February 26, 2004

Lazy Quote of the Week

Hey, when I went to get that Wittgenstein quote (from the Tractatus), I rediscovered this line from Philosophical Investigations:

My aim is: to teach you to pass from a piece of disguised nonsense to something that is patent nonsense.

That's my new corporate motto! (Except of course for that teaching part. Best you should learn on your own.)

Posted by campbell at 11:43 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The Zen of Ebay

Here's your chance to experience Satori through the wonders of internet commerce.

Nothing is being offered on ebay. Not just the ordinary nothing of that auction service, like Hummel figures, but Absolutely Nothing.

As of this moment, there are nine bidders and the value of nothing is $7.

One quibble I have is with the seller's insistence that the winner explain why he is buying nothing. That seems very un-Zenlike. As Wittgenstein said "Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muß man schweigen." "What we cannot speak about, we must pass over in silence."

Rather than bidding on Absolutely Nothing, I will be preparing my sale of Absolute Nothingness. I do need to consider whether that might lead to the disappearance of the Internet. And whether that might have any negative consequences.

Posted by campbell at 11:26 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 20, 2004

No Half Measures in Newfoundland Parliament

Newfoundland Politics:

[Newfoundland Premier Danny] Williams was asked: "There was a time when, late in a session, some legislators would be half drunk. Has that improved?"

The premier answered: "No, now they're completely drunk."

The retort by the opposition is less funny, but truly fanciful:

"I've never, ever evidenced any liquor being consumed inside or outside of the house of assembly," he said.

Wouldn't you know, just when things were looking up for Newfoundland...

Posted by campbell at 12:27 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 16, 2004

Legal Diligent Mexican Workers

From the one hand not knowing department:

The New York Times Book Review has a review of David Shipler's new The Working Poor: Invisible in America:

In the chapter ''Harvest of Shame,'' he deftly shows how government crackdown on illegal immigrants creates ''migration within the migration,'' as an army of immigrant workers races from strict-enforcement states like Ohio to more lenient ones like North Carolina, and notes that ''when a migrant stops moving . . . he starts to enter America.''

But down at the bottom of the web page, the Google AdWords box helpfully contributes ads apparently triggered by the article. How about some "legal-diligent-mexican-workers"? Or just ship the work to Mexico directly!

Hey, Times readers know how hard it is to get good help these days (that don't get arrested for visa violations, anyway). Thanks for these suggestions!

Posted by campbell at 09:50 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

February 10, 2004

Rockall Dependence Day

Today, Scotland celebrates the day in 1972 when the island of Rockall gave up its billions of years of independence to join the empire.

The 83 foot long, 100 foot wide, six-story chunk of rock unanimously petitioned to be politically united with Scotland — 300 miles to the west (at 57°35'48"N 13°41'19"W to be precise). Well, at least there didn't seem to be much opposition among the inhabitants to the annexation by the UK.

An amusing history of Rockall can be found on the, er, official website of the island, a labor of love by at least one very busy satirist.

Here's a hilarious photo of British marines sent to stand guard over the island as part of establishing the claim. No tent, no supplies, just the sentry box:

So let's see: rocky, windswept, barren, virtually uninhabitable, covered in guano... there has to be a metaphor in there somewhere.

p.s. It's all about oil. (And haddock.)

Posted by campbell at 12:56 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

We Ask the Tough Questions

Here's a question you hardly ever see asked:

"Why should employers feed troublesome farmworkers to the lions?" said spokesman Snuki Zikalala.


Posted by campbell at 07:11 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 09, 2004

States I've Visited

Too bad they didn't include provinces, especially since some of them are way bigger. Note, driving across Nebraska isn't recommended.

create your own visited states map

Posted by campbell at 12:18 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Now for something completely frightening

Paul warns of exploding public loos in England, apparently as the result of an electrical failure. (Something Python-esque about this.)

Luckily, here in New York, we need only fret about being electrocuted while walking down the street. Last week, I kept running into Con Ed guys with probes slogging through the snow by the school where I work.

Seems they found something: some 280 dangerous manholes and lamp posts throughout the city, including one a block from our apartment and another two blocks from the school.

I have a feeling that if we actually had more public toilets in New York, Con Ed would ensure that they blew up every week.

Posted by campbell at 12:02 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 08, 2004

The Long View

Announcement on the southbound 1 train, 8:30am Saturday, February 7, 2004:

42nd Street.
Times Square.
Crossroads of the World.
Change here for ... Everywhere.

Proof that New Yorkers have still got it.

Posted by campbell at 11:23 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 02, 2004

Neo-Phrase Alert

Thanks to the Super Bowl half-time show and Justin Timberlake for coining that terrific new phrase: Wardrobe Malfunction.

This should be a hit phrase, widely applicable to a range of situations, everything from Janet Jackson's breakaway bustier to, well, Cher.

Posted by campbell at 10:06 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack