Blog of Obscurity

A Very Munchkinly Blog

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Template Issues

Well, apparently Blogger has broken the Bluebird template we're based on. Supposedly they are working on a fix, which means scrolling in the meantime (or using RSS).

Update: Well, until this is fixed, I'll make this a bit more readable for a while.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Hope for Property Owners

Well, maybe some good is coming out of the ludicrous Kelo decision. From the Dallas Morning News:

Republican lawmakers in the Texas House and Senate introduced companion versions of a constitutional amendment that would prohibit eminent domain seizures purely for economic development.
Larry Morandi, a land use expert at the National Conference of State Legislatures, said he has received queries from legislative staffers in four states other than Texas looking to restrict use of eminent domain: Idaho, Oklahoma, New Jersey and Virginia. On Monday, Missouri Gov. Matt Blunt announced the creation of a special task force to study eminent domain laws.

The press release about the legislation is here.

I've seen several references across the blogosphere (here for example) to the proposed "Lost Liberty Hotel" - complete with the "Just Desserts Cafe" - on Justice Souter's property. I can't think of a more appropriate response. Hopefully, they'll vote to kick him out before New Hampshire does anything about it.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Paul Winchell: TTFN

Paul Wincell, the voice of Tigger, died Friday morning. He voiced several characters that children of all ages will likely remember:

But he was perhaps best known for his work as the voice of the lovable tiger in animated versions of A.A. Milne's "Winnie the Pooh" - with his trademark "T-I-double grrrr-R."
Winchell voiced memorable characters in numerous animated features over the years for Disney and Hanna Barbera. He was Gargamel in "The Smurfs," and Boomer in "The Fox and the Hound."

Rest in Peace Mr. Wincell, and ta-ta for now.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Which Superhero Am I?

I never really thought I was the type to spread fear in the hearts of evil. I was expecting a boy scout type like Captain America or Superman. However:

Congratulations! You scored a super 70%!
Cool, calm and powerful. Whilst your actual super abilities may not be anything too dazzling, you have earnt the respect of both friends and enemies in response to your amazing fighting skills, strategic combat and experience.

Luckily you have access to the greens which can fund all your majorly cool gadgets, vehicles and weapons! Also, you're reluctant but still accepting to the idea of having a teammate/side-kick, which just makes everything a whole lotta fun, doesn't it now!

On the down side, you've probably suffered some sort of trauma at a young age (that's why we don't talk to the old man near the swings, kids).
Similar to the Wolverine, your past is a base for your current motivation, undertaking some kind of personal vow in search of justice.

All in all though, you're one tough nut. There's not a lot of people who have the minerals to go up against you, and you're experienced enough not to get cocky and let the little things like never finding happiness get you down!

My test tracked 1 variable How you compared to other people your age and gender:
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 74% on Heropoints
Link: The Which SUPER HERO are you Test written by crayzee69 on Ok Cupid

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Amazing - U.S. & World - High Court Expands Reach of Eminent Domain

I never thought I'd see this. The liberal wing of the Supreme Court is saying that states and cities should be the ones to pass restrictions on eminent domain, so they won't change the existing decisions. Since when did they care about state's rights? Now more homes will be taken over for shopping malls.

There's a lot more I could say, but right now I'm too disgusted.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Not the endorsement Frito-Lay is after

Deposed dictator Saddam Hussein still thinks he is in charge of Iraq and has developed a fondness for a kind of crisp, his former guards have claimed.

The tyrant can "eat a family size bag of Doritos in 10 minutes", and rates ex-US president Bill Clinton above successor George Bush, said a report.

I can just see the TV ads now.

"Doritos: The chip of choice for military dictators around the world."

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Fall TV Preview

Well, with all my shows on summer hiatus (or cancelled), I started looking at the fall lineups over at TV Picks. I don't watch sitcoms much, but a few dramas are on the list. Here's the ones I looked at:

Commander-in-Chief: ABC puts Geena Davis as the first female President - coming to the job from the VP position. It also has Donald Sutherland as the Speaker of the House. I'm not a big Davis fan, and this show seems like another West Wing, however, Donald Sutherland is a big draw for me. Doubtful I'll watch it much, though.

Invasion: Conspiracy TV. The natural disasters like the Florida hurricanes are really a cover for aliens to do their work. Looks like X-Files is coming back. Not sure about the premise (I never was an X-Files fan).

E-Ring: West Wing for the Pentagon. It has Benjamin Bratt from Law & Order and Dennis Hopper, so it has potential from a star standpoint.

Night Stalker: Oh I remember the original show scaring me a lot on late Friday nights. I wonder how well this will hold up.

Reunion: This follows 6 people from their high school graduation 20 years ago to the current day where one of them (not revealed) is dead - so this is sold as half-mystery, half-drama. I like serial shows, and this one hits my age group almost dead on (considering my 20 year reunion is about six weeks away). However, the format just about insures that it's a single season show.

In Justice: Law & Order in reverse. Kyle MacLachlan plays a lawyer who proves convicted prisoners innocent. It's already set for mid-season, which makes me think they are already skeptical about it. Might be interesting for a few shows, but would almost certainly (like L&O) get old after a while.

The E-Ring and Reunion are probably the ones I'm the most interested in. It's been a few years that I've started watching a new show regularly (24 is the last "new show" I put on my watch list). Given that Reunion is likely to only last the year, E-Ring will probably be the one I keep an eye on for the next few months. I still doubt many of these will hold up well against 24, though :)

Economic Income Reference (i.e. What's the Middle Class?)

Just to follow-up on an offline discussion I was having yesterday with Shrieking Geek, here's a couple of income tables showing the national/state breakouts, median income, and quintiles through 2003:

Median Incomes

Quintile Breakdown

What we were discussing was how people move from one class to the other. Being part of the IT bubble, we went from lower-middle class, to upper class to upper-middle class in the last 10-15 years. That brought up the question of what's "upper class". From a perception standpoint, people don't generally consider themselves upper class until they are independently wealthy. The Kennedys, Waltons, etc. who have such a vast fortune they don't have to work, they just choose to. That's why a lot of people who have a 6000+ square foot home and two luxury car payments still call themselves "middle class".

Here's a Wikipedia post with some economic data:

The middle class of the United States
While 95 percent of Americans identify themselves as middle-class, using the measures of sociology the reality seems different: Some of these individuals are (in those terms) lower or upper class. The expansion of the phrase in the United States appears to have been predicated in the 1970s by the decline of labor unions, the entrance of formerly domestic women into the public adult work force, and the naming and blaming of the underclass in the slums.
Around 1980, when asked what level of personal income would qualify as middle-class, George H. W. Bush replied: $50,000. In fact, only 5 percent of the U.S. population was making that level of income at the time.
Though net worth usually determines social class, incomes between $20,000 and $75,000 are generally considered middle class. Most economists define "middle class" citizens as those with net worths of between $25,000 (low-middle class) to $250,000. Those with net worths between $250,000 and $500,000 typically are categorized as upper-middle-class.

Bad Week at Work

Sorry for the light blogging lately. It's been pretty stressful at the office. I'm in IT support and lately we've been losing staff and not replacing them quickly enough. As a result everyone is overworked and on edge. Recently one of my team members made a pretty basic error with a customer and I've spent a lot of the week in damage control mode. Unfortunately for him, that sort of behavior has come to be expected by others - making it that much more difficult on him.

I really need a break.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

I wonder what CAIR will say now?

Remember the stink from CAIR over the Fox show "24"? Fox decided to air a PSA to "reinforce" that there are good Muslims. Apparently, Americans can't tell the difference between TV and reality:

The Council on American-Islamic Relations - CAIR: Article Contents:

CAIR called for Wednesday's meeting to address the depiction of a 'Muslim' family that is at the heart of a terror plot in the popular program. The Washington-based Islamic civil rights and advocacy group is concerned that the portrayal of the family as a terrorist 'sleeper cell' may cast a shadow of suspicion over ordinary American Muslims and could increase Islamophobic stereotyping and bias.

Well, now we have two father-son pairs under arrest:

Hamid allegedly received terrorist training and funding from the father, an ice cream truck driver, so he could carry out attacks on hospitals and large food stores in the United States. But FBI officials on Wednesday backed away from specific information regarding any type of planned attacks.

Hamid, 22, and his father, 47, are charged with lying to authorities about the son's alleged training at an Al Qaeda camp in 2003 and 2004 and money sent for training. Both are American citizens; the younger man was born in California.

Somehow I doubt we'll see a PSA from Fox/CAIR about this

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

EMP Vulnerability in America

Winds of Change has an excellent piece on the vulnerability of the United States to an electromagnetic pulse attack. A single pulse at a sufficient altitude could potentially cripple the electronics (TV, computers/networks, cars, phone switches, etc.) in 95% of the continental US. It would take a ballistic missle to do it - so we don't want Russia selling any off.

This picture shows the scope:

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Apple to switch to Intel

If true, this will mark the end of an era. Part of Apple's appeal for many users has been that they are the "Anti-Microsoft". I'm not sure Apple can do it effectively either. The iPod will not by itself launch a new computer revolution for them. Steve Jobs has pulled a few rabbits out of his hat, before, though, but I just have my doubts.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Dean's Foot Grows Larger than his Head

I'm not sure he can get it in his mouth any more.

What would you do to be able to vote? Are you willing to stand in long lines?

I am, even though I have four kids I might have to bring with me. And I would, even if I made an "honest living."