Quick Comments and One Liners

Two blatant rip-offs from Robot Wisdom : First, Stone of Parker and Stone of South Park fame on the MPAA , and for Rick , the similarities between falling in love and obsessive compulsive disorder , serotonin levels are amazingly similar:

Without intense emotion, he said no-one in their "right" mind would fall in love and have children.
But the study found the first flush of love does not last as emotions settle down.

Some interesting self portraits by Andreas Rentsch in Nerve Magazine . Long exposures painted with a flashlight. My laptop screen sucks for viewing images, I hope they have as much promise as they show from here.

Speaking of which, unfortunately I know a little bit too much to write this (ie: I'd run afoul of intellectual property issues), but the web needs a good image viewing system. At the very least something that offered gamma control, white point probably isn't all that important, especially on an emmissive display, but a little color balance and matching would be good.

Salon Magazine has an article about hiking up Half Dome with a 12 and an 8 year old . Catherine and I did it in a day in '97. I think he captures the what, but I don't think he captures the why, I completely sympathize with his bailing on the first ascent, it's really easy to talk yourself into believing the weather's going to turn with that much exposure.

And last Saturday I missed Susie Bright's latest article, about a visit to LA :

This is the city where I lost my virginity -- a strange phrase because I really felt like I'd found something that I'd wanted very badly.

I think I've met everyone who would be ticked off if I didn't talk to them while I'm here, so I can safely say that I'm in Chattanooga bumming around. I'll be at Chattanooga On-Line this afternoon, from 3:00 on. We'll have beer and be grilling chicken and such. Brave the heat.

Via Robot Wisdom , another example of the MPAA double standard on male/female sex scenes , this time in the movie But I'm a Cheerleader.

Need To Know should appear sometime today.

Spent last night out drinking with some old friends. Well, not that the friends were old, but they've been friends for a long time. It's amazing how with some people it's really difficult to pick up, while with others we can get back together after years of not seeing each other (albeit with moderately regular e-mail) and be in the same place. I also had a couple other musings on things but connecting them with this paragraph, or even this trip, is like writing about sex: It's too easy to involve other people in ways that snowball.

And I've found that I don't mind the heat, or even the humidity, if I can have the green. For everything I'm getting used to in the California culture, the lack of real, lush greenery is the hardest part to accept.

Sorry about the lack of updates, been busy with family. There should be new My Word's Worth and Clean Sheets and Mouthorgan columns.

Those of you who need to get in touch with me might try me at excitemail.com, otherwise wait 'til I'm back in town on Monday. I'll try to say something witty here tomorrow or over the weekend.

Flutterby will be slow 'til August 2nd.

A new Need To Know , which is all you need to know to go read it.

A new installment of David Steinberg's Comes Naturally , a eulogy for James Broughton.

A new NETFUTURE has notes on Lusseyran's And There Was Light, but I'm having trouble getting into it.

Meta: I'll be largely uncommunicative next week, I hope to do a few updates, but I'll be back August 2nd. Mail will be sketchy at best, I'll try to put a few rules in to forward the important stuff to an account I can get to. If I'm slow in answering, that's why. Be good.

Oh yeah, the art exhibit last night was a nice success. Missed a couple of people I'd hoped would show up but spent the whole evening chatting nonetheless. If you get by the City Cafe and like the prints, and promise that you'll matte them and put them on a wall, and are a regular reader, we can make special allowances on the price. I'll be doing a bunch of the flower in the tree for various people. And more people like the Japanese Temple picture than I'd possibly imagined (I'd put links to all of these images but my ISP upgraded their dbm package and I haven't written a converter to let my image manager speak to its database again).

Well, by the Phil Beffrey standard, this summer seems like a new low for movies. First Wild Wild West unseated Speed 2, now he comes in speaking of Lake Placid with "I just can't describe how bad it is".

Well, apparently a gazillion of us 'bloggers got an announcement of a new comic, Boat Anchor . I still keep up with Sluggy Freelance and User Friendly , and a few others occasionally, I guess I need to set up another Nibelung ring for personal daily reading outside of the 'blogs. Note to comic site designers, Sluggy has all the stuff I come to your site to see right on top, including the nav buttons in case I missed hte past few days. Most other sites make me search and click and go down a few layers to get to what I want, User Friendly is particularly bad about that.

Mouthorgan this week tackles consensual sex between children.

Via Lemon Yellow , a fascinating tale of forgery in the modern art world . And you know, I kind of have trouble feeling sorry for the victims. They were buying a name, not beauty, leaching off the dead rather than supporting the living:

Modern art, in particular, seems especially vulnerable to fraud. Its abstractions are sometimes difficult to understand or grasp, and a modern painting is often loved less because of its intrinsic quality -- its beauty, as conventionally understood -- than because of the identity of the painter, its mark of social status.

For those of you who have been following my quadricycle tribulations and can't wait for photos of my creation, the folks at Just Two Bikes have a much more elegant and better engineered version of what I've built. But the concept's the same.

Keith Knight on working the late night shift .

Interesting uses for Back Orifice? How about being on MTV's "Road Rules" and reading the producer's notes on your fellow cast members ?

I'm becoming less of an anti-Flash bigot. Here's a reasonable use for Flash .

Reminder: Free food and drink in a vain attempt to get you to come see our photos. Tonight from 6 to 8 at the City Cafe on 4th between D and E in San Rafael, Marin County, California.

Clean Sheets is updated.

"There's rich, there's filthy rich -- and then there's Woodside." starts David A. Kaplan's "The Silicon Boys". In the world of Po Bronson playing the media like a fiddle this looks like it might be one worth reading, at least by way of the Chronicle article on The Silicon Boys and how it portrays Woodside .

I've used Discreet and Confidential Color for printing photos that the subjects felt were better not processed at a local lab and gotten good enough results that were I not printing digitally I'd be sending my landscape print jobs to them as well. The guy who runs it does a monthly article on photography with nude or scantily clad models which I generally don't keep up with because his technique is a little too "glamour" for my tastes. However, this month's article has a few neat ideas for nude images which don't reveal the model's identity.

After printing for the exhibit at City Cafe I realized that there was more detail in 35mm film than my optics were getting me, so I just splurged on two sweet new lenses (or at least sweet mechanically, I actually haven't made any images with them yet) for my Canon EOS bag, the 17-35/2.8L , which I need to drag down to the Golden Gate bridge for a few glorious wide sunrises, especially while there's some morning cloud cover, and the 70-200/2.8L which should be a really nice portraiture lens (as long as I tone down contrast a bit when I print). Even through the viewfinder the difference between these lenses and consumer lenses is clear, auto-focus is amazingly fast and the image is nice and bright. Of course they're bloody huge, next purchase will probably need to be a beefier tripod and a bigger ball head.

Scary Devil Monastery QOTD:

Emergency medicine: It's like sysadminning, but with better LARTs and more blood.
--- Mike Sugimoto
A long time ago, I decided not to pursue a career in medicine because I didn't like people. Now I see that's not a disqualifier. Think of the years I've wasted.
--- Brian Kantor

Interesting Salon article about gay porn acting as a sideline . I don't know what it portends, but apparently the influx of those who want to act in porn for kicks is driving down the price paid for performers.

Well, I'm the new maintainer of the San Francisco Society for Human Sexuality web pages, and I need ideas. I'm wondering about a general "upcoming events" page that captures a more participatory flavor than the calendar in Spectator Magazine , and I think Reka's going to continue to maintain her sex studies list independently, I'll probably just link to that, but if anyone has suggestions or contributions, please tell me!

Back when I used to get one of the SF papers I enjoyed a regular column of the observations of a taxi driver. Well, the latest installment of the night cabbie offers a snapshot view of the city. The beggars unloading their wheelchairs at 4 AM as they go to work, the best French restaurants.

I'm generally not much of a fan of his, but_David Horowitz's latest Salon column_ (http://www.salonmagazine.com/news/col/horo/1999/07/19/south_park/index.html ) takes on the V-chip versus freedom of speech by way of South Park. I saw South Park on Friday evening. It is not a children's movie. But I've never seen South Park marketed to children, ever since Spirit of Christmas it's been clear that this is adult humor. And in the movie moreso than the few TV episodes that I've seen the language is used for deliberate effect. The movie is very much about the same people who are trying to target it shirking responsibility when it comes to their kids, and I think it's right on on many levels. Yes, it is truly subversive and anti-religion. That's why kids like it, they haven't been brainwashed yet.


If you build a server that monkeys can run, then monkeys will run it. I noticed this with several other organizations. You would think companies with thousands of employees could afford to hire a non-monkey to run their servers...
--- Joel Maslak on the real reasons NT has problems in server environments, in the Scary Devil Monastery.

A bunch of people have forwarded me the story about the Brookhaven National Labs accelerator that may or may not destroy the solar system . Two things come to mind: First is that these same fears existed with the early experiments with nuclear energy and fission weapons, and probably again with fusion weapons. Second is that if one is passionate about one's work, there's really no check against doing such an experiment, it's not like anyone's gonna be around to censure if the results are bad...

My Word's Worth this morning tackles children as property versus children as people. Good read.

I must be really young. I was working outside yesterday and heard the neighbor's TV playing news reports about the missing plane of a magazine editor who held the post solely because he inherited lots of money. What is the fascination with the Kennedys? I don't get it.

I figure it's only a matter of time before PBS and Fox merge, witness the current 4 part PBS series Savage Seas .

Help! If you're interested in interactive drama and/or storytelling, I'm the main course in the August 19th NBMA meeting, and I need some people to act as panelists for different viewpoints on the subject. Please e-mail me!

Well, Eyes Wide Shut looks like a bomb. Well, okay, it's got two sexy Scientologists naked, and that counts for something, but the reviews are all trying too hard to not damage the memory of Kubrick. The Nerve review refers to it as a "spank movie", while the Salon review calls it determinedly anti-erotic, and Tom Shales on NPR this morning was doing his best not to pan it. It sounds like if you want moralizing you can get it elsewhere better, and if you want a stroke movie you can get it elsewhere better.

Yet another World's Smallest Web Server .

There's a new Need To Know up for this week, the sarcastic Brits take on DEFCON (The good folks at L0PHT are apparently powering down some motherboards via their ethernet controllers(!?!)), a suggestion that Microsoft may have some competent programmers , and more.

Whoops, forgot that Mouthorgan has the second part of their quiz results up this week.

Where were you, January 28, 1986 at 11:38 ?

At 73.124 seconds, a circumferential white vapor pattern was observed blooming from the side of the External Tank bottom dome. This was the beginning of the structural failure of hydrogen tank that culminated in the entire aft dome dropping away. This released massive amounts of liquid hydrogen from the tank and created a sudden forward thrust of about 2.8 million pounds, pushing the hydrogen tank upward into the intertank structure.

On Alice (Yes, I do listen to teenybopper radio sometimes) this morning there was a report that the sex scene between Brad Pitt and Helena Bonham-Carter in Fight Club will be shot "with white dots all over their bodies" and "the computer will put in stuff later", which sounds to me like they're doing motion capture. Who wants to be the first to do furry porno?


I'm sure there's a line in here like, "A woman without a man is like a computer without Windows(tm)," just waiting to get out.
(On the premise that, somewhere, there is a fish that needs a bicycle.)
-- Graham Reed in the Scary Devil Monastery

In honor of our exhibit of photography at City Cafe in San Rafael, Phil Beffrey , Dan Herman and Dan Lyke (your humble narrator) will be hosting a small get-together to coincide with the monthly San Rafael art walk.

A week from today, Wednesday July 21st, from 6 to 8 P.M. at the City Cafe on 4th street between D and E in downtown San Rafael. Beer, wine, and horsey deever... errr... hors d'oeuvres will be served.

Gratuitous H.L. Mencken quote :

"Under democracy one party always devotes its chief energies to trying to prove that the other party is unfit to rule--and both commonly succeed, and are right... The United States has never developed an aristocracy really disinterested or an intelligentsia really intelligent. Its history is simply a record of vacillations between two gangs of frauds."

I love the platform of The Reform Silly Party of Florida . Their stance on the prohibition of teen smoking gives a hint:

"Absolutely not! If we prohibit teenagers from smoking, what will they do after they have sex?"

Since the NEA v. Finley decision requires the National Endowment for the Arts to consider "general standards of decency and respect for the diverse beliefs and values of the American public" is there really any point to funding the it any more? Just asking.

Ouch! Revisiting the Titanic vs Phantom Menace website shows Phantom Menace dropping fast, looking like it'll just kiss $400M, mainly on the basis of the opening two weekends.

Keith Knight ponders his responsibilities to the little ones .

Question: If Louis Freeh and Janet Reno are stupid enough to believe that any encryption that might make life difficult for law enforcement hasn't already been exported, why are we paying their salaries? Anyway, they're opposing a bill to loosen export restrictions which has broad support.

That Chris Bridges article in Clean Sheets is hilarous. And rather sad.

Clean Sheets has new fiction by Hanne Blank and assorted articles.

Frank passes along Camille Paglia interviewed by Charlotte Hays in the Drudge Report , Camille's full of herself as always, but she's got some good observations about Monica Lewinsky:

I was just amazed at that! Our educational system at the primary and secondary level is so flawed that we have girls who would go to the White House as a tremendous career opportunity for themselves and come out of that experience in Washington undented by any sense of wider political or historical realities.

Via Robot Wisdom , a great comparison of NT and Linux from a small business owner's perspective . A small business owner who "could barely do HTML and had never dreamt of being my own sysadmin" starts with NT and moves to Linux because of ease of use and price of administration:

"I wouldn't know one way or the other, except to say Microsoft support costs $195 per incident on top of the $895 software price, while Red Hat gives you 30-90 days of support included with the $79.95 you pay for the software."

A special investigation: Why West Coast pizza tastes like crap . Well, for one thing they're obviously not talking about Zachary's in Berkeley or Mauro's in San Anselmo. Must be a Seattle thing.

Robot Wisdom points to a great Jon Carroll essay on the culture war between the stupid and the smart .

Interestingly, Jorn also points to the text version of that Jon Carroll essay that's presumably used as the template from which article.cgi creates the HTML version. Curious, I'm going to have to go poking about for other examples of formatting.

Groaner from my sister:

Mahatma Gandhi was a great and spiritual man who spent his life walking the length of India and fasting. As a result, he was thin and frail with roughened feet and bad breath caused by the fasting. In fact, he was often referred to as a super callused fragile mystic plagued with halitosis.

Normally I shy away from Mother Jones and similar ilk that tend to get a little too far out when playing "outrage", but this note on chopsticks was worth a sad little sigh.

Steven Knight, professor of English literature at Cardiff University, has concluded that Robin Hood was gay and preferred "Merrie Men" .

Susie Bright offers 11 ways for men to not get laid .

In Gamasutra there's a postmortem of the game Thief that's worth reading if you're into some notes from genre pushing games.

A new Need To Know

From Salon , an interview with Coming Soon director Colette Berson on how a movie with no nudity can get an NC-17 rating by suggesting that women can find sex pleasurable. Well, it's a little deeper than that. Referring to the Adam Sandler "Big Daddy" publicity posters:

I thought, can you ever see the publicity for a movie of two women squatting? Nobody would think that was funny. They would think it was gross and weird. In my movie, the double standard is that girls are actively seeking out an orgasm and empowering themselves by it.


Almost any time a girl orgasmed, the board wanted me to cut the scene by 75 percent, even though she was 18. I was told specifically that the board has a problem with young girls' orgasms.

Well shoot, no wonder nobody's making porn in which women are enjoying themselves, all the porn consumers are raised on MPAA approved tripe. The interview is well worth the read.

Rebecca's Pocket points to a great article on ads to raise testicular cancer awareness .

Yet another web Magic 8 ball? Not really, this one uses Lego Mindstorms and a real 8 ball .

Marylaine () seems to be on a regular schedule with her Fox News column, this week's talks about spin and belief .

Gratuitous Terry Pratchett quote (from the book I was reading last night, I think it was "Guards, Guards!"):

"An appointment is an engagement to see someone, while a morningstar is a large lump of metal used for viciously crushing skulls. It is important not to confuse the two, isn't it, Mr. --?"

Just in order to stave off the e-mails telling me I missed it, via /. there's a report of a 100-200Kb third party kernel that will run NT binaries . I don't buy it as viable. For one thing the kernel is a tiny part of NT, much like the problem with running Alpha Unix binaries under Alpha Linux, the licensing for the libraries is the hard part to work out.

How apropos. I was rereading some Terry Pratchett before dozing off last night. Today /. has a review of The Science of Discworld . While I think I'm fairly up on consumer level "how the universe works" sorts of things this still looks like it might be a fun read. Of course we have to wait for those mouth-breathing U.S. publishers to get off their fat duffs and import his work, so don't hold your breath (I'm assuming most of my readers are USAnians, any exceptions?), but we can hope.

Mouthorgan this week takes it easy and talks about the results of their reader survey.

Via Bifurcated Rivets , USPS on how to ship a hippo and a Dallas News story on how this came about .

Steve's notes on life as a pollster have been removed at his request. Sorry if we broke any links.

California's going to make a license plate with Ronald Reagan on it . But note the numerology in the last paragraph... Coincidence? I think not.

Catch this one today, 'cause LA Times articles don't hang around. Via just about everybody, why web banner advertising will go away .

Kevin McSpadden, director of electronic commerce and retail marketing at Levi Strauss Direct, said Internet ads for the Web store, which included sponsorships of several online music sites, were not cost-effective.
"We were spending anywhere from $56 to $120 per paying customer to get them to come by," McSpadden said. "From a business and e-commerce standpoint, it doesn't pay out."

Scary Devil Monastery QOTD:

"So, uhh, what's the difference between a field circus engineer and a psychotic pelican? One will break your equipment and hit you with an enormous bill, and the other one smells of fish."
--- Malcolm Ray

An updated to Clean Sheets .

There's a July update to Eric Boutillier-Brown's photo diary .

The Daily Illuminator (which I check semi-weekly) reminds me that I heard a squib on the radio about David Sutch, aka Screaming Lord Sutch, founder of the Monster Raving Loony Party in Britain and poser of the question "Why is there only one Monopolies Commission?" has died. Is there a US version of the Monster Raving Loony Party? If so, I may need to change my affiliation.


"And it's medical equipment, so the blood comes right off.
--- Mike Sugimoto

AAAaaaaaargh! Sorry about that broken rant from Steve, I'll fix it this evening. It's a good overview of life as an outside agitator in Minneapolis, too.

Ya know, before reading the Christian Analysis of American Culture review of South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut , I hadn't felt a great need to go see the movie. Now I want to.

If you're going to Burning Man, may I suggest participating in The Possible Selves Conglomerate ?

In Salon , David Steinberg rhapsodizes on the joys of transporting sex toys through airport security .

"I watch her [the security guard's] face as she digs through the cuffs, the latex straps, the blindfold, the zip-lock bag with condoms, rubber gloves and lube, the zip-lock bag with cock rings, the zip-lock bag with miscellaneous tit clamps, butt plug and so forth, Mark Chester's wonderful Spandex full-body bondage bag, the elegant soft leather scratch gloves with the sharp metal points scattered all over the palm and fingers. Her face stays 100 percent deadpan throughout, an impressive show of professionalism."

A little late, but revisiting The Declaration of Independence is usually a worthwhile thing.

Andrew Einhorn makes pictures of smiling naked women in Nerve Magazine .

In a new My Word's Worth Marylaine ponders her newfound freedom.

Off to watch the tall ships sail into the bay. Don't break anything. Need To Know should update sometime today.

For the record, I'd like to recant a brash statement. A while back I made a prediction that Internet sales would stabilize because only catalog shoppers would buy from catalogs, whether electronic or paper. Several recent anecdotes have convinced me thatI was wrong. Everything is a commodity, consumers don't care all that much about actually getting their fingers on product, and delivery services are going to start building regional warehouses for drop shipping to undercut FedEx.

The French are revolting . Ummm... Errr... Well... rebelling against the location of the prime meridian through Greenwich by planting trees in a line through Paris to make a meridian visible from space.

Actually, the Pixar annual report has two posters, one from A Bug's Life as well.

Pixar may not pay dividends, but the goodies that come with the annual report are worth every animation fan having a little bit of stock. This year it's a Toy Story 2 poster.

As a little counter to yesterday's link about the control of sex being the key to a thriving society, in Salon , an article about a contraceptive that made the Cyrenean's rich .

Mouthorgan this morning looks at the flap over the new Yahoo/Geocities terms of service agreement, and ends up talking about the role of the ISP in general. Most of it doesn't interest me because I looked at the Geocities business model ages ago and realized that what they were saying didn't quite wash, and if I cared about my content then giving it to them wasn't a reasonable solution.

Archives of neat sites posted to Flutterby , notes to webmaster@flutterby.com