Monday, February 27, 2006

Grizzly Man

Timothy Treadwell ran away to Alaska every summer for thirteen years, to live among the foxes and the grizzly bears. He had tickets to fly out with his girlfriend, in 2003, as the autumn cold set it. But irritating aspects of civilisation caused him to cancel his flight and return to the Grizzly Maze with his friend, Amie, and their gruesome, carnivoral deaths.

Treadwell recorded his years in the Grizzly Maze on tape. And Werner Herzog has taken some of that footage, combined it with after death interviews and created one of the most moving documents ever screened on film. It is beautiful. And Heartbreaking. And there is no redemption.

No matter what you might have heard about GRIZZLY MAN, or what I might add to it, nothing can adequately prepare you for the emotional depths you will experience at its viewing.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Is there anybody on TV more lame than Sienfeld's George Costanza?

Oh yeah, Scott McClellan.

Both are grotesquely inept, but George, at least is funny. Scott is sadly pathetic.

Imagine the tales he could tell--if he could only speak.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Decibel Destruction

I just came across (how about that Googling?) an old item in THE STRAIGHT DOPE that includes a solution I suggested for contemporary social problem.

This excerpt includes my contribution:

Is there a way to permanently silence somebody's loud car stereo?

Dear Cecil:A few of us were discussing those booming megawatt sound systems have nowadays--a bane of urban existence if ever there was one. We fantasized about being able to send an electronic signal that would defeat, override, distort, or blow out an offending car stereo, without blowing up the driver unless absolutely necessary. Could this be done with available technology? --Jonathan Jensen, Baltimore

Cecil Adams included this reply in a later column:


Dear Cecil: A while back someone wrote asking if there wasn't some effective device to render car stereos and boom boxes inoperative when they were turned up to a certain volume. Your reply referred to something like nuclear bombs or cosmic forces or some other sad expression of comic overkill rather than taking your correspondent's question seriously and answering it accordingly. You could have advised the gentleman that several such devices have already been invented and are already available on the open market. One good example is the very handy Smith and Wesson .38 caliber Police Special. For fine tuning accuracy the five or six inch barrel is recommended. In a steady hand, this tool is also effective on explosively loud motorcycles with hollowed out tailpipes instead of mufflers. --B.J. Merholz, Los Angeles

Later, champ. Right now I'm trying on the shoulder holster and practicing the proper inflection for: "Hey ... you talkin' to me?" --CECIL ADAMS

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Cat's Cradle City

A goat's eye view. From Potrero Hill

Saturday, February 04, 2006

On the Beach

This photo is already on my Flickr site, but as I sat again at the same table this trip, feeling so good to be there, I thought I'd post it here.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Bay Area Beckons

And now I am off for an extended weekend with Peter and the San Francisco environs.

Peter seems to have issues with car rental firms, which I don't. For this trip, for instance, I rented a PT Cruiser from Ace at $10.95 a day. When I went in to pick it up, they offered me a 2006 Toyota Sienna Family Van for $5 a day additional, claiming that, despite its size, I will get about 50% better gas mileage. It handles beautifully and I drove it home feeling like I owned the road. I don't know if I can give it back.

Toilet Paper

Now I've been around for a long time. And one thing that has always been both necessary and consistent has been the upbiquitous roll of toilet paper. One size fit all. Until recently.

I don't know just when it first showed up, but toilet paper rolls are now about 50% fatter than they used to be. They even come with special adapters in order to convert the familiar wall mounted bracket with some additional play to handle the wider jumbo rolls.

It must be more convenient to have more squares per roll than before. But I can only conclude that this means that Americans are more full of shit than we used to be. And I have to wonder if it is only a coincidence that this occurs during the current Bush administration and the Republican majority in Congress.

These are the kinds of questions that challenge my soul as I sit there with the Times crossword puzzle vying for my attention. (in ink, of course)

Oscar Positions

The 2005 nominations are now in and I've never really understood how this process works. For instance, Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal co-star in the same picture but Heath gets nominated in the Leading Actor category and Jake gets nominated as Supporting Actor.

Does that mean that in the parts they played, Jake was the guy on the bottom?

Norton Revisited

How did I get myself back into this? I know, it was free.

Fry's had Norton SystemWorks listed at $69.99. But they were selling it last week at $60. Subtract from that the $20 Norton Upgrade discount. Also subtract the special Fry's only $40 discount. So I pay $4 California sales tax on a free item.

Plus, because I complained to Norton about their poor performance, as noted earlier, they added six months to my new subscription. What could be wrong with that?

I should have known. After installing SystemWorks, I immediately got a pop-up on my desktop advising me that I had a Trojan Horse that Norton could not remove. So I started the manual process they set up. But it didn't work. I called Norton India and spent more hours on the LD phone with pleasant, but non-supportive Customer Support people. Eventually, each of them told me they could do nothing for me and transferred me to Technical Support. Technical Support advised me that they could walk me through the removal process and it would cost me $70.

$70? This smacks, to me, of a scam.

I declined the offer and continued to work on the problem by myself. Eventually, after many attempts and re-starts, the Trojan Horse alert disappeared from the desktop. I don't know what I did, and I don't know if I actually removed the TH from my computer, but at least the annoying pop-up is gone.

it's private
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