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24 posts from February 2006

Conversation with Dad

[I am sitting at my computer.]

Dad: Are you on that thing?
Me: What?
Dad: That . . . thing.
Me: The Internet?
Dad: No.  You know, that thing where you talk to people.
Me: (Scanning brain: the phone? Cell phone?) Um....
Dad: The thing where the things pop up and you type to people.
Me: (Getting it) Oh.  IM.  Yeah.
Dad: Tell your brother I need to talk to him.

Continued Coverage of the Jeeves Situation

First, thanks to everyone who has e-mailed and IMed in response to yesterday's call for correspondents.  I will be e-mailing you back today to discuss your assignments.  If there is anyone out there who still wants to participate, there are definitely opportunities left; e-mail [email protected] and we will make the proper arrangements.

Now I'd like to completely change topics and have you focus on the barren wasteland that is  Hideous, no?  Earlier this month I posted about, more commonly known as, and their shocking decision to retire Jeeves.  Looking at the current design, it seems they were hoping to achieve a cleaner, simpler, more Google-esque interface, but the execution is way off.  Since all they did was basically just take Jeeves out and lop his name off of the logo, you immediately focus on the vast stretch of white pixels where he used to be instead of on the other parts of their half-assed design.

Actually, it's kind of creepy.  It sort of reminds me of that Jodie Foster movie I didn't see where she falls asleep on the plane and wakes up and her kid is gone and nobody remembers the kid ever existed.  Like, the way the URL automatically redirects to if you happen to type in, and the way it seems that Jeeves just slipped off of the site without a ripple--to me that seems suspect.  I'm not making any accusations, but if I were the Lycos dog I would be scared right now.  They're coming for you next, buddy!  Might want to do a search for "witness protection program" or "massive reconstructive surgery."

This Will All Make Sense Very Soon

LMNOP has an urgent need for contributers and correspondents for an undertaking that will be launched very, very soon.  Volunteers are needed for parts of this event that will take place in as few as two days.  Your level of contribution will be completely up to you, from a couple of minutes of work to an opus of impossible magnitude.

We need the following:

- Someone who is a dentist or knows a dentist well or likes his/her dentist a lot.  Also, if you are someone who has a dentist appointment coming up then we DEFINITELY want to hear from you.
- Someone who is any kind of doctor, or knows a doctor well
- Someone who likes pecan waffles
- Someone who has access to a kite
- Someone Jewish
- Someone who has had a funny experience with a pig
- Someone who knows a lot about spiders or knows where to find some spiders
- Someone who is/was a Girl Scout and/or Campfire Girl/Boy
- Someone who gets the hiccups a lot
- A federal employee
- Someone who has ever had to call poison control

Respond in the comments section if you are e-mail phobic or lazy, but the preferred form of communication for this is e-mail since I would like to keep my correspondents' assignments and identities top secret for the time being.  Please send an e-mail to [email protected] or IM me if you know my screen name and list the topics you are interested in corresponding for, in order of preference.  Assignments will be handed out on a first-come, first serve basis.

We will need to find correspondents for all of these listings in the very near future, but our most immediate needs are for the person who has had a funny experience with a pig and the person who is or knows a dentist.

Also, if you are interested in becoming a correspondent but none of the above seem to apply to you, send an e-mail and we will create an opportunity for you.

Cathy Addison-Weemer and I are very excited to review your e-mails and IMs and get this secret project underway!

Also, Shut Up

In response to the grumbly grumblers who have grumbled in the comments section about the fact that I did not post over the weekend: chiiillllllll.  If you want a dancing monkey who will dance when you tell it to dance, click here.  If you want insightful, sharp, witty commentary on a variety of topics, click here.  If you want whatever it is this site provides for you, then wait til tonight, dammit.

Um, This is About Keyboards

So I have always wondered how people type in Chinese.  I was delighted today when Daniel Engber explained it today in his Explainer column

He also linked to some other articles related to the subject of keyboards, including this one from 2002 in which the author switches to the Dvorak keyboard layout, which looks something like this:


And, according to the article, is a million times better:

"Not surprisingly, by many standards, Dvorak keyboards work better. On the Qwerty, one uses the home row about 30 percent of the time. With the Dvorak, it's more than twice that. Dvorak users also move their fingers about 35 percent less than Qwerty users, and according to one neat little study, Dvorak can cut the finger movement to type our dozen most common words by 75 percent. Dvorak enthusiasts claim that from the home row on a Dvorak board, you can type 3,000 words; from the home row of a Qwerty board, only 300.

Overall, once someone learns the new layout, he types about 4 percent to 20 percent faster on the Dvorak . . ."

So here's what I'm thinking: I totally want to Dvorak-ize my keyboard.  Apparently it's really easy, you can just reconfigure Windows to recognize the keys on your current keyboard as different letters, and then put masking tape or whatever over the keys of your standard keyboard and re-label them.

I think I'm gonna do it.  Does anyone else want to try?  It will probably just end up being like when you try writing with your left hand, and yeah, you can see how you would get better if you practiced, but it's so unbelievably frustrating and slow that you can't do it for more than two minutes before you quit.  But I'm so curious!

OK, I will keep you updated on this.  Let me know if you want to do it too.

He Could Have Been Emancipating the Slaves, but He Was Gelling His Hair

Let's face it: Presidents' Day is a totally unfair, skewed holiday--just one more day out of the year that we honor Washington and Lincoln, who are already all over our money, city and state names, and novelty boxer shorts.  I think it's time we recognized some of the other presidents for a change!  That's why I've constructed the LMNOP Presidents' Day Challenge, which gives four under appreciated presidents their proper due.  By scanning the presidential profiles on, I was able to come up with what I think was, for 15 minutes, a pretty comprehensive understanding of these four men and their greatest contributions to American history.  See if you can guess what they were, and then read the answers below:


OK, let's see how you did:

A.) James K. Polk: Sweetest Deal in Presidential History.

When he offered Mexico $20 million to buy California from them, he was greeted with laughter.  Clearly, the Mexicans knew that Brad and Jen's old house alone was worth at least $20 mil.  However, Polk ended up proving that while he was not really reading US Weekly, he was definitely tapping into something worth looking at, because he ended up getting the last laugh.  He let the whole thing escalate into a little war, and ended up buying both New Mexico AND California from Mexico in the end, and at only $15 million, as if to say, "Ha!  Not only are we taking California for $5 mil less than asking, we're also taking that other territory and using it to make a NEW Mexico that isn't a sucky wuss."  Now, the New Mexico that we built hasn't really yielded much for the country in the years since, except maybe like those Southwestern-motif wall hangings?  But, still: well played, Polk.  Well played. Congratulations on the Sweetest Deal in Presidential History.

B.) Warren G. Harding: Best Vocabulary

All of us have heard some variant of the boring story about how Warren G. Harding sparked a controversy by using the word "normalcy."  A lot of people thought he meant to say normality and thought he was a dumbass.  Others defended him and said that normalcy was in the dictionary and was a real word.  When we examine this word in the context that Harding originally used it in, I think we can safely put this debate to rest:
"America's present need is not heroics, but healing; not nostrums, but normalcy; not revolution, but restoration; not agitation, but adjustment; not surgery, but serenity; not the dramatic, but the dispassionate; not experiment, but equipoise; not submergence in internationality, but sustainment in triumphant nationality...."
Um, he just legitimately used the words "nostrum" and "equipoise" in the same sentence.  Do you think this man doesn't have a handle on his vocabulary?  Clearly people were just looking for something to complain about while they waited for Teapot Dome or whatever.

C.) James Buchanan: Best Quitter; Best Faux Hawk

James Buchanan, when faced with rising civil unrest and the near-certainty of a war between the North and the South, did what I definitely would have done: he stalled and let the clock run out on his presidency so that the next guy (Lincoln) could deal with the problems.  As notes: "Buchanan reverted to a policy of inactivity that continued until he left office. In March 1861 he retired to his Pennsylvania home Wheatland, leaving his successor to resolve the frightful issue facing the Nation."  I think that anyone who has ever made it to 4 p.m. on a weekday and realized that there is a huge error in the work they did that day, and then decided to just pretend not to notice and turn it in so they can still leave at 5, can definitely relate to Buchanan's strategy.  As for the awesome faux-hawk, I think the picture above makes it pretty clear why this man is sometimes called the Ryan Seacrest of Presidents.

D.) Benjamin Harrison: Best Watered-Down Shit Talking

Consider this from the official bio of Republican Benjamin Harrison: " As he was only 5 feet, 6 inches tall, Democrats called him "Little Ben"; Republicans replied that he was big enough to wear the hat of his grandfather, "Old Tippecanoe.'"
Congratulations to Benjamin Harrison for inspiring the lamest bout of trashtalking in American history.  I mean, really.  Democrats: the best you can come up with is 'Little Ben??'  Really

And Republicans.  Shame on you.  This was your chance for a GREAT retort.  Like, the Democrats were coming off of Grover Cleveland.  They hadn't done shit in a while.  And you come back with some lame reference to 'Old Tippecanoe,' which would go down in history as being something that is vaguely recognizable but not worth the 5-second Google it would take to figure out who or what the hell it is?  Republicans: not well played.  NOT well played.  Benjamin, way to inspire the most pathetic exchange in the history of fussy white men bitching at each other.  Them's some hard shoes to fill.

More From the Basement

Well, these were in the garage, but that's sort of just a continuation of the basement in terms of the content it contains.  Recognize these?


They're the basketballs they gave away at Pizza Hut for the NCAA Final Four at some point in the early-to-mid-'90s.  Mint condition, no less!

I Never Thought I Would Be Posting Something About Brandy

So when I saw this picture of Brandy wearing this heinous wig:

I was immediately reminded of that character in Drop Dead Gorgeous.  Remember?  The anorexic winner of the previoius year's Sarah Rose pageant?  Who Kirsten Dunst would visit in the hospital?  And she lip-synced in the pageant while a nurse pushed her wheelchair?  You know, her:

"Don't crrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrry out loud . . . Just hold it inside . . . Remember to hide . . . your . . . feeeeeeeelings."


Soooooo, I guess probably that would mean that my official advice to Brandy is that she should get a new hairstyle. 

Fringe Sport to the Second Power

Olympics_copy_1 Let's get one thing straight: LMNOP loves the Olympics.  We watch it every night on NBC.  We love luging, curling, skiing, snowboarding, figure skating, figure skaters, figure skating vocabulary, figure skating costumes, figure skating commentators, random small countries and their random national anthems, rises to glory and falls from grace, and people who practice their whole lives to fall just short of winning a bronze medal in a sport nobody has ever heard of (skeleton, anyone?)  We love it all, dammit.

Except snowboard cross.  Have you seen that shit?  It's new to the Games this year and it sucks.  Like, remember when Carmen Electra and Dave Navarro got married and had that reality show and nobody really gave a crap because neither of them was that popular anyway?  Well, snowboard cross is stupid for the same reason.  For all its growth in recent years, snowboarding is still pretty much a fringe sport.  Motocross definitely is.  Their bastard child is about as interesting to watch as, well, you know, that Dave and Carmen show.  Whatever it was called.

Stay tuned in the coming days for more exclusive LMNOP Olympic coverage.  And if you're interested in filing an Olympics Special Report on your favorite aspect of the games, let us know by comment or e-mail or carrier pigeon.  Because, like we said: LMNOP loves the Olympics.