February 27, 2004

X-Small is Too Small

I mean, that setting seems made for ants that might be crawling across the computer monitor.

Posted by Chris on 02/27/04

The Smallification

We're going to try things at font-size: x-small and arial for a few days and see how I feel. Although since it gives me a headache in the first five minutes, I'm guessing not.

Posted by Chris on 02/27/04

This Just In

Does anyone watch or care about the local news anymore? What is local news telling us that isn't covered better somewhere else?

It would be one thing if local news would mainly cover... local news. But that's never enough. Usually they are trying to do reports on some (inter)national hot topic, like who really killed JFK, which diet really works, or what's hot on the runways in Paris this season, in a desperate bid for your attention.

Or they'll take some national story and try desperately to tie it into local interest. "Area Teachers React to Janet Jackson's Superbowl Show." "How Can You Talk To Your Kids About Politics?"

Better still, they'll run a really important and relevant viewer poll like DO YOU THINK SCOTT PETERSEN IS GUILTY or HAVE YOU FORGIVEN BARTMAN FOR DEFLECTING THAT BALL?

Then they run ads showing themselves posing and dressing identically to their national news counterparts, to imply that it's all one big news family, hoping that they'll seem more legitimate.

Local news also continues to hang on to these T.V. news traditions that now just look stupid. Why do we need the weatherman to stand in front of the bluescreen map of the county to point out the weather fronts? Why do we need to see a reporter standing outside in a tornado in order to report on that tornado? Why do we need to see footage from a traffic helicopter? Why the embarrassing banter between segments? Why is there a need to make up a pun about the story coming up after the break? ("SUV Owners Find Themselves in a Jam" - "Move Over, Rover" - "It'll Be A White Christmas")

We have more information than ever these days, and what they need to do to be relevant is NARROW THEIR FOCUS. Local news should be LOCAL. Local news, local sports, local weather. CNN doesn't have the time to tell me about the robbery on 35th and Halsted, or how bad traffic will be this weekend on the Eisenhower, or which schools in my district are closed for asbestos removal, so they leave that to the local station.

And if I want to know whether my hair-loss medicine is lethal to my pregnant wife or which kind of fat is the "good" kind now, or the box-office take for this weekend's films, or what zany antics Yassir Arafat is up to, I'm going to assume that my local NBC station may not have their own science lab, their own agency tabulating receipts, or their own Palestinian news office, and get that information from ANY OF THE HUNDREDS OF OTHER MORE QUALIFIED SOURCES AVAILABLE TO ME.

Posted by Chris on 02/27/04

Status: Agog

What possible reason is there for House Majority leader Dennis Hastert to deny an extension for the deadline of the 9/11 probe?


Perhaps if the commission had been appointed and funded by our leaders in say, 2001, this wouldn't be happening in an election year - assuming that is what the objection is.


"President Bush has said he will meet only with Kean and former U.S. Rep. Lee Hamilton of Indiana, the panel's vice chairman, and will limit the meeting to one hour. Vice President Dick Cheney has made the same offer. "

Then, before I can open my mouth to protest, someone does it for me:

"Former Watergate prosecutor Richard Ben-Veniste, a Democrat on the panel, said that '3,000 human beings were murdered in the worst attack on the homeland of the United States in our history. I think one hour of the president's time may not be satisfactory.'"

Posted by Chris on 02/27/04

Dennis Quasimodo Hastert has to object to the extension. Otherwise the president would be forced to object to it and that would be difficult and an unfortunate foray into honesty.

It's better to create a bad guy and let Bush Jr. say "I'd go along with it but Dennis won't let it happen".

Posted by: Isaac at March 3, 2004 2:46 PM

Another pressing question

How does it feel to be the director of "Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights," when your movie comes out the same week as "The Passion of the Christ?" Do you just thank the reporter for coming to do the interview in your hotel suite, I mean REALLY thank him, because not a lot of reporters showed up, what with the "Passion" thing going on in a much bigger and better hotel across town? But then you're embarassed because you'd had your heart set on being aloof and visibly tired of the whole press junket thing, but now here you are telling this guy to please help himself to any refreshments, these are here for you, and then you're falling over yourself to say are there any questions I can answer about the movie?

And then when the reporter kind of really doesn't have many questions, do you point out the quality of the dancing, and how you thought it was finally the time for a sequel to this movie that everyone loved? And then when there's a long silence you try to make something over the "controversy" of the movie's "Havana" connection, and how that's BIG because we're talking about a country America has had an embargo against for some time, and isn't that Castro crazy, and then suddenly you're talking about the movie "JFK" and how good THAT was, and what are you doing talking about "JFK" in the interview for "Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights," and then you sort of trail off?

And then after another long awkward silence when the reporter asks you if you're going to be seeing "The Passion of the Christ" you kind of act like you haven't really thought about it, so you're not sure. But then you end up asking the reporter if they have any spare tickets, God, why did you do that, you're so STUPID SO STUPID you KNEW you'd screw this up.

And then when the reporter is leaving and you've pressed all the free stuff into his hand (The Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights mug and tote bag!) that you can, you stop him in the hall because you forgot to say how great to was to work with Patrick Swayze on the days he was there for his cameo?

Posted by Chris on 02/27/04

But then here's my question

Here's a question I've always had about Christianity. Again from Ebert's magnificent review, which is a magnificent thing of magnificence:

"Jesus was made man and came to Earth in order to suffer and die in reparation for our sins. No race, no man, no priest, no governor, no executioner killed Jesus; he died by God's will to fulfill his purpose, and with our sins we all killed him."

So then since the disciple Judas was so instrumental in making sure God's purpose for Jesus was fulfilled, then he should be revered as a hero of the Gospels, right? I mean - the rest of the disciples were trying to keep that from happening!

Posted by Chris on 02/27/04

Jesus was given a choice to sacrifice himself or not. And in fact, near the end of his life, became particularly incindiary to rile people up for his sacrifice. The Howard Dean of Jerusalem. Judas betrayed him not even thinking they'd kill him. He thought Jesus was just going to jail and getting beaten for being a loudmouth.

Judas is not considered "the grand asshole of the bible" or anything. In fact, in pictures of the last supper I've seen, he's still given a halo. Judas was not necessarily following God's plan, because, as you know, we all have free will. If we didn't, movies like "The Burbs" wouldn't get made. Somehow, Jesus was going to be sacrificed, whether Judas betrayed him or not.

Jesus DID predict that one would betray him three times, but could this be Jesus planting the idea in their heads?

What we draw from Judas' is just another lesson Jesus wanted us to learn. Be careful in serving your own purposes (gaining thirty peices of silver) because it may end up destryoing someone else.

Posted by: friend jessica at February 27, 2004 12:12 PM

Ebert on Mel

From Ebert, on "The Passion:"

"My own feeling is that Gibson's film is not anti-Semitic, but reflects a range of behavior on the part of its Jewish characters, on balance favorably. The Jews who seem to desire Jesus' death are in the priesthood, and have political as well as theological reasons for acting; like today's Catholic bishops who were slow to condemn abusive priests, Protestant TV preachers who confuse religion with politics, or Muslim clerics who are silent on terrorism, they have an investment in their positions and authority."

Emboldenment mine. Is there any doubt why this guy is one of my favorite writers? Now do you understand why I keep the shrine? Why I dress like him? NOW do you understand why I stalk him and call him on his private number?


Posted by Chris on 02/27/04

February 26, 2004

Good movie sites

Lowbrow: www.joblo.com and highbrow: www.metaphilm.com

Posted by Chris on 02/26/04

This thing called CDDB

Truly, this thing called CDDB is a thing of magic, beyond the understanding of man. Last night I imported (ripped? burned? digitized? converted? What's the proper verb?) some songs from a CD, and they couldn't be identified because my DSL was down. Or maybe the internet goodness just couldn't flow through the impenetrable magnetic shield created by the fourteen or so devices I have plugged in over there. Either way, the tracks were just put down as Track 1, Track 2, etc.

But then I plug in iPod to the Mac at work, where the internet doth flow as unto a swollen river, I select the tracks to be identified, and CDDB recognizes and embraces each one as an old friend. In no time at all each track is named for me.

It is always the simple magic tricks that continue to amuse.

Posted by Chris on 02/26/04

Peanut Butter & Jelly update

Peanut Butter doing well, Jelly in guarded condition:


Posted by Chris on 02/26/04

GOD BLESS those turtles and those people who spent their OWN FRIGGING MONEY to help two tiny, inconsequential animals.

Faith in Humanity Factor? +3

Posted by: friend jessica at February 26, 2004 2:15 PM

mmmmm ... peanut butter & jelly ... lllllgggggggggggg

Posted by: Phantom Commenter at February 26, 2004 2:31 PM

Useful site

Sorry, Merriam-Webster - this one is a little easier:


Posted by Chris on 02/26/04

February 25, 2004

It's no giant squid, but...

I wouldn't put this up there with giant squids washing ashore, or all the seals at once swimming in circles for days and days at the Aquarium, but, still:


Posted by Chris on 02/25/04

hey. Whatever happened to those nutty penguins that swam in circles?

Posted by: friend jessica at February 25, 2004 3:55 PM

That's what I meant when I said seals! I forgot what animal it was, and couldn't find the link.

Posted by: Chris at February 26, 2004 2:02 PM

Another thing I'll have no truck with

Self-Appointed Message Board Police. Why is it that no matter what the topic, no matter what the political leaning, no matter even if there IS no political leaning, even if it's just a comedy site: where there is a message board, there are message board police?

And I'm not talking about the site administrators that have to make sure nobody uses bad language or steals email addresses or pick up underage girls. I'm talking about regular posters who appoint themselves the Defender of the Message Board Integrity.

These are the people that aren't usually commenting on the subject of a post or thread - but on HOW GOOD of a post or thread it is. Is it worthy of the Message Board's stated principles? Does it abide by the site guidelines? These are the concerns of the Message Board Police.

God forbid you stray off topic with these people, or submit a bad URL, and HEAVENS FORFEND you post something that may have already been put up in the past (on Metafilter in particular this is the worst of the cardinal sins). Step out of line and the Message Board Police are right there to SLAP YOU DOWN SWIFT AND SURE WITH THE RIGHTEOUS ANGER OF GOD.

These people always seem to keep a line open to the site admin to report when someone's "flame" gets out of hand. They seem a bit like the little smart girls that tattled and sat in front of the class.

Posted by Chris on 02/25/04

are you repeating yourself? i've seen this truck picture before ...

Posted by: kjk at February 27, 2004 1:30 PM

No - the truck is the official "logo" of the "I'll have no truck with" category.

Posted by: Chris at February 27, 2004 3:30 PM

that reminds me... i need more themes in my life ... sigh.

Posted by: kjk at February 28, 2004 8:09 AM

But... he was so ANGRY!

From Molly Ivins:


Posted by Chris on 02/25/04

A Chain-Weighted Index

I'll definitely feel chained to SOME sort of index if I have to continue paying into this system:


Posted by Chris on 02/25/04

February 24, 2004

Squarson's Little Brother?

You decide:


Posted by Chris on 02/24/04

Outsourced Common Sense

My favorite Exec came by. The one that sends out these sort of emails. The one that sometimes uses me as a human favorites folder. "My email is so SLOW!" she said. "I click send and it just sits there! I have like five things in my OutBox!"

I have been down this path with her many times. It is a well-worn path. Well-worn by ME, I mean. I travel this path so often I feel responsible for it. I clear the branches out of the way and pick up trash from the other hikers. But the path is really just for me - the other I.T. people are too smart to walk this way.

So I begin our little play. The one where I say what I have to say and she doesn't listen to what I am saying, but keeps on talking as if I had not said what I had to say, which is an answer to her problem, because that is the way that she gets you to do something for her that she feels she doesn't have time to do.

ME: Oh no - your email is slow? Hmmm. Well, have you gotten any notices from the email admin that your mailbox is reaching its size limit?

EXEC: Yes - I got one last week. But just one!

ME: OK. So you cleaned out your email box? Not just your Inbox, but your subfolders and your Sent Items? Especially items with attachments? I can show you how to create a .PST file again if you like...

EXEC: I mean, I've got like FIVE things in my outgoing items folder, just waiting to go. Should I just go to lunch?

ME: I think when you move some of those emails out of your mailbox and into personal folders, it's going to start flowing again. Can I show you how to create a .PST file again, it will be easy-

EXEC: OK, these are things that REALLY need to go out. Should I just go to lunch? Is it possible for them to increase the size limits on my mailbox?

ME: Why don't I write the email admin and copy you on it, but I'm guessing he'll say the same thing about cleaning out your email box.

It's amazing to me. I offer up the solution and she sort of... SCOOTS AROUND HAVING TO LISTEN TO THAT, and then keeps talking. I know we're really into outsourcing things now. Are we also outsourcing basic skills and common sense? I wish I could talk this way! That would be quite a skill-set to leverage!

God help me, then I pass the buck onto our poor email admin. I write a simple note to him, CCing her. And then I instant message him and beg forgiveness.

Posted by Chris on 02/24/04

Well? Why didn't you fix it the first time?

I hope her email didn't just sit there while she went to lunch.

Posted by: Your other girlfriend at February 24, 2004 4:46 PM

You = the devil

Posted by: Chris at February 25, 2004 9:57 AM

February 23, 2004

Nice site


Posted by Chris on 02/23/04


I always feel bad for actors you see that have been hired to work at corporate events or maybe theme parks. Here are guys that have studied Shakespeare and gone through all the tribulations of studying acting in order to be onstage or screen - and now they're dressed up like elves, in ridiculous costumes with giant heads, singing songs to a bunch of wailing, snotty kids. Say what you will about having to pay your dues, I think it's a shitty, humiliating way to have to earn a paycheck between auditions.

I'm not sure what I was reading a week ago that made me add "Altered States" to my Netflix list, but add it I did and it arrived Friday afternoon. And after watching it I feel that same sort of big-head costume elf-sympathy for William Hurt and Blair Brown in this film. I feel that sympathy for ANYONE that has starred in a Ken Russell film.

Here are two excellent, accomplished actors forced to make their way through the most unbelievably heavy-handed symbolism, having to utter almost incomprehensibly dense scientific jargon, presented with an obstacle course of abstract imagery to act against instead of meaningful scenes, and doing their best to be as serious and passionate about it as possible.

When those hippies into TM tried to levitate the Pentagon, are we not sure that what they managed to do instead was levitate this screenplay into some studio exec's "Greenlight" pile?

Do they keep the same crucifixes and stark backdrops and goat-heads around for every Ken Russell film? I mean, why sell them off? Put them in Ken's Religious Imagery Storage Locker - he's just going to want them again, right?

A glance at IMDB shows that it was Hurt's first film and Brown's second theatrical film. My congratulations to them for sticking it out and making it past the "Navy Pier" stage of their acting career.

Posted by Chris on 02/23/04

February 20, 2004

The Hang Up People

Apparently my cell phone number is very close to someone else's number, because I get phone calls all the time from a particular number and then they hang up when I answer. I dialed them back after it went on for a while to ask if maybe they could not do that - and it turned out to be coming from the law firm of Blitt and Gaines.

So when I explain what's going on to the receptionist, she says hang on just a second and then puts me on hold forever. So naturally she's Suspect Number One.

I assigned that phone number the name "The Hang Up People" in my cell phone, so I know not to bother when they ring. But what remedy is there for such rudeness? My friend Hope suggested that I ignore it - but when I asked for HER cell number in order to conduct a little experiment, she declined. (Hope, Hope, Hope - you would not understand, you are not vindictive and petty to the very core of your being like I am.)

Would you believe? AS I WRITE THIS they just called again! My latest technique: when they call, I turn the music up loud and hold the phone up to the speaker.

But what else can one do? Call and ask to speak to their office manager? Send a threatening letter?

Another detail: the law firm is just a few blocks from here. Is someone stalking me?

Posted by Chris on 02/20/04

The Loneliest Spy-Chip

CHIP IN MY TIVO REMOTE CONTROL: This is Unit 561-B to Parent Company. Unit 561-B to Parent Company, come in, Parent Company.

PARENT COMPANY: We're reading you, 561-B. What's he doing now?

CHIP IN MY TIVO REMOTE CONTROL: Just wanted to upload some data to you. I'm getting a 53% galvanic skin response when he watches "Fear Factor" lately, so add Shannon Doherty to his "list." Also an increased perspiration with Nancy O'Dell on "Access Hollywood."

PARENT COMPANY: So nothing's changed with him. Steady Nancy O' Dell readings across the board. Thanks, 561-B.

CHIP IN MY TIVO REMOTE CONTROL: AND - I'm also noticing his grip tighten on me by a factor of three when he watches "Spongebob." What's up with THAT?

PARENT COMPANY: There's no telling. Good catch, anyway - we'll pass it on to Analysis. Anything else?

CHIP IN MY TIVO REMOTE CONTROL: Let's see. Oh - he's screening calls a lot. He exercises in the morning but for only about 4 minutes. He has 14 sweaters but only wears the ones that are solid-colored. He seems to be unaware of his own color-blindness. Oh - and although he tells everyone he's "dieting," he ate the whole box of fat-free breakfast bars.


CHIP IN MY TIVO REMOTE CONTROL: Eat-rite. It was disgusting - crumbs all the way down his shirt.

PARENT COMPANY: Curious. Well, if there's nothing else, we'll sign off-

CHIP IN MY TIVO REMOTE CONTROL: Oh, and he's been really into "cleaning up" his saved programs on Tivo lately. He deleted a lot of the saved programs that he was never getting to.

PARENT COMPANY: Yes, our readouts here indicated that the disk space had changed a bit.

CHIP IN MY TIVO REMOTE CONTROL: And get this - the other day he threw me ACROSS THE ROOM TO THE COUCH when he was done with me. I was under the cushion until 9 the next day. That's PM. Can you believe it? And-



PARENT COMPANY: If that's all, we really have to go. Thanks for the report and please keep receiving data on him.

CHIP IN MY TIVO REMOTE CONTROL: Oh - OK. Yes, will do! You can count on me!

A previous spy-chip playlet.

Posted by Chris on 02/20/04

well I'm sad for that little remote.

You know how to bring out the emotions in someone.

Posted by: friend jessica at February 20, 2004 3:33 PM

Sex, the City, Shoes, and Brutal Enslavement

Holy crap. You mean I not only have to endure the national period of fawning over these sorority sisters taking their endless final bow, you mean it may not be over? There may be MORE?!?



Oh, but they could not be more darling! They are the toasts of the town! Their sexual exploits and hilarious misbegotten relationships are dissected and discussed in serious news magazines because they are leading indicators of how Americans think!

My proposal for the movie, if there must be one: NYC undergoes a blackout and the zany women happen to walk by when their favorite shoe store is being looted. Since it is such a goddam shrine to them, they try to intervene. Just then the police pull up, sirens a'blarin'. But in the confusion three of the women get arrested. One of them somehow gets out of it - let's say it's Sarah Jessica Parker. Then, instead of there being a slew of zany scenes where they just can't BELIEVE how filthy the cells are and Kim Catrall is attracted to one of the holding cell guards because of his uniform, it actually is sober and realistic, and the other ladies in the cell are humorless, worn prostitutes that have had hard lives and are not amused by the effervescence of the trio of socialites. Let's say that there is a fight and that they don't fare well, and let's say that the prison guards don't exactly rush in to save them and magically fall in love because a) there's a blackout on and they are very busy and b) they are annoyed by the women and c) this kind of thing happens all the time in real life.

And then things get worse somehow and a corrupt NYC cop gets them out of jail, but only to sell them into a South American slavery ring. And it is indeed a sexual slavery ring, but when the Amazonian farmers get a look at the girls they find them scrawny and instead put them to work in the sugarcane mill. The hapless socialites manage their way out of the jungle not through effort or cunning or any real survival ability but basically by accident when guerillas slaughter the farmers. And then other stuff happens, and then at one point they COULD make their way back to the U.S. but they are so changed by the experience they go their separate ways in Panama, taking small, meaningless jobs, and living empt(ier) lives than before.

Meanwhile in an effort to shed light on the injustice done to her friends Carrie wrote an article for whatever magazine she writes for, which she relates to the audience in her thoughtful voice-over tone while the camera cleverly pans over the words as they appear on her computer screen. But that didn't really go anywhere because she was busy finding someone else to be the maids of honor at her wedding to whoever, which all falls apart, but what are you going to do? It's New York, and she's a New Yorker, and at the end she leans out of her window and smokes thoughtfully, looking out at the city she loves.

Posted by Chris on 02/20/04

Bureau Report

From the Bureau of Adequate Signage:

6. The bus stop at Madison and Wells does not list that Bus 60 comes by there, nor the route of Bus 60. Which would have allowed me to avoid my odyssey in public transport yesternight.

Previous reports.

Posted by Chris on 02/20/04

Irreversible Damage

Finally - someone else agrees with me, that French director Gaspar Noe isn't so great:


If I ever see him I plan to bill him for the psychological damage his films have done to me.

Other directors to bill:

Gregg Araki - $8.95 for "Nowhere"

Posted by Chris on 02/20/04

February 19, 2004

The Pull of the Palatino

First order of business in migrating my simple Blogger entries into their new home (and as I imported them I had an image of Richard Dreyfuss boarding the Mothership at the end of Close Encounters - leaving their poor, simple, crude home for a brand new futuristic one) was to resist the pull of Palatino in Movable Type.

That's the default font over here, and I can see that it makes everything look nice and new. But I wanted to stick with my old font-family: Verdana, please, or Arial; if you don't have that I'll take Helvetica and if you don't have THAT then I don't know what kind of browser you're running here - just give me something Sans-Serif and get out of my sight.

It was enough that I had to rework everything when I lost my frames, my precious frames, my whole site based on precious frames, must I completely comform to the Movable Type mold?

I guess now would also be a great time to go through and take out all those screeching political entries that make me cringe. ("Why can't the Middle East Get Along?!?!?") Nobody says it has to be a complete and accurate record of my mumblings.

Posted by Chris on 02/19/04

More so than the font is the font spacing. I feel like reading a deposition here. If that's your bag then carry on.

As for me and my house? We'll stay at single spacing.

Posted by: friend jessica at February 19, 2004 2:35 PM

Sigh. Thanks to you and your finger-pointing I've spent the last hour scouring the guts of this site to try to find some "font-spacing" or "letter-spacing" setting in the stylesheet.


However, I have come to the belief that it is not the letter spacing but the line spacing. Yes - I'm saying I think it's an optical illusion.

So I adjusted the line spacing somewhat, lest I be subjected to these hysterical ravings again.

Posted by: Chris at February 19, 2004 4:26 PM

For a Better Tomorrow...Today.

Posted by: Durffwurzle For President at November 9, 2004 12:41 PM

Who's fancy?

Who's fancy, with their new Movable Type blog? Who has comments on their site now? And a search function? Who has fancy links? Who can create "draft" posts and save them for as long as he wants, and not worry about Blogger posting them accidentally?

Me - that's who.

Thank you, Blogger - you were great in your time, and in your way. But now comes the time to put such things away and move on.

Posted by Chris on 02/19/04

Hey Fancy Lad. How come you don't answer my email regarding Poker on saturday?

Posted by: Your Other Girlfriend at February 19, 2004 1:40 PM


Posted by: friend jessica at February 19, 2004 2:36 PM

February 18, 2004

Leveraging the Bandwidth

Today brought one of the most jargon and bullshit-filled conference calls I've ever had the pleasure of adding my mandatory attendance to.

Every year they do a Feedback and Review session which is the biggest, most elaborate and vastly-arranged production of internal corporate ritual anywhere. It is dramatically unveiled in emails with full use of the ! IMPORTANT EMAIL headers. If there were a way to have a big curtain slowly rise to theatrically reveal the email, they would do it.

I mean it is truly the Christmas Pageant to these people. And every year they do a series of Conference Calls With Accompanying PowerPoint presentations explaining the new version of the web-based tool you use to Provide Feedback, which I hope by the way is not the kind of thing we're setting up for clients because it is always the most awkward and unwieldy tool ever.

This year's call sent me into both agony and ecstacy. You couldn't make this stuff up - except that someone does, is paid VERY WELL for it, and is as happy as a PIG IN SHIT when it comes time to roll it out every year. I was scribbling all the jargon down as fast as I could, because one day I'm going to make a movie about the Emperor's New Corporate Tagline or something, and YOU COULD NOT MAKE THIS STUFF UP, I SWEAR.

During the call one of my friends piped up with a question, and when the call was over, I wrote and thanked him for bringing it up. But the joke was that I used every single buzzword and phrase that had been on the call, compacting all the jargon down into three nonsense sentences.

My friend missed the joke - and thanked me for the feedback.

I think I just earned my MBA.

Posted by Chris on 02/18/04

They're Touchy About Jesus Movies

(NOTE: Full disclosure - I went back and updated this entry on 11-11-04 after my opinion changed somewhat. Call it waffling, call it flip-flopping. I don't care.)

My two cents on Mel and his movie: He doesn't help himself when he is less than politic in his responses (or does he?), but it's HIS movie, and apparently it's strictly based on the Bible - so any argument should be with the source material, not talking about what his dad may have said.

But why is no one pointing out that anti-Semites will find rationalizations for their beliefs wherever they want? You don't hear anyone saying all present-day ROMANS should be held responsible for the death of Christ, do you?

Why is no one pointing out - and pointing out to Mel himself - that an answer to this kind of thing might lie in a reading of the Bible that includes historical and literary context?

And these churches that are buying up tickets in blocks. Hmmm. Well, in my administration I HAVE always been a proponent of voting with your box office dollars. I've always said don't blame Hollywood for Godless output if you're not going to see the movies that ARE acceptable. But: hmmm.

This time they happen to be voting in favor of a movie, but it's still a page out of the same old playbook. Let's ban a movie we haven't seen because I hear it doesn't depict Jesus the way we like. Let's artificially inflate the box office for another because it depicts him perfectly in line with what we already think.

What's missing here is any accounting for how good the movie actually is going to be. How does the standard movie audience respond to this film, and the ideas it's putting out there? If a massive group has unilaterally already decided that it's going to be a success, then the movie avoids having to compete fairly in the marketplace, which is another way of chilling any discussion on the matter of Jesus. Why try to avoid that? I think now is a GREAT time to talk about Jesus.

Voting en masse against - or FOR - something that you haven't experienced yourself is a shortcut around the marketplace of ideas concept. It's a shortcut around having to think for yourself. And "thinking for yourself" is a good thing that people should be encouraged to do - and it would not do any harm to the success of this film.

Posted by Chris on 02/18/04

The philosophic thesis that all knowledge is ultimately founded in experience has in the end led to a postulate concerning the logical clarification of any statement about nature. Such a postulate may have seemed justified in the period of classical physics, but since quantum theory we have learned that it cannot be fulfilled. by roulette

Posted by: casino online at November 30, 2004 1:37 PM

Science is much closer to myth than a scientific philosophy is prepared to admit. It is one of the many forms of thought that have been developed by man, and not necessarily the best. It is conspicuous, noisy, and impudent, but it is inherently superior only for those who have already decided in favour of a certain ideology, or who have accepted it without ever having examined its advantages and its limits. by online poker

Posted by: free online poker at December 16, 2004 1:49 PM

You raise an interesting point, Qiwiksu, but I'm not sure you've thought it through very carefully. One of many forms of thought? Yes, but one based on a method of hypothesis, empirical evidence, and reasoning.

You're not just mad because the hidden purpose of Science is to destroy God, and by extension Christmas, are you?

Posted by: Chris at December 16, 2004 2:21 PM

Tivo Lashback

When Janet flashed everyone at the Superbowl, Tivo announced that it was the most Tivo-rewound moment ever.

Even though precious Tivo is the bringer of all things good in my home, all praise Tivo, I found this a bit startling. Sure, I realize that not just Tivo but every single appliance with a chip in my home probably has the ability to report my every single action back to the Parent Company, but this seemed a bit brazen.

CHIP IN MY REMOTE CONTROL: This is Unit 561-B to Parent Company. Unit 561-B to Parent Company.

PARENT COMPANY: We're reading you live over Uber-Bluetooth, Unit 561-B.

CHIP IN MY REMOTE CONTROL: His pulse rate just went up a bit when Christina Aguilera came on screen. He claims "he can't stand watching her, she's so shallow and boring" but his heartbeat goes up whenever she appears.

PARENT COMPANY: Yes, this is in accordance with our predictions. No surprises here. We'll update the database and rearrange the Product Placement Ratios accordingly.

CHIP IN MY REMOTE CONTROL: He also says "The Real World" is stupid but guess what show made his palm perspiration increase by 12% last week?

PARENT COMPANY: Yes - we saw that he "accidentally" created a Season Pass to that show. Pathetic humans.

But I missed this bit of lashback to the story:


"Although TiVo could conceivably investigate an individual's viewing habits, it doesn't, a spokesman said."

It is clear that we have no choice - but to TRUST TIVO. ALL HAIL TIVO.

Posted by Chris on 02/18/04

February 17, 2004

The Puppy and the Pendulum

It seems that the administration has been having to play real defense lately, really for the first time since they took office. National Guard stuff, economic plans that even the Republicans say contain waste, a credibility gap with the public, the poll ratings are as far down as they've been, etc.

I'm not really encouraged by this turn - because it doesn't feel so much like people are finally asking questions that they should have been all along, it feels like the pendulum has just naturally swung back the other way for a while.

Put another way: it feels like people are just more entertained lately by making President Bush and HIS people squirm. It will be someone else's turn soon.

Posted by Chris on 02/17/04


Goaded by Achewood, I finally got a subscription to "Serializer," the site that offers "premium" web comics. It's just $3, and I can use Paypal, so what the heck. I'd spend that on a coffee from Starbucks.

So far it's a bit more Jimmy Corrigan than I would care for - but I am enjoying Fetus-X quite a bit.

Posted by Chris on 02/17/04

Yes or No Questions are Easier!

Whenever someone wants only a "yes" or "no" answer to a very complex question - like, say, whether we should have unilaterally invaded Iraq:


It makes me think they wouldn't be able to defend themselves very well in a real debate about the real issue.

Everyone prefers multiple choice (with only two choices) to essay, don't they?

But that's not the question he put out there, is it? He doesn't want to talk about the unilateral invasion using 9/11, then lies and exaggerations about WMD as a pretense. He only wants to focus on whether Saddam was a madman that deserved to be overthrown. Because that's easier.

But if you follow his logic, we now have a lot more work to do all over the globe. There are a LOT of madmen! Fellow Axis members North Korea and Iran, then Syria, Uzbekistan, Uganda, the Congo, Tibet, let's not forget CHINA, and these are just a few countries listed by Human Rights Watch. Will we be unilaterally invading these countries as well? We can't just sit around wringing our hands! Doing that has a "singular ability to fill mass graves!"

Bring it on! Let's roll!

*Note: If you follow Instapundit's link to the "hak mao" page, they seem to have resituated the post from yesterday. Scroll down to the "Seen Elsewhere" entry.

Posted by Chris on 02/17/04

February 16, 2004

Monday Bullets

It's Monday, and that means blogging in bullet points only.

  • I have visited the Apple site twice over the weekend to plug amounts and periods into their Loan Calculator. Who am I kidding? Have I ever hovered over a product this much and not caved in short order? Soon I'll own a shiny new Powerbook and yet more debt, all because I have to have it now Now NOW NOW WANT WANT MINE GIVE HAVE WANT MINE WANT GIVE.

    I did a long-term spreadsheet of expenses to find out when I could afford it sans credit, but once I came up with NOVEMBER I sent it to Excel Hell. BEGONE, negative spreadsheet Messenger! Your message is not to this court's liking!

    If Apple will float me the money I'll have it NOW. Sigh.

  • Saturdays are always panic-filled to me because I feel an enormous amount of pressure to get all the stuff done that I put on my list. And one of the items on my list is always RELAX. Sundays are worse. BECAUSE TOMORROW'S MONDAY, MAN!

  • What I watched this weekend:

    - Shazam! As in, the seventies live-action Saturday morning version. On the invaluable resource channel TV Land.

    HOLLY BEJESUS, FATHER GOD AND MOTHER MARY was this horrible. I'm talking GOD-AWFUL. I'm not just saying it was tacky and silly, I'm saying I saw no evidence of writing or forethought whatsover!

    How could I have revered this show as a kid? Clearly all it took for me was a guy in a cape. No wonder people used to moan endlessly about how we were rotting our brains. They saw us watching this stuff and their jaws dropped.

    On Friday night's episode it took the World's Mightiest Mortal, backed up by the might of all the Greek Gods, to teach a local 12-year-old braggart the importance of Telling the Truth. I guess the Legion of Super Villains was quiet that week?

    Standout effects moments: although Batson, his mentor Mentor, and Batson's enormous hair were able to solve most of the plot's conflict without superheroic intervention, Captain Marvel WAS required when the young braggart managed to release a terrifying vulture from the zoo.


    I'll never know, but it looks to me like NO ONE AT ALL WAS MAKING THIS SHOW. I think they just turned the camera on and rolled it out into the studio parking lot to get whatever it got. And then the actors ran and jumped around a lot in front of it. I mean, if they weren't making this show up as they went along, I'll eat my hat. Another childhood memory punctured.

    (NOTE: Save yourself the trouble of watching these on TV Land and just read over this handy episode list of the Shazam series, complete with the moral lesson each show conveyed.)

    - The Crusades. God bless Terry Jones of Monty Python. Netflix sent the first of two disks in Jones' documentary on the history of the Crusades. It was a lot of fun, but on a serious note: we all learned a thing or two about war for Jesus.

    - 50 First Dates. A strange compromise led us to see this movie when we couldn't agree on one together. But I won't lie - sometimes I'm in the mood for Adam Sandler fare. Edelstein on Slate (getting to be one of my favorite critics) has a great review of this one that I can't do better than. Basically the movie starts not even light, but lite - and then delivers some surprisingly moving and sweet moments. There were some amazingly miscalculated jokes, but then some other premises and scenes that, had they been handled with a SLIGHTLY surer hand, would have been worthy of any A+ film.

    Reduced expectations? Who knows. But thinking about the slightly missed opportunities of this movie made us stop by on the way home to rent...

    - Punch Drunk Love. I'm amazed by this film. Putting Sandler in a dramatic role perfectly suited to his undercurrent of seething anger was a brilliant move, and he was fantastic. I don't have Tourettes or five sisters that make me so wound up I could EXPLODE, but I completely related to his character, and there were even some very revealing deleted scenes that laid it out some more.

    - Space 1999. I eventually had to send this one back to Netflix without watching them all. I'm glad it's out there, I suppose, but boy was this series laconic and ponderous.

    - The Order. with Heath Ledger. Enh.

  • It's hard to face a day with no reward but a SlimFast shake. I broke routine and had one for breakfast, then oatmeal for lunch. Perhaps the reason I shed only about four pounds and now am hovering there is my "Exercise - Then Reward Self for Exercise with Food" cycle.

  • I sent the "which of these potential movie premiere dates do you have a conflict with" email, which was akin to lifting a 700-pound weight. I revised five lines for a half hour. Everything about making this movie has been like lifting a 700-pound weight. I watched it again this weekend to create a revised set of final to-dos, which was like lifting a 700 pound weight. I then compared that list to past to-do lists, and it was like lifting a 700-pound weight and then just having a shake to drink afterwards as your reward.

    I think I should get rid of the postcard I made and just feature one of those cartoon enormous weights that fall on Sylvester's head, with 700 pounds printed on the side.

    Posted by Chris on 02/16/04
  • February 13, 2004

    The Rare Joy of Subnetting

    In my job it is rare that the arcane topic of subnetting should come up, but when it does, boy, that's a time when I am revealed as an A-NUMBER-ONE-I.T.-CHARLATAN. Yesterday I had to get out not only my Charlatan hat* but my frilly Charlatan bib and vest with the matching Charlatan doily and wear it in front of not one but two I.T. staff members here that I respect and admire.

    The problem: Someone needed me to run a script on every PC used in every North American office. This simple request quickly revealed my true nature. I did not slowly dissolve into a JACKASS and bray like in the cartoons, but that was only because it was an IM conversation and they could not see me.

    Somehow I stumbled onto the part of our company website that reveals which IP addresses are used in which offices. This in itself was a miracle. But these ranges were expressed in the folowing manner: For one of our offices, let's say Chicago, the IP ranges are


    Logic dictated that I run crying to FattyFat, who has tried on no less than three separate occasions to explain the miracles of subnetting. He put it into some sort of metaphor that I could grasp, sent me some documents, and I looked up some subnet / networking calculators online, where Google listed them in abundance.

    Two of them were especially fancy: THIS one seemed to do everything but I was still slightly confused, and then THIS one cleared it up for me.

    *Which I imagine to be a combination between a jester's floppy points with bells on them, and also something tall and cone-like, something appropriate for Today's Active Dunce.

    Posted by Chris on 02/13/04

    Orbital Strain

    My friend Jessica, inventress of the playlet, once wrote a playlet series called the Unprofessional Actress on a website we shared, and one of the characters in it was the "Unprofessional Filmmaker."

    I think this character was meant to be a version of me, which made me happy because he was not afraid to stand up at the film meetings and say he liked "Dances With Wolves," for instance, to the slack-jawed shock of the other filmmakers. He was an outcast in his chosen field just like the Unprofessional Actress.

    I bring him up because with all the critics gushing poetry in their reviews of Bertolucci's new movie "The Dreamers," I feel more Unprofessional than ever. If I read another critic's beloved recollections of where they were in 1968 when all of Cinema was Revolution or whatever, I will suffer Orbital Strain from the involuntary rolling of my eyes.

    I don't want to see a movie about people in love with the movies laying about talking about movies and reveling in each others' juices and whatnot. YICK. If that makes me Old Wave, then I take the label with happiness.

    I am not judging Bertolucci's movie, but I probably won't see it. Not even the promise of NC-17 Nakedry can make me go to this one.

    For one thing, Michael Pitt gives me the creeps. I bet his house smells weird. For another, I consider myself a lover of movies, but movies about movies, or more accurately about Cinema, where the characters talk about Godard and watch Godard movies and reenact scenes from Godard, and the director has taken pains to set up shots that recall shots from movies that the critics treasure, like, say, something made by Godard, well, it's all a bit too... how you say? Godard-y for my taste.

    I'm not a filmmaker that reveres Godard, or even enjoys him. (Had you guessed?!?) I made everyone think I was a jerk in a class at Facets when I said that "Weekend" was boring and lazy. Other offenses: I remember telling a fellow filmmaker one time that I didn't like Altman, and he told me in a sage voice that we'd keep that between ourselves. I called Kubrick a "pompous ass" one time and am still living with that one.

    Yeah, I guess it's all the Godard talk that's turned me off of this one. No slight meant to Bernardo - maybe one day I'll be into his films. But I can't abide Jean-Luc right now.

    Or Michael Pitt.

    Posted by Chris on 02/13/04

    The Freedom to Remove the Cranberries

    There comes a day when you realize that your iTunes library does not have to be a Universal Catalog and Record of Every MP3 Ever. You realize that, hey, I never listen to this song, I always skip it, I know I can find it again if I ever change my mind, so I'm deleting it for all time off my hard drive.

    Yes, it's a gesture of finality, but have you not always groaned and changed the channel when the Cranberries came on the radio, because the woman's Banshee wails do not amuse (With THEIR GUNS and THEIR BOMBS and THEIR BOMBS and THEIR GUNS); and isn't that why you sort of hate the radio anyway? And you don't know how those two tracks got into your library anyway - so why continue to skip past them every single time?

    Why is your iTunes library carrying this dead weight? DELETE THEM.

    Friends, that is a happy day.

    Posted by Chris on 02/13/04

    February 12, 2004

    Two Compelling Emails

    This was one of my spams the other day:

    Hi Chris.

    Okay, instantaneously Visit this website:


    It is like Pepsi (Ask for more),
    so Best regards.
    Joan Trant.

    A website like Pepsi? So that I can ask for more? I will instantaneously visit it!

    And I loved the simple "remove me" instructions on this one:

    To be gone from future promotions from our services and have your address removed permanently from our database, please do one of the following: 1. Simply hit reply to that email with a blank message and hit send. 2 Hit your mouse on leavemealone.pleazerzoneprod.com/awk/ and it will take you to an unlist page. 3. Send written communication to: Member Services, .19144 Bergiin Lane, Bloomfield, NewMexico, 87413, Suite: 333-B. 4. Call one.eighthundred..nine-four-nine-two-one-four-five, speak clearly and slowly your name to be reeemoveed. [crpytemail[vl]]

    So all I have to do is just 1) email them, 2) follow a web link, 3) send written confirmation, and then 4) call a special 800 number, where I am to speak my name clearly and slowly to be reeemoveed. What? No fax to send?

    Posted by Chris on 02/12/04

    People who are kind to animals

    These are the people that make me happy to be a human:

    The doctors who performed eye surgery on a blind owl and the people that reported that she had been sitting on a fence for three days.

    The owners of the conjoined turtles "Peanut Butter" and "Jelly" who made sure to flip the turtles over, logging how much time they had each spent on their back, and the doctors who separated them.

    The policemen who let the sea lion that had lost its way rest on the trunk of their patrol car. Or - maybe they just didn't try to stop him.

    Update: The sea lion apparently had been shot in the head, and this was probably what disoriented him. Good news: the bullet doesn't seem to have slowed him down otherwise. But I'm back to being ashamed again.

    Posted by Chris on 02/12/04

    The Thieves of Iran

    How did these people manage to steal Iraq's WMD program?

    Was it not enough that North Korea had robbed poor Iraq of a nuclear plan? (That is where they MUST have gotten it, after all.)

    What kind of Evil Empire are these people running here? I thought the whole point of being in an Axis together was that you SHARED!

    Posted by Chris on 02/12/04

    February 11, 2004

    More Squarsonry

    Here for your enjoyment are more poems, apparently authored by an artificial intelligence and placed at the bottom of porn solicitation emails I get. As I mentioned before, these emails all feature this line:

    something: suspensory cyclopentane thegn aludra azole squarsonry

    or the more self-effacing variation:

    stupid things: suspensory cyclopentane thegn aludra azole squarsonry

    A robotic signature? A magical spell? Who knows. But when I realized the emails might be a source of humor, I quickly set up an Outlook rule to snag them and pull them into a special "Squarsonry" folder.

    And I have noticed something somewhat alarming about the Squarsonry emails: Friends, the Squarsonry AI is learning. I wouldn't say it could pass for one of us just yet, but it is taking strides.

    Here is what it knows about us so far: we like Poems for Our Enjoyment and we also all want Bigger Penises. Is there anyone among us who could deny it?

    And the names, which were previously fairly easy to spot as generated by some sort of algorithm, are getting a bit better. Sure, I got emails from Flatulence P. Clacks, Killed H. Improprieties, Overhands U. Bluish, Dressiness C. Freemasonries, Hostel M. Misspells, Hustling T. Clueing, and Nicknames B. Condescension - but I also got some from the likes of Giuseppe Shadiack, Wilda Sliker, Loyd Streight, Debbra Sink, Peter Larsen, Merlin Mezera, and Mercy Hillwig! See? This thing is getting BETTER. (Although I think Francheska Normal was a bit obvious.)

    (By the way - all these names are heretofore COPYRIGHTED BY ME for use in an AMUSING SCREENPLAY. So hands off.)

    The subject lines and lead-ins were also getting better:

    Chris are we still on for the holidays?

    Playing on my love of taking a holiday with someone I met online! Very clever!

    I hope you are well this was something we talked about

    Ah! This is is reference to a conversation that I've already had? Then let me follow that link!

    I hope this is the thing you were looking for last week

    I came to you last week looking for something? Then it must be legit!

    Finally, some emails ended with this ominous line:

    talk soon

    Friends, at this rate... I would not be surprised.

    And now, some more Suspensory Cyclopentane Porn Poetry for your enjoyment. (I have taken the liberty this time of providing titles.)


    A Poem for your enjoyment:

    Demonstrating, undoing, throwing out, wiping, diving,
    Helpless the shade hit an ingenious grass, concisely
    When hams write in cool bleaches, the spill yells,
    Going pointy worms here.
    Explain plan, conduct along the man, laugh
    Queen exposes a flabby thicket.
    The lamp spills, as if the bleach is a snack.
    For each worm, devour of the bouncy hole.
    Alas, the utterance has demonstrated quite quickly, going
    The spark is an invisible hand, for entities expose positively,
    The ace transmutates, as if the loaf is a resolution.
    Counters like hangers finish lovingly but purportedly.
    In corns, the book will masquerade, walk not
    Addressed by turtles, returns the glass to guy.

    stupid things: suspensory cyclopentane thegn aludra azole squarsonry


    A Poem for your enjoyment:

    Of moose, live the calm day, walking
    And what is a spark, but a sick moose?
    Its night masqueraded in the ruler of a car.
    For each case, yell of the modern acorn.
    Demonstrating, striking, pondering, striking, seducing,
    A ham makes, finishing painfully to a healthy chair,
    When turtles beckon in creepy domains, the object penetrates,
    In violins, the gangster will quote, conduct not
    The llama revolved cowardly, complacent penetrated the parched flower.
    Its soul conducted in the canister of a driver.
    For each glance, explain of the crummy glass.
    And nectars demonstrate, to the pie, lightly?
    Striking taught cheerleaders here.
    Proves frankly, negatively, like days destroying, abruptly
    Books like hares play smoothly but purportedly.
    But where destroys the picnic, as though secretions were lamps, openly
    Ham rots an insolent tower.
    Operable as of German penetrate as cups.

    stupid things: suspensory cyclopentane thegn aludra azole squarsonry


    A Poem for your enjoyment:

    When violins seduce in smelly lamps, the plant undoes,
    In loaves, the cheerleader will ponder, prove not
    The secretion yelled lightly, serious killed the scary light.
    But where devours the elephant, as though harps were cases, esoterically
    In grasshoppers, the speech will ruin, like not
    What calm disc of porpoise within the hyper rulers!
    The bed beckoned honestly, new addressed the unreal branch.
    But where haunts the picnic, as though days were keys, unexpectedly
    Creams like unicorns transmutate unfortunately to shade, quiting
    Forks like knives destroy unexpectedly but wordlessly.

    stupid things: suspensory cyclopentane thegn aludra azole squarsonry


    something: suspensory cyclopentane thegn aludra azole squarsonry

    Something to think about: Make aardvark, penetrate along the counter, address
    The gangster liked honestly, likeable showed the crummy day.
    Mauve the pant walked an aqua lion, boldly
    Of wars, rot the new cheese, haunting
    For each tree, see of the ugly tree. Its hole yelled in the blade of an acorn.
    Ugly as of new like as gangsters.

    Posted by Chris on 02/11/04

    The Smallest Irony

    I revised the post below four times over an hour. If you are one of this blog's four readers, and you read the post below about the dangers of revisionism right after it was first posted, it has since been revised.

    And this is the OFFICIAL version.

    And I periodically touch up entries throughout the entire blog like that.

    I guess what I'm saying is, you should re-read this entire blog every two days or so.

    Posted by Chris on 02/11/04

    These Star Wars DVDs...

    Mood: reserved excitement. I would be ecstatic if Lucasfilm announced that they were going to go the classy route that Spielberg went with his "E.T." DVDs, and include the original, unadulterated version as well. It seems unlikely, though.

    Why do I care, though? If he wants to keep revising and molding away at his movies forever and controlling how we see them, what's the problem? It's not that I'm someone who thinks that Only The First Version Counts, or someone who wants to somehow track all the different iterations and versions of a shot (This will be Greedo Death revision THREE, people!) in some kind of geek database - it's just that it's a shame to not have a piece of work stand as the best they could do at the time.

    Surely there is some value in seeing a film that is the result of the director having to compromise and think differently when he couldn't get his way on every single shot.

    Still - NOTE TO MY SELF BACK IN SEVENTH GRADE: One day you'll be able to watch the entire set of "Star Wars" films (there will be SIX of them by the time you're my age!) AT HOME and they will be on SMALL SHINY DISKS! It will almost be like something out of... well, out of "Star Wars!" Yes! You'll live in the FUTURE! (Except that you will still have to make the robot servo noise with your mouth when the disk gets sucked into the player)

    And I still haven't bought the "Indiana Jones" set! Holding out? No, just saving them to reward myself for something big, like, oh, making it to work on time on a given day.

    Posted by Chris on 02/11/04

    February 10, 2004

    Interesting Counterpoint

    From Lileks. Scroll down to the bottom. Yes, I said I'd never read him again. I know. I KNOW. But sometimes I have an urge to check in on Gnat.

    We are definitely on different sides of the fence, but I think this is worthwhile reading to any critic of the whole Iraq thing. And I think a good rebuttal could be made to it, but for now I don't think it's bad to have his take on the context of the thing beyond one administration.

    If only to be better prepared for a debate with a conservative.

    Posted by Chris on 02/10/04

    Today's Chilling Thought

    My worst fear articulated in print:

    Do not for an instant underestimate the capacity of Bush and Rove to find ingenious ways of focusing our minds on terrorism by the last three weeks of the campaign.

    From the Post.

    Posted by Chris on 02/10/04

    Baby Boomers

    I'm just sick to death of hearing about them. I'm sick of hearing how and when they entered the workforce, what it meant for the economy, I'm sick of hearing how old they are now. I'm sick of the phrase itself.

    Much like the Education Superintendent in Georgia, I propose we just change the phrase to something else.

    Posted by Chris on 02/10/04

    February 9, 2004


    Winner of This Blog's Award for MOST USEFUL Website:


    Great reviews, great bios / histories of the groups, and amazing hyperlinks to 1) artists they have worked with, 2) artists they are inspired by, and 3) artists they have inspired. There's an "Artist Browser" that you can use to find other bands / artists that might be a bit harsher, a bit more energized, or less frenetic, or more smooth, etc., relative to your choice. Very cool.

    A great site to use when expanding your musical realm.

    Posted by Chris on 02/ 9/04

    Adjective. In a smarmy-smarm-smarmy-smarm kind of way.

    Is there anything as annoying and smarmy as the Chicago Tribune's ad campaign for their "Red Eye" paper?

    Beefier. In a we-got-Metromix-they-got-bupkus kind of way.

    Timelier. In a sports-page-so-current-you're-looking-for-the-beer-guy kind of way.

    Hipper. In a Metromix-says-the-party-is-now-so-run-run-RUN kind of way.

    I'm sure these little things sound hip and funny up in the rarified air of the ad executive. But in the cold morning shuffle to work with the rest of the proletariat, it just feels like you're watching the Tribune and Sun-Times have a childish tantrum over whose "red" paper for kids is hipper.

    Their curbside newsboxes say it all: We'll take a regular Tribune box, paint it red, and slap a funny round hat on it. The kids will LOVE it!

    Posted by Chris on 02/ 9/04

    February 6, 2004

    Early Onset Dementia

    As I read over this blog what I see is not so much clever criticisms of my world as the illustration of one man's decline into some sort of early onset senile dementia.

    To read this blog you would think that every time I walk out the door I get lost, and end up shaking my cane angrily at someone in the library, the airport, or anywhere on the road.

    In my day they didn't make the print on those signs so damn small! And why is everyone going so fast! Is it cold in here?

    Posted by Chris on 02/ 6/04

    Mr. Microphone Technology

    We're going to Michigan this weekend for Brutus Fest, so this is the perfect opportunity for me to convince myself that I have a real need for an FM transmitter to listen to iPod in the rental car.

    Belkin has somehow reverse-engineered the fantastic "Mr. Microphone" technology given to us by the Gods in the eighties and employed it in their Tunecast II, which is capable of transmitting on FM channels 88.1MHz to 107.9Mhz (unlike the puny Tunecast I which could only do four preset stations - PSHAW!) and also memorizing up to 4 FM frequencies. After only one loud curse, it worked fairly well, though the signal somehow sounds a little distant.

    Posted by Chris on 02/ 6/04

    Serious Injury

    I suppose the most ridiculous part of this story:


    is the part where "the banker from Knoxville, Tennessee, filed a class action lawsuit against Jackson, dance partner Justin Timberlake, CBS, halftime show producers MTV and the networks' parent company, Viacom. Terri Carlin said the 'sexually explicit conduct' by the performers caused millions of people to 'suffer outrage, anger, embarrassment and serious injury.'"

    Outrage? I see! Embarassment? Ah ha! Serious Injury? REALLY?

    I was also moderately amused by this:

    "How do you turn off the Super Bowl?" Copps asked.

    How INDEED! How... indeed.

    Posted by Chris on 02/ 6/04

    February 5, 2004

    The Bureau of Adequate Signage

    One of my pet peeves (and I have a whole managerie of these peeves by now) is INADEQUATE SIGNAGE WHEN I'M TRYING TO GET AROUND. No one ever wants to be lost. No one likes having to pull over and look at the tiny print on the map at night by the light of an iPod display. No one likes having to double back because that last street wasn't marked. (Although sometimes I'd LOVE to be able to double back - make a wrong turn in one of Chicago's neighborhoods and the chances are you'll be stuck in a labyrinth of One-Ways.)

    Whether it's on the road or on the train or in an airport or in a shopping center, GIVE ME A SIGN, O LORD!

    Unfortunately our city is rife with Inadequate Signage. And it could be easily fixed - in most cases by moving an existing, poorly-placed sign rather than adding a new one.

    Accordingly, it is time for my newly formed organization, The Bureau of Adequate Signage, to present our rankings to the City of Chicago.

    And unfortunately I have to report that Chicago is the 2nd worst city in the world for Adequate Signage. (Granted - my sample right now includes only Chicago, Atlanta*, and London.). My standard for Adequate Signage is that a reasonably intelligent person should be able to find their way across our city using any mode of transportation without having to flag someone down to help them. Below are just a few of the problems I've encountered with Chicago signage.

    1. Street Not Marked in Any Way.

    Every intersection needs to be marked. It's that simple. And it would take just one sign on any corner. If there are overhead lines or traffic lights, then the sign should ideally be posted there in the center. The intersection of Pulaski and Ainslie is NOT marked, for instance, which led to me driving around longer than I had to, and delaying a lovely brunch I was going to when I was starving.

    There are hundreds of such intersections, and I plan to report them all.

    2. One Way Signs on Wrong Side of Street And Not High Enough.

    Hypothetical: You are about to turn right onto a street. You are therefore looking mainly TO THE RIGHT, with an occasional glance left to make sure no one is coming. What you have not realized, though, is that HOLY CRAP YOU ARE ABOUT TO TURN THE WRONG WAY ON A ONE-WAY.

    So where is the ONE WAY sign posted? Not on the right. Not up high in the center. It's posted DOWN LOW TO THE LEFT, where you are not going to see if it if you haven't already thought about looking. At least this is the case at Wells and Madison, where if a person is in a hurry they can add to the chaos of weekend loop traffic by ALMOST TURNING DOWN THE WRONG WAY BUT THANK GOD YOU JERKED THE WHEEL AROUND AT THE LAST MINUTE.

    Ladies and gentlemen of the Traffic Court, of COURSE we should check whether a road is a One Way before we turn onto it - but would it not help if the sign was posted somehere that it might do a forgetful person the most good?

    3. El Stops / Trains Not Marked.

    Is it funny that you could not know where you are at all times on the El? It's not so large a system, after all!

    Except that sometimes people fall asleep on the El, and sometimes - believe it or not this is the case - the train is so crowded that you only have a tiny sliver of a view out of the window. And sometimes visitors unfamiliar with our fair city are trying to get by on the El.

    Many times I have noted that if I did not know exactly where I was on the Blue Line going home, a simple glance out the window as we come to a halt in a station would NOT help. The station name is sporadically printed along the support beams - nothing else. There is no color-coding, no unique design to identify the station, nothing.

    There is often no system map in view, at least until you get on the train, and then it is posted - maybe - only right above the door.

    For an entire stretch of a train stop, with trains arriving from both directions on both sides, there is often only ONE sign pointing out which train is on which side.

    Meanwhile, in the London Underground, each platform is unmistakably labeled, and the map specific to that route is emblazoned on the wall. And maps of the entire system are PLENTIFUL. When I was using their subway system, I was struck by the fact that when you were down there you COULD NOT MISS a map, no matter where your eyes rested.

    (Their system also notably does NOT smell like elephants or look like a place where Morlocks might live, but that is for another bureau, I suppose.)

    4. Inconsistent "No Parking Sign" / Overzealous No-Parking Enforcement.

    Schubert Avenue - just north of AMC City North Theatre, just west of the BBQ joint. There is a phantom stretch of street with no parking signs at all, but they will ticket your car for parking here. If you carry a digital camera so that you can snap a quick image, you can successfully contest the ticket.

    Or the city could Adequately Sign this 30-foot stretch.

    5. Street Numbers Missing.

    Where to start? This is not so much the City's fault as individual businesses and residences. It would be nice, when trying to zero in on a location by its actual street number address, to be able to see those street numbers from the car. A well-marked intersection would feature not just the street name but the N-S or E-W number it marks.

    *Atlanta is higher because of their interstate system. Never have so many gone so fast on so many roads so inadequately signed. I've had to pass THRICE through the city of Atlanta on occasion to find my exit. Does everyone have to find their way around that city the Hard Way the first time around? The signs, like most computer error documentation, seem to be there not to direct you but to remind you of that time that you didn't know where you were going.

    Posted by Chris on 02/ 5/04

    February 4, 2004

    This is boring - AND stupid

    I guess it's OK that no one is really paying attention to this story. I mean, it's just the Secretary of Defense saying that last year when he said "we know" he didn't really mean KNOW know, if you know what I mean.

    He "acknowledged that he had made it sound like he was talking about actual weapons."

    The remark "probably turned out not to be what one would have preferred, in retrospect," he said.

    Yeah, that's not really important. I'm glad that's not, like, in bold type on a front page or anything.

    What IS important is that he looks like he's walkin' like an Egyptian here. Let's talk about THAT!

    Posted by Chris on 02/ 4/04

    Haiku to Hunger

    single Slim-Fast shake
    opened at noon on the dot
    that is all there was?

    Posted by Chris on 02/ 4/04

    It's not WHAT is Fruma Sarah!

    Real Media hilarity, courtesy of Thomas (Who is from SPAIN):

    Posted by Chris on 02/ 4/04

    February 3, 2004

    Is Tivo spying on me?


    I knew it was All-Powerful.... but is it also All-Seeing? Is it watching me... right now?

    Did they ask these 20,000 people if they could monitor their habits, I'm hoping?

    Posted by Chris on 02/ 3/04

    February 2, 2004

    Proof is stupid

  • I'm no rabble-rouser, but the technique of this latest virus is really really effective, so kudos to whoever. Not the part where it burrows into your system, but the part where it sends emails with the subject line "Failed Delivery" or something like it, and then its "payload" is an attachment of your "failed message." I think I fell for it.

    And why is it that you never much hear about the perpetrators of these viruses? For all the discussion around them, it's almost as if people think computer viruses just occur in nature. But there is a person or person(s) who designed this thing, and who is basically causing hundreds of companies to lose all this time and money! If they caught someone physically clipping the T1 connection into a corporation, you can bet the story would be all about that person. But the effect is somewhat the same.

    Although this time SCO is offering a BOUNTY. Wow - have we seen that before?

  • Friend Jessica says that my dream of a cashless society is in fact my dream of the Apocalypse - that such a thing is in fact one of the Signs of the Coming End-Times (that period of history when the Scriptures have foretold that millions of Max Lucado and "Left Behind" fans will die from sheer ecstacy). My question is - what does Jesus have against Total Information Awareness? Or Data Convergence?

    And how can I reconcile this with the fact that when I BREEZED through the CTA turnstile this morning with my new Chicago Card PLUS, I thanked Christ for it?

  • I watched "The Blues Brothers" this weekend for the first time since moving to Chicago. For so long I avoided it because I could not have bore the pain if this movie turned out to be bad, and one I could only love in my youth. The results: it is in fact a lot sillier than I remember, but it is still great fun.

  • I grow weary of being political here, because it seems like the people who I worry about the most just do not care anyway - but:


    Is it just me? And it probably is. But, isn't the time to THOROUGHLY check out whether WMDs really exist BEFORE you invade the country? And wasn't someone trying to do that very thing when we went ahead and invaded anyway? And now some jackass in the intelligence community is going to take the fall for it, even though everyone there was screaming as loud as they could that we had no proof?

    Posted by Chris on 02/ 2/04
  • I Am Not A Maniac

  • I am not a maniac - it is just that my friend Thomas gave me an MP3 of audio clips from "Mommie Dearest," and when they occasionally pop up on iPod, I start laughing, no matter where I am. Nothing breaks up the rock and roll more than Joan screaming at the Pepsi board members. Friend Jessica also loaned me a CD of Celebrity Outtakes, and they do the same thing.

  • If you see scroll bars over to the left by my "archives," that is NOT MY DESIRE FOR THIS SITE.

  • Speaking of iPod, every now and then one of those "hip" songs pops up on Random Play and I wonder how I thought I'd ever want to hear that. The problem is, I am constantly trying to make my music collection more eclectic. And something that seems really cool in the music store, or maybe I heard it on the soundtrack of a cool independent movie, or in a restaurant or bar, and I actually FELT hip listening to it, suddenly when the music is out of context and I'm walking down the street in my Sta-Puff coat trying not to slip on the sidewalk, it's just not what I want to hear.

    Basically, there are two "me"s: Chris in the Record Store, and Chris Everywhere Else. Chris in the Record Store makes big plans and thinks he can get away with wearing a beret and promises to read Dostoyevsky and plans to lose 40 pounds. Chris Everywhere Else is the poor bastard that has to put these hare-brained schemes into practice, and often finds it easier just to veto them and get on with watching "West Wing."

    Make sure you know which Chris you're talking to at any given time, especially if it involves money.

    I suppose with iPod I mostly need Walkin' Home music, which means comfortable upbeat stuff with INTELLIGIBLE LYRICS (Michael Stipe: I'm looking at YOU), and then suddenly I've got this Techno House music album with tribal drums and Celtic choruses and someone chanting in Farsi, and I have no idea why I have it.

    Posted by Chris on 02/ 2/04
  • Wardrobe Malfunction

  • To read this blog, you would not know that I went to Sundance for a week in January, where I saw some movie stars and a lot of movies, and went skiing. But I did - and I plan to write about it later. Yeah, right.

  • When did my big heavy coat that I bought a year ago become such a joke to people? No one was laughing a year ago - or were they? Yeah, it's big and puffy, but were you people calling me Puff Daddy behind my back? Were you calling me Sta-Puff? Or the Michelin Man?

    There have been three separate incidents lately where people teased me about how big and puffy it is, or at least commented on it. I was leaving a party this weekend and two separate people told me they hoped I somehow stayed warm enough. And the girl at the gym said it "sure looked warm." ???

    Ami must have also been humiliated by my coat, because she surprised me with a NEW one this weekend, which is 40% less puffy, and already I feel an increase in self-esteem, as if I've already lost weight just by changing clothes! Nonsense - she wasn't humiliated by it, she was just hearing me constantly complain about it, Lord love her. Which brings me to:

  • Finally the penny drops, and I believe that I need to lose some serious weight. I joined a gym this weekend, and when I did the scale, it confirms that I am more overweight than I've ever been. I think it was a combination of seeing "Supersize Me" at Sundance (where I learned that I was a "Heavy" user of McDonalds by their own standards*) and also seeing some pictures of myself from a few years ago, when I was much skinnier. Somehow those things helped break through that old self-image I've been using when I look in the mirror lately, the one left over from college.

    Also, someone looked at me on the train and said YOU ARE A FATTY yesterday.

    Not really, but I could tell they were thinking it.

    So now I'm going to be going to the gym, I guess, and drinking shakes instead of having meals. The thing I hate about the gym is not the exercise part, its the "gearing up" part, and the "going there" part, and the "being in a room that smells like sweat" part, and the "staying at your target heart rate" part, and "feeling like other people can tell I'm not doing this right" part. And the "having to carry gym things to work" part. Basically: I hate the gym.

    But at least it's not Bally's. At least there's no OONTZ! OONTZ! OONTZ! music at this gym. Bally's sends membership solicitations that look like a bill, so that you'll somehow think you already owe them money. That sums up Bally's for me.

    I saw from thumbing through some fitness books at Barnes & Noble this weekend (which is the sum total of research I'd like to do on this) that I've been engaging in EMOTIONAL EATING, not NUTRITIONAL EATING. Which means that instead of Eating to Live, I was... Living to Eat! And also possibly Crying Uncontrollably While Doing So, I guess. So now in order to lose those forty pounds (although I vow I will NOT turn this into a tiresome Journal of Weight Loss) I am going to have to be one of those people that knows how many calories are in things and what sort of food groups they are in and if they contain the "good" kind of fat or the bad fat, and watching my carbs, and getting more proteins, and all that shit I hate to talk about.

    The most tiresome goddam thing in the world is hearing someone say "Do you know how many CALORIES there are in that thing?" Jesus Christ! Do you think I'd buy some cheese curds in Wisconsin or a Krispy Kreme doughnut or a Zinger because it's Friday for Pete's sake and NOT know that I'm not exactly chewing on a stick of celery here? Can you save me your goddam guilt-math, and go Deal-a-Fucking-Meal on your own time? In answer to your question, I don't know the exact number but I KNOW I'M OUT OF THE BALLPARK THE MINUTE I PUT IT IN MY MOUTH, OK?!?

    I just had my "Slim Fast" for lunch, and as usual it feels like there are about two sips in the thing, and then I'm holding it up to my mouth, tapping the bottom because that cannot POSSIBLY be all there is in there!

    *They classify a "Heavy" user as someone who goes to one of their restaurants at least once a week, which I found surprising. So much for Friday Big Macs.

    Posted by Chris on 02/ 2/04