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Feature Story
In Congress Assembled

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

...We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

...We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States... And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

Thursday, July 4th, 2002 @ 12:00 p.m. - Comment


The Naming Of Hosts

I'm an expert on this topic, but it occurs to me that I've never mentioned that the laptop mentioned below is named leslie.

It's predecessors were a Compaq Armada 7730 named dorothy, and a K6-2 400 lunchbox named bing.

The first person who can tell me the significance of these names, I'll buy lunch.

Saturday, July 6, 2002 @ 02:43 a.m. - Comment


Well...

no one ever said I was an HTML maven.

If any of my esteemed readers can figure out why my default body text paragraph format is screwed up in the context in which it renders -- so that I don't get the first paragraph the way I want it and all the rest screwed up (uncommenting the feature story in my template put it in centered text mode) -- my hat will be forever off to you.

In unrelated news, I broke the backlight on my laptop, in dropping it the other day.

If there is any way that you can arrange your affairs so as to avoid doing this yourself, then that is almost certainly the path your life should take. :-}

It's an LTM10C286 from a Toshiba Portege 3010 (see (way too far) below). If you know anyone who does replaecments on these (I disassembled it, it's *definitely* the tube (I saw the dust) and I know better than to try and replace something that delicate that I have to pay for if I break), please let me know.

(Parenthetically Inclined will be appearing on the same bill as Ellipsis Addiction, mentioned below.)

And finally, Michelle didn't show tonight. <pout>

Saturday, July 6, 2002 @ 01:42 a.m. - Comment


.complicated

Anyone who ever spent any time on the Domain-Policy mailing list before NetSol shut it down without warning a year or more back (it was starting to look evidentiary, you see, and they didn't want to get sued...) will be familiar with much of what's in this Salon piece about John "Gnu" Gilmore, CORE, ICANN('t), and the Great Domain Registration Fiasco.

Not a bad piece. I tried to post this to Metafilter, but it's too busy again... :-}

Wednesday, July 3, 2002 @ 03:30 p.m. - Comment


An unnamed donor

An anonymous donor, whose identity is known to the Xbox Linux project leaders, has announced to award at total of US$ 200,000 for the completion of various tasks on the Xbox Linux Project until December 31st 2002.

Overview

The basic goal of the project is to find a simple and completely legal way to run Linux on the Microsoft Xbox.

The article's here...

and I wonder.

Is the anonymoous donor... Bill Gates?

Wednesday, July 3, 2002 @ 12:32 p.m. - Comment


Well...

We all knew I was screwed up:

DisorderRating
Paranoid:Low
Schizoid:Moderate
Schizotypal:Very High
Antisocial:Low
Borderline:Low
Histrionic:Low
Narcissistic:Moderate
Avoidant:High
Dependent:Low
Obsessive-Compulsive:Moderate

-- Click Here To Take The Test --

Now, we know how.

There goes the cushy government job with the security clearance, I guess. ;-)

Actually, there was some traffic a while back that mused on the idea that a large percentage of hardcore geeks may well be prey to at least a mild case of Asperger's Syndrome...

Monday, July 1, 2002 @ 09:09 p.m. - Comment


No, Shell, you don't understand...

It's not the sex. It's the brains. And the 'tude.

Yes, we care if you get the template right.

Leastways, some of us do...

Have I been that boring, BTW, or do you just not answer your mail?

Tuesday, July 2, 2002 @ 03:41 p.m. - Comment


Santa and the Satellite

When I was just a wee lad, my sister used to be the one who listened to music all the time.

Amongst the stuff on that pile was "Santa and the Satellite", a collection of snippets of popular songs woven into a news report, breaking in to the patter of a radio deejay.

Unbeknownst to poor li'l us, there seems to have been quite a controversy around the record.

Interesting stuff.

Tuesday, July 2, 2002 @ 03:36 p.m. - Comment


I saw this, Marie, and I thought of you

People with histrionic personality disorder are constant attention seekers. They need to be the center of attention all the time, often interrupting others in order to dominate the conversation. They use grandiose language to discribe everyday events and seek constant praise. They may dress provacatively or exaggerate illnesses in order to gain attention. They also tend to exaggerate friendships and relationships, believing that everyone loves them. They are often manipulative.

[ copied from Shellshocked; see below ]

Saturday, June 29, 2002 @ 03:26 p.m. - Comment


I'm shocked

shocked, I tell you.

Since the young lady mentioned below signs her high scores at solitaire as "Shell", I'm now forced very much to wonder. The tone of the site isn't at all out of character for her, so much as I've been able to discern so far...

Saturday, June 29, 2002 @ 02:59 p.m. - Comment


Tampa Bay Blogs

Well... now we look even less pathetic; we're up to six bloggers in the City By The Bay; the city that rocks, the city that never stops.... Oops; sorry: Starship flashback.

Anyway, I know I sitll have a half a dozen regular readers or so; maybe if I point you to some of those other blogs, they'll return the favor...

And please excuse my ellipsis addiction.

Yeah, I know what you're thinking. You're thinking "Hey! Ellipsis Addiction would make a great name for a rock band!" And you're right.

(Aw, damn. Someone already had that idea... ;-)

Oh, and while we're here, this seems like a good place to mention that I was bored with "Pilot" for the title to the first episode of The West Wing, so I've unilaterally, and fairly arbitrarily, renamed that episode "A Sudden Arboreal Stop", for reasons trufen will get immediately, and other people probably won't get at all.

I think I'm going to go back and assign episode titles to the last couple seasons of Boston Public...

ATTENTION JOSS: if there isn't a Buffy two-parter this season named (respectively) "Something To Sing About" and "76 Bloody Trombones" I shall be extremely upset (and don't forget to un-arc the remains of season 6 in the first 4 or 5 eps...)

And thanks to Janice for the Spenser tapes -- they're incredibly good for second generation off-air. The characterizations don't live up to Parker, but even Parker knew that. I must say I'm no longer as impressed with Brooks as a A Man Called Hawk having now seen him.

He's too emotional.

Saturday, June 29, 2002 @ 02:13 a.m. - Comment


95KB?

Time to roll the page.

My sister just got back the other day from a trip to see Scott Bakula whose life she chronicles, in a 2-person play with his wife-ish person Chelsea Field (are they married, finally? :-), called "I do, I do!"

Cost her close to 0.

[ Note: this *really does* say seven-hundred-dollars in the pitas database; don't know why it was rendering wrong.

I'm sure that it cost many members of what I've dubbed the Scott Bakula Flying Squad -- those lunatics who fly to wherever Scott's doing *something* live and in public -- roughly the same amount, if not more.

So you can imagine my amusement at the self-importance of a few members of that crowd who were apparently heard to voice the opinion ahead of time that everyone "should just go away after the show and not 'bother' Scott".

Um, folks? He's a *performer*. It's all about having adoring fans at the stage door after the show.

I guess none of them have ever worked in live theater. (I did; I've stage managed several productions.)

What really irks me no end on her behalf, though, is that there were *three* performances... and there were at least a couple people there for the meet-and-greet that *did* in fact take place who *had* her cell phone number, and should have called her... and couldn't be bothered. Not even to mention it to her at the next show?

To quote Chris Rock: What kinda ignorant shit is that?

I gather some of the naysayers are holding court on a web forum where they all hang out; I was going to go over and piss in their porridge, but I've decided that they're really not worth the effort.

I have, however, roundly chastised my sis, and sentenced her to read Illusions, by Bach.

Saturday, June 29, 2002 @ 01:57 a.m. - Comment


Well... that was more fun than the law allows...

Just got back from my friend Neva's bar, Inn The Weeds (typo intentional -- you stand out better in the search engines, I guess :-), where I spent the better part of two hours chatting... ok, well, 'flirting'... with a lovely lady named Michelle, who came in and admired my singing a couple of weeks ago.

Turnabout is fair play, I guess; she has much to admire, herself.

I was, apparently, clever, charming, witty, and much more urbane than most of the other roosters strutting their stuff for her 'benefit'; it was wonderfully fun to watch her being amused by it... and fairly cool that she was sharing this with me.

Hopefully, kids or no, she'll show up Sunday for my 17th annual 21st birthday festivities, such as they are...

Saturday, June 29, 2002 @ 01:49 a.m. - Comment


Sorry I'm late with this one

Daylight Savings Time started a couple months ago... and I completely forgot to tell y'all:

There's a contest to see who can save the most daylight! Better hurry... you're running behind.

Thursday, June 20, 2002 @ 10:26 p.m. - Comment


We say "We'll never forget"

but... don't we?

I'm not overly fond of Dave, but this is a killer collection of links to stuff that went down (and up) on September 11th. Bring Kleenex.

Wednesday, June 19, 2002 @ 06:06 p.m. - Comment


I Love ESR

Eric Raymond -- whom I hadn't realized was a blogger (so *that's* what he spends all his time on -- is one of my favorite writers. I've linked his "Ethics from the Barrel of a Gun" piece here before, but now, he's really gone and done it.

Why Most Porn Sucks -- an intellectual treatise on dirty pictures.

And he makes you believe that it was an intellectual exercise, too.

Wednesday, June 19, 2002 @ 11:04 a.m. - Comment


The Horns Of An Ethical Dilemma

Are Wal-Mart the good guys, or the bad guys?

Or, more properly, since it's obvious that they're the bad guy, are their contributions to World Domination (for Linux, I mean, rather than themselves :-) sufficiently redeeming -- Microsoft has certainly screwed over *their* share of peones, too; does the end justify the means?

Friday, June 14, 2002 @ 11:40 a.m. - Comment


"We need a regime change"

Those are the words of Dick Cheney(?) concerning Saddam Hussein of Iraq. The phrasing made me fairly nervous -- I'm one of the people who sees something in some of the accusations of imperialism which are often leveled at US by other countries.

So I figured I'd go to my research department, and see what they had to say.

What they had to say lightened my heart considerably.

One of the reasons I'm a Metafilistine is that they folks there express their arguments with such a sense of *style*... "Because, Because, Because", indeed.

I'm ready for Desert W. Storm. Are you?

Sunday, June 16, 2002 @ 08:44 p.m. - Comment


Some of the reasons

why we all can't just get along...

Thursday, June 13, 2002 @ 05:26 p.m. - Comment


Adapt...

... or die.

Thoughts by David F. Skoll on the Alexis DeTocqueville "Institute" paper on the GPL, since retracted.

[ Courtesy the Register, via Linux Weekly News. ]

Thursday, June 13, 2002 @ 01:04 p.m. - Comment


Ok, here we go again...

The thing I enjoy most about weblogging is that when you come across something that's "just too cool", you've got a place to gush about it.

Anyone remember Where's George?

Fox 13, WTVT (home of the Weatherpenis), just ran a piece on BookCrossing, who have applied the same general theory -- they term it "Read and Release", a phrase the fisherpeople in the audience will appreciate -- to books.

They're both cool because they take advantage of the Internet to make the world a little -- or in some cases, a lot -- smaller... and they're both *effective* because they're "viral", a term that's been co-opted to describe projects which are so cool that they suck people into sucking other people in...

This sort of thing wasn't really practical before the advent of the Internet, but damned if it doesn't work well now...

Monday, June 10, 2002 @ 06:45 p.m. - Comment


I'm apparently 36 going on...

17

I act like I'm 17.
This test was brought to you by
Melissa - No, really.... Take it here.

Oh, and David? You can semi-permalink off the bookmark icons... but they don 't get permanent pages until I roll the front page; a Pitas failing, alas...

Saturday, June 8, 2002 @ 07:43 p.m. - Comment


Oh... my...

ghod...

[ Courtesy David Chess, who is also ghod... ]

Saturday, June 8, 2002 @ 07:31 p.m. - Comment


Well, actually, you see...

Yes, I have... cause I *could* have simply blown off singing when I found out the person I've been waiting 9 months to sing *with* wasn't going, and just stayed in Tampa and gone over to visit instead.

But I didn't. And I didn't even bitch about it.

Then, anyway...

Friday, June 7, 2002 @ 11:46 p.m. - Comment


Was poking around Metafilter

just now, through old threads I'm on, and I came across 9/11, as it happened.

Which was like 6 stiff drinks, right in a row.

Have you told them, *lately*, that you love them?

Thursday, June 6, 2002 @ 09:02 p.m. - Comment


Child Pornography

Point.

Counterpoint.

I don't expect I have to explain which approach I think is saner... "We are the Internet Police." Jee-zus...

Tuesday, June 4, 2002 @ 08:55 p.m. - Comment


.realnames

RealNames screwed by Microsoft, its 20% owner; MPG at 11.

The link is to the weblog of RealNames founder Keith Teare, via Joel On Software, with whose appraisal I concur: Teare is being a crybaby.

He had a *bad* idea (check back archives of Domain-Policy -- if you can find them -- for why it's a bad idea), and therefore, in the long run, it doesn't matter why he failed, IMHO.

Now, if only we can kill off new.net. :-)

Tuesday, June 4, 2002 @ 11:13 a.m. - Comment


Time and long past time

it seems, for me to post a status report on my CDPD wireless internet connection, which I've now had for almost a year.

I had a fairly extensive argument with a MetaFilter regular named Steven Den Beste, who was an ex-Qualcomm employee, sometime last year before I bought my Novatel Minstrel III, concerning whether they had screwed the pooch by introducing the new Qualcomm Q-phone -- a combination phone and Palm Pilot -- with CDMA-Data connectivity instead of CDPD.

CDPD is, of course, older, more deeply penetrated in the markets, and -- most importantly -- available at flat rate billing.

While I don't have comparison numbers on market penetration, TTBOMK, you *still* can't get CDMA data in this market in which I live (regardless of the fact that Verizon was selling the 6035 here), and if you can, it's still depleting your voice airtime budget to use it.

To coin a phrase, "that way lies madness and seaty palms".

OTOH, with a couple small exceptions, my Minstrel works pretty much anywhere I want it to, and it's fast enough for the sorts of things you'd want to do, anyway, on a machine with a 160-pixel screen.

Monday, June 3, 2002 @ 03:18 p.m. - Comment


Yahoo!

Well, ok, actually, this story doesn't have a thing to do with Yahoo.

It's about the Children's Internet "Protection" Act, which was ruled unconstitutional by a three-judge Federal Appeals panel in Philadelphia.

I guess W. C. Fields was right.

"The First Amendment demands the precision of a scalpel, not a sledgehammer," Becker wrote.

Ghod; I love it when we get appeals level Federal precedent that says things like that.

Also:

Stefan Presser, the ACLU's legal director in Pennsylvania, said he hopes the ruling will convince Congress to give up its effort to regulate speech on the Internet since the courts have also struck down two previous laws -- the 1996 Communications Decency Act and the 1998 Child Online Protection Act.

"It is certainly my hope that now that Congress has taken three strikes it will get out of the business," Presser said.

Three strikes indeed.

Any government appeal must go directly to the Supremes (who will screw it up), and they can't refuse cert on it.

Saturday, June 1, 2002 @ 10:36 p.m. - Comment


"Surely, 65000 characters will be enough..."1

Yeah, right.

Bill Gates must've been on the Unicode committee...

[Thanks to David Chess, who probably hasn't noticed that I mentioned the name of his weblog here a couple days ago... ]

Saturday, June 1, 2002 @ 06:49 p.m. - Comment


Men & Women, Redux

Another take on the whole men/women thing, from rec.humor.funny.

Tuesday, May 28, 2002 @ 11:16 p.m. - Comment


GoogleLabs

David Chess is Ghod.

Check out the cool stuff at Google Labs, which I wouldn't have known about without him.

As he puts it so lyrically, in his own weblog, 'The Curvature of the Earth is Overwhelmed by Local Noise':

If you had a big network of computers that knew things about billions and billions of Web pages, what hacks would you do?

What *would* you do with half a dozen fresh corpses and absolute power?

Tuesday, May 28, 2002 @ 11:04 p.m. - Comment


"Plugging The Analog Hole"

For anyone who didn't get the message that Hollywood wants to run your life, here's a piece (source forgotten; apologies) about what the MPAA, et al, want to do to protect *their* interests.

That's it, right up there above; the title of section 2 of the paper.

The analog hole: that's that thing that lets you point your camcorder at something and record it. Yes; they want to make your camcorder shut down if you point it at a TV showing a copyrighted movie.

No, to coin a phrase, I am not making this up.

This is *REALLY SCARY STUFF*, people. Learn. Get edumacated. Tell others. Tell your Congresscritter.

Make Noise before it's too friggin late...

Tuesday, May 28, 2002 @ 09:04 p.m. - Comment


Um, maybe not, exactly?

I see from a CNN story linked by TAFKAR's friend Lorigami's LiveJournal, that a school in The Valley (yes, that Valley) wasn't going to allow seniors to Walk unless they were going to college, trade school, or the military.

Initial estimates show that up to 95 percent of District C seniors have made a post-secondary commitment this year. Last year, without the policy, 54 percent took that step.

Hmmm... so, if the arithmetic I learned in school is correct, that means that in only one year, 41% of district seniors figured out when to lie.

Got it.

Tuesday, May 28, 2002 @ 08:00 p.m. - Comment


Microscared

Shitless, in fact.

Not that this isn't anything I haven't been saying for years -- end of 2005, remember? -- but who's their daddy?

Why, the government, of course. Specifically, the DOD. And they're getting the open source religion, too. And Microsoft is trying to convince them that that's a Bad Idea.

It's not working very well.

In fact, it seems to be backfiring, pretty badly:

"Banning open source would have immediate, broad, and strongly negative impacts on the ability of many sensitive and security-focused DOD groups to protect themselves against cyberattacks," said the report, by Mitre Corp.

Never stir up a hornet's nest unless you're *sure* your can of RAID still has something in it...

My favorite quote, though, is from DOD CIO (and ASST. SECDEF) John Stenbit:

Stenbit said that the debate is academic and that what matters is how secure a given piece of software is. To that end, the Defense Department is now prohibited from purchasing any software that has not undergone security testing by the NSA. Stenbit said he is unaware of any open-source software that has been tested.

I gather that maybe government really *is* getting too big... if the ASECDEF doesn't know about NSA Security Enhanced Linux. Ok, perhaps not the same security checking track... but not mentioning it at *all*, if he knew about it, would be pretty disingenuous...

Tuesday, May 28, 2002 @ 12:54 p.m. - Comment


Not Everything Is Too Weird To Be True

'ju ever see the picture of the car with a ton and a half of lumber piled on top?

You figured "aw, that's just Photoshoppery", right?

Nope.

[ old, yes, but still funny. From Snopes, where you should go any time you have the urge to forward one of these things you get in your email... ]

Friday, May 24, 2002 @ 08:55 p.m. - Comment


Google does it again

This entry will only be actually accurate for the rest of tonight, since it's pointing to Google's logo, and it's the end of a doodle -- featuring Scott Adams' Dilbert. Google does this with their logo occasionally, just for fun... That they're capable, as a corporation, of having fun is a primary reason I use their search engine.

But, if you use the Internet at all (and, if you don't, what the hell are you doing here, anyway? :-), then you *really* ought to know about Google.

Friday, May 24, 2002 @ 08:07 p.m. - Comment


Wow.

As opposed to my opinion (below) of the Ally finale, the Buffy season closer was epic. I can't even begin to describe to you how much I think they pulled an otherwise fairly crappy season back from the grave (ok, little bad Buffy humor there...) in the last 120 minutes.

I even figured out how Spike was going to get double crossed, 5 seconds before it happened.

And neither half of this episode was even written by Joss -- who apparently burned himself out for the season on the musical (episode 7, or maybe 8, depending on how you count these things...).

And all that's left is The West Wing. More tonight.

[ An excellent summary, with much of which I agree, can be found at MetaFilter. ]

Wednesday, May 22, 2002 @ 03:34 p.m. - Comment


Nope.

Sorry.

Nope.

I'm not happy, David.

You pulled it out nicely on Boston Public, but hell, that show has another season or two to go. Ally, on the other hand, you screwed up.

It was nice stuff, as far as it went... but whassamatta? You pissed at Fox because they wouldn't give you another hour to finish it right? Sorry... that was pretty lame, as endings go.

Monday, May 20, 2002 @ 10:01 p.m. - Comment


There's an ongoing rumble

between Richard Stallman -- founder of the GNU project -- and, well, pretty much everyone else on the planet -- as to whether it's unreasonable to expect people to refer to software distributions with the Linux kernel, and many utilities created by members of (and contributors to) the GNU project, as "GNU/Linux", instead of "Linux" systems, as they're often called today.

He's posted a reply to a recent Joe Barr piece on idg.net, clarifying some events in a recent such incident.

Now, this is all well and good, and as he notes, he isn't obligated to speak to any group he doesn't want to, for any reason or none at all.

But one of his comments is a bit disingenuous:

Just consider: the GNU Project starts developing an operating system, and years later Linus Torvalds adds one important piece. The GNU Project says, "Please give our project equal mention," but Linus says, "Don't give them a share of the credit; call the whole thing after my name alone!" Now envision the mindset of a person who can look at these events and accuse the GNU Project of egotism. It takes strong prejudice to misjudge so drastically.

Now, first (well, second, actually, but who else is counting?), Linus hasn't ever said anything close to that, and indeed, pays damned near no attention to distributions. He releases a kernel, and is perfectly within his rights to refer to it as "Linux".

But more importantly, it's, ok, more than just a bit disingenuous to say something that's as much of a handwave as "one important piece", when that piece is the operating system kernel itself, a piece, notably, that the GNU project remains unable to release, itself, in production form (The HURD, is what they call it) -- despite it's having been in development since 1991 (or even earlier, depending on how you choose to look at these things.

Nope, sorry, rms; I predate your kernel too, and I don't have to buy it. Don't get me wrong, the GNU GPL license has done wonderful things for Free Software -- Linux included. Our plans for World Domination wouldn't have gotten off the ground without it.

But please; a little perspective in the battles. Ok?

Monday, May 20, 2002 @ 03:26 p.m. - Comment


Well, here I go again

I just can't cope with it anymore. No, really. I'm not having a good week. Friday night went pretty well, all things considered. So, did I just shrug off old messes and go to Rocky on Saturday night?

Of course not.

Was this a poor idea?

Of course it was. You only lose your virginity once. Sorry, Susan.

Phuque.

Sunday, May 19, 2002 @ 02:41 p.m. - Comment


Oh, boy...

Well, a completely unrelated Google search turned up this file [110KB PDF]; an appraisal of the World Trade Center from an insurance point of view.

Haven't had time to read it all; I'll add some more comments here later. Heading off to work.

Friday, May 17, 2002 @ 10:09 a.m. - Comment


G.E.

... we bring good things to living, We bring good things to life.

Interestingly enough, that jingle was penned by my favorite pianist, Jim Brickman (see story below -- and no, Marie and I never became an item. Which is probably just as well, for a dozen reasons. <sob>)

Ok, time to come clean (though those of you who apply Ashworth's Law will have already found this out): I came across this spiffycool called 80's TV Themes. Damn this place is neat. And I haven't gotten to the *show* themes yet.

Wednesday, May 15, 2002 @ 06:30 p.m. - Comment


Ok, call me a pervert

but *damn* do I enjoy a good piece of production music.

But I liked their earlier slogan better.

Wednesday, May 15, 2002 @ 06:21 p.m. - Comment


Ok, so I'm an emotional wuss...

and susceptible to good advertising, to boot.

Every "What I'm really giving you..." Hallmark commercial ever aired -- or damned near, anyway -- makes me cry...

but the one I'm hunting madly for was a ... 75th(?) anniversary spot that I appear not to be the only one who remembers. It was something like *every one of Hallmark's 1500 employees* piled up on a hillside singing, as a 40-foot crane booms up and back until you can see them all.

I *think* was back in 1985, which was around the time that they were running "Piano Teacher".

If anyone can find a copy of this in an old videotape or something, please let me know. I'd pay you for a tape and postage for a copy of this one.

Wednesday, May 15, 2002 @ 06:04 p.m. - Comment


So...

How *do* you say smattering in Yiddish?

Or is, maybe, smattering already in Yiddish?

[ Thanks to the excellent snopes2.com Urban Legends website, which you should visit anytime you get the urge to forward that "Bill Gates will send me a kilobuck" chain letter... ]

Wednesday, May 15, 2002 @ 05:44 p.m. - Comment


How To Impress a Woman

Wine her,
Dine her,
Call her,
Hug her,
Support her,
Hold her,
Surprise her,
Compliment her,
Smile at her,
Listen to her,
Laugh with her,
Cry with her,
Romance her,
Believe in her,
Cuddle with her,
Shop with her,
Give her Jewelry,
Buy her flowers,
Hold her hand,
Write love letters to her,
Go to the end of the earth and back again for her.

How to Impress a Man

Show up naked,
Bring Food.

Wednesday, May 15, 2002 @ 04:22 p.m. - Comment


A.I.

Or, maybe, "aaiiiiiieee!" :-)

Wired has a fairly interesting piece on Steven Speilberg, and how his moviemaking style has changed over his career.

The piece was inspired, of course, by Speilberg's most recently released picture, "Minority Report", based on the dystopian Philip K. Dick novel of (I believe), the same name. Dick has a history in this sort of thing, the picture "Blade Runner" was based on his short story "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep" (a much better title, in my opinion -- which is why I don't have a three-picture development deal. :-)

But this picture is substantially darker than his earlier works -- and no, so far I haven't seen it, just the wall-to-wall-Tom-Cruise trailers -- and that has some people muttering.

As the writer quotes delightfully understated Spielberg/Crichton chaoticist Ian Malcolm (from "Jurassic Park"):

Oooh! Ahhh! That's how it always starts. Then later there's running and screaming."

Or, to crib one's quote instead from Buffy:

That way lies madness, and sweaty palms...

My favorite kevinBaconism in the piece is the observation that Spielberg is leaning towards the cautionary tail as he gets older... his JP collaborator, Michael Crichton is tied, perhaps, only with fellow medical novelist Robin Cook as the foremost progenitor of that sub-genre.

[ My, but it's good to be writing again... ]

Tuesday, May 14, 2002 @ 02:29 p.m. - Comment


Ah, Emma; we barely knew ye'

If you're a regular reader, you'll know that I fell in love with Fox's "The American Embassy", and was somewhat put out when they yanked it *with the time already scheduled to air the last 2 eps". In the immortal words of Chris Rock, I wanted to know, "what kinda ignorant shit is that?"

Well, it seems, I'm not the only one who was annoyed.

Among the pieces at a website maintained by the actor who played Emma's cross-dressing neighbor, Gary (Micheal Cerveris), there was reference to a tea-bag mailing campaing which annoyed Fox... and the WB may pick the show up.

I do hope so. And it's *not* *just* because I want to marry Arija. :-)

Tuesday, May 14, 2002 @ 10:15 a.m. - Comment


I, too...

am a meatan.

I don't object to vegetarianism... as long as proplr aren't trying to rub it in my face to make me feel like a criminal. You feel it's healthier for you, you go, girl. It's just these 'political' vegetarians that drive me up a tree.

[Thanks to Alan]

Tuesday, May 14, 2002 @ 09:47 a.m. - Comment


Furrfu!

Well, I'm about to become a criminal.

Some time this weekend, I'm supposed to go out and take pictures of my friend Faith, probably for eventual use on her website and publicity materials, but mostly because I enjoy taking pictures of pretty girls.

Well, Florida Representative, Mark Foley, has drafted a bill that is proof that he and his legislative staff are unable to either 1) read, 2) write, or 3) think clearly; all characteristics you'd sort of think you'd want your US representative to have, no?

He's apparently, according to Wired, introduced a bill that makes commercial photography of children illegal.

I propose to print out lots of copies of this, with the Wired article as a cover sheet, and a letter suggesting that the commercial photographers and studios to whom I give it not only rail against the bill, but request that Foley be censured for being so completely incapable of doing his job as to expose my home state to even worse ridicule than we've already had to tolerate this decade.

The punch line here?

His press release says pedophiles pay to see photos and video clips of the children in sexually suggestive poses.

But -- whoops! -- that's not what his bill (PDF) actually covers.

The operative words in that quote are "press release". Can you say "grandstanding for the constituency"? Yeah; I thought you could.

Saturday, May 11, 2002 @ 12:02 a.m. - Comment


Well, that was a change...

The entire Coral Springs High Concert Choir decided to show up at karaoke at the Pier tonight. They were apparently on tour, and after hearing some (and all) of them sing, I can certainly understand why.

Wow.

Special to the brunette in the brown cape. Damn; girlfriend!

And you sing real pretty too. :-}

Friday, May 10, 2002 @ 11:31 p.m. - Comment


This Posting Considered Harmful

Many many moons ago, Edsgar Dijkstra wrote, and had published in the Journal of the Association for Computing Machinery -- the industry journal of the computing business -- a piece called "Goto Statement Considered Harmful".

The acrimony over that article, notes the Jargon File, was so intense that the Journal will no longer, by policy, print any piece which is so strongly for or against anything.

A completely unrelated issue, though, this morning, caused me to go Google up the phrase, and there's a lot of stuff that people Consider Harmful. :-)

Tuesday, May 7, 2002 @ 04:50 p.m. - Comment


Well, that time of year has come again...

(Ok, you *knew* I wouldn't be able to resist that lead, right?)

Courtesy of Eric, a reminder that the weekend after Mother's Day <chuckle> is the annual Masturbate-a-thon. If you have the balls (ok, I'll shut up now :-), you can get people to pledge for each minute you spend polishing the bishop that weekend... which means that the women can raise a *lot* more money than we can.

Tuesday, May 7, 2002 @ 01:40 p.m. - Comment


Well, I've been saying this for years...

But now Reuters jumps on the bandwagon, and it'll be fashionable. I feel a little like Dave Barry.

Music Swappers Buy More Music.

Say it with me now: Du-u-u-u-u-h.

"But if we allow people to *buy* movies on videotape, the entire movie industry will go in the toilet." Yeah, right.

Tuesday, May 7, 2002 @ 10:33 a.m. - Comment


"Can't we just skip it...?"

Drew Z Greenberg is God.

I haven't participated in the Buffy newsgroup for a month or more now, mostly because 1100 messages a day is a little too much traffic even for me -- and I remember when I could read *all* of Usenet. (This was back in 1983... :-)

But one of the things that was fairly well known when I was on the group was that certain writers just did the job better than others.

Greenberg might well be the best one on the list. Tonight's show was arguably the best one I've seen all season, utilizing the characters better than I've grown accustomed... and Tara's closing soliloquy was absolutely a standout in a show full of standouts.

Wednesday, May 1, 2002 @ 07:45 p.m. - Comment


Wanted

(far more than makes any reasonable kind of sense):

Many years ago, pretty much *right* after "Uncle Fud" Paxson stopped hosting the Club himself, with a bottle of Wild Turkey under the podium (or so I was told by a friend who was a coordinator at the time), I worked for The Home Shopping Club (Channel, Network, whatever)...

I was mostly an audio guy, and for no known reason (well, ok, I like production music in general, anyway), I fell in love with the theme songs for both networks, 1 and 2, which I had carts of in about 6 different lengths all the way up through 2 minutes.

There *might* be *3* people left in the world who have that music laying around somewhere within reach... but I figure if they exist, someone will find out here that I want copies. :-)

If you have copies of those carts laying around, drop me some mail, won't you?

Tuesday, April 30, 2002 @ 03:03 p.m. - Comment


Stump the Driver

Went over to see my friends' Eric and Christina's new house in St Pete the other night (inadvertantly stealing all the guests from Helen and Kodi's excellent Brigit Books Friday Night Coffee Thing -- no link cause they don't appear to have an active website yet), and I high-centered my van on an insufficiently trimmed tree trunk. After two calls to AAA (luckily, one of their dad's works there), and a useless visit from Sunshine Towing (I think it was; correct me, Eric?), we finally got a young turk out there (after 1 ayem) from George and Sons.

As I'd thought would turn out to be the case, all that was necessary was for the guy to stick his stinger under my car (which sounds kinda kinky we you say it, I guess...), and lift it up a whole foot and push it back 3 feet.

Worked like a charm. I like tow trucks. :-)

Thanks to Helen and Kodi, and to Holly, Susan and compatriot whose name I missed. I guess, Susan, that that was my karma for not being able to get a compliment out straight.

I get that way around pretty girls....

Saturday, April 27, 2002 @ 10:57 p.m. - Comment


Landmark: 30000 hits

Only took me, what, 3 and a half years? Yeah; seems to be about 35 hits a day on average. I guess that's not too horrible for a self-indulgance page. :-)

Saturday, April 27, 2002 @ 10:54 p.m. - Comment


Zoom, zoom, zoom...

Who knew?

Apparently, you can build a jet engine out of a turbocharger and a propane tank. Some people, of course, take this further than others; one guy got his turbo off an M-60 tank.

Just goes to prove Carlin's old saw: if you nail together two things that have never been nailed together before, some schmuck will buy it from you.

Saturday, April 27, 2002 @ 10:39 p.m. - Comment


Big Trouble!

That's what we're in! Trouble with a capital 'T' that rhymes with...

Oh, crap. :-)

Those of you (hi, Sis! :-) who actually still read me regularly know that I'm a Big Fan of Dave Barry -- as I said to the people in the theatre, Reading Dave aloud is one of my greatest pleasures in life (which may tell you all you need to know about me. :-})

In any event, this movie, sadly maligned by the critics, was the best single adaptation to the screen of a novel that I have personally seen since Crichton's 1970's classic The Andromeda Strain. I once watched that film with a copy of the book open in my lap -- they got it almost perfect.

This book was exposition heavy, as you might expect from a novel from a humor writer... but the screenplay writers handled it quite deftly. They clipped out a touch more than I might have liked -- particularly snipping down the screen time of Nina, the maid , but all in all, they did a remarkably fidelitous job of transferring the book (which, thank ghod, I can now go read again :-) to the screen, and if you're a Dave Barry fan, you'd better go find it before it Dies The Death in the theatres, and don't miss it on DVD, either.

Thursday, April 25, 2002 @ 09:43 p.m. - Comment


"What do you say

about a country that protects even the people that seek to destroy it?"

"God Bless America."

I love the series... but tonight's semi-documentary retrospective of the last 30 years in the West Wing may well be the best single 60 minutes of this show I've seen yet.

I loved the editing, and especially the way they reserved Henry Kissinger for the knockout punch in the 4th segment.

Again I say 'wow'.

Work sucks; life sucks. Thank ghod TV is holding up it's part of the bargain.

Wednesday, April 24, 2002 @ 09:54 p.m. - Comment


Well, well, well...

Berman and Braga may be Listening.

My sis sent me a link to a piece about Enterprise -- and it's captain -- entitled Let Archer Be Archer (which will be doubly funny to those who, like me, are also West Wing fans (and I'm writing this, incidentally, in the breaks of this week's show, which is... A Very Special West Wing. (Sorry.)

In any event, the writers are apparently paying attention again -- apparently the hiatus did them some good too. So, probably worth watching again. (File this under damning with faint praise, I guess... :-)

Wednesday, April 24, 2002 @ 08:56 p.m. - Comment


Special

to the redhead on the yellow Ninja: wow. :-)

Wednesday, April 24, 2002 @ 08:16 p.m. - Comment


Well, maybe not

So, what do you do when your best friend wants to sleep with your other best friend?

Especially when the latter's stolen 6 women from you in 20 years?

Wednesday, April 24, 2002 @ 08:14 p.m. - Comment


America's Old Romantic Piano Sensation?

My friend Marie and I went to see Jim Brickman Friday night at Ruth Eckerd Hall.

As seems to be the case there more and more lately, the performance was quite good, but the house sound mixing sucked eggs. I don't know if Jim had his own sound guy along (though I sort of doubt it) but if not, then this makes *3* shows where the house people at REH just couldn't mix the show as well as *I* could have, and armageddon a little bit tired of it.

Marie liked the show, though, so I'm happy. :-)

Sunday, April 21, 2002 @ 09:26 p.m. - Comment


Hey, now...

Maybe this *would* be a good idea:

Nevada to phase out laws altogether.

Tuesday, April 16, 2002 @ 12:25 a.m. - Comment


Building the Perfect Beast

Alan (you go, boy) sends me a bunch of mainframe and AS/400 related stuff from mailing lists he got on while we still owned an old used 9406 (which we couldn't successfully pawn off on anyone, and have since, alas, scrapped).

His latest catch is a delightful piece from iSeriesNetwork (the "iSeries" is what we're calling 390 mainframes these days...) about why it might not be such a good idea after all to reinvent the wheel...

While studying the shelves of servers and oddball gear, cables a- spewing through the open doors, I felt a sudden sense that I'd seen this before. A memory crystallized, taking me back nearly 20 years to a visit to IBM's Rochester assembly line. Minnesota Batchelor Farm Girls were building AS/400s -- those big rack-mounted early versions. The assembly station I visited was eerily similar to the cable nest in my client's server complex, only much tidier. The under-construction AS/400 was a maze of cables and boxes stacked inside a row of pristine white racks that topped my height by a few inches. Neat, clean cable harnesses were strapped, clamped, and routed just so, with meticulous craftsmanship obeying exacting standards. Contrast this with the morass of power, serial, keyboard, mouse, and Ethernet cables strewn about my client's racks by college interns, bound with bread-bag twistees and rubber bands.

I love it.

And, given that you can run 40,000+ copies of RedHat in one LPAR on a 390, I'm there. Multiply the MTBF of one blade in a rack by the number of blades... and you tell *me* if you like that answer better than "the mainframe at my university was down for about 4 hours in the 4 years I was there -- and that was *scheduled* downtime".

Monday, April 15, 2002 @ 11:23 a.m. - Comment


Well, I *think* that Hurricane Marie

has blown over, for the nonce. It got a little rough, there, over ther weekend, but all lost luggage has been recovered, and airport security seems to be taking a slightly less rigid stance, and I can live with that.

Haven't had to balance the "how much do I talk about" issue in quite some time, which ought to tell me (and someone else) something...

Monday, April 8, 2002 @ 11:33 a.m. - Comment


Raymond, Redux

In an entry a few days back, I wrote that I didn't much agree with some stuff that Open Source pundit (some would prefer 'apologist') Eric Raymond had to say in a recent interview.

I should have waited.

The second part is out, and it's much easier to agree with:

Stick a fork in Microsoft; they're done.

I've been saying this, albeit in slightly different form, for about 3 years now; I give them til close of business 2005. They're either going to look completely unlike what they do now (give or take a logo design), or they'll be completely MIA. (Though the original typo, "MIS", was very funny... ;-)

Thursday, April 4, 2002 @ 07:48 p.m. - Comment


Raymond, Redux

In an entry a few days back, I wrote that I didn't much agree with some stuff that Open Source pundit (some would prefer 'apologist') Eric Raymond had to say in a recent interview.

I should have waited.

The second part is out, and it's much easier to agree with:

Stick a fork in Microsoft; they're done.

I've been saying this, albeit in slightly different form, for about 3 years now; I give them til close of business 2005. They're either going to look completely unlike what they do now (give or take a logo design), or they'll be completely MIA. (Though the original typo, "MIS", was very funny... ;-)

Thursday, April 4, 2002 @ 07:48 p.m. - Comment


And then, of course...

there's Hurricane Marie, whose blown back into town after a couple years in South Carolina. Luckily, I got myself strapped to the main mast in time, cause otherwise, I don't know if I'd survive... thanks, Chel.

Thursday, April 4, 2002 @ 04:09 p.m. - Comment


You Gotta Have Faith

You gotta have Faith... you gotta have Faith uh Faith uh Faith... you gotta have Faith uh Faith uh Faith!

Hi, Faith. :-)

Tell your mom thanks for dinner again, 'k?

Thursday, April 4, 2002 @ 04:01 p.m. - Comment


Well, it's been a long time

since I played Asteroids... but it looks like I get another chance. It seems that there's one THAT MIGHT CRASH INTO EARTH.

But it's ok... we get a little while to figure out what to do.

Like... 877 years. :-)

Thursday, April 4, 2002 @ 03:57 p.m. - Comment


It is my painful duty

to disagree with Eric Raymond, revered Open Source Software public relations sage. In a piece on ZDnet, he opines that Star commencing to charge for StarOffice when 70 or so percent of it is available as the open source OpenOffice (which isn't too bad, on Linux, although it's a bit boggy in 96MB).

He's wrong.

The interview that ran earlier this week with Sun's StarOffice guy, which I can't seem to locate at the moment, conversely asserts the old "more companies will buy it if it's *not* free (beer)", and I find that reasoning eminently believable, myself, having been commercially involved with small business computing for close to 2 decades now.

My, but it makes me feel old to say that... :-}

Thursday, March 28, 2002 @ 11:18 p.m. - Comment


The Senator From Disney

... is at it again. Senator Fritz Hollings has renamed his SSSCA bill proposal as the Consumer Broadband and Digital Television Promotion Act, but consumers aren't buying the old "put 'Consumer' in the name and people will think it's good" piece.

This isn't quite the "How the SSSCA will outlaw home videotaping" article I keep promising Pam I'll write, but it's a start...

Thursday, March 28, 2002 @ 10:53 p.m. - Comment


I find it somewhat surprising...

that the author of Isaac & Ishmael is advocating *against* popular artists taking advantage of their posession of an audience to advocate the things that they believe in from a bully pulpit... particularly in light of the fact that series star Martin Sheen is prone to the thing.

Ok, to give Sheen credit, he's not *per se* "taking advantage", but it's unreasonable to think that people aren't paying more attention because he's talking.

Pay particular attention, BTW, to the piece on what Islam is and isn't, found on page 7 of the TV Without Pity synopsis. It's very well done...

Wednesday, March 27, 2002 @ 09:50 p.m. - Comment


"Shove a motherboard...

so far up your ass?"

You go, CJ.

Wednesday, March 27, 2002 @ 09:48 p.m. - Comment


A *good* Enterprise ep...

They did a damned good job tonight, surprisingly; resurrecting an old Federation enemy.

The title of the episode was "Acquisition", which ought make it obvious to any other-than-casual Trekker which aliens are in question.

Rule: if you have captive aliens, don't let them play with their ears.

Nice writing, although they blew the 15 or so seconds wherein T'Pol unlocked Archer.

The West Wing is doing pretty good too, tonight; I was pleasantly unsurprised to find that lemonlyman.com *is* registered (to Warner Bros).

ATTENTION AARON: it's much more fun than you think out here... :-)

Better put *something* there, or we'll do it for you.

Wednesday, March 27, 2002 @ 09:28 p.m. - Comment


The, um, "Patriot" Act

strikes again.

According to this piece from law.com, the FBI can snoop around in your bookstore and library records to see what you've been reading. And the bookstore or library *can't complain in public*.

Nice to see that AG John Ashcroft is doing such a good job of doing the terrorist's work for them, isn't it?

Gee... I wonder if it's legal for me to write this story?

Saturday, March 23, 2002 @ 04:30 p.m. - Comment


Folo: The American Embassy

This show has legs. I've seen the second ep now, and I'm *still* impressed. It looks like they've actually bothered to hire writers. We'll see if they hired a decent story editor, shortly.

Do hope it gets picked up.

I'd sure hate to have their location bills, though.

Saturday, March 23, 2002 @ 03:26 p.m. - Comment


Woo hoo!

My friend (and one of my favorite models) Marie is back in town from So Carolina, looks like for good. I missed her a lot.

She showed up about 0300 this morning, and after a sweet night and a breakfast riddled with nagging about my health (:-) she's off to catch up with all the other family she left here.

I'm much happier than I had any right to expect to be. But isn't that how it's supposed to work?

Anyone got any suggestions on coping with cat allergies? :-)

Saturday, March 23, 2002 @ 03:22 p.m. - Comment


Those wacky Brunching Shuttlecocks

are at it again.

This time, they've come up with a retronym generator.

Which is a shame, cause, y'know, one less way for *me* to show off. :-) [ thanks to Fiona ]

Thursday, March 14, 2002 @ 10:00 p.m. - Comment


My point...

and I did have one, was that of all people, *Hogan*, of all people, writes a weblog. Oh, ok, *he* doesn't call it that...

Maybe "a column" is a better description.

It's still some good stuff, on a par with Gillmor or Pournelle.

Thursday, March 14, 2002 @ 09:46 p.m. - Comment


Of all the people...

I've been a fan of science fiction author James P. Hogan for at least a decade. I'm not as generally enamored of his entire body of work as I am with, say, Heinlein.

Still, the one book I *really* like, I love. I've been through 3 or 4 copies of _Thrice_Upon_A_Time_, one of the best time-thrillers I've *ever* read, in that time, and I'm looking for a hardcover...

Because James is going to be in town this fall, at Necronomicon, the local SF con of 20 years worth of repute. (I love their con patches: they ape NASA mission patches, with the names of the guests and appropriate (read: amusing) artwork.

In any event, I hope to find one in good enough shape to be worth signing... or perhaps James has one himself. We'll see...

Thursday, March 14, 2002 @ 09:02 p.m. - Comment


I got a new toy...

About 3 years ago (or almost exactly the length of the common business lease :-) Toshiba brought out a new subnote called the Portege 3010CT.

A couple weeks ago, at lunch, I walked next door to the little hole in the wall computer consignment store and fell in love with one. (He had 10 left out of a batch of 40, so he told me...)

So, I went back to my client's, and consulted Google.

"Installing Linux on the Toshiba Portege 3010CT" was the first hit I got. No, not on the *Linux* section of Google... the general engine.

I took this as a good omen, and bought the machine.

It's sweeet. The install went better than any Linux install I've ever done -- installing Linux on a laptop, in particular (much less a subnote) is supposed to be like pulling teeth -- with a crane.

Not this time. :-)

Pix later...

Thursday, March 14, 2002 @ 02:09 p.m. - Comment


All dressed up and ...

nothing to write. (Seems like it's about time I caught up with Fiona...)

So, I'm "doesn't watch television" guy.

And I have *4* (and a half) TV shows. And here comes another one.

The American Embassy premiered tonight. And damn Fox's lousy soul to hell, it looks good. Originally titled "Emma Brody", after its lead character, it's roughly what you'd get if you threw Ally McBeal, the West Wing, and Doogie Howser in a blender -- and with 17% more pediconferencing!

They gave it a good start, too; slotted it in Ally's timeslot. We'll see where they go with it, but it got a pretty good send off. It uses Ally's old voiceover, and Doogie's "type at the computer" (voiced over emails to homeland friend Jules) to allow the lead to be Exposition Boy, an approach I've always enjoyed.

Well, except when it was Doogie. :-)

(Oh, for those who are wondering: Ally, Boston Public, Buffy, The West Wing, and I watch Enterprise, but I don't mind waiting till I see it on tape. Oh, and the Practice, when I can't avoid it... :-)

Monday, March 11, 2002 @ 09:47 p.m. - Comment


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