Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Cornering Bloggish Dustbunnies
First, I didn't make it to see Emm. I took the shower and instead of refreshing me, it ennervated me. Ah, lassitude. I will have to wait for her next tour to the area.
Other items of note:

The Enigmatic Misanthrope and the Enigmatic Missus-anthrope (that's surely the wrong way to put it but what the hey, I'll neologize when no one's looking) are headed off to sunnier climes and a bit o' scuba diving. PoW wishes them Godspeed and we await their safe return with bated breath.

Softish drinks - what I'm lately most fond of. Propel "fitness water" from the makers of Gatorade. 20 calories for a half liter bottle. Not too sweet. Good flavors (lemon, berry. kiwi-strawberry). Two thumbs up. Also, Crystal Lite Ruby Red Grapefruit is top notch. As long as you allow for the fact that you're drinking Crystal Lite and not real grapefruit juice. And if you try it, make it more dilute than the package suggests. Making a half gallon with one of those little tubs of powder is like making syrup. I make it up about three quarts. But that's just me.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Oh My God.
$7.00 and two and a quarter hours of my life irretrievably lost to the massive turd that is "Revenge of the Sith." Effects: wonderful. Fabulous even. Loved the gadgets, loved the planets. Never seen Natalie Portman look worse or be more wasted in a movie. The dialog has already been criticized (rightly) but the real problem is that the intelligence and logic of every single character with the sole exception of Chancellor Palpatine (who is the single best actor in the whole misbegotten mess) is beyond belief.
I'd like to get a copy of the script and subject it to some freelance samurai islamic fisking. Need I say that I'll not be buying the DVD of this steaming pile?

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Back from running ride support for Atlantic Cycling. 175 riders today. Let's try Blogger's image tool shall we? Here's a shot (with silly comment) from the ride registration:

Not that I had to feed and water all of them, of course. That was last ride. This ride I got the stop that took the long riders (the 60 milers) at the 20 mile mark. The other stop (use the link above to see more on Chesapeake Beach where the stop was on the boardwalk) got the short riders at 20 miles and the long riders at 40.
Got my butt up early: 5:00am. Out the door at 6:00. On site at 7:00 and alone there until 7:30. Having arrived at the start of the second ride (when I was too ill to run support but was rescued by rain - only one stop was opened) after the registration was set up and a good number of riders were already on site, I wanted to be on time. Not to mention I was a bit unsure of exactly where I was to be. But I went almost straight to the start. Havings directions in hand is a good thing.
The day dawned cool and wet. But it was the kind of cool that promised heat. And the damp morning air was heavy. I even drove through a couple of patches of thick fog on Maryland's Eastern Shore. I am impressed at the riders who showed and rode. It was oppressive. I merely drove to the rest stop site and set up the table and the refreshments and I was Mr. Schvitz. The riders were doing a lot more work than I was. I think the latter half of the course was probably not quite so bad even though the heat was up by that time because the later stages were through a fair bit of tree-covered road. Really pretty countryside over there in Merlin. Emphasis on the
I am now trying to gin up the gumption to clean up, dress nice and go out to see Emm Gryner at Club Iota. (I don't really need to put up those links again, do I?)
What Youll Wish Youd Known
Here is an essay by Paul Graham that he never was able to give to a graduating class of High School seniors. The school authorities vetoed the plan to invite him. That's really no surprise given the blandness of most High School Commencements. Though after reading it I most certainly wish he had. An excerpt:
The important thing is to get out there and do stuff. Instead of waiting to be taught, go out and learn.

Your life doesn't have to be shaped by admissions officers. It could be shaped by your own curiosity. It is for all ambitious adults. And you don't have to wait to start. In fact, you don't have to wait to be an adult. There's no switch inside you that magically flips when you turn a certain age or graduate from some institution. You start being an adult when you decide to take responsibility for your life. You can do that at any age.

This may sound like bullshit. I'm just a minor, you may think, I have no money, I have to live at home, I have to do what adults tell me all day long. Well, most adults labor under restrictions just as cumbersome, and they manage to get things done. If you think it's restrictive being a kid, imagine having kids.

The only real difference between adults and high school kids is that adults realize they need to get things done, and high school kids don't. That realization hits most people around 23. But I'm letting you in on the secret early. So get to work. Maybe you can be the first generation whose greatest regret from high school isn't how much time you wasted.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Say What?
Here's one to shatter any faith you had in polls of "The American People." The gist of it is simple: a majority of people want the Federal Government to make the Internet safe. It goes on to say that this same majority doesn't trust Federal Institutions to do the job. My question for this majority is, "What kind of behavior do you expect from people you do not trust?" Do they really think this lack of trust is going to make the Federal Institutions more honest and efficient?

Here is my answer in a nutshell. We will just have to face facts about Security and the Internet, namely, it is up to individuals to take the necessary precautions to make it as safe as it can be. Relying upon someone else is ludicrous. What's more, would you want to live in a world where someone else made sure your home computer had the latest Operating System patches, had up-to-date Virus Protection, a Firewall, and Intrusion Protection software? I think not.

If you don't believe me then how about Thomas Jefferson:
"A government big enough to give you everything you want is strong enough to take everything you have."
Windows XP N
I believe the N stands for nothing as that is what it accomplishes. The main difference between the N version and a regular copy of XP is that N makes you download a media player. This new product was foisted on Microsoft by the European Competition Commissioner. (Now there is an oxymoron!) Microsoft was forced to sell it in Europe "as part of the punishment in the software maker's long antitrust battle with the European Union."

Here's the surprise: Nobody wants to buy it. Dell and Sony won't even offer to install it on their new PCs! Though I guess this comes as no surprise if you consider this is business as usual in Europe, bureaucrats in Brussels wasting tax payer money by issuing rulings that nobody cares about and which don't do anybody a lick of good.
Doc, You Slept Through Thursday
I found this on BoingBoing about a colorful baseball pitcher from the 1970s named Doc Ellis. It's one of those "Don't Do This Yourself Stories" that made me laugh.
I posted earlier that I have accumulated a lifetime supply of pens so, when I use them, I try to use them up. The pen I'm using now is an old Bic "crystal" ball point whose cap has dissolved in the mists of time. What amazes me about this old workhorse is that the ink level has sunk below the visible barrel for several days (not that I'm writing all the time, mind you) yet it keeps on writing. I wonder how much ink there is in that little metal nib end of the pen.

Yes, I realize how inconsequential this post is but such inconsequentialities (What?! -Ed.) are the stuff of life.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Not Exactly Tech But Not Not Tech Either
Now there's a title to conjure with.
I happened, a few nights ago, to see that Charlie (The Tool) Rose was interviewing the Wall Street Jornal's "personal tech" editor Walt Mossberg. Mossberg, as a tech journalist, gets it. Stephen Manes of Forbes gets it too but Mossberg is the silverback to Manes's gorilla. And I'm not saying silverback as a reference to Mossberg's neat, white goatee. In fact, he has, very possibly, the best expression of the white goat in the known world. I'd love to be able to carry off such a beard in my future. Distant future.
But looks are not the point (You would say that -Ed.). Mossberg was extremely interesting to listen to. Despite the lousy technique of CR (with the just-too-fey purple striped shirt and matching purple tie), Mossberg made the show worth watching. I was surprised to learn that he lives in the Washington, DC area (suburban Maryland it turns out). Not that his job requires him to live in any particular place but that he lives in my general metro area catches me by surprise. Secondly, he says that Apple's OS X "Tiger" is the best operating system currently on the market. He likes the "Spotlight" search technology which really is seamlessly built into the interface. I like Spotlight but it's the widgets that do it for me (new fave: a widget from The Weather Channel which puts an animated 600 mile doppler map on my desktop at the touch of a button or the click of a mouse). Mossberg also says that Microsoft's next interation of their OS won't have such a deep search capability built in for another 18 months. A year from this coming Christmas is how he characterized the time frame.
MS might be able to push up the integration and ship sooner but the fact remains that one of the most useful OS features (Mossberg's opinion, not mine) is available now in Tiger. Mossberg is no Apple shill though. He pointed out, correctly I think, that the interim period in Apple's history, the Jobs Interregnum as it were, Microsoft's OS was the better bet. Apple had some good ideas - the move to the PowerPC from the Motorola 680x0 for example. But Systems 8 and 9 were problematic. Even a diehard Mac fan like me will admit that.
The opinion of a respected journalist aside, very few people who are already using one platform are going to switch, Apple campaigns notwithstanding, because they've already made a substantial investment in their OS of choice. Software programs, even at the consumer level, are expensive. If not by themselves then in aggregate. I, for example, have identified nearly $100 worth of programs I use regularly that I need to pay for and register (I mentioned Delicious Library a few posts earlier - that's one) that I've downloaded from the Interweb thing. It do add up. Point being that I don't expect anyone to switch. However, if you are starting your computing experience, do what Walt says: get a Mac.
For that matter, read his reviews regularly and follow his advice. It may not be 100% to your tech tastes but the man knows what he's talking about.

Hmm. I didn't really mean for this to be a Mac post. I have always had great respect for Mr. Mossberg and wanted to say how good a guest he was on the Craptacular Rose show.

UPDATE: Here's Mossberg on the Apple-Intel annoucement. For your delectation.
Ted Kennedy Needs To Read More History
There was a nice exchange of words today between Senator Kennedy and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. Kennedy believes the war in Iraq is a "quagmire" and Secretary Rumsfeld and the Top US Commanders disagree. With all due respect to the 1725 service personal who have lost their lives since March 2003, I suggest Mr Kennedy do a Google search on Cold Harbor.
"Grant and Meade attacked on June 3. In a series of frontal assaults, the Federals were slaughtered, sustaining approximately 7,000 casualties compared to Confederate losses of 1,500. Grant always regretted ordering the assault at Cold Harbor."

The American Civil War by the time of Cold Harbor in the spring of 1964 was considered a "quagmire" by some people. I won't debate the merits of the issues here. Suffice to say what we are doing in Iraq hardly compares in either scope or ferocity. In Iraq we are going after people who think nothing about blowing themselves up along with as many innocent bystanders as they can (remember the WTC). Furthermore, these same people have showed they will go to any extreme, including using Chemical Weapons, to maintain their control over the Iraqi people.

Senator Kennedy needs to quit posturing for votes and visit the mass grave sites of the people who disagreed with Saddam and were gassed. Maybe he could also go visit the graves at Cold Harbor and try to gain some historical perspective.
A Biometric Laptop
HP is starting to ship a biometric laptop. I sure hope Apple does the same by the time I'm ready to buy one of their new ones next year that contains the Intel chip. What can I say, I like bleeding edge tech toys. Though I especially like the enhanced security inherent in fingerprint biometrics and the fact I will have one less password to remember.

Maybe one day this same technology can be used in cars and to eliminate the need to carry around house keys. By my conservative calculation, I annually spend 4 or 5 hours looking for my keys and in opening and locking doors. It may not seem like much but combined with the aggravation involved in the search for keys and the locking/unlocking, it would certainly be worth it to me not to have to engage in any of it. Sometimes it's the little things that drive people crazy and this one is near the top of my list.
A Tale of Two 'Puters
I am sitting at my desk with my Mac on the left and my Athlon Box on the right. A 20 inch screen on my left and a 19 inch screen on my right. Thank TPTB that flat panel displays are so damn good. I'd have no desk space left were I running with CRT monitors.
But it's not just deskspace any more. I have two wireless keyboards and two wireless mice sitting on my desktop too. And I switch between the two platforms (right now the PC is running Firefox with an attractive brushed-metal looking theme I grabbed when I downloaded the browser yesterday) with most of the real work going on to the left (natch). But it's weird to juggle two mice and two active keyboards. You should try it sometime just as an exercise in unconscious memory. Are you able to put your hand on the correct mouse every time? When you switch machines, do you start typing on the wrong keyboard? It's not easy.
Now that I have a direct side-by-side comparison, I can satate with a high degree of confidence that Firefox on the Mac is preferrable for the small but distinct advantage of having a "Window" menu.
I visited Sugarmama this morning and made a comment - OK, a couple of comments - but I wanted to double check what I was commenting so I clicked on the browser window. The comment window was then lost behind the main window. On the Mac, I only have to choose the comment window from the Window menu. I am unaware of a way to bring the window forward as easily on the PC. It's probably there but I'm unaware of it. So the Mac version is preferable even if only for my limited experience on the PC.
But really, don't you want a Windows menu on your PC?

The other salient aspect is fan noise. My iMac is dead quiet. I can't say silent because there is a smidgen of noise (like optical drive spinup) but the PC is ever in the background with the fan. Think what you will of Steve Jobs but the design he pushes (even the desktop G5s are designed with cooling zones to minimize fan noise) is superb.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Observations on "Smallville"
First, Tom Welling (Clark Kent) and Kristin Kreuk (Lana Lang) are just way too pretty. If Hugh Jackman is a pretty, pretty man (and we all know that he is), then these two see his pretty at the flop and raise him before winning the pot on the river card. If these two ever had offspring, it's likely that the resulting child would so pretty that average mortals would be unable to actually see it! Special hospitals would have to be built where only the most beautiful nurses and doctors would be available so the child could be cared for. And special schools with supermodels as teachers.
So, they'd best not ever fuse gametes. It would be far too much trouble for the rest of us.

Oh, "Smallville" is a pretty good show too. It would be nice if they didn't get so far afield with medieval French witches and the like.
I Don't Get It
Yeah that too but what I don't get is why anyone in his right mind would make a remake of "The Honeymooners" starring Cedric "The Entertainer." He is mildly amusing at best but I guess "Cedric the Mildly Amusing" doesn't look all that good on a theater marquee. I'm betting that after all the shekels have been stacked, "Cedric The Entertainer" won't be seen too often on theater marquees either.
Look at it this way: would you follow "The Great One" in a role he originated and defined with "The Entertainer?" I thought not.

I want the geniuses who bankrolled "The Honeymooners" to put up the cash for my brilliant idea: An all-white remake of "Wating to Exhale." It's called "Don't Hold Your Breath."

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Yes, More Droning on About Footy
Last night I watched the Port Adelaide Power put a hurt on the Western Bulldogs (the Doggies being preferred by PoW of course) and was surprisingly uninterested in the game. I find that with Collingwood languishing in the bottom eight, that, unless the game is a ripper, I am not as enthusiastic about watching. But it really is a great game. Maybe I am just suffering through an enthusiasm deficit. Ah well. Go Pies! Rally for at least a finish in the upper bracket!

I also missed "Hell's Kitchen" last night. My guilty pleasure of the television off season.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Exit Date From Iraq
A tip of the cap to the Vodka Pundit for explaining why establishing an "Exit Date" from Iraq is a silly proposition.

The best bit:
"For our sake and Iraq's, we have to be in this for the long haul. Announcing an exit date would tell our enemies we were never really in it to begin with."
Funniest. Triumph. Evar.
Triumph The Insult Comic Dog (a Hero of Pugs of War) visits the Michael Jackson trial. Link lifted from Spoons. Triumph brought to us courtesy of the Conan O'Brien show.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Several Sections of my Brain Began to Liquify
Luckily, I realized that the cure for said brain liquefaction was to post a link to the offending image.
Seriously, dude, what were you thinking? Any chance to get this in, say, Chow dog for a beer keg?

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

And Then Some
I let too great a bolus of mail accumulate in the little cluster box (not named "cluster" for nothing) and had to go to the PO to pick it all up. Which is of no moment to you, gentle reader, save for the fact that I now do have the Kajun Kelley Project "Moods" CD in hand as well as ripped into iTunes. Very nice. "Soaring" (link leads to MP3) is exceptionally nice. Very Eric Johnson, which is high praise in my book. The rest of the disc, instrumentals all, is highly listenable. Lyrical bitchin' guitar to coin a phrase. This is the kind of music I would put on while concentrating on desk work. Great music but no distractions in remembering/singing along with the words.
So now I have to figure out what gets the "longings" link for next month. I was watching a special on The Carpenters on PBS pledge week and I just might get some of their best. Karen had a voice that I never appreciated when they were active. She was pitch perfect and had a much richer voice than such a petite woman should have. Yes, a lot of the music was pure pop confection - Richard was a commercial arranger without equal - but can you listen to "Goodbye To Love" without feeling it? I can't. What a loss her death was!

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Goodness Gracious Great Balls of ...
Snot? The great mystery of sea bottom carbon seems to have been solved by the mucosal excresences of the giant larvaceans. Why was I not imformed earlier?
Moments of Zen or Randomness
Paul posted on the Apple/Intel announcement and I've been all over theblogosphere reading takes on it - Cringely, Slashdot, Peeve Farm and I'm left with the current conclusion (subject to change at a moment's notice): I have NO idea what this means. It could be a masterstroke. It could be the end of Apple. I'm hoping that it will mean Apple will continue to plug along since the Wintel side seems seriously light on the innovation side and the world (yes, the world) is better off for the thing Apple pioneered. GUIs, WYSIWYG computing, laser printing, image manipulation (i.e. PhotoShop) and, despite Microsoft's claims, the integration of the 'digital lifestyle' into the computing experience.
But I am a partisan. I prefer to use my Mac because it just works. I can get things done with it I find agonizing on the PC. However, I'm sure there are plenty of people who are are as conversant with their PC as I am with my Macs and wouldn't want to swap platforms for love nor money. Well, maybe money.
So I'll just sit here with my iMac, my PowerBook, my Athlon box and the G4 tower now relegated to fallow status. I will wish Apple and Intel great good fortune and wish I'd bought Apple when it was selling for 14.

Michael Jackson verdict. Neal Boortz makes every point I would want to make about the trial. I just want to note a couple of things: First Joe Jackson is one ugly sumbitch. I mean he makes Michael's freakshow appearance look tolerable. Hideous toad of a man. Not that I should talk, mind you. Second, MIchael thinks, I'm sure, that he got away with it. He is too much the sad, sick freak to give up his attraction to little boys and he's going to get caught. Somebody, hungry for a big payday for certain will make it a point to get the physical evidence that will put the ... I almost said 'smoking gun' ... in Michael's hand. Monica saved the dress. Some boy will save his jammies and then all hell will break loose.
My favorite MJ joke lately: How does Michael Jackson pick his nose?
Out of a catalog.

And for the annoyingly quotidian: It's hot here in NoVa. Ugly hot. And my AC does not seem to be up to the task. My office and bedroom are on the top floor of my townhouse. If I didn't have fans in both rooms, it would be intolerable. I need to have my HVAC system checked. Argh! I don't have a 'usual guy' to go to for these things. Time to drag out the paginas amarillas.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Added To The Roll
"Anywhere But Here" has PoW on the blogroll and I always desire to return the favor. Welcome to the sidebar Kris. (BTW for you readers, that means go visit and enjoy another view of the world.)
By The Way
If you don't own this CD, you are either missing something or making a mistake. I leave it to you to decide. C'mon! You can get it for under $7.50 from an Amazon seller. You have $7.50 lying around. Of course you do.
OS X Tiger
Wonderful OS. Still liking everything I've used. And I did a test of the "Spotlight" search feature where I started typing the name of a friend who sent me an e-mail. Her family name was sufficiently unique that I didn't imagine I would have any other instance of it on my machine. I didn't have to type but five characters in before Spotlight brought up a list of the e-mails. Please keep in mind that I didn't have the Mail application loaded. This search was done from the Finder and, as I said, it was completed before I could fully type the name. Just damn.
I also downloaded a copy of Delicious Library which I am going to pony up for as soon as I get my next MasterCard bill. I prefer to use other cards or PayPal but the folks who put the program together only list MC & Visa as payment options. I've sent them an e-mail. But I will pay for this program. It's impressive.
What does it do you axe? It's basically a database for movies, music, books and video games. What makes it special is the automation. First, you can scan in any of your items by the barcode if you have a webcam. The program reads barcodes out of the webcam image stream. Cool. But I don't have a webcam. So I start by typing in the title. The program then sucks info out of into the entry pane and one clicks on the particular version of DVD or CD (all I've dealt with so far as I'm using the demo mode which limits the number of items). The rest of the info, even a capsule review of the movie, is pulled into the database. Bing bang boom goes the dynamite.
It's like having iTunes automatically access the Gracenote CDDB to get title and track info on a CD when it's first inserted. Magic. Beautiful. Beautiful magic. It's the sort of automation that computers were supposed to be doing for us way back when. I look forward to having my Mac do more things for me. Spaghetti carbonara for dinner would be nice. Oh. OK. That's nice but I want you to make it for me.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Word of the Day

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

More TV Foolishness
I watch ABC's "Supernanny" with a sense of mounting horror. These children are monsters in human form. If they shouldn't be wiped off the face of tyhe Earth then their parents definitely should be. For the offspring to be this hideous, the parents deserve great blame. Great blame.
Jo Frost, the Supernanny herself, does amazing things with these families. I am actually in awe of her abilties. The trouble is she's so darn cute! I love the accent. She is that perfect example of a woman who can be criticized for carrying too many pounds but who is just adorable nonetheless. I think she makes the show worth watching. And not just because she's cute but because she does the job. I wouldn't run the TiVo on it but it's a good show.
Diddling With The Computers
I am now running OS X "Tiger" on my Macs. And I'm loving it in my initial explorations. I use the Dashboard all the time now. I have a stock tracker, a weather widget, a TV guide darn near instantly available to me. All these things have been available on the interweb but I don't have to load my browser and load pages. The info is just there.
The installations took me in the realm of about an hour on each machine but went just as smooth as the skin on the face of a plastic surgeon's wife. I'm in the process of backing up my oldest machine (a 400MHz G4 tower Mac - the 'Gigabit Ethernet' model if that means anything to you) to an external firewire drive after which I'll wipe the drives and do a clean install of Tiger. Then I'll remove that machine from the matrix and put my PC (a 1 GHz Athlon box assembled at home through the good graces of Lycurgus) into the mix. I need to get security up and running on the PC before it goes online of course. Yeesh.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Speaking of Ads
I see that Disney is trying to suck the dessicated marrow out of the dry bones of another of their stories. Might I suggest a better title: "A Diaper: Fully Loaded."
Sometimes I Watch Ads
Actually, I could go off on an extended rant about ads. I am the kind of TV watcher who will tune ads out after I've seen them (auto ads are the worst - utterly disposable after one viewing) but will watch them when I first see them. One ad that bugs me is an ad for a "feminine" product wherein a dorky guy is out rowing his unjustifiably hot girlfriend around a lake when the rowboat springs a prefectly round leak just at their feet. It tends to make me wonder if there's an enemy agent with a drill under the boat taking revenge against the world wherein such a dweeb has a girlfriend like her. But such speculation is unseemly.
And by the way, the products used in a gynecological sense are not "feminine." Neither is "feminine itch" in the least bit "feminine." I don't think men are targeted with products to address "masculine itch." It it itches, it's not masculine. But I digress. This is about ads.
After seeing the rowboat ad, wherein the resourceful woman plugs the leak with her way-too-handy tampon, my only thought was for the dweeb rowing. And my thought was, "You sure are lucky that your girlfriend there bleeds like a stuck pig or you'd be swimming for shore in no time at all." I don't think that's the thought the advertiser wanted anyone to take away from their 30 second drama.
Hell's Kitchen
As a former restaurateur I find the Fox TV show Hell's Kitchen a very realistic portrayal of the inner workings of a restaurant. If you ever entertained the idea of working in one this show will crush your illusions pretty quickly. In fact, I find it rather tame in comparison to some of the German chefs I worked with.

The star of the show is a Scot, Gordon Ramsay, who is both cruel and abusive to both his trainees and any customers who dare approach him while he is working. I suppose he produces some good food but that is not the point of this show. Instead, he has accepted the challenge of training 12 people with varying amounts of culinary knowledge. He vows to make them world class kitchen employees and give the best pupil a restaurant at the end of this "survivor style" elimination show.

The show is set in LA and features a beautiful restaurant seating 120 people. The show opens with the trainees being told they will be opening this restaurant in a few hours. Amazingly, LA being what it is, trendy and status conscious to the utmost degree, there are a seemingly endless number people willing to subject themselves to 2 or 3 hour waits for food just to say they were on TV.

The funniest moment in the second episode was the fellow who after waiting 2 hours for his entree began to question the education of the maitre d. He told him that since he had a doctorate in Music from UCLA that he is better educated and had the right to abuse him. He then pushed the maitre d and was escorted from the premises. The question I asked myself was that if he was so smart then why did he wait two hours for his entree. I would have drank their wine, left after one hour, and laughed at any attempts to make me pay. Of course, I don't have a doctorate so what do I know.
Common Sense Prevails!
It appears New York will not be building a football stadium on the West Side of Manhattan. In the most extraordinary con game the City and State have ever seen, one reminiscent of the "Music Man," the powers that be have decided against spending billions on a venue that is of marginal use at best. The Stadium supporters said it was the centerpiece of the City's Olympic bid for the 2012 Games, but they never explained how a 75,000 seat Football stadium would be turned into a 105,000 seat Olympic stadium. I suppose this was a detail they hoped we would overlook.

My favorite part of this whole Real Estate grab has been the ability of these hucksters to line up rank and file support, the little man if you would, for what could be termed an extravagance even in the best of times. The hucksters showed these typical New Yorker enough money so that they would shoot their mouths off in television ads in support of the West Side Stadium. Watching these ads would have been embarrassing if they hadn't been so funny. Imagine a former fireman with an eighth grade education speaking with a thick Brooklyn accent about how we need this stadium to help improve the Public School ,and you will see the absurdity that I found so amusing. Now the whole thing can RIP.
Russell, Can You Hear Me Now?
No is the answer if your name is Russell Crowe. I believe he has lost all phone privileges at the trendy SOHO hotel he was staying at when he lost his mind and was hustled off to jail by the NYPD.

I know the hotel and the problem he had was not with a hotel employee or shoddy local phone service. The problem he had I suspect was with a voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phone connection. This alternative to the much more reliable Plain Old Telephone Service (POTS) is how small hotels that have been recently renovated usually implement phone service for their guests. Most of the time this is good enough, but when the IP packets have to go to Australia sometimes you will run into problems like Russell Crowe had.

The obvious solution for Russell, besides some Anger Management classes, is to avoid VoIP when the call absolutely has to go through. Otherwise, you might be tempted to throw the telephone you are using at the nearest available wall or hotel employee. And that is no solution at all.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Apple To IBM: Toodiloo
As somebody who still has a Mac Classic (the BlogDog helped me buy it in 1991) with a 68000 processor I can see the point here that with each change in architecture Apple loses market share.

In the mid-1980s, the Mac captured as much as 10 percent of the overall PC market, he said. But when Apple switched from Motorola 68000 processors to PowerPC chips, the Mac's share dropped to below 5 percent. When the Mac's operating system later changed to OS X, it fell to below 3 percent.
Now somebody please help me out here. Apple still makes a better machine, right? I just don't understand what caused the current dominance of the market by WINTEL (Microsoft and Intel). Was it all marketing or just a ruinous combination of bad business decisions that produced the present situation. Maybe this is simply one of those questions with no good answer. Life can be like that sometimes.
Congress To Sick People: Drop Dead
This could also be titled, "Federal Government to States: We know best!"

The issue here is that the Federal government wants the power to prevent sick patients from smoking home-grown marijuana that a doctor recommended to relieve chronic pain.

Justice O'Connor in her dissent hits the nail right on the head:

"This case exemplifies the role of states as laboratories," O'Connor wrote.

"Relying on Congress' abstract assertions, the court has endorsed making it a federal crime to grow small amounts of marijuana in one's own home for one's own medicinal use," she said. "This overreaching stifles an express choice by some states ... to regulate medical marijuana differently."

Sunday, June 05, 2005

It's a Great Month
Not only did I get to see Jake, Emm Gryner is coming to club Iota around the end of June.
Music, Music, Music - Jake, Jake, Jake And Taylor
I had a great time last night. It was a wonderful show. More about that in a moment, first some administrative details about the 'longings' sidebar. Last month I sent off a check for the Kajun Kelley CD over there on the right. Now, I've got a few days worth of mail sitting in the box (fargin' cluster boxes hatehatehate 'em) so it's possible that I might have the disc already but I'm rather disappointed that it hasn't arrived already. I will chalk it up to the nature of snail mail and the necessity of sending a check so I will keep "Moods" in the sidebar until I get it.
I've already blown my month's music budget at the show last night - two more copies of Jake Armerding's CDs. (I don't really need to make links of his name again, do I?) And yes - I got the autographs. In fact I went nuts nuts nuts with the signing. I got Jake to sign the CD inserts I brought from home and then got him and his father to sign the CDs themselves. And I'm keeping them. I'll probably give the new copies to Lycurgus at some point but for the nonce, Jake would be the only artist of whose work I own multiple original copies. Then again - he is that good.
If I haven't already told you: buy the CDs dammit! And another one is in the works. Good. PoW approves of new product. And the new songs that were played last night are good. Darn good. I expected no different. If you have the chance to see Jake, get him to play "Honda Civic EX." Very short and if you have a shred of humor in you, you will enjoy it. I promise. But don't ask for the Star Wars joke.

If I have one problem with the web info on the show, it's that neither Jake's page, nor The Falls Church's website nor the website of Kairos (sponsor of the show) had any information about the start time. Still, I figure 7:30 is a pretty resasonable start time so I set out under that assumption. Traffic was a bit sticky (one light seemed seriously screwed up delaying the flow on only the eastbound side of a divided road) and I wasn't sure precisely where the Historic Chapel was but I got there at 7:45 just as the introduction was ending. Didn't miss a song. I had no experience with Jake's father Taylor Armerding and was I ever in luck. He is a superb mandolin player and a veteran in the music biz, being a founding member of the bluegrass band Northern Lights. He is no longer with said group and if that means he has more chance to play with Jake (also an alum of Northern Lights) then so much the better.
But it's not just the musicianship. These guys can harmonize like madness. They did a couple of fantastic gospel songs wherein their voices soared and interwove like the necks of mating phoenixes. Ecstatic and wonderful. I'm sorry that I didn't make a record of which songs they played. (The readers are happy to hear that! Ed.) In any event, they played a number of Jake's songs already out, some non, what do I say, protprietary songs and a few songs that will be on the new CD which will be coming out in the near future (before the end of '05 I think). Jake switched off between guitar and fiddle while Taylor stuck with the mandolin save for one of his own songs near the end of the show where he took over the guitar.
Jake played a fiddle tune which he said he didn't have a title for though he solicited titles from the audience. The song put me in mind of such traditional fiddle tunes as "Drowsy Maggie" and "Cooley's Reel" which I know from Mike Cross's work. I thought "Fiddler's Choice" might be a nice title, keeping that two-word rhythm, but I see upon Googling it that it's the name of a music store and the title of an album. So ... no. But it's a terrific song. I look forward to having on the new disc.
The show was sponsored by Kairos which had a presentation during intermission about its recent missionary work in India. I wish them luck and blessings as there's no nation on Earth that needs saving more. I took adavantage of the intermission to buy the additional CDs. (Hey Jake, any discount for all this shameless fawning online? ;-) Not that I missed any of the presentation.
Finally, after playing for somewhere around an hour and a half (excluding intermission), it was over. And I got my autographs. What a great way to spend a cool, slightly humid early summer evening.

UPDATE: How did I discover Jake? It all began with hearing "Ithaca" on a RadioIO stream. Then I found that Amazon had an MP3 of the song available for download. So I did. And the madness began.
My New Favorite Waste of Time
Deanimator. Kill them zombies! Word to the wise - shoot 'em while they're rising from the earth. That'll only take one shot. I have trouble with the shotgun though. I use up the ammo and then don't switch back to the revolver fast enough. I have made it past level 7. Once.
Ways I've died: zombie head butt, head and spine ripped out, arm pulled off and beaten with it and just picked up and carried off. It's all good.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Woo Hoo!
Jake Armerding is in my neck of the woods! Tomorrow in fact. At The Falls Church. I am so there. And this time, Jake, you will sign my CDs! Oh yes. Your signatures shall be mine.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Things You Do in the Aftermath of a Birthday
My birthday was last month. As was my hideous episode of ill health. Suffice it to say that I was a punk in the month of May. I got very little done apart from the usual business of living. But the usual business doesn't take care of things that are low level and annoying. Things that, if you got them as a Christmas or birthday present, would leave you resentful at the least or really pissed off at the most. To wit: I bought a toilet brush and underwear.
Having lived in my place for just over a year now, the thought finally perked through my consciousness that the one bathroom that didn't have a bowl cleaning device was the master bathroom, the room that now sees the most ... "wasted" time since Lycurgus has set me up with The Best Seat In The House in there. Besides, I had one of the 20% off coupons that Bed, Bath & Beyond spins out like Rumplestiltskin's gold.
Likwise, the good folks at Thornton Melon's Tall and Fat sent me a surprise discount for my birthday - a card with a scratch-off amount from $10 to ... some other amount. Like I ever figured I'd get more than the $10. And I didn't. But $10 off a package of underwear is nothing to sneeze at. Something about that sentence leaves me very unsettled, I'd best not parse it too closely.
Infelicitous language aside, absent the discounts, I probably wouldn't have bought what I bought. I suppose I should be happy that I got done what needs to be done but the idea of being happy about buying a bowl brush and underwear is just wrong. So is blogging about it but now I've shared one of those base, quotidian pains-in-butt with my loyal readers. How do you feel about it?
Book Recommendation:
During my recent hiatus from blogging I read Born Fighting : How the Scots-Irish Shaped America by James Webb. I am going out on a limb but I believe this is one for the BlogDog to take a gander at.
Back From A Long, Strange Trip
It's been a while since I last posted, business obligations kept me on the road for well over a month. I did make some notes that I meant to blog but somewhere around Barstow on the edge of the desert the strain of traveling began to take hold. Maybe it was the six lane traffic jams during rush hour or the constant reports of road rage during the traffic reports that caused me to caste my notes to the winds, I don't remember. The notes just began to seem insignificant the longer I was away from home and the more the sun beat down on me in my fire engine red Cadillac convertible.

Seriously, I'm glad I went to California. My assignment involved one of Corporate America's biggest problems: to defend against the harmful effects of viruses, worms and security exploits. In other words, I was trying to fix what is mostly a Microsoft-inflicted industry problem. I met with some success while using some products from Cisco and also visited Cisco headquarters in San Jose to preview their next generation of security products. I don't expect any easy resolution to the problems associated with Microsoft but it sure was satisfying to give it a shot during this road trip.