Sunday, September 30, 2007


I spent the better part of two hours this afternoon writing and re-writing a long post on the two-month anniversary of the 35W Bridge collapse (August 1, 2007), but when I went to click 'save,' Firefox informed me that I wasn't connected to the interweb, as my WIFI router had gone down, and what's more, Firefox tried to reload my Blogger entry page, wiping out all of what I'd typed, following which I made the mistake of closing Firefox normally, instead of force-quitting, which would have given me the option of restoring the previously open session when I re-launched FF, and after I spent the next however number of minutes like Jacob with the Angel, wrestling the WIFI router into submission I discovered the added insult to the injury, that the redundancy designed into the Blogger's auto-save feature failed, as well, meaning that the post is now lost for good, but see, somehow this is an apt metaphor for the subject of said post, which I will now have to re-write, meh, yes.

Anyway, below are some photos I took about two weeks ago of the site of the 35W Bridge collapse. I'll try to re-write the stuffed-up post and upload in the next day or two. (Click on the photos view larger images.)


+++++


01 - 35W Bridge 09 - 35W Bridge

08 - 35W Bridge 02 - 35W Bridge

07 - 35W Bridge 06 - 35W Bridge

05 - 35W Bridge 04 - 35W Bridge

03 - 35W Bridge

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Dreams


I had that same old dream again last night, one more variation on the usual theme: I'm in a room full of people, looking for a certain someone, and I know they are there, but I can't find them. I see the flash of their sleeve, the back of their head, the flick of their heel - never their face - but as I attempt to maneuver myself to approach them, poof, they are gone, like a shadow disappears from the pavement as a cloud passes before the sun.

Of course, I know they aren't gone from the room, because I keep seeing glimpses of them, again and again, but like one trapped in some vertiginous carny fun-house hall of mirrors I seem utterly unable to find the object of my searching, and this repeats itself, again and again, until I wake up sad and exhausted from the futile striving. Sometimes it's my deceased father I'm trying to connect with, other times it's an old friend I've not seen in years, and at times it's someone with whom I've shared a deep love and/or connection in the past.

Oddly it's always been someone I've known and have wished I could connect with in real life, never some fictional character or celebrity, and I have to believe this is bubbling up from my subconscious, somehow manifesting my fears of rejection and the deep-rooted sense of loss that I have carried with me all my life.

I guess I don't believe dreams are merely some random neural firings in the brain. It seems much more likely that they are expressions of deep rooted fears and insecurities that can't be articulated. Maybe it's a way for the mind and soul to bleed off things that would otherwise become intolerable, if left to fester.

As for me, I wish I could in those dreams just once catch up with those I obviously want to reach. And I never do. Sigh.

Amazon Downloads


From Tidbits:



Amazon MP3 Takes on the iTunes Store

by Adam C. Engst

Amazon.com has launched a public beta of Amazon MP3, a digital music store that provides DRM-free downloads of over 2 million songs from 180,000 artists and 20,000 labels. In comparison, Apple says the iTunes Store now contains over 6 million songs.

According to Amazon's press release, most of Amazon MP3's songs are priced between $0.89 and $0.99, with more than 1 million songs in the current catalog available at $0.89, a full $0.40 less than Apple's iTunes Plus songs. Most albums in Amazon MP3 are priced between $5.99 and $9.99, again a bit cheaper than albums in the iTunes Store, which generally check in at $9.99.



Read the rest here.

Found On The Web




Borrowed Meme


1. ONE OF YOUR SCARS, HOW DID YOU GET IT?

The one under my left eye has graced my homely mug since I ran into a chinup bar in 11th grade, shattering my glasses, and requiring four stitches to close. More than a dozen slivers of glass worked their way in and around my eyeball, but miraculously there was no damage, even though one of the larger slivers ended up way around the back the of the eye, up against the optic nerve. The ophthalmologist was amazed at that.

2. WHAT IS ON THE WALLS IN YOUR ROOM?

Nothing. Well, just light blue paint. Okay, there's a kind of quilt-thing wall-hanging made by Mrs. Muzzy's side of the family as a wedding gift. Otherwise, nothing.

3. WHAT DOES YOUR CELL PHONE LOOK LIKE?

It's a white Virgin Mobile Oystr. Yes, they spell it without the 'e' - you're right, stupd. It's a camera phone, with a picture of my girls as the device wallpaper.

4. WHAT MUSIC DO YOU LIKE TO LISTEN TO?

There's very little I won't listen to, depending on the mood I'm in. Gangsta Rap gets boring fast, Wagnerian Operas grate on my nerves, I find Native American powwow music annoying, Death Metal seems silly, but for the most part I have massively eclectic tastes, especially - if I may say so - for someone my age. My record and CD and downloaded music collection includes several thousand albums, with everything from Broadway Show tunes, to Audioslave, to honky-tonk piano, to Mozart, to Eminem, to Alison Kruass, to Frank Sinatra, to My Chemical Romance... Well, you get the idea.

5. DO YOU KNOW WHAT TIME YOU WERE BORN?

Sometime after midnight, I believe. I was there but I don't remember, and mom and dad are gone, can't ask them. It's the stuff you neglect to ask that gets lost. So ask while you can.

6. WHAT DO YOU WANT MORE THAN ANYTHING RIGHT NOW?

To really live out that prayer by Niebuhr:

"God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference."

I understand it, but I haven't really learned how to consistently apply it in my half-century on this tired planet, and I doubt that I ever will. Still, I *do* want that.

Well, that and brand new Macbook.

7. WHAT DO YOU MISS AT TIMES?

My youth. At times? Okay, alot of the time. Would you believe all the time?

Actually, all kidding aside, I guess I miss the promise of youth, the options fanning out in a thousand directions, the future rife with endless possibilities. And I miss the sense of wonder that comes when discovering things for the first time: first job, first checkbook, first kiss, first concert, first car. As I age there are fewer and fewer firsts. Yeah, I miss all that.

8. WHAT IS YOUR MOST PRIZED POSSESSION?

My laptop. It's the Central Station of my digital life, where I connect with friends, where I view my pictures, where I store my music, where I write and write and write until my fingers and eyes ache. It's my digital walking cane, my digital colostomy bag, my digital prozac. Yeah, it's all that and a bag of chips.

9. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE SMELL?

I know this is going to make me sound like a girly-girl, but I love the smell of fragrant pink roses. No, really.

What's Up Doc?


From Wired:



Sept. 28, 1865: England Gets Its First Woman Physician, the Hard Way

By Tony Long Email 09.28.07 | 12:00 AM

1865: Elizabeth Garrett becomes the first woman in England to receive a medical license.

It didn't come easily.

Bound by the restrictions on sex and class that prevailed in Victorian England, Garrett, the daughter of a London pawnbroker, was inspired to medicine after meeting Elizabeth Blackwell, who had become the first practicing woman physician in the United States. First, though, Garrett had to overcome the opposition of her parents. Compared to what lay ahead, that was easy.

At first she tried applying to medical school. Several -- actually all -- turned her down. With the conventional path blocked, Garrett enrolled as a nursing student at Middlesex Hospital. While there, she sat in on some medical classes but was booted after the male students complained.

Nevertheless, she hung in there and continued studying independently. Since the Society of Apothecaries had no rule specifically barring women from taking its medical examination, Garrett took it on this day in 1865 and, lo, was one of three candidates (from a field of seven) to pass. It enabled her to obtain a certificate to begin practicing medicine.

(It should be noted that the Society of Apothecaries immediately changed its rules to prevent other women from pulling the same stunt. Not cricket, you know.)



Read the rest here.

Love This Target Commercial




More on featured Twin Cities vocalist Sophia Shorai here



Tragic News


From USA Today:



Austrian judge: Chimps aren't people

September 27, 2007

VIENNA (AP) — He's now got a human name — Matthew Hiasl Pan — but he's having trouble getting his day in court.

Animal rights activists campaigning to get Pan, a 26-year-old chimpanzee, legally declared a person vowed Thursday to take their challenge to Austria's Supreme Court after a lower court threw out their latest appeal.

A provincial judge in the city of Wiener Neustadt dismissed the case this week, ruling the Vienna-based Association Against Animal Factories has no legal standing to argue on the chimp's behalf.

The legal tussle began in February, when the animal shelter where Pan and another chimp, Rosi, have lived for 25 years filed for bankruptcy protection.

Activists want to ensure the apes don't wind up homeless. Both were captured as babies in Sierra Leone in 1982 and smuggled to Austria for use in pharmaceutical experiments. Customs officers intercepted the shipment and turned the chimps over to the shelter.

Their upkeep costs $6,800 a month. Donors have offered to help, but under Austrian law, only a person can receive personal gifts.

Organizers could set up a foundation to collect cash for Pan, whose life expectancy in captivity is about 60 years. But they argue only personhood will ensure he isn't sold to someone outside Austria, where he's protected by strict animal cruelty laws.



Read the rest here.

Y'all Cough Back Now, Hear?


From AP:



N.C. Man Charged With 'Coughing' Assault

September 27, 2007

MORRISVILLE, N.C. (AP) — Morrisville police have charged a man with assault on a government official after an officer said the man coughed into his face during a traffic stop.

Officer Chris Gill said in his report that Kent Kauffman looked into his eyes before "hacking" in his face three times, according to Morrisville spokeswoman Stacie Galloway. Kauffman said he did cough from the window of his minivan but did so toward Gill's waist.



Read the rest here.

No Fun = No Party


From Yahoo News:



Push-up bra ads banned as meeting nears

Fri Sep 28, 12:37 PM ET

BEIJING (Reuters) - Days after banning "sexually provocative sounds" on television, China has now stopped networks showing "saucy" adverts for push-up bras and figure-hugging underwear ahead of a major Communist Party meeting next month.

Other targets of the crackdown are "low-brow and base" commercials for sex toys and those featuring famous people or experts attesting to the efficacy of medicines, the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television said on its Web site (www.sarft.gov.cn) Friday.

"Every television advertisement management bureau and television station must strengthen their political consciousness and responsibility toward society," Tian Jin, deputy head of the regulator, was quoted as saying.



Read the rest here.

Hmm, Sounds Vaguely Familiar


From Science Daily:



What Exactly Is 'Internet Addiction' And What Is The Treatment?

August 18, 2007

Science Daily — Is your first craving in the morning for your computer mouse? Do you obsessively check email in the middle of the night?

If so, you may be among the ten percent of all Internet surfers afflicted with “Internet addiction disorder,” a pathological condition that can lead to anxiety and severe depression. To better diagnose and treat Internet addiction, Dr. Pinhas Dannon, a psychiatrist from Tel Aviv University’s Sackler Faculty of Medicine, recommends that it be grouped with other extreme addictive disorders such as gambling, sex addiction, and kleptomania.



Read the rest here.

The New Bondi Girls


From Fibre2Fashion:



Australia: Bikini hotties make it to Guinness Book

September 28, 2007

Women adorned in Bikini make a world record never heard before. Nearly 1000 women showcased a bikini extravaganza on September 25 at Bondi and the event was registered in the Guinness Book as one of the largest photo shoot in swimsuit.

This spectacular event pulled in a large crowd of viewers especially because it was judged by an eminent personality. Besides, the bikini show also welcomed the gracious presence of Chris Sheedy, a representative of Guinness World Record. Not only was the show a huge hit, it also made a mark in the fashion industry.

Read the rest here.

More photos here.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Two Things Meme


I was rummaging through some old files and found this meme, stolen from a dear friend's blog. Enjoy - or not:



Two parts of your cultural heritage:

1. Scottish
2. English


Two things that scare you:

1. Being abandoned/left/rejected, etc. - It's irrational, yes, and something over which I have no control, but that's probably why I fear it so

2. Colonoscopies - I turned 50 this year, and I have to have one. Gaahh!


Two fears you overcame:

1. Fear of public speaking - well, I haven't completely gotten over this one, but I'm alot better than I was in college

2. Becoming a father - I was sure I'd hate being a dad, and I was very, very wrong


Two of your everyday essentials:

1. Mini gadget bag with my Palm Pilot, my iPod with ear buds, and my digital camera

2. My Cell phone


Two things you are wearing right now:

1. Kinda faded blue jeans

2. Off-blue Duluth Trading Company pocket tee


Two things you wore too much of this year:

1. My Cabella's Outdoor Gear brim cap

2. My sunglasses


This years favourite bands or musical artists:

1. Regina Spektor

2. Amy Winehouse


Two things you want in a relationship:

1. Someone who will stick with me and not bail

2. Someone who actually likes me


Best movies of all time:

1. Casablanca

2. Apocalypse Now


Two things you hate:

1. That tightness in the face/chest/gut that tells me I have gone into anxiety overdrive

2. The fact that I obsess over things that I can't control


Two of your favourite hobbies:

1. YouTube - it's visual crack

2. Music in all its permutations: playing, listening, recording - I just bought my first electric guitar


Two things you learnt (yet again) this year:

1. True friends are rare commodities: treasure them, nurture them, and never, ever take them for granted

2. Life can change radically in the twinkling of an eye, and in ways never imagined


Two accomplishments you were proud of this year:

1. Securing an acting appointment for a higher pay position at work - I am employed on a quality assurance team where I work, this when I was told once by an old boss that I'd never make it, and should consider quitting

2. Beginning to admit and face my fears - I'm working on this one, and I'm lousy at it, so far, but it's a start


Two things you want really badly:

1. Peace of mind

2. To win a Powerball - which would kind of crush the 'peace of mind' idea, wouldn't it?


Two places you went to last year:

1. Madison, Wisconsin

2. Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin - Hmm, I grew up in Latin America, and used to travel the length of this country, now I don't go more than 300 miles away from home these days


Two places you want to go on vacation:

1. Beach Resort, coast of Ceara', Brazil

2. Door County, Wisconsin


Two things you want to do before you die:

1. See both my daughters finish whatever higher education they wish to pursue, including Phd, if desired

2. Oh, gosh, look at the time (heh)


Two ways that you are a stereotypical example of your gender:

1. I hog the remote

2. I am capable of walking right into light poles and into open manholes in a daze if a pretty woman crosses my gaze, let alone looks my way and smiles


Two things that make you stand out from your gender:

1. I am not handy with tools - my wife fixes the faucets, not me

2. I parse what people - especially women - say to the nth degree, trying to figure out what she meant when she said (or didn't say) this, that or other - most men don't even notice such things, let alone obsess about them


Two things which are so over-rated:

1. Getting Drunk

2. Piling up stuff



Two things you will do in the next two hours:

1. Check my email - two hours? WTH? If I don't watch it I'll check it every five minutes

2. Hopefully, sleep


Rain And Rainbows


I've been on Daddy Duty these last couple of days, and have been feeling kind of down, about three degrees off upright, unable to get my bearings. I get like that more often than I like to admit - well, I'm admitting it here - and there's not much that stems the tide other than a brisk walk, which I try to do as often as I can. It just comes on, lifts and returns at will. Anyway, I took daughter number one AE to her physical therapy session this afternoon before taking her to Karate, and on the way it started raining like a cow peeing on a flat rock. I sent AE into her therapist's office with an umbrella, while daughter number two LK and I stayed in the car to wait out the rain, which stopped almost as abruptly as it came on. I was preparing to get of the car when I looked up to see some people pointing at the sky behind us: one of the brightest rainbows I'd ever seen. I quickly grabbed my camera and squeezed off several shots, and almost as suddenly as it appeared, the rainbow faded away, and the sky turned back to a hazy shade of gray. Sounds like an apt metaphor to me.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Made Up Meme: 5 Books, 10 Films, 20 Songs


5 Books

01 - American Gods - Neil Gaiman

I'm not much into reading fiction, but someone whose impeccable taste I deeply respect convinced me to give this one a try, and I wasn't disappointed. It's a dark and deeply disturbing fantasy of life & death in the heartland. Good stuff.

02 - The Civilization Of Ancient Egypt - Paul Johnson

I just bought this on the weekend, a lavishly illustrated volume by one of Britain's best historians, haven't had the chance to read it, but I'm looking forward to it.

03 - Art, A New History - Paul Johnson

Ditto, above, except that I bought my copy a year or so ago. Some will moan about the fact the Johnson isn't hot for pomo stuff, but hey, neither am I.

04 - Mac Panther Hacks - Dornfest and Davidson

Another book I picked up over the past weekend, promises to be a good volume if I should wish to tweak the best operating system in the world, with lotsa Applescripts and Unix Shell scripts designed to make computing more flexible

05 - Because He Could - Dick Morris

Don't get me wrong, I think former Clinton campaign wizard Dick Morris is mostly spot-on about Bill Clinton, who really was the shabbiest president to occupy the White House in modern times, but there's something tawdry about kiss-and-tells, even political ones, and especially this one.


10 Films

01 - Dr. Strangelove

Somewhat ham-fisted in places but still way-clever, this B&W anti-war polemic starred Peter Sellers, and was one of Stanley Kubrick's first efforts.

02 - Love In The Afternoon (AKA Chloe In The Afternoon)

Eric Rohmer's classic story of lust and seduction, the last of his six 'Moral Tales.'

03 - High Fidelity

Take a tried and true formula of boy-wins-girl, boy-loses-girl, boy-wins-girl-back and add John Cusack in the title role - breaking the fourth wall at will - and you have a recipe for a date-flick that both women *and* men can enjoy.

04 - Julius Caesar

There are several movie versions of the classic Shakespeare play, this one is the 1950 one starring Charleton Heston, in glorious B&W.

05 - Bambi

I didn't see this as a kid, although I did have a Disney record with the voices of the characters in the movie, but I've now watched it several times with the kids. I always want to cry when Bambi's mommy dies.

06 - City Of God

I actually just bought this and haven't watched it yet, but the gritty story of life in the favelas of Rio has gotten raves reviews since it was released.

07 - The House Of Sand

I received this DVD for my birthday this past summer, but haven't watched it yet either. Maybe I need to have a Brazilian Movie Night. Wanna make the popcorn? Come on over.

08 - Casablanca

Just about the best movie ever made. Seriously. See it again for the first time.

09 - Lost In Translation

I've placed this film on such lists before, but it's so amazingly good that it has to be listed again. If I were to make a film of the way I've felt about most of my life, it would be this.

10 - Jane Eyre

Actually not a movie but a four-hour BBC mini-series, this 2006 adaptation is pretty d*mn-near perfect. There've been other good ones, but this is awfully close to being the best.


20 Songs

01 - Drive My Car - The Beatles

Catchy tune, gotta good beat, you can dance to it, I give a 10.

02 - Whatever U Like - Nicole Scherzinger

The video is a bit on the scary/sleazy side, but the song is catchy, and nope, I never noticed she's hot, and if I had it wouldn't have influenced my opinion one bit.

03 - Love Song - Amiel

Bouncy, jangly Aussie pop with a twist of bitter anger. And no, she doesn't want to be your girl, but that's another song, altogether.

04 - The Sensual World - Kate Bush

Mmh, yes!!!

05 - You Know I'm No Good - Amy Winehouse

Actually, the song is misleading, cause it's so good it's scary. Well, disturbing, too, but very, very good.

06 - Straight Lines - Silverchair

A straight-ahead Coldplay-style rocker with a positive message, emo for grownups.

07 - Tangled Up In Blue - Bob Dylan

One of the saddest lyrics I've ever heard.

08 - Heart-Shaped Box - Nirvana

I remember the first time I heard this was the day the video was released, and it was then that I knew Nirvana was not a one-album wonder, gave us all a reason to file a new complaint.

09 - Hasten Down The Wind - Warren Zevon

Some people prefer the Linda Ronstadt version, but I'm partial to the original, a sober song of resignation in the face of the end of a great love

10 - 1979 - Smashing Pumpkins

Great song, great year, and my favorite Pumpkins moment.

11 - You Can Leave Your Hat On - Randy Newman

For some reason most people know this song for the not-bad Joe Cocker version, but it's done best by the man that wrote it, a giddy celebration of shaken' em' whilst in a state of near-undress.

12 - Snow - The Innocence Mission

After losing their record contract with A&M The Innocence Mission went into semi-hiatus. 'Snow' was recorded and released on the wonderful 'Birds Of My Neighborhood,' which is one of my favorite albums of all time.

13 - Tatoo - Jordin Sparks

Sad song of moving-on, sung with conviction by 2006's 17 year-old American Idol winner. I just checked, and after 2 days of digital release, it's #59 on iTunes main download chart.

14 - Bizarre Love Triangle - Frente!

Take a New Order synth-based ditty, strip it down to acoustic guitar chords and the vocal styings of Angie Hart, and you get this 2-minute tale of emotional confusion - absolutely stunning.

15 - Green River - Creedence Clearwater Revival

Rootsy California romp thru countrified swamp rhythms, shot-thru with late-60's nostalgia, this doesn't always land on lists of CCR's best - but it should,

16 - Pretty (Ugly Before) - Elliott Smith

This song makes me cry.

17 - Better - Regina Spektor

Regina recently re-recorded the song and remix'd for radio, but sometimes there are things that are best left unsaid, and undone. In this case, she didn't feel the album version was good enough, but it remains to be seen what the radio stations and public will make of the new version. Me? I don't think it's, ahem, better.

18 - Speak Soft - The Swoon

This was later covered by Poor Old Lu and, as good as their version is, the original still gets my nod, devastatingly weary, and lovely - like me.

19 - Whistle Down The Wind - Nick Heyward

Heart-breaking and lush, this tune is from the much-overlooked 1983 classic recorded by Heyward on the heels of a difficult breakup.

20 - Doll Parts - Hole

Written by Courtney Love about her future husband Cobain when they first met, she wanted him and didn't think he cared. 'Someday you will ache like I ache' - great line, great tune.

Depression News


From Science Daily:



A Faster Class Of Antidepressants
September 11, 2007

Science Daily — Studies with rats have revealed the potential in an entirely new class of antidepressants that take effect after only days of treatment versus the weeks required for current drugs. The researchers said that they hope their findings will spur development of such new antidepressant drugs so that clinical testing can begin quickly.

Depression can be treated by enhancing the action of the neurotransmitter serotonin in the brain. Such neurotransmitters are the chemical signals that one neuron launches at another to trigger a nerve impulse in the target neuron. The most widely used antidepressants--called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)--work by inhibiting recycling of serotonin after a nerve impulse, increasing its concentration in the connections between neurons.

However, a different class of drugs exists that directly enhances nerve impulses of serotonin neurons. In their experiments, Lucas and colleagues tested in rats the effects of two such "serotonin receptor agonist" compounds, called RS 67333 and prucalopride, that target serotonin type-4 receptors.



Read the rest here.

Sharkey's Story


From Wikipedia:



Joe Sharkey was one of seven people aboard an Embraer Legacy business jet involved in the crash of Gol Transportes Aéreos Flight 1907, a Boeing 737-800, on September 29, 2006. The private jet lost a wing tip and part of its tail, but landed safely in a Brazilian military air base located in the Amazon jungle. The Embraer Legacy jet was owned and operated by ExcelAire Service Inc., a charter company headquartered in Ronkonkoma, New York. All 148 passengers and six crew members aboard the Gol Airlines Flight 1907 perished. The Legacy jet was on its maiden flight from Embraer's headquarters in São José dos Campos, near São Paulo, to the United States. Sharkey was on a freelance assignment in Brazil for Business Jet Traveler, a business magazine specializing in corporate aviation. Sharkey said the Legacy jet stabilized after the apparent collision, until it landed at the Serra do Cachimbo airbase in the state of Pará. In a New York Times front page article titled "Colliding With Death at 37,000 Feet, and Living",[1] filed on October 1, 2006, Sharkey reported:



And it had been a nice ride. Minutes before we were hit, I had wandered up to the cockpit to chat with the pilots, who said the plane was flying beautifully. I saw the readout that showed our altitude: 37,000 feet. I returned to my seat. Minutes later came the strike (it sheared off part of the plane’s tail, too, we later learned).



During an interview with NBC's Today Show on October 5, 2006, Sharkey said he was relaxing in his cabin seat with the window shade down when he was jolted by a bang. "It was more like a car that hits a pothole rather than 'boom!'" he said. The plane steadied itself and it became serenely silent again. It was only when Sharkey opened the shade and looked out his window that he noticed something was dreadfully amiss. "My heart just sank because I looked at the wing tip and I saw that it was shorn off,” he told Today host Matt Lauer. "Basically four feet of the wingtip, the part that curves up, the winglet, gone... I’ve flown a lot, and I’m thinking, 'This is definitely, definitely not good.'"



Read the rest here.

And listen to an interview with Joe Sharkey here.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

TV Links



From Wikipedia:



TV Links

TV Links is an Internet site that carries the slogan "Better Than a Remote Control" and serves as an index for TV and movie streams hosted by various video hosting services. The site has been referenced[1] by Corante.com in a story about the Tape It Off The Internet project.
Contents

Place in History and Significance

Beginning with the original Napster website that let internet users search for and download MP3 files (the majority being copyrighted works), the internet has a long history of facilitating the illegal distribution of copyrighted materials. After Napster was shut down, other networks and protocols sprang up. One of the most successful being the BitTorrent protocol. With the advent of video streaming sites like YouTube and Google Video, users can now upload TV shows and movies. As these works violate the terms of their respective hosting services, they are routinely deleted and so there was a desire by some to create regularly updated indexes of the available content. This would facilitate the easy location of content. TV Links is one of the most popular of this breed of indexes.

Legal

The legality of this site is similar to BitTorrent indexing sites like The Pirate Bay or like the original Napster web site, in that the site does not actually host the files, it only provides links to the files which are hosted on external sites.



Check out TV Links here.

Fiona


From Blender:



Fiona Apple: My Happy Ending
Blender, December 2005

She started out as a fragile teen diva cavorting through videos in her underwear and melting down onstage. Now — after suffering through years of drama to release her dazzling new CD — is the high-profile self-destruction finally behind Fiona Apple?

Eight or so years ago you were regularly freaking out — now you seem a lot more relaxed. What’s changed?

I’m in a really good place right now. I feel a lot more prepared emotionally to deal with public life than I have before. I’ve always had a bit of a hermit in me — more than a bit. When I was 16, I wouldn’t want to go outside, wouldn’t want anybody to see me. I’d actually cover my face everywhere. And now I feel a lot more at ease with people seeing me out and about. [laughs]

It was six years between your second CD, When the Pawn …, and your new one, Extraordinary Machine. What were you doing all that time?

Um, I really didn’t do anything. I know I obviously had to have been doing a lot — because I’m a lot different now than I was then, but there’s nothing that I can show you that I’ve done. I’ve tried to scrape my mind and rake up any little things that I might have done: I read some plays for a while; I spent a lot of time walking. That’s something that still happens. I just walk around … but the truth is that I really haven’t done anything of consequence.



Read the rest here.

Torchwood


From Wikipedia:



Torchwood is a science fiction drama television programme, created by Russell T Davies and starring John Barrowman and Eve Myles. It deals with the machinations and activities of the Cardiff branch of the fictional Torchwood Institute, who deal with supernatural occurrences. An initial 13-part series was commissioned by the BBC as a spin-off from the long-running science fiction series Doctor Who with which it is closely interlinked.



Read the rest here.

And view (stream and download) the first season here.

Friday, September 21, 2007

This Is Cool


From CNet News:



Fox strikes deal for free shows on iTunes
September 21, 2007 12:11 PM PDT

Posted by Tom Krazit

With NBC and ABC both making free downloads of their shows available this week, Fox jumped on the trend with free downloads of new shows available on iTunes.

The Los Angeles Times reported Friday that Fox and Apple have reached an agreement to offer free downloads of the shows Fox is trying to promote this sweeps season: that is, the ones people aren't watching as much as they'd like. No Simpsons or Family Guy clips are among the five shows currently available for free on the iTunes Store. But episodes of shows sure to be forgotten in the sands of time, like Back To You, Til' Death and K-Ville, are currently available for free at the iTunes Store.

It's a strange time to be in the television business, as new strategies for reaching fickle television viewers are being trotted out. NBC decided it was done with Apple's iTunes Store earlier this year, and is now planning to offer shows like Heroes on its own Web site. ABC is putting shows like Desperate Housewives and Ugly Betty on AOL Video.



Read the rest here.

Friday Night Videos - Amy



'Tears Dry On Their Own'
Amy Winehouse

+++++




'Back To Black' (live)
Amy Winehouse

+++++




'Beat It' (live)
Amy Winehouse & Charlotte Church

+++++




'Love Is A Losing Game' (live)
Amy Winehouse

+++++




'You Know I'm No Good' (live)
Amy Winehouse

+++++




'Rehab'
Amy Winehouse

+++++

What's Your Real Age?


Find out at Poodwaddle.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

:-(


From Yahoo News:



Digital 'smiley face' turns 25

By DANIEL LOVERING,
Associated Press Writer
Tue Sep 18, 12:10 PM ET

It was a serious contribution to the electronic lexicon. :-) Twenty-five years ago, Carnegie Mellon University professor Scott E. Fahlman says, he was the first to use three keystrokes — a colon followed by a hyphen and a parenthesis — as a horizontal "smiley face" in a computer message.

To mark the anniversary Wednesday, Fahlman and his colleagues are starting an annual student contest for innovation in technology-assisted, person-to-person communication. The Smiley Award, sponsored by Yahoo Inc. (Nasdaq:YHOO - news)/span>., carries a $500 cash prize.

Language experts say the smiley face and other emotional icons, known as emoticons, have given people a concise way in e-mail and other electronic messages of expressing sentiments that otherwise would be difficult to detect.

Fahlman posted the emoticon in a message to an online electronic bulletin board at 11:44 a.m. on Sept. 19, 1982, during a discussion about the limits of online humor and how to denote comments meant to be taken lightly.

"I propose the following character sequence for joke markers: :-)," wrote Fahlman. "Read it sideways."



Read the rest here.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Friday Night Video - Idolos 2006




'Best And Worst'
Idolos (Brazilian Idol) 2006

+++++




'Leandro Wins'
Idolos (Brazilian Idol) 2006

+++++


Much Ado...


This past week I've been following the story of the young and restless Vanessa Hudgens, the 18 year-old star of the Disney flick 'High School Musical.'

Over the past month she's been all over the talk shows promoting her music and the show, and I must say, she's come across as talented, confident and poised - and gorgeous - and until recently, she was getting nothing but good press. But during the past week the tabloid press has had a field day over the 'sexy' pictures of her that have been plastered all over the internet.

I must say, I'm a little surprised that this is even considered a news story: a beautiful young woman takes nudie pictures for her boyfriend? Yawn. I mean, come on, she's an adult, albeit just barely. (Pun intended.)

Okay, I'm being a little generous, because the pictures in question were supposedly taken when she was still a minor - albeit it's said they were taken by her or for her, at her behest, for personal purposes - and that does change things.

See, as the father of two very young girls, I hope my daughters show better judgment than Vanessa has shown, but she didn't commit some heinous crime - she had some pictures taken of herself in the buff. It might have been foolish, but it's not like she was caught with a crack pipe in her hand. (No one is really talking about who might have sought to embarrass her by posting the pics online.)

And of course it seems to me a bit disingenuous of an entertainment industry that pitches a highly-sexualized world view at teens to now bag on Vanessa for having - in a small way - merely lived up to the standard held out by such paragons of virtue as 'Cosmo Girl.'

I suppose the biggest thing in some people's eyes is that she's such a big hit with young teen and tweens, which makes her a role model, of sorts. But that's part of the problem with being a Teen Idol: they grow up. (Right, Brit?) I guess I think it's a storm in a teacup, and I suspect that in the end Disney will, too, as long as she continues to make boatloads of money for them.

And speaking Teen Idols growing up, I couldn't let the moment pass without commenting on the ubiquitous story about Britney Spears' performance on the MTV VMA's.

First of all, when is the world going to stop taking MTV seriously? They haven't been 'Music Television' for years, having given over the network to a parade of reality and fictional TV shows. I stopped watching when TRL became huge by playing less than half of any given video, and giving airtime to screaming prepubescent Times Square miscreants.

Okay, where was I? Oh yeah, Britney.

In case you've been in a cave this past week, all the entertainment news outlets have been buzzing about how Britney phoned in a barely-tepid opening to the VMA's. She's been mocked for how she looked, for her weight, for her inability to lip-sync or dance. And they keep playing and re-playing her legendary VMA moment with the python, and Madonna. And the tongue-waggers keep saying that Britney isn't what she used to be.

And their point would be?

Of course she's not what she used to be! Sheesh. She's 25, has been married twice, has 2 little kids, has made a bunch of dumb choices. The ugliness of a divorce and a custody battle alone would be enough to stress anyone out. In any case, she's no longer a 17 year-old in a school-girl outfit, singing 'Hit me baby, one more time.' Or at least, she probably shouldn't try to be.

To my view Brit's personal life seems to be in a mess, and she is obviously out of shape and practice. She would probably be better off just getting out of the public eye and staying there for awhile. Easier said than done, being as famous as she is, but she's young, rich and has a modicum of talent - well, she does - and maybe she can make a 'comeback' still. But she - and her fans and haters too - should be disabused of the notion that she can recapture her teen glory by attempting the kind of over-the-top stipper-mom-next-door kinds performances that she was once known for. At some point all that stuff has to stop, and maybe this is that time.

Anyway, unlike many, I really do wish both Vanessa and Britney well. Seriously. I'm baffled how anyone - other than the owners of tabloid outlets - can be gleeful when either of these young ladies stumbles and falls. In any event, I can't imagine we have heard the last from either off them.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

From The WTH Files




Britney fan Chris Crocker calmly explains why he feels it's unfair to bag on Britney for her less-than-stellar VMA performance.


If He's Being Honest


From The Sun UK:



She could've killed her career

September 12, 2007

MR Nasty SIMON COWELL finds being brutally honest comes easily to him – in fact he’s made it his day job.

So when I asked him to critique BRITNEY SPEARS’ performance at the MTV Video Music Awards, I should have known the X Factor judge would give her both barrels.

Britney made possibly the worst comeback in history on Sunday night, performing her new track Gimme More.

She pranced around like a zombie in bra and pants in a performance which could have effectively ended her career as a pop singer.

To see Britney at her best, and her worst, click on the links below.



Simon, who has made his fortune from guiding the careers of pop singers, says Britney would have been shown the door if her performance had been an audition for his ITV1 show.

Speaking from his mansion in LA, Simon told me: “If I had been looking after Britney I’d have taken one look at her in rehearsals and I wouldn’t have allowed her on stage.

“It would have been worth pulling her off the bill — no matter what the cost — to save any chance she had of resurrecting her career.



Read the rest here.

Are You Safe Mrs Gradenko?


From BBC News:



Russian 'sex day' to boost births

Irina and Andrei Kartuzov - 26/6/2007

The governor of Ulyanovsk region in Russia is offering prizes to couples who have babies in exactly nine months - on Russia's national day on 12 June.

Sergei Morozov wants couples to take the day off work to have sex. If a baby is born on national day, they will receive cars, TVs or other prizes.

Mr Morozov has declared Wednesday "family contact day" as part of efforts to fight Russia's demographic crisis.

The population has sharply declined since the Soviet Union collapsed.

This is the third year that Ulyanovsk, in central Russia, is offering prizes for babies born on 12 June.

This year, a couple won the grand prize of a sports utility vehicle (SUV).

The initiative seems to be paying off as the region's birth rate has risen by 4.5% over last year.



Read the rest here.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Reposting And Remembering


I first posted the following in 2005 and I am republishing it here today, slightly modified, without further comment:


In reflecting on the anniversary of the 9/11/2001 attacks on the United States I have been reading through several books about the event.

One such book is an oral history of the experiences of several survivors. It's been horrifying for me to relive the tragedy, even if only by proxy, and more than a thousand miles away from where the events took place. Through the words of those who lived that hellish day I'm reminded of the conflagration, the destruction, and most of all, of those several hundred who jumped from the heights of the towers, to their certain deaths. And through it I have relived the horror and helplessness that all civilized people felt, as we watched the towers come down.

Six years later I'm still a bit numb. I wasn't in New York City or Washington that day. I didn't personally know anyone who experienced any of it. I merely watched it all on TV. But on some level I experienced the shock and awe of that day in Real Time, along with the hundreds of millions of others around the world.

There has hardly been a day go by since that I have not thought about what occurred. I am unable to walk through my downtown without looking up at the skyscrapers and wondering how I'd react if a plane plowed into one of them. And I find myself holding my breath for a moment when a plane passes overhead. Even tonight, as I walked across downtown, a jet airliner passed low above me and I froze for a moment.

And yet for a significant portion of my fellow citizens, life goes on as if nothing happened that fateful day. Worse still, many of them feel the attacks were deserved, that we brought it on ourselves, that we had it coming, that what happened that day served us right.

They - mostly so-called liberals - view what happened as a wake-up call to America, that we must mend our ways vis-a-vis the rest of the world. They claim they love their country, yet they practically wet themselves in their anxious zeal to blame the United States for every evil in the world.

The night after the WTC attacks a friend made the case that the conflagration in New York was a result of the inequity in the distribution of the world's wealth and resources, that it was a result of American arrogance in its dealings with the third world, that it was the result of the frustration of the powerless in the face of the powerful. No, no, no, she said, she wasn't blaming the victim. After all, it was a victim who'd attacked us.

I was stunned. I was speaking with someone who has a post-graduate degree from a major American University, who ostensibly has a high IQ and is well-read and well-traveled. What could explain her obstinate and rank ignorance, and foolish pronouncements?

All my life I've been amazed at how different people can look at the same sets of facts and come to such radically different conclusions about them. I suppose it comes down to what Dr. Thomas Sowell has called a Vision, a set of bliefs about reality that each of us holds in our heads. We choose how to interpret the facts that come to us by how those facts fit into our Vision.

Truth is, the Leftist Vision of life on this tired planet - and I no longer use the term 'liberal' to refer to most leftists, as they are quite often far removed from anything resembling liberal - cannot account for evil. All the Isms of the left are incapable of understanding the true nature of evil.

Yes, I know there are many so-called liberals who are decent people, and many are quite charming on a one-to-one basis. Some of them are very intelligent, but they are nearly every one, however, confused and wrong on the subject of evil. While many of them would rightly deny they are socialists or communists, their Vision differs very little from that of their more radical brothers and sisters.

In that Vision, evil, as such, does not truly exist, except in the lives of those who disagree with them. They maintain that when people do evil things - things that most of us might call evil - it's because those persons are under-nourished, or under-appreciated, or un-educated, or lacking some other creature comfort.

Bless their hearts, they do offer solutions. Socialists suggest that a centralized government will be able to efficiently and effectively solve the problems that vex us. Communists/Marxists claim that abolishing the free movement of capital will liberate men and women to be better persons. What is needed, they propose, one and all, is that the government provide this or that for the betterment of society. Ultimately, through programs and education, a different sort of human being will emerge.

The fundamental problem with that Vision is that it doesn't square with reality. Certainly poverty and hunger can grind an individual down, but there are many who are well-fed who engage in heinous crimes, and there are plenty of poor and down-trodden who do not. In fact, there is a little evil in all of us, and it is only by diligence, and grace, and the restraining power of the law that we keep it in check.

The events that transpired on 9/11 happened because evil people committed evil acts. They did not fly airplanes into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon because they were under-privileged. Most of the leaders of the 9/11 plot were from well-to-do families, and had received good educations.

The jihidistas did what they did that day because they gave themselves over to evil. They became evil, they were evil, and they committed acts that were heinously evil. When faced with such monstrous evil, civilized peoples can only offer one response: the evil - and those who commit it - must be excised, like a cancerous tumor must be removed from the body.

Those who would commit such acts must be sought out and either detained permanently, or killed. Justice - and the majority of the population that would prefer to live in peace - demands it. That is why we are fighting the war on terror. And this is what the majority of leftists cannot - or will not - ever understand.

We pursued Al Quaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan to deny terrorists a base of operations. We invaded Iraq to put out of business a terrible regime that was hell-bent on sponsoring terror throughout the Middle East, Europe and in the United States. And, if we are unable to use diplomacy to reach a peaceful solution elsewhere, we may yet invade North Korea, Iran and Syria, as they too are sponsors of terror, one and all.

Yet many well-meaning and decent people do not understand this. Like those who wished to appease Hitler, they believe wishful thinking will suffice in this conflict. They march in their Birkenstocks, waving Peace flags and chanting slogans at the gates of power. And they really believe they will make a difference. And they are most decidedly wrong.

I recently had a conversation with a friend, a Brazilian Lutheran minister of German extraction. He is currently living in Switzerland and works in the office of Interfaith Issues of the Worldwide league of Lutherans. He was in town, rang me up and we got together for coffee.

After we'd caught up on how each others' families were doing, our conversation turned to the war and US occupation in Iraq, and to the European view of how the United States is handling world affairs. He pointed out that Europeans are terrified of the US being what they perceive as an out-of-control International Cowboy, taking upon itself the responsibility of policing the world - he shared their concern.

I pointed out to the good Reverend that - in my never-to-be-humble opinion - whether they favored the War in Iraq or not, most Americans want nothing to do with running the world. They want to be left alone, just as they did in the years prior to both World Wars of the 20th century. Americans by and large naively want to ignore the rest of the world, not rule it. (Though I think that's nearly as dangerous, by the way.)

What Europeans - many of whom have living memory of the devastation of war on their own continent - cannot grasp is that the attacks on the World Trade Center in 2001 were unlike anything that has ever happened on American soil.

Yes, far more people died in the American Civil War than did on 09/11. And I'm not ignoring the atrocities that were committed by the US, in this country, against the Native Americans and African Slaves.

But no other single act of violence has killed as many people in this country at one time, and at no time has another group or nation ever had such an ability to attack us on our own shores. We have for centuries felt ourselves invulnerable to attack. No more.

We were attacked in the heart of New York City. Nearly 3000 people died in one of the most horrific acts of terrorism in the history of modern times. The event changed the psychology of our nation, and it changed how we must respond to terrorism.

We will not allow such atrocities to happen unanswered. The evil people who sponsor and commit such horrific acts must either be captured and detained, or killed. Such bullies cannot not be allowed to continue to terrorize the global neighborhood.

New attacks will likely come - we can't prevent them all - in the US, and I fear, in the heart of Europe, as well. What's more, many of the very Europeans who detest us so for taking the War On Terror to the jihadistas will likely be targets of terror themselves, in the not-too-distant future. [This has already come true, in Spain and London, and all the while the terror-mongers blow themselves and innocents up daily in Baghdad.]

The jihadistas will strike in novel and ingenious ways against American interests, here and in other countries. And when they do, we will again bring the fight to the organizations and countries that promote, sponsor and condone such behavior, again and again, and again, and again, until those who would do such things are eradicated, or until they lay down their arms.

It is useless to maintain the fiction that such people can be reasoned with. Trying to understand them is of no consequence. Nor is it possible to engage constructively their leftist defenders in the media, or the blogosphere. In all cases, whether rhetorically, at the ballot box or on the battlefield, those who commit and defend such acts must be defeated, utterly. That is the great call to the civilized peoples of this generation around the globe. And, in the end, I must believe that the forces of evil will not prevail.



Never EVER forget.

Never Forget

Never Forget

+++++


ThatDay-X

+++++


04.09.09.HeartAttack-X


Cartoon courtesy Cox&Forkum

More On The Story From C&F

+++++


(Wikipedia article here.)


Never Ever Forget




Monday, September 10, 2007

Music Monday - Wareen Zevon




'Werewolves Of London'
Warren Zevon

+++++




'Roland The Headless Thompson Gunner'
Warren Zevon

+++++




'Lawyers, Guns and Money'
Warren Zevon

+++++




'Excitable Boy'
Warren Zevon

+++++


Isn't She Lucky?


From San Jose Mercury News:



Britney's worse than bad -- she's boring

By Tony Hicks

TIMES STAFF WRITER
Contra Costa Times
Article Launched:09/10/2007 10:52:01 AM PDT

Uh ... well, then. I guess it's over.

When Britney Spears doesn't know how to lip-sync, the world has gone to hell. 50 Cent no longer carries a gun. Eminem respects women. Kanye West quits music and abandons his ego to go to work for the Peace Corps. Avril Lavigne is all she thinks she's cracked up to be. Pete Doherty swears off drugs for Jesus. Bono starts kicking starving African children in the ribs.

Britney Spears doesn't know how to lip-sync anymore. That was her thing. Even more than looking sexy, dancing, making bad decisions after a couple of drinks ... and lip syncing. It's what she did, and we loved her for it.

Holy Mother of Moses.

Britney Spears was the reason why much of American tuned into the MTV Video Music Awards on Sunday night. We were expecting big things. Her career needs it. We've seen her open the VMAs in ways that had us talking for days around the water cooler. She danced with snakes and tickled Madonna's tonsils (with no hands!) among other glorious plot moves.

Instead we got something worse than an on-stage plane crash. We got boring. She wasn't even drunk enough to scare us. The stripper poles were generic and lame. And were we supposed to get excited by that guy grabbing her from behind?



Read the rest here.

Mating On A Good Day


From Reuters:



When Aussie diplomatic speak goes awry

Thu 30 Aug 2007, 8:41 GMT

By James Grubel

CANBERRA (Reuters) - In the worlhttp://www.blogger.com/img/gl.link.gifd of international diplomacy, the best chosen words or phrases can leave an audience laughing, bewildered or simply lost in translation, if the experience of Australia's former top diplomat is any guide.

A new book by Richard Woolcott, who ran Australia's foreign service for four years, points to the pitfalls of translating thoughts into different languages.

Take the Australian diplomat in France who tried to tell his French audience that as he looked back on his career, it was divided in two parts, with dull postings before life in Paris.

"When I look at my backside, I find it is divided into two parts," Woolcott quotes the diplomat as telling his highly amused audience.



Read the rest here.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Sunday Night Grab Bag


Okay, it's Sunday evening, and I've had lots of things running thru my head to write up, so this will probably be a long one. I considered making multiple posts, but I don't really feel like putting in the energy.

(For some reason my blog was flagged as a potential trouble-maker, and I now have to enter a code for every post I make, one of those graphic-generated things that computers can't parse, but humans can. Supposedly I can appeal the matter to the powers-that-be and ask them to review their decision to black-list this little blog of happiness, but I haven't ever gotten around to it. Every once in a while I get annoyed enough by it all to consider just dropping Blogger altogether, but hey, it's free, and I'm getting my money's worth.)


+++++


First off, I'm doing a little better from my shell-shocked state after the 35W bridge collapse. I'm not entirely well from it, but it's not quite so raw, and for the past couple of weeks I haven't felt as messed-up and weepy about it all. Like so many others I'm still dealing with some massive inconvenience, but it seems tacky in the extreme to even mention that in light of the very real suffering that happened to those who were on the bridge. Anyway, it's been a little better, but I have to think it never really gets well.

+++++


A couple of weeks ago NCB came thru town on his way out to Montevideo to help get his parents moved. His father has declined significantly in recent months, and his mother's has had health problems, too, and they are getting to the point where they need some kind of assisted living environment. It's hard, because one hates to see one's parents in such a situation, and the parents are prone to be annoyed and even depressed about the loss of freedom and space. Even when all parties know it's for the best, it's still very hard.

Anyway, his parents got moved, and when he passed back thru town en route to North Carolina NCB - get it? NCB? North Carolina Boy? - spent a couple of nights in the sumptuous guest accommodations at the Muzzy Estate, with the idea of going to the State Fair with me and TH on Saturday. As it turned out we were joined by another old friend KH and his lovely 18 year-old daughter Tess for the AM portion of our day out, as Tess' plane to Boston (and Harvard) had been cancelled, and there was no other flight available for her - and TH's late-teen son joined us in the PM for a while.

The Fair was much the same as it has been nearly every other time I've been there, for 33 straight iterations in a row: corn-dogs, milkshakes, colas, cheese curds, and wall-to-wall people. But as I pointed out a friend earlier that week, it's a little different each time depending on the company.

Over the years I've been to the Fair with women on first dates, last dates, and as 'just friends' - though usually because of them, not me - and I've been to the Fair with my girlfriend-later-fiancee'-later-wife. I've been to the Fair with family; I have worked at the Fair handing out merchandise for my employer; I have snuggled with someone I met at the Fair; I have been to the Fair with a church group; I have been to the Fair alone. I have covered and photographed concerts and other events at the Fair as a fanzine reporter - including Neil Young and Amy Grant. I went one year to the Fair multiple times to see the McCarter Sisters perform for free on the Miller Stage. I have gone several times to the Fair with my daughters, and I have been to the Fair nearly every year at least once with several of my buddies.

As I said, I've been making the trek yearly, usually two or three times, for 33 years, and will try to keep the streak going for as long as I can, although I've got a long ways to go to beat the guy on the news last week who said this was his 80th year.

+++++


Oh yeah, over the years I have shaken hands with a number of well-known politicians and news personalities at the Fair, but this year I had to pass on shaking hands with Al Franken at the Demo booth, although I did take some pictures. It's hard for me to take someone seriously who has a perpetual smirk plastered across his mug, but I think the Republicans will be well-advised to not dismiss him lightly for being the buffoon that he is. He's so thin-skinned that he makes former Guv Ventura look cool and collected, and with the right about of needling he's certain to blow his smug cool, but he will be a formidable opponent for Senator Coleman (who's hand I've shaken at the Fair in years past.)

And BTW, I'm struck by the fact that Rudy Boschwitz lost his Senate seat to Paul Wellstone, who ran against Norm Coleman, who is being challenged by Al Franken. And while these men could not be more different, they are all four Members of the Tribe. Look, there may be an odd anti-semite running loose out there in Lake Wobegon, but apparently Minnesotans will vote readily for the candidate whom they feel best represents them, regardless of race, color or creed. And that's a good thing, methinks.

+++++


Okay, more State Fair stuff. While I was walking around the fair I made voice notes on my cell phone of the various more interesting - from clever to stupid - tee shirt slogans I saw. I've made a collection of a few from this year's Fair and in recent years, and while I'm not necessarily saying that what follows is particularly humorous, I'm still amazed that people would wear such things. Anyway, I have documented them here for you, gentle reader:



Worn by a dad with two young daughters in tow:
'It's not a bald spot, it's a solar panel for a sex machine'

Worn by a couple of twenty-something guys, black teeshirt, with a stylized drawing of a woman in wedding dress & man in a tux, two variations:
'Game Over.'
'The End'

Worn by an overweight high-school kid:
'I fart in your general direction'

Worn by an overweight young man, white on black tee shirt, three panels, first panel shows man eating in easy chair in front of TV, second panel shows man sleeping in front of TV, third panel shows man shooting a pistol at the TV:
'Eat, Sleep, Exercise'

Worn by mid-teen girl, blue tee-shirt:
'Nobody knows the trouble I've been...'

Worn by a young man of around 20:
'I put the fun in funeral.'

Worn by a young woman, black sleeveless tee shirt:
'I know who killed me.'

Worn by a teenage boy of about sixteen, white on black tee shirt:
'Stand back, I don't know how big this thing gets.'

Worn by a tweenage guy, green tee shirt:
'You've never even thought of being this cool.'

Worn by a crusty-looking middle-aged man, black on white tee shirt:
'Tell your boobs to stop staring at my eyes.'

Worn by a Harley Dude with his Harley Lady at his side, black tee with lettering on the back:
'If you can read this the b*tch fell off.'

Worn by a heavy-set girl appearing about twenty years of age:
'No I don't have a boyfriend, but yours will do.'

Worn by a young boy of about ten years of age:
'I lost my number. Can I have yours?'

Worn by a middle-aged man with his wife and kids at his side:
'If I gave a sh*t, you'd be the first I'd give it to.'

Worn by a middle-age woman:
'You mess with me, you mess with my whole trailer park.'



Okay, that's enough.

+++++


Anyway, it was a good time at the 2007 Fair - oh yeah, I went again on Labor Day with the girls, met up with my SIL and a couple of her kids - and I'm not sorry I went. See you there next year? I'll do my best to be there.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

State Fair, Recycled


I first posted the following in 2003 on an old blog I used to keep, and since very little changes at the Fair from year to year, I'm reposting it, slightly updated, with apologies on style to HL Mencken:



Overpriced hot dogs being consumed by extremely obese Fairgoers...A hog billed as the World's Biggest Pig, lying on his side in a pen full of smelly straw...Bored-looking youth milling about, slack-jawed, in front of the Rock Radio booth...Parents pulling crying kids in red Radio Flyer wagons...Midway Carny barkers shouting out come-ons for their games of chance and skill...A field of Caucasian faces, punctuated by an occasional brown visage...Hot and sweaty exhibition halls, with rows of vendors selling sandals, vegetable washers, pianos, velvet paintings, wooden clogs, tee shirts, sunglasses, gospel music CD's...Fair patrons desperate to stay cool in various states of undress...Free copies of the day's city newspaper being handed out in plastic bags at the Star Tribune booth...Beer-bellied middle-aged men wearing teeshirts with vulgar slogans...The twice-daily Fair parade with gymnasts, clowns, marching bands, cheerleaders, with the Fair Queen and her Princesses on their float, waving to the crowd...Political booths plastered with advertising for their candidates and positions of choice...A tired young lad walking hand-in-hand with his dreamy-eyed girlfriend, carrying the huge stuffed Pink Panther he just won for her at the Midway Dart Throwing booth...Mothers applying lotion to their children's puffy, sunburned bodies...Clusters of giggling tweenage girls, sending text messages to each other and calling each other on their cell phones...A sixty year-old tattooed man wearing a muscle shirt, tight lavender lycra shorts, brown socks and loafers...The Dairy Princess sitting for hours in a large windowed cooler, having her likeness carved in a 200 pound block of butter...Polka and square dance groups competing for prizes...Fifteen year-old girls caked with makeup, hoping to pass for seventeen or even eighteen...Attractive young couples snuggling on would appear to be a first date...Older couples looking extremely tired of each other and quite possibly on the verge of breaking up...Long, long lines at the cash machines and women's rest rooms...Fresh-faced 4H girls, with names like Cindy and Sandy and Brittney, giving cow milking demonstrations...Deep-fried cheese curds, corn dogs, foot-long hot dogs, not-that-cold 3.2 beer, malts and milkshakes, mini-donuts, huge containers of soda pop, Fairgoers carrying bulging plastic bagfuls of fliers and brochures they've picked up throughout the day...Yellow-jackets and bees buzzing in and out of ubiquitous garbage cans...Size 18 middle-aged women spilling out of size 16 terry-cloth shorts and tops...Geezer Rock and Country bands playing the grandstand to 20,000 fans...An out-of-tune mariachi band...Screams of kids and adults as they come down the giant yellow slide...A man carrying the broom and mop set he just bought for the Best Price Ever...Bad art mingled with the great in a juried exhibition at the Fine Arts Building...Blue Ribbons, Best-In-Show and Honorable-Mention tags hanging on sweaters, dresses, pies, woodworking, lamps, dolls...A dizzying array of brightly-colored flashing neon lights punctuating the cacophonous din of the Midway rides at night...A brigade of weary-looking men and women picking up trash.



I'll try to write up a list of tee-shirt slogans I saw at the Fair this year, will post later in the weekend.

Recycling


Something from a couple of years ago, slightly modified and amplified:



7 Things I Plan To Do Before I Die
___________________________________

1) Watch my daughters graduate and get married, but hopefully not on the same day.
2) Read a majority of the books in my personal library (1000's).
3) Learn to play the piano a bit better.
4) Conquer my fear and loathing of travel long enough to take my girls to South America and South Africa.
5) See U2 in concert again.
6) Get over my fear of public speaking.
7) Have a few days off.
__________________________________

7 Things I Cannot Do
__________________________________

1) Yodel.
2) Play sports.
3) Focus on anything for more than a few minutes.
4) Drink alcohol.
5) Play guitar as well as I'd like.
6) Swim any more than a dog-paddle.
7) Get over the social anxiety that has plagued me since I was a child.
______________________________

7 Things That Attract me to the opposite sex
______________________________

1) Ego strokes.
2) Intelligence.
3) Sense of homor.
4) Keen mind.
5) Pretty face.
6) Toned body.
7) Nice legs.
_________________________

7 Things I Say Too Often
_________________________

1) Actually.
2) Actually.
3) Actually.
4) No, really.
5) Whuht the hay.
6) You're serious.
7) No.
_______________________

7 Celebrity Crushes
_______________________

1) Scarlett Johansson
2) Jessica Alba
3) Susanna Hoffs
4) Jessica Biel
5) Elizabeth Vargas
6) Gina Gershon
7) Catherine Zeta-Jones
_______________________

7 Museums I'd Like To Visit, again or for the first time
_______________________

1) Huntington - Pasedena, USA
2) Prado - Madrid, Spain
3) Hearst Castle - California
4) Museum of Science and Industry - Chicago, USA
5) Hermitage - St. Petersburg, Russia
6) British Museum - London, UK
7) Smithsonian Institution - Washington DC, USA
_______________________




I'm not tagging anyone else for this, but if you want to have a go at it on your own blog, leave me a comment here so I can check out your answers.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Friday Night Videos - Mishal Moore




'Autumn Leaves'
Mishal Moore

+++++




'Soldier'
Mishal Moore

+++++




'When I Loved You'
Mishal Moore

+++++




'Homie Find (Your Own Ride)'
Mishal Moore

+++++


Thursday, September 06, 2007

Fair Enough


For the teeming dozen readers who are wondering if I went to the State Fair this year: yes, I did - twice. And for JH who is doubtless wondering if I took pics of post-it notes at the Demo booth: yes, I did. Hey, I actually got photos of the genius Al Franken in action, cause he's good enough, smart enough, and doggone it, people like him. Anyway, I meant to write up a post about my State Fair Escapades, but I haven't been feeling that well, so I'll try to get to it this weekend. Stay tuned.

An Underground Movement


From Subterranea Britannica:



About Sub Brit / RSG

Formed in 1974, Subterranea Britannica is a society devoted the the study and investigation of man-made and man-used underground places. Cold War related material is covered separately here: COLD WAR -Bunkers etc. Subterranea Britannica brings together people with an interest in all types of underground space - from deneholes to dug-outs and from souterrains to subways - see the sites pages. Indeed, as the list shows, there are at least seventy categories of underground excavations that are of particular interest to our members

Because of the great deal of interest in the Cold War, a separate area has been developed, specifically devoted to the study of structures related to the COLD WAR -Bunkers etc, indeed this area now contains information and photo's covering thousands of UK sites!

Additionally RSG hosts the On-Line Survey of the UK's ROC and UKWMO Monitoring Posts including over 1566 sites!

Most people, however, confine their interest to just one or two specific areas of research and investigation. As a result, there are among our many members experts in particular types of underground structure, such as COLD WAR -Bunkers etc & WWII military sites, ice houses and limestone quarries.

There are some areas of underground study that are so specialised and complex, coal mines and other types of working mine for example, that they are better covered by specialist professional mining and engineering societies. Consequently, Subterranea Britannica tends to devote its energies more in the direction of older, smaller and more neglected underground features.



Read the rest here.

A Shocking Website


From Struck By Lightning:



ABOUT US

Struck By Lightning.org is an organization promoting lightning safety and education. Based on Cape Cod, MA, we are able to provide speakers on lightning safety and education and motivational topics to your school, business, club or group. Mr. Utley's personal story is a remarkable feat of human survival that will inspire and teach the importance of lightning safety to everyone.

We provide the following Services:

* Speaking Engagements
* Press Information & PSA's
* Audio-Visual Presentations
* Advice & Help for Lightning Strike Survivors

If your school, club or business is looking for a speaker, please give us a call at 508-364-4208.



Read more here.

RIP


Luciano Pavarotti - (October 12, 1935 – September 6, 2007)

Very Cool


ASCII text generator

A Flickr Of Hope


From Yahoo Photos:



When is Yahoo! Photos closing?

We will officially close Yahoo! Photos on Thursday, September 20, 2007 at 9 p.m. PDT.

Until then, we will offer you the opportunity to move to another photo sharing service (Flickr, Kodak Gallery, Shutterfly, Snapfish, and Photobucket), download your original resolution photos back to your computer, or buy an archive CD from our featured partner (for users of the New Yahoo! Photos only). All you need to do is choose from these options before we close or any photos remaining on Yahoo! Photos will be deleted and no longer accessible.

Go to http://closing.photos.yahoo.com to make a decision about your photos before September 20, 2007.

** Note for users of Yahoo! Photos’ international versions: Please stay tuned for information about changes in your countries later this year. You do not need to take action at this time.



In other words, if you've been using Yahoo Photos, get moving!

Read more here.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Music Monday - Geezer Rock




'Rock Of Ages'
Def Leppard

+++++




'Pour Some Sugar On Me'
Def Leppard

+++++




'Hysteria'
Def Leppard

+++++




'Let's Get Rocked'
Def Leppard

+++++


Sunday, September 02, 2007

Jesus Inspirational Sport Statues


From Catholic Shopper:



Handpainted resin statues on a solid wood base are the perfect gift for every young Catholic athlete. These statues portray Jesus actively participating with boys and girls in a variety of sports. A wonderful way to reinforce Jesus "as friend" in everyday activities. Sizes vary from 4 3/4 to 6 1/2 inches.

Many customers have requested these Jesus Sport Statues depicting children other than Caucasian and playing other sports; we have expressed these requests to manufacturers and importers. When and if other statues are available, CatholicShopper.com will carry them.

This page shows the following Jesus Sport Statues: Baseball, Football, Soccer. For Basketball and other versions of baseball, football, hockey and soccer, click picture of the five statues at the bottom of page.

The statues on this page now include a brass nameplate, "Jesus Is My Coach."



View all the statues here.