September 2004 Archives

The Grammar Nazi

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I had a revelation of sorts while in the shower this morning.

Don't worry, you can keep reading, this isn't going to get dirty.

I was pondering the aggressively negative reaction that some people (including myself) display when words are misused and grammar rules are flagrantly violated. People seem to regard this as excessively pedantic, anal, and arrogant. I will now present an analogy that may be helpful in explaining this behavior.

Language is music.

Language is a vehicle for transmitting the abstract, transferring ideas from one mind to another. When properly constructed, words flow together and become more than a sequence of individual letters. Ideas, images, emotions, all these can be evoked by a well-turned phrase.

Music can convey the same information. It is, perhaps, somewhat less precise, but can be more powerful in conveying certain ideas, especially emotion.

Now, what does this have to do with a Grammar Nazi? An improper word choice is a sour note in the symphony. It drags the mind down from the higher level that the words are trying to evoke and focuses the mind instead on the method used to communicate. It is a jarring and unpleasant experience.

In conclusion, ungood grammer and spelling hurt's my head and its all teh Intarweb's fault.

Link Roundup

Sketch of bensbane and girlfriend
  • A double-entendre? The AP is just great.
  • Cool images such as this one can be found here. Via everlasting blort.
  • I behave badly over at ZeroTolerance's blog, which has several excellent tales of his adventures in retail hell.
  • My girlfriend and I had a sketch made at the mall this weekend, courtesty of Tom Halverson. Kinda cool, worth the 1/2 hour.

Rest In Peace

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You were a faithful friend, always there when I needed you. You never complained. You were low maintenance. You were the cheapest of cheap dates. You stood strong through more than your fair share of ridicule.

It saddens me, old friend, to say goodbye. Like a great leper of glass and steel, your heart stayed true while your extremities rotted away, leaving you a rusted memory of your former glory.

Farewell Rusty White, you were loved.

Rusty White

Sticking With What Works


This man is worried about "deep-down Satan worshipers". Very worried. His home is fortified and he drives wooden stakes into a stump in the front yard, pointing out the homes of witches in the area.

You should take note of his precautions, if you also happen to be concerned about witches, because they "are working". tip of the day: Sell this man some dinosaur repellent.

A Little Activisim Goes a Long Way

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Every Time You Shop at Wal*Mart, God Kills a Kitten

MrAirbear and I are ready to take our Wal*Mart boycott to the next level. I've picked out my favorite signs to picket with, who's with me?

I first heard about Garden State from Defective Yeti and decided to go see it last night.

Garden State, my friends, is a funny movie. Go see it.

Added bonus: They mention my hometown of Duluth, MN almost immediately! What a great idea.

Matthew (from Defective Yeti) seems to have liked quite a few movies I've liked recently, including Lost in Translation and Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind, just to stick with the ones I might not have seen without his review. He also wrote the IKEA Strategy Guide, which is very funny.

Matthew, my friends, is a funny guy. Go read his blog.

Tree: 1, Andrew: 0


I engaged in a bit of aerial acrobatics this past evening. My friend J has some new buddies from work and they took us out to Spirit Mountain, an exaggeration if I ever heard one.

Regardless of its pathetic status as a pseudo-mountain, Spirit was brutal to me. Read on for pictures and more...

A Bit of a Misnomer


From the XSLT School:

Note: Once you have set a variable's value, you cannot change or modify that value!

Now, is it just me, or does the word "variable" imply that it...well...varies?

Thanks XSLT, You're the Best!



Sometimes criminals have really good ideas. This is a good example. It would've been a better idea if he would've done it without getting caught, but there's always next time.

There are certain things you're not familiar with when you drive a car that earns you the nickname "Rusty White Team Leader". One of these things is the Panic button on a keyless entry device.

This can lead to problems.

My gas tank "sprung a leak" last night. This phrase really doesn't do justice to the reality of the entire seam in the tank giving way and spewing gas at the same time, but it will have to do. As a result I'm borrowing a considerably nicer vehicle for the day. Here comes the patented tip of the day:

Be careful how you carry your keys.

If you fail to heed this hard-won advice, you may end up with a honking car horn at 7am and the painful realization that you have no idea how to it turn off. There will be flashing lights, there will be embarrassment, but if you're as lucky as me, there will be no cops.

New Links


I've added a couple new links in my friends section.

My good friend Zero Tolerance has a new blog up. Not much to see yet but it will be cool in the future, this I am certain of. Very soon you will be seeing the fruits of the collaboration of our devious minds.

My current music selection, Amy Kortuem. Celtic harp music. Cool. I'd like it even if she wasn't my cousin.

I'm Sorry, Kid...

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Apparently I'm the top Yahoo! search result for where do monkeys live, and the second result for MONKEYS AND WHERE THEY LIVE.

To whatever 7th grader was looking for a source for his 500 word report and ended up here, reading about my landlord's leotards, I apologize. Nobody deserves that.

Blog Redesign


In an effort to distinguish my blog from every other out-of-the-box Movable Type blog I spent a few hours today putting together a new style sheet. If you're reading this in IE, you're wondering why my sidebar fell down and probably wondering why I just broke the site.

I didn't. IE broke the site.

I've said it before, but it's worth mentioning again: Use Firefox. It actually supports style sheets.

Since at least 80% of my hits come from Mozilla browsers I probably won't get around to making the site work with IE for a while. Sorry.

Anyway, please let me know what you think of the redesign. I've enabled commenting without an account, so let me have it.

Yet Another Reason to Love the Internet


I always wondered what those changing tables in restrooms were actually used for. Now I know.

The Stink-Finger


Dear Landlord,

I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your great work on my front door. Prior to your magnificent efforts, I had been carrying a rather large rubber mallet to "persuade" my key to enter the very stiff lock.

Being superbly attendant to my needs, as you often are, you sprang into action within no more than three weeks, a mere blink of an eye, on a cosmic scale. Donning your super-landlord leotard, which, by the way, looks quite fetching stretched over your vast paunch, you grabbed your grease (why do you have so much anyway?) and proceeded to lube.

Due to your heroic efforts, my key now slides in the lock with virtually no resistance. A mere thought and it is in. It is, in a word, fantastic.

The real joy of this situation, however, is the amount of grease that you used. Not only did you lube the lock, you lubed the whole front of the door. The river of grease running down from the knob is positively torrential. The best part is the fact that any time I touch the doorknob, inside or out, my hands smell like grease for the rest of the day. Truly, what more could I want?

That's all I really wanted to say, Landlord, so keep up the good work!

Thanks Landlord, you're the best.

Are you tired of the oh-so-cold morning wakeup? Are you ashamed that one of the most frequently used items in your home doesn't have a remote control? Are you excited by cyclonic action and do you wish you could see it in your own home?

I know you answered yes to all of the above. I certainly did. It is my distinct pleasure to introduce to you the greatest thing I have ever seen.

The Neorest. Behold, and be amazed.

Picture This


Excellent photo gallery. Is there really anything cooler than mountains?

Land-Speed Record Broken in Cloquet!


Wed Sep 1, 12:45 PM CT

CLOQUET, MN (Bensbane Press) - Grandma's Cloquet Cafe of Cloquet, MN set a new land-speed record today. Lunch was served in an awe-inspiring time of 43.0 minutes, sit-down to departure.

The previous record of 87.5 minutes, also held by Grandma's Cloquet Cafe, was shattered by today's effort. This historic event was witnessed by our crack team of journalists as they dined at the Cloquet branch of the Grandma's franchise.

"Hopefully I'm not eligible for Social Security by the time we get out of here today," came the usual quip as we entered the dining area.

An unstoppable combination of snappy service and prompt attention from the chef rapidly changed the tune of all involved as we were stricken speechless by the arrival of our orders in a mere 15 minutes.

"I haven't seen food move that fast since your mom chased the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile™ down Main St!" came the joyous proclamation as the server delivered our entrees.

As a result of this spectacular performance, Grandma's Cloquet Cafe has been upgraded to 3/5 stars, up from 1.5/5.



I attended another .NET User Group meeting last night. After my adventures on the last trip, with the pipe-smoking commuter and the aggressively-colored poodle, this one was something of a disappointment. I did see a man with an absolutely huge mullet, however. A day without mullet is a wasted day, so I guess I came out ok.

The presentation was much better this time. If you haven't seen TabletPC technology you should take a look, it's very cool. The Ink looks good, it's all vector-based and the curves look smooth. My mission is now to acquire one of these, the gee-whiz factor is just too much for me.

A Memo

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Dear Woman-that-tried-to-run-me-off-the-freeway-this-morning,

I am writing to you regarding the incident on I-35 this morning in which you drifted out of your lane, nearly colliding with me as I attempted to pass you. I noticed as you were sporadically braking in front of me that your car is an utter pile of junk. It is old, it is rusty, it is dirty. Make: irrelevant, Model: irrelevant. Driving that car, you will never impress anyone.

Having established that, would like to offer you a free piece of advice.

Applying mascara while driving this rolling disaster WILL NOT help. Please desist immediately.



UPDATE: MrAirbear suggests a relevant Dave Barry column here. Get it while it's hot.

Quote of the Day


For your reading pleasure, we have The Quote of the Day:

Chris Anderson - "Reality is not a urinal in the closet."

That is all.