kirk.is | archive | 2002 oct

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take my baby out for a spin

(3 comments)
October 1, 2002
You know, I don't feel that some what stressful things like going on an airplane and what not get under my skin, but I always feel my anxiety about other things rising during those times...some kind of weird sublimation?

Patent of the Moment
Once upon a time, George and Charlotte Blonsky saw that some types of elephant spin while giving birth to assist with the delivery, and thought they could build a machine to do the same for humans. Despite the irresistible image of a baby being flung at 7G's (based on a spin speed of 82.3 RPM) the device actually uses a net, which contains a trigger which would stop the ride once the baby is out. Phew! For this, they won a posthumous Ig® Nobel prize.

Music of the Spheres
Boobs make sounds. This is perhaps more of a poetic thing that one develops as time goes on. I don't even know if it's a real sound; it's more of a metaphysical sound, I suppose. Different tits, the way they move, they make these different sounds that are just totally exotic. Maybe it's a total fantasy, but I swear I hear it. Some days, I have to use a Sony Walkman out there, it gets so bad. Especially in the springtime.
--Robert Rakita, quoted in The Modern Man's Guide To Life. I post it here in honor of the 80-degree start to the month we should be having today.

Link of the Moment
Tinyapps.org has small apps for windows (in the sense of each being able to fit on to a 3.5 floppy, not in the sense of the previously posted tiny games for Windows.) Favorites of mine like Irfanview and PuTTY are here. It's interesting to compare these gems to the 4meg mousedriver I was loading the other month...

sympathy for the devils

(1 comment)
October 2, 2002
Business Link of the Moment
The other day I went to a Harvard Business School Alum Seminar (Lena recently got her MBA there, so I was her guest.) on networking (the human kind, not the online type.) It was focused on how to work one of those networking events, and I don't get to go to many of those, but still, there were some ok tips. Anyway, the leader mentioned this article on the Rolling Stones in Fortune magazine, about what incredible business men they are. (Especially in terms of how they've used connections in the past.)

Ah well. I've often said that "Selling out is the new integrity."

Geek Link of the Moment
Ahh, the dulcet tones of the IBM 1403 Printer. Actually, it's kind of amusing; back in 1964 they figured out what characters to print to get what notes, and recorded some songs. A great hack, I love abuses of technology like that.

Quote of the Moment
"It is a wondrous human characteristic to be able to slip into and out of idiocy many times a day without noticing the change or killing innocent bystanders in the process"
--Scott Adams, The Dilbert Principle .

it's pronounced "wonk-um"

(4 comments)
October 3, 2002
--I know I'm look at this through the eyes of my inner 12-year-old, but "Wankum's Got The North Shore Covered" is not the most appealing slogan for this billboard from Rt. 128.


News Links of the Moment
National Review had a Goldberg File on how other nations are wrong when they assume that the USA wants to be some kind of colonial empire. He might be right, but it still doesn't explain or justify our policy of making sure we're the only superpower on the block, and how we'll act unilaterally towards that goal. And this guy thinks it's all about the Empire.

Also, this Slashdot entry linked to an article on patents and [the lack of] innovation in the pharmecutical industries. Man, this is awful news for the science of making drugs...along with the way no company will fund the studies for "alternative" medications, (ala St. Jon's Wort) since their potential for profit is so low.

Speaking of all things medical, look at all the germs we sent our buddies in Iraq during the 1980s. Duh.

Quotes of the Moment
"All nouns can be verbed."
--Traditional

"Verbing weirds language."
--Bill Watterson, Calvin and Hobbes

"First they came for the verbs, and I said nothing because verbing weirds language. Then they arrival for the nouns, and I speech nothing because I no verbs."
--Peter Ellis, a.f.p. Yesterday someone was struck by my use of the word "photoshopped". I google'd up this trio of quotes from this webpage.

sweepin' the water

October 4, 2002
Family anecdote from, oh, 1995 or thereabouts: the kitchen of my Aunt and Uncle's brownstone has a great view of their cobblestone backyard. One summer day my Uncle was doing some maintenence back there, using a broom to push some water towards the drain. My Aunt came over to see what I was looking at, and I said "Poor old guy, look at 'im down there, sweepin' the water." The joking premature senility reference is funny, at least to us (maybe because my Uncle is a decade older than my Aunt...though still a far far way from the old folk's home!) but of course, it was not an unreasonable way of moving water, preventing stagnant puddles from forming. (Letting the sun take care of the rest, like my buddy Dylan said "Evaporation is God's Paper Towel.")

And now, I wonder if that might be a half-decent metaphor for how I need to live my life. One of the reasons we laugh at sweepin' the water is that you're not going to get it all, but you might get enough to matter. Even if the water keeps coming back, you're better off sweeping than not. I think I need to start sweeping: sweeping the laziness, sweeping the clutter in the house and car (I guess that can be taken literally as well), sweeping the so-so spending habits during uncertain economic times. Maybe it's even what you have to do with relationships, keeping things moving and heading off the stagnation of just going through the motions.

Advice of the Moment
If you're on an airplane, don't drop dry ice in the toilet. Trust me on this one.

News of the Moment
Heh. An official from Iraq suggested a duel between the leaders of the two nations. You know, I bet Bush could win in a footrace, pretty easily, they say he's one heckuva runner.

Quote of the Moment
"Nature is trying very hard to make us succeed, but nature does not depend on us. We are not the only experiment."
--R. Buckminster Fuller, via Bill's News page.

pause to reflect

October 5, 2002



Link of the Moment
Getting some attention recently is a 'blog created by a Kevin, a homeless man--I think he's using publically available computers at the Nashville library. Seeing thoughtful descriptions of homeless life really bridges a gap that many people see between "us" and "them".

Joke of the Moment
Two hunters are out in the woods when one of them collapses. He doesn't seem to be breathing and his eyes are glazed. The other guy whips out his cell phone and calls the emergency services. He gasps: "My friend is dead! What can I do?"

The operator says: "Calm down, I can help. First, let's make sure he's dead."

There is a silence, then a shot is heard. Back on the phone, the guy says: "OK, now what?"
--The world's funniest joke according to LaughLab. A lot funnier than many of the other jokes they had on that site.

Moment of the Moment

--Thanks Ranjit. This may signal the start of more intraday updates.

can't even focus on a coffee cup

(6 comments)
October 6, 2002
"Sunday morning, waking up
Can't even focus on a coffe cup
Don't even know who's bed I'm in
Where do I start, where do I begin"
--Chemical Brothers, "Where Do I Start". In googling up the lyrics (though most of transcriptions stick an ugly "I'm" before "waking") I realized it must have been in Vanilla Sky, which I watched last night--good movie. An old lover loved the first part of that chorus, it did a good job of describing her inability to cope with the morning, though she was a little more hesitant about the "Don't even know who's bed I'm in" part...

Video Game of the Moment
Curling: The Video Game. (Well, actually "Take-Out Weight Curling") Though I really shouldn't snicker; any nation that so supports baseball (ever try to explain that to a foreign exchage student?) or football (like Rugby, but with body armor) has some 'splainin to do of its own. And curling now has a movie of its own, Men with Brooms.

Link of the Moment
Do Penises have higher bandwidth than cable modems? [insert 'plug and play' joke here]

Magic of the Moment
A Wicca Ceremony for Anorexics. Kind of a scary synergy, that. Pro-anorexia groups are kind of odd. At the risk of offending nearly everybody, I'd say they remind me a bit of the Deaf Culture crowd. Both issues are less black and white than the casual (and non-deaf/normal-eating) observer may realize.

Quote of the Moment
"A girl can wait for the right man to come along but in the meantime that still doesn't mean she can't have a wonderful time with all the wrong ones."
--Cher. From this month's Blender of Love digest I just finished. It featured the results of an interesting little competition by Gala, who had people write love poems to famous monsters. This graphic is made from the little award badge icons I made up for it....Wolfman didn't come out so well but I like the others.

TV Listing of the Moment
The History Channel is currently showing "Desert Storm: The Ultimate War". That title is incorrect in a literal as well as a figurative sense; still, I think it will be interesting to watch given our current war plans.

(Huh, looks like my new "intraday update" style makes some big daily entries. I guess in some ways it brings it closer to my original PalmPilot based KHftCEA journal, where I'm more willing to write minor little points.)

peekaboo

(2 comments)
October 7, 2002
It's funny how getting engrossed in a project can take your mind of the problems of you and the world. I get up to my neck in the Blender, and suddenly it's like we're not marching to war with Iraq, the potential for ever-increasingly-devastating terrorist attack isn't there, and my job is completely secure for as long as I want it with an even better there for the asking. And I gotta wonder, is this a good thing or a bad thing? Is it a healthy break-taking from all the neurotic fretting that can be of no help to the situations anyway? Or a dangerous flight from reality that threatens to keep me from taking positive steps of preparation to deal with whatever comes next?

Image of the Moment
--Mo doing her best James Dean impression. (Ok, not counting the shoulders. Pbbbt.)


Giraffe in Bathtub with Lightbulbs of the Moment
Bill, who thinks that I get to his site by searching Google for man who fired shots in front of UN Bldg. yesterday, linked to this site, Rumsfeldism: The New Surrealism. Rambles a bit, but the first few paragraphs are great.

Political Jab of the Moment
Statistics point to Democrats being better for the Stock Market, which goes against current conventional wisdom about the pro-business Republicans. Maybe unfettered "do whatever the hell you want" economics isn't ultimately what gets the job done. I think the most apt analogy was by a middle or high school teacher, who saw today's companies reflected in the behaviour of his students. There's a lot of terrific raw energy and creativity in there; but left alone without some level of regulation, and you end up with chaos. The Lord of the Flies syndrome.

Kirk's Law of Group Meetings During Uncertain Times
"Once any layoffs have occurred, you cannot schedule any business meetings for more than than 6 or fewer than 3 without causing large amounts of anxiety and trepidation."

Dang, I think both the title and phrasing of this law need to be punched up if it's going to catch on as any kind of meme.

Signature of the Moment
Normally I'm not one to believe in little green men from Mars. But one night, as I was driving home from a party, I caught something in my headlights I still can't explain. It had weird, catlike eyes and only stood about a foot tall. It was covered with grayish fur, and walked on all fours, like a cat. It had a tail, which if I had to describe in terms of something here on Earth was, in a way, like a cat's. Also, it was carrying a ray gun in its mouth. It was either a ray gun or a mouse.
--Dave, at cellar.org's Image of the Day.

Air Travel of the Moment
Apparently Continental changes their rates at 7 Eastern....in an instant our flight to Cleveland (for my high school reunion) went from $235 to $930! D'ohh.

neodada not dead

(1 comment)
October 8, 2002
Art Ramble of the Moment
I just thought of an art exhibit at Tufts, way back when--they had pins that said "NEODADA NOT DEAD", an attempt at reviving Dada a bit. One of the pieces was a pair of eyeglasses, but with big spikes placed in such a way that they would puncture your eyes if you were foolish enough to put them on. I accidentally modeled the idea by putting my headphones down around a spindle where I proudly impale post-its with competled "To Do" items on them. Not quite as visceral an impact as the original, which I still remember after all these years.

Dream Quote of the Moment
"All comedies want to be comic tragedies."
--Dream Kelso (character from That 70s Show)...I guess it's a take on the old "comedy is tragedy plus time". The dream also involved trying to make animated wall paintings in for a library, an image of a dragon flying away. Once I realized they don't have animated GIFs for walls, I thought about using some kind of projector, but I was wondering if it was ok to make the background of each frame completely opaque, or if that would generate too much heat.

News Story of the Moment
Wile E. Coyote may be nothing but a greasy smear at the bottom of a deep canyon with nothing but a little puff of smoke to mark his passing, but his spirit lives on.

Link of the Moment
How to beat carnival games. That giant stuffed panda can be yours, my friend...step right up!

Lego of the Moment
How cool is this? Escher's Ascending and Descending done in Lego blocks! Also, Belvedere and Balcony, neither quite as cool as the stairs...

back in black

(2 comments)
October 9, 2002
Rant of the Moment
"If the British are spending money on this, God knows what else they're spending it on … The joke isn't funny. It isn't even in the ballpark of funny. 'Two Jews walk into a bar without a punch line' is funnier."
--Lewis Black, on The Daily Show. The Wolf Files had a lot of responses to the "Funniest Joke" I posted about the other day, as well as more information on the per-country breakdown of who finds what funny.

Link of the Moment
The Cellular (and Nobel-Prize Winning) connection between sex and death. There's a cartoon I saw once, some cell is presented the option between living forever or having sex in the first panel, in the second panel he sees some cute girly cell waggling at him, catching his attention, and in the final panel he's old and shriveled and thinks "damn". (Yeah, I know, a picture would've been worth a thousand words, but I couldn't find it.)

Exercise of the Moment
Either the coolest or dorkiest and most awkward workout ever: Cardio Strip Tease. (No picture for this one either, sorry.)

Quote of the Moment
"Rome wasn't burnt in a day."
--Slashdot tagline

News Rant of the Moment
What a surprise...the CIA guy says that we're much more likely to get hit with terrorism if we attack Iraq, and the White House doesn't want to listen. Gee, it's like they made up their minds beforehand or something.

nightowl

(2 comments)
October 10, 2002
Got home earlyish last night. Still it felt like I had no time, 'cause it was dark so early. My body must have thought it was later than it was. Dang it all to heck. I have to switch into my "life goes on at night mode". It's not always easy.

Editorial of the Moment
A clear view of how distorted our view of Iraq is. The USA bombs, the public doesn't even notice. Those "no fly zones" are basically just made up. Gah, we suck.

Good Carma
When I drive into Salem each morning, about 1/3 to 1/2 of my time is spent in Salem on this long main street. I actually appreciate the ability to do little favors for drivers who are trying to cross the street or merge into traffic, because it's a non-zero-sum game. By waving them in, I'm adding at most a tiny tiny bit to my drivetime (and usually not even that) but most of the other drivers in my lane don't seem to be as generous, so the person trying to move could have been stuck there for a long while. So I get to collect the good karma of all the little waves and what-not.

Quick Link of the Moment
Worth a quick glance, the homepage of a Lego guru.

Theology of the Moment
"Is there a God?"
"There is, but we don't know where. Or who. And, indeed, why."
--The Onion's AV Club and William Shatner, from a page of asking a lot of famous and semi-famous people "Is There A God?"

Article of the Moment
There was a big Slashdot discussion on the Fortune Magazine article Generation Wrecked. Fun to try to figure out where you fit on this bellcurve. For Mo and I (who are at the tail end of the age range) I think it's firmly on the righthand side, far from the people who are struggling and/or broke, but we never did wander into the "retire in my 30s" territory that some people were able to find in the dot com boom.

Religion of the Moment
Wow. I had close to a religious experience watching the Earth recede from Monday's Space Shuttle Cam footage when "Endless Column" on the Blue Man Group CD came on. Terrific, melancholy but hopeful intstrumental. It's almost enough to make me forget that the shuttle is such crappy 1970s technology.

t.g.i.almost the damn weekend already

(1 comment)
October 11, 2002
Geek Quote of the Moment
"I like Java because you can tell generally tell what a program does by look at it. They run an obfuscated-C competition every year, with some amazing results. They don't even bother running an obfuscated-C++ competition..."
--Josh Bloch (paraphrased slightly), author of Efective Java, who spoke at last night's New England Java Users Group meeting.

Your Brain Is Lazy
The square labeled 'A' and the one labeled 'B' are literally the exact same shade of grey. Honest. See it fullsize and then play with some perception toys that are cool but play like a third rate magic show.

Wacky News of the Moment
Zookeepers Fired for Eating Animals. Hee hee hee. "And this is the Tibetan Mountain Chicken. Note the beautiful plumage and generally friendly demeanor. It is also quite delicious."

prints of tides

(2 comments)
October 12, 2002
Small Irony of the Moment
Mo just bought a book called The Simplicity Reader. It's 872 pages.

View and Software of the Moment
This is the view outside my shared office workspace. It's a lot better than the view I had weeks ago, which was a white cement wall with a small window overlooking a big strip of asphault and the next building over. Because of this terrific view, and the way you can see how the waterline moves against Salem's wharf, I've become a bit obsessed with the tides. So far the coolest thing I've found for that is Tide Tool for the PalmPilot. It provides a table with the day's high and low tides, as well as a cool colorful graph. Databases for tons of different locations come included with it, and it also tracks the phase of the moon and sunrise/sunset times as well.

Quote of the Moment
"That smugness I saved from the nineties- where did I put it?"
--Man to Woman in cartoon by Mueller

Quote of Another Moment
"A mind is a terrible thing to ugg.. I forgot.. "
--Stile Project (a pretty raunchy site)

the march of progress, with fries

(1 comment)
October 13, 2002
Technology of the Moment
Some McDonalds now have little ATM-like machines where you can place your order. On the one hand, I'm not crazy about one of the canonical sources of low end jobs becoming fully automated...on the other hand, I loved using this machine. I wanted one of those Salad Shakers, and all my options for "in stock" salads and dressings were right there, same for beverages. The touch screen was very responsive, it took credit cards, and even though it annoying plugged its apple pies, all in all it was a better experience. It wasn't totally devoid of human contact, everything is still people based where you go to pick up your food, but it just made things easier. (And to think I had been impressed by another McD's that had flat panels up above the counter where the menus are...seeing videos of coffee and what not feels very Blade Runnerish.)

Funny of the Moment
"Son...your mother tells me that you don't believe in Santa Claus. Is that true?"
"That's right. I'm not going to pretend I believe in that junk, just because it makes you and mom happy."
"Welcome to adulthood, son. Hope you enjoy playing with pants and socks, because that's all you'll be getting as presents from now on."
--A Red Meat Cartoon. Wish I could find the "Chill out, Spartacus" one online.

the jewels of big jule

(1 comment)
October 14, 2002
Small Gif Cinema of the Moment

big jule
This is from Euclid High School's 1991 production of "Guys & Dolls". I was the menacing ganster "Big Jule", who gets slugged by the hero Sky Masterson...but this time the actor playing Sky tripped on my foot and landed square on my nuts. My knees flying up here was pure reflex. Luckily my character did nothing but lie there for a while. "Sky" was barely able to finish the scene without cracking up. Amazingly, it happened during the final dress rehersal, the only time the show was allowed to be taped.

Quote of the Moment
"You wouldn't kill yourself, it's just not your nature."
"I resent that. I'm as broody and romantically self-destructive as the next girl."
--Huntress and Oracle in "Birds of Prey", a new WB cartoon set in the Batman universe. (Where Batman has skipped town, according to this Salon review.)

UI Link of the Moment
Alan Cooper, "Father of Visual Basic", on 14 Principles of Polite Apps. Good stuff for any software application authors out there.

Kirk's Fantasy of the Moment
Oh my goodness. An upcoming sex comedy starring Madonna, directed by the Guy who made Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch?? (Admittedly the Guy (Ritchie) in question is her husband.) Somebody up there likes me.

snob slob

October 15, 2002
Quote of the Moment
"'Know thyself,' the Greek sage advised. But of course this is nonsense. Truly happy people live by the maxim 'Overrate thyself.' [...] Each of these people is a god of self-esteem, dwelling on a private Olympus."
--David Brooks in an Atlantic commentary "Superiority Complex", about how we're all masters of these little things. The "classes" society ideal in the USA allows each person to be a little snob in their own small domain...

Link of the Moment
Interesting little Fast Company article on The Art of Multiasking, best uses of technology to help with personal overworking.

Link of a Future Moment
It's easy to forget that an easy military victory in Iraq is not a sure thing.

Ramble of the Moment
Thinking about the Maryland sniper..makes me wonder about the use of surveillance technology. (I've never really been a big privacy rights advocate, and that's been even truer since 9/11.) I'm almost surprised that we don't have the technology to do 24-hour realtime satellite surveillance of a limited geographical area, so that once the ballistic work has been done to get the rough location of the shooter, visually trace all vehicles from that spot and find out where the hell he went. We have geosynchronous satellites, right? I don't know how long it takes for them to take and beam one picture...(so great, now I'd produce the "cloudy day sniper" who only strikes when there's a good cloudcover.) Oy. That shooter is such a limpdick dork...it's not that he's talented, it's that the system is open. "Cracker"-style hackers have the same mentality. If they can make people miserable, they must be powerful.

Article of the Moment
Intriguing New Yorker piece on the USA as the only superpower. That's why we're called in over stuff like "the island of parsley", where Spain and Morocco almost came to blows over a stupid little island that had nothing but goats and garnishes. Too bad we have such a singleminded manchild at the helm.

Sig of the Moment
"Seven Deadly Sins? I thought it was a to-do list!"
--edremy on Slashdot

'cause we're the band!

(3 comments)
October 16, 2002
Link of the Moment
It's the Rocklopedia Fakebandica, "The Ultimate Fake Band List". Cool because it's so geeky, and cool because it gives a bit of background information for each one. Includes one of my all time favorites, MC Skat Kat. (The title for today's kisrael.com comes from a kind of rallying cry-and-response Juj the drummer and I had during pep band. "Why's That??" "'CAUSE WE'RE THE BAND!" Seemed like it could justify a lot at the time.)

Map of the Moment
A Worldmap of Freedom with freedom being defined in terms of consent of the governed...interesting.

Quote of the Moment
"The most underrated dog is the hardy hybrid. Conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all dogs are created different."
--Roy Blount Jr., from American Heritage magazine having experts pick the most overrated and underrated things in their categories of expertise, from "Amendments to the Constitution" to "World War II Generals". (via Bill )

Game of the Moment
Elegant little Java game, Space Dudes. Combination controls: the mouse for movement (but your guy moves at a set pace, sometimes having to catch up to where you put the mouse) and the arrowkeys for firing. A bit like Robotron meets Centipede in feel.

Quote of the Other Moment
"The only problem with leaving a relationship is that you take you with you."
--Comics I Don't Understand "While You're Waiting for the Download" section.

News of the Moment
Why are we so blind to the death of over 180 by a terrorist blast? I mean, heck, a lot of those people were Australians...and they're white! I guess heaven forfend we look at anything that distracts from our war against Iraq...that whole "War Against Terrorism" is so 2001 anyway. Hell, that's only like 15% as many who died in WTC. Hardly bares our attention. They should just send in Paul Hogan.

Guh.

Bachelor Recipe of the Moment
Kirk's Ginger Tuna
Open can of chunk tuna. Drain water. Dump into bowl. Add generous abount of Ginger Soy sauce. Stir and Enjoy! Serves 1. Or 1/2, if you're hungry.

Regular readers may notice a certain similarity to the previously published reciped Tuna ala Kirk.

we want peace, they prepare for war

October 17, 2002
So some of the Senators who voted for that bill that authorizes military action against Iraq said that they did it following the adage "if you want peace, prepare for war", that by making a strong showing behind the President, Iraq might back down before that action becomes necessary. The trouble is, the guy they've just handed the keys to, it seems to the most casual observer that he wants war...that old saying, questionable at best anyway, could only hope to apply if most of the players actually wanted peace...

It's kind of surreal thinking that there's an excellent good chance that some day our regular schedule broadcasts are going to be interrupted by news of a major strike on US soil, probably a big city, probably radioactive, maybe nuclear. I kind of live in dread of that "oh shit" moment. ('Course, if I didn't have that to dread, I'd find something else. Rob Baum reminded me that in, say, early 2000, when by 2-year-anxiety about Y2K came to nothing, the economy seemed to be running on a cylinders, that was when I had one of my most serious anxiety attacks about mortality in general (which in turn led to the Skeptic's Guide.))

Anyway, Wired had a hopeful article on new detection technologies. For what it's worth, here's my prediction: sometime in the next 20 years, there's going to be a large terrorist bombing in a major city, or maybe several simultaneously. Only then will a system like the type described in the article really be enacted, and life will become a bit more police-stateish. And I think there will be some level of security for a while after that, and not that that many will even be killed, but life isn't gonna be much fun.

Funny of the Moment
On the lighter side, this is a funny take on SPAM in the Star Wars Galaxy.

Pointless Link of the Moment
"Oh my god! They look like Kenny!" "You bastards!"

Doodle of the Moment
--Just touched based with an old dormmate of mine, Carly R....she used to put the best doodles on my message board (actually a giant sheet of blank newspaper) and she says now her doodles are often computer based...I've always thought that she has a touch of Shel Silverstein in her doodles.

Grossness of the Moment
Meathead, Meathead, Rolypoly Meathead...just in time for Halloween. (via Ranjit)

euroh-oh

October 18, 2002
Link of the Moment
Europeans don't just hate Americans. They do a pretty good job of hating each other as well.

Miserable Meme of the Moment
"That was a little in-yo-end-o."
--Eddie Murphy in the new I Spy remake. I only mention it because I CAN'T GET IT OUT OF MY HEAD. And I figured misery loves company, so maybe it'll get stuck in one of y'all's heads too.

News of the Moment
I'm surprised that this Wired story on a message from Osama on a horror film website doesn't raise the possiblity that it's all a hoax.

Quote of the Moment
"Men are like chocolates, you just bite them, suck out the cream filling, and then throw them away. The world sees me as a love goddess, but I've never been in love."
--from a Japanese Student of English's T-shirt, via this page linked to from J-list, one of Bill's favorite sites. He also linked to a page on Japanese gestures.

i lhu, you lhu, we all lhu for chtulhu

October 19, 2002
Yes, Virgina, there is a Great Cthulhu. He exists as certainly as the cold unfeelingness of the cosmos exits, and you know that this meaninglessness abounds and gives to your life its highest absurdity. Alas! how comfortable would be the world if there were no Cthulhu! It would be as comforting as if a Santa Claus truly did care and reward children for doing good. There would be childlike faith then, a world of sweet believable poetry and romance to make existence idyllic and appealing. The external light with which childhood fills the world would never end.
--Steve Harris on rec.humor.funny/alt.horror.cthulhu...he actually wrote up the entire letter. Funny if you know that whole HP Lovecraft shtick.

Quote of the Moment
"The mature man lives quietly, does good privately, assumes personal responsibility for his actions, treats others with friendliness and courtesy, finds mischief boring and keeps out of it. Without this hidden conspiracy of good will, society would not endure an hour."
--Kenneth Rexroth

Eat Poop You Cat of the Moment
I liked this drawing from the middle of a round of Eat Poop You Cat at Peterman's birthday shindig last night. Eat Poop You Cat is a game... well... here, let this pirate explain it to you (along with some good examples.) I'm toying with the idea of trying to make an online version of this game...another site that has the same idea has a clearer explanation. I think this image was ultimately derived from "Milk: It Does A Body Good"

Small Gif Cinema of the Moment

scancakes
--made from a series of scans that Ranjit appears to have made over (or under) breakfast.

june 1 2003

(1 comment)
October 20, 2002
Political Cartoon of the Moment
--Tom Toles. I would've just linked to the online version, but the UComics site is slow to the point of death. Anyway, this cartoon is one of the likelier scenarios I've seen...


Quote of the Moment
"In this great and creatorless universe, where so much beautiful has come to be out of the chance interactions of the basic properties of matter, it seems so important that we love one another."
--Lucy Kemnitzer

new yorkers do not wear white

(6 comments)
October 21, 2002
Link of the Moment
A blog entry with tips for visitors to NYC. Dang, but I miss my mom's apartment there. On the other hand maybe I'm just as happy she wasn't there during the tragedy.

Quote of the Moment
"As a girl who has been on the flip side of [the men vs women in IT] ratio, I can tell you it's not much better for us. As we liked to say when I was in school: 'The odds are good, but the goods are odd.'."
--Jeandre quoting someone on Slashdot

Small Gif Cinema of the Moment

wharf
--A tiny movie of the view outside my shared office space. Thanks to Ranjit who helped me put the fullsize 2 days-and-nights version into RealMedia format. The chair in the first part and the white and blue lights at night are reflections on the glass.

fragment from a future that never was

October 22, 2002
Link of a non-Moment
Amazing Mac/typewriter hybrid, straight outta the movie Brazil. Be sure to check out the mock-Ads made for it, trying to capture the spirit of the HP Lovecraft universe circa 1926. (via boingboing)

"The Pathology in the Politics"
George W. Bush as a "Dry Drunk". It sounded kind of corny, but after reading the article, I think is might explain nearly everything...it certainly seems to fit his patterns of speech and action. (On the other hand, doesn't some of his "speech" come from professional speechwriters? Do they make his catchphrases, or get them from him? ...And I guess you can't use this excuse for most of the rest of his administration...) But a lot of his mannerisms when he's trying to be serious and stately, they are a bit like a drunk guy trying to pretend he's not.

Random Observation of the Moment
The headphones that I use at work have a little volume control on the wire itself. Just today I noticed that there's a Mono/Stereo switch on it. I was curious to see if it meant the sound was balanced between the two speakers, or just came out of one (ok, kind of dumb.) But I learned that the default Windows 'bell' sound has an odd stereophonic back-and-forth to it that I had never noticed before (until, of course, I switched my headphones to 'mono' where it became a single simple sound.)

Now you know. Carry on.

Political Web Toy of the Moment
Ranjit passed on a link that Mo had sent me a while back, Make Your Own Bush Speech. A little limited because you can only use each phrase once, but still, you can make some amusing stuff.

Poetry of the Moment
Later,
when you face old age and its natural conclusion
your courage will still be shown in the little ways,
each spring will be a sword you'll sharpen,
those you love will live in a fever of love,
and you'll bargain with the calendar
and at the last moment
when death opens the back door
you'll put on your carpet slippers
and stride out.
--from Courage, by Anne Sexton. From a collection of poetry selected by Garrison Keillor titled Good Poems that lives up to its name.

yesterday's sunrise

(1 comment)
October 23, 2002


a lot nicer than the snow splatters of this morning's drive...


Link of the Moment
This Slashdot poll on "Favorite Cartoon Geek" had the option Brain, of "Pinky and the Brain" fame. (Though some people thought it might've meant the dog from Inspector Gadget.) Anyway, someone linked to the semi-canonical "Are You Pondering What I'm Pondering" List...
"Pinky, are you pondering what I’m pondering?"
"Wuh, I think so, Brain, but burlap chafes me so."
It might be fun to learn how to make up this kind of exchange with my friends in real life.

Article of the Moment
Wired on Americanization Lessons for workers in call centers in India. Man, the concept of a well-educated workforce with salaries so low makes me nervous. I hope their standard wages go up before global integration becomes easier than it is now. Software-Industry-wise, I've heard that although it seems like a tremendous bargain for a US company to outsource with offshore centers, in the long run, the costs are about the same. Given my experience with about 2/3 of the Indian consultants I've worked with, that doesn't surprise me. Still, a number of jobs'll be lost while companies figure out if it's a good deal or not.

duck in a noose

October 24, 2002
News of the Moment
So they made some arrests in the Maryland sniper case. This morning the morning talk programs were proclaiming it over, while the newsier slant was playing it more cautiously. And not to sound like any kind of conspiracy nut, but some elements of this seem almost too easy. And what's up with 'We have caught the sniper like a duck in a noose' quote that the snipe was all hot for the police chief to say? I'm surprised those talk programs didn't play up the idea that that could be some coded message to terrorists.

In other news, Salon headline article on how bad Bush is doing with the economy, and how the Democrats aren't taking advantage of it. There's definately a partisan tone to this, but still...gah, is the outlook for the semi-near-term economy as bad as all that? (He asks, as his good friend just gets laid off from Lycos the day before...damn it, weren't we supposed to be out of the layoff woods?)

I liked the recent Onion headline: Bush On Economy: 'Saddam Must Be Overthrown'.

Pop Culture of the Moment
Boston Globe piece on why good movies age better than good tv shows.

Limerick of the Moment
The time I've lost in wooing,
In watching and pursuing,
The light that lies
In women's eyes
Has been my heart's undoing.
--Thomas Moore (early 19th-century Irish poet)

Economic Outlook of Past Moments
Just following up on some earlier posts, I google'd on "economic outlook" and the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research page came up. Just browsing the headlines for the past 7 or so years makes for some interesting reading.

Quote of the Moment
"SOY! SOY! SOY! Soy makes you strong! Strength crushes enemies! SOY!"
--Injoke on Everything2. (Hi, Sawers.) Indirectly referenced in this O'Reilly article on building online communities, which made me think about what's grown on the Love Blender.

sick world

(6 comments)
October 25, 2002
Quote of the Moment
"It's a sick world out there, and that's why we don't live out there."
--Garrison Keillor

ASCII Art of the Moment
     __(.)=   __(.)=
     \___)    \___)    
 =(.)__   =(.)__   >(.)__
  (___/    (___/    (___/
(I really like these ducks)

Online Toy of the Moment
It is a sick world. And this online toy Mr. Rogers Out of Context is so very evil. But also funny.

Mr. Rogers is a little under-rated. He's very geared to appeal to a certain age group, I think around 5 or so, doing things that kids that age want and need; the repetition, the quiet reassurance. And, as a normal rite of passage, it becomes very cool to make fun of Mr. Rogers. The thing is, I think most people still slightly carry the anti-Rogers-attitude, seeing him only as a campy figure to make fun of, not thinking about what he really offers kids.

Research Links of the Moment
The Uncanny Valley is a scientific study on how people react to robots...the main take away seems to be that there's a certain stage of "cyber-realism", right before resemblance to "real human" is complete, that people react very negatively to. I think this has some implications for modern videogames, modern games with realistic characters might be starting to approach that valley. Maybe that's why some game makers are going the other direction, most notably Miyamoto's change of style for the new "Zelda" game.

Also, a slashdot piece that says 'Tetris is Hard'...difficult in a formal mathematical sense even. That surprises me, I had always assumed there was a near 'perfect strategy' that I was just too dense to apply.

Perl of the Moment
This beautiful line of Perl code:
$line =~ s/([^\t]*)\t/$1." "x(8-length($1)%8)/ge;
replaces tabs with the appropriate number of spaces, respecting the tab stops. Its author Phiroze Parakh rocks, and Google Groups knows it.

rainy wet saturday

(2 comments)
October 26, 2002
Quote and Snarky Comment of the Moment
"[Muhammad] was a very normal, thoughtful, reasonable guy. He tried diligently to work it out. I don't know what people are supposed to do when they run up against a system where they are banging their heads up against the wall and there is no remedy."
--John S. Mills, former divorce lawyer for sniper suspect John Allen Muhammad, from this Washington Post Profile.

I don't know what they're supposed to do either, but I suspect that it isn't "start killing people with a high powered rifle from the trunk of a specially modified Chevrolet Caprice".

Just a guess.

daylight losing time

October 27, 2002
Dang it, we all push the clocks back today. Welcome to the dark winter wonderland.

Image of the Moment
--I was the "Pied Piper of Hamelin" for Brooke's Halloween Bash. This is a closeup of one of my fearsome (if squeaky) rats.


Quote of the Moment
"In human stupidity, when it is not malicious, there is something very touching, even beautiful... There always is."
--Leo Tolstoy

Online Comic of the Moment
Ranjit pointed out "Boy on a Stick and Slither", a somewhat surreal comic that I hadn't seen before. At its best a bit like Life in Hell, otherwise just a little random. It's worth reading through the archive, but if you're in a hurry, I really liked the first one, this view on cowboys 'n' indians, and this one on mints.

News Quote of the Moment
"A double-dip recession is not like a roller coaster — in these recessions the second dip is usually worse than the first."
--The Idaho Statesman. Was googling on "consumer confidence" after hearing an NPR promo for an interview with a guy who thinks that with slipping consumer confidence, the consumers might be on to something. The Idaho article doesn't cast the double dip as foregone conclusion, but why do I have this urge to start stockpiling water and canned goods?

king kong along

(2 comments)
October 28, 2002
Quote of the Moment
"I am think about. Maybe I am no do. But I tell-a you what ingenuity we plan and you tell me what you think. Kong-a lay dead, and how you say--scientist come apart, and Kong come like Frunkensteen--you know Frunkensteen--and he come crazy bad. He kill everyone. And Dwan [Jessica Lange] is now a big time movie star and she say, 'Hey, Kong, remember me?' She jumps in his hand, he picks her up, put her to his face, smile and then...WOMP, he eat her! You like?"
--Dino de Laurentiis on a possible sequel to his notably bad 1976 remake of King Kong (from The Golden Turkey Awards, via Bill)

Link of the Moment
Looks like Saddam's Official E-mail was hacked, and now we get to see what people have been writing to him, both pro- and con-. Don't know if it's a hoax or not.

Political Quote of the Moment
"You can get around the Constitution if you place the word 'Shmonstitution' right after it."
--The Daily Show, paraphrased by some guy in this slashdot article.

Ramble of the Moment
You know, I used to be dead set against people replying to e-mail and just typing at the top but now I do it all the time. I remember giving people crap about (Hi Jen) as well at the time, until I converted to the darkside. And it doesn't seem quite so dark.
On Usenet, the oldschool discussion groups, "top posting" (as they call the tecnhique) is strongly discouraged. As unclefreddy of rec.games.video.classic puts it in his .sig:
Q: Because it reverses the logical flow of conversation.
A: Why is top posting frowned upon?
But E-mail is different from Usenet. Now the quoted mail below can act as kind of a historical record of a conversation.
In both communication forms, there's also that other "interspersed quoting" method, where you kind of write paragraphy by paragraph responses inside the other person's quoted text. That's one of my favorites.

bleary eyed

(3 comments)
October 29, 2002
Ugh. Up 'til 1am at work. Found out the hard way that they lock the parking garage around 10 or so...

Deal of the Moment
Wow, it's the Papermate® Ingenuity™ Liquid Pencil--"Real graphite is suspended in a clear liquid so it works just like a pen!" and you can get a Free Sample from Office Depot. When I first saw it on BoingBoing it seemed dumb, but then the product site mentioned it can be used on standardized tests, which would be cool...I've never liked the 'feel' of pencils. (Probably ever since trying to write on waxy Sunday School workbooks with awful #3 pencils.) I guess you can see more deals like this at Nifty News, Decent Deals.

Online Toy of the Moment
Random cute link from that deals site, interactive fireworks over the Statue of Liberty. Some nice light effects.

Poster of the Moment
Real Big Brother-esque signage from London. They have a lot of security cameras there. I love the retro-spooky-scifi-artdeco feel of this poster, though it is a bit disconcerting.

I think I'm less of a privacy advocate than ever.


Quote and Ramble of the Moment
"We are glad that the cookies are vegan, but sad that they promote circus animal misery — if only they'd make whip, chain and bull-hook cookies to show kids the full story."
--PETA on Animal Crackers.

The vending machine at work just started offering Butter Crackers. (well, I thought the bag said crackers, but it's technically "butter checkers". Whatever.) So, crackers made of/with butter. Which got me thinking, do vegans eat animal crackers? (The PETA quote is from this article on the recent 100th anniversary of "Barnum's Animal Crackers".

One other thing..."Animal Crackers in my soup?" Most soups are pretty salty, and animal crackers are generally sweet. This sounds kind of gross, unless at one point (like, 1935) animal crackers were more like regular crackers and less like cookies.

madness takes its tool

(1 comment)
October 30, 2002
(Today's title is a tribute to the title of this entry, which for the longest time (until yesterday in fact) had the typo of tool for toll. I felt somehow guilty about changing it. I swear sometimes I have a touch of dyslexia.)

Culture of the Moment
The most in-depth American dialect survey I've seen, from age-old questions like "is it a sub, hoagie, hero, or grinder"/"soda, pop, tonic, or coke" to more obscure ones like "What do you call the area of grass between the sidewalk and the road?". In Cleveland I learned that's a "tree lawn", and I'm not surprised "I have no word for this" is the most popular option around here...cities like Cambridge and Somerville don't even have 'em! (Also, answer b to this one comes as a complete surprise to me...)

There's something a little melancholy in the "I have no word for this" response for so many of the questions. (Except of course for stuff like "What do you call a drive-through liquor store"...we had those in Cleveland, but no special word for it, and here they don't exist.)

Image Link of the Moment
Cellar.org's image of the day recently was a scene where a former World Cup soccer player died on the field, hit by lightning. Yikes, what a way and time and place to go.

News of the Moment
The increasing corporatization of pot growers. Combined with the resource drain on prisons for minor drug offendors, this is just stupid. It's time to make it legal, tax the hell out of it, move on to more pressing problems.

Archive of the Last Two Years of Moments
I just revamped the monthly archive for kisrael.com. I tweaked the look of the month list, but more importantly, I used some script trickery to try to convince Google that it's static content that should be archived...

devil inside

October 31, 2002
Quote of the Day
"Evangelists say Halloween is the devil's holiday.
What a lame-ass devil! Sitting down in the depths of hell, going, "I've got control of the major corporations, churning out weapons and toxic waste, but how can I get candy? Let me think--I'll get the children of the world to dress up as hobos and Power Rangers--and then I'll have all the bite-size Three Musketeers I need! I am Satan!"
--Patton Oswalt

Image of the Moment
--Jack O' Lantern's Eye View of Mo and the kitchen

Quote of the Moment
"The greatest productive force is human selfishness."
--Robert Heinlein. Not one of the usual Heinlein quotes I always see kicking around. I'm not sure I agree with it completely. Compare and contrast to Michael Shermer's "Rationality tied to moral decency is the most powerful joint instrument for good that our planet has ever known."

Link of the Moment
Ranjit pointed me to Googlism, a Google using tool that informed me that "kirk israel is a visionary" and "kirk israel is the blender". It can tell you what nearly anyone is, especially if you only use their first names.

Keep in mind that succesful "hits" on the site get added to a publicly-viewable index.

Old School of the Moment
RIP, Jam Master Jay, the DJ for the hiphop pioneer group Run-DMC.
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