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Wednesday, 01 March, 2006
National Aardvark Week
Get this. Lisa Boucher, at Exploding Aardvark, didn't even realize that this is National Aardvark Week! So now she's scurrying to come up with aardvark-related links.
If I can find a nice fresh one, I think we'll toss one on the grill tomorrow. How do you celebrate N.A.W.?
Bush And Katrina
This just in: Tape: Tape: Bush, Chertoff Warned Before Katrina.
In dramatic and sometimes agonizing terms, federal disaster officials warned President Bush and his homeland security chief before Hurricane Katrina struck that the storm could breach levees, put lives at risk in New Orleans' Superdome and overwhelm rescuers, according to confidential video footage.
Bush didn't ask a single question during the final briefing before Katrina struck on Aug. 29, but he assured soon-to-be-battered state officials: "We are fully prepared."
The footage - along with seven days of transcripts of briefings obtained by The Associated Press - show in excruciating detail that while federal officials anticipated the tragedy that unfolded in New Orleans and elsewhere along the Gulf Coast, they were fatally slow to realize they had not mustered enough resources to deal with the unprecedented disaster.
Remember this quote, four days after the hurricane struck?
"I don't think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees"
And this, revealed in the ABC Interview:
According to Bush, he didn't realize there was anything wrong with the administration's response until almost four days after the hurricane. The first time he saw newscasts of the situation on the ground was on the morning of Sept. 2, when White House "Counselor [Dan] Bartlett made up a DVD of the newscasts so Bush could see them in their entirety as he flew down to the Gulf Coast the next morning on Air Force One."
So, he knew it was coming, he was warned of the potential consequences, he pretended that the situation was under control -- and he did nothing. When Bush was touring the area, it's likely that 90% of the people in the country knew more about the hurricane's devastation than Bush did. Yet, with virtually no knowledge of what was going on, he assured that nation that Brownie was doing a heck of a job.
How can people still support this guy?
Proof That It Rained
Yep, it rained today and here's a nice double rainbow submitted as proof. I took this shot facing east as the sun was going down (click to enlarge).
Thursday, 02 March, 2006
Microsoft Promises Better Search - Again
It seems like Microsoft makes this same announcement every 6-12 months: Our engine to be better than Google soon.
Microsoft will introduce a search engine better than Google in six months in the United States and Britain followed by Europe, its European president said on Wednesday.
"What we're saying is that in six months' time we'll be more relevant in the U.S. market place than Google," said Neil Holloway, Microsoft president for Europe, Middle East and Africa.
"The quality of our search and the relevance of our search from a solution perspective to the consumer will be more relevant," he told the Reuters Global Technology, Media and Telecoms Summit.
Art From Oranges
Hidden in every orange is a work of art. You just have to cut away the part of the skin that's not art.
(via Ursi's Blog)
The National Peanut Board tells us that March is National Peanut Month.
At The Huge Entity: Evidence for 'Backward Evolution' Directly Observed in Humans.
I was struck today by news that a rare genetic defect seems to be turning back the evolutionary clock in humans. The similarities between people carrying the defective gene and a certain, ape-descended, politician are quite astounding.
Hollywood Movie Money
This is interesting: The Tinseltown Money Trail.
Faced with decreasing box office receipts, fewer blockbusters, and a reduced production roster, the motion picture industry is facing several daunting challenges as it gathers this Sunday for the 78th Academy Awards ceremony.
But, really, who wants to focus on all that negative stuff when we can celebrate the lofty salaries, outlandish perks, and assorted other benefits of being a movie star?
The Smoking Gun has obtained internal budget documents detailing where the money was allocated on an assortment of big-budget Tinseltown productions. The records provide a line-by-line account of spending on each movie up to its completion, but do not reveal what the studio paid after that point for marketing and advertising (that secondary sum usually adds tens of millions to a movie's total cost).
For his 45 days filming "Signs," Mel Gibson earned an eight-figure check. With the movie's budget at $70.7 million, the actor alone accounted for 35 percent of that sum. Combined, the film's other cast members earned about 1/10 of Gibson's haul, or $2.6 million.
Another miracle: Pope chicken breast.
Four days after Pope John Paul II died, E.J. Rouzin-Moy, a freshman undecided major, found that his chicken breast was shaped like the head of Pope John Paul II. Rouzin-Moy found the chicken on his plate while eating lunch in the dining hall with a friend.
"You could tell there was a nose," Rouzin-Moy said. "That's the first thing that makes it look like a man."
The seasoning on the breast is situated in such a way that it looks like the pope's pileolus, his small hat, Rouzin-Moy said.
I wonder why this didn't get more publicity? This could be the miracle required to make him a saint.
News of the obnoxious: Tampa business making some noise selling really loud auto horns.
Matt Heller is in the horn business. Car, truck and boat horns. Not beep-beep or toot-toot horns. No, these are big, honkin' horns, most of them ground-shaking, ear-traumatizing, railroad train horns adapted to just about any vehicle, from Hummers to Honda Civics.
Sustained exposure to music or a bulldozer idling can damage hearing. That's 85 decibels. The sound of a jet taking off 80 feet away measures 150 decibels. Heller's loudest horns are just a bit louder than that.
Their sound is so startling that an unexpected blast causes grown men to jump in the air, literally, like cartoon figures.
Various Views Of Vista
The truth is probably somewhere in between:
This is probably a repeat post, but if you haven't seen it, it's new: Francesca Berrini's Unusual Cards.
Bush’s Greatest Accomplishment?
The Bush Administration has been in power for more than five years. What, so far, has been his greatest accomplishment?
This is a serious question. I did a quick Google check, but all I could find was this anti-Bush list.
New From Mary Z. Cox
I've become a fan of banjo-playing Mary Z. Cox. So far, I have only one of her CDs, but it's superb and I've learned a lot from listening and working with the tab book.
And now, hot off the presses, a new CD: Banjo Dreamin' Suwannee Nights.
We recorded our favorite traditional tunes and the tunes folks request from us the most. We hope you will enjoy them too.
Seven tunes have guitar backup and two tunes have banjo duets. Banjos that are heard on this CD are: Custom Deering White Shell Laydie, Gibson RB250, Jeff Menzie's Gourd Banjo, Cedar Mountain A2, Goldtone Elite Classic with gut strings, and a 1920's Bacon Professional with an internal resonator.
I haven't bought it yet, but I probably will. The sound samples are pretty good. My only complaint is the inclusion of a Christmas song. Christmas songs should be on Christmas albums.
Gyration Ultra GT Compact Keyboard Suite
The reviews I've read are mixed, so I was still on the fence. But for $39.99, I can just throw it away if it doesn't work reliably.