Friday, August 29, 2003

The Friday Five: This week's questions:
1. Are you going to school this year?


2. If yes, where are you going (high school, college, etc.)? If no, when did you graduate?

1976, with a B.A. from the University of Georgia, specifically the Henry W. Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communications.

3. What are/were your favorite school subjects?

Hard to say, really. I guess I'll have to say creative writing.

4. What are/were your least favorite school subjects?

Easy. Political science. I hated it. I was forced to minor in it. All journalism majors were expected to minor in political science--which, I suspect, is why most journalists don't know squat about anything else, as amply proven by their grasp of basic science.

5. Have you ever had a favorite teacher? Why was he/she a favorite?

At this late date I'm hard pressed to remember many specific teachers. I still remember Mr Stone, though, with whom, through an accident of scheduling, I spent three straight hours a day in my senior year of high school. (Study hall, logic, and algebra.)

Thursday, August 28, 2003

Blatant self promotion or fair warning? You make the call
After reading Lileks go on for days over substituting for Hugh Hewitt at a remote broadcast from the Minnesota State Fair, and as a result decide he's going back into radio, I started breathing heavily. It must be nice to be in a position where one can simply decide to get a radio show and get one. Goodness knows it hasn't worked for us.

Maybe I should call Lileks, once he has a show to call, and try to become a Character.

Anyway, those of you who know me probably already know that the Atlanta Radio Theatre Company, of which I have been a member since 1986, will be appearing at Dragon*Con. This year will be a make-or-break year for us, I think, so if you're going to be in Atlanta this weekend, drop by the Hyatt Regency and say hi.

Our first show will be during the opening ceremonies, at 7:00 pm Friday. I won't be there, because I will be filling in for Bill Ritch (our producer/engineer, who has to be there) on a panel about "Robert A Heinlein in the 21st Century" that is scheduled for the same time. It is my hope to take that opportunity to politely plug my audio adaptation of "Solution Unsatisfactory", which should be available for sale at the convention, God and UPS willing.

cover image for Solution Unsatisfactory

Other ARTC appearances are:
A panel on the history and technique of radio drama at 5:30 pm Saturday;
Our major production of the weekend, "The Island of Dr. Moreau", at 7pm Sunday;
And our evil twin organization, MRAP, presenting... well, who knows what, at 2:30pm Monday afternoon.

My family and I will have a room at the hotel, so I won't be hanging out at the blog much. Here's something to look at and meditate on while I'm gone. Does it make sense? No. Some things need no excuse.

Vanessa Fanesi of Venezuela on the catwalk during the official presentation of the 2003 edition of Miss Italy in the World beauty contest in Rome, Wednesday, Aug. 27, 2003. (AP Photo/Domenico Stinellis)

LATER: Sorry, I think the link is dead now, but I'm hosting the picture myself...
The Thursday Threesome :: Health, Wealth and Happiness ::
Onesome: Health - A loved one dies unexpectedly. You're the next of kin. Do you donate whatever organs are useful, or does the idea freak you out? Should someone have planned ahead?

Donate, then cremate the rest. (But, yes, it would have been better had they expressed their wishes in advance.)

Twosome: Wealth - Your beloved Great Aunt Fern dies and leaves you two million dollars (after taxes!). But there's a catch. You have to spend it all in 24 hours. Buying stocks and bonds doesn't count and there's a $500,000 limit on a new home. You may give some of the money to charity, but don't use it as a cheat to make it work out. How would you spend the money?

You know how to take all the fun out of spending money.
And $500k doesn't buy as much house as it used to. :)
Okay. Max out on the house. Do furnishings count? Not much point in spending half a million dollars for an empty house.
Past that, I'd buy things that appreciate in value... or at least don't depreciate much. You haven't ruled out a beach house, nor real estate other than primary dwelling. Then essentially upgrade everything I own. New cars, new wardrobe, the works. Home theater, computer workstation in every room of the house, T1 line, all that. Feather the nest.
If you're going to be picky and say that all that counts in the home limit, then frankly, there isn't a lot else to do with it. Can't set up a trust fund: You've specified I have to SPEND it. Maybe I could just arrange a private show at the Fox Theater.

Threesome: Happiness - John F. Kennedy defined happiness as "The full use of your powers along lines of excellence." What is your definition of happiness? Have you attained it?

I can't define it. It's not an equation, it's a state of mind. In general, yeah, I'm happy.

EXTRA: The topic of the week at the Back Porch:
Let's talk about your blog/journal. Over the weekend I updated mine and added skins and since then I've been having issues with the site. If you had the time, the technology and the know how (that helps a lot!) - what would you do different to your journal? What would you add? Delete? Invent? Change to your blog/journal? What do you like best about it? What don't you like? It's "20 Questions" day about your blog/journal!

This viewer-selectable skins thing is pretty cool. I might set up several alternate color schemes.
I'd like to write more and longer essays, but I find I no longer have the concentration to do that. One of the reasons I answer these weekly meme questions is to force myself to stretch.

Tuesday, August 26, 2003

How reassuring
BBC | Old people have a sense of humour

Researchers in Canada have found that a person's sense of humour remains intact when they grow old.
However, they have found that the ability to understand more complex jokes can deteriorate with age.
Writing in the Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society, the researchers suggested ageing of the brain is to blame.
Dr Prathiba Shammi and colleagues at the Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care in Toronto have previously identified the part of the brain associated with humour, namely the right frontal lobe.
They also showed that people with damage in this area of the brain, from a stroke for instance, were less able to appreciate punch lines and preferred slapstick humour.
In this latest study, they sought to find out if growing old also affected a person's sense of humour.

I like the note they felt compelled to add in the caption to the accompanying photo: "The findings apply to people with a sense of humour in the first place."
Screw the agenda, where's the seating chart
You know, they say it's about the children, but you have to wonder which children they're talking about.
Springfield Republican | Seating spat ends schools meeting
A stand-off over seating assignments prompted Chairwoman Mary Ryan-Kusiak to adjourn last night's School Committee meeting seconds after it convened.
The dispute came to a head when committee member Laura J. Bertelli sat behind the nameplate of another member, in contradiction of what Ryan-Kusiak termed the standard protocol.
..."My seating assignment has been changed three times," she said. "I'm sick of playing musical chairs."
Ryan-Kusiak defended her action, saying seating assignments are at the discretion of the chairman. She said Bertelli's assignment had been changed just twice since the spring election.

Ah, got it. If the assignment has been changed twice, then Ms Bertelli has had three different seats: Her original place, the position after the first change, and the position after the second.

And absolutely, the important part of this controversy is how many times Ms Bertelli's nameplate has been moved. As if, if it actually had been moved three times, then her actions would have been justified, but if it's only been moved twice, she's overreacting.
"If I have to adjourn the meeting again because one person decides to make a point, then I will," said Ryan-Kusiak. "I don't understand why she didn't try to settle this with a phone call before the meeting."
Bertelli saw it differently.
"She made the decision it was more important for me to sit someplace than it was to have a meeting. I can't see it any other way."

So, Ms Ryan-Kusiak expected Ms Bertelli to call her in advance to ask where she would be sitting?

Saturday, August 23, 2003


I will fear no evil
You belong in I Will Fear No Evil. Your body is
your prison, and you would trade everything you
have, even your sex, for a new lease on life.

Which Heinlein Book Should You Have Been A Character In?
brought to you by Quizilla

While I'm talking about Robert A. Heinlein, I should also mention that he's finally learned the secret that Hubbard and Tupac know: How to release new material when you're dead.
Nice work if you can get it
In San Francisco and across the country, naked women are stalking circuses. Photographers force themselves to document this odd behavior.
The back issues you'll never find
Mark Evanier at POV Online is having just too much fun. He's doing the next best thing to writing scripts for the classic Dick Van Dyke Show: He's created covers and story synopses for a Gold Key comic book adaptation of the show, as it would have been done at the time had they done one. As such, it becomes an off-center history both of the show and of mid-sixties comic books. Having a fondness for both, I find it ingenious.
Every statue tells a story
New York Times | On a Pedestal, but Homeless
Pity Abraham de Peyster, mayor of New York City from 1692 to 1694, acting governor of the colony of New York in 1701, wealthy merchant and philanthropist. He or rather his bronze likeness cannot seem to find a permanent home.
His sculpture has had two homes in the city and will soon be looking for a third, since the park where he sits is scheduled for a de Peysterless renovation.

Here in Atlanta, as occasional tourists have discovered to their chagrin, we rename streets regularly. Maybe we should be more into statuary.

Friday, August 22, 2003

The Friday Five: This week's questions:
1. When was the last time you laughed?

Just this morning, driving my daughter to school. We were discussing how much fun it is to tweak people who haven't really thought about why they believe what they think they know. In response to a teacher's political rant, one of her classmates suggested "Of course, it's all Bush's fault, isn't it?" The teacher agreed that it is, without apparent irony, while my daughter and her classmate struggled not to laugh out loud. There's hope for the younger generation.

2. Who was the last person you had an argument with?

Who, me? I'm a soft spoken person who never argues with anybody. It was probably at a meeting of my radio theater, over how we should respond to a perceived injustice.

3. Who was the last person you emailed?

My wife. I was sending her links to information about a planned retail development near our neighborhood. This one. (For the record, I'm for it. I'm tired of driving to the other side of town for all my shopping. Heck, if I have a local Target, I'll be one more step along the road to becoming another Lileks. Then all I'll have to do is change everything else about me. Although it's a little late to consider another daughter. Maybe I could run my daughter's baby pictures and just not tell you she's 15 now... oops.)

4. When was the last time you bathed?

Yesterday morning--but today is young yet. (Is this TMI? Well, it was a personal question to start with.)

5. What was the last thing you ate?

I'm eating breakfast right now. If you must know, it's Cheerios (in 2% milk and Splenda), two microwave sausage links, and V8. The chef has the day off. :)

Thursday, August 21, 2003

The Thursday Threesome::One trick pony::
Onesome: One - One thing that's being bandied about a bit in the communications press is the ongoing replacement of land line phones with cell phones. Hmmm... Have you ever considered dropping your wired phone and living a wireless existence?

Nope. Gotta get the internet in here somehow. You want me to subsidize wireless connections for the whole neighborhood? And it's a good idea to have a dial-up phone for emergencies: Most businesses do, regardless of the sophistication of their "everyday" phones.

Twosome: Trick - Okay, everyone one should know at least one magic trick. Do you have one? ...or is there one you really, really wish you knew how it worked?

Card tricks are cool, but I've never had the coordination to do it. I can bend a metal fork or spoon and have it snap back into shape by itself.

Threesome: Pony - Admit it: did you want a pony as a kid? Still do? Never liked them? Nah, we know better ! ...and did you ever have your picture taken on one?

No. Not a horsy person. I am terrified of animals that outweigh me. And, for that matter, many animals that don't.

EXTRA: The topic of the week at the Back Porch:
Have you noticed that it's August?

I haven't had any real sense of time since last August.

Friday, August 15, 2003

The Friday Five: This week's questions:
1. How much time do you spend online each day?

Too long.

2. What is your browser homepage set to?

My Yahoo.

3. Do you use any instant messaging programs? If so, which one(s)?


4. Where was your first webpage located?


5. How long have you had your current website?

Define "current website". I'm in the process of migrating to another ISP right now, but the page has been fairly continuous since June 1995. I'm ancient. I've redesigned it a couple of times since then. :)

Thursday, August 14, 2003

The Thursday Threesome::Sound loves to revel in a summer night::
Onesome: Sound loves - What�s your favourite song? Is there a history behind it or do you just like it because it�s great?

Gosh, that's hard to say.
Well, whatever it is, there's no history. I don't attach songs to moments of my life. "They're playing our song" is not a phrase I'll ever say for other than comic effect.
At the moment, I guess I'll go with "Stardust". It almost doesn't matter who does it.

Twosome: To revel - What�s your idea of the perfect party tunes? Some jazz to keep things jumpin�? Rock to keep everyone dancing? Or a mix of everything to make everyone happy?

When I listen to music, I listen to music. I don't use it as background noise for parties. It just won't occur to me. That said, the last time I put on music during a party, it was Basia. Make of that what you will.

Threesome: In a summer night - It�s a mellow summer night, you�re on your own and you�re ready to load the CD player. What�s on your playlist? Remember, there's no one around to say "Ewww, gross!" *grin*

I'm actually trying to compile such a "perfect CD", being somewhat hampered by having lost my vinyl album collection back in the house fire of '99. At this moment, it would include:
Dave Goelz ("Gonzo"), "I'm Going To Go Back There Someday" (from "The Mupper Movie")
Basia, "Miles Away"
Mary Chapin Carpenter, "The Moon and Saint Christopher" (or "This Shirt")
Alison Krauss, "In the Palm of Your Hand" (or her cover of "I Will")
Nanci Griffith, "Love at the Five and Dime" (or "It's a Hard Life Wherever You Go")
the Carpenters, "Close to You"
Olivia Newton John, "I Honestly Love You" (or "Suddenly")
Rupert Holmes, "Old School" (or "The People That You Never Get To Love")
Andrew Gold, "Still You Linger On"
Sam Wright ("Sebastian"), "Kiss the Girl" (from "The Little Mermaid")
Joni Mitchell, "Free Man in Paris"
James Taylor, "Only One" (or "Golden Moments")
Gloria Estefan, "I Want You So Bad" (or "Get on Your Feet")
Tom Hulce ("Quasimodo"), "Out There" (from "Hunchback of Notre Dame")
Ray Charles, "Georgia On My Mind"
Carly Simon, "Haunting" (or "In a Small Moment")
I could go on, but I don't think they'll all fit on one CD as it is...

EXTRA: The topic of the week at the Back Porch:
We all have cell phones, most of us do... what is the ring on your phone set to? Something simple? Funny? Downloaded the new Tones from your phone provider site? What makes your phone unique about you?

To my knowledge, there is no other cell phone anywhere that plays the theme to "Remember WENN". (I manually coded it in.) I wanted a tune I would immediately recognize: I detest those "Is that mine?" convulsions I see whenever any cell phone plays the default Nokia tune.

Friday, August 08, 2003

The Friday Five: This week's questions:
1. What's the last place you traveled to, outside your own home state/country?

A science-fiction convention in Orlando, FL.

2. What's the most bizarre/unusual thing that's ever happened to you while traveling?

My vehicle died in Tampa a few years ago. For a while I thought it might be unfixable. That was a rather more interesting afternoon than I wanted.

3. If you could take off to anywhere, money and time being no object, where would you go?

I've never really been a travelin' fool, and now, having lost my innate sense of direction, I'm even less of one. But I am feeling a craving for a beach, and the gulf coast of Florida is very pleasant.

4. Do you prefer traveling by plane, train or car?

Driving is less pleasant than it was before my stroke, but still preferable to air, simply because I feel more in control of my own destiny. I can travel at my own speed, stop when I think a place looks interesting, and skip the security worries. Trains are a romantic way to travel, and I really enjoyed it the one time I tried one (1988, New Orleans WorldCon), but from Atlanta there are very few places one can easily go via train.

5. What's the next place on your list to visit?

I don't have a list. But I would like to see the St Louis Gateway Arch. Well, wait. I have seen the Arch: I would like to see the view from atop it.

Thursday, August 07, 2003

Okay, trivia fans
Harry Potter Facts.
Notes on the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (the original comic series).
The Ultimate Tremors FAQ and the official Tremors: The Series site.
The Thursday Threesome::Two Day Sale::
Onesome: Two - Hey, we did 'threes' last week; let's try 'twos' this week. When you think of pairs, what comes to mind? ...and 'Bartletts' is the only wrong answer !

Oh, I'll bet the answer I'm thinking of is even more wrong than that.

Twosome: Day - Which day of the week do you live for? Is it getting back to work on Monday (right!) or maybe Friday, so you're gone! One of the weekend days? Which day works for you?

It's Saturday. That's when I get to see my family. Between one thing and another, the other six days they're scattered to the winds.

Threesome: Sale - Are you one of those people who will wait until something is on sale before you buy it? ...even if it's like forever? ...or do you just haul on down to the store whenever the urge hits? Hmmm? Planner, immediate or impulse? What type of buyer are you?

I'm a planner. I do research when I'm shopping for something, to decide exactly what I want, and to learn what's a fair price for it and whether it's likely to go on sale. Then I wait until I see it at a price I like.

Last week's topic of the week at the Back Porch: Let's Go to the Movies!
We wanna know - what movie can you bat the lines out faster then the actors? What are your favorite lines from a movie? Come on - this is your chance to show off your acting skills!

"Casablanca" is the only movie ever made that consists of nothing but favorite lines. But my favorite scene is the one where the young wife asks Rick if Renault is a man of his word. And a newly restored print hits DVD this week. Gotta have it.

Saturday, August 02, 2003

Of course they're purple
AP | Dark-chocolate Hershey's Kisses
A dark-chocolate Hershey's Kiss, sporting a purple foil wrap and the paper tag reading 'Dark', is shown Friday, Aug. 1, 2003 in Philadelphia. The new line of candy will hit the stores in the coming weeks behind a $10 million dollar advertising campaign.

Friday, August 01, 2003

Region in transition
This photo from Yahoo seems to say it.
The Friday Five: This week's questions:
1. What time do you wake up on weekday mornings?

Variable. I usually wake up around 7:30 or 8:00. Since I am still on disability from work, there is no compelling reason to go anyhere, so sometimes I go back to sleep, depending on how late I was up the night before.

2. Do you sleep in on the weekends? How late?

No. If anything, I'm more likely to get up early.

3. Aside from waking up, what is the first thing you do in the morning?

Are you after a more profound answer than "go to the bathroom"?

4. How long does it take to get ready for your day?

Variable. Anywhere from a half hour to all day. :)

5. When possible, what is your favorite place to go for breakfast?

McDonald's. I'm a big fan of the sausage mcmuffin.