Paul Murray's weblog, with news you may have missed and my $0.02 worth on a number of topics.

"You can't make up anything anymore. The world itself is a satire. All you're doing is recording it."
- Art Buchwald

I bet you don't have a friend who's an acupuncturist

E-mail me: pmurray [at]

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Monday, May 24, 2004
Hollywood's customary attention to detail.
Not that it matters, but the movie Troy is apparently riddled with errors.

Monday, May 10, 2004
The permanent links aren't working at the moment, due to me fiddling and not having the sense to make a backup of the template first (sigh). This may push me over the edge to adopt a new design.

The law doesn't always win.
I always wondered whatever happened to the Bobby Fuller Four, best known for their hit recording of "I Fought the Law" -- originally written by Sonny Curtis and performed by The Crickets (after Buddy Holly's death), it turns out). According to the links in this Metafilter post, Fuller was found dead and pronounced a suicide, which seems preposterous based upon the description provided. The thread wanders into a discussion of the music, including the post-Holly Crickets. Rather than recreate my version, I'll just point you to that thread.

Ponder this.
You probably heard about this over the weekend:

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney has come out in support of embattled Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, calling him the best person the United States has had in the post.

"As a former secretary of defense, I think Donald Rumsfeld is the best secretary of defense the United States has ever had," the vice president said in a statement relayed to CNN through a spokesman Saturday.

Do you have any context in which to place this claim? Can you name any other Secretary of Defense, so that you can consider the competition? Feel free to pause and test yourself; when you're ready, here's the complete list. And if you want some further reading to make up your own mind about Cheney's assertion, read their histories.

Monday, May 03, 2004
It's all about finding the right expert.
A local police detective in the nearby small city of River Rouge was trying to identify a caller making bomb threats to the high school. The caller had apparently managed to disguise his Caller ID, and the detective was getting nowhere with the phone company, so he jumped on the net to do some research, and found the name of someone who apparently was an expert on such things: Kevin Mitnick, arguably the world's most notorious hacker, now gone straight after prison time. Mitnick "volunteered to give the detective a crash course in telephony, telling him exactly what kind of information to request from the phone company," and soon the detective had his man -- er, 15-year-old. (via Slashdot)

Sunday, May 02, 2004
George Orwell was a little early.
Lest there be any doubt, we are living in a society predicted in Orwell's novel 1984. For proof, I refer you to this Washington Post story, the headline of which is too good to make up. (via Wonkette)
Patriot Act Suppresses News Of Challenge to Patriot Act

By Dan Eggen
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, April 29, 2004; Page A17

The American Civil Liberties Union disclosed yesterday that it filed a lawsuit three weeks ago challenging the FBI's methods of obtaining many business records, but the group was barred from revealing even the existence of the case until now.

The lawsuit was filed April 6 in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, but the case was kept under seal to avoid violating secrecy rules contained in the USA Patriot Act, the ACLU said. The group was allowed to release a redacted version of the lawsuit after weeks of negotiations with the government.

"It is remarkable that a gag provision in the Patriot Act kept the public in the dark about the mere fact that a constitutional challenge had been filed in court," Ann Beeson, the ACLU's associate legal director, said in a statement. "President Bush can talk about extending the life of the Patriot Act, but the ACLU is still gagged from discussing details of our challenge to it."

A Justice Department spokesman declined to comment on the case.

Shouldn't that read "A Ministry of Love spokesman"?