Thursday, December 25, 2003

Merry Christmas Everyone!


Hope everyone is out there having a great time today! After a trip home to visit my Dad, we are heading back to Virginia with our 2 cats. Another interesting adventure, I'm sure. It's been rather hectic on the home front, so I haven't had the opportunity to post - should be able to start that back up soon, although more in-laws are descending upon us when we arrive back in Virginia. Sure good to visit with everyone over the holidays though.

Update:
Made it to Lexington, KY where I am typing this. Everything closed on the trip down, except for Waffle House's and truck stops. Stopped at a Flying J truck stop and had an excellent buffet with very friendly folks. Wireless Internet Access at Flying J's for $1.95/hour which is really cheap - didn't try it out, but nice to know as there are many of those around. Our cats were the best on the trip down. Are now hiding under the bed in our motel room, which is the same thing they did on the trip up! Weird - must feel safe though. If you didn't get any Xmas greetings this year and need one, then visit this site. Thanks to my Arkie bud for that one. 

Thursday, December 18, 2003

An Interesting Few Days


Decided it was time to go home to visit my father who is not doing so well lately (at 90, who is?). I'll probably be lucky to make it to 70! Of course about 30 minutes before I'm ready to leave home, the power goes out in the house and comes right back on. Unbenownst to me, it messes with one of my USB ports that my external backup Hard drive is connected to. It looks like the Hard Drive is toast, along with the USB 2.0 PCI card and mini-hub and maybe even the printer. After getting all those suppliers to ship me new parts (no questions asked either, which was surprising), I decided to unplug everything, reboot the machine and then plug everything back in. Of course, voila - everything goes back to working. Nothing like adding to post departure stress! (back on the phone cancelling all those orders)

For more fun, we decide to take the 2 cats along with us. Our one cat, Turbo, has made this trip before, but the little one Willow, who is high strung, has not. Turbo goes willingly into his cat carrier and proceeds to snooze for the next 5 hours without so much as a peep. Willow, shows her great pleasure with the whole experience, by deciding it is time to do a number #2 in her cat carrier, just 20 minutes from the house. Needless to say, that caused some excitement in the ol' car and a quick exit off the road. A few minutes of cat cleanup (good job, Janet!) and we are headed off again. 30 minutes later while paying for some food at Wendy's in the driveup lane, Willow decides that she isn't getting enough attention and does the ol' heave ho all over my camera bag sitting on the back floorboard. Another cleanup and fortunately, by now she has about exhausted herself. The next 4 hours she spends curled up in Janet's lap, heart pounding, but doing better.

As soon as we reach the motel for the night and lug the 2 varmints inside, they both make a run for under the bed and although Turbo comes out later for a look around, Willow remains firmly attached to her square of carpet under the bed and does not come out for anyone. In the morning, we have to move the bed and pry her off the carpet. Fortunately, once in the car she snoozes off for the remainder of the trip, which lasts another 5 hours.

Believe me, I was glad to end this trip!

Monday, December 15, 2003

Fascinating Insights from Saddam Interview

Bearing Questions, 4 New Iraqi Leaders Pay Hussein a Visit: "'The world is crazy,' said Mowaffak al-Rubaie, a Governing Council member in the room on Sunday after Mr. Hussein was captured near his hometown, Tikrit. 'I was in his torture chamber in 1979, and now he was sitting there, powerless in front of me without anybody stopping me from doing anything to him. Just imagine. We were arguing, and he was using very foul language.'"

Hardly seems contrite, does he? Quite an interesting short article - read it now (NY Times articles are free only for 7 days). And after you finish that one, you can check out William Safire's comments, one being "I think Saddam is still Saddam — a meretricious, malevolent megalomaniac. He knows he is going to die, either by death sentence or in jail at the hands of a rape victim's family. Why did he not use his pistol to shoot it out with his captors or to kill himself? Because he is looking forward to the mother of all genocide trials, rivaling Nuremberg's and topping those of Eichmann and Milosevic. There, in the global spotlight, he can pose as the great Arab hero saving Islam from the Bushes and the Jews."

Quote of the Day
Save the Environment -- Plant a Bush Back in Texas
 

Sunday, December 14, 2003

A "Christmas Present" for the Iraqi People

Saddam Captured - Iraqi News Today Wow, what a shocker this morning. Much to the woe of his supporters in the Arab world, Saddam didn't die fighting. Maybe that will tell them something about the kind of person he really was. Interesting times surely lie ahead. Hopefully, they will let his trial spin out long enough so that all the evidence is heard against him. That would be important for the Arab world to hear , especially if it is an Iraqi run trial. One must not forget that for many in Arab countries, their news can be a rather lopsided version of actual events. This will be hard to hide. Strangely, in a way, I felt sorry for the sorry ol' goat - but then I am reminded of how many millions he slaughtered for no good reason and that feeling quickly vanishes. I also had the sinking feeling that this would just put another feather in the cap of ol' GW and no doubt hasten his reelection - a foreboding thought , if there ever was one. A long slog still lies ahead - hopefully enough international pressure and criticism will keep the U.S. somewhat in line and prevent its (GW's and gang) imperialistic tendencies. It would be nice to see Iraq emerge on its own - definitely, not a certaintity despite todays events.  

Saturday, December 13, 2003

Beat the Flu with a simple home Remedy!

Alternatives to the Flu Vaccine 12/13/03: "Preventing the flu (and other illnesses) as described in greater detail below is obviously 'your best medicine.' But if you do get the flu, one of the most important and simple things you can do is to use hydrogen peroxide in your ears. Yes folks, simple hydrogen peroxide, about a half of a capful in each ear, several times a day, is more than likely to abort the flu reaction. I didn't believe it when I first saw it, but I have now seen many hundreds of cases that have been rapidly aborted with the use of hydrogen peroxide. You can read my original posting on peroxide for this purpose. It costs less than a penny, so you really don't have much to lose. Give it a try. I can guarantee you that it is less toxic and more effective than any flu vaccine on the planet."
Doc Mercola has come up with another strange one, but hey, if it works! Would be interested to hear from anyone who has ever tried this, so please enter your comments below. I'm not looking forward to getting through this flu season easily, so may be bubbling this stuff down my ears as well!
Quote of the Day
"History will be kind to me for I intend to write it."
Sir Winston Churchill 

Friday, December 12, 2003

A Bolder Approach to Helping the World

Optimism for the World Deepak Chopra looks around at the chaos in the world - wars, terrorism, economic disparities, and social injustice - and sees nothing but potential. Indeed, to him the current state of humanity is like that of a caterpillar, which toward the end of its life eats so voraciously it destroys all the greenery around and becomes bloated and disfigured. But then the destructive insect uses those nutrients to transform into a magnificent butterfly. Check out the latest grass roots organization!

Quote of the Day
The world belongs to the optimists; pessimists are only spectators.
Francois Guizot  

Thursday, December 11, 2003

Another Bonehead Move

Bidding for Isolation Well, ol' GW has done it again. He is a master at pissing off the world, that's for sure. Even Canada, who has more soldiers in Afghanistan than even we do. Bet the next time I try to travel to Canada, they'll just tell me to take a hike. 

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Tuesday, December 09, 2003

TransFat - Something you should know about!

Transfats - They're Everywhere! Check out this Canadian site on TransFats. Lots of good info here.
A landmark study in the New England Journal of Medicine in 1997 found that among 90,000 nurses studied, those who consumed 1 gram of trans a day for a decade had a 20 per cent increased risk of cardiovascular disease. What worries some scientists is that some Canadians are eating high levels of trans on a daily basis -- according to one Health Canada study, levels between 8 and 39 grams a day.

Some early research has linked trans fats with type two diabetes and Alzheimer's. There are also studies showing trans fats pass through the placenta to the fetus ... Research suggests that mothers who have an high intake of trans, have a greater risk of delivering pre-term..and that their babies may be smaller. Researchers in Denmark suggest that if you were to stop eating all trans fat, it would take several months to a year for it to leave your blood and body fat
 

Be cautious, this Xmas Season!

ResellerRatings.com - Compare product prices, read customer reviews of stores. If you're shopping on the Net this Xmas, and you're buying some new gadget/toy from some place you have not dealt with before, you might want to check here first for a rating and actual customer reviews of their service. Better safe than sorry.
Quote of the Day
"I never believed in Santa Claus because I knew no white dude would come into my neighborhood after dark."
Dick Gregory
Photo of the Day

Click to view larger image  

Sunday, December 07, 2003

Another look at Walmart

Is Walmart a Good Thing?
"Wal-Mart is the greatest thing that ever happened to low-income Americans," said W. Michael Cox, chief economist of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. "They can stretch their dollars and afford things they otherwise couldn't." But will they have any dollars to spend, if Walmart causes their own companies to shut down? That's the critical issue. From what I've read, that does happen - companies have to rely on cheaper overseas companies to produce these goods, thus depriving those very Americans who need to spend at Walmart, of their jobs. Catch 22.

Photo of the Day

click for larger view

Quote of the day
"God is a comedian playing to an audience too afraid to laugh."
Voltaire 

Talk about a Wild and Crazy Day!

KRT Wire | 12/06/2003 | No. 1 Oklahoma demolished by No. 13 Kansas State Wait till you read this article - talk about a wild and crazy system - gives me a headache just reading it! There must be a better way. On a sad note - my IU Hoosiers blew a 12 point lead in the last 4 minutes of their basketball game to lose to #5 Missouri - hard to take. 

Saturday, December 06, 2003

Can Google Grow Up?

Google in Trouble?
Google is one of the best things to happen to the Net. So will its IPO, expected this spring, be a must-buy? A look inside reveals a talented company facing trouble. A fascinating look inside Google - will you invest next Spring? Got any guts? :) Here's one spooky comment from this article - "Then there's Microsoft. The company has an army of brainiacs working on incorporating web search into MSN and its new operating system, code-named Longhorn, due out in 2006. It plans to be able to index every user's hard drive and use the information to provide better searches. "All I'll say is that search is vitally important to us," says Chris Payne, Microsoft's executive in charge of search." Huh? Index my Hard Drive? How's that for an invasion of privacy? Either this is a misprint or MS is losing it's mind.  


Friday, December 05, 2003

No More Ads at the Top!

Good News - No more ads at the top of these pages. (The Ebates Ad will disappear soon, as well). Blogger was kind enough to remove them for me, so you won't have to be pestered with ad clutter. I realize this was of great concern to my readership. 

Thursday, December 04, 2003

Nifty Programs from Mirek!

Here's a nifty little program from Mirek called PalMail. It takes up only the tiniest bit of memory and runs in your Systray. Will check email for you and allow you to remove Spam from your ISP's server, before it even reaches your inbox. Very simple to use and FREE! While you're there, you might as well download MWSnap as well. An excellent screen capture program and naturally, it's FREE, too! (of course the author would appreciate any and all donations, but that's up to you).I've used MW Snap for some time now and it's a great alternative to paying for screen capture programs. Certainly does everything I need it to do! 

Lots of snow in the mountains of SW Virginia

Woke to 2 or 3" of snow and then it just kept on coming. I live at 3200' and the snow fell continually, finally reaching 1'. We'll see if it continues. Temps are around 28, so certainly conducive to more. Sure wasn't anticipating this. Wish I had put my Bridgestone Blizzak winter tires on before this struck! Drove about 4 miles on some Douglas Touring M&S tires, which worked well, but not good enough as the plows were doing a lousy job and it was snowing and sleeting heavily. 

Wednesday, December 03, 2003

Wireless everywhere!

DailyWirelessBroadband Reports says Intel Centrino television ads have come under fire for depicting wireless users happily browsing while on Mount Everest. According to the Guardian, a television watchdog group has started an investigation into the ad after over 100 disgruntled users complained. The ad shows one climber watching wireless video via his Intel powered laptop while huddled in a snow storm. Unfortunately the watchdog group likely won't have a leg to stand on once they dig a little deeper.

Everest's base camp (at 17,400-feet) actually is wireless ready. One of the web's pioneers and creator of what may be the very first BBS system, Dave Hughes struck a deal with Cisco to wire (or un-wire in this case) the mountain. With the help of native Sherpa Tsering Gyalzen, Hughes not long ago launched Everest's first wireless cafe. This particular edition of the Cook Report tells the tale of Hughes and Gyalzens' efforts to bring connectivity to portions of the mountain. There's also this photo gallery of both the network and the the group's adventures.

If that's not depressing enough for those in civilized and more reasonable climes who still can't get broadband, there's a $250 million dollar plan in the works to run 1200 miles worth of fiber across unstable glaciers to the South Pole (BBC, Wired News).


All of this just makes me wonder if we haven't all lost our minds or something?  

Monday, December 01, 2003

A New Kind of Poverty

America is a country that now sits atop the precarious latticework of myth. It is the myth that working people can support their families Where are we heading? No place good or so it would appear. For all those "middle class" folks out there, it's a wakeup call, as you're only a lay-off away from the soup kitchen.

How often do you remember to leave some money for the woman who cleans your room in a hotel? Makes one pause, doesn't it? (I always do, but most likely, because "I've been there, done that".) That's sometimes the benefit of working in a low paying profession - teaches you respect for others who slog their entire lives in that world) 

Friday, November 28, 2003

Here's your Chance!

EFF: "Verify the Vote: Tell Congress to Fight for Secure Elections!"
Want to know if your Representative has signed on to support for this bill? Just go to the above website and about half way down, you will see a button that says "Learn More about this Issue". Click on it and you'll see if your Rep has voted for it or not. If not, just fill out the form and send him/her an email or fax to express your opinion.

Friday, November 21, 2003

Idiotic Labels


Label Makers
Someday Congress will pass a law stating that all horses led to water will be required to drink.

Sound crazy? That's almost as crazy as a new House of Representatives bill called the Menu Education and Labeling Act (also known as MEAL - cute, huh?), which mandates that if you lead customers into a restaurant it's your duty to make them think.

Here's what I think: It's a terrible idea.


This is a dumb idea. People who are intelligent about their food choices are going to know what to eat and those who aren't intelligent about their choices aren't going to read nutrition info. This one would be one of those that Senator Proxmire would have chosen for his Golden Fleece awards. 

Thursday, November 20, 2003

Cool XP Tip


Saw this tip in Computer Shopper magazine this month. "Ever downloaded a file and not been able to remember what it does, how to use it, or where to find an update? Use the Properties Summary page in Windows Explorer to store relevant URLS and other pertinent information related to the file.

To find a file's Properties Summary page, locate and right-click the file in Windows Explorer, and select Properties. Fill in the blanks under the Summary tab. You can provide a category, keywords, and comments,which you can also use to search for lost files. (This tip only works in XP). The downside: You'll need the discipline to fill out the Summary page every time you download a file.

Quote of the Day:
"How can you govern a country which has 246 varieties of cheese?"
Charles DeGaulle

Site of the Day:

Master Street Painter 

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

The Wal-Mart You May Not Know

Fast Company | The Wal-Mart You Don't Know: "The giant retailer's low prices often come with a high cost. Wal-Mart's relentless pressure can crush the companies it does business with and force them to send jobs overseas. Are we shopping our way straight to the unemployment line?"
If you read anything in this blog,then read this article. Anybody in business who sells to a major customer (I've been there) will sure recognize the pros and cons of this. And the final statement is so telling....  

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

The Dumbing Down of America - Women's Magazines

Stuff and Nonsense
A man would have to wear Kevlar if he ever wanted to approach these women. Sometimes it seems there is something about wearing haute couture that makes you want to suck on the gas pipe.
If you can make it through all the perfume ads, you will find yourself either in the land of stuck up bimbos or happy little fools. A sad state.  

Saturday, November 15, 2003

Uncensored Gore (and it ain't Al)

LA Weekly: Features: Uncensored Gore: "It's lucky for George W. Bush that he wasn’t born in an earlier time and somehow stumbled into America’s Constitutional Convention. A man with his views, so depreciative of democratic rule, would have certainly been quickly exiled from the freshly liberated United States by the gaggle of incensed Founders. So muses one of our most controversial social critics and prolific writers, Gore Vidal."

Somehow I think you'll understand Gore's opinon of things by the time you get done with this article. :)  

Friday, November 14, 2003

Kerry declines Public Financing

Another Democrat turns down public financing. Will the others follow suit? This frees Kerry and Dean from the 45 million dollar restriction, although Kerry says he will stick to that (we'll see). It means they forgo the 18 million they'd get in public financing, but now they can spend , spend , spend. Think this is a good idea? I've created a poll here, so you can vote!





 

And you thought your job was bad?

How about fart sniffer, barnyard masturbator, carcass cleaner,corpse flower grower? Yep, and you thought Scientists had all the cushy, high paying jobs! For a detailed description of these academic endeavors, check out this page. 

Interesting Info from Dr. Mercola's Blog

Most Common Cause of Heart Attacks

I frequently ask in my lectures what the most common symptom of heart disease is. Very few are able to answer correctly. Most guess chest pain or shortness of breath, but the actual answer is sudden death. While fish oil is one of the best ways to prevent heart disease and sudden death, there are other factors that may be more significant. Unresolved emotional conflicts resulting from stresses in our life are clearly one of the most important causes of cancer. However, new evidence also supports that the bioelectrical short-circuiting resulting from unresolved emotional stress may also be the single largest reason why people die from heart attacks. Researchers from Johns Hopkins found that people whose blood pressure rose during "mental stress" were six times more likely to have a heart attack or other severe heart event within six years than people who handled the stress more calmly.

Yahoo News November 11, 2003

So do youself a BIG favor and CHILL OUT! Giving up smoking and consuming fish oil might be good ideas too, along with a bit of exercise beyond the usual late night prowling for goodies. 

Thursday, November 13, 2003

You are Screwed my Friend! LOL

The Onion | Mom Finds Out About Blog: "In a turn of events the 30-year-old characterized as 'horrifying,' Kevin Widmar announced Tuesday that his mother Lillian has discovered his weblog."

A very funny read. The dangers of blogging! Ashcroft will probably stumble upon my blog and then I'll be one of those detainees without representation!  

Will your Vote count?

From the Desk of David Pogue: Maybe Hanging Chads Weren’t So Bad After All: "Then came last Sunday's New York Times, which presented a terrifying report on Diebold, a leading maker of paperless touch-screen voting machines. Eight million of us will be tapping on Diebold computers in the next Presidential election.
So what's wrong with that? "


As a friend of mine keeps reminding me, this is Republican chicanery at its best. I tend to live in Pogue's worlds of gray, but even this one is beginning to convince me, as it seems to be doing to Pogue, as well. I recently spoke with my voting place about this and they told me that if they didn't jump on the offer to have these machines, they would forgo Federal funding for it, which would cover 75% of the cost. Don't know yet what they'll do, but my guess is that they will move to these machines. For some reader comments on this issue, head to Pogue's forums. As one reader suggested, why can't they set up a printer that is attached to the screen that would print the voter's choices and that could be signed by the voter and dropped in a ballot box as a double check? Sounds sensible - that's probably the problem.  

Who's buying me one of these for Christmas???

State of the Art: Swiss Army Recorder: TiVo/DVD: "Each of these remarkable machines is a TiVo recorder, DVD player and DVD recorder in a single box, with one remote that also controls your TV."

This sure sounds sweet (except for the price tag) - of course one other drawback not mentioned is that you will now surrender your life to the boob tube, but that shouldn't be a problem for most Americans.  

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

Diabetes more and more in the Spotlight

USATODAY.com - Diabetes: What you don't know can hurt you: "Diabetes is the leading cause of end-stage kidney disease and of blindness in working-age adults. It at least doubles the risk of heart disease and accounts for 60% of lower-limb amputations not caused by accidents. "
"The good news is that if they get to blood sugar goals of <7% A1c, BP <130/85, and LDL cholesterol levels of <100mg/dL, along with taking an aspirin a day, they may significantly reduce the risk of developing a heart attack. Of course, having good medical followup is crucial, because it usually requires medications to achieve these values and maintain them

This is not a nice disease. Check out this article for more info. I'll provide a link later to the ongoing chat transcripts that are currently taking place as I write this. And in the meantime, do you know what your numbers are above? If you have diabetes and you don't know those numbers, you're playing with fire.  

Sunday, November 09, 2003

Vegans Rejoice!

Kucinich's Salad Days (washingtonpost.com): " He is, in all likelihood, the first major party vegan to run for president. He ingests no beef, poultry, fish, dairy or animal products (exact definitions vary, but by contrast, vegetarians resist meats but not all animal products, such as eggs). Kucinich also eschews processed foods, caffeine, alcohol and tobacco. Does he indulge any vices? 'Yes,' he says, 'I'm a member of Congress.' "

Mr. Groats goes to Washington! :)  

Thursday, November 06, 2003

Do you recognize the breakfast you're eating?

DoctorYourself.com - Arthritis: "Look, folks: For breakfast, we drink hot bean extract and eat undeveloped bird embryos and the ripened ovaries of trees. We eat the muscles of ground up dead pigs placed between pulverized seeds fermented with a fungus, with a slice of curdled cow breast milk. And if I suggest vegetable juices, I'm the oddball? "

Read this carefully and you'll probably recognize the breakfast you just consumed. :)

Quote of the day:
"A paranoid is someone who knows a little of what's going on."
William S. Burroughs  

Wednesday, November 05, 2003

For all you Tire folks!

For all you folks visiting this blog who saw it on Google while searching for Aquatred's or Douglas Tires, I welcome you! :) Sorry, I didn't have much to say here about them. For whatever reason the Aquatred's just would not behave on my '92 Camry - couldn't get the bump out of them, no matter how many times I switched them around and replaced them. Douglas Tires seem to be doing fine, if perhaps a bit noisy. They are a M&S tire with a fairly aggressive tread, so even though they are touring tires, they're a tad bit on the noisy side, but that I can live with.

In the meantime, browse around - you might find something even more interesting than tires! Then, maybe not! :)

Quote of the day:
"A loving person lives in a loving world. A hostile person lives in a hostile world. Everyone you meet is your mirror."
Ken Keyes, Jr.  

The Advantages of Television

Dean Offers No Apology for Rebel Flag Remark: "But Dr. Dean refused to apologize or retract the statement. Indeed, he appeared stunned at times as the Rev. Al Sharpton of New York, one of two African-Americans in the race, and then Senator John Edwards of North Carolina attacked him for using what they asserted was a potent and divisive symbol of segregation."

Dean usually appears half stunned about most things. :) I think this is one of the advantages of television and why it is important to watch these debates, in addition to reading the newspaper on reports online. You get so much more feel for a person when you can watch them in the heat of battle week after week. Dean always strikes me as a bit uncomfortable and has the strangest expressions on his face. I know you're not supposed to vote on glamour, but poise and the way you conduct yourself are important aspects of leadership and people having confidence in your ability to lead.

Actually the ones that appear most poised are Mosely Braun, Al Sharpton, and John Kerry, with possibly John Edwards added into the bunch. Of those four, Kerry probably has the best chance of winning the nomination, but I'm not sure his support staff is up to the challenge of getting out the voters. Dean remains the frontrunner (although he does seem to bounce back and forth on his ideas and is frequently called on it), but I sure can't see him beating GW and that is a spooky thought. Clark does nothing for me and appears to just say whatever he thinks the public wants to hear. I still go with Kerry, although I like John Edwards more and more for his honesty and a gut feeling that he speaks from the heart. I could never get that from just reading a newspaper.  

Sunday, November 02, 2003

Kenyans Again - as Usual

Watched the New York City Marathon this morning. Damn Kenyans are incredible - 1,2,3 in the Men's race, 1,2,3 in the Women's race. Wonder how many more years it will be before the women can run as fast as the men. Paula Radcliffe came close with a 2 hr, 16 min marathon. Must be incredible to run close to 5 mins/mile for 26 straight miles and still be able to talk! I'd have been lucky to run under 6 minutes on my best day for just 1 mile probably!

Quote of the day:
Americans always do the right thing, ... after they have exhausted all the other possibilities.
Winston Churchill  

Saturday, November 01, 2003

Antipixel Blog


Added a new blog to the list on the right. Antipixel has some very nice photography and some interesting articles. Very nice site design. Check it out.

Also - Feed Demon has released an updated beta for it's news aggregator. Release candidate 2. Check it out here
. 

Friday, October 31, 2003

What's your guess?


Where does the term "Indian Summer" come from?

As the warm days of summer are replaced with the brisk nip of fall, your question proves the perfect puzzle for us to tackle...  

Well Written Article on the Troubles in Iraq

Broken Baghdad Brutal, Bloody and bellowing

Nice to read a balanced article from time to time. A job well done (imho).

Quote of the day:
"Too bad the only people who know how to run the country are busy driving cabs and cutting hair."
George Burns  

And you thought driving with a cell phone was dangerous!

Train traveler's arm stuck in toilet trying to retrieve phone

The world never lacks for bizarre stories!
 

Thursday, October 30, 2003

Oh, This makes me so Happy!

From the Desk of David Pogue: Customer-Service Cluelessness: "For example, only a month earlier, the same story had played out with our MCI home long-distance service: our plan was supposed to include unlimited, free long-distance calls on the main line. Yet month after month, we were billed for long-distance calls. Month after month, we’d call customer service. “Oh, I’m so sorry; we’ll credit that to your next bill”—and no credit ever appeared. (We finally dumped MCI.)"

I'm so glad I just signed up with MCI! If you're on this plan (and I know someone who reads this, is!), better pay attention to your bill! Good article on the sneakiness of many companies - or is it just an oversight? You be the judge. (You may have to register at the NY Times site to read the article - free).  

Fish Oil and blood sugar

A good day today! Fasting blood sugar this morning of 91! For a long time, had been in the 130's. Despite varying opinions of the effects of large dosages of fish oil (taken for my RA) on blood sugar, for me it seems to be a cause for higher readings. I've recently reduced considerably the amount of fish oil I'm taking and my blood sugar readings are plummeting. Disclaimer - I've also started doing 4 mile walks again at a fast pace and that could be helping as well and my RA is not flaring, so I may try to increase the fish oil again after awhile just to see if my blood sugar again jumps. The mad scientist at work! (Dr. Mercola found that high dosages of fish oil contributed to higher blood sugar readings for his dad, as well and they dropped once he lowered the amount). 

Ato Boldon visits Tech TV!

Ato Boldon - Trinidad and Tobago sprinter
Was watching TechTv this afternoon and was quite surprised to see Ato Boldon talking to Leo. For those of you who don't know him, Ato is one of the world's great sprinters and turns out to be a web junkie. He writes all the info you see on this site and works with a designer in Trinidad to produce it. Pretty cool.  

The Next Michael?

Yahoo! News - James Makes Sparkling Start to Professional Career
LeBron James turned in a tremendous performance in his much-anticipated NBA debut on Wednesday.The 18-year-old James had 25 points, nine assists, six rebounds and four steals in 43 minutes in what was by far the best debut performance of any player making the jump from high school to the professional ranks.

Maybe this guy can be the next Michael without the chip on his shoulder? I wouldn't be surprised. Everytime you think there can't be anyone better, then someone else comes along, no matter whether it is baseball, track and field, basketball - they just keep getting better. (and richer!).  

Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Some Pics from Washington DC

Washington, DC Photo Gallery

Haven't had much time to post lately. Have a look at the link above for some random shots I captured while on a recent 3 day trip to the Nation's capitol.  

Monday, October 27, 2003

Al gets in another good one

Democrats in Debate Attack Bush on Iraq, Each Other (washingtonpost.com)
Al Sharpton gets in another good zinger at the most recent Dem debate: "It's about right versus wrong. I said it earlier when we were talking about right to choose: One of the reasons I'm glad to be in this race is we're going to have the battle between the Christian right and the right Christians."

You can count on Al for the best one-liners.
 

Saturday, October 25, 2003

A religious viewpoint that makes some sense

A good friend passed this article along - well worth reading. If you're gonna profess to be religious, then you need to remember a few guiding principles, ones that seem to have been lost in the current political leadership. Bill Moyers interviews Joe Hough (I'm not a religious person, so can't and won't speak to all the biblical references, but I must say I do tire of the many hypocrits I run across, who profess to be so religious, but who "by their fruits" are anything but.)
 

Medscape at your fingertips

Medscape Headlines in RSS Have you ever wished you could be alerted as soon as something new gets posted in your specialty on Medscape? Would you like to have a way to browse everything we post in your specialty in one, easy-to-read format?

Now you can, with our new Medscape Headlines Feed in RSS format. RSS is a special type of file that is used by a new type of program called a News Reader. These News Readers run on your computer and check for new stories on Medscape on an hourly basis (check below for a list of popular News Readers).

All you need is a News Reader like the one I've mentioned frequently here - Feed Demon Easy to use - big time saver. All your important news in one spot.

Quote of the Day:
"Dealing with network executives is like being nibbled to death by ducks."
Eric Sevareid
 

Friday, October 24, 2003

Wouldn't this be a Great Story?

Seeking Funny Cide's Hollywood Ending: "RCADIA, Calif., Oct. 23 — It's a screenwriter's ending: the girl rider makes history in America's richest race aboard the beloved gelding who was the hero of the spring, an enigma in the summer and now the mystery of the fall. It could happen Saturday when Julie Krone takes the Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner, Funny Cide, for a mile and a quarter spin, aiming to beat the best horses in the world here in the $4 million Breeders' Cup Classic."

I was truly bummed out when Funny Cide couldn't win the final leg of the Triple Crown. Highly unlikely he would win tomorrow, but boy oh boy, it would sure be exciting to watch him pull it off!

 

Who would have ever thunk it?

Running the Risk of Too Much Water (washingtonpost.com): "In the three years since Defensor nearly died in Orlando, runners, doctors and race officials have spent countless hours thinking about that very problem. Hyponatremia, a sodium imbalance brought on by excess fluid consumption, was once thought primarily to afflict extreme endurance athletes, such as Ironman competitors. But in the past few years, the condition has become increasingly associated with marathoners, in particular women and runners who are on the 26.2-mile course for more than four hours. "
This is some bad stuff - never heard about it until reading this article. A word to the wise for those of you lucky enough to be able to run for 3 or 4 hours! (or nutty enough to do so!).
 

Thursday, October 23, 2003

Followup On Nightline Show tonite

Interesting show, mostly highlighting the differences between the Canadian system and ours. Of note - 96% of Canadians said they'd keep theirs over ours. And why not? Every person is covered. Here in America, if you have a serious problem and have the money or insurance to get the very best treatment, there is no better place to be. But where does that leave 43 million Americans? In the doghouse. They did point out problems in the Canadian system, such as underfunding of some administrative areas, leading to underreporting of medical errors which can cost lives. But they did say that the Canadians were willing to admit to their problems and try to correct them. There are waits in the Canadian system, but I didn't get the impression that they would put someone's life in danger. I'm not sure 30 minutes can do justice to such a serious problem and I'm sure there's much more to it on both sides of the fence, than was presented here. However, it is obvious we have a long ways to go.

What's it gonna take here? Well a whole new look at how to finance our system and a whole different culture adjustment to care about those 43 million who can't afford it (I'll be joining their ranks soon, I believe!). Is America up to it? I don't think Washington is, but pretty soon there is gonna be a revolt if something isn't done and I know a person in Arkansas who might just lead it. :)

What's your candidate's view on healthcare? Do you know where your Senators and Congressmen stand on this issue? Maybe you should remind them that you know where YOU stand on this issue

P.S. For a look at the differences in drug costs between Canada and America and the reasons why , check out this link.
  

How good is our Health System?

"Yet would it surprise you to find that a study by the World Health Organization ranked the overall performance of the U.S. health care system 37th in the world?"

Tune in to Nightline (ABC) tonite for what promises to be an interesting look at the "cutting edge" of US Medicine. Perhaps we're only "cutting edge" for those who can afford it? And that's becoming fewer and fewer every day. Check it out.

And from Business Week comes some stats:

  • Avg worker today shells out $2412 in premiums for his health insurance. That represents 27% of the total $9068 bill that companies have to pay.

  • Ford Motor picks up 90% of the total tab for its active and retired workers,despite trimming some benefits.

  • In contrast, Wyndham International has scrapped plans that require no co-pays by employees and now require employees to pay 15-40% of the full cost, up to a max of $2500 or more.

  • 65% of companies with 3-199 employees offered health coverage this year, down from 71% in 1999, even as 98% of those firms with more than 200 workers continue to provide coverage.

  • The average premium per month families covered by companies now shell out is $200 - up 50% in the last 3 years

  • And the worst statistic - 43.6 million Americans have no insurance - up 2.4 million in just one year


Quote of the day:
"Those who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night." (as a person who has daymares, I appreciate this quote. :) )
Edgar Allan Poe

 

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

A look at John Edwards

washingtonpost.com: Getting Personal

Interesting look at the democratic candidate. Quite likeable and does speak from the gut, which makes you instinctively trust him. Suspect people will be put off by his youthful looks, and lack of political experience. It's a fickle world out there.
 

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

Onward Christian Soldiers

Wrong and Divisive (washingtonpost.com)
" Gen. Boykin, in Army uniform, describes the United States as a "Christian nation" and says he knew he would capture a Somali warlord because "I knew that my God was bigger than his. I knew that my God was a real God and his was an idol." Gen. Boykin casts the war against terrorism as a "spiritual battle," saying that "Satan wants to destroy this nation, he wants to destroy us as a nation, and he wants to destroy us as a Christian army."

Gee, I feel so much better now that I know we have the might of Christianity behind us! Ol' GW sure has assembled a fine bunch underneath himself. What's scary is that this crazy country will probably reelect him again out of some screwy notion of moral highmindedness and righteousness. Wonder where aggression fits into that concept?

Quote of the day:
"Rogues are preferable to imbeciles because they sometimes take a rest."
Alexandre Dumas

 

Monday, October 20, 2003

Kerry on Hardball


Saw John Kerry on Hardball tonight. Very impressive. Great sense of humor, highly intelligent, poised, loads of experience and cares about the things I care about. Some may label him as a Massachusetts Liberal, but as he said, "Labels don't mean anything, it's what you stand for that counts". He gets my vote.

Heard Hilary might throw her hat in the ring. Scary thought - here come all the Clinton bashers again! She's intelligent, but I don't think she is very well liked by many - might get nominated on the Dem ticket, but wouldn't hold out hope for her beating Bush, strange as that may seem. I think the Republicans would pull out all the stops to beat her. But what do I know? She probably sees Bush as being highly vulnerable at the moment and may not want to wait another 4 years. And if Bush gets beat this time by some other Dem, she might conceivably have to wait 8 more years. So I wouldn't be surprised to see her jump in.
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Sunday, October 19, 2003

Uncovered a new trick in MyIE2!

Just by accident I discovered a new way to click on a link and have a new tab appear for that link, without leaving the page you are on. In the past, I had always right clicked the link and then chosen "Open in New Window", which means that it will appear as another tab in your tab bar.

I happened to be left clicking on a link and then decided I didn't want to open that link, so moved my mouse away from it and released the left mouse button. Lo and behold, a new tab appeared for that link. So now , rather than having to right click and click on "Open New Window", all I do is left click on the link and while holding the left mouse button down, just drag my cursor away from the link and release it, and voila - a new tab appears. Very quick and simple.

MyIE2 continues to impress me more and more. I get all the functionality of IE with all the add-ons of Mozilla - sort of the best of both worlds. If you haven't tried mouse gestures in MyIE2, give them a shot. For an explanation of them, just click on Help in MyIE2. Once you get good at them, it really speeds up browsing.

Coordination sorely needed in Washington

State Dept. Study Foresaw Trouble Now Plaguing Iraq: "A yearlong State Department study predicted many of the problems that have plagued the American-led occupation of Iraq, according to internal State Department documents and interviews with administration and Congressional officials."

"Several officials said that many of the findings in the $5 million study were ignored by Pentagon officials until recently, although the Pentagon said they took the findings into account. The work is now being relied on heavily as occupation forces struggle to impose stability in Iraq."

It's really incredible how all these agencies fight against each other. First the CIA and the FBI and now State and the Pentagon. Someone needs to go up there and kick some butt. It is obvious from this article that many problems could have been avoided - thick headed hawks in the Pentagon were too stubborn to realize what was about to bite them. And my taxpayer dollars go for this?

Saturday, October 18, 2003

When will the Catholic Church move into the 21st Century???

Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | Vatican: condoms don't stop Aids: "The Catholic Church is telling people in countries stricken by Aids not to use condoms because they have tiny holes in them through which HIV can pass - potentially exposing thousands of people to risk.
The church is making the claims across four continents despite a widespread scientific consensus that condoms are impermeable to HIV. "


Is this incredible or what? A global crisis and the church is stupid enough to say something like this? What can I say? What can any sane human say?

For some interesting comments by others on this issue - check out this page.


Hoofin' it with Vindigo

Recently spent 3 days in Washington,DC prowling around checking out museums,coffee shops,etc. Made good use of a program called Vindigo which works with a Palm Pilot (or in my case a Handspring Visor). You can download maps of any major city into your Palm Pilot and then just tell it where you are and it will show you a map with an X on it for where you are at that very moment. Then, let's say you're hungry and want to check out a restaurant. You just click on restaurants and choose whether you want to see them listed by distance (1/2, 1, or 2 miles), or by rating, or by cost. Once you've selected one (they're a hundreds listed and they are even categorized by food type), you just click on it. The map will then show you with an x where it is and you can tell where it is in location to where you currently are.

But it gets even better. You just click on "Directions" and it tells you how to walk there (works just as well for driving). Now that is slick. It's highly accurate, kept us from ever being lost and led us to all kinds of places we wouldn't have normally heard about.

It will also list all the current movies playing, where the theaters are , and how to get to each of them.

If you have a GPS unit with you, you can even enable it and it will show you where you are on the map as you walk along.

You can "synch" it with your computer before heading off to the city, to make sure it has the latest info. By synching, I mean you can hook up the palm pilot to your desktop and then it will connect to the Vindigo site where it downloads the very latest info into your handheld device. That is essential to make sure you have the correct movie times, museum times,etc.

For $20/year, it's a great deal and the best app I have on my Handspring Visor.Here's a few screen shots of what it looks like:


  

Friday, October 17, 2003

Nifty freebie tool for seeing what's on your Hard Drive

Werkema.com: Software: SpaceMonger
SpaceMonger is a tool for keeping track of the free space on your computer. Each file or folder on a given drive is displayed in a box in the main window whose size is a relative comparison to all the other files in your system. So, for example, if the "Windows" box takes up 90% of the screen, the "C:\Windows" folder and all its sub-folders and files are taking up 90% of your "C:" drive
This is an unusual tool in the way it displays hard drive usage. Worth a look, especially since it is free.
. 

Wanna make Google even better?


Google Preferences
Just click on the link above and it will take you to the preferences page, where you can check the box that says check for pages in English only - that will save you looking at lots of pages in languages you don't understand. And checking search for 50 items rather than the default 10 will keep you from hitting the Next button so many times. Also, open in a new browser window is handy, so that you can easily return to your search results page without having to reload it, so check that box too.  

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

Fascinating Insights - our Big Grain Problem

The (Agri)Cultural Contradictions of Obesity
"All this would be bad enough if the government weren't doing its best to make matters even worse, by recklessly encouraging farmers to produce even more unneeded food. Absurdly, while one hand of the federal government is campaigning against the epidemic of obesity, the other hand is actually subsidizing it, by writing farmers a check for every bushel of corn they can grow. We have been hearing a lot lately about how our agricultural policy is undermining our foreign-policy goals, forcing third-world farmers to compete against a flood tide of cheap American grain. Well, those same policies are also undermining our public-health goals by loosing a tide of cheap calories at home"

A very good read, by the same fellow who wrote the widely read article some months back about antibiotics and steroids in our beef industry.
  

Sunday, October 12, 2003

The Sneaky Boys are up to No Good Again!

Provisions Benefiting Energy Industry Are Folded into Bill (washingtonpost.com): "The little-noticed decision shows the extent to which the far-reaching energy legislation has become a catchall for environmental provisions long advocated by industry lobbyists."

This will impress you that our govt. is trying to take care of us. Wonder how they figure they are immune to all these future problems? Do they live in some kind of cocoon where they don't get diseases? Of course the major drillers are contending this is all wonderful and safe. Seems like we've heard that kind of talk from Monsanto and all those other wonderful polluters before.

Quote of the day:
It has always been the prerogative of children and half-wits to point out that the emperor has no clothes. But the half-wit remains a half-wit, and the emperor remains an emperor."
Neil Gaiman

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Now's your chance to make Steve Jobs a bit richer!

BetaNews | iTunes to Make Windows Debut October 16: "One week before it launches Mac OS X version 10.3, code-named Panther, Apple will officially unveil iTunes for the Windows platform - bringing the company's music store to an immense new market of PC users."

Only.99 per tune! Each tune has DRM (Digital Rights Management). Not sure exactly how that works yet - does it allow you to play that tune anywhere other than on your computer or IPOD? (the use .acc files which are supposedly better than .mp3).
 

Saturday, October 11, 2003

Russians are Cranking it!

Would you be surprised to know that Russia is producing some 8.3 million barrels of oil per day, even outdoing the Saudis? Apparently with the help of US companies like Schlumberger, Halliburton,and Baker Hughes, they've revived a lot of old wells and have revived old fields that were thought to have been drying up. Of course, they are outdoing the Saudis, cause the Saudis choose not to produce that much oil, but still an impressive accomplishment

Also, how many of you knew that that US imported more oil from Canada than anyone else? Canada, Saudia Arabia, Mexico, and Venezuela in that order. Bet not 1 in 100 folks would have guessed Canada.

On a side note hope you enjoy the time and date while reading this blog. :) (Assuming you are using Internet Explorer as your browser - you won't see special effects if you're using Mozilla)
 

Friday, October 10, 2003

Germans Criticize Leaders, Admire 'Arnold Effect'

Yahoo! News - Germans Criticize Leaders, Admire 'Arnold Effect': "The straight-talking Hollywood action star's election win in California has had an electrifying impact on Germany, leading to calls Friday for top politicians to voice clear ideas in simple language or be swept away at the polls. "

Electrische Probleme in Kalifornia? hmmmmph.... Keep it simple, just hav de Hubble scope fokus die big sun rays down on die Kalifornia! What iz vrong mit you folks? Why you make eveyding so kompliziert?
. 

Thursday, October 09, 2003

A Handy Email Tip

A Handy Email Tip

I picked up this tip from PCWorld (although I had seen it elsewhere before) .

If you email someone frequently, it would be nice to have a shortcut to click on, which would pop up a new mail message with their name in the To: field. So here's how to do it.

Right-Click your desktop (hopefully you know what the desktop is - that's that screen you normally see when first starting up your computer - the one with all the icons on it for different programs). After you right-click, select New-Shortcut. Then type mailto:your-buddy@his ISP.com in the Command line (Win98 and ME) or location field in XP. Enter your pal's email address after "mailto:". Click Next,give the Shortcut a name (like Billy Bob's email), and click on Finish. This will put a shortcut icon on your desktop. But we want to put it into the Quick Launch bar which is right next to your Start button on the bottom left of your desktop, cause that way you don't have be hunting around on your desktop for it. To do that, just click on the Shortcut on the desktop and while holding the left button of your mouse down, drag it into the Quick Launch bar. That's all there is to it.

Now the next time you want to send an email to that person, just click on the icon in the Quick Launch bar and up will pop your email form with their name already in it.

This is a handy tip if you frequently email someone.
 

UHDTV?

 Not sure where I saw this mentioned the other day, but apparently some Japanese folks have invented UHDTV, which has supposedly 16x the resolution of HDTV and is so sharp and clear, the eye can't tell it from the real thing. I can't wait till they figure out how to make the people appear in 3D in your living room and walk around - imagine yourself sitting on the recliner in the middle of a gunfight!

I WANT MY UHDTV!

Wednesday, October 08, 2003

New Upgrade for Roboform

 RoboForm: Free Password Manager, Form Filler, Password Generator: Fill Forms, Save Passwords, AutoFill, AutoLogin, AutoSave

Roboform has an upgrade to version 5.5. This one pops up much faster,is more consistent. If you don't surf the Net a lot, then you could get the freebie version which allows you to save 30 passwords, otherwise, the $30 version is the way to go, which allows unlimited passwords. I can't imagine working on the Net without this thing.

Yahoo! News - Davis Out, Schwarzenegger Wins in Calif.

 Yahoo! News - Davis Out, Schwarzenegger Wins in Calif.: "'We have tough choices ahead,' Schwarzenegger said in declaring victory. 'The first choice that we must make is the one that will determine our success. Shall we rebuild our state together or shall we fight amongst ourselves, create even deeper divisions and fail the people of California? Well, let me tell you something — the answer is clear. For the people to win, politics as usual must lose.' "

Well all I have to say is that it sure will be interesting. Can politics as usual lose? That would be a first. But it will be great to see someone who is not an old time politician bring some fresh insights (assuming he has some) to the game.

And for the Republicans who are crowing over this victory? Well perhaps they should heed the warning of Leon Panetta -

"But the recall was more than a message to Davis, said former Clinton White House chief of staff Leon Panetta, who called it a warning shot to all officeholders.

"It's a revolt of people who are increasingly angry at the crises that face them, and at the failure of leadership," Panetta said. "If I were a Republican, I wouldn't get too cocky about what happened."


Tuesday, October 07, 2003

Cars,Computers and Sports

 
Finally got my rumble fixed in my '92 Toyota Camry. New sway bar bushings did the trick. Only put up with that for 2 years! Feels like a new car!

If you're looking for a good book on Photoshop Elements 2, then you might be interested in this one. These Hands-on-Training books are quite good.

Am testing out a new beta of a Spam program called iHateSpam that incorporates into Outlook Express and Outlook. Sends all spam into the Delete Folder in OE. Initial testing reveals that it is quite accurate. Will let you know how it does over the next few weeks. I've liked Mailwasher, but find it cumbersome with having to delete and check things in it and then go to OE to download. This is much faster and seems more accurate initially.

Cubbies continue their quest this evening against the Florida Marlins. Has been great baseball so far with a great game last night as well with Boston squeaking one out over the Oakland A's to make it into the playoffs against the NY Yankees. Interestingly the last time the Cubbies were in a World series (1918), the Red Sox beat them with Babe Ruth getting 2 of the wins as a pitcher. (Did you recall that the Babe was initially a pitcher?).

Saturday, October 04, 2003

Thursday, October 02, 2003

Outrageous

 
Went to the dermatologist the other day and he prescribes this tube of cream to use on my face. I don't think much about it till I get to the pharmacist and shell out $58 for it. Now, I have a lousy prescription plan (I have to pay 40%) and wasn't thinking when I coughed up the money. While driving home, I got to thinking - what did that stuff really cost before my part was paid? So I pulled out the paper that came with the prescription - $178 for a 100g tube of cream !!! Can you believe that? And to top it off, the possible side effects will keep me busy with anxiety attacks for the next year! This is progress??? I know, I know, the drug companies gotta be able to pay for all that research - cough,cough.

Love is the delightful interval between meeting a beautiful girl and discovering that she looks like a haddock.
John Barrymore

Wednesday, October 01, 2003

On the Techno Front.....

 
I was reading an article today about the forthcoming 64bit computers which propose to make CAD (computer aided design), video and games work much smoother and faster. Current 32 bit models can address 4 Gigs of Memory (the average home user can get by quite nicely at the moment with 1/2 Gig of Memory). Well 4 Gigs of memory is nothing - moving to 64bit means your computer can address 16 exabytes of RAM (there's a new word for me - an exabyte!). How much is 16 exabytes? A mere 16 billion gigabytes! I wonder how I am going to afford a 1 billion gigabyte chip? :) It was bad enough to buy 1/2 of 1 gigabyte! Of course, there is no OS (operating system) built yet that can use 64bit, but that's coming.

-----------------------
Turning to inkjet printing, noticed that PC World had an article abut inkjet printing by the guru of inkjet testing - Henry Wilhelm (Sep 2003). Those cheapie aftermarket inks I buy? One of them - a Rainbow branded ink is good for about 1 year on an Epson C82 vs Epson's 92 year cartridges! Carrot Ink (which I've also used) was good for about 4 years on a Canon S9000 vs. Canon's 27 year cartridge. So if you're planning on printing quality photos that are going to last a while, guess you'd better buy the real stuff. Or move to dye sub, a different process alltogether. I have found though that for printing in general, these inks have worked pretty well, but they do clog my Canon S300's printheads and do start to streak. Unfortunately the S300 is an ink hog, so I will have to find a printer that works better and is much more economical on ink.

---------

You a news junkie? Rather than going to all those different web sites, why not have all the headlines delivered to you in one place? That's what RSS feeds are all about. They give you the headlines and enough info to decide whether you want to click on it and read the entire article. I've mentioned before about downloading a copy of Feed Demon to view all these. Feed Demon even includes a browser inside itself with tabbed browsing - and it's free! Most sites have an XML tag (look at DP Review and you'll notice the small xml tag at the top right of the page.. Just right click on it and select "copy shortcut" and then back in Feed Demon, you can create a new channel for DPReview that lets you capture all of DPReview's latest news without having to go to the actual web site. You can create Groups as well, like a Photography Group. Sometimes the little orange tag will say RSS instead of XML - you still use the same procedure. Pretty cool and a news/info junkie's dream!

Rumble Resolved!

 

Finally drug my car in to Toyota to investigate the rumble I've been hearing forever from the rear of my car. They put it up on one of those full length racks like you find in an alignment bay and within a few minutes - problem resolved! The insides of the sway bar bushings were worn out causing a lot of slop and making the sway bar links that go through these bushings bang around. You could move the sway bar easily up and down and hear the clunking noise. (apparently not evident on a normal lift where the car is supported on the frame as you can't get the pressure off to make the sway bar move, so understandable perhaps why my shade tree mechanic couldn't find it).

Of course, they didn't have any bushings in stock , so have to return in a week. (another 130 mile roundtrip!). Still, was glad to get this resolved! Will set me back about $130 total (i'm sure that's a colossal ripoff), but I'm willing to pay just to get rid of the damn noise! Maybe I'll feel like I'm driving a car again , rather than a dump truck! LOL
Take most people, they're crazy about cars. I'd rather have a goddamn horse. A horse is at least human, for God's sake.
J. D. Salinger (1919 - )

Monday, September 29, 2003

Cars - (crappy, awful, reprehensible shit)

Well think perhaps I finally resolved my vibrating tire issue on my '92 Camry. Drove it back to Walmart again (45 miles) and this time planned on putting on Goodyear Viva Touring tires and dumping the Goodyear Aquatred 3's. Discovered they didn't have any Touring tires in my size in stock, so rather than tear my hair out again and return again, I decided to give the Douglas Touring Tires a try. $10 cheaper per tire, too. :) 80,000 mile warranty as well. So I went that route. Service Mgr is one of the nicest customer service people I have met anywhere - he has repeatedly worked with me to solve this problem. Walmart needs to clone this guy. Didn't cost me a dime, in fact rebated me $40 since these tires were less, although I had put some 6,000 miles on the Aquatreds. Guess he felt I had been hassled enough.

Drove off, expecting the worst, but discovered that this had finally done the trick (of course, I had to check the tire pressure before I left, since Walmart is notorious for overinflating my tires. Sure enough - 42 in the left front, 48 in the right front, 40 in both rears. So I reduced them all to 35). Now that's a relief - can't even count how many times I've gone to Walmart over the past year trying to figure this out. Now off to Toyota in a few days to figure out what is rumbling in the rear end of this car - expecting to get hosed by the friendly folks from Toyota. We shall see. If they could stop this rumbling, I'd probably see an even smoother ride - in the meantime, I keep expecting the rear wheels to fall off, the gas tank to drag along the ground, explode, and send me to where I probably belong - hell! Ho, ho!
 

Good ol' Blues!

 Enjoyed immensely the Blues Program that started tonight on PBS. Very well done. Will run for the next 6 nights in a row, each night done by a different director. Clint Eastwood directs one of the nights.

They had some great clips of the early timers playing. One guy really lit into that ol' guitar - Son House was his name. Wasn't familiar with him, but I'm not real history buff of the Blues, so learning something new all the time. Even saw Keb Mo' on the show, who is one of my favorite musicians. Check it out - you might just like it! :)

Sunday, September 28, 2003

An easy way to Support Breast Cancer Research

 
Take Action: Support the Breast Cancer Research Stamp

Take a few minutes to send your comments to your Senator. This stamp has raised 32 million so far.
 
Joe Lieberman, "the Conscience of the Senate"

Say it ain't so, Joe!

(trivia note - to whom was the expression, "Say it ain't so, Joe!" referring to?)

Saturday, September 27, 2003

 
This Sunday on PBS - The Blues! :
"'The blues are the roots; everything else is the fruits.'
- Willie Dixon "


Thought you might like to check out 7 nights of the Blues. Would expect this to be a good program. A Martin Scorcese project.
 
Confessions of a Spam King:
"''Click here,'' says my spamming mentor. Hovering over my chair, he points to the computer screen. ''Now click on that file of e-mail addresses there.'' I have been invited by a master for an education in spamming, the practice of blasting millions of unsolicited e-mail messages into the Internet in order to advertise everything from loans with easy terms to women of easy virtue. "

If you want to see how spam works, read this article. hmmm... my next career?

Friday, September 26, 2003

 
In GOP, Concern Over Iraq Price Tag (washingtonpost.com):
"A new curriculum for training an Iraqi army for $164 million. Five hundred experts, at $200,000 each, to investigate crimes against humanity. A witness protection program for $200,000 per Iraqi participant. A computer study for the Iraqi postal service: $54 million."

Bet there will be a few Iraqis signing up for the witness protection program! Boy, the sh.... is gonna hit the fan!
 
Text: Democratic Candidates Debate (washingtonpost.com)

In case you missed the Dems debating yesterday on CNBC or MSNBC, here's a full transript of the debate. I always find Al Sharpton makes these things much more enjoyable. He's nobody's fool, that's for sure. Maybe we should have Sharpton and Kucinich running the country - at least you would know where they stood.

Dean took some tough shots, but also gave it back. Clark did ok, but didn't do enough yet, nor was specific enough to get my vote. Think Lieberman is fading from the picture. Braun doesn't have a chance, though her answers are excellent and well thought out. They didn't ask her as many questions as they asked the others which was more a reflection of the questioner's opinions of how much of a chance she stood in the election, I believe. She let them know it though, that she thought she deserved more questions. Edwards is getting better, but will appear to young and boyish for most voters, I believe. Kuchinich isn't afraid to stand up and say we should do away with NAFTA and bring the soldiers home now. I give him credit for that, but it is probably not a view that will garner across the board support.

The biggest problem for the Dems now, is that there are too many of them. Not enough chance for good give and take in these, when you have to go around to so many. Still, Brian Williams did a good job as host and so did the questioners.

It's always refreshing to hear how all these people are going to fix our problems, but rather depressing when you think about how it will really turn out, especially if the Republicans dominate the Congress.

Politics is supposed to be the second oldest profession. I have come to realize that it bears a very close resemblance to the first.
Ronald Reagan (1911 - )

Thursday, September 25, 2003

 
Amusing Flash Toy

A way to amuse yourself if you are are without a life. Just move your mouse around when you get to the page. :)
 

Types of Impaired glucose tolerance - WrongDiagnosis.com:

Types of Impaired glucose tolerance

Types list: The list of types of Impaired glucose tolerance mentioned in various sources includes:

  • Impaired Fasting Glucose

  • Gestational Impaired Glucose Tolerance


Types discussion: There are two forms of impaired glucose metabolism.

Impaired Fasting Glucose
A person has impaired fasting glucose (IFG) when fasting plasma glucose is 110 to 125 mg/dL. This level is higher than normal but less than the level indicating a diagnosis of diabetes. Approximately 13.4 million people in the United States, or about 7 percent of the population, have IFG.

Impaired Glucose Tolerance
Impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) means that blood glucose during the oral glucose tolerance test is higher than normal but not high enough for a diagnosis of diabetes. IGT is diagnosed when the glucose level is 141 to 199 mg/dL 2 hours after a person is given a drink containing 75 grams of glucose. 1 "

The odd thing in my case is that I'm in the impaired glucose tolerance range upon awakening (after fasting), and sometimes even lower. Yet 2 hours after the oral glucose tolerance test, I was 300 which is definitely diabetic.

It's no longer a question of staying healthy. It's a question of finding a sickness you like.
Jackie Mason (1934 - )

 
Thirsty Batteries Tell Rechargers How Fast to Pour

With some battery rechargers, restoring a couple of double-A's can take up to eight hours. But with Rayovac's new I-C3 system, batteries can be charged during a coffee break.

I've seen these in the stores. Think it only takes about 15 minutes to recharge them, but you have to use this newer type battery, if I understand the article correctly.
 
Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.

"The mind of a bigot is like the pupil of the eye. The more light you shine on it, the more it will contract."
 
FeedDemon Beta

The excellent Feed Demon Newsreader now has an updated beta for download.

Wednesday, September 24, 2003

 
Thought this was rather interesting. Was checking on Gurunet the spelling for "catsup" and stumbled across this bit of word history.

"WORD HISTORY The word ketchup exemplifies the types of modifications that can take place in borrowing—both of words and substances. The source of our word ketchup may be the Malay word kçchap, possibly taken into Malay from the Cantonese dialect of Chinese. Kçchap, like ketchup, was a sauce, but one without tomatoes; rather, it contained fish brine, herbs, and spices. Sailors seem to have brought the sauce to Europe, where it was made with locally available ingredients such as the juice of mushrooms or walnuts. At some unknown point, when the juice of tomatoes was first used, ketchup as we know it was born. But it is important to realize that in the 18th and 19th centuries ketchup was a generic term for sauces whose only common ingredient was vinegar. The word is first recorded in English in 1690 in the form catchup, in 1711 in the form ketchup, and in 1730 in the form catsup. All three spelling variants of this foreign borrowing remain current."



TalkLeft: When Ashcroft Sang a Different Tune

Now isn't this interesting? Are these guys chameleons, or what? Of course, it also raises the question as to what the hell Clinton was thinking about, but we're concentrating on Ashcroft today. :)

 
A New Regime at the White House

Get the popcorn out. West Wing is returning and is heating up according to this article. The Dems are out for the moment (The Pres's daughter was kidnapped and he stepped down so the Republican Speaker of the House took over, rather than the VP who was embroiled in a sex scandal) and John Goodman is now the Repbulican Pres in command. Should be interesting - NBC - 9 Eastern time tonite.
 
In Senate, Kennedy Fuels Sharp Debate (washingtonpost.com): "Bush had called Kennedy's remarks 'uncivil,' and House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) said Democrats had 'spewed more hateful rhetoric at President Bush than they ever did at Saddam Hussein.'"

I find DeLay's remarks highly amusing. Apparently DeLay has forgotten his attacks on the Clinton Administration for 8 years. If anyone is a master of the vitriolic, it is DeLay. Funny how they react when they get a dose of it coming their way. Politics are always so much fun - too bad all the squabbling produces so little action.

One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.
Plato (427 BC - 347 BC)

Tuesday, September 23, 2003

 

WorkingForChange-Fear and loathing in America

A friend passed this along to me, so thought I'd share. Ol' Molly pretty much hits the nail on the head with this one.

"We got no Osama, we got no Saddam, we got no weapons of mass destruction, the road map to peace in the Middle East is blown to hell, we're stuck in this country for $87 billion just for one year, and no one knows how long we'll be there. And still poor Krauthammer is hard-put to conceive how anyone could conclude that George W. Bush is a poor excuse for a president."

Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it whether it exists or not, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedy.
Ernest Benn



 

mercola.com blog

Even Doc Mercola is getting into the blogging world? Why am I not surprised? Even though he is a bit "out there" when it comes to his nutritional recommendations (actually, I don't have a problem with the recommendations ,so much as I do with the fact that I would think it would be extremely hard to remain on such a weird diet, and an expensive one as well - grass fed beef,ostrich, wild salmon,etc), he does come along with interesting articles so I always check it just to see what he's up to. If you've installed the blog reader below that I highly recommend, then it's easy to add his blog to the reader. That way you get all your news and blogs in one place. If you don't want to go that route, then you can just bookmark the site and add it to your favorites.

Health nuts are going to feel stupid someday, lying in hospitals dying of nothing.
Redd Foxx (1922 - 1991)

Monday, September 22, 2003

 
Iraq's simmering south | csmonitor.com:

Part 1 of a 3 part series on the difficult problems we're facing in Iraq. Note the new tools of religion indicated below - Mercedes Benz's and AK-47's - still makes me ponder the benefits of religions in the world - seems like more often than not, they are just a cause of strife.

"'No to the invaders!' chant thousands of Iraqi followers, sitting on prayer rugs in the mosque's dusty inner courtyard. After the sermon, Mr. Sadr speeds away in a Mercedes Benz, accompanied by a phalanx of bodyguards carrying AK-47s"

Sunday, September 21, 2003

 

K Street

This should be a hot show - 10 pm on Sunday nights on HBO. Produced and directed by George Clooney and Steven Soderbergh - all about lobbyists in DC, using real life people (James Carville, Mary Matalin, Michael Deaver), as well as actors. Each episode 30 minutes - incorporates what is happening this very week into the show. Will keep you posted as to whether it is any good!

Saturday, September 20, 2003

 FeedDemon RSS newsfeed Reader for Windows

For a great blog newsreader (these are called "news aggregators") check out this beta. I was using Bloglines but this is much better and comes with already setup blogs. It's a beta but seems to work fine. If you don't know what RSS feeds are, you'll find out here. (they deliver blogs that you often read to one central location - like a newsreader). Not all blogs are set up to send an RSS feed (mine isn't). That's a technology I'm working on learning. If you have any questions, ask and I'll try to answer. For a brief explanation of what RSS is, look here

Friday, September 19, 2003

 DNC: Kicking Ass

How about this for the name of the official blog of the Democratic Party? Take no prisoners! :)
 

Steel Tariffs Appear to Have Backfired on Bush (washingtonpost.com)

This is certainly a case of "damned if you do, damned if you don't".

"In a decision largely driven by his political advisers, President Bush set aside his free-trade principles last year and imposed heavy tariffs on imported steel to help out struggling mills in Pennsylvania and West Virginia, two states crucial for his reelection.
Eighteen months later, key administration officials have concluded that Bush's order has turned into a debacle. Some economists say the tariffs may have cost more jobs than they saved, by driving up costs for automakers and other steel users. Politically, the strategy failed to produce union endorsements and appears to have hurt Bush with workers in Michigan and Tennessee -- also states at the heart of his 2004 strategy"

Thursday, September 18, 2003

 
Got a chance to watch Paul McCartney play in Moscow's Red Square tonite on the A&E channel (concert took place in May of this year). I've always thought Paul was a bit odd and his wife is a bit over the top with her constant land mine talk (lighten up once in a while!), but I do have to say that this concert was quite the emotional experience, especially when he played "Back in the U.S.S.R." It was fabulous to see how happy these people were to hear this kind of music, after having been denied it for so long. Even Putin came to the concert. Red Square was absolutely packed (about a 100,000 people) and was beautiful in the setting sun.

"Mr Putin, who was a KGB agent when the Fab Four topped the charts around the world, admitted to his guest that The Beatles had been "a breath of fresh air" during Soviet times.

He said Beatles music "was considered propaganda of an alien ideology".

Mr Putin said that while Beatles' music was not banned by the Communist regime, "the fact that you were not allowed to play in Red Square in the 1980s says a lot."

McCartney said he gave President Putin a private performance of The Beatles' song Let It Be. "


A number of sociologists in Russia credit the Beatles for the overthrow of Communism by way of instilling the values of freedom and democracy in the youth of Russia ,which eventually became too powerful for the government (and a tip of the hat to Mr. Gorbachev for getting it started). They youth of Russia used to buy Beatles records for 80 rubles each,when the average monthly wage was 150 rubles. Back in the days when this kind of music was banned, when Russians found out that you could turn an acoustic guitar into an electric guitar by using telephone parts, they plundered every pay phone in Moscow. Then they found out that the emulsion on X-Rays could transmit sound and started stealing old x-rays, to use to put music on.

The concert really brought home how art and music transcend the differences between peoples. The average person is just trying to get by and it is only the leaders who turn out to be power hungry idiots.

Having lived in the heyday of the Beatles, I can tell you from my experiences in Germany, that they were definitely a worldwide phenomena (my German brother in Krefeld listened to "Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" till I thought I would go out of my friggin' mind!) and I can only imagine what it must have been like in Russia where there was no western music except for bootlegged copies.

Tickets for the concert were reported to be going for more than $100 each, where the average monthly wage is still a paltry $100. (I didn't see too many peasants at this concert). The Russians are still finding the capitalistic world a tough place, but I think the youth of Russia today will bring big changes in the years to come - they just need to sweep out the old refuse over time.


Wednesday, September 17, 2003

 The car saga continues. Drove to town again (just love these constant drives over the mountains) to get my new rebuilt caliper put on. Got the car up, the wheel off, and after a 30 minutes wait for the part to arrive (why wasn't the part there already???), discover that the parts people sent a caliper for the front wheel, not the rear and of course they are different. And naturally the parts people won't have a new one until tomorrow. So the owner offers me his pickup to drive home, so I am now sitting with a Ford Ranger in the driveway.

Interesting thing is that nobody apologizes to me. They never seem to , no matter how inconvenienced I am. I've noticed that out here in SW VA - apologies are almost never given no matter how crappy the service. Wonder if that is particular to this region or folks are just going to hell these days?

Needless to say, think it is about time to move on to the next shade tree mechanic....

Tuesday, September 16, 2003

 Getting sick of brakes on cars. Drove to town to pick up my car after caliper had supposedly been repaired. Drove it home - got out - brakes burning and wheel hot. Calling repair shop again - now ordering new caliper and rear brake hose - fortunately caliper put on 20,000 miles ago has lifetime warranty, but still have to pay labor and hassle of getting it back on. Still haven't figured out why both rear brake pads burned up in 10,000 miles - my guess is that the other caliper isn't worth a crap either. Will have to check them both in about 5,000 miles. Must be time to go to Toyota and have them put on some of their "made from gold" calipers. Of course, if I do that, I won't be eating for a few months....

Added a new blog - "Talking Points" to the list on the right.

Monday, September 15, 2003

 Just happened to be channel surfing and caught ARNOLD and his wife Maria Shriver on Oprah this afternoon. They both came across quite well and that probably garnered him another big fat bundle of votes from the women of California.

Oprah and they go way back apparently. I will say this for Arnold - he's a very determined guy. No one guessed he would do what he did in bodybuilding and there will probably never again be anyone like him in that sport. Then nobody guessed he would make it in the movies with his strong Austrian accent. Proved them all wrong about that, too. He doesn't really know that much yet about the issues of California, but he is learning fast - I wouldn't discount this guy. And he is humble, thanking America for everything he has gotten and in return gives back constantly. Not everyone would be so grateful. And remember Jesse? Pro Wrestling? Nah, never will win! Guess they misjudged him, too.

They sounded like they had 2 really nice, unspoiled kids and appeared to understand quite well what it takes to be successful parents. I wouldn't vote for him for any of the above reasons if he didn't support what I believed in, but then I wouldn't discount him as a powderpuff either........

(Of course, now that they have appealed the recall vote due to voter machine problems (gads, how long are people gonna sit on their tushes, before they decide to fix these problems?), maybe Davis will get lucky and the vote will be pushed out until the regular election next March. Only in California.....
Samsung - Compact Black-and-White Laser Printer - ML-1710

$99 after $70 rebate - free shipping. Heck of a deal, if you print a lot of text - would imagine 1 cartridge would last a long time. 600x600 resolution.
A note about some of the links I offer here - frequently they come from the NY Times. Apparently they are viewable for 7 days and then are archived and you need to pay $2.95 to access them (unlikely that you are going to do that!). This will be an incentive to visit my blog on a daily basis. :)
 
Disillusionment Over the Thames: "Other teases followed: a hamburger van pulled up beneath him, ostentatiously frying onions and other pungent foods intended to make his mouth water. A group of men positioned themselves on Tower Bridge and tried, unsuccessfully, to hit him with golf balls. Some women took their tops off and flashed their breasts at him."

There is no lack of strange folks that populate our planet, both the doers and the observers!

Sunday, September 14, 2003

 Well, I learned something new in the blogging world today. Learned how to install "Permanent Links" to each post, so that if you want to talk about a particular post in the archives for instance (or even on the main page), you can just right click on the word "Permanent Link" at the bottom of each post, and select "Copy Shortcut" and then when you send that link to someone and they click on it, it will take them directly to that particular post and not just the main page of my blog. Pretty cool - that's a lot like "named anchors" if you write your own html script.

Did you catch Dick Cheney on Meet the Press this morning? If not, here's the transcript. He was doing his best to dodge all the bullets - you can be the judge of what he had to say. He definitely seems to see things through "rose colored" glasses (progress in Iraq just moving right along, except for a few little isolated instances - whew, not sure I'd go that far), but I do wonder myself when we're talking about WMD, why Saddam just didn't cooperate with the UN and invite them in if he didn't have anything. Would have gotten sanctions lifted, avoided the war,etc. Cheney seems to think that in the long run, evidence will turn up. On this point (and it's about the only point), I tend to agree. We shall see, but it may take a few years....