September 16, 2005 | 3:55 PM ET

Today's let-the-good-heads-roll (?) item goes to Governor Blanco.  Wizbang calls her toast and is among many pointing to the Political Teen.  When will politicians learn that anything you say while sitting in front of a camera with a microphone on can and will be used against you in the court of public opinion?

Josh Marshall draws links of agreement over his concern about where all of that Katrina money is going to end up.

Amid Katrina Chaos, Congressman Used National Guard to Visit Home — This is another one of those stories that shows up in rumor-mails.  You should read the whole thing if you care because the elements and sides of the story are not well represented in the headline.

Katrina: The Gathering — I don't know enough about card games to explain this well, but it's still impressive to see the amount of work these guys put in.

A lot of folks are getting a good laugh from David Brooks' parody of the John Roberts hearings.

4 IMs in one — Looks like it really works.  My only complaint is that it doesn't minimize out of the way like regular IMs do.  But it's brand new, so maybe that'll get worked out.

If I had this monitor I think I'd have to much junk saved to my desktop and so many windows open I'd never dig my way out.

Truveo:  New video search tool

The Worth1000 " If Goths Ruled" contest is finished.

Einstein theory holds up - even at 621,000mph

How to go from introvert to extrovert

The iPod versus the first portable transistor radio.

Speaking of side by side comparisons, see Google versus Yahoo with an eye toward simplicity.

NASA to unveil plan for moon mission in 2018

The 5 most outrageously overpaid CEOs

Speaking of lists of five, " Five things I’d ask every Supreme Court nominee if I sat on the Senate Judiciary Committee"

Scoble looks at the new Google blog search and likes it.

Meanwhile, some people are wondering if big players getting into blog search will spell doom for smaller players already doing blog search.

The Supreme Court of New Jersey has ruled that baseball fans struck by foul balls, while in stadium concession areas, can sue the ballpark.

Rent a writing workspace.  It's sort of like a writing club.  I imagine it's only the immense number of New York City bloggers who have put this on the link radar.  Don't New York City residents have space in their own apartments to write?  Um... actually, no.

It seems like many Fridays we come upon an absorbing game that kills most of the work day.  Today's asks you to eat pie.

Commuter Click:  Cognitive science’s search for a common morality

Paul is dead.  Makes the argument that old rock stars are basically impersonating themselves.  Not to be confused with Paul is Dead sites that actually argue that Paul is dead, like this one with lots of photo comparisons.  (Note:  That site starts with a non-nude nude photo, if that kind of thing freaks you out.)

Bill Gates goes to college — You'd think I would know something about this since I'm technically partly a Microsoft employee, but you'd be wrong.  It looks like a bootleg recording from the audience at a big company meeting.  My favorite line:  "Can't you invent a hoverboard or something?"  I shouted an involuntary "Oh!" when he hit Gates in the face.
UPDATE:  Just so I'm not making the clip sound too mysterious, it's from the Professional Developers Conference this week.

I ran into a lot of home grown links today.  Pardon the self promotion, but this is what I clicked:

Video of the Day:  The new Harry Potter movie trailer is out.  If the movie is half as cool as this trailer, it's going to be great.  As I recall, book 4 is when they started getting thick.  You have until November 18 to re-read.

Not into Harry Potter?  OK, how about gay He-Man?  (What the heck, it's Friday.)  (Host site looks pretty clean.)

A guy who was selling modified Xboxes has been sentenced to jail and fines, according to this entry.  More details on what the modifications were, here.  As a point of contrast, it's interesting to note that a multi-million, maybe even billion dollar industry has risen around the idea of modifying Harley Davidson motorcycles.  I wonder what the Harley aftermarket industry would be like if the DoJ was jailing everyone who bolted on an illegal exhaust pipe.

Sub Variance — I don't see an "about" button, but after clicking around a while, it looks like an art sharing site.

Last night I added this E&P update to the Bush bathroom note photo item, but a more interesting telling of the story is on Photo District News (which was crashed last night, but working today.)  Funniest thing to come from the whole episode, UN Depends.


Hello Wil
Is it true FEMA sent a plane to the wrong Charleston?
If not do we know who did and who first reported it?
Great website!

Dear Dave,
I have only seen it on local news sites, not from the big players.  I remembered this one because I liked the headline.  Also here and here.

Hey Will,
I know you like Party Ben’s Sixx Mixx’s, he recently released #100 and as a bonus is letting some one host all of them on this bit torrent.  I’d be great if you could spread the news because right now I’ve still got 7 hours of download time and the more people who join the download the quicker it will get (as I understand it).

Keep up the great work!

Dear Peter,
Yes, that's how I understand Bit Torrent to work as well.  Looks like the site had a hard time keeping up with the demand.  That looks like a pretty big batch of files.  I may have to stay with one show at a time.

Hi Will,
You linked the Leeann Benboom Russo site on Wednesday’s Blog.  I assume this was the woman who was filmed outside the Superdome holding her child and saying,  “Look at him.  He’s not waking up…”   MSNBC TV mentioned tonight that this woman’s child had died at the Superdome.  If I’m right,  and this is the woman identified as Leeann Benboom Russo,  the people on the site you linked are being defrauded.  The site claims this child (identified as Jahon) are fine and with relatives.  It also gives information on how to make a donation to them,  by providing the account number and routing number to your checking account (a thing I found fairly dubious at face).

Anyway,  thought you should know.  Love your column and read it every day.
Claire Chambers
Kerrville, Texas

Dear Claire,
Thanks very much for pointing that out.  My friends on the cable side tell me there will be a correction on the air tonight.  LeeAnn and the baby are both alive and well and (I thought) living in a shelter.  You're absolutely correct that her story is fraught with rumor and fraud and even the legit parts of the story sound like scams.  (Wire money to her bank account??)  I'm hoping someone will do a more thorough look at her story to set the record straight once and for all.

September 15, 2005 | 4:19 PM ET

Everywhere I looked last night, folks were linking to photos of President Bush writing a note to Condoleezza Rice about a bathroom break.  Of course, my first thought was that it was a hoax ( it isn't) and no doubt we'll see a flood of Photoshopped versions.  I don't agree that this is a scandal, but I do think there is genuine comedic value in having the eyes of the world upon you and suddenly realizing you gotta go.  The E&P article points out that we don't know if he's writing the whole note or replying to it.  At least he wasn't doing a crossword puzzle.
UPDATE:  More of the story... not that there's much more to the story.  He wrote the note and went to the bathroom.

Continuing the series of mythbusting Katrina stories, remember the guy from Jefferson Parish who wept on Meet the Press about his colleague's mother calling for help day after day and eventually drowning on Friday?  That story doesn't fit with new stories that claim that the residents of that nursing home died on the 29th, the Monday the storm hit.  A few bloggers are pursuing the story.  I clicked here and here.  Until someone asks some totally answerable questions, the choice seems to be that either Broussard was "embellishing" or the media is repeating that date without knowing what it's talking about.

In other Katrina exposé news, I'd seen this as "rumor mail" but this is my first spotting of a news organization telling the story of power crews being sent to work on a pipeline instead of on restoration of potentially lifesaving electricity.

And if I could think of a good way to mix "let the good times roll" and "heads roll" into a pun, that would have been the headline today along with yet another damning document.

We saw yesterday how games can be part of the healing process after a trauma.  Jokes can perform a similar role.  Obviously you can fill in your (least)favorite government official for this one.

X-wing en tickets de métro step by step — The international language of Star Wars.

I didn't realize St. Elsewhere was so influential, but according to this site, because of a dream sequence in that show, a surprising number of spin-off shows must also be dreams taking place in the mind of a boy.

How to win at carnival games

1950s Soviet space monkey's flight pants

Wells Fargo Buys 'Second Life' Island — This might seem weird, but it does make sense to me to build a virtual town square for services that don't require a brick and mortar store.  Heck, I already do my grocery shopping online, why no "walk" in the "offices" of a financial services company too?

Gillette ups the ante, unveils 5-blade razor — Men in the future will need two hands and all their strength to drag razors of thousands of blades across their face.  Related:  The Onion saw it coming.

Speaking of the Onion, Halliburton Gets Contract To Pry Gold Fillings From New Orleans Corpses' Teeth

What kind of person would appreciate today's Video of the Day?  Maybe someone who had their boat sunk by a Sea Lion.  (The host site for the video is mostly safe for work if bikini girls are OK.  And there's always the "oh crap" button.  Funny stuff there though... like kids doing the wazzup commercial.)

Slow Seismic Slip Event Underway in Pacific Northwest  Related:  Major quake could be worse than Katrina

Homemade HP photo commercial — This kid does a pretty good job duplicating that "empty frame" trick.  (Some unsafe (bikini girls) material on the host site.)

Paris Hilton hacker gets 11 months in jail

Google launches blog search.  Technorati's Dave Sifry welcomes the competition. (Though it's a little weird for him to welcome Google to the blogosphere when they own  Good analysis and notes from Search Engine Watch.

How to Photoshop someone prettier — I'll say again that I think these kinds of things should be part of a required course for 6th graders (or whatever grade it is that kids start to develop self esteem problems based on images they see in the media).

" A coronal mass ejection (CME) is racing toward Earth and it could spark a severe geomagnetic storm when it arrives--perhaps tonight (Sept. 14th and 15th).  People everywhere should be alert for auroras."  OK, I'm a day late.  Still interesting though.  I think this is what Alan was talking about last week.

The problem with Digg - And how to fix it — Digg is a popular community of people recommending sites to each other.  The problem, like with so many communities, is how to keep it full of good stuff.

Hacking the fundamentalists — Not hacking in the computer sense.  The idea is that people promise to donate money to Planned Parenthood based on the number of protesters at the clinics.  The more protesters, the more money raised.

Why are bodies in the water always face-down?

Thanks to corporations, instead of democracy we get Baywatch — Sorry, this doesn't actually have anything to do with Baywatch.  The criticism is about the Internet being more subject to ownership and influence that was originally envisioned.

Roman villa discovered via Google Earth

How we got engaged — At first it looks like a cartoon about an engagement, but then you realize the cartoon is the engagement.

Low gas prices are a constitutional right


I'm sure you get a lot of funny Ebay auctions, but this one has me rolling on the floor.  They keep updating it with more info on the guy and some of his crazy stunts.  Just give it a look.  It explains itself.

I'm a big fan of the clicked page and constantly check to see if it has been updated.

Dear Dave,
Thanks.  I wonder if they make you sign a waiver before getting on that bus.

Hi Will,
I came across this link and thought you'd be interested (in response to your post.)

Dear Peter,
Thanks for the heads up.  I updated yesterday's item as soon as I got your mail.  Just goes to show that sometimes things that seem too funny to be true actually are.

On Sept 12th you "clicked" on a blog called "Finding LeeAnn Bemboom Russo & Jahon".  If you haven't heard yet.  She has been found.  Here is a link to the interview.  (Will's Note:  Scroll to the bottom.  I couldn't get it to work on Windows Media, but Quicktime worked.)

She is in Addis, LA at the WFV.  If you've read through the blog there has been a lot of controversy surrounding her being found.  Much of which is being inadvertently caused by many well wishers.  This entire group of people started searching for a common goal and that was finding this mother and her son (whose picture was circulated in papers across the nation).  Seeing her desperation put a face to the plight of those affected by this disaster and tore at the hearts of many.

To read more on this go to this yahoo group formed to break away from the direction the MSN blog was taking.

It seems that the controversy will now inadvertently affect the efforts to get her some assistance.  Maybe an interview would help "set the record straight" and allow LeeAnn to tell her story to everyone who was wondering what happened to the mother and son who's picture graced our newspapers and newscasts in the days following Katrina.

Please do not make my name public, I would like to remain anonymous for the time being.

Dear Anonymous,
Thanks very much for these links.  I think LeeAnn's story is one of the most amazing of this whole Katrina saga.  The power of online communities never fails to impress me.

Looks like the Flight 93 design isn't a hoax.
Austin, TX

Dear John,
Thanks.  I have an update to that story as well:  Architect offers to alter Flight 93 memorial to appease critics

Here's an interesting article by contraversial cartoonist Ted Rall.  He thinks that charities are for suckers and that we shouldn't donate to Hurricane Katrina.

Dear Jason,
He's definitely not going to lose the "controversial" label with statements like that, that's for sure.  It does seem like there's something not quite right about there being enough money for all the things the government does but when it comes to saving lives in emergencies, we have to raise new money.  That said, I can't see boycotting charities.

September 14, 2005 | 2:32 PM ET

Glenn had a funny entry last night highlighting the criticism of the sheer gasbaggery of the Senate Judiary Committe in their questioning of John Roberts.  SCOTUS Blog is, of course, blogging the Roberts hearings, as is Blogs for Bush.  Friend and colleague Tom Curry is liveblogging on our site.

Robertson blames hurricane on choice of Ellen Degeneres to host Emmys — I usually skip over the pot shots at the religious fringe, but the idea that God cares so much about the Emmys and who is hosting them that he would send a deadly hurricane is just too funny.
UPDATE:  Busted!  It's a hoax.  No wonder it's so funny.  (Thanks to Peter for the tip.)

I want to sit on Trent Lott's porch

The Brent Musburger Drinking Game

Speaking of inventing games, Making a game out of Katrina.  This isn't as offensive as the headline sounds.  It's a thoughtful piece about game play as therapy for kids.

Arthur Chrenkoff of "good news from Iraq" fame blogs his last entry.  (From what I can gather, he's been promoted at his company to a position that makes it a bad idea to be a publicly free with his opinions.)

Related:  You can still get your good news from Good New from the Front.

Google Earth threatens democracy — Looks at the security risks posed by free public satellite imagery.

Why is Garrison Keilor suing over a t-shirt?

Top ten things you can do to get blogged — This is advice to companies trying to figure out how to handle marketing to bloggers.

Why is rape funny when it happens to men?

Cox and Forkum have a cartoon critical of Iran being allowed to attend the UN general assembly today.

Is the "Crescent of Embrace" an outrage?  Actually, I'm wondering if it's a hoax.  Could someone seriously think this was a good idea?

Helping low-income students write their application essays

Commuter Click: How to disappear in America without a trace  (Note:  This prints out as 41 pages long, so you might want to do it in pieces or just the sections you're interested in.)  In scanning briefly, I don't see any mention of using natural disasters as a cover for disappearing.  Seems obvious.

" This is a list of the best free downloadable tech/gaming shows currently available on the Internet."

Flickr signup: From human to droid in a Yahoo moment? — This guy is critical of the tone and content of the sign-up page for Flickr since Yahoo took over.  I'm undecided about whether Yahoo could keep the personal tone.  There comes a point when the corporation trying to sound like a human ends up sounding worse than a corporation sounding like a corporation.

Killing an iPod Nano — This is actually the stress test portion of a thorough review.  In case you were wondering, yes, the Nano can survive being thrown from a car at 50 m.p.h.

Woman Shoots and Kills Fiancé Over His Video Game Addiction

Mr. T to get new TV show?

Christopher Hitchens debates George Galloway.  Listen live tonight at 7 p.m. ET.  (Related:  Hitchens on Galloway.)

We've seen this amazing sidewalk chalk art before.  A new album of photos was added this week.

Recapping Gretna — Remember that story by the two EMS workers about being trapped in New Orleans and no allowed over the bridge?  That's what Tom Maguire is calling "Gretna" here and he looks at different versions and sources for the story.

Speaking of double checking stories, here's another one of those myths vs. facts lists.

Video of the Day:  Backwards bowler.  Given his success, I'd say it's everyone else who's bowling backward.

Inventor turns dead cats into diesel — What??  UPDATE:  Inventor denies using dead cats for fuel   Ah HA!  "German says alternative diesel uses waste paper products, possibly a toad" ...D'oh!  (Who is this guy?  Severus Snape?)

The beauty products from the skin of executed Chinese prisoners — Whaaaattt??!!??!!?

Here's a way to force gas stations to lower their prices — The idea here is to stop buying the chips and soda and other stuff from the gas station stores.  I've seen a few variations of the gas station boycott idea, but unless the actual demand for gas is reduced, I don't how any of it does any good.  This idea might force some gas stations to close, but how does it punish oil companies?

"I want to become someone that people say is a " great guy." What kind of qualities would you say makes someone such? How to they act in everyday conversations?"

" The Telecrapper 2000 is a computerized system designed to both intercept incoming Telemarketing calls on the first ring, and then carry on a virtual conversation with the telemarketer."

The "work blind" curtain — the best idea since glasses with open (awake) eyes painted on them.

" Holy crap monotremes are weird.  Why do they even exist?"

TV IV Wiki — Basically a user generated TV show encyclopedia

How To Take Down The Internet — Some of the folks in comments don't seem to agree it's that easy, but I have a feeling the underpinnings of the Internet have a lot in common with New Orleans levees.

L33T Scrabble

Firefox picks up another relationship with a TV show.  Marketing always seems weird to me.  Will people who don't already have an opinion on browsers really looking that close at what browser characters on TV are using?

A Microsoft gadgets blog


In addition to being a cartoon band they have games and weird stuff on their Web site — especially don't miss this.  You drive the geep.  It is a sort of a racing game; except you don't race against anyone, there is no score and you can crash an infinite number of times just as long as you don't end upside down like a turtle.
— Jan and Scott

Hey Will,
In defense of the Guardian's editor blog.  I don't think it's about being defensive.  Newspapers absolutely rely on their audience and unfortunately much of the audience has not been through J school.  I see it more as an attempt to answer questions people have about THEIR newspaper.  We have instituted a similar idea at the Northern Star, the student run newspaper of Northern Illinois University, eventually it will even include a comments section, if it is successful. Anyway just my two cents.
Andy McMurray
Metro Editor
Northern Star

Hi Will,
This is an interesting story..........

Keep up your great work - I read "Clicked"  every day.

Hi Will,
I thought you might be interested in this:

Two reference sites allow you to conduct extensive research on topics; but, only one allows you to uncover information found in encyclopedias, thesauruses, medical, and law dictionaries, along with providing users with relevant literary references, citation rules, and audio pronunciations of words. Take the reference site challenge- vs. will prove to be the superior resource for research in all respects.

Can I offer you more information?

What on earth is the "stigma" of socialist worker?!  Socialist Worker is a rare bird, a fine weekly newspaper told from an exclusively working class perspective.  Socialist Worker exposed the negligence of the government re New Orleans in its September 2nd issue just as it exposed the lies of the war on Iraq including extensive antiwar movement coverage from BEFORE the WAR STARTED.  It has a cogent and evidence based analysis of politics, which is more than I can say for monopoly-soft's NBC.  How about the "stigma" of NBC's shoddy journalism being a consequence of it being owned by General Electric, one of the largest military contractors in the world.  Shame on you.
Frank C.

Firms with Bush ties snag Katrina deals

Here we go again, the pork barrels are open for business.
Paul R. Glowiak

I LOVE your blog. I check it everyday and it is one of the few things I look forward to seeing everyday.  I saw this today* and thought you might find it at least a bit funny. Hopefully you will share it with everybody.
—Andy McMurray

*Will's note: This is a flash file that plays automatically with audio when the page loads.

September 12, 2005 | 6:34 PM ET

There is a crazy amount of breaking news happening as I write this.  Mike Brown quits, blackout in Southern California, a new levee breach, Roberts hearings...  While we wait for these things percolate through the blogosphere (and through the media at large), this is what I clicked:

Remember the video of the woman in New Orleans who was crying because he baby was not waking up easily?  Chances are if you saw the video, you know exactly what I'm talking about because it was one of the more powerful scenes from post-Katrina New Orleans.  So powerful, in fact, that a great number of people have dedicated themselves to tracking her down to make sure the story turned out OK.  Her name is LeeAnn Bemboom Russo.

"Doctors working in hurricane-ravaged New Orleans killed critically ill patients rather than leave them to die in agony as they evacuated."

Katrina: The more you look the worse everything gets

After looking around to see why people were linking to the site for This American Life I found that most were pointing to last week's "After the Flood" episode.  I haven't listened yet, but I don't doubt that it's compelling.

Competing narratives emerge — Either FEMA responded well in the face of massive calamity... or they didn't.

Speaking of which, Newsweek's " How Bush Blew It " is the subject of a lot of linkage today.

Speaking of newsweeklies, Time is seeing links for " Living too much in the Bubble?"  Of course, links see traffic when they're being criticized as well as in agreement, but what really strikes me is that just a few weeks ago we were reading about the increasing irrelevancy of weekly news magazines and yet now here they are at the center of online news discourse.

Wardriving occupied New Orleans on 9/11 — More amazing first hand reports.

Katrina and security:  "The problem is that we all got caught up in 'movie-plot threats.'"

Infectious Disease Research in and Around New Orleans — Talk about movie plots!

Disasters present to disasters past...  The Discovery Channel's " The Flight that Fought Back" struck a chord among bloggers commemorating the 9/11 anniversary.

The weekend was full of familiar 9/11 images, but this really large photo of the site was new to me.  Note:  When I say "really large" I mean crash-your-computer-it's-so-large so be careful.

Who was the falling man?

This blogger criticizes what he sees as two myths of 9/11.  One is that other countries were supportive, the other that flight 93 was shot down and towers were blown up.

I keep reading about solar flares.  So far my cell phone still works.  Watch a 'ring of fire' solar eclipse online more closely.

Gorillaz plan world tour — "The cartoon band are set to break new technological ground by appearing on stage in 3D holographic format."  I've heard of computer animation replacing movie actors, but I hadn't considered it replacing live musicians.

"If a server is taken down because of /. or digg, insert "" into the link after the ".com" of the page you want. The NYU Coral "peer-to-peer content distribution network" takes care of the rest."  When popular, high-traffic sites link to small, low bandwidth sites, the result is often either a crashed site or a huge hosting bill.  So the idea is to mirror those small sites when they are getting blasted by the big sites so they can stay alive.  I think MirrorDot is another in that idea.

Teacher takes horse to work to save money — I always thought horses were really expensive to keep, but I guess if you already have one it's a sunk cost.

The Ryugyong Hotel — I've yet to read anything about North Korea that doesn't have a tone of surreal bewilderment.

Windmills in the sky — like kites in the jet stream.

What the long tail isn't:

There are many distortions of the term, but the most common one is to use it as a newly-positive synonym for "fringe". Invoking the Long Tail is not a magic wand to explain away the apparent lack of demand for what you've got.  The Long Tail is not a get-out-of-jail-free card for poor-selling product. Or weak sectors. Or bad ideas.

Editors' blog — As part of a massive redesign the editors of the Guardian explain their day to day decisions.  Does this feel defensive to you?

A fish-tongue eating bug?  This is so gross I'm having a hard time believing it's not a hoax.  Fish have tongues?

Yahoo hires Kevin Sites to host some kind of Web show.  Last I knew, Sites had a deal with NBC.  I don't know what happened to that.

Speaking of Yahoo hiring, this has to be our Video of the Day:  Yahoo! goes hard gay.  The clip is well described at the blog, but I'll add that I've seen this enthusiastic Japanese guy in tight shiny leather in other clips.  I gather he's a popular comic character whose shtick is based on the idea of doing sexually inappropriate things in public.  The clip itself doesn't have any nudity or even any vulgarity really, but you probably wouldn't want to explain to your boss why you're watching a silly Japanese leather king at work.

(Speaking of the L.A. Times, I got a complaint mail a little while ago about linking to things that require registration.  Most of the time I'm not aware if a site requires free registration because every time I encounter one I use BugMeNot and tell the site to remember me.  Eventually I'm remembered by so many sites that I don't hit many registration pages.)

A short video arguing against something called " Trusted Computing."

Worth1000 on how to make Katie Holmes old.

Google maps mixed with 2000 census data — Click it and it draws a circle and gives you the census data in that circle.

An experiment in a new kind of music — Math as music.  No offense, I'm sure it's remarkable, but it does kind of sound like math.

Gallery of cigarette packs

The ten stupidest utopias — Drawn largely from literature.

Speaking of stupid lists, 25 Mind-Numbingly Stupid Quotations About Hurricane Katrina And Its Aftermath

Five ways to love a cockroach

" Ben Goldacre on why writing Bad Science has increased his suspicion of the media by, ooh, a lot of per cents"

Federal DNA database of anyone detained by police advances in Senate

Speaking of personal information, The cost of online anonymity — I thought this was going to tell me why it's a good idea to enter a chat room with my real name.  In fact, the cost it refers to is the sick stuff people do online when they know they can't be held accountable.

Castpost:  Another media uploading/hosting site to help you share your video and audio with others.


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