Friday, July 30, 2004

Why Tony might be wrong

Note: Okay, this will be my last post about politics for the week. Promise.

My brother, who has been lovingly described as libertarian skin-head, recently posted about the reasons he might vote for Kerry. And if you knew his political stances, you can see this is a mighty big thing to even contemplate.

Well, I picked up a copy of The Atlantic Monthly (to read an article on David Allen that has taken almost two years to get into print) and found this article about John Kerry and his foreign policy team. I was shocked.

First caveat, while the article seems relatively balanced, the author is a strong Democrat. (See post about annoying blogs earlier today.)

Anyway, according to what I read, and you should read, is that (a) Kerry has assembled a pretty good team of international experts who (b) do believe in a strong international presence and (c) are not afraid of using force. The team would seem to (d) understand changing the leader(ship) of a country does not mean everything is hunky-dory, nor do they believe the dogma that (e) getting rid of Saddam means the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will get better. Kerry's advisors (f)
focus less exclusively than Bush's on rogue nation-states. They focus more on the host of diffuse dangers that have arisen in the wake of globalization: destabilization, arms smuggling, terrorism.

Good heavens! I cannot believe I like what I read. I still plan on writing in "None of the Above" for my choice as President, but I do feel a little better about the chances for Kerry's foreign policy.

Barack Obama on conviction

I've been busy this week, so I have not been keeping close tabs on the Democratic National Convention. I figure to hear some of the key speeches online next week, as I'll have more time.

What has been interesting to me this week, is the number of positive things staunch Republicans have been saying about what was said at the 2004 DNC. Read this article by Rich Lowry of National Review Online and you'll see why so many conservatives are now afraid of a Kerry win.

Of course, it's still early in this horse race to predict what's going to happen.

Too partisan

If you pay close attention to the posts about politics, you would notice I would rather read and comment about a conservative blog than I would about a liberal blog. I'm not sure why, but it seems to me that blogs supporting the Dems are whiny. Really, just reading them is a chore. Maybe years of reading editorials from the WSJ has made Republican bloggers more readable writers. I don't know, but something is different between them, and I know which one I would rather read.

All of this because I wanted to point you to Talking Points Memo, another blog that grates on me. Why point you to an annoying blog? Because it's the other side of the story, and if are determining your opinions by hearing about issues from one point of view, then your opinions are probably suspect.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Whose Line Is It?

I don't see this as a problem of Kerry waffling, or Ashcroft being despcable. Truth is, people generally believe one or the other and I will not change your mind with a little post. But Vodkapundit has a great quote showing how both of the above were on different sides of the argument in times gone by.

My question is, who was listening to pollsters then, and who listens to more now?

Taking on Google

Miscrosoft has just launched their much anticipated Google killer, MSN Search.

What is REALLY amazing is that I am the first two(!) responses when googling for myself on MSN. I did the same search on Google just this week and I was not within the first 60 hits.

Hmm, did you notice I used the more recent 'Google as a verb' to indicate 'search on the web' even though I used a different search engine? I typed as I thought and "Oh my, this will interesting."

Monday, July 26, 2004

I love this blog...

... because I love you. No, seriously.

I just talked to my cousin, Paul today. He is one of my favorite people in the world. I called him after he made a post on the blog, asking me to count him as one of my new, regular readers. While talking he told me he almost commented on some of the political posts I made and I encouraged him to do so.

A few days ago I talked to Scott. Scott's a friend from high school I haven't talked to since I was engaged. At the time I discovered he could not attend my wedding because he was marrying Nicky the same day. Anyway, he called to talk about our high school class 20 year reunion and gossip about the old gang. And he had read my blog. He was telling Rich and Carrie about my trip to Vegas and the invitation to go to the strip club.

A few weeks back Kristi says, "What's on your blog? My aunt is showing it to my mom and she's reading the whole thing." (Well, maybe not these exact words, but you get the gist.)

And then there are Kristi's friends who have come to new realizations about us because they have read some posts here.

Now, I cannot tell you if these people are regular readers or not. I cannot tell you if they are excited to know about the latest tidbit I find on the internet and I cannot tell you if they are agree or disagree with my opinions. I cannot tell you much at all about my readers.

What I can tell you is that I am glad you are reading. Sure, I write this stuff for me. But I imagine an audience, an old friend, a cousin, a distant aunt. And when I imagine these people reading about my day I smile. Because our world is so fractured, our communication so infrequent, our lives so busy, I am glad you took a few minutes out of your day to get a little glimpse into mine. I do love y'all. I want you to be a bigger part of my life. And while this method isn't great, and surely doesn't compare with sitting around a camp fire or a four-course meal or even a cup of tea, it's better than what we had yesterday, and for that I am thankful.

If you want to make a comment on my blog, and get a phone call from me, click "# COMMENTS" at the bottom of a post, then click "Post a Comment." It's fine to leave it anonymous, just type your name in the main comment entry field.

Friday, July 23, 2004


This one is for Lendy...

PC Magazine had an article about eMachineShop an online fabrication company. The article discusses how a user
can download a powerful yet straightforward CAD program to design objects. You then specify the material and submit your design to the site, and eMachineShop will price it according to the materials and machining or forming difficulty, along with the number of steps involved in manufacturing and finishing. The available materials range from every imaginable kind of plastic to metals such as aluminum, brass, and steel. You can specify bending, drilling, milling, turning, and various other operations. You can also specify finishes, including plating and powder coating.

The eMachineShop software prices your job on the spot, while the 3D rendering is on your screen. You find out what your part or run of parts will cost you in minutes, not days. When you give the okay, eMachineShop makes your parts and ships them to you. It's a full-capability fabrication facility that you pay for on an as-needed basis. Customers have created both simple and complex parts; you can see some photos on the site.

As someone who just had a product prototype built I love this idea. It would have given me a better product in less time. I cannot speak for the cost (yet), but "Oh, the potential for this." What will smart people and technology bring us next?

TiVo Rocks, RIAA and MPAA Suck

Have I mentioned before that the recording industry is *not* in a slump? Here's the gist, the recording industry is shipping a small percentage less records (CDs, whatever) than last year. But they are accepting returns for unsold goods at a much much lower rate than last year. So, if you look at the SoundScan #s, the numbers derived from actual cash registers, you would see that actual album sales are up(!) and the recording industry is printing less(!) which should dovetail into a great profit. Apparantly they are losing money on the lawsuits against kids? Or would that just be the increased lobbying? Anyway, they're liars and we don't like them.

So, now the MPAA and NFL are trying to stop TiVo from it's own plans to add features to everyone's favorite electronic device. I should probably dig deeper into the issue, but the simple story is (a) copy protection is not a bad thing and (b) TiVo is trying to keep access restricted, but the big guys spend more time listening to the lying RIAA than their consumers.
The NFL, meanwhile, is concerned that a user could send a copy of a game to someone in another time zone, where the game is blacked out. Burger responded that at current bandwidth, such a transfer would take 144 hours.
This quote from the link within mine.

Where are the people looking at the big picture of how technology and life intersect? Because coming up with laws and regulations in the current system seems to be a mess benefiting those with the most lobbying dollars.

Thursday, July 22, 2004

Beginning Poker

This post is for all the guys I play poker with on a weekly basis. Jeff Croft's Some Hold ‘Em Tips for Beginners is a great place to start.

Of course, no one I play poker with reads this blog, so it's not like I can get the advantage of better playing partners. *sigh*

Anyway, if you're in town on a Thursday night and want to join a standing game with a bunch of guys who mostly just play for the fun of it, give me a call.

On the same topic, I have been thinking about buying a table pad for the kitchen table to help with play (felt one side, leather on the other). And I've started bidding on good poker chips on eBay. The one I have from Target are okay, better than some we play with at other houses, but they're really not good enough. (No, I'm not spoiled, heaven forbid.)

Europe on Europe

According to this, the French are not rude; at least not in comparison to Germans.

Readers Digest British Edition compiled a poll of almost 4,000 Europeans on who is the sexiest (Italians), funniest (Brits), most open minded (Dutch), etc.

Little Friends

These are two little creatures found around our house this month. The first is a little cute, at least amusing. I have to tell you, we didn't see things like this crawling up the house where I grew up.
And this is why I called the exterminator. Jeez, I haven't seen a bug this big since some a childhood nightmare!

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

It's The People, Stupid!

Finally, somone else who agrees with me! It was a pleasure reading VentureBlog this morning. It had been ages since I was there last and they have their typical, high-quality, writing about start-ups, funding of the same, and basically good business prcatices. (But since I said they agreed with me, how could I not call them high quality, no?)

Most companies don't get it. In the race of business, in the effort to get ahead and usually just to stay where you are, the first component you need to address is the one of personnel. To build a great team, department, division, or company, you need outstanding people. Yes, you need to have a product/service and fill a compelling need (marketplace) and have a business plan that shows both cash flow and a profit, but even if you have these things, people are the key. People are the key to getting work done right, people are the key to solving customer problems, people are the key to establishing developing good practices, people are the key.

Some of the most popular business books over the last few years, Good to Great and First, Break All the Rules, have talked about how important the right (best) staff is, but I have yet to see small and medium sized businesses really embrace the practice.

And someday, we'll have to talk about what to do with an existing staff that doesn't measure up.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Beware Of People

Some years ago I read about the nut job (@ PETA?) who wanted the planet for animals, not humans. He's got to be at the extreme on the issue, no?

Maybe not. Forbes magazine has an article by Heidi Brown about the increasing violence by animal rights activists. While I appreciate the concept of good stewardship, including taking care of the planet and the varied resources, I think it is ludicrous to condone, support, or conduct violence in the name of good stewardship. I think it is ludicrous not to use those resources to improve our own lives, which is what good scientific research--using animals--does. Which would your rather have, a cure for cancer 2, 10, 40 years sooner, or to know that mice are no longer being harmed?

The article requires membership or that you read from the magazine. Or you can come by and borrow mine.

The idiocy of political correctness

My brother has a post and links to a current hot topic in the blogosphere, namely the story by Annie Jacobson about a fear-ridden flight with potential terrorists. I also commented on the stupidity of PC, something I want to support.

Anyway, read the story for yourself.

IDEA Awards

Sensory Impact has picked three great design ideas out of one hundred thirty IDEA winners from this year's IDEA. I am, of course, intrigued by the UnBathroom, and what possibly inspired someone to design a burnable cardboard toilet.

And then I went to the actual Industrial Design Excellence Awards website and perused the IDEA 2004 Gallery. Wow! How do you pick just three of those items?

Monday, July 19, 2004


2004_june_3So, Kristi and I are making more fun of my fascination with Linday Lohan, of Freaky Friday fame this last weekend. And I just wanted to take this opportunity to post my favorite picture of her.

Sure, you can go to Fleshbot and peruse the whole Lindsay nipple watch phenomenon, but I don't really get the fascination. I just (a) really liked Freaky Friday and (b) think she's cute.


Will the real terrorist please stand up?

Over the last month or so I have been occasionally wondering some new thoughts while listening to the news. (I don't watch much TV news, relying instead on NPR and the Internet.) Anyway, I have stumbled across someone who has expressed my ideas, apparently after doing more research than I have. Here's the quote by David Warren in a post by Belmont Club:
In the course of three years' intense study of the issue, I've become convinced that there is -- well, this is a slight exaggeration -- no such thing as "Al Qaeda" It is, more precisely, only a name applied vaguely to one of several financing and logistical arms of the Wahabi branch of what could more accurately be called the "Islamic Jihad".
The entire entry goes on to say a number of significant points, but among them are we are not looking for the right information and therefore do not see the threat round us, the reluctance of Western countries to declare all-out war, that this war has been going on a long time, that it is a war against a large faction within a religion, not a country and therefore has no real capital or army we can easily bomb.

Sunday, July 18, 2004

Holy Cow

*This link should not be viewed from work*

I am popping around on the internet, from one link to another, and somehow end up at TER. This, apparently well known abbreviation stands for The Erotic Review.

I first went to the site and thought it looked okay, but it didn't strike me as current. And some of the pages looked positively dated. Therefore, I thought the site would fall into one of two categories; (a) at least 2-6 years old, with a few posts, and nothing up to date [a failed experiment], or (b) a prank.

Now, I think I know a lot about the internet. I have been using it for more than a decade, I know what GOPHER is, how it predated Mosaic, and why it largely died. I surf on it most days of the week, read trade journals, and the regular press. So I thought I had a pretty good understanding of what was out there. Boy, was I wrong.

It turns out, TER is a very active internet site with descriptions of "escorts" in your area! Honestly, there is a "massage parlor" close to Kristi's office! And it has theme rooms!

I mean, Holy Cow! Here I thought I knew what the world was like, but obviously I don't really know all that much. After all, I have read about children downloading porn, and know this is blown out of proportion, but jeez, don't you think a website with thousands upon thousands of hooker reviews would get a little attention?

Okay, I'll calm down now. In truth, I think society would be better off if prostitution was regulated and controlled rather than outlawed. I don't want to participate, but it's been going on for milennia and ain't gonna stop because a congressman says so on a piece paper.

Alphabet Soup

A couple weeks ago I was driving home from poker and talking to my brother Tony on the cellphone. It was a good night, I had won $23 dollars or so and saying this was two good weeks in a row, even though I couldn't remember what I had won the week before. Tony says, "Twenty dollars."


"Twenty dollars. That's what you won last week."

And then I remembered, I was talking to him on the telephone after the last game, and he knew.

It's good to have a brother. And despite what other people think, he's not a bother. Really. So, get to know my brother at his new ABCD II.

Heck, right now he's the only person commenting at this place.

Friday, July 16, 2004

Senate May Pass Tobacco Buyout

During the Great Depression, when times were tough and farmers were failing across the nation, back in prior to federally support medical research, Congress passed a bill to create quotas, price support props, for the tobacco industry.

Now, when usage is finally declining (and imports for tobacco products are rising) [meaning the program doesn't work very well anymore] tobacco farmers and their senators have finally agreed to end the existing program, but only in exchange for a $12 billion dollar support program. ARGH!!!!

Tobacco, alcohol, sugar, chocolate, and coffee are all drugs that we voluntarily consume. None of them is a great benefit to our health and all of them cause significant problems with over consumption. It is my recommendation to stop any and all price supports for products in these categories. Don't get me wrong, I love chocolate, sugar, and--on occasion--the over imbibing of alcohol. But as these are all recreational drugs of one sort or another, I strongly disagree with government price supports and protection. Let the market handle these products on their own.

And to the extent that prices might fall, tax them more. I would much rather pay a consumption tax on my recreational drugs than I would on homes or veggies or cars that don't pollute.

For the NY Times article on the original topic, please click here

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Peronsal Online Card Catalog

Hey, you like to read, don't you? Check out this free site I found: Bibliophil.

It lets you store and rate your entire collection in a library. You can add me as your buddy and then we can recommend books to each other or request to borrow them.

It's got a lot of other cool features, like book recommendations, and favorite authors, and it shows best prices for books on your wish list. There's a lot more.

Anyway, I just thought you'd want to know. Check it out, and see my collection of books while you're there.

Career Change

Well, I have decided to change careers. I used the Job Predictor by entering my name, and it gave me the perfect career.

Next time you see me, I'll be a Garden Gnome.

Position Master

More proof that the internet allows and encourages everything, Men's Health is now offering help to those couples that need a new position for their private nap time. ThePosition Master allows you to select dominant partner, level of flexibility, and other settings before offering a tasteful line drawing.

While I never promised you a rose garden or a kid-friendly site, I thought about Justice Stewart's famous line "I know it when I see it" and hereby deem this site to *not* be pornographic.

Bond, James Bond

For those of you looking for a little heavy reading, The Story of Bond is an anthropological study of the epitomy of American cultural heroes by Lee Drummond.

A few thoughts of my own while reading this...
  • Bond is the epitome of American heroes, despite being British, because of the "can-do, authority be damned, the little guy can beat the evil-international-corporate-terrorist bastards." And he always gets the hot chicks.

  • Anthropologists have some running fueds and like to take great big hits at each other in midst of seemingly professional studies.

  • Intellectualism is, in itself, boring and pedandic. (Is that a tautaology?)

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Just a Statistic

The world is a small place and I like it that way.

We all have friends and family and sometimes both in the same person. One of my friends is Joy. She used to be family, now she is a friend. She's a co-worker too, or supervisor, if you prefer.

Anyway, it was with joy that I discovered she has a blog too. The difference is, she is truly expressing herself. Go ahead, read the link.

You'll she is expressing herself and what she is going through. I don't do that. Not that I haven't expressed a little bit, but I imagine who might read this and under what circumstances they may read this. For instance, Kristi's friends read this, and her mother read it just last week. A potential customer or employer may read this. A journalist looking for dirt may read this. And if you understand what Google is doing, once they get ahold of you, it may well be available forever. So I parse. Quite a bit. And this makes me sad.

I'll end with a quote from her site.
I used to say "now I'm a statistic" but then a dear friend pointed out that I was a statistic before, just a different one.

Hate Groups, Mapped

From the Southern Poverty Law Center: Active U.S. Hate Groups in 2003.

Click on a state, and find out which hate groups exist in your state.

From John Walkenbach (J-Walkblog link to the right)

Monday, July 12, 2004

Da Coach for Da Senate

It's amazing. The movement, desiring Coach Mike Ditka for the US Senate started four (4!) days ago according to the website timeline and already people are taking this seriously. My thoughts are (1) cool, (2) does no one take politics seriously, (3) the Republicans shouldn't be that desperate in IL, (4) what is the world coming to?

Really, is this stronger than the earlier potential to send Nolan Ryan to the Senate from TX? From what I recall, Nolan also runs a ranch and a bank. And can you find a link for this? I looked, but didn't see it.

The End Of Management?

Follow this link to a great article on markets. While the article does not go into great detail explaining the mechanics of how a person would bid or make money doing this, the uses of markets to predict the future is shown very well.

On a related note, I think it was a shame that the plan to use a market like one of these to predict future terrorist actions was killed by politics and outrage. This is just a tool that regularly predicts better than any other tool available. Any other! So, use the tool and help save people from becoming victims. It's not about making money off of suffering, it's about using collective wisdom to alleviate suffering. Until we find another, yet unknown, tool that works better than the marketplace, let us use the best we have. Anything else is shortsighted and foolish.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Nice thoughts

I just received this quote and wanted to share it.

"There's a better form of security: reconnect with the rest of the world, don't shut it out; stop making enemies and start making friends. Perhaps it's asking a lot to expect America to act differently from all the other empires in history, but wasn't that the original idea?"
--Brian Eno