Friday, August 31, 2007

just got home from Rodriego y Gabriella

Wow - what an amazing high-energy show. The zoo was sold out, and the crowd went wild.

I got there before 4 pm and, when the lawn was opened for seating at 5, I was about 30th in line. It was like the Oklahoma Land Rush, but I snagged a superb spot astonishingly close to the stage.

I relaxed, read the new New Yorker, and listened to Randi Rhodes on the radio, and, eventually, Karen and our other friends showed up.

It was a gorgeous night and the musicianship was mind-blowing. Took a while to get thru the traffic and get home, but here we are, in time to see the weekend forecast on the 10:00 news.

Heading for Tumalo State Park tomorrow morning, for 3 days of fun in the sun, floatin' down the Deschutes and sharing laughs and too much wine with our camping buddies (6 families).

Next week, I'll be starting a new project for the City of Portland, but, for the next couple of days, I'm not going to think about it.

great week for music and other activities

Last Saturday night, we saw Keb' Mo' and Robert Cray at the zoo. Keb' was great.

Last night, saw Stevie Wonder, in a powerhouse performance before a huge, loving crowd.

Tonight, it's back to the zoo to see Rodriego and Gabriella, for the 2nd time this year.

Tomorrow, it's off to the Bend area for the big Labor Day camping trip.

Not only that, but I am getting gorgeous red, ripe tomatoes from my tiny garden.

Life is good - the only darkside is that Karen and I are going to Wisconsin at the end of September, and we will be changing planes in Minnesota. What if I have to pee? Yikes!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

hey, watch this

Kucinich on health care reform. I love this guy.

Monday, August 27, 2007

from Andy Borowitz today

Gonzales to Spend More Time Eavesdropping on His Family
‘Domestic Surveillance Begins at Home,’ Former A.G. Says

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales resigned today, effective immediately, telling reporters that he wanted to spend more time eavesdropping on his family.

Mr. Gonzales, a champion of domestic surveillance and warrantless wiretaps while in office, said he was “totally stoked” about turning his prying eyes on his own family. “Domestic surveillance begins at home,” Mr. Gonzales said at a White House press conference. “That means nobody in my family is above suspicion, not even the little ones,” an apparent reference to Mr. Gonzales’ children.

Standing by Mr. Gonzales’ side, President George W. Bush praised his former Attorney General, singling out his “courage” for ramping up his domestic spying program on his own family. “If every head of every household was as willing to eavesdrop on his own family as my man Alberto is, we wouldn’t need a Homeland Security Department,” Mr. Bush chuckled.

Mr. Gonzales was noncommittal when a reporter asked him a question about the role that waterboarding and other forms of torture might play in his interrogation of family members. “Nothing is off the table,” he said.

Asked about his tenure as Attorney General, Mr. Gonzales was candid about his stormy time in office: “Frankly, I can’t believe it took this long for them to shitcan me.”

thanks again, Microsoft!

A couple of years ago, I built a handheld data-collection application for a client, that used a Pocket Access (.cdb) database on the device and used ActiveSync to sync with an .mdb file on the Desktop. It was written in VB.NET.

Worked great, but I had to use a 3rd party tool, to provide ADO services to .NET, since that was something Microsoft had neglected to include within the Pocket PC 2003 OS.

The other day, I tried to load the app on my (Windows Mobile 5) device, and it failed. A little detective work revealed that Microsoft had dropped all support for ADO in WM5. So, my clients are restricted to using PPC 2003 devices (fortunately, they bought 3), until such time that I can rewrite the data-access components of the system, to use a SQL Server Personal data-store.

Let me remind you that the reason that I had to buy Visual Studio .NET was that the original development platform for Pocket PC development (Microsoft's 'Embedded Visual Basic'), was obsoleted. EVB was free. VS ain't.

I see a pattern developing. 'Bait and switch' comes to mind.

Meanwhile, bye-bye, Fredo.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Josh Marshall nails it

From today's TPM:

"And here I think we get back to the root of the matter: We are bigger than Iraq.

By that I do not mean we, as America, are bigger or better than Iraq as a country. I mean that that sum of our national existence is not bound up in what happens there. The country will go on. Whatever happens, we'll recover from it. And whatever might happen, there are things that matter much more to this country's future -- like whether we have a functioning military any more, whether our economy is wrecked, whether this country tears itself apart over this catastrophe. But we'll go on and look back at this and judge what happened.

Not so for the president. For him, this is it. He's not bigger than this. His entire legacy as president is bound up in Iraq. Which is another way of saying that his legacy is pretty clearly an irrecoverable shambles. That is why, as the folly of the enterprise becomes more clear, he must continually puff it up into more and more melodramatic and world-historical dimensions. A century long ideological struggle and the like. For the president a one in a thousand shot at some better outcome is well worth it, no matter what the cost. Because at least that's a one in a thousand shot at not ending his presidency with the crushing verdict history now has in store. It's also worth just letting things keep on going as they are forever because, like Micawber, something better might turn up. Going double or nothing by expanding the war into Iran might be worth it too for the same reason. For him, how can it get worse?

And when you boil all this down what it comes down to is that the president now has very different interests than the country he purports to lead."

I should find this alarming, but I don't

you have to admin, though, that the headline is an eye-catcher.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

just finished reading

this incredible book - highly recommended and a real eye-opener.

at last, getting organized

also, you may find this equally amusing and disgusting - I did.

a new record

In my Inbox this morning, there were 9 new messages.

Two were unsolicited ads from companies with whom I had done previous business, two were obscure mail-delivery notices (for addresses similar but not equal to mine), and the other five were fraudulent scams (two identical copies of the same 'Dear Customer: your Bank of America account has been blocked').

Won't someone send me some meaningful email?

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

hope Bush doesn't hear about this

as linked to from the Dilbert blog, this story about a new law passed in China. You've got to read it to believe it.

Monday, August 20, 2007


I started watching Dean's evolving path over a week ago, when it was projected to brush the northernmost tip of Yucatan, before heading out into the Gulf, aimed at the Texas-Mexico border.

Several days ago, it started a slight bend to the south, and is now heading straight for Belize City. At the end of October, we are planning to take a trip to that area, with stops at both Belize City and Costa Maya, Mexico. Rather than the normal tourist activities, I am now thinking that we should sign up for a Habitat project, since that area is apparently going to be devastated tomorrow.

Oh well, at least our precious off-shore oil wells are not in direct danger. Whew!!!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

a tale of two cities

This week, I attended two meetings with my congressman, David Wu. The second was a small group (about 10 of us) from the Progressive Voter Network, and our topic was totally dedicated to environmental and energy issues. He listened patiently, and our 20 minutes flew by.

The first, however, was what I want to talk about. It was at a local church, attended by over 100 folks, mostly with Impeachment on their minds. Other topics, came up, too, but many spoke on Impeachment, urging Wu to add his voice to the rising tide. He astonished the crowd by stating his position, which was he is yet to be convinced that actual crimes had been committed. The crowd groaned in frustration. But that's not what I want to talk about.

Toward the end, a gray-haired lady stood up, and made an eloquent speech. She said that History would judge us poorly if we do NOT take a stand NOW, and not simply let Bush/Cheney run out the clock. It is our duty to say 'NO' to what they have done to our country - our duty to our own history and to what this country is supposed to mean, to the rest of the world.

And the crowd went wild.

This morning, on NPR, they talked about Fred Thompson's appearance at an Iowa fair. He told them, "I'm Pro-Life, Pro-2nd-Ammendment, and I'm sick of people who are putting down the United States."

And the crowd went wild.

Living in Portland: priceless.

Along similar lines, Bill Moyers had a segment last night on Katrina and what it means, both as a symbol of governmental incompetence and as a reflection of our denial about climate change. Both guests were amazing, but one of them made a great analogy. Both guests were amazing - worth watching if you missed it.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

a public apology

and about time, too.

If the Danes can do it, maybe someday Rove will as well.

ha, ha, ha...

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

someone else who says what I've been thinking

nice to get confirmation that I am not alone, but the message ain't pretty.

Monday, August 13, 2007

what's today's big story?

Yes, yes, I know Karl Rove is going to resign. That's pretty good, but take a gander at this.

Dennis is gaining both attention and respect. His appearance with Stephanopolous this past weeked was pretty electric (despite the stupid questions). I never thought this day would come, and, considering how much the Media was getting bored with the Obama/Hillary battle, this could be good for some new punditry.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

just a thought, or two

Probably not at all original, but this hit me this morning. You've no doubt noticed the various States' scramble to keep moving the primaries earlier and earlier. There's even now a chance that the first primary will be this December. Why?

I think it's the collective unconscious at work - everyone (especially the GOP) wants to be rid of Bush as soon as possible, and, short of Impeachment, this is the safest way to hurry along the irrelevance which we all wish for him.

Change of topic.

Currently reading: The Yiddish Policeman's Union, by Karen's not-too-distant relative Michael Chabon (on her father's side). It's screamingly funny (more laughs-per-page than most of Woody Allen's recent New Yorker pieces in toto), but I doubt that non-Jews will find it so.

There are many concessions to non-Jews in the text (the first time kugel is referenced, it is as 'noodle pudding', a phrase Jews would never use in place of kugel). Ditto for 'skullcap'.

Other references would go over the head of anyone who didn't grow up with a Jewish education. For example, one of the detectives is named 'Karpas', which produced a big laugh in me. 'Karpas' is the Hebrew word for the 'eat a green vegetable' step in the Passover Seder. See what I mean?

It's sort of like James Joyce, without the intentional layers-upon-layers obscurity, but with an equally devilish sense of humor. This is a book to savor, and a heck of a great story, too. I am about a third through, but, unlike Harry Potter, I am in no hurry to rush thru to get to the end.

Saturday morning in Portland - cool but sunny. Perfectly delightful weather for household chores - a time to contemplate the luxury of living in this place, at this time. Far different from the BBC story I listened to, at 3 am, about falling water levels in Lake Victoria, Africa, as Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania deal with a deadly combination of climate change, invasives, the unintended consequences of human engineering, and the timeless devastation caused by human greed.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

in other news...

While the US media is obsessed with Barry Bonds and the Hillary/Obama fake war, other news outlets are carrying stories of somewhat greater importance.

Meanwhile, here's a story of a kid with too much time on his hands.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

back to reality

So, tomorrow (Monday), I need to plunge back into my various work projects, picking up where I left off two weeks ago, and juggling the new stuff that has filtered in while I was away.

So, what do I do in the final 48 hours before having to get back to all that? Last night, Karen and I went to see the new Harry Potter movie and, a half-hour, I finished reading the final HP book (which I started in earnest Friday morning, on the shores of Lake Crescent).

It was a slog, but I did it. Unfortunately, I am no wiser nor a better person for it. Enough magic for now!

Saturday, August 04, 2007

as predicted...

this is not totally unexpected. Note especially the last sentence:

"India's Meteorological Department said unusual monsoon patterns this year have led to heavier than normal rains."

Funny (not) how much of the weather news these days contains the adjective 'unusual'.

Tick, tick, tick...

more on Lake Crescent

This is the classic view, from the shore directly in front of our lakeside A-frame at Log Cabin Resort:

Yes, it's really like that.

Thursday afternoon, we hiked along the old railroad bed, to the Devils Punchbowl (just on the other side of the point you see above, on the right):

...where the water is a couple hundred feet deep, to go swimming and take silly photos jumping off the bridge. It was a glorious afternoon, and, as I splashed around in the astonishingly-clear water, I glanced over to the road on the opposite side of the lake.

I drove on that road in 1976, on my first cross-country trip. Last night, I pulled out my journal from that trip and read the narrative of that day. Now, over 30 years later, I find I have come back to this place many times, sometimes after long absences. Odd how these things work out.

Today is the 25th anniversary of my father's death. He was 75 when he died. I was 31. Time flies.

Friday, August 03, 2007

back home

It's been a wild two weeks, first in Manzanita then up at Log Cabin Resort, which we had not visited for almost 10 years. Aside from the steep increase in the cost per night, little has changed at this gem of a destination.

Will write more later, since we just got home an hour ago and there's lots to clean up and put away. The animals were happy to see us, and the house is reasonably clean.

Our friend Dave took a bunch of photos - I took hardly any. Not doubt he will share the most embarassing quite soon.

Up to about page 250 in the new Harry Potter book. I didn't want to do it, but circumstances led me to it.