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.
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.