Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Dickie's Quickies

Haaretz reports on an industrial espionage case that police have just revealed. The case involved some rather large Israeli companies hiring private investigators to spy on their competitors. The PI firms then hired another person to write a Trojan and place it on the computers of the competitors. Once in place, the program writer then provided the PI firm with a user name and password which their client used to steal documents from the competitor's computers and send them to a series of FTP servers. How did police catch on to this? The hacker wrote and used the program initially to spy on some ex inlaws and it was the ex inlaws who reported the original hacking to the police. From there it was a matter of back tracking the whole process to the industrial clients.

So, it wasn't the IT people who busted this hacker, but the police. Good for the police, but bad for the IT folks. They better look at their practices. Some highlights of the article:

The companies suspected of commissioning the espionage, which was carried out by planting Trojan horse software in their competitors' computers, include the satellite television company Yes, which is suspected of spying on cable television company HOT; cell-phone companies Pelephone and Cellcom, suspected of spying on their mutual rival Partner; and Mayer, which imports Volvos and Hondas to Israel and is suspected of spying on Champion Motors, importer of Audis and Volkswagens. Spy programs were also located in the computers of major companies such as Strauss-Elite, Shekem Electric and the business daily Globes.

"The program was essentially customized for each and every one of the `victims' that the PI agencies wanted to attack," said Chief Inspector Nir Nativ, one of the officers who investigated the case. "Haephrati adapted the software to penetrate a specific company, at the request of the PI agency's client."

Haephrati used two methods to plant his malicious software (or malware) in the target computers. One was to send it via e-mail. The other was to send a disk to the target company that purported to contain a business proposal from a well-known company that would arouse no suspicions. Then, when an employee loaded the disk to view the proposal, the Trojan horse would infect his computer.

Nativ explained that even anti-virus programs cannot detect Haephrati's malware, because each is unique. Moreover, the Trojan horses were generally unwittingly introduced by company employees who inserted the infected disks, rather than "attacking" from outside, making detection even more difficult.

Police believe that industrial espionage using Haephrati's programs has been going on for at least a year and a half.

Police said that they are not yet able to quantify the economic damage suffered by the victims, but it appears to have been considerable - thanks both to the program's capabilities and to the sheer number of companies involved.

Police eventually obtained court orders to access several FTP servers based in Israel and the United States, and then discovered tens of thousands of documents stored there that belonged to major Israeli companies, including many files labeled "internal" and "secret."

This sort of thing - with internal users introducing the Trojan - is going to be discovered more and more often. We're going to find that criminal enterprises are the ones behind it as well and not just competitors or hackers with an axe to grind.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Ad-Aware SE 1.06 out now

For those of you who use Lavasoft's Ad-Aware program, version 1.06 has just been released.

Also, for users of Spybot Search & Destroy, if you want to try out the new release candidate version 1.4, you can go here to give it a whirl.

Spyware Blaster also had an update recently. They are on version 3.4

And, while I'm at it a couple of other favorite computer utilities have had recent updates:

Everest Home is a free utility for hardware diagnostics and memory benchmarking. It's also useful for overclocking.

Regseeker is a free registry cleaner and Windows XP tweaker. I've used this a lot to clean my registry. I'm not certain that my performance is enhanced really, but I'm one to keep clutter to a minimum on my PC.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Dickie's Quickies

An elementary school teacher asked his students to come up with puns based on "Darth Tater". The results have me chuckling.

In a completely different venue, Oklahoma Senator Tom Colburn decided to use Star Wars puns in a recent presentation to Capitol Hill staffers while they lunched. His presentation, however, was not on Darth Tater, but rather on STDs.

Fliers pictured a Yoda figure crying, 'Stop the STDs, we must,' and Darth Vader warning, 'Never underestimate the power of the STDs.' Star Wars music greeted the guests.

Speaking of sex, Jennifer Jasko does some wonderful pin up art.

Speaking of art, Gris Grimly creates art inspired by Gorey, Tim Burton, et al.

Feeling insecure after looking at the Grimly art? You'll fear worse after reading the Wired story on the LexisNexis data breach in which 300,000 individuals personal information was stolen. From the Security Samurai, who provided the link:

It seems a hacker posed as a 14 yr old girl and was chatting with a police officer from Florida. The hacker sent the cop a slideshow of nudie pics that were supposed to be her and it contained a virus that scanned the officer’s machine and found a username and password to a LexisNexis database used to support law enforcement. They stumbled on it by complete accident, but did not stop there.
Yes, you got it! A police officer was flirting with a 14 year old girl and receiving pictures from her and therefore provided, unwittingly, the keys to the castle. Lovely.

Finally, Friday's random 10 songs:

1) Afro Celt Sound System - Persistence of Memory
2) Lou Reed w/Steve Buscemi - Broadway Song
3) DJ Zebra - Avertissement
4) Sounds of Terror! - Burned At The Stake
5) Darrell Banks- Angel Baby (Don't You Ever Leave Me)
6) Zeb - Prelude Fugue (Zeb Vs. Piazolla Mix)
7) Tsehaytu Beraki - Atzmtom Kerkisom
8) Jim Carroll - Excerpts from The Basketball Diaries
9) DJ Prosper - Adjudant Gereus
10) Ministry - Effigy (from the album that they keep trying to forget)

It's going to be 91+ degrees here in Monroe today. I'll be looking for some place cool to hang out.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Dickie's Quickies

A couple of amusements this morning:

Ryan Greis draws upon his experiences of living in Kentucky for his Pooptooth illustrations featuring backroad hicks. Pretty amusing. Having grown up a number of years in Kentucky and having most of my family's skelatives in Southern Indiana on the border of Kentucky, I find that I can relate very well with these pictures even in their absurdity. His editorial illustrations, while amusing, don't draw me in quite as much.

Want to know about corporate board incest? Check out They Rule and learn who sits on a corporate board and which other boards those people sit on as well.

Update: A new report on U.S. arms sales around the world from the World Policy Institute. No surprises here to anyone who follows such things, but it's worth repeating:

In 2003, more than half of the top 25 recipients of U.S. arms transfers in the developing world (13 of 25) were defined as undemocratic by the U.S. State Department’s Human Rights Report: in the sense that "citizens do not have the right to change their own government." These 13 nations received over $2.7 billion in U.S. arms transfers in 2003, with the top recipients including Saudi Arabia ($1.1 billion), Egypt ($1.0 billion), Kuwait ($153 million), the United Arab Emirates ($110 million) and Uzbekistan ($33 million).

When countries designated by the State Department’s Human Rights Report to have poor human rights records or serious patterns of abuse are factored in, 20 of the top 25 U.S. arms clients in the developing world in 2003 -- a full 80% -- were either undemocratic regimes or governments with records of major human rights abuses.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Not likely to be up long

Once Lucas gets a load of Store Wars it'll probably be taken down quickly. In the meantime, enjoy the farce that presents a tale of organic farming.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Friday's Random Music Meme

This is a first for me, but I've seen it on other blogs and kind of like the idea. The rules:

1) Set the music player of choice on random play.
2) Post the first 10 tunes it plays.
3) NO CHEATING! *smile* No matter how embarrasing it is. (If nothing else, it's a reminder to clean up the crap you might have on your PC)

Here's the first list:
1) Rosengarden and Kranz - Satan Takes a Holiday
2) Joe Jackson Band - Blue Flame
3) Tarantula Ghoul and the Gravediggers - Graveyard Rock
4) Lloyd Cole - My Other Life
5) Estrella Morente - Solea Grana
6) Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young - Helpless
7) Lou Reed (with David Bowie) - Hop Frog
8) Ted Leo and the Pharmacists - Bleeding Powers
9) Ozomatli - Who's To Blame
10) Ben Harper - Run Eyed Blues

Hm, a rather rocking first list. Not that that's a bad thing, but it doesn't necessarily represent my tastes. We'll see how it expands (or not) in weeks to come. Maybe it means that I need to diversify the files on my PC.


As I woke after that dream (see below), I heard a low rumbling. At first, my memory took me back to New York. Even on the 43rd floor of the hotel, I could hear, or rather feel, the subway trains as the rolled past underneath the city. It's a curious sensation, but it's just one of hundreds in a noisy metropolis. I wonder how one finds peace in such crowds.

Not that Monroe is always quiet. As I type this the garbage trucks are making their rounds, their engines from afar sounding like tired elephants, too lazy to let out a real cry. Their brakes squeaking. The refuse bins clacking as hollow plastic containers and wheels hit the pavement again. Later, the construction crews will begin their daily chorus. The sounds of hammers and drills, of concrete trucks, of Mexican polka music and opera will fill the neighborhood above us that is, thankfully, quickly approaching completion. Even if these are silenced, there are always the trains passing through town day and night with their whistles warning drivers to clear the intersections. On weekends, we also have the fairgrounds a few hundred yards away where racers fill the tracks, the din of which seems to fill the skies with imaginary planes of the WWII era. In late August, the fairgrounds also plays host to a state fair and at nights the crowds are treated to the sounds of second tier stars from yesteryear. As if to emphasize their status, the sounds of those concerts reaches our house in such a way as you can hear the hits of the past, but like fading memories, you're not quite sure which hit you're hearing. Is it "The Gambler" or that duet he did with Parton? And, after the human made noises have faded, there are always the sounds of our beloved tree frogs which during spring can become so loud that you have to raise your own voice to have a conversation. Then there are the birds, the pets excited by the birds, the coyotes, hawks, geese, ducks, and more.

Still, tree frogs are preferable to car horns to my mind as are trains to subways. Monroe has it's noises, but they seem to be less intrusive. When the human noises cease, the sounds that replace them bring comfort to me. Which is why I wonder how people in New York find peace and relax. I suppose that they find their surroundings peaceful or acceptable. Perhaps, like our own heartbeats - we are never noise free, you know? - they get used to the sounds of the city. The heartbeat of the city replaces the ones in their chests and each becomes part of the natural rhythm if life.


The room had low lighting. It was rectangular. I was standing slightly off center towards the upper left hand corner. The dancer came from just the right on the lower left corner. Her hair was black or dark brown. It was cut just below chin level. Her nose was sharply angular to her face. Her eyes were closed. She wore mascara. Her top was a cotton fabric in a tank top style with wide straps and it was colored black. The matching pants were also made of cotten and designed like sweat pants, but very thin, flowing fabric. She also wore a boa.

She danced in and around the room as if in a modern ballet piece. As she slowly approached, I realized that the boa was a deep crimson color. It's "feathers" were made of crushed velvet. The dancer crossed from one side to the other of the room. She did not appear to notice that I was there, standing, clothed, watching and appreciating her athleticism, skill, and grace. When she went by me, both front and back, it seemed natural and I wondered if she did know I was there at all.

Once behind me, she paused at one point, turned into the opposite direction, and, slowing down, began to dance away. As she did so, the dancer untwirled her boa, slowly. Everything slowed down, including my breathing. It was as if I didn't want to disturb the scene. The boa literally floated in the air as the dancer made a half circle around me. I realized that this seemingly regular boa was impossibly long and that it should have dropped to the ground by now as the dancer passed in front of me again, but the boa did not. It was dropping, but it looked more like it was sinking in water.

The dancer turned once more and moved away from me. Her eyes were still closed. Again, there appeared to be no sign that she knew I was there. As the end of the boa unfurled from around her neck, the dancer moved another foot away, then paused. She then began to twirl in a descent to the floor in unison with the boa. When she lied down I began looking around from behind me and followed the boa's pattern. It had made a perfect question mark with the dancer's head as the period.

I woke.

(Note: I rarely remember dreams, but this was a cool one for me and thought that I'd post it here).

Like I've said all along

The only reason the Koran story made such a fuss is because it was perfectly believable. Though in many ways it was the least of the crimes that U.S. soldiers have been accused of, it was a final outrage. Via War and Piece comes this NY Times story.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Outside NYC Public Library Posted by Hello

NYC Trip

Thanks for being patient. I needed a day of rest after returning from NYC and then working the next 3 days. It was a fun trip - a tad too short, but fun.

Our trip began Friday night when we left Seatac at 11PM, local time. Our flight was slightly delayed when the person who took Shawn's ticket came on board to grab the customer copy of her ticket (in addition to the boarding copy - the guy didn't know what he was doing). This turned out to be a bit of good luck for a late passenger who hopped on board on her way to a cruise leaving the next morning. The late passenger ended up taking the seat next to us, so we didn't get to stretch out as we had hoped. She was frazzled about being late. She told us that she travels a lot and was assisting a friend who was scared of flying and that made her late to our flight. No harm done, but I did notice that she didn't sleep the entire night and that made me wonder if her friend existed or if she was the one with the phobia. Luckily, I sleep well enough on airplanes. Shawn hardly slept at all.

By Saturday morning we arrived in La Guardia. I didn't realize it at the time, but Shawn wasn't feeling well. The lack of sleep, etc. had given her a bad headache. We had a quick trip to baggage and then we were whisked away by taxi to the hotel. Our ride to the hotel was typical of the sort of tales one hears about NYC cabbies. Our driver didn't speak, but he cut off several other cars - cabs and privately owned - raced through the streets, honked his horn a lot, and occupied up to 3 lanes at one time, but we got to the hotel quickly and safely.

We checked in at the Hilton, midtown. The conference Shawn was attending was in the hotel and she got a special rate as a conference attendee. Unfortunately, our room was not going to be ready until 3PM and it was only 9AM. We checked our luggage (save for my backpack and Shawn's PC) then headed up to the 44th floor for the executive room complimentary breakfast. The hostess didn't seem to know what to do with us since we hadn't been assigned a room number yet, but she let us in when she saw my temper begin to rise and I insisted that since we had been sent up here, Shawn needed to sit down and eat. If we weren't supposed to receive the breakfast until after a night's stay, then that would have been OK if we had been told that down at reception. I was concerned for Shawn and didn't want her running all over the place ready the throw up on people's shoes at any moment. Also, not to sound arrogant, but we were staying in an executive mini-suite and, for the extra money paid for the room, I'd have thought we'd receive slightly better service. At any rate, we got in and had breakfast and Shawn began to recover a bit. Before leaving we checked one more time with the executive check in about possibly getting into our room before 3 and got turned away once more, albeit in a nicer fashion.

We headed out to Central Park and enjoyed a walk. It was a cloudy day with temperatures around 55 degrees. The Park is beautiful, though one never escapes the noise of the city (or the incessant car horns - a personal beef of mine is using the car horns for anything other than an emergency). We wandered over to a pavillion where some techno bangrha music was playing and sat down on a bench. After a brief rest, we wandered back to the hotel. It was only 12:30, but Shawn really needed some sleep. Once again we went to the Executive check in area. This time a different person was there and she accommodated us by providing us with a temporary room that we could use as long as we needed. That was the sort of service I expected and this pleased us. We were able to get into a room, nap, shower, and discuss where we'd like to head. I left a message with the hotel to expect a phone call for me. I also hopped online and sent an email to Tim regarding getting together for dinner that night. He and Ellen were going to see some concert that I was afraid would put us to sleep, but I've been wanting to meet this man for some time, now, and dinner sounded like a grand idea. Tim had told me that he would try to call the hotel at Noon and I was worried that the message wouldn't be delivered.

After our freshening up, we checked into our proper room. The receptionist acknowledged my phone message request and the change of room, but no messages were waiting for me. It was 3PM and we discussed either hanging out for Tim's message or hitting the town. We chose to hit the city. Our first stop was the Algonquin Hotel where we enjoyed drinks in the lobby (Manhattans, natch) while staring at the decor and the pre-theater crowd. We split a shrimp appetizer that was delish, then headed out for more site seeing. As chance would have it, we walked by the New York Public Library. Shawn, being the librarian, had to go inside. They were having an exhibit of portrayals of women in English literature from the 17th and 18th centuries. There were some lovely old books on display. It was while pausing for Shawn to catch up to me in that exhibit that I noticed the ceiling of the room we were in: it was a lovely carved wooden ceiling. I pointed it out to Shawn and she appreciated it as well. The hour was late and the library was closing, so we were ushered out, but not before we stopped at the gift shop for postcards.

Now, that should have been our clue about the time and Tim and Ellen, but we missed it. Instead, we headed over to Times Square where we wandered quite a bit. Times Square was a disappointment to me. I don't know what I expected, but it wasn't an area that looked like another fucking American tourist trap filled with brand name shops, crappy chain restaurants, and so on. Still, we were there and it was interesting to look around and now we can say "Been there, done that". We did stop into the Virgin Megastore (same as the one in Vancouver) as well as the Skeechers shop, but that was about it. By the time we got back to the hotel it was 7 in the evening. Tim had called twice and left messages for us to meet him and Ellen for dinner around 6PM. Yikes! Damn - I fucked up. I had a great day, but I did want to connect with them! Next day was Mother's Day, so they were busy, but Monday was a possibility last time I had checked. I sent Tim an apologetic email, then headed downstairs with Shawn for dinner at the hotel's restaurant (an over priced Italian place with good, but not better than good, food).

We got up early on Sunday, grabbed our breakfast, then caught a subway. We ended up not taking the subway line we wanted, but the one we got headed in the same direction just stopping a little short of Battery Park - our destination. Instead, we got out at the former site of the World Trade Center buildings. We walked over and viewed the big pit that was where so many people died. I'm not terribly sentimental about such things. Still, it was odd to see tour buses stopping, people getting out, and then waving and smiling for cameras as if they were standing outside of Disney...or Times Square.

We hoofed it down to Battery Park - a nice area. Instead of taking the ferry over to the Statue of Liberty or Ellis Island, we chose to take pictures of them from the park. The park extends on one side of Manhattan and we walked along the waterfront up to the park's end. From there, we walked Greenwich Street through TriBeCa. Shawn was starting to get tired, so we headed towards Chinatown. Chinatown was crowded. The sidewalks were full of pedestrians and vendors hawking everything from watches to CDs to jewelry and more. We found an art shop that Shawn wanted to go into quite by chance and wandered through it a bit. At this point, Shawn was becoming overwhelmed by the crowds and was getting hungry. Plus, she was a tad upset at me because I refused to plan out the trip in minute detail and do things like get addresses. Instead, I was happy wandering around and finding my own spots. We asked for directions to a tea shop that Shawn wanted to find. When we got there, we realized that a restaurant I wanted to go to was just down the road. Shawn got her tea and I got to go to Big Wong's. Big Wong's is mentioned in several books by Kinky Friedman. It is as he described - nothing to look at, but they serve really good quality Chinese food at what are cheap prices for New York in huge portions. After chowing down at Big Wong's, we took our carry out and headed through more of Chinatown (where Shawn bought more lichee tea at a local grocery because it was the brand of tea we cannot find any longer in Seattle, but that she adores as her every day tea), then Little Italy. We made our way to Broadway and began hoofing it back towards the hotel. Along the way we stopped in several shops, including Dean and Delucca, where Shawn bought insulated lunch bags for her and her mom. Shawn wanted to catch the subway back to the hotel, but I relished the walk and so we walked all the way back to the hotel from lower Manhattan.

When we got in, there was an email from Tim: we couldn't meet on Monday or Tuesday, either. I knew he was going to be wiped out those days from work, but I was really hoping to get together with him. However, he was going to have to go to a meeting after work on Monday, so we were out of luck. Damn. I was pretty heartbroken by that. I don't regret our trip out on Saturday night, but I do regret not being able to meet Tim and his lovely wife.

The city that never sleeps makes an exception for Mother's Day. Many businesses, including restaurants, were either closed or shut down early. We weren't able to get into a couple of different places for dinner due to the apparent holiday, so we ended the evening in the hotel lounge where we enjoyed some appetizers and a pizza (very good, by the way).

On Monday, Shawn went off to her conference. They were serving a continental breakfast there, so I went to our complimentary one by myself. Shawn had made me promise to get out and take pictures while she was away in the conference. Normally, I don't take a lot of photos. I'm not very visually oriented and I don't have a lot of practice working on composition of the image. Shawn does very well at that, so she gets the camera most of the time. In fact, she is so good at composing pictures that I have to remind myself to be patient as she takes her time to get just the shot she wants, including the adjustments of the camera settings and all. I'm more of a point and shoot kind of guy. I was that way with a BB gun as a kid, too. *smirk* Still, I did promise Shawn. I felt that this was some sort of positive exercise in working with something I'm not terribly comfortable with.

I caught the subway down to the TriBeCa area. My first stop was going to be Stern's Music (world music importers). Unfortunately, they had closed their doors. I walked up from there to Greenwich Village. Along the way, I saw Vandam street (another Kinky Friedman reference), some nice houses, and a few people who gave me suspicious glances. The Village was more of what I was expecting other parts of NYC to be. It was a real neighborhood with housing and businesses and corner shops, schools, and playgrounds, post offices, etc. Chinatown was like that, too, but not as nice when it comes to housing. TriBeCa didn't seem to have much housing except for super expensive condos and lofts. I felt comfortable in the Village. There was an amazing coffee shop there that had a most wondrous array of coffees to buy bulk. They also had a tremendous selection of tea. I didn't grab anything to go, because it was busy, but I did manage to squeeze in and get a couple of photos.

I also ran into a record store there. On the wall, above the used and new CDs, were LPs. Most of the LPs were 80s bands and many of them had prices of $25 - $30. I recognized several of them from my own collection. Funny how LPs were damn near worthless shortly after CDs came out and now the prices on them are rising.

I walked over to the East Village. There were several things I wanted to see there. I toyed with finding Sarge's Deli, but never did get to it. I did find Downtown Music Gallery. They have the most amazing collection of CDs from artists like John Zorn, Marc Ribot, Bill Laswell, Pharoah Sanders, John Coltrane, and more. It's not all jazz. They have experimental rock as well. I picked up a rare Marc Ribot album for Shawn since she's a big fan of his guitar work. The people there were super nice and I had a good conversation with the manager.

Walking up from the music shop I spied a domed building across the street. When I got to the front doors of the building, I realized it was a church - a Ukrainian Catholic Church. They had some beautiful mosaic tile work on the front of the structure. Later, I found St. Marks in the Bowery Church - it's a haven for poets and writers. They have a gorgeous garden there on one side of the old church. On the other side (marked as a park), the area is mostly bricked in. As I was walking there, I looked down at a large stone in the bricks and realized that it was the headstone to a tomb. Apparently, the "park" is a grave site containing bodies that are a couple of hundred year's old. More walking led me past a lot of buildings and sites: Madison Square Garden, Penn Station, the US Post Office (huge, beautiful building), the Empire State Building, Radio City Music Hall, and Grand Central Station (where the batteries in the camera died) to name a few.

When I got back to the hotel, Shawn was waiting for me. She was ready to go out for dinner. Her conference had gone well. She was both energized and tired from it. We went to a Greek restaurant named Molyvos. We were a lot under dressed for this place, but we didn't really care. It was wonderful food. From the saganaki, which had an herb combination in addition to the lemon juice and Ouzo traditional in the dish, to the Baby Lamb Chops (which Shawn had - cooked to perfection), to my white fish on a bed of greens in a light barley broth, to the baklava for dessert, it was all wonderful. The waiter offered good tips for the cocktails and wine selections. We also ordered brandies with our desserts. Top notch.

Tuesday, Shawn joined me for breakfast. Afterwards, I hit the pavement. My plan was to walk through Central Park over to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, then off to the Guggenheim. I was trying to keep to a manageable schedule. It was a beautiful day - 70+ degrees and sunny outside. The walk through the park was perfect. I stopped to take several pictures. I made it to the Ramblin area (a bird watching section that has been pretty much left to go wild with the only landscaping being the paths) when I got disoriented. I came out of the park near some children playing. We were in front of the American Museum of Natural History - opposite side from the Met. I took advantage of my error and walked into the Museum. It was a quick run through and I didn't get my $13 worth, but I did enjoy what I saw. There were large dioramas featuring full size models of animals from each continent. After passing through the animals section, the visitor then walked into a gallery featuring displays about the humans that lived on the continents. Each area had different music that represented the continents as well. Plus, there were dinosaurs and that's always cool.

I left the Natural History Museum and crossed the park in about 30 minutes, stopping along the way to continue to take pictures. Id have snagged a snap of the Met, but the front was covered in scaffolding as it was being cleaned. I raced through the Met. I could have taken a LOT longer there than I did. A full day would have been nice. There was so much to see there. I went through the American art section and was very impressed with the furniture and whole rooms from houses dating from the 18th century through the 20th century (a Frank Lloyd Wright living room saved from a house he built in Minnesota). I overheard one visitor comment on how he thought Museums wasted too much space on just everyday items rather than focusing on the truly artistic. While I understand his point, I really enjoyed seeing all of this stuff. From there, I went through the European art sections seeing a lot of the impressionists: Monet, Manet, Degas, Van Gogh, Gauguin, etc. and then into Modern art: Rothko, Warhol, Lichtenstein, etc. Shawn would have loved the Miro works there. Whew...maybe 2 days would have been better.

From the Met, it's only a few blocks down to the Guggenheim. This was a more manageable museum. I finished it in about an hour and didn't feel as if I raced through at all. Their collection of modern art is small, but impressive. They have a nice collection of Kandinsky.

After the Guggenheim, it was a leisurely walk back through the park. Along the way, I found the Alice in Wonderland Statue with kids playing on it. How fun! I stopped and took pictures of Radio City Music Hall and Rockefeller Plaza before heading back to the hotel. Shawn was waiting for me and she declared, "I need to get out and walk." Thirty minutes and one bottle of water later, I was ready to hit the pavement again. I took Shawn through Central Park and over to the Met. We couldn't go in as it was past closing, but she got to see the building and the location as well as a big portion of the park. Since we had gone that far, I took her up to the Guggenheim as well. Then we headed back through the park over to Rockefeller Plaza. From there, we headed towards Times Square and we found a Mexican restaurant to enjoy dinner at.

We didn't have much time on Wednesday. Check out was at Noon, so we grabbed breakfast, then went out and found a deli. Shawn's idea was to pack some food for the plane ride home. It was a good idea. I already had my left overs from Big Wong's. Airlines will sell riders sandwiches these days, but I never liked airline food when it was free. We picked up some bagels at a deli, then grabbed some more grub at a local market. After checking out, we grabbed another cab. This driver was more calm than the last one, but not by much. He also was a talker and we heard his views on everything from world peace to democracy to China to male/female relations. It was fun, if a bit disconcerting at times when I noticed he was looking at me rather than watching the road. On the flight home, a kind girl switched seats with Shawn so that we could sit together. We stopped by Shawn's office to drop off bagels for her co-workers, then got home around 11 that evening.

Shawn was smart and had the next 2 days off from work. I was back in the office by 4 the next morning. It was a lovely trip. I regret not meeting Tim and that Shawn didn't have more time to see the sites with me. I also regret that we didn't have more time there, but that only means we'll have to make another trip back at some point. It won't be right away. There are other places we want to visit, but we'll get back to NYC some time.

It's a great city. A wonderful mix of cultures happens there. Walking through Central Park, one can hear many languages being spoken. The stereotypical rude New Yorker does exist, but we also met many kind people. There's a stand offish attitude amongst many people. On the other hand, New Yorkers tend to pay attention to such customs as letting women off of the elevator first. They also tend to dress up when going out for business or dinner. They wear a lot of black and sunglasses (on cloudy days) and tend to wear layers of clothes as if they're freezing when it's 50 and windy. They also seem a little insecure in that they take time to remind you how great their city is and how international it is. Some see this as pride and there's certainly an element of that, but the fact that it's in your face so often seems to me to lack confidence as well. Hopefully when we get back there, we'll have time to see a show. Anyhow, it's good to be back home with the cats and the mountains and the more laid back culture that I love.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Blogs can serve a useful purpose

A lot is being made these days about whether or not bloggers are journalists. Most broadcast news outlets now have their personalities write blogs in addition to their other duties. CNN now has a whole program where they use airtime to read blogs verbatim - ridiculous. My take? Some blogging is journalism, not in the common sense of today's terms, but rather in the classic, before journalism was taught in universities sense. Before colleges and universities taught a codified system of journalism to students there used to be a free form, sometimes greatly biased variety of journalism. Hell, Thomas Paine used to publish pamphlets that today are considered classic, but in the day were rogue journalism of the highly opinionated variety.

So, to the stodgy people of the world: get with the new/old program. Blogs are publications and some of them do qualify as journalism. Some qualify as nothing more than diaries. Some showcase a creator's knowledge of a topic. Others are nothing more than promotional/marketing tools (like the MSM's blogs featuring their talking heads...oops, I mean, "journalists"). Some blogs attempt to reach a higher goal.

In this paper, one of Shawn's classmates furthers his study of the blogging phenomenom. His focus this time out is on blogs related to the Tsunami disaster last December and how blogs affected the relief efforts, if at all. This is a part of a series this student has begun in exploring the way information, in general, is spread through blogs by noting the useful and not so useful types of information available. It's interesting stuff and highly recommended. The writing is scholarly, but not bogged (blogged?) down in jargon or theory. It's also fairly short in length.

Blogs are tools of communication. They are what we make of them. Whether or not that makes the communication valuable to you is up to the user. I suspect whether or not bloggers are journalists will continue to be i(s)nanely debated for some time now. It really misses the point. The medium is the message, after all. The link above gets it right in that it deals with what sorts of information is transmitted and how our ability to communicate is evolving in this new medium.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Dickie's Quickies

Did a fair amount of yard work after coming home from the job yesterday. That probably assisted my sleeping last night. This morning I feel fairly fresh for the first time since we returned. I'll work on the NY pictures this weekend. I'm going into work this morning, so I may not get to them until tomorrow.

In the meantime, amuse yourselves with Amanda Morley's lovely pencil crayon works.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Dickie's Quickies

Lots of discussion about Firefox on the web this week. First, there was some worry that the growth of the browser was slowing down. Now, however, IBM is recommending it to it's employees. That's a big business backing and that's good for the browser and good for IE (competition will make Microsoft less complacent). One of the arguments about the growth slowing down is that perhaps people are concerned about it's security. However, Windows Secrets Newsletter looks into that issue this week and gets it exactly right: it's not the number of flaws, but how quickly you respond (hint: IE had more flaws exposed during Firefox's release and is MUCH slower to address them).

Gapingvoid t-shirts are now available and I think that I might want one. They are "limited".

"In 10 seconds this message will self destruct." Well, sort of. So found out a poor Aussie teen after his iPod got run through a washing machine (link above requires registration, so I shamelessly re-print below):

Don't put your iPod through the washing machine. And if for some reason you do, don't try to fix it with a screwdriver.

That's the advice of fire investigators probing a small explosion that burned a hole in the bed of a Melbourne teenager who tried to perform emergency surgery on his ailing mp3 player.

The boy was treated by paramedics at his Bayswater home for breathing difficulties after ingesting fumes emitted by the device as he pulled it apart in his suburban bedroom about 7.30pm on Wednesday.

Country Fire Authority spokesman Peter Philp said the leaky iPod had been taken away for testing by CFA investigators.

"His mother did the washing and the iPod was in the clothing so it went through the washing machine," Mr Philp said.

"It wasn't working, the young fella tried to undo it or fix it with a screwdriver and at that stage there was an explosion, or more of a pop.

"It was more smoke than fire but it did leave a burn mark on the cover."

Metropolitan Ambulance spokeswoman Lirije Memishi said it was unclear what the teenager had ingested.

"We treated him on the scene for minor breathing difficulties but he was fine and then we scooted out and helped save the rest of Melbourne," she said.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Dickie's Quickies

Mozilla has responded to the recently discovered hole in Firefox with a fix: Firefox 1.0.4. Microsoft never responds so quickly and that is the lesson to be learned from this issue. Not all localizations are complete yet, but they are working on it. Use your update feature to obtain the update or go to the link above.

Toshiba announced that it has built a triple layer DVD storage media that will hold 45 GB of data - pretty damn cool.

NY Update: We got back into Seattle around 8 last night. After picking up the luggage, getting our car from the parking lot, dropping bagels off at Microsoft Studios for Shawn's co-workers, sitting through road work traffic on 522 on the way into Monroe, it was 10PM when we walked into the door. The cats were a little freaked, but are happy to see us. Chaiyo even came out fairly quickly.

We loved the trip, but are happy to be back. Shawn is on call today and tomorrow for work, but I've encouraged her to avoid going in if at all possible. She needs to recover from jet lag and do some school work. Besides, she asked for the damn vacation time and her manager's being an ass - as he often is when she asks for the time.

I'm in work this morning and staring at 2 orders that came in on Monday, but for some reason are waiting for my special touch to fulfill them. I also note that Matt has barely been into the office since last Thursday. He's come in, but hasn't spent more than a 4 hour day here and, during some of that time, saw fit to put some lids on candles in the shop. Way to lead by example, Matt! Fucker.

So, I'm in a quandary. I'm unhappy with where I'm at, but not certain I want to go back to SQL right at this point. An opportunity has presented itself to dive into the SQL Server world again that would allow me to work with someone I've enjoyed working with in the past, but I'm not certain that I want the hassles of working in a large company again. Still, it's nice to have options - even if I feel that I'm drifting and waiting for inspiration as opposed to seeking out my own interests. I'll ponder this more later as I get some work done.

I'll also post more about New York after I recover, get some pictures downloaded, and gain some perspective. I'm going to be in the office through Saturday most likely, so it might not be until next week before I get something up. Please, be patient.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Dickie's Quickies

Mark Morford was a Boy Scout in Spokane when Jim West was a Scout leader. His column in SFGate today (linked above) has an interesting perspective on the topic of Spokane's embattled mayor.

While we're on the subject of things queer, Michael Bérubé has a rather funny, satirical column on the Bush plan for Social Security: ban the homosexuals...um...unless they're Republican.

“President Bush has always believed that gay sperm are a threat to the American
family,” he said in today’s press briefing. “Now we’re prepared to show
that gay men are a threat to the solvency of Social Security as well.
Without progressive indexing for gay sex, Social Security will collapse.”

Following up on the Messiahbomb report from yesterday anus bleaching, there are two other new trends for the fashion/sex obsessed: G-Spot Surgery (scroll down) and injecting your penis with olive oil (not recommended).

Bruce Schneier has an interview with Security Focus news on the current state of cryptography.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Dickie's Quickies

Things are going swimmingly in New York. I'll report more on it later. In the meantime, here are some of the things I've been following while away:

Bruce Schneier reports on the REAL ID act ready for passage in Congress. Note his links to previous essays on why this isn't necessary and how it doesn't make us more secure, but in fact, increases insecurity. Here's a choice quote from the latest post:

The REAL ID Act requires driver's licenses to include a "common
machine-readable technology." This will, of course, make identity theft easier.
Assume that this information will be collected by bars and other businesses, and
that it will be resold to companies like ChoicePoint and Acxiom. It actually
doesn't matter how well the states and federal government protect the data on
driver's licenses, as there will be parallel commercial databases with the same

Your Passion is Blue

You are a total dream in the bedroom.
Sex is a fine art for you - and you're a total Picasso in your pleasure making.
You like to build things up slowly, savoring each moment.
And you'd never think of skipping foreplay or afterplay... they're part of the package.

The Times On Line, who reported that the Bush Administration had targeted Iraq and was pushing the WMD issue early (as reported in a memo from the Blair government), now reports that the recent capture and arrest by the Pakistan of a Libyan allegedly associated with Al Qaida and broadly promoted by the Bush administration may have been a case of mistaken identities. All those damn terrorists look alike anyhow.

Susie Bright has an eye opening report on what teens are saying about sex these days. Some of it is not really new, but what caught my eye is this:

When young people first have sex, and begin to experience the world of intimacy
with another, they have these "A-ha!" experiences where they develop a new, more
grown-up sense of introspection, insight into others, responsibility for another
person, and so on. You cut the cord in a new way with your parents, you begin to
love someone else in a way that you didn't know outside your family before. You
develop your own new family, that is chosen.
When this experience is delayed,
en masse, what does that do to everyone's consciousness? What is it like having
a giant generation of 20-something "virgins"?

There is a widely reported Firefox flaw. Neil's World was where I first read about it. People are in an uproar over this. It should be acknowledged and widely reported, but didn't everyone believe that as the browser became more popular, more flaws would be found? Isn't the real point how quickly the team responds and addresses the problem? After all, Microsoft has been woefully slow to respond to similar issues, leaving millions of it's users (known as customers in the real, less arrogant world) vulnerable.

Speaking of Firefox, I don't know if I've mentioned this before, but there is a USB version known as Portable Firefox. I'm thinking of getting a copy of that to load on a USB drive along with Portable Thunderbird, so that I can control my usage at work - not that I don't trust my colleagues (hehe).

There's also a new Flash Blocker in the works for Firefox, though it's still in the testing stages.

In another widely reported story, Boing Boing brought to my attention the case of one of the RIAA thugs complaining that iPods require DRM. Talk about the pot calling the kettle black. What a fucking idiot! The RIAA complains that music files don't have any DRM, then Apple delivers and now one of the RIAA's former leaders complains she doesn't like how it was implemented. She even mentions stripping away the DRM in order to make certain tunes from Windows Media Player play on the iPod which would break the DMCA rules she lobbied for. Do as I say, not as I do.

My friend at Messiahbomb reports on his blog about the next big thing in plastic surgery - the fashionable S/M trend: anus bleaching.

Finally, a couple of words of my own on the stink being raised in Washington about the mayor of Spokane. The latest article, in the link, seems to deal with the issue better than the first article I read. On Friday, the Seattle Times reported on this story with an article that basically reveled in 2 issues: A) that the mayor was accused of molesting 2 boys when he was a cop and that the accusations came from convicted felons and B) that the mayor used gay chat rooms. They also were concerned over the charges of entrapment leveled against the Spokesman-Review newspaper.

I'm glad that the Seattle Times spent so much space discussing the entrapment issue as well as the molestation charges. They are serious discussions people should be having. The molestation charges will have to be dealt with by a jury in a court. The entrapment issue is ugly. It is inappropriate for the Spokesman-Review to use a surrogate in a chat room to entrap a mayor - just as it is inappropriate law enforcement to do the same.

The new allegation in the latest story, however, is one that is completely appropriate to report. It indicates that the mayor may have indeed offered a position to someone in hopes of turning that into sexual favors. That is a damning allegation.

What troubles me further, however, are 2 other issues related to how this has been reported. First, there has been an undue amount of coverage as to the fact that the mayor spent time in gay chat rooms. Hello, folks! Gay chat rooms are legal and there's nothing wrong with them. Granted, if the mayor used city computers, then that is inappropriate - just as it would be if he used straight chat rooms for the same sorts of things. However, there seems to be a focus on the fact that he's gay and that these are gay chat rooms that is troubling me. It's almost as if it adds to the titillation and scandal factor. Why is that so different from straight chat rooms?

Yes, I understand that this is a Republican who hypocritically denounced homosexuality, who promoted traditional family values (actually, this is technically not hypocritical as gay folks have been promoting the same traditional values via their search for recognition of their marriages by the law, but it is the way that this man used photos of his wife and such that seemingly portrayed heterosexuals as the only ones with traditional values that makes it hypocrisy), who fought against equal rights amendments for homosexuals, and who was a vaguely closeted gay man. That's all fine if the articles spend a lot of time discussing his hypocrisy, but it seems to me that the hypocrisy is supposed to be understood and therefore, hardly needs mentioning. Instead, they spend a lot of time focusing on his experiences in gay chat rooms, divorcing the topic and leaving a "wink wink nudge nudge say no more say no more" in it's place. That leaves me wondering what the Seattle Times and the Spokesman-Review are really after when reporting on this story. Like I said above, the new article handles this better than the one I read before first leaving town on my trip. I look forward to catching up on the articles in between as well as the ones to come. Hopefully, the reporting will be more forthcoming. Are the Times and the Spokesman-Review just reporting for the titillation factor or are they after a real (possibly ugly) story of a politician using his position for sexual gains?

Friday, May 06, 2005

Microsoft now supports equal rights legislation

Steve Ballmer just emailed his employees and announced that the company will support equal rights legislation for homosexuals in Washington state. Hurray for him - seriously. It's the right decision. Even though I would have preferred that Microsoft had stuck to it's guns in the first place, they got there in the end and that deserves recognition. I'm not going to look this gift horse in the mouth.

Oh, and speaking of Microsoft, SQL Server 2000 SP4 was released today.

Dickie's Quickies

Here's an interesting short story from the BBC. What impresses me about this story is not that Starbucks is not going to sell Springsteen's latest CD due to explicit content on it, but rather how much Starbucks affects that market for music sales. Towards the end of the article is this line:

The chain was responsible for a quarter of all sales of the late Ray Charles final album, Genius Loves Company, which sold three million copies across the US.

That is pretty darn impressive no matter how you pour it.

Amanda has been posting a pretty challenging series of articles on the Men's Rights Movement. Part 2, 3, and 4. I agree with a lot of her points. I tend to eviscerate these folks as well. There has been one incident that I personally have knowledge of where a man went into court worried about his rights for visitation with his son, but once there the judge told the ex-wife that she and her lawyer needed to demonstrate clear reasons to prevent joint custody, which seemed fair to me. The former couple maintains joint custody of their son and have for many years.

George Bush lied about the war in Iraq. We know that and we suspect the intelligence was fixed. Now the Sunday Times in Britain has published a secret memo from the Blair government dated July 23rd, 2002 that states it clearly. I quote:

Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy. The NSC had no patience with the UN route, and no enthusiasm for publishing material on the Iraqi regime's record. There was little discussion in Washington of the aftermath after military action.

Privacy? Ah, who cares about that? Boing Boing contributor Xeni has an interview with the folks at Zabasearch. Zabasearch does free searches for people by name online and provides names, birth dates, phone numbers, and addresses - going back 10 years. I tried it with a particularly elusive friend of mine and sure enough, there he is (assuming he hasn't moved...they don't have my latest address or number). They even have a link to do an paid for background check. With friends like these...when are we going to pass secure privacy laws in this country? And don't give me the line of bullshit I've been hearing lately about needing these things for business. Europe does just fine with their more stringent privacy laws. I'm not saying Europe's laws are perfect, but they certainly aren't hurting in the economic growth department with the laws that they have. Also, note the update to the article wherein someone finds inaccurate data using Zabasearch's advanced search and he cannot correct the inaccuracy.

New York

Well, we're off to New York. We fly out tonight and land in the city tomorrow morning. I'm trying to arrange a meeting with a friend named Tim and his wife, Ellen for Saturday night. I "met" Tim over the internet some 3 or 4 years ago and am looking forward to meeting him in person.

Our friend, Kris, is watching the house and the cats. Our neighbors are keeping an eye on the place as well - a couple have keys in case anything suspicious is going on. It's amusing to me how everyone is so concerned about crime here. The level of crime in our small town is so low compared to Seattle which was minuscule compared to my old haunts in Detroit. I find that I am sometimes too lax about it, like I am when I visit my grandparent's farm in southern Indiana. Still, it's nice to know that the neighbors have their eye on the place. It feels good and comfortable and like a community. Kris deserves big props for watching the cats...though I doubt that she will see them much, if at all.

Shawn has a conference to attend for work while in NYC. It's a cataloging conference which will also benefit her for school. We're taking her notebook along so she can work on school stuff while away. We'll enjoy some time together this weekend and on the week nights. I'll get Monday and Tuesday to wander around and amuse myself. Shawn will join me for more of that on Wednesday before we head back home that evening. I've been informed by both Shawn and her grandmother that I am to take the camera around and take lots of pictures. We'll see. I'm not much for doing that generally and usually leave it up to Shawn. If I do take some pix, I'll post them here when I recover from the trip and work (work is supposed to have a big order waiting for me when I return).

Spring is here!

As you can see below, spring is here in the Pacific Northwest. These pictures were taken yesterday in our yard. The first one of the clematis is really great to see. Last year, we planted 4 clematises - 2 on each side of our front entrance. We had hoped that the vines would grow up our porch columns. In order to help them along, I put up some nylon netting around the columns. One of the plants did very well last year. It's a late summer/fall blooming clematis that has little white flowers on it. It grew to half way up over the front door and I ended up pulling down the dead parts of the vine in February that had reached to the pinnacle of the arch as well as around the sides and into our gutters.

The other 3 did not do so well. In fact, we thought that we might have killed them. This spring, I took on the project of digging out the burning bush plants that were on either side of our steps and replaced them with the young rose trees. While digging up the burning bush on the right hand side of the steps, I found spillover concrete dumped by the home builder. I suspected that this was down there as A) other homes that we observed being built had similar issues and B) neither our burning bush nor our 2 clematises were doing well in this spot. There was so much concrete down there that it sealed in the plant roots, forming what was essentially a pot without any drainage holes. I dug out all of the dirt, putting it in a wheel barrel, and took a small hammer to the concrete, putting it into a 5 gallon bucket. When I had finishes, almost all of the concrete was removed (I left a little under the clematis as I didn't want to disturb their roots too much) as well as various construction debris (nails, gutter pieces, plastic cups). There were 2 five gallon buckets of debris. While there, I put down some fertilizer for the clematises and the rose tree, doing the same to the other side of the steps when I put in the second rose tree. The project has paid off already. Both of the clematises have bounced back very well and the new rose trees are getting the leaves. The close up of the clematis bloom comes from one of the vines that was sealed in by the concrete. It was the first to bloom and it already has 3 blooms on it. One of the clematises on the left hand side has blooms forming. I'll take a picture of it when it happens. Basically, we got one clematis on each side with spring blooms and one on each side with fall blooms.

The pansies pictured below were rogue plants left over from last year. Shawn bought a flat of pansies last year and put them along one border of our garden beds. They bloomed all summer and fall. Towards the end of summer, we had let the weeding go and the pansies were invaded by a lot of other grasses and weeds, yet their flowers were clearly visible. During the winter, we noticed that pansies began cropping up in our raised beds. They grew, bloomed, and multiplied. We had some many of them that, when it came time to work on the beds this spring, we decided to take out the old ones along with the weeds and transplant the new ones into the same border area. We ended up with a LOT more pansies than we needed. We gave away 30 pots of them (most with multiple plants per pot) to a co-worker of Shawn's for a church fund raiser. We also gave some to our next door neighbor for her yard. Finally, I ended up taking some of them and turning them over in the garden. I must have missed some because they re-rooted in the garden beds and are starting to grow again.

The black tulip picture is one of 2 that have grown up and bloomed this year. We have more, but they haven't bloomed yet (and may not, this late in the season). I think that they are not in a good location. They are in a pot by our front door and they may not get enough light. They are long gangly plants with beautiful blooms. Shawn's grandmother sent them to us one spring.

The begonia was planted by the landscapers for the house. We actually have 3 of them, but 2 are obscured by our weeping cherry tree. All are doing well, but we're going to have to find a new spot for those other 2. The one pictured has the most blooms.

black tulip Posted by Hello

begonia Posted by Hello

pansies close up Posted by Hello

pansies replanted Posted by Hello

entry with clematis Posted by Hello

clematis' first spring bloom! Posted by Hello

Thursday, May 05, 2005

FDA to recommend sperm banks reject gay donors

This belongs in the "What the fuck?!!?" category. Thanks to feministing for the story.

As the article states clearly, here's the logical fallacy behind the reasoning.

Under these rules, a heterosexual man who had unprotected sex with HIV-positive prostitutes would be OK as a donor one year later, but a gay man in a monogamous, safe-sex relationship is not OK unless he's been celibate for five years.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Foster care children used for AIDS experiments

Sounds like a sensational headline, but sadly it is not sensational. I look forward to reading the whole AP story later today. Until then, you can read the premise at Editor and Publisher.

Update: Here's the Washington Post article. (free registration may be required)

Dickie's Quickies

Women's eNews Daily has a great commentary cartoon on the GOP and women's reproductive rights.

AmericaBlog has a report that ABC (Disney) has rejected ads from a gay friendly Christian group, but accepted ones from a Christian hate group associated with James Dobbs.

Brazil has turned down money for AIDS prevention from the U.S. because it cannot accept the strings attached. Apparently, the money demanded the country promote abstinence, be anti-abortion, and discourage sex workers. What about keeping people alive first? Seriously, poor countries need to deal with the sick first before they can think of addressing other issues.

Orson Scott Card, sci fi writer of Ender's Game, et al, says good riddance to Star Trek. I'm not as harsh as he is in the article, but it is long past time for this series to go. As much as I loved it over the years, they really ran out of any new ideas some time during Deep Space Nine.

A law paper that argues that the penalties assessed in the RIAA's lawsuits against file sharers are grossly excessive. Interesting stuff.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Dickie's Quickies

Via Boing Boing via Vowe Dot Net comes this pdf document of the "unclassified" report from the U.S. military on the attack on the Italian reporter's car who had just been rescued from captivity in Iraq by Italian agents. As the reader of the document will see, there are areas that have been redacted to presumably protect names as well as other sensitive information from falling into the wrong hands. If this document is to be believed, however, this information is NOT protected. The reader merely needs to copy and paste the entire document into the text editor of her choosing in order to see the redacted portions. What I find interesting about this exercise is not the specific information, but rather what types of information that Pentagon finds worthy of redaction. As is often the case, the person blocking the information tends to "black out" more than she needs to do and she tends to cover areas that are particularly mundane, such as the following:

Between 1 November 2004 and 12 March 2005, there were 135 attacks or hostile incidents that occurred along Route Irish. These included 9 complex attacks (i.e., a combination of more than one type of attack, e.g., an IED followed by small arms fire or mortars), 19 explosive devices found, 3 hand grenades, 7 indirect fire attacks, 19 roadside explosions, 14 rocket propelled grenades (RPGs), 15 vehicle borne explosive devices, and 4 other types of attacks.

The attack density for the period 1 November 2004 to 12 March 2005 is 11.25 attacks per mile, or a minimum of one attack per day along Route Irish since November.

Why black this portion out? Whom are you trying to protect? What are you trying to hide and from who? Presumably, the people running the attacks are aware of this information already which leads me to the conclusion that the real hands the Pentagon doesn't want this information to fall into are the American public's hands. There's a lot more of this sort of information contained in the document.

Via Jill via Amanda comes this article on Anti-Choice folks who get abortions and how they are more than willing to make exceptions for their positions that they do not want to allow other women to make. Hypocrisy at it's worst. There are links to the studies mentioned in the quote below on the website with the article.

Although few studies have been made of this phenomenon, a study done in 1981 found that 24% of women who had abortions considered the procedure morally wrong, and 7% of women who'd had abortions disagreed with the statement, "Any woman who wants an abortion should be permitted to obtain it legally." A 1994/95 survey of nearly 10,000 abortion patients showed 18% of women having abortions are born-again or Evangelical Christians. Many of these women are likely anti-choice. The survey also showed that Catholic women have an abortion rate 29% higher than Protestant women. A Planned Parenthood handbook on abortion notes that nearly half of all abortions are for women who describe themselves as born-again Christian, Evangelical Christian, or Catholic.