Inflationary Universe

Offered without comment…

A ten billion dinar note from the last days of Yugoslavia. Tesla appears to be saying “You have no idea what’s really going on” to himself.


A quadrillion Zimbabwe dollar check. Apparently the bank prepared for million percent inflation by putting two lines for the sum section.


But if there’s one picture that’s representative of 2008: The Year In Money, it’s this:


Cat and mouse blamed for Albanian blackout

I’ve been fascinated by Albania for years. OK, so it gets made fun of often, and stories like this aren’t helping. I can’t help laughing though…

Cat and mouse blamed for blackout

Albanians may have found a new villain to blame for the frequent power cuts that have been blighting their lives.

The country’s main electricity company says a cat chasing a mouse caused a 72-hour blackout in parts of the capital, Tirana.

The animals ran into an area of high-voltage cables and were electrocuted, a spokeswoman for the firm – Kesh – told Reuters news agency.

“We took pictures because we’ve never had anything like this,” she said.

Power cuts have been endemic in Albania for many years.

The authorities usually blame drought and the dilapidated state of the communist-era grid, which appears to be buckling under the strain of the extra demand caused by the Albanians’ recent access to modern amenities.

Eastern Europe’s favorite cat and mouse team was apparently unavailable for comment.


There’s a ton of hysteria about the extra box you have to check if you’re a non-partisian voter in L.A. County who wants to vote on the Demoocratic ballot, and unlike Kos, et. al who are fanning the flames, the directions were pretty explicit from the sample ballot I received in the mail (page two says to check the box!) to the instructions you read on the ballot itself.

Bureaucracy doesn’t have to make sense.

Anyway I suppose I should have joined in with the folks who were taking pictures of their polling place, but everything was running smoothly this morning (I voted at the Oasis Christian Center on Wilshire). Took all of ten minutes.

There was a video crew from down the street and they ended up interviewing me for the site (note to self: when thinking, make sure your eyes are open). Techincally though, I’m not part of “a group of California Democrats,” – I’m non-partisian and just happened to vote on a Democratic ballot.

LA Times lifting from Wikipedia?

LA Times story reference to MGM Grand hotel fire

Wikipedia entry on MGM Grand hotel fire

I suppose I should really put in a 48 point Helvetica Bold “EXCLUSIVE: MUST CREDIT QUARTZ CITY” headline with the animated flashing red light and siren here, but I’ll leave that for someone else.

Kristin noticed that the LA Times’ story on the Monte Carlo hotel fire lifted some sentences from the Wikipedia entry on the MGM Grand fire. The Wikipedia entry has since been changed somewhat since then, but here’s as it originally was last night (and here’s a screenshot of the original LA Times story in case that changes)

The sentences in question are:

Most of the damage occurred in the casino on the second floor and its adjacent restaurants.


“The fire was caused by an electrical ground fault inside a wall soffit. The wiring inside the wall was used to power a refrigeration unit for a food display cabinet in the deli.”

My guess is that the LAT writer was in a hurry to put in some information on the MGM Grand fire and just pasted in parts of the Wikipedia article, but didn’t fully edit it down.

How to make money in the stock market

I’ve thought of a sure fire way to make money in a dubious looking stock market. If this ILX thread is any indication, there’s a growing need for stock photos of anxious and desperate stock exchange traders. Imagine an entire disc of photos like these:


Add in some generically important looking graphics of downturned arrows and shrinking bar graphs, all with liberal amounts of blood red ink, and you’ve got a best seller on your hands! Every news web site would be in your debt.

Of course the “Desperate Brokers” disc would only be the first volume of an entire stock photo series of 21st century desperation. Volume Two, of course, would be “Mortgage Mania!” and have pictures like these:

price_reduced.jpg foreclosure_sign.jpg

I’m calling the entire series FailureFotos. I don’t quite have the time to pursue it, but I encourage any QC readers to run with it. My only price is 10% off the top and a free license to use any of them for album covers.

Weekly World News

Still my favorite double entendre headline…

Space rock virus infects the U.S.

It’s hard for me to not be pig-biting mad about the Weekly World News shutting down, but honestly I’m not surprised. Sandwiched in between traditional celebrity d’jour tabloids and more timely fake satire like The Onion or The Daily Show, the Weekly World News was as antiquated as its pop paraculture stable of mutants, psychics, fat animals, and alien paternity stories. The world is a much weirder and paranoid place now and the WWN couldn’t really keep its edge, especially after the 2004 death of editor-in-chief (and Ed Anger/Bat Boy creator) Eddie Clontz. Recent issues were about as comforting as a thirty year old catalog of model train sets or amateur radios – still appealing for, well, oddballs like me but not enough of a cult demographic to keep going.

I still want to know which candidate the greys are going to support in 2008 (otherwise I’m voting for Elvis). I can’t remember if Serena Sabak ever returned back from fighting evil in the astral plane (her valley girl sister took over her WWN column) and I think there was an important public service telling you how to determine if your prostitute is an alien.

All I have to say about this week

I always find it interesting that political action groups will spend millions of dollars in commodifying their rage against video games, violent movies, and guns but aren’t willing to spend a cent in providing basic mental health care that could help prevent kids from snapping in the first place.

On the last cross-country road trip I stopped in at Blacksburg for a visit. Ended up spending the whole late morning/afternoon in town. Liked it a lot. I can’t imagine what’s going on out there right now but I’m postive that what they don’t need is minions from both the Church Of Scientology and Fred Phelps’ Westboro Baptist Church descending upon them. My only hope is that both groups will encounter each other and annihilate themselves like matter/anti-matter.