Monday, January 31, 2005

Valentine's Day

I am not a Valentine’s Day sort of person. No, it’s not that I have something against the commercialization of the day or will spew some sort of phony line that smugly asks why we need one day to recognize a feeling we should have all year long.

It’s that, over the years, I have had a number of bad things happen on Feb. 14th. Also, try as we might, my wife and I have never really been able to pull off a great celebration. And we’ve tried. I won’t go into details.

I will say, that 20 years ago, we celebrated Feb. 14th in Rio during pre-Carnival and it was great. I don’t recall anything special regarding the day—folks in Rio need no excuse to celebrate anything—but it was no doubt a day on the beach just being part of the scene.

This year does not bode well for a major blow-out. The night of Feb. 14th begins the “Yahrzeit” of my father in law who died 10 years ago. We will be at our synagogue at a brief service during which my wife will recite the prayer of remembrance. I am thinking a Luby’s dinner afterwards. We sure know how to have a good time.

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Third Grade Humor

When it comes to humor, my appreciation level is somewhere between third and fourth grade. Yep, I admit it. My latest bathroom/frat-boy humor source is “Crank Yankers,” a show on Comedy Central in which puppet characters make phony phone calls. I wrote about my appreciation for this vulgar but hilarious show on my other blog. I am not the only one who likes this show, as it is among the most searched words on that site. The episode in which Wanda Sykes calls an auto mechanic complaining there is a turd in the back of her car, had me rolling on the floor. One I just watched (after a long, stressful weekend), was someone calling a rabbi for advice on how to convert.

Beyond “Yankers,’ I love most dumb Adam Sandler movies, with “Waterboy” my favorite. Ever time I think of Steve, the family pet mule, playing badminton, I laugh. You can toss in “Animal House” in this mix, and even though that movie is close to 30 years old, some of the scenes are classic.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

More on ESPN 360

It was duly noted that ESPN 360 is available for a free trial this weekend. I downloaded it yesterday and have been toying with it and can just see the amazing potential here. I won’t go into in depth, but probably will in a research document for our clients at Gartner.

I recall vividly, in a speech about five years, telling the audience that the ultimate Web application would be a personal version of ESPN on my desktop. My wish has been granted.

Oscar Buzz at the Box Office

We left home last night with every intent on seeing (the multi Oscar niminated) “Sideways” at the local movie palace. Upon arrival, this film that didn’t even show up last week in the top five box office grosses was sold out. Admittedly, this theater often puts under-performing films in smaller “rooms,” but even so, we were somewhat surprised. We were there and had time to kill, so we saw “Meet the Fockers.”

Fockers was lame to the nth degree, but Barbra Streisand was luminous. I only wished she sang something…even one note. The DeNiro character—overbearing, former-CIA father with his circle of trust--is getting tiresome. Dustin Hoffman was also funny, but it’s difficult to imagine he’s taking these sorts of roles after “Rain Man,” “Death of a Salesman,” “All the Presidents Men,” “Tootsie,” and so on. Guess he has to pay the rent like everyone else.

Also, somehow Ben Stiller’s appeal is lost on me. He plays the same character in every film—a dzlub (pronounced shlub) with a self-depreciating sense of humor. His dad, Jerry, whose portrayal of Frank Costanza in “Seinfeld” is Hall of Fame material, is far funnier than his offspring. But then again, so is his mom Ann Meara.

Friday, January 28, 2005

Look Out Warren Buffet

Yahoo! News - Mary-Kate & Ashley Take Over

How the Other Half Lives

The diabetic’s life is an odd one entirely based on numbers. The most telling number is your BG (Blood Glucose) reading when you wake up. As a Type II, mine varies generally in the 140-170 range. Considering normal is below 100, you can draw your own conclusions. At 150 + you feel logy but certainly not what you feel at 220.

So, today was one of those rare, random days when I woke up and my reading was 118, which for me is joyous. Immediately, you wonder, how did that happen? What did I eat (or didn’t eat) last night? What did I do differently to be so (relatively) low? The answer, generally, is nothing. It’s all about being diabetic. It’s the family gift/curse that is now in its third (and last) generation.

At 118, you feel happy and your mind is (relatively) clear. You can speak coherently on the phone and the world seems good. The other day, in mid afternoon, my reading was 250 and I remember about three words of a conversation I had with a new technology company.

I cannot imagine what I wouldn’t do (bad grammar) to get low readings all the time, or in essence, get rid of this nasty disease. It’s why, when I run for U.S. Congress, I will make stem cell research a priority. The cure for what I (and millions of others) suffer through each day is in sight. To allow foolish, narrow-minded, self-righteous people stand in the way is cruel nonsense.

Scottsdale Road

Scottsdale Road is a famous North-South thoroughfare in these parts. It goes clear down to Tempe (although bearing the name Rural Road) and way North about six or seven miles past our home where it ends in Carefree/Cave Creek and bears the name Tom Darlington Road.

For several years in the early ‘90s, I commuted along Scottsdale Road and grew to hate it. Traffic in the morning could be bad, especially in the days before freeways were up and running. Oh, did I mention I was driving a car that didn’t have air conditioning?

Today through Sunday, my wife and I will be intimate with Scottsdale Road. Our daughter is involved in a special event at our synagogue which will require somewhere between five and seven roundtrips that will take us along Scottsdale Road. Add in traffic from the FBR (nee Phoenix) Open, a big car auction, several art expos and a “Horse circus” (more about that later) and you really need that iPod adapter to work in your car. I fear a lot of Eagles tunes are in my near future.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Atlantic League All-Star Game

I got my email from the Atlantic City Surf announcing that they will be hosting the 2005 Independent League All Star Game on July 13th. Wow, that was minutes after reading, in SI, that 45-year-old Dennis (Oil Can) Boyd was making a comeback and would be playing for the Brockton Rox (in the same league). Boyd predicts he will make the All-Star game (although, when Can made the statement, he admitted he didn’t even know if his new league had such a game).

We’ll be there! We do need to get past the issue of not being allowed to bring food into The Sandcastle. The concessions sucked. I snuck a hoagie in my diabetic supply bag and my wife brought food in hidden in her clothing. This year, we’ll be cleverer.

Cannot wait to Videoblog from the game.

And Now, There's Video

I put up my first video clip on my "other" blog (the one used to test new media concepts). It's not much, just a shot of our backyard. I used my Nikon Cooplix digital camera to take the clip; big PROPs to the Nikon Tech Support folks who are just fantastic with the help.

Way to go, eh.

After Laying Off 7,000 People, Why Not

Yahoo! News - Reports: SBC in Talks to Buy Rival AT&T

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Tongue Piercing

Last week, at our work gathering, there were three consecutive evening gatherings. I reckon they were composed to foster collegial behavior among the 700 or so in attendance. They were loud and the food generally was lousy. That fact is more notably sad given the proximity of great food to our location just slightly SOMA.

On the last night, there was a cocktail party, dinner and awards hoo-hah. As we stood around trying to be heard over the din, we watched a group of co-workers perform on stage. A few actually had some modicum of musical talent, especially a woman who sang “Killing Me Softly” and a few other tunes. Mike, who is at the same height level as me (meaning I can hear him, even over the noise) was freaked out when he saw on the big screen that the singer had a tongue ring. And man, it was a nasty looking one. Mind you, Mike is not a shrinking violet or one who has lived a sheltered life.

I am not one for piercing. No one is punching holes in me that don’t belong there; heck, I poke all sorts of holes in me body each day with all matter of needles and syringes and lancets. Piercing for fun? Well, that just ain’t right!

Looking up at the screen at the colleague/singer, I say, OUCH!

We Must Never, Ever Forget

Yahoo! News - Auschwitz commemorations begin with ecumenical prayer service

Self Service IT Help

I have not been blogging the last 24 hours because my *%^SGH@!! computer has been offline. After our machines were upgrade to XP, something happened that prevented me from attaching to my corporate network. A few calls later, I find that my Microsoft Wireless Router has some sort of Universal Plug and Play feature is being literally smacked down by the firewall on my work PC.

No, you cannot disable the firewall. No, you cannot futz with the firewall.

My options were to fix the problem myself or buy a new router. Thanks.

Well, thanks to some really nice person (a security nut) I found on the Web, I was able to download an applet that locates and disables all UP&P devices on your system. I am now good to go.

Guess I now am my own IT department.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

The Back of his Head Says "Putz"

Yahoo! News - Co. to Advertise on Neb. Man's Forehead

Monday, January 24, 2005

The Boys of Winter

Spring Training is in the air. I was driving down to The Phoenician to pick up my colleague Daren, who was visiting from the UK, and there I saw a bunch of players at the Giants practice field on the corner of Hayden and Camelback. Players don’t report until Feb. 24th, but they were unmistakably SF Giants. I imagine there were some players rehabbing injuries and some just wanting to work on skills. Lots of Giants players live in the area, so seeing them at the practice park makes sense.

I’ll be back. With pictures!

Some Answers

I don't know about the DVR numbers, but I have driven through Yuma and there are (maybe) two (English-speaking) stations in that area, hence the interest in satellite radio.

Center for Media Research - Daily Brief

Which Day Is The Best Day?

MSNBC - Jan. 24 called worst day of the year

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Next Stop, Jacksonville

As a boy, I lived through some horrid Eagles seasons. This win is sweet. Only wish we were going to Florida for the big game.

Philadelphia Inquirer | 01/23/2005 | Fourth and goal: Eagles are Super

Luckily, He Just Came Home from Costco

One of those 80-roll TP packs was purchased...

Yahoo! News - Offbeat Photos - AFP

As Corey Hart Once Sang...

I have this thing about people who wear sunglasses indoors. Well, people who are not visually impaired, at least.
Yesterday, I saw a man--maybe in his 60s, walking around the airport in sunglasses. So, I wondered, did he just come off a cruise and forget to take off his sunglasses? Was the bright light coming in from majestic windows at SFO blinding him?
Or.. was he just trying to look cool?


There will be lots of drunken fans at the game. Should be fun. Wonder if Vick will enjoy being pelted by snowballs. Among the (many, many) reasons why I moved away more than 20 years ago.

Philadelphia Inquirer | 01/23/2005 | Fierce Arctic storm wallops the region

Saturday, January 22, 2005

The Weather and The Game

Seems to me crummy weather favors the Eagles. If the footing is bad, Vick cannot roam much out of the pocket. If Vick cannot improv, and has to throw, it should be a long day for Atlanta. - Local Weather Page

Homeward Bound

Three nights felt like a week, but I enjoyed a productive company gathering. I got to meet a lot of folks with whom I have had only phone contact. Hopefully, new alliances will be forged.

Mike, Denise and I dashed out for some sushi (at the place TS and I went to in August) between scheduled events. That was fun, especially since the evening banquet-esque was something unidentifiable. Now, thank heaven, I am getting ready to head home in a few hours. While most Eastern airports are bracing for a projected storm, I am going to Arizona where snow is a nasty four-letter word most people leave behind.

As I regain my senses, I’ll share some non-proprietary insight gained from the last few days.

Friday, January 21, 2005

Traffic Memories

(and I don't mean Steve Winwood)

I just spun the dial and saw a picture of traffic going over The Golden Gate Bridge. It was packed. It sent chills down my spine, bringing to mind the seven-year commute I had from Marin County to San Jose. It’s been more than three years since the commute, but it’s forever burned into my memory.

But then again, Fridays I rarely drove in to the office. Generally, I worked at home and my wife and I would have lunch at Marin Joe’s. In a few hours, that will sound like a great idea, but not without my wife.

Fitness Center

A few weeks ago, my wife and I were in the fitness room at the Sheraton Palace, just a few blocks from where I am staying. We were virtually alone in the workout room save for a few people straggling in and out, some using the pool.

Yesterday and today, before 6 am, the fitness center here at The Marriott is/was packed. The folks at my company, by and large, are a fit bunch and every machine was in service. I think it’s fairly brave (or just egotistical) to appear uncombed, in sweats, for your colleagues to observe. As for me, I don’t give a hoot what people think, but that’s my mantra for just about everything.

Today, I was feeling especially ragged, so we had to go “old school” on the iPod to get through the 30 minute, high-speed stationary bike ride. Today, we featured The Whispers, Jackie Wilson, Main Ingredient and Sly Stone. I ended with “Kid Charlemagne” by Steely Dan—not a great exercise song, but one with interesting lyrics. I recall reading somewhere that the song is about Stevie Nicks.

Sadly, when I transfered my songs from this PC to my Media Center machine, all of my Gap Band songs were lost. After hearing The Gap Band (a personal favorite) at a party last night, I was ready to chug along with the guys from Tulsa.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Back On

Well, it was relatively painless. I am now in re-possession of my PC which has now been XP-ed. Looks like a lot of my pesonal stuff is gone, but this reporter carefully backed up all his files.

Long day here in SF; arrived at work meetings in the dark, got back to the hotel in the dark. Fun evening event ahead.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Programming Alert

I will be on a brief blogging hiatus. My company is taking advantage of a research gathering to upgrade our computers. That means, no PC. That means no blogging. Well, probably no blogging. Time to get ingenious.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Lucky Me

Yahoo! News - Diabetes Linked to Reduced Risk of Prostate Cancer

Wallendas at The Vet

I once saw the Flying Wallendas walk across the top of Veterans Stadium at a Phillies game. I think it was '76 or '77 and Wayne Twitchell was pitching.

Yahoo! News - A Flying Wallenda Tries for a Comeback

But It Only Has Two Bathrooms

Yahoo! News - World's Largest Passenger Plane Unveiled

Politics Starts With A Business Card

My race for U.S. Congress officially started yesterday. I (along with my wife) am a precinct committeeman. I think we ran unopposed. And in this day of communications, we were notified by email. Wonder if JFK was notified by email when his political campaign was launched?

I asked my wife if I get a badge and a gun. She said, no, just a business card. I at least was hoping for a badge; she informed me I was not the sheriff.

Monday, January 17, 2005

Gotta Love City Pride!

Clusty the Clustering Engine

Does He Get to Bring Ray Lewis?

Niners pick Nolan to be new coach

MLK Day Thoughts

Today commemorates the life of Dr. Martin Luther King. My wife asked how I will honor the day, am I am not sure. I remember where I was when the word spilled out over the CBS Evening News (with Walter Cronkite) that Dr. King had been murdered. I was in high school in Philadelphia and also remember the troubled times in our nation that followed his death and the murder of Robert Kennedy. I guess today, I will wonder how things have changed since April 4, 1968. I’d have to say, overall, not very much.

I am thrilled The Eagles won yesterday. I am hopeful they will beat The Falcons next Sunday; the trick will be to contain Michael Vick and force him to pass. If Vick is allowed to roam the field, it will be a long day. My prediction:Eagles 30, Falcons 21.

I will have a blogging hiatus this week. Analysts from my company are gathering this week, and our company is taking the time to upgrade our PCs to Windows XP. As my other PC is a desktop model, I will be computer-less for a few days and unable to blog. I’ll take lots of notes and catch up over next weekend.

We didn’t watch the golden Globes last night. I am still down on the entire celebrity thing after seeing these smug stars ask for money Saturday night on Tsunami Aid. As if they really care.

Lastly, I hate to rub it in, but it feels like spring here in Arizona. Other parts of the country get a nice day here and there in January, but, by and large, we truly have the weather to beat. It’s sunny, low 70s and the birds are chirping. Yeah, yeah, I know it will be 110 in six months; that’s just fine by me.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

90 Minutes to Kickoff

I am torn. In my heart, I’d love for the Eagles to win—this week, next week and then SB39. I am changing my previously stated opinion (the guys at Corleone’s convinced me) in that The Birds will win today. I think the defense will rise to the occasion. Next week, against the Falcons, though… whoa… if you saw Vick last night, it’s difficult to imagine anyone beating Atlanta right now. I have never seen a pro QB run the naked bootleg/option like Vick does.

Today: Eagles 20-10 winners. Next week... Well, maybe TO will make a miracle recovery. I’ll hold off my pick.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

MLKDay In Arizona

Arizona is not what you would call the place to be if you are looking for supporters of The Rainbow Coalition. In fact, until recent years, the state did not observe MLKing Day. This position cost the state a Super Bowl bid when we lived here on our first tour of AZ duty (‘89-’93). This time around, the state is mellower, but perhaps just pragmatic. We now observe this coming Monday as a tribute to Dr. King and other civil rights activists. And, in 2008, the Super Bowl will be played at the new Cardinals Stadium in Glendale. The only other SB played here was in 1996, while such gawdawful places as Jacksonville and Tampa get the game on a more regular basis.

Friday, January 14, 2005

Ahoy The Pirates!

Tomorrow, we’re off to see “The Pirates of Penzance,” which is part of our theater series. I know my wife was hoping to opt out and send our daughter in her place. Sadly, my daughter has a Bat Mitzvah event and is booked. My wife is praying for a power failure in downtown Phoenix or some other lightweight disaster that will postpone the performance.

On the other hand, I love Gilbert & Sullivan (like Sam Seaborn). I was not secretary of Princeton’s Gilbert & Sullivan society.

ESPN 360

Looks really cool, but it seems to be distributed by individual service provider (AOL, Comcast, Charter, Roardrunner, etc...). For some reason, my provider, Cox, does not support the service.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Beware of Alumni Passing the Plate

There are those who claim that college years were the best part of their lives. That is not true for me, and I was reminded of that fact over the past few hours. Just back from the gathering of local alums of my college, I am void of feelings about my alma mater. The alumni folks were here to raise money for a new life center (athletic and exercise facility) and put on a nice little event, and showed off the campus to be the idyllic academic facility it tries to be. For me, there really are no memories worth keeping, and I plan on leaving it that way.

There were about 25 people in all, and I was not the oldest by a long shot. There was someone from the class of ’46, which makes him 80 years old. There were some younger, and a few from adjacent classes, but none from good ole’ Class of ’75.

My wife asked if we visited campus could she work out on one of those new elliptical trainers. The alumni reps smiled and told her they’d be honored. She must have plans I don’t know about

Sean Penn and Richard Nixon

We don’t get to a lot of movies (in the theater that is), but among the new ones on my like-to-see list is “The Assassination of Richard Nixon.” As with most people from my generation, I have a hate-hate relationship with Richard Nixon, the man who prolonged the Vietnam War (among other atrocities). The book, “Kennedy and Nixon,” by Chris Matthews is a insightful look at the man behind the man and is sure to offer (for those who care) some dimension to this one-dimensional figure of horror who was the POTUS (as Mike says) during a turbulent era several decades ago.

Sean Penn plays a man who is hellbent on killing Nixon, seeing the POTUS as responsible for his sorry lot in life. Penn is amazing actor who was awesome in both “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” and “Falcon and the Snowman” (among other films). Penn and his actress wife Robin Wright (Penn) live a few miles from our former home in Marin County. I saw him once at Woodland Market and let me tell you, he had a look about him that not only said, “Don’t ask for an autograph,” … it said, “Breathe near me, and I’ll kill you.” He was a greasy little guy in a leather jacket, but he looked tough.

Calling All Local Alums

Yes, all three of them.

Tonight, I am headed off to an unusual event—a gathering of local alumni from my college. As I stated previously (on Hill Street Blues), I graduated college 30 years ago. My college is about 2,300 miles from here, so it’ll be interesting to see who lives here and why they live here.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Opening Night In The Checkout Line

Back in 1989, when my wife and I moved to Arizona, we didn’t have two nickels to rub together. We rarely went to the movies and had a crummy TV set (sans cable), so we went to some odd extremes for social activities. In addition to wandering/window-shopping at the hoity-toity Biltmore, we’d go to supermarket openings. Here in the Phoenix area, there must be more supermarkets per square inch than any major city in the U.S.

I vividly remember attending opening day at Smith’s ® on Camelback Road. The place was so crowded, they had security guards in the parking lot. I remember enjoying opening day at a Basha’s and maybe even an Abco (which has since departed Arizona). Big fun at supermarket openings includes free samples, triple coupons and maybe even a remote broadcast from a local country station.

For old time sake, early tonight we attended the grand re-opening/remodeling of a Safeway a few miles from here. How excited was my wife, you ask…it was her second trip of the day, this time armed with a 10% off everything from the hours of 4 p.m.-8 p.m. Lots of great free samples which included some disgusting breaded cod and perhaps the white-floury-ist cake every made by human hands. Seriously, the place looked great and we saved $13 in coupons. Yes, we cut coupons, if you must know. Cutting coupons is a Sunday ritual for me which initially started out of need and then became an interesting habit as it’s often a great place to learn about new products. As someone who is a futurist, I love to see what’s new to the marketplace. Heck, on double coupon night, you can save enough money to actually pay for the petrol it takes to get to the supermarket.

Celebrity Seatmates

I have flown quite a bit, especially in the past 10 years. Honestly, I have seen very few celebrities on my flights. Guess few celebs are on that Chicago to Cincinnati flight.

Among the handful I have seen are Barry Manilow, Rickey Henderson, members of the band Cheap Trick, Huey Lewis, Rich Eisen (formerly of ESPN) and Bobby Slayton. Once, I sat next to the commissioner of the Arena Football League, David Baker. - Celebrity seatmates: Travel hassle or in-flight entertainment?

Angus Beef?

What is up with Angus Beef ®? Is it marketing scam, and are we foolish enough to buy it?

Today, I saw an ad for a local supermarket (are they still called that?) with a special on Angus ® Beef. Is that the name of the cow from whom the beef was captured? Is that the name of the farm on which the cow lived? Is that the name of the cattle rancher? Excuse me, but I thought (according to the FDA), beef came in prime, choice and select, not with fancy names like Angus. Next week, will they featured Mel Beef or Omar Beef?

I see one of the burger chains also touting Angus Beef. I guess, we as consumers, like the sound of the name and assume it’s higher quality. What do marketers take us for? Yep, we know the answer to that…

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

The New D-backs Centerfielder?

Ledger-Enquirer | 01/11/2005 | Former Devil ready for his chance

"It was 20 Years Ago Today..."

Jan. 11, 1985: We left Vancouver BC airport for Buenos Aires. We flew via Lima, Peru where we had a long delay as another flight from Canada was meeting our plane and then the two flights were consolidating for the remainder of the trip. I had time to buy a tie emblazoned with a llama at the airport gift shop. Next stop, Santiago, Chile, where we had another stop but were not allowed off the plane. We arrived in Argentina in a total haze at some point on the 12th.

We traveled via bus, train and plane throughout Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil for the next 11 weeks. We wandered, went on beaches (carnival in Rio), talked to all sorts of people, ate all sorts of great food and just enjoyed exploring together until April. We learned of the 49ers Super Bowl win while talking to some locals on the beach in Punte del Este, Uruguay. There was no CNN to be found in South America, and English newspapers were near non-existent. We traveled light with no jewelry other than wooden wedding bands and a cheap watch. Given the impoverished conditions in Brazil, we knew it was wise to do what we could to not look like Americans flaunting their goods. We heard stories about muggings, robberies, etc in Rio and Sao Paulo… but they universally were in cases where people stupidly wore their Rolex ® watches on the beaches.

We have a million stories. Today, we’ll think of all of them. We’re now planning our next major dream trip. I can hardly wait.

Best Buy Not Best for Podcasting Supplies

Have to say my trip last night to Best Buy ® to purchase Podcasting tools was a major disappointment. The place looked somewhat decimated; my wife says they never restocked after the holidays. I wanted to buy a device that records phone calls (nope, didn’t have); a digital audio recorder (lousy selection) and a microphone (poor choices, but bought one anyway).

BB had lots of DVDs (low margin product if ever there was one), video games (ditto) and blank DVRs by the bushel-load. Did that many people get DVD recorder for the holidays?

Well, looks like I have to make my way to Fry’s to get what I want. Sadly, both Fry’s Electronics in my area are a good distance from here.

Monday, January 10, 2005

The Birds Won't Make It

As much as I want The Eagles to play in the Super Bowl, I just don’t see it happening without TO. As such, I’d rather have them lose this week to the Vikes than face the ignominious distinction of losing another NFC Title Game, this time to the Falcons (who surely will crush The Rams). Whomever plays Pittsburgh (who will beat The Colts to go to the Super Bowl, after The Colts beat The Law-less Pats) will get slaughtered.

Syndicating My Podcast

By clicking on this link, you can subscribe to my Podcast. You need iPodder or Doppler or some other upload program to put it on your iPod.

Unit Off to a Great Start

Yahoo! Sports

Trial Podcast

This link will take you to my sample Podcast which will live on my "other" site.

All the More Reason to Read It

Yahoo! News - Some Miss. Libraries Ban Jon Stewart Book

Coffee Brewing Blues

While it hardly qualifies as an issue of global significance, we just can’t seem to find a good coffeemaker. We’ve been through a ton, ranging from a simple Mr. Coffee-like apparatus to a vacuum-brewing contraption from Germany. Either the brewers don’t make the coffee strong enough or don’t have an automatic timer or just go kaput from excessive use.

Our latest casualty is one that worked really well for a while—an automatic percolator that brewered strong (yes, the stronger the better) coffee. The timer was a little finicky, but it was a hearty solider until its heater gave out. The coffee would not get hot and stay hot. You had to set the timer for 40 minutes in advance of wake-up to get it piping hot, and then eventually its brewing mechanism went ker-plooey.

We now are using a travel coffeemaker, which is serviceable enough, but it does not make a lot of coffee and does not have a timer. Seems like we’re back to square one.

Sunday, January 09, 2005

Triple Threat

Light blogging day. Doesn’t get any better than being an asthmatic diabetic with a really bad cold. That means you cannot take any of the OTC cold remedies. At least there’s lots of football on TV.

Saturday, January 08, 2005

Talk About Futility

I see where the Seattle Seahawks haven't been in the NFL Playoffs since 1984. That means they haven't been in the post-season since we lived there and I was a newspaper columnist. In fact, I think we were at the last playoff game.

Friday, January 07, 2005

The Chain Gang

One of the strangest, yet most common sights in the Phoenix area, is the Sheriff’s Chain Gang. You are likely to find men or women in striped jumpsuits collecting trash by the side of the road. Our sheriff is a non-nonsense guy who is a bit of a caricature who combines the image of the Old West with a modern-day hard-liner. The chain gang's goal (I think) is to produce cheap labor, maybe teach these folks a skill, and to also provide a dose of public humiliation.

Anyway, on our way to the Carefree Farmer’s Market, we saw the womens chain gang cleaning the road. Motorists are alerted via several temporary signs along the highway; I am not sure if the intent is to suggest that motorists lock their doors or to ensure that humiliation takes place. The gangs travel in a specially marked bus and even tow along their own Port-A-Potty.

Everything is cool except when some jerk honks his horn at them, which we just experienced. Was the idiot honker letting these women know he saw them? Was he looking for a date? Was he looking to sell Amway® products? Who knows?

Gere is a Runaway Bozo

Yahoo! News - TV Appeal by Richard Gere Perplexes Palestinians

Why We Live Here

Sunrise in January, Scottsdale AZ

Thursday, January 06, 2005

His Jersey Should Be A Prison Jumpsuit

Yahoo! Sports

Will I Meet Curt?

The entire family is volunteering this Saturday at the PF Chang Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon. We’ll be in the SHADE Foundation booth. That foundation was started by (former Diamondback) Curt Schilling and his wife Shonda. Shonda battled skin cancer and the two are devoted to skin cancer research and prevention.

I was “lured” to volunteer on the chance I’d get to meet Schilling, a high-tech nut. I do see, in Baseball America, that Curt is speaking the night before in Beverly Hills at a charity event/auction; I am doubtful he’ll be in Tempe in the wee hours of Saturday morning.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Not So Bravo

Why did Bravo (the TV network, that is) change it’s omnipresent on-screen logo? It went from a subtle reminder to a large, near-florescent logo in the bottom right of the screen. It has one of those cartoon talking bubbles around it which makes matters worse.

72,000 Fine Judges of Talent

Yahoo! News - Ashlee Simpson Booed at Orange Bowl

Podcast Coming

Related to my other blog, designed to test some work research theories about "consumers as creators" and home-gornw premium content and content sharing, I am creating two Podcasts. One will be with my colleague Mike (called MAD--Mike & Allen's Drivel), the other (called Line of the Day) will be a test to see how much or little I know about creating Podcasts.

At minimum, I should have an audio file up here in the next 24 hours.

Dude, Buy a Safe

The Sports Network - National Football League

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

This is What They do for Fun In Hungary


And I'll Even Buy D-backs Season Tickets!

I read somewhere that the Phillies are considering trading Ryan Howard to the Diamondbacks for the (soon to be acquired) Javier Vasquez. If the Phillies do that, it will eclipse the foolishness of the Sandberg trade referred to earlier today. Also, it will essentially hand the D-backs the NL West crown. And yes, I’ll buy season tickets!

That Was Some Trade

The Phillies sent Ryan Sandberg and Larry Bowa to the Cubs for Ivan DeJesus.

Yahoo! Sports

Never Watched It, Never Will

Only "The Gong Show" got this concept right.

Yahoo! News - 'Idol' will adjust its winning formula

Sounds Great, But...

Without the means to distribute content throughout the home (wirelessly preferred) and to remote devices it's a paperweight. Does anyone really have 180 hours of TV they'd like to save and watch again? They must be watching something I am missing or just zoned out in front of the tube.

SBC Joins the Convergence Crowd

Simply Red

Last year, we made our annual pilgrimage to see The Eagles. I am not a huge Eagles fan, but have now seen them three times in concert and they are entertaining (albeit dated given they haven’t had a hit in the last decade-plus). In addition, in 2004, my wife had the added bonus of seeing Don Henley’s solo act, which I had to miss because I was out of town for work. My hunch is that Henley, who clearly is the best (maybe only) talent in The Eagles, put on a great show. The highlight of the three Eagles concerts has been the band’s rendition (actually Henley’s rendition) of “The Boys of Summer.”

As for me, I am hoping to see Simply Red in 2005. I am a fan and my take is that Mick Hucknall and his band give a great live show. The sad fact is that they don’t tour too much. And when they tour, often it’s not in the U.S. The band’s last performance was in late 2004 in the Vatican for some worthy cause. One of the things I like about Simply Red (in additon to their music) is that they do a lot of fundraising for honorable charities. If they come to the U.S. in 2005, we are there.

I am also certain we’ll be seeing The Eagles as well. I’d love to see the “other” Eagles (the Philadelphia ones) in the Super Bowl in Jacksonville, but there are two issues: 1) They won’t get there without TO and 2) My wife bought tickets for a show the same day (and time) as the Big Game. And that’s cool.

Padded Sales, Padded Hips and Thighs

Yahoo! News - Krispy Kreme Stock Falls After New Filing

Monday, January 03, 2005

What We Search

The latest Lycos 50 (top 50 names or things searched) for the past week on Lycos are: 1) tsunami 2) Paris Hilton. One is a natural disaster, the other manmade.

Lycos�50 with Dean: 2004 In Review


We saw Spanglish yesterday. I liked the movie, but it’s the kind of film you need to see a few times (like James L Brooks’ others—“Good as it Gets” and “Terms of Endearment”) to pick up (what I call) the big messages. There are so many subtle and powerful scenes, it’s difficult to digest in one sitting.

Clearly, the writing far eclipses the acting. In previous films, Brooks had Jack and (nutty but brilliant) Shirley MacLaine to deliver his lines. No one, other than Cloris Leachman, is up to the task of echoing such powerful thoughts. I wanted to like Adam Sandler (being a huge fan of his inane comedies), but he’s a dramatic work in progress. He did a nice turn in “Punch Drunk Love,” but director Paul Anderson must have given Sandler a lot of runway to act crazy. In Spanlish, Sandler is far more restrained.

On the other hand, Tea Leoni, is either a great actor or a pitiful actor. If she is great, she made this less than sympathetic role come alive; on the other hand, she might just be overbearing and a nasty scenery chewer ala Kevin Kline.

This reviewer gives it three somethings: 

Great Move for the D-backs

Shawn Green heading to D-Backs

The Death of Network TV

I saw an article in the Arizona Republic (which I read only in locations I cannot access my PC) that previewed TV’s second-half programs. They uniformly look DREADFUL. For decades, TV programming has been built on the theory of planned obsolescence. Theatrical films are a close second in this category, but what other industry has such a low success rate? Even when you lower the threshold of “success,” network (and now cable) programming is just plain awful.

This is why network television will die. It will die quickly and with a loud thud that will be heard across the fruited plain. Could I, using my PC and simple capture and editing tools, create a 30-minute TV show that would be more compelling than the swill the nets will offer up over the next several months? Maybe not, but lots of others sure can. Check out some of the better videoblogs and you’ll see what sort of “stuff” is being built in the bushes. Does a program need to be created in Hi Def with surround sound to be of interest to the masses? No. I’ll bet someone will create a Web-based “American Idol” knockoff that will be far better than the original (which sure ain’t difficult),

2004 was the year of the blog? 2005 is the year that network TV begins to slip into a coma. Traditional radio as well.

Want to see something cool-- look at this news videoblog.

Why Would Anyone Make A Stink About This?

Yahoo! News - Woman Wants to Cleanse Colons in Her Home

Sunday, January 02, 2005

No Loss

Barry never was and never will be funny.

Yahoo! News - Dave Barry Column May Be Done in Miami


When a year starts, you never know what’s in store. You can only hope for the best.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of an amazing trip my wife and I took to South America. We left on Jan. 11, 1985 from Vancouver, BC, and landed in Buenos Aires. For the next three months, we wandered by train, bus and airplane through Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil. We were in Rio for Carnivale. We had hoped to go to Chile, but it was a time of civil and political unrest; in short, we were told that Americans were not welcome. We hope, 20 years later, to commemorate that trip with a trip to Vietnam. April looks to be our month for this new, magnificent sojourn. We may not be as wide-eyed as we were in 1985, but the excitement of new adventure will be in place, nonetheless.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of my college graduation. Big Whoopa-de-doo. I graduated Muhlenberg College in 1975, and I don’t stay in touch with anyone from my graduating class. I trade emails with one friend from the class of ’76, and do hope to see him and join him at a Washington Nationals game this year. I’d say the 30th reunion is a low priority on my list.

As for what else the year holds in store, I await to cosmos to provide answers. 2004 had some great surprises and some less than great ones as well. You can only hope for the best.

Saturday, January 01, 2005

2005: Day One

Sunny and 65 here in Arizona. Why be anywhere else?

I saw a factoid on Food TV this afternoon: the average American eats 34 donuts per year. Last year, I think I had three, so someone ate 31 of my donuts.

Speaking of food, the Tostitos® Fiesta Bowl is in town and we ran into a slew of Utah fans in Old Town Scottsdale. Utah is playing the Pitt Panthers (who haven’t had a good team since Dan Marino was the QB). The Utes generally looked like they don’t get to the big city very much--lots of folks in overalls looking somewhat puzzled at New York coal-fired pizza. Not much in the way of beer sales today.