Friday, August 12, 2005


In case you've never read one, Roger Ebert's zero-star reviews are the best. You gotta love it when a movie is described as "aggressively bad." Just when you thought the Dukes of Hazzard was the worst movie of the week...


An F.B.I. terrorism task force in Los Angeles has warned that "Al Qaeda leaders plan to employ various types of fuel trucks as vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices in an effort to cause mass casualties in the U.S. prior to the 19th of September. Attacks are planned specifically for New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles. It is unclear whether the attacks will occur simultaneously or be spread out over a period of time, and the goal of the attack is to collapse the U.S. economy."

This warning was issued after an overseas source indicated that terrorists might seek to steal fuel tanker trucks to inflict "mass casualties" by staging an anniversary attack. Despite this threat, there are no immediate plans to raise the national threat level.

As someone who lives in Chicago and could do without a large-scale attack, I would like to encourage all truck drivers to use the Club when stopping at the Waffle House. And don't pick up hitchhikers. And lock your doors. And if someone DOES manage to spirit off in your rig with a hefty payload of flammable materials, don't call the union first. Report it to the authorities immediately.

That is all.

Thursday, August 11, 2005


The U.N.’s nuclear watchdog agency adopted a resolution today calling on Iran to halt all nuclear fuel development. I think the official memo read something to the effect of: “Cut it out!”

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) was concerned Iran was revving up its nuclear facilities for some good-old fashioned weapon making, so it issued an edict of cease and desist. As you might imagine, the folks in Iran are not pleased.

Iran claims it has every right to pursue nuclear power, as atomic energy is a relatively clean and efficient way to generate electricity. Seems like a reasonable argument to me. Why should only a select few countries be permitted to reap the benefits of nuclear power? Unfortunately, the subject of uranium is bathed in gray.

At the heart of the issue is the popular backyard pastime of Uranium Enrichment. You may have tried it back when you were a kid, with mixed success. Today it seems like everybody’s getting into it. The North Koreans. the Iranians. Martha Stewart. Wait. I think Martha may actually be more into geraniums. I'll need to check my source on that to be sure. Anyhow, this is a delicate issue because uranium enrichment isn’t a game. It’s playing God with nature and can have potentially devastating consequences. Let’s discuss uranium for a moment, shall we? It'll be fun, I promise. And you'll learn something really cool!

It’s simple. Uranium is a very heavy, dense metal that’s found in most rocks. It pretty common, actually – as abundant as tin and tungsten in the earth’s surface. It is believed uranium was formed in a supernova billions of years ago, but it wasn't discovered until 1789 - by some unimaginative German who named it after the planet Uranus, which had been discovered 8 years earlier. It's powerful potential would not be fully realized or appreciated until the 20th century, after squads of meddlesome and enterprising physicists figured out how to tamper with the building blocks of matter. Now it's at the center of global politics as an element of concern.

Uranium's radioactive decay is what makes it so special. In fact, this decay is what provides the main source of heat inside our planet’s core. Of course, I could be making that up for all you know. But I’m not. Really. Go look it up. On the scale of naturally occurring elements, where Helium is the lightest, Uranium is the heaviest. And when the nucleus of a Uranium atom is split (this is called fission), energy is produced in the form of heat. A chain reaction of atoms splitting can create a whole lot of heat with very little uranium. This heat is then used to make steam, which generates electricity. It’s all very simple, really. I did it in my bathtub once with some Brillo pads and a home Fission kit.

Did you know that one nuclear reactor can provide enough electricity for a million people? In fact, the fission from a single atom of uranium produces 10 million times the energy produced by the combustion of an atom of carbon from coal. Yeah – uranium is an extremely powerful power source.

Most people don’t realize how important nuclear energy has become. Ten years ago, the U.S. had 109 licensed power reactors that generated about 20% of our country’s electricity. With supplies of natural resources increasingly in question, many believe nuclear energy represents the most reliable future source of energy. It’s also better for the environment. In 2003, 83% of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions resulted from the combustion of fossil fuels like coal, petroleum and natural gas. Emission-free, nuclear-generated electricity, on the other hand, spares the release of nearly 700 million metric tons of carbon dioxide EACH YEAR.

The benefits of nuclear power are not a secret. Plenty of other countries use nuclear power to generate much higher percentages of their nation’s electricity than the US. In France, 78% of their electricity is nuclear. In Sweden, 50%. All in all, over 16% of the world’s electricity is a product of uranium.

So why can’t Iran enrich uranium to provide electricity? Is it because highly enriched uranium can also be used to make powerful weapons? Not exactly. It’s because nobody trusts they won’t do it.

Some people, like me, can’t help but wonder why they’d need nuclear power when they’re sitting on top of one of the world’s largest oil reserves. They’ve got secure access to more natural resources than they could possibly ever use – and they’re building a nuclear reactor to generate electricity? You don't need an abacus to know something doesn't add up.

Magnanimously, the UN didn’t demand Iran quit uranium cold turkey. Instead, they’ve been given until September to lay off the atomic shit. So Iran is on the uranium patch.

My guess is that they’re not going to comply. And then sanctions will be imposed, after which the Iranian people will grow resentful of the “oppressive” world community. The threat of force will follow, and they’ll thumb their noses with nationalist pride at the Security Council…just as Saddam Insane had done. As tensions rise, Iran will declare all atomic operations suspended, and lodge a series of formal objections before the General Assembly. Inspection teams will be deployed to determine if they’re secretly producing weapons-grade fuel, but evidence will be harder to find than a good review of the Dukes of Hazzard movie. Hans Blix will write a book. Richard Butler will write a book. Jimmy Carter will pray for peace. George Bush will declare Iran a grave and gathering "NUKULAR" threat that must be confronted before it is too late. Michael Moore will stop eating to start his next big project: an answer to Morgan Spurlock’s “Supersize Me” in which he eats nothing but salads and fish for 30 days, losing half his weight including the massive the chip on his shoulder.

And you and I will continue to pay $2.76 per gallon for gas because big business refuses to explore alternative sources of energy. Like uranium.


As most of you know, I used to dump all of my thoughts into an e-mail and jettison them to hundreds and hundreds of people around the world every week. Since finding this format, however, I’ve only used my weekly e-mail blast to remind people to check in every so often. Many of you are already on the reminder list (because you appreciate the weekly nudge). But some of you may have stumbled upon this site by pure accident (fate), or because someone you love wanted to share something they love. So if you are not on the list and would like a weekly reminder to check back, you can subscribe here:

When I went to Topica to sign up for my list, I discovered I was a “Topica Pick.” Apparently, AYNtK has been designated a good read by the editors at According to their site, the little bug they placed next to AYNtK “indicates that a list has won Topica's pick for valuable content. Topica Picks are the most intriguing, amusing, useful and informative lists in their category.”

Well, I’ll be dipped in shit.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005


Broadcast network ABC signed the Rolling Stones to a season-long contract promoting Monday Night Football. The network plans to feature music and video footage of the legendary rock band in its promotional campaigns and highlight reels. So let me get this straight, the new season of American football is going to be ushered in by a group of old British guys? Okay then...just making sure.


"That kid's got a break like a thunderclap."

- The Color of Money

Tuesday, August 09, 2005



It’s not often, but every once in awhile I find a product or service I don’t mind crowing about. is one such service. Since I've never been accused of keeping things short, here's my long-winded explanation of why.

I fought the monthly online rental service for some time before finally signing up. I tend to be a late adopter when there’s a monthly fee involved. I guess I figure if I’m going to put you on my payroll, you’ve got to prove yourself first. The only thing Blockbuster had ever proven to me was that they could cleverly rename a late fee a "restocking fee" and then announce to the world that late fees were no more. Anyone hungry for a scam sandwich?

But beyond that, I wasn't sure if monthly was going to make sense given my rental habits. I felt I was better off renting DVDs when I felt like it, instead of paying up front and hoping I’d get my money’s worth over the course of a month. But the kid behind the counter at Blockbuster was kind enough (if slightly smug) to point out that I had rented 7 movies in a single month. I got his subtle point almost immediately: my rental strategy was not a cost-effective one.

At $4.26 per rental (yes, that’s what Blockbuster now charges me to RENT a movie), I’d spent $30 in rentals – when I could have rented the same number (or more) for half of that through

I signed up the very next day. Since then, I must admit I have found the service a convenient one. For $14.99, I get unlimited rentals delivered to my house, complete with postage-paid return envelopes. I can be in possession of three DVDs at a time and hold them for as long as I want without penalty (I’m sure there’s something in the fine print for people who insist on testing this policy). There are no restocking fees – I just watch them at my leisure and when I am done, I drop them in the post and wait for my next feature to arrive. I’ve filled my online queue with movies I want to see and log in weekly to peruse new releases. And instead of having to trek outside on a whim, my girlfriend and I always have three DVDs atop her television – movies we’ve selected either together or individually – to watch whenever we want. It’s easy, convenient, and cost-effective.

Now, there is another service like this one that you may have heard about called Netflix. It was started well before and operates in much the same fashion: a monthly fee for unlimited rentals. A friend of mine tells me they have a broader selection of movies, but I’m not qualified to speak to that. I can only submit that with my membership I get two free in-store rentals every month. That way if I don’t feel like waiting for a movie to show up, or get the spontaneous urge to see something “right fucking now,” I can hoof it over to my local brick-and-mortar outlet and pick it up for nothing. Netflix, having no freestanding stores, can’t offer that. Just this week I had the sudden inclination to introuduce a 5-year-old to the magic of Spielberg's E.T. So I printed off a coupon, headed over to Blockbuster, and walked out with a DVD. Convenient and cost-effective.

They do have different plans for different people. If you only want to rent a single movie at a time, they'll start you off at just $9.99. I prefer having a choice, and a lineup of options atop the I'm on board for the "3-at-a-time" program. If you're a movie renter, I recommend checking it out!

The End

Monday, August 08, 2005


There are just some things in life we're not meant to understand. I really believe that. Like sinus medication. How can it be the remedy for both a runny and a stuffy nose? I just don't get it. Whether you're all clogged up or flowing like a mountain stream, the same little pill is supposed to stabilize things in snot central. The whole idea confuses me. I'm better off not thinking about it. Better I ponder something I may one day have the answer for - like how people are able to tolerate (if not enjoy) the smell of their own gas, but hack and gasp with disgust at the slightest hint of someone else's. Mysteries. Life is full of mysteries...