April 2005 Archives

Wee small hours

My lovely and talented grandmother, the queen of Guam (Ms. Murphy to some) sent me a slightly belated birthday present of the surprisingly listen-able concept album,

in the wee small hours
per the suggestion of Tom Waits, here.

Sinatra said that he's certain most baby boomers were conceived with this as the soundtrack


Murphy Royalty

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From Allmusic:

Expanding on the concept of Songs for Young Lovers!, In the Wee Small Hours was a collection of ballads arranged by Nelson Riddle. The first 12“ album recorded by Sinatra, Wee Small Hours was more focused and concentrated than his two earlier concept records. It's a blue, melancholy album, built around a spare rhythm section featuring a rhythm guitar, celesta, and Bill Miller's piano, with gently aching strings added every once and a while. Within that melancholy mood is one of Sinatra's most jazz-oriented performances -- he restructures the melody and Miller's playing is bold throughout the record. Where Songs for Young Lovers! emphasized the romantic aspects of the songs, Sinatra sounds like a lonely, broken man on In the Wee Small Hours. Beginning with the newly written title song, the singer goes through a series of standards that are lonely and desolate. In many ways, the album is a personal reflection of the heartbreak of his doomed love affair with actress Ava Gardner, and the standards that he sings form their own story when collected together. Sinatra's voice had deepened and worn to the point where his delivery seems ravished and heartfelt, as if he were living the songs.

comments closed due to spam rats.

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Sam's Wine investigation

Yikes! I was wondering what was happening in this case. Sam's seems to be operating as normal, but there might be a monster sale sometime. I really doubt they would get their license revoked, but one never knows.

Chicago Tribune | Sam's officials, state set to meet:
Sam's Wine & Spirits officials were to finally sit down with state liquor regulators Friday to talk about settling 15 counts of liquor law violations, including extortion, that were filed in December.

The Lincoln Park retailer, which is one of the nation's largest liquor store chains, had resisted meeting with officials of the Illinois Liquor Control Commission, prompting regulators to continue gathering evidence of alleged wrongdoing, said William O'Donaghue, chief legal counsel for the commission.

Sam's owner Fred Rosen and O'Donaghue confirmed Thursday that a preliminary meeting was set for Friday to seek a settlement of the charges. If talks fail, and the case goes to a hearing before the commission, regulators say they would seek to revoke Sam's liquor license.

...The state charged Sam's with setting up an illegal marketing company to extort money from liquor distributors that wanted to sell their products at the store. The company also was charged with operating an unlicensed and illegal offsite warehouse, selling to other retail stores, using its size to unfairly demand exclusive prices and failing to pay distributors on time.

The citations were welcomed quietly by liquor distributors. ...

the Tribune writes, without sourcing.

Liquor industry officials in Chicago, especially those in the wine trade, have been watching the case closely for months, especially since the Rosens made public comments dismissing the allegations as frivolous. Because of its size, Sam's wields tremendous influence in the liquor business.

Since December, Liquor Control Commission investigators have been collecting information, including years of records from liquor distributors that sell wine, spirits and beer to Sam's, according to a source familiar with the distributors' cooperation in the case.

“The investigation hasn't stopped. It keeps going, and everything that comes in just makes our case stronger,” O'Donaghue said.

Sam's must decide whether to settle the case or hold out for a hearing on the charges, which could be risky for the company.

“If it goes to a hearing, the penalty I will be seeking is revocation” of the liquor license, O'Donaghue said.

Shortly after charging Sam's, the liquor commission cited nine liquor distributors, including heavyweights Judge & Dolph, Union Beverage and Southern Wine & Spirits, saying they complied with Sam's alleged illegal practices.

update 5-16-06: settled today

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Clear Channel Empire Break Up

Business Brief/ad news:

Clear Channel Empire Break Up

Clear Channel announced a spinoff of its concert division and an IPO of 10% of its outdoor-advertising unit.

The moves are an acknowledgment of the difficulties Clear Channel, which is set to announce its first-quarter earnings today, faced in trying to build an entertainment juggernaut whose radio and concert operations fed off each other. Clear Channel thought its combination of assets would create a powerful, across-the-board platform for advertising sales on its billboards, at concert and sports venues and on its 1,200 radio stations.

Instead, the combination irked music fans, record labels and artists, who complained that Clear Channel used its might to punish artists who didn't play by its rules and contributed to the sharp rise in ticket prices at venues it controls. Clear Channel has denied such allegations, but it has never been able to shoo-away the notion that it had too much leverage in too many corners of the music world.
Clear Channel figured its radio stations and billboards could shill upcoming concerts, and performers would gravitate to its venues for the extra marketing. The radio stations would push concert offerings in each market, and the concert and sports arenas could promote the radio stations.

But Clear Channel didn't get the anticipated boost. Instead, its empire opened Clear Channel up to charges of monopolization and went on to become a public-relations disaster. Music fans -- already angry at the radio consolidation they believed had sucked the personality out of local stations and put too much control in the hands of a few big chains -- now latched onto the fact that the nation's largest radio owner now was also the nation's largest concert promoter. Rising concert ticket prices, to pay for larger artist guarantees, added to their disdain.


Marvel Settles With a Spider-Man Creator

Marvel Settles With a Spider-Man Creator:
Marvel Enterprises settled its legal battle with Stan Lee, its chairman emeritus and a co-creator of Marvel characters like Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four.


Excellent. Spyware and adware are a scourge; there are better methods of getting consumer information for advertisers.

Spitzer Sues Intermix for Alleged 'Spyware':

Spitzer sued Intermix for allegedly installing advertising software sometimes known as “spyware” or “adware” on millions of personal computers.

New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer on Thursday sued an Internet marketer, claiming the company installed “spyware” and “adware” that secretly install nuisance pop-up advertising on screens which can slow and crash personal computers.

Mr. Spitzer said the suit filed in New York City against Intermix Media Inc. of Los Angeles combats the redirecting of home computer users to unwanted Web sites and its own Web site that includes ads, the adding of unnecessary toolbar items and the delivery of unwanted ads that pop up on computer screens. After a six-month investigation Mr. Spitzer concluded the company installed a wide range of advertising software on countless personal computers nationwide.

“Spyware and adware are more than an annoyance,” Mr. Spitzer said. “These fraudulent programs foul machines, undermine productivity and in many cases frustrate consumers' efforts to remove them from their computers. These issues can serve to be a hindrance to the growth of e-commerce.”

Mr. Spitzer's civil suit accuses Intermix of violating state General Business Law provisions against false advertising and deceptive business practices. He also accuses them of trespass under New York common law.

The company, which was formerly known as eUniverse Inc., is accused of downloading ads and software that directs ads to a computer based on the user's activities. Mr. Spitzer's investigators said the downloads then attach to computers, often slowing their operation and crashing the computers as well as interfering with use of the computer through pop-up ads. Often the downloads were made without notice when a user visited a Web site, played a game or accepted a screen saver. Sometimes the user was asked permission through an often vague reference in a lengthy licensing agreement which could be misleading or inaccurate, investigators said.

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Wired jumps in:

N.Y. Sues Marketer Over Spyware:
The state attorney general targets a California company, claiming that it surreptitiously installs spyware and adware that fouls computers and ultimately harms e-commerce.

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Speaking of Walt Mossberg, and of pay-for-performance, Mr. Mossberg feels the need to proclaim his editorial independence. I bet Microsoft wishes they could pay Mossberg twice as much as they demon-spawn Ralph Reed, if it would mean more positive Windows (Longhorn) coverage (and less positive Apple Tiger coverage as well)

WSJ.com Mossberg's Mailbox Q: I am wondering if you ever get paid by companies, in cash or kind, for any reviews or recommendations of their products that you make in your articles. I ask this because I have recently read that a number of reviewers in the media charge money for favorable opinions or mention of technology products.

A: No, I don't. I neither seek, nor accept, money, or anything else of value, from the companies whose products I cover. I return any products I am lent for review, except for items of minor value which companies don't want back. In the case of these items, I either discard them or give them away in return for donations to charity.

I also don't accept trips, speaking fees or “editorial discounts” from companies whose products I cover. If I want a product I review for my own use, I buy it, at retail. And I don't own a single share of stock in any of the companies whose products I cover. Also, I never coordinate my reviews with our advertising sales department, and don't solicit or sell ads. On many occasions, I have written negative reviews of products from companies that advertise prominently in this newspaper, and positive reviews of companies that don't advertise.

While I can't speak for other reviewers at other publications, I believe that generally similar policies are followed by major reviewers in the best known print publications. It's unfortunate that a few so-called reviewers, mainly on television, do charge companies for mentions, and thus raise doubts in the public's mind about technology reviews in general.

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Mossberg on Tiger

Operative phrase: 18 months, or so. I'm sure MS engineers are diligently working on reverse engineering every aspect of OS X.4, as I type this.

WSJ.com - Walter Mossberg - Tiger Leaps Out in Front
The new Apple system boasts some key capabilities Microsoft won't introduce for another 18 months or so, when it finally rolls out its long-awaited next version of Windows, code-named Longhorn.
...Overall, Tiger is the best and most advanced personal computer operating system on the market, despite a few drawbacks. It leaves Windows XP in the dust.

It also adds to the Mac's general superiority over typical Windows computers as the best choice for average consumers doing the most common computing tasks. Apple's hardware already was the best in the business, and Mac OS X has, so far, escaped the virus and spyware problems that plague Windows.

Oh, and Ralph Reed and Grover Norquist are most definitely not on the payroll at Apple.


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Email solispsism

Eudora 6.x statistics from November 2002 until the present (which is probably wrong, as I've moved machines once, and also had a failed hard drive in there somewhere). I get a lot of email (3-4 thousand a month), but over half is junk mail (filtered to a Junk Folder, and never read). 13 different email accounts, including a couple that are just spam repositories.

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Robert Chaviano

I swear I just saw my long-lost friend, Robert Chaviano, walking down the street, engrossed in some reading materials. I can never tell if my brain is just burned out, and I'm seeing apparitions, or if I'm an idiot for not trying to chase people down on the street. I miss Robert, he was a good friend.

Maybe it was my subconscious playing tricks on me after reading Alterman's description of Navaksy (I often lent Chaviano my copies of the Nation, and I remember him complaining about the never ending stream of Alger Hiss articles).

A Matter of Opinion


Sale of Art to Minors

is strictly not forbidden.

We went to see our friend Leah Gotcsik perform an “improv musical”, with her troupe, Jazz Hands across America.

Sale Of Art Minors
At the Chicago Cultural Center there is a cigarette vending machine, transformed into an art dispensing machine (artomat). Unfortunately, one couldn't use coins of the realm, and had to stand in line at the gift shop to get tokens. Next time.

Took some photos of the “Ginger - Actress” improv, but they all sucked because I was nursing my coffee, and didn't get up off my arse to get closer. Maybe I can salvage one eventually.

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More questions about Jeff Gannon

Are the Terror Alerts going to be raised soon? Or what other distraction will keep this out of the front pages around the world?

More questions about Jeff Gannon:
The Secret Service may have thought it was clearing things up when it turned over to Reps. John Conyers and Louise Slaughter security logs showing Jeff Gannon's comings and goings from the White House. It hasn't worked out that way.
As Raw Story noted almost immediately, there are all sorts of holes in the documents the Secret Service released. The documents show that Gannon got access to the White House roughly 200 times in less than two years, but they also show days in which Gannon is listed as arriving but not leaving and leaving but not arriving. Our inbox is full of hopeful speculation: Was Gannon somebody's overnight guest at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.?


Strangely germane to the fascinating debate between Kos, Atrios, and Senator Feingold, is this new Macworld policy of describing the background of reviewers. If this was a standard practice everywhere in the media world, one would be more likely to dismiss certain opinions as 'being bought', especially in the political realm.

Macworld: Editors' Notes: Honesty Is the Best Policy

Last week the Wall Street Journal ran a story about James Oppenheim, technology editor for Child Magazine. Mr. Oppenheim was recently invited to a Texas TV show to talk about the latest tech toys for kids. One of the gadgets he touted on the air was Kodak’s “My ABC’s Picture Book.” He also recommended gizmos from Atari, Leapfrog, Mattel, Microsoft, and RadioShack.
According to the Journal, Mr. Oppenheim and his TV hosts neglected to mention one thing: Those companies had all paid him to mention their products on the air. Mr. Oppenheim later went on NBC’s Today show and touted the same Kodak product (though the company did not specifically pay him for that mention.)

I’m sure plenty of you hear a story like that and say, “Well, duh.”

It’s a sad fact of writing about technology that some of our readers think we’re on the take. Or, to put it less bluntly, many of our more cynical readers think our business interests are too closely entwined with those of the companies we cover for us to be completely trustworthy.

As Atrios says:

To put it another way, let's say I turn my blog over to Joe Trippi for a few weeks. Would he have to post up his full client list on the blog? Doesn't sound unreasonable, except for the fact that he never had to do so when appearing on MSNBC or any other outlet. Not picking on Trippi, just making the point that these kinds of disclosure requirements would be, contrary to what seems to be conventional wisdom, unique to the internet.

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Bill Gates and Ralph Reed

Yet another reason to own a mac: Bill Gates pays the demon spawn, Ralph Reed, $20,000 a month for 'services rendered', or something. Ewwww. What function can Ralph Reed possibly serve for Microsoft? I always knew Gates was a Republican, and MS a conservative company, but I never considered that Gates might be a religious-right nutjob. And note to bgates@microsoft.com: if you really want ideas for Longhorn that bad, just buy a copy of Tiger yourself. There's no need to read entrails of sheep, no need to consult tarot card readers, and no need to pay Satan's half-brother $20,000 a month either.

AMERICAblog: Because a great nation deserves the truth:
AMERICAblog.com has learned that Microsoft is currently paying a $20,000 a month retainer to former Christian Coalition head Ralph Reed's consulting firm Century Strategies. Which now begs the question of whether Reed was in any way involved with Microsoft's recent decision to abandon its decades long support for gay civil rights in order to curry favor with anti-gay bigots of the radical right.
... Now, just think a minute. Microsoft finds itself under criticism from the local evangelical leader, religious right shareholders, bigoted employees and who knows who else. They don't know what to do. Who do they turn to? Well, if I'm in a religious right pickle, I'd turn to my $20,000 a month retainered religious right consultant, the former leader of the religious right, Ralph Reed.

And which side do we think the former head of the religious right would favor were he advising Microsoft what do when trapped between the Scylla and Charybdis of the gays vs. the religious right?
A. Stick to your guns and defend the gays? or
B. Find a way to stiff the gays and move more in line with the religious right?
Well, shiver my timbers, Microsoft ended up going with option B.

Update, per the comment thread at Americablog, perhaps Ballmer is the actual 'trigger man', since Gates is a proclaimed atheist (and more power to him, if true), and thus is totally cynical for hiring Reed. Regardless, why any liberal-minded person would own a PC is beyond my comprehension.

DNA “Goldmine”

We sent in our swab to the non-profit National Geographic Genome Project this morning. Apparently, there are other groups that are investigating DNA for profit.

WSJ.com - For Utah Billionaire, Search for Roots Is Blooming Field:
... [James Sorenson] wants to dominate the fast-growing field of connecting people with their roots through genetic testing.

Sorenson scientists are popping up everywhere from California to Cameroon to build a database of human DNA. So far, they have convinced 50,000 people from nearly 100 ethnic groups to hand over DNA samples and family lineages.
The data belong to the nonprofit Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation. But the man who made a killing on Utah real estate and Abbott Laboratories stock also sees a glint of profit potential in his latest obsession. A Sorenson company called Relative Genetics Inc. is selling tests for $50 and up that help people figure out where they fit in the database -- and sometimes connect with specific ancestors who lived hundreds of years ago.
...New technology is setting off a genealogy gold rush inconceivable in an earlier era when people had to rely on old courthouse records and half-remembered family lore. Scientists now have several ways of using DNA to determine ancestry. The simplest involves the Y chromosome, which is found only in men and accumulates small changes over the centuries. If men have nearly identical Y chromosomes, it means they share a recent ancestor going up the male line. Another method uses mitochondrial DNA, which passes from a mother to her children. It can be used to determine ancestry through the female line.

Such tests used to cost thousands of dollars apiece. Now they're relatively cheap -- and some entrepreneurs see both scientific and commercial potential. This month, the National Geographic Society announced it was teaming up with International Business Machines Corp. and Family Tree DNA of Houston to build a database of 100,000 samples from ethnic groups around the world. National Geographic is selling a service -- for $99.95 plus shipping and handling -- in which people can send in their own DNA and find out where they fit on humanity's family tree. For example, it might show that a person's ancestors on the male line came out of Africa, through Central Asia and into a particular part of Europe.


Good Way to lose Market Share

We've become slightly disenchanted with the slow, slow progress of Now Contact - Up to Date. There have been acknowledged bugs (in Keywords, among other things) for over 2 years, and every few months Now Software (fka PowerOn Software) claims a new version is forthcoming. Today this: we have to choose between Tiger and Now Contact, at least for a few months.

If only we didn't have over 6,000 contacts in our Now Contact database, a database legacy from OS 7.6 Touchbase days. We could live without Now Up to Date, it is only an average calendar program, slightly better than iCal, and comparable to Entourage, but we depend on Now Contact.

As the 'alpha techno-dog' at DLA, Inc., BagPromo.com, and B12 Partners, LLC, I want to install Tiger sooner, rather than later! I guess I'll have to move the Now Contact servers to an older Mac (probably the Yikes! G4 that is currently serving as an expensive fax machine/print server/iTunes server), and leave a few machines with OS 10.3.x.

I realize software engineering is difficult, however, I'm still disappointed by Now Software.

Now Up-to-Date and Contact version 5 is in the final rounds of beta testing. Version 5 supports Mac OS X 10.2 through 10.4 (“Tiger”) and will be available by June 2005.

The current shipping version, 4.5.3, is not Tiger compatible. We recommend that customers who rely on Now Up-to-Date and Contact wait until version 5 has been released before installing Tiger.

John Wallace, president of Now Software says, “We've been testing NUDC v.5 since late last year and we're working hard to get it out shortly after Tiger ships. Quality is critical and we will be running all of our tests against the released version of Tiger to make sure that everything works properly. We're looking forward to getting NUDC v.5 into everyone's hands.”



Now Contact

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Update from MacWorld:

That plan to charge for 5.0 has upset customers who either don’t want to wait until June before upgrading or don’t want to pay. But Tiger compatibility only scratches the surface of what 5.0 can do, said Randy Murray, Now Software’s Director of Marketing.

Only one small part of the upgrade

“Tiger is the smallest new feature in the product,” Murray told MacCentral. “We’ve been working on version 5 for about a year. It’s time for a new release with new features.”

Murray said that Now Up-to-Date & Contact v5.0 will sport team scheduling capabilities that will allow you to take any number of Now Up-to-Date & Contact, display their calendars simultaneously and do meeting scheduling all from one screen. Also new to this release is a new Now Server Manager application that simplifies the setup of servers to coordinate Now Up-to-Date & Contact group use.

“We’ve made a significant update to the user interface so it’s simplified,” Murray said. “The menu structure is much easier to use, and the software has an all-new look and feel. There have been literally hundreds of speed improvements, fixes and enhancements all throughout the product.”

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Dorkweed Dolan

James Dolan is, and shall always remain, a total dorkweed....I pity the Knicks.

Peter Vescey - New York Post Online Edition:
On a more mundane matter, at the same confab, James Dolan... passionately preached to the choir concerning the (in)competency of referees, as if the guys who whistle while they work were responsible for the Knicks' superior payroll and inferior payoff.
“He was insufferable,” sighed someone in the room. “He complained about everything imaginable relating to referees' calls and then repeated himself. He made his point and wouldn't let it go. He just kept going off.
”Like the rest of us don't know the officials make mistakes every game and sometimes they lead to losses [and wins]. Tell us something we don't know. But you can't coach judgment. The officials do the best they can. I didn't hear Dolan come up with a solution. He simply sounded foolish.“


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Who sez Chicago is no longer known as the Town of Capone? Michael Jordan, notwithstanding, there is still plenty of mob action and corruption. Whether any of the Justice Department Press Release is based in fact, or is just PR is a question for the courts to sort out.

U.S. Indicts 14 Reputed Mobsters in Chicago:
The accused Chicago mobsters were rounded up in connection with 18 murders that stretch back over four decades.

The names read like a who's who of reputed Chicago mob leaders from some faded blotter left behind at the police department's old State Street headquarters: Joey “The Clown” Lombardo, Frank “the German” Schweihs, Frank “Gumba” Saladino, and on and on.

But today, 14 of these accused Chicago mobsters, including several who have for years been reputed to be in the top level of organized crime leaders in this city, were being rounded up in connection with 18 murders that stretch back over four decades and had gone unsolved and, in some cases, nearly forgotten.

Several of the accused are in their mid-70's now, and one, though only 59, was found dead, apparently of natural causes, when the authorities arrived today to arrest him in the hotel room where he lived. A few of the others accused, meanwhile, had moved away from here, to states better known for retirement, Florida and Arizona....

Among the most notorious murders the authorities say they have solved with today's announcement of the indictment that was years in the making: the 1986 death of Tony “The Ant” Spilotro, the organization's chief enforcer in Las Vegas, and his brother, Michael, who were buried alive in an Indiana cornfield. In the mid-1990's, Joe Pesci portrayed a character based on Tony Spilotro in the movie, “Casino.”

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Google to Change How It Sells Ads

I doubt if this will affect the tiny trickle of viewers who visit B12 Partners, but worth keeping our eyes open for changes. Somehow, I don't see Pfizer advertising here, for instance.

Google to Change How It Sells Ads:
Google plans to give clients more control over the location, look and pricing of online ads, in a move designed to attract more big-name advertisers.
... Among the changes: Google will let advertisers run animated display ads on non-Google content sites that contract with Google to sell ads. It will allow advertisers to specify the sites on which they want their ads to appear, without having to pick a keyword tied to the content on a page. It will begin auctioning ad placements for its partner sites based on how many people see the ad, known as cost per impression, as well as its traditional cost-per-click method.

“It allows our advertisers to reach the entire [consumer] buying cycle,” says Tim Armstrong, Google's vice president of advertising sales. Google says it has no similar plans for its own sites.

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The Garfield Conservatory's Chihuly Exhibit yielded plenty of good photos. We plan to go back fairly soon; it's just great to breathe deeply of fresh air, as opposed to the 'city' air we usually breathe.

Garfield Conservatory

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Have we jumped the shark yet? I've been writing brief bits to a webpage for almost ten years (and yes, I'm still pretty lame, but at least I'm consistent in my slack-a-tude), an activity which has now given the awful name of 'blogging', but now everybody and their agent is getting into the act. At least, Arianna has had an email newsletter and a website for a while, as opposed to Schlesinger. I just don't see the point of this venture.....

A Boldface Name Invites Others to Blog With Her:

Arianna Huffington is starting up a Web site, the Huffington Report, that will feature blogs from celebrities like Arthur Schlesinger, David Mamet, Nora Ephron, David Geffen and Walter Cronkite.


--update, as often is the case, Digby makes the point I belabor, only better.

and Tom Perkins aka Tom Tomorrow confirms it, a few weeks later.....

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Immigration's other side

Barry Neuman of the Wall Street Journal makes an interesting point: what happens when businesses can't find enough workers because only immigrants or foreign workers are eager to fill certain positions? For instance, logging seems to be mostly a Canadian endeavor in Maine, and some sawmills and paper manufacturers are operating at lower capacity. Construction, restaurants, farming, and several other industries could have some serious under-staffing consequences if suddenly only American citizens were eligible to work there. Of course, if wages suddenly were raised, to say $25/hour for so-called low-skill jobs, like lawn care, dishwashers, grape pickers, layers-of-drywall, etc., the crisis would be averted. But, realistically, a lot of SBA members would wet their pants if a Living Wage law was passed.

[Bertrand] Pruneau is caught in a national fight over how many foreigners, legal and illegal, should be allowed to work here. In the Maine woods, the debate has been turned on its head. If Mr. Pruneau's presence, as some argue, has been stealing American jobs, his absence could threaten many more.

Wary of heightened immigration enforcement, employers of all kinds are trying to hire foreign workers legally. Demand for temporary seasonal visas is overwhelming a limited supply. As a result Mr. Pruneau and several hundred fellow Canadians have found themselves being booted out of the country after only six months, for the second year in a row. Yet few Americans have rushed to fill their places. In Maine, that has led to a shortage of loggers, a supply crisis at sawmills and a profit squeeze at pulp mills as printers shop for lower-cost paper on other continents

Mainers have long asked themselves if logging, like grape picking, is a job Americans just won't do. Troy Jackson, a logger and state legislator, believes the visa program denies work to U.S. citizens. He calls the H-2B program “cheap labor for big corporations,” and is happy to see the Canadian loggers kept out.

“Canadians can work for less,” Mr. Jackson says. “They don't ask for health care. The exchange rate still gives them an extra 20% on the dollar. So landowners in Maine use them to get the wood cut cheaper.”

By law, every job a Canadian gets must be first advertised in Maine at the government-certified rate, which on average is $27,000. Few Americans apply. A 1999 study commissioned by the state found that Canadians don't depress pay, except in pockets of the far north. American loggers, it concluded, simply hate camping out in deep woods.

“Certainly, there's some level of wage that would attract American workers,” says Lloyd Irland, a forestry consultant who helped write the study. But that would necessitate raising pay not only for a few hundred Americans who would replace the Canadians, but for the American loggers and thousands of others doing related jobs.

“The question is, could our industry survive at that wage level?” Mr. Irland says. “My short answer is, no. We're in a very cruel market. Several of our paper mills have been in and out of bankruptcy. A lot of people are struggling to keep our mills alive.”


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Chicago Bulls Black Shoes

Apparently, the black shoes helped Ben Gordon, among others. Whoo whoo!

ChicagoSports.com: In bow to tradition, black shoes get nod for opener:

Earlier this season, rookie guard Ben Gordon approached longtime Bulls equipment manager John Ligmanowski and asked to wear black shoes.

“He always said, 'You've got to wait until the playoffs,'” Gordon said Saturday. “I was like, 'We might not make it to the playoffs.'”

Never fear. The Bulls did. And a longtime tradition can continue.

In the first and perhaps only link to the dynasty days, the Bulls will break out black shoes for Sunday's playoff opener.

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And as the game sputtered to a close (Wizards choked in the last 2 minutes), a graphic came up claiming 'First Bulls Victory since May 1988“. Marv Albert paused while reading it, but realized the graphic would have applied to Washington had they actually won, and correctly said ”First playoff victory since July 1998“. Some graphic tech is going to get chewed out tonight, and made to watch all six of the 1990's Bulls Championship game tapes before tomorrow..... I could think of worse punishments.

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Peter da Silva:
“Ahhh. A man with a sharp wit. Someone ought to take it away from him before he cuts himself.”


iTunes week of 4/24/05

Audioscrobbler :: User :: swanksalot:
Weekly Artist Chart
Week prior to Apr 24, 2005, 07:00

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iTunes week of April 24, 2005

Nothing to see, Boswell walks among us (amongst?)

I'm blanking on the rule of grammar, I'll have to look it up, later....

Lincoln Park's North Pond

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Simpsons mp3 music

Simpson Crazy | Downloads | Simpsons mp3 music:
One of my favorite parts of The Simpsons is the music, and so I have made this page containing over 100 great songs from the show (including end credit variations and short skits), free to listen to and download. Songs are in mp3 format and so will play in most audio applications.


Hard work indeed. I really don't know why recruitment would be falling. Such a mystery.

Business briefs/leads:

Army to Relaunch $180 Mil. Review

CHICAGO The U.S. Army is expected to relaunch the review for its $180 million advertising account because of “inconsistencies in the evaluation approach” in last year's competition, according to a client memo.

This is the latest setback in a process that began last June. The Army had narrowed its review last year to six finalists including the incumbent, Publicis Groupe's Leo Burnett in Chicago.

According to the memo sent by the Defense Contracting Command, “the Government anticipates re-soliciting for the 'U.S. Army Recruiting and Advertising' program.”

After meeting its recruitment goals for the last several years, the Army in the last two full months has fallen short, a deficit attributed to the war in Iraq. In 2005 through March, 32,012 soldiers had been recruited, 11 percent off the goal of 35,985.

From Adweek

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Since work has precluded me from attending Sarah and Sean's wedding, I sent a few music mix CDs to be played at the ceremony/reception. Here is the playlist for the 'getting ready' part, with some suggestions from Sarah.....

While we're all getting ready we'd like some up-beat, happy, lovey music that will get us in the mood for the whole shin-dig. Macy Gray's “When I see you”, Sarah McLachlan's Ice Cream, IZ's “Over the Rainbow”, The Shirelles “Chapel of Love”, etc.
Sarah later gave me two pages of suggestions, which was probably smart, as I wouldn't thought of adding Shaggy or Macy Gray, for instance, but both songs are good. And it is her wedding.

Not quite a Friday Random Ten (not really random, and not really 10), but what the hey....

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We received our swab sample kits for the Genographic Project in the mail. Have to avoid liquids, especially warm liquids, for an hour before collecting the first inner-cheek sample. Eight hours later, same procedure. We will probably collect our DNA in the morning.

The fine print reiterates that everything is anonymously tabulated, then the actual cells are discarded. So, unless some freak accident happens, no clones of us will be created ten years from now. Sounds like a Hollywood B movie plot though, I should do a treatment.

I thought these amusing, from the extensive FAQ:

Are any pharmaceutical or insurance companies involved in the Genographic Project?
No. The Genographic Project is supported by private foundations in conjunction with National Geographic and IBM, the project's lead partner.

Is the Genographic Project bio-prospecting?
No. the Genographic Project research centers will release the resulting genetic data (on an anonymous and aggregate basis) into the public domain to promote further research. The genetic data will be treated as discoveries, rather than inventions, and will not be patented.

Is the Genographic Project linked to any medical research?
No. The samples collected from the indigenous groups as well as the samples submitted by the general public via the Public Participation Kits will be analyzed for historical and anthropological data.

From the Beeb:

"There are still many questions we haven't answered. Was there any interbreeding with Neanderthals as modern humans moved into Europe? Did any of the migrations to the Americas come across the Pacific - or even the Atlantic?"

These and other unanswered questions form the research goals of the project. They include:
• Who are the oldest populations in Africa - and therefore the world?
• Did Alexander the Great's armies leave a genetic trail?
• Who were the first people to colonise India?
• Is it possible to obtain intact DNA from the remains of Homo erectus and other extinct hominids?
• How has colonialism affected genetic patterns in Africa?
• Was there any admixture with Homo erectus as modern humans spread throughout South-East Asia?
• Is there any relationship between Australian Aboriginal genetic patterns and their oral histories?
• What are the origins of differences between human groups?
A total of 10 DNA collection centres located around the world will focus on obtaining samples from indigenous peoples. The genetic markers in the blood of these groups have remained relatively unchanged for generations.

update: results here

Hellman Nears Deal to Buy DoubleClick

At one time, we worked as a vendor for FloNetwork, which was subsequently bought by DoubleClick (and who fired us). We may even have a couple of shares of DoubleClick left over from our earlier days working as reps for MessageMedia (also bought by DoubleClick). I'll have to check. Our holdings were worth less than $100 last I checked (11 shares worth $85.69, to be precise). Companies used to just give out stock options like after-dinner mints......

Hellman Nears Deal to Buy DoubleClick:
DoubleClick is nearing a deal to be acquired by buyout firm Hellman & Friedman, though a rival alliance is still in the running. The Internet marketing firm posted a quarterly loss.

...A onetime highflier in the world of Internet advertising, DoubleClick has come under pressure in recent years, first as Internet advertising plummeted in the wake of the dot-com crash of 2000 and 2001, then even as Internet advertising rebounded.

One of the company's issues has been its core business of ad serving, or delivering advertising to various Web sites on behalf of various marketers, Web publishers and advertising agencies. Prices for such services have fallen as more competitors have come on the scene. Aside from delivering ads to Web sites, the company's mix of businesses also includes e-mail marketing and a database operation that analyzes catalog purchases for marketers.

Ummm, ok, DCLK is worth $8.56, so we made $10 today! Yayyy, no more Social Security worries for us!

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Business brief/leads:

Gap Names Chain 'Forth & Towne':

Gap plans to call its new brand Forth & Towne. The retailer plans to open test stores, aimed at women over 35, in Chicago and New York.

The retailer unveiled the name of its new clothing brand Thursday, aiming for an audience of women who want to dress appropriately without being swathed in yards of fabric, and who need outfits that can go from the office to the kids' soccer fields to dinner out. Five test stores will open in September, four in the Chicago area and one in New York.

Although a growing number of apparel chains profess to cater to women over 35, Gap still sees an untapped market. The retailer estimates that this group accounts for 39% of total spending on women's clothing. The boomer apparel market is about a $41 billion business, with women spending $27 billion of the total on themselves.

But the nearly 40 million American women born from 1946 to 1964 are tough customers. Boomers generally are more fashionable and adventurous than middle-aged shoppers of previous generations, and while most don't want tight or racy outfits, they also don't want to be treated like they're old.

...Gap, based in San Francisco, remains cagey about the exact look of the clothes and accessories Forth & Towne will sell. But it's clear that Mr. Pressler expects the style to be feminine -- not androgynous or baggy, as boomer women sometimes complain about clothes marketed to them. Developing a comfortable fit also will be a priority, he said. Women over 35 will be used as fit models, rather than the younger women Gap and Banana Republic use.

Unlike Gap's other chains -- Gap, Banana Republic, and Old Navy -- Forth & Towne is named to evoke a gathering place for women, Mr. Pressler said. The word “Forth” also is a play on words, indicating Gap's fourth brand. While Mr. Pressler wouldn't give specifics, he said the stores will be designed to encourage shoppers to spend time there for more than strictly shopping.

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And who the hell came up with this name? Abbreviated, Forth And Towne comes out as FAT. Hmmm, will there be T-shirts with ironic FAT chick jokes? Or Phat farmers? Or is someone going to get fired?

update 8/24/05, yes me, in the NYT without a citation.

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Prozac Nation

I wish that Prozac-related violence, and Eli Lilly's efforts to whitewash/cover up the evidence, would get as much media attention as whatever the scandal de jour happens to be (U.N. Money for Oil, Time Magazine, Alaskan Drilling, the Michael Jackson freak-show, whatever). Do we have to wait until someone famous goes 'postal'?

Cockburn, from a recent Nation Magazine, writes:

Alexander Cockburn: Death, Depression and Prozac:

Jeff Weise, teen slayer of ten, including himself, at the Red Lake Indian reservation in northern Minnesota, was on Prozac, prescribed by some doc.

The minute the high command at Eli Lilly, manufacturer of Prozac, saw those news stories about Weise you can bet they went into crisis mode, and only began to relax when Weise's web surfs of neo-Nazi sites took over the headlines. Hitler trumps Prozac every time, particularly if it's an Injun teen ranting about racial purity.

How many times, amid the carnage of such homicidal sprees, do investigators find a prescription for antidepressants at the murder scene? Luvox at Columbine, Prozac at Louisville, Kentucky, where Joseph Wesbecker killed nine, including himself. You'll find many such stories in the past fifteen years.

By now the Lilly defense formula is pretty standardized: self-righteous handouts about the company's costly research and rigorous screening, crowned by the imprimatur of that watchdog for the public interest, the FDA. And of course there's the bogus comfort of numbers; if Lilly's pill factory had a big sign like McDonald's, it could boast PROZAC: MILLIONS SERVED.

Each burst in the sewage pipe brings a new challenge to Lilly's sales force, which has had some heavy hitters down the years, including George Herbert Walker Bush (onetime member of the Lilly board of directors); former Enron CEO Ken Lay (onetime member of the board); George W. Bush's former director of the Office of Management and Budget, Mitch Daniels (a former senior vice president); George W. Bush's Homeland Security Advisory Council member Sidney Taurel (a Lilly CEO); and the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (a recipient of Lilly funding).

Long years of rigorous testing? When Fred Gardner and I investigated the selling of depression and Prozac in the mid-1990s, we found that clinical trials excluded suicidal patients, children and the elderly--although once FDA approval was granted, the drug could be prescribed for anyone. According to Dr. Peter Breggin, the well-known psychiatrist who analyzed the FDA's approval of Prozac, it was ultimately based on three studies indicating that fluoxetine relieved some symptoms of depression more effectively than a placebo, and in the face of nine studies indicating no positive effect. Only sixty-three patients were on fluoxetine for more than two years (fluoxetine hydrochloride was branded as Prozac in the mid-1970s). By 1988 the National Institute of Mental Health had not only put the government stamp of approval on corporate-funded depression research but had created a mechanism whereby government money and personnel could be employed to stimulate demand for corporate products.
No such happy chance in the United States, where government is in the pay of drug companies and prescriptions for antidepressants have long since taken over from political manifestoes that would cure depression by collective social action. How they must have cheered at Eli Lilly when the Senate wiped out Chapter 7 of the bankruptcy statutes, fostering family violence, heightened crime and a vast new potential market for Prozac and kindred potions at the stroke of a pen.
Read the rest, if you are a subscriber (and if you read this far down the page, you should subscribe to the Nation, what a great political magazine!)

Burn them at the stake

Cooper's employer Time Magazine's (which has always been a conservative rag, but now is just pointless) choice of placing Anthrax-Ann on the cover means no sympathy from these climes, and Judith Miller is about as sympathetic a character as a slime mold beetle. So, to the stake for both of 'em!

2 Reporters Suffer Another Court Setback:

Judith Miller of The New York Times and Matthew Cooper of Time magazine now have only one appeal left, to the United States Supreme Court.

...facing up to 18 months in jail for refusing to testify about their sources lost another round in the courts yesterday. The reporters, Judith Miller of The New York Times and Matthew Cooper of Time magazine, now have only one appeal left, to the United States Supreme Court.

The decision, by the full federal appeals court in Washington, declined to reconsider a unanimous decision of a three-judge panel of the court.

The earlier decision, in February, required the reporters to testify about conversations they may have had with government officials concerning Valerie Plame, an undercover C.I.A. agent whose identity was first disclosed by Robert Novak, the syndicated columnist


update, couldn't go without quoting the ever readable Bob Somerby of the Daily Howler

I upgraded a couple of my machines to 10.3.9, but not our main production machine. Reading of various problems over the weekend gave me pause, and apparently with good reason.....

Java and Safari issues after updating to Mac OS X v10.3.9:
After updating to Mac OS X 10.3.9, some systems may have issues with Java applications and Java-enabled websites when using Safari. Safari may unexpectedly quit, and standalone Java applications may unexpectedly quit or not launch.
You can perform a simple test to verify whether your computer is experiencing this issue. If it is, you will need to reinstall one or two software updates to resolve the issue.
Verifying the issue

Go to the Utilities folder inside your Applications folder.

Open Terminal.

java -version

Press Return.

If this issue affects your computer, you will get the the message, “Segmentation fault” (if you don't see this, your computer is not affected by this issue). To resolve the issue, reinstall one or both of the following software updates.


Theoretically, I've upgraded my installation. However, I'm never sure if I've done it correctly for a day or two - blame my Murphy genetic makeup (Murphy's law, anyone? Bueller?)

Movable Type - News - Movable Type 3.16 released:

The Movable Type team has been hard at work and we have some very exciting things coming in the 2005 release schedule. To kick things off we are proud to introduce Movable Type 3.16.

Movable Type 3.16 sports significant improvements to application security and over one hundred other fixes which really make it a highly recommended upgrade for all users.


Make Zine

Finally got around to reading the premiere issue of Make, and I like it. I'm not sure if I'd ever actually get around to building a camera-enabled kite, but I like the concept, and I like having a detailed tutorial on how to construct such a beast. The Magcard reader I might make sooner, and I really did want to have a 5-in-one cable to carry around with my laptop on business trips.

Too bad it's only a quarterly magazine....

There's a nice review of ecto as well.

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Tribune censored Boondocks again

For some reason, the Tribune believes that Jenna Bush would never be on all fours, doing the Butt Dance. Puhlease!


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Lawrence Funderburke signs to Bulls

The Bulls signed former Sacramento Kings 10th man, L Funderburke to a prorated contract, taking Curry's place. I have the same thought as when Funderburke was on the Kings; I hope he gets a lot of minutes, because that usually means the game is won.

Daily Herald | Chicago Bulls Notes:
Lawrence Funderburke flew from his home in Tampa, Fla., to Chicago on Saturday night with the intention of joining the Bulls’ playoff roster.

“He’s excited about it,” said Funderburke’s agent, Andrew Vye. “He’s got a lot of gas left in the tank.”

The Bulls aren’t looking for major minutes but feel they can use another veteran big man since center Eddy Curry is out with an irregular heartbeat and will not be on the playoff roster.

In six seasons with Sacramento, the 6-foot-9 Funderburke averaged 6.4 points and 3.6 rebounds. He hasn’t played in nearly two years, missing all of last season because of surgery on his left Achilles’ tendon.
Funderburke, 34, will sign for a prorated portion of the league minimum salary befitting his six years of service, which is $870,046. Early returns on the physical looked good, a team source said.

A Sunday workout against Jerome Beasley and Sean Lampley, both formerly with Miami, revealed Funderburke to be the long-armed, in-shape big man the Bulls envisioned adding to the playoff roster for spot minutes.



Arrested Development

We love this show, have even rented the first season on DVD, and giggle uncontrollably several times per episode. Who knows why smart comedies so often don't make it, while dreck like Survivor get continuously renewed.

Fox Appeals to Fans, Hoping to Salvage a Comedy Series:
A Fox campaign seeks to save “Arrested Development,” the Fox comedy, which has low ratings despite winning three Emmy Awards last September.
Now a campaign seeks to save “Arrested Development,” the Fox comedy, which has low ratings despite winning three Emmy Awards last September. But, in an example of a corporation co-opting the power of protest, the campaign is being run by Fox itself. (Fox is owned by the News Corporation.)

The network set up a site at www.getarrested.com, where visitors are urged to sign an “Arrested Development Loyalty Oath.” Signatory fans pledge their “never-ending loyalty and allegiance to the best comedy on television today.” They promise, moreover, to invite all their friends and family members to join the “Arrested Nation.” As of last Friday, a counter on the site said that more than 42,000 people had electronically signed.

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Adobe to buy Macromedia

We've owned multiple versions of the software made by both of these vendors over the years, this is huge news. They do make some overlapping tools (Dreamweaver vs. whatever the Adobe HTML program is called these days GoLive). Will be interesting to see how that shakes out.

WSJ.com - Adobe Systems Buys Macromedia In Stock Deal:
Adobe Systems Inc. announced the acquisition of Macromedia Inc. for $3.4 billion in stock in a deal that will bring together the software of two companies with broad resources to distribute documents, video and other media to personal computers, cellphones and hand-held devices.

The transaction, part of the long-expected consolidation in the software industry, also could set the stage for an anticipated showdown with Microsoft Corp., of Redmond, Wash.

Under the terms of the deal, Macromedia holders would receive 0.69 Adobe share for each Macromedia share, the companies said. That represents a purchase price of $41.86 a share, or a premium of 25% to Macromedia's $33.45 share price in 4 p.m. Nasdaq Stock Market trading on Friday.

The companies said both boards had approved the transaction, which is expected to close in the fall, subject to regulatory approvals and the approval of shareholders of both companies.

Bruce Chizen, Adobe's chief executive, who is 49 years old, will hold that post with the combined company. He said in an interview that the cultures of the two companies, both of which cater to designers and other creative professionals, are so similar that “we are probably twins separated at birth.” Macromedia CEO Steven Elop, also 49, will become Adobe's president of world-wide field operations. The two said their deal is based on growth opportunities, not cost-cutting....

Microsoft already regards PDF's success as a long-term threat. The next version of Windows, code-named Longhorn and due out next year, is expected to include features to move documents around companies and the Internet, and aimed at eliminating the need for PDF.
... The deal also represents the culmination of a rapprochement after the two companies settled in 2001 a bitter patent-infringement suit filed in 2000. Mr. Chizen said the two companies first held preliminary merger discussions several years ago.

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iTunes week of April 17

Nothing to see, move along.

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Today in History

Albert Hoffman took the first 'trip' on LSD today in 1943, with the first planned trip three days subsequently....

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NBA brief

If I was a paying customer to Friday's Chicago Bulls vs. Orlando Magic game, I'd be pissed. After the first few minutes, Orlando stopped trying to play. They should have just forfeited the game. If I was a GM, I wouldn't pay Steve Francis ne' Stevie Franchise what he thinks he's worth; he just isn't that good at team basketball. The Houston Rockets with Francis never even went to the playoffs until they drafted Yao Ming; Houston is in the playoffs again this year, but Orlando isn't. Hmmmm.

Even the usually dense Bulls announcers noticed how few touches in the post Dwight Howard got; “Three touches, three scores - why don't they give him the ball more? We watched Yao Ming's first year, where the pattern was the same.”
In other words, Faux-franchise Francis is more worried about his own shots than setting up teammates, especially teammates who might consistently score 20 and grab 10 boards nightly.

I also watched the Philadelphia 76ers on my other TiVo receiver; and as GM, I'd keep Allen Iverson. What a little speed demon! AI is basically my size, and none of the giants on the floor can stop him from getting right to the rim, over and over. If Chris Webber could only pass a few more times per game to a wide-open Korver, the Sixers have a chance. For my own amusement, these are the two teams I'd most like to see play in the Easter Conference Finals, unlikely as it may be (especially since I think they will end up in the same bracket).
Detroit & Miami are the teams that will most likely emerge, but I'm starting to light my voodoo candles already.


(Don't) Throw away the little Herb Stalk

Yet another great moment in legislative stupidity. If you have any respect for our country, and don't wish our jails to be even more stuffed with non-violent herb smokers, please take a couple of moments and send your legislators an email/fax/letter, via this handy tool. More about this crazy bill:

Families Against Mandatory Minimums -- Legislative Alerts and Updates:

H.R. 1528, the new version of “Defending America's Most Vulnerable: Safe Access to Drug Treatment and Child Protection Act of 2004,” by Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.), was passed by the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security on April 12 and FAMM expects the full House Judiciary Committee to vote on it as early as next week (April 18 - 22, 2005). If this bill becomes law, it will have a disastrous effect on the federal sentencing system. We must act now to stop H.R. 1528. ...

Among other things, it:

- Makes the federal sentencing guidelines a system of mandatory minimum sentences through a “Booker-fix” provision.
- Creates new mandatory minimums that further erode judicial discretion.
- Eliminates the safety valve for low-level drug offenders.
- Makes virtually every drug crime committed in urban areas subject to “drug free zone” penalties that carries a five-year mandatory minimum sentence.
- Punishes defendants for the “relevant conduct” of co-conspirators that occurred BEFORE the defendant joined the conspiracy.

As written, H.R. 1528 would:

- Effectively make the federal sentencing guidelines a system of mandatory minimum sentences through a “Booker-fix” provision. This provision forbids judges from departing below the guideline sentence in all but a few cases.

- Make the sale of any quantity of any controlled substance (including anything greater than five grams of marijuana) by a person older than 21 to a person younger than 18 subject to a ten-year federal mandatory minimum sentence.

-Create a new three-year mandatory minimum for parents who witness or learn about drug trafficking activities, targeting or even near their children, if they do not report it to law enforcement authorities within 24 hours and do not provide full assistance investigating, apprehending, and prosecuting the offender.

-Create a new 10-year mandatory minimum sentence for any parent committing a drug trafficking crime in or near the presence of their minor child.

- Mandate life in prison for persons 21 years or older convicted a second time of distributing drugs to a person under 18 or convicted a first time after a felony drug conviction has become final.

- Increase to five years the federal mandatory minimum sentence for the sale of a controlled substance within 1,000 feet of a school, college, public library, drug treatment facility (or any place where drug treatment, including classes, are held), or private or public daycare facilities - in short, almost anywhere in cities across the U.S.

- Eliminate the federal “safety valve,” granting it only when the government certifies that the defendant pled guilty to the most serious readily provable offense (the one that carries the longest sentence), and has “done everything possible to assist substantially in the investigation and prosecution of another person,” and would prohibit the federal “safety-valve” in cases where drugs were distributed or possessed near a person under 18, where the defendant delayed his or her efforts to provide substantial assistance to the government, or provided false, misleading or incomplete information.

More gory details at the always essential TalkLeft, or Pete Guithier's DrugWar Rant

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Fugitive Roundup

As I'm sure others have noticed, Osama Bin Laden is still at large, but hey, the Justice Department does have priorities, especially with the congressional budget hearings looming. Finding Public Enemy Number One is hard work, and rounding up petty thieves and narcotics users is a lot easier.

Justice officials also showed a keen awareness of the public relations value of their effort, augmenting the Washington news conference with dramatic video footage of arrests for local television stations, and also holding regional news briefings, including one in Chicago.

The Washington briefing was Gonzales' first at the Justice Department headquarters since being confirmed as attorney general....The April 4-10 span of Operation FALCON was timed to coincide with Crime Victims Rights Week and it occurred during the season for congressional budget hearings.

“We want to show Congress that we've done what they asked us to do”--catch criminals, said Bob Finan, the Marshals Service assistant director for investigations, who coordinated the overall effort. He and other officials said they likely would try another national roundup.

But it was not immediately clear how much of a dent the sweep put in the nation's at-large population of criminals.

Finan said that last year the Marshals Service was involved in the capture of about 92,000 fugitives wanted on federal, state or local warrants

But Finan said there's no central registry of outstanding warrants, so there's no way to tell how many fugitives are on the loose.

Nor is it clear whether financially pressed local police departments that rose to the occasion with the help of overtime funding from the Marshals Service can sustain efforts on their own to catch fugitives.

The nationwide dragnet also pulled in more than 100 unregistered sex offenders and 150 gang members, with reports on captures still trickling in, officials said.

Code-named Operation FALCON, for Federal and Local Cops Organized Nationally, the sweep was aimed at concentrating police resources and sharing information across jurisdictional lines in a 24-hour-a-day, seven-day push to round up fugitives....

It also seemed designed to reap maximum attention for the relatively low-profile Marshals Service as Congress considers federal agency budgets for the coming year. The marshals have coordinated regional sweeps in the past that centered on New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta and Washington, but never attempted to tie together a sweep by law-enforcement agencies across the entire country, Reyna said.

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Sally Kennedy promoted

Business news, in brief: via AdAge


WPP Group's Y&R Advertising, which has been struggling in North America, the world's largest ad market, has created the role of chief marketing officer for the region, the agency said today. The network promoted Sally Kennedy into the role. Ms. Kennedy, who joined Y&R in 1998, was senior vice president of marketing and sales for the agency's San Francisco office. She will now split her time between San Francisco and New York.

In the past year Y&R has lost numerous large accounts, including that of Ford Motor Co.'s Jaguar marque and Sony Corp.'s Sony Electronics division, both out of Y&R's Irvine, Calif., office, and also the Computer Associates account, which was handled out of the New York office.



I have some Ephedra (Ma Huang tincture actually) that I bought a while ago. I never figured out what the big hubbub was about, herbal remedies are so mild compared to drugs sold by Pfizer and other Big Pharma companies. But then, I don't really think any herbal medicine should be banned by governmental fiat, unless cane sugar, caffeine and alcohol are also made illegal.

A federal judge Thursday struck down the FDA ban on supplements containing ephedra, the once-popular weight-loss aid that was yanked from the market one year ago after it was linked to dozens of deaths.

The judge ruled in favor of a Utah supplement company that challenged the Food and Drug Administration's ban. Nutraceutical claimed that ephedra has been safely consumed for hundreds of years.

Industry groups said supplements that included ephedra were once used by 12 million people. Last year's ban of ephedra was the first such ban of a dietary supplement.

Research shows ephedra -- an amphetamine-like herb -- can speed heart rate and constrict blood vessels even in seemingly healthy people, but it is particularly risky for those with heart disease or high blood pressure or who engage in strenuous exercise. ...

The judge's decision was seen by some anti-ephedra advocates as falling short of an outright reversal of the ban, though a Nutraceutical lawyer declared flatly, “the ban is gone.” The company said it is too soon to say whether it will put the product back on shelves.

The FDA was evaluating the ruling, but Health and Human Services spokesman William Pierce said the agency “made the right decision from the standpoint of science and our statutory authority. This is exactly when the dietary supplement law should apply.”
Judge Tena Campbell agreed with Nutraceutical that ephedra was wrongly being regulated by the FDA as a drug and not a food. She said a 1994 federal dietary supplement law places more restrictive rules on the FDA in determining whether to ban foods as opposed to drugs. The judge said the law requires the FDA to prove that a dietary supplement is harmful, rather than having the manufacturer prove it is safe, as is required with drugs.

“The (FDA's) statement that a safe level cannot be determined is simply not sufficient to meet the government's burden,” Campbell wrote.



Eddy Curry Out

Damn it. When the Bulls were rolling, earlier this spring, Luol Deng and Eddy Curry were two of the big reasons for all the victories. Both players are now out for the upcoming playoffs. Damn it. And we send get well wishes to Eddy, hope this heart thing turns out to not be as serious as it seems.

NBA News from The Associated Press:
Chicago Bulls center Eddy Curry will miss the rest of the season because of an irregular heartbeat, a source close to Curry told The Associated Press on Thursday.

That includes the team's first playoff appearance since 1998, said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity. The team called a news conference for later Thursday to discuss Curry's condition.

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and from the SunTimes

''They found out during his examination with the first two set of doctors that there was something potentially serious with his heart,'' a source close to the situation told the Sun-Times. ''That's why they scheduled more exams by other specialists to make sure the problem was as severe as the early tests had suggested. Curry wanted to try to play with the problem and take medication since he felt he had already been playing with it for an undertermined time. But the doctors and Bulls did not want to take any chances with the [worst-case scenario] of Curry suffering a fatal heart attack.''

Crime Plus Eight

No idea what this might mean, but then not everything is meant to be understood.

Crime Plus 8
(Click for larger version)

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The National Geographic has initiated a very unusual genetic project. You send them a cheek swab (via a $107 kit), and they do a detailed workup on your genetic ancestry. I think I'm doing it as a belated birthday present to myself. Just hope it isn't some Patriot Act related subterfuge....

Your Genetic Journey - The Genographic Project:

Once you have purchased your own Genographic Project Public Participation Kit, you can begin the exploration into your deep ancestry. The first step involves a painless cheek swap to acquire a DNA sample. Once you have completed the cheek swabbing process, you will secure the swabs inside the transport tubes and mail the tubes off to the lab using the supplied envelope. It's that simple, and guaranteed anonymous.

Your haplogroup's story may evolve as the Genographic Project collects thousands of DNA samples during the next few years. When it does, tantalizing new chapters will be added to this website and your information will be updated.

The entire online process is completely anonymous so no one, including project scientists, will ever be able to access your results. But, if you choose, you can share them. A printable, hi-resolution certificate of participation, map, and haplogroup overview serve as compelling documentation of your deep ancestry.

link via boing boing

Sakura Chawan-mushi

Went to Meiji for lunch, and had a delicious bowl of a (new-to-me) custard soup called Sakura Chawan-mushi. Slightly expensive ($8), but incredibly scrumptuous. The Tsumetai Noodle Salad was also quite good today.

This sounds quite like the recipe (Meiji used shitake, chestnuts, cherry blossom, shrimp, etc.)

Bento.com recipes - Chawan-mushi:


* 3 eggs
* 2 3/4 cups cooled soup stock [chicken stock + fish-based stock (powdered or liquid form acceptable) + dash of sake and soy sauce]
* 4 slices of gu (filling, such as fishcake, shiitake mushroom, or chicken breast, parboiled)
* 4 cilantro leaves (also known as chinese parsley)


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Yesterday, we got the final go-ahead for a project we've been working on for over a year. We also got bad news about another project (for a different client) which would have netted us less money in commission, but would have allowed us to hold a 7 figure lump sum in our bank account for several months. This project was what we worked 7am-7pm on for almost ten days earlier this month.

So, what to focus on? We let the bad news linger like ash in our mouths, like we were sucking on pennies. Perhaps today, we'll celebrate our good news.


Update, the Good news also morphed into ash today, meaning we lost a project that would have netted us a years salary in one swoop. I'm going to inject myself with lye and morphine now.

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Netflix is sending me

The first of these we never did get around to seeing, and the second because I'm in a Pythonesque mood.

Shipped: Cecil B. Demented:

Shipped on 04/13/05.

Only the twisted mind of writer-director John Waters could conceive a plot that chronicles guerrilla moviemakers who kidnap a movie goddess (Melanie Griffith) and force her to star in their underground movie. Bonus material includes a commentary by Waters and Comedy Central's behind-the-scenes special "Canned Ham: Cecil B. Demented."

Cecil B. Demented

Shipped: Monty Python and the Holy Grail:

Shipped on 04/13/05.

Beware the knights who say "Ni." The Python comedy clan skewers King Arthur and his knights as they quest far and wide for the Holy Grail in this inspired piece of lunacy. John Cleese stands out as the Black Knight, who suffers gory, slow dismemberment at the hands of the mighty king himself. (Cleese's protestation after every sword whack that "It's just a scratch" is still hilarious.)

Holy Grail

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Netflix plugin

Thanks to Kymberlie R. McGuire of Neurotic Fishbowl for helping me configure my Netflix plugin.

Now everyones can see what movies catch me eye....(sic)

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Bill Jones RIP

SI.com - NBA - Former Kings trainer dies at 69 - Tuesday April 12, 2005 10:07PM:
Longtime Sacramento Kings trainer Bill Jones died after a long bout with cancer, the team announced Tuesday. He was 69.

Jones, who also served as trainer for the Kansas City and Oakland Athletics and the Kansas City Royals, spent 23 seasons with the Kings before retiring in 1995.


Longhorn vs Tiger

I mean, come on. What sort of marketing sense is this? Paraphrase: there are features in Longhorn that are already implemented in Tiger, years before we decided to code them. What are these “features” anyway? The details of Mac OS X 4 are pretty much set in stone, seeing as they already have a web site (like spotlight). Where are the Longhorn details? Could it be that they are still under development? Meaning they have to wait until they have a finished copy of Mac OS X Tiger before they can reverse engineer the details?

The New York Times > Technology > Apple to Start Selling New Macintosh Operating System:
Tiger adds pressure on Microsoft, which is developing a new version of its Windows operating system called Longhorn. The Microsoft software is reported to have many of the same features as Tiger, but will not be available until next year.

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iPod remotes


I read this review with interest; our iPods are used in our car, attached to our stereo system, and to a portable speaker set. Wireless remote seems like more and more of an 'item we'll probably get', and less of a 'well, we could get one'.

How many dollars in accessories can one household buy anyway?

Playlist: Review: iPod remote rundown:
The products we tested include ABT’s iJet (also known as the Targus RemoteTunes), DLO’s iDirect, Engineered Audio’s Remote Remote 2, Griffin Technology’s AirClick, and Ten Technology’s naviPod and naviPro eX. To test these products, we used various iPod models connected to a stereo system via the iPod’s headphone jack; this connection, as opposed to the fixed (line-level) audio output of the iPod’s dock base, allowed us to test the volume up/down feature of the remotes.

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Playlist recommends the Ten Technology's naviPro eX
for infrared use.

Spring Photos, part 784

More splendid days, spent on my bike, looking for interesting photos. If I could only find a way to get paid for doing what I love..... But then, on fourth thought, if I had to constantly troll for photos in order to pay for my food and drink, it might not be as much fun. And there would be more pressure to actually take worthy photos instead of 'on a lark'. Hmmmm.

Anyway, here a few snapshots from the weekend

A new installation (I think) at Michigan Avenue and Congress Avenue

Madison Star
on the bridge over I90-94, at Madison Street.
Rebuilt for the 1996 Democratic Convention.

Glass waves

an interesting installation in Grant Park, near Buckingham Fountain, made of shattered car window glass and plastic, looks like a wave, especially when certain particles reflect sunlight.

click for larger versions

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Apparently, I'm not the only one who is having trouble with iTunes store tracks playing. Sometime, perhaps 2 weeks ago, I noticed certain tracks would not transfer to my iPod, nor would they even play in iTunes. Several tracks were over a year old, and had played many times without problem.

MacFixIt - What to do if iTunes-purchased tracks won't transfer to iPod:
A growing number of MacFixIt readers are reporting an issue where tracks purchased through the iTunes Music Store do not automatically transfer to an iPod during the on-connect synchronization process.

After some back and forth with Apple re: this issue, Apple authorized me to re-download all files. They said:

Having carefully considered your request, we will allow you to re-download the titles that you have purchased from the iTunes Music Store. To download again, open iTunes and select Check for Purchased Music from iTunes' Advanced menu.

Please note that this is a one-time exception to the iTunes Music Store Terms of Service. We strongly advise that you back up your hard disk regularly. This will prevent you from having to purchase replacement copies of your songs should they be lost.

Apple never gave me a good reason as to why this error occurred however.

These are a few other (canned) suggestions from Apple, none which even directly applied to my problem:

Having McAfee Privacy Service installed on your computer prevents you from downloading music from the iTunes Music Store. You may download your music using a different computer or temporarily remove McAfee Privacy Service.

The error you have encountered may also be caused by the presence of web acceleration software. Many Internet service providers include this with their setup software and it may prevent connection to the Music Store.

In accordance with the contracts between the iTunes Music Store, the artists, and the record companies, you may authorize five computers to play music purchased using your iTunes Music Store Account.

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Advertiser Registers Its Objection

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A follow up article on GM's petulant response to an article in the LA Times which, heaven forbid, actually dared criticize GM's over-paid executives....

Advertiser Registers Its Objection:
The uneasy relationship between advertiser and media outlet made news again when General Motors said it would stop running its advertising in The Los Angeles Times until further notice.
...An article Friday in The Times said that General Motors executives were particularly incensed about a review of the Pontiac G6 by Dan Neil, whose automotive column won the Pulitzer Prize for criticism in 2004. In the review, which appeared Wednesday in Mr. Neil's Rumble Seat column, he interwove dismissals of the G6 as “entirely adequate” with arguments for the dismissals of senior G.M. executives like Rick Wagoner, chairman and chief executive, and Robert A. Lutz, vice chairman, to hold them accountable for the company's recent sales and profit woes.

“When ball clubs have losing records, players and coaches and managers get their walking papers,” Mr. Neil wrote. “At G.M., it's time to sweep the dugout.”

GM takes a page from the Bush Whitehouse: if you don't like what a critic has to say, make the critic go away, or otherwise ignore the critic.

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iTunes narcipost part 234342

E.P.A. Halts Florida Test on Pesticides

While reading of this strange story in today's (dead stump edition) NYT, I was struck by this paragraph:

A recruiting flier for the program, called the Children's Environmental Exposure Research Study, or Cheers, offered $970, a free camcorder, a bib and a T-shirt to parents whose infants or babies were exposed to pesticides if the parents completed the two-year study. The requirements for participation were living in Duval County, Fla., having a baby under 3 months old or 9 to 12 months old, and “spraying pesticides inside your home routinely.”

The study was being paid for in part by the American Chemistry Council, a trade group that includes pesticide makers.

Who came up with such an experiment? Dr. Mengele? I wonder what the pre-ordained conclusions were going to be? Let me guess, studies have proven no link between spraying Raid on your infant and subsequent health problems. Yeah, right. Let's spray Stephen L. Johnson instead, right in the eyes for two years. I mean, science is science, right?

read more

E.P.A. Halts Florida Test on Pesticides:

A study of the effects of pesticides on infants was canceled after two Democratic senators threatened to block the confirmation of the E.P.A's acting administrator.

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Ruben's Baby Factory

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On Fullerton and Racine in Lincoln Park is [was] a building where the Culture of Life was originally created, now slowly falling into disrepair. Congressional oversight to ensue soon.

Seriously though, there is something elegant about this structure. I hope it can be maintained. D met the owner a few years ago, he drove a Ferrari.

Baby Factory

(click for larger version). This is a scan of a 35 mm photo, taken sometime in the late 90's.

And, a more recent photo here by armknecht.

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Apparently DePaul U has purchased the building to use as administrative offices.

Proving that even cranky old dudes can still follow protocol, here's another edition of 'Random 10 selection from iTunes'. I used my playlist Albumizer which has these selectors:

  • A. Track Number greater than zero -to eliminate audiogalaxy holdover files, or songs ripped in the 'old days' with flaky internet connections, etc.;
  • B. Last played is not in the last 97 days - to cycle through the library, variety is a condiment of life;
  • C. My rating is not 1 or 2 - eliminate the crap tracks and novelty tracks;
  • D. Genre does not include spoken word - no need to listen to the U.S. Presidential debates, or other dreck;
  • E. Time is greater than 1 minute

Actual songs after jump.

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GM and LA TImes

Ah yes, the wall between editiorial content and advertising sales. I've heard of it, but apparently not GM. What would be worse, would be if the L.A. Times decided to publicly (or even privately) apologize for having 'controversial' opinions. The old hoary cliche that what's good for the U.S. is good for GM was never very accurate anyway.

WSJ.com - GM, in Protest, Pulls Ads From L.A. Times:
In response to a series of articles about the auto maker, General Motors Corp. has pulled all of its advertising from Tribune Co.'s Los Angeles Times for the foreseeable future, GM said yesterday.

At the heart of the issue are “some factual errors and misrepresentations in the editorial coverage,” said Ryndee Carney, a GM spokeswoman. “It's not just one story. It's a series of things that have happened over time, and we've made our objections known to the paper, and so we'd like to keep our discussions between us and the paper private.” Ms. Carney added, “As a general policy, we don't do this. It's very, very rare.”

Ms. Carney declined to specify the amount of money at issue, citing competitive reasons. Scott Smith, president of Tribune's publishing unit, declined to disclose the dollar value of the lost advertising, saying, “I'm not in a position to quantify the impact.”

One media buyer said the amount would likely be in excess of $10 million annually. The auto maker spent about $2.8 billion on media time and space for advertising in 2004, according to TNS Media Intelligence.
In a Wednesday column, Pulitzer Prize-winning Los Angeles Times auto critic Dan Neil sharply criticized GM for what he said were a series of poor management decisions and called for the ouster of GM Chief Executive Rick Wagoner. In the column, titled “An American Idle,” he also described the Pontiac G6 as a “sales flop.” His conclusion: “When ballclubs have losing records, players and coaches and managers get their walking papers. At GM, it's time to sweep the dugout.”


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Bill Hicks and shrooms

for your listening pleasure


“Relentless” (Bill Hicks)

I don't really know where this mp3 came from (you could probably find out, if you really wanted to), but I completely understood the subject matter, intuitively. Or something.

direct link to mp3 here





bought myself this movie, but have yet to watch it. One day, I'll build my own working model theremin from a RadioShack-Moscow kit, and loan it to Aunt P. :)

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Dylan show

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yayyy, going to the Dylan show for my birthday, at the historic Auditorium Theatre.....looking forward to it.

bobdylan.com: Bob Dylan: Live And In Person!

featuring Bob Dylan and his band,
Merle Haggard and the Strangers,
and Amos Lee

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update: good show, Merle Haggard was a lot better than I had expected. Sat in the 7th row, on the aisle of the center section.
We noticed Dylan having some major flirtations going on with the violinist (Elena Fremerman from Hot Club of Cowtown), whether consummated or not, we weren't sure.

I wonder if Mr Dylan is suffering from arthritis, and this is why he no longer plays guitar, going as far as soloing with harmonica. There was an acoustic guitar behind him, but it never was played.

Chicago, Illinois Auditorium Theatre April 6, 2005

1. Drifter's Escape
2. Tonight I'll Be Staying Here With You
3. Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again
4. Lay, Lady, Lay
5. Cold Irons Bound
6. Just Like A Woman
7. You Ain't Goin' Nowhere
8. Ballad Of A Thin Man
9. Most Likely You Go Your Way (And I'll Go Mine)
10. Man In The Long Black Coat
11. Honest With Me
12. It Ain't Me, Babe

13. Every Grain Of Sand
14. All Along The Watchtower

These days, Dylan stands behind his little church organ, stage left, stabbing at the microphone with his still-unconventional vocal style. Behind him stands his lead guitarist Stu Kimball, whose playing often seems to please Bob. Center stage stands his new violinist, Elana Fremerman, who at first listen reminds one of Dylan's 70s violinist Scarlet Rivera, but she soon sheds that comparison in favor of a broader style, one that encompasses flowing grace as well as sharp attacks of her bow. Multi-instrumentalist Donnie Herron stands far stage right, playing a new instrument on every song, adding just the right touches to fill out the sound. Rhythm guitarist Denny Freeman stands next to Herron, adding some high-end Telecaster to the sound, and now and then taking a dirty rockabilly solo. But they would all be scenery if it weren't for the core members who hold the rhythm down: Tony Garnier on bass and George Recile on drums. Garnier, in his porkpie hat, has been playing with Dylan for longer than any other single musician in the forty-four years since Bob came on the scene, with him since the early 90s. The powerhouse behind the drums, Recile, locks in with Garnier's playing so well that it allows the band's Dixieland style to issue forth, as they hold it together. The beats these two put out are ridiculous; “solid” doesn't do them justice. There is an exact force behind everything they play. Anyone else can play anything, and know that underneath is an unassailable foundation.

previous set lists after jump

Click Fraud

We've been paying attention to this topic, because as a host for google ads, we have a vested interest in the ads viability. As I've said before, google ads aren't buying me any suites at the Hotel Intercontinental in Amsterdam, but they do certainly pay a chunk of our hosting costs. However, some of the back and forth referenced in this WSJ article sounds like business rivalry, mixed with sour grapes.

WSJ.com - In 'Click Fraud,' Web Outfits Have A Costly Problem:

[Nathan McKelvey] had run into “click fraud,” a term the industry uses to describe someone clicking on a search ad with ill intent. A fraudulent clicker can exploit the way Web ads work to rack up fees for a business rival, boost the placement of his own ads or make money for himself. Some people even employ software that automatically clicks on ads multiple times.
Click fraud is the latest problem plaguing the Internet, alongside spam, identity theft and online-auction fraud. Some believe about 20% of clicks are from people not necessarily interested in the product advertised, and therefore in the industry's view, fraudulent; others say the problem is less severe. What's clear is that if left unchecked, click fraud could damage the credibility of Google, Yahoo and the search-ad industry that spurred their meteoric growth.
Click fraud is “the biggest threat to the Internet economy,” Google's chief financial officer, George Reyes, said during a December investors conference. “Something has to be done about this really, really quickly, because potentially it threatens our business model.” ...

During his sleuthing, Mr. McKelvey discovered that his industry was rife with click manipulation. He and others in the jet-charter brokerage field say Yahoo and Google have been slow to help and vague on how they're tackling the problem. Other critics say search companies aren't forthcoming enough about click fraud's scope.

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Saul Bellow, RIP

I should read more Bellow, which is a morbid thought, but nonetheless it is a hole in my library.....

Saul Bellow, Who Breathed Life Into American Novel, Dies at 89:

The Nobel laureate's darkly comic work gave new immediacy to the American novel in the second half of the 20th century.


Uh oh, there goes our summer sojourn in Frostpocket....

Americans May Need Passports to Enter From Canada or Mexico:
The guidelines were proposed Tuesday in the latest effort to deter terrorists from entering the country.
As of Jan. 1, 2008, land travel, which includes that by hundreds of thousands of migrant workers, will be added, meaning all travel into the United States by citizens or by Canadians or Mexicans will require a passport or certain other accepted forms of identification. For Mexican citizens, the exception will still include a special border crossing card, which includes a fingerprint, a form of identification issued by the United States government in an attempt to prevent fraud.

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Nets thrash Cavs

(note: category archive changed to NBA, postings now found here)

Firing Paul Silas seems to have the desired effect, if accumulating draft picks via lottery is the goal that is.....

Nets thrash Cavs:

Cavs drop 8 of last 12 games

Cleveland would not have won a playoff series this year anyway, but Silas is at least a competent coach. Dan Gilbert should have waited until the Cavs lost to the Wizards, or the Boston Celtics before firing Silas. Instead, Cleveland might not even make the playoffs. Yikes.


Cell phone ban

Natarus found a way to get his name in the paper again, with a sure-to-be controversial cell phone ban. I'm with Natarus on this one though; I rarely, if ever, blabber on my cell while driving. Drivers who talk on their phones are partially oblivious to traffic - and dangerous.
Natarus as a Witch

Motorists with cell phones firmly plastered to their ears would risk a $50 fine--$200 if they were involved in an accident--if they ventured onto Chicago streets under a measure advanced Monday by a City Council committee.

If the ordinance wins approval of the full council, something that appears likely, Chicago would become the second big U.S. city after Washington to approve such a ban. There also are statewide prohibitions in New York and New Jersey.

Monday's action by the Committee on Traffic Control and Safety came over the objections of Sprint and Verizon Wireless, two major cellular service providers that opposed the measure for different reasons.

But committee members shrugged off their arguments, contending that cell use has become a menace on city streets.

“People seem to be more interested in their conversations on the telephone than they are with regard to human life,” said Ald. Burton Natarus (42nd), who has waged a six-year fight to pass the measure and conducted extensive research


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Time to Reboot?

Must be another m.r. glitch, but today flickr will not load on this particular machine. Other macs/pc's in my house/office load it fine, so something goofy has struck again. Flickr loaded fine last night, was using 1001 to upload a few images, was browsing some interesting photos by shikeroku, etc.

(late edit, turns out my system hosed itself the same time that flickr was actually having a major hiccup; and I bet a lot of dead chickens that there was zero cause/effect between my screwed up system and flickrs outage)

Checked console log, and there is this troubling message, repeated over and over.

crashdump: SampleAllThreads() returned no stacks for pid: 24220 name: sh Unable to determine CPSProcessSerNum pid: 24220 name: sh

I don't see any process by that particular pid, but then I noticed the pid changes....

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The Best 90 Minutes of My Life

I've made hundreds of mix tapes myself, about 50 that were played at Magnolia Cafe South many, many times during the five years I worked there (I started numbering at #11, I think #67 was the last one). I had a lot of fun making them, rewinding the cassette spindle a half-turn by hand at the end of every song to ensure a smoother transition, playing around with 5-10 second sound-bites in primitive sound collages, etc.

Getting my first cd burner a few years later was fun too, but now with multiple iPods, creating mix cds is an increasingly rare occurence.

The Best 90 Minutes of My Life:

Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore expounds on the power of the mix tape, from cassettes blasting through boomboxes to celebrity iTunes playlists. From Wired magazine.

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Pimp my ride-Finder

| 1 Comment
Too freakin' cool: google is working on a real-time cab locator, which currently is somewhat working in these fine towns.....

Google Ride Finder:

  • Baltimore, MD
  • Chicago, IL
  • Dallas, TX
  • Houston, TX
  • Milwaukee, WI
  • New York, NY
  • Phoenix, AZ
  • San Jose, CA
  • St. Louis, MO
  • Washington, DC
(link via Gapersblock)

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Yikes, never good news.

Neil Young recovering after brain surgery

Singer-songwriter Neil Young is recovering after being treated in a New York hospital for a potentially fatal brain aneurysm, it emerged last night.

The 59-year-old rock star underwent a successful operation last week and is now recuperating, his doctors said. Young will miss a scheduled performance today at the Juno Awards, the Canadian music industry's equivalent of the Grammys.

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Photos taken from my bike

Today was perfect weather, and even though we have a large proposal due Monday at 10 am, we really didn't want to waste our day, working. I biked instead.
Mural on Huron Street near Chicago and Northwestern train
These murals, painted in 1974, are slowly being replaced by new murals, as part of a Federal train bridge project (rebuilding the walls necessitates destroying the walls) . They look like they are from an earlier century.

Hank Williams and Yoga chickensTaken at Wishbone, Hank Williams is learning yoga with godzilla-size chickens...

click for larger versions

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More narciposts, nothing to see, move along....

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Solar Eclipse

Just in time for my party. [deleted long, rambling anecdote about a solar eclipse in Austin that was celebrated by ingesting some organic material, washed down with wine, because nobody really needs to know.]

Solar Eclipse:
On April 8th in North America crescent-shaped sunbeams will dapple the ground during a partial solar eclipse.

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Netflixed Movies

New movies coming soon to a television near me, aka narcipost number 65459...

seen Rebecca before in film school (I'm a film school drop-out of sorts), and it is a classic, well worth watching again.



Shipped on 04/01/05.

Here's a recipe for happiness: Marry a mysterious widower (Laurence Olivier), then move into his mansion and take orders from his servants! That's the situation the hapless -- and nameless -- second Mrs. de Winter (Joan Fontaine) faces in Alfred Hitchcock's eerie adaptation of Daphne Du Maurier's Gothic classic. This was the only Hitchcock film to win an Oscar for Best Picture.

Ray Charles made some great music, then coasted into American icon status. Curious to see how Jamie Foxx portrays Ray after hearing/reading so much hype.



Shipped on 04/01/05.

This biopic tells the life story of rhythm and blues legend Ray Charles (Jamie Foxx, who won a Best Actor Oscar for his portrayal). Born to a poor family in Albany, Ga., Charles contracted glaucoma at age 6 (which robbed him of his eyesight) and nonetheless went on to become a world-famous pianist and performer. He dealt with racism, romantic letdowns and his own heroin abuse, but managed to triumph over all obstacles. Taylor Hackford directs.

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Truly disturbing news; especially since the pressure is mounting to have a second wave of nuclear plants built. We still don't know what do with all the nuclear waste from the first time around (plenty of plants are still active, too many really).
Power companies are trying to get tax breaks to fund new plants, once they get built the profit is retained, of course. Gotta love that socialism for corporate behemoths like Exelon. Ahem.

E-Mails Reveal Fraud in Nuclear Site Study:
Government employees studying a potential nuclear waste site in Nevada acknowledged in e-mail messages that they had made up details about their research.
Government employees studying whether Yucca Mountain in Nevada would be a suitable place to bury nuclear waste acknowledged in e-mail messages to each other that they had made up details about how they had done their research in order to appear to meet quality standards, according to some of the messages made public on Friday.

Some of the frank exchanges included instructions to erase them. The Energy Department, which is trying to open a waste repository at the mountain, 100 miles northwest of Las Vegas, disclosed the existence of the e-mail messages two weeks ago. On Friday, a subcommittee of the House Committee on Government Reform released dozens of pages of the messages.

One analyst wrote that a computer program had generated data he could not explain, so he withheld it from the quality assurance department, known as QA.

“Don't look at the last 4 lines. Those are a mystery,” wrote the scientist, who the subcommittee said was an employee of the United States Geological Survey, a part of the Interior Department. “I've deleted the lines from the 'official' QA version of the files.”

“In the end I keep track of 2 sets of files, the ones that will keep QA happy and the ones that were actually used,” he wrote.

scientist wrote that he did some calculations by hand and that the computer program he wrote, presumably to do those calculations, “is not in the system.” He wrote that he feared he would be “taken to the cleaners” by the inspectors because his work did not refer to an established procedure laid out in a scientific notebook, and he asked if he should create such a notebook “and back-date the whole thing??”

The author of another message noted in January 2000 that he could not document the way certain work was done. “I can start making something up, but then the (deleted) projects will need to go on hold,” he wrote.

In an e-mail message in March 2000, a government worker wrote that he did not know when software he had used had been installed. “So I've made up the dates and names,” he wrote. “If they need more proof I will be happy to make up more stuff, as long as its not a video recording of the software being installed.”

The chairman of the panel that released the messages, Representative Jon Porter, Republican of Nevada, pointed out that the Energy Department and the White House had repeatedly said that their recommendation of the Yucca Mountain site was based on “sound science.”

“If the project has been based upon science, and the science is not correct, it puts the whole project in jeopardy,” said Mr. Porter, a longtime opponent of Yucca Mountain plan. “I believe these e-mails show science is not driving the project; it's expedience to get the job done.”

In a well-done scientific investigation, he said, the methods used to derive predictions about crucial factors like water infiltration should be transparent and reproducible.

A lawyer who represents the State of Nevada, Joseph Egan, said that after reading the messages, “you can't even say it's wrong; you have to say it's not reliable.”

“You don't know how badly they've fudged this stuff,” Mr. Egan said.


Jim Gray, Clueless

Briefly, why did Jim Gray ask Bobby Jackson, resplendent in a white polo shirt btw, of the Kings about the chances of Michigan St. in the Final Four? Bobby Jackson gently corrected him, saying “I'm a Minnesota Gophers guy” before ending the interview. Chris Webber went to Michigan, perhaps Jim Gray forgot who he was talking to? And really, Michigan State and Michigan are bitter rivals, seems like a fairly large distinction. Can you spell the word enigmatic, Gray?

Sacramento beats the Cavs, again



Chef Barrett, of the Too Many Chefs clan, has an exquisitely funny post on the proper method to 'cook' frozen pizza.

Too Many Chefs: Family Secret Pizza Recipe for April 1:
Do you like your pizza hot and gooey with a nice crisp crust? Do you prefer it slightly cold in the center with flakes of frozen cheese in places? Is your favorite pizza one with a “cajun blackened” crust and a deep dark mahogany to black cheese topping? You can easily adapt this recipe to produce any of those results. I've tried them all over the years and I can't decide which is my favorite.

Although I'll start you off with a simple cheese pizza, you can change the recipe just by varying the ingredients. Almost every other step remains the same. Try this early April treat and enjoy good some food!

Family Secret Pizza
One frozen pizza, your choice of flavors

This is a complicated recipe so I'm going to go step by step with illustrative photos.
Read rest here

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Webber and the Kings

| 1 Comment | 1 TrackBack

I wondered about this Ric Bucher article at the time; seemed to me like Webber and the Kings had been a pretty tight group, but what do I know? I only watched a healthy percentage of Kings games the last seven years on television. Apparently, my instincts were correct, and there wasn't as much animosity as reported.....

The Links -- Week of March 28, 2005:
I am an employee of the Sacramento Kings, more
behind the scenes. Anyways, I understand your dislike for ESPN and their continuing errors in sports reporting. The following is more
fuel to add to the fire.

I stumbled upon a story about Chris Webber's return to Sacramento posted on espn.com by Ric Bucher on March 28, 2005. In it is states: “After the game, he talked about his love for Sacramento and the friendships with Kings teammates that will endure, although it's worth noting that none got together with him when he arrived in town Sunday night, nor did any stick around to see him off after his news conference.”

The interesting thing is that I was there that (last) night and some of his former teammates did stick around to see Chris off, the most notable being Bobby Jackson, Mike Bibby, Brad Miller, Greg Ostertag, and Peja Stojakovic. Let me note that these players don't stick around long after games, but this night they did. Players like Bibby, Jackson, and Peja stuck around the tunnel just outside the media room and locker room to wait for their former teammate. All exchanged long, genuine hugs with Chris. Some, like Brad Miller and Greg Ostertag, even went onto the court long after the game and waited for Chris to come out of the tunnel. Chris visited with a group of underpriveleged children (I believe) and a few friends. Brad and Greg came over afterwards to exchange, again, long and genuine hugs. As all of these events unfolded, nowhere did I notice Ric Bucher. So who is he to say that none of his friends stuck around afterward when he didn't himself. Everybody from photographers, camera crews, ballboys and friends stuck around to see Webb for the last time this season. Ric Bucher didn't. Who makes this stuff up anyway? Oh yeah, ESPN.
From Slam



Continuing on a roll on iTunes Randomizer Friday, with some quality tunes, and some dreck to keep it interesting....who says narciposts can't be fun!

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Google Doubles E-Mail Space

Unless this is an April Fools day hoax, which many people thought when they read of the announcement last April 1......
Google Doubles E-Mail Space:
A year after unveiling a free e-mail service with a full gigabyte of storage, Google Inc. is doubling the capacity of each account and plans to keep bumping up the limit in the future. Once the upgrade takes effect Friday, Gmail users will be able to store up to 2 gigabytes of e-mail and attachments for each account. Even more capacity will be made available after that as it becomes feasible, the company said.

“Our goal is to make sure storage is no longer an issue for Web mail users,” said Marissa Mayer, Google's director of consumer Web products.

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