Sunday, October 16, 2005

NFL: Patriots at Broncos

In the first quarter, the Broncos looked pretty evenly matched with a Patriots team that is trying to survive its own bad luck and injuries. In the second half, the Broncos just took control.

End of the first quarter: Patriots 3, Broncos 0.

End of the second: Patriots 3, Broncos 21.

Continued efficient passing by Plummer, big play runs by Tatum Bell, and a stingy defense that overcame a series of early (stupid) penalties make the Broncos look like contenders. Of course, the second half still has to be played and Tom Brady is one of the most talented, exciting quarterbacks in the league.

Great start to the game, though.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

The Unbearable Cuteness of Celebrities

I like Paul McCartney--even to the point of secretly admitted that “Pretty Little Love Songs” is actually a great (if diabetes-inducing) slices of sweet pop music. But, like most celebrities, his take on political events is childish.

I ran across an interview with him in Paste magazine where he is asked how he feels about “what has happened since 9/11"--a vague and shallow question that invites a vague and shallow response. McCartney doesn’t disappoint.

I’m not a great supporter of what’s happened. Like a lot of people, I wanted someone to blame because it was such a horrendous happening, 9/11. What would have been perfect was someone to just find the perpetrators, bring them to justice, and that’s that. Unfortunately, nobody’s been able to find the perpetrator, so I felt it was a little like standing in the middle of the playground and swinging out at however was nearest. ‘Right, he looks a bit like him. Let’s get him!’ And I think you have to be a little bit cynical that it was an oil country.

Naive and childish, yes, but sort of cute in an innocent, idealistic sort of way. You can tell that he’s straining toward the right answer--a realization that an attack of the magnitude of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States cannot go without a response. But he falls short because he wants that response to be easy and clean and have an uncluttered, happy ending.

Read the Rest...

Friday, October 14, 2005

Carnival of Liberty

I forgot to post this a few days ago, but I’m making up for lost time.

Combs hosted the most recent Carnival of Liberty--one of the few Carnivals I care to try to catch anymore.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Number 9, Vote With a Bullet

The Number 9 series started with Mark Lanegan’s brilliant “Shooting Gallery” (and if you need a reacquaint yourself with that, check out the post) and continues with Corrosion of Conformity’s “Vote With a Bullet.”

COC really hit stride with the 1991 release, Blind, bringing aggressive, angry metal music to masses who might otherwise be forced to listen to Warrant or another of the pretend metal bands. Blind was pure, pissed off screaming from the the opening noise of “These Shrouded Temples”, bleeding into “Damned for All Time”, and swirling through the accusations (and, admittedly, sophomoric political rants) of “Dance of the Dead”. It isn’t pretty power ballads and crooning, it isn’t the latter-day metal of Metallica, and it isn’t much like the earlier COC releases where they had yet to find the way to craft melodies into their songs.

Any metal fan who missed this one owes themselves a trip to the record store. The stuttering beat on “Break the Circle” and the brooding “Mine Are the Eyes of God” are worth the cost alone. The gorgeous little musical interlude, “Shallow Ground,” comes as a break in the otherwise relentless attack, but leads the unwary into the harsh “Vote With a Bullet.”

Full disclosure: back in 1992, I was bartending at a nice hotel in Denver. I wrote some of the lyrics from this song on a white board in the kitchen and was actually written up for this criminal act of sharing. Of course, they might have had a point. Listen to the song, and you’ll see what I mean.

This is metal at its best--perfect at extreme decibels and steeped in powerful (if juvenile) emotions. This isn’t music about using your brain, it’s music about being propelled forward by your passions. Not that it’s music for idiots, but metal isn’t always about finding the perfect phrase or poetic undertones; this kind of metal is about giving voice to that guttural scream that lives inside that doesn’t have a well-defined target or a reason. It just is.

Blind is an exceptional album and “Vote With a Bullet” is a solid introduction.

Enjoy. Then run out and buy the CD.

Download the mp3.

Read It

Things worth thinking about:

  1. An approval rating of just 2% (!?) with a particular ethnic group isn’t just bad, it’s disastrous. Even putting it in the context of a President who has had to deal with a series of disasters and difficulties that no leader would envy.

    What to do about it, though, is a question without any good answer that I can think of; the rating isn’t based on real performance, it’s based on the perception of something that doesn’t exist.

  2. I don’t even know what to say about this:

    There are certainly plenty of less painful ways to deal with stress, but really, how many times a day can you masturbate?

    So I think I’ll just leave it there and marvel at things some people say. And while you’re reading that post, read the one below it where the singer, Emperor Magus Caligula of Dark Funeral, gives tacit approval of the murder of a priest. As I said, I can’t help but marvel at the things some people say.

  3. The latest edition of the Carnival of Tomorrow is up and worth your time. As always.
  4. Show the wookie some love. Heheh.

Condi: Will She Run?

Buried in small portion of an article that wasn’t at all about Condi running for office, I found something that made my little heart fly.

A poll of Iowa Republicans released a few weeks ago showed Rice crushing every other likely GOP candidate in that critical caucus state. Another poll taken about the same time among Florida Republicans revealed her neck-and-neck with former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani for the lead.

She has the background, the resume, the intelligence, (I believe) the charisma, and the attention of the party; she could undoubtedly make a credible run for the nomination. The only question is: will she run? The rigor of any campaign can be tiring, but for the office of President of the United States of America, it’s a brutal endurance test. Will she willingly put herself through that process?

Amazing that I was asking that question when I first started this site and it is still a matter of speculation.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Speaking of Apple (Because, This Time, We Actually Were, You Know)

Here’s what Apple geeks have been waiting for: the new Apple offerings.

1. The Apple iPod that plays up to 150 hours of video. They’ll play home movies, TV shows, Pixar shorts, and music videos that can be purchased from the iTunes Music Store (using the newest release of the iTunes software).

2. The updated iMac G5. It has a new, built-in video camera for video conferencing, pre-installed wireless card, and remote control media software to control music, pictures, video, and DVD playback on the slender little box. It’s actually kind of cool.

I Can Afford to Laugh

I can afford to laugh about Apple’s current stock slump. The softness in their shares started last night after they released their 4th quarter data, disappointing the Street and scaring investors. I can afford to laugh because, at least directly, I don’t own any of those shares that suddenly saw a 10% dip.

What was the news that hit the stocks so hard?

  1. Annual sales of $13.93 billion (68% better than 2004).
  2. Yearly profit jumped to $1.3 billion (384% growth from last year).
  3. 6.4 million iPods sold in the quarter, including around 1 million Nanos in the last 17 days of the quarter.
  4. Over the last year, the PC industry as a whole saw unit sales grow about 13% while Apple saw unit sales grow 48%--although their sales still account for a tiny percentage of overall PC sales, this still shows solid growth when it wouldn’t have been too surprising to see stagnation following the announcement of the upcoming Intel-based boxes. This continues to bolster the belief that the iPod is helping to drive new Macintosh sales.
  5. Gross margins grew by a bit over 1%.
  6. The iPod still accounts for about 75% of the mp3 player market.

So, after a record year of growth, continued domination in the mp3 player market, and no sign of slowing down in the next few quarters, what did Apple do wrong?

Some analysts had expected between iPod sales to grow to between 8 and 10 million units and Apple missed the quarterly earnings estimate by posting revenue of only $3.68 billion while analysts were looking for $3.74 billion.

Wow. Tough crowd.

Read the story.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Insomnia Moment

I had intended to go to sleep a few hours ago. I got caught up reading Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner instead, wandering my way through most of the book and finally getting to the point where I need to go to sleep.

Just one more chapter, I swear…

Anyway, so far the book is not only beautifully written, but it is heartbreaking and cruel and compelling. I realized that one of the reasons I kept reading was that I so desperately wanted something good to happen--for, somehow, the protagonist to make amends for his sins.

So, yes, just one more chapter. I swear.

Cool Tool

Via Wheels, I found this exceptionally cool design tool. It lets you play with the various font attributes that can be set using Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) for Web design. Not only is it a great visual tool for comparing different fonts and attributes, but it also writes the style sheet rules for you so that you can integrate it into your designs.

Yeah, boy.

Go play with Typetester.

Georgia Blogger Says:

Won’t write, will drink.

Donnie knows his priorities; it’s one of the things I like about the man.

Apple, iPod, and One Big Screw Up

One of the reasons the iPod is so successful is fashion--the things look good, feel good, and captured a market with splashy ads and bold marketing. Another reason is user experience--frankly, the unified experience from purchase or rip to transfer and use is better than on most other players. Apple’s design team did an all around brilliant job on both the form and function of the iPod.

But another reason--a sort of stealth reason--that I believe iPods have sold so well is that the surrounding market for add-ons has thrived. Whereas there is a good bit of generic mp3 player gear sold at the local CompUSA, there seems to be an entire aisle devoted to various iPod add-ons from external speakers, unique FM broadcasters, stylish sleeves and what looked (I swear) like sweaters for iPod shuffles, microphones, and a ton of other stuff sold solely to iPod users.

That stuff, I would imagine, makes the iPod line of players look even more attractive to consumers--especially consumers buying the gadgets as gifts.

And now Apple wants to sucker punch a bunch of those companies.

Apple is set to slug partners a massive 10% licence fee for access to an iPod port. The move will significantly impact iPod accessory manufacturers with some considering dropping accessories from their portfolio. Among the companies set to be hit is Bose who make the highly successful Bose iPod docking station music system. Dominique Water the head of Bose’s Asia Pacific operations said “All Apple partners were told of the decision some weeks ago. This is a massive licence fee which will not sit comfortable with many partners. Bose is not happy as the proposed fee is excessive by any standards”.

These items don’t steal revenue from Apple; they add value to Apple’s line. I’m surprised that Apple doesn’t seem to see that or seem to understand that alienating these manufacturers could actually hurt iPod sales over the long run.

Bad Apple.

Read the story.

Update: Linked by Timmer (who causes me to feel iPod envy).

NaNoWriMo: The Revenge

A few years back, I tried (and failed miserably) to accomplish the National Write a Novel in a Month Thingy. I’m trying again.

Andy has more details at that link, but we’re hoping that there will be more bloggers willing to put their writing talents to dubious use with us and are especially looking for local types who can also put their capacity to drink to even more dubious use with us. So, how about it?

Monday, October 10, 2005

NFL: Steelers at San Diego

Aside from hoping that the Steelers win, aside from having issues with the Chargers’ powder blue uniform, aside from the fact that I’m jealous of the weather in San Diego, I have to say that the refs completely blew the call on the fair catch turnover. It’s ridiculous that the Steelers were penalized for the Charger’s return man screwing up the reception.

That has to win “worst call of the week” award. If there were an award for these things.

Update: The Steelers win, but with Ben Roethlisberger leaving the game on the back of a cart, you have to wonder just how expensive this victory might have been? A helmet to the knee can ruin your day (or your year) in any number of ways, and the Steelers faithful has to be sitting back and hoping that Roethlisberger will bounce back from this soon.

Funny and Good


Everything Dan Rather related is pretty much old news; that particular deceased horse has been beat pretty severely. So, while I wouldn’t normally bring any new Dan Rather news to the party, I had to share this just because of Jonah Goldberg’s opening two sentences.

You would have thought it impossible for Dan Rather to shed any more credibility. It turns out his integrity decay has a permanent half life, whereby he throws off particles of his reputation for possibly thousands of years.

I snickered cruelly.


While I’m worried that the concessions Merkel had to make will make her ruling coalition ineffective, I can’t help but be happy to see Schroeder out of office.

Conservative leader Angela Merkel said Monday she had reached a “good and fair” deal that will make her Germany’s first female chancellor in a power-sharing agreement that would end Gerhard Schroeder’s seven years in office.

Under the agreement, which ends a three-week political deadlock, Merkel would have to give most of the seats in the new Cabinet to Schroeder’s Social Democrats as the price of governing, including top jobs such as foreign minister.

Here’s hoping that Angela Merkel is the leader that Germany needs to start it’s recovery.

Read the story.

Apparently It’s Short Post Monday

I just found out that Robert Prather has returned to the fold. Which proves that blogging is about as hard to cure as herpes. Back onto the blogroll…

This makes me happy.

In case you were wondering.

Question of the Day

Does it seem that the Bush Administration cares more about Asian Muslims than it does about black Americans?

You can find my answer here, for whatever that’s worth.

How to Help

There are millions homeless and tens of thousands dead--and on the heels of hurricanes and bombings and a particular Supreme Court nomination, it might be easy to be numb to yet another disaster. Unfortunately, earthquakes don’t have a very refined sense of timing, and it falls on us to find it in ourselves to help.

Tens of thousands dead and millions homeless.

The California Yankee has a list of charities that will be contributing to the relief effort.

It’s All Snowy and Crap

Just thought you’d like to know.

Update: Phil got more snow than I did, but I think you get my point.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

NFL: Washington at Denver

Washington should have won. They ran up yards on a Denver defense that didn’t look nearly as sharp as they had over the last few weeks. They limited Denver to an anemic 257 yards in total offense (and less than 100 yards passing). Seen from that view, it’s pure luck that Denver came out ahead 12-19.

From another view, Washington would have been lucky to win. They didn’t convert field goals that would have put them on top, they penalized themselves out of scoring position at the end of the first half, and the Broncos came up with most of the big plays. Big run plays for scores, big defensive plays to keep the Redskins from tying the game late, and even a big punt to force the ‘Skins to chew up the clock late in the game.

The Broncos--who couldn’t get a consistent running or passing game going, who had a hard time stopping Santana Moss, Clinton Portis, and Mark Brunell--really didn’t do a lot of the little things right today. They just came up with big plays when they most needed them.

The whole thing was tough, gritty, and close throughout, with strange officiating (That wasn’t a fumble by Jake Plummer in the endzone and that wasn’t a catch out of bound by Santana Moss? Really?) and a frightening injury to the umpire. In other words, it wasn’t the way the Broncos wanted to win on a cold, rainy Denver day, but it’s good enough to ensure that they stay on top of the AFC for now. Ultimately, it’s true that a win is a win, but the Broncos will need to play better if they want to beat Kansas in Kansas, San Diego in San Diego, and Dallas in Dallas (just for instance).

At 4-1, the siren call of the bandwagon is growing harder to ignore, though…


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