Thursday, September 28, 2006

George Gershwin

The man wrote music.

From his Wikipedia entry:
Upon meeting composer Maurice Ravel, Gershwin asked him of the possibility of becoming a student of composition under the master. Ravel is said to have replied, "Why should you be a second-rate Ravel when you can be a first-rate Gershwin?"
He also asked Igor Stravinsky for lessons; when Stravinsky heard how much Gershwin earned, he replied "How about you give me some lessons?"
At the age of 38, "Gershwin began to complain of blinding headaches, and a recurring impression that he was smelling burned rubber."

He began psychiatric treatment. His psychoanalyst explained that it was a problem with Gershwin's "psychic reality." Gershwin didn't have to listen to this nonsense for long before the brain tumor killed him.

Happy birthday, George.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Opera? In the news???

For diva Nan.

Free iTunes Downloads

Well, here's an interesting use for a blog. Someone's following iTunes to let us know what's free. There's even an RSS feed.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

New features in Google Calendar

I just added phases of the moon, US holidays, and the weather forecast.

Monday, September 25, 2006

School days, school days

The web's knocking off newspapers, and set to take a bite out of TV and movies. But will the web keep people out of colleges and universities?

I think that's not next on the list but, as the link above shows, more and more, interesting educational resources are coming on-line.

Not only can you find learning materials for ASL, but there are even free, on-line courses from Carnegie Mellon University.

Dress for Success

The Manolo offers sartorial advice. A Hugo Chavez must-read.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Okay, so IF ...

Ixman writes (and writes well), "If you've got nothing better to do. Which is inconceivable."

And posts it at 4:41 in the morning.

Me, I want to be on the TV show. Especially if it's really good beer.

What are the odds?

Avast! Long John BA writes in,

Aargg, ye scurvy varmint -

I try to catch the Art Cars every year. The main event is at the San Jose
Museum of Art: just across the Park from the Tech Museum's front door. And
parked all around the Park as well. The "Plaza de Cesar Chavez Park";
remember him? I get to work a few hours early so I can check them out. I'm
attaching a photo of Jo and Trusty Rusty the Swamp Rat; wow, I managed to
catch her with her mouth open - what are the odds? We didn't have much time
to talk, but I did get a really nice hug.
Yesterday was, in case you forgot, International Talk Like a Pirate Day.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Over 340 years of landmark science

Royal Society archives, on-line. As Jeremy says, "Cool stuff."


Advice from WikiHow that this blog's vast army of readers would wish I'd taken. If, that is, this blog had a vast army of readers.

Every cloud has its silver lining.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Naked Capitalism Confronts an Islamofascist

How cool is this? The Lifeboat Foundation is helping the hunt for terrorists.

OpinionJournal - Best of the Web Today

From the Wall Street Journal's Best of the Web Today:

"Speaking of intelligence, check out this report in London's Daily Mail:

It is research that is guaranteed to delight men--and infuriate the women in their lives. A controversial new study has claimed that men really are more intelligent than women.
We debunked this study already, but what caught our attention about the Mail piece is the bizarre assumption that the finding, if it were true, would 'delight men.' We can think of few things that would worry us more than learning women aren't smarter than men. After all, we've never been smart enough to figure women out. If women aren't smart enough to figure women out, what hope is there for anyone?"

RMN's Ballot Builder

Life's Better Ideas points us at the Rocky Mountain News Ballot Builder.

A competently-engineered, useful, web tool from a newspaper. Hats off to the RMN.

"eBay" rhymes with "Jon Benet"

Though I haven't been Jon Benet blogging with the tenacity of The Drunkablog -- okay, or at all -- here's an interesting trivium via Lightning Rose.

Thursday, September 14, 2006


Here's the best time to buy everything.

Monday, September 11, 2006

9/11 on 9/11

An amazing thing about blogs, and the internet, is that you can read, right now, with a click, the real-time reactions of people to 9/11, on 9/11. Want to hear what people were thinking? Here, for example, was Glenn Reynolds, as it was happening.

No editors, no news cycle, no talking heads telling you "what Americans think," no politicians spinning it, no Bowdlerizing.

Remember, too, that, at that point, Glenn was just another random blogger, with a blog readership sort of like mine.


There are a few software tools that, once you have them, you can't imagine living without. This is definitely not one of them.

It's probably a guy thing. And when you're swinging it around, don't let go.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

The Home Computer of the Future

The home computer of the future, courtesy of Dan Weingast. The caption reads, "Scientists from the RAND Corporation have created this
model to illustrate how a 'home computer' could look like in the year 2004. However the needed technology will not be economically feasible for the average home. Also the scientists readily admit that the computer will require not yet invented technology to actually work, but 50 years from now scientific progress is expected to solve these problems. With teletype interface and the Fortran language, the computer will be easy to use."

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Drinking songs, bawdy ditties and rude rhymes

Everything eventually wends its way to the web.

Kiko sells for $250,000 on eBay

The story here, is not Kiko, it's eBay.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

The New York Times: Pluto Crisis Edition

The New York Times: Pluto Crisis Edition

HT: Jim Flanagan

Unspoiled tourist spots

In 1991, a couple of years after the Romanians booted and executed Ceaucescu, I was invited to speak at a conference in Transylvania.

I got tour books from the library to see what to expect. They said things like, "If you're taking the train from Budapest to Ankara and it stops overnight in Bucharest, you may be tempted to get off to explore. Don't." They went on to explain that it was dangerous, boring, and there was no food.

Well, okay. Of course I went. I took lots of granola bars.

The current version of a travel guide began publication a year ago, and took another year to write -- it's at least two years out-of-date.

Communist Romania was awful. Capitalist Romania was still in the 1960's, but lovely. Plenty of food, friendly people, beautiful scenery, completely safe, low prices. No (other) tourists, either.

Well, it's still lovely, but it's developing and there are tourists aplenty.

Here, however, as long as CBS and the New York Times keep it that way, is the new tourist mecca.

HT: David Aitken

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Erlich vs. Simon

So why didn't the world starve to death in the 1960's and 70's,
the way Paul Erlich
predicted (and, like a green Jeanne Dixon, just keeps on predicting)?

Here's a nice reminder of the guy who won a Nobel Prize for being a prime mover.

(Extra credit: Remember when the Nobel Peace Prize wasn't simply an embarrassment?)

"Capitalism and markets" is a correct answer, but a profoundly anti-capitalist one, using only theory-of-the-world handwaving -- like answering the question "How did the US reach the moon?" with "Newtonian physics." The proximate cause was smart people with achievable dreams who worked hard to make them come true.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Cunning Linguists

The Drunkablog confirms our darkest suspicions about linguistics students and the CU Linguistics Department, in this post: Saudi man gets 28-to-life in Colorado slavery case.

Most constructive comment:
In any case, extreme criminality is all too common among linguists. Better to just get 'em off the streets, don't you think?
Yo. Yo.

Hezbollah War Documentary

If you want to see the war from a soldier's point-of-view, here's a first-person documentary.

HT: Powerline guys.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Google Image Labeler

In the category "Things, like Sudoku, that command your attention for no apparent reason ..."

It is, you have to admit, a clever idea.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Your own domain-specific Google apps

Google is offering apps (gmail, gcal, ...) for your domain.

Looks like if you have a registered domain name, instead of, or, you can have your Googlepages web pages be and get gmail as