60 Percent Crap

Bill O'Reilly, 2001 (emphasis mine):

The late-night program hosted by David Letterman is the toughest interview show on television. That's because Mr. Letterman is a smart guy who can spot a phony with telescopic accuracy and expects his guests to bring something to the table. If a guest begins to sink on this show, the bottom is a long way down.

Dave Letterman to Bill O'Reilly, 1-3-2006:

I have the feeling about 60 percent of what you say is crap.

In that same interview, O'Reilly repeated some bogus story about a school changing the lyrics to the song "Silent Night." Turns out the school was doing a Christmas play were one of the characters sings a song to the tune of Silent Night. And the play was written by a church choir director.

Motivator generator

Fanaticism poster Abramoff Cronyism Exit Strategy

Check out the Motivator Generator. I made the images above with it.

(via the Generator Blog)

100 things we didn't know this time last year

BBC News has published a list of 100 trivial facts that they reported on in 2005. Here are my favorites:

41. Tactically, the best Monopoly properties to buy are the orange ones: Vine Street, Marlborough Street and Bow Street.

65. Actor James Doohan, who played Scotty, created the Klingon language that was used in the movies, and which Shakespeare plays were subsequently translated into.

71. Jimi Hendrix pretended to be gay to be discharged from the US Army.

76. The day when most suicides occurred in the UK between 1993 and 2002 was 1 January, 2000.

78. One in 18 people has a third nipple.

88. A single "mother" spud from southern Peru gave rise to all the varieties of potato eaten today, scientists have learned.

89. Spanish Flu, the epidemic that killed 50 million people in 1918/9, was known as French Flu in Spain.

99. The Japanese word "chokuegambo" describes the wish that there were more designer-brand shops on a given street.

100. Musical instrument shops must pay an annual royalty to cover shoppers who perform a recognisable riff before they buy, thereby making a "public performance".

(via Digg)

Games


I've updated my collection list at BoardGameGeek.com to include the new boardgames we got over the holidays. Sara gave Through the Desert to me, Hare and Tortoise to Emma and me and Tri-Virsity to Sara and me. We gave Go Away Monster to Emma and she seems to like it. Her 2-year-old cousin, Lola ,really liked it and kept bringing it out and wanting to play it. A friend gave Emma Hungry Hungry Hippos. My brother wants to do another game night this week. We're thinking Thursday. How does that sound?

Books

Christmas brought a few additions to my bookshelf. The first four books above came from my mother-in-law. She printed off the list of Top 20 Geek Novels that I posted about a month ago, took it to the bookstore and bought me some from the list that I haven't read. A very thoughtful gift. So, now I have numbers 5, 9, 13 and 17. Sara got Perdido Street Station for me because she had heard so many good things about it and thought I would enjoy it. There's a quote of Neil Gaiman praising it right on the front cover, so it's got plenty of geekiness, too. I'm looking forward to reading these, and I'll be happy to loan them out, too.

Most comments plugin

I made this plugin because of a request in the b2evolution forums, but I've been wanting something like this for myself for a while, too. It adds a box in your sidebar listing the posts with the most comments. The number of posts to list can be set to anything, but the default is 5. You can get the plugin here, but I also ported this back to the current stable version of b2evolution: 0.9.1, so you can see it in action in my sidebar (scroll down to the bottom of the sidebar). If any other Brendoman.com authors want this added to their skin, just let me know.

YouTube plugin

I just finished my first fully-functional b2evolution plugin. It makes it easy to post YouTube videos on your blog. It works for b2evolution 1.6-alpha, so if you're using it (i.e., you're brave or curious) then go get it.

Blender

This afternoon I played around with Blender a bit. It's a free and open source, cross-platform 3d modeling and animation program. I was able to follow this tutorial and make a simple model of a person. If you want to jump right into animation, check this one out. If you're willing to spend a couple of hours getting familiar with the user interface and moving around in 3 dimensions, you could make some pretty cool stuff with this. There's a whole animation festival with entries that all come from Blender.

And you know this, man

I ripped the movie Friday to an iPod compatible file using HandBrake and Sara and I watched the first half of it on the tv connected to the iPod. Unlike the home movie that I tried before I could see no compression artifacts. It looked pristine to me. HandBrake must do a very good job of encoding. I couldn't tell the difference between it and watching a DVD (on my 27" tv). Now I can carry my entire music collection and 40 DVDs in my pocket.

The pod

My new toySanta Claus came to my house today, riding in a white FedEx truck. He brought me a small package that held my new toy, a white 60GB 5th generation iPod. I ordered it on Sunday afternoon and it arrived Tuesday at about noon. I just did the standard free shipping, but it made the trip from Shanghai, China to my front door in just about 36 hours. I ordered one for my brother, too. It's a Christmas+birthday present from our parents. His is a 30GB white but I ordered it separately because he had it engraved. I managed to copy a few songs and one video onto my new iPod before I had to go back to work. I showed the video playback to a few coworkers and they were surprised at how good the video looked on the little screen. I haven't tried it on a TV yet. I'll be right back. I played back a movie I made in iMovie and it looks pretty ok. I could see some compression artifacts if I looked for them. But I did have to look for them. I would say it's very watchable. By the way, I didn't pay $20 for an Apple iPod A/V cable. I used this little trick with the standard cable from my video camera.

I don't get gadgets very often (Exhibit A: I still have no cell phone), so I'm pretty excited. I do need to find a case. I already put some tiny scratches on the metal part on the back of the device. In a very related story, is anyone interested in a slightly used Toshiba e350 Pocket PC with case and SD card? If I don't hear anything in the next week it's going up on eBay.

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