Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.

Odds & Ends: Countdown to Doomsday Edition? w/ Poll!

by poemless Fri Nov 16th, 2007 at 06:24:15 PM EST

Contents: "Countdown to the perfect storm of Climate Crisis Cold War Jihad Economic Collapse AIDS Epidemic Civilization Clash"

Well, not really.  Not at all actually.  Uhm, if you are looking for that kind of blogging I suggest you go elsewhere.  Like, anywhere else in the whole entire blogosphere.  There's enough Impending Disaster! porn out there to feed the entire Russian Army for a year.  Especially given all of the defections, what with fewer mouths to feed and all...  And they probably can survive on vodka, cigarettes and Chechens alone anyway.  That, however, should not detract from fact that there is an astronomical amount of fear mongering out there in Cyberia.  But not here, friends, not in this magical oasis of Odds & Ends.  No, you'll need to go find someone who 1) actually believes anyone cares, 2) has the gift of prophecy and 3) can count backwards for your doomsday clock blogging.  Me, I don't even wear a watch.

No, you'll get no emceeing from me as we gather to watch the blazing apple of millennia of human accomplishments slide to their inevitable & irreversible End.  

I'm just here for the champagne & kisses.  


This Week In Doomsday?

In Politics

AlterNet:  Russia vs. America: Is Another Arms Race Afoot?

Uh oh.  Sounds like we might be on the brink of a ... New... Cold... War !!!

On a non-Morrissey note, the next person who uses the phrase "Russia vs. America" in a headline in a publication not entitled The eXile should be sent to do a lifelong investigative report of Russia's prison system.  Now that I think of it, "A day in the life of Anne Applebaum-ovich" might make a nice novella....

In Sport

NYT:  Collective Farmers' Monuments Meet Paintball

Paintball at VDNKh?!!!!   Can we have a Meet Up there?  Pleeeeeze?

More, from the Moscow Times:

Like Shooting Fish in a Barrel: In the shady and quaint Fisherman's Village, near the Likhoborsky Entrance, you can rent fishing tackle to catch carp, trout or several kinds of sturgeon and catfish -- and have it immediately cooked for your meal. While you're enjoying lunch and a sauna, the kids can work out their sibling rivalry in a game of paintball.

See the facility's web site (www.fishing-moscow.ru) for more information, and definitely call ahead (544-3504/05) since it is frequently closed for corporate retreats. Apparently paintball tournaments are good for team-building -- or eliminating departmental rivals.

Nothing really says "neo-Soviet authoritarianism" like corporate retreats, wouldn't you agree?

In Religion

IHT:  Officials coax Russian doomsday cult to leave cave, where they await end of world

Self-declared prophet Pyotr Kuznetsov, who established his True Russian Orthodox Church after he split with the official church, blessed his followers before sending them into the cave earlier this month, but he did not join them himself.

I am going to cross every line of human decency if I allow myself to comment on that.

Also in religious news,

CNN:  Religious scholars mull Flying Spaghetti Monster

because there's never a bad time to post this...

The appearance of the Flying Spaghetti Monster on the agenda of the American Academy of Religion's annual meeting gives a kind of scholarly imprimatur to a phenomenon that first emerged in 2005, during the debate in Kansas over whether intelligent design should be taught in public school sciences classes.

(...)

It was the emergence of this community that attracted the attention of three young scholars at the University of Florida who study religion in popular culture. They got to talking, and eventually managed to get a panel on FSM-ism on the agenda at one of the field's most prestigious gatherings.

The title: "Evolutionary Controversy and a Side of Pasta: The Flying Spaghetti Monster and the Subversive Function of Religious Parody."

"For a lot of people they're just sort of fun responses to religion, or fun responses to organized religion. But I think it raises real questions about how people approach religion in their lives," said Samuel Snyder, one of the three Florida graduate students who will give talks at the meeting next Monday along with Alyssa Beall of Syracuse University.

The presenters' titles seem almost a parody themselves of academic jargon. Snyder will speak about "Holy Pasta and Authentic Sauce: The Flying Spaghetti Monster's Messy Implications for Theorizing Religion," while Gavin Van Horn's presentation is titled "Noodling around with Religion: Carnival Play, Monstrous Humor, and the Noodly Master."

Using a framework developed by literary critic Mikhail Bakhtin, Van Horn promises in his abstract to explore how, "in a carnivalesque fashion, the Flying Spaghetti Monster elevates the low (the bodily, the material, the inorganic) to bring down the high (the sacred, the religiously dogmatic, the culturally authoritative)."

How the hell did Mikhail Bakhtin sneak into this diary???!!!  Get out, Bakhtin!  Go home.  Leave me alone already.  Haven't you caused enough suffering?!!!  

In Art

Recently the Moscow underground presented its French counterparts with the gift in the form of a stained glass window depicting "Kurochka Ryaba", the golden egg-laying hen.

Lying Russians.  Everyone knows Mr. Faberge laid those eggs.

In Science

BBC:  Robot 'pied piper' leads roaches

A robotic cockroach can act as a 'pied piper' to its flesh-and-blood counterparts, persuading the real insects to hide in unusual places.
European scientists introduced tiny autonomous robots into an "arena" where cockroaches were allowed to run free.

They wanted to see whether the robots would be accepted by the insects and whether they could influence their collective decision-making process.

The results were reported in the academic journal Science.

The robots - built by Jose Halloy, from the Free University in Brussels, Belgium, and colleagues - do not look at all like cockroaches.

But by covering the robots in filter paper infused with cockroach pheromones, the researchers were able to fool the animals into thinking the automatons were genuine members of their group.

Holy cow, it's Blade Runner for the tarakanki.  What is going on with all of these stories about robot cockroaches and outerspace cockroaches?  Why do they get to have all the fun?  Where the fuck are our fucking flying cars?  We're all 13th century over here, debating the merits of water torture and praying for rain, and they are living the Jetsons' dream?  

No fair!

In Zoology

New species of Dwarf Manatee discovered in the Brazilian Amazon.

cute!

How much would it suck to be discovered right before the whole world was about to end?  

Wait.  

...

Maybe he's the Messiah.

In Entertainment

I heard a tv movie critic this morning say the film Love in the time of Cholera is really good, but it has a "stupid title."  I just had to share that with someone.  Ok.  I feel a little better now.  Thanks for being there.  

Also in entertainment news,

VOA:  'People' Magazine Says Matt Damon is Sexiest Man Alive

Sexiest man alive? That would be Matt Damon. People Magazine bestows the honor upon the 37-year-old actor in its latest issue, on sale November 16.

Damon joins his pals George Clooney and Brad Pitt, each of whom has earned the title twice.

In a letter published in the magazine, Damon said "You gave an aging suburban dad the ego boost of a lifetime. My nine-year-old stepdaughter now thinks I'm cool - well, cooler."

MATT DAMON?  GAH!!!

If this is actually true, I am going to go join those crazy cave people in Russia.  Not because I take it as a sign of the end of the world (though I haven't ruled it out...), but because, ...I don't know, hopefully there will be sexier men in heaven or something.  Or in Russia...  

Wait!   There are!!!

Baryshnikov

Vladislav "Read Dostoevsky" Surkov

Misha!

There you go, kids.  Three sexy men who are even sexier than the sexiest man alive, which is like, mathematically impossible, making it a definitive sign that the world is about to End.

Ok, have a lovely weekend, everyone!

Ciao!

Poll
The sexiest man alive is:
. Matt Damon 0%
. Misha, obviously. (Can apply to either of the above Mishas.) 4%
. Me 17%
. Well, that Surkov fellow is cute, in an evil genius kinda way. 4%
. Jerome. I mean, Afew. I mean, ...who hands out the FP jobs around here? 13%
. Putin, when he has his shirt on and is being a smart ass. 4%
. Hey, what about the sexiest woman alive? This poll is biased. I refuse to participate in it. 56%

Votes: 23
Results | Other Polls
Display:
Party in the new Odds & Ends.  Come on over...

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.
by poemless on Fri Nov 16th, 2007 at 06:30:30 PM EST
How can I possibly party when there is no Impending Doom Porn?  Why can't I vote for the Dwarf Manatee? It looks cute.

And for the record, quite a number of my facebook friends say that they believe in the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Sat Nov 17th, 2007 at 08:15:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'd have voted for the manatee too!

OT: I'm thinking I might have to go into self-imposed facebook exile.  Wasting waaaaay too much time there.

by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Sat Nov 17th, 2007 at 08:42:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It is somewhat addictive.  You get to find out everybody's secret lives that they hide from their colleagues and random acquaintances.

Or else you find out how big their egos are when you read what they put in their status lines.

So and so is "pondering in great depth over the meaning of life today..."

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Sat Nov 17th, 2007 at 09:05:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You think so?  I don't think my facebook profile reveals anything terribly hidden or secret about me -- although I guess it could seem that way to someone who doesn't know me really well.  A few of my friends think of it as revealing secret hidden lives, too.  They're kind of obsessed with using limited profiles to keep such-and-such kind of information from this or that person....  That always makes me wonder why they bother hiding things, and who exactly they think everyone else thinks they are.
by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Sat Nov 17th, 2007 at 09:17:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Most people I add are actually friends or people I like a lot even if I don't know them too well. But every so often someone adds me and the name rings a bell but I can't think how I know them and don't want to be rude so I add them back or it's an ex-colleague who I never liked much but I know that if I don't add them, they'll go bitching to all and sundry about it so I add them for a while and then purge the list every few months to get rid of the people I never really liked or still don't know who they are.  I also remove terribly pretentious people who try to manipulate what people will think of them by being very selective about what goes on their page and what they say in their status line. It's so transparent, I don't know why they do it.

I find it interesting to see photos of people I don't know well in their 'natural' state ie not at work or in a meeting and I think it does tell you something about them by what they have on their facebook page and how they interact with their friends. First impressions aren't always correct.

I'm not in control of what my friends choose to write on my wall and I like seeing what randomness they come up with.  It's a laugh, is facebook, and a great way to keep in touch with people and to find people again and alas, to pick up stalkers but I delete them too.

And that is how I deal with my life on facebook. Have I rambled somewhat?

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Sat Nov 17th, 2007 at 09:33:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I've gotten a few weird people adding me.  It's quite common in my regional network for men to friend every single woman they come across, especially Western women, but I just ignore them.  I also avoid writing on walls of local events or groups for that reason, because every time I do, there's a new wave of annoying pokes and friend requests from total strangers.

A few are people I don't know really well but we have mutual friends and have met at various social occasions... and some of those people I've actually gotten to know a lot better via Facebook, and actually made new friends out of what would have been just acquaintances, which is cool.  Some are old friends or colleagues I've lost touch with or haven't talked to in years, and that's great -- I love reconnecting, getting a chance to see photos of their lives now, etc.

A couple of people from my high school, which is weird because none of them were actually friends of mine in high school, and I haven't the fainted idea why they would want to be virtual "friends" 20 years later.  They haven't become nuisances yet, but I may defriend them soon just because it's kind of creepy.

I also remove terribly pretentious people who try to manipulate what people will think of them by being very selective about what goes on their page and what they say in their status line. It's so transparent, I don't know why they do it.

Yeah, I know what you mean, and it is irritating.  I guess to some extent the whole exercise is basically exactly that, but I don't get the taking-it-so-seriously thing at all.  It's fun, but that's it.

by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Sat Nov 17th, 2007 at 10:02:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
To be honest, I think people forget that they weren't friends at school.  They see your name and vaguely remember that you were in one of their classes and have absolutely no recollection of having never, ever spoken to you. People who bullied me have tried to add me. It's weird.
by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Sat Nov 17th, 2007 at 10:26:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, I have to admit that I do my best to block high school from my memory....

I also think some people just want as many friends as they can get, so they friend everyone they have any connection to whatsoever just to get their numbers up.

by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Sat Nov 17th, 2007 at 10:31:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
High School was another life, I hated it.  I wonder how everyone survives that period of their life.  Have we completely hijacked poemless's diary now?

I'm tempted to put up a poll in tonight's OT so that people can vote for the manatee - it was a terrible oversight on her part not to include that cutey in the poll.  Are the rumours about Mel Gibson buying out the film rights true then?

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Sat Nov 17th, 2007 at 10:37:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think the diary was well and truly hijacked some time back.  Sorry, poemless...

What worries me is the manatee is far better-looking than old Mel.  And it would be hard to work himself into a crucifixion position while dressed in a manatee suit, and that seems to have become a required scene in all of his roles now.

by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Sat Nov 17th, 2007 at 10:54:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yeah, he'd have to lie flat on his back, flippers aloft to the sides. It does lack elegance but I would say it is doable for a crucifixion obsessive such as Mr Gibson.
by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Sat Nov 17th, 2007 at 11:05:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The above dialogue gave me the distinct feeling that I was overhearing the conversation of strangers on a bus, that a polite person would dutifully ignore. But once you hear a bit of it, you want to eavesdrop more to see how it ends, while pretending to look out of the window at the passing traffic ;-)

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Sat Nov 17th, 2007 at 11:40:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Plus with my friends list you get to guess which girls I've dated and which I haven't...

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Sun Nov 18th, 2007 at 03:01:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm continually surprised by the staying power of the FSM.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Sat Nov 17th, 2007 at 12:43:16 AM EST
I'm continually surprised by the staying power of Jesus, myself...

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.
by poemless on Sat Nov 17th, 2007 at 03:41:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Something about "be fruitful and multiply." Oh also eternal life in a happy cloud facility.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Sun Nov 18th, 2007 at 03:04:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I would be perfectly happy to sponsor Anne Applebaum's lifelong investigative report on the Russian prison system.  Only:  I don't want to have to actually read the report.

That TV movie critic was just trying to distract you.  It's a conspiracy.  They don't want anyone realizing that TV movie critics are in fact Vibrio cholerae themselves.

I think it's entirely possible that the Amazonian dwarf manatee is the Messiah.  Or maybe the Mahdi.  Or both.  And I've heard that Mel Gibson has bought the movie rights, and intends to play the manatee himself.

by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Sat Nov 17th, 2007 at 08:41:20 AM EST
Holy Sea Cow!

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Sat Nov 17th, 2007 at 11:42:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Predictable two votes for one of the poll options.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Nov 17th, 2007 at 02:13:15 PM EST
Oh, but there are three now. Mysterious.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Nov 17th, 2007 at 04:20:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So The two named, and someone else who thinks they can get front page status?

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sat Nov 17th, 2007 at 05:09:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
How old are you people?

Facebook?  Seriously?  ...  In addition to blogging??!!

Anyway, I've decided I don't like these anonymous polls.  I want to know who voted, "Me," "Surkov" (and thanks, I was sorry I could not vote twice...), and "whoever hands out the FP gigs."

Re: our dwarf manatee.  He's cute, but the poll wasn't about being cute.  If you are turned on by animals not of your own species, you're a sick sick person and are freaking me out!!!

:)

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.

by poemless on Sat Nov 17th, 2007 at 03:40:56 PM EST
Ok, facebook schmacebook, I will note at this point that nobody has voted for EITHER Matt Damon OR Putin.

I dunno exactly what that means, but I suspect the manatee has a flipper up on both of them.

by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Sat Nov 17th, 2007 at 06:21:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Also, stunning lack of rec's...

I guess this means I'll have to start writing serious things thatI know will bore the heck out of you because I'd rather waste my time doing something productive, frankly...

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.

by poemless on Sat Nov 17th, 2007 at 04:03:30 PM EST
You fishing for Manatees or what?

I like the odds and ends. Worse. I enjoy it. You're a great populariser, I think.

(also, I had to vote for myself. of course. my male intuition says my co-voter is... Starvid!)

Or is it Afew?

Hmmm...

by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Sat Nov 17th, 2007 at 06:06:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I got my name on the list, so that one's a no-brainer.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Nov 18th, 2007 at 04:21:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
i think you have an interesting style, funny and flip.

i don't comment much, because i know so little about russia, and you're too witty to parry with.

your comedy take on the crescendo-ing doom porn sends me an image of marcel marceau doing mime in front of a tsunami.

you have an appealingly odd quality to your humour...lots of sudden lefts and cool use of graphics...

slick non-sequiturs and quirky fetishes really help balance out the uberwonk factor, and if you're going to be breathless, might as well be about a russian tycoon rather than the dwindling chances for human survival.

rome is going pyrotechnical... we all find ways to twiddle as the plume goes exponential.

the art market has doubled prices in the last year...seems that people want to expire with a picasso in their arms, the modern equivalent of the pharoahs being buried with their favourite jewellry.

who can die with the funniest joke as their last gift?

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sat Nov 17th, 2007 at 07:00:29 PM EST


Display:
Go to: [ European Tribune Homepage : Top of page : Top of comments ]