I seem to recall the major networks covered the first night of the Dems in Boston. In fact, I thought they carried footage all four nights.
McCain -- as close to a media darling as the Repubs have to offer -- is currently giving a speech, which is carried only by our local PBS affiliate. I don't have cable or satellite, so I don't have a clue what kind of coverage this is getting elsewhere.
Disappointing, if not very surprising.
Update: Rudy Giuliani's on now, and the three "majors" are still showing their normal lineup. What is the effin' deal???
Some enterprising gamers (and it took many) restaged the opening minutes of The Matrix using the X-Box game Halo. Given the number of characters on the screen most of the time, this looks like at least 2 or 3 networked X-Boxes. I wonder how many takes it took. Geek out!
Via Milk and Cookies.
Rob the Llamabutcher's account of reading to his llama-ettes got me to thinking about the books I've read aloud to my sons (I still read short little picture stories to my 5-year old daughter).
I love reading to my kids, but some authors are almost impossible to read aloud. J.K. Rowling springs immediately to mind, as she runs on with florid and wordy sentences always ending with a clause beginning with an "ing" word, piling on the clauses one after another, stopping for nothing, droning on and on and on. (Her stories are fun and the boys and I like them, but she really needs an editor with a spine).
Throughout 2003, I read the complete Lord of the Rings out loud to my oldest son. Tolkien knew how to craft beautiful language that was both fun to read out loud and to hear myself reading. It gave me a whole new perspective on the power of his stories and his language.
Be sure to surf over, and if you try the recipe, please let me know.
On a self-centered note, readers following the Carnival link finally pushed my blog over 10,000 visits total. Yay! (I'm sure Glenn's link to the Carnival helped boost the readership).
Via the Llamabutchers, fifty things about me:
1. Your name spelled backwards. suinal nhoj
2. Where were your parents born? Dallas, Texas.
3. What is the last thing you downloaded onto your computer? Planet of the Apes as Twilight Zone episode (yet another exhibit for short copyright terms and a vibrant public domain).
5. Last time you swam in a pool? Last Saturday at The Texas Pool (our local members-only pool, shaped like the State of Texas with an island where Plano is).
More in the extended entry:
6. Have you ever been in a school play? Yes, I was Marcellus Washburn during my senior year of high school in a production of The Music Man. I had hoped to get the role of Prof. Harold Hill, since he got to kiss Marian the Librarian, who was being played by a girl I had a major crush on at the time.
7. How many kids do you want? We have three, which is how many we wanted. My wife and I both came from families with three kids, and it just feels "right."
8. Type of music you dislike most? Another toss-up. "Nashville" Country and Rap. (I actually like bluegrass if played by someone like Bela Fleck, and I also like old "cowboy" music, like you hear in westerns -- I am not much of a fan of either Nascar culture or gangsta culture).
9. Are you registered to vote? Definitely.
10. Do you have cable? No, we're broadcast-only, spending that monthly money instead on broadband internet, DVDs, and CDs.
11. Have you ever ridden on a moped? No, although I drove a home-built mini-bike (powered by a lawnmower engine) during my early teen years up at the family lakehouse.
12. Ever prank call anybody? I think in 7th or 8th grade we made a few hang-up calls to the cute girls. Not since.
13. Ever get a parking ticket? Only in Washington DC.
14. Would you go bungee jumping or sky diving? I would love to try skydiving someday, although I'm afraid I'll have to be a widower before that will happen.
15. Farthest place you ever traveled. Europe (Austria was the most distant point from Texas on the trip).
16. Do you have a garden? Technically speaking, yes, although it has lain fallow for four years now.
18. Do you really know all the words to your national anthem? Only to the first verse.
19. Bath or Shower, morning or night? Shower, morning.
21. Favorite pizza topping? Pepperoni and more pepperoni. Sometimes jalapeños.
22. Chips or popcorn? Chips, especially Zapp's Hotter 'N Hot Jalapeño Potato Chips
23. What color lipstick do you usually wear? Something sheer and glossy with a hint of pink. . . but only after I've kissed the missus!
24. Have you ever smoked peanut shells? No, nor do I ever plan to.
25. Have you ever been in a beauty pageant? No.
26. Orange Juice or apple? Orange.
27. Who was the last person you went out to dinner with and where did you dine? Went out with the wife and kids and another family to Chuck's Restaurant in Plano for burgers and chicken fingers.
28. Favorite type chocolate bar? Milky Way Midnight bar.
29. When was the last time you voted at the polls? 2002 mid-term elections (and maybe a local bond election in 2003, too).
30. Last time you ate a homegrown tomato? Too long ago. Probably a few months when my parents' container crop first came in.
31. Have you ever won a trophy? Yes, other than the participation trophies I got as a kid, I got two embarrassingly large trophies at high school graduation: one for being Salutatorian, and the other a "Man for Others" award.
32. Are you a good cook? I've been told so by people other than my of-course-perfectly-neutral-fair-and-balanced wife.
33. Do you know how to pump your own gas? Uhh, yeah?
34. Ever order an article from an infomercial? Nope.
35. Sprite or 7-up? Either, but only rarely.
36. Have you ever had to wear a uniform to work? No.
37. Last thing you bought at a pharmacy? Eyedrops.
38. Ever throw up in public? Twice during my sophomore year of college (one of the times had to do with this).
39. Would you prefer being a millionaire or find true love? True love.
40. Do you believe in love at first sight? Yes. My wife and I knew it when we first met as teens, but it took us about 7 years of growing up (never dating - we were just friends) to admit it.
41. Ever call a 1-900 number? Once during college, out of curiosity.
42. Can ex’s be friends? It depends. Usually not, in my experience.
43. Who was the last person you visited in a hospital? My younger sister after she delivered her first child back in February.
44. Did you have a lot of hair when you were a baby? No.
45. What message is on your answering machine? Short and simple. . . and done by my wife.
46. What’s your all time favorite Saturday Night Live Character? Mike Myers' "Dieter" on Sprockets or his "Wayne" of Wayne's World. I prefer MadTV to SNL these days.
47. What was the name of your first pet? A cat named Carrots and a dog named Bandit.
48. What is in your purse? What purse?
49. Favorite thing to do before bedtime? Consult with the missus.
50. What is one thing you are grateful for today? My family.
This is just weird. Video game characters "undressing" for Playboy?
Just one question: Where's Cortana?
VerukaSalt examines the proposition of what "car care" would look like if we gave employers an incentive to create car insurance plans that cover maintenance and disconnect the consumer's price paid (i.e., the copay) from the actual cost of the service. Interesting.
Well, re-styling this site is taking most of my blogging time, so you get a "giant" link-fest tonight, a la Jeff Patterson at Gravity Lens instead of any erudite or witty original commentary.
A collection of props from Land of the Giants. Wine tips from Giant Foods. The Jolly Green Giant (helicopter), Jolly Green Giant recipe ideas, They Might Be Giants, Giant Cthulu Statues, Giant Robot Costume, The Iron Giant, Gentle Giant, Giant Eyeball Recipe, and Giant Sharks.
However, with the recent devastation caused by Hurricane Charley, Strengthen the Good has identified a slightly larger "macro" micro-charity: The Gulf Coast Community Foundation Of Venice Hurricane Charley Disaster Relief Fund.
Please follow both links. Check out this opportunity to help people in need. If you wish to donate, please do so.
Funny thing is, I like both of those songs.
For me lyrics are usually incidental: just a means of carrying a melody and maybe some harmony. Rarely do bad lyrics mess up good music for me, but I cannot abide good lyrics accompanied by bad (or boring) music (cases in point: Country and Rap).
The one group whose lyrics I really tune into is Rush, because they are reliably intelligent and often libertarian. Ironically, since one of the biggest turn-offs to non-Rush fans is the singer's (Geddy Lee's) voice.
Ah, well, I can't wait to see the results of the lyric contest.
The Llamabutchers are officially moved in at their new digs here in Munuviana.
Steve did all the heavy lifting getting the site set up (and thanks for noting the little bit of help I rendered) and now Rob is back from vacation, presumably tanned, if not so rested, but we hope ready to resume his prolific blogging.
From my wife (who passes it on from one of her email correspondents):
A senior citizen in Florida bought a brand new Mercedes convertible. He took off down the road, flooring it to 80 mph and enjoying the wind blowing through what little hair he had left on his head.
"This is great," he thought as he roared down I-75. He pushed the pedal to the metal even more.
Then he looked in his rear view mirror and saw a highway patrol trooper behind him, blue lights flashing and siren blaring. "I can get away from him with no problem" thought the man and he tromped it some more and flew down the road at over 100 mph. Then110, 120 mph!
Then he thought, "What am I doing? I'm too old for this kind of thing." He pulled over to the side of the road and waited for the trooper to catch up with him.
The trooper pulled in behind the Mercedes and walked up to the man. "Sir," he said, looking at his watch. "My shift ends in 30 minutes and today is Friday. If you can give me a reason why you were speeding that I've never heard before, I'll let you go."
The man looked at the trooper and said, "Years ago my wife ran off with a Florida state trooper, and I thought you were bringing her back."
The trooper replied, "Sir, have a nice day."
I love that my wife and I can both laugh out loud at this. . .
Strengthen the Good is a network of bloggers designed to focus the attention of the blogosphere -- readers and authors alike -- on opportunities to make a positive difference to people in need through small, direct actions.
Conceived by Alan Nelson of The Command Post, our job is to raise awareness of "micro-charities," which can benefit from even minimal donations. Members of the network will receive a notice from Alan, and our job then will be to highlight the opportunity and link to the information about it.
Your job? Spread the word. Give. And, if you like, join so that the network can reach even more readers and donors.
. . . because I find this fascinating.
(Hat tip: Timothy Sandefur).
Surfing around tonight, I found this interesting gallery of high-speed video captures (i.e., slow-motion playback) of a variety of activities.
I like the heart valve visualization, engine combustion, and rattlesnake strike clips.
Yours truly entered, but neither placed nor showed. Ah well, there's always a next time. . .
Today she completely nails the media's [non-]coverage of our recent push in Iraq. Money quote(s):
Update: From Fox News - Dude, we are kicking their asses, the enemy is running away like a red headed kid that just pissed off his step mom. . . .
Update: From The Washington Post - Innocent Iraqi militia men are being slaughtered in the street by US and Iraqi military forces, We have the audaucity to return fire on these innocent freedom fighters that are puting up a game but futill attempt to overthrow the American's currently occouping Iraq. A relief fund for the families of these Militia freedom fighters is currently being set up by our good friends at moveon.org with almost 2 quarters of a percent going to the freedom fighting militia.
VerukaSalt doesn't hold back on the four-letter words, so you have been forewarned. But I have laughed more reading her blog tonight than any time recently, so she goes on the blogroll.
I'm not ashamed to admit that, despite early exposure to classical music by my parents, I didn't really get into it until I got heavily into progressive rock music, particularly Emerson, Lake, and Palmer. Many of my first classical recordings were the originals covered by ELP (Ginastera, Copland, Janacek, Bartok, Bach, and Holst, to name a few).
So it's really fun to see the tribute flowing in the opposite direction thanks to this Australian Physics Professor, who has arranged, recorded, and posted mp3 samples of Led Zeppelin's classic Stairway to Heaven as it would have been authored by Schubert, Holst, Glenn Miller, Mahler, Bizet, Beethoven, and then a grand finale mish-mash of the styles.
A loud and obnoxious "bravo" to BoingBoing for unearthing this gem.
Meanwhile, doc Russia makes a compelling case that we are in fact winning:
Well, we are now in no danger of Iraqi WMD's being used on american soil for the next twenty years. We are now establishing a foothold for democracy in the middle east. The map of the middle east, once covered in its length and breadth with breeding grounds for terrorists, has now broad expanses of areas where terrorists must focus their energy, and not a half a world away. Now, the terrorists are trying (and failing) to hold on to their territory in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Africa, instead of trying to destabilize and demoralize the US. Is that what the moments before victory will look like?
Would it look like Marines stomping in the guts of the last holdouts of the Taliban?
Would it take the form of fresh-faced soldiers lighting up Al-Qaeda insurgents?
Would we in fact have newspapers ever proclaiming that Al-Qaeda was on the run?
Would there come a penultimate moment when even the hardiest of martyr wannabe's can see that they are going to lose?
Be sure to read the whole thing.
While part of me hears the voice of Han Solo ("Great, kid, don't get cocky"). there is some real evidence that we are making significant progress, and we should be cautiously optimistic.
(Hat tip: Owlish).
Be sure to click through to the XM307's site and catch the video.
Take a look at her main and schedule pages, and you'll also see some Engrish ("Plofile" instead of "Profile" and "Dead or Arive" instead of "Dead or Alive" to name a couple). Of course I'm sure she would get a greater kick out of my lame attempts at rendering Kanji or even just Kana.
Click through her various galleries and you'll see that her schtick is enacting movie and video game characters. Geek paradise.
Hat tip: BoingBoing.
Truth in Advertising
Found at Spiced Sass. I love this one, especially since I'm a lawyer (I cannot stand those cheesy phonebook ads).
I know it makes my own Kerry p-shop look pretty amateurish, but in case you missed it, check out "Kerry Poppins" here.
Yet more SF Babe resources:
(All above shamelessly hijacked from Gravity Lens).
Someone on a similar vibe has assembled this Amazon list of the Lovely Ladies of Golden and Silver Age Sci Fi/Horror.
As I mentioned earlier, I wasn't going to let the latest release of the official LEGO Millennium Falcon kit go unpurchased, and my older son's recent birthday made a perfect excuse. I helped with a couple of the early steps, but he did most of the work himself:
I either laid a sloppy foundation or mishandled the model because it partly fell apart after taking that picture. Oh well, the fun of LEGOs is in the building, so I guess we will just have to rebuild.
My younger son came up with this prototype rebel alliance scout ship, all by himself:
Good job, boys!
In fact, even a notable optimist's first reaction might be to replace the cowbell:
with the cow:
But the news may not be all bad, after all. First, obviously, is the fact that payroll employment increased (even if not as much as expected). Second, the number of unemployment claims declined over last month.
Finally, and most importantly, look at the unspun release from the BLS and try to interpret that as anything but positive. Overall household employment increased by 629,000 over the previous month. For better perspective, take a look at this chart:
(from this site).
That's right. July saw the largest increase in household employment since February 2002. And for only the second time since August 1994, more than 600,000 jobs were created in a month.
Why, then, the gloomy news reports about the increase of only 32,000 (versus the forecast of 240,000). Two words: old economy. These BLS surveys and predictions are all predicated on the 9-to-5, 5-day-a-week, clock-punching job sector. They miss the ever-larger numbers of self-employed workers who make our economy a vibrant example of Schumpeter's creative destruction.
Of course, I'm not the first to note this, by any means. This particular post was inspired by Dr. Jeffrey Cornwall of The Entrepreneurial Mind. And Virginia Postrel has lucidly stated and developed this theme repeatedly in the past.
Thank goodness we can so readily access the raw data to critique the common wisdom (or at least the "commonly-reported" wisdom) about the job figures.
Update: Reading through the above, I noted some sloppiness in the paragraph starting "Why, then, . . . . " Instead of saying "these BLS surveys, " I should have written "the BLS payroll survey." Sorry for the sloppiness.
For a well-written leftist analysis of the BLS report, read this EPI article, which goes through all the numbers and explains why more weight is commonly given to the payroll survey than the household survey. I don't agree with the EPI's ideological slant, but it does help explain the conventional wisdom.
The Canuck da Vinci Project has thrown its hat into the X-Prize ring, announcing today that they will make an attempt at their first flight on October 2, 2004, just a few days after Scaled Composites' first attempt.
Rand Simberg has the goods (check his comments, too).
You can also find a good collection of links about this at the Ansari X-Prize Space Race News site.
More linking tonight, as we head over to Don at Mixolydian Mode, who riffs on Esperanto and mentions a movement to replace Latin with Esperanto as the official language of the Roman Catholic Church.
I taught myself a fair amount of Esperanto in High School (no great feat, since I was taking Honors Latin all four years). Of course, nobody I knew spoke or wrote it, so it fell by the wayside.
Of more interest to the language geek in me, Don found this amazing Language Construction Kit.
The pictures are great, but the commentary's even better. Enjoy.
I obviously haven't sent enough linking-love his way, and he somehow missed my entry.
JohnL of TexasBestGrok - Latin Club 1,2,3 (President 4); Heinlein Appreciation Society 1,2; LEGO modelers' collective 3,4
At 36, I've worn the same pant size since college, and, thanks to a fairly active lifestyle and good genetics, I haven't needed to work very hard to stay that size. But nature finally caught up last summer and I noticed my waistbands getting tighter. I never actually bought a larger size, but during the fall I did buy a couple of pairs of pants with an expandable waistband. Cheating? Maybe.
I made a resolution at the beginning of the new year to finally incorporate regular exercise into my daily routine, and began doing situps and pushups every day. Four months later, at my annual physical, I was happy to find my blood pressure at the lowest I can remember (112/52) but very shocked to find my cholesterol level in the 230s (with a bad LDL/HDL ratio). It has always been in the mid-100s. My doctor put me on Niacin for the time being and we will follow up soon to re-check the level. In the meantime, I resolved to improve my diet and incorporate some aerobic exercise.
Shortly after that checkup, Jake came into our lives, and he has been an angel. Every night since April, I have progressively gone from walking to jogging to running with that dog for thirty minutes.
Wanting to find an objective way to measure my physical fitness progress, I went Googling around today. Surprise, surprise, surprise. The USMC has posted a helpful reference to the physical fitness and swimming requirements for Marine Corps courses. Even better, it lays out the point scoring system and provides rankings by age. Perfect.
So tonight I administered my first USMC-style PFT. I managed a three-mile run in 21:35, 39 situps in 2 minutes, and 4 pull-ups. Scoring against that chart, I passed each component of the test and came up with 138 total points, putting me in the 3rd Class for my age (not great, but better than "Unsatisfactory").
Not bad for a civilian. Having an objective milestone is important, and up to this point I have merely been working on consistent exercise. Now I can work on improving that score.
This NASA site is a great place to start your virtual exploration of the Red Planet.
I would love to go there in person someday. Not likely to happen, but I can dream.
Not a unicycle, a monowheel. In many forms, including a proposed armored version for the military.
Hat tip: Gravity Lens (where does he find this stuff?)
Paraphrasing Norm's criteria, these are not necessarily the ten most important works I've ever read (I suppose by some "objective" standard) but instead the books that have had a "marked and lasting influence on the way I think about the world." These are books I find myself re-reading periodically, as opposed to others that go straight to half-price books.
I'll try to follow Chan's pattern placing them in the order they entered my reading life:
1. The Bible, (I like the Jerusalem Bible translation)
2. Cosmos, Carl Sagan
3. Tunnel in the Sky, Robert Heinlein
4. Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien (does it count as 1, 3, or 6?)
5. The Fountainhead, Ayn Rand
6. Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand
7. Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid, Douglas Hofstadter
8. The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, Robert Heinlein
9. Lucifer's Hammer, Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle
10. The Sparrow, Maria Doria Russell
Wonder what that says about me?
Update: I added links to Amazon, so you can check editorial and reader reviews.