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January 30, 2006

From the Nebraska High School Sports Hall of Fame



Their caption:

The 1976-77 newspaper photograph by Rudy Smith of the Omaha World-Herald, shot at the conclusion of the thrilling boys basketball tournament championship game between Holdrege and Aurora, captured the essence of high school sports—the joy of the winners, the anguish of defeat and the compassion of a dedicated coach.
Posted by tplambeck at 06:05 PM

If the cartoon's not funny, it didn't cost you any money

francis heaney

[six things archive]

Posted by tplambeck at 08:39 AM

January 29, 2006

Stanford Washington basketball game

Stanford Washington basketball game
Originally uploaded by thane.
Chris Hernandez has just succeeded making three consecutive free throws with .2 seconds left to send the game into overtime. (Stanford won 76-67).

[Immediately prior to that, Stanford trailed 60-61 and had just lost the ball with 2.1 seconds remaining]:

COLE: Let's go—it's hopeless.

THANE: No, we're not going, we have a chance.

COLE: A one in a thousand chance, maybe.

THANE: Maybe more like 1 in 30. Or one in 15. I agree, we're likely to lose.

[Stanford fouls before Washington can throw the ball inbounds. Washington makes two free throws. Stanford has the ball trailing by three. They throw the ball in, bobble it a bit, and it ends up in Hernandez's hands, who is fouled trying to shoot a three pointer with .5 seconds left]
Posted by tplambeck at 09:33 PM

Space Needle

Originally uploaded by thane.

Posted by tplambeck at 04:06 PM

Why is Menzies pronounced Mingis?

blame the yogh


helpful explanation:

The yogh takes a softer "y" sound in the word capercaillie, the name of a large grouse, which the Oxford English Dictionary spells "capercailye" or "capercailzie".


Posted by tplambeck at 09:07 AM

January 28, 2006


sundance film festival short (7 minutes)

Posted by tplambeck at 10:57 PM

January 27, 2006

Everything that Rises

I couldn't be more pleased with my McSweeney's book subscription. The latest book is by Lawrence Weschler and is titled Everything that Rises: A Book of Convergences. It came in the mail today along with another big folder with two copies of Don't Forget to Write that Gloria had ordered from the Eggers Pirate store.

It's nice to not have to think of books to read, and just have them sent to me.

From the introduction to the Weschler book:

I don't remember exactly how I got started—come to think of it, it was probably reading John Berger one day in college, the essay on Che Guevara in The Look of Things where he's talking about Che's corpse, gruesomely splayed out like that for public display, his military captors proudly arrayed alongside; and Berger in effect says, "We all know what this photo's based on," and then proceeds to tell us: Rembrandt's Anatomy Lesson. And of course he's right, he's dead right: that's undoubtedly the image (hot-wired, as it were, into all of their brains) that taught all of the strutting officers how to pose in relation to their prize, and taught the photographer where to plant his camera in relation to his subjects. And I just remember thinking at the time, regarding Berger: Jesus (Jesus, of course, comprising another apt trope at that particular juncture)—Jesus, this guy doesn't read his morning newspaper the way I or anybody else I know reads the morning newspaper.

rem-anat che-soldiers

Then a luscious book full of similar images, some annotated, some not: an Apollo photo from the surface of the moon next to an eerily-similar Mark Rothko painting from 1969, for example.

I've had Berger's Ways of Seeing on my shelf for years (although it may have gotten boxed up in the last round of boxing up and delegating to the garage—at least I can't see it now, looking back on the shelf where I expect it to be), and have often wondered at that book, just in the way Weschler describes.

[finally—why is "Weschler" so hard to remember how to spell? I misspelled it three times in typing this thing in. I think it's because of the following German words that take up all the space that his name might otherwise occupy in my brain:

moneychanger -- der Geldwechsler
quick changer -- der Schnellwechsler
record changer -- der Plattenwechsler ]

Posted by tplambeck at 10:09 PM

January 25, 2006

Jacob selling his books at the Stanford Open

amazon search (3 books!)


THANE: So, only $10 for each one? Isn't that cheaper than they are at Amazon?

JACOB: Yes—they tack on $4.

Posted by tplambeck at 10:00 PM

I earned $0.06 in the Amazon referral program

1/4/2006 2005 Quarter 4 Referral Fees $0.06 $0.06

Amazing. I was just messing around with this stuff, and created this stupid page, which apparently has now earned me $0.06. Someone bought a Lee Morgan album, perhaps?

Thank you!

[ But...how do I collect my six cents? ]

Posted by tplambeck at 12:48 AM

January 24, 2006

Forgot to lock car + low battery = cell phone stolen

I had a scheduled morning meeting with Buno (mostly set up because I called him by mistake while fumbling through cellphone menus, and we decided to have breakfast in downtown Palo Alto at the new Italian place, Caffe del Doge), but while driving there I had a sudden realization—someone stole my cell phone. Something about the disposition of the disconnected recharging cable tipped me off I guess—hmmm—that's a cellphone cable with no phone attached! And it's my cable.

So I used Buno's phone to call my phone, and it immediately went to voicemail. Since I've started actually using my cellphone in the last few months (but am still a bit unclear how to turn it off and on, leaving it on all the time as a result, but am otherwise a master of its many menus and features), I knew that it was stolen, or at least in the control of some evil person who possessed the secret of how to turn it off.

Knowledge of my billing address and cellphone number was enough to get my "service provider" to flag the phone as stolen and turn off service to it.

My takeaway—turning off anyone's cellphone is possible in less than a minute if you know their service provider, billing address, and cellphone #.

SERVICE PROVIDER REP: OK, I've just turned off service to that phone.

THANE: Can you tell me whether they've made any calls? Are there 8 calls to Zimbabwe or obscure republics of the former Soviet Union?


THANE: Thank you.

SERVICE PROVIDER: Thank you for calling Service Provider.

I wish the thief the best of luck with his or her new phone! Perhaps they'll post a photo or two to my flickr account.

Posted by tplambeck at 10:21 PM

January 23, 2006

Canada goes conservative

I happened to be in Canada last year during a round of debates between (now) to-be prime minister Stephen Harper, Paul Martin, and a third candidate whose name I've forgotten but who very much reminded me of an earnest realtor, or perhaps high-school hockey coach. It was fun to watch on TV, since I had little knowledge of any of the candidates.

Anyway, for me, watching Harper ooze his family values and smilingly conservative commonsense bullshit brought back images of the old sliminess of Falwell, Reagan, and Bush I & Bush II. It's an instinctive reaction for me—ack, this person is so fake, so contrived that surely anyone can see it?

Not that other politicians aren't fake and contrived, but still.

Posted by tplambeck at 10:42 PM

Cole waits for the judges before his pommel horse routine, Stanford Open


Posted by tplambeck at 08:56 AM

January 22, 2006


bruceo's 3D anaglyphs jump right out of the laptop screen for me, even using a cheapo pair of McDonald's SpyKids 3D glasses that don't match the colors very well.

BruceO seems to be associating with people that sort of look like him—I wonder if I'm doing the same?

Posted by tplambeck at 10:17 PM

Another day of Stanford Open volunteering...

...two more Mystic Pixies performances.

Mystic pixies

Posted by tplambeck at 07:40 PM

Norbert studiously avoids looking into the kitchen, where Pearl is confined


Posted by tplambeck at 01:49 PM

Wordplay @ Sundance


Posted by tplambeck at 01:12 PM

You don't talk like a pirate

This CNN news story, "U.S. destroyer chases down suspected pirate ship," reminded me of an article about modern-day piracy in the New Yorker a few years ago (I think it was the New Yorker). Even if someone catches pirates after they've taken over some ship, authorities often have trouble sorting out the pirates from the victims. Everyone is suddenly a victim once a pirated boat has been stopped.

The dhow's crew and passengers were being questioned Sunday aboard the Churchill to determine which were pirates and which were legitimate crew members, Hull-Ryde said.

I guess pirates don't dress the way they used to. It wouldn't be too hard to identify people with skulll and crossbone tattoos or colorful birds on their shoulders. Maybe they should visit the store on Valencia street?

Posted by tplambeck at 09:36 AM

awstats attack

I just noticed text fragments such as 'su root', 'chmod', and 'exec' hiding inside cgi-bin requests in the plambeck.org 404 logs.

I think it's this automated attack on a web log analysis tool I used to use. [ I actually still use it, but I changed it around about 18 months ago, and as a result this attack fails—not that I made the changes to stop such attacks...just lucky I guess. ]

Posted by tplambeck at 09:10 AM

January 21, 2006

Performers of the day

The Mystic Pixies.

I saw them first at about noon, and then again tonight at 9pm. They're providing entertainment at the Stanford Open.

"What do they have, rubber injected into the spinal cord?" asked Cole.

January 20, 2006

Porridge, Pulleys, and Pi

Ed Keppelmann, in the MAA Mini Focus, Jan 2006, pg 3

After the film, director paul Csicsery fielded questions. Delighting the audience with his deep admiration of mathematicians and their fulfilling intellectual journeys, he observed that mathematicians are the only group he knows in which the answer "I don't know" is met with excitement and motivation rather than irritation.
Posted by tplambeck at 12:54 PM

I guess this is becoming "The Emerson blog"

Here's the main point of Emerson's Compensation essay:

* * *
A man cannot speak but he judges himself. With his will, or against his will, he draws his portrait to the eye of his companions by every word. Every opinion reacts on him who utters it. It is a thread-ball thrown at a mark, but the other end remains in the thrower's bag. Or, rather, it is a harpoon hurled at the whale, unwinding, as it flies, a coil of cord in the boat, and if the harpoon is not good, or not well thrown, it will go nigh to cut the steersman in twain, or to sink the boat.

You cannot do wrong without suffering wrong. "No man had ever a point of pride that was not injurious to him," said Burke. The exclusive in fashionable life does not see that he excludes himself from enjoyment, in the attempt to appropriate it. The exclusionist in religion does not see that he shuts the door of heaven on himself, in striving to shut out others. Treat men as pawns and ninepins, and you shall suffer as well as they. If you leave out their heart, you shall lose your own. The senses would make things of all persons; of women, of children, of the poor. The vulgar proverb, "I will get it from his purse or get it from his skin," is sound philosophy.

All infractions of love and equity in our social relations are speedily punished. They are punished by fear. Whilst I stand in simple relations to my fellow-man, I have no displeasure in meeting him. We meet as water meets water, or as two currents of air mix, with perfect diffusion and interpenetration of nature. But as soon as there is any departure from simplicity, and attempt at halfness, or good for me that is not good for him, my neighbour feels the wrong; he shrinks from me as far as I have shrunk from him; his eyes no longer seek mine; there is war between us; there is hate in him and fear in me.
* * *
This essay fails but what a magnificent failure. He was really swinging for the fences.

Posted by tplambeck at 12:46 AM

Yea, verily, a fine essay

I'm just rereading Compensation for the upteenth time. What a fantastic essay.

* * *

The farmer imagines power and place are fine things. But the President has paid dear for his White House. It has commonly cost him all his peace, and the best of his manly attributes. To preserve for a short time so conspicuous an appearance before the world, he is content to eat dust before the real masters who stand erect behind the throne. Or, do men desire the more substantial and permanent grandeur of genius? Neither has this an immunity. He who by force of will or of thought is great, and overlooks thousands, has the charges of that eminence. With every influx of light comes new danger. Has he light? he must bear witness to the light, and always outrun that sympathy which gives him such keen satisfaction, by his fidelity to new revelations of the incessant soul. He must hate father and mother, wife and child. Has he all that the world loves and admires and covets? -- he must cast behind him their admiration, and afflict them by faithfulness to his truth, and become a byword and a hissing...

Posted by tplambeck at 12:32 AM

Vortex Emerson, reprise

I just noticed that Compensation is not on the reading list.

I like that Emerson Essay quite a bit. Excerpt:

* * *

I was lately confirmed in these desires by hearing a sermon at church. The preacher, a man esteemed for his orthodoxy, unfolded in the ordinary manner the doctrine of the Last Judgment. He assumed, that judgment is not executed in this world; that the wicked are successful; that the good are miserable; and then urged from reason and from Scripture a compensation to be made to both parties in the next life. No offence appeared to be taken by the congregation at this doctrine. As far as I could observe, when the meeting broke up, they separated without remark on the sermon.

Yet what was the import of this teaching? What did the preacher mean by saying that the good are miserable in the present life? Was it that houses and lands, offices, wine, horses, dress, luxury, are had by unprincipled men, whilst the saints are poor and despised; and that a compensation is to be made to these last hereafter, by giving them the like gratifications another day, --bank-stock and doubloons, venison and champagne? This must be the compensation intended; for what else? Is it that they are to have leave to pray and praise? to love and serve men? Why, that they can do now. The legitimate inference the disciple would draw was, -- `We are to have _such_ a good time as the sinners have now'; -- or, to push it to its extreme import, -- `You sin now; we shall sin by and by; we would sin now, if we could; not being successful, we expect our revenge to-morrow.'

The fallacy lay in the immense concession, that the bad are successful; that justice is not done now. The blindness of the preacher consisted in deferring to the base estimate of the market of what constitutes a manly success, instead of confronting and convicting the world from the truth; announcing the presence of the soul; the omnipotence of the will: and so establishing the standard of good and ill, of success and falsehood...[read more at the link above...]

Posted by tplambeck at 12:26 AM

Charles Mingus on my iPod nano

Better Git it in Your Soul

Goodbye Pork Pie Hat

Boogie Stop Shuffle

Fable of Faubus

Pussy Cat Dues

Pedal Point Blues

Girl of My Dreams

[ I guess these are all from Mingus Ah Um. Note to self: must add more Mingus to the "Library." It's such a pain in the ass to put a CD into the laptop and copy the files into iTunes. ]

Posted by tplambeck at 12:07 AM

January 19, 2006

Wheelbarrow for sale, fair condition

Wheelbarrow for sale, fair condition
Rhodes Ave, Palo Alto, CA

Posted by tplambeck at 10:43 PM

S & S puzzle solution ("The Newtype Puzzle Ring")

Originally uploaded by thane.
This annoyingly simple puzzle (the idea is to pull apart the two pieces) really started pissing me off last night.

Thankfully, Cole solved it in the car while I was driving him to school.

"Don't put it back together!" I screamed.
"I want to take photos as I put it back together so that we can learn the secret!"

solution slideshow
Posted by tplambeck at 01:27 PM

January 18, 2006

"No smoking" in Dutch

This sign hanging outside an elementary school playground in Palo Alto says that "RAUCHEN VERBOTEN" is the correct way to say "NO SMOKING" in Dutch ("and German", it helpfully adds).

I don't know any Dutch, but I doubt that is correct. Maybe the only people in Holland a person needs to warn about not smoking are German?

Posted by tplambeck at 06:57 PM

via Marc

Why Macs suck

link (google video)

* * *
[ My experience with two Macs was fairly similar—particularly the crashing and the baffling desktop icon metaphors. Greg likes his Apple laptop, which I guess runs something more Unix-like underneath it? Mach? Between Linux, Windows, my f**king HP printer software and Nokia cellphone, it's not time to introduce a new Apple OS in this household. I think iTunes pretty much sucks, also, although the integration with the online store is nice. Everything else about how an iPod connects to iTunes and the way files are managed is either dumb or intensely irritating in the way it wont allow you to freely copy files around between machines and iPods. They need to be more up front about the DRM and just have a little talking robot pop up and say, "Look, what you're trying to do is move and copy files around in a way that might conceivably subtract revenue from the Hollywood personalities who enabled us sell these 99 cent songs in the first place. So, just give up, blow away all the files on your iPod, and start over." The iPod UI is a work of genius, however. ]

Posted by tplambeck at 10:01 AM

Bogus story probability = 80%

Loquacious parrot splits up love birds

Secret affair revealed by boyfriend's pet


Added later: This is the sentence that convinced me someone is making this up:

"It makes my stomach churn to think about what he might have seen or heard them doing," Taylor said of Ziggy, as reported in the Daily Telegraph and other newspapers.
Posted by tplambeck at 09:38 AM

First paragraph of Self-Reliance

I read the other day some verses written by an eminent painter which were original and not conventional. The soul always hears an admonition in such lines, let the subject be what it may. The sentiment they instil is of more value than any thought they may contain. To believe your own thought, to believe that what is true for you in your private heart is true for all men, —that is genius. Speak your latent conviction, and it shall be the universal sense; for the inmost in due time becomes the outmost,—and our first thought is rendered back to us by the trumpets of the Last Judgment. Familiar as the voice of the mind is to each, the highest merit we ascribe to Moses, Plato, and Milton is, that they set at naught books and traditions, and spoke not what men but what they thought. A man should learn to detect and watch that gleam of light which flashes across his mind from within, more than the lustre of the firmament of bards and sages. Yet he dismisses without notice his thought, because it is his. In every work of genius we recognize our own rejected thoughts: they come back to us with a certain alienated majesty. Great works of art have no more affecting lesson for us than this. They teach us to abide by our spontaneous impression with good-humored inflexibility then most when the whole cry of voices is on the other side. Else, to-morrow a stranger will say with masterly good sense precisely what we have thought and felt all the time, and we shall be forced to take with shame our own opinion from another.

Posted by tplambeck at 12:34 AM


Did I perhaps overstep the boundaries of propriety in the Stanford Continuing Education program by describing the first paragraph of Emerson's "Self-Reliance" as "the best fucking paragraph you're ever going to read in the English language" ?


Posted by tplambeck at 12:31 AM

January 15, 2006

Al-Zawahiri Skipped Dinner Invite

no wonder, it was a clumsy invitation:


aka Abu Muhammad, Abu Fatima, Muhammad Ibrahim, Abu Abdallah, Abu al-Mu'iz, The Doctor, The Teacher, Nur, Ustaz, Abu Mohammed, Abu Mohammed Nur al-Deen, Abdel Muaz, Dr. Ayman al Zawahiri

On Behalf of the Al Qaeda Honor Society

Mr. I. M. Abomber
The Most Honorable Gentlemen of Langley

Request the Pleasure of Your Company
Wednesday, January 14, 2006
For a Casual Evening of Dinner, Wine, and Cursing the Great Satan
The Usual Place, You Know
RSVP Not Necessary

Posted by tplambeck at 11:02 PM

How to create a strong password

1) Take any out-of-the-ordinary book off your shelf.

2) Flip it open somewhere, and pick the first unusual word you see.

[I just did this, and got the word "Burleigh"]

3) Flip it open again. Pick another word.

[I got "Attica"]

4) Either adjoin the two words, or make a Frankenstein word out of them.

[I get "BurAttica"]

5) This is already strong enough to never be guessed under reasonable assumptions. If you want, or are forced to, add a couple of numbers or special characters:

["BurAttica4U" ie, 'BurAttica for you' ]

There. I'm sure it's never been anyone's password, and only the most heavyweight password guesser would ever try it. And it can easily be remembered.

And go ahead and write it down—just be careful to hide where you do it, and not to depend upon looking it up. What you're trying to avoid is robots guessing it.

Posted by tplambeck at 10:17 PM


From a Microsoft page on how to create good passwords:

* * *

Create a strong, memorable password in 4 steps

One way to create a strong and memorable password is to come up with a "passphrase." Here's a way to create a passphrase-based password in four easy steps:

1. Think of a sentence that you can remember, such as "My son Aiden is three years older than my daughter Anna." This will be your passphrase.

2. Take the first letter of each word of the sentence to create a new word. Using the example above, you'd get: "msaityotmda".

3. Then mix it up by using a combination of upper and lowercase letters and numbers. Example: "MsAi3yotmdA"

4. Finally, substitute some special characters that look like letters, to make this password even stronger. These tricks finish the example password to read "M$8ni3y0tmd@".

* * *

There's no f**king way I could ever remember a password like that. It's 11 characters, with multiple special characters and an stupid and eminently forgettable sentence that underlies it, even if a person has a son and daughter with those names and ages.

So, what's a good way to create strong passwords?

I'm not telling.

Posted by tplambeck at 04:29 PM

January 14, 2006

Thursday crossword

I had plenty of time to ponder the 12 Jan 2006 (Thursday) NYT crossword because Gloria was in at the Stanford Medical Center for back surgery that day (it went well, but she's out of commission for 4-5 weeks).

Anyway—there proved to be lots of words with the letters "IN" to be written in a single box. The last to succumb to the roving pen was


I guess that cut too close to the bone (so to speak) for me to solve it. It reminded me of the time I couldn't think of "DO RE MI" while trying to do the crossword during Cole's violin lesson.

I guessed the theme was a double letter trick from 19 down:

Masked fighters (5): NINJAS, which had one fewer box than expected, and it seemed that it just had to be NINJAS, somehow. But which letters were to be doubled?

Clue 49 down gave the answer:

Desk sights...or an apt title for this puzzle (6): INBOXES

Some nice ones:

Onomatopoeic Sinatra album: RINGADINGDING

1952 Gene Kelly Film SINGININTHERAIN

Biblical opening: INTHEBEGINNING

Finally, a nice one at 1 down:

Barker of TV/movie fame: RINTINTIN.

Posted by tplambeck at 03:06 PM

January 12, 2006

turning torso in malmö

turning torso in malmö
Originally uploaded by bence.frenyo.
Posted by tplambeck at 09:29 PM

I will not hesitate—in fact, I already have


Posted by tplambeck at 10:19 AM

Mathematical contraction du jour: Skewaffine

J. Andre constructed a skewaffine structure as a group space of a normally transitive group. In the paper this construction was used to describe such an external structure associated with a point of Laguerre plane. Necessary conditions for ensure that the external structure is a skewaffine plane are given.


Posted by tplambeck at 07:57 AM

January 09, 2006

DEATHMATCH: Uninstallable Norton Internet Security "Tools" vs HP Crapware, aka the Cloying Bloatfish HP Photosmart 2710 printer drivers

I'm the referee.

This is a closed circuit competition. You won't be watching this video on broadcast TV. Oh no.

May the stupidest technology prevail.

Greg and Atul were so right to relieve one of these companies of a few of its millions.

Posted by tplambeck at 09:29 PM

January 08, 2006

Size of the software package that apparently needs to be downloaded to get my new HP PC to recognize an HP printer on a simple LAN

276.2 megabtyes.

Posted by tplambeck at 10:49 PM

Sunday music making

Cole (violin) and I (piano) played "Nearer My God to Thee" together from an old Presbyterian hymnal.

Cole improvised some double stops, but then when I asked him about it, he didn't remember doing it.

"See, right there—you played a double stop D and B, then a D and A!"

"No I didn't. It's impossible—the notes are too far apart."

"No it isnt, and no they aren't!" I said. I put two X's under the notes.

"Oh. Yes, i did that."

Can't get me into a church, but I do like playing those simple church hymns with the kids.

Posted by tplambeck at 10:46 PM

January 07, 2006

Saturday NYT

Today's (Saturday) New York Times crossword seemed easier than yesterday's (and even Thursday's, if I recall that one correctly).

Of the long ones, I got

One good at making faces (15): PORTRAITPAINTER

almost immediately, although I didn't write it in immediately. Just above that,


came pretty easily too, especially since PLATOON materialized as a possible first word early on. But I didn't (and still don't) know what E-7 means. I'm sure Google could tell me, but I've got a kind of deep aversion to ever using Google or any other reference material in solving crossword puzzles. [If you arrived here searching on these clues, well, I don't have anything against you] Is E-7 part of some kind of ranking system? The two other long (across) answers

1995 Annie Lennox hit: NOMOREILOVEYOUS


"Maybe yes, maybe no": ICANTSAYFORSURE

were fun, also, although I've never heard of Annie Lennox—I've never heard of almost everyone in pop music. I really need to start paying attention to pop culture if I want to improve on crosswords.

The two long down clues were

Fictional swinger: TARZANTHEAPEMAN


Gloater's remark: EATYOURHEARTOUT

Favorite clue:

Miss Gulch miffed her: AUNTIEEM

Is Miss Gulch the person who the evil witch is, before the tornado? Google would know.

Posted by tplambeck at 10:30 PM

Weekly pill tray


Ever since I stopped noticing getting a little tired after taking the high blood pressure medicine I was prescribed two months ago (and which I can't remember the name of, despite having stared at the bottle many times—perhaps that is that a side-effect, or a "contraindication"—a word I've always liked, somehow; it suggests a prudent caution in a Dr. Marcus Welby sort of way, a considering of the options, a "say, this might not be so good after all,"...that can only be a good thing, such caution, such qualification, I think); well, ever since that, I haven't been very good about remembering to take it.

Or I take it, and can't remember whether I took it.

Do I need a pill tray? Or a personal nurse? My watch alarm goes off every day at 10:35am because I set it and can't figure out how to turn it off again. I do know how to stop it from beeping, once it starts, but stopping it from the daily beeping, no—that seems to be quite impossible. Gloria suggested that I associate the alarm with the question 'have I taken my [whatever the hell it's called]?' That's a good idea.

DOCTOR: Are you on any medications?


DOCTOR: Which ones?

THANE: Just one.

DOCTOR: OK, which one?

THANE: I just knew you were going to ask that...

Posted by tplambeck at 12:12 AM

January 05, 2006

HP desktop resists brain transplant: "I don't have a brain!" it insists

I think I should have bought a Dell machine with redhat linux preinstalled rather than trusting that an HP desktop picked off the Fry's showroom would submit to a Redhat brain transplant without complaining.

I don't think the SATA interface is my friend. Just one more letter and you've got SATAN, after all. And I'm not sure the 64 bit AMD Athlon processor is my friend, either. It's at these moments that you wonder—friend, or foe? And it's probably foe.

As far as the Red Hat Enterprise Linux installation software can tell, this HP machine has no disk drive at all.

Ah—the pleasures of BIOS.

Posted by tplambeck at 11:12 PM

January 04, 2006

Chris readjusts his Texas Longhorn hat during the first half of the Rose Bowl, Old Pro bar, downtown Palo Alto

Chris readjusts his Texas Longhorn hat
keeping the faith
Texas 41, USC 38 final

Owen and I left the Old Pro table we shared with Chris & Co. at halftime, because it was getting on toward his bedtime. I didn't see too many other 2nd graders in the bar, but he was enjoying himself up to the time I said we needed to go. Anyway, I turned on the radio in the kitchen when we got home. When USC went up two touchdowns with less than 7 minutes remaining, I pronounced Texas dead, turned off the radio, and went to my office. The kids went to bed.

I made a final check about 15 minutes later, expecting to see celebrating Trojans on the ESPN web site. Instead, I saw a note that Texas was driving and down only 38-33.

So I came back into the kitchen, turned on radio, and listened to the last play of the game-winning drive there.

It was time for USC to lose. It was starting to get annoying.

Posted by tplambeck at 10:30 PM

The squirting camera, rediscovered

Miraculously, yesterday Cole and Owen found the water-squirting fake camera that can be repointed to self-squirt its victim, buried somewhere in the playroom. I'd thought it had been lost forever. In despair, I went to the Garner Novelty site several months ago, and tried to order a new one, only to have shipped to me a pathetic imitation, which was a squirting camera only, without the critical control that allows you to repoint it to self-squirt the next person who presses the shutter.

Cole took it to gymnastics, and I squirted Nancy with it.

"Ha!" she said. "Let me see that!"

(I switched it to self-squirting mode)

"Go ahead, squirt me, try it out!" I suggested.

"No, I want to squirt someone else, one of the kids," she said.

So—I had the pleasure of watching her self-squirt her son.


The readjustable self-squirting plastic fake camera is a work of absolute genius—and yes, also a great example of THE EMERSONIAN PRINCIPLE: In every work of genius we recognize our own rejected thoughts—they come back to us with a certain alienated majesty.

Posted by tplambeck at 12:29 AM

A walk in the noncommutative garden


Posted by tplambeck at 12:18 AM

January 02, 2006

Daily archives

I hadn't noticed that MovableType generates daily archive pages. And since I hadn't noticed them, I've never linked to them. And since I've never linked to them, no robot knows about them.

Sometimes I'm looking for something on this site and can't find it. Or I can Google a link to the correct month, but have to scroll through pages of stuff to find it. Or people write to me and ask "where is it?" Those people are usually would-be New York Times crossword solvers who have Googled some clue that I blogged.

So in the interest of better robot crawling of this site here's a link to one of the daily pages. And here's another one. Have at it, robots! Find all those daily pages and report back to me!

I suppose I should add some sort of link to the daily archive automatically, somehow, in the MT template I'm using for the monthly page organization I'm using now. But where exactly?

Added later OK, I'm experimenting with adding the last five "Daily" entries to see if that changes the Googling performance.

Posted by tplambeck at 10:03 PM

The "World Year of Physics 2005" has ended

John Horgan writing in today's NYT, "Einstein has Left the Building":

Besides, Einstein didn't think he lived up to his own reputation either. "I am no Einstein," he once said.


Posted by tplambeck at 02:44 PM

Twilight of an old teenager

NYT on Dick Clark's appearance on TV for the NYC new year's ball-dropping in Times Square:

Mr. Clark seemed, in short, old. He missed words and, seated at a desk, kept atypically still. Sometimes his impaired speech seemed comical; mostly it was touching. The adolescence of America's Oldest Living Teenager—Mr. Clark's hyper, chipper, fun-loving persona—had, in his 76th year, finally abandoned him. In its place was another, more ambiguous holiday figure: the couchbound relative who, maudlin and exhausted, weeps at how lucky he is to be around his family one more year.

nyt article

[An excellent description, but, amazingly, to me there was more to it than just a "couchbound relative". It was as if Dick Clark were miraculously summoned from the dead via new stem cell technologies, with a few bugs in the voice reconstruction software. It was a truly weird experience to listen to him, but the spirit of Dick Clark was there, somehow. Gloria kept looking over at me with a deeply disturbed look on her face, as if the ghost of Christmas past was blocking her view of the TV]

Posted by tplambeck at 12:29 AM

January 01, 2006


Brannan Street, San Francisco

Posted by tplambeck at 11:13 AM

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