Saturday, March 30, 2013

Talk to the Hand, Lower-Earthlings

Naturally competing blogs exploit credulous and foolish labour from the outermost reaches of the body. Here at Substance Laboratories™ we have found that if one has the enormously enviable means to keep up one's payments to the Guild of Professional Alphabetizores then one has access to the very best available six-for-one special deals on professionally designed Aktual Nowns©, with which one may construct automated disembodied hands as one sees fit, both to use in the lab and as home companions. Try it yourself!*



Why then would one even need to make employment offers to light-fingered and pestidigitatious extremetists? NOT EVEN WHY, THAT IS HOW MUCH WHY WE ARE TALKING ABOUT. Globalization merely sets the stage for automization, I said, posing in my smoking jacket as my Magic Mirror™ evaluated the sagacity of all in the land and found me NINTH AND RISING.

With all that established, we are enjoined by the Labour Ministry to announce publicly that all contracted workers now possess the required paperwork, as the workers who were missing the goddamned forms HAVE BEEN FIRED across the Substance Laboratories™ Executive Trap and Skeet Range.




*The thumbs were misaligned in the latest shipment; be assured that top-quality disembodied hands will be available soon.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Fulfilling It

David Limbaugh:
Unlike certain cultural icons today, Jesus didn't preach what people's itching ears wanted to hear. He didn't cater his sermons to curry favor with the popular culture. He articulated a higher standard of morality than even the Old Testament did.

More importantly, He did not reject but wholeheartedly endorsed the Old Testament generally and specifically. He didn't come to abolish the law but to fulfill it. He said that "until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished," "the scriptures cannot be broken," and, "I am the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob."

Jesus also affirmed the historicity of many important events recorded in the Old Testament, which many today dismiss as mere allegory or pure fiction, such as the creation of Adam and Eve, the flood, Jonah and the whale, the miracles of Elijah, and the miracles of Moses in the wilderness.
Who says the Bible is true? JESUS.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

He Lies Best Who Lies Last

Shorter Conrad Black:
This puffed-up self-important insider and so-called writer is a FRAUD. His name is Conrad Black Bob Woodward.
No seriously, for real now:
Gradually, inexorably, the great Watergate fraud is unraveling. The Knights of Revelation, 40 years onward, are being exposed, in the light of analysis unclouded by cant and emotionalism, as the myth-makers they always were. Bob Woodward, unable to resist the temptation to try again and again to be at the forefront of investigative journalism, is being steadily exposed as a chronically dishonest myth-maker. Carl Bernstein, his Watergate partner, is at least cautious enough not to tempt the fates with a regime of endless returns to the well of public gratitude for spurious and destructive exposés. Though there is no sign that he is conscious of the proportions of their original Mt. Rushmore–sized canard, he has been relatively uncontroversial these intervening decades, sheltering in the greasy slick Vanity Fair.
Myth-makers, said the pretend lord sheltering in the greasy slick National Review. Congratulations on your release from the pokey.

OFF-TOPIC UPDATE:

Introducting a new feature in the lobby at Substance Laboratories™, The Fountain of Adjectives, a crucial and necessary enhancement of the SL™ brand, the mind-boggling expense of which should have no impact at all on our investors. Ships with a premium of free caviar for board members!




















Wednesday, March 27, 2013

What Is This SH...

The Lovely Daughter: You say "I hear the theme of a puppet show."
Me: I hear the theme of a puppet show.
TLD: Then you say "What is this puppet show?"
Me: What is this puppet show?
TLD: It's a show from Israel! Because I'm Jewish!
Me: What is this puppet show?
TLD: It's Shalom Sesame, because I'M JEWISH!
Me: Wow.
TLD: Now you say "WHAT IS THIS SHALOM?"

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Counts as a Post

Apparently I am on vacation, which ideally means I have the time to fuck around with blog stuff, but apparently not. Oh wait, I may have a JanusNody item soon which should be of interest to two people in the world. Exciting! I know you can wait.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

When in Rome

Outrage!
CBS has no comment regarding viewer outrage over an installment of The Amazing Race featuring a downed B-52 bomber as a prop and a pro-Communist tune sung to the show's contestants.

Sunday's episode of the Emmy-winning, globe-hopping reality show had contestants maneuvering around the B-52 wreckage as part of the Vietnam-based contest at hand.

The show also featured children singing the glories of socialism in front of the Amazing Race participants, including the following lyrics:
“Vietnam Communist party is glorious . . . Socialism is growing more beautiful with time. Follow the party’s step. Be loyal. Be pure.”
American Legion National Commander James E. Koutz fired off an angry letter to the network regarding the episode, but so far CBS hasn't responded to it or the outrage at large.
Perhaps the traitors at CBS also went to France and ate cheese.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Peters and the Rock

Run! Squawkslide down Mount Everblessed!
The new pope was scarcely installed, with a clear mandate to clean up whatever remains of the sex-abuse crisis, when the snipers who always surround the Holy See opened skirmishing on the subject of Pope Francis’s conduct 35 years ago when Argentina was governed by the heavy-handed military junta that evicted Juan Perón’s politically inept widow, a former nightclub dancer, in 1976. (The junta was sent packing by Margaret Thatcher, who evicted them from the Falkland Islands in 1982.) The sex-abuse crisis has been a horrible and shaming problem, but Catholicism’s enemies have amplified and exploited it to incite the inference that most of the Roman clergy are deviates compounding superstition with perversion. The most frequent and wishful version of these events is as a mighty coruscation before the great Christian scam expires in a Wagnerian inferno, an inadvertent Waco. It took the most antagonistic pundits, in their uncomprehending skepticism of the viability of what they regard as a medieval flimflam factory anyway, only one day to assimilate the election of a man none of them had mentioned, in their omniscience, as a contender, before pronouncing his papacy dead on arrival at the Sistine Chapel.
Yes of COURSE it's Conrad Black.
No one really has any idea what this new pope is going to do, but there seems no doubt that he has a mandate to impose a draconian screening and evaluation process to clear out sex offenders, prevent the admission of potential future offenders, and give everyone except the most rabid anti-papists a comfort level that this ghastly affair, which simmered and bubbled for centuries, has been finally lanced and ended and that the weaknesses that gave rise to it and tolerated it have been excised. Sensing that the Church may survive this wicked and psychotic conduct by 1 or 2 percent of its ordained personnel, the Church’s enemies have already moved on to Francis’s supposed lack of rebellious fervor toward the Argentinean military 35 years ago. It is reminiscent of the tempest in a thimble over Pope Benedict’s conscription as an “air-force child soldier” in an inactive German anti-aircraft battery in 1943. (He deserted at the first opportunity to do so without being executed.)
Black, though, is nothing if not a quixotic old queen-lover. Quoth he:
There must be a dogmatically respectable way to execute a dignified climb-down and declare the sexual act a consequential moral commitment appropriate to and generally reserved to marriage, but sometimes unexceptionable when undertaken with contraceptive precautions, and reprehensible only if entered into wantonly. By clinging to the objection to contraception, even among married couples, the Church conveys the false impression of wishing to make sex risky and inaccessible, of opposing useful science, and of putting its hostility to safe sex ahead of its mortal opposition to abortion, a much more defensible and important cause that would be directly assisted by ending the failed war on contraception. The Roman Catholic Church, with all respect to the long traditions involved, should not be in the business of appearing to be the party of joyless behavioral philistinism, and should not needlessly subject itself to unjust imputations of hypocrisy. The secondary controversy over an all-male clergy can probably be dealt with by laicizing more activities with equal opportunities for women.
Laicizing activities with women! I'm in! Plus contraceptives!

Reaction one from a fellow Cornerite:
[...] Also strange is the explicit reason he gives for wanting the Church to “accept” contraception: “The Church’s official position on contraception enables its enemies to portray it as an archaic society for the propagation of chaste humbug by an esoteric fraternity of superannuated clergymen in antiquarian costume.”

Black goes on to explain how important it is, for the whole world and not just Catholics, that the Church “be a mighty rampart against the outrageous gibe of Islam that the West is a completely profane and blasphemous society.” So, according to Black, it’s vital that the Church exist for the sake of Western culture, but it should fold on matters of sexuality so as not to be accused of irrelevance and hypocrisy. The organization that is so needed precisely because it has stood firm throughout the ages should buckle on contraception for the very important reason that people like to have sex just for fun and don’t want someone to tell them not to.
Reaction two from K-Lo:
Conrad Black’s piece today is bewildering. Just at a time when even some non-papal audiences have become sick of the bill of poisonous goods the feminist revolution made women and men sign up for in the name of faux freedom, he hopes Pope Francis not only abandons Catholic theology but good sense. It is surrender to the sexual revolution that has, in part, led to the catechetical and public-witness crisis we’re in. And while, of course, it is true that Catholics can tend to be just like everyone else when it comes to sex as “a mere extension of the pleasures of heterosexual affection,” it is meant to be something more. Don’t we want our children to see it as something more? Don’t we want something more? In her surveying, Mary Hasson of the Ethics and Public Policy Center has found even women who aren’t on board with all of Church teaching wanting to know more about it in Sunday homilies. At a time when we can see clearly in our midst so much of what Paul VI warned of in Humanae Vitae, why wouldn’t we want to repropose a beautiful understanding about men and women, the Sacrament of marriage, and God’s love for us? Why wouldn’t we want a further unpacking of the teachings of Pope John Paul II on human sexuality? We’d all lose out if the Church caved to critics who want it to “modernize.” The Church needs to communicate better, teach more, but not cave.
She also recommends Black read a book, which if he gives a shit should make him sputter.

K-Lo is right though: in the centuries since Vatican II the Church has stood firm.

So Who Did The Kid in the Last Verse Shoot?

Been listening to trash:



Some kids have and some don't
And some of us are wondering why
Mom won't watch the news at night
There's too much stuff that's making her cry
We need some help
Down here on Earth
A thousand prayers, a million words
But one voice was heard

A house, a yard, a neighbourhood
Where you can ride your new bike to school
A kind of world where mom and dad
Still believe in the golden rule
Life's not that simple
Down here on Earth
A thousand prayers, a million words
But one voice was heard

One voice, one simple word
Hearts know what to say
One dream can change the world
Keep believing
Till you find a way

Yesterday while walking home
I saw some kid on Newberry Road
He pulled a pistol from his bag
And tossed it in the river below
Thanks for the help
Down here on Earth
A thousand prayers, a million words
But one voice was heard
One voice was heard
One voice was heard

_________________________

Thank you, God, for answering my prayers and letting me get away with it?

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

A Tale of One Townhall

Townhall maniac Thomas Sowell's latest columns are evidently part of an effort to sell a book. Fellow Townhall maniac Walter E. Williams does his best to help out.

Opening paragraph:
After reading Dr. Thomas Sowell's latest book, "Intellectuals and Race," one cannot emerge with much respect for the reasoning powers of intellectuals, particularly academics, on matters of race. There's so much faulty logic and downright dishonesty.
Who's Walter E. Williams again?
Dr. Williams serves on the faculty of George Mason University as John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics and is the author of 'Race and Economics: How Much Can Be Blamed on Discrimination?' and 'Up from the Projects: An Autobiography.'
It is so sad.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Liberaltarian

Representative liberal Bill Maher was on a TV show, or so Noel Sheppard says:
MSNBC's Rachel Maddow predictably slammed Congressman Paul Ryan's (R-Wisc.) plan.

"The Ryan budget is a document that says the big problems in America right now are that rich people do not have enough money," she mocked. "They need relief from confiscatory tax rates."

"Well," Maher unsuccessfully tried to interrupt as Maddow continued. When she was finally done, he surprisingly pushed back.

Pointing at Virginia's former Republican Congressman Tom Davis, Maher said, "You know what? Rich people - I'm sure you'd agree with this - actually do pay the freight in this country."

"I just saw these statistics," he continued, "I mean, something like 70 percent. And here in California, I just want to say liberals - you could actually lose me. It's outrageous what we're paying - over 50 percent. I'm willing to pay my share, but yeah, it's ridiculous."

So it appears there is a point where Maher's money becomes more important than his politics.
Welcome to your job watching the media for a site called Newsbusters, Noel! First day?

After a little moaning, this:
Regardless, it sure was nice to see a liberal - especially one that contributed to Obama's reelection campaign! - complaining about his taxes.
Still wet behind the ears.

And that's a lotta ear.

Monday, March 18, 2013

This Be the Curse

They fuck you up, those few who code.
They may not mean to, but they do.
Take objects from another node
And add some extra, just for you.

But those were tagged wrong in their turn
By gurus with old Macs and Dells,
Who once or twice might feign concern
While MUDding in their Unix shells.

Pro hands on data cruft to n00b.
There’s no way back from software bloat, see.
Get freedom from your office cube,
And don’t pass on another goatse.

From here.

The Minimum Wage

The Corner highlights an Elizabeth Warren question:
In a hearing of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions last week on “indexing the minimum wage,” Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren inquired of University of Massachusetts professor economics Arindrajit Dube, “If we started in 1960, and we said that, as productivity goes up — that is, as workers are producing more — then the minimum wage is going to go up the same. And, if that were the case, the minimum wage today would be about $22 an hour. So, my question, Mr. Dube, is what happened to the other $14.75?”
Long ago, in an argument about politics, my aunt Ann shocked my Tory parents by suggesting that same $22 figure. The Canadian dollar was not doing well at that point so she was less, um, "outrageous" than Warren I suppose, but thanks, senator, for the memories, and keep fucking with those Tories. Rest in peace Ann.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

I Am Totally a Programmer and Stuff

Anyone want to test a file for me?

It seems I can embed Quartz Composer files in apps that'll run on a Mac. This particular app requires sound input (thus far a built-in mic and a USB mic seem to work).

The top left window in the screenshot below is pretty much the deal:



Yes, a tiny window contains a crazy lady who accepts audio input a little like this. In this case, though, she's listening to you and your environs, and her eyes and mouth react to different frequencies.

I suppose I should do a little caveat here - given that I haven't let a program out into the wild EVER - and say that nobody with sense should run this, but I swear to god it's not doing anything other than reacting to mic input: it shouldn't eat your filesystem or anything, and any other potential functionality has been removed just to see if the goddamned thing works.

And sorry, word verification on. Poor blog's getting pounded.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Literacy

Thomas Sowell has been churning out columns on race at Townhall:
Roman conquests had historic repercussions for centuries after the Roman Empire had fallen. Among the legacies of Roman civilization were Roman letters, which produced written versions of Western European languages, centuries before Eastern European languages became literate. This was one of many reasons why Western Europe became more advanced than Eastern Europe, economically, educationally and technologically.

Meanwhile, the achievements in other civilizations -- whether in China or in the Middle East -- surged ahead of achievements in the West, though China and the Middle East later lost their leads.
This is an eccentric way to put things. Here's the gist:
There are too many zig-zags in history to believe that some single over-riding factor explains all, or even most, of what happened, either then or now. But what seldom, if ever, happened were equal achievements by different peoples at the same time.

Yet today we have bean counters in Washington turning out statistics that are solemnly presented in courts of law to claim that, if the numbers are not more or less the same for everybody, that proves that somebody did somebody else wrong.
Oppression is NORMAL, why fight it? The end.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The Dream of Romney

Nyan Mitt Romney
I would like to thank Dan Coyle for passing this fucking crazy thing along:
Note: This is a short excerpt from my soon to be released book Why Romney Won : The [Fictional] True Story of the Campaign That Should Have Been. It’s part alternative history, part political messaging manifesto. Permission granted to reprint this excerpt; in other words, blog this baby…
That's Lee Stranahan, Breitbart maniac, and yes, it keeps going.
THINGS COMPLETELY CHANGED for the Mitt Romney campaign a few of days after the May 30th primary election in Texas, where candidate Romney had picked up enough votes to mathematically secure the Republican nomination for President of the United States.

Years of planning, work, defeat, reorganization and struggle had led to this moment: Mitt Romney was going to be the hope of the Grand Old Party, the candidate taking on Barack Obama in November, 2012.

Then came the bolt out of the blue. Just days after achieving its dream, disaster struck the Romney campaign on June 2nd. A plane carrying members of Romney’s top campaign staff went down over the Colorado Rockies on their way to a victory / strategy retreat in Utah. Nearly the entire Romney brain trust was gone in an instant.

Today, of course, we know that tragedy was avoided. We all remember that happy day that everyone who was on board the plane was found safe by search and rescue teams just days after President Romney defeated Barack Obama in the 2012 election.
Very droll.
Nyan Mitt Romney
There's another excerpt!
“MY NAME IS Lystander McRae. You can call me Ly and that’s easy to remember because as you’re about to find out, I don’t lie.”

The man grinned and looked around, obviously hoping for an encouraging smile. He saw a crowd staring at their feet and ignoring him. He pressed on.

“I’m an ad man. A copywriter specifically. You’ve never heard of me but I can assure you that every single one of you has read or heard my work. I’m about to turn sixty and I’ve been in the ad game for over forty years. I’ve written television ads that played during the Superbowl, magazine ads for about fifty companries in the Fortune 500 and long direct mail ads that appeared in the back of popular men’s magazines. I’ve sold billions of dollars worth of products.”

One consultant sighed and looked up at McRae.

“Okay, so you can sell soda pop and tissue paper and whatever you were selling in the back of men’s magazines. Any experience in politics?”

McRae squinted at the consultant for a long second and then twisted his face into a grin. McRae wasn’t a good looking man and it didn’t seem like he had much experience grinning.

“That’s a good question. Damn good. And no, I have never worked in politics. Not once in forty years.”
Nyan Mitt RomneyAnd a third!
On the screen was a segment from the CBS show This Morning that had aired in mid-April. It showed Mitt Romney and his sons chopping at a tree. Another clip showed Ronney using a chainsaw. Romney grinned a little watching.

McRae glared at him.

“What the hell is that?”

A blonde Romney aide grimaced and whispered the word “language” at McRae, who ignored him.

Romney was puzzled, still watching the screen.

“This? It’s me and my sons – that’s Matt there – pulling out a stump from a neighbor’s yard after those awful fires in California a few years ago. I don’t understand why you’re so mad.”

“Why isn’t that video of you swinging that axe running as a thirty-second spot? Everywhere? Last week?”

“Okay, Ly, try to understand me here. I know you mean well but that’s not why I helped out my neighbor. I don’t help people just to make some silly thirty second spot.”
Nyan Mitt Romney

The thing that surprises me most is what a weak-tea spewtopia this is. If you have enough ambition to write Romney into the presidency why wouldn't you write somebody in there that you actually wanted? The dream of beating Obama is more powerful than getting something good.

ANNE GEDDES CUTE BABY

The Bassoon, Fired Up




















Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Fear Itself

Jonah Goldberg is CONCERNED:
I just got an e-mail from OFA (email address: “info@barackobama.com”). The subject line: “This Isn’t Meant to Scare You.” I figured I’d share it with you:
Friend –

Megan Allen is a fifth-grade teacher in Tampa, Florida. At her elementary school, 90 percent of the students qualify for free or reduced lunch.

Many live in poverty, with unstable home lives — some have parents in prison, others go hungry over the weekends. But at school, they’re winning science fairs, challenging themselves, and eating two hot meals a day.

For Megan’s 36 fifth graders, school is a safe place. The budget cuts known as the sequester could change that.

Brian Leiter

The Brian Leiter weirdness is dying down, but I might as well put a link up to the Paul Campos summary.

Why I was interested is summed up here:
[...] Anonymity is, and always is, a social norm. There is no plausible context in which anonymity exists without social norms that support the respect of it. There is nothing unique or unusual about internet anonymity in this regard. The expression here suggests that any attempt to promote or maintain a norm of respecting anonymity on the internet is pointless, because it’s not capable of being technologically guaranteed. But again: the lesson here wouldn’t be to give up on anonymity on the internet, but to give up on anonymity in any social context in which its valued, for any reason, because of the possibility of breach.

In the real world of the internet, of course, anonymity is alive and well. Millions of people participate in it as a social practice, and a vanishingly small number of them have their anonymity breached. The norm is reasonably well supported most of the time. Norms retain value when they’re generally honored; no norm is universally respected in all cases but that doesn’t vitiate their value. That’s why Leiter’s behavior should be interpreted as a threat to anyone who values this norm, and why it’s important to push back against this kind of behavior. Norms retain their value and power when there are costs for violating them; costs Leiter has so far successfully avoided.
Brian Leiter wrote a letter to a guy's bosses - including all his contact information in a blog post - for "insolence". Can you beat that?

Monday, March 11, 2013

Shut the Hell Up About What We Think

Preston Manning, one of the godfathers of Canadian conservatism:
But if the breadth and depth of this coalition is its strength, what is its weakness, its Achilles heel, its greatest vulnerability? Is not its greatest weakness intemperate and ill-considered remarks by those who hold these positions deeply but in fits of carelessness or zealousness say things that discredit the family as a whole, in particular, conservative governments, parties, and campaigns? Two recent examples from Alberta:
A derogatory reference to homosexuals by a social conservative candidate, made in the past but dredged up during the recent provincial election to derail the Wildrose campaign in that province.

A questionable comment by a prominent libertarian and a good friend of mine, which seemed to imply that the freedom of an individual to view child pornography had no serious consequences for others.
A genuinely free society and the broad conservative movement itself may tolerate such comments out of our commitment to free speech, and employ free speech to qualify, mitigate,counter, or denounce such comments. But at the same time, in an era of intense partisan competition and “gotcha journalism” conservative governments, parties, and campaigns simply cannot afford to be blindsided and discredited by these incidents when the individuals involved are clearly identified with those governments, parties, and campaigns.
Don't think about it
Well all you've got to do is, do it
Well don't talk about it
All you do is do it, do it
Don't lie about it
Do it, do it
Write about it honey
Then we'll just do it

Ballroom

A while ago I was confused by something.

I think Boing Boing clears it up:
Mention the word "voguing" to people, and generally their first reaction will be "strike a pose, there's nothing to it". A dance fad made popular by Madonna in the early Nineties but invented in the New York City gay underground years before, voguing faded into obscurity as quickly as it popped into the mainstream. It's good for nostalgic giggles, though: we've all seen that clip of "Vogue Boy" voguing in a shopping mall. But what if I were to tell you—like a big, gay Morpheus—that vogue was not a short-lived fad? Voguing is now part of a complex, diverse, fully-formed and constantly evolving underground culture called ballroom.
To be clear, "ballroom" takes it name from the venues in which the "ball" events take place, and is not to be confused with the "strictly" kind of ballroom. Like hip hop, ballroom encompasses many different elements of artistic expression, from music and language to clothes and design, and, of course, dance. It deals directly with some of society's most controversial issues, namely sexuality, race, class, gender roles and expression, beauty modes, self-definition and competition. It doesn't do this in the polemical style we may be used to from punk and political hip-hop, however, where topics are theorised and discussed. In ballroom these issues are lived and experienced, as a vast number of those taking part in this underground scene are transgender, working class, people of colour.

Ballroom includes society's most marginalised: minorities within minorities within minorities, for whom voguing and ballroom culture is an important resource. In a world where they have been rejected, ballroom not only accepts these people for who they are, it celebrates them, in a variety of unique and different categories. The competitive, prize-winning aspect of ballroom gives some participants a sense of worth lacking in the "real" world (not to mention money), and the familial structure of the "houses"—mother, father, sister, brother—often acts as a real surrogate, as many in this world have been disowned by their biological families.
Here, voguing is not just a dance, and ballroom is not just a genre. It's a way of life that brings pride, peer recognition and self-respect. The genre of music is one thing, but the culture which surrounds it is another; and both are intricately tied into one another.
Much much more at the link.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Tic

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Instant Crappy XML in TextWrangler with Applescript

One of the things I've been thinking about recently is JanusNode-style output in Quartz Composer, so that, I dunno, streams of nonsense can come out of goatse's ass or something. The JanusNode comes with a whole bunch of ready-made material in text files, so it'd save a whole lot of work if we could get those into QC.

QC will do a lot of stuff, but one of the things it won't do without massaging is get the contents of a text file. There are third-party plugins out there that'll do such things, but I like being able to export to a movie that'll play in Quicktime 7: from there those will render to honest-to-god video instead of remaining a collection of widgets executing graphical instructions in a proprietary environment.

XML files, as opposed to text files, are a different matter; .dae files are just big XML files and that annoying Mac screensaver that displays RSS feeds is parsing the same kind of thing. I know nearly nothing about XML, but it seems to me that the XML desired by QC is pretty damned dumb, and this works in an otherwise blank file:

<XML>
     <words>
          <data>goatse</data>
     </words>
     <words>
          <data>pygmy goat</data>
     </words>
</XML>


From there it's not a problem to get QC to choose between the two items, because it can count the amount of "words" tags and get what's in the "data" tags (or whatever other tag you wanna specify at that third level) according to some number-choosing operation: which would you like?

The problem here is that some of these lists are long. Like this one:



There are about 7000 lines in that file, many of them varieties of zombie.

Fortunately, though, that screenshot is of wonderful Mac freebie TextWrangler, and it can do shit, like crazy grep replacements across multiple files. First I thought I could be a smarty-pants and write one grep for a whole file, but I'm not that good, so I broke it up. If you do a find for "^.*$" and replace that result with "\t<words>\r\t\t\t<data>&</data>\r\t</words>" then every line in the file gets wrapped in the "words" and "data" tags and appropriately indented.



And, quite wonderfully, TextWrangler can save that search pattern in the little g-for-grep drop-down menu on the right and reapply it to anything you wanna deal with in future.

Then, since going to the start and end of a file and typing a few characters is backbreaking labour worthy only of the salt mines, you add saved find/replaces like so: find "\A^" and replace with "<XML>\r&", then find "\Z$" and replace with "&\r</XML>" and voila, list to XML file in three steps.

But wait! You say you are as unskilled as I am and EVEN LAZIER? Why then you use AppleScript, you lazy person, and you can use TextWrangler's capabilities to keep a script in the script menu, making it a one-step process. This last thing is a pain in the ass to get running in a satisfactory manner, thus this post for slugabeds everywhere. Who have Macs. And TextWrangler. And want to make word lists into XML files. Hello, possible person who may be me forgetting something! Remember to be less boring.

With a little bit of cribbing from this post and snippets of a script recorded within TextWrangler, I managed this very satisfying piece of work:

tell application "TextWrangler"
activate

replace "^.*$" using "\\t<words>\\r\\t\\t\\t<data>&</data>\\r\\t</words>" searching in document 1 options {search mode:grep, starting at top:true, wrap around:false, backwards:false, case sensitive:false, match words:false, extend selection:false, showing results:no} saving no

replace "\\A^" using "<XML>\\r&" searching in document 1 options {search mode:grep, starting at top:true, wrap around:false, backwards:false, case sensitive:false, match words:false, extend selection:false, showing results:no} saving no

replace "\\Z$" using "&\\r</XML>" searching in document 1 options {search mode:grep, starting at top:true, wrap around:false, backwards:false, case sensitive:false, match words:false, extend selection:false, showing results:no} saving no
end tell


And now that script (note the double-slashes in the AppleScript grep) lives in here in TextWrangler and works fine:





I might make it a drag-and-drop converter thing later if HEY IF I UPGRADE I GET PONIES.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Embarrassments

Michael Walsh:
Thanks to Kevin for his observations and conclusions regarding Senator Rand Paul’s filibuster. Needless to say, I am squarely in the Williamson camp on this one: The notion that a president of the United States could authorize the assassination of a fellow citizen on his own toot, with no judicial scrutiny or due process, ought to be repugnant to every American. It simply cannot be countenanced.

For my money, though, the best part of Paul’s marathon was the rage it’s engendered in the breasts of Senators McCain and Graham, who were merrily dining with McCain’s 2008 opponent while Paul was defending liberty and the Constitution. It’s long past time for McCain to step off the national stage. His graceless insulting of Paul, Senator Ted Cruz and Representative Justin Amash as “wacko birds” shows what an embarrassment he has become to the GOP [...]
Here's to the purge.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Happy International Women's Day

It turns out tomorrow is International Women's Day, which is a special time on the internet, as it was built, is operated, and is entirely populated by men. Given this it's entirely possible that passing individuals may have no experience whatsoever with Women, we at Substance Labs™ have assembled a Woman-Building Kit™, with which you may assemble the upper portion of a representative Woman and begin to know and understand the mysterious creatures who may one day stare at you in bafflement and disgust as you begin to explain what exactly it is you DO with the internet.

Here then are representative pieces of Women culled from an exhaustive search of all available materials* and placed here for your assembling pleasure. Note that Women do not have ears and in many cases are missing their right eyes, which in their shame they conceal with flowing hair.



*The first ten results of a search for the word "Woman".

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Stompin' Tom Connors Lives

Goodbye:
Hello friends,

I want all my fans, past, present, or future, to know that without you, there would have not been any Stompin' Tom.

It was a long hard bumpy road, but this great country kept me inspired with its beauty, character, and spirit, driving me to keep marching on and devoted to sing about its people and places that make Canada the greatest country in the world.

I must now pass the torch, to all of you, to help keep the Maple Leaf flying high, and be the Patriot Canada needs now and in the future.

I humbly thank you all, one last time, for allowing me in your homes, I hope I continue to bring a little bit of cheer into your lives from the work I have done.

Sincerely,

Your Friend always,

Stompin' Tom Connors
Here's something I wrote a while ago:

__________________

Here is a man who looks and sounds a little like Popeye playing plain white country music. He's never had a great band or decent arrangements, but delivers song after song about working-class Canada with the same kind of verve and sincerity of Wilf Carter. Here's a song about getting smashed after working in a nickel mine:



Here's another about a daring man who delivers potatoes from one place to another AND SPEEDS:



I can't see too many reasons for those outside Canada to care about the man's contribution to song, but within the country he was a baffling anomaly: someone who gave enough of a shit about where he lived to write about it. Growing up I mostly heard fantasies about bigger things on the radio, the songs were of American cities and girls whether the bands were Canadian or not. It still sounds weird that he'd write about Big Joe Mufferaw - Paul Bunyan was a ripoff you Yankee bastards! - or a classy tomato from fucking LEAMINGTON. Go on, search the lyrics databases for Leamington. I dare you. And see if you can replicate the sick-making steel-guitar solo that ends that song like a mistimed punchline.

Tom's something of a cranky prick, constantly pissed off at the government for not supporting Canadian artists and at Canadian artists for following the money south. But he's Stompin' Tom, and he fucking stomps the shit out of the floor - a feature in the recordings - while he's singing about hockey and snowmobiles and tobacco picking and uranium mining.

Beats Loverboy.

Head

This pinhead was made in Makehuman, its body deleted and the mesh simplified in Meshlab, but neither of these generates a .dae that Quartz Composer will understand. So it's in and out of SketchUp, which has recently left the evil Google empire. (Why does it keep asking for access to my contacts list? ACCESS DENIED.) Once into Quartz Composer there's a pretty nifty filter that introduces noise to meshes, and somewhat like Ann here you can make him get scarier according to an audio signal's volume. In his case, export to the GIMP and subsequent reduction to eight indexed colours doesn't really reduce the effect all that much. Looks much cooler live though.

pinhead

As well there's an interesting and weird freebie called Sculptris that'll start you off with the digital equivalent of a ball of clay which you can then crease and pinch into horrifying proto-octopoidal shapes. Their site'll make you give them an email to download it, but I got a probably outdated alpha here.

With it I made deformed poultry.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Largely in Compliance

Friends don't let friends spend money on the University of Phoenix:
The University of Phoenix expects to be placed on probation by its accreditor this spring, the university's parent corporation announced on Monday.

The proprietary college, which enrolls students both online and at more than 100 campuses across the country, is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, one of the nation's six regional accrediting organizations.

The university's owner, the Apollo Group Inc., made the announcement in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, saying that a team of reviewers from the Higher Learning Commission had concluded that the university had insufficient autonomy from its corporate parent.

Aside from the governance issue, the university was largely in compliance with the accreditor's standards, the filing said, though a draft report from the accrediting team also raised concerns about graduation and retention rates, assessing student learning, and the university's reliance on federal student aid, among other things.
Mind you AIU has happy grads...

That's BUSH Discipline

Item:
Former Florida governor Jeb Bush continued to fend off speculation about his 2016 presidential prospects this morning, saying that he hasn’t decided whether he’ll run and won’t for at least another couple years.

“I’ve decided not to think about it for a while, and I have the discipline to do that,” Bush told CBS’s Charlie Rose [...]

Monday, March 4, 2013

The First Time

News of the Godly*:
Cardinals were treated like rock stars as they entered the Vatican on Monday morning, with television crews swarming around the red-capped churchmen and their handlers pushing their way through the crowds.

"A Latin American Pope is possible, everything is possible!" said Portuguese Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins as he entered.

The core agenda item is to set the date for the conclave and set in place procedures to prepare for it, including closing the Sistine Chapel to visitors and getting the Vatican hotel cleared out and de-bugged, lest anyone try to listen in on the secret conversations of the cardinals.

But a date may not be agreed upon Monday as the dean of the College of Cardinals, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, has said the date won't be finalized until all cardinals have arrived in Rome.

The first day of discussion was again rocked by revelations of scandal, with Scottish Cardinal Keith O'Brien admitting that he had engaged in sexual misconduct not befitting a priest, archbishop or cardinal.

O'Brien last week resigned as archbishop of St. Andrews and Edinburgh and said he wouldn't participate in the conclave after four men came forward with allegations that he had acted inappropriately with them — the first time a cardinal has stayed away from a conclave because of personal scandal.
You never forget your first time.

*Phrase stolen from Harry Shearer.

Straighten Up and Lie Right

Arthur C. Brooks:
If Republicans and conservatives double down on the promotion of economic growth, job creation and traditional values, Americans might turn away from softheaded concerns about "caring." Right?

Wrong. As New York University social psychologist Jonathan Haidt has shown in his research on 132,000 Americans, care for the vulnerable is a universal moral concern in the U.S. In his best-selling 2012 book "The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion," Mr. Haidt demonstrated that citizens across the political spectrum place a great importance on taking care of those in need and avoiding harm to the weak. By contrast, moral values such as sexual purity and respect for authority—to which conservative politicians often give greater emphasis—resonate deeply with only a minority of the population. Raw money arguments, e.g., about the dire effects of the country's growing entitlement spending, don't register morally at all.

Conservatives are fighting a losing battle of moral arithmetic. They hand an argument with virtually 100% public support — care for the vulnerable — to progressives, and focus instead on materialistic concerns and minority moral viewpoints.

The irony is maddening. America's poor people have been saddled with generations of disastrous progressive policy results, from welfare-induced dependency to failing schools that continue to trap millions of children.

[...]

By making the vulnerable a primary focus, conservatives will be better able to confront some common blind spots. Corporate cronyism should be decried as every bit as noxious as statism, because it unfairly rewards the powerful and well-connected at the expense of ordinary citizens. Entrepreneurship should not to be extolled as a path to accumulating wealth but as a celebration of everyday men and women who want to build their own lives, whether they start a business and make a lot of money or not. And conservatives should instinctively welcome the immigrants who want to earn their success in America.
Compassionate conservatism: an idea whose time has come.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

More Timewasting

Quartz Composer has an irritating problem: 3D meshes don't exist nicely alongside its 2D display elements, so you gotta do workarounds involving Render in Image. The QC sites seem to be of the opinion that Apple's just not bothering with it any more...but Applescript still exists and god knows they've let that languish before.

Anyway, now that the 3D issue's workable, though, other tools that are easier to operate than Blender can come into play.

One's the open-source Meshlab, which I am capitalizing because fuck lower-case. It makes 3D objects quickly and easily, although some of the menus stretch past the bottom of my laptop's screen and are thus unusable. Open source! Also the .dae files it makes don't seem to get read by Quartz Composer so I run them through SketchUp first, which exports a nicer .dae. It's faster than it sounds.

Another pretty easy thing to work with is Makehuman, which I haven't done anything with. That I can show in public. It has a genitalia slider control!

Anyway, here:

tetrahedrons

Money Troubles

Me: All right, count it up. What do you have?
The Lovely Daughter: Sixty-six cents. That's a lot of money!
M: It's not very much money.
TLD: So could we get something big or something small?
M: It'd have to be small. Really small.
TLD: WAAAAHHH! How could you do this to me?
M: I'm not doing this to you. I haven't done anything. That's your money that you counted.
TLD: WAAAAHHH! The money is bullying me!

EXTRA-SUBTLE BONUS DIALOGUE:

TLD: Have you got any money?
M: Yeah, I have some.
TLD: I want to spend it.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Anecdata

Switzerland:
At least four people were killed and six injured in Wednesday's shooting incident at a timber processing plant in the village of Menznau outside Lucerne, police have confirmed.

The gunman, a 42-year-old Swiss who had been with the Kronospan company for more than 15 years, is among the dead. He used a pistol and reportedly shot himself.

The suspect fired a Sphinx AT 380, which is not an army-issue gun, Lucerne police said on Thursday. It is still unclear how he came into the possession of the pistol and whether he legally owned the weapon.
The Sphinx is a Swiss-built gun.

Jesus Christ

Coming to the back seat of a patrol car near you.



Or maybe the front seat.

Also fuck that brightcove embed code.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Timewasting While Sick

I have an amusing croak going on. This gives me time to notice that a black-and-white PNG sequence imported into the GIMP makes a much smaller image than black-and-white JPG sequences.

Which is good, because this has 384 layers.

Checkers