O pioneers!

I was, of course, grateful for the Tamalanche that brought several hundred extra visitors this weekend, but the discussion of matters at her end has led her to wax philosophical, à la Mike Godwin:

I’m trying to formulate some theorem that states that “Any mention in an internet post of a piece of computing equipment older than X years will, within Z comments, degenerate into a discussion about which slide-rule jockey slung punch cards first.”

Which is, of course, absolutely true; those of us who are seldom out of range of a keyboard are no less susceptible to “Can you top this?” than the rest of the species, although some of us spell better.

And her example is exactly spot-on:

“Hey, the other day I found 2600 in perfect shape at a garage sale for $5, and it came with a copy of Space Invaders! We took it home and played all afternoon!”

… will, within an hour, result in someone posting that they were writing code on an IBM 360 before some other participant in the discussion was born.

Given enough thread length, eventually you’ll hear from someone who claimed he once bought Charles Babbage a beer or looked up Ada Lovelace’s skirt.

Comments (7)




Pre-dawn shenanigans

My son lives in Missouri, so he presumably wouldn’t be directly affected by Texas speed limits, but I imagine he didn’t want to show this to a uniformed representative of the Show-Me State:

Dashboard readout 133 miles per hour

“This,” he explained, “is why walking is for losers.”

“You are an idiot,” said his loving wife. “You are going to make the damn engine explode.”

I dunno. Looks to me like he was a tick or two below the redline. On the other hand, if I’m driving that fast, and as a general rule I’m not, I’m also not simultaneously grappling with a frigging camera.

Comments (13)




Texans wasting no time

The Texas Legislature is contemplating a world, or at least a state, where it’s possible to have an 85-mph speed limit:

The House on Thursday passed Brenham state Rep. Lois Kolkhorst’s HB 1201 on final reading. A similar bill has been introduced in the Senate by Katy Republican Glenn Hegar.

HB 1201’s primary goal is to drive a legislative stake into the heart of the controversial but already-dead Trans-Texas Corridor, a network of toll roads and rail and utility lines that would have slashed across rural Texas. The bill preserves one aspect of the TTC: the speed limit.

This bill would not, in and of itself, raise existing speed limits:

The 85 mph speed limit would apply only to specially built roads and only after the Texas Department of Transportation performs engineering and traffic studies.

And at the moment, TxDOT has no such roads under construction.

The usual Dire Warnings were aired:

“People already drive 5-to-10 mph over the limit,” [Sheriff’s Capt. Reno Lewis in West Texas’ Reeves County] said. “Eighty is fast enough. You put it up to 85, and they drive 5-to-10 mph faster, they’ll be going close to 100 mph.”

I’m sure Capt. Lewis spends more time in Reeves County than I do, but this is what it was like when I was driving 80 in west Texas:

This speed limit, I suspect, reflects the reality of this road: I punched up Gwendolyn’s cruise to an indicated 81 mph, and scarcely anyone bothered to pass me. The Texas Highway Patrol, meanwhile, is ready to make sure you don’t abuse the privilege.

There is, of course, no privilege that can’t be abused by someone.

Comments (8)




No figuring these goddesses

Lee Thompson Young plays Detective Barry Frost on Rizzoli & Isles, the current day job for perennial heartthrob Angie Harmon. According to Ms Harmon, the following conversation (edited somewhat for Twitter considerations) took place on the set:

LTY: “ang, can I say something to you?”

AH: “of course, anything.”

LTY: “you’re what would happen [if] aphrodite & yosemite sam got 2gether & had a daughter.”

“Best compliment ever,” she said.

And it makes sense that Aphrodite, rather than being drawn to some scwewy Elmer Fudd type, would take on the biggest ego north, south, east, and west of the Pecos.

Besides, it gives me a chance to put up this photo, presumably from R&I, in which we get to critique Rizzoli’s weapons-maintenance technique:

Angie Harmon as Rizzoli

At the very least, it seems like she could use better light.

Comments (4)




Strange search-engine queries (271)

Late Friday, it looked as though this long-running series might have to be shut down for lack of an agreement over just how much material was available for the upcoming week. Cooler, or at least tireder, heads prevailed, and here we are on Monday, just as though nothing had ever happened.

Chicken evisceration fork Picture:  Now that takes guts.

why did joan blondell’s breasts wobble when she walked:  If they’d wobbled when she was standing still, she’d have had a problem.

whole wheat pork rinds:  You don’t want to know how long it took to produce this genetically-modified hog, believe me.

Stanley peener:  If this is perennial kid favorite Flat Stanley, I don’t think anyone has ever mentioned his peener.

sedans for the rich:  This is a tradition dating back to the old sedan chair, though steel-belted radials have long since replaced long-suffering lackeys.

“bands with seven members”:  For instance, the original Three Dog Night.

grasping lower orders:  That would be you and I, according to our self-described betters in the Political Class.

guy throwing bibles from moving car:  Nobody noticed until the next weekend, when the litter crew found a Qu’ran among the Bibles, today generally acknowledged as the beginning of World War III.

I was shopping at Kmart and I got delusional and was charge with shoplifting:  Did your defense include the fact that you were shopping at K mart in the first place?

it’s what’s up front boobs:  Well, duh.

Comments off




Just to prove it could be done

The early-on Telltale Statistic was easy: the Lakers had turned the ball over exactly once in 36 minutes. Despite that, the defending champs trailed through the first half and much of the third quarter; they fought back to a small lead. But the Thunder weren’t having any: they forced Los Angeles into nine turnovers in that fourth quarter, regained the lead within the three-mark, and closed out the Lakers on a 17-2 run. The final was a startling 120-106, with OKC holding L. A. to 16 points in that final frame. It was the Thunder’s first win ever on the Lakers’ home court.

There was only one double-double all night, and Andrew Bynum got it: 12 points, 13 rebounds. Kobe Bryant was up to speed, with 31 points, and Pau Gasol had 26 more; but at the end, none of those guys were able to get through a stifling Thunder defense.

Besides, Kevin Durant had 31 tonight, and it took him only 15 shots to get it. (Bryant took 19.) Russell Westbrook amped up the ferocity tonight and finished with 26. Both Serge Ibaka and James Harden landed in double figures. And here’s a couple of remarkable numbers: 55.6 percent from the floor, 91.4 percent from the stripe.

The main value of this game, though, is psychological: a barrier broken through once and for all. There was a tendency to see the Lakers as somehow otherworldly, always somehow destined to prevail. But the Lakers had lost four in a row coming in, and while a 55-25 record is certainly nothing to sneer at, the Thunder are now 54-26 and demonstrably capable of knocking on their door. Hard.

Will there be a letdown tomorrow night against the Almost-Out-Of-Sacramento Kings? Ask me in 25 hours.

Comments off




Flatter you

Christina Hendricks“Unsightly bra bulge,” says the Daily Mail correspondent, “could become a thing of the past with the introduction of the first four-way brassiere — which promises to slim, push up, plunge and even allow you to go strapless.”

The £25 bra, liberally festooned with boning and cantilevers and multilinks and sway bars and, for all I know, MacPherson struts (and where is Elle these days?), was ostensibly designed with the likes of curvy Mad Men star Christina Hendricks in mind, and is called “Flatter Me,” which, if you think about it, makes no sense: anything that makes you look like Christina Hendricks is not likely to make you flatter. Kathy Shaidle, not surprisingly, wonders what they were thinking.

Comments (2)




Fig leaves for all

Some Christian naturists in Britain say that Manchester Cathedral is bringing them down:

A Church of England cathedral is at the centre of a row after promoting nudism as ‘wholesome’ and ‘liberating’ on its website.

The item was posted by Manchester Cathedral several weeks ago on its ‘Spirit of Life’ site, which has been advertising a Mind, Body, Spirit fair planned for next month.

The C of E’s General Synod was apparently embarrassed by all this New Age-y stuff, and after a bit of upper-hierarchy churn, Manchester quietly sent that particular reference down the memory hole, to the annoyance of some:

Christian Naturist Fellowship chairman the Rev Bob Horrocks complained on his group’s Facebook site: ‘We’ve had our link about Christian naturism censored from a Diocesan-sponsored website.’ One supporter commented: ‘What happened to freedom of speech?’, while another asked: ‘What is wrong with simply not wearing clothes?’

I admit to being fuddier and/or duddier than most other folks who leave their clothing in the closet, but I tend to think that one’s Sunday best probably should not be hand-me-downs from the Emperor. But maybe that’s just me.

(Via this nudiarist tweet.)

Comments (9)




The decision to get real wild

Nature maintains an equilibrium of sorts, one extreme offset by another — yet the extremes continue to exist, the average/median/mode/whatever be damned.

So I was contemplating, once again, Rebecca Black and “Friday,” a simple song with four chords by a pretty young girl with not a whole lot of experience. What on earth could possibly offset that?

Right you are. Jandek’s first album came out in 1978; he’s had more than sixty releases since then. The man is clearly experienced, even if he went a quarter-century before doing a live gig, and I defy anyone to count his chords.

I’ve brought up Jandek here before, usually with an Irwin Chusid quote attached. (I even linked to that first live appearance, in Glasgow in 2004.) To say that Jandek marches to the beat of a different drummer would suggest a rhythmic precision he’d disdain; his off-center blues, or whatever, meander all over the place.

In 2003, the documentary Jandek on Corwood was released. Jandek himself does not appear in the film; however, Corwood Industries, which issues all Jandek product (and nothing but Jandek product), allowed the filmmakers the run of the catalog, which gave me an excuse to order the DVD. And to fill out the order, I added a wish-list item about which I’ve posted before:

I dearly love George Rochberg’s 3rd String Quartet, something there isn’t a chance in hell of hearing on the local classical station’s request show. (Which reminds me: I need to find this on CD if at all possible. My cassette dub, mixed to stereo from a quadraphonic tape — I no longer have my old open-reel gear — is starting to squeak.)

This is, I reckon, music about as un-Jandek-like as you can get and still not sound the least bit like Rebecca Black.

Comments (1)




A møøse once bit my sister

And they say you never learn anything from gaming:

World of Warcraft skillz save sister of gamer

We apologise for the fault in the title. Those responsible have been sacked.

(Via FAILBlog’s WIN!)

Comments (13)




The best that they can do

“Hollywood,” says a frequent Farkism, “is out of ideas.” Not that there’s anything wrong with that, says Neil Kramer:

Why should Hollywood waste time and energy searching for new ideas, when it can stick with the classics, such as Arthur?

In fact, Hollywood shouldn’t just stop with a Dudley Moore Arthur and a Russell Brand Arthur. There should be a black Arthur. An Asian Arthur. An Arthur all in Spanish. A gay Arthur. An Arthur where the roles are reversed and Arthur is a woman. A transsexual Arthur. A Pixar animated Arthur — in 3D Imax — where Arthur is a irresponsible raccoon who is a glutton with his acorns rather than an alcoholic, in order to keep it G-rated. I think there should be a new big budget Arthur produced EVERY 30 years. Ten year old Raymond Ochoa of the children’s TV show Drake and Josh will be perfect in thirty years time as the womanizing drunk in the new new Arthur, released in 2041.

And while we’re at it, let’s get Christopher Cross to do all the themes for all these Arthurs.

Except maybe for this one:

Hopefully, in thirty years, science will have perfected a time machine, so Hollywood studios, still hoping to recreate the success of the first Arthur, will go back in time to 1951, creating an Arthur appropriate for that era, starring Orson Welles, Deborah Kerr, and Spencer Tracy.

I wish I had a dime for every dime they spent on story conferences.

On the upside, a bevy of Arthur remakes might well silence the complaints about Lack of Inclusiveness being leveled by the Drunk Inebrio-American community.

Comments (13)




You can’t spell “incarnation” without “car”

It won’t take half an hour on busy downtown streets to tell you that there is nothing inherently poetic about bumper stickers.

On the other hand, the best of us can see the lyrical potential, and can run with it.

(The poet in question has been on Ye Olde Blogroll for years.)

Comments off




Hold not thine breath

Ric Locke has a category called “Probability Epsilon,” which deals with desirable outcomes that are less likely than the snowball’s getting past Cerberus on the way to from the warm nether regions.

This one, applying the sauce-for-the-gander principle, seems especially apt:

[E]mployees, including senior officials, at regulatory agencies should be subjected to the most extreme form possible of the edicts and ukases they enforce so enthusiastically. For instance, no EPA building, employee, or official should be permitted the use of solvents or heavy metals in any form, or engage in or benefit from any activity that emits carbon dioxide.

In fact, this need not be limited to the Executive Branch. We’ll know we’re making progress when Congressman Scheisskopf shows up with the sniffles at your local Doc-In-The-Box.

Comments (4)




Same as the old tunes

Brian J. dubs it Sudden Music Liking Syndrome:

This struck me today, as I heard the second song by The Who on the radio in two days (“Teenage Wasteland” today, “Won’t Get Fooled Again” yesterday) and decided, hey, maybe I ought to get an album by these guys.

Obviously the album to get is Who’s Next, which opens with “Baba O’Riley” (aka “Teenage Wasteland”) and closes with “Won’t Get Fooled Again.”

This phenomenon is not entirely unheard of, even among those of us whose musical tastes are alleged to have matured: there is no shortage of acts I couldn’t stand in days gone by whose recordings I now actively seek out. (Think Eagles, though I still draw the line at “Hotel California.”) On the other hand, if I never hear another Paul Simon song, it will be too soon.

Comments (3)




Minorities rule

And they intend to keep doing so whenever and wherever possible. Might as well get used to it.

Comments (2)




15th anniversary open thread

Make of it what you will.

Historical note: This site went live on 9 April 1996 with seven pages. Not all of them are still up. One of the dearly departed was the then-obligatory links page, which eventually was subsumed by the blogroll; another was something called “Tyranny of the new,” which listed every last update in reverse chronological order. That disappeared in 2000, when I started updating every day. (Before that, updates were on an as-needed basis, except for The Vent, which came out fairly regularly four times a month.)

Some ideas from the early days that have since been excised:

  • A section of 1996’s Communications Decency Act was intended to criminalize online abortion information. I am no great fan of abortion, but I took offense at this, and posted a list of local, um, service providers. (And yes, there was a list of pro-life counselors, at the very next link.) Eventually, most of the CDA was canned, and I saw no reason to maintain the list, though one relic from that period remains: a send-up of a then-well-known anti-abortion group.
  • “Your 15 minutes are up” applied the classic Warholian interval to various celebrities and concepts. The Wayback Machine actually has a 1999 copy. I’ve since used the phrase for a blog category.
  • “Forty-one with a glass ceiling,” in the Music Room, was a list of songs that peaked at #41 in Billboard. (The Cars had three of them.) I took it down after deciding that their lawyers might think I’d used too many of their chart references in a single page.

Records:

  • The dustbury.com domain was obtained in March 1999. At the time, the counter service I was using had recorded 6,444 visits; I then switched to Site Meter, and set the starting number to 6,445. The count is currently a bit over 2.1 million.
  • Busiest day ever was 12 May 2009, with 13,636 visitors, mostly due to an Instalanche on this item.
  • Originally everything here was hand-coded. I installed Movable Type in August 2002 for the daily bloggage, and put up about 7000 posts over the next four years. In September 2006, noticing performance issues, I scrapped the old database — all the old posts remained as static pages — and started over with a new permalink structure. This lasted two years, until it started taking five, six minutes to publish a post; I exported all those new posts to WordPress, then deleted both the database and the static pages, so as to avoid duplicate content. There are now about 9500 posts in the WordPress database.

If anything else is bothering you about this site, feel free to use the space below.

(Stuck to the top of the screen all day.)

Comments (23)