Friday, March 31, 2006

Hal the Coyote - R.I.P.

Hal, the Central Park Coyote, has died in captivity.

No justice! No peace! No justice! No peace!

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Now This Is Pretty Cool

Rocket planes that fly at 5,000 mph.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Cinderella Dad

I was talking to my mother this morning and she mentioned that she and my father had just watched "Cinderella Man" on DVD. She thought the film was good.

I have long known the story of how my parents met. My Dad was dating the daughter of a boxer and his best friend Herb was marrying my Mom's best friend Carol. At some party, Herb slyly asked my Dad to drive my future Mom home. Within no time, the boxer's daughter was out of the picture and my parents were on their way to marriage.

Anyway, my Mom and I were talking for a while this morning about "Cinderella Man" before I realized that it was Jim Braddock's daughter that my dad had been dating!

What a small world.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006


Sharia law.

UPDATE: Unlike the Taliban, the new Afghan government responds to the international heat and starts looking for a way out of this.

Misanthrope Asks The Tough Questions

Can a coyote be a Doodle dog?

And So It Begins

I have no love whatsoever for Hillary Clinton and I don't think she has a real shot at being President, but when I read this I can already see the line of attack that is developing against her for 2008.

I am sure that this report is true, but only because it makes basic political sense. What candidate does not demand that his family stay in line during an election season? It's basic.

I also know that for a woman, this type of "control" over her man will be used to portray Hillary as a shrew. If the roles were reversed, I don't think anybody would bat an eyelid if they heard that a man was telling his wife that he has the final say when running for President. In fact, I doubt there would even be a story.

So, on this limited subject, I sympathize with the battle Hillary has to fight. It's depressing.

Monday, March 20, 2006

The Joys of Planes

Nothing like owning a plane, especially when it is in for its annual inspection and your mechanic finds an item that needs to be fixed that will cost a pretty penny. In all of history, I wonder if there has ever been a time when any kind of mechanic has called with good news.

Luckily, I have a mechanic who is decent, honest and not willing to cut corners. And that, at the end of the day, is all I care about. This item could possibly have been covered over and the plane gotten its annual certification, but why would I ever want such a thing? I love flying and I will always want to do it, but I am well aware that it is a risky proposition. One of the reasons I bought my own plane was this exact scenario. Who wants to be in a rental where you don't know what the mechanic has done? Do you want to find out at 5,000 feet that the owner cut corners? It's just not worth it.

As I was discussing the repairs with my mechanic, he told me about a recent crash in New Jersey. Turns out that the pilot had found a crack in his propeller and, instead of paying for the propeller to be repaired by a professional, he filed two inches off of each side. When a piece of metal is turning at 2500 rpm and it is not balanced, the plane becomes uncontrollable. I can't imagine how any pilot could justify such a silly, dangerous home repair to himself.

That's why I may bellyache a little about costs, but I will never say no to getting a professional to repair the plane.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Ted is Wrong

I'm modifying my position from the argument earlier today.

Ted is wrong. He's so hopped up on Crestor that he doesn't know what he would feel if he were an Iraqi.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Home Again

Light posting lately as I have been on the road and then catching up at the office.

On my nightstand - "Thirty Years That Shook Physics" by George Gamow and "Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman" by Richard Feynman. These are selections from the "How Can I Make Myself Feel Incredibly Stupid?" book series I designed for the spring. Listening to the stories of these huge brains trying to wrap themselves around the general weirdness of quantum mechanics is absolutely awe-inspiring. Makes my history degrees seem kind of silly.

On my iPod - "Extraordinary Machine" by Fiona Apple. At some point in the next few years, Apple is capable of producing a truly great record. There is much to commend this one - interesting arrangements, songs that break out of the normal harmonic strictures of pop and a few wonderful lines. If Apple can somehow manage to purge herself of the "I'm so clever" high-school poetry lyrics that still pop up (e.g., "A voice stentorian is now again meek and muffled") and move beyond the girl-who-was-hurt-but-now-is-strong persona, she will reach an even higher level. Two of the best tracks on the record are the first song and the last song because they have a bit of a sense of humor and don't take themselves so seriously. I'd also like to hear more of her emotions in her singing and less in her lyrics. On the song "Oh Well," she breaks out of her monotone delivery and actually emotes when she sings "What wasted unconditional love/on somebody who doesn't believe in the stuff." It's the most powerful moment on the record, at least for me.

In my car CD player - A poetry reading by Billy Collins that correspondent Grubzilla burned for me. Noteworthy alone for the introduction by Bill Murray, the CD is a very entertaining set of Collins' poetry with an emphasis on his humorous side. His rhythm tends to be a little same-y from poem to poem, but some of the lines are classic. "The Lanyard" is destined to be crushed to death every Mother's Day when giftless sons send it at the last minute.

In my stomach - Sugar snap peas. I don't know how I got to my advanced age without having eaten these, but I can't stop snacking on them.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Misanthrope - Spring European Tour 2006

The Misanthrope loaded himself onto a plane last Sunday, put on his neck pillow, took an Ambien, retreated to the cocoon of the Bose noise-canceling headsets they were handing out and slept his way to England. I've always hated the flight over to Europe because, for unknown reasons, jet lag absolutely destroys me in that direction. Miraculously, I felt entirely fine this time. Maybe that is one of those benefits of getting older - at least until I get so old that I need no sleep and spend my nights awake, listening to the sand run out of the hourglass of my life.


This morning at Heathrow I noticed that the Iberia, Lufthansa and Alitalia Business Lounges were all together on the same staircase. Hmmm, what do those three countries have in common? I am sure this is not a coincidence.

I spent the day in Milan enjoying the delightful absurdity of Italy. I really love that country. Nothing ever gets done, nothing works and nothing is efficient in the least, but the food is amazing and the people always look FABULOUS. Not the best place to be when you are doing business, but a perfect place if you have nothing to do and a LOT of time in which to do it. The lunch alone was worth the pain of getting up at 0500 GMT this morning to catch my flight. We were late for every meeting, but nobody cared because...well, it's Italy. As my Italian colleague put it, "The farther south you go, the later you can be. By the time you get to Naples, you just have to show up the same day as the appointment."

Tonight it is Zurich. I don't think there could be a more polar opposite to Italy than the German part of Switzerland. Even our bags came out of the baggage carousel on time and efficiently. And the city is immaculate, almost frighteningly so.

Anyway, when I return, I will determine to which robot-based band I can pledge my allegiance.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Intel-based Mac

This is what I was referring to when I mentioned that the use of an x86 processor in the MacBook Pro will make porting Windows apps to Mac much, much easier.

I was able to resolve the Bloomberg issue today by using their web-based applet on the Mac. Slowly making progress. Next task - getting my 30 gigs of music onto the MacBook Pro.