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    Tuesday, May 31, 2005

    Memorial Day

    Just in case that people were under the conclusion that Memorial Day was only about cookouts, the unofficial beginning of summer, and whatnot, I wanted to post a link to this.
    Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation's service. There are many stories as to its actual beginnings, with over two dozen cities and towns laying claim to being the birthplace of Memorial Day. There is also evidence that organized women's groups in the South were decorating graves before the end of the Civil War: a hymn published in 1867, "Kneel Where Our Loves are Sleeping" by Nella L. Sweet carried the dedication "To The Ladies of the South who are Decorating the Graves of the Confederate Dead" (Source: Duke University's Historic American Sheet Music, 1850-1920). While Waterloo N.Y. was officially declared the birthplace of Memorial Day by President Lyndon Johnson in May 1966, it's difficult to prove conclusively the origins of the day. It is more likely that it had many separate beginnings; each of those towns and every planned or spontaneous gathering of people to honor the war dead in the 1860's tapped into the general human need to honor our dead, each contributed honorably to the growing movement that culminated in Gen Logan giving his official proclamation in 1868. It is not important who was the very first, what is important is that Memorial Day was established. Memorial Day is not about division. It is about reconciliation; it is about coming together to honor those who gave their all.
    (Bolded emphasis mine, this link provided by Armando at Daily Kos)
    Here's a bit more on Memorial Day.
    Years ago, while I lived in Washington DC, we actually did a tourist thing and went to see the Arlington Cemetery.  To say that it was merely moving would be an understatement of the greatest order.  It was PROFOUND.  The point is, on Memorial Day more than any other day, a person should take personal stock of exactly how much was lost simply so that they could live in these United States.  Through bad wars, good wars, any wars, period, if you are a citizen of the U.S., you should never forget the losses that millions of people have endured so that you could do things that you might just take for granted.  Much, much love out to the armed forces yesterday, today, and, hopefully, tomorrow.
    No commentary on Iraq, today.  The pundits and politicans can deal with that.  But I'd like my brothers, sisters, fathers, mothers, daughters and sons safe as they can be, post-haste if you don't mind, dammit.


    Friday, May 27, 2005

    Ever So Closer... to The Moon....

    This is great news, for some extremely lucky sap.
     A winning bottle of 7UP or affiliated beverage contains a prize good for a trip to space on a private suborbital vehicle.
    Via The Directory of Wonderful Things (who got it from Fark - how I missed that I have no idea.  How disappointing.)
    More on this very cool development from the actual article on MSNBC:
    When SpaceShipOne won the Ansari X Prize last October, the marketers behind the Diet 7UP soft drink said they would give away the "first free ticket to space" — and this week, the contest has begun.

    To take part in the promotion, you go to (actually, a linked Web site) and enter 15-character codes that are printed on a variety of 7UP, Sunkist, A&W Root Beer and Canada Dry bottle caps and 12-packs, sometime between now and Sept. 15.

    Just to add a little meat to this PARTICULAR contest - another development from this week:
    NASA has offered a $250,000 prize to any scientist who discovers a way of extracting breathable oxygen from moondust...To claim the MoonROx prize, scientists must develop and demonstrate hardware capable of extracting at least five kilograms of breathable oxygen from a simulated lunar soil made from volcanic ash in an eight-hour period.
    From CNN.
    What does all of this mean? 
    Put it together.
    One small step for a man, one giant step closer to moving the family and I to the moon and creating my Moon Empire. 
    I've gotta get to work on my O2 extraction techniques... and drinking a lot of Sunkist while I do it.


    Wednesday, May 25, 2005

    Ever Wanted to Destroy the World?

    Here is a handy list of the Top 10 methods.  Via Sploid, which means by the time that you get there to check out the headline, it will probably be gone.  Boy.  You ever have one of those Wednesdays?

    Update! Ken Layne, who's over at Sploid, sent me a handy permalink to this headline, which you can find here. Thanks, Ken! I'm so awed that you're paying attention (in part because you are clearly cooler than me).

    Gahh! iPod Geek Alert!

    Winamp 5 plugin Ml_iPod bypasses iTunes and lets you sync and manage songs on your iPod.

    Ml_iPod unlocks iTunes restrictions and lets you copy songs from an iPod to your computer's hard drive, sync multiple iPods with Winamp and it works on Windows 98 (which iTunes does not).

    Arrrgh!  Wired News has more on this friggin thing, which I can only pray Apple hasn't found out about yet. 
    'Cuse me.  Gotta go.


    Update! The link for this bad boy is located at . Hurry, man! Hurry!

    Rock And Roll

    Stunningly to all, I'm sure, I do have friends that aren't nearly as geeky as I am.
    Some of those guys happen to have a band... and a fairly successful regional band, at that.  This may take away from my geekpoints, but the band, Rexway, is headlining a live show at Herman's Hideaway in Denver on June 10th.
    More shocks abound.  They are up for a local award.  You can vote for them here.  Naturally, you can also buy their album on Amazon.  Support local music, people!
    One more thing.
    This person should probably win American Idol tonight.  The only question is: will their musical career ever recover?  I mean, they had plenty of street cred BEFORE they hit Fox TV....

    Monday, May 23, 2005

    Not A Star Wars Movie Post

    Over at, a couple of critics have posted a non-ranked (cowards!) list of the 100 Greatest Movies of All Time
    Of course, we all know that a list like this is designed to create discussion, or, if we don't already know that, we should.  But the quibbles:
    1.  Where the hell is the movie Alien?  If you're going to include 1986's The Fly on the list , which is a very good movie, indeed, how can you forget about Alien, which was one the most influential movies of its genre?  And don't get me started on this flick.
    2.  Are you really telling me that NO movies by John Carpenter are good enough to be in the top 100?
    3.  The Unforgiven was a great movie, especially for a western, but let's be honest, Silverado was better.  Really it was.
    My Top Five List, ranked, 'cause that's the way I roll:
    1.  The Godfather I.
    2.  Casablanca.
    3.  Raiders of the Lost Ark.
    4.  It's a Wonderful Life.  (yeah, I know.  I'm an old softie at heart).
    5.  The Godfather II.
    By the way, go see Star Wars - Revenge of the Sith, not just because it's a cultural phenomenon, but because it's really a damn good movie and you'll probably enjoy it.  I did.  Then, after you've had time to digest the whole thing, go read this, and wonder... hey, what exactly is George Lucas trying to say?

    Friday, May 20, 2005

    Answer This Question Before The Earth Explodes

    If some horrible cthuloid elder god manifested itself in our time stream and erased the existence of the band Sisters of Mercy from our collective memories, and you were the only one whose knowledge of them remained, would you have a problem with that?
    Thanks, T-Bone.

    Social Insecurity

    I haven't said a heck of a lot about Social Security.  For one thing, I really don't consider this a political blog so much, and also because even though I have a background in Economics, I don't have a background in Social Security Economics, so much.  A lot of people know a lot more about Social Security than I.  I simply have attempted reading up a lot on the issue and making up my mind.
    I had a couple of thoughts coming into the debate - first, that I'm pretty sure that I don't want to lose benefits in the future or present (duh), and second, additional human resources tossed into the Social Security equation will eventually cost bunches more money in some fashion.  By greed or graft, I'm sure.
    All that being said, though, I think that maybe the way Atrios puts a couple of the salient issues might sum it up for me:
    1. The administration's Social Security gurus shove Bush out there with talking points saying that we need to act now to pass the Bush plan, because starting in 2017 Social Security will start taking resources away from the rest of the government and that's a very bad thing--and then they roll out a plan in which Social Security starts taking resources away from the rest of the government in 2011.

    2. The administration's Social Security gurus shove Bush out there with talking points saying that passing the Bush plan is essential because if we don't the Social Security trust fund balance will hit zero in 2041, and big benefit cuts will then be necessary--and then they roll out a plan in which the Social Security trust fund balance hits zero in 2030.

    3. The administration's Social Security gurus shove Bush out there with talking points about the importance of restoring actuarial balance to Social Security--and then they roll out a plan which closes less than a third of the 75-year funding gap (and refuse to specify the plan in sufficient detail to allow anyone to do a longer-run analysis).
    Naturally, your mileage may vary.



    Wednesday, May 18, 2005

    There's Something Else to Say

    Most of you don't know anything about my relationship with Rachel, so I suppose that I should say something.
    Rachel came into my life totally as the result of a fluke.  Mainly, I bumped into her somewhere.  Then, after we met, then I waited three days (as per the classic Male rule) and called her, and dammit, she sure sounded interesting.  She had a daughter from a previous relationship.  She had a painfully odd work schedule that basically would require her to leave the house at 4 in the morning, which meant that I would have to make BIG allowances.  She was much, much more religious than me.  She also had an odd history, as if she had made decisions in the past of a dubious nature.  I didn't care about any of these things.  I considered all of it part of the territory. 
    I was in love with her in less than two weeks. 
    She starting moving herself and her daughter into my house almost immediately following that.
    Things moved quickly after that.
    And then, by a miracle that I honestly can't even understand, Rachel was pregnant with Grace. Egads.
    Then the real stress began.
    Remember, I was a bachelor for basically my whole life.  Suddenly, I was a father with two kids.  Yikes.  So, I spent a couple of months digesting that.  Those were not good months.
    Then, one day, I just woke up, and I felt good about it.  I decided simply that I wanted my legacy to be The best possilble Dad that I could be.  Then, Rachel's work schedule changed into this blissful thing where she would only be required to work for three days a week.  It was a brief but wonderful Golden Age for our family.
    But, right when I thought that I had it all together, I committed a silly act - I went out with my single friends, and instead of going home to my family, I stayed with the friends and did not contact her.  It was very, very stupid.  I admitted that enormous error.  Unfortunately, my apologies were not enough.  She made ultimatums, and really, I do not take ultimatums well.  So, when friends and family said to me "You have to leave her" I had to listen.
    I do not want to let her go.  I don't want to break up our family.
    However, I will, since it's obviously necessary.  Perhaps we simply need a break.  Perhaps this is something that we can eventually get through.  Maybe though, the exact opposite is true.  It is impossible to say today one way or the other.
    But this I do know.
    Today, May 18th, 2005, I am absolutely sad.  I am sad on a level that I previously thought impossible. 
    Let's hope tomorrow is better. 
    I suspect that it will be.

    Letter To My Family

    There are moments that occur in everyone's lives where they make mistakes.  Sometimes, these mistakes can blossom into things that no one can control.  Things explode, words are said, and things cannot be taken back.  Why do I say this?  Well, because over the last several days, it's become increasingly obvious that the woman that I had wanted to marry does not really want to marry me.  All that I can do is leave.
    To Grace:  I love you, baby.  You are the best thing that ever happened to me, ever.  I will continue to be a part of your life, somehow.
    To Noelle:  I accept you.  I am sorry that you have to face this, and I hate that you have now had to lose two Daddies, since I basically took over as the Daddy for the last two and a half years.  I am so sorry.
    To Rachel: I honestly would have done anything for you, my love.  I am sorry this is the way that it has to be right now.  You are, and were, the best woman that I feel that I have ever been with, period.  I will think of you fondly but with great remorse that we could not work it out.

    Friday, May 13, 2005

    It's Friday the 13th!

    Friday the 13th is a bonus.  I consider them to generally be good luck.
    But, let's see how my iPod is treating me today - hopefully that will tell the TRUE.  To continue the meme:
    1.  Sacrifice - Elton John
    2.  Streetlight Serenade (To No One) - Bouncing Souls
    3.  Friday Night (Hundred Dollar Bill) - G Love and Special Sauce
    4.  Corner Stone - Bob Marley and the Wailers
    5.  Higher - Creed
    6.  Flamenco Sketches (Alternate Take) - Miles Davis
    7.  We'll Be Together - Sting
    8.  All Mixed Up - 311
    9.  Madman Across The Water - Elton John
    10.  Temptation - New Order
    You know, I really don't know what to say about that mix.  It has absolutely no theme whatsoever. 
    Leave yours in the comments.
    By the way, if you're an acid jazz/trip hop type fan, you should give this CD a shot.  I love DJ Mark Farina, at least what I've heard so far, especially on a Friday.

    Robots Are Cool. Not As Cool As Kung Fu, But Still Pretty Cool

    I am a geek.  One of my responsibilities as a geek is, when I see really, really sweet geek things, those things must be blogged.

    One of the dreams of both science fiction writers and practical robot builders has been realized, at least on a simple level: Cornell University researchers have created a machine that can build copies of itself.

    Hat tip to Jefe.
    Full story of this is noted here.  Video of this pretty damn cool thing is here
    That's reproducing robots, people.
    That's pretty friggin hot. 
    I had a chance to go to Cornell U. back in the day.  Stories like this make me wish that I had.

    Tuesday, May 10, 2005

    The Horror. The HORROR.

    Kids!  Had enough of education, social interaction, reading, or similar intellectual pursuits?
    Try this.
    Or this.
    Or, God help us all, this.
    Who needs brain cells?  They make television virtually unwatchable.

    Monday, May 09, 2005

    But Where In The World Is Carmen Sandiego?!

    I mean it.  Where is she?  You know, I kinda dug that cartoon when I was a kid.  Didn't hold a candle to this sweet toon, but it was still pretty damn good.
    Here's an excellent way to learn something about US Geography.  Crossposted from Boing Boing.
    Stunningly, in the "Place the State" game on the Intermediate Level, I managed to be spot on for my state placement 96% of the time with an average miss of, like, 10 miles.  This confuses me because both me and my sig other both know that I'm really not that smart.  All this could possibly mean is that the game is somehow rigged in my favor.  Go play it and see if it's rigged for you too.

    RSS Joy

    Gazing over at Lifehacker, I noticed this little gem.
    Speaking of things to do with RSS, I need RSS for my site.  Not that I've been a posting God lately, but I intend to be.  A friend showed me a website to get some info at one point, but I lost it.  If anyone has good suggestions on RSS, Atom, and the like, please feel free to help a brotha out.

    Mother's Day

    I haven't had too much of a chance to blog lately.  My mother was in town, and you can be assured that she dominated my time, blogging or otherwise, while she was here.  More on that later. 
    However, as a bonus, I'll leave you with some classic humor.  I won't mention who this classic comic was based on, but I'm hoping that by not mentioning his name I'll be able to avoid too much scrutiny.   And so, without too much further comment:
    Ah.  Lovecraftian goodness.  Mondays.  So nice.

    Tuesday, May 03, 2005

    Organize Thyself

    Here's something cool, maybe.

    Backpack is 37Signals's latest project -- a Web-based personal information manager that makes it easy to create projects, break them down into steps, and then track each step. Because it's Web-based, it's well suited to communicating and collaborating with other people, sharing tasks and status-messages, The whole thing syndicates as XML, streaming updates into your RSS reader or to your phone. It synchs with iCal and thence to your handheld PIM.

    Via The Directory Of Wonderful Things.

    I say try it. Me, I love gadgets. But for some reason that I can't understand, I can't quite bring myself to buy a PDA. Maybe if this blogging thing takes off, I'll turn into one of those guys that blogs in a coffeeshop in a geek-chic or hipster outfit, and when someone says something around me that I find personally offensive, I can turn to them, scowl, and stir my coffee (black) at them vigorously.

    Nah, not me.

    Instead, here's a picture of Katie Holmes
    without that one guy.

    Addictive Time Wasters, Part I

    This particular quiz I found painfully addictive.  God help me, now I have Dead Or Alive stuck in my head. 

    Sunday, May 01, 2005

    First Day of May

    First day of May
    Things are beginning
    Our side is winning
    Hip hip hooray.

    - James Taylor

    Hooray, hooray,
    First of May,
    Outdoor f*cking,
    Begins today.

    - Anonymous

    Harumph. None of that fun stuff happening in this town.
    It may be snowing outside my door right this moment, but I really, really love Colorado. For my money, it's one of the best big cities (if you want to really call it that) in America. Certainly it's one of the best if not the best NOT on a coast. But for now, cover your tomatoes. I did.

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