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Odd Lots


  • Pete Albrecht sent the above image, and challenged me to characterize it. What would you call it? (Answer at the end of this entry.)
  • The people who created the indie WWII film The Downfall have had enough, and persuaded YouTube to pull hundreds of parodies of the well-known scene in which Hitler freaks out when he learns that the Soviets are closing in on Berlin and the war is lost. The film is in German, with English subtitles. People were swapping in their own subtitles, and whereas the first one (or maybe two) were funny in a painful way, after I watched three or four I had had enough myself. On the flipside, it was a fortune in free publicity for a film I’d never even heard of before people started sending me links to various parodies.
  • Another Web site (following the example of Ars Technica) started banning people for even mentioning AdBlock on their forums. They retreated, defending their position all the way. The problem here is that ads can be malware injectors, and unless Web sites can guarantee clean ads (which isn’t easy, given how current ad systems work) I’m with the blockers here.
  • Assuming that this is legit, it may be our best hope yet for fighting cancer after metastasis.
  • Ditto a new broad-spectrum mechanism for knocking out viruses. (Thanks to Frank Glover for the link.)
  • For people who hadn’t read my earlier entries about it, Fat Dogs (see the photo of their sign in my April 19th entry) is a small chain of gas stations/convenience stores in western Nebraska. They’re so small they don’t have a Web site. That doesn’t mean they don’t have a great sign and motto. (“You Are Nowhere.”)
  • Book publisher Penguin Australia published a pasta cookbook, one recipe of which calls for “finely ground black people” instead of “finely ground black pepper.” Although Penguin hasn’t copped to it yet, this reeks of an instance in which a mispelled form of “pepper” generated the suggestion “people” in the spell checker, and some underpaid knucklehead editorial staffer clicked on “accept all.” I gave that lecture to a couple of my staffers ten years ago. You’d think the publishing world at large would have internalized the danger by now.
  • NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory satellite goes live today, promising the best solar images we’ve ever obtained.
  • Give up? (See first item in this entry.) It’s a…bichon frieze.


  1. Paul says:

    Somewhere around 1990, I ran a spell check on a document in Word 5.5(?), and it came back with a suggestion for a misspelling. I had typed “White House” as one word, “Whitehouse”. It suggestion? “Whorehouse”. It took a few minutes for me to stop laughing.

    1. The poster incident for gross spell-checker misfeasance may well have been the Sunnies vs. Shelties story in the Colorado Springs Gazette in 2005. I published the best of the article in my entry for May 21, 2005:

      It don’t get much better than that, heh.

  2. Erbo says:

    It would appear that the director of The Downfall, as well as the man who wrote and produced the movie (and is a major shareholder in the production company), both LOVE all the Hitler parodies. The issue is the film company itself, which is using an automated content identification system provided by YouTube to block the clips.

    Part of what the parodies do is just help take Hitler off his pedestal as Personification of Ultimate Evil, and expose him for what he really was, a crazy old man. Of course, anyone who remembers the history of Operation Barbarossa kinda gets the idea that ol’ Adolf wasn’t the sharpest tool in the shed…

  3. Back many years ago, the organization I worked for was writing an RFP for replacing the current Unisys mainframe. We used WordPerfect, whose spell-checker replaced all instances of Unisys with “anuses”.

    Which reminds me of back in 1986, when Unisys was formed from Sperry and Burroughs. They ran one of the dumbest TV ads ever, with the slogan “One raised to the power of two”. It has an animated graphic with 1 X 2, where the “X” disappeared and the 2 moved up to become an exponent. I pointed out to the Unisys rep that 1X2 = 2, while 1^2 = 1, but they never did fix it. I guess they really were anuses.

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