Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Does Anyone Know
Is there a manufacturer who makes an all-in-one (printer, scanner and some other stuff but all I care about is the printer and the scanner) that allows for wireless scanning? I use an Airport Express to connect with my printer but Epson doesn't support scanning over the wireless connection. If I could scan over a built-in wireless function, I could free my Airport Express to stream iTunes or internet radio to any room in the house. Which is nice.
Sometimes, You Just Gotta Buy
Or: My Latest Trip To Costco. I bought a blender. I already have a blender. Why did I buy another one? Simple: convenience. I have a nice, glass-containered Oster blender that whips the bejabbers out of anything I care to put in it. But it is a pain in the sink to clean. Unscrew, peel the gasket off the blade disk, (Yul Brynner)et cetera, et cetera, et cetera(/Yul Brynner). The new blender turns the container upside down so that the blade disk, when done whapping, is the removable top of a handled glass. I like the Myoplex protein shakes but will eschew the non-chewing to save the clean up. This new device should make it much easier to turn my morning routine into a shake and coffee.
And it was $30. Thirty bucks. I'll make that up in convenience in six months.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

What Do You Want On Your Next Car?
I drive a Subaru Outback which has not been trouble free but for which I still have great affection. Buckets of cargo space, a very comfortable car-like ride, all-wheel drive, fabulous ground clearance and 25 to 30 mpg in non-city driving. I figure that I'll probably replace the Outback with another when the time comes, especially as the re-design of the Outback looks even better than the model I drive. And the turbocharger. Don't sleep on the 2.5 L turbo "boxer" engine.
But what features do I want on my next car that I don't have? First, I'd really like an automatic lift gate in back. I can't count how many times I've approached the back of the car with both hands full and the desire to put the burden directly into the car instead of on the ground to open the gate with the handle. Second, I want full iPod integration. I want a port I can plug the iPod directly into the dash instead of into a third party appliance that uses FM to connect to the car stereo. And while they're at it, integrate the iPod screen lighting with the dimmer on the dash. As long as the iPod is drawing power off the car, it can keep the screen lit so it's easy to see the current song. And then dim it down for night driving.
Really, those are the salient things. What do you want on your next car. And I mean for real - no anti-gravity drives please.
Just Damn! Another Music Post
With a giant hat tip to Brian Tiemann at Peeve Farm, I post a link to Wow. This is roll-your-own streaming radio. Select a group or artist whose work you like and they will create a stream of "Artist Radio" for you. I tried both Quarterflash and Beth Orton and was most pleasantly surprised by the music that followed the initial song, which is a song chosen from the artist's repetoire to represent that artist's style.
You need to register to listen for more than few songs (The Beth Orton Radio played a song by a group unknown to me whose name I didn't record and then an Aimee Mann song while the Quarterflash Radio played a song by the Divinyls before it asked me to register). I've seen worse hoops to jump through online. Go. At least try it. Oh, and it didn't recognize "Emm Gryner" so it doesn't know everything. Still, Beth Orton is not the most recognized name in music so you might as well press your luck with obscure artists you like.
Pandora is an outgrowth of the Music Genome Project. Fascinating. I absolutely love the idea of getting a stream of new music based on known quantities. Better than listening to a streaming station of a simply a genre you prefer, I'd say. Another step in the evolution of digital music.
Party on, Wayne! Party on, Mac! Party on, Wintel!
Oh Fer Life In Glory!
Did I ever jump the gun on my Christmas music post! Well, no. I didn't. I am one of the vast majority who wishes to hear not a note of Noel before December 1. I only wished to get the jump on the planning for the acquisition of the new Christmas CD for the collection. Here's what I have: John Fahey's Guitar Soli Christmas Album, John Fahey's Christmas Album, Christmas in the Aire (Mannheim Steamroller) and Christmas Eve and Other Stories (Trans-Siberian Orchestra). 65 songs, 3.9 hours of seasonal music. I think another disc is well in order but I do want a good one. That's why I opened up the question for suggestions as early as I did. But no takers so far. (knock, knock) Hello! Is this thing on?

On the other hand, I have with a few exceptions (which I haven't twigged to yet) completed my shopping for That Day with a massive order from Amazon today. I have two dear friends with birthdays in the month and they will not go un-noticed (one having been given her present some time ago so it could be used on a vacation) despite the nature of the Nativity to swamp other events.

I do love Christmas, especially when it causes me little tsuris. Now, I must get the card list in order. The cards I have. Remember: limited selection but at least 50% off all cards left over after the 25th. Word to the wise. Or the cheap. Whichever.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Tell Me What To Do
I am opening the floor for anyone to tell my which Christmas CD to buy. My music for the month of December is always one Christmas CD. If you suggest one I already have, I will post a reply that I already have it. The one who posts the winning suggestion (something new for me that I actually want to buy) will get something. Probably not a five pound bag of gummi bears but that is a possibility.
By the way, I'm thinking maybe Mannheim Steamroller, Trans-Siberian Orchestra. I already have the John Fahey Christmas discs - the finest Christmas music ever recorded.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Give Me Tech! Give Me Wearable Electronics!
Specifically, the Oakley RAZRwire sunglasses. No! don't give it to me! I think I'll do this one on my own.
Seriously, what's not to love? Oakley sunglasses - just the best, coolest, most overpriced sunglasses ever. A Bluetooth module to let you run your cell phone handsfree. I'm sold. Now to explore the possibilities with my credit card bonus ... hmmmmmm. This might not cost me a cent. Oh me, oh my, oh joy!
What To Do, What To Do...
The latest count on the main iPod is now 3,256 songs with 18.08 Gigabytes used and 527.9 Megabytes available. This on a nominal 20 gig capacity. I think that '06 will see the introduction of a new 60 gig video iPod to replace the old workhorse. And I think I know who'll get that when the new workhorse saddles up.
The Sex and Cash Theory
This is credited to Hugh Macleod, a Scot who does drawings on the back of business cards. He also has a good piece on how to be creative within this same link. Check it out and it will make more sense. An excerpt:

THE SEX & CASH THEORY: "The creative person basically has two kinds of jobs: One is the sexy, creative kind. Second is the kind that pays the bills. Sometimes the task in hand covers both bases, but not often. This tense duality will always play center stage. It will never be transcended."

A good example is Phil, a NY photographer friend of mine. He does really wild stuff for the indie magazines- it pays nothing, but it allows him to build his portfolio. Then he'll go off and shoot some catalogues for a while. Nothing too exciting, but it pays the bills.

Another good bit from this site:

There are thousands of reasons why people write blogs. But it seems to me the biggest reason that drives the bloggers I read the most is, we're all looking for our own personal global microbrand. That is the prize. That is the ticket off the treadmill. And I don't think it's a bad one to aim for.
Testing The Speed Of Your Connection To The Internet
To find out the speed of your connection to the Internet please check out this link at InternetFrog. It will provide you with what they claim is your upload speed and the speed at which you can download files. My upload speed on my cable modem from Time Warner was 489kbps. My download speed was considerably faster: 4.89Mbps. Your mileage will vary but your download speed should be faster than your ability to upload. If you want to up load faster then you have to pay more to your ISP as that is one way they make money.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

It Gets Even Uglier
If two giants of hip hop music got together, they would be "Fiddy Diddy."
Wild Mushroom Flan
Honesty compels that I not post this recipe without acknowledging the source and Betty Rosbottom who put the recipe out through Tribune Media Services. Though I have not tried to contact either, I post the recipe with the idea that it is fair use. And that I link to the original article. Besides, it's not like I'm making any money off this post....
Caveats caveated, let's on to the food!
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing the ramekins
8 ounces mixed mushrooms such as shiitake, crimini and oyster
2 medium cloves garlic, minced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley, divided
1 cup heavy or whipping cream
4 large eggs
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese, preferably Parmigiano-Reggiano, divided

Butter 6 ½-cup ramekins, souffle or custard cups. Line them with rounds of parchment or waxed paper cut to fit the bottoms. Butter the papers. Place ramekins in a baking pan large enough to hold them in a single layer.
Rinse mushrooms well in a large strainer under cold water to remove any grit, then pat dry with a clean kitchen towel. Remove and discard stems from shiitakes. Slice all mushrooms into bite-size pieces.
Melt 3 tablespoons butter in a large, heavy skillet over medium high heat. When hot, add mushrooms and cook, stirring often, until they are browned and softened and all the liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring 1 minute more. Stir in 1/4 teaspoon salt, several grindings of black pepper and 1 tablespoon parsley. Divide mushrooms evenly among ramekins, covering bottom of each ramekin with some of the mixture.
In a mixing bowl whisk together cream, eggs, 1/3 cup Parmesan, 1/4 teaspoon salt and several grindings of pepper until well mixed. Transfer cream mixture to a 2-cup or larger measuring cup with a spout and pour it into the ramekins, filling them almost to the top.
Pour enough hot water into baking pan to come halfway up sides of ramekins. Carefully place pan on center rack of preheated 350-degree oven. As flans bake, they will puff up. Bake until flans are set and a small, sharp knife inserted into centers comes out clean, about 25 minutes.
Using potholders, remove ramekins from pan to a cooling rack for 5 minutes. Flans will deflate as they cool. (Flans can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cool, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature and reheat, uncovered, on a baking sheet in a preheated 350-degree oven, 10 to 15 minutes.)
Loosen edges of flans with a small sharp knife, then invert flans and remove and discard paper. Place one flan on each of 6 salad plates and sprinkle with some of remaining cheese and parsley. Serve warm. Makes 6 servings.
I don't know the size of the ramekins I have but I'm guessing they are larger than ½ cup as when I made my test batch, the recipe filled only four of them. When I made my six cup batch, I increased the filling by two eggs and ½ cup of half-and-half. I wouldn't have used half-and-half save for the fact that there was no heavy cream when I went to the store to resupply. It didn't seem to make a difference and I suppose there was a slight calorie savings.
My test run was with shiitakes only and I can say that the mixture of mushrooms is better. As delicious as shiitakes are, they tend to overwhelm the delicate flavor of the flan. Being a fun guy, I'd easily use half again as much mushroom in the recipe. But that's the nice thing about cooking, experiment to find what's best for you. Also, I didn't bother with the parsley. Next time I'll get the greenery in there. I'd also suggest that, should you try these cheat just a wee bit heavy on the salt and a good whack of good ground pepper will do you well.

Bottom line: These are quite the tasty little critters and not at all difficult to make. Mangia!
Should Blogs Have Sponsors?
To even pose this question reaffirms how mainstream blogging has become. What started off for many bloggers as a hobby they could regard as a public service or a cheap form of therapy has become a potential money generator. What started off as a platform for many anti-establishment, noncommercial types, is now an open invitation to corporate America to prominently display its logo.

Should we criticize our fellow bloggers if they accept a corporate umbrella? I say no because most still don't make any money. Even the ones who do should not be taken to task as a discerning eye can still tell the difference between a corporate shill and someone who is blogging for the fun of it.

A better question might be whether or not Pugs of War should have a sponsor. Would this corrupt our lovable BlogDog? Would he become a less than perfect dinner guest? I shudder to think of that possibility. Though I am pretty certain he wouldn't change in the least and he would remain someone who is delight to have over, especially if you get him rolling like they did this past Thanksgiving. Nobody, but nobody is better at running commentary while the TV is turned on than the BlogDog. I agree with the Enigmatic Misanthrope that a cooking show on the Food Network would work as a "dark" comedy. He ought to try out next time they hold a talent search. Or hone his act on a public access TV channel until they come looking for him. I could also see the BlogDog simply becoming an I-Pod broadcaster and streaming his show to the devices that accept video. Nothing is beyond the realm of possibility for the BlogDog!
Son Of A ...
Here is a chart of the stock price of Apple Computer over the last three months. I considered buying some a while back but thought it was topping out around 50. Oh how wrong even the faithful can be! And so, naturally, I find it almost impossible to invest at the current price though I can't help but wonder what is driving the price. The video iPods? The iPod Nano that apparently been selling like electronic hotcakes? The looming move to Intel hardware?
And has all the upside been priced in already? I so want to buy some and yet so don't. The consistently brilliant Lycurgus wanted to buy back into Apple when it was 14 and that was before the stock split. That would have made my war profittering on Halliburton look like chump change.

Friday, November 25, 2005

My New Toy
Paul Reed Smith Santana SE. I'll take a better shot of it later - one with less background distraction. This guitar sounds better than I do picking at it. I know that sounds absurd but even with my untutored ear, I can hear how clean the tone is. The strings are fast, the neck is wide which allows my chubby fingers a bit of leeway.
I owe a debt of more than gratitude to the friends who connected me with this fantastic instrument. I must now live up to it. And I have the sneaking suspicion that a couple few years down the road, I'll be buying another PRS. I already have an eye on the Swamp Ash Special.
Once Again: James Lileks
If you are not reading the Bleat every day, why the hell not? Today's Bleat has one of the greatest Bleatcasts ever. The only thing that could have made it better was a cameo from Gnat. But you can't always get what you want. Hmm. That has kind of a ring to it. I may write a song....

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Double Up On That Happy Thanksgiving
I well recall those days Paul and I with families all around got together in Hilton Head. Our fathers were colleagues as far back as the Navy Language School in Boulder, CO so our intertwined histories go way back.
With may parents gone and Lycurgus enjoying the (relatively) warm weather of Florida, I am left to bind up new traditions. My good friends the Enigmatic Misanthropes have been so kind as to extend an invitation to me for the least few Thanksgivings and I feel blessed that they treat me like family. Once again this year they hosted me for an excellent meal and I brought fores and afters: ramekins of wild mushroom flan to start and a "Candy Apple" pie from my favorite pastry shop in the whole wide world to end. I think the flans - a first for me this year - turned out OK. One person didn't like mushrooms (Sorry Amy!) but everyone else was complementary. I'll post the recipe in a day or so.
God bless you all this holiday season. Or, if you are not of faith, may the universe turn your way in all your endeavors.
Happy Thanksgiving!
During the 80's and 90's the BlogDog and I spent a few Thanksgivings together on Hilton Head Island. They were fun times and usually included a dip in his Dad's beloved spa along with a huge meal cooked by either his Mom or mine. Lycurgus always drove up from Florida to make the day even better. I'm reminded of all this every Thanksgiving when I count my blessings and fondly recall those feasts.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Wondrous Times
In my last post complaining about cinema, I didn't get into something that, at least to me, seems increasingly striking these days. The art of technology is the movies has reached a level that is superb. Yet I know it will get better still. As evidence, I present the following coming attractions: Peter Jackson's King Kong and the new Chronicles of Narnia movie. The previews look spectacular. As Kevin Spacey's Lester Burnham said, "specTACular."
Both of these flicks have been done before. Everyone knows the several editions of the Kong Show and the Beeb did a version of "The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe" that was fairly awful. The lead girl had a hideous overbite and a lisp - "Oh Aflan!" And the effects were, well, Dr. Who when we expected original Star Wars. Now, we have a CGI giant gorilla that looks as real as ... it looks incredibly real. And all the fantasy C.S. Lewis wrote looks now gloriously real. It is open to question whether the movies will actually be good movies, but how lucky are we to live in an era when such fantasies can be made so (I'm going to use the word again) real.
A Quick Bite At Breakfast
I am a breakfast lover. I could eat traditional breakfast foods - eggs, sausage, biscuits, hash browns - at every meal in a day and be perfectly happy. In fact, I can concieve of nothing better than a couple of good biscuits and a couple of over-easy or muddled eggs for to break my fast. But yesterday I realized that I was neglecting the glutinous oat sector of the breakfast experience.
Being a good Scot (well, having a good splash of Scot in the blood), I made myself oatmeal for brekkies yesterday. I had frozen bluberries in the fridge and figured it might, just might be a good idea to combine them. Unnh - yeah. Delicious. Blueberry oatmeal. I suggest you have some soon. Tastes good and is good for you. Your colon will thank you. Not that you want to be thanked by your colon but it will do so nonetheless.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Coming Soon To A Theater Near You
Charlize Theron in Aeon Flux. I don't usually get into movies before they're released (though I am holding back my absolute lust for Kate Beckinsale in the new UnderWorld movie - any movie that costumes her in tight leather is on my "must see" list even if it's dreadful crap) but ads for AF are now on TV. I watched the online trailer a few weeks ago only to be struck by a few things. First, Charlize Theron looks drop-dead gorgeous in short black hair. She'd probably look amazing with a shaved head but the change from her usual mane of gold is pretty dramatic. And it's an action adventure flick with many guy things like explosions so I'm deciding beforehand that it's worth a visit to the local ManyPlex The8er.
But I am still left with a problem. The killer chick problem. From some of the action sequences I've seen, we have the real world difficulty of the character standing in one place firing an automatic weapon as she turns, shooting guards off a wall. Excuse me? Do we always have to have every minion of the bad guys be so utterly incompetent that they can't shoot a more-or-less stationary target that is mowing them down? This movie idiocy is applied to male characters sometimes but ever since Xena aired, we have the phenomenon of the woman "warrior" who is never defeated in a physical fight. Oh bullflop. I don't care if it is fantasy.
It takes but a little more imagination to put these killer chicks in positions where they can effect all the killing, all the ass-kicking they need but still retain some semblance of logic. Like, firing from cover instead of a stationary, exposed spot. If the evil minions are incompetent weeds, it considerably reduces the menace of the bad guys. Let's face it: the storm troopers in "Star Wars" are a bunch of idiots. They have to gather in overwhelming numbers before they are a threat while a Darth Vader needs no one else around to be massively threatening.

I don't object to killer chicks in the flicks. I dig the action babes (OK, more Renee O'Connor than Lucy Lawless) but for the sake of good movie-making, please spare me from the woman who can beat up on every man that attacks her. It's nonsense. So, am I going to see "Aeon Flux?" Damn skippy.
Pugs of War Is Worth $2,258.16!
I have always considered this a valuable forum and now someone has developed a formula to determine exactly how much. Go here if you want to see for yourself. It seems to me that PoW is extremely undervalued in comparison to these members of the Blogosphere:

Instapundit is worth $3,893,632.38
VodkaPundit is worth $684,787.02
Lileks is worth $625,510.32
Bill Whittle is worth $585,427,98
Grouchy Old Cripple is worth $236,524.36

A tip of the cap to our pal Walt Mossberg for pointing me to one of his favorite bloggers Dan Gilmour.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

New Baby
Paul Reed Smith Santana SE in black - it's a beautiful addition to the family. Pictures soon.
ADDENDUM: The gig bag that came with the guitar is a thing of beauty in and of itself. It has a single hand handle on the front, a single hand handle on the side and backpack straps on the back. This is design by Guiness scientists: BRILLIANT!

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Fargin' Leno
I saw last night that the "Tonight Show" finally got around to making the "Evian flu" joke I made several days ago.
I should be getting paid for this.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Armerdingblogging? I think I'll stick with Jakeblogging. This is another Jake week - Friday at The Lyceum in Alexandria, "An Evening with Four Fabulous Fiddlers." I'm sure they're all talented but that name could not be more fey. I know, I know - alliteration ... but still. Sheesh.
Music And More Music
I realize that I'm behind the times in getting my monthly CD buys up so I'm throwing up a post about the discs and a bit more (throwing up -that sounds about right -Ed.). Shut up, Ed.
All Jethro Tull this time around: "Aqualung" and "Songs From The Wood." Blasts from the past to be sure but two very different and excellent albums from my musical nascence with "Aqualung" being one of the seminal ablums of the 1970s. I already have "Thick As A Brick" which I consider a masterpiece. I imagine that I'll get more Tull later but for now, this will do.

The "more" part of the music is that I'm going to get aguitar and learn to play. I tried my hand at it as yute but wasn't willing to put the time and effort into it. I am now. I understand the needs of practicepracticepractice much better than I did all those years ago even though I know of no old dog who teaches himself new tricks. I'm thinking of this though what will happen is that I go to the store with a gitbox-playing friend who'll find the right one for me. I'll post a pic when I get it. Wish me luck and dilligence.
UPDATE: Saturday. I'll be going to a store in Annapolis, MD to get the guitar, amp and a small pile of other things appurtenant thereto.
New Project
I'm working on Christmas decorations made from currency. I have a decor for the front door made from $100 bills: A wreath of Franklins.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

IBM To Employees: Blog Away!
I wouldn't have thought this would ever come to pass after having seen current and former IBM employees up close and personal for many years. Though it obviously proves I have been mistaken and IBM does indeed get it. They have come to the conclusion that blogging may help them promote themselves in a positive light and enhance their employees ability to get things done at the same time. I applaud their belated recognition of what has been obvious to bloggers since the election of 2004, and wish them well.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Talking To Myself Again
Well my last attempt at a meme question fell into a vast yawning chasm. But I'll dive back into that vast chasm again. And the question is (skirl of bagpipes, flourish of trumpets) how many different languages do you have on your iPod or other PMD? I don't mean podcasts or audiobooks, but in the songs themselves.
My answer: English (duh), Spanish, Polish, Hawaiian, Romanian, Greek and Japanese. I'll name the non-English songs if anyone's interested and I may even troll through the iTunes library to see if I've missed a tongue.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Power Line Gets It
Now this is a Pug of War!
Semper Fi you ol' smushface.
More Posts Soon
I have been feeling the slow-departing residuals of last Sautrday's food poisoning all this week which has left me disinclined to post new blitherings but I am in the process of cobbling up a look at the disgraceful Mary Mapes's so-called "journalism" for which, believe it or not, I've stumbled upon a radical new cultural referent. Hint: It's not Plan 8 jornalism, nor is it Plan 10 journalism....

But in the interim, here a link to Bathsheba Grossman's most remarkable sculpture. It puts me in mind of an old friend, no longer with us, who worked at the National Bureau of Standards in what precise capacity I know not but I always think of him as a physicist. Upon his retirement, he was finally able to do what he really wanted to do: become an artist. His sculpture had a sort of scientific bent - it was in metal (he even built his own forge to cast his work, or maybe that's kiln instead of forge, whichever) and it was wonderful. One of my favorite pieces was simply two objects mounted side-by-side on a board: a needle-point projectile nosecone that had been cut at the Bureau and a chunk of some raw metal ore that was rough yet beautifully angled with the crystalline structure of the metal. The juxtapostion was ... in a word - art. He was always delighted that he knew the precise equartion for the curve that was lathed out of the solid metal to produce the nosecone.
He also had a little (maybe 9 inch tall) sculpture of a dragon carrying a lance in its mouth. In his world, the knight was not the winner. He was a wonderful, wonderful person and one of those friends I miss regularly. I'm sure you have them too.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Beisbol Been Berry Berry Good To Someone
Headline in today's sports page: "Angels' Colon Easily Wins AL Cy Young."
Funny, the pitching award is usually won by an arm, not some other body part.
File: Life's Little Annoyances
I just bought sox. Six pair of Champion brand, crew-type, Coolmax-infused sox. For $12. At Costco. I now get to throw out at least four pair of sox that have been in, to use a radio industry term, heavy rotation. Four pair that I should have canned about a month ago.
Why is this so annoying? I want a world where there are magic sox that once you start using never wear out and you don't ever have to go into a store and stand in the aisle looking at an array of choices wondering, this is pretty much the kind I like but will these fit right? It's not a fit subject for human brooding! A mind is a terrible thing to waste on contemplating sox. This sparking, wet wad of protein, lipids, blood and all the sundry chemicals that make us capable of picking up a morning newspaper, let alone reading and comprehending it, should be writing songs, designing ever more crafty iPods, re-engineering nuclear containment devices to make nuclear fusion power available to all. Not contemplating which sox to buy!

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Meme Question
What was your first portable music player (by which I mean something like a record player that's designed to fold up and be carried from place to place)? Your first personal portable music player? When did you get it? How many music-carrying items (i.e. things that hold recorded sound) did you carry when you first got your personal portable music player?
And to answer those for myself: I had a portable reel-to reel tape player when I was young - maybe in the late mid-1960s. I remember tape recording an episode of "Get Smart" on it.
My first personal personal portable music player was Sony Walkman cassette player which I bought in Japan in 1980. I didn't carry any more than the one cassette I chose to put in the player itself.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Memo To United Nations: Hands Off The Internet!

Today's Wall Street Journal has an opinion piece about the attempts being made by a faction at the U.N. to take control of the Internet from ICANN. For those who don't know, this non-profit group supervises the governance of the Internet. The aforementioned U.N. group attempting this power grab includes such stalwarts of freedom as Cuba, China, Iran, and Saudi Arabia.

You'll have to buy the paper or visit your local library as The Wall Street Journal charges for content, so there's no link. I am far to worked up about this threat to our freedom to type it all in for you.

In sum, the U.S backed ICANN has done a fine job to date managing domain names and the growth of the Internet. Just look at how the present management structure has enhanced competition, freedom of expression, and access to information. It is hard to imagine that Cuba and China would have the same sense of urgency to preserve these principles. They have done nothing in the past 50 years to prove otherwise and are simply looking at the U.N. as a means to perpetuate their control at home.

Our response to this threat should be understood by all who read this: If we allow the U.N. to expand it's portfolio, the stability and reliability of the Internet will be threatened. This is a matter of National Security and part of the foundation for the United States' current preeminence in world affairs and our prosperity at home. In my humble opinion, it is without a doubt part of our responsibility to future generations, in the words of The WSJ, to "safeguard the full potential of the new information society that the Internet has brought into being." We can not allow the Internet to become an instrument of censorship and political supression. Who can say with a clear conscience that Cuba, China, Iran, and Saudi Arabia would do so well in safeguarding these freedoms that we have long held to be self-evident?

UPDATE: Stepping on the toes of Paul's post, I provide a link to the WSJ article with a hat tip to Wizbang.
Recovering, Thank You
Thanks to those who commented on my previous post. I am getting better. It just takes a little longer being more greatly agéd than I was when last afflicted. I have the very strong suspicion that the culprit was Bob Evans Sage Suasage purchased at my local Safeway. It was not the first serving out of the tube and i'm pretty confident that I handled it properly so there must have been something ugly lurking deep in the tube of ground, spiced hogflesh.
I ate only a couple of Pillsbury biscuits, from the freezer, two eggs and the sausages. So it could have been the eggs. It definitely wasn't the biscuits as I had two of them today (all I could face - they are feather-light and easier to make than anything else I had in the house).
I will contact the Bob Evans company with the relevant details though I doubt it's a major problem - most likely an abberation. And my suffering, while intense for a day, was not life-threatening. I tend to carry fluid too much as it is so I was in no danger of dehydration. And I had little of what I consider to be one of the worst aspects of food poisoning - the dry heaves. I actually have very strong abdominal muscles and when they knot down over an empty stomach it is most remarkably painful.
I will spare you any further grue. But since the XMBD mentioned "Cape May," let me just say that the single most intense episode of this affliction hit me after a seafood dinner at what I considered a very good restaurant on Cape May. There was a period I would have welcomed death that night.
On the bright side: I have lost weight. And my love of sage sausage has been considerably curtailed.

In my life I have had food poisoning five times. Has it ever happened to you? Leave a comment. Share.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Excuses, Excuses
Posting will be light to non-existent for the next few days as I recover from a bout of food poisoning. The worst is over but I'm as wrung out as a damp washrag.

Friday, November 04, 2005

I Channel Mitch Hedberg
My doctor told me he needed to draw some blood.
I told him he'd need a red crayon.
According To The News
The new hot, happening dog to have is the Puggle, across between a Pug and a beagle. Strange idea but they are cute. Scroll down to Molly at the link above and check it out. A very Puggy face but without the achy brachycephalism. That means they have a snout. And don't have a rope (the skin fold over the nose).
Actually, if you go back several decades, let's say four or five human generations and you find pug dogs that have snouts. Tell you what, I'll scan in a picture I have of my grandfather as a young boy with his pug dog. The breed characteristcs at that time might surprise you.
Punkin Seeds
One of the joys of Halloween afters for me is them there toasted punkin seeds. Oh yummy delightfulness! After I extract them from the webbing of pumpkin guts (as gross a job as could be wished short of dealing with putrefying animal parts) and let them dry, I sprinkle them with dilute soy sauce and let them dry again. Then a splash of extra-virgin olive oil and into the toaster oven at 250º for as long as it takes them to rattle in the tray and it's chomp chomp chomp.
Achewood Relects Real Life
I am an avid, yeah unto rabid, fan of Achewood. I now read the blogs of the Achewood characters with a mixture of split sides and awe at the imagination of Chris Onstad. However, it was upon reading the Halloween doings of Pat Reynolds that I realized why it was all so real: I think that's exactly what my friend the Enigmatic Misanthrope did for Halloween a few years back. Except for the Garden Weasel. He used a sharpened hoe.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Millstone Columbian Supremo
Very good. I'd say excellent but it is actually too dark for my taste. I even changed the setting on my coffeemaker from "strong" to "regular" and it's just a little more intense than I care to drink on a regular basis, even with a healthy shot of 1% milch. I could see drinking a cup of this after dinner. So I'll move on to the Eight O'Clock and report on that shortly.
There's A Pug In There
Dogs of War - a video. It made me laugh. (Hat tip to Lycurgus.)
That New Flu
I don't know what you're going to do about it but I'm definitely going to stop drinking Evian!
Evian flu - I will blame the French.
I Googled up the word "debacular" and got 72 hits. I'm glad in a way that the word already exists but bothered by the fact that I wasn't able to claim credit for creating such a useful word. Still, I will make it a point to use the word constantly so that it enters mainstream usage and subsequent online searches will pull up hundreds upon hundreds of hits.
And if it wasn't clear from the word itself, just as a spectacle is spectacular, a debacle is debacular. Adjectival forms. Learn them. Love them.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Item The First: Fargin' political campaigns. The GCoV is having its elections a week from today and the airwaves are just laden with the sludge of the candidates. I've had my choices selected for at least the last month and I am still subjected not only to the broadcast ads which are now entirely negative (and just stupidly negative at this point) but also to the "survey" calls and the "get out the vote" calls. Shut up. Shut up! SHUT UP! At this point the more I hear, and especially the more my phone rings, the more annoyed I will get. Please Jeebus make this week pass quickly.
Item The Second: Life in a townhouse. It's not living in a townhouse that's the problem. Today's rant is all about one particular thing - door-to-door advertising. I can stop my mail delivery. I can stop my newspaper delivery. But if I got away for awhile, these ...(I don't want to swear, I don't want to swear)... will keep putting things on my door until they are physically removed. Great sign for a burgular, don't you think? I'd really like to see someone sue the advertisers when he or she returns from a vacation and all the valuables are gone.

OK. Rant over. Not much of a rant. I don't want to really rave out because I don't like to use the words I want to use in public.
Which reminds me of an old story. An American Indian is telling some of his European-extracted bretheren about how his language simply doesn't contain cuss words. When asked, "What do you do if you, say, hit your thumb with a hammer?" he replied, "Speak English."
Baseball Pervades American Life
Prosecutor Partick Fitzgerald resorts to a modern American trope:
I know baseball analogies are the fad these days. Let me try something.

If you saw a baseball game and you saw a pitcher wind up and throw a fastball and hit a batter right smack in the head, and it really, really hurt them, you'd want to know why the pitcher did that. And you'd wonder whether or not the person just reared back and decided, "I've got bad blood with this batter. He hit two home runs off me. I'm just going to hit him in the head as hard as I can."

You also might wonder whether or not the pitcher just let go of the ball or his foot slipped, and he had no idea to throw the ball anywhere near the batter's head. And there's lots of shades of gray in between.

You might learn that you wanted to hit the batter in the back and it hit him in the head because he moved. You might want to throw it under his chin, but it ended up hitting him on the head.

And what you'd want to do is have as much information as you could. You'd want to know: What happened in the dugout? Was this guy complaining about the person he threw at? Did he talk to anyone else? What was he thinking? How does he react? All those things you'd want to know.

And then you'd make a decision as to whether this person should be banned from baseball, whether they should be suspended, whether you should do nothing at all and just say, "Hey, the person threw a bad pitch. Get over it."

Which leads me to a question: Was he indicting Lewis "Scooter" Libby or Phil "Scooter" Rizzuto?