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Hilarious Chappelle skit:

Dave Chappelle in classic ‘Switch’ ad style

Red flag

One of the trickier consequences of blogging over long periods of time (or any means of publishing one’s views, for that matter) is that you look like an ass when your opinion changes. Despite the common truths that people are fickle, opinions are malleable, and everyone is fallible, we expect that opinions, once stated, are relatively solid.

Not the case.

It happens with food, it happens with favorite websites, with cocktails, and with TV shows. But nowhere is it more prevalent than in music. A few years ago I bought K’s Choice’s Paradise In Me and instantly regretted the purchase. The one song I had heard from the band prior to that impulse purchase — Not An Addict — was pretty cool, sure, but the rest of the album left me wholly unsatisfied.

After languishing on a shelf for a year or so I dug it up, gave it a listen with fresh ears, and loved it. Suddenly I considered ownership of a K’s Choice album a pretty good reason to date someone. Still do. As if a knowledge of Belgian rock bands is the kind of character trait one should really be searching for in a woman.

Then there’s Eminem — an intentionally abrasive jerk whose singles are tailor-made Top 40 tripe, sure, but if you can ignore the hype (and the singles, and the overwrought homophobia and misogyny) he has talent pouring from every orifice. I’ve trashed him endlessly in years gone by, but now own several of his albums. By the same token: Gwen Stefani’s solo career was a recent gripe, and within a year I’ve come to quite enjoy it.

This all leads me, quite scarily, to the conclusion that any artist I dislike so strongly that I should express my distaste in a place as public as this, my weblog, I will eventually come to appreciate. The theory is that one must have something remarkable in one’s essence to elicit such strong negative emotions. Indifference… there’s a guarantee I’ll never buy your record. Hate might just be enough to hook me.

That said, I’m terrified of the fact that I find the Pussycat Dolls so appalling. Their single, Beep, makes me want to gag. If Will.i.am weren’t there, the song would be less than nothing. They’re ostensibly a girl band, but only one of them sings — the rest of them being little more than backup dancers — and she’s not even particularly good. Hot, yes, but not good.

Perhaps I wouldn’t care so much if they were called Nicole Scherzinger & the Pussycat Dolls. It would imply some sense of central focus. Instead, I get riled up, and we all know what that means in the long run. It means a year from now I’m going to buy their fucking album.


Ladies, start your text editors

Feel like getting paid $3000 for hacking on GNOME for two months? GNOME is running a Women’s Summer Outreach Program. I applied, but they caught me shaving my chest and I was disqualified.

It’s encouraging to see this kind of thing happening in the technology sector. Webstock had a similar scholarship program that I encouraged Sarah to apply for; aimed at ‘the underrepresented in the industry’, she, as a woman living in rural Western Australia, was a shoo-in. And as a consequence, she went to the conference and I didn’t. Now, since I know she doesn’t have the time to hack on GNOME, why don’t some of you other geek gals stay in and get some experience this summer while all your friends are sunbathing topless in Greece? It’ll be good for you.

Wait, did I just recommend that?


One more property for the CSS wishlist

I’m guessing this is precisely the kind of thing that is possible with SVG and maybe even the <canvas> element, but I have, nonetheless, a little something more I’d like to see added to CSS’ arsenal of presentational properties. That is, besides the white-space: none declaration I mused on eighteen months ago: text-outline.

Text outlines add a colored stroke to the outside of each character in the text.

Simple, flexible, useful in all the same places as our old friend text-shadow and more… it takes the same range of values as the existing border and outline properties we have for block elements and applies them to type.

In fact, it seems reasonable to think that a complementary text-border property would be useful for the same reasons we have that aforementioned border/outline distinction on block elements in CSS. Borders contribute to the page flow, adding bulk to the elements they enclose (even if it is only a matter of pixels) while outlines do not… they add visual weight, but they do not add to the width or height of an element.

But I won’t hold my breath.


One more reason the copyright period should be shortened

Enid Blyton (dead author) has stories (classics) vandalized by publishers (jerkwads) aiming to squeeze a few extra bucks from of a generation of parents (dolts) worried that exposure to words like ‘dick’ and ‘fanny’ might corrupt their children (brats).

I’m at a loss here, really. I remember when the Golliwogs were removed from Toy Town (too black), and when Noddy and Big Ears were no longer allowed to share a bed (too gay), and I was as flabbergast then as I am now.

Were Blyton’s work in the public domain, this would be a non-issue. But because a bunch of idiots still hold the rights and still see a few dollars roll in when Ma & Pa Burkett make a nostalgia-fuelled purchase of the Secret Seven, they think it’s a great idea to modernize all those socially-outdated parts of Blyton’s books. You know, the parts where people have mid-20th–century names and use the word ‘queer’ to mean ‘odd’ instead of ‘homosexual’.

It brings a mind a memory of a small girl I once knew. Her parents, ever creative, used the word ‘tuppence’ in place of ‘vagina’ for all hygiene-related instruction. God forbid she should use grown-up words. Hilarity ensued when, one summer afternoon, said girl-child was sat in front of the television to watch the classic and ever-family-friendly Mary Poppins. Cue song whose first lines are “feed the birds, tuppence a bag” and you have one very confused child asking lots of questions that, for reasons that still baffle me, embarrassed the parents.

Seriously, kids need to be exposed to things. Just things in general. Things they can ask questions about. It makes them into people, believe it or not.

But now I’m way off my original point. Sonny Bono was a jerk.


Uh-oh, kryptonite!

Jason seems to like Superman Returns, but I’m pretty sure the collective “meh” arising from my cinema was audible from space. It weren’t no Batman Returns, I’ll tell you that much.

Yes, I just said that.

My problem isn’t so much with the film, although I wish Singer had spent all that time directing X-Men 3 instead of having Ratner fill in, it’s with Superman himself. Infinitely powerful, invulnerable, and suffering no moral dilemma besides his recurring “gosh Lois is pretty, but she doesn’t love me, she loves the other me” sob, how is anyone supposed to relate to him? Spider-Man is cut from the same cloth, to be sure, but I begrudge him less because he can’t fly.

Give me the X-Men, give me Batman, give me the Hulk, give me the Punisher. Give me weak, flawed people who can’t save everyone; people who suffer through their own inner demons, fighting for good, fighting for love, fighting for vengeance, fighting for their own sanity. Give me people I’ll shed a tear for when they die.

Not to give too much away, but I wish Superman had died at the end, Lois pounding his chest as young Jason strokes the red and gold emblem of his suit. It would’ve been… better.