Saturday, February 28, 2009

Short quote: teenagers

Wherein and Disney stories encourage underage girls to runaway with older men

Leo reviews some books I don't plan on reading:
You know, you’re supposed to marry the friend. You’re not supposed to marry the hot, tortured, undead guy. Please don’t marry the undead guy. I cannot believe that you could end up married to the vampire. No, it’s all wrong.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Best Of All Possible Worlds

Wherein I prefer the Little Willies' cover

Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash and Kris Kristofferson

The Little Willies covering Willie Nelson.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Short quote: mobius strips

Wherein it doesn't have to make sense to you it just has to make sense to someone

So a band isn't notable enough to be included in Wikipedia, but then an article saying just that makes them notable enough for inclusion?

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


Wherein damn you Robert Redford he strikes out YOU HACK

1. ??
2. One, zero. oh, that makes more sense
3. The E Street orchestra? It's amazing what you can sometimes find out based on only a description of a band name (that's an inside joke for an occasional reader).
4. Bobby Fischer
5. Crusade
6. Will Ferrell
7. None of these have been read in my kitch -- wait, I have read The Natural. Based on that knowledge, I'm guessing the film versions sodomized the books' endings in unsavory ways.

Short quote: have a nice day!

Wherein in the past I would probably quote from Cryptonomicon has at least two passages seem relevant One Lawrence Waterhouse in Australia at the Qwghlmian church and the scene of the Mary-f**king campaign of 1944 Two being Randy Waterhouse meeting his church-going neighbors after the earthquake This however is not the past it's a brand new day or something

Sometimes it is hard to tell the difference between innocuous solicitudes and a lecture and sometimes it isn't. Either way, jumping from neutral to a fourth gear of high-handed pissed-offedness, while probably being of some cardiovascular benefit, seems equally presumptious as the lecture and until the true nature of the reposte can be determined would probably best be fended off with a nod and a half-smile.

Andrew Stuttaford:
On the wider topic of prayer, I, for one, would be flattered (and, possibly, sort of relieved) if religious friends were to remember me in their prayers. It may work (I doubt it, but you never know), but, more than that, it is an expression of friendship – and, as such, it is to be welcomed, relished and celebrated, however strange the form it takes.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Short quote: Prescriptivist Poppycock

Wherein gets a bit hostile towards the end

Educated Americans have a tendency to think that intelligence can be directly assessed through the surrogate of compliance with the rules of Standard English grammar, and that compliance with the rules of Standard English grammar can be checked quickly and easily by glancing in Strunk and White's brainless little pamphlet of 19th-century grammar nonsense. Both propositions are wrong and dangerous, yet tacit acceptance of them is widespread.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Short quote: Garbo

Wherein I do have a cell phone though half the time I can't find it the rest of the time it's rarely on and practically no one has the number

Because I have acquaintances* (not friends), barely talk to anyone I'm related to, and have almost no interest in strangers. That's why I'm not on Facebook. For me, the words "social" and "networking" are like shoving a cross made out of garlic in the face of a vampire:
True, you might not want people to be able to follow your life—it's no great loss to you if your long-lost college frenemy can't find you. But what about your old fling, your new fling, your next employer, or that friend-of-a-friend you just met at a party who says he can give you some great tips on your golf swing? Sure, you can trade e-mail addresses or phone numbers, but in many circles Facebook is now the expected way to make these connections. By being on Facebook, you're facilitating such ties; without it, you're missing them and making life difficult for those who went looking for you there.

I consider this a good thing: "...making life difficult for those who went looking for you..." I'm not an unfriendly person, I'm just trying to lead an uncluttered life.

*Not to disparage the few people I've met through this experiment of a blog; some of whom I'm sure would breach the acquaintance wall. Or at least I'd have a very enjoyable time hanging out with. But seriously, other than a Christmas card I've had no contact with my closest friend for about two years.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Short quote: depressing

Wherein not the same guy getting $60 million from the Braves

Derek Lowe:
As far as I can see, deprivation and austerity have been the norm for most people throughout most of human history, even though they were eating natural foods and getting lots of exercise and fresh air.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The streak is dead, long live the streak

The Child's favorite character from "High School Musical" is Sharpay This should probably be cause for concern

1. Brazil and ??
2. The one about the two high school baseketball players.
3. Fall to the ground in agonizing agony.
4. Valentines Day.
5. Twilight Zone.
6. Anthony Burgess. Wrong, the Burgess book would be called Droog
7. Looks like my streak is ending. My hail mary guess for half credit is "something to do with Bo" or based on a couple minutes in wiki, a baseball player who is ambidextruous. Though rare, doesn't seem unique enough to work. One side note of interest is that when Ringo Starr quit the Beatles he hung out on Peter Sellers yacht until the other three lesser insects begged him to come back. It's true, I read it on wikipedia.

Stunningly banal

Wherein fuck it write the damn research paper and let's get the fuck out of this hellhole of a country

New York Times headline,
Hunted by Puma, It Flees, but Against Fox, It Fights. The gist of the article being that animals have different response levels to different levels of threat.
Specifically, in this article, to repeat the headline, the guanaco runs from a cougar but takes a stand against the culpeo fox. Why, oh why, might this be? Let's go the tape:
  • The guanaco, a relative of the camel and the llama, stands about 4 feet tall and weighs around 200 pounds. Able to run 35mph over rocky terrain.
  • The cougar, weighing up to 250 pounds, runs 35-45 mph, and has been known to bring down elk and moose. Frequently dines on deer and cattle.
  • The culpeo fox weighs in at 30 lbs and has a diet of rodents and rabbits.

Upon careful review it is apparent that the answer to the scientific question -- why does the guanaco not flee the fox and instead kicks the shit out of it? -- has two complementary answers:
  1. Because it knows it can.
  2. Insulted by the hubris of the fox

Monday, February 16, 2009

Short quote(s): guessing

Wherein David Brin's Earth and Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game demonstrate anonymous commentators becoming influential through internet-like forums -- newsgroups blogs whatever

Sci-Fi: What's it really about?:
  • " Donald Rumsfeld was right," states Stross. "That is to say, his point about the known unknowns and unknown unknowns nailed the problem of predicting the future spot-on. We can point to extrapolations of current technological and social trends, but we can't extrapolate on the basis of stuff that hasn't been discovered yet. For example: In 1962 it was possible, just about, to see the future of integrated circuitry (and even, if you were very far-sighted, to glimpse Moore's Law and its implications), but the CD player was right out of the picture-solid-state lasers lay at least a decade in the future."

  • You're obliged to predict not just the automobile but the traffic jam and the stranglehold on gas prices. Nobody invents anything unless there is at least the illusion of a profit.

    The only science fiction movie that did this right, according to Niven, was the 1983 film Brainstorm, in which, according to Niven, "a valid technology was followed from its inception to its limits."

  • "The standard advice is to be aggressive in your predictions; there's this notion that the future always comes faster than you think it will," suggests Sawyer.

    "But, actually, I think a lot of us underestimated social inertia," he adds. "Most of us predicted a secular 21st century, and it's anything but that. The world is like a person: It doesn't change as it gets older. Rather, it simply becomes more obviously what it always was. People always liked having phones and portable music, but most people never wanted to lug a camera, or an ebook reader or a PDA around. The future is adding functionality to those things we've already admitted into our lives, not trying to convince people they need new categories of things; the iPhone-the all-in-one device that is, first and foremost, something familiar -- is the correct paradigm."

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Map of the Heart #1

Wherein art

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Short quote: obvious

Wherein but often overlooked

Perhaps tallying Google results for randomly chosen phrases isn't actually the best way to calibrate moral outrage.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Michael Phelps versus Alex Rodriguez

Wherein go ask Alice

Michael Phelps admits to using a drug that if used regularly could harm his performance, and for most it's no big deal.

Alex Rodriguez admits to taking drugs so he can perform better, and he's hated and scorned.

Possible reasons for the difference:
  1. Race.
  2. Age.
  3. Professional vs. (pseudo) amateur.
  4. More people have lit up than shot up. Actually, if you consider all the medical uses of steroids, I'm betting more people have used steroids than pot.
  5. Phelps is lovable, A-Rod is a jerk.
  6. follow-up: gold medal winner vs World Series nonwinner.
  7. No one cares about swimming.
  8. Relaxing vs cheating.
  9. Plant vs pharmaceutical.


Wherein if correct this will be my third #7 in a row matching my longest streak

1. Turkey
2. The Sting
3. Interior, Vice President, Defense
4. Dwarfy guy who lived in Tahiti -- Gaugin?
5. probably a B city -- Boston
6. Arby's
7. singing children? Pretty sure at least three songs -- Pink Floyd, John and Yoko, and Tina Turner -- qualify.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Product endorsement

Wherein works exactly as advertised

It's the Back To Basics microwave popcorn popper. Just a heavy plastic bowl to which you add a 1/3 cup popcorn, maybe drizzle a little oil (instructions say up to 2 tablespoons, I add none to maybe a teaspoon), and nuke for about 2.5 minutes. Results equal perfectly popped popcorn. Rinse off in the sink and you're done. Bought ours at the local Target for $10-$12 and if you eat a lot of bagged microwave popcorn you'll probably make your money back in a couple weeks. Even if you buy the gourmet popping corn, which really is better tasting.

Hmm, as of this writing, not available at

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Crap I wrote last year that I still kinda like

Wherein based on early production and projecting outward I won't be able to do a list next year













Jamming things down people's throats

Wherein shorter speech: it's inevitable so just lie back and enjoy it

Hey, Barack, you know what? I don't give a fuck about your staff being worn out, or Pelosi's either. And quit scolding us because you're pissed off and feeling defensive. You're not our father; you're not our boss. And I'm definitely not unflappable, so screw you.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

short quote: snubbings

Wherein first happened upon while reading The First American by H. W. Brands

Kite flying freak:
I do not like to answer angry Letters. I hate Disputes. I am old, cannot have long to live, have much to do and no time for Altercation. If I have often received and borne your Magisterial Snubbings and Rebukes without Reply, ascribe it to the right Causes, my Concern for the Honour & Success of our Mission, which would be hurt by our Quarrelling, my Love of Peace, my Respect for your good Qualities, and my Pity of your Sick Mind, which is forever tormenting itself, with its Jealousies, Suspicions & Fancies that others mean you ill, wrong you, or fail in Respect for you. If you do not cure your self of this Temper it will end in Insanity, of which it is the Symptomatick Forerunner, as I have seen in several Instances. God preserve you from so terrible an Evil: and for his sake pray suffer me to live in quiet.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Peter Sagal, please turn in your dork card

Wherein schtupaku

On last week's episode of Wait Wait… Don't Tell Me!, Peter Sagal announced Carrie Fisher as the guest with:
"Let me take you back, if I can, to 1977 in a theater in suburban New Jersey, where a 12-year-old boy is watching Star Wars for the tenth time. Now, like many of the other adolescent boys around him he's engaging in some wild thoughts about Carrie Fisher, who played Princess Leia. But his thought are different from the rest. He's not dreaming of daring rescues or metal bikinis, he's dreaming of someday, maybe, being able to ask her silly questions about something she knows nothing about.

Dood, I hate these movies and even I know that fantasy is implausible in 1977 because the metal bikini is from 1983's Return of the Jedi. Heck, even The Wife turned to me and said "1977? That's not right." Totally took us out of the show. This is especially egregious because it's a prepared intro, not an off-the-cuff slip of the tongue.

Then at the end of the show is this exchange:
Sagal: The ashes of Gene Roddenberry, the creator of blank, will be launched into space with those of his wife Majel Barrett.

Roy Blount, Jr.: Star Wars.

Sagal: Right.

Right!!!!???!!!!??! Right!!!!???!!!!??! Carl Kasell had to catch the error. Embarrassing.

And a note to Carrie Fisher. Isn't this like the tenth book you've written about how fucked up your life is/was? I get the whole "write what you know" but isn't it time to learn something new? I admit I did enjoy the anecdote about your parents having Cary Grant call to ask you to stop using LSD.

President Finger-wagger

Wherein despite my extreme dislike of listening to any politician I might check this out just to see if the press actually fellates him on prime time television will the FCC bother to fine anyone

Obama to give a press conference Monday and screw up my watching of Chuck.

How I imagine President Obama answering any question he doesn't like: audio, 21 seconds (contains bad words)

From Matt Welch's presidential admonishment:
Why do people oppose the stimulus? Here are a few actual reasons: There is no strong evidence that stimuli work, and plenty of evidence that they don't (a relevant consideration, no?). Like the deeply flawed PATRIOT Act, the deeply flawed Iraq War resolution, and the deeply flawed bank bailout, it is being rushed through the legislature in an atmosphere of pants-wetting crisis and presidential warnings of impending doom. It is filled with special interest giveaways, big-government featherbedding, and "Buy American" considerations that have about as much to do with stimulating an economy as playing violin has with putting out fires. By taking from fiscally responsible states (like South Carolina) and giving to fiscally irresponsible states (like California), it violates basic notions of fairness and creates still more moral hazard in an already hazardtastic universe. These will do for starters...

Welch also asks "Obama's a smart guy; surely he can bring a better closing argument." No, I don't think he can.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Nothing about him gave any suggestion of a child LOST in the middle of the desert

Wherein pardon me while I muzzle my sheep

Tried to leave this at kulturblog, but it wouldn't go through

Interesting book. Here's an online version, with the explanation "This work is in the public domain in Canada, but may still be copyrighted in the USA and some countries in Europe. It is the responsibility of the user to determine whether the works are in the public domain in his or her respective country.

We also have the DVD of the lovely BBC production of the opera ( link).

If there's anything connection with Lost, it's allegorical as the Prince leaves his planet in anger, feels guilty for betraying the flower, and struggles to get back. The getting back isn't easy:

I shall look as if I were dead; and that will not be true..."

I said nothing.

"You understand... it is too far. I cannot carry this body with me. It is too heavy."

Sounds like Locke. Or Jack. Or they just borrowed the title because it's about a stranded Frenchman and they were introducing stranded Frenchmen. Fun/infuriating thing about Lost is that anything sounds plausible.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Tough times

Wherein I do not support a federal bailout or the dumbass idea of creating a White House arts czar

Miami Ballet gives 8 ballerinas pink slips
There are too many ballerinas and not enough money to pay them all.

Carolina Ballet:
Due to recent economic impacts on UNC Wilmington, the university will not be able to host our 2009 summer program. We are actively searching for a new partner for the summer of 2010. ALL AUDITIONS FOR 2009 ARE CANCELLED. We apologize for any inconvenience this causes, as we were planning for another successful intensive and residency.

Arizona Ballet:
Ballet Arizona announced today that it has canceled plans for its June concert program and laid off 25 percent of its administrative staff.

I guess puns help the medicine go down, Recession is bitter music for arts:
The Michigan Opera Theater, in its 38th season, has a deficit of about $600,000 because of declining donations from Detroit's Big Three automakers, DiChiera said. The opera is also having difficulty securing a credit line and has huge mortgage payments on its opera house, parking structure and related retail space.[...]

Lagging ticket sales and deepening budget problems have forced the Sacramento Ballet to cancel the rest of its season. Ballet companies in Cincinnati, Miami and Madison, Wis., have also had to cancel shows or make other cutbacks in recent weeks. The Utah Shakespearean Festival has cut more than $700,000 from its 2009 budget, including three of the festival's 25 full-time employees.

In Sacramento, the canceled season came after a lackluster holiday season that forced the ballet to sell tickets to "The Nutcracker Suite" for $10 — one-fifth the usual cost.[...]

Musicians who played for Opera Pacific were told they were out of work during intermission on the final night of "The Barber of Seville." Then they played the second half. ouch, that's cold

insufficient funds:
Meanwhile, not-for-profit arts organizations are clearly suffering. The Los Angeles Opera has announced plans to lay off 17 people, cut salaries and stage fewer performances. The Miami City Ballet is dropping eight dancers. The Baltimore Opera has declared bankruptcy, and the Dance Theatre of Harlem is cutting salaries for its entire staff by 10 per cent to avoid layoffs and programming cuts.

Arts in Crisis: A Kennedy Center Initiative:
is a high-tech support service through which arts administrators can talk to the center's personnel about the challenges of shrinking income, budget-conscious audiences and other difficulties in keeping the doors open. [...]

Any arts organization that is nonprofit -- which usually covers orchestras, dance troupes and theaters -- can sign up for free assistance. Over the eight years since Kaiser took over the Kennedy Center, it has built a reservoir of information about how groups have managed their successes and failures through a half-dozen programs.

"Organizations that have endowments have seen them cut by one-third," Kaiser said. "In cities like Detroit that are so dependent on the auto industry, the money is gone. Foundations are forced to cut back, and individuals have seen their wealth reduced. People are buying their tickets more selectively, and they are not going out as often."

In recent weeks, organizations from almost every part of the country have reported belt-tightening measures, or worse. The Baltimore Opera Company filed for bankruptcy. The Seattle Repertory Theatre asked its staff of 55 to take two weeks of unpaid leave. The Orlando Ballet cut live music for "The Nutcracker" so the dance troupe wouldn't be reduced. The Santa Clarita Symphony in California canceled its season.

The Denver Post reported Sunday that many local arts organizations had cut their budgets by 12 percent but had not instituted layoffs. And the Chicago Tribune reported Sunday that the Joffrey Ballet froze hiring eight months ago.

Quoting Woody Allen

Wherein speaking of Shane

Watching a movie with Woody Allen:
The colors in the print are a little bled out, which is a shame, because the images of the craggy peaks of northwest Wyoming, where Stevens shot the film, are among the most beautiful in any western. Did Mr. Allen have any idea where the film was shot? ''No idea,'' he said in a crisp tone that discouraged further discussion. A subsequent question was cut off just as quickly. Was Mr. Allen going to be able to discuss the film as we watched it? ''I can't talk and watch the movie at the same time,'' he said.
This was a bit of a problem, as the discussion is pretty much the idea of this series. But he was adamant -- polite but adamant. He suggested a compromise: we would watch the film for 20 minutes or so, then switch it off and discuss what we had seen before starting it up again.

Others in the Watching Movies With series.

short quote: spoiled rancid

Wherein Shane goes away and never comes back

Spoilers should be preannounced, but anyone who is spoiled for the movie by being told that Tom Cruise doesn't kill Hitler had much bigger problems than spoliers.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Short quote: just say it

Wherein verily

Comment to a Matt Welch HitandRun post:
Jesus! You did their damned research for them, and they still wouldn't give you a plug? What assholes.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Now this is singing

Wherein pretty much a perfect song nothing to not like about this

Gotta get back to the vinyl so I can listen to the extended version. Go Wild in the Country:


Annabella Lwin interview:

Sunday, February 01, 2009

South Carolina outlaws games of Go Fish?

Wherein this seems both overly broad and pointlessly specific
See story
Maybe this can be edited down to something understandable and useful:
If any person shall play at any tavern, inn, store for the retailing of spirituous liquors or in any house used as a place of gaming, barn, kitchen, stable or other outhouse, street, highway, open wood, race field or open place at (a) any game with cards or dice, (b) any gaming table, commonly called A, B, C, or E, O, or any gaming table known or distinguished by any other letters or by any figures, (c) any roley-poley table, (d) rouge et noir, (e) any faro bank (f) any other table or bank of the same or the like kind under any denomination whatsoever or (g) any machine or device licensed pursuant to Section 12-21-2720 and used for gambling purposes, except the games of billiards, bowls, backgammon, chess, draughts, or whist when there is no betting on any such game of billiards, bowls, backgammon, chess, draughts, or whist or shall bet on the sides or hands of such as do game, upon being convicted thereof, before any magistrate, shall be imprisoned for a period of not over thirty days or fined not over one hundred dollars, and every person so keeping such tavern, inn, retail store, public place, or house used as a place for gaming or such other house shall, upon being convicted thereof, upon indictment, be imprisoned for a period not exceeding twelve months and forfeit a sum not exceeding two thousand dollars, for each and every offense.

Isn't this just saying:
If any person shall gamble or bet, upon conviction may be imprisoned for no more than 30 days or fined not over $100 dollars. Any person providing gambling or betting, upon conviction may be imprisoned for no more than 12 months AND fined not over $2000 dollars.

Maybe elsewhere South Carolina explains in mind-numbing detail what they mean by gambling and betting. But since this doesn't and only states that if you gamble you may be fined or sent to jail, why not JUST SAY THAT?

Short cuts: NY Times

Wherein January 30

“No, we’re going to Bismarck. But it should be fun.”

“You had someone knocking on your cell, ‘Time to get up,’ ” he recalled. “Instead of being on the set, you’ve got to be counted.”

Sounds like research thought of while listening to Cheech and Chong records:
After analyzing more than 300 depictions of walking animals in museums, veterinary books and toy models, the researchers report that in almost half of them the leg positions are wrong.

OH MY GOD!!! That looks amazing!:
...massive torpedo-shaped amalgamation of two pounds of bacon woven through and around two pounds of sausage and slathered in barbecue sauce...

Calm down, jackass; you're no Bob Seger:
“I realized, I do love those big sweeping melodies and the romanticism, and I haven’t allowed myself much of it in the past


short stereotypes

Wherein is it OK I don't know Rachel Maddow

Tim Goodman:
No doubt the report from the space aliens back to their commanding officers is as predictable and sad as we all thought it would be: Men, as depicted on ESPN, shout at each other when discussing sports and athletes. Women, when gathered on "The View," seem catty and gossipy and hurt each other's feelings...