Shaken and Stirred
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Okay, so those are just random words that came up in a google search I did. But I like the pretty sound they make together.

Odds and ends from today and the week...

The Chicago Tribune profiles smaller magazines, calling some of them zines and maybe they are. Anyway, lots of good things mentioned here.

Slate thinks Survivor needs to shake up its rules, in a move that would surely cause people's heads to explode if it actually happened, and Sandra from the last Survivor completely thought Rupert was going home in her last column. I don't really know who I want to win this one, though I suppose it has to be Rupert by default. But it's sadly true that I didn't love Rupert as much this time around. My flaw or the show's? I'm not sure. I just wish Rich Hatch was still around, which must be proof of the aberration caused by this stupid show.

The grave housing D'Artagnan and the other Musketeers may have been found by Dutch explorers. (I love those books.)

Are the three musketeers and four swashbuckling chums buried under an unassuming Dutch garden in the town where legendary swordsman D'Artagnan was killed? Police plan to turn over an investigation into the discovery of the seven skeletons to archaeologists in the southern Dutch town of Maastricht, which has a history of battles going back to Roman times. "Specialists are determining how long the bodies have been there," a police spokesman said Tuesday.

This one's for you, Barth (a sort of follow-up by the local paper on the big WP story about this).

And in the best car theft story ever:

A band of cross-dressers has been stealing cars from dealerships around Alabama to drive throughout the Southeast to competitions for men who parade on stage in women's clothing, police said.

They don't send the cars to chop shops or sell them at too-good-to-be-true prices; they just cruise for a while in flash and style and then abandon the cars, often near gay nightclubs. "I guess they just wanted to look good when they got there," Birmingham auto theft Sgt. D.P. Smith said Monday.

(Via Syntax of Things.)

Lastly, Ted Conover weight in at the NYT on the Abu Ghraib abuses. Conover wrote the excellent book NEWJACK, about his year spent as a prison guard in Sing-Sing.

In the prison where I worked (and in most prisons, I suspect), there are two sets of rules. There are the official rules, which you learn during training and carry in a booklet in your pocket. And then there are the real rules the knowing what you can and cannot get away with.

Prison officers, in charge of people who are usually not nice, are bound to overstep the rules occasionally. The infractions may be relatively minor, like forgetting to unlock the cell of a difficult inmate when it's recreation time, or more serious, like participating in an "adjustment" of an abusive inmate. And when and if the incidents are made public, the test is always: will your superiors back you up? Is the boss a good guy or a jerk? Which rule book does he follow?

In a prison, of course, the boss is the superintendent or warden. He's the one who, in ways that are sometimes unspoken, sets the tone for the institution, making clear what's acceptable and what is not.

In a military prison during a time of war, it may be little harder to divine exactly who is in charge, and what's likely to happen if something goes wrong if a prisoner dies during interrogation, for example. The discredited former commander of Abu Ghraib, Brig. Gen. Janis Karpinski, has said that while the soldiers in the photos were technically under her command, military intelligence effectively ran the unit where the abuse took place.

Every time I'm alone in the car and start thinking about those pictures the last few days, I also start crying. NPR did a feature on the U.S. Marshals who made desegregation possible, in a lot of ways, yesterday afternoon and I was a basket case. Because they wore uniforms too. I'm thinking about this a lot, but I'm not going to talk about it here beyond this. I don't look forward to what's still to come and I don't trust the people in charge to even make good faith efforts to fix this. (Not that it is fixable, but things must be done anyway.)

And on that note, happy weekend. I guess I'll close with the lyrics to Johnny Cash's classic "Ragged Old Flag," almost a rap, and definitely appropriate at least to me. Just put extra emphasis on the scandalized nation line.

Ragged Old Flag

I walked through a county courthouse square
On a park bench, an old man was sittin' there.
I said, "Your old court house is kinda run down,
He said, "Naw, it'll do for our little town".
I said, "Your old flag pole is leaned a little bit,
And thats a ragged old flag you got hangin' on it".
He said, "Have a seat", and I sat down,
"Is this the first time you've been to our little town"
I said, "I think it is"
He said "I dont like to brag, but were kinda proud of
That Ragged Old Flag

"You see, we got a little hole in that flag there,
When Washington took it across the Delaware.
and It got powder burned the night Francis Scott Key sat watching it,
writing "Say Can You See"
It got a rip in New Orleans, with Packingham & Jackson
tugging at its seams.
and It almost fell at the Alamo
beside the Texas flag,
But she waved on though.
She got cut with a sword at Chancellorsville,
And she got cut again at Shiloh Hill.
There was Robert E. Lee and Beauregard and Bragg,
And the south wind blew hard on
That Ragged Old Flag

"On Flanders Field in World War I,
She got a big hole from a Bertha Gun,
She turned blood red in World War II
She hung limp, and low, a time or two,
She was in Korea, Vietnam, She went where she was sent
by her Uncle Sam.
She waved from our ships upon the briny foam
and now they've about quit wavin' back here at home
in her own good land here Shes been abused,
She's been burned, dishonored, denied an' refused,
And the government for which she stands
Has been scandalized throughout out the land.
And shes getting thread bare, and shes wearin' thin,
But shes in good shape, for the shape shes in.
Cause shes been through the fire before
and i believe she can take a whole lot more.

"So we raise her up every morning
And we bring her down slow every night,
We dont let her touch the ground,
And we fold her up right.
On second thought
I *do* like to brag
Cause Im mighty proud of
That Ragged Old Flag"

worm: "Ragged Old Flag," Johnny Cash

thingy/s to check out: Paula Guran's new blog, which makes us wonder what Locus review she's talking about

namecheck: Joan "Taking Names" Philo

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