Tuesday, December 30, 2003

BAD JAKE: Do I really sound like this? Via Bruce
REVERTED: Went back to the old look, by request of the wife.
FRENCH FRIES: If true, this is disturbing (via Stephen Den Beste.)

Monday, December 29, 2003

NEW LOOK: Waddya think?

Friday, December 26, 2003

BLUE SUEDE JEWS: Chanukkah in Memphis, via Andrew Sullivan.
NEW TOY ON THE WAY: So I finally caved and ordered a Treo 600 from Sprint. The treo, for those of you who are not gadget oriented, is Handspring's (now PalmOne's) second attempt at combining a Palm-based organizer and a cell phone. It's real cool and has a built in camera. I've been eyeing this one for awhile but couldn't justify its purchase. I still can't, but some recent events tipped me over the edge. Firstly, my new apartment doesn't have T-Mobile coverage or AT&T next-gen coverage.Oddly, the old AT&T network seems to have better coverage in my apartment than their new GSM phones. That leaves Sprint and Verizon. I've seen the cable guy get decent access in my apartment with Sprint and I have a pathological hatred of Verizon (which does, as a matter of fact, have the best network in the USA) so my decision is made. Next, Amazon has a deal whereby you get $250 in rebates for the Treo, turning a $500 purchase into a more manageable $250. Unfortunately, the Treo is on back order everywhere until February so my new toy won't show up for awhile. Sigh. Does anyone want to buy a three month old Clie? ALSO: Got a new Blue Betta for our accent wall. The little guy seems to be settling in just fine, but then again Bettas are super easy to take care of. Fun fact: Bettas have an auxiliary lung that allows them to breathe air if the water quality is too low. Anyways, we're looking for a name for the fella, "Blue" seems to work for now.

Monday, December 22, 2003

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

ADDITIONS: So Lorraine & I picked up our newest member of the family yesterday. We got a baby orange & white Pearlscale (goldfish) to be the first inhabitant for our brand-spanking new 25 gallon tank. The little guy is really tiny, maybe an inch & a half. He's got a tough job because, as the first tenant of a new tank, he's got to acclimate the water and bacterial levels for himself and future tenants. The shock of a new tank can be fatal, so I've treated and "homogenized" the water as best as I can for over a week before adding any swimmers. I'm hoping to eventually stock the tank with between six and ten goldfish of different (all ornamental) varieties. The little dude seems a bit traumatized by his new surroundings. Yesterday he was swimming happily around his small tank in the store with a bunch of his friends, confidently poking around for food and pooping (pretty much that's was goldies do) in familiar surroundings. Today he's alone in a huge expanse of a tank that, aside for the gravel on the bottom, is as desolate as a moonscape for now. I think he's perked up a bit today -still he seems much more active when the lights are off. When noone's around & it's dim in the room he adventurously swims up to the surface of the tank. When I come in and turn on the light he crash dives down to the bottom and just sits in the corner, looking pathetic. If he survives the ordeal I may just have to name him <reverb>Zippy the Wonder Fish.</reverb>

Monday, December 15, 2003

LONG DAY: Some days it just seems that all the little things will kill ya. By some astrological quirk this day more often than not turns out to be Monday. In the old days, there was rhyme to the reason to avoid certain things on Mondays. Cars built on Mondays suffered poor quality because the auto workers who assembled them were likely hung over and not disposed towards screwing things together very well. But I digress... Today was tough because it was my first day in the new digs. I am a consultant, see, and the department of the company I work for just moved buildings to some new facility that isn't quite ready for prime time. So the office I was supposed to hang my hat is unavailable (so I moved.) The temporary location for my butt has an inoperative LAN port (fixed.) This baby has the amazing ability to appear fully functioning and then completely fritz out, right out of the box! (going back to the store.) This sexy mama can't see this tired old beast on the network for some reason (towel has been thrown in, file backups are being used.) To compound the problem, the Dell's USB port is buried under plastic in such a way as to make it unusable (some physical persuasion methods may be applied.) Lastly, the genii who assembled this baby don't seem to understand polarity on a AA battery and why it may, ahem, "affect performance." (I suspect it was assembled somewhere deep within a Chinese gulag on the nearest local equivalent to Monday.) So, how was YOUR day?

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

IF A TREE FALLS IN A FOREST: How come an anti-terrorism demonstration was held in Baghdad today with approximately 10,000 Iraqisof all stripes in peaceful attendance and noone knows about it?

Tuesday, December 09, 2003

BY YOUR COMMAND: Last night SciFi started airing its new Battlestar Galactica miniseries. I'm gonna go out on a limb and say that it's well written, acted and fx'ed. I know that the bb's full of original Galactica series die-hards are getting their blaster rifles all up in a tizzy over the new show, but they're mostly a bunch of losers from the seventies anyway who just want to see Dirk Benedict's smirk on the small screen again.

Monday, December 08, 2003

WHILE I'M SETTLING IN: I'm still getting my bearings after the wedding and all, so instead of posting musings as usual, I'm taking the time to refer to some interesting journalistic tidbits when I can. Today's installment is from Kevin Sites' blog, a photojournal: Rasta Warriors. ALSO: Lorraine and I soon after the ceremony.

Friday, December 05, 2003

DO NOT BELIEVE EVERYTHING YOU SEE: From an Iraqi blogger (inside Iraq.) <--to keep y'all entertained while I get my bearings after my marriage...

Sunday, November 30, 2003

BLOGGUS INTERRUPTUS: You may have noticed the paucity of entries these last few weeks. It's been very hectic around here, what with me getting married tomorrow and all. I hope to resume posting my gimlet addled observations on a more regular basis when things calm down. Peace out.

Thursday, November 20, 2003

IRAQI PERSPECTIVE: A new blogger, Iraq the Model, from inside Iraq. His latest post is a good read. ALSO: TiVoisms, via Gizmodo.
BACHELOR: I can see myself spending my life with any one of these women, I just don't know what to do. BACHELORETTE 1:I am so completely in love with X, I know, deep in my heart, that we are meant to be together. ... BACHELORETTE n: X is the perfect man for me, I am so totally in love with him at this point, I just want to be with him all the time.
Repeat until commercial break, then sotto voce: "Next on the bachelor..."

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

LATE BREAKING NEWS: Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. Send your comments to "LoisMustDie" (one word) at yahoo.com.

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

NOTAR: In light of the apparent fragility of our helicopter fleet, why isn't the army re-examining such vulnerability reducing features such as NOTAR? NOTAR, for the normal people who don't collect acronyms and reductions as a hobby, stands for NO TAil Rotor. You can see what the MD520N, a civilian chopper, looks like with the NOTAR system here. A nice & simple explanation of NOTAR's benefits lives here.

Thursday, November 13, 2003

THE END OF THE WORLD AS WE KNOW IT: (And I feel fine.) My friend Karen sent me this. It's hilarious, check it out. Last night the beautiful Lorraine threw me a surprise birthday soiree in my apartment. I don't know how she did it or how she coerced my friends into coming out of their lairs so late at night, but she did. What a gal.

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

SIGHTINGS: I just met Bobby Flay on 98th street. He was with a small camera crew as he purchased some meat for a show. Noone seemed to pay him any notice, so I walked on up to him and struck up a small conversation. He seemed nice!

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

STAR WARS: FYI, Begun, The Clone Wars Micro-series has. It's a little odd that the series is composed of five minute snippets. Each episode is practically over before it even begins! My DVR, though, makes dealing with such troublesome issues a non-event, as I'll just watch the whole shebang sometime later when I have the chance.
MARTIAN FOREIGN INTELLIGENCE REPORT: A good read, courtesy BusinessWeek. Also, Forbes has a facinating read on the Marijuana industry north of the border.

Saturday, November 08, 2003

IRAQI BLOG ROUNDUP: For those of you interested, there are a number of Iraqis that blog from inside their country. The ones I have been able to find (in no particluar order) are: The Baghdad Blogger, Riverbend (beware, there are some counterfeit Riverbend sites out there,) Healing Iraq and now The Mesopotamian. There are also several American soldiers that are currently stationed in country that blog too. Check out Chief Wiggles, Chrome Dome (poor sap is bald), Boots on the Ground and Baghdaddy. There were more, but some of them have already rotated out of Iraq. All the blogs mentioned have more links to similar blogs. There's also the fascinating and well written Kevin Sites, a journalist who blogs when he is in Iraq with a good and balanced (IMHO) perspective -now with pictures! There's lots tons of of good info and comments on some of these blogs and you should budget yourself lots of time to absorb everything. UPDATE: In the past twenty-four hours another Iraqi blogger has come online. Check out Iraq at a Glance.

Thursday, November 06, 2003

TRAVELS: I just got back from Cork, Ireland. What a beautiful place. The Guiness really does taste better in Dublin, by the way. I had a few "poynts" at Heuston station, right next door to the Guinness brewery and let me tell you, it was gooood! I didn't get around to sampling the local brew of Cork, which is Murphy's, but I'm told it also tastes better at the source. The biggest surprise for me was that Budweiser and Coors sell well in the Emerald Isle! I'll chat more about my trip when I have the time.

Wednesday, October 29, 2003

GOOD READ DEPARTMENT: Broken Baghdad Brutal, Bloody and bellowing and Graffiti On History's Walls. Both touch on topics dear to my heart.

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

HEADACHE: I have a pounding one right now. No particular reason I can figure. Shout out to Ellen in LA, who just got engaged to Stuart. Woohoo! Ellen, I doubt you recall, was with me from the very beginning. My wedding planning program will soon be available for $500US retail. <grin> In no particular order:
  • Why is it that corporate travel agents have the collective problem solving capacity of a mold spore?
  • Why does my set top DVR pause interminably between switching channels?
  • Why do some people always seem to call when the TV show you are watching is about to reach its exciting conclusion? (app. 10 minutes to the hour)
  • Why do some people insist on blowing themselves up?
  • Why do some columnists never have anything positive to say about anything?
  • When will the X-Prize be won?
  • Do we really need these?
  • Who's right? him? or her?
OK, I'm done questioning for now.

Friday, October 24, 2003

ODD SUGGESTION: My mom is fixated on having a "mob" walk down the aisle at my upcoming wedding ceremony. She thinks its very pretty looking. Basically, she envisions my brothers and sisters walking down the aisle in pairs with their spouses in formation, right behind each other. I think it sounds ridiculous and keep envisioning a baton twirler at the front of the procession. Sound off in the comments please. Keep in mind that IT'S NOT GONNA HAPPEN!
SEPARATED AT BIRTH: Is it just me? or does Mary remind you of Wendy? (the resemblance seems more striking on television)

Sunday, October 19, 2003

SUSAN: Susan is Ned's wife. Apparently Susan is as accomplished a writer and thinker as the Nedster. Here's her touching (and yes, thoughful) piece on their son's Bar Mitzvah.

Friday, October 17, 2003

OVERHEARD: Aaron Boone being interviewed last night: "Derek said I should be patient, the ghost will eventually show up."

Thursday, October 16, 2003

DIGERY-DOODOO: Apparently, hell hath froze over. (Not a moment too soon, says I.) Go here for more info... After watching yet another punishing episode of Newlyweds: Nick and Jessica and seeing a commercial for yet another B-list celebrity reality show (something about rich sisters) I wonder if MTV is doing something subversive here: My theory is that having given birth to the current music celebrity/fashionista as diety craze perhaps MTV is trying to kill it by artfully deconstructing said personalities. Let's look at the evidence here. The Osbournes is a twisted look at the modern nuclear family. How many of us actually wish we were in Ozzy and Sharon's shoes now that we've seen all their laundry -and doggy poop? Sure we love 'em, but the way you love a crazy uncle, not the way you envy someone. Then there's Nick and Jessica. What more can I say about these two that hasn't already been written? I've heard it said somewhere that the folks at MTV are way smarter than the fare they dole out. Somehow, I believe that. The beauty of the whole scenario is that the celebs being filmed don't seem to have caught on to the fact that they're on the wrong side of a cruel runnning joke. UPDATE: iTunes for Windows really does rock! If the streaming (radio) and overall sound qualtiy continues to perform better than my existing Musicmatch player, I may make the switch permanent. I can give up the skinning features of MM but I wish iTunes could make itself really small like MM can. <--It can!

Monday, October 13, 2003

HOW AVANTE GARDE OF ME: SNL this weekend (I DVR'ed it) spoofed Nick & Jessica. Do they read my blog?

Wednesday, October 08, 2003

PUBLIC SERVICE: My friend Wendy forwarded me a message today. I know I had read this article by Dennis Miller awhile back. UPDATE: I knew I had read this essay before, and now, thanks to my Californian friend Ellen and snopes.com, I know where. It's actually written by Larry Miller for the Weekly Standard and not Dennis Miller. You can read it in its entirety here. You may recognize Larry from guest spots on popular sitcoms such as Seinfeld, where he played Elaine's doorman or in such movies as A Mighty Wind, in which he had a small role. I am dutifully removing the link to the post attributed to Dennis Miller.
SOUL SURROUNDINGS: Yesterday I attended the sobering funeral of M.'s sister. M. came to know my family when he was a teenager. His Yeshiva was up the block from my house & he used to come by with his friends to play ball in our backyard before the fledgling Yeshiva was able to construct its own court. Soon, he was a regular at the Sabbath table in my house and became a sixth member of the family. I was perhaps, 9 years old when that happened. Today, M. lives in his adopted hometown of Kew Gardens with his family. His oldest is sixteen or so years old. Wow, time flies. M.'s slightly older sister C. liked Kew Gardens so much that -after she got married- she moved in next door to M. and proceeded to raise her family there too. Monday -Yom Kippur- C. lost her fight with cancer and returned her soul to the Maker. Over a thousand people whose lives were touched by C. and her family attended her funeral in Forest Hills yesterday. It was truly an amazing and touching ceremony. In addition to family and friends there were students of the deceased, as well as those she befriended as part of a peer support program for the similarly ill. The funeral home was way past capacity. People were crammed into doorways in the front and back and poured out onto the sidewalks and the parking lot to listen to the eulogies and share in C.'s family's grief. Throughout, I confess, I only thought of M. I hardly knew C., but vividly recall M. runninng up to me, giving me a bear hug and letting me cry on his shoulder at my father's funeral some 16 years ago. Yesterday, I returned the favor.

Friday, October 03, 2003

APB: Anyone know what happened to Susanna, the Reverse Cowgirl? Her blog went dead and her e-mail forwarding address from Salon bounced. I worry...

Thursday, October 02, 2003

CHILDISH: So Lorraine & I were having dinner at a posh Upper West Side eatery. As usual, I emptied out the digeritus from my pockets (cell phone, PDA, etc.) Lorraine didn't bring her pocketbook, so she innocently dumped her phone into the pile. Twisted individual that I am, I noticed that the phones seemed to be getting it on. Eventually I found myself posing the phones in ever more compromising positions. You know I always wanted to direct... So dim the lights sickos, without further ado I give you part one of my new phone sex photo shoot: Foreplay.

Tuesday, September 30, 2003

NOBODY'S HOME: Not a big fan of the reality show. I mean, I have my own reality to deal with, why live vicariously through someone else's? Having said that, I did manage to catch a few snippets of the show Newlyweds: Nick & Jessica here and there. My observations? The marriage isn't doomed because Jessica's a spoiled brat. It's doomed because she's a stupid spoiled brat. Also, with all these "reality" shows around, how long before the average American thinks "going into hair and makeup" is an expected precursor to any social event?
MEA CULPA: All my bitchin' on May 31st turned out to be wrong headed. That was the night (and the event) at which I met my fiancee.
IRAQ: I have become obsessed with the progress of Iraqi reconstruction and the like. If you are interested too, here are some interesting sites: Iraq Today and the Baghdad Bulletin.

Monday, September 29, 2003

INEXCUSABLE: <rant>It seems that some major vendors that I work with outsource their sales. I find that inexcusable. I mean, these firms are creating a rats nest of problems for folks trying to evaluate, purchase and support their products! Sales is a core competency and should not be outsourced. Shame on you Sun and Xerox!</rant>

Friday, September 26, 2003

HAVE A HAPPY: To all my Jewish friends, have a happy and healthy new year. Take this time to reflect upon the past and plan for your future! To my "gentile" friends, Have a wonderful Saturday and may your weekend be all that you wished for... Take this time to reflect upon the past and plan for your future! To my friends in the animal kingdom... Did I leave anyone/thing out? Shana Tova to all!

Thursday, September 25, 2003

YOU WANT FISH WIT DAT?: I went with my fiancee to a wedding hall yesterday -I'll leave the name out to protect the innocent (me...you'll see why in a moment)- and in the process reinforced my suspicion that the mob has more than a passing interest in the banquet "racket" in the Big Apple. A man who, for all intents and purposes, (intensive purposes?) could have been Vincent Pastore's little brother was waddling around the grounds. I mean, this guy had a comb-over worthy of Rudy, no neck to speak of, was wearing a royal blue double breasted suit that could probably have covered the infield at Shea and a wide yellow tie. To be fair, he owned that suit. I strongly suspect that he cracks nuts with his bare hands and was a nose tackle for St. Igna-whatever high as a teenager. Say what you want about the place, but I have no doubt that should one of the omnipresent Jewish panhandlers who appear almost spontaneously at orthodox weddings in New York try to gain entry during an event he or she would be taught a lesson he (or she) wouldn't refuse forget. P.S. We still have not set a date.

Monday, September 22, 2003

SIGH: Another great idea I had back in my college days is being implemented without me... In fairness, I didn't want to be forever known as the guy who made parking tickets stick. Think of the death threats I would have gotten!

Sunday, September 21, 2003

SHWEET: I've been renting cars a lot lately, what with all the wedding plans that need to be made -Lorraine needs a chauffer. Today, I queued up for my regular "compact" car deal at Hertz and was pleasantly surprised to be handed the keys to a boffo white Subaru Outback. So now I'm obliged to say things like "G'day" and wear a shark tooth on a string around my neck & stuff. The car, incidentially, is quite luxo. I'm pleased. The lady Lorraine and I will be making our entrance at the engagement par-tay this afternoon in high style now.

Thursday, September 18, 2003

PREACHING TO THE CHOIR: Friedman confirms what I've been saying all along (free registration required.)

Wednesday, September 17, 2003

AARON SPELLING ON LINE ONE: My idea for a sitcom, tenatively dubbed "Shark" (As in "jump the.."):

Episode 1: A clip show. Episode 2: A main character's actor gets switched without any explanation. Episode 3: A very special episode (someone has AIDS/ALZHEIMER's or is PREGNANT/HANDICAPPED.) Episode 4: As seen through the family pet's eyes. Episode 5: Introduce a cute new kid via a convoluted plot device. Episode 6: The mechanic/painter/handyman/doorman/cabbie/mailman becomes a regular character. Episode 7: The show is aired live. Episode 8: A musical. Episode 9: repeat

Monday, September 15, 2003

STOP THE PRESSES: I got engaged over the weekend. The future Mrs. Gimlet is the lovely maiden Lorraine of White Meadow Lake (New Jersey) We were engaged Saturday eve. Alternate feelings of euphoria and nausea ensued. Lest you think otherwise, the nausea is unrelated to events -I happen to be battling a persistent flu-like cold that is doing its unsuccessful best to dampen my enthusiasm. Raise your morning coffee for a toast. L'Chaim all!

Friday, September 12, 2003

THE ONION: has a piece on where the 19 hijackers are today.

Thursday, September 11, 2003

On this day two years ago I sat. Grimly glued to the television as my city burned. Smelling the acrid smoke from my apartment. Watching the skies, devoid of all movement but the racetrack contrails of F-15's. Networking to ensure all my friends and colleagues made it out alive. Hosting friend and relative fleeing their high-rise places of employment. Not knowing what the future would bring.
VELLY INTELESTING: Salam Pax, the famous Baghdad Blogger, was interviewed on the Beeb. You can listen to it here. The follow-on webchat is here. Some fascinating insights into the Iraqi situation from someone who is certainly positioned to know. ALSO: Countering the spate of bad news coming out of Iraq, this poll of the Iraqi people, shows some interesting and positive attitudes in country. UNRELATED: Bob has an interesting read on the post office and identity theft.

Monday, September 08, 2003

JEWISH RENNAISANCE FAIR: OK, so I went to the Jewish Rennaisance Fair in New Jersey yesterday. I was half-expecting to see Jousting -Jewish Style (?) or something of that nature, but all I got was Uncle Moishy, Israeli arts and half-boiled hot dogs for my troubles. (Sidebar: The rumored Uncle Moishy-Barney smackdown never occured, sigh!) To be fair (sic.) I did enjoy the Israeli solidarity pavilion, which featured vendors from Israel hawking Israeli goods in an attempt to support the Israeli economy during these troubled times. In particular, I bought one of these educational toys for my nephew's seventh birthday. I hope he likes it, it's not the Gameboy he was expecting. Unexpectedly, I was completely choked up by the One Family booth. One Family supports the victims of terror in Israel in a very special way. I say unexpectedly because, while I am very emotionally connected to the suffering of my people, I didn't expect the emotional roller coaster I actually endured when perusing the booth. Perhaps the upcoming "yahrzeit" of September 11 has me in an especially contemplative mood. I do plan on commemorating the event in several ways this coming Thursday. If you live on or near the Upper West Side of New York City, I will be laying some flowers and a candle at the Fireman's Memorial in Riverside Park. I'm not sure if I'll be able to go in the morning at the time of the attacks or in the evening, though. If you want to come with, drop me a line through any of the contact methods in the sidebar. ME & JULIO: It looks like the boys from Corona are back! They must be really broke to resort to this. Last I heard S & G really don't like each other too much. Who cares? I'lll be first on line (online?) for tix. UPDATE: Hero of the Day, by Metallica, seems to encapsulate my feelings this week.

Wednesday, September 03, 2003

NEW TEMPLATE: Waddya think? ALSO, It turns out (RedHat) Linux's USB support is quite impressive. Even more hassle-free than my current benchmark of Windows 2000 (thus far.)

Tuesday, September 02, 2003

ANOTHER PIECE OF THE PUZZLE: I just purchased a 17" LCD monitor with built-in stereo speakers for the astoundingly low price of $299 (after rebate). This, for my media PC, which will be recast as a (Linux) workstation in light of some other purchases that have negated much of the need for such a contrivance in the first place. MY CABLE COMPANY now offers this DVR (Digital Video Recorder) set-top box that does the same thing as a TiVO, for 10 bucks a month. So, naturally, I snapped one up. Now I no longer "need" the PVR/DVR services that my media PC would have provided. Oh yeah, and I can watch an endless supply of Family Guy reruns. Yippee! I FINALLY UPGRADED my PDA to a respectable Sony Clie PEG TG/50. Through the magic of credit card rewards programs this purchase came out to a whopping zero dollars! With this tiny Bluetooth dongle attached to an open USB port on my laptop, I can use the Clie to wirelessly browse the 'net from anywhere in my shockingly small apartment.

Monday, September 01, 2003

AS PROMISED: Well, I've ended my self-imposed blogging exile and am ready to start up again. I'm not sure if I'll have as much to say as often as I did before, but I'll give it a whirl. THE BLACKOUT happened, y'all know that. I was on 42nd & 3rd when the lights went out. I did what any self respecting New Yorker would do when work suddenly ends -I hit the bars. My friends Brendan, Peter & I moseyed over to McFadden's & got a little sauced. I then proceeded to walk up to Columbus circle in the hopes of finding a bike rental place so I could pedal up to my flat on 98th. No luck finding a bike store that was renting, but I did manage to hop onto the back of a flatbed tractor trailer, (with about 50 other like-minded individuals) proceeded to enjoy an open-air ride straight up Amsterdam and got dropped off on my doorstep. Good times and good will abounded on that day -the natives will be singing about it for years to come. SAW AMERICAN SPLENDOR this weekend. A good movie with a sense of humor and a fine cast of character actors. You know them: the thespians that would never headline a bill anywhere else but in a boutique film. Giamatti was excellent, as usual, but I felt the movie went on a tad too long. I got restless near the end and a ten minute trim would have been perfect. Fascinating how it tied into Crumb -the man and the movie -which I found unwatcheable. MY EXTENDED BROOD INCREASED this month with the addition of another nephew in Israel, bringing the total number of short, loud people who call me Uncle Yaakov to fifteen. I think I need to take a second job just to afford gifts for all of them. I'M SO PROUD that my GF is hooked on Family Guy. Stewie cracks her up.

Thursday, August 21, 2003

OF NOTE: I haven't yet returned to full time blogging. Say what you want about the political situation in Israel and the Middle East at the moment (and I'll keep most of my thoughts to myself, thank you) but it boggles my mind how a terrorist group can blow up a bus full of men, women and children returning from the holiest site in all Judaism, kill 20, then claim that it was Israel who ended the cease-fire by assasinating a leader of the terrorist group in a precise military strike. Reminds me of this joke.

Tuesday, August 05, 2003

HIATUS, OF SORTS: I have been blogging rather sporadically lately. I've been busy with other pursuits and haven't been quite as intellectually charged up as usual (For want of a better word to describe my writing pursuits.) I think I'll be taking August off for blogging and such and use the time to mentally rejuvinate myself. I'll be back before long.

Friday, August 01, 2003

WHAT'S THE DEAL WITH CLOCKS: I just realized that I have a weird attachment to the alarm clock by my bed. I've had that clock since I was in high school and it's not exactly state-of-the-art. It's big; the alarm off button stopped working years ago and the noise is super annoying. So why am I attached to it? Why do I still have this piece of junk? Why did I take it with me to LA when I sojourned there for six months last year? More importantly, why is it that I don't seem to be alone in forming a bond with my bedside clock. My GF says she feels the same way towards her timepiece. I know my sister has had the same clock since before she moved out of our parents' house too. Weird, eh?

Wednesday, July 30, 2003

SUPERMAN: My brother is bothered...(In so many ways...)
Something has been bothering me for a while that I thought you might know the answer to. I can understand why Superman might be able to leap tall buildings in a single bound (appearing to fly), have bullets bounce off his chest and even his x-ray vision on the theory that gravity on Krypton was so much more intense and, as a result, his physiology would be stronger. So what seemed like normal functions on Krypton (even the "intensity" of his vision) are magnified exponentially on Earth sort of how we function on the moon. But what gives him the ability to just hang in mid-air if we still have gravity here on Earth last time I checked?

Your answers (Kat, Wen, Jason) are appreciated.

Monday, July 28, 2003

WOW: I don't normally do this, and I'm not merely asking you to agree with what he says (although I do) but Steven Den Beste Is an awesome writer. If he wrote a book, I'd buy it:
To a good multiculturalist, a native reform is automatically better than one where the local culture is polluted by foreign ideas. I don't credit that, though. I'm results oriented, and what I know is that for the last twenty years we have more or less kept out of it and let Islamic extremism spread and become more powerful, and the result has been rising hostility towards us and an increase in the lethality of their attacks. So since my narrow goal in all of this is to make them stop killing us, I can't accept the idea of letting that fundamentalist reform continue.

Read Steven's blog and see what I mean.

Saturday, July 26, 2003

HEARTWARMING: I spent part of this this past weekend at my mother's in Queens and ushered in the shabbat with evening prayers at the local high school yeshiva on my old block on 117th street. The school just let out for the summer, and there was still a handwritten note on the bulletin board in front of the sanctuary, which also doubles as a study hall -commmon practice in the yeshiva world. The note said (to the best of my recollection):
Whoever owns a jar of Folger's coffee on the top shelf of the cabinet in the dining room, I accidentially broke the jar. I'm sorry. Please see me for reimbursement. Signed, name deleted

It's been awhile since a sign like that was a normal occurence in my life. It brought back warm memories of my time spent in yeshiva and the values that were imparted to the student body that results in such respect for the property of others.

Tuesday, July 22, 2003

SOBERING REALITY: It just occurred to me that for as long as I can remember, I've preferred sleeping to being awake. Why is that? I'm bummed about this one...

Monday, July 21, 2003

PATIO MAN: If you haven't already read the essay entitled "Patio Man and the Sprawl People" by David Brooks, may I humbly suggest you do so? It's an alternately hilarious and quite true anthropological depiction of suburbia.

Thursday, July 17, 2003

ROBOTOLOGY TWO COMMANDMENTS: In correct BASIC to boot!   10 SIN   20 GOTO HELL Thank you , once again, Futurama and Adult Swim.

Tuesday, July 15, 2003

HEH: Anyone out there remember (fondly) Will Ferrell's Mr. Michael Shersby of the British House of Commons character? Ah, to legislate Oasis and Teletubbies...
PILGRIMS: I saw a confused mother with two preteen boys studying a subway map on the Broadway line platform this morning. So I stopped to help her out and give her some advice. It turns out that she (like so many others I have come across) was making her way to the site of Ground Zero with her sons. I extended every courtesy. My feeling is that Americans making their way to the site of the 9/11 tragedy should be accorded the same respect that other religions and cultures assign to pilgrims travelling to Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Mecca or Tibet. If you live in the Big Apple (or if your blood just runs red, white and blue like mine) I'd be surprised if you didn't feel the same.
WHATEVER GOES AROUND DEPARTMENT: I read today in the NYTimes (free regsitration required) that Syrians on the Iraqi border are getting fed up with American belligerence. Frankly I have a hard time sympathising with a regime that is finally getting a taste of what it has been dishing out to its neighbors for so many years. Look at the quagmire that is the Syrian/Lebanes border or the Syrian/Israeli border for illustration. Finally the Assad family is getting cut down to size by someone it can't bully back.

Monday, July 14, 2003

ANTHROPOLOGY IN EXTREMIS: I wonder, (and my brother thinks I'm insane) can we reliably gauge a society's advancement by the quality of its bathroom tissue?

Sunday, July 13, 2003

GRANDMA: Today I visited my grandmother in her nursing home. "Bubby," which is the Yiddish affectionate for grandma, turned 93 this Friday past, and is still as sharp as a razor. My Bubby is an incredible woman. She came to America alone and single in the 1930's, survived the depression and a world war, worked as a laborer in the garment industry, raised money for war bonds and gave generously to that cause out of her meager salary, volunteered as an air raid warden in the 50's, raised a daughter (my mom) and remains a modest, caring and maternal figure to my family. In short, she is like everyone else's amazing grandmother, which is to say that she makes our generation look spoiled and unaccomplished by comparison. Why do I mention this? Not to crow about my devotion to my grandmother, which I beg of you dear reader(s) not to compliment me on. But to discuss an idea that's been fomenting in the back of my head for some time now. I visit my grandmother because -in addition to feeling an immense sense of gratitude for all that she has accomplished in her 93 years- I truly enjoy -and, frankly require- her company. Bubby gives me sage advice and tells me stories about her life and her past that are as much a part of me as if they had originated within my person. Looking around, though, I see a great many men and women like my grandmother -some old, some not so much so- who require companionship and the respect and gratitude of those who came after them and do not receive what they deserve. WHY IS THAT? The local church groups or Jewish outreach and "Bikur Cholim" squads, while admirable, are an inadequate substitute for what these people really deserve. To that end I propose the following:
The notion of civil service as a noble pursuit is well formed in our heads, especially after 9/11. Why shouldn't civil or volunteer service to the elderly have the same exalted status? After all, aren't we just returning the favor to those whose lives were spent enhancing our own? Now I'm not saying everyone should run out and visit a nursing home tomorrow, but if we all took stock of our time and what we value as important, shouldn't we all come to the realization that we should set aside some time in our lives to devote to this issue in much the same way many of us volunteer to be emergency medical workers, firemen or auxiliary police for a few years out of our lives?

As it is said when discussing an intractable talmudic conundrum "Tzorech Iyun," literally: requires more scrutiny. This issue will not go away and must be addressed. Your constructive comments are appreciated.

Thursday, July 10, 2003

CREATURE OF THE NIGHT: My GF & I saw Pat Benatar and Neil Geraldo live last night at the Beacon. Wow, she can still belt 'em out, although she's not much of a performer. Her husband Neil, though, has enough "Cabo Wabo" juice for the both of them. Some observations:
  • Pat's crowd is very ambiguously gay and/or middle aged (a no brainer.)
  • It's been awhile since I've seen that many mullets and cowboy boots in New York (hell, on the East Coast.)
  • Bass players always look like they'd be just as happy chilling on the couch as playing a gig, even when they're doing their solo.
  • Green Vinyl Dream, who opened for Pat, are a competent bunch that sounded amazingly like Candlebox, whose CD I purchased around ten years ago. LA is full of these polished, talented yet unexciting bands. Pity, because they'd probably find a better following doing East Coast gigs that in the wild, wild west.

Tuesday, July 08, 2003

I'VE GOT A FEVER: OK, I've been neglecting my blog for awhile. Suffice it to say that I (finally) have a life outside of my blog and have been busy in other avenues of pursuit. Last Thursday I was at Arlene's Grocery with my friend Benji. We snuck in near the end of the evening to catch the Brain Surgeons. The Brain Surgeons features the musical stylings of Albert Bouchard and his wife Deborah. Al was formerly the drummer for Blue Oyster Cult, so the audience was treated to such BOC standards as Godzilla and Don't Fear the Reaper. Now here's the funny part. Deb called for a volunteer to do the cow bell for 'Reaper and a young, long haired, Birkenstock clad hippie type took up the call. Someone in the audience gave the troglodyte (well, that's pretty much what he looked like) two glasses to clink together and he proceeded to make a total ass out of himself during the rock classic. I mean, hasn't he at least seen the SNL skit with Will Ferrell and Chris Walken? All he had to do was bang the glasses together in a steady ryyhm. but NOOOO! he had to get all improvisational in his altered state. Near the end of the song, when some guitar solo work was being done, the moron tried to share the mike with Deb and was mercifully yanked from the stage by a fellow attendee. It's funny (a) how dated I feel when I'm at a concert and I'm in the minority of folks present (in an admittedly tiny venue) who even know that this kid was doing anything wrong (let alone the lyrics to Don't Fear the Reaper) and (b) how much that SNL skit has become a part of the BOC lexicon worldwide. More on the dude who yanked the hippie -who turned out to have an interesting story too- at a later time.

Friday, July 04, 2003

STAY TUNED: Was on a bit of a bender last night. Had lots of epiphanies & interesting thoughts. Stay tuned as I unravel them and write them down. Happy Birthday America!

Thursday, July 03, 2003

KARMA: People who celebrate the same birthday as me:
  • Tonya Harding
  • Sammy Sosa
  • David Schwimmer
  • Nadia Comaneci
  • Neil Young
  • Wallace Shawn
  • Grace Kelly
RECURRING DREAM DEPARTMENT: I'm late for a plane & I haven't packed. Any budding Josephs or John Edwards out there wanna give this one a crack?

Wednesday, July 02, 2003

MY FORTUNE: Many a false step is made by standing still.
UPDATE: Natch, Lycoris doesn't yet work on my hardware. Gonna have to go with a more mainstream distro like RedHat.
PSYCHED: I just got my Via EPIA M "Dream Catalyst" mainboard.. I'm building a PVR/media center for myself and just upgraded the mainboard to something that can really handle DVD playback at fullscreen. Plus the new board has Firewire and USB 2.0 built-in. Then I'll install Lycoris and Freevo and get a wireless keyboard and gyroscopic mouse to make the whole kit work from my couch.

Friday, June 27, 2003

FASCINATING: Strom Thurmond has died. FoxNews' headline reads: Strom Thurmond Dies at 100. MSNBC says: Strom Thurmond Dies. CNN Says: Thurman Dead at 100. The New York Times says: Strom Thurmond, Foe of Integration, Dies at 100. See the difference?

Thursday, June 26, 2003

OH NO!: Landrew has turned McCoy into a zombie. Will McCoy survive? Don't spoil it for me.

Tuesday, June 24, 2003

MEMO TO A MAYOR: Your Honor, I love New York City. In contrast to what others say, I actually think the Apple is quite clean, relative to similar population centers that are as dense as New York and as busy around the clock. The one new trend in litter that is disturbing me, though, is the propensity to just drop depleted MetroCards on the ground. "Metrotrash" I call it. To which I have a simple idea: Incentivise the collection of discarded MetroCards. Give each card a cash value of, say, five cents. Make them only redeemable in multiples of forty (or eighty) for an MTA ride! Odds are, most people won't bother, but look how hard it is to find a can or redeemable glass bottle on the streets anymore. For a minimal cost, I feel that this quality of life issue can be easily addressed. In fact, perhaps incentivising litter in a general sense can help beautify our city. Allow anyone to cash in trash at a set rate per pound. Of course, certain rules and regulations would have to apply to make sure people don't go around cannibalizing existing trash cans and such, but I believe it can probably be done. Picture even raising the bounty on areas of our fair city that are seeing more than their fare share of litter! Sincerely, Concerned Gothamite

Monday, June 23, 2003

FAREWELLS: Tilden is my sister's neighbor's dog. Tilden's family is moving to Israel soon and the children of my sister's bucolic family are going to miss Tilden terribly. Of course, they'll miss his owner's family too, but that's not as good a story to tell. Tilden's family went away this weekend, so he spent the shabbat at my sister's house as a final farewell sleepover. A little about Tilden. Tilden is a ten year old Yellow Labrador Retriever. Labs are great dogs, but even among this fine breed, Tilden stands out. You see, Tilden was a service dog in training at one point. Tilden's family adopted him after he flunked out of school for being too nice. So he's an impeccably mannered beast with an unusually sweet disposition. The kids, especially those that are roughly his height, talk to him like he's in on the secret and he never dissapoints them. It's easy to forget how strong this magnificient animal is he is because he is so gentle; but as I walked him and marvelled at his ability to pee on every vertical surface in a two block radius, he easily dragged me along as if I were a plaything. Of course, being around so many kids, Tilden learned to be a shnorrer, and waits patiently under the table at mealtime for any foodstuff to enter his domain. When it does, WOOF! its gone. Fare thee well, Tilden, and may the streets of Hashmonaim, IL, be paved with huge fire hydrants and large boned cats.

Friday, June 20, 2003

REALITY BYTES: So I was walking around the UWS Dive Bar scene (low 80's & Amsterdam) and I saw a truck for the Fifth Wheel (one of those mindless TV dating shows) outside of Rancho's. Ever the intrepid New Yorker, I went in (with my date) to spy on the proceedings. Sure enough in the back under enough lamps to illuminate the ocean floor were two seductively clad women fawning over a rippling male specimen and making faces you'd never see if there wasn't a camera to capture them. Which brings me to my next rant.. What is it about alcohol and pop culture that gives people the idea that they won't be held responsible for their actions (usually of the amorous kind) when they are on the sauce? If a whole evening is planned around the uncontrolled imbibing of spirits, ala Real World fill in the city doesn't that defeat the purpose of the exercise? I mean preparing to get drunk with a member of the opposite sex with whom you have only a platonic relationship up until that point is like saying: "I really can't do the things I want to do (to you) for whatever reason, but the alcohol will make it OK." If both parties know the score going in, haven't they already violated the premise of getting drunk in the first place? Not that inebriation doesn't stand as a fine pursuit on its own merits. Silly, I say. On a related note, if I never hear another "woohoo!" ever again, that wouldn't be too soon. The woohoo has become the contemporary western liberated women's happy version of the middle eastern ululating sound. Trés annoying, bee-yatch (to noone in particular,) cut it out. Heya Benji!

Thursday, June 19, 2003

BOOM: If the market and the economy is indeed recovering, I wonder what the next bellwether sector will be? (CAVEAT: I am not employed by a market research or related firm, nor do I claim to represent any opinion other than my own -which is highly speculative and should be considered suspect anyways.) My gut tells me that transportation, specifically airline and related stocks will be the next big thing. Let's look at the facts. The industry is ripe for a sea-change. Already, we have seen weaker players stumble as the travel business tanked post-9/11. Additionally, low cost carriers, such as JetBlue and Southwest are ravaging the full-service providers and radically restructuring the performance expectations of the sector. Big players that "get it" such as Continental and Delta should weather the storm. Throw in the proability that oil proces have peaked and such wildcards as sector-busting, truly paradigm-shifting companies such as Eclipse Aviation and you have a leading candidate to lead the recovery (IMHO.) Another candidate is commmunications, what with the shift to wireless and all. Comm is highly politicized and regulated, though, which makes it tough to be a breakout star. Ditto energy, biotech and biomed sectors. I would look to energy to pick up after the summer, though, which will probably be a very cool one, thus depressing demand.
CRYPTIC: Those who know me know that I've been in a really good mood lately. Those who really know me also know why. Sorry, but that's all I'm gonna say for now.

Wednesday, June 18, 2003

IN MEMORIAM: My nanny, Meira Mizrahi, passed away yesterday. Meira was a small woman (4 foot something) with a very big heart. She hailed from Israel and never married or had any children. In a sense, however, all of her charges were "her" children. Meira lived in my hometown of Kew Gardens and served as the nanny and mother's helper for newborns of many -if not most- of Kew Gardens' Jewish families for over forty years. In many cases, such as my sister's, she served this role for two generations of babies. All told, Meira gave the first bath -and had the pictures to prove it- for approximately six hundred newborns. Meira's profession didn't bestow upon her material wealth of any kind and she had a simple ceremony for her funeral last night. My understanding is that anonymous donors in the community handled the financials of returning her remains to the Holy Land as she wanted. Most touching at her service last night, which took place on the lawn of a local synagogue in Kew Gardens, was the community turnout. People from far-flung locales in the tri-state region moved mountains to arrive on time and on very short notice. All told there were approximately two hundred people present, astonishing for someone without any immediate family (I suspect there were even more than that who came and went during the services.) Meira touched all of our lives and was a part of our family as much as any of our biological relatives. To this day, she would call me "my Yaakov" and ooh and ahh over how cute I was as a baby. While I would like to think I was unique -and have anecdotal evidence to support that claim- I imagine there are many of Meira's babies that feel the same way. Meira, z"l, you will be missed. Baruch Dayan Emet.

Tuesday, June 17, 2003

MY QUOTE FOR THE DAY: We're all hypocrites -it's the human condition, deal with it. (Me, random conversation in doctor's office, June 16, 2003)

Monday, June 16, 2003

(UN)LIKELY HEROES: Terry Bradshaw, NFL hall of famer, broadcaster, for his frank admissions about his mental health issues. Ozzy Osbourne, for alllowing his ravaged body, as well as his words, speak eloquently about the perils of substance abuse. (Can you tell I'm trolling for Ozzfest tix?) Ned Batchelder, who sometimes lets you glimpse snippets of his devotion to his autistic son on his blog. My brother, for taking the time to stargaze through a telescope with his kids and invent the elaborate lie that the little dot on the moon's surface is an astronaut planting a flag. My friend Manny, for brilliantly orchestrating his sister's wedding last night. There are more...

Sunday, June 15, 2003

TOO FUNNY: Is Newsweek talking about me?

Friday, June 13, 2003

WTF: I bring this to your attention because it seems to be slipping under the radar of our national consciousness. Apparently, all hell has been breaking loose in Iran. Sounds like Tehran's Tiananmen moment. It seems the region's actually undergoing tranformation in its own unique (and violent) way.

Thursday, June 12, 2003

TEMERITY: Sad news. Gregory Peck has passed. To Kill a Mockingbird is one of my favorite films. See if you get the reference.
LINGUISTICA: Some words 'n phrases I use that make me sound smart in the workplace:
  1. Digital Dashboard
  2. Sociology
  3. Holistic
  4. Responsive
  5. Pragmatic
  6. Existential
NOTES FROM THE FIELD: What with all the hoopla surrounding the JavaOne conference this year and a sudden burst of creative energy on my part, I've decided to re-immerse myself in Java development. I'm particularly interested in GUI development, which led me to reexamine the NetBeans Java IDE. My stated reasons for this line of work is that my users are clamoring for better printing options than the otherwise excellent (IMHO) Sun Calendar server provides out of the box. My feature incomplete and buggy PrintCal program, which was designed to fill this functional gap, pretty much needs a total rewrite at this time. PrintCal anyways was only a proof of concept to see if I could create a Java WebStart "applet" that could read calendar XML data (obtained over the wire via the WCAP protocol) and generate and dispatch an Acrobat calendar representation to a local printer. The concept works -stunningly, I might add- and the program needs to be truly rewritten. But I digress. So I've been re-examining NetBeans since my conclusion about a year ago that the product was slow and not as well suited to my current tasks as its main (free) competitor Eclipse. Eclipse has a truly excellent coding environment, but lacks a visual GUI form builder. I actually built PrintCal by designing the form in NetBeans and doing the rest of the coding in Eclipse. Now NetBeans has a new release that is significantly faster. It's still slow on my measly 700mHz laptop with 256mB RAM (the maximum RAM this particular machine can handle) and it's a visual real estate hog -again, a problem on my 12' screen. Still, it is at least workable and I've been giving it the most thorough workout I've ever devoted to NetBeans to date. So far, so good, and I may be able to stay in NetBeans for quite awhile before switching over to Eclipse for the detail work. I'll be posting the ten most vexing things I needed to poke around for answers to about NetBeans in the near future. Stay tuned, live long and prosper.

Monday, June 09, 2003

HMMM: Is an overweight, cross-dressing character de rigeuer now for a successful theatrical production?

Thursday, June 05, 2003

THEORY: I have this theory that peace in the Middle East only becomes viable when the Kineret is full. The Kineret is Israel and Jordan's major watershed. The corollary to this theory is that people who aren't thirsty are less irritable. FYI, the Kineret hasn't been full since the Oslo agreements were signed, but it's full now. Let's all raise our mousepads and toast the possibilities. A special shout out to Wendy. Wen, you would have made a lousy footsoldier for the evil empire anyways. You'll be fine.
MISLEADING: Ray uses the acronym IANAL, which in his context I take to stand for "I am not a lawyer." Talk about misleading acronyms! For someone who isn't a layer I would expect an acronym that sounded like I NOT anal.

Tuesday, June 03, 2003

Jake: are you done yet? huh? are you? Huh? Huh? Are you done yet?
Chris: almost
Jake: heh, i'm testing my automated nightmare client scenario program
Chris: nice
Jake: works well, no?
Chris: yes
Jake: need to fine tune the nag feature and upgrade to backstabbing 2.0
Chris: already I feel unneeded pressure and looming deadlines
Jake: needless interruptions haven't been implemented yet
Chris: and be sure to continually change scope
Jake: oh yeah
Jake: scope change 2000

Saturday, May 31, 2003

FRIGGIN' SAD: So I'm meeting some friends for a birthday bash at Fez above Time Cafe on Amsterdam. It seems I'm being sucked into the horde of JUPpies that alternate between Fez and Mod every Saturday eve. We live in the greatest bar town in the western hemisphere and I'm reduced to THIS? I feel like a free-range chicken. You know, they swing open the barn door to the great outdoors and say "be free" but all the stupid bird wants to do is huddle together in a corner and peck the other birds' sh*t. I bet I'll have a good time, though. We're all sheep.

Thursday, May 29, 2003

BLOGBLOG: I realize that blogging about blogging is frowned upon, but I feel that I have reached a point in the evolution of my blog whereupon I have to get a few things off of my chest. Gimlet Eyes is coming up on its six month anniversary and, as befitting an agenda-less blog, has seen several overall themes come and go. It seems fitting that my first post was related to pop culture and television, as the single most recurring theme has been my observations of what's on the telly. I'm not sure this is healthy as my blog does reflect the preponderance of my random thoughts and the trend is concerning. I hope to get out more and rely less on this social crutch in the future. I intend to pursue a bigger apartment and possibly a dog to assist me in this endeavor. The war is over, and while I refrained from directly commenting on it, Operation Iraqi Freedom was clearly on my mind during the war years/months/weeks. The random technology bits scattered throughout the blog don't accurately reflect my passion for the discipline, especially since I am way more interested in coding in general and "social software" in particular, than I am in hardware. At various points, I also discussed my family, my heritage, my city and my feelings about the Columbia disaster, all of which I hope to expound upon in the future. I'm hoping the outdoors, philosophy and new and exciting random musings will invigorate this space in the coming months -in addition to those themes worthy of continuance. In summation, dear reader(s,) stay tuned and keep the feedback coming!
RARE: Just saw an SNL rerun with Sean Hayes as the host. They did the "Geoffreys" sketch with Sean and Jimmy as the obnoxious salespeople in an avante garde boutique. Will came in as the boss on his scooter and answered his teeny tiny cellphone. While its customary for Jimmy to crack up (especially when Horatio is in the vicinity) even Will -who NEVER breaks character- lost it on this one. His Mugatu getup, the scooter and the aforementioned weensy phone was just too much. Anna and Molly get an honorable mention for tripping out on portobello mushrooms in their "Delicious Dish" sketch.

Tuesday, May 27, 2003

ÜBER COUCH POTATO: If you've stuck around this long, you know that there's a very strong geek component to my personality. The cool thing is that when I'm done building this very cool little computer I'm going to put this onto it and hook it into my TV and amplifier. The idea is that in addition to having a free version of Tivo, I'll also have a DVD/CD player/writer and an MP3 player. I'll control the whole shebang from my couch with this. How cool?
IT'S A MAD, MAD WORLD: I dropped into my bank today to get some coin envelopes. Handing them over to me, the teller says:

We charge for accepting more than eight envelopes at a time.

So, let me get this straight, You want me to pay you? to give you my money? At a bank?

TRIBUTE: Last night's Futurama (rerun) paid tribute to silent film great Harold Lloyd. It turns out Doctor Zoidberg's uncle is the great silent holofilm star Harold Zoid. Harold even has Lloyd's trademark owl glasses. Now that's lobstertainment!

Sunday, May 25, 2003

THOSE MAGIC MOMENTS: Picture shopping for groceries at the neighborhood Associated late at night. On the checkout line with my mesclun salad, milk and rice pudding. The cashier is a middle aged Hispanic man working the late shift who brought his preteen daughter to work. She's at that age when little girls still think Daddy is the best. In a few years, she's probably be doing everything in her power to worry her father into an early grave, but for now, she's bagging the groceries he checks out. Sweet. So I'm watching her bag and gently giving pointers on which items to pack with which. You know, being careful to be helpful and giving dad a vibe that I'm enjoying pumping up his daughter's sense of the importance of her first "job." You've got to be careful here. If I seem to overbearing, the father will feel obligated to scold the well meaning lass and apologize to me for bringing his daughter to work, etc. Precious. As I took my bags and graciously thanked my helpful little bagger for a job well done, I noticed her "salary" jar and tipped my change into it. For a brief moment, we all shared something.

Friday, May 23, 2003

GML: I find the expressiveness of HTML and punctuation to be somewhat lacking. Hence, you may notice some unusual made-up HTML "tags" in my missives here and there. One I've used before is <reverb> and one I've borrowed from Jon is <sweeping generalization>. I'd like to formalize some tags into an expressive grammar for my blog. I christen this new grammar Gimlet Markup Language, or GML for short. Herein are some GML tags and their usage:
Tag NameDefinition
<reverb>Used to add that impressive echo to a statement. Ex: <reverb>Ladies and Gentlemen, Your New York Knickerbockers!</reverb>
<grin>Unary. Used to denote mischief/humor (context sensitive.) Ex: I mentioned you in my blog, so now you're famous <grin>
<sheepish grin>Unary. Used to shy humor. Ex: Yeah, choker does make you look cheap <sheepish grin>.
<salacious grin>Unary. Deprecated (being phased out) in favor of the binary <wink> (see below.) Ex: So, How YOU doin'? <salacious grin>
<wink>Standards compliant version of <salacious grin>. Used to connote ulterior motive. Usage: <wink>Wanna come over and watch a video, or something?</wink>
<TTMA>Talking Through My A**. When it is generally agreed that I don't know what I'm saying. Ex: <TTMA>Why don't you get a job?!</TTMA>
<TTHA>Talking Through His/Her A**. See <TTMA>
<nag>Literally, Nag. As in: <nag>When are you going to get married already?</nag>
<SKIB>Swift Kick in the Behind. Ex: <SKIB>Did you ever call that annoying client?</SKIB>
<DS>Dope Slap. Unary. Often used in place of <SKIB>. <DS> is the original Netscape version of the whacking reminder. More details here.
<SUH>Slap Upside the Head. Binary synonym of <DS>. This is the ECMA sanctioned version.
More tags to come as the working draft wends its way through the finalization process. Comments? Suggestions?
POINTLESS: As I suspected, the Michael Douglas remake of the In-Laws is nowhere nearly as funny as the original. Of course, Peter Falk and Alan Arkin shine in the 1979 original, but Richard Libertini steals every scene he's in as General Garcia, the insane dictator of a banana republic.

Wednesday, May 21, 2003

SHOWER SCUM: I've been religiously spritzing my shower/bath with Tilex® Fresh Shower® Daily Shower Cleaner after every shower now for years. Let me tell y'all, while this stuff definitely does something, it's no panacea. The grout at the intersection of the tile wall and the bathtub is all sorts of brown. While the rest of the stall is OK, looking at that mildew farm every day encroaches on that squeaky clean vibe I enjoy so much. I can't scrub it off, though, as the grout is too weak. I'm sure as hell not gonna regrout the bath in my crummy little studio rental. Sigh, more signs from the housing gods that it's time to move on...

Monday, May 19, 2003

CHOPPERS: Orange County Choppers' Paul Teutel Sr. and Jr. are featured in the Discovery Channel's American Chopper Series. In a perfect world, these two hulking and temperamental gents would probably not be sharing a work environment. But they are father and son, and they seem to have come to grips with that in a touching and humorous way. Apparently Junior had several demons in his youth, but they were excised (exorcised?) by a religious experience. Junior and Senior -who doesn't seem to do much other than "manage" his son and verbally bully suppliers into compliance- collaborate to produce that great American art form: the "chopper." For the uninformed, choppers are the lowriders of the motorcycle industry. They usually posess a highly polished large block Harley engine (one that sounds like an invasion at full throttle seems preferable) and have extravagant bodywork and finishes. The episode that really warmed my heart, though, was when Junior worked with his "little brother" Cody to produce a bike that Cody designed. Cody is a teenager with a yen for motorcycle design and the Teutels let him hang around the shop and help out. The builders of these bikes represent the American ethos of individuality, camaraderie, know-how and our special relationship with the internal combustion engine. It's amazing how beautiful and inspiring these rolling works of art are -especially considering their humble beginnings and creators' simplicity. Most of the fabricators highlighted in the American Chopper series are not classically schooled as engineers, yet their creations come together and run with the precision of Swiss watches. Oh, and these guys collectively seem to have taken an oath never to wear shirts with sleeves. Now if only they would build a custom, macked out Big Wheel™...
WHOA NELLIE: Fat Girl, I have nothing, NOTHING, against you. But you should have the good sense not to wear Little Belly Shirt. And please, PLEASE, don't compound the error by trying to cover it with Tiny Zippered Sweatshirt. Hint: If the zipper won't budge, maybe it's trying to tell you something. Of course ignore my advice if your ultimate goal is to become this American treasure.

Sunday, May 18, 2003

HATE: I was waiting for the 190 bus in Port Authority that would take me to my brother's house today when I noticed a disturbing symbol for the umpteenth time. There, scratched into a metal upright by the gate was a small swastika. It never ceases to amaze me how these little symbols of hate pop up in the most unlikely of places. I still remember finding one scratched onto the screen door in the back of my house when I was a kid. Who, in New York City in this day and age, is so filled with hate that they need to express it by stabbing a bent cross into metal? My first reaction was to take out my keys and try to scratch over it. No dice. It takes more than a mere household key and casual pressure to ding those metal uprights. Someone must have some really sharp implements in their pockets for this work. What troglodyte would actually risk being seen putting some serious elbow grease into carving a swastika in a public place? My only consolation was a limited one. At least the misanthrope was going to New Jersey. But hey, I have family there!

Friday, May 16, 2003

FOUR: As the news rolls in on the latest series of terrorist attacks in Casablanca, it now appears that Al-Qaeda's calling card is the simultaneous launching of four terrorist actions at a time. How utterly, despicably evil.
DRAMATIC PAUSE: This Kristof op-ed piece (NYTimes, free registration required) eloquently sums up a nasty, persistent problem in some of the most pathetic places on earth. Additionally, the 'Times' editorial board seems to agree with me on the troubling behavior by NASA in the days before the Columbia disaster.

Thursday, May 15, 2003

OFFICE TRAMPS: I have a theory that there are two types of well dressed professional women. The first kind dresses sharp and professional and perhaps a little bit sexy but doesn't go over the edge, so to speak. The other, and, ah, visually more interesting, is just slightly over the top. You know what I'm talking about. The skirt is just a little to short; the neckline plunges just a little to far; perhaps a frilly flourish that says "Hey look at me!" Of course the open toe mules highlighting the pedicure and perhaps the toe ring caps the effect. So I'm thinking this latter category of office female is perhaps a little too vested in office life. The gossip; the shenanigans; etc. Am I way off base? Sound off on me here.
NEW LOOK: Waddya think?
MORE PROOF THAT CARTOONS AREN'T JUST FOR KIDS: I just watched an episode of Family Guy (part of the weeknight Adult Swim on Cartoon Network.) Brian the dog won an award for directing "Shaving Private Ryan," an adult film. The need for a "fluffing" was mentioned. Jenna Jameson and what was obviously Ron Jeremy made appearances. And kids watched this stuff?

Wednesday, May 14, 2003

I CAN'T BELIEVE I DID THAT: I actually just put the phone down on a telemarketer. No, I didn't hang up, I just put the phone down. Let them figure out when noone's listening anymore.
TICKLE ME MARTY: Anyone see the AmEx commercial featuring Martin Scorsese critiquing the pictures he took of him nephew's fifth birthday party?

"What was I thinking? I've lost the narrative thread!"

Jim Breuer gets an honorable mention for his Right Guard® commercial with Randy Johnson (the Unit) as a metaphorical odor killer firing dodgeballs at some poor gym shlubs who are hysterically running for their lives.

Tuesday, May 13, 2003

TEN THINGS TO EASE YOUR (COMPUTING) PAIN: I was discussing the foibles of creating user interfaces with advanced features with my good friend Steve the other day. I lamented that it seems like an excercise in futility when most computer users we encounter in our line of work don't even have the mastery of the basic Windows interface. Some items we came up with that annoy us to no end and would make the user population's life so much easier if they were understood are:

1. Buttons do not require double-clicking. Only icons do. 2. Icons live on the desktop and in the system tray. Everything else that's clickable is an button, even if it looks like an icon (as in a picture "icon" on a web page.) 3. The rows of buttons at the top of programs underneath the menubar are called toolbars. Toolbars contain buttons and (sometimes) selectors. They do NOT contain icons. 4. The rows of buttons near the start menu is called the Quick Launch toolbar. 5. The row of ICONS near the clock (lower right hand corner) is called the system tray. 6. "Click" means left-mouse button click unless otherwise specified. For example, if you are told to "right (mouse) click" and then click, the second click should be a left mouse click. 7. Right mouse clicking on an icon brings up a menu of choices that you can perform on the icon. 8. The default action -which is what occurs when you double click on an icon- for an icon is the option shown in bold when right mouse clicking on the icon. 9. The cursor can be moved from input field to input field with the tab key. This eases the annoyance of using the mouse to constantly reposition the cursor for each field. Shift-tabbing makes the cursor move backwards through input fields. 10. Most commonly used menu items and buttons have keyboard shortcuts. Learning them makes you work faster. Extra Credit. Clickable items in web pages NEVER require double clicking.

Note that most of these rules also apply to other operating systems such as Linux/Unix and MacOS.

WASTE: I'm the kind of guy who picks up the egregious pieces of litter that others can trip on in my subway. Frankly, the world would be a better place if more people did this kind of thing. As for the metrotrash, (my sniglet for discarded metrocards) I just leave it be.
HAH!: Bender's least favorite word: "Antiquing."

Monday, May 12, 2003

RANDOM THOUGHTS: Spacing out the other day, I decided that people either seek to transcend or to exist. I seek to exist. But I dream about transcending. Specifically, I'd like to be a Jedi. Also: a good NYTimes op-ed read here.

Friday, May 09, 2003

METAL: Metallica's Hero of the Day from the Load album has made it back into my daily rotation. As when it was first released back in '96, I wonder why this song never really took off on the charts. It has all the classic metal ballad ingredients: Soulful guitar; mournful tone and children. For some reason all the great metal ballads have children in their narrative.
SHUTTLE IDEA: Couldn't an armored sleeve for the shuttle wing leading edge that gets jettisoned after the danger has passed be designed? That would solve the problem described in this article.

Thursday, May 08, 2003

CONFIRMATION: Loyal readers will remember that back on February 3rd, I maintained that NASA's failure to have the orbiting Columbia visually inspected by any of a number of ground or space based lensing assets after being damaged by debris on takeoff would come back to haunt it. Quoth The New York Times:

Another board member, Maj. Gen. Kenneth W. Hess, said NASA management's decision not to ask other agencies to photograph the shuttle during the mission to see if the damage could be detected appeared to be based on a misunderstanding about who had actually wanted the images.

When management received the request, he said, "it was never made clear to them that the people who wanted the outside imagery were the damage assessment team," and not just kibbitzers. "At the end of the day everybody went back and did the best that they could with the information they had."