Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Auld Lang Syne.

Happy New Year! May you have everything you wish and more. And don't forget a leap second was added to the clocks tonight at midnight UTC.

Berwick sunset.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Eternal youth.

Everybody wants to look better and younger than they actually are. This is very easy to accomplish through the use of technology. The right photo angle, slight use of PhotoShop and you can transform your ordinary, everyday self into a Greek god or goddess. Then you upload your improved self to your computer and send it into cyberspace.

After all, as a New Yorker cartoon once proclaimed, on the Internet nobody can tell you're a dog. However, this becomes a problem when cyber pals decide to meet in real life. Unlike one of my favorite movies, You've Got Mail, these meeting don't always go well. This story from Jim Connolly's blog is about one such encounter.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

White Christmas.

I'll Be Home for Christmas.

I am the first one to admit that I don't like country music, but occasionally a songs comes along and changes my mind. This Rascal Flatts version of I'll Be Home for Christmas is one of those songs. I heard it on the radio the other day and was blown away.

Santa's journey.

As the sun sets over North America millions of children prepare for Santa's arrival. For years NORAD, the North American Aerospace Defense Command, has been tracking his progress around the world. This year they created a mashup which combines their tracking data with Google Maps. So sit back and watch Santa as he circumnavigates the globe. Merry Christmas!

Run, run, Rudolph.

This is Brian Setzer's version of Chuck Berry's contribution to Christmas music.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Hanukkah song.

I missed the first day of Hanukkah, but since it's a holiday that lasts a week I can still post this video. Enjoy.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Broken ladder.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

First snow.

I went out on the porch, to retrieve the Christmas tree my wife and I were finally going to put up before Santa arrives, and was greeted by my favorite form of precipitation - snow. Since most people think of me as Russian, I like to tell them that my fellow countrymen invented Winter. This may not be true, but it sure felt that way when I was a kid.

When I was a kid, I would go to bed on November 3oth in anticipation of the wonderful sight that would be outside when I woke up the next morning. Back then you could count on the snow because the snow would not disappoint. This was before the so-called global warming sent the climate into a tail spin resulting in cold Winters completely devoid of snow. Winters that remind you of the inside of a walk-in freezer.

I am not sure how accurate these thirty-year-old memories are, but I know that back then snow made me happy. And now remembering that happiness and childlike wonder at the sight of first snow on the ground makes me proud that my ancestors invented Winter.

Santa Baby.

This is a song that celebrates the consumerism of Christmas. It has been covered by a lot of different singers. This is the Kylie Minogue version.

Do they know it's Christmas?

This is the original Band Aid which spawned several other songs for charitable causes including "We Are The World." Enjoy.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Blue Christmas.

This another one of my favorite Christmas songs. There have been many versions, but it's very hard to top Elvis. Enjoy.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Little Drummer Boy.

This is another great Christmas song. After thirty years, it should be considered a classic. David Bowie and Bing Crosby is a very odd paring, but it worked really well.

I am Santa Claus.

This is a holiday classic, or at least it should be.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Season's greetings.

I have been busy lately because I have started a new job. After being mostly unemployed for most of the year, it feels really good to go somewhere and do something. This is only a contract position, but it's work and it's work in my chosen field. This is going to be a great experience for me, so please forgive me if I don't post as much as I used to. There are topics I still want to write about and hopefully I will get to them before I forget what they are.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Holiday reflection.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

How to use Twitter.

This video made by Sam Harrelson demonstrates how to use Twitter. Enjoy.

Setting up a Twitter account.

This video by Jack Bastide guides you through setting up an account on Twitter. Enjoy.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Holiday love.

It's officially Christmas season. This time of year you start making lists of people to whom you're going to send a Christmas card. Sometimes, if you won't see the person for the holidays, you might even get them a small, insignificant present. The amount you might spend on this gift could be as small as $5. After all, in today's economy who can afford more than that?

But there is a better way to spend that $5. You can put it to a good use and sponsor a 1lbs. package to send to our troops in Iraq of Afghanistan. Or you can even put a box at your work place an collect Christmas cards for the troops. Every little bit helps. Especially this time of year, when the troops stationed overseas need a pick-me-up more than ever.

This card and package drive is called Holiday Love Campaign and is the brain child of eMail Our Military (eMOM), a Miami based non-profit organization. Check out their blog, for more information about Holiday Love Campaign.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Black Friday tragedy.

After the turkey has been consumed and the football games watched, people all around the country prepare for a tradition almost as sacred as the Thanksgiving festivities. This tradition is the early Friday morning shopping for special bargains that retailers only offer on this day.

This kick off of the Christmas shopping season is called Black Friday. And today it lived up to its name. A crowed at a Long Island Wal-mart trampled a 34-year-old store employee along with a 28-year-old pregnant woman. The store employee later died and the woman is in the hospital for observation.

What happened was a tragedy, but not an unexpected one. Several years in a row reports of somebody being trampled nearly to death at a Wal-mart store would appear on Black Friday. One cause for this is the low quantities of the Black Friday merchandise the retailers have in stores. This creates a sense of urgency which then causes otherwise rational human beings to stampede like cattle killing people in the process.

This is consumerism at its worst. And that makes me sad because it cheapens Christmas. Maybe it's time people started to think about the gifts they are going to give instead of just buying things because they are on sale at 5 AM.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Macy's Rick Roll.

In case you weren't watching the Thanksgiving Day Parade, you missed getting Rick Roll'd by Macy's. But here is a video of it for your after dinner viewing pleasure. Enjoy.

Helpful hints.

While making the stuffing my wife discovered that we do not have any sage. Sage is an herb that was mentioned in the Simon and Garfunkel song "Scarborough Fair" and therefore must be important. Luckily for us, I was able to find this herb substitute chart and save the day, or at least the feast. I thought you might find it useful as well.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

News not on paper.

A post on the 10,000 Words blog titled 6 Newspaper Sections Rendered Obsolete By The Web raises a very interesting question. Has the Internet age made newspapers unnecessary? To answer that question let's first look at the history of the news business itself.

I am not going to delve into the age before newspapers because information back then was quite unreliable and got from place to place at the pace of a comatose tortoise. Unless something happened at the next town, it might be weeks or even months before you heard the news. And by then it might already be too late to do anything.

Eventually this situation was rectified by the invention of the printing press. This, in turn, lead to newspapers which covered various events and got these reports out to people somewhat quickly. However, these same newspapers still took a while to get from city to city. So, if you did not reside in a metropolitan area, by the time you read the paper it was already ancient. Also, not all the news made it into the paper.

Fast forward a little bit and telegraph along with railroads arrived on the scene. Now the distances that were impossible to traverse quickly no longer seemed so impossible and did not stand in the way of the news. A reporter, who was able to roam freely, could cover a story and then send it, using the "wireless," to his editor. And after the newspaper was printed it could be delivered to the readers by rail. So, if you did not reside in a metropolitan area, by the time you read the paper it was no longer ancient, merely old.

The next technological development that altered the news business was the invention of the radio. This was a huge step forward because it lead to stories being covered in real time by reporters right on the scene. An infamous example of this is the Hindenburg crash at the Lakehurst Naval Air Station in 1937. But, despite the invention of live coverage, the newspaper business continued at the same pace as before.

This brings us to the invention of television which gave us the ability to see the story instead of just hearing about it while a reporter commentated the events as they happened. Another byproduct of television was the nightly news, a recap of the day's news that was broadcast several hours before newspapers could even hit the stands. Despite these developments the newspaper business continued, at a lesser pace perhaps, but it continued nonetheless.

The televised news lead to the birth of the twenty four hour news channels and now you could see the world in action. The reporters were scattered around the globe covering it like a blanket and bringing stories from all over right into your living room. And yet the newspapers remained in business. Somehow, with all the news that was fit to be shown live, there was still room for articles, columns, and photo spreads. Somehow the people who had the news piped into their living room still wanted to read the newspaper.

And now we are in the age of the Internet which gave rise to blogs allowing ordinary people to publish their own take on the news instead of being force fed the thoughts and opinions of the pundits, columnists, and talk show hosts. These so-called Citizen Journalists are now giving the newspapers a run for their money because as a solo reporter/publisher a blogger can cover the story and then put it on the Web without first getting it approved, or even turned down, by an editor.

Newspapers also face huge competition from blogs and bloggers because they have not embraced the Internet the way they ought to in order to stay competitive in this instant age. Majority of newspapers simply have a website on which they display an electronic version of their printed copy without embracing all the wonderful things a newspaper can do on the web.

One thing that a newspaper can do to enhance its site is to have staff blogs hosted on it. This will draw people to the site and provide content other than the already outdated stories. Another is to create a discussion board for the readers so people can comment on the news and post their opinions. This can even replace letters to the editor which would free up space for more advertising.

There are a lot more ways a newspaper can embrace the Web and thereby provide something other than a paperless version of itself, but the important point here is that in the Web 2.0 age newspapers need to evolve beyond the stagnant state they have been in since they have been invented. Sure there have been technological improvements which made the newspapers better and faster, but now they are at a point were, if major changes are not made, they could become obsolete.

Monday, November 24, 2008

I will survive.

Being a child of the Seventies I am a little partial to Disco and I Will Survive is on a short list of my favorite songs from that era . After hearing it on the radio today I decided to track down the original video. So here it is for your enjoyment.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Blog overload.

This Time magazine article asks an interesting quest: "How many blogs does the world need?" It says that this election was the first presidential election dominated by the Internet. It also says that there are too many blogs for a person to read. I would like to respond to that by saying: "Welcome to Web 2.0!" The days of content being provided by the select few are gone. Now even an ignorant immigrant like myself can offer his opinion to the world via his own site.

It wasn't too long ago that the same Time magazine declared us, the people who create online content, person of the year. So why such a sudden change? Did we all of a sudden fall out of favor with the publishers of Time?

I have no idea why Time's opinion of bloggers suddenly changed, but I think that there is room for everybody out here on the World Wide Web. Not every blog out there is dedicated to politics or sports or technology. There are bloggers who have a large readership and some that don't, but regardless of whether of the number of readers their message is still important.

I would not consider myself a blogger with a large following, but I would like to think that what I have to say is worth reading. The content I provide is usually well thought out and thoroughly edited. But I guess unless you work for Time magazine you should not have a blog. Oh, wait! Time just fired a whole bunch of their reporters. So, it seems, it's a good thing that I don't work for Time.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Digital void.

I frequently find myself getting sucked in to what I like to call the digital void. I sit down in front of my computer with the intent of checking my email and possibly looking at job postings, but then something happens and I find myself going from tab to tab of my Firefox browser looking at different sites. I read blogs, I follow the links people post on Twitter (and the link those links lead to), I read news briefs on Yahoo, and I attempt to form a picture of what is happening in the world.

This, of course, takes time. Sometimes, it takes a lot of time. Quite frequently this is the time I should dedicate to more noble pursuits like beating back the army of dirty dishes in the sink, making a heroic last stand (for the millionth time) against the invading hoard of my daughter's toys, or climbing Mount Laundry in search of its clean, white peak.

Instead I sit in front of my computer pondering my web based navel. I know that I need to be more productive and more organized. And lately I have been doing much better at this task, but, like with everything else in life, there is still plenty of room for improvement. So I intend to work on this problem with all the dedication I can muster. But I wonder if it's too early to start on my New Year's resolutions.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Manmade machine.

This is an Indian commercial for a pain relief ointment. It was pointed out to me by my grad school friend Aman Tyagi. It illustrates the perils of 21st Century life. Enjoy.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Monty Python on YouTube.

Monty Python's Flying Circus has always been my all time favorite English show. The sheer brilliance of the Monty Python humor, or should I say humour, has always provided me with hours of entertainment and unforgettable memories.

But as much as I love their shows, I love their movies even more. Life of Brian is by far my favorite because it makes fun of all the things Judeo-Christianity holds most scared. The gentlemen behind Monty Python have not made a movie in years, but now they bring snippets of their shows and movies to YouTube.

Yes, now there is a Monty Python YouTube channel. Please watch the following announcement.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Today is the Mickey's 80th birthday. 80 is a significant age, even if you happen to be imaginary. Happy birthday, Mickey!

Twitter for business.

Twitter is a Web 2.0 site/service/social network which utilizes text massaging to connect people and ideas. Its uses are rapidly evolving beyond the boundaries of basic social networking sites such as MySpace.

Personally I use it to keep up with breaking news which are delivered to my cell phone by CNN via Twitter. Also Twitter is great for first person accounts of various natural disasters such as the current California forest fires. When a story breaks, you can always find somebody on Twitter who is right in the middle of it

Now, it seems, the idea of using Twitter for business is sprouting wings. A YouTube search for this topic resulted in 945 results. Here is one of these videos. It was made by O'Reilly Media and it's called Twitter for Business.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Holiday blues.

Let me premise this post by saying that I love Christmas. I love the songs and the trees and the festive atmosphere. I love A Christmas Carrol and shopping for presents while imagining their recipients' surprise. I love the merriment that surrounds Christmas and the joy it brings. I love that people are a little nicer to each other at Christmas time. I love that "Home For The Holidays" mentions Pennsylvania and pumpkin pie in the same verse.

But, having said all that, I also have to say that Christmas can be ruined by being overdone. Here is a perfect example. Yesterday, Lili and I went to a local supermarket in order to restock our rather depleted grocery supplies. The first thing we saw when we entered this warehouse of food was a display of poinsettias. Later, we went to the little cooler that usually contains Turkey Hill iced tea of different varieties in half gallon jugs only to find that it was filled to the brim with eggnog.

On a recent visit to Wal-mart we were bombarded by Christmas music while being surrounded by wreathes, bows, and ornaments. I am not a strong person, I am not able to let this Christmas overkill not bother me. It drives me crazy that all these companies which are only out to make a dime, since making a buck in this economy would be a miracle, are ruining a holiday that has been a favorite of mine since before my daughter was born on Christmas day in 2006.

So, to all of the people who have already put up their Christmas decorations, I say Bah Humbug! Christmas season does not start until Black Friday. Until then I will be figuring out what we're doing for Thanksgiving.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Immigrant song.

I heard this today on the radio and thought I would share it with you. It seemed very appropriate considering the name of this blog and the title of the song.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Veterans Day.

Today is Veterans Day. As it is my tradition I called the two veterans I know and wished them a happy Veterans Day. We talked for a bit and both thanked me for calling them. I didn't think that I needed to be thanked for doing something as small as making a phone call, but they felt that my remembering them today deserved their gratitude. In my opinion what I did wasn't very special, but I enjoyed their acknowledgment of my efforts to properly celebrate this holiday.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Gulf sunset.

On the last day of our trip to Florida we went to Ft. Myers Beach, where we sat on our beach towel and ate hot dogs surrounded by seagulls. Eventually the Sun set and we left the beach and returned to the hotel to pack, but not before I took this picture.

Unwelcome door.

Bridge at sunset.

This the view from Heitman House in Ft. Myers, FL where my friend Andy's wedding reception took place. We missed the reception site the first time and ended up driving across this bridge with Carl, Andy's brother and best man, in tow. I always wanted to drive across one of these Florida bridges and now I have.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Lego people.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Blue gate.

The small sign on the gate reads "Cast Members Only." However, there is a large gap to the right of the gate, rendering the gate completely useless.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Giant laptop.

Everything in Disney World is bigger, even the computers.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

New ideas.

This blog has been without a specific focus pretty much since its inception. Now I am thinking that maybe I should write about something specific. The problem is I don't exactly know what to write about. So any ideas you might have would be greatly appreciated. You can either leave a comment following this post or email me at the email address listed in the About Me section.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Fall river.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Jack O'Lantern 2.

Jack O'Lantern.


My local Dunkin Donuts always decorates for Halloween.


It's 1 am on October 31st and I am writing this as the television set behind me plays Ace of Cakes. Yes, folks, instead of Count Dracula, or Frankenstein's Monster, or even, my favorite horror character, Freddy Kruger scaring me out of my wits in the wee hours, I hear the cheerful voice of Chef Duff Goldman.

I have my wife, who loves the Food Network, to thank for this. But I have to admit that it is fun to watch people cook dishes you have no desire or ambition to even attempt. Although, maybe watching Ace of Cakes is a better idea than watching a horror movie. Since watching one late at night is similar to eating right before bed because both will give you nightmares. And who wants to have nightmares on Halloween. :-)

But since it is Halloween, this post should include something related to this wonderful holiday. So, here is a little Monster Mash for all you ghouls. :-)

Saturday, October 25, 2008

I am not Joe The Plumber.

There is a McCain ad I keep seeing on TV that bothers me a bit. This ad plagiarizes the Microsoft "I am a PC" commercial which in turn parodies Apple's now famous PC vs Mac commercials. It starts with a clip of Barack Obama talking to Joe The Plumber and telling him that he wants to "spread the wealth." Then it shows person after person saying the phrase "I am Joe The Plumber" into the camera. I tried, quite unsuccessfully, to find the McCain ad on YouTube, but I did find the Microsoft one. Enjoy.

Friday, October 17, 2008


I haven't posted in a while. That's because I've been sick. And when you're sick, it's hard to think or to blog. It is also hard to think of ideas to blog about which results in complete lack of new posts. Heck, I haven't even kept up with Twitter as much as I normally do. If you expected to find pearls of wisdom on this blog, and instead were greeted by an absence of new posts, now you know the reason.

Thursday, October 09, 2008


This is a print by Laura Gilbert which she will be distributing for free during her exhibition at the Grady Alexis Gallery in NYC starting October 24th. If you get a chance check it out. For more information you can go here.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Maverick he ain't.

This story is from the October 4th issue of the New York Times, but I just got my hands on it recently. A descendant of the original Maverick is enraged by McCain being referred to as a maverick.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Bad news, good news.

The bad news is that the stock market took another plunge as Dow dropped below 10,000. On the other hand, the oil price is now below $90 per barrel which means that the gas prices will go down. It seem that every cloud does have a silver lining.

Bad news in Massachusetts.

This story out of Massachusetts is a bad omen. It seems that the number of homeless families there has increased dramatically in the wake of the economic downturn. There are so many homeless families that the state is forced to put them in motels because the shelters are filled to capacity.

As a somebody who is looking for a full-time job, I can relate to what these people are going through. I am worried that the economy will take another nose dive and the $700 billion bailout package will not be sufficient. But I also hope things will turn around soon. We'll see.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Autumn at Knoebels.

You're no one if you're not on Twitter.

This is a clip I found on the 10,000 words blog. Enjoy.

Cubs '08.

When this season started I was rooting for the Chicago Cubs because this year marks one hundredth anniversary of the Cubs' last World Series win. If you read this blog regularly, you know that I am a New York Yankees fan, but I couldn't resist rooting for the underdog.

And it's hard to find a bigger underdog in all of sports than the Cubs. Compared to the winless century, the Red Sux 86 year winless streak is nothing to write home about. And now it might be 101 years before the Cubs win another World Series, making this the longest slump in the history of sports.

On the other hand, the LA Dodgers who eliminated the Cubs were led this season by Joe Torre. His old team, the Yankees, didn't even get into the postseason which it has done repeatedly with Torre at the helm. I wonder if Steinbrenner will replace the current manager after such a dismal performance this season. Also, with all the controversy surrounding baseball lately, I am looking forward to next year for more sports and less soap opera. Let's see what happens.

VP debate SNL style.

I didn't watch SNL last night because it stopped amusing me years ago. But this hilarious take on the VP debate is one of the few SNL gems I have seen lately and it's definitely worth watching.

Friday, October 03, 2008

VP debate.

As soon as the curtain went down on debate between Joe Biden and Sarah Palin people started arguing about who won. Myriads of pundits and political strategist gave their opinions and analysis to reporters on countless channels. Billions of bloggers wrote play by play and quote by quote responces to each answer and gester.

But in the end, no matter what was said about what was said, only the voters themselves should decided who won this debate. Because in a month, when you stand in that voting booth getting ready to put your $0.02 down on a presidential candidate, all the pundits and analysts won't matter. You won't even remember what was said and by whom.

If you want to know what I thought, I will tell you. I thought that Palin did a good job keeping afloat. She didn't answer any questions to my, or my wife's, satisfaction. She insulted every beer drinking American by calling them "Joe Sixpack" and that folksy "you betcha" just made her sounds like Tina Fey doing a really bad impersonation of a Canadian on Saturday Night Live.

She also refered to herslf as a "hockey mom" which is a wonderful thing to have on your resume when you are running for PTA president at your kids' school, but it doesn't even come close to cutting the mustard where being Vice President is consurned. If McCain is elected President, this woman is going to represent the US throughout the world on official state visits. This idea is scarry considering her only foreign diplomatic experience is beign the governor of a state that has a border with Russia.

If I were to use the same logic, I should be the Secretary of State in McCain's cabinet simply based on the fact that I was born, and spent half of my life, in Russia. And if that is not enough, I should be Secretary of State because I could actually find Israel on a map.

I could tell you who I thought was the clear winner, but I wouldn't want to influence anybody or start an arguement. But what I am going to tell you is that with a month left until the election you need, no you must, pick a candidate and soon.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Mad debate.

Andy Borowitz, a comedian who wrote McCain Replaces Palin with Startled Deer story I previously wrote about, has done it again. It seems that Palin's answers in tonight's debate were brought to you by Mad Libs.

Palin's debate prep.

Here is last night's Top Ten list from the Letterman show. I find it to be sad, but true.

Debate coverage.

Live from St. Louis, it's Thursday Night. Enjoy.

Debate 2.0.

Just in time for the debate between Joe Biden and Sarah Palin, I received an email from Simon Owens, of Bloggasm, pointing me to C-SPAN's gift to Web 2.0 and political junkies everywhere, Debate Hub. The way the Hub works, and makes the debate more interesting, is by gathering all relevant and irrelevant information from blogs and sites throughout the strands that make up the World Wide Web. This is a very interesting experiment which provides an experience of the presidential debates that you can only get from the web. Gizmodo did a nice, little write up on the Hub.

Chinese imports.

Melamine, an industrial chemical which poisoned thousands of Chinese children, has made its way to the United States and into some candy sold in Connecticut. I understand that large companies need to make products in China in order to increase their profits. But what doesn't make sense to me, as a consumer, is why aren't there more safeguards and controls in place to assure that this kind of thing does not happen again.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Palin replaced by a deer.

This is a work of fiction written by comedian Andy Borowitz. And, like all great works of fiction, it rings very true. It also raises the question: is Sarah Palin the stupidest Republican VP candidate since Dan Quayle? That's up for debate. And it is a debate I would like to see, not Palin versus Biden, but Palin versus Quayle.

Cellphone fiction.

Centuries before the invention of cellphones and text messaging, Japanese poets came up with haiku, a poetic form perfectly suited for these modern forms of communication. Now Jakucho Setouchi, a Japanese novelist turned Buddhist nun came out with a cellphone novel. This novel joins others of its kind which are delivered via text messages and are popular with young Japanese women.

The Japanese have always been early adapters of new technology partly due to the fact that Japan is a major developer of new technology. It would be interesting to see if these cellphone novels would become popular in other parts of the world, like Europe for example, which are massive text message users.

Monday, September 29, 2008


These people now have their own show on TLC. And they are expecting their eighteenth (that's number 18) child. Does anybody have a time machine we can use to send them back to the Dark Ages?

Change is coming.

This is a video that sheds a little light on the truth behind the McCain ads. It seems that the Republican Party knows only one way to campaign for an elected office in this country: dirty. They would rather make their oponents look bad and have the people vote with their hearts instead of presenting their case and having the people vote with their minds. I am getting just a little bit tired of these ads so I thought I would share this video with my readers.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Land before time.

Sarah Palin was an inspired choice for John McCain's running mate. She is a hockey mom who became a mayor of a small Alaskan town and went on to govern the entire state. This might make you believe that she was chosen for something other than her gender. This might make you believe that you too can rise from obscurity to the second highest office in this country.

The truth, however, is far different than the Photoshopped official portraits and messages approved by the candidate might suggest. The truth is that she believes mankind coexisted with dinosaurs and that the Earth is only 6,000 years old. Despite what the religious right may want you to believe, there is no room for such ideas in government because such ideas are insane. And we, having had eight years of prime, grade "A" ignorance in the White House, can not afford four years of sheer insanity. I believe that everybody's opinion has merit, but ideas like this have no more room in the 21st Century America than the ravings of an Austrian failed artist who attempted to reshape Europe sixty years ago.

We neither need, nor can not afford leaders who will pray for a solution in a critical situation instead of thinking of one. In case the $700 billion bailout of Wall Street didn't serve as a wake up call or a hint, this country is in deep trouble. Besides a two front war we are waging, the economy is slowly taking a trip back to the 1930s. I am not an economist and can not predict if we're heading for another not-so-great depression, but it sure feels like the ship of state soon will not be able to afford the fuel it runs on and run aground.

In this situation we don't need to be told to vote for somebody simply because they are a woman. We need to be told the truth. The truth is that she is wrong for the McCain presidential campaign, for the Republican party, and, most of all, she is wrong for America.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Green ducks.

Paul Newman died.

Paul Newman has died. He was 83 and had cancer. I loved his collaborations with Robert Redford in Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid as well as The Sting. He was menacing as Judge Roy Bean and as unbreakable as he was rebellious in Cool Hand Luke. Even though some people perceived him as a movie star, he was, first and foremost, an actor and he was great at his craft.

Election '08.

If you really want to know what other people in this country think about the upcoming election, Twitter has set up a page with you in mind: Election 2008. It moves pretty fast, but you can pause it by holding your mouse over a tweet.

Space walk.

China has reached the next milestone in their exploration of space. Even though it has been almost fifty years since Russia and the US achieved this, it is still an impressive achievement considering that China is only the third country in the world to put a man in orbit. I wonder if they are going to go to the moon next?

Thursday, September 25, 2008


Show me the money.

According to CNN, the $700 billion that is needed to bail out Wall Street amounts to $2,000 per each taxpayer. That is not a lot of money if you think about it. What's $2,000? It's a used car, or a cruise, or a Swiss watch.

However, this is not the money I am willing to spend helping out the people whose incompetence and/or greed got them in this situation in the first place. If each taxpayer gives Wall Street $2,000 there is no guarantee that they will not blow the save and find themselves in this exact situation again.

So the best solution in this case is to turn the ownership of these troubled financial institutions over to the taxpayers themselves after the bail out. If the government, who officially will be bailing out Wall Street, does not like this idea, they need to take these banks over. This is the only way anybody will see a return on their investment.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Riding longhorn.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Making connections.

Email Our Military, or eMOM, a Miami based organization that supports American troops via email and other forms of morale boosting correspondence has partnered up with Tatango. Tatango is a Seattle based company which connects groups via text messaging. Read the eMOM blog for more details on this partnership.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Giant pumpkin.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Unofficial merchandise.

This is a sign that hangs by a booth selling Bloomsburg Fair t-shirts. If the significance of this picture escapes you, check out The Blog of Unnecessary Quotation Marks.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Talk like a pirate.

Today is the Talk Like a Pirate Day. So here is the picture of the two guys who came up with this holiday back in 1995. Now go out there and and talk like a pirate before I make ye walk the plank, ye bloody land lovers. Arrr!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Giving it away.

Rookie receiver started celebrating before making a touchdown. I know that the protective mask obstructs a player's view, but I don't think it would be difficult to tell you're not in the end zone. This, to me, is a typical Philadelphia Beagles moment.

Monday, September 15, 2008

To boldly go.

George Takei married Brad Altman, his partner of 21 years, in Los Angeles on Sunday. Forty years ago, when Takei was playing Sulu on the original Star Trek, this was an impossible dream even in the idealistic future depicted on that show. This was an impossibility even a few years ago, but it seems that, at least in a small way, the future Gene Roddenberry envisioned is becoming a reality. And this wedding, to paraphrase a famous quote, is a small step for two men, a giant leap for mankind.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Oops, she did it again.

It seems the Republicans might get more trouble from Palin than they bargained for. Alaskan lawmakers decided to subpoena her husband as part of their abuse of power investigation against her.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Read before you leap.

Recently I wrote about how it is important for bloggers to check their sources prior to posting. And then I almost did not follow that rule myself. This is what happened.

I was checking Twitter before leaving to go pick up my wife from work and saw this post:
BreakingNewsOn : Republican VP nominee Sarah Palin tells ABC News that war may be necessary if Russia invades another country.
Reading that made me nervous because the idea of a potential Vice President who supports a war with, or rather against, Russia scares me more than the idea of war with Russia. So I, upon arriving at my wife's work, proceeded to tell her about this gem of a news story. As somebody who is familiar with Russian history and its military I was convinced we're all doomed if Sarah Palin gets to be the second banana.

After we got home I sought out the article which would back up the quote I read. My search lead me to a number of videos I did not want to watch and then to a story that answered all my questions. The quote, it turned out, had to do with Georgia joining NATO and the US defending George in case of another attack by Russia. Palin was talking about defending one's ally which is a completely rational reason to go to war against a nation such as Russia.

I am really glad that I did not get on my little soapbox, waved my banner in the air, and proudly thumped my chest declaring for one and all to hear that the Republicans made a huge mistake with Plain as a running mate and that she, if elected, will upgrade this smoldering world wide conflict into global war.

So, like the title says, read before you leap. You'll be glad you did.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Unhappy anniversary.

This photo was taken by Mustang Gal.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Brand, Bush, and bull.

Today, on the Rick Sanchez 3 o'clock CNN show a topics of Russell Brand and his comments during the 2008 MTV Video Music Awards were discussed. It seems that Brand called George W. Bush a retarded cowboy. I would love to agree with Brand, but calling Bush retarded is unfair to people with mental retardation because I am sure they have more higher brain function than Bush.

To discuss MTV in general, and this incident in particular, Sanchez called upon Rachel Campos-Duffy, a former Real World cast member. Campos-Duffy, a conservative blogger and mother of five, proceeded to say that MTV has gone down hill in the years since she appeared on it. It's nice to hear Campos-Duffy have such nice things to say about her former employer. Especially since she owes her career to the appearance on Real World: San Fransisco and several subsequent MTV shows.

But what bothers me the most about this situation is that CNN, a serious news agency, considers the comments of a comedian on an irrelevant awards show worth reporting on. This is sad, very, very sad.

Chicken on the go.

KFC moves the secret recipe, Nation holds its collective breath.

Monday, September 08, 2008

CNN and Twitter.

I have been getting my breaking news from CNN via Twitter by following cnnbrk. This is a very useful, not to mention quick, way to keep up with the world as a whole. The way this works is simple. Every time something newsworthy happens, cnnbrk posts it on Twitter and I get a text message on my phone so I don't have to use the phone's browser at all.

I like receiving these updates because when you live in a small town like Bloomsburg, it's very easy to forget about the greater world that lies beyond the county line. Also I don't usually watch CNN or other news channels, but I like to at least try to stay informed. And this allows me to stay informed to a degree.

Now I am following Rick Sanchez, a CNN anchor who incorporated Twitter into his show recently. And even though I have not watched his show yet, I am not surprised by this move because using Twitter makes it faster and easier to communicate with the audience then the more traditional email.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Fall kick off.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Thought of the day.

If today is the first day of the rest of my life, what is the rest of my life going to look like?

Friday, September 05, 2008

New skills.

Watching a child grow is an amazing thing. By now, this is not a new idea, in fact, it has been around as long as humanity itself, but I am sure that every person who has a child comes to this realization at some point.

After my daughter turned 20 months old in August, I started to wonder where the time has gone. I quite vividly remember her birth and her first birthday celebration, she opened all her presents herself. But now I find myself wondering where the time went and, more importantly, what to get her for her second birthday which will be here in four short months.

As my daughter grows, she develops new and astounding, at least to me, skills. Yesterday, for example, she climbed into her high chair by herself. This is like climbing Mt. Everest without oxygen in terms of toddler accomplishments. As I watched her perform this incredible feat, I was both extremely scared and extremely proud because it was something she attempted all by herself and succeeded.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Chrome copyright issues.

In his latest post Wil Wheaton refers to a post by Charlie Stross to explain why he won't be using Chrome. The big problem both Wil and Charlie have with Chrome is the copyright section of the user agreement. Charlie even links to a story in The Register which quotes the following from the user agreement:
11.1 You retain copyright and any other rights that you already hold in Content that you submit, post or display on or through the Services. By submitting, posting or displaying the content, you give Google a perpetual, irrevocable, worldwide, royalty-free and non-exclusive license to reproduce, adapt, modify, translate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute any Content that you submit, post or display on or through the Services. This license is for the sole purpose of enabling Google to display, distribute and promote the Services and may be revoked for certain Services as defined in the Additional Terms of those Services.
This looks like no matter what you do, Google owns you. However, the same story that Charlie links to has been updated as of this morning to show the new version of the copyright section of the agreement:
11.1 You retain copyright and any other rights that you already hold in Content that you submit, post or display on or through the Services.
The problem, it seems, has been solved. It also appears that bloggers, like other journalists, need to check their facts before getting up on their soapboxes and proclaiming their authority.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Google Chrome.

So, like pretty much everybody else out there, I downloaded Google's new web browser Chrome. And now a day later I can say that I like it. I can't say much more than this because I have not had as much time to play with it as I would have liked but it seems to be a good browser. 

At first I could not get used to the tabs being on top of the browser. This is a purely stylistic thing since I was used to Firefox and its tab location. Chrome gives you something that other browsers do not have - you can drag a single tab away from the others making it a separate window. You can also rearrange the tabs by putting them where you want them. This allows you to have a number of sites next to each other to simplify tasks such as comparing prices.

There are other features which I have yet to discover. But restoring the previously opened tabs upon start up is one feature I happily enabled. I used it rather heavily in Firefox and shutting down my PC without it would have proved somewhat difficult.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Blue horse.

Saturday, August 30, 2008


Musical meerkat.

I found this meerkat at a Syracuse zoo sitting on a bongo drum in the corner of its enclosure. There weren't any zoo keepers nearby to explain the presence of a drum, so this shall remain one of life's great mysteries.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Going backwards.

As I mentioned before I have been spending 10 hours a day for the last three weeks learning to be a truck driver. I am getting pretty good at the driving and shifting parts of the whole thing, but some of the maneuvers we have to perform perplex me a little.

One such maneuver is the alley dock which is a very straight forward, or straight backward rather, bit of driving which requires you to put a truck into a box outlined by four cones without hitting them. If you miss backing the truck into this box, you are allowed to pull up, straighten out, and attempt to back into the box again.

This is not a difficult thing to do, as my classmates demonstrate repeatedly, yet I have not found my key to getting this procedure under control. The instructional designer side of my brain tries to figure out how I can explain the alley dock to myself in terms and concepts that will make the most sense.

I know that everybody learns differently and that simply presenting the material to a learner and telling them to learn it is a lousy way to teach and is bound to fail. I also know that this class did not benefit from the use of such staples of instructional design as the ADDIE model, so I can not expect the pedagogy to adopt to my own learning style (which would be ideal in any teaching situation because it would result in a higher rate of success on the part of the learners, but also would be impractical since teaching the same material using different approaches would not be cost effective) and yet I seem to have a hard time putting the steps together in a successful sequence.

There is one more week of class before the CDL test and by that time I need to figure out how to solve the instructional design problem that lies before me. Whatever the outcome, being both the instructional designer and the learner is proving to be very difficult.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Games and sports.

As I mentioned before, I have been watching the Olympics for 28 years. In that time I have seen many changes take place, many new sports added. So I thought I would put together a list of sports that I think should be included in the future Olympics.

Here is that list:
  • Polo - There are simply not enough horse events in the Olympics. There is already Water Polo which means that the regular, or Land Polo, game should also be represented. Besides, if we send multimillionaires to represent the US under the guise of the Men's Basketball Team, why not include some of the super rich, too.
  • Bocce - This is a game that combines elements of both bowling and curling. Variations of this game are played throughout the world which means that there won't be a shortage of players. And the best part is: it's really old, the Ancient Romans had a game like Bocce.
  • Street Luge - Winter Olympics have Luge, which is not as dangerous and as exciting to watch as Street Luge, so Summer Olympics should have Street Luge. And the host city won't even have to build a venue for this event. All you need is a steep downhill and a lot of hay bails, or used tires, to stop the racers from impacting nearby buildings.
  • Shuffleboard - This is a game mainly played by older people. Since 30 is too old in some sports, and people are living longer these days, including it in the Olympics would increase the age of the Olympians. If Shuffleboard is included we might even see an octogenarian gold medalist.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Last two weeks.

I have been busy in the last two weeks. To improve my employability I started a CDL, which stands for Commercial Drivers License, class on August 4th. Since then I have a passed my permit test and am now learning to drive and maneuver a tractor trailer. This is the biggest vehicle I have ever driven and it can be a bit challenging. These classes last ten hours and take a lot out of you by the end of the day.

And when I wasn't busy with that I was watching the Summer Olympics. During the opening ceremonies it dawned on me that I have been watching various Olympics for the last 28 years. I can't remember if I watched the 1976 Summer Olympics since I was only three at the time, but my memory of watching the opening ceremonies of the Moscow Olympics four years later is quite vivid.

There are a couple Olympic issues, such as the Chinese Girls Gymnastics team and the new extra innings rule for baseball, I would like to address, but at present I do not have the time so I will focus on them later. Please stand by.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Holy cow.

This is a lifesized plastic cow that stands outside of a local ice cream shop during business hours. The owners like to dress her up on occasion, but I am not quite sure which holiday inspired this outfit.

Friday, August 08, 2008


Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Time capsule.

I came across this sign hidden under a bush in a front yard on West Third Street.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Knoebels at night.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

August afternoon.

This is a poem I wrote earlier today. I left the front door open after getting the mail and the lack of street noise inspired me.

August Afternoon

My front door is open

but I can not hear the street

that usually flows outside

Its flow has ebbed

on this Summer Saturday and

all the people who travel

Along this street have

gone elsewhere for the moment

leaving an empty quiet

behind them like a wake

Playing dress up.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Thought of the day.

Recently I watched a woman get in her Toyota Avalon and twice drive around the parking lot we were in. After watching her do this, it became apparent to me that she could not decide which way she wanted to go. Why is it that seemingly intelligent people lose IQ points after they get behind the wheel? Are we evolving into a new species, Homo Sapience Vehicular, which will be the same size physically but with a smaller brain completely incapable of abstract thinking?

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Jesus and Mary.

I found these two in the toy section of my local Wal-Mart. According to the packaging, they are fully poseable and can talk. Joseph, however, was nowhere to be found.

No coffee for you.

The fact that Starbucks is closing 600 of its stores is not news. But ever since I heard about this I wondered if the one in downtown Bloomsburg will be among them. And, according to The Huffington Post article listing all 600 stores, it is. I am not surprised by this since the downtown also houses Bloomin' Bagels, a locally owned eatery, and Phillips Emporium, a performance space coupled with a bookstore and a coffee shop.

Both of these places serve coffee of better quality than Starbucks at a lower cost. But fear not, coffee lovers. If you desire a cup of Starbucks coffee you will be able to find it in Bloomsburg atop College Hill, on the first floor of the Bloomsburg University Library. It seems that the twentysomethings who inhabit B.U. can not survive between classes without infusions of overpriced coffee.

But, to quote Lenny Kravitz, what I really want to know is what does a character from the original Battlestar Galactica has to do with coffee?

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Slow rider.

Life in a small Pennsylvania town can be very unhurried most of the time. But once in a while something creeps in to town to remind you how rural this place truly is. For example, after I parked my car, but before Lili and I could get out, I saw a combine (second in the on-coming lane) making its way down a busy street with its hazard lights blinking as if to remind people to slow down and enjoy this Summer day.

Midnight cookies.

My wife and I are making cookies for a shindig at her work. She found this recipe in a recipe box that takes up most of our kitchen. It calls for an equal number of X's and O's. The idea, I guess, is to play Tic Tac Toe if the cookies taste bad.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Lili in a box.

Lili likes to get her toys out and spread them out in the living room. Today she decided to get into the box that used to contain her toys.

Home Run Derby.

In case you are like me and missed last night's Home Run Derby, here is an MLB blog that was created to keep up with the derby as it happened. I don't know how long it will be up, so check it out now.

Celebrity baseball.

Just in time for the All-Star Game I discovered that Alyssa Milano, the star of both large and small screen, is an L.A. Dodgers' fan. This isn't a particularly interesting fact and neither is the fact that she has dated Dodgers' starting pitcher Brad Penny. But what I did find interesting is that she has a blog called Touch 'em All dedicated to baseball.

I have read a few entries and found that they are well written. The part that made me want to read this blog again was that it is written from a stand point of a fan, a fan with really good season tickets, but a fan nonetheless. While I expected to find the ravings of an armchair GM with a Hollywood sized ego, I found a baseball fan who used to watch the Yankees on her father's lap.

The only thing that surprised me the most about Touch 'em All is the name of its author. But, in large part due to that name, I will add Touch 'em All to my blog list.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Convenience Store Day.

Today is July 11th, sometimes known as Convenience Store Day. In honor of this "holiday", I am posting a picture I found via Google. Here is to all the convenience stores and their clerks out there, you make what passes for civilized living possible.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Thought of the day.

If you are going to make mistakes, and chances are you are going to make a few, make them while you are in your twenties. This way, as you get older, you will spend more time remembering them than regretting them.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Coney Island.

After our visit to Coney Island this weekend, I was curious if I can find a video of this piece of American history in its hey day. I got lucky and found one. Here it is, enjoy:

Monday, July 07, 2008

Planet Aid.

A recent addition to the sights I pass on my walk is this container for recycling of clothing and shoes. What I can't figure out is, how is this different from giving your old stuff to the Salvation Army?

Thought of the day.

A year ago, on what was supposed to be the luckiest day ever, an extremely large number of couples took the plunge and got married. I wonder how many of these people are now divorced?

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Parachute jump.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Wonder Wheel.

Original Nathan's.

Coney Island boardwalk.

Mother and daughter.