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( #6 ... from 07/03/37 )


12/18/37 ----------------Tattoos
  I, personally, would never get a tattoo simply because once you've got it ... you're stuck with it. After some years (no mater how beautiful it was when you got it), it will look like faded shit as the ink drifts under your epidermis ... i.e. it blurs badly.
  This market is wide open for temporary tattoos. I don't mean the stick on kind. I mean something semi-permanent that would look good for a couple months then ... you'd get some special solvent to remove it completely. People who wouldn't think of a real tattoo would get one that would come off eventually with little or no marks remaining. Maybe a solvent is impossible since the tattoo wears off as the skin flakes off. So, maybe some sort of laser ranging needle that would put ink just a hair below that first layer so it would come off in time ... something you couldn't do by hand. People could "try out" their tattoo and decide if they really want to make it permanent before making a big mistake ... maybe get their girlfriend's name tattooed and it wears off eventually after the break up. I think there is some room here for the entrepreneur.


12/15/37 ----------------Ring Around the Moon
  Earlier tonight I got to see the moon (almost full) with a huge ring around it. The diameter of the ring was approximately 40o in width, i.e. that would make the ring about 80 times the diameter of the moon. I've seen this effect before but not on so grand a scale ... maybe ... once or twice before. It's fairly rare.
  The cause is (I believe) a rainbow effect on the moon's light from ice crystals high in the atmosphere. There is no color ... just a fairly heavy, white ring about 2-3 degrees thick. I called my wife to go out at home to look at it. We enjoy seeing an unusual effect. I recall us watching a magnificent double rainbow in New York once. It was incredibly impressive and I've never seen the like before or since ... but ... other people just turned away as in "So what?". Apparently, most people find no joy in such things. 'Tis a pity ... to go through life not appreciating its smaller wonders.


12/06/37 ----------------Acharya S
  I see from her web site that somebody on Wikipedia gave out her real name ... AND ... home address in her Wiki article. Needless to say, she was pissed. The "assailant" was trying to intimidate her by being equivalent to a thug brandishing a gun. Anyone who gives out the home address of someone of interest on the internet is trying to goad the crazies into stalking and murdering that person. Hence, her assailant must be condemned on moral grounds.
  My Wiki article (two sentences) has been deleted. I wondered why it was there in the first place. Anyway, somebody finally noticed it and it was duly scratched. Fortunately, I don't rate any death threats ... yet. ;o)


11/29/37 ----------------Old Parking Ticket
  I got a letter from the State of Texas to the effect that I owed $55 for an unpaid parking ticket from ... 2002! It was for an old car that I had sold and did not own at the time of the parking violation. I am going to pay it because I have no recourse and they are going to attempt to ruin my credit rating IF I don't pay up. It's just more state sponsored extortion. Hmmmmmm ... I just wrote something about that last week didn't I? Could this be a result of ... nahhhhhhh! They wouldn't do that.
  Here's the response I'll send with my check.

Dear Sir or Mam,
    I am paying this ticket under protest because I did not own the vehicle at the time of the violation. I had sold it to someone in my apartment complex who in turn sold it to someone else who then parked it in the Dallas location of note. The problem is due to the laws of Texas regarding the sale of motor vehicles and the poor clerical abilities of Dallas government workers.
    At the time of the sale of my Hyundai, I was informed by others that I should send in a form stating that I had sold the vehicle (for $200) just in case that person failed to re-register it in his name (apparently a common problem in Texas). I did this for the modest cost of $5.00. I cannot say what happened subsequently for a month or so later I received a notice from an insurer that I had had a minor accident. After much effort and a sworn affadavit, I was able to convince the insurance company that I was not the owner/driver of the vehicle at the time and that the occupant had used an old insurance card found in the vehicle to escape the situation without a big fuss (he was supposedly DWI but no police were called due to the fact that the incident was minor and he had produced an insurance card). Later, I discovered that the car was then sold and this "next" person was the one who parked illegally (or, perhaps he resold it too?).
    My last dealing with this car was a notice from an abandoned vehicle lot in Grapevine who had "my car" and would like me to pick it up ... but first ... pay hundreds of dollars in towing and storage fees ... IF ... I wanted my car back ... else it would be scrapped or sold at auction. Needless to say, I did not respond. Hopefully, this car has been pancaked and will not be resurrected to bother me again.
    As regards the owner who was actually liable for the parking fine, I recall corresponding with your department to resolve this issue. However, after a couple more years, it has resurfaced once again and though I am completely innocent of the misdeed, I have resolved to pay anyway to avoid having my credit rating lowered through the duly noted incompetence of your department. I mean here ... incompetent over a span of time ... for I cannot believe your department could be that imcompetent over the short run without there being a tremendous howl of complaint reaching all the way to the newspapers.
    This is not the first time I've run into the "selling / re-registering" problem. The only other car I got rid of in Texas was given by me, free of charge, to one of those big junkyards out on Division St near I-35 in exchange for towing it out of a "no parking zone" as a derelict vehicle. It was beyond fixing and I needed to get rid of it quick because the fine would have been more than the car was worth. This they did and I handed over the title to them. About six months later, two Dallas detectives knocked on my door in regard to a crime committed with that vehicle. Fortunately, I was able to convince them that I had not seen the car for some time and therefore, could not have been the culprit (perhaps I was too old or didn't fit the description). Apparently, they too are aware that on the low end of the scale, a car sold, tends not to be re-registered in order to save a few bucks, just as there is an entire industry devoted to the forging of fake windshield stickers.
    The next time I sell a vehicle, you can be it will be only to dealers. I do not believe I can count on your department to carry out the normal tasks for which it is employed.


11/27/37 ----------------X-Box 360
  This new Xbox looks great in the stores. Call to Duty2 in high def shows what we can expect to be everywhere in the near future. But I noticed a flaw in the rendering ...
  Is it the engine or the programming or ... what? The people depicted in the game seem to be floating about 2 inches off the ground due to a shading problem. It's just not dark enough right by the foot ... or tire on a vehicle. I noticed the same problem on a hockey game in high def where the players seemed to be floating a few inches off the ice. For the degree of advance over other games I am not nitpicking. The defect is too noticeable to accept in the long run. I expect they'll fix it in the near future. Till then, I'd beg off the new Xbox for that reason ... and ... the tremendous cost. It'll set you back the best part of a grand to put up the kind of system a serious gamer would like.


11/04/37 ----------------Verio Comments on Wilma
From my web hosting service Verio. Apparently their generators failed. The CEO is a Japanese guy so it's very polite and "So, solly". This is why I will stay with Verio even though they cost more. They aren't trying to hide.

  As I wrote in my letter of Thursday, Oct. 27 to our customers impacted by Hurricane Wilma, Verio is in the process of applying credits to customers hosted in the Florida facility and who were affected by the hurricane. Normally, Verio's service level agreements for these customers would enable them to request up to a 25% credit for their monthly service cost. However, as we recognize the serious nature of this situation, Verio will proactively credit all customers hosted in the Florida data center a full one-month's credit. This credit will appear on your statement within 10 business days.
  Also, as mentioned, we are conducting a thorough review and analysis of the service interruption, and have already begun what will be a comprehensive assessment and plan to ensure this doesn't occur in the future. This may include actions such as increasing the frequency and length of generator testing and cutovers, to assessing additional backup opportunities, to looking at possible options within other Verio facilities. We expect to provide this update to customers within the next 30 days, and will be implementing additional actions from that plan in conjunction with this timeframe.


10/28/37 ----------------Site Down
  Wilmaaaaaaa!!! My site got Wilma'd on Monday and Tuesday of this week for about 70% of those two days. It was inaccessible for the first time in about six years ... ever since I switched web hosts from 9Net to Highway (later bought out by Verio). When I couldn't get into it Monday, I couldn't understand till I realized that it's on a computer in Boca Raton which is on the east coast of Florida right where the hurricane passed.
  That doesn't explain everything though because the facility is like Fort Knox. It's ready for a hurricane. Something must have happened outside of the building along the fat pipe into the internet. Actually, they have several fat pipes. So, I can't say what really happened. They have their own generators of course. As of today (Thursday) I have access to everything except my stats which have not been updated since Sunday.
  Highway and Verio advertised 99.9% uptime and even with this week's outage this is still a good promise.


10/24/37 ----------------LED Revolution Coming?
  There was an article in MSNBC ... (http://msnbc.msn.com/id/9777070/) ... about quantum dots (very tiny crystals) that, when mixed in with a support medium, can be "painted" onto a surface and then an electric current needs to be applied to the surface ... and then ... voila! white light.
  This may be the beginning of the end for incandescent and florescent bulbs. Just as I understood it would happen when I first found that little flashlight that could stay lit for 200 hours (see - Eddie Bauer Opto E-Light). This is good news for our electric bills.


10/11/37 ----------------Asphalt Under Concrete
  Just the past few years, I've noticed that the freeway extension they are building (north hwy 360 just west of DFW airport) is being made differently than I am accustomed to seeing. Instead of grading sand, rolling it out, then putting concrete on top of that sand ... they are inserting a 2-4 inch layer of asphalt ... then ... concrete over that. The re-bar for the concrete is already installed on supports on top of the asphalt and I am waiting for the pouring of concrete for nearly three weeks (does asphalt need to "cure" or are we dealing with "Three Guys in the Freeway Building Business"?). Now, this is a big added expense so I am interested as to why the standard operating procedure has changed.
  Does anyone know for sure why this is done? My guess is that it acts as a water barrier to prevent cracking, weathering, freezing, etc. Or ... maybe it's some kind of thermal barrier to provide uniform expansion-contraction and preventing cracking. I just don't know. I am stumped about what great good it accomplishes to warrant that expenditure. One other reason might be to jack up the cost ... using some scientific mumbo jumbo to justify added expense (I doubt this conjecture though ... too many people can see it). Cost jacking is usually done in the background.


9/25/37 ----------------Rita Gone
  I eagerly awaited hurricane Rita for some reasonably exciting weather. It turned out to be a dud here in the Dallas area. The storm veered of to the east much more than was expected. We got 20-25 mph wind for most of Saturday 9/24 and lots of promising cloud cover but ... no rain at all. We could have used some rain. Well, at least we had a cooler day by about 10 degrees without the sun.
  Thursday night I remarked to my wife that it was the first time since 911 that we couldn't get a parking spot close to our apartment. Then I realized that it must have been due to other residents taking in friends and relatives (Houston evacuees). They'll be leaving Monday and Tuesday I'm sure. Those going back today are in for a rough passage as there is no gas along the way and they will experience the reverse traffic jam going home. What a mess.
  I can understand why some people would opt for staying put in a hurricane. It's too problematic to leave. If at all possible, I'd just hunker down for 12 hours and "take it like a man" (pending storm surge predictions). The most useful thing I saw on TV for people to know was a color coded map of the Gulf that showed the temperature of the water. You could easily understand the storm when it went over the hottest water and turned to Category 5 then went over the cooler water and backed off to Category 4 then 3. If people need to make a decision to go or stay, they need this map so they can make an informed decision. Also, the maximum wind velocity of the 'cane needs to be squared to see the relative potential for wind damage. Thus, Rita at max-105mph and Katrina at max 140mph has a strength ratio of 1052 / 1402 = 11025/19600 = .56 Thus, Rita was just over half as damaging (wind damage) as Katrina. This is important to know also when making stay or go decisions ... how tough the Big Bad Wolf really is.


9/19/37 ---------------- Electronic Dobermans
  Last week, I watched a couple guys "pull wire" in the ceiling of a large building for the alarm system. I joked "Wouldn't it be a lot cheaper to just buy a Doberman?" ... Instead of paying three or four people a couple days pay and cost of materials, all you'd need is a bag of Purina and somebody to shovel the doodoo every AM.
  Then I got to thinking ... someday there will be electronic Dobermans running through your buildings at night ... with cameras on their heads and ... maybe flame thrower noses ??? Or, how about this? You go to Radio Shack and buy a little shoe box with two dozen electronic insects with tiny cameras. At night when you lock up the building, you open the box, flip the switch and the dragonflies go off searching for a roost for the night to watch from. In the AM, you flip another switch and all the "flies" are called back and alight on the recharging station (the aforementioned box) and your entire system is encrypted Wifi. Why not? It could happen 10-20 years from now. Say, $99.95 for a box of 2 dozen? Disposable?? One person monitors hundreds since most show nothing unusual all night. Box o' 10,000 for your city ... discount to 12.95 per dozen ... case closed.


9/11/37 ----------------Fourth Anniversary
  Tomorrow is the fourth anniversary of our failure to nuke Mecca and Medina ... well, at least Mecca. In recent days I've heard (on NPR mainly from ex-military types) echoes of my own opinions on the matter. To wit, the use of A-bombs in Japan to end WWII was like vaccinating the earth against total nuclear war ... and ... an occasional "booster shot" may be needed to maintain our immunity.
  I quite agree with this assessment. All out nuclear war is inevitable if generations come and go without an example in living memory of what such weapons are like. Four years ago an opportunity presented itself to drive militant Islam into introspection ... and ... it was not taken. Now, we are bogged down in Iraq and who knows what else will happen. These people continue to be willing (in droves) to commit suicide to advance their cause which is world domination by Islam ... (I know that is totally fruity by our standards but they think it's an actual possibility). They still think that way because the impotence of Allah has never been pointed out to them with authority and finality. Hence, succeeding generations will not be exposed to the antithesis of power ... an empty hole in the ground where Allah once resided.
  In war, one should strike the enemy in the heart and eviscerate its culture. Had this been done cleanly and directly after the "unfortunate incident", Iraq would not have occurred and all Muslim people would now be in "remission". In fact, it would not have occurred in the first place ... if ... America had acted resolutely with overwhelming force on numerous occasions in the past. We have no reputation for using nuclear weapons and hence, they are no longer a deterrent. I await with trepidation a nuclear attack against us at some future date simply because we have not been sufficiently resolute in the past.
  It is likely impossible for a benevolent culture to exist on the earth at the present time without killing millions of innocent people in war. Severe cultural clashes are inevitable as the world goes through the final stages of its metamorphosis. And one should understand that ... in all the wars of history probably over 99% of the people killed have been innocent. Guilt isn't part of the game of war ...

War is the contention of philosophies

Individuals are the "carriers" of philosophy and are therefore considered expendable ... something Al Quaeda is aware of ... but apparently we are not.


8/28/37 ----------------Mathematics Proves Christ's Resurrection?
  Oxford University professor Richard Swinburne, using logic and mathematics, has created a formula that he says shows a 97 percent certainty that Jesus Christ was resurrected by God the Father. This stunning conclusion was made based on a series of complex calculations grounded in the following logic:
1. The probably of God's existence is one in two. That is, God either exists or doesn't.
2. The probability that God became incarnate, that is embodied in human form, is also one in two.
3. The evidence for God's existence is an argument for the resurrection.
4. The chance of Christ's resurrection not being reported by the gospels has a probability of one in 10.
5. Considering all these factors together, there is a one in 1,000 chance that the resurrection is not true.
  This amazing "proof" of Jesus has me convinced ... yes, indeed. I'm signing up for the next revival meeting ... sure nuff!! - EBTX


08/13/37 ----------------Gas Shock
  Went to Galveston for day trip with family. My stepdaughter rented a nice van. We stop in gas station at Galveston and I put in the gas. Now, I'm used to paying $14 to fill my Honda Civic and recently it's going over twenty bucks.

Ka-ching!! $51.50 !!
  My heart did not soar like a bird :o(

  Needless to say, I would never get a van or SUV for a run-around car. Better to rent one for the day than lug all that weight around to work, to the store and very often ... to the gas station. It's like ... Why buy a Winnabago if you're just going to leave it in the driveway for 50 weeks per year? Might as well keep the money, fly to Mazatlan and rent a really nice room.


7/31/37 ----------------QT blows it
  We usually get a coffee at the QT gas station. Yesterday, when we came back from Colorado, we were looking forward to the familiar. Here's my complaint letter to them.
  Today, my wife and I got back from vacation & stopped at QT for our favorite "French Vanilla Capuchino". Unfortunately, you idiots put hazel nut in it. That was the single most important feature that distinguished QT from every other gas station. Now we must look elsewhere. Reminds me of the fools who decided to "improve" Coca Cola a few years back. Hasta la vista.
  PS: I'll put up a nice web page for you on my internet site. ;o)

Why do people need to mess with a good thing? It was the most popular flavor there with three pumps (and another one for lowfat too). Once again ...

"If it ain't broke, don't fix it."

Update: as of 08/05/37 the coffee has returned to normal. Why it went bad is anyone's guess.


7/9/37 ----------------Bogus PayPal Page
  I got this email from a phishing expedition. The link takes you to another page not affiliated with PayPal. Like this:

<A target="_blank" href="http://www.brush7.com/medimate/img/menu/index.html"> https://www.paypal.com/</A>

As long as people don't examine the code or look in the source field in their browser ... they're screwed. I went to PayPal to complain but their page (the real one) has no simple means of reporting such sites.


As part of our security measures, we regularly screen activity in the PayPal system. We recently noticed the following issue on your account: We would like to ensure that your account was not accessed by an unauthorized third party. Because protecting the security of your account is our primary concern, we have limited access to sensitive PayPal account features. We understand that this may be an inconvenience but please understand that this temporary limitation is for your protection. Case ID Number: PP-072-838-482

https://www.paypal.com/us/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_login

For your protection, we have limited access to your account until additional security measures can be completed. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

To review your account and some or all of the information that PayPal usedto make its decision to limit your account access, please visit the Resolution Center https://www.paypal.com/ . If, after reviewing your account information, you seekfurther clarification regarding your account access, please contact PayPal by visiting the Help Center and clicking "Contact Us". We thank you for your prompt attention to this matter. Please understand that this is a security measure intended to help protect you and your account. We apologize for any inconvenience.

Sincerely,
PayPal Account Review Department
PayPal Email ID PP54022


7/03/37 ----------------War of the Worlds
  Went to see this great movie tonight. My wife didn't care for it much ... neither did my step-daughter. But the grandkids liked it because of the fine kills and plenty of blood and gore (as exhaust, cool).
  I liked it because of the excellent sound track that won't come over on the DVD unless you have a high end sound system rivaling what you'd find in a movie theater. Neither will the scale of the picture come out right on a small screen. This movie accomplished what I thought to be impossible. I had previously thought that a predominantly dark (nightime) picture could not be "panoramic" ... but this one was. By panoramic, I mean that there is a sense of large scale in the theater screening that won't show up properly on a smaller TV. It's not a closed, small set thing where where actors are just talking throughout the movie and it doesn't matter if you see it in the small or the large. It matters in this movie. The monsters "loom" in the distance and force a "panoramic vista" experience ... at night. This is one reason why theaters will not go out of business for a long time ... at least until we have wall size screening at home.
  On the artistic side, I liked the sense of doom created here. That's why it will never be a huge blockbuster. For that you need a hero who triumphs over adversity due to his courage and persistence and reasoning abilities. But the quality of a movie is determined (as Leonardo said centuries ago) when the thing portrayed appears to be just what it is ... whatever it may be. This movie was done properly in every aspect and represents the acme of special effects. They are the current best yet marketed. It's not a happy picture so it won't sell as many tickets as the otherwise lame "ET" which goes comedic at the end but pleases the kids (very young kids). As a work of art, ET is not in the same league as "War of the Worlds" or a hundred other movies made since then.
  I would say it was somewhat better than Batman Begins artistically and technically ... but the story is smaller and can't be sequelized in principle.


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