January 2005 Archives

Mardi Gras Week

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The Mardi Gras season kicks into high gear this week. Mardi Gras is Tuesday, February 8, and itís quite a bit earlier than normal this year. For this non-parade-goer, it means taking alternate routes home. Starting tomorrow, there are parades every night in the vicinity of my commuting route. I may try to make the Krewe of Bush parade this Saturday but only because Iíve never been to it and I should see it at least once. Civic duty.

One of the biggest parades in New Orleans is the Krewe of Bacchus. Bacchus is the God of Wine. It parades on the Sunday before Mardi Gras every season. Their tradition is to name a celebrity Bacchus every year. For 2005, it's Sean Astin. Because of the early Mardi Gras, they will be parading on Super Sunday and I suspect everyone is miffed about that bit of scheduling.

Short Mardi Gras history. Mardi Gras means ď Fat Tuesday . It is a Catholic thing. Fat Tuesday is the day before Ash Wednesday, which is the start of Lent, which is a time of fasting. Itís one last day to get all your partying in before having to fast. Lent is still a big deal in Louisiana. A good many people still abstain from eating meat. Seafood, particularly boiled crawfish, will be very popular in the coming days and weeks. A crawfish boil, although technically in the Lenten tradition, is also a bit at odds with Lent. They are typically very festive.

I intend to have at least one crawfish boil here this year. I bought the boiler pot and stand a few years ago and I had three or four that first season. None since. It will probably be after Easter, though. Thatís when the crawfish prices start coming down and the crawfish are bigger. People in Alabama and Mississippi use crawfish for fish bait. Donít tell anyone but there are no fish in Alabama or Mississippi that taste as good as the bait.

And, now, for something completely different: I want to visit Iceland some day. I love pictures of Aurora Borealis and want to see it for myself.

Blog of the day here.

Quote from said blog: "Get this - if you've bought a widescreen MGM DVD between 1998 and 2003, you've been ripped off. It seems every one of these DVDs isn't actually widescreen - it's pan and scan with black bar covering the top and bottom of the picture!"

Another typical Sunday

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As I was riding my bike in the subdivision across the street this morning, I came across these Mallard ducks in one of the many ponds over there. They were swimming in circles for a minute or so and then got out. I then noticed that there was one female who was leading the three males around. Maybe they selected her as the leader. Yeah, that must be it.

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One of the many, many new construction sites in the same subdivision. Our construction crew ten years ago didnít have a bathroom facility on site. Iíll leave you to your imagination.

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Wild birds occasionally fly into our windows. One of the remedies for that is to hang a silhouette of a hawk in the affected windows. I suppose it works but it keeps wild birds a little too far away. There were no birds near this fellow. The closest living thing to him was me.

Updated the Framed Comments link this morning. One of the joys of framing comments is that I get to read the November 21, 2004 entry again, which contains this gem from my friend, Hoot:

Hmmm. Brick Chimneys scattered around the area eh? Signs of an ancient barbecue worshipping civilization? Or maybe proof that barbecue was brought to us from the stars? I definitely think you need to chase this mystery down Rob. There could even be a Fox series.....The BBQ Files? :)

I think Iím a descendant of said civilization. Yes, I do worship barbecue. Made my day again, Hoot. Thanks.

Blog of the day here.

Quote from said blog: "What will Europe look like in 5, 10, 20 years? Will it be a increasing global threat, an economically ruined nuisance, or something else altogether? I don't know, but in my opinion this is not a situation for benign ignorance on the part of Americans."

Wasted Days & Wasted Nights

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Would like to say I was busy all day but I truly donít know where the day went. I spent part of the morning doing computer backups and doing my rather skimpy finances. Afterwards, we watched The Devil and Miss Jones ( No, not the XXX-rated one with the similar title. Not that I would know about such things. ) and, then, we watched The I Inside. The first one was OK but a little dated. I want my two hours back for the second one. What a confusing bit of mish-mash it was. Spent the afternoon running errands. Collateral is on tap for tonight. In retrospect, I guess I could say it was a gloriously wasted day.

My cousin took some fabulous pictures of the St Paul Winter Carnival. That looks like fun. It also looks mighty cold.

Just for fun, CrabAppleLane Blog joined the Louisiana Blog Webring. Todayís BOTD is also in the ring.

Good Luck to everyone in Iraq tomorrow. Well, everyone except the murderous thugs.

Blog of the day here.

Quote from said blog: "Oh drat. I knew it would happen. A craving for a beautiful, vine-ripened tomato sandwich, with mayo and salt and pepper-- that you have to eat over the sink because it's so juicy it drips all over the place."

Originally, a no title post

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Next Sunday, Super Bowl XXXIX will be played. Thatís 39 for those who donít know Roman numerals. The only thing that bothers me about that is that Iíve seen every one of them except the Vikings-Steelers Super Bowl and Cowboys-Dolphins Super Bowl in New Orleans. Those were blacked out in this area. The Vikings-Chiefs Super Bowl IV was also blacked out in New Orleans but I attended that one. Probably hard for Generation Xers to believe that the Super Bowl wasnít always the extravaganza that it is now and had trouble selling those $15 tickets. Thatís right. $15, not $500 or whatever they are now.

I donít read Keith Olbermann enough. Heís funny.

The BOTD has similar views to mine about this hobby.

Blog of the day via Pitcherlady is here.

Quote from said blog: "I can easily imagine how certain posts could lead to family arguments, libel suits, lost of employment, etc. I still donít quite comprehend the blogger celebrity garnered by people who lose their job because of their blog. Whatís so great about losing your job because you were imprudentóbut maybe Iím missing something."

Whatever it is, Iím missing it, too. -Rob

Pirates

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It is thought that there are millions of users running pirated copies of Microsoft Windows. I simply cannot wrap my mind around that. How does that come to be? If the computer didnít come with a licensed copy of Windows when it was new, what operating system did it come with? Are computers being built by companies without a Microsoft license? Probably quite a few, but millions?

I love this:

The company also said it will begin providing discounted versions of Windows to users in China, Norway and the Czech Republic who discover they have a counterfeit version of Windows XP.

Discover? There may be a handful of people who bought computers from their pirate grandsons who didnít know they had a counterfeit copy but the vast majority of these users know exactly what they have and what theyíre doing. Instead of rewarding their bad behavior, how about providing the discounts you seem to have at your disposal to the people who have paid for your product over the years? How about making the pirates pay full price when they finally canít use their machine any more?

Full disclosure: Some of the mutual funds in my very modest retirement portfolio contain shares of Microsoft stock. Whose doesnít? When it comes to pirates and/or hackers, Microsoft is right as rain to protect their intellectual property and their doing so probably benefits me. That said, I am still a bit conflicted about Microsoft. I use some of their products but they are outrageously overpriced, they donít play well with others, and their business practices are monopolistic.

Blog of the day here.

Quote from said blog: "Evangelical "moralists" like to blame "Hollywood" for the degradation of culture and the emergence of x-rated television, etc. Yet. lets turn back the clock to the high point of Democratic Party dominance in gov't: 1962."

Not quite. If you don't like what's on TV, there is only one place to put blame: The viewers. Personally, I like the choices I have even though I sometimes still can't find something I feel like watching. -Rob

TV

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Gilmore Girls is a show I liked every time I got to see it. Itís on the WB station, which I hardly ever scan, and itís on at a time when Iím still working or commuting. It is being rerun on ABC Family, which is part of my DirecTV package. I can now record it with my UltimateTV receiver. The beauty of UltimateTV or TIVO is that it has an option that allows you to record all shows in a series and it will be set to record any program in that series whenever it comes on. I have about 10 series I do this with. Saves me the trouble of seeing when they come on.

About the show: It is totally over-the-top ridiculous much of the time but quite true-to-life much of the time, too. It is quirky and extraordinarily well-written. I donít think the kind of small town charm that is depicted in the show still exists anywhere but thatís OK with me. Certainly, the small town I now live in is not like that.

The BOTD weighs in on an issue that has been a topic here of late.

Blog of the day here.

Quote from said blog: "Good news, and long overdue. Letís hope this sucks enough of the value out of the comment-spam proposition to kill these bottom feeders once and for all."

Popp's Fountain

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This is Popp's Fountain in City Park. I had lunch here today. When I was last here, I was tailgating for a Tulane-Navy game at City Park Stadium. Dad was supposed to go with me but he had broken his ankle. The fountain was overgrown and looked like it hadn't been tended to in many years. I didn't know what it was. They light this up at night but I haven't seen it yet. I donít remember seeing this as a kid but Iím sure I must have. For you Viking fans, the star of the day was Mewelde Moore of Tulane. Some Navy jets did a flyover during the National Anthem. It was a fun day.

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Is there anything sadder than a padlock on a public facility?

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Shot through the bars.

Rushed Morning

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Here in Louisiana, we have been treated to just spectacular sunsets the last few weeks. Was there a volcano or some other natural event recently to cause this that I might have missed? I donít think the tsunami would have any impact on the setting sun or the upper atmosphere but maybe Iím wrong about that.

Wanted to watch parts of Leno or Letterman last night figuring they would both be paying tribute to Johnny Carson. I donít even remember my head hitting the pillow. Bummer.

Yet another Movable Type Upgrade performed this morning. Even at broadband speeds, theyíre getting tiresome. Too many folders and files to upload. Only a handful of files have changed since their last upgrade. They ought to make a smaller upgrade file for those of us who upgrade regularly.

Blog of the day here.

Quote from said blog: "Argh. I just wrote a Really Long Entry and it is all gone. Somehow, some way, some Hamptons Inn Business Center Void. All gone."

Been there. Done that. -Rob

Monday Morning QB

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R.I.P., Johnny. Surprised to this day that he disappeared from public life when he went off the air. I didnít watch his show religiously but Iím pretty sure I saw it at least twice a week. Iíll never forget Steve Martin doing King Tut for the first time on The Tonight Show. I donít remember much of the routine but I remember how it stopped the show. Iím not the biggest fan of talk shows ( Were called variety shows in his day ) but his was easily the best of them.

Our playoff league is getting interesting. Only one game left now.

The New England Patriots are simply amazing. Not a dominant team in any part of their game although not really weak in any part of their game, either. The only part of the game they excel at is the scoreboard. Theyíre almost always ahead at the end and I just love the way they go about their business. Thereís no swagger at all on that team. There is nothing not to like about the way they play football. Go Pats.

Had to steal a link from the BOTD. Always wondered. Now, I know.

Blog of the day here.

Quote from said blog: "Oh well ó I might as well start sleeping in on Sunday mornings, then."

Me, too. -Rob

Extra Sunday Pictures - Entry # 700

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Eastern Sky

This is the eastern sky as the sun is setting in the west behind me.

Moonlight

A plane had crossed in front of the moon.

Just another lazy Sunday

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There should be a rule. If the sun is shining, the temperature should be at least 50ļF. Itís 20ļ with a wind chill that puts the temp in single digits here but the sun is shining. A good day for riding the bikes, watching football, and eating leftover king cake.

Patriots and Falcons in the Super Bowl. You heard it here.

New Orleans Sunset

An urban sunset. I took this Friday in New Orleans. One of my work colleagues told me it would be neat if I could remove all of the wires and street lights. I kind of like it with all of that. What do you think?

Tufted Titmouse

Spied this ritual on our feeders this morning. Two tufted titmice were taking turns dropping out of the tree above our feeder, grabbing a black oil sunflower seed while keeping an eye on the guy with the camera,

Tufted Titmouse

and then flying back up and banging said seed on a branch to open it.

Blog of the day via Kiwifruit is also having a lazy Sunday here.

Quote from said blog: "Today I've been visiting blogs and catching up on my reading. It's snowing. I think it's going to be a perfect day for reading, watching videos/DVDs and just being lazy."

A working Saturday

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Today: Work first, then some minimal grocery shopping at Sam's, and then, the king cake ( Raspberry and cream cheese filled ). Life is good.

Ordered Nickel Creekís first CD along with some other CDís last week after two high recommendations in the comments here from Brent and Kim. A work colleague has it and also happened to have it at work when I asked him if heíd ever heard of them. I listened to it somewhat in the background that day at work. I was much too busy that day to take it in but I liked what I heard. Theyíre not ď bluegrass enough Ē for him but Iím not nearly as hardcore about that type of music as he is so I took that as a good sign. Hope theyíll be here today.

Kim put up some great Louisiana pictures yesterday from two trips she made here some years ago.

Does this seem a little too Abandon All Hope to you?

Blog of the day here.

Quote from said blog: "Yeah - come 2 weeks and 6 days from now, I will look back on this post and give myself the finger as I furiously rush to get that project done at the last minute."

About the spam

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About yesterdayís Google stuff: Never mind. Iíve decided to disable that plugin for now because my methods of fighting comment spam have been effective lately and it is a bit too harsh on the people who are kind enough to comment here. Kim pointed this out yesterday in an excellent post and I agree with her. Although I doubt any of my wonderful commenters are doing so for the Google points they might score, whatever benefits their sites get from commenting here will not be denied by me. Fair is fair.

Spammers have to jump through significant hoops to get their trash posted here. They havenít been successful in a few months now and their comments will be quickly deleted if they ever do. Theyíre still trying to find ways around my defenses, though. In a word, thatís malicious. As distasteful as this is to me, this may be the only way to ultimately stop it.

The battle of the sexes rages. When it's good, it's good. Otherwise, it's tiresome.

Blog of the day here.

Quote from said blog: "You may have seen that, with the rest of the country being hammered by record cold and snows, the Raleigh Durham area of North Carolina got a "snow storm" yesterday that caused record traffic jams - some delays were as long as 8 hours, about 1,000 accidents and was blamed for approx. 3,000 students being stranded at their schools overnight."

Inauguration

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Itís Inauguration Day. The ceremony will be broadcast live on every public station, most cable news outlets, and probably over the internet, too, but the vast majority of working Americans wonít be able to see it live. I suspect more people might watch if they could. This is why Major League Baseball started playing at night. Get a clue, Washington.

This is great news for bloggers. I installed the MT plugin this morning. Took all of a minute and it absolutely works. Word for spammers: Youíre wasting time on my site. However, now, itís no longer not just my time. Cool beans.

Blog of the day here.

Quote from said blog: "Yesterday afternoon, shortly after arriving in Honolulu, I took the picture below using my Nokia 6600 camera phone:"

Nice pic. -Rob

Jace Herring * Bloghosts

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Bloghosts shut down on January 1 or so. They were CrabAppleLaneís former host. For the most part, they were a pleasure to do business with. Jace Herring was the driving force behind it. His support was very good. So good, in fact, that I signed up for another year back in July and I also recommended Bloghosts to a few other people. He offered full service hosting aimed at the blogging community, including domain registration and blog software installation. Thankfully, I didnít need those services. Unfortunately, it seemed to make sense at the time for the two people I sent his way, my sister and an old friend. Bloghosts announced their decision to close a good couple of months before they actually did and I thought that was pretty good of them. It gave us a chance to find other accommodations. I moved all of my files to a new host the weekend I read his announcement and gave him back that server space.

Support has since dried up. He has not responded to any of my emails. He owes me money for the unused portion of the service I paid for. He also doesnít respond to requests for transferring domains in all cases although he has in some cases. My sister and my old friend will be able to get their domains back in a couple of months when Bloghosts lets them lapse assuming no one gets to them first. What a pain. The letter Iíve been sending to him at least once a week is here.

Jace is a young guy based on what Iíve read. Unfortunately for him, internet search engines will show him to be a bad person to do business with for a long time to come if he doesnít start rectifying things. I really donít have a problem with that.

Blog of the day here.

Quote from said blog: "Take 7 red ingredients (e.g. strawberry joghurt, red gummi-bears, red grapes) and heat until mixed, stir 7 times clockwise, 7 time anti-clockwise then pour into a glass from which lovers have already sipped."

Talk about the weather

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Winter is here in Bush. Weíre in the low 20's this morning. Itís much worse elsewhere. My friend, Hoot, was talking about Embarrass, MN a couple of weeks ago. They made their way into the news yesterday. In typical, understated Minnesota charm, this quote says it all:

ďYou keep living, but it gets old after a while,Ē said Christine Mackai, the town clerk for the community of 691 people in northeast Minnesota.

Yeah.

Kiwifruit posts pictures of the weather in her part of the world. If I could afford to migrate......

Hoot was also talking about Malcolm Gladwell as does the BOTD.

Blog of the day here.

Quote from said blog: "If you haven't guessed by now, this is yet another post on copyright."

Difficult entry this morning

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So, Pennsylvania hosts two conference championship games this week: One in Philadelphia and one in Pittsburgh. My feeling is that the visitors will be too much for the home teams. It says here the Patriots and Falcons will be in the Super Bowl.

The football organization in New England is in a class all by itself and thatís meant in the best possible sense. In stark contrast, the football organization in New Orleans is also in a class all by itself and thatís meant in the worst possible sense. If the one in New England was here, the State of Louisiana would be going out of their way to make them feel at home and they wouldnít need nearly as much assistance from the state to make a profit ( As if the Saints arenít already making a substantial profit ). The Saints expect their profit regardless of their product. The Saints and their penny ante owner are a bad joke. In the middle of negotiations with the state, where some good will could go a long way towards a deal, the Saints raise ticket prices.

My Ragpickers are dead and will lose ground in the next two rounds of playoffs. Should have selected more higher-seeded players.

Brent from unscrewing the inscrutable has been posting images from the Huygens probe. Good stuff.

Blog of the day here.

Quote from said blog: "I see Vampirella made it to the Golden Globes tonight."

Lazy Sunday watching football

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Waldheim Blueberry Orchard

One from yesterday: The Waldheim Blueberry Orchard about a half mile up the road from CrabAppleLane. Iíve bought many, many blueberry bushes, a few nectarine trees, some cultivated blackberry bushes, and a few pear trees from him over the years. None of my blueberry bushes look as good as these.

Sunset in Bush (January 16, 2005)

Love sunsets, even unremarkable ones like this one taken in the subdivision across the street from me.

Have to give some credit to the NFC teams this week. The Eagles and Falcons have stepped up their game and may provide an entertaining Super Bowl after all. Can't say I'm pulling for either. Don't much care for the Eagles and I can't stand J L Mora, the head coach of the Falcons.

Blog of the day here.

Quote from said blog: "My favorite recipe, so far, from this section has been the East African Sweet Pea Soup."

Blue Skies

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Taken yesterday on my lunch break in New Orleans.

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Love blue sky pictures. Where did I put that Allman Brothers album? This was taken yesterday at City Park in New Orleans. My first lunch plan didnít pan out so I grabbed a couple of burgers and ate in the park. This tree is in City Park Lagoon. A duck waddled up and wagged his tail at me after I had finished eating. Wish I had saved some of the bun. Lunch wasnít so bad.

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A playground nestled amongst 100yr old oak trees. Pretty grand if you ask me.

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Back in Bush just a little while ago. X marks the spot.

Blog of the day here.

Quote from said blog: "Return of the Sun"

Colts-Patriots

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I started a rant on NFL officiating this morning. About mid-rant, I kind of remembered the season and decided the officiating was really pretty good all year although I watched far fewer games this year than in years past. Blame the Saints for that. The officiating test will be this weekís Colts-Patriots game. The Patriots will get very physical and aggressive with the Colts receivers in order to disrupt the Colts passing game and to intimidate the Colts receivers. It has worked in the past but some/most of it is quite illegal.

This tactic is something weíve seen here in New Orleans. The Saints play that way against the Rams with good success. The Rams receivers and the Colts receivers are similar. They go down before they get hit. The Saints get very aggressive and physical with the Rams and it works. The Patriots go a step further. They hold onto the Colts receivers jerseys. Whereas the Rams receivers are usually wide open against the Saints but they donít know if there may be a big hit coming, the Colts receivers are hardly ever open by more than a step against the Patriots and get chased into the big hits.

Consistent officiating is all anyone wants. Some things players say make me smile, though. This from Patriot Willie McGinest in USA Today:

"Nothing changes how we play," he says. "So what, (the league) put in a rule because of what happened last year against them. They complained a lot. It's not going to make us be less physical or less aggressive against this team. ... We cannot get penalties that can cost us points or yards, but we're not going to change our aggressiveness and the way we play this game."

Translation: We are going to continue bending and breaking the rules unless the officials stop us.

Summary: Bending and breaking rules isnít aggressive. Itís cheating.

My guess is that the officials will call it closer this time and that works to the Colts advantage. The result will be the same, though. The Patriots will win this one and my chances ( Ragpickers ) in the CrabAppleLane Playoff League will go down the tubes with them unless my Colts have a big, big week. They can do that even in a loss.

Blog of the day here.

Quote from said blog: "The media around the country has been in an outrage the last two seasons about the BCS system. This year the system worked and last year it worked also."

Let it never be said that I always agree with the BOTD. -Rob

Bluegrass

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Thereís a whole series of bluegrass tributes to rock legends. The two I've heard: Moody Bluegrass: Nashville Tribute to Moody Blues and Aint That America: The Bluegrass Tribute to John Cougar Mellencamp. There are also tributes to Led Zeppelin, the Rolling Stones, the Grateful Dead, the Allman Brothers, Jimi Hendrix ( Not making that up ), and quite a few others. I donít know where they get the time. Theyíre not half-a$$ed efforts. Theyíre mostly all star tributes and, sometimes, they work pretty good. The tribute to Mellencamp is pretty good but I think thatís because his music lends itself better to it. Iím not wild about the tribute to the Moody Blues. Listened to that one just yesterday but I couldnít find a single song on it that I could listen to for more than a few seconds. These are OK as a novelty, I suppose, but I have no desire to own any of them.

Iím finding that I can listen to bluegrass music for a time but I think I like live performances much better than studio records. Bela Fleck puts on a great show as does Alison Krauss and Union Station.

Blog of the day here.

Quote from said blog: "I went to a fine concert this evening that ended up with everyone (two fiddles, one banjo, one guitar, one mandolin, drummer, and a simian cellist) standing in a row at the front of the stage playing away."

The Tuesday Rush

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I watched The Butterfly Effect last night between infuriating computer software upgrades that required constant user input. I should say that I didnít expect much from this film. Thatís why the software upgrades were so maddening. It was surprisingly excellent. What little grasp I have of chaos theory or The Butterfly Effect led me to believe that it would make for a confusing movie. Also, Ashton Kutcher inspired no confidence in me as a dramatic actor. Well, the movie was a bit confusing but only the mechanics of it. I intend to watch it again, since I have it recorded, just so I can try to grasp some of the details of those mechanics that I know I missed. It probably wonít make much sense to me anyway but it gives me an excuse to watch it again, not that I really need one. The results of said mechanics were very well done. Kutcher was fantastic in this. This movie came complete with an appropriate ending. Thumbs way up.

Spoiler Alert: Don't read the extended entry if you've never seen the movie and intend to.

Blog of the day here.

Quote from said blog: "I guess one problem many people have with this movie is that they're questioning the logic behind the story and wonder too much whether it's possible or whether it makes sense."

I suppose so, too. -Rob

Just Links

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Fog everywhere today. I'll leave you with some links on this rushed morning.

The elusive Ice Goblins ( Especially elusive this year ) were captured on pixel dust by Fred from Fragments of Floyd.

Kiwifruit started a new blog devoted to The Lord of the Rings Trilogy and Viggo Mortensen. Fun stuff.

From the My Sentiments Exactly Department:

Sonnet to a Spammer from Debbie at Bored But Busy.

I donít do New Yearís Resolutions but Gregís work for me.

Blog of the day here.

Quote from said blog: "I can't deny that the Vikings victory yesterday was a pleasure to watch. Maybe it's something about the lifetime investment already put in, but no matter how lousy a team they were during the regular season, no matter how little they deserved to make playoffs, no matter how classless the players, or how alienating the owner is to the Minnesota fans, it was a blast."

What's on TV

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HBOís Carnivale started its second season last night. Like the first season, I intend to watch every episode even though I still have no clue what this show is about or where its trying to go.

Watched Boiler Room Saturday night. The sound of it intrigued me after Jennifer from Kittysays recommended it. I put it in my UltimateTV search and it was recorded sometime last week. Unfortunately, it recorded the USA Network version. USA has commercials and does not play uncut movies. This movie has a Wall Street & Glengarry Glen Ross feel to it. In fact, both movies are mentioned in it. The language is essential to the mood of this movie and having so many words bleeped was a bit of a distraction even though I knew exactly what was being said every time. Iíd like to have seen the original uncensored version but I think I got the gist of it. The movie deserved a better ending than the muddled one it got but, otherwise, it was a fun one to watch. This movie is essentially a remake of Wall Street. Giovanni Ribisi is Charlie Sheen. The corrupt mentor, the best friend, the girlfriend, and the disapproving father are all here in essentially the same roles. Still, thumbs up. Vin Diesel is surprisingly good in this role although I think he does inject a little action hero into it. His is the only honest character in the film.

My CrabAppleLane Playoff League chances hinge on the play of four Indianapolis Colts. My team is the Ragpickers and my other four players were eliminated over the weekend. I dropped Marc Bulger and replaced him with Brett Favre at the last moment Saturday and that qualifies as the dumba$$ move of the week. Not only did Bulger have a much better game than Favre, his Rams are still alive and I like their chances this week against the Falcons. Go Colts.

Blog of the day here.

Quote from said blog: "I think my cafe must be closed, but here it is, crowded with people who think otherwise, so I take their word for it, take the last seat. From here, I can watch the street with my back to other customers."

Things Sunday

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Lots of credit to go around here: First, to the Orion Nebula for its awesomeness. Then, to Montage-a-Google for creating the montage from my search of Orion Nebula. Kim for reminding me of how to capture it. Sheís right about copyrights. In this montage, many of the images have broken links. Of the remaining ones, there donít appear to be any copyright concerns but just about any request to remove one or more of the images or to give credit for them will be honored. Thatís the last kind of fight I want here. And, finally, to Mandarin Design for the triple framed border. Cool beans all around.

A couple of mine from a few minutes ago:

Migrating Robin

Yes, Mom and cousin Laura, the Robins are still here in Bush. I suspect this one will skip the trek south across Lake Ponchartrain with the balmy weather weíre having here not to mention the tons of insects and worms in my yard.

Reflection Pool

My little backyard pond reflects the pine tree forest that has grown up around us since we moved in almost 10 years ago.

The CrabAppleLane Playoff League got underway yesterday. My team scored 27 points, which put me in the middle of the pack. Unfortunately, two of my eight players (Antonio Gates and Ladainian Tomlinson) were eliminated when the Chargers got eliminated yesterday. Fortunately, a lot of other teams had those two players. Some had Shaun Alexander. He was also eliminated along with the Seahawks.

A Raising Caneís just opened in Covington and it is conveniently and probably strategically placed on my way home. The food is not bad and the prices are reasonable although WOW down the street is much better. I'm a big fan of WOW. The thing Iím complaining about is the sodas. Weíve eaten at Raising Cane's twice now and the sodas have been off. Either theyíre using the local water, which is not very good, or theyíre using off-brand sodas instead of Coca-Cola or Pepsi. For the record, I prefer Coke to Pepsi big time.

Ilyka has the best take on the Kid Rock thing although protein wisdom said it pretty well, too, and he got 250 comments. Party on, Garth.

Blog of the day here.

Quote from said blog: "I can't see the objection to including Kid Rock in the inaugural festivities. As far as I know, he's a Country singer."

Ashamed to admit, thatís more than I knew. -Rob

Ridiculousness

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Pocket Razor

A Christmas gift to me from a friend above. Itís a pocket razor. It replaces the pocket knife I had that rarely ever cut what I wanted it to. I really should avoid sharp, pointy things. Thatís not to say my pocket knife was sharp. It could barely cut through the cheapest masking tape but it could slice my fingers with ease. I was channel-surfing the other night like I always do. I briefly landed on CSI. In those precious few seconds, I saw them examine a murder weapon that looked exactly like my new pocket razor right down to the color. I didnít watch it to conclusion.

To bring this a little further down the path to ridiculousness mainly because I donít have much else to post about, this marks the first time in my memory that anything Iíve owned has been acknowledged on TV as a potential murder weapon. I once owned a 32oz Willie Mays Louisville Slugger but I never saw it used for murder. I did see a baseball bat used in a murder on TV but I think that one was a 34oz Mickey Mantle Louisville Slugger. Hardly the same thing.

Blog of the day here.

Quote from said blog: "I don't like rain. I accept it as part of the natural cycle (droughts are a Bad Thing). But I don't like it. Yes, sometimes, it might be pleasant to be cosy inside when the tempest is raging without, but as a rule of thumb, I'd rather pass on rain."

Nice painting. -Rob

New Orleans

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Came across this site this morning somehow. He puts a lot of thought and a good bit of research into it but some of his conclusions mystify me. This one, in particular:

Never the less, when a cop tells you to move along, the only answer is "Yes Sir".

That is absolutely correct but leaves me wondering. What is the answer to that question in other cities?

Another New Orleans institution. Theyíre struggling against the national burger chains but theyíre still fighting the good fight. There are about 10 of them in the Greater New Orleans area and I have always loved the burgers. They also serve charcoal broiled hot dogs on hamburger buns. Theyíre excellent, too. At one time, Budís was slightly more expensive than the national chains but not as expensive as the gourmet burger joints. The national chains have caught up with them on price. Budís for lunch is perfect after King cake for breakfast.

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Blog of the day here.

Quote from said blog: "Is there any reason why it takes longer to open up a DVD than, say, a bottle of Percoset or pharmecutical cocaine? I mean, really."

First King Cake

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King Cake

First King cake. This was breakfast this morning for me. These came from Margueriteís Cakes. They were fairly traditional cinnamon King cakes. A little too dry for my tastes but still very good. They also make them with various fillings. Raspberry and cream cheese is the version I like. In fact, I want one now that Iíve typed it.

Traditionally, bakers start making King cakes on Twelfth Night or Epiphany (January 6) and stop making them after Mardi Gras. There is a another tradition with King cakes. The baker puts a plastic doll/baby somewhere in the cake. Tradition holds that the person who gets the piece with the baby is to provide the next King cake. Some of us dive right in not thinking for a moment about the baby. There are about 5 of us left on this planet. We are a dying breed. These things are sold for $5-$25 and you would not believe what people will do to avoid getting the baby. Some Iíve noticed:

Slice very thin slices and then pick up 3 or 4 of said thin slices.

Swallow it whole and donít tell anyone.

Spit it out and donít tell anyone.

Donít get any until someone gets the baby.

Ask if anyone got the baby yet or the more subtle ďWho got the baby?Ē

A Thursday Linkfest

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Havenít done a linkfest in a while. These are some of the funnier ones.

Bored But Busy offers us this:

See, the other day, I had the foresight to go out and buy a squeaky-cheap plastic sled. I even got it in red so that the blood wonít show. Iím always thinkiní.

That made my morning.

Everyone should be reading The Martha Stewart Chronicles at protein wisdom. Very funny stuff. Scroll down and read some of the older entries. And another thing: Donít call him a blogger.

Saucy Librarian is back from vacation and goes for the company weigh in. Follow the links in that entry.

A Britney update from blind cavefish by her equally funny roommate. The cavefish is off to Africa.

I take it War Liberal is not entirely buying.

A job application from Gíday Mate!. Give that man a job.

A blogger with coffee adventures similar to mine is today's Blog of the day. It's here.

Quote from said blog: "The learning curve on this thing is steeper than the Bar Exam."

Wednesday Stuff

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Too bad Auburn canít play USC now. I donít think theyíd win but I think theyíd put up a better game than Oklahoma did last night. USC was the favorite in the early morning line when the game was announced. It moved until Oklahoma closed out the favorite by kickoff. ALL of the experts were touting the ď Under Ē last night as the best play. The under was 51Ĺ. USC sailed right over that number all by themselves. So much for experts. The two teams hadnít played a game in three weeks. Theyíve had the pressure of exams, the pressure of the holidays, and the pressure of the hype working on them in addition to all of the other drama that most 18 to 23 year old young men have. How on Earth can anyone know how theyíre going to react to all of that? Some of the many reasons I donít gamble much.

In the CrabAppleLane College Bowl Pool, 18 out of 27 was good enough for first place. Congratulations to the winners.

If there is no law on the books about this, pass one with severe penalties.

Aren't all reality shows a little bit absurd? Who's Your Daddy didn't sound any more ridiculous to me than The Real Gilligan's Island or The Biggest Loser but what do I know?

The BOTD reminds me that I someday have to see Reservoir Dogs.

Blog of the day here.

Quote from said blog: "Speaking of the Seahawks, you have to love Shaun Alexanderís display of sportsmanship and class when he found out he lost the NFL rushing title to Curtis Martin of the Jets. Alexanderís reaction? He claims to have been ďstabbed in the backĒ by his team. Nice."

Just stuff

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Some blog news: Andrea Harris has new digs. Her old one was the BOTD a little over a year ago. We seem to frequent some of the same blogs. She holds back a little more than I do. :) Worth a look even though Typekey is enabled there. Yes, I railed against it yesterday. It will be the measure of last resort here. It is an effective deterrent to spam. Unfortunately, it is also an effective deterrent to legitimate/desirable comments. Another way to look at that is that maybe Typekey will gain popularity/acceptance if more of the top bloggers used it. Don't know if that's something I'm hoping for, though. She and I also share an affinity for coffee. Her coffeemaker is probably similar to mine.

My wish for 2005: I wish the hacker community and the virus-writers would turn their attention away from Microsoft for a moment and have some of their fun with the spammer community.

More blog news: My old host, Bloghosts, went down for the count yesterday or Sunday. They were still up on January 1 the last time I checked. My domain was never under their control so I was in no danger in that respect. They still owe me money ( I paid for a full year in advance back in July ) and I hold out hope that I will get a refund although I have yet to hear anything from them. Despite what their PR page states, others lost everything.

Blog of the day here.

Quote from said blog: "The Martha Stewart Chronicles, day 89"

Martha Stewart ought to do Saturday Night Live the moment she leaves prison. -Rob

Back to work

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Like the Saints football season, fantasy football season is over for me although I am running and participating in the CrabAppleLane Playoff League for the first time ever. There is no more early morning maintenance and I wonít miss that. For a week or so. I do enjoy it and I did break even this season. My prize winnings offset my antes. I maintain a history page for each of our two leagues and they are a blast to look at now and again. It is a reflection of the NFL and fantasy football over the last several years. If youíre interested, theyíre here and here. If youíre a fantasy football player or would like to try your hand at it and would like to participate in the CrabAppleLane Playoff League, drop me a line. Iíll set you up. Itís free and weíre only playing for fun.

It looks like the best I can do is 3rd place in the CrabAppleLane College Bowl Pool, which is better than Iíve ever done before. I am absolutely no good at this. I submitted two entries. The first one was selected based on who I thought would win or cover the spread. The second, selected many days later, was a conscious effort on my part to pick exactly the opposite of who I thought would win or cover the spread. Guess which entry is doing better or go see for yourself. That said, Go Auburn and Oklahoma.

Ran into a Blogger blog today. To make a comment, youíre taken to a registration page. News for all those with Blogger accounts and all of those with Movable Type blogs that require Typekey registration: This may be the wave of the future but even somewhat intermediate-skilled people like me are resisting it. Novices, who make up the vast majority of internet users and blog readers, are going to quit as soon as they encounter it 999 times out of 1000. Why, you ask? Because it is a pain in the a$$ and rarely worth the effort.

Worth a revisit. Especially if you have broadband. Make sure you see all of them and run your mouse over the images. Just fantastic.

Back to the grind today after 10 glorious days of vacation. My mother asked me yesterday if I remember where it was. I think I do.

Blog of the day here.

Quote from said blog: "Maybe what I need is a different kind of job, six months on, six months off. That'd stick in some deadlines for those never ending projects and stop things from being put off until next week."

Winter in Bush

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Crepe Myrtle

The trees and shrubs at CrabAppleLane have no idea what season it is. We go from hard freeze to 60s and 70s overnight and then back to freezing. In addition to the wonders that does for our sinuses, half of our Crepe Myrtles have lost all of their leaves while the other half, like the one above, are just now changing color.

Did the yard today rather than watch the Saints game. This is the too-little-too-late season. After they dug themselves the deep hole in November, they finished the season with 4 straight wins. Too little too late. They got behind in almost every single game this season. Sometimes, they made a decent run in the second half of those games. Too little too late. The major downside is that the current Saints administration undoubtedly staved off the axe for another year.

Blog of the day here.

Quote from said blog: "Welcome, gentle readers, to Curbed's year-end fiesta. Today and tomorrow, we hand out the first annual Curbed Awards to the best and brightest in three categories: Real Estate; Restaurants and Retail; and, tomorrow, Neighborhoods. Please take a seat as we begin..."

Movie Week

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Didnít do a thing last night to celebrate the New Year. I watched a mindless movie called The Chronicles of Riddick. Mindless is exactly what I was looking for last night and this one doesnít disappoint. Itís similar to XXX. This is probably the full range of Vin Diesel. Thatís OK by me because heís very good at it. This film was fun, too. I was online when 2005 rang in. Boring by most standards but acceptable by mine.

Weíre on a western kick. Watched McLintock Sunday night, Winchester 73 Tuesday night, and Destry Rides Again Thursday night. The first one is half of a two-DVD John Wayne set and the last two are part of the James Stewart Hollywood Legends Collection. We got all of them for Christmas. Destry is a hoot and we enjoyed it a lot. I hadnít seen it since I was a kid and hardly remembered a thing about it. It doesnít take itself very seriously, which was quite unexpected to me. There is a lot of humor in this otherwise standard western. I find that unusual in older movies though I should state Iím not much of an old movie fan. In my mind, most older movies are comedies or theyíre something else. Winchester 73 is quite dark in its theme and I found that unusual and refreshing also. I hadnít seen this one in a long time, either. This is a very good movie. Besides Stewart as a man on a vendetta, it features a very young Rock Hudson playing an Indian chief and a young Tony Curtis, billed as Anthony Curtis, in a bit part as a soldier. The other half of the John Wayne set, Angel and the Badman, is on for tonight. Yee Haw.

Blog of the day here.

Quote from said blog: "My best friend (the BIRTHDAY GIRL!) posted this morning that she doesn't know how to do Track Backs to other posts. I don't know either. Tony actually asks sometimes why I didn't do a Track Back to a post I've commented on, and I haven't yet told him that it's because I don't know how. He showed me once, when we first started blogging, but I have completely forgotten. So, here goes. I hope it works."

Happy New Year

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