The Snoozeletter @ s.9TimeZones.com

 
Hungarian guys have a couple of urgent questions before tomorrow's accession: (1) Are the EU chicks hot? (2) Will there really be just one size of condom?
 
Tonight is Beltane, the sexiest Sabbat of them all, symbolizing the return of vitality, passion and hopes consummated. If you can't assemble a last-minute group of folks to celebrate in the traditional manner (rutting in oak groves was customary), don't worry... there's always next year. <wink>
 
Why Google is so damn good... but is it our first step on the way to SkyNET? This entry on Topix.net's blog seemed fascinating, but as one of Gmail's beta testers, I may be biased. The blog's readers also post some great comments - several compare Google to the artificial intelligence which attacked human beings in the Terminator films.
 
"Engrish can be simply defined as the humorous English mistakes that appear in Japanese advertising and product design." Get your daily dose right here.
 
The Falling Man, by Tom Junod, appeared in Esquire last fall. Now it's up for a National Magazine Award, in the Feature Writing category (winners to be announced on May 5): Do you remember this photograph? In the United States, people have taken pains to banish it from the record of September 11, 2001. The story behind it, though, and the search for the man pictured in it, are our most intimate connection to the horror of that day.
 
Kurt Wenner, Master Street Painter: My friend Garnett just put up this site for Kurt, who will be "composing" all week on the Good Morning America TV broadcast. Check out his amazing stuff... the Pope even signed one of his pieces.
 
Norman Maclean was 70 years old when his first book appeared: A River Runs Through It. On the other hand, Rafael Yglesias became a published novelist while still a teenager. Yglesias' second book deals with what he went through when the first was so successful. Now, he's better known as a screenwriter: Death and the Maiden, Les Misérables and Fearless (based on his novel).
 
Rhino + Car = Romance... and here's a visual for ya.
 
Protect Your Banana! Have safe snacks! Then treat yourself to some Carnal Cookies, and Whip Until Stiff.
 
Here's A Paper Folding Project by Paul Haeberli. Isn't it beautiful?
 
designboom offers an illustrated folding chairs history poster. It also knows *far* too much about the origin of the wire coat hanger.

And Original Magick has the classic bumper sticker: ISIS. ISIS. RA RA RA.
 
"Ride of the Valkyries" could lead to a ride in an ambulance, according to the RAC Foundation for motoring (release). Their advice is to avoid loud, high-BPM music while driving. But if the stereo ain't cranked, we'll probably fall asleep... so I guess we're f*cked, either way.
 
Nigerian Astronaut Wants To Come Home. Major Abacha Tunde has been trapped on the secret Soviet space station Salyut 8T since 1989. His accumulated flight pay and interest amounts to nearly $15,000,000, and his cousin is willing to transfer 20% to your bank account, if you can help.
 
April 18-24 is National Library Week: L.A.'s Central Library (just a few blocks away from Alan's office) has a stunning new wing, and it claims to be the only library which has appeared on a fruit crate label.
 
Listen to Top 40 Afghanistan every week on Fridays at 1:30 pm to 6:00 pm with Shekeb Isar - only on ARMAN FM 98.1.

Omigosh. Look who's nestled in between #11 (Isa Jado's "Khaki") and #13 (Yak Roz Brayem Wada's "Shahna"): it's Jennifer Lopez!
 
Name that tune: Whistle a few notes at your computer, and Melodyhound will come up with the song title that's on your mind.
 
Comet Bradfield (C/2004 F4) is swinging by the sun today. [latest still image] This animation shows the comet's projected path: [74k MPEG] [97k Quicktime]
 
The Symbol of the Snail: First, there was Slow Food, then Slow Cities. Now, we're declaring this journal to be the world's first Slow Blog: May suitable doses of guaranteed sensual pleasure and slow, long-lasting enjoyment preserve us from the contagion of the multitude who mistake frenzy for efficiency.
 
On May 1, Magyarország will become one of the newest EU members. Potent historical images played crucial rôles during last year's referendum campaign: for example, in the second poster on this page (Büszkén a Hazára, büszkén Európára = Proud of our Homeland, proud of Europe), the map's 12 European Union stars show the outline of Hungary's pre-dismemberment borders. In posters for the other side, a Nazi swastika and red Soviet star occupy prominent positions.
 
Odds and ends. The 100 Greatest Movie Characters of All Time: yes, Vito's #1. Mr. Picassohead: become a legendary artist. Subservient Chicken: tell him to do stuff. Desktoproject: upload yourself.
 
Here in the U.S., it's Tax Day. California celebrated Tax Freedom Day earlier this week... not quite as good as Alaska (March 26), but not as bad as Connecticut (April 28). Definitely not as bad as England (May 30) or poor Denmark (mid-August). Sorry, Sparky.
 
Groening to lend his voice to 'The Simpsons'. The creator finally speaks up. (Just wondering: is Jessica Simpson the long-lost daughter of Homer and Marge? You can see a certain family resemblance...)
 
Post-briefing question: Daddy, why did we have to attack Iraq? One answer melds the lyrics of E.Y. "Yip" Harburg, the music of Harold Arlen, and the digital wizardry of George-Says.com.
 
Why is the London Tube map so fascinating? The Real Underground (scroll down) and Mapper's Delight just barely scratch the surface. Keep digging, until you see animals on the underground.
 
Thou shalt not consume thine own body weight in fudge: The Methodists have finally come up with an 11th commandment that makes sense.
 
Job listing: $400,000 annual salary with many perks, including 4¾ months vacation and unlimited naps. No qualifications necessary.
 
Schwarzenegger adds his two bits: The Governator flipped a bird onto California's design for the U.S. quarter. Condors all over the state began to chant, "We'll be back."

PS: Happy Easter!
 
Banned Books Week (September 25 - October 2, 2004): Spread the word early... and while you're visiting ALA's site, check out their Weird Al poster. [Sidebar: Getting one's book listed on the Index Librorum Prohibitorum (Pauline Index of Prohibited Books, used between 1557 and 1966) must have been quite an honor.]
 
So You Won a Pulitzer... Who cares? Related: Pulitzer Prizes: Keeping the Little Guys Down? We didn't win a Pulitzer (like The Onion), and we're taking some time off to pout. Back soon!
 
Cello Disco? The World of Arthur Russell is in my car's stereo, and this music is SCRUMPTIOUS. I ordered the disc after reading an article in The New York Times (now archived, dammit) and listening to samples at Amazon. Other pieces—about this CD, and Russell's Calling Out of Context—have recently appeared in The New Yorker, The Village Voice and Slate. They always say that dying is an excellent career move...
 
First, try Virtual Budapest. Then, if you have QuickTime and bandwidth to burn, check out a few Hungarian panoramas (click, drag and spin... exit at the bottom of the left frame). Later, drop into England's Homewood (lots of hotspots, with a bit o' tilt) and experience 360° (all directions) of Red Rock Canyon, in Las Vegas. Finally, visit Another World (M.C. Escher, 1947) and swirl 'til you're dizzy.
 
Are you gonna let your life just whiz by? If you've always wanted to write your name in yellow snow, urine luck.
 
Jeopardy Answer: Americans, British, Spanish, Australians, Canadians, Italians.

Question: Which nationalities are al-Qaida's preferred targets, in order of importance?
 
Think outside the box: 700Kb of explosive animé energy. Thanks to Darby Larson, who posted this link on a private discussion board. Darby is cool. [The GIF reportedly came from www.generyx.de.]
 
55 Bani Romanian postage stamp from 1976: 500th anniversary of Vlad the Impaler's deathVlad the Impaler: Son of Dracul (view this screenplay with the free Adobe reader): When Francis Ford Coppola recently honored Merlinsky, he encouraged us to write our first feature script in many moons. Log line: Many will assume this is just another retelling of the 'Dracula' horror myth... but Vlad's story is true. [WARNING: GRAPHIC VIOLENCE / based on 15th-century history.]

From the script's coda: "The Holocaust killed approximately 10% of Germany's people. Some estimates claim that Vlad exterminated more than 20% of his fellow Wallachians." Many contemporary Romanians try to romanticize this butcher's image, saying he was a national hero. In fact, they made plans to build a theme park in Vlad's honor. Can HitlerLand be far behind?

PS: Buffy, you're needed in Marotinu de Sus. I guess Romanian men don't feel compelled to keep up with their women.

PPS: Advance word on the latest Dracula movie is not so hot... but Vlad seems to have become ubiquitous, with this old cartoon. ; )

PPPS: Here are some old Vlad-related films (1/2/3/4/5/6/7/8/9/10/11/12) and a relatively new one (the LA Weekly likes its "loopy" screenplay).

PPPPS: Britain's Prince Charles speaks about his blood ties to Vlad.

PPPPPS: Here's the novel that started everything - Dracula.
 
Spring forward, Fall back (part 2, return to 9 time zones): In the continental United States, Daylight Saving Time starts tonight, at 2:00 A.M. local time (except most of Indiana [scroll to the bottom] and some parts of Arizona). Then there's Navajo time, Hopi time, and a confusing mixture of the two.
 
Time Is On My Side; No, It's On My Side: Get an overview of The Intricacies of Daylight Saving Time at Yankee Pot Roast:

Silly Season, a.k.a. Daylight Saving Time (DST), is upon us yet again.

Residents of the European Union switch to Summer Time at 1:00 a.m. on the last Sunday in March, and all time zones change at the same moment (under the Universal Time system). It's very efficient and well organized. Bravo, Europe!

But here in the continental U.S., time-changing is a little wonkier. For most of us, DST begins at 2:00 a.m.—local time—on the first Sunday of April. So each American time zone "springs forward" at a different hour. However, things don't get really strange until we start dealing with the exception states of Arizona and Indiana.

77 Indiana counties are in the Eastern time zone and never switch to DST; they're on Standard time year-round. But five counties near Chicago, Illinois, and five near Evansville, Indiana, are in the Central time zone and change to Central Daylight Time. Two other counties near Cincinnati, Ohio, and three near Louisville, Kentucky, are in the Eastern time zone; they switch to Eastern Daylight Time. Theoretically, it's possible to build a house in Indiana with one time for the east wing, and another for the west wing. Depending on where they live and/or work, Hoosiers refer to the local time as "fast" or "slow."

In the Southwest, our time situation gets even crazier. First, there's the overall Arizona Exception: like those 77 Hoosier counties, most Arizonans refuse to spring forward. Then there's the Navajo Rejection of the Arizona Exception: the northeast corner of Arizona is part of the Navajo reservation (which extends into three states) and in an effort to keep the same time across the entire Navajo Nation, they observe DST. But then there's the Hopi reservation, which sides with non-Navajo Arizonans. Yes, the Hopi Partitioned Land, completely enclosed by the Navajo Nation, has declined DST... resulting in the Hopi Repudiation of the Navajo Rejection of the Arizona Exception.

Finally, there's Tuba City, Arizona, which is split in half by the Navajo/Hopi border. The time in each store is determined by who owns the business—Hopi or Navajo—which means that in Tuba City, time is used as a weapon of tribal warfare.

Ah, the good ol' summertime, when the livin' is easy.
 
Okay, Howard Stern pulled off a good April Fool's joke. And he wants you to contact the FCC, so he can continue earning zillions of dollars without being fined. Hey, censorship's never a good idea, but does anybody still CARE about Howard Stern? I thought not.
 
100 Most Often Mispronounced Words and Phrases in English: It's comforting to know that the idiot with his finger on America's nuclear trigger thinks it should be pronounced "nucular."
 
Does your country drive on the wrong side of the road? Why not switch over to the *right* side? Hey, if Sweden can do it, anyone can.