May 8 “Fail Shark”

Look up, Twitter shark,

See Oprah’s butt sailing by?

Shark, you have been jumped.

Click for
YouTube video:  “Fonzie jumps the shark

From Wikipedia:

Jumping the shark is a colloquialism coined by Jon Hein and used by TV critics and fans to denote the point in a TV show or movie series’ history where the plot veers off into absurd story lines or out-of-the-ordinary characterizations. This usually corresponds to the point where a show with falling ratings apparently becomes more desperate to draw viewers in. In the process of undergoing these changes, the TV or movie series loses its original appeal. Shows that have “jumped the shark” are typically deemed to have passed their peak.

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May 7 “One Ringy Dingy”

One ring to find them,

And in the darkness bind them.

Now Gollum has it…

From the DailyMotion website:

World Exclusive: The Hunt For Gollum is a 40-minute fan film, inspired by the appendices of JRR Tolkein’s classic trilogy, ‘The Lord of the Rings’, and made for less than $5,000.

Watch the film in HD, only on Dailymotion.


From Wikipedia:

The Hunt for Gollum is a fan film based on elements of J. R. R. Tolkien’s epic fantasy novel The Lord of the Rings. The film is a prequel to the events of The Fellowship of the Ring, and is based on passages in the novel’s appendices. Its visual style is inspired by Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings film trilogy, but the production is completely unofficial and unauthorized by the Tolkien estate or New Line Cinema, which produced Jackson’s film trilogy. The film was shot in high definition video. It was directed by Chris Bouchard.

The Hunt for Gollum debuted at the Sci-Fi-London film festival and on the internet, free to view, on 3 May 2009.

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May 6 “Cheer Up”

They’re the Cranky Geeks.

They’re cranky, and they’re geeky.

And they have a show.

… but not on TiVo any more. Which sucks. Now I have to watch a show about the Internet, ON the Internet.
Which I think may be ironic.

From the Cranky Geeks website:

John C. Dvorak John C. Dvorak, whose crankiness knows no bounds, is a contributing editor of PC Magazine, for which he has been writing two columns, including the popular Inside Track, since 1986.

The consistently irritated Dvorak has won eight national awards from the Computer Press Association, including Best Columnist and Best Column.

Recent episodes do not seem to be included on the Cranky Geeks YouTube channel, and the videos on crankygeeks.com were not easily available for embedding here. Which makes me cranky. You’ll just have to watch via the website, like the rest of us.  Curse you Cranky Geeks!!

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May 3 “Cognitive Dissonance”

Wood should feel like wood,

not polished to a high gloss –

it’s disconcerting.

This Shaker-style table from my woodworking class remains unfinished. That is to say, no finishing has been applied to the bare wood.  I’ve done some sanding, to get rid of the tool marks and rough bits, but only up to about 120 grit.

Part of the delay has been to allow the wood to take on a patina from exposure to the air, something I  read somewhere as being a good thing for pine.  Results have been inconclusive, I’d say at this point.

There was talk of painting it, which would be another reason not to carry the sanding thing to excess. But I think I’m leaning towards a wipe-on oil finish. Lee Valley makes something called Tried & True™ Traditional Finishes, which they describe thusly:

Most finishes today contain petroleum distillates, solvents or heavy metal drier additives. These don’t. Developed largely from polymerized linseed oil with other natural-product additives, the finishes strictly adhere to the standards established by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) and qualify as non-toxic and safe for food-contact surfaces in both their uncured and cured (wet and dry) states.

I used one of these finishes, the “Tried & True™ Varnish Oil” with some success on a smaller project, but I think I might try the “Original Wood Finish” variety on the table. If only because it’s “adapted from an original Shaker recipe”, which seems appropriate.

Shaker-style table (unpainted pine)

May 2 “Might as well”

To study the past

is to be doomed to believe

you won’t repeat it

…. see what I did there? I turned it around…

The original expression “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it” is from Spanish-born philospher George Santayana, from his Reason in Common Sense, the first volume of his The Life of Reason.  The idea being that if we dutifully learn about the mistakes of the past, we will be protected from suffering through the consequences of making similar mistakes today.

For example, learning about the Great Depression will ensure that our current economic model is safe and sound, and that no such global economic meltdown will ever happen again.  (cough cough)

Demonstrators protest the proposed 700 billion USD Wall Street bail-out in front of the New York Stock Exchange in the Financial District in New York on September 25, 2008. In response to the global financial crisis, protesters, from a variety of activist groups, denounced the capitalist system, Wall Street and the administration of US President George W, Bush. (Photo credit NICHOLAS ROBERTS/AFP/Getty Images)
Demonstrators protest the proposed 700 billion USD Wall Street bail-out in front of the New York Stock Exchange in the Financial District in New York on September 25, 2008. In response to the global financial crisis, protesters, from a variety of activist groups, denounced the capitalist system, Wall Street and the administration of US President George W, Bush. (Photo credit NICHOLAS ROBERTS/AFP/Getty Images)

click for
YouTube video: “Van Halen – JUMP (live Toronto 1995)
(original David Lee Roth version removed by copyright police, sadly)

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May 1 “Damn Darkness”

Sometimes, late at night,

I like to light a candle

AND curse the darkness.

Some online sources attribute the expression that “it is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness” to Eleanor Roosevelt, when in fact it was said ABOUT her, by Adlai Stevenson at her memorial service.

Anna Eleanor Roosevelt
Anna Eleanor Roosevelt

It has also been attributed to Carl Sagan, who did make use of the expression in support of his 1995 masterpiece of skeptical thinking: “The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark“.

The book is intended to explain the scientific method to laymen, and to encourage people to learn critical or skeptical thinking. It explains methods to help distinguish between ideas that are considered valid science, and ideas that can be considered pseudoscience. Sagan states that when new ideas are offered for consideration, they should be tested by means of skeptical thinking, and should stand up to rigorous questioning.

Sagan presents a set of tools for skeptical thinking which he calls the “baloney detection kit”. Skeptical thinking consists both of constructing a reasoned argument and recognizing a fallacious or fraudulent one. In order to identify a fallacious argument, Sagan suggests the employment of such tools as independent confirmation of facts, quantification and the use of Occam’s razor. Sagan’s “baloney detection kit” also provides tools for detecting “the most common fallacies of logic and rhetoric”, such as argument from authority and statistics of small numbers. Through these tools, Sagan argues the benefits of a critical mind and the self-correcting nature of science can take place.

The phrase appears originally to be a Chinese proverb, perhaps by Confucius.

Apr 30 “Now Then”

What a tangled web:

When plotlines criss-cross in time,

Causation is LOST.

From an article about time travel, on Wikipedia:

David Lewis’ analysis of compossibility and the implications of changing the past is meant to account for the possibilities of time travel […]  without creating logical paradoxes. Consider Lewis’ example of Tim. Tim hates his grandfather and would like nothing more than to kill him. The only problem for Tim is that his grandfather died years ago. Tim wants so badly to kill his grandfather himself that he constructs a time machine to travel back to 1955 when his grandfather was young and kill him then. Assuming that Tim can travel to a time when his grandfather is still alive, the question must then be raised; Can Tim kill his grandfather?

Consider the fact that Tim’s grandfather died in 1993 and not in 1955. This fact about Tim’s situation reveals that him killing his grandfather is not compossible with the current set of facts. […]  So what must happen to Tim as he takes aim? Lewis believes that his gun will jam, a bird will fly in the way, or Tim simply slips on a banana peel. Either way, there will be some logical force of the universe that will prevent Tim every time from killing his grandfather.

“His gun will jam” … This is a device we’ve seen on LOST before!

Actually, the gun jamming occurs a little bit after the events (from season 4) shown in the clip [clip not available]… but the point is what Tom says here, “You can’t kill yourself, the island won’t let you”.  And since the island itself seems to be acting as a giant, barely manageable time travel machine, the whole series begins to look like a primetime TV illustration of David Lewis’ compossibilty argument. Well, among other things.

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