Wednesday, December 31, 2003

making effective new year's resolutions

Neil Eskelin offers the following five keys to making and keeping effective resolutions:

The resolutions you make for the coming year should not be the result of a hasty thought or spur-of-the-moment decision. Start thinking about your commitments now. And when you finally declare them, treat them as final:

1. Only make long-term commitments. Helen Keller once said, “We can do anything we want to if we stick to it long enough.”

2. Be sure your resolutions are your own, not those of someone else. More than two millenniums ago, Euripedes wrote, “The wisest men follow their own direction.”

3. Don’t abandon your resolution when trouble comes. The great inventor, Charles F. Kettering, stated, “No one would have crossed the ocean if he could have gotten off the ship in the storm.”

4. Make your resolutions final. Here’s the path taken by president Harry Truman: “Once a decision was make, I did not worry about it afterward.”

5. Finally be sure your resolutions become part of your daily life. I like the words of Charles Millhuff: “Life’s circumstances are created by three basic choices: the disciplines you choose to keep, the people you choose to be with, and the laws you choose to obey.”

via Daily Jump Start

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Fimoculous' List of Film Lists, 2003


Fimoculous is a meta site that, amongst other things, compiles awesome lists of, well, lists. We previously looked at a list of lists for the year in review for music; Here's the Fimoculous treatment of film for 2003:

2004: The next 12 months in film from BBC NEWS

Take 5 from Village Voice (lists and compiled winners)

Top 20 Nude Scenes from

Top 10 from Chicago Sun Times (Roger Ebert)

The Movies of the Year from New York Times (A. O. Scott)

The Movies of the Year from New York Times (Elvis Mitchell)

The Movies of the Year from New York Times (Steve Holden)

Year In Review from L.A Times (Kenneth Turan) (subscription)

Top 10 from L.A Times (Stephen Hunter)

Top 10 Movies of 2003 from Chicago Tribune (Michael Wilmington)

The Year in Documentaries from New York Times

Top 10 Movies of 2003 from Chicago Tribune (Mark Caro)

Top 10 Movies of 2003 from Newsday

The 10 Best Movies of 2003 from Entertainment Weekly

The 5 Worst Movies of 2003 from Entertainment Weekly

Best And Worst of 2003 from Time

Film Top 10 from The Guardian

The Year In Film from The Guardian.

Top Ten Films from Newsweek.

Top Five Documentaries from Newsweek.

Top 10 Movies from San Francisco Chronicle (Ruth Stein).

Top 10 Movies from San Francisco Chronicle (Mick LaSalle).

Top 10 Movies from San Francisco Chronicle (Carla Meyer).

Best of 2003 from Rolling Stone (Peter Travers).

The Over/Under on '03 from Minneapolis Star-Tribune

10 Best from Minneapolis Star Tribune

The List 2003 from L.A. Weekly.

2003 in Film from Austin Chronicle

The 10 Best Movies of 2003 from Salon.

Best of 2003 from Art Forum.

The Year in Movies from The Seattle Times.

Best of 2003 from St. Louis Post Dispatch.

Best of 2003 from San Antonio Express-News.

High Scores of the Year from MetaCritic.

The Best of 2003 from Movie City News.

The Year of the Navel from Movie City News.

Best and Worst of 2003 from Slant Magazine

2003 Critics Awards from New York Film Critics Circle

AFI Top 10 from American Film Institute

Best Films of 2003 from National Board of Review

Top 10 Film from The Advocate

Foreign Film Survey from Indie Wire

Breakthroughs of the Year from Indie Wire

Film Awards For 2003 from Boston Film Critics

Most Frigid People in Hollywood in 2003 from Film Threat

Best of 2003 from Indiana Statesman

Top 10 Worst Movies of 2003 from

Canada's Top 10 Films from

European Film Awards.

Golden Globe Nominations.


Best DVDs of the Year from Entertainment Weekly

Year's Best Music DVDs from The Guardian.

The Most Impressive DVDs of 2003 from DVD Talk.

Top DVDs of 2003 from Akron Beacon Journal.

Year In Review from L.A Times (subscription)

Best DVDs of 2003 (Editors) and Best DVDs of 2003 (Customers) from

via Fimoculous

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Tuesday, December 30, 2003


Of all the Apple "Switch" parodies out there, this one presents the most compelling reason to switch to a Macintosh. And, it happens to be very, very funny:

click graphic

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Monday, December 29, 2003

Happy Holidays


Dan McCarthy does some very original and wonderful stylized posters and drawings; The scene above is a detail from one of his works for a Christmas concert. His bold graphics are often in silhouettes and solid colors, frequently from unusual perspectives. He's made some interesting album covers which integrate well across all of the CD paraphernalia -- Jewel Case, liner notes, CD booklet, and the Disc itself.

Unusual and interesting work worth checking out.

via Dan McCarthy

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Sunday, December 28, 2003

Patriot Act II stealthily signed into law

From the San Antonio Current, a very depressing piece of news:

"On December 13, when U.S. forces captured Saddam Hussein, President George W. Bush not only celebrated with his national security team, but also pulled out his pen and signed into law a bill that grants the FBI sweeping new powers. A White House spokesperson explained the curious timing of the signing - on a Saturday - as "the President signs bills seven days a week." But the last time Bush signed a bill into law on a Saturday happened more than a year ago - on a spending bill that the President needed to sign, to prevent shuttng down the federal government the following Monday.

By signing the bill on the day of Hussein's capture, Bush effectively consigned a dramatic expansion of the USA Patriot Act to a mere footnote. Consequently, while most Americans watched as Hussein was probed for head lice, few were aware that the FBI had just obtained the power to probe their financial records, even if the feds don't suspect their involvement in crime or terrorism. . .

Congress passed the legislation around Thanksgiving. Except for U.S. Representative Charlie Gonzalez, all San Antonio's House members voted for the act. The Senate passed it with a voice vote to avoid individual accountability. While broadening the definition of "financial institution," the Bush administration
is ramping up provisions within the 2001 USA Patriot Act, which granted the FBI the authority to obtain client records from banks by merely requesting the records in a "National Security Letter." To get the records, the FBI doesn't have to appear before a judge, nor demonstrate "probable cause" - reason to
believe that the targeted client is involved in criminal or terrorist activity. Moreover, the National Security Letters are attached with a gag order, preventing any financial institution from informing its clients that their records have been surrendered to the FBI. If a financial institution breaches the gag order, it faces criminal penalties. And finally, the FBI will no longer be required to report to Congress how often they have used the National Security Letters."

David Martin's entire article can be viewed here.

See also:
Statement on H.R. 2417 (Statement by the President)
December 13, 2003


Under Bush, Expanding Secrecy
By Dana Milbank, Washington Post:
Tuesday, December 23, 2003; Page A19

By David Martin
12/24/2003, San Antonio Current

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Friday, December 26, 2003

Genome Valence

Ben Fry creates these gorgeous visualizations of "highly complex systems for which we lack deep understanding because few techniques exist for visualization of data whose structure and content are undergoing continous change."

Uh, yeah. What he said.


Here's the explanation for what this graphic reflects:

With several 'genome' projects nearing states of completion, a primary use of the data for biologists is to search for a sequence of letters and see if it's found in the genome of another organism. If the sequence is found, it is then possible, based on what's known about the sequence as it's found in the other organism, to guess the function of that sequence of letters.

This piece is a visual representation of the algorithm (called BLAST) most commonly used for genome searches. The genome of an organism is made up of thousands of genes (34,000 for the human, 20,000 for the mouse, and 14,000 for the fruitfly). A gene is made up of a sequence of As, Cs, Gs, Ts that averages 1000 to 2000 letters apiece. In order to handle this amount of information, the BLAST algorithm breaks each sequence of letters into 9 letter parts. Every unique nine letter set is represented as a point on screen. The points are arranged from the center, with the most common sets on the outside, the less common towards the middle.

via Ben Fry

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Tired of Penis Spam? Try this:


Ok, I assume you are as sick and tired about receiving Spam about penis enlargements, refinancing your mortgage, and discount pharmaceuticals. Apparently, we are a small dicked nation paying too much for drugs and mortgages.

I can't help you with the latter two, but as to the first item, a recent article in the NY Observer makes the surprising observation that its not that men's equipment is, um, too small, er, rather, its women's packages that, uh, perhaps are too large. (No, really).

George Gurley (funny name) writes all about the "Tiny Gynie" syndrome, as well as the "Floppy woo" in an article titled "My Vagina Monologue."

"I’ve thought about penis size," said Francine Maroukian, author of the just-published Town and Country Elegant Entertaining, as Central Park stretched out below us. "I’ve had a vagina my whole life, and I don’t sit around and think, ‘Wow, is my vagina too big or too small?’ I only think about it in terms of what’s going to be entering it: Is it going to be too big or too small?"

On another night, at Library Bar on Avenue A, I met a voluptuous lady who said she was an Australian porn star named Cherie Lamour. "You could fill this bar up with women and they’ll talk about penis size until they’re blue in the face," said Ms. Lamour. "They’ll never, ever discuss the size of their vagina. It’s all on the guys. It’s amazing! I think the score needs to be evened, because all these women bitch about penis size. Men get a very raw deal."

OK, so now you know what to say to the next person who, um, disparages your "equipment." Its not me, its you.

via NY Observer

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Thursday, December 25, 2003


Comedian_poster As part of our continuing coverage of "Christmas Calvalcade of Jews," here's the trailer for Jerry Seinfeld's "Comedian."

This continues to be the funniest trailers ever made for a film . . .

Its not a clip montage, but an actual separate trailer written and shot for the movie:

Here's the official website for the film.

via Apple's Quicktime Movie Trailer page

Posted at 07:41 AM in Film, Humor | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Wednesday, December 24, 2003

working retail in december: a horror story


Deck the halls, its time for another retail horror story:

"Those of you who have worked retail during the holiday season will understand my reluctance to speak about this before now. The memories are horrific, brutal and sometimes cause flashbacks that leave me curled up in a fetal position, sobbing and begging to be sedated.

1983 was my first holiday retail experience. It was a baptism by fire, as I landed a job at the busiest record store at the busiest mall on Long Island. Record World, Roosevelt Field, a/k/a/ RF#1. On my first day - two days before Thanksgiving - I was handed the requisite blue vest, a name tag and a few whispered words of advice: don't let them get to you. My co-workers were referring to the barrage of customers that were at the gated entrance to the store fifteen minutes before opening and still clinging to the cassette racks as we were trying to close. You have not seen a whirling dervish in action until you have seen someone hell bent on getting everything on their kid's Christmas list.

I, however, was no wimp. I could handle any customer, any crowd, any cash register breakdown or old woman sobbing over the Julio Iglesias albums. I immediately volunteered to work the irons - the opening to closing shift - nearly every day. From Thanksgiving until Christmas, I would not have a day off, and most of the days would be the full work shift . . .

The closer it got to Christmas, the more of a frenzy people were in. They fought over the last copy of Synchronicity. They mobbed us when we opened a new box of Madonna cassettes. And every once in a while, I would have to step over some fur-coated, blue-haired grandma who fainted when she saw the larger-than-life cardboard cut-out of Julio. And I started to feel the result of all work and no play. I was tired, cranky and I lost my voice . . ." (story continues here)

Not quite The Wal-Mart Nite Shift, but worth reading.

Via Winds of Change

Posted at 06:58 PM in Humor, Shopping | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Which OS Are You?

Take the OS personality web test: Which OS are You?

My results:
You are Slackware Linux. You are the brightest among your peers, but are often mistaken as insane. Your elegant solutions to problems often take a little longer, but require much less effort to complete.

via BBspot

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