May 30, 2003

Good Eatin'

- No Problemo in New Bedford is a tase for sore taste buds. Up the street from Freestones and just across the street from Oceana, No Problemo serves tacos, burritos and the like. No, this isn't your Taco Hell mexican ripoff. For $2.50 you can get a steak taco - a toasted flout tortilla wrapped around succlent grilled steak, cilantro, tomato, cheese, lettuce, sour cream and your choice of black or refried beans. Plenty of vegetarian options, too. Bean and rice burrito, guacamole... you name it.
Right now I'm enjoying the jalepeno corn bread. Around here, you just don't find a mexican restaurant like this. Until now.

Posted by James at 2:15 PM

Lunatics In Charge

But the people now running America aren't conservatives: they're radicals who want to do away with the social and economic system we have, and the fiscal crisis they are concocting may give them the excuse they need. The Financial Times, it seems, now understands what's going on, but when will the public wake up???

That from Krugman and the NYT. Federal taxes are already historically low compared to the GNP, he points out. What happens when they dip below that, and we don't have the money to pay for programs that didn't exist last time taxes were this low? A train wreck? And that's what the extremists are hoping for.

Posted by James at 11:18 AM

May 28, 2003

Movie Reviews with a Southern Accent

- Curtis is an all-around decent guy. A Texan living in Atlanta. And he writes much better movie reviews than I do. (Hey, I'm comfortable with the idea that I can only get better). - Movie Reviews by Curtis Edmonds is a good site to check in with if you're wondering whether you should plop down the money for a thearet visit or rental. He pointed me towards The Count of Monte Cristo and was right on the money. He got me to take a second, and closer look at Princess Mononoke.

If you're looking for good, balanced reviews, his site is worth checking out. And, he's an EAForums regular.

Posted by James at 12:18 PM

Where Is The Sun?

- Except for a guest appearance here and there, the Sun has been an absentee for quite a while now in southeastern MA. It's starting to get on my nerves. I get antsy when the Sun doesn't come out for long periods of time.

This reminds me of a book I read once, during some depressive period. The name of the book escapes me at the moment, but I think it was one of those Wayne Dyer books. Maybe that Erroneous Zones one. Anyhow, the gist of it was that external things that are out of control can't make you feel a certain way. Your feelings, as a reaction to external factors, is a way you choose to react. So, if I say "the weather is making me sad" then I'm thinking incorrectly about the weather.

This goes along with cognitive therapy I've read about which urges you to take control of your own emotional responses, rather than just endure them, wallow in them, and let them overcome you.

So, in that spirit, the heck with the Sun. I'm going to enjoy the overcast weather today, and I'll still be here when the Sun gets back.

Posted by James at 11:47 AM

May 27, 2003

Why spend money on CD cases...

- ...when you can make them out of paper. Origami CD cases, DIY at Ingenious. Economical. Fun.

Posted by James at 2:32 PM

Movie-List - The Matrix: Revolutions Trailer Page

- Mike IM'ed this my way. Cool Matrix Reloaded trailer. It's nice to have something to look forward to. Ha!

Posted by James at 12:13 PM


- People are whining that a cop posing as a McDonald's drive-through employee netted some arrests. (See: McSting lacked franchise approval)

I don't think you have an expectation of privacy going through a drive through. But I wonder how McDonald's feels about making people suspicious that using their drive-throughs will expose them to the scrutiny of the law. Will they lose the pot-smoking demographic?

Posted by James at 11:41 AM

May 23, 2003

CIA kept prank threat to Santa under 'secret' classification

- C'mon CIA! Release that info on Santa! The public needs to know when St. Nick is in danger from terrorists.

The US Central Intelligence Agency (news - web sites) classified as "secret" and withheld from public dissemination for nearly 29 years a prank terrorist threat against Santa Claus, according to documents released.

The threat -- purported to come from a then- and still-unknown group calling itself the "Group of the Martyr Ebenezer Scrooge" -- was contained in a classified compilation of intelligence on possible terrorist attacks produced by the CIA in late 1974, according to the documents.

Posted by James at 1:50 PM

There's Got To Be A Morning After Pill

- Companies are beggining to request permission to sell morning after pills without a prescription. Will the FDA approve it? If it does, this opens the door to advertising about the existence of such a pill and perhaps putting more reproductive control into the hands of American women. The ability to decide within a day or two of having unprotected sex that having a child would not be a good idea is something that should have been available for a while now. To para-quote a friend, it's about damn time.

Posted by James at 1:03 PM

The Cheap Seats - I'm

The Cheap Seats - I'm all for cheaper movie theatre tickets. This takes that to an extreme: Cinema Paradiso it ain't (via BBC).

The people behind EasyJet are applying the no-frills idea to theatre tickets. Even better than cheap tickets, to me, would be a wider availability of independent films. If this could make it worth the money for a theatre to run indie films, I'd love one of these in the neighborhood.

Am I a helpless romantic, however, from feeling that going out to the movies would not be the same without the smell of theatre popcorn? They really should consider at least piping in the scent. Popcorn (or at least the scent) is not an option, it's required.

Posted by James at 12:40 PM

Friday Five

- I'm out of creativity today, and under deadline, so I will resort to a Friday Five post.

1. What brand of toothpaste do you use?
At the moment, Aqua Fresh Sensitive. I have a sweet and cold sensitivity that's bugging me. So far, this toothpaste does not have the problem licked.

2. What brand of toilet paper do you prefer?
Right to the point, eh? OK. Truly, I don't care. Somehting cheap that's a little less rough than sandpaper and won't clog the plumbing. For real luxury, you just can't beat those pre-moistened wipes, though. Call me weird, but I like to be clean.

3. What brand(s) of shoes do you wear?
Timberland hiking boots on rainy days. Rockport black shoes when I want to look decent (rarely). Sneakers - whatever I have that isn't suitable for running.

4. What brand of soda do you drink?
Coca-Cola, if i'm drinking soda. But there are a lot of other ones I like. Whenever I'm feeling a little out of sorts, Canada Dry Ginger Ale. But mostly, lately, the Stop & Shop brand of sugar free clear fancy soda.

5. What brand of gum do you chew?
Orbit Spearmint gum or Wrigley's Juicyfruit.

Posted by James at 9:12 AM

May 22, 2003

Generosity Game

- A world-changing game. This is just a simple enhancement to the idea of doing a random act of kindness. You do a good deed and pass the card along, telling someone to do something for someone else.

Who cares how big the deed is? What if people had a reminder, like a little card, that someone was randomly kind to them? Would they remember how it felt to be the recipient of a good deed? Would they want to pass it along?

Generosity Game: spread random acts of kindness

Posted by James at 5:44 PM

And I quote


Every spring and summer, Darth Kitty is on vacation. - Katherine Moira Burke

Posted by James at 9:46 AM

May 21, 2003

Sweet, Sweet Immunity!

- Yahoo! News - Smallpox Immunity Lasts Decades, Study Shows. Not only is this great news for those who have been immunized, it's great news for everyone. Smallpox, if used in a terror attack, will not spread as fast as previously thought. Also, one would think the vaccine will last longer if it isn't necessary to vaccinate everyone.

I was vaccinated as a child when my family visited to Spain and Morocco. In fact, I believe I succumbed to an autoinoculation of vaccinia in my eye.

This is very good news to the people most at risk from smallpox: the immune suppressed.

And perhaps it will reduce the likelihood of a smallpox attack in the first place.

Posted by James at 3:32 PM

Buzzards Bay Spill Is Bigger

- Boston Globe Online reports: Spill was far larger than reported

How do you mis-report the size of a spill by more than a factor of 6? FIrst it's 14.7K gallons, and now it's 98K gallons!

Posted by James at 2:38 PM

May 20, 2003

Music Activities for Kids

- Summer is coming up, and Maggie is putting together the summer curriculum for the kids. I'm sure I'll be posting more about that some time later.

Dom sent me the following link, which has a number of music-related activities that I bet will fit in nicely somewhere in the summer agenda:
DSOkids: Dallas Symphony Orchestra | Music, Fun & Games!

Both of the girls love music (who doesn't, really?) and though we already have quite a few instruments in the house, making their own instruments is always a big hit with the kids.

Posted by James at 4:06 PM

Gotta love the crackpots

- I was captivated, in my youth, by occult stories. One that seemed to stick in the minds of people was how American presidents are assassinated (or simply died in office) every so many years.

People figure that once they see a pattern - any pattern - that this pattern will repeat and so it can be used to make accurate predictions of the future.

There's no shortage of crackpots ready to expound on their theories, cornering anyone who will listen. And it's easier than ever to find these theories in today's connected world.

Just by way of example, take a quick peek at The Antichrist and the Apocalypse. No, it's not worthy reading material, but a quick skim will give you the flavor.

Were Napoleon, Hitler and Bin Laden reincarnations of the same soul who unconsciously repeated his attempt to conquer the world three times?
That soul being the Antichrist, of course. It's never just some shmoe... it's always the Antichrist.

Posted by James at 1:37 PM

Memories of Space

- So, this morning I was watching a second season episode of SPACE:1999 while I was working out and something occurred to me.

When I was a kid and we would play "space exploration" or whatever (within the context of Star Trek or whatever) we would always say thing like "Scan that planet... it can support life? Land the ship." etc. From an adult perspective, we had simplified the trouble of landing a ship on a planet to childish simplicity. Either you just swooped down and landed, or there was a problem and you crash-landed.

I used to assume we'd simplified the process because we were children. But, watching this episode of SPACE:1999, I saw that... it was that simple on the damn TV show. The show I remember so fondly is laughable in its simplicity. I can't believe my parents even let me watch that crap! But now it's nostalgic.

On a slightly related subject, Patti sent along a link to Jeff Russell's STARSHIP DIMENSIONS. It's a site which compares the size and shape of various elements of different sci-fi universes. A lot of work went into this. Impressive, interesting to peruse, and worth a couple of moments of nostalgia.

Posted by James at 11:46 AM

May 19, 2003

Matrix according to Chuck

-Chuck posts the following analysis to the "Magic Online Trading League Bulletin Board"" *SPOILERS!* The Matrix: Reloaded (for those of us who've seen it.)

His analysis is in line with what I think is probably going on in the movie series. I like his observation of cyclic vs catastrophic endings. He's right about computers being cyclic... when they are robust. Of course, non-robust systems (or, systems that encounter input beyond their designed parameters) will often result in catastrophic failure.

An open question his analysis raises, how much can we trust the Wachowskis as an audience to respect the amount of disbelief we've suspended for them? How much will they work within the universe they've already defined? Will they introduce mysticism that didn't exist before, or will they continue to work within a universe that is as similar to our own universe as we have already assumed that the "real earth" of the Matrix is?

Posted by James at 5:06 PM

Why I Hate Cobb

- Driving in to work this morning, I came to the realization that I hate California Cobb salad. The odd thing is, I've never had one.

What triggered the realization was a sign at a McDonalds on Faunce Corner road. "CALIFORNIA COBB SALAD IS HERE!"

I think the reason I've had such a strong reaction is that I have the distinct feeling that someone out there (and he or she works in marketing) thinks I need California Cobb salad in my life. How this decision was made, I'm not quite sure. But when I was in D'Angelo's the other day and saw another sign for Cobb salad, it was the first time I had heard of the beast.

There is a passably good chance that I would like the Cobb salad if I were to try it. In fact, I think it has ham in it, which I am fond of. And I like salad. But I resent the sudden onslaught of this Cobb salad meme on my senses. Having detected this intrusion, my anti-meme defenses have been raised.

That, and I just don't like the name. "Cobb..." It doesn't do a thing for my appetite. In my gastronomic vocabulary, "cob" is already taken. And if we're not talking fresh sweet corn from a New England farmstand or farmer's market in July, I don't want to hear it.

Is this how that nameless guy in Green Eggs and Ham felt? I agree that people ought to try new things. Sam I Am was right about that. But what if Sam I Am were some guy trying to market a new product to you, something new every day. Often this new thing is just a small variation on an old thing, with a different name. He's at you constantly - every time you turn on the TV, read a magazine, go for a drive, on a plane, on a train, in the house, with a mouse.

The green eggs take on a little bit of a different flavor now, don't they?

Posted by James at 12:06 PM

May 18, 2003

DVDs With An Expiration

- Warning: This DVD will self-destruct in 2 days (story via the Chicago Sun-Times)

Sounds to me like an interesting way to increase landfills.

Personally, I like the used DVD market. Many of the DVDs I own are rental DVDs I have bought once the demand for renting them had died down. I like getting used DVDs cheap. But I know that used media (DVDs and CDs) is something that the media companies don't like. They don't like the idea that they don't get a cut when you resell a DVD you've decided you don't like so much.

So this is a good idea for them, but is it a good idea for consumers? I'll stick to Netflix for now, thank you.

Posted by James at 11:59 AM

May 16, 2003

All Hat, No Cattle, The Art Form

- How image conscious is this president?

Keepers of Bush Image Lift Stagecraft to New Heights

On Tuesday, at a speech promoting his economic plan in Indianapolis, White House aides went so far as to ask people in the crowd behind Mr. Bush to take off their ties, WISH-TV in Indianapolis reported, so they would look more like the ordinary folk the president said would benefit from his tax cut.
This reminds me of the time that Arnold Schwarzenegger came to Providence as the President's physical fitness program (our last elected President, specifically). Other officials showed up dressed to exercise, but Buddy Cianci also showed up fully made up for the cameras. Arnold wouldn't let it go without a comment that the guy would show up for a workout in stage makeup.

Posted by James at 4:29 PM


- I fixed the earlier entry on Deal News. When you add a link, it helps if you put some text between the mark-ups.

A recent deal that looked worth a look: Roxio VideoWave Movie Creator for $0 shipped after rebates. An Amazon deal.

Posted by James at 4:15 PM

Matrix Reloaded: More Action. More Gobbledygook.

- So here's my capsule review of "The Matrix Reloaded." (Extremely mild spoilers, only about the bad stuff.)

I wasn't sure where they were going to go with this movie. Mumbo-jumbo about prophecies and "the one" doesn't leave much room to move around. That's why prescience in films and stories is so dangerous. But it can also be rewarding if done right.

Neo, our hero, is together with Trinity. But it's all fun and games until someone loses an eye, so we know there is going to have to be some tension. The Wachowski brothers decide to go for the "danger of losing a loved one" route rather than "the honeymoon is over" route with Trinity. Neo is worried that she's going to be a casualty in their war, sooner or later. And the dreams are telling him "sooner." Hey, no one said that being "the one" came with any guarantees about your friends.

In any case, the Wachowski's heavy-handed scenes near the beginning of the movie establishing Zion (the last human city) as a place of flesh, blood and spirit were a little bit heavy-handed for my taste. The contrast between Zion and the Matrix came across in the first few minutes, and we didn't need the drawn out slow-shot pans of Zion as a dance club. Really - does it seem odd to anyone else that half the citizens of Zion are male dancers and the other half are female models? If the film hadn't picked up right after we were subjected to Keannu Reeves' derriere, I would have been ready to leave the theater.

At this point, the guy sitting a few seats down from me is patting his belly loudly (what's with that?) but (thankfully) the dudes two rows back have stopped giving us the translation into Sophomorese. But despair evaporated as soon as the action kicked into high gear, along with the soundtrack.

Agent Smith is back, and you've seen the trailers so I don't have to tell you what his obvious new twist is. But he's got a few they held back from the trailers, and a hidden agenda that has yet to be revealed. He's only the first of a number of villains and quasi-villains. For bonus points, find the character whose wardrobe is made up entirely out of surgical glove material.

Yes, this film has the signature philosophical gobbledygook that the last film handed us. However this time, pay close attention. Either it's starting to make a little more sense, or I am going insane.

I recommend this film for anyone who was a fan of the first, or anyone who wants to see the state of the art in merging Kung Fu, wire work and digital effects.

Posted by James at 4:12 PM

Matrix Reloaded this Morning

- Yes, I'm on my way to see this film this morning. For good or ill. At the very least, I'm certain it will at least be a bit of escapist eye candy.

Funny that, in the movie, it is the simulated fantasy world that folks are trying to escape.

I'll let you know what I thought of the film. No spoilers, of course.

Posted by James at 8:53 AM

Master Rebater

- That's the title Ed has dubbed me because of all the recent rebates I've redeemed.

I'm on the mailing list for Deal News - a site that reports on various deals and rebates for computer equipment and a whole boatload of other things. They've got separate sections for digital camera deals, PC hardware and software, Mac accessories, and online coupon codes. Also, though I've never used therm, sections for printer ink and RAM prices.

Posted by James at 8:51 AM

May 15, 2003

The 20th Anniversary Black Ships Festival

- Blogging this so I don't forget. Perhaps some folks will want to accompany us when we go this year. Likely we'll be going to the Sunday Taiko drum show, if they're having it. I wish they'd update the website with this year's schedule already!!!

The Sunday daytime event is much more laid back than the Saturday performance, and we had a lot of fun with it last year. Holy cow... has it really been almost a year since I tried making sushi? And I've only done it a few times? Time is zooming past.

Posted by James at 2:59 PM

Putty in my hands

- I came across this site because it is an A.W.A.D sponsor.

They call their product "Thinking Putty" and it's basically big chunks of silly putty. Is it just me, or does the idea of huge chunks of glow-in-the-dark putty, and even magnetic putty make anyone else long for the stuff?

I've seen exercise putty before. It's used to strengthen the hands of people recovering from injuries, and also just folks who want better grip strength. (I've seen Rui and others use a product called Power Putty for climbing strength.) It's a good activity for those with motor control issues to squeeze the putty, and strengthen those muscles. This "Thinking Putty" is geared more for fun and stress relief. I want some!

And, to add to the coolness, these guys have links to a site offering neodymium iron boron magnets. It's called I'm drooling here.

I have one very strong neodymium magnet that I use for all sorts of fun, but I lost my smaller ones. Why do I need more? Well, if you like to put things on your fridge, you need to get rid of your wimpy magnets and get some neodymium ones. Forget putting your daughter's picture of a cat on the fridge - put the cat itself up there! (Kids, don't try this at home. Demonstration purposes only. Void where prohibited by law. Closed track, professional driver. No cats were harmed in this suggestion. I am only kidding.)

The Thinking Putty guys are a fun bunch. Check out their page of fun stuff to do. Freezing putty and hitting it with a hammer, dropping it from heights, writing with light... and goofier.

Birthday list material? You bet. Mark your calendar; I'm an October baby.

BTW - anyone have a really good recipe for making similar putty with borax? This Thinking Putty incorporates borax, but it's a little more complicated than the home recipe. I wonder if I could just make this stuff in bulk. Problem is, I want it firmer than what I've seen that borax recipe produce.

Posted by James at 2:36 PM

May 14, 2003

Yogurt, which is high in acid and pasturized, should not be a risk.

Yogurt, which is high in acid and pasturized, should not be a risk.
- Chuck, looking out for me, sent that link along. But it really is useful. This time of year when the power goes out you can't just stick your food and beer in the snow. So it's good to have some sort of guide.

Of course, we don't feed our kids anything that is questionable. It's only Dad who likes to experiment.

This other link Chuck sent along is less helpful, but definitely amusing: How to tell when your food is spoiled. Example:

DAIRY PRODUCTS -- Milk is spoiled when it starts to look like yogurt.
Yogurt is spoiled when it starts to look like cottage cheese.
Cottage cheese is spoiled when it starts to look like regular cheese.
Regular cheese is nothing but spoiled milk anyway and can't get any more spoiled than it is already.
Cheddar cheese is spoiled when you think it is blue cheese but you realize you've never purchased that kind.

For those still bored, here is more worthy reading material:

[UPDATE] - Bob rightly notes in a comment:

On the yogurt front. Since yogurt is "bad" already (contains bacteria) and is not an environment conducive to bacteria growth (also true of Mayo by the way-contrary to popular belief) it's probably kind of hard to "spoil" to begin with as long as it's sealed so nothing really nasty can get in it should be fine.

Like beer, cheese, and many other foods which have been with us for a long, long time - these traditional foods are made to withstand the storage conditions which were available before refrigeration. In many cases, "good" bacteria are recruited to make the food less inhabitable by pathogens, either by competing for the same sugars or by creating chemicals that inhibit the growth of pathogens (alcohol, in the case of beer). With mayo, it's the acidity factor that appears to cause it to remain relatively safe while unrefrigerated for short periods of time.

My family has made a Lebanese form of yogurt for a long time, and it is often avaialable at the table to be used as a condiment. That stuff sits out warm for marathon sessions and never seems to go bad.

I never really thought I was going to get sick. Just a bit of goofiness. ;-) I have been known to consume really old yogurt that has remained refrigerated.

Posted by James at 4:40 PM


- For those other languagephiles in my readership (all 3 of you) I have added a link to "A.Word.A.Day" in my navigation sidebar. You'll see the new word of the day appear there every day, with a link to the definition. I've been a subscriber to their email list for more years than I care to remember... a decade perhaps? Nice to see they have a way for me to share it with all of you!

Posted by James at 3:09 PM

Not sick

- Well, that yogurt yesterday didn't kill me. As I told Chuck, since I survived yesterday's yogurt, today I am going to eat the remaining 2 containers of yogurt that sat out all week.

No gastrointestinal distress followed yesterday's experiment, so I don't expect anything to follow today's.

Speaking of Chuck, he sent along , this amazing link to a commercial that Honda put together. I think I saw this on Mike's now-defunct blog, but it's still amazing. You need Flash to view it. I read somewhere that it is completely real, and took quite a few takes to get right. But it doesn't involve computer effects.

Posted by James at 3:06 PM

May 13, 2003

Film Threat

- I'm trying to catalogue all the films in my film library here at home. I'd like to make a more flexible database, but currently I have them in Excel. The html version is here, and also available in the navigation bar under "all me."

Note, that only a very few number of childrens films are listed there (the highlights and the DVDs, I suppose) because we have an overwhelming amount of children's films. I didn't want the catalogue overwhelmed with "Mother Goose 1"... "Mother Goose 2"...

I have some of the entries linked to IMDB for reference.

Yes, I really do own a bunch of Thunderbirds episodes, on VHS and DVD.

By the way - the real Film Threat has its own website.

Posted by James at 6:35 PM

Chuck Told Me Not To

- But I did anyway.

I found this yogurt that was sitting out for a week. I must have forgotten to put it in the fridge. It was warm and fruity and tangy. I ate it.

I will report any side effects later. All in all, I don't think Chuck's warnings were bad advice, but I'm in an experimental mood.

Posted by James at 3:39 PM

Total Lunar Eclipse

- On Thursday there's going to be a total lunar eclipse.

I hope it's clear - I can't remember the last good lunar eclipse I've seen. It's going to be early enough that I hope to get the kids interested, and maybe set up the telescope for a view of the moon. They'll be up late but, hey - It's education.

Posted by James at 3:10 PM

Seek and Ye Shall Find

- Part of the reason I started this blog was to keep track of interesting links. Now the archives are unmanageable for that purpose. So, I've added a search feature. Check it out in the navigation bar on the right. Type in your search term and hit the button. Simple as that!

Searching through the archive I found that we're coming up on the one year anniversary of Stephen Jay Gould's death.

I didn't post on the 13th last year, but on the 14th I was talking about Star Wars: Ep 2 - Attack of the Clones.

Speaking of that, I found that if you watch the DVD of that film, the movie is somewhat shorter and more fun if you skip over every scene chronicling hte developing relationship between Amidala and Anakin. It's actually worht watching, like that. I love DVD.

Posted by James at 10:40 AM

May 11, 2003

Weapons of Mass Disinformation

- Even in my skepticism regarding the war, I thought they'd find more in the way of active chemical weapons programs, or useable chemical weapons by now. But, apparently, the U.S. Arms Team is leaving Iraq empty-handed. (

There were constant complaints from hawks during the months leading up to war regarding how Saddam worked to hamper and undermine the search for a nuclear or chemical weapons program with the power to cause mass destruction and death on large scales. However, now that Saddam is in no position to obstruct anything, the search for WMDs has been less like a floodgate of evidence and more like that joke in Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer where Yukon Cornelius keeps thinking he's found gold in the snow, until he sniffs and licks the end of his ice pick-axe and declared "nothing."

Maybe I didn't understand. Is our intelligence that bad that we really didn't know whether Saddam had WMDs, or was that a convenient tale to tell the American public because the truth was less convenient.

If we're going to go to war, I want the public debate to be about the real reasons. I don't need to be protected from them. I'm not sure if I'd rather believe I was lied to, or that we are flying blind.

Colin Powell? Are you listening? Where did your credibility go? Why are you along for the ride?

Posted by James at 10:12 PM

May 9, 2003

Weird Referrer

- When someone visits my blog, I can see the link they used. Sometimes they get here via search engine. Sometimes the search is weird.

One such link came from someone who searched Yahoo for 'the news shose france'. Somehow, that led to my blog. I must have typed "shows" or "chose" incorrectly somewhere.

Posted by James at 12:40 PM

I've Fallen And I Can't Get Up

- Many of us were surprised and perhaps a little bit sad to hear that New Hampshire's Old Man of the Mountain had collapsed. (credit due to Ed King for the title of this entry)

State landmark falls from mountain - May. 4, 2003

I was wondering, what's to stop New Hampshire from constructing a replacement out of some long-lasting, light and authentic-looking polymer? They used healthy amounts of epoxy to hold the original in place, and even steel cables, so they are not above messing with nature. The new one would be a lot cheaper to maintain. They have plenty of pictures of the thing. A computer could probably model it.

OK - I don't really think it would be the same.

Maybe this says something about the youth of our nation. No, not the kids - I mean how youthful our nation is. One of our states has as its symbol a rock formation that only lasted just over a couple of centuries into the life of the country. Very adolescent to think a symbol like that is going to last forever. Maybe we ought to choose things that indicate we have some staying power.

On a related note, the American Eagle became endangered, and it took serious effort to get it some help. It would have been quite embarrassing had our national bird become extinct. But should embarrassment be our motivating factor in trying to preserve our environment?

Epoxy and steel cables can keep the form of our world in place for a limited time. Isn't a vibrant, healthy, thriving environment more important than appearances?

Posted by James at 12:20 PM

May 8, 2003

From Pravda: Drunken Moose

- First, check out this brief story: Pravda.RU Dangerous Drunken Moose

Okay, now you have to absorb that Pravda has a "fun" section of its website, kinda like the Reuters Oddly Enough.

Pravda's fun is indeed fun.

Posted by James at 5:58 PM

Mind Blank

- Must... type... blog... entry...

Heh. Noticed the blog had been silent since Tuesday, so I figured it was time to force myself to post something. So this will be pretty random.

Patti recently was shaking her head at my comments that I read the news to relax. Well, she's right that the news simply does not relax, so that is a stupid idea. I really should have said that it was one of the things I did with my time when I should be relaxing. Some of the stories that come to my attention are nearly worth posting, but I don't have anything intelligent to say about them. Maybe my brain is shrinking.

That brain comment... I'm not kidding. I used to feel like a genius, and now I feel like an idiot. My kids seem awfully smart, and they amaze me daily. How did I get so stupid? Is my brain just hardening? Did it start out like a fresh mozzarella and is now a great, big, hard chunk of parmesan? It certainly feels that way.

I'm too young for it to be Alzheimer's.

Take "Alzheimer's" for example. At first I typed it "alzheimers" and when the spell-checker snagged it, I capitalized it. But that didn't fix the problem. Instead of figuring it out, I had to learn from the spell-checker suggestion that it was possessive. Maybe I'm just lazy.

Mattie's response when asked if she wanted to eat breakfast: "I just want to dance." That's cool with me.

I'm listening to Joseph Arthur. Specifically, his latest album Redemption's Son. I caught it thanks to my coworker Ed and his listening to WMVY.

It was the album of the week on WMVY last week. It turns out they have a cool website, and you can get their live feed from there with Windows Media Player.

Joseph Arthur's stuff is somewhat moody, somewhat peppy in places. It's relaxing to work to. I hear Peter Gabriel discovered him, and although he has a quite distinct style, I can hear why Gabriel got interested. There's a kind of lingering in his music. The lyrics are decent and sparse - not too dense. It lets the music come through. I don't have the musical experience to give it a decent review, but I'm enjoying it.

[UPDATE: By the way - I knew "Alzheimer's" was possessive. The spell-checker merely reminded me.]

Posted by James at 3:42 PM

May 6, 2003

We adjust

- I wandered into a conversation recently regarding the advances in creating fertilizable eggs from male cells.

Quite often lately I am hearing people disturbed by where technology and research are taking us.

I'll be frank. We haven't mastered fire yet, and that never stopped us, so why be upset at these further advances? Seriously - technology has been moving forward and changing our lives ever since the human race can remember. And we adjust. Life is not the same as it was 3K years ago, but we have adjusted.

Yes, we can argue about the social impact of science and technology. We ought to, and we ought to contemplate what upcoming changes mean to us and our descendants. But the tenor of these discussions is usually more like "I'm afraid of where we're going." and "we're deviating from the plan when we mess with these things."

Me? I'm afraid of where we are now. Let's deal with that a little bit. Or, let's learn to accept that, as a species, we change ourselves, our society, and our environment through the accumulation of knowledge and the creation of technology. Deal with it - and don't take that in a mean-spirited way.

As for "the plan" - if I believe there is a plan, then I believe this is all part of it. If I believe in a universe with no plan, then that particular problem goes away. So, no worries!

Posted by James at 11:57 AM

May 4, 2003

Asian Market Found!

- Before I forget, I have to mention that I finally found a decent asian foods market!

Food Market
92 Warren Ave
East Providence, RI 02914

(Found this article about the place after the fact.)

The kids and I found this place while searching for "Pocky." We went into Whole Foods Market in Providence and asked about Asian foods there. The nice folks at that place directed us to Asiana, which was not far away at all.

Asiana has a wide variety of foods. We found roe, many snacks, dried fish, tea, nori, soups and soup stock, candy, rice, noodles... the whole shebang. It's a small place, but it's positively packed.

Posted by James at 11:18 PM

Obscure, Incorrect Reference

- Ah. My previous reference to Wilde may, in fact, belong to Churchill. See:Drinking Quotes

Lady Astor, aghast at a party. "Mr. Churchill your drunk!"
Mr. Churchill: "And you, Lady Astor, are ugly. As for my condition, it will pass by the morning.
You, however, will still be ugly."

"Sir, if you were my husband, I would poison your drink."
Lady Astor to Winston Churchill

"Madam, if you were my wife, I would drink it."
--Churchill's reply

I'll have to look into this further. Soon.

Posted by James at 1:52 AM

Sushi Overload

- I almost typed "Sushi Overlord" for a second there.

So, for the first time I made sushi for more than just Margaret and myself. Lessons learned: it takes a while to make sushi for 6 adults. The maki pictured to the left represent a fraction of the food that was served, though I did not keep track of the final amount. Sake has a calming effect, but it makes it tough to keep track of exectly what is going on. I knocked over a botle of sushi-su (vinegar) which luckily didn't spill. For this I was accused of having enjoyed too much fermented and distilled beverage, however this was not the case. I had consumed just enough, and the motor function I lack can not easily be explained by alcohol consumption. In other words, Oscar Wilde might say to me "I'll be sober in the morning and you'll still be clumsey." Or something like that.

Sushi derives it's name from the Japanese word for vinegar (su) and "shi" meaning skillfulness of hand. I think I proved that you don't need too much skill to prepare rudimentary sushi. The guests appeared satisfied. There was the customary mess in the kitchen from having prepared something for guests for the first time.

I'll have to remember to tell you about the Asian market I found. Later - now it is time to rest.

Posted by James at 1:42 AM

May 1, 2003

Where do you bury the survivors?

- Some worms in an experiment that was on the Columbia when it crashed have survived the ordeal!

The worms, which are about the size of the tip of a pencil, were part of an experiment testing a new synthetic nutrient solution. The worms, which have a life cycle of between seven and 10 days, were four or five generations old, Buckingham said.

Get me some of that nutrient solution!

Posted by James at 11:55 AM


- Looking forward to the weekend. My daily schedule is a mess. I've gotten into a pattern where I seem to be rushing around constantly from event to event. If I were more organized, I think I'd be more relaxed. Bah. Feh.

Posted by James at 11:52 AM