| < retrospect: 21 aug >

August 21, 2017

The clip I didn't know I needed: Cookie Monster meets Animal:

making the rounds...

August 21, 2016

I know it's old news but I hadn't thought about Trumps "2nd Amendment People" joke and Yitzhak Rabin's assassination; words matter. (Of course, it goes the villainization has gone both ways, and Trump had his would be assassin as well, but at least there the jokey suggestions aren't coming from the top.)
Starring the Computer is a delightfully nerdy survey of real world computers showing up in various shows and movies. (From this article about a guy who made a replica of the Burroughs B205, as seen in Lost in Space, Batman, and elsewhere)

I missed this Usain Bolt Photo but it's brilliant. via
The History of the Pencil. Man is that top of the image page mesmerizing!

August 21, 2015

If I was Scottish, "The Church of Kirk" would be redundant.

I can neither confirm nor deny rumors that I am trying to start such an organization.
(repost from FB) WE'RE IN DEMAND BABY!

and we know how to punch above our (considerable) weight. Musically speaking.

August 21, 2014

Dead at Noon. Gillian Bennett elected to end her life rather than give into an inevitable slide into dementia. She tells her story and makes her argument elegantly on a website published after her death.

AK aug 7 - glacier tour and river hike

August 21, 2013
This day we took a boat tour of Glacier Bay on the Good Ship St. Phillip (A "Jet Powered Catamaran", technically.) None of the wildlife photos really came out, but there were sea lions, eagles, mountain goats, whales, and lots of interesting birds including puffins.

Scalia is a disgusting troll, a "strict originalist" only when it's convenient to him and people like him. Disgraceful. (Another good view on this kind of strict constructionism )
Fun Quora about common knowledge at your place, astonishing everywhere else The Software Engineering one wasn't 100% right, but wasn't too far off.

check the fridge

August 21, 2012

--Forget where I saw this...

you can collapse my wave function all night long baby!

August 21, 2011

"There are more important things in life than winning; such as not being a jerk."
--Dave Barry
So, does Arthur the cartoon character grow into Arthur the Dudley Moore character, or what?

one more twilight joke

August 21, 2010
Just kinda liked this thing from

"Great film makers know how to give us lines to read between."
-- - Gnarls Barkley returns with an F U kinda song...

yo logo!

August 21, 2009
I've been thinking about the Logo design of the some of the toy lines of my youth. (The best image of most of these online seemed to have black backgrounds, so I'm experimenting with colors here.)

Arguably, the most notable was Transformers, Autobots vs Decepticons:
(Despite their being kind of silly summer fare, Amber found the Transformers movie grabbing enough that she wanted an Autobot sticker for her car- but she didn't grow up with this stuff, so she had to double check that she was getting the right one. I had kind of assumed it was "obvious", the good guys have a softer, rounder kind of mask face, the bad guys are more sharp and wicked and pointy, and there might be some intuition to it, but only once you know what to look for.)

The toys all sported the badges of their particular faction, and for a while it was good, but then they added these "rub stickers", kind of heat sensitive, that were more or less opaque 'til touched. That would have been ok I guess (if a little non-sensical story-wise) but unlike normal stickers, the rub stickers were in grey boxes which were an aesthetic mess on otherwise cool robot toys. (I guess Hasbro wanted something for its toys that the knock-offs couldn't have.)

Arguably the very coolest logo of the 80s was for the G.I Joe bad guys, Cobra:
I've seen that as a tattoo.

(and then of course there was the time they teamed up with the Transformers bad guys:)
Weirdly G.I Joe itself didn't have much good logo work going on - maybe a traditional US military star, or sometimes the whole name of the group (what's that kind of logo called, when its just a stylized rendition of the name of the thing?)
(Of course in the cartoon, there was also the "audio logos", G.I. Joe's rallying call of "Yo Joe!" and Cobra's warcry "COOOBRAAAAAAAAAAA!")

I've seen this one floating around, I don't know if it is new for the movie or what:
Also, there's this modernization of the old name-as-logo:
Actually this page was kind of inspired when I read up on Cobra Commander's ally Destro, remembered how he's always sort of had his own organization, and wondered if they had a logo. I found this:
A little heavy handed, but not bad.

I'd argue that even back in the day this kind logo work set G.I.Joe and Transformers apart from some of the other toy lines. Like, compare some of this cool iconic stuff to johny-come-lately MASK:
It just seems so pedestrian.

Hasbro (or whoever) kept up the canonical mask idea for later toylines, like in "Beast Wars" where it was Maximals vs Predacons:
I don't think I have to tell you who was good and who was bad... - Can Android be saved? I worry the AppStore might make iPhone's early lead even tougher to overcome because people come to rely on specific apps.

he will do very well as a

August 21, 2008
Lately I've been hearing a lot of "this might be a dumb question, but..." usually responded to with the usual trite reassurance "there is no such thing as a dumb question." Depending on the audience, I'll sometime lapse into the shtick from demotivators "There are no stupid questions, but there are a LOT of inquisitive idiots."

I don't know why I find the "no such thing" assurance mildly grating. I find it a bit gratuitous I guess, especially since someone being smart enough to recognize and label a potentially obvious or otherwise lacking question as such is probably clever enough to not need the uplift... or if they do, this ain't gonna be it.

Quote of the Moment
"Personally, I always claim Cecil Earl is a little screwy, or if he is not screwy that he will do very well as a pinch-hitter until a screwy guy comes up to bat."
--"Broadway Complex", Damon Runyon. (From one of the stories that inspired the musical "Guys and Dolls".) I keep paraphrasing this quote, badly. I just love it as a dodge, where you can't quite call a spade a spade, but that thing certainly is exhibiting some spade-like qualities.

Not only did Olympic rules mandate skimpier outfits for beach volleyballers (SRSLY!) the gold final added a critical "wet t-shirt" dimension
Don't know if it was the dentist or all company conference call (both harmless) this morning but I'm jittery as hell over lunch.
"Only WHO Can Prevent Forest Fires? [...] You Pressed YOU, Meaning Me. That Is Incorrect. The Correct Answer Is ME, Meaning You."

hey, remember that store "chess king"? boy, the late 80s. weren't they something?

August 21, 2007
The whole idea that the king is never actually captured in chess smacks of monarchism, some kind of kowtowing to the idea of the Divine Right. I'm almost surprised France or the United States didn't come up with some variation that made a big point of removing the king from the board as loudly and obnoxiously as possible.

There's that Italian proverb, "After the game, the king and pawn go into the same box." A nicely egalitarian thought, but one that doesn't really hold up as it applies metaphorically to people... the pawn goes into a plane pine box if that, and the king goes into some kind of ornate mausoleum, and beyond that concrete difference, the pawn is likely anonymous and forgotten after a few decades, while the king's legacy lives on one way or another, and has a name that'll be written down on a list forever.

Well, not that the (now dead) king notices.

Image of the Moment
--I'm not one to go OMGSOCUTE -- squee!!! but... OMGSOCUTE -- squee!!!! The teacup is so perfect. (via iotd)

Poetic Revamp of the Moment
So as a followup to yesterday's poetic work, I googled up this weird variant:
You are my bright and happy summer days. Wait! Summer's beautiful, but full of doubt. You smile like sugar sweets, but never stay. Sometimes you make me want to scream and shout! Laughter is first than comes great disaster. From warm to cold will you not stop my pain? Unfair misery bitterness matter. Why do I love you so? This is so lame! And when we change, you always give reasons. Open my eyes to see the world of truth. So why do I compare you to seasons? You are too strong for death and full of youth. So help me I plea save me from despair! Yet I still love you like no other compare!
It's signed Sin-Jin and I saw it on this guestbook. It takes the rough structure and some of the lines from its source, but then is more of a "Lover's Complaint" than a bit of praise. Still, as a bit of an authority on homebrew love poetry I gotta say... ugh.

i'm sorry, i can't hear you over the sound of how awesome i am

August 21, 2006
Yesterday Ksenia and I finally cleaned up all the junk from my car, and then I took it to this place on Western Ave in Allston to get it detailed... for $30 (plus $8 for the wash) they do a great job, the interior looks pretty much new now. Plus you can go over to the Breakfast Club diner while you wait... it's funny how much of a hipster place that is, but the food was great.

In other news... Red Sox. Damn. Reading the accounts of last night, Schilling put them ahead 5-3 after a rain delay (which probably hurt), Papelbon then giving up a tying bloop single in the ninth (after not letting anything happen after inheriting fully loaded bases in the eight), coming this close to scoring in the bottom of the ninth... it really hurts, but already I'm hearing "wait 'til next year" in the back of my head. (What can I say, I'm a bit fair-weatherish, I know.) Man, do we need Varitek.

Gallery of the Moment

--from a gallery of great Trek "Motivational" Posters... good stuff.

Quote of the Moment
"Money can't buy happiness, but neither can poverty." --Leo Rosten... today's Quote of the Day on Google homepage.

"boba fette? boba fette?! where?! and what?! and WHY?!"

August 21, 2005
Star Wars Wackiness of the Moment
Chefelf's Star Wars page is worth a read, especially his gripes with the prequels and the rereleases of the original films. It's hard to disagree with any of the points he makes about the dumbness of parts of the movies but I still like 'em... no one else makes movies of this kind, big space opera pseudo-epics with lots of droids and starfighters.

His message boards also had this squicky bit of sibling sultriness shown on the right here.

Sort of gives more support to the whole "Lucas was making it up as he went along" point of view.

In a similar vein, Cap'n Wacky's Gallery of Unfortunate Star Wars Costumes is worth it, especially for this one:

Finally, smashing through the notion that this kind of insane geekery is just the domain of geeky guys, it's...Star Wars Villians with Boobs:
The first two are courtesy Cap'n Wacky's List, the last one is a sexy vinyl Vader that was making the rounds a few weeks ago...check out the link for more poses.

Russian Factoid of the Moment
Russian doesn't bother with seperate words for "skin" and "leather". I like when a language does away with some of the euphemisms we have to put up with in English.

yes / we have two / bananas / we have two bananas / today

August 21, 2004
Quote of the Moment
There's an interesting effect here that I've noticed over the years -- smart people don't make the same mistake twice while REALLY SMART people don't make the same mistake three times. Since they tend to make fewer mistakes to start with, really smart people tend to repeat the mistakes they do make because they are initially convinced that the outcome was someone else's fault or perhaps because of cosmic rays.
--I, Cringley on the recent Google public offering.

Clutter of the Moment

--A photo studio in my office park was having a garage sale for all these old props. I swear, I am trying to reduce the amount of clutter in my life, but how can I resist two high quality cloth fake bananas for 50 cents?

Geek Ramble of the Moment
So, I had a bit of a revelation yesterday, about my mental model for radio signals...maybe some of the other geeks here can tell me if I'm on base. Since they're both forms of EMF, don't radio waves and visible light act roughly the same? Or, the same if most everything around me was made of glass...(since there are many materials which block light but let radio signals through without too much hassle.)

I think my previous mental model for radio waves comes from those diagrams of slowly moving circles propogating out from a central antenna. (Which is just a shade better than the mental model I got from that old RKO tower logo, big sparks jumping to radios everywhere.) But really, aren't radio waves a lot like visible light? Shining everywhere, passing through some things, reflecting off other things, getting shadows casted by some objects, but still generally scattering and reflecting and what not?

This new idea came to me when I noticed A. radio reception inside my company's parking garage is poor and B. it's dark and C. these two facts are kind of related. I know it's a bit of an oversimplification, and in particular, eyes (taking in a big spectrum of colors at once) don't easily map to radio receivers (tuning in one frequency at a time, and using...signal strength (AM radio) or flicker speed (FM radio) to imitate sound wave patterns.) I on base with this, or is this all crazy talk?

If I am right about this, it creates some interesting mental transmitters as these giant torches on towers, and a world with tons of glass trees and buildings, since wood and other building materials often let radio through. (Of course, it also brings up those kind of disturbing idea of all these radio signals passing though us like all the time...)

In a similar note, natural forces and all that, our favorite models of how gravity works may be offbase as well...

on a thursday in august

August 21, 2003
Advice of the Moment
"If it falls your lot to be a street sweeper, sweep streets like Michelangelo painted pictures, like Shakespeare wrote poetry, like Beethoven composed music; sweep streets so well that all the host of Heaven and Earth will have to pause and say, 'Here lived a great sweeper, who swept his job well.'"
--Martin Luther King, Jr. Doggone it, today I'm going to be the very best Sales Tax and VAT software programmer I can be.

Link of the Moment
It's a lot of material, but if you like funny and bitter office writing, check out Enter the Cow-orker, many many blog-like entries from the past 2 years or so about one Australian guy's awful, awful officemate. If you're in a hurry check out this entry, this one (which makes sense if you consider the last one, plus all the other overheard phoneconversations related previously in the site), and this one.

Product of the Moment
Heh. On (I think) right wing Christian radio they were advertising the TV Guardian, a product that promised to automagically bleep out swear words on TV. I was wondering what miracle of speech recognition technology the conservatives had come up with this time, but according to the FAQ, it depends on finding the written version of the offending phrase inside the Closed Captioning, so anything with no or spotty captioning won't work. (Heh, the front page has a chart with some popular movies and what percentage of the cuss words get blocked...they mention that even the family favorite ET has Elliot calling his brother, and her I quote the site, "#!*&#breath". The #!*&# stands for "penis", I always thought "penis breath" was a terrifically evocative phrase. I'd hate to deprive a kid of that. (Really pointless reminiscence: I remember an old Wittenburg Door issue during the height of the ET craze, showing a parody dialog from some church council talking about this movie and its use of the "P-word", and one guy keeps asking "What's the P-word?")


(1 comment)
August 21, 2002
Usenet Funny of the Moment
Subject: Re: Cow Tipping on "Whaddya Know"
From: Deborah Stevenson
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.urban (via

Brett Buck writes:
We talked/tricked someone into trying it one time* (in the vein of a snipe hunt, but he took it seriously, and we wanted to do some research, so..), and he was a pretty big guy. He walked up to it, gave it a shove, and it swayed a little bit and just stayed upright. Then he got back and took a run at it, and pretty much just bounced off. Then it woke up, looked vaguely disoriented, and went back to sleep. Then he grabbed one of it's legs, picked it up, and pulled on it, and over it went. Then it woke up, looked vaguely disoriented, stood up, noticed us, and "ran away" (about 100 feet). Cows are stupid.
I'd say they appear the intellectual victors in this particular context.

Link of the Moment
I had the hardest time finding the new remix of Elvis' "A Little Less Conversation" on CD (hopefully, fourth time is the charm on but online, Lycos has got me covered. It has the video as well, which is excellent, a lot of fun to watch.

It's kind of cool how this remix put Elvis over the Beatles for #1 singles in England...I guess the Fab Four's only chance is a hit from one of those reunion CDs.

aliens among us

August 21, 2001
Link of the Moment
Going along with the other day's theme of Rock, Scissors, Paper, it's an online rendition of Rock, Paper, Scissors, Spock, Lizard. (you can see original game diagram here... Spock vaporizes Rock, smashes Scissors, is disproven by Paper. Lizard eats Paper, is crushed by Rock and decapitated by Scissors. Finally, Lizard poisons Spock.)

This was on the games page, I also liked the alien math puzzle there. (And the line about the slot machine: "The money you lose is fake, but the time you waste is all too real.")

A Bad Joke
Q: What does Snoop Dogg use to clean his laundry?
A: Blee-yotch.
(via Captain Crotch on

Commercial of the Moment
I already rambled on about how much I love that VW Pink Moon Commercial. They've scored another emotional hit with the wedding themed "Big Day" spot... so many of the VW Commercials make such good use of music, and they tell stories...I hope they sell a hell of a lot of cars.
KHftCEA 1997-08.2 August KHftCEA 1999-08.4 August KHftCEA 2000-08.2 August

KHftCEA 2000-08.2 August

"I'll call you..."
"For what? We're so over... we need a new word for over."
--Sex in the City (HBO)
Crazy Morty!

"Visit our 12 Convenient Bowels!"

Crazy Morty says "Hush, Feet!"

"Our prices are so incestuous, we must be WAWAWA"

Take it from Morty's Doctor: "It's true. Morty Zimmerman is clinically insane, yet somehow operates a chain of 'stores,' such as they are. If you were able to find something of use to you, and were actually able to successfully conduct a transaction, you would probably pay a price wholly unrelated to the value of the item you purchased."
--Ruben Bolling, "Tom the Dancing Bug"
Mo mentioned that her folks may have been hinting at a generous wedding gift, like the start of a down payment on a house. She's gotten more really big tickets than her brother (like her car vs. his new PC) which reflect where they are in their lives.  There are a lot of reasons for this, and why they didn't occur as much before Mo and I started going out (her relationship with her mom freezing) but I don't think it's coincidence that they, as parents, "reward" settling down behavior, which after all is more likely to continue their genetic line.  They might not be aware of this, and it's something that's as built into our societal system as them themselves, but it's interesting.
The other day I was trying to think if my past romances have had perfect or defining moments.  Most seem to have one particulr scene I'll always remember:

Veronika, standing outside the Gubitosi's, kissing, me leaning against the wall, my legs straight but to either side of her, bringing our heights closer... (the lovely physical romance)

Marnie and I sitting outside on the night of a meteor shower, til her dad found us at 3am (the romance at night)

Jenny Wolchko, calling her up and saying she should look at the moon (romantic, from a distance)

Rebekah, her leaning back on my director's chair, breasts thrust forward (as much physical as romantic)

Jen Tsang, listening to "The Birdcage" soundtrack, eating pasta on my new front porch (nice, romantic, not so physically heated)

Don't know of a single moment for Mo yet. That's a good thing, the best may still be yet to come...
KHftCEA 1999-08.4 August

"Alejandro, forgive me, but this world in here seems crazy to me. Why would sensible people, who can afford to buy fish, want this torture instrument in their houses? It is far beyond my understanding."
--Porfirio the Fisherman on a catalog offering a rowing machine (quoted by Alastair Reid
On the road to Lake George- remembering last year's Trivial Pursuit - "Mitch Rider and the Detroit Wheels" forever!

(the theory that humans were a semi-aquatic species- hairless and finding water soothing)
Random 2nd/3rd Grade Memory: "Stir up the Cowbells, Poop is good food."
Random Family Memory: "If you lock it when you leave it, you'll find it where you left it"
Morning at Lake George. (kind of a cliché I've developed there, starting an entry with the place.) Not sure where everyone is. Sitting on the pier. Very placid until some old guy drops a car battery on a neighboring dock, looks like he's going to jumpstart an outboard motor or something.
Do my lips look like Gina Davis'?
KHftCEA 1997-08.2 August

"Diet Dr Pepper is god's perfect softdrink"
          --Mad Mike
"Please shut up-- I beg of you"
          --Life in Hell
Somehow the smell of my pinegreen banana republic shirt reminds me strongly of the comforter on r's bed. Damn.  Betrayed by detergent.
They say Americans are distinctly fatter than Europeans.  Why is that? It might say something about our concepts of "plenty"
I'll let you take me to bed but I don't think we should try to have a relationship.
walking on  inman street I seem to interrupt a squirrel and a small bird...maybe they're starstruck lovers, the romeo and julliet of inman square.

< retrospect: 21 aug >