Sunday, April 29, 2007

Weekend Stuff


  • Magazine Art (soon to be on blogroll) Excerpt: We like art. Art wants to be seen; it does no good if it can't be seen. There's a lot of art that's been hidden away for fifty or a hundred years or more—hidden away not because it's bad art, or because someone tried to suppress it, but just because it was part of something transient. Once that transient thing had its day in our living rooms, it fell from view and the art that it held was lost to us.
  • Click for a timeline of the history of the world by Milo Manara. This one has all the good stuff left in it. (NSFW.)
  • We saw Hot Fuzz last night and we loved it! Make sure to see Shaun of the Dead either shortly before or shortly after so as to be able to make fresh comparisons, of which there are numerous to be made.

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Saturday, April 28, 2007

Enjoying Listening to Halsey's Typhoon

I'm almost done with an audiobook I started several months ago, Halsey's Typhoon by Bob Drury and Tom Clavin. It's a very engaging narrative about Typhoon Cobra, which hit Admiral Halsey's fleet in December, 1944. Lots of attention is given to the three ships that sunk, and also to the Destroyer Escort U.S.S. Tabberer, and its captain, a guy named Henry Plage, who defied orders (and instincts of self-preservation) and picked up dozens and dozens of survivors floating around in the middle of nowhere, usually one at a time amidst turbulent waves that still threatened his ship, potential enemy subs, and other American ships with bigger guns than his that mistook him for a Japanese vessel.

I have a feeling that there's a movie deal floating around here somewhere (no pun intended). They've had some good movies about the Army and Marines during WWII in recent years, but nothing recently that I can think of about the surface Navy, and this story has it all -- nature's fury, ship's captain as hero, ship's captain as villain, administrative screw-ups, survival against all odds, etc. etc. I wouldn't be surprised if a) Tom Hanks has already put some money behind this, and b) he's got one of the pretty boys that can act (Damon, Wahlberg, or Di Caprio) slated to play Plage.
  • Here's the (un?)official homepage of the Tabberer.
  • Here's the Tabberer page from the Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships.
  • I'm starting a Wikipedia page for that ship. It'll be a stub, but it's a start.
  • Speaking of "Plage," I hope there wasn't any "iarism" to go with that in picking the title -- Sounds an awful lot like Halsey's Typhoons, written in 1968 by Adamson and Kosco. (Although, even if it was a little bit borrowed, I think it would still be a plus for the authors and/or owners of the 1968 content... Their book seems to have been out of print for the better part of three decades, and if there is a resurgence of interest in this topic, it might be the chance to bring that book back into print. Thus (even if someone determines that the current title was borrowed a bit too heavily from the original) the original still stands to profit from the similarity.

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Friday, April 27, 2007

Jack Valenti Dies at 85

Well, I see that Jack Valenti, of whom I have been quite critical in the past, has passed away.

I prefer not to speak ill of the recently deceased, so I have marked the passing by adding some categories to his Wikipedia page and starting one for his MPAA ratings board appointee, Joan Graves. (This was the woman shown as a cartoon in This Film Is Not Yet Rated.)

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Monday, April 23, 2007

R.I.P. David Halberstam

This is really too bad...

Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and author David Halberstam was killed in a three-car accident this morning in Menlo Park near the Dumbarton Bridge, the San Mateo County Coroner's Office announced. Halberstam, author of 15 bestsellers, died at the scene after the car in which he was a front-seat passenger was broadsided by another vehicle. The coroner's office said he died of massive internal injuries.

Mr. Halberstam may be best known for the fascinating study of the Vietnam War The Best and the Brightest, and was a fantastic writer who was interested in a wide variety of topics. This was a guy who lived life and lived the life of the mind.

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Saturday, April 21, 2007

Challenge of the Super-Duper Friends

Looks quite clever. I just wish someone other than Republicans would call out the Dems on their bullshit sometimes. Via Metafilter.

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Saturday Items

A few things to mention:
  • I'm watching the PBS series Broadway: The American Musical. It's real good. I see that there is a Spider-Man musical that Julie Taymor and Bono are going to work on.
  • I am disgusted at how stupid some of my fellow human beings are for passing on stories like this. Let me reiterate -- not naïve, STUPID.
  • Here's an attempt to map out the Blogosphere.
  • This lengthy essay examines the Semantic Web and looks for analogies to understand it. Excerpts: We have a great model for the Web. It's the page: text with images. We're all familiar with concepts of the page. It's clear, easy to grasp. I'd postulate we need a similar construct or paradigm or analogue for the Semantic Web. We have a long history with read-only text, whether as official public communication, or as unofficial comment. We also have a long experience (400+ years) of experience of a particular technology's deployment of words and images in a page - whether as an illuminated manuscript, or an early printed text with woodcuts. The one new thing added in the Web to the notion of the page - the thing that makes it a Web page - is the hypertext link. The link is really the only core new concept introduced to the page - and more times than not, that link's job is to links to another page. The translation from one mode of non web-page to the Web page is not a terribly huge leap. The link as a concept is almost what we'd call "intuitive" in its use... ...So, if the analogue for the Web is the page, what is the analogue for the Semantic Web? What is the familiar technology (like the page) plus the "new thing" like the Link upon which we can base a description of the Semantic Web as familiar, plus some (single) new concept to extend the familiar? And why is finding this analogue important? Part of the answer to that question may stem from whom do people in the Semantic Web community wish to attract to be involved as practitioners, innovators, creators, discoverers in this space? If it's the same range of passions and expertise that have brought so much to the Web from the arts, humanities, sciences, business and so on, then this question of model becomes critical.

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More Star Trek Music Videos

I posted some Star Trek mashups a while ago. (The Rammstein one didn't play the whole clip...)

Here's the Spock-centric Rammstein video in its entirety (I guess they're all pretty Spock-centric):

Here's Seasons in the Sun:

Here's Nine Inch Nails:

Jungle Book:

And, STTNG, The Sitcom:

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Pistol-Packin' Mama

Miss America 1944: You go girl!

After confronting a man she said was stealing from her Kentucky farm, Ramey pulled out a gun and shot out a tire on his truck so he couldn't leave, allowing police to arrest him and two others. "He was probably wetting his pants," Ramey said Thursday from her home in Waynesburg, about 140 miles south of Cincinnati.

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Friday, April 20, 2007

Blogging From the Great Outdoors

Seeing if my wireless reaches into the backyard. It does! (Otherwise I'd need to get an extension cordless?)

4-20 Rolls Around Again...

...and marijuana use is still a criminal act in practically every circumstance in this country. Not much change in my thought on this since my post from a year ago today. Now we just need to think of clever double-entendre annual dates for protests in favor of minimal restrictions on immigration, abolishment of tariffs, allowances for gay marriage, and decriminalization of prostitution, and then we'll be getting somewhere.

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Thursday, April 19, 2007

Jukebox Heroes

I was watching something about the history of guitars earlier...

Here's the great Django Reinhardt:

Uploaded by pomesu

Here are Les Paul (The guy who essentially invented everything having to do with rock + roll guitars) and his wife, Mary Ford:

And, Jeff Beck and Carlos Santana:

And while we're at it, here's an hour's worth of Jimi Hendrix at Woodstock, looks like it's from the documentary.

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Yau-Man = Awesome!

I just have to mention that The ♥G♥ and I think that Yau-Man is among the best Survivor players we have ever seen! This guy is so logical, sneaky, and clever (and yet w/o being threatening to the dumber, more testosterone-laden players) that he can work the whole thing to his advantage almost every time. (He's a computer programmer at UC-Berkley.) He and Earl have the maturity and are the team to beat, no doubt.

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#1 on Google

It has come to my attention that this blog is now the #1 Google hit for this phrase. Cool!


Sunday, April 15, 2007

Weekend Items

Several things:

  • The ♥G♥ and I also watched the film The Prestige this morning, and I was fascinated by it. (I kept pausing the DVD every few minutes to share my theories on the story with her.) Mild spoiler warning: If you've ever read Spock Must Die, there are some similar concepts. I want to see about reading the novel by Christopher Priest. They gist of the story was about magicians being psychotically obsessive about hiding their secrets. I was reminded of the contrasting approach that Penn & Teller have used to much success, in which they tell the audience they are flim-flamming them, and then explain how they did it.
  • Does the Internet need an overhaul? Some people at Stanford University (and elsewhere) think so. Excerpt: We believe that the current Internet has significant deficiencies that need to be solved before it can become a unified global communication infrastructure. Further, we believe the Internet's shortcomings will not be resolved by the conventional incremental and 'backward-compatible' style of academic and industrial networking research. The proposed program will focus on unconventional, bold, and long-term research that tries to break the network's ossification. To this end, the research program can be characterized by two research questions: "With what we know today, if we were to start again with a clean slate, how would we design a global communications infrastructure?", and "How should the Internet look in 15 years?" We will measure our success in the long-term: We intend to look back in 15 years time and see significant impact from our program.
  • Happy belated birthday to the institution of the blog.
  • Lots of stuff on the late great Kurt Vonnegut. Where do you begin on his writings? I haven't read all of it, but I've read a lot of it. Maybe start with Slaughterhouse Five, if you have not yet initiated yourself into the Cult of Vonnegut. Or is that my bias because that was my first book of his? Maybe God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater for a more optimistic characterization?
  • I came across some copies of Juxtapoz Magazine this weekend. (I swear, it was before I saw this Boing Boing link -- Some friends of ours have some copies in a basket next to the bidet in their bathroom.) Check 'em out. I like the magazine's overall vibe, and I will be looking at more of their articles in the next few weeks.

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Via The Tocquevillian Magazine, here's a patriotic young lady:

In honor of all military service personnel, this spunky UCLA Phi Beta Kappa graduate put her heart and soul into designing a calendar fundraising project that not only would bring in needed funds to support programs that care for ill and injured Veterans, but would also provide a gift of appreciation for these courageous hospitalized Vets, as well as bring a little bit of “the girl next door” in care package gifts to homesick troops deployed overseas. Her website is The 2007 “Pin-Ups For Vets Calendar” is a saucy 1940’s style “cheesecake” calendar featuring a blonde, redhead, and brunette Gina Elise (who also serves as the program’s “Pin-Up-In-Chief ) in a variety of provocative, but classy, poses surrounded by some classic vintage cars and World War II army vehicles. The calendar has been getting loads of positive coverage in newspapers and on legions of military and civilian websites.

Only thing is, al Qaeda does the same thing:

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Loved Grindhouse!!

We went to see Grindhouse this afternoon. I fucking loved it!

If you haven't heard, the idea is that it recreates the spirit of the old low-budget exploitation movies (the more outrageous the better) that Tarantino and Rodriguez love so much, in the form of a double feature with a bunch of (fake) trailers and stuff. The themes of homages to obscure films, strong female characters, gobs of blood, needles, Texas, Tennessee, and other stuff I haven't yet reflected upon were included, as were references to Red Apple cigarettes and Big Kahuna burgers.

I suppose it's not everyone's cup of tea, but I knew that I wanted to make sure I saw it in one piece, rather than having it broken up in to two pieces, as I have seen some theaters around here start to do.

Can't wait for the full treatment of Machete!

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Wednesday, April 11, 2007


I woke up at 6:00 this morning and there was a freakin' SNOWSTORM outside! Gaaaahh!

  • Rebecca Blood on her reading patterns: I decided it was time to apply a different filter to at least half of the books I read. Not, "Does this sound like an interesting and/or important topic?" but "Does this sound fun to read?" Using the library has helped me in this, allowing me to explore without spending money, and (theoretically) making it easier to just chuck a book if it's not living up to the "fun" standard (though I still have trouble putting down a book without finishing it).
  • I love this! Straight Outta Compton by Nina Gordon. More here.
  • Here are a whole bunch of diagrams of how things are connected, including aspects of history, geography, biblical events, Star Wars, and more. (via Bock's Car.)

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Asshole of the Week Award Goes to...

... New Port Richey, Florida 911 Supervisor Dave Cook!

Excerpt Whole Thing:

New Port Richey, Florida - "9-1-1 what is your emergency?”

The caller on the line says, “My girlfriend... I don't know, she's choking!”

911 operator Jenny Montanino received that call March 24th saying that Nancy McGhee was choking to death inside a Land O'Lakes home.

The operator asks the caller if he can do the Heimlich Maneuver, but he misunderstands and asks if she means to get behind her.

As part of the investigation into the incident by the Pasco Fire Department, Montanino says she asked for assistance for what's called "emergency medical dispatch," because she is not yet certified to do this.

But her supervisor Dave Cook, who in the past has been disciplined for sleeping on duty, said "I am not getting on with a hysterical caller."

The caller begged the operator to get people to the home and she assured him help was coming, but the caller hung up in frustration.

Montanino called him back and eventually Cook got on the line, but the caller was getting more upset:

Cook asks the caller if the woman was alert and the caller replies, "No sir." Cook asks again, and the caller tells him the same thing.

Cook then firmly says, "Listen to me, listen to me." The caller says he can't do Heimlich Maneuver, and Cook responds by saying "Alright, I'm going to give you back to the operator."
The report says Cook dropped the phone receiver onto the desk and said, "See, he's not listening."

And not only was there confusion inside the Pasco 911, but also because emergency units were out of place, it took 11 minutes after the call came before help arrived -- even though there is a fire station 7.6 miles away. And by that time, Nancy McGhee was dead.

The investigation also shows Cook laughingly said after the woman died, ”Another one bites the dust," and "I guess she bit off more than she can chew.”

Cook -- who was found sleeping on the job again the day after the incident -- turned in his resignation for medical reasons. The Pasco Fire Department is continuing an investigation.

The assistant supervisor, Maureen Thomas, is also on leave.

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Sunday, April 08, 2007

Sopranos in Seven Minutes

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Literature Nerd

What Be Your Nerd Type?
Your Result: Literature Nerd

Does sitting by a nice cozy fire, with a cup of hot tea/chocolate, and a book you can read for hours even when your eyes grow red and dry and you look sort of scary sitting there with your insomniac appearance? Then you fit this category perfectly! You love the power of the written word and it's eloquence; and you may like to read/write poetry or novels. You contribute to the smart people of today's society, however you can probably be overly-critical of works.

It's okay. I understand.

Science/Math Nerd
Anime Nerd
Gamer/Computer Nerd
Drama Nerd
Social Nerd
Artistic Nerd
What Be Your Nerd Type?
Quizzes for MySpace

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Friday, April 06, 2007

Good Items for Friday

Like I said, I just got back from another business trip the other day. I feel like going inside of a cave, pulling a rock in front of me, and not coming out for three days.

  • I'm trying to figure out how to do tag clouds. Anyone know any simple code to paste into Blogger? Here's the Wiki page, here's a blog devoted to the subject, here's a tagging tool, and here's a tagline generator.
  • Non-Wikipedia wiki encyclopediae: Conservapedia, Encyclopedia Dramatica, Wookiepedia.
  • Only 46 days left to vote for your favorite Star Wars stamp!
  • New Orson Welles movie! Excerpt: Welles spent at least five years during the 1970s working on "The Other Side of the Wind," which stars John Huston as an aging filmmaker directing what turns out to be his final movie. Huston's character dies in a car crash before he finishes his film, and Welles's story unfolds in flashback after the death of the central character, a device Welles previously employed in "Citizen Kane," considered by many to be the greatest film ever made. Before he died, Welles claimed that the shooting of "The Other Side of the Wind" was almost complete, and the filmmaker is known to have edited between 40 minutes and 50 minutes of the work, excerpts of which have occasionally been screened at Welles retrospectives. But the negatives were entombed in France against Welles's wishes after he accepted funding for the movie from an Iranian financier, Mehdi Bousheri, the brother-in-law of the former Shah. Bousheri invested a reported $1 million in the film during its drawn-out production, but the negatives became trapped in the vault of his Paris-based film company in the legal fallout of the Iranian revolution of 1979. Rumors of embezzlement of funding by a Spanish producer also surround the movie. Welles managed to smuggle a working copy of his film out of Paris, but was denied access to the original negatives for the last 10 years of his life… …"The Other Side of the Wind" was expected to be Welles's most ambitious movie, utilizing innovative shooting and editing techniques new to filmmaking in the early 1970s. Although he denied any autobiographical resonance, it also appears to be Welles's most personal film, with commentators who have read the screenplay suggesting that it contains a series of thinly-veiled caricatures of people who angered the director during his career.

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Stormtrooper Clerks; Every Eminem Song

Back from out of town. Found these quite clever! (I think Daily Motion is what YouTube ought to be.)

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Sunday, April 01, 2007

Good, Prompt Customer Service From MIT Technology Review

I am still getting several hits per week on my post on my sucky TruTech VCR/DVD combo player. Yesterday The ♥G♥ had a bad experience waiting in line at Home Depot that might find its way into the Blogosphere sometime. My friend SSMW has been upset with Maytag recently. And there's always plenty of interesting stuff of this sort over at The Consumerist.

So, let me just point out that the other day when my copy of the April Technology Review came in the mail with some pages scrunched up and torn out, all it took was a quick call to their easily findable 1-800 number, and a nice young lady on the other end of the line (who answered the phone promptly, btw) immediately had a pristine copy mailed to me in a sturdy envelope.

So, props to the TR Customer Service department. I'm sorry I didn't get the name of the person who helped me, but I think your boss should buy pizza for the whole department next Friday.

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