Monday, January 30, 2006

Music Monday - #40


Past Music Mondays


+++++


Lyrics Of The Week:

I couldn't lyrics for Laura Viers' stuff, so just listen, will ya?

+++++


Featured Free MP3 Downloads Of The Week:

This week, a couple of gorgeous cuts from Seattle's Laura Veirs:

From All Music Guide:

"Seattle singer/songwriter Laura Veirs sings personal songs of romantic intoxication, everyday vignettes, and occasional social commentary that are often heavy on introspection and intense character scrutiny. Her vocals and melodies rapidly shift and veer, true to her name, up and down her wide vocal range. She put out her own self-titled CD, recorded live and featuring just her and guitar, in 1999. 2003 saw the release of Troubled by the Fire, a full-band effort that found the artist sharing the studio with such luminaries as Bill Frisell, Amy Denio and Fred Chalenor. She signed to Nonesuch the following year and recorded the atmospheric follow-up Carbon Glacier. Years of Meteors followed in August of 2005."

1) - "Jailhouse Fire"

and

2) - "John Henry"

(Music files courtesy Laura Veirs. More about Laura Viers at Wikipedia, and lots more MP3 downloads and flash tunes on the Laura's website.)

+++++


IGN lists the 50 Best Songs You Didn't Hear in 2005.

+++++


Download this Free MP3 of the demo of James Blunt's "Out Of My Mind," and watch the haunting and moving video for Blunt's monster hit "You're Beautiful."

+++++


In honor of Mozart's birthday this past week, check out these free MP3's of last October's Mass In C Minor Concert by Sydney University's Madrigal Society and Symphony Orchestra.

+++++


Feast your eyes in this Quicktime video of "Destroy She Said," from Madelin Zero.


A Yen To Censor


06.01.29.YentoCensor-X

Cartoon courtesy Cox&Forkum

More On The Story From C&F


Your Moment Of Zen




Sunday, January 29, 2006

Hats Of Meat


No, really. Meat.

On This Day


My father died at age fifty-one of a heart attack on July 25, 1986. He was born on this day, seventy-one years ago, in Pyangyang, Choson, now North Korea, the first son of Presbyterian Missionaries to that great country. I still miss him, and I wish he were here, and I wish my little girls could have known their grandpa.

Your Moment Of Zen




Thursday, January 26, 2006

The Free Country


The Free Country: Free Programmers', Webmasters' and Security Resources.

U.S. Supreme Court Rejects RIM's Appeal


From CNet:



"The prospect of a wide-scale shutdown of the BlackBerry mobile e-mail service is closer to becoming reality, as the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday turned down a request to review a major patent infringement ruling against BlackBerry-maker Research In Motion."



Read more here, and check out the Big Picture here.

More from Yahoo.

PA Ballot


05.01.02.PABallot-X

Cartoon courtesy Cox&Forkum

More On The Story From C&F


Your Moment Of Zen




Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Yikes


I spent some time tonight poking around MySpace and I gotta say, it was a strange trip. I felt I'd entered some kind of bizzaro parallel-universe of emoting, tx-msgng-spk and bad webpage layout. Look, I know it's basically a social networking device, but even so, migawd, it's appalling. It's like someone took the worst features of Friendster, Livejournal, Xanga and Orkut, and mashed them all into one service, a virtual destination where your teenage cousins can hang out and be seen, like some kind of electronic version of the Abercrombie and Fitch store, down at the mall. And yet, it's insanely popular, with something like 40 million members, each with his/her own garish webpage, issuing 'shoutouts' and 'hellyeahs' to all comers. I dunno, who am I to criticize? I keep a blog, and besides, I hated social networking as a young pup, and I hate it now. So what's the big deal, right? It's a free country. Well, sure. But there something a little creepty about the complete lack of candor displayed by so many of the users of these sites. Is it really wise to post so much intimate detail of one's life online? And so many of them seem to have so very little to say. Hmm. I suppose I outta go sign up for an account, then. -heh- (Read Business Week's article on what they call the MySpace Generation here.)

All Ears


The unofficial guide to Disneyworld.

Your Moment Of Zen




Monday, January 23, 2006

Music Monday - #39


Past Music Mondays


+++++


Lyrics Of The Week:


+++++


Featured Free MP3 Downloads Of The Week:

This week, a couple of transcendental pieces from Iceland's Sigur Rós:

From Wikipedia:

"Jón Þór (Jónsi) Birgisson, Georg Hólm and Ágúst Ævar Gunnarsson formed the group in Reykjavík in August 1994. Their name is taken from Jónsi's younger sister Sigurrós, who was born the same day. They soon won a record deal with a local record label, Bad Taste. In 1997, they released Von (Hope) and in 1998 a remix collection named Von brigði. The name is Icelandic wordplay: Vonbrigði means "disappointment", but Von brigði means "hope alteration". (In English, the album is sometimes known by the alternative name "Recycle Bin".)

International acclaim came with 1999's Ágætis Byrjun ("An alright start") for which the band were joined by Kjartan Sveinsson. The album's reputation slowly spread by word of mouth over the next two years. Soon many critics worldwide hailed it as one of the best albums of its time and the band was playing with Radiohead and other big names. Three songs, Ágætis Byrjun's title track, its first single "Svefn-g-englar", and a live take of the then-unreleased "Njósnavélin" (to become "Untitled #4") appeared in the Cameron Crowe film Vanilla Sky."

1) - "Svefn-g-englar"

and

2) - "Ágætis Byrjun"

(Music files courtesy Amazon.com. More about Sigur Rós at Wikipedia, and lots more MP3 downloads on the band's website.)

+++++


Download the free MP3 of "Pride," written by Bill Bonk, and the ever-lovely Susanna Hoffs, sung by The Bangles' own Ms. Hoffs, herself.

+++++


British songbird Sophie Ellis-Bextor has several streaming videos available on her website.

+++++


I saw an ad for emusic the other day, advertising a free trial, in which users can download fifty free MP3's from the hundreds of thousands available. The free downloads must be made within two weeks, and although there is no obligation to buy more, users can buy monthly download packages that allow them download up to ninety MP3's, for less the 25 cents apiece. I signed up and have done my fifty free downloads, and found it quite easy to use. I will probably stay with them for the next month or two, and snag legal MP3's of the albums I don't have on CD or DVD. It's worth considering, give a look.

Web Unites Broken Family


From WCCO:



(CBS) NEW YORK

With so much talk about the dangers of online communities, it is rare to hear about the success stories. But for one broken family, the Internet brought a happy new beginning.

Sommer Owens, 19, has spent her teen years searching for her father and half-sister, and last week she tracked them down through the social networking site MySpace.com.



Read the rest here.

CSI Target Audience


From USA Today:



Woman's body sits in front of TV for 2 1/2 years

By Christy Arnold, The Cincinnati Enquirer

MADISONVILLE, Ohio — Johannas Pope didn't want to be buried, believing that she would come back to life.

Authorities say the body of Johannas Pope sat in a chair on the second floor of this house for 2 1/2 years.

Pope died at her home here at age 61 on Aug. 29, 2003. A towel had been placed around her neck to keep her cool on that 87-degree summer day. She wore a white gown while sitting in a chair in an upstairs room, in front of a television that played as family members went about their lives downstairs.



Read the rest here.

Your Moment Of Zen




Sunday, January 22, 2006

Huff And Puff


06.01.22.HuffPuff-X

Cartoon courtesy Cox&Forkum

More On The Story From C&F


Taking The Plunge At -35C


From the Times:



From Jeremy Page in Moscow

IT was one of the coldest nights in Moscow since 1940, with temperatures nudging below -30C. The frost was so thick that my nostrils stuck together when I inhaled. Two dozen people had frozen to death in the previous 24 hours.

What better time for an outdoor swim? It was, after all, the Russian Orthodox festival of Epiphany, when thousands of winter swimmers — better known as “walruses” — plunge through holes in the ice to re-enact Christ’s baptism. And the chief walrus had defiantly declared that the ceremony would go ahead in spite of the sort of cold snap that wiped out the armies of Hitler and Napoleon.

On hearing this, I had informed my colleagues in a fit of bravado that I, too, would take the midnight plunge “to become a true Russian man”



Read the rest here. Brr.

Your Moment Of Zen




Friday, January 20, 2006

Collective Poetry



Put a collective poetry kit on your site

Your Moment Of Zen




Meme Dropping


Got this from a friend:

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

10 Years ago:


Had been married less than a year, and my first kid was still three years away.

5 Years ago:


Was finishing my second college degree in Computer Science, Dubyuh had just been inaugurated after a bitter contest with Al Gore, and 9/11 was still six months away.

Middle School:

I grew up in South America, was homeschooled during 7th and 8th grades, left home to live in another city to attend American School for 9th grade.

5 Bands and Artists:

The House Of Love, Elliott Smith, Nick Drake, The Beatles, Carla Bruni.

5 things I'd do with 100 million


1st 20 million: I'd invest and live off it, and set up trust funds for my daughers.

2nd 20 million: I'd buy a large estate and build a huge mansion overlooking the St. Croix River, and retire to the life of a country squire.

3nd 20 million: I'd give to friends and family, and/or set up education funds for their kids, and health care expense accounts for all.

4rd 20 million: I'd set up a foundation to assist programs that provide healthcare for the poor in developing countres.

5th 20 million: I'd endow a professorship and scholarships at a local university in my parents' name, 10 million each in health care, for my mom, and theology, for my dad.

5 Places I would run away to:


Scotland, Ireland, New Zealand, Spain, Great Smoky Mountains of the US

5 Things I like doing:


Reading, blogging, chatting, watching videos/movies/tv, hanging out with my girls.

5 Things I will never wear (if I can help it):


Speedo, boxers, 70's style leisure suit, tassled loafers, wild/loud ties.

5 Movies I Like


The Usual Suspects
Casablanca
La Femme Nikita
Apocalypse Now
Lost In Translation

5 People I'd Like to Meet:

Fidel Castro, Tony Blair, Petra Nemcova, a couple of the regular readers of this blog.

5 Joys at the Moment:


AE, LK, my laptop, cable WIFI at home, my kitty,

5 weird personal habits/traits


1. I have to wipe the toilet seat, AND lay down TP before sitting in any restroom, pubic or private, other than those at home.

2. When I'm done in a public restroom, after I wash my hands, I use a paper towel to turn the handle and open the door.

3. I keep my books and CDs in alphabetical order, categorized by type (I have hudreds upon hundred of each).

4. I have to organize my M&M's and Skittles by color, and then eat one each, in order, keeping the colors and numbers balanced, until I'm done.

5. I save old magazines. Well, new ones, too. I have hundreds. Maybe thousands.

WONDER LAND


From WSJ OpinionJournal:



Oprah's Truth Is No Stranger to Fiction
How 1968 brought us to James Frey.


BY DANIEL HENNINGER
Friday, January 20, 2006 12:01 a.m. EST

Oprah Winfrey has thrown her support behind memoirist James Frey, whose Number One bestseller, "A Million Little Pieces"--a vivid recollection of his drug and alcohol addictions, crimes against humanity and recovery--turns out on a sliding scale to run from false to faulty. Mr. Frey's literally incredible life was exposed recently by a Web site, the Smoking Gun. Respondeth Oprah, and legions of Mr. Frey's readers: Who cares?

Ms. Winfrey said, "The underlying message of redemption in James Frey's memoir still resonates with me." Many of the some 1,900 Frey messengers to Oprah's Web site also voted for redemption over factual accuracy.

In an age when controversies are a dime a dozen, this one is worth thinking about. Some have said the publisher should have made clear the memoir was fictionalized. But people don't want that. As with reality TV shows, people now enter into these new kinds of experiences with the conceit that it's somehow true or real, and when they find out later the truth was staged, they don't care. If you think this doesn't compute, tough. That, so to speak, is current reality.



Read the rest here. (The Smoking Gun's report is here.)

Brokeback Diplomacy


06.01.19.Brokeback-X

Cartoon courtesy Cox&Forkum

More On The Story From C&F


Your Moment Of Zen




Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Cotton Picking Mind


06.01.17.CottonPicking-X

Cartoon courtesy Cox&Forkum

More On The Story From C&F


Happy Birthday, Hunny Bunny




Proud big sister AE looks in on newborn sister LK, 01-17-2003



Nearly 3 year-old LK models her fuzzy coat, 01-15-2006


It hardly seems possible that it was three years ago today that LK came into the world, a red-face, squirming bundle of crying baby. She is now a lovely three year-old who is learning numbers and letters and words, and always says please and thank-you. In the words of a dear friend, she is Goodness and Light. I feel very lucky to be her daddy.

This Is Still Very Strange


Extreme Ironing: it's the next Olympic Sport. Or something.

Your Moment Of Zen




Monday, January 16, 2006

Music Monday - #38


Past Music Mondays


+++++


As I mentioned earlier, I'm in a blogging slump right now, and I'm not linking any downloads today. But rather than let Music Monday slide altogether this week, I'm linking to Missy Higgins' site. If you are a Sarah Mclachlan fan, you'll probably like Missy.

There is a flash player in the upper right-hand corner of the homepage, where you can listen to all the tracks from her latest album. Just place your mouse cursor over 'select a track' and when the menu drops down, click the song you wish to hear. You can follow along with the lyrics onsite.

(My current fave is 'The Sound Of White,' which leaves me with a lump in my throat and moist eyes.)

Enjoy.

News Flash


From Yahoo:



AP Poll: Blacks Likelier to Celebrate MLK

Blacks are more likely than whites to commemorate Martin Luther King's birthday, an AP-Ipsos poll found. They're also more inclined to harbor doubts about progress toward his dream of racial equality.



Read the rest here.

Sheltering Guise


06.01.15.ShelterGuise-X

Cartoon courtesy Cox&Forkum

More On The Story From C&F


MLK Day


I'm in a blogging funk, and unable to focus long enough to write anything deep and meaningful for MLK Day, so I am merely reprinting the following, first posted here January 17, 2005:




A couple of things to ponder for MLK Day:

1) This is a true story.

It was the first year that Dr. Martin Luther King Day was observed as a holiday in Minnesota. I had the day off and was going to go visit a former professor of mine, who was teaching a class on the Civil Rights movement. I was going to sit in on his class and maybe even participate in the discussion.

When MLK Day was made into a holiday, it was rather controversial in some quarters, but most people I knew were happy to get the day off school or work. I had remarked to a friend just that previous weekend that I wondered how many years it would be before Dr. King Day would be nothing more than an excuse for some local department store to have a sale. Little did I know...

On my way out to the college to meet up with my professor friend, I stopped at a used-goods store called Savers. Unlike the Goodwill and Salvation Army stores, Savers is a for-profit operation, and sells merchandise that is generally in better shape than what the non-profits have for sale. Savers is not a large store, but it does have various departments, with merchandise classified by kind. Throughout the day, sales are announced over a Public Address system, and when there is no sale going on, general announcements are broadcast.

The following is a near-verbatim quote of what I heard that day. Honest.



Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had a dream of peace, equality and justice for all people. At Savers, we have a dream of low prices.



Well, isn't that special!

2) The following is also a true story, but a bit less whimsical.

Many African-Americans I know have told me they are bothered by what they perceive as an unwillingness of many Whites to admit that Blacks still experience ongoing indignities in this country. Yes, things are better than they were in the past. But it is easy, as a member of the majority culture, to forget just how recently legal segregation ended in this country. Even the subject of slavery isn't that far back in history. My own great-grandfather fought as a teenager in an Indiana Regiment during the Civil War. It's not that long ago.

But it was the South that committed the most egregious offenses against African-Americans, was it not? Everyone knows that things were much different in the more-enlightened North, right? Well, yes. And no.

I was recently perusing the official County Title Abstract for the deed to my house, a lengthy document that records the sales of the property on which my home resides, going back to the mid-1800's. It wasn't until the late 1940's that the land was homesteaded, and the first houses were built. And it was in the the deed of sale from the prior owners of the property to the first builder, dated March 24, 1948, that I found something rather astonishing.

The first 9 points contain boiler-plate language that spelled out what kinds of dwellings could be built, that the premises should not be used for commercial purposes, that sort of thing. But it was point number 10 that caught my eye and gave me pause. It stated matter-of-factly:



Not to be sold, renter [sic] or used by persons of Black, Semitic, or Mongolian races.



and, number 12:



To bind all purchasers, owners and mortgagees until January 1, 1975 then cease.



So, under the legal protection of the State laws governing legal contracts, for nearly 30 years from the date of sale, my home could not have been sold to Blacks, Jews (or presumably Arabs) or to Asians. It was legal segregation, sanctioned - although not mandated - by the laws of the progressive State of Minnesota. (Of course, all those provisions were rendered moot by the Federal Civil Rights Act of 1964, but it's sobering, indeed, to see such language, in print.)

In short, 1948 and 1964 really aren't so long ago. Remember that.

So, whether you have the day off from school or work, or not, take a moment to reflect on this quote from Dr. King's famous I Have A Dream speech:



I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal." I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slaveowners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood. I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a desert state, sweltering with the heat of injustice and oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice. I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today.



Indeed.

Your Moment Of Zen




Saturday, January 14, 2006

Your Moment Of Zen




Hoo Yah!


Yet another wrestler running for governor of Minnesota:

Jonathon "The Impaler" Sharkey for Governor of Minnesota - 2006


(Makes me kind of miss Jesse.)

Free 411


This sounds like a useful service: 1-800-FREE411.

Found On The Web




From Boing Boing: Yikes!


The New Soviet Monkey-Man


From The Scotsman:



Stalin's half-man, half-ape super-warriors

The Soviet dictator Josef Stalin ordered the creation of Planet of the Apes-style warriors by crossing humans with apes, according to recently uncovered secret documents.

Moscow archives show that in the mid-1920s Russia's top animal breeding scientist, Ilya Ivanov, was ordered to turn his skills from horse and animal work to the quest for a super-warrior.

According to Moscow newspapers, Stalin told the scientist: "I want a new invincible human being, insensitive to pain, resistant and indifferent about the quality of food they eat."



Hmm. This could explain alot. Read the rest here.

Kittens At War


Kitten War!

Does It Work?


This looks intriguing: PasswordMaker.

Widgets For The Masses


Download Yahoo's Widget Engine (Mac or Windoze), and then satisfy your Widget Jones at Konfabulator.com.

Your Moment Of Zen




Friday, January 13, 2006

24


24 starts in 48.

Be there.

Bookmark This


Possibly one of the most useful sites ever: Stoplight.com.

Strange And Wonderful Child


I was getting the nearly three year-old LK out of the tub just now when she looked down into the water, saw a washcloth folded into a triangle and said: "Look, Dad, there's a hang-glider in the tub!"

Yup, strange and wonderful child.

Seniors Denied Rx Drug Benefits


From Yahoo:



Medicare's new prescription-drug program is causing thousands of low-income seniors and disabled Americans to lose their drug benefits, prompting at least 14 states to pay for their prescriptions.

The problem affects thousands of the 6.2 million people whose drug coverage was automatically transferred from Medicaid to Medicare this month. At drugstores nationwide, pharmacists are telling beneficiaries that they're not enrolled, or their drugs aren't covered, or they must pay deductibles and larger co-payments than they can afford, interviews with federal, state and local officials show. (Related story: Benefit costly for some poor)

The trouble stems from worse than expected start-up problems with the new Medicare drug plan, which began Jan. 1. "It's a major public health crisis," says Jeanne Finberg of the National Senior Citizens Law Center. "People are trying to get their drugs, and they can't get them."



Read the rest here.

Background Check


06.01.12.BackgroundCheck-X

Cartoon courtesy Cox&Forkum

More On The Story From C&F


Your Moment Of Zen




Thursday, January 12, 2006

Wanna Make Muzzy Happy?


Flan. That's all I'm sayin'.

Liszt And Modern Music


Were the seeds of Heavy Metal planted by Franz Liszt?



Liszt was an experimenter much like Leonardo Da Vinci. They analyzed, formulated and recorded brilliant and visionary ideas that far exceeded the limited scope of their own generation. Thus, they both fell prey to suspect and even ridicule by some of their contemporaries as being dreamers. Only the more astute could realize that the being before them was of a celestial, higher order - the ultimate genius, misunderstood by the masses.



Read the rest here.

Your Moment Of Zen




Monday, January 09, 2006

Music Monday - #37


Past Music Mondays


+++++


Lyrics Of The Week:

I don't have lyrics to go with the featured downloads for the week, but in keeping with the Brazilian music theme, I offer a Portuguese lyric by Brazilian Poet laureate Vinicius de Moraes, from Chico Buarque de Hollanda's classic 1970 album Construcao:

Valsinha
.

(If you need or want a translation, email me and I'll try to knock off a reasonable facsimilie.

+++++


Featured Free MP3 Downloads Of The Week:

This week, here's a couple of lovely solo piano numbers by Brazilian artist Luiz Simas, from his album New Chorinhos from Brazil:

1) - " A Ladeira do Sobe-e-Desce"

and

2) - "Chorinho das Comadres"

(Music files courtesy Amazon.com

+++++


The Twin Cities' own Robert Everest has not only managed to learn to sing in spot-on Portuguese, but he's also learned to play Bossa Nova/Sambinha the way God himself intended.

Sample his work, doing justice to a couple of Jobim and Gilberto classics:

1) - " Wave"

and

2) - "Garota De Ipanema"

(MP3 files courtesy Robert Everest

+++++


Sorry I don't have more tonight, but I may try to add some things to this tomorrow. Enjoy.

Create An E-annoyance, Go To Jail


From News.com:



Annoying someone via the Internet is now a federal crime.

It's no joke. Last Thursday, President Bush signed into law a prohibition on posting annoying Web messages or sending annoying e-mail messages without disclosing your true identity.

In other words, it's OK to flame someone on a mailing list or in a blog as long as you do it under your real name. Thank Congress for small favors, I guess.

This ridiculous prohibition, which would likely imperil much of Usenet, is buried in the so-called Violence Against Women and Department of Justice Reauthorization Act. Criminal penalties include stiff fines and two years in prison.

"The use of the word 'annoy' is particularly problematic," says Marv Johnson, legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union. "What's annoying to one person may not be annoying to someone else."



Be annoyed by reading the rest here, and read the Slashdot discussion here.

Pablum and Jetsam


06.01.08.PablumJetsam-X

Cartoon courtesy Cox&Forkum

More On The Story From C&F


Your Moment Of Zen




Sunday, January 08, 2006

Remembering Church - #6


This week, a short account of a Palm Sunday visit several years ago to Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church, in Saint Paul. I was joined that day by a German-Brazilian Lutheran pastor friend and his wife, both of whom had been wanting to visit a Black Church during the year they were spending in the US.

We arrived a few minutes early, dressed in what we thought would be acceptable attire, but it turns out in many African-American churches, members take sartorial matters quite seriously. In fact, I don't think I've seen a church congregation - other than the Greek Orthodox one I visited - where the assembled were so well-dressed. If we hadn't stood out as practically the only whites attending that day, we would have stood out for the plainness of our dress. It was a sight to behold: men in fine suits, ladies in colorful dresses and hats, even the kids were well dressed. (As I recall, the deacons even wore white gloves with their dark suits, as they cheerfully greeted the faithful at the doors.)

The service was long, so long, in fact that there was even a break for folks to go to the bathroom, or to take a smoke. There were lots of announcements, singing and various presentations from church committees, and when it was time to take up the offering, everyone was asked to file down front, past a collection box, to place their gifts inside. Visitors were instructed that they did not have to give, but we did so, anyway. When we were asked to introduce ourselves, members flocked around us to shake our hands, and my pastor friend was invited to sit in the seat of honor on the stage with the elders.

Finally, after a couple of hours, the pastor preached a sermon that built in intensity over some 20 minutes, punctuated by 'amens' and 'hallelujahs,' and ended with a flourish of singing and jumping and spinning and shouting, accompanied by the sounds of the church band. It was followed by an altar call, in which sinners were asked to come to the front to surrender their hearts to God.

And at the end of the service, my pastor friend was asked to address the congregation, which he did with obvious delight. He told me later that it was one of the unexpected highlights of his career as a pastor, to be asked to give a short word that day, and to offer a closing prayer to the service, and a benediction. And the congregation seemed as pleased as he was.

All in all, it was a lovely service, and interesting chance to worship in an environment very different from that to which I've been accustomed. We were greeted warmly, not just at the door, but during the service, and afterwards several people came up, thanked us for visiting, asked us to come back soon, and to take greetings home to our respective churches. I enjoyed my visit, and would very much like to return someday.

Your Moment Of Zen




Saturday, January 07, 2006

Very Cool


Look, go ahead and mock me for having taken so long to get Cable Broadband Internet access, but I don't care, cause I'm really digging it.

-> fingers in ears, saying nah-nah-nah <-

I have wanted DSL for a while now, but it's not delivered to my inner-ring suburb, with its aging copper-wire phone lines - too much line noise, or some such nonsense. There's talk about using the ground wire in the electrical grid to deliver content, as well as city-wide WIFI, but that's all months or years away. The big reason I've resisted getting Cable Broadband is because of the cost: it's hella expensive, compared to DSL.

Anyway, we got it set up in the end of November, and I got the wireless router set up, as well, so I can sit anywhere in the house and tap-tap-tap away, updating my blog(s), checking and reading email, and doing other sundry important-and-necessary-internet-things.

Well, just today I decided to finally get with it, and downloaded the latest Macromedia Player, the latest Real Player, the latest Windows Media Player, and the laterst Quicktime Player, all for Mac OS X. And this afternoon and evening I've spent several hours checking out streaming media from all over the world. I watched music videos from Brazil and Australia, watched streaming TV from China, Mexico and Hungary, listened to talk radio from Oz, England and South Africa.

When I was a kid I loved shortwave radios, and I used to listen for hours to the Voice of America, the World Service of the BBC, and even to Radio Moscow's English broadcasts. But Streaming Media on the net is different than all that. Back then those broadcasts were subsidized by governments as some measure of propaganda. But today I was listening to and watching the same media that the local population was listening to, and at the same time.

Very cool.

(I also watched a bunch of videos, including some by Eminem, Kelly Clarkson, and a collection of Britney Spears videos I found thru the Brazilian Real media portal. I don't think I'd seen any of her videos since 'Slave For You,' and I must say the vid for 'Toxic' is, um, not something I'll let my daughters watch anytime soon. Oh, and I watched U2's 'Vertigo' video for the first time ever, too. The vid is visually stunning, but not in quite the same way as the future ex-Mrs. Federline's is. That's all I'm saying.)

Anyway, broadband rocks, and so does streaming media.

Pipe Wrench


06.01.05.PipeWrench-X

Cartoon courtesy Cox&Forkum

More On The Story From C&F


Your Moment Of Zen




Friday, January 06, 2006

Sedation


I've been having trouble with my stomach on and off for months - pain and gas, mostly - and after trying a whole host of things, my gastroenterologist decided he wanted to do an endoscopy. So I drove to the speciality clinic first thing early this AM to have the procedure done under conscious sedation. I indended to have Mrs. Muzzy come pick me up after I was done, we'd go out for breakfast, and then, after two or there hours, when I was no longer impaired in any way, I would go on into work.

Unfortunately, when I set up the procedure, I was not told that the Sedation Nazis at the clinic would not discharge me without a promise in blood that I would not drive for 24 hours. It wasn't just Nurse Brunhilde, who checked me in, who was all about this foolishness. Even the oh-so-blonde-and-pretty Nurse Annie told me she wouldn't discharge me to take a cab or bus home, and told me I wasn't to even so much as walk down the street by myself. They all kept saying it was for my good, but it seems much more likely that the policy was a mandate from the corporate suits, designed to try to minimize liability for the organization.

(For the record, I have no problem with the policy, though it seems silly, but I just wish I'd been told about it. I had even made a point of calling ahead yesterday, and was told it would be fine to leave my car in the morning and pick it up later today.)

So, I got Mrs. Muzzy to bring me home, and now my car is parked in the garage by the clinic overnight. I will have to take a bus in the AM, to go pick it up. Oh well, I'm going to take lovely daughter number one AE with me, and we'll make an adventure of it. Always good fun, those adventures.

Anyway, the good news (I guess) is that the doc didn't find anything wrong with my stomach or esophagus, or upper insestinal tract. There is no ulcer or cancer present, not even run-of-the-mill grastritis. The bad news is that he thinks it's all stress-related, and there isn't anything that can be easily treated. I guess I'll be talking about it to a shrink, then.

Oh, and by the way, I was no more impaired for the rest of the day - after mid-morning - than usual. Sedation Nazis, indeed.

Your Moment Of Zen