Friday, December 31, 2004

I like to find recipes on the intarwebs. Recently, I wanted a recipe for the German fruit compote called rote gruetze. I found several recipes. Some, like this one, despite being found on the German Embassy's website (not the first place I would have thought to look), are better than others, for example this laughably poor version from the, ahem, "Ft. Bliss, TX Officers' Wives' Club" (I also like the way the original sidesteps the tricky issue of apostrophe placement by the simple expedient of omission).

OTOH, "Ft. Bliss, TX Officers' Wives' Club" might make a good name for a gonzo amateur porn tape. Mmmm ... naked trailer trash gals wrestling in rote gruetze ...

(I thought about reinforcing the comparison between jello wrestling and rote gruetze wrestling by referring to it as "jello-cum-rote gruetze wrestling" but then realized that the context within which I was using the Latin for "as" might have made it sound like I was advocating they wrestle in a mixture of three substances ... )

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

A not-too-long time ago, in a galaxy somewhere near Columbus, Ohio:

[Marketing Drone]: "Yo, Alderdude, can we have a building permit for a rawkin' X-tian skate park, that will take God to the XTREME?"

[Alderman]: "Hmmm, our youth do need to reconnect with our Lord, but will the building be ugly?"

[MD]: "Yes sir, just look at these futuristic drawings. "

{A]: "Yes, I like... big and purple. I like things that are big and purp.. ehem, uhm.. Yes, it should go well with our cityscape of grey... do you have a name for it?"

[MD]: "That's where we are running into some problems. We need to capture the awesomeness and X-trematude of the concept in order to draw in the youths, but also need to make sure they don't know off the start that it is associated with the church, it will hurt our numbers."

[A]: "What do you have so far?"

{MD]: "The best we've got is 'The Jesus is Rad Center for Xtreme Akkshun."

[A]: "You need to go bigger than Jesus, and more subtle... how about God's Extreme Roller Park?"

[MD]: "I like it, but it isn't spelled poorly enough. AOL has degenerated the average reading and writing skills of US teenagers to the point that they no longer respect proper words. Also, roller park is a little tame. It's got an arcade to stimulate the brain, a restaurant to recharge the batteries after a hard day .."

[A, Interrupting]: "God's Xtreme POWER Park!"

[MD]: "Wait. I just had a vision. My Latte is speaking to me. How. About. We Add a 'zee' to the end of God: Godz Xtreme Power Park."

[A]: "B-I-N-G-O"

[MD]: "More like G-O-D-Z-O!"

[A & MD]: "Hahahahaha! HIGH FIVES!" *SLAP*
(Fictionized dialog unceremoniously borrowed from here with minor modification.)

Monday, December 27, 2004

Sunday, December 26, 2004

Big decisions, they say, are made by men who don't have to live with the consequences; probably because those affected by the big decisions are generally outside the decisionmakers' monkeysphere.

Aside - is a site that sets out to "debunk" claims Michael Moore has made in his films. What continually strikes me as interesting about the site is that it is not only generally refreshingly free from the typical foaming-at-the-mouth rabid conservative rhetoric that passes for reasoned debate these days (e.g. "all liberals are traitors"), but most of the "debunking" pages show that while Mr. Moore may occasionally show certain facts in a particular light, or omit information to subtly manipulate the context in which information is presented, for the most part Michael Moore plays it pretty well straight down the middle. See this example "rebuttal" of Moore's assertion concerning the number of US Congressmen with kids serving in the military in Iraq. Maybe the figure is two, not one, but Moore's substantive point is actually reinforced by this page, IMHO.

Saturday, December 25, 2004

You think that's air you're breathing?

Monday, December 20, 2004

I was searching for something on the Royal Mail website, and found this interesting admonition in the search results window:

So, if they didn't find it, presumably it's because you weren't hoping hard enough.
Minor mystery - major mystery.

Friday, December 17, 2004

They should add "blogging" to this list.
It had to happen sooner or later I suppose. A sports-related posting from me.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Here's another tasteless flash game that has more appeal in the idea than playing. I felt I had to submit it because of what it is, not because it's any fun ...
Normally, I would have commented on Ken's post (below) but comments appeared to be broken. Anyway:


A Russian site that lets you download music "legally, honest" in pretty much any format you like, at any encoding quality you like, and charges you by the megabyte. $0.01 per megabyte, to be precise. If they don't have the encoding you want, don't worry! They'll encode online while-u-wait! Probably funding some illegal activity somewhere, but no evidence of that yet...

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Do you buy a lot of music? I do, and I've recently been looking at two vendors with two very different business models and value propositions:


Last time I looked at eMusic, they were still basically a dot-com startup in search of a business model, let alone profitability. At that point, if I'd had money to invest, I would have put it on the Underpants Gnomes before these guys.

However, they are now the new (now with added revenue stream!) and the value prop is pretty good - so long as your musical tastes have sufficient overlap with what they offer, although with over 500,000 tracks to choose from, including a lot of older releases from indie labels, there's a pretty fair bet you'll find enough to make it worth your money. It works for me, nut if you're looking for the absolute latest anything you may not find it here, but otherwise for DRM-free good-quality legal MP3s at around 22c each, you can't beat 'em.


This site is an offshoot of industry behemoth Bertelsmann Music Group who also own the BMG Music Service, which competes with venerable Columbia House ("Buy 12 CDs for the price of one with nothing more to buy, ever!") (see here for more on these two) but with an interesting two-fold twist on the standard "CD buyer's club" theme:

a) It's a subscription service. You pays your $5.99/mo and they ship you one CD a month, p&p included.
b) You maintain a queue of CDs you're interested in, a la Netflix. However, unlike Netflix, you only get one CD a month (as opposed to Netflix' concurrent use pricing) but, again unlink Netflix, you keep the CD. Presumably Netflix' system worksfor them because copying DVDs is still largely painful to do and requires hardwareand software most people do not have; the same is clearly untrue when applied to CDs.

The downside is they only have 14,000 albums (call it 140,000 tracks), you can only buy by the album, and, predictably, there's a lot of Ashlee Simpson, Travis Tritt and Usher to be found there. When I browsed the catalog I was able to find an average of one album on each page of 12 listed that I was sort-of interested in. I think that would be the stumbling block for me - actually being able to find enough CDs that I wanted to buy for $6 each to sustain a six-month commitment, let alone a year.

Between these two, my money is on (and going to) YMMV.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Followup: Over at Metafilter, one of their forum users submitted the following transcript of a game played with 20Q (reordered to enhance the suspense):

1. Is it classified as? Animal
2. Does it have claws? Rarely
3. Is it eaten by people? Sometimes
4. Is it a type of fish? No
5. Is it hazardous to your health? Probably
6. Does it have teeth? Yes
7. Does it have a long tail? No
8. Can you hold it? Yes
9. Does it have four legs? No
10. Can it be used more than once? Yes
11. Does it live in groups? Yes
12. Does it lift the spirits? Yes
13. Can you obtain information by using it? Sometimes
14. Can it bind objects? Sometimes
15. Is it a carnivore? Probably
16. Does it provide protection? Usually
17. Would you use it daily? Doubtful
18. Do you clean it regularly? Yes
19. Do you use it at night? Yes
20. I guess that it is a human being? Close
21. Is it commonly used? Doubtful
22. Is it helpful in the learning process? Maybe
23. Is it something you bring along? Maybe
24. Is it smooth? Probably
25. Is it taught in school? Irrelevant
26. Does it need love? Doubtful
27. Can it discharge waste? Yes
28. Is it a crustacean? No
29. I guess that it is a woman? Close
30. I guess that it is a gay man (homosexual)? No

The object you selected is: a prostitute

Friday, December 10, 2004

I recently tried to read a book called "Marketing Strategy: A Storytelling Approach". It was so ... special ... I decided it deserved a review on Amazon.
What would you do with access to's library of sound clips? Build a "name that tune" game, of course! Try your hand (and ear) at, say, the Pixies, Boards of Canada or whoever else you like.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Everyone, it seems, is a critic, and last night amateur rock critic Nathan Gale inflicted a little more damage on the band Damageplan than they planned for. Anyone else notice how much victim Darrell Abbott (more info here) looks like Derek Smalls?

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

More Canadian dubes in the news. Bonus: this story is sex-related.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Monday, December 06, 2004

The McCulloch Effect. Freaky.
From comes interactive beer wenches. Kind of like, Ask Crystal, but much better. Enter your commands and know the drill. Experiment with the usual, such as:
  • Kiss
  • Dance
  • Dane on the bar
  • Strip
  • take your top off
  • etc...
But save the best for last...... fight !

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Play 20 questions against an AI (expert system). Pwn or be pwned.
"Someone though took their eye off the ball and the baggage handler unwittingly put the bag on a plane." So what was in the bag? Oh, nothing to worry about. Just something, apparently, "no more harmful than a chocolate bar".
The sacred cows of rock and pop - slaughtered while-u-wait!

Friday, December 03, 2004

Something pretty *and* safe for work for a change - check out the design of this site. Niiice.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Not sure what to give as a present this holiday season? In the 90s, this would have made you a hero to any young recipient. These being the 00s, this (page down) may be required. It is also something you will want to play with.

For adults, this or maybe this, may be more appreciated.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest is one of my favo(u)rite books of all time, a huge, sprawling, story of addiction in many shapes and forms. Among the (multifarious) conceits described within its pages is a shadowy society called Les Assassins des Fauteuils Rollents (aka "Wheelchair Assassins of Quebec"); its members become wheelchair-bound by participating in Le Jeu du Prochain Train ("The Game of the Next Train"), the object of the "game" being to be the last to jump out of the way of an approaching train.

The relevant pages that describe this game in its historical albeit fictional context can be conveniently found via Amazon through their "search within the book" feature. The relevant pages are here, here, and here - at least, they were for me, when I tried it, YMMV. If this doesn't work for you, go here, mouse over the cover image of the book, and type in a suitable search string (such as "jeu du") - there are several mentions of this phrase (natch) but the first link that came up with that search string for me was the right one. If all else fails, buy the effing book and read pages 1058-1060. It's a great book - did I mention that already? - and I think, knowing you, you'll enjoy it.

Anyway - all of this is a very long way around to get to this point:

Life (and death) sometimes imitates art.

From memepool - Remember -- Always pick the right tool for the job ... #4 is the money shot.