Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Emminent Domain, Souter, and Just Desserts

Every bit of this protest to the High Court's emminent domain ruling is laudable and funny all at the same time. I hope that the credibility of the group attempting the move doesn't undermine the effort.

HyperActive Technologies

If you haven't checked out HyperActiveTechnologies.com, I heartily encourage you too. They sell this system that uses cameras and real-time sales data to optimize fast food production. Intelligent robotics is very cool technology.

What is Advertising?

Companies spend a lot of time and money on their advertising campaigns. From media research to budgeting to negotiations with publications to press releases, it's about getting your name and your products in print. Google, ever the innovator, has a different tack, and I'm not even sure it's a conscious move, but it sure it effective. In the last couple of days, we have heard about Google video search, as well as Google 3-D satellite mapping, and even a PayPal like Google service. In recent months, we've been introduced to a customizable Google portal as well as Google desktop search for enterprise.

I guess Google has decided why advertise when people will cover your new products religiously. Every time a new Google offering hits the market, Google News (the irony) picks up well over a hundred articles about it. And that translates to millions and millions of dollars worth of print advertising. Why bother to pay for advertising when the world is so in love with your products that they give you column inches if you so much as whisper about a new venture.

A lot of this stems from Google's culture, which is no surprise since it is many times culture that makes or breaks a business. I'm not sure how many of these ideas come directly from private employee projects (Google allots 20% of work time to whatever you want to work on), but certainly some of them do. And this means a steady stream of innovations that consumers and reporters alike are eager to gobble up.

On a related note, check out my Letter to the Editor in the Computer Reseller News (CRN). Lots of bad ideas for VARs to start making a buck off of the oracle. Unfortunately, its only in the magazine, and not online. Here is the text in full; the editor title it "Gaga for Google":

Dear Editor,

I think that Google has the potential to make a huge impact on the world, not to diminish what the fledgling company has already done. I think in ages hence, Google will be the oracle of our day, and I hope to see the Google API expanded and supported to further this goal.

There's certainly no lack of marketable commodities based on Google's
various offerings:

1. Data aggregation software that allows companies to track news coverage(to gauge marketing efforts). GUI-based, customizable, integrates with ERP, the works.

2. Applications that simplify Googling people for the purposes of background checks, or even that provide automated reports based on some simple data.

3. A Google News educational and children's addition, customizable.

4. Google consultancies that teach employees how to apply Google to their jobs.

5. Software that checks source code for its origins on Google, for anti-piracy and just origin tracing for its own sake.

6. Custom Google searches that monitor select sites and provide reports on certain subjects or just in general.

7. Gmail for enterprise -- it would certainly be better than this web-based Outlook.

8. A secure, private blogging environment for enterprise.

9. Applications for government including using Google to report on new and potentially illegal websites, or to use Google to aid in crime-fighting by taking data about various crimes and connecting the dots.

10. Extending Google and Froogle to help optimize sourcing/purchasing.

Andrew Johnson
Pittsburgh, PA

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Powered Up!

France will soon be home to the world's first Fusion Power Plant. The price tag, up to $10 Billion, $eem$ a $mall price to pay to resolve a global energy $hortage. And France, whose seemingly uncurable penis-envy encourages overpriced boondoggles heedless of cost, is happy to let their big d**ks flap in the wind on this one.

Though this project $eem$ nece$$ary to provide industry with $u$tainable energy, why not reduce domestic energy consumption with current (read: cheap) technology? We have the technology to build housing that contributes electricity to the grid, cars that go hundreds of miles to a gallon, and urban living options that encourage healthier, less car-intensive lifestyles. Perhaps reducing per-capita energy consumption doesn't $ufficiently $alve French pride like a fancy reactor, but we cheap Anglo-Saxons can't justify a MULTI-BILLION dollar expenditure on UNPROVEN specifications in the absence of a Space Race.

Fortunately, immediate spikes in fuel costs may have forced the English-speaking world to come to terms with poorly built homes, gas guzzling SUV's, and 45 mile commutes. We may very soon find a market-driven solution to our global energy crisis.

MIRACLE OF SCIENCE PRODUCES RECOMBINANT SEMI-PERSON

Even though I was promised flying cars in the future, I guess I'll take this visually jarring, next-best alternative. Jesse Sullivan, Tennessee native and human affront to God's divine plan, is the first person in the world to be fitted with bionic arms connected to his nerve endings which can be moved by the man's own thoughts. Now we're talkin' dystopia! On the bright side, Sullivan, who lost both arms in an electrical accident while working as a utility lineman, today can enjoy a better life with the help of his new state-of-the-art limbs. On the negative side, he's now charged with cleaning up the scum of Old Detroit as the future of law enforcement.

Upwardly Mobile

With Brad going into his second week as a Workin Man, Celanie moving off to grad school, and Andrew just finishing a website for a red-letter client, I was feeling a little stagnant. However, today I finally closed on a $2.1 million construction loan for a 7 unit, scattered site rehabilitation project. First round of drinks is on me.

The sky is blue, the world is bright, and all things are at peace tonight.

Monday, June 27, 2005

That's Phat

Being grotesquely overweight (ie: 400+ pounds on a 5' frame) has its downsides. Forced to buy additional seats on Southwest Airlines, demoralized by the end of 'Biggie Sizing' at McDonalds, and generally ostracized by a culture of the thin and beautiful, fat folks haven't really won a victory since the installation of moving walkways at Pittsburgh International Airport. Now, another blow to the cause: A new study sez Fat people cost insurance companies more.

It's only a matter of time before smokers have to pay a premium for their bad habit. I would argue that living on an 8-hour-a-day diet of TV Land, banana nut-fat milkshakes and Crisco-slathered Doritos is a life habit just as deserving of a sur-charge. I'm sure that, as obesity continues to attract policy-maker's attentions, the insurance companies dolling out millions a year sustaining Johnny Coronary's 14th set of kidneys will probably start charging extra for his larger-than-life habits.

Yet all is not bleak in the land of the Big. Those tired of abuse from jerks like me can always hang with the 700 (pound) club. Ba-Da Ching!

Posting at Work

It was a long week, there's no two ways about it. On top of a 40 page (not including the 40 pages of XLS's) analysis I had to complete for the Technocracy, I also spent a full-work week on HyperActive Technologies, which you can check out in the post below. All in all, from Monday to Sunday, it was a good 85 hours of work which, with about 42 hours of sleep and a lease signing that took the better part of forever, left me with a total of 36 hours for cooking, cleaning, West Wing, guitar, and debauchery. You can guess which of those fell by the wayside.

And so I sit here at work, with my feet dragging a little bit. Monday starts off a little tediously, with a staff meeting, some web updates I have to make, and a daily clip report. I usually try and get in early on Monday to get my normal chores out of the way before the 8am staff meeting that doesn't start until 8:20, but today I slept until 7pm and didn't even finish my bagel before the troops started marching to the rendezvous.

I figure I can get away with some ranting, since I didn't really have much me-time last week. Hopefully this week will be lighter, but since I have been working so much last week, and even the week before, I'm behind on an every-month duty which is going to keep me occupied a couple nights this week. But other than that, work should be some copywriting, including a client's new press kit, some web overhauls, maybe a little analysis, and a time to catch my breath.

If you called me for my birthday last week, thank you. If I didn't talk long, I apologize. If you didn't call, don't open any suspicious packages.

Playing in the background: Strawberry Fields Forever
Coffee status: warm enough to drink
Mood: tired but resolute
Status: disorganized

Friday, June 24, 2005

HyperActive Technologies

HyperActiveTechnologies.com is up and fully operational. Robots making hamburgers is cool. I like the green dot.

Tony Gets Burned

Tony Norman took the bait. In classic effort to obscure important issues by focusing on recapturing lost MORALS in this Godless land, the US House passed a bill to make flag burning a constitutional no no... and they did so by a 2/3 majority. Hurling bolts of Judgement from his seat at the right hand of God, Norman decried the stupidity of Congress focusing on burning flags. "I am HE who is called 'I AM'... er... damned Republicans, if only they were as patriotic as Tony Norman," screams Tony Norman.

Actually Tony, you should have written a column about Rummy getting burned in the Senate, which the Flag burning hullabaloo obscured. Thanks again Tony for adding to the noise.

Good bumper sticker on a car outside of the capitol in Hbg. "We're Rural, Not Stupid." Seems sort of akin to Cleveland marketing itself as "Sexy & Hip." Just because you say it, doesn't make it so... Stupid Hick.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Yankee Doodle Dandies

Who says romance in the workplace is a bad thing?

To Arms, To Arms

David Brooks, The NYTimes' token conservative, wrote a stirring call to arms for those Americans amongst us whom are losing the heart to fight in Iraq. His point is valid, his enthusiasm in expressing it freakish. Interestingly enough, Brooks breaks theme to quote FDR in this column, (ssshh) calling on truth and clarity from our government.

"Your government has unmistakable confidence in your ability to hear the worst, without flinching or losing heart. You must, in turn, have complete confidence that your government is keeping nothing from you except information that will help the enemy in his attempt to destroy us."


With that quote, Brooks gives a shout out to Joe Biden, who gives unvarnished reports of our 'progress' in Iraq. Quoting two Democrats, Brooks seems to be trying to say 'Quit being dishonest Bush, and tell us the truth.' But alas, those necessary words which might bring clarity to otherwise veiled criticism keep getting caught in his chicken-shit throat. Cheers to a shell of a Patriot, David Brooks.

Seig Heil, Neighbor

People living on Hitler Road in Circleville, Ohio, get cold shoulder from neighbors in Zionsville.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Buddy can you Spare a Dime?

Governor Ed Rendell announced that job growth is better in PA than in other states, making our unemployment lower than our neighbors. But the governor gave this announcement, throwing around tech-firm corporate welfare like candy and calling on increased economic diversity. While I can't argue against increased economic diversity, give credit where credit and tax breaks are due when it comes to posting job growth in PA.

US Steel Clairton Works is running over 100% capacity as US Steel sails into its third record-breaking year of profits. Consol Energy, Pgh's mining giant with annual revenues of $2.8 billion, was named one of America's most admired companies in 2005 by Fortune magazine as it sails into another year of record profits. A new coke battery is planned for Ebensburg, Cambria County, and potentially another coal-fired power plant at Hatfield's Ferry, Greene County. Good chance that PA job growth is derived from what has always driven this region: filthy, dirty Coal, and its bastard child Steel... which is arguably much cleaner than poverty, unemployment and want.

While Pennsylvania tries to dig itself out of 50 years of economic slump, it would be absurd for us to turn our backs on what has always sustained this region. Tech is a sexy, sleek and clean industry that we should nourish to diversify our economy, but Pennsylvania's coal and steel will always be a firm foundation. We need to figure out how to make our leading industries cleaner, with strategic tax breaks rather than fines. We need to figure out how to better support their growth in the region, and encourage spin-off industries to these powerful firms. All this might just boil down to less regulation and lower taxes, but it wouldn't hurt to start figuring out how to do it.


Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Monkey Incorporates Less Poop Into Art Than Warhol, Outsells Him

Congo, the artistically talented (just go with it.) chimp whose work has appeared in galleries and on TV since he first broke on the scene in the 1950's, had some of his abstract impressionist paintings sold at a London auction yesterday. Bidders passed on the Renoirs and Warhols, also on the block, while opting instead for the drawings of a confused, incarcerated primate that threw paint on a canvas in exchange for colored food pellets. The lucky winner (?), American Howard Hong, paid $26,352 for Congo's stuff, a princely sum for the life's work of an artist who slept in a tire swing and had a morbid fear of vacuum cleaners.

"Arbeit Macht Frie"

Other WWII related issues on this 60th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima & Nagasaki. The developer of the Heinz Lofts apparently wasnt aware that their large, wrought-iron "Heinz Lofts" sign spanning two rebuilt Victorian turrets of the former factory has a strong resemblence to the wrought-iron entry to Auschweitz.

Tasteless... whether that applies to them or me is up to you.

Smart, gorgeous, successful reporter talks about a colossal scandal or something

I may be a little bit in love right now. Bethany McLean, a great writer for Fortune Magazine, appeared on C-SPAN's "Q&A" interview program Sunday, discussing her reporting on the Enron meltdown and the new documentary based on a book she co-authored with another Fortune scribe. You can check out the article that started it all here. I'd really like to tell you more about the book, McLean's clarity as a writer, the superiority of this documentary versus the synthetic piece of crap which ran a couple years back on TV, but, I'd rather just make a cheap joke about some make-believe relationship we'll never have. It might go a li'l sumthin like this:

Me: "Bethany, before my parents come over, you think you could describe to me again how Enron managed to swindle shareholders and make a fiction of business ethics by overstating profits and spreading capital around to a variety of front companies, turning this Houston corporation into not only an abuser of the public trust but also a symbol of the hubris which pervaded the business climate of the late 90's and continues to affect investor behavior today?"

Bethany McLean: "Oh, just shut up and do me, loser."

Pandora's Box

For anyone who has ever heard of Gar Alperovitz, author of 'The Decision to Use the Bomb,' Tony Norman's article about the bombing of Hiroshima & Nagasaki in today's PG probably looks familiar. Cruel men, whose ambitions clouded their judgement, opened pandora's box, declares Norman from his judgement throne at the PG. Alperovitz, in some 850 pages of text, lays out a very similar, equally specious argument regarding the bombing of Hiroshima & Nagasaki. "The Decision to Use the Bomb," has become a favorite of anti-nuclear advocates and historic revisionists worldwide. It contends that the US used the bomb to ward off the Soviets, paying no heed to the human cost or future-altering effect. Alonzo Hamby, no-name historian from U Ohio, argues against Alperovitz point for point that we should judge the use of the bomb in contexts of its times. He argues it was moral, popular, and the right thing to do.

I'm a bit more Machivellian. I think that Alperovitz's assertion that the Soviets were going to overrun Manchuria (and eventually Europe) is true; however, unlike Alperovitz, I believe it is a substantive enough reason to threaten them vis a vis Hiroshima & Nagasaki. Those who believe statecraft is the pervue of the moral need to reflect on what moral means in the last days of the deadliest decade since the black plague. By 1945, there was no such thing as moral... there was only necessity.

Unfortunately, people use a similar logic to justify Gitmo. "We need this to win the war on terror," the assertion goes. Not really... we're firmly in the driver's seat, and really don't need to sully our 'moral' reputation by blatantly sidestepping international law designed to protect OUR troops. But in 1945, there were two equal powers vying for first place in a chaotic world: one a Democracy and one a bloodied Dictatorship. Alperovitz and Norman, like it or not, owe much to unparelled human cruelty and evil. Then again, thus is the course of history.

Music links

Though I've posted some of these before, there are a lot of new faces around here, and everyone loves music.

Here's my guitar teacher's music. He's a pop weasel. You can root around the site he's on for a lot of other music.

I think he has more music here.

Here's a good site for music theory.

Here's another guy I know with some songs that sound funk/reggae/rockish. Wierd, I know. He's more technically good than Sensei Goldberg, but he has no soul.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Further proof that the British aren't funny

Let me say right off the bat that I love England in a notional sense -- even with its disgusting food, stiff-necked Protestantism, and socialized health-care system, I still imagine it's a wonderful place to learn about history and soak up culture. It is not, however, a very funny country any longer. Yes, the island that gave us the genius of Benny Hill and Monty Python is now dull as hell in the laughs department. The lastest proof involves this episode from a red-carpet event promoting the London premiere of the new Tom Cruise film "War of the Worlds." Seems some jokesters from "Channel 4" spritzed Cruise with a water pistol playfully hidden in a microphone while he was granting an interview to one of the television station's reporters. That's it? That's all ya got??

To his credit, Cruise refrained from beating this person to death, if only for the truly lame nature of the gag. Instead the Hollywood star calmly lectured the man and returned to signing autographs and smiling for the cameras. Cruise actually handled himself with grace and dignity; the Brits were left standing there like frightened schoolchildren. I understand that comedy's taken a hit lately and maybe the "prank" was part of the larger trend involving dumb, self-conscious humor intended to poke fun at the cult of celebrity worship surrounding movies generally and Hollywood specifically and blah blah blah blah.... Guys, listen to me: Next time you best bring hand grenades. If you think "Whose Line Is It Anyway?" and "Team Sanchez" are gonna save the English wit you're just fooling yourselves. You really wanna get Tom Cruise going, as well as make us Yanks laugh out loud? Try calling him a fag. Strike that -- this is England: call him a cigarette.

Sunshine and Lollipops...

When I want to find happy, optimistic people, I look towards the City of Brotherly Love. The good old Philadelphia Inquirer was full to the brim with stories that leave you feeling warm and mushy.

A Norristown developer put cameras on the street to make up for a lack of police. Privacy rights remain a serious problem, but cheers to a proactive man in a stagnant town.

Christian wackos can be reasonable when it comes to accepting evolution. Yahweh did indeed create the world, he just did it very slowly.

And lastly, John Grogan gives the Philadelphia region one big hug.

Union YES!

The City of Pittsburgh School Board, in yet another grand showing of fiscal irresponsibility, looks set to lock in school construction jobs as union only. The union, in turn, promises not to strike, and threw in some education component to make the thing look less thuggish.

Welcome to Pittsburgh, city held hostage by union thugs. "Prevailing Wage," Sicilian for 'HUGE Labor surcharge,' will be tacked onto every school construction project. Union wages can drive the cost of construction up by 15%, meaning MILLIONS flushed on overpriced labor costs. The Union needs BS rules like this to survive, because they arent getting Prevailing Wage on non-government jobs. Sweetheart deals like this are killing this town!

Realistically, the threat to strike is a farce (if it aint union, it aint striking), and the education component could be financed several times over with cost savings from not paying Prevailing Wage. No wonder suburban Republican legislators look at our bankrupt government agencies and scoff. Between sweetheart deals with the Firemen, and the School Board committing itself to a closed shop, the city deserves to be broke.

Someone should take a good hard look at which For-Sale Boardmember is negotiating this deal, and who at the IBEW is blowing him.

People just don't understand PR

This story, regarding protests from the British potato industry of the term "couch potato" in the Oxford dictionary, reminds me of the West Wing episode in which the president's body man Charley (sp?) let's slip to a reporter that the president doesn't like green beans. Senior communications staffers decide this is a problem for a while because they only won the Oregon electorate by 10,000 votes, and decrying one of the main crops of the state could shift the balance. The farmers would do well to evaluate the situation to the conclusion that the West Wingers did -- it doesn't really matter all that much if the president likes green beans. What an incredible waste of time and effort. A better use of their time would be finding the ringleader of this witch hunt, and firing his ass.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

IF you thought you knew about AIDS

Read this article from The Times, and tell me if you learned anything. I did.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2092-1659793,00.html

The West Wing

While I don't own a television because I can't stand the ads, I do get a steady influx of DVDs from NetFlix. Recently, my Netflix queue has been full of West Wings, starting with season 1, though I've seen most all of the first 4-5 seasons. It's a great show because you can get a history lesson, a laugh, and a moral debate, all condensed into the pop culture container of under an hour.

People like the show because the dialogue is "smart," but, you know, a lot of that is due to this little device that they like to use. You'll see several times per episode one character say something, and another say almost the exact same thing independently. It struck me as ironic when Toby Ziegler, the Communications Director, spoke in an episode of the various devices that rhetoricians use, like "floating opposites" and "parallel structure." I bet that is Sorkin (if he did the writing, I'm not sure) having a little joke at the expense of his audience. John Irving likes to talk about the writers and the art of writing in such a way to reveal how he's doing it in sort of the same way.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Breaking Ground

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania's largest and wealthiest city, is gentrifying at a maddening pace. What began as a mid-90's public/private Center City renewal project spearheaded by then Mayor Ed Rendell, has spilled over into neighborhoods long given up for dead. Fishtown, a poor neighborhood between the Northern Liberties and big bad Kensington, is entering its own chapter of fast-paced renewal. But the most exciting facet of this latest sweeping rebirth is the re-defining of what a Philadelphian considers home sweet home.

Downingtown, on the PA Turnpike outside of Philly, exhibits the typical suburban moonscape of shitbox Ryan Homes and 'Dead Worm w/ Cul-de-Sac' street plans. 2,500 sqft Downingtown McMansions, bespeckled with all the pretentious flourishes of colonial and Victorian styles in styrofoam-composite, form the latest wave of 'breeding grounds' for aspiring booring white people. People lock down their houses, never meet the folks down the street, and commute 1 1/2 hours to work... the American dream. Downingtown is the sort of place that make you lose faith in humanity.

Yet deep in North Philadelphia's Fishtown neighborhood, a new urban prototype is challenging a completely different type of buyer with a new concept of living. How does the Philadelphia rowhouse, designed to house millions of poor, working class immigrants in a 1,000 sqft box, fit a 2,500 sqft. society. An architectural firm focused on redefining architectural and real-estate perceptions, is trying to perfect the new urban rowhouse: one that transitions the densely packed streets of Philadelphia from their current treeless, grassless design into something a little more livable.

Pittsburgh, watch closely. As every city has its own housing stock, every city has its own challenges. Philadelphians are working hard to figure out how to live in Philadelphia... which frankly is a damned hard question considering the hostile layout of a city composed of miles of rowhouses. We need to consider how our current lifestyles jive with existing buildings designed for a past lifestyle, and design a new prototype of housing that complements our city's existing fabric to create a truly livible city.

I'll kick off the Friday posting

While next-blogging across the universe, I came across this fairly lengthy post. And while more than a 100 words will usually turn me off, I kept reading due to its good-natured cynicism that I try to make my religion. It's a list of pop culture trends the dude doesn't understand, kicking off correctly with Chris Moneymaker's shit-eating grin.

And speaking of top 10's, stay tuned for my LTE that will be coming out in the next edition of CRN magazine. I will post the letter once I see it in print.

This article about the a trend of child sacrifice in Britain is sure to shiver your timbers. It's made all the creepier by the oh-so-appropriate United Airlines ad. Reminds me of the time when I was news editor of The Tartan and we ran a picture of a couple Goodyear blimps buzzing the Cathedral of Learning on the anniversary of September 11 without thinking too closely about it. Not that thinking about it would have changed my mind -- I'm a sensationalist to the core.

Finally, here's some short stories. I haven't read them but I made a note. Let me know if they are good.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

And its 1, 2, 3, What are We Fightin' For...

Thomas Friedman, the NYT's foreign policy brain, is calling for more troops on the ground in Iraq. As every city, tribe and religious klan forms independent militias to protect turf or seize power, Iraq is beginning to Balkanize. Right now, the US Military doesn't have sufficient numbers of soldiers to beat back the sort of neighborhood-based, internecine conflict NATO faced in Kosovo, which if it erupts in Iraq will be much larger and much bloodier. Friedman wants more 'boots on the ground,' and it is hard to argue against him.

So 'more boots on the ground' = more troops than we currently have. With the Military missing recruitment goals, evidenced by their desperate recruiting at local high schools, where are these soldiers going to come from? Congress suggests doubling the $30k signing bonus to lure in more red, white and blue Fayette County farm-boys; but as the steadily declining enlistment figures show, most Americans think no amount of cash is worth a trip to Kirkuk. Further hindering recruitment efforts is the absence of the sort of clear-cut, moral imperative to drive enlistment campaigns. America just doesn't give a damned if Iraq fails if it requires their involvement.

Some in Congress are demanding 'firm timetables for withdrawl,' which is patently absurd: predictions for a withdrawl are measured in years. Congress isn't going to be able to sneak out the back door on this one by leaving Iraq early, because unlike Vietnam, this place sits in the heart of our oil supply. Chirac and Schroeder owe their careers to opposing the US invasion, so France and Germany aren't expanding their role anytime soon. Little chance in expanding NATO's role beyond 'Training' missions, either. No easy way to meet our expanding appetite for soldiers... well that is, unless... well... DRAFT.

Got a big, nasty tar-baby on our hands, and no where to lookto for more bodies but a draft. Quite a few in Congress will lose their seats if they reinstitute a draft, and the Republicans would have to tone down their characteristic hawkishness for decades to come. An American public, already disenchanted with the war, will probably explode.

Deep in the seventh layer of Hell, Ho Chi Minh is laughing his ass off.

Also note about CGWLTF

Also note that these women have allowed themselves to be called girls, indeed called themselves girls, setting back the feminist movement a step or two. My friend Sara Henneberger would NOT be proud.

CGWLTF

I was originally scared to check out the Conservative Girls Who Like to F*** website at work, but rest assured it is not pornographic in the slightest. It is a loose association of female, conservative bloggers who claim to embrace their monogamous sexuality. I love conservatives -- even when they espouse their values, the tacit theme is a condemnation of others' lifestyles.

Nonetheless, go ahead and read a couple of their blogs. Some have some interesting things to say, even if they are all a bunch of hypocrites. I'm sure there are a couple of promiscuous ones among them, so laden with shame from their upbringing that they must claim otherwise.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Angry Nerd Says Something Mean

Morgan Reynolds, professor emeritus of economics at Texas A&M, doubts the official government explanation as regards the collapsing of the WTC towers and the adjacent Building 7 on September 11.

The implication here is that this was either an "inside job" (Reynolds's term) by the Bush administration to foment a war in the Middle East as the ahem, shall we say, less-than-hinged among us contend. Or, the UPI correspondent, John Daly, didn't do a very good job of quoting Reynolds, leading to the mangling of his point and the super-threading of this story throughout the blogosphere.

But who cares about "facts" anyway? This is the internet!

1/2 off on Vaccinations

Double Cupon Promotion at Shaler Shop 'n Save includes a Rabid Cat attacking Customers. God, i hope this day just keeps on going.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/05166/521630.stm

ABORTION DOCTOR "EATS" FETUS!

From the "Today In Evil" file, we have this absolutely gruesome story about an abortion clinic physician who possibly may have "microwaved" a discarded fetus in a Styrofoam cup and then mixed it into his lunch. Evidently some employees viewed Dr. Giggles doing this and ran to the local authorities. Thankfully, this cruel bastard's license has been revoked but, man, that must've made for some mighty awkward break-room conversation...

GOAT BLUDGEONED FOR COKE

I think this site should be dedicated to odd stories about fetus-eating doctors and Appalacian Drug Cartels that barter cocaine for stolen goat meat.

http://www.postgazette.com/pg/05166/521991.stm

The Jerk of All Trades

If anyone is looking for something better to read than this rag, check out the Jerk of All Trades. I noticed his blog while next-blogging, and he kindly linked me, sending in an influx of hits. He's quite the popular character.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Paris Hilton is still a whore.

Yeah, yeah. I know, I know. I really don't wanna blog about this despicable slattern either, but hey, as they say on Long Island, "Paris is a drawwww." Reputable news agencies, and Newsday too, are abuzz about the Hilton heiress hanging up her party dress and gettin' down to the important business of inheriting an enormous corporate conglomeration and leaving the 9,000 or so vice presidents of operations working under the emaciated blond and sister Nikki to run the business while Paris ... I don't know, bangs Lenny Kravitz and the cast of "The OC" on a pile of money or something.

Historical Oakland, Hysterical Slumlords

Pittsburgh City Council rightfully designated Oakland Square an Historic District in a vote today, creating a powerful tool for local residents to combat over 30 years of neighborhood disintegration at the hands of filthy, drunken Pitt students. Historic designation, fiercely advocated for by long-term residents and fiercely opposed by slum landlords, will help create a bulwark against further deterioriation in a desperate neighborhood.

Slum landlords are apopletic, and they should be. Gone are the days they could buy a widow's house for $14,000, cut it up into 10 bedrooms, and rent each out at $550/mo. Gone are the days of ripping off historic porches, dumping tar down the front of the building, boarding over half the windows and painting "Slum-Lord Creme" with brown trim. In the Oakland Square historic district, buildings must receive tender loving care that includes wood windows ($ching$), historically appropriate slat-board siding ($cha-ching$), and appropriate density levels. Such things make profitiable slumlording an impossibility. Community groups in Oakland will be able to challenge non-historic renovations in court, stopping slumlords dead in their tracks.

An April 28th Pittsburgh City Paper feature story by Melissa Meinzer interviewed the leader of the fight against historic designation: local resident cum slumlord Frank DeLuliis. "This neighborhood is over," he crooned, as small winged demons crawled in and out of every orifice of his body. "Let’s come down to reality - it’s a college campus, you can’t change that." As he reviewed a realm of his own making, the sagging houses, smashed beer bottles and vomit-puddles of South Oakland, Deluliis recognizes his filth drives down the cost of the single-family housing he chops up into student slums. Oddly enough, unlike slumlords like Jeffrey Weisband (who lives under a rock in Fox Chapel, far from his realm), DeLuliis is still a resident of South Oakland.

'Hey, pigs swim in their own shit and piss, and they don't mind,' snorts DeLuliis.

http://www.postgazette.com/pg/05165/521387.stm

I'll Never Understand the Chinese

Well, more accurately, I'll never understand the Chinese government, which is an outgrowth of Chinese ideas, politics, and society. I can only imagine that the latest efforts by the Chinese government to censor its own people irk the intellectual elements among the population much more than they do me from my nest of freedom in the United States.

In case you hadn't heard, the communists are doing everything in their limited power to censor words like freedom from Chinese access to the Internet. In fact, if censors find some fairly innocuous words in the subject lines of blog entries and the like, the computer rejects the entry and scolds the poster.

While I agree that these tactics can stall rebellion and social change, I don't think they can fend it off forever. And the Chinese government would be smart to realize this.

I also think that we can truly define the government as evil. I must assume that people support the communist regime purely out of greed, because most people with any notion of dignity wouldn't support, join, or condone a government with so many backwards policies.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Music Review: The White Stripes

Some place, beyond the adolescent bleating of pop-punk bands-of-the-week, the idiotic posturing of commercial-friendly hip hop and the rest of today’s impoverished FM radio choices, there is still honest-to-goodness, listenable American music. Front and center in this category is The White Stripes, a band, who, after appearing on the national stage a few years back with their fast-tempo relationship ode, “Fell in Love With a Girl,” has steadily established itself as an alt-rock standard. Following up on 2001’s “White Blood Cells,” the Stripes further fine-tuned their sound with the Grammy-nominated “Elephant” in 2003, an album which featured both piano-sprinkled love songs as well as bluesy dance tunes, recorded in a low-tech London studio, and featuring an appearance by English pop maven Holly Golighty. The band consists of singer-songwriter-guitarist Jack White and drummer-vocalist Meg White, who is either the sister or ex-wife of the ghostly pale front man, depending on whose story you believe: the fans’ or the myth-making P.R. machine that let slip the sibling canard in the first place. Brother and sister, husband and wife, the back story is a pointless distraction – Jack and Meg White make beautiful music together. The band’s latest effort, the mysterious and soulful “Get Behind Me Satan,” does nothing to change this family’s solid music-making tradition.

It’s refreshing to see a record in the age of downloads and radio singles that still pays attention to song arrangement; the opening for “…Satan,” the rollicking, garage-punk tune “Blue Orchid,” grabs you from the first with its “Seven Nation Army”-like toe-tapping beat and makes you eager for more. The song begins with a helicopter flourish drum solo from Meg and quickly breaks into straight-forward rock propelled by Jack’s falsetto voice. “The Nurse,” the album’s second track, switches things up with a slower sound and a marimba, the vibraphone-type percussion instrument played with mallets. All the songs on “Get Behind Me Satan” were, once again, written by Jack, and a listen to “The Nurse” or the album’s seventh song, “White Moon,” is a real example of a songwriter getting better with age. Other gems include “Take, Take, Take,” a sexy and perfectly danceable dirty acoustic jam about the highs and lows of modern celebrity, as well as “Forever For Her (Is Over For Me),” which might be the best structured song from start to finish on the entire record. The piano ballad finale, a tongue-in-cheek yet strangely touching song called “I’m Lonely (But I Ain’t That Lonely Yet)” is also worth your time, just don’t ask if it’s about the Whites’ enigmatic relationship. And yet: there are a couple of misfires. “Passive Manipulation,” the album’s ninth track, is handled exclusively by Meg vocally and suffers from a preciousness which makes it sound more silly than sweet. “Manipulation” is, however, mercifully short at thirty-five seconds. Additionally, “Instinct Blues,” a flabby blues track, attempts to be willfully anachronistic and suffers from childish lyrics and a wayward playing time of four minutes and sixteen seconds. There are some sparks in “Instinct Blues” but the sheer wooliness of this unfocused song eventually does it in.

Buy this album and play it regularly. On “Get Behind Me Satan,” The White Stripes continue to surprise and entertain. Best tracks: “Blue Orchid”; “Forever For Her…”; “Take, Take, Take”; “I’m Lonely...”

HELLO WORLD. LOVE DAIN.

Allow me to reintroduce myself, bitches:

Dain P. was originally born William Sydney Porter in 1862. Accused of embezzling bank funds, he was sent to an Ohio penitentiary when he was twenty-seven, where he began to write under a pen name and sell his work for money. Shortly after moving to New York, Dain was informed that this wasn’t his life story at all, but that of famous American short-story writer O. Henry, whereupon he decided to just tell people he was born in the Bronx and leave it at that.

A shy child, Dain would often use humor to diffuse potentially embarrassing situations, and whenever possible to get out of work. He absorbed the typical habits and traits of a young man reared in an Italian-American household: misdirected anger, a clinging and text-book Oedipal relationship with his mother, and, of course, excessive body hair. At the age of fourteen Dain was sent off to a private secondary school in the leafy suburb of Katonah, NY, to learn how to be a jerk. Emerging four years later with a $70,000 diploma and an unquenchable meth habit, Dain was ready to embark upon a college career. He enrolled in Carnegie Mellon University the following fall, 1998.

Though originally intended as an ironic joke, Dain eventually changed his mind and decided to stay after he realized that Pennsylvania had no extradition treaty and everyone there was shorter than he was. Dain soon found himself drawn to the liberal arts program at CMU or, as faculty administrators liked to call it, “those adorable trivia question subjects.” He discovered also that he was quite adept at newspaper writing, which is similar to regular writing but with more lies. He quickly rose up the ranks at The Tartan, Carnegie Mellon’s student newspaper, and became forum page editor. After graduating in 2003 with a degree in social and cultural history, Dain prepared to ask himself why the fuck he just did that.

With no job prospects or marketable skills, Dain did what any person who can’t land a job in the private sector does: get into politics. Dain was soon hired as the campaign manager for Brad Grantz, and, in June 2004, moved back to Pittsburgh. Under Dain’s guidance, the campaign scored a victory for representative government by re-electing an alcoholic technocrat who slaps his wife around and considers black people dirty. Dain returned home following the campaign to resume his quiet life of protracted shouting matches with neighbors and drinking at the mall. Dain currently serves as the creative advertising director for Jamster, the cell phone applications company, and is therefore the one to blame for all those goddamn commercials. He lives with his wife Tom and their three children in New York.

Save Michael Jackson

Dear God,
Please save Michael Jackson from the hellfires of eternity and incessant violent rape in state penitentary. Please return him to neverland where he may make sweet, sweet music.

He didn't do it!

This time...

God bless America, and let us no longer call MIchael Jackson the self-proclaimed King of Pop. I proclaim him the King of Pop.

If You Build It...

Good article about how good schools, lower taxes and a decent subway system are more important for city revitalization than glitzy, publically funded coffee shops and theatres. Particularly poignant in this city, which thoroughly embraced Florida's theories. Pittsburgh built stadiums, theatres, and department stores that failed to revitalize downtown while our most vibrant neighborhoods rebounded because of good schools, clean and safe streets, and run-of-the mill food, fare and shopping.

In response to his little Pittsburgh laboratory blowing up, Florida stomped off to DC screaming, "it didn't work because you hicks don't like gays." Something tells me he was probably just wrong. Something also tells me that we better take a good, hard look at what schools get closed in the coming years, and why.

http://www.joelkotkin.com/Urban_Affairs/TNR%20Urban%20Legends.htm

News of the Week

Here's a rundown of some of the interesting articles I have come across that I haven't managed to blog about yet. I've tried to make the captions as enticing as possible.

Hunting on the Net

Bang, you're dead.

Neo-na...I mean cons
If most of this is true... shoot me in the brain. Cast your vote now, who's the evilest Republican of all time:

a) George W. Bush
b) Richard Nixon
c) Tom Delay
d) Ann Coulter

What a Fix
Idiot taxes for trailer trash. At least when the mob handles it, the pay-off is better.

Nothing Outlasts The Copper-Top
Except the Energizer Bunny.

Explain this to Your Wife
What's even fun about watching a cockfight? They're just a bunch of damn birds, though I'm sure the advent of steroids made this sport a little bloodier.

Only Five Bills
Puff, puff give. I wonder what that online casino did with the Virgin Mary Toast? I bet there's a million dollar business in getting a team together to round up low-cost, high price strange eBay auctions.

WAWAWAWAWAWAWA
WAWAWAWAWAWAWAWAWAWAWAWAWA.

And you should actually check this out
It's about Satan, Inc.

Nothing but Blue Skies...

The Rachel Carson State Office Building, a 10+ story green office tower in Harrisburg that houses the DCNR, the DEP and the State Parks System, also serves as the nesting place of two peregrine falcons. These magnificent birds, known best for their ability to nosedive at over 200 mph and vicious ability to render a pigeon unidentifiable in under 5 minutes, nearly went extinct due to the widespread use of DDT as a pesticide. DDT weakened the shells of Peregrine eggs, causing them to weaken and crack. Rachel Carson, one of Pittsburgh's favorite daughters, wrote a book called 'Silent Spring,' in which she documented the damaging effects of DDT on the environment as a whole. Her book led to the banning of DDT, and the Peregrines roosting on the RCSOB are affectionately known as "Rachel's Falcons." (Watch them on "Falcon-Cam," courtesy of the DEP: http://www.dep.state.pa.us/dep/falcon/ )

Pittsburgh has two colonies of peregrine falcons, roosting on the Gulf Tower and the Cathedral of Learning, respectively. The Cathedral Colony (Class of 2005) seems to be doing well, feeding the young on a steady diet of gutted pigeon and small mammals. (Your nagging suspicion that Jimmy Tsangs was responsible for the mysterous disappearance of Mr. Boots may be wrong.) Pittsburgh is truly blessed with these fantastic creatures, whose restoration at the top of the avian food chain keeps the population of pigeons in check. The Falcons also evidence the strides we've made in restoring health to our regional eco-system. In an era of spin, hyperbole and denial in eco-politics (on both sides of the aisle), its always heartening to have tangible proof of success... especially when that success serves to thin the local pigeon population.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/05164/520624.stm

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Enlisting Equality

"Life isn't Fair."

And with those 3 words, my dear mother would deep-six my standard, "that's UNFAIR" argument against what I considered excessive housework, unjust school grades or Saturday afternoon grass-cutting sprees. God, what a crude case to make. So simplistic in the face of great complexity. And yet, very friggin true whether one likes it or not.

William R. King, professor of Equality, Justice and a Bigger, Brighter World at the Katz School of Business had a grand idea in today's Post Gazette. Annoyed with the injustice of a volunteer military primarily recruited from the ranks of America's poor and working-classes, King proposes an obligatory national boot-camp of sorts for all Americans youth. (The Post Gazette apparently thought a cute picture of 20-somethings getting examined before their ship-off to Korea embodied this ideal... got me.) His intention? Level the field of life.

While I sympathize with King's observation that the world is rife with inequality, and that military service does primarily recruit among the nation's poorest, his argument is almost as bad as his solution. King begins antecdotally (apparently a valid citation only after one holds a professorship) talking about how he spoke with 'poor folk' about their children in the military. The majority of these (and I'm quoting) 'poor dumb animals' didnt realize sending your kid to Bagdad instead of Berkeley is a bad idea. He then talks about his wine-and-cheese socilite pals never mentioning military vocations for their spawn.

I think the great divide here that Mr. King doesnt see is there is a difference in values between these two socio-economic groups. Limo Liberals often don't think the military is EVER a valid occupation, whereas working classes often feel it is. Though many working class that I associate with (I call them my family) might disagree with the war in Iraq, and think now might not be the best time to go into the service, I remember clearly that before Iraq the Military was a completely valid path to take. And, this might be a shocker to some outside of King's circles, often some of the poor folk will get the dumb notion that military service in defense of their country is an honorable thing. I mean, how dumb can these mules be?

King suffers from a malady that I commonly attribute to country-club housewives that become clergy in the Mon Valley or Waspy Ivy League college professors that cry over the plight of the poor: The Judging Christ Complex. King's gonna fix the problem for all us Plebs that 'don't know well 'nough to do it for ourselves.' He is going to level the playing field with a big government program, and take some of the bloody burden of fighting and dying in wars from us poor people. What he doesnt realize is that people in a Volunteer Army obviously thought (at some point) that going into the evil army was a good idea. Admittedly, I never thought it was, and would never send my kid into combat... BUT SOMEONE CLEARLY THOUGHT IT WASNT A BAD IDEA, and their family quite frequently supported them in that path. Hey King, quit looking down your nose at other peoples' decisions, you pretentious twit.

As for his solution to the problem... is it worth me even addressing the absurdity of a silver-bullet proposal for the levelling of economic inequity in America, especially one as stupid as this? I cant believe it made it into print outside of that rag published at the Merton Center, and I can't believe it got the Kennedy-esque title "Our Nation Needs Everyone." This guy is the epitome of the chief antagonist in an Ayn Rand novel!

The fact the Post Gazette let this one pass the editor's chopping block either evidences a scary sympathy with social engineering, or a desperate need to fill blank space in the paper. If it's the latter... next time fill the space with a Kauffman's ad.

http://www.postgazette.com/pg/05163/519881.stm

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Don't Follow The Money

Though you will probably find the most interesting tidbit in this column to be that neither Woodward, Bernstein, nor Felt ever said "Follow the Money," I think all two pages of it are full of keen Democratic incite. Frank Rich puts the current Republicans and the Nixon's criminal gang under the light which they so richly deserve, especially following their hypocritcal attacks on Bob Felt and the media conspiracy to lend these criminals credibility. Even current Republicans, in their unwillingness to join largely Democratic praise of Bob Felt, are decidedly allied with evil.

But we knew the Nixon jailbirds and the neo-conservative war-mongers were evil. What we were kind of half sure of was the extent to which the media is an easily manipulable propaganda engine (or even conspiring with the propagandists). Now we know; like Rich says, when the media fails to question pundits about their jail time and crimes in the same way these pundits question Bob Felt's heroism, they facilitate Republican double-talk.

So to recap: current and past Republicans evil. Television and big newspapers either evil or dumb. Democrats good. Felt hero. Nixon aides lack credibility.

I just hope Howard Dean knows what he's doing.

And as a final note, my Justin Onyeka post is showing up high in Google which makes me happy.

Good lord, this didn't come out like I wanted. Someone edit this, please God.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Driving Efficiency

In their book, "Natural Capitalism," Paul Hawkin and Amory Lovins (of the Rocky Mountain Institute) advocate the greening of American Commerce by taking advantage of efficiencies in production systems often otherwise overlooked. They advocate things like insulating a warehouse rather than pay out the nose for heat tin-walled warehouse with an R Value of 4, or aligning blast furnaces next to rolling mills to eliminate the need to re-heat coils of steel before rolling them. Simple efficiencies that, when accomplished, make people wonder why they weren't simply implemented in the first place.

Cheers to Ed Rendell for catching onto this kind of stuff. Eddie, whose common sense approach to government cost-cutting often revolves around buying more efficient light-bulbs and replacing old windows and furnaces, set his sights on the state auto pool. The state, according to the the Post Gazette, looks set to save a pile of cash due to the elimination of gas guzzling SUV's and keeping cars longer. This common sense approach to economics, practiced by families but never by government, colors Rendell's approach to cost-savings. Other Rendell supported projects include a state program started under Tom Ridge: building green office buildings. Though the upfront costs are expensive, Government typically settles into an office building for a minimum of 5 or 6 decades. Highly energy efficient office buildings will save the state millions in the long run in heat, water and employee health insurance, while adding little additional cost to the debt service on the buildings.

Like the addage goes, its always the little things that kill you... those nickel and dime heat and gas bills that lawmakers usually ignore have a bigger impact on the state budget, but not enough sex appeal to draw an election-focused lawmaker's attention. If Eddie is right on this one, lower operating costs on our vehicles and buildings mean real savings for Pennsylvania, whether it ever makes it off of page 4 of the Region Section or not.

http://www.postgazette.com/pg/05161/519745.stm

Hungry and Mad

On a sunny day in Pittsburgh, I arrived at work ready for a long day fueled by coffee and a bowl of Total. I skipped the deli downstairs and Bruegger's in favor of the cheaper alternative that I keep at work. Confident in my cereal and milk stock, I arrived.

And while I tend to refrain from commenting on day-to-day work, because I've seen what can happen, and what can happen, I think I'm safe complaining about my co-workers shameless milk filching. The first time I stuck a couple quarts of milk in the fridge, I noticed that milk levels declined quite a bit more rapidly than they should have. So I resolved on my next milk purchase to clearly mark my milk with skulls and crossbones and admonishments not to take. See, I figured that co-workers just assumed it was communal, because we do have various things that we share in the fridge, like other milk and coffee creamer.

Alas, this strategy has now been proven a failure. Much like a fraternity house, nothing is safe around here. There's no way my co-workers could have missed the signage all over the jug, and so I must rethink my strategy. There's obviously no complaining over a $2 jug of milk to the boss.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Train to Success

Paul Skoutelas should admit he doesnt like transit riders in city neighborhoods. If expansion of the light rail system is any indication, he would have a hard time explaining why every expansion systematically avoids servicing previously developed city neighborhoods. PAT, it seems, is hell bent on getting people from Upper St. Clair wherever the hell they want to go by rail- damned be the rest of us. Consider three transit developments in the last 3 years...

The Overbrook Line, "The get my rich white ass home line:" The 51C, which services communities along Brownsville Road into downtown, might be one of the most heavily travelled PAT lines in the region. Though the 51Ce is an obvious market to tap, The Overbrook Line in its current configuration took advantage of a pre-existing right-of-way to shave 15-20 minutes off of travel from South Hills Village to Downtown, providing little to no service to the South Hills communities it bypasses. Perhaps a subway line under Brownsville Road for the poor bastards crammed onto the 51C would have been nice, and it probably would have helped strengthen the housing market in Carrick and other struggling communities on Brownsville Road. But the City doesnt see redevelopment in those neighborhoods as a priority, and Paul took the path of least resistance on building this one.

The Oakland/Sq. Hill Line: "The I'm running for Mayor line:" The 61C, the most abused, congested, miserable busline in the city, remains just that. Want a seat... how bout some Oxygen? Cant get either on the 61C. If PAT were serious about providing commuter service, this one would have been completed in the 1940's. Enough said.

The North Shore Connector: "The Whitey Likes Sports Line:" Not only will we shave 20 minutes off of your commute from South Hills Village, we'll make sure you can get to the ballpark too. The most egregious parts of this plan lie in the fact that it undercuts the Gateway Clipper's successful cross-river service, that it bypasses older developed neighborhoods on the northside (where people might actually use the train for more than just a ballgame), and that plans using the pre-existing PRR rail trestle (meaning, no under the river tunnel) were scuttled because it necessitated a transfer between subway lines. We needed a DIRECT line between South Hills Village and the Stadiums.

Admittedly, the North Shore Connector will provide transit service to the newly developed site between the stadiums... might be good if something actually develops there. But there is a WHOLE NEIGHBORHOOD behind the stadiums that is quickly turning into one of Pittsburgh's finest, and it remains unsupported in this project. Then again, I suppose for us to start thinking about pre-existing neighborhoods as something worth going to, we would have to assume they are something worth investing in- something worth saving.

http://www.postgazette.com/pg/05160/518300.stm

Chinese Man Whacked Over Virtual Whacking Stick

I guess when the law offers no protection for your virtual weapons, all that is left is to take matters into your own hands. In massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs), virtual economies actually evolve. For example, in Everquest, the monetary unit the "platinum piece" was actually trading at higher values than many world currencies, some equipment in the game would fetch hundreds of dollars, and high-level accounts would fetch thousands. None of this is condoned by any of these games, though I find it hard to believe the companies wouldn't want this great marketing for their games. It's just a legal issue.

MMORPGs and virtual economies began with Ultima Online, in which people even owned virtual dwellings and land. I'm surprised, if they haven't, that economists aren't using these virtual worlds to study economics and the rational choice.

I quote from the story, "After Zhu refused to return the item or pay compensation, Qiu went to his home and stabbed him in the heart, according to the report."

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Market Square -- The Open Air Drug Market

I would like a permanent police officer posted by the bus nexus in market square. Yesterday, I observed a crack deal, a real honest-to-God open-air crack deal in the hub of downtown commerce.

And I saw a fellow pushed to the ground, only to have his head split open on the concrete.

And a guy going into that nuisance bar called the "Circle Bar" asked me, "What are you looking at, faggot?" And of course, the proper response to that is "You, faggot." But, being admittedly afraid the guy was a crack dealer and therefore strapped, and also believing you just don't call people, strangers or otherwise, faggot, I just said, "Not you."

The Spiders of Pennsylvania

There are only a couple of really troublesome spiders in Pennsylvania. Perhaps the scariest of them all is the brown recluse spider. In addition to neurotoxic effects that can cause nausea, fever, chills, as well as other symptoms, the brown recluse's bite will also cause the tissue around the bite to grow gangrenous and die. This entire process, I have heard, is extraordinarily painful. Luckily for Pennsylvanians, there are few of these dangerous spiders around, and your most likely shot of running into one is if it makes a home in a box and gets shipped here.

The other scary spider is of course the black widow, that sexy arachnid with the black carapace and red hourglass on its belly. The good news is, when it first bites you, it won't hurt all that much. The bad news is that its venom is highly neurotoxic and will make you very sick. The bite of the black widow has been known to kill, but usually only infants and the elderly.

Beyond those guys, Pennsylvania is pretty safe. The worst you can expect out of a spider bite is a little pain, maybe a little nausea. I was a bit scared last night when I got bit by some little brown spider, but I survived, and I am stronger for the experience. I think its my first spider bite -- it felt like a bee sting. It was wierd too, as my hand was bitten when I swatted it, even though it was crawling on my leg.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Michael Jackson

Is anyone else shamelessly refreshing Google News awaiting the verdict? I think the thrill will wear off by tomorrow.

I hope he gets off, and I hope he sells a billion albums because of it. I don't like him, but if a man can be convicted by the kind of testimony we saw in that trial, no one is safe.

Someone tell Batman to avoid PA and VA

"A study of two wind energy farms in West Virginia and Pennsylvania estimates as many as 2,600 bats were killed by the whirling blades during a six-week period last year."

This article has a lot of wing-dingers in it, not the least of which is the proclamation that no one is willing to look into stopping the dead bat epidemic. I'm sure PETA will rant and rave at some point, but those damn hippies are going to be in muddy water when they start decrying wind power.

Thock. Chick chop. Ch cha.

What's the sound of one bat shredding?

Grandma

"She's just a really nice old lady," Cook said. "She's the most delightful, darling, wonderful person you could ever meet."

I love the Daily News.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Interesting article about the publishing industry

Usually, these types of industry-feature stories lose me after about one paragraph. But the author does a really good job telling a compelling story using history, important stakeholders, and wit. It's worth a read and explains what has led to a huge monkey on the back of the industry in the form of having to ship, re-ship, and re-ship, and destroy excess book copies. Click here to read about the happy warehouse and the sad warehouse.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Clinto is a brilliant man

Clinton: " I think whenever religious people try to exercise political power in God's name, and to say that they have the whole truth and they can impose it ... that's always hazardous."

http://www.cnn.com/2005/POLITICS/06/02/clinton/

An Open Letter to Justin Onyeka

You're nuts, man. Here's the lineup for London:

Coldplay, R.E.M., Mariah Carey and the Cure are among those performing with McCartney, Madonna and U2 in London.

The black artists you named aren't even close to the same league as these people. How can you compare Ms Dynamite to Sir Paul?

"
Justin Onyeka, entertainment editor at black newspaper New Nation, said he was surprised Band Aid 20 performers Dizzie Rascal, Ms Dynamite, Jamelia and Beverley Knight were not included in the line-up."

You would need black artists like 50 Cent, Stevie Wonder and Jay-Z (who were invited) or people like B.B. King, Bob Marley, Howlin' Wolf, Robert Johnson, Ray Charles, Tupac Shakur, James Brown, Marvin Gaye, or Michael Jackson to make it right.

Too bad most of these people are dead, but that doesn't mean Live Aid should bill third-rate performers to satisfy racial quotas.

www.darnnews.com

The site is now operational and forwards to my blog.

Also of interest today (besides the Post story by Woodward/Bernstein about Deep Throat which I'm sure everyone will read):

Researchers at the University of Zurich, Switzerland have developed a nasal spray that makes people more likely to place faith in another person.

According to Nature, the team led by led by Ernst Fehr tested their creation on volunteers playing an investment game for real money. On inhaling the nasal spray, investors were more likely to hand over money to a trustee.

--http://news.webindia123.com/news/showdetails.asp?id=85148&cat=World

Trust me baby. Have a snort of this.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

www.darnnews.com

I couldn't believe my luck when I found whomever had last owned this domain had allowed their license to lapse. So I'm setting up www.darnnews.com to forward to my blog, and now I own the entire brand! I think it's a really good name for a brand, very versatile in how it can be applied and very memorable. I'd hire my company to do some identity work, but alas I'm afraid I couldn't afford it.

For now I'll just have www.darnnews.com pointing at my blog, but I think I'll expand and have a more detailed website at some point in the future, and hopefully bring all my journalistic friends on board as contributors. I think the site will focus on sarcastic takes on news, since that's what we seem to be good at. Maybe some Pittsburgh stuff, arts, sports, and commentary, but no true news so we're not masquerading as a newspaper. And there's the tagline "Not Masquerading as a News Site."

That means you Celanie, Brad, and Dain.

Isn't it a great find? It's so hard finding a decent domain name nowadays. I'm going through it at work.

Funny Jailbirds Keep Tweeting

All the President's Men were a little miffed at Mr. Felt for his admissions. The right can never get enough hypocrisy. It is a strange day indeed when ex-cons call whistle-blowers crooks, and half of America listens.