The Aardvark Speaks : essence, effervescence, obscurity. Established 2002. A weblog by Horst Prillinger. ISSN 1726-5320

March 2005 Archive


March 01, 2005

Just to inform you that I've posted the solution for Saturday's puzzle in the comments to that entry.

Posted by Horst at 06:00 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

I'm not sure if I mentioned this at some point, but I kind of live in single country. The district where I live has the highest proportion of single households, the highest proportion of people with university degrees, it's the only district with a Green Party majority, and it also has the greatest density of hairdressers, advertising agencies and architects' offices. It's not exactlly representative for Vienna, but it's still a nice area to live in, even if the rate of burglaries is also fairly high.

Anyway, going to supermarkets in this area you'd think that shopping carts are strictly for losers. I dare you to try to find one young urban twenty- or thirtysomething who actually uses one, and I'll give you a cigar. People will do the most remarkable acrobatic feats of balancing almost unreal stacks of groceries in two hands and on two arms, but they will not be caught using a shopping cart. They will even readily accept angry looks from the woman at the cash register for taking forever to clear all the stuff away from the conveyor belt into their tiny little baglets, but shopping carts are out of the question.

It's not just uncool, it's also like you're admitting that you don't belong to the class of young successful urban singles. It's like admitting that you may be shopping for more than one person, perhaps — gasp — even have children. Now that would be inacceptable.

I admit it — I barely ever used to use a shopping cart myself too. It's not that I shop such a lot of stuff for myself that I actually need one of those.

This has now changed since Christmas, when the Christmas bonus for the employees of VU consisted of a generous pack of €10 vouchers for a large supermarket chain — vouchers that cannot be redeemed for purchases under €10. Now this has changed my perspective in two ways:

  1. Before, it seemed to impossible to spend less than €10 at the supermarket, no matter how little I bought. Now, it seems next to impossible to spend more than €10 if I don't want to buy stuff that I don't really need.
  2. Before, I never bothered with the shopping carts. But with purchases over €10 it seems that you actually need one of them unless you are really good at balancing stuff, which I'm not.

In short, I now watch the young successful people balancing their stuff and looking moderately cool doing so, while I'm pushing my shopping cart around and feel like a loser. A loser who doesn't even know how to spend his vouchers. A loser who pays with vouchers, for God's sake.

This sucks so much. And I'm afraid my white iPod earphones don't make me even the tiniest bit cooler. Thank God that at least these people don't hear what kind of music I'm listening to.

Posted by Horst at 09:34 PM | Comments (12) | TrackBack (1)


March 02, 2005

The most eagerly awaited record release this year has finally been officially announced. However, according to my sources it should be out on 25 April, not May.

Update: Since some people [1] [2] seem to think that Trent Reznor's new album is more eagerly awaited, maybe I should point out the significance of the Fall's Peel Sessions box: (a) it's complete, spanning 24 sessions/26 years from when the Fall released their first record in 1978 to briefly before John Peel's death in 2004; (b) it's over 6 hours of previously hard to get recordings, many of which are much better than the versions released on the studio albums; and (c) it contains the first properly recorded version of "Blindness", which is easily the best song recorded last year, and also better than anything I've ever heard from Trent Reznor.

Posted by Horst at 03:11 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)

At least I found out why I was sleeping really bad for the last couple of days, like dreaming really strange things and then waking up in the middle of the night, covered in sweat and feeling really hot in an unhealthy kind of way.

Turns out the timer on my heating thermostat is broken, so the heating would turn itself on automatically erratically at some point in the middle of the night and raise the room temperature to a point beyond comfortable for sleeping, and then again turn itself off so as not to leave any traces. Got to get this fixed.

Posted by Horst at 09:35 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)


March 04, 2005

So I received my annual gas/electricity bill, and I'm confused. And the fact that they changed the page layout from landscape to portrait orientation in order to make it "more readable and easier to understand", as they explained in the accompanying letter, didn't help at all. In fact I'm more confused than ever before, and this is probably because

  • gas use no longer seems to be priced per cubic metre, but per kWh;
  • the billing period used to be 12 months, this time it's 15 months;
  • the fee used to be billed 5 times a year, now it's 10 times a year, but since it's already February, they're stating they'll only bill me 9 times;
  • there used to be just three positions on the bill: gas, electricity and meter tax. Now in addition to those there's a complex system of at least five additional supplementary costs (for example, you now have to pay extra for the use of power cables and for research on environment-friendly energy sources);
  • there's this weird position on the bill which seems to say that I get one day's use of electricity (or 0.67kWh) free of charge. Which must be a joke, right?

Anyway, I'm perfectly unable to tell whether I used more gas and electricity than the previous year or less. What is obvious is that I have to pay more, but I'm not sure to what extent this is due to rising energy use, rising energy costs, the new billing system or all those new supplementary costs.

And all of this is, I guess, thanks to the miracle of privatisation, which they promised us would make everything so much simpler and cheaper.

I think I'll just phone them, ask for an appointment at their head office and have someone there explain this bill to me. And I encourage everyone who's registered with the same company to do the same.

Posted by Horst at 02:57 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)


March 07, 2005

I tried to find out what the non-rightwing US weblogs have to say about the shooting of Italian intelligence officer Nicola Calipari by US troops in Iraq, but all I could find was things like "most likely the soldiers behaved appropriately" and "it's a war zone, so he should expect to be shot".

I seem to remember them being more outspoken than that. But perhaps they are thinking of this as a minor incident that is not worth digging into.

I think they are seriously underestimating just how much of a public outrage the whole thing has created in Italy. They are probably also underestimating just what it means if a substantial amount of people in Italy think that the US soldiers fired deliberately on the car (no matter if that is true or not).

By the way, the rightwing weblogs aren't writing anything about it either, but I kind of expected that.

Posted by Horst at 03:18 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)


March 08, 2005

Mig and Jag have semi-disabled their weblogs due to comment/trackback spam. Hereabouts, some weirdo keeps posting bomb threats in ghastly spelling on my Vienna Metro guestbook. My anti-spam blacklist is now at 2865 entries.

Yesterday, for the first time in a year, a Nigerian scam mail passed through my spam filter. It was the usual blah blah, so I have no idea why it wasn't detected.

True torture is first eating too much sushi with salty soy sauce and then being stuck in a room with only a Coke vending machine and a terrible thirst and you're on a diet and aren't supposed to drink a bottle of soda containing the equivalent of 20 lumps of sugar.

Now that I have a brand new waffle iron I want to make waffles that don't just taste, but also smell like those they sell in the metro stations in Brussels. Mine taste just fine, but they smell nothing like the real thing. In fact, while they're in the waffle iron, they smell kind of icky.

And finally, I've been feeling a lot better since an article in a local newspaper told me that I'm not alone.

Posted by Horst at 05:16 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

They tell me I should blog more. They ask me why I haven't blogged anything yet this year. They ask me why has my picture been removed from this weblog. They ask me do I still exist. They tell me they want moose content. They ask me have I been in the washing machine yet.

Perhaps. Because. Don't know. Yes. Tough luck. No.

More moose content in weblogs!

Posted by Haldur Gislufsson at 05:33 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)


March 09, 2005

Amazon wishlists are most useless thing on earth.

And that's because the following thing just happened to me yet again:

  • At some time in the past, I put an item on the wishlist.
  • Nobody buys it, of course.
  • At some point I want it, so I either order it from Amazon myself or start looking for it elsewhere, find it, and buy it.
  • I immediately delete the item from my wishlist.
  • A few days after I get the item, I get a parcel from Amazon with the very same item in it again, because somebody ordered it for me briefly before I deleted it.

This has happened to me four times now. Considering that I only ever got five items from my wishlist, this is a pretty disastrous rate.

Only once did the person who bought me the item pick one of the other items that are also on my wishlist. In all other cases I got the very one item that I chose to buy and just managed to get a day or so before.

Which proves that the people who buy me stuff from my wishlist are all pretty gifted psychics.

Anyway, to spoil my upcoming birthday, this has just happened again. And whether it's due to psychic abilities or to Murphy's Law, this is just ridiculous — and please don't get me wrong: this is not at all about spending £18 on a DVD that I could have got for free, it's because it would have been so great to get it as a birthday gift from my friends, and it just didn't work out that way.

So if anybody wants my duplicate copy of Raincoat, which could easily be the best Indian movie from 2004 [official site | Review], send me an e-mail, and in exchange for a couple of IPCs to cover for the postage, I'll mail it to you at no extra cost.

And from now on all I'll ever put on my wishlist is stuff that I don't really want. Just to be on the safe side.

Posted by Horst at 04:59 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)


March 10, 2005

It kind of got the strikethrough treatment yesterday, so let me just take the opportunity to repeat this:

Raincoat. Great movie. Official site. Review. IMDb. Buy.

112 minutes, no songs, no dances, no kitsch, next to no overacting, basically just 3 long dialogues between just 3 people, and lots of rain. Intense. One of the best Indian movies of 2004, no doubt.

Don't read the IMDb reviews (or reviews elsewhere) if you want to see the movie because some of them contain spoilers that make the movie much, much less interesting.

Posted by Horst at 11:09 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Okay, so if you had to, where would you buy those erotica that you wanted to buy — ahem — as a gift for a friend?

  1. a local bookseller, even if there is the chance of him/her looking at you in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable
  2. Amazon, where the customer database will remember your purchases forever (and will keep recommending dirty books to you for the rest of your life)
  3. anywhere — just relax, dude, there's no need to be embarrassed, neither because of prudish booksellers nor because of your Amazon customer record
  4. you are buying what?

Me? No, I'm not buying erotica. I'm just asking for a friend who's easily embarrassed.

Posted by Horst at 11:19 AM | Comments (8) | TrackBack (0)


March 14, 2005

I probably should credit Volker Weber at this point for giving me the idea to incorporate an element into some of my web pages that you can see only if you are using one particular browser. I've had the necessary JavaScript knowledge for ages, no idea why I never thought of this myself.

Posted by Horst at 10:17 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)

I suppose that one of these jobs that they offer you in those "get rich fast" spam mails where you "earn $$$ while surfing the Internet" is actually surfing the Internet rather specifically in search of guestbooks and entering links to porn sites into them.

And there seem to be people who are doing this on a large scale, and I'm pretty sure they're people, not automated scripts. I had to delete a number of remarkably non-machine-like entries from a more or less machine-proof guestbook lately.

And I feel kind of sad for these people because it seems such a desperate way to make money, and I'm not sure if they're really the ones who are making $$$. And I will remember in the future that MT-Blacklist has to be turned on manually for newly created weblogs.

Posted by Horst at 11:42 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)


March 15, 2005

Different genres of film use different mechanisms to provide their viewers with just the right dose non-realism to function as escapist consumer products to make life seem more enjoyable to their viewers than it actually is.

Viewing about 160 episodes of Friends and Mad About You lately (don't ask), I noticed that sitcoms work by cutting minuscule slices of time from the day of a character and arranging them in such a way to make it look as if the slices were actually representative of that character's life.

In particular, there was one episode of Friends that seemed to consist of 30-second slices from something like 7 days.

And while it's highly unrealistic, you'll still catch yourself actually believing that these people spend all of their time at home or in the coffeehouse (or worse, that they are actually believable) once you've watched a number of episodes. And instead of providing escapism and make you feel good, you actually start envying them and wish your own life was more like theirs.

Which is why I sometimes prefer totally unrealistic TV series, because they keep reminding you that this is nothing like the real world, and you don't even want to be part of it. Nor do you actually want to watch them, which is another good thing, I suppose.

Posted by Horst at 05:04 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

Last week (I think) there was this huge scandal that caused quite a hoopla in the German blogosphere — basically what had happened was that Der Spiegel Online had published an article on the genocide in Rwanda that was largely copied from the German Wikipedia without naming the source. Der Spiegel eventually removed the article and printed an apology, and the German Wikipedia and weblog community rejoiced. It has taken me a while to respond to this, mostly because I've had more important things to do and criticising the Wikipedia is always like opening a can of rabid worms, but the debate that followed was just too hypocritical not to warrant a belated response.

First, there is no doubt that Der Spiegel made a mistake. What they did is incompatible with journalism, in fact incompatible with serious writing of any kind. There is a basic difference between using sources and copying sources, there is a difference between known reliable sources, known unreliable sources and sources of unknown reliability, and finally, there is a difference between naming your sources and pretending that you did not use any sources.

It's perfectly okay if a journalist uses known reliable sources and credits them. It's okay if a journalist uses a known unreliable source or a source of unknown reliability if s/he points out that the source may be unreliable. For things that are considered common knowledge it's the norm (though slightly less okay) that sources are used, but not credited. What should not happen is that sources are copied and not credited. What should not happen at all is that sources that are known to be unreliable are copied and not credited.

In the case of the copied Wikipedia article I don't know which of the two aspects is more embarrassing for Der Spiegel: the fact that the article was copied from Wikipedia or the fact that it was copied from Wikipedia, or, in other words: is it worse that the "journalist" in question did not know how to use sources properly or that he did not know to use proper sources?

And then the hypocrisy. Of course what's happening at the moment in the weblogs vs. journalism debate is something like a palace revolution. There's a huge number of people out there who are (rightly) dissatisfied with the established media and are only waiting for new media developments like weblogs to take over — a development that I hinted at in my BlogTalk paper last year. And since the established media are not responding with more professionalism, but instead resort to an increasing degree to copy-and-paste publishing, that may very well happen soon enough.

In my paper, I argued that weblogs are not journalism. Most of them still are not. But oddly enough what the established media are publishing now also less and less qualifies as journalism. In fact, the whole Spiegel Online thing qualifies only as one massive embarrassment. Still, it would be wrong to conclude that simply because the established media are becoming less professional, weblogs are becoming journalism. It still takes more than a WordPress or Movable Type installation (or a job at one of the established media, for that matter) to be a journalist.

Still, the hypocrisy. It's understandable, because hundreds of bloggers have been eagerly waiting for one of the established media to make a proper fool of itself to point out just how much the established media have become dead meat, but while they're right about that, they are acting as if Wikipedia was totally free of articles copied from other sources without attribution.

Which sounds just too good to be true, especially, as I pointed out elsewhere, it is sometimes not even possible. So it's good fun to see the Wikipedia community suddenly claim ownership of things that can hardly be owned and Der Spiegel being unprofessional enough to actually give them a point. In the meantime, real journalism probably happens elsewhere. Just don't ask me where.

Posted by Horst at 06:39 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0)


March 16, 2005

38

Remarkably anticlimactic. Except for the mussels. And the Red Snapper Wrapped in Banana Leaves. And the waffles.

Update: Thanks to everybody who called, sent an e-mail, etc. If you like, you can think of the recipes (available at The Aardvark Cooks) as a thank-you of sorts.

Posted by Horst at 10:17 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack (0)


March 18, 2005

My vintage 1999 PowerMac G4 at the office refuses to accept any of the newly (2005) released Miles Davis remasters (Jack Johnson, Seven Steps, Funny Valentine, Four & More) and just spits them out after less than five seconds of trying to read them. It does accept any of the older Miles Davis CDs that I have, though. Actually, it accepted all other CDs that I fed it so far. Oddly, my (slightly newer) G4 at home accepts the new CDs without any problem at all. What is this — some kind of weird copy protection? It doesn't say anything about copy protection on the cover or label of the CDs, and I suppose if they were protected, they shouldn't play at all. Odd.

Posted by Horst at 08:45 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0)

I remember how the tiny sachet size of potato crisps in Great Britain suddenly made sense when I figured out that what seemed to be a somewhat odd net weight — 28 grams — was in fact exactly 1 ounce of crisps. Everything clicked into place at that moment.

Now in my recent attempts to make waffles I noticed one particularly odd thing — here in Austria, yeast is sold in small cubes that weigh 42 grams, which just happens to be 1.5 ounces.

The mystery here is that I see no particular reason why it would make sense to produce yeast cubes that weigh 42 rather than 50 grams, nor is there an obvious reason why the manufacturer, an Austrian company, would use British Imperial weights for their yeast production.

I'm totally baffled, but at least this is finally an explanation what those customer service telephone numbers that they print on their products are good for.

Posted by Horst at 12:53 PM | Comments (13) | TrackBack (0)


March 21, 2005

Austria's right-wing Freedom Party, well-known abroad through its former party leader and political enfant terrible Jörg Haider, seems to be on the verge of falling apart. After disastrous losses in recent communal elections, the party's current leaders, which are of the more moderate wing (and include Haider's sister, who is the current party leader), and surprisingly Haider himself tried to get rid of some of the more outspoken rightwingers, which led to some serious infighting. Now some of the rightwingers are refusing to back down, some party members want Jörg Haider back as party leader, and some want him gone forever. There has been talk that the party was to be dissolved and re-founded, but then Haider changed his mind again. There is also talk that the party might split into up to three new parties. It is a truly strange spectacle.

One of the party's politicians who backed down when the right wing was disempowered was the leader of the party's Vienna branch, Heinz Christian Strache, formerly seen as one of the party's up-and-coming talents, who has also been called "the new Haider". Interestingly, within only two days after backing down, Strache appeared on posters all over the city, on which he proclaimed that "Wien darf nicht Istanbul werden" (Vienna must not become Istanbul) — a fairly explicit message against Turkish immigrants and a continuation of the party's strong anti-foreigner stance.

How I am becoming taboo

More interestingly, even though the poster campaign has been met with fierce criticism by both the liberal media and the liberal public (on the picture above you see a poster on which someone has changed the slogan to "How I am becoming taboo"), Strache is now suddenly back in the race for Freedom Party leadership.

It's impossible to see where the party that changed the Austrian political landscape since 1986 more than any other is heading — it could be descending into chaos, become even more like its coalition partner, the Conservative People's Party, or it could switch back into a strong right-wing course. It will also be interesting how the voters will respond to this in the parliamentary elections next year. As the slogan for the Austrian national lottery says: "Alles ist möglich" (everything is possible).

Posted by Horst at 12:06 AM | Comments (8) | TrackBack (0)


March 22, 2005

Whenever I hear Yo La Tengo's 'Season of the Shark' (MP3, 1MB), I always see the Yo La Tengo concert in Brussels two years ago before my mind's eye, when bassist James McNew put away his bass guitar for this particular song and played on an electric piano instead. Perhaps I should mention that James McNew is a pretty tall and big person, and that this electric piano was tiny in comparison. And for some reason, as time passes, on the concert footage in my head James McNew is getting bigger and bigger, while the electric piano is getting tinier and tinier. I have now arrived at a point where the relative difference in size between them has reached proportions that give the whole thing a slightly absurdist or perhaps even dadaist edge. I kind of like it that way. And it's still a cool song.

Posted by Horst at 10:01 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)


March 23, 2005

Insane? Are you taking a stroll in the garden?

If you ever thought that Indian English was a particularly strange language variety, then perhaps you should sometimes try to watch a Hindi DVD with German subtitles. Yes, they do exist, although considering the quality of the translation I am wondering why they bother. I am not sure which computer translation they used, but they were not entirely successful.

Sure, takes a good watches the girls. Behold, how they are standing.

Large wide! Make the enquiry that you want to make.

I have come to take back the home to you.

I am reflecting on it a good property, sister.

Sorry, translating the subtitles back into English does not work well, so I fear today's post will be lost on my non-German-speaking readers. English syntax is much simpler than German syntax, so a word-by-word translation back into English actually makes sense again. Well, in some cases anyway.

By the way, it's not just the German subtitles that are bad. The entire movie is pretty useless.

(By the way, the English subtitles make sense, but unfortunately they don't make the movie any better.)

Posted by Horst at 12:05 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack (3)

In other cities, say for example London, when they close an underground line, you arrive late for work in the morning. A closure of only a brief section on London's Central Line can mean additional travel times of 30 minutes or more.

Vienna, as they say, is different. Line U2 has been closed for engineering works for almost two months now, and I find that I'm up to ten minutes faster on my way to work now than I used to be.

The reason, I guess, is that Vienna is a rather small city. So what happens is that every time you have to change on public transport, the time you are waiting at the station is actually longer than than the time you actually spend moving towards your destination.

Due to the closure of the underground line, the intervals on a parallel tramway line have been halved so that there are now trams running at 1-2 minute intervals, which basically means you don't have to wait at all. That, and not having to walk down to the underground station and then up again at my destination saves me up to ten minutes.

Apart from the obvious conclusion that there is something extremely fishy about an underground system that makes you lose rather than gain time, there is the sad fact that line U2 will be back in operation this Saturday. Which means having to leave my flat ten minutes earlier every day again. Sigh.

Posted by Horst at 11:22 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

And you'd have thought she'd be immortal. Vienna's most famous coffeehouse co-proprietor dies aged 92. Thousands of Vienna travel guides will have to be rewritten. Even though I was not a regular, my sincere condolences go to husband Leopold (93) and family.

Posted by Horst at 02:21 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)


March 24, 2005

Um, can anybody give me a reason why I should spend a long weekend in Berlin? I've been leafing through a couple of travel guides for a few days now, but I'm still not too convinced...

Posted by Horst at 11:45 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)

Tonight, just a day after I posted the strange German subtitles from the Hindi movie Market, I came across the website of molodezhnaja, who posted even better ones from the movie Chokher Bali (and I'll spare you the rather obvious pun):

Second, will you excrete me this here in the middle of this river.
"Second, will you excrete me this here in the middle of this river."

The company who made this DVD is the same as the one who did Market and obviously, so is the technology they used.

This time, the German sentences are so weird that I can offer some kind of English translation. The German is funnier though.

Opened the door! The bootlickers have been cut.
"Opened the door! The bootlickers have been cut."

Rohini was fully blushed by youth, her beautyoverflow.
"Rohini was blushed in full by youth, her beautyoverflow."

The basic difference here to the other DVD is that I thought Chokher Bali was a really good movie — it's based on a novel by Nobel Prize winner Rabindranath Tagore, and while it is a bit bookish at times, I found the story of the young widow who refuses to conform with customs totally compelling (as was the performance of lead actress Aishwarya Rai). So this is definitely one to rent, if you peruse the English subtitles.

(Maybe I'll also have a look at the German subtitles on the Raincoat DVD, which is also from the same company. But then I really do like that movie, and it's easier to do this with movies you don't like.)

Posted by Horst at 11:26 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)


March 25, 2005

Wire

A bunch of 50 year-olds. Two of them wearing glasses. Two of them bald, and it's not quite clear whether it's for fashion or biological reasons. The lead guitar player, aged 58, grey-haired, is totally stoic. The singer jumps around the stage like a 20 year-old. Without looking ridiculous. Exquisite noise punk. Wonderful.

Get your copy here: www.posteverything.com

Posted by Horst at 05:00 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)


March 29, 2005

Darn referrer logs. Without them, my life might be brighter, and easier, and everything because I simply wouldn't become aware of all the nonsense out there and I wouldn't feel forced to respond to things that are clearly not worth responding to.

Point one: A couple of people are trying to make something of a copy of my Vienna Metro website at Wikipedia. There is one article on the English wikipedia and another one on the German wikipedia. Both are not copied verbatim from my site, but both, and especially the German one, are clearly using my website as their main source, and the authors of both articles have no idea what an encyclopedia entry is supposed to look like because they go into some unnecessary details while leaving out the core facts. Wherever they didn't copy things too closely, both articles contain factual errors, sometimes pretty hilarious ones, like linking SGP to Singapore. Oh, and the English article is not very English, but who cares about proper grammar, vocabulary and spelling on the Internet anyway these days?

My response to these cheap copies has been to expand the content on my website, but whenever I did that, the Wikipedia people are simply adding some of the added stuff to their article. It's been a tug-of-war game of sorts, and I may be on the losing side. My one consolation is that they may run out of sources when I stop adding new stuff, but the horrifying thing is that these people simply don't know when an encyclopedia article is long enough (for a particularly bizarre article, have a look at this one). In the meantime I have become totally paranoid — I fear that whatever interesting fact I add to my own website may mercilessly be appropriated into the ever-growing Wikipedia article, even though this may not be true at all. It feels that way, though.

The point is, I'd happily write an article for Wikipedia on this topic that is to the point and contains correct information, but I'm unwilling to do it if I don't get credit for it and if it can be changed by anybody who comes along, no matter if they know more than I know, or less. So I won't.

Point two: In my referrer logs, I saw that I'm linked to by an article on Kuro5hin because I supposedly wrote a "nice article explaining why the Wikipedia is noise, not information". That is not true. I wrote an angry, frustrated rant, and I wasn't really explaining anything, just bemoaning that the Party of the Average Man is taking over information management. I know that this probably makes me an elitist and/or information fascist in the eyes of some people, but hey, I have principles, and seeing dilettantes getting credited for doing a pretty bad job at what I'm doing in an underpaid and uncredited professional job is more pain than I can bear. And I won't renounce my belief that articles in encyclopedias should be written by people who know what they are talking about.

Point three: Also in my referrer logs, an article on heise.de, which juxtaposes my rant with a study by Andrew Lih (or Linh — the name is mentioned twice in different spelling), which allegedly states that media coverage of Wikipedia is increasing (true), more people are using it as a resource (terrible, but also true) and the quality of the articles is improving as a consequence (huh?).

Apparently Lih/Linh's theory (which I can't verify, since it's no longer available at the referenced URL) is that increased quantity of usage also increases the quality of the material. What bollocks. I daresay that increased quantity will attract a larger percentage of experts as well as a larger percentage of morons, and it is my experience that morons are more likely to publish their non-knowledge than experts are likely to publish their knowledge.

Please prove me wrong. I'd so like that to happen. Until then, I'll continue to cringe whenever someone mentions Wikipedia.

Posted by Horst at 05:14 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)

Found this in a box of Indian DVDs that I got shipped from the USA recently:

The very thought ofmarriage scares me

How stupid of me to not expect that these things would exist. Of course there are matchmaking services for NRIs. And of course they would have a slightly different focus than what the average European would expect. I like these unexpected learning experiences.

Posted by Horst at 11:22 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)


March 30, 2005

If your iPod earphones keep falling out of your ears, try them on the other way round. There is a difference between the left and the right speaker, and there's a reason for this.

Posted by Horst at 08:45 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0)

Gilbert and George

Quote from a brochure published by the Tate St Ives:

In Gordon's Makes Us Drunk the artists, Gilbert and George are shown seated at a table getting drunk to a soundtrack of Elgar and Grieg. They maintain their deadpan expressions throughout and repeat the declaration 'Gordon's makes us very drunk'. At the beginning of the film you can see a close up view of the Gordon's gin bottle to which they have added their names to the label on either side of the Royal crest.

Ever since I saw it, I've always loved that video. Had my own little re-enactment of it yesterday (with Amon Düül II instead of Elgar and Grieg) and, um, have to say it's true. Gordon's does make you very drunk. So does Bombay Sapphire, by the way.

And here's the rest of the quote from the brochure:

Video as presenting the private world of the artist. Gilbert and George use the medium of video to invite the audience into their own private world. However, they do not present us with real life but rather a ritualised performance sending up their liking for becoming drunk. This piece is an early example of artists using video to explore their private life. It is interesting to compare it with, for example, the work of Tracey Emin or Sam Taylor Wood. [...]

Irony and humour. The soundtrack combined with Gilbert and George's deadpan expressions in this video highlight the irony of the situation. From time to time they speak the words 'Gordon's makes us very drunk', it becoming almost a mantra in comic guise. The video creates an absurd scene that encourages us to think about identity, nationality and 'good behaviour'.

Is it just me, or is the explanation totally spoiling the fun of it? And why is it that 'irony and humour' totally cease to exist once you try to explain them?

Posted by Horst at 12:04 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)



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