Friday, March 28, 2003

Enough is Enough: You know, when I sit down to gather material for posts lately it seems all I am doing is documenting all the stupidity I see around me. Yes, there's lots of it, but still, it's getting a little long in the tooth. So I promise not to post about idiots and their inane antics anymore. I need to confine myself to quality material for a while.

Seriously, my posts have started getting wearyingly negative. So that's it - I'm giving the chowderheads a break for a while.

But before I do that, I will treat myself to post this internet petition to get Michael Moore to go on a hunger strike for the causes he believes in. It's slightly misguided since there is nothing Michael Moore believes in more deeply than deep fried twinkies, but still a worthy effort.

OK, that's it. No more stupidity for the time being.

To prove it, I have another book review submitted to slashdot. I'll link it as soon as it appears. Also I have another feature I'm working on - it may take a while, but if I'm not going to take the easy road of stupidity, you're going to have to be patient.

Monday, March 24, 2003

My Baloney Has A First Name: I suppose I should comment on the Oscars, but it's difficult since I didn't watch the show, didn't see any of the films and don't really give a wombat's left gonad about the winners and losers.

However, from the reports in the papers, it is plain to see that Jack Nicholson is the wisest man in Hollywood. He kept his shades on throughout the evening, and considering Michael Moore attempted to pronounce the word 'fictitious' about fourteen times, Jack was the only one in the audience who didn't need to rush to the bathroom to flush the spittle from his eyes.

Saturday, March 22, 2003

The Doggerel of War: I have to apologize again. First, for still having no solid new material. Second, for bringing the war into my posts, which I didn't want to do. And third, (partially because of the first two) I am once again posting about stupidity; in this case stupidity related to the war.
It's Not Like They're Running With Scissors: Miss Kate and Aunt Molly find themselves cut off at the knees because the fraidy-cat race committee for the DC Marathon has cancelled the race because of the war and fears for safety. Look, there are so many targets in DC, so many people everywhere, that an early morning marathon simply doesn't present any exceedingly special target of opportunity. Plus, it's a lot more eyes and lot more cameras on the street so your smart terrorist would avoid it like the plague. Even the incompetents in the Office of the Mayor were "stunned" by the decision. What's worse, the race committee did not offer refunds. Instead they signed everyone up automatically for next year. That's fine for semi-professional runners, but it's little help to amateurs - like Miss Kate and Aunt Molly - who don't intend to devote their entire lives to running marathons, and spent months in training, and had a whole bunch of pledges to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society riding on this. Sheesh. Get a spine, why don't ya?
No Pottys, No Peace: I have no sympathy for protestors of any stripe. Protesters - at least in the last thirty years or so - always seems like a bunch of children acting out; not really concerned with the issues as long as they get somebody's attention. No difference between them and the miscreants who riot after sporting events, in my book. I mean, really, what could be stupider than Puke for Peace:

In a unique form of opposition, some protesters at the Federal Building staged a "vomit in,'' by heaving on the sidewalks and plaza areas in the back and front of the building to show that the war in Iraq made them sick, according to a spokesman.

I could understand if they were trying raises awareness of the heartbreak of Bulimia, but that's a stretch. To answer my own question, I'll tell you what could be stupider: Poop for Peace.

At the Civic Center, a group of demonstrators defecated. Then they left, leaving the mess to be cleaned up by others. Not only disgusting, but this idiocy belittles the proud tradition of civic protest in our national history...

It's really hard to characterize this as free speech. Of course, these types are known for talking out their asses.

The best response, as usual, is satire. Check out this "protester's" sign. You can imagine the actual protesters eyeing this guy, wondering if he's making fun of them or not. Snicker.

Wednesday, March 19, 2003

Slowly Catching On: You may remember my warning about the monumentally stupid reality series Married by America. Well, it seems one Fox affiliate, in Raleigh, NC, took my message to heart and pulled the show.

I take total credit for this; I assume they feared the wrath of my millions of loyal followers. Plus, there's this.

"Married by America" features five singles who, with the help of family and the public, are paired with strangers and, according to Fox promotions, will commit to marriage. Last week, it was revealed that one of the contestants is already married.

I warned you about going retarded because of this show. See what happened to the Fox execs? That could be your future.
One Line Links: Don't blink or they will be gone.
Out Of Spite: I have a lot of sympathy for folks who are struggling for creative success and keeping weblogs. Can't imagine why. Fitting neatly in that category is Forrest, webmaster of TOSM (The Other Spite Meat). In addition to bloggery, Forrest's other occupation is playing bass for Just Another Victim, a band guided by a few less than stringent principles:

1) anything is fair game, if it's fun, we'll try to play it. 2) if you can't play it drunk, you probably can't play it live 3) it probably sounds better faster. and lastly, but not leastly, number 4) if you don't screw up, you're not trying. It should be noted that we try really really hard."

More importantly, TOSM is kind enough to link me up. Stop by for a visit, but consider this your obligatory naughty language warning, kiddies

Saturday, March 15, 2003

Coming Up Empty: I have been a posting slug lately - as usual. Also as usual, I don't know where the time is going. One reason could be that work has been hellaciously busy. Another reason is this weekend has been insidiously warm and beautiful. 60+ degrees!! The snow banks are melting into sidewalk lakes and rivers. Today I was able to get into Ann Arbor and snag a bowl of Be Bim Bob at Steve's Lunch - a place I've mentioned before. Coincidentally, a brief review appeared in a local paper.

So nothing new for now, but as always I have plans. A new book review is coming. And an entertaining feature essay. And, I have a feeling A Pleasure Doing Business With You is crawling ever so slowly closer to reality.

So don't write me off just yet.
Going the Distance: The DC Marathon is coming up in a few days and it's a special one this year because two of the participants will be Miss Kate and her sister Aunt Molly. This dynamic duo took up marathon training to benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and pay tribute to their brother, who was diagnosed with lymphoma last year. They are now in the home stretch of their journey; they've completed their longest training run (20 miles) and the next step is the finale (26.2 miles).

I can't think of a better tribute to a loved one fighting cancer than running a marathon, which is all about effort and perseverance. Beyond that, it is a life affirming endeavor to stretch your ability and endurance to the extreme just for the sake of the challenge, implicitly suffering now to strengthen yourself for the future struggles. It's especially poignant since their brother is a marathoner too.

So this is a small tribute to the two runners. I hope if such a battle ever confronts me I can face it with as much heart.

Wednesday, March 12, 2003

Link Chaos: A whole slew of blither and blather that has collected in my inbox.
  • Ever thought of an exciting and lucrative career in horse dentistry? Turns out it can be depressingly lucrative. The woman is destined for the Stella Awards. (Hat tip: The Legendary KK)

  • One of the folks waiting to stomp all over Saddam has a weblog of his ongoing experiences. I'm surprised you can't get court martialed for referring to a superior officer as a "Dragon Lady".

  • Put on your tin-foil hat and check out Pole Shift Preparation. The end is nigh. Again.

  • Remember that moron at Taco Bell? Life imitates satire.

  • Are you a Google Guru? Check out these google search hacks. Very cool.

  • Two words: Lion. Cut. Syllable count is key.

  • Think you want to be creative. Think again. The average writer makes about $2000 per year from writing (I read that recently). It's better in the music industry, but not by much. Check out the finances of a "hot" new band.

  • Ten cool techno cars. The only one that seems worthwhile to me is the Mercedes braking-by-wire, the rest are fairly useless or just gimmicks.

  • You think you have a headache? What about the poor sheep? This article contains what may be the most perfect quote in history: "My relationship to sheep is a bit ambivalent now. I like them, but not when they come flying through the air."

Saturday, March 08, 2003

Married in Maui: What do I find in my mailbox today but a very elegant looking note from my friends The Always Delightful Chrissy and her longtime beau Bob-o announcing that they up and got themselves hitched in Maui. No advanced warning whatsoever - thereby depriving us of the opportunity to check a box next to a small kitchen appliance on their registry and dance the hokey pokey in unkempt semi-formal attire.

To the newlyweds, I raise my glass and offer this advice (from one who wouldn't know).

To keep a marriage brimming
and fill the loving cup-
When you are wrong, admit it
and when you're right, shut up
Stupid Follow Up: Last time round I nominated the chowderheads who fall for those Nigerian e-mail scams as some of the stupidest people extant. Well it seems the scam perpetrators aren't very far behind them.

...the Everest of scam baiting is to con the conmen and get the fraudsters to part with cold hard cash. Only a few have managed this. One, writing under the moniker Bart Simpson, managed it by telling his Nigerian criminal target that he was being courted by another offer from West Africa. Bart said that this other correspondent had sent him $5 in a greeting card and he would sever his relationship unless the fraudster did the same thing.

BWAHAHAHA! Priceless. You have to click thru on that link and read the email exchange. More intricate and brutal is the solution of the true hacker.

Particularly vindictive anti-spammers will also send "supporting documents" to the fraudsters. When downloaded, these are found to contain not helpful bank details but particularly vicious viruses that cripple the criminal's computers.

One scam baiter managed to get her target to fall for this seven times before he got the message. Read how here. This means he either saw seven expensive PCs reduced to smoking rubble or spent an awful lot of money on repairs. It's hard to feel much sympathy for him.

Am I a bad person for celebrating the pain and hardship of spam scammers? I don't care.
Graphically Speaking: I meant to get a lot of work done last night but I got sidetracked by a combination of my interest in graphic and commercial arts and my intellectual curiosity (such as it is). I spent the evening perusing some interesting sites instead, so consider this your self-indulgence alert.

Graphic Design from the 1920s and 1930s in Travel Ephemera is exactly what it says. This is the kind artistic retro advertising that I would love to have decorating my walls (yes, that makes me weird). Some of my favorites from the airlines section here, here, here, and here.

Next I stumbled across Typophile which is all about type and fonts. A seemingly esoteric topic, but really quite fascinating. I spent a lot of time fretting over the font for this site and got mildly interested in the topic. If you have some time click on the courses for a brief history of typography.

Lastly, I found the site of Edward Tufte (pronounced TUFF-tee), who has been called the Leonardo Da Vinci of data. That is to say he is exceptionally knowledgeable in the visual presentation of quantitative data. For most of us, that means PowerPoint, but there's a bit more to it than that. There's some seriously creative stuff going on in this field. Check out the ET, Writings, Artwork and News section to get a feel for things.

I told you it was self-indulgent.

Tuesday, March 04, 2003

I'm With Stupid: We have a bunch of new entries in the ongoing reality series, Who Wants to be a Brainless Dolt. First we have the folks who displayed a valuable Dali original in a jail and were shocked when it was stolen.

The audacious thief was apparently not only brazen enough to confiscate Dali's sketchy rendering of Christ on the cross from a locked display case in the lobby of the men's jail, but he or she also managed to leave behind a schlocky, B-rate copy that at least three correction officers were puzzled to find upon reporting to work yesterday morning.

Imagine that. How ever could a hardened criminal from Rikers get past a locked display case?

It's a worthy entry, but for relating to the public at large, you can't beat the Captain Obvious senselessness of falling for those Nigerian e-mail scams. The added spice here is that, if you're reasonably active on the web, you get about 8 variations of this each day. How do you pick the one that sounds most real?

It seems the halfwits who fall for this can end up getting kidnapped or killing convenient accessible Nigerians in a violent rage. Kids, remember: Stupidity is not a game - just say no.

But the new leaders in the stupidity contest are the indescribably thick-headed creatures who trekked to Iraq to become human shields for Saddam. They went through hell to get to Iraq because they are convinced that Saddam is really a nice guy and only wants to defend children and small cuddly animals from heartless laser guided missiles. Once they arrived they were stunned to realize they weren't being used as human shields for pre-schools and baby-milk factories, but were being placed around actual military targets.

Suddenly, the slogan "Arms are for hugging" doesn't seem all that comforting.

My question is, How do people like this live to adulthood? Seriously, how do you go about your day-to-day life with the IQ of a hamster? Do you have to have a note pinned to your shirt to remind you to eat and breathe? Check this out:

...a 500 pound donation from a well-wisher in Istanbul was squandered on boxes of Prozac in a misguided attempt to cheer up the war-weary Iraqi civilians.

I am at a loss for words. Obviously, it is simply too easy to live and thrive in the civilized West. This is a real test of Darwinism. The fact that these drooling morons have survived to adulthood seems to fly in the face of natural selection. On the other hand, given the opportunity they have proven themselves willing to go to great lengths to die unnatural deaths and beat an early retreat from the gene pool. I guess time will tell. Either way, for the sake of the species, we must simply hope they have not bred in great numbers.