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12.30.2006

After The Hanging, The Body Remains

While the verdict and death sentence for Saddam Hussein were swift and unambiguous, it was much less clear on Saturday what would be done with his body.

Privately, both American and Iraqi officials say that the subject has been raised at the highest levels, but no decisions have been made. There is wide disagreement on the subject of his body, according to interviews with several top Western and Iraqi officials, nearly all of whom insisted on anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject.

The most discussed options include sending his body out of the country to his family in Jordan, where two of his daughters live; burying him in a secret location never to be made public; burying him in a secret location but, after a period of time, having him disinterred and sent to his family or tribe; or sending him immediately to his hometown of Tikrit to be buried with members of his tribe.

In fact, a top Sunni politician even raised the prospect of holding a state funeral for Mr. Hussein. That idea, a Western official said, had very little chance of becoming reality.

Salahedeen Hamad Humood, the governor of Salahedeen Province, which includes Tikrit, said, “We demand an official funeral for Saddam Hussein; he is the ex-president of Iraq, and he should be buried next to his sons.”

Mr. Hussein’s sons, Uday and Qusay, were killed by American troops after the invasion of Iraq. To convince the public that they were actually dead, graphic images of their bloodied faces were made public.

Similarly, Iraqi officials had said that the hanging of Mr. Hussein would be taped, although it was unclear on Saturday whether that had been done, and if so, whether the tape would be made public.

If Mr. Hussein were allowed to be buried in Tikrit, which had been his main base of support, it would be out of character with the way the remains of some of the 20th century’s other most notorious tyrants have been treated.

From Mussolini to Ceausescu, the vanquishers of the once powerful rulers have sought to ensure that memorials to them do not inspire the kind of passions they did in life.

Tojo, Japan’s leader during World War II, was unceremoniously cremated after going to the gallows. The location of the ashes was kept secret for nearly three decades, until the urn with his remains was secretly placed in the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo, where it remains today. The former Romanian dictator, Nicolae Ceausescu, was buried secretly in a nondescript public graveyard. Although the grave markers bore fake names, the site was public knowledge within a year. He was killed by firing squad on Christmas Day in 1989.

Hitler’s bones, the source of endless morbid fascination, were buried in secret, dug up, moved across East Germany, buried again and dug up once more only to be cremated. A piece of his skull is kept in Russia.

Mussolini’s body traveled far after he was shot by a firing squad and then hanged upside down in a public square. Slivers of his brain were taken by American doctors to see if he had been driven mad by syphilis, while the rest of him was buried in an unmarked grave outside Milan. The site was soon discovered and a young neofascist dug up the remains, stuffed them in a steamer trunk and hid them in the mountains. Eventually, Mussolini was recovered and reburied in the Adriatic Sea town of Predappio, his home town.

Iraq’s leaders are obviously wrestling with the same questions as the victors who deposed other rulers. But in this case, it is complicated by the state of lawlessness that rules this country.

While many people here seem more concerned with just staying alive than worrying about the resting place of Mr. Hussein, government officials in this country built on the worship of martyrs are keenly aware of death’s ability to transform.

12.27.2006

These look nice!

Any readers on VT snowboarding vacations are encouraged to steal a few for me.

12.24.2006

... More Than Meets the Eye

Surprised no one mentioned this... so what is the verdict? Is this just another Pearl Harbor waiting to happen? It is a Michael Bay movie, after all...



I really, really hope they ditch the story concept behind the really old trailer.. If you watch this thing, you're left wondering... "Why are cars on Mars?"

12.23.2006

12.21.2006

Santa, Santa, and Santa


Santa, Santa, and Santa
Originally uploaded by bigbabymiguel.
Furthermore, here are the photos from my roll of film.

Justin takes a little rest


IMG_2125.JPG
Originally uploaded by le Chickpea.

Stopping traffic


Stopping traffic
Originally uploaded by urbanblitz.

The large Santa tries to give her a dollar


CIMG2611.JPG
Originally uploaded by urbanblitz.

Paul on a cesspool sleigh ride


IMG_0185.JPG
Originally uploaded by Shdwspn.

Subway surveillance system



Originally uploaded by eatsdirt.

Santacon230


Santacon230
Originally uploaded by radiate2357.

Give Santa Beer


Give Santa Beer
Originally uploaded by urbanblitz.

Paul chugs on Delancy


CIMG2561.JPG
Originally uploaded by urbanblitz.

Central park


DSC_7116.jpg
Originally uploaded by dogseat.

12.20.2006

Santacon pics



Well...as promised Miguel and I built a giant Santa beer bong. Oded and the puppet are getting hitched in June. You are all invited. Happy Holidays

12.19.2006

You Know You're Nerdcore When...

...you boast to your peers about seeing a Nerdcore Show (MC Frontalot and MC Lars), but early in the night, and boozeless, you start to feel sick and run out the venue and don't even make it to the corner before vomiting up your entire dinner in three huge swells, all while a crowd of nerds watches and laughs at you. So you try to gather your dignity, tears of pain down your cheeks, and unlock your bike and ride home. Along the way you realize you have vomit on your shoes, your slacks, your gloves, your chin, and your new scarf. You periodically shoot out HCl-soaked whole kernels of corn from your nose. Then you go home and clean up (you realize it's not yet 9PM), change clothes, lay out some blankets and un-ironically pop in LOTR: FOTR Extended Addition and watch alone in the dark.

12.13.2006

Be careful this Christmas...

12.12.2006

Attn Boston and SF Bay Area readers

The Firefox commercial I was Director of Photography on is being broadcast on your cable systems. Lemme know if you see it; looks like it's on USA, ESPN, FX, MTV, SPIKE, and TNT, maybe more.

12.10.2006

The €5,800 Christmas Present

The Ilyushin 76 MDK, affectionately dubbed PoloniumOne.

A few things.

A few weeks ago, on a mission Paul and I undertook to have a drink at every bar on Atlantic Avenue between Flatbush and the docks, we saw a huge storefront that said WE IMPORT IRAQI DATES - GET IRAQI DATES HERE. We thought it was weird; here's the story. It was an experiment to see if there's any normalcy in US-Iraq trade relations 3 years after the "lifting of sanctions." Answer: no. (The guy who ran it, like Oded, has a Jewish Iraqi grandparent.)

Only the good die young.

A few of my thoughts on Apocalypto.

12.07.2006

Rochester, NY

Could potentially bring a tear to your eye -- if you're not a robot.

The king is drunk, long live the king

12.05.2006

What You Missed At This Year's Google Christmas Party

I decided this year that I wanted to go to as many Christmas parties as possible, and Friday’s Google Corporate Christmas Party was the first. Dooth, who was the person taking me, sent me a chat earlier in the day that there were rumors going around the offices that Jay-Z was going to be at the party. He was not. Which kind of sucks, because if Google can pay 1.65 billion dollars for YouTube, surely they can shell out a couple hundred thousand to ENTERTAIN ME. Except, truth be told, I was pretty entertained. Not in a Jay-Z way, since he did not show up, but in a “I’ve never seen this many rich white nerds dancing poorly to nostalgiac hip hop with their asian girlfriends in my life” way. The vibe was very “My Second Best Friend’s Wedding,” except instead of a celebration of love to hold things together there was just top shelf booze and plates of filet mignon that you had to eat standing up.

Besides the endless stream of Ask Jeeves jokes that were made, that’s really all there is to say about that, except for this one exchange at the end of the night. There were bars at every point on the compass at this party, on both the first and second floors of Gustavino’s, where the party was held. I ordered my single malt scotch at one bar, but they had run out of glasses and the bartender handed me my drink in a wine glass. But I’m not gay, so I went to another bar and held up my drink and said to the bartender, “I just ordered a Macallan over there,” and at this I motioned with the obviously unacceptable glass. “Do you have anything better?” The bartender shook his head. “Sorry, that’s the best we’ve got.” I started to walk away, but then I turned back. “No,” I said, “I meant the glass.” He apologized again and said that he didn’t have any tumblers left. But here’s the thing: who is such a dick that they go up to a bartender with a 12-year-old single malt scotch that they didn’t have to pay for and says “You cannot seriously expect me to drink this! Surely you must have something better!” Google employees, I guess. Rich fucks.

IR Fart



Thanks Ivan.

It's Over... Or Is It Just The Beginning?

Chess master lost to Deep Fritz.
Professor Monty Newborn, a professor of computer science at McGill University in Montreal, said of future matches: “I don’t know what one could get out of it at this point. The science is done.”

Mr. Newborn said that the development of chess computers had been useful.

“If you look back 50 years, that was one thing we thought they couldn’t do,” he said. “It is one little step, that’s all, in the most exciting problem of what can’t computers do that we can do.”

Speculating about where research might go next, Mr. Newborn said, “If you are interested in programming computers so that they compete in games, the two interesting ones are poker and go. That is where the action is.

Bob Dylan on country

Amazing. On the show themed "Your Friends and Neighbors," he plays a song called "Let's Invite Them Over," by George Jones and Melba Montgomery - about a couple who are in love not with each other, but with their friends (a great creepy sad song) - and then had this to say:

A song from the swingin’ ’60s. I don’t mean the swingin’ ’60s like Carnaby Street; I mean the swingin’ ’60s like, we have a party, and the men put all their car keys in a hat, the wives pick out a car key, they put on a Trini Lopez record, and everybody just swings.

Now, I’ve never been to a party like that myself, but I hear those kind of things happen.

Now, I love country music, but I say what happened to it? You hear a song like this and it’s obvious, it’s about real people, and real emotions, and real problems. That’s all — that’s the country music we learned to love. Nowadays they want to sweep all the problems under the rug, and pretend they don’t exist.

Well, guess what, folks? They do exist! And if you try and sweep them under the rug, they’re just gonna pop up somewhere else. So we might as well just face it and listen to the old style country music. The real country music. You know: about drinkin’, and sleepin’ around. That’s my kind of country music! And I hope yours, too.

But I digress.

December 5th, Celebrating the End of Prohibition



Slate is running a great series of images to mark this great day in history.

12.04.2006

The Trainrider...

... RIP.

12.01.2006

Riveting reading

Via Boing Boing

LAKELAND -- A man who was attacked by an alligator this morning was naked and smoking crack at the time...