March 2004 Archives

Strategery This!


We-Can-Detain-You,-You-Know.jpgEarlier this month, the Bush/Cheney campaign featured a tool on their website that allowed ordinary citizens—like you and I!—to add inspirational messages and slogans to a Bush/Cheney campaign poster template. It was a beautiful thing to hear the collective voice of the people; it was like seeing a hundred flowers bloom.

For some mysterious and unknown reason, though, the website recently pulled the ability to create one’s own campaign slogans. However, some enterprising young fellas collected the best of the people’s wisdom and made a flash presentation: The Sloganator Memorial.

(found via boingboing).

So Long, Alistair Cookie

Radio legend Cooke dies aged 95. Another great one moves on.

That Aprille With His Shoures Soote


Yes, it’s time for what everyone 'round here waits for: the monthly title contest. Submit your favorite quote and/or lyric with the word “April” in it in the comments; the winner gets their website linked to at the top of the random list (over there on the left).

Oh, and for those of you keeping an eye on that other contest, we’re currently up to 1,972 comments…

Sunday Afternoon

Wandering around town yesterday afternoon:


Glow In The Dark Tourism

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A girl, a fast motorcycle, and an entire region abandoned due to massive nuclear radiation: GHOST TOWN.

(updated with more pictures since the last time this made the rounds)

The House Of Dead Leaves


So, who out there would be interested in a dead-tree version of

Home is the Hungover


Two things I have learned tonight:

  1. My problem, apparently, is that I am too seclusional*.
  2. Apparently, if I, or a character who’s supposed to represent myself, is to appear in a novel, said character is to be introduced with words similar to the following:

She could instantly tell it was him without even looking; his distinctive syncopated, asymmetrical gait, clomping along as if someone had stuffed something really enormous down the front of his trousers, was like a signature.

I report; you decide.

*I know that seclusional isn’t really a word, but that’s what I was called and that’s the word that was used (I know; not only was I there, but I wrote it down on a cocktail napkin in case I forgot). I’m leaving out the bit about the asian gene injection, 'cause that was just too, well… complicated, I guess.

Save Us From Ourselves

Really, the headline says it all: George Michael mulls Wham! musical. One wonders how it’ll compare to the Lord of the Rings musical.

Then again, one doesn’t really want to…

People Who Need People


InterNet Shocker! CyberAdulters Use Evil InterNet To Deceive Spouses!

Ok, so what’s really happening is that people in the UK are using Friends Reunited to look up old flames (in some cases very old flames), with the somewhat predictable result that they end up shagging each other senseless* (with, again, some what predictable results for their current marriages).

*The alternate phrase was “shagging each other like carpets”, but that was a bit too much mixed-metaphory, even for me. That, and it brings up the painful subject of rug burn.

Kids These Days...

The latest in sex-ed for kids in this crazy world: Be sure to check out the testimonials and the tv ads.

From Paul Katcher.

Get Free Stuff


1950comments.gifWell, we seem to have come up to 1,950 comments already, which, as long-time readers of this blog know, means that this is an opportunity for you to win free stuff (like, uh, t-shirts and mugs—nothing too exciting; it is, however, free, and really, how can you beat that?).

“But Paul, how do I win free stuff?” I hear you asking.

It’s easy. Just be the person who leaves the 2,000th comment on this here blog. Now, to make this a bit fairer, here are some basic guidelines:

  1. No ballot-box stuffing. You can post up to three comments consecutively, but no more than that.
  2. Prior winners are ineligible (Neither am I, for obvious reasons). It’s all about spreading the love.
  3. Spam comments cannot win. I delete spam comments as they come in, so it’s possible that the count may change slightly during the course of the contest.

Any questions?

Practice, Practice, Practice

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Had a taxi driver last night who didn’t know how to get to Carnegie Hall.

No, really…

I Have Some Family Experience In This Area

Whybark seems to be overrun with zombies!

Quick, someone get him some rum!

Unfortunately, It Seems To Be Down Right Now

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This is just too cool: old text adventure games via AIM.

Too bad it seems somewhat overwhelmed at the moment; I was somewhat looking forward to wasting more time re-exploring the caverns of Zork…

At least that’s what I’ve been told.

Today’s winner comes from “Inhalant F. Cuticles”, pitching assorted prescription drugs. Not content with assuming that I suffer from erectile dysfunction badly enough that I would require not one, but two different impotence drugs, Mr. Cuticules also offers speed (in the form of ‘diet pills’), anti-depressants (I suppose that if one is in bad enough shape to require two different kinds of erection pills, anti-depressants would not be out of order), plus, as a bonus, Valium and Xanax, the latter to presumably assuage my worries about the possible side-effects of the noxious drug cocktail that’s on offer.

Perhaps the most interesting part though, was the dime-store philosophy that sandwiched the meat of the offer:

Hello, chief :)
Old men are dangerous: it doesn’t matter to them what is going to happen to the world.
[ad deleted]
The light shines in the darkness and the darkness comprehended it not.
My God, these folks don’t know how to love — that’s why they love so easily.

It’s almost like opening a fortune cookie.

Deep In The Heart Of Texas...


Well, I didn’t really want to move to Texas, right?

Alton Brown Lives!

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Alton Brown is OK after being rushed to the hospital from the set of Iron Chef America (apparently there’s a new version that’s going to be broadcast on Food Network; Alton gets to play the part of Dr. Yukio Hattori, the color commentator).

Interestingly enough, there’s a Iron Chef America page on the website; however, there’s no content on it (for now, at least).

Alton’s link via the FoodBlog.

If Carmen Electra Married Alonzo Mourning...


I still haven’t made it to the Times by name, but my grandfather is in Sunday’s Arts section:

Alfred Frankenstein, in The San Francisco Chronicle, called it [Mourning Becomes Electra] “the finest American opera yet staged by a major American company,” comparing it favorably to Britten’s “Peter Grimes.”

Ok, so he wrote that review 35 years ago…

Glade Plugins

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Am using this entry to test two typographical plugins—John Gruber’s MarkDown and SmartyPants.

So far they seem to work. Let’s see how it works out on an on-going basis.

MarkDown is designed to make generating HTML from plaintext much easier. Instead of having to mess around with html codes when, say, making a list, it automatically translates what you type into the appropriate HTML. The advantages of this are:

  1. It’s faster and easier than having to type HTML tags by hand.
  2. It reduces the chances that one would forget to close a tag (not that that would ever happen to me), and would, at least in theory, generate cleaner code.

The syntax seems pretty straight-forward and easy to learn. One wishes that the link syntax supported targets, as is my preference, but nobody’s perfect, eh?

On the other hand, all SmartyPants does is generate curly quotes and other typographical entities… like ellipses and n- and m-dashes. Think of it as a way to make things just look prettier.

What The Hell?


Anyone know anything about this movie?

(other than it's Japanese and looks like the love child of Terry Gilliam and apocolypic anime)

The official website can be found at; unfortunately, it seems to be entirely in Japanese, one of the many languages I lack fluency in.

Total Mass Retain

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Manhattan Transfer bemoans the tragic—nay, criminal—underuse of and then procedes to analyze some other worthy candidates.

As for your humble narrator, it should be noted that he both loves opera and knows his way around a kitchen. On the other hand, it's been well-documented that he has the style sense of an armadillo in the middle of an interstate.

For Whom The Bell Tolls


On the train down to DC this morning (and again on the way back this evening), I was really struck by how, well, destroyed some of the neighborhoods the train goes through are (in Baltimore in particular). There are entire blocks out there that look like they just survived the Spanish Civil War.

I suppose that part of it is just the natural decay that occurs when cities shrink rather than grow...

Heat Wave

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Click on the thermometer to pledge!


(as per KG's request)

Smoking Gun

Taiwanese President Shot While Campaigning (from the NY Times).

Well, that whole China/Taiwan thing just got a lot more interesting.

Girlfriend Is Better

Yo. Go over to Wolfie's site and help him pick an (imaginary) girlfriend. Help out a brother in need.

NY Snow Globe

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It's still snowing, and it's expected to stay this way through the end of the week.



Well, at least the trees look pretty.

Whiskey Boot Hill


While this article from the Times is nominally about Jack Daniel's (apparently on its way to becoming the world's most popular whiskey), it also contains a great pocket history of American whiskey, including the (unknown to me) tidbit that the Manhattan was originally made with rye whiskey, not bourbon (there are strict rules about what can be labeled bourbon).

Anyway, the recipe for a Manhattan is pretty straightforward:

  • 2 parts bourbon
  • 1 part sweet vermouth
  • dash of bitters
  • 1 cherry

To make it on the rocks, combine liquid ingredients in a double old fashioned glass with ice (small cubes or crushed). Pour into a cocktail shaker, shake, and then pour back into the glass and add the cherry.

For an up Manhattan, put ice (big cubes) in a cocktail shaker, add liquid ingredients, shake, strain into a cocktail glass (I prefer steep-sided cocktail glasses rather than v-shaped martini glasses, if only because it's too damn easy to spill your drink in (or out of) a martini glass, but I couldn't find a picture on the web), and add the cherry.

If you substitute scotch for the bourbon, the drink is called the Rob Roy. In honor of St. Patrick's Day, I don't know what you'd call if it you replaced the bourbon with irish whiskey. Update: Mike Whybark, in the comments, suggests that irish whiskey mixed 2:1 with sweet vermouth should be called a "Michael Collins", for what he terms obvious reasons.

One Down, Seventeen To Go


Surprising the pants off me by responding so soon, Fordham has rejected me (and thusly greatly increasing the chance that I'll be leaving New York in the fall).

You Keep Me Hanging On


This picture was taken out of my living room window, what, 5 minutes ago?


Note to Old Man Winter: Set me free, why don't you babe; Get out my life, why don't you babe...

Zen And The Art of Busting Up Helicopters

Tiny Bubbles


Is it just me, or has Technorati been burping a lot recently?

(update: when I posted this, Technorati was listing no links on that page; it seems to be back to normal, depending on how you define "normal")

Oh Show Me The Way To The Next...

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Headline of the year:


Oh, and by the way, beware the Ides of March.

Five Per Cent of Nothing


I know, "unemployed blogger" is so 2003. Hey, what can I do?

The Family and the Fishing Net


You know, it's probably a good thing that Lou Reed never covered the Divinyls' "I Touch Myself".

The Battle Of Epping Forest


Apparently, I have become the world's leading authority on open-source Marxism.

Who knew? (Google knows everything)

I found out entirely accidentally; this decent fellow TrackBacked an old post, and I was curious to see how he managed to disinter it, given the unlikeliness of him just stumbling across the piece on a random trawl through the archives...

Here Comes The Supernatural Anaesthetist

The Goldstein '04 bandwagon juggernaut rolls on.

If I ever get my act together, expect t-shirts and posters soon.

Dancing With The Moonlit Knight


Check out this fantastic essay about Warsaw (pemalinks are broken fixed, so this may break at some point).

Almost makes me want to go to Poland.

Moribund The Burgermeister

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I know who I'm supporting this year. Do you?

Unquiet Slumbers For The Sleepers


Someone explain to me how it's possible for the LSAC to lose three of the four recommendation letters that have been sent to it?


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BBC America is either the greatest thing to happen to television since Philo T. Farnsworth or the greatest timewaster since the internet.

I can't decide.

Back when I went to school there, scoring prescription painkillers was hard work. Kids today have it much easier.



Words To Live By?

Ssssstupid Little Hobbitssses, Yesssth


So, having nothing better to do mid-April, I registered for BloggerCon II. Seeing as how I had great success with Priceline in finding a hotel last time I was in Boston, I did the same thing again, scoring a room in a nice downtown hotel for only $80.

All's good in the world... until I print out the itinerary and read the trip details:

Adults: 1
Nights: 1


That was supposed to be for Friday and Saturday nights, and I only had a room for Friday night.

Complicating the matter is that two days after BloggerCon II is a little something called the Boston Marathon. Which drives hotel room prices up a bit for Saturday night. Plus the hotel I was staying in Friday was completely booked on Saturday, even if I had wanted to pay rack rate.

So to make a long story short, I’m staying in two different hotels (paying nearly twice as much for the second hotel) on two different nights with a conference wedged in-between. Yeah, way to go Me.

So, is anyone else going to BloggerCon?

Changing Faces

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Neat piece on the evolving face of the Economist (probably the best newsweekly out there).

Snicker Chuckle

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Got spam today from a Mr. "Morosely I. Shuns", advertising Cialis. The subject line included the phrase

A unidiomatic reinducement adjectival.

and the first two lines were

Nothing is void of God, his work is everywhere his full of himself.

And in otherwise unrelated news, you will probably get a post-modern chuckle out of Safe For Work Porn.

Get Thee To A Polling Place!


Today's primary day. Go out there and vote!