Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Fun with grammar

This is a grammatically correct sentence:
Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo.

It translates to, "Bison from upstate New York who are intimidated by other bison in their community also happen to intimidate other bison in their community."

Here's why, from Wikipedia:
The sentence is unpunctuated and uses three different readings of the word "buffalo". In order of their first use, these are

  • c. The city of Buffalo, New York;

  • a. The animal "buffalo", in the plural (equivalent to "buffaloes"), in order to avoid articles;

  • v. The verb "buffalo," meaning to bully, confuse, deceive, or intimidate.

Marking each "buffalo" with its use as shown above gives

Buffaloc buffaloa Buffaloc buffaloa buffalov buffalov Buffaloc buffaloa.
Thus, the sentence when parsed reads as a description of the pecking order in the social hierarchy of buffaloes living in Buffalo:

[Those] (Buffalo buffalo) [that] (Buffalo buffalo buffalo) buffalo (Buffalo buffalo).
[Those] buffalo(es) from Buffalo [that are intimidated by] buffalo(es) from Buffalo intimidate buffalo(es) from Buffalo.

Read the entire article here. You may also want to read more about homophonous phrases.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Royal Turkey Day!

It's a well-known secret that the day after the Kansas City Royals win a game, Planet Sub offers their turkey sandwiches for two dollars. You have to know the secret code: ask for a Royal Turkey or you'll get charged full price.

There have been many times in the past when I wanted to know if it was a Royal Turkey day or not, but couldn't find an easy way to check. My friends (with minimal input from me) have now solved that problem.

Visit isitaroyalturkeyday.com to quickly see whether or not it is, in fact, a Royal Turkey day. Today, it is.

You're welcome.

Friday, June 15, 2007

What do you make?

This slam poetry reading by Taylor Mali is one of the best endorsements for the teaching profession I've ever heard or seen.

Read more about Taylor and experience more of his poetry at taylormali.com.


It's Friday; I'm in love.

  • In an effort to promote home economics in many senses, we purchased a Cuisinart Indoor Grill earlier this week. Our first foray into kitchen grilling was a success - marinated chicken breasts. We're going to try scallops this weekend.

  • We watched Pan's Labyrinth last weekend. Despite being more violent than I expected, the movie was very good. I loved the special effects and editing, and the story was riveting. I believe this one will be added to my all-time favorites list. This weekend, I think we'll try Guillermo del Toro's self-described companion film, The Devil's Backbone.

  • After weeks of futile searching, I finally found a pair of black flats I like. They were a bit more than I paid for my last pair from Target, but they're a helluva lot more comfortable, too.

  • I've been thinking about A Confederacy of Dunces lately. It may be time for a re-read.

  • I liked the Sopranos ending. I thought the whole idea of everything going on as it always has, with all the tension, both in the biological family and the adoptive one, was brilliant. The song choice was also perfect. Now shut up about it. David Chase doesn't care if you liked it or hated it. It just is what it is. Here are two excellent Sopranos-related links from Kottke:

  • Instead of watching So You Think You Can Dance (at least I admit it) on our normal television last night, we watched it on this instead:

    The best part of watching TV on a projector is the shadow puppets that can interfere with what's going on on the screen. During the last minutes of the NBA Championship game, I kept crushing Tim Duncan's head, not because I don't like him, but because he's starting to look a little like Karl Malone, and I don't like Karl Malone.

  • I'm debating on whether or not to go to my first Royals game in 10 years tonight. On the one hand, it's buck night and fireworks night. On the other, with tickets and parking we're looking at about 30 bucks, which would almost pay for a trip to Sakura. Decisions, decisions.

  • I just came across a short story by Miranda July called Birthmark. You must read it - it's beautiful.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Taco Bell, I’m calling you out! Bring back the BellBeefer!

While not a BellBeefer, this is the closest image I could find to the real thing. Pictures of taco burgers are surprisingly scarce on teh internets.

Contrary to their "think outside the bun" philosophy, it's time for Taco Bell to bring back the BellBeefer, aka Bell Beefer, aka Bell-Beefer. Taco meat, sauce, cheese, onions and shredded lettuce on a plain hamburger bun equals fast-food nirvana.

Sometime in the early to mid 90's, after a several month hiatus from Taco Bell, I went through the drive through and ordered my standard two BellBeefers with no lettuce. The girl at the drive through window was perplexed. "Bell what?" she asked. "We don't have those no more." And just like that, a favorite fast-food icon was "no more".

The closest I came in recent times to getting an actual BellBeefer was a few years ago at a combination Taco Bell/Long John Silvers. I asked them if they could throw some of the taco fixin's on the buns they used for the fish sandwiches, but the half-wit behind the counter said it would "mess with inventory." Whatever. As an aside, one of the worst smells in the fast-food world is the combination of Taco Bell food and Long John Silvers food. The twain should not ever have met.

While I'm on the subject of taco burgers (and places that smell weird), I once ordered one from a now-defunct joint at Metro North Mall (what isn't defunct in there nowadays?) called Amigos. Let me explain something about taco burgers: no two places make them the same. Some have lettuce, some have tomatoes, some have cheese, some have onions. Amigos used to put some sort of Thousand Island slop on theirs. Because I could never keep straight the make-up of taco burgers across the KC metro area, I would order by telling the cashier what I wanted on my burger, rather than what I didn't want. This avoided the scenario where I ask for a taco burger with no tomatoes, only to be met with hostile confusion because the taco burger at that particular establishment didn't come with tomatoes and what kind of idiot was I, anyway? I digress.

I ordered my taco burger at Amigos thusly: "I'd like a taco burger with just cheese and onions."

The reasoning behind what happened next has been a point of contention in my household ever since. When I removed my taco burger from the paper wrapper, I was presented with a bun that had nothing but cheese and onions on it. My husband says I got exactly what I ordered, but I argue that the very nature of the term "taco burger" requires meat as a component. If I ordered a McDonald's hamburger with "just pickles and ketchup" I would expect a hamburger with pickles and ketchup - not a bun with pickles and ketchup but no meat. Needless to say, I returned it for one created the right way, but not before asking the person who took my order if they were a fucking retard. Okay, I didn't ask them that because I didn't want the extra ingredient of spit in my taco burger. I probably got that anyway, but I'm still alive, so no worries.

Anyway, I am still on a quest for the perfect taco burger, and to me, it gets no better than the BellBeefer from Taco Bell. I'll probably never see the day it makes its triumphant return, but a girl can hope.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

O’Reilly? O’RLY!

Anil Dash posted an article back in April titled Cats Can Has Grammar, in which he discusses the nuances of lolcat grammar. This is a must-read for those unacquainted with lolcats.

If you liked that (and even if you didn't), there's an excellent in-depth analysis of the fusion between leetspeak and image macros that has blossomed into lolcats by David McRaney over at I Can Has Cheezburger? This is a great article for anyone with interest in Internet subculture, sociology, or both.

Have you read those? Okay, you can now proceed.

The latest programming language guide from O'Reilly O'RLY comes with sample code:

BTW HUGSTIME? is system functions for determining hugs time

BTW NAO is automagically set to time right now



See also: http://lolcode.com/

God, I'm a sucker for this shit.

In other lolcats-related news:

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Where have all the roaches gone?

The Pitch has a nice little article about the Twin Oaks that once was. Now that the whole thing is gone and work has begun to level out the foundation for a new UMKC residence hall, it's strange to look across Oak Street and see more than red brick.

I probably stepped foot in the buildings four or five times, all to work on the computers at the rental office. This was before the place was sort-of renovated, but after it was acquired by UMKC. I remember being reminded of the hotel in The Shining, and thinking that I really didn't ever want to walk down a hallway in that place alone. I drove through the underground garage once, and was creeped out by what was apparently once a gas station, and lots of eerie dark doorways that led to who knows where. But despite feeling spooked by what Twin Oaks had become, it was definitely hard not to imagine what it was in its heyday.

My husband got to tour some of the upper floors when the "renovation" was underway, and was impressed at the size of some of the units. Some apartments took up entire sides of a building, with butlers' quarters and grand entryways. These were, of course, not all that grand anymore, but again, the shadow of what they were was still there.

By Fall of next year, the property will be called Oak Street West, and will house 514 students and 5,000 square feet of retail space. While I'm sure it will be a lovely place to live, it's quite far from the university dining facilities (like the other dorms are), and, unlike Northwest Missouri State, does not have on-campus food vendors who deliver to dorm rooms. Not that this matters much to me, but I'm sure it would affect some who might otherwise choose to live on campus.

The real winner in all of this is the Kin Lin Chinese restaurant. The roaches from what was Twin Oaks have, I'm sure, migrated over that way and have probably taken the place of chicken and pork in most dishes. I can make comments about Kin Lin because I've had a couple "unfortunate incidents" involving the place:
  1. On a visit about a year ago, noticed there was a huge cockroach in my Chicken and Vegetables. Not a regular run-of-the-mill cockroach. Noooooooo. This was a freak of nature mutant cockroach. When I told the woman at the counter, she acted like this was not really a big deal, and offered to replace my meal. I had no intention of eating it, but I took it anyway, and gave it to a guy at work (without mention of the cockroach - I told him we brought him back extras). Guess what? There was a pretty large unidentifiable bug in that, too. Blech.

  2. There's an alley behind the building where I've witnessed two appalling things:

    1. A 5-gallon bucked of raw chicken left to thaw, uncovered, in the July sun, and

    2. A car and two cutting boards being used as a cabbage press.
These reasons alone are sufficient enough for me to give Kin Lin more than a little grief, but it's the fact that they use Ore-Ida crinkle fries as the primary vegetable in their Curry Chicken that really seals their fate. A few crinkle fries is okay, but 90% crinkle fries is an atrocity.