Mike Beversluis

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Novel Foreign Policy

Points for, um, amusement?

PAPUA New Guinea is threatening to dramatically reduce the money it receives from Canberra.

[via Tim Blair]

Monday, October 30, 2006

US Population Density

US Population Density.

The Book of Ratings

From Yahoo's Pick of the Day: The Book of Ratings. Everything and Anything. Many things you wouldn't have thought of. Um, or rather, many things of which I had not thought. For instance, pasta shapes:


This seems like one of the better reasons to keep your mind uninfected by the Italian language. If you speak Italian, suddenly waiters are encouraging you to try the little hairs. "The little hairs are very good tonight," they say. "You really can't go wrong with a plate full of little hairs." I know that there's always the English term "angel hair pasta," but that's different. I have no problem believing that angels are delicious. I'm sure you could run up and bite off an angel's thumb and it would taste like Krispy Kreme. B


These are chubby little ravioli, and the name means "fat little lambs." Cute! That's a lovely little image, fat lambs frolicking in a field of cream sauce with a bunch of hideously overgrown scallops and occasionally being stabbed with the massive fork of a vengeful god. I also like to imagine ninjas fighting with throwing stars among the sheeps and scallops, but I don't think that has a culinary analog. Maybe capers. A


I wanted to give my blog a D, but it already switched to Pass/Fail.


Design is Expensive, Copying Isn't 3

Nine foot tall desk lamp, $3.5k. Right now, a lack of money is the only real obstacle to my Ray Eames vs the Dad From Silver Spoons house Which is another way of saying that sometimes we need to be thankful for what we don't have.


Friday, October 27, 2006

Nobody's Watching

A Pilot that wasn't picked up: Nobody's Watching. Most of those guys Youtube videos have a few hundred thousand (some 2 million) hits in, like, 2 weeks. So - why do they need a network - or more likely, why do they need one on television?

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AT-AT Costume. This year I bought candy, because when kids show up and you don't have any - Man, that's awkward.


Take that nerds!

If all stories were written like sci-fi stories:

Roger and Ann needed to meet Sergey in San Francisco.

“Should we take a train, or a steamship, or a plane?” asked Ann.

“Trains are too slow, and the trip by steamship around South America would take months,” replied Roger. “We’ll take a plane.”

He logged onto the central network using his personal computer, and waited while the system verified his identity. With a few keystrokes he entered an electronic ticketing system, and entered the codes for his point of departure and his destination. In moments the computer displayed a list of possible flights, and he picked the earliest one. Dollars were automatically deducted from his personal account to pay for the transaction...

Basically, Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asminov, and Arthur C. Clarke were kinda douchebags.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Charles W. Bartlett Paintings

Only in hotels?


[Something about] Koyaanisqatsi

Koyaanisqatsi, by Godfrey Reggio
(USA 1982).

The word "koyaanisqatsi" means "life out of balance" in the Hopi language (I am shameless in copying this information from the Internet). Just to give an idea of the movie to the few ones that may have not seen it, this movie is a big collage of images and music, divided into two parts; first come images of the natural world, then images of life in cities, that obviously have been chosen so that the viewer finds them repulsive: but it was not too difficult to do so.

Before starting to write I read something in the IMDB and I found a guy ("Adam", see http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0085809/plotsummary) that already wrote what I wanted to write. I quote him:

"This movie was designed to have no plot. Meaning is to be created by the viewer, and only the viewer can give value to the images and music. That said, there is a central idea behind the movie, and according to the director it is this: The greatest event in the history of mankind has occurred recently, and has been largely missed by both the media and academia. Beyond the headlines and every day crises of international events, a deeper shift in human affairs has occurred: Humanity no longer exists in the natural world, we are no longer connected to it. It is not that we are now users of technology, but rather that we exist within technology, we are part of it and it is part of us. The natural world now exists only to support the artificial one in which we live."

I add an idea which interested me; recently I read some lines about antropology in which there was a hint about two possible ways of relating to nature: one "aesthetic" and another one called with another name that I can't recall but associated to the idea of a practical relationship. This brief reading that I have done made me reflect on why I got a strange sensation whenever I went to do some trips here in the US: the only possible relationship with nature for me is the aesthetic one, since I cannot approach nature with the economic view, and I am surrounded by people who also do not have any possibility of having an economic relationship with nature; besides by many people an economic relationship with nature is considered an archaic thing and simply not taken into consideration.

I could add a lot, but I see the pure and simple admiration of nature as a quite sterile thing; besides, for many of the people that I know this admiration reduces to taking photographs.

As a last note, very nice the passage between the natural images and the human world images in the movie; admitting that I interpreted correctly what I saw, two images apparently similar and yet quite different follow each other.

Mr Fusion

For Mom.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

More dumb email humor

Watch me as I turn into your mom and send you stuff I found on the internet (just kidding, Mom - that's really more like Sarah.):

Analogies You Probably Won't Find in Great Literature:

He spoke with the wisdom that can only come from experience, like a guy who went blind because he looked at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it and now goes around the country speaking at high schools about the dangers of looking at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it.
(Joseph Romm, Washington)

She caught your eye like one of those pointy hook latches that used to dangle from screen doors and would fly up whenever you banged the door open again.
(Rich Murphy, Fairfax Station)

The little boat gently drifted across the pond exactly the way a bowling ball wouldn't.
(Russell Beland, Springfield)

McBride fell 12 stories, hitting the pavement like a Hefty Bag filled with vegetable soup.
(Paul Sabourin, Silver Spring)

From the attic came an unearthly howl. The whole scene had an eerie, surreal quality, like when you're on vacation in another city and "Jeopardy" comes on at 7 p.m. instead of 7:30.
(Roy Ashley, Washington)

Her hair glistened in the rain like nose hair after a sneeze.
(Chuck Smith, Woodbridge)

Her eyes were like two brown circles with big black dots in the
(Russell Beland, Springfield)

Bob was as perplexed as a hacker who means to access T:flw.quid55328.com\aaakk/ch@ung but gets T:\flw.quidaaakk/ch@ung by mistake
(Ken Krattenmaker, Landover Hills)

Her vocabulary was as bad as, like, whatever.

He was as tall as a six-foot-three-inch tree.
(Jack Bross, Chevy Chase)

The hailstones leaped from the pavement, just like maggots when you fry them in hot grease.
(Gary F. Hevel, Silver Spring)

Her date was pleasant enough, but she knew that if her life was a movie this guy would be buried in the credits as something like "Second Tall Man.*"
(Russell Beland, Springfield)

Long separated by cruel fate, the star-crossed lovers raced across the grassy field toward each other like two freight trains, one having left Cleveland at 6:36 p.m. traveling at 55 mph, the other from Topeka at 4:19 p.m. at a speed of 35 mph.
(Jennifer Hart, Arlington)

The politician was gone but unnoticed, like the period after the Dr. on a Dr Pepper can.
(Wayne Goode, Madison, Ala.)

They lived in a typical suburban neighborhood with picket fences that resembled Nancy Kerrigan's teeth.
(Paul Kocak, Syracuse, N.Y.)

John and Mary had never met. They were like two hummingbirds who had also never met.
(Russell Beland, Springfield)

The thunder was ominous-sounding, much like the sound of a thin sheet of metal being shaken backstage during the storm scene in a play.
(Barbara Fetherolf, Alexandria)

His thoughts tumbled in his head, making and breaking alliances like underpants in a dryer without Cling Free
(Chuck Smith, Woodbridge)

The red brick wall was the color of a brick-red Crayola crayon.
(Jennifer Frank and Jimmy Pontzer, Washington and Sterling)

*[ed. I've been this guy][Except for the nice-enough part]


Hiring People

Here's a really good essay on how to hire people. I would be really interested to hear from him about firing people.

Maybe God doesn't play dice with the universe because that's a bad analogy

Coin-tossing isn't totally random.

Preliminary analysis of the video-taped tosses suggests that a coin will land the same way it started about 51 percent of the time. "It's a gem-like example of what we know that isn't so," Diaconis says. Though a skeptic since childhood, he believed that "if you flipped a coin vigorously, it was going to be fair.

"But it's not so bad," he says. "One in a hundred is pretty close, actually. It gives me faith that probability assumptions can be validated and useful, but you have to look at them case by case."

Reading that guy's biography is a little too reminiscent of Aronsky's Pi, but if you didn't know that mathematicians of all stripes are weird - NEWS FLASH - they are.

6 word stories

A little too high a concept, but this set was pretty good. Except for Stan Lee, who needs to go back to the drawing board. And they are less stories than koens, but still. I'd like you to note that I totally did not bother coming up with the too-obvious six-word post. You're welcome.


Tuesday, October 24, 2006

W8stin' time

IQ Marathon.

I had a game like this on my Dreamcast. I can't quite decipher the cows's "moo moo moo" code, but I think it's a tonal language with Huffman encoding. I think the point is that the cows are smarter than me.


Monday, October 23, 2006

Password management is a bitch

Error Message: Your Password Must Be at Least 18770 Characters and Cannot Repeat Any of Your Previous 30689 Passwords

And I thought they were paranoid at work.


For no good reason

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Kitty Pr0n


Three Quotes

Now and then an innocent man is sent to the legislature.
Kin Hubbard

I take my children everywhere, but they always find their way back home.
Robert Orben

What's the use of happiness? It can't buy you money.
Henny Youngman

All your candy belongs to us

667: The Neighbor of the Beast

That is all.

Lazlo's Chinese Relativity Axiom

No matter how great your triumphs or how tragic your defeats, approximately one billion Chinese couldn't care less.

It's all about perspective.

Also, who was Lazlo? Everything on the web is just copy paste of that exact quote without any context. As if I'm just supposed to know who Lazlo is/was. I don't think that's from Real Genius's Lazlo.


Saturday, October 21, 2006

More old email

At one point some guys were going to make a video game, which prompted the following:

From andersmj
Subject: Meeting

We will have another meeting Monday November 6th at 4PM in room 155, Olin. If the room is locked, assemble in the general vicinity and we will find another appropriate location. E-MAIL andersmj if you have any questions. The main focus of the meeting will be on game design.

---- Matt

Sometime later:

From andersmj
Subject: Game Meeting

Thank you for your general absence from the meeting on Monday. It went quite smoothly, as there was no discussion to interrupt the conversation I had with random people in the hall. I will contact you as to when possible future meetings may occur.

---- Matt

That still cracks me up everytime I read it.

Dutch "Treat"

For absolutely no good reason, I started digging through my old email and I found this from a friend:

I am bored and taking a break from the paper I have been writing for the last 2 hours, so I shall now teach you some Dutch words which I constructed out of smaller actual Dutch words.

Boterdansen (butter dancing)
Paardafmaken (opening a horse as if it were a window)
Lijkeneten (eating corpses)
Kinderslagen (beating children)
Vriendbetasten (groping a friend)
Visbegraven (burying a fish)
Nasekijken (looking at your nose)
Nasepeuteren (fiddling around with the contents of your nose)
Apenkopen (selling monkeys)
Fazantengebruiken (using pheasants)
Appelkeuzen (choosing apples)
Heksenwaagen (weighing witches)
Moederspijten (spiting your mom)
Bloedbadkomen (the coming of a bloodbath)
Verloofdebrennen (burning your fiance)
Pijndoen (causing pain)
Pietenvouden (folding people named Piet)
Breinwagen (the traincar which is hauling a load of brains)
Jeugdpustjemeester (master of teenage acne or "youth pustules")

Ah, Dutch is such a beautiful language. Incidentally, if you are not easily offended, you can go to the Wikipedia list of Dutch slurs. At first I was suprised that it was a much longer list than the French or even the Irish got, but then I thought about it.

Nosferatu - The Return of Dan Quayle

How difficult could it be to find a Murphy Brown clip?

In an attempt to find out just how easy (or difficult) it is to get access to old television clips, Jeff Ubois started a project: track down clips from the Murphy Brown/Dan Quayle debate in 1992. Though that sounds simple enough, the quest turned out to be surprisingly difficult—sometimes impossible.


While this might not seem like a crucial problem*, television has become one of the main forms of entertainment and news in our society, and the difficulty and expense of using it in research projects means that much interesting historical study has become unnecessarily difficult. Are we in danger of having a crucial part of our collective cultural memory locked up in vaults?

*No kidding.

Anyway, I disagree that this is a problem. As the article mentions, the episode he was looking for then is now out on DVD, so the answer to, "How hard it would be to find this," is, um, "Not very hard."

Okay, distribution rights are going to be a problem, but for all the RIAA's blovating and the DMCA, etc, people want to watch and listen to movies. Make it too difficult to do so legally, and they will go around the law. NB, this applies to government bureaucracy too. We get exactly the amount we want.

In fact, I think the overpreservation of media is going to be a problem. Sure this is often good - I just found the entire movie Nosferatu on Google Video, and I wasn't even looking for it! It's still great. But many things from 1920 weren't so wonderful, and it's good that they have disappeared. If anything, GenX will be reviled not for wars or bad fashion*, but for leaving digital records of everything (eg, this dumb blog) behind and making themselves a nuisance for untold generations ahead.

*Case in point, I was watching 1990's music videos and goddamn. Everyone smacks the seventies around as the nadir of ugliness, and we blame the 80's fashion victims for their crimes too, but the 1990's were bad. They were awful. Check out MC Hammer, who managed to split time between goofy Hammer pants and bicycle shorts. ["U can't touch this"] That pretty much covers non-flattering cuts on both ends of the spectrum. And grunge wasn't any better. And neither are emo bands and numetal right now in 2006. My Chemical Romance? You have got to be kidding me.

I guess my point is that a lot of the stuff we do, throughtout our whole lives, looks less and less like the good idea in a moment of sober reflection. Perhaps being able to forget 99% of everything is a feature and not a problem.

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I opened the dishwasher this morning to find this imposing cup. My first thought was that drinking from it would be really hard, but if you tilted it just the right way, you could get the drink to dribble down right onto your tongue. Kinda like eating peas with a knife. And there would be that weird electric taste from the sharp edge.

My second thought was that this was batshit insane.


Thursday, October 19, 2006

Back to songs that build strongly

The Small Faces - Tin Soldier

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Which kinda reminds me

Imagine if Weezer was Japanese, not creepy, and had a video that gave Devo a nod. Then you'd have The Pillows - Ride on Shooting Star.

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Building up Momentum

Sometimes when I travel and I sit waiting for a taxi in the stillness of a too early morning, before the first commuters have even appeared in whatever strange place I find myself, I have a feeling of intense dislocation. The one or two people around only set off the empty landscape, and I think this is accentuated by the glare from the the rising sun. The veneer that my familiar home is gone, and there's nothing to do to distract from that. I'm not Zach Braff and it's not like I go through my life feeling disaffected and weighed down by the unbearable lightness of being, but when I thought about the beginning of Devo's Gut Feeling song, that's what popped into my head. Anyway, here they are live in France ("I've got a GOLD PEANUT") way back when:

Or, if you like, here's the spanish girl home-movies version (with album version of the song as a soundtrack to general video camera noodling)(featuring puppets and goofy dancing):

See also: It's a Beautiful World, and a runner up: The Stone Roses, I Wanna Be Adored, which features some awful dancing and a bass line that could cure cancer.

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Wednesday, October 18, 2006


"That's not a bottle of wine. This is a bottle of wine."

To those about to split a 9L bottle over dinner, I salute you.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Microscopy in a nutshell

Granted, you'd have to look through it the other way, but the principle is exactly the same.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

I don't really like any of these people

but, Gloria Steinem and Jane Fonda baking apple pies with Stephan Colbert is funny. BTW, I give the feminist radio network that they are starting 2.5 years, which is how far Air America made it. Politics aside, NPR's already got that corner and they don't have to turn a profit.


Harvard Personal Ads

It's too easy to snark, so I'll just say that photos would make it better and then I'll link: Harvard Magazine's Personal Ads.

Previously: Esquire's Brutally Honest Personals.

In the spirit of even-handedness, I'll post this bit of ancient email humor that includes my alma matter:

Washington State College & University Directory.

This directory is designed to help people who have not decided on which institute to attend.


Ever have the fascination of living in a small community with a bunch of people who are all related? Do you like the rodeo? Have you ever wanted to wear tight jeans with little circles worn into the back pockets and a belt with a buckle the size of your head holding them up? When you graduate do you want to pursue a career in owning a tire dump, working fast food, or 7-11 hot cheese dispenser repair? If this is true come to Central.


Did you do poorly on your SAT? Are you a football player who couldn't play division 1A & still have the dream of making it to the NFL? Do want the same education of a two year community college rolled into four? Well come to Eastern.


Ever think communism was a good idea? Do like eating tofu & dating women with hairy legs? Ever think of joining a radical leftist group? Do you still live in the sixties? Did you hate getting grades in school? Does the idea of unemployment interest you? If these are true, come to TESC.


Are you catholic and are being pressured by church and or parents to go to a catholic school? Do you want to go to stay in Washington? If this is true you have to go to Gonzaga or you will have sinned. We are not Notre Dame, but hey we are your only option in this state.


Do your parents hate the idea of you attending a state university & you can't get accepted to any good private schools out of state? Do you like high school football? Do you hate having a social life? Come to PLU.


Have you ever wanted to live in a city that is just a bunch of crappy strip malls? Do you get rejected by Central & Eastern? Ever dream of playing college basketball but you suck? Do you like making fun of goofy monks who have devoted their life to god and guard a cemetery? Come to St. Martins.


Did you not get accepted into the University of Washington? Do you still want to go to college in Seattle? Do you want to go to a school that gives you the education of a public school for the same price as a private school? Come to Seattle U.


Do you want to impress your friends and go to a university that no one has heard of? Do you like going to college that is smaller than your high school? Do you want to know everyone in the school on the first day of class? Come to SPU.


Do like people? Does the prospects of having lots of people in your classes sound like fun? How about even more people in your classes? Did you not get accepted into MIT or Harvard and are pissed at the world & want to go to a public university that has a false image of a world class institute? Do you want to be a doctor and major in pre med in a school with a first class med school that doesn't accept any undergraduates from the same school? Well come to Washington.


Do you have lots of money? Do you have so much money that you do not know what do do with it? If this is true come to UPS and we will help solve these problems.


Do you like the small town life? I mean real small. Do you want to go to a school that is worse than the local community college? Come to Walla Walla.


Want to major in agriculture? Do you like cheese? Ever want to drink a lot of cheap beer? Do you like passing out? Do you want to go a university located close to another university with people just as unemployable as you? Come to WAZZU?


Do you want to be a teacher? Did you you like high school? How about another five years of it. Come to Western.


Do you have the grades to get in to almost any university in the country? Do you want to go to a school full of people like this in a town so pathetic that you are forced to hangout with them? Do you lack a social life & want to come to a place with people so unsocial you immediately become social? Come to Whitman.


Do you like to pray? Did you wish you could attend church more than one day a week? How about church every day. Come to Whitworth.

Like any academic comparison, Whitman personal ads would be 80% as bad as those from the Ivy League, but their nonexistance is a point in their favor.



Immigrants aren't bad, they're great.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Music Eric Can Play While he's Drawing a Comic Book or Playing with his Action Figures

Duh Duh da da da Duh Duh...


Friday, October 13, 2006


My love of quotes is explained, in an appropriately post-modern way with a quote:

A facility for quotation covers the absence of original thought.
Dorothy L. Sayers

And why not just lean into the punch:

At the age of eleven or thereabouts women acquire a poise and an ability to handle difficult situations which a man, if he is lucky, manages to achieve somewhere in the later seventies.
P. G. Wodehouse

Great men are not always idiots
Karen Elizabeth Gordon

Always and never are two words you should always remember never to use.
Wendell Johnson

I like rice. Rice is great if you're hungry and want 2000 of something.
Mitch Hedberg


Thursday, October 12, 2006

Impossible is nothing - Sardinian version

Play soccer with us?

The spelling "impossibol is nofing" is phonetic; I meant, "fonetic".

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Rambling Hillarious Vulgar and British (?)

Iggy Pop's concert rider.

Zero-G Birthday Cake

I picked this up from NASA.

Whoa Nellie..

Point: I haven't traveled a lot this year, which in some ways is bad for my career. Counterpoint: On the other hand.

Update: The key in any emergency situation is to act like this guy.

Further update: Jimmy Stewart barrel rolls a 707. Good times.


Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Current events

Because of its small yield, I suspect that the Norks purported nuclear explosion wasn't nuclear. I mean, its kinda hard to fake a 20 megaton explosion, but you can think about putting a kiloton of tnt in hole. It would make for a much cheaper negotiating chip. I've been told, though, that you can tell the difference between nuclear and conventional explosions from the seismic data, which is how they separate massive explosions from mining operations from underground tests. For what it's worth, I still think the US should get out of South Korea asap.


Guilty pleasures

1. The Economist: How can they always be wrong? How is that even possible?*

2. Road House vs Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man: Sure, nobody puts baby in a corner, but honestly, Mickey Rourke and Don Johnson had some good chemistry. The Billy Baldwin Leather Terminator Trenchcoat mafia is beyond belief, and the Niponphobic Japanese serving evil yuppie boss with Tia Carrere as secretary of the month is just icing on the cake. Incidentally, these are terrible awful movies.

3. I mention the above two movies because they were on TV last week, in part, because I added HBO back to watch the new season of The Wire. Which isn't a guilty pleasure at all. So far, season four has been not bad, but the last episode was the first to feel like anything is going on and we are already 5 episodes into the show. That hardly makes me feel like I got my money's worth each time I pay my much-higher-than-I-wish-it-was tv bill**. Given that this season is supposed to be about the crumbling inner city school system they are getting way too preachy. They are pretty much playing the straight teacher's union line. McNulty has appeared for a grand total of 15 seconds. Dear The Wire - you are on notice, sir.

4. Volvo's. I'd like to own one someday. It makes no sense.

*Yes, that is subjective, but I'm still right.
**Yes, if I am going to whine about the cost, I could just cancel my DirectTV, but basically it's at the threshold price. I've gone without on and off again the last couple of years. I am hoping that one day omnipresent broadband internet access allows for much cheaper access to shows, although I'm not sure how much room there is to move due to the current market inefficiencies. For what it's worth, I haven't been to the movies in months.

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The pure distallation of my discomfort

I cannot watch reality TV. I break out in hives after about 30 seconds. I made it through 15 seconds of this guy, who I can't quite believe is for real (much like The Cult - they have to be a parody, right?): Alexey Vayner: Impossible is Nothing. Which makes it kind of weird that I'm linking to it, but honestly, I'd like to start a poll on whether he's for real or not. More unbelievableness.

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Monday, October 09, 2006

Influential Childhood moments

I've said it before and it's still true: As much as I revile the boomers for their narcisism, Gen X is worse. I guess you hate most intensly in others what you hate about yourself. Anyway, that king cobra reminded me of Ricki Tiki Tavi, which thought triggered a brief nostalgia trip in my head. Top whatever most influential cartoon movies from my childhood - in no particular order - I'm not such a freak that I have this stuff all Top-5-desert-island-break-up-list-sorted-autobiographically:

  • The Hobbit and the incomplete first part of The Lord of the Rings.
  • The aforementioned Riki Tiki Tavi, which was like Christopher Robin vs Cape Fear.
  • Tron - which is totally a Cold-War allegory
  • Transformers - The Movie. Quite possibly the most traumatizing first fifteen minutes of childhood film ever. Everyone dies. Makes Saving Private Ryan look like, ha ha, a day at the beach. Optimus Prime, who was essentially John Wayne ne Ronald Regan, gets shot down like Robocop. It makes Hamlet look like Playskool. Now, everyone talks about the beginning of this movie, but for me the kicker was later, in the second or third seasons of the TV show when the Decepticons stole Optimus's corpse and reanimated it with a pretend version of him to lead the Autobots into a trap. But just before the trap was sprung, some remaining spark of Optimus Prime returned and took control, and by sacrificing himself by flying his nearly destroyed body and ship into the sun, managed to save Earth and the autobots. It predated T2 by, like, a decade, and is simply the coolest good guy moment ever.
  • Wait, going back to the let's make the Brothers Grimm look happy morbid streak that was going on there with children's cartoons, The Last Unicorn was darker. Also, the eponymous The Dark Crystal. And I vaguely recal The Black Cauldren. Ah, good times.
  • Actually, The Disney Folk-sung Robin Hood was pretty chipper albeit with a gloomy second act. I think my supply-sider theory of taxes is rooted in Prince John's constant oppresion of the poor through taxes.
  • The Littles, which really was more a show, but I'm pretty sure they had a movie at some point too.
  • There were a bunch of others, including various robots, dolls, and bears and whatever. I don't remember them, though, so I guess they don't exist.
  • Oh yeah - The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Compare the Witch killing Azlan vs Apocalypse Now. I'm not sure which is more intense.
I realize that no modern child will ever like any of these. The animation generally looks horrible. You might as well put a wax cylinder on your phonograph, dance like a flapper, and tell them stories about how you shot injuns with your Red Rider. You can't go back - so much of the charm dissapears once jaundiced eyes review them. I still like Tron, though. There's that Journey song at the end with the speeded up city lights. That was cool.


Quotes and King Cobras

I love quotes. I'm not sure why, exactly, but I do. I collect them and copy them into notebooks. I'm not sure if that's weird, or not, but I am sure that this is a totally unnecessary preamble. I feel like one of those BBC announcers who has to be clever, but isn't, and who can't shut up for way too long (eg, the announcer on this Them video*). Anyway, here is, I mean, here are some quotes (all swiped, from past Quote of the Day's):

"If the world should blow itself up, the last audible voice would be that of an expert saying it can't be done."
- Peter Ustinov

"All phone calls are obscene."
- Karen Elizabeth Gordon

"As an adolescent I aspired to lasting fame, I craved factual certainty, and I thirsted for a meaningful vision of human life - so I became a scientist. This is like becoming an archbishop so you can meet girls."
- M. Cartmill

"You know, you can't please all the people all the time... and last night, all those people were at my show."
- Mitch Hedberg

"I'm not a vegetarian because I love animals. I'm a vegetarian because I hate plants."
- A. Whitney Brown

"A censor is a man who knows more than he thinks you ought to."
- Granville Hicks

"There is nobody so irritating as somebody with less intelligence and more sense than we have."
- Don Herold

"Some editors are failed writers, but so are most writers."
- T. S. Eliot

"Lawyers, I suppose, were children once."
- Charles Lamb

"Architecture is the art of how to waste space."
- Philip Johnson

"Gratitude is merely the secret hope of further favors."
- Francois de La Rochefoucauld

By the way, I found a free e-text of a book by La Rochefoucauld. Coincidentally, it has an overlong introduction by its translator.

*Just as an aside, a movie scene that has always stuck in my head is in Wild at Heart when Harry Dean Stanton drives down to New Orleans with that song playing on the radio. Which is an odd scene to remember from that movie. Its like remembering your overdue library book when you're in trapped a room with a six foot tall hissing king cobra.

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Obscure category

Coolest power strip. Crazy Ivan strikes again.


My Life, the Disney Movie

There is a herd of deer that live in the back lot of my research lab, so it wasn't too surprising to see an eight point buck wander in front of my car. A little more unusual was the bunny rabbit that had scampered away from the door, and the fox that wondered across my path on the way out was a total shock. Put that together with my living room crickets, and I am now ready for my Sno w White cameo. (As the large robot form* of the seven dwarfs).
PS, *Voltron gets served. Proof that Adult Swim is made by stoners, for stoners.

PPS, I think the bad guy's dance moves are based on this guy.

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Friday, October 06, 2006

You tube shenanigans

When Karl met Napoleon [via Jim Treacher]

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Thursday, October 05, 2006


I can't make up my mind: Are secret rooms cool or dumb?*
*Note, they are dumb, but I want them not to be. A lot of our anguish comes from wanting things that we can't have or aren't true.


Wednesday, October 04, 2006

I knew it was good for something

The physics of a good store location. From the Pablo Jensen's Phys Rev E abstract:

I study the spatial organization of retail commercial activities. These are organized in a network comprising "antilinks," i.e., links of negative weight. From pure location data, network analysis leads to a community structure that closely follows the commercial classification of the U.S. Department of Labor. The interaction network allows one to build a "quality" index of optimal location niches for stores, which has been empirically tested.
Next up, online dating as a Pauli Spin Ice.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006


"When our vices leave us, we flatter ourselves that we are leaving them."
- Francois de la Rochefoucauld


You know it ain't easy, you know how hard it can be (being rich)

Fortune's Fools: Why the Rich Go Broke [by Timothy O'Brien, The New York Times]

Financial success can breed its own peculiar set of vulnerabilities. “People who are very successful develop elevated sensibilities about their skills, and when things turn on them they won’t admit they’re wrong because their self-confidence has held them up so long,” says Arnold S. Wood, chief executive of Martingale Asset Management in Boston. “In the face of evidence, even subjective evidence, that suggests that something bad is about to happen to someone, a funny thing happens: They reject the evidence.

I think part of the puzzlement about rich people or priveledged people who throw it away (How can they do it?) is that we suppose that they don't want to ruin themselves. We suppose that they (and ourselves) act rationally. Hardly ever. Nor would that be a good thing either; Just saying. Eric Hoffer made a point:

8. There is even in the most selfish passion a large element of self-abnegation. It is startling to realize that what we call extreme self-seeking is actually self-renunciation. The miser, health addict, glory chaser and their like are not far behind the selfless in the exercise of self-sacrifice.

Every extreme attitude is a flight from the self.

9. Dissipation is a form of self-sacrifice. The reckless wasting of one's vigor is a blind striving to "liquidate" an unwanted self. And as one would expect, the passage from this to other forms of self-sacrifice is not uncommon. Passionate sinning has not infrequently been an apprenticeship to sainthood. Many of the insights of the saint stem from his experience as a sinner.

Eric Hoffer, The Passionate State of Mind (1954). I've said it before, but relatively speaking, we are very rich.

Johannes Brahms, smartass

Was Brahms a wiseass? [By Jan Swafford, Slate]

One of the charming, also telling, things about Brahms' wit was that he didn't spare himself. He had many friends but in company remained the eternal loner; he enjoyed acclaim but anguished over his inability to measure up to the giants of the past. At a dinner in his honor, the host introduced a bottle with, "I call this the Brahms of my wines!" "Well," said Brahms, "let's have a bottle of Bach then." He wrote a glum note to Clara Schumann reflecting on the neglect of the Mozart concertos: "The fact that the public in general does not understand and appreciate the best things is the reason people like me get famous."
via Clive Davis.


I'm getting a creepy Scooby Doo ghost feeling from that space suit.

Also, I've found a cricket hopping around my living room three nights in a row. How they get in isn't a mystery - under the front door, but I think it's God's way of telling me that he thinks of me like a pet lizard and that my aparatment is like a human-sized aquarium.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Thriftstore space suit

Over the last few years I have concentrated more on casting away stones than I have on gathering them together. Well, here's the story of a guy that found a Gemini space suit in a thrift store. That's pretty cool.