Friday, July 13, 2007

Email: Netflix Support

Title request: Quatermass 2 (1958)

Email: Netflix Support

Title request: Quatermass and the Pit (1958)

Email: Netflix Support

Title request: The Quatermass Experiment (1953)

Email: Netflix Support

Title request: Ghostwatch (1992)

Web: Gender Genie

(via Bookblog) I pasted my last three reviews from Moviette -- Star Trek: Nemesis (2002), Transformers (2007) and The Pink Panther Classic Cartoon Collection (1969) -- into Gender Genie and got the following analysis: 1,027 points for use of predominantly feminine keywords, 625 points for use of predominantly masculine keywords. "Gender Genie thinks the author of this passage is: female!"

In the Transformers review, I even advocated towering mechahunk blast-em-up violence -- but a review of the analysis shows that Gender Genie awards 468 points for 9 instances of the word with, 188 points for 4 instances of the word if, 162 points for 6 instances of the word not, and 112 points for 28 instances of the word and on the female side, while it awards 203 points for 29 instances of the word the, 136 points for 4 instances of the word more, 60 points for 10 instances of the word a, and 35 points for 1 instance of the word what on the male side. Other words I used on the female side include 1 instance each of her, we, should, and me; on the male side, 14 instances total of as, who, it, and to.

Sounds to me like Gender Genie's methodology needs more bee-oing! in its head-bobbing. Broader and more accurate word selections would certainly improve its predictions.

Press: On Language - Online Dating - NYT

Jaimie Epstein - On Language - Dating - New York Times: "You’d think that a man trying to impress a woman would get her name right. Well, you would be wrong."

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Movies: Americathon (1976)

This movie seems weirdly prescient. Jay Leno plays a character named Poopy Butt.

Movies: Theodore Rex (1995)

I just ran across this one and man, does it sound like a stinker! Whoopie, what were you thinking?

Email: Netflix Support

Title request: Moliere (2007)

Email: Netflix Support

Title request: The Firesign Theatre's All-Day Matinee: Martian Space Party and The Yolks of Oxnard (1972)

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

News: Farewell, Doug Marlette

"Born in Greensboro, Marlette began drawing political cartoons for The Charlotte Observer in 1972.

He won the Pulitzer in 1988 for his editorial cartooning in both Charlotte and at the Atlanta Constitution, which he had joined the year before.

He said at the time that his biting approach could be traced in part to 'a grandmother bayoneted by a guardsman during a mill strike in the Carolinas. There are some rebellious genes floating around in me.'"

(With Jeff Macnelly, Doug was one of my three favorite editorial cartoonists of all time. He is the creator of the Kudzu cartoon strip and will be greatly missed. Let's hope that God's own (Rev.) Will B. Dunn gives him a suitable eulogy -- that is, none too serious and probably embarrassing as hell.)

Business: The first thing we do

Some think Shakespeare may have had it in for legal eagles, since he wrote in Henry VI, "The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers" (a plan I would vigorously oppose for moral and personal reasons). The weblog puts it in context, however, by noting that Shakespeare is "actually in praise of attorneys" because the first thing those who wish to foment revolution must do is eliminate the brightest stars of society.

This truth is merely peripheral to the truism that has served as a wry touchstone during the past 15 years of my career. Throughout that time, I have drily observed that the first thing a new HR or marketing manager does in their new position ... is to issue a press release announcing their new position.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Email: Netflix Support

Title request: Cricket on the Hearth (1967)

Email: Netflix Support

Title request: Botte di Natale (The Fight Before Christmas) (1994)

Email: Netflix Support

Title request: The Santa Claus Brothers (2001)

Email: Netflix Support

Title request: The First Christmas (1998)

Technology: Viral spam warning

Someday I'll write a tutorial to instruct the layperson on how to heuristically surmise whether a cleverly faked spam really is spam. In the meantime, here are three essential rules of thumb to observe without fail: (1) Treat every mail that purports to come from eBay, Paypal, your bank, or with a free offer that sounds too good to be true as if it were spam and not to be trusted -- since the chances are 99% or more that it is spam. (2) Never click any link in any spam email -- esp. if it has a hard IP address (in the form of four numbers separated by periods) or any other numeric or nonrecognizable format commonly used for hacker exploits to control others' computers. (3) Every spam is 100% lies -- don't ever believe a single word!

I post this general note now because spammers devise trends to try to trick as many unwitting souls with their wiles as possible. First we saw a spate of fake-bank spam emails claiming your account had a problem that could be resolved if you clicked the link provided. More recently has been a flood of spam asking for Paypal account verification. (As with bank spam, spammers don't know whether you have such an account; they're just counting on those who do to click in a panic -- and these counterfeits have gotten sneaky enough lately that they sometimes give me pause, requiring a more technical assessment to verify their false nature.) In the end, spammers will say whatever they think will get you to click in the clinch (and "$500 Target gift card!" might get the attention of many).

In the last two weeks, however, I have seen a surge of spam emails claiming to be e-card announcements -- which I can tell at a glance are fake but probably fool many casual computer users. Moreover, I think it is working, because in the past two days I have seen an increase in warnings of viral spam being forged with my addresses. (Most spam today tries to infect your computer and then send more spam in the name of you and everyone else on the spammer's s--- list. Yes, spam is a four-letter word.)

So please remember the three rules of thumb above -- and esp. now do not respond to e-card notifications that don't seem to come from a known address. Be sure to use your mail program's spam filters, if you have any, and as a spam-fighting alternative, I highly recommend the streamlined and speedy Spamcop, which I have used and greatly appreciated for years.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Email: Netflix Support

Title request: Nestor, the Long-Eared Christmas Donkey (1977)

Email: Netflix Support

Title request: The Little Drummer Girl (1984)

Email: Netflix Support

Title request: The Little Drummer Boy (1968)

Email: Netflix Support

Title request: The Year Without a Santa Claus (2006)

Email: Netflix Support

Title request: Rudolph's Shiny New Year (1976)

Email: Netflix Support

Title request: Rudolph's Shiny New Year (1976)

Fauna: Bullfrog and geckos

Walking Twerpette this morning reminded me that yesterday morning we found this huge bullfrog ensconced on the mulch surrounding a sapling on the boulevard across the street. He was half-again bigger than my fist! (I have got to start taking my cell phone with me even when walking Molley.)

The geckos on our grounds used to look like the GEICO gecko -- light green and invisible in the light green shrubbery. But over the past two years, they've adapted to the darker, variegated colors in the hedges along the apartment buildings and some are even black. It's a very Jurassic feeling to see them flitting up walls and flicking across sidewalks in mottled gray, brown and slate hues that are purely reminiscent of the compsognathuses in Jurassic Park 2.