October 2005 Archives

Baseball Geeks United

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I'm a member of SABR - The Society for American Baseball Research. It isn't nearly as geeky as it sounds; it's really just a bunch of folks (6000 or so, I think) who really like baseball. The Boston chapter, of which I'm a member, is having its Regional meeting next Saturday, in Cambridge. It is a celebration of the 30th anniversary of the 1975 Red Sox, who played in one of the greatest World Series ever against the Cincinnati Reds. Of course, this was pre-World Championship days, so we were doomed to heartbreak in the end, but it is so much easier to talk about now!

Anyway, here's the blurb for it. I've gotten word that a couple of the items up for silent auction will include a ball signed by the Angels' Jarrod Washburn (who gave up David Ortiz's series clinching, extra inning home run) and one by Curt Schilling himself. So come on by and talk some baseball if you're local!


Join us for the SABRBoston's next gathering on Saturday, November 5 from 11:30 to 5 at the Friends Meeting House, 5 Longfellow place, Cambridge. We will be celebrating the 30th anniversary of the 1975 Boston Red Sox. Our guest speaker for this event will be former Sox backup catcher and broadcaster Bob Montgomery, along with author Herb Crehan ("Red Sox Heroes of Yesteryear") presentations by Sam Bernstein on 1975 World Series bench players and Mark Kanter on Tony Conigliaro. Kanter returns to present some 1975 trivia plus Mickey "The Lip" Tangel will be along with a display of 1975 memorabilia for all to enjoy plus lots of baseball-related prizes up for grabs in our raffle and silent auctions. A suggested donation of $10.00 includes coffee, lunch and a copy of SABRBoston's "'75: The Red Sox Team that Saved Baseball" Please plan on joining us! Contact David Southwick (soxpapers AT yahoo DOT com) or Seamus Kearney (seamus AT cs DOT umb DOT edu) for more info.

I'm proud to say that I contributed one of the biographies in the book about the team that saved baseball. I wrote a short bio on Juan Beniquez.

Boston - SABR Boston/NE

Drink of the Week - Sidecar

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The drink of the week this week is a real classic - The Sidecar:

  • 1 1/2 oz cognac
  • 3/4 oz freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 3/4 oz Cointreau

The proportions are perfect - 2 to 1 to 1. And then you rim the glasses with superfine "bar" sugar by rubbing the rims with rind of the freshly squeezed lemon and carefully rolling the glass in a nice big mound of the sugar. A simply delectible combustible - very drinkable and right up there with the martini as members of the cocktail royalty.

A nice variation on the Sidecar theme is to add a splash of Pernod to it. While the "official" recipe I've seen for this concoction, called a Nicky Finn, whittles down the proportions to a 1 to 1 to 1, I like to just make a classic Sidecar and add the licorice-like, absinthe cousin, kick to it that Pernod gives it.

Congrats to the Other Sox

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A heartfelt congratulations goes out to all the long suffering Chicago White Sox fans, especially my co-workers in Chicago, who have lived and usually died to the White Sox for many years. And no, these aren't new bandwagon jumpers - they've been White Sox fans (yes, there are a few in Chicago) for lo these many years. And if it can't be my Sox, then it should be the other one, for sure. And as I told them, the best is yet to come - when you keep hearing next year the cherished phrase "Defending World Champions".

But still, we'll always have last year. And I'm not too proud to admit, it still brings a tear to me eye.

Another Google hack

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You can enter two destinations and Google will give you a link to travel search engines with those two destinations pre-selected. See here for flights from Boston to Washington, DC;

boston washington,dc - Google Search

Kid Words #1

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The first in a long series:

Rhiannon was getting her coat on the other day and said she was putting on her "kill wind". We puzzled that one out for a bit and then remembered we had all been talking about wearing windbreakers, given the 'orrible weather we're having here in the northeast. Rain, clouds, wind, absolutely dreadful.

So she was zippering up her windbreaker jacket - her "kill wind". Works for me!

Night before Fitzmas

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New Baubles

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Like a bird distracted by a bright new bauble, new Internet technology keeps me jumping all over the place!  Like my previous post on Tiddlers, there's sooooo much neat new stuff out there that I just can't keep playing with it.  Two new things have attracted me:

  • Ning- Something very hard to describe, but basically a community of cool web apps, where you can "clone" apps to create your own.  Started by an early Internet pioneer, Marc Andreesen, it's hard to quantify, but as an inveterate hacker, it's too much fun to play in the "Playground"! I'm working on a TiddlyWiki adpatation using the Ning storage as a back end.

    And then there is a new browser called Flock, which is based on the Mozilla Firefox browser, only with tightly integrated blogging and photo interfaces.  I'm posting from Flock now, so we'll see how this works. I can't figure out how to start a new entry in this list though!  It's early in the dev stage, with a "consumer" released due in December.  From what I see, though, it looks like a winner.

Yet Another Horror List

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In honor the upcoming horror holiday, here's Yet Another list of the 50 Greatest Horror Movies of All Time, this time by the British film magazine, Total Film:

  1. THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE1974 : Cutting deep: Tobe Hooper takes horror to the bleeding edge.

  2. HALLOWEEN 1978 : Hawks meets Hitchcock as the slasher cycle finds true Shape...

  3. SUSPIRIA 1977 : Sighs and whispers (and screams) in Argento’s baroque bloodletter.

  4. DAWN OF THE DEAD 1978 : George A Romero’s definitive document of the walking dead.

  5. THE SHINING 1980 : Loving family man tries to put an axe through his son’s head.

  6. PSYCHO 1960 : Come on up to the house. Oh, and don’t mind Mother...

  7. THE WICKER MAN 1973 : Creeping pagan terror on a remote Scottish island.

  8. ROSEMARY’S BABY 1968 : The horny Devil hits home and hearth...

  9. DON’T LOOK NOW 1973 : Nicolas Roeg’s clammy elegy to love and loss.

  10. CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST 1980 : Horror doesn’t get any harsher than this.

  11. THE THING 1982 : Snatched bodies and reheated Cold War paranoia.

  12. CARRIE 1976 : Memo to all bullies – Stop. Picking. On. The. Quiet. Ones.

  13. THE EXORCIST 1973 : The Devil rides into the mother of all religio-horrors.

  14. THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT 1999 : If you go down to the woods today... take a camcorder.

  15. WITCHFINDER GENERAL 1968 : Lyrical English landscapes are painted red with torture.

  16. THE HAUNTING 1963 : You are invited to a born-bad house. Bring your own ghosts.

  17. THE EVIL DEAD 1981 : Five go bloody in the woods in Raimi’s splatter-punk debut.

  18. PEEPING TOM 1960 : Cameraman fi lms as he kills. Such a nice young man...

  19. ALIEN 1979 : The ultimate hack’n’slash bad-boy monster.

  20. BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN 1935 : Karloff’s monster lumbers towards matrimony.

  21. NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD 1968 : A bunch of amateurs stake out a home in horror history.

  22. CURSE OF THE CAT PEOPLE 1944 : A haunting, shivery study of childhood loneliness.

  23. SWITCHBLADE ROMANCE 2003 : Modern horror grows some bloody big balls.

  24. A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 1984 : Horny teens get fingered by the son of a thousand maniacs.

  25. AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON 1981 : More than just a shaggy dog story.

  26. NIGHT OF THE DEMON 1957 : Cat People helmer brings that ol’ black magic to Blighty.

  27. HENRY: PORTRAIT OF A SERIAL KILLER 1986 : String vests and death by screwdriver.

  28. BAY OF BLOOD 1971 : Everyone kills everyone else in once-banned video nasty.

  29. AUDITION 1999 : A woman’s revenge, served with relish by Takashi Miike.

  30. SHIVERS 1975 : Zombies run riot in an early slab of Cronenberg meat.

  31. THE INNOCENTS 1961 : Subtle scares in Henry James’ clammy ghost tale.

  32. THE DEVIL RIDES OUT 1968 : It’s Christopher Lee versus soul-stealing Satanists!

  33. LES DIABOLIQUES 1955 : Murderous schemes in a French boarding school.

  34. DEAD RINGERS 1988 : Love, addiction, separation. Nausea guaranteed.

  35. INFERNO 1980 : Blood and thunder in Argento’s frenzied trip of the brain.

  36. MARTIN 1977 : Growing pains for bloodsucking teen sociopath.

  37. THE HOWLING 1981 : A tongue-in-cheek werewolf pic that likes its meat rare.

  38. VAMPYR 1932 : Gather, darkness: a vampire film like no other.

  39. CANDYMAN 1992 : Dare you to look in the mirror and say his name five times! No? Thought not...

  40. THE PLAGUE OF THE ZOMBIES 1966 : City quack investigates dying country bumpkins.

  41. SCREAM 1996 : Wes Craven rewrites the slasher textbook.

  42. TARGETS 1968 : Trad horror confronts modern terror in Bogdanovich’s debut.

  43. THE SECT 1991 : Infernal pits, Devil-worship and the son of Satan!

  44. THE DESCENT 2005 : Six chicks with picks. Be afraid, be very afraid.

  45. BRAINDEAD 1992 : Quite possibly the bloodiest movie ever made.

  46. HOUR OF THE WOLF 1968 : Father Merrin must exorcise a few demons of his own.

  47. ERASERHEAD 1977 : David Lynch presents an argument for sterilisation.

  48. NEKROMANTIK 1987 : Dead and loving it in a truly sick flick.

  49. THE BEYOND 1981 : Director Lucio Fulci goes to Hell and back.

  50. HELLRAISER 1987 : Demonically kinky splatter-smut in Clive Barker’s deviant debut.

Total Film - Shock Horror!

Scariest Movies of all time

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Speaking of movie lists, Boston.com put together their list of the scariest movies of all time. Now, I'm even less of a "horror" film fanatic than I am a sci-fi film kinda guy, so let's see how I do here:

50. "Arachnophobia" (1990)
49. "The Innocents" (1961)
48. "The Other" (1972)
47. "Freaks" (1932)
46. "Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2" (2000)
45. "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory" (1971)
44. "The Wicker Man" (1973)
43. "The Blob" (1988)
42. "28 Days Later" (2002)
41. "Ghost Story" (1981)
40. "Rosemary"s Baby" (1968)
39. "The Brood" (1979)
38. "Eraserhead" (1977)
37. "Amityville Horror" (1978)
36. "The Devil"s Backbone" (2001)
35. "Jeepers Creepers" (2001)
34. "Pet Sematary" (1989)
33. "Open Water" (2003)
32. "Nightmare on Elm Street" (1984
31. "The Fly" (1986)
30. "Salem"s Lot" (1979)
29. "Gates of Hell" (1980)
28. "Altered States" (1980)
27. "Session 9" (2001)
26. "Scream" (1996)
25. "Mothman Prophecies" (2002)
24. "Videodrome" (1983)
23. "Seven" (1995)
22. "War of the Worlds" (1953)
21. "Saw" (2004)
20. "Event Horizon" (1997)
19. "Janghwa, Hongryeon (A Tale of Two Sisters)" (2003)
18. "The Silence of the Lambs" (1991)
17. "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" (1974)
16. "Hellraiser" (1987)
15. "The Changeling" (1980)
14. "Jacob"s Ladder" (1990)
13. "In the Mouth of Madness" (1994)
12. "Jaws" (1975)
11. "The Exorcist" (1973)
10. "Quartermass and the Pit" (1968)
9. "The Shining" (1980)
8. "Halloween" (1978)
7. "Evil Dead II" (1987)
6. "Dawn of the Dead" (1978)
5. "Alien" (1979)
4. "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" (1978)
3. "The Ring" (2002)
2. "Ju-on" (2000)
1. "The Thing" (1982)

Not bad, and yes, I was wondering where "The Thing" was going to show up. Some interesting movies I'll have to give a try to.

Top 50 scariest horror movies of all time - Halloween movies - Boston.com


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Okay, I've just discovered some really cool, geeky, technology. I'm not sure exactly about its application, or at least how I might use it, but it is still some cool stuff. It's called a TiddlyWIki, and basically, it's a single, dynamic, web page that you can use in a remarkably varied number of ways - a blog, a To Do list, a Getting Things Done page, etc. It's a little hard to wrap your head around it, but here's the best one page description of a TiddlyWiki I've found:

Euicho on TiddlyWiki

It's some pretty amazing browser technology, all done with HTML, CSS, and Javascript. The main web site is here:


Drink of the week

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galliano.jpgThe Perfect Jonathan

  • 1.5oz Vodka

  • 3oz Orange Juice

  • .5oz Grand Marnier

  • dash of orange bitters

I made two different variations on this theme, by trying a couple of Grand Marnier substitutes. First we tried one with Galliano and then one with its more obscure cousin, Strega. I've always found Galliano to be too bitter and overpowering, even if it does come in a very nice bottle. But I can highly recommend Strega. It's more subtle and slightly sweeter and made for an excellent Perfect Jonathan.

As for the orange bitters, you'll find it is used in some very good cocktail recipes, but you probably won't find it on your local liquor store shelf. I get my supply of bitters and other cocktail mixers from Fee Brothers. They make an excellent Angostura (or classic) bitters, as well as the orange (you can also get peach and mint bitters). Their cordial syrups are also highly recommended. Their Grenadine is an excellent version, much better than the standard one you usually see on your store shelves. I still haven't found the great French Grenadine I bought a few years ago, and unfortunately, I don't remember the name. You'd be surprised at what a diference a good grenadine syrup makes.

An interesting note - Fee Brothers must ship to bars and the like more than to just folks like myself, because they send it to you Net 30! In other words, they send you the product with an enclosed bill and you send them a check back. Now that's Old Fashioned!

Getting Things Done

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I'm looking at some organizational tools, and I'm seriously considering jumping onto the Getting Things Done bandwagon. There's lots of neat tools, and it really appeals to me as I love to make lists, and the GTD system is all about lists and categorizations. I'm not really much into systems, but if I can make it work on a simple level, then I will be happy.

One of the best web sites for GTD info is called 43Folders, a reference, it turns out, to the GTD idea of having 43 folders to file stuff in - 31 Daily and 12 Monthly ones. In the Comments for his "Hipster PDA" (a loose collection of 3x5 cards), he talks about a great way to break out of a boring conversation:

I like to carry a single playing card in my wallet. Often the 8 of clubs.

If I get stuck in a conversation that�s going nowhere, I�ll furrow my
brow like I�m trying to remember something, whip out my wallet and,
with a flourish, produce the 8 and ask in a very loud, arrogant voice:

Was this your card?

Always kills.

Introducing the Hipster PDA | 43 Folders

Sci-Fi Movie list

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John Scalzi, author of The Rough Guide to Sci-Fi Movies has a list (of course!) of the 50 most "influential" science fiction movies of all time. Now, I no longer consider myself a card-carrying member of the science fiction fan club, either in book or movie form, but I am a movie geek (see my movie / home theater weblog here), so I've seen plenty of these. I'll put them in bold:

  • The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension!
  • Akira
  • Alien
  • Aliens
  • Alphaville
  • Back to the Future
  • Blade Runner
  • Brazil
  • Bride of Frankenstein
  • Brother From Another Planet
  • A Clockwork Orange
  • Close Encounters of the Third Kind
  • Contact
  • The Damned
  • Destination Moon
  • The Day The Earth Stood Still
  • Delicatessen
  • Escape From New York
  • ET: The Extraterrestrial
  • Flash Gordon: Space Soldiers (serial)
  • The Fly (1985 version)
  • Forbidden Planet
  • Ghost in the Shell
  • Gojira/Godzilla
  • The Incredibles
  • Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956 version)
  • Jurassic Park
  • Mad Max 2/The Road Warrior
  • The Matrix
  • Metropolis
  • On the Beach
  • Planet of the Apes (1968 version)
  • Robocop
  • Sleeper
  • Solaris (1972 version)
  • Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
  • Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope
  • Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
  • The Stepford Wives
  • Superman
  • Terminator 2: Judgement Day
  • The Thing From Another World
  • Things to Come
  • Tron
  • 12 Monkeys
  • 28 Days Later
  • 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
  • 2001: A Space Odyssey
  • La Voyage Dans la Lune
  • War of the Worlds (1953 version)

Not too bad, and a couple movies I'll have to add to my Netflix queue (by the way, if you have a Netflix account, feel free to add me to your Friends list). Mind you, several of the movies I've not marked as "Watched", I've seen bits and pieces of, including Buckaroo Banzai, whose ommission might require that I turn in my nerd membership card! I'm also pretty sure I've seen Bride of Frankenstein, another ommission that might make some question my true geekdom!

I was disappointed that T2 and not the original Terminator made the list. I'm not sure I'm interested enough in the subject to buy the book, although I am a real sucker for movie books.

I have to get back to watching more movies. As you can see from my movie blog, I've haven't been watching too many lately. Too busy, which makes me too tired to even watch a movie.

The Rough Guide to Sci-Fi Movies -- Officially Out!

Wire job

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The cable wiring project went without a hitch. It's nice to have someone around who isn't afraid to drill holes in outer walls! If it were me, I'd be petrified, but Steve does it all the time. We ended up running two of the wires along the outside sill of the house, and one of them we moved over about 3 feet so it would come down with the rest of the wires. We ran the Internet cable through the garage, as we did the cable from our bedroom box. So now we have 5 cables, all without splits, running to the corner of the garage where the main cable drop comes in. Now I just need to get the cable guy to come back. They were nice enough to give me a direct line to his supervisor; unfortunately, there is no answer and his voice mail box is full:-(

Coupla links

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A couple of cool links thanks to Joho the Blog:

Here comes the sun?

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Red sky in the morning
Sailors take warning
Red sky at night
Sailors delight

The last time we saw the sun was also the last time we saw the Red Sox play - Friday, October 7. No exaggeration. In fact, not only was that the last time we saw the sun, it has been pretty much raining steady ever since then. Sometimes, especially in the spring, we'll get long periods of gray overcast skies, with some rain. But this time, it has been steady rain as well. And for the most part, I mean rain. Not just drizzle, but a steady downpour. This last stretch of hard rain started Friday morning and continued unabated until late yesterday.

So everything is soaked. Super saturated. Luckily, we don't have any flooding problems here in Medford, but all around New England, there's been some serious damage done. But we all feel waterlogged and gray. We haven't played soccer since the rains started, with yesterday's U8 game canceled as well as today's U6 practice.

But it looks like the sun might be putting in a long awaited appearance today. It hasn't yet shown up (6:42am), but our east facing bedroom window shows some real promise. It is a bright, albeit red, looking sunrise. But I guess it is going to be a cloudy day, with some real winds (gusts up to 50 MPH). But as long as we see some sun, it'll be a good day, I think.

Big project for today - fish wires through the walls. My middle sister Liz and her family are coming down and me and Stephen, her husband, are going to rewire the cable TV and Internet cables. I bought 500 feet of "quad shielded RG6" at Home Depot and we are going to try and bring the 3 TV drops and the 1 cable modem drop all the way through the house over to where the drop from the telephone pole comes in. We have spotty cable reception, although the Internet connection has improved since the cable guy's first visit, when he put in new splitters. But a new guy came last week and said we need new wires, preferably run through the walls, which they don't do. But I have some really incredibly nice brother-in-laws and Stephen immediately volunteered to come down and do the job. I'll do the grunt work, as he's an alarm installer and knows how to do this stuff.

So if you don't hear from me for awhile, you'll know the job has been botched:-) But I trust Steve, so I'm sure there will only be a momentary interruption. And we might even have sun while doing it!

Friday Random 10

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I finally have enough music ripped from my CDs to do a real Random Ten for Friday. I bring up a handful of CDs, rip a few songs from each and continue on. So far, Frou Frou and Yo La Tengo, and Queen have the most songs in my library. 86 songs so far. Now if I can only find my MP3 player to put them on it!

  • Must Be Dreaming - Frou Frou
  • Brighton Rock - Queen
  • Political Science - Randy Newman
  • Ribbons - The Sisters of Mercy
  • (The System Of) Doctor Tarr and Professor Feather - The Alan Parsons Project
  • Go Ahead And Burn - Four Piece Suit
  • Beds Are Burning - Midnight Oil
  • Love Will Tear Us Apart - Joy Division
  • Papa Won't Leave You, Henry - Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
  • Just Like Heaven - The Cure

American Idiots

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I'm sure most of you already read Pharyngula (if you don't you should!), but there's an excellent post on a column by Charlies Pierce, who writes a pretty mean column in the Sunday Boston Globe magazine too. This one is from Esquire, so you need to pay to read it, but PZ does a good job of extracting the essence of the dumbing down of America. We need to push back the borders of Enlightened America, taking all the lost territory back from Idiot America, where soundbites rule and facts only count if you have faith.

Pharyngula::Idiot America

Alarm clock blues

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Why is it so hard to get an alarm clock that just works? I had the perfect alarm clock for years, but I don't ask for much in an alarm clock. Two alarm settings (one for 5:20 for a normal day and one for 4:55 for a hockey morning), ease of setting, an FM radio - that's about it. My old alarm clock worked great. It even had something I've never seen on another clock, and that is a number pad, which meant setting times was a snap. Have you ever noticed that when you need to set a time, you always have to go 12 hours from the current time? So you hold down the forward button and wait. And wait. And wait. With my now deceased alarm clock, you just punched in the number you wanted and you were done. But unfortunately, I spilled, smacked and dropped my old one just once too many, so it went to that alarm clock graveyard.

My new alarm clock has some nice features. The coolest one is the fact it is self-setting. From somewhere in the ether, it grabs the current time and just sets itself. This is a very handy feature, as the outlet it is plugged into is a switched one and sometimes the switch gets turned off. Turn it back on, and it immediately sets itself to the correct time. Really cool!

But it has a horrible user interface. There are these nearly identical looking buttons along the side that turn on and off the alarms, so it is well nigh impossible to remember which one turns on alarm 1, which one for alarm 2, while ignoring the other identical switches that change the dimmer and toggle AM/FM. To turn off an alarm, you have to hit one of the middle buttons in a bank of about 7 identical buttons. You can't change how long it "snoozes" for; it is set for 9 minutes, but I prefer a much shorter snooze, like maybe 4 minutes. To me, 9 minutes is way too long, because after just a couple of those you're about 20 minutes late! To even toggle the snooze, you have to find a contoured button, albeit it is big enough any way.

So, the short of it is that I missed hockey this morning. Not sure what wrong button I hit, but I was awakened by the sound of my cell phone ringing. It was the backup goalie calling to see if I was going to make it. Seeing as face off time was in about 10 minutes, the answer was a groggy "No". I hate starting my day that way.

Drink of the week

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Dumpster Juice

  • 1 oz vodka

  • 1 oz 151 rum

  • 1 oz orange juice

  • 1/2 oz each Midori and Chambord

Michael and I had a couple of these last night. I did not make it with the 151 rum. It was a long time ago in a galaxy far far away that I last did 151 rum, and I'm in no hurry to repeat it. I do not mind it in my zombie, but that's about as far as I go.

The drink was a little "heavy". The orange juice (not fresh squeezed, unfortunately), Midori and Chambord combined to make it a little cloying on the palate, especially the one that used the cane sugar rum that Michael brought over after their trip to Tortola. So mabye the bite of 151 would have help cut it a bit. But they went down without too much complaint, and I think I can recommend it as a pretty decent drink. I'd give it 3 out of 5 stars.

Reader Recipe: Dumpster Juice | Liquor Snob

Completely Bereft Party

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Very funny blog post about David Brooks' neo-con whining about how his very own right wingnutters can't seem to smell the crap they've gotten us into:

Bats Left Throws Right: Peter Pan Conservatism

Long Long Weekend drive

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What a weekend we had! It was my Aunt Pat and Uncle Donnie's 50th anniversary party on Saturday. My mom's family has a pretty good marriage track record. My parents celebrated their 50th in February, her brother Donnie's was in September and her youngest brother, my Uncle Rodney, is currently in year 47. Nearly 150 years of marriage - amazing!

Anyway, that part of the family lives in Down East Maine, Princeton to be exact. It's not too far from the Canadian border, about as east as you can go in the United States. And quite a long haul from our humble abode here in Medford, Massachusetts, just north of Boston. In good weather, the drive can be done in about five hours. But it was not good weather when we headed out - a little bit of rain, slick roads and slow traffic. By the time we hit Portland, it was pouring out, requiring hi-speed wipers, and it didn't let up for the next two days. In fact, since the pitiful Red Sox season-ending lost last Friday, which barely beat the rain, it has been cloudy and rainy. And it turned cool a couple of days ago, just about the worst of New England weather - long stretches of clouds, rain, drizzle, with 50-60 degree temperatures. Yech.

Looney Tunes coverThe drive is mostly highway, and now that both New Hampshire and Maine accept my Mass "Fast Lane" transponder for the tolls, it easier than ever before. It takes about 4 hours of some of the most boring driving imaginable to get to Bangor from here. Thank Zeus for my Father's Day present - a portable DVD player. We strap it to the back of my seat and the girls are actually encouraged to watch TV all day! I borrowed three DVDs from the library and they watched two of those - "Max & Ruby's Halloween" and "Preschool Power". Also on the viewing schedule was lots of "Looney Tunes". They've become real fans since I got the first "Golden Collection", and I see that they now have two more. These are the real thing, uncut and uncensored, so maybe it's a little too much for them, but they seem to enjoy it. Their favorite episodes are the Bugs Bunny versus the Bull one and any of them with Tweety Bird. Adrienne especially got a kick out of the Rabbit Season one, where Bugs keeps talking Porky into "blasting" Daffy during rabbit season.

It feels like cheating to have them watch the DVD the entire time, but given the alternative, it's a little slice of heaven. Gabrielle and I can talk, or listen to the radio or whatever. It works out very nicely for all involved. Other viewings include various Care Bear videos (huge Care Bear fans) and one Thomas the Tank Engine video.

After hitting Bangor, you head due east on "The Airline" (Maine Rte. 9). This used to be a real nightmare: a two-lane highway across very hilly terrain. Get stuck behind a huge truck or a poky driver and you were doomed to an eternal ride. But now it has been repaved, and plenty of uphill passing zones added, so it is much easier. Still, it took well over six hours to arrive in Princeton, arrving right in the middle of the party.

But it was a good time to see lots of cousins, second cousins, aunts, uncles, etc. There were a couple of other kids there and the girls had a grand time. Rhiannon enjoyed meeting Raeanna (a "second cousin once removed" says Gabrielle, who loves to figure these things out). She called Raeanna her identical twin, because "their names were so alike and they both had music class on Wednesdays!"

And then we headed back Sunday afternoon. Rain still pouring down, but the drive got lots better for me when I was finally able to find the Patriots game on the radio. We stopped for dinner at a Tex-Mex place in South Portland and still got home in about 6 hours. It sure was nice to collapse into my own bed!

Tie your shoelaces faster

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A "revolutionary" new way of tieing your shoelaces! See the flipbook version for an animated frame by frame guide to performing this feat:

Ian's Shoelace Site - "Ian Knot" = Ian's Fast Shoelace Knot

Why I.D. is dangerous

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Here is an excellent article on just how dangerous pushing the corrupt religuous principle once called "creationism" and now called "Intelligent Design" onto unsuspecting school kids really is. It is nothing more than a religuous philosphy, and I for one would like to know how the IDiots would feel if Native Americans began demanding their version of creationism get added to the science cuuriculum. Or the Purusha god of India. Or any of them - for a good list of creation myths see:


American Scientist Online - Being Stalked by Intelligent Design

This is Pat Shipman's article in the American Scientist, and nicely spells out how dangerous ID truly is:

The Needs Meme

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A silly blog meme going 'round - type in "[your first name] needs" (with the quotes) in Google and show the first 10 results:

  1. Jonathan needs to be redeemed, or made completely evil
  2. Jonathan needs a tray to position his arms properly
  3. will not meet Jonathan's needs since it is too low to the ground
  4. Pelican Events was founded in 2000 by Jonathan Needs
  5. Jonathan needs to draw up a business plan
  6. Jonathan needs to restructure his portfolio.
  7. Jonathan needs an experienced, skilled family that is understanding of his special needs.
  8. Jonathan Needs - Director James Burke - Director Jonathan, also a veteran of Blenheim Group
  9. Jonathan needs improved fine...
  10. jonathan needs to start drinking more beer.

I like some of them! But hitting on "Jonathan Needs" as person's name is kind ofa drag.

"jonathan needs" - Google Search

Australia Slides, picture 4

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I think Melbourne was our favorite city we stayed in during our 3 1/2 week Australian vaction (see more photos here). It reminded us very much of our own home city, Boston - a small city, with lots of character and charm. In fact, we rescheduled our flight out so we could stay an extra day. We had some great meals, enjoyed the Gardens and in general fell in love with the city.

The only thing I regret not doing while we were out there was not going to see Hanging Rock. One of my all time favorite movies is Picnic at Hanging Rock, an incredibly atmospheric film by Peter Weir. It is just outside of Melbourne, but we just never made the time to go see it.

Anyway, this is a picture taken on the Great Ocean Road, a wonderfully scenic highway that goes north from Melbourne to Adelaide. We headed out along it one day, having had the drive recommended to us by several different Australians, and it didn't disappoint. Lots of great seascapes, jutting rocks and we even dipped our feet into the Indian Ocean.


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Google search tips! Some cool things in there, for a page I rarely do anything very elaborate with. Give some of them a try!

ResearchBuzz: Google Search Tips Jam

Drink of the Day

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When Michael comes over on Wednesday nights, we:

  1. Have a cocktail
  2. Play a co-op video game
  3. Watch a Sopranos episode

I usually try to mix up a cool drink. This time, I made a Blackhawk, although it looks like I messed it up. Seems it wants Creme de mure, while I used Creme de noyaux. Oops! Still, it tasted pretty nice: I'll call it a "Redhawk" instead:-)

Redhawk Recipe

  • 1 1/2 oz vodka

  • 1/2 oz creme de noyaux

  • 1/2 oz lime juice

Patriots Game, 2005

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The gang at the Pats gameWe did our annual "Family Day" at the New England Patriots football game this past Sunday. I think this is the third or fourth year we've been doing this, and once again we had spectacular weather. Not really football weather mind you, but perfect weather to bring the family to a game - mid 70s, sunshine, just a gorgeous early autumn day.

We got started late, not an uncommon occurrence for a family of four I don't think. We probably should have not gone to piano lessons, or at the very least moved them up a little bit. We got to the parking lot at about 11am (for a 1pm kickoff), and didn't get our first choice for lot. This was the first time we parked on the south side of the stadium, which actually worked out better than our usual northern parking lot, as our seats are on that side of the stadium.

We've had season tickets to the Patriots for about 12 years, or ever since Drew Bledsoe's first year. Or maybe it was the year before that. We are part of a 10 share "consortium", owning 6 tickets, which works out to be 3 pairs of tickets for each share (8 regular season games plus the 2 pre-season games that are foisted upon the season ticket holders). We've owned 2 shares for the past few years, so that, come the ticket picking "auction", I have a pretty good chance of getting 2 pairs to a game. I usually sell off any pre-season games, as well as one or two other pairs. I'll go to one or two other games, and, given the Pats success lately, even a post-season game. It works out pretty well, even if it is damned expensive at nearly US$90 a ticket these days. But demand is still very high (Sunday's was the 119th straight home sellout), and I hear the waiting list for season tickets is over 50,000!

But we got there in enough time to fire up the grill, throw on some chicken pieces and wings, and have a little bit of a tailgate party. It would have been nice to get there about an hour earlier, but we did pretty well nonetheless. We let the crowd thin out at the gates and got into our seats without missing too much.

Unfortunately, we were a little late leaving and, due to the blowout loss, the crowd was a little early, and we got stuck in a tremendous traffic jam. It took us nearly an hour and a half before we even started moving, and it was three hours after we got into the car before we finally got home. Usually, we leave at the end of the third quarter, as the girls have had about enough. But they were having such a good time, and our browsing in the Pro Shop took up too much time, so we got out late and man, did we ever regret it.

Still, it was a fun thing to do, and we are all looking forward to next year's Pats game.

New Miers Blog

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Bet you didn't know that Harriet Miers, the erstwhile Supreme Court nominee, has her own blog, now did you?

Harriet Miers's Blog!!!

Pretty funny!

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from October 2005 listed from newest to oldest.

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