Saturday, June 30, 2007

Say, wha...?

John Edwards uses Twitter?


Friday, June 29, 2007

The arctic is heating up

Russia claims the Lomonsov Ridge under the north pole is an extension of their continental shelf. Probably moot until the Arctic Ocean is navigable year round. The one I'm waiting for is the Greenland land rush. Diamonds, and rubies, and beryls — Oh, my!

You didn't get the "green candle" reference at all, did you? Just as well. Alfred Jarry is not something you can unwatch, exactly.


Thursday, June 28, 2007


Ironies. Or idiocies:
  1. Hillary can't win.
  2. Obama can't win.
  3. Dodd can't win.
  4. Biden mustn't win; his phenomenal foreign policy expertise is far, far too valuable in the U.S. Senate — or in the State Department in 2009!
  5. It's unconstitutional for Al Gore to seek a third term.
  6. Bloomberg can't win.
  7. Thompson can't win.
  8. Edwards shouldn't win.
  9. Romney can't even express himself in coherent, connected sentences, let alone win.
  10. Giuliani can't win.
  11. Kerry can't win unless he learns to stop licking his lips.
  12. Perot won't run.
  13. Either Republican hit squads or JibJab are going to make mincement of whatever candidate Democrats throw up (and throw up they will, trust me...)
  14. Democrats have attention deficit disorder, and can't win on the one great issue a bloody blue kangaroo could win on: Bring the troops home NOW!
There's no hope. We're going to have to draft Maria Shriver.

Calm down, Dave. The Howard University debat sound bites are over... >shudder<


Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Speaking of ooooooold friends... :D

"This falls out better than I could devise." — Oberon (A Midsummer Night's Dream, Act III, Scene 2)

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Tuesday, June 26, 2007

We'll always have Paris...


Monday, June 25, 2007

Stone Tales

Sente, Gote and Tenuki walk into a bar.

Sente slaps a five dollar goldpiece on the counter and yells, "Barkeep! Gimme a shot of redeye!"

Gote slides a silver dollar across the counter and politely asks, "I'd like a lager, when you've got a moment."

Tenuki sits down at a table in a corner as far away from Sente and Gote as she can get, then balances a salt shaker on a grain of salt.

A heavy metal band called Lemur Meat starts playing. Sente whips out a .44 derringer and shoots the guitar player in his package! The entire band screams and whirls as many, then falls flat on their faces.

Goke the undertaker rushes into the bar, assesses the situation and hauls the band out feet first.

Gote says, "No net?"

Goke says, "Nah, this group's dead."

(Sound of one hand clapping)


Saturday, June 23, 2007

Go Salon rumors in Ames, Iowa

Almost unbelievably, the Cyclone Go Club (a fantasy in itself) is meeting this summer on Sundays at 2 p.m. until whenever at the Chess/Go Salon in Ames.

Chess/Go Salon
328 Main St (second floor)
Ames, IA 50010
(787) 410-1977

That's approximately next door to where Eschbach's Music Store used to be, for you oldtimers who used to call Ames your home town. Corner of Kellogg and Main, then look for the Downtown Deli a few doors west.

(Hmmm... Shusaku seems to approach the middle from the fifth line...)


Thursday, June 21, 2007

93 down, and counting

Only 93 more games to Go, pun intended.

On the plus side, I beat Luther again, the final boss in Star Ocean: Till the End of Time, this afternoon. The finale runs for 40 minutes, counting credits, and this time I had Nel on the team. Nice bit about Blair.

Go Proverb: "Lose 100 games quickly, if you want to learn Go."


Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Japan renames Iwo Jima, sort of

Iwo Jima is now Iwo To, the original name from before WWII. Apparently, either name translates as "Sulfur Island," both names are written with the same kanji, and the difference is simply whether the second character is pronounced using its ON reading (tou) or KUN reading (shima or jima). Nothing changes but the tiny furigana typeset beside each character, indicating pronunciation. To-may-to. To-mah-to. Technical, ain't it?

Such a small asterisk, so appropriate on modern maps, and so necessary as modern Nihon gently nudges our military bases off their sovereign little archipelago.

I'm in two minds about that. On the one hand, Japan has found the U.S. an unpredictable — dare we say unreliable, petulant and demanding? — trading partner ever since the Nixon Shocks; and while it's all well and good for Old Edo to delegate Japanese security to American military bases on Okinawa and so forth, etc., the prospect of seeing American attention transfixed by Iraq for the next decade does not bode well for Japanese peace of mind in a corner of the world which has such long memories.

On the other hand, I've always been a great admirer of Japan's pacifist ideals ever since we nuked them and gave their women suffrage. And frankly, every good toy I've ever owned — Yashicas, GameCubes, Nikons, PS2s, Hondas — all came from Japan.

Times change. Sun Tzu says that when a war is prolonged, peace on other fronts becomes unstable as local powers take advantage of the prevailing distraction. These are pretty deep waters. I hope nobody is underestimating anybody.

The four Volkswagens don't count. They were fun, but they were beaters with mythical mileage and interior fogs when it rained.


Half of Golf is Go

Michelle Wie, on the other hand, probably does know something about Go, although it doesn't seem to be high on her list of photo ops. Bet she's at least 16 kyu, though.


Tuesday, June 19, 2007

AGA Gaga

Paris Hilton, America's iconic dumb blonde jillionaire princess you love to hate now with fast-acting street cred, reading a Go book?

Or has the American Go Association (AGA eJournal, Volume 8, #47) just gone gaga?

As an old ΣΔΧ member, my problem with this photoshoppery, of course, is that it's fake news, like NASA's "black smoke" factory. Bad journalism, or skyhook publicity hounding (you wish you were that popular?!) for that matter, belongs in those hackneyed April Fool's editions, or nowhere.

Serious journalism clucks and wonders about the Paris Hilton phenom, but it doesn't participate in her stockholm.


Monday, June 18, 2007

El Pato

I'd like to make some snide remark about the gods of golf favoring inconvenient heroes, but then I'd have to look up facts. A legion of English-speaking sports editors decided last night that Alejandro Cabrera is an "angel," for example, but to Latin Americans he's The Duck, the man who won the 2007 U.S.G.A. Open Championship. And Michelle Wie, finishing dead last with two bum wrists at the McDonald's last week, took home three grand more from her weekend than Phil Mickelson, who missed his cut entirely. Let them play their games — I know who I like.

What a coincidence that Simon Schama was on PBS tonight with a special about Guernica. How prescient of me :)


Sunday, June 17, 2007

Life as Art

If you were shopping for great art to spend your next 10,000 years in, would you snug yourself within, say, Guernica?

My own life is almost literally stuck in Grant Wood. I commute down Iowa Hwy 1 each morning, through scenery which Wood knew well and painted, if not lovingly, at least with a fey sense of banal green and overtly mammary landscape, his grudging tribute, perhaps, to the tenured Freudian quacks who were obfuscating the arts with their own odd obsessions back in the Fifties and Sixties.

I wonder if Wood was nuts, or just angry at his inability to accomplish anything profound? His is the landscape of middle age, and a melancholic self-abasement so obviously understated, so bald and satyr-like, it invites comparison to the bowel, not the belly, to the grave, not the gravid — to centuries, that is, of slow digestion in the rumbling paunch of Iowa, that pipsqueak leviathan.

Sesshu is not really my cup of tea, either. This one is just here as a souvenir, like a stump. Or toilet paper, for when I'm done with Iowa.


Saturday, June 16, 2007

Google's sunlight gadget


M-I-C-K-E... Quem?

This bronze lady's brooch, dated to 900 A.D., was excavated at a site called Uppåkra in southern Sweden. Top scientists claim it's a lion, which the craftsman had never seen. claims it's a particular mouse, which the craftsman had never seen either.


Friday, June 15, 2007

Why did Wordstar used to be like Joan Collins?

It's an old joke, actually — Collins was playing on Dallas at the time, but us older nerds remembered her for her Star Trek role as Edith Keeler, she-who-must-die in City on the Edge of Forever.

The answer was, "It's old, it's beautiful and it's a bitch." Which it was. Absolutely. I loved it.

Here's an antique ad from ComputerWorld showing WS 3.2 on an old ADM-3A terminal hooked up to a CP/M 2.2 box (mine was a Morrow MD-2, curiously one of the three or four computers the residual debt for which I was still paying off when my wife and I got married in 1990.)


Thursday, June 14, 2007

"That is why you fail!" – Pai Mei

Yeah, right. Like I'm going to memorize Quentin Tarantino's Blockhead Sutra...!

Only 95 more Go games to lose!


Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Random, ain't it?

Random, adj. Incoherent, uncool. Intensifier, so, as in, "Man, that (non-Japanese fake anime) is so random." When used ironically, cool, amazing; as in, "That (anime) is so random, dude!"


Monday, June 11, 2007

The Bodhisattva Tara meets Saint Gertrude

Sister Wendy, of PBS fame, defines a bodhisattva as "a [Buddhist] saint who has passed through the 10 degrees of perfection necessary to achieve nirvana but who chooses not to become a buddha. Instead, he [or she (*tsk*)] elects to stay on earth and relieve the suffering of less enlightened others."

My favorite of these more enlightened others is Tara, who, like the recently demoted Saint Christopher, shares the ineffable mystery of being, like the square root of minus one, entirely imaginary. As saints go, just my cup of tea.

My other favorite from the category of obscure Catholic saints is Saint Gertrude of Nivelles, patron of cats, mice, plague, madness, pilgrims and blessed refuge to distracted travellers seeking lodging in Farmington, New Mexico during a 1992 miners' convention. Next stop, Chaco Canyon, as I recall. We missed the Anasazi Sun Dagger, though.

Maybe not so obscure. Gertrude's medals seem to be popular.


Sunday, June 10, 2007

Speaking of accepting sentences...

Paris Hilton may accept her long and convoluted sentence; brava! for all I know. But it's a tossup whether I will ever accept some of William Faulkner's. Or George W. Bush's, for that matter.


Friday, June 08, 2007

I Like Go

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Playing without a driver?

Michelle Wie's scorecard at the McDonald's LPGA Championship.


Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Help Find Madeleine

There are a hundred thousand Madeleines, of course, and anguish everywhere. The poignant ones really do bring it home.


Tuesday, June 05, 2007


"Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something." — attributed to Plato, but I'm not sure you can say that in ancient Greek


Sunday, June 03, 2007



Saturday, June 02, 2007

Cynic: Where you wash the baby the Stoic brings

I see Michelle Wie is still nursing a bum wrist. Not bad. There's a whole 'nuther game surrounding the game of golf, of course. If you wuz a sixteen year old girl who plays the grand old game like Old Tom who's just figured out she'll have to play Twister on Asian teen party teevee ('stead of playing golf) for the next eight years, wouldn't you rather ice your scaphoid (which is fractured anyway) and play the Stanford card for all it's worth? Most teens get irate when their parents plan their lives for them (think Amy on Futurama, think your kid), so no entourage of smiley buttsniffing lucre loungers has got a chance. Rock on, kiddo.