November 2008 minutiae
- I was eating some pistachios and when I took off the shell of
one, I found that the nut inside had another, smaller, rounder,
thinner shell around it. I guess it's a less gross version of
those eggs you sometimes hear about that have smaller eggs inside.
- In the closing days of the election season the ad servers noticed
that I was logged in from California and fed me a constant stream of ads
supporting Prop 8, the Mormon-backed measure that revoked the right of
same-sex couples to marry. (The Bay Area voted overwhelmingly against
it, but the Central Valley lived up to its rep as Oklahoma with smog.)
All day Monday this particular ad followed me from site to site:
Um, what exactly are they suggesting here? Is this why McCain
wouldn't release his medical records?
- AP: Obama had another sports encounter Monday when he
recognized a familiar face while stopping by a local campaign
office in Charlotte, N.C. "It's M.L. Carr!" Obama exclaimed,
clearly excited to spot the former Boston Celtics' star.
For some reason I can't stop laughing at the idea of the
president-elect of the United States lighting up about an M.L.
- I got the answer to my question of where conservatives will
threaten to move in the event of an Obama victory. The right-wing
political sites on the morning of November 5th were full of threats
to pack up for Patagonia. I guess I should have realized that
fleeing to Argentina was the standard practice for those in their
- I bet that in fifty years kids won't realize that "Barack"
was once an uncommon name.
- Speaking of names: I couldn't help but notice that all three
males on the two major tickets had the exact same names as their
fathers. The candidates were Barack Hussein Obama II, Joseph
Robinette Biden Jr., and John Sidney McCain III. (Update
courtesy Daniel Koning: Sarah Palin (née Heath)'s mother
is also named Sarah Heath!)
- When I was a kid I had a very Aspie aversion to profanity —
I would actually interrupt people to say "don't cuss." I guess
that was from about age seven to age ten. What's interesting is
that even after that, I didn't actually curse aloud for quite some
time, and it's still very rare that I do — even as my
writing voice has become pretty fucking foul-mouthed. What
the fuck do you make of that?
- And speaking of "fuck," fuck American exceptionalism. After
being elected, Obama trotted out his "only in America is my story
even possible" routine, and the media obligingly parroted the line
that nowhere else has a member of an ethnic minority group ever
been elected leader of the country. Ahem:
Argentina: Carlos Menem (Syrian)
Belize: Said Musa (Palestinian)
Bolivia: Evo Morales (Aymara)
Colombia: Julio Turbay Ayala (Lebanese)
Ecuador: Abdala Bucaram (Lebanese); Jamil Mahuad Witt (Lebanese/German)
France: Nicolas Sarkozy (Hungarian)
Jamaica: Edward Seaga (Lebanese/Scottish)
Peru: Alberto Fujimori (Japanese)
...and Sonia Maino (Italian) was in line to become prime minister of
India following the 2004 elections until she deferred in favor of
Manmohan Singh. Obama's story is possible in a whole lotta places.
- Apparently people were dancing in the streets on Election Night.
I didn't participate, partly because I'm antisocial, partly because
I expect to be thoroughly disappointed once again by the Democratic
Party, but also partly because I sort of mentally transformed the
fireworks from the Killola show I went to
in July into a celebration of the end of Republican rule. Heck, the
song they were playing even sounds a little bit like "Doc Barack."
- The New Hampshire state senate is now 54% female. This seems to
me like the sort of progress that's more important than a single
person here or there making it to a powerful post. The right-wingers
arguing that Obama's election proves racism is over are no more correct
than someone arguing that British sexism ended in
1558. And as
for American sexism... I couldn't help but notice that in Obama's first
press conference as president-elect, there were a hell of a lot of dudes
in suits behind him. Until those sorts of panels are 50% female, until
Congress is, until all powerful instutitions are — not as an
artificial requirement, but as a natural outgrowth of a meritocracy
— we still have a hell of a long way to go.
- AP: Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin called her critics cowards and jerks
Friday [...] as she returned to the governor's office from her two-month
odyssey as the GOP vice presidential nominee. ...IT WAS ONLY TWO
- Random Youtube sighting:
this was my
favorite candy bar back in high school. Naturally, it's seemingly the
only candy bar Hershey has ever discontinued. Though I imagine I'd
find them pretty gross today.
- I love reading reviews of my stuff written under duress by undergraduates
who only took a new media course because a class about videogames sounded
easy. Here are some classic lines about Photopia, courtesy of
What starts out as the stories of two drunks, an astronaut female with
martial arts knowledge and wings, Alley's family, and Wendy's family soon
is squished together by science.
Lyttle Lytton entrants, the bar has been set. Though perhaps this later
excerpt is a better synopsis:
Overall, Photopia is a basic text game that requires key phrases to be
used in an appropriate manner. In reality it is found to be an astrophysical
study of a story with distinct commands needed to continue the story.
It's not all summary, though; this writeup goes on to supply an important
The trick to finishing the game is to use the command help
- From a New Yorker profile of Ben Bernanke: One of his first
tasks was to deliver a monthly economics briefing to the President and the
Vice President. After he and Hubbard sat down in the Oval Office, President
Bush noticed that Bernanke was wearing light-tan socks under his dark suit.
"Where did you get those socks, Ben?" he asked. "They don't match." Bernanke
didn't falter. "I bought them at the Gap — three pairs for seven
dollars," he replied. During the briefing, which lasted about forty-five
minutes, the President mentioned the socks several times.
- I was playing around with face transformation software —
it's great! It took a little bit of tooling around to get the hang of it,
but I think I've mastered all the capabilities now: I've figured out how
to build algorithms to generate fairly convincing pictures of what a couple's
children might look like (ie, considerably more convincing than just a simple
average of the two faces). I ran it on myself and Elizabeth, of course, and
I also opened up a whole psychological Pandora's box by summoning up an
eerily plausible picture of my sister. Anyway, the reason I mention this is
that it turns out that when you average Crango and Ditko with humans
- Children aside, I sometimes imagine how people in a room would pair off
if everyone in it had to have sex.
- Los Angeles Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy on player Cuttino Mobley's
heart condition: "All I know is that if Cuttino has anything, he's been
asymptotic." I don't know if you can trust what Dunleavy says, though.
He's known to lapse into hyperbola.
- abcnews.go.com: Bush, who is a born-again Christian, spoke about the
role his faith has played in his presidency. "I've been in the Bible every
day since I've been the president." The hell? Does he think the burning
bush is a reference to him?
- I was amused to learn that the Icelandic word for "money" is the same as
the word for "sheep." But after a moment's thought it occurred to me that it's
not hugely different from talking about owing someone twenty bucks.
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