Thursday, September 30, 2004

The First Debate: Liveblogging 

I'll give this a shot and see how it works. IMHO, if Kerry tanks tonight, he's toast. Bush is up and has more breathing room.

5:31 PM PDT: Flipping between CNN and Fox. CNN just mentioned bloggers for the first time tonight. The blogosphere will fact-check your ass!

5:35: Did I mention yet that Wolf Blitzer sucks? A couple of minutes, and I am tired of him. O'Reilley is much better.

5:57: Now they're talking about the light boxes that go off if the candidate talks too long. Couldn't a trapdoor just open under them? That would be good television.

6:03 Interesting, Bush damn near ran across the room to shake Kerry's hand.

6:07 Bush assuming he's gonna win in election. It's not over yet, don't count those chickens.

6:11 Kerry seems nervous. Understandable, but he needs to project better.

6:15 At least Kerry hasn't sighed yet. Already better than Gore.

6:19 Kerry's best point of the night: money sent for cops in Iraq, but not for Homeland Security. I'm sure the blogosphere will fact-check it.

6:29 Kerry has mad some good point about the failures in Iraq, but I still can't tell if he was for or against the war.

6:33 Bush "Please join us in Iraq for a grand diversion."

6:39 I don't think Kerry helps himself by harping on the size of the coalition.

6:47 I think Kerry would be better suited to say he will fight a smarter war, not that the war was necessarily wrong.

6:54 I do get tired of Bush melding Iraq and 9/11.

7:00 It's kind of frustrating: Kerry begins to give the right response to knock off Bush, but then he trips over himself and appearing weak. He's only proving Bush is beatable, but he can't close the deal.

7:02 It still drives me nuts when Bush say "nukulear."

7:03 Heh heh, Bush said "mooolas" instead of Mullas.

7:09 This is an interesting part of the debate. One can argue the election really does come down to "Is Bush too stubborn?" or "Is Kerry a flip-flopper?"

7:19 I think Bush is making a mistake continuing to focus on missile defense.


7:23 Bush has given Kerry holes he could drive a truck though. Too bad he can't drive straight.

7:27 Kerry is actually giving a good closing speech. Too bad he wavered from those points in the debate.

7:29 Bush's closing seems pretty flat. But he seemed to do better sticking to his points.

7:43 It looks like the partisans will say their guy won. To me it seems like Bush won by default. I don't have any intention of voting for Bush since I disagree with many of his positions. That doesn't mean I'm a fire-breathing Bush-hater, and I'm not convinced I'm going to vote for Kerry. Maybe someone else. Kerry makes some really good points, but he will say something else that detracts from his original point. If I could, I would vote for half of John Kerry. Sigh, there is still time left in the campaign to see what happens.

8:14 Most Commentators, amatuer and professional, are calling it a draw. I guess I was looking for Kerry to show me something more, so I'm more critical. Oh well.

Coming Soon 

I don't know the wisdom of this, but I'll try live-blogging tonight's Presidential debate. For those of you who will be watching it, make it more fun with the Presidential Debate Drinking Game.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Isn't This Your Job? 

If this doesn't express the stereotype of Big Media as a bunch of snobs staring down their nose at the uneducated masses, I don't know what does:


Poll: Americans Uninformed on Bush, Kerry

WASHINGTON - If matching presidential candidates to their positions on basic issues were like a "Jeopardy!" category, most Americans wouldn't earn a single dollar.

More than half of those polled by the National Annenberg Election Survey didn't know President Bush (news - web sites) alone favors allowing private investments of some Social Security (news - web sites) money. Nearly as many didn't know that only Democratic candidate John Kerry (news - web sites) proposes getting rid of tax breaks for the overseas profits of U.S. companies



Um, excuse me, but isn't this the media's and the campaigns' job to inform us? Do we as voters have to dig through obscure position papers and articles buried on page 12 in order to be informed? The poll bemoans the "uniformed voters," but all the campaign ads and media stories are about Swiftboats and National Guard service. If certain people in the media feel voters are uninformed, shouldn't they use their airtime and newspaper space to fill in the gaps in voters' knowledge.

There are places to find out where the candidates stand, but you often have to search for them. One place is on Buzzmachine: Issues 2004. But shouldn't Big Media bring these issues to our attention, instead of us voters having to search. I just assumed that was their job.


Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Monstrosity 

As a huge Niners fan it pains me to say this, but considering the way the team has been playing lately it seems the scariest thing about the 49ers the next couple of years will be the new name for their stadium.

Earthquake Central 


Today it finally did happen. (AP Photo/Michael A. Mariant)via Yahoo!Posted by Hello

It certainly took long enough.

Looking back at California's earthquake history, seismologists determined the section of the San Andreas Fault near the small California town of Parkfield had a moderate earthquake approxiamtely every 22 years. What better place to set up the biggest collection of seismic data recorders in the world? That is exactly what the US Geological Survey did in 1985. Now all the scientists had to do was wait for the earthquake. And wait.

And wait.

Today was finally the day of the long expected quake. It caused no death or injuries, and since it occured in an area dominated by ranchland, damage is expected to be minor. Now scientists begin the most important part of their work, work only a scientist could love: data collection and years of number-crunching. In all that as-yet undeciphered data may exist information that would allow a better understanding of when an earthquake will strike, and what signs lead up it.

The Parkfield Cafe should have good business for the forseeable future.

Monday, September 27, 2004

Bring Out the Masturbating Bear 

Conan O'Brien will take over the hosting job of the Tonight Show in 2009. I never warmed up to Leno's Tonight Show, but I worry Conan will go the way of Dave and tone down his act too much. Another possibility is that new viewers will turn in and say "What the Hell?" and not in a good way. Still though, good for Conan, represent for nerds, geeks, dorks, and rubber dog puppets everywhere.


Sunday, September 26, 2004

My First Soccer Melee 

A lot of the time, I feel that things that happen in my life are too mundane to put down on the web log. Sometimes it would be nice to have more exciting things to post.

I believe the cliche is: Be careful what you wish for.

I got to see my first soccer riot. Actually, more like a melee, as it was over quick and confined to a small part of the stadium (mine, unfortunately). I routinely go to nearby San Jose to see the MLS's LA Galaxy play the local Earthquakes . I get to see a close ex-college friend, and I like the soccer. It means cheering against local residents, but I pick a team and stick with it.

Basically, the visiting fans (e.g. us) got a section of the stadium just below the season-ticket holders. Normally, the visitors are segregated in the corner where we can be a loud as we want. The problems were mostly with one of the Galaxy fan support groups, the LA Riot Squad (a name like that begs for trouble, eh?).

One of the soccer message boards summed up the incident better than I could:


I'm sure everyone will have their own Play-by-Play (especially adding names), but the very simple version was this:

Spartan Staff: Hey you need to sit down because the families behind you are complaining.

Riot Squad: No, we paid for these seats so we could stand and cheer. Look over their at the Casbah, they're standing

Spartan Staff: Okay, we'll get the cops

Cops: Sit down.

Riot Squad: No. we paid for these seats so we could stand and cheer. Look over their at the Casbah, they're standing and nobody is troubling them.

Cops: Sit Down or we'll remove you from the stadium

Riot Squad: The ******** you will.

The Cops started beating the ******** out of a bunch of RS'ers who mouthed off. It was about 3 cops/Spartan Security per RS'er. Anybody who didn't immediately sit down and shut up was whacked and taken out.

A lot of the Riot Squad just left out of anger in protest.

[Earthquakes President & General Manager] Alexi [Lalas] came down to calm the whole situation, which actually did work for the most part (although a few more people got dragged out anyway). Alexi moved all of the SJ fans in our area to different seats in the stadium.


Ugh.

As often happens in ugly incidents, all groups had their share of blame. The Earthquakes management for telling conflicting messages about whether it was OK to stand or not, the fans for underestimating the seriousness of the situation, and security for using force in a disproportionate and excessive manner. The end result was PR blow for a team with uncertain ownership right now.

It figures that all my pictures had nothing to do with the police scuffle. I guess I haven't been blogging long enough to have developed the killer journalistic instinct. Or was it more like I didn't want to show my digital camera and give an angry cop a reason to pay attention to me? Yup, that's the reason.


Traffic trying to park near San Jose's Spartan StadiumPosted by Hello

This picture was too good to pass up. It must be bad enough to be stuck in gridlock, then this sign rubs in how slow you're going. I saved eight bucks and several minutes by parking a few blocks away.



My best action shot of the night.Posted by Hello

Considering it was taken with a tiny cell phone digital camera among a standing-room only crowd, I'll take it.



Fans 1Posted by Hello


Fans 2Posted by Hello

The LA Galaxy fans, before the numbers got thinned out. I was lucky enough to stay the whole game (a 0-0 tie! Arrgh!). They're very nice people when they're sober. Some are even nice drunk. And no, I was stone sober the whole time.


All in all, not the night I expected. It's been a tough time recently for Bay Area sports fans. There was the murder a few days back after the San Francisco Giants game, that ugly chair-throwing incident at the A's game, and now this.

The SJPD has had a rough time of it too. In the past couple of years, officers have had to use force, sometimes deadly, and sadly an officer used deadly force again today. As you would expect, community groups have not been happy with this. Personally I am pro-cop, and I have all the respect in the world for them. I just hope better planning is done by all sides to prevent a repeat of what I saw last night.

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Hurricane Fatigue 

Poor Florida. Sure, the other 49 states were pissed about Election 2000, but does Florida deserve this? Four hurricanes in two months?

On TV, the journalists are at it again, showing how macho they are by reporting from the storm. On every report I see, a reported picks up a piece of debris left over from the last hurricanes. A lot of that debris will likely end up flying through the air as missiles when the storm blows through.

Another item the reporters mention is how many people along the coast have decided to sit this one out, Hurricane Fatigue setting in. I've never been through a hurricane, but if I got as much certain warning that an earthquake was coming, you bet I would hit the road and endure the evacuation traffic.

Not to begrudge Florida's troubles, but it's times like this that show how fortunate it is to be an American. In Haiti, the death toll from Hurricane Jeanne is being measured in the hundreds and even thousands. Comparing the death tolls from Haiti to those in the US, you would think there is no way the same type of natural disaster caused both.

Impending tragedy that it may be, Jeanne will do nothing like that to Florida or the rest of the US. The 1900 Galveston hurricane cost 6000 people their lives. We've come a long way since then, and not just in hurricane protection.

Hopefully, Jeanne won't have any younger siblings that intend to visit Florida this year. If you are curious what bloggers in the storm's path have to say, Kathy Kinsley's blog has an extensive list (via Michele). Even if the numbers are several orders of magnitude less than Haiti, a few deaths are still too many. Hope everyone comes out the other side OK.

Friday, September 24, 2004

Stay Away From My Trunk 

OK, fine. I know I've been OD'ing on the quizzes lately, but I couldn't pass this up. Via Tiger.

Snuffy
Snuffy's Suicide Attempts


Poor baby, life is rough for you, huh? No one
seems to see you, no one notices your
pain--except for your friend Big Bird, but he's
always off hanging out with his other friends.
You wish you were him, all happy and curious
and popular and bright yellow. You feel like
his shadow anymore, like the only reason you
exist is to amuse him. It's hard being
somebody's imaginary friend. But stop trying
to kill yourself--imaginary people can't kill
themselves. Sorry. And hey, maybe tomorrow
you'll feel better!
Someday people will see you, I promise.


Which Sesame Street Muppet's Dark Secret Are You?
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Not Exempt 

I foolishly thought us Californians would get a a bit of a break this election, since Conventional Wisdom says that Cali is a very "blue" state.

Nope.

I just endured four consecutive political ads, all for state propositions, three of the four dealing with Indian casinos. It's September, so it will only get much worse. As any smart California voter will say, when in doubt on a proposition, vote NO.


Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Next Up: The Laundry 

Emailed to me from Caltechgirl, a friend who is the best blogger out there who doesn't yet have a blog:

Instructions on how to clean your toilet:


1. Put both lids of the toilet up and add 1/8 cup of pet shampoo to the water in the bowl.

2. Pick up the cat and soothe him while you carry him towards the bathroom.

3. In one smooth movement, put the cat in the toilet and close both lids. You may need to stand on the lid.

4. The cat will self agitate and make ample suds. Never mind the noises that come from the toilet, the cat is actually enjoying this.

5. Flush the toilet three or four times. This provides a "power-wash" and rinse".

6. Have someone open the front door of your home. Be sure that there are no people between the bathroom and the front door.

7. Stand behind the toilet as far as you can, and quickly lift both lids.

8. The cat will rocket out of the toilet, streak through the bathroom, and run outside where he will dry himself off.

9. Both the commode and the cat will be sparkling clean.

Sincerely,

The Dog

Go click on the link NOW. It will only take a second, and the pictures will make your day.

Cat's Eye 


Taken from the Hubble Telescope, via Astronomy Picture of the DayPosted by Hello

Here's a nice picture for me to post, and I can let my work-abused brain get its 8 hours rest (Yes I sleep that much, it runs in my family).

According to Astronomy Picture of the Day, the Cat's Eye nebula may be a glimpse into the future of our own sun in five billion years. At least if the sun will eventually swallow up the earth, it will do so beautifully. Makes you think.....

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Bus Propaganda 

In San Francisco yesterday, I saw an ad on the side of a Muni bus for a local apartment search engine:


"Don't go to Fresno, you can find a place here."



I wanted to snap a picture of it, but the bus rounded a corner and lost itself in the SF city traffic.

Fresno bashing has been a part-time sport in the Bay Area for a long time. You would think a world-class city would pick on someone its own size. Back in the 80's, the City of San Francisco boycotted Valley table grapes in support of the United Farm Workers, and Fresno retaliated by refusing to have any conventions in San Francisco.

My take on Fresno bashing is this: only someone who lives or has spend considerable time there gets a crack at it. Besides, I can Fresno bash better than anyone who's never lived there. Or to quote Dwight Yoakum & Buck Owens:


Hey you don't know me, but you don't like me.
You say you care less how I feel.
But how many of you who'd sit and judge me.
Ever walk the streets of Bakersfield.


Of course, Bakersfield bashing is a part-time sport in Fresno. The circle closes.



Friday, September 17, 2004

Easily Amused 

speak and spell
You're a Speak & Spell!! You nerd, you. Just
because you were disguised as a toy doesn't
mean you weren't educational, you sneaky
bastard.


What childhood toy from the 80s are you?
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I didn't have a Speak & Spell, but my cousins did. We thought it was funny to make it say I-C-U-P. How lame is that?


Thursday, September 16, 2004

NHL On Ice 

Sadly, it's official now: the 2004-05 National Hockey League season will not get off the ground any time soon, and may never even happen at all. I've heard all the predictable doom and gloom about what a prolonged work stoppage will do to the league. It all sounds very grim.

I would like to remain an optimist, despite the fact that both the union and the owners are a bunch of cocksmokers. Let both sides blow each other up, whatever. Hockey is different from the other three major pro leagues. It is the poorest in terms of fan base, but the flip side is that gives it less distance to fall. The average US sports fan didn't care about hockey before the lockout and they won't give a damn afterward. Hockey fans are a loyal bunch, and the sport will do just fine even if the NHL is permanently crippled.

Of course this would have to happen once the Sharks started to get really good.

Bastards.

Random Recollections 


The Instrument of torture, Image from www.eshoponline.usPosted by Hello

In my lab job my brain sometimes gets time to wander aimlessly. While labeling buffer bottles today, I remembered how as a kid that I would defeat the Rubik's Cube by pulling the stickers off the cube and putting them back on in the right places. Yes, I'm a cheating bastard. But somehow if felt smarter solving the cube that way than spending the time to fix it correctly. I know I can't be the only one who did this, am I?

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Pardon Our Dust 

I spent a lot of last night cleaning up the blogroll. Still more work to do, so there should be a bunch of new weblogs soon.

Against my better judgment, I did start a "blogs of the week" category. Of course, this now means I have to keep updating it. I might as well share with the world how much time I waste prospecting for new and interesting stuff on the web. Mr. Fredo in particular is a good site.

The good news is there is a lot a interesting things in the blogosphere. The bad news: The are a lot of things that to be read in the blogosphere! Damn, there goes some more of my lazy time.


Yes, I Do Talk Like This 

I am such a nerd. Today, I was able to use the phrase "exothermic reaction" at work today.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Basebrawl, A's Style 


Last night's game in Oakland turning into pro wrestling (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)Posted by Hello

I suppose the pessimist in me says "Why doesn't it happen more often." In other places, riot police intervene at the end of soccer matches, fencing is erected to keep the fans and athletes apart. US sport has few ugly incidents, but there seem to have been more the past few years.

Hopefully, it will never come to that in the States, but you have to wonder after the ugly scene last night in Oakland. I understand that getting heckled to death by drunken fans gets old, but is throwing a chair really the appropriate response?

When I go to a game, it does seem so easy to get access to the field. If you have front-row seats you can be on the field in no time, and do damage before security tackles you. Last night proved an irate ballplayer can get cause similar injury in the stands. I have all the respect in the world for the security: tens of thousands of people, and only a handful of guards to keep an eye out.

We all have seen security get tighter in many areas over the last three years. I would hate to see sporting events have to be turned into just another place to worry about personal safety.

Big Easy Mess 

Yikes! Remind me to visit New Orleans, but not to move there.

Residents streamed inland in bumper-to-bumper traffic in an agonizingly slow exodus amid dire warnings that Ivan could overwhelm New Orleans with up to 20 feet of filthy, chemical-polluted water.

Yum. It's not bad enough that your house gets drowned in a hurricane storm surge. At least you could skip a month of pest-control sprayings.

It seems like would be best to wish Ivan away from the Big Easy, but it has to land somewhere. Hopefully, it will die out quickly once it does come ashore.

Saturday, September 11, 2004

Life Goes On 

I was going to avoid writing about this day.

Ever since it happened, there was something I found unsettling, almost dirty about discussing September 11th. I feel the need to discuss it but often feel guilty doing so, like slowing down to look at a car accident, infringing on others' sorrow. Being 3000 miles away, I was not directly impacted. That did not prevent me from only getting a combined 10 hours sleep that first week, as I just could not turn off the news on TV.

I didn't plan to spend the day immersed in the past, which I could have. I don't want to focus on the greater meaning of the day right now, my feelings about that are much similar to what others have written, here, here and here.

Instead my intentions for the day were far less somber, far more ordinary. It had been a long week at work (yes, even for 4 days). Not a bad week, but a long week nonetheless. I needed a break, and a chance to catch up on such exciting activities as the laundry and apartment cleaning.

My day went much as I planned: getting my mundane chores done while letting go of the accumulated workweek stress. I ended up having a day without big Kodac moments, but one with several small bits of happiness:


I got to watch three college football games, all won by the local team, including stumbling by accident onto Fresno State's 45-21 win over favored Kansas State.

While vacuuming under the couch, I several trinkets I long assumed were long lost.

A burger courtesy of the always handy George Foreman Grill.


It was the kind of day that reminds me of a specific episode of the Simpsons, one where Homer stays home from church and ends up having what he considers to be the best day of his life:


Homer polishes off a bag of chips as he watches the football game.

Oh, Doctor! A 98-yard triple-reverse ties the score at 63--63!
We have seen nothing but razzle-dazzle here today, three visits from
Morganna the Kissing Bandit, and the surprising return of Jim Brown!
-- Keith Jackson calls the football game, ``Homer the Heretic''

And as if Homer's day weren't perfect enough, he finds a penny on the floor.

Could this be the best day of my life?
[thought balloon: Homer weds Marge]
[thought balloon: Homer dances as an overturned beer truck sprays its contents
like a fountain]
Looks like we have a new champion!




Okay, okay, my day wasn't that good, but I think life is like that. The days you do remember don't come around very often, and most of those are bad anyway. Most of life is lived in those days that won't be remembered, where happiness comes from simple pleasures. Today, I appreciated those little bits of happiness. On this third anniversary, it was the best revenge I could dish out...

Courtesy of the Simpsons Archive, here's the recipe for the waffles Homer made on his perfect day. I don't quite have the culinary bravado to try this out. If you insist on trying it, make sure your health insurance policy is paid up:


Homer's Space-Age Out-of-This-World Moon Waffles

* Ingredients
+ One bag caramel cubes
+ Waffle mix
+ One bottle Liquid Smoke
+ One stick butter
* Directions
+ Empty bag of caramels onto waffle iron.
+ Add generous portion of waffle batter.
+ Add one bottle of Liquid Smoke.
+ Cook until burnt.
+ Wrap waffle around a stick of butter.
+ Serve on a toothpick.


Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Me In the Future? 

For all the, ahem, irritations that Blogger sometimes causes, I have to admit the new "Next Blog" button (on the very top right of the page) is a good idea. An addictive, timewasting idea, but a good idea. If click on it enough, sorting through all the noise and chatter and crap, you can actually find a decent page. If I get off my lazy butt, I might even do "Random Blogs of the Week" or something. On second thought, the whole thing smacks of effort, so maybe not. But I digress.......

I'm certainly light-years away from having a daughter, but I'm still damn sure this will sum up my attitude toward her boyfriends. I usually don't do a lengthy cut and paste, but this entry from Nik's Blog must be enjoyed uncut:

10 Rules for Dating my Daughter

Rule One: If you pull into my driveway and honk you'd better be delivering a package, because you're sure not picking anything up.

Rule Two: You do not touch my daughter in front of me. You may glance at her, so long as you do not peer at anything below her neck. If you cannot keep your eyes or hands off of my daughter's body, I will remove them.

Rule Three: I am aware that it is considered fashionable for boys of your age to wear their trousers so loosely that they appear to be falling off their hips. Please don't take this as an insult, but you and all of your friends are complete idiots. Still, I want to be fair and open minded about this issue, so I propose this compromise: You may come to the door with your underwear showing and your pants ten sizes too big, and I will not object. However, in order to ensure that your clothes do not, in fact, come off during the course of you date with my daughter, I will take my electric nail gun and fasten your trousers securely in place to your waistline.

Rule Four: I'm sure you've been told that in today's world, sex without utilizing some kind of “barrier method" can kill you. Let me elaborate, when it comes to sex, I am the barrier, and I will kill you.

Rule Five: It is usually understood that in order for us to get to know each other, we should talk about sports, politics, and other issues of the day. Please do not do this. The only information I require from you is an indication of when you expect to have my daughter safely back at my house, and the only word I need from you on this subject is: "early."

Rule Six: I have no doubt you are a popular fellow, with many opportunities to date other girls. This is fine with me as long as it is okay with my daughter. Otherwise, once you have gone out with my little girl, you will continue to date no one but her until she is finished with you. If you make her cry, I will make you cry.

Rule Seven: As you stand in my front hallway, waiting for my daughter to appear, and more than an hour goes by, do not sigh and fidget. If you want to be on time for the movie, you should not be dating my daughter. My daughter is putting on her makeup, a process than can take longer than painting the Golden Gate Bridge. Instead of just standing there, why don't you do something useful, like changing the oil in my car?

Rule Eight: The following places are not appropriate for a date with my daughter: Places where there are beds, sofas, or anything softer than a wooden stool. Places where there is darkness. Places where there is dancing, holding hands, or happiness. Places where the ambient temperature is warm enough to introduce my daughter to wear shorts, tank tops, midriff T-shirts, or anything other than overalls, a sweater, and a goose down parka -- zipped up to her throat. Movies with a strong romantic or sexual theme are to be avoided; movies which features chain saws are okay. Hockey games are okay. Old folks homes are better.

Rule Nine: Do not lie to me. I may appear to be a potbellied, balding, middle-aged, dimwitted has-been. But on issues relating to my daughter, I am the all-knowing, merciless God of your universe. If I ask you where you are going and with whom, you have one chance to tell me the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. I have a shotgun, a shovel, a backhoe, and five acres behind the house. Do not trifle with me.

Rule Ten: Be afraid, Be very afraid. It takes very little for me to mistake the sound of your car in the driveway for a chopper coming in over a rice paddy near Hanoi. Or a fighter jet over the desert in Kuwait. When my Agent Orange or other things I have been exposed to start acting up, the voices in my head frequently tell me to clean the guns as I wait for you to bring my daughter home. As soon as you pull into the driveways you should exit the car with both hands in plain sight. Speak the perimeter password, announce in a clear voice that you have brought my daughter home safely and early, then return to your car -- there is no need for you to come inside. The camouflaged face at the window is mine.




I can imagine that being a parent is an expensive, time-consuming endeavor. It must take so much energy for the parents of adolescent daughters to maintain that Shotgun Collection.

Splat 


A member of the Genesis Sample Return team attempts to figure out what the hell happened (Associated Press from NASA/JPL)Posted by Hello



When I first heard of the plan to retrieve the Genesis Space Capsule was "Is that the best plan they have?"

Genesis was a probe built to collect particles of the sun's solar wind and return them to earth. Due to the extra-sensitive nature of the cargo, a helicopter was supposed to catch the parachute-slowed spacecraft. "Right, I'll believe it when I see it."

I was then wicked irony then when I saw that the spacecraft didn't casually drift down to earth, to be scooped up the the copters. Instead, the chutes failed to open, and proceeded to imbed itself itself into the soft Utah desert.

Hopefully scientists can retrieve something useful out of the spacecraft, other than the lesson to double-check the batteries that deploy your spacecraft's parachutes.

Ivan the Terrible 

With all due respect to those affected by the hurricane, you have to admit Ivan is an ironic name for a hurricane to hit Grenada. Didn't the Marines throw Ivan (or at least his buddies) out of Grenada about twenty years ago.

Monday, September 06, 2004

Good Grief 

Charlie Brown
You are Charlie Brown!


Which Peanuts Character are You?
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I knew I would get Charlie Brown when I realized how much I spend per year on new kites.

Hate Mail from Djibouti 

I'm usually not the subversive type, but this time I had to mess with the people who came up with a link I found on a polling site: US-Election.com. The site lets anyone in the world vote in a mock US election.

First off, I think of two words when I hear people outside the USA want to vote in the November election: butt out. If you want to vote in our elections, let us annex you. Oh that's right, that's what you're protesting against, isn't it. Can't have it both ways.

If they guys setting this up were serious, their fatal flaw is letting me choose what country I'm from. According to the data I entered on the site, I am a 55 year old male from Djibouti (no offense, I just always liked the name) who practices Shintoism, lives in a household of 31, and supports the Workers World Party.

If you have time to kill, go to the site and vote. Be a North Korean supporter of the Libertarians, or get your friends choose France and vote Republican.

The concept of the whole world getting a vote in the Presidential Elections is just silly. Only a dozen or so states in the US will end up deciding the whole thing. Living in a strongly "blue" state at least means I don't get a Bush or Kerry ad every two minutes.

Saturday, September 04, 2004

Blogosophy 

OK, I'm getting sick of seeing the Schizoid at the top of the page, too. Six days without a post is plenty long enough. I always get blog envy when I see that Jeff Jarvis or Glenn Reynolds has posted ten posts in a day, or even friends who consistently post daily.

My philosophy toward blogging is that I's rather take a couple days off than force myself to post. If I haven't posted in a few days, it's because I'm too pooped to come up with an original thought, "work sucked today" gets old fast, and I figure there are enough good posts on the Events of the Day. So to the handful of people who do check in, thanks for your patience. I'm still trying to make this blog into the blog I want it to be.

OK, that's enough self-indulgence for now.

This concludes this Public Service Announcement. We will now resume regular programming.......

Militant Centrism 

Soapbox Alert: The following may transition into abject ranting.

Jeff Jarvis put a post tonight about the militant middle, which naturally strikes a chord with me. I like the term "Militant Centrist" myself. I've been giving it some thought, and I think being in the middle isn't so much about being in the center of every issue, it's about having different views about different things or "depends on the issue."

I see nothing wrong with being pro-environment and pro-defense. Being in the center isn't about waffling on each issue, it's about taking stands that don't match up in all cases with either party platform. Arnold is a great example of how you can be a strong leader without having to be at either extreme of the political spectrum.

If John Kerry were smart, he would give a speech in the next couple of days that could be summed up as "What just happened in Russia can and will happen here if we don't act to prevent it. Here is what I plan to do to keep if from happening here." Many voters are very interested in job creation, health care reform, and other issues of the left. Nobody will listen to any of that if they think you don't have a plan to defend the country and their loved ones.

He can present himself as a more nuanced candidate, more thoughtful and less stubborn. But if he doesn't convince more people that he can forcefully defend America against its enemies, looking for consensus but not bound by it, Bush will eat his lunch with the remainder of the undecideds.


Where Few Palates Dare Tread 

On a lighter note, here is a nice diversion, submitted by A Friend. If you were ever in the supermarket and wondered what some of the more questionable products tasted like, now you don't have to guess:

Steve, Don't Eat It!

Judging from the rest of his weblog, Steve seems like a perfectly intelligent guy. Nonetheless has the need to go places where taste buds should steer clear of. Read about his epic battle with Dolores, who produces foods that make use of animal parts often underappreciated.