Friday, May 31, 2002

I'LL BET HE CAN'T WAIT FOR MEN IN BLACK II


Does this need explaination? No, nothing will make sense of it. Check out the full set here, along with many other body painting studies. Props to Blogatelle for finding this chap.
WEAR IT PROUDLY

This and many, many other fine t-shirt designs are available at the Whitehouse.org Gift Shoppe.

Thursday, May 30, 2002

STUPID FUN
From Don in NYC, via Bianca from the Pit:
BUSY DAYS
BlogApp has crashed on me twice so far while writing this, so I'm going to keep it as short as possible. It appears blogger.com has changed something preventing blogapp from publishing properly. Ca'mon folks, let's work together.

Sorry for not writing much lately. There was a week in NYC, followed by a few days with the family unit at DisneyWorld (again!) Yeah, we've got 4-day locals tickets and we're going to use every damn day, even if it kills us. This visit took us to Animal Kingdom and a couple of nights at the Animal Kingdom Lodge. I myself enjoyed many fine hours of relaxation by the pool sipping fruity drinks. It's just not a vacation if I don't have fresh fruit and plastic monkeys hanging off my beverage glass.

The Animal Kingdom Lodge is quite a trip. All the rooms overlook some kind of savannah populated by giraffes, gazelles and assorted sedate little herds of leaf-eating African mammals. It sounds bogus, but really, waking up to find a giraffe chomping on leaves 50 feet from your window puts a smile on your face. If nothing else, the lack of Disney characters stuck in one's face 24/7 was refreshing.

Oddly, Disney has chosen South Africa as it's role model for the hotel. Hmmm...last time I checked, South Africa was best known for decades-long racial tensions, isolated black homelands and being on Little Steve VanZant's list of PLACES I WON'T PLAY (probably a much shorter than his list of PLACES THAT WON'T BOOK ME). Somehow, Disney stared into that national morass and came out with fancy wines, wildlife conservation and a smiling, mixed race work force that would make the folks at Benetton blush with pride.

The wildlife conservation angle was particularly heavy...and why not? Not only does it give Disney a PC seal of approval, but it also gets them off the hook from supplying straws and other plastic supplies that might endanger the animals. Each night, an earnest black African employee gave a presentation in the lobby on wildlife conservation efforts in his homeland. At the Animal Kingdom Theme Park, probably half the attractions involved conservation themes. The climax of a bumpy, sphincter-tightening (and surprisingly good) "Safari Ride" was when our vehicle helped catch rouge elephant poachers. The low point had to be "Pocahontas - Colors of the Wind", a 13-minute mini musical in which Pocahontas fears the impending destruction of the forest by loggers (or something causing a lot of chainsaw noises to appear in the soundtrack). She turns for advice to an old willow tree and a young sapling. Various woodland critters wander out on the stage and then vanish (having done absolutely nothing). Pocahontas sings several painful songs in the Andrew Lloyd Weber vein (actually, Steve Schwartz, but who cares?). Somehow - though I failed to understand - she resolves her issues with impending woodland destruction. Something about working together? I don't know, I can't recall. It was painful.

Whatever good will earned by all the park's conservation flack was undercut the moment one walked out the front gate and scanned the acres and acres of Florida swampland Disney cut back and black-topped to build a massive single level parking area - the same kind of single-level parking area which surrounds all DisneyWorld theme parks. Environmentalists have been begging Disney for years to spare the wetlands, build parking garages and not simple lay asphalt in every direction. But Disney, which owns miles and miles of property in this part of Florida, has shown no interest in multi-story parking garages, preferring to build outward rather than upward. Is it a matter of cost or not spoiling those pristine, no-visable-buildings sightlines from within the parks? Beats me.

Despite my bitching, this was a fairly enjoyable trip. I'm starting to enjoy Disney resorts much more than their theme parks. BTW - food at the Animal Kingdom Lodge rocks. The high end restaurant was excellent and the buffet was killer, offering dozens of offbeat and well-seasoned African dishes along with the usual assortment of Prime Rib, spaghetti and chicken for the kids and lamer tourists.
SCORE ONE FOR THE GOODS GUYS
To follow up on an earlier blog post, it appears one email scam has been busted - Six arrested over 'Nigerian e-mail' fraud

Tuesday, May 28, 2002


BACK FROM NYC


Ground Zero is a very large hole in the island of Manhattan that's about seven stories deep. I walked down there expecting to feel something profound, but really, it's just a big, bustling construction site. The city's business district becomes absurdly open and spacious right where it used to be cramped and overwhelming. I stood on the corner near the old church, looking across 16 open acres to the World Financial Center (where I once worked) and it was hard to remember exactly which buildings had once stood where. It was much easier to recall television images of horror and death and tragedy.

I hope that whatever monument everyone eventually agrees upon for this site offers plenty of pictures of the old Trade Center and its inhabitants from street-level angles. That's how I'd like to remember it - not from across the river or flying past in a helicopter, but from the street, giant towers rising upward, surrounded by thousands of people all heading somewhere in a hurry.



The 9/11 Missing Person flyers are long gone, but there's still plenty of handcrafted tributes hanging from the buildings and fences that ring the site. This small firehouse stands across the street, on the south side of Ground Zero, next to a deli I used to eat at regularly. It amazes me that buildings like this - which stood 100 feet from the towers - remain standing. I used to sit by the Hudson River, waiting for the Hoboken ferry and stare up at the towers, imaging where they'd land if they fell (this was just after the failed 1993 attack). I gave it a 50/50 chance they could reach all the way to the water and crush the ferry in which I'd be trying to escape. I never imagined they fall straight down.



Inside the World Financial Center's public spaces, all the windows looking out over Ground Zero have been glazed over. I'll bet that was a tough call. If they left the windows clear, the building would likely be packed with gawkers. Unseemly yes, but likely profitable to all the eateries and shops struggling to stay afloat within the WFC. Hey, if the Burrito Kitchen goes out of business, won't that mean the terrorists won? Business be damned, I'm glad the windows are covered.

There's a big battle in NYC about how best to wrap up the Ground Zero clean-up. Mayor Bloomberg has named Thursday, May 30th the closing date. Many families are pissed that the ceremony isn't being held on a Sunday, when more people could attend. Meanwhile, site workers uncovered more bones recently and insist they'll need until June 15th at least to finish up. No matter, May 30th is the day, so support operations like food tents and such are closing down. My friend B Bob - who's been working with the Salvation Army down there for eight months - voiced the frustrations of workers who feel they're being ignored and pushed aside so a bunch of politicians can line up and cry on cue for the television cameras as the final beam is lifted from the hole.

She's right, I know. But isn't that what politicians do? I expect it. What surprises me is how the endgame of this incident has devolved into catfights between politicians, insulted construction workers and the families of dead firemen while rarely mentioned are the most numerous victims - 2,500 office drones who showed up for work one autumn day and got wacked. Read the paper. Nowhere will you find anyone advocating a memorial featuring WTC secretaries, bond salesmen and bus boys from Windows on the World. Maybe I'm dreaming, but that's something I'd like to see.

Sunday, May 19, 2002

IT'S ALL HAPPENING...
The poster below tells the tale - Otis Ball & The Chains are reuniting for a pair of shows in NJ this Thursday and Friday. Being a Chain, I'm heading North to join the fun. If you're in the area, stop by at a show and say hi. I'll be the guy trying to remember the bass parts.

Since Chaindom calls, the Suburban Limbo will likely be on vacation until next week (unless I get access to a computer in NYC). But I'll have plenty of stories to tell then when I sign on again, so check back. See ya later.

Saturday, May 18, 2002

YOUR SEARCH LED HERE
Gotta love this. Suburban Limbo is #4 for lesbians humping each other on Tiscali - Search Powered by LookSmart.

Friday, May 17, 2002

WHY I DON'T DRINK COFFEE
When I was a kid I used to get car sick. This was not helped by semi-annual visits to grandparents who lived eight hours away by car. Nor was it helped by an older brother and sister who delighted in watching me hurl. All three of us would sit in the back seat of the 1968 Buck LaSabre (later, the '73). I would get stuck in the middle and once my parents were involved in conversation, brother and sister would start pumping their arms in circles and moving back and forth. Like life-size pistons.

I'd usually throw up after just a few minutes of this. Just typing this memory is making me queasy.

My Mother, being second generation Italian, tried a variety of old world remedies. There was garlic rubbed behind my ears. A paper bag placed over my stomach. Some sort of oil swallowed pre-trip. Nothing helped. Nor did modern pills. I was a vomit machine. Show me rolling hills, my brother and sister tag-team of pistons and the back seat of our Buick and I'd show everyone my breakfast.

Eventually, the folks gave up on trying to stop me from puking in car. Instead, they focused their energies on handling the output. Various bags were tried to capture the flood. All failed. One failed "in flight" as Dad attempted to walk it to a roadside garbage can. Not pretty. Dad was pissed.

Finally, a coffee can was brought into the fray. An empty coffee can with a plastic, re-sealable lid. It was the perfect vomit catcher. I could throw up one, two, even three times, wipe off my mouth, seal the can and our trip could continue non-stop. But there was a downside - ever hear of sense memory? Every time I got sick to my stomach in the car, I'd open that empty coffee can and lean my head forward. Inhaling deeply, I got a snoot full of ground coffee aroma. I remember looking in the can and seeing little dark brown flakes clinging to the sides. And then I'd vomit.

So here's the sequence we established:
1) Get sick
2) Inhale ground coffee aroma
3) Throw up

It didn't take long for that routine to stick. In a matter of months, just a whiff of coffee aroma could turn my stomach. Coffee machines had to be avoided. Kissing anyone who recently drank coffee was a distasteful chore. I almost avoided living in Hoboken NJ because of the stench of those caffeine breezes coming from the Maxwell House plant in town. Needless to say, swallowing the stuff myself - no matter how frothy or full of milk - never happened. It's not so bad anymore. But even so, Starbucks for me means a steamed milk with a shot of vanilla - and nabbing a seat upwind from all those coffee drinkers.
BLOG READER IDEA
My idea for a Blog Reader is stirring a bit of discussion over at Metafiler - MetaTalk | Comments on 2210. A guy named Rusty Foster from kuro5hin.org seems to understand the concept. Everybody else is mentioning already-existing alternatives which don't really work because they require blogs to construct or publish their content a certain way. That won't work. It has to be as simple as someone subscribing to a URL and that's it. Then, they should be able to track blogs from anywhere, once they open their Blog Reader web page.

CONSIDERING A FLEXIBLE COPYRIGHT
A few weeks ago, I suggested that copyright law was going to have to change to allow for free reuse in some situations and fully protected use in others. According to this article in WIRED - Making Copy Right for All, it looks as though some folks are thinking the same thing.

As arcane as this all sounds, such a law would be huge breakthrough that finally distinguishes between corporate and individual use.

Thursday, May 16, 2002

BLOGGER GOES MOZILLA & OSX UPDATES
If you - like so many folks out there - are bugged about having to use Microsoft products every time you boot up, I'm please to announce a new choice. It appears Mozilla, the new browser based on Netscape's open source code, rocks hard. It works great, looks nice and now works with Blogger. Is that Mozilla's fix or Bloggers? I don't know, but who cares. It works well.

I've been playing with Radio, another piece of blogging software, and I'm impressed with much of what they have to offer. But ultimately, I still like the ability to log in anyway and blog from that computer. radio appears to be based on having the blogging software on a home box, then uploading from there.

If you're a Mac person and haven't tried OSX, you're missing all the fun. First, it looks great. Second, it's rock solid. Crashes are a thing of the past. And there's already tons of cool software (go to Versiontracker.com to download everything). Some favorites here include iMedia Pro (which I use instead of iPhoto because it handles avi video), the OSX version of Dreamweaver, and even the latest Appleworks, which again includes Dataviz for opening MS Office files.

Do to variations in software and performance, I had set up my box with three operating systems - OSX, Classic with 9.2.2 and OS 9.1. With the new Dreamweaver coming out (and the Photoshop 7 update on the way to my box), I'm ready to dump OS 9.1 and reclaim that space. I only find myself in classic for Quark and Final Cut Pro. Since I don't use those every day, I can live with that.

BTW - about Photoshop 7. The update is $130 or so. But Amazon is offering a $50 off coupon. here's the hitch - the coupon says it's only good for the Windows version. Bollocks. I emailed Amazon and they said they would accept the rebate, so I got the latest Photoshop for $80.

Finally...remember Harry with the new iMac that impoded and went to service hell? Well it emerged and is sitting on my desk. Harry - a PC user before his taste of iMac delights - went out a bought a little Sony Vaio with which he's very happy. Too bad the service thing killed his taste for Mac, because this little iMac is sweet. I've been pounding on it and now, it appears to be rock solid. He says he'll sell it to me mondo cheap, so we're considering adding this to the family computer collection. Could be fun.

Wednesday, May 15, 2002

A NEW REASON TO HATE CELION DION, SHAKIRA, JENNIFER LOPEZ & DESTINY'S CHILD
From MacUserUK, it appears computer-killing discs from the above artists and others are being released in an attempt to stop digital ripping. Sure, I'm pissed, but I'm also happy. I always welcome ways to ignore the flood of pop culture lapping at my doorstep . Now I can just look for the "Will not work on PC/Mac" sticker and leave that disc in the shop.

Thanks, I guess.

BTW - both new Tom Waits CDs are available for download at emusic.com. Sign up today.

Celine Dion kills iMacs!

An Apple dealer has 'confirmed' to the Campaign for Digital Rights (CDR) that attempting to play the latest Celine Dion CD in a new iMac will result in the machine having to be sent for repair.

As we reported last month, Celine's latest offering - A New Day Has Come - features copy-protection to prevent it being played and duplicated in a PC, and that same copy-protection was believed to be capable of damaging the PC's firmware. It seems that this is definitely the case, as once the CD is inserted into a new iMac it cannot be removed and the machine cannot be restarted.

This may not be the only CD which could cause the problems. CDR reports that a number of CDs from Sony-owned companies such as Epic and Columbia may also pose a threat. These include the soundtrack for Star Wars Episode II and discs from Shakira, Jennifer Lopez and Destiny's Child. The CDs carry a small warning stating 'Will not work on PC/Mac'.

CDR continues to compile a lengthening list of copy-protected CDs and though not all of them will damage your Mac, some are reported as delivering poor quality sound when played 'legitimately' in hi-fi equipment.

Apple has responded to this problem in a support article listing a number of methods of ejecting a protected CD.
BUSY WORK
I'm playing around with Radio, an inexpensive ($39) piece of blogger-style software which exists on the desktop, giving greater control of a blog. Right now, I'm typing in the radio interface and will then send the info to both my Radio site and my blogspot site.

BTW - I've discovered the meaning of the phrase "herding cats." It must have to do with trying to corral nine 3-year-olds and teach them how to play t-ball. Wherever the ball went, they'd all run after it. Most would fall to the ground and roll around on every play. Running to first base look a like like that Monty Python sketch where a groups of...ahhh...mentally challenged people in a footrace ran every which way but toward the finish line. Every throw was an adventure. In fact, any time they held a ball, it was best to watch out.

This season of T-Ball with Jake is going to be quite a bit of fun.

Tuesday, May 14, 2002

SCAM TIME
Dr. Abdul Kadiri is at it again. Despite that fact that most people in this world know about his scam, his letter still circulates. I got it again today. Always a fun read, especially the spelling errors and curious mishmash of the English language (Modalities have been worked out to the highest level???).

Luckily, the good Doctor has given us his Amsterdamn fax number and his email address (abdulkadiri@lycos.co.uk), so I'm sure this is all on the up and up. Yeah, right. Enjoy, but don't be a sucker.


FAX+31 619 138 901

REQUEST FOR URGENT BUSINESS RELATIONSHIP

This letter is important, and requires your immediate attention!

Firstly, I must solicit your strictest confidence in this transaction.

I am a top official of the Federal Government Contract Review Panel, I am currently on official assignment here in The Netherlands. My local
partners and I are interested in importation of goods into our country with funds which are presently trapped in an interest bearing Federal Government suspense account for which we need a foreign account that you have absolute control over in your country or a third country other than Nigeria to receive the funds.

It was when the new civilian administration in Nigeria set up this panel to review all contracts/ oil licenses to determine their authenticity, propriety in the light of the economic and political realities of my country that we identified a lot of inflated contract funds which are currently floating in our Apex Bank. At this moment we have worked out modalities within ourselves to transfer the sum of US$ 8,500,000,00 (Eight Million Five Hundred Thousand United States Dollars) only, for our personal use.

However, by virtue of our positions as civil servant and members of the Contract Review Panel, we cannot acquire this money in our names.
Consequently, I was delegated by my colleagues as a matter of trust to look for an overseas partner into whose account we can transfer this said money, hence this letter to you.

Furthermore, my colleagues are willing to transfer the total sum of US$8,500,000,00 into your account for disbursement. Your areas of specialization is not a hindrance to the successful execution of this transaction and the account required for this project can either be PERSONAL, COMPANY or an OFFSHORE account, you have total control over. Needless to say, the trust reposed on you at this juncture is enormous. In return, we have agreed to offer you 20% of this sum while 5% shall be set aside for incidental expenses between the parties in the course of this transaction. You must however, note that this transaction is subject to the following terms and conditions:

(1) Our conviction of your transparent honesty and diligence,

(2) That you would treat this transaction with utmost assistance and confidentiality.

(3) That the funds would only be transferred to an account you have absolute control over.

(4) That the funds will be free from undue taxation

Modalities have been worked out to the highest level for the immediate transfer of the funds within 14 working days subject to your swift response and satisfaction of the above stated terms. Our assurance to you is that your role is RISK FREE!. To accord this transaction the legality it deserves and for mutual security of the funds, the whole approval procedure will be officially and legally processed with your name or the name of any company you may nominate as the ultimate beneficiary. Once more, I want you to understand that having put in over 13 years in the civil service of my country, I am averse to having my image and carrier dented. Therefore this matter should be treated with utmost secrecy and urgency that is why I have given you my Amsterdam fax number for contact. Kindly expedite action, to enable us include this transfer in the batch of payment to contractors which is usually carried out on quarterly basis as scheduled.

Yours Sincerely,

Dr. Abdul Kadiri
REDEFINING SLEAZE WITH JAMES CRAMER
I've always enjoyed James Cramer's market and trading comments on CNBC. He's an interesting character, especially when compared to the slicker TV folks usually surrounding him. But an article in today NY Times - Cramer Book Dispute Continues - drop-kicked me as to what a sleaze Cramer really was.

Let me say first, I used to do financial news with Dow Jones. Restrictions on what and how reporters and editors could trade in the markets were taken very seriously. The whole point of the job was to get information before "The Street" got word. If we traded on that information, we would have been fired in a heartbeat.

But Cramer, blurring the line between journalist and industry expert , obviously held himself to no such standards. From the article:

Mr. Cramer, who worked as a journalist and television commentator while managing money, kept up extensive contacts with the press as well, especially his good friends at CNBC. He writes in his book that he talked and shared ideas with reporters, and for a time he said he talked almost daily with CNBC's Maria Bartiromo, who called to find out about analysts' reports that had not yet become public. If, in the course of his contacts, he ever managed to guess the nature of a story from a reporter's questions, he acknowledged that he would trade ahead of the news. "Yeah, I did that game," he said. "It's found money."

No, it's not found money. It's illegal. Perhaps insider trading. At the very least, Cramer should be barred from any other journalistic position, since he's proven that he's an opportunist who will trade on unpublished information.
POLITICALLY INCORRECT TO BE DUMPED IN FAVOR OF MAN SHOW'S JIMMEY KIMMEL
This comes as mostly no surprise. After months of hinting, ABC is pulling the plug on Bill Maher and Politically Incorrect - ABC to End 'Politically Incorrect'. No great loss, as Maher's show was much better on Comedy Central when they used to match up political party mouthpieces with Motorhead's Lemmy.

The part I don't get is replacing the show with a more traditional talk show starring Jimmy Kimmel, late of the Man Show and Win Ben Stein's Money. Kimmel is kind of an amusing guy, but isn't late night talk vs Leno/Letterman just a death trap? Have we learned nothing from Chevy Chase?

Monday, May 13, 2002

ANOTHER PERSPECTIVE
Our friend Warren from Hollywood (whose show "Off Centre" has been picked up by The WB for next season, Thursdays at 9:30 pm), sent us an interior monolog for the old lady at Artist Pointe we discussed in the Disney story below. Let's start with that image again:



OLD LADY: (VOICEOVER, TENSE) Wonderful, here comes the waitress. I know Carl will be ordering his usual, half ice-tea, half lemonade. An Arnold Palmer, he'll call it, and then he'll explain to the waitress that it's named after the famous golfer because that's what he drank. But of course he's only talking to her so he can stare at her chest!

Then without ever taking his eyes off her, he'll flip a thumb at me and say, "she'll have the same." Well, I don't want the same! I hate Arnold Palmer! Not the golfer, he's nice, handsome too, but I hate that drink! For just this once I am ordering something I want! God damn it, give me one moment of dignity in my life!

(THEN, OUT LOUD, TO WAITRESS) I'd like a... an orange soda. (SMILES)

(THEN, VOICEOVER AGAIN) Look at Carl! He can't believe it. He probably won't speak to me for the rest of the meal.

Orange soda. Where did that come from? I don't even like orange soda. (LOOKING AROUND RESTAURANT) Oh well. I just hope no one judges me for this.

(END)

Sunday, May 12, 2002

ANOTHER DAY AT DISNEY
Since we bought a four-visit pass that expire June 7th, it only makes sense that we return to DisneyWorld (as we will two more times). Jake was excited about the Buzz Lightyear Ride, so off we went. This time, it was on a Wednesday afternoon (arriving around 3:00 pm). This is a much more civil time to visit the Magic Kingdom. Fewer kids, fewer people, the sun is cooler and the lines are shorter (especially during parades). All good, except for the bitch of an old lady working the parking lot who insisted we park a 1/4 mile away at the end of her parking row. I ignored her, parked next to the tram and got into a wee bit of verbal exchange with her. Other guests who overheard the discussion sided with me.



I really like the way Disney has updated Tomorrowland, giving it a retro-futuristic feel (as opposed to the Jetsons vibe of its earlier incarnation). Too bad some of its attractions are undergoing renovations.



A detail I missed last trip - before the Buzz Lightyear ride, as Buzz does his spiel for the que, he is assisted with visuals by a giant Viewmaster. Nice touch.



My God...Room To Move! The best thing about Magic Kingdom parades is they pull many people away from other parts of the park. That's the time to hit as many rides as possible and avoid the two hour waits. It's A Small World No Wait. Buzz Lightyear Five minute wait. Jungle Cruise Three minute wait. A lovely experience for all.



Speaking of Jungle Cruise, we were blessed with a hilariously deadpan guide (Chris) who, when the crowd grew a bit unattentive, actually pointed out a boulder on the river and announced Hey look! A rock!. Before the ride, he asked a little kid in front What's your favorite ride so far? Buzz Lightyear said the kid. Mine too said Chris. And you know what? In 12 minutes, when this cruise is done, Buzz Lightyear is still going to be your favorite ride.

Honest and funny. What was he doing here?

High points of Chris' spiel - noting that the Hippo attack was a lot more intense when the Guides had guns (they used to be armed with fake weapons to play act with the robotic animals), announcing the two docks ahead of us was a pair-a-docks (say it faster) and recycling that classic bit I mentioned last time, Asperganny Falls was named after the scientist who discovered it, Dr. Bob Falls.



Jake sported a new pair of shades which gave him the look of Suggs, from the English band Madness (who, BTW - put out an excellent live CD recently).



We ate at Artist Pointe (my fave Disney restuarant) located in the Wilderness Lodge (above). The Wilderness, themed as a Northwest forest retreat, always reminded me of the Ewok Village in Star Wars. It has a magical ability to feel 5-10 degrees cooler than the rest of DisneyWorld. How they do it? Giant fans? Outdoor AC? The convincing power of a well-designed theme? Beats me.



All through dinner, I starred at this couple sitting behind Jake. Older. My guess is from the Midwest (they sounded that way). Barely spoke to each other. The reason for my fascination was the woman. We're eating in a fairly fancy place (a $75 bucks head is not unheard of) and she's drinking a tall glass of Orange Soda.

Maybe there's a fine reason. Maybe she owns the company and only drinks orange soda. Or maybe she a former drunk and that's how she stays sober. Maybe. But here's what I think. I think she's been drinking orange soda since she was 10 years old. She orders it everywhere and drinks it with everything. And that made me sad. It made me sad because that woman and her husband look like good, solid American citizens. Republicans, Fox news viewers, Bush supporters. The kind of folks who vote, who demand tax breaks for their dairy business but hate welfare, the kind who support any bill with the word America in the title. In short, the kind of Ma & Pa, average Americans who run this country. And yet, with all that power, she is so sheltered that she drinks the same Orange Soda she's been drinking since the age of ten. It doesn't seem right.

Look, they don't need to be wine snobs, but I'd like some little bit of proof of a sophistication worthy of their age. Proof that they've learned something since their teen years. Do we really want to be led by people who haven't changed their drinking habits in 50 years? I don't. It almost makes me envy the French.
PLEASE INVENT THIS
I sent this idea to Ev of blogger.com a few weeks ago and never heard back. I post it here in the hopes that some computer genius out there will make it so.

I would like a web-based Blog Reader. This page/program/device would allow me to track blogs that I wish to follow. By opening only one page of my Blog Reader, I could a list of all the blogs I track and which ones have been updated since my last visit (or perhaps that day). The update entry would show the headline of a story and maybe the first line, giving me an opportunity to decide if I want to visit that blog.

I have about 25 blogs I'd like to read on a daily basis, but opening each of them every day is a time-consuming pain in the ass. A Blog Reader would make life much easier and I bet it would also entice folks who don't now read blogs into doing so, by making the task so much easier. I bet they'd even pay a few bucks a year to have such a page.

So there you go, program away. My only request is that you keep the project Open Source and give me a bit of credit.
MUSIC OR RECYCLING?
I can't decide. I'm listening to a new album from the Jeep Jazz Project, a cut & paste collective in the acid jazz, ambient vibe. I like it, but it's hard to call it music. It's a collection of other records edited, recontextualized and presented as something new. I feel like one of those old union guys screaming In my day, the music had to be played by living breathing musicans!

I think what bothers me about this is a short story I read years ago. It was a sci-fi story and in it, a guy invented a computer which analyzed every hit song ever made, then scrambled their melodies and chords to produce new songs. The idea was, what better way to create a hit song than use bits and pieces of other hit songs? Listeners would find it familiar enough to enjoy quickly, but not enough to where they might think it unoriginal.

Every time I hear one of these cut and paste acid jazz projects, I think of that story and that computer.
YOUR SEARCH LED HERE
Suburban Limbo is Number 3 on Yahoo for this wee bit of wishful thinking sex farsi free fuck girl iran

I guess the Taliban got their internet access working again.
SEGWAY CLAIMS FIRST VICTIM
So much for effortless, safe, transport of the future. A member of Atlanta's Police force hurt his knee and more when he tried to negotiate the difference between a sidewalk and a driveway. Bloody photo here

Thanks to Blogatella for pointing out this link.

Saturday, May 11, 2002

KID PATROL

CB's wife and daughter stayed with us last night. Quite a bundle of energy their little girl Fiona is. Jake couldn't decide whether to be enthralled or terrified. Ahhh..it was all good. Nobody was killed. But they were staying in my computer room, hence the lack of blogging earlier today.

BTW - above is a bit of a comparison featuring an inset of the kids at about 6 or 8 months of age, and yesterday, at age 3.5 or so.
EX-BLUES CLUES HOST JOINS DEPECHE MODE
Okay, that's not quite true. But it sure does look that way, hmm? Steve Burns, ex-host of kids TV megahit Blue's Clues has retired his striped shirt, shaved his head and joined the hordes of guitar-slinging young men who prowl the back alleys and clubs of America in search of an indie rock record deal. Good for Steve. That's a career move nobody's thought of before. I'm sure Mom is thrilled.

To his credit, Steve's had the good taste to record with some members of the Flamming Lips and his music is pretty damn cool - kind of strange, orchestrated pop with a fractured song sensibility. I like what I've heard. Hear it yourself by downloading the mp3s at Steve's Web Page.

BTW - thanks to Pseublog for pointing out this bit 'o music news.

Friday, May 10, 2002

BLOG ROLLING
-=Sauce=-is a trio of 16-year-olds blogging up a storm in fine fashion. It's quite a bit of weirdness and fun, along with the standard teen angst about relationships and such. Look for their 5-words movie reviews, such as this gem for 100 Girls - Philosophy and Sex?... I'm in!

Thursday, May 09, 2002

APATHY'S BACK!!!
As I mentioned earlier, that asshole was who was sticking pipebombs in mailboxes across the Midwest (following the outline of a smilie face!!!) was the guitarist and singer in a grunge band called Apathy. Their IUMA page has returned - Apathy (MN) - index page - Free MP3 downloads, CDs, Bio Info, Tour Dates, Lyrics and More!" I think the Tour Dates link is going to be blank for a while.

Since this page might vanish at any time, I took the liberty of downloading their mp3 CONFORMITY and making it available here. If Cobain wasn't already dead, this sort of Nirvania wannabe music would most certainly make him want to take a dirt nap.

Thanks to the several folks emailed me with this info.

Wednesday, May 08, 2002

GOING, GOING...

Well folks, Suburban Limbo is currently in the next to be knocked-off spot on the Blogs of Note list (Thanks again, Ev). Jeeze, and I never even got the t-shirts designed and up for sale. Damn. I've been wondering what traffic will be like once that link is gone, but somehow, I think it'll turn out just fine. Thanks to the many, many sites who have added Suburban Limbo as a link on their sites. I'll try to do the same whenever I find you.

In any case, consider this a warning if you visit Suburban Limbo via Blogger.com - now is the time to make a bookmark. I hope you do and come back often.

Tuesday, May 07, 2002

NOT APATHETIC ENOUGH
It appears that Luke John Helder, the guy nabbed for setting pipe bombs in the Midwest, was none other than the guitarist and singer for the up and coming Minnesota band APATHY.

Apathy's website has been taken down (by The Man, no doubt), but you still catch a glimpse of what all the fuss was about via this cached page at Google. In case that's gone by the time you arrive, dig the vibe of the band via this blurb they include at the site.

We are a trio of people who love to play, and put on a show. We play original music. We not only concentrate on our music but puting on a rockin' show. After being together for a few months everything seemed to go well so we decided to record a record. We did so in around fifteen hours, and over the course of three days. It was a fun time and good experience. We are very happy with the quality and sound of the cd. The album is called "Sacks of People". We have been playing shows contiously now and always look forward to playing out of town for new people.

Tragically, Apathy's mp3s no longer function or download. Damn.

Thanks to Alice in TV Land for pointing out this crucial Music News.
YOUR SEARCH LED HERE
I hate to admit it, but Suburban Limbo is at the top of the list for the Yahoo search teenage lesbians playing with poop

Ouch.
BLOGGING HELP
I'm amazed how many nice and helpful people I've "met" through blogging. This guy Don from Verbal Diarrhea wrote earlier today and told me my archive links were missing. We exchanged emails all afternoon until I got the code correct and he confirmed things we're working again.

Professional Customer Service departments are rarely so helpful. Thanks Don.
A REASON TO READ THE TADPOLE STORY BELOW
From Warren in LA:

Judging by this morning's post, you are a killer and a liar. You are as cold-blooded as those tadpoles you massacred. See you in Hell.

By the way, bleach works better, faster, and smells like the pool at a YMCA.
TADPOLES
The noises started at night a couple of weeks ago - rumbling snorts and grunts from just beyond the living room window. The sounds came from our tiny courtyard - home to a fake pond and fountain, leafy green plants and two large bullfrogs who were obviously humping their little amphibian brains into ooze. Yes, frogs were mating just a few feet away from my couch potato ass. And that could only mean one thing.

Tadpoles.

Our courtyard pond is not only a mosquito breeding ground and boundless generator of viscous mud, it's also the perfect location for lusty frogs to bump uglies and drop a few hundred tadpoles. The humping noises come first, followed days later by itsey, bitsey visitors breaking the surface of the water. Within a week or two, the fake pond is team with life and something must be done.

Natalie recorded the first eyewitness sighting of the tadpoles this year. I found out the typical way - she demanded I get out there and clean it up (one of these days I'm going to rip out that fucking pond because all I ever do is clean it out and fix the pump that makes the statue pee). Jake - who can tell you he's three and one-half by holding up three and one half fingers - took a great interest in the tadpoles. I encouraged it. I encourage anything that helps him empathize with animals (it's safer for our dog that way). I pointed out the little buggers, picked up a handful and held them close to his face. We made a plan to capture them all and release them in a nearby pond.

He was thrilled. So we got a bucket and a pool skimmer net and started capturing the tadpoles, filling the bucket with them. Jake watched and asked all the repetitive questions usually asked by boys who are three and a half. I did the work, often blindly sticking my hands into the deep muck of the pond. Eventually, we gathered up a half bucket of dirty water, muck and tadpoles and declared the first part of the job complete. Time for snacks.

While Jake gathered rice treats and Goldfish, I brought the bucket to the workroom and stared at the tadpoles, who were swimming contentedly. I started to ask questions - did I really want a few thousand more frogs wandering the neighborhood? Did I really want more frogs falling into the pool and getting sucked in the skimmer (which - surprise! - I usually have to clean out)? And how was I going to drive an open bucket of mucky pond water in my car without spilling anything?

I wasn't. I looked outside and Jake was already onto the day's next activity, playing basketball. I started humming that Tom Waits song that goes - There's always a little killing to be done around the farm and search my workroom for something that would terminate the tadpoles. I bypassed the pool chemicals and went instead for a large plastic jug of white wine vinegar. To the sound of Jake announcing his lay ups, I poured a quart or so of vinegar into the tadpole bucket.

I half expected a small explosion or some other form of instant death, but there was none of that. Instead, there was an intense thrashing about in the bucket. Like bugs caught in a direct blast of RAID, the tadpoles were desperately scurrying to escape. Only they're tadpoles. They don't have arms or legs - just a little black body and a sperm-like tail. There was nowhere for them to go. The water churned with their desperation. I watch for a few seconds and realized why I'm not a farmer - I don't have a stomach for death. I want to be Dr. Doolittle, not Frank Perdue. I covered the bucket with a rag so I wouldn't have to see what I'd done. I couldn't hear anything, but I imagined the tadpoles swimming furiously and then slowly, one by one, giving up, inhaling the vinegar through their pre-gills, bloating and sinking into the muck.

I wandered around the house for 10 minutes, thinking about where I could empty the bucket, when Jake found me. I'm going to wear this hat he said. When? When we let the tadpoles go.

For a brief second, I thought about telling him the truth. Then I thought about trying to manipulate him into not wanting to go, which would free me from his gaze. I settled on the original plan.

Okay, let's go.

I loaded him into the car, got the bucket and carefully placed it in the wheel well of the passenger seat. We drove a few minutes to a nearby lake, ignored all the NO Parking signs and stopped the car on a small bridge. Where's the lake? Jake wanted to know. I pointed it out, a few hundred yards away. Between it and us was a narrow stream that flowed from under the bridge. I grabbed the bucket and pulled off the rag. The muck was still, the surface was thick with dead tadpoles. The stench of vinegar was strong.

You have to stay in the car, I told Jake, then I got out, walked out to the edge and emptied the bucket into the stream. All one quick motion. I looked into the stream on the off chance I might see something moving. It was still.

All those tadpoles are going to swim down the stream to that lake, I told Jake. Then they'll grow up to be frogs and we'll come back here and see them, okay? Jake concurred happily, straining against his seat belt to look at the lake as we drove away, imagining tadpoles hurrying downstream to their new home.

Monday, May 06, 2002

THE ARCHIVE LINKS HAVE MOVED
After weeks of problems with Blogspot's "Now You See 'Em, Now You Don't" archives, I've moved the links to the lower portion of the column to the left. Hopefully, they will remain visable there. Click away and catch up on the Suburban Limbo of days gone by.

Saturday, May 04, 2002

MORE BLOG ROLLING
Need to re-experience to pain of high school relationships? Enjoy Altered Context, where the narrator debates his on-again/off-again relationship with Samantha and dreams of leaving for college. I particularly like that he's posting this online in a blog but has added this note:

As a result of the badness that's gone down recently, I need to state this disclaimer: Don't repeat anything you read in this journal to people.

Okay, everybody...shhhhhhhh... Don't discuss this offline.

This is great stuff. In case you don't believe it's better than Buffy, just check the cast list and descriptions:

The Players
Sam: Samantha, my girlfriend
Chris: Samantha's friend, my enemy. He and Sam cuddle sometimes, Sam claims it's innocent.
Danny: Nice guy, eats lunch with us. Possibly an unwitting pawn.
Billy: Eats lunch with us. Wants Sam, and is therefore jealous of me and hates me.
Nick: Sam's friend, tried to convince her she's gay. Nice guy. Made peace with us.
Dave J.: Mutual friend.
Kate: My ex-girlfriend, Sam's ex-best friend. Dave J. has a crush on her. She's glad things are falling apart between Sam and me.
Mike: A great friend, finds things out for me since he likes CIA-ish work.
Bryan: A great friend.
Nancy: Was a great friend until she betrayed my trust.
Timmel: Friend of Nancy and Sam. Helps to spread rumors.
SOUND PISSED OFF!
If you need to sound pissed off but can't muster the rage, drop by the Samuel L. Jackson Soundboard. With just a click, you can tap into many fine audio-only moments from Mr Jackson's movie career and share them as loudly as your computer speakers will blast. Or play them back whenever phone solicitors call. Highlights include:

Your Ass Ain't Talking Your Way Outta This Shit!
Shut The Fuck Up!
Shut The Fuck Up Fat Man!
Does He Look Like A Bitch?
This Is Some Fucked Up Repugnant Shit
This IS A Tasty Burger
This Ain't None Of Your Goddamn Business
and many, many more.


Thanks to Bianca from Ground Zero in NYC for this site.

Friday, May 03, 2002

YOUR SEARCH LED HERE
Yahoo! Search Results for horny mother in law
YOUR SEARCH LED HERE
Google Search: centerfold 1970s playmate
WELL THIS HAD TO HAPPEN, HUH?
SUBURB THE MUSICAL Guess what it's about?

BTW - Saab called yesterday and told me they've ordered a new rug for my car and they'll be installing it for free as soon as it comes in. Score one for sarcastic letters. It makes me glad I spent all those years as a freelance writer.

Thursday, May 02, 2002

HERE COMES THE DEATH OF INTERNET RADIO
My buddy Jared over at Blowtorch Monkey Armada has a very interesting rant about the coming death of Internet radio via stupid royality rates. The page is here. Scroll down - past the lovely plug for Suburban Limbo - until you get to Monday's post. He has many good links in the story worth following.

Being a musician, I should be for royalities, but that fact is they rarely reach the vast majority of musicians. All these royality agencies are slanted so that the big players take all the dough and the little guys get zippo - even when their music is played in tons of places which are paying royalities to the agencies. I think we're reaching a stage where the commercial players have to be separated from the no-budget independents and those non-budget guys have to be given no-royality agreements in order to expose the music they love (and yes, most of them are doing for love, plus a bit of ego).

Maybe musicians can add clauses to their CDs stating that it can be played royality-free in non-commercial/non-profit situations. If not, I guess we can all just sit back and agree that the music industry is really fucking itself into oblivion with their unwillingness to adapt to the new world.
THE CRANKY CONSUMER
One of the nice things about being a freelancer is I have plenty of time to write letters to businesses that piss me off. I firmly believe these companies don't get enough detailed feedback from unhappy consumers and they NEED to hear from us. Remember my Saab incident of a few days ago? (scroll down for it) Well, I wrote a little letter to the local Saab folks and now they're climbing all over themselves to fix the problems. Yeah!!! Here it is for your amusement.

4/25/2002

Saab Service Department
XXX Saab of Orlando

Dear Mr. XXX,

This week, after getting our family Saab serviced, I got a letter from you imploring me to fill out a satisfaction survey that I would soon receive from Saab. The letter included two questions the survey might contain and suggested – via the use of pre-checked boxes – how I should answer. While I admire Saab for their aspiration to excellent service, I find this letter insulting. Let me explain why:

1) I know how to fill out a survey. I do not need your company to pre-check the boxes in some simpleton demonstration of how you’d like me to respond. Whatever pinhead consultant convinced Saab that this was a good idea deserves to be shot.

2) You want customers to feel special? Trying using a computer to print our name on letters you send out. Hand-scrawling the car owner’s name atop a pre-printed form is about as personal as…well…as personal as most car salesmen.

Also clouding the issue was the service I received. First, let me say that Guy XXX is an absolutely top-notch rep for your company. I am always pleased to deal with him. No matter what he’s getting paid now, the guy deserves a big raise. Your service department? That’s another story. Two quick examples:

1) When your staff returned my car, the dashboard indicator read COOLANT LEVEL LOW – this after a $500 “Golden Service.” Are your drivers so stupid or blind that they don’t see such warnings when bringing out the cars? Perhaps they don’t care? Either way, it’s sad. Luckily, Guy XXX took car of that instantly.

2) One complaint I had was that the driver side rug was detached, exposing the door metal. The repair report said the rug was “reattached with glue and screws.” Really? Within 48 hours, the rug was just as detached as before. My guess? Your crew jammed the rug underneath the sidewall and tightened it down, hoping I was too stupid to notice. Ha. They’ll get a chance to fix that again and again until they do it right.

3) I thought you were supposed to clean the car when it gets serviced? Sure, the outside was wet, but the rear wheels were still coated in black brake gunk and the interior was just as full of crumbs as when I brought it in.

Considering the half-assed job on the rug and cleaning, I have doubts whether any of the repairs were performed as indicated. Usually, I feel good about Saab service, now…we’ll see. But trust me, when I get that survey from Saab, I will be certain to fill it in and send it back promptly.

You know, I probably wouldn’t be so pissed off about the rug and coolant thing if I didn’t get that ridiculous letter. So maybe it is doing its job in pushing me to rate the service I received.

Yours truly,
BLOG ROLLING
I am pleased to announce that my good buddy Chas has started his own blog - The Chasbah, although the page title is Anarchy In The AM (Blogs take a while to straighten out, ya know?). Either way, Chas is a great writer and I'm sure that anyone who digs Suburban Limbo will groove to the dulcet tones of his comments on Macintosh, Monty Python, Brit TV and most anything else under the sun. BTW - Chas is my personal Mac Guru, so Mac heads out there can look to him for cool links to all the latest and greatest Mac news, shareware and tidbits.

I've added a link to his page over to the left. Click it often and tell him I sent you.

Wednesday, May 01, 2002

CONSIDER TARGET MARKETING
Hi. You are a wonderful writer. I check your page every day to see what you have written.
p.s i'm from iran and read your blog every day
please see my weblog at: zahra-hb.blogspot.com

Best

--Zahra


BTW - Zahra's page is written in Farsi or Persian or something. Here's a sample: