Sunday, July 31, 2005

Current TV
This one I don't understand. Visit the link and maybe you can explain it to me.

Here is their stated vision:
"Current is a new, independent cable and satellite TV network. Here's what we're up to:

There's plenty to watch on TV, but as a viewer, you don't have much chance to influence or contribute to what you see. This medium - the most powerful, riveting one we have - is still a narrow vision of reality rolled out in predictable 30-minute chunks. It's still a fortress of an old-school, one-way world.

We want to bust it open."

If you check the programming it is anything but current. I will leave it to the BlogDog to give it a more appropriate name.

I guess they believe we are all television producers at heart. I don't this will have anywhere near the same impact that the Blogosphere has had and will continue to enjoy, but I think that is what Al Gore was intending when he decided to invest his money in this project.
"I've Got Rights"
This was the fearful cry of suspected terrorist Mr. Muktar Mohammed-Said after he was hunted down and arrested in London. Witnesses say that before he was arrested they heard him tell police, who were trying to coax him out of his apartment, that he was afraid the police were going to shoot him like the guy on the London Subway.

All I can say is these guys are well-trained and know exactly what to say if they are captured. The guy the Italians recently caught knew enough law to say he objected to extradition to London, knowing full well this would delay his inevitable departure by months.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Pulling Out of Germany
It's been 60 years since "The Greatest Generation" defeated the Axis Powers and demonstrated to the world what fortitude and courage mean. Now it appears their work is finally over in Germany and plans are being made to end the occupation. Thanks to Varifrank for an excellent essay on this subject. Here's a good bit from his essay, but please read it all for yourself:
"The miracle of World War II isn’t that Americans, who having survived the great depression went into battle with only 90 days of training and managed to beat the “Aryan superman” on his own home turf at a war they had trained for 10 years to fight. The miracle was that despite our losses in a war we didn’t start, that despite our natural desire for vengeance we still managed to set it aside because we recognized the common goodness of mankind. We fed our former enemies and helped rebuild their country. We bet on the Germans, and the bet paid off. It was a gamble, and it was by no means certain to win. Its over now and we can go home, as friends.

We are placing the same bet on the Iraqis. The Iraqis are people and they deserve the freedom that was taken from them by people who wished only to enslave them.

We owe them the same faith in humanity that we owed the Germans. Don’t deny the Iraqis their victory over enslavement by reducing their victory with the derisive term “pullout”.
Busy Weekend
Blogging will be light to non-existent. Atlantic Cycling Thurmont ride on Sunday. If you ride and live in the DC area: be there. Ta!
Also, Firefox is running butt-slow today. Wazzup wid dat? Do I need to go from 1.0.4 to 1.0.6?

UPDATE: If any reader uses Napster, please e-mail me for a promo code from Energizer batteries. Being an iTunes user, I'll be happy to pass along the code to someone who already uses Napster.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

In Celebration of The Space Shuttle
I'm working on a dinner menu for a celebration of the launch of the shuttle Discovery. So far, all I have is "NASA Foam Pilaf." Suggestions for other dishes will be greatly appreciated.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Stolen From I Know Not Where

Lycurgus sent me this. It made me laugh.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Geography Question
Which part of Australia shouldn't be looked up online during business hours?
My NASA Cartoon
I repeat, I can not draw so I must explain: The cartoon is of a man in business attire on the phone, with a television in the background where the words "Shuttle launch delayed" are visible. The man is saying "Sorry boss. My gas guage isn't working properly so I won't be able to come in until next week."
Moronic Legislating
I clipped an article from the noisepaper the other day intending to blog it and forgot to note from which day I snipped it but here is an article from the Christian Science Monitor on the subject of Denver's recent ban on pit bull dogs.
One of Kim du Toit's bete noir's is what he properly calls "Gun Fearing Wussies" (shorthanded to GFWs) who have, among other others, a salient characteristic of fear of "scary looking guns." Congratulations to the morons legislating in Denver who now get their designation "DFWs" - Dog Fearing Wussies who enact laws against "scary looking dogs." To quote from the AP article I clipped: "Pit bull typically describes three kinds of dogs - the American pit bull terrier, American Staffordshire terrier and the Staffordshire bull terrier. But Denver's ban applies to any dog that looks like a pit bull. The animal's behavior does not matter."
"Any dog that
looks like a pit bull." A city councilman then went on to assert that pit bulls are both bred and trained to attack. I must resist the urge to characterize such a moro ... person's thinking (You mean like Dumbass! -Ed.) but breeding and training are two entirely different things. Breeding makes a dog capable of being dangerous but it's only with training that a dog becomes dangerous. There are several dogs that are bred to be capable of violence: Rottweilers, German Shepherds, Dobermans just to name a few. But only those trained for attack are actually dangerous. In point of fact, Rottweilers are incredibly sweet-natured dogs. If you've ever met one in friendly circumstances, you'll know what I mean. However, Rotties are the most fiercely protective dogs in creation. If a Rottie thinks you are presenting any threat to what he (or she) sees as his (or her) family, that dog will eagerly give its life to drive you off or kill you, whichever leaves the family safe.
It's not the dog. Dammit. It's the person who owns the dog that matters. It was Presa Canarios who killed a woman in a San Francisco apartment building. But it was the owners who knew how dangerous the dogs were and didn't control them who were at fault. The Presa Canario looks remarkably like a pit bull yet according to my reading of the reporting on the Denver ban, it's still OK to have one. Why? It's just as scary looking.
I hope the sensible citizens of Denver will boot these lawmakers out of office next time around so they can get some real public servants for a change. By the way, anyone care to venture a guess at what breed (apart from mongels) is one of the two responsible for the most bites on humans? Hint: It sure ain't scary looking.
Pugs of War suggests all dog owners in Denver who have lost a dog by the action of the city council immediately acquire pugs for themselves to ease the pain. And teach those pugs to pee on city councilmen.

PoW Welcomes the Enigmatic Misanthropes Back
The EM family survived a vacation of hurricanes, diving adventures and diving misadventures in beautiful Grand Cayman for which survival we here at PoW are grateful. We look forward to the witty, acerbic and sometimes derisive commenting of the Enigmatic Misanthrope.

Monday, July 25, 2005

That Damnable Costco!
Shopping for milk, fruit and some stuff (more about that in a moment) at my local Costco, I first saw an iPod thing: the JBL On Stage iPod speakers. I admit - I picked up the package, looked at it, seriously considering throwing it in my cart but thought, "Nahh - too weird a design and I don't remember if it was well-reviewed on iPod Lounge." Stumbling on, I almost immediately came upon the Altec Lansing inMotion iPod speakers. I knew the inMotion was well-reviewed on iPod Lounge. Yeah. I bought it. The link takes you to Apple's store which is selling the speakers for $179 so at least I got a good deal. The Costco price was a mere $140. And, recognizing the limitations of a small set of speakers, this guy sounds remarkably good.
Costco: so seductive. Spend $140 to save $40. And with the cash back option on my card, I've saved probably another 20 cents! Woo Hoo!
I'm glad I bought that big wad of rechargable NiMH AA batteries.

UPDATE: Having said "more about that in a moment," I promptly forgot to say anything more about that. What I picked up was containers of mushrooms, crumbled feta cheese, olive tapenade and roasted red pepper/jalapeno hummus. The point of these is to acquire (in non-Costco quantities) romaine lettice, roasted chicken and red onion to make wrap sandwiches. I think the idea of a romaine, chicken, feta, tapenade, diced red onion and mushroom wrap is just mouth-watering. Care to join me for lunch?

Friday, July 22, 2005

Shoot To Kill
What a surprise!
Thank you Powerline.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Can You Say Criminal Profiling?
The War on Terror comes home. The NYC Police will begin random searches of people riding the subways. I am all for it as I know it's not me they are looking to keep from bombing our transportation system. The profile of the criminal will be anyone looking like they are from an Arab country.

This is just part of what will be done to prevent these maniacs from achieving some vain glorious death. I fully expect the screws to be tightened even further. I would even go as far as to say I wouldn't want to be Arab looking and living in these United States. All it will take is the stimulus of an attack to raise the ire of people with a lot less self-control than myself. Then look out as it won't be safe to walk the streets if you are an Arab. The United States is a vengeful nation and when provoked it has dealt out merciless justice to its enemies. I don't expect anything less in this War.
Anglosphere Solidarity
The Instapundit hits the nail on the head when he writes about the press in Great Britain and how they just don't understand that we are at war. The Press needs to quit making excuses for these terrorists and sympathizing with people who blow themselves up. It's not a realistic approach to this problem and more than likely is exactly what these sick, evil bastards want.

Here it is:

I'M WATCHING TONY BLAIR AND JOHN HOWARD right now, talking about the London attacks and the war -- Howard's particularly good at noting that this is a war, not a series of isolated incidents -- and their frequent invocation of anglosphere solidarity is almost a commercial for Jim Bennett's book. I wonder if they've read it? They're certainly living it.

UPDATE: Some idiot correspondent asked Blair if the attacks were his fault because of the Iraq war. And others are taking an equally negative line -- one asks if the propaganda war against terror is being lost.

No -- but if so, it's because of people in the media like these. John Howard's too polite to tell them to read Norm Geras, but he put them in their place with logic, noting that Bin Laden was unhappy about the liberation of East Timor and declared war on that basis long before the Iraq invasion.

Translation: You're idiots, cowards, and political hacks. Yes! The preening, point-scoring irresponsibility of the press, which is if anything worse in Britain than in America, is one of the most striking things about this war, and it will be decades before it recovers. If it does.

Recently At The Movies
I went with friends who have a young daughter to see Madagascar. Be warned: that link takes yo to The Filthy Critic's review of this misbegotten .... Let me put it this way: This should have been flung by a monkey, not made into a movie. It is unremedially, irretrievably awful. The sole thing I can recommend is Sacha Baron Cohen ("Da Ali G Show") doing thevoice of the king lemur. Cedric the Mildly Amusing voices another animal which appears to be a Furby.

Please, please, please for the love of all that's holy and good, do not let these people get enough money (yours, that is) to make another movie!
I'm Reading That New Book
You know - the new JK Yowling book: Harry Potter and the Half-Drunk Prince. I'm just to the point where Harry is beating Ted Kennedy at a game of ChapaQuidditch.
I can't wait to see how it ends! Something about leaving PigTrough School in disgrace.
To Add My 2 Cents
The greatest tribute a net surfer can make to the passing of James Doohan, at the least inconvenience, is to listen to James Lileks's "Up Your Shaft" mp3.

As Angus lay on his deathbed, he called Jock to his side and said, "Ye know how fond I am o' the wee drop, Jock."
"Aye," said Jock.
"Wull," said Angus "I've left ye a few pounds in me will that I want ye to spend on a good bottle of wuskey on me birthday and pour it over me grave.
After contemplating for a moment, Jock replied, "Aye. I can do tha' for ye. But would ye mind turribly if I strained through me kidneys first?"

I spill a drop of scotch wuskey in the memory of Chief EngineerMontgomery Scott.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Farewell, Scotty
As an ardent Star Trek fan, I would be remiss in not mentioning that they will shortly be sending Scotty's ashes into outer space to join Gene Roddenberry's.

And if you haven't heard the BlogDog do a "spot on" imitation of Scotty during one of those moments when Kirk needs a fast escape, then you have not lived.
Martini Boy Added To Pugs Of War Blogroll
Ever since the BlogDog suggested I check him out, and admire the artwork on his site, I have been a loyal reader. I am speaking, of course, about The Vodka Pundit. This was really an easy addition to our Blogroll. He is a very articulate observer and one that never minces words, though never tries to offend. He is also a favorite of James Lileks, another member of the Pugs of War pantheon, who reads the Martini Boy everyday. I trust you will enjoy him as much as we do. Cheers!
Got My Vote
35 Songs
I've published my "35 Great Songs" list to the iTunes Music Store. However, I managed to pick artists obscure enough that only 16 of them are carried in the Music Store. To find the list, search for "16 of 35 Great Songs" under the user name of "Tanukitaro."
My next project is to assemble the digital tracks of a mix tape that friend gave me a few years ago. Hmm. "Bearing Witness," I have that. Now where's the tape so I can replicate the list....

UPDATE: The Flash Girls "Signal to Noise" is not on Limewire. Their CD is available but I don't feel like spending a sawbuck to get one song. I am cursed with needing to find obscure music.
About to Break Big
I have the feeling that Carbon Leaf (click the link and enjoy a stream of their music - "Paloma" is playing right now) is on the verge of breaking out as a major act. Laura Ingraham, who has used their music as bumpers on her show, is having them in studio today.
Earlier, I said that I thought "Indian Summer" was not as good as "Echo, Echo" but I was wrong. I have been listening to the disc more and more lately to the point that several songs have moved into my "Top 25 most played" songlist. "Grey Sky Eyes" is one of my new faves. Great, not just good: great song.
Another nice thing is that the band has made almost all the songs on "Echo, Echo" available for download at the page for the disc. Ceertainly there will be those who download all the songs and don't buy the disc but I hope my readers will have the same reaction I did: listening to the songs after downloading them made it necessary for me to buy the disc so I had the opportunity to rip the songs at maximum quality.
Get ahead of the curve - snaffle up a good collection of Carbon Leaf's music now so you can sneer at friends and say, "Oh, you're just now finding out about Carbon Leaf? I've been listening to them for ages now." As long as you recognize my good taste in putting you on to these guys.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

No Abcess After All
Hygenist Gwen and receptionist Demi just as sweet as ever. Dr. Steve giving me the magnified eyeball and checking out OK. A conversation about flossing, water-piks and brushing (upshot: I need to use longer hunks of floss when I floss, water-pik isn't going to be especially helpful to me and a new, very soft-bristled toothbrush with a four-pak of samples of Crest "Whitening Expressions" toothpastes). I like the citrus flavor. It's the only one I've tried so far.

Six more months til I'm back in the chair. I'll see if I can't do better on the toothscape in the meantime.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Have You Ever Had One of Those Days?
I swear, I just want to piss all over everybody and the world at large for no good reason! The weather just couldn't possibly suck any more than it does right now - heat advisories and scrunch-up, bite you on the butt humidity. Bleagh. I spent time this weekend with friends whom I really like and in one way or another they managed to press my buttons. I tell you something lady: you're lucky I didn't have a brick with me because woman or no, I'd a hit you with it.
I don't like someone getting all pissy with me because she forgot her meds. Your choice: take the farging pills or a brick right in the face. You decide. Pills. Good choice.
Not that I couldn't have used some meds myself. Jebus! I harshed my own mellow. Tomorrow - a dentist appointment. Shite. And I love my dentist. He'll probably find an abcess if my karma holds. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to wash a load of laundry. Got dammit.
The Bon Ton of Delta Airlines
I had a call to my office in New York City this morning at 7:30 am from Delta Airlines in Nice, France. They were calling about a bag I lost 3 weeks ago. I had carried it on board a crowded flight and somebody else had grabbed it by mistake. Delta said this person had finally turned the bag over to them in France.

I had the pleasure of speaking with a very polite Frenchman who inquired if there was someone in France who could come by and pick it up. Not wanting to be thought a provincial New Yorker, I had to tell him all my contacts in the area were on vacation. To make a long story short, I am having Fedex pick it up and ship it back to me at my company's expense (it was after all a business trip). I didn't lose much of any value but I figured that if you are treated kindly it behooves you to return the favor, especially since these nice folks in Nice were dealing with my dirty laundry and a pair of old shoes. Thanks again, Delta!
You Can't Make These Things Up
Following a perverse link off Neal Boortz's site this am, I saw something that made me wonder. Let me snip the language from Boortz:
Morning Sickness: Our friend Psycho brings us this gem. Man dies after having sex with a horse. Now, sex with farm animals isn't unheard of, but there's something a little different about this story. We'll let you figure it out rather than pointing it out to you.
When I clicked the link, it brought up a Seattle Times local news page with the headline: "Videotapes Show Bestiality, Enumclaw Police Say." But what forced the double take was the ad served to that particular page load. An ad for home delivery of the Seattle Times that pictures a man's hand holding a plucked (rubber likely) chicken by the neck with the copy "Ideas for... Places to go, Things to do. Less than $2 a week."
OK. Apart from the symbolism of "choking the chicken," why in the name of all that's holy would you allow that ad to appear beside a story on bestiality?
By the way, if you click the link, you'll probably get a different ad served to the page but click away - you might see what I saw.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Firefox Gains on Internet Explorer
According to IDG the alternate Web browser bumped its market share to 8.71%

The BlogDog and I have extolled the virtues of Firefox before on this site and it is a story that we will continue to follow. We realize you cannot get rid of Internet Explorer completely but we can suggest you make Firefox your default and use Internet Explorer only when visiting sites that require it.

It's actually surprising that Microsoft hasn't updated its browser in years. I hear that the next release of the Microsoft Operating System code named Longhorn will have an updated browser. I look forward to seeing how many of the innovations found in Firefox will end up in Longhorn. The FUD factor aside, it will be high praise for Firefox when the best features from it are welded onto the bloated Microsoft browser.
More Music
I just borrowed a copy of "Los Lonely Boys" (I am fully aware that I am way late to this party but that's life innit?) which seems to have gathered near-universal praise. Deserved praise so say I. It's no musical second coming of ... fill in your favorite name here. But "More Than Love" and "Nobody Else" are fantastic songs. I'd buy the CD for those two alone. The other songs being as good as they are just makes buying the disc so much easier.

I created a playlist I called "35 Great Songs" which is meant to be "35 Great Songs You've Probably Never Heard Before." Here are the songs, the artists and the albums:
Grey Sky Eyes Carbon Leaf Indian Summer
Deai Anzen Chitai Anzen Chitai IX
Camera One Josh Joplin Group Useful Music
Concrete Sky Beth Orton Daybreaker
Pinball Brian Protheroe Pinball
Little Boy Blue (North of North Dakota) Jake Armerding Jake Armerding
Bearing Witness Dreams So Real Rough Night In Jericho
With My Face On The Floor Emitt Rhodes Emitt Rhodes
Roads to Moscow Al Stewart Past, Present & Future
Miles Away Basia Time And Tide
Stranger Things Have Happened Claire Lynch Love Light
Yellow Emm Gryner Dead Relatives
Rough Mix Pete Townshend & Ronnie Lane Rough Mix
Nanci Toad The Wet Sprocket Dulcinea
Nice Shot Sadao Watanabe Morning Island
Misunderstood Pete Townshend & Ronnie Lane Rough Mix
Chant A Psalm Steel Pulse Smash Hits
Ashlands Christine Collister Into The Light
Wisdom Bus Emm Gryner Public
Julia Emm Gryner Science Fair
Para Donde Vas Iguanas Phenomenon soundtrack
Ithaca Jake Armerding Caged Bird
Soaring Kajun Kelley Project Moods
Crashing By Design Pete Townshend White City: A Novel
Symphonic Emm Gryner Asianblue
Summerlong Emm Gryner Public
A Nightingale Sang In Berkeley Square The Manhattan Transfer Very Best Of...
Carolina Sky Mike Cross Carolina Sky
Raven Terra Nova Groundswell
Rules Of Goodbye Floor Creak Time Goes Rushing By
The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway Genesis The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway
The Poet Game Greg Brown The Poet Game
Desperately Wanting Better Than Ezra Friction Baby
Bob Dylan Nine Days The Madding Crowd
Just thought you'd like to know. Sorry for all the smushed-togetherness. I tried to table it out. I may have to turn this into a graphic for readability.
A Word on the Tour de France
Here are the current standings, stolen directly from "Bicycling" magazine's site:
1. Lance Armstrong (USA/DIS) 55h58min 17sec
2. Michael Rasmussen (DEN/RAB) at 1:41
3. Ivan Basso (ITA/CSC) 2:46
4. Jan Ullrich (GER/MOB) 4:34
5. Levi Leipheimer (USA/GRL) 4:45
6. Floyd Landis (USA/PHO) 5:03
7. Francisco Mancebo (ESP/BAL) 5:03
8. Andreas Kloden (GER/MOB) 5:38
9. Alexander Vinokourov (KAZ/MOB) 7:09
10. Christophe Moreau (FRA/C.A) 8:37
I am unfamiliar with Francisco Mancebo and Christophe Moreau but those riders aside, this group is probably as close to a full-on cream-of-the-crop of modern riders as you will see. Any one of them is fully capable of winning the TdF if Lance were not dead set on taking his final maillot jaune home with him. Both American riders Levi Leipheimer and Floyd Landis (Gerolsteiner and Phonak teams respectively) have the ability to be TdF winners in the very near future. But there are a lot of superb riders who are eager to take the TdF out of American hands. As you can see, there are three T-Mobile riders in the top ten. That's a powerful team. It will be interesting to see what the Discovery Channel team will look like after Lance retires.
Bicycle racing is one hell of a sport.

UPDATE: George Hincapie, a Discovery Channel team member, has taken the latest stage. Add him to my praise of the riders above. I harbor the no-longer secret hope that Hincapie will be the next Discovery Channel winner of the TdF.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Intolerance or That's As Much As We Can Tolerate?
It appears the Netherlands, long considered the most tolerant and liberal nation in the world, is starting to view Arabs in a different light. This era of tolerance ended shortly after the murder last year of filmmaker Theo van Gogh. His killer was convicted last week.

The solutions being called for include enacting laws to curb immigration from Islamic countries. They are also considering ways to prevent arranged marriages between Muslims and people living in the Netherlands.

My guess is that this issue of tolerance will soon be debated in these United States. All it will take is one more terrorist attack and people will be asking whether the US can continue to allow people from Arab nations to reside here. It's not as though these sort of extreme measures have not been used in the recent past. Just ask the Japanese-Americans in the 1940s who were forced into Internment Camps in the Western United States.

It's sad to say but these are the times we live in.
A French Joke
Under the title of "The Stupidest Lawsuit Since the World Began," a French transit company, Transports Schiocchet Excursions, is suing 10 cleaning women in the Moselle region because they carpool to work rather than use the company's buses. The plaintiff's lawyers charge the women with "unfair and parasitical competition" and want their cars seized.

All I can say is, "Thank goodness the French know how to cook and make great wine" as this is truly one of the more embarrassing items to come out of France. And that is saying something.
A Tip of the Cap to Piggly Wiggly
They are introducing fingerprint scanners to help speed checkout at their Supermarkets. After the scanning and bagging at the checkout you can pay with just one touch.
An Addition to the Great Names List
Which list is not great in size but in the fact that these names are so out of the ordinary and, in the sole opinion of the author, just really cool. The first (and so far only) name on the list is of actress Botti Bliss. The new name is of Sunfish expert Tierny Thys. I saw a PBS program which showed her tagging a Sunfish and the name jumped out at me. Thus, I add her to the List.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Kind of a Surprise
I got my Mike Cross CDs (see the "longings" in the sidebar for info) in the mail today which is a source of great joy to the Orthodox Crossian that I am. I am now only three discs short the entire collection and it will be my quest to have them all by year's end. I've already done a couple of eBay searches and the albums I don't have on CD are the three that are out of print: Rock 'n Rye, Born in the Country, and Child Prodigy. But I have all these on vinyl and I've put them on tape over time so if I can dig up the tapes, I stand ready to digitize!
But I get a bit of a surprise. iTunes uses the Gracenote CD Databade (CDDB) to fill in the album and track information when one inserts a disc. Mike's "Solo at Midnight" was not in the database. It is now, I tell you. I uploaded the info. But I've found some rather obscure albums there so I nonplussed that an album as good as "Solo..." wasn't there. How nice that one individual can right a minuscule injustice.
More On Remakes
The impending return of the new Battlestar Galactica to the SciFi Channel rather forces me to make one more comment of The Summer Of Remakes. How is that with all the money and star power Hollywood has to throw at movie making, a television series has to show them how it's done when it's done right? The new Galactica is brilliant. It's not a rehash; it's a re-imagining of the old Galactica universe with very good actors (Edward James Olmos is dead, solid perfect as Adama) and excellent special effects.
It's very dark befitting the situation and just a damn good watch. It's one of my few regets when considering that I don't have cable. Actually, SciFi Channel is very good at producing miniseries. "Stargate SG-1" is one of the syndicated shows I make it a point to watch. The episode where Anubis is wiped out: Best. Episode. Evar.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

What A Day!
Thank goodness Paul is doing the heavy lifting for me today. I've been out of the action, offline that is, dealing with a new wireless router. I've been running on a Linksys (which, of course, is actually Cisco now) 802.11b router and having great success with it. But I've thought that I should be able to get some more speed out of the setup if I moved to am 802.11g router. I got a NetGear 624WGT on eBay for ... let's just say I thought it was a reasonable price.
But setup was just seriously intent on biting my ass. I could not get the net connection running through the router. And, with a brief consult from Lycurgus, the problem has now been solved. I was making a fundamental error. In setting up the router, I was responding to the question "Do you need to logon to the internet?" with a "No." Since I, basically, don't. But I've been running off a wireless network for quite some time and I, to repeat myself, basically thought I didn't need to logon. But I do. But if I'm going through the router, it needs to have my logon info. Duh.

So here I am, running on G. In the next few days I'll be checking the speed and testing the signal strength at range. According to the box the range reaches the Loft and Poolside. Cool. I didn't even know I had a pool.

Our pal Walt Mossberg has a good article in today's Wall Street Journal that explains the Tracking Cookie issue, and gives us all one more good reason to avoid the Microsoft Operating System.

First his definition of Spyware:
Spyware--and a related category called Adware--is computer code placed on a user's computer without his or her permission and without notification, or with notification so obscure it hardly merits the term. Once installed, spyware and adware alter the PC's behavior to suit the interests of outside parties rather than those of the owner or user.

He says he can't recommend Microsoft because they have disabled the detection and removal of tracking cookies in their Operating System, thus giving in to the pleas from companies who place these cookies and believe that they are a legitimate business practice and aren't harmful.

All I can say about Tracking Cookies is, "Who's computer is it, anyway?" I run two spyware removal programs almost daily (Ad-Aware and Spybot) and immediately afterwards curse those companies who make me waste my time. I'll decide what is a legitimate business practice in my household, thank you very much.

I have come across a good program for defending PCs from spyware from my pals at Cisco called CSA (Cisco Security Agent). Though it is a high-end corporate product that entails spending more money than most home users would ever budget for. It does very effectively block spyware and protects corporate assets from the deleterious junk that is so easy to download and which screws up PCs and corporate networks no end. Keep it in mind if your company has problems with people who download music, visit Chat Rooms, or who use various Instant Messenger programs. The CSA product can be configured to stop all of these and many more programs.
Good News For Dial-up Users
First let me offer my condolences if you live in an area that doesn't offer broadband cable or DSL. If you do live in an area where broadband is available but you have kept your dial-up anyway then this article is for you. It's all about the price competion between Cable companies and Telcos. It just might make you want to switch to either a DSL line or a Cable modem.

As a little background, the two sides, the Cable Operators and the Telecommunications companies, have different slants on the subject of Broadband. Their argument comes down to speed versus price. The Telcos believe price is more important and that most people cannot tell the difference in the speed of a DSL line versus a Cable modem. The Cable companies always counter that you can tell the difference once you try it and that this justifies their higher price.

I agree with the Cable companies that you can tell the difference in speed from the first time you try it. The Telco argument I regard as wishful thinking at best and a complete lie at worst. Their only comeback has always been that their service was cheaper than a Cable Modem. Though from the looks of the article it appears those days are numbered and that is why the Telcos are starting to offer more aggressive pricing.

Oh, and don't believe the Telcos assertion that your broadband is always on. It is most certainly not. You still have to dialup and wait. Plus, the DSL lines I have used have a nasty habit of timing out, that is, disconnecting for reasons known only by the Telcos. For a more reliable service that is always on and is faster than DSL then choose a Cable modem. You will notice the difference and be glad for the boost in speed from either your old dial-up or your DSL line.

One final thought: do not be without a land line from your local phone company. In the event of a power outage you will be glad you kept it, as well as a phone that does not require electricity to operate (sans answering machine). I found this out the hard way two years ago here in New York City and now keep an old phone for just such emergencies. These old phones are powered from the phone companies central offices and are the only thing you can count on when the power goes out.
Competing For IT Jobs
We in the Information Technology field better get used to competing for jobs. The economics are hard to dispute with tight corporate IT budgets and huge incentives for outsourcing to low wage places such as India, China and Malaysia. I'm not saying it's impossible to compete with these realities, only that you had better have a plan and be prepared to work it hard.

It wasn't always this way. In the 1990's all you seemingly needed was a pulse and you could get trained and hired in these United States. That is not the case now. Though fear not, here at Pugs of War we are optimists. We try to share what we know and what we regard to be the facts of life. All the time keeping in mind it is up to our readers to judge their merits.

Here goes my 2 cents about getting hired, please forgive me if it sounds painfully obvious. In order to get hired you have to possess skills and talents that employers want and need. For example, employers want IT Professionals who are hard working and who will be flexible enough to accept new assignments. Employers need people who are well versed in Network Security. Combine these ideas and you have what I have pursued these last few years with some small success.

If I could offer one piece of advice to those starting out in IT, or those who want to try something new, it would be to act fearlessly in the face of challenges, to never take your career failures personally, and to make yourself likeable to the person who you would like to work for. This advice combines hard skills (knowledge of IT) and soft skills like proper hygiene, humility, and being well read in subjects not related to IT (try Major British writers of the 19th century). In other words, don't simply be a geek, be a geek with a sophisticated outlook and a respect for the people around you.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Today in The Bleat
James Lileks notes: "Some dogs become rugs; some dogs become indistinguishable from the sofa pillows on which they sit."

Sounds like he's met a few pugs in his peregrinations.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

I have been as critical of Hollywood's lack of imagination this year as anyone. Too many remakes. And yet... Two upcoming movies make me think that not all remakes are bad. First, even though I'm not going to see it, the idea of having Billy Bob Thornton star in the "Bad News Bears" remake seems inspired. The ads show a little bit too much "Bad Santa" for my taste but all in all, BBT is the only one in SAG who could carry off a 2005 version of Walter Matthau's uber-curmudgeon Buttermaker.
The second movie, which I am planning to see, also relies on the proper casting to seem like a winner: Johnny Depp as Willy Wonka. Depp has done some marvelous work. If his characterizations are based on individuals (Jack Sparrow as Keith Richards, or was that Keith Richards as Jack Sparrow?) and I've read that Depp's Wonka is based on Marilyn Manson, then more actors should try the technique. It works. What finally makes the new Wonka movie a go-see and "Bears" a no-see is that modern special effects should make the chocolate factory a fargin' miracle.
But for now, the balcony is ... no, that's another fat guy at the movies. Never mind.
And Speaking of Gay
Mr. Six continues to plague mankind. (Warning - the link may well popup an ad on you.) Even though I couldn't help but laugh the first time I saw this year's ad campaign wherein the old coot was wearing sock garters and swim fins. But it finally struck me that I really couldn't distinguish his dancing from a grand mal seizure. And that's not right.
The Running of The Bulls in San Francisco

Comment would be superfluous.
Cell Phone Use While Driving
Would you all please read this research from Australia. I would think it obvious but what do I know. I only work in the technology field and understand how much effort it takes to use a cell phone, let alone while driving a motor vehicle.

Our brothers down under discovered (what a surprise!)

"Drivers distracted by cell phone conversations quadruple their risk of a serious accident."

Please consider pulling over to the side of the road or at least letting it ring until you can completely stop your vehicle. I've heard plenty of these conversations and let me tell you they are not worth getting into an accident for. In fact, they are pretty useless and usually begin with the immortal words, "I'm in the car driving."

Let's all realize that these cell phones are just gadgets. Nobody used them 20 years ago. It's not that important to always be available, and might even enhance your social status if your friends, family, and business associates realize you can't be reached while driving your car.
Employee Discounts for Everyone!
I just heard that Saab is getting in on the fun. Of course, Saab is a subsidiary of GM so it's not really the Saab employee discount program - it's the GM employee discount program. But I wondered if it really were the Saab employee discount program, would we have to pay for our car in kronor?

It's also worth noting that the coolest car Saab offers, the 9-2x, is a restyled, re-badged Subaru WRX. Which is a rockin' car in its own little, blasting way.
New Addition
I've added Joe Sherlock's blog, "The View Through The Windshield" to the roll because, well, the usual reasons: he writes well, he's interesting and he can be funny. Plus he puts up links that I'd usually like to steal but my basic laziness makes it easier to add him to the sidebar and say, "Go. Visit Joe."
Food Porn
My favorite food porn is Cook's Illustrated. Even thought I don't often use their recipes, I read over each issue with salivary excitation. I also try to watch their companion TV show "America's Test Kitchen" on PBS as regualrly as possible. Well, Christopher Kimball has put together another magazine, "Cook's Country," of which I just got a sample copy. Damned if he hasn't done it again. Some really great stuff in there. Their reader's recipe for chicken salad with jalapeno and cilantro looks like it could be my all-time favorite chicken salad ever. I'll let you know when I get around to actually making it. But it looks yummy.
If you visit the links, you can order a sample copy to see for yourself. Personally, I'm going to subscribe to the new mag.
Today's News
Lance is back in yellow. That is as it should be. I doubt that link will last very long but I like the pic and this post is called "Today's News" innit?
As much as I am a huge fan of Lance (and am I wrong that he as ascended to the level where there is no longer a need to use his last name?), I do not consider him to be the greatest bike racer ever. That honor goes to a Belgian: Eddie "The Cannibal" Merckx. Very brief bio here, his bike company here. Lance, however, is the greatest Tour de France champion ever. He trains for the TdF and he wins it. But other racers won the TdF and other major races such as the Giro d'Italia (link to a page in Italian).
Also, if you want to see the coolest cycling gear produced, based on the pure sense of fun and joy that goes with cycling (so say I), check out Primal Wear. With the exception of the Atlantic Cycling jersey of course.

Next: Idiot Luddism By people Who Should Know Better.
And I quote: Dairy Groups Resist Cloned Cow Milk
Then I rip off the frist few grafs from the AP article:
As the Food and Drug Administration considers whether to lift a voluntary ban on selling food from cloned animals, the agency is facing some resistance from an unusual source: the dairy industry.
Trade groups for farmers and companies that use dairy products are not enthusiastic about introducing milk from cloned cows into the marketplace, fearing that consumers would be leery about the products.
"There's a strong general feeling among our members that consumers are not receptive to milk from cloned cows," said Susan Ruland, a spokeswoman for the International Dairy Foods Association, which represents food manufacturers that use dairy products.
Oh fer.... So, because people are stupid and don't understand that the milk from a cloned is exactly the same as the milk from the original cow that was cloned, then we'll let the morons control our selling of milk. (redforman)Dumbass!(/redforman)
Would you just use some of the money you've wasted on celebrities with milk moustaches to get the great unwashed to understand that cloning the milk-producing animal has
no effect on the milk produced? Maybe the fault is mine for considering the majority of consumers educable.

And speaking of ineducable, we have today's Hollwood nitwit: Maggie Gyllenhaal.
I saw "Secretary" a while back and found Ms. G to be quite the object of unpleasant lust. But she is a jackass in real life. Having shown herself in a previous instance to be another droid in the HollyLeft clone army, she nows has figured out that it may be prudent to keep her fool yap shut:
Actress Maggie Gyllenhaal says she learned the hard way not to talk about politics on the red carpet.
The 27-year-old actress, who stars in "The Great New Wonderful," a film about the 2001 terror attacks on the World Trade Center, said in an interview in April that the United States was "responsible in some way" for the deadly strikes on September 11, 2001.
She later issued a statement through her publicist saying that September 11 was "an occasion to be brave enough to ask some serious questions about America's role in the world."
"I was so surprised by the way it was misunderstood, and the disdain that came back at me was a real shock," Miss Gyllenhaal told the Daily News. "I regret what I said, but I think my intentions were good."
Miss Gyllenhaal added that the backlash taught her "that neither the red carpet nor an interview about a movie is the right place to talk about my politics. I realize I have to be careful, because it's very easy to misunderstand a complicated thought in a complicated world."
So, we are too stupid to understand the subtle and complicated thoughts of one Maggie Gyllenhaal. Oh just dry up and blow away already. Give us poor boobs in TV land some proof that you have an intelligence level beyond even just the American average and I will retract everything I've said about you (including ther thing about lust? -Ed.) Shut up Ed.
Otherwise, do us all a favor and really shut up. Shut up about shutting up. Say your lines, cash your checks and go away.

Finally, to wash the taste of the Hollywood Halfwits out of my blogmouth, I must mention how great it is that President Bush selected Fred Thompson to help with the processing (think luncheon meat) of a new Supreme Court justice. He is a smart, honest and good man. Reliably conservative (small "c" methinks) as well.

Monday, July 11, 2005

A Movie I'd Like To See
Stealth. What can I say? I'm a guy. I like guy movies. Dick flicks, if you want the opposite term to chick flicks. Movies where stuff blows up real good.
But am I going to see it? I'm not sure. If someone will explain one thing to me, I'll go. I'll go twice. I can get behind the idea that there's a computer controlled fighter airplane. Heck, computer controlled weapons are a sci-fi trope. I read a story called (relying on old devil memory) "Gottloss" in my brother's "Analog" magazine back when John W. Campbell was the editor. That device was a tank controlled by an on-board human brain.
So what do I want explained? Simply this: Stealth fighters drink fuel like nobody's business. Where does this robot plane go to re-fuel? I'm hoping the issue is dealt with in the movie because if it's avoided, I will not see it. Period.

But this is my movie failing. I'll buy into the big absurdity as long as the film maker doesn't screw the pooch on the details. Like in "Jurassaic Park." I'm Ok with neo-dinos but don't tell me that a 14 year-old girls then knew UNIX. When that movie came out, I think you'd be hard-pressed to find a 14 year-old computer geek boy (and if you tell me that there are as many compugeek girls as boys, you're a liar) who knew UNIX.
Hell's Kitchen
Enjoying the Hell out of Gordon's autocratic ways and being amazed at the scheming idiocy of the contestants. But the thing that srrikes me is that the background music is very "American Beauty," the movie, not the Dead album. Not exactly note for note but the use of the marimba as a subtle, elegant sound. I like it. I liked it in "American Beauty" too.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Review Blogging
But before I start that, I must say how nice it is to have Paul posting things of substance while I get to drivel about music, movies, TV and such. Good on ya brother.

Now, the fluff:
I borrowed the divids of the first season of "24" from the Enigmatic Misanthropes and have finally pushed through the whole set. Whew. I understand now why people like it so much. It starts slamming right out of the gate with the exit from and subsequent destruction of an airliner by the first of the bad guys (in this case a bad girl) at the end of the first hour. And it just doesn't let up. The fact that the writers manage to go from a first set of bad guys to the next set of bad guys who are even worse to yet another set of bad guys who are worse yet is truly impressive. All the motivations are in place and the plot twists gyre like, well, let my borrow from a master:
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all convictions, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
(BTW: If you don't recognize that, shame on you!) It seems as good an epigraph for the series as any I can imagine and, a stanza from a great poem is, even in the debased currency of Hollywood, proper tribute to great writing.
Having praised the show, I now need to join the law firm of Bitch, Carp and Moan. The female leads are just not my cup of tea. The fact that Jack Bauer is married to one and had an affair with the other makes me question his taste in women but that's not a material criticism. What I find interesting is that the women (Leslie Hope and Sarah Clarke) have a passing physical similarity which makes sense. If Jack Bauer were attracted to one, he probably would be to the other. That's smart casting even if they don't float my peculiar boat.
On the other hand, Jack's daughter, played by Elisha Cuthbert I actively hate. If her character had a brain in her head, she never would have put herself in the situations that lead to the peril played out over the course of the day. But then there'd never be a show so my complaint is moot. However: Dee you em bee See you in Toledo. Moreover, I'll be happy if I never see Elisha Cutherbert again. She has, in the inelegant if accurate words of Chandler Bing, a "face ass" (cleft chin). OK, so there'd never be an offer but, no thanks. Pity the daughter survives while the wife cacks.
One salient screwup in the last episode is Victor Drazen's semiautomatic handgun. He and Jack Bauer are gun-point to gun-point and Drazen pulls the trigger causing the gun to go "click, click, click." Bauer then blows Drazen away. However, as anyone who knows handguns knows, when a semiauto runs through its magazine, the slide racks back and locks. After a new magazine is inserted, the shooter pulls the slide back, unlocking it and chambering a round from the magazine. I suppose it's possible with a malfunction that the slide might not chamber a round in which case the gun would click on an empty chamber. But such a malfunction is a slim thread to hang a tale on.
One lingering question is include why Senator Palmer keeps trying to sell me Allstate insurance. But that's a matter for another day.

I had the great luxury of watching the show at my own pace, commercial free. I sincerely hope my friends keep buying the seasonal DVD packages so I can continue to leech off them. Isn't that why we have friends?

I FORGOT: Two glaring continuity errors that may be artifacts of the divid and not have been visible on TV. At one point CTU turncoat Nina is in a building looking for something when a production worker appears almost dirtectly in front of her (though to one side of the scene). Then, again the same thing at the tpoint Jack's wife and daughter are about to be rescued from their initial captivity. The daughter says something like "There's nobody around for miles!" just as a production guy comes into the camera frame agin almost directl in front of her. Of course the payoff of the line she says is that a rifle shot cracks at her feet so there is someone within miles. But still, it was a bad time for that particular continuity mistake.
Biometric Visa-Waiver Program
Steve Forbes has hit the nail on the head in this piece regarding the United States immigration and visa policies. Neither one of us can understand why the US "can't come up with software and hardware to expeditiously assist in determining who should and should not gain entry." It sounds to me like a problem that could be solved pretty easily by using fingerprints or retinal scans, instead of the current clumsy system involving mountains of paperwork and delays.

Now I am not going to argue whether or not we need more technology workers from foreign countries or whether US technology firms are being put at a disadvantage by not being able to fill their ranks with foreign-born workers. Those are arguments that do not conveniently fit in a blog. Though I do believe that hastening the process of determining who enters and leaves this country is growing ever more important, especially in light of what happened this week on the London subways. I think it is obvious that as the nation that has produced both the Mac and Windows software we should also be able to develop the software and hardware needed for a biometric system to assist in guarding our borders.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

I'm Not Just a Mac Guy
I have a PC too. And I've come upon something that just make me fire up the Athlon Box more often: Google Earth. (Hat tip to Roger Simon.) I can't rave about it because it's not available for the Mac but it looks outrageous. I look forward to visualizing the routes for Atlantic Cycling rides.
But that still won't stop me from wanting them to get the Mac version up and running. We live in a remarkable age. My late parents would have loved playing with something like this.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Do You Have 5 Minutes?
Then you can watch "Pulp Fiction," "Jaws," "The Shining," "Alien," "The Exorcist," "Titanic," "It's A Wonderful Life," "Scream," "Freddy V. Jason" and "The Texas Chainsaw Masacre." All performed by bunnies!
Pugs of War Loves
Rubies! She is Sugarmama's baby and even if plagued by basic end-stink, she is such a cutie! Go. See the slideshow.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

A Sacred Idle
There's a book this summer from Tom Hodgkinson called "How To Be Idle."

Let me tell you from experience I know that it takes it takes a lot of work to perfect a sacred idle. It is part of the reason I am so fond of 19th century Romantic poets. They always took the time to write what was on their minds. Every time I reread these favorite bards of mine I have to marvel at how much time it must have taken to compose their wonderful thoughts.

Anyhow, next time I am rushing to catch a flight I will surely look for "How To Be Idle" if only to remind me of why I am rushing around in the first place.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Sugarless Gum Blogging
I am rather fond of sugarless gums. 'S no big thang. But I attempt to try new gums when they debut on the unsuspecting public. I recently tried Dentyne Ice's "Vanilla Chill" flavor and was rather disappointed. Weak. To quote Mrs. Slocum, "Weak as water." A starter but a non-finisher.
Extra's new "Cool Green Apple" flavor, on the other hand, is outrageous. I like the green apple flavor generally (the apple martini is a great invention!) and "Extra" doesn't lie. I started two pieces about 2 hours ago (yes, 2 hours) and I can still taste apple in the still-malleable wad in my mouth. (that sounds ugly, I apologize).
If I find other gums worth dribbling about, I'll be sure to let you know. But do try the "Cool Green Apple." Tasty. And long lasting.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Gift Update
The cool device I alluded to earlier is the JamPlug FM from DV Forge. I keep wanting to call it the JamPod (I wonder why? -Ed.) It's coolness quotient makes me want to buy an electric guitar just to be able to use one. I mean, really: plug this into the gitbox and you can play through any FM radio instead of having to jack up the amp and stacks. How cool is that? Now I'm going to need a stereo that goes to 11.
It appears to have been well received by the soon-to-be birthday boy.
And he grilled up some dee-lish mesquite T-Bones. What's not to like?

"Will Someone Please Explain This Policy To Me?"
This was the question Dwight A. Roberts, the Texan president of the U.S. Rice Producers Association, asked at a recent news conference in Havana.

Hey Dwight, what took you so long? I have been wondering about our trade embargo with Cuba for years. It makes no sense to anyone who wants to see reform in Cuba. The only person who benefits is Fidel Castro because it gives him an enemy to blame for his own economic mismanagement of Cuba. This is an island that once fed itself. Now thanks to Castro and his Communist cronies it is a place where food rationing is the norm.

It is truly staggering to think that a small minority of Cuban Nationals in these United States could have so much influence in Washington as to keep this policy in place. The embargo of Cuba hurts US exporters and it most certainly hurts the people of Cuba. It has no effect on Castro as this is exactly what he wants: something to take the Cuban people's minds off their empty stomachs.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Nostalgia Is A Mental Disease
For a scathing review of the "Me Generation" of Baby Boomers who are heading quickly towards retirement check out Varifrank. I am a Baby Boomer and I take no offense at what he has said because it is so right on. Here are some excerpts:
Thank you, baby boomers! Thanks for the sexual revolution, thanks for Chlamydia, herpes, oh and a very special thank you very much for the spread of AIDS. Thanks for a generation of kids raised in divorce. Thanks for rampant adolescent drug use. Thanks for crack cocaine and black tar heroin. Thanks for making a culture that makes the staggering hell of drug addiction something "cool". I guess it was just too much of stretch to make cancer cool so you went for the easy kill with the glamorization of the drug trade instead. Thanks to the generation of hedonists who produced a president who educated my kids on the phrase "oral sex", or the special nuance of phrase "no controlling legal authority". Thanks for turning baseball and football from the leadership and inspiration of Vince Lombardi to the stepping-stone to federal prison it has become. In 30 years we ha’ve gone from a culture that found the phrase "give em hell harry' vulgar to a president so vulgar as to defile the office of the White House by his personal acts. A generation who found the only vulgarity in their President was his being held accountable by the citizenry for those acts.

If that doesn't leave you gasping for breath, then read this:
I have to hand it to you, you did change the world in one accidental, don't get your actual hands dirty way. You gave us the internet so that we could do the work you could never get around to doing. With the internet, my generation will help free the oppressed. With the Cell Phone we will bring down dictatorship after dictatorship. With the palm sized video camera, we will put a stop to the suppression of freedom and human rights. The day of centralized control is over Mr. Trudeau, and if you were in my generation, you'd know that. The day of the subversive cartoonist has also passed, but I suspect you probably did know that.

"power to the people"? Absolutely friggin right. And At T1 Speeds no less!!

Oh, and we'll still be here after you and yours are gone. We'll remember you, but I don'’t think your gonna like what we tell our kids about what your generation did to the world.

And hey, thanks again for the internet.

I have often wondered about these same issues, even while I continue to read Mr. Gary Trudeau's Doonesbury cartoon. Though now that Varifrank has put it into words I don't feel so alone about thinking that something is out of whack.

In the Boomers defense, it's not too late for them. They have the Greatest Generation to look to for inspiration and I only hope they take the time to ask them for some advice. Any generation that had to deal with the Great Depression, the Nazis, and the Japanese must have some wisdom to pass along. Come to think of it, I think I'll touch base with my parents and send them this link. Though I know they will hardly give it a look, not out of any animosity or because they are not curious. No, this is just the normal sort of thing they have been dealing with all their lives. It will only confirm what they have known for a long time, and have been gently trying to tell me.
The Future of ICANN
ICANN stands for Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers and is a part of the US Commerce Department. Without becoming too technical, this is the organization that supervises the Internet and makes it possible for you to type Pugs Of War into a web browser and be automatically linked to this site.

The question before us is whether or not the US should continue it's historic role in authorizing changes or modifications to the master file of Internet domain names. Or does the US, amid appeals from countries like Brazil, India, Syria, and China for a new international government body for the Internet, relinquish this role and let some bureaucracy like the one in Brussels take charge.

God, just typing in the words "bureaucracy in Brussels" causes me to tremble. It is now in my mind a no-brainer: Keep ICANN a part of the Commerce Department. They haven't done too bad a job so far and the thought of a new International Governing body gives me the willies.
Chinese Internet Addiction Clinic
It appears the Chinese have opened their first Internet Addiction Clinic to treat teenagers and young adults who can't stop playing games or hanging out in Chat Rooms. This falls under the category of "I'm Not Making This Up." I commonly use this phrase when telling stories about some of the customers I do consulting work for. Here are some excerpts that would be funny if they weren't in all likelihood true:
"I would stay up for 24 hours. I would eat only in front of the computer," he said.

"It's been good to sleep" says another, a 17-year-old with spiky hair, now that he's no longer on the computer all day.

"I wasn't normal," said a 20-year-old man from Beijing who used to spend at least 10 hours a day in front of the screen playing hack-and-slash games like Diablo.

I guess the Chinese are going to have to figure out more strategies like this to combat Internet addictions because there is no chance they are going to stop people from going online. No chance at all, despite their best efforts.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Other Business
The BlogDog segment of PoW wishes all who have visited, whether by happenstance or design, a very happy Independence Day and a fun-filled summer to follow. We in America must never forget that our first is the Fourth. God bless us, God bless our ongoing experiment in freedom and government by the willingness of the governed.

I am planning to visit a friend who is a Grill Grandmaster even if we have nouthing but cheeseburgers and hot dogs. Yes, I know I shouldn't be eating cheeseburgers but off the grill, a cheeseburger puts a mere hamburger in its shadow. And it's tradition.
I have a slightly early birthday gift for him (link to come, after the gift is given) of something that's so cool, I simply couldn't resist getting it for him. Then viewing of some public fireworks and a few private displays and the day will be done.

Tuesday marks the day of my whole new HVAC system. Oy. Again, dropping 3K on a system is not really what I want to do but circumstances call for it. I figure I'll get better performance for less energy use and I won't have to worry about an aging "contractor grade" system. I'll post more later as the work develops.
Just Damn
The good folks at Apple, who have the habit of separating me from cash which has found its difficult way into my grasp, have discovered a new way to bifurcate me from the contents of my wallet. Kim du Toit says, rightly, that man can never have too many knives. I'm starting to think that one can't have too many iPods either. The new 'Pod has a color screen, and - here's where I start reaching for my credit card - 15 hour battery life. Just damn!
It's a photo iPod of course and I don't give a hoot about carrying around pictures. And if it were made in a 30 gig model, I'd be even more sorely tempted. I've loaded the great majority of my CDs onto my current 20 gig 'Pod (I have about 1.6 gigs of space left) and if I had a 30 gig model, I could pick up the contents of the few discs that I have which I don't really listen to. I mean, c'mon, "Flagpole Sitting" is a good song but the rest the "Harvey Danger" CD is nothing to write a blog post about. I also have none of the Glen Miller or Mills Brother on my 'Pod, which I would if I had the extra 10 gigs.
So, with those caveats, no new iPod. But that doesn't mean I won't want one.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Food Blogging
I haven't joined in the great posting of recipes which results in such things as the Carnival of Recipes (hosted this time by our blogroll pal Anywhere But Here). But there's always something that pushes the blogger to do things he or she has never done before. So I'm posting a recipe stolen from the pages of Bicycling magazine but based on an earlier throw-away mention in a post of mine. The recipe is from a chef who cycles: Michael Romano. And, unbelievably, it's called:

"Michael Romano's Perfect Post-Ride Pasta Carbonara."
You'll need:
• 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
• 6 ounces guanciale (traditional cured pork jowl) or pancetta, thinly sliced and cut into strips
• freshly ground black pepper
• 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons finely grated Pecorino Romano cheese
• 2 egg yolks plus one whole egg, beaten together
• kosher or sea salt
• 12 oz. spaghetti, bucatini or perciatelli

Before you ride (keeping in mind the name of this recipe):
1. Heat the olive oil in a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat. Add the guanciale or pancetta, and slowly cook until it's crisp, 8-10 minutes. Season abundantly with pepper, then drain the meat in a colander, reserving the rendered fat in a metal bowl large enough to hold all the cooked pasta. Put the meat in a small bowl, cover and set aside.
2. Whisk the 1/2 cup Pecorino Romano into the fat to form a creamy sauce. Add pepper to taste. When the mixture is completely cool, whisk in the beaten eggs, cover well and refrigerate.

Go ride.

When you get back (and after a shower I hazard to guess):
3. Take the cheese mixture out of the refrigerator. Bring four quarts of water to a boil. Add salt to the water, then add the pasta.
4. Just before the spaghetti is al dente , ladle about two tablespoons of the pasta-cooking water into the cheese/egg mixture and whisk well. Add the meat to the bowl.
5. When the pasta is al dente, drain it well, reserving some of the cooking water. Add the pasta to the bowl and place it over very low heat. Using tongs (I'd say you could use chopsticks but what do I know), toss the pasta gently but thoroughly with sauce. Heat from the pasta and the stove will cook the egg and thicken the sauce. If the sauce becomes too think or grainy, quickly add a tablespoon of the reserved cooking water and toss to restore the texture. As soon as the pasta is nicely coated, remove from heat.
5. Serve immediately in heated bowls and top with the remaining Pecorino. Serves four.

Or, in my case, two. (Kidding! I'm working on the eating thing.)
(Guinnessscientist) Brilliant! (/Guinnessscientist)

From the Blogfather, James Lileks's new book! I must have a copy.

(Yes, I know the faux html code should have angle brackets but angle brackets make faux html disappear in blogspot posts. We must suffer for my art.)

Friday, July 01, 2005

Music This Month
A month with no scheduled shows that I have to attend. And after careful consideration I realized that my collection of one of the all-time great Hillbilly hippie folksingers (kinda narrows it doesn't it) was incomplete. Not that it ever will be complete as three of his titles are out of print. Dadgummit. Mike Cross is the man. Not just the man, he is The Man. More talent in his flying fingers than in several contemporary bands put together (more talent than in the entire artist stable of some record companies).
As you can see in the "longings" sidebar, I'm going to get "Solo At Midnight" and "At Large in the World." I don't own "Michael's Magic Music Box" but as it's a kid's disc (and more power to Mike for making it), I don't expect to ever own it.
It's the original three that are out of print: "Child Prodigy," "Born in the Country" and "Rock 'n' Rye." At least I own all three on vinyl and, given sufficient time and inclination, I can put them on tape, then digitize the songs from the tape thus creating CDs that are no longer in print. I know I'll miss having all the jewel box inserts but inasmuch as I listen to my music now off my iPod (have I mentioned my iPod? I like my iPod), it's not an overwhelming loss.
My introduction to the World of Mike Cross was hearing "Born in the Country" played on Duke's FM station in its entirety upon its release in ... (thinking) ... 1975. Maybe 1976. I had a roommate who worshipped at the altar of John Denver and I had a Mike Cross quote I'd heard, again on the Duke FM station which was broadcasting a live tape of a show in Chapel Hill, to the following point: "There's nothing wrong with John Denver. That a good snort of scotch wouldn't cure." So I was inclined to like the guy before I really listened to the music. Which meant I was paying attention when the album was played. And "BitC" is a knockout: "Blue Skies and Teardrops" right out of the starting gate is quite simply superb. "Wisdom or a Drink" is one of his break-your-heart beautiful love songs. Both "Mountain Mean" and "Nobby" (his Leon Rebone-inspired song) are bust-out laughing funny. The album closes with "Born in the Country/Devil's Dream" which is dead solid perfect.
There I was, a neophyte in the path of the Cross, listening to what I knew instantly was one of the best albums I'd ever heard. I made the pilgrimage to Schoolkid's Records in Chapel Hill - one of the greatest music stores I've ever slipped an ear into (I doubt it's still there but wow! I could have dropped several hundred dollars there in no time). Upon finding "BitC," I went ahead and bought his first album "Child Prodigy" as well. I also sent copies to Lycurgus down in Florida. Which is what led to my meeting Mike. But that's a story for another time.

I just wish Mike would come back to NoVa and play the Birchmere