November 27, 2021

Yesterday I took took my semi-regular pilgramage to Asbury Park's "Silverball Retro Arcade". Nice to see it humming along even in winter - though I guess it was a holiday day.

Truly impressed by them having Computer Space up and running... I'd never touched one before. I suspect pinball fans might gripe amount the increasing amount of floorspace being dedicated to arcade machines vs pinball. After all, videogames are subject to emulation and duplication in a way that pinball machines are not! Still, there's something special about real arcade games, especially ones with distinctive controls... they had a "Discs of Tron" (regular standup, not the immersive one) and even Time Pilot's controller has a distinctive feel. (Being so enamored of its sci-fi sibling Time Pilot '84, I forgot what a nice dogfight feel the original had - the looping around to try to get out of danger and onto offense is fantastic.)

Private Screenings, Games Magazine December 1982

November 27, 2020
As a kid, I loved reviews of video games, especially if they were colorful. I just managed to trackdown one of my favorites that someone scanned online - the December 1982 copy of Games magazine (All I remembered was that it had a time travelling detecting story "The Hemlock Kiss-Off"). I was really taken by monkeyshines, a game I wouldn't even see footage of for years, there's something so weirdly appealing to me about autonomous little monkeys...

Also, "Microsurgeon" certainly has a memorable screenshot:

trying to figure out if the machines schools in the 80s had were mimeograph or ditto machines. haven't thought of that weird purple ink ina long time... hard to explain to a kid in age of photocopies and printers. almost as weird as microfiche.
Nothing bums me out like finding quotes I put on my blog from a book I don't recall reading. It's like a reminder of how quickly any mark I leave on the world is likely to be eroded away, I can't reliably place a mark on my own psyche!
Speaking of old video games... On the FB Atari Age group Herb Branan writes "The warranty card I found in the box for a Magnavox Odyssey 3000, circa late 70's."

Question #8 is just amazing. Such a weird way cart before the horse way of thinking about what a player might like in a game... (also the salary ranges and the lack of zip code in the address are quite telling of the time.)

November 27, 2019

Huh. So for a while now I've been thinking about different forms of expressing the balance between our rational selves and our emotional selves - the conscious and the subconscious, the Id and the Ego, the Elephant and the Rider...

Following a link about Boba Fett in this Quora "What is something that almost nobody knows about Star Wars?" Rui Sonofel had an answer on The Force had a bit that made me realize I've been living with a pop-culture example for decades:
A Jedi channels the Force through sheer willpower alone. They distance themselves from their emotions and from that part of the Force.

A Sith channels the Force through their emotions. Their emotions is like the lightning rod they use to channel the Force. They don't deny themselves any desire or restraint themselves from anything.
The "sheer willpower alone" part is what's really grabbing me. I've heard a model of one person's depression that said it wasn't the emotional side overruning the rational side with sadness (which I had assumed), it was more that the emotional side was just conked out, and that was the side that had been providing the critical motive energy.

Huh. I want to revisit some of the arcs in the original trilogy and the prequels and maybe even the new ones and see if this idea has any useful expressions there, or if it's just a bolt on from the "expanded universe".
The world's a fucking garbage fire, we're just two hobos warming our hands.
Nick Kroll (I think he's talking about himself and Trump)

November 27, 2018

Did you know Heath Ledger's Joker was mostly just Tom Waits' 1979 interview on Australian Television?

feeling cute, might delete later

the clown joke

November 27, 2017
Austin Putman told me a version of this PG13 joke back at Tufts when we were both in sQ. I thought it in a half-remembered day the other day, and tracked down a version here:


Johnny is poor and has been all his life. He doesn't mind it much, except for the fact that every year when the circus comes to town, he never gets to see it. The years pass and every year he watches the circus come and go with a tear in his eye. Then one year as the circus is leaving, he snaps. "Fuck it," he says." I'm going to get myself a job so I can see the circus."

The next day he applies for a job at a supermarket stacking shelves. He gets this job and works his heart out. He works every night stacking shelves, earning money. He spends very little, and saves heaps. He is the best worker the supermarket has ever seen. A year passes, and the circus comes to town.

As soon as the gates to the circus open, Johnny races up, first in line to buy a ticket. the excitement overwhelms him. He walks around the circus. He sees the animals, the freak show, buys a hot dog, plays on the clowns. And then he sees it, what he's been waiting for all these years...The Big Top.

Johnny races into the tent and takes a seat. Pretty soon the tent fills up and the show begins. It's a packed house and the buzz is electric. The dancing horses come out, then the elephants, then everyone's favorite, the clowns. The clowns run around and do their act making everyone laugh. When all this is finished, the head clown picks up a microphone and says "Now we'd like to pick a member of the audience to help with our show."

All the lights go out and a spotlight circles the crowd. and, as luck should have it, it lands on Johnny. Johnny is ecstatic, he nearly shits his pants with excitement. He can't believe his luck. The head clown comes up to him and says..

"Hey mister, are you the horse's head?"

"No." Johnny replies.

"Are you the horse's ear?"


"Are you the horse's tail?"


"Then you must be the horse's ASS!!!!"

And then whole tent erupts into fits of laughter all of Johnny's expense. Everyone is laughing, except for Johnny. He's as pissed as fuck. He vows then and there that next year, when the circus comes to town, he'll get his revenge on the clown.

As he's walking home, still fuming from the humiliation that the clown caused, Johnny thinks of ways that he can get back at the clown. Death, violence, poisoning....and then it hits him. Johnny will give the clown a taste of his own medicine. Next year, Johnny will blast the clown with the biggest insult ever!

The next morning Johnny flips through the phonebook looking for someone who can help him with his revenge. Then he finds an ad.

Sick of being picked on? Come to our school and soon you'll be verbally attacking people with vigor!

'This is just what I need!!!" says Johnny. So he rings up the school and enrolls the next day.

So every day Johnny goes to the insult school, studying hard so he can learn the best and most harsh insult so he can get back at the clown. On top of this, he still stacks shelves at the supermarket to get the money for the circus. Day in, day out Johnny works his ass off.
Then his day arrives...

As soon as the circus opens it's gates Johnny barges to the front of the line, pushing people out of his way. No longer is he a kind, considerate man. He's a pissed off m.f. hell bent on revenge. He give the ticket seller the money, snatches the ticket and storms off.

He sees all the regular shit. The animals, the freaks, the clowns. He's so excited that he goes into the Big Top an hour before the show starts, just so he can get a good seat. The tent begins to fill up and the show starts...

The dancing horses come out, Johnny yawns. Then the elephants, Johnny tries to stay awake. And then the act Johnny has waited a year for, the clowns. The clowns run around and do their act making everyone laugh. Johnny wonders why everyone is laughing, it's the same shit they did last year. When all this is finished, the head clown picks up a microphone, exactly the same as last year, and says "Now we'd like to pick a member of the audience to help with our show."

All the lights go out and a spotlight circles the crowd. and, as luck should have it again, it lands on Johnny. Johnny is sits cool, calm and collected. The head clown comes up to him and says..

"Hey mister, are you the horse's head?"

"No." Johnny replies.

"Are you the horse's ear?"


"Are you the horse's tail?"


"Then you must be the horse's ASS!!!!"

And again the whole tent erupts with laughter. Except for Johnny. He sits there staring straight at the clown, a look of pure evil and hate on his face. The laughter quickly dies down as everyone knows something is going to happen. The crowd watched. This is Johnny's moment. He takes a deep breath, looks at the clown and says...

















Come to think of it, it must have resurfaced because when I yelled to the Aleppo Shriner clowns "what a bunch of clowns" before yesterday's parade, in a friendly way, one yelled back "yeah, that's original."
One of my favorite iOS games has been "Desert Golfing" -
(once called the first "normcore" game) - just a simple little side view golf, always good for a little hit of physics-y fun - but then I got stuck on hole 4420, and left it alone for a few months. I was getting ready to delete the game, but the realized the hole I was stuck on was different, and easy.

There's a very recent update note that reads "No more impossible holes." and I'm not 100% sure if 4420 was impossible per se, but pretty close - a big mountain (albeit with a plateau on top) and the hole nestled on a ledge on the other side, almost impossible not to overshoot, and all of the the 2 or 3 shots I got to hit the hole bounced right out.

But now I feel funny, because I suspect that this kind of update might affect all the holes I've already done, as if my game has slipped into a parallel universe, and my history (including the 150-odd strokes I burnt on the previous version of hole 4420) is no longer quite valid...

Anyway, I still like this game.

Yesterday at Quincy's Christmas Parade I saw these black and white American flags (with a blue/red stripe to shout out to police and fire departments) for sale by those shopping-cart-based vendors who show up along side parades and fairs.

It seems a little mixed up that taking a knee during the anthem, like a player does for a hurt teammate, is disrespectful, but this kind of graphic design shenanigans is A-OK.
RIP Vine... it was such a cool and egalitarian form.

What Do We Do with the Art of Monstrous Men? Excellent piece by Claire Dederer on when monsters are artists and vice versa. Touches on the relationship between thought and feeling and judgement which has been so much on my mind of late.

November 27, 2016

#NonSwingStatesMattter #AllStatesMatter

Liberal view: the electoral college was set up to give slave states more say and generally punch above their weight on a national level

Conservative view: the electoral college stops politicians from just sucking up to big urban areas and running on their issues.

November 27, 2015

A remake of "The Monster at the end of this Book" where the monster is you, you little first-world self-centered superconsumer.
It is hard to believe that this my seventh year of pardoning a turkey. Time flies, even if turkey's don't.

I know, I'm really sorry... It's just - Southern people are complicated, the two things we're known for are being friendly and slavery..."
"Ok, don't say that
The Mindy Project


November 27, 2014

Ocean Grove Thanksgiving 2014 -- one of the few times I've experimented with a camera timer!

Dinner was Thanksgiving in a Box from Wegman's. Highly recommended!

November 27, 2013

In the end, everything is a gag.
Charlie Chaplin

the tweets of god

November 27, 2012
The book "The Last Testament: A Memoir by God" is kind of intriguing. In parts it's a scathing parody, but like a lot of scathing parodies, it expresses some intriguing and insightful points about its subject matter, and like a few scathing parodies, there's some affection for the subject there. I quote from the related Twitter feed TheTweetOfGod often, and these were my favorite of the "100 Top Tweets" the book leads off with...
Yes, I'm pro-life. But if you're familiar with my work you know I'm not exactly anti-death either.
Every positive role religion plays in society also falls under the category of "good manors."
Closed-mindedness makes you incapable of learning. Open-mindedness makes you intellectually vulnerable. Be ajar-minded.
"It's funny because it's true" + "the truth hurts" = it's funny because it hurts. And that's what comedy is.
The problem with government "of the people, by the people, and for the people" is obvious to anyone who's ever dealt with people.
You can kill time as much as you like, but sooner or later it will return the favor.

I'm acting guardian for Emma, Amber's older kitty. I like her temperament; not too aloof, enjoys being pet, but not in your face and lap all the time.

One indulgence she likes is being pet while she's eating, which seems a little over the top to me, but I'm kind of a soft touch for this kind of thing, so she'll usually get a few strokes from me. Still, if there was ever that much of a question about the relationship between humans and cats, that kind of settles it...

Emma is trying too hard to be cute


November 27, 2011
So one suggestion if you have a typewriter, especially an attractive older one (IMO) is to just leave it out with a piece of paper in it and see what you or other folks tap out...

Kinda bummed about the lack of a closing ) in that, though.

I also wrote a holiday note to my high school English teacher (I thought it was a nice to split the difference between a word processed print out and forcing her to read my handwriting...)

Finally a typewriter is kind of nice to address an envelope with. I suppose some printers make that work as well, but I've never tried to figure it out.
When an author is writing a manuscript and the text refers to a specific page but the pagination isn't set- is there pseudo-markup for that?
So did China peacefullytransform from a bit of a cult of personality to a technocratic state? If that's about the size of it, kudos to them.
Mirroring trends in modern video games, Lego instruction booklets have gotten more explicit and hand-holdy.
The Lego booklets now tell you just what pieces will be used in this step, and start by suggesting/instructing one to sort by color first.
I guess a side benefit of the hand holding is it would make older/younger builder cooperation easier- here, sort these, or here, find these for the next step.
Having to any decorative decals yourself to the Lego bricks is kind of a drag, though.

what, me worry?

November 27, 2010
click to run

mad - source - built with processing

SpindlyQ, founder of Glorious Trainwrecks recently tweeted a great find: The MAD Computer Program, circa 1985, now lovingly scanned in and OCR'd. That link includes a video of the original program (Apple II flavor) running on an emulator, as well as scans of the original pages and BASIC and Java versions.

I took the Java version and enhanced it a bit - my version has fun with the inherent scaling of the way the thing was made, as well as recreating the "watch it being drawn" effect. Mouse over or press 1-9 to change the scaling, click starts over.
worst holiday music (via the maker of regretsy)
Between Motorstorm (amazing graphics) and Little Big Planet (terrific 2 player co-op and more) I'm thinking I downplayed the PS3 for too long...

muppetian rhapsody

(1 comment)
November 27, 2009

--Brilliant! Still miss Henson's Kermit though

attitudinous of gratitudinous

November 27, 2008
Happy Thanksgiving Y'all! Take stock of all you have to be grateful, even in, or especially in, these frightening times.

Photos of the Moment

The pub at the end of my street, Flann's, has guitar and drumhead both signed by the members of U2. Bono signs his name and writes the year.
For what turned into a 2-day week, today feels a hell of a lot like a Friday.
#mumbai -- : "Eleven of our policemen laid down their lives, including five good officers" -- ??
Youtube: pretending you are fundamentally widescreen and using side letterbox bars 95% all the time is actually pretty lame.
Today I mildly impressed a Finn with my knowledge of Joulupukki.
In XP, I love scroll-button-click to open in new tab, HATE that weird scrolling gizmo thing... anyway to disable it?
The Little Mermaid music number in the Macy's parade has the performers in Heelies... kind of near how they can step and glide.
Wow, Macy's parade rickrolls America, sweet. But he needed to dance more.
Mom says my grandmother would punish her and my aunt by giving up not smoking. Passive aggresivness parlayed into a martial art!

i just like saying "untergunther"

November 27, 2007
Bill the Splut linked to a MetaFilter article on whether dogs think. This was my response on his comments forum:
Don't have time now to read through the whole MeFi thing on Animals and Consciousness... but...

I guess my bar for "conscious" might be lower than for some people: basically, being sophisticated enough to have a mental map of your surroundings, and put your self in that map, and this is a standard many mammals live up to.

The language issue gets into some odd philosophical areas (I'm rereading a great compilation for a UU church discussion group, "The Mind's I", so this stuff is on my mind as of late.) So one way to get animals to communicate is through the use of plastic colored chips, arranging them in certain orders to mean certain things, and you can even see animals understanding a rough grammar with them. The thing is, you can get college students to do the same thing, but when you talk with them after, they haven't necessarily made the connection to language, for them it's just arranging chips!

Or, maybe I should lower the bar for this too and say that's all language is, a fancy arranging of plastic colored chips.

There's certainly a bit of self-serving-ness in the clear splits of people vs animals. People don't want to be forced to say "yes, I eat animals, and some of those animals might have feelings and not want to be eaten, but that's the way the universe is set up, and I'm not willing to confront that." Or even "we will give humans special consideration over other animals (not eating them, 'human' rights in general) not because humans are that unique, but because we're humans and it's human to play favorites like that".

Guerrilla Project of the Moment
Underground group Untergunther broke into the Panthéon's and fixed its historic clock which had been rusting and rotting since the 1960s.

The group and its parent UX sound so cool:
Klausmann and his crew are connoisseurs of the Parisian underworld. Since the 1990s they have restored crypts, staged readings and plays in monuments at night, and organised rock concerts in quarries. The network was unknown to the authorities until 2004, when the police discovered an underground cinema, complete with bar and restaurant, under the Seine. They have tried to track them down ever since.
It's like "Fight Club" done right.

the back to work, tanked on turkey blues

November 27, 2006
Oh, my goodness. 4 1/2 days off of work just ain't enough, I think I need 4 1/2 weeks. Not to be confused with 9 1/2 weeks.

Quote of the Moment
It is a bit embarrassing to have been concerned with the human problem all one's life and find at the end that one has no more to offer by way of advice than 'Try to be a little kinder.'
Aldous Huxley
Random admission: for years I thought Aldous Huxley was black, and embarrassed to admit I don't know if I was influenced more by his name following the pattern (in my own idiosyncratic vocabulary of pseudo-homonyms) of "Langston Hughes", or of Bill Cosby's character "Heathcliff Huxtable".

From my years of quote gathering, besides the kindness idea, I think the other bit of universal advice might be "try not to worry so much".

Link Roundup of the Moment
Time on how we're bad at choosing what to worry about, and a Slate piece that manages to quantify immediate gratification... it claims that we multiply the benefit or cost of something by about one and a half times if it's today, a figure that seems to jive with my introspection.

Also, Slate on the end of a conservative era. The 4 possibilities outlined, "A New Progressivism", "Clintonism Continued", "The Muddled Middle", "Bushism Without Bush" all seem like true possible paths, along with the article's conclusion that some big unforeseen event could make all the speculation worthless.


November 27, 2005
Aside of the Moment
You know, it used to seem really cool to be building houses with Cat5 cables running in the walls, but now that wifi is cheap and easy, it doesn't seems that important any more.

For that matter, phone jacks don't mean much to be any more. I don't even know where (or if, though I assume) they are present in my current apartment.

Tricks of the Moment
cute little body hacks from Men's Health, though I'm not sure how much stock I'd put in some of them...

business logic

November 27, 2004
Another cop-out day... but the good thing is I'm this close to finishing up a new feature on the site: throwing open the sidebar location to pretty much anyone who's a regular on the message boards. I hope it'll be a really dynamic part of the site, letting people who may or may not have their own blog get a bigger audience, and adding more interesting content to mine. I really loved what Dylan and Sarah have done, but lately they haven't been able to keep updated as much as I like...but their posts are a great start for the sidebar...more details later!

Geekness of the Moment
One day Jane asked me "what's business logic" in a work e-mail, and I thought it was a great question, and saved my response for future use on this site...which is now. It might be mildly interesting to people who wonder what I do for a living.

-----Original Message-----
From: Jane
Sent: Thursday, March 04, 2004 4:41 PM
To: Israel, Kirk
Subject: all this talk of 'business delegates'

kirk - in one document i'm looking at, they keep mentioning 'business delegates' - do you suppose they just mean 'clients'? or is this some unique term in the industry that i'm not getting?

'Verifies calls issued by the back end of the adapter in response to front-end API invocations. These calls are issued to Business Delegates, whose interfaces are prescribed by the corresponding Zeus Session Facades'

It's a techie term.

Zeus is a "client/server" system, right? The bit connecting to the ERP is over here on the left, it then sends data over the wires, so to speak, to the server over there on the right, and then stuff comes back over the wires to the client.

Now, the thing is, sending the stuff over the wires is relatively hard from a programming point of view. People connecting the client to their code don't want to deal with crap like that. So Business Delegates hide the over the wires crap from that programmer.

More specifically, I think "Business Delegates" usually have the same "signature" as the functions that do the actual work on the signature I mean they take in the same objects in the same order, and spit out the same objects. But of course, the "Business Delegate" on the client aren't doing the "real work"'s just sending it over the wire.

The whole term "business logic" seemed weird to me for a while, becuase it seemed like every damn thing we were writing was "business logic" what's the point of having a special term for it? But later I realized the opposite of "business logic" is...well, "system logic" or "system code", stuff that's directly involved with keeping the infrastructure humming. Business Delegates is a "design pattern" (meaning, a generalized setup that you can apply to many problems) that is a good example of letting the programmer focus on the "business logic" (in our case, grabbing financial data and what not from the ERP and putting it into the tax document objects) while not having to sweat the system level stuff, the sending it over the wire.

turkey through a straw

November 27, 2003
Happy Thanksgiving, all.

Heh. Among many other things, I'm grateful to have my PC back in working order...especially to be back with a good sized monitor. It just relaxes my eyes to have that much screen real estate.

Link of the Holiday
The Latest Book of Ratings entry ranks 5 Thanksgiving Symbols, from Turkeys to Autumn Leaves. A quick giggle.

Exchange of the Moment
"Ryan, why do I think I'm hilarious and you think I'm STUPID??"
" wouldn't understand."
Brooke wanted it to be known that Ryan wasn't being mean, just funny. (Nor was she being serious, just mock-offended by Ryan not laughing at the terrifically lame joke she had just made.) And if he did get the timing right (I wasn't there) that was a GREAT response.

Clips of the Moment
The Avon and Somerset Constabulary has posted this page of innapropriate 999 calls (UK 999 = US 911, I believe). Drolly funny stuff...and a good presentation, you can select Flash w/ subtitles. If you're in a hurry, just check out "Salmon Sandwiches".

Actually, come to think of it, I'm not sure what it's ok to dial 911 if I'm on the highway, and I see a stranded motorist, or some guy walking dangerously on the shoulder, is that 911? It doesn't seem like it should be, but it seems like trying to look up a more appropriate number at that point would be dangerous as well.

the snow blows

November 27, 2002
I'm really amazed that it seems I have never recorded my favorite winterism "the snow blows" in any previous journal entry, from my PalmPilot based days 'til my curent Weblog.

Anyway, there's a lot of snow on the ground, and it's still snowing. Ugh.

Flash Movie of the Moment
Brooklyngirl made a really terrific brief Flash movie, so close, so far that she let me submit to the loveblender on her behalf. I need to catch up on her livejournal, see if there are any other goodies in there.

Incidentally, brooklyngirl is still on her quest to communicate with Paul Reubens (of Pee Wee Herman fame) by way of saving his .com domain for him. So if you know someone who knows someone, let him know to check it out.


November 27, 2001
Images of the Moment
From New Jersey Online, some photos from beneath Ground Zero. Read the captions underneath to see what's going on. The first photo and #8 are the most interesting, I think.

Poem of the Moment
Try to Praise the Mutilated World
Remember June's long days,
and wild strawberries, drops of wine, the dew.
The nettles that methodically overgrow
the abandoned homesteads of exiles.
You must praise the mutilated world.
You watched the stylish yachts and ships;
one of them had a long trip ahead of it,
while salty oblivion awaited others.
You've seen the refugees heading nowhere,
you've heard the executioners sing joyfully.
You should praise the mutilated world.
Remember the moments when we were together
in a white room and the curtain fluttered.
Return in thought to the concert where music flared.
You gathered acorns in the park in autumn
and leaves eddied over the earth's scars.
Praise the mutilated world
and the gray feather a thrush lost,
and the gentle light that strays and vanishes
and returns.
Adam Zagajewski, Translation by Clare Cavanaugh.
I first saw this poem in an issue of The New Yorker that had a really striking cover, the silhouette of the Twin Towers, but they were only slightly darker than the surrounding darkness. It was really moving. (The cover got some publicity when it came out, but I missed it.)

When faced with the tough choice of either seeking the truth at the risk of his life or cozying up to an all-powerful ruler in return for comfort and security, 17th-century French mathematician and problem gambler Blaise Pascal didn't think twice before doubling down on the latter.  "If God does not exist, one will lose nothing by believing in him, while if he does exist, one will lose everything by not believing," Pascal wrote famously, adding that only an idiot on the order of Jimmy the Greek could pass on that sort of action. Given such great odds, Pascal concluded with Pete Rose-like certitude, "We are compelled to gamble."

"Pascal's Wager" became the model for the self-serving justifications and moral hedging that have characterized the French nation ever since (indeed, we need only substitute "Hitler" and "win" at the appropriate moments in Pascal's formulation to understand France's collaborationist strategy during World War II).
--Suck, 1999-11-23
Watching "Mississippi Burning". I'm kind of bothered that I don't have the easy vocabulary to express my contempt for the racist cracker barbarian asshole klansmen that they have for the groups that they hate.
Important tip:
if you're volunteering at a function that helps the homeless, try not to look like a homeless person.