from Bette Midler's "A View From A Broad"

September 18, 2019
I just reread "A View From A Broad", about The Divine Miss M's 1978 world concert tour:

(I think this scene is from a later tour of hers, but the Delores character and the harlettes were very present in the book.)

The book is full of wild prose and photos. For me it's one of those books you find on your parent's book shelf as a kid, and it shows you a part of the world you just have no idea about, and then lots of little tidbits just stick with you or generally inform your view on certain topics - for example, she signs a letter in it "Your everlovin' sometimes blondie" - I've always been awkward with signoffs on letters, so I stole that and devolved it into "Your Ever Lovin' Kirk" for emails to my mom during college days, and now I'm YELK and my mom and Aunt Susan are MELM and MELAS in our mutual correspondence and texting.

The passage I've been thinking of the most over the years is this, where she sneaks into a generally off-limits-room at a library in Hawaii when she is ten and finds a book that had been left out:

Of course, [The Decay of Lying] wasn't about telling falsehoods at all. It was by Oscar Wilde and it was really about masks and how the only interesting thing about someone is the mask he wears--not the "real" person behind the mask. The persona was what mattered, not the person. According to Wilde, all that someone had to do to be devastatingly exciting was to make up a fabulous mask.
(She goes on to say "All I needed was a great persona, and that I could invent.)

I find the concept resonates with me, and my current view that it's mostly the interactions that matter - surface, not essence. (In this stance, the internal life only is interesting to the extent it informs what mask and set of interactions we undertake...)

Another passage from when she's in Paris shopping at Les Galeries, having tussled with the clerk about her French, and then checking if the basket she's trying to buy would fit on a boy's bike...

"Ah, mon Dieu! Boys' bikes! Girls' bikes! We have no such things here," he almost shouted. "Only in America do bicycles have gender. It's just another part of your obsession with sex."

"Oh, really?" I said, incredulous that we were going at it again. "The French ain't exactly slouches in that area."

"Ah, but for us sex has always had its time and place. Lovemaking is an art and, like a great painting, should have a frame around it. You have lost that notion in America. It spills over into everything."

I think about this passage a lot. Having a mildly repressed childhood, I've always liked it when I see that frame erased a bit, where you can see a hint of a connection between normal commonplace life and sex - say, a preference for the stretchy cotton tanktop to the fancy black lingerie that declares "now we are in the time of sex".

Also the book lists 4 of those great "I will never forget it" Soph and Ernie jokes, and I think it was where I first encountered Spring and Fall ("Margaret, are you grieving"...the first poem I remember calling a favorite poem.)

Other bits:

I'm as confident as Cleopatra's pussy
(The hypothetical interviewer claims that this is either a way for Miss M to hide her true feelings, or maybe just a total disregard for the simplest rules of civilized conversation.)

She quotes from what turns out to be Tom Waits' song "Shiver Me Timbers" (a piece Midler covered) - ... I really like this cover by Katie Ferrara On an anecdote that had a woman planning to name a line of pro-woman diapragms and douches after Dido the queen:

Somewhere in the back of my mind I seemed to recall that Dido killed herself unloved and untouched, but I thought it best not to mention that to Cecily.
Being moral isn't what you do, I have often tried to tell her, it's what you mean to do. And, naturally, I always mean the best.
Hitler had only one big ball.
Goering had two, but they were small.
Himmler had something sim'lar,
But Goebbels
Had no balls
At all!
"I don't take anything. I'm high on life."
"Where can I get some?"
Death is to the dead as life is to the living.
Finally she signs off:
You know, I wanted to leave you with the memory of the good beneath the gaudy, the saint beneath the paint, the pure little soul that lurks beneath this lurid exterior . . . but then again I figured:

Fuck 'em if they can't take a joke!


Bette Midler and Fran Frank, her dresser, portrayed in the book as a uptight and Boston-y.
Love is like a flower bending towards the light: stupid

September 18, 2018

Unfortunately timed cooking feature of the day: In the Kitchen with Fareway: A mushroom blend for National Mushroom Month

September 18, 2017

After a long beautiful 4 gig weekend - Mill City Grows in Lowell, Prospect Hill block party, Boston Makers at the Children's Museum, and the Revels RiverSing parade.

RIP Stanislav Petrov whose profound application of common sense over following official procedure stopped WW3 from being started when some clouds looked like ICBMs to a computer system.
The revenge of bullet time: makes me wish I spoke Russian!

5NIZZA-SAMOLIOT (DIRECTOR'S COLOR CORRECTION) from max ksjonda on Vimeo.


Amish life is about recognizing the value of agreed-upon limits, and the spirit of the internet cuts against the idea of limits.
I've had a deep respect for the deliberation that the Amish apply in terms of technology, ever since I read Wired's fair-handed treatment of them in 1999.

September 18, 2016

I started searching Google to diagnose upper back soreness I've had for a week now (below the left shoulder blade.) But, here is the number one image result for "trap muscles"

Yikes!
"When actors can't remember their lines, it's called 'going up,' or 'taking the elevator.'"
Gene Wilder in "Kiss Me Like A Stranger".
That's a really appropriate metaphor for what it feels like...
I am not enlightened and apart from the occasional fantasy I have no goals to become enlightened because having a goal to become enlightened is like trying to lose weight by jumping up on a scale. You may be lighter for a brief second in the air but in the end you will hit much harder than if you simply stood still and did nothing.
Chris Niebauer, "The Neurotic's Guide to Avoiding Enlightenment"

My six year old once asked my two year old how much two plus two equals, to which he zenfully replied 'the water.'
Chris Niebauer, "The Neurotic's Guide to Avoiding Enlightenment"

Rid yourself of ego in order to observe the secrets of the universe, but keep the ego in order to observe its manifestations.
Chris Niebauer paraphrasing the "Tao Te Ching" in "The Neurotic's Guide to Avoiding Enlightenment"

The ego has always been the verb that desperately wanted to be an eternal noun.
Chris Niebauer paraphrasing the "Tao Te Ching" in "The Neurotic's Guide to Avoiding Enlightenment"

Consciousness is more like dancing than it is like digestion.
Alva Noë

It was-- fun. ...Oh my
Captain Kirk's final words

September 18, 2015

September 18, 2014

Sometimes I wish I had more characteristics of an Ayn Rand character, that by sheer force of will I could make things happen: specifically, turning myself into a better me; I know my "fixed mindset" background makes me swing too hard the other way, into strategies that avoid pointing out my deficiencies on the micro level, but make be less capable in the macro sense.

One trick I've heard lately is to replace "Oh, I really shouldn't do ___" with the thought that "I'm the kind of person who doesn't ___"; swap the verb for the noun, so to speak. In the same way that the physical act of smiling can lead to a legitimately happier mood, this might be a little con game we can play on our own self, for our own benefit.

I look at the things that tend to clog my todo list, often items I feel a little intimidated by: work on my "lowLag" JavaScript library for sounds (I took a swing and a miss at an annoying IE-related issue), finding a publisher for SoYoureGoingToDie.com, a stack of stuff at work for my team's new assignment on technologies I honestly am not super enthused by... I am the kind of person who pushes through this crap. I have a decent track record of things I've done, and the potential to get through many more.

AW YEAH

"Look Deep Into My Eyes. NO-- DEEPER"...

[On why is there something rather than nothing.] "Beats me, actually; but who doesn't love the Universe?"
John Updike

[We] skate upon an intense radiance we do not see because we see nothing else. And in fact there is a color, a quiet but tireless goodness that things at rest, like a brick wall or a small stone, seem to affirm.
John Updike

September 18, 2013

September 18, 2013
busy busy busy

extinguished

September 18, 2012

The idea that the working poor live off the labor of the wealthy rather than the other way around is remarkable.

Your funeral is the one thing in life you can totally blow off [planning for] without suffering any consequences.

Twice today I provided the requisite shouting that helped a commuter get back a dropped item (sunglassses, scarf) another person was trying to get back to them. Talent!

stick a wilfork

September 18, 2011
So I watched a fun Patriots vs San Diego Chargers game Sunday (Pats are 10-0 for season openers in their current stadium). One of the most entertaining parts was an interception by big fat lineman Vince Wilfork... watching his belly jiggle in the slomo was kind of hypnotic, and joyous...





--via NESN You can maybe see some video here

the closest of close calls

September 18, 2010
You know in movies, like 2012 or whatever, when the guy jumps out of the collapsing building JUST in time, or barely outruns the fireball, or otherwise avoids certain doom by inches? This is a video of all that in real life. Not for the faint of heart!

(2019 Not the original 9:30 video but probably close)
When your only tool is a stapler, every problem looks like it needs to be attached to another problem.

portugal: prelude

(4 comments)
September 18, 2009
Holy cats I'm off to Portugal!

(And don't try to break into my house just 'cause I'm publicly announcing I'm gone, I still have family there.)

Don't know if I'll yet have the access/gumption to make a full photoblog, so I'll fill with a backlog of videos I've been keeping around.


Famous psychology experiment redone... man it almost feels like child abuse!
At airport, Portugal bound! Grateful to Amber for the 6am drive....
London. Love how they have "LOOK LEFT" "LOOK RIGHT" on the curb so you don't get hit by a lorry. Also, I wonder if learning to drive on the other side of the road changes how you orient yourself on roadways, keeping the driver in the center rather than remembering left/right.
Interesting watching British TV, the polls about how Brits are very pro-public spending...
UK groceries are doing a lot of advertising on price, like digestives (type of cookie I think) for 60p.

the fine line between can and should

(1 comment)
September 18, 2008
The zeitgeist of fear doubt and uncertainty is making me feel a little out of sorts, but much to my surprise I managed to parlay a night of crashing and catching up on Project Runway to getting the bathroom cleaned, the apartment straightened, and even framing some 8.5x11 photographs for hanging. The power of procrastination jujitsu, it must've been that one web project I couldn't bring myself to get to.

Safety Feature of the Moment
When a potential accident situation is detected, the system primes both the occupants and the vehicle for a possible impact. To this end, the seat belts for the driver and front passenger can be pulled taut if necessary. The optionally available power adjustable front passenger seat with memory function can be brought into a more favourable position that maximises the protective capabilities of the airbags and seat belt system. The system also takes the precaution of closing the panoramic glass sliding sunroof and side windows if a critical driving state affecting the vehicle's lateral dynamics arises. This optimises the protective effect of the windowbags on the one hand, whilst also better preventing foreign objects from penetrating the interior or parts of the body from dangling dangerously outside.
Saw a commercial for it and I had to Google in a "did I really here that?" sense. Maybe they could automatically turn on the stereo system and play "AIIIIIIE OHMIGAWDWE'REALLGONNADIE!"? It reminds me a bit of Douglas Adam's Joo Janta Joo Janta 200 Super-Chromatic Peril Sensitive Sunglasses... I mean, how fast are these windows closing anyway?

Demotivator of the Moment

--from demotivator blog, my current favorite site of that type. (On an unfortunate "jailbait" streak as of late though.)


After my typical middling response to "how do you feel" (it is AM!) my virtual trainer: "I love your enthusiasm, no really, I do". Sarcasm! (This was "yourself!fitness")
"Ya damn jolly rancher!" is clearly an underutilized epithet.
Happily coding on some std. dev. stat calculation for Nokia while listening to Public Enemy's "Tie Goes to the Runner". Cog. Dissonance!
Unexpected travel suggestions are dancing lessons from God
Vonnegut
I put a milder form of that to spur of the moment plans w.pals...

blender iii

(1 comment)
September 18, 2007
I updated the Blender of Love this weekend, using the new look and feel for the front page. I also updated the work viewing page, so that the comments form is embedded into it. I learned two valuable lessons with that second change: I wasn't 100% satisfied with my Blender design, but it was getting to the point where I just needed to put it in there, and consider updating it later.

The design kind of evolved. The first one had the new horizontal and more prominent icon bar:
The second try had a new structure that kind of hearkened back to the circa 2000 design:
The penultimate draft played around with some stock photography instead of the site's trademark chunky icons:
Miller had some good advice through the process. In the end I kind of gave up on hunting down all the "trapped white space" that he warned me about, but still it's better for having tried.

Quote of the Moment
The rose of yore is but a name, mere names are left to us
Slashdot QotD
Apparently a bit of middle age poetry, according to The Waning of the Middle Ages. I like the hint of Ozymandias in it, along with a whiff of hubris.

Countdown of the Moment
Bill the Splut posted a link to Time's 50 Worst Cars of All Time. Some of the write-ups seemed odd, almost as if the author didn't actually like cars very much:
The Model T - whose mass production technique was the work of engineer William C. Klann, who had visited a slaughterhouse's "disassembly line" - conferred to Americans the notion of automobility as something akin to natural law, a right endowed by our Creator. A century later, the consequences of putting every living soul on gas-powered wheels are piling up, from the air over our cities to the sand under our soldiers' boots.
It took me a while, but finally I realized the problems... it's not that he dislikes cars, he's just absolutely elitist about it, and mass-produced cars in general. He's kind of like the Duke of Wellington on early steam railroads, " "They will only cause the lower classes to move about needlessly."

picture yourself in a boat on a bitstream...

(4 comments)
September 18, 2006
Travelling to Seattle on business today!

The chance to have great coffee (though when I ask the people I'll be visiting about it, they mostly mention Starbucks... ugh)... and...enjoy the rainy climate... and..errr...see that tall building with the round thing on type... and... cross the lake... hmmm.

Creepiness of the Moment
--The Girl With Error Msg Eyes, an avatar in the game "Second Life", is one of the creepiest things I've ever seen, on both a visceral and cerebral level.


Quote of the Moment
At the very minute scale, matter appears to be constructed from vibrating nothing.
Hey, he's not just for Tuesday Morning Quarterbacking any more!

zeigarnik effectiveness

September 18, 2005
Lately there's been some online talk about the Zeigarnik effect, dealing with the special attention the unconscious mind devotes to unfinshed tasks. First noted with the observation the waiters and waitresses can remember huge orders which are then promplty forgotten once delivered to the table, it is suggested that the effect can be exploited to various ends, from lerning to marketing.

I'm realizing that this tension of unfinished tasks is a pretty large force in my life. I just want things done to release that tension. (In fact, I think it's similar to the logic behind "Getting Things Done" time and stress management; you try to remove the stress of things undone by making a list that your subconscious can learn to trust.) In general, I want my mind free to move on to the next task.

One funny sample of what I'm taking about comes from the explanation after a surprise marriage proposal in Nick Hornby's "High Fidelity":
"I'm just curious about how one goes from making tapes for one person to marriage proposals to another in two days. Fair enough?"
"Fair enough."
"So?"
"I'm just sick of thinking about it all the time."
"All what?"
"This stuff. Love and marriage. I want to think about something else."
"I've changed my mind. That's the most romantic thing I've ever heard. I do. I will."
"Shut up. I'm only trying to explain."
"Sorry. Carry on."
That's exactly how I think, way too often. It may even explain why I eat too fast! I don't find food interesting, so I think I have a small drive to just get it done with, to make it easier to focus on the people I'm with, or maybe just moving on in general. Maybe it even influences how I play chess! I'm always eager to make equal exchanges of pieces. One obvious explanation is I prefer a simpler board because I'm such a bad chess player. On the other hand, if you view each piece as having an unfinished agenda...well maybe that's stretching things, but I think trying to reduce the number of open items in my life is a big factor.

(Heh, I even remember this one guy ("Editor Dink" of ThinkAttack, when we worked at Event Zero) saying whenever he was copying and pasting, he was always in a hurry to finish with the pasting, he hated the in between state of carrying it in the clipboard. At the time I laughed a bit but now I see it's just his personal response to this kind of tension...

cosmic ark swarm

(4 comments)
September 18, 2004
Java Toy of the Moment
click to play

cosmicarkswarm - Source code // Built with Processing

"Cosmic Ark Swarm"--I'd been thinking about this little toy for too long...for months a very rough version of the source code was clogging up one of my journal backlog tools, and in a way, this is the kind of "random critters moving around" thing I've wanted to make since...yeesh, at least 1987. This is a big wildlife refuge providing a home for all 7 critter-types (kisrael'd previously) from the Atari 2600 game Cosmic Ark by Imagic. The beasties are skittish about your mouse pointer, and rightfully so...pressing the mouse button turns the pointer into a little sticky tractor beam that lets you pick 'em up as you sweep by.

Video of the Moment
Funny...I ran into Strindberg and Helium on memepool just before Candi remembered it from way back when and mentioned it in her LJ. Very strange stuff...kinda like Poe meets the Care Bears, or something. "Absinthe and Women" is probably the best one: "How sweet life can be when the misery of one's existence is blurred by slight intoxication."

dance dance non-revolution

(1 comment)
September 18, 2003
Friday is Talk Like A Pirate Day...are you ready?

Flash of the Moment
Check out Drift, "an interpassive flash clip of a dancer without a body", whatever that means...still, it looks cool and has good music. (Huh...reading this onsite interview with its creator, I guess they used motion-capture and everything. Huh!

Rant of the Moment
Bill the Splut's 9/17 entry is a thought provoking rant about how A. average Iraqis hate us (according to the NY Times even) and B. the numbers of dead and wounded are way understated. What the hell has Bush gotten our soliders into there? More than he'd want you to realize.

Quote of the Moment
I recognize that just because the story had a theological happy ending doesn't mean that the Crucifixion was anything other than horrific. (Jews probably should not go around saying, "Yeah we killed Jesus -- and you're welcome.")
He also entertainingly states near the start of the piece
"In the interest of disrupting the already-off-on-the-wrong-foot public discussion of Gibson's movie -- and with curiosity about whether I can alienate both my Christian and Jewish relatives in one article -- I propose the following"

a horse baared don't look him the tooth

September 18, 2002
Sometimes I wonder if I'm "Selectively Lazy" or what. I voluntarily take on some projects that are huge expenditures of time and energy, but for other things, even smallish things sometimes, I often find it hard to get the ball rolling... (From a backlog entry consisting of two words "selective laziness" but I thought I'd expand just a little.)

Link of the Moment
English as She is Spoke is a legendarily bad phrase book, apparently written by a Portuguese who did not know English, or even have a Portugeuse-English dictionary, but he had a French-English phrasebook and a Portuguese-French dictionary. Zompist has decided to compare its roundtrip translations to those of the online translator Babelfish

Movie Quote of the Moment
"Do you believe in love?"
"I believe in saying, 'I love you.'"

wtc. wtf.

September 18, 2001
Funny of the Moment
Look at this!!!!

This is from Nostradamus, I think it's a bit vague, but don't you think he might have been predicting what happened the other day?

I'm really excited about this!

On Tuesday, some Arab maniacs will hijack the American Airlines plane
There will come a mighty rending as they open boxes with box-cuttters
President Bush will get hot buttocks
The whole caboodle will hit the world trade center with a massive bang!

Don't you think that's uncannily accurate? I do! It's amazing isn't it.

Yours sincerely,

A sad cunt who'll believe anything. And I mean fucking anything.

From alt.prophecies.nostradamus via alt.humor.best-of-uesnet.
It only really makes sense if you know the fake Nostradamus prophecies that were going around....

Image of the Moment

Click for Fullsize

A while before the tragedy, from Weather Picture of the Day

More Links
I know my mom isn't too keen on me posting stuff like this, but here's a piece where Richard Dawkins blasts Abrahamic religion, that even the 'good' type of it sets the stage so that the others could talk them into the glory of martyrdom. (via Bill the Splut's news, where the he's run through some chilling scenarios recently.)

Operation Desert Storm, Operation Just Cause (or 'Just Because' as some quipped at the time), Operation Overlord, how they come up with those names.(via memepool)

A view from a Afghani-American writer that's been going around a bit, though maybe not enough.


          "I always thought that about the Garden of Eden story," said Ford.
          "Eh?"
          "Garden of Eden. Tree. Apple. That bit, remember?"
          "Yes, of course I do."
          "Your God person puts an apple tree in the middle of a garden and says, do what you like guys, oh, but don't eat the apple. Surprise, surprise, they eat it and he leaps out from behind a bush shouting 'Gotcha.' It wouldn't have made any difference if they hadn't eaten it."
          "Why not?"
          "Because if you're dealing with somebody who has the sort of metality which likes leaving hats on the pavement with bricks under them you know perfectly well they won't give up. They'll get you in the end."
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Man, sometime a month can be disturbing in its ability to hussle and sneak on by...
00-9-18
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A program should follow the 'Law of Least Astonishment'. What is this law? It is simply that the program should always respond to the user in the way that astonishes him least.
--Tao of Programming, http://www.dnaco.net/~kragen/tao-of-programming.html
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"If life was fair there wouldn't be rich people."
--Beth, NewsRadio
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"Microsoft has done for software what McDonald's did for the hamburger."
--PC Magazine, June 1997
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Finally got on the plane to Florida. I doubt the KHftCEA has ever been up this high. Good visibility too.
99-9-18
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Phillipe Halsman, photographer w/ Dali
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"We put the hyper into hypertext"
99-9-18
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