Thursday, December 27, 2007

O-H-I-O

I have been a bad blogger recently. Who hasn't? (The good bloggers, I suppose.) I'll continue my absentee ways for a little while, yet. My parents are visiting, and then there's New Year's, then the BCS Championship Game, etc. My point: don't hold your breath, but don't give up on me, either.

In other news: As I am fond of saying, I'm not an Ohio State alumnus, but I bleed scarlet & gray. That said, today I found a website on the OSU AD's website that is dedicated to the best cheer ever: O-H-I-O

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Storefront Houses of Worship

This is a very cool project: Brooklyn Storefront Houses of Worship photo album.

fonk you

found poem

Uzma u r such a bitch
u stink of fish
u need a shave
u need 2 get rid of dat stupid pout!
u need 2 sort out your eyebrows
GO 2 SPECSAVERS!!
Use some vaseline on ur crusty, chapped lips
use coco butter on ur moustache!

fonk you

This is the truth

This struck me as a little gimmicky, but it's interesting & thought-provoking, nonetheless. And being a person who enjoys patterns in and general experimentation with language, it's a pretty cool video even aside from its subject matter. (And if nothing else, the comments seem to indicate that people find it provocative.)

Einstein & good music

This morning, I listened to two lengthy podcasts about Einstein, one exploring his ethics, and one his creativity. The first was a combination of Krista Tippett's (host of American Public Media's program Speaking of Faith) interviews with S. James Gates, Jr. and Thomas Levenson. The second was a speech given by Walter Isaacson in Silicon Valley.

This page gives a good rundown of the particulars of the first podcast, with a number of excellent quotes: Einstein's Ethics. One of my favorites:

The world was promised freedom from fear. But, in fact, fear has increased tremendously since the termination of the war. The world was promised freedom from want, but large parts of the world are faced with starvation while others are living in abundance. As far as we the physicists are concerned, we are no politicians. But we know a few things that the politicians do not know. That there is no escape into easy comfort. There is no distance ahead for proceeding little by little and delaying the necessary changes into an indefinite future. The situation calls for a courageous effort, for a radical change in our whole attitude and the entire political content.
The idea of politicians delaying change into an indefinite future is a concept to which, I imagine, people from every period in history can relate.

You can listen to Isaacson's speech (and, I believe, the Q&A that follows) here: Inside the Mind of Einstein.

On a related note, I discovered something on the Speaking of Faith website: if you search for "musical score", you will be presented with a list of playlists from archived programs, composed of just the music used (in segues and what not). I'm currently listening to the playlist for Einstein and the mind of God. Good stuff. Especially if you want excellent, non-obtrusive music, say, for work (or blogging!).

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Two Things

I hadn't heard of Kim Stanley Robinson before today, but I like what he has to say about technology and what he calls "natural primate actions" in an extremely lengthy (by blog standards, anyway) interview, which I will likely never finish:

People try to do stupid technological replacements for natural primate actions, but it doesn’t quite give them the buzz that they hoped it would. Even though it looks quite magical, the sense of accomplishment is not there. So they do it again, hoping that the activity, like a drug, will somehow satisfy the urge that it’s supposedly meant to satisfy. But it doesn’t. So they do it more and more – and they fall down a rabbit hole, pursuing a destructive and high carbon-burn activity, when they could just go out for a walk, or plant a garden, or sit down at a table with a friend and drink some coffee and talk for an hour. All of these unboosted, straight-forward primate activities are actually intensely satisfying to the totality of the mind-body that we are.
Also, I discovered the blog Making Light today. The most recent post amuses and disturbs me, and it finishes with this clever observation:
We’ve created a culture in which the stupid are consistently triumphant, and the rest of us just keep our heads down.
Does anyone else find that frighteningly accurate?

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The Year in Blogging

As seems to be a common disclaimer amongst those participating—and by that, I mean the two I've noticed so far—I'll point out that I don't usually bother with memes, but I found this an amusing alternative to the next 10 minutes of my job. I first came across this one at Stephen's Lighthouse.

Without further adieu, the first sentence from the first post of each month this year (and for January through May, I'll be using the posts from LaToVP)

January:
my feelings, that's what.

February:
1 LORD, who may dwell in your sanctuary?

March:
(photograph)

then

What spear is this I wield? (link)

April:
Today is small and tired;
the rain, the rain.

or

NaPoWriMo '07 begins today, & I think I've got it in me.

May:
I have decided to ease off the blogging for a while.

June:
Welcome to Mlog, my new(est) blog (which, for future reference, you will be able to find at both matthew.laffertywhistle.com--that one probably by the 15th--and matthewlafferty.blogspot.com).

July:
I've recently become newly amused by del.icio.us (notice the new addition to the sidebar), and not only because I find the URL frightfully clever.

August:
I'm in the minority, here, I realize that; but honestly, apart from having children--which is all manner of awesome--who eventually learn to care for themselves and converse with you, why on earth would you want something else in the house that eats a lot and poops on the floor and will never learn to say, "don't worry, I'll clean up the feces I just deposited on your pillow"?

September:
I've been away for some time; I've been busy.

October:
(video)

then

Although the Lord has given you
bread of privation
and water of oppression,
HE Your Teacher,
will not hide himself from you. (link)

November:
...the utmost possible novelty would be the difference between me and myself a year ago.

December:
I've always said that I'm a minimalist in theory only, because, you know, I really like
stuff.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Friday Link-Fest

(to be a highly irregular feature)

I am officially hooked on StumbleUpon. Here's the proof.

Two music-related discoveries: musicovery and liveplasma. Don't have the old iPod at work today, but Google Operating System had my back with this post about YouTube, which mentions the two sites in question almost as an aside. I've been listening to musicovery's selections (on "discovery" mode) and learning more about the general sensibilities of unfamiliar bands on liveplasma. Let the good times roll. (Oh, and the YouTube visualization feature for discovering new videos is pretty cool, too.)

Common Errors in English (usage). This guy has the exact right attitude, in my humble opinion. And I'm embarrassed to admit I've always said "for all intensive purposes" (blogged it, too, if memory serves). Oh, and you say it was an historic event? Take that!

Mixx, by the way, has me almost completely weaned off Digg. Go figure.

I guess that's all. It's Friday, and I'm going to see three of my best friends tonight. w00t!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Ex-Tumblr, Etc.

Hopped off the Tumblr wagon today. I have no doubt it can be very useful and interesting, but it would have become, for me, (at least) one too many components in my attempts to organize and understand my socialmedia life.

Written in my Google Notebook yesterday:

What are the pieces of my socialmedia world?

Blogger
Wordpress
Twitter
Tumblr
Del.icio.us
Stumbleupon
Facebook

And how do I use/coordinate them all?

Blogger: general(?) blogging. something approaching essays. longer interesting thoughts, with some structure. analysis.
focus: general(?)
Wordpress: literary (Madison Arling) blogging.
focus: literary
Twitter: microblogging. interesting stray thoughts.
focus: thought. right now.
Tumblr: aggregation
focus: bring together content from my other blogs (minus the Blogger). post media (videos, pictures, etc.) that do not necessarily warrant/need fuller accompanying posted material. right now.

Del.icio.us: social bookmarking of sites I may want/need to remember/access (possibly much) later.
focus: ?
Stumbleupon: social bookmarking in a truer sense. developing community of people who are interested in the same sorts of sites I am. (eventually) recommend my own posts.
Facebook: communicate/keep track of people I really do know and who are not near me geographically (for the most part).

It occurs to me that this might all mean the end of Del.icio.us's usefulness to me. I like that I can share the most useful of links to my friends (via Facebook and Blogger), but between Google Bookmarks and Stumbleupon, I just don't know if I see myself continuing with it. Is Del.icio.us-killer a term yet? It might be for me, and soon.

Further: but is it worth it to drop Del.icio.us altogether? I have a number of links there, and the process of transferring them seems at once daunting and not worth the investment of time.

(Emphasis—strikeout—added today)
I decided that the hassle of figuring out how to utilize the aggregational possibilities of Tumblr, on top of figuring out what to do with Tumblr otherwise, just isn't worth it. So scratch that from the list.

The question remains: what do I do about Del.icio.us? It's a fantastic site, but I don't know what use I have for it anymore. Stumbleupon will surely satisfy my desire to discover new & interesting websites right now that I don't necessarily have to care about later. True, Stumbleupon doesn't have the advanced tagging features that make finding the sites later as easy as it could be with Del.icio.us, but when have I actually gone back and found sites I've bookmarked using Del.icio.us anyway? The answer is, I haven't, not really. Besides, Google Bookmarks can more than handle that particular task.

If it will not be unusually helpful in finding interesting sites weeks or months from right now, what is the possible use for Del.icio.us? I can see none. Stumbleupon seems to me a much more intuitive means to discovering new sites, with the added inducement of a like-minded community, and if I want to actually save a site for future use, Google Bookmarks is up to the task.

And what will I do with the bookmarks from Del.icio.us? Perhaps a quick perusal to make sure I'm saving any I might need, but that account's days are numbered.

Note too the question mark after the "focus:" for Blogger. I think I could safely erase that now, but I won't. I am perfectly at peace with shorter posts here that warrant no deep analysis or explanation. Life is not a serious essay without asides, and neither should be this blog. I leave the question mark, though, because I am convinced I will never be sure what exactly I want to blog about, and that's fine. I'm interested in a lot of things, and so should be this blog.

I'm sorry

Found poem

I'm sorry if
I made you mad.
I've got a ring
for two dollars.
Rite me back.
I'm very sorry.
If you don't
have the money,
I'll give you
the ring free.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Tumblr

Hopped on the Tumblr wagon today. As I said in the first (test) post, I'm not sure how I want to/can use it yet, but might prove interesting to find out, right? In the very least, it could prove an interesting combo of my various online presences. Check it out here (not much to see yet, obviously, but give it time.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Madison Arling

Alternate post title: Varjak Paul will likely reappear in the near future, though not where you may think.

I've started a new blog that has been a long time coming. Hopefully, I won't let myself down with this one.

As long as the story of Madison Arling has ripened in my mind, I have managed to actually produce very little of it. Most of today's output is stolen (from this story by H.P. Lovecraft, which manages, in its first paragraph, to touch perfectly on some of the ideas surrounding MA), but it's a start.

Stay tuned.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

What's your ambition?

1 Thessalonians 4:11-12 (New International Version)

Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.
This passage is a harder one than most people would admit. And I don't know about you, but I think I'd be pretty hard pressed to support my family by working with my hands, so I'm going to go ahead and assume there's some room to breathe in that phrase.

The thought of people minding their own business... we do, but we don't. I need more thought on that.

The Application of Word to Thing

Didn't know much about Mike Huckabee until I read this article in GQ. I probably still don't, but it was an interesting read, nonetheless. I liked some of what he said, but I was disturbed by this line:

I’m likely to support the Republican nominee whatever our options are—because anybody on our side is better than anybody on their side.
which basically sums up nicely why I generally can't get interested in politics. It's almost less that the system is a joke than the politicians are, for all intensive purposes, very intelligent 7th graders. Despite my feelings to that effect, I really am thinking about maybe paying attention to what they're all saying as we head into the '08 election. (Don't count on much of it finding its way here, though. I couldn't bear to become yet another irritatingly smug political blog)

This isn't exactly new information, but I was still mildly amused by an article on Time's website about Social Security numbers. Apparently, you don't really have to give it out to everyone on the planet. Who knew?

I don't even know what to say about this next thing. I know nothing at all about this Denis Johnson fellow, except that his book, Tree of Smoke, won the '07 National Book Award, and that I don't plan on reading it. That non-plan, though, is not due entirely to the article on the Atlantic Monthly's website, which, well, lambastes both book and author (and I mean that as close to literally as possible, as I get the sense the article's author would like to actually beat Denis Johnson with a cane). I don't plan on reading it because, frankly, I don't care about it. I tend to hold a rather dystopian view of contemporary literature in general, but I don't think I'm alone in thinking that the novel has gone a strange, unfortunate way. I don't even know what makes novels good anymore, and as such, I have little interest in reading new ones. I know, I know... I was an English major (whatever that means), and I should know better, and maybe I'm way off-base, but I can't help but feel that literature is heading away from the likes of Johnson and his ilk, from their particular way of killing trees. Maybe I'm wrong, maybe (almost certainly) it's not as black and white as all that. Still, would you want to read a book whose first words are “Last night at 3:00 a.m. President Kennedy had been killed"?

Anyway, the article also brings to mind this lovely gem from Ezra Pound:
The individual cannot think and communicate his thought, the governor and legislator cannot act effectively or frame his laws without words, and the solidity and validity of these words is in the care of the damned and despised litterati …when their very medium, the very essence of their work, the application of word to thing goes rotten, i.e. becomes slushy and inexact, or excessive or bloated, the whole machinery of social and of individual thought and order goes to pot.
Word to thing, indeed. Slushy, inexact, excessive, bloated. Anyone want to stand up and say those words don't describe a lot of "important" writing these days?

Oh, the rot.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Where have you gone, Tuesday Johnson?

(does not work well to the tune of Mrs. Robinson)

Anyway, I'm done with Flea Circus. All of a sudden I remembered, I'm not really that funny. At least, not comic strip funny. Still, it gave me something to do for a short while. Props to people who can do it well.

In other news, here's a found poem from today:

My Period (title mine)

I'm about to start my
period and I
always have a slow
brain & can't find
words. It always
happens right B4.

Monday, December 3, 2007

On Minimalism

I've always said that I'm a minimalist in theory only, because, you know, I really like stuff. And I don't mean that in the oh-my-gawd-I-have-to-have-everything-I-see kind of way (though my wife would surely argue that I have my moments). Thing is, I'm a very tactile person. I like having things to feel & hold, which means the problem I have with minimalism in practice is that it doesn't allow much room for useless crap that feels nice under my fingers, and that's not cool.

However, I always find myself coming back to the idea. If only I could get rid of all this stuff, I think. I get over it, rationalizing my need for boxes that have yet to be filled, magazines I'll never read again (seriously, I'm going to scan in the covers, and they'll make an awesome, I don't know, something, and then I'll throw them in the garbage. There's always a reason, isn't there?

And still I come back to the minimalist thoughts. It would be awesome (perhaps only to me) to have many, many copies of the same outfit, to wear the same thing every day. One less thing to think about, less cluttr in the mind, yes? (To which I internally reply that I'd need a dress outfit in there somewhere, and there's the seasons to consider...)

It would be awesome to abandon my home computer for all file-storage needs. I'd love to keep all our pictures on Picasa Web Albums (though we've become camera-trigger-happy since the birth of our first child a year and a half ago, which means we'd probably have to either store the pictures on the computer, back them up to cds once we reached the online storage limit, or purchase more storage space). I already store all my writing online at Google Documents & Spreadsheets. Music is another thing. I love Anywhere.fm, though it currently supports only .mp3 files (if you think I'm taking the time to convert all those blasted .mp4s, you've got another thing coming, and I'm not holding my breath for the promised support for other file types). And that'd be about it. I use computers almost exclusively for the internet (which I can get anywhere), word processing, music, and photos.

It would be awesome. But I'm not holding my breath.

What about the rest of my house, you ask? Good question, and not coincidentally, where my minimalist tendencies usually hit the skids. I love books. Love 'em. I don't know if minimalism allows room for a horde of books I probably won't read again or haven't yet made time to read. Then there's the music books to consider.

I have to stop and wonder what minimalism even means today. Or at least what it would mean to me. As I've said, I think connections are a big deal. What the aspiring minimalist will encounter, however, is the realization that modern connectivity requires more & more stuff through which and by which we make the connections that mean the most. What does that say about me? About us? Does all the stuff help or hinder the connections we make? Is it time to think about choosing between the connections and the stuff?

And the new year approacheth, with a frightening pace, full steam.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Get the Flock Outta Here!

Posting this using Flock's built-in blog editor. If this works like I want it to, I'll probably have a nerdgasm right here at work.

It's almost 3:30, and if I didn't know I should at least look like I'm doing work, I wouldn't even be trying right now. Flock is just that awesome.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Politics and the English Language

George Orwell possessed more insight than you or I are likely to encounter. Having reread parts of this article again today, I am reminded of why I hate politics so much.

Political language — and with variations this is true of all political parties, from Conservatives to Anarchists — is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.
The way the English language is abused (for the record, I really struggled with the link placement on that one) sickens me, much like the way I do not think with fondness of my duty to vote for candidates from one of two stables: those whose primary concern is not to better society but to get my vote, and those who will never be elected. The connection between language abuse and politics is an important one, and more nauseating than either, when considered separately. Thanks for reminding me, George.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Again with the alcohol? Really?

I read this article yesterday, and the first post I wrote in response to it was considerably longer and less thoughtful than this one. I'm not going to post that one, because I cannot avoid the feeling that it would be useless. Plus, it was fueled more by an impassioned gut reaction than by reason. Let's try take 2.

Mr. Harsanyi doesn't like prohibition-style legislation or activism, and he's right. However, he fails to offer any solutions to the problem of drunk driving (it is a problem, isn't it, Dave?) that would be more reasonable than those currently advocated by MADD members and their ilk.

I guess part of me just doesn't get the point of writing this kind of article. Prohibition isn't a good idea, and most of us learned that in 7th grade. Why not an article the thrust of which is more like, "Prohibition is stupid, here's what we should do instead to curb drunk driving."

As it is, Mr. Harsanyi isn't barking up that particular tree, and the reader is left with the feeling that the entirety of the MADD organization has gone off the prohibitionist's deep end and we should all just leave the drinkers alone with their alcohol and the right to get smashed wherever they please.

Oh, see? There I go again. Sorry.

What I mean is, one gets the feeling from this article that preemptive measures are never a good idea, and since habitual drunk drivers are the real threat (which is only mostly true), all we can do is wait for the alcoholics to get drunk, drive, and be arrested several times before we can even identify who they are. I guess we'll all just have to keep our fingers crossed that none of those offenses involve the loss of human life.

Dang it, I did it again. Ok, back on the horse.

Personally, I'm solidly in favor of rehabilitative programs—reduce the number of alcoholics and you'll reduce the number of alcohol-related deaths—but I've always heard that you can't help an alcoholic who doesn't want to be helped, so I guess we might as well keep a clear path to the bar and wait for the drunks to see the light (or kill someone and be forced to attend a few AA meetings), right?

Crap. I guess this is why I should avoid this topic. Especially when I'm channeling my inner curmudgeon.

And while some of the above was unnecessary, here's the rub: if my neighbor can cling to his right to go get drunk and drive back to our apartment complex, which he does regularly, I believe I can reserve the right to be righteously indignant about it. Fair enough?

In the meantime, if you know someone who has a problem, stop letting it slide. You're not doing anyone a favor. (Oh, except there's the problem: we were all raised to keep our mouths shut if we don't have anything nice to say, and telling someone they're an alcoholic isn't very nice, is it?)

Ok, seriously, I'm done now.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Cluttr | 20 (Occasionally) Awesome Links

I was going to link to a whole bunch of awesome things I found & read this morning. However, I neglected to make a proper list of said things, so I will now go through my browser's history (just today, don't worry) and comment upon things randomly.

MySpace: I think I'm about done with this one. I mean, I'm not 13, and... well, that's about it. Oh, and does the site just look bad, or is that perception just a result of my not being 13? I'm not really sure.

Facebook: Transitioning with ease, I will only say that even given the fact that it's better than MySpace, I'm not sure how long this will last. Granted, Facebook affords me the belief (regardless of its veracity) that I can do the whole social networking thing and be an adult at the same time, but I don't think I'm the only one watching it become overrun by people turning each other into werewolves, ninja converts and the like. Plus, I cannot imagine ever using it for email (which, by the way, alerts me to anything that happens on Facebook–I sense a disconnect; am I alone?).

Here I will interject a thought I keep having, and have probably already had on this blog. The idea of social network platforms is just blueprints for chaos. I understand that people want to identify themselves with other people of like mind, I really do. My problem is that each new network just adds to the clutter (or is it cluttr? Ooh, I like that. I shall henceforth refer to all things that are redundant and generally not helpful in a big picture kind of way that are generally labeled "web 2.0" as "cluttr"). What the internet needs is something that allows people who are using different applications to connect with each other through those applications. I kind of like what the people at Flock are doing, but I think we're still a few cognitive steps away. We need someone to get us from aggregation to interconnectivity, or inter-interactivity.

Speaking of which, Flock is awesome. If I weren't at work, I'd probably already be playing with it.

I really couldn't stop with the Firefox extensions earlier. So far, there's BlogRovR, Twitterbar, and the Google Reader Watcher. All three have proven mighty amusing, and hopefully each will prove equally useful.

I'm still trying desperately to coordinate my Google Bookmarks with my bookmarks on Del.icio.us. Any and all tips are welcome.

I'm really not sure why people are so impressed by Achewood. It's funny at times, I suppose, but if my inability to laugh uncontrollably at something I don't understand makes me less, I don't know, less whatever, then so be it. You can give me xkcd, Dinosaur Comics, or Wondermark any day of the week.

If you want significantly less intelligent laughs, courtesy the mouse of a bored cubicle-dweller, this week's Flea Circus is up: No. 4.

I love baseball. Love it. And this is all totally true.

People like you and me simply are not this lucky.

Remember Pee-wee?

One final thought: I love America's Funniest Home Videos (or whatever it's called now), and mostly that's because it often involves people falling or otherwise doing things that probably end up hurting a great deal. Maybe that makes me a bad person, I don't know, but this video definitely scratches that particular itch:



[NOTE – this was my original list of labels for this post, a list which Blogger deemed too long: MySpace, Facebook, social networking, cluttr, Flock, BlogRovR, Twitterbar, Google Reader Watcher, Google Bookmarks, del.icio.us, Achewood, xkcd, Dinosaur Comics, Wondermark, Flea Circus, baseball, Pee-wee Herman, America's Funniest Home Videos, videos.]

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Oil & Hydrogen

The end of oil is upon us. Now, I'm no scientist, engineer, economist or politician. But even given the large number of ifs and other hurdles, I would love to believe the title of this related article is more likely than it is: How Hydrogen Can Save America.

And if you hadn't already noticed, I'm becoming a big fan of Wired. Just my kind of read (thanks, AC).

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Fuel for the approaching winter

...the utmost possible novelty would be the difference between me and myself a year ago. This alone encouraged me, and was my fuel for the approaching winter. That we may behold the panorama with this slight improvement or change, this is what we sustain life for with so much effort from year to year.
Thoreau, November 1, 1858

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Detroit: The D is for Dumb

Assuming you've heard of "Motorhead Messiah" Jonathan Goodwin, that is.

Also, yesterday was Tuesday.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Post #60

I just had more than a couple chuckles thanks to indexed. Not sure how long I'll remember to check it, but this kind of dramedy is spot-on.

Wednesday is del.icio.us

Despite my recent increased propensity for social networking, I don't think I'll be signing up for all of these sites just yet.

I don't really know why, but I find this list of emergency kits wildly interesting. Maybe it has something to do with my fondness for preparation and mild OCD.

That is all.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Interesting Life

This would totally be my life's theme poster, if not for the f-bomb (which I edited out for the more sensitive folk) and the fact that I'm, you know, not terribly adventurous. Plus, where would I put it?



(And yes, I'm aware that I'm a little hooked on this comic lately, thank you.)

This is not to say, of course, that I would prefer an uninteresting life–quite the opposite is true–it's just that if my life is the beginning of The Hobbit, I'm generally a bit more like Bilbo than Gandalf.

Monday, October 22, 2007

In ur reality

Or, I'm in a posting frenzy and may not survive the day

Making fun of lolcat: yet another reason to love xkcd.

Social Network Binge

I've been on a social network binge, lately. You can see all the networks on which I have a profile to the right (some profiles are clearly more well-worn than others). My point is, for whatever reason, I enjoy trying these things out, if only to see if the interfaces have anything interesting to offer. Most are pretty similar, each with its own fun quirks, but I find I can't actually use more than one at a time with any regularly (or two, if you count my languishing MySpace account, which continually pesters me with friend requests from women/girls who are scantily clad in rooms suspiciously devoid of adequate lighting). I don't know who can keep up with very many of the, to be honest.

Eventually, though, I hope these sorts of networks will cease to be exclusive. My main problem is that it shouldn't be such a huge deal that you can't tote your "friends" from one social network to the other; the goal should be getting all the networks to talk to each other. Think about it this way: when you're comparing email solutions, is it more important to be able to export your contacts to a different service when you change or to be able to send and receive email from anyone & everyone? When are social networks going to catch up?

We're nearing saturation, and the networks are so numerous and diverse that the end result should be obvious: some sort of software/service that gives a person a single identity across the board while allowing the addition of "friends" from any existing network and the ability to utilize any network's features and quirks in a single place. Maybe that's asking a lot, I don't know, I'm not a programmer. I know just enough to think it'll eventually be doable, but I'm guessing not soon enough for me to still care.

Oh, well.

Homework & The Red Sux

I'm not a teacher, and I don't know the stats, but I found this article rather engaging. I think of my sister, who teaches 1st grade, and how she's basically required to give homework to 6 year olds (though she keeps it on the slim side, which I love), and I wonder what a 1st grader learns from homework except to not like school a little bit more. Anyway, like I said, I'm not a teacher, and I don't know the stats. I'm just saying, little kids should be outside playing after school, not doing worksheets. Or is it just me?

Guess who's getting link-happy...

Also, I'm pissed about the Red Sux getting to the World Series over my home-state Indians. I suppose the Tribe did what they could, what with knocking off the devil's own team first, but still. I'm a red-blooded American, I guess, so I hate the Yankees like it's going out of style (xkcd), but there's something about that team from Boston that's almost as annoying as The Boss himself. I think we've all gotten over the idea of the Sox as a small-market upstart (thank you, Dice-K, for exposing that one) , but now that the curse has been broken, can't we all just go back to ignoring the Red Sux (except for, of course, when they face the Yankees)? I mean, does anyone else throw up in their mouths a little bit when they think of Manny Ramirez holding up that gawd-awful World Series trophy again?

Go Rockies (er, what?)!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Intoxication

It is surprising, however, that so few habitually intoxicate themselves with music, so many with alcohol.

from Thoreau's Journal, October 17, 1857
And fewer still with poetry. Or so I thought. Perhaps there is hope.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Epistles

"This epistle is a diamond, and I can't match it", my friend wrote. And today, 85 days later, I want to put together a book of such letters (actually emails, because, let's face it: keyboards and computer screens are the pen and parchment of our day). Perhaps with the subtitle The Epistles of an Intellectual Vagrant.

A sample:
At long last, I emerge from the shadows. I cannot tell you how many times I have looked at your email, waiting with eternal patience for me (it is the chief elder of my inbox), and I cannot apologize profusely enough for my unreasonable delay. It must suffice to say I do miss our discourse terribly, and I hope a new spark awaits us, perhaps (dare I hope?) the result of these words to come.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Baby Jesus

Found Poem (quite possibly my favorite found poem to date)

Anybody missing the baby Jesus
nestled away in his manger?
No crib for a bed, remember.
If you lost your baby Jesus
He is now found–
please contact the manager
for Christ's return.

Monday, October 8, 2007

LOLSign of the Apocalypse

Sign of the Apocalypse #666

Teh Holiez Bibul.

I'm sorry, but

After all, the Bible has already been literally translated several times. Time for our interpretation.
???

Seriously? Let me get this straight: What the world needs is an interpretation of the Bible by people who list among their favorite things bad grammar coupled with annoyingly posed pictures of cats?

The lolcat idiocy needs to stop. Immediately. Right now.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Howling, Unheard, Unhearing

Is anyone awake? I think not.

If anything, this latter-day episode demonstrates how our culture is on auto pilot, that we've become so perfunctorily litigious in the mediation of language and symbols, that the masterpiece "Howl" might as well have been a recipe for pancakes or a wall message from MySpace.
And in the comments:
...the audience in the 50s and into a little bit of the 60s had great talent as an audience, whereas nowadays the audience has virtually none, not even the audience that has a taste for the avant-garde.
Everything's connected, people.
I wouldn't ever say there's censorship in this country. But there's a lot of peer pressure. Because when anybody says anything that's the least bit feather ruffling, everybody just goes nuts. If anybody in this country is forced to undergo a single moment of discomfort, the person who caused it just must go away.

~ Bill Maher, #37
Propaganda isn't just political rhetoric and yellow journalism. It dulls (or at least one effect is to dull) the average citizen to the truth–that is, a more right perspective–and it ripens long after the speeches have ended and the presses have stopped. It trains to violently oppose both the new and unnerving; if possible, it instills disinterest in progress in favor of stagnation. Further along in its evolution, the thinnest skins become normative, and unimportant minutiae of social nicety are attacked, because larger statements against the system are not being made, or, are not being heard–indeed, cannot be heard.

I look around, and I wonder if I'm the only one who knows we're already there.

Go. Read. Think. For yourself.

(footnote)

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Where's the Good News?

Not (hardly) on CNN. Took a quick survey of the latest stories, and I got a count of 11 to 1, in favor of bad–scratch that–depressing news (I did not count those I found to be relatively neutral).

Bad

  1. Top Democrats propose war surtax
  2. Media fight secret probe into mine disaster
  3. Jury awards $11.6M in Knicks harassment case
  4. Blackwater boss defends contractors
  5. U.S. soldier gets 2 years on child porn charges
  6. FBI: $1M heist was inside job
  7. Anita Hill: 'I have to speak out'
  8. Police: Mom suspected of drowning girls
  9. Cops charge kids with stealing final exams
  10. Video shows cop punch cuffed suspect
  11. Teachers put noose on tiny girl at recess
Good
  1. Blind man sees wife, child for first time

Either there really isn't as much good news, or the media outlets have an ulterior motive/incentive to report vastly negative events & situations. The sad part is, I'm almost not sure which is more right.

Just an observation.

Bread of Privation

Found Poem

Although the Lord has given you
bread of privation
and water of oppression,
HE Your Teacher,
will not hide himself from you.
Your ears will hear a word behind you,
"THIS is the way! Walk in it!"
And you will scatter all your impure things,
and say to them,
"BE GONE."
And on that day He WILL give you
rain
and bread
and it will be rich and plenteous.

Isaiah 30:20-23
(line breaks mine, emphasis the Ayars)

Monday, October 1, 2007

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Vick & Belichick | Crime & Punishment

You know what I like? The idea that the punishment should fit the crime. And I don't mean in the dull, don't-send-the-person-to-prison-for-too-long kind of way. No, I mean that the punishment should, essentially, exact upon the criminal's person and/or life what the criminal did to... whomever/whatever. And I don't mean eye-for-eye kind of punishment, either. The idea is that the punishment should abuse your life in a way that relates to how you abused someone/something else. I haven't fleshed all this out in my head yet, and I'm sure it'd be ridiculously hard to do so, but here's how it relates to a couple of recent events:

1. Michael Vick, the dogfighter

The crime: He fought dogs against each other and systematically killed them. Fine. Yet another rich person abusing a lifestyle billions of people would kill for.

The punishment: force him to live out his days working in an SPCA shelter. No 2 year prison term and a slow return to the football, world which has been predicted by some. You take your lifestyle for granted, and it gets taken away. End of story. He never touches a football competitively again. (Same goes, by the way, for other sports stars who do worse things, such as–HELLO–rape women or kill people. Of course, I'm not sure what the rapists would be made to do for a living, instead. Perhaps work as janitors in hospitals or clinics for abused women, something like that.)

2. Bill Belicheck, the spy

The crime: videotaping opposing teams' signals for use gaining unfair advantage regarding called plays (by the way, those 3 Superbowls are, in my opinion, legitimately in question. Read this if you don't get why.)

The punishment: He can still coach–indeed, he will be required to stay in the profession–but for no team more prestigious than, say, a NCAA Division II school. As an assistant.

I guess I'm just sick of watching famous people get out of trouble as easily as they get into it. If you or I were to abuse and kill people or animals, or flagrantly defy the clearly defined rules of our profession, we'd have a helluva time getting the same kind of work again, let alone making enough money to make anyone jealous. "You want to make a lot of money? Fine. You want to kill people or animals or break laws? That's fine, too, but you won't make a lot of money anymore, and no one is going to read about you in the papers ever again." Does that seem like an unreasonable message for the justice system to send? Not to my ears.

And you get the point. Movie stars who seem to enjoy getting arrested for for the publicity of it would be, at a certain point, removed from show business and made to work at Blockbuster. The big executive who embezzles millions would find himself working in a cubicle for 8 bucks an hour.

Don't get me wrong, I have no particular grudge against people who are rich and/or famous (despite how this post may read). Money & power corrupt, and I want nothing to do with that; indeed, I'm almost certain I couldn't handle it and would end up in bad shape, myself. What I want to retain is the self-awareness and presence of mind to try not to be the kind of person for whom success–or money or fame or power–is so important that the I allow a goal of attaining it to change who I am for the worse.

I could keep going, but my point is simple, and simply made: You abuse your lifestyle, your lifestyle would be made to abuse you in kind. The punishment fits the crime.

Just a thought.

Why I usually prefer not to talk about my job



Don't get me wrong: I am thankful for my job. It pays the bills, gives us health insurance, buys food, and provides shelter. But when I forget to think about those benefits, I can almost see the abyss rushing up to meet me. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: people were not made to spend 8 hours a day in a cube with gray walls. Fortunately, we were created with a sense of humor.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

5 Things I Think

1. For reasons unbeknownst to me, I still think lists are somewhat bothersome. Still, since I'm just as rotten with perfection as the next guy, I do find they can be useful from time to time.

2. Children thrive on structure, but I think many adults (myself included) seem to enjoy perpetuating the sense that such rigidity of life is entirely distasteful. I think we learn from TV and movies, from the "stars", from the pundits, from the LOUDEST VOICES, that life is about the here and now, that life is organic and therefore above our silly attempts to name and contain it. There's some truth there, to be sure, but as we get older (at least, as I get older), it becomes apparent that success, almost any way you define it, follows those who recognize the challenges and obstacles and plan accordingly. I think structure, though less than perfect and easily abused, sure beats the alternative (ok, so that's not exactly the opposite of what I'm talking about here, but I just had to link to something).

I think, perhaps, structure is difficult for a reason.

3. I think the sermon I heard this Sunday, entitled "True Christianity" and delivered by a layman, was fantastic and sobering. I think that if this passage doesn't make you think, nothing will. I think Christianity is a terrifically difficult proposition, also for a reason, and I think I've got lots of work to do.

I think, perhaps, rather it's God who has lots of work to do on me.

4. I think cubicles make for depressing landscape.

5. I think connections define the vast majority of life. Family are connections whose importance is second to none. I think I'll be damned if someone tells me my closest friends aren't my family, but blood trumps everything. My small family of man, wife, & child, is priority 1; I think that upon my death, if my marriage was strong and my child(ren) love God, I will know I could have done no better.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Friday Miscellany

I haven't posted in over a week, and a busy week it has been. It continues to be so, which means this post will be short. Here are two things that caught my attention recently:

Worldmapper: The world as you've never seen it before. For example. Explore the many, many maps; they are illuminating.

Mandel makes an argument with which I'm inclined to agree, tongue-in-cheek though some of hsi points may be. Being a Big Ten man, I definitely wouldn't mind Notre Dame signing on. Sadly, even given how this season is going for the Irish, I'm not holding my breath.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Not too shabby

(And no, Lisa, I didn't say "not too shitty", so get your mind out of the gutter.)

I'm writing this post using Windows Live Writer Beta, and I'm impressed. I'm seeing the post as it will appear, as I'm creating it.

Just for fun, let's upload a picture, from the newly discovered (by me) white ninja comics:

image

Excellent.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Two Poems

From "When Ecstasy is Inconvenient", by Lorine Niedecker

Know amazedly how

often one takes his madness

into his own hands

and keeps it.

and "From A Little White Shadow", by Mary Ruefle

"Get Stella!"

I am not making this up: that's what Lisa shouted out the other day, for no apparent reason. I am beginning to think she has PG-rated Tourette's. Granted, we had seen, a few days previous to her outburst, a few minutes of A Streetcar Named Desire – you know, the film with Marlon Brando before he turned into an amorphous blob – so she already had Stella on the brain, but still. Very strange.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

It's not worth it

Indeed. I just can't get enough Wondermark.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

I am so getting an Appy State t-shirt

Now that's what I'm talkin' about.

So much time, so little to say

Read somewhere this morning that apparently, some people think bloggers are only good for opinions and news aggregation. That's stupid, so check out these links:

Ha! Just kidding. Seriously, though. Left a comment on Peter's blog in which I said I wasn't sure just where this blog is going, yet. That's definitely true, but I hope my opinions and things I find interesting don't vacate the premises permanently. Also, I'd like to incorporate CommentPress at some point, but we'll see. (Except that there's the whole WordPress problem getting in the way...)

Oh, and there's this.

Ok, one bit of news: Jerry Lewis dropped an f-bomb (no, not that one); let's all run for the hills and await the end times, shall we? Now, I'm not sure if I'm even old enough to remember when such comments weren't met with immediate and public condemnation, but as long as the ACLU & company are "protecting" our rights or whatever it is they think they're doing, I'm going to feel compelled to play devil's advocate and say that pouncing on every little thing like this really means we're losing more than anyone is protecting.

On a lighter note:

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Back from the dead

I've been away for some time; I've been busy. I had ear surgery last Thursday, and this is why. Everything seems to have gone well. I have an appointment with the doctor on Friday, and I expect to return to work immediately thereafter.

Today, in my first real period of sustained, concentrated thought, I made some significant changes to LaffertyWhistle.com. Do take a gander, and validate me.

I hope to get myself back in good blogging form before too long, but there's also work to consider. I'll be returning to a situation in which two very new people will have been handling my work for about a week, and there could be plenty to clean up. Still, I am not down for the count, and I hope to prove it in the not-so-distant future.

That is all.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Dear World

Duck, Duck, Duck... ATOMIC BOMB!

Dada?

Thursday, August 23, 2007

30-3

In case you missed it, Texas dropped 30 runs – that's thirty – on Baltimore yesterday. Seeing as that last happened in the 19th century, I'm guessing I won't see a box score like that again. Ever.

By the by, you'll notice on the box score that the second Ranger pitcher was credited with a save. Now, I checked the rulebook, and here's what it says:

10.19 Saves For Relief Pitchers
A save is a statistic credited to a relief pitcher, as set forth in this Rule 10.19.
The official scorer shall credit a pitcher with a save when such pitcher meets all four of the following conditions:
(a) He is the finishing pitcher in a game won by his team; [check]
(b) He is not the winning pitcher; [check]
(c) He is credited with at least a third of an inning pitched; [check] and
(d) He satisfies one of the following conditions:
(1) He enters the game with a lead of no more than three runs and pitches for at least one inning; [nope]
(2) He enters the game, regardless of the count, with the potential tying run either on base, or at bat or on deck (that is, the potential tying run is either already on base or is one of the first two batters he faces); [nope] or
(3) He pitches for at least three innings. [check]
So fine, he gets a save. But is it just me, or is a pitcher entering the game with an 11 run lead who manages, basically, not to collapse over 3 innings not really saving anything?

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Tafiti and the Holy Spirit

Back from vacation. (What, you didn't notice I was gone?) I hit the ground Monday, and I'm up to about a gait, now. Training a new person at work, thinking about the surgery coming up, blah, blah.

Hopefully, there will be pictures of our vacation travels on LaffertyWhistle before too long.

Anyway, here's something – two somethings, to be precise:

This is cool, which, seeing as I've been thinking more about photosynth (also) this week, makes two Microsoft products I'm impressed by in the same week. I'm not quite sure what form my shame should take. Tafiti apparently means "do research" in Swahili, and though I haven't even tried this out, it looks interesting enough to mention. I hope to play with it some this week.

This is not cool. Very, very uncool. You might even call it blasphemy, because that's what it calls itself. The Blasphemy Challenge might be one of the most offensive things I've ever encountered. I haven't actually watched any of the videos on YouTube, but I have already noticed some responses from the other side. Still, it's sad.

I should point out here that I'm not certain the challenge quite has the point of Blaspheming the Holy Spirit. Taken from the Catholic Encyclopedia's entry The Holy Ghost:

* Sometimes, and in its most literal signification, it has been taken to mean the uttering of an insult against the Divine Spirit, applying the appellation either to the Holy Ghost or to all three Divine persons. This was the sin of the Pharisees, who spoke at first against "the Son of Man", criticizing the works and human ways of Jesus, accusing Him of loving good cheer and wine, of associating with the publicans, and who, later on, with undoubted bad faith, traduced His Divine works, the miracles which He wrought by virtue of His own Divinity.
* On the other hand, St. Augustine frequently explains blasphemy against the Holy Ghost to be final impenitence, perseverance till death in mortal sin. This impenitence is against the Holy Ghost, in the sense that it frustrates and is absolutely opposed to the remission of sins, and this remission is appropriated to the Holy Ghost, the mutual love of the Father and the Son. In this view, Jesus, in Matthew 12 and Mark 3 did not really accuse the Pharisees of blaspheming the Holy Ghost, He only warned them against the danger they were in of doing so.
* Finally, several Fathers, and after them, many scholastic theologians, apply the expression to all sins directly opposed to that quality which is, by appropriation, the characteristic quality of the Third Divine Person. Charity and goodness are especially attributed to the Holy Ghost, as power is to the Father and wisdom to the Son. Just, then, as they termed sins against the Father those that resulted from frailty, and sins against the Son those that sprang from ignorance, so the sins against the Holy Ghost are those that are committed from downright malice, either by despising or rejecting the inspirations and impulses which, having been stirred in man's soul by the Holy Ghost, would turn him away or deliver him from evil.
Think on.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

756*

Well, he finally did it. Thank God it's over. Honestly, I'm not sure how I feel right now. I despise B*nds as much as the next guy–probably more–but the man did put bat on ball 756 times, which is nothing to sneeze at, steroids or not. Helluva ballplayer, to be sure; I just wish he'd done it cleanly. Hammerin' Hank's 755, I think, will remain THE number for a lot of people.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

On a Roll

It has been a while, but Lisa finally came through in spectacular fashion and said all this in a 5-minute span in the car this afternoon.

Lisa: My throat hurts.
Me: Why's that?
Lisa: A combination of a cold, talking too much, and eating flies.

* *

The idea of being a [bank] teller is really cool to me, it's just the other stuff that sucks. I don't like sales, and I don't like getting robbed.

* *

That's when I say things: when I'm not thinking about what I say.

* *

I must have been really sane for a long time!

Friday, August 3, 2007

I Love Spam (seriously, I do!)

Yesterday's Daily Treated Spam:

"August, To have sex as the world champion?"

..////
..////
..////
..////
you don't have the pressure
..////

No need to plan meals
no need the recipe!

these investments in brain
in a way that sticks.

To Do for 2005, or "I couldn't help but laugh"

Or am I the only one who thinks the last item in this list is simply the best kind of irony?

In other news, I've been thinking about CommentPress today, and its very existence makes me really, really want to export this blog to WordPress (or just start a new WP blog, I guess) so I can use it. But then I think, "when will I have time for that?" and, "I don't have quite as many readers as would make such an endeavor interesting." Still, I have to think it would be wildly interesting, so I imagine I will have a hard time keeping myself from it for much longer...

Maybe during the school year, when I've got the computer to myself.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Seriously, what's so great about dogs?

I'm in the minority, here, I realize that; but honestly, apart from having children--which is all manner of awesome--who eventually learn to care for themselves and converse with you, why on earth would you want something else in the house that eats a lot and poops on the floor and will never learn to say, "don't worry, I'll clean up the feces I just deposited on your pillow"? I just don't get it.

That aside (though thanks to a female co-worker's recent purchase, I'm sure I'll be listening to giggly women gush about cute puppies all day at work) There have been plenty of things I've considered blogging about recently, but I just haven't found the time. So, I'll just fill some space by listing a few links here and let you draw your own conclusions about what I might have said, if I'd managed to make the time.

Blogging's PR Problem - "It's not the blogs I hate, it's their fans."

35 Million Book Buyers are Wrong

Dumbing Down American Readers

(Don't get carried away with the last two. I have no particular beef with Harry Potter--reading is, I think, almost always a good thing--and time will tell how valuable the series really is. I'm just saying, if it doesn't lead kids--or adults, for that matter--to read better & more difficult literature, then something is wrong)

Poetry amidst the Kultursmog - do read this one; it's particularly good.

Poetic License, with No Rhyme or Reason - Dave Barry on poetry. How could it not be funny?

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Photos up on LaffertyWhistle.com

Well, it took a while, but I finally got around to putting up some photos on LaffertyWhistle. The photos page was put together pretty quickly, which really just means it's about as not great as the rest of the site. Regardless, there it is. Enjoy!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Faceball

is officially the funniest thing I've seen today.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Hey, Look

I love the New Yorker.

Twenty-five:
"Hey, look, our boss is walking around the office for no apparent reason."
"Do you think he's just trying to see if we're goofing off instead of doing real work?"
"No, he's not as clever as that."
"You're right; he's not clever at all."
"But he does make a lot more money than we do."
"Yeah, what's that all about?"
"I guess he got some fancy degree in the seventies."
"That's stupid, I could run this place better than he does."
"Too bad corporate America sucks. That's why I love Dilbert."
"Me too! I love it because it's true."

Monday, July 16, 2007

Custodians of Chaos

An extract from Vonnegut's Memoirs.

Quoting Eugene Debs,

As long as there is a lower class, I am in it. As long as there is a criminal element, I am of it. As long as there is a soul in prison, I am not free.
Indeed.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Politics

So I took this quiz during lunch. Here are my results:

1. Theoretical Ideal Candidate (100%)
2. John Edwards (50%)
3. Christopher Dodd (49%)
4. Ron Paul (49%)
5. Duncan Hunter (46%)
6. John McCain (46%)
7. Barack Obama (45%)
8. Tom Tancredo (45%)
9. Al Gore (43%)
10. Hillary Clinton (42%)
11. Joseph Biden (42%)
12. Wesley Clark (41%)
13. Mitt Romney (40%)
14. Sam Brownback (39%)
15. Chuck Hagel (38%)
16. Dennis Kucinich (38%)
17. Tommy Thompson (37%)
18. Alan Augustson (35%)
19. Fred Thompson (35%)
20. Michael Bloomberg (34%)
21. Rudolph Giuliani (33%)
22. Bill Richardson (33%)
23. Jim Gilmore (30%)
24. Mike Gravel (30%)
25. Elaine Brown (29%)
26. Newt Gingrich (28%)
27. Kent McManigal (26%)
28. Mike Huckabee (24%)
(And if you'd like to compare candidates, check this out. Pretty nifty.)

Notice that the first real candidate starts at a paltry 50% of my supposed theoretical ideal. I'm not sure what that means, but my first instinct is to say that my political ideas flail pretty wildly and are probably inconsistent. I chalk that up to my general distaste (not nearly strong enough a word) for politics and to the fact that I took the quiz in 5 minutes while eating a bologna & ketchup sandwich. Oh, and I probably hadn't given a second thought to a number of the issues in the quiz before today, so, you know, there's that.

My point is, I'm still surprised John Edwards came in closest to my "ideal". What's my problem, you ask? That's easy: I hate politics, I really don't care for politicians, and I agree with the notions of the economist in this article, who seems to think democracy is a rather silly idea. He makes too many good points for me to quote, so I won't. I will, however, point out that I agree (albeit halfheartedly) with the article's author, that such silliness is probably a small price to pay:
In the end, the group that loses these contests must abide by the outcome, must regard the wishes of the majority as legitimate. The only way it can be expected to do so is if it has been made to feel that it had a voice in the process, even if that voice is, in practical terms, symbolic. A great virtue of democratic polities is stability. The toleration of silly opinions is (to speak like an economist) a small price to pay for it.
I just haven't had anyone really prove to me that I've really got a voice.

All that said, I guess I should vote anyway, but the whole thing kind of makes me want to vomit, and I'd still really like to think my vote will matter. Anyone?

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Comics, both web- and otherwise



Mr. Malki also served up an interesting take on Garfield. (And be sure to read this article and check out these results from the now defunct randomizer.)

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

LaffertyWhistle.com

LaffertyWhistle.com has been renovated. Check out the new furnishings.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Bonds, iPhone, Aussie teens, and yes, even Paris Hilton

Lots of good points about Barry Bonds and all that surrounds him in this article. Let's not forget, though that everyone knows Griffey would have broken the record already.

Gizmodo has the all-encompassing, BS-free iPhone review. The verdict? Wait.

This is awesome:



So is this:

Turns out, I already knew that

Turns out, I'm pretty weak.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Logical Language, or 1984?

Speaking of fascism, check out this train of clickthought:

del.icio.us --> Flip --> LiveJournal --> Matt Arnold --> Lojban --> me thinking --> 1984

Which brings me to my next question: When do I get to meet a real-life Winston Smith? And how do I get his job when totalitarianism is all the rage? I really think I'd enjoy the creative challenge.

That about sums up my afternoon. Back to the grind.

Ethan Haas, Fascism, & Majority Opinions

I'd be lying if I said I didn't find this more than slightly intriguing. (See also: right & wrong)

I'd be lying if I said I didn't find this funny:



I'd be lying if I said I didn't find this frightening, and true.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Whole milk, anyone?

I may as well drink my own puke.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

I will write this down in Latin

Shoes?

"I say, 'fuck shoes!' Your shoes do not represent you! Neither here, nor in a court of law, you son-of-a-B. Sorry to use harsh letters."

~ Dane Cook
I haven't read this entire article yet, but I've got the gist: shoes suck. Also, this might be one of the more disturbing pictures I've seen recently:



Also, "synaesthetically" is one of the better words I've read recently. Reminds me that I'm fascinated by synesthesia. Makes me think that there might be something to the idea that walking barefoot results in something akin to natural synesthesia, allowing one to experience something normally very common in a different way by the addition of another sense.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Del.icio.us & The Lifting of the Veil

I've recently become newly amused by del.icio.us (notice the new addition to the sidebar), and not only because I find the URL frightfully clever. It's a great way to keep track of cool sites, and I love me my cool sites.

Also, the Google Toolbar is awesome. Part of me feels it should be wrong to promote the interests of a massive company whose goals are, really, morally & intellectually ambiguous, but I just can't help it. The company makes some righteous tools for doing two things I love: thinking and tooling around on the internet. So, yeah, I love Google. There, I said it. Y'happy, now?!

Hm... what else? We saw some fireworks this weekend. We were so close to the action, chunks of cardboard tubing were raining down upon us. I could close my eyes, and, listening to the explosions, smelling the smoke and ash, and feeling the ungodly precipitation, almost taste the apocalypse.

God bless America.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Don't hurt yourself

I'm trying to think, but it's hard!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Campfire - Long Exposure


(Taken 6.23.07. Thanks to J$$$ for letting me try out the tripod.)

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Things we can do without a baby

I'm thinking we can go gambling, drinking, to strip clubs and vote.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Trapped in the Drive-Thru

If you know R. Kelly's Trapped in the Closet, you'll get a kick out of this:



Now, I'm not an R. Kelly fan, specifically, but Trapped in the Closet is a wildly interesting experiment, and I'm not the only one who thinks so. Strangely reminiscent of Dickens's serialized novels, and at least as entertaining (search YouTube for "Trapped in the Closet", and you should be able to watch most/all of it, if you so desire).

With that, I'm off for the weekend, going camping. Enjoy.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

What the French, Toast?!



If you didn't catch everything said, here's the gist of a transcript from SplendAd.com:

Wife bursts into an office holding a box.

Wife: You son of a biscuit-eating bulldog.
Husband: What the French, toast?
Wife: Did you think I wouldn't find out about your little doodoo head cootie queen?
Mistress: Who are you calling a cootie queen, you lint-licker?
Wife: Pickle you, kumquat!
Husband: You're overreacting.
Wife: No, Bill, overreacting was when I put your convertible into a wood chipper, Stinky McStinkface!
Mistress: You Hoboken!

They fight.

Orbit spokeswoman: Fabulous!

Lit Blogs, Po Blogs, & Martha Argerich

I should apologize to Rob Arnold for using the term "po" in the title of this post. That said, his comment on this post about lit blogs is both insightful and sad. It is true that more people are directly affected by, and concerned with politics than poetry, and the fact that political blogs outnumber poetry blogs and lit blogs in general (right?) kind of makes comparisons of quality a moot point. Still, there aren't plenty of hard-working poetry bloggers out there doing good work--Ron Silliman and Amy King (current poet laureate of the blogosphere) come to my mind from my limited experience--so dig around. The poets are out there.

I love Martha Argerich, and in case you're wondering why:

Monday, June 18, 2007

WWCND

Who doesn't love a good Chuck Norris fact? Now, thanks to the guys at WWCND, you can be like Chuck by applying the facts to yourself.

For example, did you know:


Friday, June 15, 2007

Photosynth

I'm not sure if being really interested in this makes me a nerd, but if it does, well then, break out the pocket protectors!



Josh's words, on recommending the video above:

In the article about the particle accelerator in the [New Yorker] (maybe a month ago or so), one of the physicists was talking about how the world of physics is interconnected, i.e. the same force that makes an apple fall from a tree holds the moon in orbit. I couldn't help think about this when I saw the photosynth technology. The idea of a collective of images creating a comprehensive reality in cyberspace seems strikingly similar to the value of perspective taking in the postmodern, relativist thinker. In essence, as more perspectives emerge the metaphorical building of reality is viewed with greater clarity. Moreover, a relativist would appreciate the egalitarian value each image is given.
And my response:
I love the concept of so many pictures (literally, perspectives) being linked to each other in a meaningful way. I've long said that one way of thinking about knowledge, capital K, is as an infinite series of interrelated perspectives (though one would have to include temporal as well as spatial). Granted, it's a rather negative view of knowledge, as true knowledge would require, essentially, omniscience and omnipresence, etc. What i love about this project is that it opens the door for people to start thinking about the ways to bridge the gap between godlike knowledge and finite, human-style functional knowledge. Of course, the amount of information with a project like that quickly becomes so massive as to become nearly useless to the individual, so I'm already excited to see what kind of technological and social tools are put in place to help bring it to a manageable scale.
Thoughts?

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Which one is it?

Already, my wife has come through with new material:

Me: Which one is it?
Her: It's the smaller bigger one.

Welcome, Intro, and a Classic

Welcome to Mlog, my new(est) blog (which, for future reference, you will be able to find at both matthew.laffertywhistle.com--that one probably by the 15th--and matthewlafferty.blogspot.com).

Operations on my three previous blogs have all but universally ceased, and I think that's for the best. Life is offering me (or rather, I am carving from the day's short hours) very little time for cleverly compartmentalized niche blogging, so I'm changing my order to à la carte, more or less. The difference being, of course, that my selections of blogging material will not be limited to any silly French cards. The world is my "carte", as it were.

On to other matters: my wife recently bemoaned the cessation of a particular feature of a now defunct blog of mine. Because I'm a nice guy, I thought I'd use this blog to bring the feature back to life. Sadly, no recently coined Lis-isms spring to mind, so here's a classic, to start this blog off right:

“You’ll be able to picture it when you see it.”
There, that just about wraps up a solid first post. Check back for more of my wife's incredible insights, and plenty of other... things. (I knew I should have stopped with the previous paragraph.) And while you're online, be sure to check out LaffertyWhistle.com--family of Lisa or myself, and friends, spread the word!