Thursday, July 28, 2005

I'm funny, Damnit!

I took this today and found that yes, I am funny. But funny how? How am I funny? My father would say "funnny loooking".

How funny are you? Take the test.

the Wit

(60% dark, 34% spontaneous, 38% vulgar)

your humor style:

You like things edgy, subtle, and smart. I guess that means you're probably an intellectual, but don't take that to mean you're pretentious. You realize 'dumb' can be witty--after all isn't that the Simpsons' philosophy?--but rudeness for its own sake, 'gross-out' humor and most other things found in a fraternity leave you totally flat.

I guess you just have a more cerebral approach than most. You have the perfect mindset for a joke writer or staff writer. Your sense of humor takes the most effort to appreciate, but it's also the best, in my opinion.

Also, you probably loved the Office. If you don't know what I'm
talking about, check it out here:

PEOPLE LIKE YOU: Jon Stewart - Woody Allen - Ricky Gervais

My test tracked 3 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 52% on dark
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 0% on spontaneous
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 42% on vulgar

The 3 Variable Funny Test written by
jason_bateman on Ok Cupid

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

New Propaganda Tsar

It's not so difficult to write when one is passionate about the topic. Today I'm passionate about so many things, it's hard to organize them into seperate thoughts. Having a blog allows me to rant here and there about my varied interests: music, media, politics, local issues, education, etc. Sometimes, however, all of these interests overlap into one big ball of confusion.

Today I read that Karen Hughes, W's first communications director/press secretary has been confirmed as the Under-secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs. She gave her testimony before two senators only and was easily confirmed.

This is a perfect example of how the tail will wag the dog. Any viewers of The West Wing will undoubtedly be able to prdeict that Hughes' job will be to do just exactly this: wag the dog, where foregin relations is concerned.

The question is, will the media continue to lay down and allow this to happen unabated? I find it interesting that ever since John Roberts was nominated for the Supremes, which by the way, the White House refuses to release all documents about him; we haven't been paying much attention to Karl Rove. What will happen with the Rove story? Why isn't the media continuing to pressure the white house about him? Why does the news media speak about issues only if they are brought up by the White House?

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

My drug of choice

Since I was 13 years old I've collected vintage and current concert posters. Living in San Francisco, I have been in a perfect place to feed my jones. I used to shop at the Poster Mat in North Beach, run by Ben Friedman. He suggested my first poster should be BGP 162, Grateful Dead, Fillmore West February 26, 28, March 1 and 2. The album Live Dead took selections from these shows.

Over the years I've collected many posters over the years, mostly from the 60's psychedelic era. In the early 1990's there was a renaissance in poster making. Great artists like Coop, Kuhn, and Frank Kozic began to make a huge impact on the concert poster scene. I very quickly began to approach my local merchants, who hung the posters in their windows, and asked them for the posters after the show had passed. I knew from experience, these posters would jump in price soon.

This week I am attending a workshop through the National Foundation for Teaching Entreprenuership (NFTE). About a block away from the workshop sits the premire concert poster merchant in the city, if not the world: Artrock. I stopped by there during lunch today and could not help but pick up two Kozic posters. Both posters seem to harken back to the days of Stalinist Russia. As a matter of fact, one of them has Stalin on it.KZ94043 and KZ93033A

My wife has been an archive framer over the years and she has done an amazing job framing my posters. If you are interested in hiring her, shoot me an email.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

What a Trip

I just returned from five days in San Diego. I attended the National Academy Foundation's 21st Annual National Conference. It's in a different city every year. Last year New York, next year Detroit. This was my first time. I am the on-site coordinator of a NAF sponsored academy at my high school. I am developing an Academy of Information Technology at Balboa High School in San Francisco. NAF supplies some curriculum ideas, resources including advisory boards, fundraising ideas, and conferences to gather and discuss.

The conference was amazing. My wife and I flew down with our nine month old daughter (her first flight, what a great little flier) on saturday night. Early morning keynote speakers, followed by morning and afternoon workshops filled the agenda. As I attended the conference Alison took little Lauson Kai out and around the city. Nice city. We went on a harbor cruise with the NAF attendees on tuesday night. Excellent time. I was a bit surprised by the humidity in San Diego.

I attended workshops on how to plan a student conference (I advise the student government at my school), how to write a grant, how to build a successful team, and brainstorming sessions where teachers gathered together to discuss best practices.

At times I and Joel from Galileo high school felt that we were the only ones offering any good ideas, but after a few sessions people began opening up more. I truly enjoyed the brainstorming sessions. I left with a great amount of knowledge, as well as wonderful connections to great educators.

I met some great people there. Thanks to the whole gang of NAF folks who put this show on. Big thanks to Daniel, regional director for the Atlantic coast. This guy is great. We really hit it off. This is a really wonderful organization. They truly empower educators and recognize that even though the achievement gap has closed in elementary and middle schools, high schools haven't budged in over twenty years. NAF is working to change that.

Check out there site here.

Google Maps Rocks

Wow, I was looking through the wonderful new Google maps site, and, of course, since I've moved over 25 times in my life, I fiqured I would check out old neighborhoods. I was born in Toledo, Ohio. I haven't been there since I was 10 years old. My family moved to southern California in February of 1981. Here's a link to the elementary school I attended for fourth and half of fifth grade. I lived down the street, directly across from Westwood Park. That was the best house I ever lived in.

As a matter of fact, my father, what a great guy he is, always said that he wished we never moved away from that house. It was a very cool place. The backyard was a half acre, included a half basketball court and a sunken back part of the yard, which would flood and freeze during the winter, allowing us to skate on it and play ice hockey. Damn! I miss that house.

Take a look.


Friday, July 15, 2005

How To Talk To A Conservative About Karl Rove (If You Must)

If I was to speak to my conservative brother-in-law, which I haven't done in over a year, perhaps the following would benefit me in an argument against Rove. THERE IS NO RATIONALIZING WITH A CONSERVATIVE!

Everything you need to fight back against the right-wing misinformation campaign.

CLAIM: White House Can’t Comment While Investigation Is Ongoing
McClellan: “While that investigation is ongoing, the White House is not going to comment on it.”

FACT: White House Has Repeatedly Commented During the Ongoing Investigation
McClellan had previously cited that same investigation and then gone on to answer the questions as they pertained to Rove. For example, on October 1, 2003, he said, “There’s an investigation going on … you brought up Karl’s name. Let’s be very clear. I thought — I said it was a ridiculous suggestion, I said it’s simply not true that he was involved in leaking classified information, and — nor, did he condone that kind of activity.” Similarly, on October 10, 2003, McClellan said, “I think it’s important to keep in mind that this is an ongoing investigation.” But he then added with regard to a question about Rove’s involvement, “I spoke with those individuals, as I pointed out, and those individuals assured me they were not involved in this.”

CLAIM: Rove Didn’t Leak The Name So He’s Not Guilty
Rove: “I didn’t know her name and didn’t leak her name.” Rove attorney Robert Luskin said “he did not tell any reporter that Valerie Plame worked for the CIA.”

FACT: National Security Law Says Identifying Covert Agent Is Illegal
Rove at the very least identified Plame as “Wilson’s wife.” Under section 421 of the Intelligence Identities Protection Act, the disclosure of “any information identifying [a] covert agent” is illegal.

CLAIM: White House Didn’t Push The Story
Rove’s lawyer Robert Luskin claims Cooper manipulated what Rove said to him “in a pretty ugly fashion to make it seem like people in the White House were affirmatively reaching out to reporters to try to get them to report negative information about Plame.”

FACT: There Was An Organized Campaign To Push Leak Info
First, Robert Novak admitted: “I didn’t dig it out [Plame’s identity], it was given to me…. They [the White House] thought it was significant, they gave me the name and I used it.” Second, Rove told Chris Matthews that Plame’s identity was “fair game.” Third, Time magazine reported the orchestrated campaign against Wilson in October 2003: “In the days after Wilson’s essay appeared, government officials began to steer reporters away from Wilson’s conclusions.”

CLAIM: Conversation Was About Welfare Reform, So Rove Didn’t Do Anything Wrong
National Review’s Byron York: “According to Luskin, the fact that Rove did not call Cooper; that the original purpose of the call, as Cooper told Rove, was welfare reform.”

FACT: What They Spoke About Was Irrelevant
The original purpose of the conversation between Rove and Cooper is irrelevant. It has no bearing on the fact that Rove did identify a covert agent during that conversation.

CLAIM: Plame Wasn’t An Undercover Agent
Ed Rogers, former official under Reagan/Bush: “I think it is now a matter of established fact that Mrs. Plame was not a protected covert agent, and I don’t think there’s any meaningful investigation about that.”

FACT: Former CIA Officer Who Worked With Plame Verified She Was Undercover
Larry Johnson, former CIA officer: “Valerie Plame was a classmate of mine from the day she started with the CIA. I entered on duty at the CIA in September 1985. All of my classmates were undercover–in other words, we told our family and friends that we were working for other overt U.S. Government agencies. We had official cover.”

CLAIM: Rove Was Trying To Correct A False Story
Rove attorney Luskin added, “What Karl was trying to do … was to warn Time away from publishing things that were going to be established as false.”

FACT: Wilson Was Right, Bush Was Wrong
Bloomberg recently reported, “Two-year old assertions by former ambassador Joseph Wilson regarding Iraq and uranium, which lie at the heart of the controversy over who at the White House identified a covert U.S. operative, have held up in the face of attacks by supporters of presidential adviser Karl Rove.”

CLAIM: Wilson Lied About His Trip To Niger
Former Rove deputy Ken Mehlman: “What Joe Wilson alleged was that the vice president, then he said the CIA director sent him to Niger.” [CNN, 7/12/05]

FACT: Wilson Never Said Cheney Personally Sent Him To Niger
Bloomberg reported, “Wilson never said that Cheney sent him, only that the vice president’s office had questions about an intelligence report that referred to the sale of uranium yellowcake to Iraq from Niger. Wilson, in his New York Times article, said CIA officials were informed of Cheney’s questions. ‘The agency officials asked if I would travel to Niger to check out the story so they could provide a response to the vice president’s office,’ Wilson wrote.”


Thursday, July 14, 2005

This may sound messed up, but...

I actually like Ted Leo and the Pharmacists. I saw this video they did where Ted starts off singing "Wheels on the Bus" to this group of kids, and then he's on stage with his band rocking out to one of his tunes; I'm not sure which one because I'm still new to his sounds. The kids were pogoing everywhere. Too cool. I'm a geek, aren't I?

Anyway, if you like this guy, or don't know who the hell I'm talking about, he has mp3s on his site, here.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Up the River of Chocolate

Two great tastes that taste great together. Where were you on 9-11? I was at the Sony Metreon in San Francisco watching Apocolypse Now Redux. Enjoy.

Chocolypse Now: "Wonka," years later, darkly.

Thanks to Boing Boing for this.

Something I never thought I would see

I don't have cable, but that didn't stop me from downloading the Live8 Pink Floyd set. Damn, that set moved me to shivers and tears. I have been a fan, since my dad brought home Dark Side of the Moon in the early 70's. I remember fondly taking lots of acid with my friends and seeing the not so complete Floyd, live in 87 in Oakland, in the rain. Many a fabulous evening has been spent indulging in their many sounds.

I love pre-Dark Side just as much as post-Dark Side. I was never quite pleased with how often the performed the entire album show after show in the 70's though. And I do feel that Nick Mason is a mediocre drummer at best. Still, they are one of my favorite bands. I look forward to a tour? Come on guys, do it for Syd!

Download the vid here

Monday, July 11, 2005

More Trotsky

Wow, this guy runs a Trotsky museum in Mexico City. It''s actually Leon's old house. Bullet holes in the front door and all. What an amazing tragedy. Shakespeare would have been proud.

Trotsky Icepick alive and well, and I don't mean the band

So it would seem that the icepick used to kill Leon Trotsky, the fabulous leader of the Bolsheviks during the 1917 Russian Revolution has been found in Mexico.
Read about the story here

I love this guy. Read the amazing trilogy about him by Issac Deutscher: "The Prophet Armed", "The Prophet Unarmed", and "The Prophet Outcast".

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Power Tool Dragraces

I thought I'd add this little bit in; I was one of the MC's for the PTDR's as seen on TV! I do this every year. It's a bit of zany fun Chicken John, Dr. Hal and I do, just to make fun of tech geeks...lie us.

Discovery Channel showed four, one hour, episodes in may of this year (2005). I'm the one in the lovely ice cream man blazer. I'm not the one on the mic. That's Dr. Hal of "Church of the Subgenius" fame, and the other fine chap is Chicken John of "The Odeon" fame.

Those bastards at Discovery Channel didn't want to offend anyone with my name (John Hell), so they added an "e" on the end of my last name. At the same time, they showed the flag girl in the skimpiest of outfits as much as they could. I don't want to even tell you about the pay. I will say, however, that Discovery Channel has their own zip code. Cheap bastards.

I have more photos up on my tribe site.

Friday, July 08, 2005

I like this blog!

Wow! Sometimes I find a blog that really blows me away. Song: Illinois really does it for me. A great collection of music.

They have two new Giant Sand tracks on their. Check it out.

You have got to be kidding

I'm teaching summer school in San Francisco right now. I teach a language arts class, and a history class. Seems simple enough, right? On the first day, I was told that the language Arts class was a mix of incoming ninth, tenth and eleventh graders, and half of them don't speak a lick of english. My history class is a mix of tenth grade Modern WOrld history and eleventh grade US History. This plans on being a challenge right from the start.

I'm not really one to complain, but how the hell does anyone expect me to do right by these students?

The Language Arts curriculum is actually scripted, so I didn't need to worry so much about lesson plans. the history class however was going to take some real imagination.

I decided to teach the kids about the French, American, and Russian revolutions, along with a unit on why 9-11 happened and a unit on Globalization. This isn't so bad after all.

The Langauge Arts class has this great kid, Edison, with cerebal palsey. He's a hard worker, but damn, is he a pain in the ass. He just loves to talk any time he damn well wishes, gets in people's faces, and even though he has an adult here to work with him every day, he insists on making me work with him. At times he walks out of the room, witout even asking me. That, along with the english langauge learners, makes for a very exciting time.

I'm really enjoying the history class though. I'm using the BBC's "Power of Nightmares" doc on the history of terrorism in the 20th century as the basis of my 9-11 curriculum. I'll use Cochabamba as a pretext for globalization, as well as showing "The Corporation".

Gotta go. Class is starting.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Throw the book at 'em!

Bush's shortlist for O'Connor's seat


Here comes the judge! Bush has already shortlisted the following nominees for O'Connor's soon to be vacated seat:

Judge Reinhold: good legal experience in Beverly Hills.

Judge Wapner: popular in small claims court.

Judge Judy: shrill voice could scare attorneys.

Judge Dredd: rarely follows procedure, believes "one man is law".

Judge Jules: not even American, but a wicked trance DJ. The court could use that, right?

Judge Joe Brown: little known Judge, popular with unemployed daytime TV viewers.

Mike Judge: famous for the case of the Mondays...

Read: O'Connor Retires From Supreme Court

Any more ideas? Let's hear 'em in comments.


This is frickin' scary

David Lynch, at one time my favorite film producer, now just a freak of nature, is doing daily weather reports from, what appears to be his basement.

Enjoy this.