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95 entries from February 2004

Valentine's Day comedy stylings

Laugh Lover's Ball logo - click to view Laugh Lover's Ball web siteSaw the Laugh Lover's Ball at Benaroya Hall tonight.

The event is organized by David Crowe, a hysterical funny comic who hails from Kent. I saw him at Comedy Underground last year, nearly split my face grinning the entire time.

This year's Laugh Lover's Ball lineup included the aforementioned David Crowe; Jimmy Brogan, a former writer on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno; Debbie Wooten, whom I'd never seen perform before but is apparently pretty well-known among comedy troupers in the Seattle area, award-winning blah blah blah (although I didn't find her all that engaging); Dwight Slade, a Portland-based comic who reminded me of a cross between Jim Carrey and one of my old college roommates; and Bald Faced Lie, a sketch-comedy group formed in the Seattle area in 1996.

BFL did a hysterical scene as their closing bit. It involved confusion among two beachgoers whose clothing bags get mixed up. Put the audience was in stitches, it was a classic bit of physical/slapstick.

A good way to spend Valentine's Day evening with friends, although my face hurts now.


Seattle Times: Risk assessments can be tricky when danger is so relative

Check out the article (link is in the title of this entry)—it's a fascinating snippet from people in the risk-assessment biz who comment on the things that scare Americans, and how what's scary has changed over the years. No more fear of measles, smallpox, and the like; not it's mainly man-made risks, like murder and cell-phone radiation.

How things have changed over the years.

(Article is now in the Seattle Times archives, which require free registration for access.)


Seattle Times: Will couples divide? Math may tell

Romantic love is often described with metaphors borrowed from science. We talk of sexual chemistry and Mars and Venus. Unlikely lovers are explained by the rules of physics—opposites attract.

Now a leading marriage expert and group of mathematicians say it all comes down to math, calculus to be precise.

The team, led by Seattle psychologist John Gottman, presented its mathematical formula for marital bliss yesterday at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, in Seattle.

By hammering out equations based on how a couple interacts when arguing, Gottman said, he can predict with 94 percent accuracy which marriages will last and which will end in divorce.

This isn't just some parlor trick, Gottman said. "The math model gave us a scientific theory for understanding relationships."

[...]

At his "love lab" at the Relationship Research Institute, Gottman demonstrated his methods on volunteers Andrea Rodgers and Michael Harris, who are set to wed this Fourth of July. The couple's shared euphoria at finding each other provokes the twin reactions "What a cute couple!" and "Can I puke now?"

At the demonstration, the poster couple for Valentine's Day is shut in a room and told to discuss an area of disagreement for 15 minutes while they're videotaped. It takes them awhile to figure out an area in which they aren't in perfect harmony, but they eventually decide on money and time management. They hardly come to blows over the issues—they laugh a lot and are sure to reconfirm that the other is just about perfect.

Technicians code their videotaped interaction, assigning points to the pair's emotional signals. A subtle but scornful roll of the eyes earns a negative four, a nod of interest receives a positive two, and a good-natured joke gets another positive two.

The math itself is a pair of differential equations, alphabet soup to the untrained eye.

[furthersnip]

The formula reveals no surprises about Harris and Rodgers. Gottman scanned their computer printout, then offered the suddenly anxious couple his prognosis: "Happily ever after."

They showed four times more positive signs than negative.

"We've got scientific proof of what we've felt all along," Rodgers beamed.

All together now:

Awwwww....


The Friday Five: 02/13/04

Haven't done one of these in a while.

  1. Are you superstitious?
    No.

  2. What extremes have you heard of someone going to in the name of superstition?
    In sports, like when baseball players will wear only a single pair of socks, unwashed, during a winning streak as a way to ensure the streak continues unbroken. I don't know anyone personally who's superstitious enough to go to extremes.

  3. Believer or not, what's your favorite superstition?
    The ladders and cats superstitions. I think all-black cats are the best. I hate ladders, but not for fear of walking under them; I hate 'em because I've fallen off them before.

  4. Do you believe in luck? If yes, do you have a lucky number/article of clothing/ritual?
    I do believe in luck but I don't have any talismans or rituals to ensure it in my own life.

  5. Do you believe in astrology? Why or why not?
    Astrology is an amusing parlor game, and its practitioners can be very astute amateur psychologists, nothing more.
fridayfive.org

CNN.com: Blind owl gets new eyes

MADISON, Wisconsin (AP)—A great horned owl found starving in the wild because it had gone blind could be released this spring after having new lenses implanted in its eyes.

The owl, named Minerva by medical personnel, underwent two hours of eye surgery January 22, and Dr. Chris Murphy said she was in good condition during a follow-up exam Wednesday.

"Perfect," said Murphy, a board-certified veterinary ophthalmologist. "Ounce for ounce, this is considered one of the toughest birds on the face of the earth."

So I wonder how the owl responded to the ophthalmologist's annoying "Which is better, 1 or 2? 1? 2? OK now, 3 or 4? 3? 4? etc." I know it drives me nuts, and I don't have evile claws or beak to wreak havoc upon the doctor.


Seattle Times: You've gotta love a guy with washboard adjectives

Hey, lover boy—hiya, doll: Stop spending so much time hardening your abs, and start working on your turns of phrases. Sweet talk has charged back into romance. As e-mail inboxes take over Cupid's duties, he or she who can best throw around the English language now has the edge.

In days of yore, people would size up potential partners through the exchange of letters. Then came pickup bars and clubs, where visuals were all: Cleavage, a manly swagger and flashy outfits were the means to impress. Even if the guy on the next stool was spinning poetic gold, you couldn't hear him.

Technology has turned the clock back a notch. Internet courtship—based on e-mail messages—has taken off. Match.com, Yahoo personals and the other on-line dating services do a $300-million-a-year business. They provide subscribers basic information and pictures of available partners. The individual contacts an interesting prospect via e-mail, and the two send messages back and forth.

Eventually, they may decide to meet. But by that time, they have established a relationship based more on written thoughts than on looks.

Safari 1.2 crash problem with JavaScript-spawned windows

I've encountered a problem that reliably produces a crash in Safari since the 1.2 update last week. I can reproduce this problem with 100% reliability on my desktop G4 dual 450MHz machine, on my iBook, and on a PowerBook G4 12".

Safari before 1.2 didn't allow the use of the Tab key to move among elements on a web page, except for forms fields. Links, buttons, etc., were not included in the tab order; they had to be clicked on to activate them. Internet Explorer has long allowed navigation among all web-page elements using the Tab key (and in fact typing the first few letters of a link's text selects the link as well). I'm a big fan of keyboard-based navigation of web pages, which was one reason I stuck with Internet Explorer as long as I did (and why I still like Windows OSes at all—lots of keyboard navigation built into the OS and most of the programs that run under it).

The problem I've had with Safari 1.2 is that if I use the Tab key to move among elements of a JavaScript-spawned window, and then I use Shift-Tab to move backward among those elements, Safari crashes as soon as I shift-Tab past the top-most element of the page.

Doesn't matter which site spawned the window. I have pop-ups blocked, so for me it's only happening with pop-ups that I initiated.

I'd be curious to hear from anyone else who may be encountering this odd behavior.

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UPDATE 02/13/04 00:04: It doesn't require Tabbing forward through the elements first; it's possible to do it just by Shift-Tabbing through all elements. The crash happens when the top-most element is bypassed. Seems Safari normally would then move through the various user-interface elements (toolbar buttons and whatnot), then return the focus to the bottom-most element, but it crashes instead.

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UPDATE 02/16/04 17:49: I've since discovered that this happens if I press Shift-Tab at all in a JavaScript-spawned window that has any form elements (text boxes, drop-down menus, buttons). It happens immediately as well. I'm not sure why initially it presented differently, but in the last couple of days I've seen it happen with a single Shift-Tab in every case, no matter where the cursor was in the window.

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UPDATE 04/18/04 03:02: I still run into this occasionally. I've managed to train myself not to use Shift-Tab in any pop-up windows, and not just in Safari. So far I haven't seen a thing about this in any Apple Support Discussions postings, but I haven't posted about it either. I also haven't found anything relevant in the Safari support area, nor in the knowledge base in general.

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UPDATE 05/05/05: I upgraded to Mac OS X 10.4 ("Tiger") a few days ago and I haven't encountered this problem since. Looks like it may finally be cleared up.


Willow Design closing its doors

Willow Design, maker of high-quality computer cases with a nice selection geared specifically toward Mac users, is closing up shop and is running a close-out sale scheduled to end Feb 28, all sales final.

I've owned their Kerouac Backpack for my 14" iBook for nearly two years, and I'm very happy with it.

Drop by their site, take a look at their offerings and certainly consider snapping up one of their products if it fits your needs.

(I am not affiliated with Willow Design, merely a happy customer.)


Odd observation du jour

The toilet paper I bought last week, a 24-pack of MD, exhibits a strange phenomenon that for some reason I feel compelled to comment about publicly.

The paper on each roll is sealed to itself, ostensibly to prevent some Horrible Unraveling Event during packaging, shipment, storage, purchase, and transport to the consumer's home. However, this particular package's rolls are so well sealed that it's nearly impossible to figure out where the end of the damned roll is.

I ended up shredding the first 20 or so sheets from a roll a couple days ago in a futile attempt at replenishing the paper supply in my front bathroom.

And what is it with toilet-paper packaging showing soft-focus images of adorable babies? Are they selling us a tissue product that's intended to make us think we're wiping our asses with a baby's soft skin?


Disney worker killed by parade float

CNN.com: Disney worker killed by parade float

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Florida (AP)—A costumed Disney World employee was run over and killed by a float during a parade at the Magic Kingdom.

The death occurred in a backstage area near the Splash Mountain ride Wednesday afternoon, said Jim Solomons, a spokesman for the Orange County Sheriff's Office.

Disney spokeswoman Rena Langley said Javier Cruz, 38, of Orlando, was about to enter the park when he was hit, and she wasn't sure if any visitors witnessed what happened.

Sheriff's spokesman Carlos Torres said the investigation showed the death was accidental. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration also was investigating.

In 1999, a worker in the loading area of the Skyway ride fell to his death, and OSHA fined the park $4,500 for what it called a serious safety violation. The ride was closed later that year.

Second death in less than a year at a Disney theme park.

All posts about injuries or deaths in Disney theme parks (most recent listed first):


Brighthand: What Isn't in Palm OS Cobalt... Yet

Brighthand, a handheld information and resource site, has an article discussing the new version of Palm OS ("Cobalt") and what isn't included in it yet.

The big note here for me is that with this Palm OS update, PalmOne apparently ending Mac OS support. Mac users will have to rely on third-party applications to allow synchronization of information between their computers and their handhelds, which blows utterly.

But then the article notes that a third-party developer has already started working on this:

Fortunately, a third party has already stepped forward. Mark/Space is going to release a version of its Missing Sync application for Cobalt. This will allow existing Mac conduits for other third-party applications to still work.

In addition to the standard functions, Missing Sync for Cobalt will allow Bluetooth and Wi-Fi HotSyncing.

Mark/Space indicated this application will probably cost about what the current one does now, about $40. However, the company is open to licensing its application to Palm OS licensees who want to add Mac OS X synchronization to their handhelds.

Mark/Space issued a press release describing their synchronization product. The full text is reproduced below.

Continue reading "Brighthand: What Isn't in Palm OS Cobalt... Yet" »


Icy Hot = wonderful. And Don nearly kills his OTHER ankle...

Icy HotMy friend Sonya rubbed down my ankle with Icy Hot last night. Quite pleasant at the time, and overnight it seems to have taken care of the swelling and throbbing pain I was still experiencing with my left ankle. When I climbed out of bed this morning I was pleased to discover I didn't have to stumble to my knees in pain when I put my left foot to the floor.

I celebrated by getting caught in the shower curtain briefly as I stepped into the shower and nearly snapping my right ankle into small pieces. In the fleeting "Oh shit!" moment immediately following the tangling, my irrational reaction was to save myself not to prevent bodily harm, but to spare the $10 shower curtain I bought at Fred Meyer two years ago. So I flailed and caught myself and even though the curtain popped off its rings in several places, it came through untorn—the breakaway curtain rings performed flawlessly. I ended up with the curtain wrapped about my right leg and my right ankle in a similarly bent-at-wrong-angle-crunch-sounds-from-hell position to my left-ankle experience of Monday night, but no pain this time. Didn't even feel like a twist, and my right ankle is known for crunchy noises more often anyway.

Note to self: Sacrifice the damned curtain next time!


Sign and ecrypt email in Mac OS X

MacInTouch offers a Mail Certificates report with links and information for Mac users who are interested in using S/MIME digital certificates to sign and encrypt email using Apple's Mail application and the Safari web browser.

Handy starter info if you've wanted to jump into the digital-signature realm but were a bit daunted by the terminology slung around at sites like Thawte.

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UPDATE 20:21: I'll add to this posting as I find additional helpful links for information about other certificate types for readers who may want to stay away from S/MIME certificates.

If you know of helpful sources, by all means plug them into a comment. I'd appreciate the links!


CNN.com: Original 'Star Wars' films coming to DVD

LOS ANGELES, California (Hollywood Reporter)—The original "Star Wars" trilogy, one of the most-requested DVD episodic film franchises, is expected to be released as a four-disc DVD box set September 21.

A global rollout on DVD is expected within days of the domestic release, according to Lucasfilm Ltd. and 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment.

The trilogy, featuring the classic franchise films "Star Wars," "The Empire Strikes Back" and "Return of the Jedi," will be released on three DVD discs, with a fourth disc likely to hold a newly made documentary about the "Star Wars" franchise and never-before-seen footage, among several other bonus materials, said Jim Ward, Lucasfilm's VP of marketing and distribution and the DVD trilogy's executive producer.

"We are currently in the process of restoring and remastering all three titles for the DVD release, so we're still working on details of the marketing strategy," Ward said. "But I believe that it is safe to say that it will receive tremendous exposure across all media."

CNN.com article link

And of course they won't seek out the "tremendous exposure."

Not the Hollywood marketing machine. They never do that.


CNN.com: Parent body-slams ref at high school basketball game

First up in today's News Rounds: How to Teach Your Kids to be Good Sports.

PITTSBURGH, Pennsylvania (AP)—A parent body-slammed a high school referee after he ordered the man's wife out of the gym for allegedly yelling obscenities during a basketball game.

The referee, Ronald Bell, 57, was treated at a hospital for a concussion and released after the attack Friday night.

Peter J. Dukovich, 47, was charged with simple assault, assault on a sports official and disorderly conduct. His wife, RaeLynn, who claimed the ref was making bad calls, was cited for disorderly conduct.

CNN.com article link

I particularly like this quote from a bit further down in the story:

Officials say the rivalry between suburban Deer Lakes and Hampton high schools prompted administrators to allow only parents and grandparents to attend the game.

We'll allow only parents and grandparents to prevent fighting! Yeah, that's the ticket!


Test your alignment on the political compass

Check out The Political Compass for a quiz to give you an idea of your placement on the left-right/authoritarian-libertarian compass. It also includes information about 2004 presidential camdidates' placements, as well as the leanings of various other well-known persons.

My results:

Economic Left/Right: -4.75
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -3.03

Close to where I thought I'd land, althought I figured I'd be a bit further toward libertarian.


Silly (sprained?) ankle

So I was stepping around a plant stand I've had in my apartment for nearly two years. I've stepped around this stand probably a couple thousand times with nary an incident. Until tonight.

Somehow I managed to step on the leg of this plant stand. The leg angles up at about 45°, and my foot rolled sideways right off the stand leg. My left ankle made this terrifying CRUNCH sound that was obviously just short of breaking, and it immediately went numb for a few seconds.

That sensation subsided quickly, felt like a particularly evil ankle twist, but a few minutes later it started to throb lightly, so I've got it iced down to minimize the effect of a sprain if that's what I did.

Klutzy Don.

I bought the plant stand at IKEA in 2002. It waited nearly two years to wreak its awful vengeance upon me.

But now that I think about it, since IKEA gives their products names like EFFEKTIV and SMYCKA and BØRKBØRK, I should've seen this coming when I bought a plant stand named DÖH.


I broke my phone again

Got back from lunch, stepped out of my car, closed the driver door, opened the driver's-side passenger door to retrieve my backpack, dropped my phone to the pavement.

The 6200 now has a matched set of missing chunx o' plastic, one on each side of the case at the juncture of the battery cover and the phone back.

I'll be amazed if this phone survives the week....


Thoughts on a Lazy Sunday

I spent several hours at McMenamins in Mill Creek this evening. Some thoughts on the day, in no particular order:

  1. To the man who obviously was trying to impress his date by his vast knowledge of beer: Your server is not, as you so eloquently put it, a “douchebag” because he doesn’t know what the hell you’re asking for. If you expect your server to know you want a cask-conditioned ale, don’t insist repeatedly and loudly that it’s called cast-conditioned.

  2. The big field outside my apartment complex is wonderful for generating fog on cold nights. I pulled into my the entry road and in the space between heartbeats went from crystal-clear skies to fog so thick I could barely see 10 feet ahead of me. Pretty neat, since I’m such a night-time fog whore.

  3. WSDOT, which is responsible for the endless road-widening project on SR 527 north of my apartment, really must get its shit together and finish the damned work. It’s been ongoing ever since I moved here, rapidly approaching the two-year mark, and from my perspective—I freely admit I am unschooled in the ways of road construction—it’s not a two-year project, to say nothing of the three or 4 years they’ve allotted to it. So step lively, and get it done!

  4. It’s amazing how quickly time passes when one becomes immersed in a book. I started The Da Vinci Code when I got to the restaurant and 320 pages later, I realized it was nearly midnight and long past time to go home.

Okay then, I believe that’s all I have to say for today.


"Bugs! 3D" and beer and headaches

IMAX makes for a truly astounding 3D movie experience. Saw Bugs! 3D at the Pacific Science Center Boeing IMAX Theater today, spectacular. Nothing like seeing a praying mantis so closely that it's 40 feet tall. And then it lunges for its dinner and the entire audience startles back, a nervous laugh sprinkling through the crowd immediately after.

Went to Rock Bottom Brewery at 5th and Union after the show. Had a couple brews, played a few games of pool (we sucked heinously), but had a good time. Went elsewhere for dinner and had fun there too, and all was grand until the damned headache returned around 19:00.

gah.


Miami Herald: Tenn. woman files suit over Super Bowl

KNOXVILLE, Tenn.—Terri Carlin wants to make Janet Jackson's bare breast into a federal case.

Carlin filed a proposed class action lawsuit in U.S. District Court Wednesday against Jackson, singer Justin Timberlake, broadcasters MTV and CBS and their parent company, Viacom.

Carlin alleges that she and others who watched the halftime show during Sunday's Super Bowl were injured by the performers' lewd actions when Timberlake ripped off part of Jackson's costume, exposing her breast.

In the lawsuit, Carlin charges that the exposure and "sexually explicit conduct" by other performers during the show injured viewers.

"As a direct and proximate result of the broadcast of the acts, (Carlin) and millions of others saw the acts and were caused to suffer outrage, anger, embarrassment and serious injury," the lawsuit says.

But Carlin, who works in a bank, doesn't specify the type of injury allegedly suffered.

Herald.com story link

Let's get a grip now, people!

But if anyone can answer this for me:

If this woman was so offended by the entire halftime show, why hadn't she turned it off long before the breast-baring occurred?

There'd been plenty of crotch-grabbing and whatnot before the finale. She sat there humiliated and embarrassed and "injured" somehow for the several minutes of general idiocy that was the halftime show and only at the end did she decide it'd injured her?

What kind of fuckwit is this?

(And yes, I lied about having only single post about The Breast. Sue me! ;-)


crawling....

It's nice when my PC is moving slowly enough that I can clearly see it drawing each Windows element as I switch among programs.

Outlook flickers so charmingly when I switch to it from Excel and watch as the Inbox window slowly appears element by element.

::bang head on desk::


CNN.com: Oil 'burped up' in woman's home

LONGVIEW, Texas (AP)—A Texas woman has struck oil—or maybe it struck her.

Oil around toiletLeila LeTourneau returned from work late Monday to find crude oil covering her home's floors and spilling from the toilets, bathtub and sinks.

Experts have told her the oil kind of "burped up."

Longview city crews and representatives from Basa Research, which owns some wells in the area, are trying to help find the source of the oil.

Local station KLTV reported one theory is that the house may have been built on an abandoned well that wasn't properly plugged.

"I always tease people about 'doesn't everybody in Texas have an oil derrick in the back yard?' Then when I came home I discovered I struck oil inside the house," LeTourneau said.

She and her son are now staying at a hotel.

I wonder what the best toilet cleaner is for crude?

Link via Kat

"essentially"

I read somewhere (naturally I forget where) an article/blog entry/message-board post in which the author deplored overuse of the word essentially as a superlative adjective.

I've just overheard someone use essentially in exactly that superlative sense seven times in a short conversation.

aaiieeee!


Nerdliness of the day

A little while ago I discovered how to achieve web access on my Palm Tungsten T3 by harnessing it on infrared to my Nokia 6200 and using AT&T Wireless's GPRS service as the network carrier.

I'm on the 4MB/month mMode plan, and in about 10 minutes of futzing with web pages on my handheld, I used 3MB of that monthly allowance.

Ayup. I'm a geek. But not in nearly the same vein as Monday's Jon Version 2.0 geek.


Seattle Times: Massachusetts high court rules same-sex couples entitled to marry

I wonder how long it'll be before some "family values" group or other mounts a challenge to the U.S. Supreme Court:

BOSTON—The Massachusetts high court ruled today that only full, equal marriage rights for gay couples—rather than civil unions—would be constitutional, erasing any doubts that the nation's first same-sex marriages would take place in the state beginning in mid-May.

The court issued the opinion in response to a request from the state Senate about whether Vermont-style civil unions, which convey the state benefits of marriage—but not the title—would meet constitutional muster.

The much-anticipated opinion sets the stage for next week's constitutional convention, where the Legislature will consider an amendment that would legally define marriage as a union between one man and one woman. Without the opinion, Senate President Robert Travaglini had said the vote would be delayed.

U.S. Department of State chooses a new typeface

My old friend Chris Drew posts in his blog about the U.S. government's State Department's recent decision to standardize on Times New Roman 14, easily my least favorite font in the history of publishing.

Actually no. My least favorite is probably MS Comic Sans, which is just stupid.

Times New Roman runs a close second. It's so common, it offers absolutely no distinction. Granted, official government documents are not the best place for distinctive visual styling, but Times for me also has the unfortunate quality of being unpleasant to the eye.

So of course we use it at the lab as well.

I'm partial to sans-serif fonts, so Mac users see this site in Lucida Grande or (if they don't have Lucida Grande installed) Arial. Windows users see the site in Verdana, Arial, or their system's designated sans-serif font. I find it much easier to read sans-serif fonts for extended periods, especially on computer displays, and I simply don't care for the look of Times New Roman in printed documents.

Ah well. 'Tis another among the vast array of reasons why I don't work for any government entity, I imagine.


Proof that PowerPoint = dumb?

Remember, heavy snow usually occurs in mesoscale bands.In a 14 Dec 03 post, I quoted a New York Times article titled "PowerPoint Makes You Dumb," which discussed Edward Tufte's posit that the dearth of information that can be clearly conveyed in a typical PowerPoint slide forces us to dumb down concepts to make them presentable.

Today as I tripped about among links from a Google search on 'ice pellet showers'—I've been trying for weeks to find a good definition of this term, now in use by nearly all meteorologists who used to use the term "hail" to refer to small bits of ice falling out de sky—I found what may be evidence that PowerPoint does in fact require dumbing down a topic.

Judge for yourself.

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As an unrelated aside, the Google site logo is pretty cool-looking today, and a click on the logo shows some nifty imagery.


Seattle Times: Never underestimate customer's 'bad' taste

I wouldn't buy any of these items—I'm not their target market, not by a long shot—but I do find these controversies endlessly amusing. The depths of Americans' prudery just amaze me:

Butch Stevenson had braced himself last month for a backlash against a T-shirt that read "Rong Rive Engrish."

But the assistant manager of the downtown Zebraclub, an apparel chain in the Seattle area, did what he usually does when he's not sure how a product will be received: He put it out there.

"It ended up being one of our top-selling shirts by our Asian community," Stevenson said.

"It's all relative, what's gonna be offensive."

After some retailers pulled merchandise bearing messages that customers found offensive, local store owners are mulling over what determines whether a statement is funny or mean.

Seattle Times: Whales' fish-nabbing intrigues, frustrates

ANCHORAGE—Sperm whales have learned to pluck sablefish from fishing lines being hauled from the depths of the Gulf of Alaska, showing a dexterity that belies their enormous size and toothy, underslung jaws.

"They somehow just pick them off like grapes," said Sitka commercial fisherman Dick Curran, who has fished the gulf's deep waters for decades. "I don't know how they do it, and I don't know the depth. ... Sometimes you get the heads back, sometimes you just see lips, and sometimes they're just shredded."

No one knows how the whales have come to target sablefish, also called black cod, whose oily, rich flesh has become a lucrative product in Japanese markets. But a coalition of commercial fishermen and biologists has begun to investigate using about $200,000 from the North Pacific Research Board.

Why we don't expect this from a creature with a body that's "40 percent head" escapes me.

We arrogant humans assume nothing else on this planet could ever approach our sentience.


Don’s All-in-One “Janet Jackson’s Right Breast” Post

First, from CNN.com this morning:

FCC to investigate Super Bowl breast-baring

NEW YORK (CNN)—The head of the Federal Communications Commission on Monday called the baring of Janet Jackson’s breast during the Super Bowl halftime show “deplorable” and said his agency will investigate.

Janet Jackson’s breast is exposed during the halftime show in Super Bowl XXXVIII. Apologies fly the next day, but no one’s yet answered the question of why she was wearing a pasty if the stunt was unplanned“Like millions of Americans, my family and I gathered around the television for a celebration,” FCC Chairman Michael Powell said in a statement. “Instead, that celebration was tainted by a classless, crass and deplorable stunt. Our nation’s children, parents and citizens deserve better.

“I have instructed the commission to open an immediate investigation into last night’s broadcast. Our investigation will be thorough and swift.”

CNN.com article link

Thank God the FCC is rushing to the sound of their own guns on this. It’s nice to know at least one government entity can undertake a “thorough and swift” investigation on a topic that’s obviously of earth-shaking import, when other lame topics like weapons of mass destruction linger on the back burner for other government agencies.

Also good to know that “our nation’s children, parents and citizens” are three separate and distinct entities, each entitled individually and collectively to protection from viewing the naked human body.

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And just now, from CNET News.com: Jackson’s Super Bowl flash grabs TiVo users


CNN.com: Engineering geek names son version 2.0

Geek is certainly the correct word here....

HOLLAND, Michigan (AP)—Tacking Jr. or II onto a boy's name is too common, a new father decided, so the self-described engineering geek took a software approach to naming his newborn son.

Jon Blake Cusack talked his wife, Jamie, into naming their son Jon Blake Cusack 2.0.

Version 2.0 was born Tuesday at Holland Community Hospital, and the proud parents took him home Friday.

"I wanted to find something different to name him besides Jon Blake," Cusack, who is self-employed with Westshore Design and Cusack Music, told The Holland Sentinel.

He said he had the idea for a few months, and spent the better part of that time persuading his wife to go along.

Jamie Cusack said she didn't concede until the week before the birth. She said she had "picked out the theme of the baby's room and done other things. I decided to let Jon have this."

After 2.0's birth, the Cusacks sent out an electronic birth announcement.

"I wrote in the birth announcement e-mail stuff, like there's a lot of features from version 1.0 with additional features from Jamie," Jon Cusack said.-->

Seattle Times: Sea-Tac screeners' letter prompts federal probe

The federal Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is looking into Sea-Tac Airport screeners' claims of widespread problems, including allegations that one manager accepted money from employees in exchange for helping them win promotions.

A letter and accompanying petition signed by 206 of the 1,100 TSA employees at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport called for an investigation into top management, saying that managers have created a culture of "fear and intimidation" that has led to high turnover and has hindered efforts to maintain security.

The employees in mid-December sent the letter and petition to the TSA, Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge, several federal inspectors general, Washington's congressional delegation and Gov. Gary Locke.

TSA internal-affairs investigators already have been to the airport to look into the manager who allegedly accepted money from employees. Now, field inspectors have been dispatched as a result of the screeners' letter and petition and will begin meeting with employees tomorrow, according to internal memos.

Seattle Times article link

I haven't experienced any of the security follies listed in the article—I always take off my shoes and carefully remove all metal from my person, and the times I have set off the main detectors, the secondary scan (the "pat-down" version with the hand-held detectors) hasn't bothered me at all. It's a necessary part of the entire travel experience: If you want the convenience of flying to your destination, you deal with the inconvenience of the security process.

The process can't work, however, if the screening employees aren't treated with respect by the flying public and by the TSA management. And TSA management must be above question in their ethics and personnel decisions. Employee morale and passenger confidence—and, by extension, the safety of our skies—depend upon it.