Friday, July 29, 2005

Sometimes life gives you tacos

A fellow on Craig's list had an interesting time at a Taco joint:
This time as I'm ready to give them my money, the cashier/manager is climbing out of the drive-thru window. I'm looking at him with surprise, not knowing any reason why an employee would be climbing out of the window. He says 'sorry, but the building's on fire - here's your food, don't worry about the money' I look in and sure enough, all i can see in the kitchen is smoke. I guess I can't complain too much, cause I got some free food.
I imagine that finding flaming restaurants that are still unflaming enough to serve you, but flaming enough to not ask you to pay, is a very exacting art.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

When reality and parody are the same thing

As Peevish by Anne Zook shows, this may be the offcial day that parody, having no other place to go, crawled off in the dark and died.

Update 7/29/2005 12:52 PM: This is a photoshop hoax.

Etorre contemplates Bush's brain

John Etorre, Working with Words, has some thoughts on Bush's intellectual sources, such as they are, and on Maureen Dowd's mother - seperately. On Bush, he cites a hypothesis that the thought behind it is on the surface similar to playing jazz:
Folks, no big mystery about his foreign "policy": George W. is simply making it up as he goes.
One thing to make it less of a Jazz analogy - every note and phrase a Jazz musician "improvises," was practiced, though not in the order it's played, endlessly for hours repetitively as lifting weights. I don't have an underlying feeling of that kind of preparation in our present administration's foreign policy. The recently awakened anti-cynic in me would love to find this, but he's come up empty.

Free art Friday from Bridget

Bridget Ginley is a talented Lakewood, Ohio artist who gives away free art on some Fridays. And even when she's not, it's worth reading. I say this with the lack of art education that leaves me forever confused that the Pre-Raphaelites came after Raphael.

Looking for a job?

Boy has Fafnir found a job for you - even with the application!

Iron Chef

Ladygoat seems well...if not impresssed then not disheartened by the Food Netowrk show, Iron Chef America.
Still, I'm optimistic that Iron Chef America will hit its own quirky stride. The promotional videos, for one thing, are a good sign (I'm partial to the catfish one myself); the color commentary of the Alton Brown is another.
Alton is a kind of strange genius - his show Good Eats is weird, funny, and easy for the non-gourmand to comprehend. I doubt the tension in the faces of the chefs on the Japanese show will be matched, probably a cultural thing...but I think given this review it's worth a shot.

Lakewood - you say there's a lake?

Lakewood doesn't deal very well with the lake. If you go down to the water from the park on Lake ave, you'll see a gravel path - with a weed choked chain-link fence on one side - leading to...some gravel 30 feet from the lake, with big, ugly concrete blocks piled up beside the water. Not something you'd want to put in a watercolor, for example. But there's apparently a plan to expand access and facilities - nice drawings, too. Link via a post by Madfolly on the forums of Lakewood Buzz, Steve Fitzgerald's site.

The tap - a brief fable

Odd thing happened today. I heard the pipes going and looked outside to see someone filling a barrel from our garden hose. Thinking this was rather rude to do without permission, I went inside, and made some changes to the pipe so it put out some some sand instead. The barreler, aggrieved, left a note at the door saying he didn't understand what the problem was, since he only had one barrel, and was only taking water from time to time, and surely I had lots to spare. His friend then came by to deliver his newsletter, asserting how small the barreler's barrel was, and I should sympathize as he may not have the knowledge as to get how to water from his own garden hose, and how the code of ethics against taking your neighbours water was biased...

I pondered as the sun sets now, as to the appropriate apology to issue to those who appropriate what I foolishly thought I had paid for.

Here endeth the fable, and my attempts to debate with hotlinkers, because if I start down that road, soon I'll be debating the people who want to type in ALL CAPS.

The news at WalMart, what's in a name

Jen has the link to how a Wal-mart kicked one newspaper out of it's store. Of course, as a materialist-capitalist, I agree they have the right to do so...but we as consumers can conclude whether or not we'd like to shop there based on how they act as well.

Seven more sins

Via the irreplaceable Bookninja, it's the Seven Deadly sins of Critics on The Book Standard, by Adam Langer. Diana Abu-Jaber speaks of #7, the Ethnically Correct Review Assignment:
"There's a perception that Arabs will have some sort of special insights or extra-meaningful thing to say about my writing," Abu-Jaber observes. "It also doesn't seem to matter if the person is actually any sort of a writer or critic, just as long as they're generally a sort of Arab-type - ?including Iranian, Turkish, Armenian and, in dire cases, Sicilian."

Overheard at the bus stop

I had the worst job. I worked at a flower shop, and kept people from taking flower cuttings and old flowers out of the garbage. I was guarding the garbage. Who do people want to give flowers from the garbage to, their mothers? That was the stupidest job I ever had

Underreported good news

the recent flare up between Canada and Demark might seem to be all bad news. Two democratic powers battling over some barren rock in the ice. But the mainstream media, as usual, are ignoring what the good news on the ground is: the people of Hans Island trying to keep rocks out of warlike hands.

Decision tree

The decision process at a certain blog (linked below) might be as follows...

Fact about the candidate: decision/reactions in italics

1. a US Marine Good - need more patriots leading our land who know how to get things done

2. For gun rights, including the right to carry concealed weapons Great! We'll leave the liberal weenies to fight crime with words

3. Volunteered to go to Iraq : Surely America's Bravest *wipes away tear. More of this please. Pretty please.

4. Called Bush a chickenhawk: *spits out soda, chokes*

5. Is a Democrat: Fracking caustic moonbat! Only insane people would vote for him!

Leading naturally to this post : from Ankle Biting Pundits

As an aside, I'd have to say I'd join no political party that would have me as a member, to misquote Groucho.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005


Found another Lakewood blog (I think the combination of antique stores and midges cause it) called beerandclothing. There's a neat list of good Lakewood eateries for one thing, on this blog, though I just found it a minute ago.

The Seven Deadly Sins of Blogging

Some ...person.. annoyed M_ and myself by hotlinking to a picture she posted on her blog, Your Daily Art. I'm sure everyone reading this is familiar with it, basically it's putting an image link to a picture hosted on another site - using the other person's bandwidth without even giving their webpage traffic. I replaced the pic, but the person should count themselves lucky I didn't see fit to throw a truly disgusting image in it's place...which got me to thinking, what, for me, would be the Seven Deadly Sins of Blogging that I should avoid? As jack might say, I am trying to view the world more appreciatively, so hope it's clear that these are only intended for me.

1. Sloth - the copying and filling out of list-memes, which I touched on before.
2. Gluttony - The Onion has endless hilarious posts that just linking to (perhaps with a note "hilarious"!) would fatten up my blog - empty calories, though
3. Avarice - I used to link to via their referral program, before realizing the amount of traffic I get is not conducive to this coming close to covering hosting costs. And it amounts to a de facto ad - so aside from links to relatives web site (my sister runs the Chapbook site under "Gifts", M_ has the jewelry) I should avoid ads.
4. Envy - Am I only critiquing someone because they have a popular blog, or do I have something to say about it worth hearing? If not, it's probably the green eyed creature.
5. Lust - So far I've avoided linking to sex blogs - no real opposition to them, so are very well written. But I won't be linking to any on a blog my whole family may read. Linking to stories of naked newswomen just to drive up traffic is also a no-no, in fact I stopped linking to one blogger who did this.
6. Pride - Try to avoid taking credit for just existing - judging by how many manage, it's not so difficult.
7. Wrath - posting in a fit of purified rage always seems to be like tossing coconuts at your monitor. Amusing at the time, satisfying, with a chance of exploding in your face.

Nova Scotia

I haven’t been back to the homeland since 2003, so it's time to go once again. M_ will be busy with her job, so I will be annoying relatives with endless yammering about why the Norse died out in Greenland (thanks, Jared, Diamond. Thanks a lot. Who knew the Norse dying out could be so fascinating?). Not only do I get to fly back on September 11th, but I get to enjoy seats that are too close together so my knees rest up against a seat back for hours on end. I'd be willing to pay extra - not for more room, I know they won't add it - to disable to ability of the seat in front of me to lean back. If this is so damn comforting, why has La-Z-Boy never built a recliner that tilts back only nine degrees?

I'll also see if Halifax has recovered from Hurricane Juan in 2003. Hopefully my visit this time will not anger the gods like back then, when the worst hurricane to hit the province - ever - came immediately after my visit. I'll meet my first cousin, once removed, who hit the atmosphere this year, Plus I get to meet my other long-lost sister.

Fan Fiction gone wild

Via Bookslut, I found this story of a woman who has some presumably mystical bones to pick with J.K. Rowling. She was unhappy with where Rowling's lasting book featturing Harry Potter was going, plot-wise, so she wrote her own version of the book. Some telling details:
Pembroke's version involves a new romance for Harry with an exchange student from America whose physical description is remarkably close to the picture on her website. The new character, who rapidly rises to the top of her class, has a mysterious scar on her forehead similar to Harry's famous lightning bolt. She is also an 'animagus' who can assume the form of a talking winged unicorn.
Well one can hardly be expected to top that.

On a completely unrelated note, I'd like to start production - or technically, re-production on a redo of the 1997 movie Contact. Aside from a change to the awful ending, in which a scientist is left saying that science requires faith, I propose a modest casting change...

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Still in Cleveland for now

Mel over at Please Choose Me will be sticking around in Cleveland. Unfortunately a job chance fell through because someone at the company she would have moved out of state for, got nervous about her. The same kind of thing once happened to M_, who had a boss known mostly for crashing her bicycle into cars, wrote up a performance review claiming M_ had a "dehabilitating illness." Yes, you read correctly - an illness so bad it actually would cause M_ to go flying out of her house.
I hope a smarter company somewhere in Cleveland hires Mel. If we keep bleeding people such as her and Christine...well, have you visited Easter Island recently?

Monday, July 25, 2005

Dinosaur Ball Z

Apparently there is a small segment of the population that's doesn't believe what is generally understood about dinosaurs. You know, that they lived millions of years ago, were killed off by massive climate changes possibly due to a meteor. Millions of years later, a few of the creatures that evolved from those cuddly little mammals that managed to keep warm through that mess have a different theory. That dinosaurs were led by fallen angels to try to attack Noah's Ark. (they have some illustrations, found via the link above). Kinda looks like a Japanese fighting cartoon to me. I guess this is more visually fun than attempting to draw the guy who's job it was to feed the 30,000 species of ticks (meaning at least 60,000 individuals) they would have needed on the Ark.

It used to be said that intelligent debate was over when someone rolled out the Hitler comparisons. I suggest a revision, that when someone invokes the attack of the Dinosaurs on Noahs ark, the discussion may be nearing it's rational end.

Art Ranting

Bridget Ginley over at Erie.Effusion has a bit of a rant at some art galleries. She was told to send in some slides for an upcoming show at SPACES.
This is when the problem creeped up...I walk up to one of the many employees who have been working there since the Carter administration, ( you think she might have a fing clue )- i go to hand in my stuff and she makes me fill out all these forms for all these different shows. " Wait ! " i say " i am supposed to be in the 'whateveritwascalledupandcomingshow' -am i filling out the right stuff ?" she nods EVER SO ANNOYED AT ME and i turn in my packet of application, slides, etc.
and i wait...and i get older....and


not even a rejection letter stuffed with my slides back like I used to merit - NOTHING - ZIP ZILCH - so many years later when i am working for one of their major donors, I get a little better treatment - i even ask for my slides back one night - and when i get them back from the very person who collected them yearly ago so tersely, she sadly says to me :

" too bad you filled out the wrong paperwork for that show "
This kind of thing might lead me to conclude that some local galleries are run like the INS.

Expats united?

Someone set up anExpat Blogging site, apparently centered around blogs of people who have left their homeland to settle somewhere else. Maybe it owuld be a collection of blogs overcoming assumptions. From the way I sometimes complain you might imagine my moving to the US full of naught but peril. But the whole North East Ohio Region seems like a much better place than advertised. I know they need more folks around here, and encouraging immigration here would be a good start. You could think to yourself, "Self - surely all these immigrants want in Cleveland is a Casino-Convention Center-Walmart megabuilding to enjoy"? But you would be sadly mistaken, gentle reader.

When they report on bloggers

I don't know why some reporters, knowing that bloggers have an outlet to criticize their every story, would be so lazy as Bill Callahan described a PeeDee writer being. He also notes that in her story, which seems focused on T-shirts, she misses the whole point:
Like, for example, why people like me insist that Steelyard Commons is in line for a hefty public subsidy, contrary to what City Hall and her paper have been saying. Perkins writes:

There was talk about stalling the project because the Steelyard developer is getting federal tax credits through a program for development in low-income areas. Those credits, the bloggers reasoned, amount to a public subsidy, allowing them to push for a public hearing.

The bloggers reasoned? Is there some imaginable way that $32 million in financing, subsidized with Federal tax credits arranged through the Port of Cleveland, would not 'amount to a public subsidy'? More to the point, is there some imaginable good reason why a reporter, hearing citizens describe an alleged government subsidy of a supposedly unsubsidized project, would fail to call up the Port to ask: a) whether the citizens are correct; and b) if so, what Port officials have to say about it?
And perhaps d) is this the daily paper we deserve?

Second Story man

Tim Russo, at Democracy Guy, reminds us that the Plain Dealer was sitting on two stories, not just the one they printed this week after Pete Kotz at the Cleveland Scene scooped them. So it's left to our imagination what the second story might are a few possibilities based on nothing whatsoever:

"New Baseball Stadium has not Reinvigorated Cleveland economy, cost taxpayers millions"

"New Football Stadium has not Reinvigorated Cleveland economy, cost taxpayers millions"

"New Baseketball Arena has not Reinvigorated Cleveland economy, cost taxpayers millions"

"New Convention Center will Reinvigorate Cleveland economy, bring millions to city"

"New Wal-Mart will Reinvigorate Cleveland economy, bring millions to city"

"New Casino will Reinvigorate Cleveland economy, bring millions to city"

I probably owe Doug Clifton an apology. If I was sitting on any of the above stories, I'd probably hide amongst the trees in the Rocky River Reservation, subsisting on moss, before publishing.

Burgers at Beardens

M_ and I decided to drop in on Beardens in Rocky River as we drive by it so often. The burgers are pretty good and the fries crisp, it's your basic diner type food - it's been there since 1948. There's a train running around the top of the dining room for some reason, and the walls aren't loaded with faux memorobilia like the main chain restaurants around these days that are trying to make themselves seem like a Beardens. I had the 6 1/4 ounce Bearden burger, and found it juicy and straightforward. The prices are pretty damn good as well - this is definitely the place for a burger on the budget. The waitstaff also seems to have time-traveled from 1948 with the banter they share with diners - a worthwhile stop on the west side.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Cleveland Competition

The 2005 Cleveland International Piano Competition is being held Jul 27-August 5th at various venues. It's only ten bucks a ticket for the first two rounds, and fifteen for the semi-final. After paying $10 for one popcorn and one bottle of water at the movies on Sunday, this seems like a real bargain by comparison.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Funniest Quote of the day (possibly incomprehensible to non-Canadians)

Comes from Paul Wells, blogging for Macleans concerning the new 'Wedding Crashers' flick.
"I think Vince Vaughn should win the Best Actor Oscar. I haven't laughed this hard since Paul Martin said he wanted Belinda because he admired her ideas about government.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Let the lady park, anti-snark

I added Let the Lady Speak to my Blogroll, after reading her tribulations trying to get a parking space just to get to the Blogger meetup yesterday. If one stops to think just how pedestrian unfriendly this city is, it's a bit disconcerting. There are no subways in Cleveland to take you around the city, allowing you to park in the Burbs like in Boston.

I rearranged my blogroll to categorize more by what they post most of the time...since some bloggers like to switch gears a lot, my categories are happily going to be inaccurate. I think the homework assignment from yesterday's meetup also had some unintended consequences. I notice the odd snarky comment about on another blog. Not here though. I'm noted for my quiet audience of my spouse and up the three others. They complained that their blog was on no one's "most read" list. The unfair part is that my blogroll is mostly there so I don't have to remember the URL's for all those fracking blogs. Plus, since I read pretty much every new post on every blog on my blogroll, it's a bit inaccurate to say there are ones that are more read by me. I think Tim Russo said it best in that you have to both write what you care about and market your writing if you're after increased traffic. Lately I have not followed my traffic very closely in terms of numbers, but I do use tracking to figure out who's linking to me - this way I find more blogs who seem to share some mindspace with me.

Blogger meeting homework

As I mentioned, George assigned the bloggers at the meetup some homework. He wanted us to name three blog we read every day, and ones that we read at least every two days. This type of thoughtstream makes me consider if I need to update my blogroll more often. Then again, John at the meeting mentioned he liked being under my "Geeks and Visionaries" section when I had it. I removed it partly because I didn't want to have to divy people up in a way that could be seen as qualitative if possible. I'm thinking of making new categories, but since it takes so long to republish my blog after making changes (I have a manual blogroll) it has to wait till the weekend. But enough sidetracking, I should get to the homework. I will put aside the tragedy that befell the academy when in high school my senior paper for history was somehow lost. I worked like a dog - assuming that most dogs study Canadian history and spend a lot of time researching at the library - on a tome on my homelands history and a paper reviewing same. In a confession, I must admit I didn't much like that book (sorry, Mr. Foster) but nonetheless I proceeded to over analyze it like a mother******. Don't ask me how, but somehow, the paper never got to him. He was the only one teaching that course, so I know no one stole it as their own. I can only imagine a custodian with a droll sense of humour, reading it by flashlight and chuckling at my run-on sentences, then tossing it in the actual, as opposed to the much more famous proverbial, ash heap of history.

There are a few blogs I read every day even when very pressed for time I always read Brewed Fresh Daily because George so often finds neat blogs I have not seen. But his blog was excluded from the lists we were told to make. Rather than just list them (the blogroll does that), I should say why I am as entranced as a cobra considering a snake-charmer's flute.

I read Your Daily Art every day because it has very few words, nice pictures, and contains that rarest of finds in today's America, actual information. Martha does a great job of taking the browns and umbers out of artistic appreciation.

Reflections in d minor by Lynn is one of the first blogs I started reading, and her mix of thoughts on higher culture and daily life without pretensions made me think I could write a decent blog too. [It turns out you were mistaken. - Editor Jerry: Go back to Kausfiles, where you reside as a device. I don't even like Kausfiles. If I wanted to hear someone pretend they are a liberal or centrist, I would read Instapundit every day. Or I could just sample right wing blogs, say "Heh" or perhaps "Indeed" to myself and go shopping for cars. But enough sidetracking]

A lot of people brought up Jessa Crispin's Bookslut blog as a daily read. It has frequent updates and fairly short pieces, and often seems to be a crucible, featuring short yet very insightful writing:
The Agony Column has an audio interview with Chuck Palahniuk about, among other things, his new book Haunted. The one question I would have liked him to ask: How is it even possible this book is as bad as it is? It seems to violate laws of physics with its badness.

There are some I check at least every two days. Bill Callahan is also where I go when I'm trying to figure out anything relating to Cleveland, it's political scene, and how a fracking convention center will not improve matters. He's a great source for something other than just pointless ranting (which I can get reading any Ohioan ex-trombone bloggers) and my old favourite, actual information. Other locals I keep up with include Jeff on Have Coffee, Will Write and Steve Fitzgerald of Lakewood Life because in both cases I feel like I get to know more about my community from reading them - and it goes to show despite wildly different tones, they should both appeal to those in love with what they used to call facts.

Speaking of news, Avedon Carol is a place I always check for links to interesting articles on politics beyond just Cleveland, better-thought-out-than-mine rants, and the occasional picture of a bra. Tim Russo's Democracy Guy is an excellent one-stop shopping site for opinions of the day that stradles the traditional definitions of left and right.

There are some blogs that just feature the good writing of their authors, like John Etorre's Working with Words, Creative Ink and the brilliant long post, very personal format Mel prefers onLife Cycle of a Fruit Fly.

Then there are what you might term the OddBlogs - weird subjects, or the unfiltered working of the mind. There has to be a special place in any reader's heart, and perhaps stomach, for Ladygoat's writing on Foodgoat. She makes food - even what we might think is ordinary food - seem exciting, and has manages to share the experience of eating as a kind of joy. Jen writes at Very Big Blog and often has some interesting story linked, with the occasional aside on another area I know little about: design. Another blog I read to unwind my mind from the everyday is jackzen . I don't pretend to be very zen, but it's worth some time to read and learn to appreciate this blog and learn how to appreciate life and what lemons, Walmarts, or casinos it gives you. The thought experiments of Adam Harvey on Organic Mechanic make me rethink what a blog could be, as well as being nice pieces in their own right, that leave you as pleased as one who has secretly consumed magical calorie free brownies at midnight.

Blogger Meeting notes

George Nemeth of Brewed Fresh Daily wraps up the July Cleveland Weblogger Meetup with a picture, a list of everyone's blog, and reminds us of our homework. Our homework was to list our three favorite blogs, aside from BFD which is required reading here in Ohio for bloggers, and also the blogs we visit at least every two days.

We covered a lot of topics. First up was media and elections. George assured Steve Fitzgerald of Lakewood Life that Doug Clifton, of the PeeDee,was the target of the appelation "asshat" that George threw out there. Much was considered with the idea of having bloggers interview mayoral condidates. Bill Callahan of Callahan's Cleveland Diary talked about possible ways to do this, noting that we need to ask candidates questions in person. Otherwise, as he put it, we'd get a journalism grad (or student) from their campaign filling out a questionaire with talking points. George said he considered the "sponsorship" of the SPJ (Society of Professional Journalists) to be more of a way to get the candidates to consider taking our questions. It seemed to be a consensus that editorial control would not be something happening in any event - which is sometimes a good thing.

This dovetailed a bit into a discussion on the media. John Etorre had an observation to the generally anti-Editor crowd there, that the writer can sometimes steer the editorial process to not lose control. He once had an editor tell him that "I felt like you were the editor, and I was the writer!". Jeff Hess of Have Coffee, Will Write had a keen observation:
It's not the difference between journalists and bloggers, but between reporters and bloggers. They're all journalists!

Tim Russo advised that to drive traffic, write what you care about and market. His technique is to email a link to bloggers who may decide to link to him based on the post. He emphasized writing what you care about - "'s transparent if you are trying to BS."

Loreale - new to blogging, with no blog yet - was given advice and had questions on starting a blog, and whether it's best to be anonymous. I favour that position (too late for me!). The only downside I suppose is that I can't whine about annoying coworkers, but perhaps it's best as I can't imagine that's very interesting to anyone besides me.

We also talked about how many blogs we read. which led to the homework assignment (linked above). Few people who need to sleep can keep up with all the blogs they'd like to, and may start to get blog-fatigue. Jack Ricchiuto of jackzen had the best line of the night, about why he likes browsing on Flikr: "Best of all, there's no fucking words!"

The fish as art

Martha at Your Daily Art is pointing out art that isn't just a painting hanging on a wall, but the artistry in objects as well. She seems to be able to produce a short piece with actual useful information on art without sounding like an academic.

Potential conflict of interest note - M_ frequently makes wonderful Greek salads at our house.

Boiling point

Reuben Boiling nails the Rove thing neatly. (Since the link is on Salon, you may have to watch an ad to see it). I especially like the 18th century pundits.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

I'm just saying

The Cleveland Plain Dealer is running stories on the proposed half-billion dollar convention center (paid for by you and me, natch). There is some opposition and criticism to the project, including in the PeeDee.

Anyway, you can either take into account the fact that convention center business is dropping, and all kinds of cities are building these white elephants, per this Brookings Institute paper on Convention Centers, which can also apply to Cleveland, or listen to the Convention industry explain why taxpayers need to buy buildings guessed it..the convention industry, A PDF of their response is here. While this might strike you as amusing as a teenager submitting a paper to his parents on why he needs unfettered and unmonitored access to their car, they seem to expect us to take it seriously, so I link it here for your perusal. I must take a small issue with their critique of one of the bylines in the report, Heywood Sanders. They say he is a "long time critic" of such ventures of spending public dough. Maybe, just maybe, kids, it's because it's a fracking horrible idea. I'm just saying.

Update 3:13 PM: Steve Fitzgerald of Lakewood Life pointed me to a Roldo Bartimole piece on how our one major daily paper has had a tendency to ignore the negatives.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Terrible words

I tend to agree with Charles on Little Green Footballs that news orgs declining to use the word terrorist for obviously terrorist acts - like blowing up nightclubs - is pretty stupid. Terrorism is the simplest descriptive adjective for what is occurring. The same problem occurs when people are hesitant to label as Genocide anything less than what happened in WWII - quite the opposite of what the person who invented the word genocide had intended. But by the same token, I don't think the niceties of how the CBC reports terror attacks makes the nutjobs blowing things up any less or more likely to want me and anyone else not sharing their bloody-minded philosophy dead.

Trying my hand at mottos

I know the one for my blog is long and rambling, kind of like myself. But I thought I might help out the Plain Dealer find a new motto...

Lessons learned via Jazz

Charles Cooper on highlights a very bad move by Dell.
Considering its customer-friendly track record, Dell's recent decision to shut down its Customer Care message boards is getting pilloried as an act of monumental stupidity, if not monumental arrogance. The company says the closure is necessary because authorized Dell representatives--and not customers--need to handle the oh-so-complicated issues that were being handled on the message board.
The presence of boards for any product or service allows users to trade tips, give advice, and generally solve problems faster than traditional tech support. As an added bonus for the bottom-line gang, it also reduces the number of hours spent on support which generally is a loss for companies if the support is coming during the free period of support offered. Why not let the users make a knowledge investment in your product? I run a forum for my company, and I wish I could get even more users to join and participate. It gives a raw feed in the users mindset, which from a marketing perspective is a gold mine to see what they actually want. But doubtless some middle level manager decided users wanted to be talked to, not talk to each other. As they will find out, people will still talk about Dell and complain about it on the web. The information will just be harder to find and make Dells less worthwhile to use. Congrats guys, for the almost non-existent cost of running a board, you've kicked at the legs of long-term customer loyalty. You learn to play Jazz better by listening, too.

Found art

Apparently, I'm sitting on a treasure trove, if I only had the idea first to sell them on eBay. I also have a large number of floppy disks with writing that to all appearances may be Linear B. Link via John at Nihilist Guru

Monday, July 18, 2005

Taking it easy

Well, this puts my mind at ease
President Bush qualified his pledge to dismiss any White House official found to have leaked the name of a CIA operative, saying Monday that 'if someone committed a crime' he would be fired.
Saves me the time of reading the rest of the article. I know if my president is brave enough to fire - yes, fire - someone who commits a crime, his ethical dna should be copied onto every snowflake embryo needing to know The Right Thing to Do. You'll fire someone in your administration if it's proven they committed a crime, eh sparky? Don't go crazy in your campaign to bring a new, cleaner tone to Washington politics or anything. I think Tom Lehrer was right that the time of satire has been outpaced by reality (though he came to this realization in the 70's). It's almost worth the satisfaction knowing that in a few hundred years, history students will weep with laughter at the antics and posturing of this administration. They'll have to weep, as tear collection by nanites by that time will be the main water source for Desertopolis, AZ, teeming with most of the US population by then.

But enough negativity - on Easter Island, there were always nay-sayers decrying the cutting of the last standing tree, and who remembers them now? I wonder if this annoucement will be met with a) approving mutterings b) confidence that the truth and Justice will come out only through the courts or c) complaints about the obsessions with a "scandelette". I wonder if there's anything someone in the administration could do that would meet with disapproval from the Greek chorus supporting them in the blogosphere? Other than being Colin Powell, say.

If you blog

Then you should come to downtown Cleveland on Wednesday, July 20th for The Cleveland Weblogger July Meetup. No one will try to get you to buy anything, consider timeshares, join a multi-level marketing scheme, or anything that makes you dread venturing outside in the heat. Instead, there will be much intelligent discussion on blogging. Hopefully many different blogger species will be present, from the prolific (I'm looking at you, George) to the sporadic (I'm looking at you, mirror). Handlers whispering into your ear that you adore Tom Cruise, however, are not welcome.

Another Lakewood blog

Lakewood is a neat little city - and there's blogs a-plently, including Erie Effusion by Bridget Ginley (link via George Nemeth). George himself is a kind of Instapundit-with-a-soul (I know that's hard to imagine) of Ohio. Bridget's a visual artist who works from a home studio and once again, I have found more reading to do.

Once they invent a drug that lets me read in my sleep, I'll be a junkie.

Too much

Bill Gates was sad about his lack of familiarity with a certain bespeckled wizard:
...Chairman Bill Gates admitted that he has not read enough Harry Potter...
I've never read the books, but even reading about it seems a bit trying - makes me feel rooted to the spot, one might say.

But back to richer hacks computer moguls, Gates is claiming there aren't enough people taking comp sci in college to fill a need for IT workers. Say, enough so that they're as common as Fox reality shows, and the market for them makes them cheaper than...Fox reality shows. I knew some comp sci students back in Halifax, all of whom complained about the humanities courses they had to take. They were pale and aghast (the pale part just being a coincidence - honestly even the Indian guy just had a pale, WASPY mindset) at the idea of learning about things written that could not be compiled. Maybe we don't need too many more of these.

On an unrelated note, are there any songs besidesThe Supreme's "Love Child" that use "Tenanment Slum" in song? Do we need more songs like this? Doubtless there's a rap out there that in desperately seeking a rhyme went down this ill-advised road.

Friday, July 15, 2005


Blogs may not have editors, but why shouldn't the world? Harvey at Organic Mechanic corrects a note left on his car. I need to start carrying my digital camera to try my hand at this fairly new form of expression improvement.

Hypothetical Question

Gentle reader, I know you don't comment much, but I was hoping to get your thoughts. Let's say you are on a plane, admiring the upholstery, when your eyes drift toward the laptop computer set upon the food-tray of your seatmate. He seems a pale, Canadian type. Yet you notice he's playing Microsoft Flight Simulator. Would this make you call for immediate action by air marshals? Or would it depend on how well said person was flying? For the purposes of this thought experiment, let's say that he's not intentionally flying towards anything on the ground.

Note to Cinemark

It's called tabindex. Look into it sometime.

Explanation for non-geeks: When you order tickets online from Cinemark, you are presented with a form to fill out your name, credit card number, etc. But if you are trying to use the tab key to navigate between fields, forget it. It jumps from First name, to credit card type, to last name, to credit card expiry date, ad naseum. If they had used the syntax above in their form, they could have the order of tabbing work correctly. I guess they were busy figuring out how many TV ads they can squeeze in before the movie starts.

Of course the best geeky use of the word "Cinemark" goes to our friend R_. Upon arrive at the theatre once, she shouted out:

"People of Valley View - what news of the Cinemark?"

Thursday, July 14, 2005


This unbylined story on perfectly encapsulates the most pertinent parts of the story it tells in the first sentence
Karla Homolka, who went straight from prison to a Montreal television studio, has abandoned her second attempt to block news organizations from reporting on her new life.
I'd like to award the writer of that sentence the best-use-of-commas award of the week.


Just in case I'm ever a top White House official, I'd like to propose some rules for myself and others to follow. I can't leak information that someone is a covert CIA operative.

Addendum 1: Unless a reporter calls me first. In the event that we call each other simultaneously and are connected, the caller shall be defined as the one living in the city whose baseball team has the best record.

Addendum 2: I can't reveal it, unless it's in part of a sentence that is mostly about something else, like what I think of Johnny Depp living in France.

Addendum 3: If the agent in question has any relatives, and they have any opinions, it's ok to reveal the agent's identity.

Addendum 4: In the event that I am likely committing a "crime" (scare quotes patented by Ben Shapiro), it shall be considered a non-crime if the editors of the Wall Street Journal really, really, really like me.

Addendum 5: It's a bad idea to reveal a secret agent's identity in a war.

Correction to Addendum 5: Unless it's a war I helped start.

Addendum 6: Government terms like "top secret" are so old fashioned, and subject to "laws". I reserve the right to make up terms like double super secret background which will apply to anyone in the government, in the press, or the counter person at Baskin Robin's, should I feel the need to point out to him any CIA secrets.

Addendum 7: This would all be so much simpler if the press was part of the government, that way they could be held accountable for the laws I temporarily modified while answer a completely different question.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Shorter Ben Shapiro

You could read his rant here, but in today's crazy go-go world, who has the time? Here's a shorter version:

- I am glad I was born with a penis
- You can imply irony by "putting" "quote marks" "around" "just" "about" "every" word.
- Why don't they make really intelligent TV anymore, like "Unsolved Mysteries"?
- I invented the idea of putting quote marks around "reality". Aren't I delicious?
- Transgenered people should either be hidden away from all human sight, or perhaps put in a circus.

Wenesday Bird Blogging

Yesterday while trying to recover from a bus ride home on a bus without air conditioning, I noticed the cat staring up in the corner of the mantel. I looked over and perched on my lampshade was a sparrow. I got up and opened the front and back doors, and by the time I returned to the room, my cat Conner was on the job. He had trapped the sparrow behind some books and was doing his best to catch it. You see, he watches them quite often and could not believe his luck that one of them had finally materialized inside his house, instead of being blocked by that glass that thwarts his hunting efforts.

I grabbed Conner off the mantel and tossed him down the stairs to the basement and closed the door. He was not pleased. Then I came back and moved the books to make sure the bird was still alive. He was scared but still alive hiding, behind the books. He then flew out and tried to get out through a window. When this did not work, he tried another one and was caught in perpetual confusion, on a sill. Finally, I thought to don some rubber gloves and pick him up. I was trying to be careful but I was a bit skittish myself and finally, carefully picked him up. I was holding him very gently because I had never held a bird before, but knew he was a fragile little thing. I took him out to the porch, set him down, and he quickly flew away. He was safe and back outside where he belonged.

I closed the doors and let Conner out of the basement. He bolted out, ready to resume the fight, but he was thwarted - the bird was gone. After searching for several minutes he finally settled down and accepted his fate, resigned to eating the food provided and not the treat from nature that presented itself to him and we relaxed once again.

Shower the people you love with punches?

A man was badly beaten by off-duty Hudson police officers...while attending a James Taylor concert. that'll teach him to hang out listening to dangerous music. I wonder if this will lead to a mini-media frenzy covering any violence at soft pop-rock concerts, in keeping with previous frenzies over rap outings. The injured man was carrying a pinic basket that brushed the cop's car - so clearly Ohio needs a new sign outside of every public and private venue m to go along with the no-guns signs no decorating the state:

Tuesday, July 12, 2005


If you read this headline: Girl Critical After Riding Disney's 'Tower Of Terror' Ride
... then you might be forgiven for thinking it involved a child giving critiques to Disney on it's latest thrill-ride. But instead of issuing icy barbs, the girl is actually in critical condition after being on the ride, which is a quite different meaning.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Good news for Wal-Mart employees

Soon you won't have to worry about being locked in the stores, being forced to punch your time cards but keep working, anti-female promotion practices, and laughable health care. Why?Robots. I'm sure that as Cleveland's human population continues to dip, our new robocitizens will be welcomed as being "much needed jobs" by Mayor Jane Campbell. For you stock market watchers out there, as soon as this takes effect, watch for local McDonalds's and Starbucks to be converted into Robowashes and oil changes venues.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Little Green comparisons

So are blogs to be held accountable for people who post comments? Or can we hold entire political philosophies responsible and assume they approve any random-ass comment on a blog? The answer, oddly enough, may depend on what day you think about it.

July 7th: On Little Green Footballs, Charles Johnson wrote:
DU Inmates Climbing the Walls

Democratic Underground responds, in their usual psychotic fashion.
(responding to being appaled by some things that DU commenters were saying).

But by July 9th, he had determined
This is a great example of how far the left has devolved; London suffers the worst terrorist attack in her history, with more than 50 dead and as many as a thousand injured, and people like Chris Bowers are just horrified that anyone would react to such an atrocity with rage.
(referring to someone being appaled by things some LGF commenters were saying. )

So how can we determine when comments are just venting by individuals (crazy though some may be) , versus representing the entire and complete opinion held by everyone "on their side"? I'll see if there's some special calendar or Magic-8 ball to figure it all out.

PeeDee pees itself

Greoge Nemeth, of Brewed Fresh Daily, has some choice words for Doug Clifton of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. They're holding up two stories because over fear over the Judith Miller case. Let me file this in my reasons-no-one-should-subscribe-to-the-Plain-Dealer-ever folder.

Friday, July 08, 2005


The Headline: "Bus Riders: It was a Homicide Bomb". The way this is worded makes it sound like the bus riders have said they think the attack on the London bus on 7/7 was a "homicide" bomb. But what did they actually say?
They said the guy just sat down and the explosion happened. They thought it was a suicide bomber.
Right - they never said homicide bomber at all. For those who think I'm picking on Fox because they're right-wing, imagine this: The NY Times interviews some victims, who say "We were attacked by terrorists", then puts up a headline that says "Victims say: It was militants". Sense any difference there? This is part of Fox's nonsensical idea to call suicide bombers "homicide bombers", which gives no information whatsover. What kind of bomber ISN'T a homicide bomber, a fireworks maker? What's the difference between the guy on the bus and the one who left bombs with timers on the trains, are they not both "homicide bombers"? Whoever came up with the style rule on suicide bomber terminology should be beaten soundly with a dictionary. (source: Fox).

Breaking my theory of lists

von at Obsidian Wings has a list in a blog post that is the opposite of most lists in blog posts - it's worth reading. It's in praise of righteous anger at the - I hesitate to use the word people - terrorists who bombed London.

The Evolution of Punting

On Pandagon there's a link to an article in The New Republic, quizzing some leading conservative columnists on their thoughts on evolution, and the mysticism calling itself "Intelligent Design". Since The Kansas schoolboard is about to cast doubt on the Theory of Evolution (no doubt to be followed by a repeal of gravity, sending the state hurtling up to heaven to visit God) it's an issue you would think the columnists would have thought. Some though, unable to hold such a dumb idea in their head were equally unwilling to offend the people behind the movement.

William Kristol punts: "I'm not a scientist. ... It's like me asking you whether you believe in the Big Bang.".

Grover Norquist: "I've never understood how an eye evolves." Here you go, Grover. Grover has unGoogle disease. He's unable to type in a question and click the first link in Google, which is apparently too lengthy and draining a research effort. Millions of exceptionally lazy students might agree.

David Frum - winner of Pandagon's Stupidest Answer Award- thinks the most popular theory should be taught. I can see the science class of the future: "Analyzing Sound Waves that are sure winners on American Idol".

David Taranto - of the Wall Street Journal - says, wisely, that ID does not belong in a science class at all. But he burns up what credit I give him for this very shortly. What does he end up saying we should do about Evolution, the most important theory underlying the entire science of Biology?"One possible solution might be just take it out of the curriculum altogether."

To the messenger: Duck

Instapundit Glenn Reynolds identifies the source of terror attacks across the globe....


I suppose that's better than Falwell's laying it the feet of gays. I'm wondering why now is the time when we're forced to defend the idea that reality should be the basis of reporting?


UK Flag
(image source: Wikipedia)

You can donate to the UK Red Cross London bombing relief effort here

Of course for many in North America, our roots come via the UK, though for any who are fond of democracy, it's impossible to imagine it in it's modern form without the UK. All share the horror and fury at these attacks by cowards. Brad Delong has some words worth noting on his blog
We mourn with the citizens of London.

We pledge to help track down and kill the perpetrators, the planners, and their helpers.

We note that it is 46 months after September 11, 2001, and that Osama bin Laden is still alive and at liberty. That somebody can plan September 11, 2001 and remain alive and at liberty provides powerful encouragement to those who think of following in his footsteps--including those who planned, aided, and carried out today's atrocity in London.

One UK view

Avedon Carol's Sideshow
So, let me tap into my terrometer and see how terrorized I feel this morning.

Hm, I don't feel any more terrorized than I felt two days ago. I just don't seem to have that wild urge to make a big show of how macho I am in the face of fear. I wonder why.

Oh, yes, it's because it seemed like only a matter of time before the effects of this insane invasion and occupation reached these shores, and while one could hope against hope that somehow we would be safe, one would have had to be dumber than dirt to think there was some magic barrier preventing it.

And neither will more stupid ideas that make life more complicated for ordinary people but will merely be an interesting - but surmountable - challenge to terrorists.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Good and bad firework commentary

I nominate firecrackery: as a new word that we could actually use:
I'm terribly thankful to have been witness to the show last evening, and for a little moment, refeeling that childlike glow of wonder at marvelous firecrackery.

- Adam Harvey
Organic Mechanic
It has advantages of being amusing, conveying actual information, and being pleasing to the ear. As to other words coined on some other blogs, such as "blawg" to signify a law-blog, they are not what they are crackeried up to be.

In Lakewood on the 4th, M_ and I enjoyed the firecrackery as well. We would have enjoyed it even more if a apparent cousin of that numbskull from last year who couldn't let a spark fly in the evening air without a lenghty, pointless commentary. 2005's idiot du jour had less to say, thankfully, aside from reacting to each airy explosion by saying "Boom!". Even he seemed to realize when his only comment on every single firework was to say "Nice!" that such rambling might be fruitless, and busied himself seeking light beer in his cooler.

Cell phone Wikipedia

Peter Shanks had a neat idea for a micro-Wikipedia for cell phone users browsing the web at He notes:

It didn't take me long to figure out that the greater web was just so much 'dog food' as far as mobile browsing went: you could eat it if you were hungry enough, but it wasn't really what I'd call fit for human consumption.
(per a link via Todd Ogasawara).

This may give my friend K_ an excuse to read us Wikipedia entries from his PDA which he's already tempted to show a PDA. R_ threatened him with death if he was instant messaging someone at the same party sitting a few feet away at a recent BBQ, but he was perusing the news. T_, visiting from the Carolinas makes a mean grilled eggplant, and it made me think of others who have fled our region for the mid-South. The heat has convinced M_ she would move no futher south though. She asked me today if we could move up to the Arctic Circle, so fond of the current humidity was she. My first thought was to wonder if I could get the wireless internet up there, secondly, that the BBQ season must be woefully short.

Friday, July 01, 2005

et cetera

Re-reading Marcus Aurelius's Meditations, one is struck by the fact every other maxim is more or less "you are going to die". On that happy note, I want to consider my own inevitable demise…

Melancholy...Being kept alive by feeding tube shall not occur, regardless of how many Senators are in need of an issue to distract from their own ethical scandals. Even if enough of my brain is alive enough to follow a balloon, spending my days balloon-following was not one of the dreams I had of the life ahead. At that point, it is my written will that you should pull the plug, beat me over the head with it, set my gurney on fire, send me over a cliff while I am hooked up to an IV full of poison, firing the occasional .50 caliber slug at my head - or end me by whatever means seem most convenient.

Sorrowful If I should unfasten the seatbelt of life before the plane has come to a full and complete stop at the terminal, weep if you will. But weep more if my body is then plasticized and placed in a pose relating to "extreme sports" in a misguided belief that I am part of Generation X, no matter how entertaining it may be to science center visitors across the nation.

WrathfulIf I happen to be murdered by a terrorist on a plane, please either sentence him to death or to a lifetime of watch Arliss - carefully edited to blur out Sandra Oh, the only worthwhile sight on the show - with the occasional episode of the torturous Mind of the Married Man. I would only add that the head of homeland security at that time - assuming they haven't improved by then - receive an identical sentence.

Ironic I never had enough string or finished Moby Dick.

Joyful I assume a conversation among friends of mine might go as follows (and if I could experience it at the time, bring me much joy)...

"Jerry died. Shame."

"Yes, funny fellow. Strange, though."

"So what are you doing this weekend?".

et cetera


With O'Conner retiring the next question is who will Bush nominate to join the Supremes. Using my crystal ball, I predict Bush - facing low approval ratings - will try to shore up his religious base with an anti-Roe judge. Needless to say, the Democratic congressional leadership will not be consulted by the White House. This is something Clinton used to do with the Republican minority leaders back in the days when the eye of the government was not so clearly focused on the uterus. I won't comment on what body parts the eyes of certain government officials may have been focused on. I expect in the coming fight that talking points will include "originalist" a great deal. This is great point of view for someone who thinks all philosophical thought peaked and ended somewhere in the late 18th century. I'm not sure polls showing Americans support the Roe decision will move Bush to pick a moderate for the court- all the polls showing a lack of support for the Iraq war did was force him to make a speech.

Rather than fight the tide, perhaps we can all join it. Agree to the most rabid anti-abortion SC nominee, and insist on privately-run Social Security savings accounts beginning with conception. Kind of a two-fer. In fact, why stop at conception? Because many think Onan pulled out too soon, we should begin campaigning against the "sperm holocaust". Perhaps we will be treated to heart-warming press conference in which President Bush meets with overjoyed parents who are adopting unwanted sperm. No reason only one gender should have it's naughty bits regulated by Uncle Sam.