Thursday, March 29, 2007

At least it's not used

In the mail-area of my building (of which my apartment is on the fifth floor of): several old Economists, and one tin "Chocaholic Body Frosting".  "FREE PLZ TAKE"

Monday, March 26, 2007

Sunday, March 25, 2007

It had to be Jew

Which is, of course, IMDB's alternate title to Annie Hall.   I'm watching it right now and just made the connection between Christopher Walken's monologue in the bedroom and the Jawbreaker song "Jet Black." Actually, I think my friend F., who turned me onto Mr. Schwarzenbach's work, told me where the quote was from a long time ago, but being forgetful I'd of course completely misplaced the reference.  

I'm only half-enjoying it.  I think there's a lot of baggage about Woody Allen movies and it's rendered a lot of it unwatchable.    I keep waiting for Charles Bronson to show up and get all Paul Kersey on Woody's ass.    I like  Annie, though, although the whole no-job thing is kind of a deal-killer.

Also, with the exception of Charles Bronson, and me being born, the 70s look like they sucked.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Santa Cruz thankfully not an Ivy

I'm a big fan of my girlfriend for many reasons, but it definitely helps that she exposes me to items like this:

  In 1923, a live tiger who had been captured in India by the father of a football player, Albert F. Howard '25, was brought to Princeton as a mascot; but after several weeks of mounting community anxiety he was given to a zoo.

(From a terrifically dorky alumni site)

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

The perks of science

Thank you for your quote request from *labs.  In an effort to familiarize you with both our level of service and quality of product, we have taken the liberty of sending you a Box of *labs Lab Snack .   Our technical support department is available to answer questions on this sample as well as questions on any of the over 9,000 *labs products. 


Saturday, March 17, 2007

A finer time

From Abraham Pais' Inward Bound:

Why did Rutherford and Soddy not use the term 'transmutation' but  rather the more neutral one, 'transformation'?  The following exchange took place while they were at work on the separation of thorium X. 


Soddy: 'Rutherford, this is transmutation...'


Rutherford: 'For Mike's sake, Soddy, don't call it transmutation.  They'll have our heads off as alchemists.'

Awesome.   The reader should of course mentally say Rutherford's line with a Kiwi accent.  

The reference, if you care, is from Howarth's (who?) biography of Soddy (who I've never heard of, let alone knew warranted a biography...)

Live music

Two weeks ago I saw the Thermals at the Black Cat, and while they were awesome, the opening act stole the show, a duo from Brooklyn called The Big Sleep.    Pretentious Chandler reference aside, I've been listening to their record pretty much nonstop for a few days now.   It's a little less impressive than the live show; there's a certain loudness that they toned down in the studio, which sucks, but I've approached the feeling by playing it really loudly.

I was reminiscing about shows this week.   The first concert I went to, Metallica at the San Diego Sports Arena in January of 1992, was a solo affair.   My parents dropped me off and picked me up, which was less embarrasing than it sounds; logistics dictated that I be dropped off far from anyone who might have seen me, sparing me any mortification.

This was of course Metallica's "black album" tour.   I was disappointed in the album, having lived for the previous year on a pure and holy diet of their first four albums, but excited to see my first concert.  I was fifteen and had grown my hair out for the first time.  I had gotten floor seats at the arena, maybe twentieth row, and probably would have gotten even better seats had I not allowed some 909 types at the Ticketmaster outlet to piggyback on my top-notch lottery number.   In retrospect I should have been aghast that there were seats at all, instead of a mass of humanity, but I was young and didn't know what was appropriate.   

The show was incredible; I have few specific memories but recall it being almost three hours of awe.   Almost dissociative happiness.   Eight minutes of The Four Horsemen.   For Whom The Bell TollsFade To Black.   Master of Puppets.  Battery.   One.   The only sour note was the band combining three epic ravers from And Justice For All into a "Justice Medley" which was itself screwed up by Kirk Hammett cocking up the climax of the title track's solo.   He was wearing a Sisters of Mercy t-shirt, and I later became obsessed with the Sisters of Mercy, and only much later realized that he had planted the seed.   He now distinguishes himself in my mind with the faint praise of being the lesser tool than Lars Ulrich or James Hetfield.

A final note: there was no opening act, which at the time I had no appreciation of.   Only recently did it hit me what an astonishingly selfish act that was, to refuse to help out a less well-known band.   Tools.

Tonight I'm seeing Explosions in the Sky at the 9:30 Club.   I'm bringing my girlfriend, who might not like it, but I had an extra ticket (premonitions of couplehood at the time the show was announced?) and there will at least be decent people-watching if it's not her thing.  

Thursday, March 1, 2007


I'm sure the mathematically oriented among you know all about this, but i was tickled pink to discover this:

Tupper's Self-Referential Formula.