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Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Not an Empoblog Aurothots
I can't write an Aurothots on a song until I've actually heard the entire song. Lyrics here. A tantalizing 30 second snippet here (listen to track 21).

I've heard little snippets of the Beach Boy's Brian Wilson-authored song "Til I Die" several times over the past few years. Now if only it were on a decent album...

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A Serious Canadian
Brian Mulroney's eulogy for Ronald Reagan can be found here. Excerpt:

When their car drove in a moment later, out stepped Nancy [Reagan] and Mila [Mulroney] looking like a million bucks. And as they headed towards us, President Reagan beamed. He threw his arm around my shoulder. And he said with a grin, "You know, Brian, for two Irishmen, we sure married up."

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A Funny Canadian
There are of course tons of funny Canadians, but I am presently thinking of Colin Mochrie.

It's interesting to note that he is involved with numerous Canadian charities.

And his recipe for chili-rubbed chicken is thoughtfully provided with both U.S. and Canadian measurements.

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Mike Bullard Was Not Universally Adored
Good old Mike Bullard was not lamented by everyone when his most recent show was cancelled due to low ratings. Dementedpanda was rather cutting:

There is no unfunny way of putting this great news. Mike Bullard's Canadian Talk Show has now officially been Cancelled. Honestly, it's the funniest thing that has come from his show. The fact that his show being cancelled is funnier than actual show doesn't say much about the quality of the program. This is glorious! Switching through channels and finding nothing on but Mike Bullard was horrific to say the least. Despite the fact that he made fun of Mandy Moore, he himself did not come off as any kind of entertaining feature on his show. From making fun of his audience members, to cracking jokes about Newfoundland, Mike Bullard's show was simply not funny at all....

Well Mike, now when you go to the Olive garden and you are 2 minutes before they close and want a full meal, you can get it because you will be the bus boy who cleans up everyone else's meal.

Here are some more comments:

Finally. Global has done what CTV should have done three years ago. They've removed Mike Bullard from our collective television sets. Not like anyone will really notice, though. His ratings were so bad that he used to bid his viewers goodnight one at a time, by name....

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Heck, Heck, the Gang's All Here
Seven blog subjects, all in a bad work of fiction.

When Annie Jacobsen isn't jet-setting around the country, she's reporting on businesses of interest to women.

When Scott Sassa didn't allow Annie to open up a Friendster account, Annie searched for a business representative that actually WANTED to make friends with the press. Ludo Cremers was happy to answer all of Annie's questions. However, he had to leave early to try to sign Misty May up as a celebrity endorser.

Meanwhile, Tom Tancredo was trying to find out how Rick James died. Kerri Dunn had an alibi, but it sounded suspicious....

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A Saga, Chronologically
Exhibit 1, from Forbes' website, posted June 3, 2004:

Scott Sassa, the former television wunderkind, has thrown in his lot with Internet phenom Friendster, agreeing to serve as the rising "social networking" Web site's chief executive officer.

Friendster, sometimes described as a dating network, sometimes described as something else, is premised on the idea that it connects people not through random searches but through "through networks of friends."...

Sassa has been associated recently with Efficient Frontier, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based company engaged in "search engine marketing" that purports to "link your business needs with your search spend." He was on the board of NBCi, NBC's disastrous Internet venture. But it's not clear how he wound up at Friendster. Perhaps he has a friend, or a friend of a friend.

Exhibit 2, from a personal blog, posted June 29, 2004:

Friendster goes PHP

As most of you probably know, I've spent the last six months working at Friendster. I have not managed to release any code in that entire time. Finally on Friday we launched a platform rearchitecture based on loose-coupling, web standards, and a move from JSP (via Tomcat) to PHP. The website doesn't look much different, but hopefully we can now stop being a byword for unacceptably poky site performance. I also want to call out our first new user-facing feature in a long time, Friends in Common (upper left corner of your friends' profiles). Try it out and let me know what you think.

Exhibit 3, from the same personal blog, posted August 14, 2004:

Udell column
Jon Udell's latest column mentions Friendster's rewrite. He makes exactly the right point: the programming language itself was not really the issue. It's the combination of decisions -- the "it all adds up" factor -- that makes the difference between a platform which fits the task and one which does not. It was kind of tedious to be the poster-girl for JSP-bashing there for awhile, especially since I didn't actually say anything anti-Java at any point.

Exhibit 4, from the same personal blog, posted yesterday (the references to "this one and this one" are to the two entries posted above):

So I was terminated from Friendster today. The reason given was blogging.

The levels of irony on this are pretty deep. For one thing, I wrote a fairly well-known paper last year about the need for semi-permeable blogging. For another thing, by all accounts the particular posts that led to my termination were this one and this one (although feel free to check my archives for any other incriminating information). I try really hard not to blog about anything that is not a matter of public record... but I guess that's not protection any more. You get Slashdotted, make Udell's column, lose your job. And finally, it's especially ironic because Friendster, of course, is a company that is all about getting people to reveal information about themselves...

Let me note that I loved working for my VP of engineering, Jeff Winner, and I loved my team with all my heart. I worked really hard for that company, and I don't think I have anything to be ashamed of.

Exhibit 5, from Accordion Guy, posted today:

On Troutgirl's Getting Fired for Blogging [Updated]
by Joey deVilla at 12:11PM (EDT) on August 31, 2004 | Permanent Link
Last night...I noticed a link to Joyce "Troutgirl" Park's blog entry on how her employer, Friendster, fired her for blogging....

In spite of the fact that everything she'd written about the company was a matter of public record, Friendster's new CEO, former NBC President Scott Sassa (ah, a television exec -- I'm beginning to see the source of the stupidity) saw fit to fire her. The firing is especially stupid in light of the fact that Friendster's business is about divulging information about yourself.

Since my displeasure with Friendster's move is far, far greater than its utility to me (my blog remains my most powerful social software), I have decided to cancel my account with Friendster....

C'mon, free market! It's time for invisible hand to do some pimp-slappin'!

Exhibit 6, from ZDNet, posted today:

Friendster, known for breaking new ground in online social networking and promoting self-expression among peers, fired one of its employees Monday for her personal Web log, or online diary. Joyce Park, a Web developer living in Sunnyvale, Calif., said her managers told her Monday that she stepped over the line with her blog, Troutgirl. They declined to elaborate, except to say that it was CEO Scott Sassa's ultimate decision, Park said.

"I only made three posts about Friendster on my blog before they decided to fire me, and it was all publicly available information. They did not have any policy, didn't give me any warning, they didn't ask me to take anything down," said Park, 35.

Friendster spokeswoman Lisa Kopp said that the company does not comment about employee matters....

Critics of Friendster's move called it "silly" in light of Park's boosterism of the company.

"Especially for a social networking company, it seems to reflect a particularly poor understanding of the medium," said Wendy Seltzer, staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation....

"I felt I didn't say anything disparaging," Park said. "Friendster is in the business of getting people to reveal information about themselves, and for them to terminate me like this is sort of undermining their whole mission."

Exhibit 7 is yet to be written. It will be the announcement of Joyce Park's new employer. Hey, Michael Hanscom survived his experience...Joyce will, too.

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The Lead Singer Has Musical Talent

The brunette (Renee) is my cousin. She was formerly in a band called Krave. Music samples here.

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End of the Line, Affecting My Creativity
Regarding Enumclaw:

I like to get out in the wild, as long as it's not too wild. For example, last week I got on St Louis' Metrolink train service and took it all the way from downtown St Louis to the Shiloh-Scott station in Illinois, having no idea at the time what Shiloh was, or what Scott was.

Enumclaw was another destination. I drove there once with one of my college friends and walked through the huge downtown, snapped some pictures, and left.

Another destination was Gresham. Years ago (before light rail existed in Portland) I took a Tri Met bus all the way out to exotic Gresham, Oregon. I even wrote a bad song about it (lyrics excerpted here):

I went to Gresham town
I took a Tri-Met down

I bought "Free to Choose"
But not a drop of booze

Bandana on my belt
I'm never gonna sell't

I thought it was a lark
Then I saw a great white shark

For the record, the chorus after each of these verses was "Gresham is the homeland...(Gresham!) for the sharks." The song closed with a Slim Whitman impersonation. (And if you want a copy of the song, sorry - I wisely trashed all my cassette tapes a few years ago.)

I probably wrote that song in 1981 or 1982. You can decide if my songwriting skills have improved over the intervening decades (though I guess you can say my songs are now more political).

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This and That
Typos reveal your innermost thoughts. At work this morning I was typing something about Oracle's support of BLOBS, except that instead of typing "blob," my fingers automatically typed "blog."

Recommended reading: How Shivery Timbers Foiled a Robbery. (And she sings, also.)

For the record, I am not the person who is impersonating the late Rick James in comments areas.

For the record, I am the person who is trading comments with Eddykins in response to the following post by genuinegenius:

Today I feel like I am being squeezed through a funnel.

Kewl. :)

(In her other life, she provides us with
helpful reminders that I only follow half of the time. Shame on me.)

Some people are more learned than me. Only Jimmy Akin would request a copy of "Passion" without the subtitles.

This link to the Alexandra Kerry at Cannes story does NOT include pictures.

We still have almost an entire month of summer left, although my favorite Empress in all of San Bernardino County doesn't believe it. (On second thought, seeing as she is the only Empress that I know, I can safely state that the Inland Empress is my favorite Empress in the entire galaxy - Enumclaw, Washington excluded.)

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Monday, August 30, 2004

Site of the Day
Go here. Story here.

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One Potential Fight This Week
Lonewacko mentioned it. TheHill.com provided the details. John and Ken identified the players.

First, John and Ken:

On one side of the GOP fault is the Wall Street Journal wing of the party so named for that newspaper's repeated editorial call, citing the cheap labor benefit to business interests, for a Constitutional amendment stating "There shall be open borders." The Wall Street Journal wing is typified by the lead Republican supporter in congress of amnesty for illegal aliens, Chris Cannon of Utah.

On the other side is the, well, democratic wing of the party, which stands with the 82 percent of self-identified Republican voters who, according to a recent Pew survey, support tighter immigration policies (Democrats and Independents both polled at 76 percent). The democratic wing is typified in congress by Republican Tom Tancredo of Colorado.

The two sides may end up colliding at Madison Square Garden on August 30.

Sources say that in recent weeks, word has gone out from Karl Rove’s office that Republican congressional candidates who fail to “stay away” from the issue of illegal immigration risk losing the financial support of their national party.

Now to TheHill.com:

Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-Colo.) plans to start a nasty floor fight at the Republican National Convention in New York this week unless the GOP convention platform includes elements of his immigration proposals. He calls the current platform “weak” and “Clintonesque.”

The third-term former nonprofit-organization executive said he has already enlisted a groundswell of support from sympathetic delegates from border states such as California and Arizona.

In an interview late last week, Tancredo expressed frustration over his inability to obtain platform information from the Republican National Committee (RNC) or the names of platform committee delegates....

Last week he called for three amendments to be added to the platform: no driver’s
licenses for illegal aliens, no amnesty for illegal aliens and an agreement with Mexico on access to Social Security. That amendment states, “Republicans would oppose any treaty with any nation that allows access to Social Security for employment that occurred while an individual was not employed legally.”

Tancredo recalls vividly a conversation he had with President Bush’s top political adviser, Karl Rove, two years ago. Tancredo had given an interview to The Washington Times regarding his hard-line stance on immigration that upset Rove.

“[Rove] called me the next morning,” Tancredo recalled. “I was on my way to work. We had a spirited discussion. He told me never to darken the doorstep of the White House.” To which the congressman replied, “’I don’t remember a welcome mat ever being out, and second, it’s not your house.’”...

Tancredo said he believes that there ought to be a moratorium on immigration, that the number of immigrants who enter the United States should shrink to 300,000 for the next five years and that immigrants should abandon their native languages and assimilate into American society as quickly as possible. Last year, to the dismay of many lawmakers, he called for an end to race-based congressional caucuses.

It's mystifying why the Republicans are trying to hush this up, since both parties are battling toward the center. This is why John Kerry is battling to defend the medals that he doesn't really care about. Similarly, Bush could publicly defeat the three proposals. So what if he loses California's vote because of it? He'd never get California's vote anyway.

In 1992, Clinton picked a fight with Jesse Jackson and positioned himself well with the electorate as a result. Perhaps Bush could do the same.

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Sunday, August 29, 2004

Politics Angered The Video Stars

Excerpts from the Drudge Report on Alexandra Kerry and Vanessa Kerry's appearance at the MTV VMAs:

[O]n Sunday night when John Kerry's daughters were announced to speak at the annual MTV VIDEO MUSIC AWARDS, the MTV youth were expected to welcome his daughter's as pop culture princesses....

From the moment Alexandra and Vanessa started speaking, the boos outweighed anything close to cheers, and the reaction turned worse when the daughters asked the VIACOM youth to vote for their father.

The Kerrys get their own page on a website entitled The First Twins, which features spellbinding articles on Jenna's tongue. There's a link to a page on Chelsea Clinton, but only a brief (one word) mention of Susan Ford (although Amy Carter's wedding picture is there). And the part on Tricia and David Eisenhower doesn't even mention that they met when Richard Nixon was VICE president (gotta find that picture...it's a classic).

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More information on Haley Waldman
Not an update per se, but more information that I didn't have previously, courtesy the Citizen-Times:

For the first time since she was diagnosed with gluten intolerance, Marjorie Bogart is able to take communion alongside everyone else....

...[N]ow Bogart can walk up to the rail, kneel and take communion because a group of Benedictine nuns in Missouri figured out a way to put wheat in a wafer that has so little gluten she would have to eat more than 200 of them in a single sitting to have an adverse effect on her....

Audra Miller, spokeswoman for the Diocese of Trenton in New Jersey...said [Haley]Waldman was offered the low-gluten wafer....

Miller said [the mother of Haley] Waldman refused the options of the low-gluten wafer...and looked for a church that would allow her daughter to use a rice wafer.

This is an interesting turn of events. Apparently there was bread that was legally considered "wheat" by the Catholic Church, and (if the Benedictine nuns can be believed) safe for Waldman to eat. But her mother turned this down.

And for more information on the Benedictine nuns, here's excerpts from an article from The Catholic Key:

These...wafers are the result of more than a decade of trial and error by the Benedictine Sisters of Perpetual Adoration to develop an altar bread that is safe for consumption by sufferers of celiac disease, yet also remain in compliance with the strict guidelines of Canon Law....

The Vatican requires that Communion hosts contain some gluten, an essential ingredient in bread, but no one had discovered how to make an edible host with a low-enough gluten level to be considered safe for celiac sufferers. That is, until a little over a year ago, when a pair of Benedictine sisters, all but defeated by years of failure, did something no one had ever done.

"It was definitely the Holy Spirit at work that night," Sister Jane Heschmeyer recalls....

"I was studying the canons and gathering information," she said. "I was in touch with the celiac association, grain specialists, the USDA, doctors, lawyers, everybody I could think of."...

Sister Jane gained a study partner in 1999. Not long after joining the postulancy, Sister Lynn Marie D'Souza happened upon Sister Jane experimenting in the kitchen and offered to help.

"She didn't have a scientific background," Sister Lynn said with as much mock hauteur as the friendly and engaging nun can muster. The young postulant, who came to Clyde with a degree in biomedical science, left the kitchen that night enthralled. She was soon assigned to the altar bread department....

"I'd been working with two different starches," [Sister Lynn] said, holding back an inevitable smile. "One of them was a mess. It ran all over the cooking plate, and it came out like lace. With the other starch I could get something that looked like a host, but it tasted terrible and it was rubbery. I was about ready to give up."

Sister Jane joined her later that night and with utter disregard for scientific methodology, said, "Why don't we just mix the two together?"....

But what they gazed upon in disbelief was a round wafer, baked evenly, with a nice texture and crispness....

Gluten content: .01 percent.

Safe enough, according to Fasano and other medical experts, for consumption by almost all celiac suffers. But would it pass the scrutiny of the church's hierarchy?

The answer came last July. The recipe had been approved by the Vatican, and subsequently by the U.S. bishops, as part of a new set of norms for celebrating the Eucharist. The U.S. Bishops' Committee on the Liturgy deemed the sisters' bread "the only true, low-gluten altar bread . approved for use at Mass in the United States," with a lower gluten level than a host developed recently in Italy and approved by the Vatican and the scientific committee of the Italian Celiac Association. The sisters also have applied to the U.S. government for a patent on their recipe.

Fasano called the sisters' accomplishment "very wonderful news," but added that celiac sufferers should still consult with their doctors before consuming the new hosts. In rare cases even .01 percent is still too much.

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Second Man Strolls, Psychology Today Reports
Permit me to amuse myself...

It was a hate crime!
It was a fake!
It truly was a hate crime!
It was a fake, I tell you!

So, the rallies taking place during my stroll to the Claremont Colleges campus have landed in Psychology Today, which briefly reports on the Kerri Dunn incident while discussing several people who DID admit to faking stories. (For the record, Dunn continues to deny wrongdoing.)

Psychologists have dubbed the phenomenon The Boy Who Cried Wolf Effect, named after Aesop’s fable about a shepherd who fakes wolf attacks. In real life, experts say, these “shepherds,” mostly women, aren’t acting out of boredom. These damsels in distress are very often motivated by an intense desire for attention and may feel unfairly neglected by those close to them, often romantic partners. Others are simply crying out to a world they feel ignores them....

[A] “hoaxer” wins attention by playing the passive victim, similar to a person with Munchausen syndrome, who fakes an illness to get the attention of doctors or loved ones. But that doesn’t mean that people who perpetrate large-scale deceptions are necessarily in need of psychiatric help....

Among crime hoaxes, there’s a subset of tricksters who concoct crimes for political causes...This kind of hoaxer is just as likely to be a man as a woman. A recent case occurred last November when Jaime Alexander Saide, a Northwestern University student in Evanston, Illinois, published a column about his Mexican heritage in the campus newspaper after he claimed to be the target of two hate crimes. Saide later confessed to filing false reports to bring attention to campus race relations.

Consider the recent case of Kerri Dunn, a social psychology professor at Claremont McKenna College in Claremont, California, who police suspect may have slashed her own car’s tires, smashed its windshield and spray-painted it with racial slurs just hours before speaking at a campus forum against hate crimes last spring. Two eyewitnesses identified her as the culprit shortly after hundreds of students marched to protest the crime. Dunn denies that she staged the attack....

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Mindy McCready Pleads Innocent
Sorry, folks, but with no Internet access in St Louis for a week, I've got a lot of catching up to do. Here's the latest on Mindy McCready:

Country singer Mindy McCready has pleaded innocent to drug charges.

Lawyers for McCready...entered the plea Monday in Williamson County Court.

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Don't Know If This Is True...
Reading a recent Monterey County Herald entry was a little surprising...

In L.A., at an after-hours club...[c]lub regulars paid their respects by approaching [Rick James'] portrait on the wall and blowing either marijuana smoke or cocaine at his smiling face. While an autopsy has failed to determine what caused the singer's Aug. 6 death, some are wagering that the pending toxicology test will turn up drugs.

But wait, there's more:

One source recalls walking into an upstairs room at the same L.A. club last Valentine's Day and finding ''Rick with a mound of coke in front of him.''

''He was wearing a bright red suit,'' the source tells us. ''He pointed to his mound of drugs and said to me, 'Dig in partner.'''

I don't know how much to trust an unnamed source...guess we'll just have to wait for the final report.

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JibJab Settlement
According to the San Bernardino Sun, JibJab and Ludlow have settled their dueling lawsuits.

Ludlow Music, ["This Land is Your Land"'s] publisher, agreed in a settlement Tuesday to allow the [JibJab] cartoon -- one of the biggest Internet draws of the summer -- to keep using the song.

In return, JibJab dropped a lawsuit against Ludlow that had sought an order saying its use of the song was protected because it was a parody and "This Land" was in the public domain.

The creators also agreed to provide a link on their Web site to the song's original lyrics and to donate 20 percent of any profits to the Woody Guthrie Foundation.

Sounds like a win-win for everyone.

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While surfing and surfing and surfing, I ended up at "The Conservative Case Against George W. Bush" by William Bryk. While Bryk attacks the Bushes in particular and the neo-cons in general, one can surmise that there is nothing in today's conservatism that is truly conservative.

Makes you think that the last true conservative was not Ronald Reagan (heck, they named a danged AIRPORT after him), but Barry Goldwater (the man who didn't care what two military men did off-hours).

Now if someone can tell me whether Kerry's a conservative or a liberal, we can figure out this election. (I'm sure about Mr. Clinton - he's a conservative in the same way that FDR was a conservative.)

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Baseball, hot dogs, apple pie, and...wait, there are no American cars any more...
I was reading Inland Empress' comment to my comment, in which a discussion of writer's rejection morphed into a comment on women's baseball, when I realized two things:

First, it's finally come. Remember when you were young and you thought that someday you could grow up and be a professional sports player? Then you hit 20 and figured there was still the outside chance. Well, I'm over 40 now, and there aren't that many major leaguers entering their fifth decade. This especially hit me at last night's Quakes game, where all of the players were about half my age.

Second, I figure I should comment on my visit to the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes game on Saturday night. Although the Quakes lost, a splendid time was had by all. My biggest challenge was explaining baseball to a German girl who had only the slightest understanding of cricket. Excerpts:

Each team tries to keep the ball between those lines. If it goes outside of those lines, that's bad.

The player in the field caught the ball, so that's bad for our team.

The man in the circle is throwing the ball over there. If our player isn't on the square bag when the ball reaches there, he's "out."

Is it just me, or is baseball harder to explain than, say, soccer? (Eddykins, if you're reading this, substitute "football" as appropriate.) You can give a high level explanation of soccer in one sentence - "Each team tries to get the ball into the other team's net." Even a high level explanation of baseball is convoluted - "The team with the stick tries to hit the ball between the lines, where an opposing player cannot catch it." It's tough...

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Saturday, August 28, 2004

Even Roger Daltrey will retire someday
It's great when your former statements come back to haunt you. Case in point (again reaffirming my non-trendiness) - I *finally* saw the Alice Cooper Staples commercial a few minutes ago, having only heard about it in the last week. Apparently it's been out for a month already. If you haven't seen it, here's a recap from Staples' investor relations site:

The commercial...humorously utilizes Cooper's legendary anthem "School's Out" to support the company's 2004 back-to-school brand position as a one-stop, in-stock shopping destination for everything on school lists....

"Staples' back-to-school commercial takes the Alice persona and places him in an amusing situation that you wouldn't normally picture him in - shopping for school supplies with his daughter," said Shira Goodman, executive vice president of marketing for Staples...

The commercial depicts Cooper in the role of a father shopping for back-to-school supplies with his distressed daughter, who obviously is unhappy at the prospect of returning to school. What unfolds is a struggle that is familiar to most parents; however, this exchange incorporates the lyrics from Cooper's hit song into the plot.

Specifically, the daughter quotes the line "School's out forever," while the makeup-drenched father replies with the line "School's out for summer."

Compared to this, Cadillac's unimaginative use of Led Zeppelin's "Rock and Roll" is yawn-inducing. But I'm sure Page, Plant, Jones, and Jason are being well compensated (not that I have any problem with their licensing the song; it's just a pity that it couldn't have been done more creatively).

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No, Misty May is not a Super Freak
So I return to the blogworld after a week (my St. Louis hotel did not have high speed Internet for computers), and I discover that this blog is being visited because of two search terms:

"Misty May photos"
"Rick James photos"

Somehow I doubt that Misty May is a freak, but perhaps I'm wrong...

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Saturday, August 21, 2004

Dave Barry on Spiro Agnew
As previously promised, here's what Dave Barry has to say about Spiro Agnew in his history book Dave Barry Slept Here:

Nixon's running mate was an individual named Spiro Agnew, whose principal qualification was that when you rearranged the letters of his name, you got "grow a penis."...

The next day, October 8, the Senate Watergate Committee voted 17-9 in favor of a resolution proposed by Senator Ervin calling on the president to "Rang onsum latmun sookles." Clearly the dice had been cast down onto the gauntlet. Nixon appeared to have only two options left:

  • OPTION ONE: He could boldly remain as president and defend himself in the now-inevitable impeachment proceedings.

  • OPTION TWO: He could spare the country further trauma by resigning in a dignified manner.

Those of you who are well-schooled students of "Dick" Nixon will not be surprised to learn that, after carefully weighing the alternatives, he decided to go with Option Three: to stand in the Rose Garden and make a semicoherent speech about his mother that may well rank as the single most embarrassing moment in American history. Thoroughly humiliated, Nixon then went off to live in a state of utter disgrace. [FOOTNOTE: New Jersey.] This was widely believed to be the end of his career.

Nixon's resignation left the nation in shock, compounded when enterprising Washington Post reporters revealed that, while nobody was paying attention, Vice President Agnew had resigned to take a job clubbing baby seals. This meant that the new president of the Untied States was - this all seems like a dream now - Gerald Ford. Yes! The golf person!

OK, one more quote. When reading this, bear in mind that the book was written in the late 1980s:

America was the Land of Opportunity, and its symbol was the Statue of Liberty, a gift from the French that had been dedicated in 1886 in a spectacular ceremony featuing a thousand John Philip Sousa impersonators. The statue was placed in New York Harbor, where its raised torch served as a welcoming beacon of hope and freedom to millions of oppressed and downtrodden fish. Then somebody came up with the idea of taking it out of the water and putting it on an island....

[12/28/2006 - my del.icio.us tags for Gerald R. Ford Jr. are here.]

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Eh, He Took Off, Si...
From the fair and balanced baby seal clubbers:

The Canadian province of New Brunswick is on full alert for a missing truckload of Moosehead beer....

Police found the truck, still running, along with its empty trailer in the parking lot of a McDonald's in Grand Falls, New Brunswick, a few miles from the Maine border.

There was no trace of the beer, worth nearly $60,000 in U.S. currency — or of the truck's driver....

"Because [the load] was destined for Mexico," he explained, "the labeling on one side was English and Spanish on the reverse side."

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Empoblog Aurothots Client "Sugar Candy Kisses"
Client A and Client B play B*witched.

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'Scuse Me While I Swish This Concept
This entry has nothing to do with Jimi Hendrix. Pardon me for a moment while I try to get the concepts of liceity (not licety) and validity straight in my head. I figure if I hear the words in usage a few million times, my reformatted head will figure it out:

From The Society of Saint Pius X - In schism? Without jurisdiction? Invalid and illicit sacraments?

No honest Novus Ordo churchmen - bishops, priests - will go so far as to question the validity of the sacraments and jurisdiction of the Society of Saint Pius X. Even Cardinal Ratzinger does not question the validity. Most will "only" question the liceity.

A clear understanding of the difference between liceity and validity is of fundamental importance here. A licit action means one carried out in accordance with law. The law in question may be natural law, a law revealed by God (such as the obligation to receive baptism), or it may be human legislation, either civil or ecclesiastical, which is in accord with God's law. It follows that an illicit action is objectively immoral, insofar as it violates a just law. A valid action, on the other hand, is one which produces the spiritual or juridical effects which it intends to produce. But it may be either licit or illicit, morally good or morally bad. For instance, a bishop who carries out an episcopal consecration without papal mandate and without beeing in a state of necessity for consecrating bishops, acts illicitly, but validly: he violates a just law, but the man he ordains receives effectively the sacramental powers of a bishop, so that he in turn can ordain true priests, capable of offering the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. A priest who celebrates Mass while in mortal sin, or without using proper vestments, acts illicitly; but, assuming there are no other defects in the way he offers Mass, it is still valid: the bread and wine he consecrates still truly become the Body and Blood of Christ. In the juridical field, the same principle holds. For instance, a bishop who appoints a certain priest as pastor of a parish knowing that the man is morally or psychologically unfit for the task, will act illicitly, since the appointment will violate canon law. But the appointment will still be valid. In other words, that priest will indeed be the rightful pastor of that parish in question, so that (for instance) the marriages he witnesses there will be true marriages.

From International Catholic University:

2. Validity & Liceity

a. "Validity" has to do with whether or not the sacramental celebration confers grace ex opere operato. A sacramental celebration can be valid or invalid.

b. "Liceity" has to do with whether or not a liturgical practice is in accord with liturgical law. A practice can be either licit or illicit. Making up one's own eucharistic prayer would be illicit.

c. Valid but illicit: ex: a priest making up one's own eucharistic prayer, but using the proper words of institution. Or using leavened rather than unleavened wheat bread.

3. Conditions for Validity: (determined by Holy See)

a. Valid minister: varies depending on sacraments

b. Valid recipient: "eligible receiver." E.g., human being, one baptized for all other sacraments, a male for priestly ordination

c. Intention "to do what the Church does" (not in jest, not mindless, superstitious incantation of magic formulas), e.g., kids in pool, forced ordinations of KGB agents

d. Valid matter: proper sacramental sign, e.g., water for baptism. (Does not fit matrimony & penance perfectly). Remember, significando causans.

e. Valid form: proper words ("this is my body" for Eucharist)

From an Internet Question Box:

Here is what Inestimabile Donum, the Church's most recent major statement on liturgical abuses, states:

"The bread for the celebration of the Eucharist, in accordance with the tradition of the whole Church, must be made solely of wheat, and, in accordance with the tradition proper to the Latin Church, it must be unleavened....No other ingredients are to be added to the wheaten flour and water...." (Inestimabile Donum 8)....

This means that any admixture of any other substance renders the use of the bread for consecration automatically illicit (unlawful). Concerning the issue of what happens to the validity of the consecration (i.e., whether Transubstantiation occurs), here is what Fr. Nicholas Halligan, one of the foremost sacramental theologians in the country, has to say in his manual of sacramental theology:

"...The variety of the wheat or the region of its origin does not affect its validity, but bread made from any other grain is invalid material. Bread made with milk, wine, oil, etc., either entirely or in a notable part, is invalid material. The addition of a condiment, such as salt or sugar, is unlwaful but valid, unless added in a notable quantity. Unbaked dough or dough fried in butter or cooked in water is invalid matter; likewise bread which is corrupted substantially, but not if it has merely begun to corrupt....

"...It is gravely unlawful to consecrate with doubtful matter...." (Nicholas Halligan, The Sacraments and Their Celebration, [New York: Alba House, 1986], 65-66).

Now let's return to jimmyakin.org, where I first encountered these terms:

"Wheat-allergic girl denied Communion", blares the headline at CNN.com.

Actually, technically, that's true.

An unnamed Catholic priest who attempted to celebrate Mass with a rice wafer containing no wheat did indeed deny communion to 8-year-old Haley Waldman, who suffers from celiac disease.

He did so by attempting to celebrate Mass with invalid matter. Because non-wheat grains are invalid matter for the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist, what the girl received was not the Body and Blood of Christ, but an untransformed wafer....

Unfermented grape juice (or "mustum") is a valid substitute, and permission can be obtained from competent church authority for its use in specific circumstances (cf. the "Norms For Use Of Low-Gluten Bread And Mustum"). It's not ordinarily a licit substitute, that is, it isn't normally allowed by church law, and cannot be licitly used without episcopal permission.

But liceity and validity are two different things. Liceity has to do with disciplinary rules established by the Church, which the Church is at liberty to rescind or suspend. Validity has to do with absolute sacramental rules established by divine authority, which the Church has no authority or power to alter or suspend, ever, under any circumstances.

That communion hosts must be unleavened is a matter of discipline, just as that a candidate for Holy Orders must be unmarried is a matter of discipline. The Church can make exceptions to either rule, and indeed in the Catholic Churches of the East those rules don't apply at all. However, that communion hosts must be made of wheat rather than other grains is a matter of sacramental necessity, just as that a candidate for Holy Orders must be a man and not a woman is a matter of sacramental necessity....

I couldn't really find an example of "licit but invalid" (except for a reference to licit drug use in Amsterdam by people with invalid addresses).

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Friday, August 20, 2004

He Wasn't a One Day Wonder
It's no secret that I've posted a number of items about Rick James over the last couple of weeks, and that hundreds of people have visited this blog as a result.

I figured that after the cremation, the hoopla would die down and the readership would die down also. However, even today I'm still getting a lot of blog hits because of Rick. As of a few minutes ago, here are the last 10 search terms that search engine customers were using to get to this blog:

volleyball%2C misty may photos (Yahoo)
rick james funeral casket (Yahoo)
Photos%20of%20rick%20james%20in%20coffin (MSN)
picture of eddie murphy and rick james (Yahoo)
rick james in casket (Yahoo)
rick%20james%20in%20casket (MSN)
Rick James public viewing photos casket (MSN)
seeclearlymethod (Yahoo)

Well, in response to those who want to see photos...go here for the sports management firm handling Misty May's account. And WireImage photo 3203277 has Rick James' casket. And here's another photo of Rick James' casket that doesn't require a login (thank you Lycos).

And as for Mariette Hartley fans, I tried to go to http://www.seeclearlymethod.com/learnmore.asp ("Learn More About Mariette Hartley") and ended up at the home page instead. I assume her endorsement contract expired.

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Viral Marketing is, well, viral...
Courtesy Security Focus:

A marketing campaign to promote the latest version of the Resident Evil video game has provoked a panic about the spread of a non-existent mobile phone virus.

Users have received unsolicited SMS text messages on their mobile phones telling them they are infected by the so-called T-Virus, prompting calls to AV company Sophos about the supposed outbreak. The messages are sent from a website designed to promote the game Resident Evil: Outbreak....A typical message reads: "Outbreak: I'm infecting you with t-virus, my code is ******. Forward this to 60022 to get your own code and chance to win prizes. More at t-virus.co.uk."

Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos [states] "This marketing campaign seems particularly ill-conceived, as there is so much genuine interest in the mobile virus threat at present."

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No Surfing Inland
From the Daily Bulletin:

A proposal to build the first Internet cafe in the city was rejected by the (Chino Hills) planning commission on Tuesday, after owners near the proposed "Click and Connect" complained that the business would attract criminal activity and scare off clients.

News bulletin to Chino Hills...there's a PRISON less than a mile east of your town. Don't tell anyone, though, or they may not shop in your fair city.

Second news bulletin to Chino Hills...does that mean that if K Mart wanted to re-open their store in your fair city, you'd refuse to let them do so?

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It WAS a Professor
Back in the spring when I was frequently in Claremont preparing for my triumphant stage performance in Fiddler on the Roof (I was "Second Man"), I took a walk to Bridges one afternoon and stumbled into a campus-wide rally. It seems that a professor's car had been vandalized with racist material, and the Claremont Colleges as a whole were holding meetings about racism, bla bla bla.

Update: the professor in question, Kerri Dunn, has been convicted of vandalizing her own car.

A former visiting Claremont McKenna College psychology professor, who reported her car was vandalized with racist and anti-semitic slurs while she was on campus, was convicted Wednesday of insurance fraud charges.

The Pomona Superior Court jury deliberated just under a day before finding Kerri Dunn guilty of two felony counts of attempted insurance fraud, along with a misdemeanor charge of a false police report....She could face up to 3 1/2 years in state prison....

Dunn reported to police and school officials that her car had been vandalized March 9 while she was on campus preparing a lecture for a forum on racism. She also contacted her insurance company.

Dunn's report of a hate crime caused officials to cancel classes at the five undergraduate Claremont campuses on March 10, and sparked anti-hate crime rallies that drew hundreds of students and captured national attention....

I had lost track of the case (we quit our Daily Bulletin subscription when the paper ended up going into the sprinklers and not being read). Lonewacko's summary: Kerri Dunn to get probation, write book, give lectures, appear on Oprah....

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Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Complete Women's Olympic Beach Volleyball Results
Courtesy bvbinfo.com. This site contains other information, such as Misty May's career winnings. (You don't find THAT on nfl.com.)

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E on X and Y
E on X and Y - the best alphabetic fiction that I've read all day, courtesy of the highly esteemed Inland Empress.

I thought Y was a straight-up kinda guy; the sort who could hold up his end of an adverb. That was before X turned around and got a hold of him. Though how can anyone tell if she turned around? She looks the same coming and going, if you ask me, but Y sure was impressed....


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Happiness Do (I can't spell French)
I've been implicitly (and implicitly) and explicitly discussing the book Dave Barry Slept Here for some time now. I have used my powers of persuasion to force other people (well, one person) to read the book and amuse her housemate.

However, for the last few weeks, I've been hiding my dirty dark secret -

I couldn't find my OWN copy of Dave Barry Slept Here.

I wanted to quote from the book and put the accurate quotes (rather than the half-remembered ones) into my blog, but I couldn't find it. It wasn't in the office (where most of my books are kept). It wasn't next to my bed. I even checked the "religious" bookcase in the living room - not there.

It has just been found - it was under some OTHER books in the living room.

However, I still don't know if I'll get a chance to quote from it, since I'm at work right now, busy over the next few days, and heading off to St. Louis on Sunday.

So, be like Erin and read the danged thing yourself. Unless you're Julie Nixon Eisenhower.

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Empoblog Aurothots Duran Duran "Wild Boys"
Duran Duran plays Frankie Goes To Hollywood.

(I thought I had already blogged this one, but I guess I did "Skin Trade" instead.)

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Never Knew It Would Be Like This
If you like a song, I believe that you shouldn't be shy about listening to it. Over and over. (In CD player terms, this is "repeat 1.")

During my morning drive today, I listened to Duran Duran's "Wild Boys" over and over. (Note to self: time for another Empoblog Aurothots.) (Second note to self: done.)
This normally doesn't cause a problem, since I execute "repeat 1" while I'm in the car alone where it can't bug anyone else.

However, I did goof a couple of decades ago. I was in The Burbs (our off-campus house) one day and got in the mood to hear Devo's "Going Under." Devo is an acquired taste, but if you like their music and can put up with their lyrical philosophy, the journey can be rewarding. So I went to the stereo, got the song (I believe it was in cassette form), and played it. And played it again. And played it a few more times. It was at that point that I discovered that I wasn't alone in The Burbs; two of my housemates, including (not yet) Dr. Peter Charvat, were also in the house. I believe that Pete liked Devo, but not to that extreme.

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Where Are They Now Part 4
No, I didn't know Daniel Jourdan in college. I knew him in high school. He was working on the Hill when he was still a teenager, in the office of Michigan Congressman Bob Forehead Bill Brodhead.

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Where Are They Now Part 3

Over the years, I have known three people who could learn new languages in their sleep. When I first met Darrell Jenks in 1979, he had just returned from a summer job fighting fires in eastern Oregon. He went on to a successful career in the U.S. State Department. And no, I can't read Chinese.

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Where Are They Now Part 2
Then there's Dr. Peter Charvat, who was also an IBM Fellow during his years at Cornell.

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Where Are They Now?

The man seated in the middle of the group (photo from 2000) is Kaz Hori, billed here as the Hori-Pro Vice President, Music Publishing and Information Systems.

When he was my college roommate, I never could picture him in Nashville. Needless to say, his music tastes are broad.

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Classic Hollywood Squares Zingers
From chris-lambert.com:

Peter: "You are a 20-year-old girl and you live at your folks' house. According to Dear Abby, is it proper for you to entertain your boyfriend there when they are not home?"
Buddy Hackett: "If she wants to make a few dollars!"

Peter: "True or false? A state law in California specifies that store Santa Clauses have to wear underwear under their costumes."
Jonathan Winters: "Well, when I played Santa Claus, it was entirely different. As long as you had the belt on and a red cap, you were home free."

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Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Signs of Age
I found a homemade laminated card while I was cleaning. Here's the front:

Official Membership Card
This card certifies that
Wasp The Houseboy
is a Charter Member of
The Grotto BBS

(Bloose & Starfish, if you're surfing, I adopted a new handle six years ago.)

Here's the back:

Terms and Conditions
(The really really small print!)
Bearer agrees to all foregoing terms and conditions and hereby releases all
other life forms from any and all forms of liability arising from the use of
this card. Do not fold, bend or mutilate. Observe proper laundering instructions
found on back of garment. Do not remove this tag under penalty
of law. Do not inhale contents. Void where taxed, licensed or prohibited.
No stopping at any time. Curb your dog. Animals must be kept on leash
at all times. Do not induce vomiting. No lifeguard on duty, use at your
own risk. Avoid breathing fumes. Keep away from open flame. Contents
under pressure. Do not puncture or incinerate. Extremely flammable. Keep
out of reach of children. Contains narcotics. May cause overstimulation.
Meets or exceeds 100% of minimum daily requirements of toxics & poison
Warning: Surgeon General has determined ingestion of this card to be
hazardous to your health.

How does this show my age? Simple. Try explaining to a 13 year old what a "BBS" is. I was stumped.

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Unlike Metaspy (but similar to Google Zeitgeist), buzz.yahoo.com lists top Yahoo! searches. As of Tuesday August 17, "Olympics" was at the top but declining, "Britney Spears" was in 2nd, and "Avril Lavigne" (5) and "Lindsay Lohan" (10) were beating "Hilary Duff" (19). Rick James was nowhere on the list; apparently my hits are coming from a cult audience. (He's not even on the Music Searches list.)

And, of course, beach volleyball is the number 10 mover in the Sports category.

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Some People Have a Way With Words
An article notes that some people believe that they have found a cave used by John the Baptist.

So how does Jimmy Akin refer to this cave? As the Baptistcave!

Now, if only John the Baptist had a sidekick. Wait a minute, he did.

ANDREW THE BOY WONDER: Holy Moses, Baptistman! Who's that coming to the river?

BAPTISTMAN (in overly serious Adam West voice): He will increase...and I will decrease.

This blog entry is sad, you see...

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Empoblog Aurothots Eddie Murphy "Party All The Time"
Eddie plays some bizarre mix of Rick James, Michael Jackson, and Prince.

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Empoblog Aurothots Neil Young "My My, Hey Hey (Out Of The Blue)"
Neil Young plays Neil Young. (And he does the same on "Hey Hey, My My (Into The Black)").

One of my favorite dimly-remembered SNL moments - Dana Carvey playing Neil Young preparing to perform for a Super Bowl in either Orlando or Anaheim. As you know, Super Bowl halftime shows have become spectacular displays; in SNL's version, Neil was going to go out on the field with just an acoustic guitar and sing "The Mickey Mouse Song" to the tune of "My My, Hey Hey." Priceless.

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Empoblog Aurothots Rolling Stones "Far Away Eyes"
The Stones play...uh...Mick Jagger playing country. (You won't hear THAT vocalist on Oxycontin Music Row.)

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Empoblog Aurothots Beatles "Back in the U.S.S.R."
Paul and company play Beach Boys.

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Empoblog Aurothots Beach Boys "Girl Don't Tell Me"
Carl plays Buddy Holly.

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Empoblog Aurothots Johnny Cash "Personal Jesus"
Johnny Petty and the Down Home Heartbreakers play in a back room.

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I recently bought a new computer and have talked about my experiences here.

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Empoblog Aurothots The The "Sweet Bird of Truth"
The The plays Duran Duran.

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Empoblog Aurothots Duran Duran "Skin Trade"
Duran Duran plays Prince and the Revolution.

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Monday, August 16, 2004

Good line
OK, any post that references JibJab, Badger Badger Badger, and All Your Base is a post that will resonate in THIS head. However, the opening line is the classic:

Suing JibJab over using the tune and some lyrics of “This Land is Your Land” is like filing a class-action suit against grade-schoolers for using “The Birthday Song” to sing “You look like a monkey/And you smell like one too.”

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Is My Favorite Artist on Tour?
Ticketmaster has a service which tells you whether your favorite artist is on tour at the moment.

As of today, Mindy McCready is not on tour, Brian Wilson is, and three Rick James tour dates have unfortunately been cancelled. George Jones is performing some casino dates, and Ticketmaster doesn't know who Nour Mehana is. Eddykin's favorite band Marillion will be touring the U.S. Bill Cosby is very busy, but Ringo Starr's taking it easy.

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The Oxycontin Appreciation Society
From Fuseblog:

Well at least she's not the first to jump on the hillbilly heroin bandwagon...fellow stars Rush Limbaugh, Matthew Perry, Winona Ryder, Courtney Love and Jack and Kelly Osbourne have all received treatment for using the drug.

This suggests a really bizarre genetic experiment. Create an overweight shoplifting actor/musician who likes Oxycontin, Newt Gingrich, Warren Littlefield, Kurt Cobain, and Black Sabbath.

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You Have to Know Your Counties
Although I have no way to verify its accuracy, Stacy's Music Row Report seems to indicate a knowledge of the territory:

Though MINDY McCREADY lives in Green Hills, if she forged an OxyContin prescription (receiving 90 pills), February 11 or 12th (depending upon your news source)...Mindy (don’t call her MALINDA) is fortunate that she chose to victimize a Brentwood drug store, rather than one closer to her two-bedroom Hillsborough Condominiums unit....This means the singer’s August 23rd hearing will be in Williamson County, rather than Davidson County, and that she will appear before Judge RUSS HELDMAN rather than some Nashville hangin’ judge....

If convicted of the Class D felony by the testimony of District 21 Judicial Task Force agents BAILEY GREENEWALT and CHRISTOPHER MOBLEY, as a first offender, Mindy will receive only probation. (A pharmacist tells me that the alleged crime would have gone unreported had the doctor whose name appears on the doctored prescription declined to prosecute.)

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Neil Young and Rick James
From the Toronto Star:

Self-styled funkmeister Rick James...once led a band in Yorkville with Neil Young on lead guitar....

The story begins in early 1965.

James arrived in Toronto from his native Buffalo at the age of 17 and formed a band called the Sailor Boys. The name was a nervy reference to his enlistment in the U.S. Naval Reserve, from which he went absent without leave....

In January, 1966...Young joined the Mynah Birds. He and James took an apartment together on Charles St. E. near Jarvis St., at about the time Young says James introduced him to speed....

With new gear and a higher profile, the Mynah Birds attracted interest from Motown Records. In March, 1966, the band went to Detroit for "five or six nights," Young recalled. They recorded 16 songs and signed a seven-year contract, a Motown first for a mostly white act.

Then James was busted for being AWOL and not answering the Vietnam draft. He served time, which at least allowed him to rise afterward in the United States to "punk-funk" fame.

Young and Palmer...drove to California and helped form Buffalo Springfield. Three and half months later, they were playing the Hollywood Bowl — opening for the band James so loved, the Rolling Stones.

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Borowitz Does It Again
A recent entry:

A new Republican-financed negative ad is accusing Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry of fleeing to Vietnam to avoid serving in the Alabama National Guard.

The ad, airing in most of the so-called battleground states, attempts to contrast Sen. Kerry’s alleged guard-dodging with the storied Alabama National Guard heroism of the Republican nominee, President George W. Bush.

In the ad, a narrator asks, “When the Alabama National Guard called young Americans to serve, where was John Kerry? Thousands of miles away, in Vietnam.”

I thought he was in Cambodia...

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Information on the Rick James Burial
For the benefit of the hundreds of people that Yahoo! is directing to my site, I'm posting some information (originally cited by Jen) on the Rick James funeral. No word on whether any of the family of Millard Fillmore attended.

Fans wanting to pay their respects to the funk legend and Buffalo native showed up for his funeral and waited hours in a line that stretched more than two city blocks.

(No, not that).

Some 6,000 people filed past James' open casket in St. John Baptist Church. James, who went from the Perry projects to stardom, was as flamboyantly dressed in death as he was known to be in life....

By evening, the mourning subsided, and a celebration James would have been proud of took over at Martin Luther King Park. That's where many of the local musicians he helped paid tribute to James during a free concert.

"We come to praise the brother, not to bury him," the announcer told the crowd. "Let the funk live on!"...

Cremation followed the service, according to funeral director Vincent Amigone, who estimated that about 6,000 fans lined up for the viewing Saturday morning.

Immediate family filed past James' coffin first, then VIPs, and by the time the public was allowed to enter the church, fans rushed the doors....

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The other vacationers were a bit noisy...
To meet needs in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere, a number of National Guard and Reserve troops have been called up and pressed into active duty. Despite a 1994 law designed to give Guard and Reserve troops their old jobs back, or provide them with equivalent positions, some troops have run into problems when returning home.

Larry Margasak of AP cites one example (emphasis mine):

Reservists and guardsmen who returned to the Prince George's County government outside Washington, D.C., were among those who fell into a gray area.

The county required that they exhaust their leave before receiving a county salary supplement that bridged the gap between military and civilian pay. This meant some employees had to count some of their time in a war zone as vacation days or forfeit the extra pay.

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A Little Humor in the OS Religious Wars
See the paper Microsoft Windows: A Lower Total Cost of 0wnership. This paper, prepared by Immunity Inc., asserts that "Microsoft Windows has one half of the Total Cost of 0wnership (TC0) of modern Fedora Core Linux based technologies." As the paper eventually states, "0wn" = "penetrate" (i.e. hack). In other words, it's easier to hack a Windows system.

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Friday, August 13, 2004

They Make A Cute Couple
Charles Cameron constructs things called "DoubleQuotes." He recently linked Annie Jacobsen and Nour Mehana (see entry). Ironically, I think I read that Nour Mehana was not on the flight.

I don't know that I'd go as far as Charles in saying that "I also find Ms. Jacobsen's image quite lovely, and can imagine the possibility that if she smiled at me, I might be a little shaken and not be able to meet her eyes." But to me she does look better than Wayne Newton.

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Annie Jacobsen Does Write Other Stuff

Stop Sitting On Your Assets

If you own your home, ask yourself one question... Do I have a home equity line of credit? If the answer is no, it's time to run, not walk, to your favorite financial institution to discuss your options. If your home has appreciated in value since you bought it you're probably sitting on an untapped goldmine. By opening a line of credit using the equity in your home, you can consolidate debt, make home improvements, or just have a line of credit available in case you need it.

Mary Hunt has a different view:

...But first let`s get this home equity thing straight. That number whatever it is does NOT represent your money sitting in a bank somewhere just waiting for you to draw it out. It`s not money, it is a paper asset. And if you wish to have access to the equity there is a price to pay: You can either give up possession of the house or you find someone to lend you money using that equity as the collateral. If you insist on having access to your equity now while you still live in the house, you are creating a new debt. Many people simply do not understand that....

So before you so quickly look to the equity in your home as a pile of cash to which you are entitled and with which you could get rid of high-interest credit card debt or pay your bills if you lose your job, think about the potential consequences. That`s when I hope you will see that other alternatives should be considered. Like engaging in significant expense cutting for a while as a way of bringing your outgo in line with your income -- and I`m talking about cancelling the cable TV and all other optional expenses. Or sell assets as a way of coming up with the cash you need to get through a difficult time.

No matter what financial challenge you are facing right now or may in the future, more than likely it is temporary ... it will pass! But a home equity loan is permanent and a remedy that may be far too severe.

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Rick James Burial - He Will Be The Class Act In This Cemetery
From Capital News 9:

Buffalo-born funk singer Rick James will be buried Saturday at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Buffalo following a funeral service.

James died in his sleep Friday at his home near Universal City, California. He was 56 years old.

There will be a public viewing from 11 a.m. to noon on Saturday at Saint John Baptist Church followed immediately by a funeral service. The burial will follow.

Rick James won't be the only famous person buried at Forest Lawn Buffalo:

On a gentle slope in Buffalo's Forest Lawn, overlooking Delaware Avenue and Park Lake, stand giant shade trees - silent sentinels surrounding and helping to keep ever sacred the burial place of MILLARD FILLMORE, outstanding Buffalonian, who became the thirteenth president of the United States of America.

The Millard Fillmore shrine is visited by thousands of people each year - folks from all the Americas as well as from distant lands - yet it is sometimes said that many residents of the Niagara Frontier are unaware of the fact that here in their midst is the "chosen" resting place of this prominent and inter-nationally known person. It is truly a "chosen" place inasmuch as Millard Fillmore, during his lifetime, Se-lected his family cemetery lot in Buffalo's Forest Lawn.

Other than being President, Fillmore is probably most famous for being involved in the Know Nothing movement:

When the slavery issue was temporarily quieted by the Compromise of 1850 nativism again came to the fore. Many secret orders grew up....These organizations baffled political managers of the older parties, since efforts to learn something of the leaders or designs of the movement were futile; all their inquiries of supposed members were met with a statement to the effect that they knew nothing. Hence members were called Know-Nothings....Growing rapidly, the Know-Nothings allied themselves with the group of Whigs who followed Millard Fillmore....In June, 1855, a crisis developed; at a meeting of the national council in Philadelphia, Southerners seized control and adopted a resolution calling for the maintenance of slavery. The slavery issue...split apart the Know-Nothing movement as it had the Whigs. The antislavery men went into the newly organized Republican party. Millard Fillmore, the American party candidate for President in 1856, polled a small vote and won only the state of Maryland. The national strength of the Know-Nothing movement thus was broken.

Ironically, Rick james was raised as a strict Catholic. And, by the way, he was black. Yet he and Millard Fillmore will occupy the same plot of ground. Death is the great leveler.

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Thursday, August 12, 2004

Look Now, Before This Disappears!
I was reading an entry in (it's the end of the world as we know it) andifeelfine.blogspot.com and was moved to search Google for the lifespan of a housefly. No, I didn't find the porn site, but I did find this entry at a UCSD website, which referenced the launch of the UK Web Archiving Consortium. The Consortium issued a statement which began as follows:

For many, the web has become the information source of first resort. From keeping abreast of latest news and accessing online journals and datasets, through to finding information about travel and sport, the web has become the information tool of choice.

However, despite our apparent dependence on this medium very little attention has been paid to the long-term preservation of websites. Indeed, with the life of an average website estimated to be around 44 days (about the same lifespan as a housefly) there is a danger that invaluable scholarly, cultural and scientific resources will be lost to future generations.

I've forgotten the math that I barely knew, but it's clear that there is...

(excuse me while I throw the tennis ball for the dog)

...a lot of variance in that "average" figure. While some commercial pages disappear within days, personal pages remain forever or until the host files Chapter 7.

Example: here's something that I signed back in 1998. (Ironically, I just realized something, but I can't say what it is. I don't want the pizza folks to get on my tail again.) This page is probably going to remain forever.

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From the Rick James Memorial Service

See story.

Guests included Berry Gordy, Chaka Kahn, and Jermaine Jackson.

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This One Can't Be Parodied
I could write another parody of an Annie Jacobsen article, but why bother when the originals are so rich?

It turns out that Women's Wear DailyWomens Wall Street has turned the Annie Jacobsen articles into a regular series. So far there are five installments. Here's an excerpt from installment 3, where our crusading reporter has a stimulating intellectual conversation with Dr. Imad Moustapha, the "United States Ambassador of Syria," who wrote a letter to the Washington Times.

I called Dr. Moustapha to ask him if he had some kind of specific information about the "harmless" men on my flight....

After introductory pleasantries, I asked Dr. Moustapha why his letter suggested that these 14 Syrians played at the Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center, and the Julliard School, when according to my research, that's not at all the case.

Dr. Moustapha said Nour Mehana and his back-up band had not played there, but that other Syrian musicians had. I told Dr. Moustapha that his letter to The Washington Times was at best misleading, and at worst, completely misrepresenting the facts. I added that I didn't consider doing so either diplomatic or fair.

Dr. Moustapha told me that I was a paranoid racist.

I asked Dr. Moustapha if, by suggesting that all Syrian musicians are innocent (not to mention talented) just because they are Syrian, wasn't that the same kind of gross generalization he'd accused me of?

Dr. Moustapha told me again that I was a paranoid person and that the men did nothing wrong.

I reminded him that it was the in-flight behavior of the men (which has now been corroborated by other passengers) which caused alarm, not their Syrian heritage....

He said a few more things that aren't fit to print.

I suggested to Dr. Moustapha that we focus on a diplomatic solution, that perhaps he himself could help to locate the 14 Syrian musicians in question so that they could share their side of the story. I waited for an answer, but instead, Dr. Moustapha hung up on me.

In part 4, our interpid reporter goes to a casino in the desert:

On July 22, I went to the Sycuan Casino outside San Diego. I spoke with a woman who works there and who attended the show. She said that Nour Mehana and his back-up band played for a crowd of about 400 people. (Another employee at the casino said it was a small crowd, about 200 people.) She said Mehana sang for two hours and his back-up band played for about half of it. Tickets to the show cost $24-$30 each.

I also learned from one of Mehana's U.S. promoters (not Cullen, but a different promoter who books the band) that the cost to book Mehana for one night is $32,000. (I don't know if this includes travel, room and board for 15 men.) If we go middle of the road and assume $27 per ticket for 350 people, the take at the door for the Sycuan show was about $9,450. That puts someone in the hole for $22,550, plus possibly travel, room and board. Even if we assume the casino made some money on gambling, food and alcohol, that's a big negative outlay for a night of Syrian music. Admittedly, I'm new to this area. So perhaps some of you who follow world music can explain the cost-effectiveness of 15 men flying around for a money-losing proposition.

Amazing revelation - casinos attract customers with entertainment! I'm shocked.

In Part Five, Annie re-interviews the flack from the Federal Air Marshals, Dave Adams:

A few days ago, I put a call in to Dave Adams, the Federal Air Marshal Services (FAM) Head of Public Affairs. Some of you may remember that Adams and I spoke on July 9, several days before my first article was published. He and I did not speak again until a few days ago, on August 9 and August 10, when we had two rather heated phone conversations. During one of them, I asked Adams the question that Billie Jo Rodriguez had asked me: "Exactly how many other passengers on flight 327 have the FAM and/or the FBI been in contact with during the past month?"

Adams said that they had interviewed the Air Marshals on my flight as well as all the flight attendants from flight 327 -- several times.

I told Adams that wasn't my question. I specifically wanted to know how many other passengers the FAM and/or the FBI had been in contact with during the past month.

Adams said my husband and I were the only two to come forward.

I told him that wasn't true, that I now had the corroborative accounts of seven passengers in addition to my husband and myself.

He repeated that no one else had been in touch with him.

I reminded Adams that as law enforcement, he had access to the flight manifest. Then I repeated Billie Jo's question, "How many passengers from flight 327 have you contacted?"

Adams said zero.

I asked him why.

Adams said that the Air Marshals on flight 327 had determined that there was in fact "suspicious activity" on board flight 327 but that they determined it wasn't a "threat." That was it -- I was splitting hairs.

I asked Adams how the Air Marshals on my flight could have seen what was going on in coach class when they were sitting in first class. I explained that it would be impossible for any of the Air Marshals to have seen what we saw in coach, and that his Air Marshal misrepresented the truth to TIME magazine. (Click here to see the Boeing B757/756 seat map.) (Click here to read the TIME magazine article.)

Adams told me the Air Marshal stood up and made an assessment of things in coach. (According to TIME magazine, the Air Marshal said "he watched the men and saw nothing out of the ordinary.") I explained to Adams that I remember that Air Marshal's assessment of the men's activities because I saw it happen. I saw one of the Air Marshals stand by the galley and look back into the coach class cabin for approximately 2.5 minutes. That was it. I even told Adams the color of the Air Marshal's shirt, his skin tone and his waist size. Adams didn't respond.

Sorry, Annie, but you're no Mike Wallace.

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Wait a minute...you're saying that illegal immigration is ILLEGAL?

Interesting editorial - I'm only quoting a tiny piece of it:

Illegal immigration is like a plague to us; it infects and destroys everything it touches. Contrary to what the immigration race baiters would have people believe, almost all of us (save a few nuts) in these areas harbor no ill whatsoever toward those kind folks who come to America legally to live, work, and maybe become naturalized citizens. We admire what they went through to get here and make it. Many of us desire to and actively help them along in their pursuits. These folks exemplify the best about America....

I say in Texas we should try this alternative. Let’s take the Federal Government off the Texas/Mexico border for a while--just follow me here. Replace them with a heavily armed Texas National Guard. Something most non-Texans don’t know is that in Texas it is legal here to shoot trespassers. You don’t have to ask them off your property, although it is a good idea, but you can shoot them. Utilizing the same logic, because illegal border crossers are trespassers, enforce Texas law: shoot them. People who don’t use the proper legal channels to cross the border should be treated as trespassers and shot. Harsh? Yes. Warranted? Absolutely. A true commitment to national security requires no less.

I would say about those illegals already here, that every single contact with law enforcement, or any government service for that matter, should be viewed as an opportunity to enforce the law of the land. Illegals don’t go to the DPS for a license, because if they do, then they should be arrested and deported. Illegals who are pulled over for speeding should be immediately arrested and deported. Those who go to a hospital and cannot provide proper documentation of legal residence should be reported to authorities for immediate deportation. Illegals who attempt to enroll children in school should arrive to meet with the INS and a set of handcuffs. I think you understand my point....

There is also a link to an analysis of illegal immigrants at Mexico's SOUTHERN border. Conclusions include the following:

Fox railed against a March 2002 U.S. Supreme Court decision denying back pay to illegal workers. He could be even more persuasive with U.S. policymakers if he committed himself to cracking down on the blatant administrative disarray and official abuses that prevail at Mexico’s southern border. He might even name a "czar" to coordinate efforts in the South.42 He could also make root-and-branch changes in the Guatemalan-Mexican bracero program before promoting a guestworker scheme with the United States. Mexico’s long-forgotten southern border is beginning to appear on the radar screens of articulate observers. After visiting this frontier, Gabriela Rodríguez, the UN Human Rights Commissioner’s special rapporteur on migrants’ rights said: "Mexico is one of the countries where illegal immigrants are highly vulnerable to human rights violations and become victims of degrading sexual exploitation and slavery-like practices, and are denied access to education and healthcare."

In a similar vein, Rafael Fernández de Castro, one of Mexico’s most distinguished academics and editor of the Spanish-language version of Foreign Affairs, has criticized Foreign Secretary Castañeda for "forgetting about Central America" even as he pursues a "honeymoon with the United States." Mexico, the scholar charged, has implemented a policy toward illegal migrants from Central America that is "more racist and discriminatory than that of the United States on [Mexico’s] northern border."

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Erin Is My Heroine
(That rhymes...I like it.)

She's quoted from Dave Barry:

Newspapers are in trouble because the public perceives journalists as being more liberal than the average American. This view is based on a survey showign that in the 2000 presidential election between Al Gore and George W. Bush, 86 percent of newspaper journalists--a much higher percentage than the general population--voted for Stalin.

I'm just wondering who the other 41 percent voted for?

I chose the number 41 carefully. Add it up, and subtract 100.

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This is sad...
It's sad that Known Knowns, Unknown Unknowns is apparently going on permanent hiatus (primarily because she's worried that too much personal information will come back to haunt her).

It's even sadder that my initial reaction was to dump most of my shares in the blog in my Blogshares portfolio.

It's even sadder that my one remaining share appreciated in value after I dumped the other 99.

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They Come To Your House!
Will Campbell at blogging.la has written a story in which he rents "Birth of a Nation" from Netflix, and then discovers that his home is surrounded by pickets. Here's an excerpt:

Duly thwarted in my attempt to see D.W. Griffith's landmark "Birth of a Nation" Monday night at the Silent Movie Theatre by civil rights protesters...I decided I'd just order up the DVD from Netflix and satisfy my armchair cinema historian jones by watching it in the quiet picket-line-free comfort of my living room.

Or not. Somehow word got out, for when I arrived post-work yesterday afternoon there they were, the same people who were in front of the Fairfax Avenue theater Monday night and quoted in today's L.A. Times article about the show's cancellation. Carrying signs that read "Rationalize Censorship Now! Ask Us How!" and "We Violate Your Rights So You Don't Have To!" they marched back and forth along the sidewalk in front of the house....

This is reminiscient of an old Saturday Night Live sketch (which I never saw) in which the Supreme Court went into a couple's bedroom and made various rulings on the activities they performed.

Even from a fundamentalist perspective, there are no absolutes on this issue. Some people may be perfectly capable of watching a Disney film, while others might object to their Satanic nature. And who knows - maybe someone will watch "Debbie Does Dallas" for the plot and the acting...

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Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Google Zeitgeist
Google has a page popularity of various search patterns, including the top 10 gaining queries and the top 10 declining queries.

For the week ending August 9, 1994, the top 10 gaining queries were:

1. mega millions
2. doom 3
3. rick james
4. mary kay letourneau
5. anastasia myskina
6. olympics
7. ralph fiennes
8. quincy carter
9. hurricane alex
10. lindsay lohan

For that same week, the top 10 declining queries were:

1. the village
2. jibjab
3. robert sorrells
4. democratic national convention
5. barack obama
6. jennifer love hewitt
7. alexandra kerry
8. lori hacking
9. big brother
10. amish in the city

Metaspy offers both filtered and unfiltered peeks at the search terms people are using. Here's a sample from the filtered version:

big plus
function and theory of 12v battery charger not shopping online
function and theory of 12v battery charger not shopping online
processed 100% plantago hydrocolloid
dallas 'deep elam'
va funeral
ndc+ programmers reference guide
i like coconuts
childrens ability fund

Here's a sample from the non-filtered version:

rc car racing
isaac asimov biography
refurbished ibook
international travel greece
ship lawn mower to apo
"curtain hooks"
jobs in fine dinning restaurant in usa
lethbridge, alberta dancing girls

Oh no! Isaac Asimov! And dancing girls!

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What did Shakespeare say about lawyers?
The latest William Nesler news:

Lawyer says no body, no case
Published: August 11, 2004


An attorney for William "Willie" Nesler wants the murder case against his client dismissed because the victim's body was cremated before defense investigators could examine it.

Brian Chavez-Ochoa, the Valley Springs attorney defending the 23-year-old Sonora man said that, without a body, the defense team has no chance to look for evidence that might exonerate Nesler....

Nesler, the prime suspect in the case, was on the lam for 11 days before turning himself in to a Sacramento bail bondsman the same day the Tuolumne County Sheriff's Department released the body to Davis' mother.

Rita Brown of Arnold had Davis body cremated and his ashes were scattered in the Pacific Ocean last weekend.

Chavez-Ochoa said in most murder cases, the body is preserved by the coroner long enough for tests and an autopsy to be completed.

But, in the case of Davis' body, the coroner called the District Attorney's office to get an OK to release the body first, and that's where a mistake was made, Chavez-Ochoa said.

"But for that phone call they (coroner's office) could have just released the body and there would be no issue," Chavez-Ochoa said. "But by making the call, the district attorney had ‘constructive' possession of the body and therefore a duty to preserve it. It's an interesting question and one that needs to be answered if not at the trial level then at the appellate level."

Tuolumne County Deputy District Attorney Eric Hovatter, who is prosecuting the case, said all the necessary steps to preserve evidence from the body, including taking photographs, retaining fluid samples and an autopsy, were done. Beyond that there was no legal reason to not release the body.

"We had the considerations of the family and we had no idea if Mr. Nesler's arrest was days, weeks or months away, when the decision was made," Hovatter said.

A Sept. 8 hearing on the legal issue has been set....

Willie Nesler is the son of Ellie Nesler, infamous for the 1993 killing of a man accused of molesting her son and four other boys when they were young. She was convicted of voluntary manslaughter and sentenced to 10 years in prison. Based on a successful appeal, she was released from prison early, but has since returned after pleading guilty to drug charges.

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