Bear Droppings
Wednesday, July 31, 2002
 
Thought for the day - "Humanity has advanced, when it has advanced, not because it has been sober, responsible, and cautious, but because it has been playful, rebellious, and immature." - Tom Robbins
 
And when you are done with that scrub the toilets...
I always like the idea that any CEO worth his salt should be willing to spend at least a week out of the ivory tower of corporate headquarters a year and down in the trenches sweating and working their butts off. Not even just the CEO I think it would do well for all CXO positions. It would give them an insight to the stupid policies and levels of bad bureaucracy that can exist even in the best of companies. It also is a great step to making the corporate culture more accountable and human.

Now PBS has a series of CEOs spending a week doing just that, I believe the concept is based on a British show. I am not a big fan of television, but it looks like something worth watching. (Thanks to Tastes Like Chicken, it also looks like I missed it I hope they rebroadcast the program)
 
Poetry Wednesday
A bit of Billy Joel...

Piano Man
It's nine o'clock on a Saturday
The regular crowd shuffles in
There's an old man sitting next to me
Making love to his tonic and gin

He says, "Son can you play me a memory
I'm not really sure how it goes
But it's sad and it's sweet
And I knew it complete
When I wore a younger man's clothes"

Sing us a song you're the piano man
Sing us a song tonight
Well we're all in the mood for a melody
And you've got us feeling alright

Now John at the bar is a friend of mine
He gets me my drinks for free
And he's quick with a joke or to light up your smoke
But there's someplace that he'd rather be

He says, "Bill, I believe this is killing me"
As a smile ran away from his face
"Well, I'm sure that I could be a movie star
If I could get out of this place"

Now Paul is a real estate novelist
Who never had time for a wife
And he's talking with Davy, who's still in the Navy
And probably will be for life

And the waitress is practicing politics
As the businessmen slowly get stoned
Yes they're sharing a drink they call loneliness
But it's better than drinking alone

Sing us a song you're the piano man
Sing us a song tonight
Well we're all in the mood for a melody
And you've got us feeling alright

It's a pretty good crowd for a Saturday
And the manager gives me a smile
'Cause he knows that it's me they've been coming to see
To forget about life for a while

And the piano sounds like a carnival
And the microphone smells like a beer
And they sit at the bar and put bread in my jar
And say "Man what are you doing here?"

Sing us a song you're the piano man
Sing us a song tonight
Well we're all in the mood for a melody
And you've got us feeling alright

 
Elvis, er Traficant has Left the Building
Slate has a few pages filled with nothing but political cartoons on Traficant, I think the first few pages are best but it's nice fairwell as JimmyT heads off to a federal pen in the Midwest.
Tuesday, July 30, 2002
 
Traficant Sentenced to Eight Years
Not really a surprise, since he was convicted and if he serves all 8 years he will be 69 when he is released from prison, not accounting for good behaviour of course. Although he hasn't helped the probation folks any so the chances of him serving a full term have been increased.
 
Interesting followup to the Slashdot article on the DRM hearing at Department of Commerce by Richard Stallman. If you have been following the topic it is definately worth a read.

Postscript: It must be the day for updates after the DRM hearing New Yorker's for Fair Use have an article in Linux Journal as well. It's a fairly accurate write up and gives more of the background to their appearance at the event.
 
Artemis Records and Time for Credit to Where it's Due
I am rather concerned about the treatment of the Music Industry to it's customers and have no problems complaining when they treat us like baby calves waiting for the slaughter. But for all my complaining, I think it's fair to highlight when someone does the right thing and that as customers we should support those labels trying to be good citizens. I was more than a little concerned that Artemis Records might follow down the path of unreadable CDs for computers as they had a distribution deal with Sony. I was so concerned that I held off purchasing Warren Zevon's new album My Ride's Here until I heard back from the record label that they wouldn't have such measures on the CD. I believed their reply and bought the CD.

Now I am glad I did. Artemis records has decided to wave fees for webcasting music for the next year. I think that's a great idea, it shows real leadership. In the statement of why they took that action
"We're a small company with a lot of music that doesn't get played on commercial radio," Artemis Chief Executive Danny Goldberg said. "I appreciate the Webcaster. In terms of the future, the diversity they offer is valuable to a label like ours. I wanted to make a gesture of support."
Yes, it is inherently in their self-interest, but they have enough long-term vision to recognize the potential of webcasting and support it. So think about supporting them and their artists. I know I will be trying.
 
RIAA writes bill to support hacking of p2p services (peer to peer, think Napster for those non tech).

Someone in the Internet community hacks RIAA website with DOS attack

Hilarity ensues.

I don't think it will do their political cause that much good, but I do rather admire the humor of the whole idea.
 
I'm Gunna Tell, I'm Gunna Tell...
sound juvenile? So does today's press coverage about Traficant. He evidently went on Imus' show yesterday and cursed, it got caught by censors for the radio show but not for the MSNBC broadcast, what a shame I couldn't watch. But even funnier was the media coverage...
Ousted Congressman Uses Swear Word
and
Ousted Congressman Uses Profanity
The man has been kicked out of Congress and is going to jail you really are surprised by the fact that he's not bothered by using fowl language, have you ever read a speech by the man? And if I was Traficant I probably be thinking what are they going to do to me? Add another month on to my sentence? How much you want to bet the authors of the piece have said the words Traficant used at least once in a semi-public environment in the last month, better than even I'd bet you. Grow up guys, go report something real.
Monday, July 29, 2002
 
I just signed up for my first fantasy football league for the Fall. I am getting excited only 5 weeks until football is back. Speaking of which I need to get working on my Arizona league. Are you an Arizonian? Interested in Fantasy Football? Join us! Heck join us if you're not and you are just a regular reader.
 
I'm back at the office, we have a webcast and a few other things going on today so I am actually busy. Besides after being online for a full day I was alittle burned out. The train ride back was fine, I walked from the apartment down to Penn Station, it was nice to get a feel for the place and relative distances. I tend to best know an area if I have walked it, while the morning was grey and humid it did a good job of finishing off my bodies morning energy so I could take a good nap on the ride back to DC. That's all for now, but before I go...

PromoGuy's Monday Mission 2.30
1. What is your favorite snack food? Does anyone you know have weird tastes in snacks?
I don't eat much snack food, I naturally not a thin person so I try not to worse the effect by eating snack foods. If I do have a favorite it would be pistachos or maybe pickle garlic, which the later is definately weird and I completely blame on a college professor of mine. But I don't eat it all the time, honest...stop staring.

2. Ever caught yourself saying "well it can't get any worse" and it does? What's the story there? A good buddy of mine and I long ago gave up saying that phrase because it always it always can and will get worse. One day he helped me go to a lumber yard to get some word for my loft in college. As we returned it started rain, then pouring down rain, he said "Well it can't get any worse". Then the hail started pounding the truck, so hard in fact he had to pull over to the side of the road. Then he said, "Well it can't get any worse" we got back to the dorms and my roommate asked if we had heard the reports of the tornado funnel cloud a few miles away, I turned looked at him with a look of NEVER, EVER say it again. I think that was the last time we used that phrase.

3. I have a super-short attention span, and it always was my downfall in school, especially math class. What's your attention span like and how has it served you? Huh, what? where am I? It varies to the subject and my level of interest. If it is something I have an interest in I can focus deeply otherwise I become a space cadet.

4. Do you believe in the existence of extra-terrestrials?
Step 1 - Go to the middle of nowhere at least two hour drive from a major population center
Step 2 - Wait until night fall
Step 3 - Look up and count the stars
Step 4 - When you give up realizing the millions of other stars in existance, stop. Just ponder that if there is life here, with that many possible outcomes there is life elsewhere.
Step 5 - Enjoy the night watching the stars or else go home and back to your normal life.

5. What do you think of the whole "crop circles" phenomenon? Probably bored college kids, but you never know, do you?

6. Ever had a time where you begin visiting with someone you don't know all that well and just find you "click" like long lost pals? Tell me about how that came to happen, and who was it? What kind of things do you have in common? One warm summer night four friends sat at a table just off Capitol Hill at a local bar, we had a great time just talking and hanging out, all at the exact same moment in our lives, it was great fun and at that instant we seemed like life long friends. The miles and people have spread not unlike time since that day, one of us moving far away and eventually returning, another off on a campaign job, we don't see each other all that often, but that evening sitting out in the summer night we were the best of friends.

7. When I was at the cemetery a few weeks ago, I began to recall my Dad's funeral so many years ago. It is so vivid, sitting there in the family room as his friends passed by and paid their respects, the music, his face, the tears. What funeral do you remember most vividly? I have been thinking about two funerals while I was in college. Two of my closest friends lost their fathers only about a year apart. It's been on my mind alot lately, more than I care to admitt.



Sunday, July 28, 2002
 
Last Post Blogathon
As I type my last blogathon entry I think about how for last hour or so I have pondered how did I do? would I do this again? what purpose did it serve?

I think my paricipation did do a little good about the awareness of Vital Ground, at the very least in the blogging community. I was also able to raise $115 for the organization.

The way I did the blogathon was mixed, while I liked the fact I was in New York City which made internet cafes, restaurants, and finding them at odd hours easily accessable. I was not pleased with the way things work for the party, I felt I kinda missed out on some of the community atmosphere that others were experiencing during the event. I know that the community part was not necessarily a requirement for participating, but I wish I had been able to join in more.

So would I do it again next year? I think so, I have friends in the last year who have made me aware of various issues that need more attention and money, as this program builds over the years it will bring a unique personal voice to these issues. What's next for me a quick nap and then take a train home. But come back by Bear Droppings, we will leave the light on for you.

And to the sponsors, thanks for your help again. I may have stayed awake, but it's your effort that truely helped mine and all the blogathoner's efforts!

 
30 minutes more...almost home.
 
still awake....i'd go down to the internet cafe all thi started for my last couple of posts, but they don't open on Sunday's until noon.
 
Held off on the shower...nothing on tv at the moment and MI2 is over.
 
Pondering a shower to help me stay awake, still watch MI2
 
I'm awake...still watching MI2
 
No sunrise this morning, grey skies hide the approach of the growing daylight.
 
The sky is alittle lighter...not yet morning, but I can tell it's coming....I'm watching MI2 on tv...but my concentration is down. Just a few hours more.
 
I have been pondering... what to post....i don't have much. I am awake.
 
The Scene:
Apartment in Lower East side of Manhatten, in the living room sits to figures at either end of a long couch. One person types semi-deligently, if not mad rants into a computer. At the other end of the couch a sitting figure snores softly. Bad old episodes of Saturday Night Live play on the large screen tv, with volume so low that the typist strains to hear the television set.

That about sums up this moment...
 
Masks we wear to hide the soul,
Strip away artifice
Showing the world
Our true face
Inner animal
But shall we also reveal
our inner grace,
compassion
for the world and yourself?
 
Thanks Reemul for the sponsorship!

Transplant Blues
Some birds can't fly
Some cats can't dance,
Some people just don't get the fair chance.

Life is what it is,
Now is what we know,
Tomorrow is a dream and may never go,

We play the cards we are dealt
Drawing a lucky card,
It fates smiles on you.

Live these days,
enjoy the transplant blues,
cause old friend, this ole world ain't the same without you.
 
Yes, I am posting bad poetry fast and loose as it enters my mind, based on people's blogs and what they are writing about. It occupies time and keeps me from counting the minutes until I can go to sleep.
 
Chocolate prostitution
fires my thoughts
love of the sweet
or sweetness of love
that draws them together
faded in the memory
of that one perfect night.
 
Zel shivers in the cool summer air
Falls promise of return
Whispers in the early morning sky...

Stroll through the garden
yields morning dew
and fullness of summer foilage.
 
Dancing the night away
Our cares fade into the night
Ritual of dance carries on
Generations find their own path anew

The answers are merely fleeting in a moment,
Their salvation lasts within our souls
To be earned in the rythym
but only to be understood
in due time.
Saturday, July 27, 2002
 
All the guests have left, the clean up is underway. And I can finally hear again...ah for small joys.
 
Why do folks seem to need to continue to blast music after a party has run it's course and is ending? To demostrate they are still partying hard? Maybe a vain hope the party will build back up? I don't understand it...
 
It's amazing what a good double expresso's effect will have on the human body. I felt better after the first sip. :-)
 
Well the party is on it's death spiral I suspect which means longer posts and I can start chatting on IM to stay awake which I think I will need everyone's help. Going to take a walk to find some coffee....
 
~Tainted love you given~
 
The downward slide of the party has begun...but the madness continues on...fun to watch at the very least. ~Jungle Boogie~
 
~She's a brick house~
 
Party continues on getting tired? I am. At least it's loud, noisy, and crazy to keep me occupied.
 
I got cornered into a wonderful political discussion where someone wanted to lecture me on an issue that he and I had already discussed and don't see eye to eye. Frankly I told him once was enough and got up and walked out the room. Blame it on being tired, but I am just tired of people assuming anything about me based on their preconcieved political labels and my past work experience. Blind partisanship just for the sake of partisanship bores me and so I don't put up with it. Besides I don't think Middle East will be resolved anytime soon anyways...

Otherwise the party is at it's height and I am having a good time.
 
9 more hours...
 
While I enjoyed talking to the two lovely ladies, when I buddy starts hitting on a married woman...it's time to find another place to be at the party.
 
Sorry I haven't been updating but when two beautiful women demand you make them marqaritas and then more well I gentleman simply cannot deny. Having fun...stopping drinking, except caffiene.
 
Okay, the party is in full swing...the percentages are a bit more even...no pictures posted yet....but the night is young ;-)
 
the party builds and just like every other guy in the room...I can't help but think..um dude, so when will the women get here?
 
I just realized we are more than half way home...we'll make folks...
 
um...not that this will surprise long time friends, but I really suck at darts...
 
Lost at darts...now I am out the party is slowly warming up. Not much else to report...

 
Playing darts at the moment and enjoying the cheese plate...the power of cheese...yum
 
I just had my first yawn...the struggle begins *chuckle*
 
Back from the bar...a surprise visitor from Germany...he so shocked a non-stop talking friend, that he hasn't said a word in 5 minutes...I shocked by his silence...perhaps pleased
 
This is a hilarous picture go check it out...from a fellow blogathoner....
 
Hey who ever posted a $20 donation to my efforts unnamed, thanks I appreciate it.
 
Thanks to Dave for this post...





What Type of Villain are You?

mutedfaith.com /
<º>


 
Back again to post....but pondering staying for the next post as well just to be sure to be sober enough to stay awake and active all night, it would be good to burn out this early.
 
Back from McSorley's to let some friends in to the apartment and post to the blog...naturally. It's a cool little bar, I hadn't ever been to a bar that old in America before. Alot of character from the way it is run, to the gear on the walls, and the beer is tasty as well. They bring you two half-pint glasses at a time. Sawdust covers the floor so the idea of ashtrays is a bit removed. A lot of character...back for another round.
 
Hmmm mass folks are arriving so it looks like the party is getting started early, we are off to McSorley's for the beer and cigars before the party begins officially. In other words, the madness officially begins now...
 
Playing darts...not doing that bad considering how much I don't play that often.
 
still doing party preparations...listening music, and drooling over this camera of Don's friend Kevin and pictures should be live at a fairly current rate from his website once the party begins.
 
Back...they really had plenty of beer but we got some Warsteiner, McSorley's, napkins, and ice. Next stop McSorley's bar for a pint before the party.
 
still watching Apocalypse Now...oh and making a beer run...
 
Apocalypse Now Redux is HBO and we continue party preparations...not much else to tell. The party is a house-warming party for a friend who just moved up to New York. Nice digs, the building is the site of the Former Filmore East where Springsteen and alot of other folks once played.
 
Back from Strand bookstore. Ever been?

If you are a booknut like me, I highly recommend you must pay it a visit...the toughest part of the whole store was pulling myself out of their to come back and post my update. 8 miles of books. 8 miles and I believe it too. One of the more interesting things they offer is reviewer's edition of books for half price. I didn't pickup them...there are far too many to browse and I had to get back to a computer.

Nearly forgot, I picked up the following...Bruce Sterling's Holy Fire, James Crumley's The Last Good Kiss, and The Next Fifty Years: Science in the First Half of the Twenty-First Century.
 
Well the guys went off to the cheese shop to get food for the party I am thinking about heading out myself to a used bookstore The Strand.
 
Chatting with friends, discussing the music for tonight's big party...

Renee you would love the music we are selecting, loads of 80s and 70s.
 
Back...over at my secret NY headquarters...from one window I have a great view of the Empire State Building. I do enjoy my New Yorks when the occur, there is a full force experience of walking through New York. If you walk determined and sure you'll make it fine even if you have no clue where you are going, which was the case as I was looking for lunch. The experience in New York always reminds me it's an assault on all the sense at once smell, feel, sight, and taste. Not even necessarily in bad way just omniprescent and doesn't let you forget it's there.
 
Zel asked me a question so now I have my next post material thanks!

If you could be a character in a book. Who and Why?

I'll pick a book from growing up and one that I read now. I forget the exact name but there was this book series I always liked as a kid about too kids at a boarding school (I want to say in Canada) that always got into lots of trouble and having great adventures, really running the school in a way behind scenes. I had always liked the idea.

Of the things I am reading now I would like to be character out of an Alan Furst novel. I have been reading through his books over the last few years and love the stories and the time he talks about mostly set during and right before the break out of World War 2 in Europe.

Off to find an ATM and some food....

 
Poetry Saturday
Every Wednesday I post a poem just to raise my soul in the middle of the work week. I may try to publish a few over the course of the day, partially as Zel's effort to have a poetry contest during the blogathon. But I just discover this little gem when I went to use the restroom on a sign about the toilet.

If you sprinkle,
when you tinkle,
please be neat,
and raise the seat.


Just the kind of silly nonsense I needed after my last post.
 
Well a whole lot of the fun of the blogathon just went out the window. I had been waiting on hearing results for a friend's operation. An old buddy of mine had been up for an operation for cancer, with the results far worse than first predicted. Looks like a simple surgery won't solve it he will have to go through Chemotherepy.
 
Friday, er Saturday Five
How long have you had a weblog?
November of 2001, but I wanted to get started around January of '01, but I was working out some hosting questions.

What was your first post about? A brief description of me and what I wanted to do with the blog.

How many changes (name, location, etc.) of your weblog have there been, if more than one? None yet, but in the Fall there will likely be a major renovation and a move to hosting on bears.org.

What CMS (content management system) do you use? Do you like it or do you want to try something else? Blogger and it works, I have no major complaints, yes it gets buggy from time to time but considering it's free...I ain't complaining...althought with the site redesign I'll likely be changing systems, right now Greymatter has the lead on being the new system.

Do you read people who have both a journal and a weblog? Or do you prefer to read people who have all of their writing in one central place? I tend to hope that people have it in one place, but I have been known to read when folks seperate them, the only thing is then invariable I only read one on a regular basis.

 
Just kinda chillin at the moment reading through my Blogroll catching up with some of my favorite sites....among them especially go read Wake Me Up on Interrobang or whatever Dave is calling his blog today as he is a fellow blogathoner and for a lawyer a pretty good guy.

Only one complaint about the web2zone they have these Star Trek chairs at each computer and I keep for getting about the headrest so everytime I lean back....as when I review a post before publishing, my shoulder brushes against it and I suddenly jump thinking...damn it who is reading over my shoulder...
 
It's pretty quiet here at web2zone, where I am blogging at for the moment there are 2 staffers on duty and 3 other customers. It's a pretty modern internet cafe/game center. They evidently host gaming fests as their big money maker. In fact, since it's dead right now I had a killer deal on the internet access for the time being. I'd go back to the NY secret headquarters, but everyone is still dead from their night of drinking and the coffee is fine here, so I'll be here for alittle while.
 
For my friends from Arizona...still no update.
 
A few words about Vital Ground. I chose to pick Vital Ground as my charity for a number of reasons. As you can tell by the name of the blog I like bears. They are amazing creatures, especially to me the Kermode bear of British Columbia. I hope to make it up there someday and see them in person. I have known the folks who run bears.org for nearly 7 years and while that site tries to preserve accurate beliefs from various cultures about bears. At the same time the site tries to promote awareness of the conservation efforts around the world. When I decided to do the blogathon I wanted to sponsor an organization reflective of the spirit of the bears.org site, so that made Vital Ground an easy choice.

On top of that I loved the show Growing Up Grizzly and the work of Bart the Bear. So it's fun to be able to have a charity that has a heart, a big ole grizzly heart. So donate, because Vital Ground helps ensure that bears have the room they need so they can thrive, without getting into people's way.


 
Coffee and donut and internet access....the world is a good place...
 
Live From New York It's Saturday Night, um er Morning...
Live From New York it's Bear Droppings with your host Thomas Vincent coming to you live from web2zone just around the corner from New York University.

Starring....New York City and a cast of millions....would you believe thousands.....okay Thomas, Zippy the Chimp and whoever run into today.

Anyways...I made it safely up to New York City and to my friends apartment. The last of their weekend visitors to arrive a day early got in at 12:30 and they all promptly went out to hit the bars and if not for the fact I would have to spend the next 24 hours awake for the Blogathon I would have joined them. I did get to see what condition they were in at 4am as they woke me on their return. (Glad I didn't go or else I would be in a world of hurt right now) While they are sleeping off the effects from last nights fun I will be here at web2zone which is nicely just around the corner from my secret new york headquarters of the blogathon...(guess I already blew that secret no?) Good Morning fellow Blogggers and now to repeat a mantra that will be sure to be heard ad nosum today. I need coffee ;-)
 
okay....online...first post shortly...

(ps-if you think this post is late tough....the internet cafe didn't open until 9am)
Friday, July 26, 2002
 
Next Stop NYC...
I am finishing up details around the office and will be leaving shortly. I just chatted with my friends about how I will find their place once I get there the only minor issue remaining. I have no clue about the neighborhood where I am going, where exactly the building is except for an address and I have never been in this part of the city before. In other words, it's going to be fun, alittle spark of the unknown and I can't wait...have a good weekend. Oh and to my Arizona friends who may stop by, I have not heard anything as of yet.

And stop by tomorrow during the blogathon, because we will be open all 24 hours of the day, Yeah Baby!
 
Heading to New York this afternoon and tomorrow is the Blogathon. It will be fun wandering the city, so stop by and watch Thomas go insane trying to stay awake for 24 hours straight and donate money, lots of it! Because the good folks of Vital Ground are doing important work and need your help!
 
GoldMember Review: The Good, the Bad, and the Evil
Austin Powers returns in another Shagadelic experience...

The Good
The opening is great don't miss it, actually I think that applies for the movie as a whole. The cameos are fun especially Fred Savage's mole, er um I mean role. It's nearly as funny as the first two with the usual bunch of sight gags and silly humor that you would expect out of an Austin Powers movie. Mole.

The Bad
The editing was not very good many time a scene ends and you wonder why it happened wasn't there a bit more to it. Or a portion of the movie occurs with no story to back it up, granted though this is Austin Powers so I was not expecting Shakespeare, but it could have been edited better. And then the biggest disappointment was Foxxy Cleopatra. In the first two movies you had Elizabeth Hurley and Heather Graham and they owned their movies, they made it come alive, it just didn't work with Beyoncé Knowles. I think it would have been a lot better with Halle Berry in the role, she has the spark to make the movie come alive and would have done well with some of the kitsch of the part.

The Evil
All of the evil characters, who haven't managed to get killed off yet are back in the latest installment. Fat Bastard is great in his scenes, but even better is Scott Evil as he finds his roots. Goldmember was a silly character, but his skills were rather amusing.

I haven't gone into much detail, but I'd rather not ruin it for others. I paid full price at night and I didn't walk out feeling like I had wasted my money. But go in with the low expectations, this is the worst of the three Austin Powers movies, still a bad Austin Powers movie is better than any other comedy you may see this summer. Mole.

PS - I realized another reason why I don't like watching movies in theaters, 3 out of 5 trailers told you the entire plot of the movie while we were watching the previews. The positive side of this is now I know they have pretty bad plots and to avoid them.
Thursday, July 25, 2002
 
No Special Election to Replace Traficant
Ohio Gov. Bob Taft said he won't go through the expense of a special election for 17th district.

In other news, House admin wasted no time and Traficant's website has already been pulled from the web. I had a feeling they wouldn't take too long to do that. And it took less than 24 hours in fact.
 
Lex demostrates that while the squeeky wheel may get oil, it may not get the sort of attention that was sought in the first place. (Translation: Lex is fucking hilarious!)
 
Great article on telecom and it's future.
 
The greatest of sins in the modern world perhaps is apathy. That we don't listen and understand before actions are taken and that in our rush to judgement and action, we overlook the consquences of acts. Not that people are evil, not that companies always steal, nor governments corrupt. We just don't stop to think for a minute before people commit to actions with long term implications. So fight apathy. Or maybe I am just full of it.

Awwwww, Forget it.

(grin)

Seriously, though pay attention, listen, learn. (Yes I am talking to myself)
 
Many thanks to Renee for the pledge for the blogathon! Don't wait to the last minute folks, donate today! ;-)
 
M$ Evil, Still
Everyone who knows me knows, I have pretty strong feelings on why M$ is evil, Matt demostrates, yet another reason why.
 
Traficant Expelled or Check Out JimmyT's New Suit
Not surprisingly the House of Representatives voted to expel James Traficant from Congress last night. Perhaps the most interesting thing in last night's vote was who voted against Traficant's expulsion Representative Gary Condit. So while JimmyT is out of a job, unless he appeals in Cincinnati go well he may have to trade in his demin suits for prison stripes.

Fellow Ohioian Representive Steven LaTourette did propose putting off consideration of the matter until September 4th which would have give then appeal process some time, but that measure failed 146-285.

Think this is the end? Nope the Business Journal nicely explains how we may yet see Traficant elected back into Congress.
Ohio Gov. Bob Taft has said he will call a special election to fill the seat. Theoretically, Traficant, who is likely to be in prison, could be a candidate and win back his seat....

In the end, it may not be the end.


Wednesday, July 24, 2002
 
Capitol Hill Class Reunion
I went to a memorial service today and while it's definately that for the formal ceremony, the afterwards is always a bit like a class reunion. People catch up with those they haven't seen in a while. A bit of gossip is exchanged on whose dating, where people are working, and often how we are glad we are working less stressful jobs. Most folks do look more healthy than we did for years ago, but age is slowly creeping into people's faces.

But in reply to the question I get ask from time to time "Do I miss working on the Hill?"

No. I miss the wonderful govt ID, some of the better receptions, and occasional lobbyist ticket to a ballgame. I miss seeing some great people on a regular basis. But the job, the long hours, low pay, and high stress. It's gone and I am very glad for it.
 
Traficant Update
As regular readers know, Congressman James Traficant has been convicted of 10 federal felony counts and is awaiting sentencing. The man with his bad suits, funky hair, and outrageous speeches liven up an otherwise boring CSPAN broadcast of House congressional affairs. Today at 6pm the House of Representatives will meet and most likely expel him from Congress.

While there is the possiblity he may pull off the most brilliant defense in public forum ever. Bringing justice to the eyes of all those watching CSPAN and stunning them with his keen and unique insight to the modern state of America. I am more inclined to say he's fucked.

So in tribute to one of my favorite members of Congress, at least he still is while I type this post, a one minute speech that demostrates the humor and insight of Traficant. Beam Me Up!

ACCIDENTAL HOSPITAL DEATHS ARE HIGHER THAN ACCIDENTAL GUN DEATHS

June 26, 2000


Mr. Speaker, accidental deaths caused by doctors and hospitals in America reached 120,000 per year. Meanwhile, gun deaths have dropped 35 percent. In fact, accidental gun deaths dropped to 1,500 last year.

Think about it. We have got hospitals slicing and dicing American people like Freddie Kruger, and Congress is passing more gun laws. Beam me up. There is something wrong in America when one is 80 times more likely to be killed by a doctor than Smith & Wesson. Think about it, 80 to 1. Maybe we need a gun in surgery.

I yield back the fact that the second amendment was not written to cover just duck hunters.

Guilty? Probably.
Boring? Never! Congress won't be the same without James Traficant.


 
Poetry Wednesday
It's a rough week for some friends at there, just so they know that they are in my thoughts.

New Friends and Old Friends
Make new friends, but keep the old;
Those are silver, these are gold.
New-made friendships, like new wine,
Age will mellow and refine.
Friendships that have stood the test -
Time and change - are surely best;
Brow may wrinkle, hair grow gray,
Friendship never knows decay.
For 'mid old friends, tried and true,
Once more we our youth renew.
But old friends, alas! may die,
New friends must their place supply.
Cherish friendship in your breast-
New is good, but old is best;
Make new friends, but keep the old;
Those are silver, these are gold.
- Joseph Parry


Thanks to the Friendship page.
Tuesday, July 23, 2002
 
Dude, he's upside down...how did he do that.....or as Neo might say Whoa!
 
Handspring Visor
I love my little Handspring Visor, it's small enough to carry most anywhere and the 8megs memory while not huge, served my needs. In fact until today I had never had a memory issue. While loading everything available from Vindigo on New York City it suddenly had alittle trouble digesting that much information. I deleted a few programs I don't use anyways and BAM! I have a whole little tour book in my pocket. I used vindigo a few months ago in California, it was very handy to find a restaurant or a place for a tasty beverage. And since it's online it's generally more up to date than those print guides down at your local megabook store. The last positive and perhaps best is when your are flipping through your handheld, it's not so obvious you are a tourist than if you would be flipping through a guide book.
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?

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