Thursday, June 29, 2006

Words fail me

MSNBC reports on the trial of former Oklahoma district Judge Donald Thompson. According to the AP, Judge Don is on trial for indecent exposure related to using an Austin Powers-autograph-model penis pump, while behind the bench, during actual trials.

Gordon Keith has a theory that human genitalia is responsible for more bizarre and dangerous behavior than anything else on the planet. This story would seem to support his hypothesis.

Think Judge Don is a popular guest on the Bristow, OK social scene these days?

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Don't screw with the Russians

Former KGB boss Vlad Putin, now President of the Russian Republic (in case you had forgotten), reverted to his roots earlier today. He ordered the Russian Secret Service to hunt down and kill the Iraqis who executed four Russian diplomats earlier this month.

Back in the bad old days of the Soviet Union, Middle Eastern and European terrorists knew better than to mess with the Sovs. Anyone who forgot this directive often got mailed back to his relatives in multiple packages. The KGB took no crap, and quickly the word got out not to give them any.

The Russians look to be using the same tactics their Commie ancestors employed. They need to, as events in Chechnya have the Russians on radical Islam's coal-in-the-stocking list.

Tracking Operation Summer Rain

If you're interested in tracking events in Israel's current incursion into Gaza, there is no better place to do so than Vital Perspective.

I've subscribed to VP for some time now and find it to be an excellent source of info and events on the Middle East. The slant is pro-Israel, which is fine by me.

VP is providing literally minute-by-minute updates on doings in Gaza. Tune in and check it out.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Latest from the cool toy dept - Walkie-talkie watches

For $100, you can have a walkie talkie watch.

How much fun would a couple of these have been when you were 11 years old?

Coming to a 'hood near you

Just in time for the 4th of July, here are Toters jeans. Specially designed to carry (concealed, of course) handguns and other weapons, these should be BIG sellers in rough parts of major cities and everywhere in Texas.

Draw, pardner.

Tension mounts in Gaza - again

All kinds of stuff happening in Israel and Gaza today. The two biggest stories:

1. Tension between Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza is escalating rapidly in response to the militants kidnapping of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.

Israeli forces are massing near the border and the war of words is growing more heated by the hour. Israel has already implicitly threatened all of Hamas' leadership with assassination if Shalit is not released.

2. On the other end of the spectrum, Hamas' political leadership has agreed to a Palestinian-suggested peace plan that recognizes Israel's right to exist and proposes a two-state solution.

This is a MAJOR shift for Hamas, as it's stated goals all along have included utter destruction of Israel and complete rejection of negotiations.
There's no need to start polishing up the Nobel Prizes quite yet, as the "plan" endorsed by Hamas was originally authored by Palestinian militants currently residing in Israel's prison system. However, the shift in thinking is worth noting.

We'll be by the channel today to keep an eye out for more developments on either story. It seems likely something will happen in very short order w/ regard to Cpl Shalit's situation.

Stay tuned...

Monday, June 26, 2006

Ty is back

My favorite substitute blogger ever in the history of ever is back - Ty Walker is filling in for The Great Sturm while Bob slacks (more than usual) for a week.

Ty is a fan of the picture, the hot chick, and the picture of the hot chick. And he finds some good SPOOOORRRRRTTTTTSSSS to link as well. What's not to like?

Go check out his fine work RIGHT NOW. Drop the spatula. Go. Now.

Think your job sucks? It could be worse...

Here's a story from MSNBC today (and Wired magazine like six years ago) about the ship-breaking industry.

Do you ever wonder what happens to old, played out ships? POS (that's "Piece of S***") cargo ships and tankers that are way past their useful lives are broken up and recycled.

Sometimes the breaking is done in the West, in high-tech shipyards with union crews, computer-controlled tools, safety regulations, etc.

But sometimes, especially when the ship is loaded with asbestos insulation, or contaminated engine oil, or mercury, or God-knows-what, its done in India or Bangladesh or some other Third World hellhole. There's no drydock - the ships are just slammed into the beach at high tide. There are no computer controlled tools, just thousands of guys with torches and bare hands. There are no safety regulations, just a dollar or two a day per man and take your chances with sharp edges, incredibly toxic chemicals, and the occasional 200-ton piece of metal falling from 15 stories up.

In a world full of crap jobs in crap conditions, ship-breaking is amongst the worst.

Every so often, it occurs to me just how unbelievably fortunate I am to be living in 21st Century American, born to a successful family, and afforded the opportunity to get an education.

This can turn into a major philosophical-religious discussion, which I wouldn't understand anyway. I just thank the good Lord that I am where I am. And I give what I can to the Red Cross and other charities.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

We suck

The US is out of the World Cup following a 2-1 loss to Ghana.

It's hard to imagine anything more humiliating than being eliminated from an international tournament by a country 95% of US residents couldn't find on a map if you held a bazooka to their heads. Even more sad - the US got the help it needed from the Italians, who beat the Czech Republic 2-0 while the US was getting it's ace whupped.

So much for World Cup fever. When is the Davis Cup?

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Borat the Movie - go watch the trailer

The genius that is Sacha Baron Cohen's Borat hits the big screen this fall. Yahoo! Movies has the trailer.

Go watch. Is nice.

This is a MUST SEE. Now I just need to convince my wife....

Mavs come up short

The Mavs didn't have enough to put themselves over the top, losing the NBA Finals Game 6 last night, 95-92. Miami won the series and the 2006 NBA Championship, 4 games to 2.

Two months into the playoffs, the Mavs season is over. They went to heights never before reached by this franchise, but failed to climb to the highest point.

And make no mistake: It was a failure. The Mavs proved in Games 1 and 2 they are the better team. However, they were unable to sustain their momentum after the first two wins. Key players disappeared for long stretches, Avery's bag of tricks came up empty for the first time this year, the shots stopped falling, and Dwyane Wade emerged as a bona-fide superstar.

I hate to lay blame, as I am grateful to the Mavs for their entertainment value all year, and genuinely like a lot of these guys. However, we have to call out a few dudes who's performances (or lack of performances) contributed to the failure.

First: Dirk. He was the best player, consistently, through the first three series, but was not even close in the Finals. The Dunking Deutschlander needed to be The Man last night. Sure, he nutted up and made a few plays. But overall, he was not even remotely Bird-like. He was OK, but not a superstar.

Next: Jet Terry. Another MIA. A great first quarter, then a no-show for the final 3. Your team needed you last night, Jason. Where did you go? You even had a chance to redeem yourself on the last shot of the game - all would have been forgiven if that wide-open three had fallen. However, it did not and, in some strange way, it made sense that it didn't. Last year it was playing off Nash. This year it's missing the final shot. In both cases, a long summer for the Jet.

J. Howard. Never put together 48 minutes of great play. He had some flashes of brilliance, but vanished down the stretch every time. Dude has all kinds of talent, but has to be able to sustain it night in and night out. Once again, when the Mavs needed him down the stretch, he vanished.

Jerry Stackhouse. "Win one for Stack" became a rallying cry for the Mavs through the playoff run. Stackhouse contributed some clutch shots, key hustle plays, and one monster shot block last night, but he also clanged more than his share of wannbe-threes. I think the pluses outweighed the minuses, but not overwhelmingly so.

The Little General. Avery had the magic touch all year and thru the entire playoff run, right up until the 4th quarter of Game 3 in Miami. His team let that one slip away, and never recovered from it. Even after the Game 3 meltdown, Avery seemed to keep his head screwed on up until Game 5. It was then that the law of averages caught up with him and he lost it. Game 5 was the first time (and, I bet, the last) time we saw Avery with no answers. He had tried every trick he knew or could conjure up, and none of them worked. His public thrashing of poor Eddie Sefko from the DMN was a result of his bewilderment and frustration. I hated to see it, because I think the world of Avery Johnson. It hurt to see him so out-of-control.

So, where do we go from here? It's hard to say. I don't think the Mavs will lose anyone of any real consequence - Quisy Daniels and Darrell Armstrong seem like sure bets to depart, but neither loss should be deadly. However, the league, and especially the West, are only going to get tougher. To wit: Phoenix with Stoudamire back (maybe), Yao with another year under his belt, Carmello with another year under his belt, LeBron with another year under his belt. D-Wade with another year and a title under his belt. No one is standing still.

Well, it sure has been fun this year, and I will be back in front of the tube, listening in to Old Follywill next year. Thanks to everyone in the first-class Mavs organization for all the thrills. See you in the fall.

Monday, June 19, 2006

What does this look like to you?

To the left (and here) you'll find an aerial view of the new Olympic Stadium in Beijing, built for the 2008 Summer Olympics.

I gotta ask: Does this edifice sorta look like, um, female naughty bits? Or is my brain so in the gutter that I'm making something out of nothing?

USB Powered Air conditioned clothes

If you're in the market for a white, short-sleeved sport shirt with two electric fans pushing air around inside it, and you spend a lot of time in front of your PC, and your PC has a spare USB port, you are so totally in luck, man.

Potentially genius, at least as long as you don't mind looking like the Sta-Puft Marshmallow Man.

Here come the 1080p projectors

Well, it was only a matter of time - here's the first mention I've seen of a 1080p front projector, this one from JVC.

Some notable specs:

- 600 lumens - lame, but my room has no windows, so I don't really care about that
- No HDMI - really lame, and not what you'd expect given the next tidbit
- Retail of over $12 large - ouch!

This is still good news. We always start in the stratosphere, price-wise. Before you know it, 1080p DLPs will be in the sub $5,000 range, and I'll be pounding down the door of Starpower with my MasterCard in hand.

Using a beer bottle to open a beer bottle

Here's a dude over-explaining how to open a bottle of beer using another bottle of beer. A semi-cool party trick, which I saw put to use in Newport RI last weekend.

I just like that the guy tries to turn it into splitting the friggin' atom.

Cretin Steelers' "fans" threaten woman in Big Ben accident with a little street justice

How typical is this?

The woman involved in Ben Roethlisberger's traffic accident last week has received threats via telephone. Police are investigating.

Forget the fact that Roethlisberger wasn't wearing a helmet, and is lucky as hell to be alive and still in possession of his brain matter. This poor woman, who admittedly did fail to yield to Roethlisberger's Suzuki Hayabusa, will now be frightened out of her wits because some drunken louts are in danger of losing their Steelers-to-repeat parlay in Vegas next year.

Sometimes I hate humans.

Mavs-Heat – What are we witnessing?

Game 5 is in the books – Heat over Mavs 101 to 100 in OT. The Mavs dropped all three games in Miami, and return home to the AAC on Tuesday night, down 3-2 and facing their first elimination game (aside from Game 7 against the Spurs) of this year’s playoffs.

A few points from my less-than-expert brain:

1. Are we witnessing the emergence of Dwyane Wade as the NBA’s biggest star in a decade? The Mavs seem completely unable to stop him in crunch time. Maybe he’s the most talented, most clutch guy since that bald dude with the tongue.

2. If D-Wade isn’t MJ reincarnated, wouldn’t, I dunno, a double-team maybe worth a try? Don’t get me wrong, I love Devin Harris and think he’s doing as well as he can against Wade. But don’t you think Avery would want to take his chances leaving Posey or Haslem unguarded in an effort to slow down the guy who is single-handedly beating you?

3. How, how, how do you miss free throws in the clutch? Especially if your name is Dirk or Josh? Especially since you’ve been great at it all year, and dead solid perfect all game? Argh!

4. Did Adrian Griffin REALLY think he was going to draw a charge on Wade’s drive to the hoop at the end of regulation? Wouldn’t defending the guy straight up have been a better approach? Oh, wait – Wade drew some sort of mystery foul on Harris (or was it Dirk?) at the end of OT. So maybe Griffin had it right? Or the refs had it wrong? I’m so confused.

5. I would ask “Where’s Dirk?” except he had some HUGE plays down the stretch - a couple of big buckets on tough shots, and a SUPERB dish to Dampier under the hoop. Dirk showed up a crunch time, other than the missed free throw.

6. Howard and Terry were what they needed to be.

7. For the first time in the playoffs, Avery cracked. I was mystified as I watched the on-again, off-again Hack-a-Shaq, no help for Harris against Wade, Diop getting number 6 on a silly foul against Shaq, fouling Shaq before Miami was in the bonus, and a number of other questionable coaching moves. And that doesn’t even include the timeout-that-wasn’t. Howard may have been the guy who asked for time on the floor, but Avery was signaling frantically for one from the sideline. That one is on him.

It’s easy to fall into the “We got jobbed by the refs” mindset, but the truth is that sort of whining is for losers. If the Mavs play like they can, it wouldn’t matter if the refs were decked out in Heat golf shirts and coach’s shorts.

So, now it truly is do-or-die time. Twice. This thing is not over and not lost. It can be done. But everyone is going to have to show up. Avery is going to have to return to greatness.

I don’t believe the Mavs are going to beat the Russians (San Antonio), then lose to Finland (Miami). As Coach Brooks sorta said (this is a family blog, after all) that night in Lake Placid, clad in his plaid pants, “Boys, you lose this, and you’ll take it to your effing grave.”

“Your effing grave.”

Go Mavs.

Friday, June 16, 2006

I have a hard time believing God is down with this

A dude with a bomb in his shoe blew himself and at least 10 others straight to Islamic Valhalla today in a Shiite mosque in Baghdad. This is the second time this particular mosque has been attacked, the first being a deluxe four-banger that killed 85 just a couple of months ago.

I'm sorry if this is too flippant for you. Death humor is kind of a specialty for me. What a gift, huh?

My point here is this: How do people who profess to believe in God, and not just a little bit, but really REALLY believe in God, think that God, in His mercy and love for mankind, could possibly condone blowing people to bits when they're PRAYING?

And while we're questioning these atrocious actions, I have to bring up the subject of our pals in Iran, who are Shiites. Rumor has been for a long time that Iran is a major sponsor of AQ. Are the Iranians SO hypocritical and SO cynical as to sponsor attacks on their fellow Shiites, in a House of God, on the Islamic Holy Day?

I guess they are. And I guess I shouldn't be surprised. And, in that sense, they're just like every other nation-state in the history of our little planet.

Are our cities making us fat? Um, yes.

Not quite as full-tilt at Tech Ed today, so I have a little time to post.

This one caught my eye on MSNBC today - urban/suburban/exurban design does not promote walking and fitness.


I have been walking my kazoo off while in Boston for the simple reason there are things to walk TO. I walk to the T, to restaurants, to meet people, you name it. And the route is enjoyable (there is NOTHING like a cold-weather city when the weather is nice - EVERYONE is out), so I find myself walking two or three T stations down, rather than just going into the one across from the hotel or the BCEC.

Contrast this to lovely and crime-free Frisco TX, where there are a ton of places to walk (trails and whatnot), but nowhere to walk to. You can do the hike/bike trail thing all you want, but it doesn't get you anywhere.

These things are so obvious it makes me want to find the editors of MSNBC (and other news publications) and give them a hard shake.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Having a great time. Wish you were here.

Hello CIT fans, if there are any of you left out there. I've been more than remiss in blogging, for which I apologize. Things should get back to normal next week.

Where have I been? Weeeelllllllll, I've been back in Boston since last Friday. Primarily, I've been at Microsoft's Tech Ed, the annual geek-fest where all the product groups trot out their new wares (and there are LOTS of new wares coming shortly), which has been informative, if not a barrel of laughs.

On the barrel of laughs front, I've done the full-throttle blast through college friends and family in the Greater Boston Area. This has included a minor drunk-a-thon in Newport RI, and lower-key events in Cambridge and a slew of Back Bay's finer restaurants. It's been a BLAST. Unfortunately, it's all cut into valuable blogging time.

We're not done yet - another day of Tech Ed awaits, followed by a decent on Andover MA tomorrow night.

Rest assured (or not), I fully intent to take up the blogging reins again next week.

Go Mavs, by the way.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Why so quiet?

CIT has been on brief hiatus. I have no good explanation other than this: I spent 20 minutes on Monday working up a thoughtful, well-written piece on Mavs-Heat, only to have Blogger crap out on me and lose the entire post.

It drained my life force to the point where I'm just now able to stand.

I'll try to summon enough energy to start posting again this afternoone.

Thanks for your understanding.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Mavs-Suns Game 6 - And that's the name of that tune

Major Mavs post tomorrow, but I am remiss in posting something about last night's Game 6 triumph.

The moral of the story so far is... trust in Avery.

Can a former spare point guard from Louisiana run for President? 'Cause I'd vote for him.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Mavs-Suns Game 5 - The roller-coaster goes up

The Mavericks beat Phoenix 117-101 tonight, taking a 3 games to 2 lead in the series.

What a ride this one was. The Mavs looked great in the 1st, not so great in the 2nd, downright terrible through most of the 3rd, and completely dominant in the 4th.

Dirk had the best playoff game of his career to date, scoring 50 points and completely taking over the game down the stretch. Josh Howard contributed big time as well, despite getting into foul trouble. Jet Terry is still cold - where the hell has his shot gone? And Stackhouse - I'm such a fan of the guy, but he still thinks he's Jordan at times, and it makes me crazy when he throws up these ridiculous off-balance shots that don't come near the rim.

The key stretch, as pointed out by the TNT crew (btw, this is heaven - no Reggie Miller, no Bill Walton, nothing to really fight through except that idiot Craig Sager, who must have nekkid pictures of someone high up at TNT to keep his gig) was the end of the 3rd quarter, when the Mavs crawled back into it via a 10-0 run despite Howard's foul-induced rest.

Last point: Who the hell is Tim Thomas and what's up with that waving the hand in front of his face? I was hoping Terry would stuff Thomas' own hand down his throat a couple of times.

Now we're back to Phoenix on Sat night, and who the heck can say what to expect? I will be at a Bar Mitzvah on Sat night (not making that up), and Robynne is wearing the World's Greatest Little Black Dress, so I doubt I'll see much. However, that's what SportsCenter and the DMN are for, right?

A car that runs on water - uh, I sorta doubt it

Here's a car that Denny Klein (the "inventor") claims can run as either a gas/water hybrid, or on water alone.

Sorta reminds me of the "cold fusion" articles of the late 80s, but it's worth keeping an eye on.

Photoshop is great

I know it's silly, but I ran across this on a Brit blog (which is chock full of great not-quite-the-King's English, which I am a fan of) and it just cracked me up.

Hurricane season starts today

Our pals at StormTrack remind us that June 1 is the official start of the Atlantic hurricane season.

After last season's huge storms and human-caused human suffering, we can expect a glut of storm coverage, hyperbole, over-reaction, media-induced panic, and other party games all summer.

In all seriousness, I certainly hope we all learned some lessons last year, and when a storm is forecast for your area, you listen to what the emergency management folks are telling you to do.

Another US export the world can probably live without

I am appalled at some of the absolute CRAP we dump on our fellow citizens of the world. KFC in Pakistan, Coca Cola in Chad, Tom Cruise movies everywhere - I have a sneaky suspicion this is why the world hates us. They could care less about our military, and are in truth pissed about Mission: Impossible III.

Hard to blame them.

In this vein, here's the Brit version of our "I'm Too Lazy to Actually Hold the Can" beer helmet. Just in time for the World Cup.

I weep for my country.

World's greatest bacteria

Dear readers, I submit to you Escherichia coli. This wonderful little microbe, when fed waste from chocolate factories, will, um, excrete electricity-producing hydrogen.

But wait, that's not all this friendly microscopic organism can do.

Escherichia coli can also be used to recycle metals from old catalytic converters, thus reducing the amount of contaminants dumped into our landfills.

Here is a bacteria which is more productive and benign than most of humanity!

Wall socket PC - oh, too cool!

Brit PC maker Jade Integration is unveiling it's new Jack PC. This is a PC small enough to be installed in your wall in place of a normal power/phone outlet.

The chip, motherboard, and all the related goodies are packed into the base of the thing, it draws it's power from the Ethernet connection to your network, and its face plate (the part that protrudes from the wall) contains all of your connections - USB, monitor, sound, 5v power, etc.

Announced price is 209 GBP (around $390 US), excluding monitor, keyboard, and all other peripherals.

Obviously, you're not going to run AutoCAD on this thing, but if all you're doing is Web-based apps, this is super-cool!

Always ask for the parts!

Here's the story of a Cincinnati-area couple who took Best Buy's word their "unusable" hard drive was destroyed after it was replaced. The couple received a phone call a few months later from the dude who bought the intact drive, with all data still there, at a flea market for $25.

If you didn't already know it, your best bet for an old hard drive is to destroy it yourself. If you're not comfortable with doing it yourself, take it somewhere reputable, watch them wipe it, then ask them to plug it into a computer for you to review afterwards.

Make sure your data is well and truly gone!

Chinese leaning on Hamas

Finally, someone Hamas may actually listen to!

Hamas leadership, along with leaders from most Arab nations, are meeting with the Chinese in Beijing for the Sino-Arab Cooperation Forum. Leading up to this meeting of arrogant and intolerant cultures, the Chinese have called upon Hamas to renounce violence, recognize Israel, and accept previously-reached Israeli-Palestinian agreements.


Hamas has shown complete disdain for just about everyone else who has made similar statements, which is literally just about everyone else. The Chinese have a way of making a point that's a little more emphatic, shall we say, than those made by Western democracies. One of the benefits of dictatorship - it's a lot easier to bring the entire power of a government to bear.

At any rate, it will be interesting to see what level of influence China has with the Arabs. Privately, I suspect the terms "infidel" and "barbarian" are thrown around a fair amount, but these two parties ignore or insult each other at their peril.

You can fly!

For those of you in Delta Force, the Special Air Service, or just with a Peter Pan fantasy, here's the Gryphon Single Man Flying Wing.

It's not intended to turn a dude into an airplane. Instead, it's purpose is to transport a high-altitude parachutist about 100 miles from the drop point.

The idea is you strap this baby on, jump from around 30,000 feet (with an oxygen tank and a set of Helly Hansen long johns), crack open the microjets, steer yourself in the direction you want to go, and "fall with style", as Sheriff Woody would say. Once you get to 5,000 feet or so, you drop the wing to the end of a tether, and pop your chute.

Anyone who's read a bit of Andy McNab knows Special Forces types already have the jumping from 30,000 feet thing knocked. Today, they either skydive to low altitude (High Altitude Low Opening, aka HALO) or they pop chute right away (High Altitude High Opening, or HAHO) and steer a glider-like rig to where they want to go. The limitation of HAHO is, obviously, wind direction. The Gryphon permits the jumper to go in any direction he/she wants.

For the record, there is not enough money in the world to induce me to test drive one of these things.