Wednesday, December 31, 2003

I am appalled

At this one.. really I'm speechless. I mean I'm sitting very near two or three almanacs at this very moment. Does this make me a "person of interest?"

Monday, December 29, 2003

Welcome back.. to this crap

One of our computers has become infected with a spyware toolbar calling itself "yeaeaxoshss" I can't find any info on it and I can't get rid of it. Anyone got any ideas?

Wednesday, December 24, 2003

Oh one more thing

I trust everyone is tracking Santa.

The good thing is no one can slap me.

Merry Christmas, all you movie houses out there!

Or, as they say on the east coast, Mèrry Christmas!

Or, in Svergie, God Jul!

Or, in N.O. Pass the erster dressing!

note: None of the oyster dressing recipes I googled looks anything like my mom's. I assume none of them is anywhere near as good.

Safire this Morning

Is engaged in a bit of self serving fantasy around the possibility of Dean running as a third party candidate should he somehow not end up as the Democratic nominee. This is plausible given the amount of sniping going on between Dean and the DLC people but still not something I'd place anywhere near the realm of the likely. What I find truly amusing about all of this is Safire's fear of what a three way race may bring:

That split of opposition would be a bonanza for Bush. In a two-man race, the odds are that he would beat Dean comfortably, but in a three-party race, Bush would surely waltz in with the greatest of ease.

Here's my problem: Such a lopsided, hubris-inducing result would be bad for Bush, bad for the G.O.P., bad for the country. Landslides lead to tyrannous majorities and big trouble.

In other words, Safire is concerned that a decisive victory for Bush (indeed an actual victory would be a departure from 2000) would bestow on him a license to govern with even more arrogance and imperiousness than he has demonstrated to this point. Stuff that sugarplumb in your stocking and dream about it for a while. Really, what more can he do? Invade Holland?

Tuesday, December 23, 2003

Good Thing I Got That Spicy Tofu Recipe

Mad Cow found in Washington State. The USDA spokepeson on TV took great pains to assure us all that this is not a terrorist related event. Boy do I feel better now.

Closing ranks

Last week the heretofore moribund 9/11 investigation picked up a little steam when it's chairman indicated that the commission's report may paint a less than glowing picture of the Bush administration's efforts at preventing the tragedy. Not surprisingly, this week the Bush people have stepped up their stonewalling of the investigation.

Even Your Beer is Watching You

In their report, the Swiss team talk about a future where computer chips, remote sensors or radio transponders are scaled down to microscopic size and built into just about anything.

You could have a pint glass that sends a signal for a refill when it is empty.

Is Kaczynski's shack still available?

story here

Monday, December 22, 2003


..consumer products you can take with you

thanks, Carol, that was good and creepy.


This morning's Nashville Tennessean ran a feature on Sunday's top NFL statistical performances. Aaron Brooks' 296 passing yards qualified him for the feature. The paper printed his statistics next to the beaming mug shot of... Jeff Blake. The guys at the paper must have figured any black guy who once played QB for the Saints would suffice. Good grief.

On the road

One day. 531.95 miles.

Three quick notes:

1) Every state is pretty much the same thing... if you judge them solely by their welcome centers. Well landscaped, replete with complementary coffee, colorful brochures promoting benign familly attractions, and a "pet area."

2) Oh except Alabama whose welcome center features a stone slightly reminiscent of Roy's Rock which reads, "We Dare Defend Our Rights."

3) Dammit, I have only seen snow once in 1989, and it doesn't look like I'm going to see any now. What the hell did I come up here for anyway?

Sunday, December 21, 2003

And you had to ask

Q: Jeffrey, tell us again why you identify so closely with Cubs and Red Sox fans.

A: I grew up in New Orleans

Yes, John. It's real. You are a Saint.

Thursday, December 18, 2003

What, you mean we still have a Bill of Rights?

NEW YORK (CNN) -- In a setback to the Bush administration's anti-terrorism policies, a federal appeals court ruled Thursday that the president does not have the power to detain an American citizen seized on U.S. soil as an enemy combatant.

If this goes to the Supremes, then I don't know if the ruling will hold up. But for now, it's good news. No one should be denied due process simply at the whim of the President.

story here

More importantly, will he cooperate with a true-crime book project?

NEWARK, N.J. -- The lawyer for a nurse who claims to have killed as many as 40 patients with drug overdoses says his client won't help authorities investigate the cases unless they agree not to seek the death penalty.

Read more here

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

Tiresome People

Via Political Wire:

In what we may call a perfect pairing, one of our time's most annoying egotists has endorsed the Democratic primary's biggest phony.

Wow.. really spewing the venom that time... sorry won't happen again.

Yeah, Good Luck, Guys

In a city not much known for political activism... or waking up before noon... or motivation for doing anything much that does not revolve around food and/or drink, (although not necessarily in that order) there arises a clandestine cabal of bright eyed crusaders seeking to free us from the clutches of one of the most powerful matriarchs of the local political gentry. Will someone please take their time machine to five minutes ago and let me know when this is over.

Which Historical Lunatic Are You?
From the fecund loins of Rum and Monkey.

Thanks again, Caligula

Another One I Don't Have to Read

Ricky on The Da Vinci Code:

I continue to read this tripe and want to throw it across the room just as I turn the page.

In my opinion, there is no higher literary form than that of the negative book/film/theater review. Does this make me a mean person?

By the way, if you're in Louisiana and you're not reading Timshel then, man, I really gotta wonder.

I should also mention that the most prolific book reviewer I know liked this book.

Monday, December 15, 2003

This is getting old.. but ok I'll play

George W. Bush is such a miserable failure that we may even consider him unelectable. These folks also seem to think that the miserable failure, George W. Bush, is unelectable as well.

I really don't feel so bad about having Etouffé either

The Queen's representative in Canada will issue an official apology for the Crown's decision to expel the Acadians from Nova Scotia in 1755.

James Gill on apologizing for history: Apologizing for misdeeds long ago is all the rage these days. Well, Her Majesty can lock me up in the Tower if she wants to, but I say that this is not only sublimely pointless but a craven surrender to the forces of political correctness.

It is also presumptuous to apologize on behalf of guys who have been six feet under for a couple of centuries. Maybe they wouldn't be the least bit sorry. Regardless, nobody alive today has any reason to take responsibility. It's history. Get over it.

While we're at it, I also feel pretty bad about that whole sacking of Rome thing. Sorry.
Signed, Society of Modern Visigoths

Hillary Rumor Resurfaces

For those of you who don't think Dean is a flawed enough candidate, ponder this.

Memory Hole

NY Times opines this morning: Though the Hussein regime ended with the fall of Baghdad on April 9, many frustrating puzzles remain. These include the question of what happened to Iraq's unconventional weapons programs in recent years and what was going on in that shadowed regime in the last weeks before the war, when the Iraqi leader seemed reluctant to take steps that might have stayed the president's hand.


AP report from Nov 7: BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - Saddam Hussein personally initiated an attempt to reach a last-minute deal with Washington to avoid the U.S.-led invasion that ended with the ouster of his regime, an official of the former Iraqi government confirmed Friday.
On Thursday a Lebanese-American businessman who said he acted as a go-between between Iraqi officials the Bush administration described how the Iraqis had offered to allow U.S. agents to search for weapons of mass destruction and promised oil contracts for U.S. companies in an attempt to stave off the March 20 invasion.

Sunday, December 14, 2003

From the TV Movie of the Week Plotline Department

WASHINGTON -- A 78-year-old retired Los Angeles schoolteacher said she is breaking decades of silence to announce that she is the mixed-race daughter, born out of wedlock, of the late Strom Thurmond, the longtime Republican senator from South Carolina who was once the nation's leading segregationist.

Story here

Even Your Car May Be Watching You

The UK wants to use satellites to track and bill every motorist in Britain for using the roads.

Can't Buy Happiness

It turns out that the Saints have the NFL's highest payroll this season. This does not bode well for Haslett's future.

Saturday, December 13, 2003

Right so I'm not a Geek at all, really.

G! dpu s: a- C+ U-- P? L- E? W++ N- O-- K? w O? MV? PS+++ PE-- Y+ PGP? !t !5 !X !R tv+ b++ DI+ !D G- e* h-- r- y+

Thank you so much for bringing this to my attention.

Thursday, December 11, 2003


Final in 30 minutes. Preparing to go into heavy Bullshit mode.

Pure Drivel.. Merry Christmas

Ms. Bling Bling just finished yet another of her impenetrable recitations of grievances which included a glossing over of the phrase "time is money." Of course this put me in mind of this stupid old joke which I found on the Engineering Joke Page.
Theorem: Engineers and scientists will never make as much money as business executives.
Proof Postulate 1: Knowledge is Power.
Postulate 2: Time is Money. As every engineer knows, Work = Power/Time Since Knowledge = Power, and Time = Money, we get; Work =Knowledge/Money Solving for money, we find Work =Money/Knowledge Thus, as Knowledge approaches zero, Money approaches infinity regardless of the Work done.
Conclusion: The Less you Know, the More you Make.

Yes yes very cute, but since it's the holidays, I thought this might be more appropriate.

SANTA CLAUS: An Engineer's Perspective

I. There are approximately two billion children (persons under 18) in the world. However, since Santa does not visit children of Muslim, Hindu, Jewish or Buddhist religions, this reduces the workload for Christmas night to 15% of the total, or 378 million (according to the Population Reference Bureau).

At an average (census) rate of 3.5 children per household, that comes to 108 million homes, presuming that there is at least one good child in each.

II. Santa has about 31 hours of Christmas to work with, thanks to the different time zones and the rotation of the earth, assuming he travels east to west (which seems logical). This works out to 967.7 visits per second.
This is to say that for each Christian household with a good child, Santa has around 1/1000th of a second to park the sleigh, hop out, jump down the chimney, fill the stockings, distribute the remaining presents under the tree, eat whatever snacks have been left for him, get back up the chimney, jump into the sleigh and get on to the next house.
Assuming that each of these 108 million stops is evenly distributed around the earth (which, of course, we know to be false, but will accept for the purposes of our calculations), we are now talking about 0. 78 miles per household; a total trip of 75.5 million miles, not counting bathroom stops or breaks.
This means Santa's sleigh is moving at 650 miles per second --- 3,000 times the speed of sound. For purposes of comparison, the fastest man-made vehicle, the Ulysses space probe, moves at a poky 27.4 miles per second, and a conventional reindeer can run (at best) 15 miles per hour.

III. The payload of the sleigh adds another interesting element. Assuming that each child gets nothing more than a medium sized Lego set (two pounds), the sleigh is carrying over 500 thousand tons, not counting Santa himself. On land, a conventional reindeer can pull no more than 300 pounds. Even granting that the "flying" reindeer could pull ten times the normal amount, the job can't be done with eight or even nine of them --- Santa would need 360,000 of them. This increases the payload, not counting the weight of the sleigh, another 54,000 tons, or roughly seven times the weight of the Queen Elizabeth (the ship, not the monarch).

IV. 600,000 tons travelling at 650 miles per second crates enormous air resistance --- this would heat up the reindeer in the same fashion as a spacecraft re-entering the earth's atmosphere. The lead pair of reindeer would absorb 14.3 quintillion joules of energy per second each. In short, they would burst into flames almost instantaneously, exposing the reindeer behind them and creating deafening sonic booms in their wake. The entire reindeer team would be vaporised within 4.26 thousandths of a second, or right about the time Santa reached the fifth house on his trip.
Not that it matters, however, since Santa, as a result of accelerating from a dead stop to 650 m.p.s. in .001 seconds, would be subjected to centrifugal forces of 17,500 g's. A 250 pound Santa (which seems ludicrously slim) would be pinned to the back of the sleigh by 4,315, 015 pounds of force, instantly crushing his bones and organs and reducing him to a quivering blob of pink goo.

V. Therefore, if Santa did exist, he's dead now.

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

Coincidence of the Day

Daisy discovers Union Supermarket at the same time as Gambit.

More on Dean

Aaron this morning:

I spent most of the debate squinting very hard at Dean and trying not to see the face of George McGovern. The parallels between now and 1972 are frightening: a populist Democrat rides in and scoops up the nomination against an extremely weak field, and then charges out with his young, idealistic followers to do battle with a criminally insane, wartime Republican president...and gets crushed. Stomped. Annihilated. Loses 49 states. Including his own

As I've said before, I am myself feeling the pessimism. It's really sad too because the theiving bastards need to go and how!

Back to Life

Now that it has been decided that the Gore endorsement has all but officially annointed Howard Dean as the Democratic nominee before even one vote has been cast, the press can get back to covering politics the way it wants, as a benign horse race. From this point on, expect mainstream campaign reporting to consist of 1) fund raising statistics, 2) poll numbers, and 3) the candidate's personalities. It began during last night's debate when atrios counted 19 questions before anything relevant to policy was touched upon. Reporters are happy in this realm because they get to put on the air of cynical newshounds chasing the "real story" behind the election which they consider to be the machinations of fund raisers, party managers, pollsters etc. Avoiding any serious analysis of the issues is also the easiest way for reporters to avoid the appearance of bias. And, of course, by focusing on the candidates' image/temperament/wardrobe/favorite food we can turn the campaign into the reality show that everyone wants to watch anyway.
The good news, for me at least, is that now I get to cast my irrelevant Louisiana primary vote for Kucinich the angry elf without reservation.

Tuesday, December 09, 2003

Molly Ivins on Dean

I know, he's even less of a liberal than Bill Clinton was, but I don't think Dean is a moderate centrist. I think he's a fighting centrist. And folks, I think we have got ourselves a winner here.

I like the "fighting centrist" tag but I'm less confident in the "winner" thing. Dean is nowhere near as smooth as Clinton. He doesn't always handle tough questions gracefully, he tends to waffle on issues far more clumsily than Clinton ever did, and his TV persona often reminds me of Bob Dole. I'm not trying to rain on anyone's parade here. Dean's presence has made the Democratic primary worth watching. Without him, I don't think the other candidates would have been able to challenge Bush as boldly as they have this early. Clearly someone had to take the fight to Bush in 2004 and I hope Dean is up to it. I do have my doubts though.

Read Molly's column

It's a very special time of year

Take a good look at these guys
No, really look at them. What? What do they want? What is the deal with those knowing sugary grins? Much like these guys, I have been stuffed full of marshmallow goo myself on more occasions than I am willing to admit and yet I don't recall reaching the same level of evil bliss that they seem to have attained. Try to avoid them if you can. And for God's sake whatever you do, do not buy two dozen of them and place them on display in a winter village you created for them out of cotton balls, miniature christmas trees, and ceramic gazeebos. This is clearly insane, and will cause the little marshmallow people to haunt your nightmares.

Monday, December 08, 2003

Geaux to hell, BCS

I know, I know, your soon to be National Champion LSU Tigers should be facing USC in the Sugar Bowl. Instead, they have to play a team that couldn't even win its own conference.
Don't worry, there is enough justice in the world to sort this all out. Michigan is, in my opinion, a better team than USC. They should win the Rose Bowl leaving the Tigers on top after they take care of business on Jan 4. Remember you heard it here first.
Ahem We conspicuously ignore my uncanny ability to make incorrect predictions.

Hands on Buzzers

Ok everyone it's time once again to play America's favorite game.. Which Cheesy Author's Publicity Mugshot Is More Deserving of a Slap in the Face?

Today's contest pits challenger Nancy Taylor Rosenberg against all time champion, Nora Roberts.

I have to watch these guys cross the circ desk all day long. As you can see, they both need to be smacked real bad.... but one of them wants it more. Who will it be? Vote now.

Tuesday, December 02, 2003

And of Course I Have to Keep This Going

I found it on atrios today. Again, I'm always the last person to learn anything. Enough people have linked the words miserable failure to the president's bio that it is the first result of a google search.
Ha Ha George w Bush. What a miserable failure.

At Least It Wasn't John Goodman

This has apparently been settled for a while now but it's news to me today. Will Ferrell as Ignatius Riley. I know this whole project is destined for disaster regardless but for what it's worth, I think Ferrell has the ability to handle the cartoonish boisterousness (word?) of the role, but I don't know if he'll get the necessary degree of pathetic sadness. Filming begins this spring. Two questions: 1) Does anyone have a better candidate for this role? 2)Should they even be making this movie?

Update: I was really really doubtful about this film until I read this in an article about the director David Gordon Greene.

Grasping for a way to break through to this obviously talented but misguided child, a teacher told him he was in a rut and gave him "Dunces" and said: "Here's a prestigious book that has your sensibility." He was 15. He loved it. He has read it over and over, picking it up and doing 50 pages from the middle at random. (Only Gabriel Garcia Marquez's "One Hundred Years of Solitude" has also touched him this way.)

These are two of my all time favorite books. The guy can't be all that bad.

Currently on Display @ Your Library

The actual bare surface of my desk. This rare exhibit is certain to have a very short running time. Get your tickets now.

Monday, December 01, 2003

I'd move to Antarctica but the Penguins Might have Cameras.

Jesus check this out. Is your sweater watching you?

The generic name for this technology is RFID, which stands for radio frequency identification. RFID tags are miniscule microchips, which already have shrunk to half the size of a grain of sand. They listen for a radio query and respond by transmitting their unique ID code. Most RFID tags have no batteries: They use the power from the initial radio signal to transmit their response.

Too depressed to comment