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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in A journal not only of sight and sound, but of mind's LiveJournal:

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    Thursday, December 25th, 2014
    12:15 am
    100 years ago today: the Christmas truce of World War I
    One hundred years ago, World War I was devastating Europe, and the battle lines had already stalemated and turned very bloody. But something happened the night of the 24th of December that year, that became known as the Christmas truce:

    The Christmas truce was a series of widespread but unofficial ceasefires along the Western Front around Christmas 1914. In the week leading up to the holiday, German and British soldiers crossed trenches to exchange seasonal greetings and talk. In areas, men from both sides ventured into no man's land on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day to mingle and exchange food and souvenirs. There were joint burial ceremonies and prisoner swaps, while several meetings ended in carol-singing. Men played games of football with one another, giving one of the most enduring images of the truce.
    In 2005, after the last survivor of the Christmas truce had died, the New York Times published this article of excerpts of journals and memoirs of those that were there. Some selections:

    It was a beautiful moonlit night, frost on the ground, white almost everywhere; and about 7 or 8 in the evening there was a lot of commotion in the German trenches and there were these lights -I don't know what they were. And then they sang "Silent Night" - "Stille Nacht." I shall never forget it, it was one of the highlights of my life. I thought, what a beautiful tune.

    Then suddenly lights began to appear along the German parapet, which were evidently make-shift Christmas trees, adorned with lighted candles, which burnt steadily in the still, frosty air! … First the Germans would sing one of their carols and then we would sing one of ours, until when we started up "O Come, All Ye Faithful" the Germans immediately joined in singing the same hymn to the Latin words Adeste Fideles. And I thought, well, this is really a most extraordinary thing - two nations both singing the same carol in the middle of a war.

    I shouted to our enemies that we didn't wish to shoot and that we make a Christmas truce. I said I would come from my side and we could speak with each other. First there was silence, then I shouted once more, invited them, and the British shouted "No shooting!" Then a man came out of the trenches and I on my side did the same and so we came together and we shook hands - a bit cautiously!

    We shook hands, wished each other a Merry Xmas, and were soon conversing as if we had known each other for years. We were in front of their wire entanglements and surrounded by Germans - Fritz and I in the center talking, and Fritz occasionally translating to his friends what I was saying. We stood inside the circle like street corner orators. … What a sight - little groups of Germans and British extending almost the length of our front! Out of the darkness we could hear laughter and see lighted matches, a German lighting a Scotchman's cigarette and vice versa, exchanging cigarettes and souvenirs.

    Eventually the English brought a soccer ball from their trenches, and pretty soon a lively game ensued. How marvelously wonderful, yet how strange it was. The English officers felt the same way about it. Thus Christmas, the celebration of Love, managed to bring mortal enemies together as our friends for a time.

    Not everyone approved of this, however--

    Cpl. Adolf Hitler of the 16th Bavarians lambasted his comrades for their unmilitary conduct:

    Such things should not happen in wartime. Have you Germans no sense of honor left at all?



    Merry Christmas to everyone and a happy new year.

    Current Mood: festive
    Thursday, November 6th, 2014
    11:47 pm
    Toy Story and the fourth movie curse
    So it's been announced that Toy Story 4 will be released in 2017.

    Here's hoping Pixar can break what I've come to call the Fourth Movie Curse: in short, fourth movies of a connected series always suck.

    Some examples:

    Die Hard, Die Hard 2 (Die Harder), Die Hard 3 (Die Hard With A Vengeance), Die Hard 4 (Live Free Or Die Hard) <-- sucks

    Raiders of the Lost Ark, Indiana Jones and the Temple Of Doom, Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull <-- sucks

    Alien, Aliens, Alien 3, Alien: Resurrection <-- sucks

    Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl, Dead Man's Chest, At World's End, On Stranger Tides <-- sucks

    The numbering itself doesn't matter. For example, Star Wars: 4, A New Hope; 5, Empire Strikes Back; 6, Return of the Jedi; 1, Phantom Menace <-- sucks hard

    But wait, you say. Star Trek 4 was actually pretty good. True. However, Wrath Of Khan was not a sequel to Star Trek 1: The Motionless Picture; it tried to pretend the previous movie never happened, and it wasn't even called Star Trek 2 until they came out with Star Trek 3: The Search For Spock.

    So: 2, Wrath Of Khan; 3, Search For Spock; 4, The Voyage Home; 5, The Final Frontier <-- sucks amazingly hard


    Here's hoping Pixar has better luck.

    Current Mood: dubious
    Tuesday, November 4th, 2014
    1:29 am
    Election time, aka end of the silly season
    Hat tip to Moe Lane for this one. Cracked.com has an article up titled Five Things You Won't Believe Can Brainwash You on Election Day, though I agree with Moe that the effects are likely overrated.

    Why's that there? Oh, no particular reason.
    Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014
    9:31 pm
    Death Valley's moving rocks
    The mystery of the 'slithering stones' of Death Valley appears to have been solved-- they got it on video, even:

    According to [Richard] Norris, a geological oceanographer and paleontologist, Death Valley’s rocks move under a delicate mix of water, ice, sun, and wind. Norris and his cousin were able to document the rock movements by inserting GPS tags into chunks of limestone and syncing their movements with readings taken from a custom-built weather station.

    Unlike one of the previous explanations, which had thick ice capturing the rocks and carrying them along like a miniature glacier, Norris said their evidence shows that thin ice floes break up and pile against the rocks. This creates enough friction to cause the rocks to skim across the muddy surface of a temporary pond. If you were there to see it, the rocks would look like ice-breaker ships plowing through sea ice—though in this instance, it’s the ice that’s moving the ships.
    National Geographic has the full story.
    Wednesday, August 20th, 2014
    12:15 am
    Brigadoon Day 25: now with ssh access
    Twenty-five years ago, a "weekend hack that got out of hand" called TinyMUD opened to the world, and here we are 25 years later. Point your mud clients at muds.toccobrator.com 4201 if you have a client; if you don't, then there is now ssh access available-- get the login and password at TinyMUD Classic's homepage: http://toccobrator.com/classic.html

    Spread the word! Classic will be up through Labor Day.
    Monday, August 11th, 2014
    10:34 pm
    Sunday, July 6th, 2014
    2:52 pm
    New Pink Floyd album.
    Four words none of us ever expected to hear put together again without a negation (such as "there will never be another"):

    It’s been 20 years since the last Pink Floyd album came out, and now frontman Dave Gilmour is ready to knock the dust off and get the band rolling again. Gilmour’s wife, Polly Samson, announced via Twitter that Pink Floyd would be releasing a new album, ‘The Endless River,’ in October of this year.

    http://diffuser.fm/new-pink-floyd-2014/

    Man, I hope it doesn't suck.

    Current Mood: boggled
    Sunday, March 16th, 2014
    9:51 pm
    2014 NCAA men's college basketball tournament, flat-ASCII brackets
    Flat-ASCII NCAA brackets for 2014:


                2nd Round  3rd Round   Regionals            1st Round  Dayton
                    March 20-23       March 27-30              March 18-19
     1. Florida -------\_________                          Albany -----------\_16S
    16. _______________/      (1)|_________                Mount St. Mary's -/ Tue
     8. Colorado ------\_________|         |             North Carolina State\_12MW
     9. Pittsburgh ----/                   |_________      Xavier -----------/ Tue
     5. Virginia Commonwealth____          |         |
    12. Stephen F. Austin     (5)|_________|         |           Final Four
     4. UCLA ----------\_________|         Thu/Sat   |           April 5, 7
    13. Tulsa ---------/                    South    |_________
     6. Ohio State ----\_________          Memphis   |         |
    11. Dayton --------/      (2)|_________          |         |
     3. Syracuse ------\_________|         |         |         |
    14. Western Michigan                   |_________|         |
     7. New Mexico ----\_________          |                   |
    10. Stanford ------/      (6)|_________|                   |
     2. Kansas --------\_________|                             |
    15. Eastern Kentucky                                       |_________
     1. Virginia ------\_________                              |         |
    16. Coastal Carolina      (7)|_________                    |         |
     8. Memphis -------\_________|         |                   |         |
     9. George Washington                  |_________          |         |
     5. Cincinnati ----\_________          |         |         |         |
    12. Harvard -------/      (3)|_________|         |         |         |
     4. Michigan State \_________|         Fri/Sun   |         |         |
    13. Delaware ------/                     East    |_________|         |
     6. North Carolina \_________          New York  |                   |
    11. Providence ----/      (8)|_________          |  Thu/Sat          |
     3. Iowa State ----\_________|         |         | (1) Orlando       |
    14. North Carolina Central             |_________| (2) Buffalo       |
     7. Connecticut ---\_________          |           (3) Spokane       |
    10. St. Joseph's --/      (2)|_________|           (4) Milwaukee     |
     2. Villanova -----\_________|                                       |
    15. Milwaukee -----/                                      Arlington  |_________
     1. Arizona -------\_________                                        |   2014
    16. Weber State ---/      (5)|_________             Fri/Sun          | Champion
     8. Gonzaga -------\_________|         |           (5) San Diego     |
     9. Oklahoma State /                   |_________  (6) St. Louis     |
     5. Oklahoma ------\_________          |         | (7) Raleigh       |
    12. North Dakota State    (3)|_________|         | (8) San Antonio   |
     4. San Diego State\_________|         Thu/Sat   |                   |
    13. New Mexico State                     West    |_________          |
     6. Baylor --------\_________          Anaheim   |         |         |
    11. Nebraska ------/      (8)|_________          |         |         |
     3. Creighton -----\_________|         |         |         |         |
    14. Louisiana-Lafayette                |_________|         |         |
     7. Oregon --------\_________          |                   |         |
    10. Brigham Young -/      (4)|_________|                   |         |
     2. Wisconsin -----\_________|                             |         |
    15. American ------/                                       |_________|
     1. Wichita State -\_________                              |
    16. _______________/      (6)|_________                    |
     8. Kentucky ------\_________|         |                   |
     9. Kansas State --/                   |_________          |
     5. St. Louis -----\_________          |         |         |
    12. _______________/      (1)|_________|         |         |
     4. Louisville ----\_________|         Fri/Sun   |         |
    13. Manhattan -----/                   Midwest   |_________|
     6. Massachusetts -\_________       Indianapolis |
    11. _______________/      (7)|_________          |
     3. Duke ----------\_________|         |         |      1st Round  Dayton
    14. Mercer --------/                   |_________|         March 18-19
     7. Texas ---------\_________          |           California Polytechnic\_16MW
    10. Arizona State -/      (4)|_________|               Texas Southern ---/ Wed
     2. Michigan ------\_________|                         Iowa -------------\_11MW
    15. Wofford -------/                                   Tennessee --------/ Wed
    
    Friday, December 13th, 2013
    3:57 am
    Hobbit 2
    Attention:

    Smaug is awesome.

    That is all.
    Tuesday, November 26th, 2013
    1:15 am
    (EVIL!)Mud is back
    For those of you that care about such things: (EVIL!)Mud is back up, at evil.xibo.com 4201.

    Current Mood: don't look now but here comes 1990
    Wednesday, November 13th, 2013
    12:03 am
    45
    Upon reaching 45, my geeky side notes that it's the lowest standard vinyl rpm that's also a whole number, while my twisted side notes that it's the only vinyl rpm speed that has a non-standard spindle hole.

    Current Mood: year++
    Tuesday, August 20th, 2013
    12:37 am
    Brigadoon Day 24 (yikes, that's a large number)
    Brigadoon Day 24 is here! For anyone that was on TinyMUD, or its descendents Muck, Mush, Muse, Moo, or any of the rest, TinyMUD Classic was the ancestor of all of them. It's up for its 24th anniversary; if you weren't at last year's Brigadoon Day, note that your password has been reset to 'password'; see http://toccobrator.com/classic.html for all the gory details. Otherwise point your client at muds.toccobrator.com 4201 and catch up with people you haven't seen in a while.

    Current Mood: retro
    Sunday, July 7th, 2013
    9:21 pm
    Can anyone identify this Bach fugue?
    Many years ago, a friend of mine identified the high score music in my Swords of Fury pinball machine as a Bach fugue, but he never specified which one it was. So can anyone identify which one it is? The youtube link is about a minute long and is just the audio of it. Thanks in advance!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jxFRBz8NCzg
    Thursday, June 27th, 2013
    6:45 pm
    Gauntlet II by four
    Thanks to my friendly neighborhood pinball repair guy (who also repairs video games), my Gauntlet II not only has a working monitor for the first time in years, it also has four working controllers for the first time since before I bought it in Indiana in 1996.
    Wednesday, June 26th, 2013
    4:29 pm
    How the Supreme Court ruled on California's Prop 8 should worry everyone
    Even if you are the strongest supporter of gay marriage ever, how the Supreme Court ruled on California's Proposition 8 should worry you.

    The Supreme Court didn't actually rule yea or nay; the Court decided that the people bringing the challenge to the state court decision that ruled Prop 8 unconstitutional didn't have standing to challenge it, only the officials in the state government had standing. Think about this for a minute. A state constitutional amendment was passed by a vote of the people, but the people don't have standing to challenge a court's declaraction that the amendment is unconstitutional?

    This means that any court ruling about any state constitutional amendment is immune to any challenges by anyone if the officials in the state government don't want to challenge it for any reason. So if here in my state of Georgia, if gay marriage was put on the ballot and approved by the people, but a state judge decided to strike it down, and the governor didn't want to challenge it for whatever reason, no one would have standing to challenge that judge's ruling and the people's will would be thwarted by a small number of government officials.

    That's a horrible precedent and should worry anyone who doesn't trust their government (which should be everyone).
    Monday, March 18th, 2013
    12:52 am
    2013 NCAA men's college basketball tournament, flat-ASCII brackets
    Flat-ASCII NCAA brackets for 2013:


                2nd Round  3rd Round   Regionals            1st Round  Dayton
                    March 23-26       March 28-31              March 19-20
     1. Louisville ----\_________                          North Carolina A&T\_16MW
    16. _______________/      (1)|_________                Liberty ----------/ Tue
     8. Colorado State \_________|         |               Middle Tennessee -\_11MW
     9. Missouri ------/                   |_________      St. Mary's (CA) --/ Tue
     5. Oklahoma State \_________          |         |                             
    12. Oregon --------/      (2)|_________|         |           Final Four
     4. St. Louis -----\_________|         Fri/Sun   |           April 6, 8    
    13. New Mexico State                   Midwest   |_________
     6. Memphis -------\_________        Indianapolis|         |
    11. _______________/      (3)|_________          |         |
     3. Michigan State \_________|         |         |         |
    14. Valparaiso ----/                   |_________|         |
     7. Creighton -----\_________          |                   |
    10. Cincinnati ----/      (5)|_________|                   |
     2. Duke ----------\_________|                             |
    15. Albany NY -----/                                       |_________
     1. Gonzaga -------\_________                              |         |
    16. Southern ------/      (4)|_________                    |         |
     8. Pittsburgh ----\_________|         |                   |         |
     9. Wichita State -/                   |_________          |         |
     5. Wisconsin -----\_________          |         |         |         |
    12. Mississippi ---/      (6)|_________|         |         |         |
     4. Kansas State --\_________|         Thu/Sat   |         |         |
    13. _______________/                     West    |_________|         |
     6. Arizona -------\_________        Los Angeles |                   |
    11. Belmont -------/      (4)|_________          |  Thu/Sat          |
     3. New Mexico ----\_________|         |         | (1) Lexington     |
    14. Harvard -------/                   |_________| (2) San Jose      |
     7. Notre Dame ----\_________          |           (3) Auburn Hills  |
    10. Iowa State ----/      (7)|_________|           (4) Salt Lake City|
     2. Ohio State ----\_________|                                       |
    15. Iona ----------/                                        Atlanta  |_________
     1. Kansas --------\_________                                        |   2013
    16. Western Kentucky      (6)|_________             Fri/Sun          | Champion
     8. North Carolina \_________|         |           (5) Philadelphia  |
     9. Villanova -----/                   |_________  (6) Kansas City   |
     5. Virginia Commonwealth____          |         | (7) Dayton        |
    12. Akron ---------/      (3)|_________|         | (8) Austin        |
     4. Michigan ------\_________|         Fri/Sun   |                   |
    13. South Dakota State                  South    |_________          |
     6. UCLA ----------\_________        North Texas |         |         |
    11. Minnesota------/      (8)|_________          |         |         |
     3. Florida -------\_________|         |         |         |         |
    14. Northwestern State                 |_________|         |         |
     7. San Diego State\_________          |                   |         |
    10. Oklahoma ------/      (5)|_________|                   |         |
     2. Georgetown ----\_________|                             |         |
    15. Florida Gulf Coast                                     |_________|
     1. Indiana -------\_________                              |
    16. _______________/      (7)|_________                    |
     8. North Carolina State_____|         |                   |
     9. Temple --------/                   |_________          |
     5. U Nevada-Las Vegas_______          |         |         |
    12. California ----/      (2)|_________|         |         |
     4. Syracuse ------\_________|         Thu/Sat   |         |
    13. Montana -------/                     East    |_________|
     6. Butler --------\_________       Washington DC|
    11. Bucknell ------/      (1)|_________          |
     3. Marquette -----\_________|         |         |      1st Round  Dayton
    14. Davidson ------/                   |_________|         March 19-20    
     7. Illinois ------\_________          |          Long Island U. Brooklyn\_16E 
    10. Colorado ------/      (8)|_________|               James Madison ----/ Wed
     2. Miami ---------\_________|                         Boise State ------\_13W 
    15. Pacific -------/                                   La Salle ---------/ Wed
    
    Sunday, December 23rd, 2012
    12:43 am
    Fuck you, TNT
    Fuck you, TNT. Leverage was the only reason I had to ever turn to your otherwise-crappy channel, not counting about 4 days in March when the college basketball tournament is running.

    In case I didn't make it obvious enough:

    Leverage canceled? FUCK YOU, TNT.

    Saturday, December 1st, 2012
    3:16 pm
    New Orleans convenience store boots an ambulance on an active call
    Okay, this is completely bugfuck insane.

    An ambulance on a call to a convenience store in New Orleans (lights on, the whole works) tried to drive off and found out the hard way that someone from the store had put a tire boot on the ambulance.

    What the FUCK, over?

    Booting an ambulance on an active call?

    Again, WHAT THE FUCK?

    Someone needs to be thrown in jail over this.

    The news article has pictures, including showing the boot on the ambulance.

    Current Mood: gobsmacked
    Thursday, November 8th, 2012
    10:41 pm
    Lincoln's saying only goes so far
    While it is true that you can't fool all the people all the time, you can fool 51% of the people at election time.
    Wednesday, November 7th, 2012
    12:55 am
    "Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard." -- H. L. Mencken
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