April 30, 2005
Box Canyon Road
Took the Bike Friday out to the Mecca Hills for a ride. It's all just one long uphill, until you turn around. I saw these interesting things along the way:
Also a chuckawalla lizard, I think.
Let's Make Another Mistake
It sounds like Congress wants to waste time designing yet another dollar coin! These pinheads think that if they put profiles of Presidents on the coin that it will finally be a success. Oh, yeah, that's it. I found the previous coins a problem to use exactly because they depicted Susan B. Anthony and Sacagawea, who are IMNSHO the two most unspendable people on Earth. While Martin Van Buren, OTOH, cries "Spend, spend, spend!" to me.
Whatta lotta crap. I think these Congresspeople must never engage in cash transactions. Have they never noticed that the dollar coin is so similar to the quarter that any time you pass one to a human (machines are a simple yes/no) they must peer at it after you say clearly "It's a dollar!" At the supermarket checkout line, Food Stamps and WIC checks have higher status than dollar coins.
If we're going to have a dollar coin, then they should make its appearance significantly different from other coins. Make it big! Give it some class! Coat it with titanium, or give it a lead core, or make it play MP3s.
April 29, 2005
A good article in yesterday's NY Times about skinnydipping in Manhattan. It also include a bit of history on the subject.
Lizzie Borden Was Lazy
We need a term for those people who are described by their neighbors, friends and co-workers as polite, quiet and charitable shortly after having been arrested for some act of incredible butchery. Here we have sweet 15-year old Chris Dankovich of Detroit. Always a good kid with a loving mother. Yes, he had a blue spiky mohawk, and showed some signs of being a normal teenager (porn). But what prompted him to stab his mother 111 times? I, for one, would like more detail on just exactly the sort of porn he was looking at.
But Chris was a slacker, as are so many yoots today. Consider hardworking Tonya Vasilev who with her Bulgarian husband moved to the Chicago area to found the Bulgarian Evangelical Church of God New Life Church in Des Plaines.
"She was like a little bird on her children," the woman said, her eyes tearing up with each mention of their names. "[They were] always clean. Always happy. Always with a lot of love."
And so to protect them from some possible future sexual molestation Tonya stabbed her two children 500 times.
Man, I'm thinking it'd be safer to buddy up with a meth dealer than sweet, hardworking family people.
Hold That Tiger
Oh, wait. Tiger Direct, that really low class retail operation, has requested an injunction to halt the rollout of Apple's "Tiger." Rumors are that Tony The Tiger and the estate of William Blake will also be joining the suit.
More Great Ideas From Christian Republicans
Alabama continues its glorious march to a great new dark age as legislator Gerald Allen has proposed a bill forbidding public school libraries from buying new books either written by gay authors or that contain gay characters.
"I don't look at it as censorship," says State Representative Gerald Allen. "I look at it as protecting the hearts and souls and minds of our children."
He forgot to mention their precious bodily fluids.
The bill exempts public and college libraries and includes an exception for undefined "classics." The article doesn't say if there's an exemption for the Bible too. Is it a classic? Just the story of Sodom has enough homosexuality to make my precious bodily fluids boil over. And the Song Of Solomon? Sure, we all attribute it to Solomon, but do we really know that? Sounds to me like a lesbian love story.
Anyway, after this glorious bill passes there will have to be an Alabama state officer whose job it will be to determine who's a gay character and who's a gay author. Well, I've got my little list of gay authors right here, and I'm eager to find more. I wonder what the pay would be like. And would I actually have to live in Alabama if I took the job? I'd be willing to work as an independent contractor; I don't imagine Alabama has any great pension plan.
I would love to read through America's most loved literature looking for hints of that special love between men. I'd free up a lot of space on the shelves of Alabama's libraries. And, of course, since this is a function of government, it's all got to be done in the open, on the up-and-up, with documentation and due process. So there would be a list and it would be available publicly. I think it would be good to publish it at least twice a year in some media that the kids read (I guess that means somewhere on the web) so they would know to stay away from this poison. I'm sure it would be just as effective as the Catholic church's attempts to do the same.
April 28, 2005
Long review of OS X 10.4 by John Siracusa. I learn things. It will come ONLY on DVD - a first.
Interesting on Flickr
Rosie O'Donnell has joined Flickr. I suggest she keep her day job.
Created just today, a group for Tiger — that is, OSX v. 10.4, which they say will be officially released tomorrow. Hey, I get my news where I can. [But a glance at the Apple site confirms they are correct.] They say they are going to post screenshots and discuss this new Apple operating system.
You all should know that I'm still a newbie in my return to car-ownership. There was a lot I didn't learn in the midwest, and cars advanced quite a bit during my carless decades in Boston. So — my question is, how long does an air filter last in "normal" use? I want to know how many miles of air filter life I lost by driving through sandstorms. I just had the filter replaced today, and I think it was only about 10,000 miles old.
It's probably been years since I last mentioned IrfanView here, so let me mention it now: IrfanView is a free graphics viewer that EVERY Windows user should have. It is my painful sorrow that I have not yet found anything as good for the Mac.
IrfanView is a small download, 100% free, no strings. It's easy to install. It's got no ads. It's not spyware. It's fast to load, it's very flexible and it handles every format. It's got all the bells and whistles that any graphics viewer should have. Plus it has good image editing features. And it's got a well-designed, easy-to-use user interface. It's been continuously updated for years. This month they released version 3.97.
One nice convenience that IrfanView provides comes when you try to open an image file with an incorrect extension. IrfanView will alert you and offer to change the extension for you. That can be really helpful when you're getting a load of crap sent to you from the lesser minds of the internet.
It still doesn't support the .ART format, but why would you want it to? Those come from AOL, and I haven't seen one of those that I wanted to keep.
April 27, 2005
Late Twentieth Century Video Modern
I Was Wrong
Somebody said Garland's dress would go for something like £35,000. I dutifully reported it without a proper analysis of the situation. Now we learn that it went for £140,000. Why didn't I see this coming?
The tale of a young girl and her dog Toto, whisked from Kansas into a magical realm, vied with Gone With The Wind in attracting record audiences.
All else is postlude.
Charges of racism made against Badlands! Have we come unstuck in time?
Powers of 2
Respiro. Really beautiful.
April 26, 2005
What Is This?
This creature, which I'm thinking is some kind of arachnid, is hanging out on my back porch this evening. Can any knowledgeable person tell me what it is? It seems to be pretty quiet, although when I brought the camera up close it would rare up its front end in a defensive display. It didn't seem to react to my flashlight after dark, until I actually touched it with the flashlight. Then it dropped to the ground and sort of moseyed over to a crack in the pavement to try to hide.
Its body is something like 1½ inches long (which in metric terms is a different number).
- - - - -
A Solifugid (plural form Solifugae) is an arachnid belonging to the order Solifugae. The order is also known by the names Solpugida, Solifugae, Solpugides, Solpugae, Galeodea, and Mycetophorae. The order includes 900 known species, whose nicknames include "wind scorpion", "sun spider", and "camel spider".
Most solifuges live in tropical or semitropical regions, where they inhabit warm and arid habitats. Some species however also live in grassland or forest habitats. The most distinctive features of solifuges is their large chelicerae. Each of the two chelicerae are composed of two articles forming a powerful pincer; each article bears a variable number of teeth. Males in all families but Eremobatidae possess a flagellum on the basal article of the chelicera. Solifuges also have long pedipalps, which function as sense organs similar to the insects antennae. Pedipalps terminate in eversible adhesive organs.
Solifugae are the subject of many myths and exaggerations about their size, speed, behavior, appetite, and lethality. They are not especially large or fast; the biggest have a legspan of perhaps 5 inches, and the fastest can run perhaps 10 miles per hour. They have no venom and do not spin webs. In the Middle East it is commonly believed that Solifugae will feed on living human flesh. The story goes that the creature will inject an anesthetizing venom into the exposed skin of its sleeping victim, then feed voraciously, leaving the victim to awaken with a gaping wound. Solifugae, however, do not produce such an anesthetic and do not attack prey larger than themselves.
Teenage Boys To Visit Grandma In Palm Desert!
They're coming from Minneapolis! Oh, yeah. While they're here, they'll be dropping in on the Coachella Music Festival, which is this coming weekend. Touching, feel-good Coachella promo story of the day. [Yikes, I see grandma will be ferrying the boys back and forth. Poor grandma!]
There's a group on Flickr for the Coachella Music Festival. As I write this it's got only pictures from last year, but I expect some updates soon.