Friday, November 30, 2007

Fly The Friend-Of-A-Friendly Skies

Alaskan Airlines and Horizon Air are pitching a 10% discount on flights booked through their website. The catch? This discount is only available when you book through the special (not to say "segregated") gay-friendly section of their website.

From WorldNetDaily:

Bryan Fischer, of the Idaho Values Alliance, told WND the company boasts of its "nondiscrimination" policies, but, "here they are blatantly discriminating against heterosexuals in their pricing structure."
Oh we poor, downtrodden, oppressed heterosexuals. When will the world treat us with equality and respect?

Thursday, November 29, 2007

I'm Going To Hell

Erin's going to kill me, but check out these outrageous, hilarious, politically-incorrect ads from the "bad old days" of glaring gender stereotyping.

Men: "They weren't that bad".
Women: "They aren't that old".

I'm always taken by surprise at this kind of thing, firstly that anyone can look at this and see the humor, and secondly that anyone can look at this and not.

Time sure does a number on perspective.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Breaking News

Who says eco-activists are a humorless lot? Greenpeace is crowdsourcing the naming of whales travelling something called the "Great Whale Trail". Of the list of 30 names, twenty nine appear to be some computer-generated random phonetic babble. Japanese for "little love", or Arabic for "star", or Swahili for "hippy" or something. Those granola-crunchers love the Swahili. Anyway, the one name that doesn't suck: Mister Splashy Pants.

Guess which name currently has a 68% lead over its closest twenty-nine competitors?

Go vote now. I don't really know what you're voting for, but in a poll that contains "Mister Splashy Pants" as an option, I think the right choice is clear.

At The Pump

Did you ever play with Silly Putty™ as a kid? Silly Putty is a bizarre polymer, and seems to like switching back and forth from gooey almost-liquid to bouncy almost-solid. But like most polymers, it has a transition temperature at which its physical properties change. In this case, there is a glass transition temperature Tg, below which Silly Putty will behave like glass, and shatter instead of squishing.

Often, the viscoelastic properties of polymers have a rate dependence, and this is the case with Silly Putty. Do the same amount of work over a shorter period of time -- say, hit it with a hammer instead of squishing it between your butt cheeks -- and Silly Putty behaves as if its Tg has been raised. It'll blow into a million pink bits. Don't get it in your hair.

Another cool thing you can do with Silly Putty is squish it onto a comic book or a newspaper, and a ghostly reproduction of the image will be transferred onto the Putty. If you squish it around for a bit, the image will appear to dissolve, but your Putty is a little less pink now. Do this enough times and it'll turn an ugly shade of gray.

Silly putty also bounces, stretches and flows. It is very resilient.

So with all of these wonderful, seemingly magical properties, Silly Putty seems to me to be the perfect metaphor for ... something. But what?

Monday, November 19, 2007

I Never Claimed To Be

I'm not a trend-setter, not a leader, not a frame of reference, or a role model. I don't innovate, I copy. I implement other people's great ideas. I plagiarize shamelessly. Well okay, there's some shame, but not a lot.

So here's a riff on Boxer's non-meme, who got it from a friend, who got it from a friend, etc. Everyone's doing it, so it must be cool, right?

First ten songs on my randomly shuffled iPod:

1. Back In Black (AC/DC)
This is the kind of high-energy, brainless Guitar-God hard rock that just makes you want to yell "FUCK YEAH!" at random people on the street. Brian Johnson steps up for the late Bon Scott, and the band unleashes a guitar-fueled power pumping rocket up the charts, ending up in the number two spot for most successful hard-rock album of all time, and no wonder. Every track is legendary. For those days when I care more about Rocking out than listening to soulful lyrics.

2. Dirt Bag (Psycraft Remix) (Brad Sucks)
Hmm. My iPod says this is by "Brad Sucks", though I'm not sure that's accurate. To be honest, I don't know where the hell this song came from, but it sounds like the kind of thing you'd here on a depressing "Basketball Diaries"-type soundtrack. Still excellent lyrics, depressing vocals, swelling orchestral back, some acoustic jangle. I give it four awesomes.

3. Music Is My Hot Hot Sex (Cansei de Ser Sexy)
You maybe heard this song in a recent iPod commercial. A driving synth-pop booty-shaker with a familiar drum and baseline, the song gets my legs twitching within a bar or two. The video sucks, but I defy you to play this track and not break out doing "the Robot". Way too sexy for a Brazilian band whose name means "Tired of Being Sexy".

4. Man of Constant Sorrow (Soggy Bottom Brothers / Dan Tyminski)
This one's off the soundtrack for "O Brother, Where Art Thou". The movie version was better, but the twangy banjo, and low hooting of the jug just puts it over the top. Fantastic bluegrass, that makes me want to ride the rails with a stalk of wheat in my mouth.

5. Cha Cha Twist (The Detroit Cobras)
First track off their "Mink, Rat or Rabbit" album, this is a wicked, rocking cover of the Brice Coefield original, retaining all of the original 60s charm. For it's time, this was "bad boy" rock n' roll. Now it seems quaint, but the remake keeps the rock-quotient turned up to eleven. Perfect for karaoke, or nostalgia for a time you can't remember.

6. Let Go (Frou Frou)
Classic post-club chillout Europop. Imogen Heap delivers syrupy smooth vocals. Great for: Lying on your back looking at clouds in the sky; rekindling your love for humanity; de-greasing your curmudgeonly soul; coming down from an Ecstasy high.

7. Black Devil Car (Jamiroquai)
By far the best track on their recent "Dynamite" album. What seems at first like a bunch of hard-to-parse atonal progressions quickly smooths out into a sort of meta-funk cum badass rock vibe. Uplifting and energetic. Definitely a pick-me-up.

8. Re: Your Brains (Jonathan Coulton)
From the same guy who brought you the acoustic folk version of "Baby Got Back". Every track is a tongue-in-cheek gem of melodic folk crooning. When you feel like going on a zombie brain-eating rampage, pause for some mellow dining music.

9. Everybody Got Their Something (Nikki Costa)
From the opening "plinky" base line, this song just makes me so happy happy happy. I don't know if it's a remake or what. Don't even know what album I ripped this off, but it's consistently in my top 10. Perfect for sunny days, it'll put a funk-strut in your step.

10. Low Rider (War)
For some reason, I thought ZZ Top sang this song, but I guess I'm wrong. Makes me want to put a fuzzy steering wheel cover on my car and go cruising. Perfect for a blunt in the park, with sunglasses.

About halfway through writing this, I realized that I could just link to YouTube for most of these. It's Infringeriffic!

Also, I seem to have lucked out with this random selection, since a good eighty percent of my music library sucks balls.

In other news, I'm rockin' in the free world with Guitar Hero III. Buy it. Buy it now. Then call me. You can be my roadie.

Seriously. I'm a Rock God.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Losing You Could Mean... Something

What can I say? I'm being lazy and there's no excuse. I said there was no Universal Truth. But here is the truth.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Knife Goes In, Guts Come Out

One problem with writing on the internet, is that it's easy to fall into the trap of writing for yourself, and forgetting that anyone can read this crap. Including your wife, your co-workers, your boss, or your priest.

So here's a thing that I feel like I need to write down, but I have to be careful how I do it.

Earlier this week, during casual conversation with Ironman, I mentioned some trifling work-related concerns. Little by little, the conversation became less casual, the concerns less trifling.

I was basically asking for advice from someone who's natural (almost supernatural) people skills and raw management "talent" are tempered with a sort of "Muppet Babies" innocence, and basically eclipse my own amazing awesomeness. Like a sparkling diamond in a dark, depressing sea of vomit, Ironman stands out as, well, something of a niftiness, managerially.

Lest you think I embellish just because he happens to know where I blog, let me assure you that the bar is set relatively low in this regard. The majority of managers with whom I've had the pleasure of working might not inaccurately be referred to as "a hooting band of blinkering cockslots", to paraphrase Oscar Wilde.

At any rate, the upshot of the entire conversation was that, as usual, the problem is me. This stinging truth was delivered by diplomatic hammer, and as I lay on the ground, groping about for my missing testicles, I vowed to do a better job.

Of course, two days later, this promise exploded into festive confetti when I commiserated on the subject of the "bureaucracy" with my lackey. This was an unfortunate choice of words, and the hammer, this time, was less diplomatic. The phone, accursed instrument of Beelzebub, rang.

"If the delicate subtext of our earlier conversation has slipped you by, then allow me to hold your head under the putrescent waters of knowledge," began Ironman (paraphrasing here), and the thing just got better from there. My end of the phone conversation went something like "Yes. Yes. I understand. Yes. Yes." The message was clear. Be careful what you say.

Perhaps I'm a masochist, but I'm hoping for a "be careful what you blog" message. Perhaps this time I'll be able to take a few days off and claim workman's compensation.

Ironman knows I kid. "Just kidding, boss!"

Seriously. Great guy.

In the interests of Changing the Subject:

Son, having recovered from pneumonia, promptly contracted an ear infection. Once he'd finished his antibiotics, instantly broke out in hives, an allergic reaction to penicillin. While at the pediatrician's office (for the fifth time in as many weeks), Son managed to accidentally give the doc a good swift kick in the gnarbles.

This produced in me a strange mixture of emotions that I can only describe as embarrassment, cringing sympathetic pain, regret, and of course, hilarity.

Why is it that all of humanity finds a boot in the nads -- someone else's nads -- so goddamn funny? No other sort of pain or misfortune is witnessed with as much suppressed mirth as having your balls kicked so hard you could wear them for a hat.

Is there some deeper universal bond that joins us all in our appreciation of this phenomena? Some common thread that cuts across cultures? Can it be used to bring peace to the Middle East, as opposed to fodder for America's Funniest Home Videos?

These are the kinds of deep questions that keep me awake at night. Perhaps I should kick Lackey in the nuts, in the interests of improved professional communications.

Spoiler Alert:

Well, I saw this. Which made me think of this:

Which reminded me of something I forgot to mention. FTC insider trading regulations prohibit me from telling you this, but what the hell. Osaka Seafood Concern, the Japanese company that owns a controlling interest in PerpetualStartup, where I work, is undergoing a leveraged management buyout of it's publicly traded stock.

So, I dunno, go buy some stock or something.