August 19, 2021

It turns out it's quite hard to come up with something original to say about love. But I've had a go:

Love is awful! It's awful. It's painful. It's frightening. Makes you doubt yourself, judge yourself. Distance yourself from the other people in your life. Make you selfish. Makes you creepy! Makes you obsessed with your hair. Makes you cruel! Makes you say and do things you never thought you would do! It's all any of us want and it's hell when we get there! So, no wonder it's something we don't want to do on our own.

I was taught if we're born with love, then life is about choosing the right place to put it. People talk about that a lot. It "feeling right". "When it feels right it's easy". But I'm not sure that's true. It takes strength to know what's right.

And love isn't something that weak people do. Being a romantic takes a hell of a lot of hope.

I think what they mean is, when you find somebody that you love... it feels like hope.
The Priest's wedding homily from Fleabag Season 2
Man, I liked this show a LOT. Funny, sexy, fourth wall breaking - but also thoughtful and really moving.

Another good exchange:

"Let's just leave that out there just for a second on its own: I love you..."
"...It'll pass."
As long as there is democracy, there will be people wanting to play jazz because nothing else will ever so perfectly capture the democratic process in sound. Jazz means working things out musically with other people. You have to listen to other musicians and play with them even if you don't agree with what they're playing. It teaches you the very opposite of racism and anti-Semitism. It teaches you that the world is big enough to accommodate us all.
Wynton Marsalis
(Emphasis mine. Heard this recently attributed to Louis Armstrong, which is something that often happens to quotes like this...)

August 19, 2020

The Covid-19 lockdown, after all, was full of new experiences. Some were grim: I lost a friend to the disease; I smashed my face up in an accident; we had to wear masks and avoid physical contact and worry about where the next roll of toilet paper was coming from. Some were more positive: the discovery of new pleasures, the honing of new skills, the overcoming of new challenges.

But I doubt I am alone in finding that my memory of the lockdown months is rather thin. No matter how many new people or old friends you talk to on Zoom or Skype, they all start to smear together because the physical context is monotonous: the conversations take place while one sits in the same chair, in the same room, staring at the same computer screen.

The psychologist Barbara Tversky, author of Mind in Motion, argues that our minds are built on a foundation of cognition about place, space and movement. That creeps into our language with phrases such as "built on a foundation" and "creeps into". Our brains started by helping us process our surroundings and the threats and opportunities they presented. Abstract thinking is an adaptation of those basic spatial capacities.
A few thoughts: one is thinking about how I have already been oddly obsessed with daily notes - aiming for a daily blog entry (which I try to make less about me and more about stuff I find), a "mundane" journal entry, and for 7 or 8 years now a "One Second Everyday" video snippet. I guess I dislike that feeling of lost time.

The other is a tangent - I think the ambient details of surroundings is one of the reasons why RSS and other tools to retrieve "pure" content but with the same visual context each time never worked for me- the visual details surrounding an article give it a flavor that helps it land in my mind.

Finally - I wonder if there's a lesson in artificial intelligence like this. Tversky writes about how the human path to thinking about the world so often depends on the physicality of it all, of being an actor in a space and learning the principles of cause and effect (with ever present considerations like gravity and mass and texture) I read her book last year and actually corresponded briefly with her, very good stuff.

(see also this xkcd)
Man. Some cops are way quick to totally bullshit after stuff goes wrong.

from "Where'd You Go, Bernadette"

August 19, 2019
3 bits from Maria Semple's "Where'd You Go, Bernadette" In some ways the book was an amazing expansion of the "Manic Pixie Dreamgirl" Trope (though better more self-actualized) if a wee bit boojie.

(Guess I should see the movie when it comes out...)
While we're on the subject, please indulge me while I tell you the story of the first and last time Bee ever claimed she was bored. Bernadette and I were driving Bee and a friend, both preschoolers, to a birthday party. There was traffic. Grace said, "I'm bored."
"Yeah," Bee mimicked, "I'm bored."
Bernadette pulled the car over, took off her seat belt, and turned around. "That's right," she told the girls. "You're bored. And I'm going to let you in on a little secret about life. You think it's boring now? Well, it only gets more boring. The sooner you learn it's on you to make life interesting, the better off you'll be."
"OK," Bee said quietly.
DR. KURTZ: OK. So. It's important to acknowledge there's a lot of hurt. But let's stay in the here and now. Elgin, why don't you try expressing your love for Bernadette. You had mentioned what a wonderful mother--

BRANCH: And you're back there in your Airstream lying to me left and right, outsourcing your life, our lives, to India? Don't I get a vote in that? You're afraid of getting seasick when we're crossing the Drake Passage? There's a way to deal with it. It's called a scopolamine patch. You don't arrange to get four wisdom teeth removed and lie to me and Bee about it. People die getting their wisdom teeth pulled. But you'll do it just to avoid small talk with strangers? What the hell is Bee going to think when she hears this? And all because you're a "failure"? How about a wife? How about a mother? What happened to coming to your husband? Why do you have to spill your guts out to some architect you haven't seen for twenty years? God, you're sick. You make me sick, and you're sick.

DR. KURTZ: Another example of love is a hug.
I giggled out loud at that.
Halfway through this speech, it dawned on me that Ellen Idelson was a contractor. She was performing contractor Kabuki. It's a ritual in which (a) the contractor explains in great detail the impossibility of the job you've asked him to do, (b) you demonstrate extreme remorse for even suggesting such a thing by withdrawing your request, and (c) he tells you he's found a way to do it, so (d) you owe him one for doing what he was hired to do in the first place.

The canonical store of the 80s: I remember buying a tank top/overshirt combo kind of similar to that...

Just saving this tweet about the connection beteen the El Paso shooter's manifesto and what we get from other conservative tweeters inclduding the president
Last night we finally got around to watching the end of the first (and hopefully not last) season of Tuca & Bertie. It's an outrage this wasn't picked up for a second season - even though almost every animated series gets two seasons out of the gate, this one was on a special probation or some such crap.

Besides being woman made and confronting some issues in a fun but serious way, the first few episodes especially took advantage of being animation to make a surreal landscape and really have fun with the form.

I hope some other network picks this up.

Why These Social Networks Failed So Badly - myspace and vine are the ones I think are the biggest losses. Along with the blogosphere in general.

tuba pinwheel

August 19, 2018
Shaunalynn parade led a parade where brass sousaphones were in full effect ...

A cat heroically struggling to call 911 with his paws while you watch, dying and helpless on the floor, but he's using the tv remote
Sometimes, my friends' big problems feel like the person on the floor, and me the frantic cat - trying to help with some feats of empathy and intellect that on some level could impress but really, I'm just fumbling with the tv remote.

August 19, 2017

Darn fine time play with BABAM, thousands of peaceful and enthusiastic counter-protesters.

Dammit, thanks to Islamic terrorists and alt-right dingbats - also terrorists - it's going to be harder to enjoy watching the Blues Brothers drive the Bluesmobile through the parted crowds and then over the bridge making all in the Illinois Nazis jump in the water.

But I still hate Illinois Nazis.

in dublin

August 19, 2016
I wasn't sure how much tourist time I'd get in Ireland during AOL #DevFest2016, but a 2 hour walking tour on Thursday, ending at the AOL office and with a great guide Sean of LetzGo City Tours showed us quite a lot in the two or so hours we had.

I know I'm being dense but I don't get the graphical message here. The text is implying things are cheap here (~$4.70 for a small bottle of soda not withstanding) but unless they're making a really bold claim about relative currency evaluations, it doesn't make a lot of sense? how do I parse this?
I think that the pain in the ass factor of our customs and immigration process relative to other wealthy democracies says loads. and not in the USA's favor. It's not that we're THAT much more popular, we're just a big old C.Y.A. nation.

August 19, 2015

Many thanks to Melissa​ for setting me straight on basic eyeglass cleaning, which I've been surprisingly ignorant of for 25 years. Both my usual default of "hot breath plus shirt tail" and even my "fancy" "water plus paper towel" probably are the cause of most of those little scratches I've put up with. The other really dumb thing is: somehow I got in my head that those little microfiber cloths you get were for use when the glasses were dry. Anyway, water plus one of those cloths will be my go to from now. I've even figured you use the little cloth as a towel, not as a washcloth.

For a kind of smart guy, I can be pretty not smart, for decades at a time.

August 19, 2014

RIP Don Pardo

"How was the 7-minute workout?"
"Great, except for the Triceps dip. Man did that hurt. In fact, I think Triceps are just made up to make people feel bad. Uhh, ok, you got Biceps, lets get you working on your... Triceps. Yeah. Then we'll do Quadceps and Quintceps, ok?"

Just brought a 240-count jug of Atomic Fireball candies into work. Let the dieting commence! (Seriously, a 30-calorie candy can do a good job of knocking out a craving for many hundreds of calories of something else.)

August 19, 2013

You can do anything, but not everything.
David Allen

all the awkward ladies / all the awkward ladies / put your hands up / no... both hands / yes I meant now / nvm the moments ruined An explanation as to why decades of gains in productivity hasn't led to the 20 hour work week.

books free to a good home

August 19, 2012
So, a few weeks ago I did a book purge. Amber helped me scan all the ones I'm getting rid of, which was an important part of the letting go process for me, so that the titles can be gone but not (electronically) forgotten.

Anyway, the books you see at this link:
Are free to a good home. Limited time offer. Limit 8 or so to a customer. Preference given to people we don't have to package up and mail things too...
I don't like that "Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan" is an anagram of "My ultimate Ayn Rand porn." I love it.

Rom says unemp shld be 4%. I was Sec of Lab last time it was 4%. We got there by raising taxes on rich and investing in ed and infrstructre. -- I have on my bizness socks, that's how you know, aw yeah, it's bizness time!
The shocking truth is that we're only as free as our genes are pliable in the slosh of our developmental millieus.
Jesse Bering

smilie when you say that pardner

(1 comment)
August 19, 2011

(emoticon wars) Now Palm is deader than ever. Sigh.

quotes from how the mind works

August 19, 2010
I just finished Steven Pinkers excellent "How The Mind Works" -- in reading it electronic form I made a backlog of quotes from it, often him quoting others but some new passages as well...

Friday is covering Saturday and Sunday so I can't have Saturday and Sunday if I don't go through Friday.
Preschooler in a study by psychologist Melissa Bowerman
This is an example of how children spontaneously develop there own space and motion metaphors
I don't like spinach, and I'm glad I don't, because if I liked it I would eat it, and I just hate it.
Charles Darrow
No, but for two brothers or eight cousins.
Biologist J.B.S.Haldane (when asked if he would lay down his life for his brother)
Geneticist humor!
It takes a mind debauched by learning to carry the process of making the natural seem strange so far as to ask 'why' of any instinctive human act.
William James
If there were a verb meaning 'to believe falsely,' it would not have any significant first person, present indicative.
Ludwig Wittgenstein
There's one way to find out if a man is honest: ask him; if he says yes, you know he's crooked.
Mark Twain
Was it a millionaire who said 'Imagine no possessions'?
Elvis Costello
Natural selection does not forbid cooperation and generosity; it just makes them difficult engineering problems, like stereoscopic vision.
Steven Pinker
Parental love causes the fundamental paradox of politics: no society can be simultaneously fair, free, and equal. If it is fair, people who work harder can accumulate more. If it is free, people will give their wealth to their children. But then it cannot be equal, for some people will inherit wealth they did not earn. Ever since Plato called attention to these tradeoffs in The Republic, most political ideologies can be defined by the stance they take on which of these ideals should yield.
Steven Pinker
In the laboratory, some early experiments claimed that men and women showed identical physiological arousal to a pornographic passage. The men, however, showed a bigger response to the neutral passage in the control condition than the women showed to the pornography. The so-called neutral passage, which had been chosen by the female investigators, described a man and a woman chatting about the relative merits of an anthropology major over pre-med. The men found it highly erotic!
Steven Pinker.
This says so much to be about the male condition. Like Susan Sarandon's character says in "Bull Durham", "a guy'll listen to anything if he thinks it's foreplay"...
Theology is the effort to explain the unknowable in terms of the not worth knowing.
H.L. Mencken
The conclusion of the book was a pitch for the idea that maybe brains aren't smart enough to understand themselves; that we're darn lucky to be able to figure out so much of the universe, from atomic theory to art, with a brain that was basically setup to help us navigate complex social relationships and manage hunting and gathering... as he puts it:
We can well imagine creatures with fewer cognitive faculties than we have: dogs to whom our language sounds like "Blah-blah-blah-Ginger-blah-blah," rats that cannot learn a maze with food in the prime-numbered arms, autistics who cannot conceive of other minds, children who cannot understand what all the fuss around sex is all about, neurological patients who see every detail in a face except whose it is, stereoblind people can understand a stereogram as a problem in geometry but cannot see it pop out in depth. If stereoblind people did not know better, they might call 3-D vision a miracle, or claim that it just is and needs no explanation, or write it off as some kind of trick.

So why should there not be creatures with more cognitive faculties than we have, or with different ones? They might readily grasp how free will and consciousness emerge from a brain and how meaning and morality fit into the universe, and would be amused by the religious and philosophical headstands we do to make up for our blankness when facing these problems. They could try to explain the solutions to us, but we would not understand the explanations.
Steven Pinker, "How The Mind Works"

Wish I had someone who was an advocate for divs vs tables, layout-wise, and not sick of arguing about it. To me it seems that tables provide a robust, flexible, "stretchy" grid-style layout, and avoid some of the weird alignment crap you can get into with float and overflow issues with div-- but I hate designers thinking I'm sort of Web 1.0 baboon for thinking this way. It's not like I'm advocating giving up CSS styling...
Skywriters at the Public Garden- it says INTL AIRSHOW- you know skywriting is cool but the dot-matrix type seems a bit lazy...

the theory of potbellies

(1 comment)
August 19, 2009
Slate had a piece mocking bogus trendspotting including "potbellies are hip", and they quoted this bit between Fabienne (Maria de Medeiros, who I've had a crush on since "Henry and June") and her boxer boyfriend Butch (Bruce Willis) in Pulp Fiction:
"I was looking at myself in the mirror."
"I wish I had a pot."
"You were lookin' at yourself in the mirror and you wish you had some pot?"
"A pot. A potbelly. Potbellies are sexy."
"Well, you should be happy, 'cause you have one."
"Shut up, Fatso, I don't have a pot! I have a bit of a tummy, like Madonna when she did "Lucky Star," it's not the same thing."
"I didn't know there was such a difference between a tummy and a potbelly."
"The difference is huge."
"Would you like it if I had a potbelly?"
"No. Potbellies make a man look either oafish, or like a gorilla. But on a woman, a potbelly is very sexy. The rest of you is normal. Normal face, normal legs, normal hips, normal ass, but with a big, perfectly round potbelly. If I had one, I'd wear a tee-shirt two sizes too small to accentuate it.
"You think men would find that attractive?"
"I don't give a damn what men find attractive. It's unfortunate what we find pleasing to the touch and pleasing to the eye is seldom the same."
You can see the clip here starting around 0:30.

It's a funny little bit of dialog. I think Fabienne overstates the case at the end, but for a while I've been thinking about a disconnect between wanting to sneak a glance at something or someone sexy, and then actually envisioning or even wanting to "do something about it". Like things that read as sexy kind of exist in isolation, and it would take an act of will to form them into a more cohesive spectrum of sensuality. Or something.

(Fortunately I find Amber pleasing to the eye and to the touch so it all works out that way anyway.)

Sometimes I feel like a lab subject, like those female widowbirds attracted to the super-extra-long glued-together male tails, or those guy fish driven nuts by the crudest simulacrum of a gal fish, just the naughty bits exaggerated to impossible degrees. I can kind of feel the zing of some attractive body bit, the urge to sneak a quick glance, and usually I'll give into it, but it's weird how it then dissipates and has little connection to my future desires. It's kind of like a mental M+M, a quick jolt of sweet crunchiness that doesn't have all that much to do with actual meals.

(You know this might not be unrelated to that Seeking Behaviour Slate mentioned recently, and the split between the pleasures of "seeking" and "satiating"...) - missed the "Hastily Made Cleveland Tourism" video the first time. Secret to comedy: stingers!
People don't dig the heatwaves of summer but at least you don't have to shovel sunshine. - do people in general know about the scifi verb "to grok"? Good wikipedia entry, anyway.
iPhone technogripes: 1. I crave a way to say "just fix spelling typos, don't "correct" my capitalization. 2. If you accidentally hit shift in the middle of a word, go and delete the offending letter, it "helpfully" has the shift key activated.
It seems like he moon could be a little better, if I looked like something. We say Man on the Moon but not really. The French say a cat??

to professor couch

August 19, 2008
Continuing my recent habit of taking something I wrote somewhere else, failing to get much of a response, and reposting it here... Alva Couch was this amazing Professor of Computer Science I had at Tufts. Realizing I needed to poo or get off the pot when it comes to deciding about graduate studies, I wrote him for advice... unfortunately his mail autoresponder told me he's on the road for a few weeks at least, and then is on sabbatical for a year, so I don't know when I'd hear back. But I welcome feedback and advice from anyone here as well...

Hi Prof. Couch!

I hope you are well.

I'm writing you as an early step in some academic planning I'm thinking of... I've always valued your opinion and I loved your classes as an undergraduate, though I'm also open to your suggestions for other people to talk to.

I am - in a not particularly well-fleshed-out manner, at least as of yet - thinking about pursuing some graduate education, probably in an after-hours kind of way.

One possible school for this would be Northeastern; my take it doesn't have quite the academic reputation as some other places, but it is almost directly between my current job at Nokia and my apartment in Roxbury Crossing. In particular I was considering their MPS in Digital Media program.

My goals would be twofold, and I'm trying to figure out if that kind of program is the best bet for either of them: one is to do interesting things, possibly "indy game movement" related. (You can see a small portfolio-ish page at -- mostly in Media Lab's "processing" language, geared at artists.) The second would be to open up teaching as a possibility down the road, maybe on a Jr College-ish level.

I recognize there might be a conflict here, in terms of it might not be the right degree for teaching. I think to be honest, I don't love computer science for its own sake, the more math-ish side of what's computable, and how long is it going to take, and how we can do that better or prove that we can't. I do deeply like Human/Computer Interaction and UI, as well as having an affinity for information and data display. And so I'm wondering if those would be a better balance between fun/cool and academic than "Digital Media".

Other schools I've been thinking about (but done even less research on) are Harvard Extension, and of course Tufts.

If it matters, I graduated summa in '96 with a double major in English and Computer Science, with a 4.0 in comp sci (a little less in some of the math). Since then I've mostly been drifting as a Java and Perl coder, with some touches of architecting and team leading.

Thanks for any advice, or any suggestions on other good people to talk with!


I don't have any smiles
comedic great Danny Kaye to my mom
(after acquiescing to a post-speaking photo but declining to smile...)
Odd having rating a lunch interviewee under the Nokia values "Engaging You", "Very Human", "Achieving Together","Passion for Innovation"
Mailing cd-rom, anticipating "anything dangerous?" question from USPS- gee, I guess in prison someone could make it a shiv, does that count?
Orbit Sangria Fresca gum (along w/ their Mojito flavor): When you'd like to get drunk at work but all you can do is chew gum. Tasty, tho
You have good taste, except sometimes you choose the stuff that's a downer
FoSO, just now

zen and the art of closet maintenance

August 19, 2007
So a while back I was reading up on Zen, and while I haven't started a meditation practice or anything, I've taken some of the outlook to heart.

There's this one site, zen habits, an offshoot of the "Getting Things Done" movement. The last few entries have been a bit more about some Zen ideals (the vegetarianism, the sparse kitchen) but sometimes the site's reliance on lists like "23 Ways to Save on Groceries" and "The 20 Biggest Online Time Wasters, and 6 Strategies for Beating Them" seems to indicate a strikingly un-Zen approach.

Not that they're not good and useful ideas. Today I took the first step of this one closet trick: reverse all your hangers in the closet, but making sure subsequently washed clothing gets put on the "right" way. After a suitable interval (for both a warmer and colder season, I'd say) you can see what clothing was worn, and what wasn't, and make the appropriate decision.

Graffiti of the Moment
--Two of my favorites from this collection of wall griffiti: an elevator Asteroids ship (cue "why didn't *I* think of that?") and a puzzled "What's This For?" by an odd twist of Pipe. (via Catherine)

a grand unifying theory of kirky's brain

August 19, 2006
This might be another one of those big old self-centered introspection rambles. Actually, it feels like I haven't done one of these in a while, but I'm not sure. Oddly, that uncertainty ties into the theme of the ramble: I'm vigorously trying to figure out what are the strengths and weaknesses of my brain, and from there, me as a person (in particular, as a techie kind of person.) And I know from experience that I don't always have the best recall of what I've written, or sometimes what I've read, even when the topic was that topic of greatest personal interest, Me. (In the year or so after the divorce, I think Mo might have gotten the worst of that weird forgetfulness, and she ended up feeling like I was asking her to say the same things over and over again via e-mail.)

It's surprisingly difficult to objectively determine my strengths and weaknesses. Whether that's just a fundamental limitation of self-aware beings, or from years of going through a school system that sometimes valued self-esteem over personal achievement, or self-evaluation being one of my personal "weak" areas, or what, I'm not sure.

What started me musing on this lately is this dumb Atari Age flamewar. "Random Terrain" (who reports to have Asperger's Syndrome) thought that my dislike of pretending that the ship in Asteroids was actually piloted by the Star Wars guys, or thinking that "Pitfall!" might not have been inspired by "Raiders of the Lost Ark" because Pitfall Henry has none of the visual cues of Indiana Jones implies that I suffer from a certain rigidity in thinking (a condition he has himself struggled with.)

This accusation irked me to no end. And so I've been trying to think of solid examples of good flexible thinking in my life. Of course, the first things I think of our my limitations. Like listening to Paul Simon... I feel like there's a tiny chance I could have picked up on "Slip-Slidin' Away" as a lyric, but I don't think I could have thought to follow it up with "The nearer your destination, the more you're slip-slidin' away." Tim points out that trying to go against Paul Simon as a lyricist is kind of like berating myself for not being able to hold my own against Michael Jordan in one-on-one, but still. (I don't have the book in front of me, but one idea in Horby's "Polysyllabic Spree" that blew me away is that he thinks it's not coming up with content that's difficult, it's the writing itself. The main reason I don't write much fiction is that I can't think of the plot, or the point of what I want to say. And if writing is though part, why does so much literature feel semi-autobiographical?) )

These ideas really seem to important to me as my profession as a software developer, since in some ways it is the "life of the mind"... the geek mind, but still the mind. On many fronts I suffer in comparison to Tim, who has a very powerful recollection and an ADD-fueled ability to see the forest and the trees at the same time. I really envy his memory sometimes; mine seems terrible, and I'm constantly having to supplement my own weak one with written text files and little databases. (Of course, he rightly thinks that my biggest problem as a developer is lack of confidence, which ties into how I get intimidated by any project that might show I'm not as smart as I like to assume I am.)

But... I fancy myself a smart guy. But if it's not memory, and if I'm not particularly good at puzzles, and maybe not even imaginative thinking, what the hell am I good at?

I think I'm good at seeing connections. My thought patterns tend to be tremendously tangential, so it stands to reason that I might be better than average at tracing thoughts and seeing connections.

Mentally, I'm pretty fast. They say there's a tremendous correlation between reading speed and standardized test scores. I always had time to go back and double check every answer, and then some.


You know what that means? Maybe I'm smart in the same way a computer is good at chess. Not really smart-smart, not particularly great with patterns or new ideas, but able to spin out a whirlwind of permutations and combinations and tangents, discarding bad ideas with filters on the fly, and fast, fast, fast. Maybe this IS one of my introspection Holy Grails: the Grand Unifying Theory of my brain. I'll have to live with this idea for a while and see what I make of it over time. I know it help explains a certain type of joke I make frequently, where I mishear something, autocorrect it, but notice that the misheard version is a bit funny, and then act as if that's what I thought was said.

This really gets me wondering, how different can brains be, like on a physiological basis? You hear stories where people lose half their brain matter, but the rest learns to compensate. And because we have so much in common, language, human experience in general, it's easy to think that the processes underneath those layers are pretty much the same. But who knows... maybe as we construct our brains growing up (a biological constructive imperative, like a spider is compelled to make webs), we end up with brains that are really quit different, even if they all fit somewhere on the same bellcurves of multiple intelligence.


August 19, 2005
Safety Advice of the Moment
Understand that you don't have to be in the heart of the storm to be in danger. The fact is that a bolt of lightning, which is five times hotter than the sun's surface, can strike as far as 10 miles away from where a storm is situated.

Don't underestimate the strength of lightning. One bolt is strong enough to illuminate a 100-watt lightbulb for three months.

dogs playing poker...and now they're starting to drive

(1 comment)
August 19, 2004
Photo of the Moment

--Looking at this photo now, I don't know what's odder...the dog driving, or the look on the face of the woman in the mural behind.

Quote and Video of the Moment
"So just remember--the Internet can be a very scary place if you're not prepared."
"How do you recommend they prepare?"
"I dunno. Try going to your local middle school chess club, hand out crystal meth and guns. That might be good practice."
Red Vs Blue are some pretty popular videos using characters from the Halo game as puppets...and now they explain real life vs. internet. Kind of a long download, but funny.

Geekery of the Moment
Oh, you think you know "Geeky", tough guy? Let me tell you this, friend: You Don't Know From Geeky. Seriously. They're just about as funny as you'd expect cartoons about the Java Enterprise Edition computer programming language to be.

hip hop hooray

August 19, 2003
Hip Hop Mysteries of the Moment
So we had a party this weekend. It went ok but didn't jell quite as well as our last one. I felt bad because I kind of pushed out John Sawer's new mix with my old traditional one, but I really think that to get my crowd dancing, there's no substitute for that early-90s hiphop. That said, here are some random thoughts I've been having on some of the biggest hits in the genre.
You're on a mission and you're wishin'
someone could cure you're lonely condition
You're lookin' for love in all the wrong places
No fine girls just ugly faces
From frustration first inclination
Is to become a monk and leave the situation
But every dark tunnel has a light I hope
So don't hang yourself with a celibate rope
"Bust A Move" by Young MC
In the early 90s, were we really struck with a crisis of young men throwing in the towel and joining monasteries, even in a metaphorical sense? How many guys, when faced with difficulty getting female companionship, are really like to adopt this kind of "sour grapes" stance? "Feh. Women! Who needs 'em? I'd rather be celibate."

The next half hour was the same old thing
My mother buyin' me clothes from 1963
And then she lost her mind and did the ultimate
I asked her for Adidas, and she bought me Zips!
Ok. Here's the situation.
My parents went away on a week's vacation
And, they left the keys to the brand new Porsche
Would they mind? Mmm, well, of course not.
D. J. Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince, "Parents Just Don't Understand"
So this goofy cheerful rap seems to have a bit of a dichotomy. Are the utterly fashion-ignorant and sensible sounding parents really going to buy a Porsche? It's such an odd detail, this song is all over the map, swinging wildly from "What's Happening" to "The Cosby Show". (Maybe it's that cross-cultural ability that let Will Smith transcend mere Fresh Princeness to attain Big Willie Style and save the planet from alien invasion like three or four times over.)
So, fellas! (Yeah!) Fellas! (Yeah!)
Has your girlfriend got the butt? (Hell yeah!)
Tell 'em to shake it! (Shake it!) Shake it! (Shake it!)
Shake that healthy butt!
Baby got back!
Sir Mix-A-Lot, "Baby Got Back"
This is an insanely popular song at parties, it really gets people dancing. I think mostly because woman (including white women, even though they kinda sort aren't as much the subject of the song as they seem to think) like being reminded that sexiness is not confined to twig-like models. (Though it's kind of odd that Mix A Lot mentions having a small waist twice in the song.) However, for men dancing along with these women who have a steady relationship with one of them, I do not recommend shouting "Yeah!" too loudly at the "does your girlfriend got the butt?" point in the song. Just some advice.

Quote of the Moment
Repetition is the only form of permanence that Nature can achieve.
George Santayana.
Chapter starting quote for the book "The Electric Meme", which was rather long and tough to follow but argued that memes most resemble "prions", in the way that they are brainstuff that replicates via causing other brainstuff to take its form, unlike viruses that have their own genetic payloads.

apocalypse when?

August 19, 2002
This weekend Ranjit more or less asked me why I update my site strictly daily, as opposed to the usual blog method of "whenever I stumble over something interesting", often many times a day. I find it a thought provoking question. I kind of like the idea of being a reliable source of interesting bits. (Though I suppose human psychology dictates that if I really want to drive up my hitcounter, I should update at random intervals, so people will keep stopping by to see if there's anything new.) I kind of like the discipline and structure of it, which is a contrast to how I run most of the rest of my life.

It is a contrast to how I kept my Palm-based journal which definitely was stuff as I ran into it. Currently I just toss stuff into the backlog.

Poem of the Moment
People expect old men to die,
They do not really mourn old men.
Old men are different. People look
At them with eyes that wonder when...
People watch with unshocked eyes;
But the old men know when an old man dies.
Ogden Nash, "Old Men".
It would be Ogden Nash's 100th Birthday today. It's not just the old men who have marked his passing. Many of his poems are available on the web and worth reading through.

Link of the Moment
A survey of Failed Apocalyptic Predictions. 'Course, it only takes one to be right... like that circa 2800 BC Assyrian Tablet said, "It is evident that the end of the world is fast approaching." Here's the page with the most recent failures.

biblical thoughts

August 19, 2001
Links of the Moment
penismightier had some links on Biblical skepticism. One was the Skeptic's Annotated Bible. Although this kind of thing seems pretty comprehensive, some of the things they pick on are pretty penny ante, and others can be attributed to poetic license. But it is a fairly strong rebuttal to a very strict Bible literalist viewpoint.

This quiz is a bit of an eye-opener...I had no idea that what we view as the 10 Commandments are not what was chiseled in stone. The rules on the tablets, clearly labeled as "the 10 commandments" involve mostly what Christians see as strictly "Old Testament" and "Kosher" rules (against cooking a goat in its Mom's milk, making the right sacrifices, a week of unleavened bread, etc), Exodus 34:1-28, but the "Thou Shalt Nots" are mostly from what God said to Moses (Exodus 19:23-20:18).

Some of the quiz commentary is sour-spirited. ("Hah, would a Good God do this?" which assumes that a divine being can be judged by the same standards we use to judge human war criminals, which denies the idea that there might be a bigger picture we can't see.) Other things I've realized are quirks of translation... if you read Judges 1:19 in the KJV it sounds like God can be stymied by chariots made of iron, but more recent translations make a bit more sense. But Jeremiah 10:2-5 seems to be speaking poorly about Christmas Trees, a pretty good trick for the Old Testament.

Finally, logical rebuttals to Pascal's Wager, the idea that since belief in God will save you if there is a god and cost you little if there isn't, you should believe. (Found this link while searching for information about Invisible Pink Unicorns, a jokey strawman religion some online Atheists/Agnostics use to make rhetorical points about faith and proof.)

Incidentally, many of the Bible links above are from The BibleGateway, a really fast and powerful verse look up tool, covering many translations into many languages.

from the T-shirt Archive: #16 of a Tedious Series
Kenneth Cole. A gift from a gay friend. I think it was a bit small for me. Also a bit gay. But stylish! (And 'minimalist', which is always a plus.)

About the Concorde disaster: that Tuesday the French killed more Germans than in 2 World Wars combined.
Unlike baboons, our butts aren't flaming red. As a consequence, humans have a harder time hooking up.
 --Dan Savage
"Give me a plant with a demonstrable sense of irony, then I'll be all over botany."
"Life sucks and then you keep living."
--BEK (New Yorker, Aug. 23 & 30, 1999)
"Every man is as God made him, ay, and often worse."
--Miguel de Cervantes
The first entry on the new PalmV- still sitting on its little charger. Very elegant looking unit. Still wondering if I was too hasty, but hey, time will tell.
I've left out the cliché of how interesting it is to have the same data on two different physical units- alas, I'm still making plenty of graffiti-o's. (I'm vaguely worried about this new machine somehow "breaking" the KHftCEA- I doubt, though I should get a keyboard for this...)
I've been writing "random memories" lately- kind of a new feature. It brings to mind the "why am I writing this" question. On the one hand, it's writing for me. On the other, I do try to make it sensible and margially entertaining for other people to read. I guess there's always the faint hope that I'll end up doing something sufficiently interesting with the rest of my life that someone besides me will want to read it as a whole someday.

I like how the new Palm looks lost in my hand.
What a WEIRD day- up til 5am this morning playing through Star Control 3 then after 2 hours sleep I get a slighty enigmtic e-mail suggesting the love blender was reviewed in the New Yorker- between fatigue and exhilaration and severe meeting boredom I feel... name it.