"Wide Open Road"
"The Great Escape"
We Are Scientists
"Is A Woman"
I went to the Top 40 Age Gauge, entered my birthdate, and this is what it displayed:
You said your birthday is 6 / 4 / 1957
which means you are 49 years old and about:
24 years 4 months younger than Yoko Ono, age 73
16 years 0 months younger than Bob Dylan, age 65
13 years 10 months younger than Mick Jagger, age 62
12 years 2 months younger than Eric Clapton, age 61
9 years 0 months younger than Stevie Nicks, age 58
1 year 8 months younger than David Lee Roth, age 50
1 year 2 months older than Madonna, age 47
4 years 9 months older than Jon Bon Jovi, age 44
9 years 9 months older than Billy Corgan, age 39
12 years 10 months older than Mariah Carey, age 36
17 years 0 months older than Alanis Morissette, age 32
24 years 6 months older than Britney Spears, age 24
and when these songs were topping the charts
and these events occurred your age was:
Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and The Big Bopper die in a plane crash: 1
The Twist, Chubby Checker: 3
Big Bad John, Jimmy Dean: 4
Sherry, The 4 Seasons: 5
The Beatles first appear live on The Ed Sullivan Show: 6
Downtown, Petula Clark: 7
The 8 track tape player first offered in 1966 Fords: 8
To Sir with Love, Lulu: 10
Hey Jude, The Beatles: 11
Woodstock Music Festival: 12
Me and Bobby McGee, Janis Joplin: 13
ABC TV premieres In Concert: 15
Time in a Bottle, Jim Croce: 16
I Shot the Sheriff, Eric Clapton: 17
Silly Love Songs, Wings: 18
Elvis Presley Dies: 20
Do Ya Think I'm Sexy, Rod Stewart: 21
Another Brick in the Wall, Pink Floyd: 22
John Lennon is shot to death: 23
MTV makes its debut: 24
Who Can it be Now, Men at Work: 25
The recording of We Are The World: 27
Walk Like an Egyptian, Bangles: 29
Didn't We Almost have it all, Whitney Houston: 30
Back In The U.S.S.R. is released exclusively in Russia: 31
Nothing Compares 2 U, Sinead O'Connor: 32
Emotions, Mariah Carey: 34
Fleetwood Mac perform at Bill Clinton's inauguration: 35
The Sign, Ace Of Base: 36
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum opens: 38
From The Guardian:
Supposing ... I'm too old for MySpace
Friday June 30, 2006
It had to happen, and it has. Age has crept up on me. I'm becoming resistant to technological change.
It used to be so different. I've always been a geek, and proud of it. In my 20s, I lived in a chaotic mangle of keyboards and wires. I was the person people would phone up when they had a problem with their computer. I wrote for videogames magazines, making up jokes about polygon counts and cel-shading.
Then the internet roared up. I ran a website called TV Go Home, which was essentially a fortnightly pisstake of the Radio Times with lots of unnecessary swearing in it - just the sort of thing that's been a staple of comedy spin-off books since year dot, except because it was on the internet it was somehow seen as the shiny sharpened bleeding edge of new. My career prospects suddenly changed. Traditional media came calling - TV, newpapers. They wanted me. As far as "they" were concerned I was someone who "got" the "modern" world and all that went with it. For about nine seconds, I felt vaguely cool.
Fast forward to now. I'm looking at MySpace and I'm a fumbling old colonel struggling to comprehend his nephew's digital watch.
Because I don't "get" it. I mean, I know what MySpace is and what it's supposed to do and how influential it is. It's just that whenever I've visited a MySpace page I've thought "is that it?" and wandered around the perimeter looking confused, like a blind man patting the walls for an exit he can't find.
I just read that Perth's late-great The Triffids lovely album 'Born Sandy Devotional' has been re-released on CD. I was introduced to the lush melancholy of The Triffids on a mix tape sent me by a friend some two decades ago, and still recall the chill I felt the first time I heard BSD's title track 'The Seabirds.' In a word: stunning.
All Music Guide has this to say about the album:
With Born Sandy Devotional, the Triffids fully realized the potential shown on their earlier releases, Treeless Plain and Raining Pleasure. By 1985 the band was based in London, but despite the fact that this album was recorded 9,000 miles from home, its roots lie deep in the Triffids' native western Australia. While the spectacular cover photograph featuring the township of Mandurah provides a sense of place, David McComb's songwriting evokes his home environment all the more vividly. Indeed, this is the most accomplished work from McComb's tragically short career, encapsulating his talent for creating a lyrical and musical resonance between the stark, isolated geography of western Australia and universally recognizable, desolate interior landscapes. Born Sandy Devotional certainly is dark, its lyrics replete with death, psychological turmoil, and despair, but it's never maudlin or banal. McComb's commanding, Jim Morrison-like delivery combines with expansive, string-adorned arrangements to elevate many of these songs to the level of high emotional drama; haunting keyboards, vibes, and "Evil" Graham Lee's pedal steel add atmospheric detail. The elusive quality of McComb's writing makes his stories all the more compelling and memorable as he offers listeners fragmented, unresolved scenes instead of comfortable, complete narratives. Such elements coalesce sublimely on "Stolen Property" and "The Seabirds," songs of loss and suicide, respectively, but the anthemic "Wide Open Road" and the intense, claustrophobic "Lonely Stretch" are the standouts. Another tale of life gone wrong, "Tarrilup Bridge" sets organist Jill Birt's childlike vocals amid an eerie ambience of vibes and strings. Nevertheless, the album closes on a cautiously optimistic note with Birt's duet with McComb, "Tender Is the Night." Born Sandy Devotional was a landmark release for the Triffids. More than that, it stands as a testament to McComb's status as one of Australia's most gifted (and overlooked) rock songwriters.
From the BBC News:
Superfast internet cafe launches
An internet cafe offering connections 50 times faster than typical broadband services has opened in Cornwall.
Computers at Goonhilly satellite station, on the Lizard peninsula in Cornwall, are connected to BT's global internet protocol network.
That means users can download data at speeds of up to 100 megabits per second (Mbps).
It is thought to be the first time such high speeds have been seen at a UK internet cafe.
The service will be free to visitors.
I went with Mondo last night to hear Mary & James speak at Adash Jeshurun, as a fundraiser for the JCRC. But lest anyone be tempted to give me credit for great acts of philanthropy, the tickets were given to both Mondo and me by The Finger, who in turn, received them from his boss. It was a nice evening, in one of finest auditoriums in the Twin Cities, attended by many well-heeled Members of the Tribe, including former Senator Boschwitz. (I've met him in the past, but I didn't chat with him last night. I did speak with his lovely wife for a brief moment, but the Senator was busy with well-wishers, and I didn't want to disturb him.)
I must say, it was an enjoyable evening, and I'm glad I went, but it wasn't quite as substantive as I'd hoped. Still, Mary Matalin was pretty good. After a few witty introductory remarks, Mary gave a short but well-crafted speech on why the War on Terror is important to America, and to the State of Israel. Even though a significant portion of the audience was as left-wing as her famous husband, she didn't shy away from laying out her conservative credentials, and framed what she had to say to the crowd in a personal narrative. The problem? She just didn't speak long enough.
Mary's husband James Carville was another story. While he certainly showed a flash of the passion that earned him the moniker 'Ragin' Cajun,' he seemed unfocused, and a little out-of-touch, opening his remarks with a tired crowd-pleaser, poking fun at former vice-president Dan Quayle, who's only been out of the public eye since, gosh, 1992. To be fair, in spite of the humorous digs Mary got in at James' expense, he was every bit the gentleman, and didn't once dis his better half, at least not from the stage.
I must say, my only real complaint was that the whole event - start to finish, and including the Q&A - was concluded in under an hour. I just felt like both Mary and James could have offered a bit more to the crowd. Mary had a golden opportunity to deliver a conservative message to a crowd that was at least willing to listen. She did make an effort, but it was just too brief. And James, being the marvelous story-teller he is, could have given more insight into the political process from his perspective. He mentioned his recent work as campaign strategist for Ehud Barak, but didn't expound, except to offer the pithy and humorous quip that the Jewish Vote is critical in Israel. Well, alrighty then.
I did find it odd that the event was pitched as 'He said, She said,' obviously playing up the pair's marriage, and their vastly different political philosphies. But one of themes of the evening was the resotoration of civility to the political process, and it would hardly have been kosher for them to turn the platform of a House of Worship into some kind of live version of Hardball, now would it? So, no fireworks, no fire, and very little spark.
Look, maybe I'm being a bit too critical. The whole thing was to raise money for the work of the JCRC, and with nearly a thousand in attendence - and with tickets running from $50 to $500 a head - I have to believe they took in perhaps as much a couple of hundred thousand dollars last night. Good for them, I say. And thank you to James & Mary for helping make it possible.
From Minority Report (1956):
 ...I suppose that the inferiority of the teachers of [English] is largely due to the fact that they are recruited from the lower moiety of pedagogical aspirants. The more ambitious fellows tackle something that seems more recondite, and hence better worth knowing. A prospective teacher of biology, say, or mathematics, or physics, cannot outfit himself for his career by reading a few plays of Shakespeare, memorizing the rules of grammar laid down by idiots, and learning to pronounce _either_ as if it were spelled _eyether;_ he must apply himself to a vast mass of strange and difficult facts, and mastering them requires a kind of capacity that is not common. The stupider fellow turns to something that is easier and more obvious, which is to say, to the language that every "educated" man is presumed to know, and the books he is presumed to have read...
But in English even the higher ranks of professors tend to be inferior to those of any other faculty. The papers printed in [the journals] seldom show any professional competence or contribute anything worth knowing to the subject. For the most part they consist wholly of dull pedantries--attempts to establish the dates of some forgotten poet, investigations of the stealings of one obscure author from another, elaborate statistical inquiries into weak endings, and so on and so on. The standards of professional research and writings in the United States are anything but high, but it would certainly be unusual to find any similar rubbish in a journal of chemistry, astronomy or zoology, or even in a medical journal. The men who actually know something always know the difference between something and nothing, but the professors of English seem to be largely unaware of it. ...they devote themselves ardently to irrelevant trivia about the writers of the past, many of them existing today only as flies embalmed in the amber of text-books.
From NW Florida Daily:
Has string theory tied up better ideas in physics?
By SHARON BEGLEY The Wall Street Journal
(AP) - Nobel physicist Wolfgang Pauli didn't suffer fools gladly. Fond of calling colleagues' work "wrong" or "completely wrong," he saved his worst epithet for work so sloppy and speculative it is "not even wrong."
That's how mathematician Peter Woit of Columbia University describes string theory. In his book, "Not Even Wrong," published in the U.K. this month and due in the U.S. in September, he calls the theory "a disaster for physics."
A year or two ago, that would have been a fringe opinion, motivated by sour grapes over not sitting at physics' equivalent of the cool kids' table. But now, after two decades in which string theory has been the doyenne of best-seller lists and the dominant paradigm in particle physics, Mr. Woit has company.
"When it comes to extending our knowledge of the laws of nature, we have made no real headway" in 30 years, writes physicist Lee Smolin of the Perimeter Institute in Waterloo, Canada, in his book, "The Trouble with Physics," also due in September. "It's called hitting the wall."
He blames string theory for this "crisis in particle physics," the branch of physics that tries to explain the most fundamental forces and building blocks of the world.
From Grand Forks Herald:
Fergus Falls mourns death of 2-year-old killed at daycare
Fri, Jun. 23, 2006
FERGUS FALLS, Minn. - Two-year-old Emily Lynn Johnson was remembered for her joy and enthusiasm at her funeral Friday, days after this town was shocked by the news that a local teen had been charged with killing her at a daycare.
More than 400 people filled Bethlehem Lutheran Church for Johnson, who died last Saturday of injuries she suffered June 16. After an autopsy, authorities said she had been assaulted. A 13-year-old boy was arrested Tuesday and charged with second-degree manslaughter.
Pastor Kate Bruns recalled Emily, the only child of Travis and Lynn Johnson, of Fergus Falls, as a girl who was never satisfied to walk, so she always ran.
"Her energy, her enthusiasm, her laughter, her loving and caring, she embodied these words of Jesus, 'I came that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete,'" Bruns said in her sermon. "And Emily was full of joy. She had something to teach us about experiencing and expressing joy."
Bruns opened with words from the book of Isaiah, "A little child shall lead them." The prelude music was a CD that Emily's parents had put together of her favorite children's songs. On her casket was a small spray of flowers that included several Sesame Street characters, and a bunch of acorns, because Emily loved to throw acorns in the lake.
"So there was a whimsicalness about parts of the service," Bruns said in an interview afterward. "Deadly serious, and lots of tears, but also a certain amount of, just, joy."
The lobby of the church was filled with displays of photographs of Emily, as well as flowers and toys such as cans of Play-Doh and more Sesame Street figures.
From Business Week:
JUNE 21, 2006
By Geri Smith
For Brazil's Poor, a Digital Deliverance?
The Committee for Democracy in Information Technology helps the unempowered use computers to reboot themselves and their communities
Ronaldo Monteiro was halfway through a 13-year prison sentence for kidnapping when his life took a turn for the better. That's when a nonprofit group delivered a bunch of personal computers to the rough Lemos Brito prison in Rio de Janeiro and taught inmates how to use them. Within months, Monteiro had become an instructor, and then he helped start a prison recycling program that today sells paper products, from calendars to notebooks, whose proceeds help support inmates' families.
Freed two years ago, Monteiro has just launched his own nonprofit group that provides seed capital and business advice to 25 former prisoners starting their own businesses, from small garment factories to ship soldering outfits. "The computer project changed my life," says Monteiro. "It taught me skills that empowered me, and that led me to think about doing things to help others."
The PCUSA and the Episcopal churches were meeting in convention this past week, and as is usually the case, many have publicly lamented the talk of schism that always seems to be stirred up at such events. With great pomp and ceremony, the Liberal factions seem bound and determined on instituting the celebration of The Rainbow as some kind a post-modern sacrament. The orthodox, for their part, sputter in frustration that they retain membership in what they view as an increasingly apostate church because they somehow believe they will yet be able to steer their denominational ship from looming disaster.
The problem with the theological Liberals who make up the leadership of most of the Mainline Protestant churches in this country - and who occupy most of the tenured positions of their seminaries - isn't that they aren't nice or good people, because for the most part, they are. It isn't even primarily that they want to overturn two thousand years of Christian teaching by ordaining and marrying openly practicing gays, although for the most part, they do. The issue is much more fundamental: in their zeal to be open-minded and fair and compassionate and non-judgemental, theological Liberals have eviscerated the orthodox gospel, and no longer accept the cardinal doctrines of the Church. Once those things have been rejected - The Ressurection, The Virgin Birth, The Trinity, Vicarious Atonement and the pervasiveness of sin and the need for redemption - all that is left of The Church is the doing of Good Deeds.
To be sure, the Christian scriptures teach that the deeds of the faithful must give testimony to their redemption, but it also teaches that those deeds must go hand in hand with grace, coupled with belief by faith. Historic Catholicism and the churches of the Reformation roughly agree on this matter, but the modern-day theological Liberal sees no need for grace because she doesn't believe in judgement, unless global warming and overpopulation count as such. For her Good Deeds become a kind of latter-day atonement, at once saving the temporal realm, and offering a cleansing balm for a nearly-dead conscience.
Once this calculus has been performed on a church body, in which the energies of the congregants is marshalled nearly-exclusively to the promoting of sustainable agriculture, or the building of low-cost housing, or whatever other Good Deed is the Cause du Jour, what is left is something not much more than a mutual-aid society. This isn't entirely bad, but the soul craves things that liberal Christianity cannot or will not offer, and eventually soon-to-be-former members will seek it elsewhere. In the end, whether the Episcopal Church ordains gay bishops - or the PCUSA marries them - is of little consequence to a church body that sees its membership dwindle by hundreds of thousands per year, defectors to Catholicism, or to any number of conservative Protestant bodies. The last one out, turn off the lights.
Of course, that's just my opinion. I could be wrong.
Patrick "Ace" Ntsoelengoe (Randfontein 26 February 1956 – 8 May 2006 in Lenasia) was one of the most talented soccer players ever from South Africa, he played 11 seasons in the North American Soccer League, beginning in 1973 with the Miami Toros.
He made his name, however, with the Minnesota Kicks and enhanced his reputation with Toronto Blizzard. A quiet man with incredible skills, it is quite remarkable that his soccer career was confined to South Africa and North America. He acquired his nickname from his father, Daniel, who was also one of South Africa's top players. While Ace spent his summers in Canada or in the United States, he returned home during the winter to play for the Kaizer Chiefs, a club with an enormous following in Johannesburg. Ace played there from the early 1970's to the mid 1980's. An idol in his own country, Ace spent only one season with Miami, missed the 1975 season but returned to the NASL in 1976 to play for the Denver Dynamos.
When that franchise moved to Minnesota in 1976, he moved along with them and thus began the first of six highly successful years with the Kicks. He was acquired by Toronto Blizzard in December of 1981, when the Kicks were about to fold, and became a key figure in the Blizzard's rise to become one of the top NASL teams. He played for Minnesota in Soccer Bowl 76 and for Toronto in Soccer Bowl 83 and the Championship Final of 1984. Nominally a midfielder, he constantly pushed forward into attacking positions and often scored more goals than strikers.
"Ace" passed away of a heart attack on 8 May 2006 in Lenasia, just south of Johannesburg in South Africa. At the time of his death he was coach of the Kaizer Chiefs Youth Development Programme. In tributes he was hailed as one of the best players ever produced by South Africa. One of his former coaches at Chiefs, Eddie Lewis, is quoted as saying that if he had been born 20 years later, Ace would have enjoyed the same status as Ronaldinho. 
From the May 2006 issue of PC World magazine:
The best things in life aren't just free--they're indispensable. Case in point: these outrageously useful downloads, sites, and services.
There's never been a better time to be a cheapskate. Free utilities? We've got 'em. Want a full-fledged image editor? A few gigabytes of mail storage? How about an entire office software suite? We can top that, easy. Take the whole earth and solar system. Free!
If you thought that the golden age of free stuff ended when the dot-com bubble burst, guess again. The past few years have seen an explosion of giveaways--both Web-based services and free software--that make the anemic home-page building apps and first-generation Web mail services of the late 1990s pale in comparison.
In part, we have the open-source movement to thank. Initially the province of uber-geeks only (think Linux), open-source projects have recently produced several outstanding consumer-oriented programs. The Mozilla project has spawned not only a terrific browser (Firefox) but also an e-mail client, an HTML editor, and more. Sun's OpenOffice.org suite has finally matured, with Microsoft Office-compatible programs that are fully the equal of their commercial competitors. And the list goes on.
I watched the USA vs Italy game with AE yesterday PM, which ended in a tie, one-all. She was quite interested in the match, but especially in the rules of soccer - even the Offsides Rule - and seemed to enjoy it all, as did I. The Americans played an aggressive brand of soccer, and had two players ejected for drawing Red Cards, on very suspect calls. All in all, though, it was a very good game, and it was cool to see the Americans put forth that kind of effort. One of these years they will go all the way.
The game between Brazil and Australia today was a different kettle of fish. The two teams were quite mis-matched - veteran powerhouse Brazil against rookie Australia - and yet the Socceroos were able to keep their loss to the Sambistas to only 2 to nil. Although the Aussies played with high spirits and great energy, they simply lacked the finesse of the Brazilian squad, and at times looked like they would have been more comfortable in Rugby Scrum. I jest, of course, but the Australians were often prone to committing sloppy fouls, yet seemed shocked that the referee might call those against them. Still, they did make some great plays, and actually out-shot the Brazilians on goal, but just didn't get the ball in the net. Oddly, for all the ballet-like moves, Brazil was only able to score two goals, and they are going to have to step up their game when they meet many much better teams, futher on. (BTW, I was really impressed with South Korea, in their tie match with France today. Both were very good, but the Koreans played splendidly.)
I wrote a post last year for Father's Day about being Dad. There's not much I might add to it, so that's my story and I'm sticking to it. But, since you asked, just a couple of very short anecdotes: I kissed 7 year-old AE goodnight a few hours ago and told her, "Thanks for letting me be your Dad." She laughed and said, "Thanks for letting me be your Daughter." And later, when 3 year-old LK said to me, "Daddy, I love you," I just smiled back, but she admonished me: "You're supposed to say 'I love you, too, Honey.'" And so I did. Happy Father's Day, y'all.
I was walking thru the nearby Target Superstore the other night, thinking about just how much planning and effort goes into each and every one of their stores. At each location, and in the corporate headquarters in downtown Minneapolis, thousands of man-hours are marshalled every day in the name of providing tens of thousands of goods and services to the public, all driven by the profit motive, without any guarantee of a return on investment. Products from across town - and around the world - grace the shelves. And it's all done so well that it looks as if it were easy, although I'm sure it's anything but.
As in physics, so too the affairs of men: entropy rules. Without proper diligence, everything put together tends to go to seed, to which any gardener will attest. Even in my very own home, there is a constant and ongoing struggle to keep things clean and picked up, and the battle is often lost. It's as if somehow there really are Gremlins under the beds and behind doors, conspiring to make a mess of whatever has just been made neat. As for keeping the dishes washed, and the laundry done, and the lawn mowed, and the kids fed, it's a wonder anything else ever gets done at all. Any time spent on one project is just time stolen from other projects that probably should have been more pressing. It's the story of life.
When I was in my nonage I used to marvel at the very concept of power, and wonder at how it was acquired and exercised. For the longest time I didn't even fully understand what it was, until it dawned on me that it is simply the ability to get things done. Whether exercising mastery of the elements through the harnessing of water or electrons, or directing legions of subordinates to sell things or to fight, power is all about the ability to get things done. And, conversely, those who can accomplish such have power. Those who cannot, don't.
But then again, we all have power, on some level, if only in that we have the ability to choose how we respond to that which happens to us. We can't control the circumstances and events that sweep us along in their wake, nor can we control our emotional reaction to events, chemical as they are. But we can control how we choose to think about them, and certainly how we choose to act. It's not always easy, and it takes discipline - and for some it takes medication and therapy - but it can be done. The existential questions of how to live are either decided for us by others who have power over us, or we decide them for ourselves.
Beauty is certainly in the eye of the beholder. Each of us, as individuals, and as members of the larger societies to which we belong, have distinct notions of what is beauty. But regardless, it is incontestable that beauty exists, that it is real, and that it is universally highly-prized. Those persons blessed with beauty, whether of character or mind, and especially appearance, are graced with a currency that lubricates the machinary of society, and gives them entrance to jobs and relationships that are denied to their homelier cousins.
In a real sense, beauty is a form of power, in that it offers those who have it the ability to get things that others cannot have as easily. Many will feign disgust and disdain that it should be so, but few are so incapable of envy that they don't secretly wish they could command the attention of others that beauty allows.
But, of course, physical beauty is ephemeral, and fleeting. Almost no one would find an elderly grandfather or grandmother beautiful in the same way as they would find their grandchildren beautiful. We are offered a couple of decades of youthfful beauty before our bodies begins to sink under the weight of humanity, and soon enough we are little more than caricatures of what we once were.
Money is nothing more than a store of value, something that others will accept as an instrument of exchange for goods and services. Yet having it offers to those individuals who possess it a form of power, as long as they use it wisely. And even those who waste is wantonly get some cachet in society for spreading it around. It is often hard to obtain, and even harder to keep. It takes discipline and foresight to invest and save, and many in the modern consumer culture can barely make the payments that service their debt. That's a dangerous way to live, as the creditor then has power over the debtor. A better way? Whatever one's income, save 10%, give 10%, and live off the rest. Sounds about right to me.
I've been so very busy that I just now noticed that I haven't made an entry here in several days. Shame on me. But I'm really busy again today, and don't have time to write much now, either. Mrs. Muzzy is working this weekend, and I'm on Daddy-Duty, which means I'm tied up being Soccer-Dad, or something like that. I just dropped off daughter number one AE at the bus stop for her Summer Academy program, and daughter number two LK and I went out for breakfast at McDonalds. And in the PM, after AE is done with school, we will probably go on adventures to the Zoo with some friends. So... Busy? Yup. Tired? Absolutely. But being Dad is still the best job I've ever had.
I just watched Brazil's first World Cup game on tape - my little brother recorded it for me at his work, and gave it to me - and I gotta say, Brazil didn't live up to expectations, and Croatia actually did quite well. Sad to say, Ronaldo just stood around, statue-like, until he was yanked, late in the second half. I'm looking forward to seeing how the Aussie Socceroos are able to do against the Brazilian Seleção this next Sunday, coming off their big win against Japan yesterday. And I gotta wonder if Brazil will start Ronaldo, after his utterly lackluster performance today. BTW, Team USA plays this coming Saturday at 2:30 pm against Italy, carried live on both ABC and Univision. I'll be there.
I've been not been inspired to research a proper Music Monday in a while, and I don't know if I'll ever quite get back into the groove, but I did want to post a link to a very cool record company, one with one of the most artist-friendly and user-friendly policies around. Every song on every album they sell can be streamed online, for your listening enjoyment, and their prices are very reasonable. So, go check out Magnatune and explore. I think you'll find something you'll like. I did.
The girls and I usually go downtown and have lunch with Mommy at her employee cafeteria on the weekends she is working, but there was a miscommunication today, so we ended up not going. Instead, I took the girls out to the Mall Of America, where we had hot dogs and fries, and went on rides at the park formerly known as Camp Snoopy. AE and LK rode the mini-trucks and the kiddie train, and I bought a bag of cotton candy to take home, for later. We wandered the park for a while, looking at the rides and watching the patrons. It was almost too nice to be indoors today, but of a cold Winter's day, the park can really be a lovely place, with its thousands of live trees and plants. No matter what the season, it's a cool place. Oh yeah, the Tonight Show was taping their famous 'open mike' segment at the MOA Amusement Park today. I almost signed the release and sent LK out in front of the cameras to do her now-famous knock-knock joke, but I hadn't cleared such with the Maternal Parent, and I decided against it. Still, it would have been cute if she'd done it. Afterwards we went and watched the boats pass thru the Lock and Dam by the Ford Plant, walked up and down the promenade, and watched a flock of Blue Herons swooping low over the Mississippi River. Both the girls told me what a lovely afternoon it was, and they were right. It very much was.
Judge Makes 'Rock, Paper, Scissors' Ruling
A federal judge, miffed at the inability of opposing attorneys to agree on even the slightest details of a lawsuit, ordered them to settle their latest dispute with a game of "rock, paper, scissors."
The argument was over a location to take the sworn statement of a witness in an insurance lawsuit.
In an order signed Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Gregory Presnell scolded both sides and ordered them to meet at a neutral location at 4 p.m. June 30 to play a round of the hand-gesture game often used to settle childhood disputes. If they can't agree on the neutral location, he said, they'll play on the steps of the federal courthouse.
After an extremely busy day at work I rushed across town to AE's First Grade end-of-the-school-year party, hosted by the parents of one of her classmates. I arrived a little late, and stood around chatting with some of the other parents in the cloudy chill until the food was served. The meal was nice, served pot-luck style, with beverages and snacky appetizers provided by the hosts. But the party really kicked into high gear when the hostess gave each of the now-soon-to-be-second-graders a paper graduation cap and had them parade down the sidewalk to the strains of the 'Graduation Music.' Each kid took a helium-filled balloon and on the count of 3, they released them all at once, to symbolize the end of the school year, culminating with caps being thrown in the air. And, as cool as all the rest was, I hadn't expected the hosts to set off a $20-$30 pack of fireworks. It was a pretty lavish production, and all for First Grade Graduation. Thing is, they're raised the bar pretty high. I can't imagine what Second Grade Graduation is going to be like. Or Eighth. And right now I'm 'xausted. It's time for all good parents to be asleep. Yup, that means me.
By Eli Milchman
02:00 AM Jun, 09, 2006
World Cup soccer kicks off Friday, and the internet can offer one of the best seats in the house -- with the assistance of a few not-so-secret tricks.
Online video service ESPN360 will be streaming selected matches live on the net, offering the most straightforward online venue for fans interested in watching entire games as they happen. But ESPN360 is only available through certain high-speed internet providers and quizzically isn't carried by some of the big boys like Cox, or the even the biggest, Comcast.
The other sources for streamed games are almost exclusively pirated by hackers in China which then end up routed through servers in Israel. This means that the commentary for the games will probably not be in English; even so, it should be fairly evident what "GOOOOOOAAAALL!!" means.
I received the following email today, and thought I'd share:
FROM Mr, KHALIFA RAFIQ
AUDITING AND ACCOUNTING
BANK OF AFRICA(BOA)
I AM THE MANAGER OF AUDITING AND ACCOUNTING DEPARTMENT OF BANK OF AFRICA (BOA) HERE IN OUAGADOUGOU BURKINA FASO. IN MY DEPARTMENT WE DISCOVER AN ABANDONED SUM OF $20.5MILLION USD(TWENTY MILLION FIVE HUNDERD THOUSAND UNITD STATE DOLLARS) IN AN ACCOUNT THAT BELONGE TO ONE OF OUR FOREIGN CUSTOMER WHO DIED ALONG WITH HIS FAMILY IN JULY 2003 PLANE CRASH.
SINCE WE GOT THIS INFORMATION ABOUT HIS DEATH, WE HAVE BEEN EXPECTING HIS NEXT OF KIN TO COME OVER AND CLAIM HIS MONEY BECAUSE WE CANOT RELEASE IT UNLESS SOMEBODY APPLIES FOR IT AS NEXT OF KIN OR RELATION TO THE DECEASED AS INDICATED IN OUR BANKING GUIDLINGS AND LAWS BUT UNFORTUNATE WE LEART THAT ALL HIS SUPPOSED NEXT OF KIN OR RELATION DIED ALONGSIDE WITH HIM AT THE PLAN CRASEH LEAVING NOBODY BEHIND FOR THE CLAIM.IT IS THEREFORE UPON THIS DISCOVERY THAT I NOW DECIDED TO MAKE THIS BUSINESS PROPOSAL TO YOU AND RELEASE THE MONEY TO YOU AS THE NEXT OF KIN OR RELATION TO THE DECEASED FOR THE SAFETY AND SUBSEQUENT DIS BURSEMENT SINCE NOBODY IS COMING FOR IT AND WE DONT' WANT THIS MONEY TO GO INTO THE BANK TREASURY AS UNCLAIMED BILL.
THE BANKIN LAW AND GUIDLINE HERE STIPULATE THAT IF SUCH MONEY REMAINED UNCLAIMED AFTER FOUR YEARS,THEMONEY WILL BE TRANSFER INTO THE BANK TREASURY AS UNCLAIMED FUND. THE REQUEST OF FOREIGNER AS NEXT OF KIN IN THIS BUSINESS IS OCCASSIONED BY THE FACT THAT THE COSTUMER WAS A FOREIGNER AND BURKINABLE CANNOT STAND AS NEXT OF KIN TO A FOREIGNER. I AGREE THAT 30% OF THIS MONEY WILL BE FOR YOU AS A RESPECT TO THE PROVISION OF A FORIEGN ACCOUNT,10% WILL BE SET ASIDE FOR EXPENESES INCURRED DURING THE BUSINESS AND 60% WOULD BE FOR ME.THEREAFTER, I WILL VISIT YOUR COUNTRY FOR THE DISBURSEMENT ACCORDING TO THE PERCENTAGE INDICATED THEREFORE, TO ENABLE THE IMEDIATE TRANSFER OF THIS FUND TO YOU AS ARRANGED, YOU MUST APPLY FRIST TO THE BANK AS RELATION OR NEXT OF KIN OF THE DECEASED WITH A TEXT OF APPLICATION FORM THAT I WILL SEND TO YOU WHEN I HEAR FROM YOU,SO I WILL LIKE YOU TO SEND TO ME YOUR PRIVATE TELEPHONE NUMBER AND YOUR FAX NUMBER FOR EASY ANDEFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION AND LOCATION WHERE IN THE MONEY WILL BE REMITTED.
UPON RECEPIT OF YOUR REPLY, I WILL SEND YOU THE TEXT OF APPLICATION BY EMAIL TO FILL IN YOUR BANKING INFORMATION AND APPLIED TO THE BANK AS THE NEXT OF KIN.I WILL NOT FAIL TO TELL YOU THAT THIS TRANSACTION IS HITCH- FREE THAT YOU SHOULD NOT ENTERTAIN ANY ATOM OF FEAR AS ALLREQUIRED ARRANGEMENT HAVE BEEN MADE FOR THE TRANSFER. YOU SHOULD CONTACT ME IMMEDIATELY AS YOU RECEIVE THIS LETTER.
Mr, KHALIFA RAFIQ
Some time back talk show host Dennis Prager said something on his show that seemed to me both profound and patently obvious, that in both private and public life it is not only not wrong to generalize, but that it is impossible to not do so.
One of the maxims of the age is that one should not generalize, whether about people, places or things. Prager insists otherwise. He makes the case that one must do so, and that it is wrong to educate young people without giving them them mental framework within which to do so intelligently. He readily acknowledged that one must be mindful of deviations from the rules, but that in the end, the making of laws, regulations and policy must be guided by the norm, not the exception.
He's right. And yet otherwise intelligent and rational people - most often of the left - will try to insist otherwise. How to explain that?
Well, it is at once both philosophical and ideological. The proclaimed ethos of all the 'isms' of the left has always been of an egalitarian sort, promising to erradicate distinctions of class and culture. Conservatives can be guilty of faulty thinking as well, but the left is particularly inept at considering the great issues of life because at its foundation the left is possessed of a philosopy that misapprehends the nature of man. Unable and/or unwilling to generalize and to draw conclusions accordingly, most simply cannot think clearly or rationally about who we are, why we do what we do, and the consequences of their grand plans to reshape mankind in their own image.
The wise man or woman observes the human condition and the world at large, and tries to draw conclusions based on the reality of what is seen. That is the basis of the scientific method. But the ideologue, whether left or right, sees the world thru a different prism, always wanting to change things based on some largely incoherent vision of what 'ought to be.' Such kinds should be resisted, and argued against, and as much as possible, denied the levers of power.
Of course, you know, that's obviously a generalization, and there are always exceptions.
I was nodding off in front of the TV just now, about to get up and go to bed, when I saw something bizarre: 'Diamond' David Lee Roth performing on the Tonight Show, doing an acoustic bluegrass version of the VH classic 'Jump.' He was accompanied by guitar and mandolin, fiddle, banjo, and dobro players, There was even a guy playing an upright bass. Dave himself looked just strange, with his hair cut short, and a smile that seemed forced and out-of-place. I guess he's just a gigolo. At least he didnt try to do a scissors-split, thank goodness.
Yesterday was the second anniversary of the passing of President Reagan, and I neglected to repost this essay I originally wrote and posted on my old Livejournal on the day he died in 2004.
Like most of my peers, I was a liberal during my high school and college years. Vietnam and Watergate weighed heavy on me during that time; I was rabidly against both. My notebooks in high school were plastered with George McGovern bumper stickers and I held as true all the usual liberal shibboleths. My leftward political leanings were not born out of any deep pondering of the issues of the day, but were merely a reflexive and adolescent reaction to the powers-that-were; since those powers were generally conservative, I was therefore a liberal. But I was utterly convinced and utterly sincere.
I proudly cast my first presidential vote in 1976 for Jimmy Carter, convinced that he was a good man, and that his caring about the 'politically correct' things was enough. In fact, Carter *was* a good man, but he was a weak and ineffective president. And by the end of Carter's only term in office, the country was mired in deep recession, and the nation seemed to be adrift. I lost faith in both Carter and in his party.
In 1980 Ronald Reagan, former two-time governor of California and the Republican nominee for president, strode confidently onto the national stage. Although I was disillusioned with the Democrats, I couldn't bring myself to betray all I held dear and vote Republican, so I voted for John Anderson, a Democrat who'd defected and run as an Independent. Anderson lost and Jimmy Carter was trounced. Reagan became the 40th president of the United States.
I was horrified. I genuinely believed President Reagan would lead us into World War III. I believed he was evil and I hated him with every bone in my body. And I thought no better of him at the end of his first term. I felt he was appalling, and I cringed at the thought of yet another four years of the Reagan presidency. Yet I couldn't bring myself to vote for the whiny-voiced Walter Mondale, the Democratic nominee for president in 1984, so I abstained and didn't vote at all.
(Oddly, when I listen to the rhetoric out of the mouths of liberals today about G.W. Bush, it sounds surprisingly similar to what I was saying of Reagan at the time.)
It was sometime in the beginning of Reagan's second term that I began to seriously think about the man and his policies. He'd been elected twice to the presidency and the sky had not fallen. In fact, in spite of the all the doomsayers, his tax cuts seemed to have improved the economy. (Reagan never really cut taxes, he merely reduced the rate of the projected tax increases.) And even though it didn't happen during his presidency, the cold war ended precisely for the reasons he said it would: we outspent the USSR and the eastern bloc on defense, causing its economy to crumble. By the middle of his second term in office, I had changed my mind about Reagan altogether. I later went on to regard him as one of the top ten presidents we've ever had.
So, what made Reagan so great?
Well, he was a wonderful speaker and a personable man, utterly without guile or malice. His detractors mis-characterized him - as I did for some time - as being a cowboy and a simpleton. That was unfair. He had been an actor, and had played cowboys on screen, but since when did that make him unqualified to do other things in life? How many of the leftist actors who despised him noticed the irony of their pronouncements, as if merely being famous actors made *them* competent to speak on political matters? As for the simpleton charge, yes, Reagan was a man of only a few big ideas, but he held those with great conviction. He understood the power of projecting an heroic image of the presidency, something Carter had failed at, miserably. Reagan was called lazy, but in fact, he was merely a good delegator, and chose to give his subordinates enormous latitude in doing their jobs. He was called a warmonger, yet it was precisely his 'peace through strength' notion that caused the ultimate collapse of the Evil Empire. And his sense of humor was priceless. After he'd recovered from John Hinkley's assassination attempt, Reagan was at a rally when a balloon popped behind him, with a loud bang. Reagan was momentarily startled, then smiled, leaned into the microphone and said 'You missed.'
Ironically, the Republicans seem to have been haunted by the success of the Reagan presidency. They have since elected two good and decent men to the Oval Office, who have held to a number of Reagan's ideals, but they simply don't measure up. Neither Bush father or son is the first-rate man Reagan was, and neither comes close to filling Reagan's shoes. But then again, perhaps I'm being a little harsh. After all, who *could* have lived up to the Reagan legacy?
The Democrats, bless their hearts, couldn't do any better. They had their own great communicator in Bill Clinton, who was every bit as savvy a speech-maker as the Gipper, and had a golden personal charisma, as well. But in his personal failings, Clinton was perhaps the shabbiest scoundrel to have ever haunted the halls of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Despite all the carping about the courts and Jeb Bush and Nader, Al Gore lost the election in 2000 as much due to the stain of Clinton's misdeeds, as to anything else.
In the end, it was Ronald Reagan, and his quiet influence as president, who helped me cross the Rubicon and become a conservative/libertarian. In his own political journey, he had been a registered Democrat for decades, but finally realized he'd grown beyond what they represented, and that they, in turn, had moved away from his beliefs, as well. He declared himself a Republican in the early 1960's and went on to do great things.
So, for helping me learn and grow and change by his example, I am forever in President Reagan's debt. I pay tribute to a great man and a great president, and here say my final 'Thank You.' We shall not soon see his like again.
From the Telegraph:
One pill a day keeps cancer at bay
By Celia Hall, Medical Editor
A drug prescribed for one of the commonest forms of leukaemia has reduced the deadly cancer to a chronic illness that can be managed with a single pill a day, specialists said yesterday.
New data issued in London showed that about 90 per cent of patients with chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML) who take the drug Glivec are alive and well after five years.
Before the drug was developed, the blood cancer would become advanced within four to six years, giving little hope of survival
Are you tired and bored of playing shooters like Halo? Try your hand at something a bit more old-school, like the following variation of the original Zork, online and free:
> Go here.
And trust me, you'd be well-advised to type 'help' at the prompt, for directions and keyboard commands.
(You can download Windows, DOS and Mac versions of the original Zork binaries here.)
Negroponte's now $130 PC due in April 2007
Nicholas Negroponte showed off the latest prototypes of the fabled $100 PC. It's not longer a $100 PC, however. The ruggedized, two pound Linux desktop (Fedora) system, with mesh networking will sell for about $130 to $140 (san shipping) to governments starting in April 2007. Negroponte expects to reach the $100 price point by the end of 2008. The colorful system can turn into a tablet, and Negroponte said that it "will run like a bat out of hell."
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Use Google's web-based feed reader to keep up with what's important to you
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
- In mathematics
666 is an abundant number. It is the sum of the squares of the first seven prime numbers.
Since 36 is both square and triangular, 666 is the sixth number of the form n2(n2 + 1) / 2 (triangular squares) and the eighth number of the form n(n + 1)(n2 + n + 2) / 8 (doubly triangular numbers.)
There is no number whose value of Euler's totient function φ is 666, making it a nontotient.
The harmonic mean of the digits of 666 is an integer: 3/(1/6 + 1/6 + 1/6) = 6, making 666 the 54th number with this property.
In base 10, 666 is a palindromic number, a repdigit and a Smith number. A prime reciprocal magic square based on 1/149 in base 10 has a magic total of 666.
The Roman numeral representation of the number 666 (DCLXVI) uses once each the Roman numeral symbols with values under 1,000, and they occur in exact reverse order of their respective values (D = 500, C = 100, L = 50, X = 10, V = 5, I = 1).
- In other fields
666 is commonly known as the Number of the Beast in Book of Revelation chapter 13, verses 17-18.
According to translator's comments in the New English Translation (NET) Bible, some maintain that recent discoveries show that 616 could possibly be the correct number of the beast, and not the commonly known 666. A few manuscripts of the Book of Revelation read 616 at chapter 13:17-18, and there are several other numerical variations. Irenaeus' mention of manuscripts having 616 is balanced by his rejection of their accuracy. The reading 616 is intriguing since the conversion of Nero Caesar's name in Latin by way of gematria, Hebrew numerology, comes out to 616. But for this very reason it is suspect because such a reading seems motivated by that very fact and somewhat contrived. It should be noted that Nero is recorded in the Talmud as having converted to Judaism before his death, and was not a major figure in the history of both the Pharisees or the Saducees. Some people say June 6, 2006 (06/06/06) and June 6, 1906 are the days of the Beast .
666 is also the value of the kilohertz frequency of the Bodenseesender, a big AM radio station in South Germany, which is receivable at night in all of Europe. It is also the frequency of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's Canberra station.
In the United States, '666' is a brand name of cough syrup.
666 is the port number used by the game Doom (by id Software) when playing against another player via TCP.
In Unix and similar operating systems, a file permission of 666 (which is not uncommon) grants all users read and write permissions on the file.
666 is the sum of all the numbers on a typical roulette wheel. (A typical roulette wheel is numbered from 1 to 36, with one (in Europe) or two (in North America) zeroes. See the point on triangular numbers, above.)
666 is the numerical value of: "ועתה יגדל-נא כח אדני" ("Ata yigdal na koach Ado-nai"; Now, let the power of my Lord grow) (Numbers 14:17). This was Moshe's (Moses) prayer invoking Divine Mercy on behalf of the Jewish People. 
CSX Transportation currently has a GE AC6000CW with the number 666.
666 is a nickname for Benzene Hexachloride, a powerful insecticide and pediculicide. Its chemical formula is C6H6Cl6.
Similar to the Roman numeral occurrence, combining one of each of Japan's coin currency yields 666 (500, 100, 50, 10, 5, 1)
Apple's first computer, the Apple I, was priced at $666.66.
For a time in Ontario, Canada, the Spicy Chicken Combo from Wendy's came to $6.66 CDN after taxes added.
Organic molecules are based on carbon-12, with 6 Protons, 6 Neutrons and surrounded by 6 Electrons.
There is a theory/idea regarding the biblical meaning of 666. Man was created on the sixth day and the Supreme Being is three persons (Father, Son and Holy Ghost). Therefore the number 6 represents man and the fact that it is repeated three times implies that man is trying to be God. [original research?]