mahna mahna .net

Like many personal blogs of its era, this blog is moribund, a casualty of what we might call "the Facebook effect." However, as of late 2015, two things are clear: (1) The Indie Web is a thing, and (2) the re-decentralization of the web is a thing. So who knows? 2016 2017 (!) could be the year this blog rises from its own ashes. Stay tuned!

Thursday, 19 March 2009
  • ITEM: What does one trillion dollars look like?
  • ITEM: I cannot visit New York right now, but reading a first-hand account of a subway adventure helps dull that pain. (Once again, yay for blogs.)
  • ITEM: Obama’s gift to Prime Minister Brown ruined by DVD region encoding.
  • ITEM: “Brain decline” begins at age 27, sez a University of Virginia study.
  • ITEM: Ray Ratto reminds us the present owner of the Oakland Athletics is a scoundrel.
  • ITEM: If you are a “content person” or a “Web 2.0 person” you have already read it; now everybody who loves newspapers needs to read it, too: Clay Shirky’s “Newspapers and Thinking the Unthinkable”
  • ITEM: The wise man was wise indeed: Frankincense relieves anxiety and depression.
  • ITEM: Children with older fathers have lower IQs (and some health risks too). (And then again, IQ tests are shite.)
posted to /misc/items at 6:19pm :: 1 response
Tuesday, 13 May 2008
Esquire’s list of The 75 Skills Every Man Should Master is surprisingly good. (Also surprising: They present it all on one Web page.)

It seems I score a 53, or 70%. A few data points:

Things I am proud to be able to do: score a baseball game, recite a poem from memory, build a campfire, iron a shirt, give advice that matters in one sentence, cook meat somewhere other than the grill, dress a wound, caress a woman’s neck, and know my poison, without standing there, pondering like a dope.

Things I have not mastered (or have not tried) and am ambivalent about: play gin with an old guy, deliver a eulogy, throw a punch, and understand quantum physics well enough to accept that a quarter might, at some point, pass straight through the table when dropped.

Things I wish I could do: tell a woman’s dress size, hit a jump shot in pool, and make one drink, in large batches, very well.
posted to /misc at 11:13am :: 0 responses
Tuesday, 29 January 2008
The “Can a plane on a treadmill take off?” debate returned to BoingBoing yesterday. More than a hundred comments so far. Everybody thinks they’re right; some of them are certainly wrong. Luckily, we get to find out who’s wrong Wednesday night on MythBusters, a show I’ve never seen on some cable network I never watch — but I will, because I want to see happen what I know will happen: The plane will take off. Why? Because Cecil Adams says so.
posted to /misc at 1:29am :: 0 responses
Friday, 11 January 2008
  • ITEM: James Joyce gets namechecked in this lovely report of snow falling in Baghdad for the first time in living memory.
  • ITEM: How to Read The New Yorker in 10 Easy Steps
  • ITEM: Best Blogs of 2007 That You (Maybe) Aren’t Reading (this list introduced me to the wonderful bookforum)
  • ITEM: I wish this Ask MetaFilter thread on cooking for one were longer, but it’s got some nice ideas.
  • ITEM: Answers to the questions Cecil Adams refuses to answer. (Not bad!)
  • ITEM: For the geeks: Richard Stallman gets flamed. From the comments: “On the whole, RMS comes off as the most reasonable participant in the discussion. For all his reputation of extremist dogmatism, he’s not the one slinging ad hominems and resorting to hyperbolic fallacies. Indeed, his patience in the face of such is almost eerie.” I would say “zen-like.”
  • ITEM: For the geeks #2: Mark Pilgrim switches his parents to Linux. (My parents are scheduled for a similar conversion this year…)
posted to /misc/items at 10:11am :: 1 response
Friday, 14 December 2007
  • ITEM: News so happy, I’m verklempt: New York’s 2nd Avenue Deli finally reopens next week (just off 2nd Ave). Time to book a flight!
  • ITEM: Jon Carroll’s yearly pitch: This holiday season, won’t you volunteer for the Untied Way?
  • ITEM: Fan reviews of Tuesday night’s Tool concert at the Civic Auditorium. It was, of course, an absolutely transcendent experience. We should be erecting statues of Maynard James Keenan in all the major cities. :)
  • ITEM: You know how there’s that stretch of road in our beloved East Bay that is both I-80 East and I-580 West, while the other side of the road is both I-80 West and I-580 East (all this despite the fact that the road runs mostly north-south)? Turns out there’s a cracktastic term for this.
  • ITEM: I worked a fifteen hour shift yesterday to help launch this … the new Macworld.com!
posted to /misc/items at 3:14pm :: 0 responses
Friday, 30 November 2007
  • ITEM: I ordered an XO laptop and cannot wait for it to arrive. Are you a geek? Perhaps one with a child in your life? Here’s why you should follow suit (the Give 1 Get 1 program has been extended till 12/31).
  • ITEM: John Carroll wrote two amazing columns this week. First up, his take on the rich fucktards in Seadrift who think they own the beach. (Are you a transplant to California? Then listen the fuck up: In this state, the people own the beach.)
  • ITEM: John Carroll #2: At his funniest, on what can happen come a Tuesday.
  • ITEM: Just another lie: Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad never said “Israel must be wiped off the map.”
  • ITEM: Stanfurd 13-point favorites for tomorrow’s Big Game. “I have a bad feeling about this.” GO BEARS!
posted to /misc/items at 2:30pm :: 0 responses
Friday, 26 October 2007
  • ITEM: Blade Runner: The Final Cut, now showing in LA and NYC, arrives in San Francisco November 30.
  • ITEM: Douglass Rushkoff on 9/11 “Truthers.” I have just about had it with these people. (Seems Bill Clinton feels similarly.)
  • ITEM: Mark Morford on the danger of progressive extremists. (He’s absolutely right, and, happily, this piece is less shrill than most Morford screeds.)
  • ITEM: Elementary school science: Nearly extinct. This is so depressing. By the time I have a school-aged child, will there be any public schools left worth sending him or her to?
  • ITEM: New Orleans, two years after Katrina, in pictures. Heartbreaking.
posted to /misc/items at 3:26pm :: 0 responses
Thursday, 20 September 2007
  • ITEM: “Animals at Play” (short video): I cannot shake the sense that the bear and the dog recognized each other as old friends from a previous existence and were just overjoyed to have encountered each other again.
  • ITEM: “School Cheating Scandal Divides N.H. Town”: We had a similar, far more widespread situation at my own high school during my years there; the kids involved were never punished and happily moved on to schools like Princeton and Stanfurd. Sounds like things work differently in New Hampshire.
  • ITEM: The Solano Drive-In: I had no idea there was an extant drive-in movie theater in the Bay Area! Gotta go!
  • ITEM: H.L. Mencken, writing in 1920: “On some great and glorious day, the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.”
  • ITEM: Sanity prevails…or does it? Southwest Airlines will modify its boarding procedure. Still no assigned seats; instead, assigned positions in line.
  • ITEM: The Lateral Coital Position: A step-by-step (five steps!) guide for assuming it. Hmm… Gotta get a girlfriend into my life again!
posted to /misc/items at 4:20pm :: 0 responses
Monday, 16 July 2007
  • ITEM: Alphablogger J-Walk goes to Amsterdam, can’t believe all the bikes.
  • ITEM: “How To Be Happier By the End of the Day” — not bad, actually.
  • ITEM: “Chick flicks?” Sure, they exist, admits Gloria Steinem. But then, so do “prick flicks.” Brilliant!
  • ITEM: “Brain Scans Reveal Why Meditation Works” — this is great and all, but I remain convinced that meditation’s power is lessened the moment a scientist starts trying to measure it. (The same goes for the power of prayer.)
  • ITEM: Public elementary school students right here in Oakland are receiving mindfulness training. Right on!
posted to /misc/items at 3:16pm :: 0 responses
Friday, 06 July 2007
This morning, John Carroll said:
I mean, come on, it’s New York. It’s the city that never sleeps because people are up all night thinking and fantasizing and making plans. I know where my home is, but I also know where New York is. Being there was like spending time with an old friend.
I know how he feels. I have not traveled the globe nearly as much as I would have liked by this point in my life, but I have made a few dear friends that I do not get to see nearly often enough. I miss my dear friend New York City very much; my heartache over letting many years pass between visits will perhaps be lessened if the 2nd Avenue Deli is in fact reborn by the time I get back there. I miss my more remote friend Amsterdam terribly and despair at the idea that I cannot, from this vantage point, foresee another trip across the pond.

And most of all, there’s a yearning at the very center of my soul — a primal need, really — to get back to Black Rock City. A harder friend to visit than the others, this one requires weeks of preparation and will spend only one particular week with you each year. But as far as cities go, there is perhaps no greater friend to be found on this planet. I will see my dear, dear friend in fifty days’ time. The very thought, if I linger on it for too long, brings unspeakably joyous tears to my eyes.
posted to /misc at 12:06pm :: 0 responses
Friday, 20 April 2007
I read planet.gnome.org on weekday mornings, mostly to find out what’s happening in Gnome development. But the geeks who build my interface of choice frequently have great posts on non-techy topics, too. Two from this week:
  • Murray visited Amsterdam (for my money, the most beautiful and civilized city on the planet), and has some insightful comments about what makes the place so damned inviting and livable: “I had no idea that such a vast amount of the old city exists and in such a perfect state. There’s a functional found beauty to the rows of high narrow canal houses and repurposed warehouses… . The streets are an obstacle to cars, to the benefit of pedestrians, bicycles, and general well-being.”

  • Jamin sings the praises of sardines. “Sardines are amazing. They are cheap (75-85 cents a can where I shop), have a shelf life of several years, are high in protein, and taste great (if you like fish).” Hell yeah. A tin of sardines always hits the spot for me. And, if eaten at home, always makes the cat insanely jealous.
posted to /misc at 2:20pm :: 0 responses
Friday, 13 April 2007
  • ITEM: A very selfless bird tried to make the world a better place today, and, sadly, failed.
  • ITEM: Was not aware, am very glad to hear: There is a movement afoot to lower the drinking age in this country to 18. (I’m always shocked when older folks don’t realize that most college drinking these days is illegal because of the stupid age-21 laws.)
  • ITEM: On eHarmony, folks are asked to name the last book they read and enjoyed. I close the match anytime a person responds with an Ayn Rand novel or The Da Vinci Code (which happens more often that you’d expect). I’m three years late finding this, but someone took the time to explain (better than I ever could) why Dan Brown’s book is such a dreadful POS. [spotted at kottke.org]
posted to /misc/items at 2:13pm :: 1 response
Wednesday, 14 February 2007
  • ITEM: British children are unhappy.
  • ITEM: Dutch children are happy.
  • ITEM: PARENTS: Want your children to be happy? Don’t praise them for being smart. (Revelatory reading here. For me, anyway.)
posted to /misc/items at 2:14pm :: 0 responses
Monday, 29 January 2007
  • ITEM: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” Read it before it disappears: NYT piece on eating by the author of The Omnivore’s Dilemma (currently on my nightstand).
  • ITEM: Here’s just one reason why ethanol sucks: It makes corn tortillas too expensive for poor Mexicans who depend on them. Repeat after me: Don’t burn food!
  • ITEM: Rolling Stone: “Why Gore Should Run — And How He Can Win”
  • ITEM: “Cineplex Drove Me to Piracy”: The best breakdown I’ve read about how much modern multiplexes suck.
posted to /misc/items at 4:29pm :: 0 responses
Friday, 05 January 2007
  • ITEM: Good news from NYC: The 2nd Avenue Deli may rise again.
  • ITEM: The Candy Desk of the United States Senate.
  • ITEM: Jon Carroll waxes eloquent on winter, diabetes, and bakeries.
  • ITEM: I could watch this baby panda sneeze over and over all afternoon.
posted to /misc/items at 12:05pm :: 0 responses
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