Wednesday, April 26, 2006

AirAmerica continues to slide

A peak at the latest book shows AirAmerica losing ground again in NYC. In a city whose audience has a voter registration leaning 5-1 Democrat, it simply means no one is buying what AA is offering. Search for WLIB and check their downward trend.

You can't blame that on Conservative media.

LINK UPDATED... thanks TrekMedic for the heads-up.



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Tuesday, April 25, 2006

And one and two, now open mouth and insert foot, three, four...

A spinning instructor at Washington, DC's Sports Club/LA mocked President Bush without realizing (believe it or not) that a first daughter was in his class!

ROLL CALL reports: The instructor, Glenn Makl, is said to be horrified to learn after class that the president's daughter Jenna was there to hear his making fun of President Bush and handing out of a video clip compilation of some of the president's more memorable gaffes and malapropisms.

Jenna Bush was working out at the club with her boyfriend, who later complained about the political ranting of the trainer.

This is something a bit more than merely a faux pas. While hardly a crime, it shows the great lengths to mock President Bush.

No one says Mr. Makl isn't entitled to his opinions, nor that he ought not voice them. But to compile a video for presentation in a class in DC goes a few steps beyond a mere social blunder. That's not just my opinion, of course: if Mr. Makl wasn't concerned about offending people, why would he be horrified Ms. Bush saw his video presentation?

H/t: Drudge Report

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Monday, April 24, 2006

Blogger acting buggy

Can't seem to publish to Blogger normally today...

My post shows as 'posted' yet doesn't appear... let's see if this mail-to-blog post gets through.

Update: Hey, at least it wasn't anything personal.

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Some people think I have it rough...

I've mentioned before about my unusually long commute: 105 miles, each way, everyday. That's about 4 hours a day in the car, plus 9-10 hours in the office (it's the driving reason I make time for an hour of TKD twice each week).

Well, while many people (including those that read this blog) have doubted my sanity (and why not?), there's someone who makes me look sane in comparison:

AutoChannel: [Dan] Givens, an electrical engineer with Cisco Systems, Inc., in San Jose, Calif., drives a 186-mile one-way commute five days a week, a round-trip journey of 372 miles that takes a total of seven hours. He has been making the lengthy commute since 1989.

"I have a great job and my family loves the ranch where we live," he said in explaining why he makes the commute. "So this is the only solution."

What does he do during his long trek? "I listen to the radio and keep my eyes on the road," he says. "I also drink a lot coffee."

Whoa! That could be me! OK, my 105 pales in comparison, I know. But Dan's reasons are the same as mine (er, except I have a bi-level). We left NYC in 1992, and for about 3 years I rode a bus to Manhattan daily.

I've been driving at least 100 miles to my employment since 1996; obviously, Dan has many more miles under his belt.

Midas' "America's Longest Commute" Contest kicked off on Jan. 9, 2006 and ran through Feb. 6, 2006. Participants were asked to report the mileage of their current daily commute, defined as the most direct route, one way, in miles, from their principal place of residence to their principal place of lawful employment. To be considered, participants had to currently drive a minimum of four days a week, each week of the month, and have driven for a minimum of three months. Long distance cargo or other delivery and public transportation driving were not considered a daily commute. Motorcycles, buses, and all forms of public transportation were not eligible forms of transportation for daily commute.

A pity I didn't hear of the contest (not that I could have won). Curiously, a motorcycle didn't count... even if a rider used a car for bad weather, what's the difference?

With the Federally-enforced switch from MTBE to ethanol coinciding with market forces causing the oil futures to rise, my commuting costs are pretty high, indeed. Only recently, however, have they taken their toll; my current job has far fewer tolls, so my daily costs are only starting to hurt in comparison.

Of course, if Congress got off their collective duffs and overturn the Gore Gas Tax and approve more domestic drilling and refining, things would be much better for America as a whole. One can hope... and vote for politicians who will do these things!




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Friday, April 21, 2006

DSL-Blues

About three weeks ago I bitched about my DSL going dark at 4AM.... in the days since, the modem down-time is gradually getting longer.

Yesterday, my much-better-half spent much of the day without web access ... a real pain when your child attends a Virtual Charter School. A phone call to the phone company resulted in the opening of a trouble ticket.

Last night I was supposed to review a proposal for a contract (a ROM, actually, for those of you playing the home game)... and what do you know? I couldn't maintain a connection long enough to download it. Since I still maintain an AOL account (yes, yes, you laugh, but I have been a charter member since 1991), I did get to read the proposal, but it was already 11:15 PM, so I wasn't all that interested any longer.

At 4:30 this morning, the same orange status light was blinking, mocking me. If it isn't line noise its an 11 month old modem that's the cause; I haven't changed any of hardware setup or config since it was installed. Of course, I am bound by the monopoly ISP to use only their modem, so I can't even swap it out myself to test it.

Some have queried why I never went with cable modem... for one, it wasn't until last year that my area even had DSL. Not long after we got it, I was told they were taking appointments for cable, but I didn't want to wait any longer. Plus, in order to fully appreciate the speed, I'd need a cable line reasonably close to where my home-office is. My son's PC and our laptop connect to a wireless router, but my work applications crawl at those speeds. Unless I can easily pull a cable line close to the office, or CAT cables, I'll have to wait on upgrading to cable.

Of course, the local TelCo could surprise me and tell me they've resolved the line problem... heh, I can be funny, can't I??

UPDATE: So I called the TelCo and asked for a status. They said you'll know when the tech gets to your home. I informed them gal that I was told they would check the line on their end, and then schedule an appointment, not just go whenever the hell they felt like it. She told me that was not standard procedure. Idiots.

After asking to be transferred to someone in the Tech area, I came across Walt, who seemed pleased to be speaking with someone (me) who knew what he was talking about (the pleasure was mutual!)

Walt said he didn't know where the field guy was, but he'd look into the CO1 and get back to me.

What do you know? Walt found that there was a failing circut in the CO. I am guessing I am one of the few on that line, since no one else seemed to have complained!


1CO: Central Office. Telephone company facility where subscribers’ lines are joined to switching equipment.


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Thursday, April 20, 2006

20K Winner

Alex Charyna is a blogger of considerable talent. His frequent comments to this site are always insiteful or just plain fun, and he holds his own at Three Sources and Santorum Blog, as he helps the junior Seantor from the Commonwealth of PA get re-elected in just over 200 days.

When he decides what he wants to place in the ad, you'll see it 'above the fold' on the right.

I may offer other contests in the future with a similar prize... stay tuned...



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I wasn't worried about him...

I haven't posted about my activities involving Tae Kwon Do for some time, not for any reason other than things are progressing at a predictably slow, steady pace.

Last evening, our Instructor1 paired me with a new guy, a White Belt, and told me to take it easy on him, which is standard for any new student. Except this wasn't any run-of-the-mill student.

He stands 6'2" (against my 6' frame).

He's 22.

And he recently was discharged from the US Marine Corps.

He: This is Jay... show him some sparring techniques, but try not to hurt him.

Me: Oh, I'm not worried about hurting him, sir. My getting hurt is another matter altogether.

What Jay lacked in overall TKD technique he made up for in speed and power... this man was trained in hand-to-hand combat, after all. I have no doubt he will do very well in our training.

P.S. I limped away, not much worse than usual for an evening of sparring.




1Sa Ba Nim, he is a 6th Dan, a 6th degree black belt

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Wednesday, April 19, 2006

We have a winner!



The winner has been confirmed by IP to be Alex C, a loyal reader. Look for his BlogAd soon.

In the meantime, allow me to thank all of my readers for visiting and driving the counter to 20K. Against many other blogs, that's hardly a pittance, but to me it is flattery.

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We should have visitor 20,000 today!

QUICK! Scroll down to the bottom of this page.... check the counter

(or click here)...

you may be the winner of an ad worth $20. Grab a screen shot if you're lucky 20k; I'll verify the IP against the log.



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Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Mmmmm... Steak

A pity the nearest Hardees is 60 some miles away...





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Monday, April 17, 2006

Who will be lucky 20K??

The hits keep coming…. Scroll to the bottom and see if you’re the lucky 20,000th visitor.

I’ve decided a free BlogAd goes to the winner. Such ad can be a promotion to ones blog or favorite website, or to their favorite political concern. That’s right: a one-month ad, a $20. value, yours for being lucky 20K

I realize I am treading on thin ice here, in that I am proud to report several of my frequent visitors of this blog have decidedly different views than I. While I’ll hold the final editorial decision on the content of any such ad on this site, I remain consistent in my views that all points are acceptable, provided they don’t sink to the level of childish behavior (see my disclaimer for examples)

Official verdict will be the SiteMeter logs. In the event of a blocked referrer, unknown visitor (i.e. via Google, etc.), a discrepancy or any other failure to accurately determine the lucky visitor, all contestants will receive their contest admission fee refunded (provided you can produced a signed receipt of same).

Winner should be determined before Thursday, I imagine..

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Thursday, April 13, 2006

Raise a glass spoon!



I may take issue with the vast majority of Ben & Jerry's political stances, but you can't knock a flavor like this.

Hat tip: A Pile of Dog Bones

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Sign, sign, everywhere a sign Blockin' out the scenery, breakin' my mind




Day by Day

Click for large view

...Can't you read the signs???



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Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Blog stuff

  • After teasing about if a few weeks ago, I was about to reveal to the world (well, at least to my readers) the new Template for this blog. After soliciting a few opinions, the most thoughtful review was, and I quote, "It sucks."1 So back to the drawing board I go.
  • I had hope to announce have had the new template up before reaching this point, but I will just have to settle for how it is an note that this blog is closing in on its 20,000 visitor. Note: my own hits are never logged (via IP exclusions), and the accuracy of sitemeter.com has never, in my estimate, been doubted.

    That I doubled my total hits in about a year can be partially credited to my Technorati links and BlogExplosion subscription in the last few months. That I've averaged 150 visits per week for the last year (per my review of my Sitemeter logs) is from no small measure of you, the readers, who flatter me with visits week after week.
  • What kind of prize will I get asked Sue, when she learned how close the count is to the 20,000 visitor. As this humble blog is on a shoestring budget, I can't offer much. Maybe I can give established bloggers a prominent mention and an above-the-fold link, commemorating their 20,000 visit. Of course, it would be my luck to have that winner be someone I wouldn't link to if I were paid. And that prize does nothing for the independent readers like Sue (who really ought to start her own blog hint-hint). Maybe a day's pass to guest-blog, where that person can write (pretty much) anything... I'll have to ponder that idea ...

    Time for lunch...


1No, no one actually said that. I stole that line from an old Harry Chapin song...

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Sounds familiar

The ideas Walter Williams puts forth sound familiar to me:

In principle, the solution to people being in our country illegally is simple. No one in the country illegally should be eligible to receive any social services except emergency medical services. Efforts should be made to deport illegal aliens. Our borders should be made secure both against illegal entry of persons and potential threats to national security. ... U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services procedures for obtaining work permits and citizenship should be streamlined so that law-abiding people around the world can more easily contribute to and enjoy America's greatness.

Why is it familiar to me? I said the same things last month. Far be it for me to suggest Dr. Williams learned from my humble blog; his Conservative credentials speak for themselves, and I have undoubtedly learned from his writing and others like him.

Kudos go to Mark Levin Blog for linking to Dr. Williams.



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Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Eye see you


Remember that Twilight Zone episode where the woman lived alone in a small farm house, and she was seemingly besieged by these little space men, and where the viewer didn't know where the space men came from until the final reel?

You do remember it? Good. Maybe you can explain why I am thinking of it when I look at these:



Wired News shows some of the more unusual USB devices, including the eyball cams above. They go from the odd to the tchotchke, including hand warmers and eye-massagers (nyuk-nyuk).

The USB device I have that comes closest to being called 'weird' is a keyboard lamp that is designed to clip to a laptop to provide key illumination for those long plane trips at night. Since I've been on exactly one round-trip where such a device could have been used, and at the time I was busy catching up on missed movies, I haven't found any reason to ever use it yet.


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Monday, April 10, 2006

Dreams and DSL


What is it in the mind of a three-year old that can lead to vivid dreams?

Surely, kids have imaginations. But to wake up announcing dreams 2 or more times a night, each of the last three days, is certainly unusual. Particularly so to one who can't recall the last dream I can recall having.

Our three-year old wakes up at various times of the night, and emphatically tries to describe the 'pictures' he saw with his eyes closed. He's not terrified, but mostly just excited. How do you break a kid of that habit? Especially since he's encroaching on what little sleep I manage to get?



So I get up this morning around 3:30; since the little one had me up several times again it wasn't at all hard to do. I stumbled towards my PC and found the DSL modem flashing orange. I power-cycled the unit three times, still no green. So I dared to call on my tech-support, now proudly proclaiming 24 hours availability.

After a 7 minute wait (how many people need support at 4AM?), my provider states it's not them, it must be the phone company, so I have to call them after 9AM. That's the level of support I get? Serves me right, living in a non-competitive zone. I can't get Verizon or any other baby-bell, I am at the mercy of a local, private phone company.

The local cable company, who also hold a monopoly, didn't offer cable broadband to my neighborhood until after I had the appointment for DSL. That kind of coincidence isn't so amazing until you realize the parent company that owns the cable company also owns the phone company and the only ISP that serves the broadband. To quote Mel Brooks: it's good to be king.

So I finish dressing for work and look back at my modem as I grab my cell phone: what do you know? Status light is green again, minutes after I called them. Coincidence? You decide.

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Sunday, April 09, 2006

On being good looking and earning more

CareerBuilder.com states:

Studies show attractive students get more attention and higher evaluations from their teachers, good-looking patients get more personalized care from their doctors, and handsome criminals receive lighter sentences than less attractive convicts. But how much do looks matter at work?

The ugly truth, according to economics professors Daniel Hamermesh of the University of Texas and Jeff Biddle of Michigan State University, is that plain people earn 5 to 10 percent less than people of average looks, who in turn earn 3 to 8 percent less than those deemed good-looking.

These findings concur with other research that shows the penalty for being homely exceeds the premium for beauty and that across all occupations, the effects are greater for men than women.

I must be the exception to the rule; I am not making boffo bucks, by anyones measure, but I do alright.

Heh, for if I wasn't the exception, then I would be paying my boss to let me work.


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Saturday, April 08, 2006

April 8th...

..and there's snow on the ground...
 
 

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Friday, April 07, 2006

Dang fuel pump

The good news? Well, I can work from home today.

The bad news? On my commute in yesterday, I realized the throttle on the 92 Blazer wasn't as responsive as I am used to, and later found I couldn't rev it to passing-gear speed. Fortunately, this was about 5-6 miles from the office, so it wasn't an immediate worry.

Upon reaching the parking lot, there was a distinct whine emitting from the rear of the vehicle. My first guess was the differential, which was a lame guess, since the SUV was parked. Then my mind wandered to transmission... no, don't go there.

On my lunch break, when I typically refuel (at prices currently $.20/gal cheaper than near home), I found the accelerator was responding properly, but the whine returned when I got back to the office. So I curtailed the remainder of my lunch (I generally eat at my desk, anyway, and then nap for the balance of time) and headed for home early.

About three-fourths the way home (+/- 70 miles), hesitation began again... the last 25 miles or so were sluggish, to say the least. But I made it to the mechanic.

He came out, heard the whine, and announced "It's either the fuel filter or fuel pump. If you haven't driven it far, maybe the filter is all you need."

Oh... um, is about 200 miles considered 'driving far'?

A quick check of the repair history found I had the fuel filter was replaced in September '04, so we'll go for the whole pump today. So I'm home for today... and will start in earnest, once again, to look for a new vehicle.

Here's the damage...

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Tuesday, April 04, 2006

How dare they??? Creating jobs where none exist!

Wal*Mart is at it again...

Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world's largest retailer, said Tuesday it plans to build more than 50 stores in struggling communities over the next two years, as part of a goal to create between 15,000 and 25,000 jobs.

Wal-Mart said it will build the stores in neighborhoods with high crime or unemployment rates, on sites that are environmentally contaminated, or in vacant buildings or malls in need of revitalization.

The nerve of them! Offering to build stores in struggling communities, and then expecting people to accept a paycheck for day of work!!

Next time someone tries to portay Wal*Mart as evil, keep in mind there efforts in towns like these.



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It's not the President's fault, its Christianity and Conservatism's

This is funny....

NewsBusters.org reports Hollywood elites are blaming the failing box-office receipts for such films as Basic Instinct 2 on Conservatives and Christian values.

Let's check with that bastion of Conservative and Christian values, Rolling Stone magazine:

The laughs to be had in this deliciously awful sequel are all unintentional. A bummer for film buffs, but a ball for fans of the misbegotten. Take the opener, when {Sharon} Stone, back as bisexual crime novelist and accused serial killer Catherine Tramell, drives her car off a London bridge while a soccer star finger-fucks her to a screaming orgasm. And they say Hollywood forgot how to make movies for the whole family.
{snip}
{Charlotte} Rampling's natural beauty is a rebuke to everything fake and flashy in a movie that almost performs the miracle of making Madonna's
Body of Evidence look passable.

Rating: 0 stars

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Monday, April 03, 2006

Mark the date and time!


As seen at My Little Corner of the World:


On this coming Wednesday,
at TWO Minutes and THREE Seconds after 1:00 a.m.
(that's 0100 military time)
the time and date will be:

01:02:03 04/05/06

That won't ever happen again for another thousand hundred years!

UPDATE: Serves me right... shortly after noting this, I found that its the latest of meme spread via e-mail, and hardly as novel as I thought after I posted it last night. Hey, I was tired...

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Wake up call for youth

Every high school and college student should see these videos.

Montana has the right idea for discouraging people from trying meth. Kudos to ABC'S Nightline who will do a story next week on the state's in-your-face campaign. The ads (billboards, video and audio) are necessarily disturbing, and as the site suggests they aren't recommended for dinnertime viewing.

Meth: Not Even Once (notevenonce.com).

Hat tip: Sue in NJ.


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Some books are more equal than others

Wizbang notes this morning that Borders Bookstore is sponsoring a convention called 'Wordstock', which seeks to promote banned books.

Knowing several authors of a decidedly Conservative bent have been banned (officially and otherwise), at least for a time, I am curious to see what book made the featured list.

More to the point of irony, Wizbang correctly points out that Borders has censored the April/May issue of Free Inquiry because they dared to publish some of the Muhammad cartoons.

Excuse me, Kettle? I have Pot on line two for you.

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Need a proof reader

Last week I posted about everyone's hot-topic, immigration. In my haste to present my post, I used spell check to ensure I didn't mispell any words; readers of my blog will know there are more than a few examples of my inability to spell throughout my archives.

Well... it seems I still had an
inacuracy:


Maybe I can trade a prominent link or banner ad in exchange for someone to proof my writing!

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