Thursday, October 30, 2008


I’ve been trying all morning to come up with a Word field that calculates the current week of the year (e.g., today we’re somewhere in the middle of week 44) (I think..? I will know for sure when I figure out the field code). In trying to puzzle this out, I came across lots of date calculation information for everything except what I want (Convert a Julian Day Number to a Gregorian Calendar Date? YES, PLEASE; THAT JUST CAME UP LAST WEEK).

But in particular, I want to acknowledge the, let’s call it, goofy-yet-clearly-bordering-on-OCD-amiability of Paul Edstein who has a downloadable date calculation tutorial that has just got to have the answer in there somewhere if I can crack it (it’s 16 pages without the field codes displayed; 31 pages with). I don’t know who this guy is, but I think I kind of picture him like Frank Gorshin?

In anticipation of my figuring this out, I would like to thank Paul Edstein by giving him a field code that I have devised on my own, so HEY PAIL EDSTEIN: HERE IS HOW YOU CAN USE THE EQUATION EDITOR TO MAKE IT LOOK LIKE YOU’RE RAISING ONE EYEBROW:

Just one possible use for this code:
You see your name show up in a blog where the writer thinks you look like Frank Gorshin.

Speaking of Frank Gorshin: Top 10 Riddler Riddles (youtube)!
Check out the big brain on Robin. He’s totally good at these!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

How David Rees and John Hodgman Saved My Life: A TRUE STORY

I went to see David Rees and John Hodgman last night at Second City ETC, but got a late start getting out of the house (right before I was going to leave, my 19-month-old fell out of a chair and bit his lip so hard (on both sides!), we were debating whether he needed to go to the emergency room; but also: I am poky) and by the time I got there, they were already over capacity, and I had to get back in my car, pay the parking fee ($10(!)) and drive back home.

TOO BAD: These are some of my favorite Brooklynites.

I have been a fan of JH since the apparently on permanent hiatus Little Gray Book Lectures days* and I am surely the only non-David-Rees-relative to have actually ordered a hard copy of My New Filing Technique Is Unstoppable In: “Horse Races(horse racing as retroactive metaphor for Credit Default Swaps? SIGNS POINT TO MAYBE).

BUT: let’s look at what could have happened had I made it there in time.

(1) I would have enjoyed something life has to offer

(1) I probably would have spent money on books (spending money on books is not in the budget at present)

(2) I would have enjoyed myself so much that I would have gone downstairs to the Starbucks in the Piper’s Alley lobby and had a latte and reflect upon the events of the evening (also not in the budget, both the coffee and the reflecting)

(3) Having enjoyed that latte and the concurrent reflection period, I might have hidden behind a sofa when it was time to close the Starbucks (note that getting to spend the night alone in a coffee shop has recently edged out getting to spend the night alone in a bookstore in my brain-hierarchy of fantasies for lonely people) (also note that this Starbucks is 24 hours, but my fantasy life is stronger than my real life).

(4) Being in that Starbucks after hours I likely would have been HIT BY THIS CAB

What have we learned from this?

(1) If you are falling out of a chair, do not bite your lip.

(1b) Not specific to this, but related in my mind: If you are punching someone, do not tuck your thumb inside your fingers; I learned on, I’m almost positive, Laverne and Shirley (although why (1) a character on that show had to punch someone and (2) a writer for the show thought this was useful information to include, w/r/t punching, I have no idea) that you will break your thumb if you do this.

(2) When you see a sign at a Starbucks that says “Drive Through Window”, before you take action, you should ask yourself: “Is that meant to be imperative or declarative?”

(3) Either John Hodgman or David Rees (or both) were Pavlovianly conditioned by Dr. Laszlo Jamf to host book readings immediately prior to taxi accidents.

(4) Disappointment in Chicago will run you ten dollars.

N.B. Their books, which I have not read due to budgetary restraints, are available here and here.

* Witness this Screenshot of Evidence (tip of the hat to Outlook pst files):

By the way, for what it's worth you can still type in the URL that this email was originally about (I cropped it out by accident, but trust me) and listen to mp3s of Selections of Little Gray Book Lectures, though they're not accessible from the main page.

Note also the reference in this email to a mispost of an mp3 file, a precursor to the current misposting of embedded video, for all you fans of leitmotif.

You’re out there, right? Fans of Leitmotif?
If so, welcome.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Special Financial Collapse Edition

Perhaps you are aware that AIG spent $440,000 on a week-long retreat for its brokers less than a week after receiving an $85 billion government bailout. And perhaps you are aware of the specific amounts that went to spa treatments ($23,380), golf ($6,939), room service ($9,980) and things like that.

But what I found interesting — and what no one is talking about, as far as I can see — are the Pay Per View purchases of what we’ll call “grown up movies” that are listed in the bill.

Below, courtesy of is page 2 from the AIG St. Regis hotel receipt.

It’s been a few years since I had Cinemax, so I’m not positive, but I’m reasonably sure that’s the porn version of the Ayn Rand Book?

Can someone confirm?