Thursday, April 28, 2005

An Oldie But A Goodie

This story dates back a bit, but I think it's still really amazing and really sweet and just proves how life can move on after tragedy as long as someone cares enough to care. So, if you can, read it. Or, just glimpse over it. It'll bring a smile to your face.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

You Talkin' to me?

Finally!! I'm a made man !!
According to the Soprano Name Generator, you can now all refer to me as Shane "Lonely Guy" Portman. And I'm not even Italian. And that's not all. I've got more names !!!

My Poet Name: Sir Francis Albatross

My Hobbit Name: Podo Sandydowns

My Star Wars Name: Shapo Tvgro

My Band Name: Hooray for Acidic Priests

My Glam Rock Name: CC Neptune

My Reggae Name: Mr. Satta

My Drag Queen Name: Charlamaine Courtisan

My Western Name: Filthy Ford

My Wu Tang Name: Lazy-Assed Demon

Biker Name: Meat-O of the Toecutters MC

Very British Name: Terrance Chamberlain

Hockey Player Name: Bob McPortmanson

Super Hero Name: Winter Enigma riding my Winter Stallion and w/powers like Animal Control, Direct Computer Interface, Danger Sense

Super Villain: Shark King riding my Chameleon Burro and powers of Water Control

So, pick one. Or just call me Shane. I'll take either.

Monday, April 25, 2005

No Google! Bad Google!!

that's just wrong. the picture, not the lawsuit. (definitely straight outta google news)

Sunday, April 24, 2005

A Song To Sing

Recently, I heard Mr. Clay Aiken's song, Invisible . If you don't know the song, here's a sample of the lyrics:

If I was invisible
Then I could just watch you in your room
If I was invincible
I'd make you mine tonight
If hearts were unbreakable
Then I could just tell you where I stand
I would be the smartest man
If I was invisible
(Wait..I already am)

Now, here's my question: After this point of the song, Clay, why do you still sound sad? You were praying to be invisible only to realize that-HOLY HELL, HOLD THE PRESSES-you already are!!! Now, according to your song, doesn't that make you the smartest man? At this point, why even go on singing the rest of the song, when you could and should be ecstatically accomplishing smartest-man-things? There's a war to end and civil rights to fix here, smart guy, and you've still got two more verses to sing about wanting to be invisible even though you already are? Wha?

Saturday, April 23, 2005

laptop-less! :(

this fucking sucks. those who know me know my powerbook. we're seldom apart. i've had it for a little more than two years now, and it seriously accompanies me everywhere i go. i use the piss out of this thing- it's probably on 46 out of every 48 hours. i once had a documented uptime of 46 days. i'm pretty obsessed with it.

the other day, i noticed the backlight on the screen flickering a bit. i wasn't too concerned until the bottom left corner of the screen started getting brownish-black and the lid behind this spot was scalding hot. then i heard some crackling and figured this can't be anything close to good. i gave apple a call, and i have to send it away for a couple weeks. aside from the fact that we run video on the powerbook and have a big show coming up at caroline's in a couple weeks, i pretty much rely on the powerbook to keep my shit in order. i'm pretty much fucked for the next couple weeks. i won't be able to do anything on time, well, or at all.

i actually considered buying another powerbook so i wouldn't be without.

do they have twelve-step programs for this kind of thing?

anyway, wish my poor powerbook happy trails (it's never been away from me before), and pray for a speedy recovery. but most important. pray the repairs don't fall outside the applecare warranty i purchased- if they cross a certain threshold, this powerbook may have to be put down. and i just can't handle that right now. emotionally, that is.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

only six months left declare bankruptcy! hurry up! get yr applications in before it's too late! no word yet on how the new bankruptcy laws effect wheel of fortune.

in a related story, i almost forgot that today is 420/4-20/4:20! So, everyone go smoke some pot!

in a related link that is TOTALLY not safe for work (read: porn), do a google search for 420 (or click this), then check out the site coming in at number two. fun! i mean, hot! or gross!

fresh diss for the fresh prince

this track review came out last monday on pitchfork, but it totally deserves a replay:

Will Smith- Mr. Nice Guy

"I mean, you're fucking Capt. Jim West. You could probably hire Em to draft a reply against himself." Ha ha ha! SNAP!

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

(Catholic) Ladies and Gentlemen....


(Cue march of the pope)


Like a lot of people, I've only just gotten to know John Paul II after his passing and he really seemed like a great guy. And, in the end, no matter the religion, that's what really counts. But, here's some interesting papal (yes Virginia, there is an adjective that means popeish) tidbits.

1.) Technically, anyone Catholic man can be pope, whether he be clergy or not. And while it hasn't happened much, it has laymen have become pope. Leo VII was the first. He had to actually be consecrated a bishop just before taking office and he wouldn't even hold the office for more than a year (4 December 963 to 1 March 964). Also, three consecutive popes were laymen. Pope Benedict VIII, Pope John XIX, and Pope Benedict IX (from 1012-1044).

2.) Some rumors claim that Pope Benedict IX was only eleven when he began his term. Records from this period are a little off, though. The youngest known pope was Pope John XII. He was only 18.

3.) Innocent I (401-417) directly followed his father's, Anastasius I (399-401), term. But, they're not the only father and son duo in papal history. There's Pope Hormisdas (514-523) and his son, Pope Silverius (536-537). Both of the sons were born before their father's entered the priesthood. But, Pope John XI (931-935) was allegedly the illegitimate son of Pope Sergius III (904-911).

4.) Pope Benedict IX served beats out President Grover Cleveland with three non-consecutive terms (between 1032-1048).

5.) Celestine V (July-December of 1294) was a monk who lived the life of a hermit before his term. He was uncomfortable with the position and was the first to claim a pope's right to abdicate the Papacy. He left after only eight months, but was imprisoned by his successor, Pope Boniface VIII (1294-1303), and died in prison.

6.) In 1590, Pope Urban VII caught malaria during the election and died 12 days into 1590. He was never actually crowned.

7.) The longest reign of a pope was said to be the first, Peter, although the actual dates are not known. But, Pius IX comes in second with 32 years from 1846-1878 and John Paul II comes right after with 27 from 1978-2005.

More Pope Info

Monday, April 18, 2005

vatican smoke watch- what you need to know

so, pope john paul II is (finally!) pushing up daisies (joke!), which means one of two things:
1) no more popes
or (more likely):
2) time to elect a new pope

we're going to assume the catholic church still wants/needs popes, which means cardinals from around the world are now locked in the sistine chapel, working hard to figure out who's really the closest to god among them. it used to be that the cardinals would fight to the death in an octagon shaped ring, the last cardinal standing earning the title of pope. but times have changed, and now they just debate and vote by secret ballot (boring!).

since the chapel is closed to the public and the media, the cardinals use (of all things) color coded smoke signals to announce their progress. when they take a vote and no pope is chosen (no one got 2/3 of the vote), they burn the ballots with a chemical that turns the smoke black. if they do figure out who's pope, they add a chemical to the ballots to make the smoke white. but the cardinal's smoke signal system was recently modernized to account for several unforseen circumstances. here's a little chart to stave confusion when the smoke comes outta that chimney!

orange smoke: new pope is mel gibson! just kidding! nothing yet.

green smoke: out of funyions. send replacements.

blue smoke: picked a new pope but he died too, so we have to start over.

brown smoke: we think we got a pope, but he's black. is that okay w/you?

get bruce willis on the phone. yes, again.


via slashdot

Sunday, April 17, 2005

a "new" blog worth reading

it may not be the second coming of, but by rights it should be. john darnielle, the musical genius behind the mountain goats has moved his old zine last plane to jakarta online, and keeps it updated pretty frequently. fans of the mountain goats know what to do. those unexposed to the mountain goats should start with ghana. people hating on the mountain goats can do whatever.

via pitchfork media

i am pathetic

because this was the best piece of news i found online today.

Friday, April 15, 2005

well, so long as you have a tape measure

for those of you who have been waiting all your life for proof of a miniature humanoid civilization, you could have been resting easier since october of 2002! the mythical beings were discovered by (what else but) vacationing chilean children- at least according to a poorly coded, decidedly unscientific website. but don't worry- rumors that the creature made telepathic contact with the children's mother have been ruled false. viva la!

best. hack. ever.


stick it to those stupid "hit the bug, win an ipod" ads. this handy little plug in for firefox blocks all flash from loading in yr browser window. but fear not, homestar fans, you can allow flash files to load on a case by case basis.

i came across this via a disturbing discussion at slashdot whereby advertisers claim that viewing a web page is engaging in a social contract by which you also agree to view ads. that's right. advertisers are trying to guilt those computer users geeky enough to install ad blocking hacks into turning them off.

This post was not written by Tom 2

To believe that someone can be so cold and so heartless as to not have any real human compassion for another living being is a thought beyond my comprehension. This example can be seen time and time again in the hierarchies we witness everyday at work.

Managers, bosses, superiors, supervisors, presidents -whatever you call them at your job- have a role to play far more sacred than any responsibility in their job description. This is called the role of the leader. A leader is someone who can inspire you to move beyond everything you imagined possible to find something more. Bill Pullman in Independence Day, my high school band director Rod Staggers, Montgomery Moose, my father, Batman, Keith, Leonardo – all of these people are true leaders.

So who are these fucking imposters invading our workplaces and killing our leaders? They shall be called The American Nightmare. These soulless zombie cowards are too afraid to let themselves feel basic emotion and have forgotten (or just cannot see) that the slaves who actually earn the riches from which they embezzle are living, bleeding, dying people.

I am confident that when the American Nightmare meet their makers that the horrors they will experience will be indescribable and last for an eternity.

That is how I am able to sleep at night.

it's 11:22 AM on Tax Day...

and i still haven't done my taxes!! woo hoo!!

actually, two down, two to go. fed and PA state taxes are done, IL and pittsburgh local remain. wish me luck. i can't even start them until 7:30 pm. this is gonna be close.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

20 questions with Tom, Shane, and Ruth

Here are my answers:

1. Leslie
2. I can’t remember exactly what I did
3. Survivor by the guy who wrote Fight Club
4. Ants with a magnifying glass
5. Jokey (I think that’s the right name)
6. 11 (I’m pretty sure that’s right)
7. No
8. Tom, he has the most to offer
9. $521.00
10. Pass
11. 4 months
12. When I was a very young child, unlike Tom
13. I’m color blind
14. Scorpion
15. 1
16. 365,898
17. Drew, Kristen, Lauren, Nathanael, Bill, Thang, Art
18. Roswell, Stargate SG-1
19. Weezer, Blink 182, Sum 41, Postal Service, BSB, Eagles, Billy Joel, Elton John
20. No, because Tom is the only one who thinks I do

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

spam filler of the day

you know those gibberish sentences that are used to throw off bayesian spam filters? here's a couple i got today (along with what they were selling)

• just dropping by again to say hey i really love the bush character page how true how true sadly. (fake rolexes)

• homebrew future carl eclipse action (cheap viagra)

• was straightway, and immediately he knew that the sleeper was in his in the little round mirror over the sideboard. I was rather What. Did you ever see a crocodile overcome? inquired my aunt. (cheap viagra)

Monday, April 11, 2005

math lesson

the animal club sketch comedy collective - club sketch comedy = the animal collective

what was once just a name relation curiosity has rapidly become my favorite band. their last album sung tongs is my pick for best album of 2004, and they will be in chicago for three shows in late april: thursday april 27 at 7:00 and 10:00 at the empty bottle, and then saturday april 29 at the university of chicago's hutch commons. be there!

literally unbelievably useful

the united arab emirates is pleased to present robot jockeys for camel races! [ via slashdot]. now before you shake your head and go "oh, united arab emirates", know this; the robots should help fight the child trafficking ring that supplies the camel races with their current child jockeys (but not by being crime fighting robots. just replacement jockeys). they're still working on a useful excuse for the 300 private islands shaped like a world map, though. [via boing boing]

which is worse?

• no one ever writes your biography.
• someone writes your biography, but you find more than 2 copies of it at a used bookstore.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

A Note to PBS

Without a hint of explanation as to why, let me just let you in on something. Over the past few months, I've been watching Barney, the big purple singing dinosaur, more times than I ever imagined I could stand before gouging out my eyes. And let me just say I've learned that sometimes, through sheer volume, you just get used to something and grow to have an understanding and, dare I say, even a liking for, but BARNEY IS NOT ONE OF THOSE!

First off, the premise is weak. Children are afraid of T-Rex's, purple or not! And to make the show work regardless, you've got to have some pretty talented child actors to make it believable, which this show has not! (No offense to the many who have tried.) Give me Haley Joel Osment (sixth sense days), one of the Olsen twins (Full House days of course), and the kid who played Webster any day. As it stands at present, the cast tends to be made up of children most resemble cardboard in both speech and movement.

Now, I suppose that's a rather cruel assumption. And without any concrete proof that statment shouldn't be said about anyone. So, instead of apologizing, I've decided to prove my beliefs are true. I've found a shining example of a typical Barney scene from a typical Barney show. I taped this scene and brought in four cardboard cutouts of celebrities. I then, stood behind each cutout and spoke for them when it was their turn, reinacting the exact same scene.

So, without further ado, let's meet the competitors

Boy 1, Girl 1, Boy 2, and Girl 2


Steve Young, Captain Kirk, and Alexandra Paul and Yasmine Bleeth (of TV's Baywatch)

And away we go:

Note: The Barney Cast should be read as bland and emotionless as possible. The Cardboard Cutouts should be respectfully read with all the vim and vigor you've come to expect from someone mimicking Steve Young, Captain Kirk, Alexandra
Paul, and Yasmine Bleeth.

Boy1 (as if he'd rather be somewhere else):
Do you want to see a scary spider....?

Steve (fist full of superbowl rings thrust in the air):

Girl1 (as if just nudged by the director to
speak up):

Alexandra (completely caught up in the moment):

(Boy1 pulls out a paper mache' spider
without a hint of love)

(Steve pulls out a paper mache' spider and you know instantly
that he'd give up all the fame he's ever had if he could just
spend the rest of his life with this spider)

Boy2 (bored, bitchy and hungry for the
bologna sandwich and chocolate milk he
was promised):
That's...not! a sCary spiDEr.

Captain (with the authority and understanding only a television
captain can have):
That's not a scary spider. (moving his head from side to side in
utter sadness and disappointment)

Girl2 (picking dandelions):
I think....
he's kind...
of cute...

Yasmine (like she just one an Emmy for TV lifeguarding):
I think he's kind of cute. (cradling spider in her arms, a lone tear
falls down her cheek and leaks through the paper mache',
touching the spider's once-scary heart)

(As if electrocuted into cue they sing
the itisy bitsy spider as comatose as

(With power and know-how, they launch into the itsy bitsy
like it was a Styx power ballad)

And the scene ends.

Scene Ends, but you're left feeling it was only the beginning of
something bigger than ourselves.


I'm back

OK, so I've been out of the blog loop for a few weeks, but now I have returned! And I have NOTHING important to say, so chew on that for a while...NOTHING!, does it taste good?

Friday, April 08, 2005

cue laughter

two things that made my morning from mcsweeny's:

The Lyrics to the Billy Joel Song "We Didn't Start the Fire" If They Were Written by a Muskrat Instead of by Billy Joel

Gamble Like a Pro With This Exclusive Final Four Insider Information

then a

in an effort to make kylie minogue's 2001 hit "can't get you out of my head" more literal, sony has developed an energy beam that manipulates a person's brain into generating sensory experiences like images, sounds and smells. while the practical and ethical potential of this invention are (look out!) mind-boggling (that was a pun!), it's much more fun to daydream about the evil mastermind potential of this invention. talk about shooting fish in a barrel.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

sketchfest nyc

the animal club was recently invited to the first ever new york sketch comedy festival, aka sketchfest nyc this june. lots of old ac favorites will be there including elephant larry and MEAT from new york, troop! and ten west from la, and fellow chicagoans triplette and the cupid players, as well as groups we've been trying to see for upwards of two years now. it promises to be an exciting ass time.

in a related story, we got a cute little mention in the hollywood reporter east this week. thanks to elephant larry for bringing it to our attention, and for holding an entertaining beard race as well. those guys are the shiz.

you're what?

new song on the website today. special thanks to jayson brooks and the members of Sanford: i'm geeped

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Mathematics and Class Systems

So, Baz and I were in a car heading to get our taxes done. The sun was shining, cool wind in our hair, warm smell of colitas, rising up through the air. And we suddenly realized where we stood in the long line of personal finances. Although we'd both like to say we didn't, I think we both veer towards the lower side of it all. Perhaps not lowest. We can afford an apartment and the luxury of daily peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, but relatively speaking when you look up the top of this totem pole and see people like Billy Gates with $48,000,000,000 you get a little frustrated and, naturally, frustration leads to mathematics and, in many cases, mishandled mathematics. Immersed in this rage, numbers and decimal points spewed out of our mouths and, almost at the same time, we realized ( like Russell Crowe in A Beautiful Mind ), painted in the sky was the answer:

If Bill Gates gave everyone in this great nation (all 293,027,571 of us) a million dollars....we'd all be millionares and he'd still be the richest. Problem solved. No poverty. No sadness. And everyone gets a Ferrari!

The excitement of this discovery was overwhelming. Baz, grabbed the wheel and turned the car over the median into oncoming traffic. Horns blared, but we didn't care and if we'd told the owner's of those horns that we were on our way to make them and everyone they knew and loved rich (assuming they only knew and loved Americans), I'm sure they wouldn't have cared either. In fact, all of Lake Shore Drive may have cleared for us.

The horns long behind us, we sprinted into the house, rushed some handwriting (there was no time for good penmahsip-not if we all wanted to be millionaires by tomorrow) and headed to the post office to overnight our proposal to Mr. Gates. It was when we arrived at the post office that a gushing breeze of clarity finally cleansed our rage-worn minds.



( 293,027,571 x $1,000,000.00 )



Yep, that's right. Our rushed mathematics had lost Mr. Gates all his fortune and actually put him in the hole $292,979,571,000,000.00!! Oops. Well, with that abominable mathematical experience behind us, I have come up with a far simpler equation:
The Bill Gates Fortune - $20.50 = a bus pass and a banana for me (I could use the potassium)

dusk of a new name

nixed! the name is back to normal. oh well. it was a fun couple of hours.

dawn of a new name

you asked for it

Monday, April 04, 2005

baz 2, web idiots 0

the mysterious disappearance of, which i talked all kinds of shit on here brings to TWO the number of stupid ass web sites i have contributed to the demise/correction/retraction of. suck it, dumbasses!

ironically, one of my cohorts in bringing down was the recipient of my first anti-dumb assault, which you can enjoy all over again here

um, they're for my mom...

i've always been considered a music geek, but my recent purchase of an ipod has taken my musical geektitude to new heights (lows?). one of the things i'm doing now is going through my itunes library, finding the songs i'm a little embarrassed to own, changing their genre to either "ass" or "embarrassing", and creating a smart playlist highlighting them. here's the stats of my "hang your head in shame" playlist:

number of songs: 168
length: 8.9 hours
size: 634.8 MB
number of entry level ipod shuffle's needed to contain this collection: 2
number of songs from the time/life singer songwriter collection: 122 (out of the 144 included in the collection)

now, for some individual highlights (click them to go to their itunes music store sample):
"the glory of love" by peter cetrera
this song is best known as the love them from "karate kid part II", but it was also heavily featured in 1986's oscar winning film, children of a lesser god. by the way, i guess "the karate kid" thinks it's too good for itunes, so i had to link to a crappy ass cover of a crappy ass song.

"run like the wind" by christopher cross
this multi-grammy-winning dom delouise lookalike is considered a victim of the music video age, but i think his general suckness was just as important a factor in his unemployment as his specific unattractiveness.

• "steamroller" by james taylor
not quite as embarrassing to me as it is for him. singing the blues with a voice like that is like whipping your mule with pillows, only stupider.

micro machines airlines

the flight i took to pittsburgh this easter past, though quite comfortable and punctual, was on a comically small plane. i flew american eagle which, contrary to pedestrian attempts at humor, is not a casual outfitter, rather the regional and commuter line of american airlines. everything about this plane was small. as you can see, each row had two aisles, one with two seats, one with one seat. i got to sit in the aisle of one (which i think is the name of a counting crows song), and it was pretty nice, actually.

when the flight attendant, who measured roughly 4'9" by the way, pulled out the snack cart for our complimentary cruising altitude luncheon, she had to yell ahead, "watch your arms and legs! watch your arms and legs" with the same cadence eric idle had in the "bring out your dead" scene from holy grail, for the cart had an aisle clearance of less than one inch, and it's passing was reminiscent of cruise ships going through the panama canal. then, to top it all off, we got a little bag of zygote size pretzels. here is a picture of one next to a penny for a sense of scale:

when i was leaving, i was a bit taken back (and i'll admit it- a little sad) when i saw the pilot was full sized. it would have been nice if he was a little shorter than average. like 5'6". or, perhaps, if he were comically large, like manute bol-sized. or, best yet, if he actually was manute bol.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

sex ed, texas style

so the government has this new microsoft-front-page-designed bullshit website about sex education which, in classic social conservative fashion, is more about comforting worried parents than informing curious, hormone bombarded teenagers. i could mock the prominence of abstinence in the "education" program, given the relative success of virginity pledges on reducing std rates (read:none), or the infuriating references to homosexuality and how to deal with it (both of which are outlined in this cnn article), but instead, i'd like to pose this question:

this is the picture on the main page of the (what a radical name!) website:

this picture's display of ethnic diversity is, shall we say, emphatic? the strange thing is that every single person in the picture was photoshopped in (quite badly, i might add), which means the ethnic make up of this picture was intentional. does that seem as racist to you as it does to me?

edit 4/4/05: looks like the site is down and the image is gone. i feel like an idiot for not mirroring it when i had the chance, but thems the breaks. for the record, the picture consisted of: four (4) african americans, two (2) asians, two (2) mexicans and one (1) white person. and the feathering job on them was atrocious.

Friday, April 01, 2005

mitch hedberg

this is very, very sad. the rumor's been going around for a couple of days, but it looks like mitch hedberg did in fact pass away the other day. the rumor about him overdosing on heroin is unconfirmed at this point. apparently he had some kind of heart condition his whole life, so that may have been the cause. we won't know for some time.

i was a big fan of his. there was so much to love about him- his death-grip on word play, his abstract genius, and his infectious silliness to name a few, but what i liked best about mitch hedberg was the way he simply didn't fit into the hollywood rinse cycle that starts with a stand up and eventually spits out a sitcom. he was a pure stand up comic, and his sets were the closest thing to a natural evolution of vaudevillian comedy as you could hope to see. never pretentious, never sedate, never grandiose, he simply lived to tell jokes, and there is something so admirable about that.

i had the pleasure of seeing him twice, and of introducing him to several friends (via comedy central and his own CDs) who became fans almost instantly. if you didn't know of his material, or if you just want to revel in some of his finest moments, check out the wiki quote archive of mitch one-liners, and you can also visit his official site for audio clips and such (just know the site's buckling under the traffic caused by his death and may not be up)

news link via