Friday, December 31, 2004

Martian marathon reaches one-year mark

MSNBC.COM -- This is a cool interview with Steve Squyres who's in charge of the Mars Rover mission... on Monday, Spirit, the first of the two rovers to touch-down on Mars will have been there for a full (Earth) year of a 90 (Mars) day mission. (A Mars day is roughly 24 hours and 37 minutes long.) He talks about the NOVA documentary that's been in the works since the beginning and how different the two rovers are, despite attempts to build them identically.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Embrace the Bomb

I have a tough boss. Well, I have two bosses. One is easy-going and one is tough. The work I do for the easy-going boss is much more interesting and engaging, and the work I do for the tough boss isn't all that interesting. I've been slowly figuring out how to automated that job and delegate it to volunteers to where there isn't much of it to do. The problem is, there still is some thing I have to do myself. And while I'm somewhat of a creative guy, the job calls for subjective creativity. And my boss considers himself to be a much more creative guy. He uses a Mac, even.

But he's a tough guy to work for. He often brings his personal life to work with him and days like that you hope that there's a colleague who's better positioned to take the brunt of it. You feel for them, but you're thankful it's not you. But, sometimes it is you.

And then one day, I stopped caring. And suddenly, the job has gotten so much better, and my working relationship with my boss has improved so much. In the end, do I really care where the picture is placed or how big or small the picture is? Is that really being creative? No, not really. Do I take it personally when he wants the picture somewhere else, or resized? Should I feel personally criticized? I made a bad choice? I used to think so. I used to get so frustrated, that my input wasn't being valued and my abilities weren't being respected.

But on that one day, something happened. The scales fell from my eyes and suddenly it all became clear to me. I would never be respected for that job. I could work really hard and be disappointed when I was overruled. I could push back because in the end I knew that I knew better. And I could further incur his wrath. Worse yet, once he was on a roll, I could expect to get even more "notes" on things not even related to the current project. Change requests to things he had approved, or even come up with in the first place.

But in that bright and shining moment, I realized that none of it mattered. It was part weasel, part ephiphany. But if I didn't push back, I let him get his own way, and occasionally commented that his changes were a good idea, suddenly my day was no longer destined to be insufferable. I could affect change that benefitted all my colleagues. I could allow the man to feel like he was getting his way and making things happen.

Ah, it was a thing of beauty. Suddenly, I had a receptive ear to suggest new things, and was even able to push through some of my own initiatives and prove that I could handle the task and actually make his life easier.

Jeff Rowe would have been so proud of me. Jeff Rowe was a former boss. He taught me so much, but I was so young, so green that he must have often bit his tongue. The last time I talked to him was my last day at Warner Bros. I can't remember why, but for some reason, he called the day I got laid off. He was the one that encouraged me to end my career at UltimateTV, but thanks to his contacts, work we had done with Warner Bros. was what allowed me to jump there. Warner Bros. afforded me a great opportunity to manage people and I think I did a decent job there and I really miss managing a team. Part of my quick rise, though, didn't give me enough opportunities to be a grunt. I'm not thrilled being a grunt, but there are some great interpersonal skills to be learned there. Sometimes I feel it's more about learning to be a weasel and to stroke people's egos, but I figure as long as I keep a really strong work ethic -- work hard, put in an honest day's work, and try to do more than earn a paycheck, actually better the company I work for -- then sucking up, ego-stroking and not taking things personally can just become extra tools in my arsenal.

Jerry Orbach dies

Law & Order star and acclaimed Broadway actor Jerry Orbach passed away Tuesday.

Finally

Weather outside? Frightful. Inside? Delightful. Please don't think me a bore, but let it pour, let it pour, let it pour.

The wildest weather I've seen since moving to California, probably on par with some of the stuff from my days living in Washington. On the drive home last night, I've never appreciated more how much of my car is made up of glass. The light show was just awesome, the whole sky kept lighting up all around me while I was in Pasadena and as I made my way east, I could see the flashes behind me, including some just ripping across the clouds. Awesome. And then last night while we were sleeping, God just let loose the floodgates and it was so loud. At one point, simultaneously being forced against the south and west windows of the house by the wind. It seems calmer today which should be good for the commute, but this weather just rules. Because I have a nice warm dry home, nice warm dry car and nice warm dry office from which to witness it.

It sounds like seagulls have replaced wild parrots as neighborhood birds this morning. That must have been a lot of rain.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Additional Josey Notes

Josey Peterson's car accident was actually on May 8 and she fought the injuries in the hospital for three weeks, spending her 30th. birthday in the hospital. She fought her injuries for nearly three weeks. She died 14 days after her birthday and 14 days before Rachel was born.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Josey Peterson (May 12, 1974-May 28, 2004)

Obituary

This song has always made me think of you. Perhaps it because I knew you at the time this song was on the radio often. Tonight I feel nothing but sadness. This is what I get for trying to look up old friends on the internet.

The Outfield - (I don't want to lose) Your Love

Josie's on a vacation far away
Come around and talk it over
So many things that I'd like to say
You know I like my girls a little bit older
I just wanna use your love tonight
I don't wanna lose your love tonight

I ain't got many friends left to talk to
No-one's around when I'm in trouble
You know I'd do anything for you
Stay the night - we'll keep it under cover
I just wanna use your love tonight
I don't wanna lose your love tonight

Try to stop my hands from shakin'
Somethin' in my mind's not makin' sense
It's been awhile since we've been all alone
I can't hide the way I'm feelin'

As you leave me please would you close the door
And forget what I told you
Just 'cause you're right - that don't mean I'm wrong
Another shoulder to cry upon
I just wanna use your love tonight
I don't wanna lose your love tonight

Yeah

I just wanna use your love tonight
I don't wanna lose your love tonight
I just wanna use your love tonight
I don't wanna lose your love tonight

Lose your love
Lose your love
Lose your love
(repeat)

Friday, December 17, 2004

Rose City Diner, Arcadia: Underwhelming

If you are wishing for the good ol' days, the Arcadia Westfield Shoppingtown has really got you covered with two different options for your golden oldies dining. They have the predictable, consistent Johnny Rockets (always a fave) and another, the Rose City Diner. There used to be a Rose City Diner in Old Town Pasadena long before I moved to the area, I don't know what the connection is between these two.

Anyhow, tonight we decided to go to the Rose City Diner for dinner. They placed at a gigantic booth that would sit 3-4 people on each bench. The stroller had to park at the end of the table which seemed to impede the flow of the busboys and waiters. Not sure why they didn't just seat us at one of the smaller free-standing tables in the front of the restaurant.

The service was good. A guy would take our orders, or take our empty glasses and a girl would come back with the food or drink refills. Both were very pleasant and polite and checked up with us at just the right intervals.

We started with a lemonade, a vanilla cola (not a brand name beverage) and chilli cheese fries. The fries were interesting to say the least. They were $6.99 and the chilli had beans and peppers and big chunks of hamburger. It might have made for an interesting chilli, but I'm not a big bean fan and we both really like the ccf's at Johnny Rockets, so these were a bit of a let-down. I requested some ranch and ate some of the fries with ranch and ketchup. But we still ended up leaving probably close to half of them on the plate when we were done.

The vanilla cola was $2.50 and served in a large glass. The first sip with the straw was straight vanilla syrup. I tried to drink from the top but it was the non-brand-name dark cola. So I eventually resorted to raising the straw as I sipped, to get some syrup and some cola. Stirring did not help. I do not believe refills were available on the vanilla soda. Based on that and the inconvenient way I had to drink it, it did last my entire meal.

For dinner, Lori had a hamburger with bacon and an onion ring. The burger was served open-faced with an onion ring that resembled the volcanoes they used to make at Benihana... that is to say that it was really tall and she had to mash it down before she could close the burger. She ate much of it. I think she liked it, but she was getting full and wanted to make it look like we had eaten more of the chili cheese fries, so near the end she switched her attention back to that plate to pull out fries to eat with ketchup.

I had the Reuben. It came with a decent quarter pickle and some pretty decent coleslaw. The corned beef was good and they really piled it on thick. Most of the toasted bread stayed crispy, only a little was soggy at the end. The sauerkraut was also good, tasty but not overpowering. What prevented it from being a great sandwich was the almost non-existent thousand island dressing. I could see that it was there from the color, but it was used too sparingly in my opinion to the point that you couldn't always taste it. The other thing that kept it from being a great sandwich is that it cost $7.50. I ate all but the soggy bread at the end, eating the last of the meat with a fork.

The decor also seemed unimpressive for being part of the mall's new expansion. I think they were going for retro, but it just felt less inspired and flimsier than the Fry's that has the alien invasion theme. A weird touch, there were lots of those long toothpicks with the plastic colored strips at the end, the kind that come in your sandwich, stuck in the ceiling. But the ceiling was so high away that they were either done with a dart gun of some sort, or a ladder. The music was a broader mix then you'd find at Johnny Rockets, and a little bit quieter, but the balance was all wrong, it was overly bass-y, so even though the speakers were farther away in the high ceiling and it felt quieter, I had trouble hearing Lori and had to keep asking her to repeat stuff across the table to me. The tables all had the same mini-jukeboxes as Johnny Rockets.

Their menu has a wide variety, including a big breakfast selection, which is available any time. They also had some old fashioned shakes that sounded good but I passed on because of my pseudo-diet and the prohibitive price-tag.

So for two burgers, two drinks, chili cheese fries, tax and tip, they had us on the hook for more than $17/person. If I want to spend that much, I'll go some place with much better food like Hamburger Hamlet. And if want 50's kitsch and that kind of food, I'll go about seven doors down in the mall to Johnny Rockets.

Unless there's something about them that I missed, I give them eight months.

Fun fact... they have a $35 burger -- over 3 pounds of meat. Comes with unlimited drinks. Menu says it feeds six or one really big person.

Hooray, the DSL still works

One of the things that came with this house, we learned later, was a very large, very dead tree in the back yard. The neighbors have so many overgrown trees that they kind of swallowed up the branches to ours and led us to believe that our tree was not dead. But, our tree was, in fact, quite dead. The tree was no more. It had passed on, it had ceased to be.

Anything except an eyesore that would cost $700+ to have removed. Tonight when we came home, the Christmas lights I had hung to the underside of the carport were not lit. Odd, I thought. But I didn't think too much because the timer on those lights is powered by an AAA and only works for a few months at a time before there's no power left.

But Lori got out and went over and picked up a black cord hanging loose and stared at it trying to figure out where it should have been plugged in. Nevermind that, I said, trying to draw her attention to the house-colored cord that was draped from the house, over a fence and extended past the garage into the back yard. Having just seen a semi-bad original movie where a guy with an electric(!) snowblower plugs into his neighbor's Christmas lights for power, I thought someone had plugged into our power.

And then I realized what it was... it was the phone line into the house from the pole, rounding the garage, we could see it running along the ground. So we hit the lights on the garage and saw that a humongous piece of the tree had broken free and pulled the phone cord down with it. Thankfully, the dog had been inside for the past few hours while we were out having dinner. We pulled the phone cord from under the tree and threw it up onto the roof -- so we could let the dog out without her eating the phone cord -- and that was that.

Big chunk of the tree down means it will cost less to have the rest of it removed and now I know that there isn't a specific way to how the phone cord is attached to the pole and I can finally get it moved over towards the garage and finally have a back yard with no wires above.

Poverty in Mexico

I read an article that briefly noted that half of Mexico's population of 104 million lives in poverty. Yes, it was tech article and so it also noted that about half a million people have high-speed internet connections.

But I was thinking... I know we have our own problems here in the United States, but how is it possible that 52 million people live in poverty in Mexico? That seems like a rather large number. I'll admit right away that I know very little about Mexico, knowing mostly only what I see from pictures and video taken by friends who have gone to Mexico to build houses and what I've seen from Mexican TV as I've flipped past.

It seems like there's a very willing workforce (many risk their lives to travel illegally to this country for work), lots of land (slightly less than 3 times the size of Texas) and what seems like a pretty nice climate. Texas has 22 million residents so 3 times that would be 66 million. So I guess there is actually a lot more people per square mile on average in Mexico.

Since I started writing this, I have learned more from the CIA Fact Book (should be a link from the title above). Maybe change is in the wind, but is taking a long time. Vicente Fox was the first person elected that didn't belong to the political party that has controlled the government since the Mexican Revolution in 1910.

So maybe it's more about patience, maybe change is underway. I hope that's the case. (Yeah, little old imperial me trying to figure out what's best for some other country.)

Ok, so this post ended up going somewhere completely different than where I expected. But at least I learned something.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

So this is what it's like...

It's anarchy around here... the baby's got double ear-infections and is just coming off of a cold. But, the fever was too high for her to be in school today. On top of that, Lori and I are not on our game, we're both sick too. I don't think I've ever been sick for this long at one time before. Between my OCD, my germ phobia and what my mom refers to as a "charmed life," I've not had too many colds and rarely have they lasted for any length of time. But it's anarchy around here... chores aren't getting done, house is a mess, pets not getting enough attention, etc., etc., etc. I guess all the rules go out the window when you're sick. Now I can appreciate what people have been complaining about all this time. But I guess also not getting sick a lot is why whenever I do get sick I announce that I'm dying.

In a side note, my resident-post-commenter Kevin now has his own blog for me to go post comments on... oddly enough, it's at cindycrawford.blogspot.com

Irony/Stupidity

NEWS.COM -- So Ken Jennings won over $2.5 million in 74 consecutive wins on Jeopardy. Microsoft has hired him to be part of a new game called "Quiz the Whiz" on its Encarta premium edition for 2005. But he said that he personally never uses the internet for research because even though there's a lot of material out there, you can't always be sure it's accurate. For kicks, he recently searched for his own name on the internet. He found a number of hits, naturally, but he also found lots of mistakes. One page in particular, had quite a bit of information that he felt most people would consider it to be accurate because it was on a very authoritative site. That page? The press release on microsoft.com announcing that they had hired him for the "Quiz the Whiz" thing I mentioned earlier. D'oh.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Bad Advertising: Adelphia


(1) The network for bad girls and the girls who love them
(2) Nope, still not gonna get cable (DISH rules!)
(3) Oxygen: 5 pretty girls and two ugly ones

But seriously, folks, is this not a horrible ad? I thought that Oxygen was a channel for women but the "Oh! We're Easy" just seems extremely demeaning.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Ooh, spicy...

Verizon gets backing of partner Vodaphone to attempt a take-over of Sprint, potentially thwarting Sprint's plans to by Nextel. But now I'm torn... the best phone company in the world wants to buy the worst company in the world? I hope it's just to shut them down and fire everyone.

WWII Hero Dies

I'd never heard of this guy before, but he was an American soldier who parachuted into Normandy, was eventually captured by the Germans, tortured, had two unsuccessful and one successful escape attempt, joined up with Soviet soldiers, fought with them before being injured and sent to Moscow where he was treated and then had to persuade the US Government that he was still alive. (His dog tags had been found on a body in Germany.)

Monday, December 13, 2004

Happy Birthday, You Ol' Sin City, You

Link above to a cool article on Vegas, its 100th. birthday and the history that still exists today.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Baby, It's Cold Inside

Our thermostat seems to have died late on Friday night. It's a fancy electronic gizmo, so with a blank screen, it's sat there unmoving, uncaring, preventing us from using the heat at night or the air conditioner during the day. With a house so poorly sealed as ours, that's not good. And with a six month old who has a cold, it stinks even more. I don't think the two nights of freezing temperatures have contributed to her cold, but I can't think it's helped, either. Through the internet and various phone books, I've come up with about five different phone numbers for the guy who installed the system, but all seem to go to the same answering machine which he apparently doesn't check on weekends. I've also come up with two addresses for the guy and I am halfway tempted to go and see if either of those addresses are his house because this is starting to get unbearable. He just better darn well call first thing tomorrow or I swear he's getting a Better Business Complaint.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

"I Don't Understand Why People Keep Getting Shanked"

Apparently a maximum-security prison in Missouri was allowing the prisoners to purchase video games from proceeds from the prison store. A committee made up of officials, staff and inmates decides how to spend the proceeds. One of the video games they selected was "Hitman: Contracts," in which, the article (link above) explains, "players use everything from meat hooks to silencer-equipped pistols to carry out brutal contract killings." Here's my favorite part:

"We didn't closely review these," Dave Dormire, superintendent of the Jefferson City Correctional Center, told The Kansas City Star. "We were told these games had more like cartoon violence."

Freedumb of Speach To His Own, I Guess

I saw a car yesterday with these two bumper stickers:
May all beings be free of suffering.
Vegetarians Taste Better.

First, I thought the one about suffering was dumb. (a) That's impossible. (b) In regards to not eating meat, wouldn't you then suffer if you liked eating meat? We have a friend with a new baby. She didn't eat red meat and now her diet requires red meat and the baby has to have injections because he's anemic. The tasty animals were put on this planet for us to eat, folks.

The second one was even more puzzling. Was it a sexual thing? If not, did it just apply to eating humans? Because then the argument for eating animals is made... everyone loves a good corn-fed steak. So I guess if you're trapped in the Andes, you want it to be with a vegetarian soccer team? Probably not, you probably want a bunch of overweight accountants. There would be more meat.

Either way, I thought the person in the car was an idiot and I thought the second bumper sticker was a joke bumper sticker and the driver didn't get the joke. They also had flaming skull stickers on both back windows and one on the rear window.

I guess it takes all kinds.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

A Flaw In Their Plan

So, their entire system is based on putting their addresses up as a graphic? That's a silly plan, epsecially if I were to, oh, say, type the following: send-us-news-tips@cnet.com ...oops... or maybe send-letters-to-news@cnet.com ...er, dang it... send-news-suggestions@cnet.com ...did I do that?... report-news-bugs@cnet.com ... my bad.

Space-Shifting: The Next Frontier

CNET.COM -- When you TiVO something, it's often called "time-shifting" - to watch something on your time, not the time it was originally broadcast. I think I wrote a few months ago about a Sony device that's about to come out, but here's an article about another similar device that allows you to watch TV even when you're not in the same part of the world as it's being broadcast. Combine those two together and the entertainment industry is going to start to have to pay attention to things like On-Demand Programming as we become less and less held down by space and time and are freed to do more and more on our schedules, whether or not they are actively involved in the process or not.

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Soar Like an Eagle

MSNBC.COM -- Here is a pair of articles on a little company on the Columbia River in Washington State that's using funding from Boeing to create autonomous drones for the military for much, much cheaper than any of the big guys. They send back live video, can fly for 15 hours on 2 gallons of gas and have just logged over 1,000 hours of use in Iraq.

1. About the company
2. Specifically about the planes in Iraq


Friday, November 26, 2004

Baby, It's Cold Outside

I realized at nearly midnight that the cars were still parked across the street and ought to be moved behind the gate. I was wearing only shorts, a t-shirt and socks. That was a mistake. One car said it was 52 degrees outside. What was cool was that it the moon was full and incredibly bright. There was a lot of light but no color. I had to grab the camera and take some pictures. Of course, it takes a lot longer without the flash, so the pictures came out blurry, but I think it adds to it.

Neighborhood Aglow

Artificial Light

Roses by moonlight

Bright Moon

Monday, November 22, 2004

VH What?

A CNET.com story today reported that the UK's largest electronics chain is no longer selling VHS players. A side-note was that, in the UK at least, burglars are not taking VHS players when they steal home electronics. But the most interesting thing I found was a related link (above) to a virtual museum of VHS. One of my two readers may find it interesting, the other I know won't.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Happiness is an unwatched episode of Scrubs

I was getting ready for work this morning and realized that we still had an episode of Scrubs in the VCR that we hadn't watched yet. glee.

I need that dual-tuner DVR so that we can record Scrubs on the DVR instead of the VCR now that Amazing Race is on again.

Much Ado About Very Little

NBCSPORTS.COM -- I read this great piece today from a guy... complaining not about the Monday Night Football spot, but about the response by the NFL and ABC after the fact... he believes it was entirely calculated, that the apology was ready and waiting before the spot even aired and that it was done intentionally -- that CBS screwed up by not promoting a show at the same time that they were getting in trouble for mild almost nudity.

I read another article where a coach was describing it as racially insensitive because the player was black and the actress was white. And also complaining because it reinforced the stereotype of (atheletes? blacks? unsure) as sexual predators.

I finally was able to read another article about the topic that finally described the scene in enough detail for me to determine that it wouldn't be inappropriate to watch at work... that when she drops the towel she's only shown from behind and from the waist up.

So I went to good ol' iFilms.com and watched it.

First, off, it doesn't reinforce any stereotypes other than (a) guys find it hard to say no to naked women jumping into their arms, (b) something about sluts but I'm not sure exactly what the stereotype is, (c) ABC and the NFL are hypocrites like the article linked above suggests. I'm pretty sure you see the very top of pink underwear when she drops the towel, that she's not actually completely naked, just topless.

But, having said that, let me say loud and clear... I am offended by that clip.

First, the cinematography sucked. For most of it, the back and forth interaction between the football player and the actress looked like it was done at two different times in two different places, maybe even green screened. The restaurant scene in Heat looked better and it's been widely suggested for years that the scenes between Pacino and Deniro were done at different times.

Secondly, the acting sucked. The athlete we can forgive, it's not what he does. He may play a good game of f-ball, (hey, if you can say b-ball, I can say f-ball. deal.) but he probably doesn't aspire to be an actor. If he does, he's gonna need some lessons. But the actress... man, she stunk so bad. I have so many more talented female friends trying to get into showbusiness with little luck. While the meantime, this horrible waste of airspace gets by solely on her willingness to be naked. I wonder how many casting couches her rear has left impressions in.

Was the spot a big deal? I don't think so. Without taste? Yes, but I imagine so were many of the ads that aired during the game. Will I follow OneMillionDads.com's recommendation and file a complaint with the FCC? No, but can I file a complaint with SAG?

I don't think anything in that clip was that devastating or can't be seen anywhere else. You can see that much skin on an awards show, with an actress wearing a backless dress. You can see women in towels on any show. And I'm not sure that someone who hasn't heard of Desperate Housewives by now, or hasn't found the concept appealing would really be all that swayed. Maybe they'd check out an episode or two, but if anything, Sheridan's crap-crap-crappy acting would probably do more to turn people off, or cause them to TiVO it in hopes of seeing more racy stuff without having to hear her horrid line delivery.

Monday, November 15, 2004

France Raises Terror Alert Level

PARIS, Monday, Associated Press -- The French Government announced today that it has raised its terror alert level to "Hide."

The change in alert level was precipitated by the recent fire which destroyed one of their white flag factories, effectively disabling their military.

The French Terror Alert System contains four levels indicating successive levels of assessed threat by the La Ministrie de Securite ou La La. The safest level is Run, followed by Hide, then Surrender and when danger is strongly antipated, its highest rating is Collaborate.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Mourners swarm Arafat's coffin

MSNBC.com Â? Yasser Arafat was buried Friday in the West Bank headquarters where he had been held a virtual prisoner, accompanied by tens of thousands of emotional mourners.
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6402008/
 
I'm confused... did they bury tens of thousands of mourners or were tens of thousands of mourners also held as virtual prisoners?  This was MSNBC.com's top story in their morning e-mail.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

First you put 'em in a home...

...and then you never visit. Read the article above about a cheesy invention... the virtual hug.

No one's crying

I read somewhere that Arafat's death had set the blogging world on fire, that everyone was posting, everyone had an opinion. I checked and my blog was still cool, no sign of a fire. I figured I'd better not make the reporter a liar, so here's my post on Arafat. FINALLY! Ding dong, the bastard's dead. Do I believe peace is possible between Israel and Palestine? Eh, I'm undecided. Is it more possible now that Arafat is gone? Uh, yeah. It's, like, possible now. It sure wasn't when that a-hole was around siphoning off -- according to some reports -- aid money to the tune of as much as 6 billion dollars while letting "his people" continue to live in awful conditions that bred the kind of hostility and animosity that helped fuel the war against Israel while he jetted around meeting foriegn leaders pretending to want peace. Rot in hell, dude. There. There's some fire for you.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

What's grander than grand?

MGM Grand will have to change its name if/when MGM's CityCenter project goes through... it would make the current MGM Grand just MGM OK or MGM So-So or MGM Eh.

Sprint PCS gains another admirer...

not. New York.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Thanks, I'll Walk

A woman witnesses what she believes are terrorists doing a "dry run" at blowing up a plane. Their new method? Each terrorist carries a component of the bomb, by itself inert and not dangerous, often hidden in an electronic device or in plain sight. The bombs are assembled in the bathroom by successive visitors and then eventually detonated. This is the theory about how the two planes were blown up over Russia. There is a lot of interesting follow-up articles as well.

Monday, November 08, 2004

Eh, we don't need them...

Pixar's "The Incredibles" is Disney's best opening weekend for a movie ever. Fire Eisner already. Don't wait until he leaves on his own in 2006.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Right Thoughts on the Left

I thought this was pretty interesting, some other blog thoughts posted on MSNBC. Granted, the collection leans right in its assessment of the left, but I think something still rings true...

In short, most educated Americans have little sense of the texture and the complexity of working-class life, of its richness and satisfactions as well as its problems and discontents. And without an intimate and personal understanding of these things, it will always be profoundly difficult for liberals and progressives to convince working Americans that they should be trusted to represent workers' needs and interests in the political system.

During the 1930s, union organizers were taught never to blame the workers if an organizing campaign failed. 'It's not their fault for not understanding,' the organizers were instructed. 'It's your fault for not explaining it clearly enough.' It is a motto today's liberals and progressives would do well to hang on the walls of the political campaign war rooms in the elections of the coming years.

And perhaps on the walls of some leftist bloggers too.

America's left today is dominated by Hollywood and academia, and their values don't resonate with actual, American voters. What's more, if the Democratic Party did represent the views of actual American voters, it's values wouldn't mesh very well with those of Hollywood and academia. That's reality.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

No Wonder I Think My Vote is Worthless



Now it should be completely obvious why I'm advocating against voting. I took the poll at PresidentialGuidester.com (link above) that's designed to help you know how you lean. Apparently I don't lean. This wasn't me playing with the numbers until I got the result I wanted, this was me going down the list and answering the questions honestly and then submitting my results. And apparently I seek a moderate... hates abortions and guns, likes the environment and thinks the missle shield is stupid. I need to go find that political cartoon about the missile shield.

I read an article on MSNBC that said if the electoral college tied, then the House picks the President and the Senate picks the Vice President and we could end up with a Bush-Edwards presidency. Hey, if Cheney's out, then I'm much happier.

Block the Vote

Two little cliches always used to bug me.

  1. "Don't blame me, I voted for the other guy."
  2. "If you don't vote, it's a vote for the other guy."

Well, I'm not voting. I've used my Tivo to avoid watching any political ads, I've stayed away from the news channels and websites as best I could, have changed the channel when they began to discuss politics and I put on headphones and focus on my work when my colleagues begin to discuss politics at work.

And this is on the heels of a recent trip to DC where I came to a new level of appreciation about our country and what it stands for. That same level of appreciation does not extend to politics, especially in regards to the presidentail election where your vote doesn't count anyway so long as there's an electoral college and its votes are not split along the lines of the popular vote.

I believe the only power the president has is in who he or she appoints to the Supreme Court. It's been suggested that several will retire during the next four years, but if they want to be replaced by a specific leaning replacement, they'll just stay on and everything will be different again in four more years.

But in the meantime, can no one offer us a reasonable candidate? Both parties disgust me so much that you could consider my lack of a vote a protest.

Bruce, Dixies and the rest: Shut up. Your job is to entertain met. If you want to blather on about politics, go run for office. I don't need to think about your politics as I try to listen to your music. It taints it for me.
Any celebrity who has an accountant: Do your own taxes for a year before you try to tell me how to vote.
MTV: It doesn't matter who we choose, we've already lost.
Rock the Vote: Rock yourself.
Cheney: Go crawl under a rock and die. Then I will come jump on that rock and squish you.
Bush: I'm still ticked off about that lame thing you said after the superbowl last year. Way to be a uniter and president of the other 49 states. As they say on JibJab: Dumbass.
Kerry: No, YOU really scare me.
NBC: I have six million other choices for election coverage, including MSNBC and CBNC. Do us all a favor and show a Scrubs marathon tonight instead. Especially since everyone will have called the election before this side of the country even ends its work day.
Lawyers: Do us a favor and at least get it all wrapped up so that when a President is finally confirmed you don't have to make it retroactive to January 2005.

So, my responses to the cliches:

  1. I'm getting a bumper sticker, it's gonna read "Don't blame me, I didn't vote for either guy."
  2. I've heard this logic before and it's the dumbest thing I've ever heard. Are they going to call me and ask me who I would have voted for and then give the other candidate a vote? Derrrr.....

I would split my vote down the middle since both candidates have issues I support. (Why are gun control and abortion on opposite sides of the fence? That makes no sense.)

My advice is to spend the day watching "This Land" on www.jibjab.com. Then it will be truly obvious that we are damned if we do, damned if we don't.

DON'T VOTE!

Saturday, October 30, 2004

Random Kindness

Hey, big thank you to the guy driving through the parking lot at Home Depot and saw Lori and I about to lift a 4x8' piece of sheetrock onto the roof of the Santa Fe and turned down our row and stopped his truck, left it running with the door open to jump out and take Lori's end from her and help me maneuver the heavy sucker onto the roof before offering some polite wisdom reminding me about tieing down the front end and then driving away.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Another nail in Blockbuster's coffin...

Whenever we watch Comedy Central, we see ads for those self-standing machines that you walk up to and rent DVD's from. My wife wondered aloud "Would people actually use those things?"

Apparently McDonalds thinks so, it's planning to put them in 13,000 locations over the next few years.

Bye, bye, money

CNNfn announces its upcoming demise. (msnbc.com) When AOL and Time Warner there was a lot of things about it that I thought was stupid. But then there were some smart things, I thought, like the idea to rename CNNfn to CNN Money and create some more synergy with Money magazine, which Time Warner also owned. That kind of creative thinking must have come from AOL. Well, the idea was eventually nixed, and now the network itself prepares to be nixed in mid-December. CNN is also apparently ready to move Headline News away from its current format of 30-minute cycles of repeating news. Bummer. When I was in college, I had two TV's in my room, a big one and a little one. I always had the little one on much with Headline News on the screen.

And no more writing checks before you've got the cash in the bank... The Check Clearing for the 21st. Century Act goes into effect today. It will take years before everyone is on board, but we're going to see more and more companies treat checks like credit cards, deducting the money immediately. Which hopefully will mean fewer and fewer idiots at the grocery store with a million items who don't even start to fill out their checks until they see the total.

Acrosplat

Dear Adobe Software,

I don't know what your night job is, but please, please quit your day job. PDF is a horrible format. Or maybe it's not. But Adobe Acrobat Reader is a horrible program. It's more bloated than Microsoft Internet Explorer and Michael Moore combined. It's slow, drags the entire computer to a halt while it loads, and then it cumbersome, unintuitive and annoying to use.

But it gets worse. You also offer a program called Adobe Acrobat, a more full-featured program that you can use to to create PDF's. I'm sorry, but scissors and tape are better tools for page layout than Acrobat. Oh, and it's slower than molasses and more bloated than the Reader, Microsloth IE, the afforementioned player-hater/film-documentarian and a well known fat film critic thrown in for good measure.

But you don't stop there. You layer insult on top of injury. When I view a PDF off the internet, you insist on loading the entire Acrobat program. But when I open a PDF on my own computer, then you load the Reader. Where is the justice in that?

We, the public, would benefit strongly from you sending everyone home, selling off your products and closing up shop.

Thanks for your consideration.

Run, don't sprint

Your Get Out of Jail Card Has Arrived

Yes, you too, can get out of your Sprint PCS contract without paying early termination fees. I read of a man who filed a new complaint with the Better Business Bureau each time he dealt with Sprint PCS and was unhappy with the results. The complaints were legitimate, he wasn't trying to get free stuff, just trying to get problems resolved.

After three complaints, Sprint PCS finally told him he could cancel without paying the ETF. But, he took them at their word, failed to get it in writing, and then got charged it. When he threatened legal action, then they waived it.

So, get it in writing. But using the BBB to help you document your problem will result in your being able to get out of your contract, until Sprint PCS figures it out and finally refuses to even deal with the BBB at all.

...you must have suffering friends...pass this on to them...


Did someone say Sprint PCS sucks?

It's been awhile, but yes, Sprint sucks still.

Sprint PCS sucks in New York, Sprint PCS could care less about San Diego, Sprint PCS hates New York, Sprint PCS tells Chicago to stick it, Sprint PCS gives Austin the bird, Sprint PCS ignores Detroit, Sprint PCS laughs Chicago

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Kill me. Kill me now.

Imagine if your only source of news was this blog. You'd beg for death as an alternative to the boredom.

Imagine if you were driving a Segway from Seattle to Boston. Top speed? 10 miles an hour. Ok, sure, it's an interesting topic for an independent movie. But it sounds like agony. The bugs would buzz your head a bunch of times before landing on your teeth just to annoy you. And what if it broke down... can you imagine dragging one to a motel looking for a power outlet?

Sounds painfully dull, even if they did get a police escort in one city by that city's Segway-ized police patrol.

So, it's come to this...

Billboard introduces a new chart to track hottest selling ring tones. Lalalalalame.

Super TV

Sony's newest TV is wireless, and then some. It has two parts... a wired base that plugs into your internet connection and your DVD player, XBox, whatever. The other part is just a screen. But the screen finds the base wirelessly if you're at home, or by plugging into the internet if you're somewhere else. Then over you can surf the internet, or watch what's on your TiVO or DVD player, even if you're somewhere else in the world. Wow.

Monday, October 25, 2004

We want to be uglier!


Ugly!

Volvo, the maker of unfortunately unpleasant looking cars strives for a new high -- a three-seat ugly car. Or, worse yet, a two-seater that looks like they stole it from Minority Report.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Bad Eggs

costco evil barf barf barf. barf, barf. barf barf barf... barf. barf. barfbarfbarfbarf. coco's on lake ave. in pasadena also evil. bad fish two weeks ago. sucks.

Best disclaimer of the week (Verizon) Posted by Hello

Friday, October 22, 2004

Fraud - simpler is always better

It's come to this... just fudging the address a little bit and getting away with stolen goods. So simple it's sad.

Renters: They Might Bite

We came home this evening to find barricades with orange tape between them in the street in front of our house. We have a 60' tall tree and some big branches had broken, but were still hanging there. We just paid $2k to get the other tree removed, but this one was gonna have to wait until we got our tax refund. It was the night before I was to go to Virginia when I got a knock on the door and it was the neighbor from two doors down saying he was watering when he heard a loud crack. That was when we discovered the 20-30' tall branch that had broken and was just hanging there. Well, we pulled on it and I've pulled on it many times since then, but it's refused to come the rest of the way down. That night, by the light from the headlights of my car parked slightly on the grass, I was out there with the radial saw held over my head cutting off branches to make it lighter, but at least 20' remained still hanging there.

Well, we heard from the homeowner who's now living next door again that her psycho renters had said they had called the county about our tree, but that was a full month before that big branch broke, so I don't know if she had her timeline wrong or if it was about another large branch, but anyhow, there are barricades out there this morning, and there was no note on our door, so I don't know what they have planned. A power line for the street light goes through the tree, so I'm hoping they just plan to trim the tree a bunch. We left before anyone arrived this morning, thankfully.

I sent three pictures but so far this one is the only one that arrived, so if more random pictures of trees start appearing on here, that's what they're from.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

We're sorry we gave you freedom

This is a site with a bunch of people holding signs apologizing for the invasion of Iraq. The people pictured are funny, the captions making fun of them are funny. But what's really interesting is the comments posted below the pictures. While there are way too many to read, there are some pretty intelligent people posting stuff on there. Granted, they mostly lean right, but what else is interesting is that I think many of them are Australian.

Look who came to visit me at work! Posted by Hello

Be Gone, TV!

A clever little device that emits every known "power off" code for TV's. Almost as good as a cellphone jammer, I guess. But, wait until tomorrow to visit their website, they've run out of bandwidth for the day. Ooops.

Monday, October 18, 2004

Cell Phone Jamming

I loved this line from the article linked above. Makes me think it would be cool to get one. Could use it during the commute when the idiots around me can't stay in their lane or are waiting for the light to get greener before they take their foot off the brake. Just turn that sucker on and let them concentrate on their driving for awhile. (Or, they run into me because they're paying less attention as they try to get their call to go through.)
Commuters still buy mobile jammers to shut up chatty train passengers...

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Let it pour...

It's sprinkled a little this evening. At one point, the rain was pretty decent. But, I don't know how serious it is. Should I water, or will it pick back up overnight? I haven't seen rain in months, save one time we saw it out the office window but there was no trace of it by the time we went outside. I don't think it is currently raining, but this house is better insulated than the apartment was, so who knows? I do hear cars driving on wet pavement outside, so that's a good sign.

I feel really proud of myself. For some reason this morning, I looked at the coil of unused wire left over from my dishwasher project just about a year ago. And I stretched it out in the living room and it stretched all the way to the nursery. So I realized that this was in, in fact, enough wire to reach from the power outlets installed in the attic last March when the heater and air conditioner was installed. So I opened up the ceiling fan that we had purchased 14 months ago and laid all the pieces out and started looking over the instructions. It looked simple enough so I started some pre-assembly.

After Lori and the baby woke up, I measured the center of the living room. I drilled a small hole and pushed a garden stake up to see if there was any obstructions. Finding none other than insulation, I held up the mounting box, traced it, and then drilled lots of holes in the ceiling. Then I went out it with a hammer through the plastic and a box cutter through the drywall until I had a big enough opening. I put in a saf-t-brace and a saf-t-box, then I pushed up the wire until it was all looped in the attic and secured it to the box correctly with the pressure clamps. And then I proceeded to hang the ceiling fan. Heavy sucker, the box doesn't say how much, but I'd guess one of the heavier ceiling fans out there.

Part way through, I had to go to Home Depot because it didn't come with bulbs (cheap-os!) and then I came back, finished up assembly and then cut the power to the attic, climbed up and unscrewed the plate on the outlet. At that point, I became really thrilled with how the project was proceeding. The crew had used a plastic box and the outlet itself had open connections. I thought I was going to have to illegally tap into something in wirenuts, but instead, all I had to do was connect my wiring to the outlet. Screwed the panel back on, tacked down the new wiring -- as much as

(from home depot website) Posted by Hello

I could reach, since the heater pretty much makes it impossible to get to most of the attic now. Climbed back down, went out and turned the power back on and came in to see the light on and the fan spinning. Success. All told, probably 3-1/2 hours from start to finish, plus 30 minutes of clean-up. Still need to clean some of my tools and put them away, as well as take out the trash, but the living room is back to normal and the fan looks and works great. I am really proud of the job I did.

The fan is a Mission-style five-blade fan with a Tiffany-style lighted base. It gives the entire room a warm golden glow.

Yep, I can hear the rain now and the littlest cat is going crazy running around trying to figure out what it is.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Derrrrr..... we don't want your money

Ok, let me get this straight... Idaho, like many states, has a statewide lottery. They excuse it by saying that the money goes to schools, like many states. Now a school is offered $10,000 and turns it down to make a point? What point is that? That they like higher taxes? The school administrators suggest that gambling is wrong and that they want to set a good example for the students. I doubt most students care or understand, and that could buy a lot of paint to brighten up the place. (I'm just guessing, it seems like schools in general can always benefit from fresh coats of paint.) I still believe that gambling is a tax on those who are bad at math. And in Idaho, that's 70% of their population, according to lottery officials. Maybe the school should have taken the money and bought new math books.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Get Lost

This company makes mazes in cornfields. Kind of a clever way to make money.

Friday, October 08, 2004

There Is No One Superior To Me

I know I rail often against Sprint PCS because of how much they have sucked, continue to suck and always will suck, and I often tell you how phenomenal Verizon Wireless is. But, they are not without their faults, so it's only fair I relate a recent problem I had with Verizon Wireless. Happy Ending, but unhappy process.

I recently made a trip to the east coast. I knew that my plan only covered the west coast, so I called Verizon Wireless to find out if they had any plans that covered the entire country that was comparable to what I had. They described a plan to me and I said I'd confer with my wife and call back. Well, I did call back, and indicated that I wanted the plan. The operator confirmed and said it would start with the next billing cycle, two days into my trip. Fine, I had colleagues with national plans who said I could use their phones during the trip.

On the day we were to leave, I called Verizon Wireless to confirm that the new plan would be going into effect and they confirmed that it was. So I flew to Virgina and didn't use the phone for two days. On the new plan day, I began using my phone.

Imagine my surprise when I opened my e-mail and saw a bill for $36 more than I was expecting, and that all of it was out of area roaming. I was confused and annoyed so I called Verizon Wireless. They said they had no record of the call to place the order and the call the day of the trip I just asked general questions about roaming, according to the notes.

WTH? Uh, no. The woman was not that polite at all. I realized I was going to get nowhere with her and said "Ok, I guess I need to take it to the next level." and she said "You want to upgrade to a new plan?"

Uh, no. I said "No, I want you to transfer me to someone more superior." To which she replied "Sir, there is no one more superior, but I will transfer you to a manager." I'd swear I couldn't believe my ears, but yes, that is indeed what she said. Manager came on not too long later, I related the entire story again, she credited me the full amount and hooked me up with the other plan.

Happy Ending, but by did that first representative suck.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

eBay - The Perpetual Fraud

Tiffany's is suing eBay because they say that eBay knowingly profits in counterfeit Tiffany Products and in fraudulent auctions that purport to have Tiffany products for sale.

My Witness

I guess I'd make a good witness. This story from Lori says that people in bad moods are more likely to recall accurate details than those in good moods.

Go, Speedracer, Go

My wife frowns, but I thought this was kinda cool... maybe because I could live vicariously through it... guy gets ticket for doing 205 MPH on a motorcycle. Some people are saying his bike couldn't do that speed, but the guy did work at a motorcycle shop, so he may have modified it.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

How To Write a Book

This is a pretty cool link that has lots of resources for writing, including a guide to pretty much every possible outline for a dramatic story.

Buh-bye, Mike

This is belated, but Michael Eisner is leaving Disney in 2006. Woo hoo!

Oops


A Ferrari GTB 308 sits under a collapsed carport damaged by Hurricane Jeanne Sunday Sept. 26, 2004 at a mobile home park in Port St. Lucie, Fla. (AP Photo/David Adame)

(from Lori who asks "What was a Ferrari doing at a mobile home park?")
 Posted by Hello

How about a mint-dispenser?

Cell phone that tells you if you have bad breath.

Now that they're doing camera phones, maybe you need one that tells you about that piece of spinach you have stuck in your teeth before you take the call from a prospective date.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Google Browser?

Hints abound that Google may be introducing its own browser.

Not Your Father's Ant Farm

Scientists are studying termite mounds to find new techniques for managing climates in skyscrapers.

Smells Like Cancer

Urine sniffing dogs can detect cancer. Amazing how this stuff all works together. God gives dogs noses much fancier than us and we find we can get the dogs to do something useful while performing a task they most likely enjoy anyhow and one we would kill ourselves if asked to perform.

To Space, and Beyond!

SpaceShip One wins the X-Prize while NASA again delays Space Shuttle's return to space.

Sunday, October 03, 2004

Why Disney Will Continue Sucking

Eisner's replacement choice says that no pixar deal is likely. I don't understand. Why is Eisner then even bothering to step down? Because he's chosen someone who won't show him up by raising the studio from the ashes?

Friday, October 01, 2004

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Comedic Irony

John Stewart's audience is more educated than Bill O'Reilly's. ha.

Friday, September 24, 2004

Hi, My Dad's a Doofus

Tonight's bit of sadness comes from Lori who sends the link (above) depicting a 3-year-old on her daddy's shoulders crying. Why is she crying? Someone tore up her Bush-Cheney sign at a rally.

Oh. It was a Kerry-Edwards rally.

Ok, so maybe Lori has a point when she asks "What, do only Democrats get to exercise the freedom of speech?"

But I also have to think that maybe her dad is a royal frigging idiot. What did he expect? People that go to rallies are pretty rabid to begin with. A torn-up sign is pretty bad, but I imagine there were some in the crowd who were saying stuff pretty inappropriate for a child to hear (and I don't mean Kerry blahing on about something) and I've heard of people getting beat up at those rallies.

Don't take your "Go Green Bay" sign to a Raiders game and think you're teaching your daughter a lesson, dude.

Are Poker Bots Ripping You Off?

Well, why are you wasting money playing poker online? If it's not computers programmed to play poker, then it's all the other people at the table telling each other what they have and all collaborating against you. If you want to lose money so bad, go ahead and just give it to me. I guarantee you have a zero percent chance of ever seeing the money again.

Pile the rocks

Parents and family members are told of a plane crash and the deaths of two Forest Service employees, only to hear the news days later that the two had walked away from the crash and walked two and a half miles to a freeway. The plane crash had been so bad that the rescuers had trouble counting bodies (they were looking for five) and when the two walked away, they left no indication that there had been anyone alive at the scene. One of the guys had a fractured spine, even. That's determination. They walked away because they stayed overnight with a third survivor but he died and they decided not to wait not knowing when someone would come looking for them.

But bottom line, if you survive a catostrophic event where people might be looking for you later, leave some indication that you survived.

Christians Have No Imagination

There, I've said it. Did I tick you off? Good. There's a chance this post will get me some new readers even. But, I'm sorry. Is there no creativity or originality in the bunch? I work at a mega-church and I try to study other churches, especially mega-churches. Everywhere you look, all people are doing is (a) ripping off popular culture or (b) ripping off other churches.

Granted, in the second case, someone somewhere had an original thought to begin with before it got ripped off, but you can collect a bunch of Christian cliches, add some Biblical references, some insight and BAM! best-seller. Doesn't help if you're at a well-known church to begin with.

But, far worse is the first case. While I don't normally watch South Park (anymore), I did see one not too long ago where Cartman and the other kids had a bet as to who could get a platinum album first. The other kids practiced and practiced while Cartman took songs that had been popular in past decades and just changed every instance of "baby" to "Jesus". Quite clever, and a great example of what I'm talking about.

I'm tired of seeing permutations and adjustments to popular slogans, skewed pop culture references and tweaked corporate logos. I mean, anyone who knows me knows I love the Warhol effect - taking an object and repeating it with changes, or in a different medium and then tiling the image to show the changes. And I'm all for a great parody (The News was the best, the Mad TV does some good ones sometime. SNL, not so much.)

But I don't think the intent of these Christians is to parody. I think the intent is to draw from what people are already familiar with, and then using the "making it relevant" argument as an excuse to shortcut the process and in the meantime, to put it as bluntly as I can, steal from companies who have invested to develop a brand, come up with a tagline and to promote and market their message.

There is a difference between being relevant and just plain theft and it's time Christians stop being lazy and either make decent and logical connections between the secular material they're drawing from or come up with an original idea of their own.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Britney, this is your life...

This is a funny look at what Britney's future will probably hold. It all seems very plausible, too. Time capsule this, quick!

Monday, September 20, 2004

Ready, Set, Diet

It's somewhat annoying that the article seems to think that only women diet. But it's interesting on why some people have such a hard time dieting. Makes me think of something I said recently... "People say 'Hey James, how come it seems like you're always on a diet.' To which I have to respond 'Because I'm so bad at it.'"

Seriously, I'd like to lose some weight. Even had a doctor recently tell me I needed to shed 20 pounds. But it seems nearly impossible. There is always snacks at work.

I've recently started to realize that if I don't have the cookie, there will be cookies again in the future. This isn't the last cookie on earth. But that usually only applies to the second or third cookie. I'm starting to be able to pass it up, but most of the time, I just don't want to. I want to have that cookie, that brownie, that piece of cake. Sadly, sometimes there's an "and" in that statement.

I may overall be making some headway, but I am always looking for an excuse to snack, and I have one of the world's sweetest tooths, teeth, whatever. But I'm not serious. I'm never serious. Perhaps that's my problem.

Sunday, September 19, 2004

And they get paid for it...

The government is employing hackers to show companies and local, state and federal governmental organizations how insecure their systems are. That seems like it'd be a pretty good job if you had the skills, er, I mean, skilz.

Friday, September 17, 2004

Yeah, but does it have a hemi?

ITEC introduces its new 9 foot tall, 8 foot wide and 21-1/2 foot long $100,000 pickup truck. Oh, and it gets 9 miles to the gallon of diesel.

Stamptastic

Following up my previous post about how The Smoking Gun ordered and received stamps of some infamous people, Stamps.com is now only letting you do animals and kids. Maybe Smoking Gun should try Kujo or the evil Siamese cats from Lady and the Tramp.

The Sound of Irony

Turns out that loud music probably causes lung collapse. Would it be bad to hope that it happens to that jerk in the black Nissan Senta with the banged up door?

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Peanut Butter, the Mob and a Comic

An interesting article about a man, a comic strip, the IRS, the mob, and more. Makes the legal battles that guy has with Coke pale in comparison. Of course, it's the family's version of events. And not that easy to follow.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

A Pinch Before Death

Much of the article is devoted to talking about four men executed in China for embezzlement from major financial institutes, but almost as an afterthought the article mentions that China executes somewhere between 5,000 to 10,000 people a year, more than the rest of the world, combined. Including Texas!*

Most of the time, it's a shot to the back of the head, though they're "experimenting with lethal injections" and that most are for murder, but in some cases, it's been as minor as butt-pinching.

Dang.

(*Had to throw that in for my Bush hating friends.)

Monday, September 13, 2004

All Hail the Inventor of the Wipe

Wipes are great. We have baby wipes for the baby, we have dog wipes for the dog. They are, of course, used a little differently. On the dog they are used all over her coat to shampoo off dirt and leave the coat glossy. I have four different kinds of wipes for my car alone... one for windows, one for the dash, one for the leather seats and my favorite, the car wash wipe, which you can use to wipe down the outside of the car. They promise a shine as good as a carwash, but I'd need a lot of wipes as we have these sucky trees in our front yard that drip sticky stuff and drop leaves all the time. I do not recommend the Armorall brand of window wipes found with the car supplies at Target. They don't seem to work too well, or they dried out or something. I think Clorox and Windex also make brands that I intend to try next. But they are good for quickly wiping away a level or two of grime inbetween car washes.

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Angry Dad

This site kinda sucks; it's about a dad going through a divorce and attempting to get custody of his children (I think). In any case, he's a really good writer.

Puppy Shoots Man

A man shooting puppies he couldn't find homes for was himself shot by one of the puppies who he was holding as it squirmed. He's now facing felony animal cruelty. The puppy is facing felony assault. Irony? The puppy's sentence would carry 7 times the penalty as the man's.

Saturday, September 11, 2004

What took them so long?

One day before the third anniversary of 9/11/2001, the insurers responsible for paying out for the destruction of the trade towers are suing the airlines for their negligence. Darn straight!

Friday, September 10, 2004

Lemoncineration

Seventy thousand dollars worth of lemons were incinerated based on an anonymous e-mail alleging that they contained chemicals planted there by terrorists. They were incinerated because they had been frozen, tested, and held on a boat off the US coast for at least a week and were no longer edible. But the lemons were coming from Argentina and bound for Montreal. If we're so worried about our ports and the difficulty securing them, why aren't we telling the lemon farmers to ship their goods directly to Canada? Would cut down on traffic, too. There's nothing quite like a truck that's lost of load of lemons all over the freeway. I've seen it. I've driven through it. It's not fun.

Sunday, September 05, 2004

Neighborhood Kids

I came out tonight after doing some work in the backyard to see the neighborhood kids sweeping up all the leaves that had fallen off our giant trees into the street. Odd, I thought. So I said hi to one of them. He asked if it was ok that he was taking our leaves. He and his sister had gotten it into their heads that it would be really fun to jump into a giant pile of leaves, so they were sweeping all the leaves down the street and into their lawn. I offered him a better broom, but he declined. Sadly enough, apparently his parents got wind of it because the leaves are still in front of my house. Just now nicely swept into a large pile. Ah, the innocence of kids. Wonder if I can get them to do that every week.

Objective Offensiveness

The Smoking Gun thought it was just wrong that you could order postage stamps with pictures of your choosing on them, but moreso, they were intrigued that inappropriate stamps would be denied. So, they decided to see what was considered inappropriate. It's amusing and surprising what made it through and onto custom postage stamps.

First Bell

This is reprinted from my friend Kevin's website (link above) because I just thought it deserved as many people as possible seeing it. Not sure I can claim that many readers, but if it's another chance to get onto a search engine, or if someone visits here who doesn't visit his site and has a chance to read it, well, then that's why I reposted it.

September 1st in Russia isn't a holiday, but it is significant. It's a different way of thinking, but to them the first day of the school year holds more meaning than the last day of the previous year. Beginnings are emphasized over endings. The first day of school, known simply as "First Bell," is a day to recognize the next step in a child's development. But September, as we keep learning, might not be the best month for optimistic thoughts.

A team of Chechnyan rebels, armed with guns and wired to explosives similar to the suicide bombers of the middle east, seized control of a school. Militant separatists bent on becoming martyrs to their own cause of freedom for their people. It won't work, of course. It will end badly for many, perhaps all.

Children, teachers, and school staffers sit huddled inside the school, waiting for the fireworks to begin. Past experience teaches us much. The images of a crowded theater lined with bodies of both terrorists and their innocent victims are tough to forget. Vladimir Putin, former KGB agent, rules Russia with an iron fist, if not an iron curtain. Death looms large over the more than 350 hostages.

But the big news in the United States is not about terrorists or hostages or even the Republican National Convention. Our top story tonight is the dismissal of Kobe Bryant's rape charges. I'm sure historians will debate the outcome of Mr. Bryant's rape trial for decades, whereas a silly thing like ethnic warfare in the eastern hemisphere won't even merit a footnote.

In a situation which makes Columbine look like a Norman Rockwell painting, American media chose to lightly gloss over it, then moved on to an in depth and compelling debate about Kobe's future in the NBA. That, my friends, is why THEY hate us. That, dear people, is why America faces another painful anniversary in a week's time. Our ignorance and our lack of shame make us the most disgraced nation since WWII Germany. And to think, we don't even have to kill anybody to be despised... our apathy and ego are more than enough.

Since we claim to be fighting a war on terrorism, and we seemingly have no problem setting foot on foreign soil uninvited, why aren't we in Beslan, Russia right now? Why aren't we in Moscow, dethroning Putin and installing a regime who recognizes the rights of Chechnyans? Why aren't we in Chechnya installing a government that can contain the violent extremists of their citizenry? Why aren't we in North Korea, fighting a genuine threat of actual, proven-to-exist nuclear weapons of mass destruction? Why aren't we in Libya, capturing or even assassinating its leader who has claimed responsibility for the deaths of scores of Americans? Why aren't we in Arafat's bunker with a force of special ops. agents to muzzle that outdated son of a bitch before he opens his fat face again? Why aren't we in Israel, commanding the Israelis to heed the teachings of their most sacred religious texts which teach of love and forgiveness and charity and compassion?

But we don't go to these places and we won't do these things because we aren't fighting a war on terror. And we can't televise global tragedies which don't directly impact Joe American because it would only serve to remind us how cold and self serving the United States really is. So we hug mom, we eat apple pie, we interrupt our regularly scheduled program to bring you breaking news about Kobe Bryant's penis, and we go to bed feeling safe and smug. Which is all well and good as long as the victimized children aren't American so we don't have to pretend to care, because let's be honest, we only barely care when they are American children.

Foreign boys and girls, dressed in their brightest white shirts and blouses and their cleanest black pants and skirts, carrying backpacks and sack lunches, attending their first day of school, only to be threatened at gunpoint by men so desperately misguided they actually believe the murder of children might force us... westerners... Americans... to take notice... to intervene. Hell, we don't even interrupt "Fear Factor" for something that trivial.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

The Source of Freedom

"I believe all these things because freedom is not America's gift to the world, it is the Almighty God's gift to every man and woman in this world."
The RNC was on TV tonight when I came home and they were waiting for President Bush to accept the nomination. I didn't turn it on and I expected to be bored, but I ended up thinking that it was a really well written speech. I thought it ran the gammut, from deadly serious to light-hearted and self-depreciating. I thought some stuff was wading a little deep into you know what, and some of it was really reaching to put a good spin on some stuff that fell pretty flat, but overall, I liked it. I thought it was even funny how in one instance he put himself next to President Clinton and had Kerry opposing both of them.

Who knew?

Well, let me say welcome! Now that there are ads on the side of the page, I can tell that a couple of people are actually reading. (No, I don't know who you are... feel free to post comments.)

I am amused that in my post about weight and cookies that it was cookies that it triggered into and all the ads were for cookies. I wonder how it chooses to pick that over other things on the page like Sprint PCS or drunk driving.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Legitimate Blamethrowing

I realized this morning that my struggle with my weight is not entirely my own fault. I can shift some of the blame to my parents.

I realized that growing up, we rarely had snacks, sweets or desserts. So when they were available to me, I consumed like there'd never be another cookie, never be another chocolate cake. Probably why I had that cookie eating contest with that kid during the church raising party. I lost; I stopped eating after 110 cookies. Amazing that I wasn't puking my guts out later that night. Must have been small cookies. And in retrospect, who over-estimated that much on cookies and left them in the room with the kids?

But so now, even to this day, I struggle... when I see sweets (of which there are often lots) here on campus, I must have some. There will never been sweets again.

I made a bit of a breakthrough last night... I had the option to have another brownie and I did not. I know that there will be more brownies when I get home tonight, so I didn't take any with me to work, either. And if the brownies all get eaten, I have the potential and the ability, should I so desire, to drive to the store, buy more brownies, mix up the contents, eat some raw brownie goop and then cook some more.

But I also have the power to be patient... there will be more brownies.

Small steps, right?

Now that's GOTTA hurt

Darwin by association... Lori sent me the link of two buddies who went out drinking. Well, they were pretty hammered and one guy wasn't feeling well, so they set out for home. The sick guy's got his head out the window and the driving of the other guy's not helping matters. Especially when he goes off the road, right next to a support wire for a telephone pole. Well, the support wire neatly slices off the guy's head and the side mirror of the truck. The other guys finishes the drive home, goes inside and passes out. His buddy's headless body's sitting in the truck (some poor guy walking his dog sees it the next day) and the head is 12 miles away lying next to the telephone pole. This is why it's so important to have a designated driver. Or at least why you need to pull over and stop the vehicle when someone needs to blow chunks.

Saturday, August 28, 2004

Where have all the Eagles gone?

This morning "Sweet Home Alabama" came on the radio after I left Home Depot with a $15 drill bit. $15 dollars for a 12" long 1/2" wide piece of steel that happens to have a groove in it. Unreal. Oh well. I used it to drill a hole into the side of my house and with luck, I might need to use it again someday before I lose it.

Anyhow, I turned the song way up and it sounded great. You can count on the Eagles for consistently great music. Maybe it's because only their better stuff gets played on the radio, because I know people would say "What about..." and name off an Eagle song they don't like.

But the music is good. The band members had talent and fun. Take songs like "Boys of Summer" or "All She Wants to Do is Dance" by Don Henley. Those are great songs. They take you back. But, if you think really hard about those songs, they were great when they first came out. It's not nostalgia that makes them great, or even the memories of where you were in life when those songs got regular radio airplay. I'm convinced that they were just great songs, hands down.

But, unfortunately, Don Henley got older and now writes crummy stuff that is too full of politics or too much about his family life. I have a family and I love them. And I have political opinions, too. But why should I pay some entertainer to go on and on about something. Fricking shut up and entertain me already. Don't sucker me by making me think I'm buying entertainment only to find out it's mindless drivel. I don't care about your opinion. Or anyone else's when it comes to politics. That's why I don't watch cable news talk shows. The songs of them that Henley sings now do not make me want to open the sunroof and turn up the stero really loudly.

So my question is this... in today's homogenized world of four gigantic media companies controlling the music catalogs and three or four giant media companies controlling all the radio stations, does good music exist anymore? There are songs here and there that I like, but are there any really good consistent artists left? I'm talking the kind of music that makes you feel good to be alive, but isn't up with people. The kind of music that celebrates a beautiful woman or women but isn't a soft-core porn come on. The kind of music that says "summer" but isn't the window rattling crap our dumbass drug dealing neighbors and their custom.. uh, friends play all day long as they drive by in their low-riders?

And does such a radio station exist that would give airtime to such music? KLOS and Arrow 93 are probably good bets, but they do more to celebrate the Eagles in their better day, with my limited time in the car, I wouldn't know if either even play anything new.

Maybe they'll just drink it...

Thieves in Canada abscond with 50,000 cans of Moosehead beer...

Saturday, August 21, 2004

Bees Just Wanna Have Fun

Wow... a quarter-ton of honeycomb... kids in L.A. recently thought it would be fun to throw rocks at a 500 pound beehive in the walls of an apartment complex. The next thing anyone knew, there was a lockdown for four blocks while they waited for the 120,000 angry bees to settle down before they were all killed. But not before firefighters, news reporters, a TV camera man and others were stung. Ooops. Thanks to Lori for this funny story.

God Bless the USA

I had the opportunity tonight to wander around many of the monuments in Washington, DC. I was awestruck by the beauty and size of some of the monuments. I also felt like the rest of the country is somewhat cheated by so many monuments being concentrated in one place. While impressive, it seems like it would be kind of nice to spread them out around the country. We started by driving close to the Pentagon before stopping at the Jefferson Memorial. Then we parked close to the Washington Monument, but could only see it from the distance because it was all closed off. We walked to the WWII memorial, through the Vietnam Memorial -- which was mostly dark because they were doing "lighting improvements" to the Lincoln Memorial. Then we walked to the White House, but it was the wrong side and we were too tired to walk around to the other side. Just so I could say that I did it, I tossed a dime onto the White House lawn. As we were passing the White House in our rental car on the way back out of the city, fittingly, "God Bless the USA" came on the radio.

Friday, August 20, 2004

Sprint PCS sucks. Duh.

Kansas City, Dallas, and Atlanta.

Bears Just Wanna Have Fun

Lori sent me the above link of a bear who was found passed out after having happened on coolers of beer and consumed many beers. I think it's funny that the bear preferred one brand over another and that he was able to tell the cans apart. Apparently he preferred Ranier, a western Washington state beer whose motto is "It's the water." Or it was when I was growing up. But maybe that just means that the bear was looking for water and this particular beer tasted the most like water? Ranier was never known as a good beer... it was the kind my roommate in college would drink in the 40oz variety after he had consumed enough of the good stuff that it was now just the pursuit of relaxation.

Open letter to our nations' leaders

I don't know if either of you have had children, but my wife just recently gave birth to a beautiful little girl. When she cries, it just really tugs at me and makes me want to cry. And that's just even when she's just hungry or fussy or bored or tired or just because she feels like it. When
she cries because she's in pain, you just want to die.

It seems to me like supporting the Unborn Child Pain Awareness act is a no-brainer.

As a child, I remember going with my mom on two different occasions to have cats put to sleep. It was very sad, but I know that they were tranquilized in the process, so to them, it just felt like they were falling asleep. They weren't in pain and, well, being cats, probably didn't think much about whether they were going to wake up or not.

But the point being, surely if we're going to end the life of a human (or nearly-human, depending on your point of view), surely we ought to give the same option of pain relief as we give to pets.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

The Best Music Video... EVER!

You have to at least watch this once in your life. It's David Hasselhoff's video for a catchy song. But the video is so bad you'll wonder what you're smoking...

Today a truck cut me off on the freeway and then stayed in front of me blocking my view of the road. I thought he was a real a-hole. When he finally did start moving over, I could see that the problem was he was on his car phone. Not his cell phone, but an actual phone the size of my shoe with a cord attached. That makes him even more of an a-hole, but I felt a little better about the situation, realizing he was out of his element being in this decade.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Now I have to be interesting?

I actually went to visit my own blog tonight to see what kind of ads were at the top, what with me mentioning caskets and costco and the like. And what do I find? The ads are gone, and in there place is this fancy "Next Blog" button that takes me to a randomly recently updated blog.

Which means others might actually now see my blog. Welcome!

Anyhow, you've probably already seen this, but if you've not, check out www.jibjab.com for a very funny political parody. I've had to watch it several times now and the song has been stuck in my head for two days. Wonderful, imaginative stuff. And the voices, well done as well.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Yeah, but they come shrinkwrapped in packs of six...

Costco begins selling caskets.

There's gotta be two or three more good jokes here... like "Available in XL, XXL and XXXXL" or "Yeah, but you gotta also purchase the Costco burial plan... you get a prime spot under the parking lot."

As always, your suggestions are welcome. (Which is seeming to prove that Kevin is my only reader.)

Monday, August 16, 2004

Sunday, August 15, 2004

James Lamb buys a house

I should ask them for money, having the same name and all. I bet my next house will cost that much and be smaller than this one.

Friday, August 13, 2004

What do you call...

Lori wants to know... If a person who commits a felony is a felon, what is someone who commits a misdemeanor?

A misdemeaner? A misdemon? As always, comments welcome...

Let me get this straight...

Microsoft's Windows XP isn't as secure as they thought. If you leave it connected to a high speed internet connection all the time, it's at risk for virus infection. So, Microsoft is releasing a major fix to make the computer more secure. If you want it, you have to leave your computer on and connected to the internet. Durrrrrr....

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Bring on the rings...

A great editorial on what makes the games great and why many of the complaints against the Olympics are poorly presented and in the author's opinion, wrong.

Let me get this straight...

We write a constitution for Japan denouncing war and then make them sign it. And now we're encouraging them to denounce that? No wonder they're confused and annoyed with us.

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Oops, they did it again....

Turns out that these RFID (Radio Frequency ID tag) have a flaw... someone's shown how it's possible to reprogram the tags so that when they're rung up by the register, they appear as an entirely different, much cheaper item. There are ways to prevent this, but it's interesting to show how quickly people will find a way around your brand new shiny technology.

Funny anti-Bush ad

While it may be a low blow to do a SNL-style parody of a President during a campaign cycle, this is still funny. And it looks like they purposefully made Will Ferrel look less like Bush than they did when he was on SNL. While you'd have to be dumb to think it was actually Bush, I also don't understand how you can be informed by the skit. But, it did make me laugh quite a bit.

Wow... blast from the past...

I cannot believe it. The Spot is back. I never really paid much attention to The Spot this first time around and now it will probably appeal to me even less, but it's just weird, because The Spot was one of the first websites out there when Netscape was first released and people could suddenly see the internet in color instead of just all texty with Linx. I mean, we're talking very very very early internet. Back when I was still in college. Wow. Welcome back, The Spot. (If only the glory days would come back and I could get back my excessively over-paid internet jobs.)

Where all the aliens at, yo?

Scientists are beginning to wonder if there really are aliens, and if so, why haven't they been able to find any proof. I did like the concept that 'an absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.' But, like so many have said all along, why on [planet name here] would any intelligent creature want to communicate with us? Besides, haven't the scientists seen Mars Attacks or Independence Day? It's better that the aliens are leaving us alone. (While I'm not sold on the whole idea that aliens exist, I'll keep an open mind. God never claimed to have told us everything, He could have other worlds out there.)

I did like how Men in Black played with scale, showing the really tiny solar system on a cat's collar and the really big aliens to whom our planets were the size of marbles.

In related news, I went to Wendy's the other day. I know the old lady is lone since passed away and even Dave Thomas himself is RIP, but seriously (or ironically), where's the beef?!?!?!

Saturday, August 07, 2004

TroubleClick or DoubleIck

When we were at Warner Bros., we used a program called Netgravity to serve all of our ads. Then DoubleClick bought it. We never oculd figure out which way we preferred to refer to them. We had dealt with them previously and they were always difficult to work with. Anyhow, recently hackers attacked DoubleClick and because so many sites use DoubleClick, it made a lot of sites inaccessible. Ha!

Ruining my good name

James Lamb, the lawyer

Thursday, August 05, 2004

Starbucks called...

...they wanted to know if they could place a location in my living room and another in my dining room.

I know, old joke that I made up that probably only amuses me.

But I stopped at Target this morning (wardrobe malfunction) and noticed that it now has a Starbucks. But the Starbucks didn't have any customers and the whole two cashiers that they had in the Target part had lines so they made the Starbucks barista go work a Target register. That's when I noticed that she had the same Target nametag. So I guess it must be some sort of franchise arrangement, like how when you go to the McDonalds at Disneyland they have Disneyland nametags.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Rape or Love II - Don't Involve Cousins


Advertising Irony Posted by Hello
So Mary Kay isn't the only one who likes them young. Of course, Debra Beasley Lafave doesn't just like the young 'uns but has questionable taste in the choice of magazines she poses for.

The article also says that at one point, the boy's 15-year-old cousin drove her SUV around while she and the boy were having sex in the back. What assurances did she have that the 15-year-old wouldn't rat them out? Did she do the cousin any favors or give cash or gifts?

I probably wouldn't have even mentioned this story on here if not for the unfortunate choice of advertising banners NBC's slapped up top the photo gallery. (Still nothing tops Breckin Meyer, hands clasped behind his head with a phrase like "Life is good" stuck to the top of every page on MSNBC.com on 9/11/01 for several hours.)

Rape or Love - Get a Room

I've been following the Mary Kay Letourneau story (she had an affair with a 12-year old, went to jail, got out of jail, got caught having sex with him again and then went back to jail, just got out today) with amusement over the years because I went to Jr. High in Silverdale, Wash. and had teacher named Kathy Letourneau and have always wondered if they were sisters.

I was always amused, too, that they got caught the second time... in her car! I mean, ok, so he was young, but she was old enough to know to... oh, I don't know... get a room? Find a more secluded location?

The kid is now 21 and his mom is raising his two daughters and he's working on his GED and is unemployed. You'd think with her locked up behind bars that maybe he'd have a chance to focus on his studies.

I was also amused at the boys outside the correctional center holding signs saying "I'm 18. Take me home!" when she was released. Now there's either something wrong with them, or way to go all the way for a joke.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

What Not to Say: Traffic Stop

I imagine that if you were pulled over for speeding and the officer asked "Where's the fire?" it would probably not be a good idea to say
  1. In my pants!
  2. Do I look like a freakin' firefighter?
  3. In the bushes about a mile back.
  4. Woah! Nice mustache! If I were a firefighter, all we'd need to find was a construction worker and an indian.

Ok, some decent, some not so good. What might you wish you could say? Post a comment.

Monday, August 02, 2004

Terrorists and Money

I was going to post earlier about the lightest terrorist threats against Citibank, Prudential, the New York Stock Exchange, etc., but hadn't had time. And then this article came along, which I think is pretty interesting.

Targeting a company like Citibank, Prudential, etc., would be a tragedy, in that people would be killed. To those who would lose loved ones, or to those permanently disabled, it's a big, awful, sad deal. I don't mean to diminish or downplay that by what I have to say. I want to be respectful.

But in every other regard, I think any such attack would do so little to affect us financially. While there is inherent value in the employees of a company like Citibank, a lot of its value is in its ability to conduct business, make deals, move money, etc. All computerized. One of the last non-computer steps is checks, but by late October, even that will be computerized. In the event that Citibank's headquarters were attacked, redundant systems elsewhere would immediately kick in and within hours (or minutes) the internal machine would be back to business as usual.

The NYSE's announcement that they intend to start letting computerized trades function in the same way as traders on the trade floor echoes that same trend. I'm pretty sure if the NYSE were attacked, a new trading floor could be up and running within 48 hours.

I think we would treat it just like any other attack. We'd get ticked off, vote the candidate who had the more aggresive pro-war campaign [back] into office and give the terrorists more ammunition for their recruiting package. Personally, I believe that ultimately a war on terrorism could be won, but it would be a very bloody battle for both sides, with lots of blood shed here in the US.

(P.S. For you conspiracy theorists out there, it's rumored that Citibank has a warehouse full of blue money standing by should anything happen to the US green money.)

Friday, July 30, 2004

Pepper Spray or Catwoman?

These two got pepper sprayed after refusing an off-duty officer's request that they hang up their phone as the movie began.

Imagine the smart ones...

If these guys were clever enough to steal brand new 70 cars worth $1.8 mil but stupid enough to park them all at a housing project, then imagine what kind of damage real criminals can do with identity theft. 

Terrorists to disrupt elections?

What are they going to do?  Find the seven people who plan to bother voting and prevent them from voting?

All they would do is cause us to want to vote more.  We don't care, until we're told we can't do something.   Then we'll prove we can. 

We're big, but we're slow... until we get prodded.   Kind of like a lumbering bear, I guess.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Money Might Have Decreased 9/11's Impact

This is an amazing minute by minute account of the morning of 9/11/2001 and how things could have been different.