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Archive for December, 2006


I’m baaaacck….

Sunday, December 31st, 2006

Sorry for the hiatus, folks – I’ve been on a whirlwind Disney vacation with the wife & kids for the past two weeks (web-photos & review to be posted soon, as soon as I find some time – the home video was the first priority, since the kids enjoy watching that).

Anyway, I came home to roughly 3,500 emails (1,600 of them in the “not spam” category), of which a few contained blog worthy posts. If I’d been home, these would likely have been separate entries, but I’ll just list them here for your amusement/enjoyment:

– First, for those who live in or near Garwood, NJ, the band I play in, Midlife Crisis, will be playing at Crossroads on January 13th. The setlist is mostly 70′s rock. The volume is mostly loud. Come on down & check us out.

– Someone sent me a link to an online archive of TV shows. All I can say is, “Oh, my!” Some of the shows (e.g., “24″) have been taken down for copyright reasons, but many, many others are up there. I’d say I’m surprised this site isn’t more popular, but then if it was, I’m guessing it would cease to exist. Consult your ethics manual, and then click at your own risk…

– For folks who enjoy such things, the History of Pop Music in 4 Chords. Warning: Contains Journey.

– Regarding Time Magazine’s Person of the Year, 2006 (“You”), a really awesome quote from Zach Klitzman, a student at the University of Pennsylvania (reprinted here without his permission):

This is awesome; now I can write on my resume that I was selected as Time Man of the Year.

Good point, Zach. Maybe I’ll do the same…

– This from a guy named Rob McKay on the Huffington Post:

It is 60 degrees on December 18th in New York City. I’m hardly relieved I didn’t have to bundle up my daughter and trudge with her through ice and now to go see “The Nutcracker” today. The temperature is terrifying. I want to crack some sense into the nuts who tell us there’s nothing to worry about.

Ozone, schmozone. Just enjoy the balmy weather.

Bush won’t even use the term “global warming.” He occasionally makes reference to the world’s “climate change.” Conservative politicians and pundits chalk up global warming to the next liberal bully pulpit, a rehash of “political correctness” or outcries from the “feminazis.”

He goes on to give the standard schpiel about how global warming is real, the consequences dire, and how anyone who says anything differently is a neo-conservative, radical, religious Christian.

Guys like this really, really get under my skin. Not because I don’t believe that global warming exists, or that humans are causing it. But because a single warm winter in a single city proves absolutely nothing about global warming. And to suggest it does is to go down the slippery slope of having to explain why a particularly cold winter in a different year or different city (anyone out there from Denver?!?) isn’t equal evidence to suggest that the problem has magically disappeared.

No big deal when we’re talking about warm winters, but it’s guys like this who were standing in the flood waters of New Orleans 16 months ago, telling us how Katrina was nothing compared to what’s coming, and how each successive hurricane season is going to get worse and worse because of global warming. So now that 2006′s season has gone down as one of the calmest on record, the folks who should still be screaming about levee repair have no argument to make, and the folks who want to divert that money to other priorities are probably singing like songbirds on Capitol Hill.

Making the right argument with the wrong data is dangerous. It inevitably damages your credibility, especially in the long term. And global warming is a long term problem.

– For those who haven’t seen it yet, the full video of Saddam Hussein’s execution by hanging is now floating all around the web. To be honest, it’s not nearly as graphic as I feared it would be, but it does show the actual moment of death, so if that kind of thing makes you squeamish, click away…

– On a somewhat related note, I found this cool site that allows you to download local copies of flash video from sites like YouTube and Google. It’s pretty simple – you type in the URL from YouTube/Google, it gives you a download link from which you can do “Save Target As…” or whatever your browser calls it. The resulting file is an FLV file, which I was then able to play on my hard drive using this free, FLV player.

(For those who are wondering, I keep a folder on my hard drive of historically significant documents, pictures, videos, etc. I thought Hussein’s execution ranked as one of those, so I wanted a local copy. This seemed the easiest way).

Anyway, that catches me up. How was everyone else’s holiday?

Categories: Political Rantings, Random Acts of Blogging, Tech Talk | 3 Comments »

Conclusive Proof that God is a Republican?

Thursday, December 14th, 2006

Well, it’s been a while since I blogged about politics. Gotta say, it felt good. But this? Wow…

The Democrats’ hope of controlling both houses of Congress suddenly got thrown into question this morning when South Dakota Senator Tim Johnson sufferred an intracerebral bleed caused by a congenital arteriovenous malformation and required emergency brain surgery.

For some reason, when these things happen, politicians feel the need to say obvious and/or stupid things:

For the “stupid” side, we turn to Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid, who rushed to Johnson’s bedside upon hearing the news. Senator Reid told the press that “There isn’t a thing that’s changed. He looked great.” Except for the fact that he’s unconscious, has his head wrapped in bandages, and is listed in critical condition, I guess. Remind me not to call Senator Reid for my next physical.

On the “obvious” side, we have soon-to-be Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, who responded to a question about the political ramifications of Johnson’s illness with “That is a hypothetical that I really don’t want to address.” I would think not, Madame Speaker.

Also, there was Laura Bush, who gave the perfunctory “our hopes and prayers are with him” speech on CBS’s “The Early Show.” I have not read of a quote directly from the President, but I assume he has said almost (if not exactly) the same thing.

Allow me to extend Mrs. Bush’s “hopes and prayers” message, if I may:

   – I hope and pray that the senator has a full recovery. Full stop.

   – If he doesn’t fully recover, I hope and pray he’s able to continue in the Senate. The backlash against Dick Cheney (who would have the tie-breaking vote in a 50-50 Senate should South Dakota’s Republican governor nominate a Republican to replace Johnson), would be akin to the cries of “election stealing” that came after the 2000 election. If the mess back then contributed to us taking our eye off the Al Qaeda ball, even for a second, you’d think it would’ve taught us about the downside of distracting our leaders with this kind of nonsense. I’m not optimistic, though…

   – If he’s not able to serve, I hope he resigns. Back in 1969, another South Dakota senator, Karl Mundit (a Republican), sufferred a stroke while in office. He offered to resign on the condition that South Dakota’s governor appoint Mundt’s wife to fill the vacancy, but the governor refused. So he served the rest of his term (four more years), even though he was unable to cast a vote. Keeping a vegetable in office just to maintain control of the Senate would create a similar kind of backlash to the one described above, and we’re better off without it.

   – Finally, I hope that no one accuses Karl Rove of secretly poisoning, or otherwise harming, Senator Johnson. I know this sounds crazy, but remember – there are still people walking around on the planet today who think that Bill Clinton personally shot Vince Foster in the head. I’d just as soon not have to listen to it…

Categories: Political Rantings | No Comments »

Blogger “550 Permission Denied” Bug – SOLVED!

Monday, December 11th, 2006

If you’re a Blogger user, as I am, you might have noticed recently that you were suddenly unable to post/modify entries to your blog, create new blogs, etc. For me, every publishing attempt was greeted with this message:

550 Permission denied on server. You are restricted to your account./2006/12/post_name.htm

A little Googling turned up this discussion, which has the correct fix buried in some of the later comments. Here’s what you need to do to get up & running again:

1) Login to Blogger
2) Go to the Settings Tab
3) Go to the Publishing sub-tab
4) The third field down should be FTP Path. It used to be blank, but now probably contains a “/”
5) Change it to “.” (without the quotes)
6) Click the Save Settings button
7) Note that the FTP Path field now reads “./” rather than the “.” you typed in. This is OK.
7) Republish the blog

Voila! Problem solved. Blogger is claiming they didn’t change anything, but that FTP Path field would not give up its slash. If I cleared the field out & then clicked “Save Settings,” the slash came back. Slash, as those who work with path names know, indicates the root of the path. When the field was blank, Blogger would publish to the root of the FTP Server’s specified path (first field on that screen). With the slash there, it was attempting to publish to the root of the FTP server itself, which most of us peons don’t have permission to use. “./” means the root of the current parent, which is the same as no path at all in this case, so it solves the problem.

When Blogger wakes up and realize they did change something, and then removes the code that automatically puts a slash at the end of the FTP Path, you may experience the probelm again (when your FTP Path suddenly turns to “.” instead of “./”). If that happens, reset it to blank, and you should be good to go again.

Happy blogging…

Categories: Tech Talk | 11 Comments »

The Space Shuttle’s Y2K Problem

Monday, December 11th, 2006

I think at this point, we can all agree that the Space Shuttle is a remarkable piece of technological achievement. So you can imagine my surprise when I found this in an article about tonight’s nighttime launch:

NASA officials were glad to get the shuttle off their ground since they wanted it back on Earth by the new year.

Shuttle computers are not designed to make the change from the 365th day of the old year to the first day of the new year while in flight. The space agency has figured out a solution for the New Year’s Day problem, but managers are reluctant to try it.

Right, ’cause when you build a space shuttle, you just assume that NASA will always take Christmas week off… Sheesh!

Categories: The World Wide Weird | 2 Comments »

Plane Lands Due to Too Much Gas

Thursday, December 7th, 2006

Flatulence leads US jet to divert (sent in by alert reader, Mike Starr):

An American Airlines plane made an emergency landing in Nashville after passengers reported the smell of sulphur from burning matches. The matches were found on the seat of a woman who had attempted to conceal the odour of flatulence with the matches, Nashville airport authorities said.

All 99 passengers and five crew left the plane while it was searched. The woman was questioned by the FBI but released without charge and allowed to board another American Airlines flight.

“It was determined that she was trying to conceal body odour,” said Lynne Lowrance of the Nashville Airport Authority. She had “no malicious intent but had struck matches which is against [Transport Security Administration] rules,” Ms Lowrance said.

The unidentified woman had an unspecified medical condition, Associated Press news agency said. She was carrying safety matches, which the TSA allows in carry-on luggage. The matches are not allowed to be struck, however.

Couldn’t she just blame a kid in the row behind her like everyone else?

Categories: The World Wide Weird | No Comments »

The Donald Trumps Kramden, Kennedy

Thursday, December 7th, 2006

TV Land is airing a five-day special, beginning this Monday, on the Top 100 Greatest TV Quotes and Catchphrases. Here’s their Top 10:

1. Heeere’s Johnny! (Ed McMahon, The Tonight Show)
2. One small step for man … (Neil Armstrong)
3. You’re fired! (Donald Trump, The Apprentice)
4. Baby, you’re the greatest. (Ralph Kramden, The Honeymooners)
5. Ask not what your country can do for you … (John F. Kennedy)
6. D’oh! (Homer Simpson, The Simpsons)
7. Where’s the beef? (Wendy’s)
8. Whatchoo talkin’ ’bout, Willis? (Arnold Drummond, Diff’rent Strokes)
9. Yabba dabba do! (Fred Flintstone, The Flintstones)
10. I’m not a crook (Richard Nixon)

Now, I realize these lists exist solely to promote debate among people who read them, so apologies for taking the bait here, but am I the only one that sees one of these as standing out from the rest like a dead roach on a vanilla ice cream cone? (Steve Walsh: If you’re reading this, thanks – I knew that would come in handy one day). I mean, seriously, is Trump’s “You’re Fired!” from the (now flailing) reality show, The Apprentice, really in the same league as “Ask not what your country can do for you…” and “Yabba dabba do?”

I’m guessing that in 50 years, people will still know where “Yabba Dabba Do” comes from, but The Apprentice will be the answer to a relatively tough trivia question.


Categories: Primetime TV | 1 Comment »

Read this entry – it’s not too long!

Tuesday, December 5th, 2006

Just in case anyone was still unsure about the dwindling nature of the American attention span, note that the BillBoard Awards have a category called “Best Video Clip,” but not one called “Best Video.”

How long is a music video – 3 or 4 minutes? Is watching the whole thing such a chore now that we need to reduce it down to the musical equivalent of a sound bite? And then give out an award for the artist that does it best?

It’s like we can’t bring ourselves to focus on a single idea for any length of time anymore. It’s like we. . . . . oh look, a tree!

Categories: Words about Music | 1 Comment »

What Kind of Accent Do You Have?

Saturday, December 2nd, 2006

Well, this is pretty impressive. 13 questions & no audio involved, and this thing not only figured out that I speak with a Northeast accent, but that I’m “from north Jersey, New York City, Connecticut or Rhode Island.”

What American accent do you have?

Your Result: The Northeast

Judging by how you talk you are probably from north Jersey, New York City, Connecticut or Rhode Island. Chances are, if you are from New York City (and not those other places) people would probably be able to tell if they actually heard you speak.

The Inland North
The Midland
The South
The West
North Central
What American accent do you have?
Take More Quizzes

Categories: New York, New York, Random Acts of Blogging | 6 Comments »

30 Rock – Starring Tina Fey, Jane Krakowski, and ME!

Saturday, December 2nd, 2006

As attentive readers already know, I work at 50 Rockefeller Plaza, which is right next to NBC’s New York headquarters, at 30 Rockefeller Plaza. Which, of course, is the namesake of the new sitcom, 30 Rock.

So, a couple of months back (before the show had aired), I’m walking into work one morning, and I see a film crew filming a television show. Tina Fey was there, and while I recognized her face right away, I couldn’t place the name until I saw some film equipment with the “30 Rock” label on it. Jane Krakowski was there too, but she’s much thinner (and more blonde) than she was on Ally McBeal, so I had no chance to recognize her. Anyway, I watched the taping for a while, and then headed into the office.

Fast forward to this past Thursday night. I’m watching 30 Rock (my wife and I are fans now), and I recognize the scene I saw filmed as the opening of the show. Knowing where I was & what they were doing at the time, I was able to pick myself out of the crowd. To wit:

Yup, there we are. Tina, Jane and I in our first scene together. I know Tina & Jane are the stars of the show & all, but I don’t think they got my good side. The things us supporting actors put up with…

Categories: Primetime TV | 7 Comments »