Browse Month: July 2007

07/27/2007

It’s funny how our trampoline becomes Party Central all the time. Here’s Kyra (on top of the playset) and her four neighborhood friends all playing something in the backyard.

The $200 or whatever we spent at Sam’s Club ten years ago has definitely paid off… that thing is so awesome.

07/27/2007

Wow, everyone’s getting in on the latest book!

07/27/2007

I read an article by some guy named Chris Hedges, where he discusses how war in general, and Iraq in particular, can turn a soldier from a killer into a murderer. Of particular note:

The rage soldiers feel after a roadside bomb explodes, killing or maiming their comrades, is one that is easily directed over time to innocent civilians who are seen to support the insurgents. It is a short psychological leap, but a massive moral leap. It is a leap from killing– the shooting of someone who has the capacity to do you harm– to murder– the deadly assault against someone who cannot harm you. The war in Iraq is now primarily about murder. There is very little killing.

He goes on with this blunt assessment of the side of the war we see:

The American killing project is not described in these terms to a distant public. The politicians still speak in the abstract terms of glory, honor, and heroism, in the necessity of improving the world, in lofty phrases of political and spiritual renewal. Those who kill large numbers of people always claim it as a virtue. The campaign to rid the world of terror is expressed with this rhetoric, as if once all terrorists are destroyed evil itself will vanish.

Very true. And very scary.

07/25/2007

10 points for creativity.

07/20/2007

From the Associated Press:

Airline passengers will be able to bring many types of cigarette lighters on board again starting next month after authorities found that a ban on the devices did little to make flying safer, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) said Friday.

The agency also announced that it was changing its policy on breast milk, and will allow mothers with or without children to carry more than three ounces onto planes.

Progress. It may not be much, but at least the boneheads running airport security are waking up to the fact that most of their idiotic rules aren’t actually doing anything more than annoying millions of passengers.

Maybe by this time next year we’ll be rid of the dumbest restriction of all, the 3-1-1 Rule!

07/19/2007

Ultimate is such an awesome game because even when you lose, you have a great time. Or at least I do.

We played a double-header tonight in Boulder, and we were up against one of the top teams in the league. They’ve been crushing all of their opponents, and although we lost we held the score pretty tight the whole game. Then we played one of the weaker teams, who came on strong in the first half and managed to eke out a victory because we weren’t able to recover in time (eventually losing by one).

Yet despite that, both games were a ton of fun. I knew many of the players on the teams, and we were constantly joking and heckling each other during the game (“He’s got nothing!” or “What was that throw?”), and mingling on the sidelines talking about this play and that throw.

All in all, it was a nice summer evening enjoying time with friends and getting some exercise. It doesn’t get much better.

07/16/2007

Dr. Jon Miller, director of the Center for Biomedical Communications at Northwestern University Medical School in Chicago, has spent decades compiling statistics about scientific knowledge amongst the general population of America. The results are… underwhelming.

  • American adults in general do not understand what molecules are (other than that they are really small).
  • Fewer than a third can identify DNA as a key to heredity.
  • Only about ten percent know what radiation is.
  • One adult American in five thinks the Sun revolves around the Earth.
  • Like, wow.

07/14/2007

The other day Craig told me he knew I’ve been really busy lately because I hadn’t been writing in this blog. It was kind of funny– he was right, because when things get hectic I find that I don’t have the time to sit and write goofy musings or read the news stories about Bush that get me all fired up. Since he’s one of maybe three people who actually read this (even Laralee doesn’t) I figured I need to keep him entertained. So I’m going to calm down, stop working so hard, and write more.

So here’s a shout out to my homey Craig…

07/14/2007

One of the exciting things about building web sites is that in many cases, I’ll be programming functionality for a customer without the data necessary to support it. For example, today I’m working on a site where the customer would like to embed a video clip inside the content of the page. I don’t have the clip they want to use, but obviously I need to make sure all of my programming works so when they use the real clip everything is smurfy.

That means I have to find a clip somewhere and test against it. I couldn’t resist using the classic song “You Are a Pirate”, which is apparently taken from some crazy kids’ show, and features a guy with an obviously fake beard and eyepatch, a pink-haired girl who does some wacky dance moves, and a cast of ugly puppets who struggle to keep the beat.

In any case, the programming worked, and right smack in the middle of the customer’s web site is a guy singing about how great it is to be a pirate. Sweet!

07/14/2007

Last night I mowed the lawn. I think it’s the third time I’ve mowed since 1990– I didn’t do it in college, I didn’t do it in my apartment, and after getting married Laralee insisted on doing it herself because she (go figure) says she enjoys it. I’m not one to argue about mowing, so I’ve always let her have her fun. But she’s out of town this week with the kids, and the grass is growing, so I didn’t have much choice.

While working on the back yard, I was struck by the contrast between our yard and our neighbor’s yard.

Let’s call him “Bill”, mostly because that’s his name. Bill doesn’t seem to care about his lawn, and after leaving it as bare dirt for about two years, the homeowners’ association finally levied enough threats and fines that he dropped in some sod. But I think he only waters it once a year, so the grass is pretty much a crunchy burnt color. The weeds seem to do well, however, as you can see by the three-foot monsters along the back fence. The kids actually enjoy heading over to Bill’s lawn (after donning shoes, of course) and hacking at the weeds. Some of them are almost as big as Zack.

Unfortunately it seems that nothing can really be done about Bill’s yard. The HOA doesn’t care if it’s not visible from the street, and the city doesn’t have an ordinance covering back yards. So we sigh and do our best to control the weeds that creep over from his lawn into ours, and assure ourselves that the barren wasteland makes our yard look fabulous by comparison.

07/14/2007

So I just got back from Denver, where I’d gone for the afternoon to (whee!) rebuild a couple of servers at BitRelay, my web hosting company. When I returned from the facility to my car, I saw a nickel on the pavement beside the door. Cool– even better than finding a penny.

But then I got into the car (thinking it was strange that the door wasn’t locked) and noticed that all of the change had been stolen! I have a little cup holder in my console where I keep about $30 worth of change– mostly for parking meters in Boulder and thereabouts. All of it, except a lone dime, was gone.

Looking around a bit, I noticed that both doors were unlocked, which never happens because I always keep the passenger one locked. I suspect what happened was a punk kid (or two?) used a hangar or long stick and reached through the one-inch gap where I’d opened the windows to keep the car cooler, and managed to pop the lock mechanism.

Bummer.

On the other hand, I can look at the positive side: they didn’t steal my wallet or credit cards, they didn’t jack the stereo or speakers, and nothing else was damaged. They snagged a handful of quarters and probably ran over to Arby’s for a nice juicy roast beef or something.

It’s too bad people are like that. Karma will catch them someday. In the meantime, I guess I’ll have to dig up another handful of quarters so I don’t get caught at a parking meter.

07/14/2007

When Rudy Guliani was mayor of New York City, he gave a speech and said this:

We look upon authority too often and focus over and over again as if there is something wrong with authority. We see only the oppressive side of authority. Maybe it comes out of our history and our background. What we don’t see is that freedom is not a concept in which people can do anything they want, be anything they can be. Freedom is about authority. Freedom is about the willingness of every single human being to cede to lawful authority a great deal of discretion about what you do.

I’m pretty sure I don’t want a leader who espouses those values.

07/03/2007

“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.”

— George Orwell

07/02/2007

We just got back from our trip to Minnesota, which was a huge twine ball of fun.

One of the funny parts of the trip– at least for me– was the plethora of tourist stores hawking their goofy overpriced junk. A perfect example:

For some reason it cracked me up to see that you could buy a bag of rocks for five bucks. It was, in fact, a better deal than some other things you could pick up at these meccas of kitschy crap.

07/02/2007

The Decider strikes again.

Scooter Libby was tried by a jury of his peers and found guilty of obstruction of justice, then sentenced to two and a half years in the slammer. It seems justice had been done.

But then along comes Bush, waving his magic wand and commuting Libby’s sentence. No jail time for friends of the administration!

I respect the jury’s verdict. But I have concluded that the prison sentence given to Mr. Libby is excessive.

Aha! Why do we even need these pesky juries and judges when The Decider can simply determine what’s right and fair? The rule of law has no weight any more.