Friday, May 06, 2005


Give Me an E!
The Texas House has approved legislation toban sexually suggestive routinesby school cheerleaders:

"Girls can get out and do all of these overly sexually performances and we applaud them and that's not right,"said Democratic Rep.Al Edwardsof Houston, who filed the legislation.

Edwards argued that lascivious exhibitions are a distraction for high school students that result in pregnancies, high school dropouts, contraction of AIDS and herpes and"cutting off their youthful life at an early age."

If Edwards hopes to turn the thoughts of teens away from sex, he'll have to restrict a lot more than an NC-17 rendition of"Rock Steady."He seems to have forgotten what it was like after the adolescent change of life known asPeter Brady, which turns the entire world into a lascivious exhibition.

When I was a teen, a legislator trying to protect me from knocking up a dropout would have banned all of the following:

  • The time Laura Dumais fell into my arms and my left wrist inadvertently reached second base
  • Drawing theShe-Hulknaked
  • A breeze of at least three knots
  • Role-playing a female NPC with a charisma score of 15 or better inAdvanced Dungeons&Dragons
  • The scene inThe Sword and the Sorcerorwhere Kathleen Beller had to be lathered in oil to prepare for her wedding
  • Phoebe Cates

Good times.

To Dream the Impossible Dream
Lifetime to-do list:

  1. Writehands-on tutorialfor beginning Java programmers who want to teach self language in no more than 21 days
  2. Successfully predict next pope's name
  3. End TV news segment with segueway back to anchors
  4. Be insulted in no less than five languages by total strangers
  5. Do more to helpworthy charity
  6. Become a professionally ranked tennis player.

My uncle Paul wanted to become John McEnroe as a teen, and we've disagreed for years over whether I could become ranked if I devoted myself to tennis instead of web surfing and fatty foods.

I figured if the rankings went low enough -- the ATP Tourgoes to 1307-- I might have a shot.

Paul thinks I'm an idiot, but I haven't given up the dream. At the very least, I might draw a match somewhere against a ranked pro who had to withdraw due to injury or illness.

Nestor Bricenowatch your back!

Virgin Mary of the Viaduct
I received an e-mail from someone affiliated with theVirgin Mary viaduct, the Chicago highway underpass that has alife-size water stainresembling the mother of God. They wanted advice on setting up a web site.

I'm a firm believer in the idea that all religious iconography that develops naturally upon either surfaces or food should have its own site. This is exactly the kind of thing for which the Internet was invented.

Because of the visual nature of the underpass and the community that has developed, the ideal place for its web presence isFlickr.

Flickr's a terrific photo-sharing community that was recently purchased by Yahoo for 5.2 bajillion dollars. You can create an account for free, upload your photos for public viewing, and add tags that describe the subject of the shots.

Every time I find myself on Flickr, I get lost in the photos, most recently in the work of Justin Hankins. His pictures of theBridge of Lions,Night of Lights celebration, andIntercoastal Waterwayare some of the best shots I've seen of St. Augustine.

Flickr photos can be grouped into sets and viewed as slideshows. Somebody should hire Robin Jean, the photographer doing thisRockstars set, to take column mugshots for newspapers.

All-Podcast, All-the-Time Radio
A San Francisco radio station is going to start airing nothing but user-submitted podcasts beginning on May 16. The station, which calls itselfKYOU Open Source Radio, will broadcast on 1550-AM/San Francisco and the Internet.

Submitted podcasts must be 60 megabytes or less in size and can be in any format. The categories on thesubmission formdemonstrate how strange this is likely to be -- traditional fare like news, sports and politics is mixed with over-the-road trucking, sex and wiffleball.

This could be one of the great wheels-off radio experiments of all-time -- at least until earnest liberal San Franciscans fill it with local community news, activism and independent music.

The station sounds like a good opportunity for Jacksonville webloggerTodd Smith, who devotes his site toAmericana musicand has a Saturday morning show about the music on alocal college station.

Extended Pings in Weblog Pinger
Dave Winer addedRSS supportto Weblogs.Com this morning, making it possible to send an extended ping message to the service that includes the address of a site's RSS feed.

This will make it easier for services that are built atop Weblogs.Com, such asTechnoratiandGigaDial, to incorporate RSS feeds.

I haveextended my pingerto support this new feature.

Weblog-Pinger, an open source class library for PHP, can send update notification pings over five XML-RPC services that monitor new weblog content.

Close But No Cigar
I publish several web sites that run advertising sold byBlogAds, a broker that has been a financial boon to hundreds of weblogs.

I rejected an ad today from a site that sells Cuban cigars. The site claims that it's legal for Americans to import two boxes, but the language of the site's frequently asked questions page gives me the willies:

The original embargo on Cuban products has been revised by the US Dept of Justice to allow importation of small quantities when returning from a licensed trip to Cuba. This revision was extended to the public who are now allowed to import up to 2 boxes for personal use. There is no formal regulations that outlines the ability for US residents to import Cuban Cigars. There have been thousands of customers importing Cuban Cigars for personal use in the US and there is no history of anyone being prosecuted. Also, it has become a common practice among celebrities, military personnel, politicians and even law enforcement.

AU.S. Treasury brochure on the Cuba embargoseems pretty clear on the subject, stating that Americans can't even buy Cuban products while in foreign countries.

I rejected anabsinthe adlast year over similar qualms. When I saw that Google wasn't selling text ads for absinthe, I decided to adopt the same policy.

A Google search for the phraseCuban cigarsfinds only onecigar sellerin the sponsored ads, and that company won't export to the U.S.

I'd Buy That for a Dollar
A stamp machine at the post office gave me dollar coins back as change -- five Sacagaweas and two Susan B. Anthonys. I gave some to my kids, who had to be convinced they were legal tender, and freaked out a clerk at an Arby's by using one.

"Are you sure you really want to spend this?"he asked, marveling at the golden coin honoring a woman so obscure there'sno record of her appearance. A coin can't be doing very well when people think you spent one by accident.

Last week the House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a bill to crowd out Sacagawea withnew dollar coinsfor each president, beginning in 2007 with the first four: Washington, Jefferson, John Adams, and Madison. I'm setting a task in Microsoft Outlook to corner the market in 2010 on Millard Fillmore, widely recognized as our least accomplished leader.

The earliest a Hillary Clinton dollar will be available is 2017.

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