Ah yes, San Francisco's Haight Ashbury neighborhood is full of easygoing hippies…
…and then there's this guy. I saw this notice taped up on someone's house.
Someone from San Francisco Animal Care & Control tried to visit.
Someone else scrawled on the notice "Mind Your Business Punk".
I don't know who the second Someone is, but I'm glad he's* not my neighbor.
Speaking of San Francisco animal care and control, on my morning walk today I saw a coyote chasing a squirrel in Golden Gate Park.
This is a data point favoring my parents' theory that G.G. Park's squirrel population is way down these days because of the coyotes.
*I'm just guessing he's a "he," not 100% sure.
I updated the big ol' list of words and the big ol' list of phrases on the Phraser page.
- A couple of months back,
The Collaborative Word List Project was now free.
I've used the C.W. List in Phraser for years, but didn't give it much "oomph"—I used is more as
a tie-breaker to boost word scores a little instead of as a primary source of truth.
I didn't want anyone to think of Phraser as a way to sneakily get free (albeit noisily distorted) access to to the C.W. List.
But I no longer worry about that. So now I give the C.W. List (and other crossword-lists) more "oomph".
The C.W. List doesn't get a ton of oomph, though.
As I mentioned before, it omits spaces from phrases.
This makes sense for crossword puzzles; POWERSOFTEN is a fine crossword "word."
But for my purposes, I really want to know where the spaces are;
so when my code sees a crossword entry that's space-less and suspiciously long, my code just kinda ignores it.
- David Turner (a.k.a. the guy who wrote Semantle)
wrote another game recently.
For this, he wanted a couple of word lists: legal words and satisfying words.
(Kinda like how Wordle has two word lists: a list of legal guesses and a list of satisfying answers.
Wordle will let you guess the word FIVES because it's valid English;
but it's an unsatisfyingly rare word, so Wordle won't ever use fives as the answer.)
This was relevant to my interests, so I piped up with some unhelpful "help."
Through all my wanderings amongst word lists, I hadn't found one that recognized that "cat" is a good word but "iii" not so much,
despite being three in Roman numerals.
David came up with word lists and published them.
So I grabbed copies and tossed them into my folder o' textfiles.
- I updated my copies of Wikipedia, Wiktionary, and some fandom.com wikis.
We must keep up with the world's changes.
"Morbius" was phrase #695418 last year but now it's #337564,
now that he had that movie and everything.
Feel free to download fresh files if you're into that sort of thing.
I updated that Bewordled game,
the one where you swap tiles to make words kinda like Bejewelled but with words.
Now it looks prettier with firecracker emojis and clouds.
After I updated it, it occurred to me to
start tracking my revisions.
By Murphy's law, we now know that I will never change that game again.
I joined a couple more social networks, WT.social and cohost.
I guess when
threatened to buy Twitter, people started looking for places to go next.
Thus, new socials popped up on my RADAR.
Anyhow, if you're on WT.social and/or cohost, I darez you
to [ follow | befriend | whatever ] me.
- I'm larry hosken on WT.social,
the wiki social network.
When you post something on this network, you can give everyone else the ability to edit your post,
as if it were a Wikipedia article.
I haven't done this—why would I want someone else to edit that post where I shared my photos
of that morning I took a walk and saw some runners in the SF Marathon? But I guess it
would make sense to let other people edit a post about some group activity. If I went walking
with some friends and wanted to let those friends add their pictures to the post,
WT.social could make that pretty easy.
(I guess? I haven't tried this. I don't actually know anybody else on WT.social.)
This could work out very well, since I'm definitely not the best photographer I know.
But the bad news is that spammers are trying to figure out how to spam WT.social.
I follow a popular "Weird News" topic there, and some fraction of the posts there are spam.
Spam in my Weird News is not terrible. But. BUT.
But if I opened up a post about a group hike hoping that
my friends would add their photos but instead a spammer added links to something icky, that
would be a headache.
- I'm @lahosken on cohost, which seems
like a fine social network. It seems to me more like a Facebook replacement than a Twitter replacement.
That is, it lets you write plenty-long posts.
The automatic thingy that copies my blog posts over to Twitter and Tumblr doesn't support
WT.social or cohost.
So for the past few days, I've been copying my blog posts there and there by hand.
It's a mild hassle. Mսsk's takeover threat turned into a lawsuit which goes to trial in… October?
So some time in/after October we'll know whether Twitter will be ruined and whether people are
likely to stay on these other services.
"I guess I can keep hand-copying blog posts until October," he grumbled.
I'm still happy on Mastodon.
If Twitter gets ruined, I could be pretty happy if everyone moved over to Mastodon.
I hand-copy my blog posts over to Mastodon, but I don't grumble about it.
It feels worth it because
people there comment and such.
I'm progressing nicely in that Pikmin Bloom walk-around-with-your-phone game.
I've walked over 2.5 million steps, yes indeed.
CW: police violence
It's a survey of 1960s Los Angeles radical politics. This is a
long book; Los had so much radical politics back then.
As you read the history, you find out why there was so much.
Back then, an Angeleno who said "Maybe we could treat
[ black | brown | Asian | Latino white |
queer | teen-aged | female | et al ]
people with dignity" was quickly classified a radical by the local
press, police, and political machine.
When you ask, how was
this group radicalized; the answer is either
"We wouldn't consider their goals radical today, but The Man of the 1960s
felt differently." or "The Man of the 1960s felt they were radical,
convinced some of Los' impressively-violent local law enforcement to
[ harass | hospitalize | murder ] them, and
the group fought back."
Los Angeles was worse off than most of the world back then,
Angelenos couldn't rely on help from the more-enlightened outside world.
The outside world was better, but it wasn't much better.
was still under control of J. Edgar Hoover, and quite ready to
[ harass | hospitalize ] these groups, certainly
wouldn't help them. During this time Ronald Reagan became governor
of California, voted in because he condemned those Berkeley folks
who said the
wasn't winning the war in Vietnam.
Going through this book,
occasionally you read about some USA
federal legal authority standing up against
but it's rare
and surprising. You might hope the
would help some of these
groups, and it sometimes did. But often the USSR would put
conditions on aid: pretend the USSR was a positive example of a
nation treating its people well. So a radical group that wanted
USSR money to spread influence would sacrifice credibility—and
thus lose influence.
This isn't a feel-good history; but it is interesting.
You won't read about these
marginalized groups coming to power; it's just that
eventually a new mayor comes along who doesn't get votes
through group-baiting. There's no grand triumph; just
a letting-up of violent persecution; the establishment of
some Ethnic Studies departments at universities.
But it is interesting.
had the nation's first police raid on a women's health clinic.
You get a bit of the
unhappily-nuanced history of workers' unions used for racism.
Andrew Saunders was a black Teamster who moved from New Jersey to L.A.
It was OK to be a black Teamster in 1960s New Jersey; but not in L.A.
Death threats and vandalism ensued.
Venice's canals were a toxic mess. To scour them clean,
L.A.'s street maintenance team opened ocean gates to flush the canals
with seawater. "The reaction of the seawater with the bacteria
and organic matter in the stagnant canals produced…a vile
gas… peeling paint off of many homes."
The former president of the National Association of Realtors, then
in L.A., wanted to "preserve neighborhoods," and thus didn't want to
allow black people to be real estate brokers.
And who was going to stop such a policy in those days?
California's Rumford Fair Housing Act of 1963 made it illegal for
landlords to discriminate on the basis of race except
when renting out single-family homes.
(This is topical; some months ago,
California ended most single-family home zoning, partly because of
the racist motivation behind that zoning.)
Then in 1964,
Californians voted for
by a wide margin (2:1) a proposition to resume letting all
landlords discriminate by race.
In one of those pleasantly-surprising instances of the
federal government doing the right thing, the USA Supreme Court
declared that proposition unconstitutional.
The Renaissance Pleasure Faire started out as a fundraiser for
radio station KPFK (the L.A. sister station to the
S.F. Bay Area's KPFA)‽ Nowadays, I'd guess the demographic
intersection between RenFaire fans and Pacifica Radio fans is
pretty tiny; but back then things were different.
L.A. had the first officially-recognized Gay Pride parade.
"Why would gays organize first in L.A. rather than New York?
In part, the answer requires understanding the difference
between the LAPD and the
The LAPD treatment of gays
was worse—more systematic, more thorough, and more
relentless—because the LA police were not corrupt…
In New York City, the gay bars were run by the Mafia, and
the Mafia paid off the police to leave them alone most of
the time and provide advance warning of raids…
A patrolman would stop by Stonewall once a week to pick up
the envelopes filled with cash…
The LAPD in the Thirties and Forties had been
a notoriously corrupt institution, but it was famously cleaned
up by Chief Parker after he took charge in 1950." (Not that
you should think Chief Parker was clean; he stayed in
power by collecting, fabricating, and using blackmail material on local
Back in 1939 (before the focus of this book, the 1960s),
HUAC was hunting for commies in the Federal Theatre Project,
a New Deal-era government program that encouraged theater arts.
A HUAC interrogator asked national director Hannie Flanagan:
"Who is this Christopher Marlowe? Is he a Communist?"
Now I want to start a rumor that Marlowe was the real
author of Das Kapital.
I'd already learned that the Peace and Freedom Party wanted to
run Eldridge Cleaver as a USA Presidential candidate; but this
book hammered home what a bad idea that was. Cleaver was not
yet 35, the Constitution's minimum age for a President.
They could have chosen Dick Gregory; not as big a name
in politics, but over 35 and thus capable of getting onto
ballots without asking state election organizations to
ignore the Constitution.
But they chose Cleaver and stormed off into irrelevance.
I was reading the history of Gidra, a newspaper—these
days we'd call it a 'zine—that covered
Japanese-American topics (and, later, Asian-American topics).
I read that a historian wrote "Gidra was an odd name for a
newspaper… because it had no known meaning… The
absence of meaning gave it an existential appeal." And I sheepishly
oh gee whiz I'm such a low-brow, I assumed it was
an alternate anglicization of Ghidora, the tree-headed
dragon kaiju from Godzilla movies. But then I kept reading and that
was where the name came from; that historian just
wasn't low-brow enough to catch it. And I thought about
how decades later, a couple of L.A.-area writers considered
calling their new 'zine "Mazinger" but worried that folks wouldn't
know about the anime. They called their 'zine Giant Robot instead.
(The book also talks about the Mexican slang term "pocho",
but not in the context of 'zine names, though there was
a 'zine named Pocho around the same time of Giant Robot…
none of which was in the 1960s and so I've drifted pretty far off
On the one hand, back before Title IX there weren't many
lady doctors, so in the underground, you had women teaching
each other how to examine their own
lady-parts and figure out abortions. On the other hand, some
women of color had to figure out that they wouldn't really be
denied welfare if they didn't submit to sterilization.
Whether you think the death of Ruben Salazar was an assassination
or you think it was police incompetence, you have to agree
it was pretty messed up.
As I was reading this book, one of the authors, Mike Davis (a.k.a. City of Quartz guy), was diagnosed
with terminal cancer. That didn't help to dispel the bummer aura over
I walked a mile (the wrong way) along the San Francisco Marathon this morning.
Some gold-color sidewalk chalk art for the golden ratio. Willard Street, San Francisco, USA.
When the apartment building repairperson was un-blocking my kitchen sink drain, he asked, "When did your garbage disposal stop working?" And I confidently answered "Wha– It works fine." I knew it worked; whenever I flipped its switch, I could hear the roar of a mighty engine below, never stuck, never straining. The repairperson made a skeptical face and looked more closely. "This disposal doesn't have any blades." Over the years the blades had worn off or broken off or something. I'd been impressed that my disposal was so powerful that it never got stuck… but that's just because it just spinning in place, with no "arms" actually pushing on anything.
This made me want to use "Like a bladeless garbage disposal" as a simile for something that's working hard, making lots of noise, and accomplishing nothing useful. (This is a common situation and it would be nice to have a fresh simile.) "Garbage disposal" isn't so easy on the tongue but I think I could get into saying "Like a bladeless blender."
Like a bladeless blender.
Anyhow, now my apartment has a new garbage disposal and the kitchen sink drains OK so if you just ignore the world at large, things are looking up.