Apr 2007
Setting Goals
"Always dream and shoot higher than you know you can do. Don't bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself."
William Faulkner.
RSS Feeds
For those more tech-savvy readers, I have now added a link for RSS feeds. See the bottom of the menu to the right. Also, I have begun "pinging" blog directories to make this a bit more visible. If you're a member of Technorati, you can go to this page to "favorite" the blog.
Virginia Tech
My heart goes out to the students of Virginia Tech, where the lives of a lot of very smart people were cut short.
Will the New Jersey Governor Get a Ticket for Not "Clicking It"?
I guess by now, I should just accept the fact that politicians don't have to trouble themselves with obeying the law like the rest of us. New Jersey Governor Jon S. Corzine is in the hospital, in critical condition, after his vehicle slammed into a highway guardrail. The reason: his vehicle, driven by a state trooper, was driving 91 mph and the Governor was not wearing a seat belt. And what urgent matter of state government was Governor Corzine rushing to address? The great controversy of our time, of course - he was on his way to meet with Don Imus and the Rutgers' women's basketball team.

Last year, over 271,000 people in New Jersey received tickets for not wearing seat belts, generating close to $11 million in revenue for the state. But the Governor, like most politicians, could not be troubled with the law. Frankly, I have zero sympathy for him as he remains in critical but stable condition. We should just be thankful he did not kill someone else on the road. A politician's SUV hurtling down the highway at over 90 miles an hour poses just as much of a public safety threat as a drunk driver. I just wonder whether any New Jersey law enforcement officer will have the courage to issue a citation to the Governor.
A Pointless Effort
"Covering your mouth when you cough is like farting with pants on. Even though you’re covering it up, the bad stuff still gets through."
Anonymous.
It's Not Just Don Imus
A now-unemployed Don Imus made a career out of disparaging people, knocking them down for the sake of entertainment. He was not alone. Entire television networks, as well as the 24-hour news channels, base their programming on similar content.

Turn on VH1 and E!, and much of the time, you will see shows dedicated to the attack of has-beens by never-beens. Purported standup comedians and reality stars are interviewed for “Top Ten This” and “Top 100 That” shows which, for the most part, just make fun of people who were once highly successful and in the public eye but are no longer in the limelight. These low-rent Joan Rivers imitators laugh at people who have achieved far more than they ever have or will, and people tune in to watch them do it. They must, otherwise there wouldn’t be so many of these shows.

The 24-hour news networks use the same approach. Because only so many newsworthy things happen in a 24-hour period, the news networks can’t just report the news, they have to talk about it. And talk. And talk. To give the impression that this talking is itself news, they bring on purported experts to gab about what has happened. Again, these are not people who really merit any attention for their achievements or opinions, yet their rantings are broadcast internationally. Ann Coulter is just one example.

So as the media attacks Don Imus for making a mean-spirited, racist and misogynistic comment -- and it was all of those things -- what is held out to us as being news and entertainment continues doing the same thing. This is why I have pretty much quit watching television, for news or entertainment. I wonder who the people are who still watch it.
That Ol' Double Standard
Ok. Don Imus uses the phrase "nappy-headed hos" to describe members of the Rutgers Women's basketball team, and his show gets suspended for two weeks, and Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson call for him to be fired. On the other hand, countless hip hop stars make millions of dollars from rapping about beating and "pimping" their "bitches" and "hos," and Sharpton and Jackson themselves have made bigoted comments over the years about Jews and white people in general.

The lesson: black performers and leaders are rewarded for being racist and misogynistic, and whites are chastised for the same conduct, even when it's language used in numerous top 40 hits by those same black performers.

Got it.
Happy Easter
Happy Easter, all. It is a beautiful day in the San Francisco Bay Area, which is where I happen to be at the moment. It's in the low 60s, no wind, with the sun breaking through the clouds. Come to think of it, why I am I sitting in front of a computer? Goodbye.
Where Have I Been?
Ok. It's been a full month since I've posted anything here, or done anything with this site. What is my excuse? Well first, my hard drive died. Read below to learn how to avoid wasting a bunch of time like I did if your hard drive dies and you have a Mac. Then, my wife and I moved, not a great distance, but an arduous process nonetheless.

Hard Drive Failures and How to Make Them Relatively Painless. I had been religiously "backing up" my powerbook's hard drive, using a program called Retrospect Express with a Western Digital USB external hard drive. I thought this meant that when my hard drive died, all I would have to do was simply dump everything from the backup on the external drive on to the new hard drive installed on my laptop. I was wrong. I have now learned that in order to do that, you need a program that creates a "bootable clone" of your hard drive. That means an exact copy of your hard drive created on an external drive, which you can use instead of your computer's hard drive, booting from the external drive. In contrast, what I had to do with my drive failure was reload all my programs, configure my email accounts, and load all my data, which took two full days. Aside from the wasted time, the impact on this site was that I had to reload the program I used to make this, reload all the add-ons that I purchased separately, and change various things because my iPhoto albums had changed.

So how do you avoid this? If you have a Mac, you should use
SuperDuper! This program creates a bootable clone of your hard drive. So assume a worst case scenario of your laptop being completely destroyed, hard drive and all. As a temporary and immediate solution, you could by an inexpensive used apple computer, such as a G3 iBook, which you could then use to boot the clone of your hard drive which you created with SuperDuper!, and continue your work where you left off. Or, let's say your hard drive died, like mine did, and you are waiting for a replacement to arrive. You can use your Powerbook without your hard drive, using the clone on your external drive instead. You can get this peace of mind for $27. I now have the program set to back up the hard drive every night, so that at most, I will only lose a day's worth of data. I wish I had this procedure in place before. IMPORTANT NOTE: If you have a power pc mac, you will need an external drive with a firewire connection. Because of some shortcoming in the Mac operating system, you cannot create a bootable clone using an external USB drive.

Moving is a Pain in the Ass. I hate moving. First, it means cleaning, which I hate to do. Second, it means throwing things away, which I also hate to do. Finally, the worst part is that it disrupts everything, diet, work, exercise, sleep, everything. The good news is that (hopefully) you're moving to a more comfortable place, which was true in our case. Also, the benefit of all your cleaning and trashing is that, in theory, you become more organized. I hate to admit it, but that was the case for me. HOWEVER, it still meant a full two weeks where everything else was put on hold.

Things to Come. I feel like saying "I have some exciting things planned for the site." Well, I guess that depends on your definition of the word exciting. I am planning to do two things in the near future. First, I will add RSS feeds to this blog. That way, you can be notified of any updates without having to check back to the site. Second, I will add links on the music pages to Amazon, so you can purchase the CDs I mention. Of course, this adds a commercial dimension to the site, but I would like the chance to at least cover the hosting cost of the site.

So that's about it. I'm back.