Archive for April, 2008
OK, seriously? I saw a passing headline on the train this morning about Miley Cyrus posing nude in a magazine, and I couldn’t believe it when I saw the actual photo. This is considered a nude photo? This is even considered risque? Or even remotely inappropriate? I realize different people fall at different places on the prude-o-meter, and I mean no disrespect, but seriously – don’t we see more of Miley (and just about anyone else) when they’re wearing a swimsuit? On a public beach?
What we have here is another manufactured story, churned out by the Gaffe Machine, so reporters can fill their column inches or air time with another celebrity “Gotcha!” Everyone wants Miley to do something scandalous, so they can news catalog her with Brittney Spears and Lindsay Lohan.
Don’t believe me? Every news article I read about this so-called scandal contained at least one paragraph that mentioned Brittney and Lindsay. Let’s think about this seriously for a minute, shall we? Between the two of them, Brittney and Lindsay have been drunk drivers, on drugs, married and divorced several times, in rehab, involved in legal and sometimes violent altercations with both family members and members of the press, and more. Miley Cyrus posed for a picture by a world-famous, well-respected photographer that exposed her bare back. On what planet is this considered even remotely similar?
The ultimate irony, though, was the quote from Disney Channel spokesperson, Patti McTeague:
Unfortunately, as the article suggests, a situation was created to deliberately manipulate a 15-year-old in order to sell magazines
<smacks forehead> Wow. The Disney Channel is criticizing someone for exploiting Miley Cyrus in order to make money. Wow. Just….Wow.
Hat tip to Kushol Gupta for this link: President Bush conducting the U.S. Marine Band as they play Stars and Stripes Forever. Apologies for the outside link – CNN doesn’t provide embedding technology (at least none that I could find).
Anyway, is it just me, or does Bush look more comfortable conducting (badly) than he ever has speaking?
As some of my loyal readers know, I’m about to move out of my house for 4-6 months to undergo a major home renovation. As exciting as it is, it means this weekend is dedicated almost entirely to packing up every single thing we own, so we can move it into a storage container on our driveway while the wrecking ball has it’s way with our beloved home.
It’s amazing the things you find when you have to physically handle every single one of your possessions. This one’s for Jeff Porten:
(Click image to enlarge)
That, my friends, is the manual for the Fat Mac (now with 512K of memory; hard drive not yet invented). The actual machine itself is in the guest room closet, right next to the ImageWriter printer. That closet is on tomorrow’s list – maybe I’ll post some updated pics here when I get to it.
Oh, and just so everyone doesn’t think I’ve gone over to the dark side, this was on the same shelf:
(Click image to enlarge)
Ah yes, Windows for Workgroups and MS-DOS 6.2. Man, those were the days… ;-)
If you’ve got kids, and they’re anything like my kids, then Webkinz world is a familiar place. Both of my sons login regularly to feed and play with their virtual pet, and to complete the hourly, daily, and specially highlighted tasks that can earn them KinzCash, with which they can buy their pal anything from food to furniture to medical attention.
So imagine the disappointment when, suddenly and without warning, a visit to the Webkinz URL, http://www.webkinz.com/, started returning an HTML error and wouldn’t let them on the page? I mean, it’s like the kids’ equivalent of Blogger doing down for twelve days!
Anyway, Webkinz technical support here with a solution. Use the following URL:
Voila! Problem solved.
For the geeky, tech folks out there, here’s what’s going on: the main URL, www.webkinz.com, is receiving a parameter that tells it what location you’re in, for the purposes (I believe) of displaying the site in your native language. But the programming logic that interprets this parameter is not working, causing the “Error on Page” message. By deep linking directly to the United States/English page (www.webkinz.com/us_en/), you bypass this faulty logic and proceed directly to the site itself.
It’s been about a week now, and no one at Webkinz seems to have noticed, even though the number of kids logging in has to have dropped dramatically (has everyone figured this out on their own?). As I said earlier, it’s like someone decided that customer service and technical support were just going to shutdown around the world, and no one told me…
Anyway, enjoy your Webkinz. I’ll accept my fee in KinzCash…
OK, so I’ve been away a while, and the list of things I’ve wanted to blog about has grown steadily. So away we go:
1) If you don’t watch The Daily Show with John Stewart, you really should. It’s funny every single night. But this past week or two, Stewart has been on fire! Here he is after Barack Obama was called an elitist:
The whole thing is funny, but the best part is around 7:25 or so. Here’s the money quote:
Doesn’t elite mean good? Is that not something we’re looking for in a president anymore? You know what candidates, come with me (to a different camera:) I know elite is a bad word in politics; you want to go bowling and throw back a few beers, but the job you’re applying for, if you get it and it goes well, they might carve your head into a mountain! If you don’t actually think you’re better than us, then what the &%*#&@ are you doing?
2) If someone from 1984, having just read Orwell’s book, time travelled to 2008 and took a New York commuter train one morning, they’d see more than half of the people with their eyes closed, in various degrees of consciousness, wearing the same white ear phones in their ears, and probably assume we were all being fed the same government-issued doublespeak. What’s funny is how wrong they’d be. Sitting on a train with 100 iPods, I wonder what the odds are that any two of them are playing the same song? I’m guessing it’s close to zero.
3) A colleague of mine pointed out to me the other day that MIT disproved time travel in 2005 by holding a time traveller’s convention, to which no one from the future showed up. Pretty convincing evidence on the face of it. If time travel is to ever be invented, you’d think someone would pop in to say hello, no? Famed scientist Tina Fey, formerly of Saturday Night Live had the perfect rebuttal:
A student at MIT is hosting a Time Traveler Party this week with the hope that people from the future will show up…too bad people from the future already know the party sucked!”
The only thing I know for sure after reading about this is that if anyone does invent time travel in my lifetime, something will almost instantly occur that will give me a killer headache.
4) SamuriFrog, the excellent blogger over at Electronic Cerebrectomy (WARNING: Link is typically not safe for work), recently posted two pictures that sum up the sad state of intelligence in our country today:
Man…there oughta be a test you need to pass before you can write protest signs…
5) Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to New York City was capped off by a mass held at Yankee Stadium. First, a quick conversation between my wife and I:
My wife: Wow, the stadium looks beautiful. I bet the Pope is impressed. Me: Honey, he practically lives in St. Peter’s Basillica! My wife: Good point
Then, of course, there are the New York Post and the New York Daily News, who could not resist the ironic headline:
The Post: “Communion Vendors Bring the Host to the Most.” Daily News: “The Sermon on the Mound.”
Gotta love New York…
6) And finally, Britain’s Office of Government Commerce, or OGC, recently unveiled it’s new logo:
Seems harmless enough, right? But then they started putting it on mousepads, pens, and the like, and people got a chance to see it rotated 90 degrees:
Wow…that’s quite the, er…um…well…what’s the word I’m looking for? Well, I guess you’d have to say it’s quite a boner, now wouldn’t you???
After another 5-day outage, Blogger appears to be back & publishing again. Forgive me for being cynical, but we’ll see how long it lasts this time.
And for what it’s worth, still no response to my Blogger support e-mail request, nor any mention of it on Blogger Buzz or any of the message boards I’ve been able to find.
Oh, and lest you think I’m only bashing Blogger here, I went to Yahoo’s support page (my site is hosted at Yahoo), filled out the form, and got a Failure to Deliver e-mail back, telling me that the e-mail address the form used doesn’t exist in the Yahoo domain.
What gives? Did the world agree to abandon all tech support while I was asleep one night?
(NOTE: Blogger went down again, right after I made my previous post. It’s been down one two three four five more days at this point. The following post was written on 4/22)
I document this today, the day of the hard-fought Pennsylvania primary, because I know people have short memories, and once the media changes the national conversation, others will call me crazy for suggesting what is common knowledge right now. And that is this:
On April 22, 2008, Barack Obama has already been called unpatriotic, racist, unqualified, unprepared, inexperienced, beholden to lobbyists, elitist and Muslim. Hillary Clinton has been called a liar, a hypocrite, a war hawk, over-emotional, contrived, out of touch and willing to rig elections with changes to primary rules and reliance on super delegates. His healthcare plan has been criticized for leaving millions uninsured. Her position on NAFTA has been criticized as being inconsistent with her previous votes on the subject. He’s been accused of a willingness to mollycoddle world leaders. She’s been accused of fear mongering.
And all of it, every single bit of it, is coming from within the Democratic party. There’s no conceivable way to blame any of this on John McCain, Karl Rove, or the RNC. They have wisely stayed on the sidelines and watched the Democrats feast on each other, well on their way to throwing away an easy victory in November for the third time in a row.
Come September/October, though, when the same questions are still being asked, many of the people who are responsible for the above will be in front of cameras, condemning the Republican Attack MachineTM for it’s deplorable treatment of the Democratic candidate and it’s willingness to distract Americans from the “real issues.” And what’s worse, those of us (and yes, regardless of who I vote for, I will be among them) who point out that the candidate did the very same thing to his/her opponent in the primaries will be accused of irrationally endorsing the failed policies of George W. Bush. No, I don’t know why. But mark my words, it will happen.
For the record, I think Hillary has been more guilty of this than Obama. If you read the above lists carefully, you’ll notice that his attacks on Hillary have been at least tangentially (and sometimes directly) tied to politics and policy, whereas her attacks on Obama seem to suggest that this man, who has a long history of public service, has secretly harbored racist, elitist, anti-American tendencies that are just now coming out as he’s running for President against Hillary.
It was the most recent exchange, reserved for today, the day of the Pennsylvania primary, that made me finally blog about the topic (hat tip: Power Line). Here’s the campaign ad currently running for Hillary Clinton in Pennsylvania:
Note the imagery of FDR, JFK, the 1929 stock market crash, Pearl harbor, Soviet aggression, gas shortages, Osama bin Laden, Hurricane Katrina and home foreclosure. In 30 seconds. From a woman who has consistently accused the Bush administration of governing by fear.
Obama’s response shows video of Bill Clinton speaking at a 2004 campaign rally:
Now, one of Clinton’s Laws of Politics is this: If one candidate’s trying to scare you and the other one’s trying to get you to think, if one candidate’s appealing to your fears and the other one’s appealing to your hopes, you better vote for the person who wants you to think and hope.
Now tell me John McCain isn’t on the sidelines taking notes…
Yes, world, the long and horrible wait is over.
On the afternoon of April 14th, after posting a humorous entry on the Plainview Library’s schedule of events, I went to edit my recent post & found that Blogger wasn’t letting me FTP files to my server (the specific error, so the Google Gods pick this entry up, was “Your publish is taking longer than expected. To continue waiting for it to finish, click here”). That happens from time to time, and given that they interact with hundreds (thousands?) of third party hosting services to do FTP publishing, I can imagine that fixing it would be a complex task. But this time, the lights went off for SIX WHOLE DAYS!.
The message boards lit up with people complaining about the problem and threatening to migrate to WordPress or the like. This particular thread got particularly vitriolic, especially after a Blogger Employee suggested that users 1) Read the help file on FTP publishing, 2) clear their browser cache and cookies, and 3) “Head to the kitchen, grab some comfort food, and then try again a little bit later.” Poorly worded post, to be sure, especially given that this was the only response from Blogger itself on the whole thread (or on any other thread I could find). Even the official Blogger blog, Blogger Buzz, didn’t mention the problem – not even in their most recent post entitled Updates and Bug Fixes for April 18th.
I realize Blogger is a free service, and you tend to get what you pay for in this world, but this was truly frustrating. And I say that as someone who was just going through the normal blogging withdrawal. Others on the messageboards were complaining about lost business, missed media opportunities, difficulty communicating with their customers/business partners, etc.. Blogger (and Google in general) have historically been very responsive to problems, both within the company and by making use of the “Army of Davids” that their user base represents. This time, though, they acted as if they weren’t even aware of the problem. I even went to the “Contact Us” section and filled out a problem report, for which I was promised I’d get an e-mail response. I’m still waiting…
In any case, the problem seems to have subsided – at least for now. If I vanish for another six days, though, you’ll know why.
Oh, and if you’ve arrived at this page because you’re having the same problem and you were hoping I’d shed some light on how I solved it? Well, I waited for it to go away and eventually it did. How’s that for entirely unhelpful?!? If anyone has a better idea, please leave it in the comments? Thanks…
Big ol’ tip of the hat to Mike Starr, who passed along today’s schedule for his local library, the Plainview – Old Bethpage Public Library. Here’s a quick summary (emphasis mine):
10:30 AM-SENIOR BOOK DISCUSSION
3:30 PM-Girl Scouts Troop 3051
3:30 PM-Hospice of New York
6:30 PM-NATIONAL OVARIAN CAN COALITION NY LI DIVISION
8:00 PM-National Stuttering Association
8:00 PM-National Stuttering Association
You can’t make up stuff like this…
This has to be my favorite baseball story of the year so far.
It seems that a construction worker from the Bronx, Gino Castignoli, who is also a Red Sox fan, took a job on the construction team for the new Yankee Stadium, with the express purpose of burying a David Ortiz Red Sox jersey in one of the stadium’s concrete slabs in order to jinx the stadium and the Yankees. After that one day on the job, he quit, stating that he would never set foot in Yankee Stadium even if they “gave him free tickets” and “let him sit in George Steinbrenner’s box.”
Alas, two anonymous co-workers ratted him out. On Saturday, a team drilled for five hours in the offending concrete slab and found the jersey under two feet of concrete. The shirt, tattered from the jackhammers but still easily recognizable as a Red Sox jersey, will be auctioned off by the Jimmy Fund to raise money for Boston’s Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. The Yankees will contribute a Yankees Universe T-shirt as well, which will benefit Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York.
Here’s the best part, though (you have to watch the embedded video in the article to catch this). Hank Steinbrenner, George Steinbrenner’s son and principal owner of the Yankees, had this to say about the incident:
I hope his coworkers kick the [expletive] out of him
And Mr. Castignoli, who has no remorse about the incident whatsoever, responded thusly:
Tell Hank he can come meet me if he wants to try – and tell him to bring [catcher Jorge] Posada, because he’s the one Yankee I can’t stand.
This is the kind of stuff that makes the Yankees & Red Sox one of the greatest rivalries in all of sports. As for jinxes, well, Boston fans know all about jinxes, now don’t they? Not to mention, as long as there’s stuff like this in the building, the Yankees will be well protected. As Derek Jeter said in a recent interview, “the ghosts don’t have far to go – just across the street.”