Monday, September 29, 2003

Why do they keep on sending you SPAM?  Because it works.  A recent article in PC World contained a couple of very interesting statistics. The Nigerian "investment" scam is expected to gross $2 billion in 2003, making it that country's second-largest industry.... An accidentally exposed order log from Amazing Internet Products reveals that 6000 people in a four-week period paid $50 for a bottle of the herbal supplement Pinacle.  (That's $300,000 a month.) When sending emails costs nearly nothing, and the rewards are so great, you can't imagine that spammers are going to stop any time soon. The article continues to advise you to delete the emails without responding. [ - Latest PC World News Stories]

The Spartanburg Herald Journal reports that there are opponents to having the Hunley Sailors lie in state at the South Carolina Capitol. The sailors, were, after all confederates. This makes them supporters of slavery, according to some critics.  I would like to see the Hunley sailors lie in state in recognition of their historical significance.  They were the doomed crew of the first submarine to sink a combatant ship in battle. It would be great if the state could recognize their historical contribution without more political strife and struggle. If this is not possible, then the governer and proponents should quietly withdraw the request.  South Carolina has had enough strife to last us for awhile. Let's not turn the Hunley's crew into another spectacle.
COLUMBIA -- A proposal to have the eight dead Confederate sailors from the submarine Hunley lie in state in the South Carolina Capitol is drawing criticism from business and civil rights leaders.
[ News Headlines]

Sunday, September 28, 2003

Great News! Doctor Who will return to TV in 2005. Sure, most Americans don't really get Dr. Who, but it ran a long time on PBS, developing its own cult of followers.  They will be extremely pleased that the Time Lord will fly again. [The Register]

Saturday, September 27, 2003

In the UK, someone has figured out how to turn the latest GPRS cell phones into 1970's style voice pagers. What's more amazing is that some people think this will prove to be more popular than text messaging.
Short voice messages could endanger texting, as a new "push-to-talk" mobile service launches in the UK.
[BBC News | Technology | World Edition]

Sunday, September 21, 2003

The Movie Underworld (2003) was the best looking bad movie I have been to in a long while. The visuals attempted greatness, but like Icharus fell to earth in a melted shapeless blob. A simple story, if well told could have held this flick together, but it was never well told. Sloppy jump cuts and missing pieces make for a plot that is always a step beyond comprehension. What a beautiful mess this film is. Muddy visuals, wandering story telling, and incomplete action sequences leave the viewer shrugging his shoulders always wondering "What just happened?" This movie could have been something, but instead it is just something to be avoided.

Jay Leno (9/20/03): "According to the latest Zogby poll of American voters -- listen to this -- Al Gore right now, you know he's not running. Al Gore leads George Bush 48% to 46%. Isn't that incredible? Bush two points behind Al Gore. You know what that means? If the election were held today, Bush would win again."

Here is the poll I think Leno is referring to:

Thursday, September 18, 2003

Trying to think of what I might need for my birthday? How about an amphibious car like this one!

Monday, September 15, 2003

Wow! Mom! Can I have a Elite Force Aviator: George W. Bush - U.S. President and Naval Aviator - 12" Action Figure from At first I wondered why someone would bother coming out with GWB in an Elite Force Aviator outfit, then I noticed the date. It is going to be available on 10/31/03 -- Halloween! The figure shows George in a Halloween costume! Phew! For a minute I thought I was supposed to take this seriously.

Sunday, September 14, 2003

Book Two of Michael Moorcock's Elric saga is Sailor on the Seas of Fate. Years ago I owned this book and it got away from me somehow in one of my moves from place to place. I don't remember how, but it was gone and I have been looking for it in second hand bookstores every since. A few weeks ago I found books one and two and have read them both. It was a guilty pleasure that I savored as slowly as possible. The very short length of these books makes trivial the task of reading either one of them in a single sitting. I did no such thing. I stopped between chapters and ran my tongue over my teeth wanting to taste every last drop. The bad news is that I am older, more mature, perhaps more discriminating than my first time through the books. This reading found the second volume especially lacking. The books tell a classically good story in a land that is full of swords and sorcery, but the dialogue is awkward and the structure lacks even an attempt at sophistication. It was pulp fiction for young boys when it was written and it serves the same purpose today. It is great fun in a package that does not require you to think.

I just finished The Terminal Man, Michael Crichton - Recorded Books. Like all of Crichton's work I have read, this book is fast paced, well researched, and simply told. Unfortunately, I waited too long to discover this book. The story of The Terminal Man revolves around the computer technology of the early 1970s, and the technology references are quite dated. I doubt, for example, most readers would remember why time sharing terminals even existed in the early 70s. If the anachronistic storyline were not problem enough, I found that a stiffly delivered reading performance made this Recorded Books edition uncharacteristically difficult to enjoy.