May 31, 2006

Four recent spam subject lines

You step closer to the toilet, we fix it

Realism is just an excuse for pessimism

Drop 20 lbs with no hunger and no carvings

She will love you more than any other guy

Posted by Francis at 08:58 AM | Comments (14)

May 29, 2006

Just for one day

Six things.


Posted by Francis at 05:30 PM in Six Things | Comments (5)

May 28, 2006

I put a (promiscuous) spell on you

I found this piece of paper taped inside the entrance of the West 4th Street subway stop last night:


Posted by Francis at 11:10 AM | Comments (10)

May 26, 2006

Favourite Shirts (Boy Meets Stencil)

I do have a draft of the latest Six Things, but I may have gotten a week's worth of cartooning out of my system last night, when I attended...a T-shirt-making party! I was tempted to make a stencil of one of these, but I decided to draw some cartoons instead. Finally, my aversion to connecting the lines in my drawings pays off! Here's Martin Gale, Private Eye:


I'm pretty happy with that one, but behold...the bunny:


Here it is in close-up.


Now, every day can be Bunny Day.

Posted by Francis at 09:47 AM in Bunny Day | Comments (11)

May 25, 2006

As geek as it gets

One of my job tasks lately has involved going down word lists and seeing which words are in this or that dictionary. And one of the dictionaries I needed to check (Webster's New World College Dictionary) was a ridiculously old edition -- like, 1979 or something. It was the second edition, and the latest edition is the fourth. I went through the old version anyway, because I'm like that, and I marked the words I expected to find in a newer printing. In most cases, I was correct; CHAD, GRAN, LITE, MISO, MUNI, NANA, NITE, NORI, ORCA, SECS, and SPAM had all made it in, but two words still hadn't made the cut: CHAI and DEKE (to fake someone out, in hockey). Merriam-Webster, the New Oxford American Dictionary, and Encarta all have DEKE; M-W doesn't have CHAI either, though. Is there a higher barrier to entry for food words or something? M-W, New World, and Encarta still don't have ROTINI. (NOAD does, though -- rock on, Erin.)

I just don't get this. Aren't CHAI and ROTINI much more in the language than all those frickin' Scottish dialect words like AIRT, DIRL, GIRN, and whatnot? Can't we just assume that any book that includes poetry by Robert Burns will include a glossary, and stop cluttering up my dictionaries with silly Scottish words?

Posted by Francis at 03:37 PM | Comments (9)

May 24, 2006

Recent consumption

If I'm going to maintain my flimsily constructed self-image as a global tastemaker, I suppose it behooves me to hold forth on some entertainment products I've been enjoying.

My expectations were simultaneously high and low for the new Paul Simon CD, Surprise, a collaboration with Brian Eno. Many of my all-time favorite albums are Eno projects (Talking Heads' Remain in Light; David Bowie's Low, Heroes, and Lodger; My Life in the Bush of Ghosts with David Byrne; Wrong Way Up with John Cale), but both Eno's and Simon's most recent albums were pretty crappy, so this could have gone either way. Fortunately, Surprise came out pretty well -- the sound is great, and more importantly, it's not half-assed. The album isn't perfect -- there are some lazy rhymes, and a little too much talking about god for my taste; the melody of one bridge section reappears five songs later; and after four excellent tracks to start with, the album does get a little soft in the middle now. (But then, I do have a short little span of attention.) But overall, a success. Favorite lyric: "I remember once in August 1993, I was wrong, and I could be wrong again."

Grant McLennan of the Go-Betweens died recently, in case you didn't know. It took a while for the Go-Betweens to click for me, but once they did, it didn't take me long to buy up pretty much their entire discography (although I'm still behind on the solo albums from the years before the band reunited). Anyway, while I was reading various remembrances of Grant and his work, I ran across several mentions of a side project I'd managed to miss completely -- Jack Frost, a collaboration with Steve Kilbey (of the Church) -- which had released two albums. The CDs are out of print, but not hard to find used in one place or another, and they're excellent; it turns out McLennan's songwriting adapts very well to a rockier, more psychedelic sound. I've been listening to at least one of them pretty much every day since they arrived in the mail.

As for non-audio entertainment, I've been solving The New Yorker Book of Cartoon Puzzles and Games, one of the best puzzle books I've seen in ages. An acrostic in which every answer is a word from a New Yorker cartoon caption, always integral to the punchline, and possible to deduce? If you've never constructed a puzzle, you might not realize how daunting a task this is, but let me assure you that you should be impressed by it. The word puzzles are all elegantly constructed (as one can always expect from Puzzability), and even the inevitable match-the-caption-to-the-cartoon puzzles are cleverly done. Highly recommended.

Posted by Francis at 07:33 PM | Comments (2)

May 22, 2006

Freedom to oppress

I don't know why I'm surprised by anything the government says nowadays:

The government has the legal authority to prosecute journalists for publishing classified information, Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales said yesterday.

"There are some statutes on the book which, if you read the language carefully, would seem to indicate that that is a possibility," Mr. Gonzales said on the ABC News program "This Week."

I love that "if you read it carefully, it seems to indicate maaaaybe that there's no such thing as freedom of the press." And if you squint at the Constitution, it obviously says "the president gets to do whatever he wants, nyaah nyaah nyaah."

Mr. Gonzales said that the administration promoted and respected the right of the press that is protected under the First Amendment.

"But it can't be the case that that right trumps over the right that Americans would like to see, the ability of the federal government to go after criminal activity," he said. "And so those two principles have to be accommodated."

Yes -- a Constitutional right can't possibly trump a right that some Americans would like to have. And Alberto Gonzales is an American! And he wants the government to have the right to do illegal things, declare them classified, and send journalists to jail for reporting on them! That's his right as an American, and we have to respect that.

(Read the article without NY Times registration here.)

Posted by Francis at 10:29 AM | Comments (3)

May 20, 2006

Set font dorkery on stun!

I can't tell you how much I love this analysis of the font used for the clock on "24". Oh, wait, yes I can: a lot.

Posted by Francis at 08:49 AM | Comments (4)

From the Halls of Montezuma

I was getting lunch today, and I saw these cough drops:


Piña colada flavor? (Or, as the packaging has it, "sabor piña colada".) Clearly I needed to buy that for science. Since I actually kind of like artificial coconut flavor, at worst I was buying a pack of candy -- but I was very curious to see if they had attempted to integrate piña colada flavor with the typical Halls menthol flavor, since those are not two tastes that make an immediately obvious pairing.

The verdict? They're actually...pretty good! There's just enough menthol to make you feel like you're having, you know, a cough drop, and somehow it doesn't clash with the pineapple and coconut flavors. Now I just have to wait for my next sore throat.

Posted by Francis at 12:26 AM | Comments (1)

May 19, 2006

Six punch lines about 88 keys

Six things.


Posted by Francis at 02:25 AM in Six Things | Comments (2)

Oh, shoot

On the face of it, this game didn't seem like it would be very's sort of a Tempesty Galaxianish Gyrussy sort of thing, nothing too innovative...but then I discovered the cumulative scoring mechanism. For every enemy you shoot without missing, the amount you score for killing the next enemy goes up by 10% of the base score for that enemy (so the 50 point aliens go up 5 points for each consecutive successful shot, the 100 point aliens go up 10 points, and so on). That...would be the addictive part. But now really, seriously, I swear, I'm going to stop playing and go draw the next Six Things. After one more game.

(Via Jay Is Games. Smaller, harder version of the game here. Here's my high score on the easier version of the game, in case you're feeling competitive.)

Posted by Francis at 12:51 AM | Comments (0)

May 15, 2006

Good links come in threes

Thanks to Jon and Lorinne, without whom I would have to provide my own blog content, for the following links (J., J., and L., respectively):

Identity theft at the BBC, sort of. (More here.) (And another update.)

I'm just relieved to see that Geddy Lee didn't make the list.

I believe! I believe!

Posted by Francis at 12:35 AM | Comments (1)

Goerring my way?

Lorinne finds an unfortunate typo.

Posted by Francis at 12:00 AM | Comments (3)

May 14, 2006

Comments want to be free

Yes, thanks to volunteer webmistress Debby's efforts this weekend, Heaneyland is freshly patched with a comment spam fix. It adds a brief step to the comment process (namely, you have to preview your comment before posting it), but hey, one more chance to check for typos, right? Don't forget to actually hit "Post" after previewing your comment (I made this mistake while testing the new system).

Having this patch installed also means we can return to the carefree time when people didn't have to wait for me to approve comments before they appeared on the blog; they will once again show up right away. Sweet.

Posted by Francis at 06:21 PM | Comments (2)

May 12, 2006

Panel discussion

Jon sent me a link to this blog post, in which we learn that a country which lets people like Stephan Pastis write tongue twisters is not a truly Christian country...and I found myself, hours later, deep into the blog archives and up later than I had meant to be. Join me, won't you, in my newly found obsessive love for the Comics Curmudgeon?

Posted by Francis at 09:03 AM | Comments (1)

May 11, 2006

Comment allez-vous?

Because of out-of-control spambots, comments have been temporarily disabled. For the time being, if you have a comment on any blog entry, e-mail me at with the subject line "Heaneyland comment" and I'll add it manually. To read comments, click on the permalinks (those are the timestamps at the end of the entries) instead of clicking "Comments" (which will give you a page not found error), and scroll down. Sorry for the inconvenience.

On a related note, if anyone knows of a good (and, more importantly, easy to install) anti-spambot MT plug-in, please let me know.

Posted by Francis at 12:31 PM | Comments (2)

May 09, 2006

Great moments in cross-marketing

For some reason, Amazon thinks that people who bought this book are likely to want to buy this book. I'm...not so sure.

Posted by Francis at 02:15 PM | Comments (0)

May 08, 2006

"What's the strangest place you've ever uploaded a cartoon?" "Well, Bob, I'd have to say..."

Six things.


Posted by Francis at 02:01 AM in Six Things | Comments (6)

May 07, 2006

Rashomon lite

While walking to brunch yesterday, Rose and I passed a group of three little girls playing on a stoop. One was holding one of those guns that shoots suction-cup-tipped darts, and she explained to the other two girls, matter-of-factly, "You never point a gun at anyone but yourself." She then pointed the gun to her own head and cheerfully shouted, "I don't want to live anymore!"

(Rose believes the injuction to never point a gun at anyone but yourself actually came from the mother of one [or more] of the girls, who was standing nearby -- which would be equally wrong, in its own way.)

Posted by Francis at 01:41 PM | Comments (1)

May 03, 2006

What you'll be doing May 16

My friend Andrew Chaikin, aka Kid Beyond, will be bringing his mind-blowing solo live-looping a cappella dance party throwdown to the Living Room on Tuesday, May 16, at 8:00. If you have an ounce of sense you will be there.

Posted by Francis at 12:19 PM | Comments (1)

May 02, 2006

Please do not show my grandmother this cartoon either

Six things.


Posted by Francis at 12:05 AM in Six Things | Comments (7)

May 01, 2006

Blatant shilling for a good cause

Would you like Verizon and AT&T to keep their hands off your Internets? And would you like to help me win an iPod Nano? I believe the correct answer to both of those questions is "yes". You can contribute to both causes by signing MoveOn's petition here.

Posted by Francis at 03:59 PM | Comments (0)

We'll eat your food, but...

Rose just called to tell me that, as she was walking into Bereket (a middle eastern place on Houston Street) for a falafel, she crossed paths with two policemen who were just leaving, one of whom was jocularly saying to the other, "Well, let's go squash that protest!" Uncomfortable.

Posted by Francis at 01:51 PM | Comments (1)