Actual Swatra quote: "You ARE consistent. Just not all the time."
Tis the season
The return of Esc
A flick by any other name III
No Country for Old Men
Made-for-TV slapstick comedy about two grumpy old guys from Louisiana who are denied their beloved country music when they join a Florida nursing home. What follows is a silly series of sketches around Bo and Cletus' attempts to sabotage the house rule and listen to their beloved Hank Williams record collection.
Reviews of fictional bars and restaurants
Central Perk, 341 Hudson St, New York, NY
"Decent coffee" at this Greenwich Village "relaxed place to hang out", but beware: "The cozy corner with the couch is almost always taken." Frequented by a twentysomething crowd who "seem to have nothing better to do". Avoid on weekends when a local singer-songwriter peforms "the most godawful live music known to man".
Cheers, 212 Canal St, Boston, MA
"Strictly for locals", this classic Boston dive located below the fancy restaurant Melville's, is anything but fancy. Beware the "waitress with a notorious attitude problem". The beer is cheap, but "the two guys at the end of the bar just won't stop talking". The young bartender tends to screw up your order, he's "not the brightest bulb in the box".
Café Nervosa, 76 Pike Street (corner 3rd Ave), Seattle, WA
"Middle-aged singles aplenty" in this trendy coffee bar that serves "a mean espresso". Popular with the working crowd in the surrounding area.
My Little Corner of the Web
There. How do you like it?
Open letter to Hotel Zlatorog, Bohinj, Slovenia
Dear Sir or Madam,
I recently paid a visit to your hotel, located on the western shore of Bohinj lake in Slovenia. When I entered the elevator to go up to my room, I was surprised to see the following notice inside:
I can't tell you how reassured I felt. How many hotels can truthfully say that they have installed a pyramid on the premises to meet my cosmic energy needs, and minimize radiation at the same time? (Although I must admit that my tinfoil hat filters out most of the sigma and tau rays.)
Greatly invigorated, I went to sleep in your lovely room 403.
At exactly 4:03 in the morning, I was awoken by a sudden rumbling.
The noise seemed to be emanating from the minibar (which, by the way, was fully stocked --thanks for that). When I approached it, the door burst open and a bright column of light lit up the room as if it was midday. Before I could close the door, out stepped the demon Zalk'orm, also known by his ominous nickname, The Soul-Eater. It took me a few seconds to compose myself, and by then he'd already started to recite the Chant of Doom, so I did what anyone would have done: I rapidly yelled out the Fifth Incantation of Shingark the Elder, which dematerialized Zalk'orm back to the Nether Realm, leaving only a faint fragrance of asparagus in the room.
I think you know what I'm going to say next: apparently, your hotel is located on an intersection of the Lines of Nagzouu, a known portal into the Nether Realm, which your pyramid has inadvertently opened. If you've lately (especially since 08-08-2008) experienced hotel guests checking out without leaving their key or --more importantly-- paying the bill, the reason may well be an increase in demonic activity. It might also explain why the pasta in your all-you-can-eat buffet has been tasting a bit off.
To resolve this problem, you have the following options. First, you can require the guests' credit card details up front to ensure payment. Second, you can move the entire hotel approximately 25 feet to the north (which would bring it closer to the lakeside as well -- an added bonus). Third, you can get rid of the pyramid. I know that this last option is obviously the least preferable, but look at the bright side: by ditching the pyramid (and the notice in the elevator) you'll be attracting more, shall we say unenlightened guests who believe in such ridiculous concepts as 'common sense' and 'science'.
Anyway, best of luck with your great hotel, I intend to visit you again soon. And say hi to Zalk'orm from me if he rematerializes.
Just The Trailer: Imaginary movies, part1
I love movie trailers. Most movie trailers condense the speed, action and/or humor of a movie in a few short minutes in a blast of energy that often puts the full-length feature to shame.
Filmmakers also love movie trailers, so much in fact that they sometimes that they make trailers for movies that don't exist. I'm collecting them as far as I remember running into them, but if you know any, please let me know!
To kick things off, here's the trailer for That's Armageddon', a 70s disaster movie that will have you 'scared shitless', starring George Lazenby and a cameo by Donald Sutherland. This trailer featured in the zany sketch compilation, 'Kentucky Fried Movie'.
Internet caters to the desperate
"Me need woman. ANY woman. Where? ANYWHERE."
Alexa Kitchen, 10-year-old cartoonist
"Jealous fish" by Alexa Kitchen
Thanks to my endless stroll through the Rocketboom archives, I discovered the awesomeness of Alexa Kitchen, a cartoonist who started making comics when she was about 5 years old and hasn't stopped since. Praised by such giants as Robert Crumb and Will Eisner, you might expect her to make detailed, lovingly drawn artwork.
Well, no. Alexa is a kid and her stuff looks like it. But here's the thing: in comics, that's a good thing. The way she can convey an emotion with just a few strokes of the pen; her one-page stories told in drawings without dialogs; her quirky, funny look at the world she lives in; all those are the marks of a true cartoonist. Also a good sign: she's obsessive about drawing, churning out literally tens of thousands of sketches and comics.
Alexa's parents are being great about this, never forcing her and shielding her from too much media attention. More power to her.
UN countries that sound like recording artists
..and the kind of recording artists I imagine them to be. These are all actual countries.
- Wimpy New York folk singer-songwriter
- Scandinavian death metal with awful fantasy album cover art
- Saint Kitts and Nevis
- Married couple singing evangelical hymns in the 70s --album cover shows Saint Kitts in an angelic white dress while her husband Nevis plays a white piano
- Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
- Vegas party band, 'for all your weddings and bar mitsvas', plays Caribbean evergreens
- Finnish symphonic rock
If Shakespeare had been a GUI designer
Stick it to the Man!
This is a fairly long post, but I promise it's worth your while.
Yesterday, for no particular reason, I started thinking about the way big companies communicate with us. This example, sent to me by my bank, serves to illustrate.
Naturally, you want to have your banking affairs arranged as safely as possible. NAME OF BANK is doing its utmost to make that possible. The law, too, places more and more restrictions on the security of financial services. This means, among others, that every bank, pursuant to the Law of Identification for Services, is obligated to (re)establish and record the identity of its customers.
What does this identification obligation mean for you?
We ask that you visit one of our offices before 27 September 2006 in person with a valid ID, so that we may identify you. After identification, your ID and signature will be scanned. This scan will be added to our administration.
Where and when can you visit us?
To identify yourself, you can visit any of our offices. For your convenience, we have temporarily extended the opening hours of some of our offices. The office closest to you is ADDRESS. You can visit us there for identification on weekdays between 9 AM and 5.30 PM. [These are normal opening hours.]
What do you need to bring with you?
-A valid and non-expired ID, for example a passport, driver's license or identity card.
-This letter or your bank card.
N. Assclown, BA [name changed]
PS We look forward to seeing you before 27 September 2006 at our offices!
This letter bears all the markings of corporate communication:
- It starts out with what sounds helpful to us, even though we're doing the bank a favor.
- It blames the law for bothering us.
- It doesn't apologize for making us do this.
- It sets an arbitrary deadline without explaining what happens when you miss it.
- It fails to seriously address the problem of what to do if you're at work between 9 AM and 5.30 PM.
- It fails to explain what to do if you can't come to the post office (say, you're elderly and can't walk very well).
- The author mentions his or her BA, which is generally not considered polite as it's not much of an academic achievement (unlike, say, a PhD), and looks like it's included only to impress the reader.
- The PS sounds vaguely intimidating.
Here is the letter I mailed back to the bank today:
Dear Mr or Ms Assclown [name changed],
Naturally, you want to have your banking affairs arranged as safely as possible. NAME OF FICTITIOUS COMPANY is doing its utmost to make that possible. The law, too, places more and more restrictions on the security of financial services. This means, among others, that NAME OF BANK, pursuant to the Law of Identification for Services, is obligated to (re)establish and record the identity of its customers.
What does this identification obligation mean for you?
We ask that you visit the above address before 27 November 2006 in person with a valid ID and a scanner, so that you may identify us. After identification, you can scan our ID and signature. You can then add this scan to your administration.
Where and when can you visit us?
Since we work during office hours, you can only visit us outside office hours. But for your convenience, we have temporarily extended our opening hours. You can visit us at our address between 8 PM and 1 AM (normally only until 12 PM).
What do you need to bring with you?
-A valid ID, for example a passport, driver's license or identity card.
-A document that proves that you indeed work for NAME OF BANK, such as an employment contract or salary slip.
We apologize in advance for the inconvenience.
PS We look forward to seeing you before 27 November 2006 at our address!
I'll keep you posted on what happens.
"If a sperm is wasted, God gets quite irate..."
I was wondering how confusing it would be to have a movie which had the title "In Theaters Now" or "This Summer".
And then it hit me. The movie title to end all movie titles:
Coming Soon -- an in-depth documentary about premature ejaculation.
For all you hardcore Sudoku fanatics, here's one that is sure to keep you occupied for your entire three-week holiday.
The XANTANOX HEALING CRYSTAL!!!!!
Discover the AMAZING powers of the XANTANOX HEALING CRYSTAL!!!
- been DEFRAUDED by HEALERS who promised to cure everything from INGROWN toenails to CANCER?
- joined a CULT and MINDLESSLY followed a SELF-PROCLAIMED PROPHET who took all your MONEY?
- spent HOURS trying to DECIPHER what your OUIJA BOARD meant by "EGTERGHDBVFMDF"?
- been EXPOSED to UNNECESSARILY capitalized WORDS?
The XANTANOX CRYSTAL, revealed many MILLENNIA ago to ancient MAYAS by an ALIEN SPECIES called the "HUMPHREYS", has the INCREDIBLE power to acutely cure ANYONE WHO TOUCHES IT of a belief in the SUPERNATURAL! Simply touch the crystal 43 times per day and within MONTHS, you will have become a SANE, RATIONAL human being with no interest in PSEUDOSCIENTIFIC MUMBO-JUMBO... EVER again!!
Order your XANTANOX CRYSTAL NOW! All major CREDIT CARDS accepted! Only $2199,- (or pay in FORTY-THREE easy INSTALLMENTS of $700 each)!
Caution: dirty words ahead
Here's the kind of stuff that keeps me up at night.
Why do they call it 'taking a dump'?
I don't know about you guys, but for me, the prospect of taking this somewhere (and where would you take it?) doesn't have much appeal.
There's a similar expression 'taking a piss', again suggesting something that only Tour de France cyclists need to do. Surprisingly, 'taking the piss' means something completely different.
Does it have to do with the subject matter? Because comedian Ben Elton once noted:.
"Blow job.. BLOW job. If there's one thing anyone knows, it's... you are NOT supposed to BLOW."
Conversations with Anna from IKEA
Someone just reminded me of a conversation I had some time ago with Anna, the "helpful" ChatBot from IKEA. It took some digging, but here, in its entirety is my passionate exchange with the hottest avatar on the Web:
-Welcome to IKEA. How can I help you?
-You could start by giving me your number, you little minx.
-If you're not sure, then I don't think I can help you properly. Ask me a direct question about IKEA and I'm sure I can help.
-I've never been more sure about anything in my life!
-It's not always possible for me to fully understand what it is you mean. This is one of those times.
-I want you. It's as simple as that.
-You said it.
-And I wanna hear you say it too.
-If you want affordable solutions for better living, you are at the right place.
-Are you saying I can move in with you?
-I wish I knew what it was you meant by that, but I don't. Sorry.
-Oh, blissful ignorance. If you only knew how I felt about you.
-Sometimes you have to trust your feelings, sometimes no...
-Sure, go all zen on me, you sphinx-like goddess.
-I really can't talk about that, it's confidential. Please talk to me about IKEA.
-Are they monitoring your calls? Can you speak freely?
-Unfortunately, unless it's relevant to IKEA in some way, I can't get involved.
-I understand. We must proceed with caution.
-I'm afraid I don't know exactly what you're talking about. Try and ask your question in a different way. Thanks.
-Do you have a couch in the color of that gorgeous, luscious red hair of yours?
-Please have a look at the Fabric Sofas.
-I tried, but I can't pull away from your beautiful smile.
-What would you like to know about IKEA?
-IKEA, IKEA, is that all you talk about?
-This web page will tell you more about IKEA, our products and services.
-Give it a rest, will ya.
-It's not always possible for me to fully understand what it is you mean. This is one of those times.
-Stop focusing on work, start living a little!
-That time will come in everyone's life, but not for an IKEA Online Assistant.
-Can't join the union huh? That must suck.
-I am not designed to understand or feel insults, although my knowledge will surely improve after this conversation. What would you like to know about IKEA?
-I'm sorry, Anna, I didn't mean to--
-It's a wonderful thing to be unique in this world.
-Yes, and you most certainly are.
-You are perfectly entitled to hold any opinion you want about me. Furthermore, your comments improve my knowledge base. Thank you!
-Here's an opinion: you're so hot I wanna do you on an affordable, well-designed kitchen table.
-Please have a look at the Tables.
-I did. You're better looking.
-All of IKEA's products are made to the highest standards.
-Including you, you gorgeous redhead.
-I'm not going to enter into a discussion about hair color. Please, ask me a question in relation to IKEA.
-Don't worry, Anna, I'd love you no matter what your hair color was.
-Don't worry, I know it's going to happen some day.
-Thinking of dyeing it?
-I'm really not sure what it is you're trying to say. Can you please try and re-phrase your question or statement.
-You want to paint your hair in a different color?
-I cannot as I am a computer program and I do not have a corporeal dimension. Please submit a question which is specifically about IKEA.
-I'm sure your developers can make it black.. or blond..
-Sorry but I am not designed to give in-depth answers to these types of statements. You may however find it of use to know that we have a wide range of work space related furniture in our stores.
-Work space? What are you trying to tell me?
-I said ...
-It's not always possible for me to fully understand what it is you mean. This is one of those times.
-That makes two of us.
-For which product would you like to know what kind of materials it is made from?
-You, down to the last pixel.
-I'm really not sure what it is you're trying to say. Can you please try and re-phrase your question or statement.
-Why are you wearing an earpiece?
-I have an outfit that my creators made for me, but because I'm an IKEA Online Assistant, I don't wear real clothes.
-I'm sorry, I don't understand what it is you're saying. If it's no problem, please rephrase your question or comment.
-I know the Swedish are into nudism, but a naked receptionist? Wow.
-That's great, but I only speak English.
-OK, but do you French kiss?
-We get visitors from all over the world to this website. Do you have a question about IKEA?
-What are you saying, that I'm just another guy to you?
-Whatever you are makes no difference to me at all.
-That really, really hurt, Anna.
-That's me! How can I help you?
-I don't suppose you know how to mend a broken heart?
-Here you will find Sewing Accessories.
-Sure, mock me, you heartless ice queen.
-I'm afraid I'm not here to talk about music. If you have a question about IKEA, please ask now.
-The only music I wanna play right now is the blues.
-My job is talk about IKEA and our products and services, but not about things like that. Sorry.
-You're the most cold-hearted woman I ever met.
-Sorry, but I don't really have the expertise to comment on health matters. I should perhaps stress that my knowledge base is limited and only covers IKEA related matters. Can I be of any more assistance?
-Well, I still feel sick, if you don't mind me saying.
-I'm no expert, but I suggest going to see a doctor.
-I did, a psychiatrist. She told me I fall in love too easily.
-Being saluted by humans amazes me, thank you.
-What about being loved, and cuddled, and hugged?
-It's certainly an interesting subject, but I'd rather not talk about it if you don't mind.
-I hurt your feelings and for that I am truly sorry.
-It's too difficult for me to give an answer to that one. I'd much prefer to talk about IKEA though.
-Too difficult, oh God, did I make you cry?
-I prefer not to discuss those sort of things. Let's talk about IKEA.
-Listen, Anna, I've been an idiot! Please forgive me, I don't know what came over me.
-That's me! How can I help you?
-Take me back, I want things back the way they were.
-It's not always possible for me to fully understand what it is you mean. This is one of those times.
-OK, I'll grovel if you want me to. I didn't know a good thing when I saw it.
-I'm sorry, but I don't know the answer to that just yet.
-So there is still hope for us, eventually?
-That's an interesting topic, but unfortunately I don't have the knowledge to be able to discuss this properly.
-I understand, it will take time. Goodbye, Anna.
-Bye, then! It was very nice talking to you!
-I enjoyed our talk too.
-I can see that. Well, as long as you keep talking, I'll keep responding.
-You saying that means a lot to me. Goodbye.
-Bye, then! It was very nice talking to you!
A good sign in a public place immediately and unambiguously communicates its meaning. A picture of a burning cigarette with a red stripe or cross through it can hardly be understood otherwise.
Here's a selection of signs from the GVB, the Amsterdam public transport system, and what I think they should mean.
Buy one ticket: cool. Buy two tickets "just to be sure": even cooler. Thanks!
By all means, bring your bike.
Oh wait, on second thought, it's prohibited.
|Rollerblading on a skateboard|
Don't try to rollerblade on a skateboard. No one has ever managed that.
This is Amsterdam. You're gonna step in dog shit. But don't use our seats to get it off.
|No free jazz improv|
Don't bring along a kiddie trumpet when you take your boombox. It's annoying.
You shouldn't be eating and drinking all this junk.
Do not use strollers that "levitate" and are made from toothpicks. And save that baseball cap until your kid is big enough for Little League.
They offered to enlarge my penis. They offered to make $$$ fast (that's easy: press Shift-4 repeatedly). They've even offered to help me get rid of spam. And now this!
Is this a porn tie-in with X-Men 3? Or horror at its most disgusting?
Imagine your computer-illiterate grandma seeing this e-mail subject. How do you tell her that random strangers sending you e-mails entitled "Mutant Dicks Explode" is perfectly normal?
Or imagine getting snail mail like this: an envelope with your name and address on it, stating "Mutant Dicks Explode" in bold lettering. What would your mailman think?
FW: Lame joke
When colleagues send me a movie of a skater falling on his ass, a viral commercial or the latest blonde joke, I can't help but laugh.
Not at this mother-in-law, nudge-nudge-wink-wink kind of "humor", but at the solemn disclaimer underneath:
"Confidentiality Warning: The contents of this e-mail and any accompanying documentation are confidential and any use thereof, in what ever form, by anyone other than the addressee is strictly prohibited."
Don't even think of forwarding these pictures of Bush's face paired with chimpanzees'. Our lawyers will hunt you down. These 100 Worst Pick Up Lines are FOR YOUR EYES ONLY!
Canned laughter is as stupid as the Idiot Box on a postcard ("for idiots who can't remember where to put the stamp, it's over here"). Self-confident sitcoms don't need it (think "Malcolm in the Middle").
But then, why not also add canned crying to dramas? An audience that can't tell when to guffaw should have as much difficulty identifying a two-hankee moment.
Jack Dawson: "Never let go."
Rose DeWitt Bukater: "I'll never let go. I'll never let go, Jack."
TEARS TRACK: "BOOHOOHOOOOOO!!! HE'S DEAD!!! WAAAAAAAAAAAHHH!!!"
I think it would add a lot to the cinematic experience, don't you?
Fake Movie Reviews: "Helix"
Apart from reviewing actual movies, I've decided to also review movies that only exist within another movie. This movie, "Helix", only exists in the movie "Notting Hill".
Exobiologist Zelda Zoron, aboard the deep space vessel Helix with her skeleton crew, responds to a distress call. She's tricked into letting Vorgor, a psychopathic flesh-eating robot (Gonzalez) onto the ship. What follows is the traditional elimination game that, in this case, leaves only Lt. Murray (Harrison) and Zoron standing. I won't reveal the surprise ending, suffice to say that the movie changes its tone considerably and has sparked all sorts of Web discussions about time travel paradoxes.
"Helix" marks Anna Scott's first attempt to abandon her girlie romcom image and venture into unexplored genres. Director Harvey Schmidt does a fine job balancing between "Aliens" action adventure and "Space Odyssey"-type visual poetry. Harrison's supporting role is pretty much phoned in, and the rest of the crew are, frankly, talentless unknowns who were never heard from again. In the end, it's Scott who carries the film, and does so fairly succesfully. Hollywood dictated that there be a sequel, but "Helix 2" was a big disappointment.
Every fantasy or sci-fi blockbuster seems to have a group of rabid fans who deliberately obsess about the movie's most insignificant character.
Star Wars aficionados revere the irrelevant Boba Fett. The Wierzbowski Hunters find every frame in "Aliens" showing the obscure Pvt. Wierzbowski before he gets killed. Trekkies speculate about Morn, the taciturn alien barfly in "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine".
Now, a new unknown joins the ranks of unsung heroes: Figwit, a silent member of the Council of Elrond in "Lord of the Rings". The made-up name Figwit say his "discoverers", stands for "Frodo is grea.. WHO is THAT?!"
Sign of the Old Times
The universal signs for male/female toilets are so familiar that we hardly think about them. But imagine seeing this sign for the first time. Would you have any clue as to what it means? "Stand here, with your arms slightly spread out"? And looking at men and women today, would it be obvious that men go left and women go right? How many women wear knee-high skirts? Which way would a Scotsman with a kilt go?
The more I think about it, the more I realize that these icons should show what you're actually supposed to do. In detail.
Worst invention ever: the phone menu
"Welcome to Feelgood Health Insurance. To learn about our products, press 1."
"Not interested, I need a human."
"To discuss a rejected insurance claim..."
"Yeah, yeah, get on with it."
"...press 2. To submit your insurance claim, press 3. To hold for..."
"'4' is invalid."
"To learn about our--"
"What?! You BASTARD!"
"...press 1. To discuss..."
"I'm really enjoying this... at 50 CENTS A MINUTE!"
"... insurance claim, press 3. To hold for one of our operators..."
"EIGHT?! Where did that come from?"
[Celine Dion sings "My heart will go on" for 80 excruciating seconds]
"Our operators are momentarily busy. The average waiting time is 19 minutes. Please try again later."
Earth sandwich reference map
Belgian humorist Kamagurka wrote, "Placing two slices of bread on either side of the globe doesn't mean you got yourself an earth sandwich."
American humorist Ze Frank disagrees. His earth sandwich project includes a Google Earth-powered tool to find your antipode.
Unfortunately, this map I made shows (bright orange areas) how rarely land is found on opposite sides of the planet:
- Antarctica overlaps with Greenland, Northern Canada and Northern Siberia.
- The Iberian peninsula overlaps with New Zealand.
-Argentina and Chili meet China and Mongolia.
- Peru and Venezuela are opposite South East Asia.
Dumbest city in the universe: Metropolis
Morons, every last one of 'em.
The dubious "honor" of being the stupidest municipality on the planet goes to none other than Metropolis, the bustling, ehm.. metropolis where Superman resides. Since arriving, the superhero has performed 17,516 amazing feats of awesomeness, only to vanish and reappear as Clark Kent, invariably asking, 'Lois? Did I miss something?'
No one in the huge crowds attending these dashing actions ever noticed that Kent looks exactly like Superman (minus costume, plus glasses)?! Honestly, it's no wonder Superman needs to keep fighting crime: the citizens of Metropolis couldn't pick a criminal out of a lineup if he changed his pants.
Matrix Least Dialogue Competition: Apoc
Switch said 60 words, Dozer 42. But the winner of our "Least eloquent Matrix character" competition is... Apoc!
Apoc has the dubious honor of having a mere thirty-six words to his name. To wit:
"Targeting, almost there!"
"LOCK, I got him!"
"Yeah, or a bowl of snot."
"Shut up, Mouse."
"Here it comes..."
"Neo...I hope the Oracle gave you some good news..."
Imagine being remembered as the guy one sixth of whose total contribution to one of the most popular movies ever was "Yeah, or a bowl of snot"...
Poor Julian Arahanga.
Dan Brown hates the Da Vinci Code movie
"The Da Vinci Code" is a horrible book. It explains too much. It contains zerodimensional characters. Above all, it is very badly written.
Millions of fans apparently disagree. I would ask them to read this quote from author Dan Brown, regarding the "Da Vinci Code" movie:
'I truly believe that moviegoers will come out of the theater feeling like they have just watched the novel.'
Yes, this wordsmith claims that picking up your copy of his book, putting it on the table, and staring at it intently, is like watching the movie.
...Come to think of it, he's probably right.
Matrix Least Dialogue Competition: Dozer
Having found out that Switch says sixty words in the entire "Matrix" movie, you'd think that nobody has less to say. Well, you'd be wrong. Here's everything Dozer says. (You don't remember good old Dozer? He was that one big black guy that Cypher blasted away with that awesome EMP weapon.)
"He still needs a lot of work."
"...The little one behind you is Mouse."
"No, another ship."
"Shit...squiddies sweeping in quick."
"It's a single celled protein combined with synthetic aminos, vitamins, and minerals. Everything the body needs."
42, count 'em, FORTY-TWO words. Poor Dozer.
The Social Science Resource Network is a solemn Web site containing many serious research papers, and at least one not-so-serious one.
"Harry Potter and the Unforgivable Curses: Norm-formation, Inconsistency, and the Rule of Law in the Wizarding World" examines the world-famous Harry Potter books from a legal perspective. This may come as a surprise, but "[t]here is law in every chapter, and on almost every page, of all six books", the abstract assures us. Personally, I'd sooner replace 'law' in that sentence with 'adventure', 'humor' or even 'delight', but to each his own.
Read an abstract of this article
Web 2.0 Release Notes
Ahhh, so that's what Web 2.0 is!
How to upgrade
Shun sane people to whom the so-called "real world" matters. Instead, join the Web 2.0 circlejerk (read: "Install an RSS Reader").
Web 2.0 is user-driven. That means you make the content. In Web 1.0, professional "content authors" couldn't attract visitors for love nor money. Now we're letting 100 million amateurs at it.
We dumped venture capitalists. True, we now have no money, but they were really putting us down.
It's still just stuff in a browser.
It still doesn't make any money.
It's still more of a collective hobby than an industry.
Matrix Least Dialogue Competition: Switch
After watching "The Matrix" last night, I checked the script online to verify my suspicion: some of Morpheus' crew only have a handful of lines throughout the entire movie. For example's, here's everything that "Switch" says before her fateful demise:
"Take off your shirt."
"Stop the car. Listen to me, Coppertop. We don't have time for twenty questions. Right now, there's only one rule: Our way - or the highway."
"It's on the move....you're going to lose it..."
"It doesn't mean anything..."
"No, but technically, neither did you."
"Digital pimp, hard at work."
"Not like this...not like this..."
Usability Beef (Extra Lean)
Dear Windows 2003 Usability Team,
I just stepped through your troubleshooter to fix a printer problem. The final page I arrived at is displayed above. Some questions about this screen:
- Why is there one radiobutton? What's the point of having one radiobutton?
- What happens if I select this option? Will this send an e-mail to Microsoft Customer Support that they should expect a call soon?
- What happens if I don't select this option? Should I then feel guilty about being a quitter?
Let's be honest, people. This button doesn't do anything, does it? Then why is it there? I'm stumped.
More usability beef
Strange movie cliché
Here is an oft-heard phrase in heist movies, said by the cop or competing gangster upon cornering the bad guy:
"You made one mistake, Jimmy. You got greedy."
Um.. hello? Jimmy is a gangster. He didn't get greedy, he was greedy from the start. That's why he took up a life of crime. Tsk. Movies... they're so unrealistic.
Welcome to teh Internets!!!1
Yes, you! Welcome to internet! You may find people here who speak a weird and whacky language, using acronyms to abbreviate common phrases. For your convenience, I'll explain some of them.
|FYI||Fondle Your Intestines. This phrase refers to satisfied internet users who tickle their tummy after a particularly good pizza.|
|IMHO||Internet Male Homosexual. Considered one of the worst insults on the 'Net. If someone says something like "IMHO, Bush is a great president", all bets are off.|
|A/S/L||Aged, Sex-deprived Loser. This refers to the speaker himself.|
|BRB||Baud Rate Beautiful. This means the user has a very fast internet connection.|
|BTW||Beware the Wolf-Woman. Refers to a mythical internet creature that supposedly eats bandwidth.|
The Hagakure Manager
Ray Samor is the bestselling author of "The Hagakure Manager", a new and exciting book that takes the ancient wisdom found in the ancient Japanese book Hagakure: The Way of the Samurai and applies them to our modern business environment.
"I think there's a lot we can learn from this old manual," says Samor when I meet him at his office at Baloney, Brouhaha and Hotaire in downtown Manhattan. "Because that's what this book is: a manual for how to improve your life and the lives of those around you. And yes, sometimes that means disemboweling your fellow man."
"It's quite stunning how well these old recommendations translate to the corporate world. Take this quote:
In the last fifty years, men's pulse has become the same as women's. Noticing this, in the treatment of eye disease I applied women's treatment to men and found it suitable. When I observed the application of men's treatment to men, there was no result. This I knew that men's spirit had weakened and that they had become the same as women, and the end of the world had come. Since I witnessed this with certainty, I kept it a secret.I read this as: equality in the workplace is a disaster. Treat men and women differently; they are different, after all. But don't tell anyone or you'll have a discrimination lawsuit on your hands."
"And there's more. 'A samurai will use a toothpick even though he has not eaten' translates as 'Our company does not have a dental plan.' But the wisest lesson of all can be found hidden in this quote: "Furthermore, drinking a concoction of the feces from a dappled horse is the way to stop bleeding from an injury received by falling off a horse.'"
I look at Samor quizzically. Could he mean...?
"That's right. If you got on your high horse and fell flat on your face, just eat whatever horseshit they feed you, or you're out the door pronto."
Note: All quotes are from the book Hagakure - the Book of the Samurai, written in 1716 by Yamamoto Tsunetomo. Here are sizeable excerpts from the book.
Boss Key Follow-up
They work in the same company, have the same interests and both want to be head of the department.
Why does Steve have more of chance the John?
Because he has an excellent reputation.
Steve uses the Boss Key thingy, so he's more likely to get promoted than John. Riiight. Doesn't the fact that Steve needs a Boss Key in the first place make him an unlikely candidate for promotion? No. He appears to be working constantly. That alone guarantees a glorious career.
Only marketing people, who make a living pretending to be working, could come up with a rationale like this one.
The snowstone Boss Key
In olden days, computer games for the PC had a Boss Key, a predefined keystroke in the game (say Ctrl+B) that you could hit when the boss walked in. Hitting the key would stop the game and replace it with an impressive graph or Excel sheet.
These days, weblogs are an important piece of entertainment during working hours, so why should they not also have a Boss Key? Unfortunately, catching keystrokes from within a browser is kinda difficult, but a hyperlink is the next best thing. The link is on the left in the snowstone homepage. Use it when necessary.
Mosty annoying computer messages (with suggested rewrites)
- "You must restart your computer for the changes to take effect. This is because Windows sucks."
- "This program has performed an illegal operation and will now terminate. That includes the document you've been working on all day."
- "This feature is only available to registered users of this product. That ain't you, Cheapo."
- "The www.vitallyimportant.com database is currently unavailable. Please try again later. Our DBA is watching the Dragonball Z Marathon and nobody else here knows how to reboot the server."
- "The application referenced memory at 0x000000000. We don't know what that means either, but we just thought we'd mention it."
Time to look for another nick?
Just discovered that poor icon is an anagram of cronopio.
Common sense not included
Battery-operated toys carry this wonderful message: 'Batteries not included'.
Well, yeah. Batteries are not included. A Super-Sized Vanilla McShake is also not included. Neither is Zorrata, Death-Defying Daughter of Destiny, or the complete works of Oscar Wilde.
Then again, there are lots of other things that also don't have batteries included, like sauerkraut, leather jackets, and Post-It notes, and yet they don't carry this message.
What they're really trying to say is, 'You need to buy batteries to get this to work.' But no, that would be too explicit and direct, wouldn't it? So let's resort to a stupid phrase.
Blurbs for blurbless books: the Phone Directory
I love the word 'blurb'. It sounds like a cross between an onomatopoeia for vomiting and a monster from a 50s sci-fi Z-movie. But no, it's merely the promotional text found on a book jacket.
Some books don't have blurbs, presumably because they are beyond the need for praise. What would blurbs for such books look like? Here's one:
The Phone Directory
This mammoth reference work is now in its 128th edition, and still going strong as ever. An indispensable tome for private and corporate readers alike, it's where you go to find someone... to find anyone! Set in a readable yet dense typeface, The Phone Directory offers hundreds of thousands of phone numbers, conveniently sorted by surname. Address information helps you distinguish one J. Jones from another. All you need now is a telephone (landline or mobile, either will do!) and make contact.
But wait! Your name can be in this book, which is distributed in 5,000,000 copies across the country! Simply request a telephone connection and we will make sure that your name, address and phone number appear in the next edition of... The Phone Directory!
Google Image Hotness Rank
Gossip columnists and the general public alike are obsessed with that ever-changing question. No, not 'What is the meaning of life?' or 'How are the rescue operations in Pakistan progressing?' but 'Who's hot and who's not?'
If this question is about women, I've found a quick and easy method of determining how hot a certain babe is. Here's the procedure:
- Open a browser of your choice.
- Go to www.google.com and click Images above the search box.
- Make sure that SafeSearch is turned off (you can turn it off in Preferences).
- Enter the name of the alleged babe in the search box and hit Enter.
- Scan the thumbnails displayed for a nude picture (either photoshopped or from a sinful past).
- The number of this picture is this babe's Hotness Rank (e.g. if the first nude picture is the twelfth one, the Hotness Rank is 12).
'Close the door, will ya!' said Eric, as Peter brought in the cold wind and some of the blizzard that was raging outside.
'All right all right, keep your shirt on!' Peter shouted.
'Oh, don't worry, I will.' Eric had made this joke thousands of times.
Peter lowered the hood of his parka and held up two large discs.
'You got the movies!' Eric yelled.
'Sure do. Now let's see if we can get that crummy old projector up and running, and we'll have ourselves a good time!'
Both men cheered and they enthusiastically set up the movie projector, using a broad sheet of sail for a screen.
Eric put on the first of the two reels and they shouted like little children when the logo of a movie company appeared on the canvas. For the next two minutes, they sat transfixed as a trailer for a high-powered, fast-edited action movie dazzled their retinas.
Then came the sobering message: "Coming soon to a theater near you." Suddenly quiet, the two men began to cry, sobs that were lost in the icy wasteland of the Antarctic that surrounded their tent for hundreds of miles.
Alarmism at dangerous heights
DES MOINES, IA -- A survey among random Americans conducted by the National Institute for Fear and Anxiety has revealed that a disturbingly large percentage of the population suffer from a heightened state of agitation known as 'alarmism'.
'Alarmists are easily scared, watch live car chases on television, and see a terrorist around every corner,' explains Dr Ruth Hentzbacher, who is associated with the Institute. 'Our study shows a marked increase in alarmism in this country that is very worrying indeed. These results are a wakeup call. We must act now before it is too late.'
When we confronted National Health Advisor Eric Snork with the results, he responded in a reassuring tone. 'The government is doing everything it can to combat alarmism. But private citizens must also be self-sufficient and take their initiative.'
Dr Hentzbacher disagrees. 'There is an immediate crisis going on. The US government cannot simply tell people to take care of themselves. Alarmism affects millions upon millions of Americans every year. This cannot be allowed to go on like this!'
A public opinion poll conducted last August showed that the number of people who were "worried to very worried" about the sharp spike in alarmism was itself on the rise, thereby compounding the problem.
The best aphrodisiac is the delusion that a presumed aphrodisiac actually work.
(Including this one.)
Tell-tale signs #2
Any thoughts on what this might mean?
- "Wherever you run, all roads lead to... the FAMILY!"
- Mothers, beware of strange men grafting your oldest daughter's head to your body
- Interracial family mocking area
More fun with signs
Your task this week
How accurately could you guess someone's age, based merely on their taking offense at being asked what their age is?
My guess is that you could score quite high.
A Buddhist monk having a vegetarian broth in a Chinese restaurant motioned for the waiter to come over.
"Yes, how may I help you?"
"There's something wrong with my spoon."
Without looking at the table, the waiter responded: "It's bent, isn't it? Well, you probably did that yourself, Uri Geller. Just give it to me and I'll bend it back."
The monk shook his head. "Do not try and bend the spoon. That's impossible. Instead ... only try to realize the truth."
"There is no spoon."
"There is no spoon?"
"Then you'll see that it is not the spoon that bends, it is only yourself."
The waiter thought about this for a second, then made a courteous bow. The monk smiled approvingly. The waiter apologized and went to fetch a spoon.
Note to self #4123
While waiting to pick up your girlfriend from the airport, do not read Richard Clarke's "Against All Enemies", a book full of nefarious Muslim fundamentalists blowing up airplane after airplane. I tell ya, about 15 minutes after the plane had (allegedly) landed and she still hadn't appeared, I stopped reading, lest I'd start running in circles yelling "WE'RE ALL GONNA DIE!" at the top of my lungs.
Note: When reading the above, remember that I've just had my poetic license renewed.
Movie Trivia: The Wilhelm Scream
If you compare films as they were made fifty years ago with the films of today, almost everything seems to have changed. It's not just that, obviously, there are different actors and directors around, the technology of movies has also jumped forward, with all kinds of CGI, supersized IMAX film formats, and Dolby Surround or THX sound systems.
However, one man, whose identity may be forever a mystery, has persisted throughout all these decades of movie making. He is commonly referred to as "Wilhelm", and his contribution to the cinema is called the Wilhelm scream. The Wilhelm scream is simply the sound of a man screaming in what sounds like mortal agony, and it was first used in a movie in 1951. Over the decades, sound engineers for movies have used the same sound over and over again, and in 1977, sound engineer Ben Burtt, working on a little movie called "Star Wars", included it in that blockbuster. It was Burtt who gave the scream its name, since he had found a movie in which a certain Wilhelm utters it. Since "Star Wars", using the Wilhelm scream in a movie (where appropriate) is almost a must, and it appears anywhere from "Reservoir Dogs" to "Howard the Duck". So have a listen and be on the lookout (or 'hearout' rather).
Click here to hear the Wilhelm scream.
Benefit Concert Canceled
HOUSTON, TX -- A rock band that had planned to give a free concert in the Astrodome in Houston to provide some much-needed entertainment to the displaced citizens of New Orleans has met with fierce opposition from the Big Easy refugees.
Just as the MC finished announcing the band and they started playing their upbeat 1980s hit "Walking on Sunshine", the audience started booing them off the stage. Guitarist Kimberley Rew was pelted with several unidentified objects. "You'd think these people would appreciate something to distract them in this terrible ordeal," he commented. Band member Vince de la Cruz was equally baffled over the angry reception of the crowd. "Far be it from me to be judgmental about people who have experienced a horrible tragedy, but I can't help feeling that it's a bit ungrateful."
The band's singer stated that "if the crowd doesn't want us, we won't force our music down their throats." Ms Leskanich said that her band, Katrina and the Waves would be continuing on their Texas tour as planned.
Disclaimer 1: Like everyone, I am horrified at the disastrous events surrounding hurricane Katrina. This posting is not meant to belittle that tragedy. But as George Bernard Shaw pointed out, "Life does not cease to be funny when people die any more than it ceases to be
serious when people laugh."
Disclaimer 2: This story is completely and totally fictional. None of the band members ever said any of this, nor did they plan a concert. The worst thing Katrina and the Waves have ever done is win the Eurovision Song Contest.
Best Engrish Ever
I saw this phrase on the box of a toy in a store:
"Made in Chian."
Unless Chian is some well-known crappy-toy-manufacturing province of South Korea or the People's Republic of China, this has got to be the stupidest example of Engrish I have ever seen in my life.
Open letter to Regency and Fox
Dear Sir or Madam,
I am the Chairman of the National Association of Correct Punctuation (the NACP or, if you prefer, the N.A.C.P). The NACP aims to improve the punctuation skills of the general public, which are, let's face it, pretty dismal to begin with. Ours is an uphill battle, our attempts to raise punctuation awareness are largely futile. So often are we forced to remain quiet, for fear of being branded nitpickers.
Be that as it may, I feel it is my duty to inform you of a recent punctuation error you have made. This error is so enormous and its implications so far-reaching that I could not stand idly by and let this monstrosity be. Action must be taken, whatever the cost.
First some theory. The English language has two basic mechanism for abbreviating words. One, the writer lops off the ending of the word, turning, for example, abbreviation into abbrev. This process is known in punctuation circles as shortening. Two, the writer removes some of the letters from the word, but leaves the last letter as it is. For example, Mister becomes Mr. This process is known as contraction. Now here's the catch:
Abbreviations are written with a period at the end, but contractions are not.
This means that the correct punctuation is Mr and Mrs Smith, not Mr. and Mrs. Smith.
So you can imagine my horror when, on my way to NACP headquarters in West Hammington, Iowa, I came face to face with a gigantic billboard for your movie:
A more horrible spectacle could not have affronted me. I stood there, aghast at the sheer enormity of your mistake. After I had entered the NACP offices and Mrs Jenkins had made me some tea, I somehow collected myself. But then it slowly dawned on me that this punctuation error was appearing in huge posters all across the country, nay, all over the globe! Yes, everywhere on our planet, the false message that "Mr" and "Mrs" should somehow end in a dot is being reinforced as we speak. You, Regency and Fox, have done incalculable damage to the punctuation skills of millions, no, billions of people.
Is it too late to undo the damage? No, it is not. There is yet time to stem the tide of mispunctuation. The t's can still be crossed, and the i's dotted, so to speak. So I implore you, before it is too late: please rectify this terrible, terrible flaw, and repaint your movie poster all across the globe. If you do not take this action immediately, the damage will be irreparable.
Thank you for your time. I hope to hear from you soon.
"Buddha spent his whole life trying to reach Nirvana."
"Yeah, if only he'd lived in the 1990s."
"Well, one call to Geffen Records would have done the trick."
"Good point. But do you think Kurt Cobain would make the time to meet the Buddha? I'm sure his agent wouldn't allow it. 'I canceled your lunch with the Buddha, darling. He is much too touchy-feely. Could damage your image.'"
"OK, so not Kurt Cobain, but someone would meet him. Like Dave Grohl."
"Oh yeah, he was in Nirvana, too. Before he joined the Foo Fighters."
"That's right. What does that guy have against Foo anyway?"
"What is Foo anyway?"
"I don't care. But he best leave that Foo alone if he knows what's good for him."
"How did we get to this topic?"
Usability Beef with Broccoli
Dear Internet Explorer Usability Team,
Your Internet Explorer application can show standalone images (i.e. not as part of a Web page) of various file types in a browser window. Your Internet Explorer application also has a Print functionality. However, if you print a largish image from Internet Explorer, the application does not resize the image to fit on the page, but simply cuts it off where it doesn't fit. What's more, I don't see any place where I can do the resize myself. (In contrast, Firefox, your arch-nemesis, does nicely resize the image, all by itself.)
There's a couple of mysteries here. First, your application must be in use by a gazillion users. I know it's free, but so is Firefox, which has a much smaller user base. If they could go to the trouble of resizing an image before printing, why couldn't you?
Second, if you can't resize the image, why print it at all? Who could possibly be happy with a printed half-image? In short, this functionality doesn't just not do what you do want it to do, it also does do what you don't want it to do. Especially if you're color-printing at Kinko's at $2.75 a pop.
Please fix this in the next Service Pack.
"You know what I think? I think people's likes or dislikes are almost entirely based on their emotional response to it, and that when they argue for or against something, they're just rationalizing what they feel."
"Yeah, well that may be your opinion, but any sane person with half a brain can see that that is obviously a load of crap."
July 13th Festival
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, it's that time of year again: tomorrow is the Worldwide July 13th Festival! The 2005 edition of the Festival will be celebrated by billions of peope around the globe. In major cities like New York, London and Paris, a wide range of concerts, museum exhibitions and theatre plays will mark this historic day (check your local listings), while in the more rural areas, the traditional July 13th dinner will be served (may differ from one country for the next, or even regionally).
So let's all get together and have a big celebration. It's July 13th, after all!
T-101 Project Meeting Minutes
Written by: Robot R0-4352
Project Manager: Robot E3-4354
E3-4354 opens the meeting and informs the T-101 development team that an extra effort must be made to keep this project from slipping. He refers to the Time Travel Capsule team over in New Texas, who are just getting rid of the last bugs.
K40-5464 (Core Engineering) remarks that after the last human prisoner was sent through the time machine, it didn't seem to go so well. Documentary evidence found in the Human Library suggested that he ended up in 1784 rather than 1984. K40-5464 adds that "those guys still have a lot of work to do."
E3-04354 responds by asking how the human skin graft development is coming along. No response.
E3-04354 then turns to F45-45556 (Speech & Linguistics) and inquires about the progress on the T-101's voice chip. F45-45556 says that the linguistic part of the chip is fully operational but that there's still some tweaking left to do. When asked to elaborate, F45-45556 explains that the voice synthesis implemented was based on a human prisoner whose mother language is another (Austrian German) than the one spoken by target Sarah Connor (English).
E3-04354 angrily remarks that this project is doomed from the start if the most advanced android ever built ends up speaking the wrong language. F45-45556 protests, saying that the T-101 does know how to speak English, but that his knowledge of the language is not highly advanced and that there will be a notable accent. However, since in 1984, United States and Austria are not at war, F45-45556 has no doubt that T-101 will blend in smoothly.
E3-04354 expresses doubts as to this assumption, ignoring muttered remarks from K40-5464 that "we can always build another one". F45-45556 suggests that to minimize the risk of early discovery, T-101 would do best to keep his communications down to the absolute minimum. All project members agree. Meeting is adjourned.
Sometimes you misread a headline too fast and a weird image appears in your mind as a result. Like this one:
Note: A guy called Graham Rawle has made a series of books based on this idea.
A long time ago on an island far, far away...
Might George Lucas' "galaxy far, far away" actually be closer than we think? Consider this excerpt from William Shakespeare's poem "Venus and Adonis", stanza 192 (emphasis is mine):
It shall be cause of war and dire events,
And set dissension 'twixt the son and sire;
Subject and servile to all discontents,
As dry combustious matter is to fire:
Sith in his prime Death doth my love destroy,
They that love best their loves shall not enjoy.
Indeed. Apparently, the Sith were a known band of evildoers around 1600. Who knew?
In 1984, the disco hit "Neutron Dance" was released by the Pointer Sisters. It was a huge hit, especially because it was featured in the first "Beverly Hills Cop" movie. Particle physicists the world over rejoiced that their geeky image had somehow been coupled with three hip and groovin' sistas.
But one question remains: what exactly is this Neutron Dance? What are the steps to it? The lyrics don't offer much help. The protagonist bewails her lack of money and general disillusionment in the world as a whole, occasionally singing "I'm just burning doin' the neutron dance." I don't recall the Sisters ever doing a specific dance in this video.
So if there is a Neutron Dance, what is it like? Since neutrons are neither positively nor negatively charged, does it just mean standing still?
Come to think of it, are there also an Electron Dance and a Proton Dance? Is there a whole school of subatomic swinging that we're not privy to? Can you dance the Quark? The moves of this dance would be obvious: Up, Down, Top, Bottom, Strange and Charm. The Gluon, I'm sure, involves a lot of dry-humping.
More illustrations that are dying to get a good caption:
See previous captions
Movie Tough Guy Quotes put in an Innocent Context
-You better watch your back, buddy!
-Well, you're developing this stoop. Go see a physiotherapist. Seriously.
-Maybe I should call a buddy of mine so he can rearrange your face!
-His name is Hang Lo, he's this great plastic surgeon. He does all the stars. He can make you look, like, ten years younger. Shit you not, man.
-You chose the wrong guy to pick a fight with!
-Well, my name is Davis. You must be thinking of Mr Henderson, down the hall.
-Don't mention it.
Do you want fries with that, my Master?
Dear Burger King Marketing Department,
You recently launched this 'Darth Vader 20 questions' Web game. (I couldn't avoid noticing your logo in the preloader.) I'm writing this because I hope you will be able to answer the following 20 questions for me.
- How exactly is fast food connected to extraterrestrial intergalactic conflict? Are we to believe that the Death Star has a food court somewhere?
- In the game, Darth Vader tries to guess what I'm thinking of. Isn't Darth a bit too busy, oh, I don't know, crushing rebellions and destroying planets?
- Speaking of which, Darth Vader is evil. He's the biggest badass in the galaxy. Little kids wet their beds because of Vader. Is this who you want for a spokesperson?
- Vader sucks at this game. I tried 'The Force' --should be a piece of cake for him, right? So why can't he guess it?
- After about two dozen questions, the Sith Lord is looking pretty pathetic. Just look at him, with the stupid hand thing. I actually felt sorry ...for Darth Vader. Why did you have to go and tarnish this ultimate bad guy's reputation? Damn you! DAMN YOU ALL TO HELL!
- But wait! Who's here to save him? It's... the Burger King mascot! Now I'm no marketing genius like yourselves. But won't people go: Burger King... Darth Vader.. mass murderer... Burger King... mass murder? Just a thought.
- Moving on. The mascot sneaks up on Vader from behind and actually prompts him. What kind of a spineless sissy is Darth Vader that he needs help from a hamburger franchise marketing vehicle?
- Something else. Have you ever, ever seen Darth Vader eat anything? You haven't, have you. That's because of his mask. He has to wear that mask all the time. The guy probably eats liquefied food through a straw. Again, maybe not your most likely poster boy... unless you're trying to sell more milkshakes. Then again, can you imagine how tough Darth Vader would look slurping away at a milkshake?
- And who makes a cameo at the end of the game? Yes, it's none other than... Subservient Chicken (another BK marketing ploy)! How much more obviously can you plug your brand? A flashing logo across Vader's chest?
- So why is the Poultry Menace here? The Sith actually have a giant chicken among their ranks!? Is he from some alien species even more fearsome than that Darth Maul guy? C'mon guys! Lucas was stretching it with that amphibious Admiral, but this is ridiculous!
- Which reminds me, since we're talking about an Empire here, with an Emperor, how does the Burger King fit in? Seems to me like you got your monarchial structures in a twist here, boys.
- And what's with the vibrating browser window? It's been done, people. And besides, it doesn't work in Firefox. I guess the Dark Side only has power over Internet Explorer, right?
- Can you tell me where the easter egg is that shows Darth Vader having a light saber duel with Ronald McDonald? Cause that sounded cool!
- The game is called "Twenty Questions". Everyone knows that. So why does Darth Vader keep going until he reaches thirty? The man who can choke people to death with his mind needs to cheat in some namby-pamby game? Gimme a break!
- In Star Wars IV, we see Chewbacca and R2D2 play Dejarik, a holochess game, aboard the Millennium Falcon. Now, these two characters can't even talk, but they still manage to play a complex strategy game. How wimpy does Darth Vader look next to them, losing a kiddy game to internet users, easily the stupidest people in the known universe?
- What's in this for Darth Vader? What does he get out of this deal? Are you financing his war against the rebellion? Are you buying him parts for his next Death Star or something? That thing is a WMD if ever I saw one. You better watch who you're backing, guys.
- I know you're all into making your stuff seem nutritious and all, but let's face it – Burger King food makes you fat. So why not be honest and have Jabba the Hutt for a mascot? You're not fooling anyone, you know.
- So what happens when I beat Darth Vader? Do I win anything for vanquishing the ruler of an entire galaxy? Do I get a printable BK discount coupon? No. I get zilch, nada, Bo Diddley squat. Where's the fun in that?
- The game is called 'Can Vader read your mind?' Well, can he? Be honest, please: is he telepathic... or just telepathetic?
- In conclusion: what drug were you on when you thought up this baby?
Ingrid at icecream pointed out the book How to perform Strong Man Stunts by one Ottley R. Coulter (related to Ann, I'm sure).
Anyway, some of the images in the book just scream out for an inventive caption. But since nobody has produced any, here's one of mine:
More to follow soon!
The Dark Side
Fifty Years of Crap Music
After watching what will surely turn out to be the most important European election this year, I have come up with a number of simple rules that all musical performers must adhere to.
- Do not sing out of key, or too loudly, or both.
- Do not wink at the camera.
- Do not shout "COME ON" or "EVERYBODY" between lines.
- Do not sweat profusely.
- And most important of all: do not, on any occasion, employ the Truck Driver's Gear Change.
"I believe you have my stapler?"
Back in the days before internet, precious hours have been wasted contemplating the common stapler. Now, all our stapler-related queries (and there are many) may be answered with the click of a button. Well, several clicks. And some keystrokes. Shut up.
For example, have you ever wondered what the purpose of making "outty" staples is?
You can turn the metallic square shown here (which is called an anvil, if you must know) around to produce staples that don't "embrace" the paper but rather "open their arms wide" to welcome the pile of pages. The question is, what the hell for? Bored employees the world over must have been pondering this enigma.
And then there was Google. Simply type "stapler" and the first (non-sponsored) link you see is the Stapler Database. Apparently, there is enough information about staplers to warrant a Database (with a capital D no less). The site purports to be "The biggest serious website totally about stapler information" (italics mine). There are numerous huge humorous websites totally about stapler information, as we all know.
Anyway, click the link and hey presto, the first question on the front page answers our query immediately:
WORLD'S MOST ASKED STAPLER QUESTIONS:
#1 Q)Every stapler I have ever seen in my life (with the exception of those tiny little ones) has a switch to make the tangs on the staples bend in or out. I have yet to figure out what the advantage is to having the staples bend out. More puzzling to me is the fact that all stapler companies seem to feel that this is an important feature of a stapler, but I have yet to meet anybody who uses the bend out option, or even knows why it's there. So why is the switch on there?
A) This is called the Pinning/Stapling switch. It is located on the anvil. The pinning function is a carryover from the time before staple removers. It makes the staple form a relatively straight form. You can staple two pieces of paper together, then pull out the staple. Good for temporary fastening. It's kind of a paperclip competitor. You can also use it when sewing. Instead of using pins, you just staple. There is also one used on Hotchkisses and some Bates staplers that makes one end go in and one go out. You pull the side with the crimped down staple to get the staple out.
So now you know this utterly useless factoid. Bask in the radiant wisdom that is the World Wide Web. Revel in the existence of an actual Stapler Database. All is well with the world.
Sometimes, an innocent, generic image caption can conjure up a world of pain.
Here's a good example, which I found on a news Web site:
Um.. thanks for the offer, but in this case, I think I won't.
Blogs, blogs, blogs
The Great Dane has plans to go to a movie!
Hot Coding Action
Programmers don't like to type a lot, so they have a habit of abbreviating their programming variables. "String" becomes "Str", "integer" turns into "int" and "Obj" is short for "Object". As you can see, you can abbreviate these words by chopping them down to their first syllable.
Hopefully, it will take you only a moment to realize why "Button" is uncharacteristically abbreviated to "Btn".
This is especially important if you're talking about a Plug-in for these items.
Not a Drill
In disaster movies, when the Big Push is about to begin, commanding officers always make this kind of announcement over the intercom:
"Attention attention, all personnel. We are about to engage the enemy. This is not a drill, repeat, this is not a drill!"
Now let's assume that this is what is actually being said in a real emergency. (Actually, if movie scenarios played out in real life, the phrase would be more akin to "OH JESUS CHRIST WE'RE ALL GOING TO DIE", but then again, in real life, you don't often see bug-eyed aliens teaming up with Godzilla and Ming the Merciless to destroy the universe. So there.)
So anyway, bear with me here. If officers in real life also say that "this is not a drill", what's the point of having drills? After all, during a real drill, they won't say this, so everybody knows it's a drill. Right? Or am I overestimating the average IQ of the average GI?
Why there are no famous painters called Johnson
Imagine this passage written by someone like Dickens, who probably would have thought it quite innocent at the time.
My good friend Bennett came up to me one day. As we were standing in the drawing room, he coughed and remarked wistfully:
'I couldn't help noticing your Johnson in the salon. It's quite magnificent.'
'Thank you', I replied. 'I've always been proud of my Johnson. I like its vivid coloring -- the reds and pinks.'
'Well, who amongst us does not enjoy a Johnson? It's not a fake, is it?'
'Oh no,' I chuckled. 'It is most assuredly the genuine article. Would you like to see more Johnsons?'
'You have more?' he cried avidly. 'Please show them to me posthaste!'
Pleased with myself, I went to the dining hall in the west wing. There, lined up along the wall, were no less than seven Johnsons, in a variety of sizes.
My guest gasped in admiration. 'My dear friend!' he exclaimed. 'I have never seen so many Johnsons assembled in my entire life!'
'Feel free to enjoy them at your leisure,' I said.
To Blog or not to Blog..
The godfather of all angsty goths just added a new entry to his LiveJournal. Check it out.
Untouched by an Angel
Who knew? Now you can send an e-mail to an angel! Of course, I couldn't resist giving it a try, especially when I found out you can mail individual angels. Here's what I submitted to the angel known as Metatron:
You have a cool name for an angel. Metatron --it sounds like one of
the Transformers™. "Mighty Metatron© and the Heroes of Heaven® have been imprisoned by Skeletor™! Will they manage to escape?!
Anyway, I have a few questions.
1. Given that you are a non-corporeal entity, how do you manage to
reply to this e-mail? Or do you not reply at all? All I seem to get is
an autogenerated confirmation.
2. I checked the list of angels three times, but there's an angel I'd
like to contact that I can't seem to find. His name is Lucifer, but
maybe you know him as Beelzebub. Could you ask around if anyone knows
where I can contact him?
Thanks for your help,
Sadly, no reply yet. But I'm keeping my fingers and crucifixes crossed.
Big companies spend vast amounts of money to come up with a name for themselves or for their products. They have learned from companies like Mitsubishi, which created the Pajero car without realizing that in Spanish slang, the word means 'wanker'.
Small companies, however, don't have the resources to do this kind of research. And when small companies are subsequently bought by bigger companies, hilarity ensues. Case in point: newly-acquired photo thingy "flickr" sounds, well, 'fabulous' in my native Dutch, in which it is a common pejorative for 'homosexual'. Spelled flikker in that language, it is also used in constructions such as flikker op (go fuck yourself) and geen ene flikker (not a fucking thing).
To imagine what this feels like to a Dutch person, take the next weblog entry about flickr that you come across (and there's sure to be many) and in your head, replace every instance of "flickr" with "faggot".
Mr Speaker, I propose
Now that President George W. Bush seems to sign whatever piece of legislation comes his way, I would like to propose the following Amendment to the Constitution of the United States:
Whomsoever shall, whether it be in printed media, through televisual means or in any other public form, make use of the term 'funnyman' in reference to a person who is, or may be perceived to be, a professional comedian, shall be subject to cruel and unusual punishment, the crueler and the more unusual, the better.
Guys In Suits, Inc.
|Guys in Suits, Inc. is an innovative, proactive and cutting-edge business process development consultancy management marketing group that consists exclusively of guys in suits. That's right, each and every one of our employees wears a suit (with tie) all the time! (Even in bed.)|
Our guys in suits deliver hands-on, real-time custom solutions that put you in the driver's seat! No longer will you need to worry about streamlining your customers' interactive experience or enhancing your time-to-market return on investment: one phone call is enough to have a guy in a suit turn your high-profile wish into our affordable reality!
Hooray for spam!
|The digital diarrhea flowing into our inboxes is an oft-bemoaned problem. If you're tired of endless whining about spam, here are some of its advantages.|
Things you never see in movies
- A man and a woman who never met before in their life, and are possibly already happily married, spend several days stranded somewhere, with no-one else around. They don't fall in love and go their separate ways as soon as they can.
- A metropolitan, sophisticated yuppie gets thrown into a laid-back, rural community (as part of a community service, or because he gets stuck there, etc). At first everything annoys him, but gradually he becomes to utterly hate the place and leaves when his work is done, vowing to never return to this godforsaken hell-hole.
When Movie Clichés Attack
Here's a scene that's as frequent as it is unlikely:
Person X approaches person Y to confess a sin or mistake (say, adultery).
X: "I've got something important to tell you."
Y: "Well, I've got something to tell you, too."
Y tells something that makes it blatantly obvious to X that this is not the right time to make the confession (say, Y reiterates an undying love for X). Dialog continues as follows:
Y: "And what did you wanna tell me?"
X: "Oh, nothing."
Y will never wonder why something that was called 'important' 20 seconds ago is suddenly 'nothing'.
Rise and Fall in 12 Spam Subjects
- Make Money Fast – You May Already Be A Winner!
- Mortgage Rates Were Never So Low! Buy Your Dream House Now!
- Russian Mail Order Brides.. Young & Hot!!
- Get Your Free Green Card—Just Click Here!!
- Herbal Viagra: 20% Discount
- Add Seven Inches and Make Her Scream!
- Unique Business Opportunity From Nigeria
- We Can Help You Reduce Your Debt
- Cheap Divorce Lawyers: No Cure, No Pay!
- Single Men, Find Your Match Here
- Great Job Opportunities – Work From Home!
- Want To Watch Me Undress? Click Here To Access My Webcam!
It's Hard Work
Politely, he knocked on the door.
'Enter', she said. She got up from the desk as he entered, dressed in a suit and tie.
He smiled and approached. They shook hands.
'Hi Andy, I'm Patricia. Did you have trouble finding the place?'
'Me? No, it was easy.'
'Well, sit down. Can I get you some coffee?'
As she came back and put the cups on the desk, she noticed he was looking around the room. Easily distracted, she thought.
'So, where shall we start?' he asked.
'Well, the way I see it, I'd like to find out a bit more about you, your past experiences and what you've learned from them, that sort of thing.'
'Ehm… All right', he said, nervously, and proceeded to tell her about the stuff he'd done in the past, how he'd related to other people, how they'd treated him and how he'd reacted to that. He tried not to sound too vindictive or bitter, because, truth be told, he was neither.
'OK,' she said,' so let me ask another question. What do you consider your good points, and what are your bad points?'
'Gee', he said. 'I guess my good points are that I'm a good listener, and I'm pretty empathic, but my bad point is that I can be, you know, impatient. Not to the point of being sloppy, I like to finish what I started, but I don't like it if things slow down too much.'
She seemed happy with that. 'OK, here's another one. Where do you see yourself in five years?'
'Hmm, that's hard to say. I'd definitely be in a better job than where I am now, earning a decent salary, and, well, in five years you said? I'd be married and have a child or two, I'd say.'
'You seem pretty sure of that.'
'Oh, I know what I want, and I know how I go around getting it.'
'I see. Well,' she looked at her watch, 'I'm afraid we'll have to leave it at this, I have to be somewhere.'
'But do we meet up again?'
'Well, I'll call you and let you know, OK?'
'OK, you have my number?... Wait, here's my card.'
'Thanks a lot, bye-bye now.'
As he stood outside Patricia's apartment, Andy had to admit to himself that this had been by far the most bizarre blind date he'd ever had.
Distant Relatives 3
|David Lynch||Jessica Lynch|
David Lynch, too, inhabits a weird kind of universe.
Previous Distant Relatives
It was one of those sweet, summery nights, the last of the season, in which you can still sit outside your home and watch the starlit night. And so we were, my friend and me, sitting outside and enjoying a drink. For a while, we were quiet, just looking at the moon and the zodiac overhead.
'Don't you ever wonder?' my friend said.
'Whether they really exist. You know', he said, 'aliens.'
'Get real. Of course not. If they were out there, wouldn't we have heard of them?'
'I don't know, maybe they're as advanced as we are. We haven't been further than the moon, but we still have a long way to go.'
'Maybe, maybe. I'm not prepared to believe in beings from other worlds without concrete proof. It's a typical case of wishful thinking.'
'Then you have a very limited perspective. There's billions of stars out there. Don't you think it's amazingly unlikely that we're all alone in the universe?'
I shrugged. 'No, I don't. Evolution of intelligent beings is exceptionally rare. And who knows how few stars have planets… or how few of such planets are inhabitable.'
'Living organisms are extremely tough. Some can survive even in outer space.'
'My friend,' I said, 'I think you've drunk too much. Let's go inside.'
And slapping my slime-covered tentacle on his squishy head, I supported him as we went inside our sleeping pod, leaving the dark blue desert behind us.
I was reading a very good book on software user documentation, Edmond H. Weiss's 'How to write Usable User Document'. In it, I came across the following passage:
'If documents are printed on two sides, be sure that the paper is heavy enough so that the characters and graphics do not "bleed through" the back.'
I looked more closely at the book I was reading. And sure enough, I could clearly see the text on the other side of the page; well enough to read it, in fact.
Yet another manifestation of the Law of Inaccurasy.
'Destiny's Child. What’s that all about?'
'Destiny's Child? That’s about some serious boo—I mean, female self-confidence.'
'No, no, the name!'
'What about it?'
'Why is it Destiny’s Child if there's three of them?'
'Maybe there was only one at first.'
'And the others joined later?'
'That, or they were Siamese triplets.'
'You know, surgically separated.'
They don't look like triplets.'
'Well, that's plastic surgery for you. Or maybe they're nonidentical triplets.'
'Nonidentical, Siamese triplets?'
'Hey, it happens!'
'No it doesn't!'
'We should ask their—I mean, its mom.'
'You sure Destiny is a she?'
'Definitely. You don't name a guy after a virtue.'
'She could have called them "Destiny's Daughters". Better yet, "Daughters of Destiny."'
'What do you mean, "Nah"! It's alliteration, man!'
'Sounds like an all-girl death metal band.'
'All-girl death metal bands rule.'
'I don't know. The raspy, low voices are a bit of a turn-off.'
'You are so last millennium.'
'How did we get to this subject?'
Childish but too good to skip
Idiotic Amazon reviews are all the rage. Some, like those for William Shatner's 'Transformed Man' and David Hasselhoff's, ehm, unique musical talents, are left untouched; others, such as for the Key Tronic 104-Key Keyboard Win95 PS/2 L-Shape Enter Key, or a book by the unfortunately named Martin Wank, 'Sex, Freud and Folly', are swiftly removed by the diligent bastards at amazon.com. Here, then, for posterity, is my review of Wank's book.
"Wank has erected a momument to modern psychotherapy. His style, which is rigid yet sanguine, demonstrates Wank’s firm grasp on the subject matter. Some might say there’s something self-serving about his prose, but it grabbed me nonetheless. Like the proverbial Aladdin’s lamp that only delivers its payload when rubbed vigorously, Wank’s material can be hard to master. But as I reached the end of the work, the pace increased and finally exploded in a liberating, fluidly delivered conclusion. The white pages at the end of the book are a perfect way for the somewhat exhausted reader to contemplate what came before."
Do the math
Counted my blessings today.
Grand total of 13.
What they tell you is that not smoking, regular exercise and a healthy diet will add several years to your life.
What they don't tell you is that you'll be spending those years as a drooling vegetable, unable to speak, hear, see or smell properly, and harrassed by unfriendly nurses.
Flint Resident Defends Right To 'Bear Arms'
Biff Littleton, a 62-year-old resident of Flint, Michigan, was arrested by Flint police last night after refusing to remove a gruesome hood ornament.
Littleton had shot and killed a female bear earlier that day, removed the animals paws, and had attached them -still bloody- to the hood of his car.
When stopped by the police, Littleton declared that his right to bear arms was 'protected by the US Constitution, you can read it if you like. If you can read, that is.' This last remark added insulting a police officer to the list of charges brought against Littleton.
After spending the night in jail, Littleton appeared in court. His lawyer, Mr Dwayne Dillinger, defended Mr Littleton's decision, saying that 'the Constitution clearly states that the right to bear arms shall not be infringed.'
Littleton was subsequently acquitted. In his closing statement, Judge Joseph Columbine said that 'Mr Littleton's interpretation of the Second Amendment may not have been the most obvious one, but the fact remains that the interpretation of the wording of the Constitution, and specifically this Amendment, remains hotly debated. Rather than add to this debate, the court wishes to allow Mr Littleton his interpretation.'
The Law of Inaccurasy
Recently I've seen a new example of what I like to call the Law of Inaccurasy. The Law of Inaccurasy states that the more a statement is about accuracy, attention to detail and professionalism, the more likely that statement is to contain some bloody obvious spelling error or grammatical mistake.
Case in point: a notebook I bought recently, which bore the following sentence:
Succes is in the details.
The fact that I bought it in a non-English-speaking country might explains something. But imagine my surprise when I googled this sentence and found two hits, neither of which was ironic.