There Is No Cat

The alternative to flowers!

Sunday, June 30, 2002

What's better, bad sex or bad soccer?

In important soccer news today, Montserrat successfully held off a challenge by Bhutan to retain their ranking as the worst soccer team in the world. Meanwhile, Ronaldo says that winning the World Cup is better than sex, making the point that he would be having sex in just a few moments, but the World Cup only comes every four years. I wonder how the Montserrat players feel about sex vis-a-vis their accomplishment.

Posted at 2:31 PM
Link to this entry || 1 comment || Trackbacks (0)

Thursday, June 27, 2002

Santa's got a brand new bag

Carl Malamud wants to run the .org domain registry after Verisign gives it up. Carl Malamud is Santa Claus (or at the very least one of Santa's most trusted helpers). We own three .org domains, and I can't think of anyone better qualified to run .org than Santa Claus. (Found via Metafilter.)

Posted at 7:30 AM
Link to this entry || No comments (yet) || Trackbacks (0)

Wednesday, June 26, 2002

You get so dizzy even walking in a straight line

While the rest of the world is ditching telecom stocks like crazy, the Associated Press is publishing a puff piece on Lucent executive Bill O'Shea. They say that he's kept a low profile over the years. I guess he must have in order to escape punishment for all the debacles he's been involved in. Let's run down the honor roll. First, he was in charge of AT&T Computer Systems, which I used to work for. That division did so well that AT&T felt compelled to buy NCR and ditch 95% of Computer Systems (I was in one of the very few parts that survived the merger). As a reward, O'Shea was allowed to run NCR. That merger went so well that AT&T expelled it like a liver transplant with the wrong amino acids or something. (NCR is doing much better now, thank you.) So he was moved on to BCS, the Business Communications Systems division of Lucent which made PBXes and the like. That previously well-run division was run into the ground to such an extent that then-CEO Rich McGinn felt he needed to spin off those poorly-performing businesses in order to reach his inflated growth targets. When that spin-off was announced, an affected wag posted a web site declaring the new, at-that-time-unnamed company to be "Loose Ends Technologies". That lasted for about three or four days before the company forced it to be removed. That site included a special thanks to O'Shea for destroying the worth of the division and wishing him good riddance. Avaya is probably holding up better than the rest of Lucent's progeny in their post-O'Shea era, and have been getting some good exposure this month for their job wiring the communications infrastructure of the World Cup. After BCS was spun off as Avaya, Bill O'Shea was given responsibility for the technical direction of Lucent. He's allegedly the one who decided that the telcos would skip a generation of optical networking and move directly to Dense Wave Division Multiplexing, which was the hit that started Lucent down the road to perdition as Nortel ate their lunch in the optical market with the 10 Gbps switches that Lucent had forgone producing. As his reward, O'Shea was placed in charge of Lucent's crown jewel, Bell Labs. Given his track record to this point, I fear for its future.

I've long considered Bill O'Shea to be the canary in Lucent's coal mine. He's been present at the site of the worst fiascos his company has been involved in; I guess that low profile kept him from being suspected of having anything to do with them. The day they finally get a CEO who realizes he's the kiss of death and fires his sorry ass is the day their stock will be worth buying again. Until then, forget it.

Posted at 10:32 PM
Link to this entry || No comments (yet) || Trackbacks (0)

Senator Slagheap is going to be very upset....

I have to say, about the only thing that surprises me about the Ninth Circuit Court's decision today declaring the words "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance unconstitutional is that it didn't happen a long time ago. I would have thought someone would have challenged those words long before nearly fifty years had passed.

Posted at 7:14 PM
Link to this entry || No comments (yet) || Trackbacks (0)

Tuesday, June 25, 2002

Record industry puts gun to own head, shoots

Joey de Villa, The Accordion Guy, has a nice summary of the whole Death of Internet Radio thing, including a quote from former owner Mark Cuban where he says that the RIAA/Yahoo deal on webcasting (Yahoo bought, so he was involved in the negotiations) that the Library of Congress decision was based on was deliberately designed to drive out the small fry. Thanks to Cuban for pointing this out; no thanks for Cuban for negotiating the deal and working out the strategy in the first place.

Joey also goes into the subject of music copyright, and mentions something that I had forgotten. Music, by law, is defined as "work for hire", meaning that the music company is treated as the creator of the work and the actual creators never regain the copyright. I've written books as works for hire, but that made sense; they were manuals for products produced by a company, and I was a company employee. But musicians are basically independent contractors, not employees, and it seems just amazingly jaw-droppingly immoral for the record companies to usurp their ownership rights based on an amendment to a law that was slipped by Congress while they weren't looking.

I don't think the music industry understands the huge reservoir of bad karma they've built up over the years. Napster seems now like it was just the first example of payback. And just like there are pirate radio stations, I wouldn't be surprised to see pirate net stations spring up.

Posted at 7:23 AM
Link to this entry || No comments (yet) || Trackbacks (0)

Monday, June 24, 2002

New beginning

I start a new job today. Wish me luck.

Posted at 8:31 AM
Link to this entry || 4 comments || Trackbacks (0)

Saturday, June 22, 2002

I want mine

The Independent on Sunday, commenting about the goal that British goalkeeper David Seaman let in on a free kick that enabled Brazil to beat them in the World Cup quarterfinals, said that "Seaman, inconsolable after the match, will probably now be treated with a lot more sympathy than any 38-year-old man with a ponytail deserves."

I want to know, how much sympathy does a 38-year-old man with a ponytail deserve, and where can I sign up to get my share?

Posted at 10:38 PM
Link to this entry || No comments (yet) || Trackbacks (0)

Happy to be here

Michael Davies has been keeping a journal about the World Cup for ESPN's Page 2. Today's entry was about how awful he felt about England and the US going out in the quarterfinals. It contained this lovely bit of writing about the US and its new-found respectability in the futbol world:

The game ends. 1-0 to Germany. Landon Donovan looks like he's crying, perhaps he thinks it's his fault, like Seaman, but it isn't. That young man has signaled his arrival, as has his team on the world stage. And how does the U.S. team know it's arrived at the top table? The Americans just got their hearts broken by the Germans after outplaying them. Welcome to the glorious world of international football, America.

Posted at 9:07 PM
Link to this entry || No comments (yet) || Trackbacks (0)

But you can't get it in America

With all the talk in the US about XM Radio and Sirius Satellite Radio, it's sometimes forgotten that the third world actually had access to this technology before we did. Forbes has an interesting article about WorldSpace, the Washington DC-based company that's been providing satellite-delivered radio to Africa and Asia for a number of years already. (Thanks Mark Hawkins on the swprograms mailing list.)

Posted at 8:24 PM
Link to this entry || No comments (yet) || Trackbacks (0)

Friday, June 21, 2002

This is getting ridiculous

The Italian state broadcaster, RAI, is exploring the possibility of suing FIFA for damages caused to them by the poor officiating that forced Italy out of the World Cup. If that's what life is like in a country where soccer is king, then all praise to the US for not giving a damn until their team starts winning.

Does RAI run commercials? I mean, what the hell kind of damages can a noncommercial government-sponsored broadcaster suffer?

Posted at 2:24 AM
Link to this entry || 1 comment || Trackbacks (0)

Thursday, June 20, 2002

The dot.bomb downturn is officially over

The sock puppet finally found another job. He'll be hawking auto loans to people with bad credit because, as the owner of the company says, "Everyone deserves a second chance."

Things are looking up.... (Lifted from

Posted at 7:46 PM
Link to this entry || No comments (yet) || Trackbacks (0)

Wednesday, June 19, 2002

Deep in the heart of Jersey

Too cool rock 'n' roll star David Bowie has a song about New Jersey's finest entertainer, Uncle Floyd, on his new album. The song "Slip Away" is also about Oogie and Bones Boy, and includes Floyd mentions prominently in the chorus. Bowie says John Lennon turned him on to the show back in the 1970s. Floyd is still around, showing up at Club Bene in Sayreville every so often, and doing a radio show of Italian tunes in northern NJ every weekend. In fact, Floyd mentioned Laura's father on the show a few weeks ago when we were up there visiting her parents.

Posted at 10:56 PM
Link to this entry || 1 comment || Trackbacks (0)

Blog humbug!

Jenny Levine at The Shifted Librarian quotes some newsletter I never heard of calling for foreign correspondents in war zones to set up blogs so we can find the story behind the story, the idea being that they post something every day to give us the real poop that they wouldn't dare actually broadcast on TV. What nonsense. Here's a typical daily entry for a typical foreign correspondent in a war zone:

Crawled out of bed at half past noon today. Shouldn't have stayed at the bar so late last night playing Quarters with the guy from Reuters. He always beats me. Ouch, my head hurts. After a cold shower, I wrung out my underwear in the sink, got dressed, and stumbled down to the Foreign Minister's office for the daily dump. Then back to the bar at the Hilton to kibitz with the pack about what it all meant. Boot scooped me with an interview with the PM's maid. Bastard! Got a call from New York on my satellite phone; they're wondering about the charges for "entertainment" last week. Damnit, I told them that the only way I was going to get that story was to show these guys the first women they'd seen out of a burqa in ten years....

Edifying, ain't it?

A much better idea would be to have reporters write the stories behind the stories for their newspapers, radio stations, or TV stations when there's actually a story behind the story. The BBC World Service has been doing this for years with what I consider to be the best broadcast program in any media, From Our Own Correspondent. The Guardian (UK) has a similar feature with their World Dispatch. Except instead of the incoherent mumblings of a journalist who rarely ventures from the same hotel every other foreign correspondent is staying at, you get well-considered, finely honed pieces of good writing by reporters at the top of their game and who only write pieces of this nature when they're warranted.

The stories are online. Gee, maybe if we called their home pages blogs, people would jump to read them....

(Incidentally, if you want to read about what life is really like for foreign correspondents, you could do a whole lot worse than Mort Rosenblum's classic, Coups and Earthquakes. It's a staple in journalism schools everywhere.)

Posted at 12:43 AM
Link to this entry || 4 comments || Trackbacks (0)

Tuesday, June 18, 2002

Can you say "eMate"?

Finally, someone has come up with a laptop based on PalmOS.

Posted at 4:50 AM
Link to this entry || No comments (yet) || Trackbacks (0)

2, 4, 6, 8! Amazon could validate!

To prove a point, Anil Dash created a version of the home page that validates as HTML 4.0 Transitional. Because I was bored, I updated it to XHTML 1.0 Transitional.

Posted at 2:46 AM
Link to this entry || No comments (yet) || Trackbacks (0)

Monday, June 17, 2002

Eewww! Gross!

Someone was asking me yesterday (maybe it was Laura?) about why soccer teams exchange jerseys at the end of a game. George Vecsey has a nice exploration of the subject in today's edition of The New York Times (registration required). He even touches on the fact that most American fans, not familiar with the ritual, are pretty grossed out by it. That's something else that came up in conversation yesterday.

Posted at 5:09 PM
Link to this entry || No comments (yet) || Trackbacks (0)

It could happen....

With the US soccer team facing Germany next in the World Cup quarterfinals, it's probably worthwhile to note that the US beat Germany twice in 1999, under coach Bruce Arena. As they say in the stock market, past performance is no guarantee of future results, but hey, there's a chance, y'know?

Posted at 3:34 PM
Link to this entry || No comments (yet) || Trackbacks (0)

Donde esta el cuarto de baņo?

Univision, the Spanish language TV network, said before the US-Mexico World Cup game that they expected the game to provide the largest Spanish language rated television program ever in the US, despite the fact that it came in the middle of the night. One thing I thought was interesting was that Univision gets more viewers than ESPN for its soccer matches. Of course, when Disney decides not to show matches live, saving them for ABC in the middle of the day, Univision even gets people who barely understand Spanish to watch, like me.

Oh, and just in case you didn't hear, WOO HOO!!!

Posted at 5:09 AM
Link to this entry || 4 comments || Trackbacks (0)

Sunday, June 16, 2002

On the Feast of Stephen

The New York Times has a nice exploration of the relationship between the two Vaclavs in the Czech Republic, humanist and ex-dissident president Vaclav Havel and corrupt Thatcherite ex-prime minister Vaclav Klaus, whose feud has dominated the political stage there for much of the post-Communist era. The article positions this weekend's elections in the country as the last fight between the two. So it's nice to see that Havel effectively won, with Klaus' party being repudiated at the polls. Havel's term as president ends next February. Klaus once wanted to succeed Havel as president, but this loss pretty much ensures that Klaus will leave the stage slightly before Havel, and certainly won't be the next president.

Havel is, of course, well known in the west as the philosopher-president who did a lot to overthrow totalitarianism in the Soviet bloc through his writings and his advocacy through organizations like Charter 77. Czechs are less impressed with his tenure as president, but it's nice to see that he still has enough political heft to convince the people of his country that Klaus is not deserving of another chance to run the country.

Posted at 8:36 AM
Link to this entry || No comments (yet) || Trackbacks (0)

Saturday, June 15, 2002

Ratón maldecido

El Disney Corporacion es muy mal. El juego de esta amanecer, Denmark vs. England, no esta en vivo en ESPN. ¡Que lastima! La television dice que el futbol estaran en ABC @ 3:30. Gracias a Dios por Univision, quien habe el futbol Dinamarca contra Inglaterra en vivo. Hay muy lluvia. Inglaterra tiene dos gols, y Dinamarca tiene cero. Yo no tengo mucho Español, pero yo puedo entender el juego.

(This post will be shown in English on at 3:30 this afternoon.)

Posted at 8:18 AM
Link to this entry || No comments (yet) || Trackbacks (0)

Friday, June 14, 2002

Your mileage may vary

Laura wants a MINI. Jason Levine discovered that when you register for an account on the MINI Cooper USA web site, you get a funny disclaimer.

Posted at 7:41 PM
Link to this entry || 1 comment || Trackbacks (0)

Thursday, June 13, 2002

I can't add anything to this

"'This is not just a toilet,' says Lee, a volunteer tour guide who works for the city. 'This is a space for culture, a space for music.'" (Thank you, oh light of my life.)

Posted at 8:37 PM
Link to this entry || No comments (yet) || Trackbacks (0)

Screwdrivers pound nails poorly

The BBC reports on a study that web design causes confusion among users. It would probably be more accurate to say that what the study shows is that users, when asked, construct inaccurate mental maps of web sites. But as Jared Spool has argued extensively, users don't construct mental maps of web sites. Which leaves us with a study that says that users do a bad job of doing something they don't do. Whoops.

Posted at 6:55 PM
Link to this entry || 1 comment || Trackbacks (0)

Mmmm, tasty

A few years ago, I had the idea to create a site that would provide users with the translation of a particular useful phrase in a number of different languages. (I'm not going to tell you what it is, because I may still do it, if the Internet boom ever comes back and I can get vulture capitalists to fund it.) There's a site that does something similar to what I was going to do. It's been around for quite a while, and I have no idea how I could have possibly missed it:

The Project is based on the idea that people in a foreign country have an irresistable urge to try to say something in the indigenous tongue. In most cases, however, the best a person can do is "Where is the bathroom?" a phrase that marks them as a tourist. But, if one says "I can eat glass, it doesn't hurt me," you will be viewed as an insane native, and treated with dignity and respect.

(Found this on WebWord.)

Posted at 12:17 PM
Link to this entry || No comments (yet) || Trackbacks (0)

Pilgrim's Progress

Dave Winer says that Mark Pilgrim has noted that he's got people ripping him apart for the series on his blog entitled "30 days to a more accessible weblog". (I've seen some of the parodies, and they're vicious. Funny, but vicious. And clueless.) That's a real shame, because the kind of personas he's creating are an excellent way to gain a better understanding of the kind of visitors your web site is going to get. We did some of this the last time we redesigned the Bell Labs web site and found it very helpful. I've read the four personas that Mark has posted so far and think he's doing a very good job. The users are vividly imaged. I'll be following the series with interest to see if he does anything other than just a set of personas. I think he's off to a great start. The only problem is that his tips apply to a whole lot more than just weblogs.

Posted at 11:35 AM
Link to this entry || No comments (yet) || Trackbacks (0)

Wednesday, June 12, 2002

Gene, Gene the Dancing Machine

There's an interesting article in the San Jose Mercury News about the impact genetics and the mapping of the human genome is having on the study of history and archeology. I've heard some of this before, but the article seems like a decent summary of where things stand right now. For example, the genetic evidence supports the theory that there was a single point of origin for humans about 130,000 years ago. And the genetic differences between different ethnic groups are so trivial as to be virtually nonexistent. When I was young and unsophisticated, I used to think that ethnic groups were well-defined and demarcated, but as I've learned more, and particularly since I started researching my family history, the more I've come to realize that ethnic groups are fluid and changing, and that it's possible for a family to be one thing in one generation and consider themselves something else a couple of generations later. Of course, it's also possible for groups to maintain a distinct identity for centuries, as in the case of German settlers in Ukraine, or the Amish in Pennsylvania and Indiana. But the distinctions are all cultural; the genes just don't support the idea that there are significant differences between humans.

Posted at 8:11 PM
Link to this entry || No comments (yet) || Trackbacks (0)

Tuesday, June 11, 2002


Laura picked up a sore throat this weekend in Wildwood. So she asked me to look up the patron saint of sore throats, St. Blaise, on the web. I had no idea there was a patron saint of sore throats.

Posted at 7:47 PM
Link to this entry || No comments (yet) || Trackbacks (0)

Monday, June 10, 2002


James Lileks has created a monument to a totem of tackiness.

I can't help but think that if he ever went to Wildwood, he'd just keel over and die from the excitement.

Posted at 8:20 PM
Link to this entry || No comments (yet) || Trackbacks (0)

That name sounds like a comic book monster or something

Apple hired documentary director Errol Morris to direct their new "Real People" commercials. Morris created something called The Interratron for use in his documentaries; it's a set of teleprompters that enables the interviewer and interviewee to maintain eye contact while looking directly at the camera lens. The technique gives Morris' interviews an intimacy that's not often present on the screen. I expect that's what Apple was after when they hired him (whether they knew how he gets that effect or not).

Posted at 11:54 AM
Link to this entry || No comments (yet) || Trackbacks (0)

A sculpture of sound

Public radio's Sonic Memorial Project site has an interesting collection of items about the World Trade Center and the neighborhood it replaced. The page on Radio Row is interesting. I wish I could have seen it in the day, but it was torn down well before I moved to New Jersey. They haven't yet linked to the audio of the story about it that aired on All Things Considered. There's an article about the Sonic Memorial Project on the site of Current, the trade magazine for public radio professionals. I have a hard time thinking about the World Trade Center; it's a little easier to hear about the neighborhood that was there before it.

Posted at 11:36 AM
Link to this entry || No comments (yet) || Trackbacks (0)

Saturday, June 8, 2002

The Gillmire Strikes Back

Dan Gillmor responds to Dave Winer's attack on him:

Media criticism is valuable. We need more of it, not less. I do hope that criticism will be fair.

I'm comfortable with my values and my behavior in this matter. Decide for yourself.

Dan points out some of the things Dave got wrong, including the fact that Dan did cover the problems with the CMS. I pointed out the same links that Dan does to Dave in e-mail. Dave pointed to one of them in a followup DaveNet. But he managed to not apologize. It took me a couple of minutes on Google to find those links. Dave said he spent months writing the piece. You would think he would have taken a few minutes to get his facts right.

The more I think about this, the more I think Dave was wrong to attack Dan. It's Dan's prerogative to pick and choose his battles, and to make his arguments in the fora he considers appropriate. As Dan points out, he has taken his company on when he's thought they're wrong. Just not on the issue that Dave thinks he should. Dave says he doesn't understand why so many journalists focus on the personal aspect of his article. But he attacked Dan's professional credibility, concluding the he was "not a journalist". In a profession where credibility is the rock on which everything else is built, this is perhaps the most serious accusation you can make, and it seems disingenuous to me to argue that the larger point is being ignored when you've attacked the very foundation of a journalist's main asset.

Dave has a serious point behind his attack, and I agree with the idea that journalism has inherent conflict-of-interest problems, but it was completely obscured by the personal invective aimed at someone who is well-respected and who I feel was undeserving of being the target. If you're going to complain about the press, you need to pick a clearer target. (See Meryl Yourish's blog for an example of a clear problem incident.) This particular issue just isn't black-and-white enough.

One final point. Some newspapers have an institutional position designed to handle problems that readers have with the actions of a newspaper or its reporters. It's called an ombudsman, and such people are usually hired on fixed-term contracts that guarantee their editorial independence and prevent them from being fired. I spent some time looking to see if the Mercury News has an ombudsman, but it appears that they don't. Other Knight Ridder newspapers, such as the Detroit Free Press and Philadelphia Inquirer, do, or at least did (I couldn't find a current reference to a Freep ombudsman on their site, just one from 1999). The Merc News should consider creating this position. Then there would be an institutional outlet for such debates.

Posted at 5:27 PM
Link to this entry || No comments (yet) || Trackbacks (0)

More Down The Shore

This is where Laura is this weekend.

Posted at 4:30 PM
Link to this entry || No comments (yet) || Trackbacks (0)

Delaware Beaches

The Philadelphia Inquirer has a nice roundup on the beaches of Delaware which, unlike those of New Jersey, are free. I've been saying for years that I want to go there for a weekend and take the ferry across Delaware Bay.

Posted at 4:26 PM
Link to this entry || No comments (yet) || Trackbacks (0)


Laura was surprised when she saw how few groceries the nearby recently-opened Target store had. She had expected more because it was a "Target Greatland" There's an article in Saturday's New York Times that talks about Target's foray into groceries and their hopes for competing with Wal-Mart. It's only stores called "Super Target" that get full grocery stores.

I go to Target because they're cheap, they're across the street from Shop Rite, and I'm broke, but in general, I don't like these huge mega-stores that combine full groceries with full discount department stores, like Meijer Thrifty Acres out in the midwest. They're just too freaking big. You could spend a week finding your way out of one of those places.

Posted at 4:14 PM
Link to this entry || No comments (yet) || Trackbacks (0)

Friday, June 7, 2002

We can all relax now

The Times (UK) says "Beckham puts the world to rights":

In an extraordinary evening that felt not so much like a football match as the righting of the wrongs of history, England beat Argentina, their most dearly beloved enemy in sport.

Glad to see someone has a sense of perspective on the World Cup. (It was a heck of a match....)

Meanwhile, The Times (New York) reveals that South Korea is paying people to go to matches and cheer for visiting teams (registration required). Are they really having that much trouble selling tickets?

Posted at 10:34 PM
Link to this entry || No comments (yet) || Trackbacks (0)

Thursday, June 6, 2002

Followup to Dave Winer's DaveNet

Dan Gillmor talks about broken links in his weblog:

Posted at 6:47 PM
Link to this entry || No comments (yet) || Trackbacks (0)

Sandy Cofax

Dave Winer wrote a DaveNet taking Dan Gillmor to task for not writing about the fiasco of Knight Ridder's implementation of their content management system. I've written about this here a few times already, and been quoted in Steve Outing's column for Editor & Publisher in response to his column on the subject. Today, I found the web site of the content management system that Knight Ridder developed, Cofax. Interestingly, they've made it open source, and it's developed on open source technologies like Apache's Jakarta Tomcat and MySQL (the database behind this site). You can download Cofax from their web site, or grab the most recent source from SourceForge.

In reading the material about Cofax, I was struck at their insistance that one of the most important benefits of the system was its flexibility. The template system they use appears to cascade to some extent; you can implement different templates for different sections of your site, with a default template for sections that don't have their own. Thus, newspapers implementing it should be able to make their sites their own. But the sites in the Real Cities network seem to be some of the most inflexible cookie cutter web sites around. Why is that? Maybe there was a mandate from the top of Knight Ridder that all their sites would use a set of templates that they prescribed. The other possibility is that the newspapers either aren't aware that the system is configurable, or weren't given enough time to create their own templates and were therefore stuck with what Knight Ridder gave them. Given what Outing reported in his column, and the frustrations of the owners of newspapers affiliated with Knight Ridder's Real Cities who had this system imposed on them, it appears to be the former rather than the latter.

Regarding the specific issue that Dave takes Dan to task over for not reporting, the way the implementation of the new system destroyed thousands of old links to valuable content, I was interested to find the following sentence on the Cofax site:

Cofax was designed so that it can be implemented at any existing Web site without changing any existing URLs, thus preventing confusion and lost traffic.

The situation where Dan's URLs were destroyed was completely unnecessary, and apparently the result of a rushed implementation and poor process; the ability to preserve or redirect them is a major feature of the system. Given that, and the documented frustrations expressed in the article from Ft. Wayne linked above, I would not be at all surprised to find that the whole situation with the Knight Ridder CMS was the result of unrealistic mandates from the very top (Dave's "Mr. K"). And given the apparent push-back from the local papers, who are by all accounts not happy with the new system, I expect that upper management pushed this very forcefully.

That said, I'm very uneasy with Dave's ripping apart of Dan. I agree with Dan Bricklin that publishing this piece right now, when Dan is out of the country and can't defend himself, was, um, sub-optimal. And given what I surmise is the situation within Knight Ridder in regard to the new design, I'm not sure I disagree with Dan Gillmor's decision to keep his head down on this. At the very least, I understand it. Knight Ridder is taking criticism from plenty of other sources. Not to mention that if Dan is really unhappy with it, by writing about it from a negative standpoint, he risks his journalistic credibility just as much as Dave says he does by not writing about it. Damned if he does and damned if he doesn't.

Posted at 4:32 PM
Link to this entry || No comments (yet) || Trackbacks (0)

I didn't know there was a comic book character by that name

We have some kind of leafy plant growning out from underneath the bush in our front yard, encroaching on our walkway. I was worried it was poison ivy or something, so I went to Google and searched for images of poison ivy. I wound up at a site devoted entirely to the subject of poison ivy, with lots of pictures. I love their copyright message:

© Jonathan Sachs 2001
If you re-use these images or sell them you will get a case of poison ivy that won't quit.

I was happy to discover that whatever is growing in our front yard isn't poison ivy or poison oak. I'm probably still going to nuke it, though, because it's going to start getting in the way before long.

Posted at 3:18 PM
Link to this entry || No comments (yet) || Trackbacks (0)

Wednesday, June 5, 2002

Insomnia has its benefits

For some reason, my eyes popped open at four a.m. this morning, and after 20 minutes of trying and completely failing to fall back asleep, I gave in and got out of bed, figuring I could watch a World Cup match that should be starting in a few minutes. I didn't even realize that it was going to the United States' opening match against Portugal. I stumbled downstairs, turned on the TV, and was rewarded with one of the most exciting soccer matches I've ever seen. John O'Brien's goal in the fourth minute was a complete shock, and if I was at all sleepy before that, I sure wasn't afterward. The game was riveting, and I had to keep my cheers down so I wouldn't wake Laura, who was getting all the sleep I couldn't. Landon Donovan looked as stunned as Portugal when his cross was deflected into the net; I think "sheepish" best describes the look on his face. Brian McBride's goal at 37 minutes was just a thing of beauty. That first shocking goal seemed to take all the air out of Portugal, who never really played well. The last five minutes or so were dull as the US tried to run out the clock, but aside from that, it was wonderful. I'd have to disagree with those who said this was a bigger upset than Senegal over France; that had politics and history and stuff involved that made it more than a game. But this was pretty darned huge itself.

The game that followed, Germany vs. Ireland, was pretty good. I thought Germany totally outclassed Ireland, who played mostly a defensive game and never seemed to do much more than thwonk the ball as far as they could out of their own area when clearing. That was about as far from The Beautiful Game as you could get. But it sure ended amazingly, with Ireland scoring a goal mere seconds before the end of stoppage time. Ireland stole a point, and Germany missed out on a chance to cruise into the second round while hardly breaking a sweat. Sure, it was a tie, but you wouldn't have known that by the way the Irish team whooped it up on the pitch afterward, nor by by the way the Germans slunk off.

I keep waking up between 4 and 4:30 am this week, and I keep getting to see the World Cup as a result. This morning made it worth it.

Posted at 3:39 PM
Link to this entry || 3 comments || Trackbacks (0)

Tuesday, June 4, 2002

Help! Help! I'm being repressed!

People who try to justify the existence of the monarchy in the modern era inevitably resort to "tradition". Don Murray of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation notes that much of the pomp and circumstance surrounding the Queen's Jubilee is "tradition" made up on the spot. And sometimes traditions that are invented get uninvented, as with the street parties that sprang up 25 years ago. According to Murray, Buckingham Palace would have liked to see the same thing happen this time, but Her Majesty's Subjects seem to be less enthusiastic. So the Palace diverted the nation's attention by throwing a couple of concerts so nobody would notice that there were a lot fewer parties than last time.

The whole idea of monarchy in the modern era seems farcical. So it only seems appropriate to point to the bit of Monty Python and the Holy Grail that makes this point better than I ever could:

DENNIS Look, strange women lying on their backs in ponds handing out swords ... that's no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony.

ARTHUR Be quiet!

DENNIS You can't expect to wield supreme executive power just 'cause some watery tart threw a sword at you!

(Thanks Dan Say for pointing out the CBC article.)

Posted at 8:21 PM
Link to this entry || No comments (yet) || Trackbacks (0)

This site is under construction

I added a search engine to this site tonight. The engine is a program called swish-e; it was interesting to use, because it has the ability to index the contents of a database, which is where most of this site lives. It does a better job than just a straight SQL search, too, because if you enter more than one word for a SQL search, at least the way I used to do search on Geneablogy, it would search for the whole phrase rather than instances of any or all of the words within the entire post.

I've also added tags to the head of the main page that link to my RSS feed and an OPML rendering of my blogroll. I'm not sure what having the blogroll available in that way will do; I'm still trying to get my head around that. Something about showing what neighborhood you're in based on who you link to and who links to you. Since nobody links to me, I must be out in the sticks. But it was a 20 minute exercise to implement, so what the heck. Putting the RSS feed in a link tag does something called RSS Autodiscovery that I'm also not completely clear on, but it makes it more semantically clear that there's a link to an RSS feed for anyone who cares, so I figure it's a good idea. This stuff seems to be moving with dizzying speed....

Posted at 12:56 AM
Link to this entry || 2 comments || Trackbacks (0)

Monday, June 3, 2002

We're all bennies in a way

The Philadelphia Inquirer rips New Jersey shore towns for making it difficult and expensive for people to use their beaches. I agree with them. It's always frosted me that the towns on the shore charge to use what's supposed to be a public resource. That's why I tend to spend more time at the beach in May and September than I do during the summer. Monmouth and Ocean counties are singled out for particularly bad policies. I thought the ocean belonged to all of us, and I guess it does, but any land leading up to it is $60 a season....

Posted at 3:53 AM
Link to this entry || 7 comments || Trackbacks (0)

Sunday, June 2, 2002

I spy in my little eye

Erin Malone has been on a roll lately. She's got some neat posts on her blog about suitcase travel labels, old magazine designs, wickedly cool album covers, and one of the best company logos of all time, the CBS Eye. I thought it was interesting in the article she links to about the eye that Frank Stanton insisted that CBS keep the eye when the designer was preparing to replace it with a new design. I always thought Frank Stanton was one of the most clueful executives in the broadcasting field.

Posted at 10:08 AM
Link to this entry || No comments (yet) || Trackbacks (0)

Saturday, June 1, 2002

Fun in the sun

Laura and I spent lunch time in Red Bank today at the Jazz & Blues Festival. They sure got a gorgeous day for it, too, sunny and in the low 80s. Marine Park, right on the river, is a perfect setting for it. Laura had wanted me to see a local samba school, M'Zume. We got there early, and good thing, too, because M'Zume put on an impromptu performance in front of the main stage before any of the acts were scheduled to go on. They were really good. For their main thing, they were over on the children's stage, which was good too, as they passed out instruments and taught everyone how to play the samba. You only have to know how to count to two. But I think I liked the earlier performance better.

Seems like every restaurant in Red Bank turns out for these summer festivals in the park, so there's a ton of food available. I wound up having a chicken and asparagus panini; odd combination, but it worked. We bought a cheap rocking love seat from a guy from Georgia. Since we don't have a couch in the living room, it seemed like a good cheap way to get a little furniture in the room for watching movies and the like. I had a hell of a time getting it into the car, though. It was about an inch too big to fit easily into the back seat, and six inches too big to fit into the trunk. I wound up wedging it in somehow, but I'm not sure how. I had to partially dismantle it to get it out of the car when I got home. I still want a couch, but this will do for now.

I got a little sunburnt. Laura stuck around because one of her friends at work is in a band that was playing around six. I looked at the band's web site after I got home; seems like Laura's friend is playing with a 15 year old blues prodigy. I didn't feel up to sticking around, so I left her at the festival. She was going to meet up with a couple of friends from work before the band's set. She was wearing my baseball cap, so I hope she didn't get burnt like me, but I guess I'll find out when she gets home.

Posted at 8:52 PM
Link to this entry || No comments (yet) || Trackbacks (0)

This site is copyright © 2002-2024, Ralph Brandi. (E-mail address removed due to virus proliferation.)

What do you mean there is no cat?

"You see, wire telegraph is a kind of a very, very long cat. You pull his tail in New York and his head is meowing in Los Angeles. Do you understand this? And radio operates exactly the same way: you send signals here, they receive them there. The only difference is that there is no cat."

- Albert Einstein, explaining radio

There used to be a cat

[ photo of Mischief, a black and white cat ]

Mischief, 1988 - December 20, 2003

[ photo of Sylvester, a black and white cat ]

Sylvester (the Dorito Fiend), who died at Thanksgiving, 2000.


This site is powered by Missouri. Show me!

Valid XHTML 1.0!

Valid CSS!

XML RSS feed

Read Me via Atom

new host


Home Page
Flickr Photostream
Instagram Archive
Twitter Archive

There Is No Cat is a photo Ralph Brandi joint.



Family Blogs

Jersey Girl Dance
Mime Is Money

Blogs I Read

2020 Hindsight
Apartment Therapy
Assorted Nonsense
Backup Brain
Chocolate and Vodka
Creative Tech Writer
Critical Distance
Daily Kos
Dan Misener likes the radio
Daring Fireball
Design Your Life
Doc Searls
Edith Frost
Elegant Hack
Emergency Weblog
Empty Bottle
Five Acres with a View
Flashes of Panic
Future of Radio
Groundhog Day
Hello Mary Lu
Jeffrey Zeldman Presents
Jersey Beat
John Gushue ... Dot Dot Dot
john peel every day
JOHO The Blog
Kathryn Cramer
Kimberly Blessing
La Emisora de la Revolucion
mr. nice guy
oz: the blog of glenda sims
Pinkie Style
Pinkie Style Photos
Pop Culture Junk Mail
Seaweed Chronicles
Shortwave Music
Talking Points Memo
The Unheard Word
Tom Sundstrom -
WFMU's Beware of the Blog