Archive for November, 2004

It's Not Called the High Road because It's Easy
29 November, 2004

It struck me today, while reading different articles, that the easiest path is to take the package deal. Whether it be politics, religion, or anything else, accepting someone else's grouping of beliefs is easier than researching every angle to reach one's own opinion. This is not necessarily a bad thing. Knowledge is built upon knowledge.

But what gets us into trouble is unquestioning acceptance of bundles of debatable ideas. When there is an overwhelming majority supporting an idea, it is probably safe to skip further investigation. (Of course, contradictory evidence should never be ignored.) But, when reasonable people can be of two or more minds on a topic, we should beware of a position on that topic being slipped in amongst the group.

I think we should order from the menu less often. I would like to pick and choose from the idea buffet, thank you.


28 November, 2004

Yesterday I took the munchkins to see The Incredibles. (For my full comments, see

In the scene where E tells Mr. Incredible that she will make him a new costume, he asks for a cape. She tells him in a voice-over that capes are infeasible as we see three short and funny scenes of superheros getting their capes caught in things. I mentally noted that we would probably see that again.

Later in the film, while taunting the captured Mr. Incredible, Syndrome turns around. I notice that Syndrome is wearing a cape and, just as I was thinking it, my eldest says, "He's wearing a cape. It's going to get caught in something."

That brilliance astonishes me.

Hearts and Minds
24 November, 2004

A meme from from mentioned A movie you saw on a last date. I actually could answer that question.

In my sophomore year in college I was dating a townie. Let's call her "Heather" since that is her real name. My critical error is that I mistook "streetwise" for "mature". After a few months, she decided that she wanted to break up with me. Rather than the obvious course of just telling me that she no longer wanted to date, she devised the ever-so-curious plan of making me so miserable that I would break up with her. To ensure complete efficacy, she brought her friend along to double the misery. Not being privy to her brilliant plan, I invited a friend along as an escort for her friend.

By coincidence, we went to see Good Morning, Vietnam. Now, it is a fine film and has some downright hilarious moments in it, moments that, sadly, were lost on me. Of course, Good Morning, Vietnam also has some melancholy moments that seemed all the more poignant. I always think of Heather when I think of Good Morning, Vietnam but other than that I have no problem with the film.

Another part of her cunning scheme was for her friend to be extremely annoying. Her friend, also quite the brain trust, decided that playing the same song over and over again for an hour would do the trick. Only very recently have I been able to again listen to U2's With or Without You.

The really ironic thing about it is that her plan did not work. Just as I did not recognize her immaturity, she did not recognize my Scottish stubbornness. Me? Let a trifle like misery get in the way? Pshaw. She had no idea of the kind of misery to which I was accustomed. Finally, my tenacious perseverance wore her down and she broke the news to me.

Ha! I laugh at your puny attacks. Your Whirlwind of Misery attack is no match for my Wall of Dissociation defense!

Pot Calling the Kettle Dense
23 November, 2004

On the way to work this morning, I saw a truck with many stickers on its rear window, including the catchy "Stupid People Shouldn't Breed". Normally the stickers on vehicles have been placed there by their owners and not by random sticker vandals. Probably, the fellow adhered the sticker as a statement of his opinion of the rest of us. (Sadly, I have seen such misanthropy far too much recently.)

Or perhaps it is self-commentary. One might argue that decreasing the resale value of your vehicle with oodles of stickers, inflammatory or not, is none too bright. One might also argue that purchasing a Nissan truck is of sub-optimal intelligence. One could certainly argue that insulting people whom you do not know is not a success path.

Or maybe it is just post hoc justification for his vasectomy.

Sometimes Shorter is Better
22 November, 2004

At least when dealing with workweeks.

Unfortunately my weekend was enervating rather than restful. The chaos of the holidays has descended and a little one awoke screaming…several times.

No rest for the naughty, eh?

19 November, 2004

My journal is called “Look, Ma! Two Hands!” because I think it is a funny twist on the child's cry of “Look, ma! No hands” and I like to think I am a funny guy. I also suspect that I subconsciously picked “Look, Ma!” in the child's continuing quest to earn his mother's approval.

My subtitle is non-existent because I did not like what it originally was and could not think of a suitable replacement.

My friends page is called “I'm a Friend of Sarge” because “I'm a Friend of Bill W.” is a slogan sometimes used by Alcoholics Anonymous and I like to I can provide some degree of support for my friends.

My username is “sarge_5150” because Sarge is my handle in geekspace. Just “sarge” was taken so I need a suffix. Years and ZIP codes are too passé for me; I wanted something that was more distinctive. As a longtime fan of Van Hagar, “5150” was an obvious choice.

My default userpic is a self portrait from my youngest's birthday dinner because I originally wanted an actual photo of me (hubris!) and am too lazy to change it.

Great Line?
18 November, 2004

In the commentary for Nowhere some bloke complains about the silliness of the line of dialogue: "All I thought as I was being put into the space pod, is how much I loved you"

That is just funny.

Okay, people, have you any other lines that, while intended in all seriousness by the writer, result in laughter and spit-takes from the audience?

17 November, 2004

I heard yesterday that the NFL is distancing itself from the Monday Night Football intro that featured some cast members from ABC's Desperate Housewives, most notably an unclothed woman's back that was implied to be Nicolette Sheridan. Presumably this is an attempt to avoid another Nipplegate.

But this is ridiculous.

Which is more salacious: an unclothed woman's back or a scantily-clad woman humping the camera? I see no way the NFL can promote its cheerleaders and then decry the intro.

What is far worse is the unreasonable panic instilled in broadcasters by the FCC. An organization intended to ensure that the airwaves are share-and-share-alike has mutated into a juggernaut of fines seeking to censor everything. Its chairman is completely unapologetic.

The FCC must be stopped before no more rationality or free speech remain.

What a Country!
15 November, 2004

Whatever happened to Yakov Smirnoff? I have always wanted to hear his take on Hooters.

IMDb says that he lives and works in Branson, Missouri. Huh? Did the ethnic slot open up when Margaret Cho declined?

What next? Will Larry the Cable Guy join the cast of Beach Blanket Babylon?

Design Different
13 November, 2004

"iTunes was, of course, and I'll say this now, brilliant. It single-handedly taught us an entirely new philosophy on software design. Do you really need that Preference that 1% of your users will use?"

This is a philosophy that would benefit from greater adoption, especially in, say…Redmond.