Saturday, April 30, 2005

School Mistakes Huge Burrito for a Weapon

As my dad used to say: "it's funny now, but at the time..."

New tenant

We have a new tenant on our property.

While cleaning out some old plants in the garden this morning, I came across a bird's nest in one of our back bushes. The "tenant" is a Northern Cardinal and she's laid at least two eggs...maybe three. I glanced briefly at her nest, but she was letting me have it so I didn't want to upset her and have her abandon the nest.

I haven't come across last year's tenants: two small garden snakes that made their home next to our garage.

John Rocker attempting a comeback

Former major league pitcher and recovering bigot John Rocker, who hasn't pitched in two years, is attempting a comeback with a Long Island minor league team. Rocker was a top relief pitcher with the Atlanta Braves, but incensed baseball fans, New Yorkers and several ethnic, racial and religious groups by slamming nearly everyone in a Sport Illustrated interview after the 1999 season.

Organized baseball has already proven that there is no such thing as a "last chance" so it's not surprising that the 30-year old Rocker is trying a comeback with the Long Island Ducks of the independent Atlantic League.

Since baseball also likes to make a buck or two, I have a couple of suggestions for the Ducks to capitalize on their new player's notoriety:

  • "John Rocker Same-Sex Couple Night" -- Fans attending the game can bring their same-sex partner with them and he/she gets in free. A "lucky" couple drawn at random can take Rocker to a gay or lesbian nightclub at his expense. [Rocker hates homosexuals.]
  • "Ride the Subway with John Rocker Night" -- Fans chosen at random can spend an evening riding a New York City subway with Rocker. [He slammed subway riders.]
  • "John Rocker Bobblehead Night" -- The first 2,000 fans (regardless of their sexual orientation) get a bobblehead doll. [He probably hates bobblehead dolls too.]
  • "Welcome to America Half-Price Night" -- Fans attending the game who show their foreign birth certificate get in for half price. [Rocker hates immigrants.]

Can anyone else come up with a good idea for the Ducks?

Friday, April 29, 2005

Blogging support in the next version of Frontpage?

Hey Microsoft. Is this true? I would not be surprised if Macromedia [Dreamweaver] or Adobe [GoLive] incorporate blogging support into future versions of their authoring software, especially since they will be one and the same company.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Wendy's should give her the finger!

I've written about the woman who claimed to have found a fingertip in her chili while dining at Wendy's. As the story progressed, her account became less and less believable. Now it turns out that the whole tale was a hoax although the fingertip is apparently real.

I hope Wendy's sues her for not only the financial loss suffered, but for the damage to their reputation.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Free MP3 downloads from Amazon

Amazon introduced free MP3 downloads in 2001. Here's a list of the top 200 downloads available on their site. I picked up a few Alison Krauss songs.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Be careful what you wish for

Like most of the world, I use Internet Explorer as my primary browser. A few months ago, I downloaded the final version of the new Firefox browser from the Mozilla Foundation. I like it a great deal, but I still use IE as my primary browser -- more for convenience than for any other reason.

IE has long had security vulnerabilities which hackers and virus writers love to penetrate. Both Mozilla and Apple developers scoff at Microsoft saying their browser is much more safe to use and does not have these vulnerabilities. I've long assumed that IE is the target not because it's less secure than Firefox or Safari (Apple's browser), but because it has the largest installed base and a virus writer is more inclined to spend their time working with IE code than others.

Now that Firefox is making inroads into IE's installed base, it is also finding itself a target for hackers. Firefox just released a set of patches to fix some security vulnerabilities. This is on top of patches released several weeks ago. I'm not aware of any problems with Apple's Safari browser, but I also suspect that Mac's small customer base makes it a less attractive target than Windows-based browsers.

The point is that no browser is 100% secure. Companies stating that their browser is foolproof only serves to challenge hackers and virus writers who will eventually find a vulnerability.

Firefox, careful what you wish for!

Monday, April 18, 2005

Bradford Pear

I guess a sure sign of spring is when all the flowering trees begin to flourish. This is our Bradford Pear tree that just began to flower on Sunday. This picture was taken late Monday afternoon. The rest of the garden looks barren, but just wait...

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Angels and Demons

I succumbed to hype and purchased The Da Vinci Code late last year. I was pleasantly surprised to find the book interesting and thought-provoking. I say "surprised" because I'm usually disappointed by movies and books that are fawned over by the public.

In February I bought Dan Brown's prequel Angels and Demons. It's a prequel in the sense that the main character from Code, Robert Langdon, is introduced in Angels.

I actually enjoyed this book more than Code. It was more of a page-turner with an end result that I did not see coming. The setting for the book is Vatican City within the background of a papal conclave.

Ironically, I finished the book about ten days before the death of John Paul II. The pope's death has resulted in a flurry of interest in Angels and Demons. When I bought the paperback version of the book on eBay, I paid around three dollars. A quick eBay search reveals that prices have gotten higher. It's still a good book and highly recommended.

Aging octopus is finally a mother

This is a very interesting article. I guess I never thought much about how octopuses (octopi?) reared their young.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Southwest Nebraska sunflowers

During our August 2002 visit to Nebraska, my mother and I spent quite a bit of time commuting between Ogallala (where our motel was located) and Grant and Madrid. Grant is located 20 miles south of Ogallala and Madrid is 10 miles east of Grant.

There is literally nothing but farmland between Ogallala and Grant. Several farmers are growing sunflowers as a cash crop. Some of the fields were located along the highway. I stopped and snapped several photos of the flowers including this closeup.

A Roosevelt mystery

My 79-year-old mother tells me that, to this day, the death of President Roosevelt remains one of the seminal events in her life. (This from a woman who experienced a world war, wars in Korea, Vietnam and Iraq, 9/11, moon travel, the fall of Communism and the rise of Ashlee Simpson.)

The common belief was that Roosevelt (already in his fourth term as president) suffered a cerebral hemorrhage and died at his home in Warm Springs, Georgia on April 12, 1945.

Coinciding with the 60th anniversary of his death, Newsweek Magazine has an article questioning the official cause of FDR's death. This is no conspiracy theory, but historians have always questioned the secrecy surrounding FDR's health. This report suggests that Roosevelt may have had cancer.

In this modern age of instant communication via the internet, 24-hour news channels and the Drudge Report, it would be difficult to cover up presidential health issues.

Saturday, April 9, 2005

Lake McConaughey, January 13, 2002

Here's a picture I took of Lake McConaughey north of Ogallala, Nebraska in January 2002. It was a cold, raw, bright and windy day. I think the colors turned out great. For a comparison, this is how the same picture looks when converted to black and white using a red filter.

It's quite dramatic.

Friday, April 8, 2005

Wendy's diner finds finger in chili

Wendy's may want to borrow KFC's "Finger-lickin' good" slogan!

Update: (4/8/2005 1:38 PM) I originally posted this story on March 24. Since then, police have searched the home of Anna Ayala, the woman who claimed she found the finger in her food. I was interested in this quote from the article (emphasis is mine): "Wendy's maintains the finger did not enter the food chain in its ingredients. All the employees at the San Jose store were found to have all their fingers, and no suppliers of Wendy's ingredients have reported any hand or finger injuries, the company said."


I found this on Steve Rubel's blog and thought it was a belated April Fool's prank. It's actually very clever. Enter a search term in the search box and the window splits into two panes -- one showing Yahoo! search results and the other showing Google search results. Very cool!

Sunday, April 3, 2005

Google Ride Finder

This is pretty cool!

The folks at Google have done it again. They've announced Google Ride Finder which is a neat way to find a cab. The service is limited to a few cities -- including Chicago -- but the premise is pretty simple: use your computer to locate a participating taxi cab. By clicking on the Chicago site, you can see if there is a cab near your location. You can then call the dispatcher for that cab to have it pick you up.

Saturday, April 2, 2005

Spring forward!

Daylight Saving Time begins at 2:00 AM Sunday morning. Don't forget to set your clocks one hour ahead. Note the singular form of the word saving. The plural form -- which is common usage -- utilizes incorrect English. You are saving daylight; you are not savings daylight.

So there! :-)

Yahoo! 360 invitations

I managed to secure an invitation to the new Yahoo! 360 community. Similar to the strategy that Google used when introducing Gmail, Yahoo! 360 members have free invitations to use for anyone who wishes to join. Let me know if you want one.

Friday, April 1, 2005

Gmail expands to 2 GB with more on the way

Last week Yahoo! announced they were going to expand the limit on the free web-based e-mail from 250 MB to 1 GB. The move was rumored to be in response to Google's free Gmail service rumored to be coming out of beta status in April. Gmail's storage limit is [was] 1 GB. Maybe Yahoo! knew something else as Google is apparently expanding its capacity to 2 GB with more increases expected in the future.

April Fool's Day!

If you see something today that doesn't appear correct, it's probably because it's April Fool's Day. Bloglines, one of my favorite RSS aggregators, announced today that they now offer their service in Klingon in addition to other languages.