Archive for Miscellaneous

Listen to the CIA’s torture playlist

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The Anti Media:

According to declassified reports, video evidence and testimony from whistleblower guards and soldiers, the US government used music to torture detainees in a number of different ways.
In some cases, songs would be played in repetition for hours or days on end, as to drive the prisoner to insanity. Music was also used to prevent detainees from sleeping, which is another way of creating delirium and vulnerability in the detainees.
Some songs were chosen because they were annoying, while others were chosen because they may have been offensive to the prisoner’s culture or religion.
Below are some of the songs that have been identified most often as being used by the US military in their torture programs. Some of the songs are annoying and could understandably be considered torture, specifically the Barney & Friends theme song and the Meow Mix commercial.
However, some of the artists featured like 2Pac, Rage Against The Machine and (hed)pe are actually pretty good, and are actually philosophically opposed to what the military is doing.

Listen to the playlist on Spotify below:

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Burt Reynolds auction includes pro wrestling memorabilia

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You probably saw the news story Monday about Burt Reynolds selling personal items at auction. The 1978 Smokey and the Bandit Trans-Am got most of the attention but there are several other interesting items in the auction catalog.

One item that caught my attention was a Burt Reynolds Islanders WWF jacket (pictured above.)

From the description:

A black satin jacket embroidered “Burt” in yellow stitching at right breast and the “WWF” logo embroidered at left. The back is embroidered with an image of two palm trees and reads “The Islanders.” The Islanders was a professional wrestling tag team. Size extra large. The jacket was part of Burt Reynolds’ personal wardrobe.

The Islanders were a tag team in the WWF from 1986-1988 consisting of Haku and Tama. I did a pretty thorough online search to try to connect Reynolds to the duo but had trouble finding anything, so I am making the educated guess he was just a fan. Reynolds was the guest ring announcer for a match at Wrestlemania X in 1994 between Bret Hart and Yokozuna and he celebrated in the ring after Hart won. (Jennie Garth was the guest timekeeper for the match and Roddy Piper the guest referee.)

Aside from Wrestlemania X photographs, I was also able to find other photographs of Reynolds with wrestlers including the Bushwhackers, John Cena,and Ric Flair.

The Hollywood Reporter notes other details:

Hundreds of personal items belonging to the Deliverance star will be auctioned off at The Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas next month. Julien’s Live auction house is running the event.

The auction’s catalog, entitled Property From the Life and Career of Burt Reynolds, lists over 600 items, including such movie memorabilia as a jacket and shirt he wore in Smokey and the Bandit II, a football helmet from The Longest Yard and even a pair of monogrammed boots from 1996’s Striptease, for all those diehard Striptease fans out there.

Also on the block: several vehicles, a wide selection of artwork and sports collectibles and even a number of awards, including his 1991 best actor in a comedy Emmy for Evening Shade and 1998 best supporting actor Golden Globe for Boogie Nights. 

The sports collectibles, some of the celebrity memorabilia, and the autographed books are personalized to Reynolds. That usually makes the value less for an item, but in this case it would probably enhance them.

Columbus sought gold to fund crusade to retake Jerusalem from Muslims?

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A Columbia magazine interview with Carol Delaney detailed her background:

[A] cultural anthropologist and long-time professor at Stanford University, had little knowledge or interest in Columbus — that is, until she was teaching a course called “Millennial Fever” at Stanford in 1999 and came across a reference to the explorer’s apocalyptic beliefs. Delaney was intrigued and set out to research Columbus at Brown University in the summer of 2003. Two years later, she retired from Stanford to devote herself to research, which launched a remarkable journey in the footsteps of the explorer.

The same interview discusses Delaney’s book, Columbus and the Quest for Jerusalem: How Religion Drove the Voyages that Led to America.

From the interview:

Everybody knows that Columbus was trying to find gold, but they don’t know what the gold was for: to fund a crusade to take Jerusalem back from the Muslims before the end of the world. A lot of people at the time thought that the apocalypse was coming because of all the signs: the plague, famine, earthquakes and so forth. And it was believed that before the end, Jerusalem had to be back in Christian hands so that Christ could return in judgment. Columbus actually calculated how many years were left before the end of the world. He seemed to think of his whole voyage as a mission, which was part of this apocalyptic scenario.

Delaney also discusses Columbus wanting to evangelize and convert the natives after they were instructed in the faith properly. She points out that Columbus thought he could convert the Grand Khan of China to Christianity and that his forces could march on Jerusalem from the east. She also wrote about Columbus ordering his men to treat the natives with respect.

Delaney’s assessment of Columbus and his successes:

He was angry with King Ferdinand for not pursuing the crusade, and he recognized that terrible crimes had been committed. From this point of view, he felt the quest was a failure. In reality, it was a major accomplishment. Columbus went across the ocean four times in small wooden ships, without the use of modern instruments. In the process, he discovered the New World, even though he thought that he had found only the periphery of Asia.

 

From a review of Delaney’s book:

Delaney argues that Columbus was inspired to find a western route to the Orient not only to obtain vast sums of gold for the Spanish Crown but primarily to fund a new crusade to take Jerusalem from the Muslims before the end of the world—a goal that sustained him until the day he died. Drawing from oft-ignored sources, some from Columbus’s own hand, Delaney depicts her subject as a thoughtful interpreter of the native cultures that he and his men encountered, and tells the tragic story of how his initial attempts to establish good relations with the natives turned badly sour. Showing Columbus in the context of his times rather than through the prism of present-day perspectives on colonial conquests reveals a man who was neither a greedy imperialist nor a quixotic adventurer, but a man driven by an abiding religious passion. Columbus and the Quest for Jerusalem is not an apologist’s take, but a clear-eyed, thought-provoking, and timely reappraisal of the man and his legacy.

Tonight’s Musical Interlude: Forgot About Dre

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Tonight’s Musical Interlude is Forgot about Dre by Dr. Dre featuring Eminem. Consider yourself warned for strong language if you choose to play it.

DC ranked 2nd snobbiest city in America

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Movoto ranks DC the 2nd snobbiest big city in America behind only San Francisco. No wonder Nancy Pelosi fits in so well in both places.

Here’s the top 10 (full data):

  1. San Francisco
  2. Washington, D.C.
  3. Seattle
  4. Scottsdale, Ariz.
  5. Oakland, Calif.
  6. Portland, Ore.
  7. Irvine, Calif. (tie)
  8. Honolulu (tie)
  9. Madison, Wis.
  10. Atlanta

The criteria used:

  • Median home price (the higher the better)
  • Median household income (the higher the better)
  • Percent of population with a college degree (the higher the better)
  • Private schools per capita (the more the better)
  • Performing arts per capita (the more the better)
  • Art galleries per capita (the more the better)
  • Fast food restaurants per capita (the fewer the better)

Taco Bell testing a taco “shell” made of a biscuit

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Foodbeast has the details:

Their new Biscuit Taco touts a “warm, flakey, golden brown biscuit that happens to be shaped in the form of a taco.”

The biscuit tacos they are testing for their breakfast menu include:

  • Sausage, Egg and Cheese
  • Bacon, Egg, and Cheese
  • Sausage and Cheese
  • Egg and Cheese
  • Sausage and Gravy
  • Chicken with jalapeno honey sauce

They have already been tested in Atlanta and San Antonio and are currently being tested in Los Angeles and Orange County in California, according to Foodbeast.

Low-calorie Coca-Cola Life debuts in Fresh Market Stores

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AJC.com

Grocer The Fresh Market said on Monday that Coca-Cola’s new lower-calorie soda Coca-Cola Life has hit shelves in select locations of the chain’s stores in Georgia, Florida, North Carolina and South Carolina.

Based in Greensboro, N.C., The Fresh Market is the exclusive retail partner for the launch of the beverage through mid-October, the company said Monday.

[…]

Coca-Cola Life, introduced in 2013 in Argentina and Chile, ditches high fructose corn syrup for sugar and the sweetener stevia. It’s Atlanta-based Coke’s way to attract consumers who want the full-bodied taste of regular Coke without all the calories. A 330-ml can of Coca-Cola Life, for instance, contains 89 calories. A similar size can of regular Coke has around 140 calories.

The product will go on sale nationally in October 2014. No word on whether Fresh Market will be expanding it to their other states before then. Pepsi’s answer to Coca-Cola Life is Pepsi Next.