Saturday, July 11, 2009

Friday, July 10, 2009

There was no a**-gazing

No, Pres. Obama was not staring at the 16 year old's a**. Video here.

Twitter as frivolous entertainment

In my continuing saga of evaluating Twitter, I report that there is fun to be had with public word play.  Here's one where people imagine the first draft of famous movie lines (random batch presented here):
Another was to replace a word or part of a word in a common title or phrase with "tran" or "tranny". Examples
  • Tranny Get Your Gun
  • Tranny Hall
  • Tranmerican in Paris
  • I Left My Heart in Tran Francisco
  • Trancakes, with maple syrup
These are both games that pre-date Twitter, I do believe, but they suit Twitter pretty well.  Feel free to play along with either/both.

Update:  Here are some more (better) movie lines (4th one down for M):

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Burr Oak Cemetery

K's grandmother is buried here. Or was.


I can still remember where I was and what I was doing when I first heard about the events at Columbine High School. I was driving up the Alaska Highway in British Columbia listening to CBC radio when they broke in. Then, for several days, the CBC offered all type of analysis on why this phenomenon always happened in the States, but not in Canada (and why it would never happen in Canada. But, a few days later, it did). And while the "facts" at the time seemed to stand up months and even years later, what you think you know about the what and why is probably wrong. This book has been compared to In Cold Blood and I think that is a disservice to Truman Capote. Dave Cullen is not a storyteller (at least to the degree that Capote was), but he is enough of one to make this novel very compelling. I wish he had been able to speak to the parents of Harris and Klebold, because their seemingly total ignorance of what their kids were not only thinking, but doing, is almost incomprehensible. I know that my parents didn't know everything I did, but I don't think I could have amassed an arsenal of guns and bombs that I kept in my room, basement (if I had one), and garage without them finding something. The author had access to surveillance tapes, diaries, friends, teachers, police - everyone. While the events of that day were and have been labeled as a "shooting", it wasn't and it neither was it planned to be. And to think that no one had a clue or inkling that these 2 boys were heading in the direction they were is also false. Cullen also tries to explain the motivations behind why many of the misconceptions about what happened that day continue to be fostered by everyone from the police to the survivors and the families of the victims. This is a tough read, yet I found myself not wanting to put it down.

Gone Tomorrow

I have to give credit where credit is due. Our former SSJ brother turned me on to Lee Child and the Jack Reacher series. There are 3 series that I read religiously: this one, the John Sanford Prey series, and any Tom Clancy that features Jack Ryan. Sadly, it's my understanding that due to some legal issues, there won't be any future Jack Ryan novels from Clancy, so I'm left with just 2 series. But that's OK, because they are both good enough and published often enough to satisfy me. While Child's descriptions of how guns or silencers work, or how long it takes certain caliber bullets to reach their target can get a bit tedious, I can overlook that. I love Reacher and while I know that no one person can get into this many dangerous and bizarre situations, I can also overlook that fact. Just as I overlook that Minneapolis/St. Paul can't have that many serial killers and freaks as described in the Prey series. I really enjoyed the opening of this novel - a decision that has to be made in seconds is described over numerous pages based upon a checklist created by the expertise of terrorism experts. And that decision unleashes a chain-of-events that takes Reacher from a late-night subway ride back to the 1980's and a secret that not only individuals want kept quiet, but governments and terrorists as well. The plot sounds complicated, but Child does a great job of moving the story and keeping you guessing. My only complaint was that I thought the "secret" wasn't that big of a deal, for any of the parties trying to keep it hidden. I think most people realise that yesterdays friend could be tomorrow's enemy (or visa versa) and especially over the period of 20-30 years. But, the journey and the story certainly made up for that small complaint. I can't say that I dislike any of the Reacher series - but I can say that Gone Tomorrow is certainly one of my favorites.

A Reliable Wife

This is another of the Parade magazine recommendations that I was enticed to check out. The 3 or 4 sentence blurb in Parade mentioned Wisconsin, trickery and betrayal, a gothic tale of romance and seduction. I admit - I was hooked. Then I started reading it and to say it was slow would be an understatement. And the love scenes were straight out of the Bronte mold. Think Wuthering Heights, but set in northern Wisconsin. Thankfully, it wasn't as long the Bronte classics, but it seemed like it was. The only thing that keep me going was the "trickery and betrayal" angle, but that went away about half-way thru. This might be more of a "chick book", but my Mom even said it was "strange" and "a bit slow". If you are into the Bronte-style novel and lengthy descriptions of snow or rooms or houses or "gothic seduction", then this is the book for you. If you aren't, then I would say keep away and definitely be wary of Parade magazine.

Do I just not understand?

This short little gem in the DMN caught my eye today. Am I the only person who thinks that if a toll road is losing drivers, you might want to lower the tolls, not raise them? The tolls were raised not too long ago and gee, guess what, less drivers. So the answer that the toll authority comes up with now is to raise tolls again. And in about 4-6 months, when they do another survey and see that driver ship has gone down again, I wonder what they will do?

In the not-too-distant future, most of the major and mid-major roads in the DFW area are going to be be either totally toll roads or some combination of mostly toll lanes and some free lanes. 635 (the main loop around Dallas) will have "smart toll" lanes that will price-adjust during peak hours and/or high volume in the free lanes. Perhaps the ultimate answer for low driver ship on toll roads is to make every road a toll road. Then the "nervous" bond holders will not have to worry so much.

Missing Somali men

Here's the latest on the investigation into the missing Somali men:
In late 2007, when the first of about a dozen Somali men from Minnesota began to travel to their homeland to fight in a bloody civil war, a tempest was building in the Twin Cities Somali community. Many Somali-Americans were upset about Ethiopian troops that invaded their homeland.

A Twin Cities group called the United Somali Diaspora organized and videotaped the rally, in November of 2007, at the Minneapolis Convention Center. The main purpose was to raise awareness of the Ethiopian invasion.

But one keynote speaker, a middle-aged man in a cream-colored suit, seemed to cross the line.

Zakariya Abdi, who was bent on pushing the Ethiopians out and taking down Somalia's transitional government, encouraged Somalis in Minnesota to fight.

"Enlist yourselves. Come to see us in Asmara," Abdi said to the crowd. "Let us get to know each other. We will offer training. Then whoever wants to fight for two months, like the Eritreans used to do, can then go back to school."

Minneapolis airport terminal signage

In follow-up to my earlier post about the names of the airport terminals in Minneapolis, here's the resolution of the issue:
A Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC) committee voted Wednesday to support spending about $2.2 million on signs that would re-brand Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport's Lindbergh Terminal as “terminal 1” and the Humphrey Terminal as “terminal 2."
What is more helpful is that they'll list the airlines on the signs in affiliation with their respective terminals. If they'd just do that, they could keep the Lindbergh/Humphrey names on the signs.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Unnecessary quotes

Here is a site devoted to pictures documenting the unnecessary use of quotation marks. (H/t Ezra's Twitter.)

Neopolitan pizza

is all the rage everywhere now apparently. Here's a plug for the best Neopolitan pizza in Minneapolis, owned by a friend of mine. He opened it about a decade ago, so he was several years ahead of his time.

Is anyone else wondering

if Michael Jackson's (and I use that apostrophe in the legal, not biological, sense) kids were spawned from Lisa Marie's eggs? I see Elvis in them. They have otherworldly bone structure. And when it comes to MJ, no hypothesis is too whacky.

I can't believe NOTHING about Sarah on SSJ

I'm gone for a few days and almost totally cut-off from the news of the world with one exception: Wimbledon. Thankfully, no MJ. And when I get back to a newspaper yesterday, I see where Palin has "resigned" (i.e. quit). And there is not one word on SSJ about that?????

I read a great piece in the paper I saw by Maureen Dowd on this - it was so right on. If I get motivated, I'll try to find it and link it.

Where is Scooter on this? Where is "Anonymous" who was the biggest SP cheerleader around?

UPDATE: link to Dowd op-ed.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Placebo touring US

Placebo will be in Dallas at the House of Blues on Sept. 26.

Back from the mystery trip

Can you guess where we went based upon these: