Monthly Archives: October 2004

I think I saw a really stupid caption

A while ago, I was standing up after retrieving a snack from a vending machine. I glanced at the TV across the way which was tuned to MS-NBC. It was a quick glance, so I’m not 100% sure I read the caption correctly, but if I did it has to be award-winningly stupid. {MS-NBC, like many or all of the cable news channels, puts headline like captions at the bottom of the screen, just above their news-ticker, which relate to the story currently being presented} The caption I read said (I think) something along the lines of: “GOP Supports Bush Reelection.”

I’m being plagued by fictional death

It seems that the last week or so, I’ve encountered a lot of death in the fiction I am consuming. Over the last week or two, I have seen four long-term characters in series — one book series and one TV series — killed, and let a fifth probably mortally wounded when I quit listening to the audio book as I arrived a work this morning. Even being fictional characters, this many deaths is somewhat effecting me.

WARNING: spoilers for Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars and The Dark Tower VII: The Dark Tower

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Someone Well Ahead of Their Time

I just discovered that “My Comics Page” (http://www.mycomicspage.com) has archives of Berke Brethed’s “The Academia Waltz” — the strip he did for a university newspaper in the years before Bloom County.

In the strip which shows up in the mycomicspage archives for December 14, 2003 — and originally ran sometime in 1978 — shows someone more than 25 years ahead of their time. The strip in question shows someone trying to order a “Whopper hold the bun.” Clearly this character was into the low carb lifestyle way back in the late 1970’s.

To see the strip try Try http://www.mycomicspage.com/member/feature?fc=aw&uc_full_date=20031214 — it may work, or may only work if your signed in as a member of mycomicspage.com.

B***** Virus Writers

Having nothing more productive to do at work today, I was playing with a Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) function that will take the MS-Access database and convert it into a text file that should be able to populate a mySQL database (or possibly any other SQL database) with the same tables and data.

Since I have no use for this at work — I don’t have access to an SQL database that I could move the one Access database I maintain at work into — I am thinking of using this with the DucKon registration database to create a proof-of-concept that I could move the data to MySQL but keep the functions I need at-con under Access where I rely too heavily on specific Access features.

Since the database, or at least the out-of-date scratch copy I have here at work, has a bunch of strange extra fields in each table, I modified the function to eliminate these; and then had to debug my modifications.

Once I had a working version — or at least enough of a working version to send home — I tried to send it home. First, I exported the code from MS-Access, creating a file with a .bas extension. Next, I tried to e-mail this home. That is where I ran into trouble. Apparently there is some virus floating around that uses files with a .bas extension. To prevent the spread of this virus, some part of the Motorola e-mail system will not allow such files to e-mailed.

So, thanks to some immature people who think that randomly disrupting or destroying other people’s computers is fun, I had to compress a 12KB text file in order to e-mail it home.

ARGH! Windows

completely non-political topic 🙂

I have a fairly new computer. I got it last spring (thanks in large part to my stock options being above water for the first time). When I got it I had Windows XP installed — and then promptly reinstalled it so I could install Linux on half the hard drive.

For various reasons, mostly dealing with software that isn’t available on Linux, this computer runs Windows 90% of the time. (My 5 year old laptop, which I primarily use for e-mail, runs Linux 90% of the time and has since August, so I’m getting better :-).

In the six months or so I’ve had this computer, I’ve installed a lot of software, much of it in the first few days of my ownership. Most of the time it works very well, but it has developed two bad habits which probably are related, and they are starting to really annoy me.

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Meta-politics: Are we blind to other political views?

Meta-political topic

The other day I read a very biased {I think the author might accuse Bill O’Rilley of being liberal} article on the web somewhere {I’m not in the mood to try to find the thing again, feel free to search yourself} that claimed that most of the groups and people pushing for international monitoring of the upcoming US Elections were liberal.

Reflecting on this idea a bit, and thinking about a lot of discussion over the last few years has led me to a conclusion: Many, if not most, people with moderate- to strongly-held political beliefs have trouble grasping the idea that anyone else can honestly intelligently hold political beliefs different from their own. The stronger ones beliefs are, the less that they can truly grok the idea of someone else reasonably holding opposing beliefs. I do not believe that this problem is limited to liberals, but also infects conservatives, theocrats (note 1 below), and probably even my own blend of conservative, libertarian, and other beliefs.
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Part of why “Constitutional Relitivism” scares me

WARNING: Political Topic!

In the upcoming Presidential race, one issue that nobody is talking about is the issue that most concerns me.  That issue is what kind beliefs that the justices and judges appointed by the next President will hold about the US Constitution, and how they are to interpret it.  I am scared, and mostly by the candidate from one of the major parties, that future justices may hold the belief that their job is to interpret the words of the Constitution not as the authors intended and often clearly wrote, but based on their belief of what those words mean in light of “today’s reality.”  As it stands I am most concerned about court rulings that would hurt the Second Amendment, and rulings that would seriously hurt major parts of the First Amendment.  Today, from another country I got my first proof that what I fear could happen here soon, unless the Constitutional protections on free speech and government interference in religion are lost.

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Why living in Chicago has made me (nearly) an anti-sportsfan

This afternoon as I was leaving work, I glanced at the current material in my “public posting” spot near the entrance to my cube.  Posted there is a cartoon by John Trever of the Albuquerque Journal from about a year ago.  This cartoon shows a keyboard, and tables all of the “Chicago Sportswriter Hotkeys” regarding the Chicago Cubs.  Stuck in the same sheet protector is a page from about six months ago that I took from the “Jump the Shark” calendar, on when the Chicago Cubs jumped the shark.  I’m sure that a couple of people have used these to guess that I’m a Chicago Cubs fan.  In reality I posted the first since it points out how I sometimes often think about Chicago Sportswriters, and the second is a good example of this in print, albeit not from the Chicago media.

This got me thinking about how since I started living in Chicago fifteen years ago, I have gone from being someone who could tolerate sports and sports discussion, to being someone who cannot stand to be in the room with a football or baseball game, and dreads when conversations turn to the subject of sports.  From this I realized that, at least in part, the way sports are talked about in the Chicago media may have caused, or at least contributed to this change.

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