Monday, December 18, 2006

GEEK POST

I took to uninstalling Sage (RSS reader) from my Firefox installation because it gave me to easy an out for switching from productive work mode to wasting my time scanning feed mode. I split my feeds into strictly work related material: and hosted those on my Google Reader account. I imported my leisure feeds into BlogBridge, which I only fire up once or twice a day now. So far, I’ve been more productive and get to really “dogfood” some new RSS apps and get a feel for different aggregation memes to boot. Oh, Google Reader is cool, with lots of neat AJAX tricks, but it seems to have slowed down as of late. BlogBridge is a nice Java-based client app that’s slick, quick and installed via Java Web Start, of which I have a special place in my heart for.

Been messing with Netbeans 5.5 with the Visual Web Pack and deploying test apps to the Glassfish application server. So far, neato, but even with support for EJB 3.0 and slick dependency injection baked in, there’s still no easy way to map Domino’s scheduled agent functionality to the EJB world. Yes, I know there’s the Timer Service, but it’s not easy. Don’t even get me started on full-text indexing. Mad scientist that I am, I continue to plug away at a solution that will make this easy and repeatable to the non-rocket scientist app developers out there (present company included) in need of a Java enterprise development solution. I hope to one day assemble a package of tools into a coherent narrative that I can impart for, ah, compensation.

Friday, November 03, 2006

FRIDAY BRAIN DUMP

Been busy not being busy these last few weeks. I wrapped up my latest client engagement last week and I’m looking forward to a few months’ respite. Professionally, I intend to delve into the pain points faced by the transition between Lotus Domino development and Java Server Faces (JSF/J2EE) development. Hopefully, I can learn something and come up with enough material to create a seminar. Otherwise, I may just throw myself back into the consulting field or cast my net for full-time employment (egads!)

I’m hearing that Microsoft’s next version of Windows (Vista) doesn’t allow you to save to the desktop. This sucks for me as saving my current work to the desktop is a part of my work habit –I “archive” my work to its eventual permanent location when I’m done.

Getting our eldest into a quality playgroup for next fall meant making decisions and placing a deposit this week –a traumatic experience for Casa Del Gimlet as we now have to contemplate sending our little poozle out of the nest and into the world. It’s still the better part of a year away, but sobering, nonetheless.

I still pine for the day Sprint releases the Q on its network.

My friend M runs the marathon for the umpteenth time Sunday, go Bodie!

Do Whiskyfest tickets come with a designated driver? Tune in Tuesday morning for the answer.

Welcome to the right coast, Ellen, Stuart and Judah. We look forward to making introductions all around and catching up. Ellen, for ye uninformed, was with me from the beginning.

Mennu is a mensch. (crazy shades notwithstanding) visit his blog. Heed his advice. Listen to his mix.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

ODDS 'N ENDS

Recently, I made the observation that, based upon advertisements, it seems Animal Planet’s core demographic is people with low self-esteem.

The fact that this concept video will be a reality to paying customers (app. $200,000) in about two years is nothing short of amazing.

Star Wars buffs (even those disappointed –deeply disappointed) by the Flannelled One’s abominable latest three chapters will want to check out the Wookiepedia (hat tip: Ned.)

Thursday, September 21, 2006

RANGEL AND PELOSI GET IT RIGHT

Credit where credit is due: Rangel blasts Chavez for his insane ranting at the UN yesterday. Nancy Pelosi sticks up for W.as well. (?)

Sunday, September 17, 2006

PERSPECTIVES

Last week my family and I returned from a two week trip to Israel. The pretext for going was my nephew’s Bar Mitzvah in Beit Shemesh, but we stayed for two weeks -which is way longer than the festivities. We started our trip in Jerusalem, moved to Beit Shemesh from Thursday night through the weekend, sojourned to Tel Aviv for two days of R & R and time with my second sister Bena (not as diametrically opposed as some in my family would believe!) on the beach and then returned to Jerusalem. We even decided to cut short our Tel Aviv portion to focus more time on Jerusalem. With two kiddies, it took us a lot of time to get ourselves out the door in unfamiliar territory (especially the first week of jet-lag days) so we gave ourselves an extra day in Jerusalem to accomplish more of what we had originally set out to do. Lots of time was spent at the Kotel (wailing wall) and in the Rova (Jewish Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem.) We did a lot of shopping in Mea Shearim for Judaica, gifts and art. Exploring the Jewish “shuk” (open air bazaar) of Machane Yehuda, Jerusalem was a blast. We brought back fresh spices, candy and nuts from there. (Unfortunately, we got your message to bring back some of Marzipan bakery’s famous rugelach too late, Mennu –but they were delicious!) Discovering the quaint neighborhood of Nachla’ot behind the “shuk,” exploring it and letting Basya (our twenty month old) frolic in a playground we found was a special treat. So was visiting my step-aunt’s beautiful apartment in Jerusalem’s oldest Jewish neighborhood outside of the old city –Yemin Moshe- basking in the glorious view of the old city from her balcony, and picking out a piece of artwork from her collection as a belated wedding gift to us (a Braque.) (For the record, we turned down a Matisse and two Chagalls in the mix because we thought they were –ah- not to our taste.) Our second Shabbat was spent at my sister’s house in Beit Shemesh, where I finally got to spend some quality time with my eldest sibling and her family and she got to spend some time getting to know my family. (The last time we saw each other prior to this trip was at my wedding.) Too soon, Sunday was upon us and we had to return to the 'States. The weather upon landing was dreary and wet, which pretty much summed our feelings about leaving Israel and returning to our regular workaday lives.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

BOMBERS AND BARBEQUE

Today I watched the beautifully restored Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress “Yankee Lady” World War Two era bomber go through preflight, light up its four monstrous Wright Cyclone engines, taxi away and roar off into the blue yonder. We were so close that the propwash blew us back a bit. With me on this adventure was Uncle Robbie and his oldest, Jonathan. The few decent shots I was able to get off through the fence are here. Bonus shot is of a NASA T-38, presumably the steed Astronaut Scott Kelly rode in on.

Came home to a feast of barbequed chicken, (hot) dogs tube steaks and, of course, cow on the bone. Mmm. mmm. good.

Good times, these.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

LISTEN UP

The next time the dentist tells you not to eat anything until after the novocaine wears off, listen! I chewed through my lip without realizing it last week and it still hurts like the dickens.

If you ever use PayPal to purchase anything, make sure you click on the tiny "More Funding Options" link before you approve your payment to make sure that the money is being debited from the right account (credit card or bank account.)

R.I.P. Bruno Kirby.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

DHS FREEBIES

You get the feeling the latest terrorist plot is really a cover for some people in the airline security industry to get their hands on some free toiletries?

TWO JOOS

Watched Gene Simmons, Family Jewels last night. My impressions? The NYTimes had it right. The show isn’t too compelling and the most interesting characters are clearly the remarkably well adjusted kids – similar to the Osbourne paradox. Of note: I can’t get over how much the aging KISS frontman looks and sounds like Jackie Mason. Well, not exactly, but his overall comportment puts him in the same category mentally for me. I suppose it’s due to their similar background stories. Oh, and his Mom (on the phone with Gene at the end of the episode) sounds like a typical ortho yiddishe mama, which -as I understand it- she is.

Joe Lieberman lost the democratic primary Tuesday. If the margin turns out to be something that could have been bridged by an effective e-campaign, than Lieberman has noone but himself to blame for being hacked on the eve of the election with no backup. That’s unfortunate. I can’t say I know enough about Connecticut politics to add my two cents as to why he lost, although it certainly appears that he was a victim of anti-war backlash and cozying up to a controversial president. If that’s the case, that’s too bad. Too bad for Connecticut, to bad for the Democratic party and too bad for the good ole’ U.S. of A. (Or U.S. and A-ya as Borat would pronounce it.) I sincerely hope this doesn’t portent a slide into irreverence for the Democratic Party as many insinuate. Cheney stating that Lieberman's loss sends a message to terrorists is dubious, though. To think that anything we do sends a message of any consequence to people who sincerely believe that there are seventy-two virgins waiting for them in the great beyond and -worse- that we should predicate our actions in a partcipatory democracy based upon this premise is absurd.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

MIDDLE EAST POLITICS

I despair of the worldview coming out of the Middle East these days. Of course, Lebanon is a mess. I really hope that the dogs of war can be leashed again there and soon. There’s definitely something to be said for the military (any military, IMHO) believing that that every problem is a nail that their hammer can fix. I wonder if Israel is at the limits of what military options can achieve. Of course, I’m not suggesting there was any other choice but to raise the stakes in Lebanon. Contrary to what the big fuss is about – rockets- I believe the stakes were raised for one reason alone: kidnapping. If the one-two punch of targeted kidnapping of Israeli soldiers in Gaza and the Lebanese border were tolerated, kidnapping would have become the new normative situation. This is what the state of Israel cannot, under any circumstances, tolerate. The price for such behavior must make this option be removed from the table by Hezbollah and Hamas. The limited rocket attacks could have continued to be tolerated in the interest of allowing the nascent Lebanese democracy to take hold. Pity the war-torn Lebanese normal people; they are hostages to the situation as are the Israelis. Shifting gears slightly, I can’t abide or understand any attempt to equalize Hezbollah, it’s leadership or tactics with that of Israel, a sovereign state with a proper chain of command and a healthy, vibrant public discourse on all aspects of its political actions -healthier even than, say, the U.S. To somehow insinuate that Israel is acting wantonly and immorally regarding her latest actions is to truly believe that Israel and the U.S., with their respective moral compasses, are as bloodthirsty and chauvinistic as the enemies who foisted the fight upon us.

IRAQ is a an unqualified mess. Civil society – in the capital at least- has been completely rendered asunder. Regardless of the outcome, it’s clear to me that the insurgency/terrorists/anarchists have won this battle: the have succeeded in turning Iraqi society against itself. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise, the uranium has gone critical on this one, people. Whatever happens next in Baghdad would fall under the category of fixing what’s (very) broken and no longer preventing the fracture in the first place. Even the hawk Ralph Peters ponders whether Pandora can be put back into her box. Unfortunate. Let the blame game begin. While I support our President’s moral compass and feel he got the big picture right, Mr. Bush and his inner circle seems to lack the ability to adjust meaningfully to the situation on the ground. Of course, credit must be given to Iraqi (lack of) leadership as well for this, but the U.S. was in the unique position to recognize the vacuum and do something about it.

DEAN: I'm not neccesarily saying he's wrong, just that he's an idiot (for saying it). In a nutshell, Howard Dean is symptomatic of a Democratic party that can't get it's act together. Troubling. We need a healthy two-party system to survive and the inept Democratic party leadership isn't helping. It sometimes seems the rational wing of the DNC is waiting for Prince Obama to grow up. We can't wait that long, Rome is burning folks!

UPDATE: If you doubt the importance of transparency and healthy political discourse in society, here's an interesting contrast: An Arab "Peace" Demonstration (their left) vs. an Israeli peace demonstration.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

THE CLOSER

Watched an episode of “The Closer” last night on TNT. Overall, not a bad cop drama, but no new ground broken over the myriad other cop dramas available. Is the whole show designed to lead up to when Kyra Sedgewick’s character gets her suspects into the interrogation room and games them into giving themselves up? Clever, but not enough to keep me as a return viewer. In sum: good, but doesn’t rise above the crop for me to add it to my DVR program schedule.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

ANTI-FOLK

This morning I played connect the dots. Follow along: I’m reading about Microsoft’s pending new music arrival “Zune” that will directly target the iPod juggernaut. The article on news.com specifically mentions a whimsical teaser site for Zune, which I dutifully visit. The site is cute, but the tune playing, “Us” by Regina Spektor, is catchy. I’m hooked. Her voice sounds a lot like Bjork’s. I google Regina Spektor. It turns out Ms. Spektor is a Russian-Jewish √©migr√© from New York City. Wikipedia says that she has prodigious songwriting talent and –as is often the case with former Soviets- possesses excellent classical chops and musical parents. I’m listening to the full version of “Us” and “Survival Guide to Soviet Kitsch” on her website now. (Click on the video section of the site.) For some reason (actually, I know the reason, can you guess?) I wonder if Ms. Spektor and Mila Kunis have ever met. Reading her wikipedia page, I see that there’s something called the “New York Anti-folk scene.” There’s an anti folk movement? I need to read more about this! Well, there’s a link to the anti-folk wikipedia page. And, of course, the obligatory antifolk.net. (I suppose antifolk.com would be too deliciously ironic.) This is fascinating. I think I may delve into this musical genre some more. Stay tuned…

Friday, July 14, 2006

BIRD 911

Prompted by this vignette.

Unfortunately, bird rescue never worked for me. When I was nine, I tried to save a baby sparrow that I found. I even called the Bronx Zoo (THE zoo if you live in New York) for tips on how to feed it. When it died I was so devastated that my Dad (OB"M) promised me I could have a parakeet for my tenth birthday if I so wanted one. [Parenting lesson: insist on a cooling off period before pet ownership for a child.] On the day of my birthday (around six months later) I made him take me to the pet store (Erev Shabbos) and we bought Sir Chirpalot. He lived five years and died about a month after my Dad passed away.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

WORST PREDICTIONS COME TRUE

When the current crisis in Israel and Gaza erupted, I feared that kidnapping would become the preferred new terror tactic. This morning it appears that the nightmare has become true. My predictions: For Israel to make any impact regarding the Lebanon affair, they'll have to push through the border area which is a no man's land controlled by Hizbullah into the Lebanese heartland, where the government holds sway. That's the only way to pressure Lebanon into reigning in Hezbollah, which by Michael Totten's accounts (if memory serves) most Lebanese regard as the crazy cousin that they let roam free in the border area and try to ignore.

BOOK TITLES

I've had a longstanding fascination with a fictitious book title I made up many years ago: The Rapes of Grath. I haven't been able to come up with a treatment (industry speak for basic script plotline) but I've always been in love with the title. I've just added a new title (sans plot) to my repertoire: Neil Before God. Talk amongst yourselves.

Monday, July 10, 2006

TWO WORDS REDUX

So, this weekend my lower right quadrant (of my mouth) started aching and even I, layman that I am, could clearly see a hole in my molar that I could drive a car through. Sigh, time to visit the dentist again. After much injecting of the novocaine and drilling of the enamel, the verdict was in: yet another root canal -this one even more severe than the first. Apparently, the decay was so bad under an old filling that, when done, the tooth will end below the gumline, neccesitating some reconstructive gum surgery to prepare for an eventual crown after the pulpectomy is done. I feel like the unlucky homeowner that starts having his bathroom replaced only to learn that -natch- the floorbeams are cracked and need to be replaced (true story, that, ask my Mom.) Then the contractor leaves with a gaping hole in the living room ceiling with a beautiful vantage point of porcelain, only to disappear for three weeks without a forwarding number. (Same true story.) When I'm done I at least hope the good doctor has the decency to name a wing in his office after me. Or tell his kids who paid for their fancy tuition.

FUNNYMEN

He's alive, and I chuckle whenever I see his picture. He's dead, and he's missed. (Hat Tip: Digg.)

VERY COOL: NASA footage of shuttle rocketing away from discarded booster from booster POV (point of view)

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

ZOOTOPIA

Took my family to the Queens Zoo yesterday. Nice little park. The theme for the park seems to be endangered species, which is a bit of a downer. For some reason there seemed to be more going on with the local fauna than the animals on display, which were mostly dozing in the noon heat. Except for the sheep, that is. They were lining up with military precision for some mysterious reason and bleating away. The rabbits and birds hiding in the bushes, though, were far more animated. Behold the amazing Oreo Cow!

YOU CAN'T MAKE THIS STUFF UP DEPT.: Brooklyn: Crowd Attacks Driver After Accident (NYTimes, free registration req'd. Article will/may expire.)

Friday, June 30, 2006

LIFE IMITATES ART DEPT.: REAL LIFE APPALACHIAN E.R.

MULTAN, Pakistan (Reuters) - Fateh Mohammad, a prison inmate in Pakistan, says he woke up last weekend with a glass light bulb in his anus.... You can't make this stuff up...

Thursday, June 29, 2006

FLASHBACK WEEKEND

Some (IMHO) classics from my past that I'm bringing up for review: CHILDISH. SOBER. ODD. PRESCIENT. PRESCIENT 2. MEA CULPA. MARRIED BY THE MOB. RETURN FROM HIATUS 1. THE IDEA.

ALSO: Shout out to all my peeps enjoying themselves at Savard's Summercamp '06. Burn the candle on both ends dudes. Light my lamp. Raise your cups to Towelie and don't forget to lime (liberally) after use.

HOW TO EAT FRIED WORMS

Do you remember the book from when you were a kid? Now it's going to be a movie! (So's Charlotte's Web.)

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

REMEMBER

Russel asked me to pass this on...

DEAR SASHA

An open letter to Sasha Baron Cohen:

Mr. Cohen,

When you inhabit one of your personas, are you totally in character during and after the performance? Do you remain in character in between takes? (In other words, do you get all Andy Kaufman on us?) Where you inspired to do Borat from Mahir? What do you make of the "Throw the Jew Down the Well" episode? I understand there's (at least) latent antisemitism in the room, do you think its more vicious than that? Or is it just good-natured bad taste gone wild? (Case in point: Hadji girl.) When the light bulb goes on in your, ah, victims' tiny little heads, do they realize that they're being played or do they just think that your character's an idiot? Do they then play along or become defensive? For each good clip, are there many "interviews" that don't pan out comedy-wise? Are there interviews that are just plain not entertaining that don't make the cut? If so, what is the average ratio of good to bad that you encounter?

If you're ever in New Jersey, would you come to us for a Shabbos meal?

Regards,
Jake

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

RANDOM

My daughter's friend has a blog. What can I say, Basya's not quite the wordsmith.

Airbus' bad news just keeps getting worse. It's about time the laws of economics and every old saw about free markets comes home to roost at this European make-work project's doorstep.

Read IAGBlog. It's not as good as the dearly departed enplaned, but it will have to do for my daily fix.

The space shuttle's replacement takes shape -and not a moment too soon.

Monday, June 19, 2006

VIRTUAL COFFEE

WTF? If I saw this after drinking my morning cup 'o joe, you can bet I'd wean myself off the caffeine right quick! (hat tip: boing boing.)

Sunday, June 18, 2006

CHASING SKIRT...

Steak, that is. Shout out to my buddy Russel, who introduced us to the wonders of grilling a juicy cut of skirt steak marinated in Jerk or Teriyaki, Mmmm, mmmm, good!

Monday, June 12, 2006

TWO WORDS

Two simple words: root and canal. Benign. Banal, even. Put them together, though, and they conjure up more fear than Al Qaeda. I feel like a series of small bombs just went off in my upper left quadrant. Oy.

THANK YOU

To the dudes that leave newspapers neatly tucked away in the myriad corporate commodes I have visited in my consulting career. You are the wind beneath my wings.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

HOLIDAY

I don't usually celebrate the death of one of G-d's creatures, but when a genocidal, racist and -generally speaking- medieval maniac is finally tracked down and turned into Texas chili by some well placed explosives delivered courtesy of the U.S. Air Force, well, that's a good thing. Finally something to cheer about in Iraq. Rest in pieces Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi.

UNRELATED: Wanna buy a house? Three?

Thursday, June 01, 2006

CLOUDS

It is becoming increasingly obvious to me that "cloud" computing is the next big thing (If indeed it isn't already the current big thing.) What I term cloud computing is the utilization of service clouds for our everyday computing tasks. More and more we turn to Google's cloud for watching and sharing videos, searching (of course,) mapping and such. We also use Amazon's cloud for retail transactions of any kind. (A great many of the retailers we use piggyback on Amazon's cloud to provide merchandise to their customers. Retailers such as Toys 'R' Us.) Amazon isn't just a store, it's a provider of e-store technology to other stores. The other great clouds of our time are Yahoo! and -in distant fourth- Microsoft. Yahoo! is the original cloud and has a hard time defining exactly what it does better than anyone else -the AOL of our time. Still, Yahoo! does many things well (search, mail, pictures and mapping) and is constantly trying to reinvent itself to latch on to a permanent niche -one it hasn't really had since Google took over the search crown so many years ago. Microsoft, via its MSN and Live properties is a poor provider of service -witness its lackluster search and mail offerings- but has the ability to steal revenue from the aforementioned pure web plays by virtue of its desktop markets hare. Also, Microsoft's map service Windows Live Local (who ever thought of that name?) is a brilliant but little known also ran in the mapping field.

What's next in cloud computing? Mashups. Mashups combine services from multiple sources into meta-applications. The services are exposed via public interfaces (API's) and enable sophisticated applications to be developed without purchasing or hosting much of the data componentry that does the heavy lifting of the application. Popular mashups include adding functionality to public mapping services such as Frappr and Cheap Gas which rely on Google's mapping API. A plethora of mashups exist for Amazon's cloud of API's and services as well. Future mashups will make greater use of Amazon's S3 Simple Storage Service to provide diskless data hosting services. I, in fact, intend to pursue this option for my next generation of application development research and development.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

BLEAK

Fareed Zakaria paints a scary picture. Unfortunately, this scenario seems all too likely.

Que Sera Lee, watching you self-destruct in last night's Apprentice was tragic:

  1. You picked a terrible team.
  2. You handed Sean an advantage by not forcing the Englishman with 2 women and a Mensa snob to handle a hockey game instead of a Barenaked Ladies concert.
  3. You really looked and sounded like a child in front of your task sponsor and in front of the Donald's lieutenant.
  4. Pepi? Pepi?
  5. Has Lenny contributed anything thus far?

Shout out to Isaac and Bara!

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

RANDOM THOUGHTS

  • Sun Micro should concentrate more on services. They'd make a killing selling their superior stack to IBM shops if they half tried.
  • I officially declare the Iraq intervention a failure. Mind you, I don't think it was a bad idea, but we can't seem to prevent the country from devolving. And no, I don't think the Democrats would have done a better job of it either.
  • I don't see the point of Pontiac. Sure, the Solstice is nice and the G6 coupe is a stunner, but otherwise GM should probably let the division go quietly into the night.
  • By personal experience, Chimney Tuna is Good Eats!

Sunday, May 07, 2006

BY POPULAR DEMAND

The amazing Dancing Basya!

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

TOO MANY COOKS

<geekpost>I read with interest the latest in a spate of flame wars and “informed opinions” regarding the Java IDE brouhaha between the folks who like to code using the Eclipse IDE and those who think that NetBeans is the bee’s knees. (FULL DISCLOSURE: I’m both an Eclipse and a NetBeans user, although I’ve been using NetBeans pretty exclusively as of late.)  In Too Many Cooks Spoils the IDE, Robert Thornton posits that Eclipse’s successful nature is causing it to be a less capable IDE than NetBeans. While there’s some truth to the argument that the confusion of all the Eclipse plugins and such hampers usability, that’s pretty much admitting that Eclipse is a victim of its own success. I don’t hear anyone complaining that Linux’s myriad packages makes it a less appropriate operating system than, say Windows, although the exact same argument can be made. When (says I) the confusion of Eclipse packages and “personalities” (an Eclipse-ism) becomes an overwhelming issue (and I suspect it will, soon) subprojects will form to steer specific personalities into convenient distributions to alleviate the pain of the problem. It’s childish to complain that the phenomenal rate of Eclipse adoption amongst third party tools vendors gives it a distinct disadvantage, although clearly NetBeans’ simplicity and pretty much single-vendor involvement does give it more of a “designed under a single roof” feel. My take on the whole Eclipse vs. NetBeans war? In a nutshell, there’s room for two competing IDE’s but Sun needs to figure out what its value proposition is for its entire app dev and deployment stack is. Giving it all away doesn’t add to the bottom line and whatever strategy they are pursuing isn’t either.</geekpost>

2 QUIET

Two of my frequent reads seem to have gone silent as of yesterday. Benador Associates, a conservative think-tank and enplaned, a blog about the aviation industry both seem to have shut their doors at some point over the weekend. I hope it's only temporary in both cases, but I fear the worst. Sigh.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

FALCON DOWN

SpaceX’s revolutionary inexpensive rocket, the Falcon 1, was lost 25 seconds into its inaugural flight. I got to watch the video feed of the launch and saw the rocket camera roll before losing the feed. Since it was just before the Sabbath, EST, that the launch took place, I had to turn off the computer and couldn’t find out conclusively what happened. Que Sera, although it’s worth noting that all the major rocketry attempts suffered from poor track records at their inception. At 6.7 million a copy, the Falcon is certainly cheap enough to plug on and keep trying. Keep the faith, SpaceX, you'll get there!

Thursday, March 23, 2006

SCOOPED

Was watching Domestic Disturbance the other day (fell asleep & never got through it) with wifey and noticed yet another role in which Steve Buscemi gets bumped off. It’s become his M.O. Been meaning to blog about it. Sure enough, this morning the New York Times beats me to the punch. Read: They Keep Killing Steve Buscemi, but He’s Not Complaining (NYTimes, free registration req’d, will time out after a few days.)

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

ALL YOUR DOG ARE BELONG TO US*

This Popular Science article about “BigDog,” a U.S. Army sponsored, Sherpa-style robot built to accompany soldiers on patrol carrying several hundred pounds of gear is neat. The accompanying video, through, is outrageously cool. You’d think you’re watching some crazy Blue Man Group sketch or something. The legs on this beastie are uncannily human.

*Play on the All Your Base Are Belong To Us internet phenomenon, circa 2001-2002

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

QUICK NOTE

Baby Bayla Golda (after my wife’s great-grandmother) was born Sunday night, March 19 (20 Adar, 5766) Mother, daughter and big sister Basya are all doing great! Ecstasy tinged with chaos reigns for now.

Friday, March 17, 2006

FORTUNATE CIRCUMSTANCE

I wonder if anyone has caught on to the happy circumstance that many of our reservists fighting in Iraq have extensive law enforcement experience. It seems that this type of experience should be quite valuable fighting the “asymmetric” war we seem to be caught up in. Also, David Ingatius comments on our military’s increased competence in executing the war.

Monday, March 13, 2006

WHAT OUR PARENTS KNEW

My father, OB”M, when he would sing to us as children, changed the ending to the song “There was an old lady who swallowed a fly.” Instead of “perhaps she’ll die,” he sang “Perhaps she’ll get sick!” which seemed perfectly natural to me and my siblings when we were little and perfectly hilarious when we got older. As it turns out, my wife’s mother did something similar with “It’s raining, it’s pouring.” Instead of “he went to bed and bumped his head and couldn’t get up in the morning” she sang “he got up late in the morning.” Which I just used as further proof that Lorraine and I were truly meant for each other…

Monday, February 27, 2006

OOH! LET'S WHISPER!

Because that’s what passes for being romantic these days. (At least according to the Bachelor/ette.)

FUNNY: If Microsoft designed the box the iPod came in. (Hat tip: Ned)

Sunday, February 26, 2006

WHAT KIND ARE YOU?

When I break apart a pair of chopsticks I rub together the ends that were attached. Those are the ends that have splinters that can embed in my palm as I eat my food. My wife, on the other hand, sands the eating ends. She claims that it reduces her chance of eating wood. Despite this onerous disagreement, we manage to get along and inhabit the same space amicably. Last night, as we were watching In Her Shoes, Mark Feuerstein’s character broke open a pair of chopsticks and promptly began sanding my way. Triumphantly, I turned to my wife and proclaimed something along the lines of: “Hah!” Fittingly, the very next shot had Toni Collette’s character break open her pair of chopsticks, turn them around, and sand them as my wife would. The debate rages on.

GAY RODEO: I just watched the episode of King of the Hill, “My Own Private Rodeo” where Dale reconciles with his father, Bug, the star of the gay rodeo. Has to be one of the all-time great KOTH episodes, up there with “Aisle 8A.”

OVERHEARD: Heidi Klum’s guest character on Spin City: “We have a saying in Germany: Better to have loved and lost than to engage in a land war with Russia in the winter.”

Thursday, February 09, 2006

LAST CARTOONGATE POST, I PROMISE

While my friend Scott and I agree totally that the correct response to the cartoon controversy is NOT rioting, destruction and death, there is -it appears- more to the story than meets the eye. Andrew Sullivan links to this counterpoint and this interesting fact. Scott led me to this article, by Pat Buchanan (not a man I’m otherwise inclined to agree with,) which casts the cartoons in a more provocative light. It seems clear to me that the recent unrest has been sparked by some pretty nefarious political actors. It also seems that the original publishers of the cartoons are less than innocent, though. What struck me most, though, is how hard one has to dig to fully flesh out the story. Our regular media channels increasingly don't seem to do the important topics justice.

Friday, February 03, 2006

NEWS FLASH: FRENCH SHOW SPINE

I must not draw Muhammed. Read Andrew’s previous post to see the depths of hypocrisy regarding this issue.

PALESTINIAN ELECTION IN RETROSPECT: Taheri, I believe, gets it right.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

RSS AS A SYSTEM SERVICE

This is very cool. Once again, it has taken Microsoft to figure out the potential of an OS-level service for a commonly used internet device.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

NEW BROWSER ON THE BLOCK

The Internet Explorer 7 public beta has been released. First impressions? Slick, though slower than IE6 on equivalent hardware (although that may be due to debug code.) Mainly I see it as a catch-up play to the current browser king, Firefox. Actually, surprising how many Firefox features have been incorporated into IE7.

THE POWER(POINT) OF THE DARK SIDE.

JUST WONDERING...

Am I the only Malibu Maxx owner who actually thinks his car is pretty handsome?

Sunday, January 29, 2006

A THOUGHT...

Why does throwing out old flowers always make me feel a little sad?

Thursday, January 26, 2006

STOP THE PRESSES!

Thomas Lennon, the bookish advertising sidekick to Matthew McConaughey who reminds me of nothing more than a pint-sized, younger Charles Grodin in How to Lose A Guy in 10 Days (not bad) is non other than Lieutenant Jim Dangle!

PALESTINIAN ELECTIONS

While I’m no fan of Hamas, I can certainly understand why they did so well in the Palestinian election. Fatah (the current ruling party) is its own worst enemy. At best inept and at worst (more likely) a criminal enterprise that would make Tony Soprano blush, Fatah has does nothing for its constituents. While the same could be said of the Nazi party and Mussolini’s Fascists –hey, they did make the trains run on time- at least Hamas provides social services, doesn’t have the stink of corruption nor does it have the taint of running things further into the ground (amazingly even possible) that Arafat’s erstwhile party has.

So, here’s to hoping that there’s a silver lining to this dark cloud. It’s been said that nothing tempers a radical group like the requirement to actually govern. This maxim has proven to be patently untrue –as has every other political colloquialism- in the Middle East. Let’s hope (however futile) that the metaphorical Nixon can go to China on this one. (If that’s too obtuse for my readership, let me know & I’ll elaborate.)

UPDATE: This Jerusalem Post columnist makes many of the same points.

Monday, January 23, 2006

WITH HIS HANDS AND HIS FEET

SNL Digital shorts do it again! Young Chuck Norris. Sublimely ridiculous.

EAST COAST VS. WEST COAST: Lazy Monday.

SUBTEXT: Youtube rocks!

FECAL (AND OTHER) MATTERS

I’m not a regular viewer of the Daily Show. As of late my right-leaning tendencies have been at odds with Mr. Stewart’s regular lampooning of the current administration. It’s not that I disagree; I just don’t need to be reminded of our country’s political incompetencies on a regular basis. To be fair, his show is on Comedy Central and not, say, CNN, but my idjit-box time is limited and I’d rather watch pure escapist drivel such as My Name is Earl on the DVR than the quasi-news/comedy shows -no matter how funny or topical. But I digress, the point I started out making is that I’ve been flipping channels and catching Mr. Stewart interviewing –on separate occasions- Former CIA Director James Woolsey and, today, Former Administrator Paul Bremer. Both are pitching books (Funding Evil and My Year in Iraq, respectively.) Both were engaging, witty and enjoyed an excellent rapport with Mr. Stewart. I was impressed by the level of the dialogue and only wished the interviews lasted longer. Way longer.

SIDEBAR: Why can’t my upstairs neighbor get a handle on the physics of toilet use? I’m getting tired of –literally- cleaning up his crap.

NON SEQUITUR: Teller, of Penn and Teller, on an encounter with a Dolphin. (Hat tip: Ned)

Friday, January 20, 2006

THE FUTUR(AMA) LOOKS ROSY

According to Billy West (the voice of Fry, Farnsworth and Zoidberg) Futurama will be back in the form of four full-length movies for DVD release. Woohoo! While I don’t own any of the series DVD’s, I’d definitely ante up for some of these.

The phenomena of DVD sales and alternative channels (read: iTunes video sales)  means that fans of marginally popular shows such as the erstwhile canceled Firefly, Family Guy and now Futurama can have a prospect of new material. It seems the key ingredient (besides quality) is low production and (re)startup costs. Cartoons fit the bill especially well because voice actors get paid a lot less than live-action actors and -well- cartoon characters don’t age. [Plug for a voice talent that I know here.] Mark my words (or any other media pundit, for that matter) the future is in these alternative channels. I’ve always maintained that the real reason George Lucas (AKA the Flannelled One) made the new Star Wars films is to foot the bill for a massive investment in digital filmmaking. Digital filmmaking is key to the future of low-cost, live action productions. Expect to see more of niche shows that have marginal followings on scheduled television slots but make up for the shortfall in the alternative channel.

ALSO: Ashton Kutcher and Amanda Peet deliver surprisingly soulful performances in A Lot Like Love.    

Thursday, January 19, 2006

FOR GEEK EYES ONLY

A technical discussion on BigTable, a homegrown component in Google’s arsenal that helpes make some of the Google Magic happen.

HAT TIP: Ewan Silver

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Serenity

Serenity was good. Real good. The Star Wars prequels should have been half this good, good.

Monday, January 16, 2006

LOOK TO THE SKIES

As of late my infomania has directed its attention to the airline/aerospace industry. Those who know me know that I have always been fascinated by airplanes since an early age and, in fact, had dreams of being an aerospace engineer that were only thwarted by reality and my apparent lack of spatial reasoning ability. In particular, the blog enplaned is a fascinating read on the airplane/airline business. Some salient points that interest me at the moment:

  • The upcoming Boeing 787 Dreamliner, by virtue of its all composite (read: plastic) construction will have a game changing customer experience. Think: panoramic windows (possible due to the higher strength of the fuselage) space-age design flourishes and –most importantly- a higher atmospheric pressure cabin (again, due to the higher strength of the composite fuselage) that will translate into higher cabin humidity levels and the attendant greater comfort and lower incidence of getting sick from the ride. Also, the plane’s efficiency should allow for lower ticket prices overall. I, for one, can’t wait.
  • Contrary to those who look at the mess that is the domestic airline industry and point the finger of blame all the way back to the Carter administration’s deregulation -deregulation has been a good thing. As enplaned points out, the point of the whole exercise was to rescue the consumer. Who can argue that airplane travel has increased exponentially in the past quarter-century or so while inflation-adjusted prices have only gotten lower and lower? The relative health of the European market carriers only points to the looming shakeout they will experience as they deregulate –which is happening in fits and starts- and not the superiority of their business model.
  • The Eclipse 500 VLJ (Very Light Jet) marches on towards getting its expected type certification this year. This plane is another game changer that, when certified, will be mass produced by the thousands. At a measly 1.5 mil a pop for a twinjet that seats 4 and flies from the tiny municipal airports that dot the landscape around this great country of ours, the dream of being able to charter an air taxi for a point to point trip to anywhere for about the price of a business-class seat is about to become a reality. Goto Dayjet or Pogo for reservations… Prediction: if this market takes off, expect Honda to jump in with its own mass-produced VLJ. For now, the market belongs to the aforementioned Eclipse and the Adam 700. Potential fly-in-the-ointment: the FAA’s creaking air-traffic control system may hobble the concept.

As you can tell, I’m juiced about the aerospace business. I firmly believe that aviation and aerospace –with the recent democratization of space access- will be a big growth area in the not too distant future. Credit goes to Rich Karlgaard and an article about Eclipse a few years ago (that I can't find anymore) for my resurgent interest in the field.

DULY NOTED: I've switched my blog posting toolkit to the (free) Blogger for Word add-in. Try it!

Monday, January 02, 2006

KRAZY KARMA

I was just about to post about how the Lazy Sunday, a.k.a. the Chronic...(what?)...cles of Narnia, SNL short has taken on a life of its own on the internet when Newsweek beat me to the punch.

BLUE: In an odd premonition, our Betta, Blue, died last Thursday. Today I learn that Actor Patrick Cranshaw, who played Blue in Old School has passed. "You're my boy, Blue!" RIP.

SHOUT OUT to my "big sister" Wendy in Chitown. Vendela? what's with the guy holding the Beagle? Nu? (asked to the tune of Madonna playing Linda Richman's friend Liz Rosenberg.)

TWO MUSICAL JEWS that live in my 'hood (and pray in my synagogue): Mennu (blog) and Seth.