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Chris Morrow

Chris Morrow's Public Library

  • #7 – Can you work under pressure?


    Who is going to say no? You could answer “I’ve been tested to 12 ft-lbs per square inch”, or if you can completely change the tenor of the conversation with “If I don’t get this job I’ll lose my house, my wife, and the eight third-world children I’ve been supporting will be doomed to starvation. How’m I doing so far?”

  • #3 – Do you ever abuse alcohol or drugs?


    “I didn’t realize I had to choose”, or the more tactful “You do realize that the people who test body fluid samples are part of the Teamster’s union? They don’t like people cutting in on their territory.”

  • Don’t dignify an awful question with a thoughtful response. First, startle the interviewer by saying “I have two”, and then continue with “one, I have an aversion to kryptonite but it doesn’t normally affect my work, and two, you really don’t want me to work overtime during a full moon. Seriously.”

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  • “Just say the line,” said Melvin, our executive producer.


    “Did you read the book 1The book being my memoir, Fresh Off the Boat, a.k.a. the Chinaman’s Guide to the Galaxy.?” I asked. “If you can find any crumb of a complete thought in the book that remotely infers ‘America is great,’ I’ll read the line.”


    “Eddie, we need it for the episode. It’s a big moment! You have a black kid and a Chinese kid breaking bread over a Jewish hip-hop concert. Where else could this happen? America IS great!”

    “Of course you picked a Beastie Boys concert. That’s what you people do — you make Asian sitcoms for white people praising Ill Communication because we’re both acceptable, unthreatening gateways to black culture. These kids couldn’t break bread at a Gravediggaz show?”

  • A Jedi has to say, “I want to be incrementally better than the Seth MacFarlanes and McDonald’s of the world!” for anything to change. Isn’t that the genius of Shake Shack, South Park, and In-N-Out Burger?
  • Eventually, we got to the macaroni-and-cheese scene. Throughout the book tour, it was my favorite scene to read because it exemplified how foreign white culture was to me. I remember the first time I saw macaroni and cheese, as a guest in my friend Jeff’s home, thinking it was pig intestines cut into half-moons hanging out in an orange sauce. Jeff found it incredulous that I didn’t know what macaroni and cheese was, but it was formative; he got a taste of macaroni and cheese from my eyes, discovering how it felt to be gazed on and seen as exotic instead of being the one gazing. The script took the moment and exploited it for humor as opposed to making it a teaching moment, so I spoke up.


    “The setup for the joke in this scene is nonexistent. People need to understand how weird it is for Young Eddie to see macaroni and cheese for the first time.”


    “The visual does it for you. Look at the mac ’n’ cheese, it’s disgusting!” said Jake, who put the prop on the table.


    “Yeah, it looks like shitty mac ’n’ cheese, then the joke becomes that it’s bad mac ’n’ cheese. The point is that it’s foreign, not bad.”


    Melvin got tense; Natch spoke up.


    “I know what Eddie’s saying. We’ll address it. There could be more setup.” Within seconds, I got a text from Melvin. “Welcome to pilot season, kid.” Eventually, they just cut the entire scene.

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      1. “proper thank-you notes” – appreciation is not enough, it has to be the Proper Kind. There are RULES.
      3. “the effect is spoiled” – because the spirit of giving is simply not enough.
      5. “Thank-yous aren’t difficult” – there’s that judgement thing. You don’t know what is difficult for someone else.
      7. “Some ‘rules'” – why are there freaking RULES about receiving a gift that should be freely given???
      9. “rather than text or email” – why? why? why? why does only paper “count”???
      11. “you will be forever known as…” – so, really, this is a form of social blackmail, right?
      13. the template – if it’s this formulaic, what on earth makes it meaningful? this isn’t gratitude, it’s a receipt.
      15. “If showing good manners isn’t incentive enough…” – then we should do this to ensure steady delivery of future gifts? Isn’t that awfully damn mercenary?
  • So, here is my message:


    DEAR EVERYONE: In this season of graduations and weddings, I would like to urge those giving gifts and money to friends and family to also give the gift of tolerance. If you feel the effect of your time and money is spoiled when you have to contact stores or scrutinize their bank statements to learn if your gifts were, indeed, received but simply not acknowledged, then don’t send anything. Thank-yous may not seem difficult to you, but for people going through major life events, they can be the thing that knocks over the teetering, towering To Do pile. Some “rules”: Texts and emails – even phone calls – can still be heartfelt communications. Please don’t measure the sincerity of someone’s appreciation by the price of a stamp and notepaper. People can still be “that polite young couple” or “the young man/woman who sent the nice note” if they avail themselves of electronic communications. Please recall that your gifts of time and money are totally voluntary. You are not required to give anything and it might be best if you don’t, if you’re only giving so you can receive a particular template response. Often the greatest gift you can give is understanding and compassion. A little tolerance for the pressure other people are under goes a long way. — APPRECIATIVE IN SANTA FE, NEW MEXICO

  • It's a security feature designed to not let malicious sites mislead or trap a user - it's not something you can remove.

  • There does seem to be a lot of mythology around about the "grape in a microwave" experiment. I have never see any publications on the subject in a respectable journal, however from chatting to other scientists there seems to be a consensus about what happens.


    It's all rather boring really. The grape is the right size (about a quarter wavelength) and shape to act as an antenna that focusses the power in the middle. The skin joining the grape halves heats up, vapourises and bursts into flame.


    If anyone feels in an experimental mood some obvious tests of this would be to change the grape size and shape, and see if that affects the flame. Less easy to do at home would be to try the experiment with a nitrogen atmosphere as that should prevent combustion.

  • But traffic lights, contrary to popular myth, aren’t a problem. The bottom one appears white to me, but so what? I still know that “bottom light” means “go.” A few times a year, someone will say, “What, you can’t see that reddish area?” (Or, somewhat uselessly: “What color does grass look to you?” Uh…)


    No, I’ll never grow up to be an interior designer or house painter. I review cameras, of course, but I always have non-colorblind people look over the photos before I make any comments about their color.


    So for me, a guy whose career, conversation and clothing don’t depend on accurate identification of color names, $600 is too steep.

  • I have particularly enjoyed attempts by Paul defenders to brush off the significance of his initial comments as ‘merely philosophical’ – as college bull-session irrelevancy, for which he is being unfairly held accountable. When, of course, the whole Tea Party point of Rand Paul’s candidacy is his libertarian-conservative philosophy, and his promise to stay true to the implications of it, as a legislator.
  • In walking this stuff back – in saying he would have voted for the Civil Rights Act, after all – Paul is walking back his longstanding, core philosophical commitments. So now we know: he is willing to vote for things things that, by his own lights, go against the Constitution and reduce individual liberty, in the most essential sense (freedom = unencumbered enjoyment of private property rights). This retreat really ought to be worse than out-and-out liberalism, again by Paul’s own lights, because liberals at least have the decency to be confused about what the Constitution says, having hallucinated commerce clause penumbrae that make it all ok. And liberals don’t value freedom all that highly, supposedly, so it’s not surprising that they are perfectly willing to chuck liberty into the fiery maw of the Moloch of ‘social justice’. At least there’s a failed god of socialism that they are doing it for.
  • But given that the liberal position on affirmative action preferences for racial minorities is typically based on the same premise, that the history of race in the U.S. is a special case that could warrant a deviation from otherwise sound principles, I doubt they really want to emphasize this objection.] The liberal agrees.


    I disagree. Why, philosophically, should ‘special history’ warrant a one-off, never-to-be-repeated deviation from otherwise sound principles? It may be that affirmative action has often been defended in ‘special history’ terms. But, for precisely that reason, conservatives have attacked affirmative action as a philosophically blunt and crude appeal to ‘white guilt’. Why should some comfortably middle-class African-American kid get help, and that struggling Asian immigrant kid get none? I think philosophical defenders of affirmative action should – and most would – agree that the notion should be scrapped if it can’t be underpinned by a coherent philosophy of social justice. You have to define the class of presently needful, disadvantaged individuals in some better way.

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  • “It paves the way for Sharia Law.”

    “Huh? What?”

    “It paves the way for Sharia Law, right here in the United States,” Biff continued, setting the hook. “Right here in the land of religious freedom and the Bill of Rights and the Judeo-Christian tradition.”

    “What does? What in the world are you talking about?”

    “That new law in Indiana, the one called the ‘Religious Freedom Restoration Act’ that the governor signed Thursday.”

  • “Tell me this: How would the people who support ‘religious freedom’ laws feel if Muslims were the majority in this country? How would they react if a Muslim baker refused to cater a Christian wedding because of their deeply held religious beliefs?”

    “That would be ridiculous.”


  • The simplest solution in Chrome is to crash the tab.


    Type chrome://crash into the address bar and save as a bookmark.


    Next time you want to leave such a page just click the bookmark and it will kill that tab instantly, without affecting your other tabs. No need to kill the entire browser session as some others have suggested.


    Alternatively you can hang the tab using chrome://hang then simply close the tab without any JavaScript running.

  • From the man page for exec(2): 

      On the first line of an interpreter script, following  the "#!", is the name of a program which should be used  to interpret the contents of the file. For instance,  if the first line contains "#!/bin/sh", then the con-  tents of the file are executed as a shell script. 

     You can get away without this, but you shouldn't. All good scripts state the interpretor explicitly. Long ago there was just one (the Bourne Shell) but these days there are many interpreters -- csh, ksh, bash, and others.

  • Hey, are you vaguely aware of bitcoin, the distributed cryptocurrency that very few people care about but the ones who do care about it care about it a lot and won’t shut up about it? Were you wondering when it would stop being a thing? Well, good news, it’s a punchline in Snuffy Smith, so I’m pretty sure it’s officially not a thing anymore.

  • John Holbo asks a very good question inspired by an in-flight magazine’s feel-good piece about Martin Luther King: how did public expression of racism become unacceptable?


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