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Thursday, August 9, 2001  permanent URL for this entry

The Reader is Warned: today's entry will be largely incomprehensible unless you read the last couple of days' entries also. And perhaps even then. I feel quite stream-of-consciousness.

Some electrons have arrived:

The Bicycle Pedaling Frog was unimpressed by his visit to CRLSTRM.

Other readers believe they have discovered the Secret of CRLSTRM:

Carol Stream, I think; that used to be the address on some of my bills (long ago, when I still mailed out checks). It's probably one of those places that doesn't really exist except on paper, sort of like that alleged state (Delaware?) where all the megacorps have head offices.

You've probably already heard this, but 60188 is Carol Stream, IL, which is the next town over. Sounds like somebody's mail department's hosed up. You can look up this sort of thing (and lots else, besides) at [link].

Carol Stream. It's where bills come from.

Now there's a catchy slogan. "Carol Stream; it's where bills come from!" Someone should suggest that to the webmaster; it'd be a considerable improvement over the current content.

WE, AS EMPLOYEES FOR THE VILLAGE OF CAROL STREAM WILL SERVE WITH PRIDE BY: Providing quality, affordable services/products and well maintained facilities for all our customers. committing to perform our jobs in a responsive and efficient manner following the highest ethical standards. Inquiring, listening, and responding to customers’ concerns in a timely and courteous manner.

Happy, happy, joy joy.

How's this for irony: I feel that you have insulted my intelligence -- but not regarding your opinions on marriage.

Rather, I'm concerned about pronoun/noun agreement. "Anyone" is singular, whereas both "their" and "they" are plural. A better solution would have been to say "his/her intelligence" or even "his intelligence" (if you're not concerned with being politically correct).

Other than that, keep up the good work :).

Thanks! Leave us face it, though; "their" and "they" are now singular also. (Now that's controversial!)

"I can't decide whether this whole Intellectual Art Scene is some of the smartest people on the planet realizing some of humanity's greatest potential for expression, or just a bunch of overeducated navel-gazers. Maybe both!" - Try [this link] - Can't remember how I came across this site - probably through your log!! Anyway, huge list of insane arty stuff that teeters on the edge of pointlessless. Great stuff.

Teetering on the edge of pointlessness. Attractive! And a bit familiar! *8) So: smart, or silly? Vanilla, or cranberry?

I don't approve of same-sex unions. Why can't the other gender join?

There's no reason to be meaningful enough to insult our conversation. I mean, really! How dare you?

You said it, Mr. Cheese!

There were 8 searches for the week ending 8/4/2001 for davidchess.com at http://www.davidchess.com/.

Here are the top phrases searched:

- 2 for "name your poison"
- 1 for "jellicle cats sims"
- 1 for "koans"
- 1 for "leland"
- 1 for "lost key"

I like that "lost key" especially. "Did you lose it on this site?" "No, but I like the color scheme."


A reader writes:

Bite the wax tadpole
Female horse stuffed with wax
Happiness in the mouth

The Wax Tadpole:

Hunt-Wesson introduced its Big John products in French Canada as Gros Jos before finding out that the phrase, in slang, means "big breasts." In this case, however, the name problem did not have a noticeable effect on sales.

What great readers I have; I hardly had to produce any content at all today! I did find the picture of tapioca myself, though; I went to images.google.com and typed "tapioca" in the box. This is why I'm paid the Big Bucks.

What is the function of carrageenan? Why do we have tapioca and cornstarch? What type of modifications are used? Why? What changes would be necessary to make this an instant pudding?

Burning questions for our times...

Wednesday, August 8, 2001  permanent URL for this entry

Intending to reassure me that I occasionally say something meaningful enough to be controversial, a reader writes:

there's no need to insult someone's intelligence because they have a different stance on ethical and political issues than you do

Unfortunately I agree with that completely. I wouldn't insult someone's intelligence just because they have a different stance on ethical and political issues than I do; I'd only do it because they were being stupid. And even then I probably wouldn't do it, me being such a nice guy and all.

On the other hand, I kinda suspect that this comment is a response to the way that I linked to a story about same-sex unions in Germany yesterday. Now I do think that Germany's current policy on this subject is smarter (more rational, more sensible, more sane) than is the U.S.'s (the Defense of Marriage act, for instance). If anyone feels that I have personally insulted their intelligence by expressing this opinion, well, um, they have my sympathy.   *8)


Another reader writes:

Answer to Eno's quote: No, Hugh Hefner is likely to die sated. Was that quote from 'A Year With Swollen Appendices'? If not, then I recommend you read it - it's great. Jules

That was indeed from A Year with Swollen, and I'm in still the midst of reading it. It's basically Eno's daily diary from 1995 (1995?), with various appendices of supporting material. It's fascinating reading; I'm taking it nice and slow. I can't decide whether this whole Intellectual Art Scene is some of the smartest people on the planet realizing some of humanity's greatest potential for expression, or just a bunch of overeducated navel-gazers. Maybe both!

As for Hefner, I dunno. Maybe the point of the quote is that even Hugh Hefner will check out with the nagging feeling that there were depths left unplumbed (multiple entendres entirely intentional).

Rolling in the aisles: We got a bill the other day, and the address to send the money to was:

PO BOX 5204
CRLSTRM IL 60187-5204

For some reason this struck me as the funniest durn thing in the world (I'm giggling again just looking at it).

"I was born in a little farm house in Illinois, twenty miles outside CRLSTRM."

"It's the best restaurant in CRLSTRM."

"It gives me great pleasure to present the CRLSTRM High School champion football squad, the FGHTNG KNGHTS!!"

Hee hee hee hee hee! What's the name really, I wonder? "Coral Storm"? "Carl's Tram"? Wait, wait, it must be on the Web!

Ah, it seems to be Wheaton, Illinois. Of course!

Tuesday, August 7, 2001  permanent URL for this entry

So just about everyone suggests that the "h" in "href" probably stands for "hyper" or "hypertext", as in "http" and "html" and all. Now why didn't I think of that? So is it a "Hypertext Reference" or a "hyperref"? Either one sounds sort of silly.

Greetings to visitors from SmartyPants! The Broken Koans can be found in the general vicinity of our August First entry (near the end). Enjoy! A few more are queued up in the old Input Box, and I really do intend to try to make them their own page one of these days...

Germany smarter than U.S.A. (link from Daze Reader).

Comfort beverage of the week: a big dollop of sweetened condensed milk (ref Cambric Tea), a bag of Celestial Seasonings English Toffee Tea, and some barely-boiling water. Ohmigod, as they say! Extremely quieting to the soul, warming to the body, and all like that there. Works best if you start out chilled, for instance having soaked in a big tub of cold water for an hour or three.

I have been sadly neglecting these most notable reader responses to Snappy phrase:

I wonder how far I can bend this CD.

I love to rant - ya ya ya ya - loud and long and clear.
I love to rant - ya ya ya ya - it's getting worse every year.

Crackle! Pop!

Kick it up a notch.

Cane toads
You go chomp and live in the swamp
Cane toads,
You're supposed to set us free
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

Buy, lie, sell high.

Pump and dump.

Yep, two different. I am trivial.

Atoms are perfectly managable. It's when you got molecules that you run into trouble.

:esarhp yppanS

Cthulhu cultist?

Where I work, anyone saying "Due diligence" would be decapitated by a flying Age of Empires CD

time, strength, cash & patience

beer has food value, but food has no beer value -- jessamyn

When Is It Best To Take Crack Cocaine?

The Technology Of Shop-Soiled Utopias

The Computer is your Friend

yip yip yip!

Who could ask for anything more? Nonetheless, we also have Yob sleezle nopi:

Stick "yob sleezle nopi" into google. It has a recommendation. Click on it. Funny.

Bargle nawdle zouss.

Oh no! Not again!

when i grow up, i want to be a ghost


Ah - ibn mik mach schuur!

A tub the size of Kansas, sitting placidly in a suburban back yard, its surface disturbed only by thought, sucking the heat from any living thing that stumbled into it, smug in the implicit threat of enveloping them in its bosom and making them once again inert.

(a) Rejczun orvak dom. (b) Slynvale ezrin ollie. (c) Priat frek zunzoo.

Haka! Suna suna haka!

Suna haka:

He had water thrown on the melted remains of Suet. She congealed. She came back to life. She was her old voluptuous self.

So may we all.

Monday, August 6, 2001  permanent URL for this entry

Meme o' the Day: DVD Rewinder.

Two Big Tub of Water thoughts from the weekend. First, while reviewing the various Magic Chemicals that they've had me adding to the Tub to make it Just Right, it occurs to me that the Tub now contains significant quantities of di-hydrogen monoxide. This is somewhat worrying!

Second, I want to get a long tube with a mouthpiece at one end, that I can drape over the wall of the Tub, and then breathe through while sitting cross-legged on the bottom (in through the mouth, out through the nose?). Not quite sensory deprivation, but sounds like fun. Buoyancy is cool.

So I lost the toss, and on Saturday I took the little daughter and two of her friends to see The Princess Diaries. It was abyssmal.

Well, okay, maybe not quite abyssmal. But really! The premise: fifteen-year-old girl who already has a pretty amazingly cool life (lives in a converted firehouse, teaches rock-climbing on weekends, has an old Mustang that'll probably be fixed up by the time she's old enough to drive it, etc, etc) discovers that she's the heir to the throne of a small European country. Her Big Decision is whether or not to accept the Princessship.

Ms. Andrews

Let's see! Hmm! Be a Princess, don't be a Princess. Be a Princess, don't be a Princess.


So there's not, like, a whole lot of Dramatic Tension here. The little girls who made up most of the audience loved the "discover you're a Princess" thing, of course, but please! Just because something's for kids doesn't mean it has to be bland and simple. The Wind in the Willows! The Brothers Grimm! Even Harry freaking Potter, for pete's sake.

I will note that Julie Andrews makes a lovely foxy grandma / queen. Either she's amazingly well preserved, or someone did a fantastic makeup job. Or both. The protagonist, on the other hand, looked a whole lot better IMHO before her "geek to princess" makeover. The most disturbing lesson of this film seems to be "life will be great if only you can look like someone on the cover of a fashion magazine." Frog that, mon!

Speaking of frogging, I stayed up much too late last night watching 9 1/2 Weeks on DVD. It was (hmmm) better than The Princess Diaries.   *8)   But I didn't like it as much as The Delta of Venus.

"How did you know? How did you know that I would respond to you the way I have?"

"Because I saw myself in you."

Weeks was trying to do two different things, and didn't end up doing either all that well, I thought. At one end it could have been a deep and interesting study of a powerful and somewhat pathological relationship. It gets close to that a few times (scene quoted above, f'rinstance), but it can't quite sustain it. It'd be hard to sustain it, of course, but that's why movie-makers get the Big Bucks.

At the other end it feels like someone read some of the milder master / slave fantasies on a.s.s.m and thought "hey, I could water that down enough to make a sexy R-rated movie out of it". There are scenes ripped straight out of the newsgroups: woman keeps her appointment in a seedy hotel, to find the room empty; the phone rings, and her Master's voice says "in the top drawer of the dresser you'll find a blindfold; put it on [click]". (I will acknowledge the nonzero probability that the newsgroups got the idea from this film; but it's not likely.)

But the sexiness doesn't work all that well, at least not for me. There are all too many "pan to symbolic object" shots (have to avoid the dreaded NC-17 (or X, at the time) rating). And Basinger is so thin! I dunno if it's the camerawork or something, but in this movie she seems positively emaciated. The anorexic look has never really appealed to me. (Mickey Rourke's hair, on the other hand, was great!)

If the movie got some people thinking about putting a litte spice and kink into their sex lives, that's cool. On the other hand, this is anything but a manual for doing that in reality! Making this kind of thing work in a stable relationship would require lots and lots of communication; exactly the opposite of what happens here. The ending is ambiguous between "kink kills relationships", and "lack of communication kills relationships." I think one is false and the other true (not that I've experimented much with either one myself!).

And the ending is so flat. It annoyed me in roughly the same way that the ending to "The Magus" did; all this stuff happens, but as far as we can tell from the story as told, it's caused no perceptible change (positive or negative) in the protagonist. So why bother?

What else was I gonna say? Oh, yeah! I notice that 9 1/2 Weeks and Delta of Venus, both directed or co-directed or written by Zalman King, both contain this same snippet of scene:

HE (whispering): Does this excite you?

SHE (eyes closed, after a pause, whispering): Yes.

Audie England's rendition was more convincing.

We'll close this topic with an apropos quote from Brian Eno:

Do all men leave this life feeling they've seen nowhere near enough nude people, played with far too few private parts, made a pitifully inadequate contribution to the honeyed chorus of bottom-slapping, tit-sucking, cock-pumping, belly-bulging lust issuing from the planet, and generally not fulfilled their once extremely promising sexperimental destiny?

Constitutional Law: So I haven't yet finished the Reading myself, but here are a few possible Questions for Research:

  • What, if anything, in the U.S. Constitution would prevent a government body from enacting a law forbidding discrimination in (say) who you invite to a party at your house? What would prevent this in practice?
  • What, if anything, in the U.S. Constitution would prevent a government body from enacting a law forbidding discrimination in (say) who you allow to shop in your store? Is there anything to prevent this in practice? Why or why not?
  • What if your store is in your home? What if you live in your store? Is there an established test to distinguish between "home" sorts of spaces and "store" sorts of spaces?
  • What, if anything, in the U.S. Constitution would prevent a government body from enacting a law forbidding you to enter into a private contract with a friend, the contract providing that (say) neither of you will ever allow a person of a certain ethnic group to have dinner at your home?
  • If such a discriminatory contract were made, and one of the parties violated the contract, would the other party be able to appeal to the courts to enforce a penalty clause? Why or why not?
  • The U. S. Constitution prohibits government bodies from engaging in various kinds of discrimination. Does anything in the Constitution itself prohibit private actors from engaging in discrimination? Supreme Court Justices have expressed different opinions on this subject; what interpretation is currently dominant?

Why can't we all just be nice, eh?

And what's the "h" in "href" stand for? All I can think of is "head" or "heading", which make no sense...

Friday, August 3, 2001  permanent URL for this entry

Necro-Groundhog of the Awfully Dark Graveyard of Excruciating, Arcane Death!

This is a Solo Adventure for use with the Kobolds Ate My Baby! role-playing game. You will need a copy of Kobolds Ate My Baby!, some paper, a handful of dice and the ability to read. Along with the adventure you will find a map of the lands of the Necro-Groundhog for use with BLT! the official Kobolds Ate My Baby! collectable boardgame.

Badtz-Maru and his dmd quilt

A reader writes to warn us that he and his Badtz-Maru quilt are currently on the front page of Sanrio.com. Now that's fame!

This same reader, apparently without a weblog of his own, writes quite memorably:


You got a lobster and you got all your base
Lobster hot or not, but don't you kiss face
Base are made of Slashdot
Lobster made of 1337!

You got a Mahir and you got a habit
If a Mahir horny, he yiff a cabbit
Cabbit is a furry
Mahir is a Turk!

Don't put a lobster on the Net
He'll use all your dumb fad to get hits
He'll D-O-S your favorite site
Then he'll bite your EYE!

Lobster - sticks - to Web fad! (yarararar!)
Lobster - sticks - to Web fad! (yarararar!)
Lobster - sticks - to Web fad! (yahamsterdancer!)
Lobster - sticks - to Web fad! (yarararar!)

Left - clue - north

And the memes go 'round and 'round, and they come out here! We are truly blessed.

Having taken a brief detour to discuss the structure, chemistry, and symbolic significance of large tubs of water, we are about ready to return to the question of the Constitutional history of discrimination by private actors ("the part of the third dominatrix will be played tonight by PFC Metacarpus"). We don't have time to write (let alone think) about this today, but here's some recommended reading, in reverse chronological order:

That should keep y'all readers busy for a few minutes...


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