Poe's Law on April Fools

In case you haven't heard of Poe's law, it has been expressed thus, by one Nathan Poe:

Without a winking smiley or other blatant display of humour, it is impossible to create a parody of fundamentalism that someone won't mistake for the real thing.

So, today, April Fool's Day, the day of the nonsensical parody, is a fine time to talk about it. Here is a great example:

Utah County parents protest schools' promotion of 'democracy', from the Salt Lake Tribune.

The media's "equal-time-for-morons" policy has gotten so out of hand that I honestly don't know what's real anymore. After reading the article, I realized what it's really about. Mormon parents are objecting to the word "Democracy" to describe our governmental system because it sounds like "Democrat," whereas "Republic" sounds more like "Republican."

More asshole indoctrination nonsense from the heart of fundamentalist America.

The Hutaree Love Sisters of Mercy!!!!

I just had to post this:

If you haven't been paying attention, it seems that at least 8 American Jesus-freak morons have been busted in at least three states for a conspiracy to murder police.

The plan, apparently, was to kill a police officer, then wait until his funeral to kill more police using improvised explosives. That's world-class assholery, particularly if you're in a Jesus state of mind.

But, at least they have good taste in music! Here, they set a clip video to the sounds of Sisters of Mercy, one of my favorites. However, they falsely label them as German, which they aren't. The confusion probably comes from the fact that some versions of this song, Marian, have a German verse.

Crazy people have internet connections, too.

It all started at Fark, but from there, I was led into a weird, demented world filled with crazy people. Have you ever had that annoying experience where you can't stop clicking buttons on the webpages of idiots?

Anyway, here's someone who thinks the new Lady Gaga video proves that she's an MKUltra mind-controlled slave.

Here's someone who thinks that Michael Jackson's "Beat It" is about a homosexual initiation ritual.

Here are some people who think Rihanna is part of the Illuminati.

By the way, I just want you all to know that you can always tell an Illuminatus by the way they cover one eye, give the "okay" sign with their hands, and wear Mickey Mouse insignia.

Firefox 3.6 Tab Order problems

The new version of Firefox, version 3.6, ha been out for a few days now, and I finally got around to downloading it yesterday. It took about 5 minutes before it pissed me off royally, so I'll give you the advice that I found on the internet.

The problem: New tabs seem to appear kind of randomly in the tab bar.

The solution: Here are five simple steps to fix the problem

  1. Type about:config into your address bar

  2. Promise to be careful
  3. Type the word "related" into the filter bar to find the right key
  4. Double-click on the text under "value" to change the value to "false." The status will change to "user set" but don't worry.
  5. You're done. Close the window. It should be back to normal immediately.

The Question V1 - Zen and Violence

Based on a recommendation from Darren at Skylight Books, my favorite independent bookstore, I picked up this little gem from 1987. Back in print since 2007, The Question, by O'Neil, Cowan, and Magyar, takes place in the DC Universe in a town called Hub City. The series follows the life of The Question, a night-time vigilante in the spirit of Batman, and day-time freelance journalist Vic Sage.

While the comic throws a battery of genre clichés at you, it's still a very entertaining read with a protagonist who gets more and more interesting, and a few bad guys that you really want to learn more about.

My only complaint is that the first 80% of the book takes place under a consistent story arc, and the last chapter feels like it dropped out of the sky. Not the best way to end a trade. If it made sense to just collect the first 4 issues, they should have done it.

All in all, a good read. Unfortunately, I don't see this title stocked at many shops, so it may be a while before I have a chance to get V2 and V3.

The Confidence Man

Finally finished reading a book I started the day after Christmas. So, yes, 3 full months to finish 300 pages. This has to be a record for my slowest progress yet. But, I'm glad to say that the effort was worth it.

Melville's last novel is the story of a brief riverboat cruise down the mighty Mississippi, filled with interesting characters, and so much dialogue. God, there is a lot of dialogue. In 300 pages, I would venture a guess at around 250 pages of dialogue. It may have been more successful as a play.

The story tells a series of brief episodes in the lives of people asking for money, and the people who are convinced to give it, by a variety of means. The central concern of the work is the idea of Confidence, that rarest of things, Confidence in our fellow man. And, by showing us the worst of men, who comes bearing the loftiest of ideas, we're left with a feeling of weakness overall.

As the Man with a Weed, or the Cosmopolitan, or the Man from the Coal Company, or the Snake Oil Salesman (are they all the same man? I'm not sure) take people for one ride after another, cynically extolling the Biblical virtue of Confidence in strangers, we know at every moment that they are using this high ideal as nothing more than an opportunity for swindling.

The most interesting aspect of the confidence-game played out time and time again in the novel is the fact that these expert practitioners of the art of seperating sucker from money all do so without making grand promises or sophisticated cons. The method is simple and repetitive: infecting others with the idea that Confidence is supreme among human virtues, and letting the rest follow naturally.

How to resolve the dilemma of confidence, the paradox of trust in an untrustworthy world? Well, it seems that we must all follow a simple unspoken rule: confidence is something seldom asked for with good intentions.

Mind: Introduction to Cognitive Science

It took me a while, but I finally finished Paul Thagard's "Mind: Introduction to Cognitive Science" today. It's a very interesting read that summarizes the major questions facing researchers and the models that they are using to describe mental processes.

All was very informative, and surprisingly accessible to a layman, with very little of the pseudo-math, symbolic logical symbols that you often see in works of this nature. I suppose there is a certain irony to the fact that symbols can make things harder to understand, particulaly when you're talking about a field that is very concerned with symbols.

My only complaint overall is that, while Thagard seems to keep an open mind about virtually all aspects of the field, he is very dismissive of the Dualist and Idealist views of consciousness. He is quick to show the possibilities of many ideas that conflict with his own CRUM model of cognition, but he shows nothing but disdain for people who think that consciousness can't be described as an electro-chemical process, putting them down as merely "unimaginative."

That aside, I highly recommend this title for people interested in thinking about thinking. The first few chapters turn your brain upside down, if you're willing to really read closely and take in what's on the page.

Of Montreal - Brush Brush Brush

I love Of Montreal, and this video, from a comp they did for the Nickelodeon show Yo Gabba Gabba, makes me love them even more. Can't embed, so click the pic to be transported magically to YouTube.

Lysacek vs. Hell's Kitchen

Congratulations to Evan Lysacek. We watched his performance last night and it was pretty cool. He was definitely the best out there, and he clearly deserved to win. I'm sure he's a nice guy, too.

But, throughout his performance, something was bothering me, something that goes further than the snakes sewed onto his clothing.

Yes, those are snakes, dude.

Anyway, at around 1am, I finally figured out what it was that kept annoying me about his. It's that his haircut makes him look like the Maitre D', Jean-Philippe, from Hell's Kitchen. Evidence below:

This is Lysacek:

This is Jean-Philippe:

A small style makeover would be okay, seriously.

However, it's not nearly as bad as Plushenko:

The modified Russo-mullet makes him look just like Joe Elliott from Def Leppard:

Actually, so does his face.

Fixing the form labels in iTheme for Drupal

I can't believe it took me this long to notice the problem, but here's the solution.

If you're using iTheme for Drupal, you may have noticed that a lot of the form fields don't have labels, so it's hard to figure out what to do. Here's the fix:

1) Backup your copy of style.css in sites/all/themes/iTheme. Then edit the original.

2) Find the line that looks like this:

3) Change "none" to "inline"

4) Upload the new version of style.css to the previously mentioned directory.

5) Relaunch your browser, load the page and then click the reload button to make sure it's using the current version.

6) Problem solved. Send me a thank you note.