URLs du (Impending Hurricane) Jour

2012-10-27

Hurricane Sandy has caused some folks in the immediate vicinity to soil their britches. The University Near Here has curtailed operations for Monday and Tuesday, giving us non-essential personnel a sweet long weekend.

I can't (however) figure out how that even makes sense, given the current storm-track maps at NOAA's Hurricane Center. But nobody asked me so,…

  • [Cathy Poulin in
Fitchburg] Pun Salad's official (but unaware, and uncompensated) mascot Cathy Poulin has been spotted giving a $5K check to St. Anna School in Fitchburg, MA. Good for her, good for her employer.

    Picture at right. Usually they take the picture of the (literally) Really Big Check, but this time they took the picture of the Really Big Thank You Card the school gave in return. Sweet.

  • For the uninitiated, Cathy is the Director of Public Relations for Bob's Discount Furniture, a chain with multiple locations in the Northeast. She also appears with Bob himself in their irritating advertisements. And our ISP-provided stats tell us that Googling for "Cathy Poulin" is the number one reason people come to Pun Salad.

  • Bob's advertisements may be irritating, but right now I'd prefer to watch five hundred of them in a row than see one more dumb political ad. Thank goodness for TiVo and Netflix.

  • The occasionally-amusing McSweeney provides "Election 20,012 B.C.: Where the Candidates Stand On the Issues.". Sample:

    Q. Why crop not grow for four season now?

    Gog, leader: Terrible magic visit village before Gog become leader. Gog take ancient Horse Crown not knowing full extent of bad magic. Gog pray for guidance; sent vision that virgin sacrifice please gods, bring rain. Opponent say virgin sacrifice never work. But Gog see many sign of turnaround, like evil spirit leaving cave and people buying wheel again. Opponent say stop killing virgin or become like Land That Money Forgot. But Gog consult many Wizard. Them say: Grow crop, then stop killing virgin.

    Mog, opponent: Gog not make crop die. Mog know this. Mog know Gog inherit Bad Times after sorcerer enchant puppet. But Mog say Gog make problem worse with stone tablet that have many word on it. Gog also ask for our virgin. Tell us he can bring crop back. We give him many virgin. But no crop! Now Gog want another chance? Mog have 5-step dance to bring back rain. Mog understand dance; Gog no understand dance. That difference this election. Also, Gog must be toss from mountaintop.

    Plus ça change…

  • While others (I'm told) drop a small fortune on PC games and the high-end hardware necessary to run them seamlessly, I usually just play Monopoly against 3 opponents, each cranked up to "Tycoon" strategy. Very old style: Mediterranean and Baltic are purple, not brown, Luxury Tax is $75, and there are no fancy dice rolls.

    You may know that the inventor of Monopoly was a follower of Henry George and his oddball tax ideas; the game was meant to illustrate/advocate for the "single tax" Georgist position.

    But have you ever wondered how a "true" Georgist single tax might work in Monopoly?

    As so often happens, the Web brings us things we didn't know we needed: economist Bryan Caplan writes: "How Would a Georgist Single Tax Work in Monopoly?"


Last Modified 2012-10-28 7:04 AM EST

Adventures in HTML5 Compliance

what a mess I've finally completed the dinking of Pun Salad posts into HTML5 compliance, at least according to the W3C Validator, all the way back to post number one in February 2005. Mostly mechanical tag-tweaking, but I couldn't avoid at least looking at some of the older content. A mixed bag of observations:

  • I know I'm supposed to make some self-disparaging comments about how silly and amateurish my old posts are. But (as it turns out) the newer posts are equally silly and amateurish.

    Ahem. Just kidding. False modesty aside: other than gradual changes in my posting style, I think the old stuff holds up pretty well.

  • The further back in time I went, the more work it was to hammer things into compliance. The first few Salad years were really anarchic, HTML-standardswise.

  • Technically-illegal URL characters, mostly spaces and ampersands, are tricky, because most browsers let you get away with using them, and most sites encourage you to cut-n-paste them. But the Validator gripes, so they had to be found and fixed.

  • Embarrassingly, back in 2005-2006, I had no idea how to make a compliant unordered ("bullet") list, putting in <p> tags in unacceptable spots. And, as you may have noticed, I use them bullets a lot. Edit, edit, edit… slowly and tediously.

  • Speaking of ellipses, I also had the annoying habit of leaving off the semicolon of HTML character entities. (E.g., &hellip instead of &hellip;) I think older browsers might have taken a more "oh, I know what you meant to do there" attitude. These days, it just looks lazy and stupid and ugly. Fixed, I hope.

  • For some reason, I took a lot of "online quizzes" in the past. (e.g., "What military aircraft are you?") and mindlessly cut-n-pasted the HTML results into an article.

    As it turned out, those quiz composers didn't much care about HTML5 compliance back then either. In some cases I just had to give up.

  • The number of dead links is depressing and embarrassing. (I left them in, though.) Depressing, because things I thought interesting enough to link to are now lost; embarrassing, because sometimes there's no indication what was going on: essentially, "hey this is neat" with a non-working link. What was I thinking? We'll never know.

    Especially noticeable: YouTube videos that were yanked due to copyright reasons. (In some cases, I was able to find alternate sources.)

  • I also got to remember some bloggers I once linked to all the time, but now have gone on to… well, wherever you go after you stop blogging. Examples:

    • "Robert Musil", the Man Without Qualities: the blog is still there, but the latest post is dated March 2007.

    • Katie Newmark had the best title for her blog: "A Constrained Vision", a nod to Thomas Sowell's classic book, A Conflict of Visions.. But attempting to go there nowadays brings up "It's All about Volkswagen", a blog that the current owner never bothered to post to. A waste of a good URL!

    • New Hampshire's own Shawn Macomber, doesn't do the blog thing any more but I found him here.

    • Virginia Postrel explains that she now is mainly found at Twitter and Facebook.

    • Jaqueline Mackie Paisley Passey is still findable, but Googling also brings up a lot of stuff I bet she'd rather forget.

    … and many, many others. But at least Instapundit is still there.

And not that it matters, but as I was cranking through the old articles, I tried (and I think mostly succeeded) to regularize the links on my movie/book postings to Amazon and IMDB. I especially like the look of the "rating plugin" link provided by IMDB.


Last Modified 2012-10-27 10:27 PM EST