Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Your moment of zen, 2008

David Milch speaks for me:

"The biggest lie is the idea that we are entitled to a meaningful and coherent summarizing, a conclusion, of something which never concludes. In that regard, this is the lie I'm telling myself so I don't set fire to anything."

Every day it really does take learning all over again how to fucking live.

Friday, December 19, 2008

1... 2...

That Voice edition: First, Mark Felt -- Deep Throat -- who acted in defense of democracy, though it's debatable as to whether it was all for the right reasons. And second, Majel Roddenberry, who as the dulcet tones of the Enterprise's shipboard computer boldly went.

(And I am very glad, as we are re, that Miss Lena Horne is not currently our #3. Dammit, EW, don't scare me like that.)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Having fun all wrong, or by proxy anyway

I just spent the greatest communal celebration of my adult life sitting in a dirty apartment while one of my hosts threw up and the other played computer solitaire and asked why anybody gave a damn about politics. Other than the Obama-winning, Libby Dole-smashing, South-Dakota's-actually-sane-re-women's-health-revealing parts I'm feeling rather fucking sorry for myself tonight. On the other end of the country, OTOH, there was much fun to be had, as demonstrated by my friend Jon and his sunroof:

This image of revelry brought to you by The Stranger, to whose cranky news reporter I say fuck you, you don't know what exile is.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

I like to live in America!

Courtesy of the wonderful Cagle Post, an editorial cartoon from Thailand that I'd love to have as a poster. Have you voted yet, friends?

Friday, October 31, 2008

1... 2...

One of the great chroniclers of American lives, and one of the great American stories: Studs Terkel passes at 96, and word just reached me today of the not-by-exploding-El-Dorado death of Frank "Lefty" Rosenthal, Martin Scorsese's inspiration for Casino. Working made me want to be a writer; Lefty's story makes me watch Casino every damn time it turns up on TV. And it turns up a lot.

As with Paul Newman, Studs Terkel should have at least gotten a pass 'til Wednesday -- both of them, I think would want to see how this campaign ends. And so let us all hope fervently that whoever the "3" in this trilogy might be, that s/he waits at least a little while before completing the cycle.

(ETA ...and that's three. Oh dammit. Oh dammit, that was so what I was hoping would NOT happen.)

Monday, October 27, 2008

Who? Wait, there's a blog here?!

Yeah, very quiet; thoughts on that when I get my feet back under me. (I love the new gig but the pace is something else, and then there are all these bookshelves I need to finish building. The most-used fixture in the new house appears to be the Time Sink. Does the kitchen in the TARDIS have a Time Sink? I digress.) But I needed to tell someone that I need to have the entire Particle Zoo (and its Antimatter Annex) shipped to me immediately. That is all. (HT to Book of Joe.)

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Why I still love my poor dead bank

If you got just funny left and not much dignity, work the funny. New WaMu ad today:

HT to ChangeOrder, via Gawker.

Monday, September 29, 2008

A little soothing schadenfreude

Such a day. While we ponder the markets, the Hubble, and other rattiness of the day, take heart: You're not as lost as this little chickadee. Though I'll bet it's warm and happy and rainbow-colored in her head. I'd bet there are ponies, even. Ponies. (HT to The Blingdom of God and Jeff T., who got the first laugh of the day out of me.)

Thursday, September 25, 2008

When the mainstream media shines

Okay, NY Times, this is why we let you live: Check out this impressive team-reported investigative piece on a shady situation with Long Island Railroad retirees and their disability claims. The reporters and researchers involved heard about a strange situation (an anomalous number of former LIRR employees going for occupational disability payouts -- your tax dollars, even if you're not in NYC) and dug in, talking to employees and management at the LIRR, union officials, industry experts, medical folk, people on an obscure government agency called the Railroad Retirement Board, and the lady who's in charge of those free state-park golf-course passes for disabled folk. They do the legwork, they lay out the evidence, they make a very good case for the system needing fixing. Beautiful work.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

We are all New York Yankees

(Yeah, BoSox fans, go cry for a few sentences.) They shone, they stunk, they rocked, they made you want to cauterize every damn brain cell that holds the baseball stuff: They will still be the Yankees next year, I reckon, but they're not ever again going to be the Yankees of Yankee Stadium. Last time I was there I dropped $20 of beer on some poor bastard after slipping on the upper-deck steps; it's a fond memory of baseball's cathedral -- which, like most medieval buildings, is more pleasant to contemplate from the outside. Moving on. (Okay, Boston fans, you're safe to start reading again...)

Money talks and sings

I'm ashamed to say that I had to be sent this clip from The Stranger, our local weekly, by someone 3500 miles away. I'm a wretch. Please accept the clipping itself as my apology, with great thanks to whoever AFT keeved it from in the first place:

Fly-by crazy is fun to watch, but...

...it takes a bit of time to clean up after the droppings. Until the flock flaps away (if you've been watching the DFW thread, you know what I'm talking about), comments will be moderated before they post. Sorry for the inconvenience, sane members of the congregation! As we've learned from other venues, the skies will clear again soon.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Holding the journalists to account

This isn't usually how the Net-vs-mainstream-media thing works, but the readers commenting on Lou Lumenick's NY Post coverage of the Toronto Film Festival feel that the writeup should have included an apology for his smackage of Roger Ebert, and they are making their thoughts known most engagingly. They're in his review of The Women too. (Ebert, apparently serene in the knowledge that he's four or five orders of magnitude more talented and respected than the Post writer will ever be, ain't talking.) Post management would be smart to have the guy step up and say his piece, that piece consisting of OMG I AM SO SORRY GOD DO I SUCK FORGIVE ME AAAAAA or resign themselves to anarchy in the comments for a while. Which, hey, it's the Post -- either way works for me. (HT to Defamer.)

Sunday, September 14, 2008

“Stop blogging. Stop blogging right now!”

Oh, Sarah Palin. Sarahsarahsarahsarah Palin. I am so pleased to hear that bloggers can get under your thin white skin.

The Times today has a not-bad vetting of the woman's personal / political style, which is... well, if this was your boss you'd be chatting up HR pretty much daily. Once you've been through that, may I direct your attention to a film made about the woman before she was even born? It's called A Face In The Crowd, and it was made in 1957 by Elia Kazan. It's the story of a folksy plain-talkin' charismatic with a serious case of megalomania, and it will keep you up nights. The star is Andy Griffith; you will never look at Mayberry RFD quite the same again, and you will have clarity of thought re Sarah Palin's sort that only great art can provide. YouTube has, for the moment, the whole freakin' movie in twelve parts. Get it while you can.

David Foster excuse me WHAT?!

I go offline for 24 hours and this is what happens? David Foster Wallace checks out? Dammit, interwebs, I apparently can't leave you unattended for a minute without getting the feeling I've been punched in the side of the head. Because that's obviously why I'm sitting here barely able to breathe. Dammit. Dammit. Dammit.

Cosmic Variance has perhaps the most perfect tribute quote.

No words. Great dismay at having no more from himself.

(But I do have this. I generally have a lot of sympathy for those who decide to depart on their own schedule, but for those who choose to leave the remains for family to find? Fuck you. Seriously, talk about leaving this life as a piece of shit. I respect the man's work and I'm sorry about whatever led to this choice, but I'd spit on his fucking corpse right now if it turned up.)

Friday, September 12, 2008

Lead. In my vitamins.

Oh, that's just fantastic. Interested that they didn't also test men's vitamins, though OTOH, I don't know any men who take 'em. In any case, this profoundly sucks; my eating habits are weird enough that I really need to not skip the supplement, but I definitely don't need the extra heavy metal. What to do? (HT treehugger.com.)

Meet Ike, or rather DO NOT

Hi. This is Ike.

Ike is on its way to Texas. Despite the feeling of many of us re certain political tendencies of Texas (and its fellow hurricane magnet Florida), this is a houseguest no one decent wishes on anybody. If you're in Ike's path, on behalf of everybody else I would appreciate it if you'd get the hell out of there to whatever extent possible. If not, stay safe and hang on; we're all hoping for the best for you. (Photo skeeved with thanks from Michael Farnum's blog -- one of the good security-industry folk currently battening down the hatches. We look forward to hearing an all-is-well from that quarter ASAP.)

Open-source security, sort of

By fiat. I'm waiting for more detail before I condemn or praise the hackers who popped security -- really bad security, to hear them tell it -- at the Large Hadron Collider. Disclosure of vulnerabilities, whether they're in Microsoft products or massive physics experiments that already scare the snot out of nervous types, are one of those things that require a system. An orderly system. A system that the hacker community will never in a bazillion years be able to agree on.

But while I wait Estragon-like on those rules of etiquette for telling something their computer's zipper is down, I wonder if the Greek Security Team hackers who 0wned the LHC made even a little effort to contact CERN re the holes before they grasped for their fifteen minutes of fame. Look, dudes, it's nice that you're actually geek enough to not want to screw up the coolest science experiments of the decade, but maybe a little less cheap notoriety and a little more...honor?

Thursday, September 11, 2008

2558 days later

On the whole I was prepared to tune out the inevitable 9/11 tributes today -- I mark it in my own way, thanks, and don't need to be beaten over the head with other peoples' ideas* of what we lost that day -- but I was hoping that Evolution of Security, that ever-fascinating TSA blog, might offer up some words on this occasion. And lo!, they did. And the readers did behold the post, and the comments did fly freely. And AG did see the free speech, and declared it was good.

* Except for Jon Stewart, who then as now speaks just fine for me. Though damn him for, of all things, an optimist in that clip. We were so much younger then...

Oldest living Confederate widow... ain't

Well, one of the oldest anyway. Astonishing to do the math on this one.

Damn those succubi

It's true, all true.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

...to keep me from thinking of mine

Some people have unseemly reality-television addictions, but I haven't got that kind of patience. Instead, I read advice columns for the entertainment value, by which I mean the armchair quarterbacking and the wondering what the other side's side of things sounds like.

To ruin the productivity of my kind, we have Sidetaker, in which he says and she says and then we get to vote. So far the side has a bad case of eHarmony-itis (that is, only The Straights need apply), I apparently have vastly deterioriated reading-comprehension skills this week, but that doesn't mean I haven't been compulsively reading and voting on the life crises of perfect strangers. Hey, it ain't snooping if they volunteered...

PS: We all still exist

The Large Hadron Collider had a successful test tonight, and the retards who claimed it was gonna END THE WORLD IN A BLACK HOLE ZOMG!!!!!!1!!!eleven!!!!!!12 will now have to find something else to be stupid about. We now return you to my regularly scheduled packing mishevgas.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

...when your weapon is your talent, revenge is sweet

For no particular reason other than I'm feeling disgusted with pretty much everything connected to this neverending move (which is to say, every freaking thing in my world in September 2008), words of wisdom from Danny Elfman. Goes really well with the Oingo Boingo soundtrack in my head. Good for your soul indeed.

Friday, September 5, 2008

The fragile flowers of ROCK!!!!!

The news ain't news -- I can't imagine how anyone's surprised by the study indicating that the music you like says a good bit about your personality. (Captain Obvious gets his groove on. Sheesh.) But the BBC writeup has one perfect quote from Professor Adrian North of Heriot-Watt University:

"The general public has held a stereotype of heavy metal fans being suicidally depressed and of being a danger to themselves and society in general. But they are quite delicate things."

Hear that, ya damn emo kids? Metalheads are SENSITIVE TOO. Just takes less eyeliner the way they do it. The chart at the bottom of the writeup is choice, though I call shenanigans on dance, indie, and the lack of Frank Sinatra. (I'll give youse outgoing, ya bums.)

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

A sense of perspective (you're welcome!)

Um. Oh. Crap. Well, I suppose it does put tonight's GOP speeches into perspective; the tone may be petty, fearful and bigoted (Jews for Jesus, lady? reals?), but those people won't be around forever. (Yes, we must take our solace where we might, or at least where we find ourselves 'til the debates start and Smilin' Joe rips the ass outta Clairol's Caribou Cupcake.)

Don't get it and not sure I want to ask

Christian Bale, I get that. Kermit the Frog, I get that. What I don't get is pretty much everything else about this exhaustive comparison, other than that Google Image Search is the bestest procrastination tool ever, and that someone named Ferdalump has a thing re Bale, or Kermie, or both, or more spare time than I have ever had in my life. But isn't the world just made that much better by the creative efforts of obsessives?

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The fruit-shaped elephant in the room

I love Scott McCloud's work (is there someone who doesn't?) and really like how he breaks down the thinking that went into Google Chrome. (Hint to anyone else who uses the conventions of comic books to explain Javascript's strengths and weaknesses in the future: You don't have to include Peanut Butter Jelly Time as Mr. McCloud did, but everyone will like you more if you do.)

But the more I read the more I think it's going to be a long freakin' time before we Mac folk get, um, shiny. Nevermind that Google today -- today, Wednesday 3 Sept -- is so flaky I'm having trouble getting Blogger to cope with this post. This is about the amount of vetting that seems to have gone into making sure stuff works just on the PC side. This is the Web we're talking about, where an entire site can be Mac-useless because the business model they're paid by includes a deal with Microsoft (I'm looking at you, Qwest).

If the Chrome folk really are doing significant vetting of even just the most-trafficked sites, there's a significant subset of those sites that they'll have to revisit for Mac purposes. And how much longer does that put off Chrome for Mac? Not that I don't trust Google to do the work -- if there's one thing we know about Google it's that they're good at taking the long view on such things -- but jeez, it would have been nice to have gone public-beta with a littl emore of the public in mind.

Jerry Reed, 1937-2008

Aw dammit. An amazing, freaky guitarist and a unique character by all accounts. One of my dad's favorite musician / actors, too.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Embarrassing colleagues -- caught on film!

Must suck some days to be a cop, a good cop, and to know that this badged hammerhead is the image your profession presents to the world. (Extra moron points for apparently not realizing the whole thing was being taped; somewhere in Denver, a donut shop is missing a clerk who jumped to the other side of the counter and grabbed a uniform.) I suppose it doesn't help that the guy bears a certain resemblance to Vic on The Shield...

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Go ahead. Make the case for mercy. I'll wait.

Unless you're advocating something really special for Joseph Duncan's life sentence -- daily anal rape by zombies, perhaps -- the only correct answer to the death sentence here is WOOHOO! Continued existence of this useless sack insults fundamental notions of civilization, not to mention criminal justice.

(RCS? AFT? The floor is yours.)

Del Martin, 1921-2008

One of the two coolest newlyweds in the world has died at 87. No words. Bless her fierce heart, and keep Phyllis Lyon in yours today. What a year...

Global positioning, all right

...as in, the tracking device is positioned on a human globe. Sweet skipping Jesus. I mean, it's a tragedy any way you slice it, but a 1,000-pound babysitter, a learning-disabled mother, and a dead toddler... god, so sorry to start your morning with this one, but my insomnia's kicking and I was compelled to share.

And it's United, ahead by a nose

That would be in the Worst U.S. Airline race, pulling ahead of American on the strength of this clusterfuck. Your subsidizing tax dollars at work, ladies and gentlemen. Not that jetBlue's perfect -- heck, not that jetBlue's the jetBlue of, say, 2005 -- but really, who knew that "United" was English for "Aeroflot?" (HT to AmericaBlog, currently asking who the hell Charlize Theron is and thus making me feel like an insufficiently committed political nerd, since I do know. She's the MRF from Arrested Development!) (and thus AG reclaims her nerd badge, only slightly dented)

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

...and it's good enough for me

This one's for you, MFH: Greta Christina's Blog has been doing some thinking about the song "Old Time Religion" --

Gimme that old time religion
Gimme that old time religion
Gimme that old time religion
It's good enough for me

-- which sits in need of further expansion. (As if it wasn't already pretty, um, expanded by the various communities of belief / random acts of filk / Usenet community who've taken up the singalong over the years, but one craves the acknowledgment of His Noodly Appendage.) Her reader community came through and how; I'd direct your attention to the first comment, but I'm fairly sure you're going to read them all anyway. And then the song will be stuck in your head for hours and you'll never view the opening of Inherit the Wind quite right again. FTW!

Pattern (and procrastination) recognition

The last thing I need to do with my eight remaining brain cells is to play Wiclimo. Needless to say, that's all I'm doing for a while. It's an absolutely nonverbal pattern-discernment game, which ought to warm the hearts of those among us who like logic puzzles; gameplay's a little tetchy if your mouse isn't behaving well, but it's great to see some unapologetically weird thinking going on in the casual-gaming space.

Less romantic (unless you're a turbo-nerd)

Or, you know, not: It could be said that on that now-famous sort-of-first-date, Barack took Michelle out for igneous rocks. Or he would have if those two were geo dweebs* rather than the law geeks they obviously are.

* I can use the most fraught word in the geek-nerd-dweeb label continuum here because everyone knows that next to astronomers, geologists are some of the most blissed-out folk in science. So I'm saying it with either affection or envy. When I know which I'll report back.

...and repent in leisure

Oh, for god's sake:

Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, the eldest child of the late Robert F. Kennedy and a former lieutenant governor of Maryland, said the animosity that some Clinton delegates feel toward Obama "is getting worse."

Townsend, a Maryland delegate, was a strong Clinton supporter but now is fully behind Obama. She said she partly understands why some of her colleagues have not joined her yet.

"There's a moment that you want to enjoy your bitterness," she said.

Yes, and if the Dems don't pull it together that "moment" will be 4-8 years long, plus whatever happens with the Supremes. I realize I'm a bit obsessed about this right now, but I have a sick feeling that this election cycle could prove the acme of boomer self-involvement-at-the-expense-of-all-others behavior. I just bought a frickin' house; I am gonna be so pissed if I have to leave it and move to Canada...

Monday, August 25, 2008

In which Chris Matthews entertains the crowd

I'd say words can't describe the concentrated crazy that is Cristi Adkins on MSNBC this afternoon, but in fact, there is a word to describe the part where Nurse Ratchett here mistakes Chris Matthews for a child with dirty ears. And that word is HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. I doubted Matthews' sense for doing a segment down on the PUMA protest line, but I was wrong -- this is great television, and a great glimpse into the bunny-boiling mindset that seems to be driving "these ladies," as Chris called them with such arch joy. God, I do love me some convention coverage.

We love you too, Mr. Ebert

From Roger Ebert's blog, a lovely and full-throated appreciation of the positive side of blogging. As you may well expect, it involves commenters. Aww. Let's all be sure not to tell him about the color-coded burnout level alerts.

Tramp the dirt down

Attention Gen X: If what we all wished for back in the day is any indication, it appears that dementia is the most gruesome imaginable way to die, at least of the ordinary ways to die: First Reagan, now Thatcher.

I'll buy that. Something that simply smites your elderly ass isn't nearly as horrifying to face as something that steals your mind, your memories, your dignity, and your personal relationships -- my father couldn't visit my grandmother for the last year of his life, as it was just too traumatic to his own dying system -- and leaves you locked inside your own body to witness it. (I asked my grandmother about her awareness of her decline, while she could still be asked. She was "still in there," she told me, and it was awful to see the disconnections. Like being fogged in, she said, and knowing that the signals you were sending out were coming through fuzzed and wrong. Beyond frustrating. Often beyond humiliating.)

So there's that, and the families of Mr. Reagan and Ms. Thatcher will have their own thoughts on who suffers now and how splattery karma can be when it comes around. But I have to confess that though we really did think that Maggie and Ronnie were about the evilest damn things we ever saw back then, I'm hoping that fate has something more... gratifying... in store for Dick Cheney in the full measure of his years.

Tastier blogging treat (the stocked shelf)

Hey, check this out -- Tyson Foods (you know, chickens and whatnot) has a clever fundraiser going on their site, and all you have to do to help out is read a blog post about Austin, TX and leave a comment indicating that you did so. For each comment, the company will donate 100 pounds (!) of food to a fundraiser in the Austin area, and they'll go as high as 35,000 pounds.

This could be a true Net phenomenon; the fundraiser is called the HAM-Up Tweet-Up, and it was conceived (and news has been propagating) up in the Twitstream. It launched today, and wouldn't you just love to hear that Twitter had caused 17.5 tons of food to appear along with the usual 8.3 cubic feet of virtual guano?

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Tasty blogging treat (or, a truly splendid table)

From Very Good Taste via the legendary Mike Gundleroy, a blogmeme I'm actually happy to pass along. I may not answer questions that reveal my age or my taste in music or what I want out of life, but honey, I will talk food with you all the livelong day. (This post goes out to RCS, who needs to return to his destiny of Cheese Blogging.) Simple really: Look at the list and mark the ones you've eaten. The VGT instructions:

1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating.
4) Optional extra: Post a comment at www.verygoodtaste.co.uk linking to your results.


4a) Let me (AG) know so I can go see what you said.

The VGT Omnivore’s Hundred:

1. Venison
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare
5. Crocodile
6. Black pudding
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari
12. Pho
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart
16. Epoisses
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Foie gras
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn, or head cheese
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters
29. Baklava
30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. Salted lassi
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float
36. Cognac with a fat cigar
37. Clotted cream tea
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O (notice how no one does this nonsense with gin?)
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail
41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects
43. Phaal (not gonna count one tiny head-fracturing taste)
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more
46. Fugu
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone
54. Paneer
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal
56. Spaetzle
57. Dirty gin martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV (it wasn't called Immort Ale for nothing)
59. Poutine
60. Carob chips
61. S’mores
62. Sweetbreads
63. Kaolin
64. Currywurst
65. Durian
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake
68. Haggis
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost
75. Roadkill (I'll just turn in my trailer-trash card at the door here)
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail
79. Lapsang souchong
80. Bellini
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare
87. Goulash
88. Flowers
89. Horse
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Snake

82/100. I am so enjoying my time on this planet.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Not better late than never, actually

(an open letter)

Dear Lady at the Polling Station Who Shushed Everyone So She Could Read Her Ballot: I'm sorry the stick up your ass was interfering with your concentration, but come on, sweetheart -- if you didn't sit down to read through Seattle's lone ballot initiative in the months you had to do so before today, grumbling over it while standing at the polling booth isn't going to do you a whit of good, as there are about four words' difference between the two versions.

More than this, though, I want to know -- really, you're just now looking at this stuff? Months of campaign info, endorsement slates from every publication in town, an entire Comcast channel of information, and you walk in for a first read? And sweet sticky Jesus, your vote will count as much as mine? Bad enough that you're the sort of person who doesn't just shush but feels compelled to deliver a 45-second lecture to a roomful of people who feel so much civic duty they volunteer to sit there and not mock your ass (hey, that's my job); there's absolutely no way in hell you could be voting an informed ticket. Maybe you're a straight-Dem or straight-GOP voter; that'll get you halfway through the process, maybe. The uncontested races will take you two or three closer to the finish line. But when you hit the judicial slate? God help you. Better yet, God help me, as I have indeed helped myself as per custom and aphorism.

Here's the deal, lady. I know you're busy. We are all very, very busy. We're all sick unto death of this campaign season; we're all a little perplexed by Seattle's new primary system; we're all trying to check the to-do list item that hauls us through the parking-challenged streets of Wallingford to the odd little room in the church. But voting is one of those things that requires that one do one's homework before the exam. If you can't be bothered, understand that you are quite possibly doing more harm than good -- and not only to the cheerful spirits of those who care more than you do about the republic.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Thoughts on the undebate

"I think for me the thing, as a Republican, is fear of change." -- OMFG, the girlie who phoned the C-SPAN line to comment on the un-debate just now encapsulated her party in a nutshell. And alas, I am not taking the sentence out of context. Out of the mouths of first-year lawyers...

I'm annoyed with myself for napping through much of the two-hour span, but more annoyed by far with some of the callers -- for instance, some broad on a second ago was weeping, literally weeping on the phone, because Barack Obama "didn't say that life begins at conception." But loving the pastor on now who's pointing out rather scathingly that the format for these chats was not the same for the two candidates, and that these were in fact two different events. That's America for you, isn't it -- the overwrought and ignorant, and also the knowledgeable and reasoned, side by side.

And I am loving most of all the guy who just pointed out that the entire spectacle of dragging Presidential candidates through a playhouse for imaginary friends is simply beneath us. So when do McCain and Obama drop by to speak at the local noodle house?

Friday, August 15, 2008

Red Bull gives you... um, what's this now?

A boost, a break, a reason to get up in the morning, but heart trouble? I ain't buying this study, and not only because I find a test set of 30 insufficient. Nice job on the headline grab, though...

Monday, August 11, 2008

Hair and there and now and then

Do I not look ginchy? That's me in 1956, or specifically me in 2005 (yeah, my photo's old, whatev) and someone's hair from a random 1956 yearbook, which have been combined to happy effect at Yearbook Yourself. I'm a little skeptical about the veracity for years during which I did have my own face attached to my own hair -- alas, the hair for 1988 was on my own head about five years before that, though I promise you that my hair atrocities in the 90s were about color, not cut -- but I'm rather pleased with this look, especially since I was spared the hot rollers and perm and such. I'm also developing a mighty big interest in midcentury style, but give me a few days and I'll tell you more about that. (No-hat HT to Generator Blog.)

Shouldn't there be a Catherine Wheel version?

...and you may find yourself attempting to park your bicycle in NYC. And you may ask yourself, well, how do I chain up here?

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Color me...um, not medium grey? Srsly?

Okay, sea green is actually not a bad choice as far as that goes. So what color are you? (HT to Monster Crochet.)

Sunday, August 3, 2008

One, and don't even THINK about 2, 3

ATTENTION. Alexander Solzhenitsyn is quite enough. If the Death Trifecta Ghods screw with Bernie Mac, I'm gonna hurt somebody. And don't even joke about Morgan Freeman. Do the DTG not understand what kind of year we're having? END TRANSMISSION. (ETA: Excuse me, did me not cover this? No words, but his friends had some nice ones.) (EATA: CHEF! NO! )

(EOMTTA: You know, I'm just going to do this kind thing for Samuel L. Jackson's safety and declare the third of the Trifecta to be Bernie Brillstein. This is sad in its own way; I temped for him once and he really was a rainmaker. Scary but cool, and in all the spare time I had I copied down every interesting number in his Rolodex. Yes, friends, I had in my very hands the power to dial Barbra Streisand's personal line...)

Thursday, July 31, 2008

H20h wow

And on the semi-official last day of my connection to USA Today and the Tech_Space / Science Fair legacy (yeah, I have stuff to say about that, but not today), we have confirmation of water on Mars. The universe sends me off with a bang...

Out of his gym and out of tact

LA police chief William Bratton interrupts his workout to give his State of the Paparazzi Address. It is a beautiful thing and a nice reminder that a vast amount of celebutard gossip really does sum up to less than one sentence. Is Bratton always this, uh, forthright? Or does a good workout really clear out the politico BS that effectively? (And damn you, KNBC.com, why won't you let me embed the video?)

Sensible Talk is sensible

Over at that strapping young site, a perfectly civilized essay on why government regulation works, as seen through the lens of the (lack of) death and destruction from this week's Chino Hills earthquake. I am debating whether it would be entertaining to print out a copy and stash it in my suitcase, that I may roll it up and smack certain of my relatives on the nose with it during the holidays. (We are such festive people when we gather.)

I am not sure how wingnuts can fail to understand why their pure-free-market Cloud-Cuckoo-Land evaporates when confronted with the day-to-day reality of life in a highly technical, extraordinarily complex world in which the consumer has a vanishingly small chance of being adequately informed to make the sort of decisions that one must make to live in the world. As a consumer who is painfully aware that she is not adequately knowledgeable about things like food safety and building codes, I like that I can elect people who can set up structures whereby these things are pursued. Robert Niles' essay makes the case for the benefits very well.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The eternal question

"Witness screamed 'Why?' in gunman's face"

And even with no other data but that headline, one feels the presence of Unitarians. (Confidential to AFT: Race you to seminary!)

Ted Stevens gets tubed

Wouldn't it be fun if Senator Ted Stevens ended up at Club Fed and found he had some time on his hands to learn himself some Internets after all?

(And if you think that's mean-spirited, you thank me for not posting my thoughts re Robert Novak getting a brain tumor, Ted Kennedy-style. Just no civility left in me at all this week.)

Monday, July 28, 2008

Why justice delayed is justice denied

As my friend comments from across the room, better before than after. Still.

Friday, July 25, 2008

The tyranny of children and other amusements

Oh, man. I wish I knew folks with kids to whom I could send this essay. Wait, don't I have a nephew around here somewhere? I thought I had a nephew around here somewhere...

Enough said

The commenter today on Sadly, No was correct: Some blogosphere dumbassery doesn't need fisking so much as it needs a link to this.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Great Google Map, sad coffee times

Coffee fiend? Wondering about the upcoming Starbucks closures? Worse -- coffee fiend and know you're losing your 'bucks? Slate's got a pretty little collaborative map going, where you can both find your local losses and comment on them. And yes, I am losing one of the newer Starbucks in my part of town; I'd be lying if I said we were hurting for coffee here in this part of Seattle, but it was a really nice place and the baristas were sweet. I hope it all works out for them.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

1... 2...

Oh no...

1. Jo Stafford, marvelous singer of standards ("Wheel of Fortune") and apparently a fairly smart cookie to boot. That rich, warm, clear voice -- trust me, your warbling waifs of the current era will not sound remotely this good 50 years hence.

2. Estelle Getty, the first of our beloved Golden Girls to check out -- ironically, the second-youngest cast member (those were indeed some prosthetics, and yes Getty was younger than Bea Arthur). She was a pretty smart cookie herself; according to the LAT obit linked above, her insight into what makes senior women tick was fantastic:

Getty, a natural comedienne famous for her one-liners even in private life, played Sophia for laughs, but she also brought depth to the character. It was her idea that Sophia would always carry a purse because, she said, older women are forced to shed so many possessions in their later years that everything they own ends up in their purses.

"Nobody puts down their life very easily," she explained in a 1992 interview with Newsday.

Not wrong, she.

(ETA: ...3, Last Lecturer Randy Pausch. And also my great-uncle Herb, but that's a more localized mourning I suppose. Though as a WWII vet he loved Jo Stafford, and he could have been one of those gentlemen callers on Golden Girls... Hell of a life. I will miss him.)

Where nerd girls become mean girls...

...they go like this. The Go Fug Yourself crew is always amusing, but this piece of gamer snark just makes me outstandingly happy today. Even if it's clear that their Sims were better socially adjusted than mine. (I stopped playing after my Sim, a blonde nerd with multiple science projects, obsessive cleaning habits and no social life, spawned an evil twin who beat her up and got her arrested for trespassing in her own Sim-house. Stupid game.)

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Should've known better than to ignore the laugh

The definition of lack of faith: seeing Joss Whedon + Neil Patrick Harris + Nathan Fillion + musical and thinking "nah, might suck." I'm an idiot and Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog really was that good, start to finish. How did I get so jaded? Also, How does one not experience deep joy at the familiar GRR! ARGH! Mutant Enemy card? Happiness.

A local hero

I've been spending a certain amount of time lately thinking about the gap between my overinvolved (and over-crispy) online self and my offline self, which... well, isolated ain't in it. Nothing against Seattle, or DC, or NYC, or anywhere else I've been living, but the whole bowling-alone thing came true with a vengeance for a generation of smart folk who turned away from group interaction in the realms where you can't be quite so self-selecting. It's understandable considering what we've all been through these past 7.5 years, I suppose (and alas, as the societal gaps get wider, the offline world mimicks the online), but I'm thinking lately about what constitutes an effective and ethical community presence, preferably in a mode that does not require sustained interaction with your Seattle hippier-than-thou types. (There is no more uninformed and humorless hippie than your Seattle hippie. If these are the do-gooders, I fear I must do bad simply to keep from doing murder. I digress.)

Anyway, Kitsune Noir, which has been so kind in supplying us all with beautiful new desktops each week, has answered my Sunday state of mind with a link to "Martin the Tailor," a wonderful 8-minute documentary that posits one way of existing in the world with both eyes and heart open. Check it out and see if you don't find this Martin Greenfield fascinating.

Martin the Tailor from Ed David on Vimeo.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

A run for Emily

She looks into the face of the president and runs like hell, proving herself to be smarter than at least half of the American electorate.

Canine + robot = luv

So I'm watching the dog in the video below and bickering with the voices in my head thinking...

1. Tool use isn't so species-particular at all; even weiner dogs can figure out how to operate this robot.

2. I'll bet that's the first time in human history that anyone has written the phrase "even weiner dogs can figure out how to operate this robot." Sweet.

3. Yes, but could a weiner dog build the robot? A little species-pride is fine.

4. But am I so sure the dogs didn't simply modify our species to throw balls for them? We don't require an electrical grid, we're portable, and we can mix up our game a lot more than this admittedly very cool robot. And we're versatile, what with the can-opener operating and all.

5. The day the weiner dogs seize control of the can openers is the day I ship back to my home planet.

...is what you say about society

Hi! Um, I had a lot of stuff to say about civility and science and, um, whatever, but right now I am genetically required to sit here and grin like a maniac 'cause Colbert has Rush on for their first TV appearance since before the earth cooled. (Though I cannot surpass Colbert's expression at the prospect of being on the tour t-shirt.) I hope this means our black-haired boy can take down the "President Bush have a hotdog with me" thing in the opening, because this is in every possible way an infinitely cooler get. But don't take my nerdtastic word for it, early-to-bed people...

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Civility, comments and email

More movement in the civility skirmishes, as Jason Calacanis throws up his hands in disgust over blog commenters and shifts to a private e-mail list. Gawker has details and links to more pondering of the problem. Can't honestly say I'm a Calacanis fan -- topic for another time, perhaps -- but honestly, if the e-mail system has been working for Dave Farber all these years, you have to ask yourself if, as my grandfather would have said, it isn't a pretty good program to take up.

Friday, July 11, 2008

...meanwhile, back at the gene pool...

Damn skippy this is Quote of the Week. Have I mentioned how much better my Bloglines world is with Marc Randazza in it?

In such a graceless age

I have a long, rich and occasionally contentious relationship with online discussion. Some of the best colleagues and best people I know I've met because I piped up on CompuServe or responded to someone who responded to me on Tech_Space or Usenet or whatnot. When it works -- when community develops from conversation -- it's very nearly the best thing about the Net. OTOH, as Lev Grossman and everybody and their dog point out this week, these sure ain't the best of times. Among the lovely items in tabs on my screen right this instant:

- A mailing list for tech-journalism professionals, in which one of the members is giving a sustained and full-throated oration on what an evil bastard another journalist is. That journalist isn't actually on the list to respond; he died earlier today. The first journalist is responding to the death announcement.
- A post of mine on a Blog Not This One, where I am blessed with not only some of the dimmest readers this side of "Goodnight Moon" but thumbs-up-thumbs-down buttons for the readers too impaired even to post as anonymous cowards. (Not saying all the readers are that dumb, but the IQ curve over there looks like a course in the Tour de France. And no, not the USAT blog. Those commenters, in the odd little neighborhood bar that was T_S, rocked. And the ones that didn't usually got zapped.)
- A comment thread on an earlier post to this blog, in which some drive-by commenter spewed a ton of hate at the end of an obituary; I challenged her to explain herself, but these types rarely return to the scene of the slime. Now I'm looking at the post and wondering if I ought to, out of respect for the family, kill the whole damned thread.
- A screen capture from a friend who spotted a particularly tasty example of how the biggest assholes online often start the self-embarrassment process with "LOL that's the dumbest thing I heard." (HT to Tony. Again.)

And this isn't atypical stuff right now, not in tone or rudeness or level of inappropriate reaction. (Heck, a friend and colleague of mine got a comment on a story the other day that started by pointing out a couple of typos and concluded with an exhortation for her to die. And I know it wasn't posted by our copyeditors.) Worse, it feels harder to get a good conversation going; poor Science Fair -- goodbye and good luck, on which more anon -- doesn't seem destined to attract that coterie of thoughtful commenters, almost all the blogs over at Other Job seem to be laboring as hard to find "their people" as mine is, and a few of the places on which I'd normally post have reverted to -- !!! -- e-mail for discussion purposes. What next, carrier pigeons and calling cards?

A wise Twitterer I follow asks tonight what makes the world so mean, and now I'm wondering too: Summer's unfortunate tendencies toward id-driven behavior? The godawful economy? The godawful slog to the election? Or is there something more fundamental happening, some basic civility tipping point at hand? I wish I knew. Do you?

And the hits just keep coming

Russell Shaw, Dave Harvey, and now Joe Barr... this dropping-dead-tech-journalists trend must stop. It simply must stop. HAD ENOUGH NOW.

Etiquette news you can use

Let us assume for a moment that you find yourself to be Antonia Fraser,
biographer to royalty and wife of Harold Pinter. (Yes, you may have an
aspirin before continuing.) You are amidst a tome concerning the love
life of the Sun King when your spouse brings home a Nobel. How does one
graciously acknowledge the interruption? Consider a simple and charming

Nobilis and Nobelius

Elegant and, dare I say, adaptable. See how simple that was? Happy to
help there.

Best Woot shirt ever. Ever, I tell you.

Words fail me (which, actually, happens a lot this week; one of these days I should really fill folks in on what's up with this blog, USAT, and whatnot, but FIRST MORE COFFEE)...

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Keep on the sunny side

Gawker's got a roundup of the refreshing honesty exhibited in some quarters upon the news that Jesse Helms is dead. I share in the cheering -- damn right I speak ill of the dead in this case, and such thanks to Jack White at TheRoot.com for getting the jaunty "I'll Be Glad When You're Dead, You Rascal You" stuck in my head -- and urge comfort upon those who are disgusted that Helms may be conferred some special patriot status by (maybe) dying on July 4: Think of it as a sign that his ilk don't last forever, and that the nation is stronger than hate, bigotry, and the past eight years of douchey "leadership." It's like the rainbow over Noah's Ark, even... and though I may not believe in that myth, I definitely believe that turning Jesse Helms' death into a symbol of tolerance and pride makes me happy and would piss the old hater off no end. FTW!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Darn it, baby, that's love

From the fascinating Grace Undressed, a post that works itself into a great short-short story. Whatever her new project is, I hope it involves writing and I hope it comes to fruition soon. And I hope when it does, she takes that boy C out for a fantastic dinner.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Buh-bye, then!

Wow. From a self-proclaimed journalist I don't believe I've ever heard of before today, an emo-y rant about how s/he had been sullying him/herself among the ink- and pixel-stained wretches all this time. Click on over for a heaping helping of twattiness, or take your dose here in concentrated form:

This isn't really my industry. I never liked journalists -- I thought they ignored all of the things I felt were really important about subjects I cared about. To me, journalists were the lowest form of life for writers. Oddly, even throughout my career as a journalist, I have maintained that low opinion. I've always thought of myself as a writer in exile; someone who is only participating in this field for a brief time to make some money and improve my sense of concision and brevity. When I told people what I did for a living, it was always half-apologetically.

Confidential to Jem, who apparently was in the IPG with me and made no impression whatesoever: Glad you're free of it, my dear -- and to answer your next question, yes I would like fries with that. (If, BTW, you entered journalism to improve your "concision and brevity," you have failed. Badly. Not least by emitting the words "sense of concision and brevity.") Burnout is one thing; I'm crispy on my feet myself. But whining that you've been in the wrong profession all along? As Quentin Crisp said many times, if you've been a pig farmer for 25 years, pig farming is your style. Deal.

The back of the head is back!

Mad Men fans! While we all prepare for the second season (starts at the end of the month!) and ponder the DVD boxed set, do not miss the 12-page Advertising Age tribute to the show. I used to subscribe to AdAge simply because they were clearly having a ridiculous amount of fun; this is an amazing example of a kind of creativity you too rarely see on the editorial side of the fence.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Why the NY Times needs a cranio-enema

Hey, remember when that guy totally made up those stories about stuff so he could stay home in Brooklyn and be bipolar? And remember when that lady said we had weapons of mass destruction because some guy said the other guy over there in the hat was pointing at the evidence? And remember... well, pretty much anything Alessandra Stanley's ever written? These fact-challenged moments were all brought to you by the New York Times, the standard in American journalism, which explains so much of the state American journalism is in. And like the news itself -- wait a day and there'll be a fresh batch -- the NYT will always be on tap for another screwup. Why? What's broken with these people? Gawker's got a gorgeous example of how arrogance, contempt and dimwittery combine in an office full of people high on their own effluvia. And folks wonder how Stewart, Colbert and the blogosphere became trusted news sources.

Of course, it's not entirely the fault of arrogant, underinformed writers and editors. The people who run these enterprises are ghouls as well, as Gawker documents. On fire today, Gawker. (Follow that link, BTW, to read a terrific piece by Brayden Simms outlining how "management" did him over on that job. He makes the point that the only safe person in publishing is a freelancer; he's all too correct there.)

But why limit it to Yahoo?

Many years ago, I interviewed at Yahoo for an editorial position; I realized about three hours into the two-day interview that there was no freaking way I would be seating myself in that particular kissing booth. (You know you're walking into a bad scene when the first question you ask your first interviewer precipitates a cascade of Carlin-level cursing. And yes, the following two days were awk-ward.) But I know good folks over there, so it pains me to see the need for the Rezinr. I said pains, not surprises. In case you were wondering what the 2.0 version of FuckedCompany.com was gonna look like.

You should be following: Tiny Ghosts

Because once a week is not too often to chance having your heart ripped out of your body. Go.

Also, candlesticks make a nice gift

Sooner or baseball is a metaphor for just about every aspect of life. In the clip below, baseball is a metaphor for your average editorial meeting: A clusterfuck with one put-out Nebraskan in the middle just trying to get through the inning. (Yes, there are a disproportionate number of Nebraskans in publishing. No, I wasn't really talking about any of the others. They can do their own blogs.)

Of course, things could be even worse. I guess. Wouldn't know. Quit watching the Mariners when the narcolepsy set in. The most entertainment anyone's getting out of those guys in 2008 is the pink-slip parade. Call me a fair-weather fan when tickets get cheaper.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Shit, piss, fuck, cunt, cocksucker, motherfucker, tits

And goddammit, goddammit, goddammit. Another sumbitch who deserved to see this Presidential election through to the end. My list is getting crowded up something awful. Friendly Atheist has a couple of clips to get you started on the inevitable morning marathon. (ETA: And the best cartoon tribute was...)

Cat seeks good home (to terrorize)

I want a new cat, but if I get this cat I would simply be getting the old cat. Again. Reincarnated. And pissed about it.

Friday, June 20, 2008

The perils of ungraceful aging

Explain Naomi Cambell, won't you? Seriously, I'm not getting it -- how does one middle-aged lady manage to evade jail time so regularly? And if you were an habitual offender on this scale, wouldn't it be simpler to just convert your entire wardrobe over to Correctional Program Jumpsuit Orange? (And then there's the Michael Jackson Career-vs-Creepiness Dept. question: If you asked anyone under the age of 40, would they say Naomi Campbell is famous for having been a model back in the day, or that she's famous for being a freaky has-been with anger-management issues?)

Monday, June 16, 2008

On this most joyous of days

In honor of Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon, who celebrated their 50th anniversary before they were able to celebrate their legal nuptials; in honor of Robin Tyler and Diane Olson, who made me laugh with the names of their pugs (which are sort of the lesbian equivalent of my male friend who named his cats Steve and Eydie; go ahead and shut off the neon sign, dears, we get it); in honor of Rich and David Speakman, who found a good use for those "stimulus checks" (as the sign says above a certain store downtown, "we got your stimulus package right here), the best bumper sticker I ever saw in Lincoln, Nebraska:

My marriage doesn't need defending. Sorry yours sucks.

It's a beautiful day. Any day with en masse celebration of the love and hope implicit in making a lifelong commitment is a beautiful day. And anyone who tells you different has an inferior understanding of things like love, and hope, and the human heart. Pity them... and keep drowning them out like folks are doing in California tonight.

Grease up, girlie

The hair hopper on Fox News thinks she's making some sort of point when she says that Geraldo Rivera "kisses her hand" after the throwdown below? Cupcake, after what he does to you in this exchange I hope he bought you dinner:

Link: sevenload.com

HT to QuizLaw, watching Faux News so you don't have to. Except when this sort of thing happens.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Wait for it... wait for it...

There's a reason this Associated Press story isn't bylined -- sometimes virtue is its own reward, and sometimes, like this time, the reward is the gift of writing the story's punchline. Silly snarky APlings.

If this is 1 I refuse to count to 2 and 3

Tim Russert? TIM RUSSERT?! No way. This isn't happening. TIM RUSSERT IS NOT GOING TO MISS THIS PRESIDENTIAL RACE. Take it back.

I'm not sure I can watch either Matthews or Olbermann tonight. Williams alone is making me hurt. Tom Brokaw looks like he's been poleaxed. W. T. F.

This sucks. And leave it to a goddamned natural-born journalist to die in time for the Friday newshole.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Nothing wrong with being wrong

A lovely quote from "literary sleuth" Donald Foster:

"No one who cannot rejoice in the discovery of his own mistakes deserves to be called a scholar."

That entire Observer piece is worth reading, BTW, as we all ponder the Nicholas Carr essay in The Atlantic that everyone's talking about. I have some things to say about that, but that's a fairly personal essay and I want to get it right before I post it. But you'll read it here and nowhere else under my byline, which may tell you a bit about where my thoughts are going...

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Coffee? Don't mind if I do

The sad thing about this test result?

The Caffeine Click Test - How Caffeinated Are You?
OnePlusYou Quizzes and Widgets

I haven't had my first cup today yet. Yet. (HT to Book of Joe, always a pleasure.)

A salad, please

Celebrities really just like us, because I am quite sure I have been served the burger of which Robert Downey Jr. speaks.

Jim Hinde, 1951-2008

I was thinking of Jim Hinde's "Doin' The Perp Walk" today while I watched Dennis Kucinich stand and deliver the patriotic bitchslapping that this lying, corrupt, treasonous administration has been needing for seven long years. I wish Hinde had been with us to hear it too, but he left ahead of the headliner. Dammit.

If you don't live in Seattle, you may never have heard of Jim Hinde; if you do, you may have heard him and not known his name. The should-be-legendary Pike Place Market busker died in his sleep on Monday. A Vietnam vet, sometime ad man, erstwhile hobo, cranky political observer, Emmy recipient and family man, Hinde became the de facto leader of the Pike Place market arts scene and a powerful organizing voice in our community -- horrified that the lessons of the 60s were lost in the rush to Iraq, but putting his shoulder to the wheel to raise your consciousness (and your ass and some bail, as his song went).

If any guitar in my living memory killed fascists, Hinde's was it. He was the real deal and I'm heartsick that I never requested the interview I'd so hoped to get with him. And I'm heartsick that you'll never get to walk down the Market and hear the man playing and singing, because that's a fine Seattle afternoon right there.

Jim Hinde -- Doin' The Perp Walk
Buy Hinde's "Shout Down The Wind: Songs Of Peace, Protest And Patriotism" on CDBaby

(MP3 posted with the hope and belief that if you get just one Hinde song stuck in your head, you're going to buy his work. Support the artist, support the artist's survivors, and support the notion that genuine protest folk has a place in the culture circa 2008.)

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


Dear Scatterplot: I love y'all much, but I did not need to see this. Any knife-related injuries I see today are to be inflicted by Me upon the wicked, and I damn skippy ain't documenting the incidents in photos. (Yes, I said incidents-plural. Been that kind of day so far.) Feel better, Tina, and I hope the hand heals okay, but... AAAAAAAAAAAA!

(And yes, I shared with my own blog because misery loves company. Lots and lots of company. Shall I make some coffee?)

The first time Paul Newman's ever made my day less good

Dammit. I hope very much that these cancer rumors are not true, but divesting himself of Newman's Own... is not a good sign. As is the fact that I'm so unnerved by the rumors that I'm posting something that links to Faux News.

I think I want to go lay on the floor now. And maybe watch Twilight again -- maybe not his best work, but everyone's in it and reasonable fun if you love yourself some cheesy noir, and some Paul Newman.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Obama and the road ahead

Attention young Obama staffers and volunteers: Be advised that not only are you in the presence of a world-changing leader, you're also apparently working for the best boss some of you will ever have. I love this speech because not only is he extremely honest about how much hard work is ahead, he makes you love it. Which is how you know Barack Obama has never worked in a publishing office...

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Kalanchoe v Gunn, Round 2

The kalanchoe I received about six months ago (identified thanks to kind readers of the late occasionally-great Tech_Space) is thriving and blooming against all odds, and big enough to topple itself over in its own pot. Obviously relocation is required, but normally that's a death warrant for plants in contact with me. However, the blogosphere assures me that I can't screw this up and am in fact probably just lucky the thing hasn't strangled me in my sleep yet, so... we'll see, won't we?

(Also? That blog, Plants Are The Strangest People, is making me deeply happy in a add-to-my-Bloglines way. Any fellow fan of Bad Astronomy and Wil Wheaton is someone I'm happy to keep reading, even if his flower photos make me feel all inadequate and eye-challenged and whatnot.)

Tony Soprano? He dead.

Definitely. Conclusively. Absolutely. Brains and blood all over the onion rings. If you harbored any doubt that the greatest series finale in the history of HBO ended with the death of our protagonist, Master of Sopranos would like to take this opportunity to beat it right the hell out of you. Amazing analysis; as someone said elsewhere in my RSS reader today, we benefit so much from the efforts of people with obsessions.

Monday, June 2, 2008

If at first you don't succeed...

Yearbook typos are funny (and I say this as a former yearbook editor who died a little inside each time she found a typo in her finished project, so actually by "funny" I mean "AAAAAAAAA!"), but check out the comment from the yearbook company at the end of this article about spellcheck turning evil. Dude, if it's happening EVERY YEAR, maybe at some point you want to work out a way of fixing the system? Maybe, call me crazy, but perhaps DISABLING FREAKING SPELLCHECK?

(Also, could someone open up Blogger's spellcheck and add the word "spellcheck?" Kthxbai. And add "kthxbai" while you're in there.)

1... 2...

A musician I never got to see, clothes I never got to wear (though I don't so much care about that), and (ETA: one committed product designer whose work I know rather well).

1. Bo Diddley, noted gunslinger.

2. Yves Saint Laurent, noted popularizer of women's pantsuits.

3. ...and unless something big happens (get well soon, Teddy Kennedy; I don't want you in the Trifecta for a long time yet ETA: you either, Byrd! stop that!), I'm gonna go with Mr. Fredric J. Baur, inventor of the Pringles can -- not because he's recent (he died last month), not because he gives us a well-balanced Trifecta, but because this commercial extolling his smart design is just too fun.

Mr. Baur, very proud of his invention, had a portion of his ashes buried in a Pringles can. And that dear friends is commitment. (Confidential to any Gunn family members passing through: Remember the ringtoss game Dad made out that used the plastic rings off the top of the old-school Pringles cans? That was a very cool ringtoss. I wish I'd told him so.)

Thursday, May 29, 2008

THWAP! (Ahhhhh.)

Short, vicious, and deeply gratifying: A beautiful exchange courtesy of Sadly, No. (HT to TF, of course.)

1... 2...

It's the classic-television edition so far...

1. Harvey Korman (that's Hedley!), the gold standard for comedians who laughed at their colleagues' work and, in doing so, let us in on the joke

2. Earle Hagen, who gave us the Andy Griffith Show theme to whistle

3. ...? It's Alexander Courage, composer of the Star Trek theme, which you'll whistle as soon as you're done with Andy Griffith.

A sad grouping for fans of witty classic TV, whether conveyed in words or music.

spring in Seattle

Colorful and arched.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Lovely man, lovely woman

Wackadoo wackadoo wackadoo wackadoo... If you haven't been following the controversy over the Southern California car-dealership ad that offended just about every sentient being who encountered it (and thanks to Consumerist, the whole world did), you'll be interested to hear that the Kieffe & Sons dealership has apologized apologized and then rescinded it, but the guy who claims to have written and recorded the ad most emphatically does not. So did "JW Horne" really have the dealership's approval for that bigoted mess? (ETA: Yup.)

But at least this guy is merely kicking the shins of people old enough to not be much bothered by him. And then we have Wendy Portillo, the current front-runner for the 2008 Lori Drew Grownup-Card Revocation Award. Ms. Portillo, as of this writing still a kindergarten teacher at Port. St. Lucie's Morningside school, took a dislike to a boy in her class who has been diagnosed with Asperger's. She chose to express her dislike by having the other children, including the only friend little Alex Barton has ever made, "vote him out of class" -- yes, just like Survivor. The vote was 14-2. Class-ay lady, Wendy Portillo.

I invoked Lori Drew, the woman at the center of the Megan Meier suicide, and though I don't think it's going to come to a bedroom-closet hanging, I have a bad feeling that little Alex is going to be carrying this for a long, long time. (I had a run-in with a kindergarten teacher who made fun of me in front of the class and I still remember it vividly. And I thought of it when I saw that same teacher 25 years later, shuffling down the hall at my grandmother's nursing home, destroyed by Alzheimer's. Just, you know, saying. Memory's funny that way.)

Offline, these things move slowly. Alex is staying home for now, the Portillo woman has been "reassigned," and the lawyers are assembling, though the Florida state's attorney's office says they can't find grounds for charging the woman with any crime. Online, on the other hand... I mentioned Lori Drew, right? Readers at the TCPlam scared up an email address, phone numbers and an address or two; Digg backed their play, and the Autistic Self Advocacy Network is all over the situation. (And then there are the more extensive efforts.)

And my hope? Other than a fond desire for Ms. Portillo to feel the social enlightenment that comes from enhanced contact with a wide, wide selection of her fellow humans, I best like one Digg patron's suggestion: Turn the class over to the two children that voted no. (What, would they be less mature than Wendy Portillo?) If you're that kind of independent thinker at five, you're already on the road to being the kind of person I hope to know. (ETA: Or you could be the kid in Indiana who busted his abusive kindergarten teacher by surreptitiously recording what she says. The fact that the Indiana teachers' union is defending teacher Kristen Woodward by claiming her "human dignity" is being abused by these revelations may help the other 49 states understand why even good progressives such as myself suspect that teachers' unions ought to be broken up like cheap crockery. Looks from here like Woodward's got exactly the amount of dignity she afforded little Gabe Ross.)

Oh, and if you'd like to do something sweet for Alex and the kids in his class? The Net's got that too.

Cool thing I found: Waterstone writing contest

Hey, wanna co-author a book with JK Rowling? Now's your sort-of-kind-of chance: The British bookstore chain Waterstone's is sponsoring a contest for writers who can work short -- in the space of a postcard, or in 600 words or less. The "What's Your Story?" contest winners will be displayed among similarly bite-sized works by luminaries such as Margaret Atwood, Neil Gaiman, Nick Hornby, Doris Lessing, and -- yes -- the Harry Potter author, whose 800-word entry is a Potter prequel. Needless to say there's a charity involved, but for details you should check out the site; come 11 June, you'll be able to read the entries there as well. And yes, three lucky/good writers really will be published alongside Herself.

Newsman fired over O'Reilly "protest" speaks!

I'd been hoping to hear what Barry Nolan had to say about his firing by Comcast, and now he's spoken. Mr. Nolan, an anchor on Boston's CN8 news, was dismayed by the prospect of the regional Emmy folk giving Bill O'Reilly its Governor's Award (the highest award they give), and thus took the time to print out and hand out a brochure with some quotes from the Falafel King. For which reportage he was canned.

Nolan explains his decision in a great post to Think Progress, posted above; read it through to the end for a remarkably warm and hopeful take on where America's heading. For my own part, I'm painfully aware that few old-line media organizations are comfortable with their on-air / byline talent having opinions beyond the most insipid and conservative possible; I appreciate the stones it took for Nolan, working for the far-right creeps at Comcast, to speak up. And like him -- on my better days, anyway -- I believe too.

From the Stupid Human Tricks files

Normally I don't go for this sort of thing -- if I want stupid humans, I can go outside and get some fresh air with my helping -- but QuizLaw dug up something today that's giving me the giggles. Consider this as close as anyone's gonna get to an apology for that toenails thing yesterday:

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

In which CBS schemes to destroy my happy childhood

Oh, cruel CBS, posting the entire run of Twin Peaks for our streaming-video pleasure. What happens when I watch it and discover that the show is more genius, more blissfully weird, more fully-formed in memory? What then, CBS? What then? (HT AfterEllen.com.)