Photo of worker adjusting a wireless access point.

Worker adjusting the wireless access point outside my window.

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Wednesday, August 31, 2005
Iraq Solution?
A good piece on a possible solution for Iraq by Jonathan Manthorpe of the Vancouver Sun, reproduced at Ongoing. (Thanks, Tim Bray.)

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Saturday, August 27, 2005
Record Industry Once Again Aims for Foot
Big music is upset that Steve Jobs is selling music (legally) on the Net. NY Times and Om Malik write about it.

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Wednesday, August 24, 2005
More Aristocrats
Dave Weinberger has a nice post at his blog about the film.

Movies: The Aristocrats
OH! The Aristocrats. The dirtiest most disgusting (really) joke in the world told (seemingly) 500 times by some great comics (Paul Reiser, Robin Williams, Sarah Silverman, Tim Conway, Steven Wright, Harry Shearer, George Carlin, Phyllis Diller (she comments but doesn't tell), Drew Carey, Eric Idle, Richard Lewis, and on and on and on.) Penn Jillette is one of the producers and Teller appears in it (with Jillette). They tell one of my favorite versions, complete with an exploding male body part.

The joke, called "The Aristocrats", is rarely told to an audience. Comedians tell it to other comedians. (The movie, however, does document Gilbert Gottfried telling it at a Friars Roast of Hugh Hefner, in the wake of 9/11. It's one of the better renditions.)

I wanted to walk half way through because I was just getting tired of hearing the variations of disgusting details about sexual and bathroom acts. But I stayed and must say, in the end, I found it oddly compelling.

More info here.

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Tuesday, August 23, 2005
Movies: Silver City
Silver City (2004), directed by John Sayles. Satirical political movie featuring a clueless politician.

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Movies: March of the Penguins
Penguins spend three months playing in the summer and the rest of the year on an incredible odyssey to bring forth and raise a single baby penguin. They march some hundred miles, endure Antarctic blizzards, fast for months, and balance the egg and then baby on the top of their feet, under their coats, to protect it from the elements. If it falls out, it will likely die. The dads endure as much as the moms as they have to wait and watch the baby (and fast) as the mothers head to the coast to feed.

Trust me, you don't want to be a penguin in the next life.

The scenes of courtship are very poetic and beautiful.

Morgan Freeman narrates.

IMDB Link.

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Movies: Key Largo
Key Largo with Bogart, Bacall, Barrymore, and Edward G. Robinson (who reminds me a bit of our current president). Plot summary from IMDB:

A man visits his old friend's hotel and finds a gangster running things. As a hurricane approaches, the two end up confronting each other.

Good film, especially if you like Robinson.

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Sunday, August 21, 2005
Vatican Astronomer Promotes Evolution
I am no longer a practicing Catholic but I still will take some pride in the Vatican's chief astronomer stating that evolution doesn't contradict Catholic teachings.

Article at New Scientist.

Saturday, August 20, 2005
Morris on Intelligent Design
Errol Morris writes in The Grump:

I look at the world of fauna and flora around me, and it becomes completely obvious that it can not be explained by the processes of natural selection.

Natural selection would have done a better job.

Read the rest...

(Mr. Morris, why don't you put dates on your stuff?)

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Morris Update
A bunch of his older stuff is going to DVD (or is there already) like the 1981 Vernon, Florida. Check his site.

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Movies: The Thin Blue Line
Erroll Morris... God, I love that guy as a documentary filmmaker. My favorite film is Fast, Cheap, and Out of Control but Fog of War is also excellent. (The whole body of his work is most definitely worth watching.) His first big one, The Thin Blue Line, just came out on DVD (July 26) and Mary and I watched it this week. It investigates the murder of a policeman in Dallas and the subsequent investigation. Morris makes a compelling case, via interviews and reenactments, that the Randall Adams, imprisoned for eleven years for the murder at the time of the filming, is innocent.

Here's a review
which is a spoiler of sorts if you can spoil documentaries.

The DVD also contains an episode of Morris's TV show First Person (2000), where he interviewed oddball types. This one was a forensic scientist with an obsessive knowledge of evil. Some of his descriptions of evil stuff were pretty sick.

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Friday, August 19, 2005
Roasting Kills Caffeine Molecules!
Via Dave Winer's travel blog, darker roasted coffee has less caffeine but stays fresh longer and there is a bean called white coffee that's barely roasted but has lots of punch.

Coffee is so mysterious yet so essential.

Monday, August 15, 2005
Earth Location of My Blog
Finding the latitude and longitude. Go to Maporama and enter your address, postal code, city, state province, whatever, in the first set of boxes and it will return a page with the latitude and longitude in the lower left.

Lat-Long of where I live in Minneapolis, MN USA:
44° 57' , -93° 14'
44.962 , -93.238

Now you can plug the info into a meta tag on your main blog page. If you are registered at Blogwise (free), they should come along eventually, scan the tag, and put you on their map (this view zoomed to Minneapolis area).

Blogwise needs the ICBM meta tag, named because it truly is related somehow to the missile. More info on the meta tags here.

Thanks to Roy (who doesn't have a blog) for sending me the initial Blogwise link.

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Books: Snow
Snow by Orhan Pamuk is in paperback. This book was praised by everybody. Here's a list of reviews including the New Yorker review by John Updike.

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Books: Mr. Muo's Travelling Couch
Mr. Muo's Travelling Couch by Dai Sijie (translated by Ina Rilke). Review in August 7, 2005 NY Times Review of Books (by Christopher Atamian).

The translation is from French (?).

Muo is trying to secure the release of his first love, who is a political prisoner, by finding a nubile young virgin as a bribe. In the current world of modernization in China, these are hard to find. "As Muo's travels proceed, China itself becomes a character: at times stunning in its lust for development, at others almost medieval in its cruelty and backwardness."

Sijie also wrote Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress.

Dai Sijie is also a filmmaker. The NY Times has a list of some (all?) of his movies here.

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Books: Rogue Regime (Kim Jong il)
Rogue Regime: Kim Jong il and the Looming Threat of North Korea by Joshua Kurlantzick. (NY Times Review of Books reviewed the book on August 7 but I'm not even linking as they will lock it up anyway.)

According to the review, the book details a regime that at least equals the excesses and cruelties of Saddam Hussein's dictatorship. Except Kim has the WMDs to make any Western intervention extremely dangerous. Instead, we avert our gaze and funnel money to him so he can keep on truckin'.

I remember a Jay Leno monologue before the Iraq invasion where he said that he had good news and bad news. The good news was that we found the Weapons of Mass Destruction. The bad news was that they were in North Korea.

Sounds like a good book. For more on Kim, check Wikipedia.

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Dilbert Does Lawyers
Today's Dilbert is a gentle, subtle, and funny lawyer joke.

Sunday, August 14, 2005
Kevin Kling
Saw Kevin Kling and his show Dick da Tird at the Fringe this afternoon. As usual, an excellent performance, this time enhanced by a band that did some wonderful songs that I assume were written by Mr. Kling.

He will be performing Freezing Paradise at the Guthrie Lab Oct. 19 to Nov. 6.

Kevin Kling's Web Site

John Adams on Uselessness
John Adams said this.

In my many years I have come to a conclusion that one useless man is a shame, two is a law firm, and three or more is a congress.

Skirting the Fringe
from the Fringe FAQ;

Q. What is Fringe?

Minnesota Fringe Festival is an annual eleven-day festival of live stage performance and visual arts, including theater, dance and performance art, puppetry, spoken word, storytelling and more. In 2004, there were 176 different performing arts companies and individual artists in 21 venues staging 902 different performances! Plus 17 visual artists in five different exhibitions. Whew.

It ends today and I'm way late in talking about it. That's because we missed most of it. We caught our first show last night: The Sound of Muzak with Patrick Braucher and Maverick Dansir. Braucher performs as his alter ego, CoCo Fondue, who is a woman with seemingly authentic breasts. Basically it's an over-the-edge song-and-dance show with CoCo lip synching to various numbers and includes some dialogue from old movies. It was a great show and if CoCo plays a theater near you, I recommend that you go and see her, err, him.

The Concept. We (the audienced) are on an elevator in a department store, traveling from floor to floor. The floors have names like "Scrubbing and Screaming" and "Smokin', Drinkin', and Cussin.'" The audience yells out the next floor to stop on. Dansir is the (thoroughly charming and entertaining) elevator operator and sometimes participant in the dance scenes. CoCo's lip-synching is excellent.

It's raunchy (uhh, it's a drag show). Very entertaining too.

My favorite was the finale (last and top floor) where CoCo performed segments from a slew of songs where the female singer was sustaining a note seemingly for eternity. As he acted it out, he would glance at his watch and when done, collapse to the floor in exhaustion only to jump up again as the next tune began.

Friday, August 05, 2005
Bogus craigslist Site

is a fake and should be ignored.

via the craigblog...

The whole craigslist phenomenon is one I haven't really explored. I hope to rectify that soon.

Call for Help with Powerbook
My Powerbook G3 (Pismo) suddenly stopped seeing wireless networks. One day the menubar indicator lit up; the next day it didn't. The OS is latest Panther - 10.3.9. As far as I can tell, nothing odd or weird happened between the airport-on and airport-off-for-good.

I've posted on an Apple discussion board and at the MacFixit forums but it occurred to me that I should alert my faithful readers who may have some advice.

Details. My main wireless network is an Actiontec wireless router connected to the Internet via Qwest DSL (ISP is It is an open network and not secured. My other Powerbook -- a G4 -- can connect with no problem. There is also a second secured network in the area which my PB G4 sees but the PB G3 cannot.

I've ran utilities including Apple's hardware checker. I've reseated the Airport card in the computer. I upgraded to the latest Airport software (I was one rev behind before the problem.) I restarted the router. I zapped pRAM and reset the PMU. I've crossed my fingers on each restart. All has failed.

Connecting directly to my LAN via ethernet works just fine.

At one point, after repairing permissions, the PB G3 got a signal. Then it disappeared again and hasn't returned.

I will be bringing it out to the Apple Store at the Mall of America this weekend to see if they have any ideas. I may leave it there for a repair estimate if it can't be fixed.

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Wednesday, August 03, 2005
Da Vinci Code
From the NY Times. Da Vinci Code is being filmed under intense secrecy and Catholic groups are not happy with how they may be portrayed. Fact is the new conservative Pope's election kind of fits with the plot line of the book. Watch out Ron Howard; Opus Dei had some serious hit men (and I think a nun too).

The book, which is fiction, takes aim at central Christian dogma, claiming that Jesus had a child with Mary Magdalene, who was meant to be his true heir. It alleges an enormous coverup by the Roman Catholic Church, which, according to the book, usurped Mary's place in favor of a male-oriented hierarchy that has suppressed what Mr. Brown calls the "sacred feminine."

Even before production began, the studio and the producers Brian Grazer and John Calley received letters from groups like the Catholic League and Opus Dei expressing concern.

The Catholic League asked that Mr. Howard include a disclaimer acknowledging that the movie is fiction. Opus Dei, a conservative Catholic group, was particularly worried about its own depiction, because it is a central villain in the book. "The novel portrays Opus Dei in a completely inaccurate way; if the movie does the same thing it's something we'd be concerned about," Brian Finnerty, a spokesman for the group, said.

Studio officials have consulted with Catholic and other Christian specialists on how they might alter the plot of the novel to avoid offending the devout. In doing so, the studio has been asked to consider such measures as making the central premise - that Jesus had a child with Mary Magdalene - more ambiguous, and removing the name of Opus Dei.

Sprinkling Holy Water on the 'Da Vinci Code NY Times Aug. 3, 2005

After Intelligent Design, What's Next? Astrology!
President Bush on teaching intelligent design in our schools:

Recalling his days as Texas governor, Mr. Bush said in the interview, according to a transcript, "I felt like both sides ought to be properly taught." Asked again by a reporter whether he believed that both sides in the debate between evolution and intelligent design should be taught in the schools, Mr. Bush replied that he did, "so people can understand what the debate is about."

Mr. Bush was pressed as to whether he accepted the view that intelligent design was an alternative to evolution, but he did not directly answer. "I think that part of education is to expose people to different schools of thought," he said, adding that "you're asking me whether or not people ought to be exposed to different ideas, and the answer is yes."

Bush Remarks Roil Debate on Teaching of Evolution, NY Times, Aug. 3, 2005

Oh lordy. The leader of our empire is endorsing intelligent design to expose people to different ideas even if the ideas have no validity in relation to evolution. It's really not a debate. Intelligent design has no proof, zilch, zero, nada. It's not a theory, Mr. Bush, it's an article of faith.

Following Bush's logic, astrology should be taught along side astronomy. Certainly more people check daily horoscopes than concern themselves with whether distant ancestors were apes or not.

Email Blogging Continued
I'm still playing with emailing my posts in. Gmail's rich text interface is working very nicely and allows for HTML formatting - something I can't figure out (or doesn't exist) in Apple's mail client - via buttons.

But how the hell do you paste html elements and content into the rich text format? Gmail transforms to entities. (I'm trying to paste my Technorati tag section here even though there is some controversy about them).

Lisa William's OPML Fan (OPML) blog is tracking the OPML universe quite nicely.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005
Word Wars
Word Wars is about Scrabble. It profiles four top players in the US and follows them to the US Championship Scrabble tournament. It also looks at the scrabble culture in a New York City park.

Excellent film. Gives you a chance to learn some new words.

Mr. Ebert likes it.

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The OPML spec is at, in case you were wondering. Worth a read if you are playing with the outliner.

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OPML Editor
Dave Winer (Scripting News fame) has finally released the OPML Outlining editor that he has been talking about since like 2003. Windows only. Aw, come on, Dave. Presto. Mac version now available. Get it here at 1a. Read the docs but beware the WindowsSpeak ("My Documents"?). Mac People, you save to your home_directory/OPML/www.

OPML means Outline Processor Markup Language. I understand that you can use it to store a blogroll (a list of blogs). You can use it to organize information - it's an outliner, for goodness sake.

This reminds me of when someone emailed me an HTML document before I knew what a browser was and I just had to ignore it because I couldn't comprehend the relevance or nature of what it was. I'm a bit ahead of that curve now but still not sure what the buzz is about with this thing. Oh well, I'll trust in the Dave.

I'm just starting to play. More later.

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Emailing Posts = Frustration
I'm experimenting with the email feature of Blogger where you send a message to a secret email address and they magically appear in the blog. It's wicked fast but I can't get links to appear. Sending plain text ends up with the HTML elements appearing in the post itself as brackets, etc. are converted to entities.

So I tried using 'rich text' in my Apple Mail client (because Blogger help says to use html email). That didn't work either.

The other problem is line breaks which are ending lines instead of letting them flow. I'll keep reading Blogger help and see if there is more info (but shouldn't this be easier?).

Paying and Selling Attention

Steve Gillmor and Seth Goldstein (and others) have started Attention is really what the Web's all about, isn't it?

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Monday, August 01, 2005
A Great Unknown Guitarist
The Web is always ready to provide strange paths to great content. Doc Searl published his first podcast on July 18. In it, he broadcast out some Danny Gatton music that he hopes to use as his theme song. Searls really likes Gatton.

Now you can add me to the list of Gatton fans. This guy is a guitarist that resided in the realm of Hendrix (sadly he passed away via suicide in 1994). There are great rock and blues guitarists (B.B. King, Clapton, Johnny Winter) and then there are some like Hendrix and Gatton who might start with rock or country and then produce a sound that's totally unique and spellbinding.

Listen to this guy. This site has some streams of a few tunes in the discography area. iTunes has several albums too.

(This is another in my series of email posts. This one coming from Apple Mail app.)

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Google Home Page

Google now has personalized home pages. I suppose you need a gmail
account to get this to work (but those are pretty easy to come by
these days).

The home page is FREE of ads and has an excellent interface. You can
rearrange as you like and the sections are drag-and-drop. Wow.

There is an RSS reader! Click 'Add Content' then 'Create a Section.'
You can paste a feed URL in the box. It shows you a user-configurable
number of current posts (unlike a true reader which would make read
posts disappear).

Some of the choices: you've got your movie listings, you can add your
gmail in-box, weather, various news sites, bookmarks, on and on and
on. Of course the Google search box is right at the top. Don't forget
the link to your personal search history too.

It's your typical uncluttered Google look. I've set it up as my
browser home page.

Google's also got a toolbar available for Firefox Mac. Haven't checked
that out yet.

This is starting out as an email post. We will see how that works.
Will my signature appear? Probably. (Yes it did and I deleted it.)

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