Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Legal to Park

Willamette Week has a story on pocket bikes, and it includes a chart showing which laws apply to which vehicles, whether you have to wear a helmet, etc. The part that cracked me up is where the category says "Sidewalk Parking OK?" and for "skateboards" it says "Yes." Who the heck parks a skateboard? Wouldn't it be easier to carry it with you? "Sorry I was late, I couldn't find a parking place for my skateboard!"

More Palm OS Fun

Hold 'Em is a great version of Texas Hold 'Em Poker. HandMap is great for travel, and it can search for street intersections and show you where you are. Flight Status shows you flight arrival/departure times. It requires Internet access, so it is good for devices like the Treo 600.

Monday, September 27, 2004

Growing Gap Between Sense And Nonsense

The U.S. Census Bureau tracks statistics on poverty. They show that the 12.5% poverty rate in 2003 was lower than during any of the years from 1980-1998. The poverty rate did go up from 1999 to 2003, but by less than one percent. So why do we hear so much gloom and doom in the media?

Kevin at WizBang shows how a misleading analysis can make good economic news sound bad. As part of an article with the ominous title As Income Gap Widens, Uncertainty Spreads, the Washington Post compares 1967 data with 2003 data and worries over the fact that there are "more high earners but . . . fewer in the middle."

Why phrase it in terms of an income "gap" and "fewer in the middle?" If things are so bad, why not simply say "the poor make up a larger percentage of Americans now than in 1967"? They can't say that because that is false. The data shows that the percentage of poor people went down over this period, from 14.2% to 12.5%. So they have to invent a different way to scare us.

"Fewer in the middle" sounds scary, but the data in the Post story shows that the middle is disappearing upwards. If people in the middle got richer and moved up into one of the higher groups, while at the same time the percentage of poor people went down, that sounds like on the whole, people are better off than before.

Another trick the media sometimes uses to scare us is to talk about absolute numbers instead of percentages. The number of poor people went up from 27.7 million to 35.8 million from 1967 to 2003, because the population increased. Remember, the percent of poor people went down. With a growing population, there will tend to be more of everything: more poor people, but also more rich people.

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Cage Fighting in Portland

The Oregonian reports that Portland will have a Cage fighting event today called Bikes, Babes & Brawls:

Between 3,000 and 6,000 people are expected to gather outside the Safari Showclub to watch men get into bloody "ultimate-fighting" battles in a cage.

In fact, everything will revolve around the cage. Motorcycle acrobats will jump over it. Heavy-metal bands will perform in it. Women in skimpy bikinis will wash motorcycles and breathe fire (yes, fire) near it. Booze will surround it.

I found a poster for the event online, but the poster appears to say Pro Gage Fighting. That sure looks like a G and not a C. They should call it Bikes, Babes & Brawls, But Not Spelling Bees. The Ogre-Onion continues with some words of wisdom from the club manager:

"When you're dealing with cage-fight enthusiasts, and you pour liquor into them, you need to have adequate security."

Hmm, good thinking. Then a neighbor poses this question:
"People are going to drive by and see what's happening," she said. "How do you explain to your child why there are nearly naked women out there washing bikes and men fighting in cages?"

I don't see why that's so hard to explain. Here are some suggested phrases for confused parents:
  • Those are motorcycles. Those women are washing them because they are dirty. They are wearing bikinis so they don't get their clothes all wet and soapy. Those guys are fighting in a competition. Sport fighting has been around throughout human history, and continues to enjoy popularity today in such forms as Boxing, Wrestling, Judo, Tae Kwan Do, and Fencing, all of which are featured in the Olympic Games. Other types like Sumo, Kickboxing, and Cage Fighting are not in the Olympics, but could be someday if the Olympics need a ratings boost.
  • Honey, this is just like a Reality TV show, but without the cameras.
  • When people grow up and become adults, some of them want to watch cage fights, motorcycles and fire-breathing strippers. It's perfectly natural, just like erosion.
  • If you study hard and get good grades, I'll take you to see the cage fights next year.
  • If you eat your spinach and work out, you can compete in the cage fights some day.

Friday, September 24, 2004

Corporate Salary Caps

It would be funny if corporations had Salary Caps like some sports leagues do. It would help small-market corporations to be competitive with the bigger, more successful ones. And we would get to read news stories that say things like: "Motorola named a new CEO this week, but they had to transfer 2 VP's to Citigroup to stay under the salary cap."

Eux Autres

These lyrics are stuck in my head:
The other girls tell me that
You don't love me
You think I'm declasse
I should wash my hair

-- Other Girls, by Eux Autres

Maybe it's because I've never heard the word "declasse" in a song before.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

F-ing Story Contest

The Rogue Angel is having a story contest where the object is to use the F-word as often as possible in a story of 250 words or less. I've submitted my entry. Go give it a try.

You Can't Handle It

My girlfriend is a lawyer, so tonight I asked her if she has ever said, in court, "The truth? You can't handle the truth!!" She hasn't, so I dared her to do it. Somehow I don't think it will happen, though. It's too bad. That would be hilarious.

Saturday, September 18, 2004

Fall Party Quotes

Summer is over, so I can no longer add to the Summer Party Quotes. It's time to begin a new Fall collection:

"She has this theory that dolphins are from another planet and they are trying to communicate with us." "Oh, so all this time, they've been trying to tell us about their technology and interstellar travel and how to cure cancer, but we thought they were just hungry and threw them a fish!"

"That's not necessarily inappropriate -- I mean, one person's pornography is another person's . . . " ". . . another person's textbook?"

"Would you like to try some of my young wife's puddin'? [Points to dessert]" "Don't say things like that while I'm drinking, or I'll spit coffee all over both of you."

"Would you ever go to Jamaica?" "I'd rather go to Jamoca, the Island of Coffee-flavored Ice Cream."

"You want a good physical connection, but then you also want a good emotional connection." "Yeah, but most important is a good Internet connection!"

"I bet everyone hoping for an Oscar this year is glad there is no Peter Jackson movie." "But they might sneak one in at the last minute . . ."

"Have you ever had DSL?" "No, but I've had LSD."

The Simulator

Me (to girlfriend): "Let me simulate for you what it would be like if we had kids . . ."

Me (holding head and shrieking): "GWAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!"

Me: " . . . except it would last for hours and hours."

Her: "I already know that. That's why we don't have kids."

Me: "Didn't you enjoy my simulation?"

Her: "No."

Blog Quotes Of Note 2

A youngish guy is in the hotel right now and was asking her what there was to do around the amazing metropolis of Horn Lake. I don't remember what was said, but he jokingly made the statement that apparently he was asking the wrong person, as she didn't seem to know what to do for fun. Her response was, "if you had seen the videos me and my friends made while we were at the Marine base in North Carolina, you wouldn't say we didn't know how to have any fun." --Crankydragon
And if that hotel were really committed to customer service, those videos would be available as in-room pay-per-view.
I have indirectly licked the remnants of a mosquito. -- Head wide open
It seems as though one of these roadkill deer carcasses was turned into a lovely lined leather jacket that was worn by Joe's brother, then passed down to Joe, then eventually co-opted by me. -- The Random Muse
Chechen Rebel Grimly Vows More Attacks -- headline, The New York Times
Well, I guess that's slightly preferable to "Chechen Rebel Cheerfully Vows More Attacks."
I would have had to yell to the Fiery One from the bathroom oh, Fiery One, I am getting sluttier by the second in here! Do you know what a whore I am becoming?, and then I would have run around in the parks, trying to scrape the arms of small children with my leg stubble. It would have been awful. And the police would have had to come up with weird new laws just to deal with me. There would be strictly enforced leg-waxings funded by the state to keep me from using my stubble as a weapon against the weak. The Fiery One would leave me, unable to deal with my obsession with my own sluttiness. Life would have been a nightmare. -- Schmutzie
Even if your computer has been invaded by evil ad software that you never requested for the third time in a week, do not go too crazy deleting things. That SYSTEM.INI file is kinda important. -- A Picture Of Me
Getting married is so lame now; we totally had the idea first. -- Izzle pfaff!
I almost rear-ended about 5 people who cut me off, which is an all time low for lunch rush traffic down near the Strip. -- Deviant Dawl
I want an iPod flask mod.
Two shots of whatever slakes your fancy
sealed neatly alongside the innards of a modified iPod. -- TheyBlinked

Wednesday, September 15, 2004


Where would these doors lead, if they were real? Seen in Northwest Portland. Posted by Hello

Monday, September 13, 2004

Blog Quotes of Note

"When the sidewalk guitar busker gets a sound system, your neighborhood no longer qualifies as gritty." - Mighty Girl

"We giggle at the Peruvian Guinea Pigs, which look remarkably like Tribbles." - Birgit

"During this period I will be sunning myself on the beautiful island of Menorca. Please feel free to email me during this time and say how amazing I am." - The Whiskey Priest

"Have you ever dreamt so little, that nothing seems fake anymore?" - Soul of a Pirate

"The heat is so dense I could probably reach up and tear it off in strips. At 11pm I go out on the balcony with a beer and a half pack of cigarettes, and stare up at the sky as if the sky just said something stupid." - Gregor

"If you find an error on this site, I will send to you via PayPal one whole, green, American dollar. 1USD. 4 quarters. 10 dimes. 100 pennies. It's just that easy for you to make a dollar. [ . . . ] Don't be a nitpicker. Besides, I reserve the right to use poor grammar if I think it sounds better." - Joel

"All right, I'm so excited. I got people to comment on my blog. I guess it's like oral sex: if you give, you're more likely to get." - Aeusoes1

"It is eerie to see her face in the sword, among so many other countless vampires. It is my belief that Dawn's soul is somehow trapped inside the sword. But I do not understand the sword. 'Maybe Dawn has a cell phone with her inside the sword,' Kristin said." - Vampire Journal

"I looked her up on google and at 3:35 pm on September 5th 2004 added 'nude' to the search. Before I knew it I was downloading spyware against my will. " - Aeusoes1

"i've never seen a scarecrow that looked good in a pair of overalls." - J

"I've always been a great admirer of my work. I've also been quite of a loner. I suspect the two things may be connected." - spluttermonkey

Apparently Chicken is a Vegetable

Today the local Indian food stand listed their Vegetarian Lunch Combo as including Chicken Curry and Tandoori Chicken. It was bad enough when ketchup was a vegetable, but now chicken, too?Posted by Hello

Saturday, September 11, 2004

End User License Agreement

By clicking below you agree to abide
By the river in a tin shack five feet wide

You agree to cast shadows on a bright spring day
And to look much smaller when you're very far away

You will post no bills, you will jump no claim
You will think that khaki and tan are the same

You agree not to sue or complain if you're sued
You agree with the clauses we forgot to include

The product may work as described herein
Or it may run amok with a villainous grin

It could deal with you fairly or it just might cheat
It could walk across your carpet with muddy little feet

We make no warranty expressed or implied
Refund requests will be denied

But on the contrary, notwithstanding
Lack of a warranty, we're demanding

You surrender all your rights
And recite this contract twice each night

Friday, September 10, 2004

What Politicians Do

"Politicians are doing what politicians do. I liken it to when you go to the zoo, and the monkeys are sitting in there jerking off and throwing their s---. And you just gotta go, 'Well, they're monkeys.' But you can yell at the media and go, 'You know, your job is to tell them when they're being bad monkeys.'"

-- John Stewart, quoted in the Sept 17, 2004 issue of Entertainment Weekly

Thursday, September 09, 2004

One To Remember

KINGSTON, Jamaica (Reuters) - Half a million Jamaicans were urged to leave their homes in low-lying areas on Thursday as ferocious Hurricane Ivan swept nearer with 150-mph (240-kph) winds after a deadly charge through the Caribbean.

Guess where my brother is, right now, on his honeymoon. That's right, he is in Jamaica. He says that the hotel they are in has a reinforced underground storm shelter. I guess that's where they will be spending the night. I hope he will be safe there. But after the hurricane, how will he get home? Will there still be an airport left to fly from?

Mysterious White Dust Sprayed In Hillsdale

A strange thing happened on my way home from work. A truck drove by spraying some sort of white powder all over the place. This caused a traffic jam because drivers could not see through the dust cloud. At first I thought it was smoke, but it was definitely a powder, because some of it was left behind on the road surface. What was this stuff? Pixie dust? Pre-election mind control powder? Or did the road just need some talcum powder to prevent chafing? Posted by Hello

Monday, September 06, 2004

All Wet

The champagne hit the ceiling of the limousine and splashed back down on everyone. Bridesmaids squealed and leaned away like falling dominoes. I leaned away too; it was too late to do any good, like body english applied long after the frisbee is headed for the roof. Seconds earlier, the "don't open that in here" faction had finally lost their spirited debate with the "come on, we need champagne!" crowd.

Sunday, September 05, 2004

Transportation solutions

The latest technology for urban transportation is the teeter-totter uniwheel board. Shown here with half non-slip / half grass deck and optional bull horns, the board is perfect for commuting. Art in the Pearl.Posted by Hello

Pirate Pottery

For all your pirate-themed pottery needs, shop piratepots. Seen at Art in the Pearl 2004. Posted by Hello


If lovin' dorks is wrong, I don't wanna be right . . .

Seen at Art in the Pearl 2004. (This festival-goer's shirt says "I [heart symbol] dorks.") Posted by Hello

Friday, September 03, 2004

At the Wedding Rehearsal

"Who is that other priest?" "Oh, that's just the stunt double."

(My brother is getting married tomorrow.)

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Nicole: They have those church things everywhere, don't they?

Brandon: What church things?

Nicole: What is it called, a mosque or something? They're on every corner. It's like Starbucks here.

- The Amazing Race

Feel The Strangeness

This large poster in the window of a shop downtown says only: FEEL THE DIFFERENCE!

The picture shows a woman wearing a tank top and bikini bottoms. There is no other information. It is an advertisement for some mysterious product. On closer examination, the woman's bikini bottoms have a pattern of flames on them. So every time I walk by this, I think to myself: FEEL THE DIFFERENCE . . . SET YOUR PANTS ON FIRE!

Or maybe the flame pattern is supposed to be symbolic, indicating that she is a liar. (Feel the difference . . . lie!)

Update: I found out this is an ad for tanning beds.Posted by Hello