Productive yak shaving

So here’s how my day went….

I started off trying to convert a legacy manual page to asciidoc. Found that pandoc (which could be the target of a whole separate rant, because it totally sucks at translating anything with tables in it) won’t do that.

@PUSH…

But it will convert DocBook to asciidoc. OK, so I can use my doclifter tool to convert the manual page to DocBook, then DocBook to asciidoc via pandoc I try this, and doclifter promptly loses its cookies.

@PUSH…

Huh? Oh, I see an [nt]roff request in there I’ve never seen before. Must fix doclifter to handle that. Hack hack hack – done. Push the fix, think “I ought to ship a doclifter release”

@PUSH…

I look at the doclifter repo. I see that the commit graph has an ugly merge bubble in it from where I forgot a –rebase switch when I was pulling last. It’s the pointless kind of bubble where someone else’s patch commutes with mine so the history might as well be linear and easier to read.

You know, before I ship it…I was planning to move that repo from the downstairs machine to GitLab anyway, I might as well fix that bubble in the process….

@PUSH…

Now how do I do that? Hm, yeah, this patch-replay sequence will do it. I ought to can that procedure into a script because I’m doubtless going to have to do it again. (I hates pointless merge bubbles, I hates them forever…) Script done. Hm. I should publish this.

@PUSH…

OK, throw together a man page and README and Makefile. Oh, right, I need a project logo for the web page. What should it be? Into my mind, unbidden, enters the image of the scrubbing bubble animated characters from an advertising campaign of my childhood. Win!

@PUSH…

I google for images, find one, and GIMP out a suitable piece within individual scrubbing bubble in it. Snrk, yeah, that’s funny. Scale it to 64×64 and go.

@POP…

Funny logo achieved.

@POP…

OK, version 1.0 of git-debubble gets published.

@POP…

git-debubble gets applied to the doclifter repo,

@POP…

…which I then publish to GitLab.

@POP…

Now I can convert the manual page to DocBook XML…

@POP…

…which can then be converted to asciidoc.

I have a lot of days like this.

I think there ought to be a term for a sequence of dependency fulfillments that is a lot like yak shaving, except that something useful or entertaining independently of the original task gets emitted at each stage.

86 thoughts on “Productive yak shaving

    • >Making a yurt. IIRC, traditional yurts are made from felted yak wool…

      I like this better than “making a sweater”. Sweaters are things your relatives give you that you don’t want, but a yurt is core infrastructure.

    • >… and just to be nosy, what was the man page with embedded table that you were trying to convert?

      It was the main manual page of a Project of which you well wot, but the dread Name of which may not yet be spoken by the light of day.

      (That means: Yes, John, you got the number of the yak that bit me.)

      The rest of you will find out in about a month. It’ll be worth the wait.

  1. When I go through many steps, and if I end up burning out, losing track or being entirely unable to solve my original problems.. I call it a “misadventure”.

    I would call a successful one an adventure.

    You come back to speak about it, so it’s a success. You can get around quite a bit during that travel, and get a lot done on an adventure.

    You have souvenirs and scars, maybe even lost your luggage.. but you reached your destination and got home safely, and with a story.

  2. This reminds me of a rumor I’ve heard: that yak-bite insurance is good anywhere except in Tibet. (Actually, the first thing that came to mind was “Yakety Yak”.)

    > Sweaters are things your relatives give you that you don’t want

    Don’t underestimate the power of sweaters. :-P

    > but a yurt is core infrastructure.

    Indeed. “The tent of the great Khan has been destroyed! He will be MOST displeased.”

  3. What do we call it when something useful or entertaining gets emitted at each stage, but the stack gets smashed and the original problem is forgotten (not given up on because no progress is being made, just lost to distraction)?

    Also, where does the syntax @PUSH/POP come from?

  4. >I made it up for the occasion.

    Was there any particular flavor of language you were trying to invoke? The explicit stack manipulation makes me think of an assembly language, but instruction names in assembly languages tend to be straight alphabetic (which makes the @ seem weird). The all-upper-case bit makes me think of some before-my-time dinosaur with a multiple-of-three word width and six bit character set.

  5. There’s a nursery rhyme/chant I recall by the name of “There’s a Hole in the Bucket” which has related meaning. The speaker wants to mend the titular bucket, which requires him to sharpen his knife to cut a patch, which requires him to mend the bucket to bring water for the whetstone. Take out the recursion in the dependencies, and it’s the same principle; at the end of the day, your bucket is mended and you got a sharpened knife along the way.

  6. What would be sufficient condition(s) for two sets of changes to commute?

    I can see orthogonality as a necessary condition, but not necessarily sufficient (eg file clobbering).

    • >What would be sufficient condition(s) for two sets of changes to commute?

      Neither change clobbers the preconditions for the other. For a patch band the precondition is the old content. File insertions and deletions must match pairwise; for insertions, both patches must end with the same inserted content. (This is not quite the same thing as requiring that they do the same insertions; either, or both, could contain insert+modify sequences.)

  7. “What do we call it when something useful or entertaining gets emitted at each stage, but the stack gets smashed and the original problem is forgotten (not given up on because no progress is being made, just lost to distraction)?”

    Like this?

    https://xkcd.com/1319/

  8. Here at the local farmer’s markets (cody, powell, wy), a yak ranch sells various meats as well as yarn and even gloves and other knit things.
    I should get a pair of yak-shaving gloves just for pun.

  9. To be true Yak Shaving, it needs to be semi-useless middle steps. What you’re doing is more like Road Paving, Brush Clearing, or something like that. Something more poetic than Making Shit Better in general.

    For some reason, I envision you on a parade float flinging candy to the world during this. Candy Flinging…..meh. Dunno.

    • >For some reason, I envision you on a parade float flinging candy to the world during this.

      Eric flashes on the intro sequence from “Fractured Fairy Tales”. Can we get Edward Everett Horton to do the narration?

      Eric realizes he is dating himself.

  10. Fractured Fairy Tales!! I’d forgotten those. I loved those. I used to watch Rocky and Bullwinkle and Tennesee Tuxedo all the time!

    er. Guess I’m dating myself too.

  11. Oh, come on. I’m 27 years younger than you and I watched those cartoons as a kid. I assume they’re still on the air. You’re only dating yourself if you saw them as first-runs, and (though it’s possible) I’m guessing you didn’t.

    • >You’re only dating yourself if you saw them as first-runs, and (though it’s possible) I’m guessing you didn’t.

      No. The first run was 1959-1964; I was outside the U.S. at that time and I assure you they did not make it to Venezuela’s TV … matter of fact I’m not sure Venezuela had TV then. I was only 7 in 1964, anyway.

      I saw them perhaps first in 1965-1966 but mostly between 1971 and 1980, at which point they were already a bit dated by the terrible animation quality. The puns and jokes were evergreen, though, and I believe Dr. Peabody may have had some influence on my speech habits.

  12. @ dtsund and esr

    > > More likely by push and pop operations on stack data structures.
    >
    > That is correct.

    Oh. But I do like Push Pop nonetheless. :-) Haven’t had one in ages, though.

    @ James Noyes

    > For some reason, I envision you on a parade float flinging candy to the world

    That would be nice, especially if the candies were Push Pops. Or toffee.

    @ esr

    > Can we get Edward Everett Horton to do the narration?

    No, but maybe we could get Henry Strozier. Would that do the trick?

    • >That would be nice, especially if the candies were Push Pops. Or toffee.

      Nahh. Tootsie Rolls. In the U.S. they’re sort of traditional for parade-tossing – besides, I actually like them occasionally. Not completely unlike a chewy toffee, but less sticky. I don’t know if they’re exported to anywhere outside the U.S. and Canada.

      >No, but maybe we could get Henry Strozier. Would that do the trick?

      No idea. Never heard of him before.

  13. Daniel Franke is right. :-)

    > I believe Dr. Peabody may have had some influence on my speech habits.

    “Quiet, you!”

    > Tootsie Rolls

    Sorry, don’t know them. But it’s nice to “hear” you talk about sweets, as in “Recreating the Nutty Buddy”. You know what I’d really like to see imported here? Twinkies. They look delicious!

    > Never heard of [Henry Strozier] before.

    He’s the narrator of Too Cute, my favorite TV show these days. As a sample of his voice, here’s a 55-second clip.

    Say, any love for Hanna-Barbera cartoons? I suppose they’re less clever than The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show, but I do have fond memories of some of them anyway. For instance, Quick Draw McGraw would sometimes be assisted by that hilarious dog, Snuffles. XD

    • >Say, any love for Hanna-Barbera cartoons?

      Oh, yuck. I hated most of those. The contrast with the class act that was Warner Brothers was painful – crappy animation, dull scripts, generally forgettable characters.

      I make a limited exception for The Flintstones, where they seem on occasion to have actually made an effort to recruit scriptwriters that didn’t suck – this also happened, even less commonly, on The Jetsons. But most of HB’s output was pure dreck compared to even an off day at the Warner Brothers studios.

    • >You know what I’d really like to see imported here? Twinkies. They look delicious!

      I missed this the first time. It is occasion for a rant.

      Twinkies are, in my opinion, so nasty that feeding them to humans should probably be considered a form of torture prohibited under the Geneva conventions. They are hideous in precisely the way a McDonald’s “burger” is hideous – a kind of advanced food substitute tarted up to look better than the real thing but with the approximate taste and nutritive value of heavily-sugared mattress foam.

      I guess my foodie tendencies are showing.

  14. You know what I’d really like to see imported here? Twinkies. They look delicious!

    Personally, I sometimes wonder if I’m the only American without a fixation or love for them. They’re just kind of mediocre and bland treats to me. I actually decline them most of the time when offered…

    Say, any love for Hanna-Barbera cartoons? I suppose they’re less clever than The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show, but I do have fond memories of some of them anyway. For instance, Quick Draw McGraw would sometimes be assisted by that hilarious dog, Snuffles. XD

    HB was obviously a studio that churned out shitty cartoons just to fill airtime and pockets. With rare exceptions, their stuff doesn’t have much value.

  15. > Sweaters are things your relatives give you that you don’t want,

    I like sweaters. Especially the heavy, slightly baggy cable knit sweaters made from real wool.

    They hide the *shit* out of a handgun on your waist.

    • >[Sweaters] hide the *shit* out of a handgun on your waist.

      Hm. Not an argument to be lightly dismissed. I once had an Icelandic yoke-pattern sweater I rather liked – real wool, natural dyes, the kind of thing skiiers with good taste wear. Perhaps I should reinvest.

  16. > …a kind of advanced food substitute tarted up to look better than the real thing but with the approximate taste and nutritive value of heavily-sugared mattress foam.

    But I eat junk food all the time, so I wouldn´t mind. Yes, I belong to the dark side of the Forks. :-P

    @ Mike Swanson

    > HB was obviously a studio that churned out shitty cartoons just to fill airtime and pockets. With rare exceptions, their stuff doesn’t have much value.

    Snuffles is one such exception, isn’t he? ;-)

  17. > Personally, I sometimes wonder if I’m the only American without a fixation or love for them.

    Given that Hostess went bankrupt a few years back, I’d say probably not.

    There was a period following that bankruptcy where you couldn’t buy Twinkies at all, but it only lasted about half a year. Damn fools didn’t realize the bullets needed to be made of silver…

  18. Very loosely connected: While doing stretches at the gym today, I heard two young women near me chatting in (as it turned out) Tibetan.

  19. I was thinking: what about Jonny Quest? I didn’t watch much of it as a kid, but a few years ago I watched a couple of episodes and one of them involved a pan-Arabist plot. Not something you’d expect from a cartoon, is it? ;-) And I’d say the drawing style is not bad at all.

    @ Rich Rostrom

    > Very loosely connected: While doing stretches at the gym today, I heard two young women near me chatting in (as it turned out) Tibetan.

    Neat! :-) Did they share any anecdotes with you?

  20. There was a period following that bankruptcy where you couldn’t buy Twinkies at all, but it only lasted about half a year. Damn fools didn’t realize the bullets needed to be made of silver…

    So you’re saying a bullet made from a Twinkie wouldn’t necessarily kill a werewolf, vampire, zombie, or damn near anything else? ‘Cause I’ve been hearing conflicting evidence elsewhere.

  21. Oh, yuck. I hated most of those. The contrast with the class act that was Warner Brothers was painful – crappy animation, dull scripts, generally forgettable characters.

    Funny thing happened — Warner Brothers bought Hanna-Barbera and the quality improved. Hanna-Barbera — now, I believe, called Cartoon Network Studios — produced some of the cleverest animated shows of the late 90s and early 00s, including The Powerpuff Girls, Johnny Bravo, and Dexter’s Laboratory, to say nothing of the hipsterish, satirical versions of characters from their back catalog like Space Ghost Coast to Coast and Harvey Birdman.

    And HB did employ legendary character designer Alex Toth, who may have been majorly responsible for why Superfriends was so memorable, as terrible as it was.

  22. @Paul
    >So you’re saying a bullet made from a Twinkie wouldn’t necessarily kill a werewolf, vampire, zombie, or damn near anything else? ‘Cause I’ve been hearing conflicting evidence elsewhere.
    You’d have to shoot it in the mouth. Anywhere else will just enrage the beast.

  23. Sorry for posting again so soon after my latest comment, but I just realized I’ve screwed up (again).

    I wrote: “As a sample of [Henry Strozier’s] voice, here’s a 55-second clip.” Wrong link – that video is two minutes longer than I said. Here is the 55-second video I meant to link to.

    Eric, please forgive me. You must have thought it was a prank, but it wasn’t. I was watching videos, probably across several tabs, and mixed up the addresses.

  24. Twinkies are, in my opinion, so nasty that feeding them to humans should probably be considered a form of torture prohibited under the Geneva conventions. They are hideous in precisely the way a McDonald’s “burger” is hideous – a kind of advanced food substitute tarted up to look better than the real thing but with the approximate taste and nutritive value of heavily-sugared mattress foam.

    I don’t even think that they are that good.
    McDonald’s burgers at least can be determined by taste to have real animal parts in them. They might not taste good, but at least they taste something. If you don’t like the taste you can at least mask it with the extensive application of condiments which the bun is vaguely useful for applying. There aren’t any easily-applied or socially acceptable additives for a Twinkie.

    Twinkies are more amazing to me than Wonderbread in terms of desirability. They manage to have a physical presence and oiliness about them which yet lacks discernible texture or the fatty goodness you get from lard. The filling is like super-dense CoolWhip, without the manufacturing quality. And there isn’t enough of it to get the physical satisfaction of biting into something filled, like a cannoli.
    Even as a “sweet” they miss out in that they have only a very light hint of sweetness to them.

    By all means, try one as an “experience”. But they are definitely a food which has maximized the visual appeal of the product at pretty much all other expense.

  25. > By all means, try one as an “experience”.

    Just like I should try self-cutting ‘as an “experience”‘? Or jumping up and down on a hornet’s nest?

    No, thanks!

  26. @#Jorge Dujan on 2015-08-04 at 11:24:41 said:

    >@ Rich Rostrom

    >> Very loosely connected: While doing stretches at the gym today,
    >> I heard two young women near me chatting in (as it turned out) Tibetan.

    > Neat! :-) Did they share any anecdotes with you?

    No, I just asked them what the language was. As a Dirty Old Man, it would be… awkward to be chatting up 20-year-olds – even platonically.

  27. d5xtgr’s motion for something relating to “hole in the bucket” seconded. Recursion aside, this is the metaphor I’ve come to use when the need or desire to do a task creates the necessity for a cascade of tasks to be done — i.e., need to weld up a cart for the welder > need to cut stock > need to clear space in the work area for cutting stock > need to organize and put things away > need to label drawers I’m putting things in so I can find them later. And thus the illustrious Mrs. asks what I’m doing as I scribble on labels and I say “Can’t you see I’m working on the cart for the welder?”

  28. @ESR

    > Hanna-Barbera

    No exception for Tom & Jerry? I practically grew on up them, although our selection of Western cartoons was limited, Tom & Jerry and Donald Duck stuff mostly, with the occasional Flintstones and suchlike. Of these I preferred Tom & Jerry because it was far more violent i.e. funny. I figure I was not a very good boy… it was just easier to relate to the basic predator-prey relationship story in these cartoons than the far more complicated stories of the Flintstones. Pretty much pure action without pretending to have much of a plot.

    Tom & Jerry seems to have made a disproporationally large impact behind the Iron Curtain – even blatantly copied into https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nu,_pogodi!

  29. Jeff, I hates Cartoon Network Studios forever. I hates them, I do.

    They’re responsible for starting the trend of ooooogley animated characters that began with Ren and Stimpy. Gah!

    One of the things that attracted me most to the Warner Bros. TV Animation products of the mid-90s was the consistently good character design, even if they did farm a lot of it out to animation studios that…rather fell down in the execution.

    And Eric: “Eric realizes he is dating himself.”

    That’s illegal in Pennsylvania. But not in Wisconsin. Everything’s legal in Wisconsin as long as it involves a dairy product. </ZilchtheTorysteller>

  30. You’re right, I forgot about Tom & Jerry. But they date from Hanna-Barbera’s film era; the transition to television is what prompted them to cut corners everywhere. You can even see this in the design of Fred Flintstone, whose mouth is intended to be drawn as a separate piece from the rest of his head, so animators can make his mouth move without drawing a whole head (or body) each frame.

    Just be glad the likes of Clutch Cargo stayed in the long and distant past…

  31. And Eric: “Eric realizes he is dating himself.”

    That’s illegal in Pennsylvania. But not in Wisconsin. Everything’s legal in Wisconsin as long as it involves a dairy product.

    Moo.

  32. What Jeff R said, plus you can spot a similar animation trick done with the entire head. The body up to the neckline had a few dozen stock animation frames, and the head had a few dozens of others on a separate layer of transparency. It allowed much much work savings animating a conversation with just a few body postures and gestures, and a range of head angles and mouth movements.

    This is why all the HB characters of the television era also wear collars and neckties, it hides the layer shift.

  33. Random off topic question, Eric:

    Given your prior experience advocating open-source to businesses, how would you judge the viability of a campaign to encourage businesses with proprietary legacy code to initiate crowdfunding/micropatronage campaigns to release that code as open source?

    Do you think said businesses would be likely to try this? Do you think the FOSS community would be likely to fund such micropatronage projects?

  34. They’re responsible for starting the trend of ooooogley animated characters that began with Ren and Stimpy. Gah!

    No, that was Nickelodeon. And Ren and Stimpy was pure unbridled animation genius — at least the first two seasons were. (Hey, a cartoon that can give us such a lovely term as “yak shaving” can’t be all bad!)

    What followed after that was when Spümcø was removed from production of the series and replaced with Nickelodeon’s internal animation division, Games Animation — and it was, as one might expect from such invasive studio meddling, terribad.

  35. > Eric realizes he is dating himself.

    Only just now our Fearless Leader realizes this? For such an otherwise sexually frank person? Well, it is a brave admission nevertheless. Such behaviors are quite normal and natural, even healthful. Almost everyone does this sort of thing. We who love you won’t judge you for it.

    > Everything’s legal in Wisconsin as long as it involves a dairy product.

    As a lifelong Wisconsin resident, I’ll tell you what should be illegal. We should criminalize putting ketchup on fine bratwurst! Mustards yes, even yellow types in truly desperate situations, but never the “k” word! I don’t mean to bring religious issues into this discussion, or to offend, but some things are far too important to leave unsaid.

    I hope these useful comments are accepted in the spirit in which their author intended.

  36. @Reader if I ever become sufficiently evil, I will introduce you a Berlin currywurst while cackling maniacally.

  37. “As a lifelong Wisconsin resident, I’ll tell you what should be illegal. We should criminalize putting ketchup on fine bratwurst! Mustards yes, even yellow types in truly desperate situations, but never the “k” word!”

    I’ve never put ketchup on a brat. Sriracha mayo, yes, but not ketchup.

    “Ren and Stimpy was pure unbridled animation genius — at least the first two seasons were.”

    Sorry. I couldn’t stand to look at it for more than seconds at a time. The ooooogley outweighed any genius there.

  38. > Sriracha mayo

    I stand corrected. I thought curry powder on a sausage is scary. No, this is far scarier.

    BTW sriracha has two major brands, which are commonly referred to as rooster and goose. I know rooster sauce is the most common in the US and goose here, but did anyone have chance to compare them and tell if there is any difference? I am not really that impressed with the goose one, it tastes like hot tabasco with garlic.

  39. Jay Maynard wrote:
    > I’ve never put ketchup on a brat.

    Good man! Then you are not a contemptible infidel, and I am willing to communicate with you in good conscience.

    > Sriracha mayo, yes, but not ketchup.

    Mmmmm! That sounds interesting! It may be time for me to broaden my horizons. Is it premade (brand name please), or do you mix it yourself (recipe please)?

    Thanks!

  40. Shenpen wrote:
    > if I ever become sufficiently evil, I will introduce you a Berlin currywurst while cackling maniacally.

    Ooooo! Be evil! Be very evil! I will google this to see if it is available near Milwaukee.

    Danke!

  41. Ah, the timeless elegance of a stack-based existance… Life as a LIFO structure whose uncountably many threads are woven through the universal metacompiler of quantum mechanics, in full accordance with the HTW…

    In the end, we all RET. Blessed be the Maker and his constants… :-)

  42. “Is it premade (brand name please)”

    Yup, but it’s a store brand, Hy-Vee Select. Dunno if, or where, you’d find it in Milwaukee.

    “I will google this to see if it is available near Milwaukee.”

    I would be greatly surprised…but then, stranger things have been found in Milwaukee.

    “> Any love for Freakazoid!?
    He don’t know us vewy well, do he?”

    Indeed. Can’t speak for anyone else here, but I love F! because it pushed the boundaries good and hard every chance it got. It was an explicitly experimental show. Spielberg gave them free rein to do whatever the hell they pleased. When it bombed, it bombed big-time, but when it connected, it more often than not hit it right out of the park to straightaway center and knocked out some of the stadium lighting on the way.

  43. Ditto what Jay said for Tiny Toons and Animaniacs as well. Not coincidentally, a lot of the same creative minds were writing all 3 shows.

  44. Indeed. Can’t speak for anyone else here, but I love F! because it pushed the boundaries good and hard every chance it got.

    Freakazoid! was a good show, and pretty funny, but you’re kidding yourself if you think it pushed boundaries. Maybe by the standards of Warner’s children’s programming department, but the real boundary pushers were doing work for MTV, Showtime, and to a lesser extent Nickelodeon — they’re the ones whose work you dismissed as oooooooogley. That’s like dismissing Smells Like Teen Spirit because it sounds depressing. Of course it sounds depressing! It’s the expression of a lost generation — a generation disaffected and jaded by the oooooooogleyness — red in tooth and claw — of Reaganite capitalism. That’s literally why it’s arguably the greatest rock song of all time.

    Similarly, Ren and Stimpy and other such shows are a backlash against the squeaky-clean, done-on-the-cheap toy tie-in cartoons that prevailed from the late 60s through the 1980s. There was a lot of experimentation with form and content; John Kricfalusi had to fight the network every step of the way to get what he wanted on the air; and in the end the network won but that’s another rant.

    By the way, John K. is rather a conservative, and what he was agitating for was a return to form for animation, restoring the artistic values exhibited in the old 1940s Warner cartoons directed by Clampett, Jones, Avery, et al. — back when animation studios had shoestring budgets but (nearly) carte blanche to do what they pleased. By contrast the Warner studios of the 1990s were paying lip service to those values with characters like “Animaniacs” but not following through. The appearance of the Warner Brothers (and Sister) is based on a tame redesign of the 1930s character Bosko which appeared on Tiny Toon Adventures; Bosko had to be redesigned because not only was he ooooogley, he was a racist caricature. The Warner television animation division had a team of crack writers who were pretty good at getting some crap past the radar, but they were coloring within some very safe and comfortable lines throughout the 90s.

    Much more fertile ground was MTV, what with Liquid Television, The Maxx, The Head, Æon Flux, and of course Beavis and Butt-head. MTV encouraged animators to experiment and investigate mature and thought-provoking subject matter through the medium of animation, including science fiction (The Head and The Maxx were bundled into a meta-show called “Oddities”).

  45. “By the way, John K. is rather a conservative, and what he was agitating for was a return to form for animation, restoring the artistic values exhibited in the old 1940s Warner cartoons directed by Clampett, Jones, Avery, et al”

    I had that discussion with one of Kricfalusi’s compadres on Usenet years later. He made this same argument. What he – and you – didn’t see is that the character designs that Kricfalusi aped were the extremes. The characterslooked much better when they weren’t doing wild taks Kricfalusi took the wild takes and made them the normal appearance. He didm’ understand; he was just drawing ooooogley because he could and thereby get fans from the kid of devotees to High Art that you exemplify.

    Fundamentally, what set the folks at WB TV Animation apart from the rest was that they embodied the classic Looney Tunes approach to cartoons: they were out to make each other laugh, and brought the audience along with them.

    As for Smells Like Teen Spirit, Weird Al said everything that needs saying about it in Smells Like Nirvana. If it wasn’t for Ronald Reagan’s capitalism, America’s young people wouldn’t have had the money to make Kurt Cobain rich.

  46. >There’s a nursery rhyme/chant I recall by the name of “There’s a Hole in the Bucket”

    “Liza Recursion”

  47. It’s not really a hole-in-the-bucket situation unless there’s a catch-22 at the end. It would fit perfectly only if Eric needed to look up how to do the image scaling and noticed that the tool had a legacy manpage.

  48. Vaguely sort of FORTH.

    Forth, as shipped, has neither PUSH nor POP keywords; all operations involving the stack implicity “push” or “pop” the needed values. To push a numeric constant, name it; to pop the first value off the stack and discard it the word is DROP.

    With the at signs I thought you were going for some sort of line by line text markup akin to troff crossed with texinfo…

  49. @bpsouther, I like it. More dignified-sounding than the way I usually declare it.

    @Daniel Franke, I used to think the same thing, but my experience of it is now that I have to muddle through with what I have in order to bootstrap myself to the point where I can execute the task cascade correctly (or close enough). I question whether a true “catch-22” is possible in real life, though I’d be interested to see a proof in either direction.

  50. In the real world, you can put a leaf over the hole, which while the bucket will still leak a little, you can get water for the wheatstone, so you can sharpen the blade ….

    Might not be perfect, but it will work. Or carry some water in your hat or …

    It will only really stop people who didn’t really want to do the job in the first place.

    Jim

  51. my experience of it is now that I have to muddle through with what I have in order to bootstrap myself to the point where I can execute the task cascade correctly (or close enough).

    Hole in the bucket scenarios are commonplace in computing — consider receiving a brand new C compiler in source format, in C. You need a C compiler just to compile your C compiler! And we deal with them in just this way: by treating the problem of getting from the starting point (no C compiler) to a point where the prerequisite condition is fulfilled (having a C compiler that can compile the compiler — perhaps a really bad or restricted one) and then assuming the prerequisite condition from then on.

    Henry could have used a milk jug or washtub or something to carry water for the whetstone. Then again, the entire song’s premise is that Henry is a feckless idiot.

  52. The characterslooked much better when they weren’t doing wild taks Kricfalusi took the wild takes and made them the normal appearance. He didm’ understand; he was just drawing ooooogley because he could and thereby get fans from the kid of devotees to High Art that you exemplify.

    I think you just imprinted on the post-Freleng appearances like a baby bird (not Tweety; Tweety was far more subversive and edgy, at least in his initial appearances) because those appearances — clean, safe, corporate- and family-friendly — are the lines the 90s television animation were coloring safely within. WWII-era cartoons were a lot “wilder”, artistically and kinematically more interesting, and more “oogley”. In fact Stimpy is based directly on a chubbier version of the big-nosed cats from “A Gruesome Twosome”; Ren is inspired by EVERY CHIHUAHUA EVER.

    The Ren & Stimpy shorts were something that most cartoons of the era were not: insanely, laugh-out-loud funny. Tiny Toons and Animaniacs had some sharp humor, and clever — even obscure — references, but none of them made me and my peers laugh till we were out of breath the way Ren & Stimpy did. Not even Warner’s own attempt at a response (Hanna-Barbera’s “2 Stupid Dogs”). Ultimately, that was the goal: to make the audience laugh, and if corporate-friendly notions of cuteness had to be sacrificed, so be it. (Doubtless this tweaked a lot of nips at Nickelodeon, who were salivating at the toyetic possibilities…)

  53. “The Ren & Stimpy shorts were something that most cartoons of the era were not: insanely, laugh-out-loud funny.”

    I don’t know. I was – and am – so put off by the appearance that I can’t stick around for the jokes. Then again, I would not be greatly surprised if the humor was definitely aimed squarely at college-aged males.

    OTOH, my then-57-year-old mother fell in love with Animaniacs at the line “I haven’t been this mad since we made Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead!”, and was a fan ever since.

    WWII-era cartoon characters might have violated the laws of physics, but they were at least plausible. Ren and Stimpy violated the laws of biology and topology.

  54. This sounds like “joyful project management (producer)”.

    But, I call it “joyful kikaku”, to abuse Japanese a bit. The role of a project manager is just to keep things on time, by encouraging the team and helping to make pragmatic decisions. It is a lot of service, more than domination or even leadership, more like helping out as needed.

  55. This is similar, if not identical, to what I refer to as “growing grass to get a hamburger”.

    In this crowd, I don’t think I have to expand that myself. ;-)

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