Nota Bene #122: OWStanding

“When I lie on the beach there naked, which I do sometimes, and I feel the wind coming over me and I see the stars up above and I am looking into this very deep, indescribable night, it is something that escapes my vocabulary to describe. Then I think: ‘God, I have no importance. Whatever I do or don’t do, or what anybody does, is not more important than the grains of sand that I am lying on, or the coconut that I am using for my pillow.'” Who said it? Continue reading

Nota Bene #120: Crazy Ivan

“If you can make a woman laugh, you’re seeing the most beautiful thing on God’s earth.” Who said it? Continue reading

Nota Bene #117: Wake Up!

“Hollywood is so crooked that Mafia gangsters are entirely outclassed and don’t stand a chance. People in Hollywood are smarter. They have more sophisticated knowledge of money and deals and how to steal legally rather than illegally.” Who said it? Continue reading

Nota Bene #110: WEHT SWK?

“In times like the present, men should utter nothing for which they would not willingly be responsible through time and eternity.” Who said it? Continue reading

Nota Bene #107: Zzzzzzzzzzzzz

“I am ready to meet my Maker. Whether my Maker is prepared for the great ordeal of meeting me is another matter.” Who said it? Continue reading

Nota Bene #105: The Illustrated Dick

“When all you are becomes defined as the amount of information traceable to you, what are we then? What have we become, in a world where there is no separation, no door, no filter beyond which we can say, ‘No. This is my personal space. Not yours. Here I am alone with my thoughts and free of any outside influence or control. This, you cannot have.’ I don’t know, but I don’t want to find out.” Who said it? Continue reading

Nota Bene #100: Il Planetario di Figaro

Wow, 100 issues of Nota Bene! Props to Russ for helping me for a while with this nifty little S&R feature. Never mind all that now, let’s get on with this issue. “What splendid buildings our architects would be able to execute if only they could finally be less obedient to gravity!” Who said it? Continue reading

Nota Bene #99: Heed the Peace Gnome

“You just pick up a chord, go twang, and you’ve got music.” Who said it? Continue reading

Nota Bene #97: toDwI'ma' qoS yItIvqu'!

“To be truly free, and truly to appreciate its freedom, a society must be literate.” Continue reading

Les Paul: the man who changed everything

by Wufnik

In thinking about technological change, and our relative inability to often recognize the transformational technologies at the time they come along, consider the electric guitar. Particularly the solid-body electric guitar invented by Les Paul, who passed away Thursday at the age of 94. The NY Times story does him justice – he was just messing around and came up with this thing because he couldn’t find it anywhere. And I don’t imagine that in his wildest dreams he could have foreseen the impact it would have; certainly no one else did at the time.

But in retrospect, it’s clear that the electric guitar is one of those things that changed everything. First came rock and roll, which led to the sixties, when led to the breakdown of everything…. No, wait, first came rock and roll, which led to drugs, which led to the breakdown of everything…. No, darnit, let’s see, first came rock and roll, then came… I can’t remember. Continue reading

Hey Walgreens, stop killing your customers

If you’re a doctor, it might be a bit unseemly to run a funeral home next door. If you’re a teacher, there might be some ethical concerns with peddling crack to your kids during recess.

And if you’re a pharmacy…

Once they were drug stores. Then they became pharmacies. And now? These days they’re in the business of business. The welfare of their customers? Fuck off, socialist.

I stopped into a Walgreens to pick up some batteries. If you’ve been in a modern drug store you know that they have the pharmacy in the back along with all the over-the-counter medications and up front they have all the stuff that – and let’s be honest here – helps fortify the market for prescription and OTC meds. I could go on here about the foodstuffs, for instance, about the many nefarious, even Dante-esque levels of corn syrup, preservative and transfat Hell, but I won’t. Instead I’ll just show you a picture I took while waiting in line. Continue reading

Nota Bene #32

Got hot links if you want ’em!

In “Yes We Can,” his response to the skepticism he expected Al Gore’s speech to be met with, the New York Times’ Bob Herbert writes: “When exactly was it that the U.S. became a can’t-do society?”

Naomi Klein on the ease of accessing Iraq’s oil, as opposed to elsewhere: “. . . stick a straw in the ground and suck.”

Don Banks of Si.com on Brett Favre’s appearance on Greta Van Susteren’s show: “For a minute there I thought Favre might have some new information on the Natalee Holloway disappearance.” Continue reading

Obama drama, part I: shooting the messenger

by Rich Herschlag

Senator Barack Obama’s recent comments regarding bitter Pennsylvanians clinging to guns and religion were personally offensive to me, even before I took the time to consider how spot on they really were. My first instinct was to hunt him down, but I was fresh out of ammo and late to church. This is particularly vexing for Jews who don’t own a gun.
Upon deeper reflection, however, I realized my personal holy war was actually the result of Senator Obama’s flagrant omissions. Truth is, there are many other things we Pennsylvanians cling to. Some of us cling to crystal meth.

Unfortunately, there was recently a massive raid in the Lehigh Valley on a sprawling crystal meth ring, and now the stuff is harder to get around here than 87 gasoline for under 3.26 a gallon. Continue reading

More on the debate

Apparently what we reported on last week was just the tip of the iceberg. According to our friend Brad Jacobson at MediaBloodhound, things got even more interesting after the cameras were turned off.

CHARLES GIBSON, ABC ANCHOR: …OK, so let’s continue. “Sitting on a cornflake, waiting for the van to come. Corporation tee-shirt, stupid bloody Tuesday. Man, you been a naughty boy, you let your face grow long. I am the eggman, they are the eggmen, I am the walrus, goo goo g’joob.”

GIBSON: That is a quote from The Beatles drug-inspired anthem “I Am the Walrus.” Senator Obama, exactly how stoned were you the first time you heard this song? And did the bong hits, combined with the tabs of acid you ingested, make this song less or more enjoyable?

Complete transcript available here.

We can't take Iraq neat, we need a chaser

mojavewinds-copy.gifThe upcoming presidential election and the economy are pretty poor excuses for our inability to focus on Iraq. Especially since we’ve not only passed the 4,000 mark of American dead, but 25 were killed in a recent two-week span.

It’s frightening how comfortable we’ve learned to live with the war since the “surge” supposedly turned things around. The continuing carnage among those who were supposed to enjoy some of the fruits of our liberation isn’t even on our radar screens.

Not only aren’t most of us following Iraq in the news, we turn our backs on books and movies that dramatize it. Yet our veterans aren’t just returning with problems, but with a whole lore. You can’t help but conclude that their experiences need to be watered down to be made palatable. Continue reading