First, I'd like to welcome all the 2 Blowhards readers who were pointed here by Michael Blowhard's kind recommendation. It's wonderful to see some new faces in here. Thanks for coming by, do have a look around.

I feel very connected right now. Yesterday I took a trip down to New York to meet up with fellow blogger Maktaaq, who was visiting for a few days. I was delighted to discover that she is as charming and engaging in person as she is on her excellent blog. We visited a some cafes, boutiques, and pastry shops near Washington Square, strolled around, and had a very nice time. Afterwards I visited with a friend of mine who lives down in the city and whom I don't get to see nearly often enough.

I made the trip following a long overnight shift at work the previous night. I got home at 7 am, crashed for a couple of hours, then got up and took a train into the city to meet Maktaaq at 6. I ended up taking the last 11:58 pm train home, and on the ride back called work to discover that my shift for the following day was not 12:00 or 12:30 as I had thought, but at the ungodly hour of 7 in the am, a mere five hours in the future. I made it home and into bed around 3:30, only to have to crawl out of bed some two and a half hours later. Feeling terrible and not nearly up to working, I pleaded with my supervisor to be sent home as soon as someone else could come in, which I was two and a half hours later. I staggered gratefully home and collapsed into bed until almost six in the evening. My time sense is now quite thoroughly screwed up from all this, but at least I am well-rested and feel much better. All in all, the trip to New York was certainly worth the kink it's put into my schedule.

So. Onto the day's links.

There have been a lot of interesting articles on Scientology out there lately, with all the publicity about the goings-on of Scientology devotee Tom Cruise and new initiate Katie Holms. Salon is having a "Summer of Scientology" (odd choice of title, really -- it sounds like some kind of festival), a 4-part series of articles examining the pseudo-religion in depth: "Missionary man", about Cruise and his active role in promoting the Church; "Stranger than fiction", a review of L. Ron Hubbard's Dianetics that started it all; "The press vs. Scientology"; and "Scientology's war on psychiatry". All good, informative, and scary reads.

Slate also has an interesting article about Hubbard himself.

There's a deep chasm between the erudite, noble Hubbard of Scientology myth and the true identity of the church's wacky founder. To those not in his thrall, Hubbard might be better described as a pulp science-fiction writer who combined delusions of grandeur with a cynical hucksterism. Yet he turned an oddball theory about human consciousness—which originally appeared in a 25-cent sci-fi magazine—into a far-reaching and powerful multimillion-dollar empire.

Read the rest here.

The New York Times has an article about the laser-tattooed fruit that will soon be hitting shelves.

"When a Man Dies in a Sex Act with a Horse -- What's a Reporter to Do?" An article at Editor & Publisher talks about how some stories are just tough to cover tastefully.

An Ananova Quirkies news item tells the story of a family of Australian farmers who declared their land an independent country.

A thread at a WetCanvas! forum shows what happens When Graphic Artists Get Bored.

Moodgrapher is a nifty site with its fingers on the world's pulse, charting its collective mood as expressed by the shifting emotions of livejournal users. Their recent analysis of the effects of the London bombings is striking.

reading: Diana Darling, The Painted Alphabet; John Gardner, In the Suicide Mountains; Terry Pratchett, Hogfather
saw: Fight Club; Firefly; Beverly Hills Cop
playing: Seiklus, a fabulous game from innovative designer clysm -- more on this later

music: my "cool music" mix, curr. Moby, "Another Woman"
beverage: Twinings Prince of Wales tea

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Anonymous orangeguru:

Oh yeah ... can't wait to find advertising on my fruit or even instructions. This is a banana, peel before eating - do not swallow skin ...

Blogger bluewyvern:

Yeah, advertising kind of made me shiver. But PLUs wouldn't be so bad. I do hate those stickers. Of course, the stickers are ultimately removable while the tattoos are not...and I've certainly never had the problem of not removing them before I started eating and biting into them...

Blogger Maktaaq:

Thank you so much for coming from so far to meet me! I had such a great time! :)

Blogger bluewyvern:

So did I. And it wasn't far at all, really. Just a nice little jaunt to the city.


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