At least they’re honest…

My webhosting company sends out a monthly newsletter.  Unless most bits of marketing drivel that hit my inbox, I actually enjoy reading this one, because it’s typically hilarious.  An example from this month:

4.  New! Webmail Upgraded to 1.4.15!
Of course, putting a ribbon on a turd doesn’t stop it being a turd.
We’ve tried upgrading squirrelmail (our open source webmail software) to
version 1.4.15 recently to see how big a ribbon they put on it:
http://webmail.dreamhost.com/ or http://webmail.yourdomain.com/
and as far as I can see, the ribbon, it does nothing.
What a waste of time that was. No obvious changes or benefits at all.

That’s downright awesome.

Humor for the week

The prior owner of our home left behind some massive carpets, so Diann posted them on Craigslist, and subsequently corresponded with a family that wanted to pick them up.  We scheduled a time, and it turned out that Diann had an event that night to attend.  Since Diann was out, I invited Stephen over to wrap up some Guitar Hero III co-op that we’d been working on.

Later that evening, the lady showed up with her kids to pick up the carpet.  Stephen & I helped her load it into the mini-van (well, Stephen watched, I helped 🙂 ) and off they went.  Then I realized something, and made the following comment to Stephen:

I wonder if they’re driving off wondering which one of us goes by Diann?

You see, Diann never told them that they’d be meeting up with me and that she wouldn’t be around.  And I never really got around to introducing myself by name, much less Stephen. 

There’s humor here.

In the presence of greatness

About a year ago, [Stephen Hawking](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stephen_hawking) was supposed to come to Seattle, and I got tickets. I was excited; not many times do you have a chance to be in the presence of such awesome knowledge.

Unfortunately, he fell ill and wasn’t able to make the lecture. I fought TicketMaster to get my ticket refunded, which they eventually did.

Tonight, Hawking came back to Seattle, and I snatched up my ticket about three months ago. Dan & I showed up at McCaw Hall at about 7:15pm for the 7:30pm lecture. The setup was amazing; the host introduced Dr. Hawking, and talked a little bit about his communications methods (via a “blink switch”):

> The computer system attached to his wheelchair is operated by Hawking via an infra-red ‘blink switch’ clipped onto his glasses. By scrunching his right cheek up, he is able to talk, compose speeches, research papers, browse the World Wide Web, and write e-mails. The system also uses radio transmission to provide control over doors in his home and office.

Now, this posed an interesting problem. Apparently, camera flashes in the crowd were interfering with the blink switch! Dr. Hawking’s assistant asked the crowd to not use camera flashes, and I’ve never seen a place get so dark, so quick. It was amazing — most crowds would still have one pop up here and there, but not this crowd.

Overall, the talk was great — I didn’t understand quite a bit of it, but what I was most amazed by is Dr. Hawking’s sense of humor. This is a guy who has been through a lot, and he’s still cracking jokes every few minutes. He introduced an equation for entropy in black holes, commented that it’s a simple equation (it was) with all three fundamental physics constants (c, G, and h-bar). His next comment: “I want that on my tombstone.” He also commented that when he introduced concepts of time having a beginning and an end (alluding to the Big Bang), he said that “the church seems to have taken note of that.” He referenced the “old-school general relativity theorists” and said that they “just plug numbers into equations and hope it works.” When talking about solving the [black hole paradox](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_hole_paradox), he said it’s an amazing feeling to realize that you’ve come up with an equation that no one else knows, and no one else has ever known. He said he can’t compare it to sex, but “that the feeling does last longer.” Classic!

He was amazing to listen to, and “spoke” for two solid hours. Go see him if you get a chance!

Public Service Announcement

Courtesy of Danny, here's the latest info in the continuing War on Terrorism:

As we all know, the Taliban considers it a sin for a man to see a naked woman who is not his wife. So, next Saturday at 2:00 PM Eastern time all American women are asked to walk out of their house completely naked to help weed out any neighborhood terrorists. Circling your block for one hour is recommended for this antiterrorist effort. All men are to position themselves in lawn chairs in front of their house to prove they are not Taliban, demonstrate that they think it's okay to see nude women other than their wife and to show support for all American women. And since the Taliban also does not approve of alcohol, a cold six-pack at your side is further proof of your anti-Taliban sentiment. The American Government appreciates your efforts to root out terrorists and applauds your participation in this antiterrorist activity. God bless America!