Thursday, April 30, 2009
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
One of those "key" employees owns a castle. That's right, a real castle.
The four states and their presidential capitals are as follow: Mississippi (Jackson), Missouri (Jefferson City), Nebraska (Lincoln), and Wisconsin (Madison). Of course, hundreds of other american towns and cities have been named after presidents.
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Now Big Blue is developing a computer program to play Jeopardy against human contestants. If I.B.M. succeeds and the computer wins, it will be a big step forward in the field of Artificial Intelligence. With all the cutbacks because of the economy I wonder if Alex will be worried about eventually being laid off and replaced by a computer. After all, if it can play and win, it should be a piece of cake to host the show.
Monday, April 27, 2009
A bizarre side note to this game was an 11 second stretch in the second quarter during which the same player (James Jones of the Heat) had 2 back to back 4 point plays. He was fouled shooting two separate 3 three pointers which both went in and hit both of the subsequent foul shots for a total of 8 points, all in a span of the aforementioned 11 seconds. After the first one the Hawks were hit with an offensive foul on Mike Bibby inbounding the ball and that is how Miami and Jones got it back so quickly for him to hit the next 4 point play. It didn't help the Heat since they still lost, but I have never seen anything like that in all my years of watching professional basketball.
Stealth Manager. “What are you doing X?”
X. “Um, just doing research for a coaching presentation I have to make later today to Senior Management. Boy, those NFL coaches sure have some innovative leadership techniques to get their teams ready on game day.”
Sunday, April 26, 2009
Saturday, April 25, 2009
Again, Jermaine O'Neal stood tall, with 22 points and 10 rebounds, going to the foul line often and hitting his shots. And yes, he was pulled by coach Erik Spoelstra in the fourth quarter with 3:38 remaining in the game. His stat line at the time, 29 points, 8 assists and 6 rebounds. Next game, Monday night in Miami.
"Good morning Sanchez," he said.
“What about?” Fray asked.
“The statistics report. It seems that there's a problem. You’d better get up there."
R.’s secretary wasn’t in and his door was closed. Fray knocked. “Enter,” said the voice from within.
“Morning R.," Fray greeted him, "you wanted to see me.”
R. was hanging up the phone. R. was thin to the point of being emaciated. His voice was high-pitched and had a nagging quality to it. “The statistics aren't right again. What is the matter with you? Can't you get anything right? Are you that useless? When you were hired you said you were a programmer. Well, get out and go program. And don't come back until the stats are right!” He waved his hand in dismissal.
Fray went back to his office dejectedly and took stock of his lot. R. wanted a program that would make the sales figures look good which no software package on earth could do. No package could do it because R. didn't sell. He was a lazy jerk and covered it up by berating everyone around him and pointing fingers. Fray needed to get out. It was time to fax despair. As Fray was thinking these things a brownout occurred. The lights flickered and it seemed to be a relatively innocuous brownout, but it sucked Fray into the CD-ROM drive of his computer. He didn't emerge somewhere in the hardware, but instead found himself displaced among the myriad software on his hard disk.
He cursed his sloppy file maintenance habits, as he had no immediate idea of where he was. His hard disk resembled a labyrinth, with sub-directories piled upon each other haphazardly and files stored in places they had no right to be. Also, being a furtive creature by nature, many of his files were either hidden or encrypted which didn't help matters at all. Luckily, he knew several computer languages and hoped that this would help him navigate his way up to the root directory. Once there, his plan was to wait patiently until another power surge, which were fairly common in the area, hopefully reversed the process and spit him back out into his office.
At the moment, judging by his surroundings, he seemed to be in the middle of some source code. As he strolled through the code he noticed several minor bugs in his program and jotted them down for future correction. Maybe this wasn't so bad after all. At least he got a different perspective on his programs and now realized why the statistics he had been giving R. for the past six months could be questioned.
When he got out armed with this new knowledge he would give R. a piece of his mind. Then, when R. fired him he would go out on his own and write a new debugging tool which would incorporate this revolutionary low-lying view. He would incorporate Virtual Reality into the debugging process so programmers could actually see inside their programs as he was doing now. Once he had the tool developed he would create a site where people could download the tool for a fee. As more developers hit his site to download the tool and word of mouth spread about its effectiveness he would charge more and more. He would award himself some very price-friendly stock options and then he would launch one of those astounding Internet IPOs, get rich and retire at 30. Visions of limousines, fancy dinners, fine wines and beautiful women danced in front of his eyes. Most of all though, he couldn't wait to see R. have a coronary when Fray told him what he thought of him. First he had to get out though.
Suddenly, he was violently upended, and sent tumbling around in an action similar to that of the spin cycle of his washing machine. Someone apparently was using his machine and he had been unfortunate enough to find himself unsecured as the hard disk thrashed. Eventually, the user stopped whatever they were doing and he picked himself up, battered and bruised, from the top of a left parenthesis. He hurriedly escaped from the program and ran smack into his anti-virus software. All those syringes pointed menacingly at him made him nervous. The software didn't recognize him. It probably thought he was a virus so he turned tail and ran, desperately looking for his explorer. He hoped that by following its path algorithm he would be able to navigate the maze he had created and find his way back up to the root. After many false starts and wrong turns he eventually did just that and came face to face with some hidden system files. He sat on top of the directory to await the next power spike, which usually hit around mid-morning.
A few minutes later, through the computer's speaker, he heard his office door open and a conversation ensue between two of his co-workers. What he heard struck terror in his heart.
"Well, we're almost done. Fray's is the last one. I don't know why he insisted on not upgrading to this Uninterruptable Power Supply before. Something about cost I guess. You know how Fray pinches pennies. Most of those surge suppressers he had weren't worth a damn anyway. The UPS is the only way to go," said the first voice.
A second voice replied, "Yeah, no problem now though. Once we hook this baby up it won't matter if the whole city blacks out. I did the research on this beast and it's guaranteed to run for six hours with this deluxe battery backup."
"What about power surges? Does the UPS really protect the machine that much against them?" asked the first.
"Oh definitely. Surges are a thing of the past," the second voice came back. "This model can withstand the worst spike the power company ever throws at us. Fray will never have to worry again. I wonder where he is. I can't wait to tell him the good news."
Friday, April 24, 2009
Thursday, April 23, 2009
When I was a young boy I read Art Linkletter's Kids say the Darnedest Things. I remember laughing and re-reading it several times. He really had a connection with those young children. The reason the book was so good was that he was right. They really do say some incredible things. Every interaction with them is an education and every day incredibly precious.
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
While they are essentially classified as an indie dance or house band under the broad spectrum of alternative music, these tunes have more meaning to them than simple dance band music. Some of the tunes are slower tempo songs with well written lyrics and intricate construction. Peter Hooton’s lead vocals are in fine form along with some excellent backing harmony to create a very full, pleasing sound. Songs I especially like on this release are The Man Who Cried, Distant Voices and Echoes, which is a slightly haunting instrumental. The Farm was unofficially called the Soul of Socialism and is perhaps best known for the hit All Together Now, which is not on this album.
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Monday, April 20, 2009
Sunday, April 19, 2009
The Boston Celtics won NBA titles every year from 1959 through 1966.
Saturday, April 18, 2009
It was a lot of fun and a very interesting round for me. My driving was off and it seemed like I was hitting trees right off the tee on practically every hole. I was struggling and it really made me exercise my course management as well as my recovery skills. I felt like I battled hard and scrambled for every one of those pars. My short game was pushed to the limit and it was a true test of my mental as well as physical game. For me it was a real accomplishment to finish the round under par.
Friday, April 17, 2009
Thursday, April 16, 2009
Here is Smooth Operator. I just love that saxophone.
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Here is the original version (more of a rock/grunge sound) by the band that wrote and recorded it before Imbruglia made it famous. From the album Wacko Magneto by the band Ednaswap (1997 - Anne Preven - Vocals, Rusty Anderson - Guitar, Scott Cutler - Guitar, Paul Bushnell - Bass, Carla Azar - Drums).
Several years ago I heard Anne Preven interviewed by Howard Stern and she said something along the lines of that she didn't mind that Imbruglia had hit it big with their song. She said that the royalties had helped pay for their own state of the art recording studio and gave them the freedom to do what they wanted. After Torn she said, they were free to make music their own way, answering to no one.
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
A quote from the article, "For example, a trustee in a personal bankruptcy can recover gifts made by Madoff to friends and family going back six years, " he said.
And about those cuff links...like we said, they won't go that far. Here's another quote from the article.
Bottom line, if this goes through, more family members and friends are about to be tangled up in Bernie's web, whether they were in on it or not.
Monday, April 13, 2009
The money quote in the article, "Shana was a compliance officer and signed a lot of documents, saying they were correct," the source said. "She may have a problem."
Um, do you think so? Do you smell some conflict of interest or just plain ineptitude here? That's exactly what compliance officers are there for. They are supposed to question any transactions that contain the slightest whiff of impropriety about them. My guess is that practically everything she signed off on was illicit, whether she knew it or not.
Sunday, April 12, 2009
Saturday, April 11, 2009
Friday, April 10, 2009
There is one English song on the album, Before the Night is Gone and there are some brief translations of the Hebrew lyrics into English in the accompanying booklet along with some very interesting liner notes. I never get tired of listening to this CD for a refreshing change of pace. Highly recommended.
Thursday, April 9, 2009
And here is Nine Inch Nails performing Head Like a Hole in concert.
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
Here is the title track, Blue Bell Knoll.
Beamish is a Canadian who was the first person ever convicted of murder (specifically second degree murder) using animal DNA. In this case DNA from two white hairs, which were fur from Beamish's parents' pet cat "Snowball" were used as evidence to secure the conviction. Beamish received a fifteen year sentence.
By the way, if you haven't read Catch Me If You Can, it really is a fascinating and entertaining read. You can get it in paperback and I highly recommend it. The movie starred Leonardo DiCaprio as Abagnale and Tom Hanks as the FBI agent who pursues him. While the movie is quite good, it is definitely one of those cases where it is not as good as the book.
Monday, April 6, 2009
Other songs I especially like are Noah Plan, Lone Survivor and Terra Titanic (Lost to the Sea), an homage to the tragedy which befell the "unsinkable" ocean liner. The title cut was produced by Michael Cretu of Enigma fame. All in all, this is a full standard new wave, snythpop release with interesting, catchy tracks.
Here is the title track, The Different Story (World of Lust and Crime).
And, although my recording is in English, here is Terra Titanic (Lost to the Sea) in its original German. The sound takes about 17 seconds to begin.
Sunday, April 5, 2009
Saturday, April 4, 2009
During his illustrious career, Kareem Abdul Jabar scored 38,387 points.
Friday, April 3, 2009
At the other end of the spectrum, from Sweden, one of the campiest, glam-dance bands around, Army of Lovers, interprets the same tune. I wonder what Mr. Rado thinks of this. I imagine he's all right with it as long as he gets his royalty check.
Thursday, April 2, 2009
Also, just as funding is being cut because of the tough times, more and more laid off people are using the library and its services. A quote from the article.
Here in Arlington Heights, newly homeless patrons are showing up in their business suits," said Paula Moore, the library’s director.
This Dewdrop World-
a dewdrop world it is, and still,
although it is...
However, by no means does it compare to the sensation when, shortly after filing your return, you receive via U.S. Mail an officious looking envelope whose return address glaringly states it is from the Internal Revenue Service. This sensation quickly transforms itself into one of unadulterated terror when having read the letter, your thoughts repeatedly return to the phrase FIELD AUDIT which has been sprinkled strategically throughout the paragraphs in large, bold, capital letters for maximum effect.
The rest of the letter is as confusing as the forms you are provided with to file your return and for a few minutes you cling to the hope that maybe, just maybe, the form letter was really intended for "Fast" Freddy Freeloader who lives two doors down from you in the apartment complex. Notwithstanding this slim ray of hope, sweaty palms ensue, along with depressing Kafka-esque visions of a dour-faced accountant type poring over your whole life history of the past five years.
I had nightmares for a week and that high pitched noise in my ear which no one else seems to hear stepped up its frequency to twice a day. I wondered if I had unwittingly slipped into the netherworld of white collar crime through a misplaced decimal point on my return. (I had always hated math in school and preferred anything to do with the English language.) Would the judge believe that these preferences in my early formative years, and ones which I had no control over, had precipitated my unceremonious downfall from upstanding, forthright citizen to common criminal? Such defenses have worked in the past, but then I wasn't a serial killer. I was a criminal of a much more serious bent. I was guilty of THE SIN, a heinous omission known in legal parlance as TAX EVASION; just look at Al Capone's or Leona Helmsley's eventual demise. The only thing which would save me now would be an appointment to a cabinet post and that just wasn't going to happen. The whole thing was too nefarious to think about.
An ominous follow up letter arrived, announcing the date when a Mr. E. B. Jones, my field representative would be visiting me. It politely stated that I should have all the necessary documentation ready as this would save valuable time, which in turn would save the real taxpayers money.
I never did meet Mr. Jones. I'm sure he's a very nice man and very good at his job. I have looked in the phone book of Santos, Brazil, where I moved to and there is no one by that name in this pleasant port city. The weather, food and people are great and my Portuguese is improving by leaps and bounds. I guess Alvin Greenberg was right after all. I wonder who does his returns.
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
Here they are performing the hit Missing.