Friday, April 29, 2005

You Are On My Side With the Midas Touch

PositiveMode has briefly discussed Wesley Willis previously, in its earliest days (three weeks ago). Despite the sadness of his passing, we do now have the technology to replicate his existence, with the Wesley Willis Song Generator. Enter a title (usually a person's name) and a description of that title, and the Generator makes you a song.

Here is the generator's rendition of "George W. Bush":

You can really rock it out.
George W. Bush is very special to me.
I like you a lot in the long run.
You are the best in the long run.


I like you well.
You really whoop Saddam Hussein's ass.
You can really rock your ass off.
You are the U.S. President king.


You really whoop a snow lepoard's ass.
You really whoop the horse's ass.
You really whoop Saddam Hussein's ass.
George W. Bush really whoops a camel's ass.

Rock over London,
Rock on Chicago.

Pontiac - we build excitement.

[The title to this post is a line from Mr. Willis's song "Bill Clinton." You can read the lyrics to that and other songs, as well as a nice exposition on how to write a song like Wesley Willis HERE].

Dave Matthews Settles "Waste" Dumping Case

Many of you may have avoided visiting Chicago since last summer, or at least avoided boat tours in that city, upon hearing the disgusting report that "a Dave Matthews tour bus driving on a Chicago bridge dumped '80 to 100 gallons of liquid human waste' on dozens of people taking a river boat tour" (read more about the story and see the legal filings against the band at The Smoking Gun).

Well, apparently the band has settled with the State of Illinois, agreeing to pay $200,000 to an environmental fund, and to "take measures to avoid a repeat of the incident".

It's hard to imagine what "measures" need to be taken other than the rather obvious step of not emptying your septic tanks when driving through a busy urban area, particular when driving over a grated bridge with lots of boats underneath (though in fairness to the driver, he probably logically concluded that the chances were not great that a boat would actually be underneath the bridge; he got the worst of the deal though, as he pleaded guilty to the dumping (I can't find the specific charges, even on our vast Internet) and received 18 months probation, 150 hours of community service, and a $10,000 fine. And he was fired). The Band continues touring.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

PositiveMode Across The Globe

Apparently, someone in Japan is a fan of Airplane II. I was utilizing Google to discover whether PositiveMode is getting any search engine "press" (it isn't). But I did discover a BBS in what appears to be Japanese entitled "Positive Mode BBS". To my delight, Google was able to translate the site into English.

I think we can all learn something from Positive Mode BBS's creed:

"Please write also new one unhesitantly ♪ .... topic is the OK with anything. レッツ interchange! Also thought of the sight and message et cetera are welcome in the curator."

I welcome more proper translation from those of you who speak Japanese.

(This is the logo for PositiveMode BBS)

Addressing Robot Shortcomings on PositiveMode

In Response to certain criticisms regarding the Fighting Robot content of PositiveMode, here is a particularly badass such robot.

Thanks to Robot Room for the portrait. Check out the site for An Illustrated Guide to American Robot Sumo, Autonomous Rules. While I am intrigued by what seems to be a relatively competitive contest of skills, my reference to Robot Sumo is more about pandering to critics (or, "Giving the audience what they want") than anything else.

PositiveMode Sells Out?

If you stay long enough to scroll down a short ways, you will see a new addition to PositiveMode: Advertising, the bulwark of internet commerce. I'm not certain whether this is a permanent development, and I doubt that many of my loyal readers will actually click on any of these ads (as I rarely do myself). More important than any prospects for revenue, though, I thought that perhaps the ads would add some internet-style class to the already sophisticated look of PositiveMode. Time shall tell.

Note that for now, these links are just what Google calls "public service" ads, but as Google does its magic they will shortly become related to the topics discussed on the Blog.

PositiveMode being the techno-constitutional monarchy that it is, welcomes your input (currently being for want of a Constitution, I will use the collected wisdom that is Kurt Vonnegut's Books of Bokonon (See Cat's Cradle) - the nice thing about being a constitutional monarchy is that it really doesn't matter what my Constitution says, I just have to somewhat justify my decisions to my subjects, or rather, you). I want to hear your opinion about whether you like the ads or not. Depending on your opinion, they will go or stay.

Is Friendster Dead?

Blogging being this year's method of distracting onesself (is that a word?) from exam period, my attention was called to another distractor from yesteryear (literally): Friendster. All but the most out-of-touch of you undoubtedly are at least somewhat familiar with this free site that allows you to confirm your friendships online (although its scope may have been bigger than I once thought - I learned recently that some people have been using this site to hook up with strangers. The closest I ever came to that were the handful of messages I received from people oddly impressed by my somewhat obscure reference to to David from the Real World New Orleans' "Come on Be My Baby Tonight").

Friendster seems to have decided they needed a lot of value-added services to keep people coming back, including birthday notification (which is actually sort of nice) and Friendster Blogging (I won't say this is a total insult because I'm totally unfamiliar with its features, although any serious blogger will almost certainly reject the use of this service; it's sort of like buying a baseball glove at the grocery store). Despite the extreme folly of many of these other new features, Friendster finally Jumped the Shark with the recent addition of horoscopes, that try to tell you how you're likely to get along with individual people on a daily basis. I don't even understand what they were thinking with this one.

Today, I declare Friendster dead. I will probably still occasionally check it, however, out of long-term internet habit.

Pope My Ride

I discovered today that Pope Benedict XVI has started a blog to track his papal experiences. He has some interesting ideas on ways to really capitalize on his new office, including a couple of MTV shows to really reach out to the youth of the world.

Here's the pitch for Pope My Ride:

"This is a show where I would visit someone’s house and get their car all tricked up with Roman Catholic paraphernalia. I’d get them bulletproof glass (just like my pope mobile) and then get little statues of saints all over their front hood. I’ll even bless their motor oil. I’ll make sure their ride is Poped-out."

Sadly, the Pope tells us a few days later that MTV passed on the show. Welcome to the biz, man.

Reader Note: I believe Pope Benedict does not use bulletproof glass on his vehicle. We may have our first clue that this blog is not, in fact, run by the real Pope.

It Was Much Better Than the Movie

The Onion reports today: "Area Man Well-Versed in First Thirds of Great Literature".

The story sort of reminded me of a plan my friend Marc and I hatched last summer: in order to gain literary esteem in the eyes of others (we jokingly predicted that this plan would also increase our appeal to women), we felt it was necessary to have read some Tolstoy. I had actually just started War and Peace (sadly I did not even reach the one-third point, but I did read an excellent biography of Jim Morrison that summer, among other things), but Marc thought the smartest plan was to find the shortest book by Tolstoy, and then read that. Then you could say that you've "read Tolstoy" without the trouble of reading those really long ones. (Reader Inquiry: Does anyone actually know Tolstoy's shortest book? Needless to say, we did not execute this plan, and Russian literature has never been my strong suit).

Writing the preceding paragraph called to mind the ever-irritating phenomenon where those who have read a particular work of literature always having to interject in a conversation about the movie version of that book that "the book was way better" (I say "work of literature" because rarely will you hear someone brag that the book version of, say, Cliffhanger, was better than the movie, although that is mostly because books like that are post-production pseudo-transcriptions of the screenplay; I just realized this is a topic for another blog day and I am digressing). Anyway, it is almost always irritating when people do this; even more frustrating is the fact that I really would like to know when it is actually the case that the book or movie was better, but the honest proclamations of movie-book qualitative comparisons are hopelessly lost in a sea of backhanded comments by people desperate to remind you that they know how to read.

Is it possible that no movies are actually better than the books that inspired them? Perhaps that's not really what people are saying, and an actual translation of the phrase "the book was better than the movie" is "reading is better than watching movies," or "smart people such as myself read, while dumb people like you watch movies."

Offhand, I can think of two examples of movies that were better than the book:

Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea - both were good, but the Disney movie with Kirk Douglas was a childhood favorite of mine, and was also a more tightly-wrapped story than the book presents (I slightly dislike the phrase "childhood favorite," but as is so often the case, it seemed the best term to use here) (I must strenuously urge any fans of this movie, or anyone who has found themselves struggling to explain the title of this story, to read the transcript of an outstanding SNL sketch with Kelsey Grammer as Captain Nemo, where confusion abounds as to just exactly what a "league" is designed to measure).

Get Shorty - Outstanding movie. The book was not great - I'm not a huge fan of Elmore Leonard, but maybe that's just because I've only read this one and Be Cool, the basis for one of the worst movies of this year, if not of all time.

I occasionally find myself lying and saying that the movie was slightly, if not significantly better than the book, even when this was definitely not the case. I realize that this is intellectually and socially dishonest, and totally at odds with my nearly fanatic devotion to the Truth. But someone needs to counteract the rampant trend of lying in the other direction (although in truth, I don't think people are lying - there is probably zero correlation between which version people say is better and what they actually think. The only reason most people bring this up is to simply let you know that they read the book (see above translations) (I also think that we need to have a serious discussion about why it's okay to begin a sentence with "But," lest anyone criticize me for just doing so)).

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Not a Candidate for Dream Job

Although this link has undoubtedly circled the Internet fifty-odd times (what's the deal with that expression anyway? (blank-odd) (self-enunciate the preceding question in a Seinfeldesque manner for added humor)) it probably has not so penetrated the Blogosphere, as most blogs worth reading consider this type of "news" too trivial for posting. Fortunately, it's most blogs, but not all, because here I am bringing you the story, and I'd like to consider PositiveMode worth reading (please comment only if you agree).

This poor fellow, apparently a freshman at his college, was enlisted to give the college TV station sports report. Needless to say, he butchers it. Big Time.

This sports-news-butchery bore an uncanny resemblance to the bad fake sports report A.C. Slater gave on a sophomore year episode of Saved By The Bell (those of you who know me too well will know I am oddly obsessed with this show. I may have mentioned this obsession in passing in the very early days of PositiveMode), the one where the gang discovers the radio station in the basement of Bayside, and they put it to use to save The Max . The libertarians of you out there will no doubt lose respect for the gang for holding what is ostensibly a charity telethon (radiothon?) to save a for-profit business that owes big time on back rent - and for some reason owes it to the Bayside School District. But in helping Max they're just following their destiny, I suppose, which is to sit in a booth at his restaurant whenever they're not in the stair-hallway, Mr. Belding's office, the one classroom, or the Mini-Gym (more on the Mini-Gym later).

Hat tip: Kirk Brown.

Also, I thank the Saved By The Bell Blog, which holds a coveted spot in my Links section, and also is hosted by our benificient

Monday, April 25, 2005

Zen and the Art of Museum Maintenance

Reader Note: For those of you who have spent enough time on this site to inspect my "Profile", (SisterMode - it seems inappropriate to include a comma within the quote of a proper name) you may have noticed the oddity of my background and entertainment preferences. The chosen description of me there is something of a blogo-historical accident, and does not, in fact, describe me very well whatsoever; at least it only describes me to the extent that it reflects a person with a deranged enough sense of humor to include those fictional biographical entries.

Members of the Museum/Library Industry - please do not be offended by my claimed membership in your collective brokership of knowledge and nostalgia. I fully respect the power you hold and the sacrifices you have made for our democracy (and to a perhaps slightly lesser extent, those you have made against our democracy, to the extent you have made such anti-democratic sacrifices). I only chose to include myself in your Industry because I thought it made me sound more interesting and eclectic.

Most important to note is that while Zydeco intrigues me, it is not my favorite type of music.

(of course, this Note is only applicable to those of you who don't already know me, and surely realized immediately that this section was mostly just a big joke (OK, a little joke)).


As a 9- or 10- year old I had a book called "Bushisms" about the misspeakings of our 41st President, George H.W. "Read My Lips" Bush. I never would have thought that his son, our current President, would surpass him in pop-culture malaprop mockery, but he seems to have done so. Slate provides a no-frills, frequently updated list of amusing quotes.

A few of my favorites:

"My job is to, like, think beyond the immediate."—Washington, D.C., April 21, 2004

"I was proud the other day when both Republicans and Democrats stood with me in the Rose Garden to announce their support for a clear statement of purpose: you disarm, or we will."—Speaking about Saddam Hussein, Manchester, N.H., Oct. 5, 2002

"I've coined new words, like, misunderstanding and Hispanically."—Radio-Television Correspondents Association dinner, Washington, D.C., March 29, 2001 (Given his claimed penchant for wordcoinery, I think Mr. Bush could be a fine guest poster on PositiveMode).

The Future of Computing

I read today about a fascinating developing realm of computing technology - quantum computers. Essentially, using quantum theory to manipulate qubits (the quantum version of a bit) allows for computers that are fantastically more powerful and faster than today's computers, and theoretically much smaller (although interestingly, right now it seems the apparatuses required to house atom-sized qubits can take up a space the size of a bedroom).

Some scientists believe that quantum computing is the only for us to continue keeping up with Moore's Law, which states that computer chips double in capacity approximately every 18 months. Gordon Moore himself, however, disagrees, holding that the physics involved in quantum computing are just too difficult.

Hat-tip to today's The Wall Street Journal, Marketplace Section (I don't provide a link to today's article that called this issue to my attention because it requires a subscription to the Journal, which undoubtedly many of you have, but with no greater doubt I assume that more of you don't. Instead, the link I provided for more information on quantum computing is to, which I find myself Google-linked to quite frequently on matters of scientific and historical fact, and while it seems like a very comprehensively informative site, I am not well-versed enough in's origins or purpose to comment intelligently on those topics here).

An Increase in Perceived Legitimacy

Positive news for PositiveMode: I am pleased to announce that I am now able to reward you, my loyal readers (and reward equally those who have never visited before) with a slight decrease in keystrokes interfering with your daily schedule of work, socializing, television, and reading PositiveMode.

You can now dispense with dot-blogspot and reach this site directly at

I still credit Blogspot for their blogging software, Blogger, which powers this site. I encourage those of you who are aspiring entrants into the publishing wing of the Blogosphere to start your own blog using this service, though I caution you to compete with PositiveMode at your own peril.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

You People are Great

It just occurred to me (or, more properly, occurred to me twenty-five minutes ago) that people are somewhat inordinately offended when someone refers to them as part of a group by using the phrase "you people" - way more offended than if they were just insulted as an individual. They get really upset at that phrase.


"You're a jerk." "what?!"

"You people are all jerks." "WHAT?!!"

The first one should actually be more insulting, as it is a direct personal insult. The second actually offers some sort of "justification" for the insultee's jerkdom (jerkery?) but for some reason the person responds more indignantly, I suppose out of some sort of kinship for the rest of their group; also, he may be shocked at grossness of the speaker's generalization. Admittedly, this may be justified in many circumstances, but it doesn't always make logical sense to get more angry.

We dislike the phrase even when it's used positively. Another example:

"You're funny." "Thanks!"

"You people are funny." "WHAT?!!"

We've been well-trained to quite negatively "notice" the phrase "you people." I encourage readers to question their adherence to this cultural Rule.

I was concerned before publishing this post that someone had blogged on this topic before. According to Google, no one has to any significant degree. However, I did find an indignant, defensive Harry Potter fan who thinks that "you people" is "one of the worst insults in the world". (you'll have to "Find" the phrase on the page; I thought it was more important to get this post out there rather than spend time finding out how to link directly to the point on the page where the phrase comes up, if that is even possible).

I was glad to find that seemingly no one had blogged on this topic, but the inquiry raises an important concept to be followed by the successful blogger and understood by the critical blog-reader: there is a blogging balance you have to carefully strike in practicing this fine art - coming up with your own ideas (or at least seeming to do so) while informing people of what's already out there, but not informing of sources so much that it looks like you didn't come up with the idea. But how much of a duty is there to investigate the existence of similar ideas before posting them as your own? No such duty exists, I suspect, but it will add to the cultural relevance of a Blog to better understand what else is in the blogosphere.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

I Love I Love the '80s

A futuro-comedic pondering I experienced today while vegetating (no offense (I rabidly dislike the term "no offense" but I find myself using it more lately; I'm not certain why I found the need to express my non-intentions of offensiveness to those in vegetative states, but I guess it seems somewhat relevant these days)) in front of the television watching VH1's "I Love the '80s" was that now, in the world of a relative glut of "I Love the[...]"-type programming that we live in, will we not, someday in the future, see the then-hip stars of Stage and Screen commenting on how much they loved those shows, and the moments they loved the best. I suppose it depends, in part, on how long these shows stay relevant in our modern time. It's possible that these futuristic tribute clip shows will appear so far into the future that the stars of that time will be wearing mostly silver jumpsuits of some kind ("hat tip" to Jerry Seinfeld)(this link is not of much relevance, but I needed some practice in the ever-common Blog Art of "Hat-Tipping" - I don't care to further explain this blog phenomenon to those of you who haven't figured it out yet, but if you'd like more, check out the FAQ at Little Green Footballs, a so-called uberblog that I credit only for its prominence, not its content, of which I am mostly unfamiliar but from that which I can surmise I moderately discredit its overall content, although the writer seems rather earnest and faithful to his blogging role).

I think this show would somewhat funny, although I am not sure how the episodes would be organized. Maybe it would be broken down into century - after 2100, they could make "I Love 'I Love the 21'sts," (punctuational hat tip to SisterMode) and a shorter series called "I Love 'I Love the Late 20'ths." Or something like that. One thing we can be sure of, though, is that our futuristic nostalgia-pundits would have a fond remembrance for Michael Ian Black, and to a slightly lesser degree, Mo Rocca. There would be a momentary reference to Webster.

This pondering, as with many of my moderately humorous thoughts, fits in the category of things that might or might not make funny sketch comedy if I were in any position to write sketches, or comedy.

Reader Note as to Punctuation: the apostrophe in the decade notation above appears before the two-digit year abbreviation. Most of my fearless readers (you) surely follow the correct style usage here on occasions in which you abbreviate a decade, but I do feel the need to call attention to a commonly-made mistake in these situations. The apostrophe, of course, represents the missing "19" (in 2080 we will probably no longer make these commemorative nostalgia shows, but if we do the convention will still hold true; for now the only "I love the '80s" is the 1980s), and is not present to seque into the pluralizing "s". (Note to Sistermode: this is a good example of where an outside-quote period (or "full stop" as to which it is sometimes referred) is fully appropriate, as there is no awkward space that it holds, and actually prevents the reader from end-of-paragraph confusion. Please Comment).

Friday, April 22, 2005

The Actor?!!

hey kid, what's with the life preserver?

USC Commended

Oklahoma Committed

Just gloating for no particular reason, but I happened to find a great "stream-of-consciousness" of The Greatest Game.

Ask Why?

First, it virtually always irritates me when a writer places a question mark where it doesn't belong. I saw this news story about Enron (it's actually what I think is a movie review (i have decided from this point forward to read nothing but the Entertainment News (a shameless wing of the MSM, as they say)) but for the primary reason of my only reading entertainment news it reads like a news story to me) and it occured to me that Enron might very well have used the phrase "Ask Why?" - the question mark included because sometimes people do such stupid things. And plus, I would expect the sophisticated folks at Enron to have been able to pull off such a grammatical stunt.

In the end, I've never really gotten over the fact that in church choir as a younger person (Anti-P.C. Angry Youthful-Conservative Folk insert "kid") I had to sing a song called "I Wonder Why?" (the question mark, of course, is not added now for emphasis, but is rather the all-too-real punctuation that so crossed me). Who wrote that infernal title? The song wasn't even that bad, but for real!

Second, well, I think that's enough for now. Watch The Office. It's fun.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Spinning Newspaper Headlines

What are the origins of the phenomenon of movies presenting spinning newspapers flying toward the viewer to describe a plot development? It's a quite interesting, and somewhat weird technique.

A good example of overuse of headlines as a plot-transitioner is The Natural, starring Robert Redford (although I cannot presently recall whether they are spinning in that particular film - they may slide into the screen from the side or corner after you see Redford hit a home run - but it's close enough for purposes of Blogging). As the team wins and loses games, in between live action the newspapers tell us how the team's season is going. Ridiculously, there must be at least 12 different points during the season where their fortunes pendulate between "Knights in the Gutter" to "Knights on a Roll" to "Knights Streak to Second" to "Knights in the Gutter Again, Hopeless for Playoffs" to "Pennant Fever for Knights?" (that's a real quote, the others are paraphrased with the intent of semi-humor). A baseball season is long, but not long enough for that many ups and downs, at least not to those extremes. I will have to watch the movie again and count for the PositiveMode Curious just how often these absurd fortune-oscillations occur.

Also, who designs these papers? It must be sort of boring. That probably explains why if you look at the other, smaller headlines that you weren't really supposed to focus on, you can usually tell that the designer was having some fun with this project, while lamenting the fact that they're not designing magazine ads for smokeless tobacco or lipstick (a good example - in a truly atrocious movie, Be Cool (sequel to one of my favorite movies, Get Shorty), the secondary headline on the above-the-fold front page of the Los Angeles Times is "Grape Jelly Producers in Jam").

Related Reader Note: the White Sox are in first place, with the best record in the American League. Though we surely don't know the number or degree of ups and downs they will experience this season, I am happy with the current state of affairs.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

This Is Not a Pyramid Scheme

When someone is presenting you with the opportunity to become involved in a pyramid scheme, this is almost certainly a phrase you will hear quite early on in the pitch. Why is this? Why would someone tip their hand so carelessly by not only using the term "Pyramid Scheme", but also suspiciously informing you that the crap they are "dishing" you is, so to speak, not one? (SisterMode may question my placing of the question mark after the abovequoted (please comment on this word, akin to "aforementioned") key term, but I ask you, SisterMode, did I intend to call attention to a comma? almost certainly no! (consider, for instance, if I had put the parenthesis after "aforementioned" within the quoted term (such as "this)" - would that be appropriate? (what is, perhaps, inappropriate, is placing sentence fragments immediately after question marks as if they are part of the same sentence, but that, my obedient reader, is for another Blog Day))).

I apologize - the above paragraph was practically illegible. The worst part is that, although it may all seem quite effortless, I, as you, the reader (when you occasionally become suspicious of my punctuationalism), do need to go back and count the forward parentheses to make sure that the backward parentheses match in number. Even I, your fearless Blogger, am not above such humdrummery.

For one, I need to put a stop to these hopelessly complicated, albeit totally grammatically correct compound parentheses.

Secondly (though actually part of the same point) I need to return to the original purpose of this post, which was, of course, a discussion of pyramid schemers revealing themselves with protests about the non-pyramidness of their scheme.

I guess that's it, though. When someone says "this is not a pyramid scheme" you can be quite sure that it is.

Note: I am making no value judgments whatsoever on the merits of pyramid schemes in general, although I can say most will not make you money or benefit you in any way (except possibly socially, and less likely emotionally) if you find yourself in the lower rungs of said pyramid ("said" was totally incorrect there, but many people like using, and are pleased by reading, that phrase in its incorrect usage).

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

The State of The Blog

I want to briefly attempt to explain the intermittence of postings on PositiveMode in the two weeks since its first week (I think I got off to a good start as a blogger, but have sort of fallen off - sort of not being remotely close to an accurate description of my falling-off, of course: really, or even extremely would be more accurate (the hyphen you see previously in this sentence in a previous time would have been the beginning of another parenthetical phrase, but I'm trying to reduce my use of compound parentheses (what are double- and triple-width hyphens called? someone post a comment before I have to do some research)) but anyway I've fallen off).

Unfortunately, due to scheduling constraints that have now been further constrained by my brief pontification on parentheses and other punctuation, I don't have time to adequately discuss my blog-falling-off.

Suffice it to say that PositiveMode is suffering something of an identity crisis - I'm mired in a self-destructive (more correctly blog-destructive) desire to create a true identity for PositiveMode - and thus I have been far too miserly in my selection of topics to blog on.

Well this time things are going to be different. Expect new things out of PositiveMode. Actually, expect more of the same great technical and artistic excellence that you came to expect from PositiveMode on day one. Here I make my impassioned plea that you don't abandon me (or more correctly, the Blog) on the dawn of our most dynamic and amazing collective achievemence (that word is another dictionarial and spelling-linguistic experiment, I welcome your comment).

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

No News to Report

After combing the internet for some important, or even unimportant news to report to you, the always demanding PositiveMode news-cognoscenti, I have found nothing. Nothing in the Mainstream Media. Nothing in the Sidestream Media (nothing in the less-well defined Midstream Media, either).

But wait. While typing this post, I couldn't believe that Rumsfeld having a plan to win in Iraq was the only big news (seriously, that's what everyone's leading with - CNN, Fox, MSNBC, PizzaHut), so I did one last check around my sources and found the big one:

Bowflex a little $ore: CPSC says Nautilus will pay $950,000 for failing to report defects, injuries from fitness machines. (color to text added by PositiveMode)

For those of you who don't know, I am slightly obsessed with infomercials (I try not to develop obsessions, or sometimes conversely (inversely?) attempt to develop as many obsessions as possible so as to bring balance to my humanly existence) and the few iterations of the Bowflex Show (that's really what infomercials should be called, as in the Ronco Show, or the Magic Bullet Show), while not at the top of my list of favorites, are certainly among those I will stay on watching from the point I come across one to the next half-hour timeslot, at which time I will renew my ongoing search for a rerun of Simon & Simon or Renegade, starring Lorenzo Lamas). But on with the big news...

Apparently, there are some things that Bowflex decided to edit out of the infomercial:

"Among other injuries, the CPSC alleges that Nautilus knew of 27 incidents when the backboard bench broke apart and collapsed. The Vancouver, Wash.-based company allegedly knew but did not report to CPSC that consumers suffered back, disc and neck injuries and falls resulting in chipped teeth."

With any luck, PositiveMode's breaking of this story will prevent some injuries among my loyal readers, but also not so reduce the sales of Bowflex to bring the infomercial off the air (the optimal effect would be, of course, that Bowflex would need to run the infomercial even more so as to offset the decreased sales wrought by the investigative prowess of PositiveMode).

In the interest of fair and equal time, here is a link to Bowflex's home page.

Monday, April 11, 2005

I Guess Irony Can Be Pretty Ironic Sometimes

Here is the picture i promised. I'm not sure if a periscope has ever been used on a lunar base previously, but as this scene aptly portrays, it would probably be pretty useful.

Fate Can Play a Strange Game Sometimes, Lieutenant

In an odd development of internet proportions, it seems that the only easily locatable website that has a transcription of William Shatner's groundbreaking (grounshattering, really) performance as former Striker brother-at-arms Buck Murdock in Airplane II: The Sequel, is some Eastern European site (Czech??) which offers first a translation of the sequence into its language, and then posts it in English (with a few lines slightly incorrect, but that would only be noticeable to the seasoned II viewer, in this case, myself; in addition, there is no indication of when the line switches to another character, but it doesn't really affect the effect of the transcription, particularly if you know the scene well). There is also a great picture of Shatner on the site, which I assure you will be on this blog's main page within 8 hours.

I would appreciate reader input as to what language this actually is.

Buck Murdock offers some priceless gems of wisdom (pearls, if you will) in the midst of a semi-monologue that is determinedly goal-driven and confidence-inspiring, though simultaneously highly paranoid and totally insane. I do have to say that I, too might be inclined to preemptively assemble a file of everyone who's seen The Sound of Music more than four times, although thinking about it I fear that I may have seen it at least three times (substantial parts, at least).

Enjoy Shatner HERE

PositiveMode Lives

I apologize to all my loyal readers for my absence over the past several days. On Thursday afternoon I suffered a rather debilitating blogging blow - after typing a very long (and I think quite good) post, I attempted to publish it and the site went bad and "swallowed" it whole. In that post I had a long and rather thoughtful exposition of why commas and other such punctuation should rarely be included within quotation marks, and I also explained the two new blog links to your right (NegativeMode and Optimus Crime). NegativeMode is emerging as something of a blog de force, and is not to be trifled with. I suggest you read it regularly (several times hourly, if possible), although in my opinion it does not quite rise to the somewhat palpable greatness that truly defines PositiveMode. I hope to blog several times today, although I will not be able to post pictures (as the computer I use at school does not allow me to download the necessary software (I only reluctantly refer directly to my use of a computer in editing this blog, as I feel that it unecessarily humanizes the blog process, but I do feel that an explanation for my continued lack of aforementionedly-uber-blog-important photographs (though in the meantime I still recommend scrolling down and viewing the picture of my crystal block, it's quite stunning))).

Thank you for embracing my quietly triumphant return - I promise not to disappoint.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

GoogleMaps - Success! (sort of)

I have just learned from perusing NegativeMode that a favorite reader, dj skuggs, is curious about my opinion on GoogleMaps. Well, I must say that GoogleMaps (despite my growing bias against Google "products" which has become apparent in my blog postings, but is almost certainly a distortion I have subjected myself to) is probably the most user-friendly map software online thus far, although I think it could take a little getting used to - meaning it is somewhat different from less freeform, more mainstream map sites such as MapQuest.

I, like NegativeMode, appreciate the "checks out in" Satellite Mode feature (perhaps SatelliteMode should be the next blog venture for the Charged Mode Syndicate, as I may begin taking to calling the Positive-Negative Mode dichotomy/phenomenon. (I realize that the very typing of the previous sentence verges on pure lunacy, but toeing the lunatic fringe perimeter is what fills this blog with success-bearing energy). [That sentence, too, was weird].

To give an example of the free-form technique that one must learn on GoogleMaps, HERE is a search I did for directions from my home in Washington, DC to my prior residence in Los Angeles, CA. You just type in the addresses separated by commas. It's kind of cool. It does seem, however, that MapQuest and Yahoo!Maps have GoogleMaps beat in terms of printability (the organization and ease of reading while driving, and such).

PositiveMode gives its thumbs-up to GoogleMaps, and its thumbs-down to NegativeMode.

The Sidestream Media Reports...

This just in... Negative Mode Blog has officially sold out. Apparently, is offering bloggers the opportunity to make money by putting GoogleAds (my newfound nemesis goes by another name, apparently) on their blog. Soon you will see pernicious ads for fake college degrees, male supplements for "that certain part of the male anatomy," and bottled water to the left or right of Negative Mode's questionable postings. Watch out, and avoid this blog at all costs! You can't trust a word that Mr. Negative says. That's not exactly true, as of course the presence of ads does not indict the entire substance of the blog, but I'm sticking to that advice. You really did hear it hear first!

Headline: GoogleNews Aggrandizes Self

I fear that this post alone may someday disqualify me from what appears to be an unbelievably wondrous advancement in the march of technology, and at risk of dwelling too long on the relatively minor site that is GoogleNews, I have to call into question what GoogleNews claims to be a sort of egalitarian, automated, non-human-intervention approach (a seeming bold-faced lie which you can read about HERE).

At the top of the Sci/Tech news: "Google to start - video blogging -". As fascinating as this sounds, 1) I, for one, am not ready for such an advancement in the earliest days of my budding career as a blogosphericist, and 2) Can this really be a top headline? If you read the article, available HERE, you will be none too impressed by Google's so-called plan to video blog.

My first recommendation: if you have not yet linked to the above stories, DO NOT DO SO. I provided them because it seemed to make sense and I felt I had to, in my role as a blogger. I actually wanted to cancel this whole post, but once you've committed two paragraphs to writing it is a difficult thing to just click the "x" in the upper right-hand corner like some typewriter-utilizing-old-time novelist frustratedly throwing a crumpled-up piece of paper in the metal mesh trash can at deskside (or in some cases, in the far corner of the room). My biggest regret is that for you, the reader, to know all this about this failed post you had to read this far...

Boy Trapped in Refrigerator Eats Own Foot

This headline is slightly misleading; it's actually a fake newspaper headline from Airplane II. But in a related story...

A Truly Heartwarming Tale of Survival from

"A deliveryman who vanished after taking Chinese food to a Bronx high-rise apartment building was found alive Tuesday after apparently spending more than three days trapped in an elevator that had become stuck between floors....

"Chen had no food or water throughout his ordeal. He was given water at the scene before being taken to Montefiore Medical Center, where he was treated for minor dehydration and ate an apple, cereal and a roll. "

It's too bad this didn't happen before he delivered the food. Although if he was not also delivering beverages, that might have been sort of frustrating.

Read the whole story HERE.

Mr. X Checks In

A new criticism from Mr. X, to whom at some point in the near future I will renew my urging that he reveal his true identity:

"PositiveMode is neither positive nor a mode."

I can't argue with that. But I can't just go and change the name, either. So, Mr. X, what do you propose? And why don't you go back to criticizing the government or something?

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Lack of Referee Criticism and Replays in NCAA Championship Game

I would appreciate anyone confirming my suspicion on this point. In fact, as far as I'm concerned it is not a suspicion but a downright accusation (reader note: I am experimenting with the use of the word "downright," so do not be alarmed by its abnormally frequent appearance on this blog. I will blog on the subject of this word in the near future). Why were there virtually no replays of any controversial plays or calls in last night's basketball game? I suspect it has something to do with a proclamation handed down from upon high by some combination of CBS and NCAA higher-ups that highlighting this sort of suspicious whining is not commensurate with the "sportsmanship" of college athletics (note to potential bloggers: one downside of is its lack of spellcheck available on the editing site, but fortunately i spelled commensurate right; I don't usually rely heavily on spellcheck but in the frenetic pace at which the blogosphere races, you need to be fast, fast, fast to keep your posts flowing forth at any culturally useful speed).

I am not going to launch into a cliched diatribe (re: cliche, accent marks also appear to be unavailable) on how college sports aren't really all that much about college or sportsmanship, but suffice it to say if a pronouncement by Les Moonves is why CBS wouldn't show replays and why the announcers refused to question several questionable calls, well, I think that's a shame.

That would be a good name for a blog: Actually, I think most current blogs could be called that. That or

If I had any evidence of this conspiracy, I think presenting it here first would be a good example of what a commenter to this site from earlier referred to as the "sidestream media" [hereinafter, Sidestream Media]. I'm still grappling with that term, but I think that's what this would be. Then when I later sell out and refuse to post such stories, more relevant and honest bloggers would do so and decry PositiveMode, saying that they are the ones telling you what the Sidestream Media refuse to print. Although this is a possibility, I'm not going to jump ahead of the game and decry the Sidestream Media just yet; but I remain wary. Do not hesitate to inform me if I have gone sidestream. (I strenuously assure you, this is not nonsense).

Monday, April 04, 2005

An Explanation of the Links Provided Here

I think I need to begin explaining a particular section of Positive Mode - the Links section you see to your right (I think it may remain to your immediate right only while this particular post is on the main page, before it is relegated to the Archive section (this may not be the case, but I thought I would call this to the reader's attention because I like to think of this as a blog for new blog-readers, by a new blog-writer (also there may never be an Archive due to this site withering on the vine, although at this point I am starting to believe it may last (was this a proper use of the world "relegate"? This is an often misused word. (I also apologize for any confusion that may arise out of this abnormal number of parentheses; it's a stylistic experiment I am undertaking and would appreciate feedback on its effectiveness.))))).

The first link, to GoogleNews, was not chosen by me and I might take it off soon. While GoogleNews is an interesting site, it is still in its Beta version and as yet does not do as good a job of filtering and ordering news stories as the human editors of the Mainstream Media. Google is extremely good at at least one thing, but the news is not that thing. Still, if you have not used GoogleNews, I recommend trying it once in a while.

The Saved By The Bell Blog is a wonderful site, particularly for fans of that show. It also happens to be hosted by the same benificient provider of free blog services that hosts PositiveMode. It essentially consists of episode reviews (more correctly, recaps) by a few loyal fans, and for those of you who, like me, have been waking up early for the past year to watch two episodes on TBS at 7am Eastern, these recaps provide a nice humorous spin on the already humorous aforementioned show (and for those who don't care to wake up that early and don't have TiVo, they are an passable substitute for watching the show, which I assure you is quite a compliment).

The third, cfgred, is a blog by a person you may or may not know, Chen Fong Goh, and provides a truly fascinating journey into the author's life and mind. I think you will enjoy it, though I don't want to color your first impression of it by saying more at this point. I suspect his blog could become a minor thread of conversation on this blog. Also, I need to credit cfgred for planting the seed that grew into PositiveMode: were it not for my desire to post a minor comment on that blog, coupled with blogspot's requirement that I register for my own blog to post on that one, what you are reading now would quite likely have never existed. Fortuna wobbles at times, it seems.

So far I have withheld placing too many links in the Links section, mostly because I remain uncertain of the consequences of haphazard blog-linking. As I become more confident in this realm, I promise to provide links to many of the web locations I find fascinating or even just mildly amusing. In many cases, I will call attention to the addition of such links in this, the main text section of the blog.

Breaking News - Prince Charles Postpones Wedding

The top story on Google News at 10:32 Eastern time (from

"Prince Charles's wedding moved to Saturday"

This is strange, for a top story. Or so I thought. As it turns out, the first paragraph of the story explains its relevance:

"London - Prince Charles will delay his wedding by a day and attend the funeral of Pope John Paul II on Friday, his office announced Monday." (emphasis added) (it's really just a sentence, but in the original it does appear as a full paragraph)

Perhaps GoogleNews is ready to move beyond its Beta version - it's really picked out a diamond in the rough here. Be Aware: These are the types of stories that the Mainstream Media are brushing to the side, but you can count on PositiveMode to bring them to the fore.

read the full story HERE

Blog Mode Remains Positive

So my fledgling blog has survived the night. The new question becomes, how do I maintain the high level of blogging excellence that grew out of PositiveMode's accidental creation yesterday morning? I will attempt to answer this question not through abstract reflection, but through a dogged and determined publication of further blog posts (although some posts over the next several days may, in fact, be on the subject of reflecting abstractly on the nature of blogs and blogging, and what makes them successful, and where to invest your money and so on).

Please be patient in this time of change and be willing to expand your blog horizons; I will attempt to guide you on this quest. However, I suspect the blog readers are the true "guides," as what is a blog without its eyeballs? You must believe that your comments truly do tell me where to go. Lend me your wisdom, and I will make footprints on the sands of time for you.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

The End or the Beginning?

And so ends my first day as a blogger. I'm not sure about my future in this business, but I have learned the following things:

1) Blogging is not as fun as it sounds, but it can be rather exhilarating.
2) For all the talk about bloggers changing the face of news reporting in America and the World, I still don't know what new information they are getting. It's just the same (mostly) crap being said loudly.
3) Photographs really add a nice look to a blog. Use them liberally.
4) Road Trip was underrated by me after I saw it the first time in the theater.
5) How does this ever pay off?

The question that remains is, do I check out in Positive Mode, or check out in Negative Mode? It's possible that if you are reading this you are a firsthand witness to the end of the Positive Mode Blog. There will, of course, be no secondhand witnesses, as I am fairly certain that anyone not a firsthand witness will ever hear of the existence Positive Mode. Oh well. As I sleep, I may or may not ponder the following questions:

- When did the Black Eyed Peas complete their well-organized sellout?
- What was a more important invention, contact lenses or the washing machine?
- Who is the most subsequently successful of the Saved By The Bell cast? (this one is not as easy as it may at first seem)
- For how many more years will they sell conventional camera film at the drug store?
- Is motorcycling a wise hobby?


My Soul Trapped in Lucite

I bought this fascinating crystal block on a sidewalk stand in Las Vegas; the friendly salespeople take 3D pictures of you and your friends and etch your faces into the middle of a plastic block, complete with written caption. Mine, interestingly, came out misspelled, although the other two made for my friends were not. It reads:

Bill, Billy, Goad
Las Veags 2005
Jennifer Holloway

For a semi-complete understanding of why we would include the last line, see the post below re: the How's Your News gang. It helps to explain, although the choice to include it still represents somewhat deranged thinking.

photo courtesy of Michael Trinh Diesel, 2005

Wesley Willis's Grammy Speech

Sadly, the Daddy of Rock'N'Roll was never able to deliver this speech but he knew well enough what he would have said if he had won:

Rock Music pays off
Rock Music takes me on a joy ride
Rock Music keeps me off the hell city bus
Rock Music will always look after me
But I will not let my [?]profanity demon shoot it down.

For a brief primer on Mr. Willis, check out:

Lame Advice-Giving Email Signatures

If there's one thing that really irritates me, it's when people include some sappy, supposedly uplifting saying or slogan in their email signature or IM away message. Here are a few examples of unacceptable such drivel:

one of my least favorite: "Dance like nobody's watching, sing like nobody's listening, and love like you've never been hurt." (in researching this post I found that this is actually part of a Mark Twain quotation, which I must admit raises the saying's esteem in my view but it still remains disgusting when used in as trite a manner as an email signature);

one that's not quite as bad, but still totally inappropriate: "Don't ever save anything for a special occasion. Every day you're alive is a special occasion";

"only if you have been in the deepest valley, can you ever know how magnificent it is to be atop the highest mountain" (See the quotable Richard Nixon);

These few examples and the countless other quotes of this nature are not inherently bad; it just baffles me as to why people feel they are capable of causing even the mildest level of inspiration in readers of their emails. I, for one, am not so inspired.

"Don't ever stop trying to get to where you always wanted to be. The moment you stop trying is the moment your dreams stop coming true."

Picture Mode On, Sir

This is really just an experiment in posting pictures, but for your enjoyment please visit the musicians at How's Your News. "Las Vegas" is my personal favorite. Jennifer Holloway

Positive Mode Draws its First Harsh Critic

From a Mr. X:

"at best, 'positive mode' is only moderately, not negatively-charged. The choice of that name reflects a wreckless disgregard for common English and the entire system of particle physics."

For more insider commentary, see

And Blog Begat Blog

Are blogs crippling, if not dooming the future of our economy and our democracy? I say almost certainly yes. The only reason I sit before you as a "blogger" is that to comment on another blog I was reading the program forced me to make my own blog. And it's free! What is going on in the world?

What might I have done in the time it took me to choose a name, design template, and post these first few messages? Undoubtedly, something more useful. How much more of my life will I commit to this counterproductive exercise in self-righteous and pseudointellectual soapboxing? And what the hell are you doing reading this? Make your own blog!

[I apologize for the overuse of question marks and exclamation points in the preceding two paragraphs. I will attempt to control my use of such unconventional punctuation in the near and distant future]

The Pope is Dead


"Cardinals, archbishops and diplomatic dignitaries paid their respects today to Pope John Paul II at the Apostolic Palace after tens of thousands of mourners filled St. Peter's Square for a Mass in his honor. The Vatican announced the pope died of septic shock and cardiocirculatory collapse."

He really did seem to be a great man.

This is for those of you who turn to PositiveMode for your news rather than the traditional liberal or conservative media.

I also post this because it seems like this is the sort of news that bloggers so often put up as news, perhaps hoping to elicit comment, but also allowing their blog to appear full of content, when it is the most obvious news story on the planet. Long live the uber-important blogosphere.

Checks out in Negative Mode

I'm still trying to figure out how this stupid thing works. Check in many times daily for news, commentary, photographs and other excruciating minutiae all presented with my own personal brand of scathing and perplexingly brilliant wit. Allright, sir.

Positive Mode

This site was created primarily so that I could post a meaningless comment to another person's blog. But maybe it will turn into something. Probably not.