Content-Type: text/shitpost

Subject: My software had a bug
Path: you​!your-host​!ultron​!gormenghast​!hal9000​!plovergw​!shitpost​!mjd
Date: 2018-10-18T18:10:43
Message-ID: <>
Content-Type: text/shitpost

After I went to publish today's article titled “intestines” I looked at the blog and it wasn't there.

I have several plugins that could block the introduction of an article before it's ready: there might be a .notyet file in the same directory; it might have published: 0 in the article's metadata, and so on. I checked all those and everything looked fine. The article showed up properly in the test version of the blog, but when I build the static version it was never included.

I finally ran the blog software under the debugger. It was indeed selecting the “intestines” article and then one of the plugins was filtering it out. Stepping through the plugins eventually revealed which one was responsible:

package tests;

my $TEST = $ENV{REQUEST_URI} =~ m{^/test};

# Do NOT use this module when blog is in test mode
sub start { ! $TEST }

# Discard posts whose titles contain tests
sub filter {
  my ($pkg, $files) = @_;

  delete $files->{$_} for grep /test/, keys %$files;
  return 1;

The post was being discarded from the live version because “intestines” matches /test/. Sheesh.

I had no idea I had this plugin, which I probably wrote in 2006.

Subject: A modest proposal
Path: you​!your-host​!walldrug​!epicac​!thermostellar-bomb-20​!twirlip​!wescac​!skynet​!m5​!plovergw​!shitpost​!mjd
Date: 2018-10-18T17:46:14
Newsgroup: misc.misc.proposal
Message-ID: <>
Content-Type: text/shitpost

I suggest that the word “baby” be retired from all rock music, except when it is used to refer to an actual baby.

Subject: Intestines
Path: you​!your-host​!walldrug​!epicac​!thermostellar-bomb-20​!twirlip​!am​!plovergw​!shitpost​!mjd
Date: 2018-10-18T17:08:45
Newsgroup: sci.math.intestines
Message-ID: <>
Content-Type: text/shitpost

Here's a list of the words from Webster's Second International Dictionary where the letters in the first half of the word are the same as the letters in the second half:


Subject: Jarring interactions with the computer
Path: you​!your-host​!walldrug​!prime-radiant​!uunet​!asr33​!kremvax​!hal9000​!plovergw​!shitpost​!mjd
Date: 2018-10-16T12:44:26
Newsgroup: misc.surprising-prompts
Message-ID: <>
Content-Type: text/shitpost

I have an interactive program that streamlines the process of shitposting. Today we had the following exchange:

   Edit? [no]  yes
   Commit? [no]  s
   Answer Y or N, dumbass.
   Commit? [no]

I had forgotten that I put that in, and was startled.

I think living with me must be like that a lot of the time, because I live with me, and it is like that a lot of the time.

Subject: The tax sysem as a manual!
Path: you​!your-host​!walldrug​!prime-radiant​!uunet​!asr33​!glados​!extro​!forbin​!berserker​!plovergw​!shitpost​!mjd
Date: 2018-10-16T12:37:30
Message-ID: <>
Content-Type: text/shitpost

It turns out that the U.S. individual tax system has a users’ manual! It is 300 pages long, which is not unreasonable. I have read plenty of 300-page manuals in my time.

It seems tragic that I didn't find out about this thirty years ago, since I am exactly that rare weirdo who would read this manual and find it really useful.

Publication 17

Subject: Bad business idea
Path: you​!your-host​!ultron​!gormenghast​!qwerty​!fpuzhpx​!plovergw​!shitpost​!mjd
Date: 2018-10-15T13:10:17
Message-ID: <>
Content-Type: text/shitpost

Goat-scented air fresheners

Subject: Today I learned…
Path: you​!your-host​!ultron​!uunet​!batcomputer​!plovergw​!plovervax​!shitpost​!mjd
Date: 2018-10-15T12:48:49
Message-ID: <>
Content-Type: text/shitpost

Malcolm X and Redd Foxx were lifelong friends. They met when both were working as dishwashers in the same restaurant.

New York Times obituary of Foxx

Wikipedia article on Malcolm X

Subject: Maybe the worst conference talk I've ever been to
Path: you​!your-host​!ultron​!uunet​!asr33​!skynet​!m5​!plovergw​!shitpost​!mjd
Date: 2018-10-14T20:35:07
Newsgroup: talk.mjd.accessibility
Message-ID: <>
Content-Type: text/shitpost

I've been to some crappy conference talks, let me tell you. And usually they're crappy in pretty much the same way: too little substance, delivered too late. (This is what led me to invent lightning talks: if the speaker can't get off their thumb and get to the point, then by God we'll get them off the stage and give it to someone who can.)

Anyway, this talk was crappy in a whole new way. It was about designing accessible web sites. The speaker put up his first slide and here's what I saw:

A bearded person is
standing, not far away, at a lectern in front of projection screens.
Displayed on the screens is the first of his talk slides, with a great
deal of blue text in an illegibly small font.

I raised my hand. “Excuse me,” I said. “I can't read that. Can you please make the font bigger?”

“Um, no, I can't.”

So I got up and walked out.

Subject: Software Archaeology
Path: you​!your-host​!wintermute​!wikipedia​!twirlip​!am​!plovergw​!shitpost​!mjd
Date: 2018-10-12T19:00:19
Message-ID: <>
Content-Type: text/shitpost

I have a program that is a wrapper around ssh. It's officially named employer-ssh, and running employer-ssh git looks up the alias monkey in a table to find the real hostname, and then runs ssh There are some other features attached to it also. For example, it makes sure that the VPN is connected before it tries to run ssh.

I never actually invoke it as employer-ssh monkey, though. Instead, I just run monkey, which is a symlink to employer-ssh. The program sees that no argument has been supplied, and infers that monkey is the alias I wanted to use.

It sometimes happens that I need that long hostname in some other context though, and for quite a while the way I would look it up would be to grep the source code of the program:

    % grep monkey $(which monkey)
      monkey )

This had been bugging me for a while, and I had the idea of giving the program a flag so that instead of running ssh it would just print out the full hostname. After several months, I finally got around to putting in that feature.

Or I tried to. I found it had been there all along:

    % monkey what      

This mode also makes it skip the part where it deals with the VPN.

I don't know what to conclude from this.


Subject: Stuff I'm not tired of yet
Path: you​!your-host​!walldrug​!epicac​!thermostellar-bomb-20​!central-scrutinizer​!fpuzhpx​!plovergw​!shitpost​!mjd
Date: 2018-10-11T18:39:25
Message-ID: <>
Content-Type: text/shitpost

“Fucking x, how does it work?”

(Most recently, fucking (-> e), how does it work?)

Subject: Phrases I would like to revive
Path: you​!your-host​!ultron​!uunet​!batcomputer​!plovergw​!ploverhub​!shitpost​!mjd
Date: 2018-10-10T14:27:40
Newsgroup: rec.pets.terms
Message-ID: <>
Content-Type: text/shitpost

Let's all refer to computers as “giant electronic brains”.

Subject: Lingua Franca?
Path: you​!your-host​!walldrug​!epicac​!thermostellar-bomb-20​!twirlip​!am​!plovergw​!plover​!shitpost​!mjd
Date: 2018-10-07T09:24:32
Message-ID: <>
Content-Type: text/shitpost

By about 1500, Scots was the lingua franca of Scotland.

What a weird sentence. Did the person who wrote this think about what they were writing? Maybe they did, and they thought it was funny, or maybe they just charged ahead. I honestly don't know.

(Original source)

Subject: SMFO
Path: you​!your-host​!walldrug​!epicac​!thermostellar-bomb-20​!twirlip​!wescac​!berserker​!plovergw​!shitpost​!mjd
Date: 2018-10-07T00:12:31
Newsgroup: comp.protocols.tcp-ip.smfo
Message-ID: <>
Content-Type: text/shitpost

A concrete utility hole cover in a
sidewalk.  My feet, wearing sandals, are also visible.  The cover is
labeled ‘SMFO’

A scan of an excerpt from a
book. It reads: “What is s-m-f-o?” asked Mother.  “Better,” said
Frances. “Good-bye.  I will be out of town visiting Alice for two
weeks, and I will be back for dinner.”

Subject: Orogeny orogeny orogeny
Path: you​!your-host​!wintermute​!uunet​!batcomputer​!plovergw​!ploverhub​!shitpost​!mjd
Date: 2018-10-06T21:22:09
Newsgroup: sci.math.orogeny
Message-ID: <>
Content-Type: text/shitpost

Wikipedia informs me:

The orogeny of an orogen is only part of the orogen's orogenic cycle.

Subject: Why are there Mayan numerals in MacArthur Park?
Path: you​!your-host​!wintermute​!hardees​!m5​!plovergw​!ploverhub​!shitpost​!mjd
Date: 2018-10-04T00:37:46
Newsgroup: talk.bizarre.mayan-numerals
Message-ID: <>
Content-Type: text/shitpost

This is MacArthur Park the Westlake area of Los Angeles.

These pillars are made of some sort of steel, with holes cut in them in what are evidently Mayan numerals. (Bars are fives, dots are ones, and those hamburger football things are zeroes. Groups of bars and dots composed vertically in a base-20 system.)

But why? What do the numbers signify?

The LA Parks and Recreation web site for MacArthur Park features these pillars prominently, but offers no explanation. Does anyone know what is up?