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Lyons, NY, people
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Books in which
inclusion here is
People I Know
"The only blog we have to fear is blog itself."
Thursday, December 30, 2004
|How Did Animals Escape Tsunami?|
Wild animals seem to have escaped the Indian Ocean tsunami, adding weight to notions they possess a sixth sense for disasters, experts said Thursday.
|Iraq 2004 Looks Like Vietnam 1966:|
Generational contrasts are implicit today when casualties in Iraq are referred to as light, either on their own or in comparison to Vietnam. The Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, for example, last July downplayed the intensity of the Iraq war on this basis, arguing that "it would take over 73 years for U.S. forces to incur the level of combat deaths suffered in the Vietnam war."Obviously making such comparisons are fraught with difficulty. But still, there's little that's hopeful in this analysis. It's just the degree of "bad."
|After Washington State Republican gubernatorial candidate Dino Rossi suggested a revote after apparently losing by 129 votes:|
"This ain't golf. No mulligans allowed here, folks," said [Democratic candidate Christine] Gregoire's spokesman, Morton Brilliant. "It's irresponsible to spend $4 million in taxpayer money on a new election just because you don't like losing this one.""Morton Brilliant"? C'mon!
What is he, one of those pre-Beatles British pop stars managed by Larry Parnes (whose roster included Tommy Steel, Johnny Gentle, Billy Fury, Dickie Pride, and Georgie Fame)?
Wednesday, December 29, 2004
|This is from an article that appears to have been published on December 14:|
Volcanic landslides that generate huge and devastating tsunamis tend to occur during historically warmer times on Earth, a new study suggests. Scientists don't know exactly why, but since the global climate is warming as you read this, the apparent connection was tossed out this week as a reason for scientists to be concerned about the threat now.Although it's describing a "megatsunami" caused by a volcanic landslide instead of an earthquake, and a destructive phenomenon even worse that what was seen in the Indian Ocean, some of the "warning signs" mentioned seem rather prophetic with hindsight.
Regardless of the coincidence, we in the U.S. would be smart to heed the conclusion (made, please remember, weeks before the current tragedy):
So should we worry? "Maybe," says McMurtry. He thinks that a tsunami, which can race across an entire ocean in a matter of hours, is a real threat to urbanized coastlines. Other experts agree that a large tsunami would be bad news for, say, Los Angeles or New York City. And tsunamis are not parochial. One originating in Alaska in 1964 killed people in California and generated damaging surges clear down in Chile.
|Porn On Christmas Morn:|
A northeast Ohio family hoping to see choirs perform holiday music on Christmas morning instead saw adult programming on the local public access television station.Santa's a complicated man.
|The BitTorrent Effect:|
"All hell's about to break loose," says Brad Burnham, a venture capitalist with Union Square Ventures in Manhattan, which studies the impact of new technology on traditional media. BitTorrent does not require the wires or airwaves that the cable and network giants have spent billions constructing and buying. And it pounds the final nail into the coffin of must-see, appointment television. BitTorrent transforms the Internet into the world's largest TiVo.As the article points out, the clip of Jon Stewart on Crossfire was probably seen by upwards of 2.5 million people online (although mostly via iFilm.com) while viewers of the show on CNN number only around 867,000.
This information suggests that traditional media are slowly becoming content creators only, while the distribution of that content is shifting to individuals using new technologies.
The notion dovetails with a discussion at a radio conference I attended back in August. Survey data was presented which suggested that, contrary to popular wisdom, radio stations have more to worry about from iPods and filesharing than record labels: the new technologies tend to threaten the established distribution channels, not necessarily the original publishers/broadcasters.
Of course, as to whether the content creators (like CNN or the record labels) can continue to create that content with the revenue generated by their distribution channel (like the advertising on the cable broadcast or retail music sales) is an entirely different issue.
Monday, December 27, 2004
Why There's No Escaping the Blog: It all used to be so easy; the adage went "never pick a fight with anyone who buys ink by the barrel." But now everyone can get ink for free, launch a diatribe, and—if what they have to say is interesting to enough people—expect web-enabled word of mouth to carry it around the world.The Bad
Post-"coke-nutbag breakdown," [Courtney] Love teams with Billy Corgan: ...Back to Billy for a second: The chord arrangements that he does are so brilliant. He brought it to me and Lisa [Leveridge, guitarist in Love's band, the Chelsea]. He's not simple at all -- I mean, Billy could never write a half-rock song even if he was trying to. Like that Dave Grohl song, (sings) "Don't want to be your monkey wrench" -- it's, like, the stupidest. You know the one I'm talking about? It's like, "Fuck you! So easy to write, I could have written that in my sleep." And I bring it up because that particular song really bugs me because it's just big and dumb.
|Tip: Egg nog used instead of milk or cream in your coffee can be a tasty holidat treat?
Another tip: Too much of same can make one's digestive tract feel remarkably Grinch-like!
Sunday, December 26, 2004
"Touchdowns win football games, especially in the playoffs."
~~CBS Sports commentator Brent Jones
|When I lived in New Jersey, the use of the term "Freeholder" as a county office became routine. The word, describing a member of an elected county supervisory board, is pretty much limited to the Garden State. The board itself is frequently called, rather archaically, the "Board of Chosen Freeholders." This is all said (generally) with a straight face.
But I was just reading a somewhat amusing news item, and I ran across the "First Selectman." A First Selectman is, apparently, a variation on Mayor. This position, which seems to be a Northeastern phenomenon, generally is used in municipalities where there's a Board of Selectmen (although many towns with such Boards do not have a First Selectman).
So I tried to find other quirky local/county level office names. The only one I came up with was Alderman (and a variant: "Alderman-at-Large").
Saturday, December 25, 2004
|"I do," said Scrooge. "I must. But why do spirits walk the earth, and why do they come to me?"
"It is required of every man," the Ghost returned, "that the spirit within him should walk abroad among his fellow-men, and travel far and wide; and if that spirit goes not forth in life, it is condemned to do so after death. It is doomed to wander through the world -- oh, woe is me! -- and witness what it cannot share, but might have shared on earth, and turned to happiness!"
Again the spectre raised a cry, and shook its chain, and wrung its shadowy hands.
"You are fettered," said Scrooge, trembling. "Tell me why?"
"I wear the chain I forged in life," replied the Ghost. "I made it link by link, and yard by yard; I girded it on of my own free will, and of my own free will I wore it. Is its pattern strange to you?"
Scrooge trembled more and more.
"Or would you know," pursued the Ghost, "the weight and length of the strong coil you bear yourself? It was full as heavy and as long as this, seven Christmas Eves ago. You have laboured on it, since. It is a ponderous chain!"
Scrooge glanced about him on the floor, in the expectation of finding himself surrounded by some fifty or sixty fathoms of iron cable: but he could see nothing.
Friday, December 24, 2004
|Be glad this holiday dinner that your food and travel was relatively easy to come by.
Foodstuffs rocketed to space crew:
A cargo spaceship has taken off carrying vital foodstuffs to the International Space Station, where supplies are running dangerously low.Iraqis' Dismay Surges as Lights Flicker and Gas Lines Grow:
"There were days when we spent the night here," said Abdul Razzaq Matrood, who counted himself lucky after spending a mere 12 hours in a gas line two miles long. "We brought our blankets to sleep in the car."I know being thankful was that last holiday, but as we wind down 2004, we should all be thankful we don't have to wait in 2 mile long lines or need our food rocketed to us.
Thursday, December 23, 2004
|Cloned Cat Sale Generates Ethics Debate:|
The first cloned-to-order pet sold in the United States is named Little Nicky, a 9-week-old kitten delivered to a Texas woman saddened by the loss of a cat she had owned for 17 years.The only instructions which came with the cloned cat were (1) don't get it wet, (2) don't feed it after midnight, and (3) keep it away from bright lights. Or else it turns into a Joe Dante film.
|Toys have lasting impact on brain:|
Toys that stimulate a young child's mind could permanently boost their brain function, according to research.Meanwhile, Rock 'Em Sock 'Em robots are known to reduce brain function 37%. Well, at least in owls.
Saturday, December 18, 2004
|I was having a good sleep in my car
In the parking lot of the Showboat Casino Hotel
I said, "I remember you--you drive like a PTA mother."
You brought me draft beer in a plastic cup.
I'm feeling thankful for the small things today
I'm feeling thankful for the small things today
Happy, happy birthday to me.
Happy birthday to me, and to you.
Happy, happy birthday to me.
Happy birthday to me, and to you.
I'm feeling thankful for the small things today.
I'm feeling thankful for the small things today.
I said "I remember you, I crashed your wedding.
With some orange crepe paper and some Halloween candy."
Sometimes I wish I were Catholic--I don't know why
I guess I'm happy to see your face at a time like this.
Happy, happy birthday to me.
Happy birthday to me, and to you.
Happy, happy birthday to me.
Happy birthday to me, and to you.
Happy birthday baby, to me.
Happy birthday baby, to me.
Friday, December 17, 2004
|Brando 'to appear on video game':|
Late film star Marlon Brando is to reprise his famous Godfather role on a new video game, according to the Hollywood Reporter newspaper....Let's say it all together: they made him an offer he couldn't refuse.
|Since the world's tallest bridge is now open, what's next for Guinness Record-minded engineers?
How about the world's tallest building:
The construction of what will be the world's tallest building is set to begin in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The building contract was awarded to a consortium led by the South Korean Samsung Corporation on Thursday.It will also be taller than the CN Tower.
The article mentions that the tower will be used for "offices, residential apartments, hotels and shops and will be surrounded at its base by a man-made lake." Really? Apartments? Would you want to live in the world's tallest building? And one with a de facto moat around it?
|The Platonic Form Of Stalactites:|
No matter whether they're big, little, long, short, skinny or fat -- classic stalactites have the same singular shape.First of all, does researcher Martin Short lapse into Ed Grimley whilst in the field?
Secondly, perhaps I'm missing something, but "duh." Isn't it obvious that stalactites would be formed in fairly regular conical shapes?
Thursday, December 16, 2004
Iceland offers Bobby Fischer visa: The ex chess champ is detained in Japan and wanted in the U.S. for violating sanctions against Yugoslavia in 1992, playing a rematch against old rival Boris Spassky.
Cops Find 610 Pounds of Pot in Coffins: The marijuana-packed caskets were in a truck stopped by the Oklahoma Highway Patrol for breaking the speed limit by 6 mph.
Scientists find new Indian monkey: The hitherto unknown species of the macaque family was photographed in India's Arunachal Pradesh state, thus giving the name Arunachal macaque.
Director Sidney Lumet is to receive an honorary Oscar at next February's ceremony. Meanwhile, while on his first visit to Turkey since the film, Oliver Stone has apologised for "over-dramatizing" his screenplay for the 1978 Midnight Express.
The Steelers continue to rock!
|New CD copy-lock technology nears market:|
A new kind of copy-protected music CD will likely hit U.S. shelves early next year, as record label SonyBMG experiments with a technology created by British developer First 4 Internet, according to sources familiar with the companies....As someone who has been spending the past week ripping audio from my own CDs for personal use on my own home computers and portable devices, this is like an announcement that my car will only drive on certain streets in the future.
|...for journalists bearing holiday-themed cliches!
Wednesday, December 15, 2004
|Beatles' 'killer axe' to auction:|
A guitar used by George Harrison and John Lennon at some of the Beatles' most important recording sessions is set to test auction sale records when it goes under the hammer this week.Don't put too much stock in this "bad karma" theory; I generally don't trust theories of writers who can't even get their facts stright. The sessions for The White Album were in 1968.
Meanwhile, Christie's to auction copy of Hawthorne's masterpiece:
[Natick, Massachusett's] historical society hopes to make more than $250,000 when it auctions a rare copy of Nathaniel Hawthorne's "The Scarlet Letter" this week -- not bad for a manuscript that spent more than a century in a file drawer before someone recognized its significance.I've got to start finding things like this in drawers.
Tuesday, December 14, 2004
|Spirit claims Mars water prize:|
Robot Mars rover Spirit has so far been eclipsed in its mission by its "twin" Opportunity, which found rich evidence of a wet history at its landing site."Moessbauer spectrometer"? Is that anything like an Illudium Q-36 Explosive Space Modulator?
Monday, December 13, 2004
|Inauguration for tallest bridge:|
The world's highest road bridge is due to be inaugurated in southern France by President Jacques Chirac before opening to traffic later this week.As mentioned here back in May. Check out that photo (click for a larger version)--that's the suspension towers and roadway rising above the valley mist. Amazing. See another one here.
UPDATE: Here's a story on the bridge's opening to traffic.
Sunday, December 12, 2004
|Left-handers win in hand-to-hand combat:|
Left-handed people may be better equipped for close range mortal combat than those who rely on their right hands, according to researchers.My left-handed Grip of Death will best you in mortal combat! Mwahahaha!
Huh? Oh, sorry--don't know what came over me there.
|Singing In The Brain: Songs Are Stored As Snippets In The Minds Of Birds:|
University of Utah scientists taught baby sparrows to sing a complete song even though the birds were exposed only to overlapping segments of the tune rather than the full melody. The study provides clues about how musical memories are stored in the brain and how those memories help birds learn to sing.Very interesting article on how songbirds learn their songs.
|So what do you do if your country's name gets replaced by the word "freedom" in the U.S.A.? Start daydreaming about back when your nation was a conquerer:|
Amid a new frenzy of Napoleon fever, [his will], dictated by the emperor on his deathbed in 1821, sold for €111,000 (£77,000) in Paris last week. A copy of his memoirs - atrociously misspelled but providing a vivid insight into his campaign to conquer Europe - sold at the same sale for the record sum of €250,000.Granted, this wave of Napoleonic fervor probably has more to do with the bicentennial of his accession this month. But one wonders if the recent Franco-American diplomatic rows, which denigrated France as "old Europe" and saw a wave of anti-French sentiments sweep parts of America, adds fuel to the nostalgia.
Of course, elements of this Napoleonic passion veer straight into cult-of-celebrity territory:
[Collector Pierre-Jean] Chalençon, 34, has built up a collection of portraits, chairs, and undergarments belonging to the emperor, as well as locks of hair chopped from the head of his wife, Josephine. A tapestry depicting Napoleon hangs above his bed and in a locked side room in his flat on the Rue de Rivoli, he keeps the coronation sword. Somewhere in a pile of boxes containing some of the emperor's most intimate possessions, Chalençon has a lump of Napoleon's toothpaste.How the hell, one wonders, can the authenticity of Napoleon's toothpaste be verified? That's one collector's market in which caveat emptor become caveat emperor.
|Most School-Aged Children Have Imaginary Friends:|
Approximately 65 percent of young children befriend imaginary companions, and nearly one-third continue to play with them through age 7, new research shows.People like to think they outgrow their imaginery friends, but in reality, they just convert them into more abstract concepts. Like imaginery lottery winnings. People play with that imaginery "friend" for hours and hours.
Saturday, December 11, 2004
|Wal-Mart Sued Over Evanescence Lyrics:|
Wal-Mart Stores Inc., which promotes itself as a seller of clean music, deceived customers by stocking compact discs by the rock group Evanescence that contain the f-word, a lawsuit claims.The courts had better throw this one out faster than a spinning CD.
Look, I am a fan of neither Wal-mart nor Evanescence. I would be ecstatic if both simply vanished. But suing them for selling a CD using the f-word is completely without merit.
First of all, the parental advisory sticker is a voluntary system. There is no law to compel any CD creator to use this sticker, and there is no law preventing anyone from selling CDs with this sticker to anyone, including minors. There may be circumstances in which contractual obligations prevent a store from selling such a stickered CD, as perhaps in a mall lease, but this is not the case here.
Second of all, there is a legal right under the First Amendment for a musician or anyone to use the word "fuck" (except in some situations involving broadcasting). It may not be polite or decorous, but it is our right.
So the band's got a right to say (and therefore record) the word. The record label has a right to sell the recorded word to the store. And the store has a right to sell it, in turn, to the public--even covertly and with no warning.
What's going on here, then?
Well, one of two things. First, it's just gold-digging. As the final paragraph I quoted mentions, Wind-up Records and its distributor BMG Entertainment were also named in the suit. This could be an attempt to get one of the several deep-pocketed companies named to toss some hush money the plaintiff's way.
But the more pernicious possibility that this is actually an attempt to chill expression of unsavory words and ideas in popular music. The FCC's recent, post-Janet moves against broadcast indecency have been highly publicized and may have embolded those who feel that we should simply eliminate, by law, all such indecorous language.
The warning signs of heading once again into Tipper Gore country are slowly emerging. Fans of even remotely controversial artists (Evanescence isn't exactly Marilyn Manson) and friends of freedom of expression should probably gird themselves for battle.
UPDATE: While such a warning shot about language used in music is fired, the broadcasting indecency quagmire keeps getting deeper and deeper. Now comes word that the Olympic opening ceremonies have offended someone:
In response to one or more indecency complaints, the Federal Communications Commission has asked NBC to send it tapes of its coverage of the Summer Olympics Opening Ceremonies in Athens, the network confirmed late yesterday....
Friday, December 10, 2004
|Tool use confirmed in monkeys:|
UK researchers have collected the first hard evidence of monkeys using tools, Science magazine reports.Among most capuchin monkeys, the hottest tool this season is the Dremel 400 Series XPR. It's just brachiating off the shelves in most Habitat Depot stores.
|EBay Negative on Negativland IPod:|
EBay removed a modified U2 iPod from its auctions Monday after Apple Computer complained of copyright violations, to the wonder of several intellectual-property attorneys.For background on Negativland and the U2 affair, see here. To download a track from Negativland's latest work, click here: "No Business." Hi-larious!
Thursday, December 09, 2004
|[At least in England] Parents are dreaming of a retro Christmas:|
After years in the doldrums, overlooked at Christmas in favour of electronic games, traditional toys like Fuzzy Felt, Buckaroo and Mouse Trap are back with a vengeance, according to the latest sales figures.You know it's a news item from the U.K. when Robbie Williams is mentioned as a celebrity endorser.
The article also referrs to Snakes and Ladders, the Brit version of Chutes and Ladders. I've always wondered why that change was made.
Also, Cluedo is the original U.K. version of Clue.
UPDATE: This site mentions other alternate names for Snakes and Ladders as Serpents et Echelles and Torah Slides and Ladders. It describes game history thusly:
Traditional game from ancient India was first commercially published in the USA by Milton Bradley. Players travel along the squares sometimes using ladders, which represent good acts, that allow the player to come closer to nirvana while the snakes were slides into evil.Meanwhile, this annoying site says, "The name is a reference to playground equipment - children climb ladders to go down chutes (slides)." Typical of the U.S. to eliminate the aspect of the game which suggests a foreign tradition of morality (the snakes) in favor of a familiarity (the playground) which ultimately make zero sense (the object of a ladder in the playground is to go down the "chute"; in the game, the chute is the pitfall). Sigh.
|English 'world language' forecast:|
A third of people on the planet will be learning English in the next decade, says a report.Plus, check out the Free Dictionary project, an attempt to create a collaborative, free comprehensive set of dictionaries for languages from English to Chinese to Esperanto. (warning: this site is not very user friendly as of yet)
|For the discerning Star Wars fan for holiday gift-giving...
Star Wars helmet up for auction:
A Star Wars stormtrooper helmet made for the film's creator George Lucas goes under the hammer on Tuesday at Christie's auction house in London.And for the Star Wars fan seeking a new theatre experience...
The One Man Star Wars Trilogy:
A one-hour, high energy, nonstop blast through the first three Star Wars films. The catch is, there's only one cast member.
Wednesday, December 08, 2004
|In a manner of speaking, yes.
Firm serves sweet brew for de-icing roads:
It was discovered by an Eastern European scientist at a vodka factory. Deep into a Hungarian winter, the chemist noticed a startling sight: The pond behind the distillery -- where the sugary, leftover swill from the factory had collected -- never froze.And sea monkeys love it!
Wow, this is like chocolate-covered pretzels for roadways, mixing sweet and salty to do the trick. (road-licking not recommended)
"I updated the Status report for the four discrepancies Lennie forward us via e-mail (they in Barry file).. to make sure my logic was correct It seems we provide Murray with incorrect information ... However after verifying controls on JBL - JBL has the indicator as B ???? - I wanted to make sure with the recent changes - I processed today - before Murray make the changes again on the mainframe to 'C'."That's an actual work email from a tech-related company in Palo Alto, California, quoted in a shouldn't-be-surprising-but-still-a-little-shocking article about the severe lack of writing skills in U.S. adults.
Kathy Keenan, a onetime legal proofreader who teaches business writing at the University of California Extension, Santa Cruz, said she sought to dissuade students from sending business messages in the crude shorthand they learned to tap out on their pagers as teenagers.Some of the examples in the article are entertaining in a rubbernecking sort of way, but there's also an interesting undercurrent in how both language shapes our thought processes and how technology shapes language.
Plus, the article refers to emoticons as "experimental writing devices."
You gotta love that! :-D
Tuesday, December 07, 2004
|'Brainwave' cap controls computer:|
Four people, two of them partly paralysed wheelchair users, successfully moved a computer cursor while wearing a cap with 64 electrodes.I think this is pretty cool. It's certainly great for folks with disabilities, and I have no doubt there are practical applications for everyone.
Er, there's only one slight side effect. Here's what one will look like after years of using such a device:
|Roads Gone Wild:|
It's the confluence of two busy two-lane roads that handle 20,000 cars a day, plus thousands of bicyclists and pedestrians. Several years ago, Monderman ripped out all the traditional instruments used by traffic engineers to influence driver behavior - traffic lights, road markings, and some pedestrian crossings - and in their place created a roundabout, or traffic circle. The circle is remarkable for what it doesn't contain: signs or signals telling drivers how fast to go, who has the right-of-way, or how to behave. There are no lane markers or curbs separating street and sidewalk, so it's unclear exactly where the car zone ends and the pedestrian zone begins. To an approaching driver, the intersection is utterly ambiguous - and that's the point.Noble ideas, indeed. Forgive me if I'm completely skeptical.
Though the article even quotes from a New Jersey Department of Transportation exec, it fails to note that NJ has traffic circles which are fairly signless in regards to right-of-way. Far from the utopian experience described in the article, NJ's circles are often exercises in vehicular Darwinism, where the nerviest and most aggressive drivers sail through with barely a thought. The careful drivers are left patiently waiting for their opening that might never come--sweat pouring down their foreheads, honking cars piling up behind them, their children yelling from the back seat to "just go."
Forcing people to negotiate right-of-way through "fleeting eye contact" is one which has a lot of appeal in an insular and disconnected society, and it's perfectly appropriate for some places. Here in Pittsburgh, it's fairly common to make such non-verbal right-of-way negotiations--especially when it comes to the "Pittsburgh left" turn (a time-honored, but by no means a universally-honored, tradition of allowing the first car turning left at an intersection to go ahead of the straight-headed car with legal right-of-way).
But there are drivers in many areas who would rather run you over than look at you, and this makes such "fleeting eye contact" difficult. The only eye contact these drivers make is to make an instant, subconscious evaluation as to how much damage your car can do to theirs, whether you look likely to sue, and what their chances are to successfully speed away without leaving a positive ID.
Sunday, December 05, 2004
|Broadband challenges TV viewing:|
A study by analysts Jupiter Research suggested that broadband was challenging television viewing habits.Hell, yeah. I don't even have broadband anymore and my TV viewing is minimal compared to my online habits. But, then again, I'm a crank.
This article is about Europe, but I would be surprised if it didn't reflect U.S. trends as well.
|O (fake) Christmas tree; Artificial popular, but some want real:|
The growing appeal of the fake trees (manufacturers prefer artificial) reflects relaxed trade barriers and technical advances. The latest models include branches that fold out like umbrellas for easy setup, lights strung onto branches, and shimmering fiber-optic needles that appear to change color.The article also including a good thumbnail history of the tradition:
The first Christmas tree appeared in 1510 in Riga, Latvia, according to the growers' group. Scholars disagree about the tree's exact religious symbolism but one theory has that the decorated trees represent the Garden of Eden. The tradition became popular by the 1600s, with the first Christmas tree appearing in America at a Moravian settlement in Bethlehem, Pa., in 1747, according to the University of Illinois. And they were technically fakes: "wooden pyramids covered with evergreen branches decorated with candles."My preference? Neither.
To me, the tree is just something to hold the lights, which are the true symbol of the season. Since it's the time of year with the least amount of sunlight, festive artificial lights buoy the spirits and soothe the psyche.
And I've got walls and such to hold up my lights, thank you.
Other interesting tidbits from the article:
A big supplier is Santa's Own Inc., a division of Lighthouse Products of Brunswick, Ohio, which imports trees from a network of factories it partly controls in China and Thailand, according to Richard Cohen, its representative in Rhode Island. Another manufacturer is a unit of Carlyle Group, best-known for investments in military contractors.Okay, several comments...
"Santa's Own"? This is exactly the kind of B.S. branding that annoys the hell out of me. Santa would prefer an artificial tree? Gimme an f-ing break! I picture Santa riding up to companies like this on his sleigh and then turning to the camera with a tear rolling down his fat cheek like the Indian in the old littering commercial.
And this Rick Dubois sounds like Eldon Tyrell: "Commerce is our goal here at Tyrell! More human than human is our motto."
Of course, the most ominous item in the article is the mention of Carlyle. "Christmas, a Division of The Carlyle Group."
Yeesh. That sounds like Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" in reverse.
|Thais drop origami 'peace bombs':|
The Thai government has dropped an estimated one hundred million paper origami birds in an unusual peace bid.This has to be one of the most inspired pieces of political ridiculousness since the Yippies tried to levitate the Pentagon in 1967.
Can you imagine if the U.S. President declared such an initiative? People would suspect he was smoking whatever Bush took a hit of before his first debate with Kerry. Er, or something.
Rock on, Prime Minister Shinawatra!
Friday, December 03, 2004
|The Poppy-seed Bagel Theorem:|
If you run into Ed Saff at a cocktail party and ask him what he does for a living, the mathematician is likely to reply that he is working on a "method for creating the perfect poppy-seed bagel." Then he'll pause and add, "Maybe that's not the most accurate description, but it's the most digestible."If there's only one article you read this month that mentions the word "toroidal," this is the one.
And, it has practical applications that exceed the poppy-seed bagel case. Although, in this humble blogger's eyes, helping to design the theoretical "nearly perfect" poppy-seed bagel is a noble and worthy goal itself.
|Should the Constitution be amended for Arnold?:|
Could America's infatuation with Schwarzenegger lead to passage of a constitutional amendment that would drop those bans - an idea that has died in Congress more than two dozen times since the 1870s? Probably not, but Schwarzenegger's rise in politics has led members of Congress and a few of the governor's wealthy California donors to launch a long-shot campaign that they have cast as an effort to guarantee equal rights for millions of foreign-born Americans.Why is this even entering into legitimate debate? If there's any rule-of-thumb that we should apply to potential Constitutional amendments, it's that changes made to benefit ONE PERSON should be laughed right out of any serious conversation.
Yeah, I know that others will benefit besides Schwarzenegger, but the motivation, the intent, and the desired result of the people pushing for this are to change America's founding document for one individual's situation. This is a monumental bad idea.
Thursday, December 02, 2004
|Scientists debate creation of hybrids of animals, humans:|
Biologists call these hybrid animals chimeras, after the mythical Greek creature with a lion's head, a goat's body and a serpent's tail. They are the products of experiments in which human stem cells were added to developing animal fetuses.Next stop: Brundlefly.
|Principals freaked out by students' dance, dress:|
While each generation pushes the limits, some parents feel that pop culture, fueled by the Internet, Hollywood and cable television, has prodded teenagers further across the line of decency than ever imagined in the 1950s when some wanted to ban Elvis Presley.Sheesh, is there some class they teach in principal school since WWII on this? Because it comes up every generation, as if on cue.
And, c'mon! Sagging pants as an impediment to fire drills? So could, in theory, flip-flops, tight skirts, heels, and any number of other clothing items.
"Ah, these uniforms are godsend. Horseplay is down 40%, youthful exuberance has been cut in half, high spirits are at an all-time low." ~~Principal Skinner, on Springfield Elementary's mandatory uniform rule
"The Castle Argh! Our quest is at an end!"Interesting story from the BBC about the ongoing quest for the Holy Grail:
Could an obscure inscription on a 250-year-old monument in a Staffordshire garden point the way to the Holy Grail - the jewelled chalice reportedly used by Jesus and his disciples at the Last Supper?The denouement to this part of the story is extremely abrupt, but it's an worthwhile read nonetheless (much of it is about the history of the Grail quest and the media attention to it).
|I was just reading an Associated Press story (via Yahoo) about the recent stabbing at the Vibe Awards, and this is what was printed about Suge Knight and Dr. Dre:|
Knight entered the awards show without an invitation and sat just a few feet behind Drew, who was receiving a lifetime achievement award."Drew"? "Not ties"? "Crimes"?
What are they drinking over there?
They might clean it up soon, but it was the 12/1, 8:30PM ET posting of the story. Here's ABC carrying it.
Although maybe simply it's Dr. Drew Pinsky, who is now a neckwearless rapper who rhymes "Crimes" and Times." What do I know?