Thursday, December 27, 2007

Oh, The Huge Manatee!

This has to be somebody's idea of a cute joke.
I mean, it actually DOES look like a huge manatee....

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Je Suis Melvin

This is not about last night, or the one before, or last week. This is about ten years ago, when I realized that the reason "funny 'cause it's true" means something was about a guy who nobody wanted to hang out with. (He doesn't eat the dog; he just throws it down a trash chute).

Yes, it's as good as it gets.

Friday, December 14, 2007

"I decided 'No' "

(clicky for video)

Something I like - Remove It Permanently

One of the great things about Firefox / Mozilla is the ability to install "add-ons" to it which enhance its functionality. They are cross-platform (so it doesn't matter if you're running Firefox on Windows or a Mac etc) and some of them are just brutally useful. For example, one of my favorites is called "Remove It Permanently" (RIP, get it?). It allows you to remove from sight any element of a web page that you deem unsightly or distracting (link above goes to where you can download the add-on).

For example, earlier I was viewing this excellent chart of an orange line intersecting a purple line on the website

(click to enlarge)

The advert in the lower right was a bit distracting, with all the flashing and whatnot, so I decided to remove it. I right-clicked on it and a red frame appeared around the element to which it thought I was referring (it needs to make certain assumptions based on how the HTML of the page is constructed, but it rarely takes more than one or two tries to "point" it at the right thing):

I then selected "Remove It Permanently"...

... and the page instantly re-draws itself as if that portion of the HTML had never existed. Some web sites are unreadable without it, in my opinion.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Manos, The Diner of Fate

On one of our car trips upstate we had lunch at one of those classic, non-chain, (Greek) family-owned diners that grow like barnacles on the side of highways. What made the Manos Diner so special is that absolutely nothing inside of it has changed since it was built in the late 70s, and that it is not just a great example of the architectural and interior design sensibilities of the time, but that it shows every single thing you could ask an architect to put into a building ca 1976 except a hot tub. I'm sure this is a case of someone having saved all of his life, then taken out a sizable business loan, walking into the second- or third-best architect's office in Ithaca and proudly stating to no-one in particular: "I want a building, and I want it with everything!"

This is something that for some reason got installed in every residential and retail business built between 1972 and 1977. It's pointless, it gets in the way, it's ugly and looks prefabricated. I don't even know what to call it. It's two brown wooden lathed bars that just.. well... sit there. Like government employees or middle management, they merely exist and don't bear any weight. Legend has it that the factory where they made these was torched down by angry villagers.

Here are some more, which give the Manos diner the cozy feeling of having lunch at the prison mess hall.

Counterpointing the ambiance de prision are some minimalist Tiffanyesque lamps. My grandmother has a similar one but I'm sure these are older.

In the bar/lounge section of Manos are these dark wood tables with chairs that have had their coverings riveted to them, as if someone worried that there might still be life left in the leather and it might run off to a more contemporaneously decorated establishment.

It is important to note that these chairs were in perfect condition, even though they were obviously at hand for the grand opening, back when Jimmy Carter had not yet managed to get the stink out of the White House.

Back to the front of the place, we see a floor of polished stone, a white Formica counter and brown vinyl stools. Please notice the red tile on the wall to the left....

This is very particular tile type that you just can't get anymore, and of a color that doesn't quite exist in nature except in the foliage of some trees for about 12 minutes every October.

Brick archways supporting a wall of.... packing peanuts?

Why no... it's pebbles... little black and white pebbles... How.... inventive.

Following the rule that states all spaces must be broken up with useless elements, this archway in the middle of the main dining area contains cast-metal ... erm.. dividers? Perhaps it's meant to discourage food fights.

Not content with their majestic useless aesthetic the staff has slapped on some seasonal decorations. I'm sure it's the only thing that changes in the place with the passing of the decades.

While the building may be more precious as a snapshot in time, they do run a good restaurant there, and the staff knows how to do their job. So if you're in the Ithaca area on Route 13 you might want to grab yourself a hot cup of coffee and a heapin' serving of time machine, at Manos, the Diner That Never Ages.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Something I may or may not recommend depending on which ad is shown: