Friday, May 30, 2003

The Friday Five: My, what...sweeping questions this week.
1. What do you most want to be remembered for?

Pleasant companionship.

2. What quotation best fits your outlook on life?

"'In this world, Elwood, you must be oh so smart or oh so pleasant.' Well, for years I was smart. I recommend pleasant." (What it's from.)

3. What single achievement are you most proud of in the past year?

Living through it.

4. What about the past ten years?

Uh. Acting on stage with Harlan Ellison, Anthony Daniels and Jonathan Harris.

5. If you were asked to give a child a single piece of advice to guide them through life, what would you say?

"Life isn't fair." I'm a parent, I get this question almost daily. I never know what answer to which question will be The One My Kids Remember.

Thursday, May 29, 2003

The Thursday Threesome::Pop Quiz!::
Onesome: Ain't- There's a lot of slang floating around out there. Some of it has even found its way into the dictionary. Is there any one word that you find more annoying than others? That you just wish would fall off the face of the planet, never to be heard again?

"Tight" as an expression of approval.

Twosome: It- It's/Its, they're/their/there. Just a few of the most commonly misspelled words in the English language. So the question is, when you blog, do you worry about grammar, punctuation and spelling? If you notice a typo do you go back and edit? Or do you shrug it off because everyone makes typos?

If it's worth writing about, it's worth spelling it correctly. I fix it. Everyone should. Editing is easy. (It's harder to catch 'em than it used to be...)

Threesome: Purty?- Purty/pretty, crick/creek, warsh/wash. All common pronunciations, whether they sound pretty or not. And one is mispronounced. What's one commonly mispronounced word that just drives you nuts?

Here in Georgia, you develop a high tolerance for such things. The crick, after all, don't care: It's still purty. (There's something about saying you're "on line", though, when the correct usage is so clearly "in line".)
That said, I don't care for deliberate mispronunciations for the sake of humor. I am amused to observe that when someone, let's say the President, says "nucular", it effectively ends any discussion of the actual subject while everyone rolls their eyes at his pronunciation. One might almost think he does it on purpose.

Monday, May 26, 2003

He's here, he's there, he's everywhere | Twin teens terrorise town
"One twin would confront a child and force the kid to run down a street where, on rounding a corner, it would come face-to-face with the other twin and freak out."
By telling their victims "you can run but you can't hide", the boys established a lucrative criminal operation "based on fear and intimidation", the officer said.
As their notoriety spread, children would "voluntarily" hand over protection money, police said. In at least one instance, the twins forced a boy to use a tree branch to whip a girl who had crossed them.
The reign of terror ended last July when one child broke down and told his parents how multiple bruises had been inflicted by a mystery youth who could be in two places at once. The parents notified neighbours whose children had also been roughed up.

This is the kind of thing that all of us who've ever wished we were twins fantasized about doing. Every twin I've ever met, on the other hand, talked about their desire to be thought of as an individual person and not half of a set.
But then, that's what you'd expect them to say, isn't it...?

Saturday, May 24, 2003

The Friday Five:
1. What brand of toothpaste do you use?


2. What brand of toilet paper do you prefer?


3. What brand(s) of shoes do you wear?

Shoes have brands?

4. What brand of soda do you drink?

Sprite. Though I'm developing a taste for Sierra Mist.

5. What brand of gum do you chew?

None. (Doing market research? Slow question week?)

Thursday, May 22, 2003

The Thursday Threesome::Rain, rain, go away. Come back another day::
Onesome: Rain, rain- Some people love rainy days every once in a while. Are you one of them? Do they make you want to curl up in bed with a good book or going walking through the mist? Or would you rather it just go away?

C'mon, have you seen the Georgia weather this spring? We're drowning here! Streets are getting washed away!

Twosome: Go away- If you could go away to just one place, where would you go and why?

I am in need of a warm beach. I've been cold since last August and I'm tired of it. I want to be warm. (How do you go away to more than one place? No matter where I go, I'm only in one place.).

Threesome: Come back another day- What's the one place you've been to that you would like to go back to another time?

Beach notwithstanding, I would love to get a group of friends together and take a road trip to New Orleans.

Monday, May 19, 2003

An RSS feed? Why?
I can barely spell RSS! Fortunately, the good people at Blogmatrix have made it pretty easy. If you're in the mood, here's the code for the DPM RSS feed: Give it a try and let me know how it works.

Friday, May 16, 2003

I'm agreeing with a Democrat.
Sorry, it was in the Agenda. | Susan Estrich: The Clintons are back.
Bill Clinton is a brilliant man. But the more attention he gets, the more the Democrats of the future suffer. He would be the first to say this, if it weren't about him.

There were other, er, interesting quotes I could have pulled (including the reason most papers that normally carry Susan Estrich's column aren't carrying this one), but that one will do.
The Friday Five:
1. What drinking water do you prefer -- tap, bottle, purifier, etc.?

Tap is just fine.

2. What are your favourite flavor of chips?

I no longer eat chips. However, when I did, I had developed a fondness for barbeque corn chips.

3. Of all the things you can cook, what dish do you like the most?

That would be "dislike the least": I don't llike to cook. That said, I like the way I fix fettucine.

4. How do you have your eggs?

In the refrigerator.
Oh, that's not what you meant? If I have to cook 'em, they're gonna be scrambled. If someone else will do it, I'll have a ham and cheese omelet.

5. Who was the last person who cooked you a meal? How did it turn out?

That would be my wife (although she had our daughter make the mashed potatoes). It was fine.
Thursday Threesome::Quick as Can Be!::
Onesome: Quick as-- Quickly now, June is almost here: are you attending any graduation ceremonies in the next few weeks? Hmmm... Maybe that should be "Have you been invited to any?"

Nope. (This is my son's last year in elementary school, but they are correctly calling it a Promotion Exercise.)

Twosome: Can-- Still moving right along: Can it really be the Merry Month of May? How many birthdays do you have to remember this month? Family? Friends? Associates?

My son's birthday is the 29th: He'll be twelve. Ulrika's is... why, it's today!

Threesome: Be(e)-- Be ready, the bug population is starting to be a bother (at least from blog reports). Is there any particular crawly or flying beastie that just makes you jump out of your skin?

Not really. I hate mosquitoes worst of all, the little bloodthirsty vermin.

Thursday, May 15, 2003

Just grab a picture, any picture
One of the three feature stories on today's AOL startup screen is tonight's lunar eclipse.

The photo illustrating this story is of a solar eclipse.

UPDATE: Aw, they fixed it...

SECOND UPDATE: Atlanta sky overcast: No moon visible.

If I'd looked up at midnight and seen a solar eclipse, I guess I would have just gone back inside and hugged my wife in the few moments remaining before the planet is reduced to a cinder.

Either that or reset my clock.
Conspicuous silence?
Possibly. But the Jayson Blair story has been telling itself so well that I haven't felt a need to contribute. Mickey Kaus is all over it. (Just so you know I noticed it.)
So, is it or ain't it?
I'm so confused. Somebody please read this confusing article in the Seattle Times and tell me what it means. Did Microsoft say the iLoo was a hoax when it really wasn't? Or did they pretend it wasn't a hoax when it really was? Or did it simply not matter because it was "only" the London office?

Wednesday, May 14, 2003

Not exactly Yu-Gi-Oh
Okay, this playing card thing is getting completely out of hand.

The first set, the Iraqi deck, that was cute. When the media started referring to the capture or surrender of Saddam-regime notables by their placement in the deck, that got old fast. When the Republicans in the Texas legislature had a deck made featuring their "missing" Democratic counterparts hiding out in Oklahoma, it was funny.

(Texas legislators hiding out in Oklahoma? They're doing it to prevent a quorum: Without one, the legislature can't vote on the pending Republican redraw of the district maps. Or, for that matter, anything else--like a budget. Admittedly, it can't beat the "Georgia's Three Governors" story, but it's right up there. It's illegal, of course, and the State Speaker of the House could normally send State Troopers to bring them back...but crossing the state line?)

Now that NewsMax is markeding a "Deck of Weasels" featuring the 54 biggest anti-war whoppers, though, it's just getting embarrassing. (The fact that the original Iraq deck sells for $5 and the NewsMax deck is $15... well, they're not representing it as anything other than a subscription promotion.) The photoshopped berets are a noxious touch that the "America's Most Unwanted" deck did without...

And then there's the Republican ChickenHawk deck, featuring people with "a curious lack of wartime service when others their age had no trouble finding the fight." Looking at this ad alongside the ad for the NewsMax deck, I must say the pages look appallingly similar...much more so than their content would suggest. You'd almost think they're designed and published by the same people...

UPDATE: "Operation Iraqi Freedom Military Heroes Playing Cards"? Greenpeace cards? Artifacts looted from the Iraqi Museum? The Trade Regulation Organization ("The TRO, estimating that the U.S. governing regime is no longer consistent with world peace or prosperity, hopes that the playing cards will show the way to regime change and, eventually, large-scale war crimes proceedings")? ENOUGH!

(The Internet Weekly Report is publishing extraordinarily hateful images of "parody" cards, but doesn't seem to be marketing a physical deck.)

Tuesday, May 13, 2003

Must...not...comment... - A tale of five flags
Samizdata has the bandwidth to give you images of the relevant flags to compare. Me, I've been told I'm too serious and not serious enough to have an opinion.

If one were of a mind to evaluate this issue, though, one should, fairly, consider the appearance of the pre-1956 Georgia flag:

...and the reason why it was changed to include the Confederate battle flag. This point is addressed in Russ Goble's first response, which you'll find eleven comments below Perry de Havilland's.

(I'm OK with the new flag. But then, I'm also OK with the new $20 bill, so my opinion may not be trustworthy.)

Sunday, May 11, 2003

Nude Calendar Watch Watch
My God. I've been written up in the L.A. Times! (Link requires registration, but it's free.)

I'm mentioned in the Sunday calendar, which apparently appears in the print edition too (what do I know, I'm in Atlanta, I don't see the print L.A. Times much).

I hope this doesn't do damage to the ever-fragile AOL servers on which that page resides...

Friday, May 09, 2003

The Friday Five:
Would you consider yourself an organized person? Why or why not?

Not especially.

Do you keep some type of planner, organizer, calendar, etc. with you, and do you use it regularly?

I keep a calendar on the computer, which I often print out and travel with. In fact, it's posted on a private web page so my wife and I can access it from work, as needed.

3. Would you say that your desk is organized right now?

Not especially.

4. Do you alphabetize CDs, books, and DVDs, or does it not matter?

Of course I do. I have far too many of all of the above to find anything if I don't.

5. What's the hardest thing you've ever had to organize?

My time.

Thursday, May 08, 2003

Thursday Threesome::Coffee, tea or me?::
Onesome: Coffee-- Do you drink coffee? If so, do you ask for brewed or do you prefer the fancy espresso drinks? What's your flavor?


Twosome: Tea-- Do you drink tea? Hot or iced? Regular, herbal or flavored?

Yep. Both. Just plain tea (although typically decaf).

Threesome: Or Me?-- Ok, not really me! Seriously, what's your favorite beverage? Alcoholic or non, healthy or not?

It must be Luzianne decaf iced tea, I drink so much of it. There's a cup on the computer right now, in fact. Although Swiss Miss No-Sugar-Added hot chocolate is surprisingly good.
Who can you trust?
Net Music Countdown
According to the father of the Erwin sisters, Dixie Chicks, Martie (MaGuire) and Emily (Robison), the Chicks didn't exactly pose nude for their now famous Entertainment Weekly cover. Paul Erwin reportedly says the nudity was accomplished by an accomplished air-brush artist, so reports MJI.

This stop-the-presses revelation comes as a surprise to no one who has actually seen the photo.

In other news...
Metroactive News & Issues | Airwaves, Shock Waves
It started with Georgia-based Cumulus Media, America's second-largest broadcasting company, publicly bulldozing Dixie Chicks CDs after lead singer Natalie Maines admitted to a London audience that she was ashamed of the behavior of fellow-Texan President George W. Bush. The New York Times, on March 31, reported that stations owned by Texas-based Clear Channel, the nation's largest broadcasting company, had stopped playing the Dixie Chicks because of the remark. In a decision cited in international media reports, MTV-Europe nixed all B-52's videos to avoid invoking thoughts of war and planes. Madonna also purportedly joined the fray by banning her own Bush-and-fatigues video on April 4, just days before its scheduled release.
"It's kind of a sad statement about the psyche of the nation," says Gary Schoenwetter, operations manager for San Jose rock stations KSJO and KUFX, adding that some touring musicians have asked not to be interviewed about the war, because they're against it and fear reprisals.
Despite Schoenwetter's sympathy for the Dixie Chicks, whose wartime artistic crime was speaking out at a concert, he happens to work for Clear Channel, which owns KSJO and KUFX. Schoenwetter, who is in charge of programming, says that there was no mandate sent down from Clear Channel headquarters regarding the issue, but he combed through station playlists anyway after the war broke out, looking for anything that he thought would be "in poor taste."

What? "No mandate sent down from Clear Channel"? But that would mean... the New York Times is wrong!

Well, at least there are those two Colorado Springs DJs who are on suspension for playing the Dixie Chicks. My faith in conspiracy theories is restored.

Or... Heavens, I'm so shaken by the suggestion of inaccuracy in the NYT (not to mention the thought that the Dixie Chicks photo may have been doctored) that I'm having... thoughts. Two DJs are due for a vacation anyway. They decide, in conjunction with station management, to play a Chicks song the day before they go. Free publicity from the Associated Press generates a wave of letters demanding the return of both the DJs and the Chicks.

Would any organization be so coldly manipulative?

Does any of this have anything to do with free speech? Natalie Maines, after all, wasn't arrested. And economic consequences of public actions come as a result of thousands of individual free people exercising their rights. And even President Bush told Tom Brokaw that it was no big deal:
MSNBC.COM | Dixie Chicks say reaction to Bush remark is 'overboard'
In an interview with NBC television's Tom Brokaw on Thursday, Bush said the Dixie Chicks were "free to speak their mind."
"They can say what they want to say ... freedom is a two-way street. But I don't really care what the Dixie Chicks said, I want to do what I think is right for the American people and if some singers or Hollywood stars feel like speaking out that's fine," Bush said.

Hm. Seems MSNBC left something out that changes the flavor of the remark. - Dixie Chicks Won't Walk Off Stage If Fans Boo
We finally have Bush's reaction to Maines remark. In an interview with NBC's Tom Brokaw, Bush said "The Dixie Chicks are free to speak their mind."
But, he added, that the Chicks "shouldn't have their feelings hurt just because some people don't want to buy their records when they speak out. You know, freedom is a two-way street."

Emphasis mine. I wonder why so many reports leave that part out.

Well, I'm glad that's over.

As comedian Argus Hamilton said, "It takes a real leader to restore honor and dignity to the White House and get women to take off their clothes at the same time."

Wednesday, May 07, 2003

Scented cell phones?
Yahoo! News - Dope-scented mobile phone cover causes buzz
Marijuana-scented cell phone covers have caused such a buzz in Australia that the company selling them had to pull them out of an technology fair in Sydney.
...Made in China and arrayed next to chocolate, strawberry, blueberry, cherry and rose-scented snap-on covers, the marijuana version sold well, though only to the over 18s...

...who promptly forgot where they'd hidden it.

Tuesday, May 06, 2003

You must be kidding
Sit and surf: MSN UK tests portable potty | CNET
MSN UK is creating what Microsoft calls the world's first Internet outhouse, or iLoo, complete with flat-screen plasma display, wireless keyboard and broadband access. MSN UK spokesman Matthew Whittingham described the portable toilet as the first "WWW.C," referring to the term W.C., or water closet.

If this is a prank, it's a good one. If it's not, well, aren't the potty lines at outdoor concerts pretty long already?
MSN UK is negotiating with toilet paper manufacturers for special rolls with Web addresses, or URLs, printed on them.

Isn't something missing?

At least it doesn't come in translucent colors... I hope...

UPDATE: It appears that the iLoo is real. I hesitate to use the word "serious". Satire has to strain to stay ahead of technology.

Monday, May 05, 2003

Nude Calendar Watch continues
Borehanwood Times | Pupils get the naked truth from grammar teachers
Sixteen teachers from Sir William Borlase's Grammar School are stripping off for the calendars after Young Enterprise company Zest thought up the idea.
The calendar featuring the nude teachers who will retain their modesty through use of subject related props will be on sale to students, staff, and Old Borlasians.

Grammar school! Oh, never mind, it's British, it doesn't mean what I thought...

What student in his right mind would want nude pictures of his teachers?

UPDATE: And another one!
Fundraising in the nude
One female walker was not the least bit shy. She approached Sillari with the ease of a longtime friend and asked, "What are you doing?"
"I'm biking. What do you think I'm doing?" he replied, pedaling by her in the buff.
The stranger reassessed the situation. "OK. Well, at least you have a nice body," she said, then promptly slapped Sillari's bare backside and walked off, like nothing had happened.
"She just slapped my butt!" said Sillari.

Insert your own "If the sexes had been reversed" comment here. Does it include the word "lawsuit"?

Sunday, May 04, 2003

The Daily Zen:
If you could be a super-hero or a fictional character with super powers, who would you be and why?

J'onn J'onzz, the Martian Manhunter, can fly and turn invisible. What more could you want? (Not that shape-changing isn't cool too.)
The Daily Zen:
Do you dream vividly, like a movie, and in color ... or are you the type of person who never remembers their dreams?

I rarely remember my dreams. When I do, it's typically because they were nightmares. When I was in the hospital and for a week or two after, some of them were real doozies.
I dream in color, like a movie. I am usually aware that it is a dream--but that doesn't change how it affects me emotionally. Fortunately, I am not among those who attribute any particular meaning to dreams.

Friday, May 02, 2003

The personals
The Friday Five:
1. Name one song you hate to admit you like.

Rupert Holmes, "Escape (The Pina Colada Song)".

2. Name two songs that always make you cry.

Always? None. However: Ray Charles, "Georgia On My Mind"; Rupert Holmes, "The Old School".

3. Name three songs that turn you on.

Robert Palmer, "Addicted to Love"; Gloria Estefan, "Get On Your Feet"; Steely Dan, "FM".

4. Name four songs that always make you feel good.

Nanci Griffith, "Love at the Five and Dime"; Mary Chapin Carpenter, "This Shirt"; Seals and Crofts, "Dust On My Saddle"; Harry Connick Jr, "A Wink and a Smile".

5. Name five songs you couldn't ever do without.

Gonzo, "I'm Going to Go Back There Someday"; Burt Bacharach, "April Fools"; Andrew Gold, "Still You Linger On" (or the Nicolette Larson cover); Karla Bonoff, "Someone to Lay Down Beside Me"; Alison Krauss, "I Will".

Thursday, May 01, 2003

Don't get cocky, kid
Creative Loafing | The AJC's Mini-Me
A journalist visiting Atlanta a few weeks ago stopped by The Daily Newspaper of Dramatically Declining Circulation (hereinafter referred to as the AJC). When the scribe offhandedly made a laudatory remark about The Rapidly Growing Alternative Newspaper (aka Creative Loafing or, to save a little ink, CL), an AJC poobah sniffed that the alt-weekly was "free." That disparagement was meant to end discussion -- "free" equals "not worthy."
Later that day, the journalist, BBC's Greg Palast, would quip to an overflow crowd at Emory U that he found it a relief that CL was "free" because the AJC was obviously still "enslaved."

I'm no big fan of CL (I don't fit their demographic any better than I fit the Journal-Constitution's), but I'm tickled that the AJC is worried about them. Unfortunately, they've chosen the "New Coke" tactic: Rather than produce the best "grown-up" newspaper they can, they're trying to produce something that appeals to the CL reader as they perceive him/her to be.

Coke discovered (didn't I say this already?) that people who wanted a drink that tasted like Pepsi already had one. How long will it take the AJC to reach the same conclusion?
Rest easy, forces of law and order
Times-Picayune - Grocery shopper picks the absolute wrong line
Sav-A-Center cashier Gennifer Robinson said it didn't take any real detective work to spot that a check given to her April 23 to pay for groceries was a forgery.
She immediately recognized the distinctive Looney Tunes background from her own checkbook, which had been stolen from her car along with her purse five days earlier.
And there was one more fairly strong hint: "She handed me my own driver's license."

(Saw it at Obscure Store)
The personals
Thursday Threesome: See Spot Run.
Onesome: See-- What do you see when you look out your kitchen window? Just curious...

Uh...the back yard. Sporadically mowed grass and our cars.

Twosome: Spot-- Okay, pet names... Come on; not everyone has a "Sparky" or a"Fluffy". If you have a pet or two, what did you name them? Hmmm... No pets? How about a 'pet name' for someone close to you?

No pets, no pet names.

Threesome: Run-- Hey, what's your favorite 'run over to' place? You know, the "Honey, I'll be back in a bit, I need to run over to..." That place!

Typically it'll be the nearby CVS drugstore, which serves the purpose of a convenience store (it carries some basic groceries).