Friday Fives

1. What’s your favorite sport (to watch or participate in)? How often do you have a ritual you participate in as you play it/watch it?
I watch a few sports on television but I am not would you would describe as a sports fan. Back in the day (last year) I watched hockey a lot. I usually watch the Bronco game each week during football season. With the dearth of hockey, I am looking for something to focus my interest – maybe baseball. Maybe tennis. Maybe curling.

2. Do you feel that your favorite sport has a lot of negative influences on yourself or others?
Hockey has a lot of aggression and violence. I suppose in a super-protective parent land, that can be a negative influence. But hockey wouldn’t be hockey with out a nice brawl by the boards and some blood spilled on the ice. Take away all of that and its simple team ice dancing and how gay is that?

3. As a kid, did you have a sport/athlete idol?
I followed the Olympics one summer as a kid and developed a hero like admiration for Bruce Jenner. He was so cool at the time. He is pretty lame know, but when I was 9 or 10, he was the shit.

4. Which “extreme” sport would you like to try (or would have already tried) if you weren’t afraid of doing it?
Shark week on Discovery just wrapped up. Swimming with the sharks would be cool, but I will save that for my sister. When I hear the term Extreme Sports, I think of speed and snow so I guess some kind of deep powder, back country, avalanche prone downhill danger skiing would be in order.

5. Are you caught up in “March Madness” (i.e., the NCAA basketball tournament)? Are you a basketball fan? Who will win
I have caught a few games so far and I must admit, college basketball is much more exciting than pro ball. Less thugs, less ego and instead replaced with a real love of the game. I don’t have a clue who will win but will still probably settle in and watch a game or two over the next few weekends.

Yeah, What He Said

This guy has put into words the ridiculousness of the Terry Shiavo thing that seems to have swept up Congress and the media.

Week in Review – Via A Whiteboard

This was a fun little bit of Internet time wasting fancy. I will be revisiting:

From their “About Page”

“We live in a time of an ever-consolidating media industry. Fewer news outlets inevitably give way to fewer perspectives.

We are saturated with information. There’s more “news” out there than any one person can follow. It is organized at the editorial discretion of it’s publisher, and what’s ultimately communicated is a contrived point of view.

Yet we all have experiences. We are all exposed to events. We all pay attention to something. But we don’t all have a say in what becomes headline news.

Week In Review offers an alternative. Documenting and reporting hearsay recounts of the news, a forum is created in which people who care and are interested in the world around them can have a voice.

Each week, Week In Review participants assemble at a local bar to share, discuss and reflect upon timely news and draw the Week In Review. All stories come from self-appointed correspondents who report on what they care about.

Anyone can come; anyone can participate on-line; anyone’s news can become a headline. Our participants’ discretion is what matters.

What results is an at a glance, single-sheet, hand drawn representation of the week’s news, posted on-line for the larger, virtual audience.

What happens is the news.
The news is what happens.”


Friday Fives

1. Would you consider yourself a good singer? How would you describe your singing voice?
I am not a very good singer. I can’t vocally read music and have to be singing in a group to be able to sing. I don’t break out into solos.

2. Do you sing in the shower? What about in your car? Do you sing along to the radio/CDs a lot? Do you prefer singing when you’re alone, or do you belt out tunes at any time?
I sing in the car and will from time to time burst out in song. Sometimes, I try to sound like Willie Nelson while singing a pop hit from the radio. It’s good fun. You should try it some time. Take the sullen moodiness of Willie from, say, “Blue Eyes Cryin’ In The Rain” now apply that sullenness to the latest Christina Aguilera song. Its fun.

3. Who is your favorite singer at the moment, and why?
Country music songwriting wizard Steve Goodman. His voice is pure beauty and his songwriting is exquisite. “City of New Orleans” “God Bless Our Mobile Home “Gentle on My Mind”; “You Never Even Call Me by My Name.” The guy is a genius. And, unfortunately, no longer with us.

4. Do you ever watch the show “American Idol”? Who will win this year’s competition?
No a big American Idol fan. I have no idea what is going on this year on that show. Apparently, to read the new, Mario is out and everyone, I mean everyone, is just shocked. Shocked.

5. Name a song that accurately reflects the way that you’re feeling right now.
I am in a pretty Peter Gabriel mood right at ths moment (Friday, 9 30 a.m.) And the chorus from Solsbury Hill is running through my head. Now what exactly does that mean? Does that mean it is my favorite song? Does it mean that I am suddenly a Peter Gabriel fan? I think not. But are there social implications to the song that runs on reply in the back my mind all day. Can I graph and compile the songs and their frequency in my psyche and get an indication of how my day will be? Songstrology? Crap. I have had too much coffee.

Mercury, Coal and Bush, Oh My

An article in this month’s Discover magazine (read the whole great thing here) outlines the woes of Mercury and what we as a world are and are not doing about it.
Tieing most of the mercury woes to industrial waste, and more specifically waste from coal burning power generation plants, the articles is a stunning slap to the noggin. We are ignoring the waste and the effects of mercury at our peril. If we don’t take drastic measures to stem that pollution and its long term effects from even small dose exposure to this dangerous chemical vapor, then we face a path of industrial pollution and environmental ruin that may very well be impossible to fix.
The Clinton administration proposed reducing mercury emissions in power plants by 90 percent by 2008. But, thinking he knew better, Bush has decided to slow that wagon down and instead is proposing to reduce those emissions by 70 percent by 2018, as well as to shun the Kyoto protocol, a world wide treaty to stem ozone layer eroding emissions (of which mercury is certainly one of) I would hate to think that business and industry concerns from Big Coal and Big Oil guided him in those decisions.
But environmental groups, city and state health departments and others are now preparing to sue the EPA to get enforcement in line with the Clinton proposals. It may work. It wasn’t too many years ago that we began to understand the problems seen from exposure to lead and asbestos. And the EPA dragged its feet on those issues as well. The courts finally got involved and now lead and asbestos issues are managed and regulated, easing many, many health and environmental issues.
If you value eating fish; consuming dairy; breathing air; eating food grown in farms, harvested from non polluted soil or drinking water; if you are concerned about preventing cancer, especially rare and untreatable cancers; if you want to ensure you suffer from no auto immune diseases or want to make sure your children don’t develop ADD or autism you have a vested interest in reducing mercury exposure in our environment. Hmm, that list should just about cover everybody.
As a kid, I remember the neighbor kid had access to liquid mercury, apparently once used in welding. We used to play with it for hours in the garage. Probably not too wise. And looking at my home town, plagued with lots of Multiple Sclerosis patients, lots of lupis patients, lots of twins (?) and lots of ADHD, I have said over and over again it is all because of the coal dust. With what I am learning about mercury exposure, there just might be something too that.

Apparently, even my slightly polluted home town is starting to see the light.

Lookout it’s Outlook

Lookout is a plug in for Microsoft Outlook (download from Microsoft for free is here) and one of the most useful things I have come across in a long time.
It indexes your Outlook files and makes them quickly and easily searchable.
If you have used Google Desktop Search and are familiar with the quick search capabilities it offers, you will have a good idea of how Lookout works – except that it is specific (so far) to Outlook (It doesn’t work with Outlook Express)
But the speed and ease of how it works makes folders and filing emails almost reduntant. If you can remember some very simple simple stuff, like words in the body of the email, who sent it, a subject or whatever and enter that in the Lookout search bar, any and all email you are searching for will pop right up.
I subscribe to perhaps too many Yahoo Groups mailing lists and have more than I need to keep track of in my email box. But for the last few weeks it has been easy to manage because, well frankly, I don’t manage it anymore. I let Lookout manage it for me and simply scan them for basic info and then simple let the mail rest unsorted in my inbox. I don’t have to worry about finding anything later because the application will do that for me, in less than two seconds.
It is so useful and powerful, I may very well give up using Gmail and go back to Outlook now that someone has made Outlook a tool that I can embrace once again.

(I just read their homepage a bit and discovered that Lookout will index your whole system if you want it to . . . So I guess this is a quiet MS answer to Google’s Desktop Search tool. It might bare watching how this plays out.)

Wacky Friday Fotos

Leave your caption in the comments section below Posted by Hello

Friday Fives

1. Early childhood discipline. Were you swatted? Grounded? Left on a desert island to contemplate your sins?
I can remember getting swatted on perhaps three occassions, but I also remember the threat of a spanking always on the horizon. Mom was best at the guilt and at grounding. Dad was generally a push over and really had a hard time raising a hand against his kids. But he was creative in doling out punishment. I remember once when I was in my mid teens and full of myself and kept putting off mowing the lawn. Dad arranged with the neighbors to have me mown his lawn and the neighbors. I never forgot that.

2. As a child, when was the first time you remember experiencing Them Cold Hard Facts of Life (real disappointment and realization that bad things can happen). (With apologies to Whisperin’ Bill Anderson.)
I was five when Grandpa Nall died. And there were lots of funeral’s as a child but they never really sunk in. I think the first real sadness came later on, around 10 or so and my grandmother was sick and you could just sense the whole house on pins and needles and people kept returning from intensive care and they would be talking and stop abruptly any time I came in the room, triggering a danger sense that there was something wrong. (ultimately, all was well, grandma recovered from her heart attack and lived a marvelous 96 or so years.

3. At bed time, do you need a bed time story or do you fall fast asleep? Any routines that must happen before the slumber?
I usually curl up with a book but am generally asleep quickly – the book is just a pretense. I can usually be in deep REM sleep in about 20 minutes. It is frightening.

4. How old were you when you learned to ride a bike?
Summer between Kindergarten and First Grade. The neighbor Jay was already on wheels and I had to hustle to catch up.

5. As a teen learning to drive, any driving related altercations that you never told your parents about?
Seriously, I was 15 on a learners permit and snuck the car out drive around the block and had a minor, unreporter fender bender in the parking lot of the 7-11. No harm, no fowl.

It’s Just A Drip

John Reeves is dwarfed as he walks by the nearly 150-foot Fox Ice Tower outside Fairbanks.Posted by Hello
Photo by John Hagen / Fairbanks Daily News-Miner via The Associated Press.

I stumbled on this via That’s My Blog!. Apparently a charming Alaska resident (Alaska is one of our states -it’s really far up north) decided to leave a fountain on and add pipes to it to extend its height and see how high the towering structure of ice will get this winter. Reading along on That’s My Blog!, we learn that this is a bit of common thing in Alaska and clubs actually seem to compete annually for some bragging rights to see who can build the highest structure.
There used to be an apartment complex in Denver that did this for a couple of winters, a few years back. But we haven’t had a real severe winter in a few years, I doubt the towering ice fountain of doom will not be crafted in the Queen City of the Plains.

America – Why I Love her.