30 August 2007

Michael Jackson Passes Away

He was possibly the most important driving force in the world-wide beer community over the past 30 years. Starting with his first publication of "World Guide to Beer" in 1977, he has always been a strong voice for the beer community.

A great loss to the brewing community, Michael Jackson (not the dancing one) has passed away.  Raise a glass for Mr. Jackson.

Michael Jackson Passes Away

Katrina - 2 Years On

I began a long rambling post about the Katrina-ravaged coast yesterday (the anniversary of the hurricane's landfall), but became bored by my own self-righteousness. I've never been to Louisiana or Mississippi so my attempts to personalize what is happening in that region fall flat.

Instead, you, dear reader, should go out and read for yourself from those living it what is going on or, more appropriately, not going on. A link fest is below, but I will add one commentary of my own. As a child of the West coast of Michigan, Lake Michigan was a huge part of my psyche. Living near one of the largest fresh-water lakes in the world really clicked for me and is one of the things I dearly miss living inland. As a one-time sailor and freeloading boater, I also know that the Great Lakes are a large area of work for the Army Corps of Engineers.

The same Army Corps that failed the city of New Orleans so spectacularly. To my Michigan family, friends, and random readers, what happened in New Orleans and all over the Gulf Coast is a signal to us as well. This state depends heavily on the services and projects completed by the Army Corps. You need only think of Holland, Grand Haven, or Saugatuk to envision the immense sea-works that allow shipping to come in and out of those harbors.

The precedents being set by the disaster in New Orleans has ramifications all the way up here. Katrina did not drown the city of New Orleans. Let me say that again. Katrina did not drown the city of New Orleans. The failure of the levees which held back the Mississippi River did that. The levees were not and are not the responsibility of the state, despite all the finger pointing. The levees are a federal responsibility. Just like the sea-ways on our coasts here in Michigan.

So, as you read some of the posts linked below, remember that what happens in New Orleans is not isolated there. The same agency that allowed the disaster to happen there is very active here. Holland may not flood, but the same methodology that allowed much of New Orleans to flood is being used to protect our coastline as well.

Alan Gutierrez: When The Saints Go Marching In

Large news round-up at VatulBlog

Anderson Cooper: No Right for Us to Feel Fatigued

Douglas Brinkley: If we want New Orleans to die, we should say so

Look to the future 2 years later: Shelley Midura

B. Rox: Two Years

21 August 2007

Guitar Hero II

As a follow-up to this post, Guitar Hero II frakkin' rocks (rawks?)! My constant nagging netted me a copy of the game (with guitar) for my birthday. (Oh, yeah, it's my birthday.)

I also got, can you believe it, Bioshock on the PC. But, I've been playing Guitar Hero since we got back from dinner, so I have no comment on it yet.

Considering I went to work on my birthday, it's been a very good day. And get Guitar Hero. Seriously.

15 August 2007

Countrywide May Have To File For Bankruptcy

Wonderful.

Subprime Meltdown: Countrywide, America's Largest Mortgage Lender, May Have To File For Bankruptcy - Consumerist

Bat Update

The critter is gone. Nothing was broken, although I will say it's extremely hot covered up in the heat. Yes, I'm a total chicken, but I wasn't about to be bitten.

Note to the Entrepreneurially Inclined

If you're looking for a startup business, may I recommend pest removal, especially of the bat variety. We have a critter currently holed up in our spare bedroom and finding someone to not just remove it, but also inspect the attic for entry points is impossible. Of the 5 numbers I found via Google in SE Michigan, 2 don't do bats, 1 doesn't service our area (thanks Google), 1 didn't answer, and 1 said they could be out "maybe next Tuesday".

If you don't mind flying rodents, skunks, or whatever else stalks people's houses, there is some serious money in it and no shortage of demand apparently. Me, I have to figure out how I'm going to take out a 4 ounce bat with a tennis racket (which I have yet to procure) in a confined space slightly smaller than the space needed to swing the tennis racket.

Expect updates on broken light fixtures, broken mirrors, or a recounting of the excruciating process of getting rabies shots. Or, perhaps all of the above.

07 August 2007

24-hour shutdowns scheduled for Ann Arbor I-94 ramps

Looks like fun driving in the city for the next few days.


  • Today, the westbound I-94 ramp to U.S.-23 and the entrance ramp from eastbound I-94 to Ann Arbor Saline Road.

  • Wednesday, the westbound I-94 ramp to State Street.

  • Thursday, the westbound I-94 ramp to Ann Arbor Saline Road and the eastbound I-94 ramp to U.S.-23.

  • Sunday, the eastbound I-94 ramp to State Street.

  • Monday, the eastbound I-94 ramp to Ann Arbor Saline Road.

  • Aug. 14, the westbound I-94 ramp to Jackson Avenue.

  • Aug .15, the eastbound I-94 ramp to Jackson Avenue.



24-hour shutdowns scheduled for Ann Arbor I-94 ramps

06 August 2007

Question about an Xbox game

Does anyone who has owned the game think that Guitar Hero 2 is actually worth $80? Because I'm so tempted to buy it every damn time I walk into Best Buy and I can't tell if I'm just falling for good marketing or if the game is that good.

02 August 2007

Video of MN Bridge Collapsing

Nothing too graphic, but disturbing to think of the randomness of this. (No embed, sorry, follow the link if you want to watch the video.)

kare11.com - KARE 11 Television

01 August 2007

Elton John is an Idiot

Elton John wants to shut down the Internet for five years because "[t]he internet has stopped people from going out and being with each other, creating stuff." Right.

His proof for this?
He said: “In the early Seventies there were at least ten albums released every week that were fantastic.

“Now you’re lucky to find ten albums a year of that quality.

“And there are more albums released each week now than there were then.”


Riiiight. This, of course is the fault of the Internet. You know, that global distribution network that has enabled thousands of artists to find a market they would have previously missed.  It's also pretty dubious to claim that there are 10 albums a year of remarkable quality. That seems... high. Kidding. I think Sir Elton is, finally, too old for the current crop of artists.

Granted, there are some serious gaps in the release of quality albums, but that's not the fault of the Internet; that's the fault of music publishers and groups like the RIAA. When the radio is controlled by payola and breakout artists are stuff in the backwater of the, wait for it, Internet, it's not wonder there aren't "quality albums."

So, yes, I totally took the bait for Elton John's attention whoring, but if he even remotely means what he says, he may finally be irrelevant.



Why we must close the net

Online shopping roulette

I ordered a hard drive enclosure (this one) from TigerDirect on a recommendation I saw on a tech site. It's rediculously cheap, has USB and Firewire. It doesn't look the best, but for $30 I'm not going to complain.

I hadn't ordered from TigerDirect in a couple years, at least since before we moved. When I placed the order, I had to correct my address information to my present address. Like an idiot, I managed to update my billing address, so the charge went through, but forgot the shipping address.

So now, in my email, I have two messages from TigerDirect; an invoice saying the package is going to my old apartment, and and order confirmation saying the package is coming to my house. I called customer service immediately after placing the order and had them correct my shipping address, but it's a little disconcerting to have an invoice stating otherwise.

Huge points to TigerDirect for the customer service on the phone and email. Big deductions for not allowing me to update my geographical information via their site. When you click the "My Account" link on their page, this is what you get:

td.png

No place to update your contact information, other than your email address. Oh well.

Hopefully it gets here.