Saturday, November 07, 2009
Tuesday, November 03, 2009
The cage is very small
A tiny silver ball
That makes you a hero
The moment you step inside
The world is watching you
What youre about to do
Will live on forever
Even though youll be dead
Were about to turn the engines on.
Hello from Sputnik 2
I am receiving you
Thanks for the dog food
Im somewhere above you now
Guess what Malashenkov?
I took the collar off
Im holding my own leash
And walking myself outside
I dont think
I want to be a good dog anymore.
Now Im floating free
And the moons with me
And its bright enough
To light the dark
And its so high up here
And the stars so clear -
Are they close enough?
Will they hear me bark from here?
Moscow to Sputnik 2
I think were losing you
Your life signs are fading
We cant really say that were
Its a shame
There is always something that gets compromised
Now Im floating free
And the moons with me
And its bright enough
To light the dark
And its so high up here
And the stars so clear -
Are they close enough?
Will they hear me bark from here?
Then today, US Airways CEO, Doug Parker, was in town just a few days after announcing a major downsizing of both routes and personnel. Service is being scaled back, and some cities like Colorado Springs and Wichita, will be eliminated from the airlines flights altogether. There will also be 1000 jobs around the country vaporized by the restructuring. As I have mentioned in the past, US Airways holds a near monopoly on air travel into and out of Charlotte, with other carriers holding a small share of the traffic.
Mecklenburg County has a current official unemployment rate of over 11%. If worst case scenarios become reality for these two major employers, Charlotte and the entire Metrolina region may have an even deeper hole to dig out of. This is a very nice city. It would be a shame to see this occur. As other cities without a great amount of economic diversity, Charlotte's crown as a major banking center may end up being its undoing.
Saturday, October 31, 2009
I used to fly in and out of Kansas City with some regularity back in the late 1980s when I worked for Sprint. I used to like their terminal buildings, which are shaped like the letter "C", and you can get out of the car right next to your gate. No concourses to deal with. But in this post 9/11 world, that proves to be not such a good arrangement. The reason? That is because each airline has their own little area walled off by its gates. This means that in transferring from...oh, let's say US Airways to United Airlines...you have to leave the secure area for the former carrier and then go through the second carrier's security. You have to do the whole routine of shoes off, laptop out, and throw away your water bottle, even though you just got off a flight in a security-sterile environment.
But that wasn't the worst of it. The flight from Kansas City to Denver was one of the three most turbulent flights I have ever had. Not #1, but not far behind. You are totally helpless in that situation. All you can do is ride it out. You can't turn back, you can't get out, and you can only endure. At least I made it home for the weekend. Monday morning it's back to Charlotte. My suitcase full of dirty clothes back in North Carolina also awaits my return to wash them. Still, it should be a very good week ahead. Lots going on at work, and the deadlines continue to loom large.
Saturday, October 24, 2009
First, if you feel the swine flu coming on, you may need one of these shirts.
I never heard of a collard sandwich before. The couple in the picture must have thought I wanted their picture, since they stopped to pose. Then a guy walked in front of them.
1949 Ford in cherry condition
Grill & hood ornament of a Hudson Terraplane auto
General Johnson and The Chairmen of the Board did a great set of Carolina Shag Beach Music
Wish they all could be Carolina girls...NOT!
Amazing sand sculpture of a haunted house
Davidson Covnty Covrt Hovse...faux Latin gives it a real touch of faux class
It is a barbeque festival after all...so let's partake!
Two buns on top when you open up, and under the foil, red slaw and barbeque pig! MMMmmmm!
Sunday, October 18, 2009
This is my kind of place. I am not a fan of chain restaurants if I have a local eatery available.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Oh yes, speaking of sugar, one must get used to it. The female waitstaff at just about every restaurant will call you "shugah", sweetie, or honey. I do declare, such Southern charm. :-)
Saturday, October 10, 2009
In any case, The Queen City is quite a lovely place. Unlike the open prairie of Colorado's Front Range, where you can see for miles; Charlotte seems like a forest. Trees everywhere, which seems so strange to me. Since I left, Charlotte became a major banking center, home to Bank of America (formerly NationsBank, formerly NCNB, formerly North Carolina National Bank), and Wachovia (now part of Wells Fargo). Since we taxpayers have had to bail out these big banks, I feel like I own part of these majestic building that stand tall into the North Carolina skies. The top photo shows the base of BoA's headquarters at the main intersection of "Uptown Charlotte", the city's central business district. The streets are Trade & Tryon, and there are interesting statues on each corner facing into the middle of the intersection.
The next picture is a piece of public art that is across from BoA, and is a huge disk-shaped sculpture. Finally we have a directional sign in Uptown, pointing people to various points of interest.
Last night, I had a crazy notion to drive over to the high school where I graduated back in 1971 to watch a football game. Well, it turns out it was their 50-year anniversary homecoming. The poor little school they played had just a few people there, no band, and they got clobbered. Felt kind of sorry for them, but I suppose that is why they were chosen as the opponent for homecoming...gotta have a win for the alumni!
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
If I may quote from the book this man purports to teach:
"Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence."
1 Timothy 2:1-2 (NKJV)
Monday, August 24, 2009
When the government bailout of General Motors and Chrysler Corporation took place, I was skeptical. After all, these are companies that had failed for a variety of reasons, most of them self-inflicted. So while I understood the need to try to save jobs, why reward these firms from the public till, for poor management decisions? We had already bailed out the banks, who turned around and rewarded their executive teams with big bonuses from the emergency taxpayer monies. Now we repeat the bailouts for GM & Chrysler?
Then there is the fact that even if these companies survive in the short term, what will change in the long term? What would they do differently than what they had done to arrive at such a sorry state of affairs? The real problem is people are not buying their products in sufficient quantities to sustain their businesses. With unemployment soaring, even if people want to purchase one of their cars, how can they do so? It is a bigger problem than paying the current bills coming due.
So now we come to the CARS program. I understand the desire of the government to get us all into more fuel efficient automobiles. I also understand the fact that this program creates a short-term spike in demand, which is good for the economy in general, and for the automakers specifically. It also is one stimulus plan that actually addresses the demand side of the equation and does something for the average person. But at what cost?
As a matter of principle, I am opposed to taking tax money from all of us to subsidize the purchase of new cars for a few. Why should any of us pay for our neighbor's new vehicle?
I also believe that the program is flawed in that it doesn't have any requirement that the rebates apply only to cars manufactured in the United States. We need to stimulate the economy at home before sending the tax monies to companies in Japan, Korea, and Europe. Sure, our economies are all interconnected, but for our public tax dollars, let's make sure they go to work at home before sending them with an express ticket to Tokyo.
Another issue is that many of the cars deemed to be "clunkers" are perfectly serviceable autos that are much better than many folks can afford to purchase. It seems extremely wasteful to purposefully destroy a perfectly good car that could help someone get to their job. It would be better if these vehicles were donated to charity rather than ruining their engines and crushing them. Sure, it doesn't get them off the road, but they won't last forever anyway. In the meantime, they could do much good.
And what about the parts market that will be negatively impacted by this destruction? Used replacement parts are one way that families can save money on repairs. Is this right to destroy what may be difficult to locate parts? This can conceivably create price inflation for those parts as a function of a more limited supply.
It isn't the proverbial bed of roses for those taking advantage of the program either. In hard economic times, how many people who have their cars already paid for, will rush out to buy a new one under this program, only to lose their jobs and be left without any car at all. Even if they don't become unemployed, a big downside to this is that instead of having a perfectly good auto with no payments and lots of good miles left in them, people now have locked themselves into a new monthly payment.
Then there is the fact that while the program was running, there was an expected spike in demand. But this is just a temporary spike. If someone was going to buy, they would likely do it during the program, and not wait until it expires. Artificially induced demand dries up once the stimulus for the demand ceases to exist. Will people also hold back on purchases waiting for an encore of the program?
Overall, I have come to the conclusion that this is a misguided program that likely began with good intentions, but the net result is not worth the cost.
Thursday, August 06, 2009
The Lovely Spouse and I moved into this house about 16 months ago. There was not a built-in microwave oven, unlike the past places we have lived for years. We have actually had a microwave oven in our homes since the early 1980s. So our initial thought was to buy one. At first we thought of buying a counter top oven, but then considered that maybe we should just purchase one to mount under the counter over the stove. In the meantime, as we wrestled with this dilemma, we continued to cook, and found out that we were doing okay for now, so the purchase could wait. As time moved on, we realized two things. One, we were doing fine without one; and two, the food we prepared by more conventional means was better!
With the Lovely Spouse, it became a contest to see how long could we hold out buying a microwave oven. As it turns out, indefinitely. And then there's the quality of the food. Meat reheated in a microwave tends to get overdone and dry. Potatoes don't have the same consistency as conventional oven-baked ones. As I am writing this, I am eating some delicious tamales I bought frozen. In the past, I would have popped them in to the microwave for about 3 minutes and eaten them. Instead, I put a pot of water on the stove to boil, topped it with a covered steamer with the tamales inside for about 25 minutes. I can attest, the steaming produces a moist, tasty and hot product; whereas microwaving them would have made them hot, but less evenly heated and much drier.
There are many times that we would have used the microwave in the past that we now use the toaster oven. Quick and efficient! Between that applicance, the stove and the regular oven, we are doing great. One of my sons was over shortly after we moved in, and he asked? "Where's your microwave?" In my best hillbilly voice, I replied, "Don't got one!". His reply was priceless. "How do you cook?" What he was trying to do was heat some water. We introduced him to the good old tea kettle.
Are there times I miss having a microwave oven? Sure. But only occasionally. Most of the time, I don't care anymore. The food is tastier, and it doesn't take long to fix either. If you preplan just a little bit, you will enjoy flavorful, moist meals with little fuss. Now the question is do we go even further with the retro lifestyle? Do we dump satellite TV for over the air broadcasts? Do we kill the cell phones and just use the home line? In these hard economic times, maybe this is all part of a simpler, more frugal lifestyle.
Thursday, July 30, 2009
Is this the way American political dialog should be conducted? I think not. If these Republicans could come up with a viable plan of their own, they could talk about that. But no, they would rather continue to purvey fear upon our senior citizens, and everyone else too. What is sad is that so many buy it. I never thought I would see this country on such a downward slide so as to reach this low point in political discourse.
Rachel Maddow on MSNBC has examples in the clip below.
Sunday, July 26, 2009
Back in 1990, the world of personal computing was divided into two camps; IBM Personal Computers and their clones running the ubiquitous MS-DOS, and Apple's Macintosh and its Graphical User Interface, or GUI. Text-based DOS ruled the business world, while the Mac had established a beach head in the graphic design, desktop publishing, and educational markets. But it was becoming clear that the future was a graphical one. Microsoft, the purveyor of MS-DOS had made early attempts with an environment called Windows that ran on top of DOS, but it was not very useful at that stage, and very few programs required it.
There were other attempts to bring DOS into the graphical world. Digital Research had tried to get its GEM Desktop accepted, but it gained very little traction in the marketplace. Part of that was because of an infringement lawsuit against Digital Research filed by Apple. Yet just when Microsoft was about to release its first really usable version of Windows, version 3.0, another program hit the shelves, that was in many ways superior to the Microsoft product. That program was called GeoWorks Ensemble.
GeoWorks was created by a small company named Berkeley Softworks, that had created GUIs for other computing platforms, such as the Commodore 64 home computer. GeoWorks was written in assembly language, making it extremely fast and responsive, even when running on an Intel 80286 chip. Like Windows, it still needed MS-DOS underneath its pretty shell, but it claimed several advances that Windows didn't yet have. These include filenames longer than the eight-plus-three format that DOS required, scalable typefaces, WYSIWYG desktop publishing, and a scalable interface. For neophytes, GeoWorks had a basic, iconic interface option, somewhat akin to the modern iPhone screen. For more advanced users there were two steps up, that resemble modern GUI design.
So why are we not all using GeoWorks 9.0 today? I see at least three reasons. First, although Geoworks was sold with several great applications, such as GeoWrite, GeoDraw, and GeoDex, it initially lacked a spreadsheet application. At at time where Lotus 1-2-3 had set the bar for financial modelling, a spreadsheet was a must. Secondly, the developer's kit for GeoWorks was prohibitively expensive, dissuading software coders from developing for the platform. Finally, it was a pure case of being outmarketed. With the DOS cash cow, Microsoft could easily bury the smaller firm in an avalanche of advertising and public relations noise.
Over the years, GeoWorks was sold twice...first to NewDeal Software, and then to BreadBox. But development remains stuck at least a decade in the past, and the niche markets that have been identified for the product have failed to respond.
How great it would be to see someone buy the rights who really cares about GeoWorks. It could be given modernized graphics, drivers for new hardware, support for OpenType, and perhaps even run on top of the Linux kernel. After all, Google's new operating system, Chrome, will use that kernel as its basis, and Linux is a solid base. Then perhaps we would see some real competition!
Still, that will remain only a dream. I doubt there is any chance of that becoming reality. But for those of us who found GeoWorks a viable, and advanced operating environment, it will always remain the little GUI that could!
Friday, July 24, 2009
Thursday, July 16, 2009
Get yours HERE.
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Thursday, July 09, 2009
We, too, possess the heart of an early adopter but the wallet and wary sensibility of a cautious consumer.
Winda Benedetti, contributor msnbc.com
iPhone 3G S
GeForce 3D Vision Kit
Roomba 562 Pet
Dream Cat Venus
Touch Watch Phone
"I heard this lady, she was like, 'Uh, what are all these black kids doing here?' She's like, 'I'm scared they might do something to my child,'" said camper Dymire Baylor.
Reports are that when the black children got in the pool, all the Caucasian kids immediately left. Horace Gibson, a parent of one of the day camp kids said:
"The pool attendants came and told the black children that they did not allow minorities in the club and needed the children to leave immediately."
The day after this happened, the camp was told their money would be refunded and they could not come back. The Valley Swim Club's president, John Duesler, said that the concern is that the kids would "change the complexion...and the atmosphere of the club".
Yes blatant racism is alive and well in America, and it is not only in the South. And what a sad thing for these children to have experienced. For the full story as reported by Philly's NBC 10, CLICK HERE.
Wednesday, July 08, 2009
Personally, I would love to see more widespread choice. Although Google is touting the new OS as a Windows alternative for netbooks, can its wider deployment be far behind? Now if Apple can be persuaded to release OSX into the wild, we could see some real competitive choices. Windows, OSX, Google OS, Linux, wow! Let the OS wars begin!
Monday, July 06, 2009
In my 1950s childhood mind, I probably had quite a few adventures emulating the bravery of Davy as portrayed by Fess Parker in living black & white on our television screen. Of course I was not alone. Davy was a pop phenomenon in those days. After all, he "kilt him a bar when he was only three".
One of my toys from those days is still in my possession. It was a plastic squeak toy of a child dressed out as Davy. This may be the only toy I still have from my childhood, and frankly I am surprised it is still around. The second picture is it, and you can also see the chewed up end of Davy's rifle. I recall that it was a really pleasant feeling to chew that thing, not thinking about the damage it was doing to the toy. Maybe I was like a dog with a squeak toy, chewing and squeaking it as much as I could.
So there we have it. A story of a boy, a toy, and a frontier hero who died at the Alamo.
A family in Stockton, California says that Jacko has appeared on a stump where their birch tree had a branch removed. As Skeptic magazine publisher and author Michael Shermer has pointed out, we are pattern seeking animals. This is why we see shapes in clouds and constellations in our night sky. Despite that, I am sure there are people who worship MJ to the point that they will hang on to this as a sign of some sort. I just wonder...when they pruned the tree, did they remove Jackson's nose?
Saturday, July 04, 2009
This photo was taken in 1955, and is my mother and I with our old 1939 Pontiac. I am sure of the year, as Mom is obviously pregnant with my oldest sister. This car is one of my very earliest memories. I vividly recall sitting in the back seat. I loved peering out of the second backseat window, the one in the very back that is smaller than the others. Another thing interesting about this car is that the back doors are hinged in the rear and open in the opposite direction from the front doors.
In this picture, I am wearing one of my two favorite types of head gear during those times...a cowboy hat. The other was my Davy Crockett faux-coonskin cap.
I am not exactly sure of the locale of this picture, and I will need to ask my parents, but I suspect this was at the married student housing at the University of Oklahoma in Norman, where my dad was completing his Masters degree in Mechanical Engineering.
Below is an ad for this car when it was first offered to the public by General Motors. Wouldn't it be nice to have one of these now?
Thursday, July 02, 2009
This afternoon's storm was a nice thunderstorm, not so severe, but gave us a good downpour and a lot of rolling thunder. I grabbed the trusty Olympus LS-10, and picked up a few seconds of sound. Below is some of it, and you can hear the rainfall, the thunder, and a neighbor's windchime. Enjoy!
Edited to add: This is the first audio file I have placed on this blog using a different host. I had been using podbean.com for hosting audio files and creating an embedded player. This one is using the Internet Archive at www.archive.com. They can host text, audio, video, and many other types of multimedia files. Their embedded player you see above has a volume control which is lacking on PodBean's. The Internet Archive also creates not only an embeddable player, but it allows you to choose a license for your files. The original file I uploaded was MP3 format, but they also create other versions automatically. My file resulted in not only the MP3, but also Ogg Vorbis, ZIP, M3U, and metadata files. It is totally free, and I highly recommend it. There is nothing wrong with PodBean, but I am liking the Internet Archive a lot!
Fifty-year-old Keith Wright, a man from the Bronx who is apparently bipolar, decided to strip naked on a US Airways flight from Charlotte to Los Angeles. He refused to keep a blanket on that was put on him by a flight attendant. Ultimately, two Los Angeles law enforcement personnel on the flight wrestled him down and the flight was diverted to Albuquerque, where Wright will likely be given a psychiatric evaluation.
Wednesday, July 01, 2009
The RC will begin its shutdown routines on March 1, 2010. The commercial release of the OS will be October 22, 2009, so you should be in good shape. That is plenty of time to get the final product. One note though...it isn't an easy upgrade from beta to RC. A clean install is recommended (unless you had the foresight to run the beta in a virtual machine, that is).
Houston's 104.1 FM, KRBE used to publish their playlist on record sleves for 45 rpm singles. Here is one from May 2, 1978. There were some great songs on the top 40 that week, and it is hard to believe that it has been 31 years since these were current. At least it is to me. But then again, I am old!
Just take a look at some of these. Songs like Dust in the Wind, Baker Street, and Runnin' on Empty are there. But most noticeable is the fact that songs from the megahit movie, Saturday Night Fever dominated this chart of the disco fever era. I count at least four from that soundtrack. And take a look at #4. Thank You for Being a Friend by Andrew Gold went on to become the theme song for the television sitcom, The Golden Girls. The show's theme was a cover version by Cynthia Fee. There is also a song in the Top 40 from the movie Grease. You're The One That I Want by John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John came in at #9 that week.
On the back among other things, is a list of the disc jockeys who spun those hits on KRBE. As always, you can click on the images to get larger versions.
The Richard Dawkins Foundation recently produced a video featuring Michael Shermer, publisher of Skeptic Magazine, where Shermer takes Sagan's idea of a Baloney Detection Kit and lays out the concept for wider distribution. This video is almost 15 minutes long, but well worth the watching, given all of the claims and counter claims flying about these days.
The video is below, You can also download an MP3 audio file of this HERE (6.7 MB); or download a video Quicktime file HERE (122.4 MB).
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
This particular disc came out in 1959, and while a pleasant sounding couple of tunes, it doesn't have that distinctive Four Seasons sound.
As you can see from the photo, this is a DJ sample copy intended for airplay on the radio.
This record actually contains three songs. The side Doin' The Flake is obviously a promotion for corn flakes, and introduces a dance called..what else...The Flake.
The other side has two songs on it The first is the hit single This Diamond Ring, followed by a second track entitled Little Miss Go-Go.
Gary Lewis is the son of comedian Jerry Lewis, but the group didn't promote this fact when they got a gig playing at Disneyland. When producer Snuff Garrett heard the group, he felt that featuring that fact and calling the group "Gary Lewis and The Playboys" rather than just "The Playboys" would help sell records. Garrett wanted this to hit, so he also brought in studio musicians on the lead tracks, relegating the band to playing only backup on the recording. Notable of these session players were drummer Hal Blaine, bassist Joe Osborn, Tommy Allsup on guitar, and Leon Russell playing the keyboards. By the time Garrett was done adding another vocalist and overdubbing Gary singing, little was left of the original band, but it did produce a hit. With that, the group was on their way to producing other hit records.
As you can see, the label shows lots of wear over the years. You can also see where I put my initials on the label in permanent marker all those years ago. This premium originally came with a custom sleeve, something that has long since gone by the wayside.
This particular record, Alvin's Harmonica, reached #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1959. It was the second record issued under the artist name of David Seville and The Chipmunks. Of course David, along with Alvin, Theodore, and Simon, were all the voice of Ross Bagdasarian. The first with this artist credit was The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don't Be Late).
Bagdasarian played around with speeding up tape recordings to build the tracks for each chipmunk, and hit it big with the resulting novelty records. He also had a huge #1 hit in 1958 without the Chipmunk credit, singing as David Seville. That record, Witch Doctor, was his first experiment with speeded up voices on a commercial recording.
This record also has something I like. That is silver ink printed on a dark colored label. Something about that combination is just pleasing to me.
Monday, June 29, 2009
Now replaced by the much more versatile and manageable computer database, the once ubiquitous card catalog has come and gone. I don't know of any library that still uses one, although I would not be surprised if some very small libraries do so.
There was something edifying about the feel of the file drawers, and their collection of data cards inside, typed by a librarian and placed in the correct sequence in the catalog. The procedure was to take a piece of scrap paper and jot down the title and the Dewey Decimal Number, and then proceed to the shelves to find the particular book of interest. It was a skill so critical that it was reinforced in high school as part of the exercise of researching and writing term papers.
So even as we gain new technologies, let's not forget what came before. The sample card here is actually a product of computer technology. I created it at the Catalog Card Generator.
Gale was born Josephine Cottle, and achieved stardom in the cowboy movies, including some with Roy Rogers. Later moving to television, she co-starred in the program My Little Margie, and later The Gale Storm Show. Margie started as a CBS summer replacement for I Love Lucy, and quickly found a following. The show moved to NBC where it had a successful run.
Gale Storm was 87 years old.
Fred Travalena was 66 years old.
Sunday, June 28, 2009
Of all the major airports around the country, Denver's is one of my favorites. It is new, modern, and easy to get around in. Locals refer to it by it's initials...D-I-A...even though its airport code is DEN, same as the old Stapleton International used to be. Situated out on the high plains northeast of the main part of the city, Denver International is easily seen for miles. The unique suspended peaks of the tent-like roof over the main terminal echo the majestic Rocky Mountains west of the airport.
D-I-A has not been without controversy. A project championed by former mayor (and later Secretary of Transportation) Federico Peña, the airport was known for its automated, state-of-the-art baggage handling system that cost gazillions of dollars and never worked right. That system was finally scrapped in the last year or so and replaced by the "tug and cart" system used at every other airport. The automated system was famous for losing and/or mutilating luggage in its care. Today D-I-A operates with great efficiency.
While it is much better equipped to handle adverse weather conditions that can occur on Colorado's prairie, no airport is "weatherproof". That lesson was learned a few years ago when a major blizzard blocked Peña Boulevard, the main freeway for access and egress to and from the airport. While people were trapped in their cars and snow plows were unable to keep the airport open, we saw what the priorities were. Somehow a cadre of snowplows were able to get the Denver Broncos busses to D-I-A so that Denver's NFL players could make it to their game.
In any case, once most of the bugs were worked out, Denver International has turned out to be a great airport. A guard at the airport told me today there are plans for future expansion to add a second main terminal just like the existing one, along with three more concourses. Even during a recession, D-I-A managed to add 2.8 percent to its traffic and have a 2 percent revenue gain in 2008. It is a major hub for both Frontier and United Airlines, as well as a major presence for Southwest since its return to the city a couple of years ago.
The only bad incident in the airport's history so far was last December, when a Continental jet bound for Houston ran off of a runway while trying to take off. Luckily it missed a fire station beside the runway and all passengers and crew escaped from the broken and charred wreckage alive.
Mays was scheduled for a 3rd hip replacement on Monday, and had been on the road quite a bit. His last Twitter post was about the hard landing when a tire blew out on his plane yesterday. He had been to Los Angeles to appear on The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien last Tuesday, followed by some work with his clients on the east coast.
Billy Mays was 50 years old.
I hope so. My current laptop machine came preloaded with Vista, which took forever to boot to a useable system. I ended up replacing it with Linux (first PCLinuxOS, then Fedora 10), which gets me to a useable desktop in well under a minute. It is doubtful that I will migrate back to Windows with the release of version 7, as I find Linux more flexible, secure, and complete. Plus, I can get an application to do anything I need from the Fedora repositories. As I am not flush with cash, free software is a big help. Besides, I find most free and open source programs are as good as their commercially-available counterparts, so why waste money?
Still, that doesn't make Windows a bad OS. I know lots of Linux fans tend to disparage the dominant OS, but I do not. I simply like Linux better. Still, if you plan to upgrade your Windows system, now is the time to do so. Microsoft announced on Friday that they are offering a deep discount for pre-orders placed within a 15-day window (no pun intended). Until July 11, Microsoft is offering Windows 7 Home Premium for $49.99, and Windows 7 Professional for $99.99. These will ultimately sell for $119.99 and $199.99 respectively.
Of course, Microsoft is also repeating its past policy of offering purchasers of new computers a free upgrade to the next version if they buy between now and the release of the new version.
So here's the recommendations for those of you running Windows. If you are using Vista, this is a worthy upgrade. Take advantage of this offer if you can. If you are running XP and have the hardware to run the new Windows 7, then it is also worthwhile. But if you have an older computer, be sure to run the Windows Upgrade Advisor, as both Vista and Win 7 run best on newer, high-end hardware. If you decide the time is right for a new PC, then you should get the free upgrade offer with your purchase.
If I wasn't dealing with a deductible for the thousands of dollars in hail damage we got at my house, I would be tempted to buy the special price upgrade just for future use.
Monday, June 22, 2009
The fact of the matter is that Kodachrome constitutes less than one percent of Kodak's still picture film, and a photo processor in Kansas is the only place in the world that still develops it.
Still, Kodachrome retains a place in American culture. It was Kodachrome movie film that was used by Abraham Zapruder when he captured the only motion picture of the assassination of President Kennedy in Dealey Plaza. And of course, in the 1973 hit song, Paul Simon pleaded, "Mama don't take my Kodachrome away."
Friday, June 19, 2009
This taste treat has become so popular that every store from convenience markets to the local WalMart stores carry them. They come packaged individually and in bags of a dozen. The meat may be slices or sticks. But whatever the variation, they are an easy to handle meal or snack. Coal miners carry several in their lunch pails with great regularity.
I became acquainted with this delicacy when visiting the lovely spouse's family in Grafton, WV. Just a few miles away in Fairmont is where the pepperoni roll is said to have originated. Often, the LS and I lament that this is such a regional delicacy that we can't buy them here in Colorado. I don't know why it didn't occur to me to try my hand at making them until recently. In any case, I was noodling around on the Internet and found the Pepperoni Roll web site. That site has a history of the pepperoni roll and the various bakers that make them. It also happens to have a page of recipes. The one that appeared to me to be very authentic was one from a guy named Tim.
So this morning, I decided to make a batch of them. Oh my goodness, are they fantastic! These are just like you get back in West Virginia. They can be eaten warm or cold. You can dip them in tomato sauce, or have them plain. I think I may make a batch with some pepper cheese in them with the pepperoni.
The bread has just a touch of sweetness, which goes well with the spicy pepperonis inside, although I think the next batch I will cut the sugar by about a third. I also had another thought. When I lived in Houston, there are kolache shops on every corner. Kolaches are very similar to pepperoni rolls, except they have either a little smoky link inside, or made flat with a fruit topping, similar to a danish pastry. I think this dough would make great kolaches too!
I'm on a roll!!
Edited to add Tim's recipe from The Pepperoni Roll website. It doesn't say, but it only took 10-12 minutes to bake these. I used a cookie sheet with baking parchment.
Tim's Pepperoni Rolls
Makes about a dozen rolls, although I always double the recipe (just use twice as much of everything, except one package of yeast is fine.)
1 1/2 cups water, barely warm to the touch
1/3 cup sugar
1 package yeast
1 teaspoonful salt
1/4 cup dry powdered milk
4 cups flour
Thin-sliced packaged pepperoni, about four ounces (paper thin is best)
Dissolve sugar, yeast, salt, and powdered milk in the warm water. Stir in the flour, using extra flour or water as needed to make a soft dough that isn't too sticky. Turn out onto a floured board and knead for a couple of minutes. Shape into a ball and let raise in a bowl for 30 minutes to an hour, covered with a towel. Volume should double.
Turn the raised dough back onto the floured board, and cut it into 12 pieces (I use a scraper/cutter, but a knife works fine.) Take each piece, flatten it lightly on the board with your hand, and place 4-5 slices of pepperoni in the middle, overlapping but not stacked. Roll it up like a jelly roll, and then primp it with your fingers to seal the ends into an oval, with no pepperoni sticking out. Place on an ungreased baking sheet.
Melt a tablespoonful of margarine and beat in an egg and two teaspoonfuls of sugar. Brush rolls lightly with this glaze. You don't need to let the rolls raise further.
Bake rolls at 400 degrees until golden brown. Brush immediately and lightly with melted margarine so they soften up nicely.
You can read Tim's page HERE.
These are expected to sell at a price point of around £40-50. If you are really concerned about someone in your household stabbing you to death with your kitchen knives, maybe you should rethink your choice of housemates.
Thursday, June 18, 2009
The plane landed safely at Newark.
After medical examinations, the doctor determined that poor Demetrius was sterile. Their neighbor, Frank Maus, had two kids and a resemblance to Demetrius, so the couple hired Maus to impregnate Traute Soupolos. The agreement was three attempts a week for six months in exchange for Maus being paid 2000 Euros. After a while, Mrs. Maus began to complain, but Frank assured her it was "just for the money".
After six months and 72 attempts at impregnation, all with no success, Demetrius insisted his friend get a medical exam. The test results showed that Maus was also incapable of fathering children. This resulted in Mrs. Maus confessing that the couple's two kids were not fathered by Frank.
Now, poor Demetrius is suing Frank to get his money back. Frank says he never promised a successful impregnation, but only that he would try his hardest (note: I am trying hard myself to resist the obvious joke here).
KUSA-DT reports that the two teens went into a used-clothing consignment shop in the Denver suburb of Lone Tree and started tossing clothes into a basket on the floor. They then took off in a waiting getaway truck.
Now you first have to consider if it is worth it to steal used clothes. Why not hit the nearby Park Meadows Mall which has Macy's & Nordstrom? But the next part is what should make these girls reconsider their career choice. It turns out that one of them gave the store owner her name and cell phone number on a form to have the store sell some of her used clothing. Police merely had to give her a call.
CLICK HERE to view the KUSA report.
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
He blew his mom a kiss. That's it!
The school administration says he broke the rules, so was sent back to his seat without the coveted certificate. They said that they don't want to have a repeat of the infamous silly string incident that disrupted the ceremony a while back. "Four years ago we had some issues with silly string and beach balls," said sourpuss Superintendent of Schools, Suzanne Lukas.
I agree with Maher that this is NOT what I voted for. I have been willing to give the President the chance to get things going before being overly critical. The ridiculous right is doing a great job of that. However, there is no guarantee that his party will retain its strong majority in the Congress after the elections next year. As the old adage goes, "it's time to make hay while the sun shines". NOW is the time to enact the key components of the platform he ran on. Forget bipartisanship. As Maher points out, maybe Obama needs to get a little of Bush's attitude...my way or no way.
Mr. President, don't forget what you promised...change we can believe in. We put you in office to effect that change. If you prove to just be another overpromising and underdelivering politician, you had better enjoy your job, as you could be a one-term president. You have the goodwill of most of the country. You have proven to be the hardest working man to get the job in a long time. But working hard isn't enough. You have to remember why you are there.
Unlike loudmouth Rush Limbaugh, I and most people want to see you succeed. It's time to quit compromising away your platform, when you don't have to. Perhaps instead of getting some Bush attitude, you should channel Larry the Cable Guy and just "Git 'Er Done!"