoted as saying, "I want to do with my guitar what Little Richard does with his voice."

Space Chair

Ever since I saw the video for Boards of Canada’s “Dayvan Cowboy”, which was the subject of a post in August, 2008 , I have been intrigued by the idea of reaching the edge of space by balloon.

Which is why I think that this new ad campaign by Toshiba is so cool. They strapped a chair and 8 Toshiba cameras to a high altitude balloon and sent it to the edge of the earth’s atmosphere and the images are pretty incredible.



Pretty neat right? Here is a video about the making of the commercial which, if you can stomach all the “marketing-speak”, is interesting also…

Thursday, December 3, 2009

More Video Fun From Those Guys With The Treadmills

Ok Go , those guys who did the fun video with treadmills have a new song with a catchy new video you might like.



And depending on how compelling you found that, you might like to watch this piece about the making of the WTF video…



And what the hell, if you haven’t seen the treadmill thing, here it is too…

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Lights!

The lights are up at stately Foil Manor!

Woolworth Stereo Spectacular

I remember doing some record shopping at Woolworth back in the day. In fact I remember in particular buying "Love Beach" by Emerson, Lake and Palmer at Woolworth.

After wearing out the grooves in ELP's "Brain Salad Surgery", I had high hopes for "Love Beach" but the cheesy cover should have tipped me off. Even as a twelve year old in 1978 I knew shite when I heard it!



That got me to thinking..."Love Beach" came out in 1978. What other choices might a young Tim Foil have had while browsing the New Releases section at Woolworth that fateful day long ago?

The Jam - All Mod Cons
Jethro Tull - Bursting Out
Atlanta Rhythm Section - Champagne Jam (included that one for you Rog!)
Neil Young - Comes A Time
Boston - Don't Look Back
Bruce Springsteen - Darkness on the Edge of Town
The Jacksons - Destiny
Billy Joel - 52nd Street
Kenny Rogers - The Gambler
The Clash - Give 'Em Enough Rope
Original Soundtrack - Grease
Cheap Trick - Heaven Tonight
Jethro Tull - Heavy Horses
AC/DC - If You Want Blood You've Got It
Dusty Springfield - It Begins Again
Kate Bush - The Kick Inside
Buzzcocks - Love Bites
Midnight Oil - Midnight Oil
The Kinks - Misfits
Brian Eno - Music For Films
Black Flag - Nervous Breakdown
The Police - Outlandos d'Amour
Blondie - Parallel Lines
Devo - Are We Not Men? We Are Devo!
The Rolling Stones - Some Girls
Elvis Costello - This Years Model
Al Stewart - Time Passages
The Boomtown Rats - A Tonic for the Troops
Van Halen - Van Halen
The Who - Who Are You?
Van Morrison - Wave Length
Kiss - Double Platinum

And speaking of Kiss, 1978 also marked the release of the eponymous solo records that each of those guys put out. (And of course you agree that Ace Frehley's "New York Groove" was the best of that bunch right? No argument really...)

By the way, this little nostalgic reverie was inspired by the Woolworh TV commercial below. $1.57 for an LP...Petula Clark and Canned Heat in-stock now!

Arc

There are a bunch of space-related, hi-def photographs of the most recent Space Shuttle mission to the ISS here .

It’s a weird site…it appears to be a digital version of “The Chamorro Bible”, Chamorro being the official language of the Territory of Guam. I didn’t take the time to sniff around and figure out what the connection is between The Chamorro Bible and these images but I was stopped in my track by this beauty…the sun setting on November 23, 2009 behind earth’s thin blue atmosphere…


(Click on the image for the awesome full-sized version...)

Discovered via Neatorama .

(Special note: I will be using the "Photography Loophole" to avoid violating the Space Moratorium .)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Sound Cellar: Joan Jett for PETA

I almost forgot about this one...but it came to me just in time for Thanksgiving. This is an old PSA - I don't know when it was recorded - that Joan Jett did on behalf of PETA.

It must have been difficult to record an anti-turkey PSA while so clearly stoned on tryptophan ...

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Ron Houben Update

Of course.

As soon as I clicked "Publish Post" on my Ron Houben comments, I saw the Wired Science Blog's take on the same subject .

It looks like the FC part of the story is indeed bullshit but it also appears that Houben was sentient all this time.

Whoa. Holy crap.

Anyway, I'll just post what they posted... completely attributed of course ! But keep your ears open because this story surely isn't over.

REBORN COMA MAN'S WORDS MAY BE BOGUS
By Brandon Keim

The statements of a Belgian man believed to be in a coma for 23 years, but recently discovered to be conscious, are poignant, but experts say they may not be his words at all.

Rom Houben’s account of his ordeal, repeated in scores of news stories since appearing Saturday in Der Spiegel, appears to be delivered with assistance from an aide who helps guide his finger to letters on a flat computer keyboard. Called “facilitated communication,” that technique has been widely discredited, and is not considered scientifically valid.

“If facilitated communication is part of this, and it appears to be, then I don’t trust it,” said Arthur Caplan, director of the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Bioethics. “I’m not saying the whole thing is a hoax, but somebody ought to be checking this in greater detail. Any time facilitated communication of any sort is involved, red flags fly.”

Facilitated communication came to prominence in the late 1970s after an Australian teacher reportedly used it to communicate with 12 children rendered speechless by cerebral palsy and other disorders. Over the next two decades, it gained some adherents in patient and medical communities, but failed to produce consistent results in controlled, scientific settings.

Researchers said that facilitators were unconsciously or consciously guiding patients’ hands. Multiple professional organizations, including the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities and the American Academy of Pediatrics, say that facilitated communication is not credible.


Far more credible, however, is emerging research on patients thought to be in vegetative states, but revealed by brain-scanning technology to be at least minimally conscious, and even aware of what is happening around them. These two strains of research have collided in the figure of Houben. In 2006, a full 23 years after a horrific car accident left him paralyzed and apparently unconscious, tests run by the University of Liege’s Coma Science Group showed that Houben’s brain was active, and almost normal. He wasn’t a vegetable, but aware, and trapped silently in the prison of his ruined body.

Houben has since proven able to answer yes-or-no questions with slight movements of his foot. It’s a tremendous accomplishment, and raises the chilling possibility that, as estimated by Coma Science Group leader Steven Laureys in a Monday New York Times story , as many as four in 10 people considered utterly comatose may be misdiagnosed. But the legitimacy of interviews given by Houben and his facilitator to Der Spiegel , and shown on video by the BBC , may not be as certain.

“I believe that he is sentient. They’ve shown that with MRI scans,” said James Randi , a prominent skeptic who during the 1990s investigated the use of facilitated communication for autistic children. But in the video, “You see this woman who’s not only holding his hand, but what she’s doing is directing his fingers and looking directly at the keyboard. She’s pressing down on the keyboard, pressing messages for him. He has nothing to do with it.”

According to Randi, facilitated communication could only be considered credible if the facilitator didn’t look at the keyboard or screen while supporting Houben’s hand, and helped him type messages in response to questions she had not heard, thus ensuring that Houben’s responses are entirely his own.

The James Randi Educational Foundation has offered a million-dollar prize to a valid demonstration of facilitated communication, and Randi invited Houben to participate. “Our prize is still there,” he said.

In the Der Spiegel interview, Houben and his facilitator recounted his ordeal. “I would scream, but no sound would come out,” they wrote. “I became the witness to my own suffering, as doctors and nurses tried to speak to me and eventually gave up.” Of the correct diagnosis, they wrote, “I will never forget the day they finally discovered what was wrong — it was my second birth.”

According to Caplan, Houben’s apparent lucidity after spending more than two decades in complete isolation — circumstances known to be psychologically and cognitively damaging — is hard to believe.

“You’re going to lie for 23 years in a hospital bed with almost no stimuli, and then sound completely coherent and cogent?” he said. “Something is wrong with that picture. The messages are almost poetic. It sounds too lucid, like someone prepared these things to say. I’m not saying it’s all a fraud, but I want to hear a lot more.”

Whatever the final verdict on Houben’s facilitated communication, however, it does not alter the fact of his misdiagnosis. Laureys could not be reached for comment, but said in an Agence France Presse story that “every patient should be tested at least 10 times before they are categorically defined as ‘vegetative.’”

Facilitating Misery

The AP reports today about a Belgian man who was thought to have been in a vegetative state for the past 23 years but who appears to have been conscious during that time, just unable to communicate.

The story goes on to claim that car crash victim Ron Houben finally broke through with the help of speech therapist Linda Wouters “who rapidly moved his finger letter by letter along a touch-screen keyboard,”

She told the AP that can feel Houben guiding her hand with gentle pressure from his fingers, and that she feels him objecting when she moves his hand toward an incorrect letter.

Sounds like a heart-warming story for the holidays – man freed from the prison of his own body by a patient and loving therapist.

Sadly, this story has all the hallmarks of overly-credulous journalism and poor medical and science reporting.

This is almost certainly a case of “Facilitated Communication”, a thoroughly discredited technique that purports to help those with brain damage, autism, mental retardation, cerebral palsy and other conditions communicate.

In FC, a non-communicative patient’s hand is placed in the hand of a facilitator which is then placed on a keyboard or onto a series of pictures. The facilitator then guides the patient’s hands to specific letters or images based on the patient’s movements, typing out messages.

You can imagine the emotional impact this would have on the family of the patient. At last, a breath of hope from a handicapped child or injured relative. Unfortunately, this glimpse is virtually always an illusion. It’s nothing more than a parlor trick.

There is simply no good evidence that this is anything more than the wishful or deluded thinking of the facilitator.

The American Psychological Association has issued a Position Paper on FC, stating that "Studies have repeatedly demonstrated that facilitated communication is not a scientifically valid technique for individuals with autism or mental retardation" and describing FC as "a controversial and unproved communicative procedure with no scientifically demonstrated support for its efficacy."

In the case of poor Mr. Houben, a blindfold would tell us all we need to know. If Linda Wouters, his “speech therapist”, were blindfolded and followed Mr. Houben’s hand around the keyboard, what kind of message do you think would come out?

“I’m here! I love you but I can’t speak or communicate!”

More likely something like “ksdu8ehncfp –p 038nwcp;js osdpioj”

The AP story gives the most glancing mention of the possibility that this is a case of FC. They quote Arthur Caplan, a bioethics professor at the University of Pennsylvania who said,

"That's called 'facilitated communication,'" Caplan said. "That is ouija board stuff. It's been discredited time and time again. When people look at it, it's usually the person doing the pointing who's doing the messages, not the person they claim they are helping."

In the very next line the AP asks Mr. Houben how he felt when his consciousness was discovered and continue, fully credulous, to virtually interview him! Wouters plays along and answers dutifully, spouting clich├ęs and platitudes.

Elsewhere in the article the AP makes mention of the use of a “specialized brain scan that was not available in the 1980’s” but doesn’t bother to mention what this magical new kind of scan is and whether or not it will soon reveal scores of people trapped like Mr. Houben was.

It’s a case of sloppy reporting and it’s a case of fraud. I sure hope that Linda Wouters is only deceiving herself because the alternative would make her the most unspeakable kind of wicked.

This is a sad story about a family being taken for a ride. Let’s get the blindfold out and send Linda Wouters back to the fringe.

Bohemian Muppetry

Sesame Street's 40th birthday passed without comment from me. This should make up for that.


(After clicking "play", click the "HD" button for, well, HD.)

The Sound Cellar: Linda McCartney, “Hey Jude”

First let me just say that the authenticity of this track is somewhat dubious. This purports to be a recording of Linda McCartney’s isolated microphone run through the mixing board at a Wings concert.

If this is real, it is a testament to the enormity of Paul McCartney’s love for his wife. For if it’s true, Linda’s vocals are so comically terrible that blind love could be the only explanation for keeping her in the band.

And I kind of want that to be true. They were, by all accounts, blessed with true love. If you believe in that sort of thing. I once heard that during the entirety of their marriage, Paul and Linda only spent one night apart – the night that Paul was arrested in Japan for possession of marijuana.

I can’t vouch for that story either…but I once read it on the internet so it must be true.

As for the authenticity of the audio clip, “Station Manager Ken” from WFMU writes in a 2006 blog post

I got this tape from drummer Samm Bennett about ten years ago, and started playing it on the air. Someone told me that it was a hoax created by a DJ in Boston, and at the end of this MP3, you can hear the DJ starting to talk. The person who declared this to be a hoax sounded authoritative on he subject, but I can't for the life of me recall any details about it.



By the way, WFMU is a really, really great radio station. They podcast a bunch of their shows including two of my favorites, “Seven Second Delay” and “The Best Show on WFMU”. Always great.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Sound Cellar: Canceling Stamps in Ghana

WAY over on the other side of the web, FOT Molly hips us to a cool 1975 recording of postal workers in Ghana whistling and stamping while they work.

This was originally recorded by James Koetting and appears in the book/CD-Rom “Worlds of Music: An Introduction to the Music of the World's Peoples” .

The four men making the sounds you hear are workers canceling letters at the University of Ghana post office. Each letter is canceled by hand, a boring task that these men make more palatable by setting the work to music. Twice a day the letters are laid out in two piles, one on either side of a divided table. Two men sit across from one another at the table, and each has a hand-stamp-canceling machine, an ink pad, and a stack of letters. A letter is slipped from the stack with the left hand, and the right hand inks the marker and stamps the letter.

The other sounds you hear include another man with a pair of scissors that he clicks - not cutting anything, but adding to the rhythm. Another worker simply whistles along. He and any of the other three workers who care to join him whistle popular tunes or church music that fits the rhythm.



Thanks again to the aforementioned Molly , who dug this up via one place and another but wouldn’t you know it, the chain started at the always awesome WFMU .

This isn’t a space entry; it’s a photography entry…

…and therefore not subject to my self-imposed space moratorium .

Bernhard Christ, an amateur astronomer from Germany captured the transit of the ISS across the moon. This is a composite of several images, cleaned up for sharpness. The entire transit lasted just 0.4 seconds. ..How awesome is Bernhard Christ?


(Click to embiggen…you know you want to…just click it!)

Thanks to the Bad Astronomer for the heads-up.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Feelin' 7up?

Back in the day, you didn’t have to use car seats or wear bike helmets. Apparently you didn’t need milk either so long as you had an ice-box full of pure, wholesome 7up.


(Click to embiggen...really, read the copy. It's priceless advice!)

Hell yeah!

Thanks to Duke University
via Kitchen Retro via Neatorama .

The Sound Cellar: Orson Welles, “Frozen Peas”

This well-travelled nugget features Orson Welles, during his post-genius, over-blown blowhard years trying to record a voice-over for a series of television ads. The producer and director in the control room deign to offer suggestions only to find that Mr. Welles doesn’t take direction from anyone.



As a little Sound Cellar bonus I offer you another clip, this from the animated TV series Pinky and the Brain” .

Voice actor Maurice LaMarche largely based the voice of the character “The Brain” on Orson Welles and this clip, from the episode “Yes Always”, is based on the Orson Welles outtake above. Because the reference was so obscure and the cost of creating episodes was so great, writer Peter Hastings described is as a “$250,000 inside joke”

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Golden Age of Video

You like the movies? The TV? A catchy beat?

Then “The Golden Age of Video” by Ricardo Autobahn is just the ticket.



Thanks as always for the heads-up to Jason Kottke

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Moments

As a filmmaking hack I make no claims…but I know “good” when I see it and this film, “Moments” by William Hoffman is great.

The sequence of images and editing creates a continuous flow that is totally compelling to the eye and moving in surprising ways.



Thanks to Neatorama for the heads-up…

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Uncanny

This picture of a baby gibbon being held by it's mother in Vienna's Schoenbrunn zoo comes from Boston.com's excellent Big Picture Blog .


(Click to embiggen...really, click it...the face of this infant is hauntingly human...)

The Sound Cellar: Junior Samples, "The World's Biggest Whopper"

I have a bunch of stuff in my record collection that I’ve been meaning to share here at TMUOTF but hosting audio on Blogger is a complicated-third-party-hosting deal that I just don’t have the time to figure out.

So I’ve cheated a bit and come up with the inelegant solution of creating a video that uses still images to animate the audio clip, posting them on Vimeo and then embedding them here.

So without further fanfare, I present to you a soon-to-be-semi-regular feature called The Sound Cellar.

Today’s selection: “The World’s Biggest Whopper” by Junior Samples. My personal relationship with this particular track goes back to my dad’s record collection . Among his 45’s was this recording of Junior Samples being interviewed about a bass he apparently caught in Lake Lanier, Georgia. Step into a time machine and give this a listen.

My parents are from Atlanta and Memphis so I have distant and hazy memories of visiting my grandparents in country towns with names like Etowah and Collierville and Cozy Cove. This recording seems to capture the pace of these rural, southern towns and something about the people who lived there.

If you’ve heard of Junior Samples at all its from the TV show “Hee Haw” but this pre-dates the run of that show. A brief description of this cut and some biographical information about Junior Samples is pasted below the clip.

I still have this 45 in my collection. Although a giant crack runs right through the vinyl, you can still hear the scratchy, dusty pop of another time and place.




From the All Music Guide

Much-loved country comedian Junior Samples was a long-running regular on the TV show Hee Haw, where he was best known for his shaggy-dog storytelling, nearly incomprehensible accent, and colorful misuse of the English language (not to mention his trademark overalls). Born Alvin Samples in Cumming, GA, on April 10, 1926, he was a sixth-grade dropout who became a comedian by accident in 1966. His son found a large fish head, and Samples told his friends it was from a 22-pound, 9-ounce bass he'd caught, which would have broken the world record. The state Fish and Game Commission interviewed him on the radio, and his story was clearly false, but the interviewer thought it was hilarious and played it repeatedly on his radio show, to tremendous response. A tape of the story was set to music by the Chart Records label and released as a single called "World's Biggest Whopper." It nearly made the country Top 50 in 1967, and Samples appeared on several radio and TV shows, also recording a full-length comedy album for Chart called The World of Junior Samples. Bull Session at Bull's Gap followed in 1968, and the following year Samples signed on at Hee Haw, shortly after the show's premiere. He was a smash hit, supplementing his stories with harmonica performances, misreadings of cue cards, and a long-running used-car salesman character. Chart released another album, That's a Hee Haw, in 1970 to capitalize on Samples' new exposure, but he concentrated on television for the remainder of his career. He remained a cast member on Hee Haw until his death on November 13, 1983. ~ Steve Huey, All Music Guide

Friday, November 6, 2009

Denver to Singapore in 5 Minutes

David DAngelo (whoever he is...just a guy with a Vimeo account as far as I know) has posed a pretty neat video .

"On a whim I wondered what it would look like if I took a still image with my S90 every couple of minutes/hours on my recent weekend trip to Singapore and then made a time lapse from it. For the motorcycle shots I fabricated a neck strap from an iPhone cable and some masking tape that the hotel gave me. Kind of like a cheap version of the Microsoft SenseCam."

"If you look hard, when I deplane on the Tokyo to Singapore flight you can see my Uncle and me - he was randomly on the same flight."



The music is "Not So Blue" by Quantic

Too much?

Too much XKCD ? I think not!


(Click to embiggen...)

Monday, November 2, 2009

Ye Gads. 2009 is almost in the can.

And that means that “The Aughts” are almost over too.

I remember New Years Eve in 1999…I was just moving back to Boston from San Antonio, Texas…I spent New Years Eve with FOT’s (“Friend of Tim’s”) Bob and VA at a party in Washington DC…we waited for the electrical grid to fail and our nuclear arsenal to launch without provocation thanks to the Y2K bug…I remember the hosts of the party had a big coffee table book with pictures of prominent people from the century including Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin who was the first man in space…I remember that I smoked a cigar and my head spun for 10 minutes…

The next morning the lights still worked and the earth was still spinning on its axis and “The Aughts” began in earnest with a crushing red-wine and cigar hangover. Life has more or less rumbled and lurched onward ever since.

I switched jobs a few times, dated a few people, got married and had a son. I bought a condo and sold it. I bought a house and a car. I got lost in the fog on a boat one night. I had a couple of surgeries. I thought I had it all figured out and then realized that I didn’t.

And I’m sitting here in November of 2009 still nostalgic for the 90’s for cryin’ out loud!

Shit. Just like at work…I’m falling behind. Nothing I can do about the clock and the calendar though. Nothing besides look back on another decade and regret my mis-spent youth!

Which brings me to the point of this post in the first place. “You Aught To Remember” is a blog that lists “100 fashions, memes,personalities and ideas that shaped the first decade of the 21st Century.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Get your Vivaldi here!

Amazon has another compelling deal running right now… ”The 99 Most Essential Vivaldi Masterpieces” for just $2.99. That’s $0.03 per track.

I have no idea how long this deal will be available so ahead and click…you could probably use a little classing up…!

Thanks (again) to Jason Kottke .

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

It was Jack-O-Lantern night at the Foil house earlier this week!



(Click to embiggen...)



(Click to embiggen...)

Friday, October 30, 2009

More Stick Figure Funny...

From XKCD


(Click to embiggen...)

Philip Glass is Ira Glass’ Great Uncle!

It’s true. It must be. I read it in Wikipedia

Speaking of Philip Glass, Amazon is currently offering “The Orange Mountain Music Philip Glass Sampler, Vol. 1” free for nuthin’. Click here right away because I don’t know how long this will last.

I’m downloading my tracks right now…

Thanks to Jason Kottke’s blog for the heads-up!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Chimpanzee Grief

From The Telegraph in the U.K…

When Dorothy, a beloved female chimp died at the Sanaga-Yong Chimpanzee Rescue Center in Cameroon, her burial was witnessed by the rest of the chimps residing there.



Monica Szczupider took this photo that showed a wall of grieving chimps paying their last respect:

Speaking about Dorothy, Miss Szczupider, 30, said the chimp was a "prominent figure" within a group of about 25 chimps.

"Chimps are not silent. They are gregarious, loud, vocal creatures, usually with relatively short attention spans", she said.

"But they could not take their eyes off Dorothy, and their silence, more than anything, spoke volumes."

Thanks to Neatorama for the heads-up!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Al'right!

There is a lot of shit on our plate right now. You know, as a nation. We've got the financial collapse to deal with. We've got terrorism, Iraq, Afghanistan, North Korea and Iraq to figure out. We've got to get our arms around health care too.

I mean, we've really got to sit down and get this stuff figured out.

Which is why I'm getting sick and tired of people injecting mis-information, myths and outright lies into the debates. I'm talking about things like death panels and the Birther movement just to name two.

And damn it, its the right wing and the Republicans who do this the most...and most effectively.

So it's refreshing to see someone beat down the purveyors of this kind of misinformation and in the clip below Al Franken does just that.

He takes down Diane Furchtgott-Roth, a Senior Fellow at the Hudson Institute who has the nerve to argue that health care reform will increase medical bankruptcies in the US.

Pay close attention at the 2:04 mark. Look at her face. As Franken dismantles her she glares, tilting her head slowly to the left, shooting daggers from her eyes. That is pure evil you’re seeing there… no movie villain ever captured it so perfectly.




BTW, the The Hudson Institute is one of these neo-conservative think tanks commited "to free markets and individual responsibility, confidence in the power of technology to assist progress, respect for the importance of culture and religion in human affairs"

Yup, sure. Just trying to make the world a better place...yup...

We Have Ice

The Guardian published an article on Friday about the birth of the Internet.

And while it’s hard to pin down the exact date, they make the case that October 29, 1969 is as good as any, making next week it's 40th birthday.

When it was twelve years old, there were…

“…still only 213 computers on the network; but 14 years after that, 16 million people were online, and email was beginning to change the world; the first really usable web browser wasn't launched until 1993, but by 1995 we had Amazon, by 1998 Google, and by 2001, Wikipedia, at which point there were 513 million people online. Today the figure is more like 1.7 billion.”

What rocked my boat though was this…on New Years Day in 1994 there were a grand total of 623 websites.

I can’t even get my mind around that because later in that same year I bought a used PowerMac from my friend Nick’s office and built the first Tim Foil web page. It wasn’t much…links to books, records and movies that I liked and a bulletin board which actually had quite an active little community.

I do remember a conversation with Nick about the nascent world wide web in which we kind of agreed that there wasn’t much out there. I remember searching and searching and searching for something – anything - interesting. People used to publish lists of interesting web sites because they were so seemingly few and far between.

Now I can’t even keep up with my RSS feed.

I wish I could go back in time and check out that first Tim Foil website again. I remember the front page had a picture of me singing into a mic in an old rehearsal space we used to rent. There was a sign behind me that read “We Have Ice.”

Turns out we had no idea what we had!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

XKCD Comes to Life

I like the web comic XKCD and have shared quite a few over the years...

Just tonight I found a video that animates and puts music to this particular strip and it made me feel good. Maybe it will work for you too!


(Click to embiggen...)

At the risk of becoming a bore but in the interest of completeness...

The Times and Democrat editors have spoken out on the question of whether or not they should have published that anti-Semitic letter from two local GOP chairmen.

They regret publishing the letter .

Pretty Picture From The Neighborhood

Caught this plant one wet morning last week trying to decide whether to be green or red...


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113k

I took some good-natured ribbing from my friends when I bought a Honda Element back in 2003. My friend Carolyn organized an intervention saying that “friends don’t let friends drive Honda Elements.”

But the intervention didn’t work and now, almost six and a half years later, the Element is running strong and has been a perfect accomplice for most of my capers.

Last night on the way home from work, I clicked over the 113,000 mile mark and captured the moment…

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Dumb-ass #2 rings the apology bell…

After a crassly anti-Semitic letter to the editor in last Sunday’s The Times and Democrat out of Orangeburg, South Carolina, Edwin O. Merwin Jr. joined fellow Republican operative James S. Ulmer Jr. in an apology.

From the very same Times and Democrat where they made their initial gaffe…

Ulmer wrote: “Last week I co-authored a letter to the editor which focused on the vital importance of reining in the unsustainable and excessive federal government spending which is going on currently in Washington, D.C. In one of the paragraphs which I wrote, I quoted a statement which I have heard many times in my life, truly in admiration for a method of bettering one’s lot in life.

“I admit that perception is indeed reality to many and that I could have certainly worded that sentence much better. I sincerely apologize for this great error. If I had quoted that great man from Pennsylvania, Ben Franklin, using his, ‘A penny saved is a penny earned,’ I doubt I would be writing this note.

“I meant absolutely nothing derogatory by the reference to a great and honorable people. I hope that anyone and all who were offended by my comment will accept my humble apology.”

Merwin wrote: At this time I wish to deeply apologize for any material included in that letter that would be considered anti-Semitic in any way. I have always abhorred in the past, and shall continue to do so in the future, anti-Semitism in any form what so ever. I concur fully with the apology offered by my co-author, Jim Ulmer, and likewise beg that any and all who were offended will accept my deep felt apology.”

So there it is. I hope you enjoyed the peak behind the curtain.

And oh by the way, shouldn’t someone at The Times and Democrat be held accountable also? Exactly what kind of letter wouldn’t they publish anyway?

Didn’t have to wait long…

The letter was published on Sunday and by Monday night one of the co-authors had aleady issued his apology. From The State out of South Carolina…

In an e-mail late Monday, Ulmer apologized for the language used in the co-authored letter. He said one paragraph contained a statement "... heard many times in my life, truly in admiration for a method of bettering one's lot in life. I admit that perception is indeed reality to many and that I could have certainly worded that sentence much better. I sincerely apologize for this great error.

"I meant absolutely nothing derogatory by the reference to a great and honorable people. I hope that anyone and all who were offended by my comment will accept my humble apology."


Wonder if we’ll hear from the other shithead?

Really?

The Times and Democrat, a newspaper out of Orangeburg, South Carolina, published a letter to the editor defending US Senator Jim DeMint for his opposition to congressional earmarks.

The author’s of the letter were Edwin O. Merwin Jr., Chairman, Bamberg County Republican Party and James S. Ulmer Jr., Chairman, Orangeburg County Republican Party.

Get a load of the beginning of their letter…

There is a saying that the Jews who are wealthy got that way not by watching dollars, but instead by taking care of the pennies and the dollars taking care of themselves. By not using earmarks to fund projects for South Carolina and instead using actual bills, DeMint is watching our nation’s pennies and trying to preserve our country’s wealth and our economy’s viability to give all an opportunity to succeed.

Wait. What?

How on earth? I mean…seriously…are you effing kidding me?

I eagerly await the inevitable apology.

Thanks to Pharyngula for the heads-up

Monday, October 19, 2009

Wall Street, why have you forsaken me?

From Phillip Greenspun’s blog via Jason Kottke’s blog

How Wall Street is Making its Billions

Wall Street banks have had profitable quarters. JPMorgan Chase reported $3.6 billion in profit (more than $1 billion per month). Goldman Sachs was only slightly behind, at $3.2 billion. These profits supposedly came from “trading.” I asked a friend who has worked in the money business how this was possible. “For someone to make money trading, there has to be someone on the other side of every trade who is losing money. Where does each bank find someone who can lose $1 billion every month?”

He explained that
“carry trade” would be a more accurate description of what they’re doing. Because of the Collapse of 2008 financial reforms, the big investment banks are able to borrow money from the U.S. government at 0 percent interest. Then they can turn around and buy short-term bonds that pay 2 or 3 percent annual interest. Now they’re making 2 percent on whatever they borrowed. They can use leverage to increase this number, by pledging some of the bonds that they’ve already bought as collateral on additional bonds.

I asked if they were taking any risk in order to earn this return. “If interest rates went up to 20 percent, even though the bonds are short-term, the price of the bond could fall enough to make the trade a money-loser.” (Though since the banks are too big to fail, they would simply be bailed out with additional taxpayer funds.)

What kind of bonds are they buying? Are they investing the money in American business? “No, they are mostly buying Treasuries.” So the money is just being shuffled from one Federal bank account to another, with each Wall Street bank skimming off $1 billion per month for itself? “Pretty much.”

A more old-fashioned way of making supranormal returns is insider trading, which was perfectly legal until the Crash of 1929 (
history ). The New York Times ran a story yesterday on Raj Rajaratnam, a hedge fund manager who invested heavily in inside information. Rolling Stone published "Wall Street's Naked Swindle" on October 14. The story is much more sensational and entertaining than anything from the Times. It covers a guy who spent $1.7 million on out-of-the-money put options on Bear Stearns on March 11, 2008. The options would become worthless on March 20, just 9 days later, unless Bear Stearns basically went bust. Bear Stearns collapsed the next day and the guy made a $270 million profit. He has never been identified by the SEC.

Crazy right? Didn't you just know in your heart that we were getting screwed on this deal?

By the way, in case you were wondering who Phillip Greenspun is, you can find his profile on Wikipedia .

Sunday, October 18, 2009

It's that time of year again...

I posted about New England foliage at just about this time last year and now, courtesy of XKCD , I touch on the subject again...


(Click to embiggen...)

Friday, October 16, 2009

Spider Web

I got kind of tired of seeing Mojo Nixon's mug every time I looked at the page and so I present for your viewing pleasure a spider web that LittleFoil found last weekend...


(Click to embiggen...)

Monday, October 12, 2009

Git your Mojo on for free...


Mojo Nixon...do ya go for the beer-soaked-redneck-rockabilly-satirical-crass-trash thing?

If you do, shuffle on over to Amazon where his entire oeuvre is available in MP3 format free fer nuthin'.

Who knows how long it will last so don't dawddle. Now GIT!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Coca-Cola, why have you forsaken me?

I drink Fresca in the morning.

I’ve never liked coffee and I used to get my caffeine from Coke.

I used to drink A LOT of Coke.

But I quit caffeine about ten years ago and started drinking Fresca which is also made by The Coca-Cola Company. It's refreshing and has the same kind of course, carbonated mouth-feel that Coke has but doesn’t have any caffeine or calories.



The other day I took the time to read the copy on a box of 12oz cans.

DOES YOUR BODY TELL YOU IF YOU'RE GETTING ENOUGH TO DRINK?
Say you had a good night's sleep, but come mid-morning you're running out of steam. Could be you're a little thirsty. Nab a soda, water, coffee, anything will do the trick. Women may need as many as 9 cups of fluid and men may need up to 13 daily. Bodies do talk. We just have to listen.

Hey, we’re just saying…your body needs water. Well, let’s not say “water”, let’s say “liquid.” Or “fluid.” Yeah, fluid. Your body needs fluid to survive.

And hey, we sell fluids! Ergo, you need Coca-Cola products to survive! So dude, listen to your body and buy some Coke.

I’ve been meaning to do a post about that bullshit but haven’t found the right place or time to do it. Until I saw Muhtar Kent’s op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal last Tuesday.

Kent is the CEO of The Coca-Cola Company and as such is partly responsible for the health tip about hydration on the back of my Fresca box.

The purpose of his piece in the WSJ was to argue against various state tax proposals being floated to tax high-calorie and high-fat foods such as fast food burgers and soda.

And in much the same way that the rats in the Fresca marketing department have veiled their sales message in a bull-shit health and nutrition Trojan Horse, Kent hides his anti-tax message in a deceptive rant about the “real” causes of obesity.

What I’m saying is that you should be at about DefCon 2 when you consider anything this guy says.

So please allow me to share some highlights of the article along with a little TMUOTF commentary along the way. Mr. Kent's assertions follow in italics with my comments in standard text.

We at the Coca-Cola company are committed to working with government and health organizations to implement effective solutions to address (the problem of obesity).

Just as we’ve addressed the tricky problem of dehydration…

…a number of public-health advocates have already come up with what they think is the solution: heavy taxes on some routine foods and beverages that they have decided are high in calories.

Does anyone need to “decide” if soda is high in calories? Soda is high in calories. Period. Don’t tell me that you’re going to argue otherwise. Surely you’re not.

Oh yes he is…

Even soft drinks with sugar, like Coca-Cola, contain no more calories (140 calories in a can) than some common snacks, breakfast foods and most desserts served up daily in millions of American homes.

Hey man, our shit won’t make you any fatter than any of the other shit you have in your cupboard right now. Don’t blame us. Pop Tarts (198 calories in a single, ahem, pastry…) make you fat too!

So here’s the real deal with the calories in a can of coke. Kent is right, 140 calories in a can. But the most popular soda size is the 20oz bottle, not the 12oz can. The 20oz bottle has 242 calories.

What else has 242 calories ?

*A Krisy Kreme Apple Filled Cinnamon Sugar Cake Donut (280 calories)

*Burger King’s 5 piece chicken tenders (230 calories)

*Burger King's Hershey's Sundae Pie (310 calories)

So what Kent suggests isn’t that bad, is actually the equivalent of adding a Krispy Kreme donut to your diet every day.

And oh, by the way, millions of people drink two or three sodas every day. Think you'll get fat if you eat three Krispy Kreme's every day? Of course you will.

The taxes, the advocates acknowledge, are intended to limit consumption of targeted foods and help you to accept the diet that they have determined is best.

Sound familiar? It should. Its right out of the Republican/Conservative talk radio playbook. “These egg-head do-gooders are trying to tell you how to live your life!”

The average American spends the equivalent of 60 days a year in front of a television, according to a 2008 A.C. Nielsen study. This same research data show that the average time spent playing video games in the U.S. went up by 25% during the last four years.

True. Probably. If I had balls as big as Muhtar Kent’s I might try to argue that we don’t watch enough TV. But sure Mr. Kent. I agree. We watch too much TV.

But we also drink too much soda you asshole. Here are some statistics Mr. Kent chose NOT to share...

*Containing almost 17 teaspoons of sugar in every 20-ounce serving, sweetened beverages are the largest single source of added sugar in the American diet.

*Each day Americans consume 22 teaspoons of sugar — far surpassing the recommended 5 to 9 teaspoons per day.

*41% of children (ages 2–11 years), 62% of adolescents (ages 12–17 years), and 24% of adults in California drink at least one soda or other sugar-sweetened beverage every day.

*The average American consumes 50 gallons of soda and other sweetened beverages each year.

*Americans consume about 250–300 more daily calories today than they did several decades ago, and nearly half of this increase reflects greater consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages.

*A child’s risk for obesity increases an average of 60 percent with every additional daily serving of soda.

Over the past 20 years, the average caloric content of soft drinks has dropped by nearly 25%. This is due in large part to a determined focus by our company and others on the diet/light category.

Not relevant to the conversation. The tax proposals are about high calorie foods and beverages. Coke. Not Diet Coke.

Will a soft drink tax change behavior? Two states currently have a tax on sodas— West Virginia and Arkansas —and they are among the states with the highest rates of obesity in the nation.

According the The Arkansas Times , the tax in Arkansas is $0.02 per 12 oz of soda, not nearly enough to drive behavioral changes. The tax in West Virginia is even less.

But also, dig the logical inconsistency of his argument. If he’s so convinced that taxes will not change consumption behavior, then what is he so worried about?

…we agree that Americans need to be more active and take greater responsibility for their diets. But are soft drinks the cause? I would submit to you that they are no more so than some other products—and a lot less than many, many others.

In sales, this is called “the assumptive close.” First Kent dodges responsibility by saying that it’s not his fault and then he boldly agrees with his own assertion!

The lesson here is that when these corporate guys speak out on issues of public interest, they’re always, ALWAYS thinking about their own interests first.

Mr. Kent doesn’t care any more about obesity than he does about keeping you hydrated. Whether he’s talking to you from the packaging of a Fresca box or from the pages of the Wall Street Journal he’s feeding you a shit sandwich and trying to convince you that its the pause that refreshes.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Stop Making Sense

Next week, Palm Pictures launches a 25th-anniversary Blu-ray release of Stop Making Sense. Back in 1983, Director Jonathan Demme teamed up with cinematographer Jordan Cronenweth and the Talking Heads to document three nights of shows at the Pantages Theater in Hollywood.

Twenty five years ago. Good gravy.

I saw Stop Making Sense at the Coolidge Corner Theatre which should tell you all you need to know about how shit-kickin’ cool I am.

Check it, the original movie trailer. Kinda gets me fired up to see it again. (This is actually a re-mastered version of the original trailer which was re-released 10 years ago on the occasion of the film’s 15th anniversary…)




And speaking of Jonathan Demme movies, this is a perfect excuse to share a clip from his film Swimming to Cambodia with Spalding Gray, one of my favorites. RIP

Baby Elephant

I wavered a little bit on sharing this video of an elephant giving birth. It certainly makes for intense viewing at the moment of birth and if you tend towards the queasy you might opt to move along.

But I was moved by the behavior of the mother in the minutes following the delivery. There is compassion in her behavior and you can sense her anxiety as she works to get the baby to take its first breath. At the critical moment, when the baby has yet to breathe or even move, the mother bellows. I don't speak elephant but as a father I felt like I understood her. This primal, instinctive behavior is amazing to watch.

But again, not for the weak-of-stomach!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

How Farmers Protest


(Click to embiggen)
(C'mon, you really owe it to yourself. Click it...)

From the Wall Street Journal's Photo Journal Blog comes this image of a farmer spraying milk on police during a protest against falling milk prices outside the European Union headquarters Monday in Brussels.

EU farm ministers are to discuss proposals in Brussels Monday on European dairy market rules to help milk farmers hit by falling prices. (Georges Gobet/AFP/Getty Images)

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Kansas Farms from Space



(Click to embiggen)
(Really, click it. It's cool.)

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Ye Gads

I follow enough blogs to know that going weeks at a time without new content or comment is a sure-fire way to cull the readership. I have always had the goal of a post every other day and in August I managed 19 in 31 days and I felt pretty good about it.

Then came September and after two updates on September 2 I fell off the face of the earth. Work got hairy and pushed everything else to the sidelines.

If you clicked over a few times only to be disappointed by weeds growing on buildings, I’m sorry about that.

But work really has been off-the-wall crazy. And I don’t want to add too much to that other than to say I’ve been right on the edge of keeping my shit together. I mean RIGHT on the edge.

Now it’s the first Sunday in October – October. Can you believe it? – and I’ve just put LittleFoil down for a nap. If I’m lucky I’ve got two hours. So here we go…

People Who Died.


Mary Travers died while I was underwater. I don’t really have a connection to Peter Paul and Mary…no personal story to share about Puff the Magic Dragon or anything but you know, Peter Paul and Mary. So noted.




Patrick Swayzee died too. Did you see him at the end? It looked like he was dissolving before our very eyes. For a guy known for physicality he just wasted away. I figure a picture from “The Outsiders” era is probably the way I’ll choose to remember him. Again, no great connection for me but never let it be said that I put Baby in a corner.




And then there’s Jim Carroll. I was so crazy-busy that I missed the news of his death. It wasn’t until I saw a piece about what Patti Smith said at his wake that I realized he was gone. It kind of snuck up on my and took my breath away. Basketball Diaries was cool and so was Catholic Boy but my relationship to Carroll was all about Praying Mantis, one of the best spoken word records out there. Praying Mantis struck me in a very personal way. I got to see Carroll perform in Chicago back in 1995 or 1996 and it was one of my favorite shows ever even though not a note of music was played. I remember when Spalding Gray disappeared and then turned up dead a couple of weeks later. I feel kind of the same way about Jim Carroll. They were two artists whose work really affected me and I’m sad to see them go.

Looks like we’ve got ourselves a reader…

Here are a couple of interesting articles I’ve read in the last few weeks…

DNA evidence has exonerated at least 17 death-row inmates over the years and many people deduce that somewhere along the line we’ve used capital punishment to kill innocent people. But Justice Antonin Scalia wrote in a 2005 Supreme Court opinion that there is not "a single case -- not one -- in which it is clear that a person was executed for a crime he did not commit."

So evidence of the execution of an innocent person has become kind of the Holy Grail of death penalty opponents. David Grann’s article in the New Yorker “Trial by Fire” details a case where it is seems certain that an innocent man was put to death.

And by the way, an interesting article in Salon outlines the reasons why “we don't need posthumous exonerations to tell us something that we already know from available evidence -- that considerable error inheres in the way we administer capital punishment.”

This article by Mark Binelli in Rolling Stone recounts the exploits of a chubby pizza delivery boy turned drug kingpin. I do love pizza…

In other business news, Alexandra Jacobs has an article in the New Yorker about the cultish atmosphere at Zappos , the online shoe store. CEO Tony Hsieh is just thirty five years old. Eight years younger than me. All around me successful, smart, well adjusted people seem to be getting younger younger while my back aches and my knees hurt...

Meanwhile, ever since Sully Sullenberger landed his airplane in the Hudson River last February, I can’t get enough about aviation disasters. Here are two great articles on that topic…

The first is David Rose’s 2001 column from The Guardian about the causes of the deadly crash of an Air France Concorde in 2000.

The second is William Langewiesche’s article from Vanity Fair called “The Devil at 37,000 Feet” .

Finally, as the NFL season has begun again, my favorite football writer – What’s that? Yes, I have a favorite football writer – is back at it again. I’ve mentioned Gregg Easterbrook’s “Tuesday Morning Quarterback” column before here and here .

It’s pretty cool to read a football column that has stuff like this little item stuck in the middle of the analysis:

“Let's Not Forget AIG Has $182 Billion of Your Money: Robert Benmosche, new CEO of AIG -- which continues to hold $182 billion of the taxpayers' money, and seems in no hurry to return any -- will be paid about $7 million per year. That means typical people, who earn a median $50,000 a year, are being taxed so yet another plutocrat can own an estate. Benmosche also is "eligible" for a $3 million annual bonus, meaning even after all the flap about AIG bonuses, average people are still being taxed for AIG bonuses. And he received 200,000 AIG stock options with a strike price of $20. Right now, AIG shares are selling for $40, meaning the options have a current value of about $4 million. Thus Benmosche could take home $14 million for his first year of running AIG. This money comes from pockets of taxpayers struggling to pay their rent. It doesn't surprise me that a plutocrat would be shameless about reaching into the pockets of the working class. It does surprise me that Barack Obama would OK this, and that the mainstream media would give up on AIG outrage. Have we simply accepted at this point that it's OK for Wall Street leadership to steal from taxpayers?”

And then later in the same column

“Meanwhile, previous AIG CEO Edward Liddy repeatedly said he was working "for $1 a year." He asserted this on "60 Minutes" and in sworn congressional testimony, and was broadly praised for his dollar-a-year service. Now it turns out he was lying. AIG quietly said Liddy received $38,368 for a New York apartment, $47,578 for personal airline flights, $31,348 for car services and $180,431 "to cover tax obligations." In what sense are these not income? You work at a job in order to be able to pay for your housing and transportation. You must earn income to pay your taxes; nobody pays them for you. If AIG was paying for Liddy's housing, personal travel and taxes, then he wasn't earning $1 a year. Yet he lied through his teeth about this and got away with it. That's the core lesson of corporate scandals -- the CEOs tell lies, pocket cash and never pay any penalty. What does this encourage? More CEO lying. Liddy also received stock options. AIG has never said how many; suppose it was 200,000, the number just granted Benmosche. When Liddy went to AIG, its share price was hovering around $5; if that's the strike price, 200,000 shares would be worth about $7 million right now. Plus AIG quietly said Liddy may receive a bonus payable in 2010. The man who was widely praised for claiming to work for $1 may end up with a king's ransom in his pockets, all pilfered from the average taxpayers. Why have the media dropped this story?”

You might also recall a post here on TMUOTF where I called bullshit on the $1 salary gambit. If I may be so bold as to quote myself…

“It appears now that the big-3 auto-makers are going to get about $15 billion in loan guarantees and bailout dollars. The three CEO’s have also announced that they will all be taking salaries of $1, a gesture showing their sincerity, integrity and patriotism.

But let me just point out what it means to take a $1 salary. Allow me to re-print John Thain’s compensation package from above:

Salary: $57,692
Bonus: $15,000,000
Restricted Stock Awards: $902,966
All other compensation: $4,449
Option Awards: $1,342,503
Total Compensation: $17,307,610

His salary ($57,692) amounts to just one third of one percent of his total compensation.

So don’t be fooled into thinking that these are stand-up guys who are rolling up their sleeves and brown-bagging lunch until this crisis has ended.

It’s all for show and you’re a sucker and an idiot if you don’t think that these guys aren't getting theirs in the end.”

That post was from last December…and if you thought I was tilting at windmills back then well, how you like me now???