Thursday, November 29, 2012

Light a house up rather than save a watt

Today's theme - People who like to flex their carbon foot print - Christmas Light Shows:

But no one has the Faucher family beat.  Last Christmastime, their light display in a Delawate suburb had over a million-bulbs and cost an estimated $82,320 to light!

It's nice to see that the public is helping suport the public utilities.  You know that they are barely eking out a living.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Analytical Engine weaves algebraic patterns ...

...just as the Jacquard loom weaves flowers and leaves. - Ada Lovelace

While you read this today on your computer, let us ruminate upon the life of Ada Lovelace, who died on this date in 1852.

Ada would have seemed to have been born into a charmed life. She was the only child of a titled lord and a very wealthy mother. Unfortunately for her, her father was the notorious, womanizing homosexual (let your mind rattle that around for a second) and not half bad poet Lord Byron.

She was named after Byron's half-sister, Augusta Leigh, by whom he was rumoured to have fathered a child (oh yeah, I forgot to mention that - he slept with his half sister). It was Augusta who encouraged Byron to marry to avoid scandal, and he reluctantly chose Annabella Milbanke (very wealthy heiress and noted stick-in-the-mud). On January 16, 1816, Annabella left Byron, taking 1-month old Ada with her. On April 21, Byron signed the Deed of Separation and left England for good a few days later. He was never allowed to see either of them again.

Ada lived with her mother, as is apparent in her father's correspondence concerning her. Lady Byron was also highly interested in mathematics (Lord Byron once called her "the princess of parallelograms"), which dominated her life, even after marriage. Her obsession with rooting out any of the insanity of which she accused Lord Byron was one of the reasons why Annabella taught Ada mathematics at an early age. Ada was privately home schooled in mathematics and science by William Frend, William King and Mary Somerville. One of her later tutors was Augustus De Morgan. An active member of London society, she was a member of the Bluestockings in her youth.

In 1835 she married William King, 8th Baron King, later 1st Earl of Lovelace. Her full name and title for most of her married life was The Right Honourable Augusta Ada, Countess of Lovelace. She is widely known in modern times simply as Ada Lovelace, or by her birth name, Ada Byron.

Mary Somerville, one of her tutors, was a noted researcher and scientific author of the 19th century, who introduced her in turn to Charles Babbage on June 5, 1833. Other acquaintances were Sir David Brewster, Charles Wheatstone, Charles Dickens and Michael Faraday. She apparently ran in heady circles for her day.

During a nine-month period in 1842-1843, Ada translated Italian mathematician Luigi Menabrea's memoir on Babbage's newest proposed machine, the Analytical Engine. With the article, she appended a set of notes which specified in complete detail a method for calculating Bernoulli numbers with the Engine, recognized by historians as the world's first computer program.

Lovelace's prose also acknowledged some possibilities of the machine which Babbage never published, such as speculating that "the Engine might compose elaborate and scientific pieces of music of any degree of complexity or extent."

Ada Lovelace was bled to death at the age of 36 by her physicians, who were trying to treat her uterine cancer, on this day. Thus, she perished, coincidentally, at the same age as her father and from the same cause - medicinal bloodletting. So while she considered the possible of the computer, doctors were still using leeches to cure their patients.

At her request, Lovelace was buried next to the father she never knew at the Church of St. Mary Magdalene in Hucknall, Nottingham.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Fifth Annual Christmas Spectacular

The holidays are upon us and we here at Dr. Caligari's love to celebrate like it nobody's business. So over the next several weeks check back here to see what we're listening to or thinking about - Today's kick-off - really bad Christmas music (we'll have a few versions of this entry.)

You've spent this past weekend shopping at the Department Stores; you're in a grouchy mood. Here's some music to extend the feeling.

Christmas Carols with that unpleasant feeling:

Back Door Santa -
Bon Jovi is usually not my cup of tea. But this Christmas classic made me reconsider, just listen to the song -

It's exactly what you think it's about and nothing says Christmas like a song about the joys of sodomy during the holidays, sung by Jersey's other native son.

Merry Christmas with Love -
I will try very hard to keep this promise

I will only play anything associated with Clay Aikens one other time this holiday. The people from the Geneva Convention have already called. As a matter of fact, I suggest you put your head phone on and listen to NIN Closer several times until the feeling goes away.

Baby, It's Cold Outside -
It's not really a holiday song but it always seems to show up this time of year.

This song seems to be a cautionary lesson for young women everywhere; never leave home without you hat, gloves and a can of pepper spray when you stop off at Dean Martin's house during inclement weather.

Christmas Shoes -
You knew it was coming, what would Christmas be with out the song about the strange child's need to buy his dying mother a pair of whore's shoes.

So many questions:  where is this kids father?; where is the store security?; where are child services?  I need a drink after this one.

Do They Know It's Christmas? -
What's not to love about a song when rich smug English singers get together after a few pints and try to shame you into making a contribution to their favorite charity?

And no - they probably don't have calendars and they probably don't celebrate Christmas.

Dog barking Jingle Bells -
Please, I beg you, just skip to the next video.

See now that you've watched it, you're reconsidering Michael Vicks convictions.

I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus -
Poor Michael, if only he hadn't seen this horrible scene

perhaps Joe wouldn't have beaten him so much, there wouldn't have been so many child sleep overs and maybe he'd still be alive!

Please Daddy Don't Get Drunk This Christmas -
Another C & W classic. I can't believe this hasn't been options for a Hallmark special.

This song has everything the holidays should be about - alcoholism, child abuse, tears and then drunken sex and/or spousal abuse.

What do you get a wookie for Christmas?
Christmas without Star Wars would be unthinkable -

but I bet you'd give it a shot

Merry Merry

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Not quite the Butterball hotline

This is a message for my family but feel free you use, if needed

(If you are of a certain age and lived in the NYC area, this is what was playing on WOR in the afternoon after the parade ended.)

Sorry I'm not with you this Thanksgiving.  If you can't reach me by phone, need are the recipes you're probably looking for:

Shrimp Dip

Carrots/ Celery Sticks
Pre-cubed Cheese from local deli

Turkey w/ Stuffing

version 1 or
version 2

Ginger Carrots
Roasted Brussel Sprouts
Green Beans

Fennel Salad

Apple Crisp
Vanilla Ice Cream
Butter Pecan Ice Cream
Coffee/ Tea

Have a great Thanksgiving and hopefully you've remembered to check your guns at the door!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

I'm just saying

Nate Silver should be doing the superiority dance right now

And armed guards should hold down Karl 'Turd Blossom' Rove

and Nate should take a long soaking piss on him.