g r o t t o 1 1

Peeve Farm
Breeding peeves for show, not just to keep as pets
Brian Tiemann
Silicon ValleyNew York-based purveyor of a confusing mixture of Apple punditry, political bile, and sports car rentals.

btman at grotto11 dot com

Read These Too:

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James Lileks
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As the Apple Turns
Entropicana
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Capitalist Lion
Red Letter Day
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Corsair the Rational Pirate
.clue
Ravishing Light
Rosenblog
Cartago Delenda Est



Cars without compromise.





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Sunday, May 27, 2007
16:20 - This pleases me. Do more of it.
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/01/automobiles/01DESIGN.html?pagewanted=1&ei=5070&en=

(top)
Hey, whaddya know: car-design-related shop talk at the NYT.

NEVER say dashboard, not if you want people at the auto show to think you know what you are talking about. Say I.P., for instrument panel, as designers do.

Dropping in a mention of the greenhouse or the beltline is pretty easy, but you will really get points with casual references to A-, B-, and C-pillars, the order of the roof supports arranged from the windshield, whose base is called the cowl, to the rear window, or backlight. You might say, “That fat C-pillar would make it impossible to parallel park.”

Many of the terms discussed here are familiar to any reader of car magazines; but some, like "gummidingers", are new to me.

But—blast! Now the secret's out! Now they'll have to come up with a whole new set of insider vocabulary. Hey, who said English was becoming too uniform?

Via Autoblog.


10:53 - Really bad eggs

(top)
I saw Pirates 3 yesterday, and I'd say it was a fitting end to the series: bewilderingly convoluted, full of inexplicable prophecies and rituals, and proof that the 1700s was the most explosion-filled century of them all. It had a ridiculous premise and not even a wink toward historical accuracy, but hey, that's what makes these things fun: that and, apparently, a multicultural Super Best Friends league of Pirate Lords that genuflect before an ancient codified tome of Pirate Laws, followed more slavishly than any mythical race of superbeings—cowboys or Elvis impersonators or carnies—has ever followed their graven-in-stone Code, and kept safe by Keith Richards in a Jack Sparrow Halloween costume. Yeah, it was lots of fun.

But what the hell was up with that first five minutes?

The movie opens with a scene of the hanging of a bunch of pirate scum at the hands of the British Navy, while an officious herald/narrator intones that because of the Pirate Threat, the officer in charge of the Caribbean region has declared a State of Emergency, with the effect that all kinds of "statutes" guaranteeing various freedoms have been rendered inoperative. Uh—"temporarily."

Right to assemble: suspended!
Right to habeas corpus: suspended!
Right to legal counsel: suspended!
Any one found guilty of piracy will be hanged by the neck until dead!

And then we see a sweet and innocent boy singing a woeful piratical dirge as the cruel soldiers put the noose around his neck, and soon the refrain is taken up by all the dozens of honest-eyed condemned (most surely rounded up by the Thought Police on the strength of tips from disgruntled neighbors rather than being actual pirates, even though the kid did have a Piece of Eight and they all do know the pirate song in all its indistinctly defined power) as they shuffle to the gallows, as a sort of arr-me-mateys version of "We Shall Overcome".

Sorry, but where were all these rights enshrined in colonial Imperial England? The Magna Carta? And hey, why stop there—was The right to not have your library records seized or your phones tapped—suspended! a little too much of a historical stretch?

Maybe I'm just a bit oversensitive to these kinds of hamfisted theatrics in movies these days, but the dual messages I got from this sequence were: 1) Terrorists = Pirates; and 2) Pirates are the good guys. Nod nod wink wink. That, plus the fact that the baddies were all agents of the East India Company (dun dun DUNNN) rather than the British Empire, even to the extent of the Evil Officer's body falling in an iconic "Y" onto the branching arms of the EIC flag floating in the water at the end, make me wonder if there is any movie that can conceivably be made these days that's safe from being turned into some kind of adolescent mewling about Guantanamo or WMDs. I confidently wait for the next Harry Potter installment, in which the Order of the Phoenix dons the wizarding equivalent of Che Guevara fatigues and storms the offices of the Ministry of Magic where robed desk clerks hunch over the paperwork for cushy no-bid contracts for Wizardburton.

"It's just good business!" Criminy.

That aside, though: big, dumb, and full of fun. Who knew those Disneyland Imagineers back in the 50s had come up with all this convoluted mythology and heraldry when they were putting together that silly carnival boat ride?

Saturday, May 26, 2007
02:38 - You can get anything that you want...

(top)
This appears to be my typical Saturday morning from now on: a drive with a bunch of local car/motorcycle guys, starting from Saratoga and heading up into the Santa Cruz Mountains and along Skyline Boulevard to Alice's Restaurant (not the Alice's Restaurant, but an Alice's Restaurant, one that's a frequent hangout for bikers and Ferrari-type drivers) for breakfast.




...And that's just fine with me.


02:26 - Darn kids with your computers
http://youtube.com/watch?v=JzqumbhfxRo

(top)
I kinda get the feeling that this is the sort of thing that Mike Jittlov might have done if he'd had access to Final Cut Pro.



(Don't miss the guy's first video, too.)

Thursday, May 24, 2007
09:14 - Seriously, I really wanna know

(top)
I may regret asking this, but...

Who the hell's idea was it to make PostgreSQL have the name "PostgreSQL", the executable name "psql", the user "postgres", and the generic abbreviation/filename prefix "pgsql"?

How the $%^&# do they expect me to know which one to look for in the process table, the filesystem, the user list ...?

It can't have been simple, raw sadism, can it?

Tuesday, May 22, 2007
18:02 - Go Away L
http://go-l.com/

(top)
Looks like the long and sordid saga of Liebermann Inc. (also known as Go-L, LITL, or simply L) is coming to an end. Or, perhaps, just beginning.

"Its What's Next"! What? Apostrophes?

I remain in awe of the depth of the hoax this guy has perpetrated; it seems clear that he was screwed over to some degree by his venture capital firm, but there remains no evidence to this day that Liebermann ever sold a single computer. Otherwise we might have, y'know, seen a review of one. Or heard of someone who owned one.

Still, looking at all the linked material from this vast page, such as photos of broken monitors and screenshots of e-mails that read like they came from the correspondence of a Nigerian charity scammer... the guy's sure put a lot of work into something.

This'll make one hell of a Wikipedia page once someone figures out what's really gone on here. And thank goodness for archive.org...

Via Chris.

Monday, May 21, 2007
18:28 - Everyday nighttime sights

(top)
First reaction upon watching this VW ad (via Daring Fireball) was to notice a random burning van in the middle of the darkened city, and wonder, "What, did they film this in Paris?"


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© Brian Tiemann