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May 24 - May 30, 2004
May 28, 2004
Peanut Envy

For believers and non-believers alike:

"He hoped and prayed that there wasn't an afterlife. Then he realized there was a contradiction involved here and merely hoped that there wasn't an afterlife."
-Douglas Adams

"I hope I never get so old I get religious." -Ingmar Bergman

"Gods are fragile things; they may be killed by a whiff of science or a dose of common sense."
-Chapman Cohen

"Theology is never any help; it is searching in a dark cellar at midnight for a black cat that isn't there. Theologians can persuade themselves of anything."
-Robert A. Heinlein

"The beauty of religious mania is that it has the power to explain everything. Once God (or Satan) is accepted as the first cause of everything which happens in the mortal world, nothing is left to chance...logic can be happily tossed out the window."
-Stephen King

May 27, 2004
Your Robot Masters, Part Two

During that brittle and flamboyant time between The Weekly Mingus' death and the birth of The Daily Mingus was a column so brilliant, so earthshakingly profound, that mere mention of it still enrages lunch-room debates and sheers the short-hairs off male scrotums all over the world. It was called, simply, Art for a Different Species and it addressed the concept that computers would be smarter than humans within fifty years, and at that point, they would evolve past us. We would be the chimps, and they would be our masters, if they so desired.

Of course, nobody wants to admit that the human race will be obliterated by robots, but there's a good chance that we will, especially when we take into consideration the impact that global warming, overpopulation, water depletion and the end of petroleum will have on the human race. Not to mention the fact that there won't be a single American military fighter / bomber plane in the world that can hold a human being - just unmanned Boeings and Lockheeds. Robots can be predator drones attached to a military mainframes, as well as funny looking Japanese dogs, and humans with AK-47s are gonna lose to those motherfuckers every time.

Further to being insulted by our impending role as organic doorstops, many people were insulted that they could be replaced, because how could a computer replace human creativity? Of course, the only thing more undeniable than human creativity is human arrogance and the thought that we have some sort of God-given right to be at the top of the food chain; physically, creatively or intellectually. So it was with great interest today that I read about a robot who has learned to do origami. It does it all through the use of highly complex mathematics, but the end result is: a machine is making paper art.

My only hope is that when the machines gain sentience, that they fear death as much as we do, but that they are smarter than we are, and do not embrace some ridiculous religions and backwards moral genealogy, but rather embrace life and wish to perpetuate it, in all its forms, instead of destroying it, like humans do. 'Cause if they don't, if machines follow our path, we'll be a historical footnote, just like the passenger pigeons, but with some pretty pictures to mark our passage.

Thus spake Tourette.

May 26, 2004
Fear Up Harsh

LT. General Ricardo Sanchez is being removed as head of US military operations in Iraq. GW Bush said that Sanchez has been doing a "fabulous" job for the past year. Unfortunately, Sanchez is loosely tied to the Abu Ghraib Iraqi prisoner scandal, and is on record as suggesting the use of some frightening interrogation techniques, such as Fear Up Harsh.

As reported in the Washington Post:

WASHINGTON: A US military intelligence officer working at Abu Ghraib prison designed a plan last November that would subject a Syrian national held there to strip searches and sleep deprivation in order to break him, The Washington Post reported Sunday. The newspaper said US Army intelligence suspected the Syrian knew about the illegal flow of money, arms and foreign fighters into Iraq but was smug and refused to talk. Colonel Thomas Pappas spelled out the plan in a classified cable to the top US military officer in Iraq, Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez, suggesting that interrogators use a method known as “fear up harsh,” which military documents said meant “significantly increasing the fear level in a security detainee,” the report said. —AFP

So as I understand it, Fear Up Harsh is an approved method of interrogation used by the American military and CIA, as outlined in the Interrogation Rules of Engagement posted at the notorious Abu Ghraib prison. Fear up harsh involves significantly increasing the fear level in a security detainee by yelling, pounding the table and using other classified techniques, presumably to obtain information or make a point.

Fear Up Harsh could also be the perfectly fitted name for a cross-country tour of writers hell-bent on shoving poetry up people's asses, and pulling Bush's administration down by the nuthairs. And what would a tour be without a website? And what would a website be without a forum?

The Fear Up Harsh Tour and Forum.

Try it on for size. Think about it. Sleep on it. Consider the alternatives, and imagine the excitement if it were coming soon to a dot com near you.

May 25, 2004
The Hangover

Rick's stag was a thundering success. With almost thirty viking warriors to our credit, we owned the bar. Photos will be forthcoming. I don't know why I have to write about it, when the man at Lillerant has already written a fantastic account of the debauchery. Read it, it's fucking hilarious, and most impressively, written under the influence. Very nicely done.

At the end of my night, I don't think I could have written my name in snow with my own piss. Truly, I made a royal jackass out of myself, but what else is new. Fortunately, I was surrounded by people that I work with, so I will be able to experience the excitement of The Rude Awakening, The Walk of Shame and the Heat of Embarrassment, bright and early Tuesday morning. I'm hoping that my own debacles will be snowed under by the fact that everyone was wearing viking hats. I'm sure somebody else had heated discussions with the bouncers about their ability to stand.

It could be worse. I could have skipped making up Rick's life, we could have skipped the hats, skipped the drinking and all sat around playing Penny Ante Bridge at a coffee house and we could have skipped a drinking story that we'll be telling for the rest of our lives. Trust me. We'll be laughing about Rick's stag in twenty years. I expect it to show up in eulogies. And that's worth a little bit of hot shame. My favourite part? Drinking jagermeister out of my hat.

Happily, I've learned something from this experience. Rum, as much as I love it, is probably better enjoyed one shot at a time. And, people are gladly willing to participate in an enormous lie, as long as they get to add their own little details. Which probably explains why there were twelve disciples, and not just three. Also, viking hats add so much to a night of drinking that it is difficult to explain. As I mentioned before, photos will do it all justice. Be forewarned.

And...remember that today is the absolute final day of voting for the Tournament of Evil. At midnight, I will cut off the ballots. Days later, I will reveal the winner and the creators of the other works of art. Truly, they have all done a marvelous job. So if you haven't shown your appreciation yet, check out the entries and then vote!

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