Saturday, April 30, 2005

Eternal Souls! Get Your Eternal Souls Here!

Sistopher comes through with the ebay auction The eternal soul of two teenagers. Only three days left, so I'll post the contract in its entirety for posterity:

You are bidding on the soul of two teenagers. Randy Sokoloff, 18, and a Caitlynn Chaplain, 17. These people have signed a formal agreement, and have been paid the ammount negociated for their souls. The contract has been notorized, and it reads:

By signing this written contract the selling party agrees to give up all previous rights of the eternal soul. This transfer is to be done at a price negociated by the two parties involved. If this soul wishes to be transferred to a later third party it may.

seller is the lawful owner of the soul, and the goods are free from all encumberances. Seller has good right to sell the goods and will warrant and defend the right against the lawful claims and demands of all persons. This holds true until the selling party signs below.

By signing this agreement this is to take effect immediately, and contract is irrefutable. It may also never be given back to the orginal selling party. If this contract is destroyed this would inturn mean the eternal soul is destroyed, and consequences beyond that are unkown and in the hands of god.

I will send pictures to those of you who are interested. Also the winning bidder will receive two wallet sized photos of the teens who's souls have been purchased.

Current bid is $116.66. Nice touch.

d r i f t g l a s s

d r i f t g l a s s knows ranting. PBS hooked me up with this one. Holy hellfire shit, he's got some good ones. E.g., The Further Adventures of Captain Obvious. Or You sure got a purdy blog.

Friday, April 29, 2005

Soulfish Stew

Soulfish Stew Don't ax, but the author is a 38 year-old sagittarius black flag fan. BTW: Blog This!

NASA Feed and Blog This! First Post

WTF? You never know what happens when you click on the next blog icon...
NASA Feed. For real? Einstein a space alien? What is this? WWN with science stuff?

Getting Things Done Anarchist Style

Benjie sent me this, a little something he found on his internet ramblings:
Time Management for Anarchists: The Movie. Even if you're not an anarchist, you'll probably want to play along. It's great, especially if you've got an extensive to-do list knocking about your head.

daily dose of w

I have "ruled out no new Social Security taxes."

1 Oct 2000
He was thought to mean that new Social Security taxes were ruled out.
Reported by the Washington Post.

The Saddam and Social Security demons have been plaguing W for a while now.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Face to the World

Alexandria, MN, one time with Short shrift for student in kilt. I mean, WTF? Now, I have to confess the article has one of the best ledes that I've read in a while:

A US teenager was banned from a high school prom parade for wearing a kilt.

Pretty much says it all. If I were to have written it, I probably would have done it like this:

Nutjob extremist assholes banned 17 year old Eric Schulzentenberg from his high school prom parade in Alexandria, Minnesota for sporting a Clan Mitchell tartan kilt worn in honor of his great grandmother.

I don't know which one he had on, but I'm sure he looked good sporting his kilt.

daily dose of w

Putting Education First.

George W. Bush's Presidential Campaign website
July 2000
The presidential candidate's web site gave a priority ranking to important issues of concern to the governor. "Putting Education First" was ranked No. 3 on the list.

Putting Education Third just doesn't have the same ring, I agree.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Copyright Brain Dump

I've had this link marked to make a post, but in the run run run, I've been blog-slack. Copyrights have gotten completely out of control, and much of the public has no idea about the ramifications. Nice summary by James Boyle in Financial Times titled Deconstructing stupidity.

daily dose of w

People make suggestions on what to say all the time. I'll give you an example. I don't read what's handed to me. People say, 'Here, here's your speech,' or 'Here's an idea for a speech.' They're changed. Trust me.

15 Mar 2000
Quoted in the New York Times.

No, really, we believe you!

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Not Dead, Yet!

But very busy. Look to be busy for the next little while. Hope to have some exciting news to share very soon.

daily dose of w

Listen, Al Gore is a very tough opponent. He is the incumbent. He represents the incumbency. And a challenger is somebody who generally comes from the pack and wins, if you're going to win. And that's where I'm coming from.

7 Sep 2000
From comments made in Detroit, Michigan.

Monday, April 25, 2005

daily dose of w

America is not ready to overturn Roe v. Wade because America's hearts are not right.

10 Mar 1999

Friday, April 22, 2005

daily dose of w

The reason we start a war is to fight a war, win a war, thereby causing no more war.

3 Oct 2000
Boston, Massachusetts. First Presidential Debate.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

daily dose of w

I've changed my style somewhat, as you know. I'm less, I pontificate less, although it may be hard to tell it from this show. And I'm more interacting with people.

13 Feb 2000
From NBC's Meet The Press.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

daily dose of w

A tax cut is really one of the anecdotes to coming out of an economic illness.

18 Sep 2000
Spoken while a guest on the CBS show "The Edge With Paula Zahn".

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

daily dose of w

The person who runs FEMA [Federal Emergency Management Agency] is someone who must have the trust of the president because the person who runs FEMA really is the first voice oftentimes that someone whose lives have been turned upside down hears from.

4 Jan 2001
Comment made at press conference.

Monday, April 18, 2005

daily dose of w

Home is important. It's important to have a home.

18 Feb 2001
Comment made by the President in Crawford, Texas.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Axis of Weevils

Morning Guardian scan turned up Axis of weevils cast from the mould. From the article:

They are synonymous with American power, conservatism and the projection of military might.

Now the names of Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld have gained a second, somewhat less formidable connotation: two scientists have named a species of beetle after America's paramount triumvirate.

Quentin Wheeler and Kelly Miller, who had the task of naming 65 newly discovered species of slime-mould beetles, settled on Agathidium bushi, Agathidium cheneyi, and Agathidium rumsfeldi as names for three of them.

daily dose of w

I would have said yes to abortion if only it was right. I mean, yeah it's right. Well, no it's not right -- that's why I said no to it.

14 Feb 2000
Speaking in South Carolina.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Driving Tips

On the way to work today, I almost got wiped out by a man talking on a cell phone coming through a red light. It wasn't one of those run it at the last minute things -- three cars had already gone through the intersection ahead of me looking at a bright shiny green light. Here's the deal -- if you wouldn't do it during sex, don't do it while driving. No phone, no reading, no eating stuff with a utensil.

daily dose of w

Everybody who pays taxes is going to get tax relief. If you take care of an elderly in your home, you're going to get the personal exemption increased.

17 Oct 2000
In answer to a question about his tax plan at the third presidential debate.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Face to the World

Mac Mozilla went belly up on me right in the middle of a long-overdue "Face to the World" post. Topic: Wis. Governor Rejects Cat-Hunting Idea . Twist: props to WI and Governor Jim "Not in my House!" Doyle. Weird g shit: comparison of 460 Weatherby and the 224 Clark. I tend to blame apple on this one, because the mouse cursor started doing a psychedelic spinny thing and I couldn't do anything except move it around. No menu, no dock, no finder, no nothing. If anyone out there thinks that macs are worth a good goddamn, please let me know by sending me a tiger cd when it comes out. Maybe that will make the mac experience somewhat less miserable.

daily dose of w

You saw the president yesterday. I thought he was very forward-leaning, as they say in diplomatic nuanced circles.

23 Jul 2001
Referring to his meeting with President Vladimir Putin of Russia.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Make Something People Want

Paul Graham has cranked out another essay, titled Why Smart People Have Bad Ideas that contains some wisdom for thems that would like to make money with a business. Any business. But let me start from the end. He finishes the essay with a slogan he'd like to put on a TShirt:

Make Something People Want

Seems to be a good starting or finishing point. He throws in some poker wisdom, even though he may not recognize it as it as such. In business, you have

to realize that having invested time in something doesn't make it good.

In poker, you have to learn that once your money goes into the pot, it's no longer yours, and make your decisions accordingly. Read the rest of the essay. I promise, he spent more than 67 minutes on this one.

daily dose of w

There's no question that the minute I got elected, the storm clouds on the horizon were getting nearly directly overhead.

11 May 2001
Washington, D.C.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Bible Scholarship

It probably comes as a big surprise to some to find that I occasionally read the Bible. Yes, it's true. Mainly, it's when someone claims that a the invasion of Israel by tanks from the North is described in Ezekiel 38 (no shit, they actually claimed that), I like to check it out. Also, I like to check different translations to boot. So, the good folks at Blue Letter Bible have hooked me up. You can change translations quickly and easily. I wish they had the JPS translation, too.

Rapture Update

The Rapture Index is up a couple of points to 155 on the high price of oil and conflicting indicators in the "15 Moral Standards" sector. On the one hand, we have[*]:

Gay marry supporters lose every major political vote.

On the other we have:

The scourge of gay marriage upgrades this category.

I wonder if gay marriage says "Arrggh!" when it knocks down your door.

Some food for thought from Rapture Categories Explained:

34. The Antichrist
(Dan.11:36-39) The most evil and destructive man who will ever hold public office.

Damnit if that doesn't have an eerie ring of familiarity to it. Also

39. Civil Rights
To have a dictator you must have a shortage of this. The time you least expect your loosing your freedom is when you willingly give it up.

I would have thought that old-school conservatives would have been the last to give it up, but they've folded for mythical fiscal policy and fear of a gay planet.

* All quotes are cut and pasted. Check the site if you don't believe me.

Down goes DeLay?

I don't think so. Not just yet. MSM cannot wean itself from the teat of access. But the 'Pubs are getting less jiggy about their hypocrisy. Couple of quotes from the Houston Chronicle article Republican calls for DeLay to step down:

I have no comment on anything.

That was Michael Castle, Republican representative from Delaware. Wow, your vote really got you something there with Mr Castle, didn't it? I wonder if Rick "Rick" Santorum, Republican from PA, can help us out with an insight?

Now you may not like some of the things he's done. That's for the people of his district to decide, whether they want to approve that kind of behavior.

Way to take a stand, Rick. I can completely understand old-school conservatism and there is nothing wrong with being a Republican, if you say what you mean and mean what you say and stay the hell away from my Constitution and the Judiciary and come up with the money to pay for your harebrained schemes. Isn't there anyone the GOP with a backbone? Oh yes, there is! From one of those Yankee States, no less. You know -- Yankee State -- one that pays the taxes for the pork barrel gravy train states in the South and the West? CT has their self one Christopher Shays. What's on Mr Shays' mind?

He is an absolute embarrassment to me and to the Republican Party.

THWAP! 99 mph fastball right over the plate and into the catcher's mitt. I absolutely love that sound.

daily dose of w

I'm pretty good about asking myself the own question, then answering it, see?

31 May 2000
Answering a question posed by Chris Matthews on MSNBC's Hardball.

Alles klar, Commissar!

Saturday, April 09, 2005

NBA: No Basketball Allowed

Atlanta is home to the hapless Hawks. Fortunately for the owner, the game part is largely irrelevant. I had suspected this for a while, but Ken Sugiura's article in today's AJC piled on quite nicely. The gist of the article is that, rather than put together a team that wins, you can just give away tickets to celebs and people will pay to gawk at them. This assertion seems to be backed up by Bernie Mullin, Hawks parent company's president and CEO. Bernie is good for a few quotes. What's Bernie hawkin'? It's not basketball.

We don't sell wins and losses.

What do you sell, Mr Mullin?

We sell NBA entertainment.

Ah. What is this "NBA entertainment"?

We really feel that when movie stars and the cutting-edge industry artists like Usher and Ludacris and OutKast and Bow Wow and all those guys are here, we feel it makes a statement about our product and our brand.

If you're a celeb, you can get four free tickets to Hawks home games. Go and have a good time -- you'll be well taken care of. Don't take my word for it though, take Big Boi's (remember Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik?):

On the floor, everything's taken care of.

Well, almost everything. I'll let Ken tell the story:

Boxer Evander Hollyfield once wanted a Chick-fil-A sandwich, but since there is no kiosk in Philips and food can't be brought in, he had to settle for a burger at the Bank of America Club.

Poor Evander. Maybe Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik will cheer him up.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Learn a New Language?

How 'bout Lisp? It's fun!

Functions cubed

As I've mentioned, I've been looking at different coding standards (props to Christopher Lott on his nice collection). After a reading a couple, you come to appreciate the competing philosophies at work. In fact, much of buying into a code style is buying into a philosophy. Code styles range from a simple list of rules to manifestos. One I thought got things off to a start with a bang was Programming Style for Foundations of Computer Science:


You must decompose your programs into smaller parts. One function won't cut it. This is one of the most common pitfalls of novice programmers. As a general rule of thumb, no function should consist of more than 20 lines of code. Yes, it's arbitrary, but think of it as a learning exercise; by having to fit within such constraints, you will come to appreciate what modular coding does for you, and when it is right to use bigger functions.

The decomposition process does not occur at the very end. Some students bring code, promising that they'll split it into smaller functions, "when they're done". That's not the point--you don't do this just to make the program look pretty. You want to decompose the problem (and your solution, i.e. the program) starting at the design phase. By forcing yourself to design modularly (i.e., use functions) from the beginning, your program will go together faster, be easier to debug and easier to read. Think Legos© and Tinker-toys©: lots of small pieces, each easy to comprehend and debug. Plug them together and you can get great stuff!

As you write code, if you find a function becoming too large (too many variables, etc.), it's probably time to split the function into smaller parts.

For "toy" programming assignments like most of those of this course, you can get away with poor design technique (like not thinking modularly). But, believe me, you will fall down, *hard*, when you get to bigger programs.

More philosophy: Rob Pike's Notes on Programming in C. Automated Linux from scratch's folding Linus's Linux kernel style guide into theirs. Don't forget to revel in the glory of Microsoft's Hungarian Notation for VB. And, the most ideological of all: GNU. What does Linus think of GNU's coding standards?

First off, I'd suggest printing out a copy of the GNU coding standards, and NOT read it. Burn them, it's a great symbolic gesture.

Everyone has got an opinion once they wade in.

daily dose of w

It was just inebriating what Midland [Oil Company] was all about then.

Comment made in a 1994 interview. Quoted in First Son, by Bill Minutaglio

I bet it was.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Rules Rules Rules

Thems that know me might be surprised that I've started insinuating coding standards where I work. Rules are that last thing that many might associate with me, but I'm all about rules. So, what up with the coding standards, Playa?

Without rules, you meander a desultory walk and only the most exceptional have the discipline to indulge in a little introspection. With rules, at least there's a path; if your just pulling lint out of your navel, you don't unduly provoke people who are trying to get stuff done. If you're lucky, you'll start to think about why those rules are there. If you're really lucky, you'll start to break the rules for good reason. When you're breaking the rules with an understanding of what you're doing, you're either an artist or a sociopath. It's almost a passable definition of either.

I remember when Willem de Kooning died hearing a clip of him saying something like there comes a time for studying to pass, and you just have to go into the studio an make something happen. If you know the quote, please let me know. It's spirit has stuck with me and gnaws on me relentlessly to this day.
Willem de Kooning

daily dose of w

I hope to get a sense of, should I be fortunate enough to be the president, how my administration will react to the Middle East.

12 Oct 2000
From comments made in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

Hmmm... somehow I think he already knew.

My name is George Walker Bush. You embarrassed my daddy. Prepare to be invaded.

Inigo Montoya showing off his scar to The Man in Black

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Good Name for a Software Company

Cargo Cult Programming. From Wikipedia:

The term 'cargo cult' refers to aboriginal religions which grew up in the South Pacific after World War II. The practices of these cults centered on building elaborate mockups of airplanes and military landing strips in the hope of summoning the god-like airplanes that brought such marvelous cargo during the war. Use in computer programming probably derives from Richard Feynman's characterization of certain practices as Cargo cult science.

smiling Richard Feynman
Cut and paste is helpful for copying links. Its contribution to programming is, shall we say, dubious. If you're cutting the pasting fool while programming, consider a new procedure (subroutine, whatever).

daily dose of w

Whatever it took to help Taiwan defend theirself.

25 Apr 2001

Speaking on CBS's Good Morning America. Describing the United States' commitment to the defense of Taiwan.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

daily dose of w

And the true threats of the 21st century are the ability for some rogue leader to say to the United States, to Europe, to Russia herself, to Israel, don't you dare move, don't you dare try to express your freedom, otherwise we'll blow you up.

20 Jul 2001
BBC Interview

Friday, April 01, 2005

Metroblog, TODO

Note to self:
Atlanta Metro Blog
Write something about How to write comments.

Google Gulp

Astonishing breakthrough from google: Google Gulp. From the Google Gulp main page:

Quench your thirst for knowledge.

At Google our mission is to organize the world's information and make it useful and accessible to our users. But any piece of information's usefulness derives, to a depressing degree, from the cognitive ability of the user who's using it. That's why we're pleased to announce Google Gulp (BETA)™ with Auto-Drink™ (LIMITED RELEASE), a line of "smart drinks" designed to maximize your surfing efficiency by making you more intelligent, and less thirsty.

Think fruity. Think refreshing.
Think a DNA scanner embedded in the lip of your bottle reading all 3 gigabytes of your base pair genetic data in a fraction of a second, fine-tuning your individual hormonal cocktail in real time using our patented Auto-Drink™ technology, and slamming a truckload of electrolytic neurotransmitter smart-drug stimulants past the blood-brain barrier to achieve maximum optimization of your soon-to-be-grateful cerebral cortex. Plus, it's low in carbs! And with flavors ranging from Beta Carroty to Glutamate Grape, you'll never run out of ways to quench your thirst for knowledge.

picture of google gulp sero-tonic water

Mmmm... can I get some gin with that Sero-Tonic Water?

Copyright -- It's All About Big Business

I always get a kick out of musicians and authors who passionately toe the RIAA/MPAA line about copyrights. It's not about the author or artist, and never has been. What if you want to publish yourself? You can't. Not to sound too much like Marx, it's all about controlling the means of production.
Karl Marx smiling
Copyright laws are already in place. Let the market decide how the entertainment industry is going to shake itself out, not artificial restrictions on technology. There were musicians and artists long before copyright, and there will be long after the Supremes make their call.

daily dose of w

We're still being challenged in Iraq and the reason why is a free Iraq will be a major defeat in the cause of freedom.

5 Apr 2004
Charlotte, North Carolina

If there's any freedom marchin' Dubya will be sure to defeat it.