It's been a good Saturday morning so far. I've already been over to the old house to mow the lawn (not without some grumbling about having to wake up early to do it, but it had to be done, and my wonderful wife had coffee ready for me when I woke up). Now The Baby is asleep and Cecilia is watching the Disney version of Kiki's Delivery Service, which is a wonderful and utterly charming anime by the legendary Hayao Miyazaki.
I figured Cecilia would like it, and it seems she really did; she requested it instead of the usual Saturday morning cartoons. It makes me feel proud and happy to see her take an interest in some of the things I like, even at such a young age. I am sure Cecilia and Naomi will stay interested in some of the things their mother and I expose them to, and eventually develop their own tastes and interests. I can hardly wait to see the ways they develop and the things they discover on their own.
As a long-time Internet user, I've become accustomed to spam. I'm used to seeing all kinds of bogus email. But the one I got this morning takes the prize for the wackiest thing I've seen in my inbox in a long time. See for yourself:
If you are a time traveler or alien and or in possession of government or alien technology I need your help! My entire life and health has been messed with by evil beings! If you have access to the carbon copy replica model #50 3000 series, the dimensional warp, temporal reversion or something similar please reply! I simply need the safest method of transferring my consciousness or returning to my younger self with my current mind/memory. I need an advanced time traveler to work with who can help me, I would prefer someone with access to teleportation as well as a variety different types of time travel. This is not a joke! I am serious! Please send a separate email to me at: Dragonball03@aol.com if you can help! Thanks
We're in Louisville visiting my family over the Fourth of July holiday. It's been a good visit, much more low-key than I expected. I just helped my sister with some difficulty they'd been having with their dial-up access (ph33r my m4d m0d3m skillz!), and I thought I'd take a moment to jump online, check my email, and shout hey.
Dinner last night was nice. While I was at the grocery I picked up a little package of fireworks--the legal kind that just "emit showers of sparks." My brother and I lit off a bunch before the girls went to bed (e'd promised them fireworks for the Fourth, but all the shows were way after their bedtime). Cecilia also got to hold, with supervision, a sparkler or two.
This was unexpected, but I got two DVDs yesterday, and without technically violating my pledge about not buying any until our other house sells. My sister and I were in the grocery store stocking up for the visit, and I noticed a rack of cheapo DVDs...I haven't seen any since our local Kmart quit carrying them. I spotted another one of those Beverly Wilshire Filmworks discs, this time of the Chang Cheh/Shaw Brothers classic The Kid with the Golden Arm. I could have passed it up--the Beverly Wilshire discs are pretty obviously dubbed from video, and quality is spotty at best--had I not also spotted the made-for-TV blaxploitation film Get Christie Love. At $5 each, I asked my sister to pick them up and I'd pay her back alter, and she just said to forget it. According to the reviews at The Bad Movie Report, I picked up the wrong disc (there's a better version available from a different company), but it's cool to have and the print is really no worse than the one that used to run on good old WDRB-TV back in the old days.
So I watched Get Christie Love last night (I had to stay up to the end when she says her catch phrase, "You're under arrest, sugar"), and The Kid with the Golden Arm this afternoon during the kids' nap. We'll be heading back home this evening and look forward to chilling out, with the requisite housework thrown in of course, over the weekend.
Update: We're home, and I just got the girls to bed. By the end of the day they were both exhausted, the kind where neither of them wants to go to bed though they both need it desperately. Still, up until the very end they were both very good over the visit. In an upcoming post, I'll describe a cool thing I got Cecilia for being so good yesterday.
While I procrastinate a couple of sure-to-be-longer posts, here are a couple of amusing items that caught my notice recently.
ZDNet AnchorDesk columnist David Coursey points out the inherent inaccuracy of computers' system clocks and ways to compensate for it. (Note: The style he uses is to refer to a "small government agency" "working behind the scenes," but the truth is PC users have been able to synchronize their system clocks with official government-run timepieces for years--I used such a program in the DOS batch file of my old 386; it pinged the US Navy's atomic clock via my good ol' 2440 bps modem every time it started up. Frankly, I recommend getting some sort of software to update your computer's system clock.)
I haven't read comic books a lot lately--well, I just don't buy new ones; I do read some of the hundreds I have already accumulated--but the just-permalinked Meryl Yourish referred me to an article indicating that Ben Grimm (The Thing of Fantastic Four fame), is Jewish. The article she quotes cites the wonderful moment where the fact is revealed:
This month, [Fantastic Four editor Tom] Brevoort published a story that takes Ben back to his old stomping grounds and, for the first time, reveals his religious roots. "You're really Jewish?" asks the villain of the piece. "There a problem with that?" replies the Thing. "No," says the bad guy, looking into that craggy, orange puss. "It's just... you don't look Jewish."
We'll be visiting Louisville for the July 4 holiday, so posts may be sporadic to nonexistent after today. In the meantime, I'm going to try to clean up a bunch of links and post topics I've accumulated. Wish me luck...my desktop is half covered with shortcuts.
I gave blood yesterday (a practice I heartily recommend), and they gave me another one of those cool squishy CD cases. I've been making so many CDs, I actually went out and bought a big black 64-CD case to tote around in my briefcase. The latest batch was three albums by Hong Kong pop star Faye Wong (two links). Two of the albums I don't have titles for, but one of them is her Scenic Tour:
This story from today's edition of The Detroit News paints a clearer picture of the, um, person involved and what her children endured before their deaths, locked in a black car in 80-degree heat. The headline, "Mother's senseless act stuns nation," sums it up pretty well as far as I'm concerned.
Here's some interesting info from the story:
At least 120 children, most of them age 3 and under, have died of heat stroke in hot, parked cars since 1996, according to a study released by General Motors Corp. and the National SAFE KIDS campaign.
Studies have shown that the interior of a car parked in 75-degree temperatures can reach 120 degrees within a half-hour and can heat up to 140 degrees in two hours (emphasis mine). At least one child died on a 60-degree day.
Kids 'N Cars, a national nonprofit group that tracks as many of such deaths as possible, said the Maynor children are the seventh and eighth heat deaths this year -- that are known.
Oh, and more good news...the perpetrator is pregnant. Swell. Just swell.
Enetation's comment system seems to be down (indeed, their Web site seems to be down as well), and that appears to have caused delays in loading this blog. My apologies; in the interim, I've commented out the relevant code. I'll keep an eye on the situation and restore comments if their function returns.
Update: As of 2 pm local time, the comment system is back up. You may return to your normal browsing habits.
Also, Zannah had earlier posted this neat little Flash animation that features an animated rabbit that chases your cursor around, thinking it's a carrot. My friend Onye recently emailed the link to me, which reminded me I needed to post it.
Planet Swank congratulates Steve Fossett, who just became the first person to fly a balloon around the globe. The 58-year-old investor and adventurer, who has also swum the English Channel, participated in the Alaskan Iditarod dog-sled race and competed in Hawaii's Ironman Triathlon, succeeded after ten years and five prior attempts. His ground crew reports that Fossett plans to land his balloon, the "Spirit of Freedom," in Australia.
There's also an appreciation of the classic cookbook The Joy of Cookingin its "Masterpiece" section. Joy of Cooking is a great cookbook--I refer to it more often than any of the others in my collection. By covering a lot of the basics, it makes an invaluable reference, and it combines gourmet recipes with simple dishes I can knock together with whatever's handy in the kitchen.
It's no real secret that with the decline of advertising revenue, a number of search engines have begun assigning coveted high placement in search results on a sponsorship bases. The Federal Trade Commission has urged seach engines to disclose links assigned prominence on a for-fee basis. Although some search engines do indicate "sponsored links," such designation is at times obscure, according to the article.
I have two girls who are close to the ages of the children who died in that woman's car. I will be the first to admit it's a pain in the @$$ to unbuckle both of them and haul them inside just to return a video or what have you, but it's much preferable to the thought of them dying slowly of dehydration or heat stroke. It's one thing to step outside the car to pump gas or whatever--I don't consider it "unattended" if I can still see them--but I simply can't fathom going shopping or getting one's freaking hair done for three hours while one's precious babies roast to death in a sealed car. Please, people, just don't. Don't leave your kids unattended in your car.
Not even for a minute.
Update: I thought this story couldn't be more mind-bendingly sad and sordid, but thanks to a local news story cited by Cut on the Bias, I learned that this, this person, on returning to her car with her nice new 'do and finding her children unresponsive, drove around for three hours concoting a bogus rape story that police apparently didn't buy for a minute anyway. As Susanna notes, it's hard to say if rushing the kids to the hospital at once would have made any difference, but it's clear that this woman didn't have a thought in her head other than for her own self, and that if she could have she would have dodged the responsibility for making her babies suffer and die.