Ah, Fall

I don’t mean to start out the day with a polarizing note, but: do you think that if President Clinton had invaded Iraq and knocked Saddam for power in 1998, we’d be seeing a movie about the dictator’s trial right now, with George Clooney as the prosecutor?

Okay, enough of that, group hug. (Screedblog later for fellow scum-sucking lie-mongers.) Today was splendid for all the usual reasons. Turned in a column, basked in the sun, chatted with the fellows who’ve come to recut the stone for the Water Feature, went to work listening to an audiobook version of “I, Robot.” (Never read it before. It has its charms, but it’s best taken when you’re 14. At least I’m learning the origins of so many robot sci-fi conventions, right down to the most annoying of them all: robots who sing Gilbert and Sullivan.) Got Gnat, hit the grocery store, since I was out of peanuts and Frosty Paws. And by “out of” I mean I was down to the backups. Gnat saw some “organic” carrots – as distinct from the metallic versions they usually sell – and was transfixed by the leafy stalks. She remembered my tale of eating carrots at Grandma’s farm, fresh from the ground, how there was nothing better, how every other version of carrot, from raw to baby to evil-cooked-carrots to tasteless orange jots in Campbell’s soup, was just a pale reflection of the Platonic Ideal of Carrothood. She wanted some. I bought some. At home she had one and pronounced it delicious; she wanted another, but I said it was too close to supper. She persisted. I repeated. She persisted. I realized: my child wants another raw carrot, and I’m saying no. Idiot. Here you go, hon.

“Thanks! They’re good for my eyes, too.” They always use the health pitch.

Anyway, I have to write a column, and I’ve been doing many other behind-the-scenes things today. So it’s a linkfest, ending in site updates. Let’s begin:

I was leafing through a Popular Science magazine from 1926, and saw a picture of a “modern building marvel” – a skyscraper constructed right over a street in New York! Traffic goes through it! I didn’t recognize at first, and thought it was some project that never got off the ground, until I realized it showed the back of Grand Central Station, not the front. It’s the Helmsley Building, aka the New York Central Building. If you know the building, you may find the illustration interesting.

Usually I skip the intro, but this was fun. (warning: sound.) I liked it right up to the end, when the words “Click to Continue” have never seemed so unappealing. Maybe it’s me; this particular artist may be the best one ever in the history of such individuals, but it’s a type of performance I’ve always found highly annoying. With the exception of Milton Berle. Anyway, nice intro, and I’ll be switched if I know what the hell the site is supposed to be about.

The HBO show “Rome” continues to entertain; last week we met Cleopatra, who was nothing like Elizabeth Taylor, it seems. (Fine by me; she never did much for me, especially as Cleo.) Broadband users might enjoy this brief course in Roman history, and how the producers attempted to make the show as accurate as possible. If you haven’t seen the show, you get an idea of what it looks like in HD, or the inevitable DVD release.

Or, if you’re a Lost fan, you know about the Hanso foundation, right? Of course they have a website. And because the web designers know that people play with URLs, try adding an “s” to http, so it’s https. You get this. (warning: sound.)

The title of the page is morse code. I grabbed it off the source code, ran it through a translator, and it comes up as “N GIRUM IMUS NOCTE ET CONSUMIMUR IGNI.” Latin for “That Cleopatra Chick is Smokin’. Literally.” No, it’s Latin for “gibberish,” since the online Latin translator doesn’t seem to recognize any words. Plug that into Google, and this pops up: an Amazon-fr page for a book by Guy Debord, famous “situationalist.” As the review so poignantly puts it, “Finally . . . mayonnaise did not take.”

Meaning? Who knows. Apparently the morse code changes from time to time. Your daily rabbit hole. I do know that I love translated web pages. "Two, it is better!" Mais oui.

In any case, I love these silly things. I love the web. You kids today, you have no fargin’ idea. Why, when I was a kid, we were lucky if we got a lousy Gold Key comic book out of a TV show. And they suqd. Now you got yer fancy internet with viral campaigns and secret URLs and mysterious dot-matrix pictures wot look like they was done in MacPaint circa nineteen-bloomin’-eighty-five, eh? Back then we didn’t have any of that, so we had to go out and play.

Anyway. New update to the Institute. New Screedblog. New Quirk. See you tomorrow!

note: while the myserious morse-code site mentioned above is still live, the https trick no longer seems to work. They're on to us!)