May 2008 Archives

From Cincinnati Enquirer: 'Bodies' settles with N.Y.

This is an interesting article because it is one of the few where Cincinnati Museum CEO Douglass McDonald actually makes a statement.  Usually, he's hiding behind a statement from Premier.

"It's a New York document. We talked to our lawyers and it applies only to New York, not Cincinnati," said Douglass McDonald, president and CEO of the Museum Center. "Obviously, we'll continue to watch the events and monitor changes, but at this juncture, it doesn't change anything for us.
As a legal document, it definitely only applies to NY.  However, Premier's own lawyer is quoted in saying that they would apply it to "operations worldwide".

The Premier lawyer who negotiated the settlement, general counsel Brian Wainger, said, "We are happy to have this behind us." Wainger said the settlement terms only applied to exhibits in the state of New York but that the company would "adopt practices that mirror New York's requirements" in its operations worldwide.
But, it should be more than what the lawyers say.  The exhibit in NY is in South Street Seaport, an entertainment district.  The exhibit here in Cincinnati is at the Cincinnati Museum Center.  The Cincinnati Museum Center has a duty to the public as a learning center to provide both educational and ethical displays.  The ethics of this exhibit has been called into question.  Premier has made assertions about the source of the bodies, but are not able to back any of it up.  How can you trust what Premier or the Cincinnati Museum Center has to say about this?

"I'm not surprised, though. Cuomo announced his investigation the day before ABC announced the show, and that was a day before sweeps week began, so you knew something had to happen.
Oh, so blame it on the sweeps week.

"I'm still comfortable with the exhibit. What we know for sure is that it continues to be a spectacular, educational exhibit. We've been looking at hard facts and evidence since we started considering the exhibit, and the hard facts and evidence continue to support the positive information Premier gave us at the beginning."
The hard facts are that Premier has settled with the NY Attorney General's office and admit that they are unable to prove where the bodies come from. 

McDonald refers to a paragraph in Cuomo's formal document that seems to support the claim that the bodies are not executed prisoners.

Paragraph 14 reads: "Premier has also affirmatively represented that it conducted its own internal due diligence and ... independently concluded that the specimens currently on display in New York are not, and do not come from, Chinese prisoners who were subjected to execution, torture or other forms of physical abuse. ... Premier's ability to independently analyze the Whole Bodies is not at issue here. Premier, however, cannot independently confirm that any of the over 200 parts in the New York Exhibit were not taken from Chinese citizens or residents who were executed, tortured or subjected to other physical abuse."
What McDonald neglects to say, is that paragraph 14 is Premier's own statement.  Of course Premier's statement is going to support what he believes in.

Paragraph 15, which he conveniently leaves out states this:
15. The Attorney General finds that, given the sensitive and controversial nature of Premier's Bodies Exhibits, including the one in New York, and particularly given the history of human rights violations in China, the above-referenced representations made by or on behalf of Premier were overstated.
Premier does not deny the Attorney General's findings.  When I see Douglass McDonald's statements, I see someone who's desperate to keep the money flowing no matter what the costs.   
From the NY Attorney General's Assurance of Discontinuance:

...Premier shall clearly and conspicuously make the following disclosures on its website and in the lobby of any Covered Exhibit:

(A) "This exhibit displays human remains of Chinese citizens or residents which were originally received by the Chinese Bureau of Police.  The Chinese Bureau of Police may receive bodies from Chinese prisons.  Premier cannot independently verify that the human remains you are viewing are not those of persons who were incarcerated in Chinese prisons."

(B) "This exhibit displays full body cadavers as well as human body parts, organs, fetuses and embryos that come from cadavers of Chinese citizens or residents.  With respect to the human parts, organs, fetuses and embryos you are viewing, Premier relies solely on the representations of its Chinese partners and cannont independently verify that they do not belong to persons executed while incarcerated in Chinese prisons."

Star Trek theme composer dies

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From CNN.com: 'Star Trek' theme composer dies at 88

Alexander "Sandy" Courage, an Emmy-winning and Academy Award-nominated arranger, orchestrator and composer who created the otherworldly theme for the classic "Star Trek" TV show, has died. He was 88.
The Star Trek fanfare immediately signals, this is Star Trek.  It's one of the most recognizable pieces of music in television.

I didn't like the theme song as much when I was little, but it's pretty kitschy cool today.  I hope the new Star Trek movie uses it.

There's a little interesting point about the lyrics in the story.

"Star Trek" creator Gene Roddenberry later wrote lyrics to the tune, which were never sung on the show but entitled him to half the royalties, Courage said.

According to wikipedia, Gene Roddenberry only wrote the lyrics to cash in on the royalties, saying "Hey, I have to get some money somewhere. I'm sure not going to get it out of the profits of Star Trek".  This caused Courage to end his association with Star Trek.


Reading the lyrics, doesn't seem quite fair that Roddenberry got half for his contribution!

Lyrics to Star Trek theme song

"Beyond

The rim of the starlight
My love
Is wand'ring in star flight
I know he'll find in star clustered reaches
Love, strange love a star woman teaches

"I know
His journey ends never
His Star Trek
Will go on forever
But tell him
While he wanders his starry sea
Remember
Remember me!"


From CNN.com: 'Uncontacted tribe' sighted in Amazon

Researchers have produced aerial photos of jungle dwellers who they say are among the few remaining peoples on Earth who have had no contact with the outside world.

Taken from a small airplane, the photos show men outside thatched communal huts, necks craned upward, pointing bows toward the air in a remote corner of the Amazonian rainforest.
Shouldn't there be some kind of Star Trek non intervention "Prime Directive" be in play here?  Buzzing the primitives with a giant noisy bird causing them to point bows at you somehow doesn't seem to be the proper thing to do. 


How much does Bodies the Exhibition cost at the Cincinnati Museum Center?  ZERO.  If you didn't know that the bodies were possibly of tortured and executed Chinese prisoners.  Bodies that may have been purchased from the black market.

If you're disgusted about this, ask for your refund.

From ABCNews.com: Crackdown on Ghoulish 'Body Exhibitions'

The Premier lawyer who negotiated the settlement, general counsel Brian Wainger, said, "We are happy to have this behind us." Wainger said the settlement terms only applied to exhibits in the state of New York but that the company would "adopt practices that mirror New York's requirements" in its operations worldwide.
One of the requirements Premier Exhibitions agreed upon in the NY settlement is to offer refunds.

If by chance, the Cincinnati Museum Center refuses to refund your money, please tell them that you'll be contacting the Ohio Attorney General's office and asking for an investigation.

Ohio Attorney General
State Office Tower
30 E. Broad Street, 17th Floor
Columbus, OH 43215-3428
(614) 466-4320
WCPOCoverage.jpg
WCPO Channel 9 Cincinnati covered the third in a series of discussion of the Bodies the Exhibition.  This discussion took place last night at the Cincinnati Museum Center.

While useful, I feel like the structure of the forums prevented an effective discussion to take place.  Instead of having the parties in dispute involved, the activists and the Cincinnati Museum Center, the forums relied on discussions from third parties to make arguments about the issues.

While this made for a civil discussion, beating around the bush doesn't get to the heart of the matter.  I believe that a lot of the attendees expected someone from the Cincinnati Museum Center to answer questions, but the Cincinnati Museum Center never had a desire for a true dialog.  They joined the forums as a sponsor, but was more of a reluctant participant.

For example, last night there were no signs at the Cincinnati Museum Center for the discussion, employees weren't told about it, and zero advertising on the Museum Center's website.  There was a printed out sign for a wedding reception, but they couldn't print a sign for the forum?

If the Cincinnati Museum Center wanted a discussion, they could have organized a forum at any time to answer the questions of the public.  But, they have not chosen to do so.  All we get are statements from Premier, and vague references to documents that are never shown.  Trust us, they say.  We know what trust is worth when dealing with money and profit.  Nothing.

The Cincinnati Museum Center has consistently said that if new information were revealed, they would review the situation.  Any such review should be in a public forum and include members of the community and not their stacked "ethics" panel.  My impressions from speaking to members of the "ethics" panel was that evidence against the exhibit was not shown and that the "ethics" panel was chosen for their endorsement value.  No Chinese community leaders were asked to be part of this "ethics" panel.

Anytime the Cincinnati Museum Center wants to have a dialog or re-examine the issues, there are plenty of us who are willing to participate.  But, I don't believe that the Cincinnati Museum Center is willing to examine the truth critically.  Their motive is money and with the flux in the Ohio Attorney General's office, there's little chance anything will happen before this show closes.  Meanwhile, the Cincinnati Museum Center continues to profit of the bodies of possible tortured and executed prisoners.

Video coverage of the Bodies Discussion from WCPO Channel 9 News

For some reason, the video doesn't work in Mac Safari, but it does work in Mac Firefox

From WCPO.com: Debate Goes On Over 'Bodies: The Exhibition' (written version)

Let's teach kids to eat Legos!

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LegoFunSnacks.png Kellogg's and Lego have joined together to create the ultimate in child culinary confusion- Lego Fun Snacks!  Are they bits of hard plastic or chewy bits of near-fruit?  Have fun teaching your kids what's edible and what's not!

In reality, these amorphous lumps of hardened goo barely look like Lego's.  The bottoms are also just flat- no reverse, so you can't even snap two pieces together.LegoFunSnacks2.png UPDATE:  They're actually pretty good, but I wouldn't serve them up to kids as a healthy food choice.  It's basically candy.
Premier Exhibition, exhibitor of Bodies the Exhibition that is currently being shown at the Cincinnati Museum Center has settled with the NY Attorney General's Office.

"The grim reality is that Premier Exhibitions has profited from displaying the remains of individuals who may have been tortured and executed in China," said Attorney General Cuomo. 

"Despite repeated denials, we now know that Premier itself cannot demonstrate the circumstances that led to the death of the individuals.  Nor is Premier able to establish that these people consented to their remains being used in this manner.  Respect for the dead and respect for the public requires that Premier do more than simply assure us that there is no reason for concern.  This settlement is a start."
Premier Exhibitions will provide full ticket refunds to all customers who ask for it.

The Premier lawyer who negotiated the settlement, general counsel Brian Wainger, said, "We are happy to have this behind us." Wainger said the settlement terms only applied to exhibits in the state of New York but that the company would "adopt practices that mirror New York's requirements" in its operations worldwide.
It's been clear since the 20/20 news show that there are strong questions of where Premier Exhibitions gets bodies.  It was shown that Premier may have been purchasing the bodies of executed prisoners from the black market.  Political dissidents and religious practitioners are amongst that prisoners in China.  So, if there are executed prisoners, in this exhibit, there may be people in this exhibit that have committed no crimes except for speaking out against the Chinese government.

The Cincinnati Museum Center has been hiding behind Premier's "documentation" and profiting from this display.  The Cincinnati Museum Center has said that it would:

"act accordingly in response to any credible findings that may emerge from follow-up investigations being conducted by Premier Exhibitions and the New York Attorney General"
The Cincinnati Museum Center has previously chosen to take the low road and to wait and see if it can get away with profiting from the show.  If the Cincinnati Museum Center had an ethical backbone, it would sue Premier to break its contract and close the exhibit. 

UPDATE: (fixed link below)
Press Release from NY Attorney General's Office: CUOMO SETTLEMENT WITH "BODIES. . . .THE EXHIBITION" ENDS THE PRACTICE OF USING HUMAN REMAINS OF SUSPECT ORIGINS

From ABCnews.com: Crackdown on Ghoulish 'Body Exhibitions'
From NYTimes.com: 'Bodies' Show Must Put Up Warnings

UPS boomerang- death from above

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If you're at the park, it might be time to start looking for some cover.  Thanks to UPS, I'm now the proud owner of the mighty boomerang.  Once this instrument of death leaves my hand, there's no telling what havoc it might bring.

UPSBoomerang.pngI wonder with all these boomerangs going out to UPS customers, might we see an uptick in boomerang accidents?  I know every office around here uses UPS too!

UPDATE:  I just went outside and threw it twice.  The first time, it pretty much went straight ahead and almost hit a power line, landing in the parking lot of the warehouse next to me.  The second time, I angled it a little more while throwing it.  It left my hand and went straight forward about 15 feet before going vertical, looping over my warehouse and coming back in my general direction.  It was really cool to watch, but I'm not throwing it here again.  You definitely need a pretty big space to throw it.

Wii love brownies

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wiibrownies.png
Another pic from Taste of Cincinnati.  Wii love brownies!


Here's a real taste of Cincinnati, good old H20 from the Cincinnati Water Works.
TasteWater1.pngMmmmm, fresh Cincinnati water freshly pumped from a fire hydrant!  Tasty!
TasteWater2.png

From CNN.com: Indiana Jones movie upsets communists

Members of Russia's Communist Party are calling for a nationwide boycott of the new Indiana Jones movie, saying it aims to undermine communist ideology and distort history.
Let's see, the movie's about a search for a crystal skull "endowed with mystic powers".  I'm sure Spielberg and Lucas were worried about making sure their movie was historically correct.

This movie's clearly made for an American audience, where the good guys (us) win and the bad guys (Nazi, Communists) lose.
From NYTimes.com: 36 Hours in Cartagena, Colombia

Still on my list of places to visit.

Jeff Ruby closing Tropicana

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From Cincinnati Enquirer: Ruby closing Tropicana

Jeff Ruby said Friday he is closing his Newport on the Levee restaurant, Jeff Ruby's Tropicana, June 30 because he is being sued over its name.

Tropicana Entertainment, the Crestview Hills-based gaming company owned by Bill Yung III, filed the lawsuit a year ago. The company has since gone bankrupt and lost the gambling license for its Tropicana casino in Atlantic City, but it has not dropped the suit.
I can't say that I'm totally surprised by this news.  It explains why the Tropicana was looking pretty ratty lately.  I think the suit is part of the reason for closing, a loss of interest another.  Jeff Ruby could have easily changed the name to "Jeff Ruby's" and  kept it open.  Even though he talks about the decor, it is definitely nothing special.  But, Jeff Ruby's excited about his latest restaurant venture with Bootsy Collins, Bootsy-Ruby's and it's clear his focus is over there.
From CBS.news: Clinton References RFK Assassination In Defending Length of Campaign

"My husband did not wrap up the nomination in 1992 until he won the California primary somewhere in the middle of the June, right? We all remember Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in June in California. I don't understand it."
This seems like a pretty glib statement for Hillary to make.  She later said that it was just a historical reference to how RFK continued to campaign through June until his assassination.

Hillary's correct that RFK campaigned through June, but he didn't even enter the race until March 16th!  Four days after the first primary of New Hampshire, March 12th.  In 1968 there were still major primaries like California to win.  In 2008, there aren't any big prizes left to win.  Obama, has a majority of the pledged delegates.

Blog Spam- reCaptcha

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I apologize for the comments section not working properly this last week.  I've been flooded with comment spam.  I've had spam issues before, but this time the number of spam comments started affecting the server load.

I've added a reCaptcha which asks you to type in the two words to prove you're human.
reCaptcha.jpgBut, how are you helping to digitize old texts?

From the reCaptcha website

sample-ocr.gifBooks have been scanned, but the computer's OCR sometimes can't recognize the words like a human can.  reCaptcha uses these digitized words as the the two words that you have to type in.

But if a computer can't read such a CAPTCHA, how does the system know the correct answer to the puzzle? Here's how: Each new word that cannot be read correctly by OCR is given to a user in conjunction with another word for which the answer is already known. The user is then asked to read both words. If they solve the one for which the answer is known, the system assumes their answer is correct for the new one. The system then gives the new image to a number of other people to determine, with higher confidence, whether the original answer was correct.

Lifelock CEO, victim of ID theft

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How many times have you heard the commercial on the radio of Todd Davis, pitching his Lifelock ID protection service by giving out his Social Security number on the web?  I always wondered if people rise up to the challenge of stealing his identity for fun.

It turns out, people have.  Moral of the story, don't give hackers and criminals a challenge!

From CNN.com: Fraud-prevention pitchman becomes ID theft victim

Davis acknowledged in an interview with The Associated Press that his stunt has led to at least 87 instances in which people have tried to steal his identity, and one succeeded: a guy in Texas who duped an online payday loan operation last year into giving him $500 using Davis' Social Security number

iPod Nano meets water and survives!

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The beauty of the iPod Nano is its tiny size, but the tradeoff in smallness is that it's a lot easier to misplace.  I've had it disappear into a fold of my computer bag for several weeks before I found it again.  That time I really thought I lost it so I purchased another from Apple.

Last week, I lost my first iPod Nano again.  I checked my bag but it wasn't in the secret hiding spot as where I lost it before.  I was annoyed at misplacing it, but having a spare Nano means that find the first one wasn't a pressing issue.
 
Well, Saturday it popped up, while I was taking my clothes out of the washer.  It must have gotten stuck in there with some gym clothes.

If you ever drop an electronic device in the washer or the toilet, the first thing you need to do is NOT turn it on to see if it works.  Repeat.  Do not turn it on.

Dry the thing off as quickly as you can with a hair dryer or heater if possible.  If you can open it to dry, the better.  Even after you've finished drying, it you should probably let it sit for a few more days to make sure it's completely dry.

Mine was in a neoprene case, but when I took it out of the case, it was definitely wet.  After some swearing and kicking of myself, I wiped the iPod Nano down, but since I don't own a hair dryer, I ended up just putting it in a sunny window for about 5 days.

Today, I decided it was time to see if it worked, plus it would give me material for my blog this morning. I plugged it into the iPod dock and immediately the Apple logo showed up.  It worked!  That's the good news.  The bad, there's a couple of dark splotches on the edges of the screen.  You can see a blob next to the play arrow on the top left of the screen.  Maybe, those will go away over time, but if it doesn't, it's not too bad and I can live with it.
WetiPod.png UPDATE: A few days after the picture above, the iPod completely dried out and there are no splotches on the screen.  The iPod takes a bath and looks like new!


From the NYTimes.com: American, Cutting Back, Plans $15 Bag Fee

American Airlines, the nation's largest air carrier, said Wednesday that it would begin charging $15 for many passengers to check their first bag, eliminating a free service that passengers in the United States have come to expect during the modern jet era.
I wonder how long it'll take for the other airlines to follow suit?  If they do, it'll just make flying coach that much more painful as everyone will try carrying on their bag on the plane.

From Dailymail.co.uk: In bed with Captain Kirk ... William Shatner tells of his 40-year Star Trek

Leonard and I didn't get along. On the set he remained aloof. He claimed this was partly to maintain the character's integrity. Spock was an outsider and Leonard worried if he got too friendly with the cast he might close that distance.
Interesting stuff.
shatnereatingMOS_468x379.jpgAmazon.com: Up Till Now: The Autobiography

Hillary's Cult of Personality

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We have often heard the term Cult of Personality in this primary election, but mostly in reference to Obama supporters.  But when I think of who has the cult and who does not, to me, more and more it's Hillary and her supporters.

In recent states where Clinton has won, the exit polls have been showing that if Obama is the nominee, a majority of Hillary supporters will vote for McCain or not vote.  However, if Hillary is the nominee, Obama supporters would likely vote for her rather than McCain.

It's a given that the relative policy positions of Obama and Hillary as Democrats are much closer to each other than to the Republican, John McCain.

So, why would Hillary supporters say they would vote for McCain rather than Obama?  Is this as some Democrats have said, a temporary phenomenon where Hillary supporters are expressing their frustration and a last gasp attempt to woo superdelegates to their cause?  Or has this primary caused a fracture to form in the Democratic party?

We won't really know until we see how hard Hillary works to help Obama win the election if he's the nominee.  If its a tepid effort, it will be interpreted as that she's hoping for a loss and another chance to run in 2012.  It seems like many of her supporters are already wishing for that exact thing to occur.

From NYTimes.com: Landmark Hotel Among Sites Seen as in Peril

When it opened in 1956, the Statler Hilton Hotel in Dallas was a marvel of modern architecture, its size a tribute to imagination and a booming economy. Now it stands empty, another white elephant on the American landscape.

On Tuesday, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, a private nonprofit organization, will announce that the Statler Hilton and 10 other sites have made its 2008 list of the country's most endangered historic places.
I saw this hotel the last time I was in Dallas and I wondered what the building was.  The building sits like the remains of a building swept by apocalyptic disease.

Here are some pretty amazing photos of this building.

Bill would ban 'Bodies' imports

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From the Cincinnati Enquirer: Bill would ban 'Bodies' imports

Republican Rep. Todd Akin of Missouri has introduced a bill to prohibit the importation of plastinated human remains. He's concerned that some of the Chinese people in the exhibit didn't give permission for their bodies to be on display.
This news is several weeks old, but it's good that it's been reported by the Cincinnati Enquirer.  Generally, you only hear about Bodies the Exhibition through the nonstop advertising from the Musem Center.

It opened Feb. 1 for a seven-month run and already has sold 150,000 tickets priced at $11 to $23. Akin's bill does not single out any particular Bodies exhibit or company that performs plastination. It wouldn't affect any current shows.

Museum spokesman Rodger Pille declined to comment on the legislation, but said in a statement that the Museum Center "stands by the strong educational value of this exhibition."
The Museum Center has a responsibility to the public to put on shows that are ethical.  They bear the burden of proof, but instead they're turning a blind eye to this because of the profits this show can bring.  They say it's all about education, but what this really is selling out for proffits.

"Education" has been used throughout the years to justify many wrongs.  You can justify Nazi experiments or Tuskegee if you leave out ethical issues and just focus on education.

hello-kitty-ambassador.jpgFrom CNN.com: Hello Kitty named Japan tourism ambassador

Hello Kitty, Japan's ubiquitous ambassador of cute, has built up an impressive resume over the years. Global marketing phenom. Fashion diva. Pop culture icon.

Now the moonfaced feline can add "government envoy" to the list.
Why is Hello Kitty settling for tourism ambassador?  We should hire her to finish out George W. Bush's term.  She'd probably do a better job getting the Saudis to pump more oil, bring peace to the Middle East, and finding Osama bin Laden.

Reaction from Hello Kitty Hell.

Amazing Wu still speaking up

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From Cincinnati Enquirer: Amazing Wu still speaking up

Peter Bronson wrote a very nice piece in the Cincinnati Enquier about Harry Wu's visit to Cincinnati to speak about the Bodies the Exhibition.

iPhone answer tones?

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Saw this on macrumors.com: Apple in Mobile Music Negotiations... for WWDC?

Apple reportedly wants to expand its Ringtone library and introduce the sale of "Answer Tones". Answer Tones are customized sounds played to callers instead of the traditional ringing sound.
I think Answer Tones are a bad idea.  The ringtone is part of the phone user interface indicating the action of calling.  When you call someone, you expect to hear a phone ringing, knowing a call is in progress. 

If I hear a song, or a joke, or a voice, I'd assume that the answering machine just picked up really quickly.  I'd never use them and it annoys me that others may choose to do so.

Sound is an important part of feedback on a user interface.  For example, I use my iPhone as my alarm clock.  I use separate sounds for my ringtone and for my alarm clock.  When my alarm rings, I want to know that it's the alarm clock and not someone calling me on the iPhone.
Here are two songs from the live performance of the music of Battlestar Galactica by composer Bear McCreary and the BSG Orchestra.  This took place last month at the Roxy in LA.

The first video is Roslin and Adama, one of my favorite melodies from BSG.




The second is Fight Night featuring Taiko drums, a pretty cool Chinese membrane flute and a rocking violin solo.  I've played the violin most of my life, but I don't feel like I truly play the violin after watching the solo.

Car fire on Reading Road

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Around 2:25PM (Today, Saturday May 17, 2008) on Reading Road near McGregor I saw car engulfed in flames.  I heard the sirens and traffic pulled over to let the fire truck through.  I took this picture as I waiting for traffic to move.  The flame was pretty intense, but the firefighters moved pretty deliberately, slowly pulling out the hose to put out the fire.  I kept picturing the car suddenly exploding, but as seen on Mythbusters, cars don't really explode like they do in the movies.CarFireReadingRoad.png

Hillary Clinton, imperialist!

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Saw this new campaign poster of Hillary Clinton.

From the Hillary Clinton website:
hillaryposter.jpgI think they were trying for cool like Obama's Hope Poster, but what they got was something a little Orwellian, a bizarre looking propaganda poster.  Is that rays of light emanating from Hillary?  Is she supposed to be the rising sun that lights up the Earth?

The poster conjures all sorts of imperialistic images, like Hillary "the dictator for life" or Hillary "mutual destruction is assured".

I decided to take the themes of this and make my own quicky version of how I see Hillary.
HillaryPoster.png
From CNN.com: Fears over China lake sparks more panicPicture 3.png Not sure if I'd be carrying the wedding portrait if I were running for my life!

From Cincinnati Enquirer: $196 million ticket sold in Amelia

AMELIA - A single ticket sold in Amelia is the winner of the $196 million grand prize from the latest Mega Millions lotto drawing.

Lottery spokeswoman Marie Kilbane said Friday night that the ticket for was bought at Main Street Wine & Spirits in this Clermont County village.
Wow, someone in my hometown of Cincinnati has hit it big!

To put it in perspective how hard it is to win the jackpot, this was the first winning Mega Millions ticket sold in all of OHIO since December 1, 2006!

The odds of winning the Mega Millions jackpot are: 1 in 175,711,536.

The odds of getting struck by lightning twice in a lifetime are: 1 in 9,000,000.

Bush and the Power of Persuasion

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This is a classic article from the NYTimes.com about how candidate George W. Bush would lower gasoline costs!

Article referenced in DaringFireball: Political Capital

From NYTimes.com: THE 2000 CAMPAIGN: THE TEXAS GOVERNOR; Bush Would Use Power of Persuasion to Raise Oil Supply

Gov. George W. Bush of Texas said today that if he was president, he would bring down gasoline prices through sheer force of personality, by creating enough political good will with oil-producing nations that they would increase their supply of crude.

''I would work with our friends in OPEC to convince them to open up the spigot, to increase the supply,'' Mr. Bush, the presumptive Republican candidate for president, told reporters here today. ''Use the capital that my administration will earn, with the Kuwaitis or the Saudis, and convince them to open up the spigot.''
Well, the Saudis clarified today, the amount of political capital that George W. Bush has built up.  Zero, Nada, Zippo!

Asked why the Clinton administration had not been able to use the power of personal persuasion, Mr. Bush said: ''The fundamental question is, 'Will I be a successful president when it comes to foreign policy?' ''

He went on to suggest, as he did in answer to other questions, that voters should simply trust him.

''I will be,'' he said in answer to his own question about whether he would be a successful president. ''But until I'm the president, it's going to be hard for me to verify that I think I'll be more effective.''
Trust him.  Aaaaaaaaaah!

Mr. Bush dismissed Mr. Lehane's comments, saying, ''It's frankly the type of politics people in America are sick of, this kind of finger pointing, calling names and trying to divert attention.''
Well, we've had 8 years of finger pointing, calling names, and trying to divert attention.  And yes, we're still sick of it.

Bush pleas for oil

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From the NYTimes.com: Bush in Saudi Arabia to Make Oil Plea

With the price of oil hitting record highs, President Bush will use a private visit to King Abdullah's ranch here Friday to make a second attempt to persuade the Saudi government to increase oil production so that American consumers can get some relief at the gasoline pump.

When Mr. Bush was last here in January, a similar request caused him some embarrassment. The president asked the Saudi oil minister to increase production, and was publicly rebuffed. He then took up the matter with the king, but the conversation did not get very far.
From NYTimes.com: Bush Rebuffed on Oil Plea in Saudi Arabia

This is a total embarrassment, that the President of the United States goes into a country, hat in hand and gets totally rebuffed.  This is the legacy of our failed energy and foreign policies.
UPDATE: Jeff Ruby's Tropicana has announced that it's closing in June.

I was at Jeff Ruby's Tropicana at Newport on the Levee last night meeting a friend.  It's salsa night at Tropicana on Thursdays, so I've been there a few times over the last six months.  My friend and I agreed that the decor is really looking dated and the place is starting to get a little rundown looking.  The business seems good, so it seems like they could afford it, but it seems like Jeff Ruby has his eyes somewhere else.  You always hear about Jeff Ruby as a great restaurateur, but great restaurants are built in the details.

The bar chairs in particular are a ratty mess.  It's a real embarrassment- I wouldn't even let someone over to my place if I had a chair that looked like that, let alone charge someone $8.00 for a drink. Here's a picture of one chair, but a lot of them look like this:
tropicanachair.pngHere's a picture of the decor.  Kind of cheesy looking.  Sorry for the quality of the photos, it was pretty dark for the iPhone.
Tropicana1.png
Today, as I was driving to work, I saw gas at $3.77 a gallon- what a bargain!  So, I was posed with this dilemma, should I tank up even though my tank is only a third empty or should I just fill up on my normal schedule?  I decided to tank up, filling my car with less than 5 gallons of gas, but still costing me over $18 dollars.

Psychologically it felt good to take advantage of "cheap" gas, but in the end I think I saved only around $.60 based on yesterday's rate of around $3.90.  It's funny how your behavior changes when faced with rising gas prices.

gasthirdempty.png

I noticed the last time I purchased gas, that there's a sign that says that there's an automatic $50 cutoff limit for Visa card purchases for gas.Visalimit.jpg A year ago, that wouldn't be a problem, but now fifty dollars buys you less than 13 gallons of gas at $3.90/gallon.  That's less than a full tank for me.

The cutoff was either not turned on or not working on the pump I used as you can see below.  $61.83.  Yikes!
gasprice.jpg

McCain and the Underwear Gnomes

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From NYTimes.com: McCain: Troops May Be Home by 2013

Reading the text of McCain's speech, I'm reminded of the South Park episode with the Underwear Gnomes.  The gnomes stole underwear from kids because it was part of the plan shown below.

Gnomes_plan.pngNone of the Gnomes knew what Phase 2 was.

McCain in his speech sees a future through his leadership where we've:

Won the war in Iraq
Osama Bin Laden captured or killed
Inflation is low
World food crisis is ended
Reduced obesity in kids
Reduced dependence on foreign oil

And a lot, lot more.

To me, it fits the Gnome plan as follows:

Phase 1: Elect John McCain
Phase 2: ?
Phase 3: War is won in Iraq, Economy is roaring, Obesity is conquered, etc.

Lots of nice Phase 3 stuff here.  But is there a Phase 2?  It's clear in the Bush Administration, there was no Phase 2.  I'm not certain if McCain has a realistic Phase 2 either, especially for Iraq.  Or Inflation, or reducing obesity in kids.

I know it's the nature of politics that we're voting more for the person than a concrete plan.  All the candidates have lacked specificity in their Phase 2, especially for Iraq.  I just am extremely skeptical about anyone claiming that we can somehow "win" the war in Iraq in the traditional sense that McCain is claiming that we'll be able to do in 5 short years.

Text of McCain's actual speech.

Amazing Food Art

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From NYTimes.com: Knife Skills: Creating Feasts for the Eyes

The pictures in the article and the slideshow are amazing. 

Slideshow Playing With Food

Justine Henin retires

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From ESPN.com: Henin retires on top of rankings after early-season slump

I'll always remember her one handed topspin backhand, probably the most beautiful shot in tennis, Men's or Women's.  She got every once of her body into the shot and could with any woman in the game.  I wish I could hit the ball like that!
HarryWu.jpg
Harry Wu, human rights activist, spoke yesterday at the University of Cincinnati about his experiences as a prisoner in China.  Mr. Wu spent 19 years in labor camps even though he had never committed or formally charged with a crime.  He was considered a "counter revolutionary" and was imprisoned for speaking out against the government.

Today, Mr. Wu is the executive director of the Laogai Research Foundation that was established to spread awareness of the prison labor camps and has since expanded its focus to:
- from the Laogai Research website
"to document and report on other systemic human rights violations in China, including public executions, organ harvesting from executed prisoners, the coercive enforcement of China's population control policy, and persecution of religious believers."

Harry Wu spoke extensively about the prison system and how products that we buy today are still being manufactured by prison labor.  Products that are being sold in Walmart come from prison factories.  Walmart is shielded from this by buying through trading companies that "certify" through documents that the products are not being manufactured by prisoners.  However, all certification documents in China are relatively easy to obtain and really don't mean anything.  That's why we can get food that's contaminated or paint that has lead in it.

The prison labor is used to create products for almost every industry- electronics, heavy manufacturing, and consumer goods. 

Many of the prisoners are convicted criminals, but there are political prisoners amongst them sent to labor camps for "re-education".

Mr. Wu also spoke about the executions that take place.  China does not give out the numbers of prisoners that it executes per year, but Mr. Wu believes that it could be in the range of 10,000 to 20,000.

China is the second leading country in organ transplants.  Approximately 95% of all organs transplanted in China are from executed prisoners.

Mr. Wu then went on to touch on the Bodies the Exhibition.  He continually raised the point that if all the bodies were Jewish or African-American, what would we think?  He showed pictures of executed prisoners that were taken by a former assistant to the plastination factory in China.  Mr. Wu was told that the assistant knew that the bodies were from executed prisoners and that they were given free or purchased for $30-40 dollars.

Mr. Wu thinks that while he believes and is interested in science, that we need to remember that these are human beings.

My Reactions:
1. I was surprised by how much prison labor is still being used to manufacture products.  Companies and the American public don't seem to be aware of the situation or don't care about it enough to do anything about it.  Companies like Walmart only seek documents that allow them to deny any involvement.  This is just akin to looking away.

2. Based on the questions asked during the Q&A, the general public in Cincinnati is NOT aware about a lot of the undisputed facts surrounding the Bodies the Exhibition that is being shown at the Cincinnati Museum Center.  The bodies there are not donor bodies, but bodies of un-consenting individuals.  It has been shown that some of the bodies at the exhibit may be executed prisoners.

The Museum Center is just like Walmart in the sense that they have chosen the lowest standard of ethical behavior.  They don't seek the truth of the situation amidst the allegations.  This is a cash cow for them and they're willing to look away.  They have plausible deniability and beyond that, they don't really care what the actual situation may be.

3. We are the land of the free, but we really don't appreciate the freedoms that we have.  We certainly do not do enough to help others around the world.

4. The interesting thing about Harry Wu's 19 years in prison was a question into how he was able to survive that long.  His answer, "I don't know", is kind of an amazing one.  In the movies, it's a dream, something that motivates you to survive.

5. Watching Harry Wu playing with a small child at the event was touching.  Can you imagine how 19 years in a labor camp would change you?  Life and freedom certainly seems much more precious.
NathanHarryWu.jpg

From CNN.com: Obama T-shirts raise ire

The link above is for the CNN video of a bar owner who has made this Obama T-shirt.
ObamaMonkeyTShirt.jpg The bar owner, Mike Norman says that it isn't meant to offend- that he sees a resemblance between Obama and the monkey.  "Look at those ears and the hair line", he says.
mikenorman-1.jpgSo, I wonder what would make it racist for Mike Norman?  Maybe if he added a couple of Klansman, a noose, and a burning cross.

If you think the Obama monkey shirt is funny, how about this shirt instead?
whitepeopleforhillarysleeveless.jpgBuy it now at Cafepress!

Hillary at half price

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From ABCnews.com: Sign of the Times? Clinton At Half Price

The pundits can argue all they want, her campaign may protest that she's still in the game, but at the "America!" souvenir shops at Dulles International and Reagan National airports, the signs are clear as day.

"Sale!" "Clearance!" "50% off!" they blare.

A pink t-shirt with an image of Clinton's head and the words "Madame President 2008: Making History."

A black t-shirt that reads "Anyone but Hillary" with a drawing of the famous "scream" painting.

The "Hillary for President" bobblehead.  And oh yes, even the Hillary nutcracker, "with stainless steel thighs."  All are marked half off.
Now's a good time to get that nutcracker with "stainless steel thights"!  The market is a pretty good indicator of what people believe.  When things start to closeout, you know the game's over.
Chinese Activist Harry Wu in Cincinnati to Discuss
BODIES: The Exhibition and Human Rights in China
Tuesday May 13, 2008   5:00-7:00pm
University of Cincinnati, Tangeman University Center, Main Street Cinema

Leading China critic and Human Rights activist Harry Wu will address the Cincinnati community from 5:00pm -7:00pm on Tuesday May 13th at the University of Cincinnati.  He will address the controversy surrounding the BODIES: The Exhibition display at the Cincinnati Museum Center and other China human rights issues. 

Harry Wu spent 19 years incarcerated by the Chinese government in the Laogai--the "Bamboo Gulag"--as a political prisoner.  In 12 different labor camps Wu was forced to manufacture chemicals, mine coal, build roads, and plant crops. He survived beatings, torture, and starvation, and witnessed the death of many of his fellow prisoners. After his release in 1979, Wu moved to the United States determined to expose the truth about the Laogai - the most extensive forced labor system in the world. He has repeatedly risked his life returning to China to document slavery and human rights abuses.

Sponsors of the lecture include
The Archdiocese of Cincinnati: Catholic Social Action Office
Cincinnati Human Relations Commission
Japanese American Citizens League Cincinnati Chapter
Peace Village
University of Cincinnati Just Community
UPDATE 2/16/11
Bear McCreary is releasing a Battlestar Galactica Music Piano Book, arranged by Bear himself!  I've blogged about it here. It includes the Battlestar Sonatica and 20 other BSG piano arrangements for only $11.23!  It's a tremendous deal.

Original Post:
Several weeks ago, when reading through Bear McCreary's blog, the composer of the music to Battlestar Galactica, I noticed that beautiful solo piano piece Battlestar Sonatica from the Battlestar Galactica Season 3 Soundtrack was available for sale as sheet music.  I ordered it online and received it today.
BattlestarSonatica.jpg
Here's what it looks like.  It's autographed by Bear McCreary- heck, it even might have been physically put together by Bear.  It's got a homemade look, but the quality is nice with printing on glossy paper.  I immediately made a copy of it that I'll be practicing off of later tonight.  It doesn't look too, too difficult, but it is in b flat minor.  I listened to the song once with this music in front of me and it looks like it's exactly the same as what's written.

Buy your copy of Battlestar Sonatica

Here is the song being played in Battlestar Galactica

Buttons on Captain Kirk's chair

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Ever wonder what the buttons are on the arm rest of Captain Kirk's command chair on the Star Trek Enterprise? 

I found the answer while watching the Star Trek episode "Court Martial". In the episode, Captain Kirk was accused of jettisoning a crew member from a research pod without giving him time to escape during an ion storm.  In the court martial, Captain Kirk was shown pressing the button below.
CaptainKirkChair.pngOf all the buttons you could possibly put on the Captain's chair, there's a dedicated button to "Jettison Pod" with no safety on it.  You're really asking for trouble putting "Jettison Pod" right underneath "Red Alert" since the Enterprise is almost always under "Red Alert".  You could just be one "Red Alert" away from jettisoning the pod again.

The good thing about the console design is that the Captain's chair is built with expansion in mind.  There are two unlabeled buttons on the console.  Ready for "send alien babes to Captain's Quarters" or something like that.  All you need is a little sticker to stick next to the button.

The episode Court Martial does have a pretty cool Dr. McCoy line when he's talking to one of Captain Kirk's beautiful old flames:

"All of my friends look like doctors, all of his look like you."


I hope to see this concert the next time it's performed. I heard it may be next year before Bear McCreary has time to do it again.

From Bear McCreary's Blog, Composer of the music of Battlestar Galactica

Bear McCreary's blog provides you with an insider's look into the music of each week's episode.  The music adds so much depth to the show, it's almost like a character in itself.
I say, please for the love of God, no!
hillaryclintonnaked.pngIt seems as if Hillary has a new plan to get the male vote!

I will vote for you Hillary, if you promise to NEVER show naked pictures of yourself.
From RedEyeChicago.com: 'Galactica's' Katee Sackhoff surprised by Starbuck's popularity

An indepth interview with Katee Sackhoff, Starbuck on Battlestar Galactica.

Girls and ACL injuries

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From NYTimes.com: The Uneven Playing Field

If girls and young women ruptured their A.C.L.'s at just twice the rate of boys and young men, it would be notable. Three times the rate would be astounding. But some researchers believe that in sports that both sexes play, and with similar rules -- soccer, basketball, volleyball -- female athletes rupture their A.C.L.'s at rates as high as five times that of males.
This is an interesting, but frightening article if you have girls who play sports.  I tore my ACL in my right knee 16 years while playing playing pickup basketball in college.  It's amazing how far surgery has come, but it's still an injury that takes a lot of work to come back from.  

HillBilly for President

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Again, with Hillary and her new strategy of touting her support by white people, I've decided to help out her by saving her dwindling campaign funds by making another campaign sign and a button!

Just in time for the primaries in West Virginia and Kentucky, here's a sign that's sure to shore up Hillary's white base!  It ties together all that's great with Hillary and Bill.
HillBilly.jpgBy this shirt now on Cafepress!

And after you're done voting, you can proudly wear this button.
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White People for Hillary!

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Since it seems like Hillary is going to try turn the remaining weeks of the Democratic Primaries into a battle of race and class, I decided to whip up a banner to help her out.  You know she's a little short on campaign funds right now!

White-People-for-Hillary.pngNow, you can buy this as a trucker hat on Cafepress!
whitepeople.jpg


It seems strange to be recommending a furniture store for some tasty and cheap food, but if you're hungry and in West Chester, Ikea's cafeteria style restaurant isn't a bad bet. 

I was doing a little furniture shopping yesterday after work and I thought I'd grab a quick bite to eat.

The cafeteria is very bright and clean and amazingly enough, completely furnished with Ikea furniture.  It has a nice ambiance and not crowded at all.  The weeknights at Ikea are not busy so the line for food was very short.
IkeaFood.jpgThere are quite a few choices of meals to choose from with most being only $4.99.  The most popular dish seems to be the Swedish meatballs.  Almost every tray that I saw had one of the Swedish meatball platters on them.  So, I too chose the Swedish meatballs platter and an apple cake and a drink.  All for less than $10.00.  The meatballs come with mashed potatoes and a lingonberry sauce.

The Swedish meatballs are smaller than you'd think from the picture but quite tasty.  They have a slightly dry and crunchy exterior like they had been deep-fried.  That's probably the secret because everything tastes good when they're deep-fried!  The meatballs come with a gravy that also works well with the mashed potatoes.  The ligonberry sauce tastes pretty much like cranberries but not quite as tart.

I apologize for the pictures of my half eaten meal.  That's just a testament of how good the food is.
IkeaFood2.jpg For a drink I recommend the Ligonberry juice from the fountain.  It's not carbonated and not too sweet.  The apple cake was good too, only $2.29 for a slice.
IkeaFood4.jpg It took me a few seconds to figure out where to put the tray when I was finished.  The area to put tray is slightly walled off, but is marked with a sign.  You place your tray in racks just like in college!
IkeaFood3.jpgI'll have to stop back for their .99 breakfast!  Review of the $.99 breakfast to come! :)
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Time to get a new strategist!

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From NYTimes: Clinton Pledges to Fight On Despite Split Primary Result

"We think the results last night strengthen the case that she will be the strongest candidate for the Democratic Party in November," said Geoff Garin, the campaign's top strategist.
Last night, Hillary got fewer votes and lost ground on delegates.  Sounds like a winning combination to me.

Young McCain Banner Ad

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Sometimes I find the ads that Google serves up on my site to sometimes be amusing, sometimes frustrating.  I'm an Obama supporter, so it is a little annoying to be serving up McCain banner ads to the visitors of my site.

Anyways, this banner showed up on my site.  I'm not sure what the point of this banner ad is except to highlight how old John McCain really looks these days.  Can this young handsome fellow really be John McCain?  The John McCain of today can be described at best as "seasoned".

So, if you want young and vibrant, you're either going to have to get a time machine or vote for Obama.

JohnMcCain.jpg

Missouri Congressman Todd Akin (R-MO) has introduced a Federal bill which would regulate the importation of plastinated bodies.  These bodies are at the heart of the controversial Bodies the Exhibition that is currently being shown at the Cincinnati Museum Center.

Bodies the Exhibition uses "unclaimed bodies" from China in its exhibit.  The bodies are used without the consent of the individual or the family.  Questions have been raised by ABC's 20/20 about the source of these bodies and whether or not they may have been purchased on the black market.

What's a half of a delegate?

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From Yahoo News: Clinton lends herself $6.4M as Obama's lead grows

Obama was 184.5 delegates shy of the 2,025 needed to secure the Democratic nomination, his campaign finally steadying after missteps fiercely exploited by the never-say-die Clinton.
I was a little puzzled by this half a delegate thing.  It turns this "brilliant" idea is a way of allowing more people to attend the convention without increasing the number of votes.  This is done primarily for U.S. Territories and the group Democrats Abroad.

It's another strange quirk in the Democratic Primary process that's really only come to light now that every vote is important.

From the Huffington Post: Clinton Adds a Half Delegate

The Democrats Abroad, a group sanctioned by the national party, has confounded delegate counters, graphic artists and political journalists since it awarded Clinton 1.5 delegates from its global primary last week. How do you explain that Clinton has 1,276.5 delegates?

Explain no more. Clinton picked up a half superdelegate on Wednesday, increasing her overall total to 1,277.

The anomaly happened because the Democrats Abroad will send 22 delegates to the Democratic National Convention, each with a half vote. The system is designed to enable the group to send more people to the convention, without inflating its voting power.

UPDATE: The DNC is going to seat all Michigan and Florida delegates but they only get half a vote.  So, if a Michigan superdelegate endorses a candidate, it's only worth half.

Flying Pig Marathon

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The Flying Pig Marathon in Cincinnati was this past Sunday.  I didn't run, but I did make it out to cheer my sister who was running the half marathon.

marathon.jpgRunners heading up Gilbert, away from Downtown.  Taken with my iPhone.

UPDATE: I just saw this story and I can't believe it happened!
From Cincinnati.com: Pig goes off-road: Leaders led astray in half marathon

The confusion prevented last year's winner, T.J. Lentz, from having a chance to defend his title. Lentz was in second place when he followed his bicycle guide straight through the intersection at Gilbert Avenue and Elsinore Place in Mount Adams, near mile 11 of the 13.1-mile race. The course, however, turned to the right at Elsinore Place.
The picture above was actually at the intersection that the bicycle guide missed.  He continued down this rode instead of turning right and heading down Reading.  I must have just missed it because I saw the leader go by as I was walking up Reading towards Gilbert.

Greiwe was running in third place when he approached Gilbert and Elsinore. He and his cyclist attempted to turn correctly onto Elsinore, but a police officer there directed them and the two runners behind Greiwe to go straight on Gilbert.

"We ran all the way to Plum Street, and I realized I was well off the course," Greiwe said. "I turned to him and said, 'Can you just get me to the finish line?' "

And that's how Greiwe - after running down Vine Street and through traffic on Third Street - found himself scaling a fence behind the finish line Sunday, hustling his way to a fourth-place finish while running through the finish line in reverse. The fifth-place runner, Jeffrey Hicks was running in the correct direction at the same time.
So, do you actually get credit for coming in third if you've gotten off the course, scaled a fence, and crossed the finish line in reverse?

The iPhone is a phone of firsts for me.  It's the first phone that I've used to usefully surf the web, the first phone to watch movies with, and the first phone where I actually enjoy using the camera.

My iPhone is always on me, the picture quality is good, and you don't have to click through a ton of menus to get to the camera function. Last week, I posted a few pictures that I had taken of some Spring flowers in Cincinnati. Greg Schmigel of Annapolis made a nice comment on them and asked me to check out his website, justwhatisee.com.

All I can say is wow!

Greg is a talented photographer, and the fact that he does it all with his iPhone is even more amazing.  The iPhone is a true camera bringing both strengths and weaknesses.  But like any tool in the hands of an artist, beautiful things can be made.

I've been interested in featuring unique websites like Greg's and he was kind enough to answer a few questions that I had about his iPhone photography.  I've interspersed a selection of Greg's photos with his answers.

All photos copyright Greg Schmigel.  Used with permission.

2410967485_666963ee8e.jpgWebsite Feature: just what i see: iPhone photography

Q. What's your background?  Are you a professional photographer?

I consider myself an amateur, and I like to keep it that way.  It gives me the desire to continually shoot better and more creative shots.   I'm self taught, in the traditional sense.  I finished college at the University of Maryland with a degree in Radio, Television and Film.

2375610842_5198dd5991.jpgQ. What got you started taking iPhone photos?

I used to shoot with a Canon 40 D and a pocket-sized Leica D Lux-3, but since I purchased my iPhone, the big guys have been collecting a bit of dust.  As you can see from some of my photographs, I love to shoot street photography.  The iPhone, because of it's size and discretion, gives me so many more opportunities to capture interesting moments that I might miss with a big rig.

2344793176_30cc47f88c.jpgQ. How many photos do you think you've taken with the iPhone?

I haven't counted them all, and there are times when I scroll through old albums in iPhoto and I don't even remember shooting the picture.  Honestly, I would say I have shot a few thousand, maybe 3,000.  I'm on my second iPhone...thank god for warranties!

2343935865_b33409b7ce.jpgQ. When you take pictures of people do they know what you're doing?  Your candid photos of people are great!

Sometimes they do.  If I want to try and get a portrait-style shot, I will ask them.   They are usually so intrigued by the iPhone that they forget that I am actually snapping their image. 

But, most of the time, my shots are unannounced.  I love to capture the raw and candid imagery of people on the street.

2332724943_1c82513e70.jpgQ. What's your favorite thing to take pictures of?

If you visit my site, you will see that I am a city lover.  I can spend hours shooting just about anything you would find in the city.  People, signage, graffiti, found objects...just about anything except myself.

2332509210_93b5fe4c5b.jpgQ. Any hints for taking good iPhone pictures?

Always keep your iPhone camera feature on...always keep a wall charger in your pocket.  Just capture what you find interesting.  I'm not much for special lighting or special gear.  I just like to capture what I see, and share it with the world.

2332469438_6c54cb9dc6.jpgQ. How well do the pictures print out?

The iPhone is a 2MP camera, so you can actually get a nice 4X6 or 5X7 print out of it.  That's usually the first question gallery owners will ask.  "Well, how do you plan to present your images?"  They can look great in an oversized mattes.

2331681851_8d731c1c6f.jpgQ. Any Pet Peeves about the iPhone camera?

The battery life.  Constant shooting on will last me a few hours, if I stay away from checking my e-mail.  Oh, and if I stay away from making calls.  Did I mention the iPhone makes phone calls, too? 

2331642171_63d6baffe4.jpgQ. What improvements would you like to see in future iPhone cameras?

Hopefully  Apple will move to more megapixels.  Maybe a 3, at the least.  But other than that, I am happy with it.  It's kind of like shooting with an old plastic point and shoot.  The camera itself doesn't have a ton of features.  The camera doesn't "make" the shot...it leaves it up to the shooter to get more creative and find the shot.

2316430455_53c824ca6a.jpg
Visit justwhatisee.com for many wonderful galleries of iPhone photography



From NYTimes.com: Clinton Spurns "Elite" Economists on Gas Tax

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton on Sunday dismissed the "elite opinion" of economists who criticized her gas tax proposal, using a term that has dogged rival Barack Obama in recent weeks.

"I'm not going to put my lot in with economists," Clinton said when asked to name an economist who backed her proposal.
Hillary is using the tried and true Bush tactic of ignoring and labeling people that disagree with you.  Bush calls you "unpatriotic".  Hillary calls you "elitist".

Unfortunately, there are no quick fixes for the economy, no matter what a politician promisies you.

Gas Tax Politics

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From AP.com: ALL BUSINESS: Don't count on gas tax cut lowering prices

That's because the idea proposed by presidential candidates John McCain and Hillary Clinton to ease the federal gas tax would strip the U.S. government of about $10 billion for roadway and transportation projects.

And the plan doesn't even guarantee that lower taxes will lead to lower gas prices. Just the opposite might happen if the tax holiday spurs more demand for gas at a time when supply is already constricted.
The gas tax is fixed at 18.4 cents/gallon.  We can cut this 18.4 cents and the next week the price could rise 18.4 cents and we'd be back in the same place and then we'd be short 10 billion to fix roads.  I mean gas has risen over 30 cents in the last couple of weeks

We'd all like to see cheaper gas, but a gas tax holiday doesn't solve the fundamental problems we have and is just a political ploy.  The gas tax pays to repair our crumbling infrastructure and actually employees people in the road construction industry.

Bad Times for Angie Everhart

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From AHN: Former Model Angie Everhart Arrested For DUI

Getting arrested for DUI is not terribly unusual for celebrities, but it turns out that there's a little more to this story.  It turns out that Angie Everhart, the 38 year old former SI Swimsuit Model, was recently dumped by Joe Pesci.  Yeah, Joe Pesci.  It seems that he ended their nine month old engagement and has moved on to another girl.  The only good news for Angie is that this probably as low as you can possibly go.  It's all up from here!

Joe Pesciangie everhart.jpg

Blu-Ray sales not taking off

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From NYTimes.com: Blu-ray: The Future Has Been Delayed

The end of the format wars clearly did little to boost Blu-ray's prospects. Like others, Mr. Rubin said the much cheaper upconverting standard DVD players are winning consumers' hearts and wallets.
Sony may have assumed with HD DVD dying that it had won the format war.  But, what Sony needs to realize is that the war isn't over yet.  Now, it's a battle against upconverted DVDs, Internet downloads, Cable and Satellite TV.  If they were smart, they'd aggressively push down the cost of the Blu-ray players to get as many customers to adopt this format as quickly and make money on movie sales later.  Right now, customers are just waiting and in the meanwhile trying the other alternatives.

I found out recently that the Xbox 360 upconverts DVD's and while not HD quality, it's still acceptable to watch. 
I noticed in the post The Truth About the Spinning Dancer, the animated GIF of the dancer spins significantly slower in Safari 3.1.1 vs. Firefox 2.0.14 running Mac OSX 10.5.2.  This is with a fresh launch of each program and only the page showing.  At first I thought it was the computer that I use at work, the original MacPro 2.0 Dual G5, but it's the same on my home computer a MacPro Intel Quad Core.

CPU usage is actually about 30% more for Safari vs. Firefox while the animation seems to be about six times faster for Firefox.

Scrolling the image off of the screen reduced CPU usage by 50% in Firefox.  While in Safari, scrolling the image off screen reduced CPU usage to nearly zero.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from May 2008 listed from newest to oldest.

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