Betsy Devine: Funny ha-ha and/or funny peculiar

Making trouble today for a better tomorrow…

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Entries from May 2005

Morality versus “Polka for the folk along the parapets…”

May 31st, 2005 · 1 Comment

If a song is playing and re-playing in your head, is it immoral to sing it for somebody else? Is it still immoral if you like the song replaying in your head?

OK, probably immoral, but here are my excuses for singing “Off to Massachusetts”* for Dave Winer’s podcast yesterday:

  • Few people know so many rhymes for Massachusetts.
  • When Dave’s winding road bends again toward Cambridge, this silly song could be a kind of anthem
  • I got this CD as free blog-booty from the Little Women showfolk.
  • It’s just the kind of song you feel like singing to serenade your scrambled eggs in any random hotel breakfast room.

Are songs contagious just from the lyrics alone? If you dare, read on for a small sample…

If you say “Come with me,
off to Massachusetts,”
Then to Massachusetts we will go
We will buy dishes there, maybe even two sets,
Buy the finest china then we’ll dine a while on Crepes Suzettes…

We will build model boats,
off in Massachusetts,
There in Massachusetts,
By the bay.
Put them together and
Wait until the glue sets
While we wait we’ll polka
For the folk along the parapets…

* “Off to Massachusetts” is a duet for Beth and Mr. March in Little Women: The Musical — You can play a small sample from
the Amazon page for the Little Women CD Amazon’s sample will give you a much better idea than my acappella rendition for Dave, but it’s also more likely to get stuck inside your own head.

Tags: Life, the universe, and everything

Dinner with Davocrates?

May 30th, 2005 · Comments Off on Dinner with Davocrates?

Davocrates: Statue of Socrates with Dave Winer's head on top. Dateline, Monday May 31: Dave Winer is back in Cambridge — can we get a blog dinner going tonight?

Don’t just hang out in your blogcave watching the flickering shadows?

Glaucon You have shown me a strange image, and they are strange prisoners.

Socrates Like ourselves, I replied; and they see only their own shadows, or the shadows of one another, which the fire throws on the opposite wall of the cave?

Glaucon True, he said; how could they see anything but the shadows if they were never allowed to move their heads?

Socrates And of the objects which are being carried in like manner they would only see the shadows?

Glaucon Yes, he said.

Socrates And if they were able to converse with one another, would they not suppose that they were naming what was actually before them?…To them, I said, the truth would be literally nothing but the shadows of the images.

My bad, after breakfast with Dave (including my first ever Podcast), I discover that he’d got the dinner hour scheduled for Chris Lydon’s show.

Just goes to show I need to get out of my cave more often…

Tags: Metablogging

Ultimate h2g2 computer nerd joke

May 27th, 2005 · Comments Off on Ultimate h2g2 computer nerd joke

How would you describe Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy?

  1. A book by Douglas Adams
  2. A TV show with Simon Jones
  3. A movie with Zooey Deschanel
  4. A book playing major roles in all the above
  5. The ultimate in Graphical User Interfaces

If you picked #5, you agree with the ticket printers at Fresh Pond Cinema…

hitchhikersGui: Movie ticket stub says "HITCHHIKERS GUI"

Tags: ,

Tags: Life, the universe, and everything

There are no blogs or bloggers at LiveJournal

May 26th, 2005 · Comments Off on There are no blogs or bloggers at LiveJournal

I just signed up for my own LiveJournal blog. I love the helpful spelling corrections it offers:

bloggers — LiveJournal thinks this is a misspelling and suggests
loggers, floggers, blockers, logger’s, blokes, flogger’s, baggers, blocker’s, buggers, luggers, blowers, bilges, bloke’s, bloaters, bloomers, bloopers, blotters, braggers, sluggers

blogs — Another spelling mistake! LiveJournal suggests
blocs, bloc’s, blocks, blokes, bogs, logs, bilges, biogs, blows, blobs, blots, clogs, flogs, slogs, Belg’s, bulges, belongs, bilks, Borgs, belugas, bog’s, bogus, bolos, log’s, loges, logos, bongs, balks, bolas, boles, bolls, bolus, bulks, bolds, bolts, Bliss, belows, blahs, bliss, blouse, bolo’s, befogs, blips, bloats, blob’s, block’s, bloke’s, bloods, blooms, bloops, blot’s, bowlegs, brigs, clog’s

Why did I sign up for one? You can’t comment on someone else’s LiveJournal blog if you don’t have your own.

Besides, we truly dedicated floggers can never really have too many belugas…

Tags: Metablogging


May 26th, 2005 · Comments Off on boxster

Porsche Boxster accelerates–based on art in Physics for Game Programmers

Tags: Old Site

For more satisfying VROOM! CRASH! and KABLOOIE!

May 26th, 2005 · Comments Off on For more satisfying VROOM! CRASH! and KABLOOIE!

BoxsterAnim: Zooming red Porsche Boxster, based on art from Physics for Game Programmers

Action movie directors have a huge advantage over game designers on creating realistic wham, pow, boom, and splatter. That’s because Mother Nature pumps out free supplies of real physics all over the planet. You want earth’s gravity, blood’s viscosity, or Newton’s three laws? In the real world, you’ve got them!

But in a game world, no force pulls objects down toward the bottom of the screen unless somebody has programmed fake gravity in.

Even if you’re not a game designer there’s a lot of enjoyable physics in the free sample online chapter of
Physics for Game Programmers
(ISBN 1-59059-472-X)

  • When two cars collide, what fraction of the collision is inelastic?
  • How do you figure out a tire’s characteristics from the letters and numbers on its side?
  • What’s the difference between tires rolling and skidding?
  • How do you compute a car’s top speed from its “redline”?

Sadly, the top speed of the 2004 Porsche Boxster S is “only” 266 km/hr, almost 30 km/hr below its theoretical maximum, “because the car is also subject to the
decelerating forces of aerodynamic drag and rolling friction.” Ah well, real life is full of such disappointments.

If you have a physics maven on your gift list, Father’s Day is just around the corner….

I heard about this via Joey deVilla’s IndieGameDev. Mysteriously, this book is for sale online from its publisher at $44 and change but from Amazon for less than $30. I wonder what the heck the physics of that is?

Tags: Life, the universe, and everything

In ten years, will you be able to resist…

May 24th, 2005 · Comments Off on In ten years, will you be able to resist…

..reminiscing about the days before we “all” had cellphones? (Or iPods
or SMS, if you’re even younger?)

childhood memories of TV
feature Doctor
, VCR tapes, and a tuna “hot dish” with lots of noodles
stewing in Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom soup.

That brings back memories–of the tuna hot dish, that is–my mom’s
recipe was identical.

my childhood TV memories don’t include VCRs or scifi doctors. In 1952
or thereabouts, my family’s very first TV arrived–also the first TV in
our neighborhood. My favorite show featured cowboy Gabby

and Quaker cereals–“They’re shot from guns!” Gabby ended each show by
firing a cannon-full of puffed wheat at the camera. I was just about
six–and not only would I obey his warning to “Stand back away from your televisionary set”,
but we four Devine kids would hide behind couches and chairs as soon as
Gabby wheeled his cannon out.

A bit later in my TV-watching career, I was quite disappointed when Big
Brother Bob Emory announced that his show would be in color from now
on. My mom later explained that Big Brother Bob wasn’t lying, even
though his show still was still black and white. Only people who bought
a new kind of TV that showed color would see any change.

A TV set that showed color? “Who,” asked my mother, “would want to
waste money on that?”

So how did my family end up with a
color TV? Let’s just say that my dad would have loved an

Tags: Sister Age

Little Women blogger party

May 23rd, 2005 · Comments Off on Little Women blogger party

BetsySanford: Betsy Devine and Sanford Dickert in front of Celebrity deli, photo by Mary Hodder Just got home from New York City and the big blogging party after the final Broadway performance of “Little Women.” I Flickr-ed the whole thing–so did Mary Hodder.

I love Mary’s photo of me with Sanford Dickert, so Manhattan including the neon “Celebrity” meme behind us….true for Sanford at least, he was John Kerry’s blogging CTO…

Darn, my hair is so flyaway! But let’s pretend it’s somehow because of the gallons of tears I cried during all the play’s sad parts (and some of its very happy parts.)

“Blogway Baby” Suzy Conn claims she managed to stay dry-eyed right up to the curtain calls–but admits she lost it when Sutton Foster stopped the applause so that she could introduced a theater electrician about to retire after 46 years….

Thanks to Kaliya for setting this up–keep watching for their blog for news of the national tour.

Pen-Elayne Riggs has more notes and photos, as well as the best blogpost title: “Praising the electrician or someone like him.”

Tags: Metablogging

Randomly generate poetry based on your blog

May 21st, 2005 · Comments Off on Randomly generate poetry based on your blog

Ever wonder what inspiration a brilliant poet might draw from your blogpage? How about a random poetry generator? Here’s the freeverse rendition it offered for me–some expert alliteration shows up in line 4, plus of course loads of symbolism and mystery:

Jo wants to change
British pub etiquette
involved in
Motorcycling!!! Montauk Rider
International Taxman
There, After another Nobel
Prize: Imagine
my bongo playing
all Cambridge
is gray soup with
do you fill your choice
in my Back Pages
Sister Age
Betsy Devine in
their golden book
is outraged by
Betsy Devine

Thanks to PenElayne for finding this URL-to-poetry translator!

Tags: Learn to write funny

How to do everything, including bar karaoke moves for Japan

May 20th, 2005 · Comments Off on How to do everything, including bar karaoke moves for Japan

Kottke posted a funny parody how-to on different ways to order from restaurant menus. (To order a la Malcolm Gladwell, ” Glance quickly at the menu and order whatever catches your eye first. Spend no more than 2-3 seconds deciding or the quality of your choice (and your meal) will decline.”)

Here are a few of my own favorite how-tos from around the web, some of them very elaborate:

British pub etiquette
“There are strict rules of etiquette involved in attracting the attention of bar staff. The ritual procedure is best described as a sort of subtle pantomime – not the kind of children’s pantomime you see on stage at Christmas, more like an Ingmar Bergman film in which the twitch of an eyebrow speaks volumes.”
Tricks of a whole bunch of different trades
“If you have to change a light bulb where the glass is broken, you can press a potato into the metal base to unscrew the remains of the bulb from the fixture.”
How to get drunk with co-workers in Japan (multi-page with Flash movie)
“It is most important never to fill your own glass or cup. Pouring is a sign of respect or friendship…If you want to drink more but nobody pours for you, fill somebody else’s glass and he will notice.”

Tags: Life, the universe, and everything