Friday, October 31, 2008
Some good news - The Boston Globe reports that the Red Sox are bringing back pitcher Tim Wakefield in 2009.
posted by Josh at 5:25 PM | 0 comments
At 1:30 today my parents have to do a horrible thing. They have to put our family dog down.

You'd think with all of the close calls and near misses over the years I'd have had this obituary all planned out. Or maybe even when the veterinarian gave him two weeks to live about two weeks ago. But I haven't.

Sebastian was born in the spring of 1994, I'm going to say sometime in March or April. Puppy of a black lab mother and a "black dog" father, he was the runt of the litter. His diminutive size helped him earn the nickname "Baby". This was also helped along when I left for college in the autumn, and my brother left a year later. My parents weren't "empty nesters" - they still had Baby.

Sebastian was a rowdy child for my parents. For all of us. One year at the holidays I was home from California, up late at night talking to a friend in California on the phone. Sebastian had run off earlier that evening, and everyone had given up and gone to bed. The thing is, it was snowing like crazy outside. A positive blizzard. I was freaked out that he'd come back to the door - but we'd all be asleep and we'd wake up to a frozen dog on the doorstep. I went outside and yelled his name until he came home. But he came home. He always came home.

He lived to see a rather old age for a dog. Three years ago when I lived at my brother's house, we used to watch Sebastian when my parents would go out of town. At this point he was in the double-digits. Being the first one up in the morning, I was always afraid to walk downstairs and find Sebastian had passed away in his sleep. A few times it seemed pretty close - by that point in his life he was pretty deaf - so I'd have to stomp and clomp around to wake him up. But he always woke up.

There are many, many other death-defying stories that I could share: close-calls with snowplows, phone calls from random strangers towns away who found him wandering on their property after he'd run off. But they all end the same way, that he was a lucky dog.

Almost three weeks ago I was at my brother's house and he was watching Sebastian. Over the summer he developed some kind of growth on his eyelid, but I'd seen it and was used to by now. In the meantime he'd also grown a tumor on his jaw. I hadn't seen that yet. He looked horrible, but still danced on my brother's wooden floor when I saw him.

That was the last time I saw him.

Shortly after that, the vet gave her two week prognosis. I guess we've all known this was coming - he is, after all, fourteen and a half years old.

Still, it's tough. This last Monday I was at my brother's house helping with some work. At five we took a walk to the local grocery store. We went the back way, the way that my brother used to walk Sebastian when he was watching him. I think we both knew that he'd never walk him again.

Tomorrow we're going up to my parents' house, I wish he'd have made it one more day. I just want to say goodbye. Goodybye to the Baby. He was a lucky dog.
posted by Josh at 12:24 PM |
Thursday, October 30, 2008
posted by Josh at 12:41 PM | 0 comments
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
So last night I was up until 1:30 am, couldn't sleep (which sucks when you know you're predestined to wake up at 6:30 am to cats fighting in the kitchen).

Something about being awake, half-heartedly surfing the web while everything is middle-of-the-night quiet, with Liz happily sleeping one room away, well, it reminded me of my second trip to Dubai. I was jet-lagged like crazy, and sat for hours in Liz's unfinished living room, reading wikipedia articles about the WWE and the 2004 World Series.


Anyway, last night - er, this morning - I decided to check and see what's going on in Dubai. Now that the whole sex-on-the-beach thing has died down I haven't heard much from our favorite Emirate. Here's what I found:

Dubai Mall is finally here - the mall at the base of the Burj Dubai opens Thursday morning. The 5.9 million square foot facility is home to Dubai Aquarium, Dubai Ice Rink, 1,200 retail outlets and 14,000 parking spaces.

You'll seriously want to remember where you parked.

They should add a car dealership - you think one would do quite well with the sheer number of people who are going to lose their cars.

Emirates Airline lands in L.A. with a splash - the Dubai-based airline began nonstop flights between Los Angeles and Dubai this week. What better way to kick it off than a party?

Tonight they're spending over $3 million to rent out the Kodak Theatre (home of the Oscars) and throw a shindig hosted by Hilary Swank, with music by Ricky Martin and dinner by Wolfgang Puck.

What, reviving Hollywood luminaries like Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall was too expensive? Couldn't they have unfrozen Walt Disney to MC it? Gotten Cab Calloway and his Orchestra to play some jazz?

Then again, reviving Ricky Martin's career might actually be more of a feat than bringing back dead people ...

Lastly my favorite article - Dubai runs out of gold on Diwali rush. The Indian holiday kicked off yesterday and apparently they bought all of the gold in the city.

posted by Josh at 6:47 AM | 0 comments
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Oh snap! Alaska's largest newspaper, the Anchorage Daily News, has just endorsed Obama.
posted by Josh at 3:08 PM | 0 comments
Saturday, October 25, 2008
Yet another reason Apple rocks. Just read this on their Hot News page.

(Prop 8, by the way, aims to change the California Constitution to eliminate the right of same-sex couples to marry in California.)

    No on Prop 8

    October 24, 2008

    Apple is publicly opposing Proposition 8 and making a donation of $100,000 to the No on 8 campaign. Apple was among the first California companies to offer equal rights and benefits to our employees’ same-sex partners, and we strongly believe that a person’s fundamental rights — including the right to marry — should not be affected by their sexual orientation. Apple views this as a civil rights issue, rather than just a political issue, and is therefore speaking out publicly against Proposition 8.
posted by Josh at 10:18 AM | 0 comments
Friday, October 24, 2008
Wow, so Disney's really going to the dogs.

Bolt, the next movie from Walt Disney Animation Studios, comes out November 21, just in time for Thanksgiving.

But in four days the animated Roadside Romeo comes out, just in time for Diwali.


Yes, Disney has gone Bollywood.

Roadside Romeo is a joint venture between Walt Disney Pictures and Indian studio Yash Raj Films. Apparently it's the story of pampered pet dog after he's abandoned on the streets of Mumbai.

No, he's not voiced by John Travolta. But there are big Bollywood dance numbers!

Check the trailer out below:

Hey, it's better looking than Shrek!

And isn't it odd how they slip into English every once in a while.
posted by Josh at 9:47 AM | 0 comments
Remember when I was mad at the night games during the playoffs? (See Mad At MLB). Well I just read an article about day games in the baseball playoffs, and baseball Commish Bud Selig had this to say:

    Selig said playing day games on weekends is not an alternative.

    “We had some afternoon games during the league championship and division series. The ratings were brutal,” he said. “The ratings get better and better as the night goes on.”

    Even if MLB wanted to schedule day games, TV slots would be difficult if not impossible to find during football season.

    “The networks have commitments, and they just can’t do it,” he said. “There’s no sense in being anything but blunt about it.”

So he's trying to tell us that ratings for a game in which two East Coast teams played that ends at 1:44 am has good ratings?

Bud. Allan. Buddy. I'll admit that you've had a few good ideas - the wild card, for example. Interleague play ... maybe. But this night game crap has to stop, or there won't be a next generation of baseball fans to give TV ratings. Seriously.
posted by Josh at 9:18 AM | 0 comments
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Made good use of some apples in dinner last night - we had Apple Stuffed Chicken Breast.

Try it some time ...
posted by Josh at 8:16 AM | 0 comments
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
After the last Presidential debate I was aghast at the undecided voters on NBC. Where the hell did Ann Curry find eight people in this whole country, nevermind just Ohio, who didn't know who they were voting for?! Have they paid any attention to either candidate at all? Are they morons?

Apparently essayist David Sedaris was wondering the same thing, albeit more amusingly. Check out his New Yorker article about these people.

Here's a tidbit:

    I look at these people and can’t quite believe that they exist. Are they professional actors? I wonder. Or are they simply laymen who want a lot of attention?

    To put them in perspective, I think of being on an airplane. The flight attendant comes down the aisle with her food cart and, eventually, parks it beside my seat. “Can I interest you in the chicken?” she asks. “Or would you prefer the platter of shit with bits of broken glass in it?”

    To be undecided in this election is to pause for a moment and then ask how the chicken is cooked.

    I mean, really, what’s to be confused about?
posted by Josh at 8:26 AM | 1 comments
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
I meant to mention this last week, but now that the Boston Red Sox lost and are done for the season I have plenty of time.

Sadly because I don't get TBS, which aired the American League Championship Series, my only playoff baseball watching option was the National League Championship Series on Fox.

I've got to say, stomaching former-Red Sox, current-Dodger Manny Ramirez in ol' number 99 was tougher than I had imagined. But it was an important part of the process of helping me steel up for next year - when he debuts in pinstripes. Yes, the only team in the major leagues stupid and rich enough to sign Manny will be the dreaded New York Yankees. I'm telling you this now.

Anyway, during the many, many commercial breaks on Fox, I saw this one ad that damn near killed me. I'm sure they were showing it on TBS, too.

It's for Gillette deodorant, and it stars New York Yankee shortstop Derek Jeter. The gist is he's leaving Boston's Fenway Park to a hoard of booing fans, And he says "What does that sound like to you? Defeat? Not to me. To me it sounds like victory. Blah blah blah. I'm so glad Madonna is divorced so I can go have the sex with her some more. I'm Derek Jeter, and I approved this message."

Okay, so I made up the last part.

But the first part is all true - which kills me, since Gillette and Boston used to be synonymous.

Have you ever seen that huge manufacturing plant in South Boston? Gillette.

Or a couple of floors in the Prudential Tower? Gillette.

Or the stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts where the Patriots play? (No, not CMGI Field, thankyouverymuch!) "Gillette Stadium".

Or how about the gynecologic oncology center at Massachusetts General Hospital? The "Gillette Center for Gynecologic Oncology".

(Okay, I didn't know that one until I found it on Google, but still ...)

Then in 2005 Cincinnati-based Procter & Gamble gobbled up Gillette.

And now we have Jeter in ads.

The sad part is that there's no way to accurately translate this it to the folks in charge at P&G. The Cincinnati Reds A) have no good players and B) have no good rivals. In fact, I think this year the team skipped all of their games in July, and nobody cared.

I think the last All-Star they sent was Ewell "The Whip" Blackwell back before my Dad was born, and nobody cares.

When they demolished Riverfront Stadium in 2002 half of the pitching staff was still inside, and nobody cared.

Topps hasn't made a baseball card for a Reds player since they were called "the Red Stockings", and nope - nobody cares.

Anyway, I've decided to make a list of people that P&G should consider for next year's Gillette commercials. It's by no means complete, or in any order whatsoever, but it'll be a good starting point:

    Ben Affleck
    John Hancock
    New Kids on the Block
    Matt Damon
    Sam Adams
    Dennis Leary
    Conan O'Brien
    Paul Revere
    Emily Dickinson
    Robert Frost
    Eliza Dushku
    The Mighty Mighty Bosstones
    Casey Affleck
    John Winthrop
    Click and Clack
    Theo Epstein
    Crispus Attucks
    Mark Wahlberg

I hope someone in Cincinnati is listening ...
posted by Josh at 2:40 PM | 1 comments
Wow, okay we get it. Seems that someone upstairs is pissed off at the New England Patriots.

The first example of God, or Baby Jesus, or both hating on the Pats came in February. That's when the favored team lost in one of the biggest Super Bowl upsets ever (casual fans might still refer to it as Super Bowl XLII) with 0:35 left to play. It was their only loss of the year. That's harsh.

Second, Quarterback Tom Brady ended his 2008-09 season in the first quarter of the first game by busting up his knee.

And now last night Safety Rodney Harrison tore his quad - ending his season and probably his career.

Dude, if I were Gisele Bündchen I'd cut all of this wedding malarkey for fear of a giant thumb descending from the heavens to squash me on my supermodel skull. Go back to Leonardo di Caprio and forget all about the NFL.
posted by Josh at 2:20 PM | 0 comments
Sunday, October 19, 2008
So the Red Sox won last night, can you believe it?

Game 7 of the ALCS is tonight at 8:07, scuttling dinner plans across all of New England and among a handful of folks in Tampa / St. Pete.

And I take back all of the complaining I did about not getting superstation TBS - seems that even the folks who have the channel missed the first 20 minutes of the game.

Glad I had my new $6.99 clock-radio from Target, I didn't miss any of the action. And I always knew what time it was, too.
posted by Josh at 8:19 AM | 0 comments
Saturday, October 18, 2008
Ugh. I'm not even half-way through the October 24 issue of Entertainment Weekly and I've already read the word "bromantic" twice (once about Kirk and Spock and once about the new flick Role Models).

And it's on the cover of some other magazine this week I just saw at the checkout line at the supermarket, too.

Seriously? Is this really going to be a word? Will people actually use it? Or is it a media fabrication that you'll never hear in real life?

I vote "never hear in real life". Because if any of my friends say "bromantic comedy" in coversation I'm totally going to slug them.
posted by Josh at 3:17 PM | 0 comments
Friday, October 17, 2008
So many people have emailed me this story I'm sure you've already seen it, but those two Brits who were at least making out (and possibly doing it) at the Jumeirah Free Beach in Dubai just got a 3 month jail sentence on Thursday.

British couple jailed for sex on Dubai beach

This article says that the couple even got married in an attempt to decrease their chances of going to jail.


Of course, being an Islamic land, public displays of affection are illegal in Dubai. So even if they were just "kissing and hugging" then they were still breaking the law.

Have fun in jail, you two lovebirds ...
posted by Josh at 9:21 AM | 0 comments
What the hell?

The new conspiracy in my life has been perpetrated by none other than evil evil Microsoft Corporation.

This week they've updated Silverlight to version 2. I don't even know what a "Silverlight" is, but apparently it's the Microsoft version of Macromedia Adobe Flash. You know, a "browser plug-in that allows users to view and interact with rich media on the Web".

(Why "web" is capitalized, I'm just not sure).

Anyway,, where I listen to the Red Sox baseball games, uses Silverlight.

And Silverlight 2.0 isn't available for Linux, which my EEE PC runs.

So now I can't even listen to the games on the computer.

And no, we don't have a radio in our tenement-esque apartment.

So tonight I had to watch text updates of the baseball game on the Yahoo GameChannel. I've been reduced to DOS baseball.

It was that or go out in the driveway and sit in the car to listen to the game on the radio. And that seemed really sad. And chilly.

So before the next game? Time to invest in a radio.
posted by Josh at 12:20 AM | 2 comments
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Just finished the 3rd Presidential debate. Not bad.

It was funny, I had just read a story how McCain's ads are 100% negative, you know, what Obama mentioned tonight and McCain immediately scoffed?

So I looked it up - here's the actual report from the Wisconsin Advertising Project from October 8:

Notice the subheading "McCain's ads nearly 100% negative".

Hm, looks like Obama's right.


Technically Obama should have categorized the negative ads were in the period from September 28 through October 4.

But still, overall McCain's ads are negative 74% of the time.
posted by Josh at 11:02 PM | 0 comments
Sunday, October 12, 2008
I'm really tired this morning. Really tired. Maybe it is because I stayed up to listen to the entire baseball game last night - Game Two of the ALCS.

It finished at 1:44 am.


So my question is this - how can a major league sporting event for two teams based in the same time zone as I am end so foolishly late?

I mean shit, that game was better timed for people in Dubai! It would have been done at 10:44 am.

Maybe it was it timed for West Coast fans ... you know, the ones who don't care about the Boston or Tampa teams?

The sad part is that this series is going to run seven games, the teams are that evenly matched. Ugh. I can't stay up late five more nights, I'll be a zombie before then.

Fox, TBS, MLB, please pull your heads out of your asses. Maybe next year don't schedule the games until you decipher what teams from which time zones are playing. And for the love of Abner Doubleday more day games. 1 pm. 2 pm. Please.
posted by Josh at 9:32 AM | 0 comments
Saturday, October 11, 2008
Right before the election four years ago I had a theory that the US Capitol Building was going to be bombed, the election suspended, and martial law enacted.

All planned and executed by the Republicans.

A modern day Reichstag fire, if you will.

It never happened, so I assumed that luckily Bush and Cheney and Rove hadn't read their European history books.

Or so I thought.

Maybe they just didn't have all of the pawns in place.

Take Executive Directive 51, which was signed by Bush in May of 2007.

Since it's classified and not highly publicized, rumor and speculation abound over its true wording. The gist is that it specifies how to continue the Constitutional government of the United States after a catastrophic disaster.

Without Congress' involvement.

(cough) Reichstag! (cough)

And guess who has the power to declare this emergency?

Of course, the president.

So now the conspiratorial side internet is buzzing, what with the economic bailout recovery and all, well, that's a disaster.

Could Bush suspend the election, declare martial law and get rid of Congress?

That's what the internet tubes are saying.


But then again, I also read that October 14 will be "First Contact" with aliens as a 2000 mile long mothership from the Galactic Federation of Light will be arriving to earth.

Yes, on Tuesday.

So the internet could be wrong ...
posted by Josh at 10:25 AM | 0 comments
Friday, October 10, 2008
Okay, who out there knows Windows? Because I need your help.

Liz's laptop keeps shutting down - something about a "System Failure" - and restarting, only to shut down and restart again.

For the record:

    BenQ Joybook 5100
    July 2004
    Pentium M 1.5 GHz
    RAM 512 MB
    40 GB HD
    Windows XP Home

The other day, when the thing was still working, I installed iTunes 8 and then XP Service Pac 3. Sometime after that, when I was trying to set a password for the new linksys wireless router, is when all hell broke loose.

Actually last night during the Dodgers/Phillies game it came back to life, so I got Norton doing a full file scan, and 27 minutes and 30,000 files in the System Failure hit again.

If anyone has any ideas I'd be very appreciative ...
posted by Josh at 10:46 AM | 0 comments
Thursday, October 09, 2008
Mom, Dad, remember all of the clicking on the phone back when you'd call me in Dubai? I told you it was sketchy!!

Exclusive: Inside Account of U.S. Eavesdropping on Americans
posted by Josh at 2:12 PM | 0 comments
So I spoke oo soon, after only one download of The Daily Show Liz's computer has started to flip out. It crashes and restarts every five minutes.


And while my EEE PC is portable and fun, it's not really a graphics powerhouse. Plus you can't get iTunes for linux.


Anyway, while I go crash and restart about a hundred more times before I jump off some tall thing, check out the latest from Dubai. State-owned devloper Nakheel has revived the Al Burj building (I know, I know, but excuse the tautology) as Nakheel Tower.

So this thing is now going to be built over by Ibn Battuta and Jumeirah Lakes or Hills or whatever they call it. It's going to be at lest two-thirds of a mile tall - one kilometer, 3,281 feet. It's going to take ten years to build. $30 billion something pricetag. Yadda yadda yadda. Go google it, I've got to get back to Windows XP repair.

I hate you Bill Gates.
posted by Josh at 1:55 PM | 0 comments
Wednesday, October 08, 2008
Hmmm, I think Comcast is messing with me. I just tested the speed of my internet over at

Wouldn't 5 megabit be 5000 kbit?


Not Comcastic.
posted by Josh at 7:22 PM | 0 comments
We have the internet!

Yes, today a rather tall Comcast installer (he hit his head on the way up the narrow staircase) gave us the power of 5 megabit internet.

I honestly don't have any idea what "5 megabit internet" means. What I do know is that, in one of those fun twists, with special promotional pricing 5 megabit internet is $7 cheaper than 3 megabit internet.

Sign me up.

However we did cheap-out on the television, opting for the plan that only gives us NBC, CBS, ABC, Fox, the CW, C-SPAN, PBS, my-TV, some French Canadian channel, local access and shop-NBC.

Granted, it was forty-something dollars cheaper than the option that gave us 64 channels.

And at the time I signed up, I thought Friday's Red Sox game was on Fox. It's not. It's on TBS again.


So when are we ever going to get the chance to have cable a la carte? Honestly, I'd pay $5 for ESPN, $5 for Comedy Central, $3 for the Food Network, $2 for Cartoon Network ... shoot, $10 for TBS (at least for the month of October).

But then nobody would buy SoapNet and Home & Garden TV and TVLand and ABC Family ... right?

At least a 16 episode multi-pass of The Daily Show is only $10 on iTunes. Just downloaded the first episode now. Gotta put those 5 whole megabits to use ...
posted by Josh at 7:09 PM | 2 comments
Monday, October 06, 2008
Wow, so that's one for the record books.

This weekend we went to two weddings, one on Saturday, one on Sunday.

"That's busy," you say, "but not unheard of."

The thing is that they were 1000 miles apart.

Saturday's wedding was in Paris, Kentucky and Sunday's was on Peaks Island, Maine.

Paris, Kentucky, for those of you who don't know, is the county seat of Kentucky's Bourbon County, the birthplace of bourbon whiskey. Peaks Island, three miles off the coast of Portland, is the most populous island in Casco Bay.

It was nice that we were able to get to both, Saturday's was Liz's college roommate and Sunday's was a buddy of mine from Pierce Promotions.

And it was frightening how similar the musical selections were - I swear that the two shared three quarters of their songs. Great brides think alike ...

Luckily for me our hotel in Kentucky had TBS, so I was able to stay up until 1:28 am on Friday to watch the Red Sox beat, as Bob Ryan calls them, the "Orange County American League Baseball Representative Angels".

Then last night on the drive home from the wedding we had the radio on and heard Lowrie, Varitek and Crisp score on Ellsbury's single ... awesome.

Sadly, we were bushed after our weekend - 4 planes (PWM to ATL, ATL to LEX and the same back), 2 buses (from Lexington to Paris and back), 2 ferries (Portand to Peaks and back), 1 train (ATL airport terminal B to T) and a short 35 hours in Kentucky - so we went to bed before the conclusion of last night's 12 inning mess of a baseball game.

More photos and stories later. It's time for me to go start dinner.
posted by Josh at 4:55 PM | 1 comments
Thursday, October 02, 2008
Generally I think people who dress up pets should be beaten severely.

I mean, think of the poor poodles and chihuahuas who sport sweaters, bows and vests. Think of their self image. They have to be the laughing stock of the dog parks!

Remember the "Twilight Bark" from 101 Dalmatians? Well I bet in places like Beverly Hills the Twilight Bark is more like a gossipy Perez Hilton where they make fun of the famous dogs' outfits.

No, the only outfit dogs should wear is a blaze orange vest, and then only in hunting season.

Cats, on the other hand, I could care less about.

I mean, we had joked that our Dubai cat Kitty would probably need a sweater in Maine in the winter. I think at one point I might have even promised Liz that I'd take up knitting and make the damned thing myself, as long as we could come home.

Well, the other day at Target we saw perhaps the best Halloween costume for Kitty.

Kitty as a Lobster, could you believe it?

Granted, we didn't buy the thing, $9.99 seemed expensive for a stupid joke, and the little hairball would probably maul the thing if we ever did get him in it.

But we had bought it, he'd be our own little "Kittywahkwe".

(For those of you who don't know, my brother is finishing a full-length low-budget horror movie about a giant lobster called Kiwahkwe).
posted by Josh at 2:18 PM | 0 comments
Wednesday, October 01, 2008
To all my Muslim friends, Eid Mubarak!

Yes, today is a holiday in the Islamic world - Eid al-Fitr - signaling the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting.

The day varies from year-to-year on the Gregorian calendar, as the Islamic calendar is lunar and the Gregorian calendar is solar.

That means that each year the holidays gets bumped up a week and a half, which in the coming few years is going to make Ramadan fasting pretty rough in the Middle East.

This year Ramadan started on the first of September, but next year it starts in the middle of August.

No water until sunset in late August in the Middle East? Yikes.

Anyway, Happy Eid.
posted by Josh at 3:05 PM | 0 comments
The first production Model T Ford was assembled on October 1, 1908.

Somehow I should have a good "Tin Lizzy" joke here, but I'm coming up blank.
posted by Josh at 3:02 PM | 0 comments
If you care about politics but didn't see Entertainment Weekly's interview with Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert (of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report) go read it right now.

It's not comical, it's not funny, but it is very insightful. Here's a taste:

    COLBERT: People can be hung by anything they say. We've done it.
    STEWART: We've done it too. You can kill people all the time for things that are absolutely human frailties.
    COLBERT: You can even manufacture the frailty, and then hang them with it.

Odd how we get more insight from two comics than the majority of the political pundits on television ...
posted by Josh at 2:09 PM | 0 comments