Dept. of Navel Gazing

Couldn’t wait to post this. Dr. Karl Kruszelnicki, of Sydney University, studied 5000 samples of belly-button lint and concluded that lint is a combination of clothing fibers and skin cells (ick) that migrate to the navel thanks to body hair, “as all roads lead to Rome.” For this dubious contribution to science, he won an Ig Nobel. Congrats, Dr. K!
Seriously, if such a subject can ever turn serious, this has answered one of my enduring questions, which is why the hell do I get so much lint? I mean, I’m a relatively hairy fellow (I think I used the term “troglodyte”), but I’m not a “slightly overweight, middle-aged male with a hairy abdomen,” as Dr. K described the typical lint producer. I’m not overweight nor am I middle-aged, unless I’m going to die at 64.
Which, according to the Death Clock doesn’t seem likely. According to its estimate, i’m going to kick it on July 16, 2047. No doubt the sight of thousands of American flags from Flag Day two days previously will send me into spasms of rage and lead to a fatal stroke or something. That would be just my luck.
Speaking of navel gazing and death clocks, doesn’t blogging seem a bit like navel gazing in order to combat mortality? This idea bears some contemplation… Hm.

new features!

Very cool… I’ve upgraded this blog to Blogger Pro, which will make the dudes and dudettes at Blogger.com happy. But since I’m trying to raise money, and I wanted some extra features, i figured it was necessary. In the near future, you’ll be able to sign up at a Yahoo! group for an individual email (or digest) whenever i upgrade this blog. You’ll also be able to hook into a RSS feed when I get that up and running. Whee! Self-publishing can be fun! (And cheap. It’s a pittance, only $35 a year.)
[Edit–You can now sign up for this via Yahoo! groups at this address.]

Back to Iraq!

Check this: Brother, can you spare a dime for my Gucci bills? Karyn Bosnak was some broke, perky marketroid who overspent herself into $20K of credit card debt and then essentially begged he way back to solvency. Most of the donors were Net-savvy dot-com refugees like herself hoping for a little karmic action from their small act of kindness.

So here’s my spiel. I’m looking to go back to Iraq. If people donate to me (I’ve set up a PayPal account for y’all to do so. Buttons are on the right under the “links” box.) I’ll go and report back with pictures and Web reports. Rather than bailing out some 20-something who got herself into a mess through conspicuous consumption, you’ll be supporting independent journalism and an adventure. Plus, you’ll be getting something more than a warm and fuzzy feeling out of it: you-are-there reports and pictures that will be emailed to you first before being published anywhere.

As an early bonus, here are the photos from my first trip in July.

So there you have it. I’m asking for sponsorship from my friends and colleagues to throw in a buck or two (or whatever you want to donate.) It will be fun, and it’s for a good cause. Thanks very, very much. Be sure and drop me an email so I can put you on the distribution list and add you to my list of contributors. (If you don’t want to be listed, just let me know.)

Oh, what a tangled web…

Oh, you know the rest. Click here for a look at the latest Wall Street Follies, involving Martha Stewart, ImClone, Enron, Global Crossing, WorldCom, Adelphia… have I left anyone out? Oh, Merrill Lynch. (I briefly dated a woman there. She was very nice, but it didn’t work out. I hope she’s covering her ass.)

At any rate, American Capitalism at its finest! Who says the America lacks a class system? This diagram is a fine, fine example of the back-slappin’, back-scratchin’ good ol boy (and gal–Hi, Martha!) system that’s made this country great. Any of the numerous people would know each other on sight, even if they’ve never met, since money knows its own. With relationships this tight and tangled, can anyone in the mix really be considered “self-made.”

Hell, no! That’s why I say there’s a class system that’s alive and well. They’re even exploiting Africans (note the “Nigerian Barges” in between Enron and Merrill Lynch.) I swear, I wish I could get all old fart-ish and say, “this country is going to hell in a handbasket,” but I suspect this is how business has always been done. (Not that that’s an excuse, but it does illustrate the up-mountain battle go-gos and other reformers have before them.)