December 13, 2008
So, being the parent of a 16-month old extremely active boy can be a bit difficult. I always said that I wouldn’t use TV as a babysitter, but to some extent the new shows are a lot better than the old Tom & Jerry and Mighty Mouse I grew up with. Given how much Wyatt loves us reading to him, I’m not worried about him watching a lot of TV.
The Wiggles has been a godsend. It’s musical, it’s fun, and sometimes Joanna and I find ourselves getting sucked into it. But it recently had a change. A while back, the main guy who started it, Greg Page, had health problems and had to turn over his spot to a new person. The new episodes have just started showing up on Disney. And they suck!
Not only is it so hokey that Joanna and I can’t watch it any more, Wyatt doesn’t care about it any longer. It has completely jumped the shark…
So now it’s Higglytown Heroes, Baby Einstein, etc.
And yes, for those of you who know me personally — this really is what my life has become!
June 24, 2008
As a comedy buff (my XM radio is regularly set to channel 150), yesterday’s news of George Carlin’s passing was not a happy day. Carlin had a knack for taking ordinary parts of life and simply looking from them from an outside perspective, only to show how absurd and funny we all are.
It’s only fitting, then, to post one of his later bits, about our response to the death of friends and family.
Thank you, George. You will be missed.
February 5, 2008
Well, I just found something new. What would you say if you could have a completely customized radio station, that played only the music you selected and other music similar to that? What if that station, unlike something like iTunes, still kept you up to date with new releases and introduced you to new artists that are your kind of music?
Well, it sounds like a pipe dream to most. Yet I just found a site last night that fits all those requirements. Pandora is a free internet radio station that is customized to a listener. Tell them you like an artist, and they’ll play music from that artist and those like him/her. Add a few artists together, and you can have a station that plays your favorite styles of music, with a self-correcting feature that allows you to rate music you like and don’t like to refine your selections.
It’s powered by a group called the Music Genome Project, musicians who rate music based on a wide number of factors about the type, style, vocals, instruments, beat, etc present in the tune. From this and some software algorithms, they are able to link artists together based on those factors and help listeners find new artists.
For most radio listeners, this isn’t a big issue. If you’re a “Top 40″ type, you have no trouble finding music like what you already listen to, because it’s blared out on every third FM station, in the mall, in movies, and everywhere else. For someone with more eclectic tastes like me, though, it’s a lot more difficult. I’ve tried to look through amazon.com’s recommendations, but they don’t give you the opportunity to really evaluate an artist by listening to them for a while. Pandora allows me to do that.
For example, I’m a big fan of the sort of folk/blues genre. An artist that I’ve listened to quite a bit over the last few years, simply after hearing one of his songs on an acoustic compilation, is Chris Whitley. I own a few of his albums, but had no way to really found other music like his, until now. Today at work I put his name into Pandora, and over a couple of hours, had found a few potential artists and songs to pick up on iTunes.
I have a feeling that over the next few weeks, I’m going to become a lot more familiar with the workings of Pandora. After all, if a radio station where I’m the general manager fails to satisfy me, I have nobody to blame but me!
Hat Tip: Atlas Blogged
And for those of you who haven’t heard of Chris Whitley, here is the song that I first heard that got me listening to him:
July 22, 2007
Britney Spears has apparently joined the trend of buying Yorkshire Terriers, a trend which I* spotted years ago when I purchased mine.
Of course, in an attempt to show that she actually understands what nation these dogs are typically associated with, she named the dog “London”. I don’t know if anyone bothered to explain to her that London and Yorkshire are two completely different cities, about 200 miles apart? It’s like going to someone’s house where they want to impress you and serve steak, but give you Kraft Mac ‘n Cheese as a side dish…
Besides, I don’t think Britney’s dog could ever be as cute as Guinness anyway…
* By saying “I” spotted the trend, I’m taking credit for my wife, who actually knows and cares about trends… If it had been my choice, I’d probably have gone down to the pound and picked up a mutt…
July 11, 2007
James Hetfield, lead-singer of Metallica, learned this week that the UK’s Luton airport was not on his list of places he can roam freely. Sad but true, Hetfield was detained due to his “Taliban-like beard” making officials nervous. One wonders if the rock star felt like an outlaw torn or just another victim of the master of puppets, big brother government. But for his devil’s dance, quickly explaining to the officials that he was a rock star, and not a terrorist, Hetfield may have felt a bit … I don’t know … minus human? Though Hetfield escaped relatively unscathed, nay more a hero of the day, I have no doubt that the memory of his detiainment will remain though nothing else matters.
Let this be a lesson: in the land of wolf and man, the bell tolls for us all … until the-thing-that-should-not-be sleeps, that is.
I’d warn those governments about Hetfield, though… He’s been known to fight fire with fire, and may leave you blackened.
June 27, 2007
…I hate it when that happens!
Japanese eating champion Takeru Kobayashi is being treated for an arthritic jaw that could douse his hopes for taking a seventh straight title at the annual Independence Day hot dog eating competition on Coney Island.
Last year, the 165-pound (75-kilogram) champion won his sixth straight Yellow Mustard Belt at the Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating Contest by devouring a then-world record 53 3/4 frankfurters in 12 minutes.
A California man broke the record earlier this month by chomping down more than 59 franks in 12 minutes.
But earlier this week, Kobayashi, 29, said on his Web site blog that his “jaw has abandoned the frontline” during his training for this year’s July 4 event.
“Already I can’t open my jaws more than just a little bit,” he wrote. “There’s no pain only if I open my mouth about enough for one finger. More than that is painful and I can’t open it.”
A specialist diagnosed him with arthritis of the jaw, he wrote.
Kobayashi, you must compete! The world needs you!
I think I saw this on an episode of Heroes at one point…
Eat the hot dogs, save the world.
Below The Beltway linked with Not Sure If This Qualifies As A Sports Related Injury
June 9, 2007
I don’t care for Paris Hilton. In fact, whether or not she goes to jail means nothing to me. I’m not even going to use it as an excuse to argue about the validity of DUI laws or the travesties of our justice system. I wish this whole sordid detail would be relegated to the E! channel and the metro section of the paper, not CNN and the front page.
However, I am an opportunist, and I will gladly and shamelessly self-promote anything which might make me a buck. So head on over to my wife’s cafepress store and buy stuff!
The shirts (front & back, multiple shirt styles):
And in true Paris Hilton fashion, a dog shirt and trucker hat…
If you like it, give me a mention at your blog (linking specifically to here, of course)…
May 7, 2007
So the Hinder song, “Lips of an Angel”, has finally worn out its airplay, and not a minute too soon. It’s a song about some forlorn lover who pines for his ex while his current is in the next room. I never liked it. What a punk. But Hinder hasn’t exactly gone away, as I’ve been hearing their latest single, “Better Than Me”, far too often. Pining again about his ex, with the point of the song that deserves someone better than him in the first place. But I guess if he has a habit of pining for his ex while with his current, his current probably deserves someone much better than him too.
But something even beyond the songs themselves get on my nerves. His voice is like the current rock voice writ large. Most of today’s singers have a bit of rasp in there, but this guy sounds like someone took a rusty metal file to his vocal chords. And while that’s bad, that’s not the half of it. He combines that with a certain whiny self-pity in his voice that is just disgusting. How can you rasp like you’re a rocker while you’re whining like a baby about how unfair it is your ex left. I can’t take it…
Like I said before, I’m not quite sure if this qualifies as “emo”. Which, since I don’t understand emo, I think I’m going to stop calling it “emo punk” and start calling it “Elmo punk”. ‘Cause that little furry bastard is just about as annoying.
April 20, 2007
Last night I was listening to XM Radio online, Channel 47 (Ethel). This was while I was reading, so it was probably already well after midnight. I heard a little promo (they don’t have commercials, but they do occasionally have segues), and it took my attention away from the book.
Ethel Channel 47: Delightful tunes, even if you’re stoned.
All of a sudden the statist brainwashing I got in public schools kicked in… “Are they really allowed to say that?!” Then I realized it’s XM, but I was still surprised they had the cojones. Of course, then as I started to settle back into my lawless personality, I was pretty impressed… Even if they’re not allowed to say it, good for them! After all, when the FEC was considering regulating blogs under campaign finance rules, I pledged that regardless of what laws and regulations they imposed, I wouldn’t stop blogging. If they wanted to come after me, they could come after me.
But I thought about it a second… XM radio, along with the internet, and the rest of the “new media”, is a sign that they’re losing control. Not XM, of course, but the FCC and regulatory establishment. They can do all they want to punish Viacom for letting a breast be shown on national TV, and they can fine Howard Stern, and 15 years ago, that would have been enough to actually put a stop to a lot of that activity. But now, they’ve been outflanked, and people are getting used to having the ability to choose for themselves what to listen to and read.
Don’t get me wrong, that’s a dangerous thing for the government to accept. And they’re not going to take it lying down. They’re going to try as hard as they can to get their regulatory hands into the new media. But I think the arguments they used back in the days when they were regulating TV and radio won’t work. People aren’t as willing to submit to the government as they once were. The regulators can’t claim that bandwidth is limited on the internet. And there are too many voices out here that are willing to be loud and fight.
So to answer my original question, “Did they just say that?!” Yeah they did, and what the hell are you going to do about it, bureaucrat?
April 12, 2007
I came across the episode of Good Eats related to homebrewing on Google Video today… This was the show that got me thinking about brewing. Although there are a few things that AB does in his brewing process that no experienced brewer would do, it’s a rough approximation of brewing from extract. A few minutes in, where the homebrew store clerk is telling him that all-grain is a day-long process, that’s what I’m currently doing (although it’s more like 5-6 hours, not a full day).
I’m finally getting to the point where I’m consistently making decent beer. In fact, my neighbor’s batch (for which I formulated the recipe) is so good that we might enter it into a homebrew competition tonight, if he can get his wife and kids to let him leave the house
April 4, 2007
It’s springtime in the southeast. Always a fan of fresh air, and with the beautiful weather, I’ve been leaving my windows open, to make use of the nice temperate weather (and because I’m a cheap bastard and don’t want to pay a heating/cooling bill).
Well, about 10 days ago, I swept the floors. And then today, I had to sweep them again. Below is what I swept together in a 12′x13′ room.
Now, some of you wonder how I could let my house get so dusty. Okay, I’ve been living as a bachelor for the last 4 weeks, so I doubt you really bothered to wonder. But this isn’t dust. Dust isn’t yellow.
Yep, that’s a pile of pollen on my floor. Atlanta at this time of year is covered in yellow. So a bit of advice, if you’re plagued by allergies, don’t move here. Thankfully I have none [allergies], so I’ve been doing just fine.
Trivia question: Who (other than Sober John, I guarantee he picked up on it even before I thought to write it) can name the reference in the title?
April 3, 2007
I’m NOT the father of Anna Nicole’s baby.
April 2, 2007
Of course, it was a high school team. And they beat them with a team of lawyers, not athletes. But when you’re Notre Dame, you need to relish your wins. You’re not going to beat the big boys, you might as well enjoy beating the little guys…
Now some of you may think I am losing my mind. I am, but that is beside the point. I am here to talk about the Irish winning huge. LET’S TALK SOME IRISH SMACK, SHALL WE?
True, they are riding that proud streak of 0-for-9 in NCAA bowl games in football. Then their highly touted basketball team faltered against the Mighty Winthrop what’s-their-names in March Madness’ round one, no less. Think that kept them down? Nope.
They searched high and low to find a school they can beat. FAITH BEGORA!!!!!!!! They found the one school they can lay the cheese on hard, dammit and, drumroll please…..it’s……………a high school, to be exact. Notre Dame 1, Indianapolis Cathedral High School 0. Count it. It’s a win for the Irish.
For the last two years, the University of Notre Dame has fought Cathedral High School’s use of it’s fighting leprechaun logo. This school, by the way, is almost 100 years old. Founded in 1918, Cathedral High was started by the SAME religious order that founded Notre Dame. It’s like family, isn’t it? Uh no, it isn’t, according to Don Wycliff, Notre Dame’s VP for news and information. The logo is a “symbol of the University”, and the school is protecting it’s trademark rights.
Cathedral finally relented to the University’s demands this week and agreed with the University’s latest request to remove the logo from it’s website. It notified parents that teams and clubs can no longer use the image of the fighting leprechaun. I am stunned. (As a Celtic fan, I am also a little worried here.)
Mary Boyle, president of the Cathedral Alumni Association said, “you’ve got to be kidding. It’s a little disheartening. It’s kind of like being disowned by your own family.”
Disowned by your own family? That’s funny, every time my wife decides to pry underneath my fingernails and suggest our son will go to Notre Dame, I tell her I’d disown him. Lots of disownership going on around that school huh?
Seriously. Don’t click play.
March 26, 2007
Got Problems? Blame Californians! [Everybody's doin' it!]
Sure, itâ€™s been 30 years since Oregonians first slapped â€œDonâ€™t Californicate Oregonâ€ bumper stickers on their cars, but, like the song by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, â€œCalifornicationâ€ is still alive and well.
â€œI think itâ€™s just such a common desire to say things were really calm and great here and then these people came in,â€ said Patty Limerick, history professor and faculty director of the University of Coloradoâ€™s Center of the American West.
Since 1991, the number of Californians moving out topped the number of people moving in to the state. And where do they go? The top five states Californians moved to between 2000 and 2005 were Arizona, Nevada, Texas, Washington and Oregon, according to William Frey, population expert for the Brookings Institution.
For many Californians, they want what eludes them in their state â€” open space, clean air and not so much traffic. So they sell their houses for a chunk of change, move somewhere else in the West, buy a bigger house and start driving up the housing prices, much to the dismay of locals.
Sherrie Watson has lived in Coeur dâ€™Alene, Idaho, since she was 16 and is quite fed up with Californians.
â€œThey complain how cold it is. And they just moved here because it is cheaper and to â€™get away,â€™ but then they keep saying things like, â€˜We did it in California this way, so why donâ€™t you change?â€™ â€
â€œThey came here because they liked it the way it was when they visited, but then they want to change it. I donâ€™t get it,â€ she said.
I’m reminded of the quote from The Matrix:
I’d like to share a revelation that I’ve had during my time here. It came to me when I tried to classify
your speciesCalifornians and I realized that you’re not actually mammals. Every mammal on this planet instinctively develops a natural equilibrium with the surrounding environment but you humansCalifornians do not. You move to an area and you multiply and multiply until every natural resource is consumed and the only way you can survive is to spread to another area. There is another organism on this planet that follows the same pattern. Do you know what it is? A virus. Human beingsCalifornians are a disease, a cancer of this planet. You’re a plague and we are the cure.
Ahh, California. Two major cities, San Francisco and Los Angeles. If I believed in God, I’d be decrying them as a modern-day Sodom and Gomorrah (the exercise of determining which is which is left to the reader, natch!). What can you do with California?
In all honesty, California is a wonderful place. The weather is about as close as I can imagine to being absolutely perfect. The scenery is gorgeous. And you’re right next to the big Pacific Ocean. Something about sitting there on the beach and knowing there’s no people for thousands of miles off to the west is comforting.
If it weren’t for the damn Californians, California would be a really nice place!
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