Monday, November 30, 2009

Tiger Better Fess Up

By now, everyone within range of a TV or radio knows that Tiger Woods had some kind of "incident" over the holiday weekend. The official story is that at 2:30am, Woods was backing out of his driveway and ran into a tree and a fire hydrant, injuring himself. His wife supposedly had to break his rear windshield with a golf club to pull him out of the vehicle, and when the police arrived, they found Woods lying in the street, bloody and incoherent. with his wife "standing over him."


Before any of the inevitable rumors began to swirl, I had my doubts. First I thought, "Tiger Woods had an accident at 2:30 in the morning? Backing up? What was he trying to get away from?" Then I heard more details. Facial injuries, wife with golf club. Immediately, I figured, he wasn't injured from the accident, his wife went upside his head with that golf club. After all, if he injured himself that badly backing up, he would have had to stomp on the gas pedal, meaning at least he would have pulled the hydrant out of the ground (I've seen it happen) and/or possibly backed into -- or through! -- whatever was across from his driveway.

Then it came out that Mrs. Tiger had read a National Inquirer report of her husband having an affair with a woman in New York. That would definitely be a rationale for her working him over with a golf club or whatever. These days the Inquirer has to be taken more seriously than in years past; after all, they stuck to their guns with the John Edwards paternity story, and turned out to be correct.

Eldrick Woods is, and has always been, a private person. I can respect that; I treasure my privacy as well. But Tiger better put aside the worries about his image and just fess up to whatever it is he's so afraid of the police finding out, and just answer their questions. The best way to make the story go away is to tell it. But continuing to stick to an obvious fable, and continuing to hold off the police, will just prolong the publicity until the truth comes out anyway, maybe bringing along with it something else the Woodses would like to keep private.

EDIT: Of course, now more women are stepping up and saying that they've had affairs with Tiger Woods, one even supplying a voicemail recording of Woods asking her to remove her name from her phone so it won't show up in his cell phne's call logs  when she calls, because his wife had checked his phone and seen the name. And, typically, Woods is throwing money around to all involved, including his wife, in the hopes that it will keep everyone in their respective lanes.

I will never understand the mindset of someone who apparently values image above reality. Woods is apparently rewriting his prenuptial agreement with his wife to give her more money if (well, basically "when") she leaves but giving her more to stick around for a couple more years. Reminds me of a movie I saw parts of a few years ago, "Love Don't Cost a Thing," starring Nick Cannon and Christina Milian. Tiger comes off as a lot nerdier (and maybe needier?) than Nick here, because Nick's character didn't pay millions to Christina's cool-girl character to pretend to be his girlfriend, the way Tiger's paying Elin millions to stick around and pretend to be his loving wife. (Take note of the title, Tiger; whatever you're paying for ain't love.)

Interesting note from, in its definition of Kobe Special, named after the ring NBA player (ha!) Kobe Bryant bought his wife after being caught cheating:
Jewelry bought by husbands to appease their angry wives. Usually, the anger concerns extramarital skank diddling on the side. In normal households, a gift of jewelry like this would solve nothing; it would be seen as the empty and loveless gesture that it is. However, in the lives of the rich and famous, empty materialism covers all sins and fixes all problems because they have no souls.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Archos Do-over?

Back in September I posted my frustrations with my Zune 80 -- its almost total dependence on software, the software in question (which is pokey and ornery), and failure to copy all the files the configuration calls for -- and dithered between the Apple iPod Touch or Archos 5 for my next media player.

A sales clerk at Target tried to make a case for the Zune HD, but my research showed that the Zune HD was still dependent on Microsoft's crippled ("customized") Windows Media Player software. Being able to control the device directly through WMP would have worked out much better, but everyone knows Microsoft cares little for what the buying public wants. And after all the clerk's talking, Target doesn't even carry the Zune HD, only the older Zunes that have been phased out!

I finally settled on the Archos 605 Wifi, the generation before the Archos 5 Internet Media Tablet (which has since been relaunched with the Android OS). I figured that both the Apple and the Archos had too many advantages over the Zune to even consider it seriously: The Apple has a max storage capacity of 64 GB, but it comes with tens of thousands of applications available, while the Archos has much more storage capacity than either of the others (mine has 120GB; I think the largest available is 320GB, which is larger than my laptop's drive). However, this 605 Wifi takes forever to charge, and a nagging flaw with the operating system dating back to my old Archos 420 Personal Video Player still persists: if you add, delete, or refile any photos while the player is connected to a computer by USB, the filing system goes haywire when trying to catalog the changes. It only seems to affect photos, though; I can add, delete, and transfer music and videos to my heart's content and not worry about songs or video clips being resorted.

Oh well, can't have it all, I guess. But I don't want to overtax this thing now by trying to rip any DVDs to it, though that was one of the reasons I decided to buy a player with so much storage space...

Friday, September 25, 2009

Derek Jeter with fewer hits than Harold Baines?!

When I saw the headline on the Onion Sports Network site, "Derek Jeter Honored for Having 122 Fewer Hits than Harold Baines," I took it for a joke. How could it not be? Derek Jeter is captain of the Yankees, the team's all-time hits leader, got a shout-out from President Obama, stands-for-Truth-Justice-and-the-American (or-at-least-Yankee)-Way, all of that. Harold Baines, on the other hand, is a retired former journeyman outfielder/DH who played for about half a dozen different teams.

But a quick search on Google led to the Baseball Reference site, where, lo and behold, it turned out to be true! Baines retired with 2,866 hits. Where was his fanfare? Did he get a shoutout from President Bush? (Well, OK, that one probably isn't fair, since the US was still reeling from 9/11 at the time.) But the Onion has a point. Jeter has to be put into perspective, and in light of Harold Baines, Jeter is still good, but not really all that...

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Bill Gates as Frustrated with Windows As the Rest of Us -- in 2003!! has a copy of an email Bill Gates sent to various Microsoft personnel six years ago itemizing his frustrations with trying to download Windows Movie Maker and beign made to jump through hoops only to find after numerous s-l-o-w downloads and at least one reboot that the one program he wanted is not there, though plenty of other unwanted stuff was.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Stupid Zune software making decisions for me!

I've been trying hard to like my Zune 80, but it's been a hassle almost out of the box. The battery life can be measured in minutes, the software is pokey, and often when I try to sync it with my computer the software refuses to add media when it's supposed to (with "unknown error" as the only offered explanation). How am I supposed to identify and fix the problem if the software just shrugs and says "I dunno"? Some websurfing finds that I'm not the only one that feels that way. This CNet article was written a year ago, saying the same things in much more detail: 5 Reasons Why My Zune is Dead to Me

Now the question is, iPod or Archos? Ipod is snazzier, smaller, and has loads more accessories and software, but for the same money I can get much more storage space with an Archos PMP. For instance, the new(ish) 32GB iPod Touch costs just a bit more than an 250GB Archos 5 "Internet Tablet." I have a feeling if I get an Archos I'll opt for the slightly older but less breakable 605 Wi-fi.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Bernazard Must Go!

I said in another post, back when Willie Randolph was fired, that Tony Bernazard should be next. That his successful efforts to undermine Randolph's authority as manager demonstrated that he had no idea how to conduct team business in a professional manner. But now reports that he ripped off his shirt and challenged members of the Mets' Double-A affiliate in Binghamton to a fight should be the last straw. (See story)

The Mets are doing a good enough job of being the butt of jokes that they don't need team execs adding fuel to the fire. The man has gotten way too much benefit from all the doubt. Fire him, Omar, or whoever his boss is. (Which is another confusing point with the Mets' organization: Bernazard is a VP and the general manager is his boss?)

With the farm teams doing as badly as the Mets, or even worse, it's understandable that Bernazard would be frustrated or even angry. But still there are lines that should not be crossed, and Bernazard stomped all over the line before jumping over it. Get rid of him!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Clowns Packing Up Albany Circus?

First off, I apologize to any actual clowns or circus performers who may read this and be offended by my decision to characterize the warring New York State senators as clowns. I did not mean to offend your noble profession...

So it's beginning to look and sound like the circus (Bungling Brothers/Empire State Circus) that's been preoccupying the New York State Senate for the past five weeks has finally run its course, with the renegade Democrats Hiram Momserrate Jr. and Pedro Espada finally settling down and dancing with what brung 'em, as the saying goes. Espada has been making a pitiful attempt to frame this as something other than a power play. But he went from an apparently unhappy Democratic senator voting Democratic, to a Democratic senator voting Republican and being appointed Senate Majority Leader by the Republicans, to voting Democratic and being appointed Senate Majority Leader by the Democrats. It's bad enough that he's deluded enough to be clearly unfit for public office, but does he really think anyone else outside of Albany (and Syracuse, where deluded billionaire Tom Golisano lives) shares his delusion?

I say fire all of 'em. Monserrate, Espada, Dean Skelos, everyone who was part of this plot that paralyzed government and cost the state, counties, and municipal governments millions and millions of dollars, while they argued over whose (majority) was bigger. But, of course, they can't just be fired, since they were elected. But they can be denied the opportunity of being rehired (re-elected) when the next terms come up. The people these miscreants represent should make it clear that they shouldn't even waste their time thinking about running for re-election.

But that's not all.

I say, total up the apparent losses to all the affected jurisdictions, and make them pay. Better yet, since billionaire Tom Golisano has nothing better to do with his time than muck up government for his own amusement by instigating political coups, prosecute him for obstruction of government services and make him foot the bill. He has the money, and if the forces lined up against him (there are almost 20 million people in New York State) exert enough pressure, he'll have no choice but to pay up and, in the future, mind his own business and stop using the state government as his own personal sandbox to play with as he pleases.

Them's my two cents...

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Let Him Be

It's over, call it a day
Sorry that it had to end this way
No reason to pretend
We knew it had to end someday
This way

(Written by Nat Kipler / John McIntyre Vallins)

Johnny Mathis sang those words 30 years ago but he could easily have been singing about the circus the media has created around the Michael Jackson situation.

Personally, I stopped really being a "fan" back in the late 80s/ early 90s, when Michaelmania was in full swing. The easiest way to turn me away from something is to assert its popularity, and no one could doubt MJ's popularity in those days. I did manage to come into possession of his Off the Wall album -- yes, an actual vinyl album -- though I didn't buy it, I borrowed it and then the owner gave it to me while preparing to move. I really am sorry his life had to end the way it did, going into cardiac arrest of all things.

That drugs were somehow involved, though, was not much of a surprise to me, once it sank in that he really had died, that the news was not yet another Internet hoax. After all, it was reported far and wide that he had fired his kids' nanny, Grace Rwaramba (sp?), after she had tried to arrange an intervention over his drug use. The stated reason for the firing wasn't slander (accusing him of something untrue with malicious intent) but betrayal (airing business that was supposed to remain private), a tacit admission that he'd had a problem. And being surrounded by yes-people from that point on could only mean more and more of the same. The only mystery was if he would wise up and kick the habits (yes, the plural is intentional) or if he would succumb to them. We now know the answer...

But now that Michael Jackson, who has been treated anew like a personified media event rather than a person, has passed away and is soon to be buried, let's let him rest. So what if he cut his children's mother and his own father out of his will? What business is that of ours?

So what if his financial matters are a tangled web? That money is already well-earmarked, and the scrutiny that the press wants to give it won't change anything.

So what if he wasn't the biological father of the two oldest children? He may not have been the father but he was definitely the Daddy, which in the end mattered much more to those kids.

So what if he was alleged to have molested kids? First off, they were just that -- allegations -- from people who seemed more concerned about payment than justice. And what if they were true? I don't at all condone molestation or harassment of any kind, but come on, the man's dead. Let him rest without having to rehash the seedier stretches of his past. Pete King, a New York politician, expressed his frustration with all the press coverage Jackson's death has garnered, and I can sympathize with the frustration one hundred percent. But why did his statement have to include characterizing Jackson as a child molester, pedophile, and "lowlife"? If King had to vent, it should have been at the media outlets pumping up Jackson's passing to pump up their own ratings so they can make more money off soap commercials and liquor ads. Calling a dead man names is no better than digging in the sewer for sludge to throw at the hearse as it passes on the way to the funeral. I have real reason to doubt King would stoop to that in action, so why do it in words?

And now, of course, the merchandising machine is revving up, churning out CDs and DVDs and books and magazines and any kind of tacky souvenir someone would be willing to buy. And, if Tupac Shakur's situation (and Elvis Presley's) is any indication, it won't be long before some deluded fans and even a so-called investigator or two claims that "Michael Jackson is not really dead! He faked his death because [fill in your preferred rationale here]!!" The rational I'd pick is the number of unreleased recordings that will come out. One of the major beefs that the more vocal disgruntled recording artists have with the industry is how much unreleased music the labels hold onto, waiting for artists to either die or hit it big down the road with another label.

Whatever thoughts people have about Michael Jackson, what he accomplished, what he was accused of, what he could have accomplished if he'd done things differently, it doesn't change what has happened. He has come to the end of his road.

Let him be.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

New name for the Albany Follies

The Bungling Brothers/Skelos & Espada Circus. Let's see if this gets around...

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Addendum to Richest Man in Gotham...

As I went back and re-read this, the song Richest Man in Babylon by Thievery Corporation started playing in my head. I would love to see Bloomberg spend tens of millions of dollars on his illegal re-election campaign, thinking that would put a victory in the bag, only to lose to Bill Thompson or whoever. I'm sure he slapped the Republican party around with his money to be sure they wouldn't back any potential challenger...

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

It's been a long time...

...and I've had lots going on. But this one bit, I had to share today. It's now official: you can now find any piece of information that might remotely interest somebody on the Internet. You might not even have to look for it; it might leap out at you.

Microsoft is launching what it's promoting as a "new" Web search tool, It' s really just a relabel of its Live Search. In an article I got in my email from, Jen Hubley compared the responses that Bing and Google provided to the query "what should I do?" She said that the third result in Google's list was an explanation of what she should do "when my eyeballs fall out of their sockets," which I took to be her usual exaggeration.

But just to be sure I did a Google search on the same phrase, and the fifth result in my search was an article on titled "My Eyeball Just Fell Out of Its Socket: What should I do?"

No joke. Here's the URL: The article details an incident where Villanova basketball star Allan Ray had his eyeball literally poked out of its socket by an opposing player in a game. But apparently it doesn't have to happen as violently as all that.

Or, if you would like to check out the search yourself, just Google "what should I do." Here's the URL to my search results page, which may actually turn up different results this time:

Possible demerit to the value of Google search: this was third in Jen's search results, and fifth in mine, but the incident happened three years ago - the article is dated March 2006.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Richest Man in Gotham: Mayor Mike

I've always felt, for some reason, that it can't be a healthy sign when the elected leader of any jurisdiction is its wealthiest citizen. How could he relate to the common people? Would he even try, or would he be biased towards his fellow "-illionaires"?

For example, when Silvio Berlusconi was first elected prime minister of Italy, he was already the country's richest man. But Italy is probably a special case; it has never really coalesced since its consolidation as one country back in the 1870s, as evidenced in its parade of governments since the abolishment of the kingdom after World War II. Italian leaders can see their coalition fail because the PM sneezed without covering his mouth or used the wrong fork at a state dinner.

Then we come to Mike Bloomberg, mayor of New York City. He was already a billionaire when he was first elected, so in order to not threaten his holdings in Bloomberg LP he agreed to take a salary of $1 a year. Immediately I began to figure that NYC residents should only expect a dollar's worth of governance. But my assessment looks like it might have been wrong, at least in the beginning. He actually turned out to be, if not a great mayor, at least pretty good at seeing issues that need to be addressed and actually doing something about them. I guess years of experience as a CEO, rather than as a politician, will do that for a guy.

But it also seems me that years of being a billionaire CEO has distanced him from the common people. He can come across as very callous when speaking of the difficulties that working people might have with his policies.

Now it comes out in Forbes magazine's latest poll of the richest Americans that, apparently, Bloomberg is now the richest man in NYC and the eighth richest in the US. In fact, he is now one of the twenty richest people in the world. Not just New York City, or New York State, or even the United States. The world. But during 2008, when the bottom was falling out of the housing market, the credit market, and the financial sector, leading to people losing their jobs and companies closing down in all kinds of industries, what was Bloomberg doing?

He was busy working on a way to get around term limits, which the people of New York City had voted to keep in place. Twice. And now he's busy slashing the budget on services that New Yorkers need. Where's the concern for the people who put him into office? Where's the common touch? You would think he would at least be a little concerned how it looks when the richest man around is playing Scrooge with the public's money while swimming in his own.

It's pointed out in the comments to the first article referred to above that "if Bloomberg were to give each New Yorker $1000 out of his own personal coffers, he would still have $10 billion left." Not that anyone is seriously expecting the mayor of New York City to start bailing out ailing New Yorkers from his own huge stash of cash, but then he did say that, when he left office, he was going into philanthropy. (Oh yeah, but that was back when we thought he was going to honor the people's wishes and go away after his duly elected terms were up...)

Disclosure: I am not a resident of New York City, but of neighboring Westchester County. I am also not running for office anywhere, or giving support to anyone running. I just had to put this out there.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

The Shamwow sells itself, I suppose...

I actually bought some ShamWows at a computer show a couple of weeks ago, on my way out after the show was over. I saw the infomercials who knows how many times, thought it was a good product but dragged my feet about buying... until I happened to see them at the booth.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

MORE Bonuses for AIG?!

Let's see...
The federal government (that is, We the People) owns 80% of AIG...

AIG is in the process of doling out $165 million in more bonuses...

And, according to the Treasury Department, nothing can be done about it? Photobucket

That's ridiculous. AIG got over $100 billion in federal bailout funds. That means the people charged with managing the company did not do a good job, by any measure. Bonuses are supposed to be a reward for doing a good job. So, why are these people getting bonuses? More to the point, why is AIG getting federal money?

I say, cut off the bonuses, and let it be known that that's just the way it is. If these people want their bonuses that bad, well, since AIG (standing in for We the People) claims to be contractually bound, make the execs sue the government for the money. Such a lawsuit is bound to be covered as much as possible by the media. Maybe the extra scrutiny is all that's needed to make them fall back and make do with the millions they've already been paid.

AIG also says they'll "work on reducing bonuses in future years by 30%," but they can and should be made to do better than that. As long as the government has a stake in the company, in fact, there should be no bonuses. Make that their motivation for getting the company back on the right track.

To be fair, AIG did not fall into such a deep hole only because of the stupid bets they made with their policyholders' money -- the hole got deeper after AIG started falling, but the company itself dug the original hole. AIG insures the banks and financial service companies that all fell so hard throughout 2008, so they would have landed hard no matter what. AIG is also one of the companies that has to cover the loss for airlines whenever a plane goes down. AIG actually insures ("reinsures") insurance companies. But they wound up falling into the hole in the first place, not because of any of that, but because they violated a cardinal rule of the insurance business: do not risk policyholders' money. When an insurance company begins making high-risk investments in the same mad grab for cash that endangered Wall Street, well, we've all seen the result. In this case, it means the government winds up owning 80% of what should by most accounts have been a private company gone bust. After all, AIG may be a huge company, but it's not the only reinsurer. If it had gone under, there are plenty of insurers that could have taken up the slack. The interim would have been quite bumpy for the policy holders, particularly for the airlines (at least it seems that way for me). Watching such a big company go bust, though, would have sent a message to other companies -- namely, that they shouldn't think they're somehow entitled to a bailout from the Feds. Now, of course, because of all the money that's been handed out, there's that much more anger from the public, because the fat cats have been bailed out but the general public, the ones who are out of work and competing with millions more people for the few jobs available, are only getting crumbs.

And then Dick Cheney goes on TV and says that the Bush administration shouldn't be blamed for the mess "that was handed to the Obama administration." Well, who handed it to them? And who made the policies that created the mess? Cheney also said that the previous administration "achieved all its goals in the campaign in Iraq." Well, that can be true only if its goals included enriching Cheney's friends in the military-industrial complex, companies like Halliburton, and Bechtel, and of course the oil companies that are making billion-dollar deals in Iraqi Kurdistan (I'll add the link when I find the article).

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Alex Rodriguez and Steroids

I'm already tired of all the hand-wringing over A-Rod and his admission that he took steroids, supposedly for only three years while he was playing for the Texas Rangers. OK, it is now and was then a banned substance, but at that time there was no penalty. So why try to whip up grounds to punish him now?

But I have to admit I'm disappointed.

After the furor whipped up by the New York sports media over Mets' then-GM Steve Phillips passing on the chance to trade A-Rod back when the Rangers were shopping him around -- saying that Rodriguez wanted perks that would have created a team of 24+1 -- I started to sour on A-Rod. Before that I had kind of liked him, but as he basked in the glow of both the $25-million-plus he was getting paid plus the "glory" of being with the Yankees, he became really irritating with his obsession with being seen in the best light by the media and the fans. Now I guess we all know why...

But I'm disappointed because, although I had come to dislike Rodriguez, I got the impression that he really was clean. I've even gone on record on this blog, in earlier messages on the Bonds situation, praising Rodriguez for being clean. Now that he's admitted to juicing, it raises a lot more questions:
  • Was he really using for only those three years?
  • Why did this supposedly confidential information get out? Who put his name out there? Why now, so much later?
  • What other supposedly confidential info from that survey is about to come out?
  • How does baseball think it will get cooperation from players in any other matter that's supposed to be confidential?
  • When will these overpaid-idiot players realize that they're under so much scrutiny because the leaders of their union have always pushed them to refuse to cooperate with investigations? The word is that they're scared of Don Fehr and Gene Orza, but let's face it, if enough of the players want them out, what power do Fehr and Orza really have?

I, for one, will be glad when this whole mess is over, and we're no longer hearing about steroids in baseball -- or in any sport, for that matter.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Naming Rights vs. Bailout

I see that I'm not the only one who thinks it's wrong that Citibank and others can give out tens or even hundreds of millions of dollars to sports arenas for naming rights, then turn around and beg the federal government for bailout money. As far as I can tell, the furor seems to be contained to the New York area, since Citibank has agreed to pay the NY Mets $400 million over twenty years for the naming rights for the Mets' new stadium, set to begin use this year. But I wouldn't be surprised if it goes farther than that. This bears some research...

Mets' chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon says Citibank is right in continuing to pay the money. Of course he says that, he and his team are getting those millions. But I can't help thinking that his perspective is corrupted by the estimated half-billion dollars that the Mets' parent company, Sterling Equities, is rumored to have lost in the Bernie Madoff scandal.

It looks to me like the Feds are paying Citibank to replace what the Mets lost to Madoff. Pretty good deal, if you can arrange it...

Fractal Broccoflower

Part of a balanced fractal diet.
(PS -- it's real. It's called Romanesco broccoli.)

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Interesting quote for the day...

...from Shirley MacLaine, of all people:
It is useless to hold a person to anything he says while he's in love, drunk, or running for office.

Friday, January 23, 2009


Attention United States drivers: Your tires can be a lethal hazard waiting to happen, even if you just bought them "new" at the store. The key isn't how long they've been used or not used, but how long ago the tire was made. Tires over 15 years old are still being sold as new in auto centers across the country, accidents waiting to happen. Here's an ABC News video about old but unused tires being sold as new, and what the hazard is: Aged Tires: A Driving Hazard?

For some reason, the same companies that issue "strongly worded" warnings abroad about old tires don't think they're necessary in the US, and are lobbying against them.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

He Has Hurt Us -- No More Corinthian Leather

Ricardo Montalban, who played possibly the best opponent to Captain James T. Kirk in the Star Trek movie series, has passed away. He was maybe best known as Mr. Roarke on Fantasy Island and as the commercial spokesman for Chrysler in the 70s, praising the carmaker's "rich Corinthian leather" seats. He's best known to Star Trek fans as Kirk's nemesis, Khan Noonien Singh, in both an episode of the original TV series and in the second Star Trek movie, The Wrath of Khan.

The subject title comes from a famous exchange between Kirk and Khan from The Wrath of Khan, after Kirk taunts Khan on his apparent failed attempt to kill him:

I've done far worse than kill you, Admiral. I've hurt you. And I wish to go on... hurting you.