...making Linux just a little more fun!

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The Linux Laundrette


(?)Home computer
(?)LG #109
(?)Profanity Adventures
(?)Spam. In obfuscated Perl.
(?)More ginger beer!
(?)Even more ginger beer!
(?)Swedish Chef
(?)Album of the month
(?)Alice in Wonderland
(?)Off for Mile-high City
(?)More on English
(?)Hey Stranger
(?)Misc IRC stuff
(?)Collins Word Exchange
(?)Just a bit o'Irish...
(?)Album of the month
(?)New Disease
(?)News today
(?)12 Days of Christmas
(?)[Lgang] SPAM: read this - abOut the GrReenCard
(?)The hot babe problem
(?)NewsForge | Free (and open) holiday greeting cards
(?)More Swedish Chef
(?)Since we've been discussing alcohol...
(?)Userfriendly Christmas cartoons
(?)Bicycles & Linux
(?)RICO applied to spammers
(?)Toys of yesteryear
(?)Not here
(?)Christmas messages
(?)More Christmas messages
(?)Clamscan finds HTML phishing scams...
(?)Spam jokes
(?)Christmas links
(?)Free Beer
(?)Python conferences in the US and Europe

(?) Home computer

From Jimmy O'Regan

(!) [Ben] I love that blurb under the picture. "With teletype interface and the Fortran language, the computer will be easy to use."

(?) Yeah. As soon as I saw that, I knew I had to send it on.

Just to be seasonable, "Merry Christmas" in 4 languages (C, Pascal, FORTRAN, and PHP), courtesy of GNU:

const a = '\"; void b()/*'; var b:string;{
c */ { /*
c document.fgColor='#ffffff'";
cos(1);print "Merry Christmas" ?>
17 format('Merry Christmas')
write(6, 15)
c */
char *a = "}begin b:='{"; } int main () { /*'; writeln{*/
char cbuf[64]; sprintf(cbuf, "}('Merry Christmas') end. {");
cbuf[29] = '\0'; printf(cbuf+3); return 0; }
(!) [Ben] "Computers in the future may weigh no more than 1.5 tons." -- Popular Mechanics (1949)
(!) [John] They were describing my laptop!
(!) [Ben] Oh yeah - I used to wonder why the military was screwing around with depleted uranium, osmium, and other crap like that for their armor-penetrating rounds, since even a tiny chunk of my old AST laptop would have instantly crushed any armor division that it fell on.
On the other hand, since accelerating that kind of mass to anything above pedestrian velocities would require a nuclear explosion, and since any violent state change stands a chance of precipitating gravitic collapse and black hole formation, perhaps it's just as well...
(Maybe I shouldn't have bought the model with the Deep Thought CPU, but it came with a bonus Hotblack Desiato CD, and I just couldn't miss out.)

(?) LG #109

From Mark W. Tomlinson

I had just settled in of a Saturday evening with a wee dram of Irish whiskey, a good Henry Clay cigar and Linux Gazette #109. I had worked my way to "Return of the Linux Laundrette" and reached the section "Re: [LG 87] help wanted #4". This piece caused me to drop my cigar (due to uncontrollable grinning, giggling and guffawing), setting my sweatpants on fire.

(!) [Jimmy] http://linuxgazette.net/109/lg_laundrette3.html#nottag2/14 for the terminally lazy :)

(?) I'm fine, thanks - I extinguished the blaze by spilling my libation in my lap - followed, of course, by the water chaser. Be advised that I will be taking legal advice re: financial recovery for the loss of the whiskey...

(!) [Jimmy] Well, Ben and I have our own sideline business (http://linuxgazette.net/107/misc/laundrette/lg_hitsquad.html), so I can say with some confidence that it won't come to that, though some recovery may occur at some later date.

(?) I don't know how you people manage to produce such an outstanding combination of useful Linux information, non sequiturs and a, ah, rather <veering> approach to humor (my kind!) - but I certainly hope you keep doing it for a long time to come.

(!) [Jimmy] Well, I'll be compiling it for a while to come: it's a lot of fun to go back over the offtopic threads every month, especially since there are so many of them:

Dec 01 08:44:05 <editorgal>     lucky sucker, the recent gang must be a
treasure trove for laundrette bits.
Dec 01 08:45:29 <jimregan>      I felt kind of duty bound to take over
the laundrette... cos most of the time all I do is perpetuate those threads
Dec 01 08:45:39 <editorgal>     lol

[though I should have said 'perpetrate' :)]

(?) Sincerely,

Mark W. Tomlinson

(!) [Jimmy] Thanks for writing,


(?) Profanity Adventures

From Jimmy O'Regan

A nostalgic look at what used to happen when you tried typing swear words into text adventures:

(?) Spam. In obfuscated Perl.

From Jimmy O'Regan

mamik@yahoo.co.uk wrote:
>  $B"#"#"#"#"#"#"#"#"#"#"#"#"#"#"#"#"#"#"#"#"#"#"#"#"#"#"#"#"#"#"#"#"#"#"#"#"#"# (B
> ****************************************************************************
>  $B!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!$*A&$a%5%$%H$N$40FFb!* (B
> ****************************************************************************
>  $B"#"#"#"#"#"#"#"#"#"#"#"#"#"#"#"#"#"#"#"#"#"#"#"#"#"#"#"#"#"#"#"#"#"#"#"#"#"# (B
Awesome! Spam in obfuscated Perl!
>                      http://www.zl8.jp/~banana/
>  $B"#"#"#"#"#"#"#"#"#"#"#"#"#"#"#"#"#"#"#"#"#"#"#"#"#"#"#"#"#"#"#"#"#"#"#"#"#"# (B
>  $B"#"#"#!y!y!y!y"#"#"#!y!y!y!y!y!y"#"#"#!y!y!y"#"#"#!y!y!y!y"#"#"#"#!y!y"#"#"# (B
>  $B"#"#!y!y!y!y!y!y"#"#!y!y!y!y!y!y"#"#!y!y!y!y!y"#"#!y!y!y!y!y"#"#"#!y!y"#"#"# (B
>  $B"#"#!y!y"#"#"#!y"#"#"#"#!y!y"#"#"#"#!y!y"#!y!y"#"#!y!y"#"#!y!y"#"#!y!y"#"#"# (B
>  $B"#"#!y!y!y"#"#"#"#"#"#"#!y!y"#"#"#!y!y"#"#"#!y!y"#!y!y"#"#!y!y"#"#!y!y"#"#"# (B
>  $B"#"#"#!y!y!y!y!y"#"#"#"#!y!y"#"#"#!y!y"#"#"#!y!y"#!y!y"#"#!y!y"#"#!y!y"#"#"# (B
>  $B"#"#"#"#"#!y!y!y!y"#"#"#!y!y"#"#"#!y!y"#"#"#!y!y"#!y!y!y!y!y"#"#"#!y!y"#"#"# (B
>  $B"#"#"#"#"#"#"#!y!y"#"#"#!y!y"#"#"#!y!y!y!y!y!y!y"#!y!y!y!y!y"#"#"#"#"#"#"#"# (B
>  $B"#"#!y!y"#"#"#!y!y"#"#"#!y!y"#"#"#!y!y"#"#"#!y!y"#!y!y"#"#!y!y"#"#"#"#"#"#"# (B
>  $B"#"#!y!y!y!y!y!y!y"#"#"#!y!y"#"#"#!y!y"#"#"#!y!y"#!y!y"#"#!y!y"#"#!y!y"#"#"# (B
>  $B"#"#"#!y!y!y!y!y"#"#"#"#!y!y"#"#"#!y!y"#"#"#!y!y"#!y!y"#"#"#!y!y"#!y!y"#"#"# (B
>  $B"#"#"#"#"#"#"#"#"#"#"#"#"#"#"#"#"#"#"#"#"#"#"#"#"#"#"#"#"#"#"#"#"#"#"#"#"#"# (B
>  $B!!!!!!!!!N (BFIVE $B!! (BSTAR $B!O (BMAIL MAGAZINE  $B!!!! (Bstar  $B!y!! (Bexpress
>  $B(,(,(,(,(,(,(,(,(,(,(,(,(,(,(,(,(,(,(,(,(,(,(,(,(,(,(,(,(,(,(,(,(,(,(,(, (B
== 'print "You are in a maze of twisty little passages, all alike";'
>  $B!y!y!y!y!y!!%i%s%-%s%0%H%C%W$N%5%$%H$P$+$j$r=8$a$^$7$? (B  $B!y!y!y!y!y (B
>  $B!&!E!D!D(,(,(,(,(,(,(,(,(,(,(,(,(,(,(,(,(,(,(,(,(,(,(,(,(,(,(,!D!D!E!& (B
>  $B!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (BFIVE $B!! (BSTAR   N E W S
>  $B!&!E!D!D(,(,(,(,(,(,(,(,(,(,(,(,(,(,(,(,(,(,(,(,(,(,(,(,(,(,(,!D!D!E!& (B
>  $B!!!!!!!!!!!!!!$=$&!"$3$3$O!"8^$D@1$N%5%$%H$P$+$j$G$9 (B
== 'use Inline::BrainFuck;'
> ______________________________________________________________________
>  $B!y!y (B  $B$3$s$J$N$"$j!*!) (B  $B!y!y (B********************************************
>  $B!!!!!!$3$l$J$iG<F@!"%H%C%W$K$J$k$K$O!"$d$C$Q$jM}M3$,$"$k$s$G$9$M!*!* (B
>  $B!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (Bhttp://www.eyc.jp/~gazou/?id=dGFnQGxpbnV4Z2F6ZXR0ZS5uZXQ=
> ********************************************************************************
>  $B!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!~!!!!!!!!$3$s$J7G<(HD$,M_$7$+$C$?!*!*!!!!!!!!!!!~ (B
> ********************************************************************************
== 'use MIDI;'
>  $B!! (B
>  $B!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"!!~"!!~"!!~"!!~"!!~"!!~"!!~"!!~"!!~ (B
>  $B!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!~"!!~"!!~"!!~"!!~"!!~"!!~"!!~"!!~"! (B
>  $B!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"!!~!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"!!~ (B
>  $B!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!~"!!!!!40A4!!!*!*!!!!L5NA!*!*!!!~"! (B
>  $B!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"!!~!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"!!~ (B
>  $B!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!~"!!~"!!~"!!~"!!~"!!~"!!~"!!~"!!~"! (B
>  $B!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"!!~"!!~"!!~"!!~"!!~"!!~"!!~"!!~"!!~ (B
This is the input to MIDI. Opening bars to the theme from 'The Odd Couple'
>  $B!!!!!Z!!%(%C%A$J?M!"8BDj!*!*![ (B
>  $B!!!!!! (B
>  $B!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!v!v!v!!$=$l$b!"$+$J$j%(%C%A$J?M8BDj$@$h!A!A!!!!!v!v!v (B
>  $B!!!y!!$"$J$?$O!"$+$J$j!!%(%C%A!)$7$+$b!"2q$$$?$$!)!! (B
>  $B!!!!!!!!#Y#E#S!!"M!!!! (Bhttp://www.zl8.jp/~banana/
>  $B!!!!!!!!#N#O!!!!"M!!!!!!$I$3$+C5$7$F$M (B^^;
>  $B!!40A4L5NA!*!!"M"M"M"M"M!!!!;H$$J|Bj!*!!=q$-9~$_J|Bj!*!!FI$_J|Bj!*!!8+J|Bj!* (B
>  $B!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (B
>  $B!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!v!!0l@Z!"$*6b$O$+$+$j$^$;$s!*!* (B
>  $B!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!J9-9pHq$G1?1D$5$l$F$$$k$+$i!"$*6b$O0l@ZI,MW$"$j$^$;$s!K (B
>  $B"!!~"!!~"!!~"!!~"!!~"!!~"!!~"!!~"!!~"!!~"!!~"!!~"!!~"!!~"!!~"!!~"!!~"!!~"!!~"! (B
> _______________________________________________________________________________
>  $B"#EPO?FbMF$NJQ99!&:o=|!'2<5-%a!<%k%"%I%l%9$+$i2r=|$G$-$^$9!# (B
>  $B!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (Bhappy_magazin_info@yahoo.co.jp
>  $B!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (B  $B!!!! (B-  $B7G:\5-;v$NE>:\$O$41sN82<$5$$ (B -
>  $B!E!E!&!&!&!D!D(,(,(,(,(,(,(,(,(,(,(,(,(,(,(,(,(,(,(,(,(,(,!D!D!E!E!&!&!& (B
>   $B!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (B FIVE STAR
>  $B!E!E!&!&!&!D!D(,(,(,(,(,(,(,(,(,(,(,(,(,(,(,(,(,(,(,(,(,(,!D!D!E!E!&!&!& (B
invokes Emacs with a patch to 'doctor' mode that says "Don't bother me with your problems"

(?) More ginger beer!

From Ben

(!) [Jimmy] "Isn't wine prohibited here?" the boy asked
"It's not what enters men's mouths that's evil," said the alchemist. "It's what comes out of their mouths that is."
-- Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist
(!) [Ben] From a Linux beer survey on Newsforge http://www.newsforge.com/article.pl?sid=04/12/08/2229209&from=rss :
Eric S. Raymond,      |  Ginger beer. Ideally, the dark Jamaican style.
Open source advocate  |  With lime in it.
I'm sure that if I search long enough, "apt-get" will show a dependency between ginger beer and Linux...
(!) [Jimmy] Heh. While we're somewhere close to the topic, what's everyone's drink of choice, on the off chance I might bump into any of you? (Most people are good at rembering names or faces, I'm good at remembering drinks :)

(?) Ooh, what a good idea - a TAG favorite potables list! I probably won't remember any of it, but just in case...

(!) [Jimmy] Ben, yours is a Sam Adams, right?

(?) Er, well, unless I can get something better. :) Among American mass-produced beers, yeah - that's about as good as it gets. Right on par with Anchor Steam Porter, and I won't shy away from a Henry Weinhardt's, either. For my all-around favorite - well, it varies a bit, but I wouldn't turn down a Young's Luxury Double-Chocolate Stout (unless I've already had dinner. Either one of those or a large prime rib, and I'm filled up for the night.) Any of the Scottish Oatmeal Stouts are sure to find a welcome as well.

I'm also quite a fan of a few English hard ciders, but since I can't get any here, I'l just shut up and suffer in silence before the pain becomes intolerable. :)))

On the stronger side, there's Lagavulin Single Islay malt, with its load of peat and iodine (as somebody once said, "full of that 'exhumed body' flavor.") People assure me there are other scotches that are very similar, but I don't drink a whole lot, so the research is slow. :) I've been slowly losing my taste for sweet liqueurs over time, but a shot of Nassau Royale will still find a warm welcome.

In the realm of unleaded beverages, I've become highly partial to the Sikh /chai/ teas - they add date powder with cinnamon, ginger, and cardamom oils, and the traditional addition of milk (or soy milk) makes it even yummier. And, of course, there's always good ginger beer.

So, what would I get you in exchange when we're drinking at the Cross-Time Saloon? [1]

(!) [Jimmy] If it's beer, I'll drink it[1].
From the coctails menu, my favourite is a Frozen Irish[2] Mint (vodka, creme de menthe, Baileys and chocolate milkshake), closely followed by a Tequila Sunrise.
Erm... I'll drink pretty much anything except whiskey (too many bad/absent memories).

(?) There's something about whiskey and vodka that produces that effect in many people, yes.

(!) [Jimmy] And tequila. But I've had my worst moments after drinking whiskey, so I steer clear these days.
(!) [Jimmy] [1] Budweiser and its ilk are therefore excluded

(?) See, I knew you were all right. Budweiser isn't really a beer - it's a true/false intelligence test...

(!) [Jimmy] I prefer to think of it as the bar tender's placebo.

(?) If you ever get curious about the ingredients and send to a lab for analysis, the verdict is likely to be "your moose is pregnant".

(!) [Sluggo] I think I mentioned the scooter rally in Ireland where I counted the empty beer cans on one of the picnic tables, and half were Guinness and the other half were Budwiser.
BTW, I thought Thomas was English. Or is he only living in England?
(!) [Thomas] Both. :)
(!) [Jimmy] Eh? Is this because of the 'Irish' comment I made in reply to Thomas? That was because he quoted a friend of his on IRC, who said something like 'if Jimmy didn't keep reminding us every few sentences that he's Irish, I'd probably have guessed from his photo'. I'm still trying to work out if that means I look drunk :) (I wasn't. Honest!)
(!) [Jimmy] Erm... that's lower down the page. These threads can be quite confusing to layout.
(!) [Jimmy] [2] I've only seen this in an English bar in Spain :)

(?) Hey, since you know the ingredients, any decent bartender should be able to mix it for you. It'll make a good test to see if a given bar is worthy of our combined presence. :)

(!) [Jimmy] I have yet to find a bar that keeps chocolate milkshake around here :(
(Although I think I might try my hand at throwing a few together during the holidays).

(?) [1] Spider Robinson's creation. Quite the place; anything we'd care to drink would be behind the bar, and Mike Callahan (the bartender) would know just how to mix it... all we need now is a local gateway apiece, and we could hang out and swap stories till the morning [some version of it] comes.

(!) [Thomas] There is perhaps more of a chance that you and I will "bump" into each other. Should that ever happen, mine is coffee[1] -- of any kind, just as long as it is not instant.
[1] Although, really, it should be I that pays for them.
(!) [Jimmy]
Why's that? Are you afraid that requesting a non-alcoholic beverage might offend my sense of Irishness[1] or something? :)
[1] Got a quota to meet :)
(!) [Neil]
English beers:
  • Morlands Old Speckled Hen
  • Youngs Special
  • Greene King Abbot Ale
  • Greene King IPA
  • Broughton Ales Border Gold
  • Charles Wells Bombardier
(!) [Thomas] My father is rather fond of a Northern beer known as "Old Perculiar". It's very black, rather like the colour of peat, although I couldn't say what it tastes like...
(!) [Neil] Theakston's Old Peculier, with a peculiar spelling ;-)
Theakston's were taken over by Scottish and Newcastle a while back, with one of the family starting up a new brewery and brewing Black Sheep ale. http://www.blacksheepbrewery.com
It seems that Theakston's are now an independent company again.
I should also have included Marston's Pedigree and Black Sheep on that list.
(!) [Neil] European Beers:
  • Leffe (Belgian not Dutch)
American Beers:
  • Sam Adams
  • Dixie Black Voodoo
(!) [Jimmy] Trying your damnedest to defeat my drinks memory, eh? Damn you! :)
(!) [Sluggo] I hereby nominate Jimmy for TAG Bartender.
(!) [Jimmy] Erm... I'd have to discuss that with Heather, who currently takes care of TAG refreshments. We'll have to see if there's room for a bar in the TAG lounge
(!) [Sluggo] People who remember I like cider rather than beer get my instant respect. Pear cider is the best. The best apple cider I've found is Cider Jack; it's dry and not too sweet.
(!) [Jimmy] This launched its own mini-thread: http://linuxgazette.net/110/lg_laundrette.html#nottag.7
My favorite tea is earl green. Second is plain green. Keep all coffee and anything mocha flavored away from me.
(!) [Jimmy] I remembered that from the time you posted the link to your pho (sp?) recipe. You were quite specific about it not being 'Earl Grey'.
(!) [Sluggo] I'm not against earl gray,
(!) [Jimmy] It's Earl Grey. Not a British vs. American thing, it was named after the second Earl Grey. :-P
(!) [Sluggo] it's just that green tea tastes better than black, as well as having more antioxidants and less caffeine. Jasmine black is OK. But plain black tea I have to put sugar in. I don't know why it got so popular.
Heh heh, in 2000 I was in restaurant in Toronto and asked for tea. Too late I remembered to ask, "Wait! What kinds do you have?" but the waitress was already out of earshot. My friends immediately pounced on me, "There's only one kind of tea here! Multiflavored tea is a west coast thing." I doubt it was literally true, but it was funny.
(!) [Brian] Here in the Greater Metro DC area (and south of the Mason-Dixon line), there are two kinds, sweet and unsweet, at least in iced teas. The chinese restaurants uniformly serve hot black pekoe. You can stand a spoon up in "sweet" and they both taste powdered, and of the same brand, at least in all the restaurants I've been in. I only got sweet once, and that before I knew what I was in for. The funny thing was, I didn't know what "sweet" was, and added sugar before I tasted it... yerch!
Yeah, there's also Starbucks and clones with tens of teas, but generally...
(!) [Jimmy] Heh. Tea with milk, or without. Choice is yours.
(!) [Sluggo] In Blackpool I stayed at a hotel that had a complementary packet of "white tea", which was really black tea with powdered milk. I wonder what they would call real white tea http://coffeetea.about.com/od/typesoftea/a/whitetea.htm
(!) [Jimmy] 'forn white tea'?
(!) [Sluggo] I drink humungous amounts of water. I can't eat a meal without drinking water. The water thins the food; otherwise it feels too thick and I can't eat more.
I started drinking alcohol and tea when I was in Russia. The vodka part was because people kept saying, "You won't drink with me, you're not my friend?" I certainly didn't want to put a barrier between myself and potential contacts since I was thinking about moving there for a while. People who knew only two words of English would say "Russian Tradition!"
(!) [Jimmy] I nearly had a c|n>k there - I've been hearing 'Polish tradition' in the same way a lot recently :) I've been pressganged into taking a trip there some time in the new year by my friend Pawel to try some Polskie piwo.
We have the same sort of 'you won't drink with me?' thing here. It's probably because there's very little physical contact between sober males - it's OK when you're drunk, or already very good friends with someone, so drinking together is an essential part of the friendship process.
(!) [Jimmy] I cut this into its own thread too: http://linuxgazette.net/110/lg_laundrette.html#nottag.6
(!) [Sluggo] whenever they they filled my glass. But when I got home, I quickly grew tired of paying $5 for vodka or beer when I didn't like them much.
(!) [Jimmy] Thanks for that Mike. I'm glad to see that there's somewhere else in the world where prices are as overinflated as they are here. I've been getting sick of hearing that a pint of beer is 30 cents in the Philipines, or a litre of vodka is 5 euros in Poland :)
My friend Trev was telling me that Joon, one of the maintenance guys where I work, told him "Come to the Philipines. Bring 50,000, buy a mansion. I'll bring the women."
(!) [Sluggo] The most interesting vodka brand was "Russkaya Ruletka" (Russian roulette),
(!) [Jimmy] 'Russian roulette' is the name of one of the Polish traditions that keeps cropping up. You're given three shot glasses, one filled with water, one with vodka, and one with... 'spirits'; swap them around, slam two.
(!) [Sluggo] which had billboards all over the place. Strangely, however, I never saw that brand at the kiosks. I surmised it was only drunk by rich expatriates, who bought it... um... wherever it is that rich expatriates congregate.
The tea thing happened indirectly. You can't drink the water in Russia unless you boil it first. Russians did not generally keep fresh water around, but you were never far from a teapot. And tea is boiled water -- how convenient! The babushkas were surprised when I kept coming back for tea, and were amazed when after a few cups I'd say, "Just let me have some hot water, please" until I was ready for more tea. So I came home and never stopped drinking tea.
The thing I missed most in Russia was ice water. I love ice water, especially with hot food. You can refrigerate boiled water, but you can't make ice cubes without ice cube trays. I guess ice is not a Russian tradition; I did not see a single ice cube tray my whole time there. I decided if I ever go back to Russia, I'm gonna make sure to pack a couple ice cube trays.
(!) [Brian] Coca-Cola or Mountain Dew, in the handy 2 liter single serving size.
I enjoy assorted beers, but I find that in an earlier era I enjoyed assorted beers, etc., far too much. So now I enjoy them in absentia.
(!) [Ben]
Ah, virtual beer! All the attributes of it except its presence and its effect. Easier on the wallet as well, and you can have the best brands without ever chasing out to the store... Smart guy, that Brian.
(!) [Brian] My new motto:
/ For me, mad cow disease could only be \
\ an improvement.                       /
        \   ^__^
         \  (oo)\_______
            (__)\       )\/
                ||----w |
                ||     ||
For some reason, it distresses both my lovely wife and my mother when I utter such things...
(!) [Ben] I'd be quite distressed if you were to udder such things in my presence, too. Mooved to tears, most likely.
(Is anyone else going to milk this opportunity, or will you all simply cowtow to public opinion and simply write about it in your dairies?)

(?) Even more ginger beer!

From Jimmy

We have the same sort of 'you won't drink with me?' thing here. It's probably because there's very little physical contact between sober males - it's OK when you're drunk, or already very good friends with someone, so drinking together is an essential part of the friendship process.
(!) [Sluggo] Not that I saw. People in Ireland drank if they wanted to, but they didn't get all out of sorts if you didn't. And if you stuck to one beer a day they didn't mind. It wasn't this one after another "you must have more" thing.
(!) [Jimmy] Well, it's more that if you continually decline invitations to the pub, people get really annoyed. And you're right, no one minds if you don't drink. They will tease you for it, though.
(!) [Ben] Heh. Ya gotta unn'erstan', Mike... despite the overt simplicity, there's a lot to that custom. In many ways, it's like the Jewish "eat, eat!" thing. First off, there is the obvious - "hey, aren't we friends? Why do you want to insult me?" But there's also an undertone of "just how much will you let me force you to drink?", with the sure knowledge that if you agree once, it becomes much easier after that. Then there's the cultural imperative of "you must be drunk to talk about serious things", which is What Men Do (i.e., big-time male bonding ritual.)
(!) [Jimmy] Another "What Men Do" thing, at least around here, is insulting your best friends. It's like a private joke: if the implicit "I love you really, man" is ever made explicit, the bond is... cheapened (that is, unless you're +/- two drinks from throwing up); if someone else joins in, serious in their insults, they find their mouth has been shut for them really quickly.
(!) [Ben] In Russia, that was considered more or less juvenile (i.e., college students, etc. would do it, but not most "adult men".) If you're good drinking buddies with each other, and you've "talked about the deep things", there's an implied deep level of trust. There are sayings and jokes about "knowing who you're drinking with", somewhat parallel to "I (would|wouldn't) go with you to scout enemy positions" (WWII expression that's stuck around, particularly among the older set.)
Russians don't much like superficiality, and it's taken for granted that you don't have to put on airs with somebody you've dragged home out of a mud puddle. :)
(!) [Jimmy] I had been aware of this to a degree before; my former immediate supervisor is incapable of giving a compliment - the more he insults you, the better a friend he considers you.
His most used term of endearment is 'bitch', so all of the guys I work or worked with call each other that as a piss-take. I talking to a Polish coworker, Beata, in the pub last week. She started to get offended when a friend (who was put working with my former supervisor when I changed shifts) called me a bitch, and started to say something about how she knew what those words meant. At the time I thought she was offended by his language, but afterwards I realised she only knows one meaning of bitch, and it never occurred to her that he was talking about me, let alone that she's completely unaware of our little custom.
(!) [Ben] Navigating those rocks and shoals is a little challenging, but here it is: a Real Man is one who stands up to the bullying by being relatively polite but totally firm about refusing... and then proceeds to get righteously fried with you anyway. [grin] Foreigners don't thread that particular needle well, usually. For that matter, there aren't that many Russians who do, either. I guess you could call it a fairly tough test.
(!) [Jimmy] Something like this?:
"Are you going to the pub"
"No way. I only got 3 hours sleep last night, and have to work tomorrow"
<Half an hour of 'oh, go on'>
"Alright so. I'll see you next weekend"
<Later that night>
"Thought you weren't going out"
"Ah, I haven't been hungover at work for a while"
(!) [Ben] Cool - the Irish version! No, more like:
[Friendly but somewhat overbearing (and a little threatening) attitude]
"You're not drinking - you don't want me to be your friend?"
[Face him squarely, take him by the shoulders, give him a shake]
"Vasya, what the hell kind of a question is this? I'm simply not
drinking tonight. Can't do it; the wife and the children are waiting
with dinner."
(Several rounds of similar, until Vasya gives up; *then*: )
"Listen, just to calm you down - just a couple of drops for the road."
Here comes that mud puddle...
(!) [Sluggo] Yeah, but it's just fucking ridiculous. Sorry for the cultural insensitivity, but I have a big issue with forcing alcohol on people, or letting it intrude into these areas of personal relationships that it really has nothing to do with. It is possible to be buddies and talk about deep stuff without alcohol.
(!) [Ben] Did you ever hear anybody say that cultural practices are supposed to make sense? Or that the average man actually enjoys them? Complaining about them is like saying that you didn't enjoy your Basic Training in a country that practices the draft.
I don't like the idea of force being used between people - we've talked about how I switch modes when anyone initiates it - but that doesn't mean I'm going to get torqued about 99% of human history, or ignore how people interact. I'm also able to distance myself enough to see that it can work for others, and even find amusement, interest - and most of all, compassion - for those involved. For myself, I just need to know the basics for surviving whatever it is; coming out on top and with style is a plus, if available.
(!) [Jimmy] What, without being able to play the 'Wow, I talk an awful load of shite when I'm drunk!' card?
(!) [Ben] Heh. Some people would just die if you took that one away. At least their careers would.
(!) [Jimmy] I'm open to the point where I consider nothing about myself private, but that's only because of a lot of drunken conversations that I had to face up to (the post-drinking 'what the fuck is wrong with you?' conversations :) I'd had 'deep conversations' before, but they always came from my public persona.
(!) [Ben] I did it as a conscious choice, one that took a lot of struggle to make. I do have things I consider private (mostly because other people are involved), but nothing secret or hidden; I just refuse to do that to myself anymore.

(?) Cider/Hangovers

From Jimmy

(!) [Jimmy] As it happens, I'm editing this while suffering the consequences of a work Christmas party :)

(?) Pear cider? Must try that. Remembering cider isn't too difficult for me - several of my friends and one of my brothers are cider drinkers. I'm not normally a fan of cider (I get horrible indigestion from it), but add a Pernod and some blackcurrant...

(!) [Neil] I believe "Pear Cider" should be called Perry. just don't mention Babycham ;-)
(!) [Sluggo] Never heard of Perry. All the pear ciders I've seen say "pear cider" on the bottle.
(!) [Neil] Googling for pear cider throws up mostly merkin sites, perry gets you mostly English sites. I guess we're just 2 nations divided by a common language.
(!) [Sluggo] "Merkin?" Reminds me of Mark Orkin's book, _Canajan, Eh?_ http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/customer-reviews/0773759069/104-7849304-6682317?%5Fencoding=UTF8 He has two other books although I've never seen them. _French Canajan, He'?_ and _Murrican, Huh?_
I know one Canadian who says "hey" instead of "eh". That might be the source of this peculiar word.
(!) [Neil] This particular usage[1] comes from when I used to read alt.fan.pratchett.
[1] Correct usage at http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=merkin
(!) [Sluggo] I meant the source of "eh", not the source of "merkin".
(!) [Breen]
> Googling for pear cider throws up mostly merkin sites, perry gets you mostly
I do not think that word means what you think it means....

(?) I told my brother what it meant once, and it became his favourite insult for a while.

(!) [Ben] All right! Another literate word-spotter! Well done, Breen.
(I knew people at SCA who talked about making some. For authenticity. Brrr...)
(!) [Neil] When I use a word it means just what I choose it to mean, neither more nor less.
(!) [Breen] Thank you, Mr. Dumpty. <g>

(?) Ah, right.

I've asked Heather:

"I like ginger beer, RC cola, eggnog when made from real eggs, mocha extra dark w/ whipcream, and tea at a rate faster than most programmers drink coffee. coffee only if it's real - not that fastfood style coffee sold at 24 hr restaurants and capable of rusting your innards."

(?) Righto, the TAG bar is open in #tag-chat

While we're on the topic - what's everyone's favourite hangover cure? Mine's plenty of water before sleeping, with a long walk home and next morning.

(!) [Ben] Mine is to be a couple of days away from the event - in either direction. :) Kinda like the guaranteed cure for sea-sickness (sitting under an oak tree...)
Seriously, I only recall (dimly, yeah) being hung-over once from drinking - and that may well have been a mild case of food poisoning. I've even done those things you're never supposed to do, alcohol-wise - drinking wine right after vodka, ditto with champagne... no problem. However, back in those long-ago days when Bill and I didn't inhale, I spent a number of mornings feeling muzzy and low on energy. Go figure...

(?) I remember my first hangover - day after my first time getting drunk, after celebrating the birth of my son. I was sick as a dog, because I was drinking with her family, who I didn't really feel all that comfortable around at that particular moment :)

Y'know, I don't think I've ever /not/ mixed drinks... Worst was snakebite with added shots of vodka, tequila, sambucca and jaegermeister, followed by 50% cider, 50% jaeg. I was still hungover two days later.

(!) [Sluggo]
> eggnog when made from real eggs,
Ahh, another story. I was in a floating bar in Deptford (that is, a bar on a boat that was permanently moored on the Thames) with two friends, one English and one Scottish. The second guy offered to get us drinks and I said lemonade. Then, remembering "lemonade" in England means some horrible piss-colored soda like Mountain Dew, I said, "Wait! I mean with real lemons." He looked at me with a "what the hell are you talking about" expression. The other guy, who had lived in the States, understood what I meant and said, "He means like a hootch without the alcohol." Somehow the bartender managed to find such a beast.

(?) Swedish Chef

From Heather

Dec 08 17:35:47 <editorgal_zzz> 09:02 <@popeywork> fork() fork() fork() !
Dec 08 17:35:47 <editorgal_zzz> 09:02 <@popeywork> (swedish chef with a cold)

(?) Album of the month

From Sluggo

Here's my vote for Laundrette album of the month:

(!) [Jimmy] Huh? It's open to a vote now? Wait, there's an album of the month now?
/me shrugs

(?) No need for a vote. A vote would just show our individual prejudices more than it would be any meaningful measure. We can just publish the lists like we've done before. But our past list http://linuxgazette.net/102/lg_backpage3.html was our all-time favorites, and this time I'm aiming for music most of us haven't heard.

(!) [Jimmy] Another good source of free music on the 'net is the Internet Archive: http://www.archive.org/audio though the categories are a bit more 'loose' than on Magnatune. It has a few categories: open source audio, live recordings, and 'netlabels'.
There's also quite a few choral recordings available from MIT:

(?) Dr Kuch, Analog Disease http://magnatune.com/artists/dr_kuch (MP3 online) It has a techno base but occasionally mixes in reggae or big band horns. The occasional lyrics are in a myriad of languages, some French and some I don't recognize.

(!) [Jimmy] Kinda reminds me of Enigma. I preferred Falling You though.

(?) Anybody got any other nominations. Extra karma if they're lesser-known artists, if at least part of the album is on the web (without requiring Windows or Mac software), and if you can say something about why the music is original or unique.

(!) [Jimmy] I don't think I've listened to a whole album this month. My mental state generally tends to have two gears - up and down - and each has had its own playlist:
The Cure - Burn
The Cure - Fascination Street
Smashing Pumpkins - Soma
Smashing Pumpkins - Disarm
DJ Shadow - High Noon
Nine Inch Nails - The Frail
Nine Inch Nails - The Wretched
Nine Inch Nails - A Warm Place
Pantera - Floods
Pantera - Suicide Note Part 1
Therapy? - Moment of Clarity
Slipknot - Vermilion Part 2
Audioslave - Like a Stone
Slayer - War Ensemble
Slayer - Dead Skin Mask
Slayer - Blood Red
Slayer - Spirit in Black
Slayer - Bloodlines
Carcass - Embodiment
Carcass - No Love Lost
The Cure - Friday I'm in Love
The Cure - Just Like Heaven
The Cure - Close To You
Sikth - Scent of the Obscene
Machine Head - None But My Own
Helmet - Milktoast
Helmet - Unsung
Therapy? - Unbeliever
Therapy? - Misery
(though lyrically most of my up list would be on most others' down lists :)

(?) I finally took the plunge to soundcard-driven music. Actually it was forced by a receiver and CD player that are intermittently failing. I either had to replace them or get a bookshelf system or switch to the computer, and I wanted to do it for less than $100. But I don't like the current generation of components (way overkill). The used components in the shops are, um, worse than I already have. I don't like the bookshelf systems (no phono input). But my computer has crappy speakers. So do I get good computer speakers or connect my PC to my stereo? I looked into the $50 and $100 amplified computer speakers, but was afraid to get something that still didn't sound as good as my stereo. So I opted for two 25-foot patchcords and an adapter instead, for the princely sum of $15. The sound is a bit quieter than it should be and seems "compressed", but it's OK. I'm not sure if a better soundcard or shorter patchcords would make a difference, but I can't do anything about the patchcords. The soundcard is... something that uses the Ensoniq 1371 driver. So, now I can avoid the failing CD player. The receiver is holding up better than it did with CDs. And when it does eventually fail, I can replace it with anything that amplifies. The only radio station I listen to regularly has webcasting so I don't really need a receiver per se, except for records and tapes.

(!) [Jimmy] My brother used the same sort of setup. Switch to FLAC instead of MP3 and you'll get some improvement, but there'll always be a difference because the majority of soundcards are rubbish. The volume difference is down to the cables - most guitar leads run to about that length and standard practise is to add a pre-amp to compensate.
(!) [Chris G] I think that my album of the month is:
Plasticman - Sheet One
(!) [Thomas] Since the subject of music comes up a lot, I have just completed categorising the music that I own [1]. Have a look through it, and see what you think. :)
[1] http://edulinux.homeunix.org/music.rbx
(!) [Jimmy] Looking through that list, I see several albums that I /should/ have that seem to have mysteriously disappeared. I suspect my brother Joe got at them with a hammer.
(!) [Neil]
(!) [Jimmy] On a related note, I've been trying out Audioscrobbler with XMMS: Audioscrobbler makes your listening choices public, and, once it knows enough about your listening choices, recommends other music to you.
(!) [Jimmy] I've since found that audioscrobbler is only really useful if your tastes are restricted to a single genre: it can't handle that I like Slayer, Carcass, The Cure, and Jeff Buckley :(

(?) Alice in Wonderland

From Sluggo

Just what you never wanted. A site full of Java and Javascript games based on scenes from Alice in Wonderland . Curiouser and curiouser!

(?) Off for Mile-high City

From Ben Okopnik

...Denver, that is.
ben@Fenrir:~$ metar KDEN
INPUT: 2004/12/05 17:53
KDEN 051753Z 31007KT 10SM FEW060 SCT100 SCT140 BKN200 01/M04 A2962 RMK AO2 SLP034 ACSL DSNT SW-NW OMTNS T00111044 10022 21033 50006
METAR Report
Airport-Id:             KDEN
Report time:            2004/12/5 17:53 UTC
Visibility:             16.1 km                                 10 US-miles
Wind:                   from the NW (310°) at 13 km/h           7 kt = 8.1 mph = 3.6 m/s
Temperature:            1°C                                     33.8°F
Dewpoint:               -4°C                                    24.8°F
Rel. Humidity:          69%
Pressure:               1003 hPa                                29.62 in. Hg
Sky condition:          few clouds at 6000 ft                   1830 m
                        scattered clouds at 10000 ft            3050 m
                        scattered clouds at 14000 ft            4270 m
                        broken clouds at 20000 ft               6100 m
And that's in the middle of the day.
It's just wrong for humans to live anywhere that temperatures get a '-' prefix. I'm going because people are throwing money at me, but... I'm just sayin'. If we were meant to deal with cold, we'd have thicker skin and lots more hair.
I'm sitting at the Jacksonville airport, with palm trees waving outside. In just a couple of hours, I'll probably be seeing polar bears and most likely have to smear seal blubber on my face while gazing out over the lakes of frozen CO2... It's been a while since I've been north of the Mason-Dixon line in the winter and my memory may be a bit faulty, but it seems like a reasonable interpolation. Particularly since the temperatures here are in the sixties, and I'm already bundled up and still cold.
(!) [Jimmy] Heh. In the sixties? Is that like ~18°C? That's a warm spring day over here. It's gone to the second t-shirt time of year, but last week I was too warm at work, and started cleaning out the freezer (-36°C) to cool down :-P

(?) -36°C? That sounds cold enough to make lawyers put their hands in their own pockets. How do you get it that low, anyway? Ask one of the Bush twins for a date and duck behind the condenser, or what?

(!) [Jimmy] I've been wondering about that since I wrote it. I think the temperature gauge is busted. It's definitely lower than -3.6, but there's no way in hell I walked into -36 and walked out again, let alone spent a few hours cheerfully chipping away at the ice blocks.
(!) [William Park] Bunch of sissies. Have you been to Arctic Circle yet, up here in Canada?

(?) Why, no. I haven't stuck my tongue across a 110v outlet, either, or spent any time pounding my head against the wall... although I understand there are people that enjoy those kinds of things - including the visit that you mention. :)

I probably will cross one of the Circles' latitudes at some point, just to do it, but it's likely to be followed by several years' stay somewhere near the equator in order to defrost and deal with the psychological damage (dark rum will play a major role in the recuperation process.) A man's got to have his standards, after all.

(?) More on English

From Sluggo


Regarding Paddington Bear and the box room, I was even more shocked when it said he was using a torch in the room. In American English, torch means something with an open flame like the ancient Romans used. Not a good thing to have in box rooms with modern wallboard. I guess the book meant he had a flashlight.

(!) [Jimmy] Yeah, torch == flashlight in this case.

(?) Of course, flashlights don't usually flash, but that's another thing. Flashbulbs flash, but nobody uses them any more.

That reminds me of the book Crazy English . I transcribed some quotes from it a few years ago. It's in LaTeX format, unfortunately.

Here's the original.

English is the most widely spoken language in the history of our
planet, used in some way by at least one out of every seven human beings
around the globe.  Half of the world's books are written in English, and
the majority of international telephone calls are made in English.
English is the language of over sixty percent of the world's radio
programs, many of them beamed, ironically, to the Russians, who know
that to win friends and influence nations, they're best off using
English.  More than seventy percent of international mail is written and
addressed in English, and eighty percent of all computer text is stored
in English.  English has acquired tha largest vocabulary of all the
world's languages, perhaps as many as two million words, and has
generated one of the noblest bodies of literature in the annals of the
human race.

Nonetheless, it is now time to face the fact that English is a crazy

In the crazy English language, the blackbird hen is brown, blackboards
can be blue or green, and blackberries are green and then red before
they are ripe.  Even if balckberries were really black and blueberries
really blue, what are strawberries, cranberries, and gooseberries
supposed to look like?

To add to the insanity, there is no butter in buttermilk, no egg in
eggplant, neither worms nor wood in wormwood, neither pine nor apple in
pineapple, and no ham in a hamburger.  (In fact, if somebody invented a
sandwich consisting of a ham patty in a bun, we would have a hard time
finding a name for it.)  To make matters worse, English muffins weren't
invented in England, nor french fries in France, nor Danis pastries in
Denmark.  Sweetmeat is made from fruit, while sweetbread, which isn't
sweet, is made from meat.

Greyhounds aren't always grey (or gray), ladybugs and fireflies are
beetles, a panda bear is a raccoon, and a guinea pig is neither a pig nor
from Guinea.

Quite a lot snipped

(!) [Jimmy] I've been flicking through "Eats, Shites and Leaves" recently, which is another collection of english oddities, and I recently had a conversation about this with Marcin "Nedman" Niedziela, founder of LG PL:
(See Marcin? This sort of thing comes up on TAG /all the time/ :)
 >>> If it makes you feel better, English is the second hardest language
 >>> to read and write.
 >> You think so..? Then try to pronounce this:
 >> "konstantynopolitańczykowianeczka" (one word) or
[Pawel, one of my Polish coworkers, wouldn't even /try/ to pronounce that]
(!) [Jimmy] Marcin later explained that it means 'a woman from Constantinople'
 > Hmm... the English-ish syllables, IIRC, would be
 > cone stan tin owe pole ee tan chick owe vyan etch ka
 > (Does that mean something like 'someone who comes from
 > Constantinople?')
 >> "W Szczebrzeszynie chrząszcz brzmi w trzczinie"  ;)
[Pawel pronounced that easily, but couldn't explain it]
(!) [Jimmy] Another co-worker, Beata, said that it's a tongue-twister (well, she agreed that it was like "Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers") This page (http://help.berberber.com/showthread.php?p=7819#post7819) seems to agree.
 > Aha. Got me there. I haven't heard '?' pronounced, so I don't know how
 > to say it :-P (I think I could manage the rest, if I said them
 > *really* slowly)
 > English is harder to read and write because there are so many
 > different rules from so many different parent languages.
 > In English, we have things like:
 > rough (ruff)
 > dough (doh)
 > thought (thawt)
 > plough (plow)
 > through (throo)
 > Scarborough (Scarburrah)

(?) That's Scar-burrow over here. "Are you going to Scar-burrow fair..."

(!) [Breen] Well, if we're going to play at that:
There was a young curate from Salisbury
Whose manners were all halisbury-scalisbury
  He went down to Hampshire
  Without any Pampshire
And the people there told him to walisbury.
(!) [Jimmy]
 > cough (coff)
 > hiccough (hiccup)
(!) [Ben] Robert Heinlein noted that particular problem, and had a sentence to illustrate it: "though the tough cough and hiccough plough him through".

(?) hiccough?? I don't think I've ever seen hiccup spelled that way.

(!) [Jimmy] That's the correct spelling in BE, though little used these days.
(!) [Jimmy] While trying to learn Polish grammar, I found this page:
However, it is comforting for Poles when you compare all that with the English language, where it can seem that no rules of pronunciation and spelling are obeyed. So, in the words even - meet - speak - key - ceiling - people - machine - piece - quay - Caius - Caesar - Phoenix, the bold-marked characters or sequences of characters have the same pronunciation (all the examples here and below are British). And the other way round, a given grapheme (character) can be read in different ways: the o in each of the words polish, Polish, move (oo), Home (yoo, a surname), love, one, woman, women (i), store, word, correct, reason (-) is pronounced differently.

(?) I guess people write less about hiccupping than about finalising encyclopaedia centres painted in grey colours while coughing down draughts at the pub and watching the football lads on the telly pound the pitch as the supporters on the terraces engage in fisticuffs in the pissing English rain.

(As opposed to finalizing encyclopedia centers painted in gray colors while coughing down drafts at the bar and watching the football (ahem) boys on TV pound the field as the fans in the stands sit and watch quietly while it's raining cats and dogs.)

(!) [Jimmy] 'watch quietly'? At an event that takes place in a stadium?

(?) It was amusing attending a US-Canadian soccer game last year. It was the Seattle Sounders vs the Vancouver Whitecaps, who are traditional rivals. Some Sounders fans were trying to promote a "loud section" -- an area where people were encouraged to stand and make noise like the Europeans do -- and were passing out flyers trying to convince people to get tickets for that section. But the section was pretty empty. The Canadians meanwhile had brought their maple leaves in force and were shouting and blowing noisemakers the whole time. The Sounders fans couldn't be bothered to bestir themselves, and just sat watching and quietly thinking, "Canadians are weird". Of course, everybody goes "Ooooh!" when there's a score, but that only lasts ten seconds and then it's over, it's not the continual rumblings.

(!) [Jimmy] Yeah, but Americans don't really get soccer yet,

(?) Yet??? You're assuming they will someday? :)

(!) [Jimmy] Sure. All those kids of the soccer moms will grow up someday.
(!) [Jimmy] so it's hard to imagine there'd be too many people who are really into it. (It's not just a European thing either: the South Americans are a lot louder from what I've seen).

(?) Whenever Brazil wins the world cup, there are horns a-honking all over town, and crowds in front of Brazilian restaurants playing bongo drums for hours. This even in cities without large Brazilian populations. The first time it happened in Vancouver I didn't even recognize it. "Ah, it's just a bunch of sports fans." Only after I saw it again and again whenever Brazil or Mexico won a match did I notice the trend.

(!) [Kapil] As an honorary Mexican I feel compelled to object!

(?) There have been so many funny US-Mexico cartoons. One was in Calvin and Hobbes. Calvin did something bad (news flash!) so he has to vamoose pronto.

(!) [Jimmy] vamos?

(?) Vamos means "we go" or "let's go" in Spanish. Vamoose (va-MOOSE) is an English corruption that's more urgent (disappear, scram, get lost, hightail it outta here). Likewise, pronto in Spanish means "soon" but in English it means "right away or else". Or as a Valley Girl might say, "like, instantaneously".

(!) [Jimmy] Just wondering if I had the Spanish right. I know all about 'vamoose': my Dad's a fan of cowboy movies.

(?) Did you see the Inspector in the Pink Panther cartoons? He was a French guy with a Spanish sidekick. Every time he gave an order, the sidekick would say, "si". The inspector kept chiding him, "Don' say 'si', say 'oui'." Once they were on a pirate ship battling this evil clam captain. They escaped the ship in a dinghy. The sidekick commented, "We're sinking into the oui!" The Inspector glubbed in his last breath, "Don' say 'oui', say 'sea'."

(!) [Jimmy] :)
(IIRC, there's also a 'si' in French that also means 'yes', but for answering questions where 'oui' would be ambiguous)

(?) He practices his Spanish: "Que pasa, senorita? I am el fugitivo."

But the funniest one was a political cartoon where an American is driving into Mexico and his companion calls after him, "Don't drink the water!" Meanwhile a Mexican is driving into California and his companion calls after him, "Don't breathe the air!"

(!) [Offer Kaye] Why? That makes you an honorary Central American, not South American...
(!) [Jimmy] Honourary Mexican? How so? And more importantly, Dnde Está mi tequila?
(!) [Kapil] Because when I was in Mexico, many did exactly what you did---spoke to me in Spanish---even to the point of asking me directions. Clearly I was taken for a "native"---and I took that as an honour.
(!) [Jimmy] Heh. That's about the extent of my Spanish: Cmo está, Buenos noches, por favor, gracias, esta una bar aqui, and dos cervezas por favor. Bare necessities only :)

(?) Hasta la sagne.

(!) [K.-H.] Does this meen the same as "Hast a Lasagne" ?

(?) No, hasta means "until". Sagne doesn't exist AFAIK. I just made it up based on "hasta la taco", which you sometimes hear. They're all derived from "hasta la vista" (till we meet again, or literally "till the seeing"; compare "auf wiedersehen").

(!) [Jimmy] Or 'au revoir' in French or 'do widzenia' in Polish

(?) This is what happens to you if you grow up in California. My mom used to say "pronto" and "hamburguesa con queso, por favor". Not to order a hamburger with cheese, mind you. She just said it at random moments. (Yes, hamburguesa can also mean a girl from Hamburg.)

(!) [Jimmy] ...p. 13 in the cannibal's cookbook.

(?) "Hasta la vista... baby!"

(!) [Jimmy] /me resists the temptation to say... erm... the /other/ line from that movie
(!) [K.-H.] relevant dictionary entries:
Hast = South German dialect for "do you have"

a    =   "    "        "        "an"

Lasagne = famous Italian Pasta dish in layers
(!) [Jimmy] So you're just omitting the 'du'?
(!) [K.-H.] Well -- properly pronounced the "a" would shift to a darkish "o" sound. Spelling is not fixed for Bavarian like it's for "High german". Gramatically there is more in there -- The Bavarian "hast" actually includes the "du". "Haben sie" = "hams", "hat er" = "hod a" (putting the o sound in writing here).
(!) [Jimmy] (Rammstein taught me the ambiguity of 'Du hast': it means both 'you have' and 'you hate', right?)
(!) [K.-H.] Pronounciation is indeed very similar -- spelling is different so.
Du hast (you have)
Du hasst (you hate) -- the double "s" comes along with a somewhat
                       sharpenend "s" sound and a strong emphasis on the
(!) [Kapil] Ah! The USA is a bundle of contradictions:
1. The most popular country in the world. (look at immigration stats)

(?) The immigration stats that went way down this year?

(!) [Kapil] 2. The least popular government in the world. (ask people around the world who enemy number 1 is)
3. The country with the greatest number of great sports people. (see who has been winning the most gold medals over a longish period of time)

(?) ... a large percentage of whom are foreign born.

(!) [Kapil] 4. The country with the least participation in the worlds most popular game. (soccer)
... the list goes on.

(?) We make trends, we don't follow them. :) If the world doesn't understand the innate superiority of American football, baseball, and basketball over soccer, that's the world's problem. (Tongue firmly in cheek.)

A friend pointed out that organized team sports didn't exist until the Industrial Revolution, before that it was all individual sports. There were soccer-like games but not persistent teams and rankings. He said that was not just a coincidence but a conscious campaign by the business owners to instill corporate values in the workers (i.e., being a "team player"). Thus why so many teams were founded and sponsored by companies. (Hmm, this sounds a bit, er, Stalinistic....)

Contradictions "R" Us.

(?) Speaking of soccer, I just got this spam:

Subject: David Beckham wears Rolex

Do you want Watch?

(?) Hey Stranger

From Sluggo

On Thu, Dec 09, 2004 at 08:46:24AM -0300, Britany70@hush.com wrote:
> Hey You, I am Britany
> My friend gave me your email, and warned me that you're exciting..
> I can not stand him anymore, this marriage is unhappy, He didn't touch me in
> months
What's the deal with "my husband isn't home" spams? They suddenly increased dramatically a couple weeks ago.
(!) [Thomas] Well, if their husbands are out playing the proverbial milkman, the least they could do is try and do the same from the other angle, no?
(!) [Ben] They're all out chasing Britany; that's why they're not at home. At least until their wives learn to start sending these emails that say, "Hey You, I'm <Name>. My friend gave me your email..." Eventually, the Brownian motion in the total population of the husband/wife set will settle to its minimum-disturbance level as the individual units recombine into stable pairs (which implies a drop to minimum temperature - take that as you will), and the spams will stop, or at least decrease greatly.
Marriage dynamics just ain't what they used to be, and it's these dang computers that are at fault.

(?) Misc IRC stuff

From Jimmy

Misc stuff from IRC that touches on just about everything else in the laundrette: English, drinking (including the grand opening of the TAG lounge's bar)

See attached irc-misc.html

(?) Question

From Jimmy O'Regan

(?) Heather mentioned on IRC that she used to write for a 'Dear Abby' type advice column for the linuxlorn, so...

"Dear Heather, I'm writing to you because I have a problem. I put a lot of time and effort into 'The Rules', but I'm worried that now, noone can see the services behind my firewall Should I try to show that I have more to offer? That, behind the firewall, I have a warm sense of ftp?"

(!) [Ben] [LOL] Jimmy, you... you... you rock.
"Young, single, beige client ISO an experienced server who is open to a new connection. If you're still running in promiscuous mode, look elsewhere..." This could really go places. Bad ones.
(!) [Sluggo] As has been pointed out, Unix is the only operating system where you can fork without protection and then kill your children.

(?) Hur hur hur. "After one spawns a child process, how long should one wait before fork()ing again?"

(!) [Sluggo] Number five -- alive.
(!) [Ben] I have no idea what that refers to, although I've heard it used once or twice before. Enlighten those of us who don't?
(!) [Brian] Short Circuit, a movie with Ally Sheedy and some robots ... numbered.
A fan site for Johnny Five: http://www.johnny-five.com
(!) [Ben] Cultural icon sorta thing, I presume? Another "Where's the beef?" Odd, I usually pick up on those, despite my refusal to own a TV. Oh well.
(!) [Sluggo] What, no Elvis sightings today?
Ben, when you drove the taxi in New York, were you an Elvis impersonator?
(!) [Ben] Sheesh, you totally missed the point. I was a cabbie impersonator.

(?) Collins Word Exchange

From Jimmy O'Regan

Collins Word Exchange:
is a project where internet users may debate the validity of neologisms.
The first word to make it through the process is... (drumroll please), an Irish word, langer
langer noun Irish (Derog. slang) 1. a fool; an idiot 2. (Slang) penis 3. adjective langers extremely drunk (Submitted by: Normac)
I'm not convinced they have the right order of definition there: as far as I was aware, the other two usages derive from langer as a synonym for penis (and, if you think about it, it makes more sense that way anyway).
So, according to Collins, langer is now an official word, and may be used in Scrabble (score of 7).

(?) Just a bit o'Irish...

From Benjamin A. Okopnik

And then, o'course, there's this bit of (Australian-)Irish that I just got from a poetry list... just a little something to balance Jimmy's ever-cheerful ways. :)

(!) [Jimmy]
  • Complaints about the weather: check
  • "ing" changed to "in'": check
  • Dipthongs replaced with initial monopthong: check
passes enough Irishness tests for me, and several more besides.


'Said Hanrahan'

"We'll all be rooned," said Hanrahan,
   In accents most forlorn,
Outside the church, ere Mass began,
   One frosty Sunday morn.

The congregation stood about,
   Coat-collars to the ears,
And talked of stock, and crops, and drought,
   As it had done for years.

"It's looking crook," said Daniel Croke;
   "Bedad, it's cruke, me lad,
For never since the banks went broke
   Has seasons been so bad."

"It's dry, all right," said young O'Neil,
   With which astute remark
He squatted down upon his heel
   And chewed a piece of bark.

And so around the chorus ran
   "It's keepin' dry, no doubt."
"We'll all be rooned," said Hanrahan,
   "Before the year is out."

"The crops are done; ye'll have your work
   To save one bag of grain;
  From here way out to Back-o'-Bourke
   They're singin' out for rain.

"They're singin' out for rain," he said,
   "And all the tanks are dry."
The congregation scratched its head,
   And gazed around the sky.

"There won't be grass, in any case,
   Enough to feed an ass;
There's not a blade on Casey's place
   As I came down to Mass."

"If rain don't come this month," said Dan,
   And cleared his throat to speak --
"We'll all be rooned," said Hanrahan,
   "If rain don't come this week."

A heavy silence seemed to steal
   On all at this remark;
And each man squatted on his heel,
   And chewed a piece of bark.

"We want an inch of rain, we do,"
   O'Neil observed at last;
But Croke "maintained" we wanted two
   To put the danger past.

"If we don't get three inches, man,
   Or four to break this drought,
We'll all be rooned," said Hanrahan,
   "Before the year is out."

In God's good time down came the rain;
   And all the afternoon
On iron roof and window-pane
   It drummed a homely tune.

And through the night it pattered still,
   And lightsome, gladsome elves
On dripping spout and window-sill
   Kept talking to themselves.

It pelted, pelted all day long,
   A-singing at its work,
Till every heart took up the song
   Way out to Back-o'-Bourke.

And every creek a banker ran,
   And dams filled overtop;
"We'll all be rooned," said Hanrahan,
   "If this rain doesn't stop."

And stop it did, in God's good time;
   And spring came in to fold
A mantle o'er the hills sublime
   Of green and pink and gold.

And days went by on dancing feet,
   With harvest-hopes immense,
And laughing eyes beheld the wheat
   Nid-nodding o'er the fence.

And, oh, the smiles on every face,
   As happy lad and lass
Through grass knee-deep on Casey's place
   Went riding down to Mass.

While round the church in clothes genteel
   Discoursed the men of mark,
And each man squatted on his heel,
   And chewed his piece of bark.

"There'll be bush-fires for sure, me man,
   There will, without a doubt;
We'll all be rooned," said Hanrahan,
   "Before the year is out."

      -- John O'Brien
(!) [Breen] You beat me to in, Ben. :)
More info on that poetry list is at

(?) Oh, a man of excellent taste. Will wonders never cease? :)

I knew Martin for a few years before he even started the list, through an froup we were both in. Later, I ran into the Wandering Minstrels via a web search for some piece of poetry, and was pleasantly surprised to see his name there. As large as the Net is, it's still a small world.

(?) Album of the month

From Martin Pagh Goodwin

(!) [Jimmy] (This spawned from the Album of the Month thread: http://linuxgazette.net/110/lg_laundrett.html#nottag.9)

It all boils down to whether (or is that wheather (or wedder)) your amplifier will do the DAC for you.

(!) [Jimmy] Got it right first time: whether
(!) [Sluggo] I was wondering if the second was a tip of the hat to our Editor Gal.
I couldn't figure out the third. I didn't see how you could change "Jim Dennis" to "wedder", and I can't think of anybody named Ed on staff.
(!) [Ben] It's all about the music, dude. It obviously (since we're going to go off the bugf*ck end of the guessing spectrum) refers to the 15th century ballad "Captain Wedderburn" - capably redone by Great Big Sea.
A nobleman's fair daughter
Came down a narrow lane
Met with Captain Wedderburn
Keeper of the game.

"Now my young, fair miss
If it wasn't for the law,
Then you and I in a bed might lie,
(If you've never heard it, it's a standard "do these N*3 tasks and you'll get (paid|laid|rewarded)" stories. But it's a pretty tune, and well told.)

(?) New Disease

From Sluggo

(!) [Jimmy] From Bob Eastey, via Sluggo
The Center for Disease Control has issued a warning about a new virulent strain of a sexually transmitted disease.
This disease is contracted through dangerous and high risk behavior. The disease is called Gonorrhea Lectim (pronounced "gonna re-elect him").
Many victims have contracted it after having been screwed for the past 4 years, in spite of having taken measures to protect themselves from this especially virulent disease.
Cognitive sequelae of individuals infected with Gonorrhea Lectim include, but are not limited to:
Antisocial personality disorder traits; delusions of grandeur with a distinct messianic flavor; chronic mangling of the English language; extreme cognitive dissonance; inability to incorporate new information; pronounced xenophobia; inability to accept responsibility for actions; exceptional cowardice masked by acts of misplaced bravado; uncontrolled facial smirking; ignorance of geography and history; tendencies toward creating evangelical theocracies; and a strong propensity for categorical, all-or nothing behavior.
The disease is sweeping Washington. Naturalists and epidemiologists are amazed and baffled that this malignant disease originated only a few years ago in a Texas Bush.

(?) News today

From Sluggo

(?) From the "what will those yanks do next" department...

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/education/2002104208_utahguns30.html The Utah state legislature challenges a University of Utah ban against concealed firearms on campus, saying the university does not have the authority to restrict guns further than the state does. Opponents raise the prospect of disgruntled students shooting professors or chilling free speech. Proponents argue said professors (and women, and janitors) have a right to protect themselves.

(!) [Jimmy] That's pretty fucked up. Could've really improved my grades if I went there, though...

(?) This doesn't have anything to do with getting a degree in shooterology!

(?) Question

From Peter Rinaldi

(!) [Jimmy] OK, so this turned out to be a legitimate question, but I couldn't see how, really, and Heather had recently reminded me of the cardboard boxes messages....
(for the interested, JimD posted a message entitled "'chroot()' Jails or Cardboard Boxes" (http://linuxgazette.net/issue36/tag/15.html), which lead to "Thinking AROUND the Box?" (http://linuxgazette.net/issue52/tag/22.html) (Heather said that Jim actually checked patent applications for that :), "More observations of a cardboard box" (http://linuxgazette.net/issue65/tag/cardboard.html), "The Cardboard Box" (http://linuxgazette.net/issue62/lg_mail62.html#mailbag/1), and "Cardboard Box Inventor" (http://linuxgazette.net/109/lg_laundrette3.html#nottag2/3)
We're not the only Linux-related group to have gotten questions like this: Debian got frequent requests for the sheet music to "Dueling Banjos" around the time I was trying to become a package developer, which only ended when someone finally posted the sheet music. :)
From the Debian Weekly Newsletter (http://www.debian.org/News/weekly/2003/37):
*No Dueling Banjos from Debian.* Some of the most bizarre mails (http://lists.debian.org/debian-devel-0009/msg00851.html) on debian-devel over the years (http://www.google.com/search?as_oq=sheet.music+dueling+banjos&amp;as_sitesearch=debian.org&amp;safe=images) have been repeated (http://lists.debian.org/debian-devel-0306/msg01368.html) requests (http://lists.debian.org/debian-devel-0309/msg00378.html) by various (http://lists.debian.org/debian-devel-0301/msg00027.html) people for the sheet music for dueling banjos. Several list subscribers have (http://lists.debian.org/debian-devel-0009/msg00874.html) been eager (http://lists.debian.org/debian-devel-0009/msg00862.html) to assist (http://lists.debian.org/debian-curiosa-0308/msg00000.html) the posters in their search. Jim Penny called (http://lists.debian.org/debian-devel-0309/msg00382.html) this the Dueling Banjo Effect and explained that this has become a self-perpetuating Google-flop. People use Google which points them to Debian to get this sheet music, and the act of asking reinforces Google's notion that Debian is a good place to get the music.
(The first mention seems to be here: http://lists.debian.org/debian-devel/2000/07/msg00206.html see also the Debian Wiki: http://wiki.debian.net/index.cgi?DuelingBanjoes which points to the message that started it all: http://lists.debian.org/debian-devel/1999/10/msg01031.html or the sheet music: http://www.muziekzetter.be/free/dueling_banjos.pdf)

I have a brain twister of a question for you.

I was reading your article on Bluetooth and Mobile phones.

Is it possible to write a program in the computer which captures the digits being dialled from the (Nokia or whatever) mobile phone and also preferably the ID of the phone and send that information to a file on the computer in as close to real time as possible.

I would really appreciate your help. There may even be a dollar or so in it for an enterprising person.

(!) [William Park] Such phone interception is illegal in many countries. But, doable, since every intelligence agencies in every country are doing it.
Go away, spammer.
(!) [Jimmy] Yes and no, depending on what you mean.
If you mean that you want to grab this information from any phone within range, even if they are not yours, then no, it's not possible:
"To use most of the services on a mobile (or most Bluetooth devices, as far as I can tell), the mobile and the computer must first be paired. Basically, this involves both having the same PIN code entered -- just imagine how horrible it would be if anyone could browse around the files on your phone, or use your computer as an Internet gateway."
That would be a new horrible idea that had not occurred to me, but fortunately the creators of bluetooth were prepared for it.
If, on the other hand, you mean that you have a number of phones that you use for different purposes, then yes, it is possible to find out which phone numbers have been dialled, or from which numbers calls have been received, and to log them.

(?) Kind Regards

Peter F. Rinaldi Instant Response Marketing

(!) [Jimmy] Now, with this statement, and the mention of 'Marketing' you have helped me to categorise your question better - we answer questions for a much larger audience than just the individual querent, which is why you have received so much help from me so far.
I would like to warn our readers that it is possible to be subjected to spam via bluetooth by simply walking within range of a device. There is a bit of a trend where people send strangers random messages in the form of empty vcards, where the name field is used to carry the message.
I doubt this is of any particular interest to our friend in marketing, however, as this kind of abuse was foreseen by the makers of mobile phones: file transfers of any nature are turned off by default, and must be authorised in any event. It is only when a phone is paired with a computer - i.e., that you have specifically told it to trust a computer - that you can have any degree of automation.
The range of bluetooth devices (10 metres) is too low for this to be a realistic marketing vehicle. The only real use I can imagine, if it were possible to snoop unauthorised on the numbers being dialled on a phone, is that of the jealous spouse who wishes to spy on their loved one.
Because we are the answer gang, I'll go beyond our 'Linux questions only' charter for this case.
If this is your intended use, you should first be aware that this kind of jealousy is usually self-fulfilling: it starts out without basis, but the accused eventually decides to commit the crime for which they are being punished. It is, quite honestly, difficult for me to imagine this kind of mindset, as there are so few who have as much to offer as I do, so my advice to a person with these inclinations would be to improve yourself and your outlook on life to the point where you, like me, have so few competitors that jealousy is simply unfathomable.
Don't just have a nice day, make yourself have one. It's best to start with a smile, I think.

(?) 12 Days of Christmas

From Jimmy O'Regan


(?) [Lgang] SPAM: read this - abOut the GrReenCard

From Mike Orr

Here's a strange spam.
----- Forwarded message from Randi Simpson <agllzmjmnm@garlic.com> -----

Date: Wed, 08 Dec 2004 21:40:56 +0300
From: "Randi Simpson" <agllzmjmnm@garlic.com>
To: <jholden@oz.net>
Subject: read this - abOut the GrReenCard

US GrRrReen CarrRd Lottery 2o05

create a better future for your children!

Get it while it lasts:  http://gladiator.gcthree.info

you are blacklisted

Jeffery Ybarra
Theralase Inc., Markham, Ontario, L3R 0E7, Canada
Phone: 244-221-1158
Mobile: 813-417-8154
Email: agllzmjmnm@garlic.com

This is a confirmation message

This software is a 46 hour trial product

The contents of this e-mail is for understanding and should not be blunder sophoclean

paramilitary eocene retrovision

Time: Wed, 08 Dec 2004 20:46:56 +0200

----- End forwarded message -----

(?) The hot babe problem

From Sluggo


LWN: "This Intent To Package posting was guaranteed to raise a bit of a fuss. The program involved is hot-babe, a graphical CPU utilization monitor. It works by displaying a typical Bruno Bellamy drawing of a minimally-clad, maximally-endowed woman. As the CPU gets busier ("hotter"), the woman undresses to compensate. Your editor, whose journalistic ethics required that he investigate this utility, found it to be an amusing addition to the desktop - for about five minutes, or until the children walk in, whichever comes first."

(!) [Ben] "Your editor, whose journalistic ethics required that he investigate this utility, [ ... ]"
Dang. I don't remember writing that, but since I said I'm required, I guess I've got no choice...

(?) I'm not sure if you're being facetious, but that was written by Jon Corbett, LWN's editor.

The article is mainly about Debian's dilemma whether to package this program.

(!) [Ben] Yes, Mike, I was being facetious. I don't know of anyone who could seriously say that their ethics require them to examine pictures of naked women. Aesthetics, certainly; lots of other reasons - including some feverishly-invented ones in case of need - but not ethics.
(!) [Jimmy] Pathologists, gynaecologists, etc.?
(!) [Ben] Their work may require them to do so. Ethics, though?
(!) [John] I think that was Corbet's idea as well - tongue planted firmly in cheek - but that's just my assumption.

(?) NewsForge | Free (and open) holiday greeting cards

From Jimmy O'Regan


(?) More Swedish Chef

From Jimmy O'Regan

Dec 18 13:09:28 <editorgal> what's an opensource project do when the swedish chef doesn't agree with its current progress?
Dec 18 13:09:32 <editorgal> fork fork fork
Dec 18 13:09:33 <editorgal> ;P
Dec 18 13:10:08 <jimregan> Who's the Swedish chef's favourite singer?
Dec 18 13:10:10 <jimregan> Bjork Bjork Bjork
Dec 18 13:10:45 <jimregan> How was newborn Swedish Chef delivered?
Dec 18 13:10:46 <jimregan> Stork stork stork
Dec 18 13:11:14 <jimregan> What's the Swedish Chef's favourite food?
Dec 18 13:11:15 <jimregan> Pork pork pork
Dec 18 13:11:42 <editorgal> and if he's tired of swedish meatballs, he has for dinner...
Dec 18 13:11:48 <editorgal> pork pork pork
Dec 18 13:12:05 <jimregan> If he built a boat, what would he use?
Dec 18 13:12:06 <jimregan> Cork cork cork
Dec 18 13:12:10 * editorgal likes mine
Dec 18 13:12:31 * jimregan wishes he had googled
Dec 18 13:12:43 <jimregan> There must be many of them about the place
Dec 18 13:12:53 <editorgal> oh no his machine's unhappy - it's horked horked horked
Dec 18 13:13:04 <jimregan> fghgfs
Dec 18 13:13:14 <jimregan> Translation: "Groan"
Dec 18 13:13:28 * editorgal chuckles wickedly
Dec 18 13:13:37 <editorgal> pass another gingerbeer then :)
Dec 18 13:13:55 * jimregan passes another ginger beer from behind the bar
Dec 18 13:14:01 <editorgal> and you know his fave text adventure game
Dec 18 13:14:04 <editorgal> zork zork zork
Dec 18 13:14:18 * editorgal glugs a nice tangy one
Dec 18 13:14:24 <jimregan> Favourite place in Britain?
Dec 18 13:14:24 <jimregan> York York York
Dec 18 13:15:31 <jimregan> Least favourite insult?
Dec 18 13:15:32 <jimregan> dork dork dork
Dec 18 13:17:33 <editorgal> opens his jars with a torque torque torque
Dec 18 13:18:22 <editorgal> goes on vacation, visits rork rork rork
Dec 18 13:18:45 <editorgal> ...and per george carlin, travels *in* the plane, not on it.
Dec 18 13:21:00 <editorgal> and he warned of goblins crying "ork ork ork!"
Dec 18 13:26:08 <editorgal> the chef doesn't scuba, he goes snork snork snork.

(?) Since we've been discussing alcohol...

From Ben Okopnik

Here's one Mike will appreciate. As for anyone here who has "been there and done that", don't bother telling us; we'll just nod in commiseration^Wamusement.


From paul power

Hello everybody just wanted to wish everybody happy xmas and wish ye the best for 2005.
One particular Christmas a long time ago, Santa was getting ready for his annual trip, but there were problems everywhere. Four of his elves got sick, and the trainee elves did not produce the toys as fast as the regular ones, so Santa was beginning to feel the pressure of being behind schedule. Then, Mrs. Claus told him that her Mum was coming to visit.This stressed Santa even more. Then when he went to harness the reindeer, he found three of them were about to give birth and two had jumped the fence and were out heaven knows where.
Then when he began to load the sleigh one of the boards cracked and the toy bag fell to the ground and scattered the toys everywhere. So, frustrated Santa went back into the house for a cup of coffee and a shot of whiskey. When he went to the cupboard, he discovered that someone had drank all of his liquor and there was nothing left to drink. In his frustration, he accidentally dropped the coffee pot and it broke into a thousand pieces. Santa went to get the broom and found that the mice had eaten the straw from which it was made.
Just then the doorbell rang and Santa cussed his way to the door. He opened the door and there was a little angel with a great big Christmas tree. The angel said cheerfully, "Merry Christmas Santa. Isn't it just a wonderful day? I have a beautiful tree for you. Where would you like me to stick it?"
Thus began the tradition of the little angel on top of the Christmas tree.

(?) Userfriendly Christmas cartoons

From Jimmy O'Regan

Userfriendly is carrying a Christmas theme this week:
http://www.userfriendly.org/cartoons/archives/04dec/uf007425.gif http://www.userfriendly.org/cartoons/archives/04dec/uf007426.gif http://www.userfriendly.org/cartoons/archives/04dec/uf007427.gif http://www.userfriendly.org/cartoons/archives/04dec/uf007428.gif http://www.userfriendly.org/cartoons/archives/04dec/uf007429.gif http://www.userfriendly.org/cartoons/archives/04dec/xuf007430.gif
While you're at it, have a look at the Userfriendly multilingual Christmas tree: http://www.userfriendly.org/illiad/UF_CT2004.png

(?) Bicycles & Linux

From Heather

15:46 -!- Santa [~Santa@] has joined #hants
15:46 -!- Santa [~Santa@] has left #hants []
15:46 < [T]hunder> oh well...no presents for us this year :(
15:47 <@editorgal> haha
15:47 <@editorgal> "techies. thinkgeek will do. next chimney"
15:47 < [T]hunder> lol
15:48 < [T]hunder> but I wanted a new bicycle this year...with Linux on it so I don't crash
15:49 <@blueGremlin> lol!
15:50 * editorgal should have thought of that when I was learning to bicycle
15:51 <@editorgal> hm, linux didn't exist back then. come to think windoze didn't either..
15:51 < [T]hunder> me too...I would have never forgotten the concept of braking when I saw that bush coming my way...:(
15:52 * blueGremlin imagines [T]hunder on a bike, stationary in the middle of a road with a bush coming towards him
15:52 <@editorgal> I saw bush coming my way, best I could do was vote against..
15:52 < [T]hunder> ha ha ha
15:53 < [T]hunder> hmm...I think i'd have voted against that bush coming my way...but I was too young
15:57 <@editorgal> heard of several cars attacked by drunk lampposts
16:03 < [T]hunder> ...that's quite a technological breakthrough...finally some pay-back for all those ppl who like to drink and drive. GO LAMPPOSTS
16:04 <@blueGremlin> lol
16:04 <@blueGremlin> I see +c doesn't stop people using bold
16:24 <@editorgal> [T]hunder: can I steal your line about the bicycle for the LG laundrette?
16:25 < [T]hunder> Go ahead...it's all GPL'd

(?) Chumpbot

From Jimmy O'Regan

I'm thinking of using Chumpbot (http://usefulinc.com/chump) on TAG's IRC hangout (because I'm too lazy to go sifting through the logs every month :) Here's a sample file (I'll be generating HTML from it, obviously, but there's nothing in this that really merits inclusion for any purpose other than to serve as an example).
(Oh, wait. There's "The Night Before Christmas, Hemingway style": http://newyorker.com/archive/content/?031222fr_archive01)

See attached 2004-12-22.xml.txt

OK... I tried it out, but I don't think it won too many fans.

See attached tagbot.html

(?) RICO applied to spammers

From Benjamin A. Okopnik

Interesting turn here. Given that US law is based on precedent, I wonder where this will take us...
----- Forwarded message from RISKS List Owner <risko@csl.sri.com> -----

Date: Mon, 20 Dec 2004 11:47:08 -0700
From: "NewsScan" <newsscan@newsscan.com>
Subject: Judge slams spammers with $1-billion judgment

A federal judge in Iowa has awarded a small ISP more than $1 billion in
damages in what's believed to be the largest judgment ever against
spammers. The case was brought by Robert Kramer, whose company provides
e-mail service to about 5,000 customers, and who filed suit after his
inbound mail servers were jammed with as many as 10 million spam-mails a day
in 2000. Citing federal racketeering laws (RICO) and the Iowa Ongoing
Criminal Conduct Act, U.S. District Judge Charles R. Wolle ordered AMP
Dollar Savings of Mesa, Ariz., to pay $720 million; Cash Link Systems of
Miami, Fla., $360 million; and TEI Marketing Group, also of Florida,
$140,000. "It's definitely a victory for all of us that open up our e-mail
and find lewd and malicious and fraudulent e-mail in our boxes every day,"
said Kramer, who is unlikely to ever collect on the judgments.  [AP/*Wall
Street Journal*, 20 Dec 2004; NewsScan Daily, 20 Dec 2004]
  http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB110349923676804327,00.html (sub req'd)

----- End forwarded message -----

(?) Toys of yesteryear

From Jimmy O'Regan

Hmm... Among the list, I remember I, or one of my siblings, had: Transformers, Buckaroo, Guess Who?, Walkie Talkies, Connect 4, Tomytronic 3D (I had Space Attack, my brother Joe had Racers), Viewmaster, Kerplunk, Vertibird, Downfall, Tonka trucks (everybody had those, didn't they?), A la carte Kitchen (that was my sister Angela, not me :), Stretch Armstrong, Mr. Frosty, Operation, Game and Watch (Donkey Kong!), Spirograph, Screwball Scramble, Subbuteo, "A computer" (my uncle had bought me a Spectrum just before he died, but someone nicked it) and "A bike".
I am a little annoyed that He-Man and Thundercats toys didn't make the list though. :)

(?) Not here

From Jimmy O'Regan

--- You are now known as jimregan_almost_here
<editorgal> 3lol
* editorgal passes jimmy some almost eggnog
<editorgal> and that was the last cup too
<okopnik> Hey, jimregan_almost_here! Are you still almost here, or are you gone?
<okopnik> Hmph. I guess you're jimregan_mostly_gone....
[jimregan_on_his_way_to_the_pub exceeded the nick limit]
--- You are now known as jimregan_hungover_again
(More proof, as if any were needed, that friends don't let friends drink and IRC).

(?) Christmas messages

From Jimmy O'Regan

<editorgal> Merry Xmas :D :D :D
<jimregan> Many happy returns
<jimregan> Heh
<jimregan> My phone has a "Send to Many" feature, so I tapped out a Merry Christmas message, and am sending it to everyone :)
<editorgal> hehe
<jimregan> And now I'm being inundated with messages :)
<editorgal> c/~ xmas bells are ring...ing :D
<jimregan> Heh
<jimregan> "Likewise and dont abuse the spirits having a Happy New Year" - my friend Martin
<jimregan> "Tink i'll just send a generic text 2 all of baahumbug now and have done with it 2! I'm sure I'll c ya over the wkend anyway 4 xmas pints and all!" - Lorraine
<editorgal> *grin*
<jimregan> She's the only one who saw through my little scheme.
<jimregan> Heh. SMS spam.

(?) More Christmas messages

From Jimmy O'Regan

<jimregan> Heh. Marina's given me a nickname: "Senor Tequila"
<editorgal> haha
<jimregan> I sent her a slightly different message: last night while I was still sentient she got a message "Ooh! Somebody loves me", so I got her number and sent her a message saying "Someone else loves you too"
<editorgal> awwwww
<jimregan> So the message had a someone loves you in it, and she sent back "someone loves you too"
<jimregan> "Aw. I feel all warm and fuzzy inside"
<jimregan> "That'd be the Christmas spirit. I'm full of it"
<jimregan> "Yeah, that and every other spirit they'd sell you"
<editorgal> lol
<jimregan> Then my sister told me to give out to her for being drunk "Santa will be bringing you coal"
<jimregan> That's when she called me Senor Tequila.
<editorgal> I imagine a contest where they have parents write how their kid was the worst - without being hauled away to jail or child protective services - to win their heating bills covered for the winter.
<jimregan> heh
<editorgal> it's that rider that'd make the tales interesting
<jimregan> Heh. The exchange continues: "'Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house not a creature was stirring, except for Marina, who was getting plastered"
<jimregan> "No, I'm not stirring. I'm lying down 'cos I can't get up"
<editorgal> shaken not stirred?
<editorgal> some quote about not being really drunk unless you need to cling to the floor to hang on to the spinning planet
<jimregan> Actually, my friend Trev had his balance centres damaged two years ago, and went through that while sober
<editorgal> by which token I've never been drunk.
<editorgal> :(
<jimregan> "So you're getting a massive hangover for Christmas?"
<editorgal> did they heal, or is he on therapy or something now?
<jimregan> Oh, he's well healed.
<jimregan> He managed to pin it on the noise levels at work, so now ear protectors are mandatory in certain areas.
<jimregan> Not in mine, though they probably should be.
<editorgal> well at least something good came of it :/
<jimregan> I've noticed a drastic reduction in hearing range a few mornings
<jimregan> We were comparing our safety policies :)
<editorgal> I doubt anyone stops you from wearing extra earplugs
<jimregan> We reckon that between the two of us, we're responsible for every safety policy in the past few years
<editorgal> anyways it sounds like a just awful feeling :(
<jimregan> Heh. Marina's reply: "It's what I've wanted all year! I must be on Santa's nice list!"

(?) Clamscan finds HTML phishing scams...

From Brian Bilbrey

So that's probably not news. What amused me was this:

vimes:/tmp/quar# clamscan laundrette-108.txt
laundrette-108.txt: HTML.Phishing.Bank-1 FOUND

I expected to find some virii around, as I keep a few for testing purposes. But this startled me. Grin.

(!) [Jimmy] Not my fault! Someone else sent the spam, honest!

(?) Happy Days of Holly, y'all.

(!) [Jimmy] Nollaig Shona duit.
(!) [Sluggo] Please, don't call me Shona.
(!) [Jimmy] OK... Beannachtai na Nollag duit. :)

(?) Given that you replied to the list rather than just me, don't you mean Nollaig Shona Daoibh? Either way, Nollaig Mhaith Chugat.

(!) [Jimmy] Dang, caught. I couldn't remember whether it was 'daoibh' or 'dhaoibh' (which is silly, because it's the same for 'duit' vs. 'dhuit').
Sláinte agus beannachtaí dhaoibh go léir gach lá den bliain :)
Hmmm. Being of black Irish descent doesn't help me when the phrasing gets complex and Google's not nearly as much help this time. Um...:
"Greetings and blessings to you (plural) until (account/graphic/desc mmm?) (something) year (vintage).
(!) [Jimmy] "Good health and blessings to you all, each day of the year."
I think where you're getting 'greetings' is that the Irish for goodbye is 'slán' (actually, 'slán leat': may you be healthy).
'Beannachtaí' literally means 'blessings', but in common usage it's usually taken to mean 'be well'. (A Latin loan word, fact fans).

(?) Mmmm, I'd want to suggest something about a new year, except that it appears that new year would be either "an bhliain úr" or "an athbhliain".

(!) [Jimmy] 'Áth' is a word I can't translate off the top of my head. It means 'superior' or 'higher'. Town is 'baile', city is 'baile átha'. ('Baile' is also a Latin loan word, I think. It might not look it at first glance, because Irish has no direct 'v' sound, but the accusative form 'an bhaile' sounds too close to 'villa' to be a coincidence).

(?) But the implication that as a standalone word, "year" has the undertone of vintage I find least surprising. Grin. Altavista's Babelfish doesn't do Gaelic, I'd bet good sheckles that Arthur Dent's does, though. I mean, it translates Vogon poetry, doesn't it?

(!) [Jimmy] Heh. It wouldn't have helped out at the last Christmas party I was at. An old guy (with no teeth) decided to tell me a story, and I had to watch him closely to have any idea of what he was saying.

(?) Best of an extended Saturnalia to all here,

(!) [Jimmy] Erm... allow me to respond with 'Many happy returns'. Works well in all situations, I think.
(!) [Ben] Especially the day after New Year's, when you go trooping back to the store with the embarassing tie you got from Aunt Emily...
Happy holidays - Sol Invictus, Xmas, Hanukkah, Beginning of The Fellowship's Quest, Weihnachtstag, or whatever your favorite flavor of celebration happens to be - to everyone. Best wishes, and may the coming year bring you health, joy, and love in plenty.

(?) Thanks, Ben. And to you and everyone.

(!) [Heather] Merrrrrrrrrrrrrry Sir Isaac Newton's birthday, in honor of which xsnow falls downward :D

(?) Spam jokes

From Jimmy O'Regan

O'Leary showed up at Mass one Sunday and the priest almost fell down when he saw him. O'Leary had never been seen in church in his life. After Mass, the priest caught O'Leary and said "O'Leary, I am so glad you decided to come to Mass, what made you come?" O'Leary said, "I got to be honest with you Father, a while back, I misplaced my hat and I really, really love that hat. I know that Shaunassy had one just like mine and I knew that Shaunassy came to church every Sunday. I also knew that Shaunassy had to take off his hat during Mass, and I figured he would leave it in the back of church. So, I was going to leave after Communion and steal Shaunassy's hat." The priest said, "Well, O'Leary, I notice that you didn't steal Shaunassy's hat. What changed your mind?" O'Leary said "Well, after I heard your sermon on the 10 commandments, I decided that I didn't need to steal Shaunassy's hat." The priest gave O'Leary a big smile and said "After I talked about Thou Shalt Not Steal, you decided you would rather do without your hat than burn in Hell, right?" O'Leary shook his head and said "No, Father, after you talked about Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery, I remembered where I left my hat!"
Three Lutheran ministers are having dinner at a restaurant when the Archangel Gabrial approaches and points to one of them. "I HAVE A GIFT FOR YOU," the angel says. "BUT YOU MUST CHOOSE: INFINITE WISDOM OR A MILLION DOLLARS?" Being amongst Lutheran ministers, the man chooses wisdom, and Gabrial dissapears in a puff. "So?" one of the ministers asks with awe in his voice, "what do you know now that you didn't know before?" He answers: "I should have taken the money."
A man, while playing on the front nine of a complicated golf course, became confused as to where he was on the course. Looking around, he saw a lady playing ahead of him. He walked up to her, explained his confusion and asked her if she knew what hole he was playing. "I'm on the 7th hole," she replied, "and you are a hole behind me. So you must be on the 6th hole." He thanked her and went back to his golf. On the back nine, the same thing happened and he approached her again with the same request. "I'm on number 14, and you're still a hole behind, so you must be on the 13th hole." Once again he thanked her and returned to his play. He finished his round and went to the clubhouse where he saw the same lady sitting at the end of the bar. He asked the bartender if he knew the lady. The bartender said that she was a sales lady and played the course often. He approached her and said, "Let me buy you a drink in appreciation for your help. I understand that you're in the sales profession. I'm in sales also. What do you sell?" "I'll tell you, but you're going to laugh," she replied. "No, I won't." "Well, if you must know," she answered, "I work for Tampax." With that, he laughed so hard he almost fell off the bar stool. "See," she said. "I knew you'd laugh!" "That's not what I'm laughing at," he replied, "I'm a salesman for Preparation H, so I'm still a hole behind you."

(?) Christmas links

From Jimmy O'Regan

From Slashdot (http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=04/12/24/1847259&tid=105)
Norad Santa tracker: http://www.noradsanta.org
The Physics of Santa: http://www.physorg.com/news2487.html

(?) Free Beer

From Martin Pagh Goodwin

Hi TAG'sters
I guess as an extension to the theme regarding our favorite drinks, this danish initiative for an open source beer could be interesting - free as in free beer?
I have yet to taste it, I would think it was sold out at the release event.

(?) Python conferences in the US and Europe

From Jimmy O'Regan

(I only noticed this during mail processing, and really should have razzed Sluggo earlier for this, but hey! I'll just send the link to TAG when LG comes out)
Sluggo wrote:

> [Sending to the Seattle Python group and the Linux Gazette Answer Gang.
> Replies may be published in Linux Gazette (linuxgazette.com).
I can't say anything. You know your mistake. I'll just set up the stocks, shall I?

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Published in Issue 110 of Linux Gazette, January 2005