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17 April, 2003

The Joy of Easter

Of all the holidays, Easter is my absolute favorite. It symbolizes death, re-birth, eggs, and dead rabbits.

In the J-Walk household, we carry out an Easter season tradition that has been passed down for generations. On Good Friday, we put on our new Easter clothes and gather together. Then, much to the delight of the children, I tell the Story of Easter...

Once upon a time, there was a rabbit and a chicken. Although they were of two completely different species, they eventually fell in love and lived together as man and wife.

Before long, the inevitable occurred, and the chicken laid several eggs. Perhaps as a result of the unnatural genetic combination, these eggs were multi-colored. Embarrassed, the rabbit hid the eggs so no one would find them. But a neighborhood child happened upon them, and put the eggs into a basket.

The child's parents discovered the eggs, and asked where they came from. The child refused to reveal his secret. After a few hours of inquisition and torture, the child finally broke down, and disclosed the source of the colored eggs.

The parents then set out to find the party responsible for these strange eggs. The chicken was long gone, but they did locate the rabbit. They knocked him over the head, and hung the rabbit on a wooden cross until he was dead. Then they threw the lifeless carcass into a hole, and covered it with dirt. Three days later, the rabbit miraculously emerged from his grave, very much alive. Surprised and aghast, the parents re-captured the rabbit and ate him for dinner.

To this day, people around the world celebrate Easter by preparing any of several delicious rabbit recipes.

Posted on 17 April, 2003

The Museum of Coathangers

The Museum of Coathangers -- further proof that you can find everything on the Net.

This small gallery is not designed to be an exhaustive catalogue, but merely to serve as an introduction to an ubiquitous and generally overlooked item of household furniture, the coathanger.

Posted on 17 April, 2003

Are Rebates Scandalous?

An interesting discussion at Slashdot about mail-in rebates.

I've always hated these things. Basically, rebates are a way to advertise a lower price without actually selling it at that price. A good portion of the customers don't even bother with the rebate. And, in my experience, there's about a 50-50 chance that the rebate check will actually show up. And, of course, offering a rebate a great way to harvest personal information from your customers.

Posted on 17 April, 2003

Tom Petty Interview

Read an interview with Tom Petty from the Chicago Sun-Times.

It covers a wide variety of topics, including the impending collapse of the established music industry:

If they'd have listened to me in 1981, the music business wouldn't be in the shape it is. That's the whole reason it crumbled. You wouldn't have so many downloads if the records were 10 bucks. I haven't [fought to keep prices down] to be noble; I just thought that was about right.

Posted on 17 April, 2003

New From Apple: The iToilet

See it here.

For years, Apple has proudly manufactured slow, unreliable, stupid looking computers and sold them a ridiculously high prices!

Steve [Jobs] then danced around a bit, before adding "Hey! Since we're in the business of making crap, why not start with a toilet?!" And so the iToilet was born. Apple fanatics the world over applauded the idea. Everyone else paid no attention.

Posted on 17 April, 2003

Visual Foxpro and Linux

From The Register: MS legal threat derails Foxpro on Linux demo.

Microsoft has enraged the developer community after a Redmond executive last week threatened a software developer to prevent him from demonstrating a Microsoft application running on Linux.

Whil Hentzen, of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, was to have presented a seminar showing how to run Microsoft's Visual FoxPro on Linux at the Bay Area Association of Database Developers last Wednesday.

But prior to the demonstration Hentzen received a call from a Microsoft marketing manager telling him that he would be in violation of the EULA (End User Licensing Agreement) for VFP if he demonstrated (or ran) the development tool on Linux.

That's amazing. So now a EULA can dictate which operating system you can use?

Posted on 17 April, 2003

Units of Measurement

A handy site that has a Dictionary of Units of Measurement.

"Units resemble sports officials: the only time you really pay attention to them is when something stupid happens."

You might also want to check out Josh Madison's excellent (and free) unit conversion software.

Posted on 17 April, 2003

Freaky Folks

Here's a collection of strange people. In fact, they are "the wackiest and weirdest people in the world!"

Make sure you check out Lizard Man and Leopard Man. Oh yeah, the Snake Sniffer is pretty good too. That eye-popping woman never ceases to amaze me.

Posted on 17 April, 2003

Horror Movie Posters

It's way too early for Halloween, but I found this collection interesting. This site has a large collection of horror movie posters and related items -- old ones and new ones.

Movie posters, box covers, lobby cards, double billings, and the like: the amount readily available is eternal. Often times, when one wants to officially begin a horror collection, this is where they look - the proverbial stamp equivalent.

Posted on 17 April, 2003

Marketing Speak

Marketing people seem to have a language of their own. For example, here's a quote from Microsoft's site that describes what's new in the upcoming Excel 2003:

Excel 2003, the Microsoft Office spreadsheet program, includes support for XML and new features that make it easier to analyze and share information. You can define a portion of a spreadsheet as a list and export it to a Microsoft Windows SharePoint Server-based Web site. Smart tags in Excel 2003 are more flexible than in Office XP, and enhancements to statistical functions allow you to better analyze information.

Notice the last sentence, where they create their own definition of "enhancements." Fact is, many of Excel's statistical functions have simply been wrong for at least a decade. In Excel 2003, they will finally be fixed -- I mean enhanced.

Posted on 17 April, 2003

Countries Ranked

This site has dozens of interesting lists that rank countries in various categories: divorce rates, number of computers, billionaires, illiteracy rate, beautiful women, and so on.

(via MetaFilter)

Posted on 17 April, 2003

Prototypes

More creative Photoshop work from Worth 1000. This time, the category is prototypes:

The prototype is the first draft of an invention or product: How it looked before it was time to head back to the drawing board. In this contest your task is to show us the prototype of famous things, items and products.

Did you know that the prototype for the guitar used barbed wire for strings?

Posted on 17 April, 2003