good advice

(3 comments)
March 1, 2003

Tip of the Moment
I learned something new the other day...you know how IE has that feature where it remembers what you've previously typed in a textbox, and it gives you a dropdown list? Some people (like me) like it, other find it kind of an annoying security risk...but anyway, if there's an entry you want to remove from that list, you can cursorkey down to it and hit "delete" and it goes away. For me it's most useful to remove past typos from "username" textboxes, but I guess if you had a particularly personal Google search you wanted to eliminate, it would work for that too. (Note, I have no idea if it's "really erased" or not, so don't assume this a secure thing...)

orange marmelade

(5 comments)
March 2, 2003

Yikes, yesterday's update wasn't much of anything...not sure if today's gonna be much better, what with

Hey, why do people call tan cats "orange"? There's maybe a subtle hint of red with our cat Murphy, but I'm surprised that everyone else wants to call that orange.

Link of the Moment
I know I've seen it around, but NPR mentioned Gone & Forgotten, where has-been (but mostly never-wases) comic book heroes go to die. Some great reading there. Great reading in the "Latest Feature" and "Past Articles" section...I'm not sure but it looks like they got past their previous bandwidth or serverspace issues.

Must...stop...reading...comics and get...to....loveblender...

Fable of the Moment
When Benjamin Franklin was seven years old, a visitor gave him some small change. Later, seeing another boy playing with a whistle, young Benjamin gave the boy all his money for it. He played the whistle all over the house, enjoying it until he discovered that he'd given four times as much as the whistle was worth. Instantly, the whistle lost its charm. As he grew older, Franklin generalized the principle. When he saw a man neglecting his family or business for political popularity, or a miser giving up friendships for the sake of accumulating wealth, he'd say, "He pays too much for his whistle."
--Thomas Fleming. I wonder what whistles I'm paying too much for, sometimes it's hard to tell.

Another Link of the Moment
Of far less general interest than that previous comic link, Skrybe's Japanese-Only NES Games Page. Lots of rare cool stuff there.

ouchie ouchie ouchie

(9 comments)
March 3, 2003

You know, moods are really arbitrary. I have no idea why sometimes I feel confident and happy and othertimes feel anxious and concerned; or rather, usually I can pinpoint something or other causing that mood, but it's such a tiny corner of the overall picture of my life that it's not logical that it should swing my entire mood. I think that people's reasons for distrusting stuff like Prozac aren't entirely well founded; we assume that we're emotionally rational beings, with our mood the most reasonable mood based on a level-headed analysis of the current circumstances. (On the other hand, I don't think people should take messing with their brain chemistry lightly either.)

Music of the Moment
This has been kind of making the rounds...Johnny Cash covered the Nine Inch Nail's piece hurt, and you can see the video online. Moving stuff...a little heavy handed at some points, but good. Slate has an article with some analysis, talking about how the video uses kitsch as a metaphor for end-of-life regrets.

Editorial of the Moment
Slashdot posted a link to a long but highly readable and informative Overview of the Near Future of the Tech Industry. Everything is presented in terms of the "small business manager", but I think there's a lot here for my fellow techies. Some parts stretch credulity, like about Microsoft using .NET databses replace traditional filesystems, and the slashdot crowd rips into stuff like that, but still.

Geekery of the Moment
Meet the biggest stud at MIT, who wired up an old-school telephone handset as the (not-so) "handsfree" plug in for his cellphone. The Dungeons and Dragons die in the photo was a nice touch.

bon frickin' jour

(4 comments)
March 4, 2003

Got a haircut and a raise yesterday! Dang, if I wasn't such a rationalist, I might think there was something to my good feeling in the morning and my later surprise good news.

Quote of the Moment
"The rooster was chosen long ago as the national symbol of France. The choice is fortuitous, of course, because of a Latin pun, Gallus, meaning both the courtyard animal and the inhabitant of Gaul. The English pun could probably be considered even more apt."
--Luigi Barzini, "The Europeans"

Cartoon of the Moment
Salon.com gives us this Tom the Dancing Bug, about the funniest take I've seen on the "ready.gov" site.

Salon's on the verge of going broke again. I'm a member. Are you? Despite all the hogwash about the "liberal media", balanced, sometimes-left leaning reporting is hard to come by. (And I hope if they do go under, they get just enough funds to keep their archive working...)

Art Exhibit of the Moment
Like I've always said, "Art is what you can get away with." Also, "Selling out is the new sincerity."

when tubas attack

(2 comments)
March 5, 2003

Image of the Moment
Talking to Ross, I mentioned the time when I used drummer's tape to give my tuba shark teeth, plus a big red (un-sharkish) tongue. The only picture I could come up with was an old black and white wide angle yearbook photo. For a lark I tried cutting me out and hand colorizing it, and was pleased with the result you see here...

Ah, good old marching band...

Dream Quote of the Moment
"In an alternate universe we're all being melted down like M&Ms for use in sundaes anyway."
--An aside in a dream from this morning. I also had one where I got to be the test pilot in a competition to make effecient vehicles that could carry a passenger plus at least 4 times their weight; most of the others were cars and ATVs with giant wire baskets (like the main part of a shopping cart) in front, but my team made a tiny "fusion powered" device, about the form factor of a large tape measure, that I would put in my pocket and zoom around the track. (It was so light that I could meet carrying the "4 times the vehicle's weight" requirement by putting other stuff in my pocket.) The rest of my team was women for the most part I think; they thought of me as their brother, which was annoying, though cool that they were willing to let me see them naked.

Pun of the Moment
"Viagra is the opiate of the flaccids."
--Bill the Splut

Conspiracy of the Moment
What the heck is up with all that stuff at that new Denver airport? X-, Y-, and Z-files kind of theories.

News of the Moment
British 'Human Shields' lack the courage of their convictions.

Blogism of the Moment
A fellow classic video game enthusiast (whose collection puts mine...and almost anyone else's...to shame), Christian Scott, is also a gourmet chef who has worked in some high prestige kitchens around Boston. But he says the best corn chips in the world are Frito. And when we travelled to Philadelpha for a Classic Gaming Convention, we went to a food court, and he got two Whopper Jrs from Burger King, which he says are pretty reliabley ok.

rubber ducky you're the one

(3 comments)
March 6, 2003

Poem of the Moment
When we meet it's hot and steamy
Afterward I'm tired and dreamy
Bathing in your gaze, moonstruck
How I love you, rubber duck.
--Hilary Price, Rhymes with Orange (comic strip) I love the curveball sensuality of this, I submitted it to the loveblender.

Preview of the Moment
Slate.com has decent speculation about the tactics of the likely Iraq war. (Though I'm curious to see what we know about Iraq's preperations.)

You know, at this point I think I'd almost miss Slate more than Salon if either have to go away. Except I don't have good alternate sources for some of the comics I get in Salon.

Flash of the Moment
Dang, where was this Cool Beating Heart on Valentine's Day?

Advice of the Moment
Got a lot of papers in your cubicle at work? Hardly ever use 'em? Lay 'em all flat in a drawer! I need an archived piece of paper at work maybe twice a year...I'll never recoup the time it takes to sort through all that crap and get rid of the real junk, so into the filing cabinet drawer they go.

and we'll all go together when we go

(2 comments)
March 7, 2003

Quote of the Moment
"I'm not tempted to write a song about George W.Bush. I couldn't figure out what sort of song I would write. That's the problem: I don't want to satirise George Bush and his puppeteers, I want to vaporise them."
--Interview with Tom Lehrer. He then goes on to add "And that's not funny."

Economics of the Moment
The black art of setting prices. Helps explain why airline pricing is so wacky.

Quote of a Past Moment
"To occupy Iraq would instantly shatter our coalition, turning the whole Arab world against us, and make a broken tyrant into a latter-day Arab hero."
--George Bush Sr., 1996. Oh, but I guess it's ok now 'cause 9/11 changes everything. (thanks Bill)

Conspiracy of the Moment
More X-Files Vibing: 8march2003.com...tune into tomorrow. The Metafilter crew is a bit skeptical.

the plot thickens, or thins

(7 comments)
March 8, 2003

Followup of the Moment
So the mystery photos of 8march2003 are...aeriel shots alleged to be a new sea going ship (labeled "Ark II") built way up in some moutains. I say alleged because they just look like blurs to me. And the mysterious faction would allow hiking so near their massive construction project? Anyway.

Moving Advice of the Moment
Good moving advice from the USPS. They really do think of everything.

Quote of the Moment
"The indispensible first step to get the things you want from life is this: Decide what you want."
--Ben Stein, via Ross, who says he got it from somewhere else as well. It's good advice, though it doesn't mention how you have to be aware of the possible trade-offs. Most of us would like a lot of money, but fewer of us are really willing to bend our lives towards the most money making paths.

Pop Culture of the Moment
You know who's really scary? Ronald McDonald. Seriously, I don't mean this in a "hahaha, aren't the backstreet boys scary", but really...his clothing is really disturbingly colored, and if you look closely at one of those cutouts in the restaurant...I dunno, some relly sad guy in clown makeup. And then in the commercials, this guy has like virtually unlimited supernatural powers. Yikes! If I played D+D, I'd hate to run up against this guy in a campaign. I wonder who would win in a fight, him or Lucky from Lucky Charms?

Product of the Moment
Interesting, all-in-one PCs, where they stick the whole PC in a keyboard. Almost like an artifact from an alternate timeline, where Commodore 64 and those 8-bits' form factors became the dominant computer type.

the right stuff, more or less

March 9, 2003
Pop Culture Obscurity of the Moment
Man, years ago on daytime TV I saw this really random parody group, "Old Guys With New Socks", a parody of the hyperpopular "New Kids". Google only came up with two references, here's the best one (do a Ctrl-F find for "Old Guys", about half way down.) The passage had one sentence that says everything that is wrong with white man rap: "Careful study of MTV has taught them the proper poses for a rapper to cop; one photo features each with their arms crossed like Run-DMC".

Dialog of the Moment
"This is a lovely golf course, I'm tempted to join the club."
"I'm afraid you can't."
"You mean they discriminate against Scots?"
"No, they just don't want assholes in the clubhouse."
--Warthog and Bletch, in Meet the Feebles, which is kind of like the muppets gone very, very bad. Pretty much any conceivable puppet bodily fluid is represented there. It's by Peter Jackson who is now best known for doing the Lord of the Rings movies.

News of the Moment
"The stunned Paras from 16 Air Assault Brigade were forced to tell the Iraqis they were not firing at them, and ordered them back to their home country telling them it was too early to surrender."
--from this Sundaymirror.co.uk story. If only the whole thing was going to be this easy.

get yer bark on

(1 comment)
March 10, 2003

Folk Saying of the Moment
"An eagle could land on his mustache."
--saying in Iraq, where mustache thickness is believed to be directly proportional to masculinity, according to this Slate.com article. "I swear upon my mustache"...heh. My dearly departed dad had a mustache, though I'm not sure if he felt quite that strongly about it.

March Monograph of the Moment
"This month derives her pedigree from the Danish verb 'Whizz,' which means to blow, to wheeze, to snort, to pitch in endways, and crossways, to shake winder blinds, to smash barn doors, to skare pigs, to brake clothes lines, to make men sware, and wimmin balky. March iz principally immense for wind, but whare it all cums from, and whare it all goes to, are prize conumdrums which I kant untangle. Dogs kreated this month invariably have the bark on."
--Josh Billings, "Old Probability", 1879. Via my "How To Draw a Radish" daily calendar. That "have the bark on" seems very homeboy modern for being written in 1879...

News of the Moment
Iraq placing explosives at the Kirkuk oil fields. First off, I feel vageuly flattered by the name "Kirkuk". Second, why do I get the feeling President Junior is going to start talking about "Saddam's weapons of mass destruction against oil"?

"Won't somebody think of the oil? That poor, innocent, defenseless oil?"

meanwhile, back at the raunch...funny

(54 comments)
March 11, 2003

AIM Chat of the Moment
Talking about Internet Porn Ads, raunch filter engaged, highlight text with your mouse to read, or hit Ctrl-A:
kirk: You know, maybe I'm jaded, but "girls who crave giant cock" catches my attention less than would a "girls who are hoping for a 4 to 6 inch dick...just like yours!"
ranjit: heh -- i never thought of that!
ranjit: on the other hand, how many people would pay to see "BARELY LEGAL GIRLS FUCK PASTY NEBBISHES?"
kirk: "horny sluts want it in their face...from self-effacing pseudo-literati guys who did ok on their SATs!"
ranjit: SEXY RUSSIAN LADIES COME TO USA SEEKING PORN ADDICTS!

Ramble of the Moment
(This Ramble enhanced with selections from Presidents Day coloring pages from whitehouse.gov/kids.)
So, yesterday was the 3 year anniversary of the highpoint of the Nasdaq. By coincidence, in trying to use Google to spellcheck "Schadenfreude", which was the May 10 2000 Dictionary.com Word of the Day with this example of ussage:
If self-replicating e-commerce baby tycoons get on your nerves, it's schadenfreude time. It's true that the Nasdaq rebounded after its staggering loss Tuesday. Nonetheless, what AP described as "the most volatile day ever for U.S. stocks" left a distinctly bearish aftertaste.
--"Market Motion Sickness." The Industry Standard's Media Grok, April 5, 2000
Man, what an understatement. Another year of this crap, and I'll have been employed in bad times for as long as I was in good. Unless of course you believe this is the aftermath of a 20 year boom, or even of a 200 year one, in which case things have been good for so long who knows how bad they can get.

Chester Arthur
And what a time President Junior and company has provided for us. This whole UN Resolution thing is so funny, and it follows the pattern set with congress giving carte blanche to the administration last October, and then acting surprised that they're using that. We kind of tried to dupe the UN into signing that last resolution, arguing that it wouldn't neccesarily lead to war. Yeah, right; is it any surprise that they won't sign another one, given the fact that they don't think war is a good idea? It's as if we're prancing around saying "look--you wanted war! You wanted war! Look what you signed! Now let's really go for it."

Warren Harding
NPR had some commentary by Norman Schwarzkopf's personal briefing officer for Desert Storm that gave me pause...this might not be "another Vietnam", but something Somalia-esque is a posibility. If we're out to "get Saddam", then what incentive is there for him and his supporters not to go all out with the chemical and biological agents on our soldiers, or worse? To not fight to the bitter end in the streets of the cities? (That commentary also brought up the distraction factor making North Korea a bit bolder about selling nuclear material, or Al Qaeda more likely to mount a big strike.)

John Kennedy
Geez, I hate it when it gets to a point where I say "Man, I hope the hard core conservatives are right on this one", because, as some leftish leaning thinktank guy on the Daily Show pointed out, backing down from where we are now might, amazingly, be worse than getting on with it, and other countries think that. I have to confess my bellyaching on Afghanistan and some other military movements wasn't entirely justified...I mean, we've done a suck job of support after the fact, anad we didn't actually get Osama or anything, but it was a qualified success in some ways. Damn damn damn, I hope these guys know what they're doing.

Whatever happened to having a "humble foreign policy"? Oh right, 9/11 changes everything.

ooh, snap! i mean, zut alors!

March 12, 2003
Zinger of the Moment
"As far as Iím concerned, war always means failure."
--Jacques Chirac
"As far as France is concerned, youíre right."
--Rush Limbaugh
You know, I really do have respect for some of the French attitude on this--though I know they're also looking out for their own economic interests--but these jokes are really fun, if not 100% justified. But "Freedom Fries" and "Freedom Toast" are the dumbest things I've heard of in a long while. What is this, third grade?


Rant of the Moment
The USA has been taken over by non-human life forms. I really think it has a point, and it's fascinating in both theoretical and all-too-practical ways. Corporations are artificial life, and they're potentially immortal and very very smart. The Wikipedia has more on Corporate Personhood--it is an odd idea.

Comic of the Moment
I haven't had many fun links lately. This one's pretty cool (and a quick read), Porn Again, where a Cleveland Boy relates is history of and justification for his enjoyment of porn.

end of the zoners

March 13, 2003
Interview of the Moment
GMR: Finally, can you tell us about any deeply hidden secrets in the game? Kind of how like Metal Gear Solid has a Policenauts poster on the wall.
MURATA: There is a minigame in which you control "that particular mech" (Vic Viper) that appears in the main game. You'll also get to see "those statues" you find on Easter Island.
GMR: We'll keep an eye out. Do you guys ever sleep?
SHINKAWA: Yes, absolutely.
--Ending of Electronic Boutique's GMR magazine interview with the creators of the new game "Zone of the Enders". I just love that final question and response.

Techhead of the Moment
Put here more for my future reference than general interest, here's a decent article on differences between SQL Server and Oracle. Good for people who know how to do stuff in one but need to do it in the other.

Minigame of the Moment
I like the look of this cute little Flash game.

News of the Moment
More murmurings of folks in Iraq's military who would like to "pre-surrender". Woo hoo, at this rate this should be finshed by the end of Q1! And there's simply no chance there's gonna be any terrorism back home. And the easter bunny's gonna be here to welcome back our boys.

armagiddy with anticipation

(1 comment)
March 14, 2003

Quote of the Moment
"This too shall pass. The clock will not stop ticking. Armageddon never lives up to its hype. Things change and they change for the better, the worse, and the indifferent. Let's all go to my house and have a beer this evening."
--Bruce Sterling, speaking along with Derek Woodgate at South by Southwest 2003.

Blog of the Moment
Kevin Sites is a reporter near Iraq, his blog makes for some interesting reading.

Ramble of the Moment
I find myself making a lot more faces when no one is looking these day. Mostly rolling my eyes. I don't know what's causing it, but I'll be walking down the hallway, have one of those little "hi" "hi" interactions that makes life a little more pleasant, and then something about the goofiness of doing that will get my eyes a-spinnin'. Someday it's gonna get me into trouble, I know Mo has caught me doing it once or twice, but it means less than she might think...if memory serves what she was saying was a little eye-rolling-worthy, but not nearly as much as my face indicated.

In general, I've been thinking more about my own facial expressions, after reading about how much information were purposefully and accidentally telegraphing all the time.

Exhibit of the Moment
Losthighways.org has an amazing exhibit on Radebugh, an artist who saw the future, helping to set what the 60s and 70s were goint to look like back in the 40s. Beautiful stuff! Be sure to click on "The Exhibit", especially "The Negatives". I wonder where all that streamlining went to...now everythings all compact and curvy...nowadays cars look like jellybeans, not like these aerodynamic beauties.

ticktock

March 15, 2003
So, my job hit a burble. They've decided to kind of reboot the main project I was on, the projected schedule was for the inhouse data manager was taking longer than we had, so whaddya do? Start over, of course!

I'm kind of reassigned, working on the APIs that will connect our product to big name financial systems, and I actually think I'm in a place that's more valuable to my company. It's the kind of place that has layoffs, but probably not company- or office-closing ones. Which is odd because it puts you in the position of making sure you stand out relative to your cow-orkers...

I blame Java EJBs for a lot of the failure of the latest version of the project, along with over-engineering in general. I think the single most important law for software development should be: Keep It Simple. The subrules are A. Minimize Cut and Paste code by moving the relevant bits into support classes B. Keep your infrastructure simple and C. Keep the project team small.

Quote of the Moment
"I loathe the expression 'What makes him tick?' It is the American mind, looking for simple and singular solution, that uses the foolish expression. A person not only ticks, he also chimes and strikes the hour, falls and breaks and has to be put together again, and sometimes stops like an electric clock in a thunderstorm."
--James Thurber. Man, I love Thurber, I haven't read enough of him lately, maybe it's time to seek out some other books of his, or reread some of his stuff I know I love.

Link of the Moment
The Word Spy is a website dedicate to tracking neologisms. The heavier use of citations seems to give it more credibility than some other similar things, like Wired's Jargon Watch, which always seems to be full of cute puns that you've never heard elsewhere.

Video of the Moment
BoingBoing.net posted this real video: Canda Apologizes.

putting the whisk into whiskers

(3 comments)
March 16, 2003

Videos of the Moment
Making the rounds: Hercubush explains the administration's need for oil.

I hate shaving too.

I like the idea of tensecondfilms, though there's something screwy with realmedia on my system. Also, they rudely ignored brooklyngirls's entry, I Was A Teenage Cartoon.

Cartoon of the Moment


Link of the Moment
This Ebay listing is very very odd.

Threat of the Moment
"When the enemy starts a large-scale battle, he must realise that the battle between us will be open wherever there is sky, land and water in the entire world."
--Saddam Hussein threatening to make the war global. Well, he thought the last one would be the "Mother of All Battles", so there's at least some precedent for overblown rhetoric. Of course, the last Bush who attacked him didn't seem quite so intent on killing him, so who knows. Between this and mystery-pneumonia I kind of wish Mo and I didn't have to leave the house this week.

happy evacuation day

(1 comment)
March 17, 2003

So in parts of Massachusetts, today is Evacuation Day...Boston's way of celebrating St. Patrick's Day in a revolutionary war history kind of way. It seems like Bush has decided to observe the holiday as well, telling the UN inspectors to get the hell out.

Turns out my thoughts on this issue have been pretty constant for almost a year, last April I started a thread on Usenet about it (with the unfortunate title "Attaq Iraq?"--what can I say, I was young and foolish)... back then I was surprised how this just wasn't on people's radar, even though a New Yorker editorial I had read mentioned the Pentagon thought it was an inevitability. And the administration gets its way by ramping up the military encirclement to such an extent that backing down looks even worse than going on with the damn thing.

Joke of the Moment
President Bush and Colin Powell are sitting in a bar. A guy walks in and asks the barman, "Isn't that Bush and Powell sitting over there?"
The barman says, "Yep, that's them."
So the guy walks over and says, "Wow, this is a real honor. What are you guys doing in here?"
Bush says, "We're planning WWIII".
And the guy says, "Really? What's going to happen?"
Bush says, "Well, we're going to kill 140 million Iraqis this time and one blonde with big tits."
The guy exclaimed, "A blonde with big tits? Why kill a blonde with big tits?"
Bush turns to Powell, punches him on the shoulder and says, "See, smart ass, I told you no one would worry about the 140 million Iraqis!"

Quote of the Moment
"According to Lifton, the standard requirements for a really sparkling clean brainwash include: isolation of the subjects, control over their information, debilitation, degradation, discipline and fear, peer pressure, performance of repetitive tasks, and renunciation of formerly held values. (All of which sounds eerily like law school to me.)"
--Dahlia Lithwick writing on brainwashing in Slate.com...is it real, or just a pseudoscientific way of explaining why seemingly nice and smart people believe certain things (especially religious/cultish) that we find unacceptable?

Article of the Moment
"Luckily" I have too many "clear and present" frets to give the Boston Housing Bubble much attention.

no no no, terrorism is what THEY do

(8 comments)
March 18, 2003

I'm trying to think of what our country's practical definition of terrorism vs. waging war is. Obviously, though we won't admit to it, some part of the working definition involves "we don't conduct terrorism"--so, any operation we undertake is, by likely definition, not terrorism. The only other reliable differentiators I can think of is purposefully killing a dozen civilians as your primary target is terrorism, killing hundreds of civilians as "collateral damage" is war...it's all about intention, you see. Plus, traditionally war gives a bit more warning, terrorism relies more on surprise. Given our military's "shock and awe" approach, I think we've lost the difference that terrorism is meant to terrorize and war isn't.

Oh, and terrorism is cheaper and more resourceful in some of its tools. This and the lack of warning are the only way we have of calling ramming a speedboat into a US Cruiser "terrorism"...I mean hell, the people on the boat thought they were at war. Also, it's not like surprise is exclusively the domain of terrorism, individual battles in normal war often rely on it as well.

I mostly mention this because "we don't negotiate with terrorists", but we kind of hope Iraq will see the force we're presenting.

Anyway. Move over Bert, it's time for threat level Ernie...how I've missed him...

Gaming Article of the Moment
Salon has a piece on Dani Bunten who made the all time classic computer game M.U.L.E. She was Dan at the time, but I that might not explain how poorly the industry treated her in the years after.

Link of the Moment
Yahoo's most e-mailed photos makes for some interesting browsing. As does Yahoo Italy's, which tends to have a bit more skin.

Speaking of skin...yesterday I saw my first exposed shoulders and back of the season, a young woman in a dress at Alewife T-station. Man, that really gave me hope for the season changing.

Grammar of the Moment
"This is going to be quantum times more accurate and quantum times more lethal in the first 24 hours of this war than it was in Desert Storm."
--Retired Admiral William Owens, former vice-chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, quoted on the front of today's Boston Globe. Look, I can deal with quantum meaning metaphorically large, even though quantum is generally the very very small, because maybe people really understand the concept of "quantum leap". But "quantum times"? Yeesh.

I gotta wonder...if we're gonna work so much "shock and awe" in so quickly, how will that whole "our forces will give Iraqi military units clear instructions on actions they can take to avoid being attacked and destroyed" thing work out?

Hey, remember when it was "Desert Shield", and everyone thought the next phase was going to be "Desert Sword", but it turned into "Desert Storm" instead? Man, those were the days.

idle amusements

(1 comment)
March 19, 2003

Interview of the Moment
I'm not sure why, but I really liked the latest Onion AV Club interview with Eric Idle (of Monty Python fame). I guess I just like when famous, creative people sound happy and relaxed about what they do, and grateful for having had the chance to do it.

Iraq Links of the Moment
Slate.com has a scorecard for the first few days of the war. ("First, ignore all first-night commentary") Sounds almost as much fun as an Oscar betting pool! A different Slate piece had a link to a PDF analyzing the possible benefits and dangers of our moves into Iraq. I also found a decent biography of Saddam Hussein that mostly focuses on his dictatorship but claims "Saddam the paranoid tyrant can be traced back to Saddam the persecuted village boy". (It copies a bit from the Atlantic article I posted before, especially about is current daily routine.)

Graphic Design of the Moment
David Levine's Graphic Design from the 1920s and 1930s in Travel Ephemera has an unwieldy title and some poor choice of colors, but is well laid out and has some great images.

Flash of the Moment
Oddly compelling political cheap shot.

Moment of the Moment
8 o'clock. All's still quiet. Guess the time of our choosing is a little later.

i said...

(1 comment)
March 20, 2003

I said 'War'. Huh. Good God, y'all.

Dialog of the Moment
"I've got three FIST fighters coming from my left!"
"Copy, Stray Dog!"
"I - I, I don't think I'm Stray Dog."
"Copy that, Red Rooster!"
"I, I don't think I'm Red Rooster either."
"No problem, Nasty Butler!"
"I'm ending this transmission."
--Loke Groundrunner and Annoying Pilot, Thumb Wars: The Phantom Cuticle. Goofy but not as bad as you might expect, with some pretty good potshots at the original movies. ("Use the instrument panel, Loke!" "What?" "The instrument panel...that's what it's there for! Advance weaponry DESIGNED to hit tiny targets." "Ok, ok.")

News of the Moment
So they had that strike, and Saddam reports up late alive and well. Or is it really Saddam? He has all those doubles...not only would that add to the difficulty of killing him and confirming he was killed, but you wonder if the command structure is entrenched enough to support "virtual saddamness", with the central role played by a double...or maybe Saddam himself, pretending to be a double. Man, keeping up the Star Wars vibe, it's kind of like that whole Amidale/Padmé thing from "Phantom Menace".

For people who prefer to get information via shiny web toys, MSNBC's Iraq Interactive Library is worth a look.

For minute-by-minute bloggish coverage, try agonist.org.

Luckily-and this is true-we have Optimus Prime helping defend us as a member of the National Guard.

And finally, here are some images about what it looks like if Iraq beats us.

Oddly Disquieting Headline of the Moment
Official describes Bush as 'undeterred'
--from CNN. Not sure why the phrasing caught my attention. Maybe because "undeterred" is kind of a theme with this guy.

reality is what you think it

(2 comments)
March 21, 2003

Movie Quote of the Moment
"And by the way, her tits weren't even real."
"Well, I could squeeze 'em, that's real enough for me."
--"Shallow Hal". Many women don't understand that a lot of guys think this way. The movie was a lot better than it should have been.

Link of the Moment
Video Clips of old Cigarette Ads from the 50s and 60s. The second Flintstones link is especially interesting, though when the show was first run it was during primetime and considered an adult show, kind of like the Simpsons I guess...

News of the Moment
"Shock and Awe" is underway. I'm at home sick today. CNN has some amazing coverage at the moment: no commentary, just switching between various exterior shots, some nightvision, others with bombs lighting up the scene. It really brings home the barbarism of what we're doing. It's a city of frickin' 5 million people! (On the other hand, "the lights are still on", they seemed to be focused on the "military targets".)

Damn it, I was hoping that with all the question about the state of Iraq's upper echelons, they could have avoided this, and we mighta won while looking like real heroes. (I don't think throwing missile after missile from miles off shore impresses anyone as heroic.)

Our tax dollars at work!

return of those great big pants

March 22, 2003
Pop Culture of the Moment
"Make no mistake, when the president says go-- look out, it's hammer time. It is hammer time."
--Vice Admiral Timothy Keating (via Arakasi's livejournal)...it's Hammer Time! U Can't Touch This! 2 Legit 2 Quit!

PLEASE HAMMER DON'T HURT 'EM!

the problem of everything

(8 comments)
March 23, 2003

Heh, sorry yesterday was so mimimal...though really, doesn't MC Hammer say everything that needs to be said about current geopolitical situation?

Slight page redesign...I realized that I had totally removed any links to single day entries, so I added the "link" links above, though I'm not crazy about the placement so far. Any suggestions?

Quote of the Moment
"What makes the universe so hard to comprehend is that there's nothing to compare it with."
--Hardin, in a cartoon in "Funny Times", a comic and humor newspaper out of Cleveland (after it, "Editorial Humor" was a big dissapointment...) This quote sounds deep, and it sort of is, but it misses the idea that all the time we're comparing the universe to the way we think the whole enchillada SHOULD be. (And by that standard, it kind of sucks...)

Toy of the Moment
This example of "the Oat-fueled Fury of Wilford Brimley" (press the "Smack Him" button--the "tasty way to do it" indeed!) is blatantly stolen from i-mockery.com's review of Wilford Brimley Battle, a "ROM-hack" of "River City Ransom" for the old NES. They have an entire page of Hacked Rom Reviews, where would be clever gamers modify the graphics and more rarely, the gameplay of older video games, usually into forms heavy on the phalluses, drugs, racism, or all three. Anyway, most of the reviews are worth a quick skim rather than a full read, but why someone would go through all the trouble of changing the graphics in the first place is an open question.

when blimps attack

(3 comments)
March 24, 2003

Links of the Moment
I guy at HP is trying to perfect his blimp (small) package delivery system. But doesn't he know how scary it can be when blimps attack?

Quote of the Moment
"You can fool too many of the people too much of the time."
--James Thurber

Movie Passage of the Moment
"Amid the chaos of that day, when all I could hear was the thunder of gunshots, and all I could smell was the violence in the air, I look back and am amazed that my thoughts were so clear and true, that three words went through my mind endlessly, repeating themselves like a broken record: you're so cool, you're so cool, you're so cool. And sometimes Clarence asks me what I would have done if he had died, if that bullet had been two inches more to the left. To this, I always smile, as if I'm not going to satisfy him with a response. But I always do. I tell him of how I would want to die, but that the anguish and the want of death would fade like the stars at dawn, and that things would be much as they are now. Perhaps. Except maybe I wouldn't have named our son Elvis."
--Quentin Tarantino, True Romance. Tarantino's hinting as "You're So Cool" as an updated version of those "three words" and I think he might be on to something.

onward coalition soldiers

(1 comment)
March 25, 2003

I've always been ambivalently negative on the war, but now I'm leaning even further towards the negative. Here's the thing; we really needed to express that we are against the regime, not the country of Iraq, but something in the reports of the fighting makes it sound like people there are fighting for their country. Like if someone invaded us (and we didn't have the military options we clearly do) and it was all up to bands of 2nd-amendmenteers and militias. Kind of like "Wolverines" in Red Dawn or something. I'm not sure if that's at all accurate, but that's the sense I get.

(And I think our hopes for internal uprisings were a little premature, especially given how we left the Kurds and Shi'a out to dry after the last war there...if anything, they're going to play wait and see, especially considering how thin-on-the-ground our forces must be in the places we kind of zoomed past.)

Obviously, we don't mount operations of this scale for humanitarian reasons alone. So all that's left is a hope that despite all appearances to the contrary, this really is advancing our medium and long term interests, that this team of advisors who have wanted us to get after Saddam for all these decades really know what they're talking about.

You know, our expectations for our military have really been amazing. In how many wars in history have the deaths of ten soldiers been so newsworthy? It's like we were holding out hope for it being completely bloodless on our side. (And it's notable how we hear so little about military casualties on the other side. Are they so firmly in the camp of "bad guys" that we just don't care, is it a big secret, are we worried about bad publicity?)

Quote of the Moment
"I suspect [the war] will not have a large negative effect [on the Adult Video business] since the sentence 'This war has me not wanting to look at naked women' has never been uttered.'"
--Greg Salsburg of IVolt Networks, from this Adult Video News piece Will War Be Good or Bad for Business? (link doesn't have any explicit images, unless you buy into that "war is the last obscenity"/"battle footage is the new pornography" line of thinking, in which case you should know that there's a photo of a military helicopter there.)

Diet Food of the Moment
I'm always on the lookout for tasty convenient food, and cheap is a big plus. (I'm trying to keep my weekly petty cash spending to $50, including meals and random purchases to small for the credit card.) So, now that it's warmer it makes sense to walk 2 or 3 blocks down to Wendy's, where they have 99 cent Side Salads, Garden (Lettuce, Tomato, Carrot, Onion, Cherry Tomatoes) and Caesar (Lettuce, Parmesian Cheese, and some crumbled bacon). I think that nutritionally they're not too bad, especially because I'm learning to like 'em without dressing. (I think it's too easy to view salad as just a funky conduit for tasty dressing. Vegetables have their own flavor, even the ones you get at Wendy's.) I mean, I know bacon's never too great for you, but it's a pretty small amount. Also, for reasons I don't clearly understand, I kind of enjoying eating them at my desk as a finger food, though that part's optional.

To get to the Wendy's from where I work is kind of odd, you walk through some really rundown streets with apartment buildings, and there's a lot of trash on the ground. Before I started working here I didn't realize Salem was urban, not just witch and pirate themed tourist traps.

Link of the Moment
Flash-based lessons in learning English.

ham it up

(2 comments)
March 26, 2003

Image of the Moment
Something's not quite kosher at the local elementary school...


Quote of the Moment
"I'm a neurotic mess. I'm really basically just like a 260-pound Woody Allen."
--James "Tony Soprano" Gandolfini

Link of the Moment
I've linked to it before, but I'm thinking I should spend some more time at Yesterdayland. They have so much well-illustrated coverage of all the fun stuff you grew up with, from toys to music to cartoons, and then you can even click on previous decades to get a historical perspective.

News Link of the Moment
Salon.com has an article featuring war coverage from around the world: UK, Pakistan, Turkey, China, Qatar, and Indonesia. Well worth the read.

Link of the Moment
Oh, those crazy urban--or is it rural?--hipsters; it's time for Freestyle Wheelbarrow.

sing sing sing

(3 comments)
March 27, 2003

The other day my "How To Draw a Radish" daily calendar suggested writing funny things people say in your rolodex, dated, and quoting it back years later. I've been doing that all along, first in my Palm Pilot quote journal KHftCEA, and now on my my site. But it hits me that I've been doing less quoting of people I know. Am I just not listening closely enough? Are my cow-orkers (a fine buncha folks) less quick on their rhetorical feet? It doesn't help that some of my favorite sarcastic people have moved to California... (Hi Dylan, Hi Sarah.)

News of the Moment
We've been hearing a lot about these frequent attacks by small groups of Iraqi fighters as our troops head inexorably north...with their machine guns and pickup trucks they tend to ping off the side of our armoured columns with guys using IR and night goggles like pebbles off the side of a canyon wall. More so than anything else in the war it sounds like a video game, one of those late-80s/early-90s ones, where your guy just keeps walking, usually right to left, past screens and screens of hapless badguys who are quickly dispatched. Except in real life they don't just blink blink blink disappear once they're taken out. It's amazing to think of someone's entire life culminating in such a suicidal moment. Ah, the wonder of the concept of "martyrdom". (Just like we tend to have "heroes" instead of "victims", they have "martyrs" instead of "casualties".)

And now they're saying months, not weeks. Ugh. It's going to get hot there, in more ways than one.

Just to be a selfish jerk about it: I was really hoping this would be over by the time Mo and I headed to Germany and England.

Quote of the Moment
"All pop music is about sex: rock is about wanting to do it, jazz is about doing it, and country and western is about feeling guilty after you've done it."
--Unknown

Link of the Moment
Digital Photography Tips from O'Reilly.

Other News of the Moment
Huh, hadn't heard much about the current slow motion earthquakes in the Northwest...

pursuing happiness, and sometimes catching it

(5 comments)
March 28, 2003

Book Review of the Moment
I just finished Dan Savage's Skipping Towards Gomorrah. It was really terrific, I thoughtful but fun romp through each of the seven deadly sins and an attack on the ridiculous and hupocritical "morality" of commentators like Bork and Buchanan: but he points out some of the idiocies of the left as well. One of his central ideas is that as adults, we can choose our own course, that we can choose to take some risks, and dabbling in drugs or gambling or sex is not the inevitable slippery slope that our culture tries to tell us it is. He also points out how these commentators who so often go back to the founding documents of our nation so often ignore the "pursuit of happiness" bit, especially when it's not a path to happiness that they like for themselves. A really good read.

Toy of the Moment
CNN has some Rotateable 3D Models of some of our armed forces' tanks, planes, etc. You need to load a plugin but it's pretty painless.

Passage of the Moment
I suggest that if we, through force of imagination, were to dilate time to experience it as the Pac-Man does, and increase the resolution to allow us to read as much into each pixel as the Pac-Man must, we would not see the identical dots as identical at all. When the microscopic differences in each pixel are made large, each dot will possess a snowflake's uniqueness, and the acquisiion of each--no, the experience of each--will bring the Pac-Man a very specific and distinct joy or sorrow. The dots all rack up points equally, of course, in retrospect, however, some are revealed as wrong choices, links in a chain of wrong choices that trace out a wrong path leading to a withering demise beneath the adorable and utterly unforgiving eyes of Blinky, Inky, Pinky, or Clyde.
--D. B. Weiss, "Lucky Wander Boy". An interesting Douglas Coupland-ish novel, but with a focus on classic video games, and a side in the dot com world. I posted a review of it on rec.games.video.classic.

Comment of the Moment
"I don't see Saddam Hussein capitulating. He's come to the conclusion he's not going to make it out alive, and now he wants a larger chapter in the history book. He'll fight until the bitter end."
--Patrick Garrett, senior fellow at GlobalSecurity.org. You know it might sound stupid or somehow unpatriotic to say but I don't think that this war is going all that well. They weren't shocked, they weren't awed. The bombs came and they find themselves still standing. The fight is gonna be for Baghdad. We'll win the battle but lose the war...or rather, win the war but loose the larger war. In the desert, we can kick ass and take names. In the cities, it might look more like Vietnam or Soviet-era Afghanistan. Just a guess.

officespace

March 29, 2003
Funny of the Moment
"Buying used office chair is like being a white-collar druid. There are secret fart histories inscribed in every stinky seat."
--Metal Steve in yesterday's Diesel Sweeties.

birthdayayayayplaylist

(12 comments)
March 30, 2003

So, sorry for yesterday's update, it was pretty lame. And today's might not be much better, just longer...in my defense, I was spending most of the day celebrating my birthday (and today I'm gonna write about it.) Lee had invited me along to Fun Spot, an entertainment center in New Hampshire with a ton of classic arcade games, all very well maintained. Take a look at the list of games...it's like MAME but with real machines. Plus, Lee's birthday gift was $20 worth of tokens (and they give you 125 instead of 20*4=80 for that--) I got through like half of the tokens, I'll use the other half when New England Classic Gamers meet there, I think some time this summer.

Quote and Mix CDs of the Moment
"If you are a disc jockey, kindly remember that your job is to play records that people will enjoy dancing to and not to impress possible visiting disc jockeys with your esoteric tastes. People generally enjoy dancing to songs that have words and are of a reasonable length. Sixteen-minute instrumentals by West African tribal drummers are frequently the cause of undue amyl nitrate consumption and shirt removal."
--Fran Lebowiz, from Disco Hints: The New Etiquette. Previously in the passage she suggest people amyl nitrate should be consumed in one's truck, not in the middle of a crowded dance floor, and that fellow dancers interested in your progress at the gym will not be too shy to ask, one does not have to remove one's shirt, despite the warmth.

So I'm finally learning how to make optimal party dance mix CDs...the watchwords, as that quote reminded me, are A. danceability and B. familiarity. (Mix CDs for cars are a different story, there you can try to introduce people to new music.) Also, I've realized that each new generation of mix CDs can be a refinement of the last. To those ends, I loaded my two new mixes with late 80s/early 90s party hiphop, and a lot of modern covers of new wave songs:

Roaring Twenties Disc One:
Groove Is In The Heart (Kirk party mix neccesity)
Burning Down The House (Tom Jones cover)
Wild Thing
Like a Prayer (deep throated techno-ish cover)
Bad Touch ("like they do on the Discover Channel" song)
The Humpty Dance
Take On Me (Ska cover)
Shake Your Thang (Salt -n- Pepa)
Jump Around
Tained Love (Marilyn Manson cover)
Stress (Jim's Big Ego)
It Takes Two
99 Red Balloons (Modern cover)
Walk This Way (Run DMC/Aerosmith version)
Funky Cold Medina
Tainted Love (original, here by mistake)

Roaring Twenties Disc Two:
Baby Got Back
One Week
Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now)
Slam
Unbelievable
Hungry Like The Wolf (funny lounge cover)
Things That Make You Go Hmmmm
One Way Or Another
Private Idaho
What I Like About You
Walk Like an Egyptian
Ice Ice Baby
My Sharona
I Will Survive
I'm Too Sexy
Smack My Bitch Up
Smells Like Teen Spirit
Vogue

Disc One is a bit stronger than Disc Two. In general, I try to arrange songs in descending order of coolness.

twentynine is primeartphotos

(6 comments)
March 31, 2003

I'm 29!

Oy.

BTW--snow? Today?

Yeesh.

Image of the Moment
--The Ghost of a Snowman. Inspired in two ways by Ranjit; it's similar to some photos he took in 2001...and his offer of being a guest poster for the April Fool's edition of his site Moonmilk got me to make some shots I had taken more presentable, so click that link for more and larger images. (A fullsize version of the original snowman shot on my wallpaper page, which was also inspired by a page by Ranjit. He rocks!)

Quote of the Moment
"I can't read porno by candlelight!! Who am I, Abe Lincoln?!"
--Krusty the Clown, last night's Simpsons

Current Events Link of the Moment
The Iraq-O-Meter, for all your at a glance war stats needs.

War Analysis of the Moment
Slate.com has two pieces that, together provide some insight to the thinking behind getting ourselves into this war. The first is What Was Rumsfeld Thinking? and it argues that Rumsfeld tried to lowball the troopcount in order to prove neoconservative thinking about the effectiveness of smaller and lighter forces, as well as demonstrating a more credible simultaneous threat against "the Axis of Evil", Syria, and heck, lets throw Saudi Arabia into the mix too. I guess one sliver of silver lining is that if this is a quagmire, the administration is likely to not be as hawkish as it would be if the "regime crumbling" scenario won. Of course, from the neocon point of view, it makes as look less strong in the world. Think it might bring us to to something closer to a "humble foreign policy"?

The other article gives some of the background to the Iraqi force being "a bit different than the one we war-gamed against." I remember hearing about the armed forces wargames last summer, and how the commander of the "bad guys" quit, because he was overly constrained in the tactics he could use, his strategies overridden by the staff running the game. We're such idiots! We broadcast how we're going to invade, how much it's going to hurt if we don't get our way, and then we're surprised that the Iraqis don't want to follow all the rules we expect them to?

War Quote of the Moment
"It's my country."
--Young Iraqi Soldier, asked why he was fighting for Saddam Hussein. For more pessimism, Bill the Splut linked to this article tal about how numbingly difficult it is to fight in cities.