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Saturday, January 23, 2010

Quote of the day

Yes, we have our differences right now- yes, we're going our separate ways- but this company has been my home for most of my adult life, I am enormously proud of the work we've done together and I want to thank NBC for making it all possible...

Walking away from The Tonight Show is the hardest thing I've ever had to do. Making this choice has been enormously difficult. This is the best job in the world, and I absolutely love doing it... But despite this sense of loss, I really feel this should be a happy moment. Every comedian- every comedian- dreams of hosting The Tonight Show, and for seven months I got to do it. And I did it my way, with people I love. I do not regret one second of anything we've done here...

All I ask is one thing, and I'm asking this particularly of young people that watch: Please do not be cynical. I hate cynicism. For the record, it's my least favorite quality. It doesn't lead anywhere. Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get. But if you work really hard and you're kind, amazing things will happen.

-Conan O'Brien's farewell to The Tonight Show

 

 

Interestingly enough, The Tonight Show signed off at 12:35 am eastern time on January 23- the fifth anniversary of the passing of Johnny Carson.

He would have been proud.

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Friday, January 22, 2010

Of Mice and Mucilage

So it's day four of our latest visit from the viral gastroenteritis fairy. Cindy's dealing with- uh- persistent dual dehydration events. So far, I've just had fatigue, persistent muscle aches, and lower abdominal distress which I've minimized by temporarily suspending food consumption.

But my stomach made it clear to me that if I didn't send something its way muy pronto it would begin looking around for internal organs to digest. So I had some toast.

Cindy went up to the bedroom to be closer to a bathroom. I stayed on the couch, hoping to make it through the penultimate Conan O'Brien Tonight Show without having dash to the downstairs facilities.

Then it happened.

It sounded like a barfight. It started in the kitchen, went past the living room, upstairs, and back down again.

Great, I thought. Our two cats were performing another in their ongoing impromptu felis silvestris catus interpretations of the rumble from West Side Story. But as I turned on the light in the hall, I saw Cindy's cat, Chloe, rigid in a corner, watching intently as my cat, Pumpkin, made another freight-train mimicking full speed run through my legs.

Around this house, we use math to assist in determining responsibility for unacceptable behavior. Ok, two cats. Three shelties were in the dog room, that's five; one was upstairs with Cindy, that's six; two were cowering in the living room, terrified of the funny looking dog with the bad temperament who appeared to have totally lost whatever sanity it had once possessed. All lesser mammals present and accounted for; seven stationary, with only Pumpkin exhibiting bizarre behavior.

On her next Tasmanian Devil-like transit of the downstairs, she slid into a wall and stopped momentarily. Then I realized the true horror of the situation. Firmly attached to her right rear paw was a mouse trap. And attached to the mouse trap was a mouse.

Last weekend, Cindy said she thought she had seen mouse droppings in the kitchen. She placed a couple of glue traps in likely locations. Her efforts were, alas, successful.

The unfortunate victim apparently struggled and the resultant disturbance caught the attention of a feline who understood the concept of the carnivore food chain but not the properties of modern adhesives, specifically when they interact with cat fur.

Glue traps are supposedly more humane, since you can free the hapless captive with vegetable oil. I'm not certain what you're supposed to do with a pissed-off, oily mouse, but at the moment the question was rather moot. The mouse was the least of my problems.

Quickly ruling out the prospect of engaging in an oil-wrestling match with a crazed, screaming ball of whirling claws and teeth, I instead grabbed her during the perigee of her next orbit, pinning her to the couch.

The next thirty seconds were a chaotic, painful blur. When I regained my senses, I found myself breathless, slumped on the floor with a mouse trap glued to one hand, a dead rodent glued to the other, and two shelties peering at me with a look of bemusement from their positions of safety behind the love seat.

Pumpkin disappeared to that place where cats go when they've been mortified by their behavior and need time to regain their composure. I went outside, disposed of the trap and its victim, then heavily Purelled, CortisoneTenned and Neosporined myself.

Cindy's cat Chloe is de-clawed. Pumpkin isn't.

The results weren't pretty:

 

 

At least I fared better than the mouse. I didn't notice any bites or puncture wounds on the poor little guy. I suspect he expired from the blunt force trauma of being used as a running shoe by a crazed creature 200 times his weight.

There's one trap remaining in the kitchen. It'll be interesting to see if the cats learn anything from this.

I have. Effective tomorrow, there will be spray bottles of vegetable oil, pairs of ArmorTip puncture protective gloves, and safety goggles distributed through the house.

In the meantime, I'm staying the hell out of the kitchen.

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Thursday, January 21, 2010

Idjits.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Mass Backwards
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorHealth Care Crisis

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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Okay...

Maybe this whole Leno/Conan thing has gone too far...

 

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And the Oscar goes to...

The inventor of secure, frequency-shifting spread spectrum communications, Hedy Lamarr.

Actually, actress Lamarr (who died on this date in 2000) and avant-garde composer friend George Antheil received a patent in 1942 for a "Secret Communications System" that laid the conceptual groundwork for today's spread spectrum technology.

Lamarr had been married to a weapons manufacturer in the 1930s, and she learned a great deal. She hit on the idea that radio-controlled torpedoes would enable the Allies to destroy the Nazis' naval capability. Radio control signals could be easily jammed or intercepted, however; so Lamarr suggested the torpedo's receiver and the transmitter controlling it should constantly change frequency.

The system achieved synchronization using a clockwork mechanism to drive perforated paper strips: player piano rolls. Antheil had used the approach to synchronize player pianos for a score he had written for a 1924 film.

Lamarr and Antheil never tried to commercialize their invention. They turned it over to the U.S. government, which didn't implement the technology until 1962, three years after their patent expired.

Lamarr and Antheil were truly ahead of their time. Frequency hopping radio systems didn't become practical until digital technology made signal synchronization a non-mechanical operation. Today spread spectrum is everywhere, from defense satellites to the digital cordless phones in millions of homes.

Sort of makes you wonder if Sigourney Weaver is working on anything.

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Monday, January 18, 2010

I have a dream today...

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Sunday, January 17, 2010

Well, this is embarrassing...

Jay's 2004 Announcement - watch more funny videos

 

As Jon Stewart points out on his Daily Show from time to time, "Don't they realize we save this stuff?

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So there.  
The kgb@kgb.com e-mail address is now something other than kgb@kgb.com saga.
kgbreport.com used to be kgb.com until December, 2007 when the domain name broker Trout Zimmer made an offer I couldn't refuse. Giving up kgb.com and adopting kgbreport.com created a significant problem, however. I had acquired the kgb.com domain name in 1993, and had since that time used kgb@kgb.com as my sole e-mail address. How to let people know that kgb@kgb.com was no longer kgb@kgb.com but rather kgbarkes@gmail.com which is longer than kgb@kgb.com and more letters to type than kgb@kgb.com and somehow less aesthetically pleasing than kgb@kgb.com but actually just as functional as kgb@kgb.com? I sent e-mails from the kgb@kgb.com address to just about everybody I knew who had used kgb@kgb.com in the past decade and a half but noticed that some people just didn't seem to get the word about the kgb@kgb.com change. So it occurred to me that if I were generate some literate, valid text in which kgb@kgb.com was repeated numerous times and posted it on a bunch of different pages- say, a blog indexed by Google- that someone looking for kgb@kgb.com would notice this paragraph repeated in hundreds of locations, would read it, and figure out that kgb@kgb.com no longer is the kgb@kgb.com they thought it was. That's the theory, anyway. kgb@kgb.com. Ok, I'm done. Move along. Nothing to see here...

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