December 16, 2005

This morning on the radio I was listening to the host talk about a study out of Austrailia about how the Christmas season has a horrible impact on the environment. There was stuff about how it takes 44 lbs of raw materials and 240 gallons of water to make one $30 box of chocolates (Shouldn't Valentine's Day be the holiday under attack here?)

The organisation (spelled like they do down under?) offered hints to help lessen the burden on Mother Earth in the form of alternatives to the custom of actually buying a gift.

Some of those suggestions were "free hugs" or "vouchers for clean bathrooms." I called in. They put me on the air. My point? Hugs are already free unless you are getting them from a prostitute, in which case you are wasting your money. I also clean the bathrooms in my house for free. I don't think I need to implement a bookkeeping system for that either. Besides, free hugs and clean bathrooms happen all year long - Christmastime just means the hugs are warmer and longer because they are often with people you haven't seen since last Christmas and they smell like gingerbread or pine or some other Christmas smell. ;)

The Jedi Answered

Ray Camden answered my question in his blog! I'm famouser than I was yesterday!

December 07, 2005

Techdirt:Don't Play Poker Online While People Are Shooting At Your DSL

Now THIS is funny. Especially the comments underneath the post.

PocketMod: The Free Disposable Personal Organizer

Now this is cool - back to the basics. I created one in two minutes, had the stuff I needed filled out on it in another two minutes, and I am good to go! Try it, even if just for the novelty.

December 06, 2005

Kerry embarasses his party again.

John Kerry recently made the following remark to Bob Shieffer on the Face the Nation program on CBS.

* - "And there is no reason, Bob, that young American soldiers need to be going into the homes of Iraqis in the dead of night, terrorizing kids and children, you know, women, breaking sort of the customs of the--of--the historical customs, religious customs. Whether you like it or not..."


Sen. KERRY: "...Iraqis should be doing that. And after all of these two and a half years, with all of the talk of 210,000 people trained, there just is no excuse for not transferring more of that authority."

What? American soldiers terrorizing people? Going into homes in the dead of night? Where is that coming from? That's what the old Iraqi regime under Saddam did! Cheese AND Rice Senator, what war do you think we're fighting. Our Soldiers, Sailors, Marines and Airmen are being blown up while handing out candy to children, while teaching English to women that were not allowed to attend school, while providing security and training so that country can MOVE ON from where it was. We're not the ones stagnating the process, Senator Kerry, but you might as well be. To portray our volunteer forces as some sort of group of "black bag" operators that exist above the law and do as they offense to the heroes of the Vietnam era, but that's not what we are doing in Iraq. If it happened in Vietnam it was as wrong then as it would be now if it were happening.

And then, what about the "Iraqi's should be doing that" line? Again, WHAT? I don't even know what to say. How completely out of touch with reality can John Kerry be?

I can't "quit" being in the military. As an enlisted person, I volunteered to serve, and I am obligated to do so until my enlistment is over. Before the election of 2004 I told a good friend that if John Kerry was elected President of the United States I would serve the remaining time of my current enlistment, and then not re-enlist. This decision could have cost me a 15 year career in the military, reducing my retirement benefits to zero for that time served. I still stand by that promise, and the above shows you exactly why. To think that the people of this country even considered making John Kerry the Commander-in-Chief of the United States Armed Forces.

* - From the transcript...Face the Nation (CBS News) - Sunday, December 4, 2005 4 BURRELLE'S INFORMATION SERVICES / (202)419-1859 / (800)456-2877

December 05, 2005

Chaos mars Saddam court hearing

Chaos mars Saddam court hearing

Funny how Ramsey Clarke's biggest concern is a "fair" trial for Saddam. He was so just and righteous in metting out punishment during his reign of terror. Makes me wish Saddam would have kept his mouth shut and eaten that grenade our soldiers were about to toss down his spider-hole. This whole circus is just a prelude to the inevitable. Saddam is going be killed, whether it be at the hands of the legitimate government of Iraq or otherwise. The country is only able to progress because he is in custody, but they will never truly be free until the threat of Saddam is gone forever.

December 01, 2005

Goodnight Reality - Put Back the Smoke in Clement Hurd's Hand - Yes or No?

Revising history is bad. Editing a photograph is wrong. It doesn't matter if you think you are "protecting" children or not. It doesn't matter what YOU think was wrong with history, its history and you can't change it. Its just like lying. Accept history, learn from it and move on. The reason that the future is better than the past is the time and effort of those of us who work to improve the future, not try to re-write the past.

November 29, 2005

Here comes Winter now!

The first Twin Cities snowfall happened during the Thanksgiving break, and was mostly gone by the time Monday arrived. Holiday travel was slowed, but the regular workday communte was not really affected. Welcome to Tuesday. The MN State Patrol reported "hundreds" of cars in the ditches along the freeways of Northwestern MN. Here in the Metro I saw one ditch driver on my way to work this morning. We already have somewhere between 1 and 3 inches, depending on where you are; we are supposed to get another 1-3 today and tomorrow.

November 28, 2005

InfoWorld TechWatch | InfoWorld | Total Recall body scanner becomes reality | November 22, 2005 02:09 PM | By E. Schwartz

I have to wonder what the "privacy" concerns are and how private your privates really are? This thing makes a 3D image of your body similar to the X-ray in Total Recall, but maintains your privacy? How?

November 17, 2005

The 11-Year Quest to Create Disappearing Colored Bubbles - Popular Science

This guy is from Minnesota, and shows a huge amount of dedication to his passion. He is described as a person that finishes what he starts, and is usually starting something. Pretty cool stuff.

Sadly, John Hodgman cannot see you.

John Hodgman was on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart tonight. Funny guy, check out his site, which includes the .mp3 version all 700 Hobo names from his book, read by the author.

November 15, 2005

November 09, 2005

Self Destructive Tendencies?

Last night I was talking with my boys about their days. My oldest told me the best part of his day was the media center, where they learned a little about the Dewey Decimal system and then were allowed to check out books. Funny how he says he hates reading but the Media Center is his favorite part of the school day. My youngest said Art was the best part of his day. It usually is. Sam the fish said "learning centers" were his high point. I wasn't sure what that meant so I probed deeper. I asked him what a learning center was. He told me that was where a group of people went to play and learn, like a certain area, the "blocks" area or the "coloring" area, for example.
I asked Sam if he went to each Learning Center with the same kids, or if he got to work/play with other kids each day. He said "Well, only if its 'self-destructive' learning time, then we can go wherever we want."
Self-instructed. I knew what he meant.

November 01, 2005

Halloween 2005

WE made it through yet another Holiday. (Or if you speak of it in school, a fall festival). Sam was the only Bee in the parade at his school, and Caleb donned the alligator suit that each of his brothers had once worn. Lucas was going to go as a football player, but since he IS a football player, it hardly seemed like a costume. Last minute we decided to change him to a Navy Seal. I printed out a Navy Special Warfare patch and Seal Trident off the web and taped them to a pair of my old DCU's. The highlight of the night was not all the candy, or the ringing of doorbells in our old neighborhood. It was Caleb shedding some light on what he thought of our parenting skills. Caleb is 4, almost 5, yet he is wise and shrewd well beyond his years. (See Calebisms, 4/05)
We were sitting at the dinner table with the three squirrelly boys, trying to keep them calm through the meal so we could get to the sugar buzz that was to come later. All three are at the same time going though that phase where it takes ever increasing threats of parental action to change their behavior - but therein lies the enlightening moment - a threat is merely a threat until it is followed through. The threat of punishment is not punishment and therefore useless; here's why:
Caleb was not listening, he was being loud and unruly. The threat was already out there.
"If I have to talk to you one more time, you will skip the first house that we go to and you won't get any candy till the second house." Caleb continued the same behaviors that initiated the threat.
"That's it Caleb, you just lost the first house, you are going to wait by me when your brothers got get candy from the first house."
Caleb calmed, looked his mom right in the eyes and said "Mom, you're not going to remember that."
I had to bite my lip to keep from laughing. This impetious four year old just called his mom's bluff, despite the fact that it wasn't even a bluff! She's the mom! She's always got pocket aces, she can do whatever she wants - SHE'S THE MOM, THAT'S WHY.

We forgot. Just like Caleb said. He was at the first house with his brothers and the rest of the crew. WE didn't remember until about the 10th house, and by then it was too late.

(This post is dedicated to grandparents everywhere who probably think its real funny when their grandkids pull the same crap their kids did growing up.)

October 17, 2005

Temporary Blog Switch

While I am here at MAX, I will be blogging here - fun filled days mean I am pretty focused on the conference, so I probably won't post here at again this week. Come check out whats going on in Anaheim, besides the A's being knocked out by the Sox.

October 14, 2005

Next Audio Book

I finished the Tim Russert audio book, by the way. Started on this one. I would recommend it as well. Chris Reeve reads it himself - so the message is even more powerful.

Nothing Is Impossible: Reflections on a New Life

Nothing Is Impossible: Reflections on a New Life

First Production Web Service

Sometimes a web application developer learns a new skill, but can't find a decent application to use it in. I learned about publishing web services some time ago, but never had an outlet to use the technique.
Today I am launching my first production web service. If you go to my company's site at, you can enter your zip code from the consumer web page and get a list of retail outlets that carry Cambria Surfaces. You can only do this from our site though. Now with the web service I created, anybody can do it from any site, provided they know how. (They would find out how from me of course.)

Example: This link takes you to an example, it is on one of our web servers, but a completely different web server than the one that our main web site is on. The few lines of code on this page could be copied to almost any site, and the result would be the same. The table that you see is just a dump of the data, there is no formatting or HTML - displaying the data is up to the consumer of the service.

I think its cool, other developers will think it is cool. You might not. Thought I'd share it anyway. Its one of those things that makes my job fun. :)

October 13, 2005

Is this Thursday?

On the way to work this morning, my car started sounding like a hundred Harley's in need of a tune-up. I pulled over, called my wife and cursed a blue-streak because she lets me, hung up and drove the loud-ass car home. I took her van to work and actually had a really productive day. When I got home, I popped the hood and noticed the spark plug wire hanging around in the unproductive disconnected position. Peeking into the space it should have occupied, I noticed a distinctive lack of a spark plug. Nice. I took the van to the auto parts store and bought another one. Caleb my 4 year old was with me. After discussing the days events, like how his cousin bby was over, and so was our friend's son Miles, and Miles slept in the bean bag all day, he asked out of the blue, "What do elephants eat?" I told him peanuts. Its all I could think of right away. Then my brain kicked into gear, so I finished with, "and pizza and corn-dogs, same stuff you like."
Sitting at dinner the phone rang. It was my hunting buddy Joel. We were hunting this weekend. He said "Where are you?" I said I was at home. He asked me if I remebered the last thing I told him when I left his house on Sunday night. I did. Don't forget the Happy Hour on Thursday. Is this Thursday? Yeah, it is.

October 12, 2005

Tim Russert's Book

I am on disc 8 of 9 of the Audiobook Big Russ and Me: Father and Son, lessons on Life, by Tim Russert. Although the book is more about little Russ, with only a smattering of Big Russ's influence thoughout the book, it is entertaining and informative. Russert gives an interesting glimpse at growing up in Buffalo, the Irish/Catholic world of education, his Jesuit college years and how he got where he is. The chapters about his years spent working for Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan are so detailed and moving, it almost seems like to book could have been named "My real father and my intellectual father" - a phrase Russert used in the text.

October 11, 2005

Who's a blogger?

Here's an update. Not me. I'm trying. Life is DANGEROUS.

I can't keep up with myself, and its wearing me down. Feel free to quote me on that.

Stop Hillary

Get - r - done. Or in this case, don't.

From the web site:

"It is very likely that Hillary Rodham Clinton is going to run for President of the United States. We at the are not going to let it happen! We are determined to launch a national direct mail campaign to every Republican, conservative and independent voter to educate him or her on Hillary's real record in public life."

June 22, 2005

Someone invite me to Orkut

Yeah, I would like to check it out. Would someone who is already a member please invite me?

April 29, 2005

Trojan attack exploits Google typos | The Register

Footnotes to common sense: This is the first time I have seen this. I was just today having a conversation with a co-worker about how completely stupid many computer users are. The article linked above has a footnote next to the name of a malicious web site. The web address is not linked, so clicking on it does nothing. The article in which this malicious address appears is about a website that installs trojan virus software and spyware on your computer if you accidentally mis-type and end up at - hey, it happens. Here's the foot note.

1 Common sense should tell you not to visit, particularly if you are running Windows on your PC.

I love it. If someone read that, and said to themselves, "Whoa, I am glad they told me that, I was going to go check it out!" - they may as well go tell their neighbors "Hey, I have no common sense!"

Its all good now, because thanks to the The Register, people without any can go find common sense on the internet.

April 25, 2005


Caleb John Dix was born Dec 19th, 2000. He is our second child of the new millienium. His brother Samual Grant was born earlier that year, on the third of January. As of this writing, Caleb is 4 and Sam is 5. What Caleb lacks in chronological age, he more than makes up for in observational skills and expression of the thoughts that enter his young mind.
Today I came home from work early and went to the clinic to have the remnants of a failed attempt to fix an ingrown nail on my right big toe permanently removed. The procedure was less than pleasant, and left me with a great big ball of gauze wrapped around my toe. I hobbled home and had settled into my easy chair with my foot propped up like a museum piece, Caleb questioned my wife, Kristin. "Mom, why does dad have only a part of his sock on his foot?"
She explained that Dad had gone to the doctor and had a little surgery on his toe. Caleb's immediate response, "And they cut off the rest of his sock?"
Caleb's responses aren't always literal, but when they are, they never fail to make me grin at his innocence wrapped in pure logic. Last summer when we visited his older brother Lucas' summer camp, the staff had the camp's horses available for short rides. Caleb stood near the tree where the rides began, watching his older brothers trot around the circle the horses followed, guided by their teenage handlers. I picked up Caleb, then 3 years old and said "See your brothers out there, don't they look like cowboys?" Caleb looked up at me and said "They aren't cowboys, dad. Those are not cows, those are horses. They are horse-boys."
As brothers do, Lucas, Sam and Caleb constantly try to get each other to react. Their latest scheme is to pick out a product, and say to thier victim "I am going to buy that for you." This itself is not the funny part. The product is always the most feminine or childish item in the store, or on the television advertisement. Sitting in the living room last week, watching Saturday morning cartoons, an ad came on for a purse in the Bratz line. Bratz is a girl's doll in the Diva genre. Sam looked over at Caleb, pointing at the television and said "Caleb, I am going to buy that for you." Caleb shouted his dissapproval of the idea. I asked Caleb if he was sure he didn't want the Bratz purse. He said "Yeah, but I'd take a Spider-man purse."
This isn't the first time I have written about something Caleb has said. It most likely won't be the last either.

April 14, 2005

Uh, no lighters on airplanes anymore....

TSA Screener: Sorry sir, you'll have to surrender that cigarette lighter before you go through.
Air Traveler: Why?
TSA Screener: Because we are now enforcing a ban on cigarette lighters.
Air Traveler: Why?
TSA Screener: If you have a lighter, you could light explosives.
Air Traveler: Aren't you going to take away my explosives?
TSA Screener: Do you have any explosives?
Air Traveler: No, I don't. So can I take my lighter with me?
TSA Screener: No sir, you can't. Richard Reid tried to light explosives on a plane back in 2001.
Air Traveler: With a cigarette lighter?
TSA Screener: Uh, no, he used matches.
Air Traveler: Can I take matches with me on my flight?
TSA Screener: Yes sir, four books maximum.
Air Traveler: But no lighters?
TSA Screener: That's right sir, no lighters.
Air Traveler: I feel much safer now. Bless your heart.
TSA Screener: Just doing my job sir.
Air Traveler: Yes you are.

April 12, 2005

Bush Says Hooah!

Today Bush was at Ft. Hood, and mentioned that it was time to give a "proper" Army greeting. There was an akward pause. Then he blurted out, "Hoo ah"!!
After a shorter, but still akward pause, the sum of the audience, mostly groundpounders that had already seen time in Afghanistan and Iraq responded with an actual "proper" response with a loud but gaurded "Hoo ah!!"
It must have been horribly uncomfortable for those crunchies to hear - it made me squirm hearing it on the radio after the fact. Makes me glad the Navy doesn't do silly chants like that, unless of course you are a Seal, but there are a lot of things that they do that I don't understand. Oh well, Semper Gumby. "Always flexible."

April 07, 2005

Driving thru Southern Minnesota

Had the opportunity today to drive from the Twin Cities down to Mankato, Minnesota. You can sure tell when it is springtime in the Southern half of the Land of 10,000 lakes, when you drive by the livestock farms that is. Beautiful country, with the windows rolled up.

April 06, 2005


I said in a previous post that I was the co-author of two articles about blogging. They aren't online articles either, they are actually in print!

Blogging 101 for Psychologists: A new way to extend your leadership, expertise and profession. The Ohio Psychologist Review, March 2005

Ministry in your pajamas - blogging 101 Corpus Reports, March/April 2005

Dr. Paschal Baute actually wrote most of the text, I pitched in the technical stuff, but a majority of the authorship belongs to him.

I am actually taking some steps toward becoming an author in the more traditional sense, so watch this space for updates.

Who's a blogger?

I suppose, now that I am the co-author of two published articles about blogging, and actually blog somewhat frequently at another blog, one aimed at beginning bloggers, that I should post more regularly to this particular blog. Ok, I'll see what I can do.

February 21, 2005

Syl Jones is an IDIOT.

The following is posted in its entirety, so you don't have to give the Minneapolis Star Tribune your email address.
Actually, if you want to go to the site and respond, use 'bugmenot' as the user id and 'startribune' as the password. They can send junk-mail into cyber-nowhere all day long if you use that ID.

Syl Jones is a Foxtrot 'India November One Delta Ten Tango. If you are military, you understand. If you are not, ask someone who is. Then thank them for their service.

Syl Jones: Living in Minnesota is easy, once it's explained
Syl Jones
February 21, 2005 SYL0221

Dear Mr. Fowler:

Welcome to Minnesota. Your public relations agency did a poor job of briefing you about this state and preparing you for the worst. A sophisticated agency would have conducted its own research on your background and uncovered those glaring errors -- errors that, sad to say, have instantly reduced your credibility.

Since I occasionally work pro bono for millionaire sports team owners, let me help you out. We can start by reviewing a few rules. Rule No. 1: 'You Must Be Holy Even Though No One Else Is.' Minnesotans do not like millionaires -- especially those who don't look like them or who mime the mooning of Green Bay fans on TV.

People around here consider themselves egalitarians -- a euphemism to cover jealousy. They may have DUIs, attend strip clubs and have numerous stays at local rehab centers. They practically invented mooning, binge drinking and the middle-finger salute. But your résumé, your marriage and your video rental records had better be spotless.

The second rule is, 'Remember Your Place.' You will hear that said indirectly during your tenure here many times, just as you will also hear the phrase, 'This has nothing to do with race.' Drop a nickel into a bucket each time it's said and you'll soon be able to build that new stadium in Anoka County.

You see, the Great Chain of Being has been disturbed by the simple fact that you have the financial ability to purchase the beloved Minnesota Vikings. You don't yet understand what you've bought -- the heart and soul of Nordic manhood, the only reason some people in this state get out of bed between September and January.

If you don't believe me, look at the effort Glen Taylor's minions made to discredit you in the media, implying that you might not have the resources needed to run the NFL owners' financial gantlet". That's because you're not supposed to have that kind of money, son. Then again, the fact that you do will be cited as evidence that racism is a thing of the past. All of which makes you an extremely puzzling but somehow useful symbol in this state.

That Taylor is rich might annoy the hell out of some folks but, hey, at least he's the right ... oops. I was about to say something impolite, and nothing is more important than being polite in public in Minnesota, especially for a black man. Because the third rule is, "Anything you say will be used against you."

You were quoted as saying, "I want the people of this state to like me." Big mistake. That phrase will be repeated ad infinitum, the way Sally Field's "You like me! You really like me!" was used against her. This is about business, Mr. Fowler. Minnesotans don't respect wealthy business people who want to be liked because they know the truth: It ain't gonna happen.

Understand something -- this is the place where the inmates in charge of that asylum known as KFAN radio routinely launch cowardly attacks against former Vikings Coach Dennis Green in absentia. This is the place where, when Daunte Culpepper throws an interception and the Vikings lose, Minnesotans line up after the game to call in and castigate the Pro Bowl quarterback as "just not smart enough to play the position." And this is also the place where the big bad Randy Moss has gotten the media so riled up they can't wait to see him traded. Of course, none of this has anything to do with race.

That's Minnesota. My advice: Ignore questions about whether the Vikings mascot will now be forced to wear dreadlocks. Keep Moss. Fire the Great White Hope Mike Tice, who is without a doubt the best offensive line coach ever to demonstrate the truth of the Peter Principle.

Hire Ray Rhodes as your new coach, trade Matt Birk, Michael Bennett and that absentee tight end Jimmy Kleinsasser to Baltimore for Ray Lewis or Ed Reed. Play teeth-rattling defense, long-ball offense and give no interviews. Then go to one of the blackest cities in the nation, beat Tony Dungy in the Super Bowl, and let's start us an African American football dynasty up here in the land of the ice and snow.

Oh, and be cool. Which shouldn't be hard in this weather.

Syl Jones, Minnetonka, is a journalist, playwright and corporate communications consultant.

January 17, 2005

ABC News: Kerry Criticizes Election Outcome

In Democratic districts, it took people four, five, eleven hours to vote, while Republicans (went) through in 10 minutes same voting machines, same process, our America," he said.

So there were Republicans and Democrats standing in the same line and some people were moved to the front of the line because they were voting Republican? Or wait, there were two seperate (but equal?) lines, one for Democratic voters and one for Republican voters, and the people running the Republican line had their shit together?

This makes no sense Sen. Kerry - even if someone screwed with the machines in your so-called "Democratic Districts" there still would have been people in those same eleven hour lines that intended to vote Republican - didn't hear from them though, did you?

I wonder if the election had gone the other way, if Sen. Kerry had been elected - would the Republicans be making the same charge - that machines were distributed unevenly, that people's names had been purged from the voter registration roles? I doubt it. Only nasty Republicans would stoop to those levels - and of course they are smart enough to tinker with the process just enough to ensure a victory, but not make it so obviously lop-sided that one would have to cry foul. 286-251, Sen. Kerry - do you really think the saboteurs are THAT good, that they could cut it that close? I don't.

January 12, 2005

A Christmas Story

I keep telling people verbally about the stunt my youngest pulled on Christmas, so I figured I would preserve it here as well.

Caleb's birthday is Dec 19th, so on Christmas he was still full of pride for achieving the ripe old age of 4. He was showing Great Grandma Dix (my grandma, now 90) how old he was with his fingers. She asked him if he knew how old she was. Then she began to open and close all ten of her fingers, counting up ten, twenty, thirty as she went. When she got to fifty, Caleb said "Holy crap." And turned and walked away. While I was mortified, my Dad's sisters all fell off their chairs laughing, so did Great Grandma.

Baby McDonald born at McDonalds

Someone actually asked this person if they were going to name the baby "Ronald." People should be allowed to slap people that are that stupid.

MSN tests new blog, search features | CNET

Blogging is here and its not going anywhere. As it gains popularity and respect, more and more information brokers, MyMSN in this case, are making it easier and easier to get to the enormous volume of information produced every seven seconds in the blogosphere. It makes me wonder though; are we seeing a shift from the "come to my site" mentality toward the "listen to what I have to say" scenario? With the use of Feedreaders like NewsGator, and even Microsoft Outlook Express and Firefox 1.0 from Mozilla sitting on people's desktops - no longer do they have to go out and find the news they want, they can have it delivered. Exactly what you want to know about, nothing you don't, all brought to you in a timely fashion.

January 06, 2005

Phisher Flaw in Firefox

Say "Phisher Flaw in Firefox" 10 times as fast as you can. The article linked here will discuss the first security breach in my new favorite browser. There will be more, but they will be fixed. Since it is an open source collaboration, this one will be fixed faster than Microsoft could. ;)