Monday, April 30, 2007

$1400 Each to Rome? Non Penso Così!

[Travel, Italy, airfare, cheapassbastards ]

Looks like air-travel to Italy is out this summer. Perhaps with the weak Dollar/ strong Euro this is a blessing in disguise?

Is this also part of our problem?

Shoot From the Hip

[Kirk Cameron , atheism, evolution]

" Evolution is unscientific. In reality, it is a blind faith that's preached with religious zeal as the gospel truth. I'm embarrassed to admit that I was once a naïve believer in the theory," said the former television
star [Kirk Cameron (Growing Pains) ] in a statement. "Atheism has become very popular in universities – where it's taught that we evolved from animals and that there are no moral absolutes. So we shouldn't be surprised when there are school shootings."

Got it, guns don't kill people, atheists kill people. (Would atheists killing atheists be OK with you, Kirk?)

Friday, April 27, 2007

Do It Rockapella!

[Rockapella, Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego, PBS]

More Friday Fun:

Well, she sneaks around the world from Kiev to Carolina,
She's a sticky-fingered filcher from Berlin down to Belize.
She'll take you for a ride on a slow boat to China. Tell me
Where in the world is Carmen Sandiego?

Steal their Seoul in South Korea, Make Antarctica cry "Uncle," from the
Red Sea to Greenland, they'll be singing the blues.
Well they never Arkansas her steal the Mekong from the jungle. Tell me
Where in the world is Carmen Sandiego?

She goes from Nashville to Norway, Bonaire to Zimbabwe,
Chicago, to Czech and Slovakia* and back!

Well, she'll ransack Pakistan, and run a scam in Scandinavia,
Then she'll stick 'em up down under and go pick-pocket Perth.
She put the "Miss" in misdemeanor when she stole the beans from Lima. Tell me
Where in the world is Carmen Sandiego?

She go from Botswana to Thailand, Milan via Amsterdam
Mali, to Bali, Ohio, Oahu!

Well she glides around the globe, and she'll flim-flam every nation
She's a double-dealing diva with a taste for thievery.
Her itinerary's loaded up with moving violations. Tell me
Where in the world is Carmen Sandiego?

Where in the world is Carmen Sandiego? (x 7)

Watch your back!

What's in Barry's Locker, Yahoo?

[, , ]

Guess nobody at the ballpark knows their HTTP?

Thursday, April 26, 2007


This is a test post from flickr, a fancy photo sharing thing.


This is a test post from flickr, a fancy photo sharing thing.

Have Your Cake and Eat It Too

Originally uploaded by Dumpling.
[Food Porn]

I would try and replicate this cake (by 'Dumpling') but somehow I don't think it would turn out this beautiful.

On the other hand, if it didn't then I would have no problem eating it....

Wednesday, April 25, 2007



|yoo bik win po tak' wee us|
the state of water in which it is everywhere, and yet there is not a drop of it to drink : he grew increasingly worried by the ubiquinpotaqueous liquid surrounding his boat | the water was fine, if a bit ubiquinpotaqueous.

u•biq•uin•po•taq•ue•ous•ly adverb
u•biq•uin•po•taq•ue•ous•ness noun

ORIGIN early 21st cent.: from modern Latin ubiquitas + in- + French potable + medieval Latin aqueus.

courtesy Erin McKean's fantastic Word Lovers' Bootcamp

Look Out Mickey, There's New Magic Coming to Florida

[Harry Potter]

From The 23 April 2007 Daily Record:

Author JK Rowling is just about to sign deal to build a £250million park in Florida.

Universal Studios are set to add a Potterland to their Islands of Adventure park after two years of negotiations. The deal could add £9million a year to the writer's £576million fortune.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Princess in Pink

Princess in Pink (parade)
Originally uploaded by idogcow.
and she's got the hand wave down perfectly!

Monday, April 23, 2007

Apple iCards has sent you an Apple iCard

This iCard has been sent to you from Apple iCards

Friday, April 20, 2007

Make Way for the Band

[, ]

Their windows cracked open while the band blasted out Tech Triumph, the Hokies fight song, revealing patient rooms filled with colorful balloons and flowers. Inside, people peeked out and waved.

Strollo, a freshman, stood at the window, gazing down at her classmates with a smile. "Let's go!" she suddenly called out.

Don't know how well they play or march, but this is my kind of band!

20 April 2007

Ice Cream Sandwich House
Originally uploaded by idogcow.
Who wants ice-cream?!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Home Depot: Eco Options

[Home Depot, Earth Day, environment, green]

Home Depot today will introduce a label for nearly 3,000 products, like fluorescent light bulbs that conserve electricity and natural insect killers, that promote energy conservation, sustainable forestry and clean water.

The initiative -- which is expected to include 6,000 products by 2009, representing 12 percent of the chain's sales -- would become the largest green labeling program in American retailing and could persuade competitors to speed up their own plans.

Plus, they're giving away a bunch of free CLF light bulbs on Earth Day.

Help Save Internet Radio

[internet radio]

Recent government action has dramatically increased the fees internet radio companies must pay to play the music you enjoy and threatens the future of internet radio. You can help, let your voice be heard.

Help take action now.

The Children of Hurin


NEW YORK/LONDON (Reuters) - Die-hard J.R.R. Tolkien fans queued on Tuesday to buy special editions of a "new" book by the creator of "The Lord of the Rings," which has hit book stores 34 years after his death.

Christopher Tolkien constructed the work, which has already appeared in fragmentary form in another posthumous publication called "The Silmarillion," from his father's manuscripts.

He and the publishers are keen to dismiss suspicions that it is an attempt to cash in on Tolkien's fan base, which has grown considerably since the film trilogy began in 2001.

"The Silmarillion" appeared in 1977, four years after Tolkien's death. Around 200 million copies of Tolkien's works have been sold worldwide.

Much of the interest has been generated by the fact that "The Children of Hurin" may well be the last Tolkien story to appear in finished form.

"I somehow I doubt it," Lee told Reuters when asked if there were likely to be further new works from Tolkien's writings. "I might be wrong but this might be the swansong."


I will confess to living in the same house as a copy of The Silmarillion and yet have not read it - but I will be reading this one.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Department of Irony

In the latest ads from UPS, a sketch of a truck turns into a sketch
of a plane; a sketch of a cardboard box turns into a sketch of a
laptop computer that can track UPS shipments.

The band providing the music behind the sketching: "The Postal Service".

Free Cone Day

[free, ice cream, Ben & Jerry's]

Here's a reminder to head to Ben & Jerry's today and get a free ice cream cone from noon to 8 p.m. Put in your zip code and find a participating store near you.

How many times you go back is of course, up to you.

More Trees May Not Be the Answer

[global climate change]

Take this with a grain (or more) of salt, I can't vouch for this group.

Planting  forests in temperate regions such as the United States and Europe may not yield any benefit for the global climate, and may instead contribute to warming, according to a new study set for presentation last December at the American Geophysical Society annual meeting in San Francisco.

By contrast, trees planted in tropical rainforests could indeed help to slow global warming, say scientists with a U.S . government laboratory, a French university, and a private scientific institution who collaborated on the study.

Afforestation has been promoted in mid-latitudes as a means of mitigating climate change. But this combined carbon-climate modeling study indicates that it does not work.

The process by which less sunlight is reflected and more is absorbed by forest canopies, heating the surface, cancels out the positive effects from the trees taking in carbon, conclude scientists from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Universite Montpellier II, and the Carnegie Institution.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Christian Fundamentalism the Key to White House Employment

[politics, religion, Paul Krugman]

Paul Krugman on what's happening inside the Bush White House and how Gonzalez and the rest of the implosion is only a speed-bump.

The infiltration of the federal government by large numbers of people seeking to impose a religious agenda - which is very different from simply being people of faith - is one of the most important stories of the last six years. It's also a story that tends to go underreported, perhaps because journalists are afraid of sounding like conspiracy theorists."

Google and DoubleClick

[Google, DoubleClick]

I know I am old but am I the only one who recalls a time when DoubleClick was considered 'evil'? Well, now they are owned by the 'Do No Evil ' crowd.

Strange day when you almost agree with Microsoft and AT&T complaints regarding the deal, not that I really trust either of those two much either – but then I

Fred Wilson has more thoughts on the 'new' GOOG.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Something Special in the Air

[travel, 757, AA, American Airlines]

I guess I haven't flown on a 757 in a while and despite the charts
over at list it as no better/worse than many other jets,
but MAN OH MAN was this last flight (BOS->SAN) a killer.

Didn't help the jet was full of Spring-Breakers and everyone had their
heavy winter coats to stow but you knew American was racing to the
gutter when almost everything was subjet to a charge (& now taking
credit cards):

*headphones: $2
*bottled water: $2 (although soda and water in a cup, still free?!)
*tube of chips: $3
*'asian' salad: $5

Was so bad we started a list of other things they will probably start
charging for next year: priority seat-belt opening at your
destination, Flight Attendant flirting, guaranteed hot/ interesting/
non-psycho seatmate. There were more but I don't want to tip anyone
off back at American Airlines' HQ.

Best part was after the flight I sent them an email complaining about
the misdirection at the airport for our connecting flight and today I
got a 'survey' from them asking about my most recent flight, with the
option of entering a contest to WIN 2 FREE TICKETS.

Please tell me JetBlue or Frontier is not as bad as AA has become???

Thursday, April 12, 2007

What I Learned From the BSG Season Finale (Chapter 1)

[Battlestar Galactica]

Still trying to figure out what happened there at the end of season 3 and no, it has not taken me this long to even form a question, I watched it almost 2 weeks after it aired due to traveling.

Not to give away too much plot if you have not seen it, I will instead focus on things I did not know until I learned more about the music

•Bob Dylan wrote "All Along the Watchtower" (not Hendrix)

•It's "...plowmen dig my earth" not "dig my herb".

•Bryan Ferry has a new album out covering AAtW

There are many here among us who feel that life is but a joke. (Dylan)
The Cylons were created by Man, they were built. They evolved. There are many copies. (BSG)

Where Have All the Leaders Gone?

[Lee Iacocca, politics]

Borders has uploaded an excerpt from Lee Iacocca's new book, "Where Have All the Leaders Gone?" Some great stuff, you really should read the whole thing and probably buy the book, even if you already agree with everything he says. ;)

It will be interesting to see what TV shows he gets to go on to hype this thing and, who knows – maybe a shot at being Vice President?

In the meantime, enjoy a few snippets:

"You might think I'm getting senile, that I've gone off my rocker, and maybe I have. But someone has to speak up. I hardly recognize this country anymore. The President of the United States is given a free pass to ignore the Constitution, tap our phones, and lead us to war on a pack of lies. Congress responds to record deficits by passing a huge tax cut for the wealthy (thanks, but I don't need it). The most famous business leaders are not the innovators but the guys in handcuffs. While we're fiddling in Iraq, the Middle East is burning and nobody seems to know what to do. And the press is waving pom-poms instead of asking hard questions. That's not the promise of America my parents and yours traveled across the ocean for. I've had enough. How about you?"

"Why are we in this mess? How did we end up with this crowd in Washington? Well, we voted for them—or at least some of us did. But I'll tell you what we didn't do. We didn't agree to suspend the Constitution. We didn't agree to stop asking questions or demanding answers. Some of us are sick and tired of people who call free speech treason. Where I come from that's a dictatorship, not a democracy.

And don't tell me it's all the fault of right-wing Republicans or liberal Democrats. That's an intellectually lazy argument, and it's part of the reason we're in this stew. We're not just a nation of factions. We're a people. We share common principles and ideals. And we rise and fall together."


"Name me a leader who has a better idea for homeland security than making us take off our shoes in airports and throw away our shampoo? We've spent billions of dollars building a huge new bureaucracy, and all we know how to do is react to things that have already happened."

Knight Bus Stops in San José (Twice)

[Harry Potter, library, San Jose]

Scholastic, the US publishers of the Harry Potter novels, have announced the dates of a special Knight Bus tour. Kicking off June 1 from New York City, the Knight Bus tour will feature a bus that will travel to 37 different libraries across the US over a seven week period, as we await the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. At each stop, fans:

"will be invited to board the Knight Bus and share on video their thoughts and feelings about the Harry Potter books. Select video clips from each location will be uploaded for viewing and sharing on Additionally, each person will receive a unique username and password so that they can view their own video online.

"We know that one of the most incredible things about Harry Potter is the amazing discussion that it ignites among fans of all ages," said Lisa Holton, President of Scholastic Trade and Book Fairs, Scholastic. "The Knight Bus tour is the perfect way to let fans from across the country share their Harry Potter experience as they await the conclusion of this remarkable series."


Tuesday 7/10

10 am-1 pm San José Public Library
Cambrian Branch Library

3-6 pm San José Public Library
Berryessa Branch Library

You think the Knight Bus runs on Bio-diesel? Don't want Gov. Schwarzenegger to come after you!)

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

The Price of Liquids


When you look at unit prices, things look different.

Monday, April 09, 2007

[RIP] Johnny Hart

[, ]

The controversial cartoonist Johnny Hart (B.C., Wizard of Id) died at the age of 76 over the week-end (while at his drafting table!).

Enjoy this non-controversial Ruben Bolling cartoon in lieu of flowers.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

"Apres moi le deluge” – Jeanne Poisson, Marquise de Pompadour

[politics, Jon Carroll]

One of the stranger things to happen in recent political discourse --
and this is a crowded field -- is the morphing of global warming into
a left-wing plot, a conspiracy by godless scientists to ... well,
it's not clear what benefit the scientists get from spreading lies
about global warming. Maybe they just want research money to study
this nonexistent warming thing.

I have a pretty good idea where that meme started. If you believe
that global warming is man-made, then you believe that greenhouse
gases are a bad thing. If you believe they're a bad thing, you
believe they should be reduced. And reducing greenhouse gases would
mean using less petroleum, in all its myriad forms. And since the
current administration is dedicated to the protection of petroleum
companies, it is only natural that it would try to convince its base
that somehow global warming is being promoted by the same people who
approve of gay marriage, abortion and secular schools.

The idea that global warming is a liberal plot is a lunatic notion,
but it's surprising how closely it maps with public opinion. It's an
extremely successful con job, and it's bought the oil companies at
least a decade of profits and indolence. It's not clear why
evangelical Christians -- or that portion of them that are die-hard
supporters of George Bush -- should be so interested in the financial
well-being of oil companies. It's not as if they're getting anything
out of it.

So the president, who is nothing if not consistent, is trying to
stick it to environmentalists again. Last year, he nominated three
people for top-level jobs at posts that affect the environment. All
three nominations were blocked, and thank you, Barbara Boxer. But now
the president is thinking of making recess appointments of the same
three people. He thinks it's a game of chicken. He thinks he has to win.

Is politics the art of compromise? Not anymore. Politics is the art
of slandering your enemies and rewarding your campaign contributors.

Who are these winners? Fortunately, Judy Pasternak of the Los Angeles
Times has done the research so you don't have to. First there's
William Wehrum, nominated as head of the air quality division of the
EPA -- which is the post he currently holds, thanks to a temporary
promotion. Wehrum is a lawyer who formerly represented the chemical,
utility and auto industries.

His specialty is mercury and lead emissions. He thinks the EPA
standards are far too strict. He has taken steps to loosen the rules
because, really, how much harm can microscopic amounts of natural
substances do? (Scientists say: plenty, but you know scientists.
They're the ones behind the global warming hoax.) So Bush wants a guy
in charge of clean air who is in fact in favor of dirty air.

Next we have Alex Beehler, a former Pentagon official and a former
executive with Koch Industries, a private oil and chemical company in
Kansas. Beehler is slated to be the new head of the EPA inspector
general's office, which monitors how well the EPA is enforcing its
own regulations. Sounds like a match made in heaven. Inspector:
"How's the river quality around here? And do you like your current
job?" Employee: "I love my job and I love this river." Inspector:
"Carry on."

When Beehler worked for the Pentagon, he was involved in an effort to
influence to EPA standard on perchlorate, a substance that interferes
with iodide uptake by the thyroid gland. (Not enough iodine leads to
goiter.) It's also been shown to impair fetal brain function. It
exists in rivers in at least 25 states. Since most of the perchlorate
in the water comes from rocket and missile fuel, the Air Force might
have had to undertake expensive cleanup activities if the EPA's rules
were enforced.

So Beehler: clean water, unless it costs money.

Finally there's Susan Dudley, who would head a section of the White
House Office of Management and Budget that reviews all proposed
government rules. She used to work for the Mercatus Center at George
Mason University, a think tank partially supported by (wait for it)
Koch Industries. She is already on record as believing that the EPA
rules are too strict.

In her writings while at the center, she argued that the government
should keep its big nose out of areas like smog, air bags and energy
regulation. (Yes, the return of the free market to the energy sector
certainly benefited the people of California.) She's also big on
arsenic in drinking water -- she doesn't mind it so much. She wrote
that the EPA should not value the lives of older people as highly as
the lives of younger people when making arsenic calculations.

Oh: She's now a special adviser to the White House on regulations,
meaning that all Americans already have the benefit of her wisdom,
even older, disease-ridden citizens. Such a comfort. I have to go lie
down now.



Amuse Yourself

[entertainment, retro]

In the old days, kids would entertain themselves with nothing but a pocket knife. Now days, you can entertain yourself with the internet and read about games like Mumbly Peg those kids used to play.


Perils of Public Calling

[overheard, daily commute]

Mark me down as glad the FAA has continued the ban on mobile-phones in the air.

As if I needed a confirmation, today on the train I heard some hippy- punk girl LOUDLY talking to her friend on the phone about various inanities that I was mostly able to tune out until she exclaimed, "I have to go, I just peed myself. (pause) No, totally soaked. I'll call you back."


Originally uploaded by idogcow.
[First Picture, DSC00001]

New cameras must always be tested on the nearest available cat. Says so right in the internet handbook.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

The Amazing Colossal Squid

[, ]

Don LaFontaine: ...a colossal cephalopod that reaches 7 feet long, can weigh more than 100 pounds and jets through the water at speeds reaching 25 mph.

It has probing arms and tooth-lined tentacles, a raptor-like beak and an insatiable craving for flesh - any kind of flesh, even that of humans.

This time, it's for real.

Internet Access CAPTCHAs

[, , ]

Site administrators use CAPTCHAs to prevent automated scripts from performing certain functions, such as creating an account, sending email to a distribution list, or participating in a discussion thread.

That's fine, as far as it goes. But, frankly, I'd also like to see certain people on the Internet prevented from doing certain things. You know, like: logging onto the Internet.

And so, a modest proposal: Internet Access Captchas, built right into browsers, designed to greatly reduce the overabundance of YouTube commenters, MySpacers, and bloggers.



From my long-neglected Yahoo!/GeoCities account comes this gem:

Programs and Events Department
The Coca-Cola Lottery - Frontline Group,

We are pleased to notify you the draw of the COCA-COLA SERIAL NUMBER, Online Sweepstakes International Lottery Program held on 16th FEBRUARY 2007 Participants were selected through a computer ballot system drawn from a pool of over 25,000 names of distinguished professionals drawn from Europe, America, Asia, Australia, New Zealand, Middle-East, parts of Africa, and North & South America as part of our international promotions programmed conducted annually to encourage prospective overseas entries. We hope with part of your prize awards, you will take part in our subsequent lottery jackpots.

We are officially informing you of the result of the Frontline Coca-Cola Lottery Winners International programs held on the 16th FEBRUARY 2007 as part of our promotional programs for the year 2007. Your e-mail address attached to ticket number 025–11464992–750 with REF NO: UKS/2551256003/04, cheque number 30-90-57, drew winning numbers 13 – 15 – 22 – 37 – 39 – 45 and credited to BATCH NO: 1490/001753V00/IFO and serial number 2113 – 05 which consequently won in the 3rd category via our electronic ticket as stated above. You have therefore been approved for a pay out of ₤815,960.00 (EIGHT HUNDRED AND FIFTEEN THOUSAND, NINE HUNDRED AND SIXTY THOUSAND POUNDS STERLING).

Note: that is year Coca-Cola lottery up take is base in the United Kingdom and your winning prize cheque will be issued out in the United Kingdom.

We also advice that you keep your winning information very confidential as our security policy demands to avoid dubious claims and abuse of the program by unsuccessful participants.

The selection process was carried out through random selection in our computerized email selection system (ESS) from a database of over 500,000 email addresses drawn from all the continents of the world. This promotional program being the first of its kind will now take place annually and we hope with part of your winning you will take part in our next year International Lottery. To file for your claim, you will be contacting our Payment processing department, authorized to conduct the necessary reification to enable you receive total payment (You will receive more information upon your acknowledgment of this email).

This promotional lottery is promoted and sponsored by the Coca-Cola company management and we intend to use this medium to help individuals generate fortunes which would encourage them to expand their business frontiers thereby creating more opportunities and assisting with humanitarian concerns within their immediate environment. All winning must be claimed not later 30 days from the date of this notification. After this date all unclaimed funds will be returned to European Union Treasury as Unclaimed. After this date all winning funds will be included in our subsequent program. In order To avoid complications always quote your reference number in all correspondence.

CITY/STATE:................................./COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:................................................
MARITAL STATUS:........................................... NATIONALITY..................................SEX.............................................
DATE OF BIRTH:...............................
TEL/FAX NR:..............................................OCCUPATION:.....................................................
CURRENT EMAIL:...................................................................
LOTTERY BATCH NO:..............................................................LOTTERY REF NO:...................................................
DATE:.................................................................... SERIAL NUMBER………………………………………………..
(2) ELECTRONIC WIRE TRANSFER:.............................
(3) COURIER SERVICE FOR SHIPMENT:........................................

As soon as you receive this confirmation you have to fill and send claim form to the claim officer Overseas Claims Unit:
"United Kingdom Lottery Fiduciary "
Payment Processing Department
Contact Person: Thompson Brown

Our winners are assured of the utmost standards of confidentiality, and press anonymity until the end of proceedings, and beyond where they so desire. Be further advised to maintain the strictest level of confidentiality until the end of proceedings to circumvent problems associated with fraudulent claims. This is part of our precautionary measure to avoid double claiming and unwarranted abuse of this program.

Note our product remains the best for your refreshment.

At your disposal, we remain.
Very Truly Yours,
Mrs. Tiffany Morris.


[, , ]

For a recent trip to Ithaca and Boston, we dragged 2 digital cameras (including the new Sony DSC-W55) and a camcorder with us. The standard vacation drill is I am in charge of moving pictures and The Better Half handles the stills, but as the Sony camera was bought just before we left we hedged our bets and took along my aging but trusty Fuji FinePix A210.

All was well until I thought I would film the interior of the Cornell chapel (complete with pipe organ playing!) and discovered my viewfinder was black. No problem, I can switch to the flip-out side screen. Nope, still black. Had I somehow left the camera in a VCR-like mode when I was recording from our DVR? Fumble, fumble fumble with the on-screen menus (proving the viewfinder itself was not dead), nothing.

Trying not to swear (too much) in a church, I looked at the same menu choices over and over trying to see if maybe I had missed something. Nope. Disappointed I put the camera back in my bag and tried not to let it ruin our day (much).

Over lunch (at the Big Red Barn, yummy!) I fiddled with it a bit more – it played back scenes from New Year's and Christmas. It would record sound, just no picture. Decided it was a lost cause and mentally prepared myself to have to pay for a new one, weighing between a new Sony (should be able to reuse my larger battery) vs. anyone but Sony.

Later that day at the free PC with internet at the business center, I thought I would see if I was alone in having this problem and/or how much it would cost to get fixed. Well, turns out Sony had a problem with the CCDs in my model (and others) and was fixing them for free. Feeling a little better about the Sony corporation, I went back upstairs.

The UPS mailing label came yesterday so soon I will send it off and see what they say. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Time For Go to Bed!

[, ]

VP Cheney doing his best Tor Johnson impersonation at today's White House press conference.

(Don't blame me – I voted for Torgo!)

When VW Meant Thrifty

[, , ]

"When I was a freshman...."

Monday, April 02, 2007

Alanis Morissette "My Humps"

[YouTube, Alanis Morissette, Fergie]

Yes, you read that correctly.
idogcow. Get yours at

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