Monday, July 31, 2006

Video Music Monday - Early 00's TRL Edition

"When It's Over"
Sugar Ray


"Fat Lip"
Sum 41


"Every Other Time"


"AM Radio"


"Smooth Criminal"
Alien Ant Farm




"The Rock Show"
Blink 182


"Pinch Me"
Barenaked Ladies


Moby with Gwen Stefani


Fire Island

I broke down and succumed to the lure of reality TV tonight and watched the premier of 'One Ocean View,' ABC's latest summer offering, in which a mix of eleven libidinous twenty-somethings are dispatched to Fire Island to find love and hijinks.

I gotta say, it's got enough young adult drama to keep my interest, without succumbing to the usual d*** nonsense that is The Real World. So, yeah, I'll probably watch again.

The New York Daily News explains all.

Here's A Tip

Whuh? Does somebody really need a javascript calculator to figure out a 10% tip? Apparently they do.

Usual Suspects


Cartoon courtesy Cox&Forkum

More On The Story From C&F

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Brookers' Audition Tape

Brookers Moves On Up

Somehow I missed this story last month, from Variety:

Brodack goes from online to on-screen


YouTube has churned out its first crossover viral video star.

Carson Daly has signed Brooke "Brookers" Brodack to a talent/development deal, making the 20-year-old the first talent to emerge, in an official capacity, from the online service.

Via his Carson Daly Prods. banner, Daly will work with Brodack on content for TV, Internet and mobile outlets.

Brodack's portfolio of vids range from comedic shorts and parodies to video diaries. Her video "Zuma," a sendup of the widespread musicvideo for "Dragosteta din Tei," by Romanian boy band O-Zone, has been viewed more than 1 million times.

Daly said he became mesmerized by her videos after recently stumbling upon them online.

"The Internet has become a new platform for identifying emerging artists such as Brookers. I hope to give her the opportunity to expose her talent on a much larger scale," he said. While Brodack isn't the first talent to surface from the Web -- MTV star Andy Milonakis got his start with online video sketches -- hers is one of the first deals struck based on YouTube popularity.

Read the whole thing here.

From NASA's Hubble Observatory

Crab Nebula

(click above to open large image)

The New Age

From The New York Times:

So Big and Healthy Grandpa Wouldn’t Even Know You


Valentin Keller enlisted in an all-German unit of the Union Army in Hamilton, Ohio, in 1862. He was 26, a small, slender man, 5 feet 4 inches tall, who had just become a naturalized citizen. He listed his occupation as tailor.

A year later, Keller was honorably discharged, sick and broken. He had a lung ailment and was so crippled from arthritis in his hips that he could barely walk.

His pension record tells of his suffering. “His rheumatism is so that he is unable to walk without the aid of crutches and then only with great pain,” it says. His lungs and his joints never got better, and Keller never worked again.

He died at age 41 of “dropsy,” which probably meant that he had congestive heart failure, a condition not associated with his time in the Army. His 39-year-old wife, Otilia, died a month before him of what her death certificate said was “exhaustion.”

People of Valentin Keller’s era, like those before and after them, expected to develop chronic diseases by their 40’s or 50’s. Keller’s descendants had lung problems, they had heart problems, they had liver problems. They died in their 50’s or 60’s.

Now, though, life has changed. The family’s baby boomers are reaching middle age and beyond and are doing fine.

Read the rest here.

I Keep Forgetting To Post This

From Yahoo Health:

Hectic Days Leave Fleeting Memories

July 26, 2006 08:48:29 PM PST

By Amanda Gardner

WEDNESDAY, July 26 (HealthDay News) -- No wonder many busy people can't recall what they did yesterday.

A new study finds that learning while multi-tasking results in less available memory, later on, of the item learned.

"If you're learning things under distraction, what you're going to end up learning is going to be different and, in particular, is going to be a lot less flexible," said Russell Poldrack, senior author of the study and associate professor of psychology at the University of California, Los Angeles. "Less flexible," in this case, means that the memory "will be more tied to the specific circumstances of when you learned it," and less prone to recall when those circumstances change, Poldrack said.

His team reported its findings in the current issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Read the rest here.

Found On Flickr

Mommy Gets The Credit, Then

From Times Online:

Beautiful people tend to have girls, say scientists

Roger Dobson and Yuba Bessaoud

HOLLYWOOD’S most beautiful couple, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, are in the grip of evolutionary forces that made it almost inevitable that their child would be a girl.

According to research, attractive parents are 26% more likely to have a daughter than a son as their first child. It is an inexorable process that has resulted in women becoming increasingly more attractive than men.

This is because of differing “evolutionary strategies” that each sex has adopted to survive, claim researchers at the London School of Economics.

While reproductive success for males depends largely on the status of the father (as sons from higher-status families inherit their position and are in turn able to protect and invest in their offspring), daughters’ reproductive successes mostly depend on their youth and attractiveness. “We have shown two things,” said Dr Satoshi Kanazawa, who led the research. “Beautiful parents have more daughters than ugly parents, because physical attractiveness is heritable and because daughters benefit from attractiveness more than sons.

Read the rest here.

Lotsa Misteaks

Common Errs In English.

MS Found In A Bottle

How Redmond came up with 'Zune.'

Global Jihad


Cartoon courtesy Cox&Forkum

More On The Story From C&F

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Body World

I went to see Bodyworld with the family today. I kept looking around at all the people coming thru the exhibit and thought how when the skin is stripped away, we all pretty much look alike. That isn't to say that the externals aren't important, because they are, but under the skin, we're all just sinew and bone, blood and lymph vessels, brain and heart. That's all I'm saying.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Friday Night Videos - Wish You Were Here Edition

"Wish You Were Here"
2005 (Live 8)
Pink Floyd


"Wish You Were Here"
Pink Floyd


"Wish You Were Here"
Pink Floyd


"Wish You Were Here"
Pink Floyd


"Wish You Were Here"
David Gilmour


"Wish You Were Here"
Roger Waters/Doyle Bramhall II


"Wish You Were Here"
2006 - Rock In Rio
Roger Waters


"Wish You Were Here"
Velvet Revolver


Remembering Elizabeth

Forty years ago today one of the pivotal events in my life happened, one that still affects me to this day. What follows is a slightly edited repost of what I wrote last year.

On July 28th, 1966, our family went on a picnic outing with friends to celebrate the birthday of a young South American teacher who was living with us at the time. We drove a few kilometers away from our town to a small undeveloped beach on the Tocantins river. After lunch my dad took a nap in a hammock, and my mom went down the beach to a shack to change into swim wear, while the several of us kids and young teens splashed about in the warm and shallow water.

Then, it happened.

While the events that followed are somewhat muddled in my mind, I recall a great deal of commotion. Someone noticed that my nearly-7-year-old sister Elizabeth had disappeared under the water, and had not reappeared. Most of the river was extremely shallow during that time of the year, but unknown to us, there was an underwater drop-off just behind where Elizabeth had been standing. Apparently, as she stepped out of the shallows into the drop-off, the slow but powerful current pulled her under, and she never came back up.

And I miss her still.

Please read the whole post here. (new window)

Thursday, July 27, 2006


I've been having alot of problems the last couple of days logging into Blogger. I must say, it's not the end of the world, but it is frustrating. Several fellow Bloggers have tried to convince me that I need to move to another blog hosting option, but I'm a creature of habit, and inertia is not an easy thing to overcome. So, for now, Blogger it is. That's all I'm saying.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Watch YouTube on Your iPod

From Wired:

Watch YouTube on Your iPod

Firefox (Windows only)

1. Add the Greasemonkey extension to your Firefox browser.

2. Go to and install the Download YouTube Video script.

3. The next time you watch YouTube, you’ll see a Download Video option beneath the screen. Click it to save the file to your desktop as QaQw9V4Upj4.flv or whatever.

4. Install and launch the free Super video converter (

5. Select Apple – iPod from the Output Container option, and then the output video codec H.264/AVC. Set size to 320 x 240. If you get an error message when converting, unclick the Use DirectShow button. Otherwise, drag the converted file into iTunes and it’s ready for viewing.

Safari (Mac only)

1. Go to a YouTube video page, wait for it to load, and open Safari’s Activity window.

2. Double-click the URL of the video file – it’s the largest one – to download it.

3. Rename the file something better than QaQw9V4Upj4 – say, Skateboarding Bulldog.

4. Drag and drop it into the free iSquint converter ( and – presto! – an iPod-optimized video file for your iTunes library.

Read the rest of this month's video tips here.

Thanks for the tip, Wired Guys and Gals. It really does work. And iSquint rocks. I hadn't heard of it before, but it is very cool. I don't have an iPod, but I use the freeware TCPMP media player on my Palm TX, and can watch AVI, MPEG and MP4 files in native format. With the free iSquint, I can even convert Window Media Video to MP4 for playback on the device. I just bought a second 2 Gig SD chip for the TX, which now allows me carry around 25 hours of tunes on one chip, and another 6 to 8 hours of video on the other. It's great for watching on the bus or in the doctor's office waiting room.

(BTW, I haven't tried it out yet, but the multi-platform 'nix freeware Handbrake promises to deliver MP4 rips from any DVD source.)

Monday, July 24, 2006

Video Music Monday

'Over There'
Jonathan Coulton


'She Bangs'
William Hung


Danielbeast, LG15, P. Monkey, and O'n.


Blunt Advice

From Yahoo News:

Fake weed a growth business for advocate

By ADAM GORLICK, Associated Press Writer

Mon Jul 24, 2:57 PM ET

Joseph White's home office is like a modern-day hippie hangout. Books on Buddhism and yoga mingle with business planners and a laptop computer. An acoustic guitar rests next to a shuffle of sheet music for "Mr. Tambourine Man," just across the room from a fax machine.

And then there are the marijuana stalks. Towering six-footers. Pint-sized plants for personal medical use. He even has a few ripe buds kicking around on a desk, not far from his cell phone.

His stash is for sale, but it won't get you stoned. These lifelike botanicals are made of silk and wood.

Behold, counterfeit cannabis.

Read the rest here.

Signs Of The Times


Cartoon courtesy Cox&Forkum

More On The Story From C&F

Weekend Recap

It was Daddy Duty for me this past weekend, and here's how it went.



I woke up early with the all-too-usual weekend Migraine, and took my all-too-usual meds, but was still feeling afflicted, a couple of hours later. The girls and I got dressed and headed out to McDonald's for breakfast, and since they were in a pleasant mood, that helped motivate me to take them 'On Adventures.' We first gassed up the car, and then headed up the freeway about 40 miles NW of the Twin Cities to a outdoors superstore called Cabela's. It's an amazing place, full of lots of stuffed animals that have been worked by taxidermists, including bears and mountain goats. They even have African animals, too. Both the girls found it as fascinating as I did, and I hope to go back soon.

After we were done at Cabela's, we drove across the Mighty Mississippi to a Living-Museum kind of place called The Kelley Farm. It's a fully functional 19th century farm that is maintained by employees of the Minnesota Historical Society who wear full costume as they work the various parts of the farm. The girls got to ride the ox-drawn hay cart into the field, where AE got to use a pitchfork to help fill the wagon with hay, and they both got ride back on top of
the pile of hay, with the other kids. When we got home AE told me that it was the most wonderful 'Day Of Adventure' ever. She may be right.



We had a little less intense of a day than we had on Friday. AE and LK watched videos in the morning, we had lunch with Mommy at her workplace and then the girls spent the afternoon playing with a little neighbor girl. It was a relatively relaxing day.



The girls and I got up in the AM and went to church, and then headed out to southwestern Hennepin County for a family picnic. My sister is in from out of town for a visit, and the extended family gathered to grill and visit. The girls spent the whole afternoon climbing a huge contraption consisting of rope ladders, slides and chutes. It was a hot and sunny day, and I had to call for regular time-outs for the girls, to keep them hydrated and rested. But all went well, and they slept very well.


I'll try to write up something tomorrow, but in the event that I don't get to it, I want to mention the following today: early on July 25th, 1986 my Dad woke up with chest pains. An ambulance was called, and CPR was administered, but he died on the front porch of the family home in South America. He was fifty one years of age. I wish he could have lived to see his grandkids, and I miss him still.


Saturday, July 22, 2006

Saturday Night Bling - Number 5

Saturday Night Bling - Number 4

Rate them all at See My Grill.

Saturday Night Bling - Number 3

That's Mr. Bling to you.

Saturday Night Bling - Number 2

And, in other Bling News, Biggie gets his own action figure. So, where's Suge and Tupac? That's all I'm sayin'.

Saturday Night Bling - Number 1


"Girl, with a life this good, you gotta love My Bling Bling! This is a new look for Madison. She is dressed in a sparkling halter top with short leather miniskirt, high white boots and accessorized with jewelry and fur shawl. She comes with another outfit, pocketbook, sunglasses, cell and accessories. Also includes a Ka-Ching - Bling Ring for you! Measures 12" tall."

Get them while they last, here.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Friday Night Videos

'California Sun'
The Ramones


'Catch My Disease'
Ben Lee


'Let's Make Love and Listen to Death From Above'


'Jailhouse Rock'
Elvis Presley


'Ms. Jackson'


'Ring Of Fire'
Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson


'I Miss You'
Blink 182


Thursday, July 20, 2006


You know, Yahoo does alot of things right, but their 360° service seems really anemic to me. It's almost as if the usually-brilliant folks at Yahoo took a peek at MySpace and decided beat them at their own game by turning the 360° lameness quotient up to eleven. But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong.


The Fizz Cup.

Prison Vs. Work

I received this in my email at work recently:

Just in case you ever get these two environments mixed up, this should make things a little bit clearer:

IN spend the majority of your time in an 10x10 cell.
AT spend the majority of your time in an 8x8 cubicle.

IN get three meals a day.
AT get a break for one meal and you have to pay for it.

IN get time off for good behavior.
AT get more work for good behavior.

IN PRISON..........the guard locks and unlocks all the doors for you.
AT must carry a security card and open all the doors for yourself.

IN can watch TV and play games.
AT could get fired for watching TV and playing games.

IN get your own toilet.
AT have to share the toilet with some people who pee on the seat.

IN PRISON..........they allow your family and friends to visit.
AT aren't even supposed to speak to your family.

IN PRISON..........all expenses are paid by the taxpayers with no work required.
AT get to pay all your expenses to go to work, and they deduct taxes from your salary to pay for prisoners.

IN spend most of your life inside bars wanting to Get out.
AT spend most of your time wanting to get out and go inside bars.

Now get back to work. You're not getting paid to check personal emails!

Sounds about right to me.

Asymmetrical Warfare


Cartoon courtesy Cox&Forkum

More On The Story From C&F

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Advice For Computer Science Students

From Joel On Software:

Without further ado, then, here are Joel's Seven Pieces of Free Advice for Computer Science College Students (worth what you paid for them):

1. Learn how to write before graduating.
2. Learn C before graduating.
3. Learn microeconomics before graduating.
4. Don't blow off non-CS classes just because they're boring.
5. Take programming-intensive courses.
6. Stop worrying about all the jobs going to India.
7. No matter what you do, get a good summer internship.

Now for the explanations, unless you're gullible enough to do all that stuff just because I tell you to, in which case add: 8. Seek professional help for that self-esteem thing.

Read the whole thing here.

Social Networking

I first heard of Facebook this past year from someone I know who attends the U of M. She explained that she liked it better than Friendster or Myspace, because it's more exclusive, and was originally set up for those in school. But it's not just for students anymore. If your business/company is listed here, you can join, too.

Truth be told, I find the whole Social Networking Website idea kind of unsettling. Something about posting one's vitals on the net for the world to view seems odd to me, but that's just the opinion of one aging baby boomer. Maybe I should be a bit more open-minded about the whole thing.

See, I was very much into a local bulletin board called 'The Meeting Place' back in the late 1980's, and I remember thinking how cool it seemed to be able to use it to so easily connect with others of like interests. I made several friends online, and for a few months I even ended up dating one young woman I met there.

Maybe the difference between that BBS and the systems of today is that the whole experience was all much more limited: no chat, text-only, no graphics. In fact, any email that was exchanged could only viewed by logging into the BBS, which nearly always took several tries. It had only a couple of incoming phone lines, and would only allow users to be online for just a few minutes at a time. One would log in, check email, save text files to compose answers to offline, post any outstanding responses, and log off. It was very different than the always-on and always-connected world so many seem to live in today.

And what's more, because there were just a few hundred people using 'The Meeting Place' - all locals - it was understood at the outset that it was possible to actually meet other users. There were regular gatherings at picnics, and there were even volleyball and softball leagues formed from the group. It was a natural thing that the online exchanges would lead to real-world contact, and very few people maintained online-only relationships.

One note: it must have been a paradise for interested females. The ratio of users was fairly lop-sided, possibly 75% male to 25% female, but the young women who did join were quite computer-savvy - although not really nerdy. They were willing and ready to learn to use the nascent technology to make friends, and meet dates.

Anyway, I guess I tend to view the recent social networking phenomenon with a bit of a jaundiced eye. A few years back I recall receiving various invites from people I knew to join the rather exclusive Orkut, and I just couldn't bring myself to sign up. It all seemed too strange to me, but of course there's several hundred million people around the world who feel quite differently.

How Google Works


Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Disproportionate Response


Cartoon courtesy Cox&Forkum

More On The Story From C&F

Vids Gone Wild

From BBC News:

YouTube hits 100m videos per day

Internet video site YouTube has said its users are now watching more than 100 million videos per day.

YouTube is the leading net video download site in the US, with 29% of the country's multimedia market, according to traffic monitor Hitwise.

Read the rest here.

(More from Wikipedia.)

No More Half-Solutions

From WSJ OpinionJournal:

Iran is the cause of chaos in Lebanon and Iraq.


Tuesday, July 18, 2006 12:01 a.m. EDT

BAGHDAD--In spite of what we are facing here every day I find myself, just like many others, so attached to following what's going on between Israel and Lebanon and that's mostly because of the close resemblance between the two cases.

In both cases we see a weak government suffering to control a powerful militia that is challenging the will of the rest of the country and engaging in a proxy war making the people suffer the results of regional conflicts that in no way can benefit their country.

The other reason why I'm closely following this ongoing crisis is that the powers involved in this conflict between Lebanon and Israel are closely connected to the powers fighting in Iraq and we here believe that the battle over there will have an impact on the situation here in one way or another.

It's still very difficult for people here to predict how this crisis is going to end especially that politics mix with ideology in a complex way in this region, however there's a general sense that the fires of war are going to spread to the rest of the region but still no one here can see the way this bigger war is going to end.

Read the rest here.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Video Music Monday

"Kaja Re"
(From the movie "Bunty Aur Babli")
Aishwarya Rai

(Possibly the most alluring - but relatively chaste - video, ever. Nothing the likes of Paris Hilton, Britney Spears, Madonna or Pussycat Dolls have ever recorded - or ever will - can match Ms. Rai in loveliness or singing ability. Never. End of story.)

Ecclesiastes 12:12

From Duke News:

Americans Have Fewer Friends Outside the Family, Duke Study Shows - Shrinking social networks could lead to less civic engagement

Friday, June 23, 2006

Durham, N.C. -- Americans’ circle of confidants has shrunk dramatically in the past two decades and the number of people who say they have no one with whom to discuss important matters has more than doubled, according to a new study by sociologists at DukeUniversity and the University of Arizona.

“The evidence shows that Americans have fewer confidants and those ties are also more family-based than they used to be,” said Lynn Smith-Lovin, Robert L. Wilson Professor of Sociology at Duke University and one of the authors of "Social Isolation in America: Changes in Core Discussion Networks Over Two Decades."

“This change indicates something that’s not good for our society. Ties with a close network of people create a safety net. These ties also lead to civic engagement and local political action,” she said.

The study, published in the June issue of American Sociological Review, is based on the first nationally representative survey on this topic in 19 years.

It compared data from 1985 and 2004 and found that the mean number of people with whom Americans can discuss matters important to them dropped by nearly one-third, from 2.94 people in 1985 to 2.08 in 2004.

Researchers also found that the number of people who said they had no one with whom to discuss such matters more than doubled, to nearly 25 percent. The survey found that both family and non-family confidants dropped, with the loss greatest in non-family connections.

Read the rest here.

Rock'em Sock'em


Cartoon courtesy Cox&Forkum

More On The Story From C&F

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Sing Along With Muzzy

Download lotsa free and legal kiddie tunes in MP3 format, with lyrics.

Putin Village

From WSJ OpinionJournal:

Russia hosts a G-8 club it shouldn't belong to.

Saturday, July 15, 2006 12:01 a.m. EDT

Today at the G-8 summit in St. Petersburg, Vladimir Putin will throw a coming out party for an economically rejuvenated Russia. Two days ago, the master of the Kremlin marked the steady erosion of democracy by signing a bill that bans legislators in an already emasculated Duma from changing parties.

Throughout President Putin's six years in power, a conceit indulged by Western leaders has been that the Russia of strong growth and the Russia of creeping authoritarianism are different places. Russians themselves are told to sacrifice freedom for stability and prosperity. Both are dangerous illusions. For Mr. Putin's governing approach undercuts the very gains he will advertise this weekend. As the world stood by, Russia has become a danger to the West, to its neighbors and not least to itself.

The Russia of today little resembles the chaotic country that hobbled out of the detritus of the Soviet Union. The credit for this turnaround--the country's economy has grown 65% since 2000--goes foremost to high oil prices, up sixfold in Mr. Putin's tenure. The smart policy moves came early, in 2001-2002, when Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov put in a 13% flat income tax, the headline of a sweeping overhaul of a corrupt tax system.

But Mr. Putin's commitment to free markets has proved as fleeting as to democracy. Mr. Kasyanov, dumped in 2004, went into opposition with other disenchanted liberals. Monopoly control, be it over the Duma or media or business, is the defining characteristic of the Putin era. The slide toward single-man rule put a halt to efforts to modernize Russia's broken institutions and open up the economy.

Read the rest here.


"Dark Side Of The Rainbow"

It's Not The Humidity

He's Depressed

File Not Found.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Friday Night Videos - U2 Edition

"I Will Follow"




"New Year's Day"


"Where The Streets Have No Name"


"Even Better Than The Real Thing"


"Stuck In A Moment You Can't Get Out Of"


"Beautiful Day" (EZE Version)


"Walk On" (Brazil Version)


Thursday, July 13, 2006

Free Download

DivX For Mac

DivX For Windows

Exchange Rate


Cartoon courtesy Cox&Forkum

More On The Story From C&F

Sick Sack Dot Com

Rune's Barf Bag Collection


From Reuters:

Paralyzed man moves computer cursor through thought

Wed Jul 12, 2006 01:46 PM ET

By Patricia Reaney

LONDON (Reuters) - A Paralyzed man using a new brain sensor has been able to move a computer cursor, open e-mail and control a robotic device simply by thinking about doing it, a team of scientists said on Wednesday.

They believe the BrainGate sensor, which involves implanting electrodes in the brain, could offer new hope to people Paralyzed by injuries or illnesses.

"This is the first step in an ongoing clinical trial of a device that is encouraging for its potential to help people with paralysis," Dr Leigh Hochberg, of Massachusetts General Hospital, said in an interview.

The 25-year-old man who suffered paralysis of all four limbs three years earlier completed tasks such moving a cursor on a screen and controlling a robotic arm.

Read the rest here.

Found On The Net

A World Gone Mad

From Yahoo News:

Crime wave in Brazil city enters 3rd day

By TALES AZZONI, Associated Press Writer

Gangs torched buses and attacked banks and police stations across South America's biggest city Thursday, deepening crime fears as a wave of rampant violence entered its third day.

At least six people have been killed in nearly 100 attacks on police and civilian targets since Tuesday night in what authorities believe is retaliation for a possible transfer of gang leaders to Brazil's first federal penitentiary.

São Paulo residents had trouble getting to work Thursday morning after several public transportation companies refused to dispatch buses out of fear of new attacks.

The violence comes two months after imprisoned leaders of the gang First Capital Command — known by its Portuguese initials PCC — ordered attacks against police across the city and São Paulo state, causing the deaths of nearly 200 police, prison guards, suspected criminals and jail inmates in one week.

The new wave comes at a critical time for President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva — who was officially launching his re-election campaign Thursday — as well as his top challenger Geraldo Alckmin, who was governor of Sao Paulo state before announcing his bid for the October election.

Read the rest here.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Schlemiel! Schlimazel!

From APNews MyWay:

Free Gas Sets Off Crashes in Milwaukee

Jul 12, 6:40 PM (ET)

MILWAUKEE (AP) - Two car crashes occurred and four people were arrested in excitement over a gasoline giveaway Wednesday to reward the city for its safe-driving record.

For the most part, hundreds of drivers waited patiently for hours for about $30 worth of free gasoline each that Allstate Insurance provided at one station.

However, some motorists started lining up before midnight and the queue stretched far from the station into a residential area, trapping some residents in their driveways, said police spokeswoman Anne E. Schwartz.

That led to fights and arrests for disorderly conduct. In one case, three officers were sent to a hospital as a precaution because they were spattered with blood from someone's bloodied nose, Schwartz said.

Read the rest here.

Old-School Pong With A Twist

Battle Pong

Battle Pong II

(Monster and Critics Flash Games)

Lessons In Problem-Solving, Zidane Style

Better Now?

Hemingway On Acid

From Yahoo News:

It was a long and twisting sentence...

Wed Jul 12, 8:34 AM ET

An opening sentence containing a burrito, an angel and a shovel was judged appalling enough to win the annual Bulwer-Lytton literary parody prize on Tuesday.

Retired mechanical designer Jim Guigli of California was proclaimed winner of the contest, which challenges entrants to submit their worst opening sentence of an imaginary novel.

Guigli's winning entry read: "Detective Bart Lasiter was in his office studying the light from his one small window falling on his super burrito when the door swung open to reveal a woman whose body said you've had your last burrito for a while, whose face said angels did exist, and whose eyes said she could make you dig your own grave and lick the shovel clean."

Guigli's powers of invention and his determination to succeed -- he submitted 60 different entries -- also won him a "dishonorable mention" in the historical fiction category.

"My motivation for entering the contest was to find a constructive outlet for my dementia," Guigli quipped.

Read the rest here.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Rest Stop Safari


A trip back through time,
in which Dr. Sphincter (aka Rich Kronfeld)
and crew hit the road for Nothern Minnesota.
And, of course, hijinks ensue.

Michele's New Digs

It appears A Small Victory is finally been dispatched to the great blogetery in the sky. But have faith, Michele blogs on at Faster Than The World. And I'm glad for it. See, Michele and Lileks were the ones who inspired me to dip my toe in the blogosphere in the first place. Well, kind of. Thing is, they're both so good that I often wonder why I even keep a blog. Truth is, if on a good day I wrote half as well as either of them do at their worst, I'd feel accomplished. And I might be rich. Anyway, even if her new blog is a tag-team affair, I'm just glad she's writing, and I'm still reading. You should, too.

Shine On You Crazy Diamond

RIP: Roger Keith "Syd" Barrett (January 6, 1946 – July 7, 2006)

This Looks Very Cool

Every Home Should Have One

From CNet News:

Memory stick channels your inner Wordsworth

July 10, 2006 4:00 AM PDT

Here's something for those who would say nature and technology don't mix, at least in the portable storage department. Oooms has rolled out wooden memory sticks that are exactly what you might expect: a flash drive encased in a chunk of wood.

The Web site puts it more poetically: "The sticks are picked from the woods and are manually selected on their natural beauty, professionally handmade into unique and personal USB memory sticks." Each memory stick is meant "to stand out against its natural environment of computers and offices," according to the maker.

A 256MB wood memory stick sells for 45 euros, or $57.67, on the Web site; 512MB goes for 60 euros or $76.90; and 1 gig lists for 70 euros or $89.72.

Read the rest here.

Best Week Ever's New Mac Ads

An Inconvenient Truth

From Physorg:

Greenhouse theory smashed by biggest stone

A new theory to explain global warming was revealed at a meeting at the University of Leicester (UK) and is being considered for publication in the journal "Science First Hand". The controversial theory has nothing to do with burning fossil fuels and atmospheric carbon dioxide levels.

According to Vladimir Shaidurov of the Russian Academy of Sciences, the apparent rise in average global temperature recorded by scientists over the last hundred years or so could be due to atmospheric changes that are not connected to human emissions of carbon dioxide from the burning of natural gas and oil. Shaidurov explained how changes in the amount of ice crystals at high altitude could damage the layer of thin, high altitude clouds found in the mesosphere that reduce the amount of warming solar radiation reaching the earth's surface.

Shaidurov has used a detailed analysis of the mean temperature change by year for the last 140 years and explains that there was a slight decrease in temperature until the early twentieth century. This flies in the face of current global warming theories that blame a rise in temperature on rising carbon dioxide emissions since the start of the industrial revolution. Shaidurov, however, suggests that the rise, which began between 1906 and 1909, could have had a very different cause, which he believes was the massive Tunguska Event, which rocked a remote part of Siberia, northwest of Lake Baikal on the 30th June 1908.

Read the rest here.

Numa Numa


Watch it again, for the first time.

Several Blasts Rock Mumbai Commuter Trains

From Wiki News:

Seven explosions have been reported at various local railway stations in the city of Mumbai, India, the first occuring at 6:25 pm IST (GMT+5:30).

The first blast ripped through the first-class compartment of a local train from Churchgate to Borivili, near the Khar station. Subsequent blasts occured at Bhayandar station near Mira Road, Mahim station, Matunga, Jogeshwari and Borivali. A seventh blast has occured in the Khar-Santacruz subway. Local phone lines in Mumbai have been jammed. The Press Trust of India, quoting railway officials, said all seven explosions had targeted first-class cars.

Officials said at least 104 people have died in the blasts, although given the fact that Western Railway trains are very crowded during the evening rush hour, the figures could rise. Police are allegedly performing raids throughout India in response to the bombings, while officials in Mumbai claim the explosions were a deliberate attack. Heavy monsoon downpours have hampered the rescue efforts of the emergency services.

The Indian capital New Delhi has reportedly been put on high alert after the blasts. Airports across the country are also on high alert as are sensitive installations in Mumbai. Mumbai's train system has been suspended and calls are made to keep the public away from the city's train stations. Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh has called a emergency cabinet meeting.

The attack has the trademarks of Kashmiri militant groups like the Lashkar-e-Toiba which has set off bombs in quick succession in Indian cities before. India's domestic intelligence agency, the Intelligence Bureau, claims that this attack, as also the grenade attacks in Jammu and Kashmir earlier today were aimed at diverting attention from the elections being held in Pakistani Kashmir.

Meanwhile, a suspected terrorist has been arrested in Jangpura area of Central Delhi. The police have recovered 2 kg of RDX, an explosive widely used by the military, in his possession.

(Wikipedia has an article about 11 July 2006 Mumbai train bombings.)

Staggering and sickening carnage.

Zidane Discussed

From WSJ Opinionjournal:


The French Hero who was, ultimately, just a Man.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006 12:01 a.m. EDT

PARIS--Here is one of the greatest players of all time, a legend, a myth for the entire planet, and universally acclaimed. Here is a champion who, in front of two billion people, was putting the final touches on one of the most extraordinary sagas in soccer's history.

Here is a man of providence, a savior, who was sought out, like Achilles in his tent of grudge and rage, because he was believed to be the only one who could avert his countrymen's fated decline. Better yet, he's a super-Achilles who--unlike Homer's--did not wait for an Agamemnon (in the guise of coach Raymond Domenech) to come begging him to re-enlist; rather, he decided himself, spontaneously, after having "heard" a voice calling him, to come back from his Spanish exile and--putting his luminous armor back on, and flanked by his faithful Myrmidons (Makelele, Vieira, Thuram)--reverse the new Achaeans' ill fortune and allow them to successfully pull together.

Read the rest here.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Talking Headbutt

Help Zidane headbutt Materazzi in the chest enough times to get sent off the pitch with a Red Card, in this spanking-new Flash Game. (Be sure to check out the Zidane artistry at Destructoid.)

And, one more time, watch the video of the Soccer Event of the year, as carried on the BBC:


(USA Today discusses what may have set Zidane off.)

A Little Monday Night Mencken

From Minority Report (Number 27):

In ordinary human intercourse decorums are plainly more valuable than morals. No one really cares what the private morals of the other fellow may be, but there must be some confidence that he will react in ordinary situations according to the familiar patters and without too much aberration. To take an interest in his private morals is, in fact, the sign of low culture. It is encountered only in primitive societies, such as those that are to be found in remote country towns. But even in the best society his manners are immensely important. No man can be really friendly to another whose personal habits differ materially from his own. Even the trivialities of table manners thus become important. The fact probably explains much of race prejudice, and even more of national prejudice. No American is ever really quite comfortable in the presence of an Englishman. The Englishman is cocksure in regions wherein the American is naturally diffident, and reserved in regions wherein the American is accustomed to be frank. The two men wear their clothes differently, devour their food according to different technics, and react differently to many other common situations. Each can become accustomed to the ways of the other, but it takes time, and in certain fields it takes a good deal of time.

Immigrants who live in this country for many years are still sharply conscious of the fact that it is a foreign land. It is only the native-born second generation that ever finds it really comfortable. I believe the same is true of Americans living abroad. I have met a good many of them in my time, and I can't recall a single one who was really happy. They are all pathetically eager to hear what is going on at home, especially those who pretend to be disgusted by American life.

Sounds about right to me.

Stars Are Bland

"Stars Are Blind"
Paris Hilton


Okay, so Paris Hilton's promo video for her first single "Stars Are Blind" isn't quite porn. That's a good thing. But it's not a great Music Video, either. Both Shania Twain and Chris Isaak rolled around on a beach in videos years ago, with much better and sexier songs than this one.

Look, it's not that this song is that bad, but it's just not that good, either. The girl sings alright, she looks good, but you have to have more than that to be a star, right Ashlee? Oops, I guess not. But, anyway, I can pretty well guaran-darn-tee you that with the muscle of Warner Music behind her, Miss Hilton's voice will be all over radio this summer.

Gosh, I miss Britney...

Sick Day

I got up at the usual time this AM feeling a bit woozy from the cold I've been battling over the past few days. I took my morning shower and ate my breakfast, but after just a few minutes it was clear to me that if I were to have gone into work today, I'd not only be a useless specimen, but I wouldn't last the day. I called my boss and told her I was taking a sick day, and went back to bed.

It's strange. Over the years I've often been asked by co-workers if I won't admit to calling in sick when I'm not. Of course, it would be lunacy to admit to such a thing, but the simple answer is that I have never called in sick just to avoid going into work. If anything, I've gone in when I shouldn't have been there, and risked infecting my peers with whatever virus was afflicting me. I guess calling in to work 'sick,' instead of 'tired' or 'hungover' or 'lazy' is so common that most people can't believe that everyone doesn't do it. In any case, although I won't pass judgement on those who do, I have not. When I call in sick, I am sick. End of story.

So, I've been lying around all day, feeling punk, sucking on the Zinc/Gluconate/Glycine-laced Cherry-Flavored Cold-Eze lozenges I bought, fully aware that I've probably been duped by the language on the package that promises to be "safe and effective in reducing the severity of [cold] symptoms by 42% and duration by 3 to 4 days in two double blind placebo controlled studies." Yeah, sure they do.

Oh well, they don't taste all that bad, and they do offer relief to my sore throat. I suspect I'll be over the grippe in the same length of time as always: about a week to ten days, regardless what I do.

Want One

After having had my Swiss Army Pocket Knife confiscated by an over-zealous guard at the Government Center a few weeks back, I've wanted to get a replacement. I think I may have found the right one.

From Swissmade:

Based on the 91mm original officer’s Victorinox army knife. The pocket knife shells are made of pure platinum 950 or yellow gold 750, inset in pavé style with up to 800 flawless diamonds according to IF-VVS standards, Wesselton top, total weight of more than 20 carats.

Functions: Large blade, small blade, corkscrew, can opener with small screwdriver (incl. Phillips screwdriver), bottle opener with screwdriver, wire-stripper, awl, ring, tweezers, scissors and multi-purpose holder (package holder). With the exception of the tweezers, all tools are ornately adorned with diamond engraving. Serial number engraved on the blade.

Inclusive solid platinum or gold chain and exclusive Bonfort case.

Gotto go buy a lottery ticket now.

This Looks Very Cool

Spaceport Singapore

Palestinian Body Armor


Cartoon courtesy Cox&Forkum

More On The Story From C&F

Politics Going To The Dogs

From Scripps Howard News Service:

Golden retriever runs for high office in Alaska

Anchorage Daily News

ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- Brinkley is 2 years old. His interests include sniffing people, poop and going for "walkies." He'd appreciate your vote.

At least that's the impression you'd get from the "Brinkley for Governor" campaign signs that popped up seemingly overnight in Anchorage this week.

Brinkley is a golden retriever who belongs to Ruth Sisk, a dog-lover who started a write-in campaign for the pooch to raise money for the American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and other dog-friendly nonprofits.

She's already sold $4,000 worth of T-shirts made popular by the campaign, and she plans trips to Fairbanks and Juneau to sell Brinkley merchandise, Sisk said.

There's even talk of a campaign commercial. "The slogan is 'Get off your tail, hit the campaign trail, vote,' " Sisk says.

Read the rest here.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

He Really, Really Hates Bill O'Reilly.



Oh, Behave!

"Jump In My Car"
David "Big In Germany" Hasselhoff


From Google Video:

That's right, it's Hofficial... your favourite cult icon wants to take you home! The one and only David Hasselhoff of "Bay Watch" and ... all » "Knight Rider" fame returns with a cover of the 1975 classic 'Jump In My Car' and its a doozy. Recorded in Sydney last year with the legendary Harry Vanda (AC/DC, The Angels), the Ted Mulry Gang tune has been re-vamped with full Hoff gusto and this music video promises to rock the socks off all his Hofficial fans. Watch it, enjoy it, share it on Google Video, courtesy of Sony BMG Australia.

Oh, go ahead, watch it. You know you want to.

Mall In The Family

Dead Malls Dot Com

Watch The Best World Cup Final Ever

1970 World Cup
Final score: 4 x 1
Brazil vs. Italy
Aztec Stadium - Mexico City

First Half


Second Half


Brazilian team captain Carlos Alberto
scores one of the loveliest goals
in the history of the game,
off a pass from legend Pele',
at 43 minutes into the second half
in the 1970 World Cup final
against Italy.


The Weekend


I had made arrangements to meet up with TIF (The Impudent Finger) at Keegan's Irish Pub after work on Friday. The pub was hosting a Scotch-tasting event - attended by some of the MOBsters - but we decided to just meet for supper. We were promptly seated by a server who has waited on us there before, an attractive twenty-something blonde - whose name escapes me - and our food appeared in short order. I had the Shepherd's Pie, which was positively wonderful, and washed it down with the house cola. (Menu here.)

The Finger and I both tried our hands at a mini-golf putting contest sponsored by a beer company and hosted by a very tall blonde and a very short brunette, neither of whom looked to be more than a few days over the legal drinking age. Neither TIF nor I advanced to the next round, but we both walked away with tee shirts, for our time. I also received as a belated birthday gift from The Finger: a copy of Bill Bennett's latest book, and a generous gift card to Barnes&Noble.

After supper we hung out for a while, but being the rapidly-decaying middle-aging baby-boomers we are, we decided to call it an early night. I walked out to the near-by parking ramp, chatted with TIF for a few short minutes, and then headed off to my car, and home.

I was half-way back across town to my Palatial Estate when I realized I did not have my cellphone with me. I remember having had it at the pub, and now it was gone. After uttering words I will not repeat here, I drove back to Saint Anthony Main - I ended up having to park some distance away this time - and started re-tracing my steps to all the places I'd been that evening. I checked where I'd been parked, and found nothing. I checked the pub, and found nothing. I was starting to panic, kicking myself for losing a $100 phone, and wondering how long it would take to get myself set up with a new phone and/or number.

I was just about to go the eight blocks back to my car when I decided to try checking the parking ramp where the The Finger had been. And sure enough, there it was: my cell phone, still on the ground, right where I'd apparently dropped it a good half-hour earlier, in a busy part of the lot, right by the exit booth. It appears that in all that time, no one had seen the phone, or had bothered to pick it up. I guess luck was with me that night. I felt relieved and grateful to have found it.

I walked slowly back through the warm summer evening, down by Riverplace and Saint Anthony Main, past Kigugawa, and Pracna, past the accordionist playing his rendition of the 'March Of The Sugar Plum Fairy,' past the incredibly crowded plaza outside Tuggs, with the live band playing. It was nearly ten in the evening, and there were hundreds of people out, sitting at outside tables on the sidewalks, talking, smoking, drinking, laughing.

For many years I used to live just blocks up the street, and had been to Saint Anthony Main and Riverplace hundreds of times over the past 25 years, and yet I can't remember seeing those kinds of crowds in the summertime, back in the day. I think the 'sidewalk cafe' culture is somewhat new to the Twin Cities, like the whole expresso bar thing is, too. I must say, it's made the local social scene more interesting, for it.

As I walked past the large number of patrons I found myself wondering how many of the couples might have been on a first date, and how many on a last one. I wondered how many groups of friends might have been saying good-bye, and how many might have been having a reunion, after a time apart. I wondered how many were feeling grateful for the blesings they have this country, that they get to work and play and assemble freely, and how many were surly and angry to even be called Americans. I wondered how many were celebrating the start of a new job, and how many were nursing the wound of having been fired or laid off. I wondered how many might have just found out they were sick with some incurable disease or condition, and I wondered how many had just been given a clean bill of health after a long illness. I wondered if any might die before they reached home that night. Of course I'll never know any of all that, but I wondered it, all the same.

Anyway, other than the fact that I didn't feel well from the cold I've been fending off for days, it was a nice evening. And I felt lucky and grateful I didn't lose my cell-phone, after all.


I got up mid-AM and headed out with Daughter Number One AE to do some shopping at the Walmart located where Apache Plaza used to be. We got some jeans and some shoes. (One cool thing: Mrs. Muzzy had expressed some concern about one of the items of clothing I'd called her about, so I took a quick photo on my cell, emailed it to her, and got her approval. Isn't technology the bestest?)

We came home and I ended up hanging out with the girls while Mrs. Muzzy headed out for lunch with a friend. I spent the afternoon working on projects on my computer, including editing a silent POV video of my evening walk back down Third Avenue after work. Even though it was taken on my still camera, in low-resolution, I intend to record a voice-over narration and post it here, for the teeming dozens who've wondered what I refer to when I mention walking back to my car, after a workday.

In the evening, after the girls were on their way to bed, I headed out again for some more shopping. I went to Sam's Club, Half-Price Books, Barnes&Noble and even ended up at yet another Walmart, before I started feeling sick again from the grippe that's been plaguing me, and headed home.

I must say, Walmart always intrigues me, from the general tackiness of its stores, to the low-brow clientele, to the passion that it inspires in both those who defend and attack it.

One of a series of claims made by the detractors is that the store pays substandard wages, doesn't allow unions and doesn't pay benefits, nor does it offer what its opponents feel is a living wage. It is not uncommon for those who feel this way to get red-faced with anger at the mere mention of the store name. But when I ask those same people whether they know if, for example, Target pays any better, or offers better benefits, they tell me that they have no idea, nor do they seem to care.

It seems to me that the real reason they hate Walmart is that it is so successful, and that it has made its billions of dollars appealing to the needs and tastes of the Trailer Park Dweller amongst us. Yes, Target is successful, too, but its demographic is a hip and urbane one, not underfunded and underfed.

I've come to the conclusion that most - though certainly not all - of those who despise the Walmart empire are Lefty Elitists who care about the downtrodden in the abstract, but seem incapable of comprehending why any of them might want to shop in such a place - great selection and low prices - let alone work in one.

In the end, people are free to work at Target, Walmart, or any of thousands of other places of employment. They make the choice to do so. I offer an anecdote: I was in a Walmart late one night while a group of teenage employees were taking inventory. I overheard them talking about how the whole lot of them had used to work across the street at Target. It seems they had some friends who worked across the street who were trying to convince them to come over and work at Target, but they seemed unwilling to do so. I should have asked why they wanted to choose Walmart over Target. There must have been some reason. Or maybe they just liked being 'exploited.'

BTW, please don't tell me I don't know of what I speak. I used to work at a local company that paid minimum wage, offered no benefits and was rabidly anti-union. I enjoyed working there, but it simply didn't pay well enough. I sought different work, and eventually moved on. I didn't need a Lefty Legislator to mandate that my former employer treat me better. I made the choice, and left. No, it's not always easy, and sometimes it requires getting further education to acquire the skills to get a better job, but one is almost never without choices, no matter what agitated union-backed Lefty Legislator wants you to believe.


I woke up feeling lousy this AM and ended up staying home from church. I've just been couging and feeling achey and sniffly, and didn't have it in me to leave the house to be sociable.

After lunch my FIL came over to watch the World Cup Final at the Palatial Estate. Hailing originally from SA, he's a Cricket and Rugby man, and doesn't really understand the finer points of Association Football. But it didn't take a hard-core soccer fan to understand that head-butting an oppposing player in overtime was not one of Zidane's smartest moves. Mon Dieu! Although he had scored the only French goal on an earlier penalty kick, Zidane's own eggegious foul got the French captain sent off the pitch, and was probably what gave Italy the edge to hold on, and ultimately win, by penalties. It was a sorry end to a World Cup, but at least the Italians won it on the fair. And after all the scandals that have darkened Italian soccer recently, this win should give the sport in Italy a needed boot in the rear. And good for them, I say.

Have a good week, y'all.

USA Today Liveblogs The World Cup Final

Final: Italy 5, France 3 (on PKs)

Friday, July 07, 2006

Friday Night Videos

"Nothing Compares 2U"
Sinead O'Connor


"Mr. Brightside"
The Killers


Meat Puppets


"Going Home"
Faye Wong
(English original Sophie Zelmani)


"Heart-Shaped Box"


Thursday, July 06, 2006


From The Times:

Grief, fear, hope

Remembering July 7, 2005 — one long year later

“No one ever told me,” C.S. Lewis said, “that grief felt so like fear”. For many people today grief and fear will be the dominant sentiments on the first anniversary of the London bombings. The family and the friends of the 52 innocent people who had their lives snatched from them will remember the spirit and characters of those who died and the futures that could and should have evolved. It is this aspect that is surely the most painful: the goodbyes that were never exchanged, the children left to grow unwatched, the families that would have been extended at a later moment but were not, rendering those left behind more alone, deeper in their despair for what is missing.

Read the rest here.

(More from Wikipedia.)

Tora, Tora

From The Guardian Unlimited:

Report: N. Korea Missile Aimed at Hawaii

Friday July 7, 2006 4:01 AM

TOKYO (AP) - North Korea targeted waters near Hawaii when it fired a long-range missile this week, a Japanese newspaper reported Friday.

The long-range Taepodong-2 was part of a barrage of seven missiles test-fired by North Korea on Wednesday. They all fell harmlessly into the Sea of Japan, but South Korean officials said the long-range missile had malfunctioned, suggesting it was intended for a more remote target.

Japan's conservative mainstream daily Sankei said that Japanese and U.S. defense officials have concluded that the Taepodong-2 had targeted the U.S. state of Hawaii in the Pacific Ocean, after analyzing data collected from their intelligence equipment.

The newspaper quoted unidentified Japanese and U.S. government officials.

Read the rest here.

Paper Bullet


Cartoon courtesy Cox&Forkum

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