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Archive for August, 2007

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Al Qaeda and Iraq – Interesting Tidbits

Saturday, August 18th, 2007

Just a couple of quick things I read on the train home today:

First, remember Jose Padilla? He’s the Brooklyn born man who was held without trial in a military court for three and a half years, until finally being transferred to a Miami civilian court, where he was convicted of all charges against him. Apparently, one of the pieces of evidence that convinced the jury was an application he filled out to attend an Al Qaeda training in Afghanistan in 2000. For those who don’t believe that Al Qaeda was a well-organized operation before we went after them, here’s a PDF of the application, along with an English translation.

Second, this from Captain’s Quarters about U.S. Representative Brian Baird, a five-term Democrat who voted against the war in 2002:

U.S. Rep. Brian Baird said Thursday that his recent trip to Iraq convinced him the military needs more time in the region, and that a hasty pullout would cause chaos that helps Iran and harms U.S. security.

“I believe that the decision to invade Iraq and the post-invasion management of that country were among the largest foreign-policy mistakes in the history of our nation. I voted against them, and I still think they were the right votes,” Baird said in a telephone interview from Washington, D.C.

“But we’re on the ground now. We have a responsibility to the Iraqi people and a strategic interest in making this work.”

Baird, a five-term Democrat, voted against President Bush ordering the Iraq invasion — at a time when he was in a minority in Congress and at risk of alienating voters. He returned late Tuesday from a trip that included stops in Israel, Jordan and Iraq, where he met troops, U.S. advisers and Iraqis, whose stories have convinced him that U.S. troops must stay longer.

Rep. Baird cites two reasons for his change of heart – first, his conclusion that a quick withdrawal would mean chaos for the Iraqis and go against our national interests, and second, his belief that General Petraeus had made real progress and should not have to withdrawal while success can still be achieved.

I’ve been reading a few, small encouraging items about Iraq lately – the rate of major insurgency attacks are down, the Iraqi people are turning in the insurgents to US and Iraqi troops more often now, etc. I tend to read news like this with a high degree of skepticism, since it’s typically someone with a political agenda trying to prove his/her point. But Rep. Baird’s views are a little more interesting. If he reached these (politically unpopular) conclusions after spending time over there, then perhaps the progress is for real?

One can only hope…

Categories: Political Rantings | No Comments »

LinkedIn Gets Serious

Tuesday, August 14th, 2007

Quite a choice, huh?
(Hat tip: Steve Walsh)


Categories: The World Wide Weird | No Comments »

A Truly Holy Cow…

Tuesday, August 14th, 2007

“I guess heaven must have needed a shortstop.”
 George Steinbrenner
– August 14, 2007

“Fly ball to deep right field. Tony Armas going back, back, back, at the wall . . .
Holy Cow, did you see that?!?!?”
 – Phil Rizzuto
– Radio Broadcast
– Late 1970′s


Categories: Sports Talk | No Comments »

The OJ story gets weirder

Tuesday, August 14th, 2007

Back in November, I blogged about a book OJ Simpson was writing called If I Did It, in which he described how he would have gone about murdering his ex-wife and her boyfriend, if he had, in fact, committed the crime.

Well, as it turns out, this very strange story was only just starting to get strange. Fasten your seat belts, this is a doozy:

It seems HarperCollins, the would-be publishers of this book, gave OJ a $630,000 advance for the book. Simpson then went and setup a shell corporation to keep the money away from the Goldman and Brown families (who are supposed to receive a portion of his earnings as part of the civil suit they won after the murders).

Last month, a Florida judge awarded the rights of the (completed) manuscript to the Goldman family. Let’s review that again: a judge awarded the right to sell the book describing how OJ Simpson would have killed Ron Goldman to the surviving family of Ron Goldman, who had decried the entire project as “immoral” when it first happened. But wait, you say, maybe by winning legal rights to the manuscript, their goal is simply to ensure that no one ever publishes such trash? No such luck:

The Goldmans are responsible for the costs of getting the book out there, but will be entitled to 90 percent of any proceeds, with the remaining 10 percent being split among the Brown family and the bankruptcy trustee that took charge of Simpson’s bogus enterprise, Lorraine Brooke Associates.

After they won the book rights, the Goldmans’ attorney said they were planning to change the name of the ghostwritten tome to Confessions of a Double Murderer and market it as a confessional.

“The family and publisher have pledged to leave Simpson’s manuscript entirely intact, but they will also add key commentary,” [a spokesman for the publisher] said in a statement. “The Goldmans, the publisher and [the Goldman's literary agent, Sharlene Martin] will all contribute portions of sales proceeds to the Ron Goldman Foundation for Justice.”

So Ron Goldman’s family is now going to profit from his murder, by publishing what they call a confessional, when the author says it isn’t, even though the whole thing was ghost-written to begin with.

Here’s the capper – OJ Simpson is outraged:

Simpson claimed in a streamed online interview that he only agreed to include one chapter about the murders after his original publisher, Judith Regan, swore that it would be labeled as purely hypothetical.

“I find it sort of hypocritical that they talked everybody in America to boycott the book: It was ‘immoral,’ it was ‘blood money,’” he said, referring to the Goldmans’ acquisition of the publishing rights. “But we now see it wasn’t ‘blood money’ if they got the money.”

Not that OJ has the moral high ground here, but I gotta say – in this case, the man’s got a point.

Categories: The World Wide Weird | 2 Comments »

JibJab gets personal

Monday, August 13th, 2007

Hey – remember JibJab? They’re the folks that made that hilarious This Land is Your Land parody back around the 2004 election? Also, they’re the kids who grew up two doors down from me in central New Jersey. I’m happy to report that they’re much better at web video than they ever were at kickball on Barklay Street.

Anyway, they’ve got a new service available now, where you can upload your own faces & star in your own JibJab video. Too cool to resist, so…

Ladies & Gentelmen, Brian & Sherry dance the Charleston (with some help from the JibJab boys…):

Check them out at jibjab.com!

Categories: Random Acts of Blogging | 2 Comments »

The 13-year old Finnish Fact Checker Strikes Again…

Sunday, August 12th, 2007

Gotta love this:

News agency Reuters has been forced to admit that footage it released last week purportedly showing Russian submersibles on the seabed of the North Pole actually came from the movie Titanic.

The images were reproduced around the world – including by the Guardian and Guardian Unlimited – alongside the story of Russia planting its flag below the North Pole on Thursday last week. But it has now emerged that the footage actually showed two Finnish-made Mir submersibles that were employed on location filming at the scene of the wreck of the RMS Titanic ship in the north Atlantic some 10 years ago. This footage was used in sequences in James Cameron’s 1997 blockbuster about the 1912 disaster.

The mistake was only revealed after a 13-year-old Finnish schoolboy contacted a local newspaper to tell them the images looked identical to those used in the movie.

Categories: News and/or Media, The World Wide Weird | No Comments »

A Week of Milestone Homeruns

Sunday, August 12th, 2007

Just catching up on some blogging tonight, so for posterity sake, here are the videos for three notable homeruns, all of which took place in the space of three days:

Barry Bonds ties Hank Aaron with #755 (August 4, 2007):

Alex Rodriguez hits homerun #500 – youngest player ever to accomplish the feat (August 4, 2007):

Barry Bonds breaks Hank Aaron’s homerun record by hitting #756 (August 7, 2007):

And because people will ask, here’s my take on the steroid scandal: Baseball’s obsession with statistics and records has always been misplaced. Yes, it’s likely that Bonds used steroids and Aaron did not. But Bonds and Aaron also played in different sized ballparks, with bats that were made differently. Bonds had access to weight lifting equipment that Aaron did not have, as well as training facilities, rehab facilities, medical procedures, and conditioning techniques that didn’t exist in the 60s and 70s. So much has changed in 33 years, that the only thing I can think of that is exactly the same between the two eras is the distance between the bases, which doesn’t matter a lick when it comes to hitting homeruns.

So I don’t really care who holds the record for most career homeruns. Both men have hit a lot of homeruns and will long be regarded as two of the best long ball hitters ever to play the game. What matters is this: To my knowledge, Aaron didn’t cheat. I (and, apparently, no one else) can prove that Bonds cheated, but the evidence seems to suggest that he did. If it turns out that’s not the case, then please put me first in line to apologize to Mr. Bonds. Until then, I can tell my 7 and 4-year old sons that Hank Aaron was a great baseball player. I’ll be telling them that Bonds was a great baseball player too, but also a stupid man (they’ve learned in school, and at home, that people who take drugs are stupid people) and a cheater (they’ve also learned in school, and at home, that if you cheat, no one will want to play with you again). If I’m raising them right (and, of course, I believe that I am), then they’ll grow up to understand both men’s accomplishments, and hold Hank Aaron in far greater regard than Barry Bonds. That’s about right, I think.

Categories: Sports Talk | 4 Comments »

The Latest Unbelievable OJ Thing…

Thursday, August 9th, 2007

OK, here’s the picture:

The address is 360 North Rockingham Avenue in Los Angeles. That’s OJ Simpson’s house.

The van says “Knife Sharpening Service” on the side. Seriously.

(Hat tip: Instapundit)


Categories: The World Wide Weird | No Comments »

Voting made easy…

Monday, August 6th, 2007

Check out this site (hat tip: Willow Gross), which asks you for your position on 25 issues and their relative importance to you, and comes back with who you should vote for in 2008.

All the data is from a site called 2decide.com which, at first glance, seems like a gross overesimplification of the issues. I gotta say, though, the results are pretty consistent with how I’d have ranked the candidates if I was asked to do so by “gut feel.” Here’s my list. What’s yours?

Candidate Party Support (+/-)
Giuliani (R) +31
Biden (D) +23
Dodd (D) +22
McCain (R) +20
Edwards (D) +20
Clinton (D) +20
Obama (D) +17
Thompson (R) +17
Kucinich (D) +12
Richardson (D) +10
Romney (R) +5
Gravel (D) 0
Hunter (R) -3
Brownback (R) -7
Huckabee (R) -10
Cox (R) -14
Paul (R) -16
Tancredo (R) -24


Categories: Political Rantings | 5 Comments »

How People Found Me – July Edition

Monday, August 6th, 2007

The Categories

Category July Count June Count
Technology 184 151
Billy Joel 60 76
Celebrity Look Alikes 50 70
DSL 30 22
Politics 23 12
Overrated Films 19 19
Family 16 8
Cal/Stanford 16 10
ISBS Song/Lyrics 14 10

For the second month in a row, technology related queries lead the list, surpassing the once dominant Billy Joel entries. In fact, Billy Joel is in serious danger of dropping to #3, behind the inexplicably popular Celebrity Look-a-Like searches. New to the list this month are searches involving politics, searches directly involving me or my family, and a small uptick in searches for the Cal/Stanford “big game” and searches for the lyrics to a country song called “I Should be Sleeping Instead of Dreaming About You,” which I’ve never heard.

The Referring Sites

New to the referral section this month are burlaki.com, a blog belonging to a friend and colleague who is currently residing in London and keeping his American (and Russian) friends & family up to date on his travels, CNN.com who was nice enough to link to one of my posts (for more on that phenomenon, click here), and imdb.com, where a commenter on one of their forums (which I didn’t know existed until now), quoted one of my posts. All told, the above links resulted in roughly 25 visits & roughly 30 pageviews (or about 2% of the total).

The Keywords

All told, 563 queries resulted in hits to Familygreenberg.com in July (about 120 fewer than were used in June). Here are some samples:

We begin with the odd and interesting:

Query Rank / # of Results Comments
its a groovy time for a movie time 4 / 1,490,000 I didn’t realize I was the purveyor of Austin Powers-inspired cinematic marketing slogans
feel something wrong with the world 7 / 50,800,000 Gotta love this logic: 1) feel something wrong with the world, 2) Google it, 3) Click on a familygreenberg.com link to find out what it is. Sorry to disappoint…
do you want to display the nonsecure items? explorer boring 31 / 309 Boring? I’ve heard it called lots of things, but never boring…
who sang dum de da 34 / 279,000 Er….I’m guessing just about everyone at one time or another, no?
examples of teenage cellphone voicemails 148 / 271,000 Are there really such things on the internet? And who’s searching for them?
what are stem cells good for 270 / 2,150,000 It’s actually quite an impressive list, and I’m proud to be on it…
ratings graph chart evening news katie couric -debut >500 / 17,700 I think someone finally figured out that her debut was the exception, huh?
who needs a babysitter in lakewood,oh >500 / 21,900 Quite a specific request for Google. Serves ‘em right for clicking through to my site…
chez greenberg >500 / 270,000 Oui, Oui, Bonjour Madame e Monsieur. Ca va?
how to sneak things onto a cruise >500 / 295,000 We at ISBS do not condone such behavior…
wind blew my car into my own home will insurance pay for the damage to the home >500 / 310,000 OK, this guy either lives in a tornado zone, or he has the worst excuse for driving his care into his house I’ve ever heard…
what do i do when my bank account balance vanished? >500 / 556,000 World’s most desparate Google Query?
rationale of gambling >500 / 698,000 Gee, I hope it’s not the same guy as the one above…
i’ve been working on the railroad >500 / 1,640,000 Seriously? Someone should write a song about you…
sleeping the laptop good? >500 / 1,900,000 Ladies & Gentlemen, the winner of this month’s foreign language query!
most interesting google searches >500 / 65,000,000 A query for interesting Google searches turns up a page with a list of interesting Google searches. Ugh…my head hurts.
one of these please >500 / 528,000,000 Er…sure – help yourself. (What could he/she possibly have been Googling for?)
fighter jets over leominster ma n/a / 432 Again, the logic astounds: hear fighter jets, Google, click on Familygreenberg.com for answers…
guess the dictator sitcom star >500 / 45,500 Sounds hysterical…

And now, for the first time since I’ve been doing this, we come upon some queries that are, shall we say, “adult” in nature (WARNING: you have been warned):

Query Rank / # of Results Comments
advancements about cervical incompetence (2005-2007) n/a / 107 OK, it’s a little explicit, but it’s medical, so we’ll give it a pass…
did harry potter sleep with emma 365 / 491,000 Now, now – that’s just wrong…
naked pictures of kristy brinkley >500 / 167,000 OK, we’ve achieved the common every porn search…
sleeping sex movie >500 / 3,300,000 More creative, and more relevant to this site, but still rather common…
mother inlaw in lingerie >500 / 348,000 Bingo – now we’re into the bizarre. Forgive me while I go wash a mental image out of my head…
he gets it up the ass by a heshe 1 / 713,000 Well, that’ll do it. Thanks. The bad news is, this is the only #1 on the list this month. The good news is this query somehow made it’s way to my post on Michael Moore…
videos of any president peeing >500 / 921,000 Oh, man – seriously?


Categories: Blogging about Blogs | 2 Comments »

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