Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Good reads/random cool sites (optical illusions edition, 10/30/2007)

Here's another optical illusion. Stare at white spot in the center until the video ends. The closer you get and the more of your field of vision you fill with it, the cooler the result. (No scary monsters pop up or anything, don't worry.) When it ends, look around.

This is camouflage rather than an optical illusion per se, but a Japanese designer has come up disguises for hiding from criminals in urban areas. Pictures here and article here. (Via News of the Weird Daily)

Remember the spinning dancer from a couple of weeks ago? It's been discussed pretty widely on teh interwebs, with perhaps the most interesting phenomenon being those people who insist that the image is programmed to reverse direction. (They're probably the same guys who insist everything is Photoshopped.) They come across as some lonely and angry dudes, since all you have to do to disprove that is watch it with another person. But Matthew Lewis proves they're wrong here anyway. And here's an intelligent discussion of how our brains pick a direction to see her spinning in, with a debunking of the bogus left-brain/right-brain claims of the original article.

Monday, October 29, 2007

One Sentence Movie Reviews: "Submission: Part 1," "Knocked Up"

Knocked Up (2007)
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A funny and life-, love-, and responsibility-affirming but forgettable comedy.

Submission: Part 1 (2004)
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Since the director was killed for making this, I really want to say that it's a great film, one that will change people's hearts, but unfortunately I found it simplistic and rather amateurish. (Watch it here and decide for yourself. It's 10 minutes long, in English after the opening Arabic prayer.)

Monday sports report on my favorite teams (10/29/2007)

University of Oregon Ducks football: Disposed of the USC Trojans, 24 - 17 (Ha-ha, Oakley!). The defense played especially well, holding SC to 3 points after two turnovers. The Ducks are no. 5 BCS and no. 4 AP and USA Today, and Heisman buzz is building for Dennis Dixon. Saturday is an even bigger showdown, with no. 4 BCS Arizona State.

San Diego Chargers: Beat up the Houston Texans 35 - 10. It was never close; the Chargers scored four touchdowns by the time they ran 11 offensive plays. Andre Cromartie -- who might just be the fastest player in the league -- had a breakout game with two interceptions, one that he returned for 70 yards and a touchdown, and a recovery of bad snap in the end zone for another touchdown. And Chris Chambers may be a huge addition for the offense. He's a Pro Bowl caliber receiver, and that's been the Chargers weak link for years.

Los Angeles Lakers: No news is good news: Kobe's still on the team.

San Diego Padres: They released Marcus Giles, their second baseman last season who had an awful year.

I'm a Gumby, dammit

So, for my church Halloween party, I decided to be a Monty Python character, namely, a Gumby:

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I thought this would be really fun. Maybe I'd even stay in character for the whole party. I might walk up the bishop and say, "ARE... YOU... THE... BISHOP? MY... SPIRIT... HURTS," or something like that. There was only one problem: nobody at the party knew what the hell a Gumby was.

Typical conversation (repeated several times):
"What are you?"
"I'm a Gumby."
[Blank stare]
"It's a Monty Python character."
"Oh. Which movie was he in?"
"They were actually in the TV show."
"Oh. Monty Python had a TV show?"

I've learned a valuable lesson: Don't wear a costume so cool that nobody at the party knows what the hell you are. Either that, or start going to cooler parties.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

The wildest play in the history of college football

Last play of the game, Trinity needs a touchdown to beat Milsap. There were 15 laterals on this play if I counted right. The last one bounced.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Good reads/random cool sites (07.10.19)

Have I mentioned my new blog?
This Day in History. It's like a regular "this day in history" blog, but it's funny (if I do say so myself. And I do. Say it's funny, that is.)
(Via kuri)

Conservatives are awful people, again (OK, OK, some conservatives)
Apparently, there are people who invest so much of their self-image in the idea that America is the greatest country in the world that they just can't bring themselves to say something like, "America's a great country, but it's also done some terrible things." Instead, they say things like, "America's a great country, and slavery wasn't actually all that bad." Um, actually yes, it was all that bad. FFS.
(Via Media Putz)

LOLTHULHU (self-explanatory)
(Via I forgot where I found it. Sorry if it was you.)

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Good reads/random cool sites (07.10.16)

Conservatives are awful people, continued
OK again, not all of them, but what kind of person reads a story like this about a veteran seriously messed up by post-traumatic stress syndrome (and maybe a brain injury) and immediately thinks, "Sounds like a lazy faker to me"? Goodness gracious sakes alive. (Via Sadly, No!)

Sorry, I'm still a little pissed off about that one. What a piece of work. Anyway...

Watching Pingu always cheers me up
Pingu the penguin goes ice fishing. He's having a good time, until his friend Robby the seal decides to play a trick on him...

Back to a more serious subject,
The mayor and aldermen in Dover, NJ, are working hard to keep our gumballs safe from terrorists
From the Star Ledger (via News of the Weird, of course):
Three Dover officials say they've found a serious homeland security threat to chew on: gumballs.
They worry the colorful round treats could be poisoned by an enterprising terrorist who sees them as bait for unsuspecting targets -- young kids.
...the three aldermen are in the middle of a nine-month inspection of Dover's coin-operated gumball and candy machines. Thus far, they have surveyed 103 local businesses about their machines.
Already they say they've discovered more than 100 unlicensed coin-operated machines in town -- many filled with gumballs, jawbreakers and other candies they call perfect for potential terrorists.
The security threat should be "looked at seriously in light of what has happened so far," said Poolas. "Someone who wanted to do harm really could."

Um-hum. Ain't democracy grand? Anybody, and I do mean anybody, can be in the government.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Monday sports report on my favorite teams (10/15/2007)

• San Diego Chargers: 28-14 over Oakland. It was a good win. LT2 ran for 198 yards and four touchdowns. The defense came up with 6 sacks, 2.5 by Merriman, so that was good. But basically all this means so far is that they've finally achieved mediocrity. They've got a long way to go.

• University of Oregon Ducks football: 40-0, 390 yards of total offense... and that was at halftime. Their 53-7 win over Washington State was not as close as the score indicates. Very nice win, although Wazoo sucks, so it doesn't mean that much. But they had two bad injuries: tailback 1B Jeremiah Johnson and WR Cameron Colvin are gone for the season. They still have a great tailback in Johnathon Stewart, but Colvin's the second flanker to go down this season. They're down to a white guy at wide receiver! Things don't look good for the home team. (Shut up, it's just a joke.)
Anyway, they moved up to no. 7 AP and no. 6 USA Today, and most importantly to no. 10 BCS. They'll have to win out to get a BCS bowl. It'll be tough -- they still have Washington, USC, ASU, Arizona, UCLA, and their rivalry game with Oregon State -- but not impossible. They're better than all those teams but USC, and USC is looking pretty discombobulated right now. The Ducks just need to take care of business against the other guys and get a little luck against SC.

• LA Lakers: It looks like Jerry Buss seriously intends to trade Kobe. Words cannot express how much this sucks. It'll be like the early 1990s all over again, when Vlade Divac was the best player on the team. Oh, God.

• San Diego Padres: Trevor Hoffman had minor elbow surgery. He slipped a lot this year. Seven blown saves was the most he's had since 2000, and two of them kept the Padres out of the playoffs. His strikeouts per nine innings pitched were his lowest ever, although his WHIP is still pretty good. The problem with guys like Hoffman who've been so good for so long and are good guys is that they always stick around too long. Even though Heath Bell is probably better than him now, you can't just cut or trade a guy like Hoffman, or even demote him to set-up guy, until he starts to really suck.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

One Sentence Movie Reviews: "Art School Confidential," "Ghost World," "Notorious"

Notorious (1946)
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Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman are perfect in Hitchcock's tale of espionage, love, and jealousy.

Ghost World (2001)
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Although not a faithful adaptation of the very good graphic novel, it's still a wonderful portrait of a girl coming of age in a world that's too narrow for her.

Art School Confidential (2006)
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The art school scenes in the first half of the movie are brilliant, but the film gradually goes off track as it focuses more heavily on a lame serial-killer subplot.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Which way is she rotating?

Clockwise or counterclockwise? Can you reverse her spin?

The strange part of the illusion is that not only is the rotation reversible, when she rotates to the right it's her right leg that sticks out, and when she rotates to the left, it's her left leg. (If you can't make her reverse, cover up everything but her foot and try to make it change direction.)

Via Bad Science (in the sidebar)

Good reads/random cool sites (07.10.12)

Conservatives are awful people
OK, not all of them, and not all the time, but bloody hell. And they don't even know that they're awful.

And speaking of health care
The more things change...

But hey, it's almost Halloween
So let's take it out on some pumpkins.

Free the Fortune 500!
Getting people to wear shirts with company logos on it is good publicity for the companies -- unless the wearers get arrested. Somehow one never expects that a person wearing a Mayo Clinic shirt will end up in jail.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

I'll have two pounds worth of Radiohead, please

By now, I suppose most everyone who would be interested has heard about the new Radiohead album "In Rainbows." The unusual thing about this album, of course, is that you can pay whatever you want for it and then download it. You set the price: you can pay a hundred dollars for it if you want, or you can pay nothing and just download it. It's up to you. (Or you can order the fancy box set for £40.00.)

I paid £2.00 for it (plus a £0.45 credit fee). The way I figure it, a band typically gets about $4 per album, with record companies and distributors getting the rest. So paying Radiohead £2.00 gives them their $4, with the £0.45 fee bringing the total to just about $5. Seems fair.

Oh, and the album itself? I'm listening to it now, and so far, so very good. If you like Radiohead, you should like "In Rainbows."

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Of human bondage

According to the Smoking Gun,

OCTOBER 8--An Alabama minister who died in June of "accidental mechanical asphyxia" was found hogtied and wearing two complete wet suits, including a face mask, diving gloves and slippers, rubberized underwear, and a head mask, according to an autopsy report.

The autopsy report lists the following clothing and personal effects:

Clothing: The decedent was wearing two (2) wet suits, one scuba diving mask, one pair of gloves, one pair of rubber underwear, two (2) ties, five (5) belts, eleven (11) straps

Personal Effects: One yellow metal ring intact on left ring finger, one dildo

The dildo was found where you might expect.

It's sad when someone dies. It's sad to imagine a person perhaps struggling for many years with a fetish and the attendant guilt brought by his religion. It's sad to see everything a person accomplished in his life overwhelmed in the public mind by a sensational death.

On the other hand, though, it's funny as hell.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Good reads/random cool sites (07.10.09)

Right-wing pundit Fred Barnes blows the lid off the Unintentional Comedy Scale (Political Edition):
In October 2002, Barack Obama made what in retrospect was a remarkably clear-headed speech in opposition to war with Iraq. In Fred's Barnzarro Universe, however, being right about a vitally important national security issue when most people were wrong makes Obama weak on national security.
(Via Paul Krugman)

Conservapedia is a "conservative" wiki. Reminiscent of past attempts to enforce concepts like "Communist science," it promotes an America-centric, evangelical Christian, right-wing worldview. It does "not allow liberal censorship of conservative facts." Its earnest stupidity makes many of its articles quite comical. The one on Atheism is one of my favorites. It includes these "reasonable explanations for atheism":
Moral depravity
State churches
Poor relationship with father

NFL TV Distribution Maps
Wondering which NFL games will be shown in your area next Sunday? You can get maps for the morning and afternoon games here.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Little girl with a big pair

Of Asian pears, that is.
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We went to a local orchard on Saturday.

There was also a very sincere pumpkin patch.
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And, of course, I fit right in down on the farm, seeing as how I'm a typical farmer-lookin' dude.
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Monday sports report on my favorite teams (10/8/2007)

  • • San Diego Chargers (2-3): Beat Denver 41-3. Finally, finally, they played well. (Although they're still not generating much of a pass rush -- only one sack.) This season has been so frustrating. I'm kind of used to them sucking, but I'm not used to them sucking when they're supposed to be good. I don't have any confidence in them at all right now. But they're lucky that the rest of the division is so bad that 10-6 is likely to win it, so they don't have to be great to get into the playoffs. They will have to be great to beat Indianapolis and/or New England once if they get there though.
  • • University of Oregon football (4-1): They had a bye week, allowing them to cleverly move up a couple of spots in the polls (#9 AP, #8 USA Today) because so many other teams lost. Next up is Washington State (2-4), which hasn't beaten anyone good this year, although they made ASU beat them on a last-minute field goal on Saturday.
  • • Los Angeles Lakers: First exhibition game is Tuesday night.
  • • San Diego Padres: Brian Giles had microfracture knee surgery, also known as "career-ender knee surgery" BAS.*
*Before Amare Stoudamire

New blog

I've started another blog: This Day in History.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Watching "House"

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketWatching "House" is a lot like watching an NBA game. The game is decided in the last 10 minutes; that's also when House finally gets the diagnosis right. There's some cool stuff along the way, but you haven't missed anything important if you only watch those final 10 minutes.