kisrael.com | archive | 2002 aug

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(1) thrill ride
2002.08.01
Narrative of the Moment
Buzzelli had just passed the twenty-second floor when the North Tower gave way. It was 10:28 in the morning, an hour and forty-two minutes after the attack. Buzzelli felt the building rumble, and immediately afterward heard a tremendous pounding coming at him from above, as the upper floors pancaked. Buzzelli's memory of it afterward was distinct. The pounding was rhythmic, and it intensified fast, as if a monstrous boulder was bounding down the stairwell toward his head. He reacted viscerally by diving halfway down a flight of stairs, and curling into the corner of a landing. He knew that the building was falling. Buzzelli was Catholic. He closed his eyes and prayed for his wife and unborn child. He prayed for a quick death. Because his eyes were closed, he felt rather than saw the walls crack open around him. For an instant the walls folded onto his head and arms, and he felt pressure, but then the structure disintegrated beneath him, and he thought, "I'm going," and began to fall. He kept his eyes closed. He felt the weightlessness of acceleration. The sensation reminded him of thrill rides he had enjoyed at Great Adventure, in New Jersey. He did not enjoy it now, but did not actively dislike it either. He did not actively do anything at all. He felt the wind on his face, and a sandblasting effect as he tumbled through the clouds of debris. He saw four flashes from small blows to the head, and then another really bright flash when he landed. Right after that he opened his eyes, and it was three hours later.
--William Langewiesche, part 2 of The Atlantic's "Unbuilding the World Trade Center". Buzzelli was one of the very few survivors from inside the collapse itself. Man, I've had dreams where that kind of stuff happens, the whole free fall thing. Excellent article, though I wish it had a bit more about the supporting culture that grew up that my mom told me about. The article has a very...I dunno, macho perspective in a sense, all about the engineers and the firemen and the politics of the power structure that spontaneously formed there. (But maybe that makes the better story, I dunno.)

Link of the Moment
A little bit of cyberprimitive fun with google...and a much more impressive example of the nascent art form. (via boingboing)

lookatmelookatmelookatme!
2002.08.02
The other night I was watching Fox's 30 Seconds To Fame. People do any dang stunt to curry the audience's favor, and they have only 30 seconds to do it it...less if the audience boos you off. Fox furthers us down the path towards true short attention span theatre! But the audience always picks some of the suckiest ones for the three finalists...

Quote of the Moment
"Bad habits are hard to break. Especially if you like them"
--from the Comice I Don't Understand page. A very true point.

Link of the Moment
Telemarketers use scripts; here's one to use back at them. Luckily, we don't seem to be as flooded with them as other people are. Maybe it's because we've been moving every year or so for a while.

(1) darts ok
2002.08.03
Image of the Moment
--why you should be very careful when playing darts while wearing sandals. (My friend Greg Owen is getting me to join the Dead Yuppies, part of a Tuesday night league.) Luckily, the way I was standing, my toe was out of the way.

News Links of the Moment
Scott Ritter, former UN inspector in Iraq, is pretty sure we'll see a war by October, though since then the administration issued a specific denial. Still, it's an excellent if alarming article. Of course, martial law could be an executive order away, thanks to a Reagan-era FEMA mandate to allow emergency powers in the event of a "crisis" such as "violent and widespread internal dissent or national opposition against a US military invasion abroad". The King of Jordan, along with the rest of the world, is trying to tell Bush this isn't a good idea right now, but he's Captain Oblivious. And just to give an X-files spin to it all, F-16s from Andrews Airforce Base were chasing some UFOs.

Nursery Rhyme of the Moment
Little Miss Moffat
sat on a tuffet
eating her curds and whey.
Along came a spider,
and she ate that as well.
Also, the tuffet.
--from Lupschada's blog

(2) more powerful than a (small) locomotive
2002.08.04
Prose of the Moment
Superhero stands arms akimbo. Below him the city is a neon sprawl. He aches. Too many arch-villains battled, too many last minute rescues. Thanks to certain fictional characters the world expects superhero to be invulnerable. But he's not. Superpowers are wear and tear on a body- the knees and back especially. And such bad karma- encountering all that evil and having all that power. You don't think evildoers try to make sweet sounding deals? As if superpowers and good intentions automatically came bundled with super morals. But now the city sleeps safely, and superhero calls it a day.
--1997.06.10. I was reading through some of KHftCEA, the quote journal precursor to this blog, when it hit me that I haven't been writing the odd little prose snippets that I used to. So if you see more of those on this page, that's why.

Quote of the Moment
"It sometimes seems to me that the brain is actually a very shitty computer. So why would you want to build a computer out of slimy, wet, broken, slow, hungry, tired neurons?"
--Slashdot interview with Richard Wallace, an AI-researcher who invented the chatbot A.L.I.C.E.. Actually, his answers read kind of like a chatbot script, often wholly unconnected to the questions that were asked by Slashdot. He also brought up the interesting point, "No one has proved that our intelligence is a successful adaption, over the long term. It remains to be seen if the human brain is powerful enough to solve the problems it has created."

(2) buggin'
2002.08.05
Another month, another loveblender...

Link of the Moment
The last pre-9-11 entry from my backlog: laughlab, an effort to scientifically find the funniest joke. The link was iffy for a while, which is probably why it sat around for so long. At least it's a chance to read some jokes

Question and Answer of the Moment
Were you squeamish when you were a kid or did you like things that were bizarre and creepy?
Well, I really liked insects as a kid, so where I came from that immediately meant that you were weird. But I thought that was ridiculous because insects are amazing. I mean, people want to go to other planets to see alien life forms and we've got them right here. They're incredible.
--from a 1997 Salon interview with David Cronenberg, director of "The Fly" and "Crash". It's a good point...applies to sealife like lobsters and crabs too.

(1) when duckbills ruled the earth
2002.08.06
I've spent way too much time lately playing Bangai-O, a brilliantly frantic 2D game on the Dreamcast. I wrote a Level FAQ for it, hopefully it'll show up on gamefaqs.com soon.

Scholarship of the Moment
One of the mammals' evolutionary advantages was that they bore their young alive. As research has conclusively shown, animals that bore their young dead generally got nowhere.
--from Sciece Made Stupid. I especially liked the illustration of early amphibians on the Evolution Page

News of the Moment
To go along with Saturday's UFO stories, it's the story of the US's triangular stealth blimps! Weird! Though it's difficult to think that something like these could have been kept so secret... (thanks Bill the Splut)

(3) gas, coffee, doohickeys
2002.08.07
Speaking of Citgo, there's the best Citgo station on North Street in Salem. Its prices are like 10 cents cheaper than everyone else around, they have a Dunkin' Donuts for my iced coffee, and then to assure the synergy between these two things, the gas pumps have that little doohickey so you don't have to hold it the whole time...

Funny of the Moment
"I can see clearly now, the rain is gone.
 I can see all obstacles in my way.
 Shit. That's a lot of obstacles."
--Lore cartoon. This idea about the song occured to me when we were playing at Tufts Pep Band, but I never expressed it so well. (Another thing I realized that was better about my Palmpilot KHftCEA journal was that I would include funny lines, not just link to them like I do now, so I'm trying to correct that.) Also be sure to see Homonculi, a funny Lore animation.

Link of the Moment
The Big Myth is the Flash-animation retelling of the creation myths of a number of cultures (including the Iroquois, whom I have an interest in thanks to my time living in Salamanca, NY.) Pretty cool stuff.

the so-so gatsby
2002.08.08
So yesterday I felt compelled to buy "The Great Gatsby" after following a link to this theory on the title character's origins. The book was about the only assigned reading in high school English that I didn't get through. Even now, there's something about the prose style that I find very hard to digest...I'm amazed the book was as popular and influential as it was. Not helping is knowledge of this other theory that Gatsby is black, passing as white. Especially given all the African-American literature I read in college (best way to get credit for both the English half of my double major as well as "World Culture"), it's going to be hard to read the book without constantly hunting for evidence for this admittedly fringe theory.

Pop Culture of the Moment
"Flying Missles Atomic Bombs and the Second Coming of Jesus Christ"...Best title of any album. Ever.
--from this collection of odd Christian LPs. The entire site has many interesting artifacts, and is working on adding downloadable MP3s for many of them.

Quote of the Moment
"...not appreciating the weirdness of life is a punishment of its own."
--Rachel Ellen Sherman...fits in pretty well with the previous link (via Zach Blocker)

(2) big fluffy jumbo
2002.08.09
Image of the Moment
I think this cloud looks like an elephant on a rock. Taken yesterday from my car. My alma mater would be proud.

Link of the Moment
Ranjit msg'd me with FLYING SNAKES...so wonderfully nightmarish! They even have their own web site--be sure to check out the gliding footage on the videos page. As long as you don't mind not sleeping for a few nights...

Quote of the Moment
"No one can say Dallas doesn't love and respect you, Mr. President."
--Nellie Connally, right before the JFK Assassination

(2) mental maps
2002.08.10
So the other day I was watching a baseball game (well, it was on in the background...) and a hit ball popped up way behind the catcher and umpire. The announcer described it as "popping up near here". It took me a second to realize why that seemed so weird to me...mentally, I'm mapping the announcer with the camera, I don't really picture them as sitting in a booth in an actual location around the field. So if a ball flies away from the camera it's hard to think of it flying towards the announcers...

Similarly, I had to figure out what was so distracting about a change making machine that had the dollar inserted below, and the change come out above (beyond a possible design flaw of having less room for gravity-fed change)--it made me realize that I have this sub-conscious image of a dollar somehow physically turning into the change, which then comes cascading now.

History Lesson of the Moment
Bush I was a star baseball player at Andover.
Bush II didn't even make the varsity team.

Bush I got straight A's at Yale.
Bush II got D's and C's.

Bush I was a heroic WWII fighter pilot.
Bush II patrolled the coast of Texas during Vietnam and quit flying when the National Guard began drug testing.

Bush I went to Texas and built a successful oil business.
Bush II's oil business failed almost immediately.

Bush I fought a short war with Iraq that achieved its objectives with relatively few U.S. causalities.
Bush II....?
--GWBush.com via Bill the Splut. Jeez, sounds like an episode of Goofus and Gallant. Bill also posted a kind of interesting story of a real life mad scientist

(2) lady in green
2002.08.11
Dang, almost forgot to do an entry today...this one is going to be quick.

Image of the Moment
This is the main image from my favorite t-shirt ever, the lady in green. I've always loved the mood of uncertainty it seems to carry. It plays a small role in a set of correspondance I'm assembling, more on that later.

I wish I knew where the image came from originally.

Quote of the Moment
"When I want to end relationships I say, 'I want to marry you so we can live together forever.'
 Sometimes they leave skidmarks."
--Rita Rudner

(2) enemy humanoids must be destroyed
2002.08.12
Link of the Moment
Seanbaby takes on the robots. I don't think he's quite as "on" as he used to be.

Quote of the Moment
"[Programming is] like writing. An encyclopedia requires a large staff; an individual can't do it all. Some operating systems nowadays are encyclopedic. But there's also always the short story, the novel, and the poem. Those are useful in their own way, though they may seem simple and trivial to do."
--Dan Bricklin, inventor of VisiCalc. I think I much prefer writing those small little works to the magnum opus I'm currently paid to code on...

(1) wind and clouds
2002.08.13
Video Game Quote of the Moment
"The winds blew and the clouds moved on as if they were oblivious to their mortal plight."
--from the game Soul Calibur, the ending for the character Maxi. The game has different endings for each of the different characters you finish the game with, and what strikes me as odd (and possibly Japanese) is that it's only a "happy ending" for some of the characters...I guess it's understood that the other characters are cursed or otherwise doomed.

I like this quote though, describing Maxi's death, painting a lovely picture of an indifferent universe that goes on even when we don't.


Link of the Moment
WhatTheHeck.com seems to have a steady supply of interesting links. (And claim to be the first "weird Ebay auctions" trackers.) I ran into a Eric, one of the founders, at a brunch Max Weinstein had on Sunday. (I think Max is looking for a Sys Admin gig, if anyone's got an opening.) WhatTheHeck seems to need an archive feature, however.

holy moses
2002.08.14
Funny of the Moment
"Come in, Moses!"
"What?"
"We need to know how to kill a giant stone Abraham Lincoln!"
"...Um... lemmethink, um... a giant stone John Wilkes Booth?"
--Jesus and Moses on South Park. Both are members of the Super Best Friends, along with Buddha, Mohammed, Krishna, Joseph Smith, Lao Tse, and Sea-Man, and they need to stop a rampaging Lincoln Memorial. And it works!

I find it really amusing how South Park has Moses as the Master Control Program from the movie Tron, a giant cylindrical head with a wide face on it...also, I wonder how the Super Best Friends would do in a fight against God-Man, the superhero with omnipotent powers.


News of the Moment
Camworld had two Washington Monthly articles by John Marshall: Bomb Saddam?, on the "neocon" hawks advocating war with Iraq (with an interesting focus on how they've been right and how they've been wrong in the past) and Confidence Men on the myth of Bush's team's high level of competence being akin to a stock bubble.

(1) what women want
2002.08.15
Phew, I was worried I had lost all of the old correspondance between me and Mo, but luckily it's all still there on the hard drive, squirreled away. Time to start thinking about a good plan for making backups...

Links of the Moment
One of the biggest conversation topics on Slashdot lately is this article asking about alternatives to engagement diamonds. Interesting seeing the geek reaction to them, generally negative. At the risk of swimming in stereotypes, it makes sense, guys who are less concerned about social niceties and more about things that are purely functional, and people with historically so-so track records. By hook or by crook, diamonds are a part of the cultural landscape, though I think that "two month salary guideline" is a bit silly. One of the posters pointed to an Atlantic piece on the diamond trade, and how artificial much of that situation is.

'Course, Mo sort of ended up footing the bill for her own diamond, at least temporarily, thanks to embarrassing bank card failure (I had just switched bank accounts, and the card wasn't working the way I expected.)

You know, I never noticed "niceties" is spelled "nice ties".

Quote of the Moment
"I tell men, if you want to impress a woman don't send her flowers, send her a maid. Because if you're going to spend $55 on a dozen roses, they're dead the next day. A maid costs about $40 and you still have $15 left to get Chinese food and one rose. By the time you come over we haven't cleaned, and you have food, a rose, and you. Baby, we'll do you all night long."
--Luda Vika. Interesting idea, I wonder how it would work in practice.

(2) moment of the moment
2002.08.16
Sometimes I wonder if I should rename this blog to "Of The Moment". Is that too cheesy? OfTheMoment.com is taken, though the .net version is free, as is BlogOfTheMoment.com. I dunno. Maybe it all springs back to my vague discontent with my last name.

Typo Link of the Moment
I mistyped my own URL and got to kirael.com (no s), home of the Photon Energy Forecast. Him. This page says about the site "Not since the burning of the Alexandrian libraries between 200BC to 200AD has so much information become available." I'm not sure if that sentence says quite what they meant it to say.

Literature of the Moment
He talked a lot about the past and I gathered that he wanted to recover something, some idea of himself perhaps, that had gone into loving Daisy. His life had been confused and disordered since then, but if he could once return to a certain starting place and go over it all slowly, he could find out what that thing was...
--The Great Gatsby. I finished this book, the one assigned reading I didn't get through in high school. I think it helps to have lived through chasing a doomed romance. Also to know people kind of like Tom Buchanan. I know Charles Shulz like to reference the stip sometimes (maybe because it's such a classic American work, maybe because he and Fitzgerald share a hometown) and I wish I could locate some examples of that.

Quote of the Moment
"There's one thing computing teaches you, and that's that there's no point to remembering everything."
--Douglas Coupland, context and more quotes are available here. I'm trying to utilize this statement as encouragement to discard all these old files that are only slightly interesting in a "passing interests and random activites of Kirk in the late 1990s"

(1) can we build it? no we can't!
2002.08.17
You know what I like? I like putting on loud music in my car and then watching the image in the sideview and rearview mirrors shimmy with the thump of the bass, that's what I like.

Image of the Moment
My camera's 3000th photo: a loader that was parked outside my building yesterday with wheels about as tall as me. I have a 6-yr-old's fascination with machines like that.

Link of the Moment
Somehow, I'm a little weirded out but not terribly surprised that we process brand names using emotional logic, not the same kind of thought we use to identify regular objects. I guess the book The Space Merchants got it right...

Funny of the Moment
"The Bad Erotic Fiction Award, for bad writing about sex, went to AA Gill. He told the organisers what they could do with it - but not very well."
--from the ComedyCollective(UK) via rec.humor.funny.reruns.

(2) bricks
2002.08.18
Mo and I share the same middle initial, "L". She mentioned noticing that for the first time yesterday, looking over some papers we both had to sign to refinance our mortgage. I'm not sure if it ever really registered with me or not. Though I think we agree that my "Logan" is more interesting than her "Lynn".

Middle names are kind of funny in general.

Bricks of the Moment
cantilevering
possibility into
precariousness
--Judith
I dreamt I was
a brick and I...
AAAAAAAAAAAAH!!
--David Pacheco
--The results of the moonmilk brick haiku contest (where the 16 characters-per-line-max haikus will be turned into bricks, supporting a fundraiser by the Friends of Garner State Park) are in. The top haiku was my personal pick as guest judge, I'll sponsor its enscription into brick, and the second not-quite-haiku was another pick.

It's really tough getting the right number of syllables into that small an amount of letters.

Sort of along the same lines, in college I wrote a poem titled "Bricks" that has held up reasonably well.


News of the Moment
Perfector of the frisbee flying disc, recently deceased, to be turned into memorial flying discs. That is so cool! If my own frisbee skills were any better than laughably pathetic, I'd definitely want one.

(1) apocalypse when?
2002.08.19
This weekend Ranjit more or less asked me why I update my site strictly daily, as opposed to the usual blog method of "whenever I stumble over something interesting", often many times a day. I find it a thought provoking question. I kind of like the idea of being a reliable source of interesting bits. (Though I suppose human psychology dictates that if I really want to drive up my hitcounter, I should update at random intervals, so people will keep stopping by to see if there's anything new.) I kind of like the discipline and structure of it, which is a contrast to how I run most of the rest of my life.

It is a contrast to how I kept my Palm-based journal which definitely was stuff as I ran into it. Currently I just toss stuff into the backlog.

Poem of the Moment
People expect old men to die,
They do not really mourn old men.
Old men are different. People look
At them with eyes that wonder when...
People watch with unshocked eyes;
But the old men know when an old man dies.
--Ogden Nash, "Old Men". It would be Ogden Nash's 100th Birthday today. It's not just the old men who have marked his passing. Many of his poems are available on the web and worth reading through.

Link of the Moment
A survey of Failed Apocalyptic Predictions. 'Course, it only takes one to be right... like that circa 2800 BC Assyrian Tablet said, "It is evident that the end of the world is fast approaching." Here's the page with the most recent failures.

(3) kicker of puppies
2002.08.20
            photobook ii
                              (about)

kirkmo
I assembled part 2 of my online photobook. Photobook ii, hopefully an ongoing project, emphasizes photos that have a certain visual flair (relative to the first edition) since I'm taking so many more pictures these days.

family

people

nyc

mikedave

honeymoon

random

party

landscape

Parenthetical Note of the Moment
(The other day, in a monastery, Phunsook pointed to a mural of an ogre, who was stomping on the head of a defeated enemy. "This is the Buddha of Compassion, in his wrathful form," Phunsook said. Again, this may require some clarification.)
--Seth Stevenson writing from Kashmir, in this Slate piece about an appearance by the Dali Lama.

News of the Moment
It's official, al Qaeda kills cute little puppies. (I remember my tenth or eleventh grade history teacher joking about some terrible historical figure being labelled as a "kicker of puppies"...who knew such a line would end up having an overtone of menace.)

(1) moo-sic
2002.08.21
Usenet Funny of the Moment
Subject: Re: Cow Tipping on "Whaddya Know"
From: Deborah Stevenson
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.urban (via alt.humor.best-of-usenet)

Brett Buck writes:
We talked/tricked someone into trying it one time* (in the vein of a snipe hunt, but he took it seriously, and we wanted to do some research, so..), and he was a pretty big guy. He walked up to it, gave it a shove, and it swayed a little bit and just stayed upright. Then he got back and took a run at it, and pretty much just bounced off. Then it woke up, looked vaguely disoriented, and went back to sleep. Then he grabbed one of it's legs, picked it up, and pulled on it, and over it went. Then it woke up, looked vaguely disoriented, stood up, noticed us, and "ran away" (about 100 feet). Cows are stupid.
I'd say they appear the intellectual victors in this particular context.

Link of the Moment
I had the hardest time finding the new remix of Elvis' "A Little Less Conversation" on CD (hopefully, fourth time is the charm on half.com) but online, Lycos has got me covered. It has the video as well, which is excellent, a lot of fun to watch.

It's kind of cool how this remix put Elvis over the Beatles for #1 singles in England...I guess the Fab Four's only chance is a hit from one of those reunion CDs.

(1) read you like a book
2002.08.22
The other day I was publicly pondering changing the name of the blog to "of the moment" or some such. Around the same time, I was thinking about the strict daily update schedule I follow, as opposed to the more typical "whenever the blogger find something cool" pattern. Only yesterday did the small irony of those two ideas hit me.

I wonder if I should switch to a more frequent update pattern? I dunno. Not sure if I want to reveal quite so much about my surfing habits...

Article of the Moment
Best science link I've seen in a long while: The Naked Face, a reprint of a New Yorker article. The amount of information we send through our faces (both voluntarily and involuntarily) is astounding. Not only that, but evidence suggests facial expressions generate emotions, it's a two way street. By approaching the problem from an anatomical angle, these guys have made great strides...and what they've learned might well be useful in counter-terrorism and other law-enforcement activities. I wish I was better at that kind of thing!

Many of the author's other articles seem worth a read through as well.

Game of the Moment
Brunching Shuttlecocks had a cool little puzzle game, Roshambo Run Only 6 levels, the final 3 being the only challenging ones. You control one of those tiny "Nun-zilla" dolls through the land of rock, paper, scissors (and muffins and coffee.)

Line of the Moment
"Men always say the most important thing in a woman is a sense of humor. You know what that means? He's looking for someone to laugh at his jokes."
--Sheila Wenz

(9) mo madder
2002.08.23
My buddy John "Whiskey" Sawers (get it, his last name is pronounced "sours" and...oh, never mind, it was just a nickname that I failed to get to stick) had his car stolen the other night...right from his driveway! It was a really old Subaru with a massive dent, rusty bits, and 170K miles...I joked that it must've been really dark that night.

Small Gif Cinema of the Moment

mo mad

--from a series of cathartic self-portraits by mo

Observation of the Moment
"But the bottom line is that the players and kids stopped showing up. I think this is a weird fact, but every week we looked at earnings around the country, and the day that the Clinton report from the testimony of Monica Lewinsky got published on the Internet, the earnings in the arcades dropped 20%. Unfortunately, [those earnings] never returned! At that moment, I think the Internet became a source of entertainment."
--Mark Turmell on the demise of the arcades and the rise of the Internet, from a Game Informer interview. He's the designer of Smash TV, NBA Jam, and NFL Blitz. NFL Blitz is interesting, a pro-wrestling take on football, but in the interview he says the released version had about 60% of the tackles and moves removed.

News of the Moment
Interesting story about some recent war games by the armed forces...one of the leaders of the "bad guys" of the exercise thinks it was rigged to make the new policies of the DoD look good. Looking to the past, our enemies have been both dumber than we might have expected (Iraq underestimating our ability to come at them through the desert) but also better at jury-rigged solutions, from running explosive-laden motorboats into Navy cruisers to using inexpensive decoy tanks in the former Yugoslavia. That makes it tough to judge the claims General Van Riper (pronounced "Ripper", how cool is that?) that he was unfairly constrained against the counterclaim that he's so experienced as head of the "Red Force" (bad guys) that he has an unfair advantage.

(2) morbidity for fun and profit
2002.08.24
Every once in a while I get this morbid idea that I could setup a script on this website so that if I failed to update for a couple of weeks, on the frontpage a new bold link would appear raising the possibility that something has happened to me, and if so, here's what I'd like to have done. (With information on how to try to contact me first, online and off, before going off in a panic.)

One of the main, if vain, thinks I'd like to have done is have my websites preserved. Ths site as is, maybe have The Blender of Love move to some self-sustaining community-run form. I guess I'm less concerned about Alien Bill, which is mostly around for historic and novelty reasons now.

I think there would be a minor but sustainable business in "perpetual webhosting". The current site owner would have to put down a lot of money in one lump sum which would then be used in some kind of secure investment, with returns enough to pay the expenses for that one site. Assuming something like Moore's Law stays in place, it should be cheaper and cheaper to run those sites. Of course, you'd want to make investments in infrastructure so that the hosting was as longlived as the Internet itself...

News of the Moment
Soylent Diamonds...is people! Here's the news story making the rounds. I kind of like this idea, actually.

Lord of the Rings Movie Trivia
It is reported that on the first run of the fight sequences using the MASSIVE Artificial Intelligence program, the intelligent fighters - programmed to fight in the most efficient manner possible...
...all turned and ran away.
--from the IMDb Lord of the Rings entry. Reminds me of the old line my family used to enjoy "He who fights and runs away lives to fight another day...but that's not why I ran away." Here's a detailed article on the amazing computer work that went into the film.

fish and chips snarfelling waffler
2002.08.25
Local Link of the Moment
I finally updated my way-out-of-date bio page, including the return of "The Incomplete List of Kirkisms". I think that "You fish and chips snarfelling waffler" is a useful phrase whenever you are around anyone from England.

Name of the Moment
The badge of El Paso police officer Christine Lynn O'Kane (and her e-mail address) identified her as C. O'KANE (which unfortunately looks like 'cocaine'). After leaving the force for personal reasons and later reapplying, she was denied reinstatement on the grounds that her name was inappropriate -- despite her good service record that included an explicit recommendation her work file supporting her reinstatement. Although her appeal to the Civil Service Commission resulted in her being rehired, she has now reverted to her maiden name (Whitaker).
--Source: Cop In Trouble Over Name [AP] via comp.risks digest. Almost sounds like an urban legend.

Funny of the Moment
Best "epinion" I've ever read, Mi Amor; Or Death by Water Pik:
I love my wife. My wife loves me. I love my Oral Irrigator. My wife does not. Indeed she despises it with great vehemence. I donít blame her. How many times have I jumped from around a corner and blasted her in the face with a laser of water? Donít think it doesnít hurt either. Does a range of thirty feet with a sniperís aim mean anything to you? ďIt hurts!Ē she cries. Iíve hit her in the eye before. That must have hurt, I admit. But thatís why I gave her a pair of Ektelon racquetball goggles. I tell her, "Ektelon racquetball goggles donít do any good unless youíre WEARING them."
The rest is pretty funny as well.

(3) yee-arr
2002.08.26
Link of the Moment
Bill linked to some excerpts from instructions for kamikazee pilots. I wonder how they thought they knew so much about the moments just before death...surely they just know about the moments before near death?

Poem of the Moment
The architecture of eloquence
may be brevity
sometimes

Thus the simple symbols
xo
at the close of a letter
slice my heart
(as they do)
--Kyle Parrish, from an old Tufts .plan.

Pirates of the Moment

--To the left is a woman pirate Kyle randomly attached in some correspondence about the above poem. To the right is Peterman dressed as a fearsome but inexplicably fuchsia-wearing and Harvard-Law-attending (you have to squint at the shirt) pirate. Frankly, I don't have a great explanation for the presence of either of these images in my life.

"Fuchsia" is a very hard word to spell. Most spelling programs won't get to the correct spelling from "Fuschia".

(1) funny little gaps
2002.08.27
Mo has funny little gaps in her pop-culture knowledge. For a while she thought it was Paul Simon who was in the Beatles, not Paul McCartney. Just lately she was watching What's Love Got To Do With It, (the story of Ike and Tina Turner,) and she was kind of thinking that Ike was the guy who would later go on to own Turner Broadcasting. (I wondered if by extension she thought Ike would go on to marry Jane Fonda, own the Atlanta Braves, and help save the UN, but I don't think her knowledge of Ted went that far.)

Then again it took me years to be able to pick out Kevin Bacon from a police lineup. (Needless to say, I'm pretty bad at that "6 Degrees" game.)

Medical Study of the Moment
Internet Addiction May Be Form of Stress Management. Yeah, that's why I can't stop clicking!

Article of the Moment
Salon had The Essential Worker's Lament, by one of the survivors at a bankrupt telecommunications company. Reads like a slice of Douglas Coupland.

Quote of the Moment
"I've had a pretty good lesson in human nature. It's more important to try to surround yourself with people who can give you a little happiness, because you only pass through this life once, Jack. You don't come back for an encore."
--Elvis Presley

(1) what's the buzz
2002.08.28
This thought occured to me the other week: I can totally see why people used to believe in spontaneous generation for stuff like fruit flies. You hardly ever see just one, flying around looking for fruit...but leave some old banana out and boom, a hoard has descended. Plus, fruit flies are so tiny and simple seeming... That whole Francesco Redi cheesecloth experiment that "proved" spontaneous generation didn't happen? Who knows, maybe the cheesecloth screwed up the air flow that was needed to bring the fly bits to life!

Quote of the Moment
"Take into account that great love and great achievements involve great risk."
--Jackson Brown. Sometimes incorrectly attributed to the Dalai Lama along with 17 other "instructions for life".

Link of the Moment
The true-life article that inspired the movie "Blue Crush". What a lifestyle. To explain to the surfer girls why she herslef had never surfed, the author "explained I'd grown up in Ohio, where there is no surf, but that didn't satisfy them; what I didn't say was that I'm not sure that at 15 I had the abandon or the indomitable sense of myself that you seem to need in order to look at this wild water and think, I will glide on top of those waves." Not sure if I would've been much better. I'd still like to bungee jump one of these days though.

(3) clank
2002.08.29
Personal Slashdot Rant of the Moment
Getting around Boston is bad. It's not just the wacky street layout with one-ways sprinkled hither and yon...it's that we only bother to put street signs for the minor streets. Heck, everyone just knows what that "main" street must be, right?

I'm also convinced that the geography between, say, Alewife and Harvard Square is non-Euclidean....at the end of route 2, you can turn left to get to Harvard Square, or you can go almost 180 degrees the other way and get to Harvard Square.

Similarly, there are two ways of measuring distances in Boston proper; as the crow flies, or as the T stops. I've had friends (Hi, Dylan) who were amazed at how close to locations were, since they were "so far apart" on the T (namely, different "fingers" of the green line)
--from posts of mine in response to this Slashdot poll

Image of the Moment
In Antwerp they have a ferris wheel for cars, but they're worried about terrorism... couldn't they just inspect the trunks and hoods? Anyway, I'd love to ride something like this. John Koermerling is a genius.

Link of the Moment
Boilerplate -- Mechanical Marvel of the Nineteenth Century. And, perhaps, spiritual forefather to Clango Cyclotron.

(1) abhor thy mother and father
2002.08.30
Got another page done in "2600 101", my programming tutorial for the Atari VCS.

Religious Links of the Moment
This Bible Quiz is a parody, though it does point out that Jesus didn't always sound as full of love-thy-neighbor as he's sometimes presented today. "My family values are simple: hate your family. And I don't just mean compared to your love for me. Hate them. Create huge, nasty arguments with them and then have them killed" may not be the fairest paraphrase of Luke 14:26, Matthew 10:34, and Matthew 10:21, but unless a lot is lost in translation it's in the same spirit. Then there's this page...either the most sophisticated, straight-faced parody I've seen, or a very scary site indeed. Seriously, click the links on the sidebar...it's tough to be certain.

Blog Link of the Moment
Some of the best advice I've read for blogs and other frequently updated online publications, 10 Tips on Writing the Living Web. I guess it would apply more to me if I did more actual writing, not just quote and link harvesting. (Gratuitous plugs: Lupschada and Bill the Splut do more of that kind of personal writing. I should get a blogroll links section going.)

It is kind of funny how they repeat "Omit unnecessary words".

Quote of the Moment
"If Shaw and Einstein couldn't beat death, what chance have I got? Practically none."
--Mel Brooks

(1) cornflakes of criticism
2002.08.31
Admonition of the Moment
"We prefer our cornflakes of criticism with a bit more of the milk of human kindness."
--2002.08.29, on the Blender Board. I was trying to explain to "Inflatable Sushi" that while constructive criticism is welcome, he was being way too blunt about things in general.

'Net Lore of the Moment
The Japanese eat very little fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than the British or Americans.
The French eat a lot of fat and also suffer fewer heart attacks than the British or Americans.
The Japanese drink very little red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than the British or Americans.
The Italians drink excessive amounts of red wine and also suffer fewer heart attacks than the British or Americans.
The Germans drink a lot of beer and eat lots of sausages and fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than the British or Americans.
CONCLUSION:
Eat and drink what you like.
Speaking English is apparently what kills you.

Image of the Moment
Bill posted this snippet from a Henry cartoon. I don't know why it fascinates me so. (Mo just looked at and said "eww", I pointed out it was only a toy monkey.)

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