Tuesday, December 30, 2003

Quotes: Disgusting Country-Wide Frigid

I keep on seeing the phrase "gross national cool" used in reference to Japan.

It's a phrase coined by Douglas McGray in this article in Foreign Policy magazine.

Nippon Goro Goro was nice enough to post a transcript of a speech given by Douglas McGray from a month and a half ago that nicely elucidates McGray's opinion and how the article came about.

Interesting side notes:

McGray's page has a Google Page rank of 1. He's 9th on his own list in a Google search for his name, which seems par for the course for many print-only journalists (I can only think of names from major dailies of the nearest major metropolises, but for them it holds). He's 11th when I search using MSIE, though. Weird.

Check the "Want to know more?" link in the FP article for more reading about this view of nations and culture.

Paris Hilton is in D.C....

...and she demands pizza!

[ listening to MC 900 Foot Jesus, "New Year's Eve" - One Step Ahead of the Spider ]

Monday, December 29, 2003

The other bastards' posts were actually helpful

Hmm. Writer's block.

When I get a mental block, I usually start working on something else that needs to get done and just wend my way tangentially to what I want to get done. But that ties into Frank's idea. The important thing is to start. Even you just plan to through one away.

One of these days I am actually going to read The Mythical Man-Month.

[ Edit Dec. 30, 2003 - yeah, 2nd p. should read "Even if you just" ]


Is that his real name?

"Yes, son, your given name is a renown foreign synthesizer inventor's family name. We thought it sounded cool."

[ listening to Takako Minekawa, "1.666666" - Roomic Cube ]

Wednesday, December 24, 2003

"Monkey Monasticism" Must Mosey

Really, I should change the title. We need some changes around here. I have found the secret to making New-Year's resolutions.

I put up Site Meter. I was dragging my feet because I keep telling myself that this blog is more for me than anything else, but I had to know. And now I am misleading poor people looking for Monkey information. Admittedly, I wouldn't have found MonkeyWatch otherwise, but I've mislead about seven people since this weekend. They were looking for monkey lamps and monkey quotes. Now admittedly, I have a thing or two to say about quotes, but not about monkeys. Other than this one post, I'm misleading these poor people! What's more, the title looked funny when Amritas linked to it. Resolved: find a new blog title.

Resolved: just use "H. Monkey" for my name. It's a foolish name, but not a foolish consistancy. I've been feeling more monkey-ish than monkish of late, anyway.

I went to visit family for Thanksgiving, and realised that when I'm not around family and family friends, I'm much more humorless. Resolved: this blog will house attempts to bring the funny, because I need to lighten up more.

I was reminded again that I feel to introspective in this blog. Frank's advice for writer's block is so focused on the descriptive. CommonBeauty blogs with an eye towards self-improvement, but with a non-first-person perspective. Resolved: this is a good a place as any, so here I will practice less solipsism. Writing about oneself is okay, but everyone has a dead bird story.

The secret is to resolve to do things you're already doing.

Sunday, December 21, 2003

Chart, Rabbi

I knew a Rabbi who had this chart by Charles Joseph Minard in his house.

This was, as I recall, the same Rabbi who was a former engineer at RCA. I question the motives of a man who decided to follow in his dad's footsteps after having a career in an orthogonal field and living for at least six decades. He would even use his father's old speeches from the pulpit. The congregation did not renew his contract.

I still have a cassette somewhere of his father teaching an unnamed erstwhile 12-year-old the prayers for before and after reading from the bible on the sabbath and the repetition of the amidah for the shabbas musaf service. To the Rabbi's credit his, ah, girlfriend gave me Steve Reich's Different Trains/Electric Counterpoint as a bar-mitzvah present. For that I am ever grateful.

The chart linked above is one of the most stunningly informative one-page documents I have ever seen. The legend is hard to read from the site linked above. It charts Napoleon's march to Moscow. The width of the tan section is proportional to the number of troops going to Moscow. The black section is the troops coming back.

My Next Band's Name: Ralph Waldo Emerson and the Little Minds

I am much relieved. All this time I was forgetting "foolish":

Emerson does not explain the difference between foolish and wise consistency.

Indeed, he does not.

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

Is it too late to re-roll?

I noticed Ms. Jane had posted her stats in D&D 3rd edition-style. I couldn't resist.

Name: H. Monkey

Str: 13
Dex: 9
Con: 16
Int: 17
Wis: 7
Cha: 14

Race: Human, tribe Levi
Class: Multi. Was Level 2 Bard, now Level 2 Technomage
Skills: decipher script, disable device, perform (keyboard instruments), soldering, bluff (jargon only)
Feats: software intuition, network search, manual dexterity

I used this site as a reference, but now it's asking me to log in. Odd. And I'm in no rush to get a Microsoft Passport account. Anyway, at the Google cache for the page, it says

While Intelligence represents one's ability to analyze information, Wisdom is more related to being in tune with and aware of one's surroundings. An "absentminded professor" has low Wisdom and high Intelligence.

If you think I got it wrong, send me an email. Please, post your own...

Tuesday, December 16, 2003

Hello, Professor Falken. Would you like to play a game?

Frank's review of WarGames was good. Succinct and accurate, though I didn't find Sheedy's character not liking Broderick's unbelievable.

I always liked that Broderick's character hooked his phone up to the acoustic coupler. My dad had one of those at his work attached to a teletype machine. They used it to check customers' credit reports. Output was either dot-matrix or a rip-off version of an IBM's Selectrics' wheel on paper. No CRT, no LCD status display. LEDs for the connection status and caps lock, and that was about it.

After we had CompuServe at home for about a year or so, I realized I could use the TTY to connect to CS's text-only service. They had the text service up for years after most people had switched to the graphical client and Netscape 2. You'd just hit 'enter' to get the computer's attention instead of initiating the PPP connection, and log in from there. It worked from the TTY, but CompuServe insisted on using ANSI control characters to draw borders and color menu text, so it was fairly unusable.

Imagine if it had worked, though. Dad would have gotten a kick out of it if I could have made it print ASCII porn. Or weather maps.

No, he can't hear what's going on/in the outside world.

Amritas responds to something I wrote. This new-fangled interweb contraption is a marvel. For what it's worth, bogometer is defined here. While you're there, check out one of my favorites, quantum bogodynamics.

I sent the good professor an email last week, but it wasn't until today that I realized no one could contact me back. Well, this address is as good as any. As soon as I figure out where it should go, I'll put a permanent link on the page. I'm worried about clutter. Frankly, I think I did a pretty good job on the current for someone with next to no formal visual arts education and little patience for worrying about cross-browser compatibility.

Friday, December 12, 2003

I don't dispute the facts you outlined, but it's my right to waste your time

Ugh. This blogging nonsense is mildly addictive. I wasn't going to post, and yet here I am...

I was reading Amritas again. He posted his take on the "find a wife for Kucinich" contest web page. While I don't disagree with everything that Kucinich has to say, this contest is very silly. And yet I was dissappointed with AMR's reaction:

Judy [great photo!]: "In Jr. High during the McCarthy
era, I won the name of "Pinko" because I dared to defy
my eighth grade social studies teacher who called me a "communist"
for going to a Paul Robeson concert ..."
[Yay for Stalin!

The more revealing quote would have included where she considered Robeson a "mentor". I think Robeson's undying support for the Soviet Union was amoral and inexcusable, and I don't trust someone who admires him for it. Hooray for gulags indeed.

But just because she went to the concert when she was in High School and then disagreed with her teacher doesn't mean as much, I don't think. I was a very inquisitive 13-year-old, and I might have just gone to see what the hoo-haa was about. I wouldn't have been pro-communist, though, and I should have (though knowing me, I would have just been cowardly and backed down) stood up to a teacher who thought that merely going made me infected with a Pinko disease.

"... [M]y favorite movie is South Park! Ha!
(You sure can tell I was born in Canada.)
[And I sure can
tell you're oblivious to the Rightist currents in South Park.
Oh, and that movie wasn't exactly pro-Canada. -AMR]

Come now, professor. Doesn't making fun of Hawaii have more meaning for you since you live there? You've proven yourself a thinking, analytical man before but you honestly expect me to believe that you missed the point entirely and think the South Park Movie's creators meant their movie to be even the slightest bit anti-Canadian? Please don't make yourself look bad just so you can shoot more fish in this barrel.

For me, the comments of Anne ("I have been living just outside a rural 'New Age' healing community") and Shira ("I have high hopes for being first lady. I am the year of the dog and believe strongly in astrology: the stars say we're meant to be") stand out the most. Why does the American Left always attract these people with malfunctioning bogosity detectors? Is there no equivalent on the Right, or am I just not paying attention?

Slightly apropos: I heard a discussion about Presidential politics on the radio this morning. One of the panelist quoted Will Rogers, saying, "I belong to no organized political party. I am a Democrat." He then went on to call the party "the oldest established floating crap game". Heh.

Knit One Perl, Too

Here's my code that generates the list currently sitting on the right-hand side of this page, taking an export from SharpReader as something.opml:

open FILENM or die;
print "<ul>";
while(defined($line = <FILENM>))
$line =~ s@<outline type="rss" title="([^"]*)" description="([^"]*)" xmlUrl="([^"]*)" htmlUrl="([^"]*)" />@<li><a href=\"$4\" title=\"$2\">$1</a> - <a href=\"$3\" title=\"feed for $1\">feed</a></li>@ and print "${line}\n" and next;

$line =~ s@<outline title="([^"]*)">@<li>$1</li><ul>@ and print "${line}\n" and next;
$line =~ s@</outline>@</ul>@ and print "${line}\n" and next;

I know I should take advantage of $_ instead of using $line. I always forget the semantics, though.

We Were Always Coming Back

I've been really busy lately. I wont have time for more blogging for this week or the next I don't think.

I've been thinking about other quotes and stuff, and I realize that I should hold off on my urge to post until I've actually found the answer (or gotten really, really frustrated after hours of fruitless searching).

Also, I've been thinking of dumping Enetation as the comments thing. I'll still leave old comments up on old posts, but their system has been pretty slow of late. Enetation is great for the price I pay, but if I have to retry a few times to get the comments listing to actually load, it's just not going to cut it. Sure, I could donate some cash, but that wouldn't speed things up now, would it? (Er, actually, it looks like it would. I could spare ten quid...) And please, people, please note that my XML feed link has changed.

I was so sure "We came back. We were always coming back" was a quote from some movie or the like. I guess I was wrong. I wouldn't have guessed it was spoken by Damon Albarn, though.

Okay. That was more than I meant to post, and I really have stuff to get back to doing now, so one last thing before I go: this reviewer needs help. Deltron 3030 is a good album. But it's Revolver good? It's Brian Wilson on his best day good? But it must be because it still holds up even after weeks of listening! Amazing.

Friday, December 05, 2003

If I Start Now, Maybe Nobody Will Think Twice When I Go Bald

Also, Languagehat has inspired me to wear hats more. I have a nice Panama that I rarely use, and I wore last week. It went well with a pale linen shirt (ecru, maybe?) and olive pants. I felt almost sartorially resplendent, which I really haven't been for years if you don't include the same two holidays every year. I have to be careful, though. I was made fun of on Sunday before last for knowing which color mauve was. I didn't give in to that horrid nerdy childish desire to flaunt that I knew the word mauve was invented as the name for the first synthetic dye in the 19th century.

When I Go Forwards, You Go Backwards and Somewhere We Will Meet

More word-picking:

Every time I hear "going forward" used in the sense of "from here on out" or "as the situation progresses", it's just a little bit more rage in my day. I heard it twice in one sentence on the radio news a few weeks ago.

I've been trying to stifle my proscriptivist tendencies. I was conviced reading Language Hat's site when I found, just below a listing of dictionaries he owns, his counterarguments to David Foster Wallace's review of Garner's Modern American Usage. I realize proscriptivism serves little purpose and is probably very annoying to others. Still, I can't be the only one driven nuts by "going forward". It's far worse than "action items".

Now that I think of it, I've only heard Americans use the term. Is it unique to American English business slang?

Aside: I can't hide in my writing that I'm U.S.-ian, I realize. A recent hoopla about changing books for British vs. Amrican audiences taught me that we don't even spell unravelling like the folks on the sceptered isle do. Before looking, I thought the double-L was correct.

Monday, December 01, 2003

Lotteries Are Taxing

Another quote I have to bother a librarian about: "Lotteries are a tax on people who are bad at math." Or perhaps, "...who flunked math."

William Safire again wrote the On Language column in the New York Times this Sunday. I've seen fewer columns of his in the NYT Magazine this year, and I miss his straightforward premise for all his articles. He takes sayings that have shown up in the news and parses them for meaning and etymology. His style is a bit witty without being too clever.

My curiousity about quotes was probably fueled by reading On Language. If only I had access to LexisNexis through work, too.

Anyway, back to the quote:

Some sites attribute the quote to Monique Lloyd. She's a mother who, not approving of the local public schools, has been involved in home-schooling for years. A web search of her name brings up quite a few home-school&emdash;related sites.

The site Basic Quotations has the quote attributed to one Roger Jones. But who's he? A retired information engineer who knows a thing or two about mathematically rigorous logic? An IT consultant in London? I've been looking, and I still don't know.

And again, Bartlett's and other quote books have been no help. Another thing to bother the librarians.