Happy Friday the 13th to All Triskadekaphiles
Posted Last Week
Pittsburghers always had 'triskadekaphilia' because our public television station was Channel 13. That was our station for theatre, and concerts, and opera...oh, and 'Mister Rogers' Neighborhood', which we got before the rest of the world because it originated there. This only makes sense: the Land of Make-Believe is accessed by a Pittsburgh-style trolley.
Betty Aberlin bade King Friday a happy birthday on Twitter today, and shared this brilliant King Friday poem with us.
'Scintillate, Scintillate diminutive stellar orb.
How inexplicable to me seems the stupendous problem of your existence. Elevated at such at an immeasurable distance, in an apparently perpendicular direction from this terrestrial planet which we occupy,
Resembling in thy dazzling and unapproachable effulgence,
a gem of purest carbon,
in a university of space'
(This, of course, is from the genius who gave us 'Propel, propel, propel your craft, gently down liquid solution...')
The moon is full tonight. Go moonbathing, triskadekaphiles.
Sing along with the magical Susan Osborn:
It Was a Dark and Stormy Night
Posted Last Week
Last night: sitting on the porch, watching the rain.
Me: 'Don't touch the tripod. There's lightning out there.'
Elektra: 'It's okay. The tripod has rubber feet.'
Me: 'All the rain seems to be over by Hoggetts'.'
A few hours earlier,at the Hoggett Farm:
Mrs Hoggett was altering Kitkat's new dress. The younger Mrs Hoggett was resting after work, and Farmer Hoggett was working. Outside, it was raining to beat the band. Then it stopped.
Mrs Hoggett and Kitkat went out as usual to see if they could spot a rainbow. Rainbow-spotting is a tradition at the Hoggett Farm. They didn't see a rainbow.
What they saw was much more alarming. A tornado was coming up the gravel road from the cemetery - straight at the 200-year-old farmhouse.
Hoggetts went flying. 'Quick! Everybody into the cellar! NOW!'
Kittens were scooped up and tossed downstairs. Wet dogs were shuttled into shelter.
'Somebody grab my shoes!' called barefoot Kitkat. She was handed a pair of wellies. Importunate cats were let in from outside. The family closed the cellar door and stayed away from windows.
Microbursts are fairly common up on the mountain. This particular tornado? It split in two. One part went around the farm on one side, the other on the other.
A call came in from Nicola Tesla Hoggett. 'Can somebody pick me up? Track practice has been cancelled due to rain.'
Hoggetts' is a magic place.
Not Writing Right with Twitter: An Object Lesson
Posted Last Week
Some clever person inspired this amusing thread on Twitter. I retweeted and @-ted Robbie, because it's full of AI jokes. Some of them are pretty good.
Of course, there's always one, as the schoolteachers say. The writer who attempts to hijack the thread for personal publicity with a slightly off-topic (and certainly off-mood) contribution. The telltale sign is always the phrase 'here's my piece...' In this case, the sentence continues 'on how a sunbeam almost started WW3 in the eighties.'
Now, I thought that sounded interesting, in spite of the shameless self-advertisement, so after ascertaining that the site was secure, I clicked.
The article is accurate - at least, it matches what I know about the subject. It's not badly written. But it was such a good illustration of what we DON'T do in the Edited Guide that I couldn't help putting the link here.
What do you think? What two enormous mistakes did this writer make, Researchers? You know, the ones we never make ourselves?
PS Yes, we tweet links to our Stuff. But only if they're on-topic, and we think somebody might really want to know that. Is that useful? Well, last year, the QI Elves turned around and used the info in the Guide Entries to make up more QI tweets. That happens when you don't bore people to death.
Getting Lost in a One-Horse Town, Again
Posted Last Week
Me, yesterday: Is this street one-way?
Elektra: I can't tell. There's a car parked the other way.
Me: That's not proof. Do you see any street signs going the other way?
... I'm lost again. I hate the neighbourhood this side of Main Street. It's like a roach motel. You can check in, but...
Elektra (snorting with laughter): You can't get off this street...what's this one coming up? Oh, no, we're all the way back to 7th...we're almost home again!
Me: Too many Indian trails around here....'Dear Google: Your online directions suck.' [More driving.}
I finally do what I should have done in the first place: follow my nose. After only one illegal manoeuvre, we succeed in parking in the town square. Two hours later, we're heading home.
Elektra: Can we get there?
Me: I dunno. It's a whole .8 miles....actually, we can. I'll just go around the 'Road Closed' signs the workmen have put up.
Which I did. Right in front of my next-door neighbour, who did the same thing.
It's not the size of the town in the mess, it's the size of the mess in the town.
Oh: if you read this drivel, you are entitled to see the video.
For the Discerning Science Fiction Fan
Posted 2 Weeks Ago
I'm sorry. It was a slow Saturday. I had too much time on my hands.
But somebody drew that cartoon, and it deserves to be seen without the petroleum industry's propaganda. (The alien originally discovers all the benefits of fossil fuels, I spare you.) All Rick Prelinger said was, 'If it says it's public domain, do what you like with it. But don't ask us anything about the films, because we don't know.' In other words, don't @ them. Good enough.
The music may have put it over the top, but I am unrepentant.