January 15, 2022

The gayest thing I've seen in absolutely the best sense of the term. No matter how you swing, if you can't see the beauty in this, including and dependent on the symmetries of the dancers...well, your loss!

Interesting, tablet-oriented stylized sketch web program: minimator

January 15, 2021

Scott told me
he never wrote anything
he wouldn't want
everyone to read.

What a good idea,
and that was way
before there was a web.
David Johnson

That was a quote from his page on the early web - early enough that my coworker David could get his first and last name .net: (via the wayback machine)
Bicycling is cool.

I was thinking of putting
some photos here
of my favorite
bike trails.
Wouldn't it be fun to be a bike cop?

You could ride around
with a badge and a gun,
busting punks and degenerates!

Scott told me
he never wrote anything
he wouldn't want
everyone to read.

What a good idea,
and that was way
before there was a web.

January 15, 2020

Hannah showed me that somehow I missed this tribute to my favorite commonwealth, from the makers of "What Does the Fox Say":

When I am with him, smoking or talking quietly ahead, or whatever it may be, I see, beyond my own happiness and intimacy, occasional glimpses of the happiness of 1000s of others whose names I shall never hear, and know that there is a great unrecorded history.
E.M. Forster

January 15, 2019

RIP Carol Channing! I got to see her on Broadway in a 90s-era revival of Hello Dolly! - special stuff.

January 15, 2018

Why is F***, Marry, Kill (or its clever hipster variations like "kill, betray, have on your zombie apocalypse team") even a thing? What kind of dumbass triage is that, even? Like either the answers, based on the given choices, are obvious, or you're having to say you kill something you probably like well enough or marry something you hate.

Can someone point me to one that was funny or insightful?

teen top ten

January 15, 2017
Alright, jumping on that "10 albums influential to you as a teen, don't think too much"

1. All these classical and jazz tapes I tried to convince myself I liked, because I thought A. that's what smart people like B. I am a very smart person. This really set back my appreciation of pop music, which seemed beneath a kid of my intellectual stature. (ahem)

2. But "Weird Al" was my gateway back to pop music, starting with his self titled album, back when it was all accordion. I think I had every song on that tape memorized. (Shout out to "Even Worse" as well.)

3. "License to Ill", Beastie Boys . This album was my anthem of young teen disenchantment, I remember sulking and listening to it on repeat in the back seat on headphones. Later in a bit of personal Christian revival I destroyed the tape. And then after I got it again, though maybe not until college?

4. "Christmas Rap", a holiday tape with a ton of artists. especially the crazy mechanical looping beat of Sweet Tee's "Let the Jinglebells Rock", it really stuck with me years later...

5. "Basin Street" by the Canadian Brass. I remember listening to this over and over while writing a nerdy paper on Charles Babbage in middle school. It's not bad, but kind of feels rather square to me now . Saw them in conert a few times.

6. "Chameleon" by Maynard Ferguson. This is literally one of the first three CDs I bought when my family finally got a CD player - and the screaming title song is super influential in honk bands, and a staple of JP Honk.

7. Dirty Dozen Brass Band "New Orleans Album". One of the other first 3 CDs I bought (the other was a Glen Miller tape). Of all ten albums on this list, maybe this one stands up the best from a sheer music standpoint.

8. "Soundtrack to the Blues Brothers". Man, every stage/jazz band kid in america wanted to be these guys. We tried to dress like them, a bit, in Euclid High School's "222nd Street Jazz" Now it seems a little white guy co-opting, but back then it was just so cool. Worked up a version of Peter Gunn JP Honk sometimes does.

9. Ugh, reaching here. PID (Preachers in Disguise)'s "Back to Back". Christian Hiphop. And what good white christian in the late 80s DIDN't try to rap? Again trying to find something in the faith I had here. (Similarly- One Bad Pig's "Smash", Christian Heavy Metal. I remember arguing with my cousin about if that term was a contradiction.)

10. "Dr. Demento Bootleg Mixtape" compiled either off the radio or off the albums by Thomas Shenk. Made for my dad when he was sick, I listened to it a lot.

BONUS: EMF's "Unbelievable" single. A few variants. It was instructive that people in the band room didn't want to hear Africa Bambaataa's "Hip Hop remix" - they wanted to hear what they liked. (Runner up in the 'random cd singles' category - U2's "Mysterious Ways"

I guess this is all "middle school and high school". In college I'd be able to add The Beatles (missed them somehow growing up), Paul Simon's stuff, Deee-Lite, Ani Difranco.
animals.alienbill.com - I de-adventized my collection of Ed Emberley inspired animal puppets, to make it a less seasonal showpiece.
You know how you *shouldn't* eat those hundred calorie snacks? Seven at a time.

January 15, 2016

I finally realized who Trump's cadence reminds me of: Joan Rivers. And Cruz screams "Nathan Lane" to me. It's a weird combination.
Slate on serious problems with student evaluations of teachers. Yeah, besides the gender bias pointed out here (which is a little weirder than the lede suggests) student evaluations of teachers were like Yelp before Yelp was Yelp; you praise teachers you like (or worry about), you rip into teachers especially when your grade wasn't what you hoped for/expected.

logical fallacy fallacies follies

January 15, 2015
Reading "Thinking Fast and Slow", and it's pretty good but I am annoyed at the triumphalism over the conjunction fallacy... the favorite example being:
Linda is 31 years old, single, outspoken, and very bright. She majored in philosophy. As a student, she was deeply concerned with issues of discrimination and social justice, and also participated in anti-nuclear demonstrations.

Which is more probable?

Linda is a bank teller.
Linda is a bank teller and is active in the feminist movement.
So by Venn diagram logic the former is "more probable" since it's a superset of the latter, but most people will say the second is more likely. The trouble is most people read in an implicit "and is not active in the feminist movement" after the first. (Or, more cynically, "is just a normal person"). So it IS revealing about our psychology, but more more so in terms of how actual humans tell stories about other humans vs how folks in the lab try to lay things out. It's sort of like how casinos and lotteries are artificial environments constructed outside the rules of the overwhelming bulk of the rest of our experience. And these chapters of the book are full of this self-congratulatory, look how broken we found people's analysis is. (And *sometimes* that breakage significant, but again, it says more about how we can be misled by the setup of stories. I think the chapters on "priming" are much scarier and prone to exploitation.)

They follow up with this example of a bunch of dishware: Set A has like 8 good plates, 8 good bowls, 8 good dessert plates, 6 good cups and 2 broken ones, 1 good saucer and 7 broken ones. Set B just has 8 good plates, 8 good bowls, 8 good dessert plates. From the researchers point of view, OF COURSE Set A has more value, since unbroken dishes can only add value, not subtract. To anyone who has ever bought dishware at a garage sale, however... you know that the condition of some of the stuff tells a story about how the set as a whole has been treated.

The book ends chapters by expressing phrases of how they'd like to enhance people's ability to recognize fallacies etc, and they say how like "adding a cheap little gift to the whole package actually decreased the perceived value of the whole thing, in this case less would have been more". And THAT is a reasonable takeaway in a world that never gets away from imperfect information. And imperfect and asymmetric information is so often ignored in the setup of these clinical-ish problems that assume the God's Eye View of everything in the stories.

It's so much "First, Assume a Spherical Cow" style thinking. Yes, there are valuable things to be learned with that, but no, you can't get to the finish line with it.
On the one hand, maybe Obama shoulda been there, gesture-wise. On the other hand it was a big photo op, not a legitimate bit of international leadership. On the other other hand, what a security nightmare to have tried to do for reals.
Interesting - this Swedish "yes" vocalization (kind of a sip-py inhale) was my personal word for "juice" when I was a baby. A tongue click was my word for chocolate-- clearly I had my bases covered.
Man. Nothing has made me feel more like a toddler in a toy store than this article on new-ish features on CPUs in a while. Most coders have NO IDEA what's going on in them there chips, myself included.
Crap, false positives on Gmail's spam filters, from folks I'd corresponded with before. Worrisome.
GEEKNESS Wrapping my head around Grails. Wish the principle of DRY (dont repeat yourself) was matched by DASMS (dont assume so much sh...tuff. Shtuff.)

Seriously sometimes I think the balance between "conciseness" and "I actually feel I understand what is going on" is way the hell out of wack.

January 15, 2014

The Dragon hiding in the USA:

See more map animals here

January 15, 2013

This morning someone at Dunkies had ordered a "glazed donut, heated up". THEY CAN DO THAT?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moon_Museum -- Warhol may well have put a crudely scribbled penis on the boon, making humanity's tradition of graffiti dicks interplanetary
Hard part in devops is make money from wheel after you are reinvent it.

I'm starting to suspect the abyss gazes into me no matter what I'm doing.

http://kirkdev.blogspot.com -- on my dev blog, a cool (albeit chrome only) way to ctrl-v paste images right into the browser -- really solved a problem for us.
from 22word's Scenes from the Inauguration Dress Rehersal:

morning conversation

January 15, 2012
"Wow, 50 people are missing in an Italian cruise accident."
"Yeah, sounds horrendous, like a real life Titanic."
"...Titanic was real life."
Amber and Me, this morning over pancakes and the Sunday New York Times

On the day the world ends, be happy. If you accomplished a lot, you won the game. - If not, you bet on the right horse!

arrr, ping, arrrr, ping

January 15, 2011

I am part of Team "Left As An Exercise for the Reader" for the 2011 MIT Mystery Hunt. Here I am dressed as the Left Pong Bat in "Pong", who is in turn in a pirate costume (you can tell by my sword and how my Pong Ball is dressed up as a parrot. I am accompanied by Elaine who is dressed as the Sunflower from "Plants vs Zombies" who is in a pirate costume, you can tell by the eyepatch.


January 15, 2010
--Also from Cracked.com, The 5 Creepiest Unexplained Broadcasts. I just like the mix of Agitprop and Robots!

http://www.glorioustrainwrecks.com/node/437 - WHAT'S EXCITING? WRITING 371 GAMES IN THE LAST WEEKEND OF FEB THAT'S EXCITING - JOIN IN!!!!!!!
Did that "txt HAITI to 90999 to donate $10" thing - man, that is a damn convenient way of doing charity...
http://www.leftasanexercise.com/ -my MIT Mystery Hunt Team... ohboyohboyohboy -- hard core makin' me feel so stupid! There goes the weekend-
In what are they created equal? Is it in size, strength, understanding, figure, moral or civil accomplishments, or situation of life? Every plough-man knows that they are not created equal in any of these. All men, it is true, are equally created, but what is this to the purpose? It certainly is no reason why the Americans should turn rebels.
The Gentleman's Magazine (A British Publication) on the Declaration of Independence, via Bill Bryson's "Made in America"

the image of january

January 15, 2009

KHAAAAAAAAN! ... Khan? ...khan.
Big Comedy from the accidental (but benign) "Reply to All", the "I think I got this accidentally", the "Please stop cc'ing all", the "OK"...
Today I got two "help wanted" type emails for techies, though that reminds me that before the holidays, there was more of a steady stream.
New Yorker article on the "Eureka" effect. Feynman like to ponder at topless bars?? Twitter helps me capture my own transient thoughts--FWIW
Concentration, it seems, comes with the hidden cost of diminished creativity.
Jonah Lehrer.
Implications for geeks? Or dot com playrooms?

nothing gray can stay

January 15, 2008
It's funny, it's like the weather decided to press reset, clearing out almost all of the snow that had been put down in December just to redo the coating.

Ah well, this is New England in Winter. So Eden sank to slush / Snow covers all this day / Nothing gray can stay.

Blenderisms of the Moment
"Love has as few problems as a motorcar. The only problems are the driver, the passengers, and the road."
Franz Kafka
human hearts are composed of crushed stone
and lusty cream
Just dug these lines for some reason.

So I got the issue of the Blender of Love out, finally. Plus there's a new feature where people can go back and edit works after they've been submitted, a feature that was a LONG time coming.

dance monkey dance!

January 15, 2007
It was only the other week, setting up my mom's new PC, that I realized Firefox 2 is out. I'd recommend it for everyone. From my perspective, the biggest improvements are how ctrl-F now searches textareas and every input form has built in spellcheck with red underline! I was using Google's toolbar spellcheck for that functionality, but having it happen without having to remember to click is a big win.

Software Toy of the Moment

Pictaps is amazing... make your own Parappa-the-Rapper style dancer. This monkey is my best one so far (I also did an Alien Bill)

So many great details, like how you can watch the creation being drawn in, or how the central dancer is surrounded my a giant crowd of clones... Make your own and post the # or link in the comments!

travellin' man day 1

January 15, 2006
I'm in Dallas for work this week...can't guarantee what my online access will be, and don't actually have time to do a full "backlog flush" so bear with me as I try to cobble up something interesting for these days...

How misguided is it that one of the big things attracting me to a job with travel, besides scouting out various regions, and having the experience of more client-facing work, is that I think I might get in some solid extra time to read? I just assembled a "remember to pack this list" on my Palm and while "swimming suit", "GPS" and even "laptop" had question marks after them, "books" did not.

And by the way: Merry Christmas, Broncos. Pats, five turnovers do not a returning champion make.

Music of the Moment
So years I got this CD Cra-a-zy Hits, a collection of 60s novelty songs. I think I wanted "Wipeout" for our new CD player, but far and away my favorite song on it now is Pigmeat Markham's "Here Comes The Judge"...

It's a very odd song. For one thing, it has a terrific funk groove that sill sounds good these days. But beyond that..it predates the mainstream appearance of Rap by like two decades but still has the exact cadence of early Hip Hop. And the whole thing carries an anti-Vietnam message, to go along side the bragadoccio, now-racist-sounding black types and corny knock-knock jokes....that Amazon link has a clip from it, it's worth checking out. But here's a big chunk of the lyrics:
Hear ye, hear ye!
This court is now in session!
His Honor, Judge Pigmeat Markham presidin'

Hear ye, hear ye, the court of swing
It's just about ready to do that thing
I don't want no tears, I don't want no lies
Above all, I don't want no alibis!
This Judge is hip, and that ain't all,
He'll give you time if you're big or small
All in line for this court is neat...Peace brother,

Here comes the Judge! Here comes the Judge!
Everybody knows that he is the judge!

Everybody near or far!
I'm goin' to Paris to stop this war!
All those kids gotta listen to me,
Because I am the judge and you can plainly see
I wanna big 'round table when I get there.
I won't sit down to one that's square
I wanna lay down the law, it better not budge,
I'll bust some head because I am the judge!

Here comes the Judge! Here comes the Judge!
Everybody knows that he is the judge!

[then the song breaks for some knock knock jokes...]

*knock knock* Judge: "Who's there?"
Guy: "Eyes"
Judge: "Eyes who?"
Guy:"Eyes yo' next door neighbor!
[wild laughter]
Judge: "Order in this courtroom! Order in this courtroom!"
Gal: "Judge, your Honorship, High sir...Did I hear you say order in the court?"
Judge: "Yes...I said order!"
Gal: "Well, I'll take two cans of beer, please."

He is the judge, he is the judge!
Everybody knows that he is the judge!

So final bit of Kirk trivia: Pigmeat Markham is probably most well known for the "Judge" routine on "Laugh-In", along with his catch phrase "You can look that up in your Funk and Wagnalls."...and my family had a set of Funk and Wagalls encyclopedias when I was growing up, so I will always have a soft place in my heart for that line...


January 15, 2005
Word of a Past Moment
A kind of pun on "Bullshit" based on the President going back on that "Read My Lips No New Taxes" promise.

An unfortunate winner, according to the author of this Slate article but for some reason the term has been rattling around in my head ever since I read it. This year it's "Red/Blue/Purple States". Unfortunately, "Santorum", this year's "Most Outrageous" winner, isn't getting picked up by the coverage in the mainstream press. The article also linked to this New Word Blog...it looks like they're careful to report more on words found in the wild, not cutesy neologisms that no one uses, which are the staple of Wired's Jargon Watch feature, for example.

Quote of the Moment
"A bad analogy is like a leaky screwdriver"
Richard Braakman

english as she is spoken

January 15, 2004
Link of the Moment
The speech accent archive is strangely compelling...hundreds of speakers of English, native and not, reading the same passage, with a sound clip and phonetic "ipa" transcription.

It's so odd how difficult it is to discern your own accent. Hey, Erin, or anyone whose crossed big accent lines--if you move someplace with a very strongly different accent than what you grew up with, like down south, do you stop hearing them as "accented" after a while?

Quote of the Moment
'You're the chief of staff. You think you're up to getting us some cheeseburgers?' Card nodded. No one laughed. He all but raced out of the room.

Bumper Sticker of the Moment
Nietzsche apologized and we're having
a fine time hanging up here.
Get over it. --God
--Hypothetical sticker from TheDoorMagazine

wild lude yonder

January 15, 2003
Funny of the Moment
"[This news report about American military pilots being given amphetamines] gives a whole new meaning to 'Winning the war on drugs.'"
from a Boston Globe letter to the editor, found by Larry M Headlund and posted to rec.humor.funny.

Unfunny of the Moment
BoingBoing is in mourning over news of a Surpreme Court decision extending copyrights to 95 years for corporations (70 years after the death of the creator for other works.) The Constitution grants Congress the power to grant copyright for a "limited" time--the defintion of "limited time" will be "for as long as Disney has lobbyists". Trot out the usual (but somewhat justified) handwringing about how this stomps all over the concept of Public Domain (which most people really don't get anyway) and speculation about what this kind of thought would've done for Shakespeare et al.

On the other hand...I dunno. The landscape is different with corporations about. Corporations are kind of scary, actually, yeah, they're "virtual people" but they're potentiall immortal...that's kind of trippy.

These problems aren't new though. Dickens had to fight pirate editions of his works...and Cervantes wrote part 2 of Don Quixote partially because of some unauthorized sequels that were gaining popularity. From that perspective, a certain amout of piracy is probably helpful to individual artists (at least in the long term) and to culture as a whole. On the other hand, it's probably good if it stays a bit at the fringes, other wise content producers do risk getting royally screwed, and thus less likely to produce interesting content.

Equation of the Moment
Happiness = P + (5*E) + (3*H) [...] "P stands for Personal Characteristics, including outlook on life, adaptability and resilience. E stands for Existence and relates to health, financial stability and friendships. And H represents Higher Order needs, and covers self-esteem, expectations, ambitions and sense of humour"
from this BBC report on some work by Social Scientists.

Quote of the Moment
The closer political metaphor [than 'regime change'] would be 'new blood'--and perhaps quite a bit of it.

in sharks we trust

January 15, 2002
News of the Moment

virgin shark mary
on the halfshell:
coming soon to a
yard near you?
So Zoo officials are investigating a Shark who gave birth with no guy sharks around. They're starting with the usual theories: the off chance it actuall is asexual reproduction (previously unknown in sharks), a bit of sperm that had somehow survived for years in the shark, or that a different breed of guy shark in the same tank did the deed (akin to "a Chihuahua impregnating a Saint Bernard"). But have they considered the possibility that that shark gave birth to the Shark Messiah? (Well, the newborn was stung to death after only five hours of life...but perhaps that stingray was the Pontius Pilate of that zoo tank!)

Quote of the Moment
"Half our life is spent trying to find something to do with the time we have rushed through life trying to save."
Will Rogers.
It's rather a zen point of view, come to think of, it the importance of living in the moment, appreciate what you're doing for the sake of doing it.

Useful Link of the Moment
A very convenient page of opt-outs for popup/under ads. (via webword)

hot beverages

January 15, 2001
Moment of the Moment
My girlfriend has a cold. She told me to get her a large caramel cider from starbucks (super tasty, like drinking a caramel apple) or if they didn't have that a chai latte. They were out of cider so I bring her back the chai. Half an hour later she says "Man, the trouble with being sick is that nothing tastes right. That cider was really weird."

I find coffee cups incredibly satisfying to doodle. I suggest you try it. They're easy and fun. I included one even though there wasn't actually any coffee in that story, they're that much fun.

Link of the Moment
I wish my website was as smart and funny as 15 Megabytes of Fame by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, and maybe with the same touch of wistfulness. It's updated every week. My friend Dylan told me to get her book The Book of Eleven. He said it was the funniest thing ever, and it wasn't, but it was funny, and I could really connect with the things she was saying. It's worth going to your local bookstore (Preferably not Barnes and Noble) and having them order it. Her site is so good that I'm tempted to start a 'best links' page just for sites like that.

Quote of the Moment
I don't like the idea of anybody getting killed, but especially me.
Clint Eastwood

In America we really don't have a speed limit. Nobody knows what it is. Everybody drives in packs. If the lead car is going 85, by God, so be it. It's amazing when people go to work in the morning. It's like a gang in the Old West going to rob a bank: "Awright, we're a goin' inta town. We're all a gonna drive 75 miles an hour. They can't catch us all! Move 'em out!"
Had a good talk with Mo the other night; when I'm interested in touch, I need to use my seductive skills. Despite my desire to sometimes just make blunt suggestions, I can see where that would be a good thing.

She also mentioned that her dad said he'd be willing to take the traditional "Bride's Dad shells out" role were Mo and I to tie the knot.
My name is Leonardo
I am a retardo
I climb up the steeple
And spit on the people

And they say,
What's your name?"
          My name is Leonardo...
"They go in and out- nipples. Stylistically I mean... uh, and physically."
          --Paul Morville on the relatively recent phenomenon of mannequins with nipples