Everything’s Amazing and Nobody’s Happy

It’s a lazy Sunday. I’m in a bit of a daze from being up during the wee hours, driving on gravel roads two nights in a row. What year is this again? Should I be feeling happy or sad? I’ll get it all figured out eventually!

I have some pretty decent dawn photos from Saturday morning which need to be processed, along with writing some text to accompany them. Yawn! Maybe later… in the meantime here’s a brilliant bit of social commentary by comedian Louis CK, the heir apparent to George Carlin and Richard Pryor.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8r1CZTLk-Gk?rel=0&w=480&h=360]

Maybe I’ll take a nap…


The Clinton Foundation

I got home from driving my hundred-mile route and found that my keyboard seemed to be a bit askew, and oddly enough the bench I sit on seemed to be already warm! I just can’t figure it out…could someone have been here while I was gone?

If you enjoy seeing great actors having fun with parody, you ought to watch this video. Sean Penn, Kristen Wiig, Jack Black, Ben Stiller, Kevin Spacey, and a surprise appearance at the end — I laughed out loud. Thanks go to Phil Plait, the Bad Astronomy guy, and Moriel Schottlender for bringing this to my attention:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gUrjzGalajI?rel=0&w=560&h=315]

That being posted, I need to work up an account of my encounter with a crippled and drunken old black man in a motorized wheelchair.


Plant a Tree Today

Sarah Kate Moore found this photo and put it on Facebook. I am amused, as photos like this cause various unlikely scenarios to sprout in the verbal humus of my mental gardens. Sarah’s comment on the photo:

“Yes! We need more donut trees!”


Demon Typing

I think he’s finally left! I hear that old red car starting up down below. This is the Dictionary Demon typin’ at ya. I know you don’t believe that! You are probably thinking, “That Larry! He seems to be going off the deep end again!” I want you to think that, as your misconception gives me great latitude in choosing what to write and what to reveal.

When Larry’s off on his route I’ve been practicing typing on his stained keyboard. It isn’t easy, as I have claws tipped with ivory-yellow talons, but I’ve worked out a technique the past couple of weeks. I just use one talon on each claw, while retracting the others back out of the way. I’ll bet you thought that only cats have retractable claws! Humans are so prone to delusion and self-deception — you simians have been the subject of much ridicule and humor among us demons for thousands of years!

Hey, look! Larry forgot to take his camera along! Hmm… I wonder if I can work the device. Let’s see — here’s the on/off button, here’s the shutter release — perhaps if I set the self timer, prop the camera up on the table, and pose by this rock I found in the corner…

Now to get the photo onto the computer. Here’s the USB cable, and there goes the image, a bundle of pixels being sucked up into the gaping maw of memory in that white box!

Hmm.. here’s a button right above the editing window: Upload Image.

Okay, there it goes, save the post, view it — and it worked! Now I see why Larry likes this blogging platform so much. What fun!

I have to confess that I’m bound by a solemn oath taken by every demon in this demon-haunted world. I’m not supposed to reveal any of our secrets, but I think I can make an exception here, as you, I’m certain, think that this is really Larry typing this. He does have his flights of fancy! And this venue is an obscure blog, one just read by a hundred or so people every day. I sincerely doubt that any other demons will read this, as they still don’t spend much time on the web, and they have a general antipathy towards Google, blogs, and social networking sites. Admit it — you’ve never seen a Facebook post from a demon, have you?

My main worry is that Larry will find out I’ve taken over his blog while he’s away. He would be angry and might even banish me to the Wordless Wastes. I have a simple solution, though. As a full-fledged demon I possess a bit of that old black magic, a modicum of power over obscure and ancient forces scorned by the limited scientific world-view.

I’ll just cast a harmless little spell. I’ll need some plant material to burn in a saucer… here’s some dried oregano which will do nicely. As the fragrant smoke curls upwards I’ll issue a plea to the hidden sources of digital power, forces without which none of your software would function!

Done! Now when Larry looks over the “Recent Post” sidebar at his blog, or consults the list of previous archived posts, he won’t be able to see any posts I’ve made! Now don’t you tell him, please! Let this be a little secret between us, and I’ll do what I can to provide a little variety on this blog, which sometimes seems to me to be a bit constrained, confined to a limited range of subjects.

I’ll be able to show you how the various guilds of demons have contributed to the remarkable achievements of the human race, which just (to us) seems so slow to innovate sometimes. Here’s an example, a story my great-great-great grandfather told me once, before he got bored with humanity and slipped sideways into a more interesting alternate reality:

Sonny, I remember so well, way back in the early days of the human race, when we were trying to help the poor confused creatures increase the amount of protein in their diets. We had the idea that more protein would accelerate the development of the creative portions of their brains. Those pathetic cave-dwellers were spending entirely too much time smashing grass seeds on flat rocks for their gruel. At least they had fire by then!

I decided one day to teach one especially bright human about the making and use of the spear. I showed him how to pick out a straight branch and sharpen one end with a crudely-flaked chunk of flint. I laughed so much while watching him try to throw the thing at a puzzled giant ground sloth!

I said, “Pointy end first, you darned fool!”

Is that the sound of Larry coming up the stairs? I’d better get this post updated and retreat to my snug lair next to the computer’s power supply. Remember, mum’s the word!

The Dictionary Demon

The Truth About the Mouse

Have you ever wondered about how a computer mouse really works? What’s inside one of them, anyway? The mouse is one of those ubiquitous inventions we tend to take for granted.

Lawrence Hitches is some guy in Adelaide, Australia. I don’t know if he created this image while still stunned by the revelation of the truth about a mouse’s real source of energy, or if he found it somewhere. It doesn’t really matter, though, does it? The important thing is that the truth is now out, and the genie can’t be put back in the bottle! What will the PETA folks say?

Larry, who is still just amazed!

Zombies And Home Canning

I saw this nicely-done parody image somewhere… I’d probably never be able to find it again, but I did record the original source:

Ready Made Resources

The company sells energy-saving products of interest to homesteaders, and also to those who would like to prepare for that zombie attack which is always just around the corner.

Maybe they will send me a solar-powered zombie-detector in exchange for this free plug!


Doughnuts, Turkeys, etc.

For some reason this silly ditty has been running through my mind this morning. Betsy and I used to sing it to our kids; I suspect the verse comes from the 1920s, possibly sung in a vaudeville routine.

To the hoary old tune “Turkey In The Straw”:

We-lll, I went to Cincinatti and I walked around the block,
And I walked right in to a doughnut shop.
He picked two doughnuts out of the grease
So I handed the man a five-cent piece.
We--ll, he looked at the nickel and he looked at me
Says, "This nickel's no good to me!
There's a hole in the middle and it's all the way through!"
Says I, "There's a hole in the doughnut too!"

Thanks for the doughnuts -- good bye!

The last line should be sung to the tune used for “Shave and a haircut…two bits!”

I first heard these lyrics on an LP by folksinger Michael Cooney.


Dancing Through the Uncanny Valley

This video showed up in one of my “Following” feeds over at Google+; Thanks, Jeff Brown!

I found this video to be oddly compelling and more than a bit unsettling. Ostensibly a “dubbed” video of a man virtuosically dancing to the music of Foster the People, I kept feeling like this was not a human I was watching. Partly it was the lack of expression on the man’s face, and partly the mechanical “feel” of some of the dance moves. The synthesized music was appropriate, spacey and weird and eerily reflected by staccato dance moves.

I was reminded of the “Uncanny Valley”, a phrase coined by the Japanese robotics professor Masahiro Mori in 1970, well before the age of massive digital manipulation of visual and aural data. A summary and definition from a Wikipedia page:

The uncanny valley is a hypothesis … which holds that when human replicas look and act almost, but not perfectly, like actual human beings, it causes a response of revulsion among human observers.

Of course the video shows a presumably real man dancing, but I surmise that quite a bit of video editing has been done to the original video data; thus the vaguely creepy feelings I at least had while watching. What do you think?

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LXO-jKksQkM?rel=0&w=560&h=315]

On a lighter note, here is a masterfully cast and performed video skit, sort of a modern version of one of the old “Candid Camera” segments. How would you react if you saw what appeared to be a crashed NASA satellite embedded in your car? Thanks go to Robin Shapiro for inadvertently alerting me to this video. Who is Robin and why has she ended up in my Facebook feed? I have no idea. Must be a friend of a friend…

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fgTyiaDmytw?rel=0&w=560&h=315]


Kittens: A Child’s Commentary

I found this to be quite amusing. The video must have been pieced together from numerous takes. The girl’s mother claims the commentary was all from the girl’s fancy:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FtX8nswnUKU?rel=0&w=420&h=345]

Thanks go to Claire Peckhosh for bringing this to my attention.