April 06, 2003

Go Vols!

The Lady Vols won today, beating Duke 66-56. It was a really close game for almost the entire time, but in the last few minutes, Tennessee pulled ahead.

Tennessee now goes on to face the University of Connecticut, who (barely) won over Texas 71-69. This marks the third time the two teams have played for the championship -- UConn won in 1995 and 2000.

Go Vols!

Posted by Mike at 10:50 PM

April 07, 2003


In a column in Slate a few weeks ago, the author posed the question: since everyone in Iraq seems to own a gun, how did it ever become a dictatorship? After all, the NRA has been assuring us for years that the constitutional reason for citizens to bear arms is in case they ever need to take up arms against their own government to keep it from becoming as repressive as Iraq's. How come this failed in Iraq?

A few days ago, a followup column posted the best responses to the question. The best response: "Iraqis are very poor shots."

Entertaining reading...

Posted by Mike at 08:26 AM

April 08, 2003

War is ... surreal

Minister of Silly Walks
"I have no gate key"
One of the strangest parts of all the media coverage of the War on Iraq has got to be, without a doubt, the Iraqi (Mis)Information Minister, Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf. First he insisted that Coalition forces were making no headway into the country at all. He referred to a car bomber (that did, in fact, kill four US soldiers) having blown up four or five Abrams tanks, a few armored personnel carriers, and a bunch of soldiers (perhaps the car bomb was a nuke ... no, wait, Iraq doesn't have those). Then, as US forces began rolling onto the runway at Saddam International, he insisted that US troops weren't within 100 miles of Baghdad and were all "nailed down". OK, well, they were at the airport, having evidently dropped several tanks from passing airplanes (since they couldn't have travelled the 100 feet miles that quickly -- and, after all, they were nailed down), but were being "destroyed" by Iraqi forces.
A very clever illusion indeed
A US tank in front of a clever mock-up of one of Saddam's palaces
Even now, as US troops recline in one of Saddam's palaces, he insists that there are no US troops anywhere in the city. Of course, he had to give that briefing at a hotel. He couldn't give it at the Information Ministry building, because US troops had taken it over it was closed for renovation and remodeling. One report I read noted that he had to speak loudly to be heard over the gunfire. Presumably someone in the city was using an AK-47 to shoot a chicken for dinner.

Seriously, what's the point? He's going to give a briefing soon about how there are no US troops in Baghdad that will be interrupted by the sight of an Abrams tank rolling by in the background. His briefings have become surreal beyond words. Is it just that the government there is so used to lying that they don't know how to do anything else??

Posted by Mike at 12:16 AM | Comments (1)

CNNSI sucks...

CNN - Sports Illustrated boldy continues to highlight their Swimsuit issue in any page having to do with women's basketball.

This is why I usually read ESPN.com instead.

Posted by Mike at 05:00 PM

Oh well

It was a good game, but the Vols lost in the end. Diana Taurasi (of UConn) was just too amazing.

Posted by Mike at 09:08 PM

Avoiding telemarketers

The FTC is launching a national 'Do Not Call' registry later this year. You can add your phone number to the list, and businesses are not allowed to call any number on the list. Finally, a way to avoid all those telemarketer phone calls.

If you're a California resident, the state has put up a web site allowing you to pre-register for the list for free. Once the FTC starts accepting numbers, California will give them the list of people who have pre-registered.


Posted by Mike at 11:14 PM | Comments (2)

April 10, 2003

If al-Sahaf were there...

After running across a hysterical site posing the question "What if Fox News were around during other historical events", I got to thinking about the Iraqi Minister of Silly Walks Information Minister, Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf, and what would he have said at various events.

Sherman is lying

The Black Knight always wins!

It's just a few Indians

See, the Infidels have even left us a peace offering!

Ah, if only...

I actually miss his daily briefings. He was always good for a laugh.

Posted by Mike at 10:10 PM | Comments (2)

April 14, 2003


Recently, Meredith and I have been getting more and more spam. Last week, I ran across an amazing solution -- well, for me, at any rate. It works only with Outlook right now, but if that's what you use, go get Spamnet. The way it works is: when you get a message that is spam, you click a button on your Outlook tool bar to block it. That action reports the spam to a central list. When other users get that same message, the server sees that it's already been marked as spam, so it gets filtered away.

So far, I've had it block all the spam I've received, with just one false positive (oddly, updates messages from our hosting provider).

Now if only I could find a way to block Meredith's spam...

Posted by Mike at 10:23 PM | Comments (1)

More fun with al-Sahaf

An entire site dedicated to the (former) Iraqi mis-Information Minister, Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf: http://www.welovetheiraqiinformationminister.com/

The site was down for a few days after getting linked to by everyone (even cnn.com), but now it's back up.

Posted by Mike at 10:28 PM

Church volunteering

At our church, I chair the Staff-Parish Relations Committee. The SPRC committee has various duties, but is mostly the interface between the church body (the parish) and the staff and pastors that handles questions like how the church thinks the pastors are doing, problems the staff has, hiring people, setting salaries, etc. We are kind of like the Human Resources committee of the church. We also work with the District Superintendent, the Cabinet, and the Bishop when a pastoral change is going to happen.

It just so happens that Bob Olmstead, our senior pastor for ten years, is retiring at the end of June. So, for the last year or so, we've been busy. Especially in the last few months. About a month ago, we met with and accepted the appointment of Doug Monroe, the person who will be our next senior pastor.

And, of course, on top of helping to plan the transition, plan for Bob's retirement parties, we still have various other personnel issues that keep coming up.

I counted the number of emails I had exchanged (received or sent) since the beginning of the year on SPRC issues. In that 100 days or so, the total: 860 messages. Some days, it's hardly any; other days, it's ridiculous. And that doesn't count the phone calls and meetings. At times, it feels like a second job.

All this for a volunteer position. Whew...

I'm not sorry that I'm doing it -- it's something that I felt called to do, and I think this is where I should be right now. But at the same time, I really wish I could figure out how to make it just a little less demanding.

Posted by Mike at 10:54 PM

April 18, 2003

Spamnet ... well, maybe not

I thought that I had found a great anti-spam solution. Unfortunately, after using it a while longer, I've wound up uninstalling it. Basically, it doesn't really work with IMAP. The site claims that it 'partially' supports it, but it seems to be completely random as to when it decides to check the IMAP inbox. Lately, it's been checking it only when I launch Outlook, which isn't very helpful to me, since I leave Outlook running almost all the time.

I'd try mailwasher, as Emily suggested in her comment, but it says it doesn't work with IMAP either.

Back to the drawing board...

Posted by Mike at 11:48 AM | Comments (1)

April 22, 2003

The Blues Brothers

The Blues BrothersTwenty-five years ago, on April 22, 1978, John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd first appeared as Jake & Elwood Blues on Saturday Night Live. It was one of the best things to ever come out of SNL ... way back when, when it was funny...

Posted by Mike at 11:20 PM

April 24, 2003

When conservatives drive me crazy

After dinner tonight, we browsed for a bit in the local bookstore. My favorite find was a new book about the about the "Left's assault on our culture". Hard as it was to pass up a book endorsed by both G. Gordon Liddy, Convicted FelonRadio Talk Show Host, and Dr. Laura Schlessinger, general hate-mongerRadio Talk Show Host, somehow I managed.

Speaking of right-wing lunacy, Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) just sounds like an idiot. First he compares consensual gay sex to incest and polygamy. He also says, "I have no problem with homosexuality. I have a problem with homosexual acts," which has always seemed like one of the most chicken-shit things you can claim to believe in. Then he says "Every society in the history of man has upheld the institution of marriage as a bond between a man and a woman," which displays such a colossal ignorance of history that I don't even know where to begin. Maybe if he had said, "a man and some number of women," he wouldn't have sounded quite so ignorant. One man and one woman is not exactly the historical norm.

And I do not, can not, understand how gays having consensual sex is somehow "antithetical to a healthy, stable, traditional family." Like somehow my marriage is going to fall apart because of someone else is having sex with a member of the same sex. How does that work? One common explanation seems to be that you need to have heterosexual marriages because that's how you get children. Santorum says "Because society is based on one thing: that society is based on the future of the society. And that's what? Children." So not having children is a threat to the sanctity of marriage? Someone better round up those Nuns...

Santorum is now claiming both that he was taken out of context, and that he stands by his comments. Umm ... yeah. That seems to be the favorite defense of politicians these days: "I was taken out of context." At the White House press briefing on Tuesday, a reporter asked Ari Fleischer for a comment on Santorum's remarks. After Fleischer responded, "I have not seen the entire context of the interview...", the reporter asked "Do you need context?" Good point.

Here's the transcript of what Santorum said -- complete with context.

Ah well ...

Posted by Mike at 10:56 PM | Comments (1)

April 25, 2003

More on Santorum

Richard Cohen of the Washington Post has written a column on Santorum's remarks. It's really funny, and very well written.

Posted by Mike at 11:30 PM

April 26, 2003

Your love is like...

"Your love is like a rollercoaster" "Your love is like a virus"
One of these quotes is from the lyrics to a song from Beavis and Butthead Do America.

One of these quotes is from the lyrics to a song from Jane Eyre, the musical, which we saw last night at Theatre Works.

And my question is: if you didn't already know which was which, could you necessarily guess?

Meredith had been looking forward to seeing this, the last play of the season at Theatre Works, all year. Unfortunately, while the acting, singing, and tech were, as usual for Theatre Works, superb, the play itself was ... silly. The music all sounded the same from song to song, and it all sounded like 80's pop songs. Ick. Meredith liked the second act more than the first, whereas I left feeling far more nauseated by the second act.

The answer, of course, is that the first quote is from "Love Rollercoaster" by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, from the Beavis & Butthead soundtrack.

"Your live is like a virus?" Eww...

Posted by Mike at 11:01 AM | Comments (2)

April 28, 2003

Toasted video card?

Tonight, when I came home from work, I went into our office, turned on my PC, and came back out into the dining room. A few minutes later, I heard a beep from my PC, which seemed very odd. I got caught up in some other things, and didn't make it into the office until a bit later, when I discovered that the monitor wasn't showing any video. But the PC was on. Curiouser and curiouser, I thought. No matter -- reset the PC and move on.

Windows popped up some alert about the nVidia driver doing something bad. Again, didn't seem like that big a deal. Sometimes drivers screw up. Whatever. I played a game on the PC for a bit, then my video game froze. Fine, reboot it again.

Launch the game. Freeze. Completely.

Reboot. Curse nVidia. Launch IE, start to type the web address for nVidia's web site to get the latest drivers -- freeze while typing the URL. Note with increasing alarm the curious pixel glitches all over the screen.

Reboot long enough to uninstall the nVidia drivers. Reboot again. OK, it's getting worse -- now even the BIOS splash screen has vertical lines running across it.

Turn everything off, pull the video card out, reseat it. Nope, still lots of vertical lines.

It was just ten months ago that I bought the card... sigh.

I wonder how long the warranty on PNY's nVidia cards is for? Time to find out, I guess.

Posted by Mike at 09:54 PM | Comments (1)

April 30, 2003

Two Years (the other one)

Today marks the two year anniversary of when, three months after leaving Appel, I started work at Microsoft.

I celebrated by spending all morning helping set up a demo for an all-hands meeting in the afternoon, then going to said (3 1/2 hour long) meeting. At least my code ran without a hitch -- pretty good considering that I just checked it in yesterday. All told, I think I spent about seven minutes in my actual office today.

Posted by Mike at 08:57 PM