Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Postcard Rescue #2

P. 19 Sisters of St. Joseph Academy, Prescott, Arizona
Postmarked: Prescott, Ariz. November 22nd, 1939. 5 PM
"Red Cross -ol- Join"

Stamp: Green, George Washington, right facing profile, 1 cent.


Mr. and Mrs. Frank Becicka
R.F.D. No 1.

Postcard Message:

Dear Folks. Here as a------
the southwest h-------
wonderful trip, visited
Los Angeles, San Diego
and old Mexico, in San
Diego we had a boat ride
on the Pacific Ocean and
saw the fleet come in from
practice also our boat picked
up sailor boys off of big
ships where the boys wanted
to spend the weekend in
the city. Your cousin
Lizzie and George Kolda

Will tell you more about it when I see you.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Crystal Gavel of Spontanteous Writing

This is another bit of internet-writing-memorabilia akin to Michael Martone's Leftover Water. However, whereas the sale of Martone's water was laden with obvious writerly artifice from start to finish, it seems possible that the assortment of crystal hammer reviews may be born less out of a collective plan to create a postmodern essay or collection of stories, than a spontaneous response to the shear strangeness of the product.

However, this still doesn't come close to matching the fictional delight inherent to the products of merchant starry1_night on ebay. Though I may be close-minded. Perhaps there is nothing fictional about "offering authentic djinn on ebay since 2005."

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Poscard Rescue #1

Rock of Crios, Park of the Red Rocks, Morrison, Colo (274)
Postmarked: Seattle Washington, November 22, 1913

Stamp: George Washington, 1 cent

Recipient: Mr. F. O. Johnson
Tacoma, Washington
Box 1034

Postcard Message:

Seattle, Wash.
11, 22,/13

Oh, you Church.
Somewhere in the neighborhood of 10:40
("Now, who do you s'pose
that's from?")

Love, Alice

Many antique shops carry old postcards. Some people buy them for their kitsch, old-timey feel. Others erase the messages on the back and resend them to friends.

Last year I created a blog specifically dedicated to these postcards. Who was the sender? Who did they send it to? Some how each of these cards left the study desk drawer, scrapbook, or shoebox and made it's way to an anonymous antique shop many decades later. Sadly, many find new homes after estate sales brought on by the death of the recipient, but surely others are just lost, waiting to be reunited with somebody who will cherish them as the worthless, but somehow also priceless artifacts they are.

I've found that I'm unlikely to maintain and post on two blogs, and so ojconfesses is now absorbing and re-posting the postcards that were previously listed on postcard-rescue.

Posts will present the address of the recipient, date and full text written on the postcard, and perhaps pictures of the cards from time to time. Follow-up posts will contain any information I've been able to find about the sender, recipient, and their family. If I manage to find proper heirs' addresses I will send them the postcard. Likewise, if you can provide further information about any card I've posted to this site, please comment.

Friday, May 8, 2009

The Konami Code strikes again!

Enter ↑ ↑ ↓ ↓ ← → ← → B A ENTER while logged on to Facebook to experience a special treat! To be fair, this is far less interesting than the sparkly Unicorns generated by the Konami Code on the ESPN website on April 27th. The ESPN easter egg provided intense, fleeting fun, and it's still unclear whether it was actually ESPN sanctioned. It doesn't seem unreasonable to imagine that Facebook's use of the Konami Code may not be a hack, and so it may be available to enjoy for more than a few hours.

For a more complete list of sites where easter eggs are activated by the Konami Code visit konamicodesites.com.

Most just cause an image to appear on the screen like a proliferation of zombies or prancing uniforms (Adventure Quest's are particularly perky). While I have yet to test every site listed, I wish more used the Konami Code in a spirit similar to its original purpose (to provide extra lives or powerups)to provide bonus functionality or games to the site, a la the original code.

Use the Konami Code on Jquery for an unbeatable Guitar Hero minigame.

Law and Order


Lead in from wired: Don Ayala — the U.S. Army contractor who pleaded guilty to a revenge killing in Afghanistan — won’t be going to prison. Instead, U.S. District Court Judge Claude Hilton sentenced Ayala, a member of the Army’s Human Terrain social science project, to five years probation and a $12,500 fine.

Ayala killed a subdued prisoner in custody, who had doused his partner in gasoline and set her on fire, after he learned that she had been severely burned.

This is a horrifying and tragic story, and perhaps it should be unsurprising that it's bringing out the worst in people on Wired message board. Many are arguing that Ayala shouldn't have been punished at all, or that the killing of unarmed prisoners is okay if the prisoner deserved it, or that Ayala did "the right thing." One even posted out-right racist comments (is anyone at Wired moderating or paying any attention to these messages?).

I may very well be a liberal softy, a title several posters pre-emptively denied, but most of all I'm an American who believes in the value of laws and feels it's important to uphold the very values we are trying to spread. Fortunately there were a few thoughtful responses that held true to American ideals. As posted by FarmerMonkey | 05/8/09 | 12:33 pm:

"This is a tragic case. I certainly sympathize with what Ayala did in the heat of the moment, but I disagree with anyone saying he did the “right” thing. Killing a subdued prisoner is a pretty black and white issue, with many unintended negative consequences."

Americans achieve justice through a legal system. Vigilante justice is exactly the sort of thing we're trying to quell in countries we're helping to democratize. And as posted by rapier | 05/8/09 | 1:39 pm:

"We kill people when they are a threat and Salam, no matter what he may have done, was no longer a threat. The killing of a bound unarmed prisoner is antithetical to the ideals of American military procedure. Ayala’s job wasn’t to exact revenge for the attack on Loyd but to further the goals of the United States."

And crosservice | 05/8/09 | 2:24 pm:

"By taking this man’s life without allowing him the basic right of due process Ayala has diminished the perceived worth of our basic human rights."

These aren't "army principles" as technophile, another poster, termed them. These are American principals, and furthermore they are principles that we are trying to advocate.

But nacoran | 05/8/09 | 3:33 pm has the best point:

"You can’t shoot prisoners. It’s not that this particular prisoner deserved to live, but that it undermines the custodial process. Suddenly bad guys are less willing to surrender without a fight (which can lead to more deaths on BOTH sides), civilians are less willing to cooperate, lines get blurred, criminals never get questioned to see if they know more."

"Making examples" of people is the rhetoric of the enemy. Even if you sympathize with Alaya, even if you understand why he did what he did, even if you think Abdul Salam should have been doused in napalm and then fed to the rancor, you have to realize that Don Alaya broke the law, broke with American principles, and ultimately may have strengthened the negative regional attitude towards Americans that is a major factor in enraging-tragic incidents like the one that befell Paula Loyd.

Please, please Wired comment posters: don't get so caught up in righteous rage that you seek to undermine the very values that we as Americans hold dear. If you think that killing subdued prisoners is acceptable then you're no Patriot, and probably need to stop jacking off to 300.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

House Party

Elsa/Getty Images