22 November 2004


I saw Kinsey last night and came away feeling disturbed. This is not to say that it's a poor film, just that I had trouble sleeping afterwards—and perhaps that makes it an excellent film. I read a few comments by the director, Bill Condon, on the film's (disgracefully over-flash'd) website, and I found the following to sum up my feelings succinctly:

I've found that the film acts as a sort of litmus test for one's own ideas about sexuality. Kinsey was a very complex man, in some ways damaged beyond repair. I thought it was important to present it all, and let people form their own opinions.

The film indeed does an excellent job of simply presenting the facts and avoiding becoming the "judges of the behaviors we describe" as Kinsey himself puts it. This is part of what left me feeling unsettled: there was no tidying of the decidedly countercultural swinging ways of Kinsey and his crew. This is, of course, a good thing about the film—it elevates it above Hollywood fuzz and gives it the power to affect the viewer.

I was a little disappointed that they didn't delve more deeply into how Kinsey and his wife resolve some of the problems that arise from the increasing nexus of his work and his family life. By the end of the movie they seem to have reconciled everything but I have to suspect (hope?) that all of this promiscuity had a profound effect on their relationship. The historical record indicates that Kinsey's first volume (on the Human Male) was widely met with accolades, while the second (on the Human Female) was spurned. Is this because he pushed the envelope too far in separating sex from love? The film lets its viewers decide, and I think that's for the best.

18 November 2004


There's some discussion happening about everyone's favourite lecture tool happening over in ShazAm's neck of the woods. My thoughts were a bit too verbose to cram into her comment box (keep your puns to yourselves) so I'm posting them here.

Wally did a good job summarizing my thoughts on people's general complaints about PPT. The things that suck about bad PPT presentations are symptoms of bad presenters, not a bad medium. The ultimate fact is that a boring lecture is going to be boring regardless of whether it is delivered with boring PPT slides, boring chalkboard drawings or boring overhead transparencies. Tons of people give tons of bad PPT shows, but that's because they're poor users of the software. Anyone who creates a talk by firing up the "AutoContent Wizard" isn't likely to be saved by switching to a chalkboard (former SecState included).

Even more interesting were the comments about linearity and Scott's desire for a "director mode". As for the former, PPT currently provides the ability to put "hidden" slides in the talk which are not displayed in the default click-through of the show. Unfortunately the interface for showing a hidden slide is abysmally kludgy: you have to right-click during the show to get a drop-down menu, choose one option, then another to get a popup window listing all the slides. The reason there's no director's mode is that most talks are given from computers which simply split their video signal to the monitor and the projector—something the software can't affect. It is a pretty cool idea, though.

This post pretty much sucks. You should read Wally's comments to get a better, funnier version of the same.

12 November 2004

How It Works...The Computer

Some dude scanned both the 1971 and 1979 versions of a book called, How It Works...The Computer . In addition to being thoroughly amusing, it features this total babe wielding a spool of magnetic tape.

High Speed Chase

Lamborghini evidently donated a modified version of their Gallardo sports car to the Italian highway police. The best part of the article? This caption, which sounds like it's from the Onion:

Chief Inspector Laura Ciano and Superintendent Vincenzo Bizzarro have been trained to drive the car.

The World Today

The always enlightening Thomas Friedman has some interesting commentary on Fallujah in his latest op-ed for the Times.

You know, I have to say that this week has had more good news about world politics than any I can remember in the last four years. It looks like the Army & Marine Corps will be able to secure Fallujah without heavy casualties, it looks like a non-fascist will be running the Justice Department and it looks like a non-relic will be running the PLO.

All of these observations have caveats (e.g. the explosion of violence in the rest of Iraq) but at least there's something to be optimistic about.

11 November 2004



Most folks don't take you that seriously, but you really make
a big deal out of being independent.  You don't do a whole lot for other
people, but you make the best of the resources available to you.  You really
like snow.  And mountains.  And being independent.  And you're
probably pretty small.

the Country Quiz at the href="http://bluepyramid.org">Blue Pyramid

10 November 2004


Check out this scathing article about everyone's favorite linguist/self-promoting boob.

Courtesy of elerrina.

09 November 2004

Yay for personal freedom!

John Ashcroft is gone! Evidently he has a "gallstone ailment". When my grandfather developed an ulcer which kept him from being drafted to serve in WWII, my grandmother called it the "miraculous ulcer". Perhaps this is a sign from God also?

Fans of the Constitution rejoice!

Who's in Pyjamas Walter?

Scottoway is evidently really psyched about the new Charlie Card, which will replace tokens on the MBTA. Since we all know how much he loves it when I disagree with him, I wanted to post my thoughts on this development:

The MBTA unveiled their final plans for the Washington
DC-style fare card that will replace the token system. Apparently this
will "dramatically improve ease and convenience" for MBTA users, making
the subway "more convenient" and "easy-to-use" (sense any repetition?)
with "a strong emphasis on the customer." Obviously the best way to
achieve this dramatic new goal is to eliminate any form of human
contact, increase the complexity of the rate structure, and equip every
user with an electronic tracking device.

The last time I visited NYC I had to take the
subway a number of times: to get from the Port Authority bus terminal
to Lopez's crib, to Crooklyn and back, and back to the bus. At first I
was irked at having to buy a card and then I was confused about how
much my fare was going to be. Like much of my hatred for New York, this
was irrational since the Metrocard
machine proved easy enough to use and the turnstile simply debited the
appropriate fare, without me having to worry too much about it. As far
as human contact goes, I don't think I'll miss my encounters with token
sellers all that much, since they're invariably on the booth phone
bitching about their kids. Plus, the article clearly states that
passengers who frown at the wave-of-the-future automation of the
Charlie Card (evidently sourpusses like Scottoway) can still use the
Charlie Ticket, which they can presumably buy from a real person at the
station (all the NYC stations came complete with surly Metro

Anyone who has experienced the "ease" and
"convenience" of the present automated token dispensing machines --
which to date have rejected roughly half of my bills, stolen $3.75
without dispensing anything, caused me to miss two trains, and once
left me stranded outdoors in Newton during a snowstorm because I had
only $20 bills -- can simply wonder what the hell they've been smoking.

This line of reasoning doesn't make any sense to
me. The MBTA is planning to replace all those old, clunky token
dispensers with new machines which will take $20 bills. Sounds like a good
thing to me.

Part of the blame must surely fall on our moronic Mayor Menino

always happy to blame Mumbles, since he's such an insufferable goon. So
I'll make a token concession by not commenting on the unrelated rant
which followed this sentence in Scott's original opus.

I'm not throwing around the term "electronic
tracking device" loosely, either. These passes, they have announced,
will actually be RFID cards, encoded with unique IDs, that can be read
by antennae up to 3 feet away. Not even Washington can track its
population by radio! Isn't it great to be on the forefront of

Ahh, the pièce de resistance—a dash of Richard Stallman level
paranoia. The cards are dispensed anonymously, therefore there's no way
to connect any information to a particular person. I can't believe that
Scott of all people would conflate the new technology (RFID vs.
mag-swipe) with unrelated and already existing functionality (tracking
anonymous usage). Using RFID doesn't give them any more power to track
users than does mag-swipe (unless they care that I've walked within 3
feet of a turnstile without passing through it), it just makes it
(shock!) more convenient for passengers. I'm sure my mag-swipe monthly
T pass has a unique ID on it, and I frankly couldn't possibly care less
whether the MBTA is tracking which stations I enter. In fact, I'm glad
they do, because I'm certain they use such information for such
Orwellian functions as scheduling trains!!!

08 November 2004

The Kindness of Strangers

In perusing my site access logs I noticed that my entry on DJ OBL had received some attention from perfect strangers. I think one of the commenters came via some other MIT bløg, but the others all seem to have ended up here as a result of my fabulous new domain name. Evidently lots of people thought this page was actually created by Simmons or someone he knows, as opposed to the revolutionary underground that it actually is. So instead of making a clever joke I've just confused the hell out of everybody coming from the Sportsguy's page.

So I've got that going for me. Which is nice.

Georges de Paris

GeorgesdeparisThis is Georges de Paris, tailor to every President since LBJ. He's evidently miffed at the assertions some people made that the infamous rumple in W's jacket during the first debate was due to a "poorly tailored suit". Is it just the angle of this photograph or is he really a four foot tall frenchman with a huge poofy hairdo?

05 November 2004

Welcome to www.sueclintonportis.com!

Dear Sportsguy,

What do I have to say for myself?

  1. You should've registered the domain.

  2. Please stop writing about the NBA.


P.S. If you have no idea what's going on, check this out.

[note: this thread has been moved over to the sueclintonportis page. If you want to comment, do it there. —ed]

04 November 2004

Mr. Pot, please meet Mr. Kettle

Yeah, I'm annoyed that W won reelection. I think he's beholden to dangerous special interest groups and that he was swept to victory by people who believe he's a "good man" as opposed to, say, a "competent public officer". But I am getting really sick of reading liberal media intimating that the only viable choice is to flee the country or for New England to turn secesh. And don't even get me started about this pile of feces.

Most egregious is the sentiment that Republicans (approximately half of America, bolstered by states in the Midwest and South but represented forcefully even here in Massachusetts) are all gay-hating morons. The refrain I keep hearing is, "How can Americans be so stupid?!" Just as I reserve equal distaste for the hacks of the left and the right I can't help but observe that these "enlightened" liberals consistently deign to lump over half of America into the single category of stupid, uneducated, hayseed, evangelical Christian, homophobic bumpkins. Doesn't this generalization display the exact same lack of tolerance and understanding towards which they express such profound disdain?

People: we need to suck it up and work with each other. Maybe W will finally be the "uniter" that he claimed to be four years ago and maybe he'll run amok behind the shield of his new "mandate". But if he neglects the rudder of the ship of state for a second term shall we stand by, wailing about the folly of the people who put him there? Or worse yet, should we all leap off the boat in utter hopelessness? Let us rather make our own effort to adjust the trim of her sails.


DJ OBL had the following to say in his latest #1 Jam:

The events that affected my soul in a direct way started in 1982 when America permitted the Israelis to invade Lebanon and the American Sixth Fleet helped them in that. This bombardment began and many were killed and injured and others were terrorised and displaced.

I couldn't forget those moving scenes, blood and severed limbs, women and children sprawled everywhere. Houses destroyed along with their occupants and high rises demolished over their residents, rockets raining down on our home without mercy.

The situation was like a crocodile meeting a helpless child, powerless except for his screams. Does the crocodile understand a conversation that doesn't include a weapon? And the whole world saw and heard but it didn't respond.

To which I have the following to say: GO TO A FUCKING LIBRARY. Lebanon was an absolute zoo in the early 80's. Between the Christian minority's violent attempts to maintain control and the wild slaughter happening amongst the various Muslim insurgencies the country was a death zone. Even when the United States attempted to restore some normalcy it conspicuously bit us in the ass. I don't see Osama complaining about the fact that the Syrians plowed into Lebanon and further stirred up the various factions. Plus Hizbollah was using southern Lebanon as the ultimate staging ground for their nonstop guerrilla war against Israel. OBL's helpless child was launching daily rocket attacks against the "crocodile".

Reading crap like this almost makes me glad we invaded Iraq.

OS X rox

Ambrosia Software makes a neat little little utility for OS X called Wiretap, which allows you to record whatever sound is currently being produced by your sound card to a variety of audio formats. It was exactly what I needed for the task at hand (recording some snippets from an internet radio broadcast).

Another awesome OS X utility (quickly becoming indispensible for me) is Quicksilver, first recommended to me by Max. You leave it running in the background and then summon the interface with CTRL-<space> and start typing the name of the application you want to launch and hit enter (it usually only takes a couple strokes for it to figure out what you want). It automagically catalogs everything in the normal places where Applications live and has lots of other neat features which I have barely begun to explore


In the last few days I've had approximately 8 million people stumble across my bløg by searching for don't blame me I voted for Kodos. There's also the guy looking for a picture of woman flashing Foulke. Who knew?

Also, I spent 3 hours last night fooling around with iMovie, which resulted in my new Red Sox montage. Unfortunately it's too much data (ones and zeroes, Marty!) to post on the 'wang, so I'll have to arrange for private viewings.

Rock, rock on.

02 November 2004

Jenn Shulman?

Whoa, I was reading Cardplayer today when I saw the new author photo of Jeff Shulman. At first glance I thought they had mistakenly put a picture of a woman next to his by-line. Is he a recently outed transvestite? You be the judge from these before and after pics:

As Scott might note, "Yeesh, easy on the flash!"