Thursday, December 30, 2010

archy rebels mehitabel hiphops

boss i am annoyed by mehitabel or rather
mehitabel's ghost
i told you some time ago mehitabel had
expired like a bad bottle of wine
well she is haunting me for that
exclamation point

why she intones in an
interrogatory mood r u
u inseck still alive
question exclamation mark mark
u should have perished with that newspaper
guy don juan or whatever monikker he wuz

i flared a little and rejoined mehitabel
said i i am a free spirit and a sardonic bug
at that and my continued being serves
a grand sarcastic purpose

what she yowled making phun of the old don
question mark
of course not quoth i but mehitabel even
you must realize that the world has not gotten
better since our day even our old marquis would
be a corleone these days besides i am
just up to your old tricks
and transmigrating to a modern mind tiny enough
for a cockroach to seize and control

yu no said mehitabel i have given that some thought
and tho i wuz 1ce cleopatra my time in the himalayas
with the maharishi as tot me that famous lives
are open boox after dth and any1 can visit
the liberry of kozmik konscience to read them
cover to cover again
and old cleo iz a demmd good lay she said sighing
like she said quickly lay of percival

egzackly i said crawling immediately through the gaping
hole in her argument i am a cockroach de novo
who has read up on the classics i am
channeling the ancient archy
i find it passing strange though that you are
still lingering in your old haunts
why don t you go into the light question mark

wot a kul thot mehitabel purred that even
an uncatalog d volume such as yourself
may not be so obscurely shelved
as have no readership at all
a rather unkind cut if you ask me boss

wottheheck says she i am l33t and gotta tw33t and
liff iz sw33t and got a b33t and
she went on hiphopping like that for twenty six minutes but
when she juxtaposed 33t and in53x i found it
judicious to suddenly appear behind a floorboard


Labels: , ,

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Study from an Irish Peat Blog

fig. 1 — Blog Man
Never had a rough year before, but according to my doctor that's what 2010 was like. A bit of a stroke in February, a bit of NASH, a little liver trouble excised by microwave ablation. Aside from that...

Maybe I was a bit flat this year. My wife accused me of giving up, so I had to buck up and get interested in stuff again. Maybe I growled, but she's always right. Looking back, 2010 seems like not so much, especially for a year like 2010. Enough of that, 'ey? I'm not Irish. Just another wretched play on wyrds.


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Bee Wise

the honey bee is sad and cross
and wicked as a weasel
and when she perches on you boss
she leaves a little measle

    — Don Marquis, from certain maxims of archy

boss i think you have got your t s crossed wrong
on this one your garden variety
honey bee is a born optimist
even though she and her hundred or so thousand
sisters live like nuns they get sunshine and blossoms
galore and dance a mad dance of plenty

but your queen bees
have an imperious manner
and a fast and furious way with virginal pretenders
to their own estate but queens
mostly drowse and dream in realms of private fantasy
requiring pheromones but no brains

no the only bees
that get much fun at all are drones like rufus
a flash lothario i met once drunk as mephistopheles on
too much maraschino juice

he was a rollicky fellow whose tune
went bzz bzz bzz bbzzz bzz bz bzz bzz actually
it was about sex but this being ha ha a family newspaper
i could hardly report the true pinks and blushes of
rufus s bawdy if drunken arias

i must say he understands the ecstasy of expiring
in a pang of matrimony on the maiden flight of
a virgin queen pursued by a horde of her best
buzzing sex fiends

but i don't think he knows the tectonic details
or much cares
about what happens to drones when the frosts arrive hither
arch quoth he am i not a glorious fool
question mark

there can be only one hero but an
hundred failures in a chorus of unrequited fey moods
hum along and weep
in lascivious liqueurs a la maraschino
live large archy me lad
live large
well it s winter now so was
a philosophical bug
a lot like mehitabel dreaming romantic
truths without consequences

now that i ve set you wise to bees
would you mind leaving the lid off the honey jar
for a day or two question mark


Labels: , ,

Monday, December 27, 2010

The Valley of New Year's

It's better to be inside.
Nothing left but the afterglow. Wise men tell us the days are getting longer. The snow has come to rest on the flimsiest of branches. When the northern zephyrs move, the snow falls again. Sometimes over roadways the traffic kicks up a dragon cloud of salt, which may fall again like a demon soul of fine prismatic crystals which leave a residue on your windshield, so I think there is something inimical involved. There is no magic better than hot cocoa and warm clothes, feet up on the hassock. Out there is desperation and the tracks of tiny feet. The wind picks up. The snow drops off the branches in sudden scatters. Blue sky, bright snow a foot deep. It is 12 degrees, F-f-f-fahrenheit.


Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas

Taking a few days off, back soon...


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

GTA: Random and Incoherent and Darwin

It occurred to me this morning that I've never read Charles Darwin's Origin of Species from cover to cover. That's because, though I worship Darwin dearly, it's boring. When I tried to read Voyage of the Beagle under the misapprehension that it's the kid's version of evolution, I fell asleep in Argentina. Now that I'm old, I realize that we've got people to do those jobs, and life is short.

In a connect-the-dots sort of way, I suppose there's even a plausible pathway that leads from Darwin to Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars, but only in the sense that maybe it would have been better to see the PSP version before the NDS version. There are evolutionary lessons to be learned. E.g., the PSP has only a vestigial scratch card interface, because you no longer have a DS stylus to scratch with (or a DS microphone to blow away the scratch crumbs). That's evolutionary! Graphics are cooler though. Maybe. And the PSP game has Melanie Mallard, sort of an Archaean revolution in its own right.

Melanie's Theme seems vaguely reminiscent of Gerudo's Theme from Ocarina of Time. Unfortunately, she gets blown away in her last mission, so Rockstar has missed a substantial bet for the future. They do these things for the gratuitous shock value, but life is no game either, I suppose. Hence: Darwin. But I hate R* for killing off Ling in her second appearance!

Update: 12/23 Finally got past Raw Deal...!

Labels: , ,

Saturday, December 18, 2010

archy was once infatuated

boss i was once infatuated with
an ibm selectric it had spring
loaded keys that clicked
but i am just a masochist i guess
i prefer the long stroke
mechanical lever action
of a good old underwood or smith corona

but that dervish sphere the selectric had
was electric death to us bugs
an ounce of courier seventy deuce
mightier than the sword
i have seen grown roaches cry up against it
when we danced to labanotations obscure to you
or katakana exclamation point
we might as well be trampled by nine inch heels
bang bang you shot me dead yes i am up
to date on modern vizlit

if it strikes you odd
that a cockroach may dread a style
such as yours truly never saw in life
like squashed bugs in relays just for
the sake of argument entertain
this hot flash proposition dash dash

i am familiar with any number of
toys of the future including irony
insolence and html have you seen that
cockroach smashing game in gta
chinatown wars question mark
sarcastic exclamation point

i have no hesitation
diving at the keyboard of your little laptop with
its mavericky linux os

if i prefer not to use your
newfangled caps lock key
it does not mean i CAN'T! heh
i do miss the red half and
heady aromas of canned typewriter ribbons though

boss what has happened to library paste
question mark
my diet is restricted to postit gum these days
and those bagel crumbs you sometimes leave lying around

after all those years pounding away
at a genuine newsroom underwood i have
the lowercase habit impressed firmly on my forehead
by dint of which i do not shout
i much prefer a lower profile
considering my lineaments and scale
an inaudible voice turneth away much unwanted attention

typewriters have sunk in the tar
pits of prehistory where you work
us meek may inherit the earth
but i think it will be radioactive


Labels: , ,

Friday, December 17, 2010

Göbekli Tepe

I've just heard about the archaeology going on at Göbekli Tepe, located in Turkey. The monumental Neolithic (!) architecture at this site dates to 10,000 B.C. at least. Not exactly Bishop Ussher's 4004 B.C., 'ey? The crackpot religious/ancient aliens rumor mills are churning overtime. Personally, I think they look like particularly primitive crop circles ;-)


Thursday, December 16, 2010

A Christmas Story: The Nature of Wealth

Grikdog, Left Eye Dominant
Douglas Adams' recipe for wealth was "Bang the rocks together." And the point was, things begin to happen when you do that. Sparks fly. Flint flakes. Fire becomes portable. Hands shape hand axes. Etc. The climb begins. Nature terrifies less. Children laugh more. Civilization, in about two million years, inevitably arrives. Where wealth was two rocks in the hands of an ape, wealth is now thick walls and fine furs and fabrics. Wealth seems to have become intelligence and accumulated experience. So much so that guilds arise to protect the secrets of their craft.

In the case of TV sportscasters, the "secrets of the craft" are especially glib, the art of motormouthing. The motormouth gives things away: "I never finished high school, I played golf. I won, I grew old, I announce golf on the LPGA circuit."

My favorite quote is from a notorious sports whore who famously (and obsequiously) reeked of Wimbledon Tennis royal aftershave, who said that something or someone was "packed like Sardinians in a tenement!"

Tourette's Syndrome, so fabulously bent it entertains a certain kind of cruelly internalized sentiment, can be wealth, I suppose. Occasionally, it supports a flattery of flacks who wear a magisterial cap and bells.

My life might someday be distilled into a flagon of plum picaresque scintillation, but not yet. I'm still a smug bastard who looks down on uneducated golf announcers making thousands more than ever I did, or would, or ever will. If I simply announce my resume, bare line by line, my auditors may sometimes be impressed. I shot my birdie. Once was enough. I picked up another pebble, and another. When, I wonder, will my jackdaw pile ever be sufficient? My wealth, like so many other ordinary lives, lies in my family, my friends. I was twelve years old my whole life long, like rock crystal sugar on a string, gone in minutes, in a flash.

I need time to crush a story from all that. Just not yet. Not yet. Wealth, I think, is meaning, e.g., December belongs to Mary and all simple lives, but I am a Buddhist, looking for bodhisattvas. I find them everywhere, and I almost worship Christmas.

Yup, snow this morning, and a two-hour school delay. I gather a bit of a homework reprieve because of it, because there are only four more days of school before the (*caff*) "December" break.

Labels: ,

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

More snow...!

Snowing quietly out there in the Before Midnight. Gonna be about five inches by morning, looks like.


Monday, December 13, 2010

Egad, it's cold!

-2° F. this morning, before wind chill.

archy gets the blues

sad news boss
i found mehitabel s carcass in the alley
this morning her nose was blue
and her four feet stuck straight up
in the frozen air
an unfelicitous catcicle
another cleopatra suckling yet another
ironic asp at her breast

this was a surprising turn of events
for someone so gai she could turn the air bluer
than a dutch sailor i almost hoped
to find her lapping milk from a
saucer at the feet of toulouse lautrec
but wotthehell i will admit some surprise
when i came to my senses
on my back inside a sideways pitcher of
stale blue hawaiians and even greater
annoyance when i looked where mehitabel
was and found her gone

egad it s colder than antler
furniture at the north pole
boss i know i was woozy but i thought
i saw her tail sticking out of a dumpster
before i passed out

in my next life i will try mehitabel s
pythygorean dodge and transmigrate myself
into a midnight alleycat for a change
it must be nice to be so
dammed toujours
all the time


cockroaches live such short lives
but our tribe has endured


Labels: , ,

Saturday, December 11, 2010


Don't get busted, get wasted instead. Nobody confiscates your stash or weapons that way, and your medical bills are a pittance of the bribe you have to pay the cops to overlook this little contretemps.  Ain't no get out of jail free card, foo, what you talkin'?

Security cameras are a hoot. They hide in plain sight, and you can't believe you were so zoned you never saw them the first time. I've only found 23 out of 100, so far.

Best way is to immolate yourself in a Molotov firestorm, always works.

Update: BUGS There seems to be a glitch or two in the Nintendo DS vision of Grand Theft Auto, e.g., I've found 73 out of 80 "traders" (drug dealers) according to the stats, but there are 80 dots on my little in-game map. Makes sense: NO CREDIT. But it's annoying. My enthusiasm is waning fast...

Hmmmm... I can't count it seems. Got all 80 drug dealers ("traders") and the Titanium Briefcase. Yup, they're all there, all right. Sorry 'bout that. Right now, I'm chasing one million virtual bucks... halfway there.


Friday, December 10, 2010

mehitabel dances with the ghost of emily dickinson

fig. 1 emily dickinson
Emily Dickinson (b. December 10, 1830, d. May 15, 1886), as overwrought and light weight as gold leaf, perhaps the lightest of America's precieux, was born of station and property in Amherst, Massachusetts where these days she has her very own national museum.

mehitabel dances with the ghost of emily dickinson
h. friley hall

you will not believe it
yesterday mehitabel s eyes got big
and yellow and her back arched
she yowled and danced sideways and i
asked in some wonderment what had
got into the old girl

today she was much calmer and replied
that she had seen the spook of emily dickinson
in the wee early milkwagon dawn

what quoth i was ms dickinson doing out
in broad daylight i thought she was a
good presbyterian or at least episcopalian
ghost from amherst mass but mehitabel
rejoined she did give me a turn
being the good catholic cat that i am
but there was nothing untoward in her
demeanor indeed she was very ladylike
and attempted to scratch my ears
somewhat unsuccessfully i might add
her being a shade and all

boss mehitabel could not come to a point
if she were a darning needle but
eventually she claimed that emily
dickinson s birthday began at midnight
last night and so she was out kicking
up her heels and a few odd buckets
laughing like a loon she was 180 years
old mehitabel said and
the two of them went dancing down
the morning streets yelling toujour gai
and looking for sailors
but you know boss
as well as I
that mehitabel doesn t see so well
since she drank the sterno


          — with a nod to don marquis (1878-1937), thanks

Labels: , , ,

Thursday, December 09, 2010

TSA full grope patdown of Indian Ambassador Meera Shankar, in Mississippi

India's Ambassador to the United States, Meera Shankar (no relation to George Harrison's buddy, Ravi), seems to have been singled out by TSA Theater for extreme personal attention because she wears a sari. Proof positive that in Mississippi, the scions of Jefferson Davis are using zombie brains left over from Hurricane Katrina.

Heads should roll and bounce at TSA for this one. More

Ms. Shankar has diplomatic immunity and access to her country's nuclear weapons. One imagines Hillary Clinton is livid about this, but once again Chicago's best tailored community organizer can't be bothered by small details.

His mind is like a steel trap: full of mice. — Foghorn Leghorn


Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Pacific War Begins: Japan Invades Pantai Sabak Kelantan, 1941

Meanwhile, back at the war we won, the Japanese invade British Malaysia one hour before they bomb Pearl Harbor, but the International Dateline messes up the subtle chronology. December 8th: "A date that will live in obscurity...."

Oh, yeah. And Paris is under siege by an inch of snow today.

Labels: , , ,

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Blue Suitcase Blues

Finally made it through the rigors of Wheelman and Tricks of the Triad, so fait accompli. But scratch cards still seem easier than drug dealing. Found the gun club, found the rhino, found the jetski and the rampage on a pedestrian overpass, got 16 safehouses (and learned to envy the iPhone graphics for this DS game), learned to toss a Molotov cocktail, watched Marcy muff her big chance and helped Alonso on his quixotic quest, awarded the Golden Binoculars and the Wooden Spoon. A whopping 23.95% complete, and for a' that must've missed a turn somewhere. No idea which plot thread to follow, the game is wide open. Choices, choices...

Metaphysical question of the day: Is a GAME worse than, say, Nagasaki? I don't think so. If you play the game, you begin to notice the scathingly sarcastic satire on urban blight, private upscale utopias and drive by souls that notice nothing wrong.

On a nonce equitorial note, I notice that Argentina has joined Brazil, Uruguay, Costa Rica, Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela — and many others, European and Asian — in recognizing Palestine within its 1967 borders.

"Bad analogies are like waxing a monkey with a rainbow." — sig seen at Slashdot


Monday, December 06, 2010

Boil my Timex, Batman!

The temperature of the aqueous content of an unremittingly ogled culinary vessel will not achieve 100 degrees on the Celsius scale.
          — Linux Fortune Cookie

Today doth 19 days 'til Christmas make!


Sunday, December 05, 2010

Cap'n Morgan's Recursive Eggnog Recipe

"Pour rum into a small highball glass, add eggnog and a pinch of nutmeg." Doh!

I have to admit, it's easier to buy the stuff in cartons (A&E, hereabouts) than whip up your own.

Should you feel masochistically inclined to uncork George Washington's old family recipe for a Traditional Eggnog Riot, good luck with that. My nuncle had an eggnog recipe. I don't. TGFG.

Labels: , ,

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Hanukkah Firestorm in North Israel

The forest fires raging in northern Israel bear mentioning, especially during Hanukkah. (Hang in there, Haifa.) As for cause, probably an act of God — lightning or the usual careless cigarette, whipped up by the easterly "hamsin" (or more Biblically, sharav) winds common in Israel, perhaps aggravated by El Niño or global warming. The hamsin winds are a kind of Foehn wind like those off the Alps or the famous hot westerlies of Japan. In this country, they're chinook winds, or the Santa Ana winds of Los Angeles, or anything outen the moufs of hot air windbags like Palin, Beck or Limbaugh. Doesn't appear to be arson — whether by Hamas, Hizbollah, Al Qaeda or bored kibbutzim — but the predictable eyebrows have already been raised, triangulating analysts have downgraded "forest" to "brush" in recent PR, and the blaze has already been extinguished, no doubt negotiated to death.

We had two inches of snow this morning. Spice of life.

Labels: , ,

Friday, December 03, 2010

GTA Chinatown Wars: How to set a player-defined waypoint

Figure 1. North Holland
Short answer? Tap the map. If that doesn't do it for you, read on.

GTA Chinatown Wars features a global positioning system (GPS), which can be toggled on and off, and which can be used to drive along plotted routes to known (or discovered) destinations — or to places on the map which the player has never been to. (No driving in water; you need to find a boat.) You can also mark a place and "add it to your Favorites."

Well, dudette, it ain't that simple if you've just picked up the game and slotted it into your DS. After hours of playing time, I can report that all that promised stuff is possible. I've done it. What I can't say is exactly how I did it! For some reason, it gets confusing...

So, its a project with me. I'll try to identify all the widgets and whatsits involved, and how to use them. E.g., in the bottom window, bottom left, we see the Radio Tuner. This goes from the BL corner right to the Helicopter Camera toggle. The radio is only active when you are in a car, as is the helicopter view camera. The three icons to the right of the radio are Brief, Email, and Stats. Tapping the About button (upper right corner, looks like a cameltoe) reveals that I am playing Version 534 of the Badger OS, which probably explains why my email and stats buttons look slightly different from Figure 1.

Ignore the gun and grenades icons, and also the cash on hand dollar amount. Throwing a grenade, Molotov cocktail, bundle of dynamite, etc. is explained during one of the missions. The numbers under the gun seem to reveal the amount of available ammo divided among available clips.

If you are just starting the game, the cash on hand will be close to zero. You need to slavishly follow the story line to get a little cash ahead. After that, your options open up somewhat. Short of drug dealing (you'll need to complete a particular mission to activate that), your cash options are: murdering pedestrians (or picking up stray cash on the street left over from muggings or hit-and-runs), rampages at various places around the city, the deadly-deadly HoboTron on Colony Island, and Scratch Cards.

I recommend Scratch Cards if you have the patience for them; there is no house percentage, unless technically the house is You. The best card, IMHO, is Liberty Lotto, which pays off $10, $100 or $1000 — and the $1000 amount always seems to pay off eventually. With a stake no larger than $250, you can work your way up to $15,000 or more, doubling every 20 to 40 minutes. The green I'm Rich card has a three house payoff, which cab bet you a fancy uptown safehouse. After that, the best it can yield is a $200 payoff — the house icons can't match after the first hit.

The date and time display in the middle of the top edge show game time, not real time. There is also a WiFi connection display just left of the About button, top-right.

There are two ways to get to GPS. Either tap the "radar screen" (round map) with your stylus, or click the PDA button, then click GPS. They both take you to the same global positioning screen, i.e., the entire bottom panel replaced by a map view and many controls.

Clicking the top-left-ish yellow i button ("information") sprinkles this panel liberally with circled yellow question marks. Since we are trying to get information about PLAYER-DEFINED WAYPOINTS, pay close attention to the Help on the top left, and far bottom right.

When the top-left Help says, "Touching this button will center the map on your current position or your GPS destination," the or mentioned here is the exclusive or (L. vel), meaning EITHER your position (Star Trek emblem) OR your GPS destination (the green checkered flag)! Also note that what this button does is CENTER THE MAP — it does not define a waypoint! It toggles between current position and destination each time you tap it, and centers the map. That's all it does.

That's a big hint about Waypoints, and here's another: Suffice to say, it's possible to drop a checkered flag, a "player-defined waypoint," anywhere on the map. It seems to take a double (or triple, or quadruple) tap of the stylus, but after that the path to your destination is marked on your radar screen (and also on the top panel, depending on your PDA settings.) I don't know what causes the delay. Persist.

Once you've got a "player-defined waypoint," examine the Star icon on the left edge of your GPS screen. Your waypoint is listed! Click the blue question mark to add your waypoint to Favorites. From there, you can select it like any other destination with a charted route; or you can delete any Favorite if you feel so inclined. This ad hoc waypoint will vanish when you reach your destination, if you don't save it.

You may also tap any object on the map — such as a blue or green house icon — for a charted route.

The astute reader may notice some details I've glossed over — how to erase a waypoint without going through the Favorites overhead, for example. I suspect toggling the GPS on/off, but I'm sure there's more to discover.

So, meanwhile... Hope that helps!

Figure 2. The Statue of Happiness, on Happiness Island (where else?)

Addendum: In Re Cop Cars

Cop cars have good handling. They corner very well. Good on acceleration and speed. Drive a cop car. The horn button toggles your siren. Select gives you cop radio. If you screw up while masquerading as fuzz and accidentally commit vehicular homicide, any regular cops nearby will probably give you a pass on that. Pretty subjective, I know. BTW, if you act like a bongslacker the cops gang up fast. I took out four or five patrol cars (not counting the one I was in) and still had five on me at the bust. U rok, GTA!


Thursday, December 02, 2010

Sno Kitteh

The prospect of snow has reminded me of the old white Irish cat, Pangur Bán, the monk's companion.

Update, 12 hours later: Yup, snow flurries.


Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Cool shades, man!

FWIW, the only thing worse than assassinating Julian Assange is explaining how every lump in the Wikileaks gravy got there, starting with kidnapping German citizens whose names SOUND LIKE the names of KNOWN SUSPECTED TERRORISTS, kidnapping them to the back of beyond ("extraordinary rendition"), torturing them for months to gain NONEXISTENT "intelligence," then dumping them on a back road in Albania without so much as a by your leave.

That's like Massaad kidnapping Eisenhower in Argentina because they thought he was Eichmann, national sovereignty be damned. At least the Israelis only make up facts their donors in America will believe.

No. Assange reveals the stuff America does in our collective name for which we deserve to burn in hell. I suspect we will, within a decade or two. America's dirtiest secret for years was how trivial it is to make nuclear weapons, and that is a turkey flapping slowly home to roost.