2016 July❮❮prevnext❯❯

July 1, 2016

As a Scot and a Presbyterian, my father believed that man by nature was a mess and had fallen from an original state of grace. Somehow, I early developed the notion that he had done this by falling from a tree. As for my father, I never knew whether he believed God was a mathematician but he certainly believed God could count and that only by picking up God's rhythms were we able to regain power and beauty. Unlike many Presbyterians, he often used the word "beautiful."
He was about the only man I ever knew who used the word "beautiful" as a natural form of speech, and I guess I picked up the habit from hanging around him when I was little.
Norman Maclean, "A River Runs Through It". I read it a while back, but this concept stuck with me.

Apple forces a password change and then my iPhone and other devices asks me for the new one about a thousand times.
Overall a quiet month for One Second Everyday - Visually I liked the shot of Alewife on the 10th, followed by Pride. I could have done even more bugs like on the 18th. And looking into the San Pellegrino on the 29th was kind of fun.

Culture eats strategy for breakfast and the fork we use to eat the strategy is execution.
Tim Armstrong, CEO of AOL

July 2, 2016

FWIW, which I hope is "Not Much", Newt Gingrich would be a scary pick for Trump's VP. The guy is a masterful propagandist; "Contract with America" was a very evocative piece of wrapping. (About its only fault is you could spin it as "Contract ON America".) And apparently Newt is willing to change any opinion to get the nod. ("Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others." --Groucho Marx)
This is the last Prairie Home Companion???

July 3, 2016

"I simply mean to emphasize that politics and political differences are much less important in reality for most Americans than they appear on the Internet, cable news, or in other forms of media."
I think it's an important thing to remember. (I don't want to down play that ultimately policies do have consequences, but right now as I sit on a porch with my Aunt surrounded by neighbors we certainly disagree with on most things political, it's nice to remember basic politeness and general neighborliness can see us through.)

July 4, 2016

I just reread Tom Robbins' "Still Life with Woodpecker". I admit for a book I often put in my "Top 5 All Time Best" list, it didn't hold up as quite as well as I'd hoped, and as a treatise on our clear and often unthimking bias towards the animate over the inanimate, of things that can move and think over things that can just be, it's a bit sparse (maybe "The Mezzanine" by Nicholson Baker does a better job of that, somehow) but still, some it had some great thoughts and quotes:

In hot climates, A provides a shady arch, O is a siphon through which to suck liquids, U a cool cave or tub to slide into; A stands like a surfer with its legs apart, O hangs like a citrus from a bough, U rolls its hula hips-- and I and E mimic the cries of monkeys and jungle birds from which they were derived. Consonants, like fair-skinned men, do not thrive in torrid zones. Vowels are built for southern comfort, consonants for northern speed. But O how the natives do bOOgIE-wOOgIE while the planters WaLTZ.
Ideas are made by masters, dogma by disciples, and the Buddha is always killed on the road.
"Dynamite didn't come here to teach. It came to awaken."
"Those who shun the whimsy of things will experience rigor mortis before death."
Briefly, they discussed seeking professional help for the Princess, but King Max was one of those who believed that psychology was at that point in its development that surgery was at when it was practiced by barbers, so the idea was abandoned.
Morality depends on culture. Culture depends on climate. Climate depends on geography.

How and Why Donald Trump is Putin's favorite candidate.
I really liked Sunday's Sally Forth, from the Memento-like chronology to the middle three panels especially "JUST RUN TO YOUR BUNKER, TOM! EVERYONE RUN TO THE BUNKERS THEY PERHAPS SHOULD HAVE BUILT!"

July 5, 2016

This relates to a theory I have, which is that the archetypal Western Male Hero is James Bond, to the degree that people (Mainly straight white men) start to see every Western Male Hero as James Bond.

Which is to say an aggressively masculine, quip-spitting, hyper violent womanizer. The ultimate Male Power Fantasy. A new supermodel love interest (or two) every film, a gun in his hand, and no consequences for his actions.


Captain Kirk: Painted as a headstrong idiot who spends all his time banging green skinned alien queens. In reality, a pretty firmly Feminist character.

Han Solo: Pictured as a suave too-cool-for-school scoundrel. Actually kind of a mess with a ship that's falling apart. He constantly has people after him, not because he's some sort of superscoundrel that makes powerful enemies, but because he makes deals with dangerous people, and then fails to live up to his end of the bargain. From what I recall, it's not even that he double-crosses them or anything, he just screws up.

Mad Max: To quote that one hilariously stupid review that helped make the movie so popular, "In the post-apocalyptic future, it's going to be MEN LIKE MAX THAT ARE IN CHARGE!" Max just wants to drive his car around the desert and be sad. He doesn't want any of this.

It's like, the Male Power Fantasy (as exemplified by James Bond) is so strong that we feel a need to cast everybody we can in that same mold.
iamthedukeofurl in this tumblr thread, mostly about misunderstanding Mad Max

And here it comes again, that brittle frontier spirit, that lone lean guy in our heads, with a gun and a fear of encroachment. But he's picked up a few tricks along the way, has learned to come at us in a form we know and have forgotten to be suspicious of, from TV: famous, likably cranky, a fan of winning by any means necessary, exploiting our recent dullness and our aversion to calling stupidity stupidity, lest we seem too precious.
The tie-in with anti-"Political Correctness" is telling.

Here's the un-PC truth, Trump fans: he's kind of a con artist, and you've been conned. There's no shame in being conned unless you refuse to admit you are - this country has its problems, but none so bad that Trump is a good answer.
Minor first-world-problem ‪#‎nerdrage‬ news: looks like last month, Samsung Smart TVs and Skype parted ways. Not that we used it much, but it was amusing to give the living room something feeling like the main screen on the Enterprise on Christmas Day.

Trying to figure out if there's ANY use for this camera now - and it was expensive-ish custom hardware, of course, heaven forfend they have let use a cheap usb webcam.

All-in-One Smart TVs always felt like kind of a poor idea to me - violating the old unix "do one job, do it well" principle, and tying in the simple utility of a nice big screen with wonky UIs and vendor lock-in.

parasailing para ti y para mi

July 6, 2016

Nice little bit of New Yorker Shouts + Murmurs Mini-fiction, "The Wedding Announcement".
"I want to YouTube about my life. I'll call my channel Happy Is Always The Answer."
--A young Human of New York

July 7, 2016

Just back from a lovely vacation with Melissa at my Mom+Aunt's in Ocean Grove.... the one downside to the trip was missing her cat, but here was a photo taken by her neighbor who stepped in for the feeding and light petting duties...

Oh Great God Gun, you sacred scamp.

The circular wheel of "justifications", where Dallas somehow can "justify" Falcon Heights and Baton Rouge, and vice versa, is going to grind us for a while.

Long hot summer.

July 8, 2016

Don Burrows is a swell guy about to retire as maintenance supervisor the Glens Falls Salvation Army. He was there when my family was there in the mid-80s, I remember him helping me with a pinewood derby car and his little side electronics business that let my family buy our first color TV.
The Second Amendment's Second-Class Citizens Right now FB is in a weird place where you still see a lot of content post-Baton Rouge and Falcon Heights, MN but before Dallas.

In a weird and ugly way, the Dallas incident may seem like a 2nd Amendment, a more-well-organized-than-"usual" militia fighting back against what they see as government persecution and targeted abuse. There's no defense for what the shooters did (besides my general opposition to eye-for-an-eye, Dallas was supposedly pretty advanced with their Police Department) and it makes the situation much worse for every one except the gun manufacturers and sellers, but it is hard not to see it as part of the gun landscape.
Police used an bombsquad robot as an unmanned, treaded drone to kill the Dallas attacker?

July 9, 2016

Last year for my Commodore 64 Gazette Galore! project I did a line-by-line analysis of Geza Lucz's type-in game Flood. Jim Gerrie ported it to the TRS-80 Micro Color Computer:

Oh yeah, see you at JP Porchfest! I'm playing with School of Honk, JP Honk, and Porch-i-Oke
Hopefully my website will once again withstand the onslaught! I actually made it so band photos are handled more efficiently. Also the mobile version of the website shows a locator where you are.
Spent the first two days home kind of free-falling from the meds / lack of meds and the paralyzing realization that nothing matters. Luckily that was followed by the motivating revelation that nothing matters.

July 10, 2016

Donald and Hobbes, a set of old C+H with Donald playing Calvin:

I thought that one was the deepest one, but in general these work so well it kind of makes Calvin look worse in comparison.
Maybe you should put some shorts on or something, if you want to keep fighting evil today.
The Bowler, "Mystery Men"

July 11, 2016

Friends on FB see something tuba-related, they think of me...

LOL Tea Partiers, pretending they are running for election and not re-election. I guess "incumbent advantage" name recognition reversal is the logical sequel to "this sucks, tear it all down!" (an idea echoed with both Trump and Bernie hardcore supporters this year, I'd say) that's followed by general ineptness, party-line-think, and preferring being the monkey wrench in the gears to understanding politics is about acknowledging that about half of the country disagrees with you, whichever side you're on.

Republicans. You told us government was the problem, and then set it out to make it so.

July 12, 2016

A Ghostbusters Gaiden, Directed by James Harvey:

june 2016 new music playlist

July 13, 2016
So-so month for new music last month.
61 glimpses of the future, starting in the Far East.
I'm not a very privacy-minded guy, but Waze kind of freaked me out the other day - I was used to it "helpfully" asking "Are you on your way [Home]?" (after I registered more or less my home address with it") at random times I thought maybe there was some heuristic about home and realizing I wasn't near there. The other day it asked me "Are you on your way to [Stony Brook]?" - where we have our regular band practice at that time... Now, I entered Stony Brook as a favorite just for that purpose, but man... that moves Waze from "take a guess" heuristics to low-key stalker.

July 14, 2016

We used to tell our phones where we wanted to go, and the phone would tell us how to get there. With Pokemon Go it's the other way around.
LOL Republicans - During the Republican Convention, Toy Guns Banned, Real Guns Allowed - though I guess it makes a kind of logical sense for a city that gave us the Tamir Rice shooting. Toy Guns: know the real danger.
Gingrich broke congressional politics by turning into a get-reelected-at-any-co$t game. The idea of him as a Cheney-like VP is scary as hell.

July 15, 2016

Ugh, this truck attack. A different feel than an attack relying on guns or explosives, because big vehicles are everywhere, yet the casualty count was so astounding.

How any human can see this as being the 'good guys' is beyond me, but that's the power of fundamentalism; for the benefit of never having to question your belief, you have the cost of not being able to question your beliefs.

Not all faiths are as egregious as this, of course, at least right now, but the story of God testing Abraham Faith vs Basic Humanity by seeing if he was willing to go up and murder his own son? With a last minute "Nah, just playin,"? Not a good start to Abrahamic religions.
I think I need to check out these Favorite 5 TED talks picked by TED founder...

July 16, 2016

A while back James Harvey posted a link to Prince on the piano riffing on "So High" - at 18 minutes it's longer than I'd put in my music collection, but it's good.
Accept the things you cannot change:
the bleating clock,
the nightly go
--dog leash in tow--
around the block,

neural chemistry,
patchy hair,
a longing stare
and X-ray eye,

and the niggling fact
that things will stay
roughly this way,
to be exact.

Forgive the things you cannot have:
the supple bod,
taut undergrads,
a nicer pad,
long chats with God,

an older name,
your peers' respect,
the oll korrect,
unbridled fame,

a sense of ease
in your own skin,
a lighter burden
by degrees.

The life you'd swap for on the train
(sight unseen)
is much like yours
though it appears
more green.

So, why this pain
that shorts the breath
and spoils your health?
You grow serene--

not yet, but after
your will resigns
a few more times
with heavy laughter.

LOL Trump. Why is public radio playing his VP like its news not propaganda? Also I love how he says he's going back over the years to look at the Middle East, starting with Clinton, and some how skips 2000-2008? LOLOLOL, Republicans.
Pokemon Go is also terrific if you enjoy having your workday constantly interrupted by imaginary bats, like Hunter S. Thompson.
Washington Post

So I've been noticing more music missing from iTunes :-( Luckily I have both some old archives and even the mojo to parse out what old stuff might be missing, but it's a super-pain. My devblog: parsing itunes Library.xml into json

best photos of 1996

July 17, 2016
I've decided to go through all the digital photos I (or sometimes a friend on my camera, or my comission) taken over the past 20 years, and pick out the dozen best photos of each year. Starting with 1996 - but I was only taking photos for like half the year, so it's just a half dozen.

1996 marked my graduation from college, and my first apartment - in Waltham, where Dylan subletted from me for a while.

My first camera was the Kodak DC20. It had a beautiful minimalism; no screen, no flash, just a cut-out viewfinder. Like getting good old film developed at the drug store, you couldn't see what picture you had taken 'til later.

So, the best of 1996:

best photos of 1997

July 18, 2016
My dozen best photos of 1997. Even though I had graduated, I sang with Tufts' sQ! as an alum. And I'm still working my first real, non-summer job.
On a Hulu ad I first saw how Panera is really hammering "clean" as the primary descriptor for their salads. At first I thought it was a dig against Chipotle, though I guess it's kind of a trendy food movement, ish? But kind of a diffuse one as far as I can tell?

Anyway, can't say the ad was entirely ineffective, got me into the store where I took a shot of the poster.

Salads from Sweetgreen, Cosi, Chipotle, and Panera really are a boon to dieters who are willing to sacrifice some $$$ to save time.
A Brief History of Celebrities Using the Notes App to Share Their Thoughts With the World "...the street finds its own uses for things"

best photos of 1998

July 19, 2016
My dozen best photos of 1998...

How Tennis Balls get made is visually compelling. By coincidence just the other day I saw a destroyed, chewed up tennis ball on the curb, thought about its construction and how people in a "Mad Max" society might miss having them.
The would-be-first-lady speech plagiarism as deliberate sabotage. Plus, Rick Roll.

Good lord.
For some reason I liked Quora's What's the Most Overrated Pleasure. Some I disagree with, but I'm getting to the point where it's worth analyzing the real benefit of things assumed to be pleasurable. (Oo oo another chance for me to analyze!)

best photos of 1999

July 20, 2016
My Dozen Best Photos of 1999...

Interesting! I had no idea you're much more likely to fall into an eccentric orbit than to actually hit the sun. (I guess satellites around the earth have just enough resistance from the upper atmosphere to not enjoy a similar free ride?)
30 Years of Saying Government is the Problem means you're going to be bad at government.
Mad Magazine released their Trump issue online. Trump vs The Bible is great. Christians: Trump is not one of you.
This is terrible

best photos of 2000

July 21, 2016
My Dozen Best Photos of The Year -- *2000*!
Video Shows Unarmed Black Man Pleading With Arms Raised Before Getting Shot by Police - Hands up, don't shoot. Mercifully, not a death, and maybe "just" an error from an itchy trigger finger? Still... Racist, Barney Fife BS.
The Centipede is especially good...

How Republicans went from the party of Lincoln to the party of Trump, in 13 maps - want to keep this around in for when the old "Us? Racist? But we're the Party of Lincoln!" comes around.
Jimminy Frickin Crickets, Republicans.

Extra bonus: Trump and Putin see eye to eye on NATO (even as Pence tries to say we WOULD stand with the alliance that kept us through the cold war.)
The ultimate Tell Me Again Why Trump is a Fascist.

best photos of 2001

July 22, 2016
My Dozen Best Photos of 2001.

The crime and violence that today afflicts our nation will soon -- and I mean very soon -- come to an end. Beginning on January 20th 2017, safety will be restored.
Donald Trump.
Besides the fact this is a spooky authoritarian tyrant kind of line, how the HELL could he promise this unless he was like, ordering the crime and violence himself?

best photos of 2002

July 23, 2016
My Dozen Best Photos of 2002.

Don't get mad if you parents ask 'simple tech questions' because they taught you how to use a spoon.

best photos of 2003

July 24, 2016
My Dozen Best Photos of 2003:

Clay Shirky speaks to why I'm so appalled about Trump.

best photos of 2004

July 25, 2016
Best Photos of 2004... Mo and I part ways, I sell the house, publish my Atari game, and spend a lot of time with EB and Jane.

Slate on The Hillary Haters. Saturday at a party I was showing around some old Spy-magazine covers about Hillary from the 90s (I remember 'Hillary as dominatrix in particular.) The endless dislike of her has a lot of roots in sexism, without a doubt.

best photos of 2005

July 26, 2016
Best Photos of 2005, marking the halfway point of this project, years-wise.
Getting political fatigue to the point of burn out.

Whichever side wins, it's not the end of the world, or the republic. We'll get shitty judges, lives (especially for vulnerable classes) will be made worse, we'll continue banking on some future geo-engineering crap rather than actually thinking about climate change, we'll be more at risk for authoritarian crap, we'll be a few ticks closer to nuclear armageddon. Trump will be Putin's man in the white house, etc.

Most of us will still muddle through in conditions that are the envy of 99% of the history of humanity. We'll be that much farther from our potential as a species, and in general being on the wrong side of history.

We've survived LBJ, Nixon, Reagan, GWB, Newt Gingrich.

Life would go on.

We can do better, and knock wood will with Hillary. It's frustrating that it all comes down to a few swing states. Even more frustrating that we've so clustered around two very different narratives of what it means to be a good, smart American.
Dilbert on Corporate Slogans like Make the world a better place
From 15 Twitter Jokes Everyone Should Read:
Young children are like sponges. They are the filthiest thing in your house.
I told a joke about a mandatory meeting once, you had to be there
Any dog can be a guide dog if you don't care where you're going

best photos of 2006

July 27, 2016

Mexican illustrator Mona Robles Reinvents Pokemons as 'Pokemayans':

Trump: Release the Tax Returns or Get Out of the Race

best photos of 2007

July 28, 2016

Amazing demos of how different camera lenses make the subject look much, much fatter.

I'm trying to figure out if there was any way college or something could have gotten me to my current awareness of how frickin' different people are.

I think a lot of people, as a short hand, kind of assume everyone is more or less like them. It's a bit of a working hypothesis we need for empathy?

But then... I dunno. Even apart from all the crazy amounts of partisan tribal bickering. Sometimes when I read about how badly people do on basic science questions, or fractions, say, it's just weird. Negative, sure - but just strange, too.

And I'm aware of how thinking about "basic science and math questions" as a rubric is kind of intensely OF my particular demographic.

And all this is just in my country, a culture I kind of sort of more or less understand. (Actually I should probably limit my claims to intra-culture, FWIW) That there are all these other nations and cultures, each presumably with their own intra-culture diversity, is even harder to wrap my head around.

best of 2008

July 29, 2016

Nothing in the world is as old as what was futuristic in the past.
Ben Lerner (in his 2014 novel 10:04)

The Freewright is a uni-tasking, distraction free, mechanical keyboard, don't go back and edit just keep writing word processor that also synchs up to the cloud. Very cool concept, it appeals to me in the same way scratching out things on the original Palm Pilot I bought a few months ago does.
Commercials on the Bar TV- one for this HP Spectre laptop, one for VistaPrint business cards, both with a lot of crappy faux-classy Shiny Gold on Black-- I'm worried we have Trump to blame for this? I mean who but sports channel watching business dudes are out for a super pricey Windows laptop and tacky business cards?
Susan Kare, pioneer in Mac Pixels and still a big player in the industry. So cool. The cross-stitch/pixel connection is great; sometimes I think about how my work on the old Etch-A-Sketch Animator connected me to my dad's Counter Cross-stitch work. (Kare points to this 1760 sampler by Elizabeth Laidman )
OPEN LETTER ON DONALD TRUMP FROM GOP NATIONAL SECURITY LEADERS I think this might be my new go-to summary for why Trump would be a horrible, horrible president.
Republican VP Pence chastises Obama for calling Trump "a demagogue" - says that "name calling" has no "place in public life."

2008 photo bonus: scenes from japan!

July 30, 2016

Is It Just Me, Or Is the World Going Crazy? Great article - maybe a little privileged, but like Jesus said, "the poor you will have with you always", so while we should always fight for economic justice we shouldn't think it's newly awful.

There's so much demonization going on. Our fellow citizen republicans are still people. Maybe misguided, maybe drinking way too deeply from this fountain of fearmongering, but people. And not even idiotic people, always.
No one stays home and watches TV on Sunday - everyone's out playing polo!
Wealthy Potential Ad Buyer in Blake Snyder's guide to filmwriting "Save The Cat!"
(The title refers to putting in a scene early that makes the audience like the main character, for example saving a cat.)

After JP Honk played Figment, I got myself framed by artist Franklin Marval
Protestant Minster: "God loves everyone!"
Catholic Priest: "God is love."
Eastern Orthodox Presbyter: "God is who is."
Rabbi: "This is special? Who isn't who is?"
Hail Caesar

best photos of 2009

July 31, 2016
Including a trip to Portugal, I think it makes its case for "best of the year galleries"

How and Why Trump Will Try to Ditch the Debates If Trump won't stand up to 1:1 debates, and he won't release his tax documents, he is a coward unworthy of your vote.
This week I finished Robert P. Jones' "The End of White Christian America", a left-leaning (I think) study in how White Protestantism (North and South, unlike the WASP term) has been on the decline in terms of power for decades. One sign of that: "The current [pre-2016] U.S. Supreme Court is comprised of six Catholics and three Jews." - in 225 years there have only been 6 other Catholics, and 5 other Jews sitting there.

Also, I didn't realize Southern Baptists forked away from the main Baptist body when the American Baptist Foreign Mission Society started disqualifying slave holders as missionaries.

The book puts a lot of weight into how the young generation is generally for gay rights, particularly marriage, and that's tied into how the older generation is losing clout trying to hold that line. (What's cause and what's effect is not always clear, I'd say.)

I like this quote from author and Baptist minister David Gushee: Jones says he takes the Christian Right to task for being less motivated by the gospel and more by "nostalgia for a less-religiously and morally pluralistic age, when specifically Christian practices dominated American public life in a way that is now impossible and *should* be impossible under our constitutional system."

(The book also mentioned the case of lesbian mayor of Houston Annise Parker, where in a messy controversy about a equal rights (maybe centering on Transgender bathroom access?) she subpoenaed the sermons of five area pastors, which on the face of it seems a bit too far.)

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