Thursday, December 28, 2006

One Thing I Don't Know About Me

Putting my "5 things" entry into The Gender Genie reveals ... I'm female. Both Stephe Walli and Ron Coleman are male.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Car Bingo / Auto Bingo, Travel Bingo and Many other PRINTABLE Car Games

For Lyn and her clients.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Bad Santa

Or, you could try getting something from Good Santa.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Five things you don't know about me.

Stephe demands I participate in a "5 things you don't know about me"
social experiment.

I can't imagine there are 5 things anybody doesn't know about me. My life is
an open book, and I bore strangers with its intimate details. The casual
bystander would mistake me for a bum at a bus stop.

In case you've never met me, here are five things that everyone else already
knows. Now you don't have to feel left out.

(1) I was a sickly child.

I was so asthmatic that I slept sitting up or under oxygen tents and was once
airlifted out of Louisiana. I have congenital vision problems, and had several
bouts of eye surgery as a child, which didn't completely fix them. I had a car
hit me and run over my head when I was five, and I was still having major
surgery to repair the damage in college. I had whooping cough, and had both
measles and chicken pox twice.

Just as fat kids always think of themselves as fat, I'll always think of myself
as sickly.

(2) I wrestle badly.

After I got back from Viet Nam and out of the Marines, I was in good shape. I
thought I'd go back to college and go out for wrestling. I was, frankly,
awful. No one else was masochistic enough to go out for my weight class, so I
have a varsity letter. I'm 6' tall and I wrestled at 127 lbs. No kidding.

One of my sisters still has the letter sweater.

(3) I'm the least musical person in my family.

I perform regularly, have made a CD, sometimes tour nationally, and have been
giving lessons and conducting workshops for, oh, 30 years or so. I have few
memories before sixth grade (probably after-effects of the head injury), but I
remember a song I did for a 3rd-grade play. I took music history and
theory/composition courses in college.

You'd think that'd do it, but noooo .... One sister gets BBC airplay. The
other sings for her *day* job. I think of myself as a moderately musical guy
with extremely strong role models.

(4) My Ph.D. is in genetics, but I got a C in high-school biology.

My father was in the Air Force when I was a kid, and we moved a lot; I went to
fourth grade in Nebraska, Louisiana, and California. One of my
elementary-school counsellors called my mother in to advise her on rearing a
retarded child.
I wound up a high-school dropout. We moved to Spain just before 11th grade. I
attended that year, but ran out of courses I was willing to sit through. I
didn't go my senior year. I took a pair of required courses -- English and
American History, I think -- by correspondence. My parents somehow talked the
local high school into awarding me a diploma at the end of the year based on
that, but I wasn't invited to the graduation ceremony.

Forty years later, my "graduating class" still sends me letters asking me to
pay money to come to their reunions.

I got C's in high-school English and Social Studies, too.

Opinions I expressed in class made my California Social Studies teacher so
angry that he yelled at me all the way through a class period and then, after
the bell rang, half way through the next one. The students in the next class
came in, sat down, and listened in silence. When he let me go to my next class
-- English -- I had to walk in during the middle of class. The English teacher
was his wife. A third high-school teacher got so mad at me that she told me
she'd make sure I never got into college.

I appear to be unable to impress primary- or secondary-school educators.

(5) From the time I was 15, all I wanted out of life was to be a father.

When I was a teenager, one of my best friends thought she was pregnant. I
wasn't the culprit, but I thought about proposing and starting a family right
there and then. She got her period before I could work up the nerve.

In grad school, my advisor tried to persuade me to be more career-oriented.
After my first post-doc, I had a choice between pursuing career or family: I
changed careers, married and had three daughters.

A dozen years ago, my ex-wife divorced me in a "no-fault" divorce. Divorce
lawyers, custody evaluators, and the Boulder County courts jumped in and used
that as a lever to irreparably destroy us.

I haven't been awakened by nightmares about it for almost a week.

I expect never to see my little girls again. My mother, their grandmother,
died cut off from them.

I spent countless hours, and zillions of dollars on professionals to try to
prevent a train wreck. After that failed, I spent more trying to repair the

After half a dozen years, I gave up. It's beyond recovery.

The sorts of havoc that they wrought on us has now become illegal in the
majority of states west of the Mississippi. It's still legal in Colorado;
however, senior divorce-industry professionals have opined that it probably
wouldn't even have happened in other counties.

Today, I advise parents trailing small children around grocery stores to get
out of Colorado, and if they can't get out of Colorado, to at least flee
Boulder County.

Boulder is so special.

Okay, done. I tag, in my turn, ... lessee ... David, Jed, Richard, John, and Ron.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

An inspired little Christmas message

I am tempted to say divinely inpired, but that would be gilding the lily; Scott Ott appears to do this sort of work effortlessly, neither toiling nor spinning.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Nice Weather Mashup

Weather Bonk - Live Weather, Forecasts, WebCams, and more on a Google Map

Free Call Forwarding

Here's a free, temporary, anonymous, disposable phone number for call forwarding.

If you're worried they'll do something odd with the phone number you give them to forward to, give them your ex-girlfriend's phone number instead. I'm sure she'll appreciate having someone more interesting to talk to.

Monday, December 18, 2006

The Meeting Planner

The first product I ever worked on had a meeting planner in it. Our marketing people told us two things:

(1) Having a meeting planner was a checklist item for calendar/email applications.

(2) It didn't really have to be any good. Nobody ever actually uses them.

Here's another.

At least now they're web services.

Google Sells Domain Names

Google Starts Selling Domains For $10 Per Year

I've used "Google Apps for Your Domain," and it's nice.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Google Singles???

It is a search company, I suppose.

Bad taste is better than no taste

This is stupid. I like it.

Phone yourself email reminders.

Cell phones are great. Email reminders are great. Email reminders via text messages suck.

Here's an alternative worth a try.

Friday, December 08, 2006

"it's also more attractive than a plastic bag."

Wurapingu paperu.

Nearly Half of Iraqi Marshlands Restored

An ongoing story.

To destroy the Iraqi Marsh Arabs, Saddam just eliminated the marshes. He succeeded. It's amazing that we can restore the marshes, but he killed off the Marsh Arab culture as surely as Hitler destroyed Eastern European Jewry.

On the other hand, restoring the marshes is something. Their destruction was one of the biggest ecological catastrophes of the 20th century.

I've blogged about this before.

It is the height of irony that the United Nations, who brought us perhaps the largest bribery scandal of the 20th century, UNSCAM, is trying to take credit for an effort when their chief contribution was to help make it necessary.

This behavior is a familiar pattern, which we also saw in the Indonesian tsunami rescue efforts.

The bulk of the work has been by the Army Corps of Engineers, beginning immediately after the liberation, in 2003, under orders directly from the President of the United States. The bulk of the funding has been from the US, principally USAID.

Here's a example summary of what the Army was faced with:

Located between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, the marshes were once among the world's largest wetlands. Within this 8,000-square-miles area, the 5,000-year-old culture of the Madan, or Marsh Arabs, developed the first alphabet.

Before their destruction, the Mesopotamian Marshlands spanned an area roughly twice the size of the Florida Everglades. They were known for their biodiversity and cultural richness. The marshes were home to millions of birds, fish spawning and nursery areas and various agricultural crops. The devastation seen under the hand of the former regime has been compared to the deforestation of the Amazon.

After putting down a rebellion by the Marsh Arabs at the end of the Gulf War, the Iraqi government set its full wrath upon the group, burning towns, killing livestock and making the drainage of the marshlands a top priority. An estimated 150,000 people were displaced during this time; some were forced to relocate as many as 18 times.

By 1999, the marshlands had been reduced to 7 percent of their original state. Many endemic species were lost, a natural filter system for waste and pollutants into rivers and the Persian Gulf was devastated, and an entire culture rich in history was destroyed. The area was in dire need of structure and rebuilding efforts.

More on the amazing accomplishments of our efforts can be found, for example, here and here and here.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

For the data hungry

"Whenever you can, count." -- Sir Francis Galton

Monday, December 04, 2006

I get by with a little help from my friends

Some of my best friends are headless.

What a long, strange trip it's been

I hang out with musicians. Some of them are alcoholics, the rest are just heavy drinkers.

If you're a musician, concerned about your alcohol consumption, consider better living through chemistry.


Snap looks like an interesting little search site.