Category: Random

A thought

Comedy is tragedy plus time.

Horror is time minus comedy.

One more thing lost

I’m watching The Pelican Brief (and I’m only 20 minutes in).  Two things stand out.  First of all, Cynthia Nixon played one of Julia Roberts’ law student friends, which is kind of hot.  I guess she got her Sex and The City J.D. by having a part in this film.

Second, I loved — as I always do — the library scene where Julia Roberts rifles through countless dusty old law books, trying to figure out who might have killed the Supreme Court justices.  You can feel the drama.  Then I thought about it: in the digital age, there is no dramatic dusty old book scene.  There’s just Julia Roberts, staring slackjawed at shitty old Westlaw.  Hollywood is never going to put together any frantic iPad research sequence.  (“Turn it to portrait orientation!  Hurry!”)  I hate the iPad and all it is doing to the death of print.

Aviation security

I rarely do this, but I’m simply going to link to a New York Times weblog posting from a commercial pilot.  While he doesn’t do a whole lot in the way of positive suggestions for security, he does kick the legs out from under several of the ridiculous security measures currently in place in the US.  I was surprised to learn that while pilots and flight attendants must go through the metal detectors, ramp workers and others who have direct access to the planes undergo only sporadic security checks.  It’s long, but it’s a good screed and a good read.

Count the rings

Citibank loves to send junk e-mails.  Today I got one telling me, “There’s a safer way to handle your account,” and it included the picture below.  Nothing else referred to safety or information security, so I assume the “safe handling” is some kind of cute joke.

Tree dying in hand

Citibank says this “tree,” which almost certainly is now dead, will do wondrous things for all of us.  If only I agree to switch to paperless statements, Citibank will go right ahead and plant a “tree” like the one in this person’s hand.

Well, that’s not so novel, I thought, but look what the tree does.  “To put things in perspective, over a 50-year lifetime, one tree will generate $31,250 worth of oxygen, recycle $37,500 worth of water, and control $31,250 worth of soil erosion.”  It adds up to exactly $100,000.

Are they serious???  First of all, if they are, I would be getting out of the banking business and right into the tree-owning business.  Also, how much does oxygen cost these days?  I should call down to the local Praxair, I bet you can get a whole ton of it for thirty-one thousand.  Maybe they don’t know about this tree-sprig racket yet.  Should I be trusting this bank with my credit rating?

P.S. Nobody told me how much CO2 Citibank’s paperless data centers put out.

“Your rent is 78 months overdue”

I’ve decided that when food rots in the fridge, it’s very psychically damaging. When food goes bad, for me it’s more like a betrayal. I look in there, I see a never-touched bag of salad greens or box of strawberries that one time held such promise — I feel such disappointment, like my children, they desert me. It hurts. It also doesn’t help that we continue to buy these items, thusly compounding my sorrow and anguish. There are two walleye filets in there. The walleye lie there, stillborn, markers of what never would be.

Fortunately we are seeing “eye” to “eye” on other issues — take the Pet Shop Boys, for example. So I happen to think Fundamental (and remix album Fundamentalism!) are some of the best CDs ever released in the last hundred years. I purchased about $100 of import singles through the mail — some new stuff, some old stuff. Arnie liked Flamboyant so much he had to hear it twice! Fundamental is quite the album. The first single was I’m With Stupid, about the love relationship between G. W. Bush and Tony Blair; “No one understands me / where I’m coming from / why would I be with someone who’s obviously so dumb?” The other great lines are “fly across the ocean / just to let you get your way” and “Do we really have a relationship so special in your heart?” Everything on the album is good. Buy it.

In other news, I guess I realize what a computer dork I still am, and I like it. Just today I ran into somebody in the hallway who wanted to know if I still liked IT as much as law, and I wound up teaching her AJAX in a nutshell, and actually got all excited! I also ran across an old 3.2 GB drive and thought I’d put it into my ancient Pentium II Linux beater box, Passaic. (All my hardware is named after Jersey places.) Well it turned out to be the hard drive I used in college, and I found all this awesome Win98 stuff on it. “You last defragmented this drive 2,528 day(s) ago.” It has the NeoPlanet browser installed and I’ve got the horrible “Active Desktop” running now. I’m using the old “baseball” theme with the swinging bat instead of the hourglass. After I upgraded it to IE 6 I was able to run Windows Update. I need to run 25 critical updates and there are 40 more patches!

This is nothing. Last week I also decided to drag the old beloved TRS-80 Model III out of the basement and I found some of the old programs — Android Nim, computer bridge, and even CompuServe, that you had to use with the 300 baud external modem (in ANS or ORIG mode, please). Even ORCH-90 is there. It is so awesome.


Those jerks at HBO have turned down my latest idea for a TV show, which would compete with a certain Sunday night megahit.  My show would be called Disparate Housewives.  Each woman character would be totally unique.

Take the hummus challenge

As you may know, I recently had a few people around for a party and decided it would be a good idea to settle the question: who makes the best hummus in Columbus?  Over twenty people voted and I tabulated the results.  There’s something for everyone.  Go to my Columbus hummus challenge page and see the results.

On storms

You might know that hurricane names are based on lists of names drawn up by committee years in advance.  I think I read somewhere that Atlantic names are one-third English, one-third French, and one-third Spanish to represent the countries in the region.  But I’ve decided it might be more satisfying to have our hurricanes named after strippers, whores, and drag queens rather than some bland lists of names in boy-girl order.

  • “Hurricane Cinnamon is breathlessly lurching toward Jacksonville!”
  • “Tropical Storm Trixie has grazed the island of Hispaniola.”
  • “The residents of Newport News have braced themselves for the arrival of Hurricane Virginia West.”  (special thanks to imposing local drag empress Virginia West)
  • “Tropical Storm All-Beef Patty has become unstable and has blown out to sea.”
  • “Tropical Depression Miss Thing has been brooding off the coast of the Bahamas for four days now.”

Victory over technology!

Yes! It is true! Eleven months after The Failure, I have successfully gotten all six of my beautiful halogen lights back up and running! It’s the Summer of Bill, I tell you! The Summer of Bill!!!

And all it took was a $56 part, a ladder, twenty minutes of straining, and ten months of self-loathing! As soon as the new couch comes, I’m havin’ a party, baby!

Give till it hurts

The millionaire families of Laguna Beach need help!  They can’t afford to pay their expenses from the awful landslide.  Here is a list of profiles of the families who need your money.  The city wants to give each family $3,000 a month for 30 months and $60,000 for geological studies.

Click here to donate thousands.

I like how the obviously gay couples — “Jo and Jm,” and HC and DK, the flight attendant whose Steinway piano was lost — are referred to in carefully gender-neutral ways or their sex is just left out, whereas everybody else is Mr. and Mrs. W.

It’s also amusing that they actually admit one house was “red-tagged” in a previous 1978 landslide.  Now the same set of spoiled Californians is back for more money.  I was just in Laguna Beach a month ago, telling people it was all a dream and it wouldn’t last.  I was proven right sooner than I thought I would be.  These people have no sense of perspective.  One of them actually told me, “It’s hard to believe that places like Houston and Ohio really exist.  It’s like the whole rest of the country is a big bubble.”  No, you’re in the bubble.

By the way, the city mayor doesn’t want you to think they are millionaires, but before the landslide, they used to be — especially the one family that bought its house for $280,000 eighteen years ago.

Odds and ends

I recently found an Illinois case where an impaired hand was worth $800,000 and a Louisiana case where an amputated foot was worth only $80,000.  I believe that Louisiana in general is much stingier than Illinois.  Maybe people over there are used to heartache.

I am still learning to romance my crock pot.  Tonight I had a recipe actually tell me, “Place whole chicken on top of vegetables.”  This is very disconcerting.  I had no idea how big a whole chicken would be.  I have a lot to learn.

Lenin watches over me

When I go to the law library, I like to sit under the shelf that holds the 1987 Yearbook on Socialist Legal Systems.  Somehow it is comforting.

Wasting postage

My mom has this skill where she picks up an envelope and can just tell whether it’s one ounce or two.  I am so jealous.

Let them eat fudge

Fudgelike or cakelike? This is too hard. I just want brownies, not some kind of ethical dilemma.