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res ipsa loquitur

Dog performs "Heimlich maneuver" on owner

Associated Press reports that Calvert, Maryland resident Debbie Parkhurst was saved from choking on a piece of fruit when her a 2-year-old golden retriever Toby began jumping up and down on her chest. Parkhurst believes the dog was deliberately trying to perform the Heimlich maneuver.

Got to be a Chocolate Jesus...

I know jesus loves me
Maybe just a little bit more
I fall down on my knees every sunday
At zerelda lee's candy store

Well, it's got to be a chocolate jesus
Make me feel good inside
Got to be a chocolate jesus
Keep me satisfied -- "Chocolate Jesus", Kathleen Brennan and Tom Waits, on Wait's Mule Variations

Waits says the song was inspired by an actual proposed product, "Testa-Mints", candies that would be packaged with Bible verses.

Looks like somebody took the idea one step further and made a chocolate Jesus statue. "My Sweet Lord" was supposed to be displayed in a New York gallery during Easter week, but they pulled the piece after (surprise!) criticism from Catholics.

Astronaut to run marathon in space

New Scientist reports that U.S. astronaut Sunita Williams will run the Boston space. She will run 26.2 miles on the ISS treadmill, at or near the time of the Boston Marathon - obviously her time won't count as an offical entry. But pretty neat.

re-interpreting Star Wars: "Revenge of the Hope"

I've been thinking a lot about stories lately, on the nature of the brain as a storytelling machine. More on that later, but one point that I've been considering is that, just as an infinite number of curves can be drawn through any finite set of points, so an infinite number of stories can be told through any finite set of events.

And then a few weeks ago, along came this lovely example, in which the Star Wars movies are re-interpreted with R2D2 and Chewbacca as prime agents of the Rebel Alliance. I love it!

A New Sith, or Revenge of the Hope
Reconsidering Star Wars IV in the light of I-III

If we accept all the Star Wars films as the same canon, then a lot that happens in the original films has to be reinterpreted in the light of the prequels. As we now know, the rebel Alliance was founded by Yoda, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Bail Organa. What can readily be deduced is that their first recruit, who soon became their top field agent, was R2-D2.


Robert Anton Wilson called. He says, "23! 23! 23!"

I recently - just last Wednesday or Thursday - finished re-reading the late Robert Anton Wilson's book Cosmic Trigger.

One recurring theme in the book is the interesting string of coincidences that starts to follow you around once you start to enter the practice of magick, of "self-induced brain change" as he puts it. RAW is carefully agnostic on whether the perceived coincidences stem from psychology of perception, parapsychology, quantum physics, a holographic universe, some synchronicity beyond our ken, or what.

One of his favorites is the "23 connection". I've always been more of a "Law of Fives" man myself (remember, the harder you look, the more you'll see the Law of Fives manifest), but I've seen 23 spring up a few times.

Like when, on Saturday, just a few days after finishing re-reading Cosmic Trigger, 23s still dancing in my head, I see one of these movie posters for "The Number 23" in a bus stop shelter as Cathy was driving us to the Metro stop to go down to D.C. for the anti-war march.

who says crime doesn't pay?

In South Korea, at least, thieves not only make more money but have greater job satifaction than police, 79.3 versus 65 percent. Keep in mind, that's the gangsters in jail giving that result.

Girl karate-kicks her way to freedom from kidnapper

ABC News reports on a ten-year-old girl who put her martial arts training to good use when an abductor threw her into the trunk of his car:

When the kidnapper stopped for gas, Marissa, who takes martial arts classes, kicked her way out of the trunk. She then walked into the store and calmly told the clerk that she had just escaped.

Marissa's instincts were right on, some observers say. Putting up a fight can call attention to an abduction, and that can make the difference between getting away and getting killed.

Edgar Allan Poe's birthday visitor

There are certainly things about Baltimore that I don't like: murder, heroin addiction, blocks of boarded-up houses. But any city where for 58 years, someone has come the grave of a writer to leave a mysterious tribute, well, can't be all bad.

When it became clear that the Poe Toaster had arrived, and placed a half-empty bottle of cognac and three red roses on Poe's grave, the crowd rushed to one entrance to get a glimpse.

shortwave "numbers stations": creepy spy stuff

When I was a kid, my folks got a multi-band radio that picked up not just AM and FM, but shortwave and audio channels from TV. (If memory serves, they got the radio with a big stack of game tickets from an arcade in Atlantic City.)

While we mostly used it to listen to Johnny Walker or Brian and O'Brien in the mornings, or listen in on TV shows while in the tub in the evening, every once in a while I'd fool with the shortwave. Sometimes I'd pick up a weird channel with someone reading numbers, ghostly voices reciting nonsense.

Tim Kreider on invisible Saddam Hussein

From Tim Kreider's artist's statement for last week's The Pain -- When Will It End?:

I just could not let Saddam die. I know the man was a brutal dictator and a butcher and I ought not to celebrate him as a figure of fun. Partly it’s just that perverse impulse in me that refuses to take seriously what everyone else regards as unassailably sacrosanct or taboo. I am inexplicably cheered by the idea of his surviving, Elvis-like, in our imaginations. Perhaps he lives on as a symbol of the ineradicable authoritarianism and brutality in the world, a reminder that as long as human beings are cringing hierarchical animals that defer to authority, the sociopaths among us will inevitably rise to the top. Wherever there is a country held together by fear, wherever people are raped and tortured in secret prisons and buried in mass graves, Saddam is there. Wherever we bankroll dictators and look the other way from atrocities, whenever we smile and shake hands with devils for the sake of political expediency, Saddam is there. Wherever there is misguided and hubristic American bungling, wherever we turn brutal dictatorships into chaotic bloodbaths, Saddam is there. [Saddam] is with us always.


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