News, commentary and fun things from the Internet and around the world.

Tuesday, January 29, 2002

Dana Scully
Say It Isn't So
Afte 9 seasons, the X-Files will no longer be turning out new episodes. I have been intrigued by the character development this season, and I was interested to see how the series would re-invent itself. At least we still have the reruns. And maybe another movie?

Science And Near Death Experiences
So many people are reporting experiences that just can't be explained away. Even the Lancet has an article written by medical doctors. Unfortunately, I can't link to the article. Go to their website, and do a search on "near-death" to find the article "Near-death experience in survivors of cardiac arrest." Free registration is required.

The Future of Artificial Intelligence
Find out what Dr. Michio Kaku thinks is about to happen with computers.

I Always Liked Tony Blair
And now I like him even more.

Remote Viewing
Everyone should know by now that our government had a program to develop psychic abilities for intelligence gathering, a process they called remote viewing. I've learned a lot about this process and the program history from listening to Ed Dames on Art Bell, a man who says he was head of the program years ago. I've also read Dr. Courtney Brown's book, Cosmic Voyage, and I'm quite interested in the subject. There is an annual conference for people interested in this area, also.

A New Twist On Road Rage
I can't imagine what motivates people to do this.

Afghan Publication Resumes
I'm glad to see that their own journalists are starting to report on events.

Pippi Longstocking Author Dies
I loved the books as a child. Maybe it's time to reread them.

Sunday, January 27, 2002

Only A Cat Would Do This
After having an interesting evening with my own cat, this story was hilarious.

His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama
Dalai Lama In Indian Hospital
He is such a gentle and tender man. My prayers are with you. Keep checking the Tibetan Government in Exile website for updates on him.

Anti-Drive Thru Protestors
I didn't know that there was a McDonald's without a drive thru! I hope these guys are successful, but the are bucking the trend. I saw an amazing show on the History Channel about drive-thrus last month. If you get a chance, watch it!

Moscow, We Have A Problem...
If I was a cosmonaut, the last thing I would think to worry about was if Mission Control was paying their electric bills. But that is exactly what they should be worrying about.

The Arrogance Of Urban Planners
People in California continue to build in the canyons where wildfires are known to break out during heat waves. And other people live in the line of lava flows. But why?

Chelsea's Makeover
Grad school at Oxford would be hard enough without being the daughter of a former American president (who happened to also study there), and the daughter of a contoversial freshman Senator from New York. Poor Chelsea is trying things. Just leave her alone!

Beautiful Tanzanite cut stones
Tanzanite Sales Stopped By Retailers
I have always loved tanzanite, a unique colored gemstone found in Tanzania. But when I heard recently that al-Qada is being financed by tanzanite sales, I decided I would not purchase any until this situation ended. Now, I see that Zales and QVC have decided to stop sales of Tanzanite until they can be sure the proceeds are not supporting world terrorism. HURRAH for businesses with a conscious!

Wanna Take A Ride?
How about sending your name to Mars? NASA is offering a program that lets you signup to have your name included on a CD that will go to the surface of Mars. Once you sign up, you also can print out a very cool certificate.
If You Can't Get A Job...
...get more education. It seems that many of the unemployed skilled workers are returning to graduation school to ride out the weak economy and emerge with more marketable (and in demand) skills when things pick up.

Saturday, January 26, 2002

Pet Hotels?
Petsmart has opened a pet hotel in Tempe, Arizona. I'm just surprised it wasn't Scottsdale.

More arch enemies are after Austin Powers?
This Story Sucks (and made me laugh out loud)
The best line is the last one "...It is rare for a passenger to remain in a toilet against his or her will." I'll let you read the rest of it for yourself!

-- Updated 7 February According to this report, the original story was a fabrication.

BlueLight Investigation Started
An anonymous letter triggers an investigation into Kmart's accounting practices. Was it signed with a big M?

Say It Isn't So!
It seems that Mike Myers is having more problems, this time with the name for his new Austin Powers movie! The Bond people don't like the similarity to a previous Bond title. So what do they think, that Bond is immune from spoofs? Don't they know that spoofs are the main course coming from Hollywood these days? At least Austin Powers is funny, unlike many of the others. Even Pierce Brosnan isn't going to be gold-membered for the film.

Friday, January 25, 2002

The Outlet at
Outlet Day At
I love Fridays. I love checking out the sales at's Friday Outlet. I look more than I shop, but I have found some really great deals on things I actually could use. And then I indulge in some outlet book shopping, filling my cart with goodies that I didn't know I could live without. While I'm there, I also check out the movie listings for theatres in my area, planning my entertainment for the weekend.

National ID Cards
Are we really moving closer to having a national ID card? Isn't that the purpose of having a passport or driver's license? I'm not sure what all of the uproar is about.

Birds In The Line Of Fire
A bird was killed yesterday during play at the Australian Open. This article points out other bird deaths in the last year that involve baseball and golf as well.

Thursday, January 24, 2002

First The Twinkie Defense...
...and now the class action suit? It boggles my mind to see how far people are willing to go to avoid taking responsibility for their own actions. Hey, I'm not blaming anyone but ME for the extra pounds I have to lose. No one tied my hands behind my back and force fed me.

Slavery Tax Credit?
Nope. If someone tells you that you can take that credit, report them to the IRS.

The World News In Photos
What a great feature! The Washington Post pulls together pictures from the news stories each day into a gallery. It's a fun way to connect with the news.
"Illegal" Journalists in Zimbabwe
In a country where the phrase "freedom of the press" has no meaning, and organizations like the BBC are not welcome, journalists have been going "on holiday" to enter Zimbabwe and file their reports on its political situation, including efforts to regulate journalism.

Got Fire? Got Milk?
A clever milkman in Cornwall, UK save the day by using pint sized bottles of milk to put out a fire. No joke. He's been named the Hero Milkman of the Millennium by the National Dairymen's Association.

The women of Sex and the CitySex and the City: The Tour
Get a first hand account of the tour that shows you where the Sex And The City girls hang out, get lattes, shop for shoes, and look for those hunky guys.

And On The Other Coast
Melrose is a haven for the kooky and eccentric, or anyone looking for a shabby chic shopping experience.

Harry Potter Parody
The author of a parody of the young adult wizard has the attention of Hollywood. What will they think of next?

Wednesday, January 23, 2002

More Studies Show Alternative Medicine Works
While some say the study wasn't rigorous, the findings are still quite interesting. Can you imagine a world where support groups and aspirin are the two ways to prevent heart attacks? Hmmm....

Office XP SP-1 Gets Greenlighted
Woody Leonhart, that infamous Microsoft guru and watchdog, has approved the updates to Microsoft's Office XP update, if and only if you meet certain conditions. I don't meet them, so I'll be abstaining, myself. If you don't read him and you use Microsoft products, you owe it to yourself to check out his various newsletters: Woody's Office Watch, Woody's Windows Watch, Woody's Access Watch, Woody's Project Watch, Woody's Palm Watch, and Woody's Windows XP.

Wanna Be On Oprah?
After watching David Letterman moan about his unfulfilled desire to be interviewed on Oprah, I had to laugh when I found this article. Maybe someone should send this URL to the Dave Meister's staff.
Fight Anthrax
Want To Save The World?
Before the Internet, individuals could sit around and talk about solutions to world problems, but could not be part of any practical solutions. But today, you can enlist your computer in the efforts to do research that does, indeed, contribute to finding solutions.
--- Thanks to Intel's Peer-to-Peer program and United Devices, you can work towards finding a cure for anthrax.
--- You can help the SETI Institutue find intelligent life in the universe with the SETI@Home program.
--- Join the war on cancer by donating your computer's time for cancer research.
This just goes to show that technology can bring good things to our civilization.

Black Hawk Down Plays In Somalia
In the very neighborhood where the events took place, a pirated copy of the new movie, Black Hawk Down, plays. According to this report, the people depicted in the movie are upset and threatening lawsuits, and there is general disagreement about how accurately events are portrayed. The BBC also reports on the audience reaction, and says there was cheering when the helicopter came down. The movie is based on the book by Mark Bowden, and there is a documentary covering these same events.

Getting More Than An Ear Full
If you have installed Audio Galaxy on your computer, you might be surprised to learn how little online privacy you now have. Check out this article for the ugly details.
-- Updated 3 Feb: Check out what the BBC has to say.

Shoe Bomber's Story
This is a sobering account of the details behind the attempted bombing by Richard Reid. Apparently, MI5 knew about him in the wake of 11 September, also.

Is The Mothman Prophecies A True Story?
The plot of this movie sounds like something out of a tabloid and not the news. But then again, the FBI investigages the so-called X-Files, don't they? Maybe this is true. After all, there was a book written about it. Check out what Blather has to say about the book, the events, and links to supporting information. And listen to Art Bell's interview with the book's author, John Keel (requires subscription to hear show from 24 Jan 02).

A View On Patty Hearst And Monica Lewinsky

Tuesday, January 22, 2002

OnStar logo
Meet George Jetson?
The range of services provided by OnStar is really amazing, and expensive. I'm wondering if technology is going to replace traffic enforcement cops with satellite observations the same way that ATMs replaced bank tellers. In the future, will the tickets arrive by email?

Do You Love Gadgets?
If you love gadgets, check out the Gadget Guru. I can't even justify a PDA even though they look like great fun. They are expensive, one more thing for me to carry in my hands (I'm a non-purse person), and the coordination seems troublesome. Apparently, I'm about the last person on the planet to own one, too. Palm announced yesterday that they have sold almost 20 million of them. (OK, I exaggerated a bit about everyone else on the planet having one.)

Good News For eBusiness
Finally, a prominent ebusiness turns a profit! announced today that it made a profit in the last quarter 2001, the first time it has ever been in the black.

Is This True?
Are more Internet users looking for Microsoft products and information than those who are looking for online pornography? Apparently so, according to this article from Johannesburg, South Africa.

Is Compulsary Military Training Coming To A Country Near You?
Think something like this can't happen in the USA? Think again. H. R. 3598 proposes a year of mandatory military training for all young men, and allows women to volunteer for the same training. See for yourself at Thomas and enter the bill number (H. R. 3598) to see the full text.

Oedipal (Or Is That Edible?) Art
One of the pop art icons of the last century is Andy Warhol's image of Campbell's soup cans. Ever wonder why he choose that image instead of, say, Spam, or Comet cleanser, or Tide? Find out.

MTV Canada
MTV Canada Plays Too Much Music
At least that is the opinion of its Canadian rivals. I don't know how different MTV is up there, but down here, you can hardly find a music video playing any hour of the day. I didn't even know that MTV had a separate channel for Canada. I thought the whole world got the same thing.

Think About This...
The next time you hear that familiar clinking of change as you vacuum the family room.

Have Teeth...
Seems redundant to talk about Mike Tyson biting someone, but he did it again.

Monday, January 21, 2002

Don't "Wait To File Until The Trial"
One of the most interesting news stories lately has been about the impending tax forum, and the "Wait To File Until The Trial" campaign. Originally scheduled for late September 2001, it was moved to February 2002 after the 11 September events. Now, it has been postponed again, this it, it seems, because of the type of media attention being created around it. Well, I was planning to wait, but only because it takes me longer than February to get my taxes finished.

Satellite image of the real Black Hawk Down situation from
Someone To Watch Over Me
Curious to know what is going on with all of those remote sensing satellites being launced into orbit? An Indian newspaper talks about how Pakistan can purchase images of high security sites from the sky without having to launch their own satellites. According to, the ten most purchased images of 2001 include the World Trade Center, Venice, Bora Bora, and Bushehr Reactor in Iran. They offer a free picture of the week, suitable for wallpaper, and this week's picture is the real shot of the Black Hawk Down scenario, taken of Mogadishu, Somalia on Aug. 15, 2001. You can even see the Survivor camp!

Virtual Tour of Machu Picchu
A wonderful site with a brief description of walking the Inca Trail and photos of the ruins at Machu Picchu, one of the places I want to visit. Here are more tours of fabulous places including Easter Island, the Maya, Stonehenge and Mali.

Canadian Paramedics Required To Get Flu Shot
But Canadian nurses are not. What kind of logic is that?

Pooh Pooh on Disney
It seems that Disney is being accused of destroying paperwork related to royalties it pays to use Winnie the Pooh, and the family who owns the rights is suing. It's a sad day in the 100 Acre Wood when a tiny mouse can hurt Pooh. Where is Owl when you need him?

Tunnel Through Hindu Kush Mountains Reopens
Closed since 1997, the Salang Tunnel runs through Afghanistan. Assasinated anti-Taliban leader, Ahmad Shah Massood, gained fame from target shooting Soviet vehicles as they passed out of the tunnel on the south side.

Sunday, January 20, 2002

Genetically Modified Corn Found In Mexico
This is an interesting story, and one I'm going to keep an eye on. What's even more interesting, I just learned that genetically modified corn is already being grown in the US. What rock have I been living under?

I Could Use An Extra Day This Year
If only Senator John McCain, my neighbor and hero, would have sent me one of the congressional calendars, I would have had it -- 31 November 2002 is a day that will live in infamy.

This Museum Is A Flusher!
There are over 300 museums in Arizona, and not one of them is dedicated to the toilet. I think we are missing something here.

Saturday, January 19, 2002

Presidents at APEC Summit Oct 2001
Conditions at X-Ray
Curious about what the Al-Qaeda detainees are eating, or their living conditions? What about the purposes of each of their two towels? Learn the details here from the National Post in Canada. The International Red Cross has interviewed each of the detainees, but have not released their findings.

-- Updated 21 January. Both Canada and Britain are calling the US on the carpet about the treatment of the detainees at X-Ray.
-- Updated 22 January. A voice of reason from the UK.
-- Updated 24 January. Insights into the legalities of the detainees from the International Herald Tribune.

So Much For Building Good Relations
This one left me shaking my head. The Chinese are claiming that they found bugging devices on a plane that came from the US for their president's use. Remember Bush and President Jiang Zemin in the funny shirts after the APEC summit in October? No one knows who put the bugs in there, and the investigation continues.

-- Updated 21 January. More details provided by The Times of London, along with photos and articles from the BBC News.

Who Loves Grilled Cheese?
It's one of my guilty little secrets. I love grilled cheese. When I moved out on my own, I figured out a way to make it with a microwave (make toast, butter one side, put the dry sides together with cheese inside and nuke until it melts). Now, the food writer from the Toronto Star makes public what I thought was private... grilled cheese is uniquely American and beloved.

Department of Interior Websites Shut Down
Maybe I missed this in the news. I was out today trying to find information about the National Historic Register and discovered the the National Park Service website is down. Here is the reason why.

"What Are The Pimps Supposed To Do?"
Read this tongue-in-cheeck commentary from Laurie Notaro, one of my favorite local writers, about Ford's plans for becoming fiscally solvent. It's a hoot!

Friday, January 18, 2002

Scenic Wallace IdahoThere's No Stopping Me Now
The last stoplight on the US interstate highway system was on I-90 in Wallace, Idaho. It was removed in 1991, and marked the completion of the interstate highway system. Also, every building in Wallace is on the US National Historic Registry. It sounds like a great place to visit.

National Science Museums
The Department of Energy has published a list of US science museums, including a list of museums that it runs. Two are located in New Mexico, the location of the Manhattan Project.

The Fans Are Always Right
In recent years, I've become fascinated by the correlations between professional sports and business. It's not that I don't believe running a team or a league is a business... I'm amazed at how having a pro team impacts the business community. Now, Forbes says that winning means everything to the business value of the team. I'm wondering what this news means will happen to my little hamlet, Phoenix, now that we are home to the World Champion team, the Arizona Diamondbacks.

The Boys of Spring
Speaking of baseball, it is almost time to start the MLB spring training here in Phoenix. The games start in about a month, and tickets are already on sale. I can't wait!

Ongoing Security vs. Privacy Debate
Here is an opinion that tells how weak encryption systems from the US were used to protect Al-Qaeda files, allows investigators to break into them. And yet, the article pushes for allowing great encryption systems to leave the US for the greater good.

Thursday, January 17, 2002

Tax Preparation Breakthrough
What a great concept! Now, you can use the TurboTax software online, and pay only when you file or print your return! No more shopping, no more rebates to mail. I love this idea. I can't use this feature, but it also lets you import data from financial institutions and W-2s from participating employers. What a great idea. These folks have done a terrific job in making a difficult task a bit easier. And cheaper. I figure I will save about $25 dollars over the cost of purchasing the software, which I use one time and discard.

More International Taliban Fighters Facing Charges
I must admit, I'm not watching any CNN these days, but from the bits of news I'm getting, I didn't know about the Australian Taliban fighter, David Hicks. His family is asking for him to be returned to Australia to face charges. But how easily will it be to prosecute him under their laws?

What Time Is It in London?
Do you ever need to know the current date and time for another city on the planet? Use this quick service to find out.

Norfolk Post Reef Fish
What Do HIV and Postage Stamps Have In Common?
Nothing, if the Norfolk Island Act is passed. I have always loved the beautiful stamps produced by this tiny Pacific island. And now I learn that they want to test visitors for AIDS/HIV and hepititus to prevent these diseases from arriving on the island. And I thought the US was isolationist.

Test Your Down Under Knowledge
Think you know about current events in Australia? Check out this 50 question trivia test. I was surprised by my own score -- I guess I've been reading more than I knew. Still, I'm not bragging.

Entric Fermentation & The Greenhouse Effect
Do you know the differences between methane and carbon dioxide, and their contributions to the greenhouse effect? And do you know that cow farts are a major source of methane? Now you do.

Sacred Leaves
In Sri Lanka, the task of collecting leaves from this sacred tree is a plum assignment. From South African news.

Forget Your Healthy New Years Resolutions?
That's the advise from this writer in South Africa. But what does she recommend instead? And who can argue with her logic?

Paying His Debts
According to this Cuban writer, George Bush is repaying a favor with the a appoinment of Eugene Scalia to the Assistant Secretary of Justice. It's always interesting to see how those outside the US (and hostile towards us) see our current events. Sometimes enlightening.

Wednesday, January 16, 2002

I? Spy?
Remember Yvonne Ridley, the British journalist who was captured by the Taliban in September after they had required all foreign journalists to leave? I hate to sound like one of those conspiracy theorists, but her story sounds like she might have been setup by MI6, the British CIA. Interesting, too, that this article runs in the Middle Eastern Times, and not the BBC News or even The Times.

What A Typo!
Somehow, the wrong name appeared on a plaque that was supposed to be given to James Earl Jones on Saturday to honor his efforts to further the work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. But instead of the actor's name, the placque contains the name of the man who was convicted for assasinating King in 1968. The company has offered to fix the plaque, but it has not yet been returned to them.

Insies and Outsies Fighting
The Arizona Corporation Commision is going to try to stop Qwest from changing their privacy policy that would make details about consumer calls available to the public. Qwest has attempted to switch to an opt-in privacy system, and the Commission believes that only an opt-out privacy system is appropriate.

Laugh Of The Day
There will be increased security at the Pennsylvania site where the groundhog will predict the end of winter. I guess the plot of "Groundhog Day" wasn't that far off! Bill Murray at his best.

January Weather in Phoenix
What's normal for Phoenix in January? Download this PDF chart to find out.
Making way for a new Walgreens in Fairborn OH
The Times Are Changing
Progress demolished a popular landmark building in Fairborn, Ohio yesterday to make way for a Walgreens. Starting out as a one room school house about 150 years ago, the building was converted to a residence after the turn of the century. My parents bought it during the early 1970s and converted it to a professional office building. My Mom reported to work there almost every day for about 30 years. Interesting tidbit: the building didn't have a bathtub or a shower, which wasn't an issue for the office workers, but poses an interesting question for the previous residents. Also, the bathroom had a distinctive blue ceramic dentist's sink next to the lavatory sink. Makes you wonder about their views on hygiene when so much attention is paid to the mouth and so little to the rest of the body.

NCAA 2002 Men's Basketball Championship Brackets Online
It's time to gear up for March Madness! You can purchase a records book from the NCAA with all kinds of historic trivia, or you can download and print it yourself. It's almost 200 pages, so considering the cost of toner and paper, you can decide which actually costs less and is less hassle. I sent my nephew, Andy, and Dad (both Michigan State fans) the bracket page, which is the last item listed on this page.

Congrats To Someone Living My Dream
This week, a business acquaintance of mine, David H. Young, the Chief Evangelist at Lutris Technologies, had his second book published. This one is Enhydra XMLC Java Presentation Development. David was my contact while I was interviewing Lutris for an Oxford Intelligence profile.

What's In A Name?
I was looking for PR on Lutris, and used Google to search on the company name. I learned that Lutris and its product name, Enhydra, both come from the scientific name for the sea otter. The company is located in Santa Cruz, which is home to the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, which in turn is home to many sea otters. Native Americans attribute the otter with having feminine medicine. I'm not sure how any of this relates to their product that is used to create web and wireless application, but it is interesting.

Take This Job and Shove It...
Well, the "I don't work here any more..." part is correct. According to, in the last year, the Fortune 500's have laid off over 1 MILLION workers. I knew things were tough, but there are some mean streets out there. Keep an eye on their Pink Slip tracker. Other similar services are run by Dotcom Scoop, F---ed Company (which I used to track my own layoff from last year), and the Dot Com Graveyard.

Kate North's Family Site
Kate has created one of the best personal/family websites I've run across. It's good to see that you guys had such a great holiday season. The quilt is beautiful, and I can't wait to see the other one. Here is another example of Kate's handiwork, the Web Links section of the New Scientist magazine website.

Writer's Weekly
My favorite writing ezine, which has provided me with lots of good writing project leads. The warnings and markets are my favorite sections, but I love to hear what is going on at the home office, too.

Woodworker's Journal
I've always been interested in woodworking. Growing up, I watched Dad make something from nothing using wood. If I had a dollar for every hour I've spent watching "This Old House" since I was a kid, I'd have enough money to buy the woodworking tools I need, as well as a garage to put them in.

Business Travel City Information
A new service that covers international cities for the business traveller. Seems to be off to a good start. Knowing these guys, it will only improve over time.

Tuesday, January 15, 2002

Now I've Heard Everything
I wasn't prepared to learn about the Internet's #1Christian porn site, are you?

Monty Python's Reruns
Is it nostaligic longing for happier times, or are we finally getting it? Either way, there is more Python available for viewing today than ever before.

Mariachi Revival
It's cool to bop to this traditional Mexican music now.

High Profile Norway Gay Marriage
I didn't realize that gay marriages were legal in Norway. But I do have one question: if the leader of the Oslo Conservatives is gay, what are the Oslo Liberals like? But don't tell Pat Buchanan -- he is ranting about California's efforts to legalize gay marriages as civil unions. What is he so scared of? Is anyone else frightened by his rhetoric?

Bum Rap
Amidst protests, it is still legal to spank your child in Canada.

No Where To Run, No Where To Hide
Did you know that watching cops in pursuit is very popular in California? I can't believe what I've been missing -- not watching TV while in southern California. I don't even like Cops, so I can't relate to this at all. "Adrenaline in a box" isn't for me. Of course, without a beeper, I'd never know when the chases were being aired, so I'd have to hope they were being played while I happened to be watching.

Spin on Fun Fur
I have never seen coyote fur used to trim clothing before. And I wonder about the wisdom of wrapping the jokester around your neck. Could it cause you to put your foot in your mouth when you speak? Would the coat invite strangers to take it home? Would you always be losing it around the house? I can think of animals with different medicine that would be more appropriate to wear, animals that would provide benefits to the person wearing the item. What will they think of next?

That Is Not My Miss Cleo
I know she is controversial, but I love her. I love listening to the way she talks to people. Some nights, when I can't sleep, I flip through the channels trying to find one of her infomercials. But call her? No way. Get the inside dirt on her and the business she fronts.