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April 27, 2002

Round as a wheel

Seen recently on the commute-logistics mailing list for bicycle commuters (excellent list, incidentally):

A Zen teacher saw five of his students returning from the market, riding their bicycles. When they arrived at the monastery and had dismounted, the teacher asked the students, "Why are you riding your bicycles?"

The first student replied, "The bicycle is carrying the sack of potatoes. I am glad that I do not have to carry them on my back!" The teacher praised the first student, "You are a smart boy! When you grow old, you will not walk hunched over like I do."

The second student replied, "I love to watch the trees and fields pass by as I roll down the path!" The teacher commended the second student, "Your eyes are open, and you see the world."

The third student replied, "When I ride my bicycle, I am content to chant nam myoho renge kyo." The teacher gave praise to the third student, "Your mind will roll with the ease of a newly trued wheel."

The fourth student replied, "Riding my bicycle, I live in harmony with all sentient beings." The teacher was pleased, and said to the fourth student, "You are riding on the golden path of non-harming."

The fifth student replied, "I ride my bicycle to ride my bicycle." The teacher sat at the feet of the fifth student and said, "I am your student!"

April 26, 2002

Gollum won?

This is just brilliant.

April 25, 2002

Lingo peeve

Seen most recently at diveintomark, but hardly limited to him:

Let's just stop using the phrase "Pure <something> goodness." Genug, kitty; it's tired. While we're at it, can we cheese the "Best. <Something>. Ever." too? Thanks. We now return you to the English language.

April 24, 2002

Linda Lovelace dead

BBC News | FILM | Deep Throat star dies

Weird. I've never seen Deep Throat (no, really), but I've been semi-aware of Lovelace's career and post-porn life, and it sounds like she went through a lot. Too young, to die in a car crash at 53.

You mean I don't get to meet the Yankees?

Hailing a Taxi for a Quick Trip to the Jail

2 shmoes rob an apartment and then hail a cab for the quick getaway. Unfortunately, the cab is an undercover cop cab. Schmoes tip off cop by simultaneously hiding and hailing, a suspicious activity, as well as probably very difficult to do with any measure of aplomb. Schmoes get a fare to jail. One of them was sitting on a bike they'd just stolen from the apt, so I have NO sympathy. There is a special circle of hell, so bad that it's actually a square, for bicycle thieves.

It ain't no little kid ride

It's a thrill comin' down the hill

via wKenShow.

April 23, 2002

Better Vegetables

NYT Article on the Park Slope Food Co-op.

I read this and I salivate. The produce round here is none that great, I can tell you, which is terrific if you just see potatoes as something to cover the parts of the plate unoccupied by steak, but vegetables take on a whole new meaning when they're the ding an sich. I'd love to join, but I have a hard enough time getting to the local organic market, let alone Brooklyn.

Interestingly, I first heard about the PSFC through this pretty hilarious site. Which site I discovered because it was linked from the guy's other page about the alternative high school program my wife attended in Westchester.

There's also Urban Organic, who are just going nationwide, but I'm not sure I like the idea of someone else picking my produce and dropping off a box at my house every week.

April 22, 2002

Blatant plug

My old friend John Peterson just started a website for Otter Creek Tinware, his new business. Very cool stuff. Well worth a look if you're interested in historical reproductions. John was the blacksmith at Sturbridge Village for a number of years, and now teaches high school in Vermont. Don't miss the historically accurate enema syringe.

Maybe it's not true what they say after all

Via kottke.org: Yahoo! News - Photo

One for dog, one for me

/var/log/sysblog: my morning

I like this. A lot. Esp "eat with dog." Daniel and L and I all really want a dog. If you're on the co-op Aesthetics Committee, you know what we mean. We are not happy.

New toy. O-E-O

iBook G3/600 128/20gb/Combo

"vi is the editor of gods. emacs is the god of editors."

"Hi my name is andrew. I'm an emacs user."

via diveintomark, why you should be using emacs instead of that stoopit vi. You say "emacs has a web browser in it?" like that's a bad thing.

April 19, 2002

Blogging a dead horse

Does Doc Searls have some sort of contract that requires him to use some variation on the term "blog" in just about every single post he makes? Annoying.

I've said it before, I'll say it again. Blogging may well be a revolution in publishing. It will not be much of a revolution if its only topic of conversation is itself. Right now all I see are two types of logs:

1. As above, the Wired-Kevin Kelly "Prepare to throw away your houses and live in New Economy Internet Huts!" self-congratulatory McFuturism booster types, whose weblogs are about little else than weblogs per se, and wear thin daily; and

2. The vast number of teenagers, mothers, and jes plain folks, who seem to be using blogs almost as a sort of adjunct to IM: a sort of extended message to friends in public. These blogs are much less conscious of a greater audience and tend to not care whether you know what the writer is talking about or not. In many ways more refreshing and interesting than Doc Searls or Dave Winer yelling "Big media (or BigPubs (Rock ON, radical millionaire dude! Off the Bigs!) ) is dead!" yet again. Sure it is. Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss.

April 18, 2002

Mozilla Google Hack

neat little browser hack for IE 5 for OS X.

Actually I've been using something very like this for Mozilla (all platforms) which consists of defining a bookmark for Google with this url:


and then setting its keyword to "gg." Now you can just type "gg searchterm" into the location bar, hit Enter, and there you are. Extending this to highlighting browser text and then clicking a link to search for the highlighted term is left as an exercise for the reader.

Paging Dr Bobbitt

Via rebecca's pocket: Girl grabs flasher's zipper - and yanks up

Police spokesman Mike Carey says the incident happened in an elevator at a Virginia Beach lodge Monday night. He says the man was injured, and the girl ran out of the elevator and found her stepfather.

You bet your ass he was injured. Good for her.

Hey, don't get that cute on me

CNN:Fox cancels 'Ally McBeal'

I never watched it, because it SUCKED, but I'm glad they're cancelling it anyway. I knew I was becoming a old curmudgeon when I saw how the kids went for this piece of narcissitic bullshit. Can you tell I don't like it?

See you in Canada

The Seattle Times: Business & Technology: Feds might use Microsoft product for online ID

Look at the time. Man. Really gotta emigrate. Now.

We can do anything that we wanna do. Well, maybe except this.

You are in for a shock. Steve's Web Page

Yes, THAT Steve. Blue's Clues Steve. I find this very very disturbing. Perhaps I just have a hard time with change. Perhaps I should ignore the cries of "Todd Bridges" in my head.

I definitely cannot let my 4 year old son see this.

However, we do now know where to get the shirts.

People can be stupid

Worcester Telegram: Unprovoked attack on cyclist.

I have never been able to figure out why some people - make that drivers, though I guess technically they are people - just seem to have it in for people on bikes. They all seem to think that bikes are supposed to be ridden on the sidewalk, not the road. Which, as we all know, is not the case. Just about every cyclist I know can tell at least a couple stories of varying degrees of harassment.

This was pretty extreme, though - two punks in a Pontiac, chased this guy into traffic and whacked him in the back with a baseball bat. Fortunately, he was not seriously hurt. Sad.

April 17, 2002

Why do you say Would you go f yourself?

ABC asks: Are Bot Buddies Ads for Children in Disguise?

Well, duh. Yeah.

Don't miss the straight outta Eliza conversation between the one of the author's kids and the ELLEGirlBuddy bot, who I spent a bit of time talking to also. My favorite part was when she asked if I wanted to know "How can I get rid of my bacne?" Boxy5?

As to the danger to children: I think any reasonably savvy kid is going to pretty quickly figure out that it's not a person. After all, how many people IM in numbered lists? Way too phone menu. Either that, or given the conversation recounted in the article, the kid will come to the conclusion that the bot is an utter moron (hmmm) and get lost fast.

And if you're truly a Tolkien completist (translation: hopeless fanboy - DISCLAIMER: I LIKE LOTR), you should know that there is a pretty lame RingCompanion bot too. Mostly just dumps fun factoids and then tries to lure you off to merchandise websites.

Goodbye Dan Tanna

This made me sadder than I thought it would.

Robert Urich, Emmy-Winning Actor, Dies at 55

April 16, 2002

Tipping towards autocracy

Backhanded compliments.

It would be nice if just once he could find the generosity of spirit to praise a feature of another language without needing to add somewhere that Frontier had said feature however many years before those he damns with faint praise. Such desperate insecurity and paucity of soul goes a long way to explaining why Frontier has remained a decidedly niche product despite its oft-cited longevity in the market.

The wily metaphor

Site I happened across via Zeldman today, What Do I Know. Good site. Nice design (of course, coming from Zeldman). Interesting bit (linked above) on Trading Places. What I found interesting was this:

The show is intriguing on two levels. One, watching rooms be turned completely upside down for a paltry thousand bucks. Two, the schism between the sophisticated, artsy interior designers and their clients with Walmart design sense. Things can go well, or get ugly. And last night, they got ugly.

He then goes on to recount how the designer went wild, completely ignored the needs of the occupants, and created the equivalent of a Hollywood mansion screening room for these poor schlubs, who had only a paltry 17" TV to put in it.

Pretty good metaphor for a lot of what passes for design (read Photoshop idolatry, Flash-worship, and typography-obsession) on the web. Users, in software as much as web design, should be going "oooh" over the information, not the designer's technical sleight-of-hand. No opaque technique, transparency of tools should be the motto.


There is an air-conditioning vent by the entrance to my office grotto.

Said vent begins emitting noise every 10 mins that sounds like a car transmission in the end stages of a terminal illness.

This noise lasts for 9 minutes.

This noise is intensely annoying.

This noise makes me wish for the usual NYC cacophony of trucks in reverse and blaring horns.

I hate the air-conditioning vent by the entrance to my office grotto.

The things you find

I'd love to know the story behind this. How exactly does one become a "little guestbook bitch?" And what does that even mean?

Geekish Tendencies Required

Walking to work this morning I saw a bus ad for the Wall Street Journal, touting its new ability to be all things to all MBAs. The ad focused on their redesign: one side pointed to the front hard-news section and said "How to run an IT network." The other side pointed to the shiny new "Personal Journal" section and said "How to run your PDA."

2 things about this:

1. You really don't run your PDA, you use it. Makes for symmetrical copy, but it sounds off, clumsy.

2. If you don't know how to use your PDA, what the hell are you doing running an IT network? Technical executives should have technical competencies (not just buzzword compliance.) When this isn't the case, bad trouble, very very bad trouble, results.

April 15, 2002

Okey Doke

Ok, I have upgraded the Clam to Movable Type 2.0. Upgrade went smoothly, of course making backups and such as I went, and I am ready to check out the various new features.

I'm also thinking that it's really time I made a bigger customization effort on the site, and made it a bit more personal than just a few tweaks to the default MT stylesheet. I want to get to the point where getting my stylesheet and template overwritten'd be a great loss.

April 12, 2002

Integrity. This Screams Integrity.

ABBA refuse a billion to get back together. The depths to which this announcement moves me - particularly Benny's simple yet heartfelt "It is a hell of a lot of money to say no to, but we decided it wasn't for us" (well, can I have it then?) - may well be unquantifiable. In which case you'll have to settle for a rough estimate and take it on faith.

But this almost makes me respect them. Except for the lousy music, of course.

April 11, 2002

And so it begins

Here we go.

Remember, whenever this guy says two-way, he means do what I want. This, like every UserLand romance, is meant to end badly, simply because some people have higher prorities than pleasing Dave Winer, and ultimately, that is just unacceptable. I foresee major hissy fits ahead. It would be nice if UserLand had an attention span longer than 5 seconds ("this is a really important corner-turn milestone that will affect the past present and future history of the entire Internet and the BigCos can't do a thing to stop it," yawn) with regards to supporting their products (hello, Frontier and Manila users? Is is still Love Manila Month, or have we now moved to Leave Manila By the Roadside In A Dirty Wedding Dress Month? You make the call.)

Or to put the question another way, What if as soon as I pinged Weblogs.com, my changes showed up? How come I have to wait till that stupid top of the hour bullshit? Why don't they walk the same walk they talk about others? Man, I'm losing time ranting about this I could be spending working on my Wes Felter IS Mini-Me! Condescending Blog Entry Web Service, so this really ticks me off.

why do you hate America so much?

Hilarious Tom Tomorrow on Salon. I don't like war. I don't like the fact that I can't choose to not fund it, and it makes me very nervous when dissent gets called anti-Americanism. Nobody tells me what to think. Period.

April 10, 2002

Brief Update

yet another test post from the always amusing bloggerbot. I have not been writing much; a lot is going on. My Brompton folding bike (bought on EBay) arrived Saturday; I am waiting for a new taller seatpost and a saddle clamp from C.M. Wasson Co. so that I can put a purchased-before-I-went-vegan (really!) Champion Flyer saddle on it. Then I can enter the exciting world of "intermodal transportation" (i.e. ride bike to train station. Fold bike, get on train. Get off train in NYC. Unfold bike. Ride bike to work.) Though I may end up looking as though I'm searching for my lost circus gig.

April 7, 2002

Back to sycophant city

There's a certain kind of abusive personality that shows up in droves when you say "Anyone can comment."

Yeah, like the one you're reading at the moment. Sorry, but anyone can agree with people who toady to them (Russ Lipton, are you listening?)

April 2, 2002

And you'll go blind.

This comment on Mefi is the absolute best summary of the whole Old Media vs. The Bloggers debate (now raging over a Boston Globe article.)