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 (

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....

Here's a juicy little tidbit for you.......
The other day while waiting for some guests to check out, we strolled into the living room to find a rabbit head removed from it's body, with the entrails of the body hanging out and 2 cats staring at it with great curiosity, like they didn't know where it came from. So much for leaving doors and windows open for cats. Fortunately, we saw it before the guests did.

Next time, maybe they'll do the Godfather bit and leave it on a guest's bed for their return. Now that would make for some interesting comments in the Guest Book, I bet! Stay tuned for the next beheading...