Mike Beversluis

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

The Magic Paintbrush


Beer, $7


Wants For Sale: Paint it and get it - Abracadabra


An artistic couple in NY has a clever idea…to paint various things that they want, and to sell those paintings to acquire said item.

The catch? All of their paintings of wants sells for the exact price of their wanted item.

Wants For Sale

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Google Maps Flikr Mashup, On Crack

Amazing: Blaise Aguera y Arcas: Jaw-dropping Photosynth demo. Here's the Photosynth website he was talking about.

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Monday, July 30, 2007

DIY Eiffel Tower


Now you can build your own Eiffel Tower, if you so choose, because here are the plans.

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Transparency

Rate car dealers at Edmunds.com. Caveat venditor.

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Walken Roast

Christopher Walken roasts a chicken. With roast pears, which is a weird pairing. ha ha. Previously, Robert Rodriguez makes breakfast tacos.

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Saturday, July 28, 2007

Rocket Powered Semis: The Stuff of Nightmares


Via Mondern Mechanix: Jets Look for Jobs. Those are racks of Jato's on the side, with two in the front to "blow mud out of the path." Also, duelies on the front!

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Oh my

"That's one model agency phone call we would have loved to have listened in on."

I'm going to play coy here, and you will just have to click through. YMMV.

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Friday, July 27, 2007

Paper Robots

The b. in-law's new paper robot transformer Jetfire is up and it is tres chic. How cool is that? Cool enough not to bother with the obvious TF movie tie in one bit. That's how cool.

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Thursday, July 26, 2007

Dear Internet

Sometimes I have a hard time believing everything you tell me is true:

1) There's a cat that can smell when you are about to die and will sit next to your bed. I guess the owl saying your name comes later.

2) A guy in Brazil was kidnapped for his online game password, but after five hours with a gun to his head, still wouldn't give it up.

3) Columbians have been training rats to sniff out landmines, part of which involves putting them in cages with cats whose paws have be taped over.

Now excuse me while I run over to Wikipedia to see if these stories are true.

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Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Genius

GOP fund raiser to feature machine gun shoot.

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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

That Canadian Je Ne Sais Quoi


The Bombardier Ice-Fishing Vehicle was ready to go toe-to-toe in nuclear combat with the Rooskies any day.

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1995 was a good year


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From Outer Space

Plan59 Pastelogram - Cool 50's Advertising Artwork.




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The Secondary Directives

The Laws of Software Development. I had not heard of Zawinski's law,

Zawinski’s Law Jamie Zawinski Every program attempts to expand until it can read mail. Those programs which cannot so expand are replaced by ones which can.

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Fat

US Obesity Map from 1987 through 2004; Americans are fat. I know that, and you know that, but this population change is hard to believe.

And what's changed between 1997 and 2004, when there was +10% total increase in the obese percentage? The Cheesecake Factory? Because that's a plausible explanation.

When the waiter trudges out in one of those places with your appetizer, it is exactly like the beginning of The Flintstones when the Brontosaurus Ribs tip Fred's car over.

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You cannot out-parody reality

Outsourcing the Picket Line (via)
By Keith L. Alexander
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, July 24, 2007; A01

The picketers marching in a circle in front of a downtown Washington office building chanting about low wages do not seem fully focused on their message.

Many have arrived with large suitcases or bags holding their belongings, which they keep in sight. Several are smoking cigarettes. One works a crossword puzzle. Another bangs a tambourine, while several drum on large white buckets. Some of the men walking the line call out to passing women, "Hey, baby." A few picketers gyrate and dance while chanting: "What do we want? Fair wages. When do we want them? Now."

Although their placards identify the picketers as being with the Mid-Atlantic Regional Council of Carpenters, they are not union members.

They're hired feet, or, as the union calls them, temporary workers, paid $8 an hour to picket. Many were recruited from homeless shelters or transitional houses. Several have recently been released from prison. Others are between jobs.

[...]

Supporters of the practice consider it a creative tactic in an era of declining union membership and clout. But critics say the reliance on nonunion members -- who are paid $1 above minimum wage and receive no benefits -- diminishes the impact and undercuts a principle established over decades of union struggles.

No kidding.

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Monday, July 23, 2007

That Russian Je Ne Sais Quoi


That's a 10.3 on the hoon Richter-scale.

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Emergency Procedures

In the Event You Are Seated Next to a Calvinist... (h/t)

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Saturday, July 21, 2007

Graduated in the top 66% of my class.

Actual lines from Resumes...

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Literature

Courtney Love takes a swing at writing Gen X's Finnegan Wake.

NB, drugs are bad.

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Friday, July 20, 2007

Universcale


Nikon built a website, Universcale, that is a Flashy, but cool none the less, animated and interactive Powers of Ten.

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Down Under

Someday I am going to have to visit New Zealand. Also, Australia. (via Tim Blair):

The important thing to remember about Australia, though, is that it is some tough-as-nails country. It's, like, where all the nasty stuff from evolution went to go and live in a trailer with a shotgun.

They got ants that are literally on fire, like a pilot light, all the time, and they got a kind of shark that actually says runes when it jumps out of the water.

They got a type of bush there that will rustle all night when you're sleeping near it and drive you nuts. Oh, and did I mention the spider that can mimic the tones of you keying your PIN number into a telephone keypad? OK, so I made that up, but in Australia, that would be the LEAST treacherous animal.

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Cause when I frequent the spots that I'm known to rock; You hear the bass from the trunk when I'm on the block


This will go great with that model train I can ride through my mansion and the carousel I have out back.

(previously, the Death Star Woofer)

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"Tool"


Via Cool Tool, the Trikke - for those special few for whom a recumbent bicycle isn't socially awkward enough...

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Continuing in that theme and so forth



I posted this before, I think, but that old web site has shuffled off this mortal coil, and well, I wouldn't want this to get lost to the sands of time.

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Thursday, July 19, 2007

ha ha ha

La Femme Makita...

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On the job training

You do what you got to do: "Doc" Lipes Commandeers a Submarine Officers' Wardroom

Wheeler "Johnny" Lipes, had neither the formal training, the equipment, nor the urge to become a surgeon.

But when one of his ship mates came down with acute appendicitis 120-feet below the South China Sea, with enemy warships circling above - he had no choice. He had to do what needed to be done or his shipmate would die.

It was the first major surgery ever preformed aboard a submarine. And it was performed by a man who stepped up to the job.

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Lockbox


Engadget has a series of interesting articles by a guy named Marc Weber Tobias on the security of locks. The upshot? You are probably not as secure as you would hope. Me - I'm terribly insecure, but that's no secret.

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Wednesday, July 18, 2007

On Display in the West Wing



Perhaps you would like to buy a Camilo Pardo print for that Philip Johnson with the Ferrari 250GT California pad of yours?

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Fixer-Upper


Charming lake-side 2Bedroom-2Bathroom Midcentry House for sale in Minnehaha. Hasn't been updated since the 50's so a little freshening may be needed. Perhaps a flipper out there might take a gamble and install granite countertops and a home theater room?

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Multi-Tool


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No Means No

Literary Rejections on Display. E.g.,

This one is pretty standard: "While you are a strong writer, and have written a nicely atmospheric piece with intriguing characters, I am sorry to report that I must decline representing your novel. I just never quite fell into the story the way I must..." I went to school with someone named Amy Williams. She didn't fall for my stories either.

It never ends.

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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Captain Obvious's Question of the Day

"Hey Mike, there's an article in the printer entitled Detecting Heroin in the Presence of Cocaine. Is it yours?"

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Dry Counties


Also, ones with drought conditions: US Drought Monitor.

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Ahmadinejad or Woody Allen?

"All the young people with western-style hair and that wear designer clothes, short-sleeved shirts or obscene pants will be arrested, and released only after they will have revealed the name of their hairdresser"

(The post title is copied from a post in it.arti.cinema)

Monday, July 16, 2007

And Now, Your Daily Moment of WTF?


Via the Tacoma Tribune, the new Narrows bridge has opened. I have no idea why Darth Vader and Boba Fett are there.

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Graphics

Edward Tufte on Megan Jaegerman's Brilliant Infographics (Including, how to spot a gun. YMMV) (via Austin Kleon via Growabrain)

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Crazy Olden Days, Part A Million


Wear stove pipe waders to foil rattlesnakes. Of course. Otherwise the rattlesnakes have won. I wonder if "unhampered" fishing implies that they stood their ground while snakes tried to bite them?

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Quotes

"Anything too stupid to be said is sung."
Voltaire

"No opera plot can be sensible, for people do not sing when they are feeling sensible."
W. H. Auden

"He knows all about art, but he doesn't know what he likes."
James Thurber

"Good judgement comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgement."
Unknown

"Ask yourself whether you are happy and you cease to be so."
John Stewart Mill

"If only we'd stop trying to be happy we could have a pretty good time."
Edith Warton

"If not actually disgruntled, he was far from being gruntled."
P. G. Wodehouse

"Oregano is the spice of life."
Henry J. Tillman

"Man is the only animal that laughs and weeps, for he is the only animal that is struck with the difference between what things are and what they ought to be."
William Hazlitt

"You are not superior just because you see the world in an odious light."
Vicomte de Chateaubriand

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NYCotD

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Saturday, July 14, 2007

A shepherd's dream (II)

Second part of Deledda's story. The shepherd is thinking of the most expedient way of realizing his dream of getting rich, that is, robbing his neighbour.

...

Well, yes, he shall go. The night goes on: the sheep go back to the pen one after the other, and slowly the jingling of their swinging bells stop.
The shepherd sits in front of the door of his hut, and thinks.
The moon walks down along the clear arch of the sky; the stream flows still without noise across the silent plain. Just a red dot shines beyond the river; it is the fire of the shepherd who sold his flock. The man from the mountains looks at that eye of fire and thinks about the easy life that he will be able to live one year from now, about improvised poetry, brandy shots, the serf who will look after his flock.
Well, yes, he shall go. It is time to get over with this nomadic life, it his time to live with his family, to spend Christmas in the village.
He shall go; he goes; he walks silently, without leaving any tracks, as a fox; he fords the stream, he is next to the shepherd's hut, at the hut's door.
The shepherd sleeps, with his head on a stone; under the stone there has to be the pouch, there is the pouch. Our shepherd hesitates for a moment: then enters, gets on top of the sleeping man and kills him; he moves the corpse and lifts the stone.
Horror! Under the stone there is no pouch, but plenty of revolting white maggots that swarm on the damp ground; their small evil eyes have a strange green flash.

The shepherd turns pale, he shivers, turns upside down the whole hut; there is no pouch, his crime has been useless. Then he runs away across the plain, but he has in front of his eyes the image of those white, swarming maggots, with their green evil eyes.
After a long wandering he is back at his hut; his red dog screams desperately at the moon, shaking the chain. What happened?
The shepherd runs to the pen, and the pen is empty. He listens with attention, but the silence of the night is broken only by the hoarse barking of his dog. A deadly sweat wets the nape of his neck: horrid curses come out of his panting chest. He is ruined. During his absence, unknown brigands took away his flock, and disappeared without leaving any tracks, as foxes.
Screaming with rage, the shepherd rushes through the bushes, and keeps running, and crosses the plain looking for the point where the thieves forded the stream.
It is perhaps here; someone stomped on the reeds, the scarce water shines reflecting the clear sky and the twinkling moon.
The shepherd jumps into the water, but the water is not as scarce as it seemed; the more he goes on, the more he sinks: up to his thighs, up to his belt, up to his chest, up to his throat. Ah, he is lost, he is drowning; his eyes don't see anything else than an expanse of gurgling waters, swarming with white maggots with flashing green eyes.
He experiences a terrible feeling, he thinks he is dead, that he will not see again his loved ones, the mountains where he was born: he thinks he will have to spend all the eternity of centuries, aware and throbbing, in the cold depth of those waters, in that world swarming with maggots.
A horrible sense of despair grips him; he wants to move and he can't, he wants to shout and he can't; he puts in a supreme effort and wakes up shaking, sitting down in front of his hut, where he had fallen asleep while thinking of stealing the pouch of his neighbour.
For some long instants his whole body still shakes, still in the grip of the nightmare. Then, slowly, he comes back to reality. His flock is asleep in the pen: over there, beyond the stream, the fire of the other shepherd shines, red and calm. The moon sets down in the calm night.
The shepherd gets up, stirs himself a bit, and a deep sadness comes over his heart. It seems to him that he really committed the crime, he feels a great regret, and a foreboding of sad things to come.
What shall he do to atone his sin? How will he appease the wrath of the Infant Jesus?
Well, he shall confess his neighbour the monstrous idea and the horrible dream he has had: he shall then kill three sheep and distribute their meats to the needy man in the nearby village.

The day after, the neighbour comes to visit his friend. And the friend tells him the horrible dream he had; but he does not find the courage to confess him that he really considered to kill him. The neighbour laughs, our shepherd laughs as well, then together they slaughter a sheep (three, our friend reflected, are really too many!) to distribute to needy people. The poor men are called on and come from the village, they fight for the meat pieces and, going back, they say: - What a good man is that shepherd! Just because he dreamt of killing a man, he slaughtered a sheep and gave it to us people in need. May Our Lord Jesus repay him. -
And the two friendly shepherds, who kept for themselves the best cuts of the sheep's meat, turn their wooden skewers above the embers, and sing heart-felt improvised poetry, taking as their topic the dream, but the dream only.

Friday, July 13, 2007

HP vs TI


Forget the Montagues and the Capulets, forget the Crips and Bloods, for nerds it comes down to RPN vs the right way*. I like HP's 35th anniversary retro-look.

*Our first family computer also had a Zilog Z80; it must be destiny.

Of course, you could get all Fred Flintstone and haul out your slide rule. We once found a drawer-full in an old lab, but I was too busy using the Pterodactyl to carve my lab report into a stone tablet to get one.

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To be or not to be

Usually I have to get burned before I learn, so Bill McKenna's Car Restoration Site is a little sobering. It's easy to dream about tearing an old car apart, cleaning and polishing everything, and then putting it back together again, but it's much harder to appreciate the sweat equity that goes along with all that. Well, a couple hundred photos over ten years of restoration (of a 1959 Cadillac and a 1963 XKE) helps with that.

Or you could just lean into the punch and drop the price of a house (admittedly, a house in fly-over country - how appropriate) on this mini-Spitfire kit.

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Charming

Or should that be, Charmin'? Chinese food made from cardboard.

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Thursday, July 12, 2007

A shepherd's dream (I)

A short story by Grazia Deledda, a Sardinian writer who lived between the eighteen and nineteen-hundred. I have decided to post it in a few pieces (it is not that short to translate), here you are part I.



It is Christmas night, but it is so fresh and clear it seems to be in Fall. The moon shines on the lonely plain. A stream widens and narrows and winds around among the black wild grass, and disappears glimmering at the horizon, where it seems that it ends in a sea of blue smokes, in a far away emptiness.
The night has just begun. The shepherd looks at the grazing flock. The sheep are yellow and black under the moonlight, and quite sleepy while they go around the plain sadly looking for cold grass below the bushes and along the low walls covered in mosses; their bells swing and play a strange music, a lullaby, that comes and goes and rings and quivers crisply as the flock wanders around; and the silence of the plain is both broken and made stronger by this strange music.

The shepherd looks; and wild dreams pass in front of his eyes. He came down from his harsh mountain home place, where the cold pastures, fragrant with thyme and myrtle in Spring, are now covered with snow marked by the tracks of swift hares and sweet-eyed mouflons.
The shepherd left the high pastures at the first Fall winds, and came down to the plain with his flock, his dogs, his sack - that is a long mantle made of coarse wool fabric that he throws on top of his head and ties under his chin - with his horse, his cork tools, his spoons made with a sheep nail, and with his stock of barley bread which shall last for the whole winter.

He is a nomad, but has a large family that stays in the village high up in the mountains.
While his eyes looks at the grazing sheep, his mind goes to the simple house where his loved ones spend the harsh winter; there, behind the shiny moon mist the silvery peaks of the mountains rise, and, below the white dells where mouflons live, the lights of the small village shine. The shepherd's house is built in stone and wood, and in the wide kitchen the old stone fireplace smokes, and on the log fire a large black pot boils. The shepherd's house is rich; there is wood, lard, potatoes, beans. The shepherd's women worked all year in the vegetable gardens, watering the furrows, they picked chestnut and walnuts in the woods, and shelled the violet-and-black beans.

The house is rich, and the eldest daughter, fat and red in her tight wool costume, is engaged to a man that in turn reaps much barley and much wheat. But the "major", that is, the family head, lost in the loneliness of the plain, dreams about the day in which he will be so rich as to have a serf who will look after the flock.
Ah!, then he won't anymore have to lose his sleep to guard his sheep. It will be the serf's business, and woe to him if just one sheep will be lost.
He, the shepherd, will be really rich then, will just sit next to the fire with his elderberry stick, looking now and then inside the pot, chatting with his women and spitting on the ashes. His beard will be white and long; he will be fat and red. His son in law will visit him, and they will challenge each other to an impromptu poetry contest, sipping wine and spirits.
Ah!, that will be really a happy life! But how much more time will he need to turn that dream into reality, how many times will he need to spend his Christmas far away from his family, in the bleak nights of the plain!
Isn't there any way to shorten the harsh path? Well, yes, there's a way; he knows it, he thought about it the whole day. In the nearby pasture there is another shepherd that wants to start a wheat trade, thus he has sold most of his flock, and in a few days he will sell the rest and go away. He is now down there, beyond the stream, and sleeps inside his hut, resting with his head on a stone under which there is a leather pouch with the money he got from the sheep's sale.
Our shepherd thinks that it would be easy to go there and get the pouch.

... (continues)

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Finally


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Easter Eggs


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Monday, July 09, 2007

Anti-Helium

Sulfur hexaflouride sounds like it should kill you dead in six steps, but Jay Leno lives on... which proves something, doesn't it?

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Transformers

I thoroughly enjoyed the big, dumb Michael Bay explodathon, but I am exactly the target demographic.

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Arcane Baseball Rules

Are there any other kind? Yes, stadium etiquette rules.

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Sunday, July 08, 2007

Ministry of Silly Links

Mawage. Mawage is wot bwings us togeder tooday. Mawage, that bwessed awangment, that dweam wifin a dweam....

Mythos's skull tossing record remains unbroken to this day
.

Construction workers, are in fact, Ninjas. (thanks Laura!)

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Saturday, July 07, 2007

The Power of the Blogosphere?


USS Mariner: Felix, Mixing Pitches, And The Power of the Internet


Via Geoff Baker:


“Chaves gave me a report,” Hernandez said. “On the internet, they say when I throw a lot of fastballs in the first inning, they score a lot of runs. I tried to mix all my pitches in the first inning.”

Today, Felix threw a slider on the 3rd pitch of the game, then a curveball on the fifth pitch, getting Shannon Stewart to flyout to center. All told, he threw 3 breaking balls in his first 8 pitches, threw a first pitch slider to the 5th hitter of the game, and attacked almost every hitter with a variable selection of fastballs and breaking balls.

He gave up 2 hits in 8 innings.

Well, that's kinda cool.

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Youtubery

Songs of Praise (with subtitles).

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Friday, July 06, 2007

Alfie



What I loved once and what I love now are two different things, innit.

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Gauges


Edward Tufte might appreciate this Modern Mechanics article on the Psychology of the Instrument Panel; Here is a graph relating the motion of a dial versus how long it takes to set it ("primary movement" = coarse adjustment, "secondary movement" = fine adjustment). The curves are way too smooth to be real, but I can believe the trend well enough.

I like old Alfa gauges:

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Thursday, July 05, 2007

Rules

1. No RV's.
2. I don't drive with anyone in my car unless they are wearing their seat-belts.
3. No reality TV. I am allergic to it, going all the way back to the MTV's first forays into the genre. This includes the biker shows and most talk shows.
4. Don't associate with loathsome people. This is related to number 3. Currently: Maher, Trump, Hilton, ...

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[Snippets] Sicko

Michael Moore is biased, unfair, even dishonest sometimes; but this is how we like our polemists. And on certain things he is very much right.

[LMS] Les temps qui changent

Les temps qui changent, by Andre Techine' (France 2004)

Interesting movie, that I found rather difficult to "read". There is a tangle, or rather a side-by-side layout, of relationship between people, and a life experience that I do not have is necessary to tell whether there are any conceptual links between the various stories that run in parallel or if they are added to the plot in order to make the movie a bit fatter. So I abstain on this point.

A word on the plot. Gerard Depardieu is an engineer that for the last thirty years has kept thinking about the great love of his life from whom he split as a young man (that is C. Deneuve). Push and pull and turn (not shown in the movie) and he can get to be posted to a work assignment in Tangiers where she lives and is married to a doctor that obviously does not love her. With obvious developments, and the collection of parallel stories that I was talking about in the previous paragraph: her son with live-in girlfriend and lover boyfriend, the twin sister of the live-in girlfriend and I think that makes all of the parallel stories.

Ok, so not about the stories but I can talk about something else. interesting for example that a constant feature in the movie is hurry, for all the characters (even for who had waited so long) and for all the situations, and I shall commit myself to a definite opinion saying that Techine' did that on purpose, it is a directing choice that is kept up with consistency for the whole movie. The first observation is a bit obvious; hurry has two effects in the actions of people. It makes it more difficult that people communicate, but at the same time it makes it easier to avoid communicating, given that for many characters of this movie is quite impossible to confront the main issues in their lives.

For what regards hurry I would add that in my opinion it isn't by chance that in so many scenes the characters are busy with two things at the same time, it is a sort of reflection of their ambiguity. The doctor looks at the x-rays while he is drying himself, Depardieu sends flower to Deneuve during a work meeting, Deneuve chases away Depardieu while she is busy with her radio program, Sami's girlfriend steals prescriptions from the doctor while he is somewhere else (ops, this one does not support my argument). And naturally, Depardieu thinks about Deneuve while he walks, and this is why ... this would be too big of a spoiler so I don't write it here.

Especially for this movie I would really like to hear the opinion of someone else, I found the opinions and reviews on the Internet rather obscure; and don't worry, you can write to me in years, when you will have had a chance to see it.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Happy Forth of July

66 Hot Dogs! USA! USA! Now, please go and blow up as much stuff as you are, wink, legally allowed to do. George Washington commands you!

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Tuesday, July 03, 2007

From the Crash Davis Files

From this article about a single-A Mariner's pitcher Andrew Barb and from the Department of I Am Easily Amused:

Although Barb said he has yet to regain full velocity on his fastball, he is off to a good start with a 2-1 record and 2.05 earned-run average in 30-2/3 innings, not including a scoreless inning in the Midwest League All-Star Game.

He has 41 strikeouts and 12 walks. Barb said he has always had good strikeout-to-walk ratios, and he has a simple explanation for it.

"I know that strikeouts are good and walks are bad," he said, "so I try to do one and avoid the other."

[...]

"I didn't care if it was as a catcher or as a pitcher, I just wanted a chance," he said.

[...]

"I was playing catch with one of the trainers, and I couldn't even concentrate because I was looking all around, taking in everything, from the seats to the field," he said. "It would be a surreal experience to someday be playing there."

"We gotta play it one day at a time." Previously, Interview with a Search Engine.

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Monday, July 02, 2007

1939 Plymouth

Aprapo of nothing, I just wanted to say I like 1939 Plymouths (See above, via). The chrome every third bar grill is sweet. (eg) Boy, do I have the fill a garage full of half-completed and over-ambitious projects jonesing bad. Apparently the only prescription is more cow-bell.

Also on the list:

1. 1980 Porsche 911. Has the reliable 3.0L, but still DIY-able, mit galvanized body. No turbos, no convertables, no Targas, no fender flairs, and no whale tails. Barf.

2. 1963-1965 Buick Riviera. What a cool, cool, and under-appreciated design. The boomers can keep their Yenko's and Shelbys and Matching Numbers Cudas.

3. A DeLorean. This makes no sense, but neither does love. That's the power of love. The wiring is a typical made in the UK gremlin-fest, but I only have eyes for that shape. With a tasteful 1.5" drop.

4. 1960-1963 Cadillac Convertible. Oh Those Fins, but taken one Dr. Spock/Freudian step back down from 1959. And that has made all the difference.

I could go on (the ubiquitous Hot Rod Volvo, Jim Rockford's Pontiac (screw those restomod Bandits) et cetera), but this raises a question: At what point is excess immoral?

Over lunch last week I had an argument about whether or not being a billionaire makes one immoral - My Swiss-neutral point was that if being a billionaire automatically makes you immoral, then so did the wealth that everyone at the table already possessed. Which wasn't the agreeable thing to say, but casting the accusing finger is classic, I'm well off, but the line between rich and middle-class starts comfortably ahead of my tax-bracket. Well, no, it doesn't, and pretending it does is a cop-out. This argument will convince no one who doesn't already believe it.

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