4 November 2006
The young-prisoner hypothesis

Kent Hovind, evangelist and proprietor of Pensacola's Dinosaur Adventure Land creationist theme park, is facing 288 years in prison after conviction on 58 counts of tax fraud.

Hovind and his wife Jo, who could draw up to 225 years, had argued that they were working for God and that therefore their earnings, and those of their employees, were not subject to taxation. The park itself was closed in April because it had been built without a permit and because Escambia County authorities had never been allowed to inspect the premises. "Right now Caesar demands a building permit," quipped Mike Whitehead, chair of the County Commission.

Sentencing will be on the 9th of January.

(Via Secular Blasphemy.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 10:10 PM)
30 November 2006
The new erratica

You know, it's probably a good thing that the Looney Tunes/Merrie Melodies guys never did any serious smut, or they might have come up with something like this:

... a commotion of grunts and squeaks, flashing unconnected images and explosions of a million little particles....

Duck amuck, indeed. But no, it's Iain Hollingshead, in his debut novel Twenty Something, which has won the annual Bad Sex in Fiction Award presented by Britain's Literary Review. Said the judges:

Because Hollingshead is a first-time writer, we wished to discourage him from further attempts. Heavyweights like Thomas Pynchon and Will Self are beyond help at this point.

Tyrone Slothrop was unavailable for comment.

Permalink to this item (posted at 6:18 AM)
2 December 2006
People for the Merkin Way

Giving no thought to mere traffic considerations, McGehee stands firm against Britney Spears' uncovered sissywhoha.

And by "against," I mean "in opposition to," not "adjoining." Just to make that clear.

(If the above link doesn't work, try this one.)

Addendum, next morning: "Britney Spears' Crotch" would make a great name for a snarly, Violent-Femmes-ish garage band, suggests Andrea Harris.

Permalink to this item (posted at 6:25 PM)
8 December 2006
Barely passable

There's a scene in Bel Kaufman's novel Up the Down Staircase in which an obsessed teenager sends a love letter to the English teacher who is the object — the direct object, one assumes — of her fantasies. He grades it and returns it to her; despondent, she throws herself out a window.

This is not to suggest that Lindsay Lohan's New Manifesto is a plea for self-defenestration or anything like that, but Go Fug Yourself is happy to oblige, just the same.

And if nothing else, this suggests that for all the badmouthing Britney gets, she's at least a better writer than La Lohan.

Permalink to this item (posted at 10:36 AM)
7 April 2007
The news (re)cycle

While the Oklahoman works on rolling out NewsOK Beta, a smaller paper in the British Isles has gone for a simpler approach. The Buckinghamshire Advertiser, owned by group operator Trinity Mirror plc and selling 20,000 copies daily, has converted its Web site to a Movable Type blog, complete with RSS feeds and links for Digg, del.icio.us, and Reddit. Of course, all the traditional sections — News, Columns, Sport, and such — are rendered as MT Categories.

Peoria Pundit Billy Dennis says this is "more evidence that print is doomed":

I'm sure it's easier to use than any newspaper Web site software I've ever tried to use. And I'm sure it's less complicated than whatever it is the [Peoria] Journal Star uses. Any small newspaper in America can put something like this together — including paying someone to design their template — for several hundred dollars, not to mention the cost of Web hosting, which might cost $100 a month for a dedicated server. It does as good a job as presenting the distributing news in words and pictures as any printing press, which costs much, much more to use. And it doesn't require any trees be cut down, pulped and transported across the country in trucks or on trains.

And consider that if it costs that little for a newspaper to run, what's stopping folks — perhaps disgruntled newsies with some start-up capital perhaps — from coming along and doing the same thing and not bothering with a print edition.

I'm not entirely convinced that print is doomed: you can't line a birdcage with a Web site. Yet. And there are still people who have no particular interest in these here Intratubes. What's more — well, here's how Eyebrows McGee tells it (previous link, scroll to comments):

This might come as a shock, but we actually DON'T NEED 24 hour news. There are few things short of tornadoes I need to know about RIGHT THIS INSTANT, and they have sirens for that. (And — shock of shocks — they actually still break into broadcast network television for things that are REALLY important.) And there are a lot of people my age who are opting out of cable TV and 24-hour connectedness in favor of choosing our times and places to get data. The wired generation knows better than the Boomers how empty and repetitive 24-hour data streams can be, because we've never lived in a world without them. I was TWO when CNN joined the world. I do not remember a time before 24-hour news and I have never attended a school without a computer lab.

Small wonder, then, that I prefer my news in a single discreet chomp, well-written by competent journalists and analyzed by people who follow a story for years and know its ins and outs. I've been surrounded by the vapidity of instant-streaming news since I was an infant. I prefer something a little more substantial and a little less torrential.

By coincidence, the Oklahoman sent me a renewal form today for my print subscription.