June 30, 2022

Wow. "Independent State Legislature" doctrine says "hey if we read "the times, places and manner of holding elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each state by the legislature thereof" like a baby , then we can say checks and balances just don't exist!

As far as I can, this RI-FUCKING-DICULOUS interpretation means a legislature could say "ok ballots are now just a big checkbox for the Republican". Like, literally there is NOTHING preventing that! If a loony Republican can get a bare majority of slate legislators to agree, they never have to have an actual election again, because they are uncheckable by the governor or by the courts.


And all that needs to fall for SCOTUS to sign off is Amy Coney Barrett?

Sleep well.

June 30, 2021

Man, people are all like "small bites!" "savor your food!" and "give your stomach time to realize you've eaten!" but there is something so emotionally satisfying about great big gulps.

Equal parts microwave Kraft Mac + Cheese with equal parts Salsa (from the jug in the fridge, to cool the dish down down and spice it up) eaten in like 6 bites is one of my love languages, is what I'm saying.

(I can also self-soothe with fistfulls of popcorn. If stuffing as much popcorn into my maw as I can manage in one bite is wrong, I don't want to be right!)
Whenever you listen to someone playing a brass instrument (trumpet, trombone, tuba, etc.) you're just hearing their lips go pfthpfpthpfht in amplified and modulated form
They're not wrong!

New character alignment (for comedy purposes only): Chaotic Lawful. They behave by a very definite set of rules, but even they have no idea what they are.

Good news everyone, I figured out my alignment. I've just been calling it autism - Paper
The duo with nomme de tumblr Pencil and Paper post ideas that would likely make for an iffy D+D etc campaign.

you can't stop reality from being real

June 30, 2020
Been thinking about how Flavor Flav once said "You can't stop reality from being real" - as Dr. Anthony Asadullah Samad points out, he meant the reality of America's race construct can't be hidden by not talking about it. That message is of crucial importance these days.

But to move from the cultural to the philosophical - for me that line is even more universal and absolute. It's why I'll never deeply understand/grok people who say how they are comfortable living intuitively. Like, there is a reality - albeit one that can never be confidently known - and either your intuition is in tune with it, or not, and I think it's pretty important to do that check as soon as possible!

I mean, it's more complicated than that since beliefs inform actions which in turn make changes in that shared reality. So there are feedback loops and the ability to kind of project your interpretation on others and so make the your subjective interpretation go from idea to a more important part of objective reality.... but still, at some point you get to the point where your intuitive model is self-consistent AND in tune with the physical universe we all inhabit, or it isn't.

(But that said - our intuitive selves HAVE done some deep learning - basically the "muscle memory" for the universe. That's profound stuff. But that doesn't mean it's right, because it may be a product of a bad environment, of consistently wrong inputs. For example: If you grow up in a ceaselessly racist environment - whether hard and explicit racism or the softer racism we get a ton of up here in the liberal north - than your intuitive mental "muscle memory" is likely to also be racist.)

I think too of my weird empathy for terrible "Only God Can Judge Me" tattoos. It's trite, and if you get such a tattoo many, many people will be eager and able to contradict that tattoo...but I find it to be a more important and true sentiment than, say, "Man is the Measure of All Things". Humanity is a bendy, irregular yardstick for all things. The "Measure" is the map, not the territory. If everyone was racist, that wouldn't make racism right.


from Lynne Murphy's "The Prodigal Tongue"

June 30, 2019
How long is a piece of string?
British idiom I hadn't heard of, but like immensely. It reminds me a bit of my Nana's answer to her daughters' incessant "Why?"s - "Why is a cow?"
This "outlandish" (a good Anglo-Saxon word for 'foreign') vocabulary
I do love when a word's origins are revealed to have been hiding in plain site - I had never thought of "outlandish" as out-land-ish! Or like how a "secretary" keeps secrets...
It's a game of inches: 'progress towards a goal comes in small increments'
This was the one entry from a list of explicated sport metaphors where I wasn't sure I agreed - progress in American football is often made in great bounds, exciting, yard-consuming catches and runs - but the final result is then measured painstakingly, and the difference in success and failure can be a heartbreakingly small amount.
English isn't arithmetic , but many people want it to have clear rules like 2 + 2 = 4 . Rules themselves are not a problem. The problems come when so - called grammar fans conclude that if one rule is right , then anything else is illogical. That's just not a logical way of thinking . It's like saying that if 1 + 4 = 5 , then 1 + 1 + 3 cannot also equal 5. Nevertheless if there are two ways to spell a word or construct a sentence, then people will conclude that one way must be the better way [...] So if someone tells you that a word cannot mean X because it already means Y or that we should all stop saying Z because it is logically inconsistent, just say to yourself: here is a person who doesn't have a very good sense of how English works. If you want to entertain yourself, you can point out the inconsistencies of their argument. If you want an easy life, you can just ignore them--up to a point. If you see that person spinning their illogical yarns in front of a classroom or a government education department, you have a moral duty to step in.
Lynne Murphy.
(Actually these two paragraphs are 30 pages apart.)
For Wagner, as for most speakers of British English, a frown is an expression of displeasure that involves contracting the brow. But for me, and many speakers of American English, frowning involves turning down the corners of the mouth to indicate unhappiness, and more particularly sadness. That meaning is a 20th-century invention, and most American dictionaries have not yet noticed it. Some (mostly older) Americans still have the 'brow'-only meaning. But the new meaning is widespread, and more American than British, as our emoji names show. The ☹ is most commonly called sadface in British English, whereas it's frown or frowny face in many American contexts--including the standards document for Unicode, the international (but Americentric) body that approves new computer symbols.
I remember discovering the "frown = brows" thing playing Pictionary (in English) with some German friends...
A wise American reporter based in London once told me that every British news story is, deep down, about class. Every American story, he said, is about race.
Simon Hoggart

A 1642 Massachusetts law saw illiteracy as child abuse. Parents could lose custody of their children if they were not taught to read. By the end of that century, most of the northern colonies had similar laws. By 1800 the United States had the highest literacy rate in the world. "Nearly every child, even those of beggars and blacks in considerable numbers, can read, write, and keep accounts," reported the president of Yale College in 1823. This was less true in the South, where several colonies, starting in the mid-1700s, had made it a crime to teach slaves to write. But until the decades just before the Civil War, it was no crime to teach enslaved people to read. Writing could be a tool for rebellion, but reading was a spiritual necessity.
I wasn't aware or had forgotten that you can read without knowing how to write. I wonder if that's like being able to understand a foreign language a bit, but not speak it well.

Murphy also talks about diagramming sentences - a pursuit much more popular in the USA, according to Murphy. You would think a literate and lego-loving nerd like me would love diagramming sentences, but I hated it. I remember writing bitter complaints about how having to crucify these poor sentences. In hindsight, I guess it felt like I was just painstakingly giving arbitrary symbols to things without gaining new insight into how the parts interacted...

I found an old blog post mentioning "Too Close for Comfort", a sitcom name I was trying to remember. "Too Close for Comfort" is a kind of early prototypical early-80s sitcom that I don't think many people remember very well, a post-Mary Tyler Show vehicle for Ted Knight. I mostly remember a character (probably his) was talking about his comic character "Cosmic Cow" and how the secret was being able to draw an inoffensive udder... I think about that whenever I see a cartoon cow, especially one walking upright.

June 30, 2018

Over the years, I have spent so much on touch screen devices, thinking "Now THIS is what will let me reach my real (meager) digital doodle potential"... most recently, a "normal" size iPad, the cheapest one that comes with support for the Apple Pencil. (Mini would be my preferred size, but this ain't bad) Anyway, testing to find out what doodle programs I can best get along with, and after a brief dalliance with "Procreate" I'm back to the (Pro version, now) of Lucky Clan's Art Studio.

Anyway, a practice panel.

Young Astronauts in Love is my favorite of all the (mostly "24 Hour") comics I link from alienbill

I think the trick for me might be zoom way out to do the first rough outline - my natural doodle format runs small - and then do it over zoomed in.

I'm under few illusions about my level of talent. It has a sort of style is the best you can say of it, and I can usually get what I want to express across, more or less. I've never put in the work to learn it right- I think the studio art classes were a dead end, in the sense of, it's one thing to practice drawing precisely what's in front of you (and important to learn not to draw your brain's iconized version of it) but quite another to know enough anatomy etc to do a decent illustration from scratch...

June 30, 2017

As you've probably been made aware, it's the 10th Anniversary of the iPhone going on sale.

I was a first week early adopter (I accidentally drowned my Palm device and cellphone kayaking on July 4th, and the timing seemed fortuitous.)

Slashdot's Coverage (speaking of things that may also seem like history) linked to John "Daring Fireball" Gruber's iPhone First Impressions.

As he mentions, probably the biggest lack in the first device (other than, arguably, the app store) was copy and paste. That was an interesting choice to punt on, to let it wait until a future generation of the product could get it right...

One of the biggest "WOW" factors though was the web browser- especially the scrolling which he describes as:
Real-time dragging is such a priority that if the iPhone can't keep up and render what you're dragging in real-time, it won't even try, and you get a checkerboard pattern reminiscent of a transparent Photoshop layer until it catches up (typically, an instant later). I.e. iPhone prioritizes drag animation over the rendering of the contents; feel over appearance.
As the hardware has improved I haven't seen that checkerboard in a while, but yeah- it felt SO GOOD, the perfect compliment to how the capacitive touch screen was allowing much more vibrant finger interaction than the stylus-or-fingernail screens that came before it.

June 30, 2016

Last week with Porch-i-Oke at Make Music Boston...

So, a Zika bill poisoned by Republicans with amendments to promote the Confederate flag and other crap repugnant to everyone but GOP loonies. Republicans, you are unfit to lead. If you can't understand politics has to have SOME level of bipartisanship, you deserve Trump.

June 30, 2015

If you think about it, your family tree is an upside down tournament bracket of surnames competing for your last name
(but given Western Culture that's pretty sexist!)
"The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire."
Ferdinand Foch.
I find that an evocative and scary and kind of hilarious image. I guess part of growing up with a (partially self-inflicted, I guess) fear of endless hellfire, one that still gives me a perpetual sense of being judged by some ineffable Other that might mete unknown but possibly terrible punishment if I get out of line with what I Should Be. Which I guess has kept me on a generally more secure path in life, but it seems like there should be gentler ways to get there.

Also, I dunno, just a weird visual of a dude running around, hands flapping furiously, "MY SOUL'S ON FIRE MAN!!! GAAAAH!"
What a rainbow-ish celebration! Headphones and full screen recommended:

http://www.theverge.com/2015/6/29/8860737/casio-watches-smartwatch-features-photos-exhibition Casio has been doing intriguing things with watches for a while!

June 30, 2014

Get companies the F*** out of healthcare. This is just stupid.
Near end of workday conversation: How many syllables in "world"? (Sprung from a comparison of the difficulty in sayin "world wide web" vs "double-u double-u double-u" which in turn came from me saying "Eff Double-u Eye Double-u for FWIW", just to be annoying. LOL!)

thoughts of the produce section

June 30, 2013

click for fullsize

Oh, christ. RT @neiltyson: Just an FYI: The year 1980 is as far in today's past as 1947 was to 1980.

i feel happy of myself!!!

June 30, 2012

And then, the TED talk, 20 years later...


haw haw

June 30, 2011

--thoughts on hair spray, slowed down... via 22 words
Neatening up the edge of my beard I may have gone a smidge too far. Now I'm worried that cheek is a tad more amish than the other.

babbling giants

June 30, 2010

--via Bill the Splut
Why has agnosticism fallen out of favor? New Atheism offers the glamour of fraudulent rebelliousness, while agnosticism has only the less eye-catching attractions of humility. The willingness to say "I don't know" is less attention-getting than "I know, I know. I know it all."

Oh man, I remember Melanie Hamburg, my Kindergarten (maybe 1st Grade?) fiancee... we were pretty serious about it, none of this just "playing house" stuff... but then Chris wanted to be our son... 'well, I guess we could adopt him...'
Jotted down in response to a Friend's FB post about her kid's early marriage plans...
Passive-aggressive voices in my head are urging inefficiency at undesired delegated tasks! A relief from that tiresome 'Kill! KILL!'

Oddly captivating sign in the kitchen at work:

Just found out Dice Wars lives on iOS as "Strategery"- simplified "Risk" - so addictive
Swampscott Twilight

things on and from the way to my mom's house in virginia

June 30, 2009
Went to my mom's place for a family reunion in Virginia.

farm math

June 30, 2008
So back in high school my calc teacher (Mr. Pawlowski! Yay old yearbooks.) gave me an interesting way of solving this one classic-sounding algebra problem.

Like many math problems, the premise is a bit absurd: Farmer Brown knows he has, I dunno, 30 animals, cows and chickens. He doesn't know how many of each he has, but he does know that among them they have, say, 74 legs. (Why Farmer Brown is able to count legs but not animals, and not distinguish a chicken leg from a cow egg, is not made clear...)

Now there's the fancy-pants school-larnin' way of solving this: (let c be the number of chickens, m (for moo) the number of cows)
we know c+m=30
thus c = 30 - m
plus the legs means (c*2)+(m*4)=74
and c = 23

Cosmic Cow Says:
"Hey, speaking of cows standing, anyone remember the show Too Close for Comfort?"
"Monroe said his secret was being able to draw an inoffensive udder!"

2019 Update: was it Monroe or Henry???
but Farmer Brown doesn't know from Algebra. So what does he do? He has all the cows stand up on their hind legs! (and part of the fun of this is the teacher demonstrating what a cow on two legs looks like.) Since he knows he has 30 animals, he can know without counting that there are 60 legs on the ground. 14 legs unaccounted for, 2 each per cow, so there must be 7 cows, and 30-7=23 chickens.

That math seems a lot easier to do in your head! I'm not sure what the equations for it look like though... let me see...
c + m = 30
he quickly figured 2 * (c + m) = 60
but he knows 2c + 4m = 74
I guess he was able to tell that
(2c + 4m) - (2c + 2m) = 74 - 60
2m = 14
m = 7
c = 23
So that's a lot of steps that seemed easier to manage when you chunked things the right way. Maybe it's more like
Let a be the number of animals
t be the total number legs (2c + 4m), 74
let d be the number of legs down, 2*a, 60
d - t = 14
2m = 14 (I think that's the smart bit)
m = 7
c = a - m = 23
I'm not quite sure what the takeaway math lesson from this is... maybe it's the use of more variables when you're trying to do stuff in your head?

A dream of reconciliation w/ mo, turns out it's an anniversary. I've moved on but sometimes wish I'd more clearly moved on TO something/one
Why are the Onion headlines on the Slate sidebar all about homosexuality? Celebration of the CA ruling or what?

sweet home chicago ... cleveland rocks

June 30, 2007
So what better way to celebrate being in Chicago than a music video in praise of Cleveland?

That's the full version.

I really appreciate how Drew Carey used his show to explore some interesting ideas. There were some abject failures (like the episode based on live improv) but some of the stuff really used the bully pulpit. (Unfortunately, one of the things I wanted to post here got dumped, a really neat "loop" bit where they have a speechless repetitive scene in the office, adding a little bit of surreal action each time, until finally Drew points out they're in a rut.)

So hopefully What Is Hip will stay:

(It includes the intro where Lewis shows off his new tattoo "scary skeleton riding a motorcycle" "I thought you were scared of motorcycles" "Eh, I'm scared of tattoos too, that's why I drew it on..."

I'm sure it was hard word to put together productions like that, but man it looks like they were having fun.

the sci fi idea machine

June 30, 2006
click to play

scifidea - Source code: scifidea
Built with Processing
    So recently I read about Georges Polti's list of the 36 Dramatic Situations in literature, the idea that's that's about it for plots. Unforunately, most online versions of the list don't go into much detail. However, Emmadavies.net's Plots for Novels and Stories page does the list justice, and has many other related taxonomies. Thought it turns out it cribbed from this page which lays out the details of the 36 in a wonderful hierarchical fashion. I also found Hatch's Plot Bank, as well as the Big List of RPG Plots.

But what grabbed me the most was Julia West's pages of science fiction ideas, with lots of mix and match elements. The thing was I wasn't crazy about the UI for it, so I made the beast you see to the left. You can click on any of the categories to start it spinning, or on the arrows at the bottom to get them all moving. Hopefully it won't be TOO too taxing for people's computers. All of the content (except for the cartoons there) is stuff that she collected.

absolutely radishing

(1 comment)
June 30, 2005
Activity Suggestions of the Moment
Excerpts from 2003's How To Draw a Radish Calendar. Love that final one:
Zen Pebbles - Buy a bag of aquarium pebbles at a pet shop and scatter over the top of a bank of horizontal file cabinets. Pause in your busy day and rearrange them as the mood strikes.
Local Delicacies - In Ellicot City, Maryland, Mr. S.J.Yates shoves peppermint sticks into lemons. You can drink the juice through the candy stick as if it were a straw! [...] If you can't visit Mr. Yates today, try making this lemon treat yourself.
Fiddle Away Your Entire Weekend - "There is nothing so hard for us to understand, as so eazy for others, az that we hav fiddled our time out. Kindly Yurz, Josh Billings, 1874"
Fun at Work! - Keep a water balloon at your desk as a pet to create a frisson of excitement--it might someday pop.

autowalk, autocrawl, autostop, whatever

(1 comment)
June 30, 2004
Tip of the Moment
Your life might be better if you disable AutoRun for CDs in Windows. Really, how hard is it to click instead? And then they can't sneak all that crap onto your system...

Workplace Trauma of the Moment
IWorkWithFools.com -- anonymous tales of workplace idiots. Interesting to compare and contrast that with Enter the Cow-orker, ongoing tales of the mental trauma inflicted by a single idiot.

Update of the Moment
So, in the "keeping friends and relatives informed" function of this site, a couple of milestones today. It is, technically, my third wedding anniversary, since the divorce isn't final 'til early August. Exchanged a few emails with Mo, that's about it. Also, annoyingly, it's Jane's last day as a contractor at my company...there's a small chance there'll be another opening for her here but I'm pessimistic. I really owe Jane a lot being a lot of the driving force behind this whole makeover thing. I really do think it's a great deal of improvement of how I present myself to the world, and I worry that if it wasn't for her I'd still be the same old shlub and that would make some of the tasks of building up a new life (especially in the whole finding and wooing women shtick) that much harder.

did you clean your pants with windex? i can practically see myself in them.

(1 comment)
June 30, 2003
Happy Anniversary to Me and Mo...

Link of the Moment
LinesThatAreGood.com bills iteself as "The Most Complete and Most Useless Collection of Pick-Up Lines" and I think it lives up to this billing. (Err, not that I need lines like this anymore, what with the being married and all...)

Quote of the Moment
My father, a surgeon and urologist, studied sex professionally all his life. Before he died at 82, he told me he hadn't come to any conclusions about it at all.
Katherine Hepburn, RIP.
Interestingly, her IMDb.com biography page also quotes her as saying
"I'm an atheist, and that's it. I believe there's nothing we can know except that we should be kind to each other and do what we can for each other,"
a sentiment I've seen a few times before on my mortality guide quotes page.

Article of the Moment
Interesting small CSM article on how London cabbies acquire "The Knowledge"--they know their routes much better than cabbies in most cities, and there's why.

anniversary getaway filler day 2

(1 comment)
June 30, 2002
One sort, two sort
little jig'a'jam
bobtail dominick
little tory tam
virgin mary
hallum scallum
jingle 'em
jangle 'em
bowl 'em buck

william william
tremble toe
he's a good fisherman
catches hens
puts 'em in pens
some lay eggs
some not
how brow limble lock
sit and sing 'til 12 o'clock
the clock fell down
the mouse ran around
o u t spells out

a little singsong my grandfather
(Papa Sam) taught my mom and aunt.

wedding bells

June 30, 2001
THIS IS MY WEDDING DAY! WOOHOO! I'M THE LUCKIEST GUY IN THE ROOM! AND THEN SOME! (yes, I'm writing this in advance, far too busy getting married and all to journal this day.)

Advice for the MOment
Some young women actually anticipate the wedding night ordeal with curiosity and pleasure! Beware of such an attitude! A selfish and sensual husband can easily take advantage of such a bride. One cardinal rule of marriage should never be forgotten: GIVE LITTLE, GIVE SELDOM AND ABOVE ALL, GIVE GRUDGINGLY. Otherwise, what could have been a proper marriage could become an orgy of sexual lust.
Ruth Smythers, from Instructions And Advice For The Young Bride, 1894
(2019 UPDATE: of course this is a hoax)
Link of the Moment
Salon gave me the analysis and breakdown of the the movie Momento that I had been looking for. (You can still see the original short story here)

from the T-shirt Archive: #6 of a Series

This is from the Cleveland International Film Festival. It was one of my first really cool shirts, interesting design, referring to a relatively obscure cultural event. It was having to give up shirts like this that made me want to have the archived photos.

"If your sexual fantasies were truly of interest to others, they would no longer be fantasies."
--Fran Lebowitz
"This is what the Lord asks of you; only this, to act justly, to love tenderly, and to walk humbly with your God."
--Micah 6:8
"Being 'in a state of nudity' is not an inherently expressive condition."
--Sandra Day O'Connor, in a Surpreme Court ruling upholding a ban on nude dancing
"Mr. Madison, I am from the 21st century!"
"I thought you might not believe me, so I brought PROOF! Try this!" [Pours cup of Sprite]
          "Fizzy... sweet... refreshing! [...] Truly the beverage of an idyllic future!"
--Bob and James Madison, "Bob's Adventure Through Time", [Ruben Bolling's Tom the Dancing Bug]
Information wants to be anthropomorphized.
--Golias on slashdot.org
Brought Denali the Cat home last night. We're not rushing with showing her to Murph. Sweet tempered cat.

Keren mentioned this one photography class that was "shoot a roll of film a day." I might try adding something to my life.

Two nights ago I had a mortality attack based on a NYTimes piece on the idea that nanotech might beat aging... man, I'd hate to miss immortality by a few decades. On the other hand, me a few decades from now wouldn't be me. I wrote to humanism, cecil-adams, and sf-written, but they all seem to be more focused on the 'measure of a good life' question I asked with it. But it's harder to come to peace with death when you think that there might be an option; should I be angry with myself for not being a big health nut?
"If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him."
--Ancient Eastern Saying?
Family Anecdote:
"I don't talk to no walls."
--James Israel
Q. How come so many women love horses, which are big and dirty and smelly and stupid and go to the bathroom all over the place, and yet women are highly critical when men exhibit exactly these qualities?
A. That is a good question.
--Dave Berry's Questions and Answers
Check out Cher's Believe song.
Had a good talk/touch with Mo last night. Mentioned my thoughts about starting to seem more comfortable in the "traditional male" of touching as opposed to being touched. The funny thing is she's feeling the same about the "female" role. Her fear is that she's going to end up just "laying there"- my concern is giving philosohical ground to social conservatives who see these roles as "normal" and therefore "right".