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Derivative Works from Daniel X. O'Neil

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Sat Next to a Bare Naked Lady on the Red Eye Last Night

In minor celebrity news, I flew home from a business trip in Los Angeles last night and did some armrest wrestling with the frontman for Bare Naked Ladies. Seems most (but not all) the band was on my flight. Very full flight. Seems every flight is crazy-full these days, no matter what time or where to.

Anyway they seem to be perfectly nice guys. They recorded an appearance on Jay Leno that aired tonight, then got on a plane and flew coach next to a guy who wrote training materials all day. We never once spoke to each other. And they were nice to the guy at the baggage claim (at 6 AM) who recognized them and got pictures.

God bless us all.

Carving a Turkey is Really All About Dismantling a Turkey

So on Thanksgiving I had to carve the turkey. Even though I am a grown 39-year old man, a father of two, a divorced family guy who has seen my fair share of November dining rooms, it was the first time I ever carved a turkey.

I think it's for the same reason I've never been a big grill monger-- I have 5 older brothers who took care of that stuff. There's a long line in my family for wielding a knife and/or starting fires. I was content to provide comic relief.

But I had to do it last Thursday because we were at Deirdre's house and no one else wanted to do it. So I looked it up on the internet and found some good instructions.

To my surprise, it's really not about cutting. It's about dismantling. The legs, the wings, etc. Decrementing. Makes sense, though. Plastering is all about putting big gobs of plaster on and taking off artfully. Sculpture is about removing that which isn't your object.

Before you carve the turkey next year, take it apart.

Remembering the Sarajevan Cellist

So the other day someone wrote to me through my John F. Burns website and requested "the 1992 article on vedran smailovic – the cellist of Sarajevo".

Back in the olden days, before Times Select, before all you needed was a home delivery subscription to the Times to have complete access to their archive going back to 1851, I found it necessary to collect and republish on the free web as many John F. Burns stories as I could get a hold of. Because they are important.

Anyway I also placed this note on the site:

This is an archive of links to John F. Burns articles on the New York Times website. These links (click on the title of any article) do not require registration on the NYT site and are impervious to linkrot. If you are interested in obtaining the complete text of John F. Burns articles going back over the last couple of years, send an email noting the nature of your request (fair use, personal consumption, etc.) and I'll see if the text is available.

I've gotten maybe 2 requests in 3 years. But this one reminded me of a big one. The story that I'll never forget reading, the one when I realized how horrible things were in Sarajevo, home of the Olympics.

The Death of a City: Elegy for Sarajevo -- A special report.; A People Under Artillery Fire Manage to Retain Humanity
June 8, 1992

As the 155-millimeter howitzer shells whistled down on this crumbling city today, exploding thunderously into buildings all around, a disheveled, stubble-bearded man in formal evening attire unfolded a plastic chair in the middle of Vase Miskina Street. He lifted his cello from its case and began playing Albinoni's Adagio.

There were only two people to hear him, and both fled, dodging from doorway to doorway, before the performance ended.

Each day at 4 P.M., the cellist, Vedran Smailovic, walks to the same spot on the pedestrian mall for a concert in honor of Sarajevo's dead.

The spot he has chosen is outside the bakery where several high-explosive rounds struck a bread line 12 days ago, killing 22 people and wounding more than 100. If he holds to his plan, there will be 22 performances before his gesture has run its course.

Two months into a civil war that turns more murderous by the day, Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina, is a skeleton of the thriving, accomplished city it was. It is a wasteland of blasted mosques, churches and museums; of fire-gutted office towers, hotels and sports stadiums, and of hospitals, music schools and libraries punctured by rockets, mortars and artillery shells.

Parks have been pressed into service as emergency cemeteries, and the pathetic lines of graves march ever farther up the hillsides toward the gun emplacements.

What is happening here, in a European city that escaped two World Wars with only minor damage, is hard to grasp for many of those enduring it.

Continue reading "Remembering the Sarajevan Cellist" »

Making Art with Amazon aStore

I am an internet artist. I used to be a poet. For a long time the only thing that mattered to me was being a poet. Ever since my first aol account, however, I started messing around with art on the internet.

It is an exciting and-- I think in hindsight we'll say-- brutal time to be an internet artist. The tools out there for making art (i.e. anything that allows one to put stuff on the internet) are remarkably unfocused on creating art. I think that's fine, since art-making is not the primary purpose of Flickr. That doesn't mean people don't make art w/ Flickr. Of course they do. (I don't mean "publish" art, I mean "make" art.)

Anyway, I like making art using tools that people don't think you're supposed to use to make art. Amazon aStore is a great example. They keep adding new features and making this thing better, and I keep using these new e-commerce features to make art.

One new feature is custom category pages. It allows you to display a custom set of products under a category ("electronics", for instance) and put in some custom text to introduce the products.

This way, I can display only baby products that have the keyword "boys" and tell people "I've only had boy babies.".

Or, under automotive, restrict the products to "Dodge Stratus" and let people know I'm doing it "for all ya'll middle managers out there: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DFXsjofFKD4"

Or, my current favorite, which is my love node to Deirdre, under the Beauty category, restricting the search to "Irish" and noting that "Deirdre is the most beautiful woman I've ever met."

Cyrano could have done no better.


Launch: Falk-PLI

Falk-PLI Engineering & Surveying Services is a nifty new website for the world of Industrial Measurement, Civil Engineering, and Land Surveying.


Martin Luther King, Jr. Links

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Amazon aStore Feature Update November 2006

Amazon aStore pushed some updates today.

  • Build and maintain multiple aStores under one Associate ID
  • Feature up to 54 products in each category
  • Create custom categories containing products from multiple Amazon categories
  • Create multiple instances of individual Amazon categories
  • Control the display order of the products on each page
  • Specify products to feature on Category and Subcategory pages
  • Populate products to categories using Listmania lists

ConsoleCamp Kicks Ass

Some friends at work are launching ConsoleCamp today. ConsoleCamp is:

the site with news and detailed info to help you pick the best camping spots for the Wii and PS3. You can publish to this site right from your phone—submit photos, send updates on the number of people in line, and automatically make Google maps of your camping site.

Onward and forward to ConsoleCamp!


What an Ass

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES :: Nation :: Rumsfeld defiant to the end

Standing next to President Bush, Rumsfeld, 74, offered no regret for a war that mushroomed into an issue that helped carry Democrats to victory in Tuesday's elections.

Instead, he provided a glimmer of the temperament that has prompted some critics to call him arrogant.

The war, he said, ''is not well-known. It was not well-understood. It is complex for people to comprehend.''

Boilerpate Poster I Didn't Know About

So I was egosurfing over at A9.com the other day. A9 used to be a nifty little alternative to Google with Amazon Search Inside the Book and other useful data about a site. At least that's how I remember it. Now it's an incomprehensible Live.com alternative.

Anyway I found this portfolio site with a "Poster based on the poem Contained, written by Daniel X O'Neil. Concept is Daniel O'Neil is giving his performance, while we the audience are sitted inside a cage that is circling around the plant. Therefore we can only hear certain spoken words.

A 1997 School Project."

Two things:

  1. Google isn't God. Never saw this before, and it's still not indexed there.
  2. People make art out of stuff other people made all the time.

God bless us all.



Daniel X. O'Neil: Chicago-based writer and internet developer. I am a co-founder of and the People Person for EveryBlock, a site that pulls together local news and public information. I run dozens of personal projects and websites for clients, and also own half of a poetry book company.


EveryBlock: A news feed for your block.
CTA Tweet: Unofficial Twitter tracker for the Chicago Transit Authority.
CityPayments: Database of all vendors, contracts, and payments that have been posted by the municipal government of the City of Chicago
Wesley Willis Art: Site dedicated to the fact that Wesley Willis was an artist.
Wide Right Turn: An incomplete look at the role of variation in a capitalist society.


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    • Wesley Willis Art
      Site dedicated to the fact that Wesley Willis was an artist.
    • CTA Alerts
      Wireless notifications about service on the Chicago Transit Authority.
    • Wide Right Turn

      An incomplete look at the role of variation in a capitalist society.
    • Derivative Works Art Manifesto
      Humans own their experience of copyrighted content.
    • Y!Q Link Generator
      Simple form for creating Y!Q links to add relevance, annotate text, and provide more sophisticated layers of meaning to web content.