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14 April, 2004

No Posts On Thursday

Don't come here on Thursday looking for new stuff. I'll be gone all day. We're leaving on a 6:30 am flight to Phoenix, driving to Prescott, and then returning to San Diego at 9:00 pm. A long day. But the weather will be good, and I'm looking forward to some nice scenery.

I'm bringing my camera, so I should have some new desert shots to post on Friday.

Posted on 14 April, 2004

Identify This Bird

This little yellow bird was hanging out in the yard all day. Does anybody know what kind it is?

Posted on 14 April, 2004

Sign Language Clock

A clock that uses hand signals.

Posted on 14 April, 2004


A game called Hammered.

It's 4:45 on a Friday afternoon and you're knackered. Hammer as many nails as possible...

Posted on 14 April, 2004

Two Dylan Songs

Two of my favorite Bob Dylan songs are Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands and My Heart's In the Highlands, which was recorded about 30 years later.

I noticed the opposite words in the two song titles, but I never actually associated those two songs with each other -- until I happened across this article by T.M. Madigan: Highlands = Lowlands + 30.

Some obvious similarities are: one is "Low" while the other is "High" and both are long songs with hypnotic melodies. But Bob Dylan's words "I wouldn't know a real blonde from a fake" are nothing less than a 'bright flashing neon arrow' directing attention to "Blonde on Blonde". That line alone demands closer scrutiny of both songs and both albums.

Some of the points made in the article are a bit of a stretch, but it's certainly clear that Dylan was intentionally making a connection to a 30-year old song.

Posted on 14 April, 2004

High Five Day

Let me be the first to wish you a happy High Five Day. It's tomorrow, but I'll be gone all day.

National High Five Day falls on the third Thursday of April each year, which this year is April 15. The holiday originated at the University of Virginia in 2002, and has since spread across the nation, and around the globe.

It is a day when, in the words of its founders, "without inhibition, people can freely exchange high fives between all different genders, races, heights, and social classes. There's nothing else to it. Just a day when U.Va., and America as a whole, will be looking to give high fives, and will be just as ready to receive them."

Posted on 14 April, 2004

Hidden Message At The Ballpark

A press release at PETA's web site: "Boycott Petco" message sneaks into Padres Ballpark.

When the chance arose to purchase one of the 8-inch-by-8-inch bricks that the San Diego Ballpark Brick Program is offering to the public for sale, inscription, and permanent display as part of the ballpark, PETA jumped at it.

After its first idea for an inscription, a message commemorating all the animals who have suffered and died in PETCO stores nationwide, was turned down, PETA submitted and won approval for the seemingly innocuous message, "Break Open Your Cold Ones! Toast The Padres! Enjoy This Championship Organization!"-the initial letters of which spell out "BOYCOTT PETCO." The action is the latest salvo in PETA's national campaign against PETCO, which was launched in order to inform consumers of the pet-shop chain's bad habit of leaving animals sick and dying in its stores, pending lawsuits, and angry customers.

Posted on 14 April, 2004

Skeleton Briefs

A company called MEDTECH Forensics specializes in products related to crime scene investigation. But they also have a great sense of humor.

The best part of their site (at least for non-professionals like me) is Skeleton Briefs -- a series of photos that depict skeletons in various poses. Like this one, of a fellow known as Doug Meup:

(Thanks Wanda)

Posted on 14 April, 2004

Dick Cheney Interview

From the White House Web site: Interview of the Vice President by WLW AM.

The only interesting thing about this interview is that it was conducted by a play-by-play announcer during a baseball game.

(via Low Culture)

Posted on 14 April, 2004

Get Paid To Spam

From Slashdot: Paid To Spam.

It seems that spammers have taken a new distributed approach to sending spam, and you get paid for it. Virtual MDA will pay you $1 per CPU hour their program is running to relay spam around the world.

The Virtual MDA site is currently unavailable because it's been "slashdotted." In other words, this Virtual MDA company is getting thousands of dollars worth of free advertising, courtesy of Slashdot.

So... let's say you have six computers devoted to relaying spam. At $1 per hour per computer, that works out to $144 per day, or about $4,320 per month -- a decent income for simply annoying millions of people. That's assuming, of course, that you're willing to do "business" with a sleaze-bag company who will probably never send you a penny.

Posted on 14 April, 2004

The Purple House

People in Lubbock, Texas, are thankful: Purple house conflict fades as owner agrees to comply with code.

Three years of notoriety that surrounded a colorful house on Indiana Avenue may soon end as the owner has agreed to abide by a city ordinance once protested with purple paint and polka dots.

Known as the Purple House, the 2,800-square-foot rental house at 25th and Indiana stood as a challenge to a city code that prohibits more than two unrelated roommates from living in the same house

(via Grow A Brain)

Posted on 14 April, 2004

What's That Font?

This is pretty cool stuff: Identifont.

Welcome to Identifont, the unique font identifier that enables you to identify a font from a sample by answering a series of simple questions. It is ideal if you want to match an existing typeface, or identify a typeface you have seen in a publication.

(via Pop Culture Junk Mail)

Posted on 14 April, 2004

Page 23

I've been seeing this everywhere lately, but I don't know where it started. It's just a thing where you...

  1. Open the book that you're currently reading
  2. Turn to page 23
  3. Type the fifth sentence.

In my case, the book is Shock Wave, by Clive Cussler (yep, another Dirk Pitt novel):

With the dawn, only twenty-five men and three women were left, out of the seventy-eight from the night before: sixteen convicts, including Jess Dorsett, Betsy Fletcher and two other women; two soldiers and ten of the Gladiator's crew, including Captain Scaggs.

I think that's the longest sentence in the entire book.

* * *

Update: Sorry, I got the rules wrong. Here's a link to the originator of this meme (thanks Nick Burns). Rule #1 is "Grab the nearest book" (not the book that you are currently reading.

So, the nearest book to me is Excel 2000 Programming For Dummies. The fifth sentence is:

Specifying one of these lets you execute the macro by pressing a key combination -- in this case, Ctrl+Shift+C.

Posted on 14 April, 2004

Everyday Latin Phrases

In high school, I studied Latin for four years. Well, I didn't exactly study it, but I attended the classes. I think the only thing I remember is Semper ubi sub ubi.

But finally, Latin is useful: Latin, the easy way.

These are all authentic, gramatically accurate phrases to use in everyday life. (Remember: C is usually pronounced K as in keep. U like O in wool, and O is pronounced like O in got.)

Just a few examples of useful Latin phrases:

Frequentasne hunc locum? (Do you come here often? )

Apudne te vel me? (Your place or mine?)

Non sperabam te domoum tam cito revenire. (I didn't expect you home so soon.)

Hoc ei propinabo! (I'll drink to that!)

(via Idle Type)

Posted on 14 April, 2004


In the U.S., tomorrow is tax day. For the first time in recent memory, I actually filed my taxes way in advance and didn't need an extension.

In the spirit of the season, I give you (from CNN): Strangest State Tax Laws.

In certain states and cities, you'll pay special taxes for buying a deck of cards, possessing illegal drugs and possibly buying things from those in the buff. The taxes aren't always levied directly on you but on the owner of a business you patronize. But businesses often find ways to pass that added cost onto customers.

And if you're curious about the tax bill for Bush, Cheney, and Kerry, see this: Bush, Cheney do well on taxes.

And finally this: Does the IRS owe you money? Enter your last name and state, and you'll find out.

Posted on 14 April, 2004

Grayed-Out Photos

I don't know who Grayed-Out is, but I think he/she is from Wisconsin, and I think he/she reads this blog (I found the link in a comment).

In any case, these are some great photos. Here's one from the CrOp Art category.

Posted on 14 April, 2004

The Google Suck Index Redux

Way back in December, 2002, I invented something I call the Google Suck Index.

This index consists of the number of pages returned for a search query that contains the phrase "xxxx sucks."

I think it's time to update the numbers and see how things have changed.

First, let's look at video game consoles. Clearly, Xbox sucks much more than it used to.

12/2002 4/2004
Xbox Sucks�� 1,450 4,780
Nintendo Sucks�� 629 857
Playstation Sucks�� 182 340

What about U.S. states? For some reason, New York has gotten much suckier -- but that figure includes both the city and the state.

12/2002 4/2004
New York Sucks�� 720 3,790
California Sucks�� 334 678
Rhode Island Sucks�� 27 34
Montana Sucks�� 20 123

Political figures? Iraq sucks less than it used to. I guess that's because the country is free now.

12/2002 4/2004
Bush Sucks�� 7,180 15,800
Iraq Sucks�� 1,510 822
Osama Sucks�� 1,220 2,860
Clinton Sucks�� 690 3,870
Bin Laden Sucks�� 358 4,370
Gore Sucks�� 334 553
Kerry Sucks N/A 4,730

Computer related stuff? These all suck more than they used to. No surprises here.

12/2002 4/2004
Microsoft Sucks�� 5,550 9.390
Windows Sucks�� 4,400 9.620
Linux Sucks�� 4,150 8.820

And the catch-all.

12/2002 4/2004
Everything� Sucks�� 15,400 20,000

�Further proof that the world is getting worse, not better.

Posted on 14 April, 2004

Attention Divorcees

Here's a good idea: A gift registry and resource for the newly single. It's called They Took Everything.

Every breakup, besides the emotional issues, has material issues as well. Unfortunately you and your partner aren't the only thing that is "split up" when you go your separate ways. All of your stuff is too, and not always equally. When you are getting married you register for things then sit back and wait for the blenders and toasters. However, when you split up, then you really need those things, and there is no easy way to get help.

Posted on 14 April, 2004


Yesterday, the theme was Two Things. Today I present Merlin's list of five things. For example:

Five things that have gotten more complicated
than I'd really like:

1. Toothbrushes
2. Athletic shoes
3. Ordering coffee
4. Getting out of jury duty
5. Young men's haircuts

Posted on 14 April, 2004

The Onion As A News Source

From Wired: Onion Taken Seriously, Film at 11.

The article in the Beijing Evening News told a shocking story of American hubris: Congress was behaving like a petulant baseball team and threatening to bolt Washington, D.C., unless it got a new, modern Capitol building, complete with retractable roof.

There was a problem with the story. Rather than do his own original reporting, Evening News writer Huang Ke had cribbed, nearly word for word, his text from an American publication. And as if that wasn't bad enough, Ke hadn't bothered to vet the source he had plagiarized: The Onion.

Posted on 14 April, 2004

Change Your Voice

Change the sound of your voice for only $29.95: Voice Cloak.

Have you ever wanted to have a different voice? Now you can- at least while you are chatting to your friends online, or talking to people on Voice over IP (VoIP) connections.

Voice Cloak will raise or lower your voice- with a little practice men can sound like women and women can sound like men. That's only the beginning, though- you can add echo, chorus, flange, robot voice, or EQ to get all kinds of cool effects when you talk.

Posted on 14 April, 2004

Vintage Eyeglasses

For that retro look: Vintage Eyeglasses and Antique Spectacles.

We specialize in vintage eyeglasses, antique spectacles, related tools and optical equipment. Browse the following examples of our vintage eyeglass frames, antique eyeglasses, retro frames, and spectacles. We have more than 17,000 pair of vintage eyeglasses in stock.

Shown here is a pince-nez style. Woodrow Wilson, Teddy Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt and other political and business leaders wore this style.

Posted on 14 April, 2004


Tuition and fees for one semester at the University of Connecticut: $3,200.

A case of cheap beer: $19

Getting your picture on the Web site for the Dean of Students: Priceless.

Posted on 14 April, 2004

News, Not News

This is not news: Man injured in dog bite incident.

This is news: Man bites dog to death.

Posted on 14 April, 2004