News Anchors, Awesome

Wasting time on YouTube:

  • Insane News Man” is pretty funny. Not until about the seventh time watching it did it occur that it was maybe a teleprompter problem, and the transition into his co-anchor being absent and a man being “murdered and then set on fire while celebrating his birthday” were two separate things.
  • This talkshow clip is in a foreign language (Dutch?), but I still can’t help but crack up laughing every time I watch this. You don’t need to understand what’s being said.
  • This weatherman is a classic. It’s a college station. Someone eventually interviewed him; it was his first time and the director kept distracting him by trying to give him cues, which just made things worse.
  • Off the topic of news anchors, “The worst hockey player!” is hilarious, if only because it would be me if I played hockey.
  • Worst Hockey Fight” is almost as good, although the first 20 seconds or so are worthless.
  • You might have seen this Home Shopping blooper before, but I’d never seen the full version before, which is where the hilarity lies. Long after it’s obvious that the horse picture he’s referring to is actually a butterfly / month, he continues calling it a horse, and even starts pointing out imaginary details.
  • This one, though, is even funnier, albeit much older. They’re selling “safety jumper cables” while the model shows off a poncho for no apparent reason, before the anchor very deliberately… Well, just watch.


A long time ago I coined Wagner’s Law: “While driving, the probability of encountering a bicyclist is exponentially higher when approaching a blind curve.” Why this is, I have no idea, but the world’s bicyclists always seem to be entering blind curves when I’m driving. I very rarely get to pass a bicyclist on a long stretch of straight road where I can see that it’s clear to pass. Instead, I’m entering a blind curve, where I’m forced to slow down and stay behind the bicyclist. This probably drives the people behind me crazy, but the only alternative would be to drift into the other lane, which is downright suicidal since I can’t see oncoming traffic.

Today, I’d like to coin Wagner’s Second Law: “As an organization grows, the percentage of unnecessary members rises.” By the time you’re a college, you probably have a lot of jobs that, frankly, aren’t necessary. We were joking yesterday about how the school ought to cut about 15 jobs and merge them into a single person’s job, with the title, “Director of Pointless Memos.” They can be the one that’s in charge of taking an e-mail sent to the whole campus and forwarding it… to whole campus… And the one in charge of sending us an e-mail informing us that the work order system for submitting maintenance issues is “now available,” even though it’s been available for at least two years and was not previously unavailable, and so forth.

Yesterday I got a notice in my mailbox informing me to make sure to update my mailing address with people sending me mail over the summer. We’ve been debating whether one line was a typo, or whether it was deliberate… One assumes the former, but after getting a sufficient amount of utterly pointless memos, we’re not entirely convinced that they didn’t mean to tell us exactly what it says:

The U.S. Post Office change of address form does not apply to our campus e-mail addresses.


There were a couple people screaming profanities outside my window. After about ten minutes one of them shouted, “Come drink with us” at some girl, and I looked out and saw that they had beer bottles.

Sufficiently irritated at this point, I called Campus Police. The dispatcher said, “I just sent someone up that way for this,” so I turned on my radio.

Sadly, the officers had the wrong location and missed them. But I was observing the whole thing through my window listening to them. I had to find a way to call back without divulging that I was listening to them, so I just stated that I’d seen the officers look in the wrong spot and leave. She asked me for a better description of their attire, in addition to my exact description of their location. I watched a couple cops slowly approach, observed the people I’d called about, and swooped in.

At this point I expected the students to stop yelling, apologize, and be asked to move back into their room. Instead, one of the students, upon seeing the police, threw his bottle down, screamed, and took off, with the second kid following him. The officers initially chased them into the woods.

One officer stopped chasing them as they got into the woods. I was slightly disappointed to see them get away, except that all I really wanted in the first place was for them to stop yelling profanities and derogatory comments at people. So I was happy.

But I was even happier when another officer radioed in that he had seen the kids come out of the woods and was picking up the chase.

At this point my batteries died, so I’m not yet sure how this ended. But suffice it to say that it ended up significantly more interesting than I’d initially expected. And the drunken jerks are gone.

As an aside, the school’s 100W repeater (into a high-gain antenna, it seems) seems to overload my poor little VX-2. I tried enabling its attenuator feature, but it still didn’t seem to cut it. I then tried removing the antenna, but then the signal was too weak. (Although still audible.) My IC-W32 holds up much better to the overwhelming nearby signal, but its batteries don’t. And my ASTRO Saber is entirely unphased by the signal, but its batteries died the other day and I hadn’t recharged them…


Between Andrew’s amazing panorama created with Hugin, and Garrett almost simultaneously sending me a link to a Lifehacker* post about Hugin, I figured it was only fitting that I try it out. It’s essentially a software app (OpenSource no less) to stitch together a series of shots and create a panorama.

Since I don’t like reading instructions, I downloaded the software and worked on setting ‘control points’ for a set of five photos I recently took, thinking they’d be good for creating a panorama.

Hugin without reading the directions

I think I need to read the directions.

* It’s interesting that Garrett sent me a link to Lifehacker. Kyle’s recently become a big fan, too. I discovered the site at least a year ago, and always considered it a niche website that no one I knew would have heard about. I’m glad to be proven wrong!


I’ve been working a lot on cleaning up Wikipedia in my free time the past few days. I think I might stick with it and eventually go for admin, which seems like a fun goal. (Although as they point out, it’s no big deal really… But it’d help me a lot.) A lot of my work comes from watching the Recent Changes page, following through to suspect changes, undoing their change, and going back.

Anyway, entirely out of the blue I started to wonder if Wikipedia uses mod_gzip. So I pulled up Firefox 3’s “Page Information,” and saw the following. I felt slightly pathetic at the result. (Note that I’m sometimes on a page for less than a second, so it’s really not as bad as it seems, but still…)

How many page views?!


I find this image interesting for so many reasons.

The most obvious, and least interesting, one is that the laptop is engulfed in flames. It’s a Dell, and you may recall that stretch when a bad batch of batteries kept spontaneously combusting.

One of the bigger issues is the thought process. “Oh crap, my laptop is on fire. I’d better…”

I would think, “…try to extinguish it,” although, “remove the book practically on top of the flaming laptop” is valid too, as is, “…call 911 and get out of here!”

But instead, this guy thought, “…grab a camera!” I guess I’m glad he did, but it certainly wouldn’t be my reaction.

But above all else, what I find most interesting here is that he has a huge onion on his desk. I could see an apple, a nice snack for later in the day. Or maybe a pear. Or grapes. But this guy has an onion. A huge onion. Why? I refuse to believe that he intends to munch on it later in the day as a snack. It might be a decent ingredient in something else, except that he doesn’t seem to have anything else in terms of food. Just an onion. Why?!

She Ate All the Gherkins

The UK’s Mark Steel has a particularly humorous piece on Hillary’s problems with accidentally mis-speaking and making strange claims, because she says so many words:

Her next round of soft-focus adverts will probably feature her soothingly saying, “My fellow Americans, I drank a pint of walrus milk once for a bet. I speak fluent Eskimo. I once ate all the gherkins in Belgium. My brother’s got a yak in his loft. I fell asleep on a night bus once and woke up in Munich, and had to get a lift back on a camel. I used to live on an iceberg. I’ve got a waffle-maker that works underwater.”

Okay, so maybe it’s overly critical of her. But I can’t help but chuckle as I read it.