kirk.is | < retrospect: 18 feb >

February 18, 2017

Two thoughts on the Trump press conference. 1 is I heard a few clips on the radio, and I sort of get why the people who like him respond well to that tone. He is an entertainer after all. 2. After all those rumors about the Russian dossier, did he really hold the whole thing in front of a cascade of golden curtains?
I saw the Steelers use remote control tackling dummy robots.

I think - well, hope - the future will be Atari's Cyberball 2072:


I don't know if it's considered embarrassing to admit to using dandruff shampoo, but ever since I heard that Head & Shoulders was the only product or procedure our beloved president would cop to using on his hair ("like cotton candy made of piss" to quote one magician-comedian) I have been anxiously awaiting finishing up this giant bottle of it... On to Selsun Blue! Probably forever.

February 18, 2016

"Awlaki was, to a certain cast of mind, a mesmerizing preacher. This world is but a station, he proclaimed. It is the next station, the Hereafter, that matters. 'We do not belong here. We are travelling. . . . We need to prepare for death.'"
--William Finnegan in the New Yorker, Last Days: Preparing for the apocalypse in San Bernardino

I think this is problematic with a lot of faiths, especially with an emphasis on a supernatural hereafter, and in fact the Awlaki quote reminds me of messages I would get from time to time in my Christian church upbringing. Why give a damn (so to speak) about anything around us, what in the finite can measure up to the infinite that awaits? Yeah, some faiths say God wants to be good stewards, but why worry about the planet when we're careening toward the apocalypse? (Revelation was written 19 centuries ago, and still waiting, but it must be around the corner now...) Some religions emphasize charity and kindness in the here and now but those goals have to be weighed in the balance of spreading the word and fighting the fight.

I understand faith adds to the lives of many people. On the one hand, a more mature faith is balanced by basic humanity concerns, but if you start using "basic human concerns" as a litmus test for your religion, you're down the path of admitting they might be more important than religion... that it's something with common values that might transcend which of the many, many possible faiths we cling to. I wish establishing that common ground was the priority - it seems a lot healthier than this "people of faith, any faith no matter how mutually incompatible" lined up on the righthand sheep side against the skeptics on the lefthand goat side..

I know in some ways science - or rather, what science thinks is most likely true about how the universe functions, for now - requires some kind of faith. I've often longed for a good kitchen-sink science demonstration of atomic theory! (And one of the things I found bugging me most in the Scalia retrospectives was that he thought evolution was just a theory, and a crummy theory at that.) But why science differs from most other faiths is that it offers a method of its own correction; its core is coming up with ideas, and putting them to the test, and letting other people put them to the test. Knowledge is painstakingly grown, not handed from on high, or merely homegrown in our hearts. (And science doesn't tell us what to do - you can't get ought from is -- that's the job of moral philosophy, and when people try to shove science into that role you get crap like social darwinism.)


The Secret Lives of Tumblr Teens I'm less interested in the rags-to-riches-to-rags aspect than the general take on tumblr culture; admittedly FB has been a better mirror for my old (and ongoing) kisrael.com but I really appreciate the "relatable" style culture, relative to other cultures (twitter or especially chan/twitter) it is very human.
Wow, an insult that bugs that Short-Fingered Vulgarian.
In 1990 my high school marching band travelled to Detroit for a band competition and the parade... jump to 27:50 for some fine tuba, cymbals, and majorette dancin' to "My Sharona".

Good for anyone who has a fetish for badly lit vintage shots of the Henry Ford Museum.

February 18, 2015

from MB(ecket)TA - snow shots overlayed with Samuel Becket despair and absurdism...

NERDALERT For some reason this grails error made me laugh out loud:
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InstallWarController.groovy: 29: expecting anything but ''\n''; got it anyway @ line 29, column 21.
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NO! NOT \n!! ANYTHING BUT THAT!!!
"Was it the bourbon or the dye fumes that made the pink walls quiver like vaginal lips?"
--Darcey Steinke, opening of "Suicide Blonde". A book I am not keeping in part because all I remember about it is this line.

February 18, 2014

I don't get people who say they don't use a scale to watch their wait, they just see how their clothes fit-- yeah, if you weigh daily you have to ignore fluctuation, but it seems a lot easier and faster than the qualitative change of clothes (especially given how loose some of mine are already.) Plus just-washed jeans always feel snug.
"You're uncountably smelly!"
--Bonus Cartoon after this smbc comic about Cantor's early experience with infinity
http://www.theawl.com/2012/06/all-the-presidents-menus I guess I knew coffee has been with us for centuries, but still striking to see how modern some of these meals sound. Also, that whole "Zachary Taylor died because of cherries and iced milk" always sounded kind of ridiculous... personally I think http://www.dailykos.com/story/2005/05/29/117856/-THE-STRANGE-DEATH-OF-ZACHARY-TAYLOR makes a pretty good case for assassination by a Southern conspiracy. Or at least one that fits my prejudices.

____

(1 comment)
February 18, 2013
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pigmeat markham

(5 comments)
February 18, 2012
A while back I talked about Pigmeat Markham's "Hear Come the Judge"-- comes off a little racist these days, but it was maybe the first recorded rap and it has a great beat they sampled in BAD II's "Rush"

Anyway, for no reason I could fathom, some "automatically find the album art" found this for the censored version of Lo Fidelity Allstar's "Battleflag"...

Just wanted to post it here so I wouldn't forget it, now that I have the unexpurgated song.

Also: "Pigmeat Markham" is kind of an awesome name.

you should have gotten your ipad vintage

(1 comment)
February 18, 2011

from this Gizmodo piece on the Genius Bar. (What if they were actually, you know, Geniuses? I liked the explanation of adolescence and the traditional "I hate my parents!" shtick.) Today I let myself get entangled in the comments of this Slate piece hatin' on the iPad.

snowshots

(3 comments)
February 18, 2010
It was a wet, heavy, sticky snow the other day... walking by Russell Field near Alewife I saw someone had made a really big snow fort/igloo thing... unfortunately they ducked inside before I could get a shot with them in the frame, for comparison...


Backyard the next morning.


After I took that shot, Amber txt'd and asked if I could get more shots with snow covered trees against blue skies - it was such a gorgeous clear day. Where I was in Brighton was a bit too urban to get shots of trees without powerlines and streetlights, but I did my best...







What does "faith" mean when the concept of "faiths" exists?
I kind of treat my iPhone as a humanist holy icon, providing direct guidance thanks to the Appigo ToDo app I have on it.

osaka shootings

(1 comment)
February 18, 2009

--pretty cool but I wonder how many people didn't play along.... still I dig Osaka


If my brain is really busy, I don't need sleep for a while. I wonder if this is how Edison worked it.

grape-grabbin', water-sippin' excitement!

(7 comments)
February 18, 2008

To view this content, you need to install Java from java.com
virtual tantalus
source - built in processing

florida filler day 3

(6 comments)
February 18, 2007
Today's theme: videogames and the programming thereof.

My first foray into the wonder world of Atari games was a kind of obscure Columbia Home Arcade... you got the basic system (a rebadged Coleco Gemini, an Atari 2600 clone) and then they sent you a catalog/poster every month, like those record clubs but for games. They offered some games that are now considered pretty rare, like Spy Hunter and Donkey Kong Jr. (heh, I just realized DK Jr. was one of the featured items. I remember getting that for my birthday... not sure if it was allegedly from a grandparent or from my mom, but come to think of it it probably came through that poster. Which is fine. I loved Donkey Kong Jr, in part because of the character in the Saturday morning cartoon. I dressed up for halloween one year as him, in fact.)

Batari BASIC, a simplified programming language for writing 2600 games on the PC, has its own website, replacing my old "semi-official" one that I never did enough with. Also, it's finally at "version 1.0" after kicking around beta for a while.

Sometimes I think... if I had this language when I was writing JoustPong, I could have saved a lot of time, though the end result wouldn't have been nearly as impressive.

Then I think, that might've saved my marriage to Mo. Or... not. I might be mixing up cause and effect, that it was just my pursuit of personal projects in general in lieu of the couple-interest she was (quietely, almost secretly) craving.

Of course, I'm retroactively disappointed in myself that I never got into 8-bit programming more deeply, like with the C=64 Programmer's Reference Guide. I never did anything with the sprites, and my few attempts to get into Asseembly Language back then never came to anything...

Finally, the amount of exploration these folks have done of the old N64 game Goldenye is pretty amazing.

My goodness. Today's entry went on some odd little tangents there.

Quote of the Moment
"The trouble with computers, of course, is that they're very sophisticated idiots."
--The Doctor, "The Giant Robot"

the perpetual nostalgic

(12 comments)
February 18, 2006
Email of a Past Moment of a Moment Passed
I also thought of you recently because of a conversation I had with a friend. It was about being really happy in a relationship; giddily happy, happy without reservation. As far as I can remember, the only time I was happy like that was in 1991. I'm not sure if it's fair to me to say that right now, because I think it would be really really unusual if it was you and I who found that again. As far as I can tell, that's what New York was all about. Before you arrived, I wondered what it would be like the first instant I saw you. in the airport. And when that moment came, it was...something, but not That Thing I had hoped for. (I don't put a lot of stock in gut feelings, though, because my instincts are so often wrong. Still, oh, I dunno) Still, that Spring and Summer-- I was in love with you beyond rhyme and beyond reason. I try to figure out why haven't found that since; if something in me broke when you left, if that kind of happiness only comes when you're young and kind of innocent, if it's just one of those things and maybe I'll be in that kind of love since. Since then I've always been looking for someone else; for a long time I was looking for you, for a while it's been someone else. I understand your frustration in New York; it seemed the only thing missing from the equation was me. "Why won't you love me?" you asked; the question and my inability to to answer it cut me more than you know.

--To V, 1997.

I've been looking backwards lately. I ran into "the kirk archive"...an attempt to index all the electronic and scanned in stuff I've saved, started all the way back in 1999. (I date when I add things to the index, no matter how old the content is, and that meta-information is kind of interesting to me.) It's kind of weird noting the similarities between what was written after college breakups and some more recent ones.

Fun Kirk Fact: As of this writing my August 1997 Palm Journal entry is the #1 hit for the phrase "perpetual nostalgic" and the #3 or so hit for the words seperately.


Article of the Moment
"Thinking hard about a complex decision that rests on multiple factors appears to bamboozle the conscious mind so that people only consider a subset of information, which they weight inappropriately, resulting in an unsatisfactory choice. In contrast, the unconscious mind appears able to ponder over all the information and produce a decision that most people remain satisfied with."
--Interesting that the email talks about how I don't trust "gut feelings", because yesterday Slashdot linked to a New Scientist study that indicates your subconscious mind is a better decision maker than you are, and that "sleeping on something" is one of the best way of making big life-impacting decisions.

I guess I consider that bad news. For one thing, the subconcious mind isn't very accountable. "Rational" logic, for all its limitations, generally has a series of steps that can be examined and shared, repeated or refuted.

The other thing is it seems this "thinking without thinking" would fall prey to all kind of instilled and instictive prejudices. Take religion, for example... there's a huge batch of deeply-held but mutually-incompatible beliefs out there (Mutually incompatible in the sense of holding "the" ultimate literal truth) that often come from this kind of gut-feeling. Same thing for a bunch of racist leanings...when you grow up in a culture that has a big grudge against another culture, that's often how you're going to lean unless you logic your way out of the cycle.

Maybe that's what art is about. A lot of human communication is at the logic level, art tries to work at that lower level. But it seems like it's really difficult to be receptive to that level of message.

What do you think?

Related Quote of the Moment
"And isn't sanity really just a one trick pony anyway? I mean all you get is one trick, rational thinking, but when you're good and crazy, oooh oooh oooh, the sky is the limit!"
--The Tick... grabbed that one in April of 1997. I'm such an information packrat.

run my little smurflings!

(6 comments)
February 18, 2005
Gargamel's Influence on the Goth Aesthetic
  • Gargamel lived alone with his cat
  • His cat was named "Azrael", after the angel of death. "Azrael" is quite possibly the most cliche Goth name ever.
  • Gargamel's own name is possibly a corruption of 'Gagiel', the angel of fish. Although a poor choice, it is still a very Goth thing to do. And it's better than "Drax, the Everliving".
  • Gargamel only wore black.
  • Gargamel's most hated enemies were folks who lived happy, carefree lives.
  • Gargamel used the word "wretched" like it was going out of style. He also overused the words "miserable" and "drat".
  • Gargamel's only female friend was a fat chick who constantly verbally abused him.
  • Gargamel's motions chasing after the Smurfs are not that far off from Goths dancing. Watch the reruns - trust me.
--Chuck Werner, Gargamel: Man, Myth, Legend.

dean's down

February 18, 2004
For the record, I wasn't nagging Dylan to give the details about what happened to his partner Tom, but I thought it would make an interesting sidebar. I guess Dylan just isn't the emotion exhibitionist I am...

Videos of the Moment
Cool and existential and melancholy stick-figure music video Doorsteps (it has a more sexually violent and nihilistic music video, I Love Death) The music is good in both, and the animation style is compelling. (In the same style the site has the game domestic violence, kind of a warped rock-paper-scissors variant)

Quote of the Moment
"No one gets too old to learn a new way of being stupid."
--slashdot QotD

Image and Toy of the Moment
CITIZEN: please report to the Categorical Barcode Generation Site to receive your appropriate identifying barcode. Here's mine!

Observation of the Moment
This is not, it would appear, the best time of year for Oranges.

snow problem

(2 comments)
February 18, 2003
So it was a record breaking snow, 27 1/2 inches...but really, it wasn't as bad as it sounded. If you did some proactive shoveling a few times yesterday you were in pretty good shape this morning.

Watched Joe Millionaire...impressed myself with my ability to totally call the surprise ending where they gave 'em a million bucks.

AIM Snippet of the Moment
kirk: Ah, such a fun terrible weather game, watch the poor sap "on the spot" tv reporter out in the middle of it
ranjit: what's that word, shadenfreude? This is like freezenfreude

(The other great Freezenfreude: all the SUVs in snowbanks on the side of the highway. Represented way out of proportion to their percentage of the driving population.)

Current Events of the Moment
Via Bill the Splut, The 50 Most Ridiculous Things About the Upcoming War in Iraq.

Link of the Moment
Inner-Childish (in a good way) fun with science. Fun and sort of educational! Some of them even deal with my newer thoughts on what consciousness is and isn't, search for "Burst of flavor", "Un SELF -ishness", "Make your 'self' vanish", and "THE NULL ZONE".

Funny of the Moment
"You know, everyone seems to think being on hold is a bad thing. Let's re-examine this, shall we? Don't look at it as being on hold. Look at it as being held! Because we all like to be held -- don't we?"
--from a transcription of the JetBlue "On Hold" message, by Clive Thomson

senses and sensibility

February 18, 2002
Science of a Previous Moment
This Wired.com piece on Why surfing is like smelling, that we forage for information like other animals forage for food, caught my imagination back in August. (via camworld)

Interesting to compare its main point to this quote from the KHftCEA, "When I'm clicking through the hundreds of E-mail messages that await me each morning, sometimes I imagine I'm a mighty information whale, sifting through thousands of tiny (but nutritious!) krill bits. Yum!"

Idea of the Moment
This Slate.com piece had high praise for Fred Bernstein's idea for a WTC monument; two horizontal bridges, representing (depending on your viewpoint) the towers' reflection, shadow, or the fallen towers themselves. (I think the last interpretation is a little cartoonish.) One would point to Ellis Island, the other to the Statue of Liberty. Actually, I think I liked the idea of making standing "Towers of Light" idea a bit better.

boom baby boom

(4 comments)
February 18, 2001
Short journal today, my computer is being moody.

Played Nintendo with my cousins Ivan and Kayla yesterday. It's funny to think that someday I'll be an old guy, and still playing videogames. Then again, my mom was a pretty decent player at Atari when I was growing up... I could beat her at games in general, but the games she really got into, she was untouchable-- 2600 Ms. Pac Man, Burger Time, Pengo, Missile Command....

Speaking of Missile Command, we decided to bomb Iraq. Kind of scary on the face of it, especially with the whole Israeli/Arab thing being at a low point anyway, though I'm not sure if it's worse that Clinton's missile-ing an aspirin factory when the whole Monica thing was getting underway.

More Republican Madness
On Reagan's birthday, the anti-tax firebrand Grover Norquist was busy promoting his latest Reagan-related project. (His last one was the successful effort to rename Washington National Airport Ronald Reagan National Airport. It used to be unusual, except in places like Stalingrad and Ciudad Trujillo, for important localities to be named after living politicians.) Norquist wants to replace the portrait of Alexander Hamilton on the ten-dollar bill with a portrait of Ronald Reagan. "Hamilton was a great American," Norquist jauntily told the Times. "But it's time to move on."
--Hendrik Hertzberg in The New Yorker

KHftCEA 1998-02.1 February KHftCEA 1999-02.1 February CB

KHftCEA 1999-02.1 February CB

Waiting for Rob at the Cambridge Brewing Company. There's a very sad first person "I'm lost!" cat missing poster: "I'm Lost! My name is Jerry and I'm a 6yr old gray and white fat cat (25 lbs). I have never been outside before I disappeared this Saturday, but now I'm cold and scared and want to come home. I'm very shy and am probably hiding under a porch. If you see me will you please call my owner to come and get me."
99-2-18
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KHftCEA 1998-02.1 February

"Are you sure?"
          "HIV positive..."
          --some cyberpunk novel
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...but I'm not!
98-2-18
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< retrospect: 18 feb >