Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Stop The Invaders On The Beaches
I believe that we need to close our immense borders with both Canada and Mexico in order to protect us against potential terrorists. Kim Du Toit says it even better and with more passion:

"Here's a quick tip from a student of military history.

If you want to stop an invasion, you stop the invaders on the beaches.

You do NOT hold your troops back in a strategic reserve, waiting for divine intervention to help save you. And you most certainly do not let the foreigners invade, and then negotiate with them later (which is GWB’s fucking awful plan).

A cursory study of the events of June 1944 in Occupied France will prove the point."

The German General Irwin Rommel understood this well but could not convince Hitler of the merits of his argument. Thank goodness or we might have been repelled at Normandy on D-Day.

****On 1 April 2005 I corrected the error regarding General Rommel. He was a German and not a Nazi, a distinction that makes a world of difference to his reputation. ***
I have wanted to blog about Cuba for a long time. I want to go there oneday, as does my wife. She was "conceived" in Cuba though was born in Miami. Her parents left Cuba with only their suitcases and haven't been back since. Her father spent time in one of Castro's jails for suggesting that things were not going very well. You see, I am torn and have been waiting for a calm moment to blog about this country 90 miles south of Florida. Anyhow, Varifrank neatly described how I feel about the issue:

Once upon a time, a friend and I were debating the relative merits of Cuban Socialism. He said to me “ Well, at least these people who you call “oppressed” have the best health care in the Western Hemisphere, that’s something not even you have in this country”.

To which I shockingly responded, “ You know the folks in Attica State Prison get free health care, but I don’t see anyone crawling over the wire and past the guard towers to get in to get it, do you?”

And that pretty much sums up how I think of Socialist Dictatorships. No matter how swell a uniform the dictator wears, he’s really nothing more than a Southern Work Camp Warden. I look at them with the same disdain that Paul Newman did to “the captain” in Cool Hand Luke.

Thanks for saying what I felt but couldn't put into words.
Baseball Season Starts This Sunday Night
It will be the Yankees and the Red Sox in prime time. I'll grab a seat on the couch in front of the TV and I'll forget all the steroid talk and won't even bother to comment on how svelte the players look. No need to connect the dots as that would take away from my enjoyment of the game. I won't watch the entire game as it will be going on well past my bedtime. Instead, I will revel in the excitement of that moment when the Yankees take the field. At that moment if you listen very carefully and the TV network does not go to a commercial you will hear the traditional chanting of the Yankees names by the folks in the bleachers. I don't know how it all started but it is fun to watch the players one by one turn and salute the people in the cheap seats after they chant out their names. The players will usually tip their caps and give them a big smile. It doesn't sound like much but in what other sport do the participants show their respect for the spectators? I guess a football player who jumps into the stands after scoring a touchdown might be a close second though I still prefer the more gentlemanly tip of the cap.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Tuning Out
I will be tuned out of blogging for the next week. I am not feeling well. Paul will be responsible for content for the time being. I look forward to a return to posting sometime next week.

Friday, March 25, 2005

Don't Have to Watch Basketball Anymore
Duke takes it on the chin from Michigan State. Too bad.
A Non-Schiavo Schiavo Post
I've shied from posting about the coming death of Ms. Schindler. Let me just say that I prefer to think of her as "Ms. Schindler" since to credit that she is still the wife of the odious Mr. Schiavo is repugnant. His eagerness to kill her is unseemly to say the least and suspicious to say the most. But that's not the point of this.
Much has been made of the politics surrounding the Congressional intervention in the case. Speaking as a libertarian Republican, I don't really like the intrusion of the massive apparatus of government into the case of a single person. But speaking as a human being, I appreciate that efforts are being made to spare a human life. I am horrified at the removal of the feeding tube and hydration. I don't find it credible that starving and dehydrating to death is the 'pleasant' and 'euphoric' experience some are claiming it to be. If it's such an easy death, then I propose we adopt starvation and water deprivation for death row inmates. Wouldn't want them to suffer after all, would we?
Let us be honest about one thing: what has been done to Ms. Schindler is as certain a death sentence as any passed in any capital case ever tried. Since she is condemned to death, I think humanity demands that we make it as easy on her as possible. Why not, then, just give her a lethal injection? There is no appreciable difference between that and what the courts have done. Actually, since the death sentence seems now to be a fait accompli, at least she should be given some pain relief. I hope.

All that being said, the great Peggy Noonan asks:
I do not understand the emotionalism of the pull-the-tube people. What is driving their engagement? Is it because they are compassionate, and their hearts bleed at the thought that Mrs. Schiavo suffers? But throughout this case no one has testified that she is in persistent pain, as those with terminal cancer are.

If they care so much about her pain, why are they unconcerned at the suffering caused her by the denial of food and water? And why do those who argue for Mrs. Schiavo's death employ language and imagery that is so violent and aggressive? The chairman of the Democratic National Committee calls Republicans "brain dead." Michael Schiavo, the husband, calls House Majority Leader Tom DeLay "a slithering snake."

Everyone who has written in defense of Mrs. Schiavo's right to live has received e-mail blasts full of attacks that appear to have been dictated by the unstable and typed by the unhinged. On Democratic Underground they crowed about having "kicked the sh-- out of the fascists." On Tuesday James Carville's face was swept with a sneer so convulsive you could see his gums as he damned the Republicans trying to help Mrs. Schiavo. It would have seemed demonic if he weren't a buffoon.

Why are they so committed to this woman's death?

They seem to have fallen half in love with death.

What does Terri Schiavo's life symbolize to them? What does the idea that she might continue to live suggest to them?

Why does this prospect so unnerve them? Again, if you think Terri Schiavo is a precious human gift of God, your passion is explicable. The passion of the pull-the-tube people is not.
I propose that there is an answer to this and it lies in the politics, not the love of death. Let me posit, since the Republicans, President Bush and the "religious right" have all been taken to task for their "interference," that those who seem to be seeking Ms. Schindler's death are of the left. And by this, I don't mean to say that if you're a Democrat or any other stripe of leftist that you are seeking her death. I am merely generalizing that the "right" seeks to continue her earthly existence and the "left" seeks to end her earthly existence. Which begs the question Ms. Noonan asks: Why?

The simple answer is that the left is not really seeking to end Terri's life. It is, however, so utterly invested in the power of the courts over the legislature or executive branch that they must go to the utmost to support the decsions of a court, any court in the face of the legislature proving that the judiciary is not above Congressional review. And in those politics lies the death of Terri Schindler Schiavo.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

PoW Salutes
Small Dog Electronics - purveyors of fine Mac-oriented wares and inexpensive tech for all. Click the link and mouse over the "Play" option and you'll be greeted by an adorable, pink-tongued pug pup. Awww!

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Technoid Blitherings
The situation is this: My iMac is wirelessly connected to the IntraWebThing (WiFi), wireless connected to both keyboard and mouse (Bluetooth) and wirelessly connected to the printer (WiFi). The only two things physically plugged into the box are the power cord and the iPod dock. So, what now? I will now wait for Apple to make a Bluetooth iPod dock. (How will it recharge then? -Ed.) What?! Oh damn. All right. Never mind. No! Wait! I could plug the Bluetooth dock into land power off desk! Ha! I figured it out.
I'm Jealous
"Roger L. Simon: Mystery Novelist and Screenwriter" has the best blogroll ever. It's all little graphic banners for the sites. As a Guiness scientist might say, "Brilliant!"

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Is It Just Me
Or is Jessica Alba looking more and more like Angelina Jolie? (Link is to the trailer page for the new "Fantastic Four" movie.)
We Don't Do Catblogging
We are, after all, Pugs of War. However evidence of feline perfidy is always worth reporting.
But we have nothing against cats. We are Pugs of War - we want everyone to like us save our sworn enemies the ... ok, so I can't think of any right now but as soon as we identify them there will be a chorus of effing and ebbying (Pugs vocalizations are peculiar - "eff" and "ebby" are words that seem to fit the "barking" mode. -Ed.) to beat the band!
Fun Stuff
For a change. The folks over at have a pretty cute item up for sale today: a joystick for a mere $13 including shipping. I am not a gamer but I have a few on my pooter ("Marble Blast" and "Nanosaur" that came preinstalled to be precise). I don't play them because I dislike using mouse and keyboard controls. But if a joystick only costs $13, it might be worth it. Less than I've been dropping on eBay lately.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Sometimes There's a Reason for a Mood
Not five pages into my morning noisepaper read, I stumble upon this in the Washington Times:
ACLU To Keep Tabs on Protest
By Jerry Seper

The American Civil Liberties Union has warned the 950 volunteers expected to take part next month in an Arizona border vigil against illegal immigration that it is assigning monitors to ensure none of the aliens are abused.
Not even a paragraph in and I'm screaming obscenities into my cuppa joe. After that first graf there is a pile of warm, steaming ... information about how concerned the Mexicans are about the Minuteman volunteers. The Mexicans, it seems are very concerned about human rights in a country their government has gone to great trouble to undermine. If our southern neighbors had ever evidenced much care and concern for human rights in their own country, it might be easierr to accept. But of course they care not one drop of spit in the ocean about humsn rights in Mexico. Their concern is that their countrymen are left unimpeded in their efforts to cross the border illegally and enter the US. If the pipeline into the US were cranked shut, they might have to deal with their corrupt, failing economy themselves instead of exporting their problems and getting more hard currency passed back over the border without having to do something for it.
That being said, I don't reserve my greatest contempt for the Mexicans. After all, they're doing what people have always done - going where the food is, metaphorically speaking. On the other hand, I think it's now time for the Amercan Civil Liberties Union to strike the word "American" from its name.
This organization has come to the conclusion that its role in the body politic is to "train(...) legal observers to follow and document the activities of the Minuteman volunteers." So let's look at this with a grain of truth thrown into the mix: The ACLU is going to monitor American citizens who are setting out to uphold American law and protect our nation's border so that that they are can protect the rights of non-citizens who are performing an illegal act to get across the border. This is no longer an American organization.
If they want to change their name to the Immigrant Civil Liberties Union at least they will be honest. For a change. And just for a final taste of how this organization feels about the nation whose name they bastardize in their own, here is ACLU spokesman Ray Ybarra, "Perhaps someday, we will live in a society where no human being will have to face death and hatred in pursuit of work that this country requires."
Perhaps someday we will all grow wings and ascend directly to heaven. Perhaps someday you will find enough brain cells to gather into a sparking clump and you will understand that "this country" does not "require" and never has "required" that its laws be broken so that non-citizens can seek economic betterment. Until then, take "American" the hell out of your group's name.
You Get a Mood Sometimes
I miss Lowell George.
Taking the Cluebat Out of Its Protective Case
Here is the story:
ARIZONA - Wildlife handler hurt by captive wolves
PHOENIX -- A handler at a wildlife park suffered major injuries to the arms and legs after two wolves attacked her inside an exhibit, authorities said.
Heather Mueller, 34, lost a significant amount of blood but was in stable condition Friday after undergoing surgery at a Phoenix hospital.
Park spokeswoman Nadia Caillou could not say what prompted last week's attack or how it happened. Both wolves have been quarantined as the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Yavapai County authorities investigate the attack.
However the print version included this: "Park spokeswoman Nadia Calliou could not say what prompted last week's attack or how it happened."
(brandishing Cluebat) They're wolves you idiot! Not Pugs, not Dandie Dinmont Terriers, not even Rotweilers. THEY'RE WOLVES! (stashing Cluebat)
Working the Numbers
I am mostly happy with the results of NCAA Tournament play this weekend. Duke managed to eke out another win. So what's left? I ran my silly numbers game wherein the seeds of the remaining teams in the Sweet 16 are added up and the higher the number, the easier the remaining bracket should be. If seeding is to be accepted as correct. And we might as well since the seeding determined who is where as they still stand.
Duke's Austin region has a "score" of 14 (1+5+6+2). Illinois, in the Chicago bracket has a score of 18 (1+12+3+2). Carolina, which is in the Syracuse bracket, has a score of 22 (1+5+6+10) and Washington's Albuquerque bracket has another score of 18 (1+4+6+7). So by the numbers Carolina has the easiest run to the Final Four, Washington and Illinois have the same level of difficulty and Duke, which was reputed to have the easiest overall draw, now has the toughest set of remaining opponents.
If You Like Tiki
And you know who you are. You'll have a Big Tiki Drive hooked up to your computer masheen. Or, just have it around for when you get sick of your Devil Duck.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Updating the eBay Post
There is a certain satisfaction in watching an infomercial for the Tila FoodSaver (no link since I'm not pimping it) and seeing that I paid considerably less for mine off eBay than they charge even with the "ifyoucallinthenexthalfhour" price. I haven't used it yet but I will before long. Time to hit Costco for a few steaks!
And the Roomba, henceforth to be called "Red," is plugged into the wall, awaiting its opportunity to ramble around sucking up my leavings. Oh that was gross. Sucking up my detritus then.
For A Good Laugh
Click here to visit a site that will make you laugh out loud, something we all need to do on a daily basis. It's filled with pictures of awful plastic surgery that has been performed on celebrities. Not all have been botch jobs like what Melanie Griffith has done to herself or Loretta Swit. People like Catherine Zeta Jones come off looking much better. This is truly a site done by someone with a quick wit, kinda like the BlogDog's. Maybe they borrowed one of his ideas.

I guess what makes me laugh, instead of feeling sorry for these self-absorbed types, is that the surgery was elective. It's one thing to try to fix a cleft palate and it's quite another to make yourself look like you were abducted by aliens and had your face stretched.

Medical Care In Canada
Are they kidding?

"The average wait for surgical or specialist treatment is nearly 18 weeks, up from 9.3 weeks in 1993, according to the Fraser Institute, a right-wing public policy think tank in Vancouver. A Fraser study last year said the average wait for an orthopedic surgeon was more than nine months."
I admit with somewhere near 45 million Americans without health insurance the situation in the lower 48 states is not too rosy either. Though what can be worse here is that many people with pre-existing conditions are fearful of losing coverage if they change jobs. Whenever my wife contemplates changing jobs she is always brought back to reality by the fact she suffers from Interstitial Cystitis. She knows that a future employer's medical insurer could easily deny her coverage or not include her doctors as part of their plan.

In sum, you wait in Canada for healthcare from a system that is equitable. In the USA you either have coverage or you don't from a system that is much more responsive.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Ads, Ads, Ads, Ads
Ad nauseam! I'm loving the NCAA Tournament. Great games, acceptable commentary. But there is a drawback to watching the same network for an extended period: you see the same gahdam ads over and over and over. I stand officially sick of the upcoming CBS crapfest "Shark Attack." Bunch of damn whiny teenagers - and while we're on TV's teenagers, how much do you want to bet that all of them are California blond/tan teen queens and pretty boys? Show me a few real spotty-faced, slug belly-white teens and I'll shut up about that - doing stupid things. Eff 'em. I hope the sharks wins.

Friday, March 18, 2005

A Thumb In The Eye
Fully half of the "experts" picking brackets in the Sports Illustrated section of had Syracuse winning the Austin bracket from which Duke will enter the Final Four. Ha! Bite me experts. Vermont over Syracuse in OT.
Heralding Changes in the US
Actually, heraldry, not heralding. In light of the absurd amount of time "our" congress is spending on a lad's game and steroid abuse (and by "lad's game" I mean no offense to the Boys of Summer), I think we should change the obverse of the Great Seal of the United States from a bald eagle clutching arrows and an olive branch to a dinosaur, rampant, on a field of trivia.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

I Laughed When I heard This
A Volkswagen with the license plate "FEATURE."

If you can't guess which model it was, why are you reading PoW?

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Where I'm At
Stuck somewhere between bonhommie and anomie.

The XMBD sent a link to most amazing video. Korean sand "painting." Rather - "sandimation."
Go now. Watch. I'll wait here for oyu.

Toyota is using Kylie Minogue's "Can't Get You Out of My Head" for its new television ads. This bothers me as the video for the song was ... hot. Kylie comes across as ready to throw down with the next guy who comes along. A Schwing!worthy video to be sure. Yet to think of her now, I can't get the image at Awful Plastic Surgery out of my mind. Yikes. Does Toyota want to call this image up with their ads? I think not.
UPDATE: I thought it was GM. It was Toyota. I have altered the record to reflect the truth.
Not the show. I spent a few hard-earned, easily-spent minutes today looking over entries in the current incarnation of the Carnival of the Vanities. If you aren't familiar with the Carnival, it is a roving, amorphous blob of blog with links to all sorts of new sites that you might otherwise never stumble upon. It struck me that there are now a lot of blogospheric carnivals - capitalists, education for example.
What we now need is the Carnival of Carnivals blog. Its sole point would be as an aggregating point for links all the myriad carnivals springing up like magic mushrooms in the cowpat of the InterWebThing. OK. My job is done. I'm the idea guy. Somebody else, go do this and give me all the credit.

UPDATE: Well. It's done. But I get no credit. Maybe the BlogFather would remember that I sent him an e-mail about the idea a few days ago. Laziness is a curse. My curse.
And It Just Gets Uglier
I keep hearing news reports that Terry Schiavo is in a Persistent Vegetative State. I know it's sub-tropical but I always thought Florida was called the Sunshine State.
Another Shameful Admission
I really like The Buggles "Video Killed the Radio Star." It's being used to advertise the new Verizon video on cell phone service (oh yeah - I watch TV on my phone ALL the time). It's a piece of 80's krep-pop but it has something. I can't identify the something but I've listened to the darn thng more often in the last two months than ever before.

Early senescence.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Stupid Little Things
Some people like to watch their car odometers turn over numbers with lots of zeros or get to repeated numbers or read the same as the date. I figure these are variations on a theme of obsessive compulsion. I finally caught myself in one of these stupid little things. It involves, dare I say "of course," iTunes. When I listen to the entire library I am quite content to let its shuffly little mind work its magic and not pay much attention. But when I open a playlist of, oh, say, Carbon Leaf, I see that I've played a chunk of songs five times, a few other four times and the rmainder three times. So what must I do, start playing the songs I haven't listened to as much to bring the play count up to the same number for all the songs.
Jeez! Kill me now.

In happier news, I rented and watched "The Incredibles." What a great movie. Again: not good - great. Pixar goes from strength to strength. This ranks up with the "Toy Story" movies. I liked "Finding Nemo" but this blows 'Nemo' and its pretenders (cough)shark tale(cough) right out of the water. Holly Hunter's voice work is note perfect I hasten to add since I've had a crush on her going back to "Raising Arizona." That off-center smile! So adorable!
But my affection for the movie is not borne on the horns of Hunter-lust. The story is brilliant and the heroicism is spread amongst the Incredible Family. Nicely done. The DVD addition of "Jack Jack Attack" is a hoot too, ha! (I added the "ha" to make the end of that sentence a palindrome.)
Public Cell Phone Use
Please count me as one of the majority of people who can't stand it when other people use their cell phones in public. And don't even get me started over the prospect of cell phones being used in-flight on airplanes. When that day arrives there will be a new term created similar to "Road Rage." It will be coined after someone sees what happens when one tired traveler is subjected to hours of inane phone chat by his neighbors and takes matters into his or her own hands. I suspect the results will not be pretty.

Monday, March 14, 2005

'New' Social Security? Not Easy
Today's Wall Street Journal has an article that will make you stop and pause as to whether
we should even consider diverting Social Security taxes into private accounts. It's just one of the
"little-discussed logistical mountains" that this proposal faces. Read on and see if it doesn't make
your jaw drop the way it did mine:

"When the Government created retirement-investment accounts for federal employees in 1987, pamphlets summarizing the Thrift Savings Plan for its three million potential participants filled 18 tractor-trailers.

If Americans are allowed to divert a portion of their Social Security taxes to private accounts, the government could have to distribute introductory brochures to 70 million people in the program's first year alone."

It does get worse when they start contemplating the massive effort that will be required to educate the public, enroll workers, and answer what experts say could be hundreds of millions of questions.

To add insult to injury, it could take 15 months before money would be credited to a private account. This is because most employers tell the government only once a year the amount individual workers earn. For the self-employed, they estimate it could take nearly two years.
This Month's Music
I finally got my new Emm CD "Songs of Love and Death" (link currently at right) out of the mail and into my iTunes. She doesn't disappoint. There is a kind of sameness to the songs that belies the wonderful diversity of "Asianblue" but, to use a cliche - it's all good. She brings back the cello that she used so well in "Science Fair." If you don't see how a cello works in popular (not "pop") music, listen to the first track "Forget Georgia." Strangely, the cello is not credited in the liner notes. I'd like to see some other artists work with some of the deeper strings in their music - Beth Orton, Josh Joplin to name a couple. Could be interesting.
"Songs..." is another disc of covers as "Girl Versions" was. Even when Emm does something again, she doesn't do the same thing twice. "Girl Versions" turned big rock songs (e.g. "Crazy Train") into big piano ballads. Blur's "Song 2" never sounded better, though you'd hard pressed to recognize it as the same song. I'm not familiar with the source material for the new disc so I have no basis for comparison. In fact, if I didn't know otherwise, I'd say that this was Emm's music with some Celtic frills such as the fiddle and flute on "Deckchairs and Cigarettes." But these are all songs from contemporary Irish artists with a closer of a traditional song "Moor Langh Shore." I'll be listening to this a lot in the next couple of weeks to see how the music sits with me. Right now I'm going to say that this is not Emm's best. Which is a damn high standard but coming after "Asianblue" which is accessible and just rocks - hook laden, sweet melodies and more complex production, this disc suffers by comparison.
Of course I'd be willing to bet that a lot of bands would kill to be judged against themselves like I judge Emm against herself. She is sui generis.
Carbon Leaf's "Indian Summer" has a similar problem for me. The only other CL disc I have is "Echo, Echo" which is one of those 'perfect' discs: not a missed step in the lot. "Summer's" single "Life Less Ordinary" is great - wonderful, rocking, lyrically clever and just a damn good song. But the rest of the disc is more pedestrian. Which is not to say bad. Carbon Leaf is too talented for that. I'd take mediocre Carbon Leaf over probably 70 percent of the music I hear on the radio today. But "Echo, Echo" is great and "Indian Summer" is good. Well worth buying but only after you've acquired "Echo."

I feel lucky to the extent that I am able to buy music to suit my taste. Since I only buy two CDs a month, it's pretty unlikely that I'm going to get something I don't like. But my greatest joy is getting a disc on which I know only a song or so (Mary Chapin Carpenter's "Between Here and Gone" was a must buy for the song "Elysium" and then the rest was wonderfully up to the best of her oeuvre) and finding a trove of wonderful songs along with the know quantities. These are good discs and I'm delighted to have them both. But neither had any revelations for me.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Shameful Lawsuits
Have these people no shame? They have sued the federal agency that operates the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center. I bet these people had never heard of this agency before this latest Tsunami or visited the web site to check for warnings.

Needless to say, I feel badly for all the people who lost their lives and for their families. Though I do not believe this case has any merit. (Again I'll let the BlogDog offer analysis.) Did these travelers expect an email from the government? Do they want to have to tell the government their travel plans in advance so any possible atmospheric dangers can be brought to their attention? I think not.

Hiding Behind A Blog in California
These clowns in California saying they won't reveal their sources because they are journalists
have been taken to task by a judge who says that may well be but they are also assisting criminals. I'll leave this to the BlogDog's keen legal mind for further analysis though from my understanding if you steal trade secrets from Apple Computer and publish them on your blog that is a crime. Glad the judge pointed this out and let everyone know that not even journalists are allowed to abet a criminal in the name of freedom of the press.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Please Note
I haven't bothered y'all with posting about basketball in a while. That will change. Duke escaped U. Va in the first round of the conference tournament and managed to beat a better-than-its-record NC State ("Goe Staight!" my favorite poster from 4 years in Cameron Indoor Stadium) today by ... what? ... ah - seven points. And Georgia Tech upset UNC so Duke gets to go up against a lesser team for the conference campionship.
They could definitely lose since the Yellow Jackets are now actually playing basketball for a change. But damn. Luke Schenscher should be eating apples off the heads of every other center in the conference and he's played this season like a credentialed wuss. But he played today. And Will Bynum scored a carreer-high 35 points to barely win. I don't see another palyer having a career day and if J.J. Reddick starts really hitting, Duke will win.
But the Jackets are good enough to win. What a great game this is.

Not only that - Aussie Rules is starting up again! Yee hah!
Oh Arrgghh!
I really like "Stargate SG-1" and I am one of the many who think Jolene Blalock is a babe. So when the writers of Stargate use her in an episode, I expected plenty o' eye candy. And in that, I was not disappointed but I want to strangle the writer who put the words "Is not stealthiness one of the things...." in her mouth. Sweet blistering Jebus! The word is "stealth," not "stealthiness" dumbass!
There are no links in this post because I'm pissed at them for this gross stupidity. That is all. Dismissed.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Third Time's The Charm
This is the gloatology that comes before bracketology.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Cartoons I'd Like to See
(If you're of tender sensibilities, skip this.)
Two camels, one of which is looking at his foot with a horrified expression on his face saying, "It looks like a WHAT!?"
Spend, Spend, Spend
More eBay madness. Today I "won" a Roomba vacuum and a Tilia food vacuum. The only other thing I'm currently bidding on (and at this point sort of hoping not to "win") is a Dyson floor vacuum. Vac, vac, vac. I suck at eBay! Ha ha ha ha! It's a joke, see!
Actually, I got the food vac for $81 when the alleged retail price id $200. I can live with that. Why do I need a food vac? Quite frankly, I have a fair amount of silver things that I inherited and I intend to polish them and vacuum pack them until I need to use something. So there! And, I guess, I can pack meals out of my Costco purchases. Or fill the empty hours by putting marshmallows in mason jars and watching them expand to the bursting point as the air pressure is reduced around them. Fun!
The Roomba (red! sexAY!) also lists for $200 and I got it for $125. Beggars bidding against me bid it up. I like the idea of letting the thing loose on my house while I do other things. Both items are listed by the seller as being new in box. I'm not sure I'd buy otherwise.
I also finally got the "full spectrum" desk light I'd ordered a while back. I'll put it to the test tonight but so far it looks like a winner. There is a flood of light on my desk.
Sex Education
I thought of calling this "Sex Ed" but since his fall, Ed McMahon has enough to worry about without me adding to the confusion.

I'm talking about this from the "Washington Times:"
Bethesda Chevy-Chase High School in Bethesda, Seneca Valley High School in Germantown and Springbrook High School in Silver Spring will take part in the high school course in which 10th-graders will be shown how to put condoms on cucumbers.
I believe they could save the trouble of putting condoms on the cucumbers simply by using seedless cukes in the first place.
And what do you call a cucumber in a condom? A cuber. There's no cum.
Guaranteed to Make You Think Less of Me
The state of New Jersey today proclaimed the tomato as the Official State Vegetable. The previous state vegetable could not be reached for comment.
And Other Good Wastes of Time
The Mount St. Helen's volcanocam.
Online gaming - Babycal Throw. Very strange Russian game. Give it a peek.
Linus Picks Mac
Linus Torvalds makes the right choice. But before I succumb to runaway triumphalism, I will take note of this:
Torvald's response came quickly and succinctly. "My main machine these days is a dual 2GHz G5 (aka PowerPC 970) - it's physically a regular Apple Mac, although it obviously only runs Linux, so I don't think you can call it a Mac any more ;)" he said.
Yes, you can call it a Mac. He probably wanted a more stable physical system on which to run Linux anyway. Then again, even Windows emulators are more stable on a Mac than when run on a Wintel box. And finally, it is a wee bit disturbing that the Father of Linux uses a winky emoticon?

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

I Am A Prime Candidate For The Lead Aspirin
Horrible confession: I used to watch "Gilmore Girls." I have a hard time breaking off when I start watching a serial show. But I have managed to stop watching GG. Why did I watch? Lauren Graham is undeniably beautiful and I thought her relationship with Scott Patterson's character was nicely played. On the other hand, the daughter Rory (played by Alexis Bledel) has been setting my teeth on edge for basically the entire series. It was she who finally managed to drive me away. She is alleged to be a model which makes me wonder at the sanity of the world. Is it the brick-like jaw? The giant forehead? The "I'm just too too cute" demeanor? I see that she's been in a few movies too. Will the madness never end?
In any event, it may be a mark of sanity reasserting itself that I have been able to drag myself away from one waste of a perfectly good hour of my limited supply.

I suppose the end of "NYPD Blue" is in the same category. It was one of my weekly regulars and now its done, finished, gone, stick-a-fork-in-it, not even in syndication will I watch it again. I did watch the finale and found the retrospective insufferable. It was a good show - dramatic, well-acted and involving. The mark of a good show is the ability to replace what should be key elements. David Caruso made a mistake leaving which he's finally rectified by hooking into the CSI franchise. A mistake because he was rather easily replaced. In fact, all the new people brought into Blue worked rather well. It was a revelation to see "Ricky" Schroeder work so well in an adult role. He sold himself as Rick Schroeder.
And there was the episode "Nude Awakening" with the delectable Charlotte Ross in the buff. Never have I been a bigger fan of the show. But it's over and now I don't have to spend an hour on Tuesday night watching ABC. I understand Bochco has developed a new show for the time slot about a blind detective. A blind detective. (sounds of inadequately suppressed laughter). Unh yeah. Good luck with that.
Video Killed The ...
Not just the Radio Star anymore. Samsung has just introduced an 82-inch flat panel display. That is over 6 and 3/4 feet. Wider than almost everyone is tall. Sweet gibbering genius. I see myself sleeping on one of these. Replacing entire walls with these. Total immersion video experience. Of course that 'total immersion' experience would be like being submerged in a vat of excrement.
But the display - that's just frickin' cool. I expect Samsung to have a bigger screen announcement within a year. My Samsung 19-inch monitor/TV tuner is really quite nice. Sad little thing that it is. Henh!
Hydroforming the Future
Forbes magazine had an article (no link as access now requires purchase) in the January 31 issue about the Pontiac Solstice and Saturn Sky roadsters. I love roadsters. When the Miata redefined the genre back in ... well, a long time ago. I was impressed. It thought it was the best new design to hit the autoimotive world in years. Since then, the roadster genre has been populated by a good number of entrants: The Honda S2000, the evolving Miata (of course), the BMW Z3 and Z4, and the finest expression of type - the Porsche Boxster. As a type, I think these cars are some of the best looking hunks of machinery to back up at stoplights all over the country. Alas, I am not of a size to fit the roadster (though that will change).
I am not a particular fan of GM but the Solstice (warning - butt annoying flashing banner in that link) and the Sky could change my mind. Neither is perfect. The Sky, at least in the pictures at the link, has a little too much the shape of a bar of soap. The Solstice has a blunted front end that will never thrill me. Surprisingly, it's the Boxster and the Miata that really get the styling cues right. In my eye of course. And surprising because of the price differential between the two.
However. Both the Sky and the Solstice are inexpensive and handsome and should do well if innovation is to be rewarded in this imperfect world. (By the way, the image of the front end of the Sky in Forbes is vastly better looking than the images in the link. I don't know the reason for the discrepancy.) What is really intriguing is that GM is using hydroforming to create sheet metal for these critters. To steal a quote from the article:
In the traditional stamping process, flat sheets of steel are shaped into body panels when placed between a pair of custom dies, worth as much as $1 million each, that are slammed together in presses. Hydroforming uses water pressure (up to 15,000 pounds per square inch) to force flat steel against a one-sided tool, achieving the same result for half the cost. Its ability to shape more curves and sharp creases than a stamping press makes it ideal for expressive vehicles like the Solstice and Sky.
My prediction: the Solstice and Sky will be very popular - likely sell-outs since they offer Z-4 flash for something like $15 K less. And hydroforming will not only be progressively more utilized, it will be progressively refined. In about five years we should be seeing ever more beautiful sheet metal coming out of car factories. Bravo!
Odds and Ends
A nice collection of bits over at Wizbang. I posted a comment. I am suffused with snark. OTOH, InstaPundit posted a link to this story (also in the Wizbang post and the recipient of my snark) and I sent him an e-mail to which he replied. To wit:

Read this last graf in the MSNBC story you linked:
Charles is midway through a five-day tour of New Zealand, his first
since 1994, which has included a visit to an albatross colony as well
as shearing a sheep. He leaves for Fiji on Thursday.

Why not see the albatrosses? He's already seen the boobies.

I got a "Heh." from the Blogfather. I am suitably humbled.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Dan Rather
Don't let the door hit you on the way out.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Today's Question
What do you call a rabbi who finds enlightenment in Eastern religion?

A Zen Cohen.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Was a Sunny Day
Then all hell broke loose! Looks like the sun is more responsible for atmospheric ozone depletion than spray cans and air conditioners. Funny that. The sun is also behind the whole "global warming" scare as well. Read the book! Dammit.
Martha Stewart
She will be let out of "Camp Cupcake" this week and must serve the rest of her sentence under house arrest at her 153 acre estate in Bedford, NY. The funny line of the press release quoted unidentified legal experts who said, "home detention is better than prison. But it's hardly a vacation." Pleeeeeeease give me a break. How can serving time on a 153 acre estate be anything but a joy after having done time behind bars? It's time for these so-called legal experts to do a reality check and remember that Martha is free to roam about her herb garden at will. The fact she cannot venture into town for dinner at a restaurant is nothing more than an inconvenience, not hard time in prison.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Mr. Potao Head
(Warning! Geezing Alert! Old Fartitude Ahead! Warning!)
I was looking at an image from "Toy Story" the other day and was struck by the Mr. Potato Head character (voiced perfectly by Don Rickles). The modern version of the toy is a brown plactic "potato" glob which has little holes into which the noses, eyes, lips, and the other parts can be stuck. I'm sorry but that's just frickin' lame. Circumscribed creativity. Wonderful.
The original toy was based on the idea that there was a potato in the household somewhere and the good folks at Hasbro provided something (little plastic pieces) that could turn the spud into a toy. How many other startchy tubers could be used to entertain children? "Mr. Yam Head" just doesn't sound right, does it? Maybe it was having to clean the pieces after the playing was done that was the problem.
But dammit, you could do more when you had a blank tater to work with.
Hear, Hear
I feel it necessary to follow Paul's post with my hollow echo inasmuch as he raises some very good points. First, as much as I appreciate Coach K and Dean Smith, John "The Wizard of Westwood" Wooden was not among the best college coaches - he is the best college basketball coach of all time. His record will never be matched, due in part to the changed nature of the game. It takes many more wins, and more chances to lose, to grab a national title now than it did in UCLA's heyday.
Which is not a criticism because everyone he coached against faced the same set of circumstances. I take a little pride in that the Vic Bubas Duke teams of the 60s were one of the very few school programs to challenge the Bruins during their era. It would have been nice to steal one of those championships though ... dagnabbit.
Wooden was a true gentleman. He never beat up on his players to win; he insisted that they play to their capacity. And he aggregated enough talent that playing to their capacity produced win after win. I don't think that level of class is abroad in the game today.

So bracket yourself against the ill winds of the fortunes of the round ball in March. No one gets all the games right. Unless you fill out a couple of hundred brackets. And that's not the gentlemanly way to win.
I'll not be diving into any pools myself.
College Hoops
Here we are in March and the sponsors of betting pools everywhere are starting to salivate over the "March Madness" to come. People who don't watch a single game can get so caught up in these pools that it is reminiscent of the fever people had for Dot Com stocks in the 1990s. I mention this on the 30th anniversary of the retirement of one of the best college coaches ever, John Wooden. His record speaks volumes and will never be equaled as long as athletes skip graduating from college for the lure of the pros. This is part of what John Wooden accomplished:

  • UCLA record: 620-147
  • Led Bruins to four 30-0 seasons (1963-64, 1966-67, 1971-72, 1972-73)
  • Led Bruins to 88 consecutive victories
  • Led Bruins to 38 straight NCAA tournament victories
  • Led Bruins to 149-2 record at Pauley Pavilion
  • Led Bruins to 19 PAC 10 championships
  • Led Bruins to 10 national championships, including seven in a row (1966-73)

One of his favorite teams was his last in 1975. No big names like Walton or Lew Alcindor, just a solid team that played good basketball and won the NCAA title. Wooden didn't view much film of his opponents. He didn't care if a certain player liked to drive the baseline, only because he taught all of his players to never let anyone drive the baseline. If only the players today were taught so well. Turn on a professional basketball game now and you will see a generation of players more concerned with slam dunks and posing for the cameras than they are for playing good team defense and fundamentally sound basketball. It's all kinda sad and is the main reason I don't watch any college hoops now and very little of the so-called professionals.
Blogs Keep Internet Customers Coming Back
Today's Wall Street Journal, a daily read of mine, states that "The blog as business tool has arrived." It goes on to say, "Communication through a blog is as intimate and personal as somebody sitting in your kitchen."

This is not to say blogs are for every enterprise. I once suggested a blog to the president of Dickinson College. He was enthusiastic until one of his advisors pointed out that the comments section could be used by somebody with an axe to grind. I countered that he could edit the comments, or turn them off completely, but the damage had already been done. He thanked me for the suggestion and we moved on. I guess one has to be thick-skinned to compose a blog and it certainly helps if you can do it without fear of retribution.

As for corporations using blogs as a business tool, I think they will continue to find it an excellent way to interact with customers and to build customer loyalty. The only caveat would be to keep it from becoming too personal, in other words, an easy outlet for someone looking to damage the reputation of a top officer of the company.
A Send Off For Hunter
I see that Hunter S. Thompson wanted his remains, "cremains" to use the funeral business's term, to be shot out of a cannon. I somehow never imagined that he'd opt for mortardom. Then again, it's easy to believe that he'd want to go out with a bang.