Mar 19 2015
Archive for the 'Weird' Category
Nov 06 2014
Yesterday colleague Bryan House (@bryanhouse) ended Acquia’s first customer conference, Engage, with a beer tasting demonstration. Everybody was served a flight of beers, a snack tray of two kinds of malt, some fresh hops and a few coffee beans. As a failed home brewer (my product made excellent slug bait around the zinnias and tomatoes), hearing a professional brewmaster talk about the factors that go into a great beer was a great education and excuse to quaff an Octoberfest, a local beer (Narragansett Autocrat Coffee Milk Ale) and a Dogfish 90-minute Imperial IPA.
But when Bryan showed this beer, from BrewDog, the strongest beer in the world at 55% alcohol, I could only think: “Dogs would go insane for that shit.”
Aug 16 2013
Tip of the hat to Uncle Fester for finding the best first paragraph of any Wikipedia entry. Ever.
“Sir Adrian Paul Ghislain Carton de Wiart (5 May 1880 – 5 June 1963) was a British Army officer of Belgian and Irish descent. He served in the Boer War, First World War, and Second World War; was shot in the face, head, stomach, ankle, leg, hip, and ear; survived two plane crashes; tunnelled out of a POW camp; and pulled off his own fingers when a doctor refused to amputate them. Describing his experiences in World War I, he wrote, “Frankly I had enjoyed the war.”
What is it about English tough guys taking off their own fingers? See Sir Ranulph Fiennes. “He sustained severe frostbite to the tips of all the fingers on his left hand, forcing him to abandon the attempt. On returning home, his surgeon insisted the necrotic fingertips be retained for several months before amputation, to allow regrowth of the remaining healthy tissue. Impatient at the pain the dying fingertips caused, Fiennes cut them off himself with a fretsaw, just above where the blood and the soreness were.”
Feb 14 2013
I would have loved to have handed these out in third grade to the other kids at the Perley Elementary School in Georgetown Massachusetts. Do little kids still do the cheap Valentine’s Day exchange? Anyway….it’s one of those days and I thought some Totalitarian Dictator Humor was in order. Click for a bigger view.
Jan 18 2013
I listen to a lot of ambient music during the day while I work — I’ve always listened to something in the background while writing — generally instrumental stuff streamed through Last.fm which I can tune out but which gets rid of the bleak silence of my office hereon the Cape or in Manhattan. I’ve noticed over the last six months a lot of music incorporates people speaking — not singing — fragments of everyday conversations over the music. This is not singing. This is talking. Thank god Last.fm has a “ban” button so I can banish this stuff forever. But I swear there’s more of it and it keeps coming.
I give you “Little Fluffy Clouds” by The Orb.
And finally, “Close Your Eyes and Daydream” by Obfusc. This one was the last straw and forced this rant out of me.
Dec 29 2011
Happy Festivus people. Imagine if some crazed Griswold on the cul de sac in your gated community one-upped the Christmas lighting arms race with this?
(tip of the hat to my daughter)
Dec 04 2011
I took a hike around Great Island hike in Wellfleet yesterday with a college friend and his wife. A mere 14 mile, four hour slog to the tip of Jeremy Point under scudding purple December clouds with the Pilgrim monument in Provincetown a prominent finger to the north. Our only company was a half-dozen orange coated hunters with shotguns — one of whom told us to stay out of the woods unless we too were wearing orange, which we were not. So out of the woods we stayed and to the beach we went.
We walked down the bay side beach, made it south to the point, and then returned along the inner beach facing Wellfleet Harbor, stepping over countless clumps of wild oysters sitting on the sand, begging to be picked up. Near the end of the walk, inside the cove and marsh, we came upon a large, white, grey blob the size of a table laying in the wrack and flotsam.
It stank. It was gelatinous, and in an advanced state of decay. I looked for a minute and deduced it was a dead ocean sunfish, or Mola mola, one of the weirder fish in the sea.
First — they are all head. Seriously. No body to speak of. Just a massive head with fins.
Second — they are the heaviest fish in the sea, weighing up to 2,200 pounds.
Third — they swim very very slowly, preferring to drift on their side, right on the surface, sunning themselves as befits their name.
Fourth — their fin flaps lazily overhead in the air as they bask and some people mistake that fin for a shark.
This one is one of the dozen or so that have stranded on the Cape this fall. When the temperatures plunge the fish are stunned and can’t survive. According to the Cape Cod Times:
“The Mola mola is a frequent visitor to Cape waters and the season is under way for finding them stranded on the shores of Cape Cod Bay, Carson said. Although there are three types of ocean sunfish, the Mola mola is the one most likely to be sighted off the Cape’s shores.”
Here is link to a gallery of photos at the Time’s website of a marine biologist examining a dead Mola mola on a Cape Cod Bay beach in Brewster in October.
Sep 29 2011
Tip of the hat to Peter Kafka @pkafka:
Apr 08 2011
More videos on a Friday afternoon. I need the break after five hours of non-stop Powerpoint.
Dec 01 2010
… this makes me laugh. Thanks to my daughter for introducing me to the weird world of Terry Border and his Bent Objects.
“Paper Training Our Little Dog, Frank”
May 06 2010
DecoDen is currently a popular trend amongst young Japanese women. They enjoy decorating their phones lavishly with bright objects like beads, and enjoy having a truly one-of-a-kind portable phone. Deco comes from the word “Decorative” and Den is an abbreviation of “Keitai Denwa” which means portable phone in Japanese.Here is where a PC like the IdeaPad S10-2 comes in. Check out what happened when we told our decorator “you can do whatever you like.” It’s a sight to behold.
Dec 06 2009
May 29 2009
College roommate and professor of pre-columbian archaeology at the University of Kansas, John Hoopes, writes me on Facebook about the mounting online lunacy of the end-of-the-world movement that is based on some Aztec Mayan calendar saying 2012 is when it all goes down.
Professor Hoopes sent me a link to a profile of a new age end of world visionary named Pinchbeck — the new Timothy Leary — who in a Rolling Stone article was described as preparing for a forthcoming drug trip thusly:
Pinchbeck wore Depends and a blindfold, and kept a plastic vomit bucket by his head.
Classic! Reminds me of a college drinking game called “The 100″ — where the aim was to drink four cases of Budweiser (and four singles) between 6 pm on Friday and 6 pm on Sunday. This looks easy on paper, but is nearly impossible as it requres two beers per hour (assuming zero sleep). Whatever, I was never in the same league as Pinchbeck, though I did know some guys who donned hockey helmets before opening a bottle of surgical ether in their room in the event of unconsciousness and head injuries.
Update: It is midnight Thursday to midnight Sunday according to drinkwap.com. I recall it was 48 hours, not 72.
Good luck John with dispelling the end of world stuff. We’re all counting on you.
May 15 2009
“Two seasonal Yellowstone National Park concession workers have been fired after a live webcam caught them urinating into the Old Faithful geyser.”
It’s not like anybody drinks out of the thing …..
May 03 2009
May 02 2009
There is an interesting article in the New Yorker about the phenomenon of students and type-A personalities using — without “need” — attention deficit drugs such as Adderal and Ritalin to improve their study skills and concentration. It’s a chilling look at the future of neurological therapies for gaining a performance edge, a glimpse at a Gattaca-style world where we’ll start mental doping to stay competitive.
Quoting Dr. Anjan Chatterjee, the writer, Margaret Talbot, writes:
As he notes in a 2007 paper, “Many sectors of society have winner-take-all conditions in which small advantages produce disproportionate rewards.” At school and at work, the usefulness of being “smarter,” needing less sleep, and learning more quickly are all “abundantly clear.” In the near future, he predicts, some neurologists will refashion themselves as “quality-of-life consultants,” whose role will be “to provide information while abrogating final responsibility for these decisions to patients.” The demand is certainly there: from an aging population that won’t put up with memory loss; from overwrought parents bent on giving their children every possible edge; from anxious employees in an efficiency-obsessed, BlackBerry-equipped office culture, where work never really ends.
Basically this is a case of people taking speed to focus. Add in the benefit of losing some weight in the process, and one can see why this is a trend that won’t go away.
It reminds me of the Bruce Sterling short story where a hacker takes his girlfriend’s study drugs so he can win an online game. Anyway, it is a thought-provoking piece that is sure to drive demand for bogus ADHD medication prescriptions, not warn people away.
Jan 25 2009
Randall Stross writes today in the Sunday New York Times about the fine line between camp and hell when it comes to corporate video.
In it he calls attention to the wonderful internal video made by some Microsoft researchers for a product technology called Songsmith — apparently a “song generator” that one sings into and which then infers from the lyrics what the electro-synth soundtrack should be. It is indeed awesome in its awfulness. Watch the first 30 seconds, get the idea, and skip to the video at the end of this post for its real contribution to society.
The payoff on Stross’ story is the pointer to what some clever souls have done with the Songsmith technology, feeding into it well known head bangers such as Metallica, and my personal favorite, Van Halen. This has made my day, almost as much as the discovery earlier this week of what the acronyms SIaS and FIaT mean in conjunction with Yankee’s owner, George Steinbrenner.
Dec 11 2008
Lenovo’s “Customer of the Year” — Constantine von Hoffman (for threatening to tell people we delivered a ThinkPad to him ahead of schedule) — has posted his annual list of the top marketing boners, blunders, bloopers, etc.. I strongly recommend a full visit, my favorite is Vista toilet paper and Lolita brand beds.
1 Ford features “Space Oddity” — a song about astronaut suicide — in new car campaign.
2 Framingham State College uses the word blah 137 times in a 312-word fundraising letter.
3 Disney (multiple entries): Bans kids from DisneyWorld restaurant; Changes “It’s A Small World” to “A Salute to All Nations, But Mostly America”; and Sells “High School Musical” panties for tween girls with the phrase “Dive In” on them.
4 Woolworths (UK) launches Lolita brand of beds for young girl
See the rest below ….
Nov 16 2008
Interesting front page story in the NYT this Sunday morning about President-elect Obama likely having to surrender his Blackberry and email privileges for the duration of his term due to security concerns and public information laws. At first I was reading the piece, saying “Boneheads. Email good. Luddites in government, bad.” Then the security concerns were cited and I suddenly thought it is maybe not such a good idea to have the Commander In Chief on the RIM network sending emoticons to the National Security Advisor: “Dude. Chechnya! WTF? Call me! (Go Sox)”
Still, for an administration that is releasing weekly “fireside chats” on YouTube, that is seeking a National CTO, and which delivered on the promise of technology first opened up by Joe Trippi and the Howard Dean campaign, it seems utterly ass-hatted to take away email. But, unless a secure alternative can be developed, the president-to-be may be in the same boat the president-that-was found himself eight years ago when he sadly signed off of his AOL mail account and told his friends it was nice knowing them electronically.