All Hat, No Cattle, The Art Form - How image conscious is this president?

Keepers of Bush Image Lift Stagecraft to New Heights
On Tuesday, at a speech promoting his economic plan in Indianapolis, White House aides went so far as to ask people in the crowd behind Mr. Bush to take off their ties, WISH-TV in Indianapolis reported, so they would look more like the ordinary folk the president said would benefit from his tax cut.
This reminds me of the time that Arnold Schwarzenegger came to Providence as the President's physical fitness program (our last elected President, specifically). Other officials showed up dressed to exercise, but Buddy Cianci also showed up fully made up for the cameras. Arnold wouldn't let it go without a comment that the guy would show up for a workout in stage makeup.
Duh - I fixed the earlier entry on Deal News. When you add a link, it helps if you put some text between the mark-ups.

A recent deal that looked worth a look: Roxio VideoWave Movie Creator for $0 shipped after rebates. An Amazon deal.
Matrix Reloaded: More Action. More Gobbledygook. - So here's my capsule review of "The Matrix Reloaded." (Extremely mild spoilers, only about the bad stuff.)

I wasn't sure where they were going to go with this movie. Mumbo-jumbo about prophecies and "the one" doesn't leave much room to move around. That's why prescience in films and stories is so dangerous. But it can also be rewarding if done right.

Neo, our hero, is together with Trinity. But it's all fun and games until someone loses an eye, so we know there is going to have to be some tension. The Wachowski brothers decide to go for the "danger of losing a loved one" route rather than "the honeymoon is over" route with Trinity. Neo is worried that she's going to be a casualty in their war, sooner or later. And the dreams are telling him "sooner." Hey, no one said that being "the one" came with any guarantees about your friends.

In any case, the Wachowski's heavy-handed scenes near the beginning of the movie establishing Zion (the last human city) as a place of flesh, blood and spirit were a little bit heavy-handed for my taste. The contrast between Zion and the Matrix came across in the first few minutes, and we didn't need the drawn out slow-shot pans of Zion as a dance club. Really - does it seem odd to anyone else that half the citizens of Zion are male dancers and the other half are female models? If the film hadn't picked up right after we were subjected to Keannu Reeves' derriere, I would have been ready to leave the theater.

At this point, the guy sitting a few seats down from me is patting his belly loudly (what's with that?) but (thankfully) the dudes two rows back have stopped giving us the translation into Sophomorese. But despair evaporated as soon as the action kicked into high gear, along with the soundtrack.

Agent Smith is back, and you've seen the trailers so I don't have to tell you what his obvious new twist is. But he's got a few they held back from the trailers, and a hidden agenda that has yet to be revealed. He's only the first of a number of villains and quasi-villains. For bonus points, find the character whose wardrobe is made up entirely out of surgical glove material.

Yes, this film has the signature philosophical gobbledygook that the last film handed us. However this time, pay close attention. Either it's starting to make a little more sense, or I am going insane.

I recommend this film for anyone who was a fan of the first, or anyone who wants to see the state of the art in merging Kung Fu, wire work and digital effects.
Matrix Reloaded this Morning - Yes, I'm on my way to see this film this morning. For good or ill. At the very least, I'm certain it iwll at least be a bit of escapist eye candy.

Funny that, in the movie, it is the simulated fantasy world that folks are trying to escape.

I'll let you know what I thought of the film. No spoilers, of course.
Master Rebater - That's the title Ed has dubbed me because of all the recent rebates I've redeemed.

I'm on the mailing list for Deal News - a site that reports on various deals and rebates for computer equipment and a whole boatload of other things. They've got separate sections for digital camera deals, PC hardware and software, Mac accessories, and online coupon codes. Also, though I've never used therm, sections for printer ink and RAM prices.


The 20th Anniversary Black Ships Festival - Blogging this so I don't forget. Perhaps some folks will want to accompany us when we go this year. Likely we'll be going to the Sunday Taiko drum show, if they're having it. I wish they'd update the website with this year's schedule already!!!

The Sunday daytime event is much more laid back than the Saturday performance, and we had a lot of fun with it last year. Holy cow... has it really been almost a year since I tried making sushi? And I've only done it a few times? Time is zooming past.
Putty in my hands - I came across this site because it is an A.W.A.D sponsor.


They call their product "Thinking Putty" and it's basically big chunks of silly putty. Is it just me, or does the idea of huge chunks of glow-in-the-dark putty, and even magnetic putty make anyone else long for the stuff?

I've seen exercise putty before. It's used to strengthen the hands of people recovering from injuries, and also just folks who want better grip strength. (I've seen Rui and others use a product called Power Putty for climbing strength.) It's a good activity for those with motor control issues to squeeze the putty, and strengthen those muscles. This "Thinking Putty" is geared more for fun and stress relief. I want some!

And, to add to the coolness, these guys have links to a site offering neodymium iron boron magnets. It's called gaussboys.com. I'm drooling here.

I have one very strong neodymium magnet that I use for all sorts of fun, but I lost my smaller ones. Why do I need more? Well, if you like to put things on your fridge, you need to get rid of your wimpy magnets and get some neodymium ones. Forget putting your daughter's picture of a cat on the fridge - put the cat itself up there! (Kids, don't try this at home. Demonstration purposes only. Void where prohibited by law. Closed track, professional driver. No cats were harmed in this suggestion. I am only kidding.)

The Thinking Putty guys are a fun bunch. Check out their page of fun stuff to do. Freezing putty and hitting it with a hammer, dropping it from heights, writing with light... and goofier.

Birthday list material? You bet. Mark your calendar; I'm an October baby.

BTW - anyone have a really good recipe for making similar putty with borax? This Thinking Putty incorporates borax, but it's a little more complicated than the home recipe. I wonder if I could just make this stuff in bulk. Problem is, I want it firmer than what I've seen that borax recipe produce.


Yogurt, which is high in acid and pasturized, should not be a risk. - Chuck, looking out for me, sent that link along. But it really is useful. This time of year when the power goes out you can't just stick your food and beer in the snow. So it's good to have some sort of guide.

Of course, we don't feed our kids anything that is questionable. It's only Dad who likes to experiment.

This other link Chuck sent along is less helpful, but definitely amusing: How to tell when your food is spoiled. Example:
DAIRY PRODUCTS -- Milk is spoiled when it starts to look like yogurt.
Yogurt is spoiled when it starts to look like cottage cheese.
Cottage cheese is spoiled when it starts to look like regular cheese.
Regular cheese is nothing but spoiled milk anyway and can't get any more spoiled than it is already.
Cheddar cheese is spoiled when you think it is blue cheese but you realize you've never purchased that kind.

For those still bored, here is more worthy reading material:

[UPDATE] - Bob rightly notes in a comment:
On the yogurt front.  Since yogurt is "bad" already (contains bacteria) and is not an environment conducive to bacteria growth (also true of Mayo by the way-contrary to popular belief) it's probably kind of hard to "spoil" to begin with as long as it's sealed so nothing really nasty can get in it should be fine.

Like beer, cheese, and many other foods which have been with us for a long, long time - these traditional foods are made to withstand the storage conditions which were available before refrigeration. In many cases, "good" bacteria are recruited to make the food less inhabitable by pathogens, either by competing for the same sugars or by creating chemicals that inhibit the growth of pathogens (alcohol, in the case of beer). With mayo, it's the acidity factor that appears to cause it to remain relatively safe while unrefrigerated for short periods of time.

My family has made a Lebanese form of yogurt for a long time, and it is often avaialable at the table to be used as a condiment. That stuff sits out warm for marathon sessions and never seems to go bad.

I never really thought I was going to get sick. Just a bit of goofiness. ;-) I have been known to consume really old yogurt that has remained refrigerated.
Word.A.Day - For those other languagephiles in my readership (all 3 of you) I have added a link to "A.Word.A.Day" in my navigation sidebar. You'll see the new word of the day appear there every day, with a link to the definition. I've been a subscriber to their email list for more years than I care to remember... a decade perhaps? Nice to see they have a way for me to share it with all of you!
Not sick - Well, that yogurt yesterday didn't kill me. As I told Chuck, since I survived yesterday's yogurt, today I am going to eat the remaining 2 containers of yogurt that sat out all week.

No gastrointestinal distress followed yesterday's experiment, so I don't expect anything to follow today's.

Speaking of Chuck, he sent along , this amazing link to a commercial that Honda put together. I think I saw this on Mike's now-defunct blog, but it's still amazing. You need Flash to view it. I read somewhere that it is completely real, and took quite a few takes to get right. But it doesn't involve computer effects.


Film Threat - I'm trying to catalogue all the films in my film library here at home. I'd like to make a more flexible database, but currently I have them in Excel. The html version is here, and also available in the navigation bar under "all me."

Note, that only a very few number of childrens films are listed there (the highlights and the DVDs, I suppose) because we have an overwhelming amount of children's films. I didn't want the catalogue overwhelmed with "Mother Goose 1"... "Mother Goose 2"...

I have some of the entries linked to IMDB for reference.

Yes, I really do own a bunch of Thunderbirds episodes, on VHS and DVD.

By the way - the real Film Threat has its own website.
Chuck Told Me Not To - But I did anyway.

I found this yogurt that was sitting out for a week. I must have forgotten to put it in the fridge. It was warm and fruity and tangy. I ate it.

I will report any side effects later. All in all, I don't think Chuck's warnings were bad advice, but I'm in an experimental mood.
Total Lunar Eclipse - On Thursday there's going to be a total lunar eclipse.

I hope it's clear - I can't remember the last good lunar eclipse I've seen. It's going to be early enough that I hope to get the kids interested, and maybe set up the telescope for a view of the moon. They'll be up late but, hey - It's education.
Seek and Ye Shall Find - Part of the reason I started this blog was to keep track of interesting links. Now the archives are unmanageable for that purpose. So, I've added a search feature. Check it out in the navigation bar on the right. Type in your search term and hit the button. Simple as that!

Searching through the archive I found that we're coming up on the one year anniversary of Stephen Jay Gould's death.

I didn't post on the 13th last year, but on the 14th I was talking about Star Wars: Ep 2 - Attack of the Clones.

Speaking of that, I found that if you watch the DVD of that film, the movie is somewhat shorter and more fun if you skip over every scene chronicling hte developing relationship between Amidala and Anakin. It's actually worht watching, like that. I love DVD.


Weapons of Mass Disinformation - Even in my skepticism regarding the war, I thought they'd find more in the way of active chemical weapons programs, or useable chemical weapons by now. But, apparently, the U.S. Arms Team is leaving Iraq empty-handed. (washingtonpost.com)

There were constant complaints from hawks during the months leading up to war regarding how Saddam worked to hamper and undermine the search for a nuclear or chemical weapons program with the power to cause mass destruction and death on large scales. However, now that Saddam is in no position to obstruct anything, the search for WMDs has been less like a floodgate of evidence and more like that joke in Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer where Yukon Cornelius keeps thinking he's found gold in the snow, until he sniffs and licks the end of his ice pick-axe and declared "nothing."

Maybe I didn't understand. Is our intelligence that bad that we really didn't know whether Saddam had WMDs, or was that a convenient tale to tell the American public because the truth was less convenient.

If we're going to go to war, I want the public debate to be about the real reasons. I don't need to be protected from them. I'm not sure if I'd rather believe I was lied to, or that we are flying blind.

Colin Powell? Are you listening? Where did your credibility go? Why are you along for the ride?