Is this a presidential election or Wrestlemania?

| Apr. 30, 2008

I try to avoid political pontificating since it’s the easiest way to start intractable disagreements with only a sliver of knowledge, but this insubstantial article (in Time magazine of all places!) irks me to no end. It’s about Obama getting mad about, or distancing himself from, this Reverend Wright guy who — if it merits an article on the front page of Time — must have said something pretty damning. But I read and re-read the article and couldn’t find the damnable quote. Was this it?

“Politicians say what they say and do what they do based on electability, based on sound bites, based on polls”

Sure it’s cynical, but also +1 Insightful. This is the only Reverend Wright quote I could find. That’s it? This merits controversy?

The real Barack Obama?

The real Barack Obama?

The thrust of the article from then on is about some faceless, nameless advisors and strategists saying Obama needs to get mad to show he can make it as president, and to be able to fend off Republican attacks. If we need a candidate who can get mad, just elect Bruce Banner in ’08. What about leading the country, fixing the economy — isn’t that important, too? This isn’t Mad Max, we need a sensible, educated man as president, not an American Gladiator. And if a remark as flaccid as Reverend Wright’s is enough to stir up this much trouble, are politicians really fending off particularly vicious attacks? This is about a difference of opinion. This is kid glove stuff. I am appalled that this passes for news. The worst of the article comes at the end, when someone Time didn’t bother to get the name of criticizes Obama for not trash-talking enough, “Sometimes, he sounds like he is writing a Ph.D.”

Would that really be such a bad thing?

Two-Fisted Tales of Evolutionary Biology!

| Apr. 29, 2008

On a whim, I decided to skim a few pages of Charles Darwin’s The Voyage of the Beagle, and if discovering evolution through the process of natural selection weren’t enough, the stories of his adventures on the HMS Beagle are rich with exotic detail and are an engrossing read. The story reads like a precursor to pulp tales of daring explorers visiting strange lands, encountering wild natives and speciating island finches.

In the course of an hour we arrived at Ribeira Grande, and were surprised at the sight of a large ruined fort and cathedral. This little town, before its harbour was filled up, was the principal place in the island: it now presents a melancholy, but very picturesque appearance. Having procured a black Padre for a guide, and a Spaniard who had served in the Peninsular war as an interpreter, we visited a collection of buildings, of which an ancient church formed the principal part. It is here the governors and captain-generals of the islands have been buried. Some of the tombstones recorded dates of the sixteenth century.

My head is swimming with all the possibilities of adventure awaiting our heros, the Spanish war veteran, the mysterious black priest, and Charles Darwin as they explore the picturesque but ominous “Fort of Ribeira Grande!”

But that isn’t the end of it. There are so many great passages, I can’t leave it at just one.

The inhabitants had sufficient notice to drive all the cattle and horses into the “corral” [1] which surrounded the house, and likewise to mount some small cannon. The Indians were Araucanians from the south of Chile; several hundreds in number, and highly disciplined. They first appeared in two bodies on a neighbouring hill; having there dismounted, and taken off their fur mantles, they advanced naked to the charge. The only weapon of an Indian is a very long bamboo or chuzo, ornamented with ostrich feathers, and pointed by a sharp spearhead. My informer seemed to remember with the greatest horror the quivering of these chuzos as they approached near.

And even a little topical humor:

In the evening we reached a comfortable farm-house, where there were several very pretty senoritas. They were much horrified at my having entered one of their churches out of mere curiosity. They asked me, “Why do you not become a Christian — for our religion
is certain?” I assured them I was a sort of Christian; but they would not hear of it…

A “sort of” Christian. Charlie knew how to tell a coy joke that only gets better with age.

I never thought I would miss calculus

| Apr. 28, 2008


…but I can’t help feeling nostalgic looking at the nerd dream team of 1927. Wiki any of those names and you’ll find a person physics owes a debt of gratitude.

I can’t be certain which one is Heisenberg and which one is Schroedinger, but at least Pauli is making sure they aren’t taking up the same space.

[found via Reddit – tremendous nerdity ensues in the comments]

I’ve been playing too much Mario Kart

| Apr. 28, 2008

I know this because when I was leaving work, I tried hitting the B button behind my steering wheel so I could power slide out of the parking garage. If only.

Band trivia nobody answered — ANSWERED!

| Apr. 28, 2008

To the approximately zero readers who sent in answers to my trivia question “What do these bands have in common?“, thank you! Thank you so very goddam much for your participation, each and every one of you. I know it’s driving you absolutely crazy not knowing, so here are the answers:

  • 1963 – New Order
  • 1969 – Iggy Pop
  • 1976 – RJD2
  • 1979 – Smashing Pumpkins
  • 1985 – Bowling for Soup

Which means these bands have, uh, not much in common. Hmm. Well this has gone over better than I thought! Look for another one next week… possibly never!

I awoke a shoplifting zombie

| Apr. 24, 2008

Back at work with more Songs Not to Wake Up To:

Shoplifters Of The World Unite, The Smiths
Choice lyrics: “I was bored before I even began”

Zombie, The Cranberries
Choice lyrics: “What’s in your head / In your head / Zombie, zombie, zombie?”

Yeah yeah, it’s probably about the IRA, Belfast or Bloody Sunday or something, but I can’t imagine any of those being much worse than having to get up at 7:30 AM.

He collected them until he, too, became obsolete

| Apr. 22, 2008

Wired has a delightful story about three sons disposing of their dad’s cache of old computers.

My brothers and I didn’t know Dad had a problem. We knew he had an insanely large collection of computers and related paraphernalia. I was living in Washington, DC, and somehow Alex and Andrew, back home in Seattle, had failed to notice that Dad could barely move around his apartment and was navigating from room to room via narrow, oyster-gray corridors formed entirely by PC towers.

In other news, I just inherited six Macintosh SEs from the widow of a hoarder, which I’m looking to place in my 500 sq ft apt. Shit.

Wait, it gets worse: Before they showed up, I had just cleaned my apartment in anticipation of a girl I had been dating coming over. She didn’t, the Macs did. Hey, who’s a cool guy!

Double-Tongued Dictionary

| Apr. 21, 2008

When I started a new job I had a hard time catching up with the lingo. Luckily, there’s the Double-Tongued Dictionary there to explain how to get my off-deck media to bubble up so I can monetize content across our white-label platform. Think of it as Urban Dictionary after it grows up, gets a job, and sells out.

Click on the blue icon

| Apr. 17, 2008

This is one of the things I hate about Mac OS X: its tediously unimaginative icon color palette.

Feelin’ Blue

How am I supposed to differentiate icons at a glance when they’re all sorta blue-ish, round-ish shiny things? It’s bad enough that blue LEDs abound in consumer electronics. And don’t get me started on the purple & pink fixation of Web 2.0 sites. But Apple needs to mix up their colors, otherwise their icons [get it? ‘iconic’, as in ‘recognizable, identifying symbol?’] won’t be any better than their black-and-white predecessors.

Aw hell, modern life did it better.

Emergency 411 is on Crackle’s wet paint

Blog | Apr. 17, 2008

Two episodes of Emergency 411, “Finding Parking” and “Having a Baby” are finalists in Crackle’s Wet Paint animation contest, and with my cartoons garnering somewhere between 15,000 and 4 views, my chances are anybody’s guess. Both have been featured items, even though they aren’t the most-watched nor the highest rated videos. But you can still change that! I am proud to have two videos in the contest out of 70 entrants, and at least it means better odds than the chances of the CERN supercollider destroying the world.

Speaking of CERN — and the earth suddenly becoming a ball of evaporating strangelets — I think I may throw a party as a last hurrah before the imminent destruction of the world by Swiss high-energy particle physicists — or to celebrate our continued existence as fairly mundane, non-black hole matter.

I don’t know what I would enjoy more, my continued existence or winning an animation contest. I’ll get back to you on that.

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