Green is a good color on me…

My pal Phil Plait (not necessarily better known as the Bad Astronomy blogger) has just finished taping a segment for “Mythbusters.”

My ego was desperate to find some way to diminish the holistic awesomeness of this. When, for instance, Phil was quoted in a comic book written by Gail Simone, it quickly came back with “That’s nice. But Andy has a credit in a ‘Ren And Stimpy’ comic.”

This went over big. As a reward, my ego was granted use of IhnatCorp’s Red Sox season tickets.

But here, it’s clearly out of its depth. My ego whiteboarded a lot of candidates and finally presented “Yeah, but not with Jamie and Adam. It was with the build crew” to a conference room full of senior staffmembers.

They all exchanged disappointed and baffled looks. After a period of silence as dense as uranium, one of them took over the projector, did a Google image search for Kari Byron, and resumed his seat without having said a single word.

“Isn’t Grant Imahara one of the principal designers and builders of Lucasfilm’s Mark II R2D2 droid?” said a second, reducing the temperature of the room by another twelve degrees.

A third was about to mention that (according to Phil’s Twitter feed) the “Mythbusters” segment in question is actually just the first one of two that he’s participating in.

But there’s such a thing as kicking an abstraction when it’s down. “So,” she said, instead. “We’re agreed that the most sensible response is to express genuine happiness for the success of Andy’s friend?”

Enthusiastic nods all around.

Now that the paperwork’s been properly signed, witnessed, and filed: attaboy, Phil!

The Magic Fix-O-Matic Button

My iPhone woke me up at 7:30 AM on Sunday and about 9 AM today. The first time, it was an alarm that I’d set and it meant that it was time to pull on clothed, pull batteries out of chargers, and head off to the last MIT Flea Market of the year. Today, it was a phone call from a friend with a Mac problem. Yesterday’s wake-up was better.

When people call me in tech emergency, they’re hoping that the conversation will go something like this:

“I don’t know. It was working fine, but now when we push the power button it sputters for like two seconds and then goes dark again.”

“I can’t believe the magic Fix-O-Matic button didn’t work.”

“The…?”

“‘Magic Fix-O-Matic button’. There’s a big button inside the machine that automatically diagnoses your Mac and solves every conceivable problem, from a faulty prefs file to your hard drive being struck by a meteor. Have you pushed it?”

“I didn’t even know it existed.”

“Well, that’s why Apple hides it inside. Only paid Apple techs are supposed to know about it, so…schtumm.”

Sadly, it almost never goes like that. Instead, there’s an hour of me being very patient as the friend fails to understand what I’m trying to explain to him, and then my friend being very patient as I fail to understand his description of what happened after he did what I told him to do. If the friendship survives a session of phone diagnostics then we really ought to just go ahead and have sex, regardless of the friend’s gender. We’ve already determined that nothing can possibly screw this relationship up.
But today my friend’s dream came true because it was indeed a “Fix-O-Matic Button” situation. Unplug everything, pop the latch, find the power manager reset button just above the battery, give it an authoritative press, close ‘er up, plug everything back in, wait a few moments, and then power back up.

There was a bit of a hiccup when there proved to be too many air molecules between the video port and the end of the monitor cable, but otherwise, all was well.

Ideas Gone 404

Amazing. On the last MacBreakWeekly podcast, Chris Breen was introduced as the writer of Macworld’s “Mac 911” Q&A column, which led me to claim to be the author of the magazine’s “Mac 404” column.

“People send me their questions,” I said, “and I don’t answer them.”

Well, guess what:

Mac404

Yes, according to the domain record the show wasn’t online for more than an hour or two before every major domain of Mac404 had been bought…and not all by the same person, either!

When somebody emailed me about this today I did feel an odd involuntary twinge. As soon as you realize that something you never wanted is now unavailable, the reptilian part of your brain kicks in and a few green drops of Regret leak into the cognitive buffer before a maintenance guy dogs down the valve and your good senses return.

But it’s kind of a cool URL and I hope its new owners do something neat with it. Ain’t nothin’ worse than when there’s a great URL like macsforkids.com, and it turns out that the damned thing is just parked somewhere.

I’ve bought a bunch of URLs over the years based on nothing more than an idle whim followed by my surprise that nobody had claimed it already. I wouldn’t even know that I owned ’em except for those kind letters that Register.com sends you when YOUR DOMAIN IS DUE TO EXPIRE! (in 15 months).

I resist the urge to renew. Twenty bucks is twenty bucks, plus I’d hate to break the heart of the man or woman who has the perfect site for ElvisVersusKirk.com.

Jazz Odyssey

Oddly enough, I like it when a computer screws up and the reason turns out to be “Andy Ihnatko is a moron.” Because I’ve been dealing with Andy’s bonehead mistakes for years now and I’m usually pretty good at unraveling them. Fixing a piece of boneheaded hardware or software is the sort of task that makes me yearn for a job that requires me to have a pair of brown shorts and a Class 3 license.

I thought that a piece I put up on the blog on Friday would be automatically posted at 6 AM today. This is a Sun-Times column that appeared in the print and online editions a week ago from Thursday and it represents one of the reasons why I wanted to switch to a meatier blog app than the one I’d already written.

I’ve always thought that there was so much more that I could be doing with the online version.

I wind up cutting lots of stuff to make the thing fit into my maximum word count. There’s always a brilliant (brilliant, I say!) intro that gets cut, and when I’m still 200 words over I have to sigh, select the careful 150-word explanation of why this feature is so revolutionary, tap “delete,” and then type “this feature is revolutionary; trust me” in its place.

Plus, I’ve always wanted a comment system at minimum and maybe even a message board…all kinds of neat stuff. I’ve made these suggestions but there are a couple of roadblocks. Filing two columns (a print and online one) would mean more work for both my editors and the site admins, plus the installation of new infrastructure.

And then there are legal issues, believe it or not. Newspapers worry about libel the same way a touring rock band worries about STD’s. It’s part-and-parcel a hazard of the business. Libel in a newspaper is pretty well-understood and there are mechanisms to ensure that the paper isn’t getting sued three times a day (chief among them: writers and editors adhere to standards of journalistic ethics).

But what happens when Random Q. User posts “Steve Ballmer is a big stinky poopie-head” in a comment to an online article? Legally, does it have the same dismissive quality as a conversation between two people who happened to be standing in the lobby of the Sun-Times building? Or would it be treated like any other piece of content published under the Sun-Times masthead?

Fortunately, I retain copyright to my columns, so with the Sun-Times’ blessing, I intend to re-post each of my columns here. Out of courtesy, I’m putting them on a ten-day delay (a column that the Sun-Times printed and posted on Thursday will appear here a week from the following Monday) so that the paper can benefit from the novelty and newsworthiness of each piece.

It’s really intended as a super-archive and as a way of adding extra value to the stuff I write for the Sun-Times. So bookmark my directory on the Sun-Times to get the freshest stuff. But when the Celestial Waste of Bandwidth goes out of beta, there’ll be a separate page and a separate RSS feed for the “enhanced” column.

Now, let’s get back to the idea of me being an idiot. Yeah, I thought today would be the 16th, not the 15th, and that’s why the first enhanced column didn’t appear today. So you have that to look forward to.

I hope you like it. And don’t email me to ask “You stole ‘After The Show’ from Oprah, didn’t you” because you know damned well I did. My defense is the same as when I started doing an annual holiday “My Favorite Things” column: who are you going to steal ideas from if not the most insanely successful and beloved woman in the world?

Fab WordPress Theme Tutorial

A note to Future Andy:

When you do decide to create your own WordPress theme from the ground up, this tutorial is absolutely fab. If it were a book, I’d buy it.

Actually, it explains the strength of printed books over webpages, in certain situations. Writing a theme is somewhere in the same category as writing an entire piece of software. It’s not a simple trick or tip that you can skim through and then use. You need to sit, read, focus, think, and assimilate.

That doesn’t really work so good when the medium forces you to sift the actual content from amongst all the crap that competes for attention on a webpage, makes you click a link to move from page to page and article to article.

If I ever threw out my copy of Danny Goodman‘s seminal “Complete HyperCard Handbook,” then I’m a damned fool. I don’t do a whole lot of HyperCard development these days (seeing as we’re nearing the tenth anniversary of HC’s death, and the fourth anniversary of Apple finally getting around to burying the body). But my copy was a wonderful artifact of an important time in my life. It was probably identical to every other copy of this book ever sold: dog-eared, scuffed to hell, tape keeping the spine together, fingerprints and food stains on every other page…in short, it was a book that bore the proud battle scars of an awesomely useful reference that got used every day and which was read everywhere. I remember taking it with me to my summer job every day. I read it on the bus over, I read it during my lunch break, and I read it on the bus back home.

Natcherly, this was mostly due to Danny’s God-given gifts. The HyperCard Bible is still a standard of excellence that few tech books have attained since. It took you from the fundamentals all the way through advanced techniques, and did so in a way that was always clear and enjoyable to read.

Mad props to Danny, as always. The point is that I don’t know if I and other HyperCard developers would have gained such a broad, deep and holistic understanding of such a beefy topic if we could only consume the knowledge in isolated, individually-wrapped bites…and had to dodge animated offers to punch monkeys and slap sumo wrestlers while doing so.

CT Mac Connection Holiday Party

I should point out that the last time I drove down to give a talk to this group, I got nailed for speeding. Totally not my fault:

  1. The highway was on a downhill run. I suspect that the cops knew that when they picked the spot.
  2. The road was tack-straight for a whole mile to the horizon.
  3. There were no lights or other roadside features on this stretch of road.
  4. There were absolutely no other cars on the road, all the way to the horizon.

So what actually happened was that the car started to pick up a little speed when the downhill bit started. There were no visual cues of any kind to tip me off in advance of my next glance at the speedometer. And the speed trap was set up to nab vehicles near the top of the hill, not at the bottom.

An innocent error, and not even one that put anyone’s life at risk. Not even mine, I stress. And yet I got hit with like a $200 ticket.

I should contested it, but it was close to Macworld Expo and I supposed that the best I could do was get it knocked down a little and I wasn’t sure that burning five hours and $40 worth of gas was worth it.

Since then, I’ve read a pretty neat message thread on Fark.com that contained input from state attorneys who used to represent The Gummint in these hearings.

“I was usually inclined to cut a break for anyone who was honest about the circumstances around the citation,” a typical poster posted. “If you said ‘it was downhill and I don’t feel like I had enough time to notice my increase in speed’ I’d cut the fine and change the citation so it wouldn’t affect your insurance. The people I really insisted on nailing were the jackasses who had obviously visited some sort of website on how to beat a speeding ticket. These were the people who demanded to see the maintenance records on the exact radar gun that the trooper used on him. I was really motivated to make sure that those a*****s paid the full amount. At minum.

On that basis, I kind of wish I’d made the effort. Oh, well.

Anyway, none of this reflects upon the fine men and women of the Connecticut Macintosh Connection. They took me out to a very nice dinner and everything. The December meeting is their big annual holiday party, which means there’s a fair-to-excellent chance of nog.

Pretty In Pink

I wish I had time to run the entire Universe. I know that you do, too, dear reader, and I can only apologize. But God stuck me with the day-to-day operations of just .023% of all of Creation while He vacations at His timeshare in Tahoe, and honestly, I’m already going nuts with just that much of the responsibility. Believe me, the day that I swing by God’s place and give Him His mail and newspapers can’t come soon enough.

But just to underscore how correct you are in wishing that your world were in my hands, let me give you a little preview of how things would go.

Naturally, I’d continue the Creator’s fine policy of allowing you Humans to engage your free will. It’s only right. Besides, if I don’t have to sign off on absolutely everything that happens I imagine it’ll free up enough time on Thursday afternoons to maybe go out for lunch.

That’s not to say that I wouldn’t get involved from time to time. For example, when I first learned that a major TV network intended to turn the GEICO “Caveman” commercials into a regular weekly series, your Lord would have raised His hand and intervened.

I wouldn’t have prevented it from happening. That’s amateur stuff. Instead, I would have celebrated the great good that was inherent in the idea, and only done what was necessary to avert catastrophe.

I would have called the producer straight away.

“This is an unexpected and unworthy boon, o Lord!” he would say. He’d feel honored and humbled and also maybe feel a little bad for having dumped the call to VM initially. “I pray thee, turn thy attentions and mercies to my sister’s youngest daughter. She is in the final stages of…”

“In a minute, in a minute. Now, about this ‘Caveman’ show. Did I hear right? You’re going to produce a whole TV show based on a series of insurance commercials, and…”

“Well, I know it’s pretty outside-the-box, Lord. But our numbers prove that audiences really respond to…”

“Doug?”

“Yes, o Lord?”

“This will go a lot more smoothly if you understand that you’re you, and I’m Me.”

“Sorry, Lord.”

“I mean, your commute to work is along a major flightpath for migratory geese. And My records show that you’ve driven with the top down six times in the past month.”

“Quiet as a mouse, o Lord.”

“Good. Because what I was going to say is that I can’t believe you had this terrific idea about doing a series based on insurance commercials, and you chose the cavemen. When eSurance has all those ads with that super-hot cartoon spy chick.”

“…Lord?”

“You know…Flash animation, done in kind of a ‘Samurai Jack’ style. Features a cute insurance agent in a pink, bedhead Laura Petrie hairdo and an Emma Peel-type catsuit. They’re fantastic. eSurance even commissioned a full-length short for the Internet.”

“Wow.”

“And again, she’s just cute as a button. So imagine that you’re sitting there in your office and you’ve got these three hairy Mark Gastineau-lookin’ mofos on one side and Erin eSurance on the other. Honestly, which one would you rather gawk at for 22 minutes?”

“Erin, absolutely.”

“And you’re gay!

“Wait…I’m totally straight.”

“Mmm…not so much. Trust me on this. It’ll answer soooo many lifelong questions for you. Take this insight as my gift, for letting me bump your 1:20 with Huey Lewis.”

“And my niece…?”

“Sure, whatever. So we’re good, here? When can I look forward to seeing a new series bible and a set of storyboards?”

It’s just that simple.

Like I said, God’s doing a fab job and I hope He continues to hold that office until He’s eager to retire. If and when that happens, however, I hope I can count on your vote in November.

Moving Along…

And here we see one of the advantages of using WordPress as your blogging platform instead of a homemade AppleScript app. I’m on the Acela train, about an hour from NYC (first-class car, thank you very much) and lookit me: I’m blogging.

I went and installed a special iPhone plugin that served a cool mobile admin page when the blog senses that I’m accessing the admin side from an iPhone. I had been slightly miffed that I’ve (as yet) failed to get blogging-by-email working but hell, so long as I have something that works.

I had one of those “life is good” moments a couple of hours ago. The Boston-NYC run takes you down the New England coastline. At sunset, as it happened. I had tjis week’s (unseen) episode of “House” going on the iPod Touch, dinner on the train was very nice, the views from my seat were quite pretty, and I was getting some nice photos.

“Life is Good,” I sighed. And it was.

Of course, later I realized that I’ve left my credit cards at home. But it was still a nice moment.

As Though Our Two Hearts Have Been Mashed Together As One

Okay.

This gentleman is a wonderful photographer.

No joke. He’s a real pro. His shots have a compelling, luminous quality. Strong portfolio. Good stuff.

But this has got to be one of the very worst ideas for a wedding photo ever.

(Third from the top.)

My second reaction is of course the inescapable metaphor.

“We’re stuck on the railroad tracks,” these faces say from the luminous photo on their sofa table. “That’s us. That’s our life together. Stalled and stuck on the railroad tracks. Ignoring the warning signs that should have been obvious to even a drunk-ass sea otter, to say nothing of all of the people — all of our friends and family, really — who are frantically shouting ‘Don’t do it! It can’t possibly end happily! It’s going to be a terrible disaster!!!’

“But for this moment, at least, we’re the happiest damned people in the whole ****ing world. Let us grab on to this moment! Grab it and hold it close and make it last forever!”

My first reaction is “Holy ****! You! You two idiots! Get off the train tracks!!!

Possibly (Hopefully) The Low Point

5 days until final book deadline. There’s a certain amount of shaving and showering that should be happening but isn’t.

The true sign that I’ve reached the end game (as well as the low reserves of my mental faculties) is when I must resort to lab rat methods of motivation.

Witness (metaphorically only, unless you’re that kind person who sent me the vintage moose head and the 802.11g antenna that appears to be sticking up behind its left ear is transmitting video from an embedded camera) the small dish to the left of my keyboard. This morning, it contained eight peanut M&M’s. It now contains three. Each candy represents a specific item on today’s punchlist that must be completed before I’m allowed to close my eyes and adopt any posture that invites or even risks sleep.

Yes, I both need a tangible reward for each goal met, as well as a visible indicator of progress and a clear marker of when it’s time to walk away from the keyboard and follow the orange pixies into their magic gumdrop forest.

It is very appropriate that I’ll be boarding a plane and fleeing this whole half of the USA on the day I submit the last bits of this book. I think I’m going to desperately need to spend 48 hours forgetting everything about my office and cocooning myself in a world apart where there’s a king-sized bed, maid service, and cheerful Texans eager to ply me with barbecue.

Acesulfame K

Rrgh. For a test blog, I don’t seem to be doing a lot of testing, eh?

My apologies. This is the final week of production on my iPhone book and I’m using up every last second I have to make it The Best God-Damned Book Ever Written. “Moby Dick”? “Great Expectations”? “The King James Bible (Special Edition With All Of The Naughty Stuff Outlined In Purple)”? Forget ’em. Toss them into the recycling because “iPhone: Fully Loaded” will without any question become the standard by which all great literature is compared.

All great literature will fail by comparison, but it’s good that these other writers keep themselves busy and have some sort of goal. Don’t you think?

So there are two immediate priorities going on with the Celestial House of Binary (BETA):

1) Create a somewhat awesome new WordPress theme. Workin’ on it. I’ve found a couple of neat tutorials and starting points (thanks in part to a public call for same on MacBreakWeekly) that have given me a big leap on this. I’ll post links later.

I’ve also worked out the color scheme, based on a page of comic book art. I photographed the page, handed it off to Flickr Toys’ Palette Generator, and bango: I immediately had a CSS stylesheet with those colors all locked and loaded.

2) Figure out the best way to wire up the RSS feed. My homebrew blogging app has a long list of weaknesses. One of the biggest is that although it observes most of the ginchier web standards (like RSS) it’s still bloody invisible to the search engines and trackers and other mechanisms that folks use to find stuff on the Web. It’s off on its own island somehow and I’ve no idea why.

Case in point: I did my usual egosurf on Technorati and as usual, Yellowtext posts on the Colossal Waste of Bandwidth are nowhere to be seen. But posts here on the Celestial House of Binary pop up immediately.

This is discouraging for Yellowtext. Dammit, it’s been online and RSS-ified for something like five years now, and it’s been linked all over the place. Whereas Ihnatko.com has only been live for a few weeks, with no word-of-mouth at all.

So before I tell people to come on down to Ihnatko.com (for all your badland RV sales and service needs), I wanna make sure that the RSS system is as studly as it can to be.

Mmmmm…okey-doke. Then Feedburner, I guess? I’ve looked at this service as a technology pundit and I’ve looked at it as an author with a longstanding blog and now I’ve looked at it as someone starting up a new blog, and each time the site tells me the exact same thing:

“Feedburner has something to do with hosting RSS feeds. The thing that it does, whatever it is, will work out for you in the long run. Honest.”

Feedburner desperately needs an “elevator pitch.” That is, if you have an idea for a movie and you want to get George Lucas excited about it and you’ve got an hour of his time, well, awesome. But in reality,

(Yes. The reality of getting a chance to pitch a movie idea to George Lucas. I regretted that as soon as I typed it. If only there were some way of un-writing that before you all read it. I can only apologize and move on.)

…But in reality, the best you can count on is having ten or twenty seconds between the time you realize that the man standing next to you in the elevator is the guy who did “American Graffiti” and “THX-1138” and “Star Wars” and even “Radioland Murders”, and the time one of his goons pulls your sweatshirt over your face NHL-style and shoves you into a fountain in the lobby.

You can’t sell nothin’ without an elevator pitch: ten to twenty seconds that will engage enough of someone’s interest that they’ll want to hear the “real” pitch. FeedBurner’s site lacks those critical ten to twenty seconds.

Well, I’ll figure it out. Next week. When the book is done and the birds are singing in the trees and the bacon is once again hot, crisp and flavorful. Until then, I am stuck in my office, singing showstopping numbers from the classic musical “Showboat” and feeling like the most miserable bastard alive.

Whistle While You Smirk

You can tell that a project is going well when you’re pleased to be busting your ass. Case in point: my iPhone book, which is in its final week of writing.

It’s coming out great. It goes its own way and it justifies its existence in the marketplace and it’s going to make a lot of iPhone owners really happy with their purchases. Of both the iPhone and the book.

Oh, and iPod Touch owners, too. It would have been great to be one of the first to market but good God! The iPhone is a completely different beast today than it was two months ago.”iPhone Fully Loaded” won’t be the first iPhone book but it’ll probably be the first one to reflect the actual state of the world, not the one that existed a week or two after the release date.

Among the benefits: the evening after Apple announced the iPod Touch, I laughed and laughed and then I went through the manuscript, looking for places to change “iPhone” to “iPhone or Touch.” A couple of phone calls to the publisher and the marketing will reflect that it’s full of tips and techniques for Touch users. First to market!

So today I finally bit the bullet and canned Chapter 8. It was…interesting,  but it was kind of just sitting there between chapters 7 and 9. I looked at its place in the structure of the book and suddenly remembered a much more interesting topic I’d come up with about a month ago, when the book was “locked.” But I had to put it aside, because I couldn’t insert a new chapter at that point without completely disrupting every chapter that came after it.

Welp, I realized that if I dumped the current Chapter 8 — which was damned-near complete — this new topic could slide right into its place. And nobody would have to spend two days renumbering illustrations and callouts because of an inserted chapter.

It was lots of work but damn, it’s much better than what I had there before. If the project were going poorly, an element that requires only 20 minutes of thumb-twiddling would feel like torture. As it is, at the end of six hours I was no farther along than I was when I started, vis a vis the number of completed chapters. But I couldn’t be more pleased.

Q&A: “Is Mankind Inherently Good Or Evil?”

Q: Is Mankind’s basic nature to be good, or evil?

A: If those are the only two choices, then “good,” definitely.

I sense a disturbance in the Force which corresponds to thousands of voices crying out with information…information that they can barely recall, from a single college Philosophy course that they barely passed. Blah blah blah Hegel blah blah blah Kant, etc.

Philosophers! Morons. All of them. Except of course for the once who have tenured positions with prestigious universities. Now that’s a sweet, sweet scam worthy of a Corleone.

And save your “But are you a good person because that’s Man’s nature, or merely because you fear the repercussions that come from breaking the law?” This comment only demeans you. Plus, it doesn’t address the question. The question isn’t “Am I, Andy Ihnatko, good or evil?” — I suppose I shouldn’t comment publicly on that one, due to pending litigation — but “Is Mankind?

Here it is: as a species, we have consistently voted for Good over the course of the last, what, 40,000 years or so. Witness the bulk of human society today. Overwhelmingly, communities (call them governments, call them tribes, call them nations) are based on observance of the basic principle of acknowledging other people’s rights and freedoms.

So yes, if someone sees me fiddling with a 160 gigabyte iPod Classic on the subway, thinks “This treasure can be mine with a simple investment of a little bit of pushing and a little bit of running away very fast,” but notes the presence of a police officer nearby and does nothing, that’s a point in favor of an evil nature held in check only by threat of punishment. But the fact that there are laws against theft and multiple bureaucracies to prosecute and incarcerate those who aren’t on board with that means that Society, as a whole, trends towards basic goodness.

I mean, we take this sort of thing for granted. If Humanity were evil, we’d take for granted that any property of any kind was simply up for grabs, and if you like your wealth or possessions, you’d better be prepared to defend them with force.

Notable exceptions abound — viz civil warfare in the Congo and banks that charge its own customers a fee for withdrawing their own money — but clearly, all empirical evidence proves that regardless of the generation or the locality, humanity’s basic nature is Good, not Evil.

That’s completely settled. Let’s hear no more of this.

Finish Him!!!

Had a brilliant idea today: a “Mortal Combat”-style fighting game in which all of the combatants are not particularly noted for being physically intimidating, to the point of downright milquetoastery.

Playable characters include:

  • Eddie Deezen
  • Mr. Bean
  • George Costanza
  • Pee-Wee Herman
  • Paul Lynde
  • Rick Moranis (as Louis Tully from “Ghostbusters”)
  • Larry David
  • Woody Allen
  • Dr. Smith from “Lost In Space”
  • Milhouse Van Houten
  • Don Knotts (as Barney Fife)
  • Don Knotts (as Ralph Furley) (Unlockable player)
  • Niles Crane
  • John Waters
  • Arnold Horshack
  • Clark Kent (in the presence of Lois Lane) (before she learned that he’s Superman)
  • Charles Nelson-Reilly
  • The black guy from “Designing Women”
  • Moby
  • Arnold Stang
  • The middle guy from “Blue Man Group”
  • Mel Cooley (from “The Dick Van Dyke Show”)
  • Matthew Broderick
  • David Spade
  • Dick Cavett
  • Patton Oswalt (as Spence on “The King Of Queens”)
  • Patton Oswalt (as himself)

Most common fighting style: lots of slapping, not many shots landing because combatant has his other arm wrapped around his head, eyes clamped shut, most of upper body twisted as far away from fight as possible. AKA Boku Nerd Floating Monkey-Style.

Typical fatalities: Curling up in defensive fetal position and accidentally tumbling off of fighting platform; crying so hard that combatant passes out from dehydration; dropped asthma inhaler.

My Great-Great-Great-Great-Great-Uncle Godefroy

I was only in New York for about 36 hours but I still found time to head up to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and see how they were taking care of a family heirloom:

Me In Armor (400)

Honest to God, I can’t tell you how many times I had to haul that thing to the other side of the rec room just so me and my sisters could play bumper pool.

We got more than a $2000 writeoff when we donated it to the museum, which was great but honestly Mom and Dad were happy enough just to get it out of the house. They offered them the bumper pool table, too, but I guess the Met just doesn’t know real quality when they see it.

I don’t know much about Uncle Godefroy. One story says that he did extremely well as an officer in the French cavalry. Another says that he just rented the suit for the day so he’d look like a big deal in the painting.

Well, whichever…my hat’s off.