On this theme of corporate consistency I'd like to continue by looking at H.R. 4569, the Digital Transition Content Security Act of 2005, which proves the point I've made many times over the years, that when it comes to technology, government doesn't really know what it is doing. H.R. 4569, which was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives on December 16th, is intended to protect the intellectual property rights of movie studios by MAKING ANALOG-TO-DIGITAL CONVERSION ILLEGAL.Whose interests are the pols in Washington representing? Who comes up with these ideas? The problem is that most people don't read Slashdot or Arstechnica and have no ideas that their "fair use" rights are being stepped on like this.
I am not making this up.
Under the Act as proposed, manufacturers will have one year after passage to stop making devices that convert analog signals like music and video into digital forms unless those forms preserve some original Digital Rights Management technology present in presumably the pre-analog stage.
What this is about, then, isn't making it illegal to use a digital recorder to record from analog microphone. Heck, that would destroy the music industry. Congress's thinking (if we dare call it that -- I see no flashes of synapses firing) is that media are going digital more and more and the greatest opportunity for snatching content is during the actual performance when, for the sake of driving a screen or a speaker, the digital signal goes analog.
What's covered by this proposed law are things like TiVO and RePlay Digital Video Recorders, TV tuner cards for your PC, software intended to record audio or video streams, or just about any device or program you might use to actually implement that part of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act that says you have the right (though soon not the equipment) to backup or media-shift your own music and movies.
This is law-making at its worst. It isn't burning books, but very close to that since one could see how scanners, too, will be outlawed, making for some people the production of books more difficult. And of course it simply won't work. Since the act doesn't require destroying existing TV tuner cards, then the half dozen I own ought to be worth plenty on eBay. Same for every kind of DVR you can think of. And some people will still make their own devices, which won't be illegal as far as I can see, as long as they don't offer them for sale. We'll see TV tuner cards for sale minus a single resistor, thus turning them from products and into kits for, well, something. Could it be a TV tuner? Nah.
And of course the bill completely ignores the fact that the Internet is a global network. Expect our friends in Canada to create a robust industry in grabbing signals from U.S. radio and TV stations and feeding them back across the border, just as we can expect the French, who this week pretty much took all restrictions off peer-to-peer file sharing, to provide us lots of free music.
This is political posturing and special interest pandering at best and is unlikely to do much to protect intellectual property rights while doing quite a bit to alienate folks who actually understand the breathtaking inanity of what's being proposed.
Which sadly reminds me of a political fundraising breakfast years ago at the Yale Club in New York City. Bill Bradley was trying to run for President and raising money as fast as he could with events like this. Comedian Bill Cosby was there in the audience. "Bill, you are a comic, tell us a joke," asked Bradley.
"Senator, you are a politician, first tell us a lie," said Cos.
When asked if the airline considered female teachers to be dangerous to children, Ms. Fualaau replied, “That’s not what I said.” According to Fualaau, “this is just as much to protect teachers from potential allegations as it is to protect children from predatory female teachers.”One has to ask, if female teachers are such a threat, why would they be allowed to teach in the first place? I didn't realize that there were so many predatory female teachers outside of New Hampshire.
Message to unaccompanied 13 year-old boys: strippers are safer than teachers so it is OK to skip school and go to Centerfolds or Scores.
NB: The above post and referenced article are a joke. The real article is regarding the banning of men from sitting next to unaccompanied children on flights. Excerpt:
Auckland man Mark Worsley says an air steward approached him after take-off on the Christchurch to Auckland flight and told him to change seats with a women sitting two rows in front. The steward said it was the airline's policy that only women were allowed to sit next to unaccompanied children.
"At the time I was so gobsmacked that I moved. I was so embarrassed and just stewed on it for the entire flight."
Good read, as always.
Why? I really don't know what to say.
People really get agrivated. I really don't want to see what the bathroom looks like now.
What do I get when I get home? No power. Joy of joys. Thank God it's Friday...
Here is a link to an explanation of it all: how he did it, the song title, how he piped the sound through an FM modulator so the sound wouldn't disturb the neighbors, etc.
This guy talks about what's going to happen when Malaysia and Indonesia ramp up their production of palm oil to sell to the EU.
Scott Adams just nails it.
Best and Worst Jobs
Yet another “third highest ranking al-Qaida leader” has been killed, this time by a rocket attack from an unmanned drone. There are a lot of jobs that I wouldn’t want, and “third highest ranking al-Qaida leader” is right at the top. But I can tell you for sure that if I ever got that job, the first thing I’d do is narc out one of the top two guys so I could move up a notch. Apparently one of the perks of being in the top two is having a really, really good hiding place. The number 3 through 10 leadership guys are pretty much scurrying between mud huts and looking at the sky a lot.
Read the rest!
At least Forbes is willing to reach into the vault occasionally to pull up gems like this:
November 1, 1975
Toyota on Top
This is the year Toyota will become the top auto importer to the U.S. It may also be the company's last hurrah. With the lower end of the compact market increasingly crowded by Datsun and Chevette and Honda, and with the upper end increasingly preempted by Volkswagen, the next few years may not be such a happy ride for Toyota. Toyota Motor Sales' new president, Isao Makino, is watching nervously as GM's new Chevettes begin arriving on dealer floors.
I'm not exactly the picture of style tooling around in my Toyota Corolla but it beats the hell out of a Chevette. I suppose I'd be psyched to be driving one if my previous car was a Pacer. (I actually knew someone like that.)
Kim Koster heard about it and brought her camera. "It's like putting Christmas lights up on your FEMA trailer. It just makes you feel better," said the New Orleans resident, whose home was flooded.or
As children rode by on a motorized train that circled the display, Ray Smith and his wife, Marcia, chuckled at the "Caution -- Operates Only in Good Weather" sign next to a model of a Jefferson Parish pumping station. It was a wry reference to a decision by Jefferson Parish president Aaron Broussard to evacuate pump operators before Katrina hit on August 29, inundating the area.
From today's Best of the Web:
Meat saves lives, too, as the Chicago Tribune reports:
Mark Copsy saw the smoke inside the car, and watched as the vehicle careered into a curb in Northlake on Sunday afternoon. It took him only a moment to realize the horror--the car was on fire, and there were people inside. Copsy and his 12-year-old son ran the half-block to help.
When they got to the car, Copsy, 42, said he couldn't open the door. Inside, he could see an elderly man in the driver's seat. A female passenger sat next to him, her face white. He tried to smash the glass with his foot, but couldn't do it. In his hands, he held a 20-pound frozen Norbest turkey he and his son had just bought for Thanksgiving.
"I said, 'Hell, I'll just use the damn turkey.' And that's what I did," Copsy said. He yelled for the driver to cover his face, and used the turkey to smash out three windows.
Just try doing that with tofu!
I wonder if this will violate the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA)...
(If that isn't dry-ass kindling for a fire, I don't know what else is.)
"I am sure we will soon help other mountain villages see the light," says Markus Peskoller, Lichtlabor's director....how can you tell me that nothing sinister is going on? Don't come crying to me when Austrian zombie mountain men start pillaging your town and eating your loved-ones' brains! Come on, the town is in the shadow of Rat Mountain! Something is amiss. I for one do not welcome our new mirror toting, German speaking, you-are-the-sunshine-of-my-life zombie-making masters.
These guys were playing, get the official title, Peter Jackson's King Kong for Xbox 360 in HD. Normally I am not terribly impressed by consoles and console games. Some may say that I am, in fact, behind the time. I am. Hell, I just played Halo for the first time. Anyway, the graphics and the motion were beautiful. If I had $399 for the Xbox AND $2,100 for a nice 46" or more DLP AND extra time on my hands, I'd be camping out at Best Buy at 0700 Monday just to have a small hope of landing one.
I also saw a demo of Call of Duty 2 and it too was incredible in HD. If this is what the Xbox 360 will do, I am really wondering what the PS3 will bring. (Also curious as to Nintendo's next offering. What will the next Metroid in HD look like?)
If you would like to see a comparison of what is known about the three new systems, click here for the take of Jon "Hannibal" Stokes from Arstechnica.
Actually, it should read "Cardimal Tells Parents to Parent their Children."
What I find interesting (in a sad way) is that the music business and the cell phone business just don't get it. They seem to be looking at old economic models and stand in the wasy of technological advancement. Do you make more money selling 100 songs for $2.50 or 500 songs for $0.99?
... Sprint and the record labels have decided to spoil their breakthrough service by setting a stratospheric new price for the legal download of a single song: $2.50. That's 2.5 times the 99 cents that Apple and others charge on their online stores for a better-quality version of the very same song. Right now, Sprint is offering the first five downloads free, but starting with the sixth song, the $2.50-a-song price kicks in. The charges show up on your cellphone bill.Ok, I can sort of understand charging $2.50 for a song because there are some capital costs the need to be recouped AND the record companies need to be paid, but that's not what they're using for justification. They're using the convenience factor argument. However, buying a hot dog at Fenway Park for $3.00 is no a simple convenience, it's necessary if you want to each a hot dog and watch the Red Sox. You can't bring your own. (Though that does bring me back to that Oscar Meyer commercial of the 70's where the father pulls a hot dog on a bun out of his briefcase and hands it to his son. Let's have a weiner roast, you don't have to build a fire, all you need is Oscar Meyer...)
Sprint says its higher price is justified by the convenience factor, the ability to buy a song on the go, when the impulse strikes. The company compares this to paying more than usual for milk at an all-night convenience store, or for hot dogs at a ballpark. Also, Sprint contends, there are many people who find PC-based music stores too hard to use, and they will be willing to pay more for something simpler.
I believe something else is at work here: a lethal combination of two industries many consumers believe typically charge too much. One is the bumbling record industry, which has been seeking to raise prices in the fledgling legal downloading market even as it continues to bleed from free, illegal downloading. The other is the cellphone carriers, or, as I like to call them, "the Soviet ministries," which too often treat their customers as captive and refuse to allow open competition for services they offer over their networks.
Anyone else wnat to comment on the stupid statement that a cell phone based music store is easier to use or simpler than a computer based store like, I don't know, ITMS? I know there are other stores out there whose interfaces aren't as good as the one iTunes has, but really, how bad of a designer do you have to be to lose out to a cell phone? I just don't buy it. If you can't figure out how to use a music store on a computer, I really don't think you have the cognitive skills to use one on a cell phone much less buy the right phone and purchase the right service. I don't think there's much of a "dumb people" market for Sprint|Nextel to tap into. Then again, people do pay $2.99 for ringtones, which are, for all intents and purposes, parts of songs.
Also, if you want that song you just downloaded onto your cell phone on your computer? You need to download it again (no extra charge!!) ON YOUR COMPUTER which was too difficult for you to use in the first place. Hmmm. Your're dumb, just dumb enough to buy our crap!
The high costs don't stop there. The new music store can be accessed -- so far -- on only two new high-end phones, from Sanyo and Samsung, which cost more than $200, even after rebates. Even then, if you want to store more than about 32 songs on your phone, you'll have to spring for a larger memory card, which costs anywhere from $25 to $100. You have to pay at least $15 a month for a data plan that allows you just to access the music store, though you also get other services.I really don't think I will be buying one of these phones. Besides, I am an online music success story! I've purchased more music from iTunes in the past year than I had CDs or Vinyl in my life. I'm saving the record labels tons of money on distribution. They should thank me.
Now get out of my pocket.
Let's look at the question: "Is the state of the natural world, in particular the existence of human beings, the result of intelligent design?". This is equivalent to "... the work of an Intelligent Designer." So far, so good, and it's all neutral inquiry.
Now we come to a fork in the road: is this Intelligent Designer part of the natural world, or not? That is, is the Intelligent Designer natural, or supernatural?
If the answer is "supernatural," then we're not doing science anymore. Go directly to theology class, do not pass Go, do not collect two hundred more freaking signatures.
If the answer is "natural," then we have to ask a whole bunch more questions about the nature of the Intelligent Designer, starting with, "Dude, what's up with the human appendix?" and moving on inexorably to "Wait, if the Intelligent Designer is a natural being, then he's bound by all the laws of nature, just like us, and, uh, where exactly did he come from?"
You can now choose again from "supernatural" and "natural"; if you finish at all, you finish on "supernatural", and we can dump all this putatively "scientific inquiry" back over on the Humanities side of the fence where it belongs.
Wi-Fi highway is uncertain route for several cities
It's about the city's plan to provide WiFi to its residents, which I think is a dubious idea given the town's record of disposing (or not, when they have garbage strikes) of taxpayer dollars.
Here's a couple points of the piece to ponder:
Will the initiative help reduce the digital divide?
Getting more low-income people online is one of the primary objectives behind what Philadelphia is doing. According to Neff, about 42 percent of the city's population now has no Internet access.
In the effort to get the number down to 20 percent in five years, EarthLink is expected to offer rates of $10 a month for low-income users ("low-income" has yet to be defined), as opposed to a standard rate of $20. That rate already is offered in about one-third of the city by Closed Networks Inc., a local company.
Those prices are lower than cable, comparable to dial-up and some DSL rates. (In San Francisco, Google has proposed providing free citywide wireless for everyone.)
But the current cost of Internet service - and its unavailability in some pockets of the city - may not be the biggest obstacles to expanding access; 36 percent of Philadelphians don't have computers.
Wireless Philadelphia plans to use revenues from EarthLink and other sources to help bring computers and computer-training to the poor.
"If the prime focus here was really broadband access for impoverished residents, there are other, simpler ways to go about it," said Ellen Daley, an analyst for Forrester Research, an independent, Massachusetts-based company that studies the business of technology. "You might target subsidies to the poor through the existing providers."
Is the plan realistic, economically and technically?
Berryman says that he's confident that EarthLink will be able to make money. But Michael J. Balhoff, a Maryland-based consultant whose research has been financed by established Internet service providers, says the numbers don't add up.
He and other experts say that EarthLink also is underestimating the difficulties of covering a vast, urban area and the cost of operating and maintaining the system. The vast majority of signal boxes will be on utility poles, exposed to weather and vandals.
If it all goes wrong, they may need Rocky to devise a lower tech mass broadband scheme the way he did his own phone system:
Yo, Paulie -- Ya sister's with me! I'll call ya later.
No word yet on whether Raytheon is tendering an offer for Toys [Russian vowel yoo] Us.
Here is this Monday's question:
You're in a dark room with 50 quarters, 18 of which are heads up. You are allowed to move around the coins or flip some or all of them, if you wish. Problem is, it's too dark to tell what you're moving or flipping (no, you can't figure it out by touch either). Your job is to split the coins into two groups, each of which has the same number of heads up coins. How do you accomplish this?Post your answers in the comments field. I will post the correct answer when I figure it out.
Note to George: This is the question I called you about on Saturday. Thanks for calling me back after "a few minutes."
It's a good site, you should try and find some time to look through his posts. Some are political in nature and some are just strange. I hope he gets back soon as I have already read the Internet in English. Next I think I'll try Esperanto.
We went from drafty, crappy vinyl replacements to new Ultimate Double Hung windows by Marvin. The difference is amazing -- they're bigger, quieter, and a lot better looking. The siding is a vinyl shingle called Cedar Impressions by Certainteed that looks like stained cedar. Well worth the time, money, and effort to have this done.
Fist of all, the CNN headline makes you think that the man is suing Home Depot while glued to a toilet. That would be kind of amusing to see, don't you think?
However, the lesson to learn here is that because of stuff like this, you don't take dumps at Home Depot -- liquid nails on the seat is MUCH worse than Saran Wrap over the bowl. Sometimes, though, you've got to go -- I've been there. However, who the hell doesn't notice GLUE on a toilet seat? Who doesn't at least wipe a foreign seat down with TP before sitting? He's suing Home Depot because they ignored him for 15 minutes, NOT because they let someone apply glue to a toilet seat in their store. I'd be suing the guy who put the glue on the toilet or at least applying glue to his door locks and windshield wipers.
This reminds me of Freshmen Year at college where I would torment my friend Shem's roommate Brian (who later I became friends with) by gluing most anything he owned to his desk, the ceiling, the window, him. Boy, those were the days.
In other news, I think I have finally finished tweaking the site. Let me know what you think.
This is a call out to all of the young HTML/CSS Jedi out there to help me out.
9:30 AM: [****Never Mind. I got some help and the issue has been resolved.****]
Let me know what you think. I know it's small...it will have to be twice as big...(Zoolander reference? Anyone?)
[Too late, it is now the official paci.blog marquee until, of course, I change it. That could be tomorrow, next week, or the month after.]
[Jen, notice the "Harvard Comma" above.]
Now for the more important part -- the Trailers. Two trailers really stuck out in my head -- one whose movie I will go see and second where the jury is still out.
First, let me tell you about Underworld: Evolution. It's got Kate Beckinsale in it. Need I say more? Ok, I will. She looks HOTTER than she did in the first one. It also looks like there will be a hell of a lot more action with flashbacks to early battles between Werewolves and Vampires. Why are all female vampires hot? Why do all male vampires either look like Abe Vigoda or Eurotrash? If there's ever a movie I will camp out for, it'll be this one. If I lived in England, I would stalk Kate. (However, Claire Forlani also lives in England...choices! choices!)
The second film, however, I might just never go see as I am already having nightmares from the trailer and I haven't even gone to sleep. What kind of sick director directing what kind of sick movie could do that to me? Well, that would be Hostel directed by Eli Roth and produced by Quentin Tarantino. It's the story of three backpackers who...never mind here is the IMDB blurb:
Three backpackers head to a Slovakian city that promises to meet their hedonistic expectations, with no idea of the hell that awaits them.Imagine being taken to a place where you are helpless and there is no hope. A place where people pay to torture and murder people they don't like. Imagine drills, saws, scalpels, bald dudes in blood-soaked leather aprons with instruments of torture and YOU ARE STRAPPED TO A GURNEY. Scary shit. I really don't think I could take this movie. Hell, 8mm still gives me the creeps.
I really home more than two or three people read this. I would like some feedback...
On one of my original posts about my house (the one where I mention the tree not being there anymore) a guy whose blog I read regularly, came to the site and even left a comment. Since then the only comments I've received from people I don't know have been from spammers. Too bad.
I leave home in the morning before the sun rises and get home after it sets, so I've had no time to take a decent picture of the finished renovations. (Why not take a picture on the weekend you may ask? It's been raining cats and dogs for the past few weekends, that's why!)
Enough for now.
One post accomplishes mentioning my favorite blog, name dropping, tying in to Lawrenceville, and jazzing Mike
Butterfield in Reuterville
From a Reuters dispatch on U.S. crime statistics:
The U.S. prison population continued to grow last year even though reports of violent crime during 2004 were at the lowest level since the government began compiling statistics 32 years ago, according to a government report released in September.
The other night, we realized that our degree of drunkenness was continuing to grow even though the liquor in the bottle was at the lowest level since we opened it. Life is full of paradoxes, isn't it?
Here on Paci.blog we have three distinct personalities...
First there's Rob who takes after our father. He likes to tell you what you NEED to do -- just look at some of his posts. Even when I agree with him, I get worked up because his delivery is so...grating.
Next there's George. He spends his time looking around the web for that one, single, perfect link (usually something nerdy, but that's ok) to post to the blog. Problem is that George is pretty well-read and can do much better than the sophomoric drivel he posts normally. Maybe he thinks he's too smart for our readers (all what, 3 of them) and your measly brains can't handle serious thought. Then again, probably not--he just doesn't have the time with 2 kids and a job and all. I don't even think he has Internet access at home. Poor bastard.
Then there's me. I tend to post stuff that may or may not piss you off and if it does it's probably not that bad and you deserve to be pissed at yourself for getting so pissed at something so innocuous. Make sense? Didn't think so. Unless, of course, you know me. I have the incredible, unmatched ability to get under people's skin and stay there...slowly driving them insane. It's quite fun. A buddy of mine, Doug Mazzoni, helped me hone that skill to perfection.
Look back to some of the early posts of this blog. You should see someone named Breedo taking all sides of an argument just so he can be right. That's unfortunate because he is usually wrong. I don't know how he does it, but he tends to have a cloud following him as well. He envies Charlie Brown's good luck.
I'm basically running at the mouth (keyboard?) here because I haven't posted anything to this site worth a damn in a long time and probably need to sit down and think of something funny or good or such. I know I could write thousands of words on my cats but most people would only read tens of those words before they go elsewhere and look for boobies on the net.
It's amazing how easy it is to get distracted with this net thing. Think of something **ZAP** there it is -- that can be both good (once and for all settling the argument of which blood is the universal donor O+ or O- ... it's O-) and bad (I wonder if there are any nude pics of Kate Beckinsale out there on the interweb .. there are) and ugly (you don't need an example of ugly, it's just way too easy to find.)
I really don't want to use this site to push an agenda (I'm way too lazy for that -- having an agenda, pushing one is way too far out there), but I also don't want it to become a poor-man's fark where it's just another place to go to get to boobies or stupid stuff.
ORIGINAL CONTENT! That's it! We need some original content here that will engage the reader and keep them coming back so that my google ads at the bottom may help me pay off my mortgage...(if you purchase one single ad...)
Just random Sunday night thoughts. Have a good week.
He gets it exactly backwards. GM's health plan is the closest thing we HAVE to middle class national health care for all ages (Medicaid is for the poor, Medicare is for the old) in America. It has proved unaffordable because a) it is demographically unstable and b) there is no incentive for the consumers to consume rationally.
What were seeing is GM instituting rationing by raising copayments because it has become clear that no more big piles of cash exist to shore up the top-heavy system.
At least GM has the Chapter 11 gun to hold to the head of the UAW. We would have no such recourse against ourselves as taxpayers.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think this is paciblog's first Simpsons post.
Here's and article from the WSJ (registration required?) on the new arabized Simpsons.
Among the many issues is this one, which also includes a favorite quote:
Few shows have more obsessed fans than "The Simpsons," and their vast online community is worried about whether classic Simpsons dialogue can even be translated. One blogger wrote, "'Hi-diddly-ho, neighbors!' How the h -- are they going to translate that? Or this great quote: Mr Burns: Oooh, so Mother Nature needs a favor?! Well maybe she should have thought of that when she was besetting us with droughts and floods and poison monkeys! Nature started the fight for survival, and now she wants to quit because she's losing. Well I say, hard cheese."
The company spends about $400 million annually to cover costs on about 4,000 laid-off workers.
Doing the math, that's $100K per laid off employee. Now some of this is benefit cost rather than cash but still.....
These numbers check out with this recent Forbes article on GM's laid-off community.
"Two years after relations between the US and France soured over the Iraq war, French-bashing in America appears alive and well in light of a recent ad campaign by a fast-food chain linking France and cowardice," Agence France-Presse reports:
The ad by the Subway chain touted a cordon bleu chicken sandwich with the words "France and chicken, somehow it just goes together." A photo of a chicken dressed like Napoleon accompanied the advertisement.
Subway ran the ads in about 10 US states for nearly a month and pulled them in September following an outcry by members of the French expatriate community and other customers offended by the racist undertone.
Mark Bridenbaker, a spokesman for Subway, which has outlets in France, defended the campaign telling AFP it was aimed at lauding French cuisine.
"The perfect match of French cuisine and the Subway chicken . . . that was the intent of this advertising," he said. "But once we realized that people were taking offense, we removed everything from stores right away."
OK, first of all, the French are weasels, not chickens. Second, it's pretty rich for the people who run a company that knuckles under to "an outcry by members of the French expatriate community" to be calling anyone chicken.
(Now, for those of you who think I actually go looking for this stuff, I followed this link on Google News. Once I got there, I clicked around. What can I say, I like airplanes!)
So today, after two and a half years, I finally got myself an iTunes Music Store account and grabbed some singles from Back When MTV Didn't Suck, a historical era even older than Back When MTV Actually Played Videos Once In A While.
The list so far includes a couple Flock of Seagulls tunes, Graham Parker's "Don't Bother with the Local Girls", the song (from Back When MTV Couldn't Even Get Any Advertisers) "Ghost Town" (anybody remember the name of the band?), Aldo Nova's "Fantasty", "Once in a Lifetime" by the Talking Heads (I can't believe I didn't like that song at first; I guess it becomes more relevant in your 20s and 30s than when you've just turned 10), "Six Months in a Leaky Boat" by Split Enz (though I saw a Wiggles version of it, too), and "Rainbow in the Dark" by Dio.
I'm anxious for more suggestions; use the comments thread.
Very incisive and funny.
The EU wants a permanent seat on the UN Security Council. Fine, give it one. But take away France's. The rational is simple: France already has a seat (a WWII anachronism) and would still be represented by the EU. With the stroke of a treaty pen, France and Germany would be forced to coordinate their foreign policies, even when their national leaderships and national interests are in contrast.
France and Germany want to be treated as equals. Fine, treat them that way. Never consult one without consulting the other. Or better yet, do all the consulting through their EU bastard child. Either way, eventually France and Germany will be back at each other's throats – a condition as natural as a hooker with her heels in the air.
Then I realize that it's been over a WEEK since I read a New York Times op-ed columnist because I will not pay $49.95 for the privilege. I am not opposed to this on principle because I do pay more than that for my online WSJ subscription. I must admit to missing their newest columnist John Tierney but otherwise my mind is clear of the natterings of Ms. Dowd and Mr. Krugman.
It seems that lots of other folks do not see the value proposition of TimesSelect either. Mickey Kaus has done a wonderfully snarky job covering this. He's always worth a read and doesn't drown his readers in frenetic posting.
His take today:
Does the NYT have an exit strategy? If they pull the plug on TimesSelect, do they have to give all the sucke ... I mean, customers who signed up their $49.95 back?
An electrical failure in New Jersey disrupted train service between New York and Washington for five hours yesterday morning, leading to confusion, delays and an impromptu protest outside Pennsylvania Station by antiwar activists who gave up on plans to join a larger rally in the nation's capital.
Service was shut down just before 5 a.m. Vernae Graham, a spokeswoman for Amtrak, said the electrical failure occurred in Rahway when a crane accidentally dropped a beam on the wires that provided power to the trains, severing the connection.
I feel almost as sorry for this Mahattanite as I do for Martha Stewart:
Julie Finch, a pastry cook and actress from Manhattan, was on the 6 a.m. train for two and a half hours before she joined three other activists in trying to rent a car. She said that she was scheduled to help lead a silent peace vigil at 11 a.m. in Washington, and was heartbroken to discover that she would not arrive in time.
"I don't want to burst into tears," she said after walking out of Penn Station. "I have a hand-quilted peace banner that I was sewing last night, and I was up far too late."
A hand-quilted peace banner. How precious. Look on the bright side: some poor slob with a half-assed magic-marker-and-cardboard job didn't have to feel inferior in your presence. A good thing, wouldn't you say? NOW STOP YOUR CRYING!!!!!!
Of course, in the iron-clad logic of the protesters, the war itself was responsible for the train snafu:
They walked in a circle, denouncing the war, but some seemed to have amended their grievances to include train travel. A group of young women known as the radical cheerleaders, dressed in pleated short skirts, with pompoms made of plastic trash bags, shouted: "Let's get on the right track. Get the troops out of Iraq." Another chant went "Money for trains, not war."
Amtrak struggled this spring and summer with delays, pulling its high-speed Acela trains off the track in April after brake problems surfaced. Ms. Levine, responding to yesterday's unexpected trouble like a politician pretending to have seen it coming, said that the connection between the war and less reliable train service was obvious. "We want money for trains, for schools, for hospitals and other human needs and not for war," she said, adding that she planned to seek a refund from Amtrak for the chartered train car.
I love these people, not only are they stuck on stupid, but now they're stuck on Amtrak, too.
Maybe our two non-related readers will get hooked, too.
(Note the extra-super-adjustable split sleeves, and the conductive sleeves.)
Pat Moscaritolo, president of the Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau, also lamented the Macworld shutdown, but added that other shows will take up the slack. Next year, the LinuxWorld show, dedicated to the popular open-source operating system, will move from the Hynes to the new convention center. ''That's where the real growth is," Moscaritolo said. ''I think that LinuxWorld, within a three-year span, will make you forget Macworld."
"In every civilized society, in every society where the distinction of ranks has once been completely established, there have always been two different schemes or systems of morality current at the same time, of which the one may be called the strict or austere; the other the liberal, or if you will, the loose system. The former is generally admired and revered by the common people; the latter is commonly more esteemed and adopted by what are called people of fashion."
Ruinous to the poor: Smith anticipated the New York City of the Lindsay administration, which I wrote about in its first month in office. As Myron Magnet has explained in The Dream and the Nightmare: The Sixties' Legacy to the Underclass, published in 1993, 117 years after Smith's book, the "loose" morality promoted by affluent liberal New Yorkers may not have hurt them very much, but it hurt the poor of New York and all our major cities very much indeed. The "common people" were onto Lindsay. In two general elections for mayor he lost the four outer boroughs of New York City. He was elected, with pluralities rather than majorities, because he carried Manhattan, especially its affluent neighborhoods, by wide margins. It was a contest between the beautiful people and the dutiful people, and the beautiful people won—with horrifying results for the city.
Follow the link in the post title and read the damn thing (especially if you can't figure out why non-wealthy people voted for Bush).
Carrots, they are so divine / You get a dozen for a dime / It's maaaaa-gic....
In addition to the intrinsic merit of the story itself (including where they point out that baby carrots are not the same as baby-cut carrots), I found the "Related Links" box, um, interesting.
They're not union members; they're temp workers employed through Allied Forces/Labor Express by the union—United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW). They're making $6 an hour, with no benefits; it's 104 F, and they're protesting the working conditions inside the new Wal-Mart grocery store.Is union labor too expensive to use to protest and picket? Does it matter if the people you hire to picket believe in what their picketing for? Apparently not:
But standing with a union-supplied sign on his shoulder that reads, Don't Shop WalMart: Below Area Standards, picketer and former Wal-Mart employee Sal Rivera says about the notorious working conditions of his former big-box employer: "I can't complain. It wasn't bad. They started paying me at $6.75, and after three months I was already getting $7, then I got Employee of the Month, and by the time I left (in less than one year), I was making $8.63 an hour." Rivera worked in maintenance and quit four years ago for personal reasons, he says. He would consider reapplying.Understanding unions is right up there with understanding airline prices and solving Fermat's equation thingy...
Katrina is a good reason to create a new political vision of prosperity for all, one that rejects ill-advised budget and tax cuts that cripple the country's ability to invest in its people and its future.
Read the rest here.
It's a short piece but here's the title, which should whet your appetite:
Report: Rat Catchers 0 for Decade
Also, a question: does the fact that it's from India make it even more funny?
Perhaps they can band together and form an outsourcing shop.
See what it says in the red box at the bottom of the post? Yes, it says Posted by followed by who posted it.
If it reads Posted by Robert, then my brother Rob posted it. If it reads Posted by George, then my brother George posted it. If it reads Posted by Mike, then I posted it and you're more than welcome to accuse me of whatever you want because you don't agree with me. Just don't yell at me for something Rob wrote. Since George doesn't really contribute more than a few links here and there, I can't see either of you disagreeing much with him.
"Boston? Isn't it cold up there?" said a woman listening nearby. "There is nothing for black people in Boston," said Senecia Williams, 44, who was also standing in line.It kind of rings true. Go see a Red Sox game? Damn, only black people are the ones on the field. Patriots? Few rich-white people can get tickets. Southie? Forget it. Cold? You betcha and it isn't just the weather.
Anyway, its main redeeming feature is that they have retained one Greg Gutfeld as a sort-of internal critic/court jester, who from time to time performs merciless takedowns on above mentioned poseurs.
UPDATE: I wasn't immediately able to confim it but I have verified that Gutfeld is the editor of Maxim UK.
Anyway, something about HuffPo's coverage of New Orleans last week broke Greg's internal levee and, given the depths of stupdity and hypocrisy to which HuffPo had sunk, a massive flow has innudated the lot of them.
Excerpts follow, but READ THE WHOLE THING , this time in a place where you can laugh at your screen in peace.
Do you often find yourself fantasizing about becoming a Huffpo blogger? Do you love to read other blogs, digest their info, and then expel pre-chewed nut-bag assumptions into a concerned and earnest post? If so, you might be perfect for this blog!
So... how do you get the job?
Just tick the boxes!
SECTION ONE: WHO ARE YOU?
Are you famous?
Do you know someone famous?
have you ever brushed up against someone famous?
Was it Warren Beatty?
Did you think he'd be firmer?
Is your husband famous?
(check one of the following)
- Yes I am Rebecca Pidgeon.
- Yes I am Laurie David
- Yes, I am Shiva Rose
- No, but my wife is rich AND famous, I am Brad Hall
- Other lady of leisure:____________________
Where did you spend your summer vacation?
- French Riviera
- Camp Casey
- Deepak Chopra's Seducing the Spirit Retreat
- working as Sean Penn's personal photographer
Which of the following countries have you threatened to move to (check all
- Monaco has no taxes, right?
-Can you work the phrase "tipping point" into a sentence, without actually
reading the book, "The Tipping Point," or even understanding what this
tipping point thing is? Can you pretend to know something without knowing
Do you believe people are too afraid to discuss the "taboo" of race?
Yet you can discuss it for hours, insert it into any topic, from natural disasters to footwear?
Do you feel compelled to let blacks know immediately where you stand on the topic of race?
Do you feel compelled to tell blacks how much you admire Spike Jonze?
Do you realize the next day that you meant Spike Lee?
-do you wear a baseball cap when you go to REM concerts?
-does it hide your bald spot?
-do you write for numerous alternative newsweeklies?
-Do you ignore the fact that they survive off escort ads?
-Which you swear you're never calling again.
Yesterday Apple announced two "new" products to the market. The first, and most anticipated since it's non-debut at CEBIT in March, is the iTunes-enabled Motorola ROKR cell phone on the Cingular network. It holds "100 songs" and is compatible with both Macs and Windows PCs (sorry, no Linux) through iTunes. I think it's obvious that Apple had very little input on the ROKR's designs.
The second, and much cooler looking product, is the new flash-memory based iPod Nano. Dude, this little product is sweet. It comes in two colors (black/white) and two capacities (2GB/4GB) at two price points ($199/$249). Let's see how many of these little guys Apple can sell...
Here is one of the questions that a friend of mine asked me (ok, it was Breedo) in a discussion (ok, argument) we had last week:
Q. Pump prices went up sharply overnight after Katrina. How can gas station owners justify raising the price 50 cents a gallon for fuel they've already bought that's sitting in their tanks?
A. To make sure they can afford the next load of gas coming tomorrow or next week, station owners say. In a notoriously low-margin business where lottery tickets and cigarettes are far more profitable than gas, few station owners have much working capital on hand, so they need to raise prices on today's gallon of gas to pay for next week's price increase, said Tom Pickett, owner of Arthur's Sunoco in Dorchester.
''Your next delivery is going to cost $10,000 more, and then what happens if the price goes down?" said Paul O'Connell, executive director of the New England Service Station and Automotive Repair Association. ''You can't stay 30 or 40 cents ahead of the competition. It's a tough game right now."
Breedo has started to become a celebrity here on paci.blog. Maybe I should start a blog with him and argue incessantly until we turn blue in the face...
The evacuation plan was a plan, but it was really just a ghost plan with ghost buses and ghost drivers, with ghost emergency supplies kept in ghost "shelters" under control of a ghost police force with a ghost emergency communications system overseen by a ghastly governor.
It was a plan for a ghost town. That plan worked.
And here come the ghosts.
*I've taken to adding one of my buddy's AIM id to all of the computers at the Apple Store at the Northshore Mall in Peabody, MA. He gets all kinds of random AIMs from people -- amusing as hell, for me. It's been a while since I've re-added his ID there...
(Keep in mind it is published in the San Francisco Chronicle)
Within the court, the chief justice is just the first among equals -- nine strong-willed, independent jurists -- but the office has powers that can be used to expand its influence.
Most important is the ability to decide who will write the majority opinion after a case is argued and the justices vote. That authority exists when the chief justice is in the majority, and otherwise passes to the senior justice in the majority; some insider accounts of the court have included accusations that Rehnquist's predecessor, Chief Justice Warren Burger, often switched his vote so he could join the majority, commandeer the opinion and narrow its scope.
I'm sure this behavior wasn't limited to Justice Burger.
2004 Economic Report of the President (p.155):
Market Responses to Unexpected Shortages
When there are large, unexpected increases in demand or decreases in supply for a good, a normal market response is for prices to increase by enough to restore balance between supply and demand. Consumers might accuse sellers of “price gouging” when such price increases occur in response to a natural disaster or a failure of supply infrastructure. A number of states have laws that make price gouging illegal. Even without such laws, some businesses might choose not to increase prices during an emergency for fear of a consumer backlash.
If prices do not increase, however, consumers do not receive a signal to cut their consumption and suppliers might not have the proper incentives to increase supply adequately. By not allowing market forces to restore the balance between supply and demand after the shock, nonprice rationing must be implemented instead. For example, after a pipeline break reduced the supply of gasoline into the Phoenix, Arizona, area in August 2003, press reports indicated that some stations ran out of gasoline, consumers waited in line for hours, and some drivers started following gasoline tankers as they made their deliveries.
Changes in demand can induce shortages as well. For example, in the days leading up to the arrival of Hurricane Isabel in the Mid-Atlantic states in September 2003, press reports indicated that many retailers sold out of flashlights and D batteries. The flashlights and batteries went to the first people to show up at the store, rather than to those who valued them the most. It also meant that people who were able to buy the goods might have bought more than they would have at the higher price, leaving fewer for others. Without price increases, there was no mechanism to allocate the available goods to their highest valued uses. For example, if prices were higher, early customers may have decided not to buy new batteries for their fifth flashlight and later customers would not have been forced to sit in the dark.
While allowing prices to increase in the face of a natural disaster or a supply disruption may seem unfair, the alternative would be to restrict the allocation of scarce supplies and to possibly keep supplies from those who need them most. Artificially low prices remove incentives for consumers to conserve and for suppliers to meet unfilled demand, potentially prolonging the shortage. Society must decide whether the perceived fairness resulting from regulations to hold down prices is more important than allowing the market to provide incentives for resolving the shortage as quickly as possible, while making sure that scarce resources are available for those who value them the most.
Got that, Breedo?
Yesterday I got gas at a BP for $2.56/gallon and saw prices ranging from $2.53 to $2.99. Today the same BP station was at about $2.79 and the price range on the road was about $2.65 to $3.15. Additionally, the overnight price shock seems to have set off large lines at the cheaper stations (no surprise really).
What I found interesting was that Exxon and Mobil, which generally are the highest priced stations in an area tended toward the lower end today. Several generic stations had some of the highest prices.
My hypothesis (not really developed enough to be a theory) is that the lower priced stations have somehow locked into a lower supply price for at least a period longer than overnight. This can be done by long term contacts or futures market hedging. Brands such as BP and Exxon/Mobil have the additional advantage of being fully integrated companies who are essentially hedged by the fact that they are suppliers to themselves. My guess is that the generic stations with high prices have little choice but to pay overnight prices for their supply and therefore must charge enough to at least break even or choose not to sell gas at all and risk losing all their customers.
What is interesting is that the stations with presumably lower supply cost (especially the brands that are customarily premium priced) are not taking better advantage of their position by marking up their prices under the generous umbrella provided by the competition.
My best example is the main street in my town, where the generic station is priced at $3.15 while the Exxon down the street (within sight) is priced at around $2.75. To top it off (bad pun, I know), the Exxon has much longer opening hours.
Good thing you're no longer exposing impressionable young minds to your shocking ignorance, Breedo.
The only other graduate of our fine high school who might possibly believe that tripe is my buddy Jay, and he is also a commie.
IT HAS BEEN CALCULATED THAT IF NO ONE IN THE UNITED STATES AND CANADA PURCHASED A DROP OF GASOLINE FOR ONE DAY AND ALL AT THE SAME TIME, THE OIL COMPANIES WOULD CHOKE ON THEIR STOCKPILES.
AT THE SAME TIME, IT WOULD HIT THE ENTIRE INDUSTRY WITH A NET LOSS OF OVER 4.6 BILLION DOLLARS WHICH AFFECTS THE BOTTOM LINES OF THE OIL COMPANIES.
THEREFORE SEPTEMBER 1st HAS BEEN FORMALLY DECLARED "STICK IT UP THEIR BEHIND" DAY AND THE PEOPLE OF THESE TWO NATIONS SHOULD NOT BUY A SINGLE DROP OF GASOLINE THAT DAY.
THE ONLY WAY THIS CAN BE DONE IS IF YOU FORWARD THIS E-MAIL TO AS MANY PEOPLE AS YOU CAN AND AS QUICKLY AS YOU CAN TO GET THE WORD OUT.
WAITING ON THE GOVERNMENT TO STEP IN AND CONTROL THE PRICES IS NOT GOING TO HAPPEN. WHAT HAPPENED TO THE REDUCTION AND CONTROL IN PRICES THAT THE ARAB NATIONS PROMISED TWO WEEKS AGO?
REMEMBER ONE THING, NOT ONLY IS THE PRICE OF GASOLINE GOING UP BUT AT THE SAME TIME AIRLINES ARE FORCED TO RAISE THEIR PRICES, TRUCKING COMPANIES ARE FORCED TO RAISE THEIR PRICES, ALL AFFECTING PRICES ON EVERYTHING THAT IS SHIPPED (THINGS LIKE FOOD, CLOTHING, BUILDING MATERIALS, MEDICAL SUPPLIES ETC.). WHO PAYS IN THE END? WE DO!
WE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE. IF THEY DO NOT GET THE MESSAGE AFTER ONE DAY, WE WILL DO IT AGAIN AND AGAIN.
SO DO YOUR PART AND SPREAD THE WORD. FORWARD THIS EMAIL TO EVERYONE YOU KNOW. MARK YOUR CALENDARS AND MAKE SEPTEMBER 1ST A DAY THAT THE CITIZENS OF THE UNITED STATES AND CANADA SAY "ENOUGH IS ENOUGH"
First of all, I refuse to do anything with the Canadians. Secondly, this is STUPID, STUPID, STUPID. It ranks up there with:
"The Big-Dig was supposed to get rid of all traffic in Boston"
"We've gotten rid of Saddam, why are we paying so much for gas?"
"Reagan's gonna bring back slavery!" *
The first place to go to debunk urban myths like this is Snopes where you will, in fact, find this debunking of the above mentioned stupidity.
I was getting better, now I am especially petulant.
* Seriously, I remember hearing this in 1980 when I was in third grade at the Joyce Kilmer Elementary School in Trenton, NJ. It was an integrated, inner-city school with 700 kids -- all but 7 of whom were non-white.
I know, I shouldn't be so PICK ONE: (captious, irascible, petulant, bellicose, pugnacious, truculent). The problem is that I just can't help it. It makes me feel better if I point out other people's flaws (not saying Breedo has any flaws. He is always right. I see the error in my ways. Now where did I put that tulip?) (See #6)
Who said the following?
"I am not German. I am Dutch."
Here is what I'd much rather be doing right now:
Out! Out! Damn Spam!
One of my favorite sections:
Wall Street analysts appear on CNBC to explain that Apple's device will never be able to compete with the onslaught of cheaper Windows-based competitors. Apple's stock plummets. Idiot technology investors experience a brief moment of deja vu before they return to masturbating to photos of Maria Bartiromo.
Take a look at some of the finished interior woodwork:
Ollie (l) and Rusty (r) rate the airflow between the two windows.
Wider view of the front bay's woodwork.
In the early 1990's, gangs and crack began to seep into Newark.
Funny, I must have been severly mistaken when I noticed, from casual car and train rides through the city, a teeming river of crack-fueled gang activity as far back as the mid-eighties.
Uh oh, I get it, it's probably a foreigner who brought it in. You know how health conscious they are -- he's probably French.
The paper dredged up some of his writings during the Reagan administration including his thoughts on our greatest 20th century president giving a community service award to Michael:
On April 30, 1984, Roberts wrote to oppose a presidential award that was to have been given to Jackson for his efforts against drunk driving. Roberts particularly objected to award wording that described Jackson as an "outstanding example" for American youth.
Roberts wrote: "If one wants the youth of America and the world sashaying around in garish sequined costumes, hair dripping with pomade, body shot full of female hormones to prevent voice change, mono-gloved, well, then, I suppose 'Michael,' as he is affectionately known in the trade, is in fact a good example. Quite apart from the problem of appearing to endorse Jackson's androgynous life style, a Presidential award would be perceived as a shallow effort by the President to share in the constant publicity surrounding Jackson. . . . The whole episode would, in my view, be demeaning to the President."
She was paid a flat fee of $1,500 for the shoot - a tiny fraction of the billions Apple has reaped from the sale of its sleek portable player. But Coulton - posing here with one of her ads - says it still wasn't enough to buy one of the must-have gadgets.
What? iPods cost more than $1,500? Damn, I got a good deal on my iPod Photo! Oh wait, two paragraphs later we get this quote from the dancer, Mandy Coulton:
"I would like one - but $400 for an iPod is too much for me at the moment. I can't justify spending that much money when I have day-to-day stuff to pay for, like the car and rent."
That's better. She sounds downright reasonable. She wants one, but cannot afford one because she has other day-to-day expenses like housing and transportation. She says that she's not bitter and I tend to believe her.
The article goes on to say that she lives with her [not very successful if you can't afford an iPod] venture-capitalist husband and she works as a nanny to keep the pennies coming in as her dance jobs are fairly sporadic.
(OK, Manuela will be doing most of the painting. My job is to supervise and take pictures for the record.)
($50? What were they thinking? Have they never heard of eBay (which, incidentally, has been stampede-free since 2000)?)
Dave has been out of work for the better part of a year since he left teaching. He's put his nose to the grind stone and went back to the books to learn so he could change careers.
Hats off to you Dave and best of luck!
(now call me you bonehead)
I especially liked this sentence:
Keep this fact in mind: the workplace of today is not really that much different from the workplace of 100 years ago.
Actually, it is different because it's not a farm. Gosh, what happened to all those farmers we don't need anymore because of mechanization? Are they standing around in unemployment lines? Arrrrgh.
PS: Yes, I know this is Breedo bait.
"all your base are belong to us"
"Wolf, you could be on the FBI's 10 most-wanted list, host a nightly program on MSNBC and be perfectly safe. No one would have any idea where you were. Ask Tucker Carlson.'" -- Jack Cafferty on CNN's "The Situation Room"
Here is the front with the new windows. Notice how much wider the small window is.
Here is an exterior view of the old window bank on the back right side of the house.
Here is the interior view of the new windows.
My favorite blurb:
"I travel in the kinds of circles where many people use GNU/Linux on their computers — and not only use it, but actually call it GNU/Linux instead of just “Linux,” in the fashion called for by Richard Stallman. Some of these people give me grief over the fact that I use Mac OS X instead of GNU/Linux on my Powerbook, because the MacOS is proprietary."
There is a word for these people. That word is asshole. No, wait, zealot. OK, there are two words for these people.
At least I found it funny. Does that make me a geek? So what if I am. I did still find the above clip from the article to be pretty funny.
The contractors removed a bank of three windows in the back hall and replaced it with two new windows that fill the space. They also installed a window in the downstairs bathroom. It will be great to have natural light and fresh air in there.
That's all for now, no links, no photos.
* There is absolutely NO fishing at the OBFT. Who the hell is going to go ON VACATION just to WAKE UP AT 3 AM and go fishing? Thought so.