August 31, 2006
"This Film Is Not Yet Rated"
Being released tomorrow in Los Angeles and New York, This Film Is Not Yet Rated is a documentary about the secretive MPAA ratings board, those people who find sex so very much more offensive than gory violence, and who cringe at the sight of male nudity, but who find female nudity to be routine. Kirby Dick, the film's director, hired a private investigator to track down and tail the board members.
The film is, indeed, being released unrated to avoid an NC-17 rating.
42 Year Veteran of National Park Service Dies
Stanely Albright was state director of the National Park Service in Alaska in the 1970s, where he laid the groundwork for the protection of 44 million acres, thereby doubling the size of the national park system. In the 1980s he served under James Watt and worked to protect the NPS from the worst ravages of the Reagan administration. The jewel in his crown (we think) was his key role in the passage of the 1994 California Desert Protection Act which created Death Valley National Park, Joshua Tree National Park and the Mojave National Preserve. He wrapped up his career with the park service as superintendent of Yosemite National Park from 1997 to 1999.
All Around California
Hugs For Hungary
Nándor Gyöngyösi, Mr. Gay Hungary, has won the title of Mr. Gay Europe. And on top of all that, he gets a trip to Palm Springs in October for the Mr. Gay International contest.
BTW, if you go check out the few city finalists that are currently lined up for the October competition, you will see the usual sort of thing...except for Mr. Anchorage. It looks like that Alaska city will be sending an actual MAN! He's only 24, but check out that shoe size.
August 30, 2006
Last Night in DHS
The three dinosaurs on the city council systematically removed Mayor Bias from all of his roles except the Mayorship itself, last night. It's not enough that they want to take the city down the tubes, they don't want anyone saying anything against them as they do it. They also decided not to fill Gary Bosworth's empty seat before the election for his spot next March.
But, in a very reassuring display of unanimity, the full council (4 of them) voted to affirm Karl Baker's appointment to the Coachella Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District.
Councilman Hank Hohenstein, after the vote Tuesday night, said he recommended that "the city manager contact the bug people immediately and get Mr. Baker's name put on the masthead immediately."
The district, apparently forgetting their role in a democratic (or would it be republican, in this instance) system, may STILL waste taxpayer dollars fighting Baker.
After requiring the full City Council to appoint Baker, [board president John] Fuschetti indicated Tuesday the district may not accept the council's decision.
"We may continue to proceed further in not accepting their appointment," he said.
When asked what the district may do now, Fuschetti replied, "That's up to our attorney."
PML Design has taken a standard Mini Cooper, ripped out the engine, transmission and brakes. "These components were replaced by four of our electric wheels, a lithium polymer battery, a large ultra capacitor, a very small ICE with generator (so small it almost fits alongside the spare wheel), an energy management system and a sexy in-car display module." The result is a car with a top speed of 150 MPH that can go from zero to 60 in 4.5 seconds, with a total range of 932 miles. Even more importantly, it allows MORE space inside the car...but you probably still won't be able to haul a refrigerator in it.
I never even heard of Yahoo Answers before, but CNNMoney.com says it's become the second most popular reference site on the web. The site has the answers to some profound questions, such as:
- didn't it KILL you that Harry Potter didnt' open the stupid mirror that Sirius gave him...?
- How do you start your day off?
- Is it possible for great looking people to smell bad? Or are they equipped with a natural great scent?
- Does anyone like stories about Roy Orbison being wrapped tightly in cling-film?
- I have something growing on my maple tree.What should I do? What is it? How can I save it?Who do I contact?
- I'm trying to make a catdog....?
August 29, 2006
The DHS city council tonight will consider a proposal to change the name of part of Indian Avenue to North Indian Canyon Drive. The same street in Palm Springs is called Indian Canyon Drive...but I'm not sure if that name extends all the way up to the Palm Springs city limit which is north of I-10. If the proposed name change is approved, the two segments will still be separated by a stretch called simply "Indian Avenue." In any case, everyone will continue to call the street simply "Indian" as they do, even in Palm Springs.
But more importantly, the Desert Sun's article once again repeats their urban myth (I think they're the only ones who repeat it) that there are only three roads between DHS and the rest of the Coachella Valley. The Desert Sun says they are Indian, Palm Drive and Varner. Since I've hit on this issue before, maybe I should lay out the other alternatives. The most obvious is to take any road west (Indian, Pierson or Dillon) to Route 62, and south on 62 to I-10. You can take that out west to 111 or east to any other road. And then there's Dillon Road going east, which leads eventually to Coachella, or you can turn at 1000 Palms Canyon and go to La Quinta or Thousand Palms.
August 28, 2006
Marty Kaplan shows you how to hack a Diebold voting machine. You'll need a phillips head screwdriver and a USB flash drive. He shows you everything you need to know...EXCEPT what format the fake voting tally on your USB drive should be in. You can't just put a jpeg of your candidate on it, I guess.
Flickr has added a mapping feature. If you're the photographer, you can go into Organizr and you'll now find a "Map" tab. There you'll find a Google-style map that you can drag your images to.
If you are the viewer of Flickr images, when you're at a page of Flickr thumbnails such as this one you'll see a "Map" link below any image that has been mapped. Click that link and a map window appears in front of the image. I think it's got some glitches, though. If I click on the link to "Explore images near this one" Flickr came up with no others, even though I mapped three public images to the same location as the image I'm testing. My real disappointment with the mapping, though, is that it is totally missing from the individual photo's page. Go to this photo for example. I've mapped it, but there is no map link on the page. I had expected not only a map link, but for the latitude and longitude to show up in the tags, but those are missing too. However, Flickr tells us that if I take the URL of a mapped photo and manually append "map" to it, I get the map. Here's the example of that.
I somehow missed this little news item last week, but when I passed by on Friday I thought I saw signs of retail going on. So I went by today, and yes indeedy, the Starbucks is really open, including the drive-thru which did not seem to precede the general opening.
As for other projects in the city, Jiffy Lube has lost its banner, but its got landscaping now. Pierson Boulevard is pretty much done except for some small stuff. The traffic lights at West haven't been turned on yet.
Stare at this video and, when instructed, look away. You will see an interesting faux-hallucination. The effect is short-lived and not violent.
Ken Starr - Still Not Dead
Ken Starr "and other attorneys in the Los Angeles office of Kirkland & Ellis" are joining up with the Juneau School Board and Principal Deborah Morse of Juneau-Douglas High School to trample on the free speech rights of Joseph Frederick. Back in 2002 the Olympic torch was making its way through Juneau and Mr. Frederick and other students stood across the street from the high school holding a banner that said "Bong Hits 4 Jesus." Ms. Morse, the principal, suspended Mr. Frederick for ten days.
I'm disappointed that this is being considered only a free speech case, as it obviously also involves freedom of religion. I'd like to hear Ken Starr's explanation of why he wants to stand in the way of bong hits for sweet baby Jesus.
Currently Mr. Frederick is the beneficiary of a Court of Appeals reversal, but Starr and his boys are requesting a review by the Supreme Court.
Yet Another Idea From The Bushies
Can an American citizen be barred from entering the U.S. without any legal charges? Apparently the Bush administration thinks they can. Some people think otherwise:
"They want to come home and have an absolute right to come home," said [their attorney, Julia Harumi] Mass, who has filed a complaint with the Department of Homeland Security and a petition with the Transportation Security Administration.
"They can't be compelled to waive their constitutional rights under threat of banishment," Mass said. "The government is conditioning the return to their home on cooperation with law enforcement."
Inside The Simpsons
From Bravo, a lengthy video of the human actors in The Simpsons. Great, if you're a Simpsons fan.
The GNI Gathering is just past, and here's a photo that Andy took during the "yellow" themed social hour.
There is now a private GNI group on Flickr. If you want to join you'll need an invitation. If you're a registered Flickr user, go to my Flickr profile and send me Flickr mail letting me know why you'd like to be invited into the GNI group.
August 27, 2006
We've Been Lied To!
Separation of church and state is "a lie we have been told," Harris said in the interview, published Thursday, saying separating religion and politics is "wrong because God is the one who chooses our rulers."
"If you're not electing Christians, then in essence you are going to legislate sin," Harris said.
As might be expected, she's doing some clumsy backpedaling now.
Revised Website For JTNP
ABC-7 in L.A. is quite excited that Joshua Tree National Park has published a redesigned website. "One significant change included moving the options menu from the right side of the screen to the left." Ohmigawd! If I move my sidebar from the right to the left, do you suppose I'll get a mention on a network affiliate in Los Angeles?
Anyway, ABC-7 has somehow neglected to give us the URL for that hot, hot web redesign, so I'll do it for them: http://www.nps.gov/jotr/.
This page which is new to me, nicely describes some of the interesting aspects of the joshua tree itself. But I see that it says the tallest joshua tree in the park is over in Queen Valley, which is not near Covington at all. I guess I have more exploring to do.