If you use Firefox as your web browser (and why wouldn’t you?) and have not yet discovered the usefulness of the Greasemonkey extension, I’ve found at least one Greasemonkey script that will make it worth the download. Pagerization allows search results from Google, flickr, Yahoo, Wikipedia, YouTube,, digg, and other sites to be preloaded, eliminating the need to hit a “next page” button or number. It sounds simple, but for me it has quickly become an essential addition for Google and flickr browsing in particular.

Let me know in the comments if you’re interested in a post about other Greasemonkey scripts that I use…

Greetings From Idiot America

Esquire’s article Greetings From Idiot America is one of the best-written diatribes on the decline of American society that I’ve ever read. I’ve chosen a couple of passages that I found most interesting, but the entire, somewhat long read is well worth it:

The Gut is the basis for the Great Premises of Idiot America. We hold these truths to be self-evident:
1) Any theory is valid if it sells books, soaks up ratings, or otherwise moves units.
2) Anything can be true if somebody says it on television.
3) Fact is that which enough people believe. Truth is determined by how fervently they believe it.

This is how Idiot America engages the great issues of the day. It decides, en masse, with a thousand keystrokes and clicks of the remote control, that because there are two sides to every question, they both must be right, or at least not wrong. And the poor biologist’s words carry no more weight than the thunderations of some turkey-neck preacher out of the Church of Christ’s Own Parking Facility in DeLand, Florida. Less weight, in fact, because our scientist is an “expert” and, therefore, an “elitist.” Nobody buys his books. Nobody puts him on cable. He’s brilliant, surely, but his Gut’s the same as ours. He just ignores it, poor fool.

The rest of the world looks on in cockeyed wonder. The America of Franklin and Edison, of Fulton and Ford, of the Manhattan project and the Apollo program, the America of which Einstein wanted to be a part, seems to be enveloping itself in a curious fog behind which it’s tying itself in knots over evolution, for pity’s sake, and over the relative humanity of blastocysts versus the victims of Parkinson’s disease.

“You don’t need to be credible on television,” explains Keith Olbermann, the erudite host of his own show on MSNBC. “You don’t need to be authoritative. You don’t need to be informed. You don’t need to be honest. All these things that we used to associate with what we do are no longer factors.

"There is an entire network [the Fox News Channel] that bills itself as news that is devoted to reinforcing people’s fears and saying to them, ‘This is what you should be scared of, and here’s whose fault it is,’ ” Olbermann says. “And that’s what they get–two or three million frustrated paranoids who sit in front of the TV and go, ‘Damn right, it’s those liberals’ fault.’ Or, ‘It’s those–what’s the word for it?–college graduates’ fault.’ ”

“Somewhere along the line, we stopped rewarding intelligence with success and stopped equating intelligence with success,” Olbermann says. We’re all in the bar now, where everybody’s an expert, where the Gut makes everyone so very sure. All opinions are of equal worth. No voice is more authoritative than any others; some are just louder. Of course, the problem in the bar is that sooner or later, for reasons that nobody will remember in the clear light of the next morning, some noisy asshole picks a fight. And it becomes clear that the rise of Idiot America has consequences.

Simpson Family Values

The SimpsonsAhead of the release of The Simpsons Movie (I know, I’m way late with this post), Vanity Fair published a very interesting article entitled Simpson Family Values, including a special interview with former writer Conan O’Brien. Well worth the read…

By the way, did any of you go see the movie? Ulana and I saw it on the first day over in Cambridge, MD as part of our fifth anniversary weekend; yeah, I know I’m a lucky guy ;-). That says something, because I’ve become such a crotchety old man that I refuse to go the the movie theater anymore. I think the last movies I’ve seen in a movie theater this century were the Lord Of The Rings trilogy and the Star Wars prequel trilogy.

Anyhoo, overall the movie did not suck, which in itself definitely exceeded my expectations. There were plenty of things that could have been better, including better use of the extensive cast of characters rather than just making sure that everyone got at least one line. The main plot wasn’t as good as it could have been, and the way they portrayed Homer was a new low, something that’s pretty difficult to do considering where they’ve taken his character in the past. On the whole, though, I came out of the theater satisfied, yet still wondering how much longer they’ll be able to keep this up…