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

Making trouble today for a better tomorrow…

Betsy Devine: Funny ha-ha and/or funny peculiar header image 2

Entries Tagged as 'Heroes and funny folks'

Amity inside Frank’s smooshed car, now minus the tree

August 17th, 2006 · Comments Off on Amity inside Frank’s smooshed car, now minus the tree

MickeyCar: Amity Wilczek in Frank Wilczek's smooshed car, August, 2006 Let it be recorded that Frank is now the proud owner of a new Honda Civic Hybrid with a navigational computer, apparently the only such car for sale anywhere in the New England area.

Thank you, Alfredo and Honda Cars of Boston, which is in Everett, but never mind.

I’d also like to immortalize Frank’s 10-minute technique for selecting a replacement car:

BETSY TO FRANK: Look, I found the car issue of Consumer Reports.

FRANK TO BETSY: (Ten minutes later) I want a Honda Civic Hybrid with a navigational computer.

BETSY TO FRANK: I have a Honda Accord Hybrid. You might want one of those, they’re a little bigger.

FRANK TO BETSY: (Genuinely puzzled why I would suggest this.) But the Honda Civic has better gas mileage. And it’s also cheaper!

So Frank drove back to NH in my Accord. A few days later, I followed him in a new Honda Civic–which does get better gas mileage.

But I’m less evolved than Frank, and I like my own car.

Tags: Heroes and funny folks

Warm heart, sharp wit: Freeman Dyson

June 6th, 2006 · Comments Off on Warm heart, sharp wit: Freeman Dyson

Freeman Dyson has a long and thoughtful essay on religion* in the latest New York Review of Books. He takes a kindly, even-handed view–here’s just one sample:

… physicist Stephen Weinberg [said]: “Good people* * will do good things, and bad people will do bad things. But for good people to do bad things—that takes religion.”

Weinberg’s statement is true as far as it goes, but it is not the whole truth. To make it the whole truth, we must add an additional clause: “And for bad people to do good things—that takes religion.”

Dyson also challenges Daniel Dennett’s claim that suicide bombers should be thrown into the balance sheet against “religion.”

Someone needs to update Godwin’s Law for the Aughties, when all the opponents of hotheads are somehow like terrrorists.

* Disclosure: IANARP (I am not a religious person), but some of my best friends are, and so are/were some of the people I most admire.

* * Bonus “people” quote. No, make that a totally gratuitous “people” quote, from Singin’ in the Rain:

Miss Lina Lamont: “People”? I ain’t “people.” I am a – “a shimmering, glowing star in the cinema firmament.”

Tags: Heroes and funny folks

Memorial Day: Remembering citizen soldiers

May 29th, 2006 · Comments Off on Memorial Day: Remembering citizen soldiers

Tags: Heroes and funny folks

Meet Guy Goma, BBC blooper-saver

May 20th, 2006 · Comments Off on Meet Guy Goma, BBC blooper-saver

GuyGoma: Guy Goma in BBC blooper--first surprise and shock, then good-humored charm

As I drank morning coffee, still half asleep, I heard Frank upstairs simply roaring with laughter at his email, which (I later discovered) included this YouTube video of live-action bloopery.

Making a
long story short, a grad student or taxi driver (I’ve seen two versions) named Guy Goma was whisked into a BBC studio where a young woman interviewer informed her live TV audience that they would now be hearing from technology expert Guy Kewney.

Guy Goma’s expression, as he hears himself thus introduced, goes from pleasant acceptance to surprise and shock at amazing speed.

But what’s more remarkable is his grace and good humor, as he responds in French-accented English (he’s from the Congo) to the interviewer, to avoid embarassing her while in front of the camera.

Being put on the spot in front of live cameras is the kind of thing that happens in nightmares. Thanks to Guy Goma, I now have a warm-hearted, dignified role model for what I ought to do next.

Tags: Heroes and funny folks

The Ookles treehouse

January 11th, 2006 · Comments Off on The Ookles treehouse

Heh. So on top of the usual holiday madness including a brand-new “baby” with Frank, I got Scott Johnson’s hilarious and impossible invitation to Ookles.

Ookles, in case you’re confused, is a project to develop a product (which won’t be named Ookles), something we’ve all sworn on our grandmothers not to describe yet.

Except to say that it’s great, which of course it is. Still, it’s just a little bit tough to blog Ookles.

Okay, how about this? Ookles (to me) is like that secret treehouse you helped to build when you were maybe ten. (Only this time nobody will fall out and fracture his coccyx. At least, not once Scott and Mike and Colin get a few more bits of it nailed together.)

And showing people how to work its rope ladder and secret compartments (once it gets built) is something I’m really, really looking forward to.

But figuring out how to blog about Ookles was hard enough that I kept on putting it off–until
Adam Kalsey scooped the story today.

See you all in the treehouse–soon I hope…

Tags: Heroes and funny folks

Christmas landscape with berries, birds, and blogfriends

December 24th, 2005 · Comments Off on Christmas landscape with berries, birds, and blogfriends

Swedish space physicist Ingrid Sandahl sent us her Christmas photo of two waxwings enjoying a shared meal of berries despite the cold, somewhere way up north of the Ice Hotel.

Frank and I are enjoying a peaceful post-Christmas, our daughters having departed together to party, our house still full of warm smells of cookies and pie. The racing around to buy, to ship, to gather, to cook, to wrap or en-stocking, is over for one more year. All is calm. I won’t clean up till tomorrow.

How lucky I feel that we’ve made it past one more Christmas–surfed the crazy, commercialized wave of meeting insanely high expectations defined as “normal.” Now that it’s past, I’m having a chance to remember the older image of Christmas (and Hanukkah), celebrating the power of both courage and hope.

I’m sending out special thanks tonight to Kalilily, Amygdala, and Niek, whose courage in coping with this particular Christmas may well come back to inspire their blogfriends someday. In the long run, we all need more courage than pie, as well as renewable hope for a better New Year.

Tags: Heroes and funny folks

Ookles for Christmas, delivered by RSS

December 24th, 2005 · Comments Off on Ookles for Christmas, delivered by RSS

Is this the first-ever delivery of a job offer via RSS? In one of my “vanity feeds,” in my-favorite-boss-ever (at Feedster) Scott Johnson’s blog….

We likely need to bring in someone to shamelessly work the community. Hm…I wonder if I can convince Betsy The Devine to join up. After all she already knows what Ookles is (Betsy is smart, she’s a family person (and this is all about family) and when I had the idea and needed a sanity check I called her; no NDA, no legal paperwork just “Betsy here’s the idea – mumble mumble mumble – do you have this point of pain – YES – Cool”. Talk to me if you’re interested Bets — real founder stock this time not just options you might never get the legal paperwork on..

You’ve got to, got to, got to notice that Scott Johnson really, really gets the web. And my off-the-cuff response showed up in his blog comments:

Heh. Well, this is a fast way to communicate your message, and to expose me as a subscriber to vanity feeds on the URL of my blog. I loved working with you, Scott, and I’m confident that Ookles will be a huge success. OTOH, I might need a sanity check for thinking about adding even one item to my incredible schedule. Hmmmm, founder stock, you say? I’m definitely thinking about it.

One thing for sure–in 2006, we’ll all hear lots more about Ookles

Tags: Heroes and funny folks

“I pledge allegiance to the fish”?

December 15th, 2005 · Comments Off on “I pledge allegiance to the fish”?

Not just a Legal Sea Foods paper placemat–Frank and I each got a Legal Sea Foods paper placemat inscribed at length with a Legal Sea Foods”pledge.”

I was still pretty shell-shocked after my long day in court and the drive back home–Frank, bless him, had the energy to take me out for a dinner of crabcakes, and then to read his placemat and burst out laughing.

Here’s what set him off–the eighth of nine separate pledges:

“We pledge…To respond in a rapid, sensitive, and non-confrontational manner to requests that will enhance your dining experience.”

My spirits revived as we tried to imagine a restaurant where the waiters are confrontational:

  • “Just water to drink? Oh well, if you’re that stingy…”
  • “You spilled that cup of chowder–you clean it up!”
  • “No dessert menu for you–you’ve eaten enough.”

Finally Frank said, “I guess that might be the kind of treatment you’d get…at ILLEGAL Sea Foods.”

Tags: Heroes and funny folks

For some reason, this really quacks me up

November 27th, 2005 · Comments Off on For some reason, this really quacks me up

DucklingsSnow: Ducklings watch as their leader tries to climb a snow-covered curb

Leadership can feel so cold and lonely…meanwhile, the little ducks at the back of the line are asking impatiently why things aren’t moving faster…

Tags: Heroes and funny folks

“He’s a smart guy, but….”

November 13th, 2005 · Comments Off on “He’s a smart guy, but….”

“…not as smart as he thinks he is. There’s a lot of that going around.”

Another awesome quote from Frank Wilczek. (He was talking about somebody who will *never* read my blog, so I can just about promise it wasn’t you.)

Tags: Heroes and funny folks