Saturday, February 28, 2009
As a Mainer I might be biased, but this kind of sucks: "Court: Va. man owns 1776 copy of Declaration".
posted by Josh at 7:47 AM | 0 comments
Friday, February 27, 2009
Hey, Bridgton, Maine made the travel section of today's New York Times! Check out "Lakes for Snowmobiling Now and Boating Later".

Now if only they had an animation studio ...
posted by Josh at 3:21 PM | 0 comments

So today's my car's birthday!

Yes, on February 27, 2003 I went to New Century Volkswagen in Glendale, California to replace my oft-busted Saab with a shiny new 2003 Jetta.

Oddly today my car is in the shop (this time in Bath, Maine) for its 100,000 mile checkup. Hopefully it'll be all done tomorrow, though, and I can celebrate with it in person ...
posted by Josh at 9:49 AM | 0 comments
Thursday, February 26, 2009
I'mm calling bullshit on this: "McCain 2.0: Senator on Twitter, with a new BlackBerry to boot".

If he doesn't email, then there's no way in hell he's twittering. More likely they got his new BlackBerry as a beard, and then gave some 22 year old intern the password to his Twitter account.
posted by Josh at 3:15 PM | 0 comments
How does a sports team lose twice in one night?

Let's ask the Boston Celtics.

First they lose to the Clippers (the Clippers!), and then Gabe Pruitt gets arrested for an OUI.

Not a good night if you're a Boston basketball fan.
posted by Josh at 11:31 AM | 0 comments
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
posted by Josh at 10:22 PM | 0 comments
Maine is getting a basketball team!

How'd I miss this news today? Just saw on the ol' 207 show that this autumn Portland is getting an NBA D League franchise.


No name as of yet, but man do I hope it's better than the "Sea Dogs" or the "Pirates".
posted by Josh at 7:14 PM | 3 comments
Three from the Times this morning:

Who knew that there were that many Jews in Iran? "What Iran’s Jews Say".

Who didn't know that Dubai needed a bailout? "United Arab Emirates Aid Debt-Ridden Member, Dubai".

And lastly, who in the world thinks that this is a good idea? "Broadway’s ‘Spider-Man’ Spins a Start Date".
posted by Josh at 8:29 AM | 1 comments
Monday, February 23, 2009
How did I miss this last month: "Google StreetView kills Bambi"?!?


What ever happened to "don't be evil"?
posted by Josh at 4:49 PM | 0 comments
So the New York Times reported yesterday about Alex Rodriguez's legal team in "Lawyers Are Link in Yankees’ Drug Cases".

Apparently his lawyers have also represented Sammy Sosa and Andy Pettitte, as well as former President George W. Bush in connection with Valerie Plame and Kenneth Lay of Enron.

Yeah, the firm of Guilty, Culpable, Licentious, Sinful and Evil gets all of the fun cases ...
posted by Josh at 11:51 AM | 0 comments
If you're still interested, here's an article from last Friday about the ramifications against the Dubai Open for all of this Shahar Peer madness: "Dubai update: WTA imposes sanctions".

Pretty much Peer gets money (the average of what she earned each tournament last year) as does her doubles partner, Dubai gets fined $300,000 for breach of tour rules (that's where Peer's payday comes from), and the kicker - a series of conditions that Dubai must meet to be included on the 2010 calendar.

The three conditions include confirmation that all players who qualify will be allowed to play and issued the proper visas regardless of nationality, that Peer will be offered a wild card spot for 2010 lest she does not qualify, and my favorite "proof of approved UAE entry permit to enter the UAE for any Israeli player a minimum of eight (8) weeks prior to the start of the 2010 Dubai tournament".

This is big news, my friends. Oddly I can't imagine any sides of this quarrel feel particularly good about the outcome. It'll be interesting to see what happens in twelve months ...
posted by Josh at 11:19 AM | 0 comments
Sunday, February 22, 2009
Sad news today: "Blast in Cairo tourist area kills 1, injures 17".

It happened on Sunday (a weekday in the Islamic world) at the Khan el-Khalili marketplace, a marketplace that has been around since 1382.

1382. Think about that.

You know, fifty years before the Gutenberg press. A hundred before Columbus sailed the ocean blue. Two hundred before Shakespeare started writing. Four hundred before the United States Constitution.

And we were there ten months ago - April 10, 2008.

If this had happened then, we could have been one of those eighteen tourists.

Think about that.
posted by Josh at 3:20 PM | 0 comments
Fantastic article about movie credits in the New York Times today: "Credit Where Credits Are Due".
posted by Josh at 2:09 PM | 0 comments
Friday, February 20, 2009
You know, if you're the highest paid athlete in a sport and you decide to lie about something that you've done that's illegal, it's best to check all of the facts in your lie, lest they not add up.

"Primobolan, drug Alex Rodriguez used, not available for legal purchase in the Dominican Republic".

posted by Josh at 10:23 AM | 0 comments
This article is sad to me: "2,500 languages threatened with extinction: UNESCO".

I don't know if it was my 1970s & 1980s Sesame Street "extinction is forever" upbringing, or the fact that I'm intrigued by different languages (even if I suck at speaking them), or maybe a combination.

It's just sad.
posted by Josh at 6:44 AM | 0 comments
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Wow, word is coming out that Israeli Andy Ram will be allowed a visa to play in the Dubai Tennis Championships: "UAE will let Israeli man play tennis: U.S. Congressman".
posted by Josh at 4:26 PM | 0 comments
So be honest, when you read this headline - "Major cache of fossils unearthed in L.A." - who else instantly thinks of Encino Man?




posted by Josh at 12:47 PM | 0 comments
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Interesting article here for all of you Facebook users: "Facebook's New Terms Of Service: 'We Can Do Anything We Want With Your Content. Forever.'".

Hmm, Big Brother much?

And you wonder why I don't have an account over there.

(Mostly because I'm spending all of my free time making tinfoil hats ...)

UPDATE: Facebook went back to the old TOS. Nothing to see here. Put away the tinfoil. (At least, for now ...)
posted by Josh at 12:40 PM | 4 comments
Today we have a very special visitor visa edition of the Dubai News Roundup.

First off, we're still following the Shahar Peer story. The latest is that the Israeli player was refused a visa into the United Arab Emirates to compete in the WTA Dubai Open because of ... wait for it ... Gaza.

Yes, there's a new company line about avoiding potential protests and the player's own well-being, so that's why she's banned from the tournament.

But the World Tennis Association is considering pulling out of the Dubai Championship altogether.


And now Israeli Andy Ram is applying for a visa to compete in the men’s tournament later in the month.

Yeah, good luck with that.

In other banning-people-from-Dubai news, British author Geraldine Bedell has apparently been banned from the first annual International Festival of Literature in Dubai because her novel has got some of the gay in it.

And Islam is not down with the gay. At all.

However the UAE is letting some people in - Coldplay is playing a show in Abu Dhabi, and earning a cool $2 million for it.

(This article mistakenly says Emirates Palace is in Dubai, but it's actually in the Dhabi.)
posted by Josh at 10:40 AM | 0 comments
Monday, February 16, 2009
Wow, so Newsweek just gained massive respect in my book.

Check this poster out:


I should point out that it's not really Shepard Fairey but it's still awesome ...
posted by Josh at 10:29 PM | 0 comments
Wow, looks like tennis is a rowdy sport: "Tennis Channel Won’t Televise Dubai Event in Protest".

Not sure how big of a protest this is, however. I didn't even know there was a Tennis Channel until tonight ...
posted by Josh at 10:09 PM | 0 comments
Isn't it nice to have a Presidents Day where we actually like our President?

Almost forgot what that felt like ...
posted by Josh at 1:58 PM | 0 comments
Reader RN in Casco sent this one over: "Maine Trade Mission To United Arab Emirates Seen As Promising".

Too bad for us that lobsters are haraam - forbidden by Islam.

See, Muslims can only eat fish with scales ... and shrimp. Yeah, not sure how shrimp figures in, but it does.

Either way, lobsters aren't gonna happen. Unless it's for the tourists, like the liquor and beer at the hotels ...
posted by Josh at 1:57 PM | 0 comments
Sunday, February 15, 2009
... er, guess the kids call them "Tweets".

Either way, Justin Ellis of the Portland Press Herald wrote about us on Twitter today.

And no, we didn't chat about my thoughts about Twitter (see On Social Networking).
posted by Josh at 7:51 PM | 0 comments
Hmm, tough to have a world-class tennis tournament if you won't allow citizens of certain countries access: "Israeli Peer refused Dubai visa".

Of course, the UAE doesn't have diplomatic relations with Israel. Shit, they don't even call it Israel. They call it the "Occupied Palestinian Territories"!


In fact the rumor, at least when we lived in Dubai, was that anyone with an Israeli stamp in their passport (showing that they'd entered Israel) would be denied entry into the UAE.

Of course the UAE Embassy in Washington, DC says that "All Americans with a US passport valid for more than six months are welcome to enter the UAE. This includes US citizens with visas or entry stamps from other countries."

But I wouldn't try it. Don't want to end up like Tom Hanks in that movie The Terminal ...
posted by Josh at 10:39 AM | 3 comments
So by now I bet you've heard (or at least heard of) actor Christian Bale's profanity-ridden tantrum on the set of this summer's Terminator Salvation.

(If you haven't, here's an AP article that'll get you up to speed: "Christian Bale goes on tirade on 'Terminator' set". I won't even link to the actual audio file, because dang it's salty!)

Anyway, I had a funny thought today. Have you ever seen any examples of kinetic typography? Where people (generally film students) use fancy computers to animate the the soundtrack from a movie or television scene?

Well I think someone should do an animation of Bale's blowup.

I looked all over YouTube this morning, but sadly couldn't find anything. I'd make one myself, but I graduated from film school 11 years ago, back when we didn't even have computer editing suites. So this stuff if obviously way beyond me.

Anyway, here are a few examples of the better kinetic typographies out there.

Parental guidance is suggested on the clip from Pulp Fiction.

School of Rock:

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas:

Pulp Fiction (remember, it's rated R kids!):

posted by Josh at 10:22 AM | 0 comments
Friday, February 13, 2009
Twitter logoI don't have time for Facebook.

I don't have time for Twitter.

Shoot, I barely have time to write anything of any substance on this site!

But last week I had three "Why aren't you on Facebook?" emails. I've actually formulated a nice boilerplate response and placed it in a TXT file on my computer desktop. Easy access.

I mean, I have everyone's email already - do I really want to catch up with the kid I sat behind in 3rd grade?

Gee, that'd be an interesting conversation. "So what have you been up to for the last 24 years? Are you still picking the wings off of flies? Do you still eat paste? Pretty much catch me up on your life since Ronald Reagan's first term."


In fact, I barely even read any blogs. I have two set up in my browser's RSS feed - my buddy Tuan's and my buddy Tim's. The only reason I like them are because they each only update bi-monthly.

To be fair I used to read Mike Och's blog, but then he stopped updating a year a half ago. I also used to read "Blogging Like I've Never Blogged Before", which was written by one of Mike's high school friends. Oddly, I had never met the dude. Made me feel like an internet stalker. Then he quit blogging.

I actually don't like the term "blog" at all, either. It sounds too blunt. Crass even. Like something from Klingon.

jIH muS blogs!!

Besides blogs the only "social networking" site I care for is photo sharing at Flickr. And shoot, I've only uploaded twenty photos over there in the last six months.

I simply took more photos in Dubai, I had more time to.

Which is why Twitter is the most useless idea I've heard in a long time. Do we really want a play-by-play, minute-by-minute update of anyone's life?

Maybe an astronaut landing on the moon. Maybe those people on Flight 1549 who landed in the Hudson River a few weeks ago. But beyond that?

Yet here's New York Times' David Pouge writing about Twitter yesterday. And of course we've all heard about Erykah Badu twittering while giving birth last week.

My whole frustration is really summed up quite nicely by someone else. Yesterday afternoon my brother sent me an interesting article from - "Digital Overload Is Frying Our Brains".

Couldn't say it better myself, so I won't.
posted by Josh at 6:42 PM | 1 comments
I missed this one yesterday: "Microsoft to Open Stores, Hires Retail Hand".


Just like how Microsoft ripped off the Mac operating system for Windows, they're now copying Apple.


And don't get me started on portable media players. Apple premieres the iPod in the fall of 2001, it takes off, so Microsoft brings out the Zune in the fall of 2006. Five years later.

Slow to the party much?

Of course the difference between the two companies is night and day. Seriously, how many of your friends own a Zune?

But back to the store story. The best part is who Microsoft has hired to lead this retail revolution. Apparently they've snatched up David Porter, a 25-year veteran of ... Wal-Mart.

Are you kidding me?

Back when Apple was developing their first retail stores, they appointed the then president of The Gap to its board of directors, and then hired Target's vice-president of retailing to run that division.

Target and The Gap versus Wal-Mart.

Night and freaking day, people.

I honestly can't wait to see what kind of cluttered crap-ass store Microsoft comes up with.

Actually to give you an idea, check out this parody video from a few years ago:

posted by Josh at 8:22 AM |
Thursday, February 12, 2009
20090212_the5.pngHow can one road show up twice in the Top Ten Deadliest Stretches of Road in America?

Only in Southern California.

Yes, congrats to the Five freeway that came in both number 4 and number 8.

Only in Southern California.
posted by Josh at 6:50 PM | 2 comments
The New York Times has an article about Dubai today. I guess the city is pretty screwed because people there are losing their jobs, which means that they lose their work visas, which means that they must leave the country within a month.

How bad is it? In January the city was canceling a reported 1500 work visas a day.

You can imagine what that leaves Dubai looking like. I believe the expression that the paper uses is "ghost town".

So check out "Laid-Off Foreigners Flee as Dubai Spirals Down".
posted by Josh at 11:46 AM | 1 comments
20090212_redsox.pngIt might be 36 degrees and raining right now in Brunswick, Maine, but everything is right with the world. Yes, 1600 miles away in Fort Meyers, Florida, pitchers and catchers are reporting to the Boston Red Sox Spring Training.

The 2009 Major League Baseball season has begun!
posted by Josh at 7:05 AM | 0 comments
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
So my Jetta hit 100,000 miles on Monday morning, and I missed it (see I Will Drive 100,000 Miles ...).

I'm still bummed out that I was too sleepy to remember the big event. Then I got to thinking, I could digitally alter the camera-phone photo I took once I got to work to make it look like I took a photo at 100,000 miles.




But why stop there? What would it look like if my car was on the verge of 1,000,000 miles?

Maybe something like this:



But here's the most magical photo of them all:


Yes, that's what my car would look like sans "Check Engine" light.

Now that is something.
posted by Josh at 6:53 PM | 0 comments
So you say you didn't go to Boston College, Boston University, Harvard or Northeastern and thus don't get why the Beanpot should be such a big deal?

Check out this article: "Beanpot tourney is more than it seems".
posted by Josh at 10:57 AM | 0 comments
So yeah, we're doomed now.

This has to be the 8th Sign of the Apocalypse: "Disney, DreamWorks in distribution deal".

Game over, man, game over!
posted by Josh at 6:01 AM | 0 comments
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Remember what it was like before you had a cell phone and people around you were complaining about their cell phones and "not having coverage"? How to you it was all space-aged Gobbledygook?

(And if you still don't have a cell phone, do you remember yesterday?)

Well I kind of feel that way about GPS devices. You know, the Garmins, Tom Toms, PN-40 Handhelds (oh DeLorme and your clever names).

Two weeks ago my folks drove down to Florida (are they still "Snow Birds" if they don't fly?). Their GPS is the kind where you load maps onto an SD card, and somehow on this trip Forida wasn't on their machine, either they forgot or ran out of room. Either way, when they left Georgia they entered a gray no man's land. The GPS knew that they were still traveling in a southerly direction, was still keeping track of latitudes and longitudes and whatnot, but had no idea of on what road or terraine.

Luckily my father is a clever guy, so he knew where he was going. Drive south. When you hit Mickey Mouse, turn left. Then stop before you get to the ocean. Voila!

My cousin's husband (cousin-in-law?) was less lucky - on his cross-country trip last week his brother/navigator broke the touch-screen of their GPS. Uh-oh. A touch-screen GPS with a broken touch-screen is an expensive paperweight. But useful in weighing down the maps when you open the windows to pay tolls.

Similarly, before I had a cell phone I was much more organized - make a plan before I leave the house, know where we're meeting and at what time, etc.

Today I make sure to print out Google Map directions before I leave. Sure, I have a Maine Gazetteer, but somehow no matter where I'm going it always ends up on the crease in the binding.

So when my wife's aunt (my aunt-in-law?) and her ... well, they're not really married but they've been together for quite some time, and heck, he's more an uncle to me than one of my real uncles ... so let's say "our aunt and uncle" ... went to Southern California in January I didn't even think to suggest getting a GPS.

I was already planning what maps to print out, and wondering where the Thomas Guide from my Southern California days ended up (I imagine in a box in my parents' garage, my brother's basement or my in-law's garage, you know, where it seems 80% of our stuff has been for damn-near three years now, not that I'm bitter). But then one of my aunt-in-law's coworkers suggested a GPS, which they bought and loved and never got lost with.

So what's my point? I guess it falls along the line's of Clarke's third law - that any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. That to me a GPS unit is just space-aged Gobbledygook, much like cell phones were to me six years ago.
posted by Josh at 10:38 AM | 1 comments
20090210_ufc.pngDid you see this yesterday? We have a new football league - the United Football League.

The four teams will play in seven different cities: Las Vegas/Los Angeles, New York/Hartford, Orlando and San Francisco/Sacramento over the course of the six week season.

I really hope that the LA team is called the Stallions, like in The Last Boy Scout.
posted by Josh at 6:38 AM | 0 comments
Beanpot logoLast night was the championship game of the Beanpot Hockey Tournament in Boston.

The Boston University Terriers won.

This is our 29th title in 57 years.

Recap of the game here.

BU will be up at UMaine on Friday and Saturday.
posted by Josh at 6:30 AM | 0 comments
Monday, February 09, 2009

So my 2003 VW Jetta hit 100,000 miles today. Unfortunately I forgot all about it. What can I say, I was on my way to the gym at 6 am and it was dark and cold. Oh, and the moon was large on the horizon, too. That distracted me.

Here's the odometer once I got to work and realized my foolishness:


Amazingly I bought this car on February 26, 2003. I was still in California, still working at Disney Animation.

Gosh, a good many things have changed in the last six years.

I hope this car lasts another 100,000 miles.

Who knows where I'll be in 2015 ...
posted by Josh at 10:31 PM | 0 comments
So steroid-user / third-baseman Alex Rodriguez has a new nickname in New York, courtesy of the always subtle-as-a-jackhammer New York Post:

I'm almost peeing my pants this is so awesome.
posted by Josh at 11:43 AM | 1 comments
Sunday, February 08, 2009
Former Red Sox outfielder and general screw-up Manny Ramirez spoke to the LA Times today.

But is anyone even listening anymore?

It sounds, from the likes of this article, that the press in La-La-Land have had just about enough of Manny already. And he hasn't even played there for a full year.

Check it out, it's really quite a funny read.
posted by Josh at 6:34 PM | 0 comments
Saturday, February 07, 2009
posted by Josh at 5:52 PM | 3 comments
Yes, "Economy Halts Plans For SeaWorld Dubai".

Makes sense, though.

What doesn't make sense, however, is that Busch is the one pulling the plug, when developer Nakheel was going to own the whole thing and pay Busch a licensing fee. Something shady there.

For the original Newlywed in Dubai story, see Shamu Moves to Dubai.
posted by Josh at 6:40 AM | 0 comments
Friday, February 06, 2009
Today's the first holiday of the year in Red Sox Nation - Truck Day. Yes, today the day the big rig full of equipment leaves Fenway Park in Boston on its way to Fort Meyers, Florida for spring training.

Pitchers and Catchers report next Thursday, and spring is finally upon us, nevermind what that groundhog says.

So Happy Truck Day!
posted by Josh at 6:37 AM | 0 comments
Thursday, February 05, 2009
Not much new on the Manny Ramirez front today, but I want to link to a awesome article from Tuesday's Los Angeles Times: "What does Manny Ramirez have that Kobe Bryant doesn't?"

Tuesday, of course, was the day after Manny Ramirez turned down a one year, $25 million dollar contract offer from the Dodgers.

Ironically that was also the day after the Lakers' Kobe Bryant set a Madison Square Garden record for most points scored in one game.

Wait, why does that matter?

Well, the Lakers only pay Kobe $21.2 million.


Anyway, tonight the Lakers play the Celtics at the new Garden, where I hope Kobe sets the new record for fewest points scored in one game.
posted by Josh at 6:14 PM | 0 comments
What would you do if you saw this road sign?



(Photo from the AP: In this photo provided by Chris Nakashima-Brown, an electronic road sign is seen in Austin, Texas on Monday, Jan. 26, 2009. Two electronic signs intended to warn motorists of construction near the intersection of Lamar and Martin Luther King boulevards were changed yesterday by hackers.)
posted by Josh at 6:05 PM | 2 comments
Monday, February 02, 2009
So that NBC show Heroes returns tonight. Have you seen the synopsis for tonight's episode "A Clear and Present Danger"?

Months after explosions brought down Pinehurst and Primatech, our Heroes try to put the past behind them and begin new lives. Now powerless Hiro tries to train a reluctant Ando to be a true superhero. Suresh returns to life as a taxi driver, Peter is back to saving lives, and Daphne and Matt try to live as a normal couple. Claire's attempt to live a regular life is cut short when she uncovers a deadly plot orchestrated by Nathan to track down and capture those with abilities. Meanwhile, Sylar begins the search for his real parents.

Tonight I want to focus on the "deadly plot orchestrated by Nathan to track down and capture those with abilities".

See, Heroes liberally rips off comic books repeatedly and often. We all know this, we've all said it for years. Virtually every character from the show has a doppelgänger in the pages of X-Men or the Justice League. At this point, I'm over this this. I kind of just hope that kids grow up they find Wolverine a little more complex and interesting than the cheerleader, even if they have the same powers.

Well, I was over it. Until I heard about this next series of Heroes and the whole "deadly plot orchestrated by Nathan to track down and capture those with abilities".

Because I've seen this before.

In 1981, actually.

Uncanny X-Men #141 and #142.

"Days of Future Past".

It's all been done before.

Argh! Why can't they be original?
posted by Josh at 7:59 PM | 2 comments
Here's the Variety article about the Annie Awards: "'Kung Fu Panda' rules Annie Awards".
posted by Josh at 7:03 AM | 2 comments
Sunday, February 01, 2009
The Annie Awards are like the animation industry's Oscar - presented each year by the Los Angeles branch of the International Animated Film Association, ASIFA-Hollywood. Friday was the presentation of the 36th annual awards, and oddly Kung Fu Panda won every category, beating Wall-E at everything.

Hmmm, sketchy. Especially considering everyone whom I know loved Wall-E, and nobody I know even saw Kung Fu Panda.

Also sketchy - who sponsors the awards. Guess which studio is a "Gold Level" sponsor of the awards? Why, DreamWorks Animation, producer Kung Fu Panda.

It's just so sad, really.
posted by Josh at 4:45 PM | 0 comments
Happy February and Happy Super Bowl Sunday! Now onto baseball news.

Two articles about former Boston Red Sox left fielder Manny Ramirez. First ESPN The Magazine's Buster Olney says that the "Giants could ultimately be in mix for Manny". Key line?

    Some rival executives believe that the Dodgers could offer a two-year, $30 million deal to Ramirez and still have the highest bid on the table -- and of course, two years and $30 million would represent less money than Ramirez would have made had he just stayed with the Red Sox. But part of the discussion within the L.A. front office has been about what number would completely embarrass Ramirez to the point that he would roll over on his team, the way he did in Boston.

Of course this comes a few days after St Louis' Albert Pujols reports that Manny says nobody wants him. Jerry Crowe of the Los Angeles Times asks "Which Manny Ramirez story is the right one?"

posted by Josh at 8:28 AM | 0 comments