“It was the ’70s! Drugs were still good, especially quaaludes. If you did enough cocaine, you’d f–k a radiator and send it flowers in the morning.”

— Richard Pryor's widow explains his Brando hookup

Casino poker lessons


How to annoy the guy who’s slowplaying pocket aces: flop a full house with 43 unsuited.

Waiting periods


Most Hollywood celebrities have never seen a pointless gun law that they didn’t like, so I’d like to turn the tables on them.

I hereby demand a ten day waiting period on celebrity marriages.

And Britney, sweetie, next time you want to get married in Vegas, I’ll be waiting for you in the poker room at the Luxor. Kiss-kiss.

Not holding my breath…


It’s hard to take terrorists seriously when they’re reduced to sending out threats by email:

A London-based Arab magazine said on Friday that al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden has vowed to launch a "back-breaking attack" on the United States by February, confirming an earlier message by the militant network.
The weekly al-Majalla said it received an e-mail from Abu Mohammed al-Ablaj, a little known al Qaeda member, saying bin Laden would release a video tape in which he affirms his group's determination to fight the United States.

If they were actually in a position to release such a tape, you’d think they’d just do it. Hell, just post the video to a warez site and tell everyone it’s Paris Hilton’s latest orgy. A million people will see it, and while half the viewers will complain about the poor lighting, the other half will be amazed that bin Laden managed to nail her.

A Stargate Christmas


Stargate, the movie. Not what most people would think of as a typical Christmas Eve film, but I’m a bit burned out on anime after the ending of Mahoromatic (although I didn’t feel nearly as betrayed as Steven Den Beste, partially because I’d read the spoilers and they were even worse than the reality. But I digress). After polishing off my traditional Christmas dinner (pizza with pepperoni, onion, green peppers, and extra cheese, with a $20 tip for the delivery driver), I went through my piles of DVDs and picked this one.

Stargate holds a special place in my heart as one of the most godawful big budget science fiction films ever made. Magnificent visuals, but plot holes you could drive a truck through. I am constantly amazed that the producers of SG-1 managed to salvage a mostly coherent backstory out of this turkey.

It was quite a remarkable feat, really. They didn’t just keep the visuals and the names, they managed to use almost every element of the story, jettisoning only the most ludicrous aspects, and subtly tweaked what they kept. Better still, their new material fit in almost seamlessly, creating a rich universe ripe for exploration.

The biggest achievement of SG-1, however, was that it hit the ground running. I don’t think I’ve ever seen another SF series where the actors slipped into character so quickly and believably, and did things that made sense. Even with the occasional weak episode, the on-and-off casting, the rare slip into handwaved technobabble, and the Sci-Fi Channel’s habit of jerking the schedule around, it’s one of the few tv shows I actually look forward to.

I sort of follow Smallville (the first time in history that Lex Luthor has actually had a personality!). I mostly follow Angel (where do they find those women?!?). I usually watch Good Eats. I never miss Stargate: SG-1.

I’m told that the producers of the Stargate film felt horribly betrayed when MGM turned the property over to the people who developed SG-1. They wanted to make a feature-film sequel, taking the story in a completely different direction. To that, I can only say, “thank you, MGM”. I can’t shake the feeling that their sequel would have had all the charm of a flashback to the planet Zeist.

[much like the final episode of Mahoromatic; guess I can’t stop that digression after all. I suspect I’ll be gathering and extending the comments I’ve been exchanging with Steven on this one; I think I can beat his 5700 words and explain why I initially told him that the last five episodes “didn’t suck” :-)]

Epicenter imagery


Quote from someone who ran a business in the Paso Robles building that collapsed during the recent quake:

“My roof basically jumped onto the street and landed on cars with people in them.”

You’ve been in California too long when…


…your reaction to an earthquake is disappointment that the USGS Shake Map hasn’t been updated yet so you can submit a report on how it felt.

Biggest quake in the last four years, just in time for my sister’s birthday!

By golly, Linux still sucks!


Just tried to install nVidia’s Linux drivers for the onboard ethernet on my new Shuttle box. After transporting them on the only available media (USB keychain drive, which I had to mount by hand as root from the command line; love that user-friendly Gnome desktop!), I was greeted with a long string of syntax errors in the make output. Of course, I’d already had to abandon the build instructions provided by nVidia, because the version of rpm in Fedora doesn’t support the command-line options they used. It also apparently doesn’t support the C compiler they used.

So, to play with Linux on my shiny new PC, I once again have to play Goldilocks with multiple distributions, until I find the one that’s just right. Fuck that; it’s not worth the headache.

Update: Okay, I gave it another try. Seems I actually could get the network driver to install with Fedora, if I ignored the default OS install options and added the kernel sources. It seems they don’t expect ordinary users to own hardware they don’t provide drivers for. Still, after going through three or four “modern” Linux installers, my new slogan is “Desktop Linux: it’s like Windows without the QA”.

Dear Linux Community,


If you’re going to make Linux into Windows, could you please try to match the behavior, not just the window decorations?

Love, J

[translation: I just installed RedHat Fedora, and was astonished to discover that after it popped up a little dialog asking for disc #2, it didn’t detect the presence of the correct disc and continue on its own. It sat there for twenty minutes, patiently waiting for me to click ‘Ok’ to confirm that I had, in fact, inserted disc #2.]

“Need a clue, take a clue,
 got a clue, leave a clue”