Monday, July 27, 2009
blurb logoI recently compiled most of our Newlywed in Dubai blog entries into a book using the website

And now you can order a copy today!

Even though it's "print on demand" the books look quite good. calls them "Bookstore-Quality Books" with durable perfect binding, a laminated 4-color, 10 pt. cover and 60-pound text paper on the inside.

So please, check it out.

And yes, we plan on putting together a more comprehensive collection of essays about our time in Dubai soon. But for now, relive the blog - in book format!
posted by Josh at 12:30 PM | 0 comments
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Just got the new Fortune magazine with the scary bald dude on the cover. Besides follicularly challenged execs, the issue also contains the Global 500.

So just who are the largest companies in the world? Let's look at the top ten and see what they have in common:

Yes, seven out of ten are oil companies.

Glad someone's having a good year ...
posted by Josh at 11:01 AM | 0 comments
Monday, July 20, 2009
20090720_apollo11.pngI guess I'd be remiss without mentioning the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing. But it's been covered so much by so many angles, what more can I say?

Maybe I'll just link to a neat story for the geeks out there, "How powerful was the Apollo 11 computer?".

(Not to spoil it, but let's just say its speed was measured in plain ol' Hz ...)
posted by Josh at 9:27 PM | 0 comments
Sunday, July 19, 2009
Today is the Muslim holiday Isra and Mi'raj, or night journey.

Pretty much the story goes over the course of one night in or around 621 C.E. the archangel Gabriel took the prophet Muhammad () from Mecca to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, then to heaven to meet Allah, Moses, Abraham and Jesus.

Some scholars think that this is a physical journey, while others think it's a vision, or dream.

If it was a physical journey, it would have been intense, Mecca to Jerusalem is a distance of 765 miles (1231 km).

However there's quite a description of the method of transport used by Gabriel - he flew on a winged steed (machine?) named Buraq.

It's all pretty interesting, sometime when I have more time I'll have to tell how this fits into my theory of religion ...

posted by Josh at 8:13 AM | 0 comments
Friday, July 17, 2009
Bill Nemitz of the Portland Press Herald has a good story today: "Run into a corporate brick wall? Internet makes great bulldozer".
posted by Josh at 11:44 AM | 0 comments
Bicentennial quarterFile this under "things you'd think that I'd know, but never did until today":

There are no quarters, half dollars, and one dollar coins dated '1975'.

The US Mint made special bicentennial designs of these coins in 1976, but I never realized they started in 1975.

And regardless if they were coined in '75 or '76, they bear the date "1776-1976".

I guess I never knew that because I never collected quarters (besides hanging on to bicentennial ones). I collected pennies, nickels and dimes, but quarters were too rich for my blood. The same with half dollars and dollars, there were too many neat things to buy with them.

But still, you would have thought I'd have known this ...
posted by Josh at 9:45 AM | 0 comments
Thursday, July 16, 2009
Did you see this Boston Globe piece: "Frugal before it was fashionable"?

I love Maine, I really do.

I just wish there were some friggin' jobs here ...
posted by Josh at 11:35 PM | 0 comments
I see the logic in this Boston Globe op-ed, I really do: "Got a comment? Keep it to yourself".
posted by Josh at 11:30 PM | 0 comments
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Yeah, Sarkozy might be married to a super-model, but we still have the coolest leader in the world.


Isn't it cool that when President Barack Obama threw out the ceremonial first pitch at last night's 2009 Major League Baseball All-Star game he wore jeans and his White Sox jacket?

“Everybody knows I’m a White Sox fan, and my wife thinks I look cute in this jacket,” he said on Fox. “Between those two things, why not?”

I love it when politicians show candor.

I also appreciate that we've seen the jacket before at his kids' soccer games - it wasn't just some jacket that was handed to him a minute before gametime because some strategist knew he was a Sox fan.

Not that I pick my leaders on the basis of with whom I'd prefer a beer, we all can imagine how that'd turn out, but I admire the fact that Obama is as comfortable in G8 meetings as with mouth-breathing morons Buck and McCarver in the Fox broadcast booth, as at ease with jeans and a jacket or in a tux.

He's just a cool dude.

Anyway, I was pleased with the outcome as well as the speed of the game last night, although it would have been nice if Tim Wakefield got to pitch.

Also, this is the second time in my life that the sitting president tossed the first pitch at an All-Star Game. The last time was Gerald Ford in 1976. I was three and a half months old.
posted by Josh at 7:14 AM | 0 comments
Monday, July 13, 2009
Don't know which of these top Yahoo! News stories is more obvious: "Cats Do Control Humans, Study Finds" or "Swearing Makes Pain More Tolerable".

Both seem to be common sense to me ...
posted by Josh at 5:22 PM | 0 comments
Friday, July 10, 2009
Interesting article at the Wall Street Journal about Las Vegas' CityCenter project, "Buyer's Remorse Hits Vegas Project".

Pretty much a bunch of the people who bought condos at the height of Vegas' real estate boom two or three years ago want their money back.

CityCenter, which opens in November, is co-owned by MGM Mirage and Dubai World, although the project almost went bankrupt four months ago (see CityCenter Bankrupt, Pt 2).

Is it a problem that now they're calling it a "$8.4 billion project" when in March it was an "$11 billion project"?

Anyway, it's good to know that Vegas will soon have 5,000 more hotel rooms.

In happier Sin City news, here's a cool visual development piece of art for the new Las Vegas Plaza being developed by the Israeli El-Ad Group. These 4,100 hotel rooms are scheduled to be finished by 2011:

Odd that there'll be an Israeli project and an Arab project so close to each other.

Only in Vegas ...
posted by Josh at 8:36 AM | 0 comments
Thursday, July 09, 2009
Superman LogoI haven't talked about Superman and litigation in about three years (see Superboy Lawsuit), but don't worry, it's still going on. I think we're on year #62, actually.

Yep, Supe's creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster first sued back in 1947.

Well, technically last year Siegel's heirs were awarded half of Superman's copyright. (Which you think I would have mentioned but never did - guess I was busy in Dubai).

But as lawsuits seem to beget more lawsuits, the newly emboldened heirs then sued Time Warner, DC Comic's corporate parent, and Warner Brothers, producer of Superman Returns and Smallville - accusing the corporate siblings of giving each other below-market cost deals for the character rights.

So long-story not-so-short, here's a good article from Hollywood magazine Variety about the whole mess: "Warner Bros. wins 'Superman' case".
posted by Josh at 7:39 PM | 0 comments
Monday, July 06, 2009
Seinfeld LogoMissed this one - yesterday was the 20th anniversary of the first episode of Seinfeld.

posted by Josh at 4:13 PM | 0 comments
I read another stat about virtually-43-year old Tim Wakefield in today's Boston Globe that I want to share:

"Wakefield is the oldest first-time All-Star since the - and this is one time the word is not being abused - legendary Satchel Paige made the AL squad at age 46 (supposedly) in 1953."


Although I looked it up, and Paige was on the 1952 All-Star team, even though he didn't pitch.

Either way, how about that?

UPDATE: Of course Gordon Edes of Yahoo! Sports got the 1952 thing right: "Old knuckleballer cracks first All-Star team".
posted by Josh at 1:48 PM | 0 comments
Sunday, July 05, 2009
20090318_redsox.pngSix Red Sox players were named to the All-Star team: Dustin Pedroia, Jason Bay, Kevin Youkilis, Josh Beckett, Jonathan Papelbon and Tim Wakefield.

This will be 17-year veteran Tim Wakefield's first All-Star Game - but we'd talked about that a month ago (see Tim Wakefield, All-Star?)

That's awesome.

Especially since on Friday he made his 383 start for the Sox, the most of any Red Sox pitcher ever. (Take that Roger Clemens and, oh yeah, sorry Cy Young.)
posted by Josh at 2:40 PM | 0 comments
Saturday, July 04, 2009
20090704_flappingflag.pngHappy Independence Day!

This is my first Fourth back after living overseas, and I had great plans to write how our independence here means so much more than fireworks, parades, barbecues and a day off from work.

But I can't shake this cold to save my life. Yes, I'm beginning to think Liz brought me back Swine flu from her trip overseas.

You know, one of those "my wife was in three international airports within 24 hours and all I she brought me was this hacking cough and runny nose".

Don't worry. When I'm better I'll write the flag story. I'll put it in the Dubai book. You know, the one that's not written - near to a year after my return.


posted by Josh at 10:00 AM | 0 comments
Friday, July 03, 2009
Aw jeeze, you know David Letterman is going to have a field day with this one.


Yep, you betcha.
posted by Josh at 9:36 PM | 0 comments
Thursday, July 02, 2009
When my parents write letters to the editor, it's positive: "Graduates who make good encourage Maine students".

When I do? Not so much.

See: the Maine Sunday Telegram on Sep 10, 2006 and Time Magazine on Dec. 28, 1998.
posted by Josh at 10:39 AM | 0 comments
Wednesday, July 01, 2009
20090701_MPAA.pngSeventy-five years ago today the Hays Code for censoring motion pictures went into effect.

Amazingly the production code was not created or enforced by any federal, state, or city government. It was the Hollywood studios themselves who adopted the code, largely in part in the hopes of avoiding government censorship.

While the rules have changed over the years, the code still is in effect as the MPAA.
posted by Josh at 11:21 AM | 0 comments