Monday, September 18, 2006

Find Places Similar to Your Town

I ran across a very interesting tool today. has a tool called PlaceMatch which finds cities and towns that are the closest match for any US place you choose. So if you check out Boston, e.g., it will confirm that Boston is similar to Washington DC, San Francisco, etc. It even works for small towns. Check it out; highly recommened.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Disney and Sex, Witchcraft, Killing, and More!

Disney and Sex, Witchcraft, Killing, and More!

Even the G-rated stuff has slipped away from us, culturally speaking. Here's my capsule review of Disney's "The Little Mermaid":

"A heart-warming tale of black magic and interspecies dating, in which a scantily clad 16 year old mermaid defies the warnings of her father to pursue a romantic relationship with an attractive man who she has seen but never met. Though shy at first, with the help of a witch the mermaid is able to exchange her most prized possession for the ability to conform to the prevailing standard of beauty and to use sexual appeal to land her man. The movie culminates in a rousing fight to the death between the man and the witch, in which hundreds of people drown and the witch is finally impaled and killed. The mermaid happily achieves her goal of leaving her father and marrying the stranger."

"Beauty and the Beast" is similar:

"A heart-warming tale of black magic and interspecies dating, in which an attractive young girl is pursued romantically by an enchanted monster. Movie highlights include our heroine fleeing a pack of ravenous wolves through a forest at night, her father being beaten up by ruffians in a tavern, her being imprisoned forever in a haunted castle, an ongoing series of threats and angry displays of temper, and much more. The movie ends spectacularly with an extended midnight knife fight to the death between the beast and an evil human on the roof of the magic castle."

Where's Mary Poppins when we need her?

Thursday, February 12, 2004

"Introspectuals": I Said It First

Joining race, gender, religion, geography, income level, and country of origin, and hot on the heels of the new term "metrosexual", I'm hereby coining a term for a new way to divide people into groups: the "introspectual".

That's right, this term indicates how introspective/intellectual you are. If you are an introspectual, you know how hard it is to sustain a close relationship with people who aren't. Sure, they're great to socialize with and all, but try being married to someone who thinks any thinking out loud you do is just whining. Or try working for someone who thinks that creative brainstorming is just indecision.

If you're an introspectual, you know who you are. You ask your mate "what are you thinking"? You doodle. You carry a pen and some paper in case a thought occurs to you that you don't want to lose. You try to see more than one side to the issues. When you blog, you use full sentences. Pleased to meet you.

Wednesday, December 31, 2003

Way Cute

Give this "calculator" a whirl (it's one of hundreds):
Find a Grave
Find graves of famous people

First Name
Last Name

Free Online Calculators

And they let you just copy and paste this or hundreds of other "online calculators" (web forms that do stuff) into your blog or web site, free.

Friday, March 28, 2003

Free Company Slogans and Blog Tag Lines

Need a catchy tag line for your blog, company, or product? Try these:

  • We want to serve you very badly.

  • Fewer unhappy customers every day.

  • As good as we can be.

  • See what all the shouting's about.

  • Our work is never done.

  • We don't know a better way to do it.

  • Customer satisfaction is our wildest dream.

  • Where big problems need solving, you'll find us.

  • Nothing's better than this.

  • We'd like to see you do better.

  • Leveraging synergies to maximize stakeholder value.

  • Nothing's limited but our liability.

  • Tell us what you want, and you'll get it in the end.

  • More than you bargained for.

  • We thought we could do better.

  • Always learning.

  • Our future is ahead of us.

  • You'll want to tell your friends about us.

  • Let bygones be bygones.

  • You'll swear by us.

  • What do you want?

  • We'll make you glad you're still alive.

  • When trouble strikes, think of us.

  • Practice makes perfect.

  • When it comes to customer satisfaction, we're full of it.

  • Learning from past mistakes every day.

  • In the classroom of technology, we are the special students.

  • Each day finds us solving new problems.

  • Customer service is our most intensive activity.

  • Think of us when you want the real dope.

  • You haven't seen anything yet.

  • It's the least we could do.

  • It's the best we could do.

  • Nothing compares to this.

  • Products that will be recalled for years to come.

  • Our services are trouble, free.

  • What are you looking at?

  • Always trying.

  • From our quality assurance lab to yours.

  • We write web software the way your mother would.

  • You won't be able to walk away.

  • You won't believe your eyes.

  • You won't believe what we do to the Internet.

  • Moving at the speed of time.

  • You'll feel fortunate to have us working for you.

  • If you can find better technology than this, let us know.

  • We fail to see the logic in other software.

  • This is all we do.

  • If not now, who?

If you use one of these, I'd appreciate a link back to here! Thanks.

Thursday, March 27, 2003

Formal Rules for the Cell Phone Lifestyle

The Moment

We have come to the moment in our forward-leaning culture where the cell phone, having graduated from convenience device, is now entering the category of personal transformation tool. The modern cell phone, in company with SUVs, teeth whitening, and first babies, promises nothing less than a lifestyle upgrade.

Hard experience and a certain eye reveal a set of musts for those wishing to coax the most from their devices, and indeed their lives. These notes touch on both the instrument and its owner.

The Device

The device itself must say, well, "snick". Its parts, whatever they do, must fit precisely and audibly. Something, perhaps a hinged cover, an innovative pointer control, or thumb keyboard, should move, conspicuously enough to draw the appreciative eye of the attractive person at the next table. Color screens also help in this regard.

One should shun phones with customizable faceplates, as one would reversible jackets and slacks that are advertised as not requiring a belt. Using a stylus on a touch screen is recommended only if sitting down, by ones self, accompanied by a beverage or similar indicator that one plans to grace that location for a while. In all events, try not to drop the stylus and then crawl under the chair to find it.

As with guns, sedans, and cameras, shiny metal and matte black are recommended. Yellow and green are not. The device's appearance should say "James Bond", not "bar of soap".

A variety of non-voice functions are required to keep one noticeably busy on those occasions when either: out of range of the wireless carrier (uncommon in the better places), or when all of one's acquaintances naturally assume one is already engaged and so refrain from calling. Useful functions include wireless email, text messaging, a calendar that synchronizes with desktop computers, an MP3 audio player, and a radio. The latter two must be used sparingly and stoically, as they generally require use of a headset. Games, whether embedded or downloaded, are best avoided in public places by those over the age of 22. The management of most public facilities provides restrooms with locking stall doors for such entertainments, as occasionally needed.

Default ring tones are recommended, to avoid giving the impression that one is the sort of person who downloads ring tones.

Functions and Accessories

Most crucially, there is the accompanying wardrobe. Simply put, one must be able to carry and deploy the device with grace. Scenes best avoided in public include: patting one's pockets to find the device, and struggling to remove a ringing device from a trouser pocket while seated in a restaurant or riding in automobile or carriage.

For those not given to carrying a purse or briefcase on a regular basis, options are unfortunately few. A suit or jacket pocket is of course fine for business situations. Shirt pockets present difficulties, from falling devices to bulges in unfortunate places. If tempted to use a shirt with a buttoning flap pocket to hold the device in place, be advised that such shirts are best worn in cowboy bars or when tinkering with one's car. Other options include pants pockets (useful only when standing), and the category of bags including book bags, fanny packs, and male purses. On this last category the jury is periodically out, though be advised that it is still a jury of one's peers.

The recommended manner of carrying wireless devices, then, when a jacket or bag is not available, reduces to this: in a front trouser pocket while standing, and in hand or placed on the table when seated. A device is more easily admired on the table than in a pocket after all. And it is better that an occasional device, rather than a lifestyle, be lost.

Manner of Use

Regarding phone calls, too much has already been said by too many -- don't shout, remember to turn off your ringer in theaters, etc. Those guidelines keep one from being punched and spat at, but are not sufficient to achieve the desired wireless lifestyle. There is more to master. Remember that the person originating a call must speak in a commanding voice lest those observing think he or she is asking for assistance or permission. When receiving a call, one always checks the caller ID to maintain exclusivity, and is sure to offer a chuckle or smile so onlookers know the call is an invitation to a social meeting or the congratulations of a company executive. In all cases keep the conversation short so other supplicants can get through.

The appropriate body language serves as well. Avoid walking or driving while using a wireless device. It demonstrates a lack of planning, harried availability, and carelessness with others. Take advantage of seemingly engrossing calls by smiling or even staring at the locals; nobody can be sure where a cell phone user's attention is really directed.

With proper use of one's wireless device, it is possible to imagine being in outdoor cafes or smoky jazz clubs, surrounded by the right sorts of people, taking part in life's great drama.