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Some Blog I Wrote

stuff i think about and then type on a keyboard

Thursday, June 30, 2005


Nugget of Wisdom

From Mark Caro -- currently subbing for Eric Zorn in the latter's Trib blog -- writing about PETA's indignance (when are they not indignant?) towards an aquarium's offering of fish in its cafeteria:

Some fish are meant to be looked at. Some are meant to be slathered in tartar sauce. That's the way this crazy, complicated world works.

In other words, PETA's analogy of serving "poodle burgers" at a dog show is weak. PETA seems intent on issuing an indignant, ridiculous release every two months apparently out of a need to remind the general public they still exist.


Posted by GiromiDe @ 8:58 AM
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Wednesday, June 29, 2005


Flatten Illinois?

Not only is this scheme the product of a deranged mind, but the schemer doesn't appreciate the fact that Illinois is already largely flat except for the hilly bits near the Mississippi River, which could be ceded to Iowa and Wisconsin.

Oh, and Indiana, Missouri, and Wisconsin are just jealous.


Posted by GiromiDe @ 12:09 PM
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Blogging is a Nazi science.

Salon is in the midst of publishing a four-part series covering Scientology. Part one addresses deals with the recently more public persona of the religion. Part two is a review of Dianetics. Readers' responses to the review are found here, and I hope the concerns of some of the readers are addressed in the last two installments. (Note: You must click through an advertisement to access Salon.)

A brief off-the-cuff discussion about Scientology at the office warranted responses from a Devil's advocate who I suspect read Dianetics. He said that those seeking Scientology are "searching for meaning." I think every single human on the planet searches for meaning, be it through science, religion, or a combination of the two.

I can't understand how anyone reasonable can find that meaning in Scientology, though the religion's previous success at masking much of its core mythology has probably been able to keep more in its ranks, which is likely part of the design. I believe a given actor possesses a common characteristic (perhaps a chemical imbalance) that makes him or her susceptible to Scientology or any other fad that happens to fall under his or her (or his or her publicist's) radar. Something quantifiable isn't quite right in actors' heads, I'm sure of it. Actors exhibit many of the marks of a self-centered, self-righteous world view, and the introspective nature of Dianetics and Scientology would agree with that mentality. (Has anyone written a case study into the mind of an actor?)

Given that Dianetics breaks down to be a set of paranoid ramblings of a failed novelist with a traumatic past, what concerns me is that so many are internalizing this paranoia and making it part of their world view. I consider this the distinguishing mark of a religious (or quasi-religious) cult. Another distinguishing mark of a cult is an obsession with what I call the "most hated other," which in this case is psychiatry and pharmaceuticals. I wish I could say that coverage of recent happenings with Scientology and its members should be shrugged as the dealings of a few quacks, but no one really knows what the endgame of the Scientology cult is. Forgive me for being the one practicing paranoia, but two tenets of Scientology, as passed along by Roger Friedman, are "Never fear to hurt another in a just cause" and "Never desert a group to which you owe your support." Another phrase worth mentioning is "History repeats itself."


Posted by GiromiDe @ 12:00 PM
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Tom Likes A He

Thanks to Defamer (or The Defamer -- I'm not sure which), we can all slap our foreheads at the realization that "Katie Holmes" is an anagram for "Tom Likes A He." I'd like to point out that making anagrams was a beloved Nazi pasttime.


Posted by GiromiDe @ 7:03 AM
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Tuesday, June 28, 2005


Nugget of Wisdom

From Mark Caro -- currently subbing for Eric Zorn in the latter's Trib blog -- writing about Paramount's overprotective behavior during advance screenings of War of the Worlds:

People will feel more enthusiastic about heading to the multiplex when they sense that the movie industry is most concerned with protecting the audience’s good experience, not protecting the industry from the audience. As the saying goes, if we’re forced to sacrifice our way of life—or at least our way of enjoying movies—then the pirates have won.


Posted by GiromiDe @ 9:47 AM
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Monday, June 27, 2005


Adjust for inflation!

You no doubt might have stumbled across the news bite declaring that light sweet crude oil closed above $60 for the first time in history and that this will no doubt lead to the highest prices seen at the pump in a while. You might be surprised that crude has actually closed higher in recent history. Once again, the mainstream media has decided to replace insighful rational news with sensationalism. (And I'm referring to the more analytical CNBC specifically.) Browse this page and click on the unfortunately terribly rendered chart to note that Americans payed more at the pump around 1980, when crude traded around $95 in 2005 dollars, or over 150% of the current price. This page shows we are still around 70 cents away from paying the most we've ever payed at the pump. (The second chart hasn't been updated for a while.)

One cannot make a hyperbolic claim about prices, revenues, or profit without adjusting such values for inflation. Please remember this the next time some mainstream media outlet wants to grab you with news about film box-office revenues or gas prices. Chances are they have not done the research of the math beyond something cursory.

Speaking of box-office revenues, this site demonstrates that Gone With The Wind remains the top domestic box-office draw nearly 70 years later.


Posted by GiromiDe @ 4:05 PM
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Sunday, June 26, 2005


Crosstown Series 2005, Round Six

The final: Cubs: 2, White Sox: 0

The 2005 Crosstown Classic ends in a tie.

After the game, second baseman Todd Walker said the Cubs beat the White Sox in the last two games by "playing the White Sox game." Yes, the Cubs seemed to have rediscovered smallball, and at the right time. The two runs scored by the Cubs is a testament to John Garland's skill on the mound.

Nevertheless, Mark Prior was in better command this afternoon. Through six solid innings, he allowed only one hit and struck out three. One might not have known this was his first start after almost four weeks on the DL. Jerome Williams followed up with two great innings in his first stint as a middle reliever and setup man, and Ryan Dempster shut the door on the Southsiders.

If Kerry Wood can pitch as well as did two years ago, if Mark Prior continues to dominate on the mound, if Carlos Zambrano can keep his temper in check, if Jerome Williams and Ryan Dempster become the "dynamic bullpen duo" the Cubs need, and if the batting order can plug its holes, the Cubs have a strong shot at the playoffs. On the other side of that long list of "ifs" is the St. Louis Cardinals with a large lead in the division. The Cards lost a messy game to the Pirates this afternoon, and perhaps these two games are turning points for both teams.

One can hope.


Posted by GiromiDe @ 6:39 PM
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Crosstown Series 2005, Round Five

The final: Cubs: 6, White Sox: 2

That Loaiza/Contreras trade last year benefitted neither the White Sox nor the Yankees.

Contreras never recovered from a 1st inning grand slam, and Maddux settled after a potentially nasty 2nd inning to reach 312 wins.

The highlight reel for this game shows only two plays: Aramis Ramirez's grand slam in the 1st, and Todd Hollinsworth's 2-run denial in the 2nd that allowed Maddux to settle down. (The reel may be stretched to show back-to-back White Sox jacks that preceded Hollinsworth's play.) One highlight no one has mentioned is the first pitch bunt single in the 1st by Corey Patterson, recently returned to the leadoff spot following what some insiders have characterized as a tough heart-to-heart between CoPat and his manager. The hit was as critical to the Cubs' early lead Saturday as Ramirez's slam.

It's no secret the young center fielder has underperformed since returning to the roster at the start of the 2004 season. He's come through on a few occasions, but he's generally found himself on long hitless streaks and has choked in the outfield more than a few times. Many feel CoPat is on the short list with Dusty Baker and GM Jim Hendry. Such a list isn't hard to compile. Most of the Cub hitters have shown some degree of consistency this season, but CoPat has been a sore spot. He spent much of his time toward the bottom of the order, a placement he didn't seem to mind according to one locker room interview.

With Prior and Wood coming back -- Prior pitches in the Crosstown finale and Wood returns Wednesday -- fans hope they are healthy enough to restabilize their pitching game. Unfortunately, while Dempster seems to be very comfortable as the closer, the biggest hole for the Cubs' pitching staff is middle relief. None of the relievers have been consistent, be it Novoa, Wuertz, Wellemeyer, Remlinger, the unfortunately named Ohman, or Bartosh. The Cubs desperately need to find a compliment to Dempster, and perhaps they already have one in their staff.

CoPat is likely the most attractive player they can dangle for a trade. His speed would be attractive to any team, and he has respectable numbers. Whether they trade for middle relief or a better hitter is anyone's guess. The Cubs aren't alone with middle relief problems. If they trade him for pitching, they'd be forced to choose between Dubois and Hairston for a permanent CF. Given recent overall performance, Hairston's my pick. He could easily replace CoPat speed-for-speed, though I wouldn't give him the leadoff spot just yet. He needs to earn it.

Of course, this is all academic. CoPat could have decided to turn things around for himself with the Cubs. Maybe he'll become a consistent leadoff hitter and allow the Cubs to look for other players to trade. He should realize that his increased performance will have ripple effects that could extend to a better bullpen after the trade deadline, which is looming.


Posted by GiromiDe @ 11:05 AM
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Friday, June 24, 2005


Crosstown Series 2005, Round Four

The final: Cubs: 2, White Sox: 12

It's designated hitter season for the Northsiders as they visit the Southsiders at The Cell. Funny thing is, the Cubs might have been better off with Mitre in the lineup given his batting performance at his last outing. Even Derrek Lee never reached base on this hot, sticky afternoon.

While the East Coast media wants everyone to care about the lowly Mets and Yankees knocking each other around this weekend, this series in Chicago has the most epic tone.

It's a Tale of Two Teams.

One team has possessed the best record in 2005 since the first weeks. The other team has struggled to stay competitive in its division.

One plays loose and efficiently, believing in the time-honored value of smallball. The other swings, swings, swings for the fans and often comes up short.

One has a strong starting rotation and bullpen with only a few kinks. The other has a rotation desperate for consistency and health and a bullpen with little to offer but frustration.

One seems to enjoy playing baseball. The other looks confused and upset.

One team has all the moving parts working. The other has a few parts that far exceed the performance of others.

It's also a Tale of Two Fanbases.

One team sees sellout crowds at every home game and legions of what my dear friend Don calls "WGN fans" filling stadiums throughout the country. The other would be happy to see 20,000 arrive.

One captures the love of its fans and its city despite breaking their hearts so many times in the past. The other has fans who are more angry at that other team and its fans than they are in love with their own team.

One usually draws attention from national media. The other might be brought to national attention if they win the World Series.

It was the best of times. It was the worst of time.


Posted by GiromiDe @ 8:35 PM
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One of those damn good interviews you wish were more common...

The Friday Night Show on Chicago WTTW 11 tonight featured a replay of an interview with Billy Corgan of The Smashing Pumpkins. The interview was so good, I TiVoed the damn thing.

Mr. Corgan has kept himself rooted in Chicago, offering commentary on his beloved Cubs in print and on the radio. His recent project Zwan is officially over, and he's publishing a book of poetry. I must admit I never really followed his band all that much, but I do remember liking what I heard coming from my college roommate's stereo.

I wish I could offer a link to a transcript of the interview. He offered a lot of good insights into the music industry, radio, his own career, rock 'n' roll, the abduction of yet another artistic realm by the pop culture/advertising machine, Johnny Cash, and Courtney Love. I'd love to see him in an open panel discussion with Bono, Tony Bennett, and a handful of other insightful artists.

If I find a transcript, I'll post it here. Stay "tuned."


Posted by GiromiDe @ 8:10 PM
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Nuptuals

My old college roommate and dear friend Mike Z. is tying the knot this weekend, and I regretfully can't attend. Fortunately, I'll spend some time with Mike and his bride in July, and I hope they can stop by if they decide to drive to the Midwest again, but I still feel like a chump.

I've already given him a small pep talk over the phone -- the one based on my wife's disdain for the "wisdom" that the first year of marriage is the hardest. The first year is certainly not the hardest. The first year should be a big silly, stupid, dreamy fog. Marriage in general should be fun -- a shared adventure. A marriage should embrace the differences between spouses as much as it should the similarities, but this approach shouldn't be an excuse for stubbornness or a lack of compromise.

The most important advice I can give is that one should take an active interest in his or her marriage. Don't simply take it for granted. Don't be along for the ride -- be a part of it.


Posted by GiromiDe @ 4:15 PM
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Wherein the author openly discloses repetitive dreams about missed classes

Following Jeff Harrell's meme about unsolicited dreams, I wish some psychiatrist (audit this, Cruise!) could offer me a drug that keeps me from having recurring dreams. Specifically, I would love to be rid of the recurring softcore nightmare of finding myself forced into taking an exam for a class I rarely attended or thought I had dropped. I haven't taken classes for eight years, and I still experience this dream on a weekly basis. Some even appear to occur during high school. Further fueling the anxiety such dreams cause me is the fact I semi-attended a few classes in college at university. It speaks highly of the overall quality of my college education that I could coast through some classes with little attendance in real life.

Why can't I again experience that trippy dream where I was able to move to any point of my lifetime at will?


Posted by GiromiDe @ 2:40 PM
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Thursday, June 23, 2005


The March Towards .500

The Cubs continue their march towards .500, albeit in the wrong direction. While I'm not writing off the 2005 season just yet, the club has some serious holes to plug -- starting rotation, middle relief, left field, and center field. Left field needs more experience and center field needs more offensive and defensive competance. Hell, let's pull Kenny Lofton out of mothballs if we have to. If the gap between the Cards and the Cubs doesn't narrow significantly around the time of All-Star break, the best the Cubs can hope for is a Wild Card berth. The Cards, though not a streaking team, are a consistent team. The Cubs... not so much.

The Astros are starting to look in practice like the team they are on paper. They're also repeating their 2004 regular season performance, just recently surging with a little more than half the season left. Whether they can repeat 2004 completely is a different matter. They have the pitching and the hitting -- moreso than the Cubs with the obvious exception of Derrek Lee.


Posted by GiromiDe @ 3:58 PM
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Nugget of Wisdom (or Cynicism)

From Defamer (or The Defamer?):

Every tragic bit of hard news needs a water-skiing squirrel story to cleanse the palate.


Posted by GiromiDe @ 1:18 PM
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Tuesday, June 21, 2005


Are we Clear?

No doubt you've heard about or have seen Tom Cruise getting publicly pranked in London. You might also have read about Brooke Shields' tirade against Tom Cruise's criticism of antidepressants. (Scientologists deplore anything related to psychiatry.) This on top of his convenient public whirlwind romance with Katie Holmes has prompted this blogger to question his long-term bankability.

Roger Friedman, a.k.a. Fox411, has long tracked Cruise's wackier antics from which the mainstream media has stayed away. Cruise has publicly pushed programs that are fronts for Scientology, such as HELP. Adding more concern is Friedman's recent revelation that 16 days in April are missing from Katie Holmes' personal calendar. The folks at Free Katie might not be far off as those close to Holmes fear she is being brainwashed into Scientology.

What is really going on here? Is this something beyond viral marketing for War of the Worlds and to lesser extent Batman Begins? Is there really a large Hollywood Scientology Conspiracy in play here? As an aside, is Oprah Winfrey an enabler in this conspiracy, or is she a part of it? (I'm in the camp that believes she's a closet Scientologist.)

On a less serious note, is Tom Cruise crazying himself out of the market? Will War of the Worlds be his last major film before he finally falls off the deep end?


Posted by GiromiDe @ 8:00 AM
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Friday, June 17, 2005


Gay Paree

Imagine you're visiting Paris, France for the first time. It's a nice Friday morning, and you decide to visit the Eiffel Tower. Alas, you can't go up to the top deck because some famous Scientologist is proposing to his girlfriend of six weeks and "his people" have closed off the area! While I've read nothing confirming this suspicion, what I do know of American celebrities and their wacky alternate realities is that such a thing likely happened. In such a warped universe, two starcrossed celebrities could publicly fall in love in the midst of the advance press of their respective summer blockbusters.

Don't get me wrong. I'm all for falling hard in love. I proposed to my wife within three months of our first date. I've met many married couples with the same story. I just find the Cruise/Holmes public relationship far too convenient. At this rate, they'll be married within a day or two of War of the Worlds.

The folks at Free Katie must be working overtime. I hope they get some sleep.


Posted by GiromiDe @ 10:55 PM
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NBA Finals, or We Told You So

How can the Spurs beat the Pistons so handily at home only to be beaten handily in Detroit? Do I think this series will be stretched to seven games to maximize ratings potential? Do I find this convenient? Do the protracted labor talks in the NBA have anything to do with this? Mark me down as someone who think the Spurs and Pistons players are dragging this thing out just to prove a point. Most shocking to me is how many eyeballs are glued to the NBA Finals.

What would 2006 be like without the NBA and NHL if neither organizations can get their respective owners and players unions talking? Arenas around the country would become very desperate operations. Perhaps we'll see a rise in arena football any number of odd sports based in arenas. Sports writers would have twice the number of reasons to appear angry in print.


Posted by GiromiDe @ 2:45 PM
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Thursday, June 16, 2005


No More Excuses

Everyone I know keeps telling me to watch the short-lived science fiction series Firefly. Currently, the only way I can do this is to rent or borrow a DVD set of the first season, I haven't the time or funds to do so. According to Jeff Harrell and a Sci Fi Channel press release, I have no more excuses as the network will air it on Fridays, creating a fairly solid four-hour block of programming that will consume my TiVo's hard drive for months.

As Jeff already mentioned, the timing of this could not be better for adult-oriented science fiction. With the Star Trek franchise (finally) being buried for a few years, one can hope that smart viewers find their way to Sci Fi Fridays and add to its already respectable audience numbers. Star Trek was long considered the end-all be-all to sci-fi television, which likely kept other sci-fi series from finding success over the past several decades. Fortunately, Star Trek burnout has prompted many good writers and producers to offer stronger alternatives.

Sure, one has to go to "cable" to find great programming in this genre, but who isn't hooked up to cable or satellite by now? I've seen trailer parks full of dishes.


Posted by GiromiDe @ 10:45 PM
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Wednesday, June 15, 2005


Voice Actors Are People, Too!

In an interview with The Onion A.V. Club, voice actor Billy West offers his opinions of the animation industry. Like live-action films before them, Billy West believes animated films have become too obsessed with star power. He also hopes Futurama will be resurrected following the recent set of new Family Guy episodes airing on Fox. You and me both, Billy.

(New Futurama episodes in addition to new seasons of Arrested Development in spite of off-kilter ratings expectations might be too much for me to handle. Fox can't possibly err on the side of reason this many times!)


Posted by GiromiDe @ 11:05 AM
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Monday, June 13, 2005


Jacko just beat it.

Michael Jackson has been acquitted on all counts. Jurors were terse during the post-trial press conference -- no doubt only disclosing details to their respective ghost writers.

I am by no means surprised by the verdict. While I haven't made a concerted effort to follow Yet Another California-based Hyperbolic Trial (YACHT), from what I've read and heard, the prosecution didn't have an airtight case. Despite the repeated admission by the accused that he frequently slept with young boys not related to him, the prosecution couldn't connect the dots. Not helping matters were accusers whose questionable pasts established much reasonable doubt.

My gut tells me Michael Jackson is a confused, self-centered, thick-headed boy-man who is desperately trying to recapture a childhood taken away from him by his tyrannical father. This makes him an easy target, and it also makes him an easy victimizer. I can just as easily believe he's innocent as I can believe he's guilty. His offerings of "Jesus juice" and pornographic materials to boys call his actions into question, but again, the prosecution never offered a solid case.

Not helping matters was a District Attorney who thrust his chest around like a cocksure rooster who just nailed the best hen in the coop. I never liked how pleased he seemed about the case early on.

Jesse "Appropois of Nothing" Jackson offered his two cents. Various residents of The Gloved One's hometown Murderville Gary, Indiana were extremely pleased with the verdict.

(For painfully thorough online coverage, go to "Jacko Central" on The Smoking Gun.)

So, what do we focus on now? Iraq? Africa? Bradgelina? Katie Holmes' embrace of Scientology, and the public's efforts to free her?


Posted by GiromiDe @ 6:20 PM
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Friday, June 10, 2005


cooler by the lake

Enron's Jeffrey Skilling's less evil brother Tom loves to talk about the weather. I've never seen another meteorologist squeeze the most out of his portion of a mostly useless hourlong evening newscast. I find his ramblings boring on TV, but I don't mind them in print. He contributes to a weather blog on WGN's website.

The current weather in Chicago has been on my mind. My yard has seen barely enough rain to sustain itself. We're in the midst of a hot-humid, hit-or-miss-storm weather pattern that reminds me of a typical North Texas summer. (North Texas is not to be confused with the Panhandle.) The pattern shows no immediate signs of changing. North Texas weather was one of the reasons I left Dallas for the colder Chicago almost seven years ago.

I can't complain too much. Last summer was very mild, and the snow hasn't messed with my head too much. The protracted hard freezing weather of earlier this year did get to me a little bit.

I just want rain -- I can take the heat. I don't think I've heard my sump pump in at least two weeks. I don't want to water the yard myself, but I can't help but worry about what a protracted drought did to the foundation of my parents' house several years ago, even if the circumstances are different. In this case, even excessive watering didn't help.

Ah, forget it. I'll just enjoy my house and family instead.


Posted by GiromiDe @ 4:45 PM
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Interleague Madness (and Plunking, Too!)

The Cubs beat the Red Sox 14-6 in the first of a three-game series at Wrigley Field. Whether this sets the tone for the series or is a fluke will be decided over the weekend. Highlights included Gred Maddux's first home run since 1999, David Ortiz's usual power, Cliff Bartosh's well-padded 9th-inning chocking, and a rare unassisted out when runner Neifi Perez was hit by a batted ball.

The Cubs are now 3-4 in interleague play this season.

The other big matchup of the weekend will be the Cardinals hosting the Yankees. I can't believe I'm rooting for the Yankees to sweep, but I'm tired of the Cubs lagging behind when they seem to care about winning again. The Cubs and Cards won't face each other for a while, so any help from the Bombers would be helpful. The big question is whether those old geezer Yankees pitchers handle the humid heat as badly as they handled the cold earlier this season. The Cards are 4-2 in 2005 interleague play while the Yankees are 3-3.

The White Sox will attempt to continue their NL West domination when they face the Padres at PETCO Park, a venue the Cubs have so far mastered 6-1. They haven't suffered from the loss of the DH spot yet this season. The White Sox are 5-1 in interleague play this season.

Finally, for those of you who love or are tired of the plethora of nearly useless baseball statistics, take a look at Plunk Biggio.


Posted by GiromiDe @ 4:30 PM
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"Mactel" a company rather than an alliance?

Robert X. Cringely obviously plants at least the tip of tongue in this cheek as he predicts Apple and Intel intend to eventually merge to negate Microsoft and AMD. As a good writer, he makes his somewhat wild hypothesis seem not so far-fetched -- establishing something close to a bona fide theory.

I too have pondered why AMD is out of the picture, why Apple has effectively crippled their own non-iPod hardware sales for the next 12 months, and why Apple appears to be stepping back from their highly-touted 64-bit platform. The final question might be answered by a recent comment posted by Jeff Harrell in his own blog entry (scroll down a bit).

Following Cringely's argument, the next 12 to 18 months is the time for Apple and Intel to strike against Microsoft. The dominant bloatware producer has been continuously pushing their next OS back for several years. Nary a peep has come from Microsoft except for Xbox 360 buzz, delay announcements for Longhorn, the occasional security patches, and the occasional attempts at making quick cash with marginal software updates. The company's current presence in the marketplace is guided more by inertia than innovation. Were it not for the increasing demands of computer games, Intel would be twiddling their thumbs.

Intel must see Apple as their salvation, their key to staying alive and competitive in a consumer sector dominated by a stagnant company. This circles back to the question I asked immediately after the announcement: Does Intel need Apple more than Apple needs Intel? Cringely's answer appears to be that the need is mutual. After all, they have a mutual enemy. They each have a roadmap that the other promises to bring to fruition. "Mactel" has the potential to present a much stronger case against Microsoft than Apple and Intel separately.

I remember reading a business journal article at an optometrist's office many years ago that stated that Microsoft's ponderous size could eventually hurt the company. Though the article made no memorable mention of Apple or Intel, let along a merger of the two, it stated that the company's need to control every aspect of the computing market would be its downfall. Microsoft would fail to see the big picture, being too slow and too stupid to "get" where computers were going outside of the humdrum office environment. And offices might eventually grow tired of dealing with such a slow and stupid company with no viable alternative. While Mactel might not win the hearts and minds of CIOs, it doesn't really need to -- the home has become the battlefield of technology.

What happens in the next 12 months will likely be scrutinized more than any Apple endeavour since the company's founding. I still find it odd how a company with less than 5% marketshare in the computer sector demands so much attention, but they were the first computer maker to brand a personal computer as "cool" and then as an essential part of the "digital lifestyle." I just hope all this hoopla isn't for nothing. I hope they enter 2007 stronger than they have been. After all, Longhorn will probably be (again) just around the corner, due to arrive some time in late 2007 early 2008.


Posted by GiromiDe @ 1:10 PM
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Thursday, June 09, 2005


Stealth Marketing by Apple and Intel?

Consider this summary of points and conclusion at The Shape of Days. I think Mr. Harrell's Spider Sense is well tuned on this one. This is how large corporations can leverage public processes they deem not in their favor to benefit not only themselves but the public in general. Everyone gets a taste of Mac OS X 10.4.1 for free on any old Intel machine. If only the RIAA were this reasonable or intelligent.


Posted by GiromiDe @ 10:30 AM
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Wednesday, June 08, 2005


Google Biography Game

My dear friend and fellow Brain Pirate Josh offers the Google Biography Game. The rules are simple:
  1. Go to Google and look up "[your name] is". For example, "Regis is".
  2. Look at the phrases in the synopses. It's your very own random biography!
  3. Post them here or here.
According to the first page of my Google Biography Game search, I am...

  • ...the author of Design for Community
  • ...'friend of Camilla'
  • ...a wonderful speaker with mind-boggling information
  • ...the first black master of foxhounds in the New Forest
  • ...a Century 21 Realtor located in the Kootenays that can help you with all your Castlegar real estate and realty needs
  • ...a star
  • ...best known for his skills on the harp
  • ...the son of B.B.C. Northern Dance Orchestra arranger Pat Nash
  • ...a founding member of the Association of Professional Futurists


Posted by GiromiDe @ 12:30 PM
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Stanley Kubrick's Chicago

Recently found by journalist Mary Panzer, catalogued Look archives reveal a rare collection of photographs of Chicago taken by Stanley Kubrick before he started his filmmaking career.


Posted by GiromiDe @ 11:55 AM
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Tuesday, June 07, 2005


Toronto?!

Are the Blue Jays good enough to spank the Cubs two games in a row? They're 2.5 games ahead of the Yankees as of tonight, so I guess they are.

The humble Brewers have dominated the Yankees two games in a row, and I believe the domination is due to the Brewers' general quality as much as to the Yankees' general lack of consistency. Hopefully, the Cubs can put the Yankees in their place when they meet in New York later this month. Hopefully, the Cubs will have a more reliable starting rotation and more reliable clutch hitting by then.

The White Sox finally reached 20 games above .500 by beating some team in Colorado -- some team in Colorado that cost the Cubs their best pitcher!

I still consider the 2005 season worth it if the Braves don't make the playoffs. That shit has to stop.


Posted by GiromiDe @ 11:50 PM
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Knocking

PBS will air a documentary called Knocking in 2006. It details the subtle yet profound impact of Jehovah's Witnesses on society and their often overlooked plight in Nazi Germany. (The Holocaust Museum dedicates a section to Witnesses.) My maternal grandparents have been baptized Witnesses for around 20 years, and my "geepaw" is an elder, which is exactly like an elder in the Presbyterian faith. I studied with my geepaw for several years, but I never committed to the religion. I'm still uncertain about what my beliefs really are, but I know I'm uneasy with the state of other Christian sects and their followers, especially with respect to the ongoing Culture Wars.

Sometimes, while sifting through news sites and blogs, I can't help but think the Witnesses offer a killer Red Pill. While watching The Matrix, I can't help but see it as a metaphor for religious transformation, for lifting the veil of politics, cynicism, wars, and suffering to see the world -- the universe -- for what it really is.

(Do I get points for mixing a pop culture reference with a sect that categorically rejects pop culture?)


Posted by GiromiDe @ 11:45 PM
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carry each other

Could the richest eight nations on Earth do more to help Africa? The ONE Campaign believes so.


Posted by GiromiDe @ 11:20 PM
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Steve Jobs offers more insight

Steve Jobs offered a few interesting reasons for Apple's switch to Intel.

...Intel's processor roadmap really aligns with where we want to go much more than any other.

While many view the switch as a tactical maneuver, Jobs alludes to a stronger, strategic impetus. Now I'm really intrigued. Damn you, Steve!


Posted by GiromiDe @ 11:11 PM
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I Hate Woodfield

While it has a great Apple Store (the first in Chicagoland) among other stores, I can't stand Woodfield. Perhaps I was too spoiled when I lived near the more generally upscale Old Orchard and Northbrook Court, but I hate that Woodfield is the closest mall to me now. The parking lot is a schizophrenic mess of partial parking garages and buckling concrete. Moving from one floor to another requires navigating a maze of elevators, ramps, and stairs -- heaven forbid one is pushing a child in a stroller. (No, our family are not stroller hogs!) There is no central food court, so quick dining is scattered -- the preferred A&W Restaurant requires excellent navigation skills.

Now, I read that Old Orchard and other malls are contemplating facelifts with nary a mention of Woodfield. This mall I'm stuck with might be in its current state for a long time.

Maybe it's Sears I hate. Woodfield is the only mall I've lived close to that has a Sears. Maybe I have something against a store where I can have my picture taken, my eyes examined, and my teeth cleaned, where I can purchase a pair of khakis, a refrigerator, a DVD player, a lawn mower, alumnimum siding, windows, and a table saw, where I can charge all of the above to the Sears Credit Card, that once most crucial part of the former Sears empire.

...

No, I still hate Woodfield.


Posted by GiromiDe @ 11:05 PM
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the triplets cometh

Our dear friends Ron and Jen are now officially the proud parents of Ben, Eric, and Josh. (If this rings a proverbial bell, I wrote about them before.) They were born around the ideal number of weeks for triplets, and they are all being monitored at the hospital. Links to pictures forthcoming as they become available.

Congratulations, Ron and Jen!


Posted by GiromiDe @ 10:10 PM
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I Love It When Cruise Isn't Together

As Trib columnist Eric Zorn laments about never being prodded for his opinions on the Tom Cruise/Katie Holmes fling, I have a confession. I watched the Oprah interview in which he acted like a complete lunatic in the hopes of learning anything interesting about War of the Worlds, the second film I desperately want to see this summer after Batman Begins.

Tom Cruise's hysteria is somewhat contagious. He lost it during his last interview with David Letterman while trying to explain how and why he reduced cabin pressure while flying a passenger in his off time. (What is it with Scientologist celebrities being pilots?) The passenger woke up after passing out none the wiser. It was a dark, funny anecdote -- a rarity in modern late night interviews.

I have another confession, I hope Cruise appears on Oprah just after his eventual breakup with Holmes. Hopefully, he'll be as publicly upset and remorseful as he was giddy and optimistic. Seriously, I'd pay to see that. Or maybe he'll go all Vincent and hunt down each member of the audience. One can hope. (Note to self: buy Collateral.)


Posted by GiromiDe @ 9:50 PM
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Much Ado About Apple

The geek community can breathe easier now that John Dvorak has chimed in on Apple's switch to Intel. To meet his FUD quota, he added that the "Freenix" community will ultimately suffer as developers roam to more profitable pastures.

Moving OS X to IA-32 will likely have little impact on the efforts of the Freenix community. Freenix has uses other than the "desktop environment" and "user experience" found in OS X and that other, sporadically maintained operating system. When techies at Firm A choose a flavor of Freenix, they are likely doing so for backend purposes. Firm A might still use a more conformist OS for frontend or daily operations purposes. In short, Freenix is for the geeks, and applications like GIMP or Open Office allow the geek to perform non-geek functions in the same environment where they develop their own applications.

I've changed my tune about this transition since yesterday. It's ultimately a good thing for both Apple and Intel. 64-bit computing isn't necessary a huge gain for the average user, so moving to IA-32 -- note I'm not using "x86" -- isn't so much a step back as a step in the right direction. I have Jeff Harrell to thank for that. (Read the comments in that blog entry for a great discussion, including my own clumsy stupidity.) Whether the chips used by Apple feature Hyperthreading or EM64T is anyone's guess, as is the general hardware configuration. Regardless, the user experience on the Intel Macs will have to considerably more responsive for the switch to be worth it in the eyes of Mac and non-Mac users alike.

One news item that many have passed over in favor of FUD is the release of OS X 10.5 Leopard in 2006. Apple intends to release this update around the same time Microsoft is scheduled to unveil Windows Longhorn, the first major update to the Windows OS since 2001. If Apple were smart, they would release Leopard any time from one week before to one week after the release of Longhorn -- somewhere in the same news cycle. Pairing this with the release of new Intel Macs would be an insanely great maneuver to steal Microsoft's thunder.


Posted by GiromiDe @ 2:00 PM
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Monday, June 06, 2005


"Dogs and cats living together! Mass hysteria!"


Apple ran its own Switch ad today, announcing they will transition their processor supply from IBM to Intel over the next two calendar years. I have recently commented on rumors that Apple would announce exactly this.

According to a Keynote attendant who posted on MacNN, the processor of choice is currently a 3.6 GHz Pentium 4, which disappointed me. My hope was that along with a shift to Intel, Apple would announce some kind of venture to use a new 64-bit chipset, but they seem to be currently married to the aging x86 family. "I'd hate for [Apple] to be shacking up with a corpse," opines my dear friend and Pop Culture Zombie Scott. Apple intends to make available to developers a version of Tiger that runs on an Intel machine.

Apple was clearly stuck between a rock and a hard place. They represented a fraction of IBM's business, and IBM was more engrossed in delivering innovations to the next generation of all three game consoles. IBM had failed to deliver on Apple's promise of 3.0 GHz 64-bit computing. AMD and Intel were the only viable alternatives, and they chose Intel. The least Apple could do is keep Intel Inside stickers off of their future products.

I suppose the biggest question to ask is, Does Intel need Apple more than Apple needs Intel?

The Shape of Days offers some great insight that Mac users should take to heart.


Posted by GiromiDe @ 3:00 PM
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What I'm Reading Now

Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser, on loan from my dear friend Heidi.

I shall post a full review upon finishing it, but so far, I'm impressed. By "impressed," I imply "saddened and angered." As a parent, I was already concerned about the consumerist regime brainwashing my daughter. Now I'm getting positively militant about it.


Posted by GiromiDe @ 12:25 PM
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Mark Who? F. You!

Today's printed Daily Herald featured a forward to a Sports article about the Cubs' win yesterday with the tagline "Mark who?" Excuse me, but Mark Prior is a valuable part of the team. He's a quality pitcher who's been the recipient of bad luck. He had a bad inning against Houston this season, but his losses or no-decisions are generally the fault of the lack of run support.

"Kerry who?" is more appropriate. I have a soft spot for Kerry Wood as he's from my neck of the woods, but he might be as overrated as the more blowhard Cub fans have been chanting all season. It's hard to say if the Cubs would be in a better position with him in the starting rotation, but he hasn't been "2003 good" since his first start against the Marlins in the 2003 NLCS. Prior was "2003 good" after returning from the DL toward the end of last season and has been "2003 good" for most of this season.

My call would be to swap Mitre with Prior upon return from the DL, trade Mitre out of the Cubs' farm system, keep Koronka (provided he's as good tonight as he was his last start) and Rusch, and work a sixth man/reliever just in case more bad luck befalls the rotation. Could that sixth man be Wood? I doubt it, but stranger things have happened, especially when a player finds himself in a fight for legitimacy.


Posted by GiromiDe @ 11:55 AM
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Sunday, June 05, 2005


Nugget of Trivia

I learned two things today from cable popular film reruns:

  1. Matthew Perry was originally picked for the part Harry Connick, Jr. eventually played in Independence Day. Perry's dad played a Secret Service agent.

  2. David Letterman auditioned for the role of Ted Stryker in Airplane. Imagine how different it would be in that Alternate Film Universe, which brings me back to my desire to see the somewhat completed version of Back To The Future featuring Eric Stoltz as Marty McFly.


Posted by GiromiDe @ 11:28 PM
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Wayne Enterprises isn't on my floor.

Word has it that the Wayne Enterprises headquarters in Batman Begins is at least based on the famous Chicago Board of Trade at the south end of LaSalle Street, where I have been working from January through two Mondays from tomorrow. Much of Chicago was used during the production of this film, including a big chase scene involving the (non-gay) Batmobile.

By the way, Ebert & Roeper gave the film two strong thumbs up. They both thought this was the first Batman that "got it right." Ebert disliked all four previous installments while Roeper liked the first Tim Burton film, as did most persons I know.


Posted by GiromiDe @ 11:15 PM
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Nipple?

Such was a shorthand name suggested by an AppleInsider poster in response to rumors posted late Friday that Steve Jobs would announce some sort of new strategic alliance with Intel tomorrow during his Keynote at the 2005 Worldwide Developer Conference. "Nipple" is a (stretched) combination of "Apple" and "Intel." "Wintel" has long been the accepted shorthand for the (shaky) Microsoft-Intel alliance, and some decided it was never too early to lay claim to the next "soccer mom," "exurb", or "milf."

What the announcement will be is anyone's guess. Rumor has it Apple and IBM have had a strained relationship for quite some time as IBM has yet to deliver on the promise of a 3.0 GHz G5 or a low-power G5 for the Powerbook. Some speculators say the resultant transition will be as dramatic as the one that moved Macs from 68K to PPC, while others say Apple will simply use Intel to produce more PPC chips or chips that emulate PPC. Many say it will not be a switch to x86 as Intel has been trying to run away from that architecture for years. A few are more conservative, saying that Apple will simply use some of Intel's more dedicated multimedia chips for future devices.

Regardless of the details of the Keynote, the air will be thick with anticipation tomorrow, and I'm sure this is just what Steve Jobs wanted. If only these weren't held on the West Coast, forcing a large part of the country to wait well into the afternoon for the big news.


Posted by GiromiDe @ 11:05 PM
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flying high from the west coast

The Cubs return home tomorrow to host the Toronto Blue Jays in exciting interleague play after a West Coast road trip of 6-1. They are in the midst of their first full rotation without Mark Prior, and they have so far only suffered behind Sergio Mitre.

If only they had the worries of the White Sox -- falling short of 20 games above .500 for the third time this season.


Posted by GiromiDe @ 10:43 PM
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Friday, June 03, 2005


Seventh Heaven

The Cubs won their seventh game in a row last night. Thanks to the Astros, the gap between the Cards and Cubs is five and a half games.

Could it be that the loss of Mark Prior was an ironic epiphany for the Cub hitters? Tonight's game will be a true test of the hitters and starting rotation as ho-hum Sergio Mitre faces 7-1 Adam Eaton. The recent performances of Lee, A-Ram, Walker, and Perez prove we have a formidable lineup in spite of the holes *cough* CoPat *cough*. Hopefully Jim Hendry can work some acquisition magic in the coming weeks to improve the lineup.


Posted by GiromiDe @ 3:55 PM
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Nugget of Wisdom

From my dear friend and former colleague Sesterpollo:

Right now I think I don't know what I like or want, but I do know what I don't like and don't want to do. One step closer to happiness.


Posted by GiromiDe @ 3:25 PM
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ch-ch-changes

The only constant in life is change.


Posted by GiromiDe @ 3:20 PM
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Thursday, June 02, 2005


pwn3d

Recent Giant acquisition LaTroy Hawkins gave up a walk-off grand slam last night against the Phillies. It was the epitome of his career as a closer in Chicago. He signed with the Cubs as a free agent in 2004 to be the setup man for 2003 closer extraordinaire Joe Borowski. Unfortunately for Hawkins, JoBo had problems with his arm for most of last season, so the closer role transitioned to him. The role never seemed to suit Hawkins, who tallied an ERA of 2.76 as a Cub. The club's one-run contest record flip-flopped from 2003 to 2004.

Perhaps the Cubs were suckered in the trade last weekend as well. Perhaps Hawkins will finally accept the closer role. I wonder if his new teammate and former Cub teammate Moises Alou shook his head in silence. Deja vu all over again.


Posted by GiromiDe @ 12:30 PM
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Wednesday, June 01, 2005


Nugget of Wisdom

From a thread on Knob-Fil-A following the topic also covered by Dr. Heimlich:
"

...Atlas Shrugged is a harmful book."

"Only if you throw it at someone."

"Is anybody really strong enough to pick it up?"


Posted by GiromiDe @ 9:55 PM
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In Soviet Russia, Dead Horse Beats You

Such was a terse comment in an otherwise reactionary blabfest in a Slashdot thread following two articles posted on TrekToday. The former article concerns a celebrated writer being commissioned to write a screenplay for a hypothetical eleventh Star Trek feature film. (This sort of business is commonplace in Hollywood and often goes nowhere.) The latter article is essentially a non-news item highlighting comments made by creativity-impaired franchise parasite Star Trek franchise executive producer Rick Berman. He speculates about the timeframe for a new Star Trek film or series, but offers nothing concrete.

Some speak of the "Slashdot effect" as a particular site being crippled by too many internet users attempting to access it, often because Slashdot posted a link to the site. I think it's actually a group of persons falling into fits of hysteria whose convulsions are online comments. Some simply ignored the facts that Berman was speaking in hypotheticals, that commissioned screenplays are commonplace, or that the Slashdot user who posted the two articles was artificially linking one to the other to reach an unfounded conclusion.

This is all background noise as a new season of Battlestar Galactica approaches. Slashdot proves it's worth something after all by posting this preview of the second season's first five episodes along with a few stills.


Posted by GiromiDe @ 11:20 AM
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All Things Chicago

The ChicagoCrime.Org is an updated and continuously groomed site detailing criminal activity in Chicago proper.

The Encyclopedia of Chicago is an online form of the mammoth volume produced by the Chicago Historical Society.

The excellent Shedd Aquarium is in the midst of its 75th year. (My apologies for the site's use of frames.) The experience is well worth the steep admission. A new CRABS! exhibit has recently opened. That's right -- Chicago has crabs.

The Cubs extended their win streak to five games last night against the Dodgers in spite of Corey Patterson's efforts to the contrary. I hope they can extend the streak to six before facing the hot Padres. As the Cubs don't face the Cardinals for the remainder of June, they need to win a high percentage of their games to make a dent in the Cardinals' sizable lead. Tonight's pitching matchup is the always healthy Kerry Wood newcomer John Koronka against noted speller Derek Lowe. (I love me some Derrek Lee like any Cub fan, but that extra "R" must go.)

The steady White Sox helped the ultra-hot Rangers with another dramatic walk-off win against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in The State of California Located in North America last night. (Someone in their front office needs to commit to one damn location.) Sox fans will have to wait until July and August to see if they can fare against potential playoff rivals the Red Sox and Yankees. The bulk of their June schedule is interleague play against the NL West (yawn) and the Cubs (yippee!).


Posted by GiromiDe @ 10:35 AM
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