Friday, March 30, 2007

Fire In Hollywood

Normally fires in Southern California are no big deal, off in the boondocks somewhere where no one I know has ever lived. This time it was just north of the Hollywood sign. This picture is practically the view from my window in my old apartment, my view would have been a bit more to the left but just about the same size of the Hollywood sign.

I used to live on the corner of Cahuenga (pronounced cah-when-ga) and Franklin, which is 2 blocks north of Hollywood Blvd. The fire is in the Cahuenga Pass which was just up the rode from me. Just surprised me to see it even though it's been about 28 years since I lived there. Living in Hollywood was lots of fun, if I was bored I just had to walk down to Hollywood Blvd and take a stroll and look at all the weirdos. That was especially great fun on Halloween.

Massimo Pigliucci

Massimo Pigliucci is my second favorite skeptic after Richard Dawkins and I just discovered he has a blog! Can't believe I never thought to look for one. It's called Rationally Speaking and I'm going to put it in my links on the right. And on the blog they have links to his other web sites, and there are quite a few; science, skeptic and philosophy.

And on top of of that I also just discovered that Dan Barker does podcasts! What a day this has been!

I have my email friend, Dr. Don, to thank for the links.

Friday, March 23, 2007


I don't know how long this has been on YouTube but it's way too funny for me not to post it...

Thursday, March 22, 2007


I finally saw the movie and it was far better than I thought it would be. Thought I knew a lot about global warming but he had lots of stuff in there I didn't know. The catch phrase on the movie poster is "The most terrifying movie you will ever see" and it certainly was. I was getting a stomach ache watching it, it's all much worse than I thought it was and I'd already been thinking it was too late to do anything, which seems even more true now.

Here I thought all we could blame Republicans for was enormous debt, a horrible war, corruption, the end of our civil rights, the world's worst health and school
systems and a vanishing middle class, but the truth is they've actually destroyed the planet. They are just plain evil and the rest of us, and our kids and grandkids, will have to pay the price for it.

Gore was great, if only this was the Al Gore we had seen during the election he might be president right now. He might have gotten so many votes the Pubs wouldn't have been able to steal the election, but no help for it now.
I'm still hoping he will step in and take the election away from everyone but I really have no sense of what he is going to do, I suspect he does know himself. He's probably watching everything to see if he can jump in or if it's better if he stays out. Frankly, I think he's too smart to run, and maybe it would be better to have him traveling the world and sounding the clarion call for everyone to act now, than it would for him to be president, where global warming is only one of many, many problems Bush has left for the next guy.

In the movie he quoted Winston Churchill: “Humanity is entering into a time of consequences.” I thought A Time of Consequences would have been a better name for the movie.


I've always like Edwards, he was my choice in 2004 but the nomination was already sewn up by the time the primaries reached California. He's the guy I'd still vote for today.

My only problem with him is he appears weak whenever I see him on TV. Considering the things he's been through in his life there is no way he is weak, but in politics today appearance is more important than reality.

Today he announced his wife had her cancer return then talked about continuing the campaign and why they will continue. For the first time I saw real steel behind the pretty boy looks - I knew it had to be there. I sent him an email expressing my concern and telling him he needs to show that steel more often, like all the time, wouldn't hurt to look even a little scary. I hope he reads it and it strikes a cord, not likely but you never know.

Realistically, I'm sure I'm going to be voting for Obama in the main election but for a few moments I'd like to imagine something different.

Or how about Al Gore getting in the race and we end up with a Gore/Obama ticket, that would be the best of all world's. The facts are that this time we have too many good candidates while the Republicans have none. It's so bad even Fred Thompson thought he might have a chance. I like Hillary less than Gore, Edwards and Obama but she is still a better choice than Kerry was and I think she'd be 100 times better than Bush.

If Edwards was a Republican he'd be drawing up divorce papers right now and visiting his mistress (sound familiar, Newt?). I've always found it odd that the democrats are the ones who continually demonstrate serious family values but the Pubs keep voting for people who have been married 3 times and had several affairs.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The Dresden Files

When the Sci Fi channel started the show I was pretty excited, I love combining a detective story with either a futuristic premise or a magical one. Purely by accident I picked up a book called Dead Witch Walking by Kim Harrison about a year ago. She created a new modern world where all the magical beings in stories became real and commonplace, and the main character was a detective, I had no idea this was becoming a new genre, but I was hooked. I was planning on reading some more series in this genre when The Dresden Files came out.

I was a bit disappointed with the first episode, not much of a story and not much magic, and Harry was too nice a guy. When I bought the first book just last Sunday (see previous blog) I could tell in a few pages the book was far better than the show. Last night I watched Sunday's show (DVR is great stuff) and it was the book! What a surprise, and it was suddenly good, too. Lots of magic everywhere and Harry suddenly has some edges to him, a main character has to have some edges to be interesting.

I know what must have happened, last Sunday's show was the pilot but some executive, who probably should be handling the money and not the creative end, got scared that it was too far out there. What the hell does he think a sci fi viewer wants, anyway? So the first few episodes were made first to ease people into the magic aspect of it then they showed the pilot, and suddenly this is a good show. I hope they didn't lose too many viewers with the earlier episodes.

They did get a few things right from the beginning, though. The first was Paul Blackthorne as Harry, he does a great job and is probably the main reason I kept watching. The second was taking Bob out of his skull (in the book he's just a talking skull but I've just started it). Having Bob as a real presence for Harry to talk to was brilliant. So now that the series has some teeth to it I'm hoping for some good stuff.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

A Trip To The Bookstore

Few things in life are more fun than a trip to Barnes & Noble and I scored today. Got the latest Skeptic and Skeptical Inquirer. The subtitle of SI is Science, God, and (non)Belief - YUM! Also got my favorite magazine Scientific American Mind, all kinds of stories on the latest research into the mind. It only comes out quarterly so I love it when I get one. Then there's the books, I've been dying to get the first Dresden Files by Jim Butcher ever since the Sci Fi Channel's show came out and I found it. Just a little way into it so far and he's got a pleasant, easy to read style. And it's written in first person narrative, a favorite of mine, probably from reading all those Heinlein books as a teenager. Then a surprise find, something in the same genre as the Dresden Files but by a writer I never heard of, Charlaine Harris - Dead Until Dark. It just had a whimsical feeling to it that looked interesting so I gave it a try. I'll write reviews on all these as I read them but it will take a while, I'm a slow reader. This stuff will keep me busy for months, heh heh.


Transmit is an FTP client similar to Fetch, but with many added features. For one thing it also supports WebDAV which means you can use it for your .mac account or any other WebDAV account, very handy. I've tested using Transmit and using the Finder for WebDAV services and Transmit is literally twice as fast and much less prone to interruptions. And the interface is very cool, very Mac-like. Extremely easy to connect and to save favorites, and to transfer file it's Drag and Drop, couldn't be simpler.

I had been looking for an app to sync some of my folders between my hard drive and my external drive when I realized Transmit does syncing but is there a way to connect the FTP side to my external? I sent an email to Panic about it and within 2 days they sent back a solution, it's actually very simple, I was quite please.

Panic also does CandyBar so it is clearly a good company.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Sam Harris Quote

"Everything of value that people get from religion can be had more honestly, without presuming anything on insufficient evidence. The rest is self-deception, set to music."

Thursday, March 15, 2007

The Richest Year in History

"According to Forbes, this is the richest year in human history ... for those people who are already mind-bogglingly rich. But what about the rest of us?"

This is an Alternet story, they have lots of good ones. The rich get richer and the middle class is disappearing, all in the name of a free market. It's nice to be rich these days. For the rest of us expect to die from an illness you can't afford the treatment for.

The Richest Year in History

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Capture Me

This is not a program I use a lot, but it's very handy when I need it. It does screen capture but is very accurate because you have a window to drag around and position and size just right, then you can save instantly in any format you want. But best of all is the window floats above all other windows so I can snap a picture in one app, switch to another, and still have the image from the first app for a reference. The main reason I'm mentioning this is I just visited their new site and they quote me! What a thrill!

Capture Me

Monday, March 12, 2007


One of my favorite Mac Apps is ShadowClipboard, and it's probably the one I use most after Path Finder. It's a multiple clipboard app, it not only keeps the last 20 or 30 copies to the clipboard it also allows you to set up clipboard sets. I have one just for web related stuff, another for working stuff, such as the DC legal line that must go on all DC Comics tee shirts, to a personal one.

Ever need to sign on to an FTP account for a download with info you got in an email? They always give you URL, Username and Password and each of these is on a separate line. To copy and paste with just the standard OSX clipboard you'd have to copy one from your email, switch over to your FTP app and paste it, then back to email to copy the next one and back to the FTP app, then do it a third time. Whew, I'm tired just writing about it. With ShadowClipboard you simply copy each item one at a time from email, then switch to your FTP app and paste them in one at a time, easy and simple.

I have to admit a special fondness for this one because I was a beta tester for the latest version. In fact, the latest update of the latest version was done because I was having major problems. I sent him many crash reports and he discovered a memory leak he didn't know was there, patched it up and did the latest version, worked great ever since. For my efforts I got a free upgrade to 3, which saved me, I think, $10. So this is the one app I actually have a financial stake in! I'm also fond of the company name which you will see if you click on the name at the top which links to the web site.

Sunday, March 4, 2007


I still get chills when I hear that speech. Today is the 43rd anniversary of a march led by King in Selma, Alabama. Hillary Clinton and Barak Obama are speaking in churches today in Selma literally yards away from each other.

I have to think about what an amazing thing it is to have a woman and a black man running for president. And not just running, they are the leaders. Odds are one of them will be sworn in as president in 2009.

What a contrast to a mere 43 years ago. 50 years ago black people still had to sit in the back of the bus and had different rest rooms from whites. Racism is not dead but we have come a very long way and that chokes me up as much as Martin's classic speech.

Obama said that King was Moses, who led the people to the promised land but could not enter himself, and that he, Barak, was Joshua, the one to lead us across. Very powerful. Hillary sounds like she's trying to imitate King and just sounds lame and even worse, insincere, as if she's just putting on the act she needs to for the occasion. Now I'm pretty sure Barak is going to beat Hillary for the nomination, although I wouldn't count out John Edwards just yet.

Friday, March 2, 2007

Richard Dawkins

I've been a fan of Richard Dawkins for a long time, not because of his genetics work but because of the articles he wrote on Atheism. I've also long been fond of his meme concept, simple and elegant and very true. So I was quite pleased when he came out with the God Delusion.

I bought the book because I'm a fan but I didn't expect him to say anything
new about atheism that I didn't know, but he surprised me. The last half of the book was filled with quite a bit of scientific info I didn't know and was a very good read so I thought I'd make a link to the Official Dawkins Website: