Ashley Alexandra Dupré’s tattoo

Meanwhile, N.Y.U. called us back. City Room’s query had set the department abuzz, said Nancy Smith-Amer, an administrative assistant. “I have something for you they seem to have all agreed to: ‘I fared well by protection.’”

We finally told Mr. Ensley, at Columbia, whose tattoo he was translating.

“Oh, God,” he said. “I guess on some weird level, if you wanted to translate it into some modern sense of the word, You could say, ‘I used protection.’

Link (via Fimoculous)


Congress Debates Merits Of New Catchphrase


In Haiti, where three-quarters of the population earns less than $2 a day and one in five children is chronically malnourished, the one business booming amid all the gloom is the selling of patties made of mud, oil and sugar, typically consumed only by the most destitute.

“It’s salty and it has butter and you don’t know you’re eating dirt,” said Olwich Louis Jeune, 24, who has taken to eating them more often in recent months. “It makes your stomach quiet down.”

Link (via Andrew Sullivan via Marginal Revolution)

What Every American Should Know About the Middle East

Most in the United States don’t know much about the Middle East or the people that live there. This lack of knowledge hurts our ability to understand world events and, consequently, our ability to hold intelligent opinions about those events.

For example, frighteningly few know the difference between Sunni and Shia Muslims, and most think the words “Arab” and “Muslim” are pretty much interchangeable. They aren’t. So here’s a very brief primer aimed at raising the level of knowledge about the region to an absolute minimum.


Band names from “The Wire”

It strikes me that The Wire is great fodder for band names. My four favorites:

  • New Day Co-op
  • Snot Boogie
  • The Dickensian Aspect
  • Mr. Entrapment

What are your favorites?

Oh yeah,

I was quoted in the New York Times yesterday.

Falcon City

This planned city in the United Arab Emirates (built in the shape of a falcon!) will have larger-than-the-original replicas of all 7 ancient wonders of the world, a theme park, a gigantic mall, a 24-building plaza, and a 1,000,000 square-foot park. It seems like the kind of place a Bond villian would build.

Link, link to presentation video (WMV)

Elaine and Haley

After you tried to take the heat off yourself by telling your entire family that your husband and I were “way more drunk” than you, you decided to create a diversion by suggesting that you and I do a choreographed dance for your entire family. You were too far gone to realize that nothing says “look at me, I am super wasted” like performing a choreographed dance to a room full of sober Jewish family members.

Link, in which Elaine responds. This is too good to make up. Not always quite as acerbic as that, but always funny and very heartwarming.

“Breasts Like Martinis”

The bartender at Caesar’s tells jokes we’ve heard a hundred times.
A shoelace walks into a bar, for example. I whisper
Sarah Evers told me that joke in sixth grade and Josey says
My brother Steve, 1982. A whore, a midget, a Chinaman,
nothing we haven’t heard. Then a customer asks
Why are breasts like martinis? and they both start laughing.
They know this one, everybody knows this one, except


Shame on Larry King

The match-up was supposed to address Moore’s complaint about Gupta’s “hit piece,” as Moore calls it, giving the two the opportunity to square off on the facts. Instead, Moore found himself in the rare position of being shouted down, with King cutting him off to give Gupta the floor the event turned into a two-on-one wherein Larry King would interrupt Moore to give the floor to Gupta and then Gupta would refuse to let Moore break in (Moore: “That’s not true.” Gupta: “Give me one second, Michael. Let me just finish”).

Link (via Fimoculous)

I stayed at work an extra half hour after I closed the bar so I could finish watch this. Unbelievable.


Truly outrageous!

New Coen Brothers Movie: No Country for Old Men

So very excited for this. Via Big Screen Little Screen, who’s got a whole lot more.

Majority of Republicans Doubt Theory of Evolution

Link (via)

Americans on the whole are split only 49-48 in favor of evolution.

Creating Our Own Happiness

I believe this is something all of us can do: Try to be happy within the context of the life we are actually living. Happiness is not a situation to be longed for or a convergence of lucky happenstance. Through the power of our own minds, we can help ourselves. This I believe.


Flynt on Falwell

The first time the Rev. Jerry Falwell put his hands on me, I was stunned. Not only had we been archenemies for 15 years, his beliefs and mine traveling in different solar systems, and not only had he sued me for $50 million (a case I lost repeatedly yet eventually won in the Supreme Court), but now he was hugging me in front of millions on the Larry King show.

Link ( via torrez)

The No-Frills Kitchen

In fact, I contend that with a bit of savvy, patience and a willingness to forgo steel-handle knives, copper pots and other extravagant items, $200 can equip a basic kitchen that will be adequate for just about any task, and $300 can equip one quite well.


Boom mics in Disturbia

I had been hoping the boom mics that kept sneaking into the top of frames in Disturbia were some kind of David Lynch-esque easter egg, but apparently poor projectiontists are at fault:

The first inclination of any and every person who is just there to see a good movie is blame Hollywood and the filmmakers. Oh the guy holding the boom mic was terrible and it kept showing up in frame. Or they forgot to edit it out, or the camera work was so bad it showed up. The truth is, that’s not the case. The blame isn’t on them. It was a decision director D.J. Caruso made to film it with a certain aspect ratio that included all of those elements in the actual frame of the film. What would happen afterwards is the quality control that projectionists at theaters around the world would need to make sure it’s framed and formatted exactly as they specified and all would be well.



As a single event, the shootings last week at Virginia Tech were horrific in scale. But ever day in the United States, dozens of people die from gunfire.

In 2004, the most recent year for which figures are available, an average of about 81 people died every day from gunfire in the United States. The chart below gives a rough accounting of who was killed, and how.

Link (via Metafilter)

On Writing a Bio

The title of this entry is a little, no, actually very, misleading. My personal bio on our website has been blank for almost two years now. I’m begging you – if you know how to write a good bio, then write mine, because the first thing I feel obligated to admit to you is that, for whatever reason, I find that I am uniquely unqualified. I have tried often to write a bio, and every time I have failed.

Link (via Mike)

Jon Stewart on “MC Rove”

Prescription drug prices

So Wolf began snooping around and found that two chains, Costco and Sam’s Club, sold generics at prices far, far below the other chains. Even once you factor in the cost of buying a membership at Costco and Sam’s Club, the price differences were astounding. Here are the prices he found at Houston stores for 90 tablets of generic Prozac:

Walgreens: $117
Eckerd: $115
CVS: $115
Sam’s Club: $15
Costco: $12

Those aren’t typos. Walgreens charges $117 for a bottle of the same pills for which Costco charges $12.


Richard Rogers wins the Pritzker

In announcing Rogers selection, Thomas Pritzker, president of the U.S.-based Hyatt Foundation, said, “Rogers is a champion of urban life and believes the potential of the city to be a catalyst for social change.”

Link (thanks, Deron!)

Friends, Romans, contrymen: send us your tips!

Clusterflock now has a tip line! Send your feedback, thoughts, suggestions and ideas to clusterflock at gmail dot com.

“How do you prove to a blind man that photography exists?”

I knew what he was getting at. We had been discussing psychics. He was a firm believer in psychic powers, had had psychic experiences, and regularly visited a psychic. His point was, since I had not experienced psychic powers, I would never be able to believe in what he “knew” to be true. You could never prove to a blind man that photography exists, and likewise no one would ever be able to demonstrate to me that psychic powers were real.

It took me about ten seconds to think of a way to show he was wrong.


My National Security Letter Gag Order

Living under the gag order has been stressful and surreal. Under the threat of criminal prosecution, I must hide all aspects of my involvement in the case — including the mere fact that I received an NSL — from my colleagues, my family and my friends. When I meet with my attorneys I cannot tell my girlfriend where I am going or where I have been. I hide any papers related to the case in a place where she will not look. When clients and friends ask me whether I am the one challenging the constitutionality of the NSL statute, I have no choice but to look them in the eye and lie.


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