Joybubbles, known by many as the grandfather of phone phreaking died suddenly of a heart attack on August 8, 2007. Born blind to the name Josef Carl Engressia, Jr. he was gifted with perfect pitch and could whistle a perfect 2600 Hertz, giving him the unique ability to place free long-distance calls simply by whistling into the phone. Other phreakers needed a Blue Box or Captain Crunch Whistle to to do this.
It was, in fact, Joybubbles that first discovered the giveaway Captain Crunch cerial whistle could be modified to generate 2600 Hertz and taught John T. Draper, a phreaker who would later go by the nickname Capn’ Crunch about it.
Joybubbles was reported to have an IQ of 172 and only occasionally used his talents to cheat the phone company. Instead, he preferred to educate others in the style of Mr. Rogers with his weekly telephone story line called “Stories and Stuff.” The numbers were +1 206-FEELING (+1 206 333-5464), +1 612-813-1212, and +1 773-572-3109. Later, he ran a call in show called the “Zzzzyzzerrific Funline,” which, due to all the “Z’s”, had the honor of holding the last entry in the entire phone book.
UPDATE: The history of Phone Phreaking blog points out that I did not provide a source for the above information regarding cause of death. This is correct, and I apologize for the oversight. In an effort to put to rest any conjecture, they have provided the actual death certificate, which lists the immediate cause of death as “Natural causes” along with “congestive heart failure” as a contributing condition.
In a truly astounding display of cowardice and pandering to conservative whining, the Brattleboro selectmen narrowly approved an “emergency ordinance” banning public nudity on city streets today. Vermont, and Brattleboro in particular have a long history of tolerating nudity in public. The state, along with many of its towns have absolutely no law requiring that people wear cloths in public so long as they are minding their own business.
The “emergency” that precipitated the ordinance was an elderly Arizona man who decided to attend the city’s gallery walk in the nude. Apparently the conservative blowhards can handle it when nude people are young and beautiful, but they draw the line and call it an “emergency” when it’s an old saggy guy. Nice going fellas!
I can’t say that I truly understand why these people enjoy being nude in public, but I’m totally sick and tired of this country’s uptight and irrational hangups about the naked body. Many news articles covering this story have quotes from people saying things like “I don’t think children should be seeing this”. I suppose they would rather our children learn to be ashamed of their bodies and perpetuate the misconception in this country that all nudity is sexual? Don’t you think the more casual attitudes towards nudity we see thru-out much of Europe are a lot healthier for our children than America’s ludicrous, Christian imposed complex about it? I don’t have children, but if I did, I would much rather they be exposed to nudity outside the sexual context so they could realize that everyone’s body is different and that it is OK for them not to look exactly like the models in glamour magazines.
A naked body is something that each and every one of us have, but for some reason we are taught to be ashamed of it. Like it or not, most of the body-image issues and eating disorders that prevail in this country can be directly traced back to our villification of the naked body. Wouldn’t it be great to see people from all over the country descend upon the streets of Brattleboro and stage a Spencer Tunick style installation of thousands of naked bodies in protest of this draconian ordinance? I certainly think so.
I live in Vermont, so of course I was excited yesterday when I learned that Springfield Vermont had won the nation-wide contest to host the premiere of the Simpsons movie. A total of 13 Springfields from around the country entered the contest and made Simpsons-like movies to convince the judges that their respective Springfield would be the ideal place to host the upcoming movie. Springfield Vermont won with a video depicting a Homer-like fellow chasing a giant pink doughnut through the town and wreaking havoc. All the videos can be seen here.
Thru-out the 18 seasons of “The Simpsons”, the location of the fictional town has never been revealed. The creators have often frustrated the audience by cutting the scene just before the state would be named, leaving them to wonder which town Matt Groneing had in mind when he conceived the show. If Springfield Vermont is, indeed the place, is hard to say. There is no Shelbyville nearby, but the town is not too far from the Vermont Yankee nuclear power-plant, and the vermont climate does seem to fit with the show. Perhaps we will never know for sure, but I sure look forward to seeing the movie in my home state.
Alinghicame from behind for the second day in a row to beat Emirates Team New Zealand yesterday afternoon on the waters off Valencia. The Swiss Defender put in an impressive performance in difficult and unpredictable conditions, but they were rewarded with a 4 to 2 lead in the match, bringing them to within one race of defending the America’s cup.
I don’t race sailboats anymore, but I have to admit that I have that I’m glad to see the Swiss beating the New Zealand team and staging a strong defense of the cup. Today’s race was called off because the wind never settled down enough, but I’ll be eagerly checking in Tuesday to see the results. Obviously I would have rather seen the US make it to the finals, but I’m proud to be pulling for Alinghi in this contest. Go Alinghi Go!
Alinghi won the32nd Americaâ€™s Cup Match with a 5-2 victory over the Challenger Emirates Team New Zealand. The Swiss completed up the exciting match just ahead of the kiwis with a nail-biting, 1 second win to take home the cup!
Last July Jayna Hutchinson of Lebanon, N.H was arrested for making faces at a police dog following a heated debate with a Vermont police officer who refused to take down her report of being assaulted. Citing that she smelled of alcohol, Vermont State Police Sgt. Todd Protzman agitated Hutchinson when he told her that he would only take her report after she had sobered up.
This tuesday, only two days before Hutchinson was to go to trial, Orange County State’s Attorney Will Porter decided to drop the charge, after viewing a videotape of the incident. The subsequent charge of “resisting arrest” was also dropped because prosecutors did not think they could get a jury to convict her without the “cruelty to a police animal” charge.
Since she never even touched the dog, I tend to think the charges were more about her having challenged police authority than about hassling the police K9.
Strom Thurmond conducted the longest filibuster in history when he talked to the US senate for 24 hours in opposition to the Civil Rights Act of 1957. All these years, Thurmond’s throne as nation’s biggest windbag has gone totally without challenge… Until now.
Jeffrey Long, a high school student from the Buffalo, NY area, decided that the time had come from someone to unseat the late, but long-winded US Senator and proposed to out-talk him for his senior project. He set up camp at the Buffalo Historical Society and started talking. He talked and talked and talked until shortly after 4:00 AM, when he sat down to take a short break and promptly nodded off to sleep.
He was only five hours short of breaking Thurmond’s record.
I’m sorry you didn’t quite make it Jeffrey. It’s not easy to out-talk the biggest windbag in America’s history.
We missed it this year, but it looks like the 2007 Baltimore Kinetic Sculpture Race was great fun! On Saturday, May 5, Kinetic Sculpture enthusiasts gathered from far and wide on the shore of Baltimore’s Inner Harbor in central Maryland to partake in an eight-hour race that covered 15 miles on pavement, mud, sand and water.
In its purest form, the term kinetic sculpture refers to a class of moving art that originated in Europe, but became internationally popular from the late 1950s through 1960s. The moving parts of a kinetic sculpture can be powered by anything from wind to the maker’s hand, but a sculpture that is to be raced must cary the artist with it and be entirely human-powered. As you can see by the photos the race participants have come up with some very creative and interesting contraptions to race. More photos can be seen here.
The awards contestants can win for their efforts are extremely entertaining and include prizes for such off-the-wall categories as “Sock Creature of the Universe”, “Golden Flipper”, and “Worst Honorable Mention”. The grand prize bestows upon its winner the esteemed title of “Grand East Coast National Mediocre Champion”.
Hands, equipped with white gloves should be waved VIGOROUSLY over head whenever viewing Kinetic Sculptures or when on camera.
Tall Spectators must take care to stand in back row when witnessing Glorious Events. On no account should Spectators throw their bodies in the path of oncoming Sculptures.
Cardboard Grin must be worn at all times when personal misery or state of mind interferes with maintaining a normal happy smile.
Be sure to remove lens cap from camera before serious picture-taking.
Eat a good breakfast for extra stamina for the day’s rigorous events.
Littering, if it fits your character, is OK. However, see Official Spectator Code of Conduct rule #10.
Refrain from pushing or otherwise assisting Sculptures while Race Officials are watching.
Do not tie up Port-a-Potties in order to apply makeup or to eat lunch or to escape inclement weather.
You are a Baltimore Kinetic Sculpture Spectator Ambassador to the World. Remember that local, national, and international cameras are on you (your mother is watching). It is your Kinetic Duty to represent our Glorious City with Dignity and Distinction.
At the end of the day, Spectators shall pick up all litter, depositing same in suitable receptacles. Kinetic Sculpture Race Officials, Pilots, Pit Crew, Barnacles, and Spectators are very tidy people. Furthermore, this is the only Glorious City we’ve got to race in. If you are derelict in your Spectator Duties, this Glorious race will be banished from this Glorious Kingdom of Baltimore.