November 7, 2019

While I grant that Yoda's characterisation in the prequel trilogy has serious continuity issues, the basic premise of his character arc doesn't bother me – I have absolutely no difficulty whatsoever believing that the Yoda we see in the original trilogy has committed war crimes.

My first encounter with the weird sex aspect of the Internet, back in like 1993 or so, was the text The Sexual Adventures of the Smurfs, describing the annual orgiastic "Smuckfest". (R-Rated link, I suppose, but kind of too goofy to really titillate.) "And, as is his privilege, Papa Smurf throws out the first throe" is an idiosyncratic turn of phrase that has stuck with me... like, the throes of passion? But singular? Weird.
Lovely piece on Mr. Rogers and the upcoming movie with Tom Hanks. There's a religious stance that so deeply molded everything about Fred Rogers - but his lessons in the public square were purely humanistic and secular, which I think is worth noting.
Want to help? Focus on lowering Drug Consumption in US. Want to help some more? Stop the ATF and Gun Law loopholes from systematically injecting high powered assault weapons to Mexico.

election night

November 7, 2018
My friend Hannah saw me and some folk entertaining at Elizabeth Warren's election night shindig:

Besides the robocall spammers, who is profiting from not stopping the robocall spammers?

November 7, 2017

More slow progress in refining my understanding of myself and maybe the human condition.

I find for almost everything I don't like about myself, and even some of the things I do, there's a cynical explanation (usually along the lines of doing things for external approval) and a more sympathetic one (that I do things for more moral reasons - and so that approval from my social group is just validation, a sign post that I'm on the righteous path.)

A few weeks ago I was talking about the metaphor of the elephant (our intuitive knowledge and motive force) and the rider (our narrative rational self that takes credit for guiding us but is mostly just hanging on for dear life and making up after-the-fact explanations for what the elephant does) and how my elephant is weirdly self-referential; that what drives me emotionally is a desire to to be correct rationally.

Cynical explanation for that: I just can't stand being wrong, or I fear being called out. Sympathetic explanation: This kind of striving for truth is what righteousness IS for me.

Maybe my need to not be wrong is something parallel to OCD, or even a form of it... if a person with OCD doesn't do their counting, or get whatever ritual right, what will happen? Rationally they often understand things would probably be ok, but at the emotional level, things would be Wrong. "R, O, N, G, WRONG!" as my beloved high school math teacher Mr. Pawlowski would say. For folks with clinical OCD and for my (hopefully subclinical) need for truth: even if we know in our heart there may not be external consequences for being Capital-R Wrong there are absolutely real internal and emotional ones - integrity-challenging ones, in fact. There might not be a God of Correctness looking for me to slip up or hoards of peers waiting for me to have an incorrect view, but there might as well be.

Cynical explanation for the comparison with OCD: It's a self-coddling, excuse-making, half-assed self-diagnosis. Sympathetic explanation: it's a useful metaphor that might provide insight in to my own processing, and even empathy for people who suffer from the real deal.

When pontificating on a topic that I know has different sides, I often feel compelled to start with the counterargument, which makes my train of thought rather hard to follow at best, and at worst gives my debating opponent more ammo.

Cynical explanation: I am showing off how smart I am, and how I've considered every angle, or possibly trying to pre-empt counterarguments by showing how they've already been considered and found wanting. Sympathetic explanation: accepting that there will always be subjective disagreements on the higher level of judgement (vs the low level of plain fact, objective reality) is critical to me and this is how I go about describing it. Also, it reflects the non-linear way my mind works.

I had a (possibly final, or at least last for a while) walking discussion/debate with my estranged college buddy and erstwhile debate companion EB. He used the conservative labeling of some liberal behaviors as mere "virtue signaling" - this cynical view discounts the motivations of liberals as just showing off how they're in accordance with the values of their tribe, their echo chamber, that "political correctness" isn't just using language considerate of the feeling of other groups but a tool for reinforcing a power structure.

I guess I don't understand why "virtue signaling" would have to be mere posturing - even if it has an important social aspect, why it can't be doing two jobs at once, and so also reflecting intrinsic belief and motivations? In evolution they talk about signals, messages animals are effectively sending to each other (The bright colors of a poisonous butterfly serving as a warning to leave me alone, it'll be better for both of us, or the antelope stotting when the lions about, leaping up and down in the presence of a predator to show off how hard to catch it is) But the entire enterprise is founded on the fact that signals often mean something. They can be faked, sure, and a good faked message provides real value for its user, but there's an entire arms race of signals that are hard to fake.

Cynical explanation for this whole damn essay, and other ones like it: I'm a self-absorbed navel gazer and out to show how smart I am. Sympathetic explanation: this is just stuff I'm working through as I try to piece together a satisfying moral path against the existential backdrop of the universe, and by posting it I hope to get insights from my fellow travellers, or maybe help them coalesce their own thoughts. Sure I'm contemplating my own navel, but there are darn few other navels that I have permission to gaze into - or at least thoughtscapes that are accessible to me as my own interior.

Unrelatedly, I'm listening to the self-help book "F*ck Feelings" (more out of curiosity and not finding much appealing on Hoopla). In general I like its message of getting through self-delusion and working with what you got, but I've never liked a message it echoes of "At least you can know you've done your best". Life is a ceaseless plethora of demands on our limited resources and energy and focus and time, so there are always compromises we could probably make in terms of those, but that we probably shouldn't under normal circumstances. It seems wise to usually leave something in the tank in case something comes up, you know?

I feel like I would be a bad football coach-ish peptalk giver.

November 7, 2016

My folks in their Salvation Army Officer uniforms, I'm guessing in Salamanca the late 1970s or early 1980s.

Best part may be how you can see my dad's tie is a clip-on. Also his glasses may be, remarkably, more expansive than my own.
Jeezie Petes why are Clinton and Trump being interviewed on Monday Night Football? So much for escapism.

November 7, 2015

Gotta have opposites dark and light, light and dark in painting. It's like in life. Gotta have a little sadness once in a while so you know when the good times come. I'm waiting on the good times now.
Bob Ross

November 7, 2014

Slate on Demographics and our likely future of cycles gridlock. So, Democrats have demographics on their side, Republicans have more adamant (and old) voters who refuse any idea of compromise. So we'll get Democratic presidents and Republican Congress, and more flipflopping Senta-wise, with that wonky 6 year cycle.

Personally I think Republicans need to grow up. You already see some signs of this, like how many have had to shift on former bedrock issues like gay rights. The article suggests they could use a leader to water down the more radical part and widely unpalatable parts of the conservatism, just like Clinton watered down the liberalism.
Hunter took this photo of me pontificating, or maybe doing a vampire impression of some sort, at last night's TechHub Boston Demo night (at Harpoon Brewery)

The Sixth Stage of Grief Is Retro-computing - a beautiful treatise on old computers and listening to people. "Avuncular" is a lovely thing to be, and I should work to be better at it, especially as some kids important to me grow to ages where I can share bits of creative geekery with them.

November 7, 2013

Man, 600-calorie "fasting" days are more manageable when you realize big yellow peppers are around 40-50 calories each and there's a stand that has them at 3 for a buck around the corner.
I'm the only person in my company's new office space today! It's dark, rainy, and a little lonely.


this is just to say
i have 99 problems
one of them is
i only know one poem
and another is
i only know one song

A Dead Pixel In The Sky #SixWordSciFi

uncle bill

November 7, 2012
My Uncle Bill passed away last night, in a hospital bed but surrounded by family. After we had a mini-wake with lots of "Grey Goose Martinis, straight up"

I sort of enjoy how the Fox News website makes a "Four More Years" headline sound like a threat when to me it's a promise.
Obama raised the bar for how bad an economy you can get reelected with. But future historians will scoff, 'That was in the Tea Party era.'

big ol head

November 7, 2011
--Sticking my head over Amber's shoulder in the mirror reminded me what an oversized cranium my neck sports... hadn't thought about that in a while

The intelligent man finds almost everything ridiculous, the sensible man hardly anything.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

I think grown adult in a "SAW" movie should have to use algebra practically or EXPLODE, just to weaken some punk middle schooler's argument.

tuba weekend day 2

November 7, 2010 - Amber saved 3 trees, 316 gallons of water, 890 lbs of greenhouse gas by using this site to not get catalogs...
The art of living is more like wrestling than dancing.
Marcus Aurelius (turns out classic Stoicism is like happier Buddhism!) - the power of braces
What it is, what it was, what it might become.
Dr. Teeth (of Muppet "Electric Mayhem" fame), right?

Product idea: Doc Jimminy Joe's Old Timey De-Stinkifyin' Sweat-Blockin' Armpit Rub
The last Patriots game I watched bits of was the loss to the Jets. At least this one was to my semi-beloved Cleveland.


November 7, 2009
click to use

seg14font - source
built with processing

What's this? Some kind of half-assed font based on Fourteen-Segment LCD Displays? Could this be some kind of study for the secret project that's totally going to dominate this site for the lion's share of december? MMM COULD BE... - worst mouse ever?
New shoes, work casual slip-ons. Realizing I'm just now getting over the trauma of only being able to wear slip-ons in first grade 'cause I didn't know how to tie 'em and velcro sneakers weren't around.
"Did you apply for a job at the Vitamin Shoppe?"
"He said he didn't have any openings."
"-everybody has openings... ....or how does he poop with?"

you down wit' entropy?

November 7, 2008
So like I twittered last night, I went on a small Amazon MP3 binge last night. I bought two covers of "Forever Young" (by Interactive and Ella), two covers of "Total Eclipse of the Heart" (Europop by Jan Wayne + Lena, and a softer live version by Tori Amos), some nerdcore (2 by MC Hawking and one by mc chris, but really I bought that to morally justify ripping "Fett's Vette" from youtube.)

The big find for me was the cover of "Money" by "Flying Lizards" - the super harsh one with the disinterested-and-germanic-sounding woman speaking her lines. I could have sworn I tried to hunt it down before but came up empty, but now I found it on both youtube and Amazon.

All that eclectic stuff for about $9, less than the cost of most new CDs. It is such a great way of buying music; I don't want to steal songs, I think musicians (and, yeah, even the companies that helped bring them to prominence) deserve renumeration -- but having lived through the glory days of Napster, and now finding a surprising number of songs on youtube, I am fussy about not having to pay for 10 songs on a disc when I'll like maybe 2 or 3. Plus, a while back I brought in a lot of change to one of those coinstar machines, and took out the money as an Amazon gift certificate which I've been gradually draining, so I can coast and really use Amazon's 1 click purchase stuff without sweating payment.

Video of the Moment

--One of those MC Hawking songs I mentioned -- maybe you have to dig the old OPP, but this is really funny. And the video is terrific in a America's Funniest kind of way.

Political Comment of the Moment
What was missing was a regulator who understood markets, rather than worshiped them.

Damn but I love Amazon MP3. 99 cent, DRM-free tracks are exactly what I want; I don't want to steal, I don't want to pay for B-side filler
(But it's useful to know how to rip songs outta youtube... for a while I thought I had to do that for the Flying Lizard's cover of "Money")
Crap, I just noticed Google doesn't seem to be indexing my whole site anymore, despite the nice static URLs I made for its archive.

hello my name is KIRK

November 7, 2007
Like many big companies, Nokia uses name badges for its employees.

When I was younger, I used to hate having to wear a "Hello, my name is..." style tag. Typical adolescent "rebel against conformity!" type stuff, I guess. Now I've mellowed and I just see them as a friendly gesture, a polite hint in a world full of casual acquaintances with good intentions but poor memories.

The Nokia badge has my headshot on it, and while it's not bad as far as those photographs go, I do feel a little extra dorky wearing it. Kind of like those commercial Halloween costumes that put the name and face of the character right smack dab in the center of the chest. They print the first name a little bigger than the last on the IDs. In my case, that makes my first name exactly as wide as my last, which is a nice aesthetic touch.

I'm a little wary of accidentally keeping this thing on on the subway, letting people who don't know me achieve a faux-familiarity by calling me by name.

Exchange of the Moment
"You ever spend time among the witches?"
Yes. And among academicians, and among spirits. I found folly everywhere, but there were grains of wisdom in every stream of it. No doubt there was much more wisdom that I failed to recognize. Life is hard, Mr. Scoresby, but we cling to it all the same.
Lee Scoresby and Stanislaus Grumman in Phillip Pullman's "The Subtle Knife"

Design of the Moment
The current issue of Time magazine has a best inventions of 2007 feature. Its almost worth picking up the print version for the better presentation, as well as the rendering of what someone getting all the functionality of an iPhone with circa-1988 technology would be toting around (pushing a unicycle contraption with PC, thermometer, rolodex, telephone, TV, boombox, a holster with a bunch of maps, a backpack structure with a mailbox, small satellite dish, framed photo, and a car battery and power strip to power it all...)

happy billday

November 7, 2006
Just a quick note,

Quote of the Moment
I know the answer! The answer lies within the heart of all mankind! The answer is twelve? I think I'm in the wrong building.
Charles M. Schulz
I guess that's an old Peppermint Patty routine?

Manuscripts of the Moment
The British Library's Turning the Pages is pretty cool! Zoomable original manuscripts, Da Vinci's notebook, Mozart's music, the Original "Alice in Wonderland", plus a host of others.

It's a Shockwave app. The "page turning" interface is neat-looking but finicky to use, but you can always use the slider underneath. (Actually this link was in that "backlog flush", but I thought it was cool enough to merit a bit more attention than that.


November 7, 2005
Best Moment of the Moment
Anyway, Pee-wee loves fruit salad and says so. Miss Yvonne, obviously thinking with her enormous pair of brain, laughs and tells Pee-wee to marry fruit salad if he loves it so much. Pee-wee was always offering up marriage to the others. Love that sandwich? WHY DON'T YOU MARRY IT? Love using the telephone? WHY DON'T YOU MARRY IT? Pee-wee is just like my fucking family. I'M NOT READY FOR THAT KIND OF COMMITMENT AUNT PAM JUST LET ME HAVE SEX WITH MY FRUIT SALAD ON A REGULAR BASIS COMFORTABLY PLEASE. I MEAN EAT IT.
I liked the leading essay...especially the rant against people saying "they must have been on drugs"... "Pee-wee and the people who helped him write the show were not on drugs, you know why? Because people on drugs aren't clever or creative. They say things like DAVE'S NOT HERE MAN and it is JOKES and JOKES and JOKES and JOKES." (thanks Bill)

we got the beat

November 7, 2004
So, I'm a rhythm and beat-centric kind of guy, and one thing I always notice is the pattern of my car's turn indicators...I like to find patterns with different beats, see if I kind find synchronicity in too different patterns The thing about blinkers' beat is that it that they NEVER MATCH ANYTHING. Never have the same beat as traffic signals, never match the music, never even match the blinkers of other cars. For some reason that really bugs me.

Quote of the Moment
What if a Spanish guy was named Ita,
then you'd have to call him Senor Ita.

Link of the Moment
What brands got the most play in Hip Hop songs in 2003? Mercedes, Lexus, Gucci, Cadillac, and Burberry.

I'm so white. "But I went to a very black high school".

tetrus questus

November 7, 2003
Guestbook Response of the Moment
Someone has been posting asking where to find old-school Nintendo "Tetrus". Well, as long as you spell it "Tetris", you should have no problems finding cartridges for almost any system on E-Bay, or a thousand online versions if you search on's one.

Flash Tool of the Moment
Slate Whack-A-Pol lets you pick your presidential canidate by process of elimination...pick the issues that are important to you, and down go the canidates who disagree with that position.

Link of the Moment
Heheheh, the Buttafly Guide to Interpreting Friendster Photos.

Quote of the Moment
We didn't have any money, and we didn't have Coke left, and I was literally trying to finish this. And I looked at the Red Bull, and I'm like, 'It has caffeine in it!' I literally went through most of a case that time, and I was up two or three days ... The strange thing about Red Bull is that it has this really weird ability, and it's not just the caffeine, to keep you really sharp and focused, even though you've been up for two or three days. Usually [on caffeine], you get hazy and you're wired but you're tired, mentally not functioning. But [on Red Bull] you can focus, and you can think logically and clearly. You get tired, but usually it just gets you tired to the point where you're not likely to get distracted. You're just kind of a zombie, but you can focus and think, and it helped to do massive amounts of programming where I had thought of the design before, and I just had to do the programming ... By the end of it, I called the cops because there was a car across the street the second night and I thought it was going to do something bad. I remember calling the cops, and they said something about it not being in their jurisdiction, call somebody else. And then I realized I was kind of going crazy.
I just like that realization at the end, more than the implicit endorsement of Red Bull.

¡hola señor!

November 7, 2002
Funny of the Moment
"¿Que Hora Es?"...The Mexican Soap Opera for people who only had a few months of Spanish in Elementary School!
Skit intro on "Cedric the Entertainer"

Nostalgic Geek Link of the Moment
The Amiga was the awesome computer of the mid- to late-1980s. It had graphics and sound capabilities that PCs wouldn't get until the early 1990s, and had a built in "genlock" so it could overlay things on video signal inputs, and was ahead of its time in many other ways as well. I never had one, so seeing a site like Amiga Reviews gives me this weird nostalgia for a future that never was. I'm so used to think of the Amiga as a better computer than what I have, that seeing it and its now very dated collection of games is a bit disconcerting. The magazine reviews are from the UK, and the multiple reviewer commentary took years to make it to the USA.

Political Link of the Moment
And I thought I was a bit upset about the recent elections... (via Bill the Splut)

Wacky News Link of the Moment
"Look at me! I'm invisible! Time to go hit a bank!"

Duhhhh. Was it the movie Mystery Men that had the hero who was invisible so long as no one was looking? (Along with the Shoveler: "God's given me a gift. I shovel well. I shovel very well.")

Cartoon of the Moment

shirt stories

November 7, 2001
from the T-shirt Archive: 23-25 of a Tedious Series
This is the final installment of this set of shirts, thank goodness.

Raunchy Funny Adult Link of the Moment
Ok, only follow this link if you're not a kid and you're not easily offended. Some aspiring young woman claims to have made herself a "Trainer for Ladies". Lets just say it's a real hummer-dinger.

My personal belief is that in 90% of the cases, whoever takes the "it's all or nothing" position, deserves to get the nothing
--Jose (JRDelirio) Diaz
"Now, I know I may not be the most likeable politician, but at least I'm not an idiot. Let's face it. My opponent doesn't even understand half the things I've claimed to have done."
--Joe Lavin 'quoting' Al Gore
"[Al Gore] want[s] the federal government to control Social Security like it's some kind of federal program."
--George W. Bush
When the ax entered the forest, the trees said, "The handle is one of us!"
--Turkish proverb
Today's election day.  Cast my votes along with Mo.  Finally these damn campaigns will be over with!  They said Gore had a last minute polling upswing, I'm pessimistic that it will make the difference since Republicans poll low.
First christmas song of the season- woman jazz vocalist cover of Winter Wonderland at the Gap.