Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Filing stories

File this one in the concealed carry files, also under the subheading "Don't bring a knife to a gunfight." I wonder if stores putting up signs banning legal concealed carry permit holders from entering would bear incidents like the aforelinked one in mind?

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

The Dog's Milk Paradox

Yet another creative person leaving Cleveland, though they cite one positive thing here as being the low housing costs. It's a kind of plus, though there is a certain puzzle to it. As they once said on the sci-fi comedy Red Dwarf, on which for reasons I will leave aside, the space ship's intelligent computer explains to the passenger why it has been giving him dog's milk from the ship's limited supplies of food...

"Nothing wrong with dog's milk. It even lasts longer than cow's milk."

"Why's that?"

"No one will drink it."

Redheads

So are Redheads a bit over the edge? Evidence can also be found here, and by the fact I am now apparently in that category albeit reluctantly and over by the side trying not look like I meant to be there, much like a certain nation building president I won't mention.

Blink

Am I reading this right?
My iPod Mini recently suffered that unfortunate iPod Battery Death Syndrome and I wasn't eligible for the free replacement. As a result, I went to the Apple Store on Sunday and shelled out a non-trivial quantity of my hard-earned cash for a new player.
This makes me wonder why any sane person would buy one, or buy another one. I know Apple has it's evangelists (so does MS and others). If a product need evangelizing, it must mean it lacks enough rational basis for buying it, or that people are just becoming more irrational.

Sadly

Sadly, No takes a few wingnuts down a few pegs here, but declines to analyze Adam Graham's recent column due it possibly being too stupid. So let's take a look...
I was having a discussion on the issue of ex-gays recently. One man on Red State.org made this observation, "I would say that homosexual rights activists don't care about the individual journeys and lives of people with homosexual feelings, they care about their political cause and nothing else."

How true that it is of numerous political activists. The cause is what matters, not the people they allege they're going to help. This is particularly prevalent on the American left.
Those terrible homosexual political activist who don't care about gays, unlike Adam, who certainly doesn't feel the need to say, speak to a single gay person to come up with his thesis. I like how the "American Left" is once again, scapegoat like, left to carry the sins of all political activists in the nation. I'm sure Eric Rudolph really had individuals, not some lofty cause, in mind as he went around bombing. He was such a wacky left-winger. Further along, Adam takes a swipe at the abortion industry, as he terms it.
Abortion provides survive and thrive on human misery. The less abortions there are, the less business there is for independent abortionists. To keep the numbers up, and to keep the money coming in, the number of abortions must remain high.
Whereas I'm sure Adam is all for increased contraceptive distribution and morning after pills, and other measures that would reduce the total number of abortions. But let's talk about something current in politics: Al Gore:
During the 2000 Presidential Campaign, Al Gore was notorious for turning poor people into political props, talking about how they couldn't afford medicine, had barely enough to live on, couldn't get adequate health care, etc.
It's sure is a shame when politicians exploit poor people by pointing out that they are poor. "Let us suffer in silence unnoticed, Al", I hear them cry. He then goes on to say, I kid you not, that when the politicos run across poor people, they should just hand them their personal money. I know congress is rich, but with 13% of the US in poverty it wouldnít have any discernible effect if they all bankrupted themselves. Unless what Adam is advocating is that we embrace some sort of communist regime.

He ends the column:
But when our politicians and activists truly care more about their policies than they do people, when they take the suffering and anguish of human beings and put it on display so they can exploit it, then they've crossed over the line, and the American people should not stand for it.
Would put on display include the display of dead fetus pictures popular at anti-abortion protest gangs, the shouting they make at people entering clinics, or the way they tried to push my friend into traffic because she had the gall to try and escort a young woman through the screaming throng? Does it have something to do with ex-gays? I give up. Sadly, No probably had the right idea.

Cleveland Ingenuity Festival

While Levin and Weiss want people in the suburbs to rediscover downtown and reconnect with the city, it's visitors from outside the region who will play an important role in the success of the event. 'We want people from outside Cleveland to come to Cleveland and experience the genius, the ingenuity, that lies here that just isn't exhibited well enough, ' Levin emphasizes.
Well said. Link via Adam of Organic Mechanic.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Anti-Stupidity

Congratulations to Mayor Joseph Kernan of Norton, OH for vetoing the stupid English only resolution city council threw at him. We need more officials like him.

Oil Slick

This is the kind of story that would probably have M_ vetoing me ever flying an actual plane. She already doesn't like the sound of the relatively minor alarms going off in Flight Simulator drifting down the stairs well while the pilot (being me) assures her that all is well. I'm flying out commercially on Saturday back to Nova Scotia, and Flight Simulator is what I contemplate whilst taking off my shoes and paying $3.50 for a bad sandwich.

Actors

Patricia Mitchell of oboeinsightcomments on a musical where in place of a pit orchestra, the actors on stage will play instruments. This sounds about as good an idea as turfing all the actors and letting the pit band act. Without knowing the musical abilities of the actors involved it's hard for me to say what the effect of the musical Patricia mentions will be like. I'd tend to suspect they are likely out of practice, and at best, at a high school level of skill. Imagine your high school band on stage, trying to play and hit marks at the same time. I wonder since they aren't using real musicians, do people still have to pay for tickets using real money?

Another one

It looks like Ahmed El Maati, a Canadian/Syrian citizen, was served up to the torturers in Syria and Egypt by Canadian authorities. Appalling, and reminiscent of the Maher Arar case, where the Americans deported that Canadian citizen to Syria for torture. It makes a find intellectual exercise to debate if the Western democracies should practice torture by proxy, except that we're already doing it.

Friday, August 26, 2005

On the menu

It's just possible this arrest might put me off eating at the Grand Buffet restaurant:

"Charges Filed After Goat Found Hog-Tied At Local Restaurant"

I'm wondering if there is any alternative to saying a goat was hog-tied, since goat-tied sounds awkward if perhaps more exact. Not knowing the various animal tying methods, I don't know if hogs are the only beasts with a bondage technique named for them.

Blogs for the soul?

Youíve no doubt seen the ubiquitous Chicken Soup for the Soul books. Like rabbits in Australia, theyíve multiplied at bookstores, and have even speciated into many varieties, Chicken Soup for the Grandparentís soul, Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul, Chicken Soup for the Chinese Jewish pre-Teen Skateboarderís Girlfriendís Soul, ad infinitum. Assuming that everything written in books is literally true, this would tell us that not only is there a soul, but that chicken soup is a curative for itís presumptive ills. This would further imply that the soul is a thing not just requiring God to set it in motion, (or perhaps Odin to hand it an iron sword and a hat) but also nourishment. This leads to an inevitable conclusion:

The soul would likely require Soul Food. I await BBQ Ribs for the Cardiac Surgeonís Soul.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

One mind at a time

The Anti-Evolution Discovery Institute lost one today. Panda's Thumb reports:
Robert Davidson has bailed out, saying

"When I joined [the Discovery Institute] I didnít think they were about bashing evolution. Itís pseudo-science, at best Ö What theyíre doing is instigating a conflict between science and religion."
Since the religious right has the so-called ex-gay movement, those of who don't think dinosaur bones were planted by the devil to confuse us can have the ex-Creationist movement.

Gas pains

I noticed Instapundit had a defense of SUV's noting such things as a need for room to put kids and DVD players in, as well as one reader who uses it to haul a hay wagon. All that's well and good. But as I'm taking the bus to work every day, I see countless SUVs making their daily commute with one driver, no passengers, and no hay-wagons. I guess the inherent inefficiency of using them this way is ok...itís not like the main region we get oil from has any political issues we might need to worry about one day. But if you think you might one day need to haul some hay, by all means, take that bad boy on the highway every day to get to your cubicle farm. Stick a few yellow ribbon magnets on there and that'll really make liberals mad, I suppose.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Poems from random emails

Instead of merely deleting random1 emails I get, why not reformat them as poetry?
I have a little question.
Somebody told me
that you are a horse farm
I am
from Germany and own my own
horses I miss it
really much
to be
around horses
and because of that I want to ask you
if you need free help
I would love
to help you
just to be
with horses


1I don't have a farm, don't have a horse, never ridden a horse, haven't seen the movie Horse.

Coffee with Steve

Steve Fitzgerald keeps an eye on Lakewood with Lakewoodbuzz.com and his Lakewood Life blog. He invited M_ and I out for coffee and talk. We shared stories of shopping for houses and how he and Will Kessel (Collision Bend) trade stories of home renovation. I shared that if I were to personally try my hand at fixing my home there might be a an epic tragedy worthy of a Wagnerian opera due to my lack of DYI skills.

We also covered Wifi in Lakewood...one question is would it be something of use to most of the city's citizens who don't even have computers. And Steve agreed that it would need to be funded just like any other city service, and a cost-benefit analysis would be needed to see if it would be worth it. The issue is still something both of us are undecided on, I think...I lean towards it, but I know that the budget is limited.

Steve also had a neat idea - line item taxes. You'd check off how you want your tax dollars spent - i.e. on what programs. He thought this would reflect well on the taxpayer who would be more inclined to fund things like the Dali museum that has since fled from Beachwood to Miami, and perhaps not things like convention centers. It would certainly very democratizing. I pointed out that the lobbyists would have less incentive to fund political campaigns, leading to no one being elected. This seems to reflect our blogs, Steve has ideas, and I have some satirical asides.

Trains on time

Small things like an efficient transit system can make a city more or less attractive to people who might move to Cleveland. In fact, I myself contemplated moving to Cleveland back in 1998 - obviously I voted with my feet on that count. One must bear in mind that I was living at the time in a town with 300 people, and two town activities: bowling and hunting. Not one to disparage a long-lived sport like bowling, it just didn't capture me and make me wish I could do that every week until I perished. I've never hunted, although I have nothing against it. I often enjoy hunting songs.
I always will remember, Twas a year ago November,
I went out to shoot some deer on a morning bright and clear
I went and shot the maximum the game laws would allow:
Two game wardens, seven hunters, and a cow

- Tom Lehrer 'The Hunting Song', Tom Lehrer Revisited
I was impressed by Cleveland having a well-noted Museum and Symphony, and the proximity to the Lake seemed enticing.

I don't pretend to know the minds of others who might want to move here. This puts my five levels below the skill of Michelle Malkin, who knows the mind of Casey Sheehan. Despite Michelle's mind-powers, I am not quite in line with her support for internment camps, perhaps fearing my mind may be read one day by her and I'd be tossed in a camp myself, along with all the other moonbats. Which makes me wonder where the term moonbat originates, and has any other word been so coined as to be so overused but convey so little, whilst having no relative in reality with which to base it's strange conglomeration of two words. But I digress.

Instead of pursuing future Office Max's with lucre - or as Roldo Bartimole so keenly observed - with cars, meals, and perhaps indentured servants, Cleveland could covet other resources. Instead of 350 million for a convention center, how about cleaning up area beaches and storm sewer runoff problems? Some people might move to Cleveland if it had nicer beaches, but I guarantee you not one soul is moving here for the convention center.

Mass transit is also a big selling point. Once upon a time, I nearly left Ohio for Chicago partly because I was so impressed with their transit system and use of the lake. My own use of mass transit dictates that I catch the 6:14 Blue Line train from Van Aken to Tower City. It's scheduled to arrive there at 6:37, which is handy because the bus I need to catch on the other side of Public Square leaves at 6:47. Ten minutes should be plenty of time for a stroll across the square, a glance over to the BP building to see if Cleveland's version of Gladiators is having a match, and a wink to the statue of General Cleaveland. But if the train is late, and I miss the bus, I have to spend 30 minutes cooling my heels. Which wouldn't bother me too much, but the train has been late every single time I've taken in for about three months. I've emailed complaints to gcrta.org, but no one has responded. Then I wondered how many other commuters are also in my situation with their own perpetually late buses and trains? If they leave, do we blame the Office Max of the day, or beaches and how well the transit system is humming? Oddly enough, this is not a rhetorical question.

Nitpicking

'They have literally stuck their hands into a hornet's nest,' said Dr. Kanwaljeet Anand, a fetal pain researcher at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, who believes fetuses as young as 20 weeks old feel pain.
(emphasis mine). No, in your view they have figuratively stuck their hands in a hornet's nest. If they were literally doing it, they would have stuck their hands in a hornet's nest in the real world. In the real world that I live in, the one with blue skies, they just issued a report. Did they have any English classes in this guy's medical education? (Story Link).

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Canadianism

I had a dream in which I channeled Rorschach* to say "You don't understand - Canada won't be the 51st state, the US will be the 11th province!"

* This only makes sense if you've read The Watchmen.

Answering Rhetorical questions

I'll give you 9Ĺ weeks to come up with Mickey Rourke's last decent performance.
- Chuck Yarborough
Sin City. That didn't take long.Link.

Are any of the left-of-center blogs linking to this show?
Yes (see Thursday 9/8 at 7 PM). I didn't notice it til after it aired...not sure about the tone that any ommision of what Charles thinks everyone should link to is 'deafening'. Why? Because you will always be able to find a story or TV show that not many are linking to, unless what he's proposing is that everyone link to everything, which is sort of pointless.

Not to be lazy, I'll supply my own rhetorical question...Is it useless to ask us to watch out for suspicious homeless people? Yes.

A thousand times no

John C. Dvorak has this to say about emoticons:
Over the years people have tried to rid e-mail of emoticons. The English professors were the first to grouse, saying that there is no reason to use them since a well-structured sentence could do the trick. This reasoning made sense until you tried to build that well-structured sentence. There are hidden attributes in the structure and delivery of e-mail that make the use of emoticons imperative in many instances.
No, no, no.It's imperative because you want to convey a thought or emotion but cannot imagine what words you would use to do so. So clearly, you need to read some more. Imagine for a moment that if instead of writing an email, you are playing a song on the piano, improvising. You feel the need to express musically the emotion of boundless and foolish joy. But because you're not sure how to do that in the form of sound, you suddenly stand up from the bench and hold up a sign saying "Smile!". This would be acceptable if your age is in single digits, but otherwise, indicates you just don't know how to communicate in your chosen medium.

Also, John Hargrave wrote the definitive treatise on the emoticon on the net.

Advice

If you have long hair, a beard, sing opera, dance ballet, lip synch, and have gold caps on your teeth you may not want to move to Turkemenistan. It's just another tale of a dictator, which I imagine is less funny should you happen to live there.

Four percent

Via the Newsnet5 website
Only 4 percent of Norton [Ohio] residents age 5 and older speak a language other than English at home, according to the 2000 U.S. Census.
But that's apparently enough to scare Councilman William Mowery. He sponsored a measure to declare the town's official language to be English. Now I'm not saying the move is racist, but do you suppose it was enacted because someone in Norton got annoyed seeing that the people blowing leaves off of his lawn were all speaking to each other in Swedish?

As for Norton, whether this will now be followed by a Stalinistic purge of the local high school's French club remains to be seen.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Curious

For those who think racial profiling works, I'd like some proof - for example, would it have stopped this guy? I know, I know, he's a maniacal Christian killer, not Islamic. He's hardly likely to be led to commit murders through a twisted religious teaching...err...nevermind.

Just a note

The Arab News reports on Last of the Settlers Leave Gaza Strip
The last of the Jewish settlers left the Gaza Strip yesterday and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas acknowledged the role of the martyrs in their eviction.
It's always nice to see our traditional allies like Saudi Arabia boosting suicide bombers.

PDQuestions

John Campanelli replies to some blogosphere generated critiques of the Sunday PDQ column that lately has featured some quotes from blogs. I've done some cipherin' on this one, and I think I have come to the conclusion it's a nice idea. I'd rather see the paper actually looking into some news items (hello - hourlong interviews with the Cleveland mayoral candidates done by bloggers) but that decision rests with the higher-ups. It reminds me of when the web was young, and TV news would do a 2 minute spot on the wacky web*. It may be the PeeDee will get blogs on another level eventually.

* WKYC - who once equating blogging with child stalkers - are unlikely to catch on, however.

Ohio elections

So there's elections workers here in Cuyahoga County getting subpoenas about the December 2004 election recound. Some of the claims of the prosecutors:
It failed to randomly select the 36 precincts used to represent at least 3 percent of the total vote for the December recount.

It conducted 'test-run' recounts without witnesses.

It did not allow witnesses to observe irregularities in the review of cases where the presiding judge transported ballot assemblies, ballots and other items.

It repeatedly fed trays of ballots back through the counting machines without keeping records of the counts.

It failed to investigate discrepancies between the certified recount vote totals and the certified original totals.
None of which is good, although this county went for Kerry, not Bush in the last election, so it's not clear that would have made any difference if this were intentional hanky-panky. My read on it is it's likely just our old friend incompetence - mostly. Not saying there wasn't any fraud, but I would want some better evidence to say that it's likely there was fraud or not. It speaks volumes that after the confused results back in 2000 the election system is still not fixed, and no one is showing a serious interest in changing it to any extent. Any one care to guess what effect stories like this has on voter turnout?

Friday, August 19, 2005

Friday Cat Blogging


Conner

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Transcribing

Ok, I'm going to give props to all you folks who can transcribe from recordings out there. I just tried to start to transcribe the "meet the bloggers" interviews George had up in MP3 format, and it took me ten minutes to do one minute of audio. I surrender.

Moons and Bats

Guess the three left wing nutjobs who said the following:

1. "You can support the troops but not the president".

2. "Well, I just think itís a bad idea. Whatís going to happen is theyíre going to be over there for 10, 15, maybe 20 years".

3. "Explain to the mothers and fathers of American servicemen that may come home in body bags why their son or daughter have to give up their life? "

Those darned moonbats get you every time. Read Jeff Hess for the answers.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Blogger meetup

Will at Collision Bend blogged the Cleveland weblogger meetup quite nicely. One thing that was mentiond was how the media here in Cleveland is more or less unconscious to the podcasted interviews George Nemeth, Tim Russo, and Bill Callahan are doing with the Mayoral candidates. NPR which as you may recall has a local outfit here called WCPN is not covering this at all. You'd think they'd jump at hour long interviews in audio format with some interesting points brought out. Anyway, Will did a nice job summarizing the meetup on his laptop - as for me, my laptop funds have been diverted to landscaping for the foreseeable future.

George Gives thanks

Thank you, wise and powerful editors says George Nemeth of Brewed Fresh Daily.

Just so I understand the depth of their vacuity, they say that since the plan to suck a company out of Shaker Heights and move it ten miles to Cleveland (a plan that failed anyway), putting aside it's probably a bad way to spend tax bucks - this plan is what Cleveland needs more of?

I think I'll go live on the wind turbine island until the Visigoths are done sacking the city.

No comments?

Haloscan comments not showing up. Hrm.

Taft Graft could cause Ohio to be at-much-Laughed

So they're charging Ohio Governer Bob Taft with 4 misdemeanors. This can't be good for Ohio - at the very least it reduces the ease at which we had previously made fun of Kansas.

Light the Night walk

From Mark at Eating Cleveland:
I am going to be participating in the Light the Night walk for the second year and I would like to beat last years contribution by raising $5000 for the LLS. .. All of the money donated stays in this area, so your readers would be helping fellow Clevelanders with leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma.
Sounds like a good cause - click here to learn more.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Favourite Phrase of the week

: 'Pennsic Smell': A finely mixed concotion of cut grass, wood smoke, pipe tobacco, dirt, BO, and that sickly sweet smelling chemical the portapotties get filled with. Surprisingly it's not too bad all at once.


Jen of Very Big Blog

Lakewood WiFi

So they had a Lakewood Technology Summit (I missed that one somehow) mostly focusing on the idea of the city providing WiFi. Presently there is no general WiFi provider in the city. I've read some arguing the market should decide, but when the market is absent, perhaps the public itself can step in. As I presently have no wireless equipment or even a laptop, I don't actually have a dog in this hunt. In the age of rising fuel prices, WiFi flowing around the city might decrease the cost of people telecommuting.

But I think the biggest potential is that you are giving more people access, and what they do with it might be as impressive and unanticipated as what people did with widespread access to the Internet itself. Steve Fitzgerald has a good summary here, and the Lakewood Public Library has some Powerpoint slides and a summary. If you don't have Powerpoint, you can download a viewer here, or use the free Open Office. Open Office might be an idea as well for people without much cash but who want document, spreadsheet, and presentation software on their computers once they get hooked up via muni Wifi.

Cleveland Weblogger August Meetup

If you can possibly be on the west side of Cleveland on Wednesday, August 17th, come to the August Blogger Meetup. It will be at Metro Joe's in Ohio City (details in the prior link). There is no agenda per se, unless you count this thread (and I don't) so come and listen to other area bloggers. Even if you don't have a blog, you can still come, it's a good way to understand that groups of intelligent people are by definition not angry loners. I've been to a few of these, and always learn something.

Feeling Safe II

This just in: security experts has announced that several modern tools - once thought the innocuous domain of the law-abiding - hide within them the ability to be used for evil. Amongst the objects that could be used for ill are paper, pens, highlighters, movable type printing presses, and mimeographs.

Well, maybe not, but is it any more useful to say that evildoers are using iPods? Just about any object can be used for any purpose by any person, but to me it hardly seems useful to "better learn how criminals can obtain and conceal vast quantities of information using the devices". If the investigators don't know you can store data on iPods, I wouldn't trust them to look at the criminal's computers either.

Defectors

Over at Anita Campbell's Small Business Trends, Laurence Haughton writes:
Right now somewhere between 32 and 94 per cent of all customers are thinking about ditching their current supplier for the competition.

* About one-third of all insurance clients are looking around.
* Over half of all cell phone customers are on the edge (the same is true in financial services).
* Four of five apparel buyers are ready to switch.
* And 94 out of every 100 diners who bought a burger last week may not come back this week.
Interesting article. Aside from following through on service, are there other items companies can do to gain more loyalty? For example, I have no problem with Wal-Mart's prices, but the combination of how poorly they pay and give health benefits to their workers makes me never want to set foot in their stores. Is there something to Google's whole be good mantra?

Pop Quiz

Here's a question - assuming we have a hard hitting, digging for the truth type press corps and they had asked a president this question, which president would it be?
Q: Your shorts are torn there, Mr. President. Tell us about that.
Could it be Clinton? Carter? Alas, this line of tough, non-nonsense questioning was put to President George W. Bush, while bicycling around in Texas.
Eric Umansky - on his eponymous blog - has more here. I for one am glad someone is reporting good news for a change, and the Prez is getting on with his life.

Roberts - less exciting than an Easter egg colored suit

Michael Meckler reports that some on the right are less than thrilled with prospective Supreme Court Justice John Roberts. He looks at some bloggers invited to a gathering on the judicial system hosted by the Family Research Council (headed by James look-at-dad's-penis Dobson)
Ed Morrisey of Captain's Quarters, one of the invitees, complained about the first release of a Reuters story that claimed that speakers at 'Justice Sunday II' failed to endorse John Roberts. Lance McMurray of Red State Rant followed up with further complaints about the professionalism of the Reuters reporter. But aside from reaction to the Reuters story, what little post-event blogging took place dealt with topics other than the nomination of Roberts: e.g., are white churches mimicking the political activism of black churches?; or having a lighter confiscated at the airport on the return trip. Indeed, Rob Huddleston of Voluntarily Conservative concluded that 'Justice Sunday II' was not about John Roberts.
That being said, just because those on the right are not excited about Roberts is no reason for those of us on the liberal side of the aisle should be happy either. Left unsaid, is that items like abortion rights, school prayer, et all are easily ignored if you have enough money to travel for abortions or enroll your kid in private non-religious school. Are we going to end up with what practically amounts to a second set of laws if you're poor?

I like Meckler's aside noting that some of the post-Roberts blogging was about completely unrelated items, as a parable that blogging and reporting - though both are sometimes journalism - are not always the same thing.

Feeling safer

The TSA is doing a bang-up job of keeping terrorists out of planes - no matter how young
Ingrid Sanden's one-year-old daughter was stopped in Phoenix before boarding a flight to Washington at Thanksgiving.
Well, ok, that seems like we've got idiots guarding the planes. The important thing is that they're following the rules, though, right? Whoops:
The Transportation Security Administration, which administers the lists, instructs airlines not to deny boarding to children under 12 - or select them for extra security checks - even if their names match those on a list.
So they have no sense at all, and can't follow their own rules. I feel much safer now. Stories like this one will seem a whole lot less funny if you-know-who manages to sneak guns onto planes because we don't screen airport maintenance personel while we're busy asking babies if they've ever been to terror training camps in central Asia.

Monday, August 15, 2005

When the Crap hits the shelter

M_ and I have been bussing to work together this summer, enjoying the relative lack of gas buying that entails. One dead mouse in our ointment of mass transit fun has been the bus shelter we wait at. A few weeks ago, someone was repeatedly smearing dog crap on the walls and the bench inside. Day after day, they'd reapply more each time, in one case perching a dead rodent on top of the mess.

It wasn't a big deal for us, as we could stand outside, but I wondered how many older folk got stuck in the rain. Ingredient one in this unpleasant mix are unruly, idiotic teens. I tend to blame parents, as I don't think teens whose habits involve the library and enjoying literature are into much poo-smearing. I could be wrong though. Secondly in the causes of the crap-tastrophe, is the presence of the garbage can beside the shelter, which combined with the third cause - Lakewood's curb laws - leads to a ready supply of material for which to make the shelter a place no one would want to enter. M_ sent emails of complaint to RTA and the Lakewood police. Results:

- RTA A + - they replied via email - albeit in all caps - and the shelter was in fact clean later. However, I'm not sure if it's actually them that clean it or a shelter adopter.

- LPD - no reply. Moral - don't email the police with crappy complaints.

I wonder if it would be useful to have a (Wiki?) directory of real info about transit shelters big and small with info like how to volunteer to adopt one, which ones to avoid after dark, and which ones get blasted by water spray from passing cars in the season of slush, only a few short months away? Failing that, I wonder if there are freelance editors out there to help me with my addiction to run-on sentences.

Jobs?

Interesting take in the Free Times on the idea of politicians offering tax breaks to companies to relocate to their towns:
After reviewing more than 400 studies on the matter, Lynch confidently debunks the widely held notions that taxes have a significant impact on the bottom line, or play an important role in a company's decision to relocate.

"Contrary to all the heated political rhetoric, there isn't much impact [from tax cuts]," Lynch says. "A lot of state and local politicians think taxes are a huge cost of doing business, but really they amount to 1.2 percent of total costs, on average." It can be even less after firms deduct state taxes from what they owe the federal government.
There's something awfully familiar in the rhetoric of the people actually in charge of our region - politically - in trying to lure business to Northern Ohio. It brings to mind a company I thankfully no longer work for, that was replete with middle managers whose jobs have little relationship to what you and I might call work. Desperate to have reports on how useful they were, they clung to the latest trendy words and biz spin to create projects that would never help the bottom line. I'm annoyed that all I read in the PeeDee is ideas for bringing Wal-Mart and convention centers to Cleveland, and not so much because building the football, baseball, and basketball venues has brought the city so many jobs we're hiring Canadians to do some jobs for us. I feel like the city is brimming with ideas but that the most innovative ones aren't seeing the light of the daily paper.

Rhymes with Puck

CBC does a story on how the Canadian Press Handbook now includes the word that rhymes with puck. One of the people behind the Handbook doesn't seem too pleased
'It's much more socially acceptable than it used to be,' says Katherine Barber, the editor-in-chief of the Canadian Oxford Dictionary. 'I hear children using it a lot. I hear them walking down the street saying it, and I mean young children who are only nine or 10 years old. Maybe children that age have always been running around yelling it, but I don't think so.'
I must object. I recall in the wacky 70's, when I was but a tyke the f word was in it's heyday, and used as much as possible along with every other curse word we had available. Having done practice teaching of grades k-6 in the 90's, I can assure anyone who thinks children today posess Christ-like innocence that they are severly mistaken. However if we wish to prevent the more easily upset amongst us from abosorbing this reality, I might suggest the very satisfying substitute I've been hearing on the excelled Battlestar Gallatica: Frack (also, fracking), which seems to have retained all the meanings of it's better known non-fictional cousin.

OfficeMax leaving Ohio

The Shaker Heights head office of OfficeMax will close as they consolidate to Illinois:
It also severs the last local thread of a company founded in Cleveland in 1988 and drains the tax pool in Shaker Heights, which annually receives more than $1 million from OfficeMax.
OfficeMax was founded here and still left - so when we court large companies to move here with tax incentives, is that the best bang for the buck? What stops them from leaving, and how do they differ from smaller companies which might be less likely to move, but since they're smaller, make less of a resume booster for the local politicos. I would make a joke here about "last one to leave Ohio, please turn out the lights" but you do remember who our power company is around these parts, right?

Friday, August 12, 2005

Friday Cat Blogging


(click for full size, it's about 587 K)

Olive lives with A_ - also known as mom to M_.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Desire

Patricia is feeling lusty and looking for donations. It's not what it sounds like, though. I've felt the same lust myself, from time to time.

Umansky on the fingering of Atta

Eric Umansky asks an interesting question regarding the recent NYTimes scoop that the pentagon fingered four of the 9/11 hijackers before the 9/11 attacks
If the Pentagon's secret data-mining program really did finger some of the future hijackers, how many other names were on the list? Tens, hundreds, thousands?
If the data, in fact, held many "hits" that turned out to be nothing, it may be useless that it also hit on the real hijackers. It's not much use finding the data after the attack after the hijackers were identified by other means. So were the data-miners guilty of confirmation bias? We don't seem to have enough information to say.

Bill Peschel

Some words of wisdom via Bill Peschel:
If you've read more pages of 'Writer's Digest' than pages you've written, you're thinking too much. If you've been plotting your novel for the last year, you're thinking too much.
. Link via the incomparible Oklahoma blogger, Lynn of Reflections in d minor.

John Gibson, un-understood

John 'I'd-really-prefer-terrorism-in-France' Gibson is not pleased with Mick Jaggers's song mocking neo-cons. I wonder if he intends anything he says to be taken as serious news commentary, or he's just stringing together some phrases picked up from madmen raving in the town square. Sometimes I can't tell the difference, naive fellow that I am. Example:
I used to work at Mick's record company. Took him to dinner once. It was 30 years ago. But there's no way he's singing about a guy - George W. Bush - even if it is political commentary. No way.

Well wait. He is getting old. But, still, no way.
I guess the theory here is that as people get older they become more gay?

Moving on...
This is the guy who has inspired God knows how many American criminals, those tattooed, toothless types you see lurking around places you want to just keep driving through. They all sit around saying, 'Well, hell, if it's ok by Mick, I guess it's ok by me. I'll just go beat somebody's head in with a pool cue.'
Not being my field, I must have missed the sociological studies proving that Mick freaking Jagger caused untold amounts of pool cue related crime. The only evidence I've found of rock related trouble is a spike in hair gel sales owing to some folks trying to imitate Billy Idol in his younger years.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Thought for the day

I'm sure we'll all agree that we ought to love one another. And I know there are people in the world who do not love their fellow human beings, and I hate people like that.

- Tom Lehrer

Unintentional Humour

Bradford Plumer finds some hilarious stuff, where James Dobson of Focus on the Family wants kids to focus on, um, well, something else entirely.

Podcasting killed the Radio star?

If you still have an interest in terrestrial public radio, Steve Kovatch of Cupertino, Ohio has found the mother lode: "you can also pick from any of the BBC networks, any of the local CBC channels, Australia national radio, Iranian radio, VOA, Deutsche Welle, Korea, and probably 5 other countries I've left out." I'll have to swing by and give a listen.

3rd Flute Syndrome

Mel at Life Cycle of a Fruit Fly has put her finger on a phenomenon I have often noticed, but had trouble articulating. When people know you, but you don't know them
The majority of the people I talk with sort of all blend together. I have the same conversations over and over some days, and itís hard to remember who I told what to, not to mention what that personís name was. This isnít to say that these arenít perfectly nice and interesting people, or that I have no desire to get to know them better. Itís just that I talk to so many people in an average day itís hard to keep them all, well, straight would be the wrong word given where I work, but you know what I mean.
I would like to term this the 3rd Flute Syndrome. The etymology is as follows: in my old band days, I was noted for telling many horrible, horrible puns during practice. Thus everyone got to know my name as the conductor shouted it - oft in rage - to silence my word-based amusements. But then years later, some of these band-folk, long since diasporaed by graduating, would come up to me and call me by name. If their life's interaction with me consisted of being the 3rd flute player, never having spoken to me before, it's pretty unlikely I'd remember much about them. This is not due to lack of interest in who they were as a person, but I simply never had an involved conversation with them. Given that I was in the band for six years, with around ninety to one hundred people in the band each year, there are a veritable murder of band-mates of whom I would know very little. Perhaps by giving my mental affliction - shared by Mel - a name, it will bedemon me less.

* I've decided to invent the words disaporaed and bedemon for the purposes of this essay, which you may consider entirely fictional, and any resemblance to any real words is unintentional.

Ever helped your mom with her PC?

Then you know the pain of describing the various menu items to click on to install or fix things. Via Joel Spolsky's blog, I read about a new remote control software called Fog Creek Copilot which sounds interesting. Basically you pay ten bucks and get to help as many people (from different computers) as you can in 24 hours. I may give this a go and post about how it works here.

City of God

Adam at Organic Mechanic liked City of God, a film I meant to see but it slipped my mind. Adam has his take on it:
...we can't help but absorb some of his fascination and respect for the strength and ruthlessness of the hoods of the slum. You can sense at some level that the narrator wishes he had the cojones to be a hood and shoot a gun. He settles for shooting with a camera.
The review in full is via the link above, but overall it sounds like worthwhile viewing.

Krispy Kreme Kash

Auditors have told Krispy Kreme they need to restate their earnings. They evidently found the earnings report were covered by a sugary glaze lacking in any nutritional value.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

No ideas of my own, how about these?

George Nemeth, Bill Callahan, and Tim Russo are interviewing candidates for Cleveland Mayor. They've talked to Jim Draper and Bob Triozzi so far. If you can vote in Cleveland and want to hear some intelligent questions asked, they're podcasting the interviews.

Martha is giving bite-sized snippets of information and commentary on the arts via Your Daily Art. In this installment, the art work of Beatrix Potter is considered (beyond bunnies).

As one who will be flying this coming 9/11, it's always comforting to learn yet more that we knew about the 9/11 hijackers, yet did nothing about it, tossing the knowledge aside like so much trimmed scrub vegetation on our ranch. Tim Russo of Democracy Guy expounds a bit on this in the aforelinked article.

Bill Callahan, of Callahan's Cleveland Diary fame, notes that Ken Blackwell's campaign has dropped support for a taxpayer bill of rights, and he finds the rationale behind this move a bit shady.

Jen over at Very Big Blog links to the ongoing battle in the world that is far more interesting than Islam vs Christianity, Republicans vs Democrats, or science vs. stuff I made up.

Ladygoat finds that some clams are not all they are baked up to be.

Patricia Mitchell of Oboeinsight hopes the article she read that Classical music is rising as a cool thing is true, but she's not completely sold on it:
But I have kids, so I see a lot of kids, and I've rarely seen even the ones who play instruments or sing get too jazzed about a classical concert. I can rarely get my own students to concerts, in fact.
People in the seats is a very simple, and often brutally accurate measure of the present popularity of any kind of performed art.

Eric Umansky, who writes the absolutely indispensable Today's Papers column at Slate, writes on his own blog:
I do not support a unilateral withdrawal. But aren't there smarter strategies than this kind of auto-pilot whack-a-mole, which last week resulted in the deaths of two dozen Marines?
He should learn to cheer up, and enjoy the "rather quiet political progress".

Finally in this installment of pointing out other people's ideas things I am reading, John Etorre encourages writers to save August 19th for the Poets and Writers league. On a random note, the signature line on John's blog signature reads like "John 9:44 AM". For some reason this causes in me a momentary mindblink in which I try to recall which Biblical verse that is.

The sun will come out tomorrow

Secretary of State Condi Rice says of Iraq nowadays
It's a lot easier to see the violence and suicide bombing than to see the rather quiet political progress that's going on in parallel.
The positive attitude they administration has been showing seems in keeping with Bush's attitudnal approach of always spinning everything, and never admitting error.

Now the old, cynical me simply might say that the administration is playing with our lives in order to stay in line with their political philosophy.

But I've abandoned cynicism, so I have to view their optimism that gleams like Little Orhan Annie's, as having but a sole cause. Everyone in the administration is as gay as Christmas.

Crime solved

Lesser minds might think the way to cut down on crime would be to increase the ratio of police to civilians (per Freakonomics, cited as the real reason the crime in NYC dropped). But not Cleveland Councilman Zach Reed - he's pinning the blame on oversized t-shirts. Can one become a leader of the city merely by picking out a random characteristic of any criminal - ignoring any non-lawbreakers sharing it - and call for a ban to help fight crime? In that case I'd like to see crime fought with bans on other behaviours as well. Let's ban smoking while walking, failing to hold open the door, chewing gum, eating nachos with cheese with an evil glint in your eye, public displays of affection, cowboy hats on anyone born north of Texas, anyone who says "keepin' it real", middle-aged TV anchors reviewing "the blogging phenomenon", spitting, running in the halls, insufficiently dirty tennis shoes, bumper stickers, people who pronounce it "eck cetera", and disclosing covert CIA agent's identities. The fall in crime that follows will decidedly outbalance the fact the police will have to give up enforcing other laws to stop those who insist on doing anything that annoys me.

Monday, August 08, 2005

It's summer, what else are you going to do


(click for full size, about 93 k)

R_, R_, B_, J_ and M_ enjoy the patio at Twist. Thanks to Adam for snapping the photo.

New personal record

Michael Totten is guest-blogging at Instapundit. I guess the "Heh Indeed" nanite Glenn was having built to cover for him during vacations is not ready yet. Michael T. enabled me to set a new record for number of words read before giving up reading a post - he had me at two:
Fellow centrist...


If I was a regular coffee drinker, my laptop would have been fried right there.

Fellowships

Last week, some of our fellowship in the persons of R_ and K_, as well as R_ and B_, visited Montreal...although so far the only photo they sent me was the scariest (alternatively, the gayest) image my eyes have yet beheld.

Photo by Rachel, aka R_ of R_ and B_
Click for the full image (587 kb jpg showing some of the real life fellows taking this trip)

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Poor man theorizes

The Poor Man analysizes Michael Totten and the current reasons for the war in Iraq
...the way to bring democracy to the Middle East is by invading Iraq, toppling Saddam, clearing away the roses and candy, and going home in time for Thanksgiving. The Iraqis will be eternally grateful, and a great wave of democracy whisky sexy will spread out over the entire Muslim world until it reaches the non-Muslim world, at which point, I gather, it will stop.

My views on skateboarding

Ok, I'm not going to share my views on skateboarding. Why not? I don't skateboard, have never owned a skateboard, and don't think it's an interesting way to spend my time, my lack of co-ordination notwithstanding. This kind of concern doesn't prevent Michael Kanellos at news.com from talking about video games, of which he says his own experience is apparently limited. He's all for restricting some games to Adult Only. Of his gaming, he says:
I admit I'm not a huge fan of video games. Even as a kid I really couldn't get fired up about "Pac-Man." I also believe that they can suck up inordinate amounts of time and contribute to the obesity problem.
Not Dance Dance Revolution! Seriously - anytime you are engaged in an activity other than exercise, you could be said to be "contributing" to the obesity problem, so this argument seems specious to me. I'm not sure if he's saying that changing the ratings on some games will cause kids to play fewer games, because they will only be able to play the PG13 type ones, which are inherently less fun? Currently the retailers would probably not sell an Adults Only game in numbers enough to be profitable for most companies. As a compromise, how about the Ebert option? He has proposed a new movie rating for movies to which no one under 18 is admitted, for non-pornographic films that otherwise have trouble earning an "R", but deserve to be shown.

But this whole anti-game bandwagon is really rolling now. It's popular among some Democrats as well, including Hilary Clinton who's doing her best to make me not want to vote for her in 2008. I occupy a niche that consists of the people who'd like to vote Democrat, and probably will unless a very smart Republican emerges. This is on the opposite side of the field from the niche of people who say they 'd like to vote Democrat as a way to pretend to be centrists, whilst looking towards the latest spin from the RNC to stamp the word "indeed" after. Everyone can agree that one party states are bad, but seem to forget that two party states are only one party better.

Michael has his own idea of what might constitute a good game:
But I'm also very impressed with the creativity of the industry. Seriously. The vast majority of games are actually more interesting than critics allow. If anyone knows of any that let you run anachronistic scenarios--such as "What if the Aztecs had cars?"--let me know. And the titles--"Destroy All Humans," "Solar Boy Django," "Escape of Bipeds"--beat anything coming out of Hollywood. There's a certain level of weirdness that is very engaging.
I think if "What if the Aztecs had cars" became a game, you'd have kids positively leaping out of houses to avoid playing it. I think that may very well be the worst game idea I've ever heard. I wonder if I can call a rhetorical foul, for use of the word "creativity" to mean: "I have no idea what you do, but I don't want to antagonize you too much, so I'll glance at some titles of games at Best Buy then pronounce you full of creativity".

Google News

I'm not saying Google News is useless, but when they put up a headline like this:



You have to question their news feed picks. It appears as the second item under "US" news, not even segregated to an area marked "Opinion" or perhaps "letter to the editor".

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

A study in contrasts

It's fair to say that blogs have been out for a while now. Newspapers should have some grasp of them, you would think. This week's Free Times (their website seems to be offline right now) has a piece in their chatter section that mentions Bill Callahan's1 analysis of the whole Wal-mart in Cleveland thing. They actually mention what the points of his articles, and give background info on the issues. You know, what you might call news. I'd give them an A for talking about what the blogger is covering, not just "those wacky web folk" approach that a certain local weekly rag seems to take. Maybe an A minus for having a downed web site this long.

Meanwhile, the Plain Dealer has a different take. They have more money to spend keeping their web site up, but this is not an indication that the powers-that-be there take blogging seriously, or as a source of real information. Instead, they have a list what might as well be called wacky blogger quotes here. A plus, modified to C for covering the fact bloggers exist, but not focusing on what they're actually talking about.

1He does what you might call real analysis, as opposed to ex-trombonist meanderings you're likely to find here

More Letters

I tend to keep in touch with family via email, having moved far from home...but I wonder if an actual letter has a certain, as the French say, "I don't know", that makes it somehow a superior if slower version. I'll have to get to work on these soon. Due to the vagaries of the mail between here and Canada I may get up there before my letters do. Luckily for all involved I lack offspring, and thus also lack any deeds of theirs I would feel the need to commit to paper and annoy what relatives I still have left that still like me. Perhaps less a recitation of events than a reflection on their meaning is called for...

Letters

Syntax of Things found an image of a letter between two of my favourite poets, Wallace Stevens and William Carlos Williams (if you have not heard of them, they wrote largely on ice cream and chickens). Many other neat book-related images as well, worth some browsing time. Link via Bookslut.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Sentencing guidelines needed

I'm all for civil rights - because I have a hunch that's what the terrorists are against, actually - but this sentence is pretty bad
In any given traffic stop, with a few notable exceptions, the below rules will help protect your civil rights and improve your chances of driving away safelyóso you don't have to be a legal expert to say and do the right thing.
(emphasis mine). "The below rules"?

Bruce Campbell

All of you Evil Dead fans in Cleveland, get ready for Bruce Campbell visiting us on August 7th. The chin that walks like a man will be signing his new book. Then they're showing his film Man with the Screaming Brain over in Shaker Square cinemas that night at 7. That would be easier to manage if JB was still in Shaker Square of course. This seems like the appropriate venue to try to attend my first author signing. I know, I know, Margaret Atwood is my special goddess. But I hear she'll be having robots sign for her in the future, so I think I'm covered here.

Quick Boys - quick to try to intimidate

Via Jenv of Circadian Shift...Apparently "Quick Boys" movers in Toronto, ON tried to shut negative comments about them on a blog by threatening to tell the blogger's employer. The only reasonable response, of course, is to insure Google knows how to find Quick Boys or Quick Boys Movers or Quick Boys Movers in Toronto. Kids, do not try to intimidate people who can publish about you just by clicking.

Various Locations

Northern Ohio Live has put out it's annual "Best Restaurants" poll. I wonder if someone with some traffic (like Ladygoat or George Nemeth) might consider putting out a blogger based best of list of eateries in the area.

But back to N.O. Live's list...They pick Mama Santa in Little Italy as the best "Italian Family" place. Can't argue there, you get just about the most bang for the buck. But the next two places in the category ...let's just say they can be listed as being located in "various locations." This should have been a clue to the readers in this poll that they were not getting the best Italian food in the area. How about sticking with Little Italy - Maxi's just down the street from Mama Santa has possibly the most delicious calamari that I've tasted in my life.

In the Greek category, well...Readers of N.O. Live, I want you to sit down with me. Sit over by the window, where you can enjoy the sunlight. Relax, take a breath. I have some news for you. Just because a certain restaurant has the work "Greek" in it's name...not only does this not mean it's the best Greek place in town...because my sweet N.O. Live reader, it is not...it very well may be that it's downright terrible. But I want to shake your hand, gentle reader, for recognizing Niko's on Detroit Road in Lakewood for the excellence in Greco-food wrestling that they do so well.

Not to pump up Lakewood or anything, but I think Sakura - on Detroit Road - is better than any of the places they list as "Best Japanese," having tried them all.

Finally, N.O. Live reader, I think the aforelinked Mr. Nemeth - notwithstanding, my earlier careful words with you remonstrating your picking of you-know-who as the "Best" Greek place (it's still so not the best) -would probably like to beat the living caffeine out of you for picking *bucks as Best Coffee House.

If you're hiding out from him, why not stop by for a sandwich at J. Pistone's on Warrensville Center Road in Shaker Heights - M_ and I just enjoyed some roast beef and a chicken curry wrap there, it's also got pasta, wine and cheese, and it's only found in one location.

Callahan on WalMart marketing

Bill has a beautiful illustration of the effect the proposed Walmart in Cleveland will have on area merchants, notably local grocery stores. I have nothing against capitalism, but when you spend money support big projects to hurt small ones, it's fair to question everything about it.

Point Pleasant redux

After Hurricane Juan devastated Point Pleasant Park (Halifax, NS) in 2003, they decided to have a contest to redesign the park. The Herald reports on one of the finalist plans
Ms. Fedorowick also proposes some significant changes, including putting small parking lots deep inside the park near new activity areas like a skating rink and a wetland area with a boardwalk.
There's no good reason I can imagine to waste more space for cars for parking lots and the roads dedicated to them in the park. Especially when you consider it's a park in the city. They need to have as much space for growing things as they can. And if there's one thing Canada, let along the park, does not need it's another fracking skating rink. And activity areas? Activity areas? Walking is an activity, and so is enjoying looking at trees. Please don't pave paradise and put up a parking lot, Halifax.