Archive for the “Amusements” Category

Things that are amusing

Shakespeare Chronicles cover
A young and hairy topped James Boyle argues against the claim that Edward de Vere Earl of Oxford wrote the works credited to William Shakespeare – in front of a selection of Supremes. Boyle’s verbal sparring with Justice Stevens is a lesson in legal wit.

On YouTube.

See also Jamie’s novel, The Shakespeare Chronicles.

Comments 3 Comments »

Ken is hoping that he’s been a good boy so that Santa will bring him the blender featured on Don’t Try This @ Home at the WillItBlend site.

I can think of many more things to blend now that I’ve been watching these amazing videos.

Comments No Comments »

Err. Make that Native Americans. Specifically the Seminole tribe of Florida (the only tribe/nation not officially at peace with the USA).

At any rate, the wars continue. The unconquered and unconquerable Seminoles, who are very big in gambling, have bought the Hard Rock Cafe chain (reports BBC). This purchase puts the Seminole footprint in over 45 other nations (ones that have HRCs).

Comments No Comments »

BBC has a feature on Dr. James Anderson’s solution to the dividing by zero problem in math. The story is one of definitions in large part, but the number of comments engendered by the story and the debate contained in those comments is a story in itself. Yes, Anderson participates too.

Great read. Especially if you don’t stop at the story but get into the comments.

Comments 2 Comments »

Discovered or possibly imagined by David Harrison, a unrediscoverable headline reading “New York TransFatWa.” As in “New York City health authorities voted unanimously on Tuesday to ban the use of artificial cooking oils, known as trans fats, in the city’s eateries [actual wording in NewScientist]; in doing so they have declared a TransFatWa [imagined portion with great new word].

Comments No Comments »

The semester is winding down, but the speaking and speakers keep coming on. Next week, we have these events to look forward to:

  • Wednesday December 5 at 6 pmthe recently mentioned “Wizard People, Dear Reader.”
  • Dave Weinberger
    Thursday December 7 at 2 pm
    I get to welcome Dr. Weinberger to SILS and to UNC before his Henderson Lecture here on Thursday December 7 at 2 pm. Fred will to the introduction. I’m standing in for our Dean who has a conflict.

    The best part is that I get to invite everyone to a reception at the end of the talk. Be there to hear that.

  • NCREN logoFriday December 8 at 2:30 pm “ibiblio.org at NCREN” North Carolina Research and Education Network Community Day.
  • Comments No Comments »

    I exercised a bit of that wonderful privilege last night at Computer Science 380 talking about copyright. They taped and have it online.

    Comments No Comments »

    Wizard People, Dear Reader
    Event: Wizard People, Dear Reader
    “It’s a Free Culture study break!”
    What: Listening Party with Video
    Host: Free Culture
    When: Tuesday, December 5 at 6:00pm
    Where: Murphey 104, UNC-CH

    More details and RSVP.

    [Disclosure : I am faculty advisor to Free Culture - UNC]

    Comments 1 Comment »

    JJB is revealed for his hidden cuteness factor, Fred explains the origins of ClaimID (and tells his own well-kept secret in the process). Read it all at the CSM.

    Comments No Comments »

    This says it all.

    Comments 1 Comment »

    The Manolo will diss me for sure. But the prices were right and the styles were err okay and the timing was perfect.

    First Tucker and I went to get him some new shoes. I needed some new penny loafers too. I was ready to push the button at the Bass Store when we found a nice pair exactly my size at 1/3 the price right there in U Mall. The downside was they weren’t Bass. They were/are Hush Puppies! Yikes Hush Puppies. The squarest of the square. As in the Jimmy Buffett song “I’ve got my hush-puppies on, / I guess I never was meant for / glitter rock and roll.” But having small feet comes in handy, I can get kids shoes in the right style at a very right price.

    Great feeling shoes with no breakin time required. Next comes the cane then the walker…

    But from the Manolo angle, things got worse when on Ocracoke.

    The weather was great for walking on the beach, but Tucker and I had left our flops at home. I didn’t want to be in the sand in my hiking shoes. Then in the Variety Store, we came up on a barrell of Crocs Knockoffs. A virtual gator farm of black plastic shoes for only $5 a pair. Cheaper than the flops. Who could avoid them at that price? I could wear them twice and toss them if necessary. But the shoes are so damn comfortable that I wore them the whole long weekend. And kept them.

    Yikes!

    Comments 1 Comment »

    Andy I
    Old bud Andy Ihnatko completely disses the Zune in a Chicago Sun-Times article that begins “Avoid the Looney Zune” and ends “Microsoft gets music player all wrong.”

    Yikes, Mr. Gates all this and Vista too?

    Not that there aren’t non-iPod players that Andy thinks are competitive and fun to use. He likes several non-Apple products:

    “The Zune is a complete, humiliating failure. Toshiba’s Gigabeat player, for example, is far more versatile, it has none of the Zune’s limitations, and Amazon sells the 30-gig model for 40 bucks less.”

    “Companies such as Toshiba and Sandisk (with its wonderful Nano-like Sansa e200 series) compete effectively with the iPod by asking themselves, ‘What are the things that users want and Apple refuses to provide?’”

    Andy’s bottom line: “Result: The Zune will be dead and gone within six months. Good riddance.”

    Comments No Comments »

    The winds are down but there is ocean overwash out at Rodanthe keeping Hatteras broken in two. No ferry access there. Swan Quarter will start their ferry runs this evening. We’ll likely catch an early ride from there tomorrow.

    In the meantime, Tucker and I watched Howl’s Moving Castle. The best anime storytelling of a British tale designed and directed by Hayao Miyazaki (of Spirited Away fame) and executed by Pixar (as owned by Disney at the time). Much news good and bad. The worst is the Calcifer, fire demon, character who smells too much of the kind of characters voiced by Robin Williams — parrots, genies etc. But overall a very successful crossing of cultures — Japanimation, Pixarwood, and British wizardly storytelling. Some bumps in that melding but overall well-met.

    Godzilla: Final Wars though was a badly done work even by the low bar set by Godzilla movies. I love what that low bar produces. But that movie played like a bad preview for a video game. The characters, their motions and the unlucky sound track by Emerson, Lake and Palmer’s Keith Emerson was annoyingly game influenced. Influenced by bad game music at that. The translation involved here was not culture as identity but culture as media format. Godzilla Final Wars the movie was more of a excuse and a long trailer for Godzilla Final Wars the game. In many cases, traffic between movie and game culture works or is at least amusing. This time it failed at every turn. And they left out Biollante.

    Comments No Comments »

    The storm sitting off of Cackalacky has put all the ferries in port and flooded Highway 12 down Hatteras. Looks like the weather will continue through late Wednesday night. The State Ferry site says not to expect ferries til Thursday morning at the earliest. The upside is that we don’t have to drive down in the storm. The downside is that we won’t be on Ocracoke til Thursday at the earliest.

    WRAL has the best coverage and the best links to coastal webcams.

    Comments No Comments »

    Went to see the opening night of the Playmakers’ production of “Tuesdays with Morrie” on Saturday. It was mostly harmless. I mean I laughed at the quips, but the play didn’t stay with me. I didn’t feel for the characters. It was without without the power and doubt of “Wit” or the insistence of “Whose Life is this Anyway?” both about dying smart people (who are more interesting than Morrie as characters — he, Morrie, is much more lovable and in a way simple which makes him predictable and ultimately shallow).

    Morrie and Mitch are not as diverting or deep as say either character in “My Dinner with Andre.” Nothing in the “Tuesdays” approaches anything said or written by Spalding Gray. There is more comedy and more good ole pathos in David Mamet‘s “Duck Variations.”

    I was amused by Morrie and not so taken or put off by Mitch, but soon afters I felt letdown.

    There was one exchange in which Morrie asks Mitch, his former student now a Detroit sports writer, “What have you got against touchy-feely?”
    Mitch answers “It’s fine by me except for the touching part [pause] and the feeling part.”

    Morrie says something about God later. Mitch: “I thought you were an agnostic?” Morrie – “I was but now I’m not so
    sure” that kind of thing. I laughed at the time but only once and only quickly.

    But “Wit,” that play haunted me for months.

    Note: The Daily Tar Heel reviewer agrees with me (on his own terms of course).

    Further note: Morrie loves to quote Auden out of context and incorrectly as “We must love each other or die.” I too love the line but realize some of its complications. The line. “We must love one another or die” comes from “September 1, 1939″. Auden first changed the line to read “We must love one another and die.” Next he dropped the stanza containing the line. Then completely frustrated he dropped the poem from his Collected saying “We die anyway.” The poem was restored to Auden’s collected work only after his death. I love the line in the original and in the poem, but I also love the complexity with which I must read it. How right was Auden at each stage of revision? How true the poem at each point in his life? In my life? And the context of the poem, the beginning for World War II

    Comments 2 Comments »

    Sun Ra at piano - in a mild moment George Clinton

    Sally alerts us to the ur-texts from the ur-spaceman behind the most modern jazz. “The Wisdom of Sun Ra” is just out from University of Chicago Press.

    Publishers blurb:

    From the Arkestra to his experiments with synthesizers, Sun Ra was one of the most inventive jazz musicians in history. Yet until now, there has not been a collection of his earliest writings that reveal the beginnings of his work as philosopher, mystic, and Afro-Futurist. This new volume unveils over forty newly discovered typewritten broadsheets on which Sun Ra expounded his wholly unique philosophical message. While in Chicago during the mid-1950s, Sun Ra preached on street corners and occasionally created scripts to accompany his lectures—intricate texts that invoke science fiction, Biblical prophecy, etymology, and black nationalism. Until this point, the only broadsheet known to exist was one given to John Coltrane in 1956. These newly unearthed writings attest to the provocative brilliance that inspired Coltrane. Sun Ra annotated many of them by hand, and together the sheets reveal fascinating new aspects of his worldview. The Wisdom of Sun Ra is an invaluable compendium of writings by one of the most intriguing and influential jazz figures of the century.

    Not by coincidence but because of an odd alignment of the planets I’m sure, Dr. Funkenstein aka Atomic Dog aka George Clinton who is surely the living heir to Sun Ra in many many ways was interviewed on Morning Edition (special features on their website).

    Comments 1 Comment »

    The scientific study for trying to understand “What the Hell were they thinking?” – Simon Spero.

    Comments 1 Comment »

    Don sends us to Ms Dewey for all our information needs. Reference was never like this before — MSFT set up Ms Dewey to reel us into LiveSearch.

    BTW I am the Number One Paul Jones according to Ms Dewey and LiveSearch as well as according to Google.

    Comments No Comments »

    Ruby's Roots Camp
    Even as political junkie and OrangePolitics keeper of the relative peace Ruby was getting updates on the results of last night’s election, she was telling me about her Roots Camp being held in Second Life on Better World Island starting today at 4 pm EST.

    Ruby tells me that the purpose of this Roots Camp is to “de-brief on the election and get a jump-start on organizing for 2008 by interacting with and learn from other leading Progressives in a cutting edge virtual environment that is likely to play a major role in online political organizing for 2008.”

    Roots Camps are modeled directly on Bar Camp right down to the wiki and nearly to the logo. They’re about getting down to your netroots, if your roots are progressive (NewSpeak won’t allow you to say Liberal).

    Second Life is a 3D virtual environment built by the residents (NewSpeak won’t allow you to say Users). There were at last count about 1,305,950 citizens (they say people) inhabiting Second Life.

    For more on Roots Camp SL go here.

    Comments 1 Comment »

    As part of the Office of Technology Development‘s Carolina Innovations Seminars, I’ll be speaking on “Open Source Licensing: The Basics, The Benefits, The Buzz” on November 9 from 5:15 to 6:15 in 014 Sitterson Hall.

    In the spirit of Openness, please dear readers and potential attendees, use the comments here to let me know any specific questions or areas that you’d like to see covered. I don’t want to talk endlessly on the differences between GPL 2 and 3, for example, unless someone cares, but then if someone does I want to be sure to be prepared and to do a good job.

    Some helpful source material (pun intended) can be found at these links:
    Free Software Foundation
    Open Source Initiative
    GNU Project
    GNU Philosophy including the 4 Software Freedoms
    Software Freedom Law Center
    Wikipedia on Free Software
    Wikipedia on Open Source Software

    For non-software, see Creative Commons, iCommons (international Creative Commons movement) , and the Science Commons Project.

    This is another experiment in opening the conversation like the one I just did down at Berry College where using the wiki really worked well. This time a blog post instead.

    So Post at this link.

    Comments No Comments »