Thursday, June 30, 2005


Today, tomorrow and Tuesday I am working the rare (but refreshing) walking territory in downtown Chicago (along with my regular territory). I am one of those idiots scurrying about with a toolbag and vacuum on a beat up luggage cart throughout the cities. Working out of our fabulous, air-conditioned LaSalle Street offices, right in the heart of the Loop. And I am sweating like a racehorse- smell a bit like one as well. But good times nonetheless. I should probably go down to the Taste for lunch tomorrow. Had delicious shawarma from the Pita Express, just off the JRTC subway stop in the lower level of said Thompson center. It was a special event! View its webcam!

You might know former Illinois governor/overlord James R. Thompson as one of the members of the 9/11 Commission.


  • Free Katie!

  • Testing Blogger Images

  • Wednesday, June 29, 2005


  • For you diet coke drinkers out there, I loudly exhort you to try Coke's new Zero brand. It already has a wikipedia entry! I must correct them, however: Diet Coke from the fountain is sweetened with Sacchrine. I just did correct it (as wikipedia is an open-source encyclopedia), so that sentence makes no sense.

  • Was listening to some Infinity radio on the internet today. I signed up with the radiomat people, and having done that I could listen to different stations nationwide. I quickly lost interest, but what's up with the insanity fest on WJFK middays? Do those people ever exhale? Calm down! I'd also recommend listening to Chicago's WCKG for Steve Dahl (2-7 CT), and WSCR the sports station. Mostly for the hilarious commericals for bankruptcy and giardiniera. (Not necessarily the same product).

  • Tuesday, June 28, 2005

    New Philadelphia?

    Excavators participating in a field school at the site of the former New Philadelphia near Barry have made some recent discoveries.


    Lafayette Ronald Hubbard: huge nut job. Scientology is not a religion. You people are getting soaked.

    Monday, June 27, 2005


    As usual, the screaming is louder than the actual judgement in the Emminent Domain case. I suggest those who care read the opinion. They actually address the very slippery slope, Wal-Mart buying up a neighborhood, argument:
    It is further argued [by the petitioners] that without a bright-line rule nothing would stop a city from transferring citizen A’s property to citizen B for the sole reason that citizen B will put the property to a more productive use and thus pay more taxes. Such a one-to-one transfer of property, executed outside the confines of an integrated development plan, is not presented in this case. While such an unusual exercise of government power would certainly raise a suspicion that a private purpose was afoot,17 the hypothetical cases posited by petitioners can be confronted if and when they arise.18 They do not warrant the crafting of an artificial restriction on the concept of public use.
    They have, in fact, not changed anything about the application of the 5th amendment, rather they have upheld the courts' usual hands off approach. It's funny how people don't mind judicial activism when it suits them.

    (Note: I haven't read the dissent yet, but I suspect it won't change my mind. It is legally meaningless anyway.)

    Saturday, June 25, 2005

    Grease Monkey!

    Worked my ass off today.

  • Changed the air conditioning compressor on the Contour. This is about a $1000 job at a shop. Cost me $250 in parts and four hours of my time. Profit! Had to pull the car up on ramps, remove the battery, take off the fan belt, drain the radiator, remove the radiator from below, disconnect the compressor, pour oil into the new compressor and reverse the process. Then charge up the system with the R134a and ride coolly into the sunset.

  • Completed 2/3 of the shelving from previous posting. I ran out of nails, or I would have finished.

    Fast fun fact? I realized as I pulled the fanbelt today, that I have never changed it on that car. 110,000+ miles and 6.5 years. Not bad. Now, those are a lot of highway miles, but I have to say that the ol' Ford has been a fantastic value. This is the first repair on the car that wasn't a wear item or something that I damaged. The brakes lasted over 100,000 miles. The clutch is still going strong. The motor is as strong as ever (thanks to an exclusive diet of Mobil 1 oil). That shit is over $4 a quart (you can run it longer than 3000 miles though, so the price moderates a bit in the end), but has proven to be well worth it. If you open the oil cap and look into the engine, it is sludge and varnish free- clean as the day I bought it. I was never an appreciator of the Ford way, but they really built a solid vehicle in this one.

  • Friday, June 24, 2005

    A couple things:

    1) Good for Magtt Lauer for acting like a journalist and calling Tom Cruise on his ridiculous behavior. I didn't see it, but if it made CNN it must have been good.

    EDIT: Drudge has a transcript. Wild.

    2) Hangover!

    3) Cry me a river. Your real pay (after adjusting for inflation) goes up 11%? I call that a victory. I found this little stat to be telling:
    The top state, Connecticut, paid public school teachers an average yearly salary of $57,337. The District of Columbia was next at $57,009. South Dakota paid the lowest average salary, $33,236, while Oklahoma was next-to-last at $35,061. The NEA got its figures by surveying state education agencies.
    Seems like dollars spent on teaching don't necessarily coincide with success? The Chicago Public Schools are right up there too. Also, I wonder what the actual purchasing power of the $33K in SD is versus the $57K in Connecticut? I bet they are pretty equitable. Don't forget the shorter workday and the three months off either. You can get a lot done in that extra time, whether it's doing chores you'd otherwise have to pay someone else to do, or getting a summer job (or busting down doors with the Cook County Sheriff). I'm not begrudging them their work schedule, but let's not act like it isn't true.

    Thursday, June 23, 2005


    I've just, regretfully, had a two cheeseburger special from Rosie's. Been trying to cut back. But I had that because my self control is shot when I've been drinking. I was drinking because I was over at KMW's. He is having an addition put on the house. As a consequence of that, he had some leftover trusses. He was going to just chop them up and burn them, so I prevailed upon him to let me extract some usable wood from them, to build some shelves in the shed. I extracted said wood, and had a few beers with KW and the Mrs., along with a coworker of hers and her husband. They're from Wisconsin, over by Madison way 'dere. Whilst burning some wood and smoking some delicious tobacco, collegially discussing good times past and future, we noticed some raccoons taking residence in KMW's attic. There were holes cut in the existing house to facilitate attaching the new structure. The animals found this immediately. Just picture me, KMW and some goon from Wiscinsin, beers in hand and cigars in mouth, declaring war on the raccoons (complete with flashlight and sticks).

    We did not win this battle. But there will be more.

    Hey, how 'bout that sin der Chute guy in Aruba? I never would have thought the Judge/Old Man would have had anything to do with it. I also note with irony that the poor girl was handing out religious tracts, and now she's [presumably] dead.

    Blast from the past?

    I ran across this piece in the Chicago Reader. It's about some lunatic whose art is photographing himself falling. What caught my eye was the name if his fiancee, Tracy Kwit. If it is the same person, and I suspect it is, I basically grew up with her. Her brother Joe and I were best friends for a good part of grade school, and she was a year younger than us. In fact, our whole families were close for a while. Sadly, things drifted apart. I hope being Mrs. That-Guy-Who-Falls-Off-Stuff works out for her.

    Hollywood Movie Stars! Part II

    Dixie Square Mall is in one of the poorest suburbs in the Chicago area. Those who were out for the bachelor party remember where the night ended up. That place was in the good part of that town. Portions of "The Blues Brothers" were shot there. [insert dramatic instrumental rendition of "I Wish I was in Dixie" here]

    Wednesday, June 22, 2005

    Hollywood Movie Stars!

    I'm a little embarassed to admit how thrilled I was to see the "Trading Spaces" trailer in Mom's neighborhood, and how much I enjoyed gawking at the besmocked contestants. I came dangerously close to stopping the car and wandering by. I still might tomorrow or the next day. Cow town!

    Tuesday, June 21, 2005

    Emission free driving?

    Found on CNN: TerraPass is a market mechanism that tips the economic balance in favor of efficiency and clean energy.

    So you pay someone else (through this company) not to produce carbon dioxide in proportion to what your car makes. It seems real, and I might just buy one. Some of this is done through the Chicago Climate Exchange. Neato.

    Louisville Slugger!

    I just want to whack this guy sometimes. Billy Corgan is whining about something again. A full page advertisement he put out today to really emote and share. And promote a new album while he's at it.

    Shut up!

    I will let Bill Shatner tell you how I really feel.

    Monday, June 20, 2005


    Elisabeth Montgomery, in all her glory. She managed to be impish/cute and classicly beautiful at the same time.

    Gallery 1

    Gallery 2

    And Nicole Kidman is a fine choice to reprise the Bewitched role.

    Blast from the past

    (that title is awful. I'm sorry)

    American George Weller was the first foreign reporter to enter Nagasaki following the U.S. atomic attack on the city on Aug. 9, 1945. Weller wrote a series of stories about what he saw in the city, but censors at the Occupation's General Headquarters refused to allow the material to be printed. Weller's stories, written in September 1945, can be found below.

    Saturday, June 18, 2005

    ¡Viaje del Descubrimiento!

    Note: For the record, my pidgeon spanglish was close- I was going to use viaje del descubridad. Thank you.

    OK, so it's summer, and I've had the hankering for linen shirts. Seems I prefer them in the summer. It's like wearing air conditioning. Downside, they wrinkle like crazy. So, to keep the things looking fresh, I've been using spray starch to help the shirts hold the iron.

    Alright, now I purchased a green shirt. It was darker than I prefered, more of a blue evergreen, but I bought it anyway believing I could bleach it a little and brighten it up a bit. I wore it a couple times (it was right on the edge of usefulness, color wise), and one day before laundry time I decided to give it the bleach treatment. Filled up the sink with water, added about a half cup of bleach, and dunked the shirt. INSTANTLY, and I mean on the next pull up (2-3 seconds), I could see the spray pattern of my starchings in a delightful lime green. The rest of the shirt (tails, armpits, etc.) remained mostly their original color. Enraged! Not wanting to ruin it further, I rinsed it and let it dry.

    FLASH! I figued out how to fix it. I will saturate the shirt with starch, re-bleach it and see what happens. That worked wonderfully, thanks to an entire can of starch. Wonderfully except for the stiching, which was of a different enough thread that it looked ridiculous. I thought for a moment, and a tiny memory from childhood festered to the surface. Dye! I will head to Walgreens and buy some Rit dye and fix this bad boy right on up.

    Making a long story short, it appears to have worked. The shirt, now dyed and relightened a bit, is soaking in a water-vinegar bath to set the color. I am confident that success is mine.

    Thursday, June 16, 2005

    But I don't Want it!

    This isn't your usual football-player-gets-doctored-grades story.

    As point of useless reference, Maine Central is the long defunct school where "Breakfast Club" was shot.

    Wednesday, June 15, 2005


    Asthma surprises some athletes
    They prescribed the 25-year-old a buterol inhaler last spring to aid her breathing by opening her constricted airways. It worked, and months later Catchings helped rally the U.S. women's basketball team to win Olympic gold in Athens.
    I don't think I'm going to take my medical news from a place that can't even spell albuterol. You people are supposed to be reporters!

    I'm going to have to get me some of that shit, though. Turns out I can't breathe without the soothing nicotine constantly coursing through my veins (as a stimulant, it dilates the bronchial tubes, the constriction of which is asthma).

    Tuesday, June 14, 2005


    Some more insanity from the UPI and the Washington Times.

    Former chief economist for the Department of Labor during President George W. Bush's first term Morgan Reynolds comments that the official story about the collapse of the WTC is "bogus" and that it is more likely that a controlled demolition destroyed the Twin Towers and adjacent Building No. 7.

    This man is obviously delusional.

    Monday, June 13, 2005


    They cleared the King of Pop. [insert dramatic playing of "Beat It" here] I personally think he's guilty as sin, but I also believe Tom "Mad Dog" Sneddon failed to prove anything. And my concept of justice says that's more important.

    Alhough it will be hilarious (as I type the Escal-cade is speeding back to Neverland) if the cops are waiting to arrest him on some other charge.

    If I'm MJ, I move to that island that Brando left to me and never come back. Sell the Beatles songs and just hire a goon squad to import some willing 'tang. Of course, I don't think that's what it's about for people like that.


    I don't know if I'm last to the party here or not, but did you know that google will do unit conversions to you?

    Just type into the search box:

    14.5 kilowatts to horsepower

    What's the temperature Kenneth?

    How tall am I?

    It won't do viscosity, however. No newton second per meter squared to centistoke conversions for you.

    Did you know: avoirdupois can also mean fatness? As in, President William Howard weighed nearly 160 kg (350 lbs if the avoirdupois system you prefer) near the end of his presidency. Taft was a man of considerable avoirdupois.

    Why did I use the unweildy germanic verb placement in my parenthetical there? Down the stairs my hat please throw!

    Sunday, June 12, 2005

    The TV Rule!

    So I'm sitting here in the house straightening up and so forth, and I've got MeTV on. It's UHF done like UHF ought to be done. Also, it's the nation's most powerful low power TV station. Anyhow, I saw an episode of The Odd Couple where Quincy takes the other guy out to the cabin in the woods to take his mind off of things. While they're there, a lost girl scout troupe appears. One girl was the sad, reading Shakespear type. Then, an hour later on Mary Tyler Moore, that same girl appeared as Cloris Leachman's daughter Bess.


    It's too hot to think, slow blogging. My social circle is evaporating (for the purposes of hittin' the town on a Saturday night; I still have to help people move), and that's creating opportunity. "Opportunity" used here in it's Newspeak manner, as a euphamism for a problem that needs to be solved. Unfortunately, I usually find new people boring. Is that wrong to admit?

    File this under worst advice ever:
    I'm watching the television this morning, and stumbled upon the Joel Osteen preaching show. His message of the day goes something like this- "Feeling bad? Do you not like the situation you're in? Just sit tight, humbly, because God'll fix it when he's ready to, when you're ready for it." In other words, Follow. Don't think. Jesus W. Christ will take care of you.

    In the same vein, look at your local listings for a show called "Key of David". It's on one of the independent UHF stations here. Check out the opening sequence. Sick. Jack Chick-like. It's one of those fire and brimstone, "this is an evil world, the worst times yet, and get ready for White American Jesus" kinds of messages, with the tiny subtext of "be sure to kill the heathens so God doesn't have that much work to do when He comes."

    People like this really scare me.

    Tuesday, June 07, 2005

    NBC- The No Body Cares Network!

    People are finally starting to recognize that Jeff Zucker is running NBC into the ground.

    It's a lack of respect for the viewer. Tune in CBS or ABC, and if they are going to pre-empt a regularly scheduled program, they make a nice announcement. NBC does not. They just schedule whatever they feel like, at whatever length they feel like, to try to trick the viewer into watching their crap. And the manipulative teasers. The worst is the "Coming soon on ER: a helicopter falls on a doctor". They don't mean soon tonight- oh no. Tonight's episode is about somebody's feelings. That's three weeks from now. They do this rather than actually having programming that people like. I'm convinced people only like Raymond and CSI because they know they're going to be on at the same time every week.

    Sunday, June 05, 2005

    Real 3D!

    Check out this story on a new 3D display technology. Simple, brilliant, usable. Delightful!

    And it looks like something out of Forbidden Planet.


    This guy is mad as hell, and he's switching to mac.

    Be a mac person if you want- the Apple computers do certain things better than the PC world, and some of them are even technical. But stop trying to convince me, the rest of the world, and ultimately yourselves, that you've made the right choice. If you really believed that, I doubt you'd be proselytizing quite so loudly.

    But don't feed me this garbage of "never crashes" and "works all the time", as if PCs are bursting in flames all around you. In the first place, maybe 10, 15 years ago that was true. Back when Apple was on application specific hardware with fast, bulletproof SCSI hard drives and the best memory in the world. And cost twice what the competition did. Fine. (Though back when IBM and Compaq were running the show, in the early to mid 80s, their hardware was just as bulletproof and twice as heavy) But Apple can no longer claim this, PC hardware and Apple hardware is indistinguishable but for the processor and chipset. Same hard drives, same memory, same PCI expansion cards, same monitor connectors. Still costs 1.5 - 2x as much. And windows 2000 and XP are about as bulletproof as an operating system can be currently.

    The big problem, and benefit, with the PC world is of its market penetration. It's sort of like a regulation versus deregulation thing: the trains might run on time, but they serve the schedule, not the people.

    My PC is fast, never gets viruses, never crashes (except for one unfortunate software choice (ATI sucks!)), was relatively inexpensive, and I was able to build and upgrade it myself. Apple people will ask why one should spend the time learning how to secure a computer, and I would ask why spend the time figuring out how to use a computer with only one mouse button.

    Briefly, point by point:

  • Windows is complex, trying to be everything to everyone. This complexity comes at a terrible price: downtime, help desks, upgrades, patches and the inevitable failures.

  • When a new operating system or service pack is released, there are tons of changes to the functionality.

    And Apple doesn't suffer from those issues? Apple just changed the entire architecture of their OS to a Linux-type model, and is supposed to be announcing a change to Intel processors Monday. Those seem to me to be some hefty bumps to the continuity process.

  • WinTel machines use different versions of BIOS. They are not all equal, nor do they all have the same level of compatibility.

  • Hardware. There are hundreds of "WinTel-compatible" motherboards, each claiming to be better than the next. Whatever.

    If you can explain to me why that is of any concern to anyone but a system builder, I'll eat my hat.

  • Some Windows software applications are well written; others take shortcuts. Shortcuts may work in some environments, but not all, and ultimately the consumer pays in lost time, availability and productivity.

    That is true of all software. You have to test before you buy, just like any product.

  • Memory. Not all RAM is equal. Some works well. Cheap stuff doesn't.

  • Hard disks. Same problem: cheap or reliable. Your call.

    How does that differenciate Mac from PC? It's the same stuff.

  • In the coming weeks I'm going to keep a diary of an experiment my company began at 6 p.m. April 29, 2005 - an experiment predicated on the hypothesis that the WinTel platform represents the greatest violation of the basic tenets of information security and has become a national economic security risk.

    Give me the machine of someone who cares about security, and I can't get their information. Give me the machine of someone who doesn't, and I'll get everything. That is true of every OS and platform. Businesses who don't see all facets of the security problem, and who don't react to, prepare for and plan for breaches, will suffer. Those that do won't. Simple as that.

    People who actually care won't have problems. That is true of most human endeavors.

  • Good for you, Brooke Shields

    For mocking Tom Cruise and Scientology.

    Friday, June 03, 2005

    The Right Wing Says:

    Don't be too smart!

    Thursday, June 02, 2005

    Craziest eBay posting ever

    Whould you like to purchase a Chrysler LeBaron?

    Hit me baby!

    Notes from the Where Are They Now show on NBC tonight:

  • Nice that they didn't devote most of the show to the fake drama of the 'competition'.

  • Who's the Scottish beanpole host?

  • That Flock of Seagulls guy really went downhill. Ponytail and baseball hat means completely bald, ALWAYS. Am I right? And on the guy who invented the flock of seagulls hair. That's what you get for angering the hair gods, porky.

  • It was nice to see an actual knocked-up Tiffany, like a generation of girls dressed that way looked.

  • Hell, it was just nice to see Tiffany.

  • Who is the old dude in Arrested Development? Gramps lost his rhythmn, I think.

  • Never marry a groupie.

  • Wednesday, June 01, 2005


    Feds unearth Emmett Till's casket

    I hope whatever they're doing leads to some good.