Thursday, August 31, 2006

Confusing Dissent With Disloyalty

Check out this high-octane diatribe (video and transcript) on Crooks And Liars: Keith Olbermann Delivers One Hell Of a Commentary on Rumsfeld.
Mr. Rumsfeld is also personally confused, morally or intellectually, about his own standing in this matter. From Iraq to Katrina, to flu vaccine shortages, to the entire "Fog of Fear" which continues to envelope this nation - he, Mr. Bush, Mr. Cheney, and their cronies, have - inadvertently or intentionally - profited and benefited, both personally, and politically. And yet he can stand up, in public, and question the morality and the intellect of those of us who dare ask just for the receipt for the Emporer’s New Clothes.

In what country was Mr. Rumsfeld raised?

As a child, of whose heroism did he read?

On what side of the battle for freedom did he dream one day to fight?

With what country has he confused... the United States of America?

Friday, August 25, 2006

Geoffrey Chaucer Hath A Blog

Via Mimi Smartypants, a link to my new favorite blog ever, and a leading contender for the title of, "Things That Make The Internet Worth It".

It's Geoffrey Chaucer Hath A Blog. Apparently written by Chaucer scholars, the whole blog is written in Middle English. As one of the help links says, "Chaucer's English is over 600 years old, but it is still recognizably English, and with a little effort it can be understood." Take that, make a blog out of it, complete with hilarious anachronisms, and you have GOLD.

Take, for example, the recent entry about the "grete entertaynment of 'Serpentes on a Shippe,'" about which "al of Londoun ys aflame". There's even a "Spoyler alert":
If ye haue nat yet sene the performaunce of 'Serpentes on a Shippe,' rede nat of the romaunce, for it doth telle of the manye suprises and straunge eventes that happen in the course of the storye, and thus it mayhap shall lessen yower enjoiement of the performaunce yt self.

And then it goes on to retell the entire story of 'Serpentes on a Shippe'. A few of my favorite passages:
‘Master mariners,’ seyde Sir Neville, ‘We muste make passage yn yower firste-classe section, for I bringe a witnesse to the courte of Kynge Arthur.’ And the mariners and the maydes on the boate assentede, thogh manye a rich burgois dide grucchen much at levynge first classe for coache.

...doun in coache, manye a stereotype did sitte and make conversacioun. Ther was a PRIORESSE, who lovede hir smalle dog, and also a SQUIRE, who mad manye songes of rappe and had TWO FAT KNIGHTES wyth him, and also a WOMAN WYTH A BABYE AND AN ACCENTE, who coud muche of plesaunte folke remedyes and TWO FOUNDLINGES who travelid all al oon, and an ANTISOCIALE ENGLISHMAN and also a gret manye EXPENDABLES.

...Thus cam the snakes in the coache seccioun of the vessel, and ther was much noyse and screminge and manye EXPENDABLES weren eten and in the naughtye partes ybitten. The ANTISOCIALE ENGLISHMAN dide throwe the dogge of the PRIORESSE to the serpentes for to make hem delaye, and yet he too was eten by a grete wyrm. And the SQUIRE did showe that for all of his bling he was but a cowarde. And the WOMAN WYTH A BABYE AND AN ACCENT dide scape wyth her babye and her accent.

...Sir Neville seyde, ‘Litel it availeth us to fighte wyth thes snakes. By cause thei do not jouste as knightes do, nor do thei make fayre parlay whan thei aren captured, but rather in the nature of beestes thei bite the helle ovte of vs the whole tyme.’

But the very best part isn't the translation to Middle English, it's the ending. It's not only been translated language-wise, it's been re-written to end as a story in the Middle Ages really would have ended. If nothing else, skip to "chapter the vthe and finale", and read that ending.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Jesus' General In Lieberman HQ

Not only did Connecticut get a better Democratic candidate for Senate, we all got a couple of hilarious on-the-scene reports from Lieberman's campaign headquarters by Jesus' General. The first one - Live blogging for Lieberman or how Bill Kristol saved my life - is pretty good:
Finally, [Bill Kristol] spied my laptop and asked the question I'd been dreading, "Are you a blogger?" Remembering the volunteer's warning, I lied, "No, I'm a day trader." That seemed to make him happy. He smiled, cackled, slapped me on the back, and led me into the bunker.

As bad as everything had been up to that point, I wasn't prepared for the squalor, the stench, or the lunacy I witnessed as I made my way through the door. It was like the locker room from hell. The bunker, lined in concrete, was dim and dank. White Castle wrappers littered the floor and the air reeked of a mixture of sweat, urine, and Hai Karate aftershave.

But it's mainly worth reading as a setup for the second part, I survived the Lieberman bunker.
That's how I noticed Ann Coulter. Still flat on her back from an overindulgence in alcohol, she was making the kind of movements that suggest that she was on the verge of waking. You know what I mean: a twitch of an arm, a shake of the head--that kind of thing. But it wasn't the movement that caught my eye. It was the pup tent. Yes, you read that right. Ann Coulter was sporting morning wood.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Terry Jones, Jubilant Armageddonist

Via Bob Harris, Terry Jones (yes, that Terry Jones) has come out, finally, in favor of Armageddon and the world leader who is singlehandedly doing the most to bring it about: Nice one, George.
So [Lebanon is] the perfect place for George to unleash the horsemen of the Apocalypse, and, as Armageddonists, we applaud him. The current assault on Lebanese civilians is sure to swell the ranks of would-be terrorists beyond even our wildest dreams, spreading the violence and mayhem not only throughout the Middle East but into the homelands of America and Britain.

As for the country of Lebanon itself, we Armageddonists predict that, like Iraq, it will sink into a morass of sectarian violence that will fill morgues of the future that have not yet been built. But more than that, we Armegeddonists confidently look forward to chaos and havoc quickly getting out of hand and beyond the control of those who started the conflict. It's all part of the fun.

So Armageddonists of the world! Let us unite in praise of George Bush, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld. Let us thank these men for bringing our dreams of violence and disorder to fruition.

Let us hope that whatever half-baked notions fill what passes for their minds, they will continue on this irreversible path to perdition from which the whole world recoils, but seems powerless to stop.

Related bonus material on Jonathan Schwarz's A Tiny Revolution, concerning the Bush administration's apparent fascination with the Book of Revelations as written by Christian apocalyptic fiction author Joel C. Rosenberg. The author of the "Left Behind" series has been invited to speak to White House aides, prompting Schwarz to say,
It would almost be worth it to me for these guys to start a nuclear war if I could live long enough to see their faces afterward when Jesus doesn't show up. Whoops!

"Boy, are our faces red," I imagine them saying, "and not just because of our fatal radiation poisoning!"

Friday, August 04, 2006

Thurrott on Vista & Marshall on Mac

Saw these both yesterday, and thought they'd make good compare-and-contrast set pieces for the weekend.

First, via Slashdot, we have Paul Thurrott on Vista, Microsoft's eventually-to-be-released new version of Windows. To the question of, "Is Windows Vista ready?" he answers:
No. God, no. Today's Windows Vista builds are a study in frustration, and trust me, I use the darn thing day in and day out, and I've seen what happens when you subject yourself to it wholeheartedly. I think I've mentioned the phrase "I could hear the screams" on the SuperSite before. My wife said that to me one day, and she was referring to the sound of me barking some primeval curse at my desktop PC as it succumbed to Vista's stupid slowdowns, crashes, and hang ups for the umpteenth time. She, more than anyone, knows the frustration I've experienced because of Windows Vista.

There's one more jab that I have to quote, for the unexpected infusion of politics if nothing else:
What Microsoft didn't realize is that the way to win back customers' hearts isn't to make bold proclamations; it's to actually do the right thing. (Reference: The Bush administration.)

Meanwhile, via Daring Fireball, an update from Josh Marshall (of Talking Points Memo) on how he feels about his recent switch to Mac:
Basically, I'm sold. I've been using a PC at home and a Mac at work for several months now. And I just prefer using the Mac. A lot. Some of it is simple ease of use, the 'it just works factor'. It runs with few or no problems. And not having to worry about computer viruses is nice. I'm also doing a lot more working with video. And there's no question the machine is just better designed for working with video -- both on the hardware level and in the applications it comes with.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Sleater-Kinney Is Dead; Long Live Sleater-Kinney


It is a dark day. Well, technically the day was some time ago, but still. According to The Village Voice (and MTV, and others, of course), they're calling it quits:
Here's the statement they put up on their website: "After eleven years as a band, Sleater-Kinney has decided to go on indefinite hiatus. The upcoming summer shows will be our last. As of now, there are no future plans for future tours or recordings."

I praised the band in previous posts (Everybody Loves Sleater-Kinney But You and More Sleater-Kinney) for not following the traditional career trajectory into boredom and predictability, as so often happens. So maybe they've chosen to dissolve now, rather than sell out that way. As bold as the album The Woods was, and as sad as this move is, this is even more brave.

And there's not much notice here, well, barely an hour, but they're playing a concert tonight (Thu., Aug. 3) that's being webcast by NPR at 9:00 p.m. ET. Hopefully it will be archived for all you people that read this after the fact.

Also note that you can find videos - both live performances and produced videos - at YouTube.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Crazy Apple Rumors

Here's a new site to add to the list: Crazy Apple Rumors. Don't worry, it's not really another Apple rumor site; it's a parody of same. To wit:
  • Hackers Crack Apple Movie Rental Scheme.
    While refusing to confirm that movie rentals were in fact coming to the iTunes Music Store, an exasperated Steve Jobs chastised the hackers.

    "You’re the reason we can’t have nice things!" Jobs said, angrily pointing in the general direction of Finland.

    "You know, I go to a lot of trouble to make something nice for you and you just try to get more. I would love to deliver you a magical movie download service where you could burn all the copies for your friends you want and edit out the stupid endings - like in The Abyss - and put in your own way cool endings - like with a car chase and a nude scene with Salma Hayek - but it just... isn’t... possible."

  • Friday Feature: Crazy Apple Help Desk.

    Q: My iMac recently had a hard drive crash and I’ve been trying to get my data back. I went to the Apple Store the other day to talk to the Genius and I got all this grief for not backing up. I’m trying to solve my existing problem and he’s all gettin’ up in my grill and…
    A: Oh, no, no, no. Dude. Dude. No one says "gettin’ up in my grill" anymore.
    Q: What? Oh. Really? I thought that was phat phresh.
    A: No. And neither is that.
    Q: Oh. OK, then, Hammertime, what are people saying when someone gets in their face?
    A: "That bitch thinks she can use my toothbrush."
    Q: What?
    A: "That bitch thinks she can use my toothbrush!"
    Q: You’ve gotta be kidding.
    A: No. See, when you’re at the Apple Store and the Genius is riding you for not backing up, you wait until he walks off and you turn to the customer next to you, roll your eyes and say - really loudly - "That bitch thinks she can use my toothbrush!"
    A: Even if it’s a dude?
    A: Oh, especially if it’s a dude.
    Q: Well... I’m not saying that.
    A: Or, if he’s standing right in front of you, you yell as loudly as you can, "BITCH! You think you can use my toothbrush?!"
    Q: That doesn’t mean anything!
    A: Look, I don’t make these up. I’m just telling you that this is what the kids are saying.
    Q: The kids on crack maybe.
    A: Oh, dude, the kids aren’t doing crack anymore. They’re all freebasing Strontium 38.
    Q: ...
    A: ...
    Q: Do you have any idea what you’re talking about?
    A: Dude, don’t come whining to me because the kids are all calling you Chester because you’re not freebasing Strontium 38 and yelling "That bitch thinks she can use my toothbrush!"

  • CARS Editor Switches to Linux.

    Joining the increasing throngs of uber-geeks who have switched from the Mac OS to Linux, I regret to announce that I have come to the conclusion that I can no longer justify my use of Apple’s proprietary data formats.

    For too long Apple has attempted to lock its users in to its closed platform and closed applications.

    For this reason, I have reformatted my Performa 6400 and installed Yellow Dog Linux.

    ...I sought the professional help of a Linux geek in an online forum.

    Here’s how the conversation went:

    ME: I can’t seem to get the screen resolution right. I’m picking the exact monitor and video card I have from the list, but it gets all goofed up.

    LINUX GEEK: You need to add a video argument to BootX, such as "video=atyfb:vmode:17,cmode:24". Boot into Linux and run Xconfigurator and setup your video as desired. Then exit and run startx. It’s easy!

    ME: Uhhh... OK. Gosh, there are a lot of parameters in your argument there. Not to mention all the colons. Maybe you can walk me through that a bit. Mine’s a 15-inch monitor. Should I change the 17 to a 15? What does the rest of it mean?

    LINUX GEEK: Open your display.temp.config.pants file, set line 974 to "stun" and then reboot in gigantic robot mode.

    ME: "Gigantic robot mode"?

    LINUX GEEK: Just before the donkey appears, press command-option-shift-umlaut-fire and bark like a crazed hyena. Now dump your trash on your head and wave your genitals in the air in a circular motion with arms akimbo.

    ME: OK, now you’re just talking gibberish.

    LINUX GEEK: Aboogee agga! Muwasi matoombo! AI-AI-AI-AI-AI-AI-AI!