Friday, January 27, 2006

Quiz Time!

I found the following quiz on James Manning's blog. It is a good thing that I actually was a math major...

You scored as Mathematics. You should be a Math major! Like Pythagoras, you are analytical, rational, and when are always ready to tackle the problem head-on!





























What is your Perfect Major? (PLEASE RATE ME!!<3)
created with

Tuesday, January 24, 2006


Whatever you do, don't call for the nurse...
TOKYO (Reuters) - A Japanese nurse who tried to relieve her work stress by tearing off patients' nails was sentenced Monday to three years and eight months in prison.

Man, that has got to hurt. I recently had a chili making accident that eventually resulted in my having to trim off a nail about half way up. While dicing onions, I managed to slice through a nail to the skin below. I was originally going to just let the injured nail grow out, but then it kept getting snagged on stuff, so I eventually did some home surgery to remove part of the stupid thing...

Anyhow, that was uncomfortable enough. I couldn't imagine sitting there helpless while some nurse used me as stress relief like that... Makes me sort of squirm just thinking about it...

Poll finds surprising optimists - BBC

Poll finds surprising optimists:
A BBC World Service poll finds a stark global divide between countries hopeful and downcast over their economic prospects.

Actually, I don't find the list of optimists all that surprising. Iraq and Afghanistan should be countries where their people are optimistic about the future, given that they were just recently freed from oppressive regimes and are now starting over. If you can't be optimistic then, when can you be?

What I find surprising is some of the pessimists. Take the US for example. Every report I have seen over the last few years has shown a steady improvement in almost very economic indicator. This is what you want. Not a booming economy, but a steadily growing, maintainable economy.

I wonder why the pessimism. Perhaps the administration has not done a good enough job getting its economic message out (I would agree with that). Perhaps we are so jaded that we need to see a booming (but completely false and irrational) economy like what we saw in the late 90's in order to be optimistic. Or perhaps we are just stupid, and use the price of gas as our only economic indicator...

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Music... Just for Fun!

I am working from home today and listening to iTunes on "Party Shuffle". Just for fun, I will use the ecto "Currently listening to" feature to grab the next dozen or so songs that come up, just to share a good cross section of the music I like...

Danny Boy from the album "American IV: The Man Comes Around" by Johnny Cash
Driving With One Hand On The Wheel from the album "Safe And Sound" by Aimee Mann
Love Me Two Times from the album "The Best of the Doors" by The Doors
Savior from the album "Californication" by Red Hot Chili Peppers
One Tree Hill from the album "The Joshua Tree" by U2
Dragula from the album "Hellbilly Deluxe" by Rob Zombie
Waste from the album "Break the Cycle" by Staind
Texas On A Saturday Night from the album "Revolutions Of Time ... The Journey (1975-1993) - Sojourns (Disc 2)" by Mel Tillis And Willie Nelson
Lifestyles Of The Rich And Famous from the album "The Young And The Hopeless" by Good Charlotte
Particle Man from the album "Flood" by They Might Be Giants
Stories for Boys from the album "Boy" by U2
Charlotte from the album "Spit" by Kittie

Well, there you go, a tour of the last dozen tunes in the iTunes party shuffle...

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

German cannibal 'not a murderer'

German cannibal 'not a murderer':
Self-confessed German cannibal Armin Meiwes tells his retrial he never intended to kill his victim.
No. Of course not. He only advertised for someone who wanted to die and be eaten, but he never really intended to do the killing. He just hoped the person would kill themselves. After all, anyone responding to a advertisement to be eaten must be insane...

Give me a break. I thought it was insane when this guy only got eight years to begin with. Hopefully, this prosecution will stick. This is not the type of person that we need running free in the world.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Ministers lose sex offender power

Ministers lose sex offender power:
Ministers are to lose the power to decide if sex offenders can work in schools, the BBC learns.

The sad thing about this is that the reason they are losing this power is because they have made some outstandingly bad decisions. Those bad decisions are easy to spot, too. They simply involve the minister saying "yes"... The other sad thing is that we have the same types of problems here.

Of course, none of this would be a problem if we would leave these sick, sick people where they belong, which is behind bars. There is no good or compelling reason that anyone can come up with that an adult so sexually assaults a child should ever be let out of prison. Period.

I pray that they find the Lord and find forgiveness for their sins. I pray that for all criminals. However, that does not mean that they should escape fair and just punishment. Just as one of the criminals crucified with Christ received divine forgiveness, he still had to face his fair and just punishment. The only fair and just punishment I can think of (that is not banned by the 8th amendment) is to live the rest of their lives behind bars.

Currently listening to - In My Life from the album "American IV: The Man Comes Around" by Johnny Cash

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Turkey Moves to Save Poultry Industry

Turkey Moves to Save Poultry Industry (AP):
AP - Turkey set up a committee Saturday to make urgent recommendations on saving the country's troubled poultry industry after a bird flu outbreak spread to humans, killing three siblings and infecting at least 15 others.

I really have nothing interesting to say about this. I just thought the headline was funny...

Currently listening to - Don't Worry About The Government from the album "Sand In The Vaseline (Disc 1)" by Talking Heads

An Eccentric Politician's On-Screen Escapades

An Eccentric Politician's On-Screen Escapades:
Even some of George Galloway's supporters believe he may have overstepped his own generous mark, appearing on "Celebrity Big Brother."

I particularily liked this quote:

"Good for George Galloway for showing us what politicians are really like. He is a prime example of the self-serving, egotistical idiots who currently sit in the House of Commons. If it were left to me, I'd shove the lot of them in the Big Brother House and I'd throw away the key."

Good idea!

Currently listening to - After Midnight from the album "Crossroads [Disc 2]" by Eric Clapton

Friday, January 13, 2006

Brewers Sign Wise

Wise move: Brewers avoid arbitration, sign reliever:
MILWAUKEE -- Reliever Matt Wise and the Milwaukee Brewers agreed Thursday to a $1.7 million, two-year contract that avoided salary arbitration.

The 30-year-old right-hander made 49 appearances for the Brewers last season, going 4-4 with a 3.36 ERA. He had his first major league save on Aug. 5 at Philadelphia, then went on the disabled list with a strained muscle.

Well, there is another brick in place. Wise is really nothing to get overly excited about, but is also not someone to be upset about. A fairly good solid person in the bullpen.

I see in the article that Toma Ohka is still eligible for arbitration. I am not really sold on him. When he is on, he is lights out, but when he is off, he is horrible. That can be said for a lot of pitchers. The problem with Ohka is he seems to be about 50-50 between the two extremes.

Thursday, January 12, 2006


Miller Apologizes for Comments About Skiing and Drinking

Under pressure from the International Ski Federation and the United States Ski Team a month before the start of the Winter Olympics, Bode Miller apologized today for comments he made that suggested he had skied under the influence of alcohol. Miller Apologizes for Comments About Skiing and Drinking.

I am having a really hard time believing this is a sincere apology. It must suck to lose to someone who was not really completely "up to snuff" on the slopes...

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Worst Product Name, Ever...

OK. Maybe this post will reveal too much about how my brain works, but here goes.

Last night, I was watching House. A commercial for Papa John's Pizza came on and it mentioned their "Very Berry" pizza dessert thing. That reminded me that when I was younger one of the cereal manufacturers came out with a "Berry Berry" flavor of their cereal (Berry Berry Kix, or something like that). Which also got me thinking, what kind of a moron names a cereal after a disease that is caused by malnutrition?

So there you go. Today's insight into the odd workings of my brain...

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Good Choice for JotW

One of the podcasts that I listen to is called Bleacher Guy Radio. Each week, they name a new "Jackass of the Week". Usually, this is someone in the sports world who does something particularly stupid or despicable. This past week, they named Marcus Vick, who has to be one of the biggest idiots of all time, for that "honor". This guy takes "Jackass" to a whole new level...

Monday, January 09, 2006

Reaching Out Properly...

There are a few quotes in the linked article that I take issue with. However, for the most part, I think they are on the right track.

'Shake it out for Jesus': Churches co-opt hip-hop:
Often known for its misogynistic lyrics and glorification of violence, rap music is moving in a spiritual direction.

There are really two topic threads in the linked article. Can hip-hop work in the church to reach a younger generation? And, can hip-hop with positive lyrics actually sell?

On the first question, I think the answer is a resounding yes. The churches mentioned are reaching out in the right way. Our church, like many, has failed in this regard. Sure, we have added a "contemporary" service to attempt to reach out. However, this service is really just the same thing as our regular service with a PowerPoint presentation and crappy "adult contemporary" music replacing the organ. It may reach out to some 40 year olds who are sick of "traditional" services, but I fail to see how it reaches any of the teens to early 20's crowd.

Now, can positive hip-hop sell? I believe there is a market out there for it. The problem is getting the lug heads in the industry to actually play the stuff on the radio. Radio play is still the way that you get a lot of people to open their ears to a certain sound or a certain message. Radio somewhat reacts to trends, but it also somewhat creates the trends. I am no expert on how you go about getting that done, but I think there is a market out there to take advantage of it if someone could figure out how to get some air play for more positive messages.

Proof? I will just look to music I know more about. Modern Rock. Bands like Evenescence, POD, and Flyleaf all have a positive, or even Christian message, and all have found a market and are doing well in an arena that often deals solely with angst and depression.

Belafonte Calls Bush 'Greatest Terrorist' (AP)

Yet more proof that Harry Belafonte's cheese has slipped off his cracker...

Belafonte Calls Bush 'Greatest Terrorist' (AP):
AP - The American singer and activist Harry Belafonte called President Bush "the greatest terrorist in the world" on Sunday and said millions of Americans support the socialist revolution of Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Appropriate Level of Intensity

I think it is because of the sloppy play, over-abundance of yellow flags, and preponderance of stupid pointless and silly celebrations that I have had waning interest in football over the last few years. This last season seems to have been particularly boring, but that may just be due to the fact that the Packers totally sucked ass.

All of that said, I am currently watching the Cincinnati vs Pittsburgh game. The level of hatred that the Bengal's fans have towards the Steelers is a thing of beauty to start with. Then early in the game, the Steelers knocked the Bengal's QB out of the game. This just feeds their hatred. The players are all on edge and have been on the brink of fighting after several plays. On top of that, the game is still pretty close (0 - 3 as I type, but the Bengal's are driving).

The fans are in to it. The players are in to it. This game has a level of intensity that I would like to see more of in football. This is exciting to watch, even though I don't particularly care who wins.

Milwaukee Admirals Game

Last night, Lisa and I went to see the Milwaukee Admirals play against the Omaha Knights. It was a fun night.

The night started with dinner at Buck Bradley's. This was our first time to this bar. It is an old bar on a street full of historic buildings, and is very nice. The bar keeps a lot of its historic charm on the inside. The beer selection is great, and the food is very good. I had a rueben, a cup of chili, and two tappers of Guinness. Lisa had a BBQ chicken sandwich, a cup of the soup of the day, and a Sprecher root beer.

After dinner, we walked over to the Bradley Center for the hockey game. The first period, the Admirals did not look that great. On offense, they couldn't keep the puck in the zone, and they weren't really making any shots on goal. Things on defense were not that much better. The Knights actually were able to keep the puck in the zone, and were able to make a lot of shots on goal. The Admirals goalie really kept them in the game the first period, saving each shot on goal. A few good hard body checks started to get the Admirals fired up, and tightened up, and with just under a minute or two left in the period, they scored the first goal of the game.

First period break had some pee-wee hockey. Very cute!

For the second and third periods, the Admirals were back in the game. The were playing much tighter. The ended up scoring a power-play goal, but then gave up a power-play goal to the Knights. With less than two minutes left, the Knights pulled their goalie, leading to an empty net goal for the Admirals. Final score: 3-1 in favor of the Admirals.

With hockey, there is often a fight or two. Last night, there were two. The first one was a dud, with the two guys squaring off for quite some time before a punch was even thrown, and then they weren't even thrown that hard. Lame! For the second fight, an Admiral checked a Knight hard into the boards and it looked like he may have elbowed him in the head in the process. The crybaby Knight took offense to that and came out swinging. This one quickly ended up being a good old fashion face punching where two guys grab each other and start pounding on each others heads for a while. Great fun! The Knight player was bloodied up a bit, and got a nice sound harassing from the crowd when his ugly bloody mug was put on the screen.

All in all, it was a good game (at least after the sloppy play of the first period). We had a good night.

Currently listening to - Deliver Me from the album "Beneath...Between...Beyond..." by Static-X

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Helped Dad on the 40 Ford Today

I got a chance to help my dad work on the cars today. This is the first time in a long time that I was able to get out there and help him. We worked on the 1940 Ford. First we finished mounting the seat belts. Then we worked on the air conditioning.

Dad had already gotten a lot of the air conditioning setup. The compressor and evaporator are both mounted. He also has the AC unit mounted under the dash inside the car. The hoses were run, but we don't have them crimped yet or anything. We marked up the hoses, and them took them back out so we could get them crimped up. Then we mounted the front grill and re-mounted the radiator and tightened everything up. All in all, it was a fairly productive few hours of work.

Bryan Adams to perform at quake concert in Pakistan

Bryan Adams to perform at quake concert in Pakistan:

Canadian pop singer Bryan Adams is to perform at a fundraising concert for quake victims this month in Karachi, becoming the first Western pop star to play in Pakistan since the start of the "war on terror," organisers said.

Some 20,000 people are expected to attend the concert planned at the huge Arabian City club on the outskirts of Karachi, Iqbal said. He did not give any date for the show.

This is also the first time since about 1989 that Bryan Adams will be playing for a crowd larger than about 1000... OK, there was that time he played in The Wall at the Berlin Wall site, but those folks were not there to see him (or the Scorpions (though that at least made since, Berlin being in Germany and all), or any other washed up act that was included...)

Adams, who is also popular among the educated Pakistani youth, had planned to visit Pakistan before the September 11 attacks but cancelled the trip after the attacks.

Well, they can't be all that educated if they are in to Bryan Adams...

Blue Jays ship Koskie to Brewers

Blue Jays ship Koskie to Brewers:

Third baseman Corey Koskie was traded by the Toronto Blue Jays to the Milwaukee Brewers on Friday night for minor league pitcher Brian Wolfe.

On the surface, this looks like a pretty good trade. The Brewers are weak in the hot corner, and they aren't really giving up much to make that corner stronger. IIRC, Koskie played well when he was with the Twins. We'll have to see how this one works out...

Friday, January 06, 2006

More Tools

A while back, I created a post about some of the tools that I have found to be useful. However, these tools were mostly Firefox extensions. There are basically two big problems with these types of tools. First off, Firefox is not really a Mac OS X native browser. Many of the usual Mac OS services just don't work with it. Second, a lot of these extensions are kind of clumsy. Thus, I am reviewing other tools.

ecto is a full featured desktop blogging client for Mac OS X and Windows. Obviously, I am trying out the Mac OS X version. I am using it to create this post. It has a 21 demo. If I like it, I will pony up the measly $17.95 for it. So far, it seems like a very nice tool.

Pulp Fiction is actually a tool that I have been using a registered copy of for quite some time, but I stopped using it for a while to try some other tools. It is a very nice RSS reader, and I am going back to using it full time. If you are looking for a good RSS reader, and are a Mac user, I would suggest checking it out.

Currently listening to - City of Blinding Lights from the album "How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb" by U2

I Won't be Switching

In his keynote address opening the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Bill Gates highlighted some of the "features" that will be in Vista.

such as a built-in photo editor that can quickly touch up digital photos before they can be shared—also maintaining an original should a user want to go back.

Can anyone say "iPhoto"? Its been shipping with all new Macs for years.

The photo editing and search features are combined in what Microsoft calls Memories, which allows a user to archive and then find photos and videos, searching by date, tags or keywords, the executives said.

Sounds a lot like some of the capabilities of "Spotlight" to me.

These nifty little features are neat, and some of them probably leap-frog what Apple currently has on the Macs. Of course, a lot of them are currently attainable through third party tools. However, lack of consumer features isn't really Microsoft's biggest problem. What Microsoft really needs to work on is security. It is simply way too easy for anyone to accidently get a virus, or ad-ware, or spy-ware, or other such mal-ware on to a Windows machine. I don't really have that problem with my Macs or with my Linux machine. Partially, the Macs and Linux box are protected by being less of a target. However, they are also protected architecturally by being a harder target to attack, especially the Macs.

Of course, even if MS did do more to secure their OS, I still wouldn't switch. Just based on user experience alone, going from a Mac to a Windows machine would be like going from a BMW to an entry level Ford. Still, since I am forced to use a Windows machine at work, I sure would like to see them do more in the security arena and less in the "flash and glitz" arena.

Currently listening to - Burning Inside from the album "The Mind Is A Terrible Thing To Taste" by Ministry

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Not the Right Way to Start a New Year

On the way to church on Sunday, we saw that the whole block of 3rd street just south of Main St. was blocked off with yellow crime scene tape. Seemed rather odd in this little town. While we do have a problem here and there, we don't really have that much crime in these parts, at least not the type that involves shutting a street down.

As it turns out, some idiot ran down his wife. Not exactly what one would call "getting the new year off on the right foot."

I Need a Drink!

According to a recent study, raising taxes on alcohol does not necessarily lead to reduced consumption, and in some cases may actually increase consumption. According to the study, if a "price increase" (that is, a tax) is even across the board, consumption is lowered slightly, and if the tax is weighted towards the lower end drinks, consumption is lowered even more. However, if the tax is weighted towards more expensive alcohol, consumption actually rises. Their suggestion? Target taxes at lower end drinks.

They said targeting cheaper drinks would be better than price rises across the board.

I have a better suggestion. Forget the tax. Let people drink if they want. It is really none of the government's business. It is not government's role to engage in such social engineering.

But the period has also seen a rise in alcohol consumption and alcohol-related deaths - more than 6,500 people die each year from conditions such as liver disease and alcohol poisoning.

Such problems are certainly a consequence of drinking. However, they are consequences that the person choosing to drink can determine if they want to accept. The corollary to that is that they are also a consequence that the drinker should expect to pay for themselves. If we truly want freedom from governmental social engineering attempts, we also have to take responsibility for our own actions, and not expect government to pay for our liver treatments and rehab.

This should apply equally to all sorts of dangerous activities. The argument often used to tax tobacco, or alcohol, or ban pot, or this that or the next thing is that it ends up costing the government a lot of money in medical expenses and such. That is a valid concern. However, the solution is not some sort of stupid social engineering. Rather, the solution is to make people pay for their own bad decisions rather than making the tax payers pay.

Kolb is Back!

Adding Dan Kolb as a setup man for Turnbow is a big step in the right direction. With the exception of Turnbow, the Brewers' bullped was pretty weak last year. This is good news ideed. For the first time in a long time, the Brewers are actually moving in the right direction in the off season.