I am a huge, huge fan of Atlassian’s tools, and I’ve worked pretty hard to make them a part of culture at my office. They’ve just started a series of blog posts on using a wiki for technical writing, and I loved this bit:
>Do you feel nervous at the thought of customers adding angry comments on your documentation wiki? Spammers running riot? Here’s the flipside for you to consider: customers answering other customers’ questions in the wiki, external developers adding code samples to help flesh out your document, partners volunteering to write new documentation.
I think that when it comes to implementing any new technology (especially from being inside IT), there’s a lot of fear and belief that someone, somewhere, is going to misuse/abuse it. But we often lose site of the advantages that will come from the tool and clever use by your community.
“But what if…?” is the common thing I hear when talking about new technology, and my tongue-in-cheek response is now going to be “What if there’s bears?”, in due deference to this old Will Hines video:
Stop planning for doomsday. Pre-empt the obvious abuses, and handle the subtleties as they come.
I’m unsure if the joke is going to make much sense to people outside the NYC metro area, but here’s an attempt at background: the NY Times runs TV ads advertising “the Weekender“. The ad feels like a distant cousin of the old Apple “Switch” commercials, in that you have “regular” people talking about how many great things they can do by subscribing to a Friday/Saturday/Sunday edition of the Times.
I would embed a clip of it, but it is apparently too worthless an ad for anyone to even have put it onto YouTube.
So with that in mind, this ad from the newly opened 92Y Tribeca may fall flat if you haven’t seen the original:
We live in an accelerated world. Culture, as it stands today, values immediacy and repetition over things like finesse or nuance. Stories are quickly beaten dead by our media; memes can run through the internet within a mere day.
I realize that even with a significant amount of time left, people around me are already fatigued with the 2008 US Election. I cannot fault them; I, too, tire of the incessant punditry and echo chamber madness that constitutes political dialog anymore. My rallying cry at this point is “Is it December yet?”.
But I think we all realize how important this election is – possibly the most important in the last 20 years. A country as damaged as ours will be shaped significantly by the next administration.
I like to think that my readers are reasonable people, who can debate the issues without resorting to partisan mudslinging. So in the spirit of trying to have a sane dialog – friends, who are you voting for on October 21st: kitten, or newborn?
A kitten president? That’s change *I* can believe in.
(You can watch more Kitten vs. Newborn 08 coverage on Superdeluxe. Tip of the hat to Steven Cento.)
In one hypothetical hand, I hold an instrumental version of Trent Reznor’s seminal (ha!) single, *Closer*. The original is directly sexual and raw. It continues to have one of the most familiar refrains in recent musical history – you know, the one about, er, doing things to people like an animal and feeling them from the inside.
(Warning: the song and the video, embedded below, are NOT SAFE FOR WORK. Also, do not play this if there are children in the area. Not because I don’t want them to see and/or hear it, but I don’t want to be held responsible if you hit the play button.)
In my other hypothetical hand, I hold the original staged version of *Business Time* by New Zealand’s fourth most popular folk rock parody band, *Flight Of The Conchords*. Never has the actual process of lovemaking been so accurately described.
(Strangely, the video for *Business Time* is flagged on YouTube, but the video for *Closer* is not.)
You can see where this is going, I’m sure. And certainly this hilarious photoshopped image will make it even clearer.
I would traditionally use this paragraph to half-heartedly apologize for ruining perfectly good songs in my mashups. Mocking my usual inability to find appropriate loops or sighing about parts where the track trainwreck, I would try to lower expectations.
If I use the phrase “If it weren’t for my horse…”, I’d guess that a number of people I know could finish the sentence.
> When from behind me, a woman of 25 uttered the dumbest thing I’d ever heard in my life … She said, ‘If it weren’t for my horse, I wouldn’t have spent that year in college.’ I’ll repeat that. I’ll repeat that because that’s the kind of sentence that when you hear it, your brain comes to a screeching halt. And the left hand side of the brain looks at the right hand side and goes, ‘It’s dark in here, and we may die.’ She said, ‘If it weren’t for my horse…’ as in, giddy up, giddy up, let’s go – ‘I wouldn’t have spent that year in college,’ a degree-granting institution. Don’t! Don’t think about that sentence for more than three minutes, or blood’ll shoot out your nose.
If you hadn’t heard it previously, the above bit is from Lewis Black’s The White Album. It may be his most iconic bit, if only for the sheer lunacy and Comedy Central’s insistence of replaying his standup specials as much as possible.
Today, the New York Times ran a fairly routine article about an email flood that occurred on a Homeland Security private network today. It generated over 2.2 million emails, and…wait, what’s this?
> John Polhemus, the plant security director at the Lanxess Corporation in Pittsburgh, said: “This has gone from an amazing pain in the neck to fifth grade. But that was my favorite grade.”
If you’ll excuse me, blood is shooting out my nose.
[Via Will Hines](http://www.willhines.net/2007/07/31/give-me-back-my-son/), a terribly delightful improv warmup game that pays tribute to Mel Gibson:
(Warning: Video contains a lot of overacting and yelling.)
> So the warm-up works like this: everyone stands in a circle except one in the middle. That person approaches someone in the outer circle and demands “Give me back my son!” with complete dramatic commitment — inspired by Mel Gibson’s over-dramatic delivery in the movie Ransom — trying to get the outer circle person to laugh. It’s to practice emotional commitment and also making your teammates laugh — two valuable skills.
“Sexual Intercourse: American Style” failed to tie “Gemberling’s” record for “longest-running [Channel 102] show,” but it set another: “longest-running show to never reach #1.” And perhaps nothing sums up “SIAS” better than that. It was a niche show, with a core of devoted followers who kept it going for a long time, but it lacked the mass appeal to catapult it into “Shutterbugs” territory. But sometimes, that’s what characterizes true art. And “Sexual Intercourse: American Style” is art.
Mitch Magee’s brilliant Sexual Intercourse: American Style played out over seven Channel 102 screenings, from April of 2006 to January of 2007. Starting off with a light-hearted tone, SIAS quickly veered into uncharted waters around episode 3. It was sublime.
But then, tragedy struck. With every intention to self-cancel at the eighth episode, SIAS was resoundingly canceled by the largest crowd that Channel 102 had ever seen. Many of them were drunk.
This Thursday night, this blight on humanity will be corrected. The finale of SIAS will finally happen.
This Thursday Union Hall
Park Slope, Brooklyn
9:00 (plus another show at 10:00)
702 Union Street @5th Avenue
All seven episodes will be screened, followed by the epic finale. I hope you’ll be there.
If you can’t make it, you can always watch the seven original episodes on the 102 site.
> So I got to interview Ted Leo at work. I really dig his album Hearts of Oak, so I was pretty excited for this. Our idea was that since our regular host Sara was out of town that AOL sent a guy from HR to conduct the interview.
There are four awesome comedy events going on tonight worth mentioning. If you are in NYC and have nothing better to do, you better be going to at least one of them.
One: UCB Fistfight. UCB takes over Comix for the night. Dave Hill, Cracked Out, Julie & Jackie, John Mulaney, and Dave Hill. 8PM, Comix, $15.
Two: Channel 102. 10 shows go in, 5 shows come out. 8PM, Tribeca Cinemas, free.
Three: Tim And Eric Awesome Show Great Job! Tour. If you haven’t been watching Tim & Eric’s new show, you, sir, are an idiot. [Just ask Dr. Steve Brule](http://youtube.com/watch?v=Vhzh9h1dIW8). 8PM, Knitting Factory, $15.
Four: Crash Test. Aziz returns to his homeland, with Human Giant in tow. Arj Barker and John Mulaney scheduled to appear. Midnight, UCB Theatre, free but sold out so show up early for that standby line.
It’s a good night for good times.
Struggling with the dark and responding to the light.