July 31, 2020

Ordinary people with extraordinary vision can redeem the soul of America by getting in what I call good trouble, necessary trouble. Voting and participating in the democratic process are key. The vote is the most powerful nonviolent change agent you have in a democratic society. You must use it because it is not guaranteed. You can lose it.

You must also study and learn the lessons of history because humanity has been involved in this soul-wrenching, existential struggle for a very long time. People on every continent have stood in your shoes, though decades and centuries before you. The truth does not change, and that is why the answers worked out long ago can help you find solutions to the challenges of our time. Continue to build union between movements stretching across the globe because we must put away our willingness to profit from the exploitation of others.

Though I may not be here with you, I urge you to answer the highest calling of your heart and stand up for what you truly believe. In my life I have done all I can to demonstrate that the way of peace, the way of love and nonviolence is the more excellent way. Now it is your turn to let freedom ring.

NY Times infographic/video Watch This Protest Turn From Peaceful to Violent in 60 Seconds. Summary if it's too pay-walled: there's a loud but peaceful march. It walks back where some bike cops are sentry-ing, behind barriers. More heavily geared riot cops come up to the barriers and put the more lightly geared bike cops aside. Protestors start raising umbrellas in defense of pepper spray. Umbrellas reduce cops line of sight, and in one area w/ a pink umbrella pushing aside the umbrella leads to an escalation where pepper spray is used (right on faces, not above the crowd as is procedure), then tear gas and flashbangs.

Every Star Wars Film has the Wrong Title!


July 31, 2019
Why Don't I Read All My Books? - about the books left unread. Some of the ideas here apply to decluttering efforts in general - I think of that Molly Gardener line "Sometimes, my body feels like a burial ground for all the people I should have become" - and when you're getting rid of the supplies and props for projects you'll probably never get to, it feels like you're shoveling dirt on the grave of those alternate "you"s who mighta been but never quite were. More firmly latching the door for places you still might go, but probably won't.

I feel like my paper towel is making joke references I don't get. Any idea?

UPDATE: friends on facebook point me to "câlin" being hug in French... my 3 years of Middle School French were not enough for me to spot it. And kind of a gendered joke about shaving bristles to boot.
On my company's blog, Shayan wrote about Text and Emoji analysis on CarGurus text and chat.

July 31, 2018

From How America Uses it Land:

A kid who actually was Mr. Roger's Neighbor

July 31, 2017

After reading O'Reilly's newest apologia for Trump (latest narrative: it's all the fault of the media lynch mob making it impossible for Trump to govern) I got to thinking just how odd is it to not have ANY experience as an elected official before being president?

A little wikipedia-ing tells us:
5 Presidents had never been elected to public office before becoming President: Zachary Taylor, Ulysses S. Grant, Herbert Hoover, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and Donald Trump. Hoover had formerly served as Secretary of Commerce, an appointed office. Taylor, Grant and Eisenhower had never held political office prior to their presidencies, but they had served as leading American generals in the Mexican-American War, American Civil War and World War Two, respectively.

1 President had never served in elected public office, the military, or government before becoming president: Donald Trump. Trump was a real estate developer, businessman, and television personality who served as chairman of the Trump Organization.
I mean, that alone is just weird, right? Like you should have to practice a bit first before being the unpopular vote makes gives you the highest office in the land?

best photos of 2009

July 31, 2016
Including a trip to Portugal, I think it makes its case for "best of the year galleries"

How and Why Trump Will Try to Ditch the Debates If Trump won't stand up to 1:1 debates, and he won't release his tax documents, he is a coward unworthy of your vote.
This week I finished Robert P. Jones' "The End of White Christian America", a left-leaning (I think) study in how White Protestantism (North and South, unlike the WASP term) has been on the decline in terms of power for decades. One sign of that: "The current [pre-2016] U.S. Supreme Court is comprised of six Catholics and three Jews." - in 225 years there have only been 6 other Catholics, and 5 other Jews sitting there.

Also, I didn't realize Southern Baptists forked away from the main Baptist body when the American Baptist Foreign Mission Society started disqualifying slave holders as missionaries.

The book puts a lot of weight into how the young generation is generally for gay rights, particularly marriage, and that's tied into how the older generation is losing clout trying to hold that line. (What's cause and what's effect is not always clear, I'd say.)

I like this quote from author and Baptist minister David Gushee: Jones says he takes the Christian Right to task for being less motivated by the gospel and more by "nostalgia for a less-religiously and morally pluralistic age, when specifically Christian practices dominated American public life in a way that is now impossible and *should* be impossible under our constitutional system."

(The book also mentioned the case of lesbian mayor of Houston Annise Parker, where in a messy controversy about a equal rights (maybe centering on Transgender bathroom access?) she subpoenaed the sermons of five area pastors, which on the face of it seems a bit too far.)

July 31, 2015

That feel when the song from the album your high school girlfriend LOVED is only 99 cents on iTunes, not the de facto standard for up-to-date music of $1.29. Sure you're saving 30 cents but you feel somehow judged.
Watch Cops' stories coalesce. Ugh. I know cops have to protect their own and they are often placed in dangerous and uncertain situations, but they also need to accountable to the truth, always.

July 31, 2014

girl your body is a temple. but it's the water temple from Zelda so once I'm in there I have no idea what to do

July 31, 2013

Cooking explained:
Life does not have to be perfect to be wonderful.
Annette Funicello

Arlington's Elton's restaurant features "Elton's Famous Chicken Kabobs". Suddenly I want to see a place featuring INfamous Chicken Kabob.

happy trees

July 31, 2012

Research in 2008 showed nostalgia to be a feature common to the most resilient people. Coping with adversity and life's stresses seems to be effectively treated by a spot of wistfulness.

You should understand that white people, for whatever reason, are generally inclined to like or force themselves to like anything that angry, intelligent, old white men enjoy: sweaters, jazz, things made from wood, books, records, and complaining about how everything is terrible now.
Christian Lander, "Whiter Shades of Pale"

http://gizmodo.com/5930450/all-the-american-flags-on-the-moon-are-now-white The USA flags on the moon are now UV bleached white. Which makes poetic sense, seeing as how we gave up on the moon
Almost weirded out by my "Wendy's Baja Salad + Sugarless Gum" diet-- at work cupcakes, pastries, fries... nothing is even that tempting! This is just not like me, and the way I'm usually attracted to food (just wanting the flavor and/or texture)

great movie, or greatest movie?

July 31, 2011

max headroom we need you more than ever

July 31, 2010

--Max Headroom was really ahead of his time -- kinda predicted Fox News by a few decades!
Operationally, God is beginning to resemble not a ruler but the last fading smile of a cosmic Cheshire cat.
Sir Julian Huxley


there is nothing safe in this room

July 31, 2009
2019 UPDATE: Sadly, the fuckheads at UMG have been pretty successful at removing all versions of "white wedding literal version". Here's a transcription of the lyrics:
Hey look at me I wrapped up my head
Here's how I slowly get it all undone
Big candelabra I am shirtless now
'cept for my necklace and a leather glove
Hey do you smell my bad breath?
He's a doctor who can raise the dead
It's a good time for my cool glove
If you stay here I will check you out

Open the doors and let the fog in
Here comes the bride but who's the other one?
Some of my friends are Gothic (Gothic)
Some of my friends are New Wave
Some of my friends are Straight Edge

I'm gunna cut you with the wedding ring
Come on, it's a nice touch for Goth wedding
and my hair needs to be bleached again!

(Grab the butt)

Standin' by candles

She will dance inside the kitchen, baby
But there is nothing safe in this room
And the sink is also not working
And there's stuff blowing up everywhere
'cause there's something wrong with this room

Come on, she's a white bride in Goth wedding
Wow! Now I'll tap my foot in leather pants!
Now it is time to go outside!
--In retrospect, it seems kind of weird to have played (the original of) this at my actual wedding.

Between a team that's "pick one, pitching or hitting" and the unstartling but disappointing Big Papi "tested positive" news, bad time for the Red Sox.

ESCape! ESCape!

(1 comment)
July 31, 2008
Ugh, I am in such an aggressively craptastic mood right now it's kind of pathetic.

Quote of the Moment
"I think you've clicked 'yes' a few too many times when you should've just ESCaped and gotten out of there."
"Honey, you've just described the story of my life."
Working with my Aunt on her laptop, which has a bit of, if not malware outright, general toolbar and crapware.

The more expensive the car, the less bad you feel about the ticket on the windshield...
SpindleyQ Yay! Welcome to our crew of "another jerk with an iphone"!
I am in the grumpiest of moods and I'm not sure why. I didn't even want to read on the T this morning, just kind of sit and sulk.

long ramble and a funny video

July 31, 2007
So, for around a week now I haven't had any soda. I haven't missed it much, a bit too my surprise.

Part of the impetus might have been EB sending along this Soft Drinks Linked to Metabolic Syndrome Risk link. There wasn't any particular reason why it should be a trigger for positive change over previous warnings, but so far, so good.

I made another odd health-related purchase... the StressEraser, a somewhat overpriced biofeedback-lite tool. In practice it's a breathing meditation guide gizmo, cue-ing when to exhale based on some light biometric data (pulse and heat, I think.) The net result reminds me a bit of the practice outlined in The Relaxation Response. Plus, err, Wired gave it 9/10.

(I should say that I'm more willing to risk a trip into the wonderful world of pricey electro-quackery after being delighted with DermaSeptic as a startlingly effective fever blister remedy. Forget the Abreva and all those goops, this is the only thing short of acyclovir/alacyclovir that works.)

Also this weekend I finally got to digging up all the 401K stuff I could find so as to enlist the aid of a new financial adviser. I've made the effort in the past, but with 7 job changes and just as many moves its been a mess, and I have evidence that some attempts to rollover failed, while other ones succeeded. (In digging through the paperwork, I found $5K in an old Scottrade account that I guess was a project of Mo's but went to me as part of the divorce settlement. W00T!)

QUESTION: I now have a big garbage bag full of old, potentially sensitive bills and other documents that I want to get rid of. It would take forever with my puny shredder. And, personally, I don't quite trust myself to make a bonfire on my own. Any suggestions?

In a similar vein I got (yet more) bookshelves. (Priced at $30 at Tags, though the computer thought they were $50.) So I reorganized the front room/shared workspace of the apartment. Plus, I sorted through the old stash of Atari games, took out the ones I really care about (mostly head to head games, a few others) and am getting the rest ready for Ebay.

So, I'm optimistic about my life decluttering and simplification efforts. This was a good weekend for them, and I need to ride that to make my apartment and financial environment

Quote of the Moment
The most effective way to do it, is to do it.
. Guess I showed that this weekend! Though one shouldn't forget the old technique of "productive task avoidance", setting one unpleasant task against another.

Link of the Moment
Yeesh, after all that prattling you deserve an amusing video:

--Recruitment Spot from the Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force's. I want to go fight for Japan! Via 5 Military Recruitment Ads That Suck, which also includes the Spanish-language US spot with the Latino who went on to get killed in Iraq, whoops, and a painfully blatant "soldiers are attractive to women!" spot from Ukraine.

The Who Sucks site is interesting. A bit overly cynical, but it reminds me of what I think was the original mandate of (long lost) suck.com: websites that suck.

wars, rumors of war, etc

July 31, 2006
I don't have a lot to say about the accidental death of all those civilians in Lebanon. It's an awful tragedy. Our administration putting all its eggs in the basket of Iraq, and now using platitudes about needing "sustainable peace" as an excuse not to get in there and do something, as if there's some magic fix waiting to be applied, and any stopping of hostilities in the meanwhile would just get in the way of that.

I had to scoff at the latest cover of Time magazine that had a picture of Bush in an Air Force One top and the caption "The Weight of the World". Given how famously he's ducked losing a night's sleep during his watch, it's hard to take the idea of him being restless and troubled seriously. Some props to him for using the term "Terrible" in regards to Iraq.

Christian Fundies who are eager to look to the current Israel/Lebanon conflict as a harbinger of the events of Revelation are an odd lot. One theory I've heard is that the antichrist might come as a peace bringer, maybe the man who manages to bring peace to Middle East and solve the Gordian Knot of all the conflict there. The whole Fundie view of Israel, then, is kind of weird, because these are people who root for things that hasten the coming of the end of the word, not against, like most non-insane people. The dangerous bit of thinking is "pre-Tribulation", that all the faithful will be sucked up into heaven before the crap really hits the fan. I think if more Christians assumed that they'd be around for the 7 years of tribulation, they'd be less excited about end-of-days events.

Of course, that's all part of the fun of prophecy, it's abilities to be self-fufilling, self-negating, or happen anyway even when you try to prevent it.

Shirt of the Moment
The other day I did a literal double take at this incredibly crass T-shirt, claiming, in more graphic terms, that the wearer's ability to assemble a computer indicates an ability to grant the reader sexual satisfaction. Assuming that the shirt was intended to be about the female orgasm... yeah, that's exactly what women are in on the hunt for, physical human sexuality brought to the leve a geekish hobby. While I think there is something to that "Revenge of the Nerds" idea that "Jocks only think about sports, nerds only think about sex" and that that intense interest can help create thoughtful and skillful lovers, that shirt is still just r,o,n,g RONG.

Tangent: they're remaking Revenge of the Nerds? Yeesh. Though it is hard to believe that its been 22 years.

Secondary Tangent: I love quotes, and I used to regularly visit IMDb's frontpage to get their "Movie/TV Quote of the Day". But then thet stopped attributing it in the page, and instead have a teaser "From which TV show/Movie?" link. That subconciously really bugs me, turning it from a quote appreciation thing to a dumb movie trivia game, and I dropped the daily visits to the site. Of course it's still the canonical movie information source, Trivia, Goofs and Quotes especialy.

smell of mystery

July 31, 2005
Had a mystery smell in my front room for the past week, maybe a bit less. Odd odor...if it hadn't shown up before I started catsitting Isis I would have been on the hunt for a wayward bit of cat poo. It seemed to be stronger from the window, so I also glanced outside to see if maybe a dog had left me a present, or if some "party-heartier" might have had booze that decided to come out the same way it came in. Or some wayward cheese.

Nothing. All clear outside, and all sniffs around the window area were to no avail. Fortunately the smell wasn't that strong to begin with, but still it was definately there, and rather off-putting when you caught a whiff.

Then of course you start to worry that it's one of Those Smells That Won't Go Away. (Like that old joke about the divorcing woman who hid rotting fish in the curtain rods of the house her ex-husband won in the court battle, 'til finally he sells it to her ten cents on the dollar, but in moving out brings the curtain rods with him.) Could it be a dead creature that got caught in the walls? Just some Splotch of Eternal Mystery?

Fortunately there is a happy ending to this. My nose finally realized the error of its ways...the smell wasn't from the window, but from my desk...two little plants that Ksenia had brought over during a move were kind of sitting there making their own gravy...the stagnant water in the plastic tray they were sitting in had a kind of brackish pungency to it.

And that was it! One thing for which I'm very grateful is that very few odors linger once the offending source material is removed. Very few smells have that skunk-like property of just hanging around and insisting on extreme measures. (Though I guess in the case of the skunk it's more the oil that gets stuck on stuff.) This makes up for the way it's so hard to localize a smell. Maybe they should make some machine that can detect odors part-per-million and play a little game of "hotter, colder" with you.

put this in your pipe and smoke it donkey konga

July 31, 2004
Music of the Moment
Saskrotch makes some cool, tiny music bits: "nintendo breakz" is about 40 old NES tunes with breakbeats behind them. Fun.

Old Onion of the Moment
Christopher Reeve Placed Atop Washington Monument

WASHINGTON, DC--One of America's most beloved landmarks, the Washington Monument, became all the more stirring and inspiring Monday with the addition of disabled actor Christopher Reeve.

Reeve, 51, paralyzed below the neck after a tragic equestrian mishap 6 years ago, was bolted to the pinnacle of the 555-foot monument and affixed with display spotlights for night viewing. He will remain there permanently, on 24-hour display.

"Christopher has shown himself to be a pillar of strength and courage who brings out the best in us all," said John Beaumont, Director of U.S. Parks and Services. "He was a logical addition to this already impressive monument. Once the idea was presented, nothing could stop us: not logistical problems, not budget constraints, not even the teary objections of Mr. Reeve."
The Onion
My all time favorite Onion article...funny headline, funny writeup. ("Though Reeve was unable to speak at the commemoration due to an intense fear of heights, no one was more moved by the ceremony than the actor himself. 'Please let me down,' the visibly touched celebrity said to reporters. 'I'm cold, and I miss my family.'") Someone preserved the rest of the article. (No picture, though.)

Form of the Moment
Heh...PDF but worth a quick glance, for after the breakup it's the relationship evaluation form. "The purpose of this evaluation form is to learn of your opinions on, and experiences of, our previous relationship; both to improve the quality of my future relationships and also so that we can compare our thoughts on the one we had." It's hard to tell if it's tongue-in-cheek or serious; maybe some of each. I think there's some of this I'm still wishing I could hear from Mo; on the other hand, I realized she's right sometimes when she refuses to talk about some stuff saying "we've been through this already"; I forget about the tone and content of some of our past correspondance since the breakup.

7 Days 'til the divorce is final...

i fall to pieces

July 31, 2003
Flash Toy of the Moment
Short but rather subtley nightmarish, it's Flash toy 'clinger'. (via cryingshame58 on the loveblender board)

Story of the Moment
There is a Sufi story of a man at a bazaar who saw Death looking for him. He raced off and caught a train for New Delhi just as it pulled away. Death saw him as he left and said, 'Funny, I wonder what's he doing here. I have an appointment with him next Tuesday in Delhi.'

Article of the Moment
My favorite philosopher Daniel Dennett made some waves lately with a NY Times Editorial The Bright Stuff. There he talks about a new self-identifie "minority", the Brights. The Brights Movement page says defines a Bright as "a person whose worldview is naturalistic (free of supernatural and mystical elements)." That's it, but in a land of "faith-based initiatives the stand can be a little bold.

I think the term is a little unfortunate though, just because it sounds a bit arrogant.

Anyway, I found a reference to this on The Sound and Fury, a right-leaning Politics-and-General-Interest Blog contributed to by LAN3, reader and sometimes comments-board-contributor of this site.

chicken pot pies

July 31, 2002
On the guestbook, bozo wonders (regarding the Pennsylvania miners' rescue) how can humans be so noble and heroic at times yet spend most of their efforts trying to kill each other ? Err, well, to be fair most of us don't spend most of our efforts trying to kill each other. But, if anything, I find the fault being the way we group ourselves. It's way too easy for us to get into tribe-vs-tribe like situations, and lose a "global village" perspective. That's why I have very mixed feelings about ideas like "celebrate diversity". The closer we are to being a giant homogenous mass, the less prone to genocide we'll be. (Not that I'm advocating 1950s-style pressured-conformity either.)

Image of the Moment
The easiest way through the solar system, full size picture and more details from this cellar article.

Quote of the Moment
I guess everyone has had that one breakup where you just want to sit in your house for six months, smoking cigarettes and eating chicken pot pies in your underwear.
Jake Johannsen.
BTW, Dylan really likes Chicken Pot Pies, especially from Friendly's. I don't know about him and the breakup bit, but I think they would get upset if you tried to go there in just your underwear.

good, bad, ugly, in that order

July 31, 2001
Quote of the Moment
"The original coffeehouse was a place where men of all types could sit all day; the tobacco they smoked made it possible to drink coffee all day; and the coffee they drank inspired them to talk all day," writes Gladwell. "Out of this came the Enlightenment."
New Yorker Critic at Large.
The article also talked about how messing with our brain chemistry has been going on for so long, from caffeine on up, that it should be considered part of what we are.

Creepy and Sad Link of the Moment
Yesterday's Cruel site was this website that starts "I assume that if you are reading this then i have died", written by an 18 year old before he committed suicide. I would have wondered if it was a fake, but it seems to be verified by this article in the Sun newspaper.

from the T-shirt Archive: #11 of a Series

"Destination Fun". Another tanktop. The design definitely doesn't live up to my usual standards for T-shirts, I guess I was more lenient with tanktops.

Rap cliche of the 90s:
My name is _____
and I'm here to say
that I ____ _____ _____
in a major way!
Ok, this should be the last memo this month. Not sure what the difference has been.
"Values of will give rise to dom!"
--Ritchie's Sixth Edition Unix mv command
/* You are not expected to understand this */
--Ritchie, comment in Sixth Edition Unix
Many supermarket chashiers here in Nashville wear these ["What Would Jesus Do?"] bracelets. I have this recurring fantasy of one day screaming out "You know what Jesus would do?!?! He'd bag my fucking groceries a bit faster!"
pet tags for murphy: 800-543-TAGS

"some days are better than lovers"
          -misheard Meredith Brooks lyric
dylan's problem is that he already has and uses his "soap opera name"
damn it rebekah-
you don't dance
"After all, those who can't repeat the past are condemned to remember it"
          --Mark O'Donnell, Getting Over Homer
I think of a story Sean brought home from CYO camp, about an Indian brave so in love with a maiden from the tribe across the lake he tries to swim over to her and drowns.  The punchline is, *And from that day to this, it has been known as Lake Stupid.*
          --Mark O'Donnell, Getting Over Homer