Bear Droppings
Monday, July 22, 2002
 
Monday Mission 2.29
1. Do you remember your first encounter with computers?
Internet or computers, because there is a big difference. Computers it was the early 1980's and it was when the Apple 2 series showed up into our school, programing Logo, playing games, all sorts of fun. Then for the holidays my Mother brought home an Apple 2e from her school and she accidently erased a class project I had been working on, she hasn't felt comfortable with computers since.

2. How late can you stay up and still be functional the next day? Do you do that very often? it depends on when I need to be up but generally 6 hours of sleep in the minimium daily allowance. (Not real often 7-8 is my norm)

3. When was the last really good hug you got from another adult? Who was it and what was the situation? Kelly a few weeks ago when we had lunch I think.

4. One thing about children is that they all like to draw. We all shared the same ability and skill level at one time. Do you still like to draw? (Not do you think you draw well, or do others, but do you like to?) If not, how come? Did you get discouraged at some point? Here and there I still draw, often in meetings, once in a great while I sketch a scene in front of me, not bad for a hack with no skill, but I enjoy it.

5. I way overslept today. I had to head to work with no shower (don't get too close), and I am not in the best of moods. Have you ever overslept on a day you had something important going on? What's the story there? I don't oversleep on days with important stuff, i am usually too wired to sleep well.

6. Ever go shopping for something you know you can't afford? You look at it and even think about how it will look when you get it home, somehow you justify the cost and believe it can happen? And just before you get to the counter come to your senses? What was the last thing you almost bought, but thought better of it? And why the heck do we do that to ourselves? I went out for sushi a couple weeks ago, it was too expensive, I could really afford it, I realized when i looked at the bill *shrug* it was good sushi, I'll stick with my cheap sushi bar next time.

7. (It begins again...) It's all such a blur now. I'd asked you to help me wake up but the alarm didn't go off. It was 10 till and just I knew I'd be late. Somehow you got me here on time. How did you do that? Thanks to the Amazing Ronco Teleportamatic(R)*, it slices and dices your atoms and whizzes them out the door, across town and just in the nick o' time for any important meeting, when you think the latest in technical shindiger think Ronco!

* Warning: Not to be used on small children, pregnant women, nor boys named Sue. See product label for specific sideeffects including but not limited to headaches, brain jellification, and the sudden urge to water fire hydrants.

BONUS: Can't you see, you belong to me?
How my poor heart aches
With every step you take
Every move you make
Every vow you break
Every smile you fake, every claim you stake
I'll be watching you...


 
Fun weekend with a dock party Saturday. It's nice to get out to the bay and ride in a boat again, it was nice to be able to see stars at night as well. Even the bugs seemed to leave us be for the most part.

Otherwise time was spent hanging with bloggers on Friday and Sunday, come in on Monday morning to all sorts of depressing news. Get Well C. Busy with work but I am sure Monday Mission will find it's way to be posted later.
Friday, July 19, 2002
 
Works done, I still may need to edit my last post just a bit, but I am going out for Tasty Beverages, have a good weekend.
 
DRM Hearing at the Department of Commerce
I was at the Digital Right Management hearing at the Department of Commerce on Wednesday. I have spent the last two days thinking about the hearing and reading over the various reports. Most of the news stories I have read have focused on the consumer rights groups and their participation. That was an important element I’ll examine later, but I want to start with the panelists and what they said. If you are not famailar with digital rights management check out EPIC's page on the issue, I think it's a pretty good overview.

Other people’s thoughts on the hearing…
Grant Gross version
Slashdot’s coverage
New Yorks for Fair Use have their response to the slashdot article, a great read on the topic, well thought out piece.
Declan's report
DOC page

Session One: Creating a Snapshot of Standards Activity
The first session began with a presentation by Michael Miron of ContentGuard. He tried to show all the efforts underway in various scheme of digital rights management. At one point in his presentation he had a slide about the distribution chain of content and he sound like someone discussing animal feed lot management techniques, rather than a creative process.

He didn’t see behind the numbers, product, and consumption levels to the people and stories that ultimately drive our interest. A very telling illustration of this point was when Andy Setos of Fox spoke after this saying that “the internet infrastructure is based on digital rights management” not IP protocol, not the stories, ideas, and dreams people explore there, but on DRM. A clear demonstration of what their mindset of the internet and viewpoint is on the issue.

Mr. Setos said that there was a “reasonable consensus” on the broadcast flag issue. Mr. Setos went on to discuss his new definition of the term consensus. When I look up the word in a dictionary I find it means
1 - general agreement : Unanimity
2 - group solidarity in sentiment and belief.
But in his new definition a consensus exists even when as he stated ”there are objections”.

The more I hear from Michael Epstein of Phillips speak on this issue the more I like the guy. Some may remember he was on the DRM panel in DC at the beginning of June and did a great job then as well. He speaks clearly and understands the issue of balance between copyright holders and the public’s right to fair use. He doesn’t ever lose sight of it, he is probably the best industry person addressing the topic. I hope he starts a blog on this topic, because I think it would open up people’s eyes to the process. He made the point that people are “not close to consensus, but to the cusp of a discussion of what to do.”

Jonathan Potter of DiMA noted that consumer organizations must become involved in the issue of DRM. That for these groups to be more involved the format of the negotiations should be held in the DC area. This is because Washington is home to many consumer rights groups and much of the work on consumer rights management is being done in Los Angles. I would like to take his idea one step further. I think there needs to be a series of public hearings across the United States on the potential impact of such restrictions. This needs to be examined not only ‘Inside the Beltway’ and California. This impact of this issue needs to be discussed in cities, suburbs, and rural America as well.

I have heard this phrase over and over again, that "The perfect should not be the enemy of the good" in regards of content and DRM. The record and movie companies talk about willingness to work with people and come to an answer. For all this talk they don’t seem willing to as Jonathon Potter put it ”pull the trigger” on deployment. They want more legislation and regulations. Which completely ignores the reality that when government enters the market mandates a set technology, that those technologies have invariable failed as noted by Mr. Epstein.

Session Two: The Marketplace and Consumers
Rob Reid of Listen.com led off this panel and discussed the market challenges of better than free and competing in that environment. It looks like he is working hard to balance consumer accessibility and make the record labels willing to license him a very tough challenge. I really hope he finds a way to handle remote site storage issue, so I could store songs on mobile devices. Then I would seriously consider using his service.

Later after his presentation Jack Valenti said that you can not compete with free and it was good to see Mr. Reid saying that they did and that there is a market for it too.

He also said after a number of years his catalog of music is fairly complete with the exceptions of out of print material, imports and music being held back by artists. He would love to see a negotiation process to open out of print material to compulsory license and release, unless the artist specifically asks for their material to by removed from the service. Jim Rogan didn’t seem to understand this point and went back and forth with Mr. Reid thinking that the artists would have to hunt down the use of their music. But if there was a compulsory license and they were suddenly getting checks from Listen.com in the mail every couple of months, I think the artists would be able to figure out who to tell to take their music offline and stop sending the money.

The funny thing most reports didn’t notice, is credit to Intel and Microsoft. They actually were trying to make the case for consumers and their rights, which was good to see.

Audience Critics
They [Members of NYLXS and NY for Fair Use] said they didn't intend to disrupt the meeting, just raise their concerns about DRM. - Gross

The problem is their behavior of loud laughter, clapping and snide comments didn’t help their cause, nor did it really bring anyone who wasn’t on their side before the meeting to their side either. Actions like that did more to discredit those in the public who are trying to get the consumer groups actively and publicly involved.

Don’t get me wrong, I think having these folks yelling from the rooftops does serve the cause well, because in a public policy fight you need an outer fringe shouting from the rooftops and raising hell. That makes groups like Digital Consumer and soon GeekPAC and American Open Technology Consortium more effective by saying yes, those are the wild men, now let’s be adults sit at the table and talk, and you will be taken seriously, because you offer a reasonable voice. (Why EFF wasn't included in at the table is rather odd, they are a public organization and have been around for a while, so I don't understand that.)

The problem is when they disrupt the meeting, it discredits their argument and gives credence to those politicians and lobbyists who dismiss you out of hand saying, “well those Linux guys/hackers/geeks are just extremists and nuts.” Evidence to this point, I don’t like much about Valenti, but he gave the advocates a chance to speak. A very reasonable thing to do and I’ll give the man credit on that point, but rather than use the podium Vincenzo tried to hand it off. In a public policy debate if you are given center stage, USE IT. They didn’t know how to use it, which meant his effort was wasted. This is why we need organizations to be public making the points. People who will be taken seriously at roundtables like this, make the arguments for Fair Use that need to be heard and make then in a way that gets listened to and taken seriously by politicians, lobbyists, and perhaps most importantly the media.*

If a DRM law had passed and was a limit on free expression as such a law would be, then yes by all mean I would call for disruptive measures or forms of civil disobedience. (I can already hear responses to this say, “but what about DMCA” and I agree on that point and hope EFF will get a court case to knock it down, go support them.) DMCA may have taught the tech community they need to pay attention to politics, but if they don’t give their efforts serious and responsible tone, then they may as well accept the fact they won’t get politicians to listen.

* When I wrote this I lumped the Free Software people and New Yorker’s for Fair Use into the same crowd. Afterwards I read their comments and I am not sure that these two groups are one in the same. The New Yorker’s for Fair Use while not political experts seemed to have a more realistic view on the process and the hearing than others so I would recommend you check out their own comments and judge for yourself.

 
FRIDAY FIVE
1. Where were you born? Saratoga Springs, NY

2. If you don't live there, do you want to move back? Why or why not? I moved away as a baby and I have never been back. I keep intending to make it up there sometime for a visit, but it's never been a rush thing. I doubt I would ever move back there, I don't know anyone, have no driving interest in living in rural New York and don't know of any industry that would interest me.

3. Where in the world do you feel the safest? Northern Arizona

4. Do you feel you are well-traveled? Compared to most folks, yes, I have lived in six different states and one other country, but I would still like to spend some time in Russia, a month long vacation in India and Nepal, and get back to Germany for a year or so.

5. Where is the most interesting place you've been? Southern coast of France, amazingly beautiful with the rocky coast and deep blue sea.
Thursday, July 18, 2002
 
Traficant was found guilty of House ethics violations. He will likely get kicked out of the House, a shame one of the few members who makes watching C-Span any fun.
 
Yahoo does it again...
Yahoo shot themselves in the foot, AGAIN. Evidently, they change certain words in email messages without users knowledge or permission, in an effort to prevent viruses, the problem is they could do it just as easily with the some script changes and then they wouldn't be imposing on customers speech. Idiots.
Wednesday, July 17, 2002
 
Wil Wheaton and Spudnets explore the wonderful world of Epitaphes. To my sick and demented friends (read: most of you bastards!) I am sure you will enjoy, especially the comments afterwards. Remember in event of death, roast me and my ashes with a nice stout or hefe weizen and then hold a big old party. Hopefully I'll have enough money by the time I die to afford it, if not cover is $20 because I want to go out with a bang!

If there is a marker of some kind with an epitaph "Yes, I am dead, but your shoe lace is untied (made you look)"
 
The Traficant ethics trial is on, thank goodness for RealPlayer so i can listen at work...
 
Bring it On...
Traficant's ethics hearing hasn't started yet today, but after an hour of sitting around he's just started talking with the audience and the cameras, check it out on CSPAN 3 either on the cable network or online. It's amazing!
 
Slashdot features an interesting write up of H2K2, I wanted to get up to New York for it, but it didn't happen, so I will have to settle for other folks notes from the event.
 
Poetry Wednesday
'Komm Zu Mir' from Lola Rennt (or in English Run Lola Run)

I wish I was a hunter in search of different food
I wish I was the animal which fits into that mood
I wish I was a person with unlimited breath
I wish I was a heartbeat that never comes to rest

Komm zu mir
Komm zu mir
Komm zu mir
Komm zu mir

I wish I was a stranger who wanders down the sky
I wish I was a starship in silence flying by
I wish I was a princess with armies at her hand
I wish I was a ruler who'd make them understand

Komm zu mir
Komm zu mir
Komm zu mir
Komm zu mir
(zurück zu mir)

Wir sprengten jeden Rahmen
als wir zusammen kamen
war's wie eine Explosion
und ich schwör'
ich spür' die Erschütterung immer noch
ich weiss du rennst und doch
bist du erst nah und da
wenn du in meinen Armen liegst
ich geh' zu Boden wenn du nicht mit mir fliegst

oh Baby, bitte bitte lauf lauf gib nicht auf
ich hab' dich vermisst
es fressen mich Dämonen auf wenn du nicht bei mir bist
ich tu' was du verlangst hab' keine Angst
ich lass' dich nicht allein denn uns gehört die Welt
wir können alles sein doch jetzt bist du auf dich gestellt

I wish I was writer who sees what's yet unseen
I wish I was a prayer expressing what I mean
I wish I was a forest of trees that do not hide
(komm zu mir)
I wish I was a clearing no secrets left inside
(komm zu mir)

Why this song? I'll see the movie tonight and I have liked the song anyways. (Thanks for the lyrics!)
Tuesday, July 16, 2002
 
The Snakefish is dead...or so the reports read, I dunno sneaky creature, I suspect we have not heard the last from it.
 
Cutting Edge (ahem circa 1997)
Beetle Bailey has been cutting edge of lately adding a new character who is high tech, online, and uses chat rooms, the only problem is he sounds like a character from 1997 or so, not today. I appreciate Mort Walker's effort to get with the times, I mean the strip is almost modern now...I can't wait until his new Kizmo character develops a dot.com and becomes a millionaire, in stock, on paper, ahem and then the bubble bursts...
 
Phoenix had a serious story Sunday night as the Republic notes. Monsoon season is just a function of living in Arizona, come July and August you expect it. But I can't help but wonder if the heat island effect is some how causing a few major storms that seem to hit the Valley every summer that are of great intensity than when I was growing up. In the 70's as the Desert Pundit noted you got a storm every afternoon, it was just part of living in Phoenix. But then as Phoenix exploded in size the majority of the storms seemed to by pass the Valley. Now it seems once or twice a summer a major storm larger than normal monsoon storm seems almost drawn to the Valley with severe consquences. I only had one class on geography and geology in college I never studied meteorology, but it seems like the heat island may be intensifying and drawing these super storms into the Valley.
 
Education and Future Paths
I wasn't the best of students in school after I hit my teens. The problem has been one of motivation, not ability. In college I did rather well in the classes that challenged and interested me. The rest I kinda left at the wayside as necessary dogmatic practices to get the good classes that really challenged me. So when I finally completed Bachelor's degree I knew that while I wanted to continue on with learn, I knew I was not ready for grad school. So I spent the last few years out of school until I felt the motivation was present to really learn this time and not screw around. I have looked at law school, but I realized that it was in fact not unlike military boot camp in a sense, it stripped your thinking processes and geared it to a certain regiment of thinking. Be that good or bad is better left to wiser men than myself, but I realized that regiment was not going to meet with my long term interests (at least at this point in my life). Then I looked at MBA programs and gave them serious consideration and while they could whet my appetite for certain technology based topics, they would spend far too much time looking at accounting and financing practices, which well in good of themselves were not productive for my interests.

So that brings me to the last year or so, I have given up on MBA and Law degrees for the time being, but I have gotten to that point of having the motivation to explore technology and politics. I am trying to do it, by attending conferences and reading for the time being. There are some programs locally that examine tech and politics, but I wonder if my efforts would not be better spent learn on my own, forming my own independent learning program rather than the formal structured classroom.

 
Hacker Crackdown
I finished on the metro ride this morning The Hacker Crackdown by Bruce Sterling. I was interested in it after hearing him speak in person and the fact that this was the only book of his they had at the used bookstore at the time. I am used to him writing fiction when I have read his work, so it was alittle odd to read him writing about real events and people. After I got used to this change in tone I was very engaged by the book, if someone is interested in the computer crime and wants to understand the events in the late 80's/early 90's this is a great place to start. I was also interested to learn more of the origins of the WELL and EFF which the book also covers. The book gave me a historical ground work to some of the online activism in politics which I really think helps me better understand, some of the people in the online privacy fights around DC. Lastly you can't mention a Bruce Sterling book without talking about his writing style, his personality shows through and makes the reading fun, even in what could be an arcane topic as phone and computer hacking fraud. So if you are interest in computer crime buy a copy or read it online.

(So Charles and Brian especially, get this book or let me know and I'll send you my copy.)
Monday, July 15, 2002
 
Billiards on Sunday
Want shoot pool with fellow bloggers in the Arlington area? Please drop by and join us.

Where: Carpool (4000 Fairfax Dr., Arlington)
Metro: Ballston, One block East of the metro station
When: Sunday @ 4PM

And while this will be in VA, all of our DC and MD friends are welcome to join us. :-)
 
Declan has some brief coverage of the Traficant hearing before the House Ethics committee. If you missed it, like I did, never fear I am sure CSPAN will rebroadcast it again. Rollcall has some coverage today as well.
 
Loneliness v. Being Alone
Interesting conversation started by Missy, then Rapmaster and Jen, I can completely relate especially to Rapmaster's comments. I had a nice (okay long-winded) rambling response, but they said it better...
 
Monday Mission 2.28
1. Have you ever sold anything through an online auction? What did you sell and did you make very much?
No, but mostly because I am a packrat and haven't thought of anything worth selling.

2. Have you ever bought anything through an online auction? How was your experience? I have bought online at ebay a number of times, computers cards, watch working equipment, and some leather craft work equipment, I wouldn't even know where to look for some of the things in DC area, but it's all on ebay.

3. Do you like the sun? Getting a suntan? Have you ever had a bad sunburn? As opposed to living in a dark demon like experience, a forever night? Like most things in life in moderation it's fine. (Now you can make the FINE reference properly Mr. Cross) I tan fairly easily and don't burn that badly most times, but have had a bad sunburn on occasion.

4. Are you a vegetarian? Why? If not, have you ever considered it? You know I could be a vegetarian, just every once in a while I need a cheeseburger. (Sorry old joke) In summer, I occasionally do go on Veggie spells usually when it's really hot and the fresh veggies start to come into season. It's nice and light, but after a few days I get cravings for salmon or the like and then it's back to real food.

5. Suppose you are getting into your car after you've just made your purchase from a store you visit twice a week. You suddenly realize you had a .35¢ item in your hand and you forgot to pay for it. What would you do next? (what *would* you do, not what *should* you do) If it was a place I was a regular and they knew me I would pay next time I came by, downstairs at both the sandwich shop and the little store, they have let me slide on little stuff when I was $.50 short so if I am a regular I'd pay out of good faith.

6. Sometimes it seems that there is just not enough time to do everything that must be done. Was there anything you wanted to accomplish this weekend that didn't get done? My soon to be announced nobel prize winning report on "Beavis and Butthead True Nietzsche Ideals of the Uber-Mensche or Superman"

7. What is your favorite game to play with a group and/or an individual? (board game, computer game, athletic, etc.) Shoot pool, hike, or play poker, it all depends on the day.

BONUS: One headline why believe it? Frankly I don't, a headline is designed to sell papers not inform, sensationalism like the front of a Maxim cover, not that I ever buy those or anything...


 
I watched Clerks and it reminded me why I dislike watching movies alone. It was definitely a movie I wanted to talk with others after watching. It reminded me a lot of my own past after alittle thinking, not that I ever worked a clerk job at a convience store but I did have a few friends that did. In particular I realized it reminded me of summer nights spent at a store out in the middle of nowhere, 10 miles at least from the nearest traffic light, on a lonely stretch of the highway. It would get quiet there especially after 10 at night. Except for when the occasional customer stopped in we basically had run of the place. Not that we ever took Gatorade like Dante's friends did, but the non-itemized events like slurpees and sodas and a few other things were ours. In the movie they had a hockey game on the roof, we tended to play catch with football, but it was always annoying when the football went over the roof and someone had to run down to catch it. Or if a customer arrived to gas up at the pumps or for something in the store, we were under orders to stay hidden when they pulled in so C. (our buddy) didn't get into trouble. Some nights it was even quiet enough to have football games in the parking lot, well until the next customer came by. They weren't all that frequent though a hour would pass where we would barely get 5 cars to drive past the store.

It kind of also reminded me of the fact that we do need public commons, both online and in the real world for the youth to in habit. I don't know what it is like these days but there were two-three areas that were known for cruising, which consisted of people of kids with enough money to buy gas and drive back and forth all night, the car junkies would usually find a fast food to park and show off their wears. Now in the middle of summer I go to the local mall to use my gym and I see the kids hanging out much as I did. Part of the me, the growing old man wonders what those damn kids are doing, but then my inner kid can relate, this is their cruising, their hangout. Not out spite, just a social gathering spot. Commons are always needed, should not be forgotten.

Friday, July 12, 2002
 
I haven't posted on Traficant and found this in my inbox as I was leaving, so here is a quick Traficant update from the wire services! Have a good weekend kiddies!

U.S. Seeks at 7 Years for Traficant

CLEVELAND (AP) - Prosecutors are asking that Rep. James A. Traficant Jr. get at least 7 years in prison for corruption, arguing that his crimes could undermine Americans' faith in their government just when it is needed most.

Traficant, a Democrat running for re-election as an independent, is set for sentencing July 30 and could get up to 63 years. The congressman was found guilty of payoffs from businessmen and his own staff.

In court papers Friday, federal prosecutors argued that Traficant showed no remorse and made his crimes worse by repeatedly accusing the FBI, the Justice Department and the courts of misconduct.

"The fact that a member of Congress, one of the highest positions in our government, has been convicted of these crimes of dishonesty will cause some loss of public confidence in these institutions at the very time citizens must depend on them to ensure our domestic security," the government said.

Traficant spokesman Charles Straub declined to comment.

The House Ethics Committee will begin hearings Monday on whether to expel Traficant from Congress or impose other punishment.


 
I post and publish, no errors on the screen, but it doesn't get added to the blog, that's rather odd. An hour later...still no luck...
 
So Monday Screen on the Green kicks off for the Summer, they will be showing 'On the Town'. I am a little mixed on it, while I like seeing the movies down on the Mall, I am not a big fan of musicals. The act of going though is definately a social one since you have to arrive early to get decent seats and normal kick back on a blanket with food and tasty beverages. So who all is going if we can get a decent group of folks together I think I'll be there. So are you in?
 
Email issues...
I am rather glad that I moved my primary email account over to bears.org, it's very fast, never lags and I don't have trouble getting messages. I just wish my friends using Yahoo didn't have the same issues. I sent a few of them email a few hours ago and I have gotten three warning messages that the message hasn't been delivered yet. It's email, not brain surgery. If they can't process email efficently, why would I trust them with an auction, airline tickets, or my calendar. A shame just last year I would always recommended Yahoo to people as a good place to do business, no more.
 
More on the Snakefish
 
RageBoy Quote of the day "We needed the fucking internet to pickup the phone and talk to people" (kinda chuckly)
 
As my boss said "Can We Go Play Outside"
Some days, like today, I really wish we had Wi-Fi in our office. So we could set up outside and enjoy the day. Lunch outside is a must as will be enjoying tasty beverages I think.

Last night though it was great too, beautiful sunset enjoyed burgers on the deck. The thing was after sunset you literally could see a hundred or more stars, which while my friends out West know to be nothing considering how many we used to see at night, but in DC that is damn good. In fact you could easily see some of them twinkling. In an average DC summer night you are lucky to see 10 stars because of the pollution, both air and light, so last night was a real treat.
 
Another drunk pilot and we want to give them guns? Perhaps it's just pilots from Miami we should not give them to since they are the ones getting drunk before flying....
 
Okay first Cannibalistic Pigs and now HIV Positive Muppets, truth really is stranger than fiction I suppose. What's next Muppet Prostitutes?

PS - Dave Janes has a bit more details on the character.
Thursday, July 11, 2002
 
Free Slurpee Day, going to have to grab one on the way home! (Bet you that evil Snakefish doesn't get one!)
 
Evidently Yahoo had a press release on this Muppets and Denny's story. (Thanks to the Promoguy)
 
Why can I watch a video feed from Germany in perfect "tv like" clarity, but I can't even listen to a local classical radio station on the web without constant breaks and interuptions?
 
Snakefish is on the prowl and it's even got a blog so watch out, I'm just glad I live in Virginia.
 
Wonder what it was like to fight a Monster?

Van Bateman talks about fighting the Rodeo-Chediski fire in today's Daily Sun.
 
At 25 you get Cannibalism or He’s dead Jim I’ll grab the profits and you grab his Muppets
I was watching the idiot box last night and I see this new Denny’s commercial a very coy attempt to cross market the 25th anniversary of the Grand Slam with the same for the Muppets, I guess the Muppet Show since the characters were started in the 60’s. Anyways for those of you who haven’t seen the ad in it Miss Piggy and Kermit are sitting at the table discussing this with the waitress and then Miss Piggy orders three Grand Slams and the politely asking if Kermit would like anything. One kind of major point, the Grand Slam has bacon and sausage, nothing like a little swine cannibalism, eh? When I point this out I am not in anyway suggesting Jim Henson would not have done that sort of commercial, I suspect he would have, he was very good at the marketing side of the business as evidence of the movies, toys, and other promotional issues. I think the difference is one of style, Jim would have been smart enough to reason the absurdity of a pig ordering bacon and made light of it in some way.

You got to have style in this life, Jim had it, too bad the family hasn’t been able to carry on the tradition.

PS - I was looking for the relevent links in IMDB and funny thing the Muppet Show had their 25th anniversary last year, but why let the facts stand in the way of a good commercial. ;-)
Wednesday, July 10, 2002
 
Okay I have not mentioned the Blogathon this week, so a quick time out for our sponsors the folks at PBS, just kidding. First off Bear Droppings will indeed be broadcasting from NYC, I have talked to my friend who is having a party on the 27th and I will be able to use his computer, I may even take a couple of DVDs with me as his computer has a player as I recall.

Secondly, Vital Ground, who they are, why you should give them money. Vital Ground is a foundation formed by Doug and Lynne Seus in 1990. Doug and Lynne Seus are professional animal trainers who specifically work with Grizzly bears. If you have seen Dr. Doolittle 2, The Bear, or Legends of the Fall then you have seen their efforts. Vital Ground was their response that working with these amazing creatures has given them a livelihood and so it felt they need to give something back to their wild cousins. Most famous of their bears was Bart the Bear, the only of his species to attend an Oscar ceremony, where he made his own special statement on the current state of the movie industry. (Hint: It has something to do with the title of this blog ;-)) Though Bart died in 2000, his work has been continued on by Tank and Little Bart and Honey-Bump. If you would like to see Little Bart and Honey-Bump, I would highly recommend you checkout Growing Up Grizzly, which looks at the first year of their lives, the program airs on Animal Planet every few months (or you could look here).

Vital Ground centers it's efforts on ensuring habitat for bears continue to exist by forming partnerships with landowners and other groups.

So support me for the blogathon, support Vital Ground, and to those who have already pledged, thanks! To the rest of you pledge already!
 
Charles pointed out to me that Tinsley Hall is now co-ed at NAU and there are pictures of the dorm online. Very cool, it was a good place to live...Uncle Stinky, Mother, GLENN, and all the other crazy neighbors all made for a good time. If I listen close closely I can almost hear the echo of the R.A. saying "Quiet Floor, Quiet Floor, Quiet Floor"
 
In need of an Adventure...
I need to make a made crazy trip somewhere soon. Where? I don't know, I just have got that Wanderlust in my blood again. I get it from time to time, I just need to get my passport in order....hmmm or maybe Oregon would be fun, I don't know. I am inclined to take a trip to some place I have never been so maybe Russia or India I have wanted to visit both of them. The problem is once I get this itch it isn't happy until I travel again...
 
Instapundit discusses human cyborgs and how we are already on the road to becoming them in a way, truth be told I know some of them are already among us that's right They Live.
 
Poetry Wednesday
A word is dead
When it is said,
Some say.
I say it just
Begins to live
That day.
- Emily Dickinson


Tuesday, July 09, 2002
 
Michael Jackson and the Music Industry
Call me a cynic, but I wasn't really buying Michael Jackson's rant the other day about the recording industry is racist. I do believe they conspire to milk ever dime possible from musicians and customers without adding much to the process. They are equal opportunity offenders, they want to screw us all. Add to that all the stories about how long it took MJ to record his album and how much was unusable, it looks like a clear case of sour grapes. The problem was I kept listening and while I still haven't been convinced it's racial, I do suspect there is an industry effort to discredit his statements. Last night on CNN Headline news there was a entertainment news piece that in essence said he had gone over cliff and was insane, though they were careful to not use such words the tone and intent were clear. The other television news stories seem to have promoted this story as an over the bend story as well. Additionally, Adam Curry relates an interesting ancedote about the music industry he had heard a few years ago which provides some background supporting indirectly some of MJ experiences with the labels.

Sour grapes? Perhaps, but maybe there is something more to this story, worth keeping an eye on at the very least.

POSTSCRIPT: Metafilter is discussing it as, worth a quick read.

 
More on Blogrolling
I updated again the blogroll this week, this time to add some old friends, who have been blogging the last couple of months. It was tough to include them because defining our friendship is difficult, because we share some similar spiritual beliefs, but we all follow different paths. Same and different. Most of their blogs tend more towards dream journals, though it slowly has been changing. It felt like something was missing on my blogroll without including them so I came up with a new category Soul Bloggers, cause they are all about DA LOVE. So it's good to have you blogging my friends.
 
New Browser Feature Needed
The next step in the browser development is, one should be able to print a single posting from a weblog. Granted alot of my stuff is short form, but I got to thinking sometimes I look at an article and think that looks like a great read for the metro over to the meeting. Printing out a month or weeks worth of posts for one long form essays is a pain and waste. I think it would be fairly simple operation to incorporate to the browsers just right click on the post id and then in the scroll menu under print page, you second have a second menu option of print post. (or heck maybe a palm program that allows you to load specific posts to your PDA) Just a random thought...
 
Don't you hate staff meetings? Especially when the head mucky-muck has been out of the office for the last month or two and wants to figure out what's going on? Like anyone knows? Have a fun morning folks.
Monday, July 08, 2002
 
Things I learned this weekend...
Long weekend and I learned alot, well if I remember the lessons of this weekend.

Lesson #1 - In summer in DC, always make a tee time reservation. Otherwise you spend a good chunk of time sitting on your butt!

Lesson #2 - On the golf cart follow directions It says on the little sign keep your hands and feet inside the cart at all times...they are not kidding folks, it's necessary. Take it from me, AKA The Gimp.

Lesson #3 - While eating Sea Urchin Roe may impress your sushi chef, it still tastes like poo! Bad side of being willing to try new and different things, sometime you find the most disgusting foods on earth.

I hope everyone elses weekend was fun I spent way too much time indoors due to nasty twisted ankle while on the golf course Friday afternoon. I did eventually hobble out to Nouveau East for sushi. It has a good staff and great eats, although a little pricey. I highly recommend the Oily Tuna and I highly recommend you avoid Sea Urchin Roe.
 
PromoGuy's Monday Mission 2.27
1. Have you had to repair anything lately? Did you do it yourself or have someone else do it?
Watches, I used to work in a watch repair shop and working with the little gizmos is kinda fun for me, so I do the odd repair work for people, mostly just replacing batteries, but I am working my way up to a full repair bench eventually.

2. Do you work out or exercise? Or is there anything you do each day for your health? I work out at the gym about 3 times a week. Otherwise I do take a multivitamin, otherwise I don't pay too much attention to such things, I'd rather just enjoy life...

3. Are you a modest person? That is, would you be embarrassed for someone (an acquaintance, a friend, a stranger) to see you nude? What are you implying? Trying for a little blackmail, eh? The only thing you will get with those pictures is people screaming and running away in horror, ummm not that there are pictures or anything. Ummmm nice weather we have been having no?

4. Some smells that I just can not stand are bags of grass clippings that have sat in the hot sun for a few days, burned hair and vomit (although, thankfully, I have not had to smell them all at the same time). What are some odors that you just can not stand to smell? Air conditioning, I get sick out it all the time, the certain ozone smell or something...I just wish I lived in a climate where it wasn't really necessary.

5. Are there any social situations that make you uncomfortable? Answering dumb questions in public...(kidding)

6. Has a friend or an employer ever asked you to do something you felt was unethical or? What was it and what happened? Nope, not that I can think of...besides I burned the tapes.

7. (continued) Well, we are not yet at our destination, though the way you described it, it sounds simply amazing. What is the first thing we should do once we get there? After a long trans-atlantic flight take a day or two adjust to the time difference before we hit the road for travels. Although I try to land near a city I like so I can get comfortable before facing the unknown.

BONUS: In this whole world, what is fair? My immediate response to this word is my family's rote response "Life is not fair, get over it" but since you want to know what is fair rather than asking if "Is Life fair?", I pondered it a bit more.

According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary...
Main Entry: fair
Function: adjective
Etymology: Middle English fager, fair, from Old English fæger; akin to Old High German fagar beautiful
Date: before 12th century
1 : pleasing to the eye or mind especially because of fresh, charming, or flawless quality
2 : superficially pleasing : SPECIOUS (she trusted his fair promises)
3 a : CLEAN, PURE (fair sparkling water) b : CLEAR, LEGIBLE
4 : not stormy or foul : FINE (fair weather)
5 : AMPLE (a fair estate)
6 a : marked by impartiality and honesty : free from self-interest, prejudice, or favoritism (a very fair person to do business with) b (1) : conforming with the established rules : ALLOWED (2) : consonant with merit or importance : DUE (a fair share) c : open to legitimate pursuit, attack, or ridicule (fair game)
7 a : PROMISING, LIKELY (in a fair way to win) b : favorable to a ship's course (a fair wind)
8 archaic : free of obstacles
9 : not dark : BLOND
10 : sufficient but not ample : ADEQUATE (a fair understanding of the work)
11 : being such to the utmost : UTTER (a fair treat to watch him -- New Republic)

So really to use it as a term of justice is a late or more modern usage not really related to it's orginal purpose. So now you know what is fair.



 
Friday Five
Okay, so it's Monday, but I have a busy morning so later I'll tell all about the weekend.

1. Where are you right now? Work

2. What have you lost recently? My swing, I think I need Bagger Vance's help.

3. What was the first CD you ever purchased? That's an easy one, The Miracle by Queen bought hmmm about 13 years ago last Wednesday. I got a CD player for my birthday that year and went out and bought that CD, it was high on the charts at the time. I still have it somewhere, I should give it a listen, it's a good album.

4. What is your favorite kind of writing pen? Since I am left-handed any pen that the ink dries very quickly, which generally means it's a very fine point. Other than that I don't care.

5. What is your favorite ice cream flavor? Really rich Vanilla like a French Vanilla either homemade or custard. Yum in fact I have been having a craving for it for the last two weeks.
Wednesday, July 03, 2002
 
My brother pointed out this site, it a nice memorial for Officers Chestnut and Gibson who died on July 24th, 1998. While I didn't know Officer Chestnut all that well, I did know John Gibson. He had a great sense of humor and if not for his sacrifice many of my friends and coworkers would not be alive today. People throw around the term hero a lot but in his case it was true.
 
Two for Tuesday, but Wait this is Wednesday
Regardless I checked my inbox this morning and found an email with a poem from the fire in Arizona, so we have two poems this week.

Jim Littlepage, Fire Chief of Forest Lakes Fire District, wrote a poem the
morning after the threat to his community had passed. His reference in
the poem to the "Devils Hand" refers to the topography of the rim country
immediately east of the community of Forest Lakes, an extremely
complicated and difficult community to protect from fire. The poem goes
as follows:



FIRE FIGHTER SOLDIERS OF RODEO-CHEDISKI

Marching in groups, tools in hand.
Trucks and dozers across the land.
Birds and planes fill the sky.
Today's the day, fire, time to die.

Command group here, plans are made.
Support is ready, the tracks are laid.
Take it to the enemy in the Devil's hand.
All are ready to protect this land.

All working as a team, hand in hand.
Our mission to protect America's land.
Our goal to battle this man made hell.
All to succeed, our story to tell.

Blazing trees, smoke filled sky.
Take it to the Devil, time to die.
At the days end you will pass the test.
God is with you, you will be blessed.

 
Poetry Wednesday
One of my favorite songs...

Home
If I woke up one morning with my memory gone,
I'd pick out some clothes and I'd put them on,
And walk down the street, and find a cafe,
I'd order a Guinness, and I'd sit there all day.
Then some kids would come in and start a fuss
About how great their weekend in New Orleans was
Then I'd look down and smile, like their tale was my own,
And I'd open my eyes, and I'd know I was home,
Where my friends are, even when I'm not.
I wish you were here.
And then it would rain, like it sometimes does,
If we were bored that wouldn't bother us.
We'd just get in the car and drive though the night,
And get lost in East Texas, but no one would mind
Because we'd find our way home, like we always do.
Funny how the time flies in our youth,
But with darkness approaching, we'll all grow close
In the place we'll call heaven
But for now, we'll just call it home
Where my friends are, even when I'm not.
I wish you were here.
I'll see you-- at home.
Just in my case replace New Orleans with Laughlin and East Texas with Northern Arizona and then it fits. The song is by Deep Blue Something.
Tuesday, July 02, 2002
 
A musicans view on mp3s and music sales, well worth the read. I don't think I had heard of Janis Ian before today, but suddenly I have the urge to go buy an album or three of her music. We need to support Artists like this who are willing to speak out. (Thanks Derek)
 
Jen's What's Worse...
Since the comments section on blogger is out to lunch...

What's worse?
Having to take a youngun to a bad kiddy movie, because taking your gf to a chick flick wins you points and lead to a fun night afterwards. (There is a Catholic priest joke in there but I just won't make it)

Getting sick on vacation, you can always take time off work and they have to pay you...vacation is your time.

Getting caught by your parents having sex or catching your parents having sex....let's move on to the next one.

Toothpaste and then orange juice or toothpaste and then red wine - OJ because it ain't got that zing.

Getting stung once by a bee or being bit 10 times by mosquitos, mosquoitos, one sting you can ignore 10 little stings that you ned to scratch will drive you mad.

wet bathing suit full of sand then sitting in a hot car or getting caught in the rain and having to sit in arctic air conditioning. Bathing suit....the smell of buring flesh is sick...

Running out of toliet paper or having your snack bar shut-down Running out of toilet paper no doubt.



 
Fun IM conversations...


A friend, let's call her B: I am dying of restlessness
Thomas: are you?
Thomas: well don't go outside it's ugly
B: i can't, i'm at work anyways
Thomas: I got out of work most of the morning, but I think I am actually going to have to get things done today
Thomas: ready for darts tonight?
B: i was. i'm in a bad mood now. kind of sucks.
B: I am so tempted to go home early
Thomas: do I hear that cold that has been going around in your voice ;-)
B: heh
B: god, i'm so tempted
B: but i can't
Thomas: why not?
B: i'm already in enough trouble at work
B: this guy is kicking my ass in dominoes, man
Thomas: heh
Thomas: enough trouble at work and boy is this guy kicking my butt at dominoes
Thomas: hahahahahahaahah
B: oh, shush, there's no one around


and someone wonders why they are in trouble at work?
 
Summer in the City and the Return of Fantasy Football
So I had to run an errand and made my way up to the Capitol and all the signs point to the fact that it's summer season in DC.

Robocop was chewing out some poor intern over jaywalking a light at a closed intersection.

The interns are out in force, damn I am getting old.

You can tell it's an out of session week, because staffers are dressed in casual clothes, and will stop and chat with you rather than a quick nod and perhaps passing "Let's have lunch next week"

The tourists are in force, get over to the right side of the escalator before I kill ya!

The air has become that unique mixture of petroleum, swamp, and oven blast furnace.

The last sign of summer, Fantasy Football draft magazines have hit the newsstand. The countdown begins until the beginning of football. While yes this does sound a tad obsessive two months out remember this the month of August is generally shot to hell for Fantasy League planning so you need to roughly set it up in the next month, especially considering the season is starting Thursday, September 5th, rather than the normal Friday or Saturday afternoon draft before the season starts. My intention is to play in an Arizona League and a DC League, the DC league will be the tough one though because the usual Commisioner is working an election campaign and while he has committed to playing, I may have to organize the league this year....always a thanksless task. Interested in either league let me know.
 
From the Arizona Republic:
A taxiing America West Airlines flight was recalled to its Miami gate Monday and its two pilots arrested on charges of operating an airplane while intoxicated.
And there are people in this country that want to give the pilots guns? I have no problem with legal gun ownership, but flying a plane is not the time to have guns around. For this and many other good reasons.


Monday, July 01, 2002
 
Thomas is...
My name is really too common for this but I did it anyways. I put "Thomas is" into Google and came up with the following results (from Allura):

Thomas is an edited and abridged form of the Lukan version.
Thomas is directly dependent not on the four canonical Gospels, but on some conflation of them that had already been composed in Greek.
Thomas is fully aware of his condition, he shows a courage and resilience that is not often found in anyone.
Thomas is an attractive, residential community with outstanding schools and city government.
Thomas is the third generation of his family to follow an artistic career.
Thomas Is New CEO
Thomas is bolder, confident - outside court
Thomas is on his game, taking balls and pulverizing strikes, there are few more dangerous hitters in the game.
Thomas is widely regarded as a major poet
Thomas is a popular star.
Thomas is probably best treated as a climber and contained on a wall, fence, or pillar.
Thomas is gonna stop confounding with his whimsy?
Thomas is renovated and occupied.
Thomas is indeed a treasure discovery for travelers
Thomas is reading him aloud, slowly, hitting every vowel and consonant, and worrying about what it all means later.
Thomas is a merchandising phenomenon that includes small wooden train sets, video tapes, books, clothing, and even a web site.
Thomas is moving!
Thomas is usually associated with a sacramental cup
Thomas is quick, sure, and provides the satisfaction of knowing you've selected the perfect gift item that will be forever memorable.
Thomas is Happening
Thomas is Arthur C. Clarke's Technical Advisor.
Thomas is America's most widely syndicated op-ed columnist. (Well not quite yet)
Thomas is one of the most talented and influential artist's in the acoustic music business today.
Thomas is also Registered Pharmacist; a Psychologist; a teacher of cardiopulmonary pharmacology and alternative medicines; an alcohol and drug abuse counselor; an author; an actor; a gallery artist; a music director and record producer, a Ph.D. in Music, and one of the finest singer-songwriter, acoustic guitarists in the world.
Thomas is another catchy blues tune that sticks with you long after the performance ends.
Thomas is a private institution committed to the liberal arts and to the religious, ethical and intellectual traditions.
Thomas is blues
Thomas is the one who is least generally known.
Thomas is Dead.
Thomas is in desperate need of help.
Thomas is UH’s secret weapon.
Thomas is no stranger to the David and Goliath challenge ahead.
Thomas is involved in gambling.
Thomas is made up of 114 sayings with no narrative framework
Thomas is a man and a myth
Thomas is misunderstood
Thomas is on his way
 
My boss is out of the office, it's very quiet because of the short week, so what did I just do....update my Blogroll. Off to accomplish some resembling work.
 
Monday Mission 2.26
1. In the United States of America, it was recently ruled that the phrase "one nation under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance is unconstitutional. Do you agree with this ruling? Should the phrase "under God" be removed? Why?
I go back and forth on this issue. At school growing up no one was ever forced to say it if they didn't want to make the pledge and there was no pressure. At the same time I realize the phrase was added to the pledge later. Honestly I think it's people obsessing over small issues which don't really matter. A game far too often played in America than confronting issues that matter.

2. When was the last time you took a road trip? Where did you go and what did you do? Probably last summer a buddy and I drove from New York to Maine for the weekend and met a bunch of friends at his parents house on the ocean. It's a great place and we are discussing going up again next month.

3. Do you have any vacations planned for this summer? Already gone? Where to and what? I will probably get away for a week in August, as much as I'd love it to be Europe, I dunno I suspect it will be elsewhere either Oregon or Arizona.

4. What is the most drastic change to your appearance that you have ever made? Are you brave enough to post a photo? The most drastic change to my appearance that I made was growing a beard and I walk around with it everday, I ponder shaving it off in the heat of the summer, but since I have had it almost 3 years I'll probably just leave it.

5. Tell me about something to which you are committed? My friends.

6. Now tell me about something you just flat-out gave up on. Working at an embassy, I had a real interest when I was younger, but I don't think I'd really want to now. I don't even mean it for safety reasons, rather that I know so many folks who have gone through the process, know enough folks who work for State and I don't think it would be an environment I would enjoy. Perhaps it's unfair assessment since I am on the outside, but that is how I feel about it anymore.

7. (new saga) I've had it, this place is just wearing me out. You too? We need a break! Let's head out and go someplace new. You make the plans, I'll get things ready. So what do you have it mind, and did you want me to pick up anything special to pack for the trip? Pack light, no more than a backpack it's summer time to wander through Europe through the hostels and enjoy the travels. Oh yeah except I need to renew my passport.

BONUS: Where is my hairbrush? Go see the man with the Afro, I think he borrowed it.

 
Radio and Stale Leftovers
Have you noticed something happening increasingly in the radio industry, stale leftovers. I mean by that rebroadcasting old clips of the a program as a "Best of", which is often ridiculous because of the low quality of the programs to begin with. I don't even mean to slam a specific radio show by this statement, because I have noticed alot of stations doing it. I understand what I think the radio station think they gain by hosting such programs, such as no extra staffing requirements, no playing with the schedule, but I think they don't understand what they lose when they do such programming. For instance generally when the morning or evening host goes on vacation another senior DJ or a young up and coming DJ would play this time slot, it gave the DJ better exposure for their own show, as well making them stretch and grow their talents. At the same time in that new open spot one of the low level staffers who had an interest in being a DJ was the chance to get their feet wet and gain alittle on air experience. All and all it never seemed to cost the station that much and when they did it provided a great learning opportunity. And to be perfectly frank with some programs like the Jack Diamond show, I think the shows overall quality improved, okay I did make a specific dig, sorry. We listen to the radio for a human dimension while trying to wake up on a Monday morning, not to listen to a bunch of reruns, if I want want reruns I'll watch network television.
Saturday, June 29, 2002
 
Weblog panel
Yesterday The Idler presented their panel at the National Press Club "Inside the Blogsphere: The Weblog Phenomenon". While it was disappointing that there were alot of last minute cancellations, which had a definite impact on the discussion, the Bloggers in the audience seemed to balance out the experience and make for a thoughtful event.

The speakers were:
Dennis Loy Johnson, Mobylives.com
Doug McLennan, Artsjournal.com
James Taranto, "Best of the Web," OpinionJournal.com
John Hiler, Microcontent News
Johsua Micah Marshall, TalkingPointsMemo.com
Alice Goldfarb Marquis, The-Idler.com

The panel did discuss a lot of points in the previous discussion at AFF, but I think the Idler event was not adorned by this notion that blogs are only to be used by journalists and pundits. The panelists and audience made it clear that this was a personal experience and that personal passion drove this medium.

There were certain words that seemed to resonant throughout the panel. Words like conversation and passion came up over and over again instilling that there is dissatisfaction with the mainstream media. For it's very passionless view of the world, that while American press works toward an idealized "veil of objectivity" that leaves them sounding very bland in form. Also that modern media has a very broadcast only tone and that blogs open writers (of all kinds) to more of a conversation element in their work.

Some of the more traditional media in the audience seemed to be bothered by the fact that there is no "permission to speak" required to post to weblogs. I found the point of view amusing because of their own dependence on the first amendment to protect their own right to speak without permission. The traditional media also had concerns over people publishing hate material and the like, and what is to prevent people from taking such material as the truth. Bloggers countered with the idea that the market place of ideas would win out. Bad sources of information would be ignored or chastised for their errors. That techniques such as googlebombs potentially help protect the ignorant. But ultimately, from the bloggers perspective it's up to the reader to have a critical perspective. As James Taranto noted just because a book is in print doesn't make it true either giving the example of the book released in France claiming September 11th was a government plot.

If there was a major disappointment on the program besides the no shows, it would be that there were no true 'old school' bloggers as Mike noted to me. For while John Hiler has gained a lot of exposure in his blogging, he would be the first to admit he has only been doing this for a few months. Likewise while James Taranto has had a long history with computers and technology, he came to the panel with more of a traditional media perspective. Perhaps having someone who has been doing this for a number of years before the tools were mainstream would have added another dimension to the panel.

The program had it's flaws, but like a weblog they were plainly evident, perhaps that is why it made the frank discussion during the question and answer session was more valuable than the presentations themselves, akin to the comments section on a blog.

Other thoughts on the panel
Mike's view
TLeeve's view
Corante Bottomline's view
Combustible Boy's view w/pictures

PS - Did anyone ever discover why Josh Marshall didn't make the panel? Did he just skip out of the event or was there a problem? I can understand plane trouble from the other participants, but not attending as a speaker without explanation is bad form, especially from someone local.

PPS - The reason I mention very little of John Hiler's prepared remarks is I arrived late.

A minor correction: Mr. Hiler, heh (sorry panel joke) makes a correction or two, while he has only been blogging for a few months for Microcontent, he was blogging before that.
Friday, June 28, 2002
 
Clear Channel Communications Inc.the nation's leading radio broadcaster, defended its business practices Thursday, saying it had no accounting issues or irregularities.
You know I think I agree with this report, because payola, music play lists, and monoploy tendencies, excuse me market share leader...are just a normal day at the office for them.
 
Damn, maybe I should just stay at work Lileks and the Professor will both miss today's panel.
 
Expect the normal insanity of postings here at Bear Droppings until Noonish when I am off to the Blogging event at the Press Club.
 
This site has some great background material on the fires in the Southwest. Although they list the fire at 409,000 acres, I have heard that is yesterday's numbers and the current number is closer to 417,000, but I don't have outside confirmation. The Daily Sun has some good coverage and even better photos the most telling perhaps the picture of the prescribed burn area and how that helped control the fire. The Desert Pundit is asked a question on why the Arizona Republic has not mentioned how much of tribal forest land was burn and the resulting economic impact, while the Repulsive is ducking this story the Daily Sun has noticed it.
Finally the fire quote of the day is from a friend who reports the following
One of our firefighters just came back last night (after being switched out with another one of ours)"Try to imagine flames 200 ft high coming straight at you, embers falling on you, and propane tanks landing like hail around you"
And this guy spent the last week working 18-20 hours a day, so be sure to give these guys thanks if you get the chance.
Thursday, June 27, 2002
 
All I can say from last night is Hookahpundit see BeingJenRaj later for more details...too much work this morning check back this afternoon.
Wednesday, June 26, 2002
 
How hot is the fire in Arizona?

Hot enough to melt a road? Yes

Hot enough to melt a car? Yes

How about a group of cars? Yes

They are starting to contain it, but it's a long ways from over. (Thanks to Tastes Like Chicken for the car picture)


 
My newest favorite blog, why the PoohPundit of course, he is "The New York Times of the bearbloggers".
 
You know I think I like Crookdimwit's Cliff Notes posting style more than his regular posts. (Just kidding Matt)
 
Poetry Wednesday
For Poetry Wednesday I wanted a poem to remind people of the firefighters working so hard out in Arizona, this isn't quite right, but considering what the weather is like in DC today, I suppose it will due.

Fire and Ice
Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I've tasted of desire
I hold with those who favour fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice. - Robert Frost





Tuesday, June 25, 2002
 
Lunchtime Thoughts
I am downstairs grabbing lunch and noticing there is no place to sit. I think for a minute and decide to sit outside if it's not too bad. So while it is hot, humid, and you are basically breath pure smog, once I sat in the shade it wasn't really all that terrible. Especially with a bit of Jazz from the deli and the breeze occasionally sneaking around the corner. So I am feeling very good about myself as I eat my salad (at least until I decide it needs some company like a bunch of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups later on).

Pondering lifes ponderables, okay so another year ring in the tree is just about due, another round of mortality, and the age old question of humanity facing me, no not the question about the dryer and the missing sock. The other question so what the hell am I doing? In a funny way I am starting to find the answer, as I started thinking about tech and politics and how they interrelate, I do understand it alot more than I did three years ago when I got started. I even have gotten my blog going and while I am not the Professor, I have been pleased with where it has gone so far. But the more I follow the more I figure out I need to learn, I officially am part of the Small Pieces blog, but it's like a graduate degree course on philosophy, not that I am complaining, I enjoy it, but it makes have material to post all the more challenging, because I can't really post drivel like this there.

Thinking too much I suppose, old bad habit. But I am trying to set my next steps, which entail furthering my education, a decent paycheck, and global domination a little happiness. What order is the next question....we shall see, all of this was formed thinking about a friend's simple question in a recent email. I haven't seen them in a while and we have been out of touch. He asked how I am doing.

I think I'll just say I am fine, not great, but learning along the way. And perhaps a more detailed answer is on file with the building supervisor's office here at Bear Droppings.
 
Government Efficiency
As many of you know, I used to work for the government. When I left I told the new system admin give my account 2-3 months then pull the account and I set all my email to automatically forward to my Yahoo email address. In August, I have been working my new job for nearly 2 years and yet I still get email occasional from that account, for the first year it was event and coalition emails, now a days most folks have cleaned their lists, so it's sale announcements and the odd business group.

By the way Land's End has a big summer sale evidently...(yes the account is still running...I'd tell them to fix it, but I just am amazed and wonder how long it will continue)
 
But sometimes that's just the way the Jell-O judicates. Don't expect me explain, go see Jim Treacher.
 
Please be sure to rewind your DVD...
Nothing like some monumental cluelessness to start off the day, enjoy. (From MiFi)
 
Update from Arizona
330,000 acres by 11 p.m. Monday. That's 517 square miles -- an area bigger than Los Angeles. At least 375 homes destroyed, but none destroyed Monday.
That's right folks, bigger than L.A. and while they have had some success protecting Show Low so far they still have no containment. The Daily Sun also has an interesting Editorial on stopping the finger pointing and fixing the forests.
Monday, June 24, 2002
 
So I told you I am participating in the Blogathon, but something has come up, a buddy of mine is having a party in New York that same day, so I got to thinking, I know he has a wireless access and a cable modem at his place. He emailed me saying I could use his machine, so guess what I am pondering...Live from New York it's Bear Droppings
There are plenty of internet cafes in New York and wireless access ports. And the city never sleeps...I am seriously pondering this, what do you think?
 
John Ellis has a great column over at Fast Company on why Yahoo has seriously screwed up. Well worth the read.

He also mentions the following on his blog, which is very relevent to my friends and readers who use hotmail.
If you are someone who has a Microsoft "Hotmail" e-mail account, you may not be aware that Microsoft is "sharing" your personal profile data. If you would like Microsoft not to share your personal profile data, take the following steps:

1. Go to your Hotmail Account.
2. Click on "Options," which is on the menu bar above your incoming email messages.
3. Click on "Personal Profile."
4. Scroll to the bottom and you will see that MSN has added two new boxes, pre-checked, that allow your personal info to be shared.
5. Uncheck them and click on update at the bottom.


 
I have been meaning to point this out, but never got around to it, Rapmaster and JenRaj take my write up of the AFF panel and the issue of blogging and it's meaning to a whole 'nother level, so check it out.
 
Monday Mission 2.25
1. Do you wear glasses/contact lenses? If so would you consider going through Lasik surgery? I don't currently wear glasses, never have needed them, but I have noticed my eyes getting worse, partly due to age and partly due to working at a computer all day so it will probably only be a matter of time. In regards of Lasik, I don't know if I ever would, a buddy of mine had it done and loved the results, though his wife got sick of him always bragging about his vision afterwards. After thought, I read Cunning Prose and she reminded me of my only real concern about Lasik is we don't really know the long-term effects as of yet, do we?
2. Did you ever have to wear braces? How are your teeth? I never had a need for braces and only a few minor fillings over the years, now a days my teeth are stained due to smoking and coffee.

3. What (if any) recent movies have moved you emotionally? Which one and how so? I was going to say no, but after some thought I realized I was wrong, I saw Say Anything the other day scenes reminded me of different moments in my life.

4. I visited my dear Mema in the managed care facility Sunday and while she is doing well, I was sad for her. Living out your final days/years someplace like that seems so lonely to me. Would you rather live the remainder of your golden years in a rest home, or pass away before it came to that? Die before it comes to that and with my family history that is likely what will transpire, heart attack quick and simple, in my sleep I hope.

5. Sometimes, but not nearly often enough, I will just stop and marvel at the amazing planet on which we live. The eco-system, life and death, nature, the perfect balance that keeps us alive, the universe, it can all be mind-boggling if you let your mind get carried away. What natural creation or phenomenon just flat-out leaves you with a sense of wonder? So many things, here's a few...
Love, that instant click.
The fact that we have enough information to destroy all life, but do we have wisdom to save ourselves?
Suicide bombers, what drives people to think that act will benefit a political agenda.
The Internet, the power of publishing it puts into peoples hands.
The Constitution, for all it's flaws, it's a rather unique document.

6. Have you ever been in a fist fight or a situation where you had to get physically violent with someone else? How did that come about? Any consequences? Only on a few rare occasions the last one was probably high school, someone had been trying to push my buttons and did it one last time when I was walking out of class one day, I had enough of it, I turned, grabbed him by his shirt slammed him against the door and said stop. He did.

7. Many times I look back in hindsight and think of how I should have handled a situation. Are there any recent happenings that you wish you would have handled differently? What happened and what do you wish you'd done? I don't know, not much of a point to such thoughts, I tend to be a hate my mistakes, but I try to learn from them, no point to dwelling on them.

BONUS: How far away can you go, and still be dancing with me? As long as we see that same moon rising in the night sky, there will always be enough room in the world to dance together. Even continents away carrying the music along in our hearts, in our souls...


 
One interesting story in the Wall Street Journal this morning is on the black market for Kinder chocolate. (I'd give a link to the story, but it's a pay per view site and I don't have account with them, so you will have to find a copy on your own) Basically there is a thriving market for these chocolates via the internet and people are asking them to be shipped into the states. Why would a chocolate be illegal? Well these eggs have a chocolate outer core and then inside the egg a little toy, the toys are too small and children could choke on them so the government wants to protect you from being an idiot so they won't let these eggs be sold in America. It's sad too because the chocolate is pretty tasty, I get them once or twice a year when friends bring them over from Europe. The toys are very cool, not unlike Cracker Jack toys. In fact, I think it's time to email a friend who is over in Germany right now and order contraband....anyone want some chocolate?
 
Rodeo Fire
The national press is starting to give coverage to the Rodeo fire out in Arizona, but I got to wondering, how it compared to the Hyman fire in Colorado. The current Forest Service estimate is the Hyman fire is 137,000 acres, while the Rodeo fire has burned 300,000 acres so more than double the size. The Forest Service has some pictures of the fire here. I was in contact with a friend works for a Arizona fire department that had sent people to the fire and he had heard the following from a professional fire fighter who has been doing this for 10 years or so
"It's incredible, I've never seen anything like this."
He had another quote from someone who has
been fighting forest fires for 20 plus years.
"The fire kicked our butts today"
His own personal opinion on the matter was "They are screwed". So the basic facts are the fire isn't contained and it may not be anytime soon. The Arizona Republic has a lot of coverage available on the their website.

POSTSCRIPT: Desert Pundit discusses the fire as well and some of it's economic impact.


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