The Longest Now

Welcome, Frodo Baggins
Wednesday June 11th 2003, 7:55 pm
Filed under: chain-gang

Welcome, Frodo Baggins …

Saturday June 07th 2003, 3:52 pm
Filed under: poetic justice

Just a taste:

  electric sheep’s Patrick Farleyperfectionist comic artist
  Honda’s Rube Goldberg machine, [Flash; worth finding a fast downlink] 
  the smooth sooth of TVM’s FlyGuy
  photosynthetic artistry

Beauty …

Today’s subject is nudity
Saturday June 07th 2003, 4:46 am
Filed under: chain-gang

I apologize to all you kids following along at home; you might not want to use these links to show your mom how cool Legal Blogic is.

   …what to do when you can’t find underoos in your size
   …a glorious family photo of the No Evil triplets [c/o the winery]
   …and inverting your cups at terminal velocity [c/o Brisbane Steve]

Today’s subject is nudity …

Friday June 06th 2003, 1:14 am
Filed under: popular demand

The Berkeley MOTD… It gives me real pleasure every time I visit this page to see such reasonable, contained, human conversations being randomly generated by the world.  Just the way I would imagine technology to enhance small talk, not at all like usenet or modern mailing lists.  I’d love to know the two or three little tricks they use to get it to work, but then that would dampen some of the thrill it gives me now.


The Age of Magical Machines
Thursday June 05th 2003, 5:24 pm
Filed under: chain-gang

Referring, of course, to the eighteenth century

On the illusion of steady progress:

The remarkable automata of the 1700’s would still be considered some of the more wondrous of the world’s robots, were they in working order today.  Vaucanson’s duck, for instance, which moved with the nuances of a live duck and consumed food, and by various accounts swam and digested/excreted its meals (though perhaps it only excreted predigested food, while hiding away the food it ate).  
     Elaborate lifesize musical creations which looked like people and played popular tunes on real instruments – string and wind instruments, mind you – were quite popular as well.  Nowadays one is lucky to find an AIBO with an even vaguely realistic voice.

Language: Jargon Envy
Wednesday June 04th 2003, 1:38 am
Filed under: poetic justice

[From SCIFRAUD, a mailing list about fraud in science, from a listmember with long experience with fiesty exchanges.]

Dear Colleagues,

I post this information in the hope of preventing any of you from falling victim to the now-famous Nigerian Scam…

Those who wish to learn how to avoid falling victim to such scammers might find instructive the website in which the intended victim actually got money ($3.00) from the scammer… Following is the final e-mail by the intended victim:

      Date: Thu, 17 Jan 2002 17:01:58 -0800 (PST)
      From: “Kindly Contributor”
      To: “ESCOBER TONY”

      Dear Mr. Anthony Obodo:

      1. I write to you with great sadness and a heavy heart. It is
      difficult for me to explain this to you, but the time has
      come. Hold on to your seat.

      2. Anthony, there really is no Lay-Z-Boy recliner. There’s no
      ski trip booked to Zermatt. There’s no waffle iron or big
      screen TV. I haven’t bought you a house, nor do you have
     business class bookings on British Air. There is no pending
      Western Union transfers, no visas, no cousin Harry. I am not
      Kindly Contributor. But then, you’re not Escober Tony Sankoh.
      There’s no $15 million, and I’m not getting my cut of $1.5
      million. You are not in a refugee camp, and it is highly
      unlikely that your criminal enterprise includes a pastor,
      your momma, or a shot-dead sister.

      3. There are only two established facts: (i) you actually
      sent me $3.00 (HA!); and (ii) you are without doubt the
      dumbest criminal on the planet. Consider your chain jerked.

      4. This second point is worth dwelling on given its
      incomprehensible magnitude. I cannot believe how incredibly
      stupid you are. I mean rock-hard stupid. Dehydrated-rock-hard
      stupid. World-class, A-1, top of the heap, triple whopper
      with cheese, supersized stupid. So stupid that it goes way
      beyond the stupid we know into a whole different dimension of
      stupid. One-of-a-kind, global, universal, intergalactic
      stupid. You are trans-stupid stupid. Meta-stupid. Stupid
      collapsed on itself so far that even the neutrons have
      collapsed. Stupid so dense that no intellect can escape.
      Singularly, extraordinarily, incredibly, bewilderingly
      stupid. Blazing hot mid-day sun on Mercury stupid. You emit
      more stupid in one second than our entire galaxy emits in a
      year. Quasar stupid. Your life is a monument to stupidity. I
      am breathless that anyone or anything in our universe can
      really be this stupid. You are a primordial fragment from the
      original big bang of stupid. Some pure essence of a stupid so
      uncontaminated by anything else as to be beyond the laws of
      stupidity that we know. A behemoth, a leviathan, a colossus
      of stupidity.

      5. Given the sheer immensity of your idiocy, I cannot in good
      conscience send you back the $3.00 as requested. Instead, my
      friends and I are going out tonight to jubilate and drink
      some frosty cold beers with your money. We will celebrate the
      fact that you will go down in history as the dumbest “419”
      scammer in the history of scams.

      6. As an aside, you may be interested to know that we are
      also sending all your emails and information to the Ghana
      Police Service, the Accra police, Ministry of National
      Security, Drug Enforcement Agency, all the “Nigerian 419”
      scam web sites, the US Secret Service, the Accra newspapers
      and Interpol, along with your Mobitel cell number
      00233-2760-7048. It is our fervent hope that they will hunt
      you down like the scabby parasite-laced dog that you are, and
      shut down your criminal enterprise.

      Later, you knucklehead.

      On yeah, one more thing: I ain’t your Daddy!

I wish I could write like that.

[name redacted]

Smoking is Sexy
Tuesday June 03rd 2003, 10:43 am
Filed under: chain-gang

Smoking is sexy.  Many of my generation seem not only to disagree, but to mistake this basic truth for the fallout of advertising or the self-deception of smokers.  But I don’t smoke, nor grew up around smokers.  And I’m not the only one of this description who enjoys discovering a good smoke-filled bar for its ambience.

My dear friend James recently wrote about the current state of tobacco advertising in the US, and the games advertisers play to color within the implicit lines of the culturally and legally acceptable.  James points out that one could hardly find legal fault with a private non-profit group that put out ads promoting the pleasure and sexiness of smoking, without promoting a particular brand. [I’d prively find these far less annoying than, say, the Bacardi @ night ads]

I think someone should set up such a non-profit asap.  It would have immediate support from all corners — oppressed urban smokers, struggling tobacco farmers, tobacco PR execs tired of playing all these games.  Smoking is sexy, and we could all use a little more sex appeal with our standard drunkenness and bloodlust.  I don’t want to see the day when I have to fly to France in order to relax in the privacy of a smoke-filled room.

Smoking is Sexy …

Colocated service
Monday June 02nd 2003, 6:10 pm
Filed under: chain-gang

We’re in the middle of getting a phat server setup for prime hosting (and failsafe backup) of our favorite projects.  I am very pleased.  If you’re interested in having some of your own files or projects maintained and available online, or want to find out more, let me know.

Colocated service …

Harvard Crew Rocks
Sunday June 01st 2003, 6:23 am
Filed under: metrics

Harvard crew remains undefeated, takes the national title!”  They’re so excited they haven’t even announced it on their website. Thanks to DM for the heads-up. 

Harvard Crew Rocks …

Feedme, Seymour!
Sunday June 01st 2003, 5:41 am
Filed under: chain-gang

I’m excited to see that someone clicked through to my recent spiral narratives story, not from the email I sent to a few friends about it, but from the copy of the email I sent to the feedme archive.  Fantastic! 

If you want some of your mail to show up in that archive, send a copy to Your From: email address will show up (so forge it if you can, to throw off spammers) but other addresses you send the email To: won’t appear in the archive.

Feedme, Seymour! …

Civilizations trapped in time
Sunday June 01st 2003, 4:10 am
Filed under: chain-gang

Recently discovered in Nicaragua: a pre-Mayan civilization which practiced pottery and carved large stone columns, dating back to 3,000 years ago, covered a large geographic area and spanned a millenium

Recently discovered in Guatemala: a remarkable set of mines, suggesting a previously unknown source the size of Rhode Island[?] for blue jade — the variety that was highly prized in ancient mesoamerican civilizations, not the variety currently prized in Asia — was discovered in the past decade.

Unexplained curiosities apparently out of place in time or geography:
BC-era pyramids on the Canary Islands off of the W. African coast, and in NE Italy [cf. Heyerdahl et al];  Ziggurats in Mexico with unusual internal spiral staircases;  Enormous art spanning many miles and visible only/mainly from above (mound art, white chalk art [Britain], more), and more…

It seems easier than I had hoped for great civilizations to become unstuck in time.

Civilizations trapped in time …

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