June 30, 2013

"....and me with my duty undischarged..."

June 29, 2013


Q:  What was the smallest town to win the StanleyCup?

A (Wikipedia): The smallest municipality to produce a Stanley Cup champion team is Kenora, Ontario; the town had a population of about 4,000 when the Kenora Thistles captured the Cup in January 1907.


Old School

For people of a certain age, Bonanza was a touchstone, a weekly deep dive into the psyche of the American male.  It was one of the first TV series broadcast in color, and the intro made the most of this exciting new technology.  It was one of the top shows on television throughout the 60s.

Late in the show's run, Dan Blocker ("Hoss") died of a heart attack.  According to TVTropes:
When Dan Blocker unexpectedly died prior to the start of the 1972-1973 season, his character of Hoss Cartwright is never seen again. It is never stated outright, but it is strongly implied that Hoss, too, died ... particularly with Ben's comments in the episode "The Initiation," where he says, "I've already buried one son!" (Ben never explicitly states that Hoss was dead.)
It seems to me that if you were looking for a marker of how the parents of baby boomers processed grief, as compared with their kids a generation later, that would be a very good one.  No "very special" episode.  Bunch of WWII vets watching - yeah, let's not get into that, best move on.

The other thing about Bonanza was, it was a sausagefest, and I found The Big Valley, featuring the young Linda Evans, in living color (cf. Claudia Cardinale), slightly more relevant to my interests:

Don't Pretend You Don't Remember

Glad that's cleared up

Kennedy was not a jelly doughnut, after all.

We disapprove of correct German here at Eisengeiste, but in this case I'm glad the President made the right call.

June 28, 2013

June 26, 2013

Nicely done

Cracked's David Wong explains how the Supreme Court's decision on gay marriage affects you, e.g.,
If You Are a Heterosexual and Do NOT Want to Enter into a Homosexual Marriage: 
You will not be required to marry a gay person. This is a common misunderstanding. This decision actually does not affect you in any way.

This guy has a future

June 24, 2013

Plus ça change...

From A.T. Mahan's The Influence of Sea Power Upon History 1660-1783, 5th edition of 1894:

Again, in 1770, a dispute arose between England and Spain relative to the possession of the Falkland islands. It is not material to state the nature of either claim to what was then but a collection of barren islands, destitute of military as well as of natural advantages. Both England and Spain had had a settlement, on which the national colors were flying; and at the English station a captain in the navy commanded. Before this settlement, called Port Egmont, there suddenly appeared, in June, 1770, a Spanish expedition, fitted out in Buenos Ayres, of five frigates and sixteen hundred soldiers. To such a force the handful of Englishmen could make no serious resistance; so after a few shots, exchanged for the honor of the flag, they capitulated. 
The news of this transaction, which reached England in the following October, showed by its reception how much more serious is an insult than an injury, and how much more bitterly resented. The transfer of Corsica had scarcely occasioned a stir outside the offices of statesmen; the attack on Port Egmont roused the people and Parliament. The minister to Madrid was ordered to demand the immediate restoration of the islands, with a disavowal of the action of the officer who had ordered the attack. Without waiting for a reply, ships were ordered into commission, press-gangs swept the streets, and in a short time a powerful fleet was ready at Spithead to revenge the insult. Spain, relying upon the Bourbon family compact and the support of France, was disposed to stand firm; but the old king, Louis XV., was averse to war, and Choiseul, among whose enemies at court was the last mistress, was dismissed [Pompador dug him, though]. With his fall disappeared the hopes of Spain, which at once complied with the demands of England, reserving, however, the question as to the rights of sovereignty. 

Well played, whomever you are...

The statuette’s slow about-turn has been captured on film by a time-lapse camera, and curator Campbell Price, 29, says he believes there may be a spiritual explanation.

‘I noticed one day that it had turned around,’ he said. ‘I thought it was strange because it is in a case and I am the only one who has a key. 

‘I put it back, but then the next day it had moved again. 


Molotov and Ribbentrop unavailable for comment

June 23, 2013

@NewsPointers on Twitter

Finally, A Source for Satiric and Comedic Headlines on the Internet

June 21, 2013

Gizmo Against the Machine: Redux

June 20, 2013

I thought every illusion of my childhood had already been destroyed



June 19, 2013

Just figured that out, eh?

An Old, Estimable Beer Commercial To Introduce One to The Pacific Northwest.

June 18, 2013

Not to mention airplanes

Retort To Conformist Design Nazis

Because Conformist Design Nazis Suck

June 15, 2013

Wow, really having trouble picking a side here

Kraft explained the incident happened while Sandy Weill and other business execs were in St. Petersburg. “I took out the ring and showed it to [Putin], and he put it on and he goes, ‘I can kill someone with this ring,’ ” Kraft told the crowd at Carnegie Hall’s Medal of Excellence gala at the Waldorf-Astoria.“I put my hand out and he put it in his pocket, and three KGB guys got around him and walked out.”


Trump at bay

Zuker continues to torment the great man...

June 14, 2013

FSL, n.b.

It's been a while since the Laird has held forth on this subject

So as a public service I would like to bring to your attention this chart, which helped clear up some confusion I have long had regarding pencil graphite grading scales:

fig. 1: The scales

The accompanying article is worth a look, too, but I suggest you calibrate your expectations according to this excerpt from the concluding paragraph:
In reality however, there is no specific industry standard for the darkness of the mark to be left within the HB or any other hardness grade scale. Thus, a #2 or HB pencil from one brand will not necessarily leave the same mark as a #2 or HB pencil from another brand. Most pencil manufacturers set their own internal standards for graphite hardness grades and overall quality of the core, some differences are regional.
Another  bombshell follows, but I'll not give away the ending.

NYU is not for sale... HOW much?!

Beckman rejected reports that Chen's departure was related to the university's development of a campus in Shanghai, calling the claims "fanciful and false."


June 13, 2013

I Imagine This is What The Front Does All Day

June 12, 2013


Ode to Kai Tak

"As a pilot it was totally unique, it was the only major airport in the world that required a 45-degree turn below 500 feet to line up with the runway, literally flying between the high-rise buildings passing close to the famous orange and white checkerboard as you made that final turn toward the runway," he says.


Macklemore signs an autograph for a 49ers fan

There are things up with which Jim Harbaugh will not put!

Jim Harbaugh took some time out of his busy schedule to engage in some self-righteous concern trolling vis-a-vis the (insignificant) accusations against Seahawks players (some of which were actually proven).
''Is it a concern? I've definitely noticed it,'' Harbaugh said of the Seahawks. ''You don't know what it is. Even when people say what it is, you don't know that that's what it is. I've heard this thrown out or that, but that's usually the agents or the players themselves saying it's, for example, Adderall. But the NFL doesn't release what it actually is, so you have no idea. You're taking somebody at their word that I don't know if you can take them at their word, understanding the circumstances.''
If I were Pete Carroll, my response would be:

"We'll do our unparsable tutting on the field, Harbaugh!" 

June 11, 2013

Who is George Orwell?

June 10, 2013

A favorite Wesnoth moment - Prince Haldric is asked when the swamp will be cleared again

If you've been waiting for just the right time to waste hours of your life, the latest version can be downloaded here.   The game - which I plugged here in '07 and again in '11 - is again much improved, and still free.

June 09, 2013

Using Metadata to Find Paul Revere


Austin Powers had a point

June 07, 2013

Did you know...

Not a huge fan of Hollywood trivia - there's so damn much of it.  But, do you remember Sister Mary Stigmata in The Blues Brothers?  Perhaps this will refresh your memory...

Now imagine her saying "round tones, round tones."

Kathleen Freeman got around.

June 06, 2013

Middle age arrives like freight train with bad brakes

So I watched Singin' in the Rain this weekend with the family, the way it was meant to be seen, in an old theater, projected using a projector on a big screen.  And I love that movie, just love it, and we were having a great time.  The "Moses Supposes" sequence, with its long continuous takes (from 2:13 to 3:15 and again from 3:15 to 3:45), is as good as I've ever seen two men dance, at least this side of the Nicholas Brothers - just flawless.

There were some downsides to the theater experience, of course - no remote control, so no fast-forwarding through "You Are My Lucky Star", or rewinding to watch Cyd Charisse in "Broadway Melody" over and over...and over...

But I digress.  At home, we usually skip the ending.  I showed it to the guys once, and explained it, and we had a good laugh, but, truth be told, it bugs me.  The men are pigs.  The final scene humiliates two women as publicly as possible, destroys one career, and ensures the other will be, however successful, nothing more than an ornament to the powerful men atop Monumental Pictures.  The movie has many imperfections - maybe that's part of its appeal - but the joyful humiliation of the tragic Lina Lamont strikes me as among the greatest.  Perhaps its a measure of the acting skill of Jean Hagen that I care a whit for Lina.  Others may differ, but I see that character and I see a girl who knows the rules, takes the trouble to read her contract, and makes damn sure she has a good lawyer.  Sure she's a prima donna - what bankable romantic female lead isn't? - but after all the success she's had with the studio, the way they wreck her life is appalling.  So the ending always struck me as gratuitous, and I usually skip it.

Which, I suppose, is why I have overlooked this bit of dialogue:
R.F.:  She's got a five-year contract with me.  Get over to that mike.
Don:  You heard him, Kathy. Now do it!
Kathy:  l'll do it, Don.  But l never want to see you again. . .

Kathy Selden has a five year contract with Monumental Pictures?

When did that happen?  She's not popping out of cakes at the Coconut Grove anymore?  She is signed talent for the studio?

I'm sorry, what's the problem then?

The studio has just now learned that its biggest-grossing act, Lockwood and Lamont, can go forward, right into the talkie era.  Kathy has just learned that, thanks to her voice talent, her beloved Don Lockwood can continue to be a star of the screen.  Dancing Cavalier 2, Dancing Cavalier 3, and Too Dancy Too Cavaliery are sure to follow in quick succession, making a fortune for everyone involved.

And now Kathy's having second thoughts?

Ok, I'm a middle-aged man, but when signed talent is backing away from sure-win projects, someone needs a talking to.  Maybe several people.  If I'm R.F., I'm calling a meeting Monday, and setting everybody straight.

And don't tell me it will ruin Kathy's career...no one knows that.  Don Lockwood might think so, but he's not objective, and in any case, however hot, and cute, and perky, and sweet, and hot (did I mention hot?)...what was I saying?  Oh yes, however cute Kathy is, she can't play the Lamont roles.  She's not busty enough, or haughty enough, or mean enough to be a Hollywood bombshell.  She's Gidget, not Marie Antoinette.

So let Lina be Lina!  Let Lockwood and Lamont live!

Explain it nicely to Kathy, and if she doesn't like it, bring in the lawyers.

And the Kleenex

But, sorry, a deal's a deal.

The Best of Today's Urgent Headlines Today: Spring 2005

Israel "Must Respond Swiftly" to Casserole

Suicidal Elephant Tramples Himself

Candyless Man Partly Assuaged by Lozenge

Lemur Unswayed 

Giant Floating Brain From Nebular 7 Embarassed, Injured After Slipping on a Banana and Tumbling Down Stairs, Finally Rolling to a Wobbly Stop Seven Blocks Later in Front of a Tacoma IHOP

Large Hadron Super Collider Condemned By Organization for the Protection of Large Hadrons
Dentist Group: Molassses Promotes Tooth Delay

University of Michigan Reports Behavior of Psychology Students Dangerously Over-Studied

View of Young Woman's Impressive Decolletage Ruined by Inexpensive Christian Jewelry

University of Robots Robot Scientists Robot Sociology Report Reports Robot Nightmates of Ctrl-Alt-Delete More Common Than Once Computed

Gen. Augusto Pinochet Receives Coupon for Free 1-Topping Pizza With Purchase of A Pizza of Equal or Lesser Value

Adorable Kittens Suddenly, Horrifically Turn Back on Longstanding Vole Friendship

Rumsfeld Insists That RC Cola Is the Best

Report: Bush was Bitten By Strong, Vicious Dollar as A Child

Girlfriend Reports '87 Corolla Wagon "Mildly Improved" By Sheepskin Seatcover, Not "Pimped"


Pro-Life Shootings Up


Micheal Jackson Trial To Go Forward While Appearing to Move Backward


Rumsfeld Insists Paul McCartney Was Best with "Wings"

Fading Seattle Rock Star Pays Expert to Keep Bass Meticulously in Tune


Noble Fir Appalled by Proximity to Common Pine

MBA Pteryadactyls launch "DyingMeat.Com"

Lemming Psychiatrist Sees Plunge in Business

Rumsfeld Warns Iraqis that Star Wars II, Attack of the Clones Will "Undoubtedly Be The Greatest Movie Ever Screened"

Bee Union Busted; Workers Will Return Immediately to Ceaseless Buzzing

Adorable Kittens Mesmerized By Flossing

OPINION: How Can any Self-Respecting Video Store Call 6 Beta Copies of Ass Pilots IV an Adult Section? 

Owl Emits Fowl Odor

Chaos as Giant Hershey's Kiss Hot Air Balloon Deflates on Top of Dick Cheney

Papal Vestament Makers Expect Robust 4th Quarter

As a Child Mourns, City Leaders Reflect on Decison to Locate Doggy Day Care Next to Unscrupulous Rendering Plant


Accident-Prone Denver Boy Inconsequentially Upsets Large Display of Bags of Marshmellows

LATEST FINDING: Endangered Species Really Love Living Endangerously

University of Michigan Study: America Also Losing Popularity in America

Primitive Hill People Install Lucrative Ski Lift


Lovable Curmudgeon Opposes Aspartame and Kiwi-Lime-Mango Splash in City Water Supply

Roger Ebert: "Vietnam II" Not As Good as Original "Vietnam"

World's Frailest Man Fractures Eyelash

Mall Security Guard Thrilled to Report Incident

Concerned Bush Vows to Defeat Klingons

OPINION: These Outrageous Fuel Prices Are Cutting Into an Average Gas Huffer's Already Limited Budget

Impolite Volcano Interupts

Stock Broker's Wife Collapses on Disappointing Earnings Report

Brain Rapidly Filling With Somewhat Incorrect Facts

Rumseld Insists "Happy Days" Improved Significantly After Departure of


Drunk, Smoking, Obese White Lab Rats Turning Up in Nation's Sports Bars
Man Reconciles Self to Wife's Enormous New Breasts


Opinion: Can't We All Agree To Disagree About Who Gave Leprosy to Whom?

Rumsfeld Insists Bob Saget Added Much To America's Funniest Home Videos With Falsetto Witticisms

Angry Chinese Demonstrators Demand Apology From Belgian Embassy for Appalling War-Time Confectionaries

U.S. Postal Service Orders 50 Cent to Increase Himself to 54 Cent as of June 30th

Courageous Illinois Teen Breaks "The Dweeb Barrier"

Coming Up on Headlines: Why Your Feeble, Desperate Clawing at Meaningful Experience is About to Be Professionally Discredited

June 05, 2013

Best of Today's Urgent Headlines Today, Fall 2004

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Elementary School Contemporary Art Project
Recontextualizes Unpopular 3rd Grader

Chocolate Syrup Tanker Strikes Delicious Uncharted Ice Cream Reef


Snowy but Kinky Himalayan Village Boasts Abominatrix

Beautiful But Deadly Friday's Waitress Infiltrates Appleby's

Billions of Gallons of Dried Paint Worldwide Await Sanding 

Today's Alarming Headlines Weather Forecast: Magma-y

 Bong-Toting Hippie Mugged By Gang of 3-Toed Amazon Sloths: "It all Happened So Fast."

Adorable Kittens Take Down Ferocious Water Buffalo In Their Dreams


Giant Floating Brain From Nebular 7 Talked into Unnecessary New Car Undercoating 

Americans Extremely Divided on Whether America is Extremely Divided 

Proud New Ring Tone Owner is Beaten to Death at Ballet


Dr. Phil: U.S. Becoming Hated Deliberately To Avoid The Responsibilities of Love

COMING UP ON HEADLINES: How You Can Personally Stop Global Warming, And Why the Mink Oil Lobby Won't Tell You


Superman Pre-Approved 

Manageable Goals Revolutionaries Fill in Karl Rove's Email on Several Gay Porn Sites

Holiday Argument Not So Much Settled as Drowned with Pie

Ballet Dancers Expresses Remorse for Death of Country Star Toby Keith

Adorable Kittens To Nestle on Labrador

Category 4 Allegory Sweeps Over Holland

Study: Radioactive Stream Pollution Rapidly Evolving Muskrats in Music Industry Executives


Adorable Kittens Carefully Investigate Bathtub

Coming Up on Headlines: That Fed-Ex From Karachi - Is Pakistan Exporting Atomic Weapons Technology to You?

Disquiet Waxes as Turned-Off Laptop Just Sits There, Showing No Evidence of Weeks of Hard Work



Can of Okra Ignored for Months 

Giant Floating Brain From Nebular-7 Resolves to Lose That Unsightly Cellulite that Tends to Build Up Around the Cerebellum

Doctors Drain Fluids From Injured Pirate - Get Rum Punch 
New Media Artist Pulls Video Installation Out of Ass

Larry the Assertive Lightbulb Refuses To Be Screwed 

No Reports of Injuries as Adorable Kittens Fall Asleep Off Bookcase into Large Soft Pile of Pillows Impressed Judge Agrees Quantum Physicist May or May Not Have Exceeded Time on Parking Meter

Mike Tyson Signs $4000 Deal to Beat the Shit Out of a Chicken

Mountain Top Removal Mining Touted By Coal Industry as Effective Solution to Problem of Excess Numbers of Unsightly Mountain Tops

  Evil Business Manager Proposes Office Final Solutions

 Biotech Futurists Describe Bright Future for Genetically Engineered Futurists

Comedian To Make Observation

GOP Historian Claims Bush is Blithering Genius

Iowa Housewife Stumped by Tomatilla 

Communion Accident Turns Wafers Into Zeus


Saudi Scientist Nearly Discovers Clitoris

OPEC: Oil Being Retooled for Upscale Market

Impressed Judge Agrees Quantum Physicist May or May Not Have Exceeded Time on Parking Meter

Scientists Hope Decoding of Chicken Genome Will Lead to Cure for Lime Marinade

Seahawks Receiver Drops Bus Pass

Balloonhead Economist Expects Deflation

Feeling Too Cheerful? Discuss the Future With A Drunk Biologist

Tucker Carlson Successfully Baited By 7 Year Old Girl at Chuck E. Cheese Mock UN

Private Detective Buddy Gets a Load of Those Gams 

New Pill Surpresses Brain's Tendency to Reject Expensive Prescription Medication

A Movie is Released In Which Attractive People Experience Problems with Both Zombies and Aliens 

 College Paper By President Bush Surfaces; TA's Notes Suggest Madagascar is Pretty Obviously Not in Lake Michigan


Manageable Goals Revolutionaries Fling Stale Halloween 3 Musketeeers Bar at Pickup with Bush Sticker

Aunt Esmerelda Shoots Son in Law Such a Look

Profitable Tire Installation Company Cheerfully Installs Tire

Donald Rumsfeld Continues to Insist that 'Star Wars: The Phantom Menace' Is Clearly The Best of the Entire 'Star Wars' Series

Zombie Sinatra Smacks Around Some Ghost Punk Who Thinks He's Somebody's Ghost

Asian Outrage Flu May Piss Off Millions
Adorable Kittens Angry About New Non-Kitten Specific Cat Food 

Giant Sea Lozenge Terrorizes Esophagus Islands

Study: Millions of Quarters Are Lost in so-called "M & M" Gumball Machines Which Actually Dispense an Inferior, Somewhat Chalky Brand of Coated Chocolate

Anna Nicole Smith Awarded Medal of Questionable Use of Freedom

Rumsfeld Lauds "Incredible Progress" in Iraq, Averaged Over Epoch Since Dawn of Agriculture in Euphrates Valley 9000 Years Ago

The Only Video with 300 Million Views in Which I've Been at Almost Every Location

That of course would be Macklemore & Ryan Lewis and the now world famous NSFW tour of Seattle thrift stores. 

ADDED: How could I forget?  Another Macklemore & Ryan Louis hit with the brig Lady Washington, a Dehavilland Beaver, the Space Needle, and shout out to Sir Mix-a-Lot, the concept of humility, and Malemutes.  .

June 03, 2013

Hand me that block of swiss cheese, will you?

Never mind, it's the Fourth Amendment.  My mistake.

June 02, 2013

Kryptonite for grammar nazis

This book, which will cost you $0.02 on Amazon at the moment, thanks to a motivated seller or two, solves most usage problems instantly.  Copperud compares views on usage from Fowler's and various dictionaries, and often adds additional quotations and citations of his own.  The section on "who" vs. "whom" is priceless:  it runs two pages of small type, all of it indispensable, including this choice bit:
These sentences illustrate the commonest "misuse" of whom.  Yet when the critics of such errors must indict the translators of the Bible, together with Keats and Shakespeare, as having known no better, their preachments take on a hollow ring...  The consensus is that either "who" or "whom" is acceptable in these constructions.

We will not see its like again, at least not from the estimable Mr. Copperud, who, alas, passed away in 1991.

Reed College: Atheism, Communism, Free Love

Reed College's unofficial logo.  I should point out that this is a joke that dates from the 1920s, by which Reed's reputation was firmly established.  I'm thinking of putting on my laptop for the benefit of all the shaved-sideburn Methodists at Seattle Pacific University.

I should add that it is a bit misleading.  Marxism is not really communism per se, and there were a lot of agnostics. As for Free Love, it distinctly lacked the full measure of what that might imply. 

Pullum Vs. The Persnicketeers

If you swear by Strunk and White, don't. Geoff Pullum, one of the authors of the Cambridge Grammar of the English Language, annihilates the bogus rules of English so beloved of grammar persnicketeers, from not ending sentences with prepositions, to not starting sentences with conjunctions, to boldy never splitting infinitives, to insisting on "he or she" as a singular pronoun instead of "they." Presented here as a lecture to UW, in case you were wondering what to do with a Sunday afternoon.

I don't approve of civil unrest...

...but in this case I'll make an exception:

Young women dressed in fake fur were seen chasing doughty nationalist supporters down London's Whitehall as a large number of security forces in iridescent jackets looked on from police lines.


June 01, 2013

Nice work, Obama

A Los Angeles car salesman and electric car advocate is shelling $32,400 out of his retirement savings so he can make a pitch directly to President Obama at a "private, off-the-record" Democratic fundraiser next week.