Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Dennett on Intelligent Design

Daniel C. Dennett had an editorial published in the NY Times regarding Intelligent Design. You access it here, without registration. An excerpt:

Brilliant as the design of the eye is, it betrays its origin with a tell-tale flaw: the retina is inside out. The nerve fibers that carry the signals from the eye's rods and cones (which sense light and color) lie on top of them, and have to plunge through a large hole in the retina to get to the brain, creating the blind spot. No intelligent designer would put such a clumsy arrangement in a camcorder, and this is just one of hundreds of accidents frozen in evolutionary history that confirm the mindlessness of the historical process.


Originally uploaded by bd34r.
This is the latest art for Pastafarians. Gotta love it.

Merging tags with radio on the BBC

Following along the lines of Flickr and del.icio.us, this site offers a way for people to use their cell phones to tag and bookmark songs that they hear on the BBC. The idea being that, down the line, people will share their playlists and tags with each other, creating a viral marketing effect. It also allows the BBC and other marketing firms to gain quick access to marketing data and the latest trends of their listeners.

Try ad free Opera for free

This is being widely blogged, but deservedly so. From 12AM Tuesday through 12 AM Wednesday, people can email the makers of the popular Opera browser and get a registration number for a free copy of the ad free version of the browser (normally a $39 value). This promotion is to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the browser's existence.

People who do not like Firefox, but still want to try something other than IE should take advantage of this offer.

For one day only, you can get an ad-free version of Opera. Simply e-mail registerme@opera.com to obtain a registration code. This offer is valid from 12 a.m. Tuesday, August 30 to 12 a.m. Wednesday, August 31 2005 (PDT).

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Dickie's Quickies

Tacky Times is "A Magazine Unconcerned with current issues and affairs celebrating tackiness, frivolities, and downright decadence". Pretty amusing as it's mostly nostalgia.''

Boot Sale Sounds features music from found records saved from garage sales, thrift shops, and such. Though I don't really own such things, I really dig some of it.

Music (for robots) is featuring a download by mash-up artist Doppleganger. I haven't heard this one yet (still downloading), but his work is usually of pretty high quality.

Off to Yakima Fruit and Produce Market this morning. I'll be spending the day smoking tomatoes on the BBQ for sauce.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Prep courses for kindergarten

Oy! This is so weird.

Hank is four years old, and among the worries that prompted his mother to enroll him for two lessons a week at the Sylvan Learning Center here is this: Hank was behind on his scissor skills.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Kinky Friedman goes upscale

The New Yorker sent their reporter, David Halpern, on the campaign trail with Kinky Friedman as he tries to get on the ballot in Texas as an independent candidate for governor. Halpern had unlimited and uncensored access to the Kinkster. It's a good read. If you happen to be outside of Austin on September 24th, have a little money, and want to support the Kinkster in his bid for governor, then you should know that Willie Nelson and Jesse Ventura are having a little fund raiser for Friedman. If you donate $5,000, then you get to play golf with Willie and Jesse. If you don't play or can't afford that, then join them for lunch for a $1,000 (singles) or $1,500 (couples) donation.

Housing Association vote

Surprisingly, about 35% of the homeowners showed up for the Housing Association's Board elections last night. This was good because 34% were needed for a quorum. I noted that it appeared as if very few people came from my section of the neighborhood, though I did run into a couple of neighbors near me.

The meeting began on a rather contentious note. Apparently, Quadrant has assigned a new manager to associate with the account. She came in and as the developer has the right to do, changed some of the bylaws as outlined originally in the Covenants. The changes were finalized on August 7th. She tried to make one of the changes seem to come from the concerns of the homeowners as expressed during the July meeting and several owners challenged her on that position. This was crucial because it affected the voting procedures last night, however there wasn't anything we could do about it. When all was said and done, she admitted that she made the change because in her view it's easier to manage elections that way. She's right about that, but she should have said that from the beginning. In either case, the feelings I heard expressed by homeowners indicated that the majority are not happy with the way things have been handled by either Quadrant or the management company, CDC.

After we set that aside, we set about the business of electing the board. In the end there were 14 candidates for board positions. Each candidate was given the microphone to speak a few words about his/her views on what needs to be done. I was the third candidate to speak. I was a bit nervous as I hadn't counted on getting to speak, but Shawn and some others noted that I didn't appear that way. I led off with a comment about how nice it was to see we had some people in the audience with strong visions who wanted to be active in the process. Several people smiled and laughed at that, though I noted that the management company representative was not among them. I kept it short and spoke about my views on maintaining the covenants with a reasonable and fair hand, about maintaining the neighborhood's family friendly environment, about keeping the budget numbers low, and about setting up a website to communicate with the homeowners.

Most of the 14 candidates were strong contenders. In fact, only a couple were ones that I would not have considered due to their backgrounds. Two more were immediately crossed off my ballot due to their obvious desires to become strict enforcers of standards (they seemed too militant). Another person whom I know is an enforcer was stealth in those views. He stuck with comments about being a budget hawk.

Counting the ballots twice using three people took an hour. I joked with a neighbor that the management company was proving so inept that they couldn't count properly. Then there seemed to be problems with several ballots (how bad could this be? Put a check or an 'X' next to the names). I told the same neighbors that those ballots must have hanging chads. By the time the results were announced most people were beyond restless and wanted to head home for dinner.

In the end, I was not elected to the board. This was personally a tad disappointing, but I'm not heartbroken either. I voted for several of the board members. Most of them appear reasonable and qualified and the clear majority wants to see that the management company is replaced ASAP. That was a main goal that I had in mind. After the results were announced and we were on our way out of the door, one of my other neighbors stopped me and told me that I should run again. Aaron and Gail told me that they liked my views and what I had to say and that they voted for me. It was very kind of them to take the time and say so. On that positive note, Shawn and I left for the evening to head out for some dinner at Mi Tierra's.

On the way home, we saw people lining one side of Main Street. I slowed to see what they were doing. Several had signs in their hands and two or three were holding candles. These were Monroe citizens holding a vigil for Cindy Sheehan, the mother whose son died in Iraq and who herself is holding a vigil outside of the Bush ranch in Texas. Vigils were held around the country in support of this woman's cause. Here's a Flickr search set revealing photos from some of those vigils. If I had known, I would have taken photos of the one in Monroe. It was another heart warming moment to see people in our generally conservative small town out protesting for peace. I waved and gave them a thumb's up sign.

Passing by the vigil, Shawn asked me if I had heard about the gun shots fired on Sunday by one of Bush's neighbors. I had and asked her in return if she had heard about another neighbor who drove over the miniature crosses that Ms. Sheehan and her supporters had set up - 800 of them - with the names of soldiers who had died in Iraq. Shawn hadn't heard of that. As I suggested to her, it really riles me to hear about the gun shots and the driver's actions. After all, my guess is that if you were to ask these two what their views are of the people who protested Vietnam by spitting on the returning soldiers (something that I believe was wrong, but likely overblown in the press' memory), I'm almost certain that they would call those people traitors and abhor the actions. But, what makes the driver's and the rifleman's actions any different? In the cases I present the wars and times are different, but the actions are disrespectful of fellow citizens as well as the military. Like the enforcers at the housing association board elections they are self righteous assholes, one and all.

We made it to Mi Tierra's and got out of the car only to run into Gail again in the parking lot. She joked about following us. She and her husband were going for Thai food next door. We opted for Mexican. Shawn often has Thai for lunch, Mexican is cheaper, and Mi Tierra's serves drinks. Besides, we're regulars at Mi Tierra's, though I wouldn't mind becoming a regular at the Thai spot and probably will do that in the long run.

All in all, it was a good evening. When we got home I read another chapter of the latest Harry Potter book to Shawn. It was a perfect ending to a fine night.

Top 10 Google Maps implementations

Someone's put a web page together with what he considers to be the top 10 services that utilize Google Maps. I don't know if these really are the top 10, but they are definitely cool. Included is Cheap Gas, mentioned earlier here, and Geotagging.

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Woman Gets Cable Bill With Derogatory Name

When a Chicago woman got her August bill from Comcast she had no trouble understanding she'd made somebody mad. It was addressed to "Bitch Dog." But, wait, she's not the only one. Jeffrey "Scrotum Bag" Barnes can feel her pain.

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Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Belly Dancing music

How delightful! A woman from Portland, OR has compiled a site dedicated to the art and music of belly dancing. Check out the album gallery and listen to one of her webcasts.

Dickie's Quickies

Shawn's coming home today. Yay! It's only been a weekend, but I'll be happy to see her. I'm heading in early this morning to work because her plane arrives at 9AM. I'll pick her up at the airport, head on home and not go back into the shop. Hell, they aren't prepared anyhow. After Matt told me on Friday that he'd have A) the packing slips printed for 2 orders that were packed on Friday for shipping yesterday, B) the new wax melter cleaned out and up and running, or at least part of the way there, and C) new tables to increase capacity to pour, he did none of it. So, we're not going to make the one third of the order that Victoria's Secret wanted delivered by the end of the month let alone that half of the order that they really wanted. It's a pity because I think we could have done it if Matt had done what he said he was going to do. "nuff bitching 'bout work...Shawn's coming home today - Yay!

The Associated Press is reporting on babies whose names appear on the "No Fly" list from the Fatherland Security Department. Do the security folks see the ridiculousness of this and let them pass straight through? Of course not. It's a bureaucracy after all. To be fair, the TSA does instruct the security to let children under 12 pass through, but they get stopped anyhow. Choice statistic:

The TSA has a "passenger ombudsman" who will investigate individual claims from passengers who say they are mistakenly on the lists. TSA spokeswoman Yolanda Clark said 89 children have submitted their names to the ombudsman. Of those, 14 are under the age of 2.

The Bush Administration is objecting to the ICANN approved ".xxx" domain. Apparently, they are worried about "creating a virtual red light district" reserved exclusively for pornography. Yea, like the current system of letting the pornographers use any suffix is pleasing anyone. It seems to me to be perfectly reasonable to put them all in one suffix. It will make filtering software much easier to manage (and get rid of the goofy anomalies such as filtering good medical information while trying to address pornography). Let's face it, if it has to do with pornography or sex there are some conservatives and liberals who just want to regulate it out of existence. That's not going to happen, folks. It's been around for centuries and it's only grown as an industry thanks to the Internet which has provided not only greater access in the privacy of your own home, but also more anonymity for purchasing. A better approach is to do exactly what ICANN did which is to work with the industry to reach reasonable standards that we can all deal with. Oh, and a note to those politicians who disagree: what people might say in public via email or speech is not necessarily what they do in private, including how they vote in the private voting booths. Ask Jimmy Swaggert, Jim Bakker, and any number of priests. Hypocrisy is part of the human condition.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Kelo v, New London gets even worse

A few week's ago the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on the case of Kelo v. New London. The issues revolved around the rights of a government to invoke the clause of eminent domain in order to take property and use it for the public good. In this specific case, the town of New London wanted to exercise it's right to eminent domain not for a bridge or a freeway or some other public item, but rather to build a new shopping mall. That's right. They wanted to take the land from the homeowners and give it to a private developer. New London successfully argued that this new mall would bring economic development to their town and therefore it was in the public's interest. They also argued that they had considered this plan thoroughly and had many meetings and therefore the public had had their chance to respond.

Many people thought that this decision was terrible. There has been discussions of curtailing and further defining the eminent domain clause of the Constitution. Already other cities are citing this case against homeowners for loads of pet "economic development" projects. It's not an epidemic, by any measure, but it smacks of too much government power.

To add insult to injury, there's more news about the losers in the Kelo case. The Fairfield County Weekly is reporting that the government is offering the plaintiffs fair market values for their properties at year 2000 price levels. In 2000 the Kelo residents filed suit to prevent the government from taking their land. The government reasons that the Kelo residents are only to be compensated up to that point and to heck with the rising prices to this date. But, wait, it gets worse: the government, using the same reasoning that they were entitled to the land in 2000, wants to charge the residents back due rent on their property. To the government's mind, these people have been living rent free on their land for 5 years. A quote from the article:

An NLDC estimate assessed Dery for $6,100 per month since the takeover, a debt of more than $300K. One of his neighbors, case namesake Susette Kelo, who owns a single-family house with her husband, learned she would owe in the ballpark of 57 grand. "I'd leave here broke," says Kelo. "I wouldn't have a home or any money to get one. I could probably get a large-size refrigerator box and live under the bridge."


Shawn's off playing at her family reunion in North Dakota this weekend. On Saturday, Scott and I headed over the mountains to buy peaches from Helen Hauff. It was good to see Scott again. It's been a long time since we touched base face to face. He's entering an intensive acting program in September, so it may be a while before we touch base in this way again.

We stopped in index for breakfast before continuing our pleasant drive to Peshastin. Helen was running her stand as usual. She was selling a new variety this year - Sunburst - as well as her Globe peaches. Helen really didn't know much about the Sunburst and she told us so. She and I had separately canned the Globe peaches. I found them easy to handle and they hold their form really well over the year. Helen walked Scott and I back to the cooler to pick out a couple of cases each for us. Scott seemed amused with Helen. Heck, I'm always amused with my visits with her. She's about 5 feet tall and full of energy and vigor. She's a joy to be around.

Scott's going to be making peach wine with his peaches. It sounds intriguing. It'll be a year before I can taste it. He's got some left over from his last batch and has offered up a bottle for Helen. I'll gladly deliver it to her.

After getting back home, Scott and I sat and chatted for a bit, then he took off to his brother's place for dinner. I putzed around the house, made veggie tacos for dinner, read, and eventually settled in with a viewing of Harold and Maude.

Sunday was more lazying around the house. I watched Tales of the City and Amelie, read, napped, picked up around the house, did the laundry and so on. Funny how this turned into a life affirming movie viewing weekend. I had planned on canning peaches, but the ones we got were a little under ripe. Helen suggested that I wait until Tuesday to think about canning them. That's fine by me. Shawn's coming home tomorrow morning. I've got to meet her at the airport at 9AM. I plan on taking her home and canning peaches the rest of the day (assuming that the peaches are ready).

This is a hell week for work. Victoria's Secret has ordered a bunch of candles and they want a third to half of them delivered by the end of the month. I found out about the order on Thursday. On Friday, I typed up an email laying out the constraints we face on meeting the deadline as well as what the plan should be for meeting it. They are formidable: supplies, equipment, and personel. These are good problems to have, but as I walk in to the shop today, Matt has done nothing over the weekend to address these issues...at least, nothing that I can see.

So, while I rested all weekend preparing to come in and work my ass off to make this happen, I came in today and have had the wind released from my sails. Exactly how hard am I supposed to work if the owners aren't willing to put in the required effort to actually complete the job? I cannot get excited about this. All I do is shrug and think that I'll give back what I see being given. I hate that attitude, but I'm frustrated. Give me a little time and I'll work out of my funk somewhat.

Robert, the other owner, wrote to me to assure me that Matt's been doing a lot behind the scenes. That's nice and I'm sure it's true. But it's not getting any candles made either.

Anti-smoking in Baton Rouge

In Baton Rouge, the city council passed an ordinance prohibiting anyone from lighting up a cigarette within 25 feet of an open door of any public building. There are exemptions for restaurants, bars, and casinos, et al. The penalty for this is up to $500 and a year in jail.

Normally, I'd write the council my standard "Get a grip, folks" speech. However, the article goes on to say that no smokers showed up to speak against the measure. The council still needs to get a grip, but why didn't any smokers show up to counter this idiotic measure? Hell, I'm a non smoker and I'd have shown up.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

More on the keylogger

Apparently the keylogger discovered by Sunbelt is a variant of an older keylogger that's been around since 2001. Since the Sunbelt announcement, other individuals and companies, including Lavasoft (makers of Ad-Aware - recommended) have noted that they have found further variants and have been introducing definitions to prevent/detect/remove them. According to Spyware Warrior's blog, all of the major companies in the field should have updated definitions to detect and eliminate this threat by now.

Use Google Maps to find cheap gas around you!!

Title says it all!

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Friday, August 12, 2005

Erotic images can turn you blind

Researchers have finally found evidence for what good Catholic boys have known all along � erotic images make you go blind. The effect is temporary and lasts just a moment, but the research has added to road-safety campaigners� calls to ban sexy billboard-advertising near busy roads, in the hope of preventing accidents.

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Friday Random Ten

Before I begin this week's random ten, my I recommend a download by The Earl of Edgecombe called Clash Up and Burn? Up for a limited time, it's a 26 minute mix that I just finished listening to before compiling this list featuring artists such as The Clash (natch), David Byrne, Robert Fripp, Brian Eno, M.I.A., Jay Z, Mad Professor, Miles Davis and more. Good stuff.

The week's random ten:

1) Anne Walkman - Fast Speaking Woman

Poet, goddess on earth speaking an extended truth about women.

2) Eve Massacre - W.A.R. - What a rad mix (missy elliott vs bob dylan vs jello biafra vs the cure vs frankie goes to hollywood) from Bushwhacked.

I learned of Eve through her mash-up work. This is an excellent example of it.

3) Derrick Harriott - Derrick!

From a compilation I downloaded, Ska For the Skeptical.

4) eve massacre - I'm Some Story Being Told

More from Eve, but this one is an original. She's a multi-talented girl.

5) Miss Frenchie - Jean Mich Much (From Booty Ze Kick)

Another mash-up artists (her site appears to be down at this time).

6) Okkervil River - Black

From Austin. On tour recently with The Decemberists. That's about all I know about them other than this song sounds exactly like another, but I cannot yet put my finger on it.

7) Ben Harper - 11th Commandment

Short instrumental by Ben Harper.

8) The Style Council - Hope (Feelings Gonna Getcha)

Again, one of the house music tunes from the lost album by this under-rated 80s band.

9) The Futureheads - Danger of the Water

The Futureheads are a fine band who put on a helluva show. Buy their music.

10) Joss Stone - I've Fallen In Love With You

Joss Stone's voice is a gift. Her talent is tremendous. I just hope that she has the good sense not to squander it on over-production (some of which seeped into her second album).

Calvato Photography

Warning: nudes, dirty (literally) nudes, some nudes may be disturbing to some viewers, art nudes; not smutty nudes, well - perhaps a little smutty, gorgeously posed, nice use of light and color.

Photography by Calvato.

Which hot 70s glam star are you

Was there any doubt?

david johansen
You're David Johansen, the lead singer of the New
York Dolls. You are a sexy bitch who growls
like a werewolf but can swagger better than
Jagger.. You're confident, hipper than
everyone, and you know it. You're not afraid to
wear women's clothes because you're a real man.
No one is cooler than you, you tart.
Watch out for ugly facial hair in the

Which rad old school 70's glam icon are you? (with pics)
brought to you by Quizilla

We may be closer to 801.11n

The three proposal groups reinstated during the May meeting (TGn Sync, WWiSE and MITMOT) indicated that they have begun working together to create a single merged proposal.

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Update on Sunbelt's SSA Keylogger cleaner

The good folks at Sunbelt were monitoring the CNET forum discussions. They found a bug, yanked the cleaner off of their site for a couple of hours, then re-released it with the bug fixed and added a log creator to the program, so users can see what it's doing. It reported my system clean (as I suspected). Download it here. If it turns out that you've been a victim of the keylogger or possibly have been a victim, then here is Spyware Warrior's advice on what to do if you're the victim of identity theft.

Sunbelt and the SSA Keylogger

Sunbelt did indeed release their tool which tracks the SSA Keylogger security breach that was reported to the FBI and has resulted in private information being gathered about many people (including credit card, online accounts, etc). The tool is small (350 kb) and runs quickly (a couple or 3 minutes). I ran it at home and got the above image. I clicked on the "For more information..." link and was directed to a sales page for Sunbelt's product CounterSpy. All of which would be dandy except that I'm sketical. I haven't used IE in ages except for Microsoft updates. Shawn does use IE and I used it up until over a year ago, so I'm in a conundrum. There seems to be some controversy about the tool over on the CNET forums. Some people have run it, gotten a positive, run CounterSpy in regular and Safe Mode with System Restore turned off (CounterSpy detected no infection), then run the tool again and the keylogger was detected again. This has led some people to believe that the tool is turning up false positives. I ran it on a PC at work and the tool turned up no keylogger, so I'm confused. The advice from Sunbelt is to call all of your banks, your ebay and paypal accounts, etc...and report the problem. This can be a great disruption to your life, so does one do it based on the tool which may be faulty?

Thursday, August 11, 2005

More quickies

A Spokane councilman won't stock his bar and restaurant with toilet paper. Patrons have to ask for the roll on the way to the bathroom. Doug Clark, of the Spokesman-Review, cleans up the mess.

A trial over an adult buying beer for his 17 year old neighbor is tossed out in Pennsylvania because the judge finds that prosecutors failed to prove that Miller Genuine Draft is indeed beer. I can't argue with that logic.

The Brits have invented a bikini that beeps every 15 minutes in order to warn the wearer to turn over and not get sunburned. Expect a vibrating model within a year from those who hate annoying beeps disturbing the peace.

Another conservative priest is caught having an affair. He denies it, of course, but the married woman's husband had a detective follow them and videotape them entering a leaving a motel. The New York Daily News has seen the tape.

Dickie's Quickies

In The Age (free registration) it is being reported that the Pentagon has announced there will be a parade followed by a concert by Clint Black on September 11th. Said Rumsfeld in an announcement tucked into an Iraq briefing:

"This year the Department of Defence will initiate an America Supports Your Freedom Walk," Rumsfeld said, adding that the march would remind people of "the sacrifices of this generation and of each previous generation".

Thus deftly tying in the September 11th attacks with the Iraq War and all wars prior to it as part of the long battle for freedom. Does this strike anyone else as neo-Communist propaganda? Why is the Defense Department staging this event? How about treating a few more soldiers in your hospitals and leaving the solemn memorials to the surviving families and friends of those who died in the World Trade Center attacks in New York? (Thanks, Amanda!)

In more politics, Dan Gillmor asks why the MSM is not covering the election fraud stories in Ohio more closely? I think the answer to that is that the MSM thinks that the election is behind us that that viewer/subscriber fatigue has set in and they want the story to be over. Dan's right to be asking the question. He links to a PDF prepared by Congressman John Conyer's staff regarding fraud reports from Ohio. Unfortunately, I think Dan's question is too narrow. For instance, we in Washington State can attest to an abyssmal record in our election offices. I'll bet that each state has their own counties where election fraud or ineptness has become systemic. This is a major, broad story that the MSM should be investigating. Whether it breaks for Republicans or Democrats or some other party, it's not fair to the citizens who go and vote. As Dan notes:

I'm not saying here that John Kerry actually won Ohio or the national election. I am saying that there's an enormous amount of smoke, which has gone too-little noticed by the media. I expect public officials to ignore such things, but I still expect the press to care more. Is that naive in these times?

The Key-logger security breach associated with the identity theft ring reported by Sunbelt earlier this week has been solved, apparently. Sunbelt announced in a press release yesterday that they will issue a tool today that will detect and repair the breach AND that they are sharing this information with other security companies so that they may issue their own security upgrades. I doubt that I've been affected, but I'll be downloading the tool from Sunbelt anyhow. I might even check out their Counterspy product (free 30 day download) which has garnered good press from PC World and done well in Spyware Warrior's testing.

Now, onto the more frivolous:

A Flickr set of photos of the Mighty Thor rolling a joint.

CrochetMyCrotch.com (need I have to say that this may not be work safe?) is exactly what it sounds like. Who would wear these on a regular basis, though?

Wednesday, August 10, 2005


Here I am. This could be a self referential sentence which would indicate where the symbol "I" is, but in this case the sentence refers to my state. Let me begin again.

Here I am sitting at the computer and downloading a WFMU radio broadcast from People Like US. But, I'm not merely doing that at all. No, I'm doing much more like typing up this blog post. Let us continue.

Here I am sitting at the computer, downloading a WFMU radio broadcast from People Like US, and preparing to post about the most stupendous site of free information and links: ibiblio.org.

It is at this point that I realize that I have let you down, dear reader. Because there is more going on in this world and I am but conveying a small part. Once again, from the top puleeze...

Here I am sitting at the computer typing this missive away, children can be heard playing from out in the street, *clap* *clap* *clap* "Over hereeeee!", the incomparable Harold Budd's new album is playing on my stereo and it is filling me with pleasant thoughts, pleasant thoughts which offer a momentary respite from the quandry of what to make or cook for dinner, which now that I think about it makes me want to return to Harold Budd land where everything is more sedate, yet rhythmic on this new record, and I'm downloading this WFMU radio broadcast from People Like Us who hate people like you (not so inside joke) and there's this stupendous site called ibiblio.org and I'm wondering if you've read this far why haven't you gone there to waste you time yet?

Whew...glad I got that off my chest. Back to Budd.

Winning the war?!?

I generally don't bring up the Iraq war here. Friends of mine know how I feel about it. It was obviously, from my perspective, going to be a boondoggle that was based on lies and would ultimately harm the American military by eroding faith in it's leaders and decreasing it's enlistment numbers. History has generally proven my assumptions correct - especially the weapons of mass distraction ones. Be that as it may, some people are more willing to try to win political points rather than admit that this was an effort based on lies. I'm willing to buy that some of the initial supporters firmly believed the politician's (Bush and members of the Republican and Democratic parties) intially, but by now it should be obvious to all involved that it was a bad idea.

Those who would prefer to have their heads in the sand might explain to me, then, how we can have control of the country yet the mayor of Baghdad was deposed right under our noses.

Dickie's Quickies

Mark Morford is so beautiful when he works himself up in a lather and spreads his lucious cream over his readers. Today's column is particularly frothy. Choice quote:

This, to me, is the America worth fighting for. These are the laws I support. Don't believe in abortion? Don't understand gay people? Sexuality make you rashy? Think Harry Potter teaches kids evil and witchcraft? Don't marry a sexy gay witch abortionist. But don't you dare, based on your limited understanding of God and life, make laws declaring that I can't.

Here's a Flickr set of photographs in which Barbie, Ken, and friends are making their own porn film. Kind of Team America puppet sex action going on.

What to do if you are the victim of identity theft? Spyware Warrior offers some advice.

After shipping out an order or two today (if the owner comes in, it'll be 2 orders, but he's gone AWOL...or is that Absent Without Email...for the time being), I'm off to play Taxi Dick for the skelatives. Shawn's cousin, Chris, is dropping his car off at our place and then I'm driving him and his girlfriend, Ube, to the train station. After work tomorrow, I'm taking Shawn off to the airport. Why the sudden interest in mass transit from the Schollmeyers? It could only be the Schollmeyer family reunion in North Dakota, natch! Family, fresh produce, clean air, open spaces, and temperatures that would boil boils! Sounds like a fab time, but I took a pass on it. Instead, I'll be hanging at the homestead canning peaches after driving over to Peshastin to get a couple of cases.

So, if you need a lift and you're in the Seattle area, please call Taxi Dick for your services!

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Microsoft Update Tuesday

Reminder, folks: It's update Tuesday at Microsoft. I downloaded 8 new updates. If you have automatic updates set, then you'll be seeing a restart.

Comment spam

Well, well, well...I'm getting spam in my comments these days. Marketing folks are really a nuissance. What bothers me, however, is not the poor slob who makes $8/hour or less posting comments onto blogs, but rather the people that hire such folks and think it's an effective ploy. In the meantime, I'll be deleting these as they come along. If you're a marketing person, please don't get cute and spam the whole blog. I'll just turn comments off.

Ashley Wood

Sexy women, demoniacal creatures, robots and more all painted in a muted palette. They invoked dreams most often with the occasional nightmare to keep up the interest. See more at Ashley Wood's site.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Musical compilation

PCI LinkDump is featuring a musical and spoken word compilation based on the theme Christianity vs. Satanism. It includes tracks by Tammy Faye Bakker and Anton LaVey. Plus it has some excellent artwork. There are 20 tracks in all to download and they'll be up for a couple of weeks.

Dickie's Securities

Or, insecurities, I suppose. Bruce Schneier has this to say, among other things, about the CLEAR system in Florida airports.

Think about it. For $80 a year, any potential terrorist can be automatically notified if the Department of Homeland Security is on to him. Such a deal.

That's using your noodle!


"The fliers said spaghetti wrestling, not nude spaghetti wrestling..."

Now, how many times have you heard that line!
Yesterday was another lovely quiet day at the house. Shawn worked in the garden and kitchen while I worked on a gift for a friend. We settled down last night to dinner. I dished up the ratatouille I had made on Saturday along with some toasted bread and some halibut (baked with thyme and preserved lemon slices that I had made earlier in the year). For dessert, I had bought some figs on Saturday with no real idea of what I was going to use them for. Shawn found a recipe from Jerry Traunfeld's The Herbfarm Cookbook that we decided to go with. It was simple and delish.

1/4 cup of honey
3 thyme sprigs
olive oil
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
10 - 12 figs, sliced in half, lengthwise
Gorgonzola cheese
enough toasted slices from a baguette to go with your fig halves

In a small sauce pan bring the honey to a simmer over medium heat. Toss in the three thyme sprigs, remove from heat and let steep at least 15 minutes.

In a bowl toss the fig halves with the chopped thyme and enough olive oil to coat (a tablespoon or so). Either grill the fig halves, cut side down, or put them on a grill pan when indoors. Cook them until heated through, but not collapsing. Turn them over and cook for another minute. Remove from heat.

On each piece of toasted bread, spread some Gorgonzola cheese, top with a cooked fig, cut side down. Arrange on a plate. Remove the thyme sprigs from the honey and pour the honey over the top of the figs. Enjoy.

Saturday, August 06, 2005


I've got a huge garden going right now. This is a weird year, though, in that things are not coming ripe when they usually become ripe. The weather is hotter, the rain is less, so I end up with zucchini galore, tomatoes still forming (in the dozens, mind you) and eggplant just beginning to show shape. Basil is grown and wants to flower, Swiss Chard is getting too large, Cucumbers and flowering, and the Loofah is beginning to form. Peas have come and gone and are starting to die back - that's expected. Beans are starting to come in - big time.

So, what to do with these, appreciated dilemmas? Well, the zucchini is the biggest problem. The varieties (yes, plural) we grew this year are really tasty. I think we should chose the same ones next year and leave them in an equivalent location. We've got patty pans, Rond de Nice, and a light green one called Silver Streak (which has fantastic flavor). They are all producing fruit in abundance. So much so, that Shawn gave away some to her co-workers last week: 5 of them and we must have at least that many in the fridge.

I've stuffed them with bulger, tomatoes, onions, and lentils. I've filled them with basmati rice, corn, a blend of cheeses, peas, and basil. I've made zucchini fritters. I've stir fried them in a panang curry sauce. The problem is that all of these methods use up a couple of zucchini per recipe and that was not enough. So, today, I decided that despite the fact that the eggplant and tomatoes are not ready, it was time for ratatouille.

Ratatoullie is a simple dish to make. It's basically a roasted vegetable stew with an herb paste added at the end to add flavor. Simple, yet it is so satisfying. You can eat it on pieces of toasted bread as an appetizer or a whole meal. You can put it on fish or other meats. It's so good, you'll have to stop yourself from eating it out of a bowl.

The source of my recipe is from James Peterson's cookbook on French cooking. The main thing to remember is that you'll have to take the time to prepare this recipe (a lot of cutting followed by a long cooking time). The results are well worth it. Also, please remember, this makes enough for 6 - 8 people. It looks like even more than that while you're making it, but keep in mind that all things cook down in the roaster. Finally, please remember that this, like all recipes, is meant to be a relaxing exercise so omit or add ingredients as you see fit. The description below is my latest batch.

1 Medium onion, coarsely chopped

1 cup olive oil

1 ½ pounds of eggplant, peeled and sliced into ½ inch dice or smaller or larger depending upon how you like it

3 medium or 2 large zucchini cut into ½ inch dice or smaller or larger depending upon how you like it

10 medium tomatoes, peeled and seeded (as best you can, or not)

12 tablespoons freshly chopped marjoram or 1 tablespoon freshly chopped thyme or 12 tablespoons freshly chopped oregano or half of any one of these dried or a combination

1 each yellow and red bell peppers, roasted and diced (see directions below)

1 cup pitted and coarsely chopped black olives

4 tablespoons capers, rinsed

1 cup fresh basil

2 cloves garlic, chopped

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a roasting pan place the onions, half of the olive oil, the eggplant, zucchini, tomatoes, and marjoram. Toss the mixture to coat. Put into the pre-heated oven. Every 30 minutes, toss the mixture, so that it roasts more evenly. Roast for 90 minutes to 2 hours. What you’re looking for is that most to all of the tomato juice from the tomatoes is cooked off, but you don’t want to char everything. I did it in two hours this time around.

Pull the veggies out of the oven, place them in a bowl to cool off, and then turn the oven on to roast. Place the peppers on a pan, cover with a thing coating of oil, and roast each side until slightly charred. Pull them out, then place them in a paper bag in a sink or a bowl (they will continue to lose juices, so the bowl or sink collects them). Once the peppers are cool, peel and seed them and dice them into smallish pieces. Mix the peppers, capers, and olives into the cooled veggies.

In a food processor, mix the basil, garlic, and olive oil (basically, a pesto). Once thoroughly combined, mix the pesto into the veggies.

That's it! You're done. Enjoy.

Quiet Day

After traveling across the 520 bridge yesterday in hellish traffuck caused by the closing of I-90's bridge for the Blue Angels practice run, I'm looking forward to not spending a lot of time on the road today. Shawn's left to go to breakfast with a friend and to do a little shopping in Bellevue. I'm going to run to the stores for a few items as well (groceries and hardware store items). Then I think I'll come home and make ratatoullie. We've discussing going blueberry picking tomorrow. I'm thinking that next weekend will be my trip to Peshastin for peaches.

Spyware Warrior is reporting a massive identity theft ring has been discovered. There are currently few details. It will be interesting to see how this pans out.

Tiki-Tim's Exotica Lounge is featuring an old Les Baxter album for download. I'm grabbing mine right after this post.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Homeowner's Association Board

It was flattering. I had been home just a few minutes and was walking to the mailbox. Our neighbor, four houses down, motioned towards me as I began to walk home, mail in hand. Her house is right behind the mail box. I stopped at her driveway.

"What's your last name? Are you running for the homeowner's association board?"

I gave her my last name. Indeed, I was toying with the idea to run for the board. The builder of our neighborhood is getting ready to turn over the board to the citizens as soon as they complete the last house (within the next couple of months). I've read all of the rules and covenants. Plus, I've done some research online as to what makes these associations work and what doesn't and how to set them up. My concerns are to maintain property values, but in such a way as to make it easy for people to comply with the rules and not be onerous.

It's this last point where I think the current management company has failed. To be fair, they were pushed into action when some busy body citizens complained about other citizens. A couple of the complaints were fair and in line with the rules, but many of them were just petty. They've been quick to declare fines as well. They have not been uniform in their application of the rules - far from it. Finally, I think that they are spending an exhorbitant amount of money for maintenance of the common areas and, from what I've read, haven't even prepared for things such as an arborist for the common areas.

So, I'm not happy with the way things are being run. I have spoken with a couple of people about it as well, including, naturally, the neighbor I was speaking with today.

"You should run" she told me. "I'll vote for you and so will Bill. You're good."

I was flattered and I thanked her. Her daughter, who lives next door told me, "Yea, you should run. You'll get some votes."

Wow. I must say that I'm a tad surprised at this interest. It has definitely been a boost to my thinking it over. I've got to make up my mind by tomorrow and mail in my application if I'm serious about pursuing this. Shawn has suggested that I should run as well. I'm seriously considering it after my earlier conversation.

So, in short, I want to see rules applied fairly. I want to see costs controlled and made reasonable. I want to see us get a website up that would serve notice about neighborhood issues and meetings as well as provide the proper forms for download that people need to comply with the rules. And, I want enforcement of the rules to be used sparingly. People should be allowed some form of self expression with the property that they buy.

Any thoughts?

Friday Random Ten

1) Curtis Mayfield - Superfly (Single Mix)

Sheeeiiit, this should begin everybody's Friday.

2) The Style Council - The World Must Come Together

From the box set of the complete albums.

3) Ministry - She's Got A Cause

Yep, from their first album - the Euro Disco record that they disown.

4) The Killers - All These Things That I've Done

One of the songs from this album that shows clear Queen influence.

5) Dave Anton - Bush Whacked

From a compilation of mash-ups and original material released online as a reaction to the Bush presidency.

6) Sharon Jones and The Dap-Kings - This Land Is Your Land

The funkiest version EVER of this Guthrie tune. Damn, I love this act.

7) Holly Figueroa - Inside Out

Local. Holly just got out of surgery a week or so ago. Wish her well. She's a talented artist.

8) Temper Temper - Loaded Life

Downloaded from a blog. Rockers. Pretty good, too. Not great, but shows some potential.

9) Annie Lennox - Twisted

Simply one of the best voices in pop music - still. I saw the Eurythmics play a couple of times. On the last tour of their 80s/90s hey day, the show was fine, but the audience wasn't into the newer material. At one point, Annie turned on the charm and took control of the audience. She had them in her pocket for the rest of the night. It was amazing.

10) Ozomatli - Who's To Blame?

Started it funky, ended it funky. I cannot get enough of Ozomatli's latest album.

Dickie's Quickies

Illustrious Friday: I haven't done one of these in a while. Esther Sanchez lives in Toronto. Her illustrations and paintings evoke memories of the early 1970s in their palate as well as more modern fashion and models of today. Check her stuff out and watch her site for info on her upcoming clothing line, Pirate Love.

Every so often I come across a political statement of such sheer stupidity that I find it difficult to wrap my mind around where the person can dream up such twisted logic. Many times, such statements revolve around bigotry and hatred. People who do this might describe themselves as members of the left or right, but to my mind they are in the political spectrum known as "hate". The so-called Reverend Fred Phelps has been spreading his hate of homosexuals for years. He is most notorious for going to funerals with small numbers of his followers, including children, carrying signs like "God hates fags".

Such actions are bigoted and disgusting examples of the hatred that people can spread against each other in the world. It is political and personal hate speech. Yesterday, in Minnesota, Phelps had his followers take it up a notch in the political hate speech when they picketed outside the funeral of a Minnesota marine killed in Iraq. Not that it matters, but there is no mention of the sexuality of the fallen soldier. Phelps and his ilk do not care. What they want to do is to use the images of patriotism in order to promote their doctrine of hate. According to the Minnesotan reporter:

Westboro member Fred Phelps said the church believes the war and the deaths of U.S. troops are God's punishment for a nation too accepting of gays.

"This is God's punishment of this nation, mocking what the Bible says about this vile issue," Phelps said.

In the Wikipedia article linked to above in Phelps name, it is stated that Phelps and a small band of his followers praised Saddam Hussein and traveled to Iraq in 1997 to protest the United States. Such actions remind me of the criticism heaped upon the left during Vietnam. Hell, during the last Presidential campaign, Americans continued to hear about Hanoi Jane (Fonda) 35+ years after the fact. Will the right be so ready to heap similar criticism at this nut?

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Dickie's Quickies

Bedazzled has posted 28 radio spots for blaxploitation films with 28 more promised. Sheeeiiiit. It's a beautiful world we live in.

In more coolio news, ZDNet reports that scientists have used advanced imaging to gain data from a mummy without unwrapping it. Included in the data are the names of the girl inside (believe to be about 4 years old) and her parents. However, the last line in the article, is a little too Shelley for me:

"We've brought her back to life," Schwappach-Shirriff said. "We're resurrected her. Her parents would be thrilled."

Either that, or they might be appalled that you robbed their daughter from her grave. Not that I have a problem with such research, but it seems to me that this statement is over the top.

Amanda, however, is not over the top with her direct criticism that Privacy is a Fundamental Right and should be protected in the Constitution. She's right and we need an amendment. Constructionists and their fair weather social conservative friends are not going to accept logical arguments that a right to privacy exists in the Constitution unless explicit wording is inserted. We should make it a broad right that governs what goes on in people's homes, what is discussed with their doctor/lawyer/priest/reporter, as well as what control people have over the distribution of their personal information by third parties. Get cracking lawmakers and wannabees!

I came across this article today in Reason online which asks the question, "Is Heaven Populated Chiefly by the Souls of Embryos?" In the article, Ronald Bailey takes on the concept often put forth by social conservatives that every embryo is already a human being and asks if this also applies to umimplanted embryos (what I call natural abortions). From the article:

Does that mean that if we could detect such unimplanted embryos as they leave the womb, we would have a duty to rescue them and try to implant them anyway?

"If the embryo loss that accompanies natural procreation were the moral equivalent of infant death, then pregnancy would have to be regarded as a public health crisis of epidemic proportions: Alleviating natural embryo loss would be a more urgent moral cause than abortion, in vitro fertilization, and stem-cell research combined," declared Michael Sandel, a Harvard University government professor, also a member of the President's Council on Bioethics.

It's a good question and Bailey does a fine job of framing the issue. I've raised it several times myself, albeit with the more inflammatory argument that God/Nature/pick-your-spiritual-power-here, is the greatest abortionist in history.

To think, I could have had a helicopter

Today, America sleeps restlessly if they sleep at all knowing that this fugitive has been given a light sentence and walks the streets freely. Seriously, what kills me about the story, other than the fact that people seriously considered juvenile jail time for what was clearly a child acting out in an inappropriate, but not criminal fashion was this line:

Police responded with three cars and a helicopter after the 11-year-old threw a stone at a group of boys who rode by on their bikes and pelted her and her brother with water balloons.

Um, get a grip folks. Three cars and a helicopter!??! When I was 12 I would sometimes go down to the creek behind my parent's house just to be alone and surly or sulk or sad or what have you. One day I was feeling particularly gloomy, as many children do at that age, and I needed some time by the creek. A girl from the neighborhood who was about my age came by and we spoke a little bit. I was beginning to feel slightly better, but still wanted to be alone a bit as well when the neighborhood brat, the young kid who got under everybody's skin and who spent a lot of time trying to act superior, showed up and started bothering us.

To be sure Billy, the brat, didn't realize the extent to which he was bothering us. He was just being Billy which is to say he was being thoughtless and annoying. He thought it was all just a game. The fact that I was clearly annoyed made it a better game. Realizing this and recognizing that Billy was about 4 years younger than me, I decided to walk away. The girl asked if I wanted company and I told her thanks, but not today. Billy decided that he had one last chance to ratchet things up a notch before his fun was gone, so he picked up a rock. The rock was about 4 inches across and like most rocks near a creek it was generally smooth, though a few jags stuck out here and there. Holding his brown and tan rock in his hand, Billy declared that he was going to throw it at me.

The girl told Billy that wasn't a good idea. I turned and told Billy that it wasn't a good idea. Billy disagreed. In fact, he told us that he thought it was quite a good idea. I told him not to do it or I'd walk him into the middle of the creek and set him down in it. He told us that he was going to do it. I told him once again what I'd do, then I began to walk away. Naturally, Billy through the rock. He hit me in the back of the neck, near the base of my skull. I was hurt. Tears rolled down my cheeks, though I didn't want to cry. This amused Billy even further.

Angry, but in control, I walked towards Billy. He was laughing harder as I got closer. Then, his tone changed and he explained that I couldn't put him in the creek. His voice shaking, Billy explained that his shoes were new, that they were corrective shoes, that his mother would "kill me" if I ruined them. As I picked him up by the waist, I explained to Billy that he should of thought of that before he through the rock and that I had warned him what the consequences would be. With that, I picked Billy up, walked him to the middle of the rather cold creek, and plopped him down in the center. The water was only about a foot deep - we all knew this as we played in it throughout the spring, summer, and fall. Billy easily ran out and beat me to the bank. He reiterated that his mother was going to "kill me" then ran off. When I got to the bank, the girl was looking at me a little surprised.

"Want to go for a walk?" I asked.

"You warned him" she said. And with that, we went for a long walk. By the time I returned home, my clothes were dry. The incident with Billy was no longer at the forefront of my thoughts.

By Monday, I had come down with a cold. The thermometer proved that I had a fever. My mother had me stay home from school. I wasn't miserable, but I didn't want to be home, either. It was October and we just thought that it was an early fall cold.

The doorbell rang that morning and my mother answered it. She spoke with whomever rang the bell at length, which was odd. When she entered my bedroom, she told me that Billy's mom was at the door. My mother asked me if I put Billy in the creek as Billy's mom had said that I had done. I confirmed that I had done it. My mother asked why I had done it and I told her the whole tale along with the fact that the girl could confirm it. My mother told me that she didn't blame me and that she might have done the same thing. She then went and told Billy's mother this same thing (I over heard the conversation because I stuck my head out of the bedroom door).

I had forgotten about the incident at the creek. It then occurred to me that walking into the middle of the creek and then walking around in wet clothes was probably the reason I caught a cold. There were consequences of my actions that I didn't intend, I thought, but I was willing to live with this one. It made me smile and offered me some relief. My mother didn't punish me, but she did suggest that I should have just told on Billy. At twelve, that wasn't my style. I settled my own scores when I could rather than be a tattle tale.

Just think, however, if I were twelve today. Hell, I might throw the damn rock myself and then tell on myself if I thought that I could get 3 cop cars and a helicopter - a helicopter - to come to the scene. That poor girl must have been scared shitless, especially so given the fact that she speaks little to no English. Then to be locked up for 5 days and only seeing your parents for 30 minutes during that time? To be told you might have to go away for as long as 4 years?

Damn, I'll stick to kids settling their own scores and letting their parents determine punishment. In this case, harm was done and it was bad, but I'd rather trust the parents to deal with this rather than the government trying to use the law for parenting. An investigation may have been called for, but this was an over reaction.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Quickie Addition

Here's an excellent article on Copyfighting and why it's in everyone's interest to defeat Digital Rights Management (DRM).

Dickie's Quickies

I was briefly chatting with Bob on IM yesterday and he was laughing about my comments that I made about IE. Oddly enough, I had just read Paul Thurrott's comments on IE (briefly quoted below). It must have been a bash IE sort of day.

My advice is simple: Boycott IE. It's a cancer on the Web that must be stopped. IE isn't secure and isn't standards-compliant, which makes it unworkable both for end users and Web content creators.

MDMA, or Ecstasy, seems to have beneficial effects of people suffering from Parkinson's disease. A new study shows that it seems to benefit mice infected with the disease as well.

Bitch Spray - who would have thought?

A man with a serious love for earth movers as demonstrated in this lovely film featuring a ballet with said man and earth mover.

Finally, some Christians are still worked up over Harry Potter. This one goes over the top by equating homosexuality with witchcraft in order to catch reader's attention and scare them into believing their perverse reading of the Bible.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Weekend and quickies

For those who saw it, I had to get rid of the post for the humor test. The reason? My brother pointed out to me that it made the blog render improperly in IE. Of course, this is really an IE issue and reasonable people no longer use that browser (teasing! sort of). However, since the post was only mildly amusing anyhow, I deleted it. Now all is well with IE users. Thanks, Rob!

The weekend here was pretty nice. Shawn declared before the weekend that she wanted to do nothing but sit and read. This sounded like a grand idea to me, but as I noted to Matt before leaving work on Friday, it was not likely to happen. Shawn, who is princess of restlessness, had already decided to break with this plan on Friday night. Little did I know that the innocent trip to breakfast and the Duvall Public Library was an excuse to get us closer to Redmond Towne Center for more shopping, but that was indeed the case. After shopping, we headed home and began planning and making dinner. We had fresh peas from the garden to use up not to mention that we are up to our crooknecks in zucchini. I put some music on and we cooked for a couple of hours before settling in front of the television to watch the second half of "Lord of the Rings".

Sunday found us taking another trip to a different book store. We also stopped by the hardware store and came home with a small table for the patio. While we were out, we ran into the grocery and grabbed some salmon and the ingredients for tabouli. Truth be told, I was told that we were going to the grocery store. The other side trips were planned by Shawn without my knowledge, but apparently fall into the classification of "doing nothing but reading". The Queen of Lists practices deceit and conspires with the Princess of Restlessness to do nothing by which she means "Do anything I want to do which classifies as nothing in my book". After getting home, I rebelled and asserted my right to do nothing. To my surprise, the Queen/Princess acquiesced to my position and promptly fell asleep on the sofa for an afternoon nap. By the time she woke, I was working on dinner and had opened a nice bottle of wine (1998 Pinot Noir from Adelsheim winery in Oregon). We enjoyed dinner with the movie "I (heart) Huckabees" which was a pretty amusing film.

Monday was a terrible day for Shawn. She witnessed the tail end of a car accident on the other side of the freeway when a driver hit the middle barrier, blood coming from the driver's forehead. While meeting a friend for lunch in downtown Bellevue, Shawn got a parking ticket for parking in the strip mall lot across from the restaurant. Not believing her luck and wanting to protest, she asked around and found out that only shoppers of that strip can use the lot. Towards the end of her work day, she found out that a bug in the software she uses had cost the company a lot of money for the second time in two weeks, so she raised the issue with her manager. The manager informed her that the temporary solution was going to cause a lot of extra effort on Shawn's behalf. Shawn was mulling this over on the way home, which explains why, when she was stuck in traffic 1.5 hours later, I got a call from her telling me that she might run out of gas on the way home. She didn't, but she came into the door anxious and needing to talk and vent her ideas. When she walked in, I was shaking a drink for her which I quickly thrust into her hand, then I listened while I wrapped up dinner (Minestrone soup - homemade with plenty of veggies from the garden). Finally, just as we were getting ready to go upstairs to bed, Shawn went to close the panel track blinds we have over our sliding glass doors in back and she yanked the cord too hard and pulled the track off of the ceiling and crashing to the floor. I thought that the screws had gone into solid wood above, but I'll need to put it back in using drywall anchors. It was no big deal, but it drove Shawn nuts - a continuation of a bad day. I told her to walk, carefully, up the stairs, climb into bed and do not leave it until morning. She was considering last night whether or not she would make it to work today. I still don't know if she left.

Quickies: James Randi has published his Encyclopedia of Claims, Frauds, and Hoaxes of the Occult and Supernatural online. I admire Randi's work as a skeptic.

ESPNSoccernet.com has this amusing headline today: ""Young Boys Wankdorf Erection Relief".