Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Twenty Seconds Of Ad Hate
Dear no cost credit report people, I've heard your (expletive) songs about selling seafood and driving a crappy car too many (expletive) times. Shut up. Shut up. Shut up. Shut the expletive up!
And note - I will never, never ever use your service since you have worn down my LAST nerve with those gotdam ads!

Monday, January 28, 2008

New On The Blogroll
M.J. Perry's "Carpe Diem" blog. Excellent economics. The site comes to me courtesy of Lycurgus whose recommendations seem to pan out pretty well. Read. Learn. I would be an autodidact if I worked a little harder at it.
A particular case in point, with all the yammering about the subprime lending "crisis" (it's not a crisis - it's a problem certainly but given it's fractional percentage of the market, it is not a crisis), and all the massive writedowns that financial institutions have taken, would you imagine that every major U.S. bank was profitable last year. The press is lying to you. That's the beauty of the blogosphere.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Vote For My Lolcat
OK. It's not a cat. It's a frog. Show me the love - go vote it up. Tell your friends. Force them to vote it up. I don't ask for much. Pretend I'm Dr. Evil and throw me a frickin' bone here.
Sunday Music With Added Snark
I love Apple, I love the iPod, I really like Feist's song "1234" which apple used in the iPod Nano campaign. But that doesn't mean I don't like the bit Mad TV did with the lovely Nicole Parker in place of Feist. I hope you get a snicker out of it as well.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

No posts until the Sunday music embed. I've got a lot on my slate and dealing with it is taking the gumption I would otherwise put into the biting wit and deep thoughts of blog posting. And the sarcasm. Did I mention the sarcasm?
A couple of notes until I return: I talked with a (and I'm not being sarcastic here) very nice customer service rep at Verizon to inquire about their FIOS service which is available in my 'hood. As it turns out, I can actually save a few (not many but a few) dollars with the special offers and bundled service that they offer in FIOS. That would be faster internet, better television signal and all the same phone features. 15 days to cancel should I decide I don't like it. A two-year price lock in. Free installation and one extra special discount which is what brings my cost down to just below what I'm paying now. Deal. (ptew! shake)
Newspaper. I'm going to try the Washington Times electronic version instead of home delivery of the paper. It's cheaper. I don't have to toddle out in the cold or heat to collect it. I won't have to deal with the read paper (bundling and recycling that is). As long as I can print out the X-word puzzle (and sometimes the sudoku), I think it'll work much better for me. I'm just so ecologically conscious! Oh look - sarcasm's back.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

It's not whether you win or lose, it's how you lay the blame.
Fred's Out
Damn. Just Damn. There's not a real conservative left in the race. This is the first time someone I've wanted to vote for was not the candidate and it leaves me pissed off at the GOP. Well, I can support Mitt Romney even if he's not my first choice.
The GOP really, I mean really needs a new Reaganite revolution.
Incoming Netflixery
I've had "Ratatouille" at the top of my queue since it was released. That must be one hella popular flick because it's only today that the Great Computer of Netflix has deigned to send it out to me. I'm looking forward to it.
Resolutions Continuing
I now weigh on both the counterbalance scale and the flat scale every three days. They diverge by roughly (today exactly) five pounds with the flat scale being five to the good. I started charting the lighter weight even though I was recording both the weights in my Day-Timer™. This is not exactly being self honest so I added new columns and am charting both.
My guess is that as I back down from the tropospheric weights the two measures will converge to a point where the flat scale will register within a pound, roughly, of the counterbalance scale. At that point, I may sell the counterbalance scale and just keep the smaller, more easily stored scale. But that day's a long way away.
The good news is that on the counterbalance I am half a pound away from my monthly goal already. If I could knock off half again as much by month's end, I'd be pleased. It could be considered a jump on next (short) month but I'm going to try for my monthly goal whatever the loss in the prior month was.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

One Make That Two Random Thoughts Captured
I was thinking about the allegations that famous baseball players had performance-enhancing drugs injected into their gluteal muscles. Wouldn't that make what was injected asteroids?
UPDATE: Wouldn't breast reduction surgery be an ex-pec-tation?
Just Linkage
Here is a page of pics that scream for lolcatting. There are cats and pugs and hedgehogs and birds and cows and monkeys and .... I think there's even a pangolin. Take a look and tell me that you don't have at least two dozen captions running through your mind. There's a big load of cute over there.
Sunday Music Embed
Brought to you from those halcyon days of 1981, Aussie Two-Hit Wonder Billy Field with one of those two: "Bad Habits." I heard this on NHK radio when I was teaching in Japan and have loved the unusual singing voice, the horn charts and the wonderful lyrics. Strangely, I always thought of Bobby Short when I heard that voice. To see that the singer is a geeky white guy is a little disconcerting. But the song's still great. Enjoy.

OK, This Made Me Laugh
After Mr. and Mrs. Fenton retired, Mrs. Fenton insisted her husband accompany her on her trips to Wal-Mart. Unfortunately, Mr. Fenton was like most men - he found shopping boring and preferred to get in and get out. Equally unfortunately, Mrs. Fenton was like most women, and loved to browse. One day Mrs. Fenton received the following letter from her local Wal-Mart.

Dear Mrs. Fenton,
Over the past six months, your husband has been causing quite a commotion in our store. We cannot tolerate this behavior and may be forced to ban both of you from the store. Our complaints against Mr. Fenton are listed below and are documented by our video surveillance cameras.
1. June 15: Took 24 boxes of condoms and randomly put them in people's carts when they weren't looking.
2 . July 2: Set all the alarm clocks in Housewares to go off at 5-minute intervals.
3. July 7: Made a trail of tomato juice on the floor leading to the women's restroom.
4. July 19: Walked up to an employee and told her in an official voice, "Code 3 in Housewares. Get on it right away."
5. August 4: Went to the Service Desk and tried to put a bag of M&M's on layaway.
6. September 14: Moved a "CAUTION - WET FLOOR" sign to a carpeted area.
7. September 15: Set up a tent in the camping department and told other shoppers he'd invite them
in if they would bring pillows and blankets from the bedding department.
8. September 23: When a clerk asked if they could help him he began crying and screamed, "Why can't you people just leave me alone?"
9. October 4: Looked right into the security camera and used it as a mirror while he picked his nose.
10. November 10: While handling guns in the hunting department, he asked the clerk where the antidepressants were.
11. December 3: Darted around the store suspiciously while loudly humming the " Mission Impossible" theme.
12. December 6: In the auto department, he practiced his "Madonna look" by using different sizes of funnels.
13. December 18: Hid in a clothing rack and when people browsed through, yelled "PICK ME! PICK ME!"
14. December 21: When an announcement came over the loud speaker, he assumed a fetal position and screamed "OH NO! IT'S THOSE VOICES AGAIN !"

And last, but not least

15. December 23: Went into a fitting room, shut the door, waited awhile, then yelled very loudly, "Hey! There's no toilet paper in here!"


Saturday, January 19, 2008

Update On The Netflixery
I had the distinct displeasure of wacthing "Evan Almighty" last night. Oh my aching deity. What a horrible, horrible movie. It is the biggest steaming pile of beef by-product I have seen in years. I am simultaneously drawn toward deconstructing just how vilely awful it is and repulsed by even thinking about it. And I have to come down on the side of the latter. But please, please for the love of God Montresor! do not watch this crapfest.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Manned Cloud
Actually an airship. And just insanely beautiful.
A Whole Slew Of New From PRS
It's NAMM Guitar show time and the brilliant luthiers at Paul Reed Smith have brought forth a good dozen new models. Of course a lot of the "new" is working up existing models in new configurations and woods. F'rinstance, there is the SE Custom SemiHollow with "soapbar" pickups (please don't ask me to explain the nuances of different pickups - I have an idea of what's behind a pickup but can't tell you what effect the differences make). If I were adding to the collection, I'd probably get an SE Custom SH - the SE line is less expensive and as a light guitar to carry around, the Custom SH is a fine looking gitbox. I find the arc-shaped sound hole to be way cool.
On the other hand, I've never been much of a fan of the Bigsby vibrato tailpiece - big, clunky, heavy and not very pretty. But the PRS style trem will only work on a solid piece of wood making his hollowbodied guitars, up to now, trem-less. The new model is the SCJ Thinline which has a Bigsby. The name. I'm sure, comes from the Single Cut configuration with the J probably as a "jazz" designation - I could compeltely see George Benson playing one of these. And it has the Bigsby which, given that a PRS trem couldn't be mounted on it, is OK by me. In fact, I'd buy one of these were I pooping cash (only 300 are in production which will put a price premium on these like nobody's business!)
I won't go into agonizing detail on all of these beauties since my rhapsodizing would grow more than a little boring. Yet a couple of things are worth noting. First, there's a new style of birds fret-board inlay. Click on one of the PRS links above and select the Santana MD ("Multi Dimensional") from the list. It's a bit hard to see but the birds are outlines in gold. Looks gorgeous. Oh, and this represents the return of a Santana-named model to the non-SE lineup (note the rounded "belly" of the guitar's body, the midline inlay, the fairly symmetrical "horns" and the non-standard shape of the headstock).
Secondly (well, thirdly I guess), a korina wood model of the McCarty line. Damn fine looking in natural methinks. My understanding is that korina is a superior tonewood and is reasonably light as well. I'll be reading the "Birds and Moons" forum for tone reports on that one.
If you have a few minutes and appreciate guitarfleisch, click on one of the links above and look over the additions to the lineup. A thing of beauty is a yadda, yadda. Take a look, eh?

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Recent Netflixery
(singing) One of these is not like the other...
Evan Almighty and Resident Evil: Extinction.
Yet there is a bit of a common thread. Go figure.
Log it. 10:30am Chez BlogDog there is snow.
A grateful nation weeps in joy at the demise of glowball warmening.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

I Need A New Doormat
And Target sells it.
Wallace Stevens Never Wrote About A Green Guitar
And he never knew anything about a Paul Reed Smith. Trolling eBay i came upon this lovely piece of work: a 2007 513 in "Midori Green." That's in quotes because "midori" mean green so the color is called "green green." There are a couple of things about this beauty that stand out. First, I think the color is fantastic even though I've tended to favor figured maple tops over opaque finishes. Secondly, the 513 (five single-coil pickup grouped into a humbucking configurations at the neck and bridge locations and a single in between which yields 13 distinct tonal variations) is just an insanely versatile guitar. The lead guitarist on the "American Idol" band plays a 513 if you've watched and seen it. In fact, the particular version he plays is exactly the same as mine: Matteo blue flame maple finish with a Brazilian rosewood (AKA "crackwood") neck.
The listing I link to is one of the new models which has a mahogany neck which does change the sound somewhat - I'm told by my friend the Guitar Nazi who has an ear vastly superior to mine. But the mahogany-necked 513s are not quite as spendy as the crackwood versions so there's something to say for that. And some have even said they prefer the sound of the newer models.
I look at that Midori and get all gooey in the guitar love centers of my brain. And the BIN of $2,900 is really not bad. Also, there's a link embedded in the eBay listing to a uToob demonstration of the 513. It's worth following.
UPDATE: BY way of comparison, a Brazzy 513 is on the 'Bay for a bit shy of $5K. Since PRS is now only putting Brazilian rosewood necks on its Private Stock (i.e. custom-built) models, the price premium for crackwood is going to do nothing but go up. I'm glad I got mine fer sher, fer sher.
My Favorite Ad Lately
The IKEA 20% off sale ad where the woman shopper looks at her receipt, hurries out and yells to her husband to "Start the car! Start the car!" And the graphic "It's not a mistake." Very well played.
Aw Nuts
Having enthusiastically said I was going to get a ticket to see Mike Cross, I now have to re-think that. To go to the show would require about an hour and a half of driving and the forecast is for crappy weather - early snow followed by rain, sleet and freezing "west and north" of DC. Needless to say, my entire trip would be west and north of DC.
I'd just rather not tempt fate.

Monday, January 14, 2008

A Bit More Of Music
One of my favorite artists and, I'm proud to say, a friend, Mike Cross plays a song called "And the Band Played 'Waltzing Matilda'" by Australian folk artist Eric Bogle. Unfortunately Mike has never recorded it. It is a pretty strong anti-war statement based around the horror that the Aussie troops went through at Battle of Gallipoli. I'm not particularly enamored of the message but the song is superb. It has enough emotional power to bring tears to my eyes. Unfortunately I don't think Eric Bogle's version (link goes to an mp3) is as good as Mike's. Yet Mike told me that he feels it's been recorded enough that he had no interest in doing so. Which is a pity.
I was casting about to add it to my iTunes but I don't care for the spare roughness of Bogle's voice. The Wikipedia page says that a version by The Pogues is well-known but my listening to a sample on Amazon is enough to tell me that Bogle's is better. All in all, Mike has a better voice, just dead-on perfect phrasing and superb guitar-playing. I do wish he'd reconsider recording it.
UPDATE: I figured I'd check Mike show calendar and he's playing in Sykeville, MD this Thursday! As close as he gets to my abode. I'll be calling for a ticket tomorrow.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

The Great Donald Fagen
Today's Sunday night music embed is the very weird viddy done for the song "Snowbound" from the unutterably fantastic "Kamakiriad."

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Resolutions, Part The Next
I bought myself a new scale. I have a very good counterbalance scale (like this, but without the height measure) but having more incentive is part of the trying to make things work. The one I bought at least in part due to the discount coupon but I was impressed that its capacity was sufficient for my needs which is unusual for a floor scale. And, quite frankly, it is one of the best looking scales I've seen in ... well, ever. It's a thick glass plate atop a strain gauge. It has a nice big LCD display which runs off three AAA batteries.
I'll be measuring myself on both scales as I work on reducing my bulk. I'll post a pic of it shortly.
Considering Obama
OK, so I vote for "change." It won't be but a couple of hours before the diaper's full again. And then what are you going to do?
This Is What I Use On My Morning Oatmeal
And it is goo-ood! (Get yours from the Ginger People.)

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Boomer Devolution
My frickin' generation has gone from the "hippy hippy shake" to the shaky, shaky hips.
Political Nomenclature
I'm going to start calling those who plan to vote for Hillary Clinton because she is a woman "she-ites."

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

It's awfully early but so far I'm doing all right. At least twice I've started to think about fast food and managed to resist the late night temptation. And I just set up an Excel spreadsheet to track weight loss. It's still finger's crossed but the trend is in ther right direction. It's also a good opportunity to muck around with Excel and teach myself some charting. Life is a learning experience.
Some time ago I bought Donald Fagen's "Morph The Cat" which is no surprise. I will buy anything Fagen records. But since buying it, I had listened to it only out of iTunes either on my computer or on my iPod. Today I had a major Fagen jones so I queued up the playlist and chewed through "The Nightfly" then "Kamakiriad" and onto "Morph." Wow oh wow! What I have been missing without the sub-woofer! I'm listening to "What I Do" and the rumble of the bass deep down under Fagen's voice and the chick chorus is just amazing. Damn! This is even better than I thought.
Blame Me For This
An environmental organization was looking into the diminishing habitat of a curious mammal called the "sand porpoise." After a long period of research, they found that a sub-species which was of a reduced size but of a fierce-feeding nature was actually adaptable to more habitats than previously thought possible. In fact, a shore habitat in which the porpoises had never lived turned out to be very well-suited for them. As the report said, "This habitat is not good for all of them but for small, intense sand porpoises, it's perfect."
A Fix To The Blogroll
I realized, after getting an e-mail from the delectable Stevie Rave On that I had neglected to update her Caught in the Xfire link on my blogroll. Whap! Consider me chastened.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Said Bogie to Ingrid
Here's looking at you, kid.
Since it appears that the members of the Screen Actors Guild are going to honor a fellow union's action with actors not appearing at the Golden Globes ceremony, does that make the picket line a writers' block?

Sunday, January 06, 2008

This Just Makes Me Laugh
Has since I first saw it.

I think I may make a Sunday night music embed a continuing feature this year.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Celebrity Politics
Has Heather Mills McCartney come out in favor of any candidates? I know she's a Brit but I'd like to know who she's stumping for.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

New On The Blogroll: Amy Alkon
Amy "The Advice Goddess" Alkon is newest on the blogroll. Insty has thrown up a couple of links to her recently and I find her writing to be actually laugh out loud funny, smart, sane and to the point. I don't imagine she suffers fools gladly so it's great to see her eviscerate them (wittily no less!) in print.
She's a syndicated columnist as well ... let me change that "as well" to "as is well deserved." I wish my WashTimes would carry her column but having online access to her output is a fair substitute. On top of all this, check out the photo she has on her blog. Rowr! That shot just rumbles with sophistication and sexiness. It doesn't hurt that she's a glorious redhead.
There's more: I've sent her a couple of e-mails (one saying how great her photo was and another calling her line "a Ph.D. in bombastic flatulence" Guinness-scientist brilliant) and she was gracious enough to respond to each. Which she absolutely didn't have to do. Not that she needs any PR from me but what a great lady. Couldn't be happier to have her on the blogroll.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

First Half-arsed Success Of The New Year
When it comes to telephones, I'm a headset wearer. Dyed-in-the-wool, any-other-hyphenated-phrase dedicated headset guy. I no longer want to hold a phone to my face than spit on the sidewalk. By which I mean that I will do it but I don't like it. This presents no problems when it comes to my cell phone - it has speaker function though I much prefer to use the Bluetooth headset (gad I love Bluetooth!) Even with my computer when I'm Skypeing, I use a Bluetooth headset.
But my desk phone has been a thorn in my side for months. I started by using a good-old cordless phone. But that meant plugging a wired headset into the phone and then leaving the handset lying on the desk as I yakked. Not a bad solution but when the headset flaked out on me, I thought it time to cut the cord. So I got a cordless headset. One of these. It was on sale from the bargain-wranglers at But that meant I had to figure out a phone to run the headset base unit. I wanted Caller ID and a phone that wouldn't take a slot on my desk UPS with a power brick. So I found an inexpensive GE phone at Circuit City and set it all up only to find that the headset didn't work with it. (sigh) So I've been talking, at my desk, on a simple, traditional handset for months. It's a new year and i got fed up with not rocking my desk set the way I wanted it to be. So I used Amazon to get myself a nice, new Panasonic, battery-powered (rechargeable of course!), cheap but good phone. It is now nearly completely set up and I'm happy to say that the headset puts foot to booty in a serious way. Cordless, comfy. I can be on the phone and answer nature's call at the same time. Talk about your call waiting!
Tomorrow I figure out how to set up the automatic handset lifter so I can answer the phone remotely from the headset itself. Technology is wonderful and liberating. These are great times in which to live. Seriously.
On the other hand.... In ordering the phone from Amazon, I figured I'd get a few more of the excellent Sony rechargeable AA batteries to fill out the order for free shipping. D'oh! So how did I get AAA batteries? By not paying sufficient attention. Not only that, the AA recharger doesn't fit the AAA batteries. Unh, I mean, vice versa. But I have a few things that use AAA batteries so I'm going to get a charger for the AAAs and a deck of the AAs from my local Staples using my credit card point dollars. Ha.
Alert! Alert! Alert!
Bill Whittle of Eject! Eject! Eject! has a new essay posted. You are thus required to go there now and read it. Not reading what Bill Whittle writes is not acceptable.
That is all.
Recent Netflixery
I watched "The Simpsons Movie" a couple of days ago. I used to like "The Simpsons." Not any more. I just can't believe it took them a movie to jump the shark. Oh well. Sic transit gloria mundi.
Why? Remarkably boring. Please don't ask me to watch it again so that I can deconstruct it properly! It doesn't deserve it.
Also watch the final pirates movie. Many swashes were buckled and they did a good job of making Kiera Knightly attractive even the girl needs to make face love to a few sandwiches. This one I'll watch again.