Monday, April 21, 2008

Eating Octopuses

In my January post, Octopuses and my Douglas Adams-Style Theory Of Teh Intarwebs , I described a natural law, a corollary of sorts to Godwin's Law, which mainly concerned the plural of octopus.

About a particular thread, I wrote, "The comments section is fascinating. As all comments threads on Octopuses are required to do by Federal Law, it eventually breaks down into a gigantic argument about the plural of octopus. Variations vigorously defended include octopedes and octopii."

Combining my favorite hobby-horses of Led Zeppelin and molluscs, today I found this explanation of the lyrics of Sick Again: "[Name redacted] is right if he means that the members of Zeppelin were sex animals. Apparently they would exploit their groupies to the absolute max. Groupies have told of how Jimmy Page would often make them stick octupi in their vaginas.[...]Its one of the few Zeppelin songs with real lyrical depth, though it might not be apparent when you read the lyrics off the page like this. " [Emphasis mine]

I'm not sure where to start with this one, so I'll just give in and point to a few not safe for work pictures of octopus sex. Jimmy Page is not included, unfortunately. Hokusai, Teraoka, and Saeki.

Why oh why can't they use their super-powers for good?

I worked out today that my washing machine must have a device fitted for turning socks inside out.

I used to think it was the dryer, but careful statistical analysis shows that it's in the washing machine. I can see that this seemed like a good idea to Dr. Evil at the time, but you'd think at some point he would have gotten greedy and marketed the anti-sock-reverser for a large amount of money. Like the hidden device on my car that turns traffic lights to red. You should be able to pay a premium to have it reversed.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Fellowship of the Ring

I was playing Misty Mountain Hop in my car going to work this morning. When I shut off the engine, the CD shuts off too, ready to power up in the same place it left off. Dunno how it does that, but that's what it does.

A couple of hundred yards later I heard the familiar riff of Misty Mountain Hop and started back for my car, confused. A minute later I see someone take something out of his pocket, examine it carefully and put it tentatively to his ear and say, "Hello?"

He had a Misty Mountain Top ring tone! Why? Why, FFS? What's wrong with "Brring brring!"? If it was good enough for dear old dad it's good enough for you.

Anyway, since I'm the first person ever to have a beef with a cellphone, I shall rant on:

Why does the act of answering a cellphone, particularly in a meeting, concert, film or library, always, and I mean always, take the following form?

1. A sound like a strangled cat singing "America" or "Crazy" or "Cum On Feel the Noize" issues from someone's trousers.

2. Everyone looks at the man's trousers. Thirty seconds pass. The sound continues.

3. The trouser-wearer suddenly looks down, startled, pats his pockets and draws out a small black object now singing more loudly.

4. The man looks at it in dismay and wide-eyed lack of understanding for twenty seconds, while it continues to lie in the palm of his hand screaming like a newborn.

5. The man tentatively presses a button. Nothing happens.

6. The man presses another button and puts the device to his ear. He says "Hello?" in a disbelieving voice, as though he has been handed a Magic Genie Lamp by a Zoot-Suited Fairy. The sound stops.

7. The man shouts at the top of his voice, "YOU CAN'T CALL ME HERE! I'M IN A MEETING/CONCERT/MOVIE/LIBRARY!!!!11!

8. The man gets up, knocking over his chair, stands on two small women next to him, stomps to the door and slams it shouting, "I TOLD YOU MY SSN IS 555-55-6789! AND MY MOTHER'S MAIDEN NAME IS HAREWOOD! AND DON'T GO ROUND TO MY HOUSE AT 41342 MODESKA DRIVE YET BECAUSE I HAVEN'T LEFT HERE AND MY WIFE IS THERE UNARMED. ALONE. NO, I DON'T NEED TO GO TO THE BANK BECAUSE I KEEP ALL MY SAVINGS IN SMALL BILLS UNDER THE BED!

9. The sound diminishes as he walks down the corridor.

Perhaps I exaggerate a little bit on the personal information people yell into these things, but not much.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Classical music update - teh Theraminz

Two different Theremin techniques -

1. Jimmy Page, Seattle, 77
2. A Japanese Cat

Jimmy Page is cuter and more fluffy, but the cat has nice eyes. The floor cat at the end - dubbed "WTF? Cat" on teh intarwebs, is just classic.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

That's Neat, Really Love Your Gecko Feet

This is one of my geckos, Mooshu the Okay Tokay.


Geckos are in the news today because medical researchers need some grant money I mean have discovered that the sticky properties of gecko feet, if transferred to an inorganic material, would make nice bandages, or even internal sutures for laparoscopic procedures.

Since I'm convinced the star of this video is an anole, not a gecko, I hope it wasn't produced by the people seeking the grant announcing the breakthrough.

Here's the news report and video.

It is an anole, isn't it?



Thanks to Carroll for the news headline heads up!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Best Live Bands

Classic Rock Magazine has a list of the 50 best live acts of all time.

It's a poor showing for me; I've only seen

1. Led Zeppelin
8. Rolling Stones
18. The Clash
19. Thin Lizzy
26. U2
28. Ramones
33. Status Quo
44. Genesis
47. Grateful Dead

out of fifty! Of those, I'd rate The Ramones and Status Quo the best live bands I've seen, but it depends on what you mean - I had the best time at their gigs, but I wouldn't listen to a bootleg of either of them.

If you're wondering why Zeppelin doesn't make it, it's because I can't remember a note they played of either Knebworth or Earls Court. Not one single solitary semiquaver. It's possible they blew my mind so hard that I had to blank it out to protect myself, like the victim of an alien abduction, but...

Bands not on the list that I a) can remember and b) were great live - Frank Zappa/Mothers and Hawkwind. Got to give a nod to T.Rex too, but that was in the "not a dry seat in the house" days, so I was more easily impressed.

Worst was Faust. My friend and I walked out after the first chord. To be fair, the first chord had been playing for 35 minutes at that point. I think they may have hated Leeds Uni as much as Leeds Uni hated Faust.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Skynet postponed.

From Gizmodo:

The army's machine-gun wielding, insurgent-slaying robot SWORDS is no longer spraying foes with hot doom in Iraq. Actually, it never got the chance to notch a single frag, and never will. Apparently, there was an incident where "the gun started moving when it was not intended to move," meaning it totally pointed somewhere it wasn't supposed to—like at friendlies, which resulted in recall from the field and might've set the program back 10-20 years, according to the Army's Program Executive Officer for Ground Forces, Kevin Fahey.

Phew. I'm having enough trouble with the lizard overlords to deal with the robot masters as well.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Let's hear it for the DJ!

Bob Lefsetz, music insider, has a blog, and he often makes points that seem obvious until you realize you'd never actually thought about it that clearly. He makes one this week, about radio. Growing up, I could never stand the DJs, obvious exceptions like John Peel apart.

Now, a DJ with a personality and knowledge and his or her own playlist is essential to distinguish the radio from your iPod. And yet radio owners are doing the exact opposite, programming streams of bland music designed to be seamless and unobjectionable. If that's what you want, you've already got it, on your own iPod. If you want to hear something new, or an opinion, or a juxtaposition of two interesting tracks... well, actually you can't have it. But if Bob Lefsetz had his way, you'd have it on your radio. He says:

Your only hope of surviving in the terrestrial world is to serve your location, a paradigm given up when Clear Channel started broadcasting the same tripe in every market. It’s the era of personalities. The music is secondary to the CLUB! Make me feel like I belong, in the era of social networking isn’t it hilarious that terrestrial radio has abdicated its power! We’re not in a heyday of music innovation. The music shouldn’t come first, the deejay should. He should guide and inform. With useful information. He should show his rough edges and his smooth ones.

It's an interesting idea, and one I heard recently somewhere else. In a conversation about Jamaican music, I was told that musicians made special mixes with the sound systems, with the DJ's name and slogan and specially chosen music. The reason for this is simple - the music is not the message. The party, the gathering, the friendship, is the point of the sound system.

Welcome to 21C, music. You just joined writers as content providers for someone else's party.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

LA Times (again): Why Googling is more than just creepy.

What is it with the LA Times and the internet? Just a month ago I wrote a post about their strange fear that the internet might lead to people who dislike each other saying bad things about each other. (Behavior which ought to be BANNED, of course.)

Yesterday, the Op-Ed columnist Meghan Daum wrote an article Are you a stalker too? : How Facebook, MySpace and Google have changed and spread its practice. (That's the subtitle. I didn't write that second bit myself.)

So, looking at people's Facebook profiles is equated with stalking? Is she mad or something? No, it isn't the same. People put their Facebook profiles on-line so you can look them up, Meghan. It's no more stalking than reading an ad about a new car is the equivalent of industrial espionage. One is a creepy crime, the other is an everyday act of normal people. Get a grip, LA Times!

I am, of course, talking about the kind of stalking that involves not restraining orders but Internet search engines. It is often referred to as cyber-stalking, Web-stalking or Google-stalking. It usually means just typing someone's name in a search box and uncovering such juicy bits as his finish time in a 10K charity run or an article about strategic brand management that he wrote for a company newsletter in 2005.

Well, if that's all it means then … then I should panic?

This is how we've come to live in a world where average citizens have random and often inappropriate information about [other people].

Yes, it's shameful how far we've sunk, knowing other people's 10K times. I weep for my country. By the way, if I read my co-worker's 10K time in the local newspaper (which happens to the be the LA Times) is that stalking as well, or is that all right? I gotta ask.

Having her cake and eating it too, she then mumbles a bit about "cyber stalking" not actually being violent enough to deserve the name. Then in a rousing finish, she takes that back and hits us with the big one. Reading Google hits is at least as bad as throwing rocks:

After all, Googling John Cusack turns up close to 3 million search results. We know that reading every one of them is less potentially dangerous than loitering outside someone's gate, but who's more obsessed -- the person who spends countless hours wading through Web entries or the person who tosses a bag of letters, rocks and screwdrivers over the fence and calls it a day?

Um, nobody reads three million of them, of only for the reason that there aren't three million unique ones. Clearly she's never even thought about how this all works. I'm sure she has a researcher who looks up all the facts she needs to know for her purposes. (Though I think she gave him the day off yesterday.) But even if I did read every web comment about a celebrity – and I think I have, with at least one group and at least one actor – I would call that "fandom". Whereas, if I went to the group's, or actor's, house and threw a bag of implements over the wall, I'd call that very, very strange, probably criminal, behavior.

Is she really suggesting differently? What is it with the LA Times and the internet?

Edit to add: See also part II.


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