April 21, 2019
My friend and bandmate Sophie was looking for advice on reassembling a pile of cat, and I thought of this old Kliban's Cat:

Either my dad or I or both had this T-shirt when I was a kid, and we loved singing the little jingle:

(I think we usually sing it to that "I Eat My Peas With Honey" tune)
He should resign because he has resolutely failed--and continues to fail--the most fundamental test of any president: to put his nation's interests first.

The least any American can expect of a president is that in a crisis he will readily put the welfare of the nation he leads ahead of his own well-being. In other contexts, that is the ultimate test of character. It separates the military leader or executive who accepts blame for failure from the one who tries to shuffle it elsewhere.
USA Today in 1998, calling for post-Starr-report President Clinton to resign.
Semi-serious Kondo/Shinto question: when you thank something for its service and then discard it - what happens to it? Like, she talks of the unhappiness objects have when they're sitting, being unused and being clutter, but when you thank it to let it go, then what? Does it reflect a kind of animism that is basically a reflection of the human's life energy, and so when you move an object out, that spirit goes away? Or maybe the more nostalgic idea is that the object becomes inanimate and the spirit it held is free to go off? Or is that spirit just trapped in there, moldering away in some landfill?
"AAAAAAAH! I could bring you to small claims court for this!"
"Small claims court costs thirty dollars. Do you have thirty dollars?"
"Of course! What do I look like?"
"Normcore Ted Kaczynski."
Ryan and Lolly on "Shrill". The characters are written super-broadly, but man does this show deal with some real issues of sexism and fat-shaming

Baghdad Barr
A cathedral calls us to consider time beyond the boundaries of one life, enclosing us in a grand view of what humanity can do that humans cannot.
Alexis Madrigal on Andrew Tallon who made the scans that should help rebuild Notre Dame

A "billionaire" who hides his tax returns. A "genius" who hides his college grades. A"businessman" who bankrupted a casino. A "playboy" who pays for sex. A "Christian" who doesn't go to church. A "philanthropist" who defrauds charity. A "patriot" who dodged the draft.

If you look at the sort of Internet as a whole, or the whole computational ecosystem, particularly on the commercial side, an *enormous* part of the interesting computing we're doing is back to analog computing. We're computing with continuous functions, it's pulse-frequency-coded... Something like Facebook or Youtube doesn't care -- the file that somebody clicks on -- they don't care what the code is, the meaning is in the frequency that it's connected to, very much the same way a brain or a nervous system works. So if you look at these large companies, Facebook or Google or something - actually they are large analog computers. Digital is not *replaced*, but another layer is growing on top of it, the same way that after World War 2 we had all these analog vacuum tubes...
April 16, 2019
notre dame is burning.

this is ok.

it has happened before. it will happen again. it has been lost before. it will be lost again. and again. and again. and again. art and architecture are transient, and temporary, and 850 years may seem like a lot to the individual, who will live maybe 100 if they are very lucky and very healthy, but even the pyramids at saqqara have only existed for about 6000 years and that's still not all that much, if you consider the grand scheme of things.

yes, this is terrible. as someone who is deeply religious and literally a professional historian with a focus on art and architecture, this is terrible. im mourning. im gutted. im horrified and upset and miserable. but.

it's not over.

victor hugo wrote hunchback because notre dame du paris was in the process of collapsing and falling apart, and revitalized the entire world's focus and love for this church, and that was not even 200 years ago. it led to it being renovated.

the roof has fallen in. the scars of fires are on its buttresses. the rose window has fallen out. the beams and piers have collapsed. the spire has toppled. the stones have suffered, and will suffer again, but it is not gone.

renovation work is essential. sometimes things collapse and burn and break and have to come back. it's not a terrorist attack, it's renovation, an accident, but we have so much evidence, history, carefully documented everything on one of the most studied places in the world.

it's not the end.
Hey so, French person here. And also an ex History student. I'm here to say: Please listen to o.p. above.

Obviously everyone is shocked but here's a few important key facts:

The roof is completely gone. Part of it dated back from the 13th century but the rest was from the 19th. The stone arch roof under the top roof is fine.
One of the three main stained glass rose windows has fallen out. Most of the other stained glass windows are okay.
The spire has fallen down and that's the saddest part. BUT! It was in the process of being restored and the 16 statues that were there were removed just four days ago! So they're fine.
The main structure is still here and nothing has "burned down" unlike what some people have been saying.
The "treasure" (sacred objects) is safe.

Notre Dame is still there. It's just damaged. Almost nothing was lost today, and nobody was wounded either. It's scary, but it's gonna be okay.

The only thing that should follow "i'm not racist, but..." is "I do live in a system of institutionalized racism that I absorb & actively benefit from"
April 15, 2019
My friend Erica suggested a diet for me - "Have a quasi-religious taboo against free food". Admittedly, this is only really relevant for people with jobs where free food is handy - like many dot com's ever-full snack kitchens.

Of course my place is in full on Google-wanna-be mode and provides free lunch, which I think explains at least part of the "Freshman 15" I put on there and still haven't lost.

And it's tough, that's like $8-12 a day easy, or a greater amount measured in food prep and thoughtfulness- I can afford it, sure. But between that and the giving up of snacks... oy.

Still, that's the whole dilemma of modern weight control. Most people reading this are living in food cornucopias of such abundance and variety that we would be seen as like unto gods by most of our ancestors. Even the ones that managed to arrange plenty for themselves would be impressed by the year round variety of super-flavors we have access to - to quote Matt Crowley:‏
We take it for granted today, but a single Dorito has more extreme nacho flavor than a peasant in the 1400s would get in his whole lifetime.
When you combine that with zero cost (save for strolling over to the kitchen area and peering into a cupboard) - that means most folks attempts not to indulge will be a constant drain of willpower.) The "quasi-religious" aspect is an attempt to piggyback on other bits of human weirdness. Which, frankly, is one of the better parts of religion, when it provides a framework we can hang on to climb above our all-too-human natures.
Star Wars: Episode IV sound design explained by Ben Burtt:

Always satisfying to hear a friendly professional pull back the curtain on his craft. If you're in a hurry, the best part is the antepenultimate bit on Tie Fighters and elephants at 39:10, and then the "Sound People... or Worse" shtick to end it was amusing.

It's rather easy to forget how important soundscapes are to movies - until you try assembling your own videos by splicing shorter scenes (and of course in some ways the advent of "talkies" set the visual part of film construction back decades.) And I think he underplays how cool the radio voices (36:58) trick was - hearing the voice of the pilot currently shown "flat", then having that pilot continue to talk but the visual and audio switches to a different cockpit so the voice is distorted, is enormously effective, parallel to a deep focus change.

Also he mentions making frequent use of "worldizing", playing back constructed audio and then using recording of that, which adds a lot of acoustic life to it. To me it sounds similar to the echo chamber in Phil Spector / Larry Levin's "Wall of Sound" recording style.
The Starks are a family who chilled in their own segregated neighborhood, not bothering anybody. Ned was the father, and he had five kids. He was also raising his nephew Jon Snow. (His sister got knocked up by this crazy guy, and ... you know how we do.) Anyway, Ned let his homeboy convince him to take this "good job," let his daughter marry a white boy and moved his family into a white neighborhood. Ned fell for the trap, and the Lannister/Trumps cut his head off because Ned knew about the Russian collusion.