The Computer Knows   

Cheers to anyone able to get to the site today. Apparently the DNS is only propogating is you use the ending slash in the URL. I am working on having everything moved to a new server, with a new URL, so hopefully things will all be groovy soon. Till then...

Virtual 20 Questions: can the computer guess what you are thinking. It knew I thought "Chocolate bar," and even corrected some of my answers for me. Not quite AI, but still creepy (and fun).

Found via MetaFilter

Posted by Sarcasmo on Friday, February 28, 2003
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Losing Patience   

Got this in my inbox this morning, credited to Terry Jones of Monty Python fame. I suspect, rather, that this Terry Jones works for the Observer, but the contents are funny (and politic) just the same.

Posted by Sarcasmo on Thursday, February 27, 2003
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And, We're Back   

Sorry for the time down folks. Should be back up and running smoothly....

Posted by Sarcasmo on Wednesday, February 26, 2003
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Just caught Steve Irwin on So Graham Norton. What a hoot! I wish I could re-create for you his story of meeting his wife!

Posted by Sarcasmo on Tuesday, February 25, 2003
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Don't Bother, They're Here...   

It was around 11pm on Friday night, and after an evening of watching cartoons that made our cultural sensibilities cry, we made our way to a local bistro for dessert and conversation.

The bistro was dimly lit, but warmly so, and a large mahogany bar took up the entire wall opposite our table. The place had an art-deco class to it, complete with waiters who didn't quiet scowl at you, but their shirt creases were just a little too crisp, and their posture a bit too upright. But the dark chocolate souffle was magnificent, and I am led to understand that the creme brulee was to die for.

In this somewhat decadent, stylish atmosphere, what else would a table of young, intelligent, well-read individuals, (the strongest beverage among them being decaf cappuccino) discuss but porn. Not merely any porn, mind you. Clown Porn. (Obviously, if reading this at work, click links with extreme caution...or simply wait until you get home.) To be fair, we were originally discussing Pirate Porn, and somehow Clown Porn seemed a logical progression. Clown Porn is a topic that seems to come up between us quite a bit. I'm not sure why that is.

I am amazed we are not thrown out of more restaurants.

Having never seen Clown Porn, I can't help but wonder; are all the characters in them clowns, or do clowns perform sexual acts to/with non-clown people, or do non-clown people do things with clowns? Does Clown Porn involve other circus-related paraphernalia: balloons, a trapeze, and a ring master?

What really interests me about Clown Porn, however, is that someone in our party has repeatedly insisted that Philadelphia is the epicenter of the burgeoning Clown Porn industry, and that he has heard this information from various sources. However, although I can find a few scattered Clown Porn websites, I can find no evidence that it is even a growing industry, let alone one that is rooted in my home town. And yet...

Pop Culture Boy (who was unable to attend the late night dessert run due to work commitments) later relayed to me a story told to him by a mutual friend. Said friend was walking through Center City, when he was approached by a young man who was traveling with a young woman, and carrying a bag of clown regalia. (I imagine it as a backpack; the big floppy shoes hanging out, red curls from the wig just poking through.) "Excuse me," the young man said to our friend, "do you know where we could go to make some Clown Porn?" (You may scoff, but believe me, these kinds of things happen to this friend. Something in his DNA, I imagine.)

This makes me wonder...what if Philadelphia really is the epicenter of the burgeoning Clown Porn industry? What if it is so well-known for Clown Porn within Clown Porn circles that they simply assume that anyone who lives here must know about it (making it reasonable to ask a stranger on the street where to find the local Clown Porn studio/factory).

People I pass each day on the street, looking dull and lifeless as they get off of local transportation in their drab business suits and Keds, vanishing into non-descript buildings might then be clocking in, painting their faces for an 8 hour stint of hot clown love. Perhaps somewhere near-by, even now, behind the drawn blinds of a worn, historical, Old City building, or on the other side of the black glass of a corporate high-rise, armies of clowns could be making it on film.

Maybe one of these days I'll recognize one, looking tired and worn after the 5 o'clock whistle has blown, so anxious to get home that they missed a bit of white greasepaint behind their ear; or they'll be walking in their business suits, their floppy clown shoes still on. Then I would know.

Maybe I'll buy them a dark chocolate souffle. Maybe they'll give me a tour of the studio.

Don't worry. My next long post will be about the odd fascination PCB and I have for Saturday programming on the Disney Channel and Nickelodeon's The N. Not only might reading about Disney make you feel less dirty after the Clown Porn, it will also confuse the heck out of people who come here by searching for Disney Porn.

Posted by Sarcasmo on Tuesday, February 25, 2003
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Some One Should Just Sell Bites   

I was in my local shopping center yesterday to purchase mass transit tokens, and noticed that the candy shop in the mall was advertising Irish Potatos. I thought about getting some, but I realized I would only want one, maybe two, tops, and these things are always sold by weight. I couldn't very well go up and ask for 1/22 of a pound of Irish Potatos. But I also could never force myself to eat a whole quarter pound.
And I didn't think they would sell me just one potato.

This got me to thinking that there are some foods they should sell bite sized that they don't. Besides Irish Potatos, I think Cotton Candy and Funnel Cake should also be on that list. I always hate spending money on these items because I end up throwing most of the food away, which seems like a waste.

It occured to me that I could simply ask for a sample, thereby quieting my craving without actually spending any money, but Pop Culture Boy says that would be gaming the system.

Not sure if he thinks its a bad thing, or a good thing.

Ah well, off to work, no Irish Potatos in tow. I actually wanted to post about a recent conversation I had involving clowns, pirates, and porn, but it will have to wait until next time.

Posted by Sarcasmo on Tuesday, February 25, 2003
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Happy Monday   

Ah, well, no snow days this week; back to proper grown-up life. So, as Monday morning is back full-force, thought I'd offer a few things for your Monday morning viewing pleasure:

That's all I can dig up before bed...if you have something that might entertain us all, please post it!

Posted by Sarcasmo on Sunday, February 23, 2003
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Crap Superheros   

The latest challenge from

Posted by Sarcasmo on Saturday, February 22, 2003
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My New Nemesis   

As if I didn't have enough distractions, our friend Peccable (my Mephistopheles) surprised PCB and I with Nemesis Factor, an electronic puzzle game for up to four players.

Oh, sure, it looks innocuous enough; it's not very big, and it only has five buttons; how difficult could it be?

For starters, you are given no instructions for any of the puzzles other than "Press any button to begin." You press a button, "Begin." (Ah, yes, did I mention it talks? In a lovely, feminine computer voice? It's quite calming until she starts to drive you mad.) You try and figure out the proper sequence of button presses based on visual and aural feedback. I tore through the first 12 puzzles fairly quickly, but then puzzle 13 (unlucky 13)...the Nemesis Factor started spewing out number combinations, and I have yet to figure out what they have to do with which buttons I'm pressing. Very frustrating; very fun.

One of the most interesting things about Nemesis Factor is that it can keep track of the progress of up to 4 players. Next time I turn it on, I simply select my player color (I chose red), and it will start me at puzzle 13. When I'm done, PCB can select his color, and it will start him off at his last puzzle. It also keeps track of your score (and, apparently, the time it takes you to complete each puzzle). I am most frustrated because although I have completed 12 puzzles, the Nemesis Factor insists on telling my, very calmly, that my score is 10. It has been 10 since I solved puzzle 1. I fear it will be 10 when I solve puzzle 100. I am learning to hate the number 10.

I am utterly hooked. This is no surprise. I am addicted to puzzle games, and quite frankly any device that does neat things when you press its buttons can delight me for hours (it is no doubt telling that Peccable also purchased a copy of Nemesis Factor for an eight-year old when he purchased ours). I really wish it didn't talk so loudly, I want to play it on my way to work but I think I might scare the man who is always talking to himself on my bus.

I don't know what this will do to my plans to participate in National Novel Editing Month (because you know I haven't been editing my National Novel Writing Month entry.) So many lovely distractions!

Posted by Sarcasmo on Friday, February 21, 2003
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Something Frivolous and Silly, As Promised   

Flash Mind Reader.

This one actually took me a few go's before I figured out the trick. Nicely done.

Found on Milk and Cookies.

Posted by Sarcasmo on Wednesday, February 19, 2003
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How Can There Be An Arch Nemesis, An Evil Enemy Organization, and Outrageous Scientific Claims Involved When This Isn't A Comic Book?   

This weekend, I dreamed the war started. Iraq, Afghanistan, North Korea, the whole Axis of Evil; take your pick. The dreams were neither very long on very specific. In the first dream, I couldn't make my phone work, and missed an overseas family phone call; it portrayed the war as something very distant, and yet affecting my family directly (my brother-in-law and one of my uncles are in the armed forces). In the second, I looked out my bedroom window and saw that the hospital/parking lot across the street had been turned into some military lookout tower, and was literally crawling with men in fatigues. I could see missiles being launched from the tower, but also saw other ones streaking towards me, their trails leaving graceful arches across the sky, like fireworks preparing to explode. I laid my head down and tried to get PCB to wake me, finally woke both him and me with my strangled pleading.

Thankfully, I have yet to prove to be precognizant. However, this war business has clearly been laying heavy on my mind.

There are various factors, of course. I had some unreliable third-party information that inferred that maybe the war might start come President's Day. (Really - it was a friend of a friend story where someone's CIA boss said something that implied that maybe something could happen - or it might have merely meant "Have a good weekend.")

Secondly, the winter storm was in full force, and the window can howl down city street; certainly in a REM state it might suggest missile fire.

However, I think the real big factor here has been the recent readiness talk been spouted by the media and the Department of Homeland Security. It has done nothing but frustrate and anger me. Particularly this talk about duct tape and plastic sheeting. A woman I know was devastated when another parent told her she was a bad mother because she hadn't stocked up on duct tape and plastic.

Granted, I am not an expert in chemistry or biology, but I fail to see how plastic is going to save us all from germs, biological and chemical weapons. Certainly plastic is porous enough to carry these poisons in. They'll be airborne, after all; and certainly air can get in…otherwise the terrorists would win because we'd all suffocate to death. To me, this smacks of the same stuff that Duck and Cover preached to our parents, such as covering your head with your jacket to protect yourself from an atomic blast. The only real good I see this plastic/duct tape doing is insulating homes across America from bitter winter weather. (Although, if you can't trust the Duct Tape Guys in matters of Homeland Security, who can you trust?)

I understand that people feel the need to do something to protect themselves; I just wish we could funnel this energy into trying to find an alternative to nuclear warfare rather than using clever marketing techniques to keep the public at large nestled and warm in our false sense of security.

You'll quickly notice, of course, that I am a huge hypocrite, because other than trying to stay informed, particularly of the world view, I'm not doing a whole heck of a lot about it. Truth of the matter is that my activism days are long since past, and I feel that even if I did do something, it wouldn't amount to much. I did vote in the last presidential election, and I still don't feel good about how that played out. Furthermore, Bush has claimed not to be "dismayed" by anti-war protests the world over, by which I suppose he means we can all say whatever we want to, and he'll do whatever he wants to.

At least we still have the freedom to speech and lawful protest. I'm grateful for that.

I understand that we will go to war; and at this point, it is inevitable. We've been talking this fight up so loud and so long, that we have to show up or we'll somehow lose credibility in the locker room of World Leaders. I really don't see why Bush and Saddam can't simply have a duel or go and beat the crap out of each other in the boxing ring like civilized people. I fail to see why we all need to be involved in this.

Ostensibly, we're still going because of the bombs, right? The bombs that Iraq must exist because we can't find them, which clearly proves that they are hiding them; so he have to hit them before they hit us first. Or have we been given a more convincing reason? (I mean other than he is the arch nemesis of the Bush family). Don't let them fool you into thinking this has something to do with the World Trade Center tragedy; the terrorists weren't Iraqi, although some polls are apparently reporting many Americans now think they were.

What I really wish, is that if we can't have a peaceable outcome to this issue, that at the American government could be honest with the American public, and not treat us like children needing to be placated and coddled. I wish we could get that much.

Sigh. I've run out of ranty steam. I promise the next time I post it will be about something frivolous and silly.

Posted by Sarcasmo on Wednesday, February 19, 2003
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Stay Home, Play With Things   

For the homebodies, some silly links:

Posted by Sarcasmo on Monday, February 03, 2003
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Monday morning...time to post some fun to start the week. Before doing that, though, I want to say a word or two about the Columbia tragedy. PCB and I woke up to the news on Saturday, and spent much of the day watching the news coverage. We finally gave up in the late afternoon, simply unable to watch the perpetual loop of the footage; I was 12 years old again watching the the Challenger explode over and over and over. It was too difficult to watch.

I think its important to remember that every man and woman who goes into space risks their lives in the name of science. It is my sincere hope that this tragedy brings the space program the renewed attention and funding that it needs to continue, rather than stalling it again.

My heart goes out to those who lost friends and family in the accident.

Posted by Sarcasmo on Sunday, February 02, 2003
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