Traveling today, I got lots of chances to see the John Roberts’ senate confirmation hearing. I normally wouldn’t have time. But the hearing played all over Dulles airport, while I waited for my plane, and I flew jetBlue, which had satellite news on the plane.
Having lived in the Washington area off and on for more than 20 years, I’ve come to recognize political posturing, and I got a load of it today. Some of these pompous senators really crack me up. But no laughing matter: John Roberts’ speech. If he really means what he said, I’d confirm him. He impressed me. The partisans can line up around parties and politics. I never do.
Photo Credit: Andrew Bardwell
Today, I took some time to watch Steve Jobs’ iPod nano Webcast. I’ve got to tell you that he gives a better performance than most magicians. And the slight of hands are amazingly subtle. For example, he used iChat to video conference with Madonna in London. Read More
Four years ago this morning, my wife remarked about the perfect fall day. Clear skies, low humidity and freshness in the air.
Around 9:20, I checked the headlines at Washington Post. I had been online for hours, but not looking at local news. Across the top of the page was a one liner about an airplane striking the World Trade Center. We naturally assumed a small plane had collided with one of the towers. While I looked for more details online, she checked CNN and gasped in the living room. I walked out to see video of both towers aflame. This was no small plane incident.
This evening, my wife, daughter and I drove over to Bethesda, Md., for an open house at Imagination Stage; my daughter decided to take an acting class there. Afterwards, we took a stroll through downtown and stopped at the tiny little Apple Store on Bethesda Ave. There we saw Apple’s new iPod nano music player.
To say the device is small really doesn’t describe the size. Best is to say that everything else is huge by comparison. I’m headed to Los Angeles next week for business and had planned on bringing along a Samsung Portable Media Center. The PMC is a cinder block compared to the iPod nano.
I had been thinking that Apple redefined a category. My mistake, Apple has invented a new one.
Photo Credit: Yuichi Kosio
File this under scary. Today, Reuters cited sources giving an eerie explanation for the crash of a Helios airliner last month in Greece: Confused pilots. The tragedy had been confusing from the start, because the flight crew and most of the passengers appeared to be unconscious when the Boeing 737 ran out of fuel and crashed. De-pressurization was a leading suspected cause of the crash.
Reuters, citing a story in International Herald Tribune, claims that a maintenance crew left a pressurization control knob undone. The pilots missed this and misunderstood a pressurization warning alarm. Apparently, the cabin never pressurized at all. Read More
When I do eat burgers, I’m a pretty much a hold everything kind of guy. I like the bun, slab of meat, and catsup; no veggies, please. But no matter what fast-food place I eat, cheese comes with the bun, meat, and catsup. I got nothing against cheese but do wonder why every fast foodery puts it on. I never ask for and often specifically request there to be no cheese.
Tonight, I ate at Burger King, and the patty came with cheese, after I asked for none. Three weeks earlier at Wendy’s and a year before that incident at McDonald’s (I’ve stopped eating there): Cheese on the burger. Is there some fast food conspiracy?
Photo Credit: Steven Feather
Gas price has settled down to about $3.69 a gallon for premium grade in Montgomery County, Md. That’s about $1 a gallon more than the price paid before Katrina’s devastating blow to the Gulf Coast. In case anyone wants to know.
I’ve got a bad attitude about SUVs; smug satisfaction is my reaction to higher gas prices for the people driving these big vehicles. But the price is too high, given the loss of life and property along the Gulf Coast and hardship undeserving others, like Midwest farmers, will have to bear.
In a Saturday New York Times review, Jon Pareles writes about the parody Green Day has become. I totally agree with the headline, “Now a Band That It Once Parodied.” Green Day has gone mainstream, along with punk culture.
When I was a teenager, disco choked culture and music to near the point of death. Then along came New Wave and Punk—real Punk—bands pushing a harder sound and lifestyle. Spiked, died hair, black leather, tattoos, and piercings were as much statements as attire, as teens sought to throw of the yolk of their older, self-obsessive Baby Boomer siblings. Read More
Looks like FEMA has charted Carnival cruise ships, three of them, to house New Orleans refugees. Damn, what a smashing idea. As many as 7,000 people will stay on the ships, which, according to Associated Press, FEMA has charted for six months.
Of course, the refugee charter will displace thousands of vacationers. Better they save their money anyway. Economy is going to sour for awhile, with one of the country’s busiest ports shut down. As for the cruise ships, I hope the accommodations are comfortable. These poor people have suffered enough.
Some advice to FEMA: Please be wise about who gets on the boats. Proximity, lottery, whatever reasonably fair method. Don’t favor the white folks here. Race already is too much an issue right now in New Orleans.
Photo Credit: Timothy Wildey
Troops and supplies arriving in New Orleans is a relieving development. I’m sorry the response took so long, but that’s not the point of this post. Great concern now are the refugees, their finding some new start and their impact on neighboring areas.
New Orleans may only be the first disaster area, as the swelling population taxes resources elsewhere. A story in today’s Washington Post quotes Mike Walker of East Baton Rouge’s City Council as saying, “Instead of water flooding in, we’ve got people flooding in. The levee of people broke”.
Looks like 400 or so people are headed this way for makeshift residence in JFK Stadium.
Photo Credit: Washington National Guard
On Sunday, I gassed up my 1989 Volvo 740 for $2.69 a gallon–the good stuff–and moaned about high prices. Yesterday a friend IMed and told me to gas up before prices jumped 40 cents a gallon. Too late, $3.19 when my wife got the pumps. She paid more today, $3.49 a gallon, or a delightful 80-cent increase in just two days.
I predict the situation will get a lot worse. New Orleans is now the equivalent of a Biblical epic—disaster that will keep on going. The death, the destruction, the economic impact will be like another 9-11, except as an Act of God (Why should he get the blame, anyway?) rather than act of terrorism. Few weeks back, I blogged about the housing bubble. Katrina, that vicious bitch, put a hole in the bubble, I think. Read More
Okay, I think the Times Online is going a wee bit too far. The UK news operation kicks off a story about the MTV Video Music Awards with the very leading, “Green Day, the anti-war punk rockers, swept the MTV Video Music Awards in a sign that American popular culture is turning against US presence in Iraq”.
I’m a big Green Day fan, but I wouldn’t call their seven awards some sign anti-war sentiments are sweeping America or American popular culture. “Swept” and “turning against” are such, well, sweeping descriptions. Where are all the anti-war TV shows, movies, songs, clothes, jewlery, or (forbid) protests?
Throw a stone down Connecticut Ave. and I’m in Washington, but I haven’t seen anti-war protestors roaring down Pennsylvania Ave. The war may not sit right with a lot people, particularly as gas prices rise. But, I’m figuring Green Day’s success has more to do with good music than the war.
Photo Credit: Jackie “Sister 72”