Thursday, August 31, 2006

Speaking of Google (Because We Were, You Know)

As if I needed more to read. As if I needed a reason to become even more tethered to my computer. As if Google hadn’t already provided me with all sorts of fun stuff to play with.

Now there are free downloads of public domain titles scanned from their original sources. That means a cool and wide variety of books that you can download whenever you realize that you have spent too much at Tattered Cover this month. Just as an example.

And speaking of examples, here’s an example of the stuff I’ve been downloading.

The dialects of Central Africa are very numerous, all the principal tribes employing forms of speech markedly, though not, I believe, radically distinct from each other. Ki-Swahili is the polite tongue, and stands towards purely local languages in much the same relation as French used to stand towards the other languages of Europe. Although corrupt Arabic enters to some extent into its composition, the basis of Ki-Swahili is pure Bantu; and, owing to this circumstance, it is more or less understood over the whole of the immense tracts that lie between the Zambesi and the sources of the Nile. It is, I believe, a lucid, precise, and copious tongue, not difficult to master, and well fitted to convey a variety of ideas with clearness and dignity…

That’s from Nyasaland Under the Foreign Office by Hector Livingston Duff, published in 1906 by George Bell.

Oh, man, I’m loving this.

Download your own freakishly obscure books (and start peppering your own blog posts with snippets of the texts) by going to the Google Book Search. Click the “full view books” option and enjoy the world’s biggest library.

(Hat tip to the Google Blog.)

It’s The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Football. (And, probably, some other stuff, too...)

I love football.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Cool Tools: gDisk

Here’s another great moment for Open Source: take Gmail, add an easy application that allows you to up and download files to your account, and you suddenly have over two gigs of online storage. For Mac OS X users, that’s exactly what gDisk does in a reliable, small, free application that I’ve been using for some time to share files between my computers.

And it really is easy. Open the application, log in to your gMail account, create categories for the files that you will transfer, and drag-and-drop files to your little heart’s content. The categories that I’ve created are things like Invoices, Work Files, and 9/11 Tribute. Wherever I am and whatever computer I’m using, as long as I have an Internet connection, I have access to important files.

Very freakin’ cool.

Check it out.

PS- Still need an invitation to sign up for your own Gmail account? Leave a comment and be sure to use a real email address. I’ll send invitations until I run out.

Monday, August 28, 2006


Here are the components. Arrange them as you will.


Mr. Lady. (Who is actually more of a Mrs. Lady, but we’ll just skip past that.)

Blogging Crush.

Monday Night Football: Green Bay v/ Cincinnati

It’s just preseason.

Green Bay fans and Brett Favre might want to repeat that mantra a few times. And then a few times more.

The first half performance by the entire Packers team was hideous. It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that the game was even a bit worse than that 34-7 halftime score might suggest. Turnovers didn’t help, poor defense didn’t help, and a generally inept offense that couldn’t buy yardage certainly didn’t help--but the truth is that one beautiful touchdown aside, Green Bay looked like they could be facing a season even worse than last year’s.

Cincinnati, in contrast, was sharp and aggressive in all phases of the game. Carson Palmer appears to be back in game shape and the Bengals--who scored on all of their first half possessions--looked like a disciplined, highly capable team. It would be shocking if they didn’t come out close to the top of their division this year.

So, Pack fans, repeat after me: “It’s only preseason.”

In other football news, how the hell is Jeff George coming back to the Raiders? Not only has he sat out the last few seasons, adding George is like adding hemlock to a team that’s swimming in arsenic. As skilled as he was--and he was a hell of a player--there is a reason that Jeff George has been employed by seven football teams: he has the kind of self-righteous personality that makes TO such a distraction to his team. Chris Mortensen wrote about George’s many deficiencies years back--I don’t think the situation has changed much.

That the Raiders are digging this deep for a quarterback shows how deeply disappointed they are with their current roster and just how desperate they must be in finding someone who will fit their team’s needs. George is unlikely to be the Raiders’ starter, but with the team picking up a guy who hasn’t thrown a pass in anger in something like five years, what is the message being sent to Andrew Walter and Marques Tuiasosopo? Let’s just say that it can’t be very heartening.

To Clarify: Jeff George, after being dumped by the Redskins back on 2001, signed contracts with both Seattle and Chicago, but didn’t actually play for either team.

Update: Does the rain delay with a little more than 9 minutes left in a 41-10 game signify God’s suggestion that there be a “mercy” rule for preseason games?

Just sayin’…

So, About That Murder Confession…

Apparently John Mark Karr didn’t kill JonBenet Ramsey, unless, of course, he had borrowed someone else’s DNA for the night. The only thing he seems to be guilty of is being so obsessive about a little girl’s murder that he internalized all the details and maybe started believing his own fantasies about killing her. Which is pretty disturbing if you ask me. I’m hoping he spends some quality time away from the rest of us because this guy is seriously broken. If I had to choose between him and Michael Jackson as a babysitter for the night, I’m really not sure who would come out ahead.

On the bright side, though, this is a development that should free up the part-time investigators and speculators for blaming the family once again.

And, hey, isn’t that nice for them?

Read the story.

Update: Jeff makes some good guesses as to how this whole story played out. Of course, he entirely misses the “Karr might have been borrowing someone else’s DNA” angle, which proves that you just can’t trust Goldstein to really analyze a story.

Another Update: The complete lack of surprise rolls along.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Like/Don’t Like

So, I really like Tiger and his latest streak of wins. What a hell of a golfer; by the time he’s done it will be shocking if he isn’t recognized as the finest player of all time.

But I really don’t like Jaegermeister. Which, I’m pretty sure means I’m getting old, but doesn’t get its own link.

I also don’t like Nasrallah, leader of Hezbollah. I mean, I’ve never really liked the guy, but the “I wouldn’t have committed an act of war if I would ever have imagined it would lead to, you know, war” argument really pushes me over the edge. Idiot.

I’m not sure that I like what this might mean for oil prices in the near future.

I really like the Rocky Mountain Blogger Bash. Which probably goes without saying. It also probably goes without saying that I dig conservative women. Although, frankly, the libertarian and liberal women are pretty cool, too.

I’m also pretty fond of Mark Lanegan. But I wish he’d put out a new album because I really don’t like waiting.

Patience might be your virtue, but it certainly isn’t mine.

I sure as hell don’t feel particularly fond toward Iran right now.

And American tourists who whine about American tourists just exhibit a special kind of arrogance that leaves them looking far worse that the “ugly Americans” that they skewer with their words.

I like the Broncos. I’ll like them even better if they win today.

Friday, August 25, 2006

He Walked the Line. In Proper Shoes.

Which, I think, is what you really need to know about patriots like the Redneck Goldstein.

That and something about bolo ties…

Check out the budding new media star in all his glory. Then imagine him with a six pack, a few shots, and an even more passionate desire to argue the relative merits of the bolo tie. And there’s your snapshot of a blogger bash.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Brand New Site (Still in the Original Wrapper)

Blogger Bash regular, regular blogger, and all-around irregular guy, Wheels, has his own new domain and blog.

Drop by, say “hi”, and tell him that work is overrated. Real contentment will come from writing more. Or, if you happen to be in the neighborhood, drop by tomorrow night’s Rocky Mountain Blogger Bash and tell him in person.

An Undeserved Suspension

Does it make sense that a man who teaches geography might use flags displayed in a classroom as a way to aid and supplement his lessons? Sure does. Does it make sense that that man should then be suspended for refusing to remove the flags because they might violate state law against displaying foreign flags in public buildings? Sure doesn’t. Yet, a teacher, Eric Hamlin, was suspended here in Colorado just for that reason after his principal, convinced that the display violated Colorado law, ordered the flags to be removed.

Firstly, the principal that ordered the removal of the flags was wrong: Colorado state law allows temporary displays of foreign flags for educational purposes. Secondly, kids should be introduced to the flags of the world and the symbolism that informs their designs.

Hamlin was actually suspended for insubordination--for refusing a reasonable request from a superior. It is debatable whether this was a reasonable request, but there is little question in my mind that Hamlin didn’t earn a suspension (and potential firing) for using foreign flags as teaching aids. There may be other problems with the content of Hamlin’s classes and previous disciplinary issues that influenced the principal’s decisions. The details in the Rocky, though, don’t appear to support the suspension.

Read the rest.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Just an Observation

Am I the only one that has been watching developments with Iran who has started to think that Iran wants to provoke a war with the United States? Seriously. I can’t understand actually wanting to start a war with the United States, but it really does seem to be the path that Iran has taken.

So, in the spirit of diplomacy and wanting to avoid the bloodshed that would come, I offer a few bits of advice to the citizens of Iran in hopes of avoiding what seems to be nearly inevitable.

  1. You may have heard that America’s military forces are stretched thin and that America would be unable to respond to aggression from Iran’s military. Don’t believe it. In discussing the capacity of one country to project power on another, America has no peer. Not even close. Our capacity to project power around the globe within hours is unmatched and the range of options that we have in response is shockingly broad. We can deploy everything from a small group of covert operatives to help destroy a single enemy military installation all the way up to a nuclear strike that would instantly decapitate an enemy nation.

    While it is true that our ground forces have been pushed, our capability to send naval and air components around the world seems to be mostly unengaged right now. If Iran strikes, the US won’t be looking at an opportunity to rebuild an enemy nation; the US will be looking at an opportunity to destroy the military, economic, and industrial capacity of an aggressor nation. Iran would fall hard.
  2. But Americans don’t want war. In general, Americans do not want to see cruise missiles raining down on Iran, but the constant provocation is getting hard to ignore. The nuclear issue is a big one, of course, but so is the funding of our enemies in Iraq and Israel’s enemies in Lebanon along with increasingly aggressive behavior in the region. Iran’s leadership is doing its best to encourage an American military response--or that leadership is so blindly stupid as to believe that they can act with impunity while America is otherwise occupied.
  3. You Have the Ability to Stop the Coming War. If America is drawn into a conflict with Iran, the results will be devastating. For Iranians, that is. It will be no picnic for the rest of the world when gas prices spike, but the damage to Iran will be brutal. The destruction of the economy, the political structure, and the industrial capacity of your country will be complete; recovery will be hard fought and the cost in blood will be terrifying. Don’t let this happen.

    The best way for Iranian citizens to stop this coming war is by no way simple or without danger, but it would leave the future of Iran in the hands of Iranians--it would court the support of the international community instead of the bombs of an angry United States.

    Iran: rise up and bring down your leaders. Bring down the people who will bring blood and ruin to your cities. Bring down the tyrants who have defined your country’s existence, ensnaring it in bloody plots and the pursuit of evil. This is the path to safety in Iran.

Just a little advice between friends.

Update: More about Iran.

And Kevin Drum’s take is predictably different. While I have a bad feeling about the next pair of elections (at least in reference to national security issues), the left’s continued inability to face up to the very real threats of the world continues to encourage the belief that they will find a way to destroy their opportunity to play a little catch up. Let’s be honest, it’s what they do.

To clarify: I’m not kidding about not wanting to see bombs falling on Iran. The world will be (as Dorkafork points out in the comments) a much more dangerous place, though, if Iran manages to produce nuclear weapons. Anyone who believes that American security interests in the Middle East will be well served by an aggressive, arrogant Iran has a distinctly different view or our interests than I do. Anyone who fails to understand that a nuclear Iran will be even more open and vicious in destabilizing neighboring Iraq is simply blind.

People like Kevin Drum, though, really don’t seem to think there’s any urgency to the issue.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Why iPods Continue to Rule Their Market

One of the things that keeps iPods at the front of the pack when it comes to stand-alone, personal MP3 players is the incredible array of third party products available for the things. When you walk into a store looking for players and add-ons, you’d be forgiven for thinking that there wasn’t anything other than the iPod on the market. Not only does Apple make a ton of money on the licensing of official iPod third party gear, but the iPod benefits from having such robust outside development.

And if I had sprang for the big ol’ video iPod instead of the Nano that currently goes traveling and working out with me, I would be getting the iFlip--an extremely cool piece of kit from Memorex--as soon as it hits the market.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Welcome to the World

Kelley has a baby. Welcome to the little one and congratulations to Kelley and her husband.

Crappy Poetry Corner: Snakes on a Train?

With apologies to that bit about Spain:
Snakes on a train?
While snakes that crawl
on the plain in the rain
rarely manage to cause me pain,
it’s Snakes on a Plane
that leave me insane
and wish that the writer would abstain
from writing without first engaging
his little brain.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Design Tips for Designers Who Design Stuff, Number 1

Design Tip #1: On Chemically Enhanced Design Techniques

Do not design when drunk or otherwise chemically over stimulated. The designs are uneven, attention to detail stinks, and you run a serious risk of extra chunky bits in your keyboard.

No one like chunky bits on their keyboard.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Die, Spammer! Die! Die! Die!

I’ve always wondered what kind of a utility spammers use to hit trackbacks and comments on blogs. I’m guessing that if I do a little digging here I just might find out.

I followed that link from referrer logs and then checked the log that listed ResurrectionSong Then I truncated the URL to get to the admin interface--which seems to be open to the public.

I really don’t like spammers. The fact that there attempts almost never get through anymore doesn’t change the fact that spam assaults came close to closing out the site on a number of occasions.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Late Night Question

I was reading this story about a group of men shot for cowardice and a question came into my mind: when was it that our society lost its taste for self-preservation?

Don’t think that I am saying that there are no heroes or brave men and women any more; I’m talking about the culture of the West. When did we start believing that our way of life wasn’t worth preserving against people like the Islamofascists that seem relentless in their pursuit of our destruction? When did we start believing that it wasn’t a long commitment to fight against enemies like those petty tyrants in Iran and (formerly) Iraq who facilitated violence against Americans?

Was it when we decided that we couldn’t judge others simply because their “culture” is different from our own? Because, at that moment, we relinquished internally our own willingness to say that one path is better--righteous and good--than its opposite. We became willing to despise ourselves for racial, religious, or sexual intolerance while refusing to pass judgment on entire societies that, in the most violent possible terms, won’t accept diversity of almost any kind. Self-criticism and a devotion to a very classically liberal sense of societal progress are the reasons that the West actually managed to make its way out of the dark ages while a huge portion of the Arab world still lives in a stagnant society where the very idea of liberalism is equated with sin and corruption.

Read the Rest...

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Yeah, That Sounds Like Me

Today, the lovely Zombyboy mentioned something about drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Preserve that made my head spin. I think fire actually shot from my eyesockets and burned at the screen. So I spent the wee hours of the morning before the sun came up researching oil drilling in zone 1002.

Heheh. Yeah, I have that effect on women. And men. And, occasionally, small children and animals.

It’s tough bein’ me…

Now, for context.

None of which changes the fact that this:

One Giant Cock-Up for Mankind

Is one of the finest headlines to grace a news site ever.

Kindly linked by Left Off Colfax.

Friday, August 11, 2006

100 Doses: A Long-Term Cure for American Idol, Part 3

The purpose.

I don’t know what ingredients build a great song, but I do have my opinions about some songs that I consider to be great. And, one by one, I’m going to share 100 of those songs. They won’t be in any particular order (and Mark Lanegan might be a little over-represented), but they will be accompanied by MP3s and the reasons that I think the songs are so brilliant.

Some of the songs will be familiar, although popularity is no quick gauge of virtue.

Think of this as a cure for American Idol. A group of songs that make up a hell of a playlist with songs that you’ll hate and songs that you’ll love and a little bit of musical exploration for the class. The only two rules are that the songs have to have a prominent vocal, can’t be a cover of another artist’s music, and that I think that they are so damned good that they are worth sharing.

The song.

Chris Whitley - “Scrapyard Lullaby”

“Scrapyard Lullaby” is an intimate song filled with warm tones and quiet beauty. It’s the opening of Dirt Floor, a 28 minute album that was famously recorded in a shack in Vermont over the course of a single day and it has an earthy feel of rural America. A taste of country blues that isn’t entirely representative of Whitley’s wildly varied musical career, it is nonetheless a perfect song from a near-perfect album.

Whitley died last year and left behind an uneven catalog of powerful music and career risks. Choosing a song to share from this album was tremendously difficult; between “Balpeen Hammer”, “Indian Summer”, and “Scrapyard Lullaby” I had three songs that were all worthy. “Scrapyard” won me over because of the poetry of the lyrics.

Somehow, it seems fitting that he would sing a song about sifting through the refuse and ruin to find life’s treasures.

Cause the chrome do rust and the dust do shine
Broken could be golden in it’s very own time

Enjoy Chris Whitley’s “Scrapyard Lullaby. (The file is gone, baby. Gone.)

The Previous Posts

100 - Mark Lanegan - “Judas Touch”
99 - Dean Carter - “Jailhouse Rock”

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Thoughts on Lieberman

If I were holding another Indeedathon, I would probably start it off with Macomber’s latest.

This is the sort of megalomaniacal hubris Dean’s Democracy for America and liberal blogs embrace as an article of faith: The whole American political culture is corrupt, except when their candidate wins. America’s democracy is ailing and faded, except when their candidate wins. Self-funded, wealthy candidates are the bane of politics, except when they happen to be the candidate of the netroots.

Good stuff.

The Lieberman race was a shock to me. From my point of view, at least, the man served his constituents well. He is a reliably left-of-center voice on a wide range of social and economic issues, he has never done anything in my memory to disgrace himself or his state, and he has always been one of the calmer voices in politics. Certainly, he isn’t the most charismatic man and he isn’t the photogenic, but he has served honorably.

He lost because he believes that Israel has a right to defend herself and he believes that the US should have a national security agenda focused on destroying terrorism abroad. For this I have seen him slandered for his faith, called a racist, and his supporters painted with the same brush.*


I’m not particularly upset that he lost, though. The truth is that he doesn’t represent me and I don’t get to vote for or against the guy; my opinion only counts from a distance. If the people of Connecticut decide that Senator Lieberman isn’t the right guy to represent their interests, then it is their right to make that call.

It does offer a hell of a commentary on the direction the party of Nancy Pelosi, Howard Dean, and Michael Moore is heading, though.

Lieberman could still end up winning the election--although I wouldn’t be surprised if the clone “Sore Loserman” campaign from the netroots side push him into an even more embarassing loss. Whatever happens, though, the gloating from the far left is going to be awfully irritating for the next few months.
* I will not be posting the link to the site that I noted most recently where Lieberman was taken to task for his “rabid zionism”, called a “racist warmongering korporate puppet”, and brushed off as “joojoe.” For a wide range of reasons, it doesn’t seem appropriate. If you want to see the post for yourself--to ensure yourself that I didn’t make up the quotes--feel free to drop me a line or leave a comment. Suffice it to say that this wasn’t a voice from anyone on the right.


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