Tuesday, August 28, 2007


Pictures are up from Caitlin's and my trip to DC yesterday. Fun day.

They look kinda weird because I took all of them with my iPhone. Since my camera is still broken.

Revenge is a dish best served bronzed

LET ME tell you about King Kamehameha. No, not the Dragon Ball Z variety.

King Kamehameha (AKA Kamehameha I and Kamehameha the Great) was the first monarch of the kingdom of Hawai'i (he conquered the Hawai'ian islands and established his reign in 1810).

Now I really don't want to tell you about Hawai'i or his reign. Partially because most of it is probably pretty standard stuff. Partially because I don't want to have to research it.

I want to talk to you about statues. In the US Capitol, every state in the union is allowed to submit for approval two statues to be housed somewhere in the country's legislative heart. Many statues stand in the old House of Representatives room (National Hall of Statues, now). They can only fit about 30 (I think the guide said 37) in the hall, though -- any more and the foundation would crumble under the weight.

You see, there are only two criteria for the statues: They must be someone from your state, and they must be made of either marble or bronze. (I know there's a copper Ike, but I think he's just an aberration).

So Hawai'i is its own happy little island kingdom until the US comes in, wipes out the dynasty and declares the archipelago annexed.

Fast forward to today (well, you know what I mean) and Hawaii sends this bronze statue of Kamehameha to be placed in the US Capitol.

Well, they tried. The first statue was so heavy it sank the ship carrying it across the Pacific to California. The second statue they sent during hurricane season. Winds broke its restraining ropes, the statue slid to one side of the boat and the whole ship promptly tipped over. Third time's the charm, because there is a statue in the Capitol of Kamehameha I.

And here is where our story gets interesting. Kamehameha is the heaviest statue in the Capitol (beside, I'm assuming, Lady Liberty). He weighs about 37 tons. They put him in the hall of statues, only to find he began crumbling the foundation under him. So they tried various spots around the room, all with the same result.

He's now in the hall behind some columns, shoved against a wall, where really no one can see him. And here he waits quietly eroding the building's foundation.

They put him against that wall because it was structurally the most stable spot. They found a couple years ago the foundation under him is still crumbling, and had to drill out the wall behind him and put in a steel rod.

Kamehameha the Great, after more than 150 years, is enacting the revenge of his people, the Hawai'ians, on the imperial forces that took his homeland and almost wiped out his people.

I can see it now. "Conquer us and make us into an 'annex' will you? We shall present you with a Trojan horse that will crumble the very foundations of your legislative body. (Evil laughs here.)"

Long live the king.

Thursday, August 23, 2007


WHEN your airplane burns itself into a smoldering pile of goopy fiberglas-and-sheet metal on the tarmac, what do you do? I mean, OK, let's say the passengers all got out. The last one slid off the inflatable ramp 30 seconds ago.


Taiwanese airway China Airlines' answer? Send out some lackey to immediate white wash from the wreckage your logo.

Step two: sit back and say "I don't know what you're talking about."

As the article to which I linked says, that's chutzpah.

If they'd gotten away with it, I can see this working in their favor... PR-wise. But they weren't quite fast enough, and instead of being able to disown the disaster, they have tons of pictures of some dude with white spray paint trying to efface their role.

That's some well-handled crisis PR, if you ask me...

Indirect discourse, now only 99 cents

I LIKE the way this dude talks about my obsessionsociété du fond.


I like crosswords. But I can never wake up early and do one over a cup of OJ, because I'm cheap and the paper that employs me is an afternoon daily. So I get my crossword at about 10/10:15 a.m., and can't work on it until 4 p.m. (at the earliest).

Woe is me.

I've thought about watching Wordplay, but I don't really like Blockbuster or Hollywood Video (although I have a card for Hollywood... I might as well use it...). They're both completely out of my way, and I'd only have to travel back out there to drop off the movie after watching it. Who watches a rented movie more than once, anyway? (OK, I think I watched Gattaca about seven times before returning it, but that's different.)

I could buy it on iTunes, but that's like $10 and although it's a critically acclaimed documentary, it's a documentary. About crossword puzzles. I dunno 'bout that one.


The more I interact with "society," the more I find I really am a child of the Web (even if, the first time my dad showed me "the Internet," I dismissed it as boring). I prefer to order clothing online -- the salespeople annoy me and make me uncomfortable... but not in a weird agoraphobic kind of way. I order music, movies and television shows online.

I'll probably order pizza online next time I need delivery, just to test it out and see if its faster than staying on hold for 10 minutes.

I do all my research online, for places I want to visit, things about which I want to know more. I converse with everyone online. I can't remember the last time (thank-you notes and cards nonwithstanding) I wrote someone a letter.

I order books online. I'll go so far as to visit Barnes and Noble, copy down an ISBN, and then go home and look up the book online, to find a hardcover edition, or a non-movie-tie-in edition, or a first edition.

I read all my news online. Aside from my own paper (and The Post and The Times here at work), I don't even give newsprint a second glance. I like to look at papers' designs, but I don't think flipping through one for my daily news is for me. It's much easier to click the "News" bookmark folder I have, and read things that way.

You see, computers don't annoy me. They don't get in front of my in the grocery store and walk really slow. They don't cut me off and then drive like they're drunk. They don't smell. They don't say uncouth things. They don't like NASCAR. Or country music. Or western music.

Does that make me a bad person?

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

All hail the chairman's stupid idea

CHINA next month will enact a law prohibiting Buddhists from re-incarnating without government permission. Not approval. permission.

Money quote:
In one of history's more absurd acts of totalitarianism, China has banned Buddhist monks in Tibet from reincarnating without government permission.
This is a country hosting the 2008 Olympics? A country on the UN Security Council? A permanent member of the UN? FUCK NO.

I'm sorry for the profanity, folks. But seriously. This is what's wrong with the world.

An important point I think to make, that no one else has mentioned (that I've seen, anyway), is how, exactly, do Chinese police intend to stop monks from reincarnating? Is this like Ghosbusters? Do they have particle-accelerator proton packs strapped to their backs, and when a monk dies, they zap his soul into submission?

Are they going to charge monks' temples when monks reincarnate without permission? How do they know when someone reincarnates? Do they have a meter somewhere? Or do they just have a Christmas tree, and every time a bell rings, they look through their list of "approved reincarnations" for discrepancies?

Seriously, what the heck were they thinking??

Friday, August 17, 2007


MAN I want to be able to write like this:
Long and lanky, Mr. Cera moves like one of those teenagers whose body hasn’t yet fully caught up to his newly reached height. With his wide-open face and smile, he looks absolutely amazed by what he can see from a higher elevation (the world!). But of course he looks surprised: he’s the top half of the exclamation point to the spherical Mr. Hill’s rolling big dot.
(From Manohla Dargis' review of Superbad). Plus that's a great description of Michael Cera. Damn.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Bertolucci, Kirosawa, Carmina--Burana

ANYONE not overwhelmed with the liberal media, and interested in film, should pick up a copy of The New York Times today, or head over to their Web site.

They have up twin glory obits on Antonioni and Bergman. Why would I post those links? Who cares? Well, the obits are written by Martin Scorsese and Woody Allen, respectively.

I always love to see those not in my industry write. I was amazed a couple months ago when an Op-Ed piece in The Washington Post ran with Sean Connery's byline.

I haven't read them yet, but I'm sure both are excellent pieces.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Mao hear this

YOU KNOW, as much as I love the olympics, I'm really torn about the "08-08-08" (marketing people love having fun with numbers) games. Maybe China will start the games at 8:08 and 8 seconds? Of course, that'd be China-time. Because everything is China. China is the best. China is good. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain. Or the thousands dying in Darfur at his feet. Or the entire culture of a proud and peaceful "region" of the country. China is happy. Did someone say lead paint in kids' toys? Nonsense. It's all Snowball's fault.

All I know is, if I wasn't so cynical, I might consider boycotting watching them.

I really don't know what China is. By the time Guns 'N Roses finally releases Chinese Democracy, the country might actually be a democracy. Or so they will tell the world. The People's Republic of China (lies in name: two, to steal from Jon Stewart) will always be communist. No amount of bleach will ever get the red out of their flag.

Or off their hands.

I really wish I could reprint columns we run in our paper. There was an excellent one by Nat Hentoff a couple months ago about why the UN is defunct. But there's also a great one in today about a Rose Bowl float supporting China.

The country's relationship with Sudan almost directly contributes to the genocide in Darfur. But that's Pop humanitarianism talk. Darfur's all the rage, so fire up the bleeding heart machine and we'll get these buggers to understand it's bad.

What about Tibet? Since the '50s, China has "assumed autonomous control" of "their region" of Xijiang, or whatever they want to call it. The PROC brought with it a "call to reunite" former Chinese lands to "preserve the brotherhood" or some bullshit. Yeah, go attack a bunch of monks who mind their own business. You think they'll fight back? They're freaking monks you communist pigs.

Good for you, you've conquered monks. That's like Italy trying to invade Ethiopia in WWII. Only the Italians failed at even that. But Monks don't use even spears and shields. So congratulations, you've "reunited lost brothers in communism." What do the monks get? Well since a principle part of their belief structure revolves around their spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, dying in Tibet (which does not exist anymore), you've fucked them over. Royally. Every time a Dalai Lama dies, Buddhists must now search the whole world for his reincarnation.

And, while we're at it, let's make it an even three strikes.

Question: you have what some might refer to as one of the natural wonders of the world -- three magnificent gorges, teeming with life, history and people. What do you do with it? Oh you're also hard up for cash.

A). Preserve it and offer tours to visitors from around the world?
B). Preserve it and let no one see it. Filthy un-communists do not deserve to lay eyes on its beauties
C). Leave it alone. What does the chairman care about some trees?

Of course you choose secret option D! Build the largest dam in the world against the engineering advice of the US and Germany and who knows who else! Displace hundreds of your citizens and ruin an ancient ecosystem to provide power to your cities! What do the Western dogs know about building dams anyway? It will be fine! Long live China!

For these and many reasons, China should not be trusted with -- or championed for -- presenting the ancient tradition of world cooperation and competition that is the Olympic Games. Get your own house in order before you try and present yourself as a unified front to the world, China.

Friday, August 10, 2007

A Brendan West Opinion

YOU KNOW, when I was sitting in college taking reviewing the arts for publication, my professor made us read a lot of Anthony Lane reviews.

A lot. I mean, I'm pretty sure this dude had a man crush on Lane. Which is all well and good, the reviews were very, very well written, had the delightful mix of anecdotes humor and lavish film descriptors... But it was sort of depressing. Kind of like showing a high school sculpture club that sculpture of the woman under the veil (excuse my naivete, I do not know what it's called), and then whipping them when they chisel a rough stick figure. Or worse, a piece of fruit.

Lane writes for the New Yorker. That's one of those sentences you just have to append "ooOOoo" to.

But I rather like Manohla Dargis. She writes for the New York Times, and while she doesn't do all their reviews, hers are - UHO - the best, the most knowledgeable, and really make you want to see movies.... Well, movies to which she gives a good review, anyway.

The recent one, Rush Hour 3, I think hits the film spot on, even though I haven't seen it. It's not so much a review (how can you write 40 inches on a threquel buddy-cop flick?) as a trashing of the evil that is Brett Ratner, who, through the magics of whatever guild he belongs, scored himself a "A Brett Ratner Film" possessive.

Yeah, I wouldn't be that proud of Rush Hour 3, Brett. Or X-Men: The Last Stand, for that matter.

On an aside about Lane: If you follow the above link to his Wikipedia page, you'll find his five maxims, which include No. 5, Try to avoid the Lane technique of summer moviegoing. The explanation for which is too great not to force upon you:
On a broiling day, I ran to a screening of Contact, the Jodie Foster flick about messages from another galaxy. I made it for the opening credits, and, panting heavily - which, with all due respect, is not something that I find myself doing that often in Jodie Foster films - I started taking notes. These went "v. gloomy," "odd noir look for sci-fi," "creepy shadows in outdoor scene," and so on. Only after three-quarters of an hour did I remember to remove my dark glasses.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Bawitdaba da bang a dang diggy diggy diggy said the boogy said up jump the boogy

SO I FORGOT what I was Googling, but I came across this message board, which asked the site's readership to post its ideas of the worst song lyrics ever. I also don't know why I read the whole thing, but a lot of it was very funny. Many are rap songs, but that just goes to show...

I've posted my favorites here so you don't have to scroll through a marathon thread to find the small glimmers of true humor (many entries just dump entire songs in their posts and look to the reader to discern what's so damn funny. No thank you).

Caveat lector: entries are reposted without permission and in their entirety. Foul language and slurs are included, true to the spirit of the songs in which they appear. Also, I've included quite a few entries. Whatever, they're funny.

Tucker Max (who posed the question) writes:
For me, the choice is clear. From "Ring Ding Dong" by Dr Dre:

Listen to the beats i spill
Keepin it real
I use Crest
So ain't no cavity creeps in my drill
But still niggas run up and try to kill at will
But get popped like a pimple
So call me Clearasil
Jane Folds writes:
Shakira-"Whenever, wherever"

"Lucky that my breasts are small and humble
so you don't confuse them with mountains"

Um, what? Lucky for whom?
Zambonian writes:
1) "Do I really feel the way I feel?" – Marc Cohn, Walking in Memphis. Why yes, Marc, I expect you feel exactly the way you feel.

2) "Until it ends, there is no end." – Cyndi Lauper, All Through the Night. But after it ends…that’s when the ending really starts.

3) "Only time will tell if we stand the test of time." – Van Halen, Why Can’t This Be Love? Oooh, Sammy. That’s way deep, dude.
AKB$ writes:
Lovers & Friends by Usher, Lil Jon, Ludacris

"Opened up your heart 'cause you said I made you feel so comfortable,
Used to play back then, now you all grown-up like Rudy Huxtable"

Who uses Rudy Huxtable as a ryhme in a song??
Boss Hogg writes:
After that, baby girl, Hey let's get some bub
Love, love, don't rub, we fittin to hit the club
Yeah they dance, but a lap dance they want a dub
They don't know nan, ask Trick they love a thug
Bam bam, jam jam, and a handstand, ha ha so tan in the tan stand
Ra-ra, na-na, ha-ha, la-la, mama I keep that blam blam

Quality writes:
"More Reasons" by Cam'ron <-----Shit is embarassing
Yo, uh, I rock baguettes with hoodies, it's like extra goodie
I couldn't break dance ya'll, or electric boogie
I was obsessed with Cookie, I wanna sex her cookie
She said forget her nookie, wipe my nose, go get them boogies
I gave Cookie nookies, with the girls, got known
This my two brim hat, call me Sherlock Holmes

"Superthug" by Noreaga
Aiyyo, we light a candle
Run laps around the english channel
Neptunes, I got a cockerspaniel

"Let's Get It" by G-Dep
Really, get smacked silly, you get smacked silly
Fucking with these niggaz from the, what you gon' do
When you ready? Shit I was born ready
And I was already on fish and spaghetti

"Only One Way Up" by Juelz Santana
Stop the hoe jokes, I'm not a homo, better believe I'll cock the 4-4
I ain't Mexican, but I'll stretch your man, yes I am a fuckin' vato loco
Hoski Broski writes:
As much as I love the guy, Bob Marley has some pretty ridiculous lyrics. My favorite:
"Please don't rock my boat, cause I don't want my boat to be rocking" from "Satisfy my soul."
Very profound, Bob.

Friday, August 03, 2007

10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

I WENT TO the used-book "bonanza" at the Gettysburg middle school last night. It was pretty much like any other used-book sale to which you've been -- a bunch of books nobody in their right mind would want, with some very interesting literature sprinkled on top like seasoning, or, perhaps, a garnish.

Caitlin and I walked away with three books each. I honestly forget what she bought, but I came away with a first edition of In Cold Blood, a first edition of Lord Hornblower, and a book called Down and Out in the Magical Kingdom (I think). It caught my eye because the author is Cory Doctorow (of Boing Boing fame).

Although Doctorow seems a bit of a conspiracy nut (he's the "Outreach Coordinator" for the EFF), I like his posts, and the plot sounds interesting. Plus it too is a first edition. I think I have a problem.

Conversly, you could say I just want to preserve literature as it was originally introduced, not with a "Now a Major Motion Picture" graphic. I want to have a nice hardcover library for my kids to browse. Also, it'll look like I'm damn well-read (which I will be if I finish reading all these books) with a wall-o-books in my study. Damn right I want a study. A room constructed using only wood and leather, with dark, rich tones and reading lighting. And a partner desk to go with my pilfered wooden desk chair.


To the stars on the wings of this fancy-schmancy chair

Hey it's Herman Miller's Eames meets Swedish Tempur-pedic!: the "WING Lounge Chair."

Part 1950s mod, part 1850s coal-baron-reading-in-his-study. Will the madness ever stop?!

Actually, my grandfather had a leather wing chair in his den. It was very comfortable. I'm sure paring the wing chair's style with a lounger was inevitable. Now you can fall asleep and your head can loll about without fear of whiplash or inadvertent waking! Huzzah!

Although I'd kill for an Eames, I don't know about this chair. It shares a lot of the same design aspects, but it looks a bit too spacey for my tastes.

Too crazy of a post for you? Head over to Cult of Mac, where Good ol' PMortensen (I imagine it's like pneumonia. Or psychiatrist... Although if you're a fan of Animaniacs you know it's really pronounced p-sychiatrist... Or the dude's name is Pete. I think I missed my train-of-thought) showcases Dateline's newest to-catch-a: \to catch_an i-Jacker.

Please note: that's exactly how NBC ran the segment. Formatting at all. It isn't made up. Dateline actually took time out of their runing-sexual-predators-lives time to ruin some petty thieves lives. If you click through to the video, apparently they also used their patented "to catch a predator" technique to foil iPod stealers!
Apparently, the investigative crew was shocked — SHOCKED! — to learn that iPods occasionally get stolen. And worse, sometimes other things get stolen, too!
Shocked, I tells ya!

I can't for the life of me remember why I hate broadcast journalism...

Tuesday, July 31, 2007


Uh, OK, this is kind of weird.

Monday morning, NPR and AP reported Ingmar Bergman died. Aside from having a name close to Ingred Bergman (the also Swedish film star who shared no relation to Bergman), he was, of course, a revolutionary film maker. If you believe Woody Allen, he was the best thing to happen to film since the invention of the camera.

Then I look on The Times' Web site this morning, and what do I see but Michelangelo Antonioni also kicked the bucket yesterday.

Kind of creepy. Too bad Fellini and Kurosawa are already pushing daisies.

Although I imagine my film professor is wearing a black armband, and will continue to do so until... Eternity.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Buy now to save CASH on your low APR car loan! If you want to be like Brendan, you'll shop at...

Just saw this in my feeds: NFL to require pro shooters to advertise Canon, Reebok.

Here's the NPPA's response.

Apparently this isn't new. From the CNET.com article:
The [Wall Street Journal] article also quoted Pete Cross, photography managing editor for The Palm Beach Post in Florida, as saying photographers wore Tostitos-branded vests inside-out in protest this year at the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl.
Go protestors! Boo shilling for companies! I mean, I've read how Canon had reps at the Olympics, wandering around to the people who shot Nikon, etc., and offering to let them test digital Canon equipment, but the NFL making shooters advertise?

Plus, does the NFL, Canon and Reebok really expect that many people to stare at shooters during the game? I mean, sometimes you see them on television, but usually the camera focuses on the players... The game.

Why not make the players run around with big billboards taped to their helmets?

Screw you, NFL.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Not really the person you want representing you on national radio

I just heard a soundbyte on NPR from a woman who said "I still do support the war because it keeps us Americans free and keeps those muslims out of our country."

It's good to see ignorance hasn't completely died in this wonderful society..

But really, NPR? That's who you're picking to show the pro-war side of American public opinion?

Sent from my iPhone

Just look at the picture with this link,

(then tell me you don't want to see the movie)
I want to see this. Sunshine. A science fiction story about a dying sun and a ship sent to give it a big ol' needle of adrenaline -- in the form of a nuclear bomb to its core.

Sounds like classic scifi, updated to include svelte CGI and modern direction (the director did 28 Days Later, too. And while that was a pretty freaky movie, I don't think Sunshine will be as scary).

I'm surprised I hadn't heard of this movie. If The Times is to be believed, it's not a limited release.

Viva scifi!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Frequent-flyer miles

Man can you imagine this guy's day?

He's been appointed the second-youngest conductor of the New York Philharmonic, to take effect in the 2009-2010 season.

He'll be "splitting his time" between the NY Philharmonic, the Swedish Royal Stockholm Philharmonic -- where he's been chief conductor since 1999 -- and the Hamburg NDR Symphony Orchestra -- where he's chief guest conductor.

So basically he'll be flying over the Atlantic a lot, and when he deplanes he'll be going to conduct an orchestra. That's like the easiest job in the world.

I wish I was haughty and could conduct. That'd be cool. And rich. I'd live in first class, and then be able to sample $400-per-bottle wines when I was staying in my Manhattan loft -- or my Stockholm apartment.

I wonder what he does for a vacation? Certainly it should not involve flying.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Mad, mad, mad, mad men

I am very much looking forward to watching the premier of Mad Men on AMC tomorrow night.

Usually, summer brings a time for network TV to trot out their reality shows (spelling bee, anyone?), or air out old episodes of failed shows (Studio 60), or try out episodes of unproven shows.

But I think, and AP apparently agrees, Mad Men will prove itself rather quickly. Good for it. I loved Hustle (that smart, British show about conmen AMC aired last year). I was sad to see it go. Although I might have forgot to watch it after a while. I wonder if it's still on.

But Mad Men isn't some show ported from across the pond. It's American-made, focusing on one of America's cultural peaks. Before the hippies took over. When America was a superpower and everyone knew it.

When people dressed respectfully, dammit. Ties. Collars. Slacks and jackets. Leather-soled shoes, dammit. Dammit.

Anyway, so that's what I'll be doing tomorrow night at 10.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

The midnight shows, oh how they make my eyes burn the next day

So I think I can stop hating the Harry Potter directors... Well, David Yates, anyway.
Come to think of it, I didn't really mind Christopher Columbus, either. (Yeah, OK, I've tried. I can't call him Chris Columbus. My schooling days automatically at the "topher" to the end of his name. Ah the days when they taught us about the brave explorer who basically f---ed up and brought disease, famine and greed to The New World).

Err, where was I. The new Harry Potter movie, which I saw at midnight. With a bunch of people pretending to be wizards. Or students at Hogwarts. Maybe they just really really liked their graduation robes...

Obviously, the movie differs from the book. Every movie does. But the things they changed, well, I think they made for a solid movie. A very solid movie.

As my friend Pay Abdalla points out in today's Sun, it would have probably been a good idea to explain what the Order of the Phoenix actually was, for anyone not familiar with the books.

But hey, at least it wasn't directed by Alfonso Cuaron -- he who "inspired" Mike Newell to cut Goblet of Fire from the planned double header to just one film. Oh Alfonso, how I do so loathe you.

Anyway, good movie. Good acting. Good writing. But I'd agree with those critics who said it definitely feels like "Page Five of Seven."

Now to reread my copy of The Half-Blood Prince before next Friday, where I'll go and stand in line with more graduation-robe enthusiasts.

Oh look, Daniel Radcliffe is on Today. Actually, if you get the chance, try and find a copy of Monday's Tonight Show -- Radcliffe is the guest, and he's really quite funny.

"So now you've got all this dough... what are you going to do with it?" Jay Leno asked, about Radcliffe's earnings as a star of five films and a (weird, horse-iphile) play.
"Dough? Like make bread?" Radcliffe quizzically responded.

I guess the Brits don't call their currency dough. Also great when he mentioned filming "the fourth movie," and immediately scolding himself. "Fourth?! We've done five, Dan!"

But yeah, good movie all around. Plus, I got a look at the Get Smart trailer. (Warning: since Apple hasn't put up the trailer yet, that link points to a reportedly annoying, streaming MSN video. Also, since it's first on MSN, I can't help but be horrified to wonder if that means it won't be going up over at Apple/trailers...)

Now that's a movie I'm looking forward to seeing.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Life imitates art?

A real-life Jigsaw killer?

This happened a while ago. I only found out about it because I was trawling the state wire this morning.

This kid walks into a bank in Erie, with a crude metal collar around his neck, bomb attached. He robs the bank, and gets outside, where police are waiting. They find out what's what, order a bomb squad, but the kid blows up before they get there.

Police then find instructions in the kid's pocket on what to do with the money, and a sort of scavenger-hunt list of how to get the collar off.

So I'm thinking, did this crazy lady watch Saw? Did the guys behind Saw hear about this? Or is it just a freaky coincidence.

(For the faint-of-heart, the link points to America's Most Wanted. No gruesome pictures, just a lengthy narrative describing the case.

According to The Associated Press -- although I can't find any online paper that ran the story -- prosecutors are days away from indicting the "crazy" lady, who pleaded guilty by mental defect to killing her boyfriend years ago.)

Close to the vest

I've fallen out of my rhythm.

When I moved down here last July, I weighed about 275 pounds. Working at Clark's for six weeks and biking every day dropped that to 215.
Working at The Evening Sun, sitting at my desk or in my car, I've begun to fatten up again.

Plus, I haven't ridden my bike since the fall.
There are five or six spokes broken on the back rim, the chain's really really rusty, and it desperately needs new brakes.
I had to store it outside this past winter. I had no choice.

Plus, even though its less physically demanding than my warehouse job, my current gig just sucks the will right out of me. Or maybe that's just me.

I need to start jogging again. I need to get back in shape. I need to pay my bills, clear my credit cards, fix my bike, eat healthier.

I need to go back to last August/September. Except not with the warehouse job.
I think what I really need is self control. No more candy. No more snacks. No more soda. I would eat a turkey-and-cheese sandwich, an apple and a granola bar every day for lunch.

When I first started at the paper, I cut out the granola bar. Turkey-and-cheese and an apple. And water. Then I would come home, bike for an hour, shower, and start my "evening."

Is it any surprise that I lost so much weight?

But now I'm slipping. I'm eating at Subway or Alex's Pizza when I should have packed a lunch. I figure, I'm a reporter now. Not a warehouse worker. I'm entitled to something.
Apparently I'm just entitled to gain weight.

When I first started, my schedule kind of threw me. I worked 10-6 or 2-10. So I would get up early, exercise and go into work. That sort of worked. But running everyday did something awful to my right hip joint. Listen to me, I'm an old man at the age of 22.

I've said this before, and I've made this promise before. No more junk food. But then lunchtime comes around and I go "mmmm I want some Twizzlers." I know there are worse things to eat, but it doesn't matter if Twizzlers are low in high-fructose corn syrup -- they're still candy.

I think I feel so off because Caitlin was on vacation all last week. And what am I going to do as me? Sit and cook a nice dinner, and make my sandwich every morning? Psh. That's for losers. Of course I had Hot Pockets and frozen pizzas.
Which I ate in the fall, but then only on weekends. One Hot Pocket Friday night, one Saturday night. It was like my reward for working the whole week, not snacking, and exercising like hell.

It all just seems like it's a giant centrifuge, and it's spinning faster and faster and faster, and I'm close to being thrown out. Also, buying Twizzlers and whatnot is denting my funds, man. My funds.

Everytime I sit down to write out a new budget, I get depressed. Or distracted. Both, perhaps.

I just needed to say that.

Monday, July 09, 2007

A partnership unlike any other...

AT&T sent me this e-mail... Well, I mean, "AT&T" sent me an e-mail. It looked on the level, and I didn't give away any personal data I'm worried about. Heck, I could care less if some spambot now knows I think Apple should add a voice memo app to iPhone.

Anyway, so the e-mail just asks for my time in taking a survey. But one of the questions (which asks what my opinions of the apps are) struck me as funny:

You would think AT&T would know Apple didn't put iChat on iPhone... I assume the meant the SMS program, since visually it looks like iChat, but still.

I bet you anything a Windows user wrote the survey...

Friday, July 06, 2007

Oh the ape-ity

It's stories like this that make me feel all good and tingly inside.

When you work in a business where you regularly report on the dregs of society, it's nice to know that, scientifically speaking, deep down, humanity exists, thrives, and overcomes.

Altruism is a noble concept, and it's great to see it's not just a human one. If you're too lazy to click on the link, it's a study about chimps' altruism.

I lede you lede we all lede for.... ledelede?

Hey look, the lede box on NYTimes.com is their blog, (coincidentally named)
The Lede.

That's a big step, I think, for a major media outlet.

Then again, if you've ever read The Lede, you'd know it's a blog in the sense The
Times calls it a blog. It reads like a news piece and there's nothing opiniony about

But maybe that's just my definition of a blog... Who knows.The Shadow
Hey, stop that.Sorry

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Oh that three-letter word

Incase the image below fails to load for whatever reason, I will quote the part I find so ludicrous:
"...an unidentified person who got injured during a cross fire..."
This is from a Washington Post cutline. What the hell is up with that? Were there copy editors sleeping this morning? "Got injured?" Are you serious? GOT INJURED?

Plus, I'm pretty sure, no matter what followed "cross fire," the words should be hyphenated... Just my two cents.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Blotting my desk

I've been doing the police log for the past couple weeks while our news clerk is on vacation in England, visiting her daughter and son-in-law.

It's been fun. But here are some of my favorites from today's log:
1858 hrs. A tattoo violation was reported in the 400 block of Broadway where a juvenile allegedly received a tattoo without parental permission. Investigation is continuing.
Invesigation is continuing? Really? Don't you just have to look at the kid's arm, see if there's a tattoo there, ask the kid's parents and bingo bango, you're all investigated out?
12:26 Disordely conduct 1200 block High Street where two juvenile boys were attempting to set fire to a nearby field with fireworks.
Well, at least they were having good, clean, non-felonious fun. Ah, the innocence of youth...

Friday, June 29, 2007


So I got my phone. But I missed Man vs. Wild. Blargh!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Alternative tactics

Bush just sounded like he said "So I sent wolverines into Anbar."

I'm almost positive he said "more marines," but wouldn't that be freaking awesome? Rabid wolf-badgers running amok in the Middle East? I think the towel heads would listen then. Who wants wolverines?

Broadcast *journalism

Wow, CNN's on the ball today.

Now they're talking about the Senate shooting down the Immigration Reform Bill.

I believe the phrase the reporter used was "It was expected to go down in flames, and it has, by seven votes." (Emphasis mine)

Seven votes is hardly what I would call going down in flames, lady.

Affirmative Action, brilliantly fighting racism with more racism

Thank god. The Supreme Court decided today to wake up and smell the racism, denying schools the ability to take into account race when making enrollment decisions.

This was just ridiculous. The case brought before them was about some white kids not being able to enroll in a school because (and forgive me if I get the state wrong) Kentucky schools can only have between 15 and 50% of minorities enrolled.

Or something like that. All I know is there was some pretty biased anchoring on CNN International. Not reporting. The reporter was CNN's senior legal analyst or whatever. But the anchor was all interrupting the reporter and being like "Wow!" "Do you think this is a major setback to Affirmative Action in America?"

You mean that corrupt policy of fighting racism with... racism? Hey, it worked with fire, right? Oh wait, you fight fire with water, no matter what that old wives' tale says.

I'm sure AA was meant with the very best intentions. But it doesn't work. It's not even a very good stop gap measure.

As the justices said, the Constitution is color blind.

And then that Democratic judge was all up in Alito and whathisname's grill being like "word, yo, you fools ruined it."

I think the actual quote was closer to "Never before in the history of this court have so few done so much in so little time" or something.

Whatever, your honor. I agree with the Tories. Or are they Whigs? They wear wigs. Wait that's the UK...


Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Of monkeys and monoliths

Our features editor just told me everytime she sees the iPhone commercials, she feels she has to have one.

This is a(n extremely nice) lady about my mom's age.

This is the Apple effect. The merging of elegant design, simplicity and just plain old damn coolness.

The subject came up this morning after I shot an e-mal to our Web editor. He and I were talking about how expensive we thought the plans for the phone would be. This morning, Apple and AT&T announced the plans, and they were actually very reasonable (if not borderline a steal when compared to similar smartphone plans).

He asked me about it then, particularly about the unlimited data plan (which is standard in every plan). It only makes sense AT&T would make the data end unlimited. The phone checks your e-mail (if you have POP) every whenever. But on top of that, the weather and stocks widgets update constantly, somewhat without your consent. People would be crying foul so loud you could hear it all over the world if they charged you for that.

And then the features editor turned to me and asked if I had one. I said I planned to get one Friday, and she asked if I would bring it in.

I promised I would Tuesday, the first weekday I'd be back in the office.

If this phone can gather this kind of reaction from a self-described "non gadget person," think how my insides are right now, on the eve of my mobile revolution. When every day Apple's PR genii release one more tidbit to the public.

It's excruciating.

So help me, if there's a huge line when I get to the mall at 3 p.m. Friday, I won't be liable (well maybe legally I will) for what I do.

Monday, June 25, 2007

The case of the $54m pants

That lawsuit an administrative judge in DC brought against his dry cleaner? The one where he sued for $54 million (AP say $67 million)? Yeah, he gets nothing.

Plus, he might lose his $96k-per-year job as a judge, aaand he might be responsible for hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees.

Was it worth it, Mr. Pearson?

From the article (my favorite line, by the way. Go Post writers):
A week later Soo Chung found what she said were the missing pants. But Pearson said they were not the pants he had left to be altered. Not only was the pattern different, but the pants proffered as his had of all things, cuffs. Only once in his adult life, he said, had he worn cuffed pants, and never, he suggested, would he have so defiled his treasured Hickey Freeman suits.
(Emphasis theirs) This guy's hilarious.

The up and down sides to Web-based news

The Washington Post has a big Cheney reader on their Web site today.

Big whoop. What really freaked me out was they put the accompanying double-audio-slideshow-multimedia extravaganza online last night.

So when I checked washingtonpost.com, there was a huge slideshow in the lede art spot that read "The Life and Career of Dick Cheney" and another one linked below it titled "Cheney's vice presidency."

It looked like the man had died. Seriously. I couldn't find an accompanying story. I thought he'd keeled over and they scrambled to get something together.

Eventually I calmed down and assumed they just put it up to accompany an article tomorrow, but jeeze, Post, watch it.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

M. et Mme. Horting

Went to a wedding this weekend. Pics are up on Flickr. I didn't take many, as I look over them. In fact there are but five. Caitlin took more. If you're a member of Facebook, look her up and check them out.

I took this shot in the reception hall of The Inn at Chester Springs. Very nice ceremony held in a small 1904 corner-stoned Episcopalian church in Royersford.

Slow-sync flash nicely warmed the background, and created a more even exposure, while keeping the lovely Miss Heaney in focus and illuminated. There's something weird going on with her chin, but upon closer inspection, you can see it's just a product of the flash and the blurring of the background.

I still like it, it's my favorite of her so far :)

Friday, June 22, 2007

Sex and violence

I just read The Times' review of Evan Almighty.

Pretty much what I'd read from the AP (who gave it 1.5/5 stars), but I wanted to see for myself (not literally. I'm staying away from this movie).

But, the tagline made me laugh:
“Evan Almighty” is rated PG (Parental guidance suggested). It has some mildly naughty humor, but nowhere near as much sex or violence as the Book of Genesis.
Oh how true, AO Scott. Oh how true.

Although, shouldn't that be "sex nor violence?" Sorry, that was prickish of me.

Rich...for a day

So the CNet guys are reviewing a bunch of cars for something they call "CNet Car Tech," which is probably just a week -- or a couple days -- of car reviews. Like Shark Week, which, regrettably, is also looming on the horizon.

Anyway, they got their hands on a Rolls Royce Phantom III, and Crave, CNet's little-bro gadget Web log, posted a great slideshow of a day in the Rolls.

Highly recommended. I wish I could find someone to drive me around in a Rolls all day. :'(

More pompousness

I've opined about The Patriot-News before. How I like their design. Well, at least in print anyway. PennLive.com/Patriot-News leaves something... to be desired.

For solid Web design of a media site, well I could tell you to look no further than NYTimes.com, but everyone knows that. No no, dear reader. I would like you to check out Guardian Unlimited, The UK's Guardian's online version.

Great use of color. Great use of (or lake thereof) lines. Perfect use of serif and sans-serif fonts. The Times might have the best layout around, but Guardian Unlimited truly reinvents the paper for the Web. The Times actually looks like The Times, but guardian.co.uk, it's a whole new ball game.

Or would that be cricket?

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Olde tyme style-e

So HUH. Wikipedia is freaking awesome.

Even Drager didn't know why articles ended with "-30-"

Apparently it's from the Civil War, when telegraph transmissions ended with "XXX" (Roman numeral 30). It's as simple as that.

Blows my mind.

Survivorman vs. wild

A bit more on Suvivorman and Man vs. Wild...

I really am at a loss to compare these shows. Each time I try, I only come up with, "Well, this one does this, but this one does this..."

E.g., In Survivorman, Les Stroud is alone. He carries "50 pounds of camera gear" around with him, sets up the shots and films, which (when you're in the Moab) is pretty impressive. In Man vs. Wild, Bear Grylls has at least two people you never see (cameraman and boom mic operator). I know, from watching a lot of the shows, they travel prepared, often with drysuits, mosquito suits, rafts, etc.

Point, Survivorman.

BUT Les Stroud knows he is going to be rescued in a week. He just has to survive that long. Bear Grylls has to get rescued, which could take a while (although he manages to do it in under a week every time.

Point, Man vs. Wild.

The shows are both really good, and each has its caveats. Les Stroud carries a satellite phone, presumable at the behest of whatever Canadian company produces the show. Bear Grylls wears a $5k Breitling Emergency watch, capable of transmitting a distress signal for 48 hours that can be picked up 100 miles away.

It's anyone's banana. All I'm saying is you all should watch both shows.

The great outdoors

I've become obsessed with survival shows on The Discovery Channel. I used to watch Survivorman, but it seems to be in a state of limbo (as, I think I read on his blog, the cameraman/star/host/creator films more segments). Now I'm all about Man vs. Wild.

It's not that I'm obsessed with the show. Rather, I'm obsessed with the premise of both shows. I cannot fathom that these guys get to go out and do this stuff for a living. I know, I know, it's dangerous crap. Bear Grylls is an ex-Commando (the SAS, the original commandos). He climbs down waterfalls. But still, it'd be cool.

Anyway, I'm planning on going camping the last(ish. no calendar handy and I'm lazy) weekend in July. So I'm getting all my gear out. Tracking down my Swiss Army knife (Victorinox, thank you. Not that faker Wenger), trying to find my survival knife. Getting lists of what I need to bring from the lake (tent, saw, stove).

I must say I'm excited. The last time I was camping Caitlin and I were in Montreal. And that wasn't like relax-in-the-woods camping, that was camping and seeing Montreal. Which was awesome. But there's something to be said for waking up, hiking around the woods, gathering firewood, cooking hot dogs for crackerbarrel. Tying your food in a tree. Lashing stick together to make a washstand.

I miss it. When I was in Boy Scouts, those first two years, we camped every weekend in Oct and November, and then again in spring. It was awesome. I've since outgrown my sleeping bag from then. And my hiking boots. I don't need a bag or boots for this trip, as I suspect it's going to be a lot about alcohol and not a lot about nature. But it's all good. I'm looking forward to it either way. Sharpening my knife, going over my first-aid kit. Testing to see if I can stick a Nalgene on a campfire to boil water (that should be interesting -- I've always wanted to know. And Nalgene promotes their Lexan can "boil and freeze liquids," so here goes nothing).

I wish I had their jobs though, the adventure outdoorsmen. Or just that I went on more camping trips.

There are only so many years all these knots can stay in my head before they get bumped out by some Jeopardy trivia! I think I've already forgotten quite a few.

Also, Bear Grylls is a North Face fan, so I'm obligated to watch the show just for that. Too bad Discovery is stupid with iTunes (they put like five shows on, none that anyone watches). These shows would be great references for camping and hiking outings in the future.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Lavender Festival

Caitlin and I went to the Lavender Festival down in Fairfield toady. As festivals go, it was actually very nice. Not at all like the Apple Blossom Festival which was -- no offense -- a bunch of rednecks hanging around listening to "country rock" bands. Not my cuppa.

But the Lavender Festival was more laid back. I liked it.

Anyway, pics are up on Flickr. Check 'em out.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Pickin' on...

So the York Dispatch had an article in their paper today -- their A1 strip, actually -- breaking it down, cost-by-cost, to see what's cheaper for a Yorker: an MLB Baltimore Oriole's game or a minor-league York Revolution game. ("Do the math: Revs game cheaper all around")

What?? Are you serious? Of course it's cheaper to stay in your own county and watch a minor league ball game.

That's like saying "Hey, listening to this CD of Led Zeppelin at home is cheaper than going to an Aerosmith concert!"

And I picked that example very carefully, mind you.

Sheesh. "They" are cutting our newshole all the time, and you fill it with that?

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Weekend at the lake

Pics are up on Flickr of my impromptu "vacation" weekend at the lake.

It was a good time. I miss it up there. All the woods, no farms, sunlight making leaves glow bright green and the sound of jet skis and boats in the background, chopping over wakes. Waves splashing on the shore and old rusty docks creaking.

I miss my childhood.

But I like having a lake to visit on the weekends.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Dear sir or madman

Hahahahaha. I do loves me the tongue-in-cheek.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Didn't you know? I follow tennis

Yay Federer won.

I envy you, Ms. Dargis. I envy your words

Now this is a film review.

I mean, I know we read Times reviews in class, but Jesus. After eight months of subsisting on AP reviews from the wire, this thing reads like chocolate. Slightly melted chocolate.

You don't have to chew, just sort of massage it with your tongue and it'll go down like butter -- like buddah.

My favorite line? Probably:
Many of the casino scenes in this “Ocean’s” look as softly burnished as gold ingots, as if they had been dipped in a 24-karat finishing bath. Perhaps in homage to the mid-1960s Jean-Luc Godard or just because the results look so extraordinary, Mr. Soderbergh occasionally saturates the image with an iridescent red that makes everything inside the frame look as if it were gently vibrating. At other times, he floods the image with a piercing blue that summons up twilight on the Côte d’Azur.
I think I like it because, even though I've only seen the trailer, I know exactly what Manohla Dargis means.

I was hurt by the AP's review of Ocean's Thirteen. But now I'm as excited for it as when I first saw the trailer. That deep, Manchurian red, the subtle, Asian gong at the end. The tinging of Eastern musical instruments. Mmmmmm.

How can you go wrong with Evil Al Pacino? When his weathered voice rasps, and his acting takes you closer, leaning toward the screen as if he's really there in front of you. And his name is Willy Banks? Classic Hollywood name. "Runyon-style," whatever that means. I'm stoopid when it comes to some of The Times' stuff :(.

I don't care what Lee wants to see tomorrow night. Pirates of the Caribbean will have to wait. I want to see Danny Ocean.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

To whom it may concern, re: Paris Hilton

An open letter to MSNBC, The York Daily Record, and any other news outlet (besides E! News and TV Guide Network):

Stop covering Paris Hilton. This is ridiculous. MSNBC, I'm looking at you. Having a "Paris Day X" special is not only ridiculous, but it makes you seem like idiots. Buffoons who don't know what news is.

You're embarassing yourself. You're embarassing Paris Hilton (which, I guess is your point? How mature and journalistic). You're embarassing me.

Find some real news. I don't care if Paris Hilton is cold, needs more blankets, and cries in jail.


My thoughts on the iPhone (seriously, no drooling, a good look at why Apple made the right decisions)

No one cares, but I'll post this anyway, because I've read many heated debates in forums and other places on the Interwebs. And while none of those people will read this entry, well, dammit, they should.

But, if you really don't care, just skip the entry.

Every Verizon and Sprint customer who's also an Apple fanboyperson is either bawling their eyes out, or angrily whittling away at the self control of fellow commenters. They don't like that AT&T got the iPhone.

More specifically, they don't like that Apple -- who is pretty good about open-sourced stuff -- built a handset for AT&T, and only AT&T. But they're just being ignorant American asses. Apple built a handset for every cellular carrier in the world minus Sprint and Verizon.

Tough noogies that your provider uses technology not in sync with the rest of the world.

So all you T-Mobile customers out there, well, OK, you have a right to complain. T-Mobile's service is great, their prices are low, and in the over-a-year I've been with them they haven't dicked me around at all -- in fact they've provided excellent customer service. I'm sad to leave them.

But T-Mobile isn't a U.S. company. I'm sure you'll get an iPhone when Europe does.

This is kind of subsection b). to the above section. Those same Verizon customers are whining about why Apple didn't build a CDMA version of the phone.

Well, if you were about to enter the mobile phone business, would you want a phone that might flop in the U.S. but do well internationally, or a phone that might flop in the U.S. and that's it?

Really, the simple answer to this is the SIM. The little white wafer-thin card in the back of every phone (OK, so I think Cingular cards are orange and blue). Well, every GSM phone, anyway.

That card is the subscriber identity module. Put it in a phone, and, well, you know how this works.

With CDMA (Verizon) and TDMA (Sprint), the phone is the SIM. The whole phone. How is that better? Change carriers and you have to dump your phone.

No wonder Verizon offers customers a free phone upgrade every two years. Customers can't just buy a new phone and use it.

So again, Apple's making their phone for the world, not just the U.S.

OK. So this isn't the norm. You can pretty much remove the battery of anything in existence, except an iPod.

But, I can see the thinking behind this. The phone, I'm almost sure, runs two batteries. One for the smartphone stuff and one for the iPod stuff.

So do you really want Bubba Frat Bro. opening the back of his phone and not knowing which batt to replace? It's way too complicated for the demographic Apple hopes latches onto the phone.

Sure, it might be a pain to take the phone in to an Apple store or AT&T store, but I bet you anything they'll be able to take it in the back and pop in a new batt (if recent rumors about providing an "iPhone experience" to customers are true).

Well, I think that's it for now. I would thank you for letting me vent, but dammit, it's my site, I'll do what I want (cue '80s music).

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Canon fodder

Ah the mark of a professional. Beautiful fluorite crystal, sharp designs and usability. Just better than Nikon.

Plus, they're easily identifiable in a crowd.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

In a suprise move, Apple debuts iPhone launch date during 60 minutes

...Mickey Rooney was pissed. Apparently no one told him?

Oh wait, I mean Andy Rooney. Riiiiiiight.

Well, it's official. I'll be getting a new mobile phone from AT&T June 29.

Now to check my calendar. I hope to god I don't have court that day. If all goes well, I can be at the AT&T store when it opens, get my phone and go into work. Unless the store only opens at 8. That sucks. I bet they do. Stupid AT&T, haven't you heard of 24/7? What's up with that?

Friday, June 01, 2007

LOLSchroedinger's cat

I have to admit, I'm a fan of LOL-stuff. LOLcatz, Fark's LOLpresidents, etc.

Part of the reason I find the LOLpresidents so funny is it is, at times, very high-brow humor. So is this recent LOLcat:

Thought I'd pass that on

I find it annoying that...

Vehicle Identification Numbers (VINs) are alphanumeric, and therefore not numbers at all.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Oh yeah, sorry, we sent this horribly mangled, deformed, ugly release. Our bad

So some Bank of America outside Boston gets this fax and thinks it's a bomb threat, calls the bomb squad (who shuts down the entire strip mall), and it turns out it's an in-house release from corporate to get ready for some stupid morale contest or whatever.

(On the left is what should have been sent. On the right is what came out of the fax machine. Further proving the technology's uselessness. Death to fax machines!)

I think the more important question -- the one no one's asking -- is not "why did this Bank of America manager freak out and call the bomb squad?" Not "why did the bomb squad freak out and evacuate the entire mall?" Not "why do they want Bank of America to pay for the emergency services deployed, won't that just make people less likely to report a potential bomb because they're afraid of incurring millions of dollars?"

No, my question is simple: "Who the hell designed that "in-house" press release?" It looks like something a failing kindergartener might try and turn in for a homework assignment. I mean, come on. I know the fax machine screwed up, but really Bank of America? This is your version of a press release? My god in heaven I don't think my money's safe in your bank anymore.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The fanboy equivalent of drunk dialing

I broke down and briefly entered the realm of fanboyism today, with a call to my local CingularAT&T store. I struck the old name because it's still listed in the phone book as Cingular, and the one in York is still a Cingluar store.

I asked about the iPhone. I know, I know, why don't I just camp outside the store for two weeks like those wackos with the PlayStations and XBoxen.

But, the dude didn't laugh at me, he just said they don't have a waiting list, but he knows stores in more populated areas (like NYC and Philly) do. But he said AT&T told them they would have plenty of stock, and then disclaimed that statement by saying "because Apple is the supplier, not AT&T."

He also said they were expecting the phones between June 14 and June 16. At first I thought he said July 16. But June 14 and June 16? That's a very narrow window, and I've heard June 15 a lot from all these rumor mills. I think there just might be something to that date. The ides of June.

Go firgure.

Anyway, so I'm giddy with anticipation. Step aside, Microsoft and your 30-inch, box-like competitor for multi-touch.

Alas, poor Yurich. I knew him. Oh wait, he isn't dead

This CNN dude thinks he knows why Apple TV is a dud.

Wait, what? A dud? It's been out for three months. Dud indeed. Two of the four bulleted point he makes have nothing to do with the aluminum box -- they deal with the iTunes Store directly. A third point is semi-valid. That is, if you don't have a "family computer" that stays on all the time and stores all your photos, sharing photos from the synced computer only sort of sucks.

The fourth point isn't a point at all, as far as I can see.
Apple TV's coolest feature is one that wasn't even intended: the screensaver, which plays an ethereal slide show of your digital photos. I guess that tops Zune's sexiest feature, which I would argue is that you can buy it in brown. Love the brown.
That's a bad thing, because...?

Once Apple starts to sell HD content through iTunes (once Internet bandwidths permit it, or a new codec is designed, or they allow you to import Blu-Ray Discs into iTunes) that problem will go away. Although he may have a point, there are a lot of hurdles there to overcome. And I wouldn't be surprised if we see Apple TV firmware updates that allow the purchase of iTunes through the box. Give the company a chance, it's busy launching a mobile phone, an operating system, and integrating new Intel chips into its computers. Sheeshes.


Friday, May 25, 2007

Ahoy, Flickr!

I love it when companies have a sense of humor.

Moosejaw has long been "guilty" of this, ending every e-mail with "Love, Moosejaw," having insanely great customer support, and being just damn funny about things like your order confirmation.

Another great example is Flickr, the exception that proves the rule of Yahoo!'s evilness. The little Web-2.0-shoebox constantly amazes me with the understated humor I find from time to time. From LOLcatz 404 errors to its user sign-in greeting:

You just have to respect a company that will put its professional image aside and relate.

Thursday, May 24, 2007


So I don't get the U.S. Census Bureau's logo. I like to think I have a decent eye for design, especially deconstructing design choices. You know, this symbolizes this, while that calls to mind whatever. That sort of thing.

But this thing puzzles me. As you can see, certain letters are light blue and certain letters are dark blue. Much like BP's thinly veiled attempt with the design on their commercials (you know the ones, with that annoying song) pointing to their Web site, which renders like this alittlebettergassolution.com. Not only are they trying to say they're a better solution, but a solution better than gasoline. When their name (no it isn't "beyond petroleum" it's British Petroleum, don't let them forget that. Bein' all KFC on us, what's with that yo?) has petroleum in it.

Anyway, the census bureau's logo:
has no logical reasoning behind its highlighting. Or none I could discern. Can you? Is there a secret message? Iono.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

I pity the fool who raps about treating his mother right in a cheesy mid-'80s PSA

Oh wait, that's Mr. T. Well, self pity is all that's left, I guess

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

I own a number. What did you do today?

So we all have heard about the Digg revolt, the purported owning of a 16-digit number, and all that jazz.

No? Well basically some dude found the key to decrypt HDDVDs (for backup purposes), and posted it. More people posted. More takedown notices! Accounts deleted! User revolt! Accounts reinstated! Madness! It's madness!

Well, the cool people over at Freedom-to-Tinker.com created a fun little algorithm that generates a 128-bit integer for you, and you alone. It then encodes a silly copyright haiku with it, and provides you with the key. The key is your technically copyrighted material. No one else can use it. Mine's:
7C AF 6F BF 77 AC BC 91 3A F1 3C 92 9F A6 3F BE

And you can pry it from my cold dead hands fools!

As the always awesome commenters over at Slashdot put it: I'll be Googling this number and playing the lotto with it until I win.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Why use lines when you don't have to?

I like the design of The Patriot-News. It's nice, clean, and colorful.

I don't know how, but TPN puts out a full-color A book, and it looks good.

There's not an overabundance of lines, like The Washington Post (who even put hairlines between ads. What's up with that?)

Its use of colored boxes without black borders (Ahem, Evening Sun) makes it look crisp and new, and there aren't borders around its pictures, either (something for which I love The New York Times, and hate my own paper).

Its choice of sans-serif font is solid (although I can't place the name). Sure the copy font might be a bit odd, but hey, it's cool.

I'm also a huge fan of using san-serif font in all caps to make "lines," something TPN does well.

If I designed a newspaper, it would look like The Patriot-News.

A quick look at its Web site. It kind of mirrors the design of the paper, but not so much. I mean, it's not full of lines, but at the same time it looks... different.

Why can't more companies realize (like The New York Times) your Web site should mirror the design of your paper. That way, a) you don't have to redesign it every year to keep up with trends, and b) people will better associate the page with the paper.

And, for the record, I am against newspapers teaming up with Web companies and offering their news on a different site (TPN is PennLive.com, well, really it's PennLive.com/PatriotNews. And though I can't think of them right now, I know of a couple other examples).

But they probably save money that way, and can therefore put out a full color paper.

Compromises, ain't they a biatch?

Friday, May 04, 2007

Sam Raimi killed one of my favorite movie franchises

Somewhere along the line, Sam Raimi went insane.

In movies like Spider-Man 3, you really have to wonder whether there was some internal struggle. Because in the first two films, there was a well-though-out plot, few holes, a spectacular message, love, hate, inner turmoil, self sacrifice, etc.

In this movie? There's playing. It makes me feel like I'm seven and I have a Spider-Man action figure set.

And I don't even have to make up the "hang on buddy!" lines when I stick the Spider-Man action figure on the Green Goblin's SNOWBOARD?!?!. Whoever penned this piece of sludge did it for me.

I should have known the minute Stan Lee appeared, in his "obligatory" cameo. But this time he had lines. Did he learn nothing from The Hulk? Nothing from X-Men 3? DON'T SPEAK, Mr. Lee. I'm pretty sure No Doubt wrote that just for you.

"Well, I guess one man really can make a difference. That's all." That's all? WTF? You're some dude who walked up to Peter Parker reading a marquis. What's all? Who are you talking to you old codger?

But no, my tired brain just decided to let it pass. It's the final film, maybe Spider-Man held a special place in Lee's heart. Maybe he just wanted to impart that last piece of wisdom.

The whole film--Wait, I can't call it a film. It's a movie. This whole movie just felt like they packed it full of the "obligatory" scenes. You know, the obligatory Bruce Campbell scene, the obligatory Spider-Man-in-front-of-a-huge-American-flag scene (seriously, Raimi, what the FUCK was up with that?).

I wasted 2 1/2 hours of my life, and dammit, I want them back.

Don't even get me started on how the filmmakers obviously lost so much hope in their audience they had to make Harry Osbourne's face half-scarred, ala Janus, ala Harvey Dent/Twoface, ala Sean Bean in Goldeneye.

Oh wait, I just got me started.

OK a big problem I had with this piece of crap was the message behind it. Nowhere in the film did Peter Parker utter the Golden Rule of the Spider-Man universe. The one thing, if he only took one thing from his Uncle, he believed in. With great power comes great responsibility.

In Spider-Man 3, with great power comes great big booms.

That's the problem. In the first movie, love saved Spider-Man. The Green Goblin was beating the crap out of him, but he mentions Mary Jane, and somewhere inside Peter Parker something explodes. It may have been slightly cheesy, but that something is the superhero in all of us. The deep human element. The one that's behind all those movie plots: Self-sacrifice to save the person we love.

We will die trying, and because we love that person so much, we inexplicably win.

Peter Parker's humanity saved him in the first film. And he turned around and buried those feelings in one of the most moving, self-sacrificing scenes I know. And it's perfect and I loved Raimi for it. Then and there he had my trust to do right by the franchise. And now he delivers this?

In the second film, love again saves the day. Love and the humanity buried within Dr. Octopus. "I will not die a monster," he yells, as he expends his last ounce of strength to pull to the bottom of the river the monstrosity he created.

So what saved the day in No. 3? Bombs. Missiles. Explosions. The Green Goblin comes to the rescue, all Han Solo-like (really? stealing from a 30-year-old movie, Raimi?), and starts whipping out the pyrotechnics.

Even in the end, Venom's destroyed by a pumpkin bomb. Where's the message in that? "Shoot crap at your enemies, kids, they'll burst into flames, writhe around, and it'll be cool."

And why in the name of all that is good in the universe would you give Harry Osbourne a SNOWBOARD!?! What the heck is up with that? Not only a snowboard, but a glowing green ninja sword??

Anyone else see this movie's made for kids?

And the newscaster? Really? You've reduced yourself to telling the narrative through a cliche? The audience gets updates via a fake, 16:9 news channel? Plus the reporter's being all Soledad O'Brien about it. "It's a tragic, tragic situation." Really? 'Cause I thought a giant sand monster and missiles was just another birthday party.

I am so disappointed in this movie it isn't even expressible. I would have walked out had it not been for the five overly plump movie patrons between me and the aisle.

"Find us some shade, babe."

I think that's a good idea, actually. Find a very, very dark corner of the film vault, and hide this there. Maybe someday people will look back on it and laugh. But for now, I'm resisting the urge to hurl.

For those, like me, who've seen the movie, I offer this open letter. Feel free to print it out, sign it, slap a stamp on that bad boy and send it off to Raimi & Co.

To: Sam Raimi, et al.
In re: Notification of intent to file suit should demands not be met

Sir or Madam:

I recently attended a midnight showing of your new movie, Spider-Man 3. I respectfully demand my $8 returned to me, and also request you give me back 2 1/2 hours of my life, as I feel I have wasted them on your jetsam of a motion picture.

Should these requests fall on deaf ears or fail to be met, I will be filing suit and asking for punitive damages for the horror I endured.

The movie was horrible, and I wish shame on you, your family and friends. I feel alienated by your departure from the story line and characters you carefully built up in Nos. 1 & 2 of the franchise.

I will hereby be boycotting all things Marvel-, Sony-, and Raimi-related until my demands are met.


Oh you guys and your "newspaper"

Wait the headline in the Gettysburg Times today is "Littlestown students to hold their huge annual plant sale?"

Are you serious?

Thursday, May 03, 2007


Hang on a minute. Isn't this the plot of Sahara??


When a sports team moves cities, changes owners, switches colors and names, is it really still the same team?

I mean, the philosophical answer would be "the team is not a stadium, it's the players."

Yeah yeah, the church is not a building, the church is not a steeple, the church is not a resting place... I've heard that before.

OK what about the opposite. The team moves cities, keeps its name and colors but the roster completely changes.

Is that still the same team? Perhaps visually. But the people who follow athletes and not just teams would cry blasphemy! (Sparta! What?)

If a tree falls in the forest, and no one's around to hear it, does a mime make a sound?


There's a 0.14725836998765432174185296373-percent chance I own that number

Can AACS LA claim to own a 30-digit number?

My recollection of copyright law (from Bitzer's Comm. Law class, mind you) says no. I'm using the same deductive reasoning that you can't copyright the phone book because it's just an alphabetized list.

You can copyright a phone book if you order it in some creative, unique way.

Then isn't a randomized number at least similar to an alphabetized list? It's random, so it's unique, I suppose. But if you used randomization software, well, I guess computers come up with random numbers in different ways, but as this dude points out, AACS LA chose the number so it would be special in no way.

From the blog:
While it’s obvious why the creator of a movie or a song might deserve some special claim over the use of their creation, it’s hard to see why anyone should be able to pick a number at random and unilaterally declare ownership of it. There is nothing creative about this number — indeed, it was chosen by a method designed to ensure that the resulting number was in no way special. It’s just a number they picked out of a hat. And now they own it?

As if that’s not weird enough, there are actually millions of other numbers (other keys used in AACS) that AACS LA claims to own, and we don’t know what they are. When I wrote the thirty-digit number that appears above, I carefully avoided writing the real 09F9 number, so as to avoid the possibility of mind-bending lawsuits over integer ownership. But there is still a nonzero probability that AACS LA thinks it owns the number I wrote.
So post on, Digg users, and fear nota little less the threat of a lawsuit.

Don't throw things at me

Now here is a perfectly good example of why there should be no blanket law against abortion, but it should (at worst) be taken on a case-by-case basis and (at best) not regulated at all, and left up to the mother.

For before you barrage me with comments about my hedonism and how I'm going to hell, let me point out to you I'm not saying abortion is right or wrong.

What I AM saying is it's not my decision.

In this case, it's the mother's decision -- the mother who's been told her baby will live only a few days after she gives birth.

Is she wrong to want to terminate her four-month-old pregnancy and spare the fetus? Is she selfish, and only sparing herself the pain of having to watch her child die?

Isn't it a more human thing to give the child a chance? Perhaps it will live and one day its story will be made into a Hollywood blockbuster on the emotional level of Gattaca.

The answer to all those questions is "it's not my decision."

It's her's, and she's taking it to Ireland's High Court.
Miss D was informed last month that her foetus has anencephaly, a condition which means that a large part of the brain and skull is missing.

Babies with anencephaly live a maximum of just three days after birth.
On a less explosive note: I still think the BBC's little "map o' where news is happening" looks too much like a swastika. And look, Ireland's region only extends halfway across Russia.

Sorry, Siberia, you aren't important enough.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Get a Mac, and not because of Justin Long

Have you ever noticed how intuitive Safari's controls are?

Probably not, because none of you use it.

But they are.

For instance, I have several bookmark folders I open at once (Web comics, News, etc.). If I accidentally click on one of them, transforming my two tabs of IMDB pages into a sloth of 20 comics, I can hit the back button, and instead of simply reversing the tab I'm focused on, it resets the entire window's environment to where you were before. Brilliant! I tried this out by accident one day, and was amazed at the results.

This is just another brick in the Great Wall of Reasons I Prefer Apple to Microsoft.

Also, drag text onto the Safari icon in the dock, and Safari opens a Google search for that text in a background tab.

Now to wait for Leopard, and the browser to shed its ugly brushed metal skin.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

May resolutions

So while I've lost a lot of weight, I've gained some of it back... I really have no self control sometimes. I need to start exercising incessantly again. Every day. Four miles, at least.

Plus eating apples instead of junk food, and water instead of soda/juice.

I'm not going to let myself get back up to where I was.

Here's hoping I have the determination to see this through...

Plus, I'd like to start getting up early enough that I can shave every morning, and sit at my computer and read the news with a glass of OJ (instead of wakig up, jumping in the shower, and runing out the door).

It'd also be cool if I got up early enough to stop at Merlin's and get a cup of coffee before work, but hey, let's not get crazy.

My goal is four miles of running every day, plus a jog before bed, plus getting up at 6:30.

Think I can pull it off?

We'll see...

Oh, also I'm taking my car into the shop for $300/+ worth of work to get it to pass inspection.

Did you know my car's Kelly Blue Book rating is $325? Go me.

I want a Civic.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Back from a fun weekend

Pics are up on Flickr from my weekend at Shippensburg for The Slate's 50th anniversary. Good times. I didn't take many pictures, but they're there.

Basically, this post is so Facebook grabs it, and people know I posted pics, since (as cool as Facebook is) it won't let me submit a photo feed.

Which, incidentally (for all you RSS-fiends out there), is this insanely long link.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

'Building temples for over 40 generations'

Holy crap. This business has been open since 578 CE. That's 14 centuries. It's a temple-building biz in Japan, they build Bhuddist temples, apparently.

Well, they used to. After 1,429 years, they're going out of business.


I wonder what the oldest company in the world is now?

Command J THIS, Microsoft

Keyboard shortcuts, both the cause of, and solution to, all life's problems.

Or was that alcohol? Well, the both are interwoven. Because let me tell you, if you use one set of apps at home, and another set at work, you're going to have quite a headache after a very short while. And if you try and drink your problems away, you'll have a bigger headache.

So I was right, it was keyboard shortcuts.

I say the less buttons, the better. The fewer the times I have to lift my hands from the keyboard to jab at the mouse, the better. The fewer I have to break concentration to find a button, the better.

Now, I realize that unless you're an absolute expert in programs like Photoshop, InDesign or Quark, the keyboard commands will baffle you. And that's not what this entry was about.

This entry is about simple applications, like e-mail and text editors and word processors and Webbernet browsers.

OK, why lie, this entry is about Apple's Mail and Microsoft Entourage. I hate them. Well, only one (I'll let you guess which).

Take, for instance, forwarding a message. In Mail, just hit Shift/Command/F, and the message you're viewing transforms into a forward which you can address and add to at will.

Type Shift/Command/F in Entourage and what happens? Nothing. What's the keyboard command?

Command/J. That's right, the junk command in Mail is the forward command in Entourage. What's up with that Microsoft?? J??? What the hell does that have to do with forwarding a message?

GAAAAAA. It's too bad the paper's owned by a gigantic conglomerate in Denver, or I we might be able to use Mail. But with everyone using Microsoft for e-mail, well, I could see that having its upsides (although it really shouldn't matter because it's not like Microsoft provides the servers).

On another Mac fanboy note, we're in InDesign training tonight and next Tuesday and Wednesday. The instructor hates Macs.

I mean hates them. She hides it well, or she's just naturally disposed to be mean. Either way. Just the way she spoke about her experiences with Macs in the past.

Oh, and I get the feeling a lot of people rib her about that. Because when she was talking about how her office was full of windows (like let-the-light-in windows, not the crappy OS), we were all like "windows, what are those?" and "must be nice," and I think she genuinely thought we were making fun of her OS preference.

See, Windows users? You develop a complex from using a substandard OS.

Monday, April 16, 2007

I'm telling you to what songs you should listen again

I've found it: Zach Braff's source of power. The hair to his Sampson, the ring to his Green Lantern.

It's Imogen Heap.

I don't know about you, but I was simply astounded when I first saw the Garden State trailer on Apple.com. I'd read about the movie -- as a huge Scrubs fan -- back when it was called "Large's Ark," but I had no idea that was what Garden State was.

Then the trailer blew me away with its haunting, inspiring soundtrack -- Frou Frou's Let Go. Immediately to ShipSearch I went and downloaded it. And it was awesome. If that song were in iTunes, it would tell you the play count's like 75. Or even more. How high does that go?

Now if you saw SNL Saturday night, and you saw the digital short (or if you've seen The Last Kiss or the season finale of The O.C.), you know what I'm getting at. That nifty electronica song that keeps restarting, parodying slow, overly dramatic death sequences.

It's Hide and Seek, by Imogen Heap. Immediately I went to iTunes and downloaded the album, and as I listen to it, I'm sure it's the same voice. Frou Frou was really Imogen Heap (or at least Frou Frou's voice was).

I'm so sure, I'm not even bothering to research it. Take that, scientific method.

It's like when I discovered The Postal Service (on the emoallen forums).

Seriously, pony up the $10 and download this album. Or, if you prefer less-than-legit methods of reaping music, do it that way. Just listen to the damn thing.


Look in the mirror, my friend

Now, I'm not perfect as a journalist, but sometime's it's hard not to pick on my comrades.

This is from a York Daily Record story that ran April 8:
"We will most definitely have a camera on Big Round Top or Little Round Top," or in Gettysburg's downtown, he said.
Now, even without knowing the story's about Google Earth adding a lot of detail to Civil War sites throughout the state, you have to step back and look at that quote.

Why the freaking heck would you use it? Unless you're trying to show people the state Deputy Secretary of Tourism has absolutely no idea what he's talking about.

Well, definitely, for sure we'll probably have a camera here, or here. Oh, or here, as well.

Drager always taught us never to use a partial quote unless it was absolutely necessary. And in this case the partial quote makes it even worse. Now not only is the guy unsure the camera will "most definitely" be, but the reporter adds another possible location, as if the secretary kind of forgot about that one.

I'm too critical, I think. But I just found it funny.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Learning things the hard way

So after I spent 36 hours downloading an undisclosed torrent, I deleted it. And, apparently, the file.


That's what I thought, too, at 7:30 this morning. As far as I remember, computer, I deleted the torrent. OR SO I THOUGHT.

APPARENTLY, I deleted EVERYTHING, and then, per habit, command-shift-deleted everything, which basically means I'm fucked.

Oh well. I guess I'll start the three-day download process AGAIN. Just as my bandwidth began to return to normal.

God. Damn. It.

Yeah so today's starting out great. Killing the computer (literally, dropping the battery out of it and yanking the chord, did nothing to replace the trash (unlike Windows, when you empty the trash you actually empty it. No zombie files here).

It was very. Very disappointing.

It's times like these I get so mad at myself. I mean there's literally no one else to blame. Even with a backup hard drive and a (I don't know how it got there, but it's a good thing unless I ignore it) "Are you sure you want to do this?" dialogue box on emptying the trash, I manage to screw myself.

Oh where, oh where is Leopard when you need it.


So to recap, don't delete your downloaded torrents until you've a) backed them up onto the backup hard disk and b) maybe INSTALLED them. And don't delete the trash until you've done all that twice and then maybe save it for a week or two.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Merlin, you magical bastard

I take it back. I take it all back.

The Spot might brew the best coffee I've had from a national chain (Seattle's Best), but Merlin's Coffee makes a mean pot of java.

And that's just their coffee. Their Italian Sumatra dark-roast coffee. A sort of run-of-the-mill flavor, a version of which you can get at any coffee shop.

I haven't begun to talk about their coffee coffee, Merlin's Magical Mix.

It really is magical, the dude's not lying. It's the best coffee I've ever tasted. Granted, I only had a sip of Caitlin's, and she puts cream and sugar in hers. But I immediately regretted my decision.

As she put it "It's like what I've always hoped coffee would taste." It's just that good.

I'm going to start looking into coffee machines (and possibly grinders), so I can have this stuff every morning.


Wednesday, April 04, 2007

IPR, Red Barons, Lackawanna County Stadium

So it totally slipped under my radar, but Lackawanna County basically killed off our est. 1989 Phillies farm team, the Red Barons.

To make matter worse, they replaced them with Yankees. And renamed the field from "Lackawanna County Stadium" to "PNC Field."

The Time-Tribune's Web site has some sort of "PNC Field changes" GIF on it, but it doesn't look like anything's changes, except pinstripes. :-\

It makes me mad. It was cool that Scranton's field wasn't named after a bank, or a motor company (see Ford Pavilion at Montage Mountain, and every other minor league ballpark in America). No more, though.

It also makes me want to feverishly dig through my childhood to see if I still have a Red Barons hat somewhere.

Pat thinks it was all an election ploy, as he pointed out three days before the county primary, the tickets had the commissioners' faces on them.

Stupid Yankees.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Where's Arnold when you need him?

Apparently, Terminator isn't that far off.

The machines rose up against the office today. A copier cut one of the editors' hands after shocking him while he was trying to remove a paper jam.

And due to a computer "error," our queues were rapidly purging themselves of anything older than 48 hours and not on "HOLD."

I use the dreaded quotation marks around error because I have a suspicion the computers wanted to piss everyone off. Well, OK, that's a little ridiculous, but still. It's a little eerie. Especially since I actually sat down and watched Terminator 3 in its entirety.

Skynet as a virus that infects all the computers in the world is a stroke of genius, and instantly made the whole scenario more believable. Even if they did copy a bit from The Net

I half expect this computer to shut down, only to reboot with an angry face, and begin letting me watch as it destroys my archives of notes and PDFs of all my stories slowly, with a chewing graphic.


It's funny to think Macs would be this evil. It probably has to do with a Windows box somewhere down the pipeline.

All I really know is a) none of my stuff was affected and b) I'm going to let that copier stew a little before I send it anything to print.

Quickly, before my computer thinks I'm plotting against it! I must go! But parting advice to you would be get a a dog, apparently they can snif out Terminators. Or just Arnold look-a-likes.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

What an Eisenstein

OK So I was listening to NPR on the way home the other day, and this guy was critiquing some movie.

To be honest, I forget which movie it was, and who was reviewing it.

But one thing that struck me, one thing that I remember from Art of the Film and Film Criticism, was the reporter's mention of Eisenstein. I think the guy's name was Sergei, but to be honest (again), I don't feel like taking time to Google it.

Anyway so the guy's like "And montages which pay homage to Eisenstein and the Russian cinema."

Now, what montages do not pay tribute to Eisenstein? Film critics correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't Eisenstein pretty much create the cinematic montage? With the people all running and screaming, and that insufferable pram bouncing down the stone steps.

If there was ever a piece of symbolism I grew tired of before I learned of it, it's the pram bouncing down the stairs.

It's in Ghostbusters, to be sure. But I know it's in a slew of other movies.

Damn you, Eisenstein. You and your stupid baby carriage.

Thursday, March 22, 2007


Here's a story that the YDR ran about York County switching to recycled toilet paper.

The headline: "Is a recycled TP plan a bum idea?"
And the chatter: "It's easy to make it the butt of jokes, but the county's move could be a cost-saver."

Everyone in the office thought this was a great story, until they realized it just means the paper is recycled before it gets on the role, not afterward. Then they all thought it was a stupid story.

While I admit, it's not really front-page news, it's pretty cool. If every county in Pa. switched to recycled T.P. and those awful air-powered hand dryers, do you know how much paper we'd save? My conservative estimates peg the exact amount around a heckuvalot, but I'm no expert.

Also, there are 13 universities in the Passhe (which, in my humble opinion, should really be the Pacshe). If every one of them supplied all public bathrooms with recycled T.P., and their "residence halls" (cough, dorms), too, well, that's also a heckuvalot. More than the counties, I suspect (because, really, over what do the counties have control... the courthouse, the 911 center, the jail).

Cheers, York County. Now to pass legislation banning incandescent lighting.

You know you want to.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

I've used but one too many times, I think

I drink coffee now.

I vowed since the day I was eight, and grabbed my dad's travel mug off the hood of the rusting old SUV parked in our upper parking lot I wouldn't touch the stuff.

But to be fair, the coffee was way past cold, and I was only eight.

I've had tea for caffeine since then. Well I had a brief, torrid love affair with Pepsi, which ended with me swearing off soda for perceived health reasons. But tea. A good black tea, with a spritz of ReaLemon. None of that cheap, real lemon crap for me.

I prefer my flavor to come from a lemon-like substance conveniently bottled in a lemon-shaped container.

But then, oops, I lost the can of my Republic of Tea - Earl Greyer that I bought at Wegman's last year.

But hooray, my darling and wonderful girlfriend bought be a small tin of Barnes & Noble's house tea (which isn't really a house tea since its an actual brand, some English-sounding name).

But oh no, I drank all that, too.

Then she asked me last night if I would like a cup of tea. It was like she read my mind. I hadn't had tea in months. It was very good.

But coffee. I've had a cup here and there. Black. Wal-Mart coffee is probably the worst I've had, and Seattle's Best -- which The Spot brews -- the best (go figure).

I've grown accustomed to it. Much like I grew accustomed to beer sophomore year of college. Or accustomed myself to Scotch earlier this year (is it weird I still think of a year as starting in August and ending in May/June?).

Mmmm coffee. Sweet java. Plus, drink a lot and it will make you hyper.

Plus plus, there's a coffee shop around here -- which I have yet to frequent -- that grinds their own beans. Or do they roast and grind their own beans. I don't know. But it's a cool little shack at which I've always wanted to stop on my way to work, but I've never left the apartment early enough.

I guess I was first introduced to coffee during my tenure at Lakewood 84 Truck Stop. I would get a Starbucks Double Shot every morning, to wake me up at 6 a.m. when I had to play coffee wench and refill the pots every 30 seconds.

By the way, who knew truck drivers carried around kegs disguised as coffee mugs. I honestly have no clue how they fit those mugs in cupholders, unless the entrance into the trucking world included some gift basket-cum-cupholder.

Also, who knew Starbucks Double Shot was basically taking heavy cream and pouring it down my throat, letting it slosh and stew in my stomach until it eventually permeated my fat fatty fat fat. But it woke me up. And, much to my chagrin, Exxon stations do not come with espresso machines standard.

But black coffee -- no calories (well, OK, calories, but you know what I mean). No HFCS. No fat. No sugar. Just good.

Like my beloved British tea, but more accessible. (Plus, for Christmas, El Editorio bought us a rather fabulous coffee brewer and bean grinder, and a whole bag o' beans from that local shop I mentioned -- Merlin's.)

But when I'm dying after four hours of court rote, a small (I refuse, Starbucks, you can't make me say it!) black coffee hits the spot, which, probably rather unironically, is the name of the establishment I "frequent." They also have great sandwiches, which are sadly a little too pricey for my meager salary to handle. But boy are they good. Every time I have a court day, my mind wrestles with itself, Steven Seagal vs. Kurt Russel, battling it out to "forget" the turkey and cheese sandwich I made the night before, or be economic and bring the sandwich with me.

Kurt Russell always wins, although it splits evenly because they alternate stances. My mind is pretty screwed up sometimes. I bet it can't wait for the remake of Escape from New York (some idealistic writer/director/producer thinks they can do better? Well, let me tell you. The finest bookshelf made from cow manure is still a pile of cow manure). Know what I mean?