Archive for April, 2005

Friday Quote & Cat Blogging

“He is a small, mean, dangerous criminal masquerading as a sophisticated person of means.”
- Female Perversions

I don’t really remember the context, or much about the film other than that it had Tilda Swinton and Clancy Brown in it, who are always compelling.

The quote just jumped out at me for some reason, not sure why…

Look! Cats!

Cats don’t have hands… Posted by Hello

7 comments April 29th, 2005 at 06:27pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Friday Quote & Cat Blogging

Interzone

I am intrigued by stories about shadowy realms behind the scenes that no-one ever thinks about – possibly because I feel like I work in one. The cabbie waiting area at JFK airport is a surreal international community in microcosm:

During the day and early evening, the lot feels like a crowded schoolyard, with restless, distracted men hovering over card games or swarming around a soccer ball, their shouts drowned out every 90 seconds by the roar of incoming planes. Haitian drivers favor dominoes played on the trunks of their cars, Russians clot around backgammon boards held up by trash bins and Hispanic drivers crouch between vehicles, throwing dice and sometimes wagering their hard-earned dollars.

As the light faded on Tuesday night, an elderly Korean man jogged around the perimeter while groups of drivers wearing turbans power walked up and down a vacant taxi lane quietly reciting sacred Sikh verses. A charmless patch of concrete behind the restrooms sheltered a dozen kneeling men who prayed toward Mecca.

Cool slideshow, too.

3 comments April 29th, 2005 at 12:35am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Coolness,Weirdness

Quote Of The Week

From a follow-up article on the slime mold beetles named after George, Dick, and Rummy:

There are only so many times one can use the species name ‘australis’ or ‘grandis’ before the thought, ‘maybe I should name this one after Joey Ramone’ goes through your head.

No, this does not count as Friday Quote Blogging. Completely separate animal.

1 comment April 29th, 2005 at 12:31am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Quotes

Not Gonna Do It.

Beards are the new black:

Well, perhaps not in the white-collar corridors of corporate America. In fact the full beard – that is, one that stretches from the chin and mustache out to the sideburns – has become a kind of signifier for the glamorously self-employed. It is a favorite of Hollywood actors like Russell Crowe and Matthew McConaughey (who flaunt their whiskers as a kind of too-cool-for-school look when not shooting) and a key part of the brand identity of hot young fashion designers like Rogan Gregory of Edun, Josia Lamberto-Egan of Trovata and Alex Carleton of Rogues Gallery; and of musicians like Chris Robinson of the Black Crowes and Babydaddy of Scissor Sisters.

Among other things, today’s beard is a kind of nostalgic nod to counterculture heroics that peaked – at least in Hollywood – in 1978. That was the Year of the Beard, brandished by Kris Kristofferson as an outlaw trucker in Sam Peckinpah’s “Convoy” and Steve McQueen in his serious-actor turn in “Enemy of the People.”

Stubble is as far as I’m gonna go, I think. Beards would have to go out of style again before I would even consider growing one.

Actually, I’m not even sure I can. I might have to get beard plugs or a beard toupee or something…

1 comment April 28th, 2005 at 07:49pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Uncategorized

Generations

Interesting article about age differences in the New York Times:

Now that I peer in on workplaces for a living, I see that too many allow age to divide them. Workers align themselves like middle schoolers at a dance – the upstarts (or young go-getters, depending on your point of view) on one side, the experienced (or past their prime, ditto) on the other. This explains why I so often hear from employees who feel disposable and unappreciated. It also explains why the Supreme Court recently lowered the threshold for age discrimination claims to 40….

There was a time in the working world when age correlated pretty much exactly with experience and, therefore, seniority. While I do not think things were better then, they certainly were less confusing. You started at a job young, then moved up the ranks until you became either important or obsolete. Then you retired, from the same company where you began.

This is not exactly a revelation, but I found the article intriguing because at 35-going-on-36, I feel like I am in transition from the youthful go-getter category to the seasoned pro category. I had never really given it much thought until a few weeks ago, when I was asked to meet with a couple of internal consultant/efficiency expert types. All of a sudden, I found myself in the role of the Experienced Voice Of Wisdom Who Knows How It Works, trying to rein in the Bright-Eyed Young Hotshots Full Of Wild Ideas. It was a dizzying moment of inversion.

Don’t get me wrong – I still have plenty of wild ideas of my own, and I try not to be a naysaying stick-in-the-mud – but it was still a strange experience to realize that I’m not a young turk anymore. Hell, most of the time I have trouble remembering I’m supposed to be a grown-up.

7 comments April 27th, 2005 at 08:14pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Uncategorized

Dairy For The Grace Of God…

Behold, the power of cheese…

3 comments April 27th, 2005 at 08:12pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Uncategorized

I Should Have Such Problems.

From the NY Daily News:

…asked by his lead lawyer why a $25 million bonus from the company did not appear on his 1999 tax return, Kozlowski said he could not explain why.

“I just was not thinking when I signed my tax return that I had a $25 million loan forgiveness,” Kozlowski said. “Year in and year out at Tyco, my tax returns for the most part had been correct. I didn’t pick up on it.”

Man, I wish I had enough money that $25 million could just… slip my mind.

3 comments April 27th, 2005 at 08:07pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Enron,Wankers

Bitterawesome

Just to remind everyone of what they’ll be missing if the Hubble is allowed to die (Mars, bitches!). Be sure to check out the slide show. Just breathtaking.

5 comments April 26th, 2005 at 06:00pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Coolness,Science,Technology

Appreciation

For the record, I would just like to state that I am very grateful that my name is not Teahen. Or Prettyman.

Or Prettyteahen.

2 comments April 26th, 2005 at 05:34pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Uncategorized

Sunday Softball Blogging


No softball today. Rained out. Posted by Hello

Current stats: 2 games, .556 BA, 3 runs, 4 RBI.

3 comments April 24th, 2005 at 04:51pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Photoblogging,Sports

Incontrovertible Proof Of Geekiness

As of 10:52 PM, my PC has now been up continuously for 40 straight days, running Windows XP.

The downside is, I still haven’t installed my new dual-layer DVD burner because I don’t want to break the streak…

7 comments April 22nd, 2005 at 11:12pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Coolness,Technology

Sports Musings

Okay, it’s almost time for the NFL Draft – somewhat less exciting than usual now that neither New York team has a first round pick – and once again we are treated to that all-important skill-position stat, the time in the 40-yard dash. It’s to wide receivers and defensive backs what radar gun readings are for pitchers, and probably about as reliable an indicator of success.

One of the interesting phenomena about the 40 time is that it seems like almost every year there’s a prospect with a surprisingly slow time, or someone who “plays” faster than his 40 time. This is usually explained away with a variation of “everything’s different when they put on the pads,” which I don’t entirely buy.

Anyway, here’s my thought: 40 yards is a very short distance, so short that a significant portion of it is used up just getting up to full speed. So is the 40 really a true measure of raw speed, or is it more of a hybrid measure of speed + acceleration? What if the guys who play faster really are faster, but take a little bit longer to reach their top gear? There’s a shuttle drill that measures acceleration a little more specifically – I wonder if anyone has ever correlated the results of the two drills, especially for those players with seemingly out-of-whack 40 times.

The other thing I reflect on is defense and speed in baseball. Taking the level of competition into account, I sometimes wonder if the slowest and clumsiest of major league defensive players (i.e., a Mo Vaughn or David Ortiz) would be agile, gazelle-like shortstops or centerfielders if they found themselves in one of our pickup softball games. Or if they’re just lummoxes at any level.

I also wonder just how slow the slowest players are “in real life.” Sure, they’re slow compared to Ichiro, but are they slow compared to me, too?

Any volunteers to time me in the 40?

2 comments April 22nd, 2005 at 09:10pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Favorites,Sports

Friday Quote & Cat Blogging

Once again, I am taking liberties with myself (whoa!) – this week’s quote is in fact an excerpt from the book I am currently reading: Altered Carbon, by Richard Morgan (see Book Meme posting for more information). It’s really not a political book, but it has a quote from an imaginary political book that had some very aptly cynical observations (albeit perhaps a bit… militant for my tastes).

The personal, as everyone’s so fucking fond of saying, is political. So if some idiot politician, some power player, tries to execute policies that harm you or those you care about, take it personally. Get angry. The Machinery of Justice will not serve you here – it is slow and cold, and it is theirs, hardware and soft. Only the little people suffer at the hands of Justice; the creatures of power slide out from under with a wink and a grin…. [call for bloody personal vengeance deleted] And make no mistake about this: being taken seriously, being considered dangerous, marks the difference – the only difference in their eyes – between players and little people. Players they will make deals with. Little people they liquidate. And time and time again they cream your liquidation, your displacement and brutal execution with the ultimate insult that it’s just business, it’s politics, it’s the way of the world, it’s a tough life, and that it’s nothing personal. Well, fuck them. Make it personal.
QUELLCRIST FALCONER
Things I Should Have Learned by Now
Volume II

I wonder if the call waiting will say “Federal Bureau of Investigation”, or just “FBI”…

And here is a subversive, militant cat (as evidenced by Of Arms and Men on the left, and the Risk game above, suggesting dreams of World Conquest):

Dozer has apparently selected Pictionary, a bold move for someone without opposable thumbs. Posted by Hello

6 comments April 22nd, 2005 at 06:36pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Books,Favorites,Friday Quote & Cat Blogging

And Eye Meme, Eye Meme So Far Away… Couldn’t Get Away.



Okay, here they are. I hope y’all are happy. Posted by Hello

Now, where to spread the love?
How about Jeffraham, Phila, and John- er, charley.

It’s all NYMary’s fault.

12 comments April 20th, 2005 at 07:56pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Memes,People,Photoblogging

Sentence Of The Week

Once again, props to the shadowy and mysterious Codename V. for the tip.

From The Sun (UK):

THE DARKNESS frontman was being towed on an inflatable donut by a speed boat when it all went horribly wrong.

That’s just… beautiful. I’m all verklempt.

6 comments April 18th, 2005 at 11:17pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Favorites,Quotes

Don’t Mess With The Not-Quite-Jesus.


“Sir, I’m going to have to ask you to move along.”
“(Suspect is raising his arms in a threatening manner.)”


“Sir? What are you- Oh, this can’t be good.”


“Aw shit. Officer down! Officer d-” Posted by Hello

6 comments April 18th, 2005 at 08:59pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Photoblogging,Pittsburgh

On My iPod… Right Now!

I really, really dig “I Love To Hate You”, by Erasure – also “Hatred”, by The Kinks.

Does this make me a bad person? Does liking “Oh L’Amour” and “Chains of Love” balance it out?

6 comments April 18th, 2005 at 10:27am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Music

Say It Ain’t So!

Alas, the shadowy and mysterious Codename V. has uncovered a painful truth:

Superman is a dick.

So I guess we’re not getting any help from him in 2006.

2 comments April 17th, 2005 at 11:37pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Comics,Favorites,Wankers

Inaugural Sunday Softball Blogging!

Today was Opening Day for our semiweekly softball pickup game, and we opened with a doubleheader. First game, not so hot: 1 for 4, and we got crushed. We reshuffled the teams for the second game, and I went 4-5 with 3 runs and 4 RBI, and we won. Still pretty rusty in the outfield, but I did throw someone out at the plate to end the game. Woohoo!!!

Current stats: 2 games, .556 BA, 3 runs, 4 RBI.


First pitch of the season… as far as you know. Posted by Hello

10 comments April 17th, 2005 at 06:33pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Photoblogging,Softball

Parking Lot Blogging


Man, these icons just get more and more specific every day. This is apparently a parking spot reserved exclusively for handicapped individuals with ghost lovers. Or priapism. Posted by Hello

8 comments April 16th, 2005 at 07:25pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Favorites,Photoblogging,Pittsburgh,Weirdness

Reverse The Polarity Of The Opportunistically Pipelined Flow!

Teh Funny (thanks to the mysterious and shadowy Codename V. for the tip):

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (Reuters) – A bunch of computer-generated gibberish masquerading as an academic paper has been accepted at a scientific conference in a victory for pranksters at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Jeremy Stribling said on Thursday that he and two fellow MIT graduate students questioned the standards of some academic conferences, so they wrote a computer program to generate research papers complete with nonsensical text, charts and diagrams.

(snip)

To their surprise, one of the papers — “Rooter: A Methodology for the Typical Unification of Access Points and Redundancy” — was accepted for presentation.

(snip)

“Rooter” features such mind-bending gems as: “the model for our heuristic consists of four independent components: simulated annealing, active networks, flexible modalities, and the study of reinforcement learning” and “We implemented our scatter/gather I/O server in Simula-67, augmented with opportunistically pipelined extensions.”

Awesome.

3 comments April 15th, 2005 at 11:05pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Coolness,Science,Technology

Friday Quote & Cat Blogging

This weeks quote is, in fact, a lyric – it’s my blog and I can do what I want.

A lady doesn’t wander all over the room, and blow on some other guy’s dice.

- Frank Sinatra, “Luck Be A Lady”

It was playing on my iPod this afternoon, and I made up my mind to use it today before I even read Wolcott

And, as is the custom…


Dozer’s first… Holiday. La Sexy Eek’s sexy ear in the foreground.Posted by Hello

5 comments April 15th, 2005 at 08:42pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Friday Quote & Cat Blogging

And The Lord Said, Let There Be Strip-Mining…

I am just utterly disgusted by the latest anti-filibuster posturing:

As the Senate heads toward a showdown over the rules governing judicial confirmations, Senator Bill Frist, the majority leader, has agreed to join a handful of prominent Christian conservatives in a telecast portraying Democrats as “against people of faith” for blocking President Bush’s nominees.

(snip)

But Mr. Perkins stood by the characterization of Democrats as hostile to faith. “What they have done is, they have targeted people for reasons of their faith or moral position,” he said, referring to Democratic criticisms of nominees over their views of cases about abortion rights or public religious expressions.

My God, how I loathe these people. What’s especially galling is that a lot of the Bush nominees are being blocked because they’re too beholden to corporate interests, not because they’re religious fanatics.

So now it’s anti-Christian to not want corporations to run amok? Now there’s a side of Jesus that really was not adequately captured in the New Testament…

1 comment April 15th, 2005 at 08:10pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Democrats,Judiciary,Politics,Religion,Republicans

Homentum?

This can’t be good…

Democratic National Chairman Howard Dean says his party needs to do more to appeal to voters who have been lost because of unease over “values,” including people who oppose abortion and parents who are dismayed by TV programs they find offensive for their children.

“We need to be a national party, we need a national message, and we need to understand why people in dire economic straits – people who certainly aren’t being helped by Republican policies – why they vote for George Bush,” he said. “We need to respect voters in red states who want to vote for us, but we make it hard for them by not listening to what they have to say.”

Man, I show hope Ho-Ho knows what he’s doing. From here it looks like the DLC managed to slip something severed under his covers…

1 comment April 15th, 2005 at 08:03pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Choice,Democrats,Politics,Religion,Republicans,Wankers

Thursday Mannequinblogging!

After all, what’s a Thursday without some festive mannequin photos?

I have to say though, that while I’m pretty well used to headless mannequins, putting hats on the stumps where their heads should be is just creepybadwrong.


“Dude. Don’t feel so bad. At least you got a hat.”


“Kick it to me! I’m open! Uh, I think.”


“Somebody say they needed a head?” “Uh, no, that’s okay, I’ll pass…” Posted by Hello

4 comments April 14th, 2005 at 07:47pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Favorites,Photoblogging,Pittsburgh,Weirdness

Stopped Clocks

I know Howard Kurtz and Richard Cohen are pretty much universally reviled in the lefty blogosphere, but they do get it right sometimes; in this case, on the same day!

Howie:

As the Tom DeLay controversy refuses to die–or, I suppose some folks would say, the press refuses to let it die–we’ve been hearing a lot from the Texas congressman about liberal media bias.

Are journalists really “out to get” the House majority leader, as he seems to believe? And is that because they don’t like his conservative views?

I’d suggest that DeLay is simply a big fat target for investigative reporters because he lives close to the edge (if the three House ethics panel admonishments are any indication). In fact, when another Texas congressman was in a House leadership position–a congressman who happened to be a Democrat–he also got pummeled by the press.

He then provides a very comprehensive-looking timeline of two years’ worth of Jim Wright scandal coverage. This is is not earth-shattering, but it’s nice to see someone who so often channels the Republican viewpoint (to put it charitably) say that the Liberal Media Conspiracy claim is total bullshit.

Cohen:

It is my impression — gleaned from reviews — that Malcolm Gladwell’s book “Blink” posits that first impressions often are right on the nose. Nonetheless, for reasons having to do with caution, prudence and a debilitating sense of fair play, I have until now withheld my first — and only — impression of John Bolton, probably destined to be the next U.S. ambassador to the United Nations: He’s nuts.

(snip)

I have never seen such a performance by an American diplomat. He was dismissive. He was angry. He clearly thought the questioners had no right, no standing, no justification and no earthly reason to question the United States of America. The Bush administration had said that Iraq was lousy with WMD and Iraq therefore was lousy with WMD. Just you wait.

This kind of ferocious certainty is commendable in pit bulls and other fighting animals, but it is something of a problem in a diplomat.

(snip)

… once an ambassador is instructed as to a policy or personnel issue, it is up to him or her to implement it. That means constructing the argument, persuading opponents, flattering friends. It means, in short, diplomacy.

(snip)

Why the Bush administration would want such a person at the United Nations is beyond me. As always, the administration is entitled to great leeway when it comes to presidential appointments. If it wants a neocon, fine. If it wants a hard-liner, fine. If it wants a U.N.-trasher, it can have that, too. But it should not have someone who will be ineffectual in implementing its own policies — who, if he is himself, will alienate other delegates and further isolate the United States.

On the plus side, I’m looking forward to the futile attempts at damage control every time Bolton shoots his mouth off or forgets that the ambassador from Togo or Nepal is not one of his buddies’ employee. But this is who they wanted – apparently they believe that a living, breathing fuck-you to the UN than someone who can eloquently advocate and cajole. We’ll see how that all works out for them.

April 14th, 2005 at 06:45pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Corruption/Cronyism,Media,Politics,Republicans,Wankers

Bobo’s World (or Brer Bush’s)

Mom accused of selling sex with daughter, trading another for car.

OKEECHOBEE — A mother is under arrest, accused of selling a 12-year-old daughter into prostitution and trading a 14-year-old daughter for a car.

(snip)

The youngest girl and her mother were living out of their car, and the prostitution was for food and an occasional shower at the men’s homes, according to a report by Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office Detective K.J. Ammons.

The youngest daughter is three months pregnant, the report said, and the girl was 11 when her mother first forced her to have sex with a man. She charged $20 for the sex.

The older daughter refused to be used as a prostitute and was sold for a car, deputies contend.

“She was sold to a man for a Mercury Cougar,” Ammons said. “But he never gave the mother the vehicle.”

Ammons said the car has an estimated value of $500 to $1,000….

6 comments April 13th, 2005 at 07:09pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Uncategorized

The Sound Of One Head Exploding

From the AP:

To House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, the Republican Party’s ”Contract With America” ranks right up there with the Magna Carta, Declaration of Independence and Bill of Rights among the ”great documents of freedom.”

So says DeLay’s Internet Web site. It describes that 1994 campaign treatise, credited with helping the GOP end four decades of House rule by Democrats, ”a written commitment that presented to the people an agenda for the House of Representatives.”

See for yourself if you don’t believe me. I’ll just be over here, sputtering incoherently…

3 comments April 13th, 2005 at 07:01pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Politics,Republicans,Wankers

Mwahahahaha…

Courtesy of Cornell News Service, via Froomkin:

U.S. President George Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld may not all get a library, airport or highway named after them. But each has a slime-mold beetle named in his honor.

Two former Cornell University entomologists who recently had the job of naming 65 new species of slime-mold beetles named three species that are new to science in the genus Agathidium for members of the U.S. administration. They are A. bushi Miller and Wheeler, A. cheneyi Miller and Wheeler and A. rumsfeldi Miller and Wheeler.

The entomologists also named some of the new species after their wives and a former wife, Pocahontas, Hernan Cortez, the Aztecs, the fictional “Star Wars” villain Darth Vader (“who shares with A. vaderi a broad, shiny, helmetlike head”), Frances Fawcett (their scientific illustrator) and the Greek words for “ugly” and “having prominent teeth” and the Latin word for “strange.”…

The decision to name three slime-mold beetles after Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld, however, didn’t have anything to do with physical features, says Quentin Wheeler, a professor of entomology and of plant biology at Cornell for 24 years until last October, but to pay homage to the U.S. leaders. “We admire these leaders as fellow citizens who have the courage of their convictions and are willing to do the very difficult and unpopular work of living up to principles of freedom and democracy rather than accepting the expedient or popular,” says Wheeler….

Maybe they’re tongue-in-cheek about the homage, but the result is the same. Too perfect.

UPDATE: Makes it all the more fitting if Tom “Bugman” DeLay brings them down…

4 comments April 13th, 2005 at 06:29pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Coolness,Science

Blue Sky Photoblogging

I have always been a complete sucker for a nice deep blue sky, preferably with some nice fluffy white clouds. I would take pictures out the window of airplanes of the beautiful cloudscapes below, and my dad (who is a very accomplished amateur photographer) would scoff – but I always thought the end result was pretty nice, and so did he.

Question: Would a digital camera be considered one of those proscribed electronic devices you can’t operate during landing or takeoff? My camera in high school and college was an old Pentax Spotmatic, and the full extent of its electronicism was a light meter with a plus sign, a minus sign, and a stick, so it’s strange for me to think of a camera as an “electronic device”.

Anyway, some (hopefully) beauty sky shots. I have some more, but these are the best of ‘em.


I was crossing the street, and I just happened to look to my right while on the traffic island…


Could maybe be a touch more blue, but I still dig it. Posted by Hello

1 comment April 13th, 2005 at 12:33am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Photoblogging,Pittsburgh

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