Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Waiting for Superman

Last Friday, the MacBook Pro arrived. She is, indeed, an impressive machine. Ultra-slim and ultra-fast.

Ultra-fast if your software runs on the Intel Core Duo, that is. Turns out that this machine, because it uses Intel chips, is a little ahead of the curve. Although Apple's Rosetta software allows older Mac applications to run on the MacBook Pro, there is a slight degradation of performance. Software makers are scrambling to get Intel-based versions of their software out, but the fact that Apple managed to ship the new machine months ahead of schedule didn't help.

So, for the moment, I am SOL on certain applications. Pro Tools is a no-go, at least until they release the Intel version this coming May.

More importantly, Virtual PC, which allows you to run Windows apps, doesn't run at all on the Intel-based Mac. It's kind of difficult to read what Microsoft is going to do about creating an Intel-ready version of the software because, in some ways, you don't really need Virtual PC anymore on the new Mac. I was talking with a Mac expert on Saturday and his view is that within a year, you should be able to run Windows applications natively on the Intel-based Mac.

And none too soon. As much as I like the MacBook Pro and admire its speed and sleekness, it seems like 80% of software is PC-only. So lonely on Mac island.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Your Daily Who Moment

And now, your daily Who Moment

I'm convinced Pete chose this as an opener just to piss Daltrey off.

"Hey Roger, I've got a brilliant idea."

"What's that, then, Pete?"

"Let's open with a song where John sings lead and I play a long guitar solo so you can stand doing nothing for the first five minutes of every show!"

Raining Them In Man

I defy anybody to watch this and not have at least a little sniffle at the end.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Free to Good Home - Table and Three Chairs

I just bought a new dining table.

Anybody want my old one? It's cherry with a light stain. Three chairs completes the package.

Free to anybody who will take it out of here. The place looks kind of silly with two dining tables, particularly because I don't like people.

Only in New York

This afternoon I was out and about in the city helping Superfly. On my way over to meet her, I was driven by a garrulous taxi driver named Francesco. Frank was like a Hollywood version of what most people think a New York City cabbie should be like (well, the non-Travis Bickle kind, anyway). He's in his late 60s, was born in Italy and speaks with a combination Italian/New York accent. He curses freely and offers advice unsolicited.

As we were driving around, he told me how he gave up his rent controlled apartment on Carmine and Bedford about 20 years ago and had regretted it ever since. His rent then was $32/month. The friend to whom he ceded the apartment now pays $225. This is true rent control, not rent stabilization, which is much different and provides for reasonable increases every year. I confirmed this with him and he was, unsurprisingly, very knowledgeable about the difference between the two programs. As recompense for this incredible gift, his friend buys him dinner once a month. That's one hell of a deal.

Frank's next story, however, is so classic New York that I have been thinking about it and savoring its absurdity all day. Another friend of his had a rent controlled apartment on Sullivan, just south of Houston. She had inherited it from her mother. When she died, she passed it on to her son. The son got a 5 room apartment in SoHo for $165/month.

Now here's the best part: The son then took the landlord to court because there had been a miscalculation somewhere along the way and his correct rent was actually $145. And he won!

Total annual savings - $240.

Having testicles the size of Central Park - priceless.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Giant Shalom

Ever since the war in Afghanistan began, I've had to listen to somebody or other bellyache about the proliferation of "Support Our Troops" stickers. "Support our troops?" they ask in their smug little tones, "How exactly are you supporting our troops?" There was even a little essay on NPR about how annoying these stickers are. Ironically, the stickers are clearly designed to combat the demonizing of our troops that was practiced in the 1960s and 1970s by...well, typically by the same types of people who whine about "Support Our Troops"stickers now. It always amazes me that the statement is totally lost on them.

Well, I have my own pet sticker peeve. What on earth is the message of these idiotic "Visualize Peace" or "Peace" stickers? Seriously. What is my take away here? The owner of the rusted out Datsun is thinking about peace? So what? Hey, good for you. I think about peace a lot too. I'm a big fan. I have all of Peace's records, including the solo projects and the ill-advised foray into synth-pop.

Unfortunately, some people seem to be thinking of killing me, so I'm gonna have to stop thinking about peace for a few minutes and focus on self-preservation. But you enjoy that sticker, buddy.

By the way, Support Our Troops.

More Bode Miller Bitch-Slapping

It was downright embarrassing to watch Miller bent over, gasping for air after both his runs in the giant slalom. Hey, Superchamp, how about showing up for the Olympics in shape? I know you have set yourself a heavy competition schedule for this Olympics, but real champions, you know, prepare for that.

Much has been made of Miller's "Zen-like" approach to skiing. He throws out ridiculous comments about how it's more important that he feels good about a race than that he wins. Apparently he is only interested in satisfying his "subjective criteria" than the "objective criteria" of actually winning. It's more true to the Olympic spirit, he's said.

Uh, no, Bode. If you want to go and achieve Zen-like perfection in skiing, you can do that all day long - on your own. The Olympics are a competition, you see. They are all about rewarding people who are not only prepared and skilled, but are competitors - people who have a desire to be better than the next racer.

So, please, save that faux-spiritual crap for when you are trying to pick up chicks at the TGI Bennigans in Franconia Notch.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Has Anybody Noticed

That Bode Miller totally sucks?

Also, I've decided that when any figure skater uses the Albinoni Adagio for their program, it should be required that they use the Yngwie Malmsteen version at the beginning of "Black Star."

Friday, February 17, 2006

Caption Contest

I am running a caption contest for either WMD puppy photo below.

First prize is dinner and dancing with the guitarist from Microdot.

Looking at the Past

Dresdner Bank AG has released a report revealing the level of its complicity with the Nazi regime. It turns out that the bank had a subsidiary, Huta, that helped to finance construction of Auschwitz. Other parts of the report reveal that the bank helped to finance the SS.

Obviously, it is a good thing for the bank to finally come clean and admit its role. The report, however, should remind those in the United States who resort to Nazi comparisons at the drop of a hat what real fascism is like.

As Gunter Grass once said, "Fascism is always descending on America, but landing in Europe."

[At least I think it was Gunter Grass. I can't seem to track down the origin of the quote.]

More Dogblogging

An old friend sent me these photos of the WMDs when they were just puppies. Thought I would share.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Hey Tony

The assless pants were a huge hit. Great call.

Thanks for the tip.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Lockbox of Chocolates

Anybody else spend Valentine's Day cleaning all remaining vestiges of your ex-girlfriend out of your apartment and throwing them away?


Monday, February 13, 2006

It Doesn't Just Rhyme with "Bore" Anymore

Internet Al proves that he can break out the kneepads and service Saudi oil with the best of them.

Sunday, February 12, 2006


A single-engine plane has crashed into a house in California.

"The pilot appeared to be coming down low for some kind of maneuver that brought him to within 500 feet of the rooftops," Gunther said. "And then he appeared to lose control and crashed into one of the houses."

You can never tell, of course, but this seems to be yet another example of an idiot pilot losing control in low-level maneuvering. It boggles my mind that there are still accidents like this when the causes are so well-known and so easily avoided.

The description provided by the witness seems to be a classic case of a stall by a pilot who was "buzzing" something on the ground (usually a friend's house or something similar). Aerodynamically, what happens is the plane's nose is pointed down in the descent and the plane builds airspeed. When the pilot wants to level off, he pulls back on the stick, but the plane's path is still downward, so the angle between the wings and the relative wind (i.e., the airflow over the plane) becomes too high and the wings stall out.

You can recover from a stalled condition (essentially, you just need to put the nose down), but it takes altitude and when you are buzzing your friend's house at 500 feet, you don't have enough of it to make it. Splat.

This is why maneuvering at low-altitudes (and particularly at low airspeeds) is so dangerous and should be avoided.

Every pilot knows this. You can't possibly get your private ticket without understanding why it happens and why you should never do it. Flying obviously involves risk and pilots have a responsibility to know those risks and avoid them when possible. There is no reason to knowingly put yourself in a no-win situation.

But people still die every year from this nonsense. It just drives me batty.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Does Anybody Here Remember Snapper?

Tonight, the Netflix Fairy delivered Led Zeppelin DVD. I have mixed feelings.

Led Zeppelin is one of my favorite bands and, at the same time, I fucking hate them.

Let me step back for a second.

Page and Bonham lay down some of the coolest, grooviest riffs in rock history. Of this there is no doubt. When I was learning guitar, I quickly burned through the entire Zep catalogue, teaching myself all the parts the old-fashioned way: lifting the needle off the vinyl and going back again and again until I had it. There's some truly great playing on those records. And "Immigrant Song" is still one of the hardest rocking songs ever.

But is there anything more irritating than the EXTENDED version of "Dazed and Confused"? The song pretty much sucks to begin with and it ain't getting any more interesting with the added four minutes of, um, Jimmy Page slapping his guitar with a violin bow. Ditto for any of the extended faux blues songs from Zep I. So boring, so difficult to endure. When I watch these clips, I am astonished that the band ever took off. Outside of "Good Times, Bad Times" and "Communication Breakdown," the whole first record is a write-off to me. How many more times? How many more times can Plant say "Baby" in goddamned song! Feel my pain.

The 1970 Royal Albert Hall concert is a record of band that basically took already boring rip-offs of American blues and made them into extended jams with some of the sloppiest guitar playing around. I've always been a fan of Jimmy Page's playing, but there is precious little in this concert worth listening to. He sounds like the Sam Ash sales guy from hell. He is always playing too much, too fast and with incredible sloppiness. What's more, he is always way out on top of the beat, which is an achievement when Bonham is your drummer. The best the band sounds in this performance is on the Eddie Cochran tunes they play in the encore. All of a sudden, they come alive and seem like they are actually having fun.

Things pick up on DVD 2. For one thing, the band actually had some songs, as opposed to drawn out blues rip-offs. For another, Page is much more on the ball with his playing. And Bonham is a monster. In fact, without him and his ability to groove, I am tempted to say the band would never have gone anywhere. Still, despite the mammoth riffs, there is something just so...boring about Zeppelin.

In the words of Pete Townshend: "Led Zeppelin? Great blokes, great blokes. Never did like the band much, though."

By Popular Demand

Chrispy has requested some more photos of the WMDs.

Here ya go

Monday, February 06, 2006

Hard Drive Crash

On Thursday, I killed my second laptop hard drive in as many years. I seem to eat these things alive. This is why I ordered the Mac. Too bad it is not here yet.

This explains the light blogging.