Showing posts from October, 2008

Pretty Cool

Companies Unloading Toxic Products Before Ban

Over at, they have some alarming news. If you plan to buy toys for children for the holidays and mistakenly think they are safe now, you are probably wrong.
There was a festive feeling among consumer advocates when Congress passed legislation over the summer that outlaws the use of phthalates -- chemicals some fear may cause reproductive defects -- in toys. But ever-inventive toymakers have a holiday surprise: a flood of phthalate-ridden toys hitting stores just in time for holiday shopping.

The ban enacted by Congress doesn't take effect until Feb. 10, so toymakers and distributors have their elves working overtime to clear out their backlog of toys containing the chemical additives that make hard plastics more flexible. [Link]Additional Links About Phthalates:
The law also imposes much stricter standards on the amount of lead in toys.…

All Out of Halloween Ideas?

I'm a bit old for this one and maybe the wrong gender too. However, the folks over at have a Sarah Palin costume idea for you. If any mooses attack you, then you probably deserve it.

I Know One Oscar Nomination

No spoilers. Safe to read.

If Josh Brolin is overlooked for the Best Actor nod in Oliver Stone's W., I will be surprised. His performance was amazing. The movie as a whole was below my expectations of what to expect in an Oliver Stone film, but it wasn't bad. Stone and the film may get nominations, but I don't see either winning.

Brolin does not look that much like Bush to me. Brolin has somewhat of a horse face, a bit too long for the real W. What he lacks in resemblance, he makes up big time in nailing at least the public view of W. He plays W. as the misunderstood and under-performing son who was a disappointment to his family. Perhaps he still is, Stone would have us believe.

Kudos for other performances, a few of which may get Supporting Actor nominations: Ellen Burstyn as Barbara Bush, Elizabeth Banks as Laura Bush, James Cromwell as George H. W. Bush, Richard Dreyfuss as a caricature of Dick Cheney, Stacy Keach as Earle Hudd, and Jeffrey Wright as Colin Powell. I wish

A Sign in Cape May

Here is another photo from my summer vacation. Click it for a larger view.

Strange But True

I am starting an occasional posting of items that are "strange but true". These will be sometimes little known stories or facts, and I will research them and include links to various references.

My first item is fairly well known, but maybe you don't know this. The Washington Times is Washington's conservative/right wing newspaper. What you may not know is it was founded by and is owned by the Moonies.

The Moonies largely work out of the limelight of the Christian conservative movement in the US, and most others in the movement prefer it that way because many Americans believe the Moonies to be a religious cult. Moon, however, likes to take credit for a lot of things, including:
Reagan became the president in 1980 through me. Think about it. Five years after the Vietnam War, a conservative, moral, rightwing Reagan could become the President of the United States. Who made that? -- Reverend Moon. [Source]The Moonies also bought UPI in 2000. For more, check out the Moonies…, then what?

We are under two weeks before we elect either Sen. Obama or Sen. McCain. The polls look good and are trending to Obama it seems. There are a few polls that show the race closer, so no one should be secure yet. Of course, we will all think our hair is on fire if McCain does pull a win. For the sake of argument, however, let's assume Sen. Obama becomes President-Elect. So, then what?
In the future, Obama may well look back and wonder whether the 2008 election was such a good one to win. The new president will inherit not merely the debilitating US military commitments in Iraq and Afghanistan but also a stock market bruised and battered, a weak dollar, a banking system in ruins and a domestic economy in the doldrums - and that is just the optimistic scenario. If Obama does indeed find himself the occupant of the White House, much of his administration probably will be devoted to rebuilding the banking system. With the economy in recession, house prices in free fall and homeowners stru…

Hey Sarah Palin

Thanks to Ann for the link.

...and a video response...

BTW, yesterday I went to the Little Five Points 8th Annual Halloween Festival and Parade. One woman was dressed as Palin, and she did it well. I will be posting parade and festival photos during the week.

John Cleese on Sarah Palin

Wave Of McCain Robocalls Reported, Some May Violate State Law

More Republican dirty tricks to report. Read this story posted today on the Huffington Post. Here is an excerpt:
The McCain-Palin campaign and the Republican National Committee launched a massive robocall campaign on Thursday designed to alarm voters about Barack Obama's past association with former radical Bill Ayers. The committee may be violating state law in the process. The call begins: "Hello. I'm calling for John McCain and the RNC," before telling recipients that they "need to know that Barack Obama has worked closely with domestic terrorist, Bill Ayers, whose organization bombed the U.S. Capitol, the Pentagon, a judge's home, and killed Americans."More remarkable than the message (coming after a presidential debate in which John McCain said he didn't care about a "washed up terrorist") is the reach of the campaign itself. The Huffington Post received dozens of emails from voters who had either received the call or gotten a voice ma…


Yesterday I added a link to Hulu on my blog. If you haven't found it yet, take a look. It is a great way to catch up (all in one place) on those episodes of your favorite TV shows you may have missed. They have movies and other things for free and this is a fully legal site. My boss told me that Reader's Digest had mentioned this site. I heard about it from a coworker.
The site, developed by News Corp. and NBC Universal, a unit of General Electric Co., offers free viewing of full-length films and TV episodes, supported by advertising. [Fox Noise Network]

We Have Under Three Weeks to Make It So

We cannot rest on opinion polls. They have been wrong before. We know what a mess one state can make of the vote of an entire nation. If you haven't voted already, go vote and take someone with you. This is perhaps the most important election in my lifetime, and I am in my 60s. Here are some initial debate poll results, which indicates Obama won the debate.
A majority of debate watchers thought that Barack Obama won the third and final presidential debate, according to a national poll conducted at the end of the debate.

Fifty-eight percent of debate watchers questioned in the CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll said Obama did the best job in the debate, with 31 percent saying John McCain performed best.

The poll also suggested that debate watchers’ favorable opinion of Obama rose during the debate, from 63 percent at the start of the debate to 66 percent at the end of the debate. The poll indicates that McCain’s favorables dropped, from 51 percent to 49 percent. [CNN]

On the Boardwalk in Wildwood, NJ

I took this photo on my vacation this summer. I love boardwalks, fun rides, and beaches.

The Man Behind the Anti-Obama Cyberwhispers

Here is an excerpt from the NY Times article. I urge you to read it all (link below).
Just last Friday, a woman told Senator John McCain at a town-hall-style meeting, “I have read about him,” and “he’s an Arab.” Mr. McCain corrected her.

Until this month, the man who is widely credited with starting the cyberwhisper campaign that still dogs Mr. Obama was a secondary character in news reports, with deep explorations of his background largely confined to liberal blogs.

But an appearance in a documentary-style program on the Fox News Channel watched by three million people last week thrust the man, Andy Martin, and his past into the foreground. The program allowed Mr. Martin to assert falsely and without challenge that Mr. Obama had once trained to overthrow the government.

An examination of legal documents and election filings, along with interviews with his acquaintances, revealed Mr. Martin, 62, to be a man with a history of scintillating if not always factual claims. He has left a trail …

Hillary and Biden Speaking Out on the Republican Economy

Never Forget: Matthew Shepard - Ten Years Later

Some Kind of Wicked at the Fox

My buddy Michele and I went to the Fox Theatre to see Wickedtoday. Had a great time. The Fox is one of Atlanta's greatest treasures, and it is always a special treat to attend a play or concert there. I may have seen a movie there too, but it was a long time ago.

Just to think...overzealous developers almost had this theatre destroyed back in the 70s. Oh yeah, Wicked was great too and I'm not much of a musical kind of guy. I noticed that they used silver slippers in this production instead of the ruby ones of The Wizard of Oz fame, to be true to the book.

Oh, and preceding the play, we had a wonderful lunch at another Atlanta landmark, Mary Mac's Tea Room. Atlanta can be so much fun.

McCain's Politics of Ad Hominem

The far right is as mad as hell and they are losing all restraint. My gawd, isn't it amazing how low people will go when they are mad and full of hate.
There were shouts of "Nobama" and "Socialist" at the mention of the Democratic presidential nominee. There were boos, middle fingers turned up and thumbs turned down as a media caravan moved through the crowd Thursday for a midday town hall gathering featuring John McCain and Sarah Palin.

"It is absolutely vital that you take it to Obama, that you hit him where it hits, there's a soft spot," said James T. Harris, a local radio talk show host, who urged the Republican nominee to use Barack Obama's controversial former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., and others against him.

"We have the good Reverend Wright. We have [the Rev. Michael L.] Pfleger. We have all of these shady characters that have surrounded him," Harris bellowed. "We have corruption here in Wisconsin and votin…

One Photo From the One Braves Game I Saw All Summer

I am not a huge sports least to watch on TV. Although I did enjoy watching some of the Olympics this summer. No, where I thrive with sports is to go to a live game, except for golf or bowling (dull sports). I enjoy the crowd and the atmosphere and the beer*.

*I don't enjoy beer at Turner Field. They only sell Bud brands (fake beer). I'm a Guinness Stout (real beer) drinker. Bud sucks.

So, take me out to the ball game works for me. I can't afford it most of the time, so if you are paying, I'm game.

I have more photos from this game that I may post some other time.

Proof That McCain is Not a Marerick

Embedded video from CNN Video

Some Good Economic News in the Midst of the Storm - McCain Said What?

You don't hear much good economic news these days. Well, I scouted the Web and found some:
In the midst of all the market turmoil, one innovative program to deal with the underlying housing and mortgage issues is moving ahead smartly. You will recall that, fast upon the heels of its takeover of IndyMac, the FDIC announced an aggressive program to modify loans owned or serviced by IndyMac to prevent avoidable foreclosures. Initially, the FDIC wrote almost 5,000 borrowers and proposed to modify their loans and reduce their payments-all they needed to do was send back a check in the new payment amount, sign a modification agreement, and grant permission to check the borrower's tax return. (Where the tax return information does not conform to information in IndyMac's files, the FDIC requires further verification of borrower income.) One of the best aspects of the program for borrowers is that the letter they received included a specific new payment amount, not just an invitat…

Nanny Google: No Regrets

Google wants to help you not do something you may regret. Of course, we have all done it...sent that email we wish we could take back. But I don't send it drunk. I don't get drunk. I do send it mad, and I can do math when I am mad just fine, thank you so much.

Is this going too far? I think so. But Google probably only wanted the buzz anyway.

Maureen Dowd on Palin's English

I love Maureen Dowd. I wish she were my personal friend. I don't always agree with her, but she entertains the hell out of me. Check out her latest column on Palin's use of English. Here is an excerpt:
Talking at the debate about how she would “positively affect the impacts” of the climate change for which she’s loath to acknowledge human culpability, she did a dizzying verbal loop-de-loop: “With the impacts of climate change, what we can do about that, as governor, I was the first governor to form a climate change subcabinet to start dealing with the impacts.” That was, miraculously, richer with content than an answer she gave Katie Couric: “You know, there are man’s activities that can be contributed to the issues that we’re dealing with now, with these impacts.” At another point, she channeled Alicia Silverstone debating in “Clueless,” asserting, “Nuclear weaponry, of course, would be the be-all, end-all of just too many people in too many parts of our planet.” (Mostly the…

Sharing Obama Email

Got this message this afternoon. Apparently McCain knows he can't win on the issues important to most Americans, so he starts swiftboating Obama's character again. McCain=Same old politics as usual.
Last month, 159,000 Americans jobs were lost.

But the McCain campaign admitted yesterday that they want to "change the subject" away from the economy. Instead of offering solutions, they plan to smear Barack's record and attack his character.

We can't let this happen.

Watch the latest video showing the toll that McCain's out-of-touch policies are taking on American workers, then sign up to help fight back:

Blackberry 9500

Updated 08Oct08 with new photo.

I've had my clunky old Nokia 6600 T-Mobile phone for almost three years now. I used to say I only needed a phone to make phone calls, but that isn't true any longer. I almost never talk on my phone. I don't have a family, and I talk to my friends on a mostly irregular basis. I find myself taking my phone with me everywhere on the off chance I might need it for an emergency phone call. Prudent but still baggage.

Soon I should have a new reason to take my phone with me. With it, I can do all sorts of neato things, including get my email, surf the Web, and get driving directions. Thanks to my friend, Keith, who works for Verizon, I will be added to his family account and get a Web-enabled phone for about the same price I am paying for just phone service now.

Although it is not released yet, here is the phone I have chosen, the Blackberry 9500. I love gadgets and technology, otherwise I probably wouldn't be a technical writer. When I can also o…

Short Review: Religulous

This isn't really a review of the movie, just my experience seeing it.

To follow up on my previous posting about Religulous, let me just say, "Don't miss it in the theaters." Laughing with the crowd makes it so much funnier. And laughing, we all did. There was rarely a minute of the movie that went by without some laughter. At times, it was so loud and intense that I missed a couple of laugh lines that followed. I will see this movie again, but will wait for it on HBO so that I can hear it all.

I was surprised in a couple of ways. First, it was showing at a nearby suburban Atlanta theater. I guess I only expected it at the art theaters, but there it was in red meat Republican Cobb County, Georgia. Secondly, it was screened at a large multiplex in a fairly large auditorium, which was more than half full. So much for my stereotypes of my neighbors. Of course, we are all going to Hell for seeing just know it.

Oh, one other thing. If you are some sort of religious …

Ferris Wheel at Wildwood

Here is another photo from my summer vacation. This is the Ferris wheel at Wildwood, NJ. Click to enlarge.

Have an Idea to Help Others?

I just submitted my idea of a simple plan to help millions around the globe. If you have an idea (simple or complex) to do the same, enter your idea this month at


Religulous is the movie to see this weekend. Based on watching the trailer, this should be funnier than his HBO show or any other comedy released this weekend. Or is this a comedy? Hmmmm. Roger Ebert gives it 3 1/2 stars, which is usually a good sign that entertainment awaits.

The punch line is "apocalypse"
By Roger Ebert

I'm going to try to review Bill Maher's "Religulous" without getting into religion. Is that OK with everybody? Good. I don't want to fan the flames of a holy war. The movie is about organized religions: Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Mormonism, TV evangelism and even Scientology, with detours into pagan cults and ancient Egypt. Bill Maher, host, writer and debater, believes they are all crazy. He fears they could lead us prayerfully into mutual nuclear doom. He doesn't get around to Hinduism or Buddhism, but he probably doesn't approve of them, either.

...that commitment that we have made...

Well, I'm late to the party as usual in commenting on last night's debate, but I'm lucky enough to have a life outside of the Internet that helps pay my bills.

I'll keep it short. Palin did not have a meltdown. She came off as if she had crammed for a final exam and she smiled a lot. She probably reassured her far right supporters, which she had to do.

Biden kept away mostly from the long answers for which he is famous. He stayed on message about how the working class are suffering and need real change and that McCain is just more of the same. Palin really never answered that charge. How could she? It's true.

I like today's NY Times editorial, which sums up how many of us think of last night's performance.
While Gov. Sarah Palin beat expectations of her performance at Thursday night’s vice-presidential debate with Senator Joseph Biden, she offered little proof that she is qualified for the post. [NY Times]BTW, can you diagram this Palin quote from last night…

More Republican Dirty Tricks

These folks are desperate, but this kind of thing has worked before. With the Bubba factor, it could work again.
Barack Obama's campaign is receiving increasing complaints about scam pollsters involved in dirty tricks operations to discredit the Democratic candidate.

Victims claim the fake pollsters work insinuations into their questions, designed to damage Obama. Those targeted in swing states such as Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania include Jews, Christian evangelicals, Catholics and Latinos.

One of those to protest, Debbie Minden, who lives in a predominantly Jewish neighbourhood, Squirrel Hill, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, told the Guardian that the pollster had begun by asking her the usual questions about her background and who she would vote for.

But the pollster went on to ask Minden, who is Jewish, how she would vote if she knew that Obama was supported by Hamas, the Palestinian militant group that runs Gaza and was responsible for most of the suicide bombings against Israel. &…

Best Warning Sign Ever

Via Gizmodo.

Folks Enjoying the Beach

I took this on Sunset Beach in Cape May in August. Click the photo to see a larger view. Some of these people appear to be be enjoying the popular pursuit of searching for Cape May Diamonds.

Can Humor Equal Votes?

I guess we can ask Tina Fey and Sarah Silverman what they think when the election is over? Who knows, maybe Palin will bring a few laughs tonight that may actually hurt Biden and Obama. She so appeals to the same folks who voted for Bush.

What is the difference between Palin and Bush? Not much really. Maybe just the lipstick. Hey, I'm not a comedian, just a bloger.

Here is a news story on the Silverman campaign.

Embedded video from CNN Video

A House in Cape May

One of the sights I saw wandering around Cape May this summer with my friend, Jane. Click the photo for a huge view.

Funny Computer Messages

Part of my job is to clean up software messages that developers write. But that is not what this post is about. Most of you have come across computer hardware and software messages that probably made you laugh out loud. I know I have. Please share some here.

My personal favorite is an old one: Illegal service call.

This conjures up all kinds of implications but I think the most obvious one is that it sounds as if someone made a phone call to their local pimp.