Archive for March, 2005

Spam of the day

March 17th, 2005  |  Tags:  |  Leave a comment

The best-titled spam I’ve gotten in a while arrived this morning. The message title asserted that “sometimes your life experiences are better than a postgraduate education.”

Falstaff pancakes

March 14th, 2005  |  Tags:  |  1 Comment

If you have a Falstaffian appetite for pancakes, then you should eat some Falstaff pancakes; below please find a recipe in handy snip-and-save format. (Good things to add to this recipe include: pecans, mashed bananas, chocolate chips, and frozen blueberries)

Falstaff pancakes

  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1¼ cups flour
    (optionally: ¾ cup flour and ¾ cup ground rolled oats)
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil

Beat 1 egg until much lighter in color. Whisk in 1 cup of plain yogurt and between ¼ cup and ½ cup of milk. (For very thick pancakes, use only ¼ cup milk; I generally use a little less than ½ cup milk.) Begin warming a griddle over medium heat.

In a separate bowl, mix 1¼ cups of flour, 2 tsp. sugar, 1 tsp. baking powder, and 1 tsp. salt. (If you’re feeling daring, replace ½ cup of the flour with ¾ cup of rolled oats that you’ve ground a bit with a mortar and pestle.)

Take 1 tsp. baking soda and break up any clumps. Mix this in with the egg, milk, and yogurt mixture. Gently beat the dry ingredients in little by little. It is okay to leave a few lumps, but do not overbeat. Finally, gently stir in 2 tbsp. olive oil.

Grease the griddle with a small amount of your preferred non-stick agent. ¼ cup of batter will make about a 4-inch pancake if your cakes are about the same consistency as mine (that is, if you used a little less than ½ cup milk). You’ll want to flip them when small bubbles start forming in the batter. Keep finished pancakes on a plate; they will stay warmer if you put the plate under a towel until you’re ready to serve.

Makes about 10 pancakes.

The bumper sticker is dead

March 13th, 2005  |  Tags: ,  |  1 Comment

With a nod to the second part of my previous post, I bring you the following:

The death of the bumper sticker

I like it. It’s rather Russellian. Unfortunately, it’s too subtle for ubiquity. Therefore:

A less subtle bumper sticker

Two quixotic political views spotted in the wild

March 13th, 2005  |  Tags:  |  1 Comment

Insufficient outrage

Yesterday, Andrea and I were walking down State Street with a prospective English grad. Fortunately for our attempts to sell him on the town, the local wildlife were pretty tame. However, there was a small cadre of young students yelling at passersby and brandishing copies of a socialist newspaper (it was unclear whether they were selling it or merely appealing to its authority). As we walked past, a furious young woman asked us if we were “outraged about the budget cuts that were sure to cripple the [blah blah blah]….”

I don’t know how she finished her sentence, because I was in a hurry to get an outrageously good burger. As we walked on, I cautioned our prospective student that it is perilously easy to be insufficiently outraged in this town. Indeed, to avoid my exposure as a civic pococurante, I often pretend to speak only Norwegian when confronted by overzealous pamphleteers. (I’ll be absolutely stuck when I encounter some proselyte who can actually speak Norwegian.)

“First, the vanity phone number. Then, the presidency!”

Prof. Althouse’s recent post on Madison bumper stickers reminded me of an unintentionally delightful sticker collection I spotted a couple of weeks ago while waiting at a traffic light. First up was a “Don’t blame me, I voted for Ed” sticker. “Ed,” for those of you from out of town, is Ed Thompson, brother to the former WI governor. Ed ran for governor last time on the Libertarian ticket and got about ten percent of the vote. (This is not as impressive as it may seem: the major-party candidates were both particularly odious.)

This car also featured a “Badnarik for President” sticker. OK, I thought to myself, you’ve established that you’re a Libertarian. That’s great! I was a high school senior once, too! I quickly cycled through my mental handbook of political-affiliation slurs before spotting the real gem of the bumper, which was an “I’m Pro-Choice On Everything!” sticker. I’ve seen this slogan before, but I’d never noticed the best part: the fine print claims that the phone number for the US Libertarian Party is 1-800-ELECT-US.

Keep living the dream, kids.

I’m currently listening to Analogue France by Johan Agebjörn

Interesting PL book

March 11th, 2005  |  Tags:  |  Leave a comment

I saw a link to Concepts, Techniques, and Models of Computer Programming on the LtU forums. I’ll have to check it out the next time I have a chunk of time and cash to invest in a PL book.

I’m currently listening to Higher Ground from the album “Innervisions” by Stevie Wonder

What does the Randy Moss trade mean…

March 11th, 2005  |  Tags:  |  2 Comments

…for the benighted West Coast hip-hop scene? Here’s Bill Simmons on the merchandising implications of the Moss trade, in response to a questioner who asks if the Randy Moss Raiders jersey could be “the most important jersey in rap history?”

I’m almost ashamed to admit this, but that was my first reaction when I heard about the trade – “Wow, he’s going to shatter the record for jerseys sold.” […] This is going to be the jersey version of that year when Malcolm X came out and Spike Lee started wearing those “X” hats.

Read the whole thing.

Polyhedral dice: a threat to free societies

March 9th, 2005  |  Tags:  |  4 Comments

Thanks to Eli for sending a link to an article claiming that the Israeli army gives a lowered security clearance to fantasy gamers in its ranks. (He also points out that you don’t have to be Einstein to figure out that a bunch of unwashed goons carrying swords and talking about casting spells are, as the article asserts, probably “detached from reality.”)

The article is worth reading for hilarious pictures of goofballs with ”medieval“ weapons, numerous breathless ”talkbacks“ from inarticulate defenders of fantasy gaming, and stern institutional denunciations like the following:

”These people have a tendency to be influenced by external factors which could cloud their judgment, a military official says. “They may be detached from reality or have a weak personality — elements which lower a person’s security clearance, allowing them to serve in the army, but not in sensitive positions.”

Imagine the risks: a soldier could spill his guts to an Elvish tavern wench, compromising ongoing operations! A classified training manual might be stolen by a wily leprechaun! Someone might be turned to stone at a critical moment!

Of course, the worst risk of all is that your army might be populated with D&D-playing dorks with “weak personalities” who are “detached from reality.” I mean, every country neighboring Israel is hostile to it, so there’s really no need for a fifth column of nerds taking orders from the Orcish Prince. If you lived there, would you feel safer if you knew that some guy who calls himself “Sir Nightblade” was allowed to walk around with an Uzi?

Bad idea #537: “trying a different mode”

March 8th, 2005  |  Tags:  |  Leave a comment

Weather report for Madison, WI

Today was a bad day to bike to work. That’s about all there is to it.

If you enjoyed this entry, you may want to read other entries in the Bad Idea Series, including: making a kiddie movie starring Ice Cube, allowing people to patent software, giving Jean Feraca her own talk show, and listening to Jay-Z while writing academic prose.

Milestones and burgers

March 8th, 2005  |  Tags: ,  |  1 Comment

I quietly posted my 500th blog entry last week, which was a b-side link to this absurd knife block. A more heartwarming blog-related milestone would relate to suppression — rather than propagation — of worthless content, and I’m happy to provide one of those as well: the spam-deletion plugin has nuked over 3700 spam comments since I installed it three weeks ago. Take that, “online texas holdem,” “milf viagra,” and “tramadol!” Now all I need is a decent way to rid the site of “referer” [sic] spam. (Honestly, I don’t even know what some of the words in these referring site addresses mean, but they can’t be good.)

I turned the annual odometer over this weekend, and we had a great party. I’ve been going “lower effort” on birthday food since the “individual pizza” fiasco of 2001, in which I was manning the grill until about 11 pm. This year, I sponsored a “brat fry” in an effort to capitalize on Wisconsin-kitsch local color and minimize the amount of time I would have to spend preparing food. (Thanks to Allison and Tiffany for each bringing delightful cakes!)

I remembered that I had planned to publish some burger recipes last year (when we threw a hamburger-themed party); since I didn’t do it then, a favorite is below, in handy snip-and-save format.

Die Burgermeister von Nürnberg


This presupposes that you have a preferred way of turning ground beef into a hamburger. I do, and I may publish it someday. I should probably also share my recipe for cooked red cabbage!

  • one hamburger and bun (or rye bread)
  • prepared cooked red cabbage
  • lingonberry preserves
  • cream cheese
  • brown mustard, thinly-sliced onions and pickles to taste

I put the cream cheese on the bottom bun half, followed by lingonberries, onions, and pickles. The mustard goes on the top half of the bun, and the cabbage goes on top of the burger. Enjoy with a glass of hefeweizen and a little Hans Sachs on the hi-fi.

find(1) with XPath support

March 4th, 2005  |  Tags:  |  Leave a comment

Oleg Paraschenko hacked up find(1) to support XPath queries. And he wrote some of it in Scheme!

Worth downloading: avant-garde art music edition

March 2nd, 2005  |  Tags:  |  Leave a comment

Disquiet has linked a couple of gems in the last two days. First up is Hommage for cello and electronics, by Joan Jeanrenaud of Kronos Quartet fame. Then, go old-school by downloading an interview with Nicolas Slonimsky on Varèse’s Ionization, followed by an historic performance of the same. (Both links are to pages that have download links and background information.)

I’m currently listening to Scheidt: Canzon on “O Nachbar Roland” from the album “Instrumental Music of 1600 (Music by Gabrieli, Morley, Holborne, Scheidt and Others)” by Concentus Musicus Wien & Nikolaus Harnoncourt

Guilty pleasures

March 1st, 2005  |  Tags:  |  Leave a comment

Richard Lawrence Cohen writes about a secret vice: reading bloggers whose politics you find distasteful. (via Althouse) Of course, I exclusively read bloggers with whom I have some major political disagreement. (Such is the price we all pay for our idiosyncracies!) Frankly, my primary criterion for reading someone’s political opinions is that it is evident that they too read outside their spheres of ideological acceptability. Sadly, this constraint greatly narrows the potential reading list.

Personal technology notes: email management edition

March 1st, 2005  |  Tags: ,  |  Leave a comment

Merlin Mann linked to this post by Jason Clarke, which has the mildly provocative title “If your inbox has more than a screenful of messages in it, you’re rude.” Clarke distinguishes between e-mail “filers” and “pilers.” Here’s a choice quote:

The problem with the system that Pilers use is that email never stops arriving. For many of us, it arrives at a faster rate than we believe we can handle it (another excuse for piling). What this means is that as new mail comes in, important mail gets pushed down, off the first screen of messages, and out of the piler’s consciousness. That message that they’ve read 8 times and thought “oh, I need to get back to her about that” eventually gets pushed off the screen, and is never thought of again, unless the piler specifically remembers that message, which is unlikely

My goal is to stop being rude, so I’ve adopted a GTD-like approach to my inbox. I have stopped using Mail.appetizer, which helpfully interrupted me every time I got a non-urgent message from some mailing list that I read casually. ( really needs a “next unread message in any mailbox” command. For Pete’s sake, Pine has this feature!) As a result, I have to make time to read mailing list mails, which are automatically filed into other folders, but I am able to survey them in a more useful manner, and on my own time, as a result.

I took 4000+ unfiled inbox messages and filed them into IMAP folders, archiving them by academic year and term. Ideally, in the future, I’ll be able to keep all of my messages in one monster archive location and simply have smart searches that act like folders, but it’s pretty easy to do a quick grep of the archive when necessary now. (I’m not using Zoë anymore because it doesn’t play nicely with the one or two applications I use that need most of the CPU, like Logic.) Now, I file messages away as soon as I’ve dealt with them, using Aaron Swartz’s keystroke-triggered mail-archiving AppleScript.

I currently have 2 messages in my inbox; both are there to remind me that they must be replied to. When I cons up some to-do list manager that can link to mail messages, the count will come closer to 0.

I’m currently listening to Schmücke dich, o liebe Seele, Op. 67.36 from the album “Sämtliche Orgelwerke Vol. 11” by Max Reger (1873-1916)