Thursday, November 30, 2006

A quiz from cubicle row

Wherein let's assume I'm just making this up

Scenario: you are hired as a temporary contractor. You can be fired at will and since much of what you'll be working on is highly collaborative, ability to get along is valued. At the end of your first day you realize you just have a twenty and need change for the bus.

When you ask if anyone can break a twenty and the answer turns out to be no, should you respond with:
  1. Thanks, I'll get change at the gas station around the corner.
  2. Could I borrow a buck or two and pay you back tomorrow?
  3. You people are poor!

For the [fictional] record of this [fictional] scenario, let's assume that the [fictional] people in the [fictional] question did collect the [fictional] bus fare and did not say "At least we all have cars to drive our poor asses to our jobs."

I'm dreaming of tired and lazy headlines

Wherein time to move on and find some other phrase to run into the ground.

  • I’m dreaming of a cool Christmas
    In French, a special word is preserved for performers of such grace and style for whom the word “singer” is inadequate. They are called “chansonniers,” a term for which there is no adequate English translation. It means one who sings in French, but carries much deeper significance and respect than that.

  • I'm dreaming of a Brown Chistmas
    Everyone remembers Linus quoting the birth story of Jesus from Luke's Gospel. What many viewers may not have caught is that when he begins the story with "Fear not," Linus drops his famous secruity blanket. He recognizes the significance of what the angel told the shepherds.

  • I'm dreaming of a Jewish Thanksgiving
    That's not from Genesis; it's from the warped imagination of a Pico-Robertson Jew trying to understand the American love affair with Thanksgiving, this holiest of days in the American calendar. Ever since I moved to this country 25 years ago, I've been in awe of how 250 million people stop everything during the fourth Thursday of November to gather around cranberry sauce, stuffing and bread pudding.

  • I’m dreaming of a holiday spectacular
    Fifty-three performances of the stage play “White Christmas” are scheduled between Nov. 18 and Dec. 30 at the Fox. The musical extravaganza is filled with dancing, laughter, beautiful music and snow.

  • I'm Dreaming of a Black Thanksgiving
    Everyone knows the true secret of Thanksgiving: T-Giving Eve is one of the best nights of the year to meet your buddies home for the holidays and catch any number of tight local bands at your nearest watering hole. If you're lucky, you might catch someone on national tour who through the vagaries of tour management happens to be stuck eating turkey at the Uptown Embers. Someone like, say, Ike Reilly.

  • I'm dreaming of a sustainable Christmas
    Goods once made in Europe are more inexpensively produced in China, and British retailers are more than happy to import cheaper goods while consumers appreciate the lower prices. But what seems to be a win-win situation for Chinese and British alike comes at a price, not only in terms of European jobs, but also for the environment. Such global shifts have big implications for our students, who need to be prepared to discuss and debate the choices to be made.

  • I'm Dreaming of a Green Christmas
    Actually, I'm not dreaming of a green Christmas, but I know many e-retailers who will be soon if they're not already.

    Well, the early holiday e-shopping estimates have begun to emerge, even before shoppers have fully cranked up their browsers, and the prognostications are once again decidedly bullish.

  • I'm dreaming of a short book
    Working YP is always a bit of a crap shoot: in some branches, it often feels like little more than babysitting the printers. But today the branch was chock full of people actually looking for books.

  • I’m dreaming of a Canon HV10
    So lately, I’ve started eyeing camcorders. Years ago, it was something I had very little interest in, but as we do more slapdash episodes, the urge to have my own is growing. Of course being the Canon boy that I am, my firsty instinct was to check out their line. I was immediately drawn to the Canon HV10 which is their newest High Def camcorder. My sights are a little high though, because that $1500 price tag is a little out of my range. Besides I don’t even have a HD TV. But that’s another story altogether.

  • I'm dreaming of a white...out
    It's been snowing nonstop since I got here. Outside, my bike is holding all the snow physics will allow. It's coming down harder than ever. Oh look, the snowstorm is all over news and weather sites like it's something special. Ha! I have it on good authority people are biking around it without shoes. Come to think of it, I'm not too excited about the return trip.

  • I'm Dreaming of a Holiday Episode (1989)
    My Two Dads, 20 December 1989 (Season 3, Episode 12)

  • I'm Dreaming of a Brown Christmas
    Murphy Brown" (1988); Original Air Date: 14 December 1992 (Season 5, Episode 12)

  • I'm Dreaming of a Slight Christmas
    "The Bob Newhart Show" (1972); Original Air Date: 22 December 1973, (Season 2, Episode 15)

  • I'm Dreaming of a Slight Christmas
    "The Hughleys" (1998); Original Air Date: 17 December 2001, (Season 4, Episode 12)

  • I'm Dreaming of a Pink Christmas
    "Operation Petticoat" (1977); Original Air Date: 17 December 1977, (Season 1, Episode 12)

  • I'm Dreaming of a Wide Isthmus
    "The Wackiest Ship in the Army" (1965); Original Air Date: 19 December 1965, (Season 1, Episode 14)

  • I'm Dreaming of a White Ranger
    "Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers" (1993); Original Air Date: 25 December 1995, (Season 3, Episode 31)

  • I'm Dreaming of a Black Christmas
    "Julia" (1968); Original Air Date: 24 December 1968, (Season 1, Episode 14)

  • I'm Dreaming of a Wayne Christmas
    "A Different World" (1987); Original Air Date: 13 December 1990, (Season 4, Episode 11)

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

"Oooh, excess of negative booty. I see."

Wherein reason 10,029 I am happy the internet exists.

Conversation of the day.

Looking for information on Josephus Nelson Larned

Wherein aka J.N. Larned

Larned, Josephus Nelson, 1836-1913

A few years back I took a box of old books my mom was getting rid of. Many were probably from her father. One set I've just started looking through is J.N. Larned's History of the World; Or Seventy centuries of the life of mankind. It's five volumes covering prehistorical times through the beginning of the twentieth century. Published in 1914, a year after his death.

Here's a list of his published works:
  • Report On The State Of Trade Between The US & British..America [n|1871]
  • Talks About Labor And..The Laborers And The Capitalists [e|1876]
  • History For Ready Reference (w Alan C REILEY) [n|1894]
  • The Literature Of American History (ed) [e|1902]
  • An Historical Sketch Of The Buffalo Library [n|1902]
  • A Primer Of Right And Wrong, For Young People.. [n|1902]
  • A History Of The United States For Secondary Schools [n|1903]
  • Seventy Centuries Of The Life Of Mankind [n|1905]
  • Books, Culture And Character [n|1906]
  • The Rise And Fall Of Nations.. [n|1907]
  • A Study Of Greatness In Men [n|1911]
  • The Life And Work Of William Pryor Letchworth [b|1912]
  • William Pryor Letchworth [b|1913]
  • Selected Papers And Addresses [e|1915]
  • Larned's History Of The World [n|1915]
  • The New Larned History For Ready Reference, Reading And Research [n|c1928]

Despite this impressive list of books, this apparent textbook author and librarian (quote A building committee, which included the distinguished librarian, Josephus Nelson Larned (1836-1913), convened early in 1884) has faded away. Or least resisted any efforts to be exhumed on the internet.

Maybe he was Canadian? See George Iles and J. N. Larned in Montreal, Canada.

This paper mentions him being an American Library Association president. Searching the ALA helps a little:
How then did the various practices that make up self-censorship originally enter professional librarianship? Historically, "the concept of social control, if not paramount, was a significant component of library selection and service policy" (Geller 1976, 1255). Josephus Larned, a prominent librarian in the late 1800s, advocated that his colleagues use the excuse of limited budget as a means of avoiding the appearance of self-censorship, and the 1881 selection policy for the Boston Public Library contained the statement that "no public library should furnish books to young readers, or to those of any age, which will influence their passions or pervert their moral sense" (Geller 1976, 1257).

But that's all I could find on the ALA website about one of their former presidents.

The Oxford Journals article The American Library Association and the International Conference of 1897 might have some information, but can only be viewed by membership or fee.

Another article, Reading Between Librarians' Lines would seem to offer a hint, but it also is unavailable. The Google link offers the tantalizing nugget: In an address given in 1895 by then ALA president. Joseph Nelson Larned before an annual gathering of

That's about all I can find. I'll try to scan the title page and do occasional quotes from the books.

Not affliated or endorsed? Ya think?

Wherein I'm in favor of mocking all religions, belief systems, foot wear, and especially the type of pet you own. Not necessarily in a cruel, mean-spirited way; more of an esprit de corps fostered by our differences bring us closer together. Keeps everyone on their toes. Unless you really, really hate that person, then go for the testicles....which would also tend to keep one on their toes.

Dad's Garage presents A Very Merry Unauthorized Children's Scientology Pageant. Haven't seen a show there in awhile and this could be entertaining.
Wash down those holiday blues with big frosty glass of Dianetics! This Obie award winning, pageant-style look at Scientology is truly outrageous and educational. And yes, it really is a children’s pageant. This show is entirely cast with children from ages 8 – 12, but it is most definitely meant for adult audiences.

Come along with us on this Regional Premiere journey of L. Ron Hubbard’s transformation from mildly crazy science fiction writer to extremely crazy celebrity cult leader. It’ll be tons of fun, somewhat baffling, and a whole lot tastier than a fruit cake. This production is in no way affiliated with or endorsed by The Church of Scientology.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

That thing I occasionally due once a week

Wherein I should probably spell check Quasimodo, then again there are a lot of things I should probably do

  1. Never saw it. Christopher Guest's movies don't do much for me.
  2. It was easy with Quasimodo out of the way.
  3. Isn't that chess speak for kill the peasant?
  4. First guess is Thursday, second guess is Sunday. Hang on baby, I'll get to the correct answer.
  5. Q: Where does the middle eastern actor get his milk? A: the dromedary.
  6. Mercury? Unsure on this because it doesn't appear to be discontinued.
  7. Each borders a state beginning with N!

That is 5 for 7! Yee-ha! Crap, he said "and no others." Crap. Then answer 7 is wrong.

When did I become the reasonable one?

Wherein I'm much comfortable being the contratrian

Should Mark McGwire be in the Hall of Fame? I say no and a few people at Throwing Things agree with me.

Thing is, it has nothing to do with possible use of performance enhancers—that's a distraction. He was a good player, just not Hall of Fame material.

Maybe this will get me back to more familiar unreasonable territory.

Ken Griffey, Jr. might be another good, but not good enough player. Much more of a borderline call than McGwire, but he's definately on the bubble. I think he had a HOF career during his 10 years at Seattle and if he'd had a career ending injury before joining Cincinnati he'd be in. However, his time with the Reds has been injury-plagued and unremarkable. His greatest numbers occurred during a time when all hitting and power numbers were inflated. As such, I don't think we can look at anyone hitting over the last 15-20 years and say, for example, 500 home runs get you in. Looks nice on paper, but Cincinnati killed his Hall of Fame plaque.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Stephen Colbert as Gregory Peck

Wherein in our current hypersensitive times I'm sure this is incredibly offensive

From the Dana Carvey Show:

Barbie doesn't seem like such a bad role model

Wherein I should make a table/chart, with graphics, of the MY Little Pony comparison bullets

Strawberry Shortcake's sapphic paradise. Strawberry Shortcake and her friends—Apple Dumplin, Ginger Snap, Coco Calypso, to name a few—live in an Amazonian wonderland that would make Wonder Woman jealous. Occassionally a male figure is present, but he often serves as nothing more than manual labor. Let's look at a typical episode, The Mystery of Seaberry Shore. Strawberry and friends take a pleasant cruise to Seaberry Beach to meet the exotic, but reclusive Coco Calypso. The mystery turns out to be a shy mermaid—Seaberry Delight. Playing matchmaker, Strawberry finds a way to get Coco and Seaberry together and the two soulmates live happily ever after. Doesn't really fall in the "bad role model" category. It's a pleasant show of attractive females living in harmony and finding that males are sometimes useful.

Dora the Explorer needs a hearing aid. Join Dora in an adventure as she shouts bilingually at your children and never says "please" or "thank you" in any language. My personal belief is that she's at least partially deaf. And that perhaps the entire show takes place at a camp for special needs children. Benny the bull is a dead-ringer for Benny from L.A. Law.

A frequent nemesis to Dora's outings is Swiper the Fox. He's basically the spoiled child with no friends who only takes other's toys for attention. But as we see in Berry Hunt, Dora has no problems sneaking into Swiper's yard and stealing all his blueberrys. That's Dora for you: loud, rude, and morally ambiguous.

My Little Pony is not quite as skanky as Bratz. What more can I say about the stripper ponies?
  • Stripper names? Check: Paradise, Cherries Jubilee, Lickety Split, Galaxy, Morning Glory.
  • Garish ass tattooes? check
  • Neon makeup with criminal use of eye shadow? Obviously

Not to be overlooked is that often times the stories involved putting on a "show" on a "stage" with "costumes." Hubba hubba. I have no objections to adults who wish to strip for a living, it just seems strange to market an entire line of toys and stories to little girls that are nothing but the backstage antics of exotic dancers. Primary goal for fathers of daughters is to "Keep them off the pole" and these things aren't helping.

Update: the2scoops piles on:
I never quite put it together before, but it all fits: the proliferation of "tramp stamp" tattoos in the 90s is in direct correllation to the popularity of My Little Pony in the 80s.

Who the heck are you people and how did you get here?

Wherein I once was lost and only mistakenly thought I was found. Damn corroded batteries in the GPS

So what type of crowd is So Quoted hanging around with and encouraging? And is there supposed to be a single beef manager over all of Mexico and should we really expect that person to have a yahoo address? Some recent searches that brought a confused person to my slice of the world:

Checking activity over the last few days, these are my five most viewed posts:
  1. looks like plenty of people are googling Nick Naylor
  2. Who wrote the Banana Boat Song is consistently one of my top read posts.
  3. Starting to get a lot of action on Christmas songs.
  4. And people are still trying to find out who is/are Geronimo Jackson.
  5. More Christmas music.

"For what can be imagined more beautiful than the sight of a perfectly just city rejoicing in justice alone"

Wherein a perfect choice to read on a cold, blustery beach

An example of a writer enjoying himself. More than 500 pages into Winter's Tale, one of the characters says the following:
"Neither a city nor a civilization can be run by its critics. Critics can neither build nor explore. All they do, really, is say yes or no—and complicate it. (Not book critics, of course. They are second only to the angels.)"

A better example of the novel's prose is Nothing is Random:
Nothing is random, nor will anything ever be, whether a long string of perfectly blue days that begin and end in golden dimness, the most seemingly chaotic political acts, the rise of a great city, the crystalline structure of a gem that has never seen the light, the distributions of fortune, what time the milkman gets up, the position of the electron, or the occurrence of one astonishingly frigid winter after another. Even electrons, supposedly the paragons of unpredictability, are tame and obsequious little creatures that rush around at the speed of light, going precisely where they are supposed to go. They make faint whistling sounds that when apprehended in varying combinations are as pleasant as the wind flying through a forest, and they do exactly as they are told. Of this, one can be certain.

And yet there is a wonderful anarchy, in that the milkman chooses when to arise, the rat picks the tunnel into which he will dive when the subway comes rushing down the track from Borough Hall, and the snowflake will fall as it will. How can this be? If nothing is random, and everything is predetermined, how can there be free will? The answer to that is simple. Nothing is predetermined; it is determined, or was determined, or will be determined. No matter, it all happened at once, in less than an instant, and time was invented because we cannot comprehend in one glance the enormous and detailed canvas that we have been given—so we track it, in linear fashion, piece by piece. Time, however, can be easily overcome; not by chasing the light, but by standing back far enough to see it all at once. The universe is still and complete. Everything that ever was, is; everything that ever will be, is—and so on, in all possible combinations. Though in perceiving it we imagine that it is in motion, and unfinished, it is quite finished and quite astonishingly beautiful. In the end, or, rather, as things really are, any event, no matter how small, is intimately and sensibly tied to all others. All rivers run full to the sea; those who are apart are brought together; the lost ones are redeemed; the dead come back to life; the perfectly blue days that have begun and ended in golden dimness continue, immobile and accessible; and, when all is perceived in such a way as to obviate time, justice becomes apparent not as something that will be, but as something that is.

Just found the original NY Times review for Winter's Tale from September 4, 1983. Also found the review that convinced me to buy Memoir From Antproof Case.

Sunday, November 26, 2006


Wherein I prefer to buy my pecans shelled. I appreciate the time-savings.

Every ballet company in the universe will be performing The Nutcracker during the next few weeks. Usually to the music by Tchaikovsky. The original story, by E.T.A. Hoffman, is The Nutcracker and the King of Mice (Nussknacker und Mausekönig, 1816). I can't find an English translation, but here's the Project Gutenberg's German text.

Tchaikovsky's ballet was based on the version written by Alexandre Dumas in 1844. The French text is here.

Unfortunately I was unable to turn up English translations of either work.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Visualizer Art #2

Wherein still working out the kinks

Visualizer Art

Wherein just wondering if this would work

I blame the Spanish for creating the travel and tourist industry

Wherein personally, I've always preferred Fuji over Kodak for color film

Carl Hiaasen practices a little wishful thinking in Tourist Season.

Wiley tossed his rum glass into the sand. "So there'll be no revolution, in the classic sense, but chaos? You bet. Shame. Panic. Flight. Economic disaster."

"Pretty ambitious," Keyes said.

"It's the least I can do," Wiley said. "Brian, what is Florida anyway? An immense sunny toilet where millions of tourists flush their money and save the moment on Kodak film. The recipe for redemption is simple: scare away the tourists and pretty soon you scare off the developers. No more developers, no more bankers. No more bankers, no more lawyers. No more lawyers, no more dope smugglers. The whole motherfucking economy implodes! Now, tell me I'm crazy."

Brian Keyes knew better than to do that.

"So the question," Wiley went on, "is how to scare away the tourists."

"Murder a few," Keyes said.

"For starters."

"Skip, there's got to be another way."

"No!" Wiley shot to his feet, uprooting the beach umbrella with his head. " way! Think about it, you mullusk-brained moron! What gets headlines? Murder, mayhem, and madness--the cardinal M's of the newsroom. That's what terrifies the travel agents of the world. That's what rates congressional hearings and crime commissions. And that's what frightens off bozo Shriner conventions. It's a damn shame, I grant you that. It's a shame I simply couldn't stand up at the next county commission meeting and ask our noble public servants to please stop destroying the planet. It's a shame that the people who poisoned this paradise won't just apologize and pack their U-Hauls and head back North to the smog and the blizzards. But it's a proven fact they won't leave until somebody lights a fire under 'em."

Thursday, November 16, 2006

In my time I have committed several millions of sins

Whereon I would've thought Project Gutenberg would've had the entire works of Mark Twain

From Mark Twain's Letters From Earth, edited by Bernard DeVoto.

Something about Repentance
It is curious--the misassociation of certain words. For instance, the word Repentance. Through want of reflection we associate it exclusively with Sin. We get the notion early, and keep it always, that we repent of bad deeds only; whereas we do a formidable large business in repenting of good deeds which we have done. Often when we repent of a sin, we do it perfunctorily, from principle, coldly and from the head; but when we repent of a good deed the repentance comes hot and bitter and straight from the heart. Often when we repent of a sin, we can forgive ourselves and drop the matter out of mind; but when we repent of a good deed, we seldom get peace--we go on repenting to the end. And the repentance is so perennially young and strong and vivid and vigorous! A great benefaction conferred with your whole heart upon an ungrateful man--with what immortal persistence and never-cooling energy do you repent of that! Repentance of a sin is a pale, poor, perishable thing compared with it.

I am quite sure that the average man is built just as I am; otherwise I should not be making this revelation of my inside. I say the average man and stop there; for I am quite certain that there are people who do not repent of their good deeds when the return they get from them is treachery and ingratitude. I think that these few ought to be in heaven; they are in the way here. In my time I have committed several millions of sins. Many of them I probably repented of--I do not remember now; others I was partly minded to repent of, but it did not seem worthwhile; all of them but the recent ones and a few scattering former ones I have forgotten. I my time I have done eleven good deeds. I remember all of them, four of them with crystal clearness. These four I repent of whenever I think of them--and it is not seldomer than fifty-two times a year. I repent of them in the same furious way, undiminished, always. If I wake up in the night, they are there, waiting and ready; and they keep me company till the morning. I have not committed any sin with the unmodifying earnestness and sincerity with which I have repented of these four gracious and beautiful good deeds.

Possibly you who are reading these paragraphs are of those few who have got mislaid and ought to be in heaven. In that case you will not understand what I have been saying and will have no sympathy with it; but your neighbors will, if he is fifty years old.

Games: what I want

Wherein as I was saying

Previously, on board games....

Earlier, I mentioned some old Avalon Hill games I own. Here's some more recent ones I wouldn't mind having. I say recent, but Cosmic Encounter was first released in the 1980s.

So I've read through the Games 100 looking for some new and interesting. Something I just have to have. I guess I'm looking for more family type games, or at least games that aren't too completed and could be played in under an hour. It would be nice to play some of these. Games I could start training my daughter on would be nice.

The first three are at the top of the list and Hey, That's My Fish is definately on the list to buy. Really want Silent War, but for $75 I damn sure better be prepared to play it.
  • Hey, That's My Fish. How to play with screenshots
    Yet in all actuality it's simply an abstract game, with players moving their pawns around, trying to cut one another off and score the most points. Yet I've encountered few abstract games such as this one. It's simple enough for my five year old daughter to comprehend and play, yet deep enough that it can be played seriously by gamers. Personally, I think it's more on the light side of abstract games (it should be played fairly lightly, anyway). Still, any abstract game that can be played in less than twenty minutes, hold a decent amount of strategy, and play almost as well with three and four players as it does with two is worth getting in my book.

  • Techno Witches. Review:
    This is a light game that requires good spatial perception. You need to know which piece to take just by looking at it and so you have to estimate lengths in your head and visualize the curve of the trail without actually putting the piece on the board. There are some tactics to game play in both selecting tiles since you can choose to hoard certain trail pieces preventing others from taking them and in knowing when to fly so that you can take advantage of the trail pieces as they return to the pool. You can use your position to block opponents just like in a real race.

    Make sure you have a nice table to play this on because that’s your board. I played one game on my colorful holiday tablecloth and found all of my spatial estimations were distorted. I wouldn't play this with obsessive-compulsive people because the pieces do tend to move around a bit as they are placed / bumped and I'm sure that would drive these people crazy(-ier).

  • Silent War
    Silent War is a solitaire simulation of the United States' submarine war against Imperial Japan during the Second World War. The scenarios allow players to recreate various stages of the war or the entire campaign. In each of these scenarios, the player takes on the role of Commander Submarines, US Pacific Fleet (ComSubPac), deploying available submarines from either Pearl Harbor or Brisbane in order to attack the Japanese Navy. Additionally, in the patrol game, using single submarines, players can recreate some of the war's most famous patrols. The amount of flexibility the game allows the player is tremendous, a single submarine patrol can be completed in 10 minutes, the various campaigns can be completed in 10 or more hours depending on which campaign you play and your progress as commander.

  • Aloha
    Aloha is a nice mix of tile play and push-your-luck. Players are travel reps trying to secure the best beaches by placing sun loungers on beaches as they explore the island. The tiles show a good mix of land and water, with 1-3 golden beaches on most tiles. On your turn, you jump your rep to a new place, then draw a tile. This must be placed adjacent so you can walk straight onto it, otherwise your turn is over. If you walk on, and it has a beach, you have the option of dropping a lounger in your color onto it on its side.

    Then you can decide to push your luck and draw another tile. Each time you walk on, you may drop another lounger, but these go onto their sides. When you decide you've done enough or cannot move on anyway, you stop drawing and turn your loungers upright. But if you draw a tile you can't place so that you walk on, you lose all the loungers on their sides back to your pot. The tile still gets placed, and the game has a clever rule. Whenever a tile is placed, it must go where it touches the most tiles. So if the tile is going next to where you stand, sometimes you have no choice, the game forces its placement. But usually you have a few choices and these are crucial to pushing your luck.

  • Jochen der Rochen. Or Fish Boogie.
    ou have a circular dance floor that has been sabotaged by sawfish. You must jiggle the floor to make as many different colored (5 colors, 2 of each color) fish fall off without two fish of the same color or Ray the Stingray falling off. You can bail at any time, and score as many birthday cake pieces as the number of fish that came off the dance floor."

    "This particular dex game is obscenely simple to learn, fairly tricky to operate, and absolutely compulsive to play. It just look SO mind-numbingly stupid. Besides how can you knock a game about a Stingray's undersea birthday party?"

  • Wallamoppi. The description was interesting, but it wasn't until I saw the picture that it all clicked -- "ahh, so that's what it is." This could be fun.

And a few more I marked as interesting:

Never noticed this before

Wherein maybe it's just me

Does Dinah Shore's intonations remind anyone else of Bing Crosby? More in the speaking than the singing. I kept expecting her to sell me some orange juice.

Just found, here they are singing together. And again.

For funny, Bing and Fred Schneider of B-52's fame.

Zune schadenfreude

Wherein I can't imagine loading 8,000 songs with only USB and not Firewire

While I'm enjoying the generally bad reviews for the Zune, it's good to remember Slashdot's initial impression of the iPod:

No wireless. Less space than a nomad. Lame. In the comments:
Raise your hand if you have iTunes ...
Raise your hand if you have a FireWire port ...
Raise your hand if you have both ...
Raise your hand if you have $400 to spend on a cute Apple device ...
There is Apple's market. Pretty slim, eh? I don't see many sales in the future of iPod.

What I'm curious about--and haven't seen much about--is how the Zune software manages the music on the computer. Because using the free iTunes software is what convinced me to buy an iPod. I'd ripped about 500 CDs and used iTunes as a giant jukebox for a year. It worked so effortlessly that being able to carry this around with us turned from a "want" to a "need." So when I did get an iPod, I basically plugged it in and--BAM!--ten minutes later about 6,000 songs were loaded.

Email conversation

Wherein this is true

Email 1
From: Employee1
To: Employee2, Employee3
Subject: FW: Target Stores

Think there’s any truth to this story?

note: Appended is the chain letter about how Target hates veterans and is owned by the French. Also included are all the headers from all the times the email was forwarded. I hate that.

Email 2
From: Employee2
To: Employee1, Employee3
Subject: FW: Target Stores

Should send to Bill, he will definitely reply with an email either disputing or agreeing writer of the below email….That is a trip though?

note: Employee 2 had forwarded a few such emails until I told her to stop wasting my time with bullshit chain mail. Don't know if she stopped entirely, but she at least stopped sending them to me.

Email 3
From: Employee1
To: Employee2, Employee3, Bill Quoted
Subject: FW: Target Stores

I will….here goes Bill…[stupid smiley faces inserted here]

Email 4
From: Bill Quoted
To: Employee1, Employee2, Employee3,
Subject: FW: Target Stores

Employee2 knows how much I love to send out cranky emails. Thanks!

Not only is it BS, it's old BS. And it's in Comic Sans font -- the font for people who should never be given anything sharper than a dull crayon. Please resend this to whomever sent it to you. With the internet and google, there is no reason to keep spreading such misinformation.


The Target Corporation does not contribute to veterans' causes: False.
The Target Corporation is French-owned: False.
The Target Corporation provides corporate grants only for 'gay and lesbian causes': False.
The Target Corporation does not contribute to the U.S. Marines 'Toys for Tots' program: False.
The Target Corporation does not allow reservists called to active duty to continue their health benefits: False.
The Target Corporation does not allow Salvation Army bellringers to solicit contributions in front of its stores: True.

Here's the part where Bill pastes his generic form letter:

Chain Letters
Today, with the click of a button, a message can be forwarded to hundreds of people at no apparent cost to the sender. If each of the so-called good Samaritans sends the letter on to only ten other people (most send to huge mailing lists), the ninth resending results in a billion e-mail messages, thereby, clogging the network and interfering with the receiving of legitimate e-mail messages. Factor in the time lost reading and deleting all these messages and you see a real cost to organizations and individuals from these seemingly innocuous messages.

Computer Virus Hoaxes
Users are requested to please not spread chain letters and hoaxes by sending copies to everyone you know. Sending a copy of a cute message to one or two friends is not a problem but sending an unconfirmed warning or plea to everyone you know with the request that they also send it to everyone they know simply adds to the clutter already filling our mailboxes. If you receive any of this kind of mail, please don't pass it to everyone you know, either delete it or pass it to your computer security manager to validate. Validated warnings from the incident response teams and antivirus vendors have valid return addresses and are usually PGP signed with the organization's key. Alternately, you can and should get the warnings directly from the web pages of the organizations that put them out to insure that the information you have is valid and up-to-date.

  • when in doubt,

Yo, Florida, turn the heat on

Wherein not asking for much, but the mid-70s would be nice

Monday's high is projected for 64 degrees. Guess I'll pack a sweatshirt. Still, considering it'll be around freezing when we roll out Saturday morning I'm not complaining too much.

These are the people in my neighborhood

Wherein when laws collide

Commonsense almost always loses.

Leash law has locals confused and offers another opportunity for local cops to demonstrate their mastery of assitudiness.
A canine skirmish in the county's only dog park caused Cobb animal control officers to cite two women for not having their pets on a leash in a public place designed to let dogs run free.

The county has a rule against allowing animals off private property without a leash.

Here's some good news:
A North Cobb High School science teacher and outspoken opponent of the school board's 2002 move to slap evolution disclaimers in science textbooks is the co-recipient of the 2007 Scientific Freedom and Responsibility Award, given by the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Dr. Wes McCoy, who began teaching at North Cobb High in 1978, is being honored for his work with fellow teachers on how to teach evolution in the classroom, as well as efforts to educate community and faith-based organizations about evolution.

He will receive the award in February at the AAAS annual meeting in San Francisco.

"The kind of people who win this award are the kind of people who have been able to stand up against opposition and make a case for a reasonable view of science," McCoy said. "I'm just very humbled."

During the height of the evolution controversy, McCoy wrote letters to the editor opposing the evolution stickers, which state evolution "is a theory, not a fact," and went before the school board to share his views.

McCoy said he received letters from people who suggested that he was not going to heaven.

Well, isn't that special.

Congrats, McCoy for a job well done.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Reviewing the country music awards

Wherein this is good stuff

I couldn't care less about country music, but Jack does care and I like what he has to say.

Jack Sparks reviews the 40th Annual CMAs. Before he gets likkered up and starts yelling at the teevee, here's his selection for Country music of the year:
Finally, I'd just like to reprint who should have won each of these awards, just so you have it fresh in your mind as the Wham of "Country" music, Brooks & Dunn, start piling up awards.

Alejandro Escovedo--The guy's got a crap liver and he's been to the cities twice in the last year. On top of everything else, when he's on his game, and he has purposefully put himself back on his game for these performances, he'll break your fucking heart. If you hear him do "I was drunk," live, you finally get it that he never actually calls out "her" name during the song. It's a very poignant moment in live performance that I've rarely witnessed. Gives me the chills.
Tie - Tift Merritt and Jenny Lewis--Tift released an album's worth of live performances of her latest best songs. Jenny Lewis and her band released a record called Rabbit Fur Coat. They're the female co-vocalists of the year for different reasons: Tift for the uplifting quality of her record, Jenny for the dark murder of hers.
Ryan Adams--This is a no brainer for me. See below.
Charlie Parr--Who knows who's the best "new" thing out there? Why not pick somebody from my own backyard? Charlie's record, Rooster on Eclectone Records is deep fried in chicken fat, salted with cigarette ash, and washed down with the Hamm's from dirty taps in an old St. Paul bar. You want to get some grease on your fingers and some fear in your soul? Go get a copy.
The Little Willies--I listened to their self-titled record once all the way through, then I went back and played the song "Roll On" over and over again about 50 times. You see, she's Ravi Shankar's daughter, and she likes to hang out with Willie Nelson. It all makes sense. Their rendition of "Nightlife" proves that it's a song about fucking sung by people who like to fuck, for people who like to fuck.
Brooks & Dunn, they're going to win it anyway...Wham! always wins. I think it bears repeating that Nashville is full of duos where one guy wears a cowboy hat, and the other is kinda "kooky." Typically, one of them is a good singer, and the other is a passable musician of some sort. One smiles all the time, and the other broods. Blah blah blah. If they loaded all of these acts on an old milk cart and shoved it off of a very high cliff, NONE of us would be worse off. Was "Boot Scootin' Boogie" really central to our way of life in this country?
(Award goes to artist and producer) This assumes radio airplay, which is as phoney as the $3 bills Mick Anselmo hands out at Utica on Christmas Eve.
Jerry Douglas the Dobro Player in Union Station. Just accept it. He's better than everybody at everything.
Jacksonville City Nights--Eat shit Nashville. Look, the guy's got a lot of baggage, but this whole disk is a non-steroidal musical homerun. He coulda, shoulda, and woulda been the Wunderkind of Country if he gave a shit. Some might say he was ripping off Gram Parsons right after he ripped off Paul Westerberg; but, for me at least, that's exactly what he SHOULD have done. Because where Country IS, and where it oughta BE right now is somewhere between Westerberg and Parsons, and far far away from Honky Tonk fuckin' Badonkadonk.
(Award goes to artist and director) Who cares? Videos are what screwed everything up in the first place. Kenny Chesney is 5'2" tall and bald, but music videos make him look like he's the 6 foot tall big dicked regular on the fist fuck all star team. I'll go out on a limb and say whoever wins this category is the phoniest of the phoney bastards in Nashville today.
Ryan Adams and Norah Jones on "Dear John" on Jacksonville City Nights--If you don't get the creeps listening to this song, you can't get the creeps.
(Award goes to songwriter and primary publisher) Tie, Roll On--The Little Willies, Cowgirl Hall of Fame--Joe West
My gal and her friends constantly talk about their no penalty star sandwich. The two celebrities you get to roll around with in a 3some with no penalties if the situation presents itself to you. My musical metaphorical star sandwich consists of Norah Jones and Kelly Willis singing "Roll On" and "They're Blind" while running their fingers through my hair on a warm summer day. If you need to excuse yourself to throw up now, be my guest. I'm just sayin.
If you don't have a copy of The Human Cannonball, by Joe West, you probably don't live in the extreme southwest corner of Colorado somewhere, eating spit roasted rabbits stuffed with homegrown jalapeno peppers. "Cowgirl Hall of Fame," should have been the theme song to the movie Even Cowgirls Get the Blues, even though there's a song of the same title sung by everybody including EmmyLou Harris.
The only list you're going to read grounded in twang reality. If you're new to this exercise, and you think what you listen to on stations like K102, KEEY is country music, or even worse, you think it's good, you should stop reading now. As always, this will end up being an indictment of the Nashville system of picking singers and music based on delivering a demographic for the advertisers who sponsor country radio and should not be taken as an insult to the extremely talented and hardworking studio musicians, the real artists of country music, who'll never get recording contracts because they can't get botox injections, braces for their teeth, or saline bags for their boobs.

On with the show...

Jack Sparks reviews the 40th Annual CMAs

Need help with planning Thanksgiving?

wherein you know what I'm making for Thanksgiving? Reservations! The classics never get old.

In two days this blog is on hiatus. So if you have questions about cooking for Thanksgiving, head over to Megnut where she is having a
Thanksgiving spectacular. By which I mean I'll be posting lots of information about the upcoming holiday. Food mags love turkey day, and there's no shortage of information out there, but don't fret! I'll help you navigate it all to find the best stuff so your holiday is great.

Start at the top and scroll down.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

What Time is it?

Wherein or what day is it

Inspired by this. From the So Quoted collection. At least that part of the collection in iTunes.

Blue Monday, Dr. John
Come Monday, Jimmy Buffett
I Don't Like Mondays, Tori Amos or Boomtown Rats
Monday Will Never Be the Same, Willie Wisely Trio
Stormy Monday Blues, Diane Schur

None. The iTMS has 448 song titles with Tuesday. That's too many to scroll through. However, if I was turning this post into a mix CD, I'd probably go with the double day combination of When You're a Tuesday Girl, by The Tuesdays.

Wednesday's Child, Emilíana Torrini

None. iTMS has 263 songs with Thursday. Ooh, Greg Brown has Holy Thursday as does Jah Wobble. I enjoy both the folkie Iowan and the guy from PiL and have albums from both. That's not exactly true; the only Greg Brown I have is Prudence Johnson's Songs of Greg Brown and what I have from Jah Wobble are 12" 45s from the darkest depths of the 1980s. The Jah Wobble track is from something called The Inspiration of William Blake [iTunes]
A review:
With this latest album, Stepney's most eccentric and talented son joins a worthy list of musos. Britten, Jagger and Morrison have all found inspiration in the poetry and vision of William Blake. The dark, sensuous spirituality of Blake's verse provides a wealth of mystery and imagery for Wobble's febrile mind. The former PiL bass-player creates rich and rhythmic soundscapes, wrapping them around Blake's words to evoke the freshness of childhood wonder that the poet so passionately valued. Wobble's East End intonation is remarkably effective in its clarity and directness, investing such familiar pieces as 'Tyger Tyger' with renewed vibrancy and resonance. It would be easy to dismiss this as just another artistic whim, but to do so would be to close yet another door to perception

I'll probably have to get this.

Black Friday Rule, Flogging Molly
Friday's Child, Lisa Stansfield

Livingston saturday Night, Jimmy Buffett
On a Saturday Night, Eddie Floyd
On Saturday Afternoons in 1963, Rickie Lee Jones
Saturday Night, The Blue Nile
Saturday Night Boogie Woogie Man, Jimmy Liggins
Saturday Sun, Nick Drake
Saturdays, Cut Copy
Sunless Saturday, Fishbone

A Sunday Kind of Love, Harp-Tones
Sunday, Cranberries
Sunday, Nick Drake
Sunday Bloody Sunday, U2
Sunday Jealous, Nick Charles

Board Games: What I have

Wherein I don't know where I'm supposed to find the time to play all these

There's one magazine issue I eagerly await all year for: Games Magazine's Buyer's Guide to Games; also known as the Games 100. It's their 100 top board games, party games, and card games. In recent years they've even added computer games.

Probably the best place to review the list is at FunAgain Games. And for searching for game reviews and photos, it's hard to beat Board Game Geek. There are a couple other hardcore boardgaming sites, but those two will get you started.

I have a history of buying board games despite never really having friends into board games. Back in high school I was attracted to the massive historical recreation games put out by Avalon Hills. Despite a group of people who had no problems wasting away 3-4 hours playing Risk, I knew no one else interested in this type of thing. Doubt I would have been interested in something like D&D because role-playing doesn't suit me.

Here's a few I know longer have:
  • Outdoor Survival. Wish I still had this one. It was interesting, but playing by the advanced rules, everyone always died in the desert.
  • Name forgotten, possibly Luftwaffe. Some WWII air battle over Europe game. Thousands of pieces, 20-30 hours to play a game. Had a couple of solitary actions that were unsatisfying.
  • Ubi. Not by Avalon Hill, it was a failed geography game from the inventors of "Trivial Pusuit." I had fun with this and I'm not sure why I no longer have it. Vague recollection of it being damaged in a move.

Here's a couple I still own:
  • The original 1981 edition of Civilization. Never played.
  • Twixt. Played a lot.
    Speed Circuit. Ignore the math and spin out in every turn.
  • Ace of Aces. Beautifully designed dogfighting books. Select your manuever and altitude, then you and your opponent change pages and see where you're at. Nothing more disheartening then seeing a page of bullets headed straight for your cockpit. They did a whole series of these that I wish I owned.

AS I do each year, I'm looking through the list seeing what's new and interesting. Haven't purchased anything in a few years and I'm seeing a couple I might just have to get. I've also put out feelers for an occasional "game night" so there's a small chance some of them might get opened. Tomorrow I'll list the ones I'm interested in.

For today, a list of the newer games I own. Most are gathering dust.
  • Guillotine. Very simple and fun card game about executing nobles during the French Revolution. Good party game -- easy to explain, games are quick, and doesn't require a lot of concentration.
  • Grass. Previously mentioned.
  • Halunken und Spelunken, the drunken sailor game. You're a captain of a ship dragooning sailors from the local bars. Simple mechanics, some strategy. I've started teaching this to The Daughter.
  • Elfenland. Absolutely gorgeous game board and components. I need to create a "game night" just so I can play this game.
  • King of the Elves. A card game version of Elfenland. Supposed to be good; found dirt cheap at a game store going out of business.
  • Mississippi Queen. Another gorgeous game and one of my favorites to play. Also have the Black Rose expansion.
  • Triopoly. A reinvention of Monopoly that uses three levels. A huge improvement on the playability of Monopoly.
  • The Really Nasty Horse Racing Game. This game will either have you laughing out loud or punching out your best friend. A simple horse racing game with betting. Sometimes you bet on your horse, sometimes you bet on someone else's horse. And sometimes if the horse you didn't bet on is about to win, well then you can knock it over so it loses. I had a friend bring this back from England based on the description alone and it was a very good purchase.
  • Sorry. Just got this one to play with The Daughter. I remember it being a fun game for small kids -- requires a minimal amount of strategery and encourages viciousness.

Then there's the nice Go set I own along with the 4-5 books on how to play Go. One of those games that's hard to teach yourself and I'd really benefit from finding someone else who plays.

Welcome to the social? Get away from me you hippie freaks

Wherein the thing is this is a typical install for MS products and is why they're no longer allowed in the house

To quote James Lileks (Bleat of November 14, no direct link available):
I leave you with this, which, as an iPod owner, toasts my heart-cockles.

Installing the Zune sucked

Monday, November 13, 2006

Important contact news

Wherein Are you looking for me? I'll be the guy with the camera

Next Saturday, you can find me at the lighting of the Nights of Lights.
St. Augustine, Florida’s annual “Nights of Lights” provides one of the Southeast’s most memorable holiday events. In a manner befitting the Nation’s Oldest City, this inspiring display of light is based on the tradition of the town’s original Spanish colonists who placed a white candle in their windows to brighten the nights during the Christmas holidays. This 13th edition of the festival features more than two million tiny white lights adorning the palm trees and buildings of the city’s historic district. Reflected in the waters of Matanzas Bay, outlining the colonial city, and including the nearby beaches and lighthouse, this light display creates a holiday wonderland in a place with real history on every street corner.

The Night of Lights opening ceremonies, featuring a high-energy musical performance in the city's historic Plaza de la Constitucion, get underway at 4:30 p.m. on November 18. The lighting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. when a single flick of a switch will bathe the historic district in the soft glow of two million lights

Important carousel news

Wherein is that a pole stuck up that horse's ass?

St. Augustine Carousel Damaged in Crash:
The St. Augustine Police Department tells First Coast News Michael Tiner crashed his jeep into the carousel in Davenport Park around 2:30 Friday morning.

...Soules explained the carousel was purchased by his brother Gerard, who was a famous circus performer.

Two weeks after Gerard bought the carousel he was murdered in Las Vegas. Soules says the carousel is tribute to his brother who loved kids.

Soules says despite the fact four horses on the carousel are damaged, he plans on getting the landmark back up and running within a week. Soules says, at first glance, he doesn't think the carousel was knocked off its axis. Soules tells us the carousel is not insured.

Davenport Park is located at San Marco and San Carlos Streets.

The community has rallied around Soules. The owner of Mystic Bean Coffee Company on West King Street hurried and created a coffee blend he named "Save the Carousel". Five dollars of every bag sold will go to carousel repairs.

Also, people came from all over St. Augustine and the First Coast to give small, heartfelt donations to Soules.


Important puppet news

Wherein that's a hand up my ass and I'm happy to see you

Rudoph and Santa:
Presumed lost or destroyed for over 30 years, the two original stop-motion puppets from the 1964 Rankin/Bass TV special Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer are making a stop at the Center for Puppetry Arts Museum for four weeks only, December 8, 2006 – January 7, 2007.

Charlotte's Web.
Playing through December 3, this is a beautiful full-stage production. Wilbur grows larger, geese fly, and people walk the stage. Charlotte's web glows in the dark and when she writes the messages that save Wilbur's life, it's quite specatular. The fair is recreated with a ferris wheel and fireworks are projected on the side walls. Templeton is less hostile than in the book, but Charlotte's death isn't glossed over and the sadness is poignantly captured.

One of the better productions I've seen--puppets or no puppets--and I recommend it. The staging is rod puppets in front of a wall of light:
Five skilled puppeteers work together very closely to bring the
puppet characters in Charlotte’s Web to life. Dressed in black
from head to toe, the puppeteers remain in the shadows while
manipulating their puppets in the lighted playing areas. This
approach is commonly known as Czech Black technique as
it originated in the Czech Republic of Eastern Europe. The
puppets in this show are controlled by a mechanism in back
of their heads that the puppeteers use to make the characters
turn their heads, look up and down and focus on objects and
other characters. The puppeteers use their own hands as
the puppets’ hands so that they can easily pick up and grip
props throughout the show. Another type of puppet used in
the show are shadow puppets. These silhouette cut-outs are
performed on overhead projectors and projected onto a screen.
Shadow puppets appear much larger on the screen than they
actually are. Character voices are all performed live by the
cast. Each puppeteer wears a cordless microphone to amplify
her/his voice.

Friday, November 10, 2006

grabbing random crap off the bookshelves

Wherein just killing time waiting for the oven timer to ding

Grab a book, open to a random page , and type something interesting.

Truman Capote's In Cold Blood. From the 1965, First Edition, turned to page 220:
"Describe them."

"Maybe they were sisters. Both blond. Plump. I'm not too clear about it. See, we'd bought a bottle of ready0mix Orange Blossoms--that's orange pop and vodka--and I was geting stifff. We gave the girls a few drinks and drove tem out to Fun Haven. I imagine you gentlemen never heard of Fun Haven?"

The new zunes are here! The new zunes are here!

Wherein No

Mossberg likes some of it: Also, the Zune player and software have a very good user interface, different from, but in some cases easier to use than, the iPod's.

Doesn't like a lot of it:
Even worse, to buy even a single 99-cent song from the Zune store, you have to purchase blocks of "points" from Microsoft, in increments of at least $5. You can't just click and have the 99 cents deducted from a credit card, as you can with iTunes. You must first add points to your account, then buy songs with these points. So, even if you are buying only one song, you have to allow Microsoft, one of the world's richest companies, to hold on to at least $4.01 of your money until you buy another. And the point system is deceptive. Songs are priced at 79 points, which some people might think means 79 cents. But 79 points actually cost 99 cents.

That's odd.

Many other links to Zune can be found at the Apple-centric Daring Fireball.

Avoiding the Gasoline Bandits

Wherein another writer

Tim Cahill, one of the founders of Outside Magazine. One of my favorite travel writers, he has a fine sense of self-deferential humor and a good eye for detail.

Road Fever, his account of riding shotgun in attempt to drive from Tierra del Fuego to Prudhoe Bay in 23 days, might be the funniest nonfiction book I've read. But along the way -- amidst accounts of the zippys, roto-man tales, ranting about Northworst Airlines, and accounts of teenaged soldiers holding automatic weapons to his head during border checks -- he reveals informative nuggets about the lands he travels.

Garry Sowerby, the professional driver, is from News Brunswick:
Many of the Acadians live on the Atlantic coast and are fishermer. You meet men of forty who recall the shame of going to school every day with a bag lunch that was the mark of their poverty. The rich kids had peanut butter and jelly. Sonds and daughters of Acadian fishermen had to make do with lobster sandwiches.

This passage has me searching for a decent history of Colombia and Cartagena. So far, no luck:
The amount of gold that the Spaniards took out of Peru was staggering....All those riches poured into Cartagena, and the city was a tempting target for privateers, as the English pirates preferred to call themselves. They were only doing their patriotic duty, harassing Spain in the interest of England. Sir Francis Drake and 1300 men sacked the city in 1586. A Frenchman, Baron dee Pointis, took Cartagena with 10,000 men in 1697. In 1741, the great walls were in place, the fortifications strengthened and improved. An English force of 27,000 men laid seige to the city for 56 days but were finally turned back.

Ok, some humor. Stuck somewhere in Chile:
"Tim," Garry said, "promise me you'll take it safe."

I decided, in what seemed an enormous emotional sacrifice at the time, not to punch the hell out of Garry Sowerby on the spot. What I would do was wait until we hit Prudhoe Bay. We'd be standing in the snow at the edge of the Beaufort Sea talking about men and machines, time and the elements, and I'd just haul off and pop him a good one. Bam! That's for La Serena, you shitball.

"Tim, I want you to promise me."

He'd be lying there, bleeding in the snow in front of any reporters that might be on hand.


Jane Austen is sending me SPAM

Jane Austen is sending me SPAM
Wherein I think I'll change my name to Pasquil Lock. Yeah, that sounds cool. Should I add an "e" to the end?

Pasage penny novice point
both. i will only say farther that from what passed that evening, my opinion of all parties was
claim an acquaintance with you-mr. bingley and his sisters."
but the attention of every lady was soon caught by a young man, whom they had never seen
"and then when you go away, you may leave one or two of my sisters behind you; and i dare say
"this is not to be borne. miss bennet, i insist on being satisfied. has he, has my nephew, made
darcy made no answer, and seemed desirous of changing the subject. at that moment, sir
"fitzwilliam darcy"
elizabeth disdained the appearance of noticing this civil reflection, but its meaning did not
always pleaded for allowances, and urged the possibility of mistakes-but by everybody else mr. darcy
aught of civility to his ordinary style?-for i dare not hope," he continued in a lower and more serious
"i am the less surprised at what has happened," replied sir william, "from that knowledge of
"if i," said mr. collin!
s, "were so fortunate as to be able to sing, i should have great pleasure, i
"yes, she called yesterday with her father. what an agreeable man sir william is, mr. bingley,
believing that neither her virtue nor her understanding would preserve her from falling an easy prey.
by lydia's situation, hastily exclaimed, "i beg your pardon, but i must leave you. i must find mr.
"i assure you, madam," he replied, "that she does not need such advice. she practises very

Naked-eye Pasquil lock
"i cannot see that london has any great advantage over the country, for my part, except the
but i hope you will not mind it: it is all for jane's sake, you know; and there is no occasion for talking
congratulations will then flow in! i appeal to mr. darcy:-but let me not interrupt you, sir. you will not
"no, my dear, you had better go on horseback, because it seems likely to rain; and then you must
"you are quite a visit in my debt, mr. bingley," she added, "for when you went to town last
"yes, my youngest is not sixteen. perhaps she is full young to be much in company. but really,
bingley, i always keep servants that can do their own work; my daughters are brought up very
but nothing to give him any alarm. i am so grieved for him! his behaviour was attentive and kind to
consider his addressing him without introduction as an impertinent freedom, rather than a compliment
appearance created a great deal of surprise. that she should have walked three !
miles so early in the
"aye, that is just like your formality and discretion. you thought the waiter must not hear, as if
darcy. there was now an interest, however, in believing the housekeeper; and they soon became
collins readily assented, and a book was produced; but, on beholding it (for everything announced it to
as far as she could trace it, with delight. as they passed into other rooms these objects were taking
darcy's regard."
"i dare say you will find him very agreeable."

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Edmund Fitzgerald: November 10, 1975

Wherein a timely repeat

Let me point you to a post from last year about a radio drama on Minnesota Public Radio:
Gales of November, a retelling of the loss of the Edmund Fitzgerald with the words of the widows, other sailors on the lake that night, and the final radio transmissions from the captain of the Fitzgerald. Weaving the personal stories with historical facts, Gales of November provides a chilling tale and a worthy memorial.

This is a concert version of the Steven Dietz play, Ten November, with Kevin Kling as narrator. Prudence Johnson, Claudia Schmidt and Ruth MacKenzie provide the voices for other roles, including those of the widows, in addition to providing the musical interludes.

Follow the link and listen to Gales of November.

Christmas Song Inventory

Wherein the Christmas season doesn't start until Santa appears at the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade, so no music will be played until then

ALOTT5MA was looking for horrific christmas albums. Not too many were offered, but I did see a couple of recommendations I'll be checking out. I try to do an xmas mix CD each year and for this year the plan is to use new music. Either new new, as in I don't currently own it, or at least use albums that usually don't make the mix tape. Here's 2005's mix. And some of what I consider essential holiday music.

For comparison, I give you the 2004 mix:
  1. Christmas Wrapping, The Waitresses
  2. Back Door Santa, Clarence Carter
  3. Santa Claus is Comin' To Town, The Jackson 5
  4. A Nightingale sang in Berkeley Square, The Manhattan Transfer
  5. Christmas Piglet, Presidents of the United States
  6. Rudolph the Manic Reindeer, Los Lobos
  7. The Night Before Christmas, The Chipmunks
  8. Jingle Bells, Rockin Dopsie and the Zydeco Twisters
  9. Auld Lang Syne, Michael Doucet
  10. Mele Kalikimaka, Poi Dog Pondering with the Dirty Dozen Brass Band
  11. Merry Christmas, Baby, Otis Redding
  12. God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman, Jimmy Smith
  13. Twelves Days of Christmas, Bob and Doug McKenzie
  14. Overture - NutCracker Suite, Duke Ellington
  15. Toot Toot Tootie Toot - NutCracker Suite, Duke Ellington
  16. Peanut Brittle Brigade - NutCracker Suite, Duke Ellington
  17. Sugar Rum Cherry - NutCracker Suite, Duke Ellington
  18. Entr'acte - NutCracker Suite, Duke Ellington
  19. The Volga Vouty - NutCracker Suite, Duke Ellington
  20. Chinoiserie - NutCracker Suite, Duke Ellington
  21. Danse Of The Floreadores - NutCracker Suite, Duke Ellington
  22. Arabesque Cookie - NutCracker Suite, Duke Ellington

I am now requesting suggestions for albums or songs.

Checking iTunes, my Christmas Play List has 32 xmas albums and a handful of individual songs for a total of 452 individual tracks. I'll divide the albums into Great, Ok, and Hit Skip.

  • 1940's Christmas
  • A Charlie Brown Christmas
  • A Creole Christmas
  • Alligator Stomp, Volume 4: Cajun Christmas
  • Charles Brown's Cool Christmas Blues
  • Jimmy Smith: Christmas Cookin'
  • Holidays On Ice, David Sedaris (Santaland Diaries)
  • How The Grinch Stole Christmas, Boris Karloff
  • Jackson 5 Christmas Album
  • Jingle All The Way (Soundtrack) -- only because it's my only copy of Backdoor Santa
  • Merry Christmas from the Chipmunks
  • Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer
  • The McGarrigle Christmas Hour
  • Three Suites, Duke Ellington (NutCracker Suite)
  • VH1's The Big 80's – Christmas

  • 20th Century Masters - The Christmas Collection: The Best of Stevie Wonder
  • John Denver & The Muppets: A Christmas Together
  • A Dave Brubeck Christmas
  • A Very Special Christmas 2
  • Acoustic Christmas
  • Blue Yule: Christmas Blues And R&B Classics
  • Christmas Island, Jimmy Buffet
  • James Brown's Funky Christmas
  • Just Say Noel
  • Klezmer Nutcracker, Shirim
  • O Come All Ye Faithful
  • State Farm Holiday Collection, Volume Three, Steve Barta
  • The Ultimate Christmas Album Volumes 3 & 4

Just skip
  • Barbra Streisand: A Christmas Album
  • Christmas In The Caribbean, Holiday Songs Performed On Steel Drums
  • Christmas On The Beach, Master Tone
  • Rudolph, Frosty and Friends' Favorite Christmas Songs

And the scattered singles. Some are tucked away on other CDs and some were individual purchases.
  • Nutrocker, Emerson, Lake & Palmer (I Believe in Father Christmas - EP)
  • Fairytale Of New York, The Pogues (If I Should Fall From Grace With God)
  • A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square, The Manhattan Transfer (Mecca for Moderns)
  • Merry Christmas, Baby, Otis Redding
  • White Christmas, Otis Redding
  • Speedy's Night Before Christmas (1983), Joe Soucheray, Patrick Reusse (The Best Of Sportstalk – Volume 1)
  • Dueling Christmas Carols (1984), Joe Soucheray, Patrick Reusse (The Best Of Sportstalk – Volume 1)
  • Gee Whiz It's Christmas, Carla Thomas (The Complete Stax/Volt Singles: 1959-1968, Volume 3)
  • All I Want For Christmas Is You, Carla Thomas (The Complete Stax/Volt Singles: 1959-1968, Volume 7)
  • Another Lonely Christmas, Prince (The Hits / The B-Sides (Box Set))
  • One More Sleep 'til Christmas, Kermit the Frog and Paul Williams (The Muppet Show: The 25th Anniversary Collection)
  • I Was Born On Christmas Day, Saint Etienne (Tiger Bay)
  • I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus, John Wesley Harding
  • Talking Christmas Goodwill Blues, John Wesley Harding (God Made Me Do It: The Christmas EP)
  • Merry Christmas Brother, Gordon Gano/ Cynthia Gayneau (Hitting The Ground)
  • White Christmas, Sandra Bernhard (Without You I'm Nothing)
  • Cantique de Noel, Prudence Johnson
  • Christmas Card from a Hooker in Minneapolis, Tom Waits (Blue Valentine)

Feel good story of the day

Wherein Awwww, isn't that just the cutest thing

The Food Whore and the return of deli girl.

From talk radio

Wherein I've never understood how Sean Hannity became so popular. He's always been nothing but Limbaugh-lite, but without a sense of humor and being even more of a Republican party suckup (I've never found Limbaugh to have a sense of humor, but have heard so from enough people I respect that I figure it's a matter of taste). When he was just a local hack in Atlanta he regularly had his ass kicked up and down the dial by Boortz. The fact I have suffer through a couple minutes of Hannity to get the afternoon traffic report gives me an ulcer.

I've always enjoyed listening to Neal Boortz. Part of it is that he's been on radio long enough to know it's all about entertainment and he's usually at his best when he's being a contratrian ass. He is more likely to call Democrats evil than Republicans, but differs enough from the conservative party line to get HI-larious hate mail.

Why Neal Boortz cost the Republicans the election. Nice to know, there are people who spellcheck their email less than I do.

Then he points out some common ground between Pelosi and Bush. Here's one:
More government spending. Through the first 6 years of his presidency, President Bush has proved time and time again that the solution to all of society's ills is more government spending. In fact, he has spent so much money and expanded government so fast, his presidency is rivaled only by FDR's New Deal.

Now that's how you tell a joke

Wherein not like this

Path to joke Peeve Farm > Daring Fireball > Rumsfeld Resignation

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

I've heard worse ideas

Wherein I know I've watched worse movies

From Poppy Z. Brite: Shaq must be the next James Bond.
We're going public with this because of the recent talk about Puff Daddy, or P. Diddy, or Diddy, or whatever his name is this week, wanting to be the first black James Bond. This must not be allowed to happen. Diddy is handsome, all right, but there's no evidence that he can act and, due to the unfortunate societal mindset that there can only be one black element in a traditionally white idiom (e.g. newspaper funnypages featuring either "Curtis" or "Boondocks" but seldom both, even though the two strips are totally dissimilar), his likely-inept performance will spoil any chances of there being a second black Bond for ages and ages. Here's why Shaq must be the first [click for more]

Why stop there? I envision a whole franchise of movies starring Shaq. Not just any movies, but classics. He could play Rick in Casablanca. If you thought Daniel Day-Lewis was good in My Left Foot, imagine how great the Big Aristotle would be.

He's practically a modern day Jimmy Stewart, so let's let him recreate many of those classic roles. There's Shaq as the loveable town drunk in Harvey. Of course, we'd need to make the rabbit about ten feet tall; otherwise, perfect. Or the special interest protecting congressman in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. Then we can watch the drama unfold as he plays the put upon banker in It's a Wonderful Life. Let's see Mr. Potter defeat the Shaq-fu.

Then, while I would love to hear Charles Barkley deliver Gordon Gecko's "Greed is good" speech from Wall Street, I can easily see Shaq in the Charlie Sheen role. Maybe Platoon? Scratch that, let's replace Tom Cruise with Shaq! You can't handle the truth, indeed.

Notice of programming update

Wherein I thought it best to post a warning for fear I might cause whiplash with the sudden change

Now that the current political season has ended, it is time for a change. For too many months this blog has wallowed in pointless myopia concerning obscure policies, voting minutiae, and parsed candidate statements.

No more. I need a break. You need a break. This doesn't mean that serious issues will be ignored, just an acknowledgement that a breath of fresh air is needed. So I will set aside the dissection of Big Issues so many of you have come to expect and search for the mundane and inconsequential.

I know this switch will be painful for many of you; for this, I do not apologize. And if you insist on not accepting my nonapology, then away with you. Feel free to continue partisan sniping at such pernicious sites as Go Fug Yourself or the odious Cool Tools. Those, and many others, will continue to depict the ugly world of politics and societal division. You will not be missed and we will speak unkindly behind your back. See? The petty divisiveness is hard to break.

For those staying with me -- Welcome! I'm not sure where this new journey will take us, or what we will find, all I know is that we won't be taking a GPS to find our way back. To quote (or paraphrase, I really don't remember) someone I hope is a wise person, "Where ever we go, there we are."

If you need to pee, better go now. I'm not stopping this blog every hour for your convenience. Or incontinence.

A return to kentrivia

Wherein did you ever notice? No? Me neither.

  1. Nixon, 1968? Didn’t really think so.
  2. A.A. Milne
  3. Ethiopa
  4. Plaque? No.
  5. Having my demon spawn child, what a wonderful way to say you were brainwashed by the devil-worshipping neighbors.
  6. Aries. Took me much longer to figure this out than it should have.
  7. I own none of these albums, so any answer would require research. Research most likely to be pointless. So my guess is "blue."

Three correct: 2, 3, 6.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

This sounds like an analogy, which I am not very good at - but even if it is taken literally, it is true.

Wherein this should be enough Stephenson quoting for a couple months

Althouse on speaking in tongues. Of course, glossolalia plays a major role in Snow Crash. At one point the Librarian references a real person, C.W. Shumway. Shumway is referenced in this history of "speaking in tongues and the Pentecostal church.

Worth mentioning is that at the time Stephenson was influenced by Julian Jaynes' The Origin of Consciousness in the
Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind
; it's mentioned in the Snow Crash foreward. I came across it 10-15 years before Snow Crash when Omni Maagazine ran an excerpt. A fascinating theory (and read). Mostly discredited, it still has its supporters.

Big long section from Snow Crash:
"What can you tell me about speaking in tongues?" Hiro says.

"The technical term is 'glossolalia,'" the Librarian says.

"Technical term? Why bother to have a technical term for a religious ritual?"

The Librarian raises his eyebrows. "Oh, there's a great deal of technical literature on the subject. It is a neurological phenomenon that is merely exploited in religious rituals."

"It's a Christian thing, right?"

"Pentecostal Christians think so, but they are deluding themselves. Pagan Greeks did it - Plato called it theomania. The Oriental cults of the Roman Empire did it. Hudson Bay Eskimos, Chukchi shamans, Lapps, Yakuts, Semang pygmies, the North Borneo cults, the Trhi-speaking priests of Ghana. The Zulu Amandiki cult and the Chinese religious sect of Shang-ti-hui. Spirit mediums of Tonga and the Brazilian Umbanda cult. The Tungus tribesmen of Siberia say that when the shaman goes into his trance and raves incoherent syllables, he learns the entire language of Nature." 'The language of Nature." "Yes, sir. The Sukuma people of Africa say that the language is kinaturu, the tongue of the ancestors of all magicians, who are thought to have descended from one particular tribe."

"What causes it?"

"If mystical explanations are ruled out, then it seems that glossolalia comes from structures buried deep within the brain, common to all people."

"What does it look like? How do these people act?"

"C. W. Shumway observed the Los Angeles revival of 1906 and noted six basic symptoms: complete loss of rational control; dominance of emotion that leads to hysteria; absence of thought or will; automatic functioning of the speech organs; amnesia; and occasional sporadic physical manifestations such as jerking or twitching. Eusebius observed similar phenomena around the year 300, saying that the false prophet begins by a deliberate suppression of conscious thought, and ends in a delirium over which he has no control."

"What's the Christian justification for this? Is there anything in the Bible that backs this up?"


'You mentioned that word earlier - what is it?"

"From the Greek pentekostos, meaning fiftieth. It refers to the fiftieth day after the Crucifixion."

"Juanita just told me that Christianity was hijacked by viral influences when it was only fifty days old. She must have been talking about this. What is it?"
"'And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven. And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in his own language. And they were amazed and wondered, saying, "Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language? Parthians and Medes and Elamites and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabians, we hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God." And all were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, "What does this mean?"' Acts 2:4-12"

"Damned if I know," Hiro says. "Sounds like Babel in reverse."

"Yes, sir. Many Pentecostal Christians believe that the gift of tongues was given to them so that they could spread their religion to other peoples without having to actually learn their language. The word for that is 'xenoglossy.'"

"That's what Rife was claiming in that piece of videotape, on top of the Enterprise. He said he could understand what those Bangladeshis were saying."

"Yes, sir."

"Does that really work?"

"In the sixteenth century, Saint Louis Bertrand allegedly used the gift of tongues to convert somewhere between thirty thousand and three hundred thousand South American Indians to Christianity," the Librarian says.

"Wow. Spread through that population even faster than smallpox."

"What did the Jews think of this Pentecost thing?" Hiro says. "They were still running the country, right?"

"The Romans were running the country," the Librarian says, "but there were a number of Jewish religious authorities. At this time, there were three groups of Jews: the Pharisees, the Sadducees, and the Essenes."

"I remember the Pharisees from Jesus Christ, Superstar. They were the ones with the deep voices who were always hassling Christ."

"They were hassling him," the Librarian says, "because they were religiously very strict. They adhered to a strong legalistic version of the religion; to them, the Law was everything. Clearly, Jesus was a threat to them because he was proposing, in effect, to do away with the Law."

"He wanted a contract renegotiation with God."

"This sounds like an analogy, which I am not very good at - but even if it is taken literally, it is true."

"Who were the other two groups?"

"The Sadducees were materialists."

"Meaning what? They drove BMWs?"

"No. Materialists in the philosophical sense. All philosophies are either monist or dualist. Monists believe that the material world is the only world - hence, materialists. Dualists believe in a binary universe, that there is a spiritual world in addition to the material world."

"Well, as a computer geek, I have to believe in the binary universe."

The Librarian raises his eyebrows. "How does that follow?"

"Sorry. It's a joke. A bad pun. See, computers use binary code to represent information. So I was joking that I have to believe in the binary universe, that I have to be a dualist."

"How droll," the Librarian says, not sounding very amused. "Your joke may not be without genuine merit, however."

"How's that? I was just kidding, really."

"Computers rely on the one and the zero to represent all things. This distinction between something and nothing - this pivotal separation between being and non-being - is quite fundamental and underlies many Creation myths."
Hiro feels his face getting slightly warm, feels himself getting annoyed. He suspects that the Librarian may be pulling his leg, playing him for a fool. But he knows that the Librarian, however convincingly rendered he may be, is just a piece of software and cannot actually do such things. "Even the word 'science' comes from an Indo-European root meaning 'to cut' or 'to separate.' The same root led to the word 'shit,' which of course means to separate living flesh from nonliving waste. The same root gave us 'scythe' and 'scissors' and 'schism,' which have obvious connections to the concept of separation."

"How about 'sword'?"

"From a root with several meanings. One of those meanings is 'to cut or pierce.' One of them is 'post' or 'rod.' And the other is, simply, 'to speak.'"
"Let's stay on track," Hiro says.

"Fine. I can return to this potential conversation fork at a later time, if you desire."

"I don't want to get all forked up at this point. Tell me about the third group - the Essenes."

"They lived communally and believed that physical and spiritual cleanliness were intimately connected. They were constantly bathing themselves, lying naked under the sun, purging themselves with enemas, and going to extreme lengths to make sure that their food was pure and uncontaminated. They even had their own version of the Gospels in which Jesus healed possessed people, not with miracles, but by driving parasites, such as tapeworm, out of their body. These parasites are considered to be synonymous with demons."

"They sound kind of like hippies."

"The connection has been made before, but it is faulty in many ways. The Essenes were strictly religious and would never have taken drugs."

"So to them there was no difference between infection with a parasite, like tapeworm, and demonic possession."


"Interesting. I wonder what they would have thought about computer viruses?" "Speculation is not in my ambit."

"Speaking of which - Lagos was babbling to me about viruses and infection and something called a nam-shub. What does that mean?"

"Nam-shub is a word from Sumerian."


"Yes, sir. Used in Mesopotamia until roughly 2000 B.C. The oldest of all written languages."

"Oh. So all the other languages are descended from it?" For a moment, the Librarian's eyes glance upward, as if he's thinking about something. This is a visual cue to inform Hiro that he's making a momentary raid on the Library.
"Actually, no," the Librarian says. "No languages whatsoever are descended from Sumerian. It is an agglutinative tongue, meaning that it is a collection of morphemes or syllables that are grouped into words - very unusual."

"You are saying," Hiro says, remembering Da5id in the hospital, "that if I could hear someone speaking Sumerian, it would sound like a long stream of short syllables strung together."

"Yes, sir."

"Would it sound anything like glossolalia?"

"Judgment call. Ask someone real," the Librarian says.

"Does it sound like any modern tongue?"

"There is no provable genetic relationship between Sumerian and any tongue that came afterward."

"That's odd. My Mesopotamian history is rusty," Hiro says. "What happened to the Sumerians? Genocide?"

"No, sir. They were conquered, but there's no evidence of genocide per se."
"Everyone gets conquered sooner or later," Hiro says. "But their languages don't die out. Why did Sumerian disappear?"

"Since I am just a piece of code, I would be on very thin ice to speculate," the Librarian says.

"Okay. Does anyone understand Sumerian?" "Yes, at any given time, it appears that there are roughly ten people in the world who can read it."

"Where do they work?"

"One in Israel. One at the British Museum. One in Iraq. One at the University of Chicago. One at the University of Pennsylvania. And five at Rife Bible College in Houston, Texas."

"Nice distribution. And have any of these people figured out what the word 'nam-shub' means in Sumerian?"

"Yes. A nam-shub is a speech with magical force. The closest English equivalent would be 'incantation,' but this has a number of incorrect connotations."

"Did the Sumerians believe in magic?"

The Librarian shakes his head minutely. "This is the kind of seemingly precise question that is in fact very profound, and that pieces of software, such as myself, are notoriously clumsy at. Allow me to quote from Kramer, Samuel Noah, and Maier, John R. Myths of Enki, the Crafty God. New York, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989: 'Religion, magic, and medicine are so completely intertwined in Mesopotamia that separating them is frustrating and perhaps futile work.... [Sumerian incantations] demonstrate an intimate connection between the religious, the magical, and the esthetic so complete that any attempt to pull one away from the other will distort the whole.' There is more material in here that might help explain the subject."

"In where?"

"In the next room," the Librarian says, gesturing at the wall. He walks over and slides the rice-paper partition out of the way. A speech with magical force. Nowadays, people don't believe in these kinds of things. Except in the Metaverse, that is, where magic is possible. The Metaverse is a fictional structure made out of code. And code is just a form of speech - the form that computers understand. The Metaverse in its entirety could be considered a single vast nam-shub, enacting itself on L. Bob Rife's fiber-optic network. The voice phone rings.

"Just a second," Hiro says.

"Take your time," the Librarian says, not adding the obvious reminder that he can wait for a million years if need be.