if dreams were lightning & thunder was desire, this old house would have burnt down a long time ago.

So katie and I just purchased a 42" HD TV for a fourth of what it's retailed at. And last night I bought Grand Theft Auto IV!!!




Also, today I was talking to one of my Spanish co-conspirators (workers) at the job, and had this interesting clip:

"Exxx Bxxx says:
sorry but we only wanna live the AMERICAN DREAM
Dan Erck says:

Man, if IT or our bosses are actually reading these conversations, I'm gonna be fired in a heartbeat.
Katie and I saw Chris Bathgate play at the knitting factory on Monday.

The following is the really poor amateur footage I took of the event. Go watch it on youtube!

Outright thievery from Holy Taco, but I thought it was an interesting list:

irish car bomb manliest cocktails
11. Irish Car Bomb

Why is it manly?: What’s manlier than going mano-a-beero with a pint of the world’s thickest stout mixed with a shot of whiskey? Knowing that if you don’t chug it fast enough, you’ll be downing chunks of curdled Bailey’s cream.
3/4 pint Guinness stout
1/2 shot Bailey’s Irish cream
1/2 shot Jameson Irish whiskey

moonshine manliest cocktail
10. Kentucky Tea
Why is it manly:? You can get shot in the face by an Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms federal agent just for making this cocktail.
1 mason jar halfway full of moonshine
Fill the jar with branch water
rusty nail manliest cocktails
9. Rusty Nail
Why is it manly?: I can’t put my finger on exactly why, but there’s something oddly macho about asking your girlfriend if she would like to sip on your Rusty Nail.

¾ oz. scotch
¼ oz. Drambuie

manliest cocktails snake bite
8. Snake Bite
Why is it manly?: Anytime a drink is compared to a snake sinking its fangs into you and depositing venom in your bloodstream, chances are, it’s probably pretty stiff. Basically it’s straight up Yukon Jack, which has been known to make balls hairy. The only reason there’s a dash of lime juice is so you won’t get scurvy.

2 oz Yukon Jack liqueur
1 dash Lime juice
jagerade manliest cocktails
7. Jagerade
Why is it manly?: To be honest, I don’t know if this is manly or just gross. Either way, a man can never get enough electrolytes.
8 oz chilled Gatorade energy drink

4 oz Jagermeister herbal liqueur
gin and juice manliest cocktails
6. Gin and Juice
Why is it manly?: Snoop Dogg likes to drink this when there are bitches in his living room gettin’ it on until six o’clock in the morning, so that has to be worth something. Gin and juice was also the morning cocktail of soldiers and officers in WWII. That’s right, this is what you drank right before you killed a bunch of Nazis. You can’t say that about Malibu and pineapple.
2 1/2 ounces Gin.

1 oz. orange juice.
Equal parts mind on your money and money on your mind
nuclear waste keith richards manliest cocktails
5. Nuclear Waste
Why is it manly?: This is the only thing Keith Richards drinks now. According to the man himself, “”Whiskey wasn’t agreeing with me anymore. The old body couldn’t take it. Brandy is a killer, and wine is best with food, so somehow I settled on this. Plenty of ice. Lovely.” If it’s good enough for Mr. Richards, it’s good enough for this list.

2 oz. premium vodka
1 oz. Sunkist or any orange soda
Plenty of ice
tequila sunrise manliest cocktails
4. Tequila Sunrise
Why is it manly?:First off, it’s a breakfast cocktail. And secondly, “2 measures tequila” is short for, “as much tequila as your glass will hold.” It may look a little fruity but it’s about as tropical as a back alley in Tijuana.

2 measures Tequila
Orange juice
2 dashes Grenadine
sazerac manliest cocktails
3. The Original Sazerac
What makes it manly?: This cocktail takes the classic New Orleans recipe and adds—what else—a nice, healthy addition of Absinthe. Because if huffing rye whiskey doesn’t make you a man, mixing it with mythical psychadelic liquor that tastes like cough syrup will make sure everyone knows you have a penis.

1 tsp Sugar
1-1/2 oz Rye whiskey
1 Dash Herbsaint, Pernod or Absinthe (to coat the glass)
2 dashes Peychaud bitters
2 dashes Angostura bitters
1 Lemon peel twist
martini manliest drinks cocktails
2. Martini

Why is it manly?: Well, it’s pretty much straight alcohol, with just enough vermouth to remind you that you’re not drinking disinfectant. Plus, James Bond drinks it, and he bangs lots of chicks and beats the crap out of dudes with names that describe a hideous disfigurement they have that also provides them with some sort of physical superiority.
2 1/2 oz Gin
1 1/2 tsp Dry Vermouth
1 Olive
manhattan manly drinks
1. Manhattan:

Why is it manly: You may say “it’s got a cherry, nothing with a cherry is manly.” Well, nibble on this: It’s notorious for being the favorite drink of the Italian Mafia, who are notorious for killing people. I’m not saying killing somebody makes you a man, but it’s probably not the best idea to call someone who just threw someone off a bridge a “cherry drinking pansy.”
*3/4 oz Sweet Vermouth
2 1/2 oz Rye whiskey

dash Angostura bitter
1 Maraschino cherry
So katie thinks I can only write posts about science or politics or religion. But in a constant effort to prove to my blushing bride how versatile and multi-faceted her bearsband is, I bring you a quick one-act diatribe about Detroit sports.

The actors:

Kevin Hatton, a brusque but well-meaning Cubs fan, who is deathly diabetic and likes to poke fun.
Dan, a die-hard and caustic Tigers fan, who is quickly prodded to rage, and a stickler for correct grammar.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008.
4:45 PM

Kevin: So how come the tiger's blow chunks?

Dan: 1) No apostrophe

Kevin: hahaha
but seriously, how come the tigers blow chunks?

me: F*** you, Hatton.

Kevin: it's a simple question
weren't they supposed to go all the way this year?

me: F*** you hatton.

Kevin: i don't know why you're mad at me, I'm not Detroit's s****y baseball team

me: F*** YOU HATTON.


And, scene.
So katie's the best hairdresser on the planet, and I'm ridiculously proud of her working at this salon on the UES. Friends, we need you to set up appointments with her! The haircuts are free, so you get all the pleasure of a salon, and you only really have to give her a tip!


I chew popcorn kernels. Katie tells me not to. She says I'm going to hurt my teef, and I say she's making up stories.

Today I chipped one of my already mangled top front teef on a popcorn kernel but don't tell her.

So I love katie. She's the best thing that ever happened to me. And secretly, I love it when she wears glasses.


In unrelated news, what is the DEAL with intelligent design theorists? What century do we have to reach before people will start packing up their antiquated and superstitious beliefs that attempt to directly contradict incontrovertible and rational evidence?

I used to respect Ben Stein. I really did. And then he released this movie called "Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed", which was lauded by the faux-intellectual right-wing politicians and theocratic scholars as a "fair and balanced look at the subjugation of intelligent design theorists in modern educational circles", with Ben Stein.

Turns out he's a loony nutbar, just like the rest of them.

Hey, real science, what's up?


In the film Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, narrator Ben Stein poses as a "rebel" willing to stand up to the scientific establishment in defense of freedom and honest, open discussion of controversial ideas like intelligent design (ID). But Expelled has some problems of its own with honest, open presentations of the facts about evolution, ID—and with its own agenda. Here are a few examples—add your own with a comment, and we may add it to another draft of this story. For our complete coverage, see "Expelled: No Intelligence AllowedScientific American's Take.

1) Expelled quotes Charles Darwin selectively to connect his ideas to eugenics and the Holocaust.

When the film is building its case that Darwin and the theory of evolution bear some responsibility for the Holocaust, Ben Stein's narration quotes from Darwin's The Descent of Man thusly:

With savages, the weak in body or mind are soon eliminated. We civilized men, on the other hand, do our utmost to check the process of elimination. We build asylums for the imbecile, the maimed and the sick. Thus the weak members of civilized societies propagate their kind. No one who has attended to the breeding of domestic animals will doubt that this must be highly injurious to the race of man. Hardly anyone is so ignorant as to allow his worst animals to breed.

This is how the original passage in The Descent of Man reads (unquoted sections emphasized in italics):

With savages, the weak in body or mind are soon eliminated; and those that survive commonly exhibit a vigorous state of health. We civilized men, on the other hand, do our utmost to check the process of elimination. We build asylums for the imbecile, the maimed and the sick; we institute poor-laws; and our medical men exert their utmost skill to save the life of every one to the last moment. There is reason to believe that vaccination has preserved thousands, who from a weak constitution would formerly have succumbed to small-pox. Thus the weak members of civilized societies propagate their kind. No one who has attended to the breeding of domestic animals will doubt that this must be highly injurious to the race of man. It is surprising how soon a want of care, or care wrongly directed, leads to the degeneration of a domestic race; but excepting in the case of man himself, hardly anyone is so ignorant as to allow his worst animals to breed.

The producers of the film did not mention the very next sentences in the book (emphasis added in italics):

The aid which we feel impelled to give to the helpless is mainly an incidental result of the instinct of sympathy, which was originally acquired as part of the social instincts, but subsequently rendered, in the manner previously indicated, more tender and more widely diffused. Nor could we check our sympathy, even at the urging of hard reason, without deterioration in the noblest part of our nature. The surgeon may harden himself whilst performing an operation, for he knows that he is acting for the good of his patient; but if we were intentionally to neglect the weak and helpless, it could only be for a contingent benefit, with an overwhelming present evil.

Darwin explicitly rejected the idea of eliminating the "weak" as dehumanizing and evil. Those words falsify Expelled's argument. The filmmakers had to be aware of the full Darwin passage, but they chose to quote only the sections that suited their purposes.

2) Ben Stein's speech to a crowded auditorium in the film was a setup.

Viewers of Expelled might think that Ben Stein has been giving speeches on college campuses and at other public venues in support of ID and against "big science." But if he has, the producers did not include one. The speech shown at the beginning and end was staged solely for the sake of the movie. Michael Shermer learned as much by speaking to officials at Pepperdine University, where those scenes were filmed. Only a few of the audience members were students; most were extras brought in by the producers. Judge the ovation Ben Stein receives accordingly.

3) Scientists in the film thought they were being interviewed for a different movie.

As Richard Dawkins, PZ Myers, Eugenie Scott, Michael Shermer and other proponents of evolution appearing in Expelled have publicly remarked, the producers first arranged to interview them for a film that was to be called Crossroads, which was allegedly a documentary on "the intersection of science and religion." They were subsequently surprised to learn that they were appearing in Expelled, which "exposes the widespread persecution of scientists and educators who are pursuing legitimate, opposing scientific views to the reigning orthodoxy," to quote from the film's press kit.

When exactly did Crossroads become Expelled? The producers have said that the shift in the film's title and message occurred after the interviews with the scientists, as the accumulating evidence gradually persuaded them that ID believers were oppressed. Yet as blogger Wesley Elsberry discovered when he searched domain registrations, the producers registered the URL "expelledthemovie.com" on March 1, 2007—more than a month (and in some cases, several months) before the scientists were interviewed. The producers never registered the URL "crossroadsthemovie.com". Those facts raise doubt that Crossroads was still the working title for the movie when the scientists were interviewed.

4) The ID-sympathetic researcher whom the film paints as having lost his job at the Smithsonian Institution was never an employee there.

One section of Expelled relates the case of Richard Sternberg, who was a researcher at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History and editor of the journal Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington. According to the film, after Sternberg approved the publication of a pro-ID paper by Stephen C. Meyer of the Discovery Institute, he lost his editorship, was demoted at the Smithsonian, was moved to a more remote office, and suffered other professional setbacks. The film mentions a 2006 House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform report prepared for Rep. Mark Souder (R–Ind.), "Intolerance and the Politicization of Science at the Smithsonian," that denounced Sternberg's mistreatment.

This selective retelling of the Sternberg affair omits details that are awkward for the movie's case, however. Sternberg was never an employee of the Smithsonian: his term as a research associate always had a limited duration, and when it ended he was offered a new position as a research collaborator. As editor, Sternberg's decision to "peer-review" and approve Meyer's paper by himself was highly questionable on several grounds, which was why the scientific society that published the journal later repudiated it. Sternberg had always been planning to step down as the journal's editor—the issue in which he published the paper was already scheduled to be his last.

The report prepared by Rep. Souder, who had previously expressed pro-ID views, was never officially accepted into the Congressional Record. Notwithstanding the report's conclusions, its appendix contains copies of e-mails and other documents in which Sternberg's superiors and others specifically argued against penalizing him for his ID views. (More detailed descriptions of the Sternberg case can be found on Ed Brayton's blog Dispatches from the Culture Wars and on Wikipedia.)
5) Science does not reject religious or "design-based" explanations because of dogmatic atheism.

Expelled frequently repeats that design-based explanations (not to mention religious ones) are "forbidden" by "big science." It never explains why, however. Evolution and the rest of "big science" are just described as having an atheistic preference.

Actually, science avoids design explanations for natural phenomena out of logical necessity. The scientific method involves rigorously observing and experimenting on the material world. It accepts as evidence only what can be measured or otherwise empirically validated (a requirement called methodological naturalism). That requirement prevents scientific theories from becoming untestable and overcomplicated.

By those standards, design-based explanations rapidly lose their rigor without independent scientific proof that validates and defines the nature of the designer. Without it, design-based explanations rapidly become unhelpful and tautological: "This looks like it was designed, so there must be a designer; we know there is a designer because this looks designed."

A major scientific problem with proposed ID explanations for life is that their proponents cannot suggest any good way to disprove them. ID "theories" are so vague that even if specific explanations are disproved, believers can simply search for new signs of design. Consequently, investigators do not generally consider ID to be a productive or useful approach to science.

6) Many evolutionary biologists are religious and many religious people accept evolution.

Expelled includes many clips of scientists such as Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, William Provine and PZ Myers who are also well known as atheists. They talk about how their knowledge of science confirms their convictions and how in some cases science led them to atheism. And indeed, surveys do indicate that atheism is more common among scientists than in the general population.

Nevertheless, the film is wrong to imply that understanding of evolution inevitably or necessarily leads to a rejection of religious belief. Francisco Ayala of the University of California, Irvine, a leading neuroscientist who used to be a Dominican priest, continues to be a devout Catholic, as does the evolutionary biologist Ken Miller of Brown University. Thousands of other biologists across the U.S. who all know evolution to be true are also still religious. Moreover, billions of other people around the world simultaneously accept evolution and keep faith with their religion. The late Pope John Paul II said that evolution was compatible with Roman Catholicism as an explanation for mankind's physical origins.

During Scientific American's post-screening conversation with Expelled associate producer Mark Mathis, we asked him why Ken Miller was not included in the film. Mathis explained that his presence would have "confused" viewers. But the reality is that showing Miller would have invalidated the film's major premise that evolutionary biologists all reject God.

Inside and outside the scientific community, people will no doubt continue to debate rationalism and religion and disagree about who has the better part of that argument. Evidence from evolution will probably remain at most a small part of that conflict, however.

-Scientific American

Just to clarify:

The posts about Evil Corporate America and the End of the World and other current event issues are all Dan.

The posts with fuzzy wuzzy moments and vomit-inducing sentiments about married life are all Katie.

We obviously cater to a varied audience.
I believe this gives our blog a delightful balance of romance and danger, laughter and tears, mystery and adventure. We would make Morgenstern proud.

Also: if you read this, please comment so we can add you to our list of blogs to read. Thanks!

Giant Meteor Not Very Likely To Kill Everyone In 21 Years, Says NASA. "Actually, You're Wrong", Says 13 Year Old German Dork

BERLIN (AFP) - A 13-year-old German schoolboy corrected NASA's estimates on the chances of an asteroid colliding with Earth, a German newspaper reported Tuesday, after spotting the boffins had miscalculated.

Nico Marquardt used telescopic findings from the Institute of Astrophysics in Potsdam (AIP) to calculate that there was a 1 in 450 chance that the Apophis asteroid will collide with Earth, the Potsdamer Neuerster Nachrichten reported.

NASA had previously estimated the chances at only 1 in 45,000 but told its sister organisation, the European Space Agency (ESA), that the young whizzkid had got it right.

The schoolboy took into consideration the risk of Apophis running into one or more of the 40,000 satellites orbiting Earth during its path close to the planet on April 13 2029.

Those satellites travel at 3.07 kilometres a second (1.9 miles), at up to 35,880 kilometres above earth -- and the Apophis asteroid will pass by earth at a distance of 32,500 kilometres.

If the asteroid strikes a satellite in 2029, that will change its trajectory making it hit earth on its next orbit in 2036.

Both NASA and Marquardt agree that if the asteroid does collide with earth, it will create a ball of iron and iridium 320 metres (1049 feet) wide and weighing 200 billion tonnes, which will crash into the Atlantic Ocean.

The shockwaves from that would create huge tsunami waves, destroying both coastlines and inland areas, whilst creating a thick cloud of dust that would darken the skies indefinitely.

The 13-year old made his discovery as part of a regional science competition for which he submitted a project entitled: "Apophis -- The Killer Astroid."


Here's a parsed synopsis of what "the big hairy deal is" concerning Apophis.

In Egyptian myth, Apophis was the ancient spirit of evil and destruction, a demon that was determined to plunge the world into eternal darkness.
A fitting name, astronomers reasoned, for a menace now hurtling towards Earth from outerspace. Scientists are monitoring the progress of a 390-metre wide asteroid discovered last year that is potentially on a collision course with the planet, and are imploring governments to decide on a strategy for dealing with it.

Nasa has estimated that an impact from Apophis, which has an outside chance of hitting the Earth in 2036, would release more than 100,000 times the energy released in the nuclear blast over Hiroshima. Thousands of square kilometres would be directly affected by the blast but the whole of the Earth would see the effects of the dust released into the atmosphere.
And, scientists insist, there is actually very little time left to decide. At a recent meeting of experts in near-Earth objects (NEOs) in London, scientists said it could take decades to design, test and build the required technology to deflect the asteroid. Monica Grady, an expert in meteorites at the Open University, said: "It's a question of when, not if, a near Earth object collides with Earth. Many of the smaller objects break up when they reach the Earth's atmosphere and have no impact. However, a NEO larger than 1km [wide] will collide with Earth every few hundred thousand years and a NEO larger than 6km, which could cause mass extinction, will collide with Earth every hundred million years. We are overdue for a big one."

Apophis had been intermittently tracked since its discovery in June last year but, in December, it started causing serious concern. Projecting the orbit of the asteroid into the future, astronomers had calculated that the odds of it hitting the Earth in 2029 were alarming. As more observations came in, the odds got higher.

Having more than 20 years warning of potential impact might seem plenty of time. But, at last week's meeting, Andrea Carusi, president of the Spaceguard Foundation, said that the time for governments to make decisions on what to do was now, to give scientists time to prepare mitigation missions. At the peak of concern, Apophis asteroid was placed at four out of 10 on the Torino scale - a measure of the threat posed by an NEO where 10 is a certain collision which could cause a global catastrophe. This was the highest of any asteroid in recorded history and it had a 1 in 37 chance of hitting the Earth. The threat of a collision in 2029 was eventually ruled out at the end of last year.

Alan Fitzsimmons, an astronomer from Queen's University Belfast, said: "When it does pass close to us on April 13 2029, the Earth will deflect it and change its orbit. There's a small possibility that if it passes through a particular point in space, the so-called keyhole, ... the Earth's gravity will change things so that when it comes back around again in 2036, it will collide with us." The chance of Apophis passing through the keyhole, a 600-metre patch of space, is 1 in 5,500 based on current information.

There are no shortage of ideas on how to deflect asteroids. The Advanced Concepts Team at the European Space Agency have led the effort in designing a range of satellites and rockets to nudge asteroids on a collision course for Earth into a different orbit.

No technology has been left unconsidered, even potentially dangerous ideas such as nuclear powered spacecraft. "The advantage of nuclear propulsion is a lot of power," said Prof Fitzsimmons. "The negative thing is that ... we haven't done it yet. Whereas with solar electric propulsion, there are several spacecraft now that do use this technology so we're fairly confident it would work."

The favoured method is also potentially the easiest - throwing a spacecraft at an asteroid to change its direction. Esa plans to test this idea with its Don Quixote mission, where two satellites will be sent to an asteroid. One of them, Hidalgo, will collide with the asteroid at high speed while the other, Sancho, will measure the change in the object's orbit. Decisions on the actual design of these probes will be made in the coming months, with launch expected some time in the next decade. One idea that seems to have no support from astronomers is the use of explosives.

Prof Fitzsimmons. "If you explode too close to impact, perhaps you'll get hit by several fragments rather than one, so you spread out the area of damage."

In September, scientists at Strathclyde and Glasgow universities began computer simulations to work out the feasibility of changing the directions of asteroids on a collision course for Earth. In spring next year, there will be another opportunity for radar observations of Apophis that will help astronomers work out possible future orbits of the asteroid more accurately.

If, at that stage, they cannot rule out an impact with Earth in 2036, the next chance to make better observations will not be until 2013. Nasa has argued that a final decision on what to do about Apophis will have to be made at that stage.

"It may be a decision in 2013 whether or not to go ahead with a full-blown mitigation mission, but we need to start planning it before 2013," said Prof Fitzsimmons. In 2029, astronomers will know for sure if Apophis will pose a threat in 2036. If the worst-case scenarios turn out to be true and the Earth is not prepared, it will be too late. "If we wait until 2029, it would seem unlikely that you'd be able to do anything about 2036," said Mr Yates.


Here's a proposed map of the impact trajectory:

Some ideas of what it will look like, shortly before the sun gets blocked and all coastline gets completely demolished, sending us all underground and forcing the survivors to create bands of roving (possibly cannibalistic?) mercenaries and fleeting tribes:

... Let's Start Talking.
"Ben Worcester says:
Dan Erck says:
peremptory statement
Dan Erck says:
sarcastic response
Dan Erck says:
explosive laughter
Dan Erck says:
obligatory insult
Dan Erck says:
Open-ended threat
Dan Erck says:
Disingenuous farewell
Ben Worcester says:
Dan Erck says:
offended retort."

"Ben Worcester says:
i wanted to know if you've never noticed jack leading with his head
Ben Worcester says:
when he makes turns
Dan Erck says:
Ben Worcester says:
i can't get enough of it
Ben Worcester says:
it's like a game of mario kart is going on in his head
Ben Worcester says:
anyway, back to work"

"Adam Sivits says:
Dan Erck says:
Adam Sivits says:
like, she leans forward at a slight angle, and takes these strange, hesitating steps
Adam Sivits says:
like she's perpetually ALMOST about to start running
Adam Sivits says:
but she never does

"Jack Thompson says:
ever heard of "too much light makes the baby go blind"?
Dan Erck says:
Dan Erck says:
but i wanna try it
Jack Thompson says:
yeah man. It's like...it's body like LSD, but it's mental like really good pot.
Jack Thompson says:
No you idiot, it's a play.
Dan Erck says:
i meant i wanted to try giving a baby too much light to see if it would go blind
Jack Thompson says:
Jack Thompson says:
I'm SO not ever babysitting for you."
Before I post this, I've gotta say a few things. 1) I always have my cellphone on me. Period. 2) Katie would never allow this to happen to me. Which is one of many reasons I love her more every day.

Notes. This is not a work of fiction, and there is a video of the entire encounter at the bottom. It's nightmarish.



Madness: Trapped in Elevator Car 30

Nicholas White was a thirty-four-year-old production manager at Business Week. He was working late on a special assignment and wanted a cigarette. He told a colleague that he’d be right back and, leaving his jacket behind, headed downstairs. Thus commenced the longest smoke break of Nicholas White’s life, a harrowing experience that began at around eleven o’clock on a Friday night in October, 1999.

The Business Week offices were located on the forty-third floor of the McGraw-Hill Building in mid-town Manhattan. When White finished his cigarette, he returned to the lobby, got into Car No. 30 and pressed the button marked 43. The car accelerated. It was an express elevator, with no stops below the thirty-ninth floor, and the building was deserted. But after a moment, White felt a jolt. The lights went out, immediately flashed on again and then the elevator stopped.

The control panel made a beep, and White waited a moment, expecting a voice to give information or instructions, but none came. He pressed the intercom button, but there was no response. He hit it again, and then began pacing around the elevator. Time passed, although he was not sure how much, because he had no watch or cell phone. He occupied himself with thoughts of remaining calm and decided that he’d better not do anything drastic, because, whatever the malfunction, he thought it unwise to jostle the car. As the emergency bell rang and rang, he began to fear that it might somehow start a fire. Recently, there had been a small fire in the building, rendering the elevators unusable. He began hearing unlikely oscillations in the ringing: aural hallucinations. Before long, he began to contemplate death.

The most striking thing about the security-camera videotape of White’s time in the McGraw-Hill elevator is that it includes split-screen footage from three other elevators, on which you can see men intermittently performing maintenance work. Apparently, they never wondered about the one he was in. Eight security guards came and went while he was stranded there, and nobody seems to have noticed him on the monitor.

After a while, White imagined building staff members opening the elevator’s doors ten days later and finding him dead on his back, like a cockroach. Within hours, he had smoked all his remaining cigarettes. At a certain point, he decided to open the doors. He pried them apart and held them open with his foot. He was presented with a cinder-block wall on which, perfectly centered, were scrawled three “13″s-one in chalk, one in red paint, one in black. It was a dispiriting sight. He concluded that he must be on the thirteenth floor, and that, this being an express elevator, there was no egress from the shaft anywhere for many stories up or down. He peered down through the crack between the wall and the sill of the elevator and saw that it was very dark. He could make out some light at the bottom. It looked far away. A breeze blew up the shaft.

He started to call out. “Hello?” He tried cupping his hand to his mouth and yelled out some more. “Help! Is there anybody there? I’m stuck in an elevator!” He kept at it for a while. White opened the doors to urinate. As he did so, he hoped, in vain, that a trace of this violation might get the attention of someone in the lobby. He considered lighting matches and dropping them down the shaft to attract notice, but still had the presence of mind to suspect that this might not be wise. The alarm bell kept ringing. He paced and waved at the overhead camera. He couldn’t tell whether it was night or day.

Eventually, he lay down on the floor and tried to sleep. The carpet was like coarse AstroTurf, and was lousy with nail trimmings and other detritus. It was amazing to him how much people could shed in such a short trip. He used his shoes for a pillow and laid his wallet, unfolded, over his eyes to keep out the light. It wasn’t hot, yet he was sweating. His wallet was damp. Maybe a day had passed. He drifted in and out of sleep, awakening each time to the grim recognition that his elevator confinement had not been a dream. His thirst was overpowering. The alarm was playing more aural tricks on him, so he decided to turn it off. Then he tried doing some Morse code with it. He yelled some more. He tried to pick away at the cinder-block wall.

At a certain point, Nicholas White ran out of ideas. Anger and vindictiveness took root. He began to think, They, whoever they were, shouldn’t be able to get away with this, that he deserved some compensation for the ordeal. He cast about for blame. He wondered where his colleague was, why she hadn’t been alarmed enough by his failure to return, jacketless, from smoking a cigarette to call security. “Whose fault is this?” he wondered. “Who’s going to pay?” He decided that there was no way he was going to work the following week.

And then he gave up. The time passed in a kind of degraded fever dream. On the videotape, he lies motionless for hours at a time, face down on the floor. A voice woke him up: “Is there someone in there?” “Yes.” “What are you doing in there?” White tried to explain; the voice in the intercom seemed to assume that he was an intruder. “Get me the fuck out of here!” White shrieked. Duly persuaded, the guard asked him if he wanted anything. White, who had been planning to join a few friends at a bar on Friday evening, asked for a beer.

Before long, an elevator-maintenance team arrived and, over the intercom, coached him through a set of maneuvers with the buttons. White asked what day it was, and, when they told him it was Sunday at 4 P.M., he was shocked. He had been trapped for forty-one hours. He felt a change in the breeze, which suggested that the elevator was moving. When he felt it slow again, he wrenched the door open, and there was the lobby. In his memory, he had to climb up onto the landing, but the video does not corroborate this. When he emerged from the elevator, he saw his friends, with a couple of security guards, and a maintenance man, waiting, with an empty chair. His friends turned to see him and were appalled at the sight; he looked like a ghost, one of them said later. White told a guard, “Somebody could’ve died in there.” “I know,” the guard said.

White had to go upstairs to get his jacket. He went home, and then headed to a bar. He woke up to a reel of phone messages and a horde of reporters colonizing his stoop. He barely left his apartment in the ensuing days, deputizing his friends to talk to reporters through a crack in the door. White never went back to work at the magazine. Caught up in media attention, which he shunned but thrilled to, prodded by friends, and perhaps provoked by overly solicitous overtures from McGraw-Hill, White fell under the sway of renown and grievance, and then that of the legal establishment.

He got a lawyer, and came to believe that returning to work might signal a degree of mental fitness detrimental to his litigation. Instead, he spent eight weeks in Anguilla. Eventually, Business Week had to let him go. The lawsuit he filed, for twenty-five million dollars against the building’s management and the elevator-maintenance company, dragged on for four years. Eventually, they settled for an amount that White is not allowed to disclose, but he will not contest that it was a low number, hardly six figures.

He never did learn why the elevator stopped. There was talk of a power dip, but nothing definite. Meanwhile, White no longer has his job, which he’d held for fifteen years, and he’s lost all contact with his former colleagues. Now, he’s also lost his apartment, spent all of his money, and searched, mostly in vain, for paying work. White is currently unemployed."

On the lighter side, if that video above made you feel claustrophobic and WEIRD, (which, honestly, how could it not), I submit the following:

Last night Dan woke me up in the middle of the night and said, "Honey...will you check for the spiders?"
I, a girl who hates to be woken up, responded in a very irritated voice "WHAT?"

Dan, still asleep, said, "please check for the spiders."

I sat up and looked around, saw nothing, and instead of being a good wife and saying "Shh, honey. No spiders, Sleep well", instead replied "What are you even talking about?"

Dan apparently didn't appreciate this, and yanked all of the covers off of me and pulled them over his own head while exclaiming, "NEVER MIND. I'LL CHECK MYSELF." and promptly returned to a state of rest.

I was left cold and exhausted, but completely humored, on my side of the bed. I decided to see what else I could get him to say.
"Honey, are you awake?"
I chuckled, trying to be silent.
"Honey, did you know you just asked me about spiders?"
"No I didn't. I was playing scrabble."


I'm DYING laughing.
He wakes up.
And does NOT think I was funny.
I was lucky to get any covers back.

This morning he was still angry, and seriously wanted to know why I wouldn't just check for the stinkin' spiders so he could get out of his nightmare.


So maybe I'm not winning any wife-of-the-year awards...but man, he's a cute sleep talker.

About a year ago, he woke me up by kicking violently at something under the covers.
I sat up quickly, in a panic that a rat or roach might have been in our bed. I'm on the verge of tears, going "WHAT? WHAT? WHAT?"
He responds simply, "There's a sneaker."
"A what?"
"A sneaker. There's a sneaker."
"You mean a shoe? A tennis shoe? There's nothing down there...and who even uses that term? Sneaker??" (I told you, I'm grumpy when sleepy.)
"Shh honey, it's okay. No snakes. Just sleep." Laughter is struggling to escape so violently that my ears are popping and my eyes are watering.
The poor dear.
I petted his hair and snuggled in close.

Even in dreams, he makes me smile.
There's been a lot of talk about international protests regarding the worldwide traveling of the Olympic torch. Multiple arrests, violent conflicts (constructively viewed and documented as being perpetrated as much by the authority figures as the protesters themselves), lead the Olympic committee to be forced to piss or get off the pot.

The Chinese, however, in typical "Evil Russians from "The Mighty Ducks"" fashion, are being as hard-nosed as one could expect an evil world power to be. Denying the reality of the situation, condemning everyone worldwide who calls an end to blatant Human Rights violations, and refusing to negotiate is a standard position held by the Might in the Wrong (see: Communist Russia, Nazi Germany, the Japanese in WW2, and the US in Iraq). For their response, and a comical look at Eastern Bureaucracy, I urge you to Click Here .

Beijing was decided as the location to host the 2008, ostensibly because of China's growing "Economic and Political powers", says the committee. But isn't rewarding a country for becoming more economically and politically powerful, in the face of (and apparently in direct correlation with) their horrid and nightmarish treatment of anyone who dares disagree, whether it be on their continuously abhorrent treatment of the situation (Genocide) in Tibet, to their forced subversion, subjugation, and in some cases, outright murder of intellectuals, artists, spiritual leaders, foreign journalists, local protesters, poor chicken farmers with radios, children and orphans, mothers, fathers, puppies, Christians, Jews, Muslims (Did I leave anyone out? Are you getting the point here? EVERYONE?) only going to reinforce the position that the global world powers will turn a blind eye towards your soul-crushing practices as long as you're willing to dump some slippery cash into the situation and back up the US in our (I use that term shakingly, and with remorse) reverse Manifest Destiny (MOVE EAST, CHRISTIAN SOLDIERS, MOVE EAST)?

This is a time of political upheaval, when the US gets to see that not everyone in the world is going to treat international evils with a blind eye or an apathetic stare. We've dropped the ball in situations that were ridiculously hard to maintain (The middle east and African genocides to name two). These were situations that any country would have a hard time getting into. But our efforts were deplorable, and nearly insulting. The Beijing Olympics are a pretty cut-and-dry example of an instance where we as a country and a rationally-minded group of caring people can say "Nope. Sorry". If only there was a precedent set. If only we could look back at a situation and say "Hey we really made a mistake back then, in exactly the same scenario". It's a shame that nothing like the 1936 Olympics took place in history.

I'm sorry, this just in from Google: "For two weeks in August 1936, Adolf Hitler's Nazi dictatorship camouflaged its racist, militaristic character while hosting the Summer Olympics. Soft-pedaling its antisemitic agenda and plans for territorial expansion, the regime exploited the Games to bedazzle many foreign spectators and journalists with an image of a peaceful, tolerant Germany.

Having rejected a proposed boycott of the 1936 Olympics, the United States and other western democracies missed the opportunity to take a stand that — some observers at the time claimed — might have given Hitler pause and bolstered international resistance to Nazi tyranny. With the conclusion of the Games, Germany's expansionist policies and the persecution of Jews and other “enemies of the state” accelerated, culminating in World War II and the Holocaust.
" Oops. So hey, government, take this opportunity to do the right thing. It's commonly stated that "History repeats itself". But usually not word for word, step by step, within one person's lifetime. WE ALREADY HAVE THE PLAYBOOK ON THIS ONE.

I understand that there are two sides to every story, and I would like to give the Chinese standpoint on this one. Turns out, it's "WE'RE DOING NOTHING WRONG. LOOK AWAY. DO NOT MIND THE BLOOD ON THE FLOOR."

For a surprisingly all-encompassing, rational-minded, and non-partisan look at the ongoing Chinese Human Rights violations, Maybe You Should Click Here . christusrex.org did a pretty stand up job, again. Thanks, gents. (Guh? Dan sending readers to a Christian website? Call in the horses, boys, show's over?) They fact checked with Amnesty International. So I'll give them one, and you a quick list. SPOILER ALERT.

Restrictions on Independent Organizing
Restrictions on Free Speech and the Media
Suppression of Religious Freedom
Torture and Ill-Treatment of Prisoners
Lack of Judicial Independence and Due Process
-Arbitrary Detention
-Conditional Releases with Continued Deprivation of Rights
Death Penalty Increase
-Violence Against Women
-Abduction and Trafficking of Women
-Discrimination in Employment and Education
-Violations Resulting from Family Planning Policy
-Violations Against Female Children


In short.



Nerds took two Linkin Park songs, pitch shifted one, and made the dual mp3 with them.

Find it Here
Hey dorks.

A couple of quick things, on my inaugural post, and then I have to get back to watching Telenovelas to pay the rent. Forgive me for my itemized list, it's how all the great minds work. The topics of discussion for the day are as follows:

1) Locker Room Etiquette
2) Literati Skillz
4) The pope
5) Steve McQueen (King of Being an Asshole)
6) Cartoons and Cages (WTF is the Problem, people?)

1) I don't understand grown men's (non-sexual, apparently) obsession with being flagrantly naked in front of each other in the locker room of my gym. Every time I go in to work out, and come back to get undressed before taking a shower, I make sure that there is a minimum of time that my naked ass is presented to the entirety of the room. I do this not out of shame (Katie tells me it's pretty good looking) or fear, but RESPECT.

But somehow, these wingbats seem to feel it's their right and duty to get undressed facing towards the center of the room, spend as much time as possible completely bare naked (walking to the scales, standing in front of the mirror, slathering their naked bodies with lotion, etc). Today, a giant gross troll of a man walked from his locker, to the drinking fountain, brushed his teeth, lotioned up, and performed some DEEP LEG STRETCHES all completely naked, with a towel draped across his shoulders, his bits flopping around for the world to see. So I have to put up a mental divider that starts from the floor and goes all the way up to slightly below my neck. Are they trolling for dates? Want to show off? Is this some primate behavior relating back to vying for prime ape status I'm unaware of?


2) I am the king of Literati. I have a streak of 16 games right now, and I don't see any signs of slowing. I accept all challenges, however. Bring it.


3) I'm sick. It's been more than a month with this thing, and apparently antibiotics are worthless against it. So it's officially SARS, and I'm officially dying, so everyone better get your respects ready for the wife, she's about to be widowed.


4) The pope is coming to New York on the 20th. Who wants to come? It'd be neat to see the hat, the car, the pomp, the audacity.


5) Steve broke out of the kitchen yesterday while we were working and did some Major Work on the apartment. I know we named him after the brash and daring hero of "The Great Escape", but COME ON, DOG. Next time you want to tear apart a copy of Steven King's "It", eat two bags of chocolate M&M's, and ravage the entire place, let us know in advance so we don't come home unknowingly to a disaster area.


6) Why is it that animators always make the bars in cartoons so far apart? The character inside could OBVIOUSLY squeeze through, especially given general cartoon physics, specifically regarding the flexibility, mobility, and malleability of the average cartoon character. Is it because they're worried about the bars being too opaque and blocking our view? Someone get on this, please, thanks.
We got tagged by Mandi Haney to list 7 random facts about ourselves.
As Katie is the author of this blog, many of these will be about her. Ha.

1. I cannot pronounce "Project Runway" for the life of me. We love to watch the show. I hated Christian with a fervor, but he was a phenomenal designer. My personal favorite was Chris. He was such a darling. I want to be his friend in real life...I need that laugh! Anyway, every time I say "Project Runway" out loud, it comes out "project oneway" or "project runray" or similar. It's humiliating, really. Secretly glad the season is over. I hated having to say "ProjRun."

2. I can change the nastiest diaper or wipe the runniest nose without even a wince- but when my puppy has eye goobers, my stomach turns inside out and I find myself lunging for the nearest trash can to unleash my lunch in it. I ca't handle them at ALL. At Dan can remove them with BARE HANDS. ARE YOU KIDDING ME??? Gross.

3. We have a current obsession for giant green olives stuffed with garlic cloves. We eat them like popcorn during movies. They're incredibly addicting, and wicked expensive if you buy them at the wrong place.

4. I have an affinity for zippers, buttons, laces, and other fasteners. I don't know when it started or where it came from, but I'm pretty sure I've always had it. Dan was just the first person to ever point it out. If I see any of these on him, I must change it's state. For example- if there is an unbuttoned button, i must button it. Or unbutton it, if buttoned. I have to unzip the zipped, tie the untied, etc. I don't even notice I do it until Dan grabs my hand and gives me The Look. That look that says "I love you but you're going to lose a finger if you don't leave my pocket alone." Yikes. What's my deal?

5. Our kitten was rescued from a woodshed in Dan's mom's backyard. She was abandoned by her litter, so she never learned appropriate cat behavior, such as meowing. She makes this weird bark-yelp sound when she sees birds or wants attention. It's a little like saying "RALP!" in a high pitched winy voice. She also sleep slike a person- on her back, hind legs spread out, front paws resting on her chest. What a kook. Steve the pup sleeps the same way. That wasn't really about us, but it was about our family.

6. Dan and I have this sickeningly cute system when one person is mad at the other. This is typically used in public when it becomes necessary to calm down because you can't just steam at each other all the way home. This also works when you've said something really stupid and you know you deserve to get yelled and and you're very sorry. We poke each other in the shoulder, and the one who gets poked is then REQUIRED BY MARITAL LAW to smooch the poker. Usually the poke is given with a puppy face or with the tongue sticking into the cheek like a little kid who knows they're in trouble. This works like a bandaid until we can get home to calmly discuss the issue at hand, and does wonders for bringing the other person to a more neutral state, making them more open to an apology or a little butt-kissing. Plus you can't help but laugh at the face the other person makes when they know they're in trouble.

7. My favorite thing in the world is when Dan dip-kisses me in the middle of the street. He gets compliments from the dudes on the curb or in shop windows, and I feel like a movie star. The envious glares from all surrounding women make me feel pretty awesome, too. I love being unashamedly in love.
March 22nd, 2008- Dan and Katie are wed. <3
at long last.
I love you madly.
You are my very best friend.
Today I give myself to you as your husband/wife.
I promise to encourage and inspire you,
to laugh and play with you,
and to hold your hand in times of sorrow and struggle.
I promise to love you in good times and in bad,
when life seems easy and when it seems hard,
when our love is simple, and when it is an effort.
I promise to adore you, admire you, and to always respect you.
These things I give to you today, and all the days of our life.

Here is the link to the rest of the photos:
More will be added as we receive them from family members, so feel free to check back!