Saturday, July 31

Logophilic Maledicta

[Logophilic Maledicta | Cult Recruitment]

I went to see Word Wars with J this afternoon. I giggled. I gesticulated. I guffawed. One of the characters, er, uh, I mean players, Matt, mentioned The International Journal of Verbal Aggression. I had been woefully underinformed. Nobody told me. I have since learned that Maledicta Volume 1: the Journal of Verbal Aggression was produced in 1977, and that Volume 13 is due out this summer and may have already been released.

Just after the movie, in the ladies' room, I was cornered by an innocuous-looking member of some subversive Scrabble cult. She wished to know the composition of the groups in which I play. Would I, perhaps, play "at the club" in Deerfield? She seemed terribly deflated when I told her that I play only with a few friends and that I prefer [yes, gentle reader, I did go there] to play Boggle.

Imaginary Friends

[Imaginary Friends]

I might need a friend like this:
Fofolokkins always brings you cigarettes and hamburgers when you're broke. You can trust Fofolokkins with your spare key . . . . She'll also help you carry your laundry, groceries, porn, makeup, whips, etc.
Now, that's a friend.

[Thanks to J.]

Through the Spasmodica site, I found the Rotofugi Designer Toy Store & Gallery, which is featuring The Monkey Show during August. I like the monkeys. I especially like this one.

Brand Awareness

[Brand Awareness]

The Invent Blog calls us [okay, perhaps not us — I am not, after all a trademark attorney] out on our logo knowledge by playing Retail Alphabet Game. I accepted the challenge.

On test #3. I got B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, L, M, N, P, Q, T, and X on the first try. A, S and U look really familiar, but I can't quite place them. I have no recollection of the other eight.

On test #4, I could only guess C, G, H, S, T, V and Z.

I haven't gotten around to taking test #1 or test #2 yet, but I'm certain I won't be able to resist forever.

Thursday, July 29

Just Military Action

[Just Military Action]

I am not an isolationist. I've been called one, and there certainly have been times when my gut-level reaction is that the United States should stay the fuck out of some other country's business. IMHO, this is not one of those times. For the sake of all humanity, the atrocity of genocide cannot be allowed to recur. With so much press about the DNC, one sees very little else right now. Still, some who have not forgotten the reality of genocide are asking us to take notice.

The Real Action in Boston

[The Real Action in BostonPerhaps NSFW]

At least for all of those who are unable to sneak in to the big room or the better parties. [Into the big room, how? I dunno. But, there have to be more people in the big room than there are legitimate delegates and reporters, unless the reporters are outnumbering the delegates by 10-1.]

Tuesday, July 27

Caged Freedom

[Caged Freedom]
"Last night, I had my first direct experience with the so-called free speech zone. It left me with one conclusion: whatever you do, do NOT go inside. It’s not only a blatant offense to free speech, but also highly dangerous and unsafe. I would suggest protesting anywhere in Boston but inside of it.

"No amount of hyperbole can accurately describe how disastrous the interior actually is. It’s like a scene from some post-apocalyptic movie – a futuristic, industrial detention area from a Mad Max film. You are surrounded on all sides by concrete blocks and steel fencing, with razor wire lining the perimeter. Then, there is a giant black net over the entire space.

"That’s not even the worst part. 80% of the space is actually beneath a construction site. You heard me, most of the zone is actually under a partially constructed building, broken up by gates, iron girders and wooden rafters, in the darkness.

"No helicopter will ever be able to see an aerial shot of the people assembled, negating the major points of mass protest: to let the rest of the public see your numbers. This forced 'invisibility' is so painfully obvious, that it is hard to believe it resulted from pure negligence. What's more, the space fits only 1000 maximum by law, so the 1001st person who wants to express their rights, is shit out of luck."
I keep feeling the need to read Jefferson. Sadly, I've no longer any books. [Where do such things go? Anyone have a Notes on the State of Virginia they'd like to lend me? Actually, I can most likely just download it. I digress . . . . ] In that piece, Jefferson wrote:
"[I]s the spirit of the people an infallible, a permanent reliance? Is government? Is this the kind of protection we receive in return for the rights we give up? Besides, the spirit of the times may alter, will alter. Our rulers will become corrupt, our people careless. A single zealot may commence persecutor, and better men be his victims .nbsp;. . . [The people] will be forgotten, therefore, and their rights disregarded. They will forget themselves, but in the sole faculty of making money, and will never think of uniting to effect a due respect for their rights."
This country so needs an enema.

[Via American Samizdat]

Sunday, July 25

Privé Formule aux Herbes - No Substitutions

[No Substitutions]

There are some products for which there are no suitable substitutes. I don't hold many strict brand loyalties [although I do have many preferences]. For the most part, I'll try anything.

There are, however, some items for which there I won't consider a substitute. I wouldn't occur to me to purchase a baking soda other than Arm & Hammer. There isn't an exfoliant out there that I like better than Fresh's Sugar Face Polish, and I've tried more than I care to count. I can't name an aluminum foil other than Reynolds Wrap. My razor is a Venus [although this one is subject to change, I was a dedicated Mach3 user for some time].

It's difficult when I become attached to a product and I can no longer find it easily.

That happened about a year and a half ago with Privé Formule aux Herbes melange #46: pommade du modelage. It was simply the best sculpting pomade for me. The fragrance was dreamy. The texture was perfect. It rinsed out easily.

Then, one very sad day — the day after I'd scraped the very last of it out of the jar — I discovered upon checking out at the salon that they had stopped carrying the line. I tried to be chipper about it, attempting to view it as an opportunity to try new products, and I immediately began searching for substitutes [I think I bought two right then at the salon]. One would think that there would be some product out there that would be similar enough for me to like it. Sadly, that was not the case. I tried about one a month since I ran out.

Today, on the way into the hair salon to get my hair cut into a sassy little pixie, I saw the Privé Formule aux Herbes wall display. On the third shelf was my beloved melange #46: pommade du modelage.

I am elated.

Anthropomorphish Design

[Anthropomorphish Design]

I saw the best minds of my generation working on idiotic ideas like this car concept.

[note: you may use username bulletproofbra password crystal at the NY Times website]

Saturday, July 24

Alternative Transportation

[Alternative Transportation]

Instead of taking a bus to the train after work on Friday night, I traveled by rickshaw. Yes, rickshaw. In Chicago. Previous to this, I'd not been aware that there was such a service in the Windy City. I had walked out of the office building, and there was a guy standing there on the sidewalk next to his rickshaw. I think what I said was, "A rickshaw. In Chicago. Really." To which he responded, "Yup." I asked where he could take me, and he told me he'd take me anywhere I wanted, although I imagine there would have actually been some limitations to that offer. I had him take me to the train station at Halsted & Milwaukee. His name is Paul, and he's really sweet. Should you require a rickshaw for some reason, contact Roger Rickshaw [773 / 620 - 7921] and ask for him.

While I was being hauled by bike along my route I recalled a story from the somewhat distant past. A long lost friend named Melanie was out drinking in San Diego [more than a couple o' years ago when we were both students at WVU] and she found a rickshaw driver who was willing to take her to her destination. When she arrived, however, she realized that she had lost all of her cash somewhere. So, Melanie offered to blow him for the ride. He accepted this as fair trade, and offered to take her anywhere she wished throughout the rest of her stay.

No, gentle reader, I did not make any such arrangement. I paid cash.

Thursday, July 22

Extraterrestrial Naming Conventions

[Extraterrestrial Naming Conventions]

When reading sci-fi that focuses on extraterrestrials, I'm regularly amused by the naming of the characters. I recently re-read Julian May's Intervention. The ruling quincunx of Lylmik [a group of ancient disembodied aliens] is comprised of:
  • in the center, Atoning Unifex
  • in the uppermost position, Noetic Concordance
  • in the lowest position, Eupathic Impulse
  • on the right, Homologous Trend
  • on the left, Asymptotic Essence
The book really wasn't as much fun as I had remembered, but was a somewhat pleasurable reacquaintance with a favorite character, Uncle Rogi. Even so, I'll probably re-read the Galactic Milieu Trilogy. It's been a while.

Sunday, July 18

Dedicated Team of Chewers

[Dedicated Team of Chewers]

Okay, you gotta see this. In the bio:
"Each Gum Blonde is 100% chewed bubblegum on a plywood backing. No paint or dye is used. The colour is inherent to the gum — the mixing of colour takes place inside the mouth during chewing using an endless variety of flavours made by an endless variety of companies. [Jason] Kronenwald has a dedicated team of chewers and prefers the texture of Trident. However, he does not chew gum himself unless he must."
Wow. Sarah Michelle Gellar, Marilyn Monroe, Britney Spears and Paris Hilton all rendered in chewing gum that was prepared by a dediated team of chewers and smooshed onto plyboard. Just wow.

[Via Memepool]

Sex, Politics, Identification & Statistics

[Sex, Politics, Identification & Statistics]

I was just trying to get some comparison data on sexual preferences and gender identity from the GSS [the 1998 General Social Survey Codebook — which, ostensibly, is the best data out there].

In total there are only 8 questions [that I've been able to find] that deal with sexual preference [specifically, homosexuality]. There were no questions that dealt with gender identity.

How can I compare this?
  • There are 76 questions/datasets that deal with one's political affiliations and opinions.

  • There are over 200 questions/datasets that deal with one's religious affiliations and opinions.

  • There are 152 questions/datasets that deal with one's involvement in volunteer organizations.

  • There are 13 questions/datasets that deal with one's knowledge of/opinions on genetic testing.
What are the datasets that deal with homosexuality? Well, this is all I can find:This series deals with "a man who has admitted that he is a homosexual" [no, there are no questions that deal with lesbians]:Considering that there's tons of data on racial issues, children, marriage, fucking internet usage, it seems ludicrous that there are only 8 questions [with one of those being a variation on another one] dealing with sexual preference at all and 3 of those are about whether one feels it's appropriate for a homosexual man to have the same free-speech rights as supposedly normal folks.

I've known for a while that marketing research firms have better data, but that because it's proprietary there's no public access to it, but I had no idea how limited the GSS data is in this regard.

And another thing: out of 38,116 respondents, there are no transgendered [intergendered/intersexed/transsexed] persons. Why? Because there are only two gender choices [male(1) and female(2)] there isn't even a n/a. Apparently persons who do not cleanly fit into those categories do no exist.

Thursday, July 15



It might have been the email exchange with a kind and level-headed moderator, or it might have been my pretending to be a sacred prostitute whilst praying to Thoth. Sometimes's it's difficult to attribute such things correctly.

Wednesday, July 14

[Happy Equal Marriage Day]

As my latest online platonic pseudo-crush, Thales, sarcasically mused, "Washington, Locke, Franklin and Jefferson; damned dirty liberals, each and every one."

From 1789 to 1995 there have been 10,679 congressional proposals for amendments to the Constitution [yes, about 50 a year on average, many, obviously repeats and tweaks of other attempts]. As we all know, only 27 passed. That, gentle readers is a 0.2528% pass rate. I guess we should have been less concerned.

Back to work . . . .

Sunday, July 11

Full Fark Bannination

[Full Fark Bannination]

I just got banned from Fark, and I believe it might have been a permaban and not some day-or-two warning ban. I was instructed by another farker to try to post, and that when I did I would get a message something like "You posted without content. Try again in ____ days." But, I've been blocked from even viewing the comment pages, so I can't try that. And, they cleaned out my profile. Honestly, I'm rather amused.

Was I baiting the mods [moderators]? Perhaps. I might have done a few things to bait the mods, but well, things have been freaky on the Fark Personals Forum for a while now. Posts have been deleted and mods have been posting to tell us that we're breaking the rules. But, they don't tell us specifically what we did to break them. The rules are rather slippery in a forum whose secondary intent is attention whoring. Regularly, people get banned for a few days, and then it is impressed upon us that we may not discuss why a banned poster was banned in the general posting area. For this, some of it overt and a bit more subtle, a rash of short bans and threats-for-banning ensued. Some farkers just weren't able to code html for a while. It was silly. You couldn't go there and do what you were gonna do when you intended to go there.

It was also frustrating. Finally, today, I decided to post something:
07-11 08:09:34 PM

There was this place where the boys used to skate [as in skateboard] back in the day. When I started going there, somebody would hand me a beer, and, for the most part, I'd just sit back by the edge of the pool and watch.

It was fun. I could pick up boys just by saying, "Hi, you're cute. What kinda stick you pushin'?"

Then, one day a bunch of the owner's security staff showed up. Everybody who hung out there was confused when they filled the pool up and banned the skateboards. What they said was that they were trying make it enjoyable place for everyone who wanted to use it, and that what we were doing wasn't what it was intended for. They also said that we were fighting and playing too rough.

What they didn't get was that we were enjoying it and that we couldn't have gone someplace else to swim, but that we didn't wanna swim.

There were assholes, certainly, and there were a few fights here and there, but for the most part, everybody got along: there was a lot more let me school you on this trick than get outta my face loser boy goin' on.

It didn't matter what we said. We argued, we pleaded, we tried to prove that we all got along. We could stay and swim or leave and skate.

For the most part, we left
Not long after that, my post was deleted and I had this response:
2004-07-11 08:13:02 PM

One more time- if you have a problem with how this site is ran- use farkback.
I felt compelled to respond:
2004-07-11 08:19:32

Okay, Moderator. If I ever want to talk about skateboarding in swimming pools again, I'll most certainly use farkback.
That post was deleted immediately.

So, for a while I backed off. But I was a little pissy, and, admittedly, sporting for a fight. I started posting about sex. There were some really funny posts there about what construes an incidence of sex. I was guiding the forum into a determination of what sex means. If you say you had sex, and you are a man, does that mean you reached orgasm? Would a man say that he had sex 3 times in an evening, or would he just say that he had sex for three hours? Should we define incidences of sex around the number of times a woman reaches orgasm. [For the sake of retaining the MF dichotomy, only sex involving both males and females in manageable quantities were discussed.] The responses were funny actually. The guys were of a mind to consider any contiguous time frame an incident of sex. So, they'd rather say that they'd had sex for 3 contiguous hours than to say that they'd had sex twice last Monday night. Obviously, I eventually [passive-aggressive that I can be] tweaked the conversation. Soooooo, a bit later, I had another post:
2004-07-11 10:53:58 PM

Okay, Thales, here's where it gets trickier.

What if I'm in a similar position/condition and there's no genitalia involved? Let's say he's [hypothetically, of course] spanking me [I used to --- hypothetically --- call him by name when he'd do that, but I'm kind of turned on by the idea of calling him moderator] and nobody gets off? What then?
No one did anything about it. So, I continued to post, for a bit, and then suddenly, I couldn't access the forum. I went to another site/forum where some current-and-banned farkers hang out and I found that all of my recent posts were deleted.

And, apparently, the mods don't do that unless one is permabanned. I was permabanned for suggesting that a hypothetical person might be called "Moderator" when spanking me. That is, really, hilarious. Oh well. I have other places to play.

Consensus is The Box

[Consensus is The Box]

This is the most profound phrase I could craft with the available giant magnet words on display at the William F. Eisner Museum of Advertising & Design.

Tuesday, July 6

Punctilious Punctuation

[Punctilious Punctuation]

I had been considering whether I'd pick up "Eats, Shoots and Leaves", thinking that it might be amusing. But, after reading this scathe from The New Yorker's Louis Menand, I've decided against it.
Though she has persuaded herself otherwise, Truss doesn’t want people to care about correctness. She wants them to care about writing and about using the full resources of the language. “Eats, Shoots & Leaves” is really a “decline of print culture” book disguised as a style manual (poorly disguised). Truss has got things mixed up because she has confused two aspects of writing: the technological and the aesthetic. Writing is an instrument that was invented for recording, storing, and communicating. Using the relatively small number of symbols on the keyboard, you can record, store, and communicate a virtually infinite range of information, and encode meanings with virtually any degree of complexity. The system works entirely by relationships—the relationship of one symbol to another, of one word to another, of one sentence to another. The function of most punctuation—commas, colons and semicolons, dashes, and so on—is to help organize the relationships among the parts of a sentence. Its role is semantic: to add precision and complexity to meaning. It increases the information potential of strings of words.

What most punctuation does not do is add color, texture, or flavor to the writing. Those are all things that belong to the aesthetics, and literary aesthetics are weirdly intangible. You can’t taste writing. It has no color and makes no sound. Its shape has no significance. But people say that someone’s prose is “colorful” or “pungent” or “shapeless” or “lyrical.” When written language is decoded, it seems to trigger sensations that are unique to writing but that usually have to be described by analogy to some other activity. When deli owners put up signs that read “‘Iced’ Tea,” the single quotation marks are intended to add extraliterary significance to the message, as if they were the grammatical equivalent of red ink. Truss is quite clear about the role played by punctuation in making words mean something. But she also—it is part of her general inconsistency—suggests that semicolons, for example, signal readers to pause. She likes to animate her punctuation marks, to talk about the apostrophe and the dash as though they were little cartoon characters livening up the page. She is anthropomorphizing a technology. It’s a natural thing to do. As she points out, in earlier times punctuation did a lot more work than it does today, and some of the work involved adjusting the timing in sentences. But this is no longer the norm, and trying to punctuate in that spirit now only makes for ambiguity and annoyance.
Yeah. What he said.



Although, admittedly, as a less-than-entirely uninterested citizen [albeit, not a disinterested one] I should be considering whether Kerry will be, in a few hours picking Gephardt, Edwards [or, considering the weird net buzz, Vilsack, or even stranger, Rodham-Clinton] as a running mate, I can honestly, but not necessarily proudly, claim I care more right now about whether . . . .And, most importantly, whether
  • my insomnia is becoming more powerful than Ambien, which is working less like a dream than initially. I took it over 45 mintues ago, and I'm still able to type.