retro-rabbit-hole (err, frog)

September 26, 2018
On a whim I bought the MP3 "Froggy's Lament", the second track from Bucker + Garcia's infamous "Pac-Man Fever" album Haven't heard it much since I had the LP as a kid, but it stuck with me.

The song is a very odd mashup with tons of references to Froggy the Gremlin from the old Andy's Gang TV Show - especially "Pluck Your Magic Twanger, Froggy". (The reference isn't quite coherent, since the singer's voice seems to be modelled on Froggy's but that quote is what the human host would say to Froggy...) The reference was almost lost on 80s kids, but now thanks to the Internet, I found this clip where outrageous Italian stereotype Pasta Fazooli is playing, low and behold, the tuba!

"Andy's Gang" is a pretty wacky compilation, full of odd cheap special effects, the squeals of delighted kids, and every ethnic stereotype it can get its hands on. Having just finished Zora Neale Hurston's "Mules and Men" and its study of African American folklore, I'm sort of fascinated by Froggy the Gremlin as a trickster figure. The shtick is him having these hypnotic powers, and he injects a comment or command into the human's story or lesson, and the human has to go with it - but just for a moment, and then they rage at Froggy for throwing a curveball into the narrative.

a sorry mess

September 25, 2018
I don't know if other languages handle it better, but "sorry" in English is a bit broken. Take phrases such as "I'm sorry to hear about your loss" -- Why is it so common to say "sorry to *hear* about"? (I guess you could also say "sad to hear about" and have the same problem.) Your hearing of it might be *when* you felt sad, but it seems odd or unsympathetic that the hearing of it is the subject of the sentence, and so what you're sad/sorry about. And then, of course, the "sorry that happened" and its retort "that's ok it wasn't your fault" or "why? you didn't cause it" - sophomoric responses but they point to that weird confusion of apology and sympathy built into the phrasing. I know I'm trying to dissect language in a way that doesn't make sense, and should generally be on the side of any common sentiment that expresses kindness, but it's a little troubling that we use such oddly ambiguous language for such an important thing. (And that's not even getting started with "I'm sorry if people felt what I did was wrong" non-apologies.)
Mourning at the Magic Kingdom "Right after my father's funeral, I took my family to Disney World. It turned out to be the right place for me to grieve."

Weirdly my family took the same approach back in 1988.

Always kind of liked the line "Kirk! You're a graceless adolescent who just lost his father after a long illness! What are you going to do now?" "I'm going to Disney World!"

sunset kayaking photos

September 24, 2018
--Before the "moonlight kayaking" (and a nice campfire on a remote beach with smores) with some of Melissa‚Äč prev coworker friends via Essex River Basin Adventures‚Äč, there was an astonishing sunset...

More photos and B-roll videos - including hermit crabs! To meet a request from one of the fellow kayakers-- (some of the odd horizons were messing around with "pano mode")


"All the electrons,protons and neutrons in your body were created at the beginning of time, They have always existed and they will be there long after your death."
-- /u/Parmar_Mandeep

Not sure if that is 100% true, but the principle- of the stuff that makes us pre-existing us and sure to outlast us- is solid. Anyway, a good reddit thread.

September 23, 2018


by carrie c
I use HyperDock on Mac, my favorite feature is using option-cmd-arrow to toss around windows, make them either full-screen or half-screen, an easy way to neaten up the workspace plus I realize it feels a bit like a keyboard based version of all those hand-wavey gestures Tom Cruise uses in Minority Report or Tony Stark in Iron Man movies.

(That said I don't think I'd like actual hand wavey gestures all that much. It's easy enough to make mistakes and get startling behavior just with plain old touchpad gestures.)

September 22, 2018

"Like all dreamers, I mistook disenchantment for truth."
--Jean Paul Sartre
Played with the Tufts Pep Band (Football team took a lead in the first half and manage to hang on, hooray our side!) - biggest difference from the 90s? Besides, you know, Tufts apparently admitting babies, and everyone having a smartphone - apparently, at some point folks started sometimes calling the team "The 'Bos" (short of course for Jumbos.)

September 21, 2018

Super random geekery - I pick up the UK magazine "Retro Gamer" (since the ZZAP!64 days, I've always been a big fan of UK game coverage). A recent magazine covered Steve Turner's "Avalon" and "Dragontorc" for the ZX Spectrum - the cheap and cheerful minimalist 3d effect is really great.

September 20, 2018

Almost too mean to post, how is prangent formed. It's a bit too punching down, usually scared people who don't sound like they've had a lot of education, but... man.
Oh nice Red Sox clinch and Browns win, good day for a Cleveland/Boston hybrid :-D