May 2005 Archives

If I purchase a new CD, and cannot listen to it on my iPod (or on iTunes for that matter), the CD is a useless piece of plastic to me, as I haven't placed a CD in a CD player in years. What a bunch of crap.

Wired News: BMG Cracks Piracy Whip:
As part of its mounting U.S. rollout of content-enhanced and copy-protected CDs, Sony BMG Music Entertainment is testing technology solutions that bar consumers from making additional copies of burned CD-R discs.

Since March the company has released at least 10 commercial titles -- more than 1 million discs in total -- featuring technology from U.K. anti-piracy specialist First4Internet that allows consumers to make limited copies of protected discs, but blocks users from making copies of the copies.
Under the new solution, tracks ripped and burned from a copy-protected disc are copied to a blank CD in Microsoft's Windows Media Audio format. The DRM embedded on the discs bars the burned CD from being copied. ... A key concern with copy-protection efforts remains compatibility. It is a sticking point at Sony BMG and other labels as they look to increase the number of copy-protected CDs they push into the market.

Among the biggest headaches: Secure burning means that iPod users do not have any means of transferring tracks to their device, because Apple Computer has yet to license its FairPlay DRM for use on copy-protected discs.
First4Internet's other clients -- which include Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group and EMI -- are using XCP for prerelease material.
Sony BMG expects that by year's end a substantial number of its U.S. releases will employ either MediaMax or XCP

I wrote Amazon just now, once I jumped through a mind-numbing array of electronic hurdles, and asked:

In response to this Wired article (,1294,67696,00.html) about new copy protection schemes by Sony and other music labels, does Amazon plan to have such CDs clearly labeled in the Amazon store? I only listen to music via my iPod, and if I purchase a new CD and cannot play it, I will want to return it for a full refund.
What is Amazon's policy in regard to unplayable CDs?

Seth Anderson

p.s., I don't really want to return the above order, but your email bot insisted I return something in order to ask a question.

Amazon claims they will usually respond within 24 hours, we'll see

(We will reply as soon as possible, usually within 24 hours.)

if they are as good as companies tested by the WSJ's cranky consumer
We decided to email companies in five different industries to see how quickly they responded to our queries -- and how relevant and helpful the responses were. We wrote to industries that consultants like the Customer Respect Group said are above average, such as telecommunications, along with those that have been ranked as less attentive, like consumer products.

update 9:46 pm: Amazon does respond rather quickly

As a retailer, our goal is to provide customers with the broadest
selection possible, and this selection may include copy-protected
materials. Please note that does not endorse any opinions
or policies expressed by individual publishers, music labels, or
movie studios.

At this time, we list only a small number of copy-protected CDs on our
web site, and they are clearly marked as such.

For CDs purchased from our web site which are defective, we will be
happy to replace them or issue full refunds for them, as per your

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Deep Throat

If you are interested, Vanity Fair's upcoming issue reveals who “Deep Throat' was: W. Mark Felt, the FBI's second in command at the time.
PDF available here:

link courtesy of Ezra Klein


All the President's Men

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2 heads greener than 1

2 heads greener than 1
There are plenty of bad jokes I could caption this picture with, Ebony and Ivory, blabblah. But I won't.

I love the Garfield Park Conservatory, and the new Garfield gardening center adjunct

Garfield sign
In the U.S., any building older than 25 years is ancient.

2000 volts behind the Green Door

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Garfield 2 trees

Garfield 2 trees, originally uploaded by swanksalot.

another view of the Garfield

iTunes week of May 29

Audioscrobbler stats

Of no interest to anyone besides myself....


Bike the Drive

Getting up at 5 a.m. to attend Bike the Drive 2005 wasn't easy, but the rewards were great. Something like 20 miles from my house, to LSD, back home.

Bike the Drive 15 LSD

Bike the drive 19

Bike the drive 20 self portrait

Bike the Drive 13

Bike the Drive 12

Bike the drive2

click for larger versions of all photos. Also, some others posted at Flickr, and by others

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Ralph Reed, demon spawn

I suppose Ralph Reed's reign of error is currently rebooting:

Microsoft Cuts Ties to Lobbyist - New York Times:
The Microsoft Corporation said on Friday that it had severed ties with Ralph Reed, a Republican lobbyist and former leader of the Christian Coalition who is running for lieutenant governor of Georgia.

“Ralph Reed is no longer on retainer with Microsoft,” said a company spokeswoman, Ginny Terzano.
...Ms. Terzano noted that Century Strategies, a public relations and lobbying firm that Mr. Reed founded in 1997, lobbied for Microsoft on international trade and competition, not social issues.

While she would not comment on Mr. Reed's candidacy for lieutenant governor, Ms. Terzano said, “It would not be appropriate to have a consultant on retainer that is seeking elective office at the same time.”

I like the reason the Tribune gave:

“Microsoft retains and lets consultants go throughout the course of the year based on the company's needs, and that was the case here,” Terzano said.

Yes, what were the 'needs' supplied by demon-spawn Reed again? Sprinkling Longhorn code with the blood of freshly killed chickens? Teaching Ballmer how to dance around bonfires while chanting?

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Our creeping theocracy

While trying to relax Saturday morning on our balcony, soaking up the summer sun, reading Saturday's papers, I stumbled upon this disturbing news

Next month the [Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History] will play host to a film intended to undercut evolution. The Discovery Institute, a group in Seattle that supports an alternative theory, “intelligent design,” is announcing on its Web site that it and the director of the museum “are happy to announce the national premiere and private evening reception” on June 23 for the movie, “The Privileged Planet: The Search for Purpose in the Universe.” The film is a documentary based on a 2004 book by Guillermo Gonzalez, an assistant professor of astronomy at Iowa State University, and Jay W. Richards, a vice president of the Discovery Institute, that makes the case for the hand of a creator in the design of Earth and the universe. News of the Discovery Institute's announcement appeared on a blog maintained by Denyse O'Leary, a proponent of the intelligent design theory, who called it “a stunning development.”

Here is my response to the Smithsonian (

Hi, as a subscriber to your fine, science-based magazine, I was perturbed, and disappointed to read in Saturday's Yew York TImes (May 28th) that the Smithsonian is sponsoring a film about “Intelligent Design”, called “The Privileged Planet”. Please reconsider your position, I do not want to live in a theocracy, and movies like this do not advance the cause of humanity, they look backwards into the Dark Ages instead.

I am not clamoring for you to 'cancel my subscription', but I do wish you would make a public statement supporting evolution.

Thank you,
Seth Anderson

---update, apparently Steve Gilliard read the same disturbing article.

Is the Smithsonian's reputation worth $16,000?

Imagine this nonsense happening the American Museum of Natural History or British Museum.

update2: the New Yorker's H. Allen Orr examines Intelligent Design, and finds the reasoning a bit 'thin'.

Update3, the Smithsonian responds, here

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Department of Ooopsie

As probably pointed out by everyone who noticed, this is a 'tell' if there ever was one. Was it intentional? a slip of the tongue? or something else? - Intel CEO Extols Patience; Yahoo Stresses Personalization:

Pressed about security by Mr. [Walt] Mossberg, Mr.[Paul] Otellini had a startling confession: He spends an hour a weekend removing spyware from his daughter's computer. And when further pressed about whether a mainstream computer user in search of immediate safety from security woes ought to buy Apple Computer Inc.'s Macintosh instead of a Wintel PC, he said, “If you want to fix it tomorrow, maybe you should buy something else.”

and one final point, an hour a week! Jeezus, you'd think the CEO of Intel would have some better security methods and procedures then that. What is his daughter doing on her computer anyway?

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'Cause the weather is prohibiting me from concentrating on work....

Therese toon

and what the hell, I'll join the iTunes randomizer group today, annotated list below the fold, as it were:

Haymarket Memorial Coffee Mug etc.

I had forgotten about the B12 Partners CafePress store. There are several photographs turned into lovely, wearable or useable cultural artifacts. Ahem. One of these days, I'll get around to designing a logo that doesn't suck, but this isn't that day.

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How Phoenix saved the NBA

Good to see that Neal Pollack has a job again, albeit with Slate, one of those also-ran web-zines. His blog was one of the first I read, in the flush years of 2003, before everybody had one.

Anyway, nobody I know back in Austin, nor any NBA pundit expected San Antonio to win the first two games of the Western Conference Finals with scores of 111-108 or 121-114, that's for damn sure. An enjoyable series to watch.

The Good Suns - How Phoenix saved the NBA. By Neal Pollack:

I began to idolize the Suns. These guys were cool. Steve Nash, the league's MVP, is a longhaired Canadian who spoke out against the war in Iraq and reads The Communist Manifesto. Quentin Richardson declared after a game-winning shot that it “was like Hamlet. It was a suspense thriller, and I killed them at the end.” Amare Stoudemire, when asked to comment on a 22-point third quarter against the Sacramento Kings, said, “I've got a tendency to jump over some guys' heads and throw it down.”

The coach, Mike D'Antoni, doesn't get out-cooled by his team. Though American by birth, he's arguably the greatest player in the history of Italian basketball. He's married to a model and hangs out with the Benetton and Versace families. TNT recently showed vintage footage of a shirtless D'Antoni, wearing the same crisp 'stache he still has today, holding aloft a trophy while a crowd of Italian revelers dumped champagne on his head. The Italians call him Arsenio Lupin, after a movie about a cat burglar. That's not a reference that means anything to me. I call him Coach Pornstache.

Coach Pornstache might be the greatest basketball innovator since Tex Winter drew up the triangle. He's certainly the first coach to bring the true European game to the United States. D'Antoni's philosophy revolves around ball movement, speed, defense in short spurts, and sense of humor. In one regular-season game, the Suns fell short after a furious comeback when reserve center Steven Hunter missed a dunk at the buzzer. Nash and Stoudemire came over, doubled up laughing, and dragged him back to the locker room. I've never seen players less affected by losing. If it's possible for a basketball team to be run by wit, then the Suns, with their intellectual point guard and their Continental coach, are that team.

I've got to find this photo of Coach Pornstache, I know I've seen it before. And Arsene Lupin sounds cool...


“Arsène Lupin” (Jean-Paul Salomé)

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That said, I am guided by the view that every 'truth' depends on set and setting. I also find it amusing that I am a Postmodern Idealist. Some sort of contradiction inherent in these terms, but maybe that says more than it should about me!

You scored as Postmodernist. Postmodernism is the belief in complete open interpretation. You see the universe as a collection of information with varying ways of putting it together. There is no absolute truth for you; even the most hardened facts are open to interpretation. Meaning relies on context and even the language you use to describe things should be subject to analysis.





Cultural Creative












What is Your World View? (updated)
created with

Quiz suggested via Talkleft

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Meredith to purchase Gruner + Jahr

Business briefs/leads: - Meredith Agrees to Buy Gruner + Jahr Magazines:

Meredith Corp. agreed to buy Parents, Child, Fitness and Family Circle magazines for $350 million from Bertelsmann AG's Gruner + Jahr unit.

Germany-based Gruner + Jahr will have an option until June 30 to sell business publications Inc. and Fast Company to Meredith. If Meredith buys them, it plans to then sell them, without a material impact on the overall purchase price, the publisher said today.

“Parents, Child, Fitness and Family Circle are established and well-known consumer magazines that will benefit greatly from Meredith's proven editorial, circulation, sales, database and brand-building expertise,” said Meredith Chairman and Chief Executive Officer William T. Kerr in a news release. “These titles have significant upside but have underperformed in recent years.”

Meredith, an Iowa-based publishing and TV concern, owns magazines such as Better Homes and Gardens, Ladies Home Journal and American Baby.
The additions would increase Meredith's combined circulation to nearly 30 million, making it the second-largest consumer-magazine publisher in the U.S. Meredith's advertising pages would increase by 60% to nearly 13,000 and publishing group revenue would increase by about $300 million to more than $1.2 billion, a gain of 33%.

Gruner + Jahr's U.S. operations are the sixth-biggest magazine publisher in the U.S. The move, which comes after a series of recent setbacks, including an ugly court battle with Rosie O'Donnell and revelations that Gruner + Jahr executives manipulated circulation figures, amounts to a tacit admission that the company's longstanding goal of conquering the U.S. has failed.


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Installed the newest version of Growl (0.7), and now it seems to have forgotten to work. I've come to expect growl's little notifications, and am sad I cannot seem to re-initialize the funtionality. Uninstalled, reinstalled, removed various preferences, restarted, installed 'for all users', installed in ~/Library, nothing.

Bleh. I really should be more productive with my time, but growl had become a little friend, and I miss him/it.

I'm an idiot, I should have deleted the com.Growl.GrowlHelperApp.plist right away, but instead relied on Tiger Spotlight to find all 'Growl' items. Doh! Once I thought to manually open the preference folder, and use my eyes to find the proper .plist to delete, everything returned to normal.

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I watched enough Sixers games this season to expect something dramatic like this. O'Brien just didn't seem to have his Mojo. - NBA - 76ers part ways with O'Brien; hire Cheeks - Monday May 23, 2005 4:41PM:
Jim O'Brien was fired Monday after one season as coach of the 76ers and replaced by former Portland coach Maurice Cheeks, one of the most popular players in Philadelphia's franchise history.

O'Brien, a Philadelphia native who played for Saint Joseph's, went 43-39 in his only season and the Sixers were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs.

He was in the first year of a four-year contract that paid him about $4 million a year. O'Brien, though, was not very popular with his players -- most notably former All-Star Chris Webber -- who often complained about their roles.

Cheeks was one of the most popular 76ers from 1978-89 and played on Philadelphia's last championship team, in 1983.

And personal cheap shot, anyone who coached the Celtics with the Pierce/Walker show was already suspect.....


Apple Intel Alliance?

I'll always be a little skeptical of any news reports where the sole source is “industry executives say”. We'll see, Macs running on Intel chips has been a fact-esque news story for decades. - Heard on the Street: [Apple Computer] has been in talks that could lead to a decision soon to use Intel Corp. chips in its Macintosh computer line, industry executives say, a prospect that may shake up the world of computers and software.
The idea that Apple Computer might use Intel-based products, which provide processing power for personal computers that use Microsoft Corp. software, has long been the subject of industry speculation and off-and-on negotiations between Apple and Intel. Two industry executives with knowledge of recent discussions between the companies said Apple will agree to use Intel chips. Assuming that plan goes forward, consumers would need to get new versions of their application programs for Intel-based Macs. Software companies would have to convert those products, though that procedure should be relatively simple for companies familiar with OS X, former Apple engineers say. The industry executive said Mr. Jobs could announce the new strategy as early as June 6 at its world-wide developers conference in San Francisco, a place the company typically informs software and hardware partners of future directions. ...

An Apple spokeswoman said she would characterize the possibility of adopting Intel chips “in the category of rumor and speculation.”

emphasis added.

update 6/6/05, guess fact-esque was the wrong word. Doh! Apple is moving to Intel.

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I still think it is amazing that in a city of 9 million, give or take, including surrounding areas, there are so many spots where one can find solitude in a park setting.

If one chooses, one can hang out with the beautiful people, or one can find a space to breath oxygen that's still unsullied.

Today, biked 10 or so miles, up and down the lake front park, and found several such quiet spots, replete with lilac blooms. Of course, the down side to my almost idyllic repose is the nagging thought that there really isn't any grass or parks within strolling distance from my house. Every breath of fresh air is several blocks away.

Thanks to the miracle of TiVo, I could tear myself away from the Western Conference NBA final's afternoon game (Spurs vs. Phoenix Suns), and enjoy the beautiful day. Don't tell me the final score, I'm going to watch the game as soon as my Cafe Ba-Ba-Ree-Ba sangria (and tapas) settles....

Photos to follow.

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Control of the news

A very disturbing trend, and paralleled in the political media as well - where positive coverage of the government is rewarded, and where folks like Jeff Gannon become necessary. How can one trust anything written in the press, ever, if negative coverage means removal of their revenue streams?

In the latest sign of advertisers’ heightened sensitivity to editorial coverage, embattled financial giant Morgan Stanley informed key publications of new guidelines that require its ads to be pulled as negative stories about it are published. A major target of the new policy is 'The Wall Street Journal' in which Morgan Stanley placed $10.5 million in advertising last year. “In the event that objectionable editorial coverage is planned, agency must be notified as a last-minute change may be necessary. If an issue arises after-hours or a call cannot be made, immediately cancel all Morgan Stanley ads for a minimum of 48 hours,” reads a key section of its planned addition to ad contracts, according to executives who’ve seen it. But that doesn’t mean you won’t be reading about the company in the business press. Thanks to its underperforming stock and some former executives’ attempts to unseat CEO Philip Purcell, Morgan Stanley has proved a plentiful well for news. And with the editorial/advertising wall at most publications, the guidelines could prove nearly impossible to accommodate. “It would not be a practical condition at The Wall Street Journal,” said Publisher Karen Elliott House. “The ad department has no knowledge of what stories are running in the next morning’s newspaper.”

Executives at some other publications spoke privately of how editorial policies meant that Morgan Stanley’s request could not be enforced to the letter, although marketers’ ads are sometimes subject to “pull policies” in which, under certain conditions, ads are removed from editions covering the marketers in question.
Among the publications that have received that directive or have had other discussions concerning Morgan Stanley with its media agency, Publicis Groupe’s Starcom USA, according to executives with first-hand knowledge of the situation, are Gannett’s USA Today; Pearson’s The Financial Times and The Economist; McGraw-Hill Cos.’ Business Week; The New York Times and Time Inc.’s Fortune. ..... Publishing executives also said there’s been a marked increase in such directives in recent years. “Absolutely,” said one high-ranking editor who wished to remain anonymous. “There’s a fairly lengthy list of companies that have instructions like this.” The editor placed Enron as the turning point for companies expressing concerns over appearing anywhere near related coverage.

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The next step of our DNA samples has been completed:

Track Your Kit - The Genographic Project:
The samples are transferred into PCR amplification plates for testing using a robotic liquid handling station. The appropriate chemicals are added to the samples to amplify the targeted regions of the DNA for testing. The samples are heated and cooled in a thermal cycler in order to run the PCR amplification. The PCR amplification products are loaded into the capillary electrophoresis machine and the products are sorted by size and color.
A laboratory staff member uses a computer program to assign scores to the samples. The computer generated scores are then reviewed by two additional laboratory staff members to produce finalized data.

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Bike on LSD


This year, we're really going to do it. Every year we talk about going, but the 5.30 am start time seems daunting. This year, no excuses!

Bike the Drive 2005

Ride your bike on Lake Shore Drive while breathing fresh air instead of exhaust, and soak up the stunning views of our beautiful city! Bike The Drive offers a unique opportunity to enjoy Chicago's famous skyline as Lake Shore Drive is closed to cars — and open to bikes.

On the morning of Sunday, May 29, 2005, join thousands of active people from Chicago, our suburbs and beyond for this 15- or 30-mile* non-competitive tour. All ages and skill levels are welcome.

Chicagoland Bicycle Federation:

Summer bicycling is almost here. Dust off your bikes and get in gear. Kick-off your summer on a car-free Lake Shore Drive Sunday, May 29, 2005.

The Chicagoland Bicycle Federation’s biggest fundraiser, Bike The Drive is presented in cooperation with the City of Chicago and Mayor Richard M. Daley.
Car-free ride on Lake Shore Drive
Fun festival**
Rest stops with friendly volunteers
Cool T-shirt

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Garfield Tulip Giveaway

One of our favorite parks is the site of the great tulip-giveaway of this year.


Chicago Park District:
The Chicago Park District will make hundreds of thousands of tulip bulbs available to green thumbs across the city free of charge. Packed in donated Whole Foods grocery sacks at the Garfield Market Place, 300 N. Central Park Avenue (on the North side of the Garfield Park Conservatory Campus). The great tulip give-away will begin at 9:00 a.m. and end at 1:00 p.m. Historically, tulip reserves have been depleted within just a few hours - gardeners are encouraged to arrive early.

The bulbs, currently being removed from gardens in Grant Park, Millennium Park and the Michigan Avenue medians, come in a wide range of beautiful colors. The Park District removes the spent bulbs in May to make way for the Summer Gardens, which will be in place through the fall. Bulbs should be planted immediately, retaining the foliage, or if that is not possible, be kept in a cool, dry, dark place until planting in the fall.

Amsterdam day in the Midwest, Gapersblocks calls it. Though, no 'coffeehouses', ahem, are near the Garfield Conservatory, as far as open to the public anyway.

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Courtroom 302

Thankfully, my time in actual courthouses has (so far) been brief, even though we quite frequently deal with corporate attorneys as part of our business, everything has been worked out before litigation became necessary. I'll probably read this book (or at least purchase it, and keep it on my shelf with all the other interesting titles that I haven't gotten around to reading yet. I'm looking at you, Herbert Asbury!

Anyway, his premise is plausible.

True, [Steve Bogira's] book takes a rare close-up look at the day-to-day workings of the nation's criminal justice system -- detailing with clarity and accuracy the nuts and bolts of a particular courthouse and chronicling all the hard work that judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys, clerks and guards put in each day.

But Bogira also comes to a damning judgment of the court system, expressed early in the book.

He argues that, for all the labor of court workers and for all their best intentions, the activity of the courthouse is a daily miscarriage of justice. That's because it doesn't -- and can't -- address what Bogira sees as the root of the U.S. crime problem: poverty. - Tribune

Bogira's book, “Courtroom 302” (Knopf, 401 pages, $25), is a meticulously researched examination of the workings of the criminal courts building, the biggest and busiest felony courthouse in the nation. It focuses on the people, particularly the defendants, who moved through this one courtroom over a 12-month period.
That's one of several metaphors Bogira employs to describe life at 26th Street, as the court building is often called. Another is that of a huge factory through which defendants move like so much raw material being sorted, handled and spat out.

Still another image, one sometimes used by court personnel, is the building as a kind of garbage disposal system. As one sheriff's deputy says, “We get the dregs of humanity here.”

“The guilty plea,” Bogira says, “is central to the system working. It allows this factory to keep moving -- which, in turn, allows us to feel we're addressing our crime problems. It's a great enabler.”

Bogira's argument is simple: Americans could attack crime by attacking its source -- by working to reduce poverty through jobs, better schools, better housing and better health care. But the U.S. has decided, he contends, that it's cheaper and easier to let crime happen (generally, in low-income neighborhoods) and deal with it in the courts.

Courtroom 302

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Wal-Mart and Netflix

Business briefs/leads.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is turning over its online DVD rental business to Netflix Inc., signaling that the world's largest retailer couldn't beat the Internet upstart at its own game.

Shares of Netflix surged after the agreement was announced Thursday, rising $4.38, or 28 percent, to $19.88 in pre-market trading.

Wal-Mart is offering its existing online DVD rental customers the chance to continue their subscriptions with Los Gatos-based Netflix at their current price for the next year. Those who don't sign up with Netflix by June 17 will lose their service. Wal-Mart plans to continue promoting the Netflix service on its Web site.

In return, Netflix will remind its subscribers that they can buy DVDs from - Tribune

Interesting development. Now, there's only Amazon and Blockbuster left to conquer. Also, makes it harder to root for the underdog/innovator when they ink a deal with the behemoth Wal-Mart.

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Wine tips

| 1 Comment

Ha, the bastards have gotten me! But then I usually don't order entire bottles with my meal, I'll just sip a glass, or two if I'm feeling decadent. Bottles are for occasions, or for treating out-of-towners. My inner scrooge balks at the 400-800% mark-up. And the cork smelling is just out of hand, what is the point? Probably 75% of the time, the waiter will proffer the cork like he's holding a communion wafer. What, am I going to eat it?

Breakfast drinks self-portrait

Vino & Veritas - The Record - Etc.:
Restaurant tip #2: Staying in your price range. Once you know approximately how much you want to spend and whether you want red or white (if you want pink, you're probably not reading this column), call over the wine steward (or waiter, but more on that below) and point to some of the wines in your price range. Ask him for his recommendation, saying something like, “I'd like something around here.” As you say this, point to the prices you're willing to pay. Most wine stewards will take the hint and recommend a wine in that range. If he doesn't -- and this may happen -- don't be intimidated. Say, “Well, that's great, but I'd really like to stay around here.” He generally won't try it again. (If he says that he can't really recommend anything in that price range, which he rarely will, and if you're feeling sassy, which I often am, you might ask, “Then why is it on the list?” There's no good response to that.)

If you want to give him more information, tell him what you usually drink -- cabernet, merlot, Chianti -- and whether you're willing to experiment (a bad idea on first dates or job interviews, but a good idea if you have a willing partner).

And one last price tip I picked up from the Wall Street Journal's wine writers: Restaurant owners will often price the wine they buy cheapest at wholesale as the second cheapest wine on the menu. Why? Because people generally don't order the cheapest wine and thus often turn to the second cheapest. Price that one higher, and you get a bigger marginal profit. Presto -- restauranteur as microeconomist! ...The waiter will then open the bottle and “present the cork.” Do not sniff it. It just smells like cork. You could fondle it, if you're into that sort of thing, but otherwise just ignore it. (One exception: If you see that it's soaked through with wine, that's generally not good, as it means air probably got into the wine and could have ruined it. More on that below.) Next, the waiter will pour a little of the wine into your glass. Here's where the real challenge begins. You have three options: smell, taste or swirl/smell/taste. I usually just smell it to make sure it's not corked (corked wine smells musty, like old cardboard or yesterday's gym socks) or turned to vinegar (which smells like vinegar). If your nose is stuffed or you don't trust it, just take a big sip of the wine -- enough to really taste it. Unless you're trying to impress someone, don't swirl. It looks pretentious and is best left to wine geeks and people who read “Cigar Aficionado.” (Swirling does help release a wine's aromatics, and you might want to do it later in the meal; at the tasting stage, however, it just looks like you're trying too hard. Consider it the wine-drinking equivalent of pulling out her chair at the table.)

originally from Kottke

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Neal Horsely

Too busy this week to keep up with the news, where the jokes just seem to create themselves lately. Anyway, for your Neal Horsely Mule Fucking jokes, check out the Windy City Lefty.....or the News Hounds. Horsely ought to retire to a farm somewhere, or maybe not. Ahem.


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Greasemonkey rules

Thanks to this Wired article, I found a very-useful-to-me script that transfers the flash image in Flickr to the actual JPEG. I don't really enjoy using Flash, and often the images get tiny when viewed in Firefox. Anyway, looks like a lot of cool/useful scripts are available (Allmusic, Netflix, IMDB, etc.)

Wired News: Firefox Users Monkey With the Web:
Greasemonkey was originally written by Aaron Boodman, who wrote the program in December 2004 to amuse his friends and found himself pleasantly surprised when it grew into a cult hit.

To use the scripts, Firefox users first must install Greasemonkey, then find and load the particular scripts they want.

Users have already submitted scripts for more than 115 websites, plus more than 60 scripts that work across the web.

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Funny rundown of some ordinances proposed by our Alderman, Burt Natarus over the years. If only he would be as aggressive towards smells as he is about sounds, maybe the over-powering odor of Blommers Chocolate could be regulated. However, when D met Natarus a year or so ago, in his office, about the Haymarket plans, Natarus was adamant that Blommers was going to stay.

Natarus as a Witch

For instance, in 2004, [Natarus] was able to get passed an ordinance enjoining panhandlers from too aggressively pursuing prospective donors. The fine for transgressions is $100. How an offender might pay the fine was not addressed. In 1991, he asked to strengthen the ordinance providing that people whose car sound systems could be heard 75 feet away pay $50 for each thumping instance. Natarus also proposed towing any car whose alarm system sounded for more than 10 min-utes.

He is the Nemesis of Noise. In 1972 the alderman introduced a proposal to prevent private garbage services from operating before 7 a.m. or after 9:30 p.m. Another, similar proposal would ban jackhammers before 8 in the morning (9 on weekends) near residences and hospitals. In 1984 he wanted to restrict when and where street musicians could perform. He has supported the outlawing of unmuffled motorcycles. Another proposal would require boombox owners to wear headphones while listening in public.

At a council hearing on car stereo noise, an auto-sound industry spokesperson spoke in opposition to the possible legislation, saying his organization was stressing “safe sound” with the motto: “Don't let the boom be your doom.”

Another ongoing sore spot has been carriage horses. ...


B12 graphic disk display

via the cool freeware program Disk Inventory

b12 disk1
click for larger version

and a closeup of the graphic
b12 disk2

click for larger version

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Even though the U.S. press, including the Chicago Tribune, didn't adequately discuss these allegations (by British national security aide Matthew Rycroft, based on a July 2002 meeting of British Prime Minister Tony Blair and his advisers, including Richard Dearlove, the head of Britain's MI-6 intelligence service), a front page article about the controversy still has to give 'background' on the topic, which is almost as good.

A British official's report that the Bush administration appeared intent on invading Iraq long before it acknowledged as much or sought Congress' approval--and that it “fixed” intelligence to fit its intention--has caused a stir in Britain.

But the potentially explosive revelation has proven to be something of a dud in the United States. The White House has denied the premise of the memo, the American media have reacted slowly to it and the public generally seems indifferent to the issue or unwilling to rehash the bitter prewar debate over the reasons for the war.

All of this has contributed to something less than a robust discussion of a memo that would seem to bolster the strongest assertions of the war's critics.

In the U.S., however, the account has drawn only passing attention, even in Washington, where the debate over prewar intelligence on Iraq once dogged the White House. No weapons of mass destruction have been found in Iraq, and Iraqi scientists have told U.S. inspectors that any weapons Iraq did possess were destroyed years ago.

Opponents of the war and administration have launched e-mail campaigns to elevate the issue. One Web site,, encourages visitors to sign a petition and “take action.” Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) wrote a letter earlier this month to the White House, signed by 89 House Democrats, that expressed concern about the memo's revelations.


The memo is available here

Can we start impeachment proceedings yet?


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The Genographic Project

Our DNA samples have moved to the next step in the Genographic Project....

Track Your Kit - The Genographic Project:
The cells are broken open by incubation with a protein-cutting enzyme overnight. Chemicals and the samples are transferred into deep well blocks for robotic DNA isolation. The blocks of chemicals and samples are placed on the extraction robot. The robotic DNA isolation uses silica-coated iron beads. In the presence of the appropriate chemicals DNA will bind to silica. The robot then uses magnetic probes to collect the beads (and DNA) and transfer them through several chemical washes and finally into a storage buffer, which allows the beads to release the DNA. At this point the beads are collected and discarded.

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Excellent news for internet wine sales. Doesn't directly affect us, unless there are some killer wineries in these states (unlikely). - High Court Bars State Limits On Direct Shipment of Wines:
Wine lovers may buy directly from out-of-state vineyards, the Supreme Court ruled Monday, striking down laws banning a practice that has flourished because of the Internet and growing popularity of winery tours.

The 5-4 decision overturns laws in New York and Michigan that make it a crime to buy wine directly from vineyards in another state. In all, 24 states have laws that bar interstate shipments.

The state bans are discriminatory and anticompetitive, the court said. “States have broad power to regulate liquor,” Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote for the majority. “This power, however, does not allow states to ban, or severely limit, the direct shipment of out-of-state wine while simultaneously authorizing direct shipment by in-state producers.”
“If a state chooses to allow direct shipments of wine, it must do so on evenhanded terms,” he wrote.

Justice Kennedy was joined in his opinion by Justices Antonin Scalia, David H. Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen G. Breyer.
...In a dissent, Justice Clarence Thomas argued that the ruling needlessly overturns long-established regulations aimed partly at protecting minors. State regulators under the 21st Amendment have clear authority to regulate alcohol as the see fit, he wrote. “The court does this nation no service by ignoring the textual commands of the Constitution and acts of Congress,” Justice Thomas wrote. He was joined in his opinion by Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, as well as Justices Sandra Day O'Connor and John Paul Stevens.

The Washington-based Institute for Justice says the 24 states that ban direct shipments from out-of-state wineries are Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah and Vermont.

I'd also like to go on record as saying Justice Thomas is a dimwit. Are minors purchasing wine with a stolen id? If not, there is already an impediment to sale to minors. If they are using stolen id's, then what stops them from just going to a local liquor store, like everybody I knew did in high school?

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If all goes as planned, we'll experience the 'new', 'improved' permit department ourselves, and then we'll see how much it's changed....

For years, critics have contended that getting a permit for a construction project out of Chicago City Hall has been like running a marathon through a tar pit--never easy and never fast.

Now, acknowledging that more must be done to speed up the permit pipeline, Daley administration officials said they are implementing a new round of changes to reduce approval time roughly in half for most new projects.

Review of plans for smaller residential developments is being expedited, and new internal efficiencies are being adopted even as the city considers possible privatization of part of the operation, said Rafael Hernandez, executive director of the Department of Construction and Permits.


Outside of City Hall, however, performance has received mixed reviews at best.

“Right now, if you submit a plan, there are project managers who say, `Don't even call me for two months'--nothing is going to get started for two months,” said one unhappy construction-industry executive, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Promises of 15-day permit reviews that were made when the Permits Department was formed “is the biggest joke,” he scoffed.

Alan Lev, president of the Belgravia Group, a major Chicago developer, described performance as “spotty.”
The problem of timely permit review surfaced publicly at a recent City Council committee meeting at which city Budget Director John Harris acknowledged “some challenge.”

He released a report that revealed it was taking 110 days--nearly 16 weeks--to issue a permit. And that's on top of a two-or three-week wait for an appointment to submit plans, the first step in the process.

The new goal is to reduce the approval time to 50 days.

Since Harris' report was compiled, the typical approval time has declined to about 90 days and the 50-day goal probably will be reached within four months, Hernandez said.

Under one change, review of plans for single-family homes and apartment and condo projects with up to three units will get expedited attention, he said. That category represents a large portion of the 8,800 applications for new construction annually.

“Smaller projects [require] much less review than other ones,” Hernandez said. “I don't believe it is fair that if you are building your house [to be] stuck behind this other guy building an eight-story building.”


Bill Moyers for president

| 7 Comments | 1 TrackBack

Barring Mr. Moyers running for president, can we at least take a DNA sample, and clone him? The U.S. media business desperately needs about 50 journalists of Moyers credibility, gravitas and intellectual honesty.

Bill Moyers Fights Back | John Nichols:
Bill Moyers is not taking attacks by Bush administration allies on public broadcasting in general and his journalism in particular sitting down.

“I should put my detractors on notice,” declared the veteran journalist who stepped down in January as the host of PBS’s Now with Bill Moyers, who recently turned 70. “They might compel me out of the rocking chair and into the anchor chair.”... [in a] pointed reference to CPB chair Kenneth Tomlinson, a Republican party stalwart, who contracted with an outside consultant to monitor Moyers's weekly news program for signs of what Tomlinson and his allies perceived to be liberal bias. Moyers ridiculed the initiative first by reading off a long list of conservatives who had appeared on NOW, then by reading a letter from conservative U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, praising the show, and finally by noting that Tomlinson had paid a former Bush White House aide $10,000 to do the monitoring. “Gee, Ken, for $2 a week you can pick up a copy of TV Guide,” he joked, before suggesting that the CPB chair could have “watched the show.” “Hell, Ken,” Moyers finally said. “you could have called me collect and I would have told you.” Moyers said he wasn't buying Tomlinson's claim that the results of the monitoring were not being released to protect PBS's image. “Where I come from in Texas, we shovel that stuff every day,”

...Moyers revealed to the crowd of 2,000 media reform activists that he had written Tomlinson on Friday, suggesting that the pair appear on a PBS program to discuss the controversy. He also revealed that he had tried three times to meet with the full CPB board but had been refused. Expressing his sense that the board had “crossed the line from resisting White House pressure to carrying it out,” Moyers said, “I would like to give Mr. Tomlinson the benefit of the doubt, but I can't.”
The man who has won 30 Emmy Awards for his hosting of various PBS programs was blunt about his critics. “They've been after me for years now and I am sure they will be stomping on my grave after I'm dead,” he said.

Full transcript here

(update 7/2006: apparently Molly Ivins and John Nichols both agree with me.)

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I witnessed a very, very odd General Electric commercial on television the other night. I'm not sure if the irony was intentional (I'm guessing it wasn't), but GE spent a lot of money creating their message. Basically, a paean to coal mining, filmed in high contrast 'artsy' style, featuring writhing, sweaty fashion models, and shirtless, sweaty, muscular black dudes working in a coal mine, but inexplicably having a great time. The soundtrack is another layer of irony - Tennessee Ernie Ford's classic song, 16 tons

ernie tennessee ford 16 Tons

(click to play song)

The song's chorus came from a letter Merle received from his brother lamenting the death of World War II journalist Ernie Pyle, killed while covering combat in the Pacific in 1945. John Travis wrote, “It's like working in the coal mines. You load sixteen tons and what do you get? Another day older and deeper in debt.” Merle also recalled a remark his father would make to neighbors when asked how he was doing: “I can't afford to die. I owe my soul to the company store. ” This referred to coal-company owned stores where miners bought food and supplies with money advanced by the company, called “scrip”. Later released on Capitol's 1947 LP “Folk Songs From The Hills”, the song almost immediately began to generate controversy, causing Travis himself,  problems, in the anti-communist, Cold War hysteria of the late forties. Some in government saw songs dealing with workers' woes, and folk music “activists” as potentially subversive.

So in other words, working in a coal mine isn't a goof, it's serious, back breaking labor, with a long history of strikes, and labor unrest. Not to mention that mining for coal destroys the land on top of the coal, pollutes the air and water with mercury, sulfur and other health-threatening contaminates.


Now, a new battle for Blair Mountain is flaring. But this time, the warriors are not miners toting rifles, but historians armed with artifacts. And the fight is not about organizing the coalfields, but saving the battlefield.
At stake is a campaign by amateur historians, allied with environmentalists, to register more than 1,400 acres around Blair Mountain as a historic site. In doing so, they hope not only to protect a piece of labor history, but also Blair Mountain itself, where coal companies have been buying property and emptying small towns in preparation for strip mining the rugged ridgeline for low-sulfur coal.
On May 6, the preservationists won an important skirmish when the West Virginia Archives and History Commission voted unanimously to recommend that 14 miles of ridgeline surrounding Blair Mountain be added to the National Register of Historic Places, part of the National Park Service.
If the site is added to the register, as is considered likely, coal companies could be required to reduce the impact of mining on the battleground. Being added to the register would also be a crucial first step toward the preservationists' goal of making Blair Mountain a landmark or park, which could stop mining there altogether.
“This is a breakthrough nomination in terms of taking a chink out of the power of coal companies to dominate our land,” said Frank Unger, a part-time preservationist who helped prepare the Blair Mountain application.
The coal companies have threatened legal action. Although the listing would not prohibit mining, it could cause the federal government to delay or modify permits, potentially affecting hundreds of jobs, including about 100 held by union workers.
“We're going to resist vigorously any attempts to take away our property rights,” said Greg Wooten, vice president of Dingess Rum Properties Inc., which leases land on the ridge to mining companies. “We have a right to exercise our lawful and legal right to mine coal, remove timber and drill oil and gas wells on our property.”

from Tom Paine, we read of the true tale of GE's coal plans. - GE's Greenwashing:

But even while GE was hosting was hosting a glitzy cocktail reception to roll out a new pro-environmental PR and ad campaign, the company was working behind closed doors in Congress to secure another delay in cleaning up the Hudson— a cleanup that is supposed to cost the company half a billion dollars.

Let's start with the May 9 debut of the company's “Ecomagination” campaign—a $90 million PR blitz aimed at remaking the company's soiled image into one colored bright green: Expensive print ads show leaves sprouting from electric power plants; a green airplane floats across a corporate website behind the online greeting by CEO Jeffrey Immelt; a television commercial features buff models posing as coal miners—essentially a mini-music video reminiscent of Madonna's “Express Yourself.”

The frivolous quality of the advertising undercuts GE's serious message: “Increasingly for business, 'green' is green,” noted Immelt. “We're at a tipping point where energy efficiency and emission reductions equal profitability.”

GE has clashed with the federal government on air pollution policy issues.  In 2000, the company hired noted “liberal” constitutional scholar Laurence Tribe of Harvard to file a friend-of-the-court brief with the Supreme Court opposing EPA's clean air standards for smog and soot. Fortunately, the Supreme Court unanimously rejected GE's dirty-air approach.
But GE is perhaps best known for the Hudson River.  From the late 1940s until 1977, GE discharged more than one million pounds of the toxic waste known as PCBs into the Hudson River. Over the years, these chemicals have spread, contaminating two hundred miles of river from the Hudson Falls to just shy of the Statue of Liberty.
Then-EPA Administrator Christie Whitman ordered the company in 2002 to clean up the toxic mess. The cleanup has yet to begin. GE has dozens of other Superfund sites, and has lobbied for years to try to change the Superfund law.
And GE is continuing its efforts to stall the cleanup. In its federal lobbyist disclosure forms, GE notes that one of its lobbying goals is to “support reasonable phasing and performance standards for the PCB Hudson River site remedy.”
That was translated behind closed doors this week into a budget rider—attached to appropriations legislation in the House Appropriations Committee—that would call for a yearlong National Academy of Sciences study to take another look at the project.

Congressional sources said GE was behind the rider, which wasn't disclosed until after committee members voted to approve the legislation, and that it was inserted secretly at the request of Rep. Charles Taylor, R-N.C., who chairs the appropriations subcommittee that oversees the issue.
General Electric now has now separately confirmed its role in pushing the rider. GE gave Taylor $8,250 in campaign contributions during the 2004 election cycle, according to Federal Election Commission records.
So while GE's “coal miner” actors preen on television, its lobbyists argue privately for a federal handout and the Hudson remains toxic.

That's greenwashing, not ecomagination.

If I find a link to the ad itself, I'll publish it. Crazy, man, crazy.

Propaganda, all is phony

Advertising signs that con you
Into thinking you're the one
That can do what's never been done
That can win what's never been won
Meantime life outside goes on
All around you....
Old lady judges watch people in pairs
Limited in sex, they dare
To push fake morals, insult and stare
While money doesn't talk, it swears
Obscenity, who really cares
Propaganda, all is phony.

Update: the commercial is here for the moment:
or if this link remains broken, this page discusses more

update 5/17/05
I suspected this commercial would ignite some discussion, I just was unable to find it before I posted my visceral response. Arvin Hill has some interesting additional thoughts on the matter, along with a few visuals. Check it out.

update: 1/11/06, still not retired, here is a link to GE's video archive, via Burningbird

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Musical solipsism, May 15

Thumbing their nose at Uncle Sam

Fascinating, especially since I've heard nothing about it from the U.S. press, and I'm a pretty heavy 'binge' reader of major media. But realistically, I'd expect more of the same for the future. The U.S. is seen as a sort of toothless bully at the moment, economy in tatters, military over-extended and bogged down in Afghanistan and Iraq. Not to mention, a President who thinks he's a metaphorical cousin to Christ, and whose every pronouncement, whether in mangled grammar, or reading like a Ralph Reed press release, is the equivalent to a Sermon on the Mountain ( of cash). In other words, a prime target for politicians of other nations to thumb their noses at.

And let us not forget Cuba, and our policy towards that country, nor let us forget the U.S. tried to instigate a coup in Venezuela recently, albeit unsuccessfully.
flag of Venezuela

The London Line : Thumbing their nose at Uncle Sam:

The United States is nursing a bruised ego. After decades of funding malleable regimes, fomenting right-wing coups and building economic hegemony in the Americas, Washington just found itself locked out of its own backyard.

This week saw leaders of the Latin American and Arab worlds meet in a historic summit in Brazil - and the US was denied even the courtesy of observer status. Washington is outraged, fearing that this was more than just a diplomatic slight: it sees it as the latest gesture of defiance from the two regions that bear the deepest grudge over recent US foreign policy.

The Summit of South American-Arab Countries, which concluded on Wednesday and was attended by Iraqi president Jalal Talabani, furthered Latin America's drive to strengthen relationships away from the United States. Brazilian President Luiz Ignacio Lula da Silva led moves by South American states to cement alliances outside the US, which has traditionally held the South on a short leash economically.

Across Latin America, a new left has swept to power. In Bolivia, Venezuela, Brazil, Argentina, the Dominican Republic, Chile and, most recently, Uruguay, charismatic leaders vociferously opposed to the US' free-trade agenda have won elections over the past six years. Ill feeling towards their northern neighbours is running high: in a recent poll, 85% of Latin Americans said they opposed Bush's re-election.
The State Department dismissed suggestions that the US' continental dominance is under threat. “We hope our friends in the hemisphere do not fall back on the failed policies of the past,” said a State Department official, who declined to be named. “We will work with any country, provided its leader is democratically elected,” he said. “ We urge them to crack down on corruption and promote free trade.”
That exhortation seems to fall on deaf ears. Washington's grand plans for a Free Trade Area of the Americas have stalled after Latin American leaders objected to proposals restricting access to US markets and continued subsidies for US industry. The rhetoric of the Brazilian summit will do nothing to quell fears that the FTAA is dead in the water.
Washington's most throbbing Latin American headache takes the form of Venezuela's Hugo Chavez. Birns believes Chavez, a man who has publicly called President Bush a “dickhead”, was “instrumental in orchestrating the summit”.
Venezuela, which controls 40% of the US' oil imports, has moved closer to Cuba, the bête noire of US-Latin American relations, since Chavez was elected president in 1998. He survived a US-backed coup in 2002 and, with the example of his radically socialist “Bolivarian revolution”, is giving the rest of the continent a lesson in bucking the north's neo-liberal agenda.
The snub completes a bad month for the US in Latin America. Both their preferred candidates for the presidency of the Organisation of American States were defeated two weeks ago in a bruising race eventually won by Chilean socialist Jose Miguel Insulza.

Sounds like a good reason to start impeachment proceedings against Resident Bush, doesn't it?


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I'm actually the opposite: 13 was my soccer jersey number in high school, etc.

triskaidekaphobia: Word of the Day
triskaidekaphobia: fear of the number 13.
Triskaidekaphobia is a fairly new word (first found in print in 1911) formed from Greek treiskaideka, triskaideka, “thirteen” (treis, “three” + kai, “and” + deka, “ten”) + phobos, “fear.” The adjective form is triskaidekaphobic. One who fears the number 13 is a triskaidekaphobe or triskaidekaphobic. There are many theories about the origin of triskaidekaphobia. In medieval Christian countries the number 13 came to be considered unlucky because there were 13 persons at the Last Supper of Christ. Fridays are also unlucky, because the Crucifixion was on a Friday. Hence a Friday falling on the thirteenth day would be regarded as especially unlucky. Some famous triskaidekaphobes: • Napoleon • Herbert Hoover • Mark Twain • Richard Wagner • Franklin Roosevelt

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Our DNA has made it to Houston, and is currently being isolated.

Track Your Kit - The Genographic Project:
The kits are received at the Houston office of Family Tree DNA and checked in. All of the kits are assigned to a batch and shipped to the Arizona Research Labs at the University of Arizona. The samples are received at the university and the orders are transferred to a computer system. The computer sorts the orders and assigns each sample to a specific location in one of many sample grids As the barcodes on the samples are read the computer directs the researchers where to place each sample (which tray and which coordinates).

Useful script (Firefox only) to quickly add geocoding to a flickr photo, such as discussed here

EXCELLATRONIC COMMUNICATIONS: Geotagging Flickr with Google Maps and Greasemonkey Part 2:
Automated(ish) GeoTagging Flickr Images Process

1) Firstly you need Firefox installed.

2) Secondly you need the Greasemonkey (v0.2.6) extension installed

3) Install this greasemonkey script, which is for the site. (Installing GreaseMonkey scripts is as simple as clicking the link then going to Firefox's tools menu and selecting “Install User Script”. Then accept the default options and click ok.)

4) Install this greasemonkey script, which is for

5) Go to the image on flickr that you want to add GeoTags to.

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useful advice for some future endeavors, no doubt.

macosxhints - 10.4: Convert new plist files between XML and binary:

Apple has introduced a new .plist file format in 10.4. You'll notice that you can no longer just edit a .plist file in TextEdit or other text editors. The reason for this is that the files are now binary rather than raw XML.

Luckily for us, there is a command line utility called plutil that can convert back and forth between the two formats. You can convert the .plist file you want to edit to XML format, edit it in TextEdit, then convert back to binary for use. To convert a binary .plist file to XML format for editing, type this in the Terminal:
plutil -convert xml1 some_file.plist

To convert an XML .plist file to binary for use:
plutil -convert binary1 some_other_file.plist

Replace some_file.plist and some_other_file.plist with the actual filenames, obviously...

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We've always enjoyed Pasteur, a Vietnamese/French restaurant in Little Saigon, on Broadway. Never had a spectacular meal there, but always good.

Pasteur (5525 N. Broadway; 773-878-1061) one of Chicago’s top Vietnamese spots for ten years, is closing at the end of the year. “We own the property and we are going to develop it with condos,” says Kim Nguyen, a partner. “Pasteur will come back, and occupy the whole first floor with condos above.” Nguyen and her partners predict the whole thing will take at least a year and a half, at which point Pasteur will reopen as “more of a French and Vietnamese tapas restaurant,” she says. “You either have to evolve or leave the business.” In the meantime, she and her partners plan to open Viet Bistro at 1344 West Devon Avenue with the same menu as the current Pasteur—but with lower price points. Nguyen: “I’m dreaming, but I’m hoping for October.”
From the Chicago rag's Dish

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GM to Starcom Mediavest

Business briefs/leads:

General Motors has selected Publicis Groupe's Starcom Mediavest for its $3.2 billion domestic media business following a review, according to sources.

The incumbents were Interpublic Group's GM Mediaworks in Warren, Mich., and LCI in New York, which handle national and regional buying, respectively. Those shops defended in a shootout against Chicago-based Starcom Mediavest.

$3.2 Bil. GM Media Business Jumps to Starcom MediaVest:
The automaker spent $3.2 billion on domestic measured media last year, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus. (That figure includes more than $600 million in dealer association advertising, which is included in the review.) Starcom already handled GM outdoor advertising, worth about $30 million. That portion of the business was not in play. Overall U.S. media planning duties, with Starcom sibling GM Planworks, were likewise not in review.

Sources said Planworks, headed by president Dennis Donlin, would be expanded to handle the new GM buying assignment, and essentially becoming a full-serivce media company dedicated to the automaker's account.

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and from AdAge

Betsy Lazar, general director of advertising and media operations at the automaker, in a statement said, “Effective Oct. 1, GM Planworks has been selected as the agency of record for GM's entire media buying portfolio in the U.S. This includes national and local broadcast buying, print and digital media.”

Ms. Lazar called the review two months ago. She was weary of the squabbling between GM Mediaworks and GM Planworks, Detroit, according to sources close to the matter.
Her boss, Mark LaNeve, vice president of sales, service and marketing in North America, told early during the review that she came to him seeking his blessing to call the review. He said he trusted her judgment and agreed.

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Tiger in my tank

Finally received my hard drive from OWC, so was able to install Tiger in a clean partition on my main computer, as is my wont. Surprisingly smooth, at least so far. Used the archive/install option, after cloning my Panther drive via an essential new tool, SuperDuper.

The only real glitch so far was sharing our afp partition of business files, and this was solved by using the essential Sharepoints to build new 'groups' and AFP shares.

Moved the Now Contact and Up-to-Date 4.5.3 servers to my underused Yikes! machine, which will be running Panther for the near future anyway. There is a beta version of Now Contact 5, which I've dabbled with. More on that later, after it is officially released.

Tiger doesn't look radically different, at least in the first few hours. Have to adjust to using a different keyboard shortcut for Launchbar. Haven't launched every program yet to check for compatibility, this will happen as required. Will keep a close eye at Macworld's Tiger compatibility page for updates.

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later update

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And I've been to Grand Rapids


bada-boom, bada-bing.

Weekly Review (
A papyrologist at Oxford University announced that new techniques in spectral imaging, which make it possible to decipher previously illegible ink on papyrus fragments, have yielded parts of a lost tragedy by Sophocles, a novel by Lucian, and an epic poem by Archilochos; researchers also applied the technique to third- and fourth-century manuscripts of the Revelation of Saint John and discovered that the number of the beast, contrary to popular belief, is 616, the area code of Grand Rapids, Michigan.


Department of Ummm Ok

I originally read that Oprah Winfrey was being considered for a part in I'm not There.

Actresses to Play Bob Dylan in Film -

An actress will play the part of Bob Dylan in an upcoming biographical film.

Actually it’s three actresses. Director Todd Haynes tapped Cate Blanchett, Charlotte Gainsbourg and Julianne Moore to be three of seven actors to play Dylan in his upcoming I’m Not There. The actresses will also share the role with Adrien Brody, Colin Farrell and Richard Gere, who will play Dylan’s nontransgendered moments. All six actors are slated to portray Dylan during different times in his life.

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Sears, Citigroup and Kmart

Business brief/leads

SEARS HOLDINGS CORP.: Citigroup to include Kmart in credit deal
...Citigroup is expanding the scope of its 2-year-old agreement with Sears, Roebuck and Co. to also provide proprietary credit card services, including zero-percent financing, to Kmart cardholders, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing. Sears and Kmart merged in March to form Sears Holdings Corp.

The revised deal also increases the amounts that Citigroup will pay to Sears Holdings based on credit card accounts generated and credit sales. Citigroup will also chip in more for marketing support. Kmart is terminating its deal, struck in October 2004, with Household Bank.

Details are being worked out as to whether shoppers can use their cards at both stores. Financial terms have not been disclosed. In July 2003, Sears said it would realize $400 million a year annually from its Citigroup agreement through payments and cost savings


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Sunday photo excursion

D and I went for a multiple mile walk, looping around Diversey, and up to Montrose, then back. Such spectacular weather.

Rasta Alley Broadway

No Mastrubation Jokes

Rock Engraving

Dance Belmont

more here

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iTunes, week that was

oh, nothin' to see folks.

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mon freres

For some reason, Baudelaire is the patron saint of my evening. This clumsy photoshoppe is from several years ago, I can tell because of the upper right corner's filter.

Baudalaire's Idiot Wind O' Evil
C'est l'Ennui!—l'oeil chargé d'un pleur involontaire,
Il rêve d'échafauds en fumant son houka.
Tu le connais, lecteur, ce monstre délicat,
—Hypocrite lecteur,—mon semblable,—mon frère!

Full text available, here

“Paris Spleen (New Directions Paperbook)” (Charles Baudelaire)

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Lilacia Park

Theoretically, we are going to this festival today. Last year, by the time we got there, the lilacs were mostly spent. According to the “bloom-o-meter”, today is a good day to go.

Lombard Park District:
With its wide array of lilacs and tulips, Lilacia Park in Lombard has long been a spring-time attraction for thousands. This year, Lombard celebrates the 75th anniversary of the Lilac Time festival, scheduled for April 30-May 15.

“We’re very excited to honor the 75th anniversary of Lilac Time,” said Mike Fugiel, Executive Director of the Lombard Park District. “From horticulture and historical tours to concerts and children’s events, Lilac Time offers something for everyone to enjoy.”

Set on the former estate of Colonel William R. Plum, Lilacia Park boasts 200 varieties of lilacs and 50 varieties of tulips along with perennials, annuals, a picnic area and more. Plum bequeathed his lilac collection to the village in 1927, thus ensuring Lombard’s long lilac heritage.

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Drugs and Computers

Interesting thesis: namely that the early computer folks were part of the San Francisco 60's gestalt. Sex, Drugs, ethernet, desktop metaphor, etc. Free your mind, and your laptop will follow, or something.

California Dreaming: A True Story of Computers, Drugs and Rock 'n' Roll:

John Markoff makes a convincing case that for the ubergeeks in the 1960's, approaching drugs as they might any other potentially helpful tool was only natural.

“What the Dormouse Said: How the 60s Counterculture Shaped the Personal Computer” (John Markoff)

Engineers can be so cute. In the early 1960's, Myron Stolaroff, an employee of the tape recorder manufacturer Ampex, decided to prove the value of consuming LSD. So he set up the International Foundation for Advanced Study and went about his project in classic methodical fashion.

Test subjects - almost all engineers - were given a series of doses under constant observation and expected to take careful notes on their own experience. A survey of the first 153 volunteers revealed that “83 percent of those who had taken LSD found that they had lasting benefits from the experience.” (Other results: increase in ability to love, 78 percent; increased self-esteem, 71 percent.)Such precision might seem antithetical to the fuzzy let-it-all-hang-outness of the psychedelic experience. But John Markoff, a senior writer for The New York Times who covers technology, makes a convincing case that for the swarming ubergeeks assembling in the San Francisco Bay Area in the 1960's, approaching drugs as they might any other potentially helpful tool or device - from a soldering iron to a computer chip - was only natural. The goals were broad in the 60's: the world would be remade, the natural order of things reconfigured, human potential amplified to infinity. Anything that could help was to be cherished, studied and improved.

It is no accident, then, that the same patch of land on the peninsula south of San Francisco that gave birth to the Grateful Dead was also the site of groundbreaking research leading the way to the personal computer. That the two cultural impulses were linked - positively - is a provocative thesis.

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His mouth made promises that his weasel brain had no intention to keep. We wouldn't want factory workers to make more than 20 dollars a day in wages, would we. Oh, wait....

In Pacific Islands, Mixed Feelings About a Lobbyist's Work - New York Times:

SAIPAN, Northern Mariana Islands, May 5 - Jack Abramoff, the Washington lobbyist under criminal investigation, used to say that the government here needed his services because it was the only American territory without a nonvoting delegate to Congress.

But in previously unreleased documents, Mr. Abramoff described how he worked hard to kill a bill in Congress that would have given the islands a delegate. He did so by exploiting his ties to Republican House leaders, including Tom DeLay of Texas, the majority leader whose travels arranged by the lobbyist have raised ethical questions.
Many people say hiring Mr. Abramoff was a waste of money. Some accuse him of double-dealing the Marianas, one of his first big lobbying projects, in much the same way he is now accused of defrauding Indian tribes.
An adviser to Gov. Juan N. Babauta, Robert J. Schwalbach, said Mr. Abramoff's policy was “to play both sides against the middle and take the Marianas for millions of dollars in fees.”

Froilan C. Tenorio, the governor who hired Mr. Abramoff in 1995, did so in an effort to fend off efforts to establish American minimum wage and immigration standards in Marianas factories, where companies can hire cheap labor from China but still attach “Made in the U.S.A.” labels.




Speaking of friends, one of my closest friends from my seemingly never-ending University of Texas days, Trey Buck, emailed me yesterday, from out of the blue fields, somewhere. Err, I mean to say, we lost touch a while ago, and I was quite pleased to hear that he's publishing a book called Oracle Porch. Hey Trey!

Update 9/26/05: now Trey, in sudden fit of irrationality and possible encroaching mental illness, wants me to remove this posting or

“If it is not [removed], I will sue you for damages to my name and reputation. Considering the damage you have already inflicted on my life in the distant past, the prospect of stopping it in the future is well worth the money spent on legal fees.”

Yeah, good luck with that. And you are planning on proving this damages your reputation, how? Are you considering publishing the book, but not letting anyone review it or sell it? Give it up you impotent cock-sucker.

H. L. Mencken
“A poet more than thirty years old is simply an overgrown child.”
Johnny Cash tells Trey to fuck off

Ha, why don't you fuck off, Trey Buck, and stop bothering me about your inanely titled book of 'self-published' poems. Self-published means that no publisher considers it worth printing.

Original email from Trey:

i am about to self publish a book of poetry, Oracle Porch. I am happy with it. I doubt that I will write any more poetry. Prose still attracts me.

Hope you are doing well.

but then the chronic alcoholism returned:

Recieved your last post card. Send no more.

Grudges give me wrinkles? Here is my response to you, the Guilty “Party”:







uckyuyouffyfuciylyfyfyuckyyouffucoyfjfoyufuovu fouvuyyul fucky ou-ffjfjyov

fjffuckyyuoufuckykyoufuckyourfucoyrfuciyrf uh


and goodbye,



Umm, ok. Nothing like a little quote out of context. Or knowing Nietzsche's fondness for aphorisms, maybe there wasn't context.

Friedrich Nietzsche

“The man of knowledge must be able not only to love his enemies but also to hate his friends.”


Too hot for Star-sucks

If only I cared. Springsteen stopped being relevant (if he ever was, a debatable question) years ago, and Starbucks over-roasts their coffee beans. Not that I haven't gone to a Starbucks in the last year, I have, and not that I don't have any Springsteen songs on my iPod, I do, but neither get my blood a'boilin'.

Not Their Cup of Tea - Newsweek Business -
Bruce Springsteen’s lyrics are too hot for Starbucks. NEWSWEEK has learned that the nation’s favorite coffee chain has retreated from a potential deal to sell the singer’s new album, “Devils & Dust,” be­cause of one steamy tune on the 12-song disc. The song, “Reno,” is in part about an encounter with a prostitute.
... According to those involved in the matter, Springsteen was never involved directly in the potential deal, which was handled by Columbia Records. Columbia also refused to comment. However, those close to the deal—speaking on condition that they not be identified—told NEWSWEEK that Starbucks initially wanted a promotional link between the new Springsteen CD and the Starbucks brand. But Columbia Records, apparently without consulting Springsteen, balked out of deference to the artist’s long­standing aversion to becoming a pitchman. The sources said Starbucks countered with a proposal to merely sell the CD at its outlets. But after listening to the album, Starfucks executives stopped negotiations after hearing “Reno.”

and the lyrics aren't the best I've ever heard, not even close:

Bruce Springsteen Reno lyrics:

She took off her stockings
I held 'em to my face
She had your ankles
I felt filled with grace

“Two hundred dollars straight in
Two-fifty up the ass” she smiled and said
She unbuckled my belt, pulled back her hair
And sat in front of me on the bed

She slipped me out of her mouth
“You're ready,” she said
She took off her bra and panties
Wet her fingers, slipped it inside her
And crawled over me on the bed

She bought me another whisky
Said “here's to the best you ever had”
We laughed and made a toast
It wasn't the best I ever had
Not even close

Bruce Springsteen

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Big Lie

Isn't there some commandment about graven images, and not having any? (Isaiah : 44) or
Ten Commandments

How is a freakin' salt stain worthy of the protection of the police? Criminal damage to state supported property? Puh-lease. Give the guy a medal for clearing up the traffic jam instead.

Man charged with defacing Virgin Mary image :

After a man defaced a salt stain that had drawn pilgrims to the Fullerton underpass on the Kennedy Expressway, authorities painted over the image, which many Catholic residents said resembled a popular representation of the Virgin Mary.
Authorities charged Victor Gonzalez, 37, of Chicago Friday with criminal damage to state supported property, a misdemeanor, for allegedly writing with black shoe polish the words “Big Lie” over the image, police spokesman David Banks said. A public telephone listing for Gonzalez could not be found Friday.
Banks said witnesses told police they saw a man on a bicycle writing on the image around 11:35 p.m. Thursday.
Police then directed the Illinois Department of Transportation to paint over the image because of security concerns, IDOT spokesman Matt Vanover said.

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update 5-7-05: some local car wash employees took it upon themselves to scrub the paint off.

But around midday, the suggestion of a veil covering the head of a woman--an image that officials have characterized as a salt stain on the concrete--was visible through the paint. And then two employees of a nearby carwash used their lunch break to scrub away the paint and shoe polish, revealing the unmarred image once again.

“They used the degreaser we use on engines,” said Stan Novotny, a manager at Express Car Wash. “They got most of it off.”
About 11:30 p.m., Victor Gonzalez, 37, allegedly rode up to the spot on his bicycle, pulled out a container of black shoe polish and scrawled the words `Big Lie' across the image, police said.

Mandy Gonzalez, 17, who identified herself as his niece, said he believed people visiting the stain were violating the 2nd Commandment (“You shall not make for yourself a graven image...”).

“He said [the image] was a lie,” said his niece. “He said it's not even real, just water and residue from the thing. He said it was a waste of time, that people were wasting their time and money putting candles around it.”

I knew it was one of the ten...

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Ah yes, corporate sponsors. They always seem to get the perks. Will there be an ice sculpture of Michelangelo's David, splashing vodka out of his wang?

Chicago Tribun This Sept. 8, no bean for you

On Thursday, Sept. 8, all but the corners of the 24.5-acre park will be closed to the public so thousands of Toyota car dealers and corporate personnel can make it their own. Among the attractions off-limits to everybody else will be the Great Lawn, the sculpture known as “the Bean,” and the bandstand, a popular lunch spot.

In exchange, Toyota Motor Sales USA Inc. will pay $800,000 into a fund supporting Millennium Park.

In exchange for its contribution, Toyota also will enjoy the benefit of having its name on Millennium Park brochures and the park's Web site, as well as small signs posted in the park advertising this season's free concerts, said Karen Ryan, a park spokeswoman. “It works out really well for Toyota because they get the event they want to have,” Ryan said. “It works out well for the people of Chicago because of the money Toyota will provide.”

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Frostpocked duotone

The house I grew up in, north of Toronto, Ontario. Somewhat overgrown these days. 35mm, scanned into the PhotoCD format. Duotoned in Photoshop. And no, we actually didn't have electricity or running water while I lived there (though, if you look at the large version, there is an electric pole that carried current for a few years in the early 80's, before the trees overgrew the power lines). 100 acres, just waiting for a dsl line to be installed!

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Sandy Denny

In a certain mood, Ms. Denny is 'it'.

John Harris pays tribute to musician Sandy Denny
Live fast, die young ... John Harris pays tribute to the one-woman maelstrom that was Sandy Denny.
...The life, death and reputation of Sandy Denny are a perfect case in point. Equipped with an incredible voice and an immense songwriting talent, she was none the less plagued by the chronic insecurities that led her into excess. Her drinking partners included the late Keith Moon and John Bonham; the folk-tinged milieu from which she came also included Nick Drake. She died aged 31, in 1978 - but whereas lesser talents have been posthumously feted, she remains a decidedly cult interest.
For some, that's a sign of her singular talent. “The thing that always amazed me about Sandy,” says her friend and contemporary Linda Thompson, “was that she thought she actually could appeal to the masses. Of course she couldn't - and who would want to? If you're writing songs that people can shoot themselves to, you know you're not going to be in the charts. Sandy's music was uncomfortable. It demanded too much.”

“No More Sad Refrains: The Anthology” (Sandy Denny)

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I'm Dave Chappelle, bitch


Somehow, I bet a google search of the above title will yield hundreds of hits, but just too appropriate to resist the urge to be more creative. Hey, if it works for the New York Post....

Comedy Central Suspends Show:
Without explanation, Comedy Central said it had suspended production of the third season of the comedian Dave Chappelle's show.
After a yearlong hiatus, "Chappelle's Show" was scheduled to begin airing at the end of this month.

"The third season will not premiere on May 31st as originally scheduled," Comedy Central said in a statement. "All parties are optimistic that production will resume in the near future."

The return of Mr. Chappelle's show has been postponed twice. It was to happen in February, but did not because Mr. Chappelle had contracted walking pneumonia, said Tony Fox, a spokesman for Comedy Central. At the time, the network dismissed reports that Mr. Chappelle was experiencing writer's block.

Ten new episodes have been completed and are ready to be broadcast, said Mr. Fox. The rappers 50 Cent, Common and Kanye West are a few of the musical guests who had taped performances for the coming season. Last week, Mr. Chappelle and his crew were filming skits in Harlem.

The Chappelle show is sometimes too coarse for my taste, but often is laugh-aloud funny. I smell a financial dispute: Comedy Central probably doesn't want to give up a slice of the action, and Chappelle realizes he has a lot of clout at the moment.

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Representatives of the comedian Dave Chappelle yesterday denied rumors that drugs were involved in the suspension of production of his acclaimed sketch comedy show, "Chappelle's Show."

No one has explained why Dave Chappelle stopped production.
Matt Labov, Mr. Chappelle's publicist, categorically denied speculation that drug use - a frequent topic of Mr. Chappelle's stand-up comedy routines - played any part in his client's problems with delivering the show on time. The third season's premiere had already been delayed twice.
"He's not in rehab. He does not have a cocaine addiction," Mr. Labov said.

I love how publicists have to deny allegations that aren't even being speculated upon, yet.

update 5/16/05:
here is perhaps the real reason for Mr. Chappelle's absence, not drugs, not psychological problems, per se, just stress, mountains of it.

The first thing Chappelle wants is to dispel rumors--that he's got a drug problem, that he's checked into a mental institution in Durban--that have been flying around the U.S. for the past week. He says he is staying with a friend, Salim Domar, and not in a mental institution, as has been widely reported in America. Chappelle says he is in South Africa to find "a quiet place" for a while. "Let me tell you the things I can do here which I can't at home: think, eat, sleep, laugh. I'm an introspective dude. I enjoy my own thoughts sometimes. And I've been doing a lot of thinking here."

The picture he paints--and it seems a fairly honest and frank assessment-- is of someone struggling to come to terms with a new position and power who's still figuring out how to come to grips with how people around him are reacting to the $50 million deal he signed last year with Comedy Central. Without naming specific characters, he seems to blame both some of his inner circle (not his family) and himself for the stresses created by last year's deal.

"There were things that overwhelmed me," he says. "But not in the way that people are saying. I haven't spent any of the money. All that stuff about partying and taking crack is not true. Why do I live on a farm in Ohio? To support my partying lifestyle?"

The problems, he says, started with his inner circle."If you don't have the right people around you and you're moving at a million miles an hour you can lose yourself," he says. "Everyone around me says, 'You're a genius!'; 'You're great!'; 'That's your voice!' But I'm not sure that they're right." And he stresses that Comedy Central was not part of the problem and put no more than normal television restrictions on what he could do.

"You got to be careful of the company you keep," Chappelle says. "It's hard to know how much to say. One of the things that happens when people make the leap from a certain amount of money to tens of millions of dollars is that the people around you dramatically change.

But Chappelle also says that he must share the blame for the stalled third season. "I'm admittedly a human being," he says. "I'm a difficult kind of dude." His earlier walkout during shooting "had a little psychological element to it. I have trust issues, things like that. I saw some stuff in myself that I just didn't dig. It's like when I brought a girl home to my mom and it looked as if my mom really didn't like this girl. And she told me, 'I like her just fine. I just don't like you around her.'

His religion is also crucial. "I don't normally talk about my religion publicly because I don't want people to associate me and my flaws with this beautiful thing. And I believe it is a beautiful religion if you learn it the right way. It's a lifelong effort. Your religion is your standard. Coming here I don't have the distractions of fame. It quiets the ego down. I'm interested in the kind of person I've got to become. I want to be well rounded and the industry is a place of extremes. I want to be well balanced. I've got to check my intentions, man."

from Steve Gilliard's News blog

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Haymarket Riot

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Haymarket Riot Violence escalated on May 4 when a protest meeting began in Haymarket Square. During this meeting to denounce the events of the previous days, the police began to disperse the crowd when someone threw a bomb, killing twelve people. Policeman Mathias J. Degan was killed almost instantly and seven other policemen later succumbed to injuries. The police opened fire on the crowd, injuring and killing many. The death toll could never be determined.

Haymarket Riot3

Haymarket Medallion

Haymarket Riot Bomb

Haymarket Riot sketch

New Flickr Google fun

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There's a new cool page, geobloggers, that links geo-tags to the google map.


You can join in and add your own photos by following a couple of simple steps.

Add three tags to your photo, “geo:lat=xx.xxxx”, “geo:lon=xx.xxxx” and “geotagged”, where xx.xxxx are the decimal format for it's lat and long position.
Example “geo:lat=41.892232”, “geo:lon=-87.646012” & “geotagged”
Fastest, in the description add a link to (i.e. (geotagged). From the photos own page (not the photo stream) click the link. geobloggers will automagically look up the photo you just came from and search the tags for the lat and long. Note: If the link doesn't seem to work wait a couple of minutes and try again. Sometimes it takes a short while for the lon/lat tags to appear in the XML data I get back from the flickr API.
Slower, just wait. geobloggers picks up the RSS stream for all public photos tagged as “geotagged”. It does this once every 5 mins, but the RSS feed itself is updated far less often (as far as I can tell). As it only holds the last 10 pictures, it's possible it'll miss some this way, I'll wrangle around this in the future.
that's it.

Eventually, there will be a zip code lookup at the page, until then, you can use geocoder.

I love me some 'internets'.......

These are the photos I've geotagged

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I decided not to be cutesy with a Tiger headline, because every media and web site already has, and 93.4 percent of them are just stupid. Anyway, got my copy of Tiger, but am waiting for a shipment of a new internal hard drive (went with 300GB Maxtor DiamondMax 10, 7200RPM SATA II HD, with 16MB Data Buffer from OWC) to actually install the beast. I find it simpler to install a new OS on a clean drive, and I'm running low on room anyway.

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Eugene McCarthy makes the point I fumbled with, but with less effort.

Eugene McCarthy:

“The only thing that saves us from the bureaucracy is inefficiency. An efficient bureaucracy is the greatest threat to liberty.”


I saw this 'push', and Carmelo used both hands, his left pushing Ginobili hard in the back of his neck. You could break somebody's neck that way! The league gave a fine which, by my back of the magazine subscription card (hey, I didn't have an envelope handy) would be the equivalent of a $107 fine to someone making $50,000 a year (I'm not sure exactly how much Anthony makes this year, but he got a four-year, $15.1 million contract in 2003).

So in other words, go ahead, try to break your opponents neck because you lost, the league doesn't mind. I guess Fugazi Martin taught Anthony some dirty tricks this season; next will be the lesson about whining about other player's performances after you get clobbered by a better team (see Martin's comments as a Net after a 1-21 game against the Spurs). Bleh, I used to like the Nuggets, last year, before they signed Kenyon Martin, thug. Earl Boykins, Nene, Marcus Camby, even John Barry the ex-Sacramento King.

Anthony fined for shoving Ginobili in Game 3:
Anthony fined $7,500 by league
Denver forward Carmelo Anthony was fined $7,500 by the NBA on Monday for shoving San Antonio guard Manu Ginobili during Game 3 of the first-round playoff series between the Nuggets and Spurs.

Anthony received a flagrant foul and was ejected with 22 seconds left in the fourth quarter of the Nuggets' 86-78 loss to the Spurs on Saturday night.


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Spring Photos part the 89586

A few photos from around town, taken last month (April 2005). Larger versions are just a click away.....

Apple Store, Michigan Avenue, with Horse

Apple Store, with horse. Where's the damn tiger?

Rooftop sunset, part the 855

Roof top view, sunset. Different every day, and a different construction site every month. Yeesh.

Curvature of the Spine

Out near the Shedd Aquarium and Adler Planetarium is a curved concrete wall.

Tulip in bloom

Tulips mean springtime in Chicago.


More Tulips.

Lawn Art, Andersonville

Lawn Art - they're probably digging for tulip bulbs.



Gold Coast

A spectacular building, worth many millions no doubt, even though there are high rises now blocking some views.

Philadelphia Church, Andersonville
Gotta love the neon signs for churches, on Clarke St, north of Foster.


Found in an alleyway in Andersonville. Usually, the term is ground, but I suppose floor works.

West Loop Horses

West Loop horse house. A friend is considering purchasing this partially built structure, finishing it (he's a developer), and selling the condos to friends.


West Loop Dance studio. D wants to take a tango class. I'm hemming and hawing.

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If it was the government who proposed this Orwellian program, I'd be less scared (can we spell the word “incompetent”?). The private sector, however, is interested in results more than press releases. So, even though the program currently only involves “volunteers”, I'll bet the scope will be expanded once the kinks are ironed out. Yikes. And, in the long run, studies like these are going to cause a great shake-up in the ad industry, as television suddenly becomes a much less effective advertising vehicle when measured accurately. Good news for us, actually - more money to be spent elsewhere, on “alternative media”, as it's called.

Ad Execs Want to Track Every Move

Marketers devise tracking technology to monitor each advertisement you're exposed to, and how the ads affect your spending. Welcome to Project Apollo. Joanna Glasner reports from Ad:Tech in San Francisco.

Marketers are testing new techniques to measure whether advertisers' messages are getting across, and they are prepared to spend vast sums and deploy astonishingly complex technologies to do so.

At the Ad:Tech conference in San Francisco last week, advertising experts contemplated a variety of approaches, ranging from round-the-clock automated ad tracking to simply reducing the number of ads per show, that could make it easier for advertisers to reach an increasingly fragmented viewing public.

To measure the impact of ad campaigns, VNU, the parent company of television-audience measurement firm Nielsen Media Research, and Arbitron, the media research firm, are developing an experimental program called Project Apollo that takes the concept of viewer tracking to a level of unprecedented detail...
Project Apollo's creators intend to electronically record marketing messages to which participants are exposed by embedding an audio code into ads that can be automatically picked up by portable devices.

It won't just be television ads, either. Embedded codes may be incorporated in ads across a range of media, including radio, TV and in-store loudspeaker systems. In future versions of the project, John Bosarge, senior vice president at VNU Advisory Services, envisions including exposure to ads in print media as well, albeit not through embedded codes.

More on Project Apollo here

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We had a May Day rally here, down the street from me, at the Haymarket Memorial.

Haymarket May Day 2005B


Haymarket May Day 2005
At first, thought there was some summer festival starting early, but once the speechifying began, I figured out what the cause was.

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From the Trib:

“Workers of the world speak with one voice,” Colombian union activist Johnny Meneses said in Spanish, his voice breaking at times with emotion, as a plaque was unveiled marking the struggles and deaths of union members in his native country.

“Everyday is a first of May in Colombia,” Meneses said Sunday at the memorial to the Haymarket Square Riot on Desplaines Street near Randolph Street on the Near West Side. “You have one monument. But in Colombia, we would need many more than that.”

The small plaque with Spanish text was added to the back of the memorial. The sign and the presence of Colombian union activists fit perfectly with the goal of the rally held by dozens of union members and supporters at the historic site.

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May Day

We had a small rally here, down the street from me, at the Haymarket Memorial. I heard some Columbians speak, in Spanish, translated into English by a guy with an Uncle Sam beard, and others, not in translation. Photos to follow here

Mass rally marks Cuba labour day:
More than a million gather in the Cuban capital, Havana, for a government-organised May Day rally.

More BBC photos of May Day, and 'why May Day' articles here

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Support Our Troops

How is this even possible, after all the back and forth, all the hand wringing, and all the tax cut hyperbole? Can we start firing people yet?

Support Our Troops:

American soldiers are still needlessly dying because of the Pentagon's slowness in protecting their Humvees with adequate armor.


Website troubles

The entire B12 Partners website was down from about 8:30 am until now (12:03 pm), not sure why yet.

Processes: 78

Averages: 0.59 0.50 0.27

Uptime: 10 days 23:54


iTunes week that was

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