Thursday, July 31, 2008

Deleting old emails is strangely emotional

It makes me wish I wrote letters on paper so that deletion was a more tangible act.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Another quote I found

I wish I were finding these quotes online so I could properly use the cite attribute of a blockquote tag.

Reputation is also not generalizable or portable. There are people who will cheat on their spouse but not at cards, and vice versa, and both, and neither. Reputation in one situation is not directly portable to another

This is from The Best Software Writing I, which came out in 2005, and so is a little dated (I love that I'm going to be working in a field where 2005 is "a little dated"), but not too badly, and is strongly recommended to anyone who enjoys good writing and the use of computers. If you've never cared to, or maybe had to, write a line of code in your life, 40% of the book would be understandable, and if you've done any programming at all (hell, setting up a blog is a sufficient start), that goes up to maybe 80-90%.

The interesting 40% mostly involves software's business & social side- smart people like Cory Doctorow or Clay Shirky (the source of the quote above), who ought to be read by pretty much anyone who likes the internet. Alternatively, skip the book, since it's mostly a compendium of blog posts (there are a few conference talks included), and just go read their blogs.

Friday, July 25, 2008

My Favorite Line in Moby Dick, thus far

So, when on one side you hoist in Locke's head, you go over that way; but now, on the other side, hoist in Kant's and you come back again; but in very poor plight. Thus, some minds for ever keep trimming boat. Oh, ye foolish! throw all these thunder-heads overboard, and then you will float light and right.

Friday, July 18, 2008


  • Why are there so many colleges in New York City, and why do they all advertise on the subway so much? Do they do any research that shows this is effective?
  • Is it appropriate to play Marco Polo in a motel called the Marco Polo Motel? If not, why?
  • Does anyone ever click on Facebook ads?
  • Why do websites make you pick a username? Why not just use your email? (OpenID will probably never work)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Proposal: "Dog Day"

I think we should have a holiday devoted to dogs, a day marked by celebrations of man's best friend. It should also be a holiday enforced by law.

--On Dog Day, everyone must take their dog for four walks during the course of the day

--On Dog Day, it would be illegal for any restaurant, charcuterie, or other place of business to bar dogs from inspecting the premises.

--On Dog Day, all the streets will be closed, and everyone will be required to carry a tennis ball or frisbee around with them.

--On Dog Day, adopting a dog from the Pound gets you a significant tax credit.

--Finally, at the conclusion of Dog Day, as a final token of esteem for our canine friends, a mailman will be sacrificed in their honor.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Totally Inefficient Use of Wikipedia

There are, to the best of my knowledge, and my knowledge is disturbingly expansive (if ephemeral), no outstanding female European royals that are near my age. This makes the prospect of my living in a castle far more improbable than childhood Hal ever imagined.

A Blog Redesign!

At the urging of my esteemed cohort and future host, Hal, I was given to undertake a redesign of our blog. The changes are fairly minor, as far as their size, but I think they are of great value in increasing the legibility and attractiveness of our blog.

  1. Our blog's primary font is now Trebuchet, a change from Georgia. It's a taller font. I prefer it.
  2. The former backgrounds, a repeating pattern for the page background, and a faux-paper texture for the text's background, have been replaced by a single light-gray color. I avoided white, which I find too stark on a computer monitor, but retained a high contrast against the text.
  3. The separation between the blog's title and the blog posts has been modified in a minor, mostly irrelevant way, replacing an image with a dotted line.
  4. Links and other colored items are now all various shades of gray, and the Blogger nav-bar has been changed to a gray styling as well. To avoid making this blog unreadably monotonous, Hal and I will endeavour to include pictures in future posts.
  5. I have widened the blog's text by 100 pixels. This makes it significantly wider than the sidebar, which heretofore was over-emphasized, but is not so wide as to cause difficulty for the reader. A quick sampling showed the average post was now about 15 words, or around 85 characters, which I think acceptable.

Comments are greatly appreciated! It's extremely likely that there are HTML elements I have failed to correct. In the next few days I'll be trying to exercise them thoroughly, but if I miss anything, please alert me (or Hal).


Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Shrubbery of Doom

A long time ago I was supposed to review Tree of Smoke by Denis Johnson, the author of the excellent short-story collection Jesus Son. I got distracted by life and never finished that review. The book was terrible, but somehow it won the National Book Award.

Anyway, here's the first paragraph, the only one I completed in its entirety (I had a lot of suggestive jottings), from that review.
'Of the three people I know who set out to read this novel, I am the sole survivor to reach the end. It lends a certain glamor to what was otherwise a joyless undertaking. Reminiscent of the Vietnam War which gives Tree of Smoke its setting, to have read this book in its entirety is to emerge a veteran of a senseless waste of life. Other phrases which describe both Vietnam and Tree of Smoke include “interminable quagmire” and “catastrophic South-Asian adventure.”'

This is not a blog

Increasingly, this blog is being read by acquaintances unaware of its original social context and Nassau Weekly origin. Since our "About" tab on the Left is pretty unhelpful, perhaps an explanation is in order.

The authors of this blog are Harold "Hal" G. Parker III and Harold "Hal" T. Pratt IV. We both went to Princeton, worked for the same newspaper, and belonged to the same eating-club. In addition, we superficially resemble one another. Both of us blog under the username "HP."

Once upon a time we wrote an article for the Nass called "Hal vs. Hal," which consisted of a series of letters exchanged between the Hal's on the subject of television. Then, we wrote three more articles of the same Hal-vs-Hal type. Finally, one summer we decided to turn the idea into a blog -- hence, the ":The Blog" part of the title. We like to think of this blog as a Hegelian experiment in self-objectifying narcissism.

Also, one last thing you should know is that Hal Pratt is not the author of the post, Three Memories by Hal Pratt. I wrote that one as a joke just as he wrote a fake one about me as well, Three Memories by Hal Parker. Hal Parker is not the author of that post.

Or is he?

(To be clear, the answer is no.)