Friday, July 29, 2005

Headin' for Holden

Holden Beach -- headed there tomorrow.

And you're not.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Spock and IT, Great Expectations Crash Into Reality

I was discussing this with my sister Lo this morning, how our expectations of technology -- particularly personal technology -- don't match up with what it can actually deliver.

This, as her laptop was locked up trying to download a massive file someone sent her.

I said our expectations are wildly out of sync with reality. And I blame Star Trek.

Here's the thing. For my generation, our earliest impressions of what technology could do were formed by watching Star Trek. This provided the basis for what we expect it TO do, and it most regularly fails to even approach that standard.

Typically, there'd be a scene where three Romulan Birds of Prey had just de-cloaked off the port beam of the Starship Enterprise and were preparing to attack.

We'd then cut to the bridge of the Enterprise, where a serene Mr. Spock would be having a very casual conversation with the computer, asking it to apply more power to the forward shields and prepare to fire a full spread of photon torpedoes.

And the whole thing would be just completely effortless, with the computer responding, "No problem Mr. Spock, I'll take care of that right away. Is there anything else I can do for you today?"

And here I sit, typing away on my computer, knowing full well that if the Romulans de-cloak off my port beam, I'm in a buttload of trouble.

Because my laptop can't do that.

I call this "Star Trek Socialization of Technology: Expectations Versus Reality." I'm pretty sure there's a doctoral thesis in there somewhere.

Update: Just after I uploaded this, my laptop completely tanked on me. Totally locked up, couldn't move the cursor. Ctrl-alt-del -- no response. I had to unplug the power cable and remove the battery to turn it off, then plug it back in to reboot. Do you think I hurt its feelings?

In My Mind I've Gone to Carolina

Yeah, and in body and spirit too.

In Raleigh, visiting family for a few days. Then out to the beach for a week.

My blogging may be spotty -- don't want to get sand in the laptop.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Amstrong lances 7th TDF

Lance Armstrong won his seventh Tour de France Sunday.

He's an amazing athlete and an incredible inspiration.

And anytime we can beat the French at their own sport on their on turf -- well, that's just gravy, now isn't it?

Friday, July 22, 2005

Dem Principal shows lack of Principles; Fires GOP Teacher

The Smoking Gun reports that a Long Island elementary school teacher claim she was fired for displaying a photo of President Bush in her classroom.

Jillian Caruso has filed suit against the Massapequa Union Free School District for wrongful termination, claiming that Principal Joyce Becker-Seddio became outraged by the photo -- displayed along with pictures of several other presidents -- and demanded its removal.

Caruso claims she was later forced to resign by Becker-Seddio, who had previously written her a glowing performance evaluation.

The trouble started, Caruso contends, when Becker-Seddio found out that Caruso was active in local Republican politics.

Becker-Seddio is the wife of Brooklyn Democratic State Assemblyman Frank Seddio.

Nice. Very tolerant.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Next President: The Bottom Line

Could a bass player be the next president?

Columnist David Broder discusses various aspirants for the job, and notes among the credentials of Republican Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee that he's the bass player for rock band Capitol Offense.

The concept seems a little dorky, but apparently this is a real band that has played real gigs with middling and top acts.

Well, I can think of worse qualifications for the job.

And let's face it -- isn't it about time there was a bass player in the White House?

Actually, I know very little about his political record, so I'll reserve judgment. But I'll be keeping my eye on him.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Schneider Responds: Asks For Another Beating

I can't believe this eggtimer actually responded to my letter in the News-Times.

Takes a beating and comes back for more. Well you can say one thing to his thing...nope, I got nothing.

Of course, I'm going to pile-drive him (in a literary sense, of course). I sent a response to the paper today.

Yeah, I know it's not nice to pick on the puzzled and emotionally frail. But I see it as a public service -- we should discourage the dull-witted and confused from sharing their addled opinions.

Scotty: RIP

James "Scotty" Dohan has passed away at age 85, says Reuters.

Best known for his role as the always nervous chief engineer aboard the Starship Enterprise, I'll always remember his signature line: "Captain, the di-lithium crystals -- they won't HOLD!"

To which, of course, Captain Kirk would reply, "Scotty, I need MORE POWER."

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Rock Star: In Excess

Okay, what can we say here...well, at least the music doesn't suck.

Not a big fan of the "reality TV" genre -- never seen Big Brother, or Survivor. And American Idol? Puh-leez!

Not really into all the posturing and primping on this one either -- only been watching it occasionally and casually. Something disingenuous about a bunch of wannabe rockers worrying about their "look."

And Dave Navarro? The dude is just creepy looking.

The music is pretty good though, most of these guys can sing, and I'll tell you the house band rocks hard.

Monday, July 18, 2005

War on Terror: Moral Equivalence V.2.0

Max Boot writes in the LA Times that those criticzing the War on Terror sound familiar themes to those who did so in the past -- about the Nazis.

It seems the "who are we to judge?" and "we're no better" philosophy still holds currency for some.

One confused Brit twit, pacifist poet D.S. Savage (funny, huh?), actually equated the British democracy with Nazi totalitarianism -- at a time when the Germans had overrun most of Europe and were slaughtering up to 10 million, jews, poles, slavs, and basically anyone else who got in their way.

Such equivocation pervades even the MSM media, with the BBC declining to call those who perpetrated the recent London bombings "terrorists."

Friday, July 15, 2005

Can't Plame Rove

It's official. The New York Times reports today that Karl Rove was not the confidential source for Bob Novak's story that outed CIA spook Valerie Plame.

It has already been widely reported that Rove did speak to reporters on background about the issue -- largely to discount statements that VP Dick Cheney sent Plame's hubby Joe Wilson to Niger to look for Iraq-Uranium connections.

But that he did not name Plame by that, her undercover name, and didn't in fact know she was an undercover agent for the CIA. (I guess that would be the "undercover" part.)

In fact, the story reports that Rove learned out who she was FROM Novak, not the other way around.

So I guess Nancy Pelosi and Ted Kennedy will have to unbunch their petticoats and figure out something else to be hysterical about.

Robbins: Loving the Aliens

Interesting scene in the new "War of the Worlds" remake.

It's when Tim Robbins exhorts everyone to stop resisting the aliens. He explains that the invasion is really a result of predatory economic and political behavior by the United States.

Under the circumstances, he says, the aggression of the aliens is understandable and frankly we deserve it.

Then one of those huge Alien robot things stomps him flat.

Okay, that's not really in the movie.

I won't be seeing it -- I don't give my money to liars, cowards and traitors. And Mr. Sarandon is all three.

P.S. Is that a firearm he's holding in that picture? I would expect he'd be opposed to the private ownership of guns. Funny.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Hillary Clinton Suffers From Irony Deficiency

Hillary Clinton has demanded a Federal Trade Commission inquiry into hidden XXX content in the latest release of video game Grand Theft Auto, the New York Times reports.

Players can use keys readily available on the Internet to unlock the censor function in the game and view explicit sex scenes.

The Times reports Mrs. Clinton made the discovery when she overhead a phone call between her husband, former President Bill Clinton, and his former VP Al Gore. President Clinton apparently was asking Mr. Gore if he knew how to get those special codes off that Internet thing he invented.

Okay, the Times didn't really have that part.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

"Baghdad suicide bomb kills 27, mostly children"

I think the Reuters headline pretty much says it all.

The children were playing near a U.S. military checkpoint. It is highly likely that the bomber saw them -- and didn't care -- before hitting the detonator.

Another 25 people -- again, mostly children -- were injured, some severely.

Wow, and they call U.S. troops "babykillers."

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Journalists as Junkies

"In many ways, anonymous sources have become the crack cocaine of journalism: easy, addictive and dangerous," writes Richard Stengel in today's Philadelphia Inquirer.

Read it.

New Hate from Terrorists

Did you know that Muslim fanatics didn't hate us unto George Bush the Younger was elected.

Well, it's true. Read here.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Hitchhiking Son

My 14-year -old has started reading the series -- he's on Book Two.

Glad I kept those around -- haven't read them since college, but always thought they were darn-spankin' funny and surprisingly well written.

Oh and dig this -- they're on his summer reading list for school! I don't recall ever having anything this cool on my summer reading list -- I always got stuff like Ivanhoe and Wuthering Heights.

AP Goofs on Blair Comment

In a report on a BBC interview with GB Prime Minister Tony Blair, the Associated Press reported that Blair had linked the London terror bombings to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Nuh-huh, apparently -- here's a correction from the AP.

Nothing like getting out ahead of your story.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Amusement Park Day

Yesterday was Lake Compounce day for my family -- resched from last Friday.

The weather was iffy -- overcast and muggy, with about a half-hour of rain. But that meant no crowds -- we walked onto every attraction. Rode the Thunder Rapids water ride six times without stopping.

To the left is Boulderdash -- the longest wooden coaster in the U.S. It runs about a minute fifty seconds and tops out at 60 mph
Exhausted today. Skipped the gym this a.m.

Bombings in London

Seven separate bombs were detonated by terrorists in the London subway and on city buses, Reuters reports. An unknown number of injured and at least two dead.

It's not clear who's responsible yet, although the informed opinion is that it was Al Qaida and the attacks were timed to coincide with the opening of the G8 meeting Scotland today.

It will be curious to see what the British response to this is. After the Madrid train bombings last year, the Spanish reaction was to cower, but I think the Brits may be made of sterner stuff than that -- recall "The Blitz" during World War II and the more recent IRA bombings.

I also wonder how this will affect London's plans for the 2012 Olympics, announced only yesterday.

Update: 9:16 a.m., CBS radio now reporting 40 dead, with Al Qaida claiming "credit."

They printed my letter!!!

In the Danbury News-Times -- my reply to another letter claiming the Downing Street Memo is the "proof" needed to impeach George Bush.

Yeah, I know, the memo came out in May. We're a little slow here in Western Connecticut.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Going Fourth

Enjoyed the usual holiday festivities for the Fourth yesterday, beginning with the parade in our small town. I stood and applauded the vets from current and past conflicts as they marched past.

I cheered friends who passed by in the parade.

And I was quite impressed with the local Republican Committee entry -- a large truck-borne float, covered in red, white and blue, with flagwaving children and patriotic music.

Then the came the Democrats' entry -- it was all black, with the words "America Sucks" in large red letters. A hooded man with a microphone recited all the real and imagined crimes committed by the U.S. throughout its history. And they were playing Rage Against The Machine CDs.

Okay, that part didn't really happen.

We spent the rest of the day at the lakehouse of some friends, swimming, boating, eating and enjoying the company. We capped the day sitting on their lakeside patio watching as neighbors around the pond launched their fireworks.

We are very fortunate.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Took the big kids to see Batman Begins last evening -- a consolation for not going to an amusement park (lousy weather -- we're going next week)

Didn't really care to see it, personally, but actually enjoyed it more than I expected. The acting was pretty wooden, as you would expect, but the story held together well, the action was pretty good and the effects were excellent.

And that proto-Batmobile! Woo-hoo! As Detective Gordon said in the movie, "I gotta get me one of those!"

Be awesome for the commute to work -- if I signal a lane change in that thing, the guy behind me freakin' better let me merge!

My lovely bride took our five-year-old to see the Lovebug movie -- I actually would have preferred to see that, but I'm sure we'll get it on Netflix (which I love, btw).

Friday, July 01, 2005

The Bose Sound

Marveling at the sound of my Bose Wave system. Had it since Christmas -- my lovely wife gave it to me.

Incredible sound for a small system. Not as good as my "big" stereo in the family room, but pretty darn good -- great clarity, excellent bass response.

Interesting, you can't eq it in any way -- no controls. This is *the* sound, apparently. Perfect for my livingroom, where I work, read and blog.

Time Caves on Spy Notes

Time magazine announced yesterday it would turn over notes from reporter Matt Cooper that could reveal who leaked the name of a CIA agent in the Joe Wilson scandal.

Cooper and NY Times reporter Judith Miller face jail time on contempt charges for not revealing their sources -- whoever gave up Wilson's wife broke the law.

(Happened to me once, too -- thought I was going to jail)

Slippery slope time here, folks.

On the one hand, journalists must maintain their independence from government intervention and must not appear to be tools of the government -- otherwise they have not credibility and can not perform their important role in a free society.

On the other hand, reporters are not above the law, and must not break the law or allow their sources to do so in providing information -- particularly anonymous sources.

The use of anonymous sources is a sometimes necessary but always perilous thing. I think reporters do it far too often and far too casually these days, without examining the motives of those sources or the consequences of using them.