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