Friday, October 28, 2005

Rodney, the cooler man!

Steve auditions an advertising campaign:
By the way, I like that Arizona Tea Crackhead Punch. That 400-milligram blast of caffeine really got my day going. In a previous entry, I remarked that drinking these things could put you in the frame of mind Rodney King was in when he decided he could beat up seven cops. I now think the Arizona Tea people need to call Rodney and work out an endorsement deal. They need to rename this stuff Arizona Tea’s Rodney King Cop-Killer Cooler. I’m sure Rodney is broke now, so I know he’d jump at the deal. They could do commercials where Rodney is sitting in a lawn chair in his front yard, minding his own business, and a cruiser full of cops rolls by, and they’re taunting him and giving him the finger. He pulls a can of Cop-Killer Cooler out of his shirt, Popeye-style, and he turns it up, and he gets out of that chair and beats them like little girls.

I’m Rodney the cooler man!
I’m Rodney the cooler man!
When cops start a ruckus,
I son them maf_kkas!
I’m Rodney the cooler man!

Something like that. I haven’t worked the lyrics out yet.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Quote of the day

From a Hit and Run account of annoying Europeans and Halloween:
Papal groupies notwithstanding, Americans themselves are perfectly capable of recognizing that Halloween is a vast conspiracy of chocolate industry lobbyists, sexual predators, and whatever you call the guys who stick needles in candy corn.

Is this beautifully stated 30/30 rule:
The worst thing about Halloween these days is how many adults are so pathetically into it. Remember the "30/30" rule - if you are over 30 and it takes you more than 30 minutes to create a costume, you may need to seriously re-evaluate your life.
Comment by: Don Mynack at October 26, 2005 05:46 PM

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Transylvanian shepherds invented baseball

This is from Andrei Codrescu's story, A Kind of Love published in his collection The Muse Is Always Half Dressed in New Orleans and Other Essays, 1995.
Before I saw baseball, I never knew a sport where people didn't worry about the ball all the time. In soccer there is constant competition for the ball--the identity of the player is defined by his possession of the ball. He is the ball.

In baseball there is a different relation between ball and players, and consequently, between game and spectators. The ball is allowed more personality, it is permitted distance. It is stalked rather than gang raped. It is also a dance between two men--a Spanish dance. It is a corrida, a bullfight. The pitcher is a toreador--he stands and acts like one--the batter is the charging bull. The ball is the toreador's life--issuing out of him as an eternal easeto the brute power of the bat. It is a battle between spirit and flesh, between two different kinds of cunning, a cultivated one and a natural one, between civilization and nature.

Quote of the day

Fascinating discussion at Websnark about Wikipedia and the tyranny of the nonexperts.

In the comments, jjacques says:
I think Wikipedia's like Christianity- a wonderful idea being ruined by a pack of overzealous idiots.

Some internet training

Hi, thanks for joining. By signing with Bill's internet training you agree to comply with the following simple rules:

  1. Forwarding chain mail is wrong. If you do, I will brand an "L" into your forehead.
  2. The Internet is not your friend. Nor does it want to be; it doesn’t even care that you exist.
  3. AOL is not your friend. It isn’t even ON the internet. They also don’t care if you exist as long as you keep sending them checks.
  4. Google is your friend.
  5. Snopes is also your friend.
  6. Hoax Busters is also your friend.
  7. Forwarding jokes and news articles is fine.
    • Don't be a pest.
    • Include the source link, we know you didn't write it.
    • Remember that not everyone agrees with your insane political views.
    • If they do, you are a boring person and need to meet more people.

  8. If you ignore rules 1-7 and ever use the statement I don't know if this is true, but I thought you would find this interesting..." I will replace your computer with paper and crayons and force you to wear a dead pidgeon around your neck.
  9. Any questions, see rule 4.

Go forth and click.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005


I don't think I trust these people.

My blog is worth $1,693.62.
How much is your blog worth?

Monday, October 24, 2005

Poorly conceived corporate events

What were these people thinking? Two of the three listed below are actual events presented by various human resource groups (not the same company). Fraught with unfortunate hidden subtext or just plain cluelessness, I ask two questions:
  1. Which is the fake event?
  2. Which is the most insulting?

Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month!
Three days of financial seminars (Strategies for Debt Consolidation and Improving your Credit), followed by a craft fair. Order your tamales early!

Hamburgers for the Heart
A hamburger and hotdog cookout to benefit the American Heart Association. Free ice cream with every ticket!

Carnival for Health
Raise your awareness for healthy living at the Health Carnival. Stop by the Diabetes booth and pick up the children’s goodie bag including pixie sticks and cotton candy!

Troubadoor of the everglades

Not being much of a fan of mystery novels, I had heard of Carl Hiaasen but never read any of his books. Until, last year, I read an interview with him in Outside magazine. Sounded like an interesting guy. So I picked up Basket Case:
Once a hotshot investigative reporter, Jack Tagger now bangs out obituaries for a South Florida daily, "plotting to resurrect my newspaper career by yoking my byline to some famous stiff." Jimmy Stoma, the infamous front man of Jimmy and the Slut Puppies, dead in a fishy-smelling scuba "accident," might be the stiff of Jack's dreams — if only he can figure out what happened.

Enjoyable story, with some nice writing. Later, I picked up his latest, Skinny Dip. A comic novel about an inept murderer:
When Chaz suspects that his wife, Joey, has figured out his scam, he pushes her overboard from a cruise liner into the night-dark Atlantic. Unfortunately for Chaz, his wife doesn't die in the fall.

…and his wife’s continuing to fake her death to exact her revenge on Chaz. Fun, light-hearted book I’d recommend if you’re looking for popcorn reading that doesn’t insult your intelligence. Figured, when stuck for something to read, I’d work my way through his back catalog. So, looking at a stack of too serious books I don’t have the energy to read, I picked up Tourist Season, his first novel. Only about halfway through, but it’s a fine outrageous and comic take about an insane newspaper columnist who decides the best way to save south Florida from the tourists is to murder them. This excerpt takes place when his editor sends him to a psychiatrist shortly before he goes AWOL.
Dr. Remond Courtney didn’t blink. He merely said: “I’m not sure I heard you right, Mr. Wiley.”

“Oh, sorry.” Skip Wiley got up and ambled across the office. He leaned over and positioned his large face two inche’s from the doctor’s nose. “I said,’” Wiley shouted, as if Courtney was deaf, “is it really true that you have sex with mallard ducks?”

“No,” Courtney replied, lips whitening.

“Mergensers, then?”


“Ah, so it’s geese. No need to be ashamed.”

“Mr Wiley, sit down, please. I think we’re avoiding the subject , aren’t we?”

“And what subject would that be, Dr. Goosefucker? May I call you that? Do you mind?”

Friday, October 21, 2005

Soundtrack for the morning commute

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Lost: Mindless Speculation

Mr. Eko/Echo and Jin are sneaking through the woods and come across a track. Eko knows it's Michael's because The Others don't leave tracks. Hmmm...

Rewatching Everybody Hates Hugo, Charlie is asking Locke about Desmond,
Charlie: Where’d he go?
Locke: I tried to track him, but he didn’t leave much of a trail.


The Fair Tax Plan makes sense

The president’s tax reform panel doesn’t propose much:
The panel's recommendations must be revenue-neutral – meaning they must generate the same amount of revenue as the existing code. So what revenue the AMT elimination taketh away, the other recommendations must replenish.

For a truly revenue neutral plan that truly simplifies the tax system, H.R. 25 would be a much better way to go:
The FairTax plan is a comprehensive proposal that replaces all federal income and payroll taxes with an integrated approach including a progressive national retail sales tax, a rebate to ensure no American pays federal taxes up to the poverty level, dollar-for-dollar revenue neutrality, and the repeal of the 16th Amendment. This non-partisan legislation (HR 25/S 25) abolishes all federal personal, gift, estate, capital gains, alternative minimum, Social Security, Medicare, self-employment, and corporate taxes and replaces them all with one simple, visible, federal retail sales tax -- collected by existing state sales tax authorities. The FairTax taxes us only on what we choose to spend, not on what we earn. It does not raise any more or less revenue; it is designed to be revenue neutral. So it is also cost neutral -- the final cost for goods and services changes little under the FairTax. The FairTax is a fair, efficient, transparent, and intelligent solution to the frustration and inequity of our current tax system.

More about the Fair Tax:

And we should finally expect to see a major review of the Fair Tax Book this weekend, accord to Neal Boortz:
The more I read about the president's so-called tax reform panel the worse it gets. Essentially, the panel has done exactly what critics said the panel would do ... propose tax increases for the evil achievers. You already know that the panel wants to cut into the home mortgage interest deduction while leaving the income tax in place. But ... did you know that the panel has recommended eliminating ALL interest deductions on all home equity loans and loans for second homes?

This is a repeat of what we saw in 1986. Almost 20 years ago the congress eliminate a huge cache of tax deductions and established two flat rates, 15 and 25%. The tax code has now been modified and amended about 10,000 times since then, leaving us with the monster we now have. This "reform" plan is essentially the same. Eliminate more deductions, raise taxes on businesses and the repugnant rich, create some "refundable" tax credits, and set some flat rates. It leaves the income tax in place and the K Street lobbyists inside the beltway licking their chops. As soon as the panel's suggestions become law they would go right to work trying to carve out specific tax breaks for their high-paying clients. Right behind the lobbyists you'll find the Democrats renewing their efforts to shift the entire tax burden onto America's high-achievers with bill after bill and amendment after amendment, all in the name of reform.

Reform? This is not reform. This is, pardon the cliché, just rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. The IRS? Still there. Social Security and Medicare taxes? Still there. Business taxes will still be there and they will still be passed on to the consumer through the pricing structure.

The good news is that there is renewed interest in The FairTax Book and H.R. 25 with the impending release of the tax reform panel's report. I'm told there will be a review of the book in the The New York Post this coming Sunday, and on November 6th there will be a review of The FairTax Book in the New York Times. I have no real idea what to expect from the Post, but I think it's probably safe to say that The New York Times will not exactly be a fan of the plan. When, after all, was the last time you saw the New York Times back any initiative that actually transferred power from the government to the people?

Here's one thing I do expect from the Times review. They will change the terms of H.R.25, the FairTax Act, and then critique the plan as they wrote it, not as it is actually written. This has been the favorite techniques of those who want to keep our present tax system, and my guess is that the Times will follow suit. To amplify my prediction -- the Times will create exemptions to the consumption tax -- and then write that the actual sales tax rate would have to be much higher. They will ignore, for the most part, the monthly "prebate" under the FairTax Act. Maybe it's just me, but wouldn't it be more fair to review and critique the FairTax Act as it is written, instead of rewriting the bill and then critiquing your rewrite?

I've been telling you on the air, and Congressman Linder and I told you in the book that the lobbyists were going to react with full force once they saw the FairTax as a threat to their livings. Now there's a prediction that has more than come true. Listen today for more details on lobbyist tactics to kill meaningful tax reform.

More emails from HR

These are all for one day. I work for a pretty decent company, but some of us have some issues.
  • Pair of glasses found on top of a white Volvo
  • Black Mustang GT illegally parked
  • Brown purse was found in Conference room
  • Will the owner of a Green Mazda 626 please come to HR
  • A small white vehicle has its lights on

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Line of the day

From Hog On Ice:
Liberals blame hurricanes on global warming caused by industry, whereas conservatives take the much more reasonable view that they are caused by gay sex.

And a crap load of stuff on cast iron skillets I'll need to read.

Another list of albums

Philadelphia station WXPN, has compiled a list, with the help of its listeners, of the top 885 albums. Over at Throwing Things, they’ve monitored the list with some interesting discussions.

Of the 885 chosen, turns out I own 89 and 17 of these are in their original vinyl. I probably had a handful more, but they’ve disappeared over the years. The majority were most likely cassettes that have long since disintegrated.

Not too much to say about the list, other than noting the heavy reliance on 60s geezer acts. My most likely number 1 album, Let it Be by The Replacements, is at 202. Lack of owning the Beatles, Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, and Bruce Springsteen kept my numbers down. I’ve always felt the Stones and Springsteen were overrated. Dylan, I like, just not enough to buy an album. And I burned out on the Beatles 30 years ago. I own the White Album - don’t know why as I never listen to it.

Looking over the their releases, I could see being a huge Rolling Stones fan, if someone other than Mick Jagger was singing. Just can’t stand his voice. Everybody else is fine and Keith Richards is an immortal rock God; Mick’s voice, though…gives me a migraine. Those Rolling Stones songs I do enjoy, I enjoy even more when someone else sings. Examples: Satisfaction, DEVO or Otis Redding; Beast of Burden, Bette Midler, Buckwheat Zydeco.

I’m actually working on a quicky review of music from 1960 to the present. I’m somewhere in the 1980s and I think I have 1964 scoring the highest. This is the year the Beatles broke with 5 songs in the top 20 and 9 in the top 100. Good songs, basic American R&B, not really out of line with other music of the time. What I think is the most significant song on the list and a portent of where music would be going is the Kinks’ You Really Got Me. This charted at #78, between Dean Martin and Sammy Davis, Jr.

1965: Beatles and Stones each have a song in the top 10: Satisfaction and Help! Advantage Stones. Then there’s the Kinks at #62 with All day and all of the night. Now that’s rock and roll. It’s the Kinks who were defining where rock will be heading.

Like I said, of the 885 chosen I own 89. Here they are:
870 – THE J. GEILS BAND – Live – Full House
844 – RICKIE LEE JONES – Flying Cowboys
825 – THE REPLACEMENTS – Don’t Tell A Soul
817 – DEVO – Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!
813 – TRAFFIC - Traffic
794 – ROBERT JOHNSON – King Of The Delta Blues
775 – THE SPECIALS – Specials
772 – PJ HARVEY – To Bring You My Love
763 – QUEEN – Queen II
721 – LOU REED – Transformer
720 – MODEST MOUSE – Good News For People Who Love Bad News
716 – VINCE GUARALDI TRIO – A Charlie Brown Christmas
714 – X – Los Angeles
708 – B-52’S – Cosmic Thing
696 – U2 – October
693 – PJ HARVEY – Stories From The City, Stories From The Sea
690 – THE ENGLISH BEAT – I Just Can’t Stop It
683 – BECK – Midnite Vultures
673 – BADLY DRAWN BOY – The Hour Of Bewilderbeast
661 – X – Under The Big Black Sun
645 – EMERSON, LAKE & PALMER – Brain Salad Surgery
638 – SLY & THE FAMILY STONE – There’s A Riot Goin’ On
623 – U2 – Under A Blood Red Sky
621 – JIMMY BUFFETT – Changes In Latitudes, Changes In Attitudes
609 – P.J. HARVEY – Rid Of Me
590 – CAKE – Fashion Nugget
563 – SUGAR – Copper Blue
554 – ZAP MAMA – Seven
547 – B-52’S – B-52’s
532 – SINEAD O’CONNOR – The Lion And The Cobra
531 – RICKIE LEE JONES – Rickie Lee Jones
518 – FRANK ZAPPA – Joe’s Garage
514 – KIRSTY MACCOLL – Tropical Brainstorm
510 – LOU REED – New York
508 – SINEAD O’CONNOR – I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got
496 – JIMI HENDRIX – Band Of Gypsies
89 – WORLD PARTY – Goodbye Jumbo
482 – Saturday Night Fever (soundtrack)
455 – JANE’S ADDICTION – Ritual De Lo Habitual
439 – SHERYL CROW – Tuesday Night Music Club
438 – PRINCE – 1999
429 – NICK DRAKE – Five Leaves Left
422 – K.D. LANG – Ingenue
417 – TALKING HEADS – Little Creatures
412 – Jesus Christ Superstar (soundtrack)
393 – TALKING HEADS – Speaking In Tongues
391 – JOAN ARMATRADING – Joan Armatrading
371 – TORI AMOS – Under The Pink
350 – LIVE – Throwing Copper
340 – U2 – Rattle & Hum
330 – MARC COHN – Marc Cohn
327 – THE REPLACEMENTS – Pleased To Meet Me
323 – NICK DRAKE – Bryter Layter
314 – FRANK ZAPPA – Apostrophe
313 – JACK JOHNSON – In Between Dreams
302 – BONNIE RAITT – Nick Of Time
278 – RICKIE LEE JONES – Pirates
272 – TORI AMOS – Boys For Pele
266 – PRINCE – Sign O’ The Times
265 – DEPECHE MODE – Violator
209 – PUBLIC ENEMY – It Takes A Nation Of Millions…
191 – TRACY CHAPMAN – Tracy Chapman
189 – MATTHEW SWEET – Girlfriend
182 – JOHN PRINE – John Prine
170 – BOSTON – Boston
169 – TOM WAITS – Rain Dogs
164 – QUEEN – A Night At the Opera
159 – VIOLENT FEMMES – Violent Femmes
156 – NICK DRAKE – Pink Moon
149 – WARREN ZEVON – Excitable Boy
145 – TALKING HEADS – Remain In Light
134 – MEATLOAF – Bat Out Of Hell
118 – BECK – Odelay
112 – TALKING HEADS – Stop Making Sense
64 – PRINCE & THE REVOLUTION – Purple Rain
62 – TORI AMOS – Little Earthquakes
60 – R.E.M. – Automatic For The People
55 – THE WHO – Tommy
54 – STEVIE WONDER – Songs In The Key Of Life
39 – JIMI HENDRIX – Are You Experienced?
20 – VAN MORRISON – Moondance
18 – PAUL SIMON – Graceland
7 – U2 – The Joshua Tree
6 – THE BEATLES – The Beatles (White Album)

Lileks buys a Powerball ticket

It would be nice to win. It would be hell, in another way, of course; your life changes completely, and your ability to ride that out depends on how well you can insulate yourself from, oh, humanity. Luckily, one hundred and sixty-five million buys a lot of isolation. Like most people I would build a house or three, then get in on one of those cooperatively owned jets so I could head down to Arizona or Up North without enduring commercial aviation. Aside from managing the charities and Gnat’s foundation, I would spend all my time amassing collections of ephemera to leave to the University of Minnesota, ensuring that the end result of my time on earth would resemble the last minutes of both “Citizen Kane” and “Raiders of the Lost Ark” – two of my favorite movies, as it turns out.

Would I still do this? The website? At first I’d insist on it! Why, nothing’s changed! But then you get caught up in the life of Croesus, and you have nothing you can share with others. Oh, bought Gnat a pony. Actually a pony barn. Okay, Idaho. You start complaining about the viewing angle on the TV in the shower. (Or the Water Feature.) Who else would understand such things? Maybe you get Stephen King and Bill Gates’ phone number when you will the lottery.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

In those books the chidren always hate themselves

Barbara Feinberg's Welcome to the Lizard Motel is memoir rightly questioning how our children are being made to read and think. Wondering why the books her children are assigned make them so uncomfortable, she starts to read them. She becomes increasingly alarmed at these "problem novels" that seem to serve no purpose but to make the children feel bad.
"You see," the teacher had gone on to explain, "a good book should make you cry."

These words came back to me as I watched my children now. They were sitting so stiffly, their spines arched. Their posture was the opposite of how they sat when they were absorbed. Why, exacly, did school want them to cry?

As taught in the classroom, they also force agreement with what ever message the book is bludgeoning the read with.
We can't ever say we don't like the books," Alex has said.
"But what if you explain why you don't like them, and critique the book?" I asked.
His teacher, he said, "thinks if you're not liking the books, you're not reading them closely enough."

But her biggest complaint and fear, is that these books, as they're taught, are forcing an adult reality upon children. They seem to identify imagination creativity as something to grow out of, or at least something so micromanaged as to lose touch with what those words actually mean.
While the books are often told in the voice of a child narrator, or narrator identified with a child, and, in some, the child's language might sound more or less believable, many of he books rarely deliver what I consider anauthentic child's perspective. Something feels false. Something essential is missing.

What is it? The answer is this: No child I have known experiences "reality only in terms of waht happens -- "the facts."
And it is precisely this dimension to childhood experiences that is absent from many realistic novels and virtually all problem novels. No magic, manifest or latent, vibrates within them. Instead, in all of these self-proclaimed realistic stories, "reality" is understood as the opposite of imagination and fantasy, as if childhood were a dream from which children must be awakened--when, in fact, reality is not divisible from imagining, for children. But in these books children's imagination is regarded as something that must be tamed, monitoed, barred.

In particular she goes off on Lucy Calkins, the head of the Writing Project.
Elsewhere, in a section devoted to teaching parents how best to guide children toward polite behavor, Calkins reveals that she admonishes her sons when they offer a non sequitur in conversation. "the conversation will be on one thing, and they interject with a remark from left field. Invariably, we adults tend to think, Now where did that come from? but essentially overlook the detour. I don't think this is wise. She goes on to suggest that adults confront the child with this detour, and advise him instead to stick to the topic at hand. (Doesn't so much poetry come from the sudden swerve of non sequiturs?) This advice strikes me as an indication that profound, if mannerly, thought-control might be at work. And if this is operative, it needs to be asked: How free are children in this Calkins universe to express what they might truly feel? Is there a spoken, or unspoken, agenda about what kind of material is acceptable and what is not? Doesn;t so much of feeling, poetic and otherwise, come from left field? The invitation to poetic reflection is genuinely meaningful only when any and all demons, too, are welcome to leap on the page.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Email from Apple

Well, they say complete, but I wonder. Apple also said they had the complete Frank Zappa catalog but were missing Joe's Garage. Still, I'll probably pick up a couple. I have an ancient Little Stevie Wonder vinyl with his rendition of the Tennessee Ernie Ford classic 16 Tons. Found on the 1966 album, Down to Earth, Sixteen Tons is a fine song and Wonder is a fine singer; however, these two should never have been paired. At least not at the young age of 17.
5. Signed, Sealed, and Delivered...

He's yours. Stevie Wonder, that is.

With The Complete Stevie Wonder--now available exclusively from the iTunes Music Store for just $189--you can add all of the great one's music. The digital box set comes with over 500 songs, including such chartbusting tunes as "Fingertips, Pt.2," "For Once in My Life,"
"You Are the Sunshine of My Life," "I Was Made to Love Her," and all of your other favorite Stevie Wonder tunes. It also includes rare and previously unreleased material you'll find only on the iTunes Music Store.

Video, too. In fact, in addition to a full-color digital booklet, you'll enjoy the three bonus videos that come with The Complete Stevie Wonder. Buy it today with just a single click.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Songs to commute by

Very nice batch of music the iPod spat out on the drive home:

  • Absolutely Barking Stars, Maria McKee
  • More Lost morse code

    There is a new morse code message at

    ... --- -- . - .. -- . ... / .- / .--. --- .-.. .- .-. / -... . .- .-. / .. ... / .--- ..- ... - / .- / .--. --- .-.. .- .-. / .--. . .- .-.

    However, it has a typo:
    sometimes a polar bear is just a polar pear
    Does Google want a piece of AOL?
    From Techdirt:
    Still, Google is probably a bit wary of actually getting involved with the struggling company, so it's probably a case where they figure the least they can do is drive up however much Microsoft needs to pay -- and if Google ends up with a piece of AOL in the process, it wouldn't be the worst thing in the world. Of course, remember that Google's ad bidding process also throws in an element of "relevance." Can they convince AOL that they might be a better partner than Microsoft even at a lower price by being more relevant?

    No touching!

    New from Partially Clips. Buy his book.

    Thursday, October 13, 2005

    Fudge, Packer?

    Alfred Packer is the only person convicted of canninalism in America. Long before South Park or Jesus and Santa fighting over the meaning of Christmas, Trey Parker was a college student. And he used Packer's story as the basis of the heartfelt Cannibal, the Musical. You can read more about it over here. Produced as a student film, it received a Troma release.

    I had the pleasure of seeing the original stage production at Dad's Garage. Based on the Movie, it featured better acting and better singing. After the success of South Park, Troma rereleased Cannibal on DVD. In the extras are some Dad's Garage clips.

    It's not a great movie, but I highly recommend the DVD for the commentary track. Basically, Parker, Matt Stone, and a few of their friends who were also in the movie, gather around a giant pile of alcohol. As the movie progresses, the pile gets smaller and the comments become less coherent. Funny stuff. We also learn that Parker really wrote this to get back at the fiance who dumped him. Her name was Liane, which is also the name of Packer's horse. This backstory adds new meaning to Ode to Liane.
    She'll never know what she meant to me.
    Whenever I was with her I was always as gentle as I could be.
    And now I don't know why, but she's gone away.
    And I'll just have to stand on my own two legs.

    Your eyes, your smile
    Made my little life worthwhile.
    There's was nothing I couldn't do
    When I was on top of you.

    I'd pull her hair, and she'd know to stop.
    And when she'd look behind her, I'd always be there.
    And now I don't know why, but she,
    she's gone.
    And all I can do is try to carry on.

    Your eyes, your smile
    Made my little life worthwhile.
    The sky was a lot more blue,
    When I was on top of you.
    When I was on top of you.

    Favorite song to play at work would have to be Hang the Bastards.

    Hang the Bastard mp3
    Hang the bastard, hang him high.
    Hoist his body to the sky.
    It's as nice as a day can be.
    Won't you come to the hanging with me?

    Hang the bastard, hang him high.
    Hoist his body to the sky.
    It's as nice as a day can be.
    Won't you come to the hanging with me?

    Hang the bastard, hang him well.
    Send his sorry soul to hell.
    When his neckbone snaps we'll know.
    When the cannibal won't be killing anymore.

    His face will turn red,
    Then purple, then blue.
    We'll watch from up here
    To get a good view.
    And when his eyes bug out we'll know,
    It's the end of him
    And the end of the show!

    So hang the bastard, hang him with cheer.
    We'll make some hot dogs
    And drink a few beers.
    And when his tongue rolls out we'll know,
    It's the end of the show
    And we all can go home!

    But not till we hang the bastard, hang him here.
    The most exciting thing this town has seen in years.
    When his body stops jerking we'll know,
    It's the end of him, it's the end of him,
    It's the end of him,
    And the end of the show.

    [Cowbell solo]

    So hang the bastard, hang him high.
    Kiss his guilty butt goodbye.
    It's as nice as a day can be.
    Won't you come to the hanging with me?

    His veins will pop out all over his head.
    We'll tickle his armpits to make sure he's dead.
    And when his tongue rolls out we'll know,
    It's the end of him and we all can go home!

    But not till we
    Hang the bastard, hang him high.

    Hoist his body to the sky.
    When his body stops jerking we'll know,
    It's the end of him, it's the end of him,
    It's the end of him!
    And the end of the show!


    The chocolate doctor?

    This is about Lost. Everyone else just go play in the street.

    Begging to Differ mentioned something odd. I followed it and noticed something odder.

    To quote:
    Try logging on to the secure version of the website ( and you'll see the following url:, follow that, and you'll get a crazy flash site with polar bears. Um...okay.

    Look at the title bar, that’s morse code. Using this morse code alphabet, I decode it as chocolate asclepius.

    In Greek mythology, Asclepius was Apollo's son, the god of medicine. And here’s some background:
    The cult of Asclepius became very popular during the 300s BCE and the cult centres (known as an Asclepieion) were used by priests to cure the sick. Invalids also came to the shrines of Asclepius to find cures for their ailments (in the same fashion pilgrims visit Lourdes today.) The process of healing was known as incubation. The patient would spend the night in a dormitory. During the night they would supposedly be visited by the god in a dream. Priests would interpret the dreams and then recommend a remedy or give advice on how they could be cured with perhaps a recommended visit to the baths and gymnasiums. There were many centres and schools of medicine, from Trikkis in Thessaly to the island of Cos. It is believed that Hippocrates, a great doctor of antiquity, plied his trade on the island of Cos. It is also said that Hippocrates was a descendant of Asclepius.

    And from the legend of Asclepius:
    Some of Ascleipius' most famous cures took place with a special herb he received from a "serpent in a tomb" and the "Gorgon's blood". Athena, the mother of Asclepius, gave him two vials of the blood of Medusa, the Gorgon, that had the power to save lives and resurrect the dead. If anyone saw Medusa with her poisonous snake hair they would immediately become petrified and die. The Gorgon's blood could either kill or bring back to life depending on how it was used. Asclepius once used this unusual homeopathic remedy to resurrect a patient who had died bringing great wonder in all. How could he get the soul back from Hades?, they wondered.

    Hades, the god of the underworld, was quite concerned with the famous healers intervention into his dominion. He that it was presumptuous for a physician to steal the dead from his kingdom and complained to Zeus about the timing. Zeus knew that Ascelpius still had the fault of hubris and that he needed to be humble to attain a higher realization. To humble he whom he loved and restore the natural order, Zeus hurled his thunderbolt at the great physician and his newly resurrected patient.

    What any of this has to do with Lost is beyond me. It’s gotta be a joke.

    Lost: Season2, Episode 4

    Forgetting this is a TV show, for a moment…these are some uninquisitive survivors. Just the other day they thought they were under threat from “The Others” and part of the group is disappearing into the jungle to check out “the hatch.” Other than a couple people, no one’s interested. They’re just hanging out on the beach, working on their tan. Hey, no worries - there’s a fresh water supply, plenty of fruit, and the freaky bald guy will kill us a pig once in a while. Life is good.

    If this was a real situation, I suspect Sayid and Locke would emerge as the leaders and everything would be organized and all would have tasks to keep them busy and prepare for survival. Jack would be made to sit quietly in his first aid tent waiting to fix boo-boos.

    back to the show
    Who doesn’t love Hurley?

    Ok, an episode to catch our breath. I think we’ll see our first group of survivors have it fairly easy for awhile. Should be some conflict with the A-team not divulging enough information. Probably some leadership struggles, but overall not much in the way of change - numbers still get entered.

    Jin, Michael, and Sawyer - OK, they’ve been captured by the survivors from the rear of the plane. And the rearenders have gone native. Turns out, they also have found a Dharma station. Did they say ther were 30 something survivors and now only 7 are left? That’s about it.

    Oh, for people struggling to survive, that’s a damn big hole they dug.

    Now, to the questions. First, let me state that I try to avoid all spoilers and don’t even watch the “on next week’s show” teasers. So, if some of this has been hinted at, I haven’t seen it. I’m trying to watch the show in a pure state and work out the clues only by what is shown during the show.

    • Rearenders are in the second Dharma station. Last week’s film strip mentioned six. Are all six on the island? I’m guessing yes.
    • Second station - I didn’t catch it, but were any of these people station monitors (like Desmond), or just survivors?
    • Is Desmond gone? I’m still leaning towards his story of crashing on the island being true. If so, we should see him again.
    • As pointed out at Throwing Things Hurley’s chicken shack boss was also Locke’s bozz at the box factory. And Hurley probably owned the box factory.
    • Does Locke know Hurley was the factory owner? Is this why he calls him Hugo? Not really relevant to the plot, but for character development it would be interesting if Locke was the only one who knew Hurley was worth 156 million.
    • Ah, but what would Locke think if Hurley told him the story of the numbers?
    • Yeah, I expected Rose’s husband to be black. Oops, stupid assumptions. At least I didn’t think it was guy throwing the raftlings down the hole.
    • Sayid will make some progress towards getting around that wall. What’s back there will probably be a big reveal. Possibly season-ending cliffhanger.
    • Let’s recap who is on the island. I think we say safely say three main groups with a couple wild cards running around:
      1. Front of the plane survivors - about 40
      2. Back of the plane survivors - down to 7 from 36?
      3. Rousseau. Crazy lady still loose on the island.
      4. Desmond. Assumed in hiding. I’ll presume to either be captured by The Others or to be revealed as part of the expirement.
      5. Deliverance boat people. Assuming they’re on the island. Are they The Others? I’m saying yes
      6. The Others. If they exist. Like the previous point, I’m saying they exist and they’re the boat people.

    edited to add, these two sites also have good Lost conversations:

    A word about a coworker

    Is it just me or does anyone else find it humorous that a person with the last name of "Sabot" works as a programmer?

    For the record, I have not see him wear wooden shoes.

    Chef Pete is cooking

    Email received from Marisol Restaurant. Good freakin' lord, this sounds good. Let's see, if I left Atlanta by 1pm I'd easily be in New Orleans by dinner time:

    Chef Pete at Toute de Suite

    Marisol won't be able to re-open for a
    looooooooooong time, but! You can have your fix of
    Chef Pete's fine cuisine this Friday, October 14 at the
    TOUTE DE SUITE Coffee Shop, 347 Verret Street in
    Algiers Point. The phone number is 362-2264.

    Folks, this is a NEW event for this small coffee
    shop...never before have they offered dinner service
    with a "fine dining" menu, so PLEASE be patient.

    Toute de Suite is an Algiers Point favorite. They
    offer friendly, casual service, coffee, sandwiches,
    pastries, and THIS WEEKEND fine foods from Chef

    If you love it, chef Pete will be back with more
    delicious ethnic cuisine on Saturday, October 15.

    Stay tuned for "Chef Pete at Large" as he inhabits
    different venues all over New Orleans. Watch your e-
    mail for a location near you!!!!!

    Around the World in Algiers Point
    October 14, 05
    6pm until ???
    347 Verret
    New Orleans, Louisiana 70114

    FREE neighborhood street parking!

    Chef Petes's Friday Night Menu at Toute de Suite

    * Tomato, Basil and Parmesan Soup with Extra
    Virgin Olive Oil...$4.00

    * Thai Green Papaya Salad...$5.25

    * Smoked Salmon Cheesecake with Caper and Green
    Onion Sour Cream...$6.00

    * Crispy Vietnamese Springrolls with Dipping

    * Curried Potato Samosas with 2

    * Spicy Lamb Vindaloo with Indian Breads and

    * Thai Green Curry Chicken with Red Spinach

    * Pumpkinseed Crusted Salmon Filet with Roasted
    Chile Guacamole and Tomato Vinaigrette...$15.95

    * Dulce de Leche Flan...$4.95

    * Flourless Chocolate Raspberry Cake...$4.95

    We should all push a donkey cart up a rutted road

    Lileks screedy goodness:
    But ask Chavez: which killed more people in the Pakistan earthquake – the shrug of the earth, or oligarchy? Kickbacks and corruption are so endemic to unfree societies like Pakistan that government projects might as well be made of saltine crackers and Scotch tape. This isn’t blaming the victim. It’s blaming the victimizers.

    The only bright spot: if Pakistan builds its nuclear weapons as good as its poor-people hospitals, they’ll fall apart in a shower of bolts and sparkly isotopes ten yards off the pad. But probably not. Priorities, you know.

    If Chavez’ opportunistic eco-twaddle smacks of the sort of religious eschatology you get from Pat Robertson, it should. The pious leftism of the international nomenklatura is a religion. The United States may not be their Great Satan, but it’s the devil they know. The bureaucrats and the EU anointed are the priesthood - and the Nobel peace prize is the means of bestowing sainthood.

    Which brings us to its latest recipient: ol’ see-no-evil Mohamed ElBaradei, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency. This is like giving the Surgeon General the Nobel Price for medicine after bird flu depopulates the North American continent.

    Wednesday, October 12, 2005

    Need to cut back on the princess movies

    Last night as the daughter was going to bed, we were listening to a Disney compilation CD. The next song was Candle on your water, sung by Helen Reddy.

    She asked what movie is this song from. Pete’s Dragon. What is the dragon's name? I think it’s Elliot. She asked if Elliot lived in a castle. No, he lived in a cave at the beach, and the boy Pete lives in a lighthouse. She asked if there was a king. No. She asked if there was a "Ween", I repeated "Queen", and she very intently repeated, "yes, Queen.” No Queen either. She mulled this over for a moment and then seemed ok with it.

    Castles of New Orleans

    Over at Reason, Matt Welch has done great work following up on many of the rumors that spilled out of New Orleans.

    Now, in the New York Times Magazine, Michael Lewis recounts his visit to check on the old family home just days after Katrina.

    note: if the link asks you to log on, use blogger for both ID and password

    Misinformation was rampant:
    I also knew, or thought I knew, that right up to Thursday night, there had been just two houses in Uptown New Orleans with people inside them. In one, a couple of old coots had barricaded themselves behind plywood signs that said things like "Looters Will Be Shot" and "Enter and Die." The other, a fortlike house equipped with a massive power generator, was owned by Jim Huger - who happened to grow up in the house next door to my parents. (When I heard that he had the only air-conditioning in town and I called to ask if I could borrow a bed, he said, "I'm that little kid you used to beat on with a Wiffle Ball bat, and I gotta save your ass now?") In Jim Huger's house, until the night before, several other young men had holed up, collecting weapons and stories. Most of these stories entered the house by way of a reserve officer in the New Orleans Police Department, a friend of Jim's, who had gone out in full uniform each day and come back with news directly from other cops. From Tuesday until Thursday, the stories had grown increasingly terrifying. On Thursday, a police sergeant told him: "If I were you, I'd get the hell out of here. Tonight they gonna waste white guys, and they don't care which ones." This reserve cop had looked around and seen an amazing sight, full-time New Orleans police officers, en masse, fleeing New Orleans. "All these cops were going to Baton Rouge to sleep because they thought it wasn't safe to sleep in New Orleans," he told me. He had heard that by the time it was dark "there wouldn't be a single cop in the city."

    And then some took extraordinary measures:
    I wandered down and met my first former Israeli commandos, along with their Uptown New Orleans employers, who had come to liberate their homes.
    They had just landed Russian assault helicopters in Audubon Park. Not one, but two groups of Uptown New Orleanians had rented these old Soviet choppers, along with four-to-six-man Israeli commando units (platoons? squads?), and swooped down onto the soccer field beside the Audubon Zoo. Down, down, down they had come, then jumped out to, as they put it, "secure the perimeter." Guns aimed, eyes darting, no point on the compass uncovered. As a young man in this new militia later told me: "Hell, yes, I was scared. We didn't know what to expect. We thought Zulu nation might be coming out of the woods." But the only resistance they met was a zookeeper, who came out with his hands up.
    All of this happened just moments before. Right here, in my hometown. All four men were still a little hopped up. The commandos went inside to "clear the house." A nice little yellow house just one block from my childhood home. Not a human being - apart from Ms. Perrier and me - for a mile in each direction. And yet they raised their guns, opened the door, entered and rattled around. A few minutes later they emerged, looking grim.
    "You got some mold on the upstairs ceiling," one commando said gravely.

    And some people just expect the worst:
    My great-grandfather J. Blanc Monroe is dead and gone, but he didn't take with him the climate of suspicion between rich and poor that he apparently helped foster. On St. Claude Avenue, just below the French Quarter, there was a scene of indigents, old people and gay men employed in the arts fleeing what they took to be bombs being dropped on them by Army helicopters. What were being dropped were, in fact, ready-to-eat meals and water in plastic jugs. But falling from the sky, these missiles looked unfriendly, and when the jugs hit concrete, they exploded and threw up shrapnel. The people in the area had heard from the police that George W. Bush intended to visit the city that day, and they could not imagine he meant them any good - but this attack, as they took it, came as a shock. "Run! Run!" screamed a man among the hordes trying to outrun the chopper. "It's the president!"

    But maybe there is hope:
    The late great novelist Walker Percy, a lifelong New Orleanian, was attracted to the psychological state of the ex-suicide. The ex-suicide is the man who has tried to kill himself and failed. Before his suicide attempt, he had nothing to live for. Now, expecting to be dead and discovering himself alive, something inside him awakens: so long as he's alive, he might as well give living a shot. The whole of New Orleans is in this psychological state. The waters did their worst but still left the old city intact. They did to the public schools and the public-housing projects what the government should have done long ago. They called forth tens of billions of dollars in aid, and the attention of energetic people, to a city long starved of capital and energy. For the first time in my life, outsiders are pouring into the city to do something other than drink. For the first time in my life, the city is alive with possibilities. For the first time in my life, it doesn't matter one bit who is born to be a king. Whatever else New Orleans is right now, it isn't stagnant. As I left, I thought about what an oddly characteristic thing it would be if it was a flood that saved New Orleans.

    Tuesday, October 11, 2005

    Birth of Rhapsody in Blue

    George Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue was first performed February 12, 1924 as part of Paul Whiteman's Aeolian Concert. In 1984, Maurice Peress, after much research, presented an authentic recreation of this historic concert. And an album was published - digital LPs in fact. While there are many wonderful performances, what obviously stands out is Rhapsody in Blue in its original jazz-band orchestration with banjo and saxophones.

    I'll excerpt a short piece of Peress' liner notes for the album and then the description of Rhapsody in Blue from the original program.

    Notes from Maurice Peress
    The selections Whiteman included in the 1924 Aeolian Hall Concert, which had that curious title "An Experiment in Modern Music," were divided into various sections, such as "The True Form of Jazz" and "Recent Compositions with Modern Score." The intention was that together they would be auduble proof that jazz-inspired music had come of age.
    The notion of creating an indigenous American art music had been expressed even before the turn of the century, notably by Dvorak: "In the Negro melodies of America I discover all that is needed for a great and noble school of music...." But it was not until Whiteman's landmark concert that the idea became a reality. Gershwin's RHAPSODY emerged indisputably as the first successful crossing of America's infectious folk, jazz, blues, and ragtime with traditional Eourpean music.

    Program Notes, written by Gilbert Seldes
    This is the first rhapsody written for solo instrument and modern orchestra. Prophesy being not the function of an annotator, it may be said that the importance of the rhapsody, quite apart from its own value, must depend to an extent upon it being kept alive in a repertoire--and there is no organization to do this unless the present concert is, as its conductor hopes, only the beginning of a series. Gershwin is a close student of music and a listener; yet there is not a derivative phrase in his work. He has composed a rhapsody and has chosen to build it out of materials known to him: the rhythms of popular American music, the harmonies produced by American jazz bands. None of the thematic material has been used before; the rhapsody is not a pastiche. The structure is simple, and it resembles concertos written by pianists in what seems, at first, the predominance of the single instrument. Mr. Gershwin's manuscript is complete for the piano. The orchestral treatment was developed by Mr. Grofe.

    The rhapsody is a free development of almost all of Gershwin's qualities alluded to in the earlier pages of this program. It has a little more crispness, a shade more of jazz and a shade less of gentleness, than some of his compositions; there is more of "A Stairway to Paradise" than of "Do it Again"; and this is natural in a composition intended specifically for jazz orchestra.

    Those who care for jazz wil naturally be grateful to Mr. Whiteman for urging Mr. Gershwin to compose this Rhapsody. He had had it in mind for some time but had no intention of going to work upon it until the announcement was made that the Rhapsody would be played at this concert. For those who remain skeptical, another test case may be provided. It is not inconceivable that an intelligent conductor of a symphony orchestra may want to play the rhapsody; it would probably need rescoring, but the saxophone which has been used eer since Meyerbeer in serious music, need not be exiled.

    Friday, October 07, 2005

    Subpeona the Chicago Manual of Style

    I should buy a couple of his books for Christmas. And the 1.5 of you reading this should do the same.

    Thursday, October 06, 2005

    Lost: does Alvar mean anything?

    The Period of the Alvars:
     Sri Vaisnavism does not, however, base its authority solely on the Sanskrit Vedas, Agamas and smrti texts, but also on the Tamil writings of the Alvars. The twelve Alvar saints were born in different parts of south India and appear to span the dates 200 AD to 800 AD. Orthodox tradition, however, places the earliest Alvar saints at 4203 BC and the latest at 2706 BC.

    The Alvars were mystic saints who immersed themselves in devotional experiences and expressed their divine experiences in Tamil verses that have been collection into 4000 stanzas call the Divya-prabandha or Divine Hymns. These sacred writings contain rich philosophical and religious material taken from the Upanisads, the Ramayana, Mahabharata and the Puranas and are accepted by many Sri Vaisnavas to be on par with the Vedas themselves.

    The main teachings of the Alvars assert 1) that Sri Visnu along Sridevi forms the basis of ultimate reality 2) that self-surrender (prapatti) through acts of devotion (bhakti) is the means to attain salvation (moksa) 3) that service to God and godly souls is an essential duty for Vaisnavas 4) and that moksa or salvation from rebirth is the supreme goal of life.

    Just as Shakespeare did

    Even though I’ve waited two years, I still haven’t seen Serenity. Trying to avoid any spoilers, I’ve stayed away from all reviews, but a quick glance at Rotten Tomatoes has it at a healthy 81%. That’s encouraging.

    Then I see Orson Scott Card is comparing Joss Whedon to Shakespeare and Tolkien. Let’s see what else he has to say about Serenity:
    I'm not going to say it's the best science fiction movie, ever.

    Oh, wait. Yes I am.

    Let me put this another way. Those of you who know my work at all know about Ender's Game. I jealously protected the movie rights to Ender's Game so that it would not be filmed until it could be done right. I knew what kind of movie it had to be, and I tried to keep it away from directors, writers, and studios who would try to turn it into the kind of movie they think of as "sci-fi."

    Because I know that science fiction doesn't have to be all mindless action. Or even mindful action. I can praise a movie like I, Robot and mean it, without for a second thinking that what I'm seeing is great sci-fi.

    I can enjoy the first Matrix and see it as a kind of magic sci-fi, but recognize that in the end, it's all about the mystical quasi-religious ideas and the special effects, and not about human beings at all.

    Because for me, a great film -- sci-fi or otherwise -- comes down to relationships and moral decisions. How people are with each other, how they build communities, what they sacrifice for the sake of others, what they mean when they think of a decision as right vs. wrong.

    Yeah, even comedies. Even romantic comedies -- it's those moral decisions.

    Wow, that sounds so heavy. But great film is heavy -- out of sight, underneath everything, where you don't have to be slapped in the face by it. On the surface, it can be exciting, funny, cool, scary, horrifying -- all those things that mean "entertainment" to us.

    Underneath it all, though, it has to mean something. And the meaning that matters is invariably about moral decisions people make. Motives. Relationships. Community. If those don't work, then you can gloss up the surface all you want, we'll know we've just been fed smoke. Might smell great but we're still hungry.

    So here's what I have to say about Serenity:
    This is the kind of movie that I have always intended Ender's Game to be (though the plots are not at all similar).

    And this is as good a movie as I always hoped Ender's Game would be.

    And I'll tell you this right now: If Ender's Game can't be this kind of movie, and this good a movie, then I want it never to be made.

    And that is high praise.

    15% less enthusiastic about moving to Florida

    Python tries to eat alligator. Python explodes. From the Miami Herald:
    Mazzotti said a similar scenario could have happened even if the gator were dead because of a quirk of its nervous system. Until a gator's spinal cord is severed and literally stirred into jelly with a special tool, he said, ``a dead alligator gives a remarkably good imitation of being alive. One of the things they do is they move their legs like they're walking. Those claws are pretty sharp. It could tear through the [snake's] skin.''

    Mazzotti said it's also plausible the snake scavenged a dead gator. Then time, decay and heat could explain what happened next: a nasty blowout of the snake body.

    ''You've got a deteriorating carcass, you've got a buildup of gases, you've got sharp claw points . . . ,'' he said.

    And Steve adds:
    I know I have the absolute worst environmental policies on earth, so it's pointless to tell me that in the comments. I absolutely love knowing there are weird exotic creatures running around loose in Florida. I don't care if they eat the boring creatures that were already here. Screw them; who wants garter snakes and dinky Carolina anoles when you can have cobras, pythons, and all sorts of huge iguanas?

    By the way, it's perfectly natural to mix new animals into an ecosystem and let them wreak havoc. There's nothing wrong with it. I can prove it. Secular science tells us human beings are animals. What animals do is right and natural. You wouldn't arrest a hawk for eating a sparrow. So when we turn giant lizards loose in our backyards, it's just one animal helping another animal move to a new habitat. And it's also okay for me to pour used motor oil into the hedge. I'm just a primate treating my habitat as I see fit.

    Lost: Season 2, Episode 3

    I'm trying to avoid the next-ons and all spoilers - eye's closed, fingers in the ears, humming - but my wife was freaking out, so whatever happens to Jin must be good.

    Best line: Locke's “We’re gonna need to watch that again.” Laughed out loud. I think that's the writers laughing WITH the audience. The only better would've been if the first commercial at the break would've been for Tivo.

    We've seen Hansa before? Missed that. edited to add The Hanso Foundation. Seriously.

    Should've given those passengers in steerage more peanuts, they're pissed.

    This episode was a little frustrating. Yeah, Sawyer, why didn't you use the gun? And the girl was obviously a setup.

    B F Skinner - clue or misdirection? As annoying as Jack is, I think he's right about nothing happening if you stop entering numbers. It's just a big 'ol Skinner Box.

    Back in Walkabout, Locke is talking to Helen. We assume she's a phone sex operator. Did Locke's father actually hire a hooker to keep him occupied? From what we've seen of the dad, this wouldn't be surprising.

    Desmond did seem to have an idea of where he was going and not just randomly running. Maybe he was just happy to leave and let it be someone else's problem. Or he's still part of the experiment. I'm inclined to believe what Desmond has told us.

    How many Hansa stations are there? 6? I'm guessing the guy Hurley knew in the pysch ward was at one, as was the Aussie guy Hurley tried to track down.

    Hansa is sanskrit for swan. This is a big help: for the swan can separate milk from water, and the realized soul can perceive the Real behind the unreal and separate the consciousness of spirit from consciousness of matter. Hansa also means "I am [aham] He [sa]" in the sense of conscious identity with God.

    Turn of the Screw, Henry James. It's a ghost story and Walt might be the Miles character. I don't know if the book itself is much of a clue, though I do find the biography of James to be interesting:
    His father, Henry James, Sr., was an unconventional thinker who had inherited considerable wealth. James, Sr., became a follower of Swedenborgian mysticism, a belief system devoted to the study of philosophy, theology, and spiritualism, and socialized with such eminent writers as Thomas Carlyle, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Washington Irving, and William Makepeace Thackeray. James’s older brother, William James, profoundly influenced the emerging science of psychology through his Principles of Psychology (1890) and The Varieties of Religious Experience (1902). He also distinguished himself as an exponent of a brand of philosophical pragmatism he named “radical empiricism,” the idea that beliefs do not work because they are true but are true because they work.

    Need more Hurley.

    Wednesday, October 05, 2005

    If only

    Did you ever have a question you couldn't answer?

    If only there was some sort of global system whereby one could query most of human knowledge. Knowledge so large it must fall somewhere between googol and infinity in size and and I'd yell yahoo if I could view it in some sort of alternative vista.

    Tuesday, October 04, 2005

    It's all in the pronunciation

    Tobias Funke was both an "analyst" and a "therapist." Due to an overreaction by the ignorant masses, he was almost arrested because his business card read:

    Geez...say it with me people - "uh nahl RAH pisst" - honestly, I don't see what the problem is.

    Monday, October 03, 2005

    What I would do with baseball

    I wouldn’t mind if Major League baseball went back to the old system of no divisions and only one regular season winner for each league.

    I’ve always liked the English soccer leagues. There’s twenty teams in the Premier League, no playoffs, and the best record is the regular season winner. Then you have the FA Cup. Involving practically every English league, more than 600 team are taking part this year. It’s the NCAA basketball tournament if every college, university, two-year school, vo-tech, and a couple of rec leagues played throughout the year culminating in one ultimate champion.

    I also like the fact that if a team does poorly, it's bumped down to a lesser league. For example, let’s take MLB and rearrange by current records to create two new leagues. League A will be the top 15 teams and League B will be the bottom 15 teams.
    League A:St. Louis Cardinals, Chicago White Sox, New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Los Angeles Angels, Cleveland Indians, Atlanta Braves, Houston Astros, Oakland A’s, Philadelphia Phillies, Minnesota Twins, Florida Marlins, New York Mets, San Diego Padres, Washington Nationals

    League B:Milwaukee Brewers, Toronto Blue Jays, Texas Rangers, Chicago Cubs, Arizona Diamondbacks, San Francisco Giants, Baltimore Orioles, Cincinnati Reds, Detroit Tigers, Los Angeles Dodgers, Seattle Mariners, Tampa Bay Devil Rays, Pittsburgh Pirates, Colorado Rockies, Kansas City Royals

    Let’s assume that League A teams only played League A teams, and same for League B. The Cardinals are the League A champs and the Milwaukee Brewers are the League B champs. Here’s where it gets fun.

    For being the worst of League A, the Mets, Padres, and Nationals get bumped to League B. And as a reward for excellence in their league, the Brewers, Blue Jays, and Rangers get promoted to League A. Pittsburgh, Colorado, and Kansas City? Dump them back into a Triple A league.

    Yeah, it’s unrealistic and will never happen, but look at the possibilities. Not only do you have a race for the title, but if your team is bad enough you’re showing up at the end of the season to see if they stay in the league! And teams not only have to compete to win, they have to compete not to lose. Have a bad enough season and they'll wind up in a lesser league making less money - there's an incentive to try and field a better team.

    Why I don’t watch baseball

    This is an expansion on my comment made over at Something Old, Something New.

    I don’t watch as much baseball - or as much of any other sport - as I used to. There are a variety of reasons for this. A large part of it is just lack of time - family, job, hobbies; I just don’t have as much free time as I once did. There’s something to be said as well for the oversaturation of sports on television. With regular cable I could watch a couple games a night most of the time or buy a package and have practically every game available. Throw in highlights, sports shows, explosion of sports radio, and I’m just numbed to it all. I’ll tune in they get to the playoffs, but even that can be spotty.

    Having mentioned all that, looking back over the last decade or so, I can definitely highlight  two things that have killed much of my love of baseball.
    • Wild Card teams
    • Tim McCarver

    Wild Card teams

    I don’t care that more teams are involved in the postseason race. It is just wrong that after 162 games a runner up qualifies for the playoffs. I’m no purist (the DH is OK by me), but compared to other professional sports I always loved the loser go home aspect of major league baseball. Win 100 games and finish second? Sorry, you suck, go play golf.

    Baskeball and hockey are a joke. They play 7 months to eliminate two teams, then have three months of playoffs. At least football I can understand. Only playing 16 games, the regular season is playing for a postseason seed.

    But baseball? Win your league and beat the team from the other league. I’ll still tune in to the World Series, unless:

    Tim McCarver

    Tim McCarver has been ruining baseball for twenty years.

    Discard all my bitching and moaning about the scheduling and MLB chasing ratings. I cannot watch a baseball game if Tim McCarver is involved. He’s irritating, condescending, and never has anything interesting or illuminating to say. It is worse than if someone hacked my arm off and used it to drag my own fingernails down a blackboard. Good to know I’m not alone.

    The worst thing Deion Sanders ever did was not electrocuting McCarver.

    Emails from human resources

    These are real. And this is a good week. The 4th floor women's restroom is like the Bermuda triangle for cell phones.
    • Keys found in the 4th floor women’s bathroom
    • cellphone was found in the 1st floor women’s bathroom
    • There is a black BMW on the upper lot that is taking up two parking spaces. Please adjust your car.
    • Found: red Sprint Sanyo cellphone
    • Black Dodge Intrepid: Upper parking lot, hazard lights flashing
    • A cell phone was found in the 4th floor ladies’ restroom
    • There is a black Ford Expedition in the top lot, license number AFN 1217, with a flat tire
    • There is a green BMW with Dekalb County tags whose lights are on
    • There was a silver coffee mug with a straw in it found in the second floor women’s bathroom


    What I learned Saturday

    Johnson and Wales is in the process of closing the Charleston and Norfolk campuses. New freshman can enroll at the new Charlotte campus.

    Good to know that the Signature and Boutique classes are now just a four-hour drive.

    Sunday, October 02, 2005

    What I learned today

    On the drive from Atlanta, GA to Raleigh, NC, the giant peach in Gafney, SC marks the halfway point.