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November 1, 2022

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Other Folks'...

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photo by Kellie Fournier

Parade photo by Greg Cook

Our afternoon set, photo by Jennifer Ferguson
by Noam

By Melissa

By Michael Hall

By Michael Hall

By Michael Hall

November 2, 2022

So, I think 2 1/2 years of "is it COVID or is it allergies" has a third contender, a so far mild cold that's just a little bit drippier and raw-throat-y than allergies. Two negative COVID tests though I know they aren't perfect.

But it's weird not having had like a cold for so long either...

october 2022 new music playlist

November 3, 2022
Everything's Sweet
Kai Straw
Just a decent modern song.

Seven Nation Army (feat. Alice Russell)
Nostalgia 77
Rayyan posted this one. It makes at least my seventh version of Seven Nation Army...

You Want It Darker
Leonard Cohen
Super deep and dark song with religious overtones, via the trailer for "Bones and All"
Kinda by the numbers rap version of the classic theme.

In Love With the World
Aura Dione
Mostly here because I dig the concept of "you're in love with a girl who's in love with the world"

Skeleton Sam
from the soundtrack to "Hocus Pocus 2" that my friend Sophie is an extra in.

Take over Your World
The Party Band
Great, great, great closer for a local HONK favorite. Has that SNL-ending closer energy... take over your world / make it a better place / do real good things / and together we'll sing / just try your best / that's all we can ask / to bring world peace / and harmony

Gotta Work
A lot like her other song but damn I love those horns and drums
Family Reunion (Live/1999)
Goofy profane celebration of "The 7 Words You Can't Say on Television"
I Think I'll Just Stay Here and Drink (Re-Recorded)
Merle Haggard
Cracked says to give country a chance
3 Doors Down
Cracked also talks about the reign of the razor scooter. I feel like I should know this song more than I do.
Please Don't Go
KC and the Sunshine Band
So, I loved the clubby Double You version of this song when I heard it in Portugal, and amazingly was able to find it at Newbury Comics by talking to the clerk. Had no idea it was a cover. This version is slower but good.
Got to Get You Off My Mind
Solomon Burke
Classic R+B referenced in "High Fidelity" when he's talking about the rules of the mixtape (he thought it might be too much to lead off with for a gal he was crushing on so he buried it on side two)

I do dig english hip hop - used to parody the UK government in this twitter video
Gizelle Smith
Throwback R+B they play at the bar at Simon Pearce in Woodstock VT.

Don't You Want Me (feat. The Weather Station)
Amazing slow cover... Sometimes you just don't realize how dark a and menacing song is until you slow it down...

Hey Elon: Let Me Help You Speed Run The Content Moderation Learning Curve - great points on what an impossible job it is.

November 4, 2022

What do you think your dancing adds to the band's dynamic and live presence?
It takes away the pressure of Dicky having to jump around. Nobody else has to jump around, really, I'm jumping around for them. They can all concentrate on their instruments and I take that pressure off. It sort of gives the audience something to feed on, you know? How many times have you been at a show where you're like, "No one else is jumping around, nobody is dancing, the band is kind of just staring at their shoes, I guess I will." You know, my dancing is kind of like saying, "It's ok to dance, it's ok to move around. We're doing it, you guys do it!"
You can see him at his craft when they were doing "The Impression That I Get" live on Conan.

I really wish JP Honk had someone in that role! Leftist Marching Band has something similar with a classic-form majorette/twirler.

(Also, I really wish I liked the sound of Ska more; I love bringing in brass instruments to modern forms, and I've heard the community and culture is really good. But the rhythm is such a steady floor, those trombone offbeats... no funk mixing it up.) ("The Impression That I Get" makes up for it with a killer hook, that KNOCK ON WOOD invites the dance gesture)

November 5, 2022

Did you have a mnemonic for remembering the directions North East South West?
I think Cora mentioned being taught "Never Eat Soggy Waffles", and there's a "Watermelon" variation too.
But... why? LIke for me "start at top, go clockwise" is as arbitrary as the 4. Like... North/South are easy in the same way Up/Down are easy. East/West are trickier (just like Left/Right is tough), but I think remember I was on East coast and what the map of the USA looks like made it easier.

November 6, 2022

via cracked.com Comedian Quotes And Jokes About Depression

November 7, 2022

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testing this

November 8, 2022

This impressionist uses deepfakes to make an awesome video If you are face blind (or just face myopic like I am) this is a much less compelling video. Like when he grows a mustache, sure, but otherwise it's just, like, more face, different angle.

I think the central fantasy of Atlas Shrugged is that it is full of characters who are loved and valued for the thing that they most value about themselves. It is a book that is not just about a meritocracy, it is about a *Meritopia*. It is about people who get the things they want because they are the best at what they do. This is CENTRAL to the story.
What is the same in [Atlas Shrugged and the Fountainhead], and what I think you are pointing at in your ask, is that the horrible characters are loved for the things that they love about themselves, and all of their unloveable traits don't matter.
I've known some people really into Atlas Shrugged, despite in not really jiving with their worldview, or at least my understanding of it. And also they'd skip the chapters-long speeches.

November 9, 2022

Your problem is that your inner child is a bit too outer.
My then-girlfriend K a long while back.
Back then I kinda took that as a compliment, though it was only sort of meant as one. But I like to think it means I have kept up my senses of whimsy and wonder, and am not so worried about gravitas and mature dignity.

But it's interesting in the context of my "inner classroom" model that is sounding more true to me these days, with the emotional students actually much less independently noisy rambunctious relative to some other folks' "classrooms".
My estranged debate partner EB once hesitated to call me "Puer aeternus", the eternal adolescent, because he assumed it would be as damning an insult for me in my worldview as it was for his. But looking at the wikipage for it... "the puer typically leads a "provisional life" due to the fear of being caught in a situation from which it might not be possible to escape. He or she covets independence and freedom, opposes boundaries and limits, and tends to find any restriction intolerable."

in some ways that's the opposite of me - I tend to be very dedicated to partners and groups - but I don't want to be on the hook for big decisions, especially those that might impact the welfare or well-being of others. Though I admit, the end result presents similarly.

November 10, 2022

The Articles of Interest podcast is running a series "American Ivy" - the first episode was about the 1965 Japanese book Take Ivy, that kind of cemented the preppie/ivy look.

That look is interesting - a few years ago when I read how fashion had seemingly slowed down a lot, and some of that was "Gap" khakis etc, making a kind of aspirational look affordable... that probably has its roots in "Take Ivy".

So for the series the podcast re-did its theme with collegiate a cappella, and they picked the Tufts Beelzebubs, of course. And I know I'm being petty, like back when Tufts had 3 established groups I was hanging out with #4, sQ (and had to fight for survival). So Kudos to the Beelzebubs for popularizing the kind of stuff they do, but boy they do have that Eton School / Bullingdon Club energy.
If it gives you the power, why would you oppose it?
Donald Trump, via
Fascism and authoritarianism in a nutshell.

from "Sirens of Titan"

November 11, 2022
Every passing hour brings the Solar System forty-three thousand miles closer to Globular Cluster M13 in Hercules--and still there are some misfits who insist that there is no such thing as progress.
Ransom K. Fern in Vonnegut's "The Sirens of Titan"

The Universe is an awfully big place. There is room enough for an awful lot of people to be right about things and still not agree.
Dr. Cyril Hall (writing "A Child's Cyclopedia of Wonders and Things to Do") in Vonnegut's "The Sirens of Titan"

Everything that ever has been always will be, and everything that ever will be always has been.
Winston Niles Rumfoord in Vonnegut's "The Sirens of Titan"

The insane, on occasion, are not without their charms.
Beatrice Rumfoord in Vonnegut's "The Sirens of Titan"

Unk, the big trouble with dumb bastards is that they are too dumb to believe there is such a thing as being smart.
Unk in Vonnegut's "The Sirens of Titan"

To that end, devoutly to be wished, I bring you word of a new religion that can be received enthusiastically in every corner of every Earthling heart.

National borders will disappear.

The lust for war will die.

All envy, all fear, all hate will die.

The name of the new religion is The Church of God the Utterly Indifferent.

The flag of that church will be blue and gold. These words will be written on that flag in gold letters on a blue field: Take Care of the People, and God Almighty Will Take Care of Himself.

The two chief teachings of this religion are these: Puny man can do nothing at all to help or please God Almighty, and Luck is not the hand of God.
Winston Niles Rumfoord in Vonnegut's "The Sirens of Titan"

I was a victim of a series of accidents, As are we all.
Unk in Vonnegut's "The Sirens of Titan"

Luck, good or bad, is not the hand of God. Luck is the way the wind swirls and the dust settles eons after God has passed by.
Winston Niles Rumfoord in Vonnegut's "The Sirens of Titan"

The worst thing that could possibly happen to anybody would be to not be used for anything by anybody.
Beatrice Rumfoord in Vonnegut's "The Sirens of Titan"

It took us that long to realize that a purpose of human life, no matter who is controlling it, is to love whoever is around to be loved.
Malachi Constant in Vonnegut's "The Sirens of Titan"

Reran into the "Andre the Giant Scared" gif...

went to look for a longer video and its context is better than I had hoped - he's backing off of Jake "The Snake" Roberts wielding a python...

November 12, 2022

Space Dolphin at Zoe's Masquerade Birthday Party

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November 13, 2022

Everything Tumblr has told you about Moby-Dick is absolute bullshit, and everything that Tumblr has told you about Moby-Dick is 100% true. It's a travelogue fantasy. It's proto-science fiction. It's cosmic horror. It's shockingly original and it's shamelessly plagiaristic. It's a misotheistic Christian parable in which the whale is the mask of a cruel, uncaring God and Ahab is Satan himself, not as trickster or as tempter, but as doomed hero. It's the most gripping thing you'll ever read. It's boring as shit. But above all else – and I cannot emphasise this enough – it is filled with Facts About Whales.

November 14, 2022

November 15, 2022

November 16, 2022

A real quote from Donald Trump on the day of the election:

"Well, I think if they win, I should get all the credit. If they lose, I should not be blamed at all."
ain't that just the most Trumpian way of thinking. The doe comes here, buck stops over there

fellas of the mind

November 17, 2022
I am pretty sure that most people's minds are not monolithic; that there are different subparts. And that often these parts can have different personalities- even their own agenda about what they want, whether or not the higher aggregate self would agree that it's a good thing to have.

I think these parts tend to be more emotional and less rational than the whole. My current favorite metaphor is them as young students in a noisy classroom. My students are pretty well behaved though, and so I usually have an even keel, my precious equanimity intact.

What I'm not sure of if these parts are consistent; or as my friend Arun posed it, are they more like a (persistent) particle or a (transient, recurring) wave? And it's always felt like it might be important for me to be generous and accurate when thinking about my parts, lest I stir up resentment ... or horror of horrors, be confidently wrong at someone else's expense (in this case, the someone else actually being a part of me)

But now... I'm ready to name some of the more important player parts. Well, not name literally- that still feels a little too corny. But describe their role. (Except while writing this I stumbled onto the term "fella" for them which seems about as good as any.) I'd also be interested in hearing about other people's parts...

One easy to spot one is the eater fella, the one with the sweet tooth (but who digs savory too. And specific textures...) Any tasty food in proximity is cause for this fella to bring the issue to the attention of the whole (Luckily if the food is labeled as someone else's the fella is more behaved, so Melissa's food can be safe. And it's relatively easy for me to make wiser, calmer decisions when I'm at the store.)

Probably the penultimate most import fella is based on ego, and fixed mindset. I have a kind of devils bargain with him; he reassures me I'm worthy and reliable and even sometimes exceptional, but in return I don't push the boundaries of that... so in life, I'm an optimizer, I look to the good of the current situation and I don't take many big swings.

The ego and the eater have a weird alliance sometimes when I'm programming- any time I run into even the most trivial of stumbling blocks- uncertainty of even something like "this step might not show me off as an effortless genius"- and I'm up and looking for a little walk, quite possibly for a snack or even a cold drink.

But the ultimate most import fella- the one that might even be the teacher that has helped build such a generally tranquil classroom- is the need to be in harmony with the greater good, the objective truth, the consensus reality. This need, well internalized by the larger motley assortment of fella parts in the classroom, effectively stops my own preferences from snowballing into disruptive anger or fear or sadness that the world isn't what I want it to be.

I suspect this fella might have gotten a start or at least a huge boost when as a child I took in tales of eternal punishment for the wicked, for anyone too out of step with God's purpose. Though ironically this huge need to be an agent of whatever Truth was universal ended up being rough for my Evangelical Christian faith: Since other people are signposts for the truth (maybe not even signposts, but R+D and manufacturing infrastructure for the Truth - but that's a different story) and about the only reliable way of preventing self-deception, the number of other religions in the world just made it seem remarkably unlikely that one small set of special revelations were right and all the other special revelations were wrong. So now I don't put stock in anything that relies on special revelation.

Anyway. I invite you to think about if this model seems true to your experience, and if so who are the parts who end up making noise in your classroom...

November 18, 2022

November 18, 1972 - 50 Years Ago Today Betty Scheinfeldt and James Israel got married!

November 19, 2022

Two of Deans favorite spots both in the office where I am most days, the infamous butterfly chair but mostly the Ikea box that holds my boxers.

November 20, 2022

Melissa and I went to the MFA yesterday.

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It's weird how easy it is to take for granted, you know? Like Boston gets lots and lots of tourists and I'm sure tons of them come to this museum, and it's crammed full of amazing stuff. But how often do you go?
If you love comic sans, you don't know much about typography. But if you hate comic sans you really don't know much about typography either.
Vincent Connare
via this great struthless video on fonts and typefaces
RIP Fred "Mythical Man Month" Brooks. Letting engineers have a reference for explaining to managers that adding people to a late project makes it later. (ala you can't get 9 women to make a baby in one month)

November 21, 2022

Random images from the previous week...

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Struthless talking about how we set up our spaces... I dunno. The other day I was just personal project stuff on my desktop setup (2 monitors, etc) and I noticed how great it felt to be doing my own stuff in that layout (like vs a single laptop screen while reclining on a couch)...

So it sort of bummed me out how my job now kind of owns my main workspace, though I guess its a fair tradeoff for not having to commute... and it suddenly struck me as weird that prior to this, I've always kept up a desk workspace just for my own stuff. But then again, from 1992-2010 I didn't really have a laptop alternative - any serious work using a computer was chained to a desk. (I guess the switch to laptops as the default parallels the rise of smartphones that are the information hub for so many, though it's obviously not quite as much of a sea change..)

November 22, 2022

Beautiful collaborative story about a small god and his congregation of one.

November 23, 2022

Bit of semi-local lore; The Tough Pie Crusts of Old New England - didn't realize fat or grease was in a piecrust to soften it up...

November 24, 2022

Cracked has a pretty good reminder about the dumb-ass myths we have about white folks moving into the Americas.
Tappy Hanksgiving One and All!

November 25, 2022

See the happy moron,
He doesn't give a damn,
I wish I were a moron,
My God! perhaps I am!

November 26, 2022

my government assigned gender today (what)
"Do you ever eat popcorn out of the palm of your own hand with such ardent desperation that you feel like both a wild horse and the gentle schoolgirl feeding it treats to gain its affection"

"rain or lava that thinks for itself" - god, a couple of days before inventing animals

November 27, 2022

My friend Jeremy Penner pointed me to a browser playable version of Rally 1000 for Palm. It's far and away the most elegant version of Mille Bornes I've ever played, my real go-to time filler game back in the 90s.

November 28, 2022


happy birthday pong!!!

November 29, 2022

I made a little game to celebrate:

November 30, 2022

you dont have to be a parent to understand the horror of walking into a room to discover that the baby crawled out of his crib and onto that pottery wheel you forgot to turn off, and while the baby is spinning around and around, the dog is sitting there all calm, like a person, gently using his paws to fashion the babys soft cartilage head into something a little more modern. it might be the classic tale of bad parenting, but lets see where the dog is going with this

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