Tuesday, April 29


No wonder the Dallas Managed News is losing subscribers hand-over-fist (they've lost more subscribers than any paper in the country). Not only are their subscribers fed up with the über right wing editorial slant (didn't they notice the election results?) but their incompetence in even the basics is amazing.

Case in point is the recent (several days ago) decision by a DMN Rocket Scientist to rename their blogs .. without telling anyone. I only noticed because I've grown accustomed to checking their RSS feed every day or so (after changing to the Weekend Only [physical] Edition) and noticed that nothing had updated since the 24th. Usually if there's nothing one day, it can be ascribed to a technical fault and will self-correct the following day.

So, today I decided to navigate their website to see if they were still blogging -- perhaps they simply stopped without communicating (something newspapers are supposedly good at). Sure enough, the blogs were still there, although they had been renamed AND the RSS feed addresses had changed - radically. I double-checked the old feed, and there was no polite indication that this was about to happen. What idiots!

I manually made the corrections and can now see things again. I suspect 98.3% of those who were subscribed to the old feeds won't be able to figure it out, and the DMN will have lost additional (online) readers.

Perhaps one day they'll wake up. Hopefully before 21 Dec 2012 (when the world ends).

Monday, April 28

sweet tooth

I suppose this posting is for historical amusement only. I got an email from a local retailer (Micro Center, if you must know) offering various capacity USB drives (private label).

Over the years I've often noted that capacity-oriented items (memory, disc, etc.) have a calculable Best Value, a/k/a the product's Sweet Spot. Today, that appears to be the 8 GB thumb drives:
CapacityRetail PriceCost Per GB
1 GB (silver)$6.99$6.99
2 GB (blue)$9.99$4.99
4 GB (black)$15.99$3.99
8 GB (green)$24.99$3.12 ("sweet spot")
16 GB (red)$59.99$3.75
Unlike hard discs, few people seem to care that USB drives vary in access speed. I do like the fact that Micro Center is color-coding their drives (1 GB=silver, etc) making it easier to choose an appropriate one.

Deep Thought: It would've been nicer if they'd used an industry standard color scale (e.g. ROY G. BIV) when assigning a color to a given capacity, but .. nobody asked me.

Sunday, April 27

Nuon batteries = Junk

I've blogged before about the poor quality of rechargeable batteries; much of what's available for sale is just So Much Junk. I have another to add to the list: the Nuon brand sold by Batteries Plus.

In late September, I took a chance and bought four (4) 4-packs of Nuon Rechargeable NIMH batteries. By April, I found that at least four of the cells will no longer hold any charge. My BC-900 simply registers "Null" when I tried to charge those cells last week. It's not like these have been doing heavy duty, either .. this particular set was in a clock-weather gadget that communicates to a remote unit (outside) to provide correct ("atomic clock") time & temperature.

Yesterday, I stopped by the local Batteries+ outlet to see if they knew how bad these things really are (25% failure rate in 7 months!) and thinking maybe they'd even exchange them. Not only did they profess ignorance about the poor quality, but wouldn't exchange them without a receipt. This was particularly distressing since Batteries Plus is the exclusive North American distributor of Nuon batteries.

Saturday, April 26

fail to plan = plan to fail

Tomorrow is the last day of the USA Film Festival 2008 at the Angelika. A few nights ago, I went there to see the documentary America Unchained (2007) and was pleasantly amused at this quirky effort.

The film dealt with a pair of Brits who wanted to cross the continental USA without using any of the chains - restaurants, motels and gas stations. Without spoiling too much of the plot, suffice it to say that although I found it repetitive and woefully uneven, I still gave it a solid B for the effort. Most of the audience seemed to agree, as there were plenty of laughs to be had during their American Walkabout (so to speak).

This leads me to a word of advise for anyone planning their summer vacation around such an attempt: your lives will be much happier if you do advance planning, especially when it comes to the locations of independent gas stations.

Heck, I don't even know if I could pull this off here in The Big City .. non-chain restaurants are easy to find, and non-affiliated motels aren't scarce .. but independent gas stations? I'm not sure where to look (although now I'll probably notice them as I drive around). The same thing happened many years ago when a friend asked where any Nail Salons are located, and I professed ignorance. Soon thereafter, it became obvious that there are far more of them than Starbucks locations .. and that's saying a lot.

Tuesday, April 22

Lessons for Chelsea

Chelsea must be really proud of her mother today. Not only will she win the Pennsylvania primary, but she will have done so at the expense of even more hatred and lies and race-baiting. Chelsea is learning, in the finest Clinton Tradition, that the road to power means doing anything - no matter how morally bankrupt - to persuade the masses of white people that they should be very afraid, all the time.

Hillary's only road to the White House is if she converts to a Republican (which she is - how else can she use Karl Christian Rove's tactics and sleep at night?) before the GOP Convention and somehow bests John McBushCain for that party's nomination.

I can hardly wait for Chelsea Clinton's inevitable run for President .. will she have learned her mother's lessons?

Monday, April 21

and you wonder why Texans are so stoopit

A quarter of Texas teachers work second job, study finds (Associated Press, 20 April 2008)

more details are on the Capitol Annex blog (complete with the unintentional typo in the headline)

Saturday, April 19

Garland Goes Green

Earlier today I waddled over to Garland, to see their Garland Goes Green event. As I suspected, it wasn't huge .. but not bad for a suburb (as well as a way to showcase their sprawling Firewheel Town Center Mall).

One of the more entertaining things was a rare Corbin Sparrow -- an all-electric three-wheeled one-person vehicle, owned by a Garland resident who drives it every day. (more details here: John Brecher's 2002 Corbin Sparrow). What remains of the company that made this car is now online at MyersMotors.com, although the $35K+ price tag will scare off all but the most determined tree-hugger.

The Sparrow was part of a three-car display by the North Texas Electric Auto Association, which is a group of guys who learn about (and convert to) electrically powered cars. I had a nice chance to chat with them for about 15 minutes, learning about the various challenges faced by someone who wants to forgo gasoline-powered vehicles .. in Texas. The 30-mile range is a definite handicap, and I wouldn't want to be on the receiving end of an encounter with a Chevy Suburban. Still .. since Dallas is not really in Texas .. it fills a niche.

More: EV Album: Electric Vehicle Photo Album

Friday, April 18

Stephanopoulos missed an opportunity

I finally got around to watching Wednesday night's Pennsylvania Democratic debate. Much has already been written about this, so no need for me to pile on. I agree that the first 45 minutes was a Total Waste Of Time.

Except for the Republicans who were watching, as their "issues" were covered first (stupid stuff like flag lapel pins, and the ham-handed attempts to equate dirt on random acquaintances of Obama to his own thoughts).

I kept waiting for Charlie or George to ask "if you could be a tree, what kind would you be?".

Honestly, I fully expected George Stephanopoulos to be biased toward Hillary (he owes his political life to the Clinton Regime). Charlie Gibson should be ashamed of himself.

Tuesday, April 15

math thesis

For the past several weeks, I've collected all my change and tossed it into a container. During this collection process I was careful not to use any change during the day .. merely to add the coins to the pile as randomly as they arrived.

Today, my container overflowed, so I can stop my experiment. Here's the tally:
244 pennies  (1c)
059 nickels (5c)
135 dimes (10c)
140 quarters (25c)
My question: given random numbers and all that rot, is this an expected distribution?

I fully expect hordes of math majors (eager to complete their doctoral thesis) will apply themselves to this problem, post haste.

And now, we wait.

Extra credit: This container of change equals $53.89 .. what is the probability that future containers will be within ten (10) percent of today's total?

Monday, April 14

what a deal! (unless you can do math)

I just got an email from Baskin-Robbins, saying:
Participating Baskin-Robbins stores will reduce prices of small ice cream scoops to 31 cents.*

*2.5oz scoops are 31 cents plus tax where applicable. Limit 10 scoops per person, per purchase. Available Wednesday 4/30/08, from 5pm to 10pm, at your local Baskin-Robbins while supplies last.
Before you think "what a deal!" be advised that's some very expensive ice cream (versus just buying a gallon).

The math: there are 128 ounces/gallon, hence 51.2 of those 2.5 ounce scoops per gallon. At 31 cents each, that means the ice cream is $15.87 per gallon (not including sales tax). That makes $4/gallon gasoline look attractive.

Deep thought: I wonder if anyone ever made gasoline-flavored ice cream?

Full disclosure: there's a charity involved, so it's not like they're totally evil:
A donation of $100,000 will be made by Baskin-Robbins to the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation. At select stores throughout the country, you may also have a chance to donate to your local fire station.

Sunday, April 13

bitter, defined

what she said: "Bitter" double standards: what's the matter with Pennsylvania?

My take? Most Americans (especially small-town and Limbaugh Followers) will listen to the 15-second clip, then claim offense. If they'd listened to the 15 seconds preceding the clip in question, they might (just might) agree. Instead, they're likely to listen to Their Savior (Ann Coulter) and believe what She tells them to believe (with generous use of the word "liberal" tossed in, as if that was an insult).

Time for me to re-read the book "What's the Matter with Kansas?: How Conservatives Won the Heart of America" (2005) and/or Deer Hunting with Jesus: Dispatches from America's Class War (2007).

The Republican Christianists continue to vote against their best economic self-interest, because of the wedge issues. You don't have to go much farther/further than (some) of the comments to Frenchie's OpEdNews posting, to understand that they will do exactly that at the polls.

It reminds me of the retort I heard from my Mifipi cousins, regarding forced school busing: "We'll show them! We'll keep are kids hoam so they won't get edjikated alongside the Nigras". And they did. And now those Hoam Skoolt White Chillen are voters.
"You go into some of these small towns in Pennsylvania, and like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing's replaced them," Obama said. "And they fell through the Clinton Administration, and the Bush Administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not. And it's not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations."
-Barack Obama

Saturday, April 12

memo to Pennsylvania

As you listen to the two remaining candidates crossing your state, remember this quip:
Q - How do you tell when A Clinton (*) is lying?

A - Its lips are moving.

(alternate answer: it depends on how you define "is")

* Bill or Hillary, doesn't matter
From the news reports I'm seeing, Pennsylvanians are susceptible to The Clinton Lie of the Day .. more than any issue that's really meaningful. As least Texas will have someone to look down upon.

Meanwhile, I have to go dodge some more snipers at the car wash. At 3am. Oh wait .. I misspoke. I was tired. I didn't hear the question. Do you like my stylish pantsuit?

Thursday, April 10

hero, redefined

Okay, I guess I'm just being insensitive again.

I don't understand why His challengers refer to John Sidney McCain as "an American Hero". Seems to me His claim to fame is that He failed - miserably. His plane was shot out of the sky and He was captured by the enemy, then tortured for years in the Hanoi Hilton. Sure, I feel sorry for Him, but "hero" - uh, no.

I guess I was raised to believe that "hero" was defined as someone who did something extraordinary, especially if it involved saving someone else's life. It doesn't have to be war-related; a fireman pulling someone from a burning building surely fits the bill, as does the soldier Who Sacrifices All when he leaps onto a grenade - thus absorbing the blast so his buddies can live another day.

I also have a real problem with those who would vote for McBushCain just because someone (Karl Christian Rove?) branded him [An American Hero]. He could also have the most distorted view of the US Presidency since Andrew Johnson (often acknowledged as The Worst US President, although I'll bet George W. Bush gives him a run for his money, when history eventually ranks The Doofus).

Thursday, April 3

Mexican Fusion

The local Pollo Feliz ("The Happy Chicken") has closed -- too bad. Now I don't know where I'll go for an iguana platter (they offered it on the weekend). In its place has risen Burger Bueno ("Good Burger").

I think this is the second attempt at Mexican Fusion here, following Pizza Patrón which is like most other pizza places, except they offer La Mexicana Pizza with chorizo and jalepeños (among other standard ingredients).

Wednesday, April 2

juxtaposition in Plano

After seeing Geoff's posting about juxtaposition, it reminded me to post a photo of my favorite local one: Plano Youth Soccer is conveniently located next to a business where you can buy a replacement leg.

Tuesday, April 1

even our insects are bigger here, and there's a reason for that

I'm sure you've heard that "everything's bigger in Texas," but did you know there are special stores where we buy food for our cockroaches?

Full disclosure: 409 Main Street, Garland Texas