Be helpful.

Just one question: When Rudy Giuliani took that call from his wife, why didn’t the audience stand up and throw pens at him? What a strange, screw-you moment. For once more or less agree* with the WSJ editorial page.

Anyone like to imagine what that editorial would have read if it had been, oh, John Edwards taking the call? Ball-busting bitch henpecks husband, no doubt. It’s all in how you spin things.

Surly, surly, surly. I can tell it’s Wednesday. Sleep deprivation is starting to catch up, but it’ll be several days before relief beckons from my fluffy pillows. Ah, well. That’s life in these hardscrabble times. A break for blogging, and then we’re back in the saddle.

One of the things I like about Safari, Mac’s Own Browser, is the way it lets you organize bookmarks. I have several folders right on the menu bar: NN.C, News, Blogs, Money, Detroit, Shopping, RSS and Reference. They’re self-explanatory, right? Any questions? I have one rule — no drop-down menu can drop down longer than the depth of the screen, so I cull and refresh regularly. That’s mainly a problem with the News and Blogs folders, but the surprise (for me, anyway) li’l bookmark folder that could is turning out to be Reference. It’ll soon have to be culled, it’s growing so fast. This is where I keep all the handy sites for looking stuff up; as a journalist, of course facts are very important to me. (Yes: Kidding.) But sometimes I just page through some of these sites to turn up Fun Facts to Know and Tell.

Top four on the list: Google maps, Wikipedia, WHOIS lookup, Bartleby. That last one’s toast, most likely; nothing beats the Google in looking up famous quotations, although Bartleby has a bit more authority, I guess. Anyway, I bookmarked it to have Bartlett’s close by, and it sucks, or else it’s incomplete. I just asked Bartlett’s to find me the original source of the phrase “better angels of our nature,” figuring I’d give it a slow pitch right over the middle. Citation not found. Click “all sources” and Bartleby finds it no prob, but by then I could have Googled it and written three more paragraphs. I’ll keep it around, but it’s on probation.

Screenplays — I use this one a lot when I can’t remember a line of dialogue. It only works if the movie’s in the database, however, and lately IMDb’s “quotes” section in individual movies is kicking butt. But let’s give it a try: Ooh, what’s that line John Goodman yells over and over as he’s running down the blazing hotel corridor in “Barton Fink?” I can’t quite recall…I’ll show you…something. Ahh, here it is:

Charlie: Look upon me! I’ll show you the life of the mind!

And as a bonus, here’s the rat-a-tat-tat between the two police detectives investigating a disappearance:

Mastrionotti: Started in Kansas City. Couple of housewives.
Deutsch: Couple days ago we see the same M.O. out in Los Feliz.
Mastrionotti: Doctor. Ear, nose and throat man.
Deutsch: All of which he’s now missin’.
Mastrionotti: Well, some of his throat was there.
Deutsch: Physician, heal thyself.
Mastrionotti: Good luck with no fuckin’ head.
Deutsch: Anyway.

Psst: Don’t even go to “The Big Lebowski” quote page. You’ll be there All. Day.

I warned you.

OK. One little taste:

The Dude: Jesus, man, could you change the channel?
Cab Driver: Fuck you man. If you don’t like my fuckin’ music get your own fuckin’ cab!
The Dude: I had a rough…
Cab Driver: I pull over and kick your ass out!
The Dude: Come on, man. I had a rough night and I hate the fuckin’ Eagles, man!

Ha ha. Moving on, Worldometeres, world statistics updated in real time. I hope you’re not among the 69,792 who will die today.

Hard-to-find 800 numbers, none of which I’ve ever called. How to Beautify a Face in Photoshop. Turns out it ONLY works on photos, damn it all. (Bossy has another P’shop tutorial, which features a picture of her Great Dane. LA Mary, go check it out.

Who is Sick? for the medical writer, or just the geek hypochondriac, in all of us.

Tired of taking calls from an editor? Post a word meter on your site and tell them to talk to the hand.

I did NOT write that/Yes you DID and the Internet Wayback Machine might be able to prove it.

If I ever get a ticket for parking in the old handicapped spots at my local drugstore, which are no longer legal handicapped spots but still have blue lines on them, the ADA Accessibility Guidelines will get it thrown out of court. (And yes, there are other, legal spots, and I never park there. Although sometimes I will take the “expectant mother” space at Kroger, if it’s raining and I’m in a bad mood. Because it’s stupid, that’s why. And I’m hoping, if I’m ever challenged, that I will have the presence of mind to say, “Isn’t it wonderful? I’m expecting twins!”)

The Electric Eclectic, because sometimes you’re just bored.

What’s a reference site you can’t live without? Leave it in the comments. Me, I’m back to work.

* edited from “total agreement,” which was sloppy and inaccurate, earlier.

Posted at 10:45 am in Current events, Housekeeping, Same ol' same ol' |

14 responses to “Be helpful.”

  1. brian stouder said on September 26, 2007 at 11:27 am and are two that I visit all the time (we won’t even mention the Google); another one that is quite useful is an all-purpose (in the industrial sense) conversion site,

    as a journalist, of course facts are very important to me.

    This struck me as funny, since just this morning I clicked the Falling Man link (on the nightstand) and was taken to: a fairly harsh pan-job of the book! Made me laugh out loud, because it struck me as a definitive Journalist-thing to do: recommend a book (or at least say ‘this is the one I’m reading’) and then provide an essay that delineates why no one should waste their time reading that book! ‘Fair and balanced’, indeed!!

    (and now I will go onto posting probation, so as to dial back my gadfly-nuisance factor)

    810 chars

  2. Connie said on September 26, 2007 at 11:49 am

    I hate those “expectant mother” spaces, the signs make me crabby every time I go to my local Target. They should say reserved for mothers with babies. I know this from experiencee.

    One of my favorite links is my own library’s links page at . It’s put together and kept up by a bunch of reference librarians. I think the link I use the most is the local one, whenever I want to find a local gov unit or agency or school or group. And the reference link for all those things you’ve already mentioned. Also best known librarian moderated web catalog is , you may like that one as well.

    679 chars

  3. ashley said on September 26, 2007 at 12:10 pm

    What? From that WSJ editorial: “Most Americans understand it takes an extra chromosome to run for President”…

    “Most” Americans understand that you need Down syndrome to run for president?

    If this is supposed to be a joke, it’s quite unfunny.

    251 chars

  4. alex said on September 26, 2007 at 12:29 pm

    I think they mean only since 2000, Ashley.

    Seriously, spellcheck is no replacement for copy editors. Speaking as one who’s been replaced by spellcheck.

    155 chars

  5. jcburns said on September 26, 2007 at 1:14 pm

    Great referency linkage, Nancy. I especially (now) like that I can organize the heck out of my Safari bookmarks and they end up perfectly synced on…my phone.


    I’m making the ‘call me sometime’ gang sign to you now.

    Oh, and: mac users, don’t forget the treasure trove of reference info at your fingertips even when you’re a hundred miles away from the internet… surprised us so many times this summer at the cottage…oh, that won’t be in there…hey, it is!!

    And there’s that thing where you highlight a word (in Safari, even) and do control-command-D and…voila!

    605 chars

  6. nancy said on September 26, 2007 at 1:27 pm

    And oh….snap! Alex wins his spot in the remake of “The Boys in the Band” yet again!

    JC, the built-in dictionary is now part of the NYT website, too. Kind of annoying, actually, at least for us news-farmers, who are accustomed to triple-clicking on a headline to capture the whole thing. Now I get a definition of the last word in it.

    338 chars

  7. MichaelG said on September 26, 2007 at 2:05 pm

    You agree with the whole WSJ thing Nance? Even this: “Mr. Giuliani has run an impressive campaign so far, especially on the issues. He has a record of accomplishment in New York, and he projects the kind of executive competence that many Americans want in a President.” I think he’s a bug eyed wacko and the phone calls don’t help.

    I like for maps and aerial photos.

    383 chars

  8. nancy said on September 26, 2007 at 2:10 pm

    Oh, hail no, Michael. I think he’s a nasty prick and the worst possible outcome in terms of ending the war. But I do agree that these phone moments — I understand there have been a few — are just wack-ass crazy. What is he trying to say? I love my wife, who won’t respect simple boundaries? Yuck.

    298 chars

  9. Jolene said on September 26, 2007 at 3:02 pm

    Yeah, those calls were just too weird. Have y’all looked at the James Fallows blog? He’s in China these days, but he watched the most recent Republican debate, as well a GWB’s latest speech on Iraq.

    He was, to say the least, not impressed with what Giuliani had to say. Also has interesting comments about the other candiates. Do check out the link at the top of the article I’ve linked to.

    410 chars

  10. LA Mary said on September 26, 2007 at 6:22 pm

    I’ve had three Great Danes and all three sit on the couch looking silly, just like the one in that photo. They are the laziest dogs around, and I think they’re the best watchdogs. They look scary as hell if they’re barking and growling, but they are far too lazy to do anything mean.

    I spent my day at a critical care nursing symposium, hustling nurses and chatting with the other vendors during breaks. There was a nice guy from a company that makes medical monitors, called SpaceLabs. He’s sending me a t-shirt for my lab, Smokey, in return for a photo of the dog wearing it. I figure some welding goggles and a skateboard helmet would be a nice addition to the outfit. If this guy comes through, I’ll share the picture of Smokey the SpaceLab.

    749 chars

  11. Cathy Dee said on September 26, 2007 at 9:13 pm

    Always to be read cautiously, and backed up with secondary research, but I’m turning to Wikipedia more often. Like I had to look up polarity the other day. Discovered more than I needed to. It can be a good starting point, anyway…the references at the end of articles often being very relevant and useful.

    307 chars

  12. Robert Rouse said on September 27, 2007 at 10:14 am

    Personally, I like Brainy Quotes.

    90 chars

  13. brian stouder said on September 27, 2007 at 11:18 am

    Brainy quotes is worth a laugh! I clicked “Marriage” and then scrolled down the (lengthy) alphabetical list of quoted notables – and clicked a few. LBJ and Mae West both had goodies; Zsa Zsa was worth a chuckle, too

    216 chars

  14. grapeshot said on September 27, 2007 at 8:42 pm

    Well, here are two that never fail to amuse me:

    The acronym generator

    Answers to life’s persistent questions

    I also have lots of fun with

    I’ve learned a thing or two from here:

    330 chars