Monday, October 31, 2005

U2 concert reviews - now I'm really going to kill myself

Geeding calls it "one of the greatest moments of my life".

Christensen in the DMN calls it a "glowing" performance.

Mendoza in the DMN describes it as a "soaring wall of crystalline sound".

And what did I do instead of attending? Karoke. Pass me the service revolver.

Not a bang, but with a whimper

Steve Case has left TimeWarner.

Back in 2000, this would have been HUGE news. As it is, I got it from BBC and it was sorta buried there.

AOL was the first online service to really hit it big. I first saw it in 1992 and I remember thinking, "This is the future." That was two or three years before I heard the words Internet or World-Wide-Web, and it's amazing how much AOL, even in those days, presaged the Web experience.

The AOL-TimeWarner merger was questioned from Day 1, and it's still not clear what the end result will be. It's pretty clearly a short- and medium-term failure, but the jury's still out on the long-term results. Can the AOL brand be saved and returned to glory? I don't see how it can, but then I'm not Richard Parsons. Thank goodness.

Regardless, if success is in the future for AOL or TimeWarner as a whole, it will be accomplished with the great Steve Case involved. An era is over.

More info on oil sands

I wrote a bit about alternative energy sources a while ago. One of the topics I mentioned was oil sands, the closest deposit of which is the enormous site in Alberta.

Michael Fumento wrote a great introductory piece on oil sands for Tech Central Station. His article has links galore for the inquisitive mind. I encourage you to give it a read.

American Girl imbroglio

My nearly-eight-year-old daughter has an American Girl doll, which has made her the envy of her friends and cousins. Pretty much every girl between 6 and 10 that I've run across either has one (or more) of these dolls, or wants one (or more).

From today's "Success Means Offending Someone" file, here's an MSNBC article informing us that a Catholic school in WI has cancelled a show by American Girl because of AG's support of a charity called Girls, Inc.

I have heard of Girls, Inc. before, and have only heard good things about it. So, imagine my surprise (not to mention shock, holier-than-thou indignation, and outright horror) at finding out the Girls, Inc. supports (gasp) abortion, and (double gasp) lesbians.

No wonder those righteous Catholics want nothing to do with American Girl.

Monday morning sports recap

A weekend like this past one makes me consider taking up gambling again. If you refer back to Friday's predictions, I was darn near 100%. Too scary. I need a bad week of prognosticating to return me to reality.

Regardless, it was a good sports weekend. A few observations:

1. Drew Bledsoe

I keep hearing that this guy can't keep it up. Haters from Buffalo and NE tell me that he has a history of starting fast and falling apart as the season progresses. We'll see. We may look back at the end of the year and see exactly that - a hot first half and a big cool down in the last 8 games. But, I don't see any signs of it yet. He had a bad game in Seattle, but bounced right back yesterday. I know it was Arizona, but a good game is a good game.

2. The tensest sidleline in the NFL

Parcells didn't punch anyone this week (at least, no one I saw), but he was screaming like a banshee. He got in Bledsoe's face at one point, but Bledsoe gave it right back to him. Man, talk about a difficult work environment. Imagine that in your workplace.

3. What is wrong with the Eagles?

What has happened to the NFC champs? Their defense is getting torched by Jake Plummer? I hate TO, but the guy's talent is impossible to deny.

4. Insane officials

What the hell was Mike Vrabel doing to get called for the craziest penalty ever? Joe, help me out on this one. I didn't see the game, but they were playing that call back on the radio this morning. If I got it right, Vrabel was called for an "unnatural act, not common to the game, in an effort to draw the offense offsides". Did he trot out a goat or some other barnyard animal? Perform a ritual sacrifice? I have never heard of anything like this before.

5. BCS

Does Texas lose #1 because they struggled in the first half against silly little Okie State? Or does Texas Tech's wipeout of Baylor improve the 'Horns strength-of-schedule to the point where they hold on? This crap is way too complicated for me. It's college football, for God's sake, not nuclear physics.

UPDATE: Well, there's one question answered. USC is back in the #1 spot. They deserve it - they're the national champs until someone knocks them off. Thankfully, Texas is still ahead of VA Tech, but the gap is narrowing. Orangebloods greatest fears are still hovering out there. Time to start rooting for everyone in the Big 12 to start winning games (except the games against Texas, of course).

6. Monday Night Bleagh!

The Steelers should mop the floor with Baltimore. I think the Raven's overall strategy is to bore the other team to death with their offense. At least I'll get to spend quality time w/ the kids on Halloween.

Happy trick-or-treating!

My weekend choices

We had a big opportunity on this weekend. U2 was at the American Airlines Center on Saturday night and both kids spent the night at my parents. However, we decided NOT to go see the world's greatest band. Instead, we went to a Halloween party thrown by some friends of Robynne's.

I don't want to talk about this too much. However, let me throw one algebraic calculation at you in hope that I summarize the evening succinctly:

night w/ no kids - U2 + karoke = bullet in my brain

Friday, October 28, 2005

Time for a "sensible" gasoline boycott?

As you have probably read, the oil companies' profits are up in the stratosphere this quarter. While I'm not against anyone making money, these profits are sickening. ExxonMobil and the others are making a ton of cash, while the price of their product is having an overwhelmingly bad impact on our economy.

My friend Steve Sanderlin proposes a "sensible" boycott. Don't buy gas from ExxonMobil stations. Keep buying the other stuff (newspapers, coffee, Mars bars, etc) from the stations, so you don't clobber the small businessmen and women who run these stores, just stop buying your gas there.

I think it's worth a try. I have no better ideas.

Fuel cell news

I LOVE THIS! The guy who invented the blue LED (apparently a big deal - who knew?) says he's created a prototype water-based fuel cell. While it's still very inefficient, it's a start.

Go, buddy, go!

Friday again? It must be time to talk football

We've got all kinds of excitement in the college world this week, and a few things to look forward to on Sunday as well. Let's get right to it, shall we?


Texas @ OK State - For a change, I don't fear the letdown (which scares me, if that makes sense). Texas might have been prime for a lapse, except they are ranked #1 in the BCS this week. I think they'll be looking to show they're legit. The 'Horns are giving 37, which I think they cover easily.

Georgia @ Florida - The Redneck Game of the Week is also the College Football Game of the Week. At least they're honest - it's known as the the "World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party", although it's being played in Jacksonville. Don't look for any martinis or cosmopolitans in the stands (or parking lot) at this one - last time I checked, moonshine and tobacco juice counted as a mixed drink in Jacksonville. As for the game itself, Georgia is getting 4. Their QB is out and the backup struggled with Arkansas. I think the Gators roll here.

Oklahoma @ Nebraska - This one sure ain't what it once was. Switzer and Osborne, Rozier and Sims, Fryar and Watts, they'll all be in the stands asking the same question as the rest of us, "Who are these guys?" Oklahoma gets one point, but if Adrian Peterson isn't up to snuff, I like Nebraska.

Washington State @ USC - I think the Trojans are pissed about being bumped out of #1 in the BCS. I wouldn't want to be a Cougar this weekend.

North Texas @ LSU - The Mean Green is (are?) getting 44 points. Things are grim in Denton this year.

Boston University vs. the spirit of Kenny "Sauce" Bleskoski - I don't know for a fact that Sauce-man is dead, but I'd put a fair wager on it. Be on the lookout for a 6'2" guy with a 4 ft back.


Redskins @ Giants - Stormin' Norman Hitzges likes the Skins in this one. I respectfully disagree. I don't think the Redskins are nearly as good as their record would indicate. We'll see, but I like the Giants here.

Arizona @ Cowboys - Did you know that the Cardinals have had a whopping one winning season since moving to the desert? And that they've won one playoff game since WWII (of course, that one win was against the Cowboys)? The Cowboys are giving 9, and I think they cover easily. Caveat - If Parcells punches more than one assistant coach or player during the game, all bets are off.

Buffalo @ Pats - The Pats get the wheels back on starting this week.

Tampa Bay @ SF - The 49ers are SOOO bad. But, hang on, Chris Simms is starting at QB for the Bucs. If anyone is going to make Simms look like an All-Pro, it's probably SF. However, even the once-proud 49ers may not be bad enough for that daunting task.

Philadelphia @ Denver - Tough to call. We'll have to see what kind of shape McNabb is in. TO should have his hands full w/ Champ Bailey.

And a new feature this week - the Comedic Value Game of the Week. To inaugurate this now-weekly feature, we bring you two (count 'em two) candidates:

Cleveland @ Houston - Oh dear. I hear they're going to make the inmates at Guantanamo watch this in an effort to loosen tongues.

Miami @ New Orleans (sort of) - Haven't the people of LA suffered enough?

BTW - Jim mentioned hockey last week. I can't seem to find my interest in "My NHL" yet. Let's get thru football season, then we'll see.

Go (your team here)!

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Halloween is weird

This is probably not the reaction she was hoping for. Perhaps she should have pinned a sign to her clothing beforehand - "NOT a decoration".

Good news from MSFT

Big earnings news from Redmond. And the really exciting stuff doesn't even show up until next year.

Gay or not gay? Not that there's anything wrong with that

Two funnies from today's Bag (thanks, Geeding):

Dude, you are gay.


BIG event in Microsoft-land

SQL Server 2005 has been released to manufacturing (along w/ several other major upgrades to existing Microsoft products).

While "Yukon" (as it's been called during development) has been coming for some time, this represents a HUGE step forward for Microsoft. All of their major server products, including my beloved Project Server, have been based on SQL Server 2000. While there have been a few service packs released over the years, the database product hasn't fundamentally changed in over 5 years, which is an eternity in the software biz.

We in the Microsoft partner community have seen most of the new SQL product, and it is a vast improvement. Look for lots of feature and functionality gains in most of Microsoft's enterprise products in the coming months as a result of this launch.

Beta - Enough, already!

As of this morning, we now have TS Beta kicking up in the southern Caribbean. Honduras and Nicaragua are in the sights. No word on where it goes after that.

Enough is enough. We're ready to stop now.

UPDATE: As of Sunday morning, Nicaragua is set to get hit by the now-Cat 3 Hurricane Beta. I don't even know what's next. Gamma, I think. Stay tuned. This has been one hell of a tropical-weather season, and it's not officially over until the end of Nov.

Another MSFT backer, but I said it first

Two Brad Feld items in two days. I am NOT sucking up. Really. I resent the inference.

Regardless, Brad is quite bullish on MSFT for 2006. As is a certain Project Management Consultant with a slightly smaller readership. And we agree on why it will be a good year in Redmond.

My quote was there first. Just pointing that out for the record.

If we still lived in Plano, we'd need these

Dear God, it's trendy pumpkins. Coming soon to a suburb near you.

Gift for my next birthday

Forget the flying car, I want food embossers.

Everyone has a blog

Two that I've run across in the past few days:

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Iranian President demonstrates why Iran holds a special place in my heart

Here are the Iranians, being as helpful as ever in the quest for world peace.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has called for Israel to be "wiped off the map" and says that a new wave of Palestinian attacks will destroy the Jewish state. Not satisfied with these inflammatory statements, he went on to threaten the leaders of Muslim nations that recognize Israel.

Following publication of Ahmadinejad's comments, Israel has stated that they view Iran as a "clear and present danger". In their position, wouldn't you?

The Brits, God bless 'em, have called in Iran's ambassador to express their disgust over the statements. In the diplomatic world, that's pretty harsh.

Don't forget that Iran is almost certainly working on a nuclear program.

Iran seemed to be coming out of it's 20+ years of Islamic fundamentalism not so long ago. Khatami (the former President) was seen as a reformer, and there was news of student uprisings against the mullahs. That, apparently, has been beaten into submission, or at least a lower profile.

Once again, I have to do the old "I told you so" bit regarding Iran's (and the rest of the Muslim world's) position of power on the world stage. If we could come up with viable alternatives to oil, we could tell these maniacs to go jump in the lake. As it is, they have a ton of money, and have the West by the proverbial short 'n' curlies. An unpleasant metaphor, perhaps, but the situation we're in vis-a-vis these lunatics ain't too savory either.

UPDATE: Tony Blair (I love that guy) has expressed "revulsion" at the Iranian President's comments. And it wasn't the ambassador who was read the Riot Act by the Brit govt, it was the charge d'affaires. Still, that's about as strong as it gets in the lace-panty world of diplomats.

UPDATE UPDATE: Blair expresses "revulsion", while Kofi Annan expresses mere "dismay". Meanwhile, the Iranians tell us we're "overreacting" in a deliberate attempt to smear Iran's reputation in the world. Insert your own comments.

TRIPLE UPDATE: Now there's word of "massive anti-Israel protests" in Iran. They're all state-organized. I wonder how they got the crowd: Free goats to all who attend?

And, while we're updating, here's a picture from the "The World Without Zionism" conference where Ahmadinejad made his momentous proclamation. My question - Why is the banner in English? Hoping for a bit of pub, are we? Well, you got it.

Severe tired-head alert!

I KNOW we have more important things to debate than this stupid brouhaha over the visitor's locker room in Iowa City.

The world's most intimidating men's room

Lifted from Brad Feld's blog: At least they're not animatronic...

Brad Feld, in case you've never heard of him, is an ultra-successful VC in the technology field. His is an opinion that is listened to.

This illustrates one of the really cool things about blogs. Guys like Brad, who most of us would never hear of, and those of us who did would never get an opportunity to talk with, has an easy and quick way to post his opinions in a very informal way, nearly a conversation. While not impossible BB (Before Blogs), it was a heck of a lot harder to do.

One other point - Brad is a Dallas guy. He and I sat next to each other in 7th grade Study Hall at good old Westwood Jr. High. I'm sure he wouldn't know me from Adam at this point, but it's a good story for me.

Nice note from Dan McGraw

Dan McGraw, who wrote the piece in Ft. Worth Weekly regarding the real problem w/ the Rangers, wrote me a note after I professed ignorance as to his and his publication's identity. In case you were wondering (and, btw, I agree with Dan - I DO need to get out more):

1) Fort Worth Weekly is like the Dallas Observer. Y'know, an alt-weekly
that is often very lefty. But fun to write for, as they let me go most of the
2) I wrote the cover piece for D Magazine "Is Tom Hicks Going Broke"
in 2002. The article asked the simple question of whether Hicks' business
failures in Hicks Muse were affecting his sports teams. I think the answer is
very clear now.
3) I worked as a senior editor for US News & World Report
for ten years, covering all sorts of fun things like Waco/Koresh, OKC/bombing
and Columbine. I now write books (novel coming out in a few months) and do some
sports and politics writing (kind of the same thing) for the FW

Hope all is well, and I hope this answers you questions of
who I am and what the FW Weekly is. You should get out more.

Dan McGraw
Fort Worth

Scientist's view of the current sea-ice melt

Bryan Woods at StormTrack has posted an excellent overview and roundup of the scientific community's views on the melting of sea ice, which you've no doubt read about in the press lately.

His bottom line - there are some potential catastrophes looming out there, esp if the icecap in Greenland melts in a significant way, and prepare for a possible return of the Dust Bowl.

The biggest thing to hit the blogosphere since fire

Pajamas Media is aiming to be THE hotspot in the blogosphere. Leading bloggers like Tim Blair, Mohammed and Omar, Kudlow, Michael Barone, and my hero Glenn Reynolds, have signed up to provide content for the new uber-blog.

Pajamas Media will launch the mega-blog under a new name starting Nov 16th. At that time, I will have a new goal in life.

Monday, October 24, 2005

A stroll down Amnesia Lane

Here's a classic picture, courtesy of my buddy Joe. This is me, Joe, Murph, and Ace, having a late breakfast in Charlie's Sandwich Shop (a South End landmark) circa about 1984.

I would kill for that hair again! I think Ace would too!

Thanks, Joseph! Send more if you've got 'em!

Um, no thanks

I get nervous on the second step of a ladder, so I don't think I'll be checking out this newest addition to Grand Canyon National Park.

Texas #1 in new BCS!

Well, this is a surprise - Texas has edged USC out of first place in the newest BCS rankings.

One assumes that the lopsided win over #7 Tech did it for the computers. However, this is a double-edged sword, as the 'Horns don't have any ranked teams left on their schedule and the rest of the Big 12 is a sorry lot. USC has Cal (#24), Fresno State (#22), and UCLA (#8) left, while Va Tech has BC (#13) and Miami (#6) left.

There is definitely a scenario where Texas wins out and misses the Rose Bowl.

Stay tuned.

Talk about your Apple evangalists (bada-bing!)

OK, the "cult of iPod" has officially gone too far.

This too. Enough, already.

Great old Pontiac GTO Judge commercial

This commercial, featuring Paul Revere and The Raiders, is pretty cool. The tune is catchy as all-get-out and they boys are a hoot in full Revolutionary War get-up.

And the car, the Pontiac GTO Judge, ain't too shabby either.

Mike Leach wants to be a pirate

Mike Leach, coach of the Texas Tech Red Raiders, apparently has a fascination with pirates.

Is this gay? They spend so much time talking about "pirate swords" that I sorta think it is.

Tornado car

Another dude with too much time on his hands: Steve Green wants to be the first maniac on earth to drive into a tornado, on purpose, and survive. And he's built himself a Tornado Attack Vehicle to do it.

Wilma to be "Perfect Storm II"?

Bryan Woods over at StormTrack is anticipating what is next for Wilma.

After clobbering South Florida, Wilma is likely to turn north and skirt the Atlantic coast of the US all the way up to New England. At that point, it may interact with a large system currently in eastern Canada, causing a huge storm over the Grand Banks. Those of you who read "The Perfect Storm" (or, to a lesser extent, saw the movie of the same name) will recognize this as similar to the events of 1991, where the remains of Hurricane Grace did pretty much the same thing.

Stay tuned.

Funny Segway imitator

Here's a funny post on Wired's Gear Factor blog regarding Toyota's entry into the personal transportation device field, the i-Swing.

My favorite quote:

It's entirely too telling that the i-Swing has no extra seating for the user to pick up a date.

Cowboys' post-mortem - poisoned by bad Tuna

I guess I'm back as a Cowboys fan, because yesterday's loss has made me feel like crap.

Some of that may have to do with just how winnable that game was.

For the third week in a row, the Cowboys' defense completely stifled the top offense in the league. I mean, completely stifled. The Seahawks offense did NOTHING for the first 58 minutes of the game.

And the Cowboys' offense? Another impressive performance by Bledsoe and his receivers, you ask? They may have had one in them, but we'll never know, as Parcells and Sean Payton went Pat Buchanan on us. Granted, the run was working a bit, and the RT/LT combo of Petitti and Tucker appeared to be competing to see who could get Bledsoe killed first, but still. Throw the ball a few times, at least! How many times do we need the demonstration - scoring 10 points in an NFL game will get you beat more often than not.

The Immense Tuna was in rare form yesterday. By my count, he screamed at 5 different players (at least), every official on the field, and one cameraman. He also punched an assistant coach, which I thought deserved a little more attention than it got from Stockton and Aikman. With his anger issues, I'm really surprised that Big Bill hasn't wound up in Intensive Care somewhere along the way. Well, it's still early in the season. Word to the wise: Take the under on Parcells' heart.

We have to give props to the Seattle defense, which certainly rose to the occasion more than once. Grant Wistrom has been a tough dude since the Nebraska days, and remains so to this day.

Props also to the Seattle offense, I guess. They moved the ball when they had to. I think that may be more a factor of the Cowboys' defense wilting under the strain of carrying the Cowboys' offense for the entire game, but regardless - the Seahawks scored points to win the game. The Cowboys, who had opportunity after opportunity to put the game away, did not.

BTW - referring back to some of the predictions from Friday:

Really wrong on the World Series, at least so far. I keep forgetting that one should not count on Roger Clemens in the post-season.

Close enough to right on USC and Texas. Wake me up for the Rose Bowl, which should be a doozy.

UPDATE: Or will it?

Dead wrong on A&M. Sorry, Aggie fans.

Right on the Giants, but dead wrong on the Redskins. I underestimated SF's degree of suck.


Sunday, October 23, 2005

On to Alpha!

Even with Wilma slogging towards Florida, a new storm is developing in the Caribbean. Tropical depression Alpha probably will not threaten land, but it does represent a milestone. This is the first time we've run through the entire list of names and have had to go to the Greek alphabet to name storms.

Technically, there are still 5+ weeks left in hurricane season in the Atlantic.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Word verification for comments

Sorry, all. Had to turn on verification for comments. I started getting slammed w/ comment spam. Is nowhere safe?

Sorry for the hassle...

Wilma gets stranger

Wilma has made landfall on the Yucatan in Mexico, proving once again why one should purchase trip insurance when headed for the tropics in hurricane season.

Bryan Woods at StormTrack reports that Wilma has, incredibly, formed a double eyewall and, more incredibly, the inner eyewall shows no signs of collapsing. The eyewall is typically the strongest part of a hurricane, so the folks in Cozumel are getting pounded 4 times, rather than the customary 2. Woods tells us to expect "catastrophic" damage to Cozumel. Yikes.

The 6:00 pm EDT models predict landfall in Florida somewhere between Naples and Tampa. The one piece of good news in all this remains the northern Gulf, which is still colder than normal (due to the churning it received from Katrina and Rita), so the prediction is that Wilma will be down to Category 2 by the time it gets to Florida, which is now predicted to be on Monday.

What's Finnish for "Oops"?

The Finnish Culture Minister, who is responsible for restricting the pirating of goods in Finland, gets busted for carrying a fake Prada purse.

Still waiting for enlightenment in Iran

The Iranian government is banning foreign films that promote "secularism, feminism, unethical behavior, drug abuse, violence, or alcoholism", says the BBC.

For those of you who support the internationalization of the Internet, please remember that this move would give Iran, China, Myanmar, and other "progressive" regimes the ability to further restrict the flow of information and ideas. Think about it.

Russia - more like the bad old days all the time

From the BBC - the Russian military will not face criminal charges for using FLAMETHROWERS to lift the school siege in Beslan last year. FLAMETHROWERS?? Most of the hostages were KIDS, for God's sake. The terrorists deserved to get flambed, but the kids were STILL IN THE FRIGGIN' BUILDING!

This sort of non-justice was par for the course in the Soviet Union of yore. We had hoped for better out of Comrade Putin. In vain, it would seem.

Great list of top toys from our childhood

From Geeding: Here's a list of the top 100 toys from the 70s and 80s. How many did you have? Me? Not enough.

Fond memories of Longhorns past

Here's a clip lifted from Bob Sturm's blog: An absolute demolition of the Tech kicker by Tony Brackens. Proving once and for all, kickers are not real football players any more than I am.

Some new pictures

Robynne got mad at me over the previous family pictures I posted. She apparently doesn't like the one of her alone. So, here are a few newer ones:

Sports weekend

Friday once again - time flies when you're on the bench (consulting term). A big, big, big weekend of sports awaits us. Without further ado:


While this year's match-up holds nowhere near the allure of last year's (at least for me), it's sorta fun to see Houston finally make it to the big show. I really don't know where the conventional wisdom is on this, but I think you've got to like the Astros pitching vs the White Sox pitching. Come on, Clemens, Pettitte, Oswalt, and Backe as your announced starters? That's pretty heavy. The White Sox foursome is good, but I think the edge goes to Houston. Go Disastros!

College football

Texas Tech @ Texas - The game of the year in the downtrodden Big 12, this might be one of the great shootouts of all time. However, Texas does have the number 3 defense in the country. I don't care how great your scheme is, if your QB is running for his life, throwing the ball 70 times (as Tech is wont to do) is a recipe for disaster. If the Texas defense asserts itself early, and Vince and Co. can put up a TD or two in the first quarter, this may turn ugly for the Red Raiders. A Longhorn blowout of Biblical proportions is what it says here.

Arkansas @ Georgia - Runner up for Redneck Game of the Week. The Razorbacks will be pork rinds by halftime.

A&M at K State - I'm still a Coach Fran fan, but A&M just isn't very good this year. K State got absolutely torched by Texas Tech last week and should be pissed enough to take A&M to the woodshed. A long drive for nothing for the Ags, I fear.

USC @ Washington - I think the Trojans have had their test. UCLA is the only thing standing between them and the Rose Bowl, and they're not all that much of a roadblock. Pete Carroll got what he wanted out of Notre Dame - a win but a wake-up call for his team. Look out, Huskies.

Tennessee @ Alabama - The much-anticipated Redneck Game of the Week. Rabbit-ear antennas all over the South will be twisted and turned, trying to pull this one in with a minimum of static. A word to the wise, Jim Bob - mount the TV aerial on the '86 Dodge pickup you've got on blocks in the front yard. Try propping it up with the empty cans from Friday night's Manwiches.

Navy @ Rice or Army @ Akron - The service academies have bigger things on their minds than football these days.

Auburn @ LSU - Another classic redneck matchup. I could never figure out if Auburn's mascot was a Tiger or a War Eagle. Can someone clear that up for me? Thanks.

Boston University vs. the immortal soul of Blaine Applegate - I heard Blaine is doing TV sports in upstate NY. That sounds perfect. Either that or selling insurance in Ames IA. You gotta respect a guy who had Carolyn Bessette before JFK Jr.

On to the pros

Seabags @ Cowboys - I will never bet on the NFL again in my life. The Cowboys SHOULD win this, right? This is the third week in a row they're facing the top offense in the NFL. The previous two (Philadelphia and NYG) are no longer tops because of the Cowboy defense. However, you can never tell in today's NFL.

Packers @ Minnesota - My God, the Vikings are bad. A tip to those guys - you can get away with acting like a bunch of thugs only if you win. The Cowboys were GOOD when they pulled all their crap. Learn from that.

Colts @ Texans - Houstonians are thankful that they have another local team to cheer for. If you're the new coach of the Texans (no way Dom Capers keeps that job), do you give up on David Carr?

Jets @ Atlanta - How did the Jets make it onto MNF? Atlanta should take them apart. Sorry, Ace. Go draft Matt Leinart and talk to me next year.

SF @ Washington - San Fran is terrible, but the Redskins have more choke in them than Alex Rodriguez. Don't be surprised to see SF roll big-time here.

Denver @ NYG - Word is that the Giants will shake off the malaise the Cowboys put on them last week. A good test, but I like NYG in a squeaker.

Pats vs Injured Reserve - Always a close match-up, it looks like IR has taken the upper hand lately. However, the return of Tedy Bruschi's bleeding brain may tip the scales back in favor of the champs.

Go (insert your team here)!

Next gen DVDs - some guidance

I've started shopping for a major home-theater set-up for the new house. Not that I'm bragging, mind you, but my media room is 22' by 17', windowless, prewired, and will be so insanely great that I may never leave the house once the equipment is installed.

So far, I've suffered from a series of shocks relating to this search.

1. Because the room is so big, I can and probably should install a screen larger than 100" diagonal. Great, right? Well, yeah, but to get decent resolution on a screen that size, the projector I need is north of $7,500. And that doesn't include the sound system. Yikes!

2. Front-projectors lag behind rear-projection systems in terms of technology and price. Huh? It's the same stuff, except front projectors have fewer moving parts. I don't get this at all.

3. While I can get a hi-def picture from cable/satellite hi-def stations, the picture I will get from the worlds best current-generation DVD player will be inferior to hi-def TV.

Number 3 was the biggest shock of all. I had come to accept DVD as the gold standard of picture quality. It turns out that's far from the truth.

In simplest terms, hi-def TVs use many more "lines of resolution" (the horizontal lines of light and color on your TV screen which, taken together, present the picture) than regular TV. Old SDTV (standard definition television) uses approx 330 lines of resolution to form the picture. VHS VCRs use approx 220. Compare that to the current standard of 1080 for hi def and you get a sense of how much better hi def is. Three times more lines means a picture that is at least 3 times clearer. Here's a great, basic article on the differences between HDTV and SDTV.

However, today's DVDs are limited in the amount of data they can store - about 9 gb total. Hi def movies, because they use so many more lines of resolution, are much larger, storage-wise, than standard def movies. All DVDs today are standard def, and they can be displayed at about 440 lines of resolution, far less than hi def TV.

The good news is that the technology is improving and will solve this problem in short order. The bad news is that there are two competing standards, each backed by a stable of entertainment and technology heavyweights. At this point, it's impossible to say which standard will win out. And therein lies the problem.

Here's a bit about each standard (and here's a great article with more info):

1. Blu-Ray

Blu-Ray is, from a strictly technical perspective, the superior format. Backed primarily by Sony (owners of several Hollywood studios and an enormous library of content), Blu-Ray discs hold considerably more data than the opposition (50-100 gb vs 30 gb for HD-DVD). Sounds like a slam-dunk, right? Not quite. Blu-Ray is more expensive and will take longer to hit the market, although the next version of Sony's PlayStation will support it.


Technically inferior to Blu-Ray, HD-DVD is less expensive and will get to market sooner. In addition, Microsoft has thrown it's hat into the HD-DVD camp.

Where will the market go? No one can tell you for sure, and anyone who says they can is either lying or doesn't know what they're talking about. Personally, I hope Blu-Ray wins out, but don't forget that Beta was technically superior to VHS, and we all know how that one worked out.

Back to blogging

Sorry. Took a couple of days off to board up my windows for Wilma. I'm back now. On with the normal Friday nonsense.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Oil prices - where do they go from here?

A couple of MSNBC articles on oil and gas prices got me thinking a bit.

The first article details the predictions of one Matthew Simmons, described as a "best-selling author and oil-supply bear". Mr. Simmons states that, "Prices are really cheap today and they need to go a lot higher..." His prediction - $125 - $190 a barrel as soon as this winter. Compare that to today's close of $62.41 and gas prices hovering (at least in Dallas) around $2,50/gallon, and this is one ominous prediction.

However, it is a prediction, and for every ominous note, there's an upbeat one. Simmons bases his gloom on damage done by the hurricanes of earlier this summer, while the AP item quoted on MSNBC states that the Gulf facilities damaged by Katrina and Rita are recovering nicely.

Whether it's this winter, next winter, or 20 winters from now, unless things change, Simmons will eventually be right.

I don't know what the answer is. Well, I do - alternative energy sources. However, what's realistically possible in my lifetime or that of my kids? How expensive does oil need to be to prompt drilling in the ANWR, the exploitation of oil shale, more work on the Alberta oil sands, cleaner coal, more nuclear? How expensive does it need to be to make us get serious about fuel cells, wind, solar, tidal, geothermal, or even the lifted skirt and perfumed inner thigh of fusion?

What I do know is this: My current lifestyle is probably in it's dying days. We live in a huge house way out in the burbs, drive two large vehicles which we are completely dependent on, plan our lives around our schedules instead of distance or combining trips, etc. We give very little thought to energy conservation. We turn off lights, use fluorescent bulbs, turn up the thermostat, recycle, all the easy stuff, but we are living our lives basically the same way our parents did when we were growing up. If anything, we drive more, although our vehicles, though large, are definitely more efficient than those of the 70s and 80s.

Will we still live our lives this way in 20 years. Not likely. Ten years? Probably not. Five years? Well, that's where it gets interesting.

I'm an optimist. While I think it's pretty clear that the days of cheap oil are over, I like to think that oil shale, responsible drilling in sensitive areas, better oil recovery technology, and some lifestyle changes on the part of the populace will get us through the short term. I also like to think that fuel cells and fusion are not that far away.

I'd sure like to hear what anyone else who slogged through this post has to say.

Wilma explodes into Cat 5 hurricane

Holy crap! Wilma has "bombed out" (strengthened extremely rapidly) faster and bigger than anything the boys at StormTrack have ever seen.

The water in the Gulf is still all churned up from Katrina and Rita, so Wilma should weaken at least a little before it hits the US. However, Wilma is now the strongest hurricane ever measured in the Atlantic. South Floridians should be bailing out now, and residents of the rest of the Gulf Coast (all the way around to Texas) should keep an eye on weather forecasts. This is another monster and, while the models all seem to pretty much agree on a sharp right-hand turn towards Florida with landfall as early as Saturday, hurricane prediction is by no means an exact science.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Burmese forests being destroyed by illegal logging

No surprise here. China is illegally importing thousands of tons (or tonnes, since it's a BBC story) of illegally felled Burmese timber.

The telling quote:
China signed a commitment to address concerns over illegal logging in 2001, but is has since more than doubled its consumption of illegal Burmese timber, Global Witness said.

Wait. You mean the Chinese said one thing and did the complete opposite? I'm stunned.

More fuel for the bird-flu panic

Jon Stewart had a classic bit on the Daily Show regarding bird flu. It's a 10 meg QuickTime file, so don't try this on your dial-up (Cliff, I'm talking to you, buddy).

UPDATE: It's coming faster than you thought. Get those flu shots.

A little stroll down Internet Memory Lane

Here's an interesting list - the 100 oldest .com names in the Internet registry.

The one bit of context I can provide - BBN (the second name on the list) is the firm which, working on a DARPA contract, developed the original ARPANET, which grew into the Internet we know and love.

Look at the dates on these - 1985 - 1987. The first time I ever heard the word "Internet" was in the early 90s. It makes me wonder what else is floating around in cyberspace from those days. I wonder how many old gopher and Telnet sites there are hanging around from the good ol' days.

Wilma - Look out Florida

Soon-to-be Hurricane Wilma appears to be making a beeline for the southern Florida Gulf Coast. Secure your condos in Naples.

UPDATE: Any hurricane entering the Gulf ought to get the attention of the residents of New Orleans. Prepare to see articles like this every summer for the rest of your life.

'Horns vs. Red Raiders - Big 12 game of the year?

According to the great Chip Brown in today's DMN, ESPN's College Game Day is going to be in Austin this weekend. And why not? This has all the markings of a classic shoot-out (the O/U is 72, for God's sake), although Tech hasn't seen anything like the Texas defense yet.

Monday, October 17, 2005

A glorious weekend of football

Where do we start this Monday? Texas? USC? Cowboys? So much to choose from...

1. USC nearly blows it

The USC/Notre Dame game went about as I expected it to, with USC pulling out a squeaker. The Trojans do have three ranked teams left on the schedule (Cal, Fresno State, and UCLA), but I have to think this was the biggest test they're going to face all season. Gotta give it to them - they can light it up when they have to.

2. Texas rolls again

Texas clobbered Colorado about like everyone expected them to. They've got Tech next week, and the Red Raiders are putting up outrageous numbers, as usual. Tech hasn't played a defense like the 'Horns yet, and the game is in Austin. It might be entertaining, but, again, Texas SHOULD win.

3. Cowboys win ugly

Cowboys/Giants was predicted to be a shootout. It turned out to be anything but. A boring game with a lot of mistakes by both teams. Again, the Cowboys managed to hang on to win a game that they easily could have lost. Bledsoe continued to assert himself as the unquestioned leader of the team. Keyshawn had a couple of big grabs. Jose Cuervo (or whatever the kicker's name is) managed to not be the goat. It looks like Flozell Adams is gone for the year, which is worse news than it might seem - Flozell is one of those guys who you hate right up until he's gone.

4. Patriots - what is up?

I had predicted that the wheels would be back on this week. Denver is a tough place to play, but this is when Brady usually shines. Have the injuries FINALLY taken the toll? They've got the bye this week, then Buffalo. Sounds like just the recipe for getting things sorted out.

All in all, a good Sunday for the boys in silver-n-blue and a good weekend for most of the college teams I care about. We'll let next week take care of next week.

Pope on a pancake, film at 10:00

From Geeding at Bag of Nothing - here's a legit news story about a woman who just happened to fry up a pancake with the late Pope's likeness on it. Hallelujah! It's a miracle!

The only way I'm impressed is if it actually had JPII's autograph on it as well. Better luck next time.

Spyware primer

For those of you who don't know much about spyware (cough, dad, cough), Wired has an article about spyware basics that's worth reading.

Macintosh folks beware. Your over-priced machines may not be very vulnerable to viruses, but everyone has to worry about spyware.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Some good news from Iraq for a change

The constitutional referendum was held in Iraq today and by all accounts, it looks like there's good news on two fronts:

1. The draft constitution appears to have passed.
2. Turnout was huge.

Assuming that the constitution is passed, the next step is parliamentary elections in mid-Dec, followed by the selection and seating of a government by the end of the year.

Of course, this doesn't mean that the violence will cease. Bombs will go off and people will die, probably tomorrow. What it does mean, at least to me, is that the violence has failed. Given the choice, the Iraqis have gone to the polls in huge numbers and have rejected Al Qaeda and the extreme Islamic view.

Bush and the Republicans will be patting themselves on the back over this, and probably deserve to do so a bit. It doesn't mean success yet, but it is a huge step in that direction.

It will be interesting to see how the left spins this event. I get the feeling that some on the left would be just as happy to see Iraq turn into a disaster, just so they could score points off Bush. I'm not the only one who feels that way. Regardless, it will be interesting to see what, if anything, Krugman and Dowd and the rest have to say. No doubt they'll still be harping on Katrina, but eventually they'll have to acknowledge what has occurred.

The latest "serious subject" musical

Fatboy Slim and David Byrne are working together to produce a musical called "Here Lies Love", based on the exploits of Imelda Marcos (as my heroes Bill and Ted might say, she's the shoe-chick from the Philippines).

I guess if you can produce an opera about J. Robert Oppenheimer, a musical about Imelda Marcos is not that off the wall. "Springtime for Hitler and Germany" is sounding less and less far fetched every day. Myself, I'm holding out for the feel-good song-and-dance about Pol Pot.

Early 20th century Yiddish postcards

Here's a very interesting site - a collection of Yiddish postcards from the early 20th century. A guy in Chicago took these cards from his grandfather's collection, scanned them, and posted them. Very interesting, especially if you had family that might have sent or received similar cards.

A must-have digital audio player (DAP)

You can keep your stinking Ipod Nano. Thanks to the Brits for developing this (these?) wonderful new digital audio player. I have no idea how to gift-wrap them, and I don't know how I'd carry them around, but these are minor problems...

Here we go again...

StormTrack is predicting that tropical depression #24, currently well out in the Caribbean, will develop into a major (Category 3 most likely) hurricane and pass into the Gulf of Mexico.

Soon-to-be-Wilma is also getting play on the Matt Newman's (of the Weather Channel) personal blog.

Don't put away the sandbags yet, kiddies.

UPDATE: It's officially TS Wilma now, which ties the record for number of named storms in a season. If we get another one this year, it will be TS Alpha.

Current models show bad news for the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico and after that, there's not much consensus. The good news is that the Gulf is no longer warm enough to support a Category 4 or 5 storm.

Stay tuned...

Friday, October 14, 2005

It could be worse...

Think your job is beating you down?

Excellent piece on the Rangers' current state of suck

Dan McGraw of Fort Worth Weekly fame (I've never heard of him or the publication, but then I don't get out much) has a well-worded piece on why John Hart was not the total failure we make him out to be, and why the future of Jon Daniels may already be written in the stars.

I've heard this argument before, although not as well worded as McGraw's take. There's a lot of merit to this line of thinking. The Rangers make a ton of money, so why should Hicks change his thinking?

Football Friday

Another week of your life gone and time to talk football weekend.

College games of note this week:

Colorado @ Texas - Coming off the gi-normous win over OU, can Vince and the boys get up for the pesky Buffaloes? One thing positive to say about Mack Brown: History shows that he's able to refocus his team from week to week. The post-game scene in the Cotton Bowl last week seemed to indicate that the 'Horns realize they have a ways to go before the National Championship. Texas is giving 17, which should be a pretty good bet. I look for Texas big (can't believe I'm saying that).

USC @ Notre Dame - USC seems to be able to spot teams two or three touchdowns with no problem. Can they pull the same trick in South Bend against what looks like a pretty good Irish team? Notre Dame is getting 12, and I think USC is getting primed to take a fall. Notre Dame in a shocker? Lot's of folks are predicting it. I'm not ready to go that far.

Penn State @ Michigan - Would somebody please put a bullet in the Joe Paterno feel-good story? I'll be pulling for Michigan to do more than cover - they should win.

Alabama @ Mississippi - The redneck game of the week. I like Coors over Budweiser by two six packs and a mortal lock to go way over the 2 packs of Winstons over-under.

OK State @ A&M - If the Aggies don't win this one, Coach Fran is going to find himself the most unpopular man in Central Texas since David Koresh.

North Texas @ Florida International - I hear this game is being played in a parking lot with some disgruntled Cuban refugees performing at halftime. Don't know if it's true.

Boston University vs. the ghost of Jim English - For the 100th week in a row, we'll be mourning the demise of the Fightin' Terriers football program.

And in the pros:

Giants @ Cowboys - The Cowboys obviously showed something last week. Can they do it two weeks in a row. Recent history suggests not. I fear a long day at the Partially Domed Rathole on 114. Of course, I said that last week...

Pats @ Denver - The Patriots return to their expected glory. A stomping of the highest order (get it - the game's in Denver, which is really high - ha ha).

Jets @ Buffalo - I've included this to pacify my buddy Ace. I hear that both teams will be taking pre-game auditions for QB. Sorry, Matt. That's all the interest I can summon for this game.

Washington @ KC - Arrowhead is a graveyard for over-rated teams. The Skins wake up Monday morning to find themselves in an unmarked grave next to Steve Pelleur.

Atlanta @ New Orleans (sort of) - Easily the biggest event to hit the Alamodome since the Monster Truck Summernationals. Sunday sunday sunday...

Houston @ Seattle - Ratings for "Desperate Housewives" should be way up this week.

Go (your team here)!

The Jib-Jab boys have lost their edge

The new cartoon is up. "Big Box Mart" is amusing, but in no way is it as bust-a-gut funny as "This Land" or "Good to Be In DC".

UPDATE: It looks like the Jib-Jab boys have lost their sense of humor as well. Or at least their sense of fair play. They're suing someone who used a piece of their work, after successfully enlisting the EFF and the First Amendment to defend themselves from similar charges back when they were starving. Not too cool.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

You only thought Qaddafi was reformed

The ever-intrepid BBC reports that Thai insurgents may have received training in Libya. We thought Colonel Qaddafi had retired and joined the good lads club. Could it be that we were mistaken?

"Lost" update

Haven't watched last night's episode ("Everybody Hates Hugo") yet - we've got it TiVo'd and it will be required viewing tonight.

Bag of Nothing has a FASCINATING post regarding some "Lost" websites:

Last week we learned about The Hanso Foundation which you can learn more about at, the fictional web site of the company who built the Bunker on the island. Interesting but not too deep.
Well, it turns out that is you add an “s” to the url to access a secure server, you get a completely different experience - A url, which leads you here. A mouse, a speceship sound, a weird soundtrack, and a Morse code title that translates to “a long time ago, on an island far, far away”.
My geekboy spine just shivered.
And then, if you add an “S” to THAT website,
you get this.

My skull is about to split wide open. This show is so frustrating, but I can't help myself. I am HOOKED!

US firms help junta repress Burma

In an article in the Oct 12 NYT, Tom Zeller Jr. tells us that the junta in Yangon employs top-of-the-line tools to prevent the residents of Burma/Myanmar from viewing Internet content deemed "detrimental" to the government's policies.

This is not news. It's sad, but not at all surprising.

What is news is the involvement of US firms in supplying monitoring and filtering tools to the Burmese generals, along with other repressive governments in places like China and Iran. In the case of Myanmar, this is against the law and has been for years, most recently restated in the sanctions outlined in the 2003 Burmese Freedom and Democracy Act.

Zeller's emphasis is on a company called Fortinet, which makes a heavy-duty filtering product called Fortiguard. While the Yangon junta has recently upgraded it's filtering tool from open-source to Fortiguard, and has publicized this fact on its Web sites, Fortinet maintains that they do not do business with the Myanmar government, citing their two-tier distribution model.

This makes me want to vomit. What a bunch of crap. Allow me to explain:

Microsoft (which, by the way, has come under fire for helping the Chinese government filter and block "disruptive" Web content) has a "two-tier" distribution system, maybe the world's biggest. You buy your copy of Microsoft Office 2003 at Wal-Mart, or CompUSA, or from, or any number of other places. Obviously, Microsoft is not involved directly in your purchase transaction and, thus, the "two-tier" system.

However, when you install the software on your home PC, what's the first thing you have to do? Register the product with Microsoft, right? Now, you aren't FORCED to register, you can opt out. However, if you want to get patches and updates from Microsoft, well, the folks in Redmond want to know a bit more about you.

Furthermore, if you have technical problems with your copy of Word, who do you contact for help? Wal-Mart? Not likely. You go straight to Microsoft (at least, you do if you're the average home user).

Microsoft was not involved in your original purchase of the product, but, somewhere down the line, they are going to get to know you.

The same is true, except on a much smaller and more intimate scale with Fortinet. For them to say something like, "Our intent is to fully comply with the law, and Fortinet does not condone doing business with U.S.-embargoed or sanctioned countries," (this from Fortinet's spokesperson, Michelle Spolver) amounts to hiding behind the skirts of not-so-plausible deniability. What the heck does it even mean? "Our intent..."? "...does not condone..."? She's not saying that Fortinet is actually doing (or not doing) anything!

I can't help but get worked up when I read about Western, especially American, companies aiding the Yangon junta in their efforts to hang on to their illegal power and further ravage the people, land, and economy of Burma. There are very few examples in world history of evil military dictatorships that live up to the Hollywood standard, but the Yangon junta is one if them. These guys display a shocking number of damning qualities (destruction of the teak forests, forced labor of citizens on large civil engineering projects straight out of the bad old days in the Soviet Union, cooperation with opium and heroin producers in the Golden Triangle, preventing the popularly-elected government from assuming power for more than 15 years, etc) and zero redeeming ones. The Burmese population needs our help, their so-called government needs none.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Baseball - not much interest left

While it would be sorta neat to see the Disastros make it to the Series, I can't summon much interest in baseball now that both the Red Sox and the Yankees are out. I have some mild dislike for the California Anaheim Angels of Metropolitan Los Angeles (or whatever they're calling themselves these days), but zero interest in the White Sox or the Cardinals.

Disappointing as the Yankees loss was, it warmed my heart to see Gay-Rod fail again. That guy is going to get run out of New York on a rail before it's all said and done, and I will buy a ticket to see it happen.

Now that John Hart is out and Doogie Howser is running the show in Arlington, I think there's lots to be positive about regarding the formerly-red-shoed Rangers. If at least one of the DVD boys works out, and they sign some pitching in the offseason, and the bullpen can find some of the magic from 2004, next year could be a lot of fun. Three and half months until pitchers and catchers report!

Wednesday goofiness

From dad:

(On September 17, 1994, Alabama's Heather Whitestone was selected as Miss America 1995.)
Question: If you could live forever, would you and why?
Answer: "I would not live forever, because we should not
live forever, because if we were supposed to live forever,
then we would live forever, but we cannot live forever,
which is why I would not live forever,"
--Miss Alabama in the 1994 Miss USA contest.
"Whenever I watch TV and see those poor starving kids
all over the world, I can't help but cry. I mean I'd love
to be skinny like that, but not with all those flies and
death and stuff."
--Mariah Carey
"Smoking kills. If you're killed, you've lost a very
important part of your life,"
--Brooke Shields, during an interview to become
Spokesperson for federal anti-smoking campaign.
"I've never had major knee surgery on any other part
of my body,"
--Winston Bennett,
University of Kentucky basketball forward.
"Outside of the killings, Washington has one of the
lowest crime rates in the country,"
--Mayor Marion Barry, Washington, DC.
"I'm not going to have some reporters pawing through
our papers. We are the president." (we are????)
--Hillary Clinton commenting on the release of
subpoenaed documents.
"That lowdown scoundrel deserves to be kicked to death
by a jackass, and I'm just the one to do it,"
--A congressional candidate in Texas.
"Half this game is ninety percent mental."
--Philadelphia Phillies manager, Danny Ozark
"It isn't pollution that's harming the environment. It's
the impurities in our air and water that are doing it."
--Al Gore, Vice President (DUH !) and he wanted to be
"I love California. I practically grew up in Phoenix."
does he know where he almost grew up???.....
--Dan Quayle
"We've got to pause and ask ourselves: How much
clean air do we need?" (I say all we can get, I'll
take his clean air)
--Lee Iacocca
"We don't necessarily discriminate. We simply exclude
certain types of people." (Oh, well that's different, I
--Colonel Gerald Wellman, ROTC instructor.
"If we don't succeed, we run the risk of failure."
--Bill Clinton, President
"We are ready for an unforeseen event that
may or may not occur."
--Al Gore, VP (Gee but he's smart)
"Traditionally, most of Australia's imports come
from overseas."
--Keppel Enderbery
"Your food stamps will be stopped effective
March 1992 because we received notice that
you passed away. May God bless you. You may
reapply if there is a change in your circumstances."
--Department of Social Services, Greenville, South Carolina
"If somebody has a bad heart, they can plug this jack
in at night as they go to bed and it will monitor their
heart throughout the night. And the next morning, when
they wake up dead, there'll be a record."
--Mark S. Fowler, FCC Chairman

Finally, this is troubling:

Iran training Iraq terrorists

Interesting article today from the BBC (one of my favorite news sources, in case you haven't noticed) regarding the possiblity/probablity that the Shiite terrorists in Iraq are receiving training from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard.

The Brits are being careful not to say anything too inflamatory, which only makes sense without a true "smoking gun". However, the fact that Blair himself is saying it means that they're pretty sure about it.

I hope no one is surprised to find out that this is occurring. At the end of the day, it would not shock me to find out that Iran has a hand in a great many things.

What's to be done? That's the subject of a whole other post or posts. Stay tuned.

The great direction-of-the-toilet-paper-roll debate

Here's a subject that has received a surprising amount of attention in my house. Please help us settle this hot-button issue with your vote.

Vikings make (bad) news again

Vikings players seem to be doing their best to emulate the mid-90s Cowboys. Unfortunately for them, they don't have the rings the Cowboys did.

I thought trading Randy Moss was going to cure problems like this.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Sad/Mad Philly = Happy Dallas

I'm still stunned by what the Cowboys threw down on Sunday afternoon. I (along with nearly every member of the leering press here in Big D) had prognoticated an ace-whuppin' of the highest order. However, I (and they) got the whupper and the whupee reversed in a big way.

Some observations:

1. Bledsoe

What the heck has happened to Drew Bledsoe? Maybe the better question is: What happened to him in Buffalo? Remember, he wound up on the bench in New England via an injury - Tom Brady got a chance and hasn't relinquished the job since. Drew didn't get fired because he sucked there. However, there's no denying that he DID suck in Buffalo. What's different here? The Gargantuan Tuna?

Whatever the difference is, the Cowboys are benefiting big time. Bledsoe in no way resembles the over-the-hill, taken-too-many-hits, immobile geezer we were told to expect. He moves as well as Aikman ever did, maybe better. He's still got the gun. He's emerged as the unquestioned leader of this team, says all the right things, handles himself like a pro, and now finds himself as the object of a man-crush from his owner and most of the fan base. And to think I once suggested to a friend that the Pats should draft a linebacker instead of him.

2. Defense

The light bulb clicked on for these guys this week. Granted, the Eagles have no running game and McNabb was clearly not 100%, but still, 129 yards of total offense? How is that possible in an NFL game? Against the NFC champs? What a thrashing.

3. The Immense Tuna

I'm still not so sure this guy is the genius he once was, but you can't argue with his performance this week. He was aggressive, prepared, just generally seemed to have his finger on the pulse of the team. We'll see if he's got another one (or 11) in him, but he was the Gigantic Tuna of old on Sunday.

4. Keyshawn vs Bledsoe

I'm not really a Keyshawn fan. His numbers are pretty awesome, but the whole swordfight w/ Michael Irvin last week really reminds one of how few big plays Keyshawn has made in big games. With that said, it's been a long time since anyone on the Dallas sideline appeared to give a crap about what was going on around him. And you know, I believe both Keyshawn and Bledsoe when they say "it's over".

Next week it's the Eli, Tiki, Plaxico, and the Giants. In the ridiculous NFL of 2005, there's NO WAY of knowing what the heck is going to happen. If the Cowboys can throw down something similar to last week, they can beat any team in the league. However, there's no evidence (yet) that indicates they're capable of such a feat two weeks in a row.

Stay tuna'd (I kill myself).

Blogging slacker

Sorry for the light blogging the past few days. My excuse - I attended one of this guy's yoga classes and have just now been released from the bin.

Funny left

This dude has a lot of time on his hands. Agree or disagree, it's still pretty funny.

Cool? Yes. Worth the effort? You decide...

This is one of the coolest pieces of engineering I've ever seen.

I guess there's a return on investment here somewhere, beyond some knucklehead in Texas blogging it to say that it's cool. Beats me what that return is, though.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

An active tropical weather season keeps going

Here comes Tropical Storm Vince.

Each season, the National Hurricane Center uses a pre-determined list of tropical cyclone names. There are 21 names on each year's list. Number 21 this year is Wilma.

If we go past 21 named storms, NHC uses the Greek alphabet - Alpha, Beta, Gamma, etc.

Well, it was interesting to me...

UPDATE: Vince is going to Europe.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Vince isn't going anywhere.

TRIPLE UPDATE: Vince makes history.

Leave it to the French

The latest in terrorist chic from fashionable France.

What is wrong with that country?

Who should own the Internet

This is pretty geeky stuff, but the impact could be gi-normous.

Since it's development in the 60s and 70s as a DARPA project, the Internet and it's forebears have been almost exclusively controlled by the US. The critical root servers are still controlled by the US, giving the Bush administration, like Clinton, Bush I, Reagan, Carter, and (I guess) Nixon and Ford, control over the addition of top-level domains (.edu, .com, .gov, etc).

There is serious debate amongst the countries of the world whether that's a good idea. Most think not.

Before you knee-jerk and say to yourself, "Why should the US control this now-vital international resource?", read this commentary by Declan McCullagh. Like many things in life, it ain't so simple.

Frankly, giving the UN control of anything really important scares the life out of me. Like it or despise it, the US government has been a pretty good custodian of the Internet. Letting China, Iran, or other "enlightened" countries have equal control over the Web doesn't sound like a good plan to me.

News from Zimbabwe gets worse

The BBC is reporting that Zimbabwe can no longer adequately feed it's army.

The looming, entirely man-made disaster in Zimbabwe has the potential of unsettling southern Africa. Again, the US and the West don't have any really significant strategic interests in the region, which means it will probably be left to sort itself out, not unlike Southeast Asia and Darfur.

Think they'll be partying in Austin?

I way underestimated the score, but the end result is the same. It's not a superhighway to the Rose Bowl, but there isn't anything really scary left on the 'Horns schedule. I fear the letdown - any of the remaining teams is capable of the upset.

Coach Brown still has to prove that he can hold it together for the stretch. I still get the feeling that the team is good enough to overcome his potential panic-attacks.

Just how much Imodium do you think Mack went through this week?

Will it matter? Is anyone beating USC this year?

In mourning for the Red Sox

I wish I had blogged about the Red Sox and their chances this year. Ah well, too late. I'll be wearing a black armband today in mourning.

If Texas loses this afternoon, I may put on the dress blues and polish up the service revolver.

Friday, October 07, 2005

A golf tourney I'd like for you to know about

The wifey asked me to blog this, and I'm happy to. We'll leave out the part about her asking me daily for the past week and just get to the part where I actually do it.

As some of you know, little Drewbie (our 5-year-old son) has a metabolic disorder known as tyrosinemia. This disorder is RARE, so rare that there's not really an organization that supports it.

More common, and very similar, is a metabolic disorder known as PKU. Because there are many more PKU kids than tyrosinemia kids, and because the disorders are so similar, we tend to hang with the PKU families for strength in numbers.

The PKU Association of North Texas is holding it's annual fund-raiser - a golf tournament at Pecan Hollow in Plano, on 10/28. Info is available on-line, or you can email me at

Thanks in advance!

Closer to Rosie every day

The latest product from iRobot, the folks who brought you the Roomba robot vacuum cleaner. This time it's Scooba, the robot mop.

I'm still waiting for the vaguely human-shaped robot who motored around the Jetson's pad on one wheel, while wearing an apron and cracking wise to the family.

More regarding Microsoft geek blogs

Here's a Microsoft developer blog starter-kit. This is heavy-duty geek stuff - don't look for warm and fuzzy here.

Fishing - more dangerous than you think

There are dangers all around us. Dont try this at home.

Nothing new in Burma (oops, I mean "Myanmar")

Recent events in Burma (I'm not going to use "Myanmar" - the NLD calls it Burma, and that's good enough for me) indicate that nothing is changing, despite the ruling junta's proclaimed "Roadmap to Democracy".

Burma has long been an interest of mine. I've never completely understood why. The sheer remoteness of the place has something to do with it. The story of Aung San Suu Kyi certainly has something to do with it. I've always been intrigued by SE Asia. But there's more to it than that.

This is what happens when the US and the West has no strategic interest in a region. As I've mentioned, I wouldn't mind seeing this same sort of disregard happen to the Arab world.

I don't know what the answer is in Burma. Aung San Suu Kyi is 60 years old now, and has spent most of the last 15 years detained in one way or another. Most of the detention has been house arrest, but her health can't be wonderful. When she goes, there's no one with the same kind of moral authority on the stage. That's not a knock on any of her compadres in the NLD; I don't think there's anyone in the world today who has earned the sort of moral authority Aung San Suu Kyi has.

Leaving it up to Burma's neighbors hasn't worked - they all have trade arrangements with "Myanmar". The Brits, as former colonial masters, have no interest in getting involved. The UN has a special envoy appointed and keeps issuing statements about Burma, but we all know how effective that is. About all they've got going them is attention from U2. If Bono had won the Nobel Prize, maybe that would have helped, but even he has moved on to other subjects.

I will write about Burma whenever something happens there, and whenever it pops into my mind. It's all I can do.

Free Aung San Suu Kyi! Free Burma!

Friday funnies

This doesn’t help the myth about sports people:

Why Athletes Can't Get Other Jobs
Chicago Cubs outfielder Andre Dawson on being a role model: "I wan' all dem kids to do what I do, to look up to me. I wan' all the kids to copulate me."
New Orleans Saint RB George Rogers when asked about the upcoming season: "I want to rush for 1,000 or 1,500 yards, whichever comes first."
And, upon hearing Joe Jacobi of the 'Skins say: "I'd run over my own mother to win the Super Bowl," Matt Millen of the Raiders said: "To win, I'd run over Joe's Mom, too."
Torrin Polk, University of Houston receiver, on his coach, John Jenkins: "He treats us like men. He lets us wear earrings."
Football commentator and former player Joe Theismann, 1996: "Nobody in football should be called a genius. A genius is a guy like Norman Einstein."
Senior basketball player at the University of Pittsburgh: "I'm going to graduate on time, no matter how long it takes." (now that is beautiful)
Bill Peterson, a Florida State football coach: "You guys line up alphabetically by height." And, "You guys pair up in groups of three, then line up in a circle."
Boxing promoter Dan Duva on Mike Tyson hooking up again with promoter Don King: "Why would anyone expect him to come out smarter? He went to prison for three years, not Princeton."
Stu Grimson, Chicago Blackhawks left wing, explaining why he keeps a color photo of himself above his locker: "That's so when I forget how to spell my name, I can still find my clothes."
Lou Duva, veteran boxing trainer, on the Spartan training regime of heavyweight Andrew Golota: "He's a guy who gets up at six o'clock in the morning regardless of what time it is."
Chuck Nevitt, North Carolina State basketball player, explaining to Coach Jim Valvano why he appeared nervous at practice: "My sister's expecting a baby, and I don't know if I'm going to be an uncle or an aunt." (I wonder if his IQ ever hit room temperature in January)
Frank Layden, Utah Jazz president, on a former player: "I told him, 'Son, what is it with you? Is it ignorance or apathy?'He said, 'Coach, I don't know, and I don't care.'"
Shelby Metcalf, basketball coach at Texas A&M, recounting what he told a player who received four F's and one D: "Son, looks to me like you're spending too much time on one subject."
Amarillo High School and Oiler coach Bum Phillips when asked by Bob Costas why he takes his wife on all the road trips, Phillips responded: "Because she is too damn ugly to kiss good-bye."(Dead man walkin')

One more:

Gay or not gay?

Not that there’s anything wrong with that…

Football time again

Yikes! Another week gone and it's time to talk football.

Here in Dallas, there's nothing to talk about except Texas-OU. This should be the year for the burnt-orange, they've got all the horses and OU is struggling worse than any other time in the Bob Stoops era. I'd like nothing more than to see Texas demolish the Sooners, but there's a voice in the back of my head that keeps repeating, "Mack Brown" in a mocking manner.

ALL of the pressure is on Texas. I get the feeling that Vince Young is not terribly affected (or is it effected?) by pressure. He's just too cool for that. But Coach Brown - I just bet he's got a case of lower GI problems that would make Bluto Blutarsky queasy. I think the team is good enough to overcome their so-tense-his-head-may-implode coach, so it says here Longhorns 27 Sooners 10.

In other games of note:

UGA @ Tenn - Another battle of ranked rednecks. A buddy of mine (Johnnie-boy, for those of you who know him) is a Georgia lifer, so I'll lean that way in his honor.

Marshall @ Va Tech - The Hokies are pretty scary. Marcus Vick is a sorry human, but he's got talent. Marshall squeaked by SMU last week, and my daughter's Indian Princess tribe could probably do that.

Arizona @ USC - Speaking of scary, this one might be more interesting if it was the Arizona Cardinals at USC, instead of the Wildcats. On the other hand, maybe it wouldn't.

A&M @ Colorado - A&M should have lost to Baylor. The righteous fury of the Baptists rubs off on God and Coach Fran & Co. get stomped in this one.

In the NFL:

Saints @ Green Bay - Displaced hurricane refugees around the country are inspired by the fact that they no longer have to cheer for the Saints.

Bears @ Browns - Displaced hurricane refugees are further inspired because they didn't get relocated to Chicago or Cleveland. Except for those that were.

Pats @ Atlanta - There is NO WAY the Pats lose this one. I would bet my buddy Joe's life on it, except he already has.

Eagles @ Cowboys - Much as I hate to say it, I don't see any way the Cowboys hang in this one. McNabb and TO may set a few records against this secondary, and the Eagles D is going to do bad things to the overrated left side of the Cowboys O line.

Cincinnati @ Jacksonville - Who would have thought that this is the best game of the week?

Steelers @ San D - The 2nd best game of the week. LT (still can't used to using those initials for anyone other than the original) is pure greatness, and from TCU of all places.

Go (your team here)!