Friday, October 31, 2008

Sort of Slept on Halloween This Year

Down to the wire, I had this idea...put it together during my lunch break Wednesday, did the papier-mâché that night, and painted yesterday.

Basic hat structure:
Added a cone (a coolie hat?):
And a stem (a pumpkin?):
Bulked it up with some crumpled newspaper (a...pumpkin still?):
A thin layer of papier-mâché (still a pumpkin?!?):
Some brown paint:
And inked in details:
And here I am in my ACORN costume:
I printed out a bunch of these for people dressed as fictional characters or celebrities to fill out:
If I encounter any Republicans then I'm sure it'll be the scariest costume they see all night.

Thursday, October 30, 2008


The night of the last game of the World Series, I had a dream I was looking for a snack and found myself next to Shea Stadium. I went in for a hot dog and a beer. Weird that I wasn't even following the Series, and yet somehow Shea found a way to say goodbye...

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Why Not Organize When Things Are Good?

Via GameSetWatch, a blog post from someone at a UK game maker on organizing in the games industry.

The author essentially comes down on the "give unions a shot" side of the debate, while noting that both sides are really arguing from a position of ignorance given that nobody in the industry has really tried a unionized workforce. This statement does seem strange, though:
At this point in the discussions, the cry is usually "why don’t you just join [a union] and start the ball rolling", which for me is equally frustrating. Of course, I am in fact management, and not just an employee. So it doesn’t make sense for me to be a union member. And my team, not being generally mistreated, feels no need to join a union either.
You'd think, actually, that that would be a great sort of place to give a game making union a shot: you start out with employees that are content and a basically union-friendly boss, and the union is just there to keep things in that peaceful state. It's unfortunate that there's a perception of unions as a necessary evil that only come into play where workers are horribly abused.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Cryptic Crossword

I had an idea for an amusing (to me) cryptic theme the other day, and then yesterday I found this program and downloaded the demo. So here's my first attempt at a complete puzzle:

Dirty Scrabble
By tps12
Entries at 1- and 23-across, and 6- and 7-down, are valid Scrabble words that nevertheless do not appear in the Official Scrabble Players' Dictionary. The reason for their absence is explained by a two-word phrase (7,7) that describes them, and which appears in the circled squares in anagram form.
Clued answers include one foreign word. As always, mental repunctuation of a clue is the key to its solution. 

1.       Remove hydrogen from coin, releasing pressure. (7)
7.       Lite-Brite cheese? (4)
8.       Donuts, says conservative. (4)
10.     Austere podium holds spokesperson. (3)
11.     Final letter in adze end. (3)
12.     Breathes in, disappoints. (5)
15.     Reeds out by old eerie stream, initially. (5)
17.     Cinder has got knocked around. (3)
19.     Polish end of water board. (3)
21.     Fashion demo. (4)
22.     New York alien is no Russian. (4)
23.     Good-for-nothing ruined showing, offensively just like a foreigner. (7)

2.       The art of the English bum. (4)
3.       Cropped misguided steer. (5)
4.       Item: motherless disciple. (3)
5.       Rearrange Korg, understand? (4)
6.       Loser gets scoop with runaway success. (7)
7.       Emeril refrains, puts game preserve inside for breasts. (7)
9.       The French love the lion. (3)
13.     It sounds like you sing on drugs. (5)
14.     Train part in middle of l'escargot. (3)
16.     Second rank, below forehead. (4)
18.     Calls in jailhouse escape. (4)
20.     Arranged EKG for quantity of beer. (3)

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Two Dissonances Don't Make a Cognition

A friend happened to link me to a Megan McArdle post on how the economic crisis might mean trouble for New York City. It's a mess of course, but in sort of an interesting way.

First, there is the cognitive dissonance implicit in the assertion that "the City and State of New York are remarkably business-unfriendly places." I don't know if you could find a more perfect example of the doctrinaire libertarian observing that reality and dogma are in conflict, and deciding that reality has gotten it wrong. I have absolutely no doubt that New York does indeed "usually end up ranked at the very bottom of the league tables in terms of the ease of doing business there": at the top are certainly Antarctica and the Moon.

Combine that with the current financial meltdown, the demonstration of corporate deregulation run amok so perfect that no capitalism skeptic could have invented it in their wildest fantasies. It goes without saying that no sounder rebuke to vulgar libertarianism has occurred in McArdle's lifetime. And yet, it is this very same economic disaster that McArdle muses might finally cause the scales to fall from the eyes of all those misguided New York businesses who were so foolish as to choose the business-hostile isle of Manhattan in which to thrive.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Good These Nuts

My lover and I have been wincing in unison whenever John McCain has brought up the "goodies" that Obama's favorite piece of legislation procured for oil firms in a debate. Just something about an old white dude talking about "goodies" is incredibly off-putting.

But today Matt Yglesias muses on "goodies for Israel" and John Holbo mentions the "extras and goodies" that come with some web page subscription. I do not at all approve of this term catching on.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Don't Think I'll Make This

But this DOT presentation on the intersection of Flatbush and 4th Ave sounds interesting. That intersection is indeed a nightmare, and I'd be very interested in what they think can be done.

Monday, October 20, 2008

The Evaporating Obama Landslide

Maybe I am just being pessimistic, but the GOP consultant Ken Silverstein quotes echoes some of my concerns (granted, from his perspective they are hopes). Two in particular:
Obama has a lot more enthusiasm, but a reluctant vote for McCain counts the same as an enthusiastic vote for Obama.
There’s been a lot of hype about [the youth vote], but it’s not going to materialize on Election Day.
It doesn't seem likely that either of these factors will come into play to an extent that McCain actually wins (youth turnout and, well, desperation rather than "enthusiasm," but it was a similar argument, were both supposed to be a factor in Kerry's 2004 victory, but that was an argument made against popular polling and the prediction markets whereas now all the indicators are in Obama's favor). But I think it does suggest that a landslide coupled with massive gains in the House and a filibuster-proof Senate are not in the cards.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Joe the Neurosurgeon

Matt Yglesias dreams of a world where rogue plumbers slip silently through the night, fixing leaks and then escaping before the government can catch them and bury them in paperwork.

Any honest and humane opposition to licensing bodies must necessarily begin by targeting the traditional professions. The AMA's stranglehold on medical education vastly outweighs the effects of state licensing electricians in terms of economic, let alone public health and safety, terms.

You will always find anti-licensing allies in big business as long as you are trying to undermine trade unions, but they have no interest in any principle beyond that of broad opposition to organized labor. Licensing requirements for all sorts of occupations may be problematic in theory, but it's short-sighted to make common cause with anti-labor forces to do away with specific forms of licensing in isolation of anything else.

Responding to McCain's Tortuous Policy Changes

Digby has a post on how annoying it is that Obama express admiration for McCain's stand on torture legislation during the third debate. Obviously, she's right on the merits: that John McCain demonstrated his political cravenness by selling out his principles to provide cover for the Bush administration's pro-torture policies. But I think the Obama campaign made the right tactical decision here.

First, the facts of the situation aside, making the public case that McCain helped facilitate torture would be incredibly difficult. It goes against every entrenched media narrative about McCain, and will more likely than not be dismissed as a smear by most people unwilling to reevaluate their assumptions about McCain.

Second, in a situation where McCain is widely viewed as playing dirty in his negative campaigning against Obama, it allows Obama to take the high road and look gracious in contrast, driving home the "change" theme of the campaign.

Finally, it sends a message to McCain, who knows better than anyone the depths of his betrayal on torture. Obama didn't just say "good job on that" when the subject came up: he brought up torture himself for the specific purpose of saying, to McCain, "we both know that you sold out to Bush on what is supposedly one of your core principles, so watch it with this 'I'm not Bush' stuff." It's an intimidation move. Not really a threat, since he can't make good on it for the two reasons mentioned above, but a way of needling McCain by reminding him of his own lack of principle.

That's how I read it, anyway.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Dear Senator McCain

By all means, spend as much of the next three weeks as possible attacking Barack Obama for wanting to "spread the wealth around" and for being too concerned with "health of the mother" exceptions to late-term abortion bans.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Anaglyph Painting Thing

I came across a link to this neat Flash program where you paint in 3D. I had actually been playing around with something like this myself, a paint program where each layer is rendered with a different offset between the red and cyan parts of the image depending on its depth. This one takes a different approach, of actually positioning each drawn object in a 3D space, leading to some really fun and intuitive zooming and panning behavior.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The Future Is Soon

Via Amanda Marcotte , political bloggers' recommendations for election season science fiction. Not really much to say about it (Jonah Goldberg is, as always, retarded), except to note how amazing it is that Glenn "Going To Live Forever By Downloading Brain Into Robot Body" Reynolds is the only one to recommend a book based on its being an accurate prediction of the future.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Atrios Trolls Bob Somerby

Not only is it "reasonable to ask" what the deal is with John McCain's face, Atrios declares, but one wonders if it might even be unreasonable not to. We here at Baseball Nooby do not pretend to know why McCain may have winced while delivering a televised speech (for our part, it looks like he may have had an itch), and although we cannot know what is inside Atrios's mind, we do have to wonder whether he isn't trying to get Bob Somerby's goat in retaliation .

You Literally Cannot Argue With That

Tristero quotes a creationist in a news story :
"I wasn't here 2 million years ago," Fanti said. "If evolution is so slow, why don't we see anything evolving now?"
That's a really good point.