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    Overheard on the Web, and other Web links
    From The Herald's Research Editor

    Wednesday, December 29, 2004

    A music post, for a change 

    The BBC had a contest to choose the Greatest Opening Song Line in rock 'n' roll history. The winner: Warren Zevon, for Werewolf in London:
      "Saw a werewolf with a Chinese menu in his hand, walking through the streets of Soho in the rain, he was looking for a place called Lee Ho Fook's, going to get a big dish of beef chow mein".

    Second: Bill Haley's Rock Around the Clock.
    (Via J-Walk Blog.)

    posted by liz at 2:10 PM
    (3) comments

    Florida news 

    I had no idea that The orange is not Florida's official fruit. But now someone's doing something about that, according to Nancy Cook Lauer in the Tallahassee Democrat.

    Also in The Democrat, all about Gov. Jeb! Bush's shiny new jet plane, from Bill Cotterell. Handy for those side trips to Maine. The plane is actually a year old and was needed to replace a smaller prop plane that was shaky in storms.
    (Via Florida Blog and Florida Politics Blog.)

    posted by liz at 11:53 AM
    (0) comments

    And, in politics: 

    Failure magazine has announced its Failure of the Year, and awards it to: The American Voter. "In the next four years, Americans may not get what they asked for but will certainly get what they deserve."

    The Christian Science Monitor finds that FEMA has paid $3.17 billion to Florida hurricane victims, while the U.S. has promised just millions to victims of the Asian earthquake and tsunami. Those FEMA payments were highlighted in another Florida newspaper's report recently, and some observers think they helped president Bush get the Florida vote.
    (Via Cursor.)

    posted by liz at 11:37 AM
    (0) comments

    Tsunami followup 

    Some new links for those looking for information or how to help, following the tsunami disaster in Asia:
    Cheese and Crackers blog is posting links to video online, as well as help links.
    The Tsunami Help blog (SEA-AT) continues to post lots of links, including this one:
    Flickr Missing Persons photos; not much there yet but it is a place people can post photos of people still missing.
    WikiNews, a new experiement in community-written news, has posted a page of news links on the tsunami. It's fascinating to see what a non-professional group of unrelated people can create to provide information. There's lots of great information here, including statistics.
    Here's the Wikipedia entry on the 2004 earthquake and tsunami, obviously just written, also a collaboration of readers. It's absolutely amazing how quickly these things can be put together. And with the collaborative software, these entries will be continually added to and edited for accuracy. has lots of contact information for those looking for information or wanting to help.
    Digital Globe has a gallery of satellite images.

    posted by liz at 11:13 AM
    (0) comments

    You could see this one coming 

    You know that fun story last week about the Web site where you could control the Christmas lights on a Denver family's house? It was a fake. I figured anything that got mentioned over and over again by the folks on Headline News (and all the local news, too) was getting just way too much publicity. The family's Web site now admits it all.

    posted by liz at 10:33 AM
    (0) comments

    Tuesday, December 28, 2004


    South Knox Bubba has a recap of 2004 as it might have been....

    The Christian Science Monitor found one man who figured out private investment would have earned him less than Social Security.

    Online Journal has a report on how the language changed in 2004.

    posted by liz at 1:48 PM
    (0) comments

    Monday, December 27, 2004

    What's been happening while we've been off 

    Some people have been celebrating Chrismukkah. Others have been celebrating Festivus. And of course, for those celebrating Kwanzaa, The Official Kwanzaa Website.

    Edward Driscoll has been looking back and calls 2004 The Year of Blogging Dangerously.

    For those still thinking about the war, The Campaign on Iraq Poster exhibition.

    Disaster in Southeast Asia:
    There are some great resources for seeing what people saw when the earthquake and tsunami struck. A photographer at Phuket, Thailand, posted some amazing photos from the tsunami. World Changing blog has an amazing story of a rescue in India. A new tsunami help blog is collaborating on relief efforts and news. A blogger named Fred in Sri Lanka has photos. Doctors without Borders is on the way to help. Lots more photos from Phuket from a French photojournalist. ReliefWeb has all the disaster information. (If this link doesn't work, go to Main ReliefWeb page.)
    More tsunami links from Boing Boing.

    posted by liz at 1:40 PM
    (0) comments

    Friday, December 24, 2004

    OK, just one more... 

    Have you ever seen the 'Badger, Badger, Badger' site? Now there's a 'Santa, Santa, Santa, Badger Style'.....Can't get much goofier, but there is at least a small reminder here of the real meaning of the holiday.....
    (Via Metafilter.)

    posted by liz at 5:19 PM
    (0) comments

    A few last minute things for Christmas 

    There is Christmas in Baghdad, too. Rose writes A Diary from Baghdad, and has this to say:
      Christians in Iraq usually celebrate Xmas and have a two day holiday which is 25th and 26th of Dec. their traditions is very similar to our Eid with few differences. they have Christmas tree with the usual decoration, they go to church for prayers and then start their Eid similar to us.
      ...The Iraqis have strong bonds between them, in spite of religion or ethnic differences, we all work together, have neighbors from other religions, visit each other and respect our differences. my neighbors are shias, my best friends are Christians and Kurds and I'm Sunni, but we all have good relations between us. I'm afraid of those who are trying hard to tear us a part, for me I don't think they will succeed but I'm sure they are from outside Iraq, and they want Iraq to separate into several parts or maybe drag it to civil war.

    And, for those interested in where our Christmas traditions come from, The Guardian has A history of Saint Nicholas.

    posted by liz at 3:00 PM
    (0) comments

    Thursday, December 23, 2004

    More colorful lights, and a standoff in Havana 

    HouseBling is a blog linking to photos of Christmas lights around the world. They link to reports from the BBC and other news services about some holiday displays put up by the U.S. Interests Section in Havana, which got a response from the Cuban government.....
    I really like the gothic stained glass lights on Galeries Lafayette in Paris....

    posted by liz at 3:38 PM
    (0) comments

    Your own personalized radio 

    Are you podcasting yet? Or downloading podcasts to listen to? If you're not yet familiar with podcasting, there's help: Podcast Alley has a directory of available podcasts, Podcast popularity rankings, and, if you're still unclear on the concept, a definition of podcasting from Wikipedia.
    Not enough? Try, which seems to be an even bigger directory, and also has links to download podcast software.
    (Via Librarians' Index to the Internet.)

    posted by liz at 2:50 PM
    (0) comments

    Wednesday, December 22, 2004

    On a serious note.... 

    The ACLU's report on Guantanamo finds that President Bush may have authorized illegal torture methods at the detainee camp there. Meanwhile, another ACLU report, on Abu Ghraib finds that the Army interfered with investigations into torture and killing there. Merry Christmas.

    How Bush Really Won is a report from Florida on the TomDispatch blog:
      The Democrats had come remarkably close. They had matched the Republicans in fund-raising dollar for dollar and had mounted an unprecedented "ground game." On election day they managed the impressive feat of bringing eight million more voters to the polls than they had four years before. But the Republicans managed to bring in eleven million additional voters. George W. Bush, having gained half a million fewer votes than Al Gore in 2000, defeated John Kerry by three million votes [11].

    What's life like in Iraq these days? 'Riverbend' at Baghdad Burning has a Christmas Wish List. What she'd like most, after a year and a half of war: electricity.

    Rude Pundit turns Bush's press conference into A Poem.

    posted by liz at 10:26 AM
    (0) comments

    More holiday fun 

    If you enjoy silly Christmas greetings, you'll love Musical Reindeer.

    posted by liz at 10:16 AM
    (0) comments

    Tuesday, December 21, 2004

    More holiday cheer 

    HouseBlingers is another site highlighting lavishly decorated homes, based in the UK. Most of the homes are in English towns.
    (Via Guardian NewsBlog.)

    Sheila Lennon is collecting links to games for a snowy day.

    Not holiday-related, but this would be fun to spend time reading on a day off: Overheard in New York, in which someone writes down those conversations you overhear while shopping, in restaurants, or in the Subway. Fascinating. Why hasn't someone done this earlier?
    (Also via the Guardian.)

    posted by liz at 5:14 PM
    (14) comments

    Monday, December 20, 2004

    Too much fun 

    That's what the folks at the Website are having with a set of spam emails and other Web ads. They've found a model they've named Alicia and have made up a whole new life for her. Funny how her photo keeps showing up....
    (Via Rex Hammock.)

    posted by liz at 4:42 PM
    (2) comments

    Hemingway speak 

    Here's a Christmas tale you can't miss: The Night Before Christmas, told by Ernest Hemingway. Well, it was really written by James Thurber, and published in the New Yorker in 1927, but it's worth reading anyway.
      "Father," they said, and banged on their beds.
      "What do you want?" I asked.
      "We have visions of sugarplums," the children said.
      "Go to sleep," said mamma.

      ..."I saw him," I said.
      "I did see him."
      "Sure you saw him." She turned farther toward the wall.
      "Father," said the children.
      "There you go," mamma said. "You and your flying reindeer."

    posted by liz at 2:22 PM
    (0) comments

    More on Merry Christmas 

    Jeff Jarvis has a much more thoughtful post on the question of Christmas and religion in this country, with lots of links to others' posts.

    posted by liz at 1:34 PM
    (2) comments

    Military concerns 

    Soldiers for the Truth, website from ret. Army Col. David Hackworth, is reporting on the question of why Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld couldn't sign condolence letters to families of lost American soldiers. There's also a section on the lack of armor on military vehicles in Iraq.
    One article on the site also gets into the discussion of whether Chattanooga Times Free Press reporter Lee Pitts should have coached a soldier on his question to Secretary Rumsfeld on the armor. (Pitts' stories are available without registering on the Times' Website.)
    Want to help a member of the military this Christmas? There's a guide to relief agencies with addresses of where you can send donations, letters, or gifts.
    (Via Guardian NewsBlog, which also links to the discussion of Rumsfeld at Line in the Sand Warblog from a soldier in the middle east.)

    posted by liz at 1:14 PM
    (0) comments

    Time for a party 

    Planning on going to Washington for George W. Bush's second inauguration in January? Here's the information. Want to know who's paying for it?
    If you can't get tickets, Jazz Funeral for Democracy is a 'celebration' to be held in New Orleans the day of the inauguration.
    (Via Cursor.)

    posted by liz at 1:07 PM
    (3) comments

    Sunday, December 19, 2004

    Just in time for the Holdays... 

    Remember the folks at JibJab, two brothers who produced the great "This Land" animation that poked fun at both Presidential candidates, George Bush and John Kerry? Now they've come up with a holiday animation, JibJab's Grumpy Santa. It takes a few steps to get to the film, as it takes you through a Yahoo! site. If you want a copy you can get to faster, you can pay to download.
    (via Lost Remote.)

    Have one, anyway
    While we're on the topic of the coming holiday, there's a timely post by regular Vanity Fair contributor James Wolcott, who notes a rash of complaints about whether 'Merry Christmas' is a dying expression. Not so, says Wolcott:
      "This "fear of Christmas" is a phantom menace conjured every year so that certain crybaby Christians can adopt victim status and model a pained expression over the sad fact that not everyone around them isn't carrying on like the Cratchits."

    This is probably a surprise to The Committee to Save 'Merry Christmas', which organized a boycott of Macy's this year, despite the fact that, as Wolcott points out, The Macy's Web site "...wishes a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays".

    Love of lights:
    If you love to look at lavishly decorated holiday homes, here's a great Website that lets you see great light displays all over the country...and the world: Planet Christmas' Showing off in 2004 has photos sent in by proud homeowners, some of them with links to their personal Websites as well.

    posted by liz at 5:08 PM
    (0) comments

    Thursday, December 16, 2004


    The Scripps-Howard news service has published a poignant story about children who've lost a parent in the war in Iraq: Children of the Fallen says there are nearly 900 so far, enough to fill 17 school buses. There are also profiles of several soldiers who died leaving kids behind: one of them, Staff Sgt. Wentz "Baron" Shanaberger was from Fort Pierce, Fla.
    (Via Daily Kos.)

    posted by liz at 4:56 PM
    (0) comments

    A Roundup 

    Apologies for lack of postings in last few days, but it's not for lack of trying. I just haven't found much that caught my eye. Today, though, there are a few things:
  • Under Mars is a site with soldier's photographs from Iraq and other places. There's not much to identify these photos, just the soldiers' labels. But there are 64 pages of photos right now, mindboggling. The first photo I saw: blood on a floor.
  • Cube Figures is a new toy consisting of office cubicles and the tiny people who live in them. Not sure why anyone would want to reproduce this, but they are cute.
  • And finally, The White House invites you to enjoy their holiday celebration (at least, from a distance). And among the things here, a White House video called Barney Cam: Where in the White House is Miss Beazley, in which the President and First Lady, along with several staffers, introduce the newest White House pet. (If you can't get the video to work, here's a summary from CBS News.)
    There's some gossip about the White House Christmas celebration, too. Wonkette reports that Bill Clinton's portrait was removed to make room for decorations.

  • Collins Word Exchange is a site from the British dictionary publisher which discusses use of words (old and new). Among the discussions here today: whether 'youse' is a valid word. Fascinating.

    posted by liz at 10:27 AM
  • (2) comments

    Tuesday, December 14, 2004


    Tired of the Red/Blue state thing yet? If not, here's more: is a campaign to encourage Democrats to buy from companies that haven't given huge campaign contributions to the Republicans. Interested in which companies those are? Their Blue Christmas page has the lists. Turns out there are a lot of familiar names on both but some really big ones in the Republican column; think Wal-Mart, Penney's, Sears, Target, Amazon....(Nordstrom, Starbuck's, Whole Foods on the other side). Fascinating. (Via Lynne)

    For more, the OpenSecrets Website from the Center for Responsive Politics has the data. They have an open letter on their site saying they are not behind an email going around supporting political shopping. But you can use their site to get more data on who gives what to whom, and lots more about political finance.

    posted by liz at 6:15 PM
    (0) comments

    Following the stories 

    For those interesting in learning more about the Bernard Kerik story, Joshua Micah Marshall at Talking Points Memo is gathering all the stories and gossip. There's a whole lot more to the ex-NY police commissioner and erstwhile Homeland Security secretary nominee than met the eye, and this one, with tales of ex-wives, affairs, and financial problems as well as involvement in dubious business ventures, has something for everyone.

    And, on the sad story of the California reporter who committed suicide last week, Sheila Lennon is collecting links. Gary Webb reported a story for the San Jose Mercury a few years back that tied the CIA to drug money in Central America. Webb may have never recovered from the backlash.

    posted by liz at 10:44 AM
    (0) comments

    Friday, December 10, 2004

    How they are injured 

    Here's a fascinating report on injuries suffered by our soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan: Casualties of War: Notes from a Surgeon, in the New England Journal of Medicine. It has statistics on numbers of wounded, types of injuries, and discussion of whether care is sufficient, considering that at any time the military has somewhere from 60-100 surgeons in country. Fascinating stuff here, like this:
    Surgeons also discovered a dismayingly high incidence of blinding injuries. Soldiers had been directed to wear eye protection, but they evidently found the issued goggles too ugly. As some soldiers put it, "They look like something a Florida senior citizen would wear." So the military bowed to fashion and switched to cooler-looking Wiley-brand ballistic eyewear. The rate of eye injuries has since decreased markedly.

    posted by liz at 5:40 PM
    (1) comments

    Hope from tragedy 

    Remember Ali Abbas, who lost his arms in the U.S. bombing of Baghdad? He was a sad reminder of how even a 'surgical strike' has innocent victims. After evacuation and healing in Kuwait, he was taken to the UK for rehabilitation. A year and a half later, and despite being fitted with artificial arms, He's painting pictures with his feet. More on Ali from the Limbless Association.

    posted by liz at 5:27 PM
    (0) comments

    On a lighter note: 

    The twelve days of Christmas continue to reflect inflation. PNC Bank has been analyzing the cost of the items and services in the traditional song, and in this year's study, have discovered that the partridges, dancers, golden rings, etc. would now cost over $17,000 (they were about $12,000 when the survey started in 1984).

    posted by liz at 10:49 AM
    (0) comments


    Among bloggers, UM's Michael Froomkin is keeping up the interest in what's going on at our facility in Guantanamo. In his latest post on the topic, he's reacting to Carol Rosenberg's story predicting a permanent facility there.
    Froomkin, among others, is calling what's going on there torture. In a new site, Torture American Style, Historians Against the War posts several documents outlining what's going on in Guantanamo along with stories of other instances of torture in American history.
    And, Amnesty International's information on Guantanamo is headlined 'A Human Rights Scandal'. (part of the World News Network) is an entire site devoted to concerns about the Guantanamo camps.

    posted by liz at 10:19 AM
    (0) comments

    Monday, December 06, 2004

    The horror 

    There are reports that the U.S. military is using napalm in Fallujah. Let's hope this isn't true. Talk about not learning from the Vietnam lesson....

    posted by liz at 6:35 PM
    (0) comments

    It's happening again... 

    Veterans for Common Sense is rerunning a Story of an Iraq vet's homecoming that ran originally in Daily Kos. It's heartbreaking.
    My wife had warned me that I might not be happy with the neighborhood when I got back, and I could see why when I pulled on to my street. There were only two yellow ribbons on display in our neighborhood. One was in front of my house, and the other in front of the Vietnam vet at the end of the block. The rest were a mixed bag of "peace" signs, and each and every one of them felt like a kick in the gut. I had a deep and viscerally angry reaction when I saw them. I believed in what I had done in Iraq, and I was insulted.
    ...I'd like to say that I'm not angry anymore, but it would be a lie. I am deeply pissed off at over 50 million of my fellow countrymen, and despite what John Kerry says, I can't forgive and forget. I don't care about healing. I want a reckoning, and I want my party to deliver.

    Do we never learn? We could have looked back at the aftermath of Vietnam and taken steps to assure we didn't do that again. Why can't we blame the people who sent these guys to war and don't take care of them when they come back, and not the ones who have to suffer it?

    posted by liz at 10:07 AM
    (0) comments

    Getting scared 

    South Knox Bubba has a new terror color alarm chart....

    posted by liz at 9:54 AM
    (0) comments

    They're everywhere! 

    Now that the Virgin Mary Grilled Cheese sandwich is safely home in Las Vegas, now we can look elsewhere for inspiration. There's picture of Jesus in a dental X-ray in Phoenix....

    posted by liz at 9:48 AM
    (0) comments

    Wednesday, December 01, 2004

    Paying attention: 

    In Iraq:
    Jeff Jarvis has posted a startling example of how blogs may sometimes report news that doesn't make it to the mainstream media. According to Jarvis, Iraqi bloggers predicted the current violence a long time ago. If there had been more notice in American media, perhaps some of this could have been prevented? In particular, he cites Zeyad's Healing Iraq blog, which was reporting chaos in Baghdad at last posting over a week ago:
      "Just in case you were wondering. Yes, we did contact the police in our neighbourhood using the public phone numbers they had given out a couple of months ago. Guess what? They were surrounded by insurgents and couldn't do anything about it."

    And, an interesting comment from this posting:
      "One can't help but notice that the clerics who usually incite holy wars in Iraq against the US occupation on the expense of Iraqis are based in countries allied to the US such as Qatar, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Egypt."

    And, in the Ukraine:
    If you're wondering what's going on there (considering it's another election crisis like Florida went through) and not finding much in the news media, try the blogs: Neeka's Backlog is a blog from a journalist in the Ukraine; she's writing a lot about the election crisis. Good Ukraine links here too. And, another Ukrainian blog: Orange Ukraine.

    posted by liz at 4:08 PM
    (0) comments

    Elisabeth Donovan

    Elisabeth (Liz) Donovan was a Herald librarian for 10 years, and Research Editor for 13 years. She came to The Herald in 1981, following several years at the Washington Post. She started blogging in 2000, with a news research blog, followed by the blog at in 2003. A frequent speaker and writer on news research, she was honored in 2004 by the News Division of the Special Libraries Association for her contributions to the field.

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