Do the Limbo Limbo

Weng Weng Rap

Only 2 foot '9 inches tall, Weng Wen... Only 2 foot '9 inches tall, Weng Weng fights crime in the Phillippines as Agent 00. Track by THE CHUDS.

Fast Food: Ads vs. Reality

Fast Food: Ads vs. Reality

There are more examples through the link.

Strange story

A story from Ellis Amdur
Rikidosan was a Korean national, lived in Japan, who was a high ranked sumotori. He shifted to Pro-Wrestling, and was the first "Japanese" (so he was presented) to "beat" the Americans after WWII. He was insanely popular. Kimura, the great judo champion, was forced to turn pro (he tried a professional judo league and then pro-wrestling) to pay for medicine for his very sick wife. He and Rikidosan agreed to a match that would end in a draw. In the middle of the match, Kimura bared his throat, and Rikidosan sucker punched him in the neck and knocked hiim out. (that's just for background on Kimura and the kind of guy Rikidosan was).

R. was subsequently drinking in a bar and in going to the toilets, pushed and otherwise bullied a small gangster, who stabbed him in the abdomen with a knife. (Not only is the story widely written about, the gangster's former bodyguard told me directly). R. stuffed napkins in the wound and continued to drink for several hours, went home and some time later, died of peritonitis.

Make your own wine, from the comfort of home

Virtual vines grow on world wine web - A web-based company will make wine according to your specifications. Pretty nifty if you want to make wine but don't have the contacts, equipment, or storage facilities.

The End of a 1,400-Year-Old Business

The world's oldest business went bankrupt.
The world's oldest continuously operating family business ended its impressive run last year. Japanese temple builder Kongo Gumi, in operation under the founders' descendants since 578, succumbed to excess debt and an unfavorable business climate in 2006.

The Landlord

Here's a funny video for you: The Landlord.

It's from a new comedy video site, Funny or Die. One of the founders is Will Ferrel.


A while back Cleetus, Mrs. T and I went to the archery range in the park SF. It was tons of fun, and really made me appreciate the skills of people who could actually hunt or fight with bows. We could barely hit the target from 30 feet away!

A guy next to us took pity and helped us out. He had been on the Philippine Olympic archery team and had taught archery at a university. He gave us some good tips. He and his son were shooting from fairly close and with no target. He said that the first thing to learn is to be consistent and to cluster your shots. Only then do you worry about accuracy and aiming the arrows at a particular target. I found this to be very true, as it was extremely hard to just be consistent.

The people to one side of us, with the snazzy high-tech bows, were shooting from the edge of the range. The arrows left their bows like missiles and made a buzzing sound as they passed by. When we arrived, we didn't realize that people were shooting from that far back (they really were ridiculously far away) and walked right in front of them. Luckily, they realized that we were clueless and didn't shoot us.

The guy on the other side of us was using a normal bow, but still shooting from very far away. He was actually shooting up into the air, and using the arc of the arrows to hit the target. After trying our hand at archery, that guy was much more impressive than the high-tech guys, even though they were further back.

It was kind of scary having people on either side of us shooting such powerful bows. We were very careful to stay in the center of our lane. I imagine it to be like a gun range, but with everyone a different distance up each lane. Not really a fun place to hang out. Eventually we moved to a different target, one where there were normal people next to us.

What If the Beatles Were Irish?

Who wants to be a game-show contestant?

The secrets to getting on to game shows. I have a friend who was on Jeopardy, and the application process was pretty painless for him.

Popular Mechanics, 1982

Popular Mechanics Compares 6 Top Computers from 1982. Sure brings back the memories. Computers were way less powerful back then, but it was a much more exciting time. It was like being part of a secret club, searching out new computer stores, all of which had different inventories. And the computer shows! Those were so much fun, but not really necessary these days when it's so much easier to order the parts online.

Why Does Tanking Occur in the NBA but Seemingly Not in Other Leagues?

A Disney Passport

Walt Disney's passport is up for auction on EBay. Click the link to see a picture. I love his picture; he looks just the way you'd imagine that Walt Disney looks.

Rent or buy?

The New York Times has an interesting article about the tradeoffs between renting and owning a house. Turns out that in the current market, it's generally not worth it to buy.

There's also a cool interactive tool that graphically displays the tradeoff, and lets you adjust all sorts of settings. It's really fun to play around with.

Civil War

It always annoys me when people claim that slavery wasn't the primary (or even a primary) reason for the Civil War. Here's some backup for my position.

Alterdestiny: Book Review: Bruce Levine, Confederate Emancipation: Southern Plans to Free and Arm Slaves during the Civil War
While some Confederate officers suggested freeing slaves in exchange for military service as early as the end of 1863, they were few and were silenced by the Davis administration and top military brass. The Richmond Examiner suggested that the idea was "opposite to all the sentiments and principles which have heretofore governed the Southern people (p.2). President Pro Tempore of the Confederate Senate Robert M.T. Hunter of Virginia put it best when he said, "What did we go to war for, if not to protect our property (2)." And Tennessee's Henry Foote said, "If this Government is to destroy slavery, why fight for it? (3)"

This is what I don't get about Confederate apologists. The Confederates themselves said they went to war to protect slavery. After the war, they changed their story. But all you have to do is read what they said before and during the war to see exactly why they went. At least Hunter and Foote were honest, which is more than you can say about Confederate apologists today.

Anyway, as the Confederates became more desperate, they turned to arming slaves. Robert E. Lee called for it in February 1865 and in March, Jefferson Davis signed into law a bill inducting hundreds of thousands of slaves into the army. Interestingly, the slaves had to come voluntarily and could not be drafted. The reason--the Confederate Congress would not pass a bill that provided for enforced emancipation. They wouldn't take anyone who's master had not explicitly freed them. Until the very end, the Confederacy would not free slaves. How anyone can question the notion that the Civil War was about slavery is beyond me.

Some slaves did put on the Confederate uniform. And nearly all of them defected to the Union at first opportunity. In addition, thousands of slaves flocked to Union armies to free their people. What's great about this story is that slaveholders believed their own rhetoric about their slaves being loyal. They were shocked that their benevolent treatment of slaves did not ensure loyalty. After all, what's a few whippings and a little rape? They simply could not believe that African-Americans found the closest Union soldiers and put themselves under their care. They actually expected that the slaves would fight for the Confederacy proudly. So why not give them guns? They won't turn them against us!

Lego Sumo

A lego sumo competition! I skipped all the talking, but the fights are pretty cool.

Zooming in to Fractals

Wasting Electricity

Question: Do phone chargers waste power?
my desktop PC uses 2 watts when it's off, as does the hefty power brick of the Xbox 360 game console. The adapter for my wireless router uses about 1 watt. A few other adapters used about a third of a watt.

Levantine and Chypre

These and other words will be very important if you read The Maltese Falcon. A film noir in book form, it is an excellent read.

Trials and Punishments of Pigs

The Wonderful Pig of Knowledge tells us about how animals used to be put on trial.
In The Criminal Prosecution and Capital Punishment of Animals (1906), E.P. Evans listed 37 prosecutions of swine between the ninth and nineteenth centuries. A few examples: In 1266, at Fontenay-aux-Roses, near Paris, a pig convicted of having eaten a child was publicly burned by order of the monks of Sainte Genevieve. In 1394, a pig was found guilty of "having killed and murdered a child in the parish of Roumaygne, in the county of Mortaing, for which deed the said pig was condemned to be haled and hanged by Jehan Petit, lieutenant of the bailiff." Finally, in 1379, three sows from a communal herd at Saint-Marcel-le-Jeussey rushed upon Perrinot Muet, the son of the swine-keeper, throwing him to the ground, fatally injuring him. The entire herd was arrested as accomplices and sentenced by the court to death. But the prior, Friar Humbert de Poutiers, not wanting to endure the loss of the swine, sent a petition to the Duke of Burgundy asking that all of the pigs, save for the three sows, be pardoned. The others were set free, "notwithstanding that they had been present at the death of the said swineherd."

Writing a hundred years earlier, E.P. Evans could only attribute these prosecutions to "an extremely crude, obtuse, and barbaric sense of justice," but as Nicholas Humphrey has suggested in his 1987 foreword to Evans' book, these trials may have helped "to domesticate chaos, to impose order on a world of accidents--and specifically to make sense of certain seemingly inexplicable events by redefining them as crimes." A similar argument is made in Darren Oldridge's Strange Histories (2005). As he concludes, "For us, the treatment of these animals may have the character of farce, but it was much nearer to tragedy for the men and women involved."

Sewing a New Button

One time I went to the seamstress to have her sew on a button that was coming loose. She let me watch and explained how it was done, and didn't even charge me anything for it! Mrs. Turtle and I have become very good customers. :-)

I just found a video that shows a very similar method. There is a difference, though, as the seamstress stuck a thin stick between the cloth and the button to ensure a shank of the appropriate depth. That is left as an exercise for the reader.