Um, okay.

As a Southerner, I have more than a passing familiarity with kudzu, the ubiquitous vine transplanted to the American South in an effort to combat erosion. Like most other such efforts, it backfired — in the lush heat and humidity of Mississippi, kudzu’s growth can be measured in feet per day. It’s been called “a vegetable form of cancer,” among other things, as it overwhelms surrounding vegetation and cloaks buildings and cars in a green net of vines.

Of course, now it turns out that you can eat it. And by “you,” I mean people other than me.

Watch or Read This.

I’ve become a one-trick pony in the wake of last week’s attacks, but there suddenly doesn’t seem much to be clever or witty about. Bear with me.

Last night, on his first program back after last week’s horror, David Letterman opened with a long, serious monologue about the situation. It’s very, very good and very, very strong. If you’ve got a good connection, go right now over the CBS site and check out the area for The Late Show. There’s a clip (RealPlayer) available under DaveTV – Big Show Highlight; I have no idea how long they’ll keep it up, but try and see it. If you can’t for some reason, at least read this unofficial transcript someone posted at the Well, purportedly from It appears to be accurate, but it’s definitely a weak sister to the actual clip.

Two More WTC Bits

Suck‘s 30 October 2000 column about the bombing of the Cole is both prescient and compelling, especially the discussion of Marshall’s book.

In other news, this purports to be a reasonably recent table of the tallest buildings in the world, though it’s at least partly out of date (Texas Commerce Tower in Houston isn’t called that anymore). I can’t vouch for its accuracy, but I assume it contains a bit of fact.

There is nothing I can say.

The events of 11 September are undeniably the most horrible for our country – and the world – in recent memory. On the Well, people have been posting that so-and-so’s checked in, that this person or that person are okay, and even though I don’t know them I breathe a sigh of relief.

The people at offer this photo as a show of online unity, for whatever it’s worth, and I figure it can’t hurt.

Dept. of Navel-Gazing Redux

After I posted the prior entry, I emailed my brother to tease him about his firm being the 23rd most frequent visiting domain for us here at NoGators. In reply, he says:

I’m proud to be 23rd. And, with a renewed faith in America and solid belief in the ideals that make this nation strong, I know we can move to 22d and then maybe 21st before we know it! This, my friends , is your call to arms! Only a can-do attitude will survive the treacherous slings and arrows of internet visitation placement but we can win! Go! Fight! Win!

Okay, kids. You know who you are. Shouldn’t you be writing briefs or something?

Dept. of Navel-gazing

I’ve just reviewed the Nogators stats for August, and something weird shows up. I’m used to seeing all manner of ISP originating domains, but #12 on the hit parade last month was Who are you?

Dept. of Nutjobs, Political Division

Houston-area attorney and crank John Worldpeace (his name was Kenneth Wolter until 1988) is running for governor of Texas. Oh boy. He’s also enlisted the aid of a telephone solicitation firm, so every few days I get another long burst of screed on my answering machine. He’s also actively endorsing non-nutjob Houston mayoral candidate Chris Bell, who in turn is trying to get Worldpeace to stop drumming up votes for him in his phone messages. I can’t imagine why.

“Great movie. Loved the music. Congrats on the awards. Now pay up.”

Oscar-winning documentary-maker and guitar player Ry Cooder is being shaken down for $25,000 by our lovely government on account o’ him spending time and money in Cuba — while making the Buena Vista Social Club, which of course subsequently won all sorts of awards (I’m guessing director Wim Wenders is also being fined). It seems you still need permission of the US government to spend money there. Never mind all that claptrap about bringing people together, or illustrating what a fool’s errand the embargo is, of course. Wow.

This is just cool.

Scientists have discovered that certain types of brittlestars heretofore believed to be blind due to a wholesale lack of eyes (go figure) are in fact all eyes. Somehow, they use the beadlike crystals that make up their external skeltons to create one big compound eye. Neat.

Something else to worry about.

Someday, eruptions in the Canary Islands could create enormous tidal waves that threaten much of the Atlantic coast. This may be the first actual reason to consider the midwest as a vacation spot.

Correction: Longtime Arrant Knave Joe M., late of Iowa, writes:

I can’t be more adamant here….there is absolutely no good reason to visit the midwest. I would take death by an enormous wall of water over waking up one more day in this godforsaken hell hole. Please inform the rest of the Arrant Knaves.

We stand corrected. NoGators regrets the error.

This Just In: Dogs and the Internet Banned!

By now, we’ve all gotten used to the weird fundamentalist thrashes foisted on the Afghani people by the Taliban; this time around, they’ve banned the Internet, which I figure means precisely squat in a country with virtually no technological infrastructure. Though I’m sure it will help with their educational trouble.

But Iran isn’t Afghanistan, and moderate forces seem to be making progress there. Of course, they’re still working through their issues with dogs.

At the risk of being culturally insensitive: Wow.

Afroman Redux

The aforementioned Afroman, Mississippi hip-hop legend, has a hit on his hands with “Because I Got High.” Of course, loyal Heathen knew about him several weeks ago, but the single is climbing the charts in the wake of its inclusion on the Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back soundtrack. It’s a charming ditty with lyrics like

I messed up my entire life because I got high
I lost my kids and wife because I got high
now I’m sleeping on the sidewalk and I know why
because I got high, because I got high, because I got high.

Of course, the next step is a video, presumably one clearly documenting the dangers of the nefarious weed named in the title. Nevertheless, the goons at MTV are insisting on — you guessed it — changes to avoid explicit references to or images of (right again!) smoking pot.

This from the network that gave us Jackass?

Dept. of Conflicting Loyalties

I love the South. I really do. For all its flaws and problems, it is my home. Its rhythms and cadences resonate with me in ways I can’t completely explain. Which I suppose is why I’m so pissed off by the behavior of the ignorant slack-jawed yokels among us.

Like, for example, Alabama Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore, the “Ten-Commandments” judge. Moore has, in his infinite wisdom (and arrogance), decided to commission and deploy a 2.5 ton Ten Commandments sculpture/monument for the state courthouse in Montgomery — all without checking with anyone else. Great move, Roy. Way to go.

Most of the discourse I expect about this development will trivialize and marginalize the South as a region, painting us all with a wide brush. Mitch Albom of the Detroit Free Press, though, manages to highlight the absurdity of this (via MSNBC) without resorting to such tactics.

Yet Another Reason to Love The Well

I’m not sure how we ended up talking about Liberace. But this post was the funniest thing I’ve read in weeks. The Well is a 16-year-old online community. It predates the wide availability of the Internet, which means it’s ancient by net standards. I won’t say it’s for everyone, but I certainly enjoy it.

Topic 476 [popcult]:  Come out, come out!
#234 of 235: well-coiffed and surrounded by finger-pointing attorneys (vard) 
Thu Aug  2 '01 (18:48)    11 lines

When I was a very little girl I was terrified of Liberace.

My mother used to carry around a photo of him from a magazine, folded up
in her purse, and if I misbehaved in public she would threaten to take it
out and make me look at him.

It always worked.