Results tagged “humor” from kwc blog

Misheard: Yellow Ledbetter


Kenji sent me this, probably remembering my incessant playing of "Yellow Ledbetter" both on the stereo and with my guitar. Singing the song, of course, requires that you put on your best Eddie-Vedder-drunken-goat voice and slur your way through.

To simply come up with new lyrics would hardly merit a mention, but to find a photo of little horses on a beach for illustrative purposes, that's creativity.


I'm still chuckling over the John Hodgman Areas of My Expertise talk at Codys SF. Some of you may already be aware that musician Jonathan Coulton accompanies Hodgman for his talks. I've never seen a book talk with an opening theme song and musical accompaniment, but I am now convinced it is a practice that should be adopted by every author. He is also the only author I have seen talk a brandy break (necessary due to the performance nature of his talk) as well as use walkie-talkies to do the Q&A (which works, for a bit).

Hodgman riffed on Benjamin Franklin, hoboes, Big Rock Candy Mountain, and more. If I didn't know better, I would think that Hodgman had been hanging out with metamanda, though I don't think she is nearly as knowledgeable about the Mall of America.

With the help m, who offered his tripod, I managed to shoot much more watchable video this time around.

Update: here's the video for the first half of the talk. After this, Hodgman and Coulton took a brandy break and then did Q&A. I only have a bit of the Q&A, which was hilarious in itself.

This is as much of the Q&A as I could record:

(Half-) White and Nerdy


re-doing this post because the original video got taken down. Apparently they were going to do a 'World Premeire' on AOL, but then the video got leaked so AOL canceled it. Since then, the RIAA asked that the original post to YouTube be taken down, Weird Al uploaded his own official version to YouTube, and now all is back to normal, I guess.



Stephen Colbert coins 'Wikiality' (reality/truth defined by a majority) as his W�rd, edits the George Washington entry to state that, "In conclusion, George Washington did not own slaves," and The Colbert Report entry to call Oregon "Idaho's Portugal." He also calls on his viewers to edit the elephant entry to state that the number of elephants is increasing, which results in the predicted vandalism across Wikipedia.

Now the 'Stephencolbert' user has been blocked for user verification (the edits occurred before the airing of the show), and Slashdot is declaring the prank 'backfired.' But did it backfire? It sounds to me it all went according to plan -- the Wikipedia editors are still debating how to include 'Wikiality' in Wikipedia.

Cheap Sheep


Someone used Amazon's Mechanical Turk service to get 10,000 sheep drawings for $0.02 each. The approximate salary: $0.69/hour. I was wondering when mturk was going to start showing some promise.

The Sheep Market

Colbert's performance


People are still talking about Colbert's White House Correspondents' Dinner performance, debating whether or not it crossed the line, whether or not it was funny, whether or not it was brave, etc... As someone who watches every episode of the Colbert Report, what I found most impressive is that it's Thursday and people are still talking about a comedian's standup routine from last week. I haven't seen that much buzz from something a comedian said since Jon Stewart's appearance on Crossfire. As much as I probably laughed more at Stewart's exchange, I think lines delivered straight to the president's face does out do calling Tucker Carlson a dick.

sorry, littlestar


Someone told me that your bunny wasn't evil enough, so I put lasers on it:

laser bunny

Blogging about work


Back at Comic-Con I had the motto, A fool and his money should be parted swiftly, not slowly and painfully. I'm reminded of this motto because the soda machines here at work suck.

Ignoring the ever-present post-it notes requesting refunds because sodas tend to get stuck halfway down, they have the very annoying problem that they make it difficult for you to pay. On my floor, we have Soda Machine I and Snack Machine. Soda Machine I seems to not want to take my dollar bills. Crumpled or crisp, it doesn't even bother sucking the bill in. Luckily, Snack Machine will and it will even change it into four quarters, which allows me to get enough change to buy a soda... except when it doesn't have enough quarters to make change. That's when I get to visit Soda Machine II downstairs. Soda Machine II likes bills, but it requires exact change because Soda Machine Guy didn't putting any change in its slots. Exact change might be possible if the sodas were sensibly priced, but every item requires quarters plus a single nickel to purchase: $0.80, $1.30, $1.80. I don't have exact change, I have two f'in dollar bills and the machines only make change in quarters, so I have to go to downstairs to Soda Machine II, make change, and then walk back to Soda Machine I and get my drink.

You may wonder why I've started blogging about work all of a sudden. Well, this is a very roundabout way of welcoming Adam's new work blog, where he will be talking about Sharpcast -- hopefully not about their soda machines. Adam and I worked in the same group at PARC back in the day and I look forward to seeing what he has to say on his blog.

Starbucks Roasting Company


Dana Street-1

First we almost lost Keplers, now downtown Mountain View is being taken over by the evil empire!

This entry sponsored by Google Romance: live happily, and contextually, ever after.

Novak, Novak, Novak


I want to be like Novak. Scratch that. I want to be like I want to be like Novak. That way I can get a controversial blog on and use my first post to explain how my love for Red Dawn and Patrick Swayze transcends acting "talent." Then Novak could post about my blog, I could drop in, and hilarity would ensue.

Sorry Novak, I just had to share this with the non-LJ community.

Update: and it just gets sadder more hilarious -- novak's story is now on Wonkette

I scored a 33


Web 2.0 or Star Wars is almost as hard as Serial Killer or Programming Language Inventor. I forget what my serial killer quiz score was, but I got 33/43 on the Web 2.0 quiz -- most of the ones I missed were because I thought they names were so dumb that they had to have been invented by George Lucas. I guess I should have visited the Museum of Modern Betas to study beforehand.

Today's Apple humor


In anticipation of Apple's Feb 28th announcement, I bring you Fair and Balanced humor coverage (one dig at Apple, one dig at Microsoft):

special leak from Engadget's What Would Jobs Do 3: apple parody

Microsoft redesigns iPod packaging (click for video)

Behold the awesome knowledge of Google


Google had me more than a bit disappointed with GMail + Chat and the whole China censorship issue, but Paul@Icarus Diving gives me warm fuzzy Google feelings once more with this screenshot of all the useful knowledge contained within the Google Suggest search box:


No wonder people are trying to wire up their bathrooms with Web terminals -- Google really needs to add "How to use a Japanese toilet" to that list. Try it yourself if you wish to discover what other knowledge may lie within the magical textfield.

via apophenia

4th Law of Robotics

  1. A robot may not harm a human being, or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
  2. A robot must obey the orders given to it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
  3. A robot must protect its own existence, as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.
  4. "A robot must activate its red LED when disregarding the First, Second, or Third Law."

irobots.JPG hal.jpg terminator.jpg cylon.JPG

Sony recently cancelled the Qrio, an action that was attributed to cost-cutting and product division reorganization. Closer observers know that Sony was trying to forestall the robot uprising:


See also: RFC 3514 - The Security Flag in the IPv4 Header

Happy Valentine's Day



credit: Lunaran over at the Something Awful forums

Flying dogs


I can't stop watching Vitalic's "Birds" video featuring flying dogs (download link). If Flying Dogs were real, they'd be even cooler than warty comb jellies. They even have a better soundtrack.

thanks bluemonday and glynnenstein

Blah Blah Blah


Two hours after the end of the Superbowl, ESPN had a graphic up on their frontpage that said:

blah blah blah

They have since corrected it to say:

Final: 21-10

I believe that the original graphic was more correct.

Violence seems to have replaced sex in this year's ads. Either that, or we mostly laughed at the violent ones in reflection of our current zeitgeist. I was partial to the non-violent sheep streaker ad -- I also like the 2003's zebra instant replay version -- but I figure with seven ads Budweiser was bound to score with at least one. Nostalgia also hearkened me to the MacGyver ad. IFILM has a pretty descent Superbowl ad page if you want to relive the ads.

Link roundup


My dorky quote for the day

I had two teachers for algorithms class. One spoke as if conversation were a non-returning recursive function

I'm clearing out the Firefox tabs. BoingBoing appears to have beaten me to posting some of these, oh well




Canon's newest camera will have it all: from bp's/meta's pizza button to the latest in AI sensing/reminder technology for the "Pee Break Now" indicator. But which button calls my mom to tell her to come and pick me up?

I'm waiting for the model with GPS.

credit: bigconig's posting on dpreview

Windows Vista/OS X mashup


Crooked Timber has a funny mashup of the audio from Bill Gates' CES speech with OS X video. To be fair, you could have just as easily substituted in screenshots of Google Desktop, Konfabulator for Windows, etc... and it would still be kinda funny, but you would miss all the stock Apple/Microsoft vitriol in the comments.

(via metamerist)

Ninja is hereditary


My 11-month-old nephew, can't even really speak yet, but he's already practicing his ninja stance :


(click for movie - 1.6MB)

Ninjas learn silence at a later age.

Old links to clear out 2005


Short bits


More Japan recollections coming, but I'm a bit sick from my adventures which is slowing me down. In the meantime:

Question: What do you call two typographers in one room?
Answer: An argument?
(retold on the new MS Font Blog)

Speaking of fonts, here's Vitaly Friedman's list of 20 best license-free fonts

In case you're tired of "As Long as You Love Me" on repeat from the Chinese Backstreet Boys, they have plenty of more adventures: collected videos and Chinese blog.

Frappr is a nice, simple tool for groups. It lets you map out who's where which can be useful for groups that you normally interact with online. My fraternity alumni have just started using it.

From news to t-shirt in 10 seconds flat


Conference naming


The Jap in me finds this amusing. The poster for this conference has "NIPS" in nice big letters.


FYI: The 2005 conference will be held in Vancouver.

Talk: Terry Pratchett


talk at Books Inc in Mountain View

Pratchett opened his talk comparing the security at airports to "evil clowns at the circus." Shoes off, belt on, shoes off, belt off. "Trousers down -- they haven't done that yet -- you know they want to do it." There was a "guy with one leg. They took his shoe away." He found the focus on pocketknives puzzling in a country where we have so many guns.

On heart surgery

Pratchett had heart surgery last year. Afterwords his surgeon said that they had a little "fun and games." Pratchett asked if that was medical speak for "you nearly died." His surgeon responded, "heart surgery is medical speak for you nearly died." Apparently throughout the process Pratchett kept trying to get up saying, "he's got sandwiches." He never managed to get close to the man with sandwiches in his dream, so he chalks it up as a "near sandwich experience." Reflecting on this, he thinks that when you die "it's obviously some distance because they give you something to eat on the way." He doesn't know what type of sandwich it was, but if it was a cheese sandwich with a Branston Pickle he would go with but if it were a cucumber sandwich with the edges cut off he would turn away.

Q: What kind of sandwich would Death and the Death of Rats have?
A: Death would have a curry sandwich and the Death of Rats would have a double gloucester cheese sandwich (see Hard Cheese of Old England)

more notes in the extended

Weirder links


Amazon Recommendations



Comic-Con: Drafting


It was honeyfields who first pioneered the Comic-Con drafting technique, modelling it after the drafting technique used in road cycling. Both techniques attempt to conserve energy while maximizing your pace, but unlike road cycling, where drafting shields riders from the wind, indoors Comic-Con drafting shields riders from other people. The convention floor, especially on Saturday, is so crowded that your efforts to move to your next destination can quickly be brought to a halt by cross-traffic or people stopping to take photos of scantily clad women. A solo effort from aisle 400 to aisle 5000 can leave a rider unable to continue further and wastes valuable time.

Proper Comic-Con drafting technique requires getting in a line, with the person in front moving as quickly through the crowd as possible. If available, a strong poster tube can be held sideways by the lead rider to encourage other people to move aside; the poster tube can also be used as a blunt weapon. The other riders follow in the lead rider's wake -- it's important to stay very close and not let cross-traffic break your line. When the lead rider begins to slow from fatigue, the next rider in line moves to the front and continues the forward charge.

drafting sketch

Link roundup


Local news


I love reading the Palo Alto Daily News. After growing up reading niche papers like the Washington Post that ramble on and on about our federal government, it's comforting to read a paper that focuses on real front-page news, like noisy leafblowers and vandalism in pedestrian tunnels.

My favorite ongoing saga is a $10,000, seven-foot tall egg made out of various computer parts, subtlety symbolizing the role of the Silicon Valley as the birthplace of the computer age (note: actually the second $10,000 egg as the first melted into a pile of glass in a fire -- this, of course, symbolized the dot-com bust). I might be misinterpreting here; they placed the egg in front of Pizza-My-Heart, so it could be representing the innovations that had their genesis over a slice of pizza and a beer.

This area in front of Pizza-My-Heart is a popular hangout for all the Paly kids, and when you stick a $10,000 giant green egg in front of a bunch of high schoolers, you end up with wonderful back-to-back news paragraphs like:

Gabe, a Palo Alto High School junior, was also displeased that the city's money was not direct toward education. "In my (chemistry) class we are using five different textbook editions, and we're supposed to be the rich school," he added.

Other teenagers in the group, who regularly hang out at the plaza, said "Digital DNA" lacks coordination and begs to be rolled down the street, rocked from its base, and subject to other thoughts/acts of violence typically inflicted on seven-foot tall egg sculptures.

Paragraphs like those, along with documentation of typical acts of violence inflicted on seven-foot tall egg sculptures (graffiti, ramming it with shopping carts, etc...), as well as quotes from the artist about how she fears her sculpture won't survive to its official unveiling make the Palo Alto Daily News a refreshing take on the issues confronting my community.

mac world, mac office, iLife


I think I've discovered my mutant superpower. I've long pondered this after we discovered honeyfield's ability, which is the power to speak to anyone, including extreme geeks (artisty/gamer/programmer), for extended periods of time; hers is a very useful power to have at Comic-Con.

My power, depending on your allegiances, either qualifies me as a superhero or supervillain. Without saying what my power is specifically, I will present evidence rendered in crude infovis.

MacWorld (data you have provided in comments, as well as macs at work not in my immediate vicinity):


Mac Office ('k' = me):


iLife (Macs that have had direct, frequent contact with me [metamanda, honeyfields, d, parakkum, ln m, pqbon]):


I think I'll make frequent trips to the Apple Store to see if I can focus my powers...

On Being


A discussion on thinking in your native language vs. abstract concepts somehow segued into a discussion of Heidegger (or, more specifically, his abuse of the term dasein/being). Apparently, even to a German/linguist and her philosopher husband, H-dog is still unintelligible. We did make an important discovery, though: after discussing how it was important in German academia to be completely unintelligible in your writings in order to garner respect, my coworker Susanne stumbled upon the key to German intellectual stardom:

susanne: mein dasein muss nicht immer hier sein sondern kann auch unabh�ngig existieren
me: babelfish: "my existence must separate not always here its can exist also independently"
susanne: about as comprehensible
susanne: see, babelfish is PERFECT for translating heidegger!
me: thumbs up
susanne: in fact, you can become a famous german academic
me: translating heidegger for the masses
susanne: by writing in English and using babelfish to produce obfuscated German :)
susanne: if someone studies long enough, they might have a chance to reverse-engineer babelfish and figure out what you must have meant :)
me: ah, you are much wiser than i
susanne: always assuming you didn't just input gobbledygook to begin with ;-)
me: ah, but then my work would be eternal
susanne: true - people would still study it 2000 years from now :)
susanne: I think we have a plan
susanne: what field do you want to become eternally famous in?
me: ideally i would want to be rich AND famous
me: but i'm not sure how being an unintelligible german intellectual gets me both
susanne: German full profs get paid fairly well
susanne: and more interestingly, they don't have to do any work
susanne: and get a ton of respect
susanne: so you can be a little king or dictator who comes in only a few hours a week or whenever you feel like bossing everyone around
me: hmm, as long as there's Internet access i would be free to keep publishing endlesly
me: i would be prolifically unintelligible
susanne: it's self-perpetuating - you'd produce so much output that by the time someone's decided that one of your pieces is unintelligible and not worth bothering, you have 10 other publications :)
me: i could then just say, "ah, but you haven't read this work which clarifies everything"

CNN just keeps cranking these out


Yesterday's CNN headline of Bush: Better human intelligence needed was fun in the "Haha Bush is stupid" meme, but I still prefer today's more ironic Poll: Nation split on Bush as uniter or divider headline.

Caganer Kitsch


I got to start off my day reading this article that links caganers, Christmas, kitsch, Kundera, and Napa (stumbled upon this link after meta brought up Kundera's definition of kitsch). It might help to read more about caganers, or kitsch for that matter.

The almighty water filter


honeyfields has this PUR water filter on her sink that lets you switch between unfiltered (dirty) water and filtered "PUR" water. If you leave the switch in the normal position you get the unfiltered water pouring out. If you twist the switch, the water gets redirected into this filter and comes out "PUR" out of another spigot.

I got to thinking that if I ever have kids, I would use the filtered faucet to teach them all about morality. When they were really young, I would explain that there's good water and there's bad water, and it takes more work to make good water, but people like good water more and they live longer drinking it; the bad water might taste more interesting, but then you'll end up sick and dying of weird diseases.

When they get a little older and start reading comic books, I'll then use the faucet to explain different models of morality. There's the Lord of the Rings model, where you either flip the switch one way and have good water or flip the switch the other way and have bad water. Then there's the Spiderman model, where you can mix the good water and the bad water by sliding the switch only partway, but the good and bad water come out of separate spigots and don't mix. And finally there's the Wolverine model, where the good and the bad water mix together and come out of one spigot.

When they're even older and are trying to work on their math homework, I'll use it to teach them the difference between discrete and continuous math...

My hypothetical kids will have issues...

I just finished reading Me Talk Pretty One Day and Holidays on Ice while downing caffeine at Cafe Borrone. I had read through Me Talk and decided that I hadn't read enough Sedaris for one day, so I walked over to Kepler's and bought Holidays and Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim, the latter which I am hoping to hold off on when I am in need of a humor fix.

Needless to say, I enjoyed Me Talk Pretty One Day. Meta had read me one of the passages involving Sedaris' sister Amy and it cracked me up. Reading it again it was even more funny, as the build-up to it was hilarious as well. The essays varied between mildly humorous and laugh-out-loud funny, though it seemed that the presence of Amy was concentrated in the latter category.

Holidays on Ice wasn't as good, but it did give me a couple of laughs over my bowl of soup. It was more satirical rather than pseudo-autobiographical, and personally I find his anecdotal stories more humorous and better paced.

I transcribed a couple of passages I liked, but the essays are short enough that you're probably better off picking up a copy and reading them one-by-one as you please.

Book: America


I just finished America: A Citizen's Guide to Democracy Inaction. I like the idea of the book -- a satire of American high school textbooks -- and it definitely provided its worth in entertainment. However, the nature of the satire -- an American high school textbook -- is an extremely rigid framework that makes it difficult to keep the jokes high quality. Every margin has to be filled with joke figures, polls, and "Where you aware" one-liners. The jokes in the text have to keep pace with the brevity and summarizing of textbooks. It is constant humor, rather than great humor.

I won't spoil the jokes in the book, save one, which has probably been told elsewhere anyway:

Discussion Question #1: If "con" is the opposite of "pro," then isn't Congress the opposite of progress?

Tombstones 'R Us


Tiger Hand!


Rock, Paper, Saddam


Obi-wan, I need those TPS reports


I mostly post this for parakkum, collector of all alternate Star Wars versions (though perhaps that means he's already seen this):
- Star Wars Office Space



When I came across the OEDILF, I was astounded. What's is the OEDILF? It's the Oxford English Dictionary in Limerick Form. Granted, they are still on words starting with 'ac', but quality does take time.

I have posted some samples in the extended entry.

Beautiful photo essay


A photo essay like this brings tears to my eyes, tears of laughter that is. Don't click on the link if images of wounded cars offends you:
- Pacific Beach, June 14, 2004

(via kottke)

Bloomsday 100


Of all the Bloomsday articles, I found this spoof article to be the most humorous, in a dorky sort of way:
- The Watley Review: Bloomsday Virus Inflicts James Joyce on Mobile Phone Users

"Ulysses may be the zenith of modernist writing in the novel form, but it's barely recognizable as a novel or as any other kind of writing," said Francis Harrod, of the anti-virus software developer F-Secure. "Of course the same can be said of text messaging; but nonetheless I sincerely doubt America's youth is equal to the task of sudden, unanticipated confrontation with this book. It could be extremely damaging to their minds."

I remain, as always, virus free.

Style Invitational 554: Anagrams


The Style Invitational Week 554 results

Contestants had to take current headlines and rearrange them into creative anagrams (most with the help of Anagram Artist).

Ads for men are trying to sell Viagra, Levitra, Cialis.
I find vitals are larger, also staying more vertical. (Milo Sauer, Fairfax)

"In Other Words: A Book of Irish and American Anagrams": Bob Dylan, age sixty-two, appears in a Victoria's Secret commercial, singing while Adriana Lima slinks around in her undies.
Ridiculous ad attacks women, i.e., insists sex appeal is a rich, incoherent old man and a servile bra-baring girl. Oy, I'm yawning. (Brendan Beary, Great Mills)

I, George Walker Bush, do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States and will, to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.
We, Karl Rove and G.W. Bush, do solemnly swear that we'll faithfully disinfect this here tainted office of President and, to the best of our ability, update the effete Constitution to help us to get elected next time. Yes, sir. (Chris Doyle, Forsyth, Mo.)

The United States Department of Homeland Security
Taut, tense men fondled my chest at the airport. I sued. (Chris Doyle)

The American Association of Retired Persons
Fact: I am seniors, diapers, coronaries, no teeth. (Chris Doyle)

Richard Clarke: "The CIA, FBI, NSA, DoD, and I failed you."
Dick Cheney: "Torrid liar! A fib! CANADA failed us. D'oh!" (Chris Doyle)

Earth Day: April twenty-second.
Hardy planet? We CAN destroy it! (Jesse Frankovich, Lansing, Mich.)

One nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
Or one Bible nation, riddled with injustice for all uninvited gays? (Chris Doyle)

In Baltimore, the Orioles team kicked off their new season; their Opening Day pitcher was Sidney Ponson.
With beefy ace pitcher, inane errors and weak hitting, I see no trips to Disneyland soon, folks. Oh me, I mope. (Brendan Beary)

Tangible gum interfaces


gumMy 1010 bookmarklet is down, so I'll post this here.

In London they've come up with a new "tangible" interface, psychologically similar to the fly in the urinal interface. In order to encourage people to not put their gum under tables, on the ground, etc... posters featuring a grid of "celebrities" are being deployed with the message: "Who deserves your gum?" An astonishing $265M is spent every year in the UK cleaning up gum, which this solution hopes to cut into. Perhaps this could be used to replace Gallup polls.

BBC NEWS | England | London | Celebrities used as gum targets

I read this Wired article, which gets into some of the more unconventional and humorous aspects of the Google filing, including the fact that the value of the offering is set at $2,718,281,828, i.e. $e*109. What dorks :).

You can read the filing yourself if you like.

Style Invitational: 551


I have been waiting for the results of this contest: Have Google translate English text into another language and then back into English.

I never yet met a man that I didn't like. (From Spanish) I never satisfied a man yet with which I did not have pleasure. (Jeff Martin, Gaithersburg)

The U.S. government is composed of three branches: the executive, the legislative and the judicial.
(From French) The government of the United States is composed of three branches: the director, the legislature and the legal one. (Shawn Freeman, Vestavia Hills, Ala.)

I am the worst president elected ever.
(From French) I am the worst president never elected. (Kevin N. Mettinger, Warrenton)

Monica was a woman of loose morals.
(Portuguese) Monica was a flabby moral woman. (Chris Doyle, Forsyth, Mo.)

I'll be working my way back to you, babe, with a burning love inside.
(Portuguese) I will be working my back part to it in the way, dribble, with a burning hot love for inside. (Stephen Dudzik, Olney)

At Ford, quality is Job One.
(German) At Fords quality is job of one. (Andrew Dutton, Egg Harbor Township, N.J.)

A good man is hard to find.
(German) A good man is to be found hard. (Jeremy Eble, Silver Spring)

Herbert wanted to leave bachelorhood with a bang by throwing a stag party.
(French) Herbert wanted to leave the celibacy with a blow by throwing part of male. (Marjorie Bunday, Washington)

Hey, Jude, don't make it bad.
(German) Hey, do not form Jew, it bad. (Jeff Martin)

After an hour of exercise, you will feel stronger.
(French) After one hour of exercise, you will smell yourselves more extremely. (Pat Lark, Arlington)

Evil cute II


mike gives me a good followup to Evil Cute I:
me: looks potentially demented
mhuang: yep
me: i look forward to their work
mhuang: yeah. me too...
me: though i think a tarecthulu might be more interesting
me: given that they never do explain how a bean-bag panda
me: is ever able to move
me: it's an invertebrate practically
me: so cthulu powers could explain it
me: give it red eyes and the ability to float around
mhuang: Lol. You mean like this?
me: man
me: where do you find this stuff?
me: that's unreal

tangent gripe: does iChat have any easy way of copying a log of a chat session? I can copy the text, but that leaves out the person's name, and if I make a logfile of it, only iChat can open it. It seems the only alternative is to make a screenshot, which is not very graceful, and requires image-editing if you want to disguise the screennames... Trillian and AIM on Windows do a good job of this on Windows, and AIM even preserves the text stylization.

Harry Potter


harry with broom
I spotted this statue about the same time another woman did. That woman proceeded to pose next to the statue and have her family snap pictures with her grabbing Harry's... broom... It was either meta or rcp that noted that children were present.

Style Invitational 540-547


As has become tradition for me, I went through the Style Invitational archives for the past two months and picked out contests/entries that amused me. Reading the archives in this manner only emphasizes to me how Chris Doyle, Russell Beland, and Tom Witte need to get a job; jobs that pay in cash, not bumper stickers.

Also, after sneaking his way into the Wired 40, it appears that bp has made it to the pages of the Washington Post as well (see below).

Week 547, in which entries had to pick a brand name that would be inappropriate when used in a different industry

BP is a good name for a gas company but a bad name for a honey company. (Elden Carnahan, Laurel)

Newman's Own is a good name for Paul Newman's brand of condiments, but it would not be a good name for his brand of condoms. (Russell Beland)

Chick-fil-A is a good name for a fast-food outlet but not for O.J. Simpson's next business venture. (Tom Witte)

The Library of Congress is probably too subtle to be a good name for an adult bookstore. (Russell Beland)

Rent-A-Wreck is a good name for a used-car rental company but a bad name for an escort service. (Marleen May, Rockville)

Week 544: Valentine's Day sentiments

The ark is astir on this Valentine's Day.
An animal's missing, I'm sorry to say.
A gerbil, perhaps, but that still needs confirming.
Noah, my sweetie-pooh, why are you squirming?

(Chris Doyle)

From Kermit to Miss Piggy:
My love for you is sugar-cured,
You stop my heart from achin'.
It's even easy being green
When I bring home the bacon.

(Phyllis Reinhard, East Fallowfield, Pa.)

Laura Bush to Jacques Chirac:
The courtly way you kissed my hand,
The media were all agog!
Though, Valentine, I always thought
The lady had to kiss the frog.

(Brendan Beary, Great Mills)

Week 543: the idea is a bit weak -- entries have to guess what the winning entry might be on a February 29, 2032.

Lead news story: Washington (AP) -- "no LOL 2day," sez prez, "bcz bird flu kilt 200k!!!!" (Jeff Brechlin, Potomac Falls)

Week 540: entries have to take a historical event and present it in the Rocky and Bullwinkle "A, or B" pun format.

c. 1200 B.C. : Trojan War: The Last Time I Saw Paris, or Beware of Gifts Bearing Greeks (Chris Doyle, Forsyth, Mo.)

1773: The Boston Tea Party: Of Tea I Fling, or Hurl Grey (Tom Witte, Montgomery Village)

1996: The Clinton-Lewinsky scandal: Secret Service, or Insert Bill Here (David Iscoe, Washington)

2003: U.S. handling of postwar Iraq: Peace-Poor Planning, or Throwing the Baby Out With the Baath Water (Chris Doyle, Forsyth, Mo.)

c. 900 B.C. : The judgment of Solomon: Split Decision, or Halving My Baby (Russell Beland, Springfield)

1066 -- The Norman Conquest: Saxon Violence, or Let Me Run This Bayeux (Brendan Beary, Great Mills)

Protest sign chique


meta and I stopped by the Iraq War anniversary protests today (sadly, San Francisco didn't get a mention in many of the news reports). There were probably a couple thousand people in Dolores Park, but nowhere near the one million estimated in Rome.

Political commentary aside, this was a good opportunity to observe cleverness in sign-making, so I snapped several photos that I may post on Monday. We were too lazy to march with the crowd to the Civic Center, where the actual rally was to take place, so we had to make do with the creativity that could be observed close by.

My favorite sign by far was a man holding a sign that said, "I COULD USE A DATE -- BRING THE TROOPS HOME." That's like the Scrabble triple word score of sign making.

My second favorite was the seemingly ironic, "I HATE CROWDS." The irony was ruined when we saw the back of the sign, which said something like "So get Bush out of office so I can go home." I would have preferred the sign in pure ironic form, but this was a antiwar protest.

meta enjoyed the grammer-dorky, "WHO'S BEEN TERRORIZING WHOm," ('m' squeezed in as an afterthought).

There was also one hot dog vendor showing great business skills. Most likely in preparation for the protest, he had his menu printed up with the header "Dogs of Mass Destruction," with renamed menu items "Nuke Dogs" and "Scud Dogs." This was a smart recognition of his clientele, though meta pointed out that he would do even better had he added tofu dogs to the menu.

Of the pure anti-Bush signs, some slogans I liked were:
* "Re-Defeat Bush"
* "I am the worstest president in American history"

Heidegger Mad-Lib


____ being ___ being being ____ being ____ being ____ being ____ ____ being ___ being ____ being ____ being ____ being ____ ____ being ___ being ____ being ____ being ____ being ____

Style Invitational 541


This week's Style Invitational was one of the funniest I've seen in awhile, IMHO. Entries had to use a title from the Washington Post and make it sensational.

"At a ceremony last night, D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams switched on the newly restored, historic street lights" (Paul Kocak, Syracuse, N.Y.)

"French Fry Fire Damages Kitchen" (Milo Sauer, Fairfax)

"The Baltimore Orioles agreed to terms Sunday night with catcher Javy Lopez on a three-year contract believed to be worth $23 million" (Heather Abelson, New York; Chris Doyle, Forsyth, Mo.)

Packers quarterback Brett Favre played the Monday after his father died. (Jeff Brechlin, Potomac Falls)

Sen. Bill Frist, a physician, tells of performing surgery on an orangutan at the National Zoo. (Robin D. Grove, Chevy Chase)

Kids were given free-admission buttons to the First Night Annapolis festival. (Dave Prevar, Annapolis)

New England 21, New York 17 (Russell Beland, Springfield)

Three landers are scheduled to visit Mars. (Bob Dalton, Arlington)

"Hokies to Face USC in '04 Season Opener" (Brendan Beary, Great Mills)

The Style Invitational 541

Pack rats


I had a friend in college who will one day become this man. Here's one exemplary anecdote:

driving down Comm Ave
Friend: "Stop the car! Stop the car!"
car stops, friend points to large slab of concrete sitting on the curb
Friend: "Do you think we can haul that back to the house?"
Us: "What?!?!"
Friend: "You can't let a good piece of concrete go to waste."
He managed to put some of the junk he collected to good use, like building a shanty town on our roof using discarded tarps, lawn chairs, and mariachi music blaring over the stereo.
Reversing a Tide of Clutter
(via Making Light)

But he's no Major Major Major Major


Style Invitational 530


I pretty much only liked the top two entries from The Style Invitational Week 530, in which the contestants had to take a word, and then add/alter/delete a letter to come up with three variations on the word and an appropriate definition.

Style Invitational 529


Report from Week 529, where submissions are a well-known document or principle rewritten into four-line rhymes:

Style Invitational 523


My favorites from Week 523:

Week 523: "...propose ways to make modern life harder than it needs to be."

Third Runner-Up: It is no longer sufficient to clean up after your dog. By law, you must catch the offending substance before it hits the ground. (Andrea Kelly, Brookeville)

Presume innocence. (John Ashcroft, Washington) (Brendan Beary, Great Mills, Md.)

Drive-on-the-left-side-of-the-road Thursday. (Russell Beland, Springfield)

Adapt to all appliances the "Are you sure?" message that computers demand before deleting something. Microwave a burrito: "Are you sure?" Change the channel: "Are you sure?" (Will Cramer and Julie generics, Herndon)

All pills must be suppositories. (Chuck Smith, Woodbridge)

Bicycle-pedaled flush toilets. (Dan Steinberg, Falls Church)

Diplomacy. (George W. Bush, Washington) (Brendan Beary, Great Mills, Md.)

Adopt California recall rules for all government positions. If you get 500 signatures and a filing fee, you can recall your postman. (Kevin d'Eustachio, Linwood, N.J.)

The Style Invitational (

The past two weeks of Style Invitational were kinda boring, but the one three weeks ago was brilliant. The contest description and my favorites below.

Week 524: "...scramble the words of any book or movie, and come up with a new product. An extraordinary week; great entries, and in great numbers. Good ideas too popular to reward with prizes: Ferris Bueller's Off-Day (a boring movie); Mr. Washington Goes to Smith (the father of our country as a cross-dresser); The Rye in the Catcher (a documentary on alcoholism in sports), and The Wrath of Grapes (various vegetal revenge scenarios)."

Kampf Mein: And other German-Chinese recipes. (Bob Wallace, Reston)

"What? Did Daddy Do You in the War?" A young girl learns of her father's overseas affair when a Korean woman comes looking for him. (Russell Beland, Springfield)

The Red Man with One Shoe: The story of Nikita Khruschchev. (Tom Witte, Gaithersburg)

Powers of Austin Man: International Mystery: How the governor of Texas became president of the United States. (Brian Lochrie and Jennie Reiff, Lake Forest, Calif.)

F.J.K. : In this documentary, disappointed Harry Potter fans complain about the author. (David Vacca, Washington)

The Virtues of Book: Bill Bennett's guide to Vegas gambling. (Chris Doyle, Forsyth, Mo.)

Big Wedding, My Fat Greek!: The behind-the-scenes story of Jackie's ultimatum to Onassis. (Judith Cottrill, New York)

Phantom Wars Episode Menace the One-Star: A brigadier general tries to avoid becoming the scapegoat for America's failure to find the weapons of mass destruction. (David Vacca, Washington)

Bride of the Father: The unauthorized biography of Soon-Yi Previn. (Larry Cynkin, Kensington)

Blue Devil in a Dress: High jinks ensue when the Duke basketball team fields a transvestite power forward. (David Vacca, Washington)

The Style Invitational (

Beanie babies and divorce


Funny e-bay auction sent to a list I'm on by 999:
eBay item 3146042998 (Ends Sep-22-03 08:37:31 PDT) - Collection of 26 Beanie Babies from Ex-Wife

In case the auction listing disappears, I've listed the interesting bits below:

Style Invitational: Week 522


For Week 522, entries had to come up with ideas for flash mobs. This is the only entry I liked:

Sell out a showing of "Gigli." Stand up and walk out after the coming attractions. (Danny Bravman, Potomac)

The Style Invitational (

Style Invitational: Week 521


It's Monday, which means that I'm one day late in posting the latest Style Invitational. This week's entries had it pretty easy, as they were asked to take the first part of a hyphenated word in a newspaper story and combine it with the second half of a different word, and define the new word. Here's my favorites:

Dis-sissippi: What Alabamians do because there's no one else to feel better than. (Chris Doyle, Forsyth, Mo.)

Smack-doleezza: Trash talk done in the name of national security. (Drew Knoblauch, Falls Church)

Mex-ecution: Getting refried in the electric chair. (Chris Doyle, Forsyth, Mo.)

Cre-tinguished: Remarkably accomplished, for an idiot. (Tom Witte, Gaithersburg)

- The Style Invitational Week 521 (

I bent my wookie... er $239M satellite


NOAA-N accident
- Earth Science Missions Anomaly Report: GOES/POES Program/POES Project: 6 Sep 2003 | SpaceRef - Your Space Reference

FYI: the NOAA-N satellite is a weather satellite that will monitor climate conditions (weather, vegetation, drought) for four years. It will be used to receive distress signals from wayward hikers and boaters.

(via Making Light)

This clip (courtesy of Lisa Rein) continues to demonstrate that the Daily Show is the funniest show on TV. Stephen Colbert's commentary is hilarious. Also, be sure to check out this image when you get to "those cuts would come back to haunt us" as the graphic is hard to make out in the video.

Style Invitational 504: Life is Short


This wasn't one of my favorites as I'm not familiar with the "Life is Short" feature, but some of these were funny nevertheless.

Report from Week 504: Life is Short.

My favorites:
Happiness lies somewhere in the middle, between zero and infinity. (Kevin Mellema, Falls Church)

And I reflected on how "Torah" and "Koran" are spelled, realizing that the two religions differ not one bit in the middle, only at the fringes. (Leonard Greenberg, Sterling)

Fatherhood is a man's job.
(Chuck Smith, Woodbridge)

Now the only thing that comes between me and my spouse is a hyphen. (Jean Sorensen, Herndon)

Second Post: Style Invitational CLV


This entry was deserving of a second post (from the backposting archives). My two favorites:

What would a toilet look like if our knees bent in the other direction?

(Gordon Labow, Glenelg)

If you multiply two even numbers you get an even number, and if you multiply an odd and an even, you get an even number. The on

Adam's "Pope Joke"


(approximately as told at Jeff's housewarming)

The Jews and the Catholics are having a debate about religion and decide that they can each send one representative to prove that their side is right. The only rule is that words are not allowed.

They each decide on their representative. The Vatican decides to send their best - the pope - while the Jews pick one of their best rabbis to represent them. As a sign of respect the Jews allow the debate to be held at the local cathedral. The time for the debate comes and the rabbi walks into the cathedral and up to the pope. The pope waves his hand towards the sky. The rabbi responds by slamming his fist into his palm. The pope holds up three fingers. The rabbi responds by holding up his middle finger. The pope then pulls out bread and wine. The rabbi then reaches into a bag and pulls out two fish. At this point the pope holds up his hands and walks away.

After the debate the pope heads back to the Vatican to talk it over with the other cardinals. "Man, those Jews have it all figured out. First I said to him, 'God is everywhere,' and he responded, 'God is right here.' I was taken aback, so I held up three fingers representing the Holy Trinity, and he responded, 'We all worship the same one God.' I didn't know what to do so I showed him bread and wine representing the sacrifice of Jesus, and he responded with two fish, representing that Jesus provides.

The Rabbi headed back to the synagogue to tell the others his version what had happened. "Man, you wouldn't believe those Catholics. The moment I walked in this guy with a weird hat gestures at me 'No Jews Allowed.' I said 'I'm staying right here.' Then he said, 'You have three minutes.' I said, 'fuck you.' Then he pulled out his lunch, so I showed him mine."

Another Bad Idea


For the amusement of my SFM brethren, I've chosen to blog this ancient entry first. My memory fails the finer details, but I came across these quotes that I had written down. The quotes are spread between a meeting we had at Yank-the-check to help broker a deal with 'Another Bad Idea' and a dinner that we had afterwards at Uno's with ABI.

Most of these quotes fall along complete dork humor, but there came a point where J and I just started having fun with them by throwing out terms an seeing what they would respond. As far as we could tell, the only roll of person E in the meeting was to try and translate all acronyms inaccurately.

"K: ...and we worked on triaging the bacdwidth to minimize the download time..."
"E: What?"
"K: Triage the bandwidth"
"E: Oh, so you don't lose ergonomics"

"Them: What about object-oriented..."
"K: (lecture on OOP vs. Procedural)"
"J: Regardless you would have to change the same amount of code"
"Them: Yeah, object models are overrated."

"J: It's a matter of combinatorics."
"Them: What?"
"J: Combinatorics"
"Them: Oh yeah, combinatorials."

"Us: Storage is cheap, processing isn't."
"Them: Yeah, pre-processing."

"East coast office - is that your bedroom?"

"So does Maya run on the Web server?"

"TCL... Tool Control, no ... Command Language" (inside his bag is Ousterhout TCL book with bookmark on first chapter)

"Yeah, like AMD is interested in sizing software"

"MEMs, micro... microelectronics... that's above nano, right?"

"In the future Jay may be the next Einstein"

"E: but Linux is more secure..."
"Us: Actually, BSD is."
"E: But that' security through obscurity."
"Us: No, BSD is open source."
"E: Right, but the Linux community has more eyeballs so it still security through obscurity."

"E: And D---, a guy without any credentials"

"E: So are we ordering dinner?"
"D: For you, nothing above $2."

"D: So what would you be looking for in a consulting deal?"
"K: I usually get an hourly wage."
"D: So what are we talking about?"
"K: For stuff I barely know, I get about $30 an hour, for stuff I'm an expert in, $70. You judge accordingly."
"D: But you're just consulting on your guy's vision."
"K: I think I'm an expert on that."

"No ice cubes in Sweden"

"So what do you think about Corel? I'm taking a beating on their stock."

"Like Bill Gates says, 'Everyone should have one.'"

"Us: MEMs"
"Them: Memes?"
"Us: No, MEMs"

"I met Linux Torvalds at Internet World. Shorts and sandals."

"J: You could put the test results in Matlab and do analysis on the data."
"K: Yeah, that's actually a good idea. You could run linear regressions, or maybe even quadratic regressins on it."
"D: What?"
"E: Oh yeah, totally, statistics."

"K: I want something that's immediately liquidable... stock options don't buy food."
"D:So, do you want food stamps instead?"