Thursday, June 30, 2005

Fake Indian With Master's Degree Speaks

My father was an Air Force officer. My mother met him when she was a WAC. Eventually, she married him.

Ward Churchill suggests, here, that she should have murdered him instead. He also urges his listeners to support and encourage such efforts.

No, he's not joking. Full audio, here. Want video, too?

Here, for reference, is the definition of treason, from the Constitution of the United States.

I'm no lawyer. If what Churchill is saying isn't treason, would someone who is please clarify what would be?

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

One Child Dead, 3 Wounded in Daycare Piracy Raid

If you run a daycare or preschool, and you run Microsoft Windows, you'll want to take note of this shocking news story.

Like recent stories about horrible prisoner abuse at Guantanamo and the growing American Gulag, this story should help us think about whether persuing criminals in this way is worth the price to American society and our freedoms. What have we become?

Okay, sure. A society in which newspapers, TV, and politicians say random, outrageous nonsense just to get attention, and then some folks actually believe them. There's that.

But what else?

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Hotel Very New Hampshire

Hard not to cheer this project on.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

David Aitken

This list is missing David Aitken. David and I have been sitting in Caffe Sole, talking about blogging tools. I first met David when he came at me in a contra line. Eventually, I prosteletyzed him about blogging. Now he's a much better blogger than I.

this is an audio post - click to play

MAKE: the Blog

There are so many cool things here that I'm not going to point at any of them; point at the site.

Friday, June 24, 2005

The Booboisie

After the success of Super Size Me, I went around telling people I was making a movie in which I'd go to happy hour every night at my local bar. I'd film myself drinking until I puked, getting the DTs, and then being astonished when doctors showed me I had contracted cirrhosis of the liver.

Turns out, I wasn't even being dumb enough. Where is H.L. Menken when we need him?

Nobody Expects the Spanish Inquisition, Either.

If you've been paying attention, you'll know I've been exploring Podcasting (MP3 audioblogging). If you haven't, now you know.

To educate myself, I've been looking around at other folks' podcasts. Most of it is what you'd expect, but less imaginative. Some of it is thought-provoking, and illustrates things you can't do on a regular blog.

What I didn't expect was this.

"It is a good day to podcast."

Thursday, June 23, 2005


My friend, Dee, is in Tampa, Florida, on vacation.

Canta y No Llores
Originally uploaded by goyishekop.

My father said every block in LA starts with a used-car lot and ends with a liquor store. In Romania, every block has a currency exchange, because it's cheaper to pay the conversion fee and buy Dollars or Pounds than to watch inflation turn your Lei to vapor.

Tampa has an urban-architecure pattern, too.

A decade ago, I was a consultant on a project for Tandem, where the final phase was in Tampa. I was in the second group to go. For the week before, every phone call home from the first group was sprinkled with references to the strip clubs. I thought they were kidding.

Then I flew down. There was one on every block.

The first night, I asked my co-workers which one we should go to. They shuffled their feet, then confessed they hadn't had the nerve to go.

I hurried down to the lobby and asked the concierge the name of the most tasteless strip club. He looked at the head bellhop, and they said, in unison, "Mons Venus."

"Is it close?"

"Oh, about two miles."

"That's close. I'll just walk."

"No! You can't walk. It's not safe."

"Okay. Can you get me a cab?"

"No, no. You don't need to do that. We'll just have the shuttle take you."

The shuttle?

As I stood there, he called the airport shuttle on his walkie-talkie,
and announced that he had a hotel guest who wanted to go "to the Taco Bell."

It was a Mariott -- a Mormon-owned hotel chain.

I realized instantly that (1) they had a code word so their observant guests
wouldn't be shocked and (2) they had enough guests who wanted to go that they
needed a code word.

Sure enough, the driver took me right over, as soon as he returned from his
next airport run.

Once inside, I bought an overpriced beer and had a nice conversation with one
of the strippers, who was trying to get me to buy a lapdance. We talked about
how many women worked there -- how many per shift and how many shifts -- and I did a little quick math, multiplying by the number of strip clubs I'd seen.
I conclude half the adult women in Tampa are strippers.

A few other things I did the arithmetic on:
  • Every single stripper was attractive. They weren't all my personal taste, but they were all cute. It wasn't a room full of old, blowzy, bleached junkies.
  • About half of them had tattoos, and a third were pierced. This was before tattoos and piercings were "in."
  • All of them had fancy hair-dos. I don't mean on their heads. They were all shaved in interesting, eye-catching ways.
If what you have to display is your body, and you can't decorate it with clothes, you'll still decorate it.

She eventually decided I wouldn't buy a lap dance and moved on.

I usually regret the things I didn't do more than the things that I did. I now know I should've bought the lap dance, just to see what it was like.

The Second Oldest Profession

I avoid making political posting because, as I've said elsewhere on this blog, there are so many people blogging who are better-qualified to do so.

Chacun A Son Gout

Last night, at the local, weekly, old-timey jam, a visiting piano player asked this:
Q: "What's the difference between an Uzi and an old-timey tune?"
A: "An Uzi stops after 72 rounds.
"Sally Ann" is known as "The Surry County National Anthem." Here, then, is the
Surry County French National Anthem

Les paroles

1er couplet

Allons enfants de la Ronde-Pique
Le jour de gloire est arrive!
Contredanse est une tyrranie
Des petronellas nous sommes abourres (bis)
Entendez-vous dans les campagnes
Mugir ces feroces danceurs?
Ils viennent jusque dans l'etage
Egorger vos guitarres et vos banjeaux


Aux armes, musiciens !
Formez vos vieux carres !
Clog-ons, Clog-ons.
Qu'un calleur foux
Abreuve nos sillons.
[Repetez, plus que soixante-douze foix.]

Smokey the Bear, Phone Your Office

There's a new ad playing on the radio. Two policemen are at the scene of the latest mass murder: this one, they estimate, killed "about fifteen thousand." The culprit? "That dad over there, with his kids," who accidentally set a wildfire while barbequeing.

Well, who likes wildfires? But a quick look at Billion Dollar U.S. Weather Disasters, 1980–2004 says that
in the most recent decade, wildfires have killed fewer than 50 people, total.

(Oh, you didn't mean people? You meant, like, deer and trees and stuff? Did you count mice? ants? bacteria? As Joe Friday might say, investigating such a mass murder, "Just the facts, ma'am.")

Another disingenuous ad brought to you by the U.S. Forest Service and the Ad Council. I expect the Ad Council to make stuff up, but the Forest Service is paying for this made-up stuff with my money. I suppose there wasn't really a talking "Smokey the Bear," either, but no one ever believed there was.

Immediately following was an ad from some private NGO, asking for donations to help kids in Columbia, where child abuse rates are 46%, because unemployment is 80%. Shocking.

If it were true.

The CIA Factbook, which is usually pretty good with raw data, puts 2004 unemployment in Columbia at 13.6%, which only slightly above, um, Germany, where it's at 12.5%.

Okay, sure -- the Germans used to abuse some children. But I don't think the Jews ever made up 46% of their population.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Keeping the Vampires Away

It says here that Microsoft bought a Romanian company, Sybari, that makes Unix/Linux anti-virus software, then cancelled its Unix/Linux product.

This would be a pity ... if Unix/Linux actually had viruses. In over 20 years of software, I've never seen one. Not on my Unix or Linux boxes, and not on those of anyone I've ever known.

Security problems? Sure. Viruses? Nope. Zero. None.

Indeed, a read through the article reveals the product merely let Unix/Linux boxes rid email that's passing through of Microsoft viruses, as a service to any Microsoft boxes downstream. Sort of like a water treatment plant.

And why, you may be asking yourself, would Microsoft not want that?

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Today's Riddle

What's black and white and blue all over?

Monday, June 20, 2005

Makes you think all the world's a sunny day, oh yeah.

I have portrait of time in my living room: a black-and-white dyptich -- side-by-side pictures of David and Cherie Heiser in 1966 and 1986. People have been noticing it's almost time to make it a tryptich. Now that Kodak's going to stop making black-and-white paper, this may be harder.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

iPod fever

My grandmother had real record albums. They looked like photo albums, and each "page" held a 78rpm record. Most disks only had one side. Taken together, they held the contents of 33rpm LP (long-playing record).

When I was a kid, I had a few 45s. Each had one song per side. My first was "A Rose and a Baby Ruth/If You Don't Know" by George Hamilton IV. Now, I own one 78 (R. Crumb on Red Goose records).

Banjo player Frank Lee says he learned he was old when he heard a younger musician say to his friends, "Frank's on vinyl."

For a while, there was a spate of storage-media startups, each trying to create the "next CD." Minidisks and minicasettes of various shapes and sizes came and went, each with its own recorder/player.

Meanwhile, the iPod appeared. For a little while, I thought, "Why would I want one?" Then I had the Aha!

Last night, I carpooled to a dance with four (other) middle-aged, ex-hippies. A year ago, the music in the car would have come from a CD or a casette. Instead, it was an iPod, broadcasting over an unused radio channel.

Today, Slashdot is announcing Queen buys Apple, like we're supposed to be amazed. Like we're supposed to ask, "What next? A telephone?"

Google Maps goes worldwide

Every year, someone publishes a study that says how few kids can find France on a map. Now, their computers can find France for them.


Google tells me that, af yidish, "World-Wide-Web" is װעלטנעץ

Friday, June 17, 2005

Fifty (50!) Tools which can help you in Writing

Check out these Fifty (50!) Tools which can help you in Writing.

Then ask yourself if someone who doesn't know how to capitalize titles, or introduces a restrictive clause with "which," is likely to know what he's talking about.

Finally, buy a copy of Strunk and White, and read it instead.

If $7.15 cents is too much, your favorite used-book store probably has copies for fifty cents.

If you prefer grammar fun, try Fowler & Fowler's The King's English, which can be hard to find in-print but is on-line for free.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Scott Mathis

Originally uploaded by goyishekop.

I went to Galax in the late 80's, never having been to another old-time music festival.

My first exposure to old-time music was to the Gypsy Gyppo String Band, in Seattle, but I hadn't heard any other old-timey mandolin players since I'd found my mandolin in a Colorado hock shop, for $135. I wasn't just self-taught, my style was self-invented -- cobbled out of listening to local fiddlers and banjo players and wearing through the tracks of one Gyppos' record, listening to Jerry Mitchell.

I had no guess whether the other mandolin players I'd meet there would shun me or laugh at me or think, "Okay, this guy's pretty good." What I found out was that there weren't any other mandolin players.

Then I saw Scott. He was sitting in the sun with that big hat, down by the stables, playing away in a jam, laughing, keeping up, sounding just like I wanted to sound. I remember thinking, "Look at that. He's doing stuff I thought I invented."

As soon as I sat down, he asked me if I wanted to play his mandocello.
I didn't even know there were mandocellos. Turned out it was Norman Blake's.

Five years ago, Scott moved up here from Albuquerque, with his sweetie, Linda Askew. This week, they moved back. Gosh, I miss him already.

this is an audio post - click to play

Evi comes in for a book session, from Brazil

Evi & Lynda at a book session
Originally uploaded by goyishekop.
Evi Nemeth traded in her career as a math professor in New York, and moved out west, to Colorado to be a ski bum. Then she ran out of money.

Luckily, the university C.S. department was getting its first computer, a 1-Mip VAX 11/780. Evi told them, "You'll need someone to help you with that."

Most people learn how to drive in High School. I went to HS in Spain, and teens didn't drive. When I hit thirty, my wife decided she'd try to teach me.

Don't make that mistake.

She mentioned her frustration while Evi was listening, and Evi said, "I'll teach him." She took me and my wife's old, gray, stick-shift, Toyota Corolla to an empty parking lot, had me drive around it, then directed me down Broadway, and out to her house in the mountains, which included driving across a tiny, wooden bridge.

She said, "Okay. You can drive now."

Now she's sailing, and she needs crew. Just listen:

this is an audio post - click to play

Monday, June 13, 2005


I'll cheerfully announce the new Grouchy Geezers' blog, where you can find out about the band and our gigs.


Ah. Audioblogger is back. That feels much better.

I'd looked around and found "Odeo," but that wasn't up yet, so I wasn't sure whether that'd end up providing
a suitable replacement.

Today, I got a note from Audioblogger's Noah Glass, saying it was back up -- they've been moving servers
around and have a new phone number. His return address was

Am I amused? Heck yes. Plus, Noah graciously send me an invitation to look at the odeo beta.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Spider ordering lamb curry

Spider ordering lamb curry
Originally uploaded by goyishekop.
Spider's a paleontologist, who's in school at UNLV, but doing fieldwork on mammoths in South Dakota for the summer.

She's been a firefighter, a dance caller, and a furniture refinisher. Spider tells people, "I used to be a professional stripper, and now I've moved to Vegas." Only when necessary will she admit that's "paint stripper."

Spider drove down for a Lindy Hop festival, and called me about 4:30 in the morning, after she realized she didn't have any place to stay and couldn't think of anyone else in the area that she could call at 4:30 in the morning.

When I call to her--"Hey! Dwarf!,"--she corrects me: "Elf. That's 'elf.'"

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Sure glad I didn't step in it

Here, we have a live video broadcast (and pics) of the University of Wisconsin'sblooming Titan Arum

Friday, June 10, 2005

Why's (Poignant) Guide to Ruby

An underground comic disguised as a programming language tutorial. And vice versa.

This guide is deeply odd. I like it.

Blogging with Digg

In a few short months, Ajax has moved from an obscure and rarely used technology to the hottest thing since sliced bread. This article introduces the incredibly easy-to-use Ajax support that is part of the Ruby on Rails web application framework.

read more | digg story

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Even better than Linux Users' Group meetings?

Geek 2 Geek - The Best Place on the Net to Meet Geeks!

And all this time I thought it was slashdot.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

John Kerry Signs SF-180

Yes, really.

People are saying the records are incomplete, they reveal he was a crappier student than GWB, they show he's incomprehensible because he's just dim, they may not *really* be all the records, he should have released them long ago, and on and on and on.

Even if you believe all that and more: So?

We wanted him to sign the form. He signed the form. Good for him!

Monday, June 06, 2005

Four Decades Later, LAPD Still In Watts.

The other day, a friend asked me, "So why do you suppose we went into Iraq without a timetable for pulling out?"

I said, "When do you suppose we're going to finally bring the troops home from Europe?"

She said, "I was talking about Iraq."

I said, "So was I. And Afghanistan. And Korea. And Japan."

Point of information: in 1989, over forty years after WWII, the U.S. still had 250,000 troops in Europe, not counting families. They helped us win the Cold War, and now we're at half that. My sister, Jo, was born in Germany, when my father was sent there to help keep the Soviet Union from starving the non-Soviet zones of Berlin into submission.

After Six Decades, No End To The Quagmire makes the same point, but is funnier.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

From the Land of Sky Blue Waters

For anyone who wants a recent summary, here areThe Churchill Files.


There have, for some time, been reports that not all Euros are created equal. (Imagine if quarters minted in Denver bought more than quarters minted in Philadelphia.)

Well, here's another one.

Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam

A discussion with the praiseworthy Ron Coleman about Hormel's latest attempt
to keep people from asking, "Why did Hormel decide to name their product after junk email?" left me asking myself,
Why haven't I ever spammed anyone?
I tried thinking about this question for a few minutes, and ran up against the brick wall I usually hit when I ponder deep philosophical questions.

Then, I hit on the obvious solution. I had Amazon ship Ron this.

Beauty Is In The Eye Of The Beholder

"Beautiful" in a site name is the kind of puffery that usually makes me say, "No point in even looking." Here are two that are at least ... oh ... I don't know, ... more thought provoking than I would have guessed from the names? Beautiful Atrocities and Beautiful Agony.

Freedom From Religion

It's hard to shock anyone by saying "Kids Nowadays Don't Know Nothin'!" but the report that fewer than 20% of Dartmouth undergrads can name three of the twelve apostles:" is a bit surprising.

Maybe that's why the alumni have finally voted in Trustees who want to abolish "Freedom from Speech."

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Report from the Belly of the Beast

"A" writes us that in the Netherlands, you need a university math degree to teach high school math. Ditto for the sciences.

Sites like Number 2 Pencil , and others anthologized by the Carnivalia of Education talk, from the inside, about what it's like here.

Friday, June 03, 2005


As Glen Reynold's Autoblogger-generated entries say, Heh. HT: Blogger Buzz

Thursday, June 02, 2005


Given what's important on the internet -- well, and in life -- why not give it a real, top-level domain?
Well, they have.

You Get What You Pay For

No wonder the French and German governments like the EU.

Free Speech

And what's the state of New Jersey thinking about doing to fix the problem? Suing him, of course.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Your Quiz for Today

Programmer or Serial Killer?
HT: Brian Ellis