Friday, April 29, 2005

Hitchhiker's Quote #7

Here it is, my last but not least favorite Hitchhiker's Guide To the Galaxy book quote. The movie opens today, and early reviews at Hollywood Bitchslap and Metacritic seem fairly positive. I think we're safe.
Consider how lucky you are that life has been good to you so far. Alternatively, if life hasn't been good to you so far, which given your current circumstances seems more likely, consider how lucky you are that it won't be troubling you much longer.

No Tiger Pun Headline From Me

Today is Tiger day. Personally, I ordered mine from Amazon, with a $35 rebate, via the link at the top of Daring Fireball. When I look now, though, it seems that Amazon is selling it $35 off; no rebate required. So there you go!

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Hitchhiker's Quote #6

The major problem - one of the major problems, for there are several - one of the many major problems with governing people is that of whom you get to do it; or rather of who manages to get people to let them do it to them.

To summarize: it is a well known fact, that those people who most want to rule people are, ipso facto, those least suited to do it.

To summarize the summary: anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job.

To summarize the summary of the summary: people are a problem.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Onion vol. 41 #17

Onion day already? You know it.

  • Report: U.S. Foreign Policy Hurting American Students' Chances Of Getting Laid Abroad
    "Instead of being inundated with questions about Hollywood and requests to help hot young foreigners practice their English, Americans are being openly scorned in European pubs and cafes. Data taken from a poll of students in December 2004 showed that only a dismal 11 percent had achieved sexual congress with a non-American."

  • Guess What—It's Tom DeLay's Frisbee Now
    No, I'm not going to "toss it back," and don't call me "dude." Very important people are trying to legislate in here. No, you come on. I warned you, but you had to push it. Now you face the consequences.

  • Uneventful Past Finally Catches Up To Boring Man
    "But after listening to Ken and Louis reminisce about our summer-long cribbage tournament and the time we took a chartered tour bus to the Badlands—well, I realized that I can run from my boring past, but I can never truly hide."

Hitchhiker's Quote #5

Aorist rods were devices used in a now happily abandoned form of energy production. When the hunt for new sources of energy had at one point got particularly frantic, one bright young chap suddenly spotted that one place which had never used up all its available energy - the past. And with the sudden rush of blood to the head that such insights tend to induce, he invented a way of mining it that very same night, and within a year huge tracts of the past were being drained of all their energy and simply wasting away.

Those who claimed that the past should be left unspoiled were accused of indulging in an extremely expensive form of sentimentality. The past provided a very cheap, plentiful and clean source of energy, there could always be a few Natural Past Reserves set up if anyone wanted to pay for their upkeep, and as for the claim that draining the past impoverished the present, well, maybe it did, slightly, but the effects were immeasurable and you really had to keep a sense of proportion.

It was only when it was realized that the present really was being impoverished, and that the reason for it was that those selfish plundering wastrel bastards up in the future were doing exactly the same thing, that everyone realized that every single Aorist rod, and the terrible secret of how they were made, would have to be utterly and forever destroyed. They claimed it was for the sake of their grandparents and grandchildren, but it in fact was of course for the sake of their grandparent's grandchildren, and their grandchildren's grandparents.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Tiger Vs. Longhorn

Excellently put by Jo Miller
Big Cat
Independent hunter, sleek, fast, and powerful. Typically found roaming the jungle. Self-cleaning, likes to play. Beautiful and endangered.

Enslaved overfed ruminant miserably awaiting slaughter. Typically found in pens and abbatoirs. Swats flies with tail, requires antibiotics. Ungainly and near-ubiquitous.

And here's something else I saw today, in the print edition of MacWorld magazine that just arrived, that demonstrates how creative, funny and just plain cool Macs and Mac users are: the Big Tiki Drive.

Hitchhiker's Quote #4

It is very easy to be blinded to the essential uselessness of them by the sense of achievement you get from getting them to work at all.
In other words - and this is the rock solid principle on which the whole of the Corporation's Galaxy-wide success is founded - their fundamental design flaws are completely hidden by their superficial design flaws.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Hitchhiker's Quote #3

The Sirius Cybernetics Corporation is "a bunch of mindless jerks who'll be the first against the wall when the revolution comes." An edition of the Encyclopaedia Galactica that had the good fortune to fall through a time warp from a thousand years in the future defined the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation as "a bunch of mindless jerks who were the first against the wall when the revolution came."

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Hitchhiker's Quote #2

"In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move...

"There is a theory which states that if ever anyone discovers exactly what the universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly dissapear and be replaced by something even more bizzare and inexplicable.

"There is another theory which states that this has already happened."

The Book(s)

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Hitchhiker's Quote #1

Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy cover
In this next week until the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy movie release on April 29, I thought I'd share a daily Hitchhiker's quote. These are, of course, from the must-read book(s). I present these as a combination prayer-offering (that the movie won't suck) and insurance (in case it does anyway - at least you'll have these small chuckles, no matter what).

[Area: Infinite.]

[Imports: None.] It is impossible to import things into an infinite area, there being no outside to import things in from.

[Exports: None.] See imports.

[Population: None.] It is known that there are an infinite number of worlds, simply because there is an infinite amount of space for them to be in. However, not every one of them is inhabited. Therefore, there must be a finite number of inhabited worlds. Any finite number divided by infinity is as near to nothing as makes no odds, so the average population of all the planets in the Universe can be said to be zero. From this it follows that the population of the whole Universe is also zero, and that any people you may meet from time to time are merely the products of a deranged imagination.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Get Your War On #46

Get Your War On #46
The State Department has published "Patterns of Global Terrorism," a summary of international terror attacks, every year since 1985. BUT NOT THIS YEAR. Why not? Hmm. Could it have anything to do with the fact that 2004 had MORE INTERNATIONAL TERROR ATTACKS than any year since 1985? Or has Condoleezza Rice just USED UP HER PHOTOCOPYING BUDGET FOR 2005?

Onion vol. 41 #16

Presenting: this week's Onion.

  • Fifth-Grade Science Paper Doesn't Stand Up To Peer Review
    "He didn't even say how they survive," Glass said. "He was just like, 'Otters are about one to 1.2 meters long. Otters' whiskers are about three inches long.'"

    "I know!" Swain said. "It's like, 'Hey Mike, how do sea otters survive?' 'Dur. I'm Mike. Sea otters survive by being one meter long.'"

  • New Tech-Support Cast Arises In India
    "While we rank below members of the reigning order, those of us responsible for helping Americans track their online purchases and change their account PINs share many privileges not enjoyed by the merchant class below us."

  • The News In Photos: A Pope Remembered
    • God Ain't Said Shit To Me
    • Pope Calls For Greater Understanding Between Catholics, Hellbound
    • Vatican Rescinds 'Blessed' Status Of World's Meek: "Screw The Meek," Says Pope

  • The Onion In History, April 19, 1981
    Texas Instruments Continues Domination of Personal Computing Field

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Puerile Penile Name Fun

Heard advertised on our NPR station, an announcement of the Austin Symphony concert this weekend. It's a classical concert featuring "pianist James Dick."

Imagine that in common usage: "Where's that pianist, Dick?", "You should talk to Dick, the pianist", "If you want a good pianist, you want Dick!", etc.

Because honestly, what kind of masochist survives a childhood saddled with the last name "Dick", only to go on to become a pianist? He might as well have gone ahead and changed his first name to Peter, or Rod, or (why not?) Cock.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

The British Office

Last night we rented and watched some of the DVD of the original BBC show, The Office (second season), as I mentioned wanting to do in a recent post about how good the new American show of the same name is.

The British version is funny, though not, I'm almost happy to report, funnier than our version. It would step on my buzz every week to know I was watching a pale imitation. When the American show was originally announced, I'd wondered, why not just show the BBC version here? Why bother copying it, if it's the same show? And it is indeed the same show; NBC's is very faithful to the setting, style and characters from the original.

But now I know why they had to remake it. For one thing, it's chock full of British pop-culture references and slang that would go over the head of most Americans. In fact, the DVD has three pages of British-to-American translation of names and phrases to help out American audiences. Besides, it's way racier than anything allowed on U.S. TV. "Sloppy seconds," "twat," "shit," and "a black man's cock" were all featured in the dialogue of the episodes we watched.

So, bottom line: the BBC's "The Office" is good, and funny, especially if you're a fan of British humor. However, it's not so good that we'll run out and rent them all, or that it ruins the excellent new show you should be watching every Tuesday.

Lastly, a related coincidence: while reading another positive review of the Hitchhiker's movie (via Slashdot), I saw that Martin Freeman, who stars as Tim in the BBC's "The Office," plays Arthur Dent!

We finished watching all six episodes of series two, and I need to revise my review a bit. First of all, the adult content just kept on coming (so to speak). A big pink vibrating dildo, a well-timed "fuck off" and a brief but unmistakable glimpse of doggy-style sex in the parking lot were all to be found in those episodes. Also, I was impressed by the direction - timing is everything in comedy, and the way they cut the scenes was truly expert.

But neither of those aspects would be enough to make me update this post. The real kicker was the drama, especially at the end. Both the British and American versions work the tension between the one office guy (Tim/Jim) and the receptionist (Dawn/Pam) who is already engaged to someone else. It always seemed just a little odd, that dramatic aspect, in the midst of the hilarious antics of the boss and Gareth/Dwight. But in the season conclusion (which I didn't realize until after was actually the series conclusion), it's all made worthwhile in a very touching scene that's more memorable than most big-budget Hollywood romances. It's just about worth watching the episodes for, by itself.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Onion vol. 41 #15

Spring Fashions
Inside: Spring Fashions
So Glamorous You'll
Practically Shit Yourself

Wednesday == Onion

  • What Do You Think?, on Embattled Tom Delay
    "I'm telling you, if Tom DeLay would come out and say, 'Screw it, I'm just in it for the cash and the bitches,' his popularity would skyrocket. At the very least, he'd be in a Kid Rock video."

  • The Onion Presents: Preparing A Living Will
    Comatose people have been shown to exhibit a brainstem-level response to music, so prepare a decade's worth of mix tapes in advance.

  • French's Introduces Antibacterial Mustard
    "Now, lunch doesn't have to endanger your health! All-new French's Antibacterial Mustard is the perfect way to add flavor to, and subtract harmful disease-causing bacteria from, your family's favorite meals!"

Monday, April 11, 2005

Don't Panic

Slashdot had an article which scared me, Hitchhiker's Movie is Bad, says Adams Biographer. I RTFA (the non-spoiling one anyway), and it sounded pretty compelling: my worst fears about this movie are true. It's the hatchet-job Adams was always afraid it would be.

Oh well, if one of LOTR or HHGTTG had to be ruined on film, I guess I'd choose the latter. :-(

But wait! Reading the rest of the Slashdot comments, there were other opinions by people who'd previewed the movie, people with similarly high levels of credibility (former co-workers of Adams at The Digital Village).

One guy says,
Today I saw the movie for the second time, and once again I find myself coming to the conclusion that I must have been shown a different movie to the one that MJ Simpson saw. Having twice been in a cinema full of people who were laughing all the way through at the movie (and these are British people, for crying out loud!), and then reading that the movie is "staggeringly unfunny" leaves me somewhat confused. Partly because I heard all those people laughing myself with my own ears, but mainly because I loved the film.

And another guy says,
Personally, I loved it to bits. It's not perfect, certainly, and I agree with a couple of his criticisms (though with about 5% of his severity). But I fundamentally feel that it's true to the spirit of Hitchhiker's in so many ways, not just through the storyline and script (which is far, far better than MJ would have you believe) but also through visuals and design that are utter genius [emphasis the author's].

And a fan club guy who says, "there are one or two details that I thought did not come across or should have been reconsidered in the movie, and that's a bit sad," but also, "Did I like it? Yes I did, very much. Did I laugh? Oh, yes indeed I did. Very much so."

Last is someone else who says simply, "I loved it."

Meanwhile the first trailers and commercials I'd seen were showing a sci-fi adventure rather than a comedy. And that seems backward to me; it's a comedy first, which just happens to be set in a crazy sci-fi, time-travelling universe. But then, poking around the Apple movie trailer site, I found a more recent (and much funnier) trailer... So, we'll see what we see, come April 29.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Beware Brownish Masses In Your Nostrils

Via jwz, honestly the grossest thing I've ever heard. I know you won't be able to resist reading this now - your curiosity will be too much - but I still warn you, this is truly disturbing.
The woman went to her doctor complaining of nose bleeds and an occasional sensation that something was blocking her left nostril, the Hong Kong Medical Journal said in its April issue. Her family doctor noticed a "brownish mass" in her nostril but couldn't remove it because of heavy bleeding, the journal said.

My emphasis added on the punchline here.
The patient was taken to the emergency room, where doctors identified the problem as a [motherfucking] bloodsucking leech [for fuck's sake!]. They had trouble pulling it out because the 2 inch invertebrate retracted into the nostril and disappeared, the journal said.

Part of the slimy leech was in a passage of her nasal cavity and a larger segment was in her sinus cavity, the article said.

Again, that's my emphasis and interjections added; apologies for the language, but come on, that is heinous. Sounds like an urban legend, right? Hell, maybe it is, but here's the SFGate article.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Onion vol. 41 #14

Cheney Offspring Bursts
From Bush's Chest

This week's Onion.

  • What Do You Think?; Many Cancer Deaths Preventable
    "My dad smoked like a chimney, ate only steaks, and drank bourbon every day, and he lived to be 54. Keep in mind, this was back in the '70s, when that was considered quite old."

  • U.S. High School Gets Raw End Of Student Exchange
    "I swear, [Uwe] never smiles," List said. "He's gross. He's skinny and pimply, and his skin's yellow in places. He's wears the same maroon, button-up shirt every day and it totally smells like B.O. I don't know how his host family deals. I would puke."

  • Actual Urgent Message From Robert Redford Goes Unheeded
    "MICHAEL, I'm asking for your help to stop the robbery and possible destruction of one of America's most treasured human resources—actor Robert Redford," read the message typed on NRDC letterhead. "At this very moment, two or more men are holding me captive within my office in order to further their profit-motivated agenda to strip my home of its valuable assets and leave me with nothing—perhaps not even my life."

  • The Onion In History, April 7, 1948
    Antlike Conformity Now Affordable
    Row upon Row of Identical Box-Like Homes Replace Ugly Long Island Prairie

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Seriously Funny TV: The Office

For the first time since Seinfeld went off the air, there is a TV show so good that I actually look forward to watching it each week. It is NBC's The Office, and after two hilarious episodes, it's theirs to lose. Apparently it's an American remake of the British show of the same name, which Joel Spolsky recommended last year. I haven't seen that original British show yet, but I still plan to.

In the meantime, I'm going to be careful not to miss Steve Carrell, who plays the boss, each week. He's the guy that played "Achorman" weatherman Brick Tamlan, as well as Edgar on Julia Louis-Dreyfus's sadly short-lived show "Ellie".

And it's on tonight, Tuesday night, so do yourself a favor.

Friday, April 01, 2005


Democrappy hits the nail squarely on the head: Terri's Dead, and You're Next.
All the bluster over Terri Schiavo's fate masked the fundamental fact that it was none of the nation's damned business. But on this particular day I'm willing to join the ideologues in making her a national symbol. For I can think of nothing that better symbolizes the human consequences of the right's "culture of life" than the slow death of an innocent woman.

The Right's posturing and pandering on this issue during the last couple weeks is the height of hypocrisy.
In the two weeks it took her body to shut down from lack of food and water, a half-million children starved to death around the world, from the untreated but eminently curable disease of poverty; and 81,000 children died of diarrhea, caused in large measure by tainted water.

Dependent on others for food, Terri Schiavo joined 26 million Americans who depend on emergency food donations for survival, and over 36 million Americans who are hungry or on the edge of hunger (the ten worst states in this regard are all red states). Deprived of liquid, she became one of 1.1 billion people who lack access to potable water. As her weight dropped, she shared the predicament of 183 million unhealthily underweight children around the globe. She was fed and cared for thanks to a $1.6 million medical malpractice award of a sort that will become illegal if the Republicans have their way, and that surpasses the combined annual income of 5,500 of the world's poorest people, who live on less than a dollar a day.

You should really read the full post - it's not much longer than this - but with more facts and links to sources.